Category Archives: #AFIFEST

AFI FEST 2017 New Auteurs and American Independents Lineups Announced

Posted by Larry Gleeson

AFI has announced the films that will be featured in the New Auteurs and American Independents sections at AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi.

From November 9th through the 16th, AFI FEST 2017 takes place over eight days in Hollywood! Get an express pass here.

afi-fest-2011-logo-and-free-ticketsHighlighting first- and second-time feature film directors, New Auteurs is the festival’s platform for upcoming filmmakers from all over the world to showcase their new films. This year, the section is comprised of 11 films, nine of which come from female directors.

The American Independents section represents the best of independent filmmaking this year. Pushing boundaries of form and content across narrative and documentary cinema, this section includes 11 films from both fresh new voices and filmmakers returning to AFI FEST.

Pictured above: Lola Kirke in GEMINI

NEW AUTEURS

AVA – After an adolescent girl discovers she will soon go blind, she confronts the problem in her own way in this disturbing, visually bold debut. DIR Léa Mysius. SCR Léa Mysius, Paul Guilhaume. CAST Noée Abita, Laure Calamy, Juan Cano. France

CLOSENESS (TESNOTA) – Controversial and beloved in equal measure, the film centers on a young woman eking out an existence in a remote region of Russia, and the choices she must face when her brother and his fiancée are kidnapped. DIR Kantemir Balagov. SCR Kantemir Balagov, Anton Yarush. CAST Atrem Cipin, Olga Dragunova, Veniamin Kac, Darya Zhovnar, Nazir Zhukov. Russia

HANNAH – Charlotte Rampling gives another career-defining performance in this taut and layered film as a woman dealing with the fallout of an abhorrent crime committed by her husband. DIR Andrea Pallaoro. SCR Andrea Pallaoro, Orlando Tirado. CAST Charlotte Rampling, Andre Wilms. Italy, Belgium, France

HAVE A NICE DAY (HAO JI LE) – This morbid, hilarious animated noir cuts deep into the greed fueling the Chinese economic miracle. DIR/SCR Liu Jian. CAST Zhu Changlong, Cao Kai, Liu Jian, Yang Siming, Shi Haitao, Ma Xiaofeng, Xue Feng, Zheng Yi. China

HIGH FANTASY – Four South African friends on a camping trip discover they’ve switched bodies in this found-footage sophomore feature that cathartically examines racial and gender issues. DIR Jenna Bass. SCR Jenna Bass, Qondiswa James, Nala Khumalo, Francesca Varrie Michel, Liza Scholtz, Loren Loubser. CAST Qondiswa James, Nala Khumalo, Francesca Varrie Michel, Liza Scholtz, Loren Loubser. South Africa

I AM NOT A WITCH – A nine-year-old girl ignites a rebellion in the witch camp where she’s been imprisoned, in this bold debut that beautifully mixes satire, superstition and ambiguity. DIR/SCR Rungano Nyoni. CAST Margaret Mulubwa, Henry B.J. Phiri, Nancy Mulilo. France, UK, Germany

MILLA – The happy but impoverished life-on-the-fringes of a young French couple is captured with observational care and quiet grace in this striking new work. DIR/SCR Valérie Massadian. CAST Severine Jonckeere, Luc Chessel, Ethan Jonckeere. France

PENDULAR – This intense and unforgettable debut melds sculpture, dance and film in a tale brimming with sexual passion. DIR/SCR Júlia Murat, Matias Mariani. CAST Raquel Karro, Rodrigo Bolzan, Neto Machado, Marcio Vito, Felipe Rocha, Renato Linhares, Larissa Siqueira, Carlos Eduardo Santos, Valeria Barretta, Martina Revollo. Argentina, Brazil, France

SUMMER 1993 – In this unforgettable and autobiographical debut, a six-year-old girl goes to live with her extended family in the Catalan countryside following her mother’s death from an AIDS-related illness. DIR/SCR Carla Simón. CAST Laia Artigas, Paula Robles, Bruna Cusí, David Verdaguer, Fermí Reixach. Spain

WHAT WOULD PEOPLE SAY (HVA VIL FOLK SI) – A Norwegian-Pakistani teenage girl must bear the consequences of her rebellious actions in this powerful sophomore feature. DIR/SCR Iram Haq. CAST Maria Mozhdah, Adil Hussain, Rohit Saraf, Ekavali Khanna, Ali Arfan, Sheeba Chaddha, Lalit Parimoo, Jannat Zubair Rahmani, Nokokure Dahl, Trine Wiggen, Maria Bock, Sara Khorami. Norway, Germany, Sweden

WINTER BROTHERS (VINTERBRØDRE) – A loner in a snowy mining community is pushed to violent extremes in this hypnotic, beautiful debut out of Denmark. DIR/SCR Hlynur Pálmason. CAST Elliott Crosset Hove, Simon Sears, Victoria Carmen Sonne, Peter Plaugborg, Lars Mikkelsen. Denmark, Iceland

AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS

THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN – Bill Pullman gives a career-best performance in Jared Moshé’s cleverly scripted, thrilling love letter to the Western. DIR/SCR Jared Moshé. CAST Bill Pullman, Kathy Baker, Jim Caviezel, Tommy Flanagan, Peter Fonda. USA

BODIED – A meek white-boy rapper wants to spit fire, but does cultural appropriation outweigh his desire? DIR Joseph Kahn. SCR Alex Larsen. CAST Calum Worthy, Jackie Long, Charlamagne Tha God, Anthony Michael Hall, Rory Uphold, Dumbfoundead, Walter Perez, Shoniqua Shandai, Dizaster, Debra Wilson, Loaded Lux. USA

CALIFORNIA DREAMS – Beautiful and multilayered, Mike Ott’s latest work of docufiction centers on struggling individuals in Valencia, CA, and the profound chasm between their lives and dreams of stardom. DIR Mike Ott. CAST Cory Zacharia, Patrick Ilaguno, Carolan J. Pinto, Neil Harley, Kevin Gilger AKA K-Nine. USA

EL MAR LA MAR – A stunning new film from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, EL MAR LA MAR dives into matters of life and death at the U.S.-Mexico border in the Sonoran Desert, where legions of immigrants are dying to cross. DIR/SCR Joshua Bonnetta & J.P. Sniadecki. USA

THE ENDLESS – Filmmaking duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead return with another fiercely original sci-fi horror film, this time set in a UFO death cult. DIR Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead. SCR Justin Benson. CAST Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Callie Hernandez, Tate Ellington. USA

FITS AND STARTS – Wyatt Cenac and Greta Lee star in this fantastic and funny debut centering on two married writers — one successful, the other not so much. DIR/SCR Laura Terruso. CAST Wyatt Cenac, Greta Lee, Maria Dizzia. USA

GEMINI – Lola Kirke stars as a personal assistant who must figure out who killed her famous employer (Zoë Kravitz) in this neon-drenched neo-noir from director Aaron Katz. DIR/SCR Aaron Katz. CAST Lola Kirke, Zoë Kravitz, John Cho, Greta Lee. USA

LIFE AND NOTHING MORE – AFI FEST alum Antonio Méndez Esparza’s sophomore feature follows the day-to-day struggles of an African-American mother and her troubled son, who is getting ever closer to following in his imprisoned father’s footsteps. DIR/SCR Antonio Méndez Esparza. CAST Andrew Bleechington, Regina Williams, Robert Williams, Ry’Nesia Chambers. USA

MR. ROOSEVELT – Triple threat Noël Wells directs, writes and stars in this funny tale of a struggling comedian returning to her hometown to mourn an old pet, and play third wheel to her ex and his new girlfriend. DIR/SCR Noël Wells. CAST Noël Wells, Nick Thune, Britt Lower, Daniella Pineda, Andre Hyland. USA

SOLLERS POINT – This moving portrait of one young man’s frustrated attempts to rise above his obstacles after being released from prison is the latest film from indie director Matt Porterfield. DIR/SCR Matthew Porterfield. CAST McCaul Lombardi, Jim Belushi, Zazie Beetz, Everleigh Brenner. USA

THOROUGHBREDS – Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke star in this darkly comedic thriller that recalls films like HEAVENLY CREATURES and HEATHERS. DIR/SCR Cory Finley. CAST Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks, Francie Swift, Kaili Vernoff. USA.

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(Source: afi.com)

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AFI FEST 2017 Opening Night MUDBOUND

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Hollywood, California is the place for an Opening Night Gala. The American Film Institute’s AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi will open on Thursday, November 9, 2017, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, with the Netflix film MUDBOUND. Directed by Dee Rees and co-written by Virgil Williams and Rees, the historical period drama features cinematography by AFI Conservatory alumna Rachel Morrison (Class of 2006). The film stars Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige and Rob Morgan.

Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees’ MUDBOUND is an epic story of two families pitted against one another by a ruthless social hierarchy, yet bound together by the shared farmland of the Mississippi Delta. MUDBOUND follows the McAllan family, newly transplanted from the quiet civility of Memphis and unprepared for the harsh demands of farming. Despite the grandiose dreams of Henry (Jason Clarke), his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan) struggles to keep the faith in her husband’s losing venture.

Meanwhile, Hap and Florence Jackson (Rob Morgan, Mary J. Blige) — sharecroppers who have worked the land for generations — struggle bravely to build a small dream of their own despite the rigidly enforced social barriers they face.

The war upends both families’ plans as their returning loved ones, Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) and Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell), forge a fast but uneasy friendship that challenges the brutal realities of the Jim Crow South in which they live.

MUDBOUND will be in select theaters and on Netflix on November 17, 2017.

AFI FEST to Present Robert Altman Retrospective

Posted by Larry Gleeson

AFI has announced an inaugural, annual retrospective to spotlight one filmmaker of global significance, as part of AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi, running November 9–16, 2017, in Hollywood, CA.

This year, AFI FEST will present the work of Robert Altman, with screenings and discussions of 12 films — historically the most programmed in the festival for one filmmaker. For the retrospective, legendary director/producer/writer Altman (1925–2006) will be honored with screenings and discussions of his classic  films, including: M*A*S*H (1970), MCCABE & MRS. MILLER (1971), THE LONG GOODBYE (1972), CALIFORNIA SPLIT (1973), NASHVILLE (1975), 3 WOMEN (1977), VINCENT & THEO (1990), THE PLAYER (1992), SHORT CUTS (1993), KANSAS CITY (1996), GOSFORD PARK (2001) and A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION (2006).

pictured above: NASHVILLE, #59 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies

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(Source: afi.com)

 

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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AFI FEST 2017 FILM SUBMISSIONS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

AFI FEST 2017 is now open for submissions via Withoutabox. Please be advised of 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

Click here to submit your film via Without A Box

For further information regarding submissions, please consult the AFI FAQ page.

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(source: afi.com)

Drafthouse Films acquires “R100”

Posted by Larry Gleeson

R100 one was a midnight favorite at the American Film Institute’s AFIFEST 2013. I ventured out with a Japanese exchange student/cohort. We were in stitches and the audience was rollicking. I went on to review the film initially at the Santa Barbara City College SBCC Film and Media Studies site before posting it here earlier this year. In addition, at a recent Art Cinema Seminar/Class led by Santa Barbara International Film Festival Program Director Michael Albright, R1oo, received noteworthy mention. This is a film I highly recommend from a nationally renowned and esteemed Japanese director, Hitosi Matsumoto. Please enjoy the excerpt from Austin360.com!

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Editor’s note: This article was originally published September 26, 2013.

Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, has acquired of North American rights to Japanese director Hitoshi Matsumoto’s “R100,” a lunatic tale of male self-destruction. R100 premiered at Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness section and made its US premiere at Fantastic Fest last weekend. A VOD/Digital and theatrical release is planned for 2014.

It is not suprising that Drafthouse is picking this one up. Drafthouse and Fest founder Tim League introduced the completely gaga “R100” himself, nothing that it was the last film booked but that League, a huge Matsumoto fan, wasn’t going to let it get away. “If you don’t like this movie, you are (expletive) stupid,” League said…

fl20131006cub“R100” (The title is itself a play on the Japanese movie ratings R-15 and R-18) is an almost early-Woody Allen-esque comedy (think “Without Feathers” era or “What’s Up, Tigher Lilly?”) about Takafumi Katayama (Nao Ohmori, the star of “Ichi The Killer” fame) whose life has gone a bit pear-shaped. His department store job is mindless, his father-in-law is helping Katayama raise his young son while his wife is in a coma in the hospital and things are just looking kind of rough for the guy (the color palette for much of the film is all browns, tans and neutrals, washed out and quite 70’s looking in spots).

No wonder the guy feels the need to contact a dominatrix service and gets more than he bargained for. To wit: he never knows exactly when the doms (called “Queens,” each with a special, uh, talent) are going to show up to beat or humiliate him. At first, things seem to go fine. Then the wheels start to come off and things start to get very, very strange.

Matsumoto masterfully switches tones, almost from scene to scene. There are quiet, tender scenes that could hail from an earnest indie movie. There is old school silent movie boffo comedy. There are a couple of solid runs at the fourth wall. As League noted in his introduction, Matsumoto takes his time to set up a joke, but the payoffs are tremendous. And it features the best use of the “Ode to Joy” since “Raising Arizona.”

(Source: Excerpted from austin360.com)