When the 68th Berlin International Film Festival takes place from February 15 – 25, 2018, Berlin will once again belong to the bears.
“It’s that time of year again: The bears are out and about! On this year’s posters they’ll be popping up at well-known Berlin landmarks to get us in the mood for terrific festival days,” comments Festival Director Dieter Kosslick.
The poster series, featuring six different scenes, was again designed by the Swiss agency Velvet. The posters will go up city-wide and be available for purchase at the Berlinale Online Shop starting on January 22.
Just when you think it can’t get any better, they go and do something like this!
The Berlinale has had a global presence with specially curated film programs for many years now. The Berlinale Spotlight extends the festival and makes its activities visible throughout the year.
“Berlinale Spotlight gives us the opportunity to make our work concrete and tangible to audiences even beyond the festival. The films on the screen exemplify what makes the Berlinale sections so distinctive and the Berlinale unique in its complexity,” says Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick.
The Berlinale’s long-standing and successful collaboration with the Goethe Institutes in Kolkata and Hong Kong will continue in the autumn and winter of 2017. A total of six short film programmes are to be presented with works from the Berlinale Shorts, Generation, Perspektive Deutsches Kino and Panorama sections, as well as the full-length fiction film Ein Weg (Paths) by Chris Miera (Perspektive Deutsches Kino 2017). The short film programmes have been put together by Maike Mia Höhne, curator of the Berlinale Shorts section.
“The films reflect the great diversity of the short format: bold, playful, political, narrative. The short film is an essential sector of the film industry, but also of storytelling and culture. In its capacity as such, it will travel around the world,” says Maike Mia Höhne.
The Berlinale Spotlight programmes in East Asia will be shown at the Cine Moko in Hong Kong on October 18 and 25, 2017; at the Cinematheque Passion in Macau on October 15 and 20, 2017; at the Goethe-Institut in Shanghai, China on October 18 and 20, 2017; and at the Goethe-Institut Beijing, China on November 18 and 19, 2017.
Berlinale Spotlight has been invited to India for the Kalpanirjhar International Short Fiction Film Festival from December 1 to 5, 2017; DIALOGUES: Calcutta International LGBT Film & Video Festival from November 23 to 26, 2017; and the TENT Little Cinema International Festival in December 2017. All festival screenings will be held at the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, Kolkata.
Berlinale Spotlight films:
Altas Cidades de Ossadas (High Cities of Bone), directed by: João Salaviza (Portugal), 19 min.
Avant l’envol (Before the Flight), directed by: Laurence Bonvin (Switzerland), 20 min.
Call of Cuteness, directed by: Brenda Lien (Germany), 4 min. Centauro (Centaur), directed by: Nicolás Suárez (Argentina), 14 min. – Honourable Mention 2017
Cidade Pequena (Small Town), directed by: Diogo Costa Amarante (Portugal), 19 min. – Golden Bear for Best Short Film 2017
Ensueño en la Pradera (Reverie in the Meadow), directed by: Esteban Arrangoiz Julien (Mexico), 17 min. – Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) 2017
Estás vendo coisas (You are seeing things), directed by: Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca (Brazil), 18 min.
Everything, directed by: David OReilly (USA / Ireland), 11 min.
Final Stage, directed by: Nicolaas Schmidt (Germany), 27 min. – Perspektive Deutsches Kino 2017
Fuera de Temporada (Out of Season), directed by: Sabrina Campos (Argentina), 23 min.
Hiwa, directed by: Jacqueline Lentzou (Greece), 11 min.
keep that dream burning, directed by: Rainer Kohlberger (Austria/ Germany), 8 min.
Kometen (The Comet), directed by: Victor Lindgren (Sweden), 11 min.
La prima sueca (Swedish Cousin), directed by: Inés María Barrionuevo, Agustina San Martín (Argentina), 20 min. – Generation 2017
Le film de l’été (The Summer Movie), directed by: Emmanuel Marre (France / Belgium), 30 min.
Martin Pleure (Martin Cries), directed by: Jonathan Vinel (France), 16 min.
Min Homosyster (My Gay Sister), directed by: Lia Hietala (Sweden / Norway), 15 min. – Generation 2017, TEDDY Award 2017
Oh Brother Octopus, directed by: Florian Kunert (Germany), 27 min.
Os Humores Artificiais (The Artificial Humors), directed by: Gabriel Abrantes (Portugal), 30 min. – Berlin Short Film Nominee for the European Film Awards 2017
Street of Death, directed by: Karam Ghossein (Lebanon / Germany), 22 min. – Audi Short Film Award 2017
The Boy from H2, directed by: Helen Yanovsky (Israel / Palestine), 21 min.
The Crying Conch, directed by: Vincent Toi (Canada), 20 min.
The Rabbit Hunt, directed by: Patrick Bresnan (USA / Hungary 2017), 12 min.
Vênus – Filó a fadinha lésbica (Filly the Lesbian Little Fairy), directed by: Sávio Leite (Brazil), 6 min. – Panorama 2017
As well as the full-length fiction film:
Ein Weg (Paths), directed by: Chris Miera (Germany), 107 min. – Perspektive Deutsches Kino 2017
(Source: Press release from Berlinale Press Office)
Official sponsor of the Venice International Film Festival for over a decade, Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrated its commitment with a Gala Dinner held on the 5th of September in the Arsenal of Venice.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Deputy CEO Geoffroy Lefebvre welcomed friends of the Maison and an array of prestigious guests: Catherine Deneuve, Diane Kruger, jury member of the Film Festival Rebecca Hall, Italian actresses Cristiana Capotondi and Eva Riccobono, international talents Ann Hsu, Shi Ke, Geng Le and director Vivian Qu.
During the evening, Jaeger-LeCoultre honoured Catherine Deneuve for her unparalleled contribution to the art of filmmaking. A long-time friend of the Brand actress Diane Kruger presented her the award on behalf of the Maison.
The three new Rendez-Vous Sonatina “Séduction”, “Romance” and “Amour” on display were emblematic of this Gala Night that celebrated cinema and the power of emotions that it triggers.
JAEGER-LECOULTRE AND CINEMA
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Committed to a constant quest for excellence and supported by a unique inventive spirit, Jaeger-LeCoultre has a long-standing engagement in supporting the appreciation and preservation of film.
For more than a decade, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been closely associated with the best artistic film festivals around the world, including Venice, Shanghai, and San Sebastian, and in turn pays tribute to the creative talent of filmmakers by annually awarding the Glory to the Filmmaker Award.
Through its close affinity with the world of film, Jaeger-LeCoultre has found shared values and a common mission: each second bears the imprint of a moment of eternity.
The feminine Rendez-Vous watch is with you in all the precious moments and adapts to every new role. Jaeger-LeCoultre invites every woman to express the actor within her, by capturing an iconic moment or scene from the movies.
Live a uniquely emotional moment and share it with everyone.
Wednesday, September 6th, 2017, the Venice Movie Stars Lounge hosted the national and international press activities of the actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, the only Spanish actors to win an Academy Award with both obtaining Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively.
They came to present the director’s, Fernando León de Aranoa, new film, “Loving Pablo” that narrates about the relationship between the Colombian drug dealer, Pablo Escobar, and his lover, the TV journalist, Virginia Vallejo. The couple, not only in real life but even on set, after carrying out the TV interviews during the morning, had lunch inside the Villa, and then moved on more interviews answering the questions of the journalists.
Stay tuned for more on the glamor, the fashion and the filmmaking of the 74th Venice International Film Festival!
Official Sponsors of the Venice Movie Stars project are Lamborghini, Palazzina G, Area Stile, Diamond Ice Noble Vodka, Sant’Anna, Safilo, Giaquinto, Corradi, along with the technical partners Forno d’Asolo, Bevande Futuriste, Consorzio Tutela Piave DOP, Hausbrandt, Prosecco Vigna Belvedere, Barbero Davide, Smania, Sixtema, Ethimo, Ideal Lux, Movidos, Banca Fideuram, Round Studio, H&A associati srl
(Source: Press release provided by Immagicgroup, marketing leader in providing spaces for press activities at the Festivals of Cannes and Berlin, and during the 74 Venice International Film Festival)
As an executive producer and director on HBO’s THE LEFTOVERS, Mimi Leder (AFI Class of 1973, Cinematography) brought her deft storytelling touch to the recent series finale. But her work has extended well beyond the prestige mystery series, with Primetime Emmy wins and nominations for ER, THE WEST WING and CHINA BEACH, and film-directing credits including DEEP IMPACT (1998), PAY IT FORWARD (2000) and the upcoming Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic ON THE BASIS OF SEX.
AFI spoke to Leder about THE LEFTOVERS finale, and her work as a director. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen season three of THE LEFTOVERS.
AFI: In all three seasons of THE LEFTOVERS, there has been more conversation than ever this year — especially now that the series has ended.
ML: We’re all trying to wrap our heads around it. There are many endings. You film it, then you edit, then you’re done editing, you’re done mixing, then it airs and you’re done again. It’s been quite an extraordinary time.
There’s perhaps more rallying around this season because more people have found the show. In the beginning, it lost a lot of viewers because it was rather bleak, but still wonderful. Season two came around and we very much worked towards moving to a new town, and I changed the palette of the show, the color, and very much opened up the scope of the show. The show, in its second season, got quite a lot of recognition. And then in the third season, we continued on to Australia and journeyed with our characters there. The reaction to the third season has been absolutely stunning.
AFI: Reportedly, series co-creator Damon Lindelof said that he measures the show in “pre-Mimi” and “post-Mimi,” since you came onboard halfway into the first season. What do you make of that?
ML: They brought me onto the show and I directed it the way I felt it needed to be, and I felt the show needed to be opened up in order to get in there in an even more in an intimate way. It had to allow the audience to breathe a bit. It was a great partnership with Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, and their writing really spoke to me. We had a very special time doing a show about grief and loss, and hope and love. We all had this life-changing experience; we as a group of people in the exploration of faith, and “what is the meaning of life?”
AFI: This also seems like a writers’ room in which no idea was too crazy.
ML: Oftentimes, it was like, “Can we do this? Well, why not? We enjoy it.” Doing a show on a ferry with a sex orgy going on was really an examination of faith in the background of madness. Nothing was too crazy, at least for us. And the response has verified that for sure.
AFI: You directed all three season finales. Was this the most challenging?
ML: They were all challenging. Season three’s finale was, I would say, even more so, because it was the final episode of the series. It was a much quieter episode, and it had almost a comedic feel to it. It almost felt like a rom-com in some instances, and that was very freeing and liberating and really different for our show. In that way, it had to hit the tone just right with our characters, and always stay grounded, and always in the world of our “leftovers.” But I tried not to be too precious about it. There’s always the pressure you put on yourself, when something feels a little bit more important, and that’s where you can go wrong. I ignored those feelings, and always had the mantra in my head: “Keep it simple.”
AFI: You did that beautifully, particularly in the closing monologue. Can you explain the decision not to provide a visual representation of the story that Nora tells about her journey to “the other side”?
ML: We all felt that doing a visual representation of her story would make it feel less ambiguous, and we felt it was very important for her story to be told through Kevin listening to it, and him being our eyes, the audience’s eyes. Kevin had to believe her in order for there to be an opening for love, for them to be together. One of the big themes of this season was our examination of our belief systems, the stories we tell ourselves to get through life. Nora’s story is her story, her belief system. Whether you believe it’s true or not is really unimportant. It really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that she believes it, and that he believes it, and to leave it ambiguous was most important for the audience in order for them to make their decision.
AFI: As a viewer, if you choose to believe that Nora visited this other world, then you get that sort of closure you crave from a series finale.
ML: There really are no answers. There are many answers to the meaning of life, but then again, there are many questions that will never be answered. If we knew all the answers to life, and to the journey, it’d be so boring. Part of the process of living is the exploration, and the journey, and that’s what THE LEFTOVERS, in many ways, was saying. And ultimately, it was this mad love story.
AFI: Another scene in the finale that was so well-directed shows Nora entering the “LADR” (low amplitude Denzinger radiation) device. Talk about directing Carrie Coon in that scene.
ML: We come into the world naked, and we go out naked. The script said “naked,” and I didn’t want to shoot around her body. There’s nothing more beautiful than a human body, and I felt she was this little girl walking. She was completely vulnerable and fearless all at the same time, and I wanted to be with her, to always feel like she was walking towards us. I did a lot of shots that emphasized that, but I also wanted to be over her shoulder and behind her, and feel like we were absolutely with her. That was a scary scene. I just tried to keep it simple and powerful, with the big wides and the tights, and to stay with her emotionally.
AFI: You’ve gone back and forth between TV over the years.
ML: I’m in prep to direct a film called ON THE BASIS OF SEX, which is about the young years of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It’s an origin story, and also about the first federal precedent declaring sex-based discrimination unconstitutional.
AFI: What’s exciting to you about returning to film?
ML: I don’t really differentiate one from the other, honestly. My approach to storytelling is always the same, whether it’s on a big screen or a small screen. It’s all about the material. Films are projected big, but I really don’t approach it any differently [than a TV episode].
Prestige television has really evolved, and you see feature filmmakers going back and forth because there’s great work to be done, great stories to be told, in television. They’re making less films, but I would venture to say there are more important stories being told in prestige television, even though I’m making a very important — I think — story on film this year. There’s more opportunity in television to make these stories. Maybe there’s too much. You cannot possibly catch up to everything. It’s just overwhelming.
If you thought that the Venice Film Festival had lost its relevance, think again. Since 2013 the oldest film festival in the world has become the launching pad for the Oscars and now embraces the future of cinema by hosting the biggest and boldest presentation of Virtual Reality ever seen at any film festival.
And they do it in a way that only Venice can – with an immaculate sense of style and aplomb. The main big news is that Venice will dedicate an abandoned island in the lagoon to the presentation of the world’s best VR productions.
Located less than 50 meters from the Lido, where the festival takes place, sits Lazzaretto Vecchio. enice VR will literally be just a stone’s throw from the heart of the Festival and The PalaBiennale, which is one of the largest screening venues. This small, abandoned island used to be a leper colony and a quarantine transit island between the 15th and 17th century. The island alone is worth the short trip comments Michel, “There’s so much history in this place.”
About a decade ago, the hospital and the adjoining buildings on the island were partly renovated to house a future Museum of Archeology, which has not materialized to date. Now, Lazzaretto Vecchio has found a new purpose.
Venice VR also features a dedicated VR theater with 50 revolving leather seats located in a huge hangar from the 16th century. Visitors can see three programs in competition. Highlights include the first VR piece, The Deserted (55′), by internationally renowned Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-Liang. Additionally, there will be an Out of Competition program featuring previous VR pieces by directors who are part of this year’s Venice Production Bridge – the pitch market of the Festival.
A fifth program features three pieces from this year’s premiere edition of the Venice Biennale College Cinema – Virtual Reality whichwill be presented out of competition. The Venice Biennale College is a two-part pressure cooker-style training program that preps participants for a bright 360° interactive immersive future. Two projects (out of ten projects developed during this year’s College) have been made with support from Sony are presented alongside the third piece, a VR spinoff from Beautiful Things, which is one of the three “flat” films produced this year by the Biennale College Cinema.
Venice VR Competition at a glance
A major selection criterium of Venice is that all pieces have to be international or world premieres. The second criterium is of course the quality of the piece. 103 submissions were sent in from all over the world for Venice’s first VR competition. Among the 22 VR pieces that were selected are six room-scale installations, six Oculus and three Vive stand ups.
Three of the former hospital’s extended hallways and galleries will offer plenty of space for Venice’s ambitious VR program. “We will have something like 4000 square meters to just do the installations,” says Michel Reilhac. But it’s not just about the space, he adds. The atmosphere on the island is “simply magical.” This will be the very first time ever that the island is opened to visitors.
Venice Virtual Reality: Installations in Competition
There will be six installations that allow visitors to interact with the space and sometimes with actors. There are a couple of pieces that fall in the category of Reactive Theater; interactive VR experiences that use live performers, also referred to as “reactive actors.” Draw Me Close by the National Theatre and the NFB is a VR installation in which the actors “play” with the audience making the piece more immersive.
The members of the International Jury of the Venice Virtual Reality section are:
· The American director John Landis (President of the Jury), a key figure in American cinema for the past forty years. Landis has influenced generations of filmmakers with his movies, which include Animal House, TheBlues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London, Trading Places. Into the Night, one of his most famous movies, will be screened in its restored version in Venice this year. In 2008 Landis was a jury member for the Competition at the 65thVenice Film Festival.
· The French screenwriter and director Céline Sciamma. Naissance des pieuvres, her first film, was presented in Cannes in 2007, as was Bande de filles seven years later. She became famous with her second feature film, Tomboy, presented in Berlin and the winner of many awards. Her screenplays include Ma vie de courgette, which received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film.
· The actor and director Ricky Tognazzi. He won a Silver Bear for Best Director with Ultrà, tying with The Silence of the Lambs, and a David di Donatello in the same category, a feat he repeated two years later with La scorta, which participated In Competition in Cannes. In 2011, he presented Tutta colpa della musica in Venice. He has performed in movies such as Una storia semplice and Caruso Pascoski di padre polacco.
The Jury of Venice Virtual Reality will award, with no ex-aequo awards permitted, the following prizes: Best VR, Best VR experience (for interactive content), Best VR story (for linear content).
The 74th Venice International Film Festival has announced Annette Bening will serve as the President of the Venezia 74 Jury for this year’s festival.
Other Jury members include:
· The Hungarian director and screenwriter Ildikó Enyedi; she won the Golden Camera for Best Debut Film at Cannes for My Twentieth Century; the movie was included on the list of the 12 best Hungarian films of all time. She participated In Competition in Venice in 1994 with Magic Hunter and in Locarno in 1999 with Simon the Magician. Her most recent film, On Body and Soul, won the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2017.
· The director, producer and screenwriter Michel Franco.Born and raised in Mexico he has made five feature films, four of which were presented in Cannes. Después de Lucía and Las hijas de Abril won Best Film and the Special Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard, respectively. Chronic, presented In Competition, won Best Screenplay. He produced Desde allá by Lorenzo Vigas, which won the Golden Lion in Venice in 2015.
· The British actress Rebecca Hall; she spends her time between Great Britain and the United States, where she has worked with directors such as Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen, thanks to whom she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She has also appeared in The Town, A Promise and Iron Man 3. She received critical acclaim and major international awards for her performance in Christine.
· The actress Anna Mouglalis is an iconic figure of French art house cinema. At a very young age, she appeared in La captive (2000) by Chantal Akerman. She became famous in Italy thanks to her role in Romanzo criminale (2005) by Michele Placido. She spends her time between Italy and France, making art house films with directors such as Arnaud Desplechin, Mario Martone and Philippe Garrel, and she is in the cast of Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque), a protagonist at the 2011 César awards.
· The Anglo-Australian film critic David Stratton; he directed the Sydney Film Festival for almost twenty years and has been a member of the jury at major film festivals all over the world, including Venice, Cannes and Berlin. Stratton collaborated with Variety for twenty years and he has produced and hosted important television programs about cinema.
· The actress Jasmine Trinca; she is one of the most important Italian actresses of her generation. She has appeared in films by important directors such as Nanni Moretti, Marco Tullio Giordana, Michele Placido and Taviani brothers. In 2009, she won the Marcello Mastroianni Award in Venice for The Big Dream and in 2017 she was awarded Best Actress in Un Certain Regard at Cannes for Fortunata. She has also won two Silver Ribbons.
· The English director and screenwriter Edgar Wright; he is the director of the iconic “Three Flavours Cornetto” Trilogy, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, started with Shaun of the Dead (2004), which revitalized genre parodies. In 2010, he directed Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, an original experiment overlapping film and comics. At the moment, his film Baby Driver is receiving acclaim in the American theaters and it will be released in Italy on September 7th.
· The director, producer and screenwriter Yonfan; world traveler, active across China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, he has written, directed and produced all thirteen of his own movies, including Breaking the Willow (2003) and Prince of Tears (2009), both of which were presented in Venice, the latter film in Competition; he also participated in the project Venezia 70 – Future Reloaded. He has worked with the top Hong Kong stars, including Maggie Cheung, Chow Yung-fat and Daniel Wu, who became well-known for his role in Bishonen.
The Venezia 74 Jury will award the following prizes: Golden Lion for Best Film; Silver Lion – Grand Jury Prize; Silver Lion for Best Director; Coppa Volpi for Best Actor; Coppa Volpi for Best Actress; Award for Best Screenplay; the Special Jury Prize and “Marcello Mastroianni” Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress.
Rebecca Cammisa knows a story when she sees one. Cammisa received a tip from a St. Louis reporter about a situation unfolding in North County (St. Louis) communities. The “situation” has been festering for over 70 years. St. Louis has a little known secret – one among many I’m sure. During World War II (WWII), St. Louis was one of the nation’s atomic weapons manufacturing locations. The well-known Mallinckrodt Corporation, in addition to a few other entities, was contracted to carry out war time operations related to to our country’s Manhattan Project atomic program including uranium processing. Using traditional documentary film techniques such as the direct interview, voice-over narration, emotional testimonials and non-diagectic musical scoring, Cammisa gets right into the controversy that pits local residents against the federal government with Atomic Homefront, an HBO Documentary Film.
Here’s why Cammisa made her film. After the atomic bomb uranium processing was completed, the radioactive waste was deposited in several areas in and around St. Louis and its surrounding communities. A few areas, like the one Cammisa focuses on in her timely film, is the Coldwater Creek area. Here the waste lay in piles exposed to the elements, including rainfall, along Latty Avenue until 1973. The radioactive material ran off into the nearby creek where neighborhood children played. Moreover, when the creek flooded water made its way into nearby homes. Increased cancer rates associated with the radioactive isotope have been, and, are being reported. Cammisa chose to include a heart-wrenching, on-camera interview with a sixteen-year- old male on death’s doorstep. His mother believed she had been contaminated by the radioactive materials and had passed it on to her son. The son heroically states he wanted to “help others” by going on camera.
But there’s more to the situation than the radioactive runoff in the Coldwater Creek area. After receiving numerous complaints of the god-awful stench emanating from the Latty Avenue piles of radioactive waste, the piles were illegally dump into the periphery, West Lake neighborhood landfill, which became an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site in 1990. Now the EPA is responsible for the oversight and cleanup. But what about the odorific stench? Somehow, it’s still emanating and making it into the air making nearby residents cringe and worry about what’s being ingested with each and every breath. And, the “situation” doesn’t end there.
The EPA set up air monitoring sites and the radioactive particles are under levels know to cause harm and advised residents to close their windows. That didn’t sit well with those moms I mentioned earlier. They’ve gotten together and formed Just Moms STL, a strong group of moms-turned advocates that believe their communities are being poisoned and have vowed to continue fighting until the EPA removes the waste or relocates nearby residents – neither of which or likely to happen anytime soon as the EPA lacks funding. And as reported in the Washington Post on March 28th, 2017, President Trump signs order at the EPA to dismantle environmental protections.
Unbelievably, for the last seven an uncontrolled subterranean fire has been burning in closed areas of the landfill and recently has been migrating towards the buried radioactive waste. And for the last seven years, Republic Services, a waste management company, has been stating the fire is contained and there is no threat from the radiation. Yet, in 2016, the EPA has clearly identified radiologically impacted material had migrated within 700 feet of the fire and was moving closer. What would happen if the radioactive particles attached to the smoldering vapors and became airborne migrating into the communities potentially miles away? Undaunted, Republic Services insists the site is in a “safe and managed state.”
Atomic Homefront highlights St. Louis an example of how radioactive “situations” are sometime just swept under the rug by the federal and private agencies charged with overseeing them. What the federal government knew, knows or doesn’t know is smoldering underneath the center of Camissa latest documentary, Atomic Homefront. A 1988 film nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary, Radio Bikini, highlights another atomic, highly, radioactive “situation” from WWII with a bit more of an historical treatment. Personally, I would have appreciated that from Cammisa as I trained on ground, as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, adjacent to the Weldon Springs, Missouri site (another radiologically contaminated dumping site). Nevertheless, Cammisa presents a powerful portrait of Just Moms STL with Atomic Homefront and poses questions sure to stimulate dialogue. Highly recommended.
*The local EPA office would not allow Atomic Homefront to record any meetings with concerned residents who were demanding answers to this sordid state of affairs.
Cesar-award winning director, Martin Provost’s latest film, The Midwife,an official selection of the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival, is a bittersweet drama about the unlikely friendship that develops between Claire, a talented but tightly wound midwife, portrayed by Catherine Frot, and Beatrice, the estranged, free-spirited mistress of Claire’s late father, portrayed by Catherine Deneuve. Interestingly, Provost wrote his script with the two French actresses in mind for the lead roles of Claire and Beatrice.
In a printed interview distributed by Music Box Films, Provost, having been saved by a midwife at birth, insists his film work is not autobiographical. After learning of his difficult birth he sought out the midwife who gave her blood that allowed him to live. His efforts turned up nil as the hospital archives were destroyed. Consequently, he decided to pay tribute, in his own way, by dedicating his film to her and through her to all the women who work in the shadows, dedicating their lives to others, without expecting anything in return.
The film’s opening scene delivery room’s color palette of pink and blue pastels contrasting with cross-cutting establishing shots of earthy tones foreshadow what unfolds in the film’s narrative as Provost unfolds the lives of two very different women. A non-diagetic score by Gregoire Hetzel, the film’s musical composer, accompanies the scene and is repeated throughout in Claire’s scenes reminiscent of “Peter and the Wolf.” Meanwhile, a stunning mise-en-scene of daybreak is meticulously presented with an enormous tracking shot. A secondary, high, magnificent, omniscient point of view shot of Claire entering a building slowly tilts and pans to reveal the Porte Saint-Denis.
Another non-diagetic score, decidedly melancholic, accompanies the next scene as Claire hears someone at the door asking if she is the daughter of Olympic swimmer, Antoine Breton. It is Beatrice. And, this score is repeated in scenes with Beatrice. But, unbeknownst to Claire, Beatrice, living off winnings from illegal gambling dens, is destitute and quite possibly terminally ill. All of her life, Beatrice has lived casually, enjoying all that life has to offer with little regard for those around her much like La Fontaine’s Grasshopper from “The Ant and The Grasshopper.”
Yet, the two women slowly become a source of complementarity, of reciprocity, of wisdom. Their relationship is at the heart of the film: for Beatrice, the relationship becomes an opportunity to bring some light into Claire’s life while possibly gaining a better understanding of her own life; and for Claire the relationship becomes an opportunity to rediscover her second mother, the one she chose at a time she was just becoming a young girl.
With The Midwife, Provost introduces a powerful thematic question on what is freedom. On the surface, it appears, Beatrice is the ultimate purveyor of freedom living without boundaries and outside the rules of society. However, upon closer scrutiny, her reality echoes of escapism. For Beatrice, Claire, whose lifestyle Beatrice has always rejected, becomes a conduit for a lasting freedom with the opportunity to create good, loving memories that will live on in Claire’s mind.
Admittedly, some of the delivery room scenes in The Midwife are graphic. Nevertheless, the scenes create a remarkable sense of vulnerability and provide a bird’s eye view of the fragility of life. Ultimately, The Midwife is a story of transmission and of transformation with Claire receiving the light of Beatrice and with Beatrice achieving a deeper understanding that life without others is nothing. Catherine Deneuve is as regal as she has ever been. Catherine Frot emits a chilling performance until warmed over by Deneuve’s character performance. Costumer Bethsabee Dreyfus achieves a strong character sensibility in clothing the lead actresses. Thierry Francois’ production design is the epitome of realism as both actresses are performing in extremely realistic settings of a delivery room and an illegal gambling den.
The Midwife is scheduled to open in Los Angeles and New York on July 21st, 2017 and is highly recommended.
Charlie Lyne is an AFI FEST alumnus with his feature film FEAR ITSELF (AFI FEST 2016). AFI spoke to Lyne about his new short film, FISH STORY, which was just released online and won the Short Film Audience Award at AFI DOCS. The film investigates a mysterious gathering rumored to have taken place in 1980s Wales, at which an unlikely group of people with one thing in common came together.
AFI: You work in both short and feature-length formats. Is the short format more freeing compared to feature-length? Is it harder to tell a story in a much shorter length?
CL: I think stories can lend themselves to all kinds of runtimes, and one of the great sadnesses of contemporary film culture is the rigid distinction we draw between short and feature-length filmmaking. I’m lucky to have told a lot of stories that wound up being around 90 minutes long, or under 15 minutes long, because there are so many opportunities to show films of those lengths. People whose stories naturally end up 50 minutes long are f—-d!
That said, there are definitely unique charms and challenges to telling a story over a short runtime. For one thing, you can maintain a level of energy or visual dynamism that might be exhausting at feature-length, and you’re free to flout traditional narrative conventions without worrying that an audience will feel stranded. I think viewers are generally more patient and open-minded when it comes to shorts.
AFI: At what point in hearing this story did you decide you wanted to film it? Did you face any challenges as you tried to trace the people involved?
CL: I’ve known Caspar Salmon for a long time, but it was only a few years ago that he made the mistake of telling me the story of his grandmother’s attendance at a gathering for the preeminent fish-surnamed people of North Wales. After that, I couldn’t introduce him to anyone without immediately forcing him to retell the story, and each new telling (which seemed to be stranger and more labyrinthine than the last) would make me die laughing all over again. Finally, I talked him into committing the story to film.
The process of making FISH STORY was a genuine voyage of discovery, as I honestly never imagined my investigation would lead anywhere. I thought the film would wind up being about the futility of trying to prove what was, more than likely, a family myth. Obviously, it didn’t turn out that way, which was as thrilling to me as it hopefully now is to viewers.
AFI: You also work as a journalist. How does that experience lend itself to the style of documentary you work in?
CL: I’ve always identified more as a critic than a journalist, partly because I’m far from rigorous when it comes to journalistic practice. Weirdly, this film is by far the closest I’ve come to actual investigative journalism, which seems odd given that it’s about fish surnames, and that my investigative methods — which consisted mainly of looking people up in the phone book — were so rudimentary.
Still, now that the film has been picked up by The Guardian, I fully expect to see it honored at next year’s Pulitzers.
AFI: Your films have screened at festivals all over the world. As a filmmaker how important do you find it to travel with your films to festivals? Do you have any advice for other filmmakers who are trying to figure out how to navigate the film festival landscape?
CL: I can track a huge number of filmmaking opportunities I’ve had in recent years back to specific moments at festivals. There are so few other places where you’re surrounded by likeminded individuals from all over the world, and in a context of heightened artistic engagement — both with the films screening and the ideas being expressed all around you. I couldn’t put a price on it.
That said, the literal price of it can render festivals an impractical luxury for filmmakers just getting started in the industry, especially short filmmakers whose travel and accommodation is rarely paid for by the festivals themselves. Schemes like the British Council’s Shorts Support Scheme, which funds the travel of UK filmmakers like me to international festivals, are therefore invaluable. It’s just a shame so few countries have them.
Ultimately, as the line between short and feature filmmaking becomes more and more blurred — as it inevitably will — I hope and expect that festivals will begin to offer equal provisions to visiting filmmakers, whether their films run 10, 50 or 200 minutes long.
VARIETY TO HONOR JENKINS AND “10 DIRECTORS TO WATCH” AT THE 2018 PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Variety will present director Patty Jenkins with its annual Creative Impact in Directing Award at an intimate brunch at the Palm Springs Film Festival on January 3rd. Jenkins will be the first female director to ever receive the honor, and the award will celebrate her career, from her award-winning first feature, Monster, to her most recent work directing Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wonder Woman. Among that film’s many accolades, it was recently named one of AFI’s Best Films of The Year, and Jenkins and the film’s star, Gal Gadot, will receive the National Board of Review Spotlight Award.
“Patty Jenkins has directed one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful films of the year with Wonder Woman, said Variety Co-Editor in Chief, Claudia Eller. “The film grossed $820 million worldwide and has inspired women-and men-old and young, to feel as empowered as the superhero at its center. Patty also scored a big one for female directors, which are in short supply in Hollywood.”
Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot will be presenting Patty the award at the brunch. Gadot will receive the Rising Star Award at the PSIFF Film Awards Gala the evening before.
Previous recipients of this award have included Jeff Nichols, Charlie Kaufmann, David O. Russell, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
“10 Directors to Watch”
“10 Directors to Watch” debuted in 1996 and the annual event moved to the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January 2011. “10 Directors to Watch” was the first of Variety’s “10 to Watch” series spotlighting the most exciting new talents in the fields of directing, writing, producing, acting, cinematography and comedy.
This year’s “10 Directors to Watch” include:
Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah – Gangsta
Augustine Frizzell – Never Going Back
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
Joseph Kahn – Bodied
Xavier Legrand – Custody
Carlos Lopez Estrada – Blindspotting
Anthony Maras – The Palace
Samuel Maoz – Foxtrot
Claire McCarthy – Ophelia
Chloe Zhao – The Rider
Past “10 Directors to Watch” honorees have included Ben Affleck (Gone Baby Gone), Wes Anderson (Bottle Rocket), Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart), Ava DuVernay (Selma), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Christopher Nolan (Memento), Sam Matt Ross (Captain Fantastic), Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer), Taylor Wood (Nowhere Boy) and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), among others.
“As always, we’re thrilled to work with Variety on their 10 Directors to Watch brunch,” said Michael Lerman, PSIFF Artistic Director. “It’s been a fantastic time for up-and-comers, as evidenced by both this list and our particularly strong 2018 New Voices New Visions section, and we’re excited to play a role in celebrating that work.”
The festival will screen Bodied, Custody and Foxtrot from the 10 Directors to Watch list.
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About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500, presented this year by American Express® and sponsored by Cadillac and Entertainment Tonight. The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera. The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.
About Parker Palm Springs
Situated on 13 lush acres, the Parker Palm Springs is an estate where luxury is fun. Designed by Jonathan Adler, the property boasts 131 rooms, 12 villas and the 2 bedroom Gene Autry Residence. There are 4 restaurants – Norma’s (of NY fame), mister parker’s a dark and seductive French bistro, Counter Reformation a hidden wine bar and the Lemonade Stand, perfect for an afternoon bite or cocktail. The Palm Springs Yacht Club spa at over 18,000 sq. feet is well-known and a place to indulge in a treatment, take a yoga class or even lounge at the Deck. Additionally the hotel has 4 red clay tennis courts, grounds consisting of games such as croquet and petanque as well as outdoor firepits and fountains. The perfect desert escape! 4200 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA92264. (760) 770-5000, http://www.theparkerpalmsprings.com.
“Willem Dafoe is a versatile actor who has appeared in over one hundred films in his stellar career,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In The Florida Project, Dafoe delivers a career defining performance, as a hotel manager overseeing his sometimes unruly residents, which has received numerous critical accolades. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is honored to present this year’s Icon Award to Willem Dafoe.”
Past recipients of the Icon Award include Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.
Set on a stretch of highway just outside the imagined utopia of Disney World, The Florida Project follows six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince in a stunning breakout turn) and her rag-tag gang of friends. Moonee and her rebellious mother Halley (Bria Vinaite, another major discovery) live week to week at “The Magic Castle,” a budget motel managed by Bobby (a career-best Willem Dafoe), whose stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion. From A24, the film is directed by Sean Baker.
For his performance in the film Dafoe received Best Supporting Actor recognition from the New York Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics, National Board of Review and several other critics organizations. He has received a Best Supporting Actor nomination from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Broadcast Film Critics’ Association, and Satellite Awards.
Dafoe has been recognized with two Academy Award nominations: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Platoon as well as Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Shadow Of The Vampire, for which he also receivedGolden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations. Among his nominations and awards, he has received a Los Angeles Film Critics Award as well as Independent Spirit Award. His other film credits include To Live and Die in L.A., The Last Temptation of Christ, Mississippi Burning, Born on the Fourth of July, White Sands, Wild at Heart, Tom & Viv, Clear and Present Danger, The English Patient, American Psycho, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Inside Man,John Wick, Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Death Note, The Boondock Saints, Murder on the Orient Express. His upcoming films include James Wan’s Aquaman and Julain Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate.
About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500, presented this year by American Express and sponsored by Cadillac and Entertainment Tonight. The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera. The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.
Here comes the 2018 Berlinale! After last year’s splendid close, this year’s 68th Berlin International Film Festival is taking shape and you don’t want to miss it.
The first ten films have been selected for the Competition and the Berlinale Special.
Alongside the previously announced opening film, Isle of Dogs by Wes Anderson, seven productions and co-productions from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Serbia, the Russian Federation, and the USA have been invited to take part in the Competition.
So far two productions have been invited to participate in the Berlinale Special. As part of the Official Program, it screens recent works by contemporary filmmakers, as well as documentaries and works with extraordinary formats.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
By Gus Van Sant (Milk, Promised Land)
With Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, Udo Kier
Russian Federation / Poland / Serbia
By Alexey German Jr. (Paper Soldier, Under Electric Clouds)
With Milan Maric, Danila Kozlovsky, Helena Sujecka, Artur Beschastny, Elena Lyadova
By Benoit Jacquot (Three Hearts, Diary of a Chambermaid)
With Isabelle Huppert, Gaspard Ulliel, Julia Roy, Richard Berry
Figlia mia (Daughter of Mine)
Italy / Germany / Switzerland
By Laura Bispuri (Sworn Virgin)
With Valeria Golino, Alba Rohrwacher, Sara Casu, Udo Kier
In den Gängen (In the Aisles)
By Thomas Stuber (Teenage Angst, A Heavy Heart)
With Franz Rogowski, Sandra Hüller, Peter Kurth
Mein Bruder heißt Robert und ist ein Idiot
By Philip Gröning (Into Great Silence, The Police Officer’s Wife)
With Josef Mattes, Julia Zange, Urs Jucker, Stefan Konarske, Zita Aretz, Karolina Porcari, Vitus Zeplichal
By Małgorzata Szumowska (In the Name of, Body)
With Mateusz Kościukiewicz, Agnieszka Podsiadlik, Małgorzata Gorol, Roman Gancarczyk, Dariusz Chojnacki, Robert Talarczyk, Anna Tomaszewska, Martyna Krzysztofik
Berlinale Special Gala
Spain / United Kingdom / Germany
By Isabel Coixet (Things I Never Told You, My Life Without Me, The Secret Life of Words)
With Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy, Patricia Clarkson
Das schweigende Klassenzimmer (The Silent Revolution)
By Lars Kraume (The People vs. Fritz Bauer)
With Leonard Scheicher, Tom Gramenz, Lena Klenke, Jonas Dassler, Florian Lukas, Jördis Triebel, Michael Gwisdek, Ronald Zehrfeld, Burghart Klaußner
30 years ago, the European Film Market (EFM) celebrated its premiere as an international trade market for films at the 38th Berlin International Film Festival. Today, the EFM is one of the most important film markets worldwide. It has become considerably more than just an industry get-together and distribution point: Starting with the digital transformation, the EFM began strategically opening up to new market participants, business fields, products and distribution paths. In recent years the EFM has increasingly positioned itself as a place for innovation and change in the film trade – without losing sight of its core business as a marketplace offering high-quality content. Its numerous platforms provide the film industry with trendsetting impulses that effectively strengthen its position as one of the most important international transfer points for moving pictures. The exhibition spaces for the upcoming EFM of the 68th Berlin International Film Festival at Martin-Gropius-Bau and the Marriott Hotel are already fully booked. More than 9,000 exhibitors, license traders, producers, buyers and investors are expected to attend the event over the course of nine market days from February 15 – 23, 2018.
“The industry is still in the midst of change. The digital transformation is not yet complete and new possibilities for film that are worth a closer look are constantly opening up. With its platforms and different formats, the EFM provides participants with the tools to meet the contemporary challenges of the business.”
President and founder of the EFM Beki Probst comments on the anniversary: “When the EFM began in 1988, it was clear that the Berlinale wanted to create a meeting point for the industry and that our planned format of a European Film Market would work. We never imagined that the EFM would become one of the most important film markets worldwide, reflecting the movements and pioneering spirit of the film industry in an incomparably diverse way. In all modesty: The EFM is a success story and has consistently been one for 30 years.”
Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick congratulates Beki Probst on 30 years of successful work: “Without Beki Probst and her contacts worldwide, her charm and cosmopolitan gift for combining business and culture, the EFM would never have become such a successful platform and the strong backbone of the festival.”
In its anniversary year, Canada will be the “Country in Focus” at the EFM. Canada’s successful film industry will present itself comprehensively and highlight special aspects of Canadian filmmaking.
The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) announced that the festival’s opening night will be the screening of The Post directed by Steven Spielberg on Thursday, January 4. The festival will close with The Last Movie Star, directed by Adam Rifkin on Sunday, January 14. The Festival will also screen 180 films from 77 countries, including 39 premieres (4 World, 12 North American and 23 U.S.) from January 2-15, 2018. The complete line-up includes a focus on cinema from Argentina, Premieres, Talking Pictures, Books to Screen, Special Presentations, Awards Buzz, New Voices New Visions, Modern Masters, True Stories and more.
“I couldn’t be happier with the selection of films this year,” said Artistic Director Michael Lerman. “In a program that includes all of the shortlisted Foreign Language Oscar® nominees, a stellar New Voices New Visions selection, an embarrassment of riches from Argentina that demanded to be highlighted, and an incredible list of attending talent, there’s plenty to get excited about. I’m so proud of our team for putting it all together.”
OPENING AND CLOSING SCREENINGS
PSIFF will open with The Post on Thursday, January 4th. Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in The Post, a thrilling drama about the unlikely partnership of Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of The Washington Post, and its driven editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents. The two must overcome their differences as they risk their careers—and their very freedom—to bring long-buried truths to light. The Post marks the first time Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have collaborated on a project. In addition to directing, Spielberg produces along with Amy Pascal and Kristie Macosko Krieger. The script was written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer and features an acclaimed ensemble cast including Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Matthew Rhys, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bradley Whitford and Zach Woods.
The festival will close with The Last Movie Star on Sunday, January 14th. Burt Reynolds stars as an aging screen icon who gets lured into accepting an award at a rinky-dink film festival in Nashville, launching him on both a hilarious fish-out-of-water adventure and an unexpectedly poignant journey into his past. The film from A24/DIRECTV is directed by Adam Rifkin and stars Burt Reynolds, Ariel Winter, Chevy Chase, Clark Duke and Ellar Coltrane.
About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500, presented this year by American Express and sponsored by Cadillac Entertainment Tonight. The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera. The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.