All posts by HollywoodGlee

I’m a veteran of several film festivals including the Newport Beach Film Festival, the Berlin International Film Festival, the American Film Institute's AFIFest Hollywood and AFI DOCS, the famed Venice International Film Festival, the San Luis Obispo SLO Film Fest, and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's family of festivals including the SBIFF, the SBIFF Wave Festivals and the SBIFF Showcase Film Series. To date I’ve written and published over 100 film reviews and have work posted on four sites including sbccfilmreviews.org, imdb.com. I have also been published in Classic Film Images magazine. In addition to writing reviews and covering film festivals, I am currently seeking distribution for new films. I have contacts in several major markets including Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, and Cannes, France. So when you’re looking for your film to get noticed, remember HollywoodGlee can help. We have professional marketers, respected critics and the most knowledgeable contacts on what film festival and/or distribution channel is right for you and your film. See you at the movies!

Art Bastard

Yesterday, I had the good fortune to meet Robert Cenedella, the subject of a heartfelt, insightful documentary, Art Bastard. Open and candid, Mr. Cenedella has a message about the state of today’s business of art: “It’s not what they show, It’s what they don’t show.”

Art Bastard is a new documentary produced by Chris T. Concannon, Concannon Productions, in association with Cavu Pictures, and celebrates the extraordinary life and work of painter Cenedella. Ten years in the making Concannon doggedly pursued the project rifling through directors until meeting writer and director, Victor Kanefsky.

 

In a Q & A, following last night’s Los Angeles pre-opening screening, Concannon quipped “in two days with Victor (Kanefsky) I accomplished more than I did with any other director in two years.”

In taking on the project, Kanefsy painstakingly poured through the hundred plus hours of film and pensively scoured the transcripts to reveal the truth of Robert Cenedella, the Art Bastard. Utilizing telling interviews with family members, New York power brokers, art students, art critics, museum curators and Mr. Cenedella himself, Kanefsky takes the viewer on an adventure through the Andy Warhol Pop Art era into the present day with Cenedella reflecting on his body of work as well as his current role as mentor and teacher at the Art Students League of New York.

What is revealed is an intimate portrait of the heart and soul of a young man who, upon being expelled for penning and distributing a satirical expose on the mundane routine of his high school’s Atom Bomb Drill, discovers himself and comes to terms with life on life’s terms through his commitment to his art. On more than one occasion, Cenedella mouths his mantra “I have a moral obligation to my artwork.”

Editor Jim MacDonald and Director of Photography Douglas Meltzer combine forces in presenting a dazzling array of shots zooming into the paintings of the Art Bastard mesmerizing the audience as minute details become postcard portraits unto themselves punctuated by Mario Sprouse’s musical score. And behind each painting lies a story.

A variety of Cenedella’s artwork is featured throughout Art Bastard including “Impeachment Off The Table” (2008), “Southern Dogs” (1965), “Heinz 57” (1963), “The Balcony” , “2001 – A Stock Odyssey” (1986) , “Santa Fe Rider” , “The Death of George Grosz” (1962) , the highly controversial “The Presence of Man” (1988) and the widely popular “Le Cirque – The First Generation” (1998). Other artists included are Warhol, Jackson Pollock, George Bellows, Thomas Hart Benton, Reginald Marsh, Rembrandt, Raphael, El Greco and Hans Holbein the Elder. In addition, works by his Art Student League mentor George Grosz, whom Cenedella credits with forming his technique and claims he was the first adult he ever respected, are illustrated, presented and intertwined with the telling of the Art Bastard’s journey.

 

Cenedella lays claim to being “the most widely written about unknown artist in America.” Not for long, however. As the Art Bastard navigates the festival circuit, awards are being bestowed upon the filmmakers as they have garnered three 2016 winners, including Best Documentary at the Manchester Film Festival, Best Documentary at Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema, and Best Director, Documentary at Idyllwild. These follow the 2015 Focus On Art Award from the Orlando Film Festival and the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Creativity at the Utopia Film Festival. Furthermore, Art Bastard was named an official selection for the Santa Fe Film Festival, the Big Apple Film Festival and the Newport Beach Film Festival.

Art Bastard opened June 3rd in New York and is scheduled to open this weekend, in Los Angeles, Calif., at the Laemmle’s Monica Film Center followed by Q & A’s with Robert Cenedella, The Art Bastard, after the Friday, June 17th 7:30 P.M. show and on Saturday June 18th after the 2:30 P.M., 5:00 P.M., and the 7:30 P.M. shows. His art exhibit will also be featured at the theater. The Los Angeles opening will be proceeded by a June 24th opening in Pasadena and Orange County.

Highly recommended.

 

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World Premiere of “Visitor’s Day” set for AFI DOCS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                             

Date: June 15, 2016

Visitor’s Day, the latest feature documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Nicole Opper, will premiere on Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 6:45pm at the AFI DOCS international documentary film festival at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center located at 8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, MD.

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Visitor’s Day, set at IPODERAC, a home for 72 abandoned boys, tells the story of Juan Carlos, a runaway at age 10 who struggles for self-acceptance in the face of abandonment by his father. Founded in 1966, IPODERAC will celebrate it’s 50th anniversary this month, the month of our world premiere. This is also the year they break ground on the first home of it’s kind for girls and young women, a fact revealed in the film. The founder and various leaders of IPODERAC will be flying in from Mexico for this premiere.

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For 50 years, IPODERAC (www.ipoderac.org) has helped homeless boys become self-sufficient, productive citizens of Mexico. It embodies the values of education, work and sustainability it teaches the children by operating as a social enterprise that generates 75% of its revenues from the sale of 28 varieties of artisan goat cheese.

Opper directed and produced the Emmy® Award-nominated feature documentary “Off and Running” which was an Audience Favorite at Tribeca, won ten international festival awards (including Outfest) and aired on P.O.V. in 2010. Visitor’s Day, is supported by a Fulbright Fellowship, New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Chicken & Egg Pictures and The Independent Television Service (ITVS).  Nicole has produced films for The Discovery Channel and a documentary series for Here TV, and was selected for Filmmaker Magazine’s annual “25 New Faces of Independent Film.”

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Filmmaker Nicole Opper

 

Director’s Statement:

I first encountered the IPODERAC boys as an eighteen year old volunteer, and I knew I was witnessing something extraordinary. Eleven years later, I unearthed the journal I kept during my time there. In it, I read that I had vowed to come back and make a documentary about this place. I returned to IPODERAC to fulfill this promise and lived on the premises for a year. While this film is an intimate verite portrait of one young man growing up at IPODERAC, I see this story as a beacon of hope, a tale of redemption and a positive depiction of our neighboring country in the midst of a storm of mainstream media that continues to focus almost exclusively on drug violence and “illegal” immigration.

Visitor’s Day also will show at the AFI DOCS festival on Sunday, June 25th at 5:30pm at the Landmark E Street Cinema at 555 11th St., NW, Washington, DC.

 

Tickets are available at www.afi.com and additional information about the film is available at www.visitorsdaythefilm.com.

 

“VISITOR’S DAY is an affecting portrait of a neglected boy striving for self-acceptance and maturity.” – AFI DOCS Film Festival

(Press release provided by Stephanie Strong)

New BEN-HUR Featurette

BEN-HUR is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption. Based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. Also starring Morgan Freeman and Rodrigo Santoro. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov

 

See how the team brought the chariot race to life in this new featurette!

 

In theaters August 19, 2016

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(Materials courtesy of ©2015 Paramount Pictures. All Right Reserved.
5555 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90038)

#ANIME NEWS: Top directors Hosoda and Iwai to take center stage at #TIFF

June 9, 2016 at 11:00 JST

Animated works by director Mamoru Hosoda are to be showcased in the Animation Focus program at the 29th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), which will run from Oct. 25 to Nov. 3.

The festival’s 2016 edition will also shine a spotlight on leading film director Shunji Iwai, who will provide the theme for the Japan Now section, which focuses on outstanding Japanese filmmakers.

Having celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, the TIFF, which was launched in 1985, is widely known as one of the leading film festivals held in Asia. In recent years, the festival has been putting extra emphasis on promoting Japanese culture trends including anime.

In 2014, the TIFF featured “Evangelion” anime creator Hideaki Anno in the Animation Focus program under the title of “The World of Hideaki Anno.” The festival also covered the “Mobile Suit Gundam” robot anime franchise last year.

Known for many hit anime films such as “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” “Summer Wars” and “The Boy and the Beast,” Hosoda will be the third anime creator to be featured in the Animation Focus program.

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“The Boy and the Beast” ((c) 2015 The Boy and the Beast Film Partners)

In addition to screening his recent films, the TIFF will also showcase Hosoda’s early works including “One Piece” and “Digimon Adventure” to offer a retrospective look at his career and wide-ranging creative expertise.

The Japan Now section deals with filmmakers most worthy of promoting internationally at the moment.

Known for “Love Letter,” his latest movie “A Bride for Rip Van Winkle” and other critically acclaimed films, Iwai is popular at home and abroad, particularly in Asia. He drew international attention with his animated feature film effort “Hana and Alice,” in 2015.

His artistic abilities will be brought to light in the program.

Details of the TIFF will be updated at its official website at (http://2016.tiff-jp.net/en/).

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To learn more about the latest developments in Japanese anime, visit the official site of Anime Anime (http://animeanime.jp/).

(Sourced and translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.)

THE MAN WHO SAW TOO MUCH

The AFI DOCS Interview: THE MAN WHO SAW TOO MUCH Director Trisha Ziff

For more than five decades, photojournalist Enrique Metinides risked his life to photograph tragedy — and the human emotion that accompanies it — in Mexico City. From crime scenes shot in black and white to explosions captured in full color, Metinides’ hauntingly beautiful pictures reveal the drama of disaster in a single frame as captured in THE MAN WHO SAW TOO MUCH.

AFI spoke to director Trisha Ziff ahead of the film’s AFI DOCS premiere. Also, check out the trailer below.

What led you to documentary filmmaking?

I come from a world of photography. My first film was based on an exhibition I curated about the famous photo of Che Guevara. It was a show about one single image and all its incarnations and hybrids. I saw the doc HELVETICA and I thought if you could make a film about a font, you could make a feature doc about a single image, a 60th of a second. I was fortunate enough to encounter amazing people to work with.

Coming from curation, I loved the world of documentary. It’s a different way of storytelling and the collectivity of filmmaking was a huge attraction. I grew up in England and spent my formative years watching Channel 4 docs and working with wonderful documentary filmmakers there. So to make my own film, with the support of Netflix, was a huge challenge and an amazing opportunity. I still curate and love the different ways of working with walls and with the moving image.

What inspired you to tell the story of Enrique Metinides?

I live in Mexico City and at every traffic light, we are confronted with tabloid images of the violence that took place the night before; we can never escape it. The frequency of the images assaulting us daily also makes them, ironically, feel mundane; they paralyze us. This is a film about a photographer who spent his life taking those images. I wanted to explore why we want to look at the image as much as he wants to take the photograph — the layers of looking, the voyeurism, the seduction. For me, it was about diving into a very dark world, understanding the sensationalism and meeting the photographers who do this work today. The film grew out of a seven-year relationship with my protagonist Enrique Metinides, three major exhibitions and a book.

How did you find your subject?

We had been working together for five years before we began to work on the film. I seem to have got into this pattern of a book, then an exhibition, followed by a film. It’s the third project with this model. I like it because each medium impacts and enriches the other . I was invited to curate a show of Enrique’s work at a big photo festival in Arles in the south of France; out of that grew our book, and later came the film. But my films grow from my curatorial work .

What was a particular obstacle you faced while making the film?

I think all of us might say funding! Despite the changes in how people see documentaries today and their popularity, it is still hard to make a film, and even harder to make a doc with a cultural theme. People tend to want Latin American films to address themes of victimhood and poverty, films that fit into a stereotype of sorts. So making a film about photography and a world of photography — which has the complexity of not being considered of cultural value — falls between two stools. The real challenge, however, was to find the contemporary photographers willing to work with me and to have us go out at night with them, documenting what they do. It took time to win their confidence but being at a crime scene with a cadaver is not something I will soon forget.

What do you want audiences to take away from your film?

My main concern in showing this film in the U.S. is: does this film, which addresses the depiction of violence in photography in Mexico, somehow contribute to a Trump-like stereotype of Mexico? Obviously that idea could not be further from my intention. But what I hope in the most modest of ways is that the audience leaves the cinema thinking about their own fragility — that they should check their seat belts are fastened! Understanding your own fragility is also about living each moment to the fullest. So I guess I want the audience to leave the theater recognizing how fragile it all is. It’s a theme that goes beyond the Mexican content; it applies to all of us.

Why is Washington, DC, a valuable location to screen your film?

DC has an extraordinary mix of people. It is a Mecca for people from all over the world. It also has a significant Mexican and Latin American population today. It’s a city with a strong photographic tradition thanks to the Corcoran and a museum dedicated to media, which is also a dominant theme in my film.

I think DC is an important Mecca for documentary; it is a city embroiled with sensationalism, with gossip, with drama about news. The news in my film may be different, but the culture of sensationalism is a different version of the same.

What documentary films or documentarians have been the most influential to you?

I have two favorite documentary filmmakers: Agnès Varda and Patricio Guzman. They both take documentary filmmaking to a lyrical place and yet through their storytelling, we confront important issues and narratives. They are so different but they both understand the media of cinema, which has always inspired me. I work and make films in Mexico and today the strength of young women documentary filmmakers is especially inspiring. Maya Goded, Viviana Garcia Besne, Maria José Cuevas and Tatiana Hueso all challenge the boundaries of documentary. They are an amazing energy in Mexican contemporary filmmaking.

THE MAN WHO SAW TOO MUCH plays AFI DOCS on Thursday, June 23, at 9:00 p.m., and Friday, June 24, at 2:00 p.m. Buy tickets here.

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[Source: American Film Magazine (blog)]

2016 The Wave Film Festival ~ France #SBIFF

Dear Cinephiles,

At The Wave Film Festivals over that last two years we have visited France twice, Spain, Latin America, and East Asia. From these countries we have seen 44 amazing films that we would not have been able to see otherwise.

The Wave Director Mickey Duzdevich and programmer Whitney Murdy are currently working on yet another exciting line up of 11 new French films of which will be announced shortly.

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Passes are now on sale for the upcoming Wave which will be July 11th through 17th at the Riviera Theatre. Come take another cinematic trip to France with us!

Patron Pass ~ $250
• Reserved Seating
• Access to ALL Film Screenings
• Access to the Passholder Reception (date/location TBA)
• Pass is non-transferable

Cinephile Pass ~ $80
• Access to Eleven (11) Film Screenings (one screening of each film)
• Access to the Passholder Reception (date/location TBA)

Individual Tickets
• Not available for purchase until film schedule is released in early July
• General Admission $10
• Senior/Student $8

Purchase passes here!

(Source: sbiff.org)

AUDRIE & DAISY

Spotlight Screening
AUDRIE & DAISY tells the story of two teenage girls who went to parties, drank alcohol, passed out, and were sexually assaulted by guys they thought were their friends.  In the aftermath, both girls discovered that the crimes were documented on cell phones.  Video and pictures were passed around.  Their lives were changed forever.

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A riveting examination of the frightening consequences of social media gone out of control, AUDRIE & DAISY focuses on the traumatic aftermath for two teenage girls who were sexually assaulted in 2012. As evidence of the crimes went viral, the victims were scorned by their communities and cyber-bullied by their peers — to tragic ends. This heartbreaking film makes a powerful plea to end the cultures of shame and silence surrounding rape in the digital age. — Chuck Willett

 

Director’s Statement

As directors and parents of teenagers, we are struck by the frequency of sexual assaults in high schools across the country and have been even more shocked by the pictures and videos, posted online – almost as trophies – by teens that have committed these crimes.  This has become the new public square of shame for our adolescents.   Unfortunately, the story of drunken high school parties and sexual assault is not new.  But today, the events of the night are recorded on smartphones and disseminated to an entire community and, sometimes, the nation.  Such was the case for Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman, two teenage girls, living thousands of miles apart but experiencing the same shame from their communities.  While the subject matter is dark, we are inspired by these stories to make a film that captures these truths but can also help audiences digest the complexities of the world teenagers live in today.

As we began our research, the Steubenville, Ohio High School rape case was underway.  At the time, there was wide criticism directed at national news outlets for their lack of focus on the victim and perceived sympathy for the perpetrators.  As more cases have come to light since then, this damaging attitude – stemming from what many refer to as pervasive “rape culture” in American society – has remained largely in tact.  However, journalists need stories and stories require characters.  As is the norm in underage rape cases, in Steubenville, the survivor chose (understandably) to maintain her anonymity as a “Jane Doe.” We decided then that a genuinely emotional, meaningful film about teenage sexual assault required the affirmative on- camera participation of the survivor.  Our main subjects, Daisy Coleman and Audrie Pott, involuntarily lost their anonymity when rumors, insults and photos about their assaults circulated around school and on social media.  Identified by name and subjected to online character assassination, Daisy decided with great courage to speak out publicly.  Audrie’s parents chose to go public with their daughter’s story after the unspeakable tragedy of Audrie’s suicide, as well. Thus, using their deeply personal – and, now public – stories as a starting point, we launched into production of our film.

AUDRIE & DAISY, directed by Bonni Cohen and Joe Shenk is screening Thursday, June 23rd, 2016, at the Newseum at 8:15 P.M. Click here for tickets.

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Trailer: MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE

Co-directors Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack present a lovingly crafted and comprehensive portrait of the esteemed Dr. Maya Angelou. The story is told by Angelou herself, along with a cast of contemporaries from her careers as actress, writer, poet and activist. In chronicling Angelou’s life from her youth in the Depression-era South through her rise to international prominence, the film is a vital document about the importance of grace, dignity and the quest for peace. — Chad Eberle

This clip from MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE features footage from Maya Angelou’s days as a calypso singer/dancer and interviews with Diahann Carroll and Don Martin.

The film screens as part of AFI DOCS June 22-26, 2016 in Washington, DC. Get Tickets Here.

(Source: AFI DOCS 2016)

The AFI DOCS Interview: #NEWTOWN Director Kim A. Snyder

June 1, 2016

On December 14, 2012, a 20-year-old gunman forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and murdered 20 schoolchildren and six educators. In the aftermath of the killings, filmmaker Kim Snyder traveled to Newtown and trained her lens on a grieving community, following several families who came face to face with tragedy. NEWTOWN reveals both the indelible scars gun violence leaves behind and the resilience of people who come together to heal.

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AFI spoke to director Snyder ahead of the film’s AFI DOCS premiere.

What led you to documentary filmmaking?

I was working on the production side of narrative filmmaking when a turn in my personal life compelled me to direct my first documentary. I have been doing it ever since.

What inspired you to tell this story?

I was drawn to the profound effects of collective trauma and the need for many people in Newtown to be heard on their own terms in an effort to make meaning out of the unthinkable. I wanted to pierce through a growing desensitization to these escalating incidents of mass gun violence through creating an emotional experience that humanizes the issue in a universal way.

How did your subjects?

It was like peeling an onion. In that first year, I did not feel comfortable penetrating the privacy of those most affected. My first connections were with the Interfaith community, which informed an intimacy and framing that was at once philosophic, existential and spiritual to some extent; it lent a holistic approach to a community wrestling with the darkest of journeys. Friar Bob, the priest who buried eight of the 20 children, was among those severely affected in terms of trauma. As I organically developed relationships with others through careful trust building, I began to develop a story of a town through a number of prisms, including that of parents of loss, educators, first responders, neighbors, youth — faces that render a portrait of any town and one that would redefine what it means to be a victim, while exploring the profound effects of survivor guilt and the resilience required to repair the social fabric of the entire community in the wake of the tragedy.

What was a particular obstacle you faced while making the film?

I faced a profound sense of responsibility in not wanting the process of the film to add to the ongoing trauma of those who participated, and in keeping my own psychological and emotion reactions to the material in check.

What do you want audiences to walk away with?

I want them to take away a profoundly emotional but rewarding journey to experience in their own community. I want them to experience perspective, anger and uplift from a community that offers profound truth and life perspective. Most importantly, I want them to leave with the conviction to participate in effecting change.

Why is Washington, DC, a valuable location to screen your film?

It is perhaps the most essential place for us to screen. Presenting an intimate exploration of the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history in the seat of government and policymaking will be extremely powerful. We hope to maximize this potential.

NEWTOWN plays AFI DOCS on Thursday, June 23 at 5:45. Buy tickets here.

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[Source: American Film Magazine (blog)]

ZERO DAYS: Opening Night Gala @AFIDOCS

North American Premiere

ZERO DAYS, directed by Alex Gibney is slated for Opening Night Film for the 2016 American Film Institute’s AFI DOCS. The film will be making its North American Premiere on Wednesday, June 22, 2016, 7:30 P.M., at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

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When independent Internet technicians discovered a chillingly powerful computer virus unlike anything they’d seen before, signs pointed not merely to recreational or criminal hackers, but to a high-stakes game of cyber warfare between nations. Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney returns to the festival with ZERO DAYS, a fascinating exposé of American and Israeli covert operations aimed at Iran’s nuclear program. Gibney (TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF) is a master of investigative documentary filmmaking, shining a light on institutions as diverse as WikiLeaks, the Church of Scientology, Apple Inc., Enron and the U.S. military. His latest work poses compelling and critically important questions about the role of technology in war and foreign policy, and its worldwide implications. — Mimi Brody

For more details click here.

Film Review and Marketing

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