Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrates Cinema in Venice with a Gala Night

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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.

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Deputy CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre Geoffroy Lefebvre and Rebecca Hall wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One High Jewelry
Diane Kruger wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Reine watch
Catherine Deneuve chose a Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Ivy Secret watch

 

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.

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Ann Hsu wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Moon in white gold
Andrea Pezzi and Cristiana Capotondi wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Night & Day watch
Matteo Ceccarini wearing a Reverso Classic and Eva Riccobono wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Ivy in white gold
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Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Sonatina “Séduction” (left) and “Amour” (right) celebrated at the Gala Dinner

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

Since 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre has remained dedicated to the legacy of watchmaking traditions while maintaining its expertise for invention in creating authentic, fine watchmaking legends.

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.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Hosts Gala Dinner At Arsenale In Venice: Arrivals - 74th Venice International Film Festival
 Soo Joo Park arrives for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gala Dinner during the 74th Venice International Film Festival at Arsenale on September 5, 2017 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Jaeger-LeCoultre)

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.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Hosts Gala Dinner At Arsenale In Venice: Arrivals - 74th Venice International Film Festival
Ana Brenda Contreras arrives for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gala Dinner during the 74th Venice International Film Festival at Arsenale on September 5, 2017 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Jaeger-LeCoultre

Live a uniquely emotional moment and share it with everyone.

#LikeinaMovie

(Press materials provided by image.net)

 

Venice Movie Stars Lounge, September 6th, 2017

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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!

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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

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(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)

VICEROY’S HOUSE opens this Friday September 1st in Los Angeles, New York and VOD

Posted by Larry Gleeson

A throwback to epic, large screen, big production filmmaking, Viceroy’s House is more than just a visual treat. Gurinder Chadha, raised in Great Britain, weaves a mesmerizing tale with magnificent costuming, larger-than-life production design and an abundantly handsome cast set in 1947 colonial India.

This is one not to be missed.  Here’s my original review from the 67th Berlin International Film Festival .

See the film’s official trailer at the bottom of the page!

VICEROY’S HOUSE from writer/director/producer Gurinder Chadha (BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, BRIDE AND PREJUDICE) opens this Friday, September 1st  in Los Angeles, New York and VOD. VICEROY’S HOUSE will expand into more cities the following week.

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Theatres:

Laemmle Royal Theatre

11523 Santa Monica Boulevard, 1st Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90025

Genre:  Drama

Rating:  Unrated

Running Time: 107 Minutes

Language: English

Directed: Gurinder Chadha

Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayal, Huma Qureshi, Om Puri

Synopsis: New nations are rarely born in peace… India, 1947: Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) is dispatched, along with his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson), to New Delhi to oversee the country’s transition from British rule to independence. Taking his place in the resplendent mansion known as the Viceroy’s House, Mountbatten arrives hopeful for a peaceful transference of power. But ending centuries of colonial rule in a country divided by deep religious and cultural differences proves no easy undertaking, setting off a seismic struggle that threatens to tear India apart. With sumptuous period detail, director Gurinder Chadha brings to life a pivotal historical moment that re-shaped the world.​

(Press materials courtesy of IFC Films)

 

INTERVIEW: AFI Conservatory Alumna Mimi Leder on Directing THE LEFTOVERS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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.

Mimi Leder
Mimi Leder

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.

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Carrie Coon in THE LEFTOVERS

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.

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Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux in THE LEFTOVERS

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.

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(Originally posted on afi.com)

Venice dedicates entire island to VR

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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.

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The island, Lazzaretto Vecchio, pictured above, will be transformed into a virtual reality paradise during the Biennale from August 31st to September 5th, 2017.

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.”

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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.

VR Theater

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 which will 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.

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A small PSVR tie-in piece to the TV-series Snatch on Crackle – Sony’s free, ad-supported media streaming service. A tie-in to Guy Ritchie’s crime comedy from 2000, Snatch is a game where you need to crack the code of a chest.

 

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.

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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.

For a more complete listing click here!

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An impressive VR-teaser for a very ambitious Hollywood-style movie about a futuristic destroyed city.

(Source: submarinechannel.com, extracted from article by Remco Vlaanderen)

 

John Landis to reside over Venice Virtual Reality Jury

Posted by Larry Gleeson

John Landis, American film director, screenwriter, actor, and producer who got his start in the mail room at 20th Century- Fox has been tabbed to be the President of the Venice Virtual Reality International Jury over the new competition for virtual reality (VR) films: Venice Virtual Reality.

Last year I witnessed the world premiere presentation of the first feature length VR film (Jesus VR). This year there will be up to 18 VR films in the Venice Virtual Reality competition at the newly constructed VR Theater inside the Palazzo del Casinò, Lido di Venezia. The competition will be held from August 31st through September 5th, 2017.

 

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Last year the screening of several experimental films as well as the world premiere of the first feature length VR film, Jesus VR, aroused enormous interest among participants. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

 

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 HouseTheBlues BrothersAn American Werewolf in LondonTrading PlacesInto 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 SciammaNaissance 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).

 

Stay tuned for more on Venice Virtual Reality!

 

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(Sourced from the Biennale Press Office)

Annette Bening to serve as the President of the Venice 74 Film Jury

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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.

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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 TownA 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.

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(Source: Biennale Press Office)

 

 

FILM REVIEW: Atomic Homefront (Cammisa, 2017): USA

Posted and reviewed by Larry Gleeson

Rebecca Cammisa knows a story when she sees one. Cammisa received a tip from a St. Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 4.57.23 PMLouis 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 mv5bywyyzgizmjktowqxyi00mzq0lweyzwmtmdq3ogqwmzkwnzcyxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymty5otuwma-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_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.

 

FILM REVIEW: The Midwife (Provost, 2017): France

Posted and reviewed by Larry Gleeson

 

 

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.

THE MIDWIFE - © Michaal Crotto/Courtesy of Music Box Films

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 MIDWIFE - © Michaâl Crotto/Courtesy of Music Box Films

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.

THE MIDWIFE - © Michaâl Crotto/Courtesy of Music Box Films

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.

The MidWife

The AFI FEST Interview: FISH STORY Director Charlie Lyne

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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. 

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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.

Watch the full FISH STORY here:

AFI FEST 2017 Final call for Submissions

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Send AFI your films! The final deadline for submitting feature, documentary, experimental and short films to AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi is July 14, 2017.

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AFI FEST 2017 is open for submissions via Withoutabox. Please be advised of the  deadlines below.

Early Deadline: March 31, 2017
Short Films (under 30 minutes) – $35
Feature Films (over 30 minutes) – $55

Official Deadline: May 5, 2017
Short Films – $45
Feature Films – $65

Final Deadline: July 14, 2017
Short Films – $55
Feature Films – $75

 

Submit your films here via Withoutabox

 

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FILM REVIEW: Lost In Paris (Abel, Gordon, 2016): France

Reviewed by Larry Gleeson

With Oscilloscope Laboratories, Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon have pumped out their seventh film together, Lost in Paris.

Lost in Paris is a burlesque comedy, about a small-town Canadian librarian, Fiona, portrayed in a stellar performance by Gordon, whose life is disrupted by a letter of distress from her Aunt Martha, who is living in Paris. Fiona hops on the first plane she can only to discover Aunt Martha has disappeared. In a myriad of episodic disasters, Fiona encounters a strangely seductive and oddly egotistical vagabond, Dom, portrayed in an unmissable performance by Abel, who won’t leave Fiona alone.

Replete with memorable antics harkening back to early Hollywood films featuring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and French filmmaker, Jaques Tati, while mixing in a measure of poetic license with a slapstick-like choreography, Lost in Paris reveals a peculiar story of clownish characters finding love while lost in the City of Lights.

Utilizing a simple narrative within a framework of what appears to be an amateuresque investigation, Abel and Gordon allow their burlesque, larger-than-life characters’ physical performances to take hold and engage the viewers. Almost all the events take place over a period of two days and two nights with the characters bumping into each other almost constantly while in a heightened state of emergency mania.

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88-year-old, renowned French actress and Academy Award-nominee, Emmanuelle Riva, portrays Aunt Martha, a headstrong, independent, audacious and seemingly happy senior citizen on the verge of being placed into a nursing home.  Her freedom is non-negotiable. Aunt Martha represents liberty, lightheartedness and “joie de vivre” (exuberant enjoyment of life).

Fiona embodies a spinster librarian living in rural Canada. She becomes a wonderstruck tourist – lacking in life experience – as she stumbles through every step of her rather awkward journey. In contrast to Martha, Fiona has rarely done anything adventurous until she dives headfirst into Martha’s world. It becomes apparent Fiona is a Martha in the making as she understands Martha.

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Dom, on the other hand, is a selfish, conceited hobo who carries himself with a marked elegance despite his tattered and worn clothing. At first, his impulsiveness infuriates both Martha and Fiona. Yet, as the story unfolds, Dom becomes a liberating presence.

Interestingly, all the film’s characters are non-conformist – full of hope, resistance and innocence – while they evoke laughter, vulnerability and a sense of beauty. Actor Pierre Richard portrays Norman, an elderly, independent, charismatic artist who resurfaces three times throughout the film’s storyline, with an understated grace, humor and charm. A classic foot dance, in my opinion, Norman and Martha engage in, is a defining example of one of the film’s themes – that a sense of lightness doesn’t necessarily convey a sense of triviality or thoughtlessness, but rather a synonym for joy, liberty and vitality.

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Aesthetically, the filmmakers utilize a plethora of fixed shots, long takes and some highly artisanal special effects in Brechtian fashion. In addition, the film is set in Paris, a mythical city and a symbol of dreams and grandeur. Symbolically, Dom lives in a tent at the foot of the Statue of Liberty (a miniature replica). His daily environment is the I’lle aux Cygnes, a portal from which the historical center transforms into the modern city. On one side, there are stone bridges and the Eiffel Tower; on the other side concrete walls, express lanes and rows of skyscrapers. Nevertheless, the directors aren’t showcasing the city’s monuments solely for aesthetics, but rather for symbolic power and the poetic images conveyed as the characters move through the Parisian geography in real-time.

Lost in Paris, firmly anchored in contemporary society, opens in Los Angeles and Orange County today, July 7th, is a funny, poetic, heroic and sometimes pathetic piece about human beings who are knocked about by life and flail in order to exist….and who keep getting up one more time to live their lives on their own life’s terms.

Highly recommended.

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“Blow Up” at Cinema Ritrovato 2017

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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Restored by the Cineteca di Bologna, Istituto Luce Cinecittà and Criterion, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Circus Park and at the Criterion and The Picture Ritrovata laboratories, under the supervision of cinematographer Luca Bigazzi, presented at the seventieth edition of the Cannes Festival on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the victory of the Palme d’Or, Blow Up by Michelangelo Antonioni is also one of the appointments which concludes the Cinema Ritrovato Festival.

Inspired by the short story The burrs of the devil Argentine Julio Cortázar, Blow Up arises at a great distance from the narrative – understood as interweaving, in order to exclusively communicate a sense of mystery and ambiguity. The poetry that “tends to promote the interpreter acts of conscious freedom”, drawn up by Umberto Eco in The Open Work (1962), found with the Antonioni film a true cinematic demonstration: determining an emotional and mental disorientation. Blow Up forces the viewer to question the meaning of the vision through aesthetic and philosophical questions put in the form of allegories.

The story takes place in London in the sixties, the “swinging London,” symbol of a new modernity in which the opposition between conservation and rebellion is in continuous turmoil and the image is the main communication vehicle through mass media, magazines , billboards, shows, models, abstract art. Thomas, the photographer, takes some pictures in a park of a couple in love and, while developing them notices he may have photographed a murder. While trying to uncover the truth, it turns away from him enough to make him believe he had imagined it all. “The crisis of the character in the film was a bit “of me” said Antonioni, who made the protagonist of Blow Up an alter ego of himself and part of his aesthetic research. Though the eyes of Thomas, almost never taken subjectively, comes a way for the director to investigate empirical reality with the meticulousness of an explorer. In contrast, however, the film’s images show that every search for meaning is bound to get lost in the multiplicity of meanings and interpretations.

The sensory experience is inevitably a source of deception. Thomas thinks that he, through the magnification, blow up, can overcome the limitations of his eyes and lens but what we get is a blur: the successive enlargements show only, gigantic, whites and blacks grains of the film. The maximum objectivity, namely the photographic reproduction of the real, therefore, coincides with the indecipherable. The “yellow” to Blow Up does not lead to unravel a murder and unmask a murderess since the mystery around the whole story only intends to prove that the truth does not exist.

They have the art insights, subjective interpretations, aesthetic sublimation but the objective reality to which they refer is substantially undefined and elusive. The tennis match of the final allegory expresses this concept – that what is at stake, in addition to the eye, and, even the imagination of the observer is just an interpretation. Art must surrender to fiction. The mimes play without the ball or racket while Thomas now convinced he had imagined it all, hears the noise of the ball from the nonexistent rackets. As correctly pointed out. Roland Barthes talks about Antonioni: “He, the artist, knows the meaning of a thing is not the truth.”

Thanks to theoretical contents capable of dialogue with the modern society of images, where reality always eats more virtual content, Blow Up, makes it incredibly fascinating to present a meditation on the impossibility of tracing a line between reality and fiction.

—-Gisella Rotiroti

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(Source: ilcinemaritrovato.it)

2017 Berlin Film Festival Retrospective

Posted by Larry Gleeson

I was proud to be an American abroad.


https://www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/2017/06_streaming_2017/Videos.html#item=45501

Diego Luna: I’m here to investigate how to tear down walls. Apparently there are many experts here. And when I bring that information back to Mexico…
Maggie Gyllenhaal: And to America.

 

Of course we must begin with the Wall. Fifty-six years after Berlin was split into two by a wall, a Mexican actor and director and a US actor – both members of the International Jury – sat together at the first Press Conference of the 2017 festival and drew inspiration from a peaceful revolution to learn how barriers and borders can be overcome. And not in the metaphorical sense.

On January 20, 2017, a shocking event played out in Washington D.C., one which appeared to many observers to be a nightmare from which they could no longer awake: Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States of America. And one of his election promises was the vow to build a wall between “his” country and Mexico to put an irrevocable halt to the flow of migrants from south to north. In the previous year, the billionaire had waged his election campaign against his opponent Hillary Clinton chiefly with half-truths, falsehoods and audacious lies, causing contemporary politics to be labelled ”post-factual”. The traditionally paranoid tendencies in American politics received an unprecedented boost. Thirty years after Reagan’s “Tear down this wall”, the global political situation scaled new heights of unreality to shocking effect. Journalists were excluded as the enemy whenever the new strong man in the White House deigned to face inconvenient questions.

And although Festival Director Dieter Kosslick already made it clear at the 67th Berlinale’s Program Press Conference that Trump should be deliberately omitted because the billionaire chiefly had the media circus surrounding him to thank for his success, it is still Trump we must begin with to make clear the “political” atmosphere in which the 2017 program unfolded.

Three of the 2017 Competition films: Viceroy’s HouseFélicitéEl Bar

The End of Utopias

The great ideologies had already been done for, communism and capitalism had both been discovered to be dead-ends. What remained was a reactionary (ultra) nationalism with powerful leading characters who created a lot of noise in the media: Trump in the US, Putin in Russia, Erdogan in Turkey, the list goes on. Society’s unifying themes had unravelled and vested interests governed and dominated – and the program of the 67th Berlinale reacted accordingly. “A spectre is haunting us – and not just in Europe. We have confusion following the collapse of the great utopian dreams and disenchantment with globalization. […] Rarely has the Berlinale program more forcefully captured the current political situation in images”, wrote Dieter Kosslick in his foreword to the program. A way out of this confusion was offered by a look back and an analysis of the historical developments which led to this current impasse.

In the Competition with Viceroy’s House, Gurinder Chadha traced the colonialism which was the original driving force behind both capitalism and globalization. This period piece is set in 1947, the year in which the territory of British India was arbitrarily partitioned into India and Pakistan and the conflicts which burden both countries to this day were irrevocably set in place. A present-day perspective on the ravages of colonialism was presented by Alain Gomis’ Félicité, in which the director follows his titular heroine on her daily struggle for survival in Kinshasa. The catastrophic consequences of the colonial past may not be present as an explicit indictment in this film but they nevertheless resonate in every frame. In his chamber piece El Bar (The Bar), Álex de la Iglesia delivered an experimental set-up that reflects the growing fear in Europe of falling victim to a random and sudden act of violence: a customer of a Madrid bar is shot dead upon exiting, without cause or provocation – a scenario which, due to the many random acts of violence that haunted the “peaceful” European homeland in 2016, captures with great precision the feelings of insecurity these acts left behind. Particularly in Berlin, the memory of December 19, 2016, when a perpetrator deliberately crashed an articulated lorry into the Christmas Market on Breitscheidplatz, was still raw.

Director Ceylan Özgün Özçelik on Kaygı

Interventions

https://www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/2017/01_jahresblatt_2017/01_jahresblatt_7.html

The spirit of a post-utopian era and its excesses was not only tangible in the Competition but throughout the festival. Erdogan’s “purging” of the political, civilian and military apparatus found its reaction in the Panorama film Kaygı(Inflame), in which director Ceylan Özgün Özçelik tells the story of a Turkish journalist who is censored and suppressed and finally descends into paranoia. A highly explosive subject matter – for even during the Festival, on February 14, the German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel was arrested in Turkey. The power-crazed fantasies of another illustrious politician, Russian president Vladimir Putin, were considered in the Berlinale Special with The Trial – The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov by Askold Kurov which investigates the show trial of the Ukrainian film director and Maidan-activist who protested against the internationally unacceptable annexation of Crimea by Russia. Romanian filmmakers deployed placards on the Red Carpet to draw attention to the increasingly draconian censorship and the escalating corruption in their homeland. As he explained in an interview with Variety, Dieter Kosslick was relaxed about this appropriation: “‘Everyone has been using our red carpet as a kind of Hyde Park Corner, and I’m happy with this,’ he said, referring to the area in London where speakers share their political views with the crowd. ‘We want to be on the right side of the world,’ he said” (Leo Barraclough, February 18, 2017).

Such interventions were numerous and always had their finger on the pulse of the age. For example, the 2017 edition of the NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema special presentation made its focal point the Arctic, a place which, according to climate researchers, will play a decisive role over the coming decades in the survival of humanity and the planet (it seems almost superfluous to mention President Trump’s promise to his supporters that, following his election, he would rescind all the hard-fought climate protection goals adopted by his predecessor Barack Obama).

 

The awarding of the first Glashütte Original Documentary Award: Producer Palmyre Badinier, protagonist Wadee Hanani and director Raed Andoni

A New Award

In a highly-politicised region, for decades the political football of increasingly opaque claims to power and sensitivities, Raed Adoni created his film Istiyad Ashbah (Ghost Hunting) which screened in the Panorama. In Ramallah the director enabled the Palestinian ex-inmates of an Israeli interrogation centre to replay their experiences there and, in doing so, traced their trauma and his own life story. The fictional framework of this re-enactment brings the very real wounds of the past to the surface. Adoni was recognised for his work with the Glashütte Original Documentary Award – the inauguration of the first prize in the history of the Berlinale to be explicitly devoted to the documentary form.

Aesthetics and the Political

At the beginning of the festival, Dutch director and President of the International Jury Paul Verhoeven declared he would not reward any film simply for having a political content. Cinematic art, the aesthetics, would be the deciding factor. In doing so he was merely expressing what has long been a programming principle for the Berlinale. A textbook example of this was delivered by Aki Kaurismäki in the Competition. InToivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope), the director tells of an encounter between a Syrian refugee and a Finnish travelling salesman. The rigorously composed, stoical shots stage the film’s (political) stance in Kaurismäki’s very own humorously melancholic style. We desperately need immigration, said the director at the film’s Press Conference, “because our blood is getting thick”.

The nexus of aesthetics and the political demanded by Verhoeven extended throughout the programme. In the ForumEl mar la mar focused on the very stretch of the Sonoran Desert which migrants have to cross in their desperate journeys north – the place where Trump will lay the foundations for his wall. Filmmakers Joshua Bonnetta and J P Sniadecki eschew the post-factual imperative to place emotionality above actuality and instead embark upon an archaeological journey and bear witness to the human dramas in the traces left behind in the landscape by the passing travellers. Avoiding an explicit political message, the film instead makes tangible the remorselessness of the landscape, of nature.

The search for archaeological traces was one of the strongest programming strands in the 67th Berlinale, a theme which permeated all the sections. In the Competition and sections alike an entire panoply of films was devoted to the past and the historical process. The current sorry state of “reality” did not happen overnight: there were signs, developments and early events, powers that developed unseen which have now risen to the surface. Many films took a step back and sought to find in yesterday the reasons for today.

No Intenso AgoraCasting JonBenet

An overview of the cinematographic eye expanded across the sections. And, as in previous years, the richness of the documentary form was compelling: No Intenso Agora (In the Intense Now) by João Moreira Salles in the Panorama traced the vibrancy of the Prague Spring as far as the revolutionary force of Paris in May 1968. A tightly knit film essay that permitted no causality and sometimes took an eccentric view of the genealogy of events. In his almost five-hour long Combat au bout de la nuit(Fighting Through the Night), Sylvain L’Espérance took Greece as the example for his exploration of the ongoing decline of the idea of Europe, an idea which suffered a further blow with the UK Brexit vote in the summer of 2016. With Casting JonBenet, Kitty Green put the process of uncovering the truth itself in the spotlight. Rather than furnishing the story of the still-unsolved murder of the six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey with further truths, she invited the people who lived in the area at the time of the murder to a casting session and observed the mechanics by which the truths about an event are first outlined and constructed. The documentaries in the Forum were notable for their long-term observations, taking in the rhythms of their subjects rather than adding redundant dramatisation to these lives. This was exemplified by Aus einem Jahr der Nichtereignisse (From a Year of Non-Events) by Carolin Renninger and René Frölke, which portrayed the life of a north German farmer.

 

Forum Expanded panel day on the archive in the silent green Kulturquartier.

History and stories were told whilst constantly ensuring the exposure of the methods of production and reflection upon them. Archive material often played a dominant role. In the Competition, Andres Veiel (re)constructed the work of Joseph Beuys almost exclusively from contemporaneous material (Beuys); the Forum Expanded devoted an entire day of panel discussions to the archive.

The Retrospective, in contrast, provided a change of perspective and, with its topic of Science Fiction film, dedicated itself to the future without losing sight of the present in the process: “We understand that, although Science Fiction tells a story set in the future, it actually uses this future to address questions and situations from the present”, explained section head Rainer Rother.

The Fictionality of Reality and the Reality of Fictions

In the war of images the borders between reality and fiction had become more porous than ever before. Politicians like Trump, Erdogan and Putin simply declared their assertions as reality and imposed their sovereignty of interpretation via all available media. The Berlinale program provided an important counterpoint to these fatal developments: “Nowhere else, neither in Cannes nor Venice, is the appetite for reality-based and reality-seeking images as great as here. For images that cleave less to the daily politics than to targeting the heart of the now, in slow films for frantic times” (Christiane Peitz, Der Tagesspiegel, February 20, 2017). The title of the 2017 Forum Expanded was also emblematic of this: “The Stars Down to Earth”. The works gave themselves to “the search for possibilities of an artistic way of dealing with a reality that is increasingly difficult to grasp”. The view is directed back down to earth, to the here and now and the condition of perceivable realities. Yet this was not about nostalgia for a “lost” factual era but instead the unnerving feeling that “reality”, which has always been in interplay with fiction, was being suffocated under the weight of false assertions.

Maike Mia Höhne took the same line with her selection for the 2017 Berlinale Shorts which, with its title of “Reframing the Image”, similarly interrogated the fundamentals of what we see and perceive. The relationship between “medial” and “factual” reality, between fiction and reality, is obviously not alien to the cinema. It lies at the heart of the medium itself, based as it is upon changing the actuality without losing it and creating stories out of the material of the visible world. Recognition, interpretation and, in the worst cases, lying – these are the techniques and questions that constitute film.

A lot of irony: the Press Conference on Toivon tuolla puolen

Poetry and Irony in the Competition

https://www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/2017/01_jahresblatt_2017/01_jahresblatt_7.html

Against this backdrop it is perhaps unsurprising that, on February 18, 2017, the Golden Bear was presented to a film which engaged intensively with the modulations and relationship between dream and reality – traditionally fertile ground for both film practice and theory. Testről és lélekről (On Body and Soul) by Ildikó Enyedi ostensibly tells a tender love story which contrasts the graceful ease of a dream with the – literally – bloody reality of a Hungarian slaughterhouse. Testről és lélekről was a worthy winner, lauded by critics and audiences alike. As Anke Westphal wrote in the Berliner Zeitung: “How these two people, both marked with tragedy by fate, gradually come closer together, at first in their nightly dreams when they meet as deer in a wintery forest, and then in their apparent real lives, counts among the most beautiful, tender and truthful experiences that cinema can create” (February 20, 2017). Poetry and humour dominated the 67th Berlinale Competition. And while Testről és lélekről excelled at poetry, doyen Aki Kaurismäki, who won the Silver Bear for Best Director with Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope), provided the requisite irony. And not just with his film: asked at the Press Conference for his opinion about the danger of the Islamisation of Europe, he first made the journalist repeat her question three times and then, with the deepest of deadpan, replied that no, he had no fears about the Icelandisation of Europe – even though that country sensationally made it as far as the quarter finals before being eliminated from the 2016 European Football Championship.

Happy winners: Festival Director Dieter Kosslick with Kim Minhee, Ildikó Enyedi and Jury President Paul Verhoeven.

The International Jury continued the trend of previous years by chiefly presenting awards to films not at the centre of global attention. Alain Gomis won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize with Félicité, a co-production between France, Senegal, Belgium, Germany and Lebanon. Polish director Agnieszka Holland won the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for Pokot (Spoor). South Korean Kim Minhee took home the Silver Bear for Best Actress for her role in Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (On the Beach at Night Alone) by Hong Sangsoo. The Chilean film Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman) by Sébastian Lelio won the award for Best Screenplay and Romanian editor Dana Bunescu (Ana, mon amour by Călin Peter Netzer) was visibly overcome as she was presented with the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution. This courage to give centre stage to the seemingly marginal was also honoured by the critics: “The Competition [assembled] art-house works, offering the kind of platform to small, powerful films which is unavailable to them during the rest of the year’s blockbuster-dominated film glut” (Christiane Peitz, Der Tagesspiegel, February 20, 2017).

 

Dieter Kosslick at the Award Ceremony of the Independent Juries

Diversity and Hope

The 2017 program was controversial and never played it safe. At times its immense diversity seemed to leave critics overwhelmed. Some commentators missed a clear unifying theme in the program. That this could be down to the fact that, as Andreas Busche wrote, the world itself had lost its unifying theme, was only infrequently acknowledged: “The eschewal of an official programming agenda benefits the films which, like all good art, must be measured against their own standards. And perhaps the social discourses accruing from the invisible connections between individual films are much more complex than a political slogan could ever be” (Der Tagesspiegel, February 8, 2017).

For years the Cold War and the balance of power between the USSR and the USA was the organizing principle which provided the world with clear meaning and an overriding narrative. The Berlin Wall became the ultimate symbol of this dichotomy. Where else but in Berlin should a Festival Director have hope in spite of the current tense situation? Thus Dieter Kosslick’s exhortation at the end of his speech at the prize-giving ceremony of the Independent Juries: “Don’t lose your courage, we will win.”

 

(Source: berlinale.de)

Alessandro Borghi set to host the opening and closing nights of the 74th Venice Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Italian actor will open the 74th Venice Film Festival on the evening of August 30th, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 9.25.50 AMActor Alessandro Borghi will host the opening and closing events of the 74th Venice International Film Festival 2017, directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta.
Alessandro Borghi will open the 74th Venice Film Festival on the evening of Wednesday, August 30th, on the stage of the Sala Grande (Palazzo del Cinema on the Lido) for the opening ceremony. On September 9th the actor will host the closing ceremony during which the winners of the Lions and the other official awards of the 74th Venice Film Festival will be announced.
Alessandro Borghi is one of the leading figure of the new generation of Italian actors. After many parts in several TV series, in 2016 Alessandro caught the public’s attention starring in the co-leading role in Claudio Caligari’s Non Essere Cattivo (Don’t Be Bad), presented during the 72nd Venice Film Festival and acclaimed by critics and public for the amazing performances by the actors involved; it has also been selected by Italy as its candidate film for the foreign-language Academy Award.  Later last year Alessandro played the leading role of “Numero 8” (Number 8) in Stefano Sollima’s crime movie Suburra. Thanks to his interpretations in Suburra and Non essere cattivo he gained two nominations for the David di Donatello. In 2016 Alessandro also appeared in Michele Vannucci’s debut film Il Più Grande Sogno (I Was a Dreamer), based on a true story. He also played the main role in Gabriele Mainetti’s short movie Ningyo. Both movies were presented during the last 73rd Venice Film Festival. The same year, Alessandro won the prestigious Nastro d’Argento as best actor revelation.
In 2017 he has been choosen to represent Italy at the Shooting Stars Film Festival in Berlin, an eminent award as well as a launch pad for the international film market. Moreover, this year he played in Fortunata, the latest film by Sergio Castellitto, which was presented during the 70th Cannes Film Festival. As for future projects, we will see Alessandro in Suburra-the series, the first Italian production by Netflix; Alessandro is currently on the set of Napoli Velata, the latest film by director Ferzan Ozpetek.
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(Source: labiennale.org)

Park Circus in Bologna’s cinephile heaven

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Bologna once again transforms into cinephile heaven from 24 June – 2 July as the city hosts the 31st edition of Il Cinema Ritrovato; the world’s premiere event celebrating classic film both in its original format and in newly restored versions.

Park Circus is pleased to continue its fruitful collaboration with the festival and will be presenting a variety of titles in the ever-inspiring programme – we’ve picked out some highlights below.

River of No ReturnThis year’s festival poster boy is Robert Mitchum; an unconventional and unforgettable leading man whose centenary we are celebrating in Bologna and beyond in 2017. Il Cinema Ritrovato pays tribute to the actor with a section dedicated to his work, focusing on his effortless range and diverse catalogue of character-types. Selections highlight his work as a rugged Western star in River of No Return and his late-career return to the noir genre in films such as The Yakuza.

Mildred PierceJoan Crawford is another actor whose chameleonic qualities are on show in this year’s line-up. Two choice titles – Mildred Pierce and Johnny Guitar – chart her career evolution from the matriarch of melodrama to a performer in camp, self-conscious genre fare. Both screen from 4K DCPs – the new digital print of Mildred Pierce receives its international premiere at the festival.

Saturday Night FeverHighlights from recent festivals also make a welcome reappearance at Il Cinema Ritrovato, with the new restorations of Saturday Night Fever and Blow-Up screening fresh after their success in Cannes. Both offer audiences a unique opportunity to experience these classics anew: Saturday Night Fever screens as a newly compiled director’s cut featuring previously omitted footage, while Blow-Up is presented from a new print out of Bologna’s own leading restoration lab, L’immagine ritrovata.

(Source: ilcinemaritovato.it)

AFI’s Heritage in Washington, DC

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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Established by President Lyndon Johnson in the White House Rose Garden, the American Film Institute was officially founded in 1967. Gregory Peck was named first chair of the Board of Trustees and George Stevens, Jr., its director and CEO.

The very first Board was comprised of film luminaries and masters, including Francis Ford Coppola, Sidney Poitier, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and Jack Valenti.

While AFI’s deep DC roots date back more than 50 years, they are also still present to this day, with the Institute’s exhibition and preservation efforts still thriving in the nation’s capital.

 

Started as SILVERDOCS in 2003, AFI DOCS has sought to recognize and celebrate the highest standards in documentary filmmaking around the world — convening a unique combination of artists and legislators. Attendees have included Senators, members of the President’s Cabinet and Congress, journalists and enthusiastic lovers of the art form.

AFI first established an exhibition presence first at L’Enfant Plaza in 1970 before taking up official residence in the Kennedy Center, unveiling premiere restorations, classic film prints and more.

The AFI Collections at the Library of Congress still lives today as a body of 60,000 films, contributing to our nation’s growing volume of culturally, historically or aesthetically significant works of moving image.

AFI's Founding Chairs and Leaders: George Stevens, Jr., Roger Stevens, Gregory Peck, Sidney Poitier.
AFI’s Founding Chairs and Leaders: George Stevens, Jr., Roger Stevens, Gregory Peck, Sidney Poitier.

Now located in Silver Spring, MD, the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center has historically offered an exclusive repertory venue for classic, arthouse, international and contemporary films that delivers these film treasures year-round to audiences of all ages, standing tall amid a current climate of vanishing rep houses and even fewer celluloid sanctuaries. AFI Silver is a continuation of AFI’s longstanding presence at the advent of nonprofit film exhibition.

Today, AFI has sought to recognize and celebrate the highest standards in documentary filmmaking around the world — convening a unique combination of artists and legislators. Attendees have included Senators, members of the President’s Cabinet and Congress, journalists and enthusiastic lovers of the art form. The 2017 edition of the festival took place June 14–18.

With conversations and experiences you won’t experience at any other film festival, AFI DOCS harnesses the power of this important art form and its potential to inspire change — and is a cornerstone of AFI’s DC programs. See this year’s audience award winners here.

Check out AFI’s 50 Years, 50 Moments timeline for even more history here.

Pictured at top: Founding Trustees at first board meeting, August 5, 1967: Gregory Peck and George Stevens, Jr. (foreground L+C)

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(Source: AFI.com)

CINEMA RITROVATO 2017: FOCUS ON SHERLOCK HOLMES

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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Every year, the magazine of the Bologna Cinematheque closely – and with a critical eye – reviews the most salient events scheduled. Here’s one of my favorites from this year:

Cinema Ritrovato 2017: Sherlock Holmes, our contemporary

“Elementary Watson!”. It seems that it was Clive Brooke the first actor to recite on the big screen, in  The Return of Sherlock Holmes  (1929), the famous exclamation, apocryphal Holmesian ever uttered by a detective in fifty short stories and four novels that make up the “canon” of the adventures of a renowned “consulting detective”. A phrase that already sets the tone at the Holmes Brooke: pedantic and self-confident, elegant, ironic arrogance to the limit. This is a must see film!

 

 

—-Excerpt from Gianluca De Santis article

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(Sourced from ilcinemaritrovato.it)

CINEMA RITROVATO 2017: FOCUS ON ‘BELLE DE JOUR’

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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Severine / Catherine Deneuve embodies the frigidity of a woman altered and ethereal, distinguished and aristocratic, giving vent to her alienation in a distorted and neurotic eroticism. Two years before Belle de Jour, in 1965, Roman Polanski had evoked in Repulsion,  the double life of eroticism in Carol – interpreted, not surprisingly, by the same Deneuve – in an echo and parallel to the game, where Buñuel touches the most ambiguous feminine chords. Moving from its most sublime, almost beatific event to the more sordid and low,  Belle de Jour cages the viewer initially in ecstatic pleasure and dream of the stars and then the brutality of an eros that borders on the grotesque. But what makes it as real and close, is the experience of Severine: the eradication of the drives, the contrast between the ephemeral and the eternal, the soul and the flesh, with the latter always alive and well in the imagination of the director.

Tied to Breton and its manifesto, Buñuel adheres unreservedly to psychic quell’automatismo with which we used to define Surrealism, expressing the reality of thought “outside of all aesthetic and moral concern.” Severine is wealthy, middle-class with a life that slips between normal and depressing folds of everyday life and a husband tormented by the elusiveness of the feminine psyche, incompatible with the ordinary. From subtle analyst of oxymorons, Severine dissonant  and cryptic ‘interpretations reside in the reality beyond the form of reality circumscribed in space-categories, namely in the dream.

Beautiful day moves between the different lovers without distinction in actual reality and the sense of guilt towards the consumatosi husband in a translucent appearing dream: Severine is aware of his abnormality, of his being other than the moral and cognition that takes shape in humiliation and self-pity. The reality and the proliferate dream, are juxtaposed and contrasted without the viewer grasping the steps, elliptical as much as the banter the actors (as stated by the same Macha Méril) were allowed to grasp. The whole affair is shrouded in an aura of timelessness left, like one of the dreams where Severine is chained to a tree, penitent and with a dreamy gaze, taken by an incomprehensible rapture.

—– Elvira Del Guercio

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(Source: IlCinemaRitrovato.it)

Italian distributor Lucky Red reveals ambitious production plans

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Gabriele Niola

 

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Distributor plots move into genre and family movies, beginning with Asghar Farhadi’s upcoming thriller.

Italian distribution company Lucky Red is planning to ramp up its production operation, with a focus on genre and family movies.

At an event held in Rome yesterday (June 26) to mark the company’s 30th anniversary, founder and CEO Andrea Occhipinti said: “Distribution will remain our core business, but we want to become one of the most important production companies in Italy.”

“Production may be a good way not to be too dependent on acquisitions, since it’s becoming harder to get the good movies. Instead a good Italian film can make a big difference at the box office”.

One of the most prestigious projects that Lucky Red is co-producing is Asghar Farhadi’s untitled Spanish-language thriller starring Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Ricardo Darin (pictured, top).

As Screen announced during Cannes, the $12-13m project is a French-Spanish-Italian co-production with Lucky Red, French producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy of Memento Films and Che producer Álvaro Longoria of Spanish stalwarts Morena Films.

It will also be made in co-production with France 3 Cinema and supported by Canal Plus and France Télévision.

Other projects already greenlit by Lucky Red include the untitled new feature from Gabriele Mainetti (They Call Him Jeeg Robot), which started shooting in January; the GoPro-shot sci-fi horror Ride, from Mine directors Fabio Guaglione and Fabio Resinaro, and Sotto La Mia Pelle (Under My Skin), a legal drama centred on a man who gets beaten by the police, with Jasmine Trinca (Fortunata).

The move into production will help Lucky Red expand beyond the arthouse audience, which is not as lucrative as it used to be, according to Occhipinti.

“Our audience is getting old,” he said. “Once also small arthouse movies were able to make a good result, now it’s impossible”.

As a result, Lucky Red is branching out into genre and family movies, popular comedies, and television: “We are working with Fox Italy on a series but still can’t tell if it will be an international or national project”, said Occhipinti.

Lucky Red previously moved into the exhibition sector after becoming the main shareholder in the 130-screen Circuito Cinema arthouse chain. They also co-founded world sales company True Colours together with Indigo, which scored a series of deals for its Cannes 2017 slate, including for Sergio Castellitto’s Un Certain Regard drama Fortunata and Simone Godano’s body-swapping comedy Wife & Husband.

At the press conference, Occhipinti also discussed why Lucky Red became the first company in the Italian cinema industry to commit to an ethical code of inclusion and tolerance towards gay employees.

“Being gay myself I’m very close to these problems,” says Occhipinti, “We decided to issue and promote this code publicly before the first law allowing gay unions was passed in Italy. We wanted to make a statement not only to guarantee maternity and paternity rights to our gay employees, but also to say that if our institutions are not moving and addressing the issue, we are doing it by ourselves”.

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(Source: screendaily.com)

Organic PR agency opens Manchester office

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Orlando Parfitt

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Account manager Chris Boyd will lead Organic’s northern business.

 

London-based film and TV publicity and marketing agency Organic has opened a new office in Manchester.

“Organic North”, based in the Havas Village on Princess Street, will work with the London office to service Organic’s existing clients to provide on-the-ground services in Manchester and the surrounding area.

The agency will also work with new clients based outside of London, covering UK and regional publicity campaigns, junkets, festivals, media management, unit publicity and social media management.

Account manager Chris Boyd will lead Organic’s northern business and travel between Manchester and London.

Organic North will sit alongside sister agency Target Live – a full service agency for the Arts and live events – which also opened an office in Manchester earlier this year.

Caragh Cook, managing director of Organic, said: “Having a home in Manchester means we can provide a communications hub for the North, situated in the heart of an exciting, progressive city – a growing media destination which is bursting with creativity and culture. In the last few weeks, the team has been busy working on several films at Sheffield Doc/Fest, kicking off an exciting new chapter for Organic.”

Organic is part of Havas Media Group in the UK, after the acquisition of its parent group Target MCG in October 2016. Target MCG incorporates Target Media, Target Live, Organic and Superhero.

Organic’s clients include: Netflix, Altitude Film Distribution; Curzon; Disney; Entertainment One; Embankment Films; Hanway; Icon Film Distribution; Lionsgate; Pathe; Sierra/Affinity; Twentieth Century Fox; Warner Bros.; Studiocanal and Universal Pictures.

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(Source: Screendaily.com)

(Source:

NANNI MORETTI: “MY FILM MIRROR OF A GENERATION”

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The director at the 31st edition of the festival has gone through his career: “the thing, the film on the PCI crisis, was the testimony of a debate unimaginable.”

“When they told me that my films were a reflection of a generation  I felt a certain impatience. Today I see with different eyes. Those first few films I say that if you really, through the story of my personal life, have been able to tell those of an entire generation, I can not ignore this thing as a great privilege. ”

It’s a Nanni Moretti that runs through all his long career that spoke today in Bologna at the 31st edition of the festival Il Cinema Ritrovato, promoted by the Bologna Cinematheque. The festival runs until July 2. The presentation of the book-length interview, The autobiographie dilatée, Entretiens avec Nanni Moretti, curated by critic Jean Gili, was recently published in France by Broché.

They revisited the early moments of his formation and his first film loves: “I used to love the cinema of the Taviani brothers, whose stylistic simplicity I tried to inspire in my early works. I was then a supporter of the film Carmelo Bene and I wonder how I could still reconcile my two passions of aesthetic film as that of Good and the Taviani. Our Lady of the Turks  is one of the movies I’ve seen several times, along with the sweet life and eight and a half  by Federico Fellini. ”

And the memories of Nanni Moretti could not not cross 1989, the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the crisis of the Italian Communist Party and Palombella rossa , followed a few months later by The thing, a documentary depicting the debate within the PCI Achilles Occhetto: “I was fascinated by the scope of that debate, that involves not only the leftists, but all Italians. Today such a thing would be unthinkable.”

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(Source: ilcinemaritrovato.it)

 

Cinema Ritrovato 2017: “Mildred Pierce” between literature, film and television

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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A shot, a man who falls to the ground and a car fleeing into the night. And then the dock where she enters the scene, the diva Joan Crawford. In his first plan ‘s novel Mildred Pierce (1945) by Michael Curtiz, one of many, shines all the weight of the film, the pain and the guilt of an impossible love: that of Mildred for her daughter Veda. Based on the novel by James M. Cain, Mildred Pierce (1941), the film marked a Crawford career that earned her her first, and only, Academy Award for Best Actress.

“From this moment on, Joan Crawford will play only roles of strong women, very successful, but with a weak heart and proves of how this talented actress had no weaknesses. There was absolutely vulnerability.” Made possible by the Criterion Collection in collaboration with Warner Bros. the restored version of the film was presented at the Cinema Ritrovato by Park Circus Words, Eddie Muller (founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation). Seemingly, a very lucky role as Kate Winslet won the Golden Globe for her performance in a modern adaptation, Mildred Pierce (2011), the miniseries produced by HBO and directed by Todd Haynes.

In the book, the character of Mildred represented un’atipicità for her time: a housewife divorced with two daughters struggling to establish herself in the midst of the Great Depression. A strong, confident woman who is able to build an empire from nothing, from a waitress in a diner to a businesswoman with a chain of restaurants. Alongside this professional success, we are intertwined in her personal relationships: first of all with the complicated Vedas, the favorite daughter.

These two trends, the social climbing of Mildred and the dramatic relationship between mother and daughter, were dealt with differently in the film and TV series. In the first, an added frame noir (the opening scene of the crime), to suppress the roughness of the book that did not fail to censor, the transposition of HBO is totally faithful to the paper counterpart. In the novel, as in the series, Mildred was obsessed with the social sphere: her first refusals to the menial jobs that are offered, and even when she gets the job as a waitress living in a deep inner conflict, culminating in keeping it hidden from her daughter.

In contrast, the Curtiz film does not dwell much on Mildred as a self-made woman: the sequences that speak to the social climb up the social ladder are put together with quick assembly (the succession of signs of its restaurants), all told with flashbacks from the voice-over narration of Crawford. The Hollywood diva never has a hair out of place, her clothes are always clean, even after cooking, and when we see her dressed in her waitress uniform it is only for a few minutes. Unlike Crawford’s Mildred, Winslet gets dirty. It is her suffering and  consequent cleansing that makes a radical change of look as her business grows.

The movements of the fluidity of Curtiz film takes up the writing style of Cain, linear and structured. As well as the full and conscious sensuality of the protagonist in the novel, the echoes of stealth are visualized on the big screen: the details of the lean and curvy legs (of which more times the literary Mildred welcomes proudly) peeking out from behind a ladder or a swimsuit. Joan Crawford filled the character with eros, by dosing balancing the erotic with the numerous close-ups that literally dazzle the screen. Curtiz delves, but does not say anything openly as did Cain in the book. During the first night of love between Mildred, spoiled heiress, and Monty, unscrupulous lover, the camera moves away, pauses for a few seconds on the lovers’ reflection in the mirror, slipping into the minds of the spectators the carnal act that will be consumed shortly thereafter.

The key to the book, both in shooting films in the series, was not so much a history lesson, as the morbid and destructive relationship between Mildred and Veda. She lives for her daughter: her decision to find a job, even medium-low level is not only dictated by the need to support the family, but especially by the uncontrollable desire to give to her daughter, capricious and insatiable. As Mildred efforts to please her daughter (who is given elegant clothes, piano lessons, evenings in high class dining rooms), Veda is closed inside this world of deception and treachery. She’s a girl-woman unable to see beyond herself that, unlike the mother, aspires to a higher social level without having to dirty her hands.

In the final moments, the emotional charge of the action is still committed to the diva: Crawford’s face is bathed in light in a now infamous frame. The terrible nature of her daughter, a true femme fatale, comes out as well. A play of light and shadow that recants a broken American dream not because of the money, but for love – visceral and unobtainable.

—- Emanuela Vignudelli

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(Source: ilcinemaritrovato.it)

CINEMA RITROVATO 2017: PROJECTIONS OF THE FEMALE BODY IN THE EARLY CINEMA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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Exhibition, concealment: the oscillation between these two poles gives an account of the adversarial manner in which the female body flows on the earliest silent films. Last night in Pasolini Piazzetta a cinema of attractions was screened by Nikolaus Wostry (Filmarchiv Austria) with a rare example of a projector crank,. Die Kleine Veronika (1930), was introduced by the Austrian archivist and projected from the historic lantern coal by Stefano Bognar.

Evanescent and impalpable, the female body assumes all the typical cultural imaginary forms of fin de siècle. At the center of the fragile images, in which the color on the film merges with the prism of the light beam emitted by the crank projector coupled with a specimen lenses created perfect angles to the formats of the first decade of the twentieth century (and already in disuse since the twenties). And although the dominant figure is that of femininity, as was the case for much of the visual history, it is the first object (not the subject) of the vision. These fragments of early cinema has felt the creep of  change, a scopic potential – the eye of women.

It Les Trois phase de la lune (1905) prior to a moon of honey, then butter, mustard finally depicts the evolution of a couple from marital bliss to the double argument. The female figure is that of the classic wife, in which civilian clothes and facial expressions of the grotesque comedy play on the stereotypes of the spouse who eventually becomes tame through surliness and petulance. Yet, the position of the body, supporting actor versus her husband, and the look that shows no signs of fall are already the first timid signs of a new way of being in the world.

If La Fée aux Pigeons (1906) recovers the fairytale topos of the fairy as purely ornativo tool, yet of great scenic impact (wonder to behold the lightness of pigeon feathers and peacock, as well as the delicate blend of pastel chromatic notes). The last two sketches to induce a more complete reflection on the perception of the female body. Die Zaubereien des Mandarins (1907) is registrable in an interstitial place between a playful kind of entertainment and pornography: a male character, oriental dress, the appearance and disappearance of a few, half-naked, girls through a silk umbrella. Here the nudity is pure surface, pure onstration, pure objectification: the very absence of a minimum voyeuristic  gander though (which would imply a vision in some forbidden way, transgressive, hidden) argues in favor of an interpretation in key pornographic terms, yielding emptiness from within their own pure charge of desire resulting in a patina on the film.

Much more ambiguous Das Eitle Stubenmädchen (1907), where a maid, busy dusting a study in which stands a statue of a naked young woman begins a dialogue with its double-stone, until some sort of identification opens the door to  for her to undress entirely and simulate the same pose. The arrival of the owner abruptly interrupts the act of liberation, and the girl runs away scared from the owner-satyr. If this last scene winks to male desire, the stripping is the result of a spontaneous choice, awareness, a desire to exit from a subordinate role (that of the maid, characterized by a certain type of clothing) to one outside of the schemes, as the gesture is also loaded with a decidedly disturbing potential (the theme of the double, the metamorphosis almost pigmalionic, the medusiforme look that petrifies).

But if here nudity seems to suggest a possibility of liberation from social role, it not as happens in Die Kleine Veronika , where the female identity is told through the use of a dichotomous paradigm: on the one hand, the young country girl, pure and innocent, and carefree that runs in the middle of nature; on the other, the aunt, Viennese by adoption, whose wealth is soon discovered to be the result of prostitution. The theme of perverting cities against women is typical of a certain way by which the European modernism has given an account of the complex process of empowerment of women.  The film then declines sharply, pedagogical, and very (too) predictable.

However, also because of the experimental musical accompaniment and sometimes noise guitarist, it can be interesting to watch the movie as a small women’s fashion sense and imaginary construction. The first sign that Veronika receives an impending trip to Vienna is the dress sent by the Aunt: a white dress, modern, soft lines, far away from clothing with which she arrives at the station (oversize sweater, plaid skirt). They are the aunt’s clothes to fascinate Veronika, clothes from the Art Nouveau patterns with showy pearls and fine underwear. The body skin changes, and this change, however, alludes, by contrast, to nudity (never performed) alluded to in continuation, experienced by the same Veronika, then causing the protagonist in a nearly fatal disturbance. We are in 1930, the Roaring Twenties are coming to an end: and the body of women is still far from not being made the subject of conditioning, of coercive and with guilty nudity.

—- Beatrice Seligardi

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(Source: ilcinemaritrovato.it)

Big SVOD Players Become Bigger Forces in Film

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Michael Malone

Netflix, Amazon are major factors at movie festivals around the world

The big subscription VOD platforms, led by Netflix and Amazon, have slowly but surely been making major moves into original film productions. While the effort has hardly elevated either player to the ranks of elite film producers, the performance by Amazon’s Manchester by the Sea during awards season — it was a Best Picture nominee at the Academy Awards, a first for a film backed by a streaming service — showed that the streaming platforms have more than just crafting binge-worthy original TV series on their minds.

Manchester by the Sea cemented the fact that the SVOD platforms can make movies of that caliber,” Tony Gunnarsson, principal analyst at Ovum, a research firm for the digital industry, said. “They don’t have to come from Hollywood studios.”

Amazon bought distribution rights to Manchester for $10 million. While the film did not get Best Picture, it did take home the Oscars for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay.

Netflix’s Bigger Bet

Despite Amazon’s awards success, Netflix has been the most active of the SVOD platforms in terms of producing original films. Speaking at the Producers Guild of America’s Produced By Conference in Los Angeles earlier this month, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos drew a reaction from the crowd when he revealed that the service currently has 40 original movies in the works. Some of Netflix’s higher-profile original films include the prison documentary 13th; Brad Pitt’s War Machine, which Netflix paid $60 million for, according to published reports; war drama Beasts of No Nation; Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, which starts shooting this summer; and an eight-movie deal with Adam Sandler.

Okja, which made a stir last month at the Cannes Film Festival, starts streaming on Netflix June 28.

Amazon’s original film ambitions have been more modest. In July 2015, it acquired Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, which debuted in February 2016 as the streaming platform’s first original movie. Early last year, Amazon acquired six films at the Sundance Film Festival. At this year’s Sundance, it shelled out $12 million for distribution rights to rom com The Big Sick.

Hulu, meanwhile, has been producing documentaries for its original films. Those include Becoming Bond, about Australian actor George Lazenby’s unlikely rise to playing James Bond in the 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

None of those three SVOD players would speak for this story.

Amazon and Netflix have emerged as forces at the various film festivals around the world. “Netflix and Amazon are in the movie business,” Assembly Entertainment CEO Christina Wayne said at the recent B&C and Multichannel News Next TV Summit. “They are at the festivals, out-buying everybody.”

Industry insiders mostly see it as a smart strategy. Original productions better define a programmer than acquired ones, they said, and they’re typically cheaper, too. “You make more money when you make your own movie than when you get the rights to a third-party Hollywood movie,” Gunnarsson said. “Those are quite expensive.”

Netflix’s production costs in 2017 are around $6 billion, and Amazon’s $4.5 billion.

Television has started to rival film in terms of prestige in recent years, evident in the many film luminaries working in TV, such as Anthony Hopkins starring in HBO’s West-world and Woody Allen making Crisis in Six Scenes for Amazon. Yet film still offers a certain degree of glamour.

“I think it makes absolute sense,” said Dave Smith, CEO of media consultancy SmithGeiger, of the streamers’ moves into film production. “It’s a brand extension into original programming, and it gets you into film, which is seen as the highest level in the entertainment paradigm.”

It also might mean prestigious film awards, which are good for the brand, Smith added.

Bigger Content, Smaller Screens

SVOD services’ moves into original films come as viewers get more used to consuming longer-form content on smaller screens. Long-form content — which software company Ooyala defines as more than 20 minutes in length — represents 65% of viewing on computers, up from 35% a year before, and 55% of viewing on smartphones, up from 29% a year before.

The SVOD players have very different approaches to making their film offerings stand out. Amazon appears more willing to have its films offered for traditional theatrical release before they turn up on SVOD, which can mean a mighty marketing push for a film before it ends up on Amazon.

Bob Berney, head of marketing and distribution at Amazon Studios, addressed theater owners at CinemaCon last year, reassuring them the six films it acquired at Sundance would get theatrical releases — and aggressive marketing strategies.

Netflix movies don’t spend as much time on the big screen. War Machine, for one, had a limited theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles. Netflix took some heat at the Cannes Film Festival last month related to theatrical releases. Pedro Almodóvar, head of the festival jury, said Netflix movies that won’t be in theaters should not be eligible to win the Palme d’Or prize. When the Netflix film Okja premiered at Cannes, the Netflix logo on screen at the start of the film got a lusty boo out of the crowd.

But it appears both SVOD players are in the film business for the long term. As Christina Wayne sees it, such platforms are expanding to reflect the public’s love for TV series, talk shows, children’s programming, movies and whatever else they wish to watch. “It’s going to be Netflix and Amazon,” she said, “where we watch every single bit of content.”

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(Source: broadcastingandcable.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

CINEMA RITROVATO 2017: FOCUS ON ROZIER, BARDOT, GODARD, VIGO AND MORE

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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Jacques Rozier was perhaps one of the most emblematic of the Nouvelle Vague directors. Want the Sun(1962) remains his most famous work and it is with this and with the former Blue Jeans (1958) that earns the esteem of Jean-Luc Godard.  Godard is helpful to attend the filming of Contempt during which can devote himself to the realization of two interesting short films, Paparazzi and the parties des choses: Bardot et Godard (1963).

It is curious to read that on the set of the film despite the confidentiality of the place where there is Villa Malaparte, another director, Peter Fleischmann, is filming a short documentary about his meeting with Fritz Lang, also in Capri and called by Godard himself to interpret as he is struggling with a modern version of the Odyssey. A set quite busy as well as the attraction of numerous paparazzi hoping to immortalize Bardot in bikini, these are best sellers shots, but Brigitte “is not kind” with them, with the stern look borrowed from classical statues of dummy Lang film, accuses the intrusiveness of the paparazzi who defend themselves while extolling the dangers of their work and the hours and hours spent in the sun hiding in the rugged rocks of the lush landscape where the villa is situated.

In Paparazzi Godard and local law enforcement protect it from prying eyes peering at a safe distance on an elusive diva at home in the island paradise, the ideal place to put aside the iconic image that Rozier insistently scrolls before our eyes with coated interludes in which alternate, rhythmically-infinite covers on which stands the portrait of a modern woman: “illogical, disarming, mysterious, regal.” These are the words used by Rozier in his The parties des choses: Bardot et Godard, another short film shot in Capri in which the director does not dwell exclusively on hunting prey until the last BB, a magnificent shot. The attention now moves to the whole team, probing Godard’s method, “the party of things” or how the director benefits from the elements of the surrounding reality that often interfere in the working of Contempt, a vision of ever default creative process but continually changing. Rozier focuses on the evolution of a product film without diminishing its artistic value, long-awaited and discussed, which stars Brigitte Bardot and Jean Luc Godard, two interpreters, paradoxically at odds, in contemporary cinema.

Jacques Rozier with Jean Vigo , created in 1964 for the television episode Cinéastes de notre temps, sheds light on the short but intense work of another filmmaker through the testimony of its employees, in contrast to the two previous works on Contempt, here the documentary is part of the canonical forms, the originality of the work is inherent nell’atipicità of the subject matter. Jean Vigo has no need of engaging the editing rhythms, its irony, particularly scathing in Paparazzi, emerges from interviews, friends and actors, who worked with Vigo and remember that experience with emphasis and transportation. And this is what strikes the viewer, despite the precarious health conditions of the director, the satirical backbone in the way of Nice, which moves Vigo and infects a bit – all being evoked in the story of these unique experiences. Gilles Margaritis stated: “All those who worked with Vigo Vigo had something,” as if to underline the common feeling of the crew, a shared sense of humor which, according to Jean Dasté hung over every disagreement smothering the bud.

This comedy over the top, heir perhaps the famous phrase “Je vous dis merde!” Imprinted from Vigo father on the cover of La Guerre Sociale (shooting in the film Zero for Conduct ), provides, for example, the presence of a real “cats pitcher” on the set of L’Atalante \, a key figure to create havoc on the scene, and writing a humorous song full of puns, deliberately banal, intoned by a street vendor, a necessary choice because of every film requires a catchy tune.

The documentary puts not only into light the playful aspect of the realization of Vigo film, but also the economic and the questionable choices distributors face. It happens to L’Atalante distributed by Gaumont, who decides to change the title of the film on the success of a popular song the Chaland qui passe, sung by Lys Gauty (adaptation of Tell me about love, Mariù ), a controversial and unacceptable commercial choice for Vigo, who on his deathbed has distanced himself from his latest film that he no longer recognizes.

— Cecilia Cristiani

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(Source: ilcinemaritrovato.it)

Cinema Ritrovato 2017: the epic recovery

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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The epic found: projections last night involved, excited, and thrilled the audience in Piazza Maggiore in front of two absolute masterpieces: the Prologue de La Roue Abel Gance (1923), anticipation of the restoration carried out by the Foundation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé that we will see in full in 2019, and perhaps the most famous of the least popular films in cinema history, the battleship Potemkin the master Eisenstein (1925).

It is said that the epic, not only as a narrative way, but above all as an experience, belongs to the time before modernity: those traits of oneness, of wholeness, of poetry which constitute the essential features would be less with the crushing psychic urban life, contemporary, with the isolation of the individual would lose a sense of affiliation to a community.

And if this seems to be confirmed in our contemporary world, where everyone seems to pay attention only to the individual’s own smartphone, however there are (and would say – with a sigh of relief – thankfully) still times when you can gather in front of another screen, the “big” (in every sense) of film and breathe, tremble in his chair, clapping, standing up in front of the magnetic force of images that are sublime precisely because they make each viewer perceives the energetic power that exists outside of himself.

La Roue was previewed in all directions: in addition to acting as an introduction as the prologue of the complex material which constitutes the integral of the restoration corpus (for a total amount of vision 8:00 to 9:00 hours), the musical sound of yesterday night recovered the composition of Arthur Honegger that had not been staged since 1923. the orchestra of the philharmonic of the Bologna municipal Theater accompanied assembly kaleidoscopic filters of red, yellow, blue where unfolds a story of modernity, in which human and mechanical body collide railway accident, in which the tragic faces of women who flee from the rubble will make ghosts coming out of the smoke, only to find themselves permanently de-humanized in the doll with which the little Norma, was orphaned in the accident and taken under the protective wing of the mechanical Sisif, it reproduces, as in a disturbing game, the accident. The Wheel becomes a symbol of collective unity under which one finds these human emotions: tragedy (the wheel of the train that derailed), hope (Sisif is a little sister for her son) and the eternal randomness (as the tableau closing, the wheel, that of life, always runs).

But the event of the evening was undoubtedly the projection of the reference film of the Russian assembly teacher, introduced by a shiny Naum Kleiman, probably the world’s leading expert Eisenstein, founder of Eisenstein Center in Moscow where he was the director until the his dismissal in 2014 by the Putin government. And during the screening has presentificata what Benjamin called Erfahrung , the collective dimension, unique, according to the German philosopher, in order to be considered truly “experience.” We all watched in horror as the worms of rotten meat on the Potemkin, so visually similar to the sailors on either side of the dock looking to get away dall’agguato set for him by the officers. We participated intensely in the uprising and lamented the killing dell’ispiratore of minds. We watched with apprehension and indignation at the massacre of the Odessa staircase, where the attention to detail of the faces, bearers of true humanity, the alternates wildly convulsive movement of the crowd running away, the steps that you are open-air graveyard .

And in the end, when the hammering of syncopated music (composed in 1926 by Edmund Meisel) masterfully performed by the orchestra of Bologna and directed by Helmut Imig in a state of ecstasy dragged the public apprehension about the possible outbreak of a war by sea , here it is, the catharsis: silent scream of “Brothers!” melody relaxes, the red flag stands on the top and the audience bursts into applause pure and spontaneous release, which only the final standing ovation can match.

The power of moving images is also this: can talk, almost a century later, to an audience that needs time, perhaps more than ever, to narrate through a new collective epic.

— Beatrice Seligardi

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(Source: ilcinemaritrovato.it)

THE BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN IN POPULAR CULTURE: THE SCENE OF THE STEPS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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Hard to tell where the original film and begins by Paolo Villaggio travesty that, thanks to the comic film The second tragic Fantozzi (1976) , has made a cult film without the need for it to be seen.
The Battleship Potemkin tells the story of the revolt of the battleship Potemkin sailors of the ship and the subsequent tragic massacre in Odessa. The rebellion reached its most dramatic point in the city staircase scene where the soldiers shoot without mercy on the population, with no distinction between men, women and children. It ‘just that moment to have become iconic, not only for what he represented in film history, but above all for being reviewed by other filmmakers. The high rate of violence and tragedy of the scene, achieved thanks to a direction that does not let up and catapult the viewer into the story, has trained several directors who have not lost an opportunity to pay homage, or parodiarla, in their films.

It is not a coincidence that this is the scene that is made to recreate employed in The second tragic Fantozzi of Luciano Salce. The Fantozzi and colleagues, forced to see once again the Eisenstein film company to film club run by Professor Guidobaldo Riccardelli, driven by the same rebel Fantozzi, in his only moment of personal revenge, shouting proudly the most famous line fantozziana the saga “For me, the Battleship Kotiomkin is a crazy shit!”. Battleship Kotiomkin because in fact the original and Salce rights were granted it created a craft parody and was renamed the name of the film and also the director (who became Sergei M. Einstein). The punishment of the employees of Megaditta for having turned against the power and destroying the copy of the film is “Dantesque” says Fantozzi: recreate the sequence of the steps every Saturday afternoon until retirement age.

While in Italy The battleship has become popular for the irony that it is built around, and around the world, the Eisenstein film has often been lauded by major directors who saw in the Russian filmmaker a model to inspire them. In the film The Prisoner of Amsterdam (1940) by Alfred Hitchcock and I The Godfather (1972) by Francis Ford Coppola is cited the dramatic end of old woman on the steps, struck in the eye by a saber: the glasses are broken, the look of terror and the blood line of the face. This same scene is shot, with a more parodic intent, by Woody Allen, in two films: The Dictator of the Free State of Bananas (1971) and Love and War (1975). Even in the film dystopian Brazil Terry Gilliam (1985) is honored the staircase of Odessa, recovering the movements of the soldiers and the fatal descent of the wheelchair.

The most heartfelt tribute and poetic of the Odessa massacre is surely to Brian De Palma in the gangster film The Untouchables (1987) . In the middle of a shootout, in a wheelchair with a child she begins to roll down the stairs, while the mother desperate moans and the protagonist, played by Kevin Costner, try to save them, avoiding enemies’ bullets. The scene keeps the dramatic atmosphere of the Eisenstein film, but moves at a slower speed, playing more about the pathos and the fate of the child: able to save themselves? Shooting and taken to the extreme, the scene of De Palma was parodied in the movie demented Naked Gun 33 1/3 – The Final Insult (1994) by Peter Segal: wheelchairs become three, with flights hilarious babies at the end of staircase.

Even the latest cinema and mainstream became infected from The Battleship Potemkin : in Star Wars IIIRevenge of the Sith (2005) Anakin Skywalker, now turned to the dark side as Darth Vader, is going to carry out the massacre of young jedi, moving with a deployment of soldiers that resembles that of Soviet Odessa. The special boots leaves no doubt: the massacre in Odessa lives according to the futuristic vision and CGI George Lucas.

— Emanuela Vignudelli , Course of Higher Education Editor media and cross-media, courses Cineteca di Bologna

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(Source: ilcinemaritrovato.it)

Cinema Ritrovato 2017: ‘Battleship Potemkin’ and Edmund Meisel

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Cinema Ritrovato 2017:  Battleship Potemkin and Edmund Meisel

“Consider soundtrack Meisel only in its musical component, it is to misunderstand its purpose. Of course, occasionally there is a musical theme, but this soundtrack can be described perfectly as a comment to the film and at the same time a component thereof, a headset symbolism that harmonizes rhythmically and emotionally with sequences of images that strengthens.”

In describing the soundtrack composed by Edmund Meisel ( Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, love the mountains ) for Battleship Potemkin , William Hunter captures the ultimate meaning of such a pioneering music that, even today, thanks to the surprising its complex essence and its incredible power. The same force with which the symphony of the warship most famous film breaks into a frame with a projection alive and pulsating Piazza Maggiore, live music by the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna conducted by Timothy Brock. An experience that has become reality thanks to the synergy of film historians and commitment stock ranging from Russia to the United States, and Great Britain to Germany, which has the merit of having finally restored the original version of the masterpieceEisenstein and soundtrack Meisel.

It’s been 92 years since its first showing, however Battleship Potemkin is always able to renew the astonishment of those who attend to its staging. Freely inspired by an episode that led to the first Russian Revolution of 1905, the collective drama in five acts of Potemkin winds through the most classic forms – that of tragedy, making those stylistic innovations that decreed – rightly – his elevation to the subject of worship in smoky film clubs of the ’70s. Projections in which mounting of the sights of the Eisenstein film, although stripped of its soundtrack, was gutted in its fundamental components: the worms in the flesh to the wheelchair, to the eye of the mother.

Images – or cinepugni , which have helped to carve in the collective memory for a movie that even the most indifferent, have seen more or less directly: whether the fantozziana average man’s revenge or the lyricism of Ettore Scola We had so beloved . However, it is the theme of the movie, not a hero or a real protagonist, surprises even today with its raw vitality with the recovery of those fundamental values identified that, long ago, had been its another revolution. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

—- Federica Marcucci

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(Sourced from Ilcinemaritrovato.it)

 

 

LOST IN PARIS opens July 7th in Los Angeles and June 16th in New York.

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Filmed in Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon’s signature whimsical style, LOST IN PARIS stars the filmmakers as a small-town Canadian librarian and a strangely seductive, oddly egotistical vagabond. When Fiona’s (Gordon) orderly life is disrupted by a letter of distress from her 88-year-old Aunt Martha (delightfully portrayed by Academy Award®-nominee Emmanuelle Riva) who is living in Paris, Fiona hops on the first plane she can and arrives only to discover that Martha has disappeared. In an avalanche of spectacular disasters, she encounters Dom (Abel), the affable, but annoying tramp who just won’t leave her alone. Replete with the amazing antics and intricately choreographed slapstick that has come to define Abel and Gordon’s work, LOST IN PARIS is a wondrously fun and hectic tale of peculiar people finding love while lost in the City of Lights.

 

 

 

(Source: Press material provided by Dina Makhlouf, Marina Bailey Film Publicity)

 

2017 PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL SHORTFEST ANNOUNCES FESTIVAL WINNERS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

 

Facing Mecca Receives Two Awards Including Best of the Festival;

The Head Vanishes, Dekalb Elementary Receive Top Jury Awards;

Red Light, Coin Operated, Kayayo and Lost Face Receive Audience Awards

PALM SPRINGS, CA (June 25, 2017) –  The 2017 Palm Springs International ShortFest, the largest short film festival and only short film market in North America, announced its Festival award winners on Sunday, June 25, 2017.  338 short films screened throughout the Festival along with more than 4,200 filmmaker submissions available in the film market.  More than $115,000 in prizes, including $20,000 in cash awards were awarded in 21 categories.

Lili-Rodriguez“After spending a week in and out of theaters, and talking with filmmakers and audiences, we close out the festival with such a strong sense of community,” said Festival Director Lili Rodriguez.

“Filmmakers are making movies about the changing world around them. I think our award winners showcase an understanding and compassion for people and it’s a great thing to see.”

The 2017 Palm Springs International ShortFest award winners are:

 

JURY AWARDS

Jury Awards and awards in the non-student and student competition categories were selected by ShortFest jury members David Ansen (film critic/PSIFF Lead Programmer), Lindsey Bahr (Associated Press), Kate Bosworth (actress/producer), Ian Durkin (Vimeo), Sam Lansky (Time Magazine) and Heidi Zwicker (Sundance).

 

BEST OF FESTIVAL AWARD – Winner received $5,000 cash prize courtesy of the Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau.  The winner of this award may be eligible to submit their film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar® consideration.

Facing Mecca (Switzerland), Jan-Eric Mack

Pensioner Roli comes to Fareed’s assistance when the Syrian refugee is faced with a bewildering forest of Swiss bureaucracy before he can bury his Muslim wife.

 

GRAND JURY AWARD – Winner received a $2,000 cash prize.

The Head Vanishes (France/Canada), Franck Dion

Jacqueline, no longer quite in her right mind, still goes on her annual summer trip. This year, she’s followed by some woman who claims to be her daughter.

 

PANAVISION BEST NORTH AMERICAN SHORT – The use of a camera package valued at $60,000 courtesy of Panavision.

Dekalb Elementary (USA), Reed Van Dyk

Inspired by an actual 911 call placed during a school shooting incident in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

 

NON-STUDENT COMPETITION AWARDS

All first place winners in the non-student categories received a cash award of $2,000 and may be eligible to submit their film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Oscar® consideration.

 

BEST AnimatED short

The Head Vanishes (France/Canada), Franck Dion

Jacqueline, no longer quite in her right mind, still goes on her annual summer trip. This year, she’s followed by some woman who claims to be her daughter.

 

BEST Live Action short over 15 minutes

Retouch (Iran), Kaveh Mazaheri

Maryam’s husband does weightlifting at home. When a weight falls on his throat and puts him near death, Maryam makes a decision.

 

BEST Live Action short 15 MINUTES AND UNDER

Great Choice (USA), Robin Comisar

A woman gets stuck in a Red Lobster commercial.

 

BEST Documentary short

Edith + Eddie (USA), Laura Checkoway

Ninety-something Edith and Eddie are America’s oldest interracial newlyweds, whose unusual and idyllic love story is disrupted by a family feud that threatens to tear them apart.

 

STUDENT COMPETITION AWARDS

FUTURE FILMMAKER AWARD – Winner received a $2,000 cash prize.

Where You Found Refuge (France), Guillaume Legrand

After Didier finds his daughter living in a cult, he decides to bring her home by force.

 

Special Mention: Fry Day (USA), Laura Moss

An adolescent girl comes of age against the  backdrop of serial killer Ted Bundy’s execution in 1989.

 

All first place winners in these categories received a $500 cash prize.

 

BEST STUDENT ANIMATION

Sog (Germany), Jonatan Schwenk

After a flood, the fish are stuck in trees, in danger of drying out. They scream sharply, disturbing the inhabitants of a nearby cave.

 

BEST STUDENT Live Action short over 15 minutes

Facing Mecca (Switzerland), Jan-Eric Mack

Pensioner Roli comes to Fareed’s assistance when the Syrian refugee is faced with a bewildering forest of Swiss bureaucracy before he can bury his Muslim wife.

 

BEST STUDENT Live Action short 15 MINUTES AND UNDER

Iron Hands (USA/China), Johnson Cheng

A 12-year old girl tries out for the traditionally all-boys’ Chinese youth Olympic weightlifting team. And makes an unlikely connection with the weightlifting gym’s reclusive groundskeeper.

 

BEST STUDENT DOCUMENTARY short

Searching for Wives (Singapore), Zuki Juno Tobgye

Male migrant workers from South India living in Singapore send photos back home in the hope of finding suitable and willing marriage partners.

 

Special Jury Mention: I Made You, I Kill You (Romania/France), Alexandru Petru Badelita

In a remarkable cinematic diary, by turns touching and disturbing, Badelita looks back at his traumatic childhood growing up in rural Romania.

 

AUDIENCE AWARDS

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT

Red Light (Bulgaria/Croatia), Toma Waszarow

A bus stops at a village’s only intersection, where the traffic light is stuck on red. The driver refuses to move forward

 

BEST ANIMATION SHORT

Coin Operated (USA), Nicholas Arioli

Seventy years pass in the life of one naïve explorer.

 
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Kayayo (Norway), Mari Bakke Riise

Elementary-school-age Bamunu works as a kayayo (a living shopping cart) at the markets in Accra thousands of miles from her village.

 

SHORTFEST ONLINE AUDIENCE AWARD

Lost Face (Australia/Canada), Sean Meehan

Based on a classic story by Jack London set in mid-1800s Alaska, a man makes a deal with a native chief in hopes to save his life.

 

ADDITIONAL PRIZES

ALEXIS AWARD FOR BEST EMERGING STUDENT FILMMAKER – The Alexis Award is selected by the Festival’s programming team and was created in honor of Alexis Echavarria, whose talent as a budding filmmaker and gift for inspiring excellence among his fellow students were cut short suddenly in 2005 at age 16.  The recipient received Final Cut Pro X courtesy of Apple.

Chebet (Kenya/USA), Tony Koros

A pregnant woman in the Kenyan highlands decides to take drastic action when she finds her husband passed out in front of their house yet again.

 

HP BRIDGING THE BORDERS AWARD PRESENTED BY CINEMA WITHOUT BORDERS – The award goes to a film that is most successful in bringing and connecting the people of our world closer together. The winner received an HP ZBook 17 Mobile Workstation valued at $3,000.

Pantheon (France), Ange-Régis Hounkpatin

Son of a Beninese immigrant, cut off from his roots, Solomon is about to donate his deceased father’s Voodoo costume to a museum when a young street-dancer reminds him of the ancestral soul.

 

YOUTH JURY AWARD – The winner received a $500 cash prize.  

Everybody Else is Taken (New Zealand), Jessica Grace Smith

Meet Mika, a girl who refuses to let her gender define her place in one of the harshest environments on Earth-the play-ground.

 

 

About Palm Springs International ShortFest

Designated by AMPAS, BAFTA and BIFA as an award-qualifying festival, and accredited by the International Short Film Conference, the Palm Springs International ShortFest & Short Film Market, one of the most acclaimed short film showcases in the world, will take place in Palm Springs on June 20-26.  Now in its 23rd year, ShortFest will showcase 338 short films from 60 countries. The concurrent Short Film Market, the only one in North America, will feature a library of more than 4,200 films available to film buyers, industry and press.  The ShortFest Forum programs are a four-day schedule of seminars, panel discussions, roundtables and master classes staged free of charge for attending filmmakers.

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The Palm Springs International Film Festival will be held January 4-15, 2018 and the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala will be held January 2, 2018.

(Source: Press release provided by Nikki Croney, BWR)

28th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival - After Party
PALM SPRINGS, CA – JANUARY 02: A general view of atmosphere at the after party for the 28th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Awards Gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center on January 2, 2017 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Palm Springs International Film Festival)

 

LA FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES WINNERS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

LA FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES WINNERS

AND THANKS ITS GENEROUS SPONSORS

LOS ANGELES (June 22, 2017) – Today the LA Film Festival, produced by Film Independent, announced the winners of the 2017 Festival at the Awards Reception presided over by Festival Director Jennifer Cochis and Film Independent President Josh Welsh. The Festival’s juried awards include the U.S. Fiction Award, U.S. Fiction Cinematography Award presented by Aputure, World Fiction Award, Documentary Award, LA Muse Awards, and Nightfall Award, as well as the Short Fiction Award and the Short Documentary Award. Audience awards are presented for Fiction Feature Film, Documentary Feature Film, Short Film and Web Series. Festival Guest Director Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl, Beatriz at Dinner) was awarded the Spirit of Independence Award at the event for his work advancing the cause of independent film and championing creative freedom.  Film Independent President Josh Welsh also took the opportunity to thank the more than 60 generous sponsors, funders and media partners without whom the Festival would not be possible.

 

“This year the LA Film Festival stretched all across our city, from downtown to the beach,” said Festival Director Jennifer Cochis. “We’re so grateful to the film lovers who packed our theaters in support of our storytellers. Today we celebrate the winners of the LA Film Festival Awards!”

 

“Producing the LA Film Festival is a huge undertaking, with filmmakers from all across the globe, venues all across the city, and hundreds of volunteers helping us pull it off,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “We truly could not do it without the extremely generous support of our many sponsors.”

 

The U.S. Fiction Award went to Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and Daniel Powell for Becks, which made its World Premiere at the Festival. The U.S. Fiction Cinematography Award presented by Aputure went to cinematographers Christian Sorensen Hansen and Pete Ohs for Everything Beautiful is Far Away, which made its World Premiere at the Festival. Jury Members: Duncan Birmingham, Riley Stearns and Emily Ting.

 

The World Fiction Award went to Diego Ros for The Night Guard (El Vigilante), which made its North American Premiere at the Festival. Jury Members: Caroline Graham, Lincoln Jones and Javier Fuentes-León.

 

The Documentary Award went to Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp for Liyana, which made its World Premiere at the Festival. Jury Members: Katherine Fairfax-Wright, Paul Federbush and Matt Holzman.

 

The LA Muse Awards were given to two films, one fiction and one documentary. The LA Muse Documentary Award went to Mark Hayes for Skid Row Marathon, which made its World Premiere at the Festival. The LA Muse Fiction Award went to Savannah Bloch for And Then There Was Eve, which made its World Premiere at the Festival.  Jury Members: Susan Burke, Juan Iglesias and Kimrie Lewis-Davis.

 

The Nightfall Award went to Amanda Evans for Serpent, which made its World Premiere at the Festival. Jury Members: Jimmy Tsai, Clarke Wolfe and Andrew Curry.

 

The Award for Short Fiction went to A Funeral for Lightning, directed by Emily Kai Bock. The Award for Short Documentary went to Black America Again, directed by Bradford Young. Jury Members: Kim Adelman, Jonni Cheatwood and Naomi Ladizinsky.

 

The Audience Award for Documentary Feature Film was given to Skid Row Marathon, directed by Mark Hayes.

 

The Audience Award for Fiction Feature Film went to The Keeping Hours, directed by Karen Moncrieff.

 

The Audience Award for Short Film went to Swim directed by Mari Walker.  The Audience Award for Web Series went to High & Mighty, directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada.

 

Announced earlier were the winners of The Danny Elfman Project: Rabbit and Rogue competition:

13, Justine Quinones

The Bridge, Matt Eckholm

Dandelion, Catherine Fauteux

A Day for Manuel, JB Minerva

Gamelan, Cornelia Nicolăeasa

A Glory Sewn, Travis Dixon

Lakesong, Douglas Gibbens & Konstantina Mantelos

Natural Promotion, Sean Oliver

Urge, Pieter Coudyzer

 

Elfman offered free licenses of his Rabbit and Rogue album to filmmakers on indi.com as the catalyst and soundtracks to their short films.  The winning films screened at the Festival. The jury was comprised of Gus Van Sant, McG, Rob Minkoff, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Paul Haggis and Suzanne Todd.

 

The LA Film Festival kicked off on Wednesday, June 14 with the World Premiere of Colin Trevorrow’s The Book of Henry and will close later today with the LA Premiere of Matt Spicer’s Ingrid Goes West. Special Screenings included Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, Ric Roman Waugh’s Shot Caller, Dave McCary’s Brigsby Bear and featured conversations with Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein of Portlandia, Ava DuVernay, Amanda Marsalis, DeMane Davis, Kat Candler and Cheryl Dunye of Queen Sugar to list but a few of the events this year. The Festival also celebrated producer Nina Yang Bongiovi (Roxanne Roxanne, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, Fruitvale Station, Dope) at the Women Who Lead Luncheon.

 

The Festival’s five competitions featured 37 World Premieres, 2 International Premieres and 9 North American Premieres. Across the competition categories 42% of the films are directed by women and 40% are directed by people of color.

 

Awards were given out in the following categories:

 

U.S. Fiction Award
Winner: Becks, directed by Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and Daniel Powell

Screenwriter: Elizabeth Rohrbaugh, Daniel Powell, Rebecca Drysdale

Producer: Alex Bach, Elizabeth Rohrbaugh, Daniel Powell
Cast: Lena Hall, Mena Suvari, Christine Lahti, Dan Fogler, Rebecca Drysdale, Hayley Kiyoko, Michael Zegen

Film Description: After a crushing breakup, an aimless singer-songwriter moves in with her ultra-Catholic mother and strikes up an unexpected friendship with the wife of an old nemesis. World Premiere

 

U.S. Fiction Cinematography Award presented by Aputure

Winner: Everything Beautiful is Far Away, cinematography by Christian Sorensen Hansen and Pete Ohs
Directors: Pete Ohs and Andrea Sisson

Country: USA

Screenwriter: Pete Ohs

Producer: Saul Germaine, Andrea Sisson, Pete Ohs
Cast: Julia Garner, Joseph Cross, C.S. Lee

Film Description: This arthouse science fiction fable is set on an isolated desert planet, where a man who is looking for parts to repair his robotic companion teams up with a young woman who is searching for an imaginary lake. World Premiere

 

Aputure is a company that believes creators should never have to compromise their vision because of a budget. Offering professional-grade equipment affordable to filmmakers everywhere, Aputure sells in over 100 countries offering filmmakers and photographers LED lights, monitors, microphones and lens adapters. In partnering with the LA Film Festival to present the Aputure Cinematography Award, they are awarding $4,000 in lighting equipment to the winning film’s director of photography.

 

 

The U.S. Fiction Jury awarded the following special mentions:

 

Special Mention for Breakout Performance: Auden Thornton of Beauty Mark

Country: USA

Director: Harris Doran

Screenwriter: Harris Doran

Producer: Harris Doran, Penny Edmiston, Gill Holland, Kiley Lane Parker, Bridget Berger, Corey Moosa

Cast: Auden Thornton, Catherine Curtin, Laura Bell Bundy, Jeff Kober, Madison Iseman, Deirdre Lovejoy

Film Description: Inspired by true events, when a poverty-stricken young mother and her three-year-old son are evicted, she turns to the only person she knows with any money – the man who abused her as a child. World Premiere

 

Special Mention for Directing: Bruce Thierry Cheung of Don’t Come Back from the Moon

Country: USA

Screenwriter: Bruce Thierry Cheung, Dean Bakopoulos

Producer: Jay Davis, Lauren Hoekstra

Cast: Jeffrey Wahlberg, Zackary Arthur, Alyssa Elle Steinacker, Cheyenne Haynes, James Franco, Rashida Jones

Film Description: The men of a small town on the edge of nowhere mysteriously disappear, one by one, leaving women and children behind to fend for themselves in a desolate and dreamlike world. World Premiere

 

****

World Fiction Award
Winner: The Night Guard (El Vigilante), directed by Diego Ros
Country: Mexico

Screenwriter: Diego Ros

Producer: Diego Ros
Cast: Leonardo Alonso, Ari Gallegos, Lilia Mendoza, Héctor Holten

Film Description: A security guard at a construction site learns about a crime that took place the night before and becomes entangled in a series of mysterious events that unravel over the course of a single night. North American Premiere

 

The World Fiction Jury awarded the following special mention:

 

Special Mention for Excellence in Storytelling: On the Beach at Night Alone (Bamui Hae-Byun-Eoseo Honja), directed by Hong Sangsoo

Country: South Korea

Screenwriter: Hong Sangsoo

Producer: Hong Sangsoo

Cast: Kim Minhee, Seo Younghwa, Kwon Haehyo, Jung Jaeyoung, Song Seonmi, Moon Sungkeun, Ahn Jaehong, Park Yeaju, Karl Feder, Mark Peranson, Bettina Steinbrügge

Film Description: Younghee is an actress who is stressed by a relationship with a married man in Korea. On the beach she wonders: Is he missing me, like I miss him? North American Premiere

 

****

Documentary Award

Winner: Liyana, directed by Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp
Country: Swaziland / USA / Qatar

Producer: Amanda Kopp, Aaron Kopp, Sakheni Dlamini, Daniel Junge, Davis Coombe
Featuring: Gcina Mhlophe

Film Description: The epic tale of a young Swazi girl on a dangerous quest to save her twin brothers is brought to life with captivating animation from the imaginations of five talented orphan children in Swaziland. World Premiere

 

****

LA Muse Fiction Award
Winner: And Then There Was Eve, directed by Savannah Bloch

Screenwriter: Savannah Bloch, Colette Freedman

Producer: Jen Prince, Jhennifer Webberley
Cast:  Tania Nolan, Rachel Crowl, Mary Holland, Karan Soni, Anne Gee Byrd, John Kassir

Film Description: After the sudden disappearance of her husband, a woman enlists the help of his coworker to fill in the missing pieces. World Premiere

 

LA Muse Documentary Award
Winner: Skid Row Marathon, directed by Mark Hayes

Screenwriter: Mark Hayes

Producer: Gabriele Hayes, Doug Blush
Cast: Judge Craig Mitchell, Ben Shirley, Rafael Cabrera, Rebecca Hayes, David Askew

Film Description: On LA’s Skid Row, a criminal court judge organizes a running club comprised of homeless, recovering and paroled men and women who seek to rediscover their sense of self-worth and dignity. World Premiere

 

The LA Muse Jury awarded the following special mentions:

 

Special Mention for Acting: John Carroll Lynch of Anything

Country: USA

Director: Timothy McNeil

Screenwriter: Timothy McNeil

Producer: Louise Runge, Ofrit Peres, Micah Hauptman

Cast: John Carroll Lynch, Matt Bomer, Maura Tierney, Margot Bingham, Micah Hauptman

Film Description: After the death of his wife, a man moves from Mississippi to a run-down Hollywood apartment, where he meets someone new. World Premiere

 

Special Mention for Excellence in Storytelling: The Classic, directed by Billy McMillin

Country: USA

Screenwriter: Billy McMillin

Producer: Christopher Leggett, Rafael Marmor, Timm Oberwelland, Billy McMillin

Cast: Mario Ramirez, Joseph Silva, Sammy Hernandez, Stevie Williams, Javier Cid, Lorenzo Hernandez, Alfred Robledo

Film Description: Two predominantly Latino high schools square off annually in one of the oldest and most heated football rivalries in the country: the East LA Classic. It doesn’t get more American than this. World Premiere

 

****

Nightfall Award
Winner: Serpent, directed by Amanda Evans

Screenwriter: Amanda Evans

Producer: Greig Buckle
Cast: Sarah Dumont, Tom Ainsley

Film Description: When a young couple take a getaway aimed at reviving their romance, they find themselves trapped in a tent with a venomous snake and a backlog of secrets, and realize that only one of them can make it out alive. World Premiere

 

The Nightfall Jury awarded the following special mention:

 

Special Mention for Acting: Kate Nhung of The Housemaid

Country: USA/Vietnam

Director: Derek Nguyen

Screenwriter: Derek Nguyen

Producer: Timothy Linh Bui

Cast: Nhung Kate, Jean-Michel Richaud, Kim Xuan, Rosie Fellner, Phi Phung, Kien An

Film Description: After an orphaned Vietnamese girl is hired to be a housemaid at a haunted rubber plantation in 1953 French Indochina, she unexpectedly falls in love with the French landowner and awakens the vengeful ghost of his dead wife. North American Premiere

 

****

Award for Short Film
Winner: A Funeral for Lightning, directed by Emily Kai Bock. USA/Canada.
Film Description: Seven months pregnant and stuck in a sleepy corner of Tennessee, a young woman begins to question the promises made by her charismatic husband.

 

The Shorts Jury awarded the following special mentions:

 

Special Mention for Excellence in Storytelling: Balloonfest, directed by Nathan Truesdell. USA

Film Description: Cleveland attempts to overcome its nickname, “The Mistake by the Lake,” by launching a bunch of balloons.

 

****

Award for Documentary Short

Winner: Black America Again, directed by Bradford Young. USA
Film Description: Inspired by Common’s Black America Again, this portrait is a celebration of the beauty, strength, perseverance and spirit of the black community in these troubling times.

****

 

Audience Award for Fiction Feature Film

Winner: The Keeping Hours, directed by Karen Moncrieff
Producers: Jason Blum, John Miranda
Cast: Lee Pace, Carrie Coon, Sander Thomas, Amy Smart, Ana Ortiz, Ray Baker

Film Description: Years after the death of their son and their subsequent estrangement, a couple reunites under supernatural circumstances. World Premiere.

 

This award is given to the fiction feature audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system. Select fiction feature-length films screening in the following sections were eligible for the Audience Award for Best Fiction Feature: U.S. Fiction, World Fiction, LA Muse, Nightfall and Premieres.

 

****

Audience Award for Documentary Feature Film
Winner: Skid Row Marathon, directed by Mark Hayes

Producers: Gabriele Hayes, Doug Blush

Featuring: Judge Craig Mitchell, Ben Shirley, Rafael Cabrera, Rebecca Hayes, David Askew

Film Description: On LA’s Skid Row, a criminal court judge organizes a running club comprised of homeless, recovering and paroled men and women who seek to rediscover their sense of self-worth and dignity. World Premiere

 

This award is given to the documentary feature audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system. Select documentary feature-length films screening in the following sections were eligible for the Audience Award for Documentary Feature: Documentary LA Muse and Premieres.

 

****

Audience Award for Short Film
Winner: Swim, directed by Mari Walker

Country: USA
Film Description: As summer draws to a close, a young trans girl finds freedom in a secret midnight swim.

 

This award is given to the short film audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system. Short films screening in the Shorts Programs or before feature films in the Festival were eligible for the Audience Award for Short Film.

 

****

Audience Award for Web-series
Winner: High & Mighty, directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada

Country: USA

Description: Perpetually stoned, drunk, and unemployed, Chelo Chavez is an unlikely superhero.

 

This award is given to the web-series audiences liked most as voted by a tabulated rating system.

 

In closing out the 2017 edition, the Festival also thanks the many sponsors whose support makes the program possible including Presenting Media Sponsor the Los Angeles Times and Host Venue the ArcLight Cinemas. Platinum Sponsors are Alfa Romeo, American Airlines, EFilm | Company 3, HBO and Marker’s Mark. Supporter Level Sponsors are Classic Party Rentals, Directors Guild of America, Dolby, Focus Features, Kona Productions, Showtime Documentary Films and Smartsource Rentals.

 

Generous support has also been provided by Affiliate Level Sponsors ATK Audiotek,  designer8*, The Culver Studios, IFC, Konsonant Music, Kraft-Engel Management, Ovation TV, SAGindie, Snapsound and Twentieth Century Fox Film. Other sponsors include BMI, ESPN Films, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Ketchum, Twin Cities Film Fest,  USA Network and Writers Guild of America, West.

 

Additional support is provided by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Time Warner Foundation, Lisa Argyros/Argyros Family Foundation, Jason Delane Lee and Yvonne Huff Lee | Lagralane Group, UCLA Latin American Institute, Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles, Employees Community Fund of Boeing California and the Members of Film Independent’s annual giving group, Arts Circle.

 

The Festival also thanks official industry resource IMDbPro, official card Citi, official beer Golden Road Brewing and official water, Essentia Water.

 

Alfa Romeo

Since its foundation in Milan, Italy, in 1910, Alfa Romeo continues to design and craft some of the most stunning and premium vehicles in automotive history, all while building on a racing heritage that includes some of the most talented and storied drivers and victories. www.alfaromeousa.com

 

American Airlines

American is committed to the community in Los Angeles through local partnerships and community projects and, as the preferred airline of the entertainment industry, has formed an advisory council of influencers from leading entertainment corporations to shape future decisions. American offers up to 225 flights per day from LAX to 70 destinations worldwide.

 

EFILM | CO3

Post facilities EFilm | Company 3, part of Deluxe’s creative group of companies, are known for creative color artistry, pioneering technology and global reach. Recent features include blockbusters Beauty & the Beast and Wonder Woman and indies such as The Bachelors, The Book of Henry, A Crooked Somebody and Out of State.

 

HBO

Home Box Office, Inc. is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. and the world’s most successful pay TV service, providing the two television services – HBO® and Cinemax® – to approximately 134 million subscribers worldwide.  The services offer the popular subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand® and Cinemax On Demand®, as well as HBO GO® and MAX GO®, HD feeds and multiplex channels. HBO NOW®, the network’s internet-only premium streaming service, provides audiences with instant access to HBO’s acclaimed programming in the U.S. Internationally, HBO branded television networks, along with the subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand and HBO GO, bring HBO services to over 60 countries.  HBO and Cinemax programming is sold into over 150 countries worldwide.

 

Maker’s Mark

Maker’s Mark® is one of the finest Kentucky Bourbons with a soft, smooth flavor stemming from the use of red winter wheat. Today, Maker’s Mark® makes its bourbon the same way its founder, Bill Samuels, Sr., did over 60 years ago, in small batches by craftsmen who hand-dip each bottle.

 

Essentia Water

We’re here to put a flag in the ground and tell the world that a better you starts with a better water. Supercharged ionized alkaline water, Essentia delivers peak rehydration performance. It’s about drinking up more of life and doing all the things that make you extraordinary. #EssentiaNation

 

Golden Road

Founded in 2011 by beer enthusiast Meg Gill, Golden Road Brewing has since become Los Angeles’ largest craft brewer and is available throughout major markets in the US. Golden Road offers a wide variety of beers created by combining old world brewing standards with California lifestyle inspired innovation and ingredients.

Thank you to WireImage, the Official Photographer of the LA Film Festival. Please visit wireimage.com, the official source for photos.

Additional thanks to media partners Backstage, Deadline Hollywood, The Hollywood Reporter, KCRW 89.9FM, KPFK 90.7FM, LA Metro, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Confidential, Martin Outdoor Media, MovieMaker Magazine, OUTFRONT Media, Time Out Los Angeles, Univision/KLVE, Variety, Variety 411, WireImage and TheWrap.

(Source: Press release provided by Gladys Santos, Ginsburg/Libby)
*Featured photo from You Get Me, directed by Brent Bonacorso

SYDNEY CLOSES WITH A SURREAL SPLASH

Posted by Larry Gleeson

SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED AT CLOSING NIGHT GALA

 

The 64th Sydney Film Festival awarded On Body and Soul, directed by Ildikó Enyedi, the prestigious 10th anniversary Sydney Film Prize, out of a selection of 12 Official Competition films.

Sydney Film Festival 2016

The $60,000 cash prize for ‘audacious, cutting-edge and courageous’ film was awarded to Enyedi at the Festival’s Closing Night Gala awards ceremony and event at the State Theatre, ahead of the Australian premiere screening of Bong Joon-ho’s Okja.

Accepting the award, Enyedi said, “It was such an amazingly strong competition. It’s marvellous that such a film can move so many people, it gives me so much hope in cinema and in human communication.”

Sydney filmmakers Sascha Ettinger Epstein and Claire Haywood were awarded the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary’s $10,000 cash prize for The Pink House, about the last brothel in old mining town Kalgoorlie.

The Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films saw the $7000 cash prize for the Dendy Live Action Short Award going to Adele, directed by Mirene IgwabiSunday Emerson Gullifer was Highly Commended for her short film Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.  And Daniel Agdag’s animation Lost Property Office took out both the $7000 Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director and the $5000 Yoram Gross Animation Award.

The Event Cinemas Australian Short Screenplay Award, a $5,000 prize for the best short screenwriting, was awarded to Michael Cusack, the writer and director of stop motion animation After All.  And the writers of Screenability short film The Milky Pop KidJohanna Garvin and Emily Dash, were Highly Commended.

The $10,000 Sydney-UNESCO City of Film Award, bestowed by Create NSW to a trail-blazing NSW-based screen practitioner, went to Indigenous Australian actor, director and writer Leah Purcell.

Chris Freeland announced he will step down as Sydney Film Festival Chair while remaining on the Board.   Freeland, a Partner of Baker McKenzie and a member of its Asia Pacific Regional Council, chaired the organisation for eight years.  He led an era of expansion as well as industry and public popularity, seeing attendances almost double.

Festival Board Director Deanne Weir was welcomed to the position of Chair. Weir has over 25 years’ experience in media and communications and is Foxtel’s Managing Director, Content Aggregation and Wholesale.  She is also a renowned television producer and philanthropist whose passion is to support the advancement of women in the community.

Sydney Film Festival CEO Leigh Small said, “This year again, the Festival exceeded previous attendance figures – a continuing ten-year trend. There was an average of 72% capacity across all sessions with almost 185,000 attendances. This result marks a fitting end to Chris Freeland’s eight year tenure during which the number of people attending the Sydney Film Festival almost doubled.”

Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley said: “2017 has been a significant year for film and filmmakers.   As the world looks for ways to understand and interpret the momentous events and challenges facing humanity, filmmakers across the globe have risen to the challenge.

“From refugees and the horrors of war, to the state of the world’s oceans,  this program of films – screened to Australian audiences for the first time at the 64th Sydney Film Festival – has provided an opportunity to debate and discuss some of the most pressing and contentious issues of our time.

“With a spotlight on questions of equality in race, sexuality, wealth, accessibility, and many other global conversations, these 12 days have provided a wealth of stories from diverse viewpoints and a moment in time to take stock of who, what and where we are today.

“I congratulate all the winners and all of the finalists, as well as the hundreds of filmmakers who have joined us at the Festival to present their ideas and opinions in films, talks and discussions,” he said.

THE SYDNEY FILM PRIZE

On awarding the Sydney Film Prize to Hungarian filmmaker Ildikó Enyedi’s On Body and Soul, Jury President Margaret Pomeranz said:

“Over the past 12 days we’ve experienced a most extraordinary cinematic journey curated by Sydney Film Festival.

“We’ve seen films about women struggling to find a space for themselves in a world that seems to want to keep them in their place; there have been films about transgressions, from youthful murder to child abuse.

“We’ve seen films about the many faces of sexual desire; we’ve been invited into worlds of wonder we have never experienced and we’ve been exposed to the ugly side of ourselves, through racism, poverty, cruelty and displacement.  And we’ve also been invited into the world of human compassion.

“And that element of compassion is very present in the film we’ve chosen to award the Sydney Film Prize.  It’s a film that shows us that even in this divided world we are capable of sharing the same dreams, that amongst the ugliness of a slaughterhouse, kindness, gentleness can be found,” she said.

“So the Sydney Film Prize goes to the graceful, measured and ever so compassionate On Body and Soul from Hungarian filmmaker Ildikó Enyedi.”

Winner of the Berlinale Golden Bear, On Body and Soul is Enyedi’s visually ravishing return to filmmaking after an 18-year break.  The film is about the unconventional romance between two co-workers who discover that each night they have exactly the same dreams.

The Festival jury was comprised of Australian film critic Margaret Pomeranz, critically acclaimed Nepali director Deepak Rauniyar, former senior film executive of South Korean powerhouse CJ Entertainment Kini Kim, independent Asian-Canadian animator Ann Marie Fleming, and Australian film producer Rosemary Blight of smash-hit The Sapphires and acclaimed television series Cleverman.

Previous winners include: Aquarius (2016), Arabian Nights (2015); Two Days, One Night (2014); Only God Forgives (2013); Alps (2012); A Separation (2011); Heartbeats (2010); Bronson (2009); and Hunger (2008).

The competition is endorsed by FIAPF, the regulating body for international film festivals, and is judged by a jury of five international and Australian filmmakers and industry professionals.

THE DOCUMENTARY AUSTRALIA FOUNDATION AWARD FOR AUSTRALIAN DOCUMENTARY

The Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary was awarded to The Pink House from filmmakers Sascha Ettinger Epstein and Claire Haywood. The Jury comprising award-winning Asian-American filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz, CEO of the Documentary Australia Foundation Dr Mitzi Goldman and Australian based Iranian filmmaker Amin Palangi in a joint statement said:

“Amongst ten noteworthy films, one film enthralled us with its blend of nuanced characters and narrative depth.

“In classic cinema verite fashion, the filmmaker introduces us to two singular women who give her unfettered access to their constantly changing lives, revealing a profound trust between filmmaker and subject that renders this film deeply personal and intimate.

“Through the unflinching gaze of her lens, this filmmaker immerses us in a world that, in less disciplined hands, could very well have been voyeuristic.  Instead we are treated to a film that is handled with affection and grace.”

“We the Jury give the Australian documentary prize to Sasha Ettinger Epstein and Claire Haywood for The Pink House.”

2017 marks the fourth year the prize has been supported by the Foundation.

Previous winners include: In the Shadow of the Hill (2016); Only the Dead (2015); 35 Letters (2014); Buckskin (2013); Killing Anna (2012); Life in Movement (2011); and The Snowman (2010). In 2009 the inaugural prize was shared between Contact and A Good Man, and each film received a $10,000 cash prize.

The 10 finalists for the 2017 Sydney Film Festival Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary are listed HERE.

THE DENDY AWARDS FOR AUSTRALIAN SHORT FILMS

The Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films were awarded to Mirene Igwabi for Adele (Dendy Live Action Short Award), Sunday Emerson Gullifer for Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow (Highly Commended), and Daniel Agdag for Lost Property Office (Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director and Yoram Gross Animation Award). The Jury comprised Canadian filmmaker Kirsten Carthew, former Vice President of Paramount Pictures Mike Selwyn, and Australian film producer Kath Shelper. In a joint statement, the Jury said:

“This year’s Jury was particularly excited by the exceptional talent that continues to emerge from Australia’s animation sector.

“We were captivated by the original and diverse stories and variety of animation techniques presented in both the Dendy Awards and in the rest of the Festival.

Lost Property Office stood out for its direction, storytelling and exquisite visuals that could only have been realised through animation, which was the perfect choice of medium to tell this story.”

The Festival’s short-film competition is now in the 48th year; and has been sponsored by Dendy Cinemas for 29 years. Winners of the Best Live Action Short Film award and the Yoram Gross Animation award, sponsored by Yoram Gross Films, are Academy Award-eligible, opening new pathways for many Australian filmmakers.

These ground-breaking awards have kick-started the careers of many prominent filmmakers, with past competitors Warwick Thornton, Ariel Kleiman, Cate Shortland, Jane Campion, Phillip Noyce and Ivan Sen among Dendy Awards alumni.

The 10 finalists for the 2017 Dendy Award for Australian Short Film are listed HERE.

EVENT CINEMAS AUSTRALIAN SHORT SCREENPLAY AWARD

A jury comprising Canadian filmmaker Kirsten Carthew, former Vice President of Paramount Pictures Mike Selwyn, and Australian film producer Kath Shelper awarded the Event Cinemas Australian Short Screenplay Award to Michael Cusack, the writer and director of stop motion animation After All. Highly Commended the writers of Screenability short film The Milky Pop KidJohanna Garvin and Emily Dash.

Sponsored by Event Cinemas, Anthony Kierann, Area General Manager, Event Cinemas said:

“Event Cinemas is proud to once again sponsor The Event Cinema’s Australian Short Screenplay award.  Events acknowledges and supports the idea, concept and vision of a short film as penned by the writers in this exciting category.

“To be able to participate and support an outstanding written script by an Australian at this iconic film festival, we hope to encourage and support the writer towards inspiring development and achievements in the film landscape. We applaud all the short films within the category as stand out short films from the writers.”

The Australian short films eligible for the 2017 Event Cinemas Australian Short Screenplay Award are listed HERE.

Winners of all Sydney Film Festival awards are presented with the Festival’s signature mesmeric swirl award, designed and handmade in Sydney by Festival partners Dinosaur Designs.

The UNESCO Sydney City Of Film Award

The $10,000 Sydney-UNESCO City of Film Award, bestowed by Create NSW to a trail-blazing NSW-based screen practitioner, went to Indigenous Australian actor, director and writer Leah Purcell.

ABOUT SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL

From Wednesday 7 June to Sunday 18 June 2017, the 64th Sydney Film Festival offers Sydneysiders another exciting season of cinema amidst a whirlwind of premieres, red-carpet openings, in-depth discussions, international guests and more.

Sydney Film Festival also presents an Official Competition of 12 films that vie for the Sydney Film Prize, a highly respected honour that awards a $60,000 cash prize based on the decision of a jury of international and Australian filmmakers and industry professionals. Previous Sydney Film Prize winners: Aquarius (2016); Arabian Nights (2015); Two Days, One Night (2014); Only God Forgives (2013); Alps (2012); A Separation (2011); Heartbeats (2010); Bronson (2009); and Hunger (2008).

The Festival takes place across Greater Sydney: at the State Theatre, Event Cinemas George Street, Dendy Opera Quays, Dendy Newtown, Skyline Drive-In Blacktown, Art Gallery of NSW, Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace Cremorne, Randwick Ritz, Casula Powerhouse, the Festival Hub at Sydney Town Hall and SFF Outdoor Screen in Pitt Street Mall.

The Festival is a major event on the New South Wales cultural calendar and is one of the world’s longest-running film festivals. For more information visit: www.sff.org.au.

The 64th Sydney Film Festival is supported by the NSW Government through Screen NSW and Destination NSW, the Federal Government through Screen Australia and the City of Sydney. The Festival’s Strategic Partner is the NSW Government through Destination NSW.

Sydney Film Festival 2016

(Source: Media release provided by image.net)

 

Audience Award Winners at AFI DOCS 2017

Posted by Larry Gleeson

THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES
AFI DOCS 2017 AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS

Best Feature Goes to STEP
Best Short Goes to FISH STORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — JUNE 19, 2017, WASHINGTON, DCThe American Film Institute has announced the AFI DOCS 2017 Audience Award winners, concluding the five-day festival in Washington, DC, and Silver Spring, MD. This year’s Audience Award for Best Feature went to STEP, directed by Amanda Lipitz. This year’s Audience Award for Best Short went to FISH STORY, directed by Charlie Lyne.

With 112 films from 28 countries, this year’s AFI DOCS presented films and discussions on topics ranging from the environment and sports to politics and art, along with profiles of extraordinary individuals. Among the attendees were filmmakers and notables including Trish Adlesic and Mariska Hargitay (I AM EVIDENCE), Matthew Heineman (CITY OF GHOSTS), Michael Pack (THE FALL OF NEWT GINGRICH), Laura Poitras (AFI DOCS Charles Guggenheim Symposium honoree), Samuel Pollard (ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM), Morgan Spurlock (NO MAN’S LAND, TOUGH GUYS), as well as scientist Bill Nye (BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY) and Owner and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment Ted Leonsis.

This year’s festival was one of spirited audience engagement — with discussion and examination of issues led by some of the nation’s top journalists: ABC News’ Political Director Rick Klein; Climatewire’s Emily Holden and Scott Waldman; CQ Roll Call Deputy Editor Jason Dick; FRONTLINE Executive Producer Raney Aronson-Rath; Governing Magazine’s Mattie Quinn; NPR podcast “Invisibilia” hosts Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin, and “Dispatches” podcast host Morgan Givens; NPR’s “The Big Listen” host Lauren Ober; PBS NewsHour correspondent John Yang; The Undefeated’s Culture Writer Soraya Nadia McDonald and Senior Writer Clinton Yates; Variety’s Senior Editor Ted Johnson; and The Washington Post’s Chief Film Critic Ann Hornaday, Food and Dining Editor Joe Yonan, Opinion Writer Alyssa Rosenberg, National Reporter Wesley Lowery and Style Writer Monica Hesse.

Presented in collaboration with NBCUniversal, the third edition of the AFI DOCS Impact Lab provided participating filmmakers with professional development in preparation for advancing their causes and meetings with policy leaders and advocates.

As part of AFI DOCS 2017, AFI and The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands invited select filmmakers and public policy experts to a roundtable to explore ways documentary film can impact worldwide efforts on behalf of women and girls. The conversation allowed NGO leaders and government officials to interact with content creators to discuss new ways to strengthen narratives that advocate for women and girls.

Six films with AFI Conservatory alumni credits were included in this year’s festival: 32 PILLS: MY SISTER’S SUICIDE, ATOMIC HOMEFRONT, BRIMSTONE & GLORY, CHAVELA, TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON and WHITNEY. “CAN I BE ME”.

MORE ABOUT THE AUDIENCE AWARD-WINNING FILMS:

STEP
Meet the “Lethal Ladies,” the amazing step dance team from the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. Amanda Lipitz’s inspiring portrait will have you cheering as the Ladies attempt to finish first in the city’s dance competition and to become the first women in their families to go to college.

FISH STORY
FISH STORY 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.

AT&T is the presenting sponsor of AFI DOCS 2017. American Airlines returned as the official airline of AFI. Official Sponsors included the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NBCUniversal and VIZIO. Major Sponsors included the CrossCurrents Foundation; CuriosityStream; DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment; Embassy of Canada; Embrey Family Foundation; IMDbPro; Maryland Film Office; Participant Media; and Yorktel.

About the American Film Institute
Celebrating its golden milestone, the American Film Institute began its mission on June 5, 1967 — to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. Established by Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential mandate in the White House Rose Garden, AFI is America’s promise to educate today’s audiences and tomorrow’s artists. The Institute was anchored by a foundation of luminaries from the film community including Gregory Peck as Chair, Sidney Poitier as Vice Chair, George Stevens, Jr., as Director and CEO with board members Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Jack Valenti.

In 1969, AFI opened the Center for Advanced Film Studies, now called the AFI Conservatory, an elite MFA program whose inaugural class included Terrence Malik, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader. The program’s acclaimed film and television alumni include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Julie Dash, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, David Lynch and Robert Richardson, among others.

In addition to the AFI Conservatory, AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding movies and TV series of the year; AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at twitter.com/AmericanFilm, facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, and youtube.com/AFI.

About AFI DOCS
AFI DOCS is the American Film Institute’s annual documentary festival in Washington, DC. Presenting the year’s best documentaries, AFI DOCS is the only festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the heart of our nation’s government. The AFI DOCS advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker, Agnès Varda and Frederick Wiseman. Now in its 15th year, the festival will be held June 14–18, 2017, in landmark Washington, DC, venues and at the historic AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD. Visit AFI.com/AFIDOCS and connect on twitter.com/AFIDOCS, facebook.com/AFIDOCS, youtube.com/AFI and instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

About AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network* and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider.** We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions.

AT&T Products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at facebook.com/att and YouTube at youtube.com/att.

© 2017 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

*Claim based on the Nielsen Certified Data Network Score. Score includes data reported by wireless consumers in the Nielsen Mobile Insights survey, network measurements from Nielsen Mobile Performance and Nielsen Drive Test Benchmarks for Q3+Q4 2016 across 121 markets.

**Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; and voice roaming in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. International service required. Coverage not available in all areas. Coverage may vary per country and be limited/restricted in some countries.

(Sources: Gabrielle Flamand, AFI DOCS PR, gabrielle@prcollaborative.com or Liza Ameen, American Film Institute, lameen@AFI.com.)

 

 

Posted by Larry Gleeson

AFI DOCS WEEKEND HIGHLIGHTS

Programming Includes Spotlight Screenings of DOLORES and WHITNEY. “CAN I BE ME” at the Newseum, and the World Premieres of ATOMIC HOMEFRONT and SAVING BRINTON

Screening of BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY with Bill Nye in Person

Closing Night Screening of YEAR OF THE SCAB  From Director John Dorsey

Washington, DC, Saturday, June 17, 2017 — Weekend highlights include the Spotlight Screenings of DOLORES and WHITNEY. “CAN I BE ME” at the Newseum, and the world premiere of ATOMIC HOMEFRONT (directed by AFI Directing Workshop for Women alumna Rebecca Cammisa, appearing in person).  Bill Nye joins audiences for the screening of BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY.  AFI DOCS concludes the 2017 festival with the Closing Night Screening of YEAR OF THE SCAB, followed by a panel discussion with director John Dorsey.

 WHO: Director Peter Bratt

WHAT:  DOLORES – SPOTLIGHT SCREENING

This film honors activist Dolores Huerta — who fought alongside Cesar Chavez to advance labor and civil rights causes beginning in the 1960s — as she reflects on the accomplishments and sacrifices of her passionate career.

WHERE:  Newseum, Annenberg Theater, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC

WHEN: Saturday, June 17      6:15 p.m.     Screening followed by Panel with director Peter  Bratt moderated by Variety’s Ted Johnson
 

WHO: Director Rudi Dolezal         

WHAT: WHITNEY. “CAN I BE ME” – SPOTLIGHT SCREENING

An intimate portrait of Whitney Houston through those who were closest to her.  This illuminating tale of a pop diva and her tragic trajectory tells the singer’s story from supremely talented teenage gospel singer in her New Jersey church to chart-topping, iconic American chanteuse.

WHERE:  Newseum, Annenberg Theater, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington,DC 

WHEN: Saturday, June 17 9:00 p.m. Screening followed by a panel discussion with director Rudi Dolezal moderated by The Undefeated’s Soraya McDonald.

 

Tickets for select screenings are still available. Order online at AFI.com/AFIDOCS. Same day tickets must be purchased in-person at festival venues: Landmark E Street Cinema, the Newseum and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center.

 

WORLD PREMIERE OF SAVING BRINTON

 

Saturday, June 17 at 4:15 p.m.  SAVING BRINTON at the AFI Silver Theatre 2.  In his position as small-town Iowa historian and collector, Michael Zahs lucked into the acquisition of one of the rarest collections of turn-of-the-century cinema. Now turning his obsession into purpose, Zahs sets out to restore and exhibit his treasure trove of newsreels, home movies and lost films.  Expected guests include directors Tommy Haines, John Richard and Andrew Sherburne, film subject Michael Zahs, producers JT Haines and Trish McDonald, The Library of Congress’ George Willeman and Film Professor Kathy Fuller Seeley.

 

WORLD PREMIERE OF ATOMIC HOMEFRONT

Saturday, June 17 at 7:00 p.m.  ATOMIC HOMEFRONT at Landmark E Street Cinema Theater 1.  A major metropolitan area in the United States lies dangerously close to a large landfill containing radioactive waste — and an escalating underground fire.  As concerned citizens attempt to halt a potential catastrophe, they discover that they may be running out of time to save their homes, health and lives.  Spotlight Screening.  Expected guests include director Rebecca Cammisa.  Q&A moderated by Governing Magazine’s Mattie Quinn.

 

BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY SCREENING WITH BILL NYE

Sunday, June 18 at 5:45 p.m.  BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY at Landmark E Street Cinema Theater 1.  The beloved TV personality finds himself in the fight of his life as he goes up against those seeking to debunk and diminish the scientific principles that he’s spent his entire career teaching.  In an age where science is constantly under attack, can Bill Nye help save the day?  Expected guests include directors David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg, and film subject Bill Nye.  Q&A moderated by Climatewire’s Scott Waldman.

 

YEAR OF THE SCAB CLOSING NIGHT SCREENING

 Sunday, June 18, 7:00 PM followed by a panel discussion with director John Dorsey at the Newseum, Annenberg Theater, 555 Pennsylvania AVE NW, Washington, DC

In September 1987, for the first time in U.S. history, replacement football players took the field amidst a union strike.  Seen as a second chance for these “scab” players, the ’87 season became a memorable one for the Washington Redskins. A don’t miss opportunity to see up front and personal the trials and tribulations of the key persons involved.

 

AFI DOCS FORUM:  DAYS THREE AND DAY FOUR

Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m. and Sunday, 12:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.  Festival filmmakers and industry professionals will meet at the AFI DOCS Festival Hub and the Newseum, for the final two days of the AFI DOCS Forum.  Each day the Forum explores a unique topic with keynote presentations, conversations, panel discussions, VR demonstrations and micro-meetings.  Saturday and Sunday’s AFI DOCS Forum schedule includes:

 

Saturday, June 17, 10:00 a.m.:  Short Order: Making and Distributing Rapid Response Short Docs

Short doesn’t always mean fast in documentary filmmaking, but there are major advantages to making and distributing short docs on a speedy timeline.  This panel of makers and funders addresses a faster approach to shorts, outlines available opportunities for support and explores key partnerships vital to working in this mode.  Panelists include Brandon Kramer (THE MESSY TRUTH), Kate Mclean (GUT HACK, BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY) and Laura Poitras (RISK).  Moderated by Loira Limbal, Vice President, Firelight Media. 

Saturday, June 17, 1:00 p.m.:  In With the New: The Latest Trends in Documentary Distribution
Staying current with the latest distribution trends is critical to filmmakers’ success in reaching audiences and generating revenue.  This panel of industry experts and new players in the distribution space examines the current state of documentary distribution and explains the evolving relationship between theatrical, broadcast and online platforms.  Panelist include Dan O’Meara, Vice President, Special Projects & Documentary, NEON, and Michael Tuckman, Founder, mTuckman Media.  Moderated by Andrea Meditch (THE CAGE FIGHTER).

 

Saturday, June 17, 3:00 p.m.:  VR Exhibition at the Newseum
Immerse yourself in the latest and best in virtual reality (VR) by experiencing our curated selection of amazing and wide-ranging VR documentaries.  VR experiences include:  AFTER SOLITARY, CHASING CORAL: THE VR EXPERIENCE, MELTING ICE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S THE PROTECTORS: WALK IN THE RANGER’S SHOES, OPERATION ASPEN, THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE, UNDER THE CANOPY, UNDERWORLD and WE WHO REMAIN. 

Saturday, June 17, 4:30 p.m.:  No More: How VR is Having Real-World Impact at the Newseum
With lightning speed, VR has emerged as a viable storytelling platform and a major force in documentary. Driving VR’s rise is its huge promise for building stronger empathy in audiences and connecting people to powerful, real-world stories and social issues. This panel will explore how filmmakers and organizations are using VR to change hearts and minds.  Panelists include Cassandra Herrman and Lauren Mucciolo, lead artists (AFTER SOLITARY); Imraan Ismail, lead artist (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICS THE PROTECTORS: WALK IN THE RANGER’S SHOES); Hunter Holcombe, Executive Producer, AJ+; and Will Villota, Vice President of Brand, Conservation International. Moderated by Mitch Gelman, Chief Technology Officer, Newseum.

 

Sunday, June 18, 12:30 p.m.:  Moving the Needle: How Programs for Filmmakers Are Making a Difference in Gender Parity

Talk is cheap, but these organizations are making a difference by putting major support and resources behind women-centered initiatives that are giving women filmmakers real opportunities to bolster their own careers, as well as transform the broader documentary landscape.  Panelists include Claire Aguilar, Director Programming & Policy, International Documentary Association; Lynn Hughes, Co-Chair, Women’s Impact Network, Producers Guild of America; Terry Lawler, Executive Director, New York Women in Film & Video; and Christa Scharfenberg, Head of Studio, Glassbreaker Films, Center for Investigative Reporting.  Moderated by Debra Zimmerman, Executive Director, Women Make Movies.

 

Sunday, June 18, 2:00 p.m.:  Hear Me Now: The Art of Nonfiction Podcasting
This special session illuminates the process of creating nonfiction podcasts.  In part one, panelists, including podcasters and NPR, discuss the unique challenges of podcasting.  In part two, Hanna Rosin and Alix Spiegel, two of the hosts of the hugely popular NPR podcast “Invisibilia,” present a case study from their new season.  Panelists include Morgan Givens, Host, “Dispatches;” Steve Nelson, Director of Programming, NPR; Christa Scharfenberg, Head of Studio, Center for Investigative Reporting; “Invisibilia’s” Hanna Rosin, Liana Simonds and Alix Spiegal.  Moderated by “The Big Listen’s” host Lauren Ober.

 

Sunday, June 18, 4:00 p.m.:  Talking Pictures with Ann Hornaday

In her latest book “Talking Pictures,” The Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday guides us through the craft of movie-making, explaining how to watch and evaluate every piece of the process.  The book reveals how many of the same skills and techniques used to create fiction works are also used in documentaries.  Join Hornaday at the Festival Hub as she talks pictures and signs copies of her new book.
A LOOK BACK AT FRIDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS

 

The Charles Guggenheim Symposium paid tribute to groundbreaking filmmaker Laura Poitras.  The Symposium included an in-depth conversation with Poitras along with clips from her acclaimed works, which include this year’s Julian Assange doc RISK, her Academy Award®-winning Edward Snowden portrait CITIZENFOUR (2014), THE OATH (2010), MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY (2006) and FLAG WARS (2003).

 

The four-day AFI DOCS Forum wrapped its second day Friday in the nation’s capital.  Friday’s Forum focused on the role of truth in storytelling, within a “post-truth” world.  The media’s purpose to educate the public and the expanding roles of journalism and documentary film were also highlighted.
Photos and a recap from the day’s events will be made available for download in the pressroom at afidocspress.afi.com.

 

OTHER SATURDAY EVENTS:

 

11:00 a.m.  ANATOMY OF A MALE BALLET DANCER

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 7

American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Marcelo Gomes recounts a lifelong dedication to his art while sharing stories from his personal life.  The film is an intimate portrait of a man at the top of his game, who knows that his body can only withstand the rigors of the profession for so long.  Expected guests include directors James Pellerito and David Barba.

 

11:00 a.m.  AN INSIGNIFICANT MAN

AFI SILVER THEATRE 3

Hailed as “a real-life HOUSE OF CARDS” and a “non-fiction political thriller,” Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla’s AN INSIGNIFICANT MAN provides an up-close look at the birth of India’s Common Man Party and the rise of its populist leader, Arvind Kejriwal, who boldly challenges government corruption.  Expected guests include director Vinay Shukla.
11:15 a.m.  SCHOOL LIFE

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 7

For nearly five decades, eccentric and brilliant couple Amanda and John have nurtured legions of students through Headfort, Ireland’s last boarding prep school.  Progressive pedagogy plays out in a rambling, old-school institution as beloved by its pupils as by the aging couple contemplating a future away from this place of deep roots.

 

11:15 a.m.  32 PILLS: MY SISTER’S SUICIDE

AFI SILVER THEATRE 2

In December 2008, Ruth Litoff took her own life and left behind a legacy of art, love and tragedy. Years later, her sister Hope undertakes a mission to understand Ruth’s illness and her desire to end her life.  32 PILLS documents Hope’s painful journey and serves as a poignant tribute to her beloved sister. Expected guests include producer Beth Levison.
12:00 p.m.  MUHI – GENERALLY TEMPORARY

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 1

MUHI tells the story of a young boy from Gaza, separated from his family, whose very existence depends on the loving care he receives from an Israeli hospital.  This deeply affecting film makes a compelling case against the border walls that divide families and communities. Expected guests include directors Rina Castelnuovo-Hollander and Tamir Elterman.

 

1:15 p.m.  LA LIBERTAD DEL DIABLO

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 7

In only a decade, Mexico’s drug wars have left more than 100,000 dead and 30,000 missing. Everardo González’s haunting documentary goes beyond the headlines to give a human face to the conflict.  The masked testimonies of both victims and perpetrators offer a powerful and chilling reminder of the systemic violence that has infiltrated Mexican society. Expected guests include director Everardo González.

 

1:30 p.m.  CINE SAO PAULO
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
Once a grand movie palace, the Cine Sao Paulo in Brazil is now crumbled into ruin.  Enter Dom Chico, whose father once owned the theater, as he attempts to restore it to its former glory.  The film is a love letter to both the movies and the dreamers who love them.  Expected guests include director Ricardo Martensen.

 

1:45 p.m.  THE FORCE
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 6
This compelling exposé focuses on the Oakland Police Department as they undergo efforts to reform an agency riven by years of corruption and criminal activity.  This troubling and timely portrait of a police force in crisis won the Best Director Prize at Sundance.  Expected guests include director Peter Nicks.

 

1:45 p.m.  LEANING INTO THE WIND – ANDY GOLDSWORTHY
AFI SILVER THEATRE 2
Thomas Riedelsheimer’s documentary RIVERS AND TIDES (2001) became a box office smash, delighting audiences with its profile of iconoclastic British artist Andy Goldsworthy.  In LEANING INTO THE WIND, Goldsworthy continues his quest to create ephemeral, transformative works of art in unlikely places around the globe.

 

2:30 p.m.  LOOK TO THE RIGHT: A CONVERSATION WITH ANN HORNADAY AND MICHAEL PACK

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 1

In recent years, conservative documentaries have achieved impressive reach with audiences despite being largely absent from the festival, art-house and TV circuits.  Filmmaker Michael Pack (THE FALL OF NEWT GINGRICH) discusses how these films connect with viewers, their impact on politics and the connection between production values and policy.
3:30 p.m.  LA CHANA
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 7
Winner of the Audience Award at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, LA CHANA celebrates the incomparable talent and spirit of Spain’s greatest gypsy flamenco dancer as she reflects on her storied past while preparing for a return to the stage in her 70s.  Expected guests include director Lucija Stojevic.

 

3:45 p.m.  STRONG ISLAND
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
In 1992, Yance Ford’s brother William was shot to death when he confronted a white mechanic about a car repair.  The all-white grand jury chose not to bring charges.  In this searing, deeply moving and personal journey, Ford confronts the truths about what happened and examines the gaping hole that William’s death left in the family.  Expected guests include director Yance Ford.  Q&A moderated by The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery.

 

4:15 p.m.  MAMA COLONEL
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 6
In a country still recovering from the scars of war, the headstrong Colonel Honorine Munyole leads a special police unit in the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo — with the mission to serve and protect the women and children of her country when no one else will.  Spotlight Screening.  Expected guests include director Dieudo Hamadi and film subject Colonel Honorine (schedules permitting).

 

4:30 p.m.  DINA
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 1
The titular heroine of this delightful portrait follows a 49-year-old woman who copes with autism while beginning a fledgling romance with Scott, a Walmart door greeter.  This tender story of overcoming obstacles and finding love won the Grand Jury Prize for documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.  Expected guests include directors Antonio Santini and Daniel Sickles, and film subjects Dina Buno and Scott Levin.
6:00 p.m.  DRIES
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 7
Style icon Iris Apfel calls him a treasure, yet few outside fashion circles know Belgian designer Dries Van Noten’s name.  Director Reiner Holzemer’s visually sumptuous portrait provides behind-the-scenes access to the designer’s stunning sartorial creations, his artistic process and his private world.  Expected guests include director Reiner Holzemer.

 

6:30 p.m.  THE WORK
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
A moving story of redemption and renewal unfolds in this remarkable vérité film that follows a group of “outsiders” into California’s Folsom Prison to join inmates in an intense four-day therapy session.  THE WORK garnered the top documentary prize at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival.  Expected guests include director Jairus McLeary and producer Alice Henty.

 

6:30 p.m.  NOBODY SPEAK: TRIALS OF THE FREE PRESS
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 6
When online gossip rag Gawker published a sex tape involving Hulk Hogan, the former wrestler sued, but who was the mysterious billionaire bankrolling his legal fees?  Using this salacious trial as just one example, NOBODY SPEAK is a cautionary tale about the dangers of the super-rich controlling the message and the media.  Expected guests include director Brian Knappenberger.  Moderated by The Washington Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg.

 

7:00 p.m.  CITY OF GHOSTS
AFI SILVER THEATRE 2
From Matthew Heineman, the Academy Award®-nominated director of CARTEL LAND, comes this harrowing tale of courage under fire that follows the men behind “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently,” a group of heroic citizen journalists who are fiercely determined to bring to light ISIS’ atrocities in their home city of Raqqa, Syria.  Expected guests include director Matthew Heineman.

 

8:30 p.m.  STRAD STYLE
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 7
A chance social media encounter leads a Stradivarius-obsessed, amateur violinmaker living in rural Ohio to mount the seemingly impossible task of crafting an exact replica of one of the classical music world’s most famous violins, Guarneri’s Il Cannone, in time for a famed European virtuoso’s upcoming tour.  Expected guests include director Stefan Avalos.

 

9:00 p.m.  CHAVELA
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 6
The dramatic, soulful interpretations of Mexican lesbian singer Chavela Vargas paved the way for women seeking equality in a traditionally male world.  A renowned nightclub performer reduced to alcoholic impoverishment, Vargas made a triumphant comeback in her 70s that secured her reputation as an artist of uncompromising passion and independence.  Expected guests include directors Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi.

 

9:00 p.m.  A GRAY STATE
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
In 2010, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran turned filmmaker David Crowley began crowdfunding a large-scale action film forewarning of a future America gone police state.  As chronicled here via his obsessive video journaling, he became a rising star among fringe right-wing groups over the next five years, all the while spiraling toward a violent, tragic and inexplicable end.  Expected guests include director Erik Nelson.
9:30 p.m.  BRIMSTONE & GLORY
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 1
BRIMSTONE & GLORY offers a front row seat to the National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico.  With stunning cinematography, dynamic music and little dialogue, this film captures the city’s celebration of the patron saint of fireworks and lets viewers experience sparkle, chaos, flames and brimstone in all their glory.  Expected guests include director Viktor Jakovleski and producer Kellen Quinn.
Preceded by short film:  RIDERS OF THE WELL OF DEATH

9:30 p.m. 
SPETTACOLO
AFI SILVER THEATRE 2
For the past 50 years, the residents of a tiny hilltop hamlet in Tuscany have come together each summer to mount an original play about their own lives in the town’s medieval piazza.  From the filmmakers of MARWENCOL (2010), SPETTACOLO is a delightful portrait of small-town Italian life.
OTHER SUNDAY EVENTS:

 

11:15 a.m.  SPETTACOLO
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 6
For the past 50 years, the residents of a tiny hilltop hamlet in Tuscany have come together each summer to mount an original play about their own lives in the town’s medieval piazza.  From the filmmakers of MARWENCOL (2010), SPETTACOLO is a delightful portrait of small-town Italian life.

 

11:30 a.m.  STRAD STYLE
AFI SILVER THEATRE 2
A chance social media encounter leads a Stradivarius-obsessed, amateur violinmaker living in rural Ohio to mount the seemingly impossible task of crafting an exact replica of one of the classical music world’s most famous violins, Guarneri’s Il Cannone, in time for a famed European virtuoso’s upcoming tour.  Expected guests include director Stefan Avalos.

 

11:30 a.m.  A SUITABLE GIRL
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 7
Tradition, modernity and gender roles converge in this honest portrait of three young women in India as they — and their parents — contemplate their marriage prospects, careers and future happiness.  Expected guests include directors Smriti Mundhra and Sarita Khurana.

11:30 a.m.  DRIES
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
Style icon Iris Apfel calls him a treasure, yet few outside fashion circles know Belgian designer Dries Van Noten’s name.  This artful portrait provides behind-the-scenes access to the designer’s stunning sartorial creations.  Expected guests include director Reiner Holzemer.

12:00 p.m.  THE FARTHEST
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THATER 1
An iconic space mission gets a cinematic treatment worthy of its impact.  Through the most perilous points of the solar system and beyond, this chronicle of NASA’s Voyager program provides an awe-inspiring view of an unparalleled human achievement.  Expected guests include director Emer Reynolds.  Q&A moderated by Dr. Matthew Shindell, Planetary Science and Exploration Curator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

1:45 p.m.  TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 6
TAKE EVERY WAVE tells the incredible story of big-wave surfing pioneer Laird Hamilton.  Filmmaker Rory Kennedy juxtaposes a wealth of archival footage along with a breathtaking view of Hamilton’s current surfing adventures off the island of Kauai.
1:45 p.m.  SHORTS PROGRAM 6: THE UNEXPECTED
AFI SILVER THEATRE 2
Featured films:  BALLOONFEST, FISH STORY, THE FORESHORE, GORAN THE CAMEL MAN, GUT HACK, THE HANGING, and LONG TERM PARKING.  Expected guests include FISH STORY director Charlie Lyne, GUT HACK director Kate McLean, and THE HANGING director Geoffrey Feinberg.
2:00 p.m.  THE OPPOSITION
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 7
In this riveting David-and-Goliath tale, a community of native Papua New Guineans battle developers who try to claim their homeland for a seaside tourist resort.  Expected guests include director Hollie Fifer.

 

2:00 p.m.  STILL TOMORROW
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
A farmer born with cerebral palsy, Yu Xinhua has been called China’s Emily Dickinson.  Her frankly sexual poem “Crossing Half of China to Sleep With You” became an overnight sensation.  Although fame brought her financial independence, Yu struggles to obtain a divorce while yearning for true love.

 

2:30 p.m.  STEP
AFI SILVER THEATRE 1
Meet the “Lethal Ladies,” the amazing step dance team from the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women.  Amanda Lipitz’s inspiring portrait will have you cheering as the Ladies attempt to finish first in the city’s dance competition and to become the first women in their families to go to college.  Expected guests include film subjects Coach G and Paula Dofat.

 

3:00 p.m.  QUEST
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 1
QUEST follows the Raineys, a close-knit, North Philadelphia family as they face innumerable struggles from the 2008 election to today.  The film is a powerful and deeply moving portrait that shows how much can change — and how much can remain the same — over the course of eight years.  Expected guests include director Jon Olshefski, and film subjects The Rainey Family.

 

4:00 p.m.  NEW CHEFS ON THE BLOCK
AFI SILVER THEATER 2
Opening a new restaurant is not for the faint of heart.  Time, money, stress, repeat.   Two DC-area chefs put everything on the line to open two very different establishments — Frank Linn’s Frankly…Pizza! and Aaron Silverman’s Rose’s Luxury.  Spotlight Screening.  Expected guests include director Dustin Harrison-Atlas and film subjects Tim Carman of The Washington Post, Frank Linn and Kate Diamond.

 

4:15 p.m.  SAVING BRINTON
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA 7
In his position as small-town Iowa historian and collector, Michael Zahs lucked into the acquisition of one of the rarest collections of turn-of-the-century cinema.  Now turning his obsession into purpose, Zahs sets out to restore and exhibit his treasure trove of newsreels, home movies and lost films.  Expected guests include directors Tommy Haines, John Richard, and Andrew Sherburne and film subject Michael Zahs.
4:30 p.m.  ANATOMY OF A MALE BALLET DANCER
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
In this intimate portrait of an extraordinary talent, American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Marcelo Gomes is at the top of his game, but knows that his body can only withstand the rigors of the profession for so long.  Expected guests include directors James Pellerito and David Barba.

 

4:45 p.m.  THE PARIS OPERA
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 6
Documenting a season at the Paris Opera — a period set against terror attacks, ballet corps mutiny and a bull preparing for its stage debut — this portrait captures the majesty and chaos of a grand artistic institution.

6:30 p.m.  SCHOOL LIFE
AFI SILVER THEATRE 2
For nearly five decades, eccentric and brilliant couple Amanda and John have nurtured legions of students through Headfort, Ireland’s last boarding prep school.  They contemplate a future away from this rambling and beloved place of deep roots. 

6:45 p.m.  EL MAR LA MAR
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
A poetic and enigmatic work, EL MAR LA MAR captures life and death at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing, pondering the terrain and the stories of the Sonoran Desert to understand the objects and lives left behind.  Expected guests include director J.P. Sniadecki.

6:45 p.m.  CINE SAO PAULO
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 7
Once a grand movie palace, the Cine Sao Paulo in Brazil is now crumbled into ruin. Enter Dom Chico, whose father once owned the theater, as he attempts to restore it to its former glory.  Expected guests include director Ricardo Martensen.


7:30 p.m. 
STRONG ISLAND
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 6
Yance Ford’s searing, deeply moving and personal journey explores the circumstances surrounding his brother William’s 1992 Long Island death by a white mechanic and the deep wounds caused by the incident’s aftermath.  Expected guests include director Yance Ford.


8:30 p.m. 
LEANING INTO THE WIND – ANDY GOLDSWORTHY
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 1
Director Thomas Riedelsheimer reconnects with artist Andy Goldsworthy, subject of his popular documentary RIVERS AND TIDES (2001), who continues his quest to create ephemeral, transformative works of art in unlikely places around the globe.

9:00 p.m.  LA LIBERTAD DEL DIABLO
LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 7
Victims and perpetrators of drug violence in Mexico offer chilling testimonies in this stunning documentary. Their masked recollections are a powerful reminder of the systemic violence that has infiltrated Mexican society.  Expected guests include director Everardo González.

 

9:00 p.m.  BRIMSTONE & GLORY
AFI SILVER THEATRE 2
Bold, booming and beautiful, BRIMSTONE & GLORY transports viewers to Tultepec, Mexico — the country’s pyrotechnic capital — which honors the patron saint of fireworks in an eye-popping annual festival. Expected guests include director Viktor Jakovleski and producer Kellen Quinn.
Preceded by short film:  RIDERS OF THE WELL OF DEATH

 

9:15 p.m.  ATOMIC HOMEFRONT
AFI SILVER THEATRE 3
A large landfill containing both radioactive waste and an underground fire is threatening homes, health and lives in one of our major metropolitan areas. Can a group of concerned citizens prevent a potential catastrophe?  Spotlight Screening.  Expected guests include director Rebecca Cammisa.

 

About the American Film Institute
Celebrating its golden milestone, the American Film Institute began its mission on June 5, 1967 — to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. Established by Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential mandate in the White House Rose Garden, AFI is America’s promise to educate today’s audiences and tomorrow’s artists. The Institute was anchored by a foundation of luminaries from the film community including Gregory Peck as Chair, Sidney Poitier as Vice Chair, George Stevens, Jr., as Director and CEO with board members Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Jack Valenti.

 

In 1969, AFI opened the Center for Advanced Film Studies, now called the AFI Conservatory, an elite MFA program whose inaugural class included Terrence Malik, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader. The program’s acclaimed film and television alumni include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Julie Dash, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, David Lynch and Robert Richardson, among others.

 

In addition to the AFI Conservatory, AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding movies and TV series of the year; AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at twitter.com/AmericanFilm, facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute and youtube.com/AFI.

About AFI DOCS
AFI DOCS is the American Film Institute’s annual documentary festival in Washington, DC.  Presenting the year’s best documentaries, AFI DOCS is the only festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the heart of our nation’s government.  The AFI DOCS advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Rory Kennedy, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker, Agnès Varda and Frederick Wiseman.  Now in its 15th year, the festival will be held June 14–18, 2017, in landmark Washington, DC, venues and at the historic AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD.  Visit AFI.com/AFIDOCS and connect on twitter.com/AFIDOCS, facebook.com/AFIDOCS, youtube.com/AFI and instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network* and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider.** We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions.
AT&T Products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.  Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at facebook.com/att and YouTube at youtube.com/att.

© 2017 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.
*Claim based on the Nielsen Certified Data Network Score. Score includes data reported by wireless consumers in the Nielsen Mobile Insights survey, network measurements from Nielsen Mobile Performance and Nielsen Drive Test Benchmarks for Q3+Q4 2016 across 121 markets.

**Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; and voice roaming in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. International service required. Coverage not available in all areas. Coverage may vary per country and be limited/restricted in some countries.

(Source: Press materials provided by Gabrielle Flamand, AFI DOCS PR, gabrielle@prcollaborative.comand Liza Ameen, American Film Institute, LAmeen@AFI.com)

TODAY AT THE AFI DOCS FORUM

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Saturday, June 17

10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., AFI DOCS Festival Hub at the District Architecture Center (DAC), 421 7th St. NW in Washington, DC.

3:00 p.m. Special VR Program at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW in Washington, DC.

Day Three of the AFI DOCS Forum includes panels on making and distributing short docs on a speedy timeline; VR Exhibition to view the best and latest in virtual reality; and a special VR program at the Newseum on how VR emerged as a powerful storytelling platform in documentary filmmaking.

The Forum will present a variety of networking and professional development events for filmmakers, industry professionals and those with a passion for nonfiction storytelling. Open to all AFI DOCS passholders, each day of the Forum will include breakfast and lunch.

Today’s full schedule is as follows:

9:30 a.m.
Morning Refreshments

10:00 a.m.
Short Order: Making and Distributing Rapid Response Short Docs
Short doesn’t always mean fast in documentary filmmaking, but there are major advantages to making and distributing short docs on a speedy timeline. This panel of makers and funders addresses a faster approach to shorts, outlines available opportunities for support and explores key partnerships vital to working in this mode.

Moderator:

Panelists:

11:30 a.m.
VR Exhibition
View a curated selection of the latest and best in virtual reality (VR).

1:00 p.m.
In With the New: The Latest Trends in Documentary Distribution
Staying current with the latest distribution trends is critical to filmmakers’ success in reaching audiences and generating revenue. This panel of industry experts and new players in the distribution space examines the current state of documentary distribution and explains the evolving relationship between theatrical, broadcast and online platforms.

Moderator:

Panelists:

SPECIAL VR PROGRAM AT THE NEWSEUM
Open to all AFI DOCS Passholders
Use the Newseum’s C Street Entrance at the back of the building.

3:00 p.m.
VR EXHIBITION

4:30 p.m.
Virtual No More: How VR Is Having Real-World Impact
Hosted by the Newseum at the Knight TV Studio, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001.

With lightning speed, VR has emerged as a viable storytelling platform and a major force in documentary. Driving VR’s rise is its huge promise for building stronger empathy in audiences and connecting people to powerful, real-world stories and social issues. This panel will explore how filmmakers and organizations are using VR to change hearts and minds.

Moderator: Mitch Gelman, Chief Technology Officer, Newseum

Panelists:

AFI DOCS FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

AFI DOCS Charles Guggenheim Symposium With Honoree Laura Poitras

Spotlight Screening of AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER at the Newseum and World Premiere of RECRUITING FOR JIHAD

Day Two of the AFI DOCS Forum

 

Washington, DC, Friday, June 16, 2017 — AFI DOCS presents a full schedule of Friday’s events that include the Charles Guggenheim Symposium celebrating Academy Award ®-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras.  The Symposium will include a conversation with Poitras and Director of Ford Foundation’s JustFilms Cara Mertes.  The Newseum will host the Spotlight Screening of AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER, and the extended international version of RECRUITING FOR JIHAD will have its world premiere.  Also, the 2017 AFI DOCS Forum is in its second day at the Festival Hub in the District Architecture Center.  These events and festival screenings further the mission of AFI DOCS: to bring filmmakers, our nation’s leaders and audiences together in the heart of Washington, DC.

 

 

WHO: Poitras, Mertes and AFI President & CEO Bob Gazzale

WHAT: GUGGENHEIM SYMPOSIUM

This year’s Symposium pays tribute to groundbreaking filmmaker Laura Poitras, with clips from her acclaimed works along with an in-depth discussion moderated by Director of Ford Foundation’s JustFilms Cara Mertes.

WHEN: 6:30 p.m.

WHERE:  Newseum, Annenberg Theater, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC

 

 

WHO: Director Jon Shenk and ClimateWire’s Emily Holden

WHAT: AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL:  TRUTH TO POWER – SPOTLIGHT SCREENING

This timely sequel to Academy Award®-winning documentary AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH (2006) takes up with former Vice President Al Gore and his efforts to educate the public — and those in power — about climate change and the crisis facing our planet.

WHEN:  8:30 p.m.     Screening begins

10:10 p.m.   Panel with Shenk moderated by Holden

WHERE:  Newseum, Annenberg Theater, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC

 

Tickets for select screenings are still available. Order online at AFI.com/AFIDOCS. Same day tickets must be purchased in-person at festival venues: Landmark E Street Cinema, the Newseum and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center.

WORLD PREMIERE OF RECRUITING FOR JIHAD’S

EXTENDED INTERNATIONAL VERSION

 

8:45 p.m.  RECRUITING FOR JIHAD at Landmark E Street Cinema Theatre 6.  Journalist Adel Khan Farooq gains unparalleled and unsettling access into the shrouded world of jihadism. He shadows Norwegian Muslim Ubaydullah Hussain — a polarizing figure — as he recruits young converts aiming to travel to Syria and join ISIS.  Farooq casually encounters soon-to-be jihadists as he documents this notorious but largely unknown world.  Expected guests include directors Adel Khan Farooq and Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen.

 

AFI DOCS FORUM:  DAY TWO

10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.  Festival filmmakers and industry professionals will meet at the AFI DOCS Festival Hub at the District Architecture Center (DAC) for day two of the four-day AFI DOCS Forum.  Open to all AFI DOCS passholders, each day of the Forum includes breakfast and lunch. Each day the Forum will explore a unique topic with keynote presentations, conversations, panel discussions and micro-meetings.  Friday’s AFI DOCS Forum schedule, sponsored by Corporation for Public Broadcasting, will include:

 

10:00 a.m.  Truth in Storytelling
How do we engage a post-truth society, with its fake news, hate speech and misleading narratives that further antagonism toward objective, fact-based sources for news and information?  Public media journalists and independent documentary filmmakers participate in a conversation about reporting and nonfiction storytelling in a post-truth world.

 

11:30 a.m.  Documentary Film in Service of a Civil Society

All locally owned and operated, public television stations help citizens and communities understand the issues they face at home and regionally, enabling them to develop solutions based on facts and rooted in community partnerships.  As localism is seen increasingly as a way to bridge the widening partisan divide, representatives of public broadcasters from across the country discuss the role of public media in their communities and the expanding roles of journalism and documentary film in activating civic engagement and creating a more equitable society.

 

2:00 p.m.  Documentary Case Study: GENTLEMEN OF VISION + Nine Network of Public Media (St. Louis, MO)

In 2015, St. Louis independent documentary filmmaker Frank Popper and St. Louis PBS affiliate Nine Network began production on a documentary about the nationally acclaimed, competitive high school step team Gentlemen of Vision (GOV).  Following the team as they strived to win their national competitions, graduate from high school and overcome personal challenges, the documentary emerged from the Nine Network’s work on American Graduate, a national and local initiative to help young people succeed in school and in life — with the goal of increasing the graduation rate nationwide to 90% by the year 2020.

 

Photos and a recap from the day’s events will be made available for download in the pressroom at afidocspress.afi.com.

 

A LOOK BACK AT THURSDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS

Thursday, June 15, AFI DOCS kicked off the four-day AFI DOCS Forum at the District Architecture Center.  Day one of the Forum included filmmaker conversations and presentations on diversity and inclusion in the documentary field.  Thursday’s film programming included the Spotlight Screenings of MOSQUITO and THE REAGAN SHOW, followed by panel discussions at the Newseum.  Mariska Hargitay joined directors Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir for a screening and Q&A of I AM EVIDENCE.  TOUGH GUYS had its world premiere with producer Morgan Spurlock on Thursday at E Street Cinema.

 

OTHER FRIDAY EVENTS:

11:00 a.m.  THE GROWN-UPS

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 7

In Maite Alberdi’s delightful, award-winning portrait, a group of middle-aged adults with Down syndrome attend culinary classes in Chile.  The students navigate life, love and making the perfect pastries, while dreaming of living independently.

 

11:00 a.m.  CHAVELA

AFI SILVER THEATRE 2

The dramatic, soulful interpretations of Mexican lesbian singer Chavela Vargas paved the way for women seeking equality in a traditionally male world.  A renowned nightclub performer reduced to alcoholic impoverishment, Vargas made a triumphant comeback in her 70s that secured her reputation as an artist of uncompromising passion and independence.  Expected guests include director Daresha Kyi.

 

11:15 a.m.  WAITING FOR THE SUN

AFI SILVER THEATRE 3

China has the largest number of prisoners on death row worldwide. The children of the condemned face social stigma and few options.  Enter Grandma Zheng, a former prison guard who, via her orphanage Sun Valley, provides housing, education and a second chance for a normal life.

 

11:30 a.m.  SHORTS PROGRAM 2:  GREAT LOVES

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 6

Featured films:  BALANCÉ, CUCLI, HAVANA HOUSE, LADY EVA, LIFE, DEATH AND CHEERLEADING and THE TABLES.  Expected guests include HAVANA HOUSE director Gaspar González, LADY EVA director Dean Hamer, LIFE, DEATH AND CHEERLEADING director Claire Tailyour and THE TABLES director Jon Bunning.

 

1:00 p.m.  TROPHY

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 7

As man forces more animals to the edge of extinction, the search for how to save them has become only more complex.  TROPHY is a dark journey into the global commodification of big game animals in Africa and the consequences that result.  Expected guests include directors Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau.

 

1:30 p.m.  NOWHERE TO HIDE

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 1

A hospital worker films life in central Iraq’s “triangle of death” after American forces leave in 2011, capturing unforgettable images of his family’s survival and providing a brave view of a chaotic and brutal war zone.  Expected guests include director Zaradasht Ahmed and producer Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas.

 

1:30 p.m.  NO MAN’S LAND

AFI SILVER THEATRE 2

In 2016, a well-armed band of anti-government militants took control of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.  NO MAN’S LAND is the riveting account of the siege that followed and its aftermath.  Expected guests include director David Byars.

 

1:45 p.m.  SHORTS PROGRAM 3: CLOSE TIES

AFI SILVER THEATRE 3

Featured films:  ALL GOOD THINGS, CLOSE TIES, EDITH+EDDIE and HOW THE AIR FEELS.  Expected guests include EDITH + EDDIE director Laura Checkoway and HOW THE AIR FEELS director Khaula Malik.

 

2:15 p.m.  SHORTS PROGRAM 7:  WORLD VIEWS      

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATER 6

Featured films:  ELECTION, HOMELAND, MONUMENT I MONUMENTO, MY DAUGHTER NORA, PICKET LINE and THE PRICE OF CERTAINTY.  Expected guests include THE PRICE OF CERTAINTY director Daniele Anastasion.

 

3:45 p.m.  UNREST

AFI SILVER THEATRE 2

When a mysterious illness robs newlywed and Harvard grad student Jennifer Brea of the life she dreamed of living, she reaches out to others grappling with a little-understood disease that primarily afflicts women.

 

4:00 p.m.  GENTLEMEN OF VISION

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 7

Produced by St. Louis PBS affiliate Nine Network, GENTLEMEN OF VISION profiles the struggles and triumphs shared by a competitive high school step team and their determined coach as they prepare for a key competition.  Expected guests include directors Jim Kirchherr and Frank Popper, and film subjects Amy Shaw and Marlon Wharton.

 

4:00 p.m.  NEW CHEFS ON THE BLOCK

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 1

Opening a new restaurant is not for the faint of heart.  Time, money, stress, repeat.  Two DC-area chefs put everything on the line to open two very different establishments — Frank Linn’s Frankly…Pizza! and Aaron Silverman’s Rose’s Luxury (Bon Appetit’s “Best New Restaurant in America” in 2014).  Expected guests include director Dustin Harrison-Atlas, film subjects Frank Linn and Kate Diamond, and The Washington Post’s Tim Carman.  Q&A moderated by The Washington Post’s Joe Yonan.

 

4:15 p.m.  A GREEK WINTER

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 6

In the wake of the Greek debt crisis, a spirited brother and sister from Thessaloniki must face the impossible choice of keeping their small family business afloat or helping neighbors in need.  Expected guests include director Ingeborg Jansen.

 

4:15 p.m.  THE CAGE FIGHTER

AFI SILVER THEATRE 3

In this unflinching and up-close portrait, a 40-year-old blue-collar dad is caught between his desire to make a comeback in mixed martial arts, and his family, who abhors his brutal hobby.  Expected guests include sound engineer Frank Scheuring.

 

6:00 p.m.  32 PILLS: MY SISTER’S SUICIDE

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 7

In December 2008, Ruth Litoff took her own life and left behind a legacy of art, love and tragedy.  Years later, her sister Hope undertakes a mission to understand Ruth’s illness and her desire to end her life.  Expected guests include director Hope Litoff and producer Beth Levison.

 

6:15 p.m.  CITY OF GHOSTS

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 6

The latest film from Matthew Heineman (CARTEL LAND) is a harrowing and inspirational portrait of the men behind “Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently,” a group of heroic citizen journalists who are courageously fighting to bring to light ISIS’ atrocities in their hometown.  Expected guests include director Matthew Heineman and moderator Jason Dick from CQ Roll Call.

 

6:15 p.m.  DINA

AFI SILVER THEATRE 2

This tender story of overcoming obstacles and finding love follows a 49-year-old woman coping with autism and a fledgling romance with Scott, a Walmart door greeter.  DINA garnered the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.  Expected guests include directors Antonio Santini and Daniel Sickles, as well as the film subjects Dina Buno and Scott Levin.

 

6:30 p.m.  RUMBLE

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 1

RUMBLE celebrates the unsung Native American and First Nation musicians who helped shape rock and roll in this rollicking and thoughtful film about the rarely acknowledged Indian role in the history of North American music.  Featuring interviews with George Clinton, Martin Scorsese, Buffy Sainte-Marie and many more.  Spotlight Screening.  Expected guests include director Catherine Bainbridge and producers Ernest Webb and Tim Johnson.

 

6:30 p.m.  THE GIRL DOWN LOCH ÄNZI

AFI SILVER THEATRE 3

Juggling the awkwardness of adolescence and the magnetism of a local legend, a 12-year-old girl navigates life on a Swiss family farm and dreams of searching a gorge for the titular mythological girl.

 

8:15 p.m.  DONKEYOTE

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 7

Chico Pereira’s portrait of a 73-year-old Spaniard planning a quixotic trip to the U.S. to walk the Trail of Tears with his beloved dog and donkey shows how the journey can be even richer than the destination.

 

8:45 p.m.  QUEST

AFI SILVER THEATRE 2

Following a close-knit family in Philadelphia’s inner city as they face innumerable struggles from the 2008 election to today, QUEST shows how much can change — and how much can remain the same — over the course of eight years.  Expected guests include director Jon Olshefski and the film’s subjects, the Rainey family.

 

9:00 p.m.  A SUITABLE GIRL

AFI SILVER THEATRE 3

Tradition, modernity and gender roles converge in this honest portrait of three young women in India as they — and their parents — contemplate their marriage prospects, careers and future happiness.  Expected guests include directors Smriti Mundhra and Sarita Khurana.

 

9:15 p.m.  FOR AHKEEM

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 1

Behind the racially charged headlines of Ferguson, MO, is 17-year-old Daje “Boonie” Shelton, a young woman from North St. Louis struggling to make it to graduation after an unexpected pregnancy.  Expected guests include directors Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest.

 

About the American Film Institute

Celebrating its golden milestone, the American Film Institute began its mission on June 5, 1967 — to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. Established by Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential mandate in the White House Rose Garden, AFI is America’s promise to educate today’s audiences and tomorrow’s artists. The Institute was anchored by a foundation of luminaries from the film community including Gregory Peck as Chair, Sidney Poitier as Vice Chair, George Stevens, Jr., as Director and CEO with board members Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Jack Valenti.

 

In 1969, AFI opened the Center for Advanced Film Studies, now called the AFI Conservatory, an elite MFA program whose inaugural class included Terrence Malik, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader. The program’s acclaimed film and television alumni include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Julie Dash, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, David Lynch and Robert Richardson, among others.

 

In addition to the AFI Conservatory, AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding movies and TV series of the year; AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center.  For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at twitter.com/AmericanFilm,
facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute, instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute and youtube.com/AFI.

 

About AFI DOCS

AFI DOCS is the American Film Institute’s annual documentary festival in Washington, DC.  Presenting the year’s best documentaries, AFI DOCS is the only festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the heart of our nation’s government.  The AFI DOCS advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Rory Kennedy, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker, Agnès Varda and Frederick Wiseman.  Now in its 15th year, the festival will be held June 14–18, 2017, in landmark Washington, DC, venues and at the historic AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD.  Visit AFI.com/AFIDOCS and connect on twitter.com/AFIDOCS, facebook.com/AFIDOCS, youtube.com/AFI and instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network* and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider.** We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions.
AT&T Products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.  Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at facebook.com/att and YouTube at youtube.com/att.

 

© 2017 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.
*Claim based on the Nielsen Certified Data Network Score. Score includes data reported by wireless consumers in the Nielsen Mobile Insights survey, network measurements from Nielsen Mobile Performance and Nielsen Drive Test Benchmarks for Q3+Q4 2016 across 121 markets.

**Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; and voice roaming in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. International service required. Coverage not available in all areas. Coverage may vary per country and be limited/restricted in some countries.

(Source: Press materials provided by Gabrielle Flamand, AFI DOCS PR, 202.339.9598 or gabrielle@prcollaborative.com and Liza Ameen, American Film Institute, 323.856.7885 or LAmeen@AFI.com)

 

 

 

AFI DOCS THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Programming Includes Spotlight Screenings of MOSQUITO and THE REAGAN SHOW at the Newseum

Screening of I AM EVIDENCE with Mariska Hargitay and World Premiere of TOUGH GUYS

Day One of the AFI DOCS Forum

Washington, DC, Thursday, June 15, 2017 — AFI DOCS presents a full schedule of Thursday’s events including the Spotlight Screenings of MOSQUITO and THE REAGAN SHOW at the Newseum.  Mariska Hargitay will join audiences for a Q&A of I AM EVIDENCE and TOUGH GUYS has its world premiere.  The 2017 AFI DOCS Forum kicks off at the Festival Hub in the District Architecture Center.  These events and festival screenings further the mission of AFI DOCS: to bring filmmakers, our nation’s leaders and audiences together in the heart of Washington, DC.

 

 

WHO:          Director Su Rynard and film subjects including former CDC Director Thomas

Frieden, MD; MalariaWorld’s Bart Knols, PhD; and South Miami Mayor Philip

Stoddard, PhD.

WHAT:      MOSQUITO – SPOTLIGHT SCREENING

MOSQUITO is an urgent exposé on humankind’s millennia-long war against one of the biggest threats to the survival of our species, and on the efforts of scientists to keep this deadly menace at bay.

WHERE:      Newseum, Annenberg Theater, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 

WHEN:       6:30 PM

 

 

WHO:          Director Sierra Pettengill

WHAT:      THE REAGAN SHOW – SPOTLIGHT SCREENING

Ronald Reagan brought a host of Hollywood savvy to the White House, with his team making unprecedented use of staged moments to inform popular opinion.  Whether riding horses or grappling with Gorbachev, his administration crafted the story.

WHERE:      Newseum, Annenberg Theater, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC

WHEN:       8:45 PM

Tickets for select screenings are still available. Order online at AFI.com/AFIDOCS. Same day tickets must be purchased in-person at festival venues: Landmark E Street Cinema, the Newseum and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center.

I AM EVIDENCE SCREENING WITH MARISKA HARGITAY

6:00 p.m.  I AM EVIDENCE at Landmark E Street Cinema Theatre 3.  Thousands of untested sexual assault evidence kits are languishing in storage facilities across the U.S. — and law enforcement inaction means serial perpetrators are at liberty to strike again.  This urgent and eye-opening film investigates the backlog through the intertwined stories of four victims and those leading the fight for justice.  Introduction and Q&A with producer Mariska Hargitay, directors Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir, and moderated by The Washington Post’s Monica Hesse.

 

WORLD PREMIERE OF TOUGH GUYS

8:30 p.m.  TOUGH GUYS at Landmark E Street Cinema Theatre 1.  Told through the colorful stories of scrappy brawlers and amateur promoters, TOUGH GUYS brings to life the birth of mixed martial arts competitions in 1980s Pittsburgh.  Spotlight Screening.  Expected guests include directors Henry Roosevelt and W.B. Zullo and producers Craig DiBiase, Morgan Spurlock and Rachel Traub.

 

AFI DOCS FORUM:  DAY ONE

10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.  Festival filmmakers and industry professionals will meet at the AFI DOCS Festival Hub at the District Architecture Center (DAC) for day one of the four-day AFI DOCS Forum. Open to all AFI DOCS passholders, each day of the Forum will include breakfast and lunch. Each day the Forum will explore a unique topic with keynote presentations, conversations, panel discussions and micro-meetings. Thursday’s Forum schedule will include:

 

10:00 a.m.  Going to the Source: Documentary Funders Share Their Insights
Industry insiders discuss current funding priorities and new initiatives while exploring the ever-shifting documentary landscape and emerging trends in the funding world.  Panelists include Dan Cogan, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Impact Partners; Melissa Fondakowski, Program and Development, The Redford Center; Sheila Leddy, Executive Director, The Fledgling Fund; Maida Brankman, Founder, Genuine Article Pictures; and Jax DeLuca, Media Arts Director, Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts.

 

11:30 a.m.  Meet the Funders Meetings

Filmmakers connect with documentary funders in one-on-one, 15-minute micromeetings. Directors will sharpen their pitches, talk funding or get a focused critique of their work in progress trailer.  Panelists include Pamela A. Aguilar, Senior Director of Programming and Development PBS; Maida Brankman, Founder of Genuine Article Pictures; Jax DeLuca, Media Arts Director at National Edowment for the Arts; Melissa Fondakowski, Program and Development at The Redford Center; Tamara Gould, Senior VP of National Productions and Strategic Partnerships at ITVS; Sheila Leddy, Executive Director of the Fledgling Fund; Wendy Llinas, Associate Director of Programming and Development PBS; Justine Nagan, Executive Producer at POV; and David Weinstein, Senior Program Officer at National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

2:00 p.m.  Documentary: The Art of Canada

From the birth of motion pictures, Canada has been a driving force in documentary, and it’s easy to see why.  Shot near Inukjuak, Quebec, Robert J. Flaherty’s 1922 film NANOOK OF THE NORTH is considered one of the world’s first documentaries — and it was Flaherty’s work that inspired John Grierson, father of the National Film Board, to coin the term “documentary.”  So what’s up with our doc friends up north today?  Find out as Hot Docs’ Shane Smith talks with the Canadian filmmakers featured in this year’s AFI DOCS.

 

A LOOK BACK AT WEDNESDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS

At the Newseum on Wednesday, June 14, AFI DOCS kicked off its 15th edition with the Opening Night Gala and East Coast Premiere screening of ICARUS, from director Bryan Fogel.  A panel discussion with director Bryan Fogel was followed by a reception.

 

OTHER THURSDAY EVENTS:

 

11:45 a.m.  THE GROWN-UPS

AFI SILVER THEATRE 2

In Maite Alberdi’s delightful, award-winning portrait, a group of middle-aged adults with Down syndrome attend culinary classes in Chile.  The students navigate life, love and making the perfect pastries, while dreaming of living independently.

 

12:30 p.m.  SHORTS PROGRAM 1:  YOUTH CULTURE

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 6

Featured films:  EDUCATION, KOJO: A SHORT DOCUMENTARY, SHIVANI, “THE TALK” TRUE STORIES ABOUT THE BIRDS & THE BEES and WAITING FOR HASSANA.  Expected guests include SHIVANI director Jamie Dobie and composer Jonathan Meiburg.

 

1:00 p.m.  STEP

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 1

Meet the “Lethal Ladies,” the amazing step dance team from the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women.  Amanda Lipitz’s inspiring portrait will have you cheering as the Ladies attempt to finish first in the city’s dance competition and to become the first women in their families to go to college.

 

1:30 p.m.  SHORTS PROGRAM 4:  FRAMING THE IMAGE

AFI SILVER THEATRE 3

Featured films:  116 CAMERAS, BETWEEN THE SAND, A FEW THINGS ABOUT ROBERT IRWIN, JOE BLAUSTEIN AND THE FLOOD OF FLORENCE, THE KODACHROME ELEGIES, THE MOVING CAMERA PROJET, TURTLES ARE ALWAYS HOME and WINTER’S WATCH.  Expected guests include 116 CAMERAS director Davina Pardo, JOE BLAUSTEIN AND THE FLOOD OF FLORENCE director Alan Griswold and WINTER’S WATCH director Brian Bolster.

 

1:45 p.m.  THE GIRL DOWN LOCH ÄNZI

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 7

Juggling the awkwardness of adolescence, the loneliness of rural life and the magnetism of a local legend, Alice Schmid’s hybrid doc follows 12-year-old Laura as she navigates life on a remote Swiss family farm.  With humor and aplomb, Laura attempts to find a friend who can join her in searching a gorge for the titular mythological girl.

 

1:45 p.m.  FOR AHKEEM

AFI SILVER THEATRE 2

Behind the headlines of Ferguson, MO, is 17-year-old Daje “Boonie” Shelton, a young woman from nearby North St. Louis struggling to make it to graduation, a goal further complicated by an unexpected pregnancy.  Intimate and affecting, this delicately told coming-of-age story underscores the complexities of race and class in America.  Expected guests include directors Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest, and producer Iyabo Boyd.

 

2:45 p.m.  THE WORK

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 6

A moving story of redemption and renewal unfolds in this remarkable vérité film that follows a group of “outsiders” into California’s Folsom Prison to join inmates in an intense four-day therapy session.  THE WORK garnered the top documentary prize at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival.  Expected guests include director Jarius McLeary, and producers Alice Henty and James McLeary.

 

3:30 p.m.  ACORN AND THE FIRESTORM

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 1

Filmmakers Reuben Atlas and Sam Pollard go behind the headlines and fake news reports to tell the story of the 2008 demise of ACORN.  The longstanding community activist group was brought down by an undercover sting concocted by right-wing journalists impersonating a prostitute and her pimp.  Expected guests include directors Reuben Atlas and Sam Pollard.

 

4:00 p.m.  SHORTS PROGRAM 5:  LABORS OF LOVE

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 7

Featured films:  FIRST POLE ON MARS, THE FORGER, HAND.LINE.COD., THE RABBIT HUNT and STYROFOAM.  Expected guests include THE FORGER director Alexandra Garcia and THE RABBIT HUNT producer Maida Brankman.

 

4:00 p.m.  RESURRECTING HASSAN

AFI SILVER THEATRE 3

In Montreal, a family of blind street musicians cope with the death of their youngest member.  As their lives begin to slowly fall apart, the family make a desperate attempt to overcome their tragedy by trying to find a way to bring their fallen kin back from the dead.  Expected guests include director Carlo Guillermo Proto.

 

4:15 p.m.  MUHI – GENERALLY TEMPORARY

AFI SILVER THEATRE 2

MUHI tells the story of a young boy from Gaza, separated from his family, whose very existence depends on the loving care he receives from an Israeli hospital.  This deeply affecting film makes a compelling case against the border walls that divide families and communities.  Expected guests include directors Rina Castelnuovo-Hollander and Tamir Elterman.

 

5:45 p.m.  NO MAN’S LAND

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 6

In 2016, a well-armed band of anti-government militants led by the sons of renegade rancher Cliven Bundy took control of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in an act of defiance against the feds.  NO MAN’S LAND is the riveting account of the siege that followed and its aftermath.  Expected guests include director David Byars.

 

6:15 p.m.  THE CAGE FIGHTER

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 1

In this unflinching and intimate portrait, Joe Carman, a blue-collar Washington state dad, can’t shake his compulsion to compete in mixed martial arts.  The violence in the ring only serves to intensify the family drama, as Carman’s wife and four daughters try to come to grips with his brutal hobby.  Expected guests include producer Andrea Meditch and sound engineer Frank Scheuring.

 

6:15 p.m.  WAITING FOR THE SUN

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 7

China has the largest number of prisoners on death row worldwide. The children of the condemned face social stigma and few options.  Enter Grandma Zheng, a former prison guard who, via her orphanage Sun Valley, provides housing, education and a second chance for a normal life.

 

6:30 p.m.  MAMA COLONEL

AFI SILVER THEATRE 2

In a country still recovering from the scars of war, the headstrong Colonel Honorine Munyole leads a special police unit in the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo —  with the mission to serve and protect the women and children of her country when no one else will.  Spotlight Screening.  Expected guests include director Dieudo Hamadi and film subject Colonel Honorine (schedules permitting).

 

6:45 p.m.  DONKEYOTE

AFI SILVER THEATRE 3

The symbiotic relationship between man and animal is front and center in Chico Pereira’s portrait of a 73-year-old Spaniard and his two beloved companions, a dog and a donkey.  As he attempts a quixotic plan to travel to the U.S. to walk with them along the Trail of Tears, DONKEYOTE shows how the journey can be even richer than the destination.

 

8:15 p.m.  A GRAY STATE

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 6

In 2010, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran turned filmmaker David Crowley began crowdfunding a large-scale action film forewarning of a future America gone police state.  As chronicled here via his obsessive video journaling, he became a rising star among fringe right-wing groups over the next five years, all the while spiraling toward a violent, tragic and inexplicable end.  Expected guests include director Erik Nelson.

 

8:45 p.m.  WHAT LIES UPSTREAM

LANDMARK E STREET CINEMA THEATRE 7

Cullen Hoback’s trip to his home state of West Virginia to find out why the drinking water in Charleston has developed a strange smell turns into an eye-opening investigation into the dismal state of our nation’s water supply and the broken regulatory system behind America’s epidemic of dirty water.  Expected guests include director Cullen Hoback and producer John Ramos.

 

8:45 p.m.  LA CHANA

AFI SILVER THEATRE 2

Winner of the Audience Award at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, LA CHANA celebrates the incomparable talent and spirit of Spain’s greatest gypsy flamenco dancer as she reflects on her storied past while preparing for a return to the stage in her 70s.  Expected guests include director Lucija Stojevic.

 

9:00 p.m.  A GREEK WINTER

AFI SILVER THEATRE 3

In the wake of the Greek debt crisis, a spirited family from Thessaloniki must face the impossible choice of keeping their small business afloat or helping neighbors in need.  In chronicling interactions with customers, the film presents the human toll of financial strife with restraint and emotional resonance.  Expected guests include director Ingeborg Jansen.

 

About the American Film Institute

Celebrating its golden milestone, the American Film Institute began its mission on June 5, 1967 — to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. Established by Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential mandate in the White House Rose Garden, AFI is America’s promise to educate today’s audiences and tomorrow’s artists. The Institute was anchored by a foundation of luminaries from the film community including Gregory Peck as Chair, Sidney Poitier as Vice Chair, George Stevens, Jr., as Director and CEO with board members Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and Jack Valenti.

 

In 1969, AFI opened the Center for Advanced Film Studies, now called the AFI Conservatory, an elite MFA program whose inaugural class included Terrence Malik, Caleb Deschanel and Paul Schrader. The program’s acclaimed film and television alumni include Andrea Arnold, Darren Aronofsky, Julie Dash, Patty Jenkins, Janusz Kamiński, David Lynch and Robert Richardson, among others.

 

In addition to the AFI Conservatory, AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding movies and TV series of the year; AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center.  For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at twitter.com/AmericanFilm,
facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstituteinstagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute and youtube.com/AFI.

 

About AFI DOCS

AFI DOCS is the American Film Institute’s annual documentary festival in Washington, DC.  Presenting the year’s best documentaries, AFI DOCS is the only festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the heart of our nation’s government.  The AFI DOCS advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Rory Kennedy, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson, D A Pennebaker, Agnès Varda and Frederick Wiseman.  Now in its 15th year, the festival will be held June 14–18, 2017, in landmark Washington, DC, venues and at the historic AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD.  Visit AFI.com/AFIDOCS and connect on twitter.com/AFIDOCS, facebook.com/AFIDOCS, youtube.com/AFI and instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

 

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network* and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider.** We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions.
AT&T Products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.  Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at facebook.com/att and YouTube at youtube.com/att.

© 2017 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.
*Claim based on the Nielsen Certified Data Network Score. Score includes data reported by wireless consumers in the Nielsen Mobile Insights survey, network measurements from Nielsen Mobile Performance and Nielsen Drive Test Benchmarks for Q3+Q4 2016 across 121 markets.

**Global coverage claim based on offering discounted voice and data roaming; LTE roaming; and voice roaming in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier. International service required. Coverage not available in all areas. Coverage may vary per country and be limited/restricted in some countries.

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 11.29.54 AM

(Press materials provided by: Gabrielle Flamand, AFI DOCS PR, 202.339.9598 or gabrielle@prcollaborative.com, Liza Ameen, American Film Institute, 323.856.7885 or LAmeen@AFI.com)

 

 

TODAY AT THE AFI DOCS FORUM

Posted  by Larry Gleeson

Thursday, June 15, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., AFI DOCS Festival Hub at the District Architecture Center (DAC), 421 7th St. NW in Washington, DC.

Day One of the AFI DOCS Forum includes a panel with Canadian filmmakers to discuss Canada’s role in creating the documentary form; and panels with short-documentary filmmakers and funders to discuss and support the model.

The Forum will present a variety of networking and professional development events for filmmakers, industry professionals and those with a passion for nonfiction storytelling. Open to all AFI DOCS passholders, each day of the Forum will include breakfast and lunch.

Today’s full schedule is as follows:

9:30 a.m.
Morning Refreshments

10:00 a.m.–11:15 a.m.
Going to the Source: Documentary Funders Share Their Insights
Industry insiders discuss current funding priorities and new initiatives while exploring the ever-shifting documentary landscape and emerging trends in the funding world.

Moderator: Kathryn Washington, Director of Television Content, Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Participants:

  • Maida Brankman, Founder, Genuine Article Pictures
  • Dan Cogan, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Impact Partners
  • Jax DeLuca, Media Arts Director, Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts
  • Melissa Fondakowski, Program and Development, The Redford Center
  • Sheila Leddy, Executive Director, The Fledgling Fund
  • David Weinstein, Senior Program Officer, Division of Public Programs, National Endowment for the Humanities

11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Meet the Funders Meetings
Filmmakers connect with documentary funders in one-on-one, 15-minute micromeetings. Sharpen your pitch, talk funding or get a focused critique of your work-inprogress trailer (five minutes or less). Space is full and spots on a waitlist may be available for AFI DOCS Filmmaker and Industry pass holders. If you would like to be placed on the waitlist, please email Lauren at Lselman@afi.com for more information.

Participants:

  • Pamela A. Aguilar, Senior Director of Programming and Development PBS, General Audience Programming
  • Maida Brankman, Founder, Genuine Article Pictures
  • Jax DeLuca, Media Arts Director, Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts
  • Melissa Fondakowski, Program and Development, The Redford Center
  • Tamara Gould, Senior Vice President, National Productions and Strategic Partnerships, Independent Television Service (ITVS)
  • Sheila Leddy, Executive Director, The Fledgling Fund
  • Eliza Licht, VP Content, Strategy & Engagement, Point of View (POV)
  • Wendy Llinas, Associate Director of Programming and Development PBS, News and Public Affairs
  • David Weinstein, Senior Program Officer, Division of Public Programs, National Endowment for the Humanities

2:00 p.m.
Documentary: The Art of Canada
From the birth of motion pictures, Canada has been a driving force in documentary, and it’s easy to see why. Shot near Inukjuak, Quebec, Robert J. Flaherty’s 1922 film NANOOK OF THE NORTH is considered one of the world’s first documentaries — and it was Flaherty’s work that inspired John Grierson, father of the National Film Board, to coin the term “documentary.” So what’s up with our doc friends up north today? Find out as Hot Docs’ Shane Smith talks with the Canadian filmmakers featured in this year’s AFI DOCS.

Panelists:

(Source: afi.com)

AWARD WINNERS AT THE 43RD SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Posted by Larry Gleeson

 

At the End of the Tunnel wins Golden Space Needle Audience Awards for Best Film and Best Director

Grand Jury Prizes go to Sami Blood, The Winter, Boundaries, Lane 1974, and Becoming Who I Was

Best Documentary goes to Dolores Lene

Cecilia Sparrok of Sami Blood wins Best Actress David Johns of I, Daniel Blake wins Best Actor

 

SEATTLE — June 11, 2017 — The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), the largest and most highly attended film festival in the United States, today announced the winners of the 2017 Golden Space Needle Audience and Competition Awards. The awards were presented at a ceremony and breakfast held at the Space Needle. The 25-day Festival, which began May 18, featured 400 films representing 80 countries, including 36 World premieres (14 features, 22 shorts), 34 North American premieres (22 features, 12 shorts), 20 US Premieres (11 features, 9 shorts), and 750 Festival screenings and events. Additionally, SIFF brought in more than 350 filmmakers, actors, and industry professionals as guests of the Festival.

Interim Artistic Director Beth Barrett said, “This year at SIFF, we celebrated extraordinary cinema from 80 countries over a marathon 25 days bringing to our audiences more than 750 screenings and events and introducing them to over 350 filmmakers and industry guests. Executive Director Sarah Wilke and I were thrilled to present Anjelica Huston with the Festival’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Acting before screening the World Premiere of her newest film Trouble, as well as welcoming Sam Elliott back to the the Festival for a special screening of his film, The Hero. We had an incredible lineup of local films, and our documentary film selection continues to be among the best in the country. We also launched a new program, the SIFF New Works-in-Progress Forum, where we screened two narrative and two documentary features in the midst of their creative process to the Seattle audience of industry and festival attendees, as well as continuing our exploration of the intersections between cinema and VR/360.”
The Best of SIFF lineup will be announced later today and SIFF’s five cinema screens will resume daily cinema service with Best of SIFF titles and other outstanding cinematic experiences beginning Friday, June 16.

SIFF 2017 GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AUDIENCE AWARDS

SIFF celebrates its films and filmmakers with the Golden Space Needle Audience Awards. Selected by Festival audiences, awards are given in six categories: Best Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Short Film. This year, over 82,000 ballots were submitted.
GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST FILM
AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL, directed by Rodrigo Grande (Spain/Argentina 2016)

First runner-up: KING’S CHOICE, directed by Erik Poppe (Norway 2016)
Second runner-up: I, DANIEL BLAKE
, directed by Ken Loach (United Kingdom/France/Belgium 2016)
Third runner-up: PATTI CAKE$
, directed by Geremy Jasper (USA 2017)
Fourth runner-up: LANE 1974
, directed by SJ Chiro (USA 2017)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST DOCUMENTARY
DOLORES, directed by Peter Bratt (USA 2017)

First runner-up: CHASING CORAL, directed by Jeff Orlowski (USA 2017)
Second runner-up: STEP, directed by Amanda Lipitz (USA 2017)
Third runner-up: CITY OF GHOSTS, directed by Matthew Heineman (USA 2017)
Fourth runner-up: DIRTBAG: THE LEGEND OF FRED BECKEY, directed by Dave O’Leske (USA 2017)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST DIRECTOR
Rodrigo Grande, AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL (Spain/Argentina 2016)

First runner-up: Justin Chon, GOOK (USA 2017)
Second runner-up: Philippe van Leeuw, IN SYRIA (Lebanon/France/Belgium 2017)
Third runner-up: Mani Haghighi, A DRAGON ARRIVES! (Iran 2016)
Fourth runner-up: Hirokazu Kore-eda, AFTER THE STORM (Japan 2016)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST ACTOR
David Johns, I, DANIEL BLAKE (United Kingdom/France/Belgium 2016)

First runner-up: Leonardo Sbaraglia, AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL (Spain/Argentina 2016)
Second runner-up: Timothy Spall, THE JOURNEY (United Kingdom 2016)
Third runner-up: Fares Fares, THE NILE HILTON INCIDENT (Sweden/Denmark/Germany 2017)
Fourth runner-up: Bogusław Linda, AFTERIMAGE (Poland 2016)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST ACTRESS
Lene Cecilia Sparrok, SAMI BLOOD (SAMEBLOD) (Sweden/Norway/Denmark 2016)

First runner-up: Elina Vaska, MELLOW MUD (Latvia 2016)
Second runner-up: Danielle MacDonald, PATTI CAKE$ (USA 2017)
Third runner-up: Sophia Mitri-Schloss, LANE 1974 (USA 2017)
Fourth runner-up: Simone Baker, GOOK (USA 2017)

GOLDEN SPACE NEEDLE AWARD – BEST SHORT FILM
DEFEND THE SACRED, directed by Kyle Bell (USA 2016)

First runner-up: LITTLE POTATO, directed by Wes Hurley, Nathan M. Miller (USA 2017)
Second runner-up: THE GENEVA CONVENTION
, directed by Benoit Martin (France 2016)
Third runner-up: FLUFFY
, directed by Lee Filipovski (Serbia/Montenegro/Canada 2016)
Fourth runner-up: THE CLEANSING HOUR
, directed by Damien LeVeck (USA 2016)

LENA SHARPE AWARD FOR PERSISTENCE OF VISION
Presented by Women in Film Seattle
Amanda Lipitz, STEP (USA 2017)

This award is given to the female director’s film that receives the most votes in public balloting at the Festival. Lena Sharpe was co-founder and managing director of Seattle’s Festival of Films by Women Directors and a KCTS-TV associate who died in a plane crash while on assignment. As a tribute to her efforts in bringing the work of women filmmakers to prominence, SIFF created this special award and asked Women in Film Seattle to bestow it.


SIFF 2017 COMPETITION AWARDS

SIFF confers five juried competition awards: SIFF Official Competition, Ibero-American Competition, New Directors Competition, New American Cinema Competition (FIPRESCI Prize), and Documentary Competition. The winners in each juried competition receives $5,000 in cash.

SIFF 2017 OFFICIAL COMPETITION WINNER
GRAND JURY PRIZE
SAMI BLOOD (SAMEBLOD) (d: Amanda Kernell, Sweden/Norway/Denmark  2016)
JURY STATEMENT: After viewing this excellent selection of eight outstanding, diverse films from eight different countries, we faced the challenging task of choosing a winner. For its beautifully nuanced and spare portrayal of the struggle to discover who you are, both because of and in spite of where you are from, featuring a stunning and expressive central performance and lush cinematography of a rarely seen culture, we present the Grand Jury Prize to Sami Blood.

SPECIAL JURY MENTION
MY HAPPY FAMILY (d: Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Gross, Georgia/Germany/France 2017)
JURY STATEMENT: For their deft handling of a large ensemble cast, for their approach to a subversively feminist story within a patriarchal culture, and for their ability to capture emotional chaos with depth, grace, and resonance, we present a Special Jury Mention for Excellence in Direction to Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross for My Happy Family.
The SIFF Official Competition is juried by a team of international industry members, and are selected by SIFF programmers for their cinematic excellence. The SIFF Official Competition Jury members were Leslie Vuchot (The Festival Agency), Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com) and Megan Griffiths (director, Lucky Them, Nightstalker).

2017 Entries:
7 Minutes (d. Michele Placido, Italy/France/Switzerland 2016, North American Premiere)
Bad Influence (d: Claudia Huaiquimilla, Chile 2016)
Beach Rats (d: Eliza Hittman, USA 2017)
Have A Nice Day (d: LIU Jian, China/Hong Kong 2017, North American Premiere)
Hedi (d: Mohamed Ben Attia, Tunisia/Belgium/France/Qatar/UAE 2016)
My Happy Family (d: Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Gross, Georgia/Germany/France 2017)
Sami Blood (Sameblod) (d: Amanda Kernell, Sweden/Norway/Denmark 2016)
Zoology (d: Ivan I. Tverdovsky, Russia/France/Germany 2016)

SIFF 2017 IBERO-AMERICAN COMPETITION WINNER
GRAND JURY PRIZE
THE WINTER (EL INVIERNO) (d: Emiliano Torres, Argentina/France 2016)
JURY STATEMENT: A complex and multi-layered first feature that bends the Western genre to create a remarkable film that is as much about the relationship between two men, as it is about Man’s relationship to the landscape.

SPECIAL JURY MENTION
DEVIL’S FREEDOM (LA LIBERTAD DEL DIABLO) (d: Everardo González, Mexico 2017)
JURY STATEMENT: A timely and urgent film on the ongoing Mexican drug war, that presents the many faces of violence without presenting any actual faces.

The SIFF Ibero-American Competition aims to highlight the strength, creativity, and influence of storytelling in the region. The Ibero-American Competition is for films having their Seattle premiere during the Festival and without US distribution. The SIFF Ibero-American Competition Jury members were Ivan Trujillo (Guadalajara Film Festival), Florangela Davila (Crosscut), and Carlos Gutierrez (Cinema Tropical).

2017 Entries:
Chameleon (d: Jorge Riquelme Serrano, Chile 2016, North American Premiere)
Devil’s Freedom (La Libertad Del Diablo) (d: Everardo González, Mexico 2017, US Premiere)
May God Save Us (d: Rodrigo Sorogoyen, Spain 2016)
Pendular (d: Julia Murat, Brazil/Argentina/France 2017)
Santa & Andres (d: Carlos Lechuga, Cuba/Colombia/France 2016)
Two Irenes (d: Fabio Meira, Brazil 2017, North American Premiere)
The Winter (El Invierno) (d: Emiliano Torres, Argentina/France 2016)
Woodpeckers (d: José María Cabral, Dominican Republic 2017)

SIFF 2017 NEW DIRECTORS COMPETITION WINNER
GRAND JURY PRIZE
BOUNDARIES (PAYS) (d: Chloé Robichaud, Canada (Québec) 2016)
JURY STATEMENT: For its fully-fleshed portrayal of women and the dilemmas of their public and private lives and its absurdist feel for political process, we award the Grand Jury Prize to the French–Canadian film Boundaries.

SPECIAL JURY MENTION
THE INLAND ROAD (d: Jackie Van Beek, New Zealand 2017)
JURY STATEMENT: We also single out Gloria Popata for her arresting debut as a troubled native New Zealander in the film The Inland Road.

Festival programmers select 10 films remarkable for their original concept, striking style, and overall excellence. To be eligible, a film must be a director’s first or second feature and without US distribution at the time of selection. The SIFF New Directors Jury members were James Shapiro (NEON/Drafthouse Films), Ella Taylor (NPR), and Gerren Crochet (The Gersh Agency).

2017 Entries:
Anishoara (d: Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu, Germany 2016)
Boundaries (Pays) (d: Chloé Robichaud, Canada (Québec) 2016)
Diamond Island (d: Davy Chou, France 2016)
The Inland Road (d: Jackie Van Beek, New Zealand 2017, North American Premiere)
I Was A Dreamer (d: Michele Vannucci, Italy 2016, North American Premiere)
Kati Kati (d: Mbithi Masya, Kenya 2016)
The Man (d: Charlotte Sieling, Denmark 2017)
Paris Prestige (d: Hamé Bourokba, Ekoué Labitey, France 2016)
Quit Staring at My Plate (d: Hana Jušić, Croatia 2016)
Struggle for Life (d: Antonin Peretjatko, Belgium 2016)

SIFF 2017 NEW AMERICAN CINEMA COMPETITION WINNER
GRAND JURY PRIZE
LANE 1974 (d: SJ Chiro, USA 2017)
JURY STATEMENT: A tough-minded, but tender look at the underside of 1970s counterculture life.

Festival programmers select eight films without US distribution at the time of selection that are sure to delight audiences looking to explore the exciting vanguard of New American Cinema to compete for the FIPRESCI Award for Best New American Film. The SIFF New American Cinema Jury members were Beat Glur (Swiss Film Critics Association), Nachum Mochiach (Habama), and Gerald Peary (Boston University Cinematheque).

2017 Entries:

American Folk (d: David Heinz, USA 2017)

Columbus (d: Kogonada, USA 2017)

Dara Ju (d: Anthony Onah, USA/Nigeria 2017)

The Feels (d: Jenée Lamarque, USA 2017, World Premiere)

In The Radiant City (d: Rachel Lambert, USA 2016)
The Landing (d: Mark Dodson, David Dodson, USA 2016)

Lane 1974 (d: SJ Chiro, USA 2017)

Say You Will (d: Nick Naveda, USA 2017, World Premiere)

SIFF 2017 DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION WINNER
GRAND JURY PRIZE
BECOMING WHO I WAS (d: Chang-Yong Moon, Jin Jeon, South Korea 2016)
JURY STATEMENT: We admired the filmmaker’s skill and commitment to capturing the relationship between the two subjects in this artfully crafted documentary. For a film that beautifully tells the story of a truly incredible emotional and spiritual journey, the jury awards the grand prize for documentary filmmaking to Becoming Who I Was.

SPECIAL JURY MENTION
WHAT LIES UPSTREAM (d: Cullen Hoback, USA 2017)
JURY STATEMENT: For filmmaker Cullen Hoback’s journalistic integrity in revealing the unseemly collusion between public servants and lobbyists that lead to the poisoning of West Virginia’s water supply, we give a special jury mention to What Lies Upstream.

Unscripted and uncut, the world is a resource of unexpected, informative, and altogether exciting storytelling. Documentary filmmakers have for years brought untold stories to life and introduced us to a vast number of fascinating topics we may never have known existed. The SIFF Documentary Jury members were Kathy McDonald (Documentary Magazine), Ryland Aldrich (producer, L.A. Times, Folk Hero & Funny Guy), and Shane Smith (Hot Docs).

2017 Entries:

Becoming Who I Was (d: Chang-Yong Moon, Jin Jeon, South Korea 2016, US Premiere)

Close Relations (d: Vitaly Mansky, Germany/Latvia/Estonia/Ukraine 2016, US Premiere)

The Farthest (d: Emer Reynolds, Ireland 2017)

Ghost Hunting (d: Raed Andoni, Palestine/France/Switzerland 2016, US Premiere)

The Reagan Show (d: Pacho Velez, Sierra Pattengill, USA 2017)

Roberto Bolle ― The Art Of Dance (d: Francesca Pedroni, Italy 2016, North American Premiere)

Those Who Remain (d: Eliane Raheb, Lebanon/UAE 2016, North American Premiere)

What Lies Upstream (d: Cullen Hoback, USA 2017)

Winnie (d: Pascale Lamche, France/Netherlands/South Africa 2017)

SIFF 2017 FUTUREWAVE AND YOUTH JURY AWARDS

SIFF presents FutureWave Shorts during ShortsFest Weekend. These inspiring original short films represent some of the best short filmmaking from around the world. In addition SIFF presents films throughout the Festival curated for youth in our Films4Families and FutureWave feature programs.

 

YOUTH JURY AWARD FOR BEST FUTUREWAVE FEATURE
PATTI CAKE$ (USA 2017), directed by Geremy Jasper
JURY STATEMENT: For the unique, compelling characters and incredible music in this story of transformation.

YOUTH JURY AWARD FOR BEST FILMS4FAMILIES FEATURE
SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS
(United Kingdom 2016), directed by Philippa Lowthorpe
JURY STATEMENT: For its relatable story and characters, production design that captured the essence of an era, and combination of action, humor, and mystery.

FUTUREWAVE SHORTS WAVEMAKER AWARD (GRAND PRIZE)
The winner will be awarded a $1000 cash prize presented by Amazon.com
BATTLES (BATAILLES) (Canada (Quebec) 2016), directed by Karen Pinette Fontaine
JURY STATEMENT: For its richly composed visuals and poetic journey of self that takes the viewer from a hollow party atmosphere to a seemingly empty space that becomes filled with the narrator’s culture that is thriving within her.

FUTUREWAVE SHORTS AUDIENCE AWARD
FAMILY SHADOWS (USA 2016), directed by Laura Malatos
FUTUREWAVE SHORTS PRODIGY CAMP SCHOLARSHIP
The winners each will be awarded a $1250 partial scholarship to the 2017 Prodigy Camp.
THE PETITION (USA, 2016), directed by Riley Goodwin and Kibiriti Majuto

 

SIFF 2017 SHORT FILM JURY AWARDS

All short films shown at the Festival are eligible for both the Golden Space Needle Audience Award and Jury Award Shorts Competition. Jurors will choose winners in the Live Action, Animation, and Documentary categories. Each jury winner will receive $2,500 and winners in each of the three categories may also qualify to enter their respective films in the Short Film category of the Academy Awards®.

LIVE ACTION

GRAND JURY PRIZE
WOMEN&WINE (KVINNER&CAVA) (Norway, 2017), directed by Liv Karin Dahlstrøm
JURY STATEMENT: For its honest depiction of friendship that, over a short period of time, authentically runs the spectrum from silly and beautiful to awkward and heartbreaking, we give the Jury Award for Best Live Action Short to Women&Wine, directed by Liv Karin Dahlstrøm.

SPECIAL JURY MENTION
NOTHING EVER REALLY ENDS (INGENTING TAR NOENSINNE SLUTT) (Norway, 2017), directed by Jakob Rørvik
JURY STATEMENT: For its exceptional craftsmanship in all areas of the filmmaking process we decided that Nothing Ever Really Ends could not go unmentioned. From the writing and directing to the editing and acting this film unfolds effortlessly. And all in the service of an incredibly entertaining and relatable story.

SPECIAL JURY MENTION
FANNY (Norway, 2017), directed by Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel
JURY STATEMENT: We’d also like to recognize a filmmaker who impressed us with an intimate and frank film about sexuality and loneliness. For his unique vision, heartbreaking honesty, and nuanced direction in the film Fanny, we’d like to award Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel a special jury award for emerging director.

DOCUMENTARY

GRAND JURY PRIZE
REFUGEE (USA, 2016), directed by Joyce Chen and Emily Moore
JURY STATEMENT: For many refugees, getting to the United States is only the first step of a decades-long journey. Refugee is the moving and powerful story of a mother of five, Aicha Diop, whose journey to obtain asylum encapsulates the hope of life in America, as well as its harsh political realities.

SPECIAL JURY MENTION
WAITING FOR HASSANA (Nigeria, 2017), directed by Ifunanya Maduka
JURY STATEMENT: By bringing to light one young girl’s traumatic experience, this important documentary gives a voice to all 276 teenage girls whose lives were violently interrupted by Boko Haram in 2014. This film is a necessary reminder that an issue doesn’t vanish when its hashtag stops trending.

ANIMATION

GRAND JURY PRIZE
PUSSY (CIPKA) (Poland, 2016), directed by Renata Gasiorowska
JURY STATEMENT: A witty and whimsical animated short about a girl and her body, Pussy quickly takes the audience on a wild ride through female sex positivity.

SPECIAL JURY MENTION
THE HEAD VANISHES (France, 2016), directed by Franck Dion
JURY STATEMENT: Through its beautiful animation and unique perspective, The Head Vanishes poignantly captures the exceptional challenges, the hopeful glimmers, the peaceful moments, and the continual struggles of dealing with a mentally ill parent.

SHORT FILM JURIES FOR SIFF 2017

LIVE ACTION: Ina Pira (Vimeo), Lacey Leavitt (producer, Laggies, Safety Not Guaranteed) and Tony Fulgham (commercial director and independent filmmaker)

DOCUMENTARY AND ANIMATION: Anna Sampers (Milwaukee FIlm), Nancy Chang (Reel Grrls) and David Chen (Slashfilm)

 

SIFF 2017 360/VIRTUAL REALITY COMPETITION
SIFF 360/VR AWARD
Sponsored by Pixvana
WE WHO REMAIN (USA, 2017) by Emblematic Group / Trevor Snapp and Sam Wolson
JURY STATEMENT: We are pleased to present the SIFF 360/VR Award, sponsored by Pixvana, to We Who Remain, a film that intimately brings the viewer inside the heart of a forgotten conflict in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. Fusing elegant storytelling with sharp technical skill, the film weaves together narratives from a student, rebel soldier, journalist, and mother who have chosen to remain and relentlessly struggle to bring peace back to their land.
SIFF is proud to be awarding this new cutting edge work and providing the winner with a $500 prize and the opportunity for the awarded film to be distributed globally through Pixvana’s SPIN Studio platform. The SIFF 360/VR Award jury is comprised of Julia Fryett, Kate Becker, and Sarah Wilke.
SIFF 2017 CHINA STARS AWARDS

 

The Seattle International Film Festival is pleased to have presented the following awards at the China Stars Award Ceremony on Friday, June 9th at the Pan Pacific Hotel.

CHINA STARS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Qin Yi  (The Beautiful Kokonor Lake)

CHINA STARS EMERGING TALENT
Liang Dong  (The Door)

CHINA STARS EMERGING ACTOR
Yi Li Ha Mu. M (The Beautiful Kokonor Lake)

 

SIFF 2017 CATALYST SCREENPLAY COMPETITION

 

The Catalyst Screenplay Competition is a platform aimed at offering up-and-coming writers the opportunity to gain industry exposure through SIFF. This year, the Finalist and Grand Prize scripts were juried by script supervisor Emily Zulauf (Inside Out) and producer Brent Stiefel (Obvious Child). The winning script, The Tiger & the Protected, received a live read by SAG-AFTRA actors on Saturday, June 10.

 

Grand Prize Winner

The Tiger & the Protected by Jeff Scott

 

Finalists

I Can Change by Amy Lowe Starbin

Keeper of the Cup by Larry Shulruff

This Close by Marc Messenger

 

Semi-Finalists

Beasts Undiscovered by Jeremy Dehn and Catherine Dale

Catherine’s Cross by Millie West

Ladies by Natalie Nicole Dressel

A Promise Kept by Linda Sunshine

Until the End of the Ninth by Beth Bollinger

The Zuckermans by Ethan Mermelstein

 

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS

SIFF 2017 started off with the smart and romantic comedy The Big Sick, with director Michael Showalter, actor/co-writer Kumail Nanjiani and co-writer Emily V. Gordon in attendance. Halfway through the 25 day festival, we welcomed the dynamic duo of director Gillian Robespierre and actor Jenny Slate for their second feature Landline as the Centerpiece Gala,  along with newcomer actor Abby Quinn. The Festival closed out with the North American Premiere of Raoul Peck’s new feature The Young Karl Marx.

The stunning Anjelica Huston arrived in Seattle to accept the Festival’s Outstanding Achievement Award in Acting along with an on-stage interview with Variety’s Jenelle Riley, before screening the World Premiere of her newest film Trouble with director Theresa Rebeck also in attendance. SIFF welcomed back the iconic Sam Elliott for “An Afternoon with Sam Elliott,” where Sam chatted with TIME Magazine’s Sam Lansky before screening The Hero. Qin Yi was presented with the China Stars Lifetime Achievement Award at the China Stars Award Presentation. Aubrey Plaza and Jeff Baena brought their new hit comedy The Little Hours and helped SIFF-goers party on into the night at one of our Saturday Night Parties. The first ever all-female crew feature film Band-Aid was a delight with writer/director/star Zoe Lister-Jones. Conversations were sparked after the brave Matthew Heineman discussed the making of his new documentary City of Ghosts.

In between films, forums, and parties, SIFF-goers were able to connect at this year’s brand new SIFF Lounge, presented by Vulcan Productions. The SIFF Lounge featured twelve 360/VR films and celebrated the pivotal direction filmmaking is taking with the SIFF 360/VR Award given to We Who Remain. The inaugural New Works-in-Progress Forum sparked a new format of conversation between filmmakers, audience, and industry with two narrative and two documentary features in the midst of their creative process. The China Stars program celebrated international cinema with awards to both legendary filmmakers and up-and-coming talent.

 

About SIFF

 

Founded in 1976, SIFF creates experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world with the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema, and SIFF Education. Recognized as one of the top film festivals in North America, the Seattle International Film Festival is the largest, most highly attended film festival in the United States, reaching more than 150,000 annually. The 25-day festival is renowned for its wide-ranging and eclectic programming, presenting over 400 features, short films, and documentaries from over 80 countries each year. SIFF Cinema exhibits premiere theatrical engagements, repertory, classic, and revival film showings 365 days a year on five screens at the SIFF Cinema Uptown, SIFF Cinema Egyptian, and SIFF Film Center, reaching more than 175,000 attendees annually. SIFF Education offers educational programs for all audiences serving more than 13,000 students and youth in the community with free programs each year.

(Source: Press release provided by Nikki Croney, BWR)

The AFI DOCS Interview: THE WORK Director Jairus McLeary

Posted by Larry Gleeson

A moving story of redemption and renewal unfolds in THE WORK, a remarkable vérité film that follows a group of “outsiders” into California’s Folsom Prison to join inmates in an intense four-day therapy session. THE WORK garnered the top documentary prize at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival.

The film screens at AFI DOCS on Thursday, June 15, and Saturday, June 17. AFI spoke with Jairus McLeary about the film, which he co-directed with Gethin Aldous.

AFI: What inspired you to tell this story?

JM: I was one of the first civilian volunteers to be invited to the first four-day event inside Folsom. My own father invited me and although I trusted him implicitly, the weight of what I didn’t know about the inside of a maximum prison made me say no. It wasn’t until the third time he asked me that I said yes. I was floored, and that feeling never went away no matter how many times I went back. I’d done things like this before but never in a similar setting or with people so utterly committed to blunt honesty. For the convicts who lived there, that commitment was sometimes a matter of life and death.

AFI: How did you find the subject(s) in your film?

JM: For the three civilian volunteers that were chosen as subjects, we used word of mouth. It’s the same way any volunteer from the streets comes to one of the four-day events for the first time. my brothers I each picked a few men from our lives who were interested in doing this work and who we thought might be ready and we narrowed that selection down until we reached Charles, Brian and Chris. For the men inside, many of them knew us from over the years and the Inside Circle Foundation knew us and trusted that we were sincere and committed, so Rob Allbee [ex-prisoner and co-founder of the program] acted as a go-between. He was what’s called a brown-cardholder, which means the prison administration allows him and a handful of other men from the Foundation to participate in the convict’s weekly meetings.

Rob and my father began to speak to the shot-callers of all the major gangs that participate in the group on our behalf so that we could start to put a shooting strategy together. These men are the top of the hierarchical political system inside and set the tone for the rest of the prison population on the yard.  After we had their trust, they vouched for us with the other inmates we didn’t know as well. Only then did we begin to approach the prison administration with a concrete plan.

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Chaplain Dennis Merino, also a founding member, worked inside the prison for years and he began to approach people within the CDCR past and present, to help us craft a proposal of our intentions so that we could then gain access to the warden. With his consent and trust earned from years of positive results with the convicts who had participated in the Program, we were able to begin to negotiate the conditions of the shoot with the proper department within the prison. With permission out of the way could set our shoot dates and concentrate on what the convicts felt comfortable with in the room on the day. They handpicked first-timers and facilitators among themselves who felt comfortable divulging personal information about themselves and doing their therapy work under shooting conditions.

AFI: What was an obstacle you faced while making the film?

JM: The entire crew needed to attend at least one four-day event and get a layout of the location, get to know the men in blue themselves and most importantly do some of their own personal work to gain a sensitivity that would not disturb the very thing we were hoping to capture. Only afterwards, would they give us their trust and consent.

For my brothers and I, being able to reach this point with a film with these kinds of variables has been the largest undertaking of our lives. But I think the biggest success is that the men who started and continue to participate in this program somehow trusted us with their efforts and allowed us to represent what they’ve accomplished in this way. That we were somehow able to work together as a family over 10 years on this project from start to finish and come through it without killing one another and no matter the pressures involved we were able to keep our relationships intact. At each point when it was truly needed, talented, motivated people stepped up who were willing to add their talent to this project that we were somehow able to keep in motion.

AFI: What do you want audiences to walk away with after screening your film?

JM: It’s my hope that the viewer will grasp the the risks that the convicts who participate in this kind of group therapy are taking to change. The work they do together in their circles could have life or death consequences out on the yard. That’s how important this work is to them. But those who stick with the program to do this work by bring in other participants and the numbers are growing. Over time the number of convicts on the yard doing this work has grown a that such that it’s had a positive net effect on the entire yard as the rate of violent incidences decrease. Change the environment and you change the system. and continued successful program participation could be very influential with parole boards. It could mean the difference between freedom and life imprisonment – whether they are released or not.

AFI: Why is DC a valuable location to screen your film?

JM: Going beyond how massive this opportunity is and how amazing AFI is as a platform for our film, DC is the heart of where policy is made. It allows us the potential to gain access and exposure for the Inside Circle Foundation and for the men who keep it going. The film is about people helping one another improve by going to their darkest places together as a group. We hope that the tools these men are using inside Folsom and San Quentin will be able gain traction and spread to other prisons. America leads the world in the number of incarcerated citizens and at this point, anything that works can help that massive problem. We’re hoping to assist the program in getting the funding and support from policymakers it needs to start quantifying and tracking their rates of success with the men in the form of hard numbers with the overall goal of increasing the amount of prisons the foundation operates in.

AFI: Why are documentary films important today?

JM: Documentaries allow us to immerse ourselves in the stories of others. They can take us to places we’ve never been and they allow us to access the truth in the experiences of others. In that way, it becomes a shared experience and has the potential to generate a range of emotions; from empathy to outrage. Not only do we learn about people, places or things we didn’t have a clue about before, as we know more about them and our reactions allow us to learn more about ourselves in relation to these things outside of ourselves and our experience. Both of these are motivating forces that have the ability to galvanize people to social discourse or action and effect change. That’s what documentaries have the power to do and that goes beyond entertainment. When I look at what’s happing in the media landscape today with the rising obfuscation of truth in this country, both empathy and outrage are sorely needed.

ACADEMY REVEALS 2017 STUDENT ACADEMY AWARD® WINNERS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

ACADEMY REVEALS 2017  STUDENT ACADEMY AWARD® WINNERS
ALL WINNING FILMS NOW ELIGIBLE FOR OSCARS®

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy has voted 17 students as winners of the 44th Student Academy Awards® competition.  This year, the Student Academy Awards competition received a total of 1,587 entries from 267 domestic and 89 international colleges and universities – which were voted by a record number of Academy members.  The 2017 winners join the ranks of such past Student Academy Award winners as Patricia Cardoso, Pete Docter, Cary Fukunaga, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, Trey Parker and Robert Zemeckis.

The winners are (listed alphabetically by film title):

Alternative (Domestic Film Schools)
“Opera of Cruelty,” Max R. A. Fedore, New York University

Animation (Domestic Film Schools)
“Cradle,” Devon Manney, University of Southern California
“E-delivery,” Young Gul Cho, School of Visual Arts
“In a Heartbeat,” Beth David and Esteban Bravo, Ringling College of Art and Design

Documentary (Domestic Film Schools)
“Hale,” Brad Bailey, University of California, Berkeley
“On Pointe,” Priscilla Thompson and Joy Jihyun Jeong, Columbia University
“One Way Home,” Qingzi Fan, New York University

Narrative (Domestic Film Schools)
“Mammoth,” Ariel Heller, University of Southern California
“My Newphew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr., New York University
“Who’s Who in Mycology,” Marie Dvorakova, New York University

Narrative (International Film Schools)
“Facing Mecca,” Jan-Eric Mack, Zurich University of the Arts (Switzerland)
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Hamburg Media School (Germany)
“When Grey is a Colour,” Marit Weerheijm, Netherlands Film Academy (Netherlands)

Animation (International Film Schools)
“Life Smartphone,” Chenglin Xie, China Central Academy of Fine Arts (China)

Documentary (International Film Schools)
“Galamsey,” Johannes Preuss, Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany)

First-time honors go to China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.

All Student Academy Award-winning films are eligible to compete for 2017 Oscars® in the Animated Short Film or Live Action Short Film category and 2018 Oscars in the Documentary Short Subject category.  Past winners have gone on to receive 57 Oscar nominations and have won or shared 11 awards.  This year one 2016 Student Academy Award winner received an Oscar nomination in the Documentary Short Subject category: Daphne Matziaraki, a Gold Medal winner in the Documentary category for “4.1 Miles.”

Students will arrive in Los Angeles for a week of industry activities that will culminate in the awards ceremony on Thursday, October 12, at 7:30 p.m., at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.  The medal placements – gold, silver and bronze – in the seven award categories will be announced at the ceremony.

New this year, the competition was expanded to allow two options for students at international film schools to submit their films. In addition to CILECT-member schools submitting one student film per international film school category, international students may now enter films that qualify through film festivals recognized by the Student Academy Awards Executive Committee.

The 44th Student Academy Awards ceremony on October 12 is free and open to the public, but advance tickets are required.  Tickets may be obtained online at oscars.org starting today.  Any remaining tickets will be made available at the door on the evening of the event.  The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

The Student Academy Awards were established in 1972 to provide a platform for emerging global talent by creating opportunities within the industry to showcase their work.

Oscar2

ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 8,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.

FOLLOW THE ACADEMY
www.oscars.org
www.facebook.com/TheAcademy
www.youtube.com/Oscars
www.twitter.com/TheAcademy

(Source: press release provided by oscars.org)

 

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IDFA New Amsterdam Human Rights Award

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Amsterdam, 14 September 2017

New Amsterdam Human Rights Award at IDFA for best human rights documentary

The inaugural Amsterdam Human Rights Award will be presented for the best human rights documentary at the upcoming 30th edition of IDFA. An international jury will choose a film from the IDFA program with strong cinematography that best presents the theme of human rights. The Amsterdam Human Rights Award is accompanied by a cash prize of € 25,000. The award has been created by the City of Amsterdam.

Artistic and urgent
The creative documentary lies at the heart of IDFA; quality in artistic and cinematographic terms is key. The documentaries selected often deal with socially relevant and urgent themes, whereby human rights – and the violation of these – are central. The films stimulate reflection and interpretation on the part of their audiences.

From its program this year (more than 300 films), IDFA will select at least six and no more than ten documentaries to be submitted to an international, three-strong jury made up of film and human rights experts. The jury will then nominate three films for their cinematographic qualities. The winner of the Amsterdam Human Rights Award will be announced during the festival.

Human rights themed day
On Monday, 20 November – International Children’s Rights Day – IDFA will be focussing especially on human rights. The three nominated films will be screened, with an introduction by one of the members of the jury and post-screening discussions with the director or main characters from the film in Tuschinski 1. During the morning, a special interactive film program for pupils from Amsterdam schools will take place, with screenings of brand new documentaries from the ‘Mensjesrechten’ (‘Just Kids’) series (EO/IKONdocs).

The 30th edition of IDFA will take place November 15 – 26. Click herefor accreditation.

For more information or interview requests, contact Irene Frijters: irene@idfa.nl

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(Source: press release provided by IDFA)

Small But Mighty Telluride Film Festival Brings Out Best Of The Best

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Howie Movshovitz

The Telluride Film Festival is small. It runs only three and a half days over Labor Day weekend, tucked into that box canyon. Yet many people consider it the best film festival in the world.

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 9.46.18 PM
The Telluride Film Festival takes place over Labor Day weekend.
Telluride Film Festival

The festival makes smart selections of new films. It shows remarkable restorations of older films and for the most part the audience at Telluride is there to appreciate good work, whether old or new, and without the distractions of celebrity events, awards or most of the other nonsense that plagues many festivals.

Even so, to leave Telluride thinking about seven legitimate masterpieces is beyond wonderful. If I put the superlatives aside, film after film came along to provoke talk about film, about the world and human life, amazement at some of the best work there and delightful argument about films that were not universally loved.

For me – and no one can see even half of the films in the schedule – the best were: Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water; Paul Schrader’s First Reformed; The Insult by Lebanese filmmaker Ziad Doueiri; Faces Places by the 89-year-old French master Agnes Varda and the 33-year-old photographer JR; the banned Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof’s A Man of Integrity; Wonderstruck by Todd Haynes; and Human Flow, a documentary about refugees by the wonderful Chinese activist artist Ai Weiwei. As the films rolled out during the festival, it was hard to believe that so many could be so good, but there’s only time to talk about a couple of them this week.

Credit Pouyan Behagh / Courtesy of Telluride Film Festival

In Mohammed Rasoulof’s A Man of Integrity, Reza raises fish on his farm. He doesn’t know it yet, but someone with local power wants his land. Suddenly his irrigation water is cut off and then his pond is poisoned. A lot of Iranian film works on this incremental growth of trouble. Bit by bit, the situation grows worse. Complications pile up one at a time. Eventually Reza’s wife, a school teacher, gets involved, and the question is how long can this family hold out against the constant and ever-increasing pressure of corruption, before they either give up and abandon their farm, or they join the matrix of corruption that seems to cover the entire country.

A Man of Integrity pictures a society dominated by illegitimate authority and thorough religious hypocrisy. Reza’s struggle grows exhausting and there is constant temptation to give into it, to go along and to get by.

It’s also a mystery how Mohammad Rasoulof managed to shoot the film. His movies cannot be seen in Iran. At times, it seems he is at least allowed to shoot these films that can never be seen in his own country. At other times you wonder how great is the danger he faces simply by having a camera in his country.

Credit Human Flow / Ai Weiwei

The miracle of Human Flow – and I mean miracle – is that while Ai Weiwei films thousands and thousands of refugees all over the world – those coming to Europe from the Middle East and Africa, as well as Rohingya fleeing Burma, Latin Americans entering America and others – these human beings never feel like a shapeless mass. The film makes you understand that the word refugee distracts us from the actuality of what is happening.

Ai Weiwei shows masses of people, but then close up portraits of individuals. Refugees are children, women and men, individual human beings with their personal histories and existence. Even in the most ghastly camps wracked by the depression of dislocation and other miseries, kids manage to find something to play with, something to keep themselves human. It’s a devastating documentary, but it’s at the same time alive with the realization that every human being matters; abstractions and group nouns fall short.

And then there is Wonderstruck, which left viewers sobbing at the sight of such beauty.

(From: kunc.org)

Vote Now VIZIO + Dolby Vision Filmmaker Challenge

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Established to celebrate excellence in the art of storytelling and advancements in filmmaking, the second annual VIZIO + Dolby Vision Filmmaker Challenge inspires rising cinematographers to showcase their filmmaking prowess.

The contest invited second-year Fellows from the AFI Conservatory — the American Film Institute’s renowned film training program — to submit their films. From the pool of entries, a panel of judges selected the top five that best showcased striking visuals, a compelling narrative and creativity.

Watch clips of the AFI Conservatory thesis films from all five finalists, vote on your favorite and enter to win a 65″ VIZIO television with Dolby Vision™ High Dynamic Range — here!

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The Return of the Showcase #SBIFF

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The long-awaited return of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s (SBIFF) Showcase Film Series is upon us. Here’s what leading outlets have to say about the opening film at the newly retrofitted Lynda and Bruce’s (named for recently named SBIFF Board President and founder of festival sponsor Lynda.com, Lynda Weinman and her husband, Bruce Heavin, co-founder of Lynda.com) Riviera Theater, LE TROU:

“THROBS WITH EXCITEMENT AND SUSPENSE!”
The New York Times

“TAUT, BONE-BARE, AGONIZINGLY SUSPENSEFUL AND FLAWLESSLY ACTED!”
TIME

The Lynda and Bruce’s Riviera Theater features new seating and state-of-the-art Dolby sound and projection. A newly designed concession stand will be offering designer-made candies, fresh popcorn and a variety of sundries.  And if that isn’t already enough, here comes LE TROU, a 1960 classic film, where four men in La Santé Prison, staring down the barrel at hard time, decide to execute a prison break and are forced to bring on a fifth member, Claude Gaspard (Marc Michel), when he is assigned to their cell. The particulars of the escape, based on actual events, are rendered in painstaking detail as the five men dream of freedom.

*To note, today is the “soft opening” of Lynda and Bruce’s Riviera Theater. Nevertheless, what a “soft opening” film!

Le Trou

Get Tickets Here

Screening:
Friday, September 8 – 14

LE TROU

Directed by Jacques Becker
Written by Jacques Becker, José Giovanni, Jean Aurel
Starring Marc Michel, Raymond Meunier, Jean Keraudy, Michel Constantin, Philippe Leroy
Country of Origin: France/Italy
Language: French with English subtitles
Running Time: 132 minutes

 

 

See you there!

riviera

 

(Media materials provided by sbiff.org)

 

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