The Danish Girl

In Director Tom Hooper’s (King’s Speech, Les Miserables’) latest work, The Danish Girl, Brit Eddie Redmayne and Swedish starlet, Alicia Vikander deliver tour-de-force performances as Einar and Gerda Wegener, a loving Danish couple, struggling with transgender issues that culminates in the world’s first sex reassignment surgery.

Redmayne’s performance is generating significant Oscar buzz with most pundits proclaiming it’s his best performance to date surpassing last year’s Oscar winning portrayal of Steven Hawking, in Director James Marsh’s Theory of Everything. 

And not to be overlooked is Vikander’s screen steadying influence as Gerda. Gerda witnesses her husband Einar’s metamorphosis with a strength steeped in loving kindness.

Vikander’s momentum gathering acting locomotion is not going unnoticed. She’s received double nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for Best Actress for her work in The Danish Girl, and Best Supporting Actress for her work in  Ex Machina, in the upcoming 2016 Golden Globes.

I saw The Danish Girl last night at the Paseo Nuevo theater in Santa Barbara. Critics are praising the film for its arthouse aesthetics and its delicate handling of “an oh so often not talked about rather taboo topic” of (until the recent emancipation of Caitlyn Jenner) – transgenderism.

In my opinion, Hooper’s work adds value to the transgender movement in attracting a more traditional audience segment with its exquisite 1920’s European mise-en-scen and its well costumed, stellar acting corps.

Eve Stewart again handles Hooper’s  production design providing a familiar look and style along the lines of King’s Speech and Les Miserables’. Paco Delgado follows suits as he costumes in a fashion recognizable from his wardrobe work in Les Miserables.

In addition to Redmayne and Vikander’s immersive performances, American actress Amber Heard provides a delightful respite as Ulla from the film’s resounding seriousness while Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts provides a decidedly masculine presence as Hans Axgil during Einar metamorphosis into Lili Elbe.

Accomplished composer and Frenchman Alexandre Desplat scores The Danish Girl with a subtle nuance augmenting Hooper’s genteel helming.

The Danish Girl was adapted from American David Ebershoff’s book of the same name published in 2000. Wholeheartedly recommended.

Sundance Festival Adds Seven Films and Events to the 2016 Lineup

Sundance Institute has added seven additional films and events to the 2016 Sundance Film Festival including two new feature films, three archive films and two special events.

The two new feature films are Tickled, a stranger than fiction documentary about a mysterious tickling competition, and Becoming Mike Nichols, an intimate film into the acclaimed director/producer constructed from interviews filmed in the months leading up to his death.  Tickled, is entered in the World Cinema Documentary Competition and Becoming Mike Nichols is listed under Documentary Premieres. Both films are making world premieres at Sundance 2016.

The three archive films selected hail from the Sundance Collection housed at UCLA as part of the film preservation program specifically dedicated to independent documentaries, narratives and short films supported by Sundance Institute (established 1997) are City of Hope (1991), from director and screenwriter John Sayles, River of Grass (1994)  from director and screenwriter, Kelly Reichardt, and Walking and Talking (1996), from director and screenwriter, Nichole Holocener.

The new special events are American Epic, and  Dazed and Confused. Both events will include live conversations with the creators and producers. American Epic, is the story behind the synthesis of modern music and will include live performances by artists including the Avett Brothers as well as extended conversations from Robert Redford, Jack White and T Bone Burnett. For Dazed and Confused, Richard Linklater and Jason Reitman will share their filmmaking stories, behind-the-scenes insights and funny anecdotes about a film with a cast of unknowns who went on to become household names.

For the latest updates and to access the full line up to the 2016 Festival click here: Digital Program Guide.

Dates set for the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival

The 29th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is set to run for 10 days next year opening Tuesday, October 25th, 2016 at Roppongi Hills and concludes November 3rd. This year the festival expanded its screening venues to include three Shinjuku area theatres attracting 238,185 attendees.

Pictured above is last year’s 27th President of the Jury, James Gunn, writer and director of Guardians of the Galaxy. TIFF remains committed to bringing audiences the best filmmaking talent from around the world while serving as a nexus for cultural interaction between film and cinema lovers.

Tentative dates for film submissions will begin in mid-April 2016. For additional information or to make inquiries, please contact the TIFF Public Relations Division at Tel: +81-3-3553-4793 or email:

Newport Beach Film Festival Update

The 17th annual Newport Beach Film Festival (NBFF) is set for April 21st through April 28th, 2016. While the 8 day long festival featuring over 350 films and attracting over 55,000 visitors to Orange County may seem a little ways off, not so for filmmakers wanting to make a submission. The deadline is tomorrow, Friday, December 18, 2015 for Film Submissions.

Founded in 1999, NBFF prides itself on its lifestyle films and focuses on bringing the best local, national, international and critically acclaimed films to the Newport Beach community.

The program for this year includes:

Features                                                                     Community Cinema

Shorts                                                                         Environmental Film Series

Documentaries                                                         Family Film Series

Action Sports Series                                                Music

Art, Architecture, and Design Series                   Music Video

Collegiate Showcase                                                Youth Film Showcase


NBFF strives to bring the best in contemporary and classical filmmaking from around the world. In addition, the Festival stimulates interest and passion in film goers of all ages and backgrounds through its integration of local community and educational institutions to foster and develop an appreciation in the art of film.