The festival runs Oct. 11-19
Posted by Larry Gleeson
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.
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.
(Source: press release provided by oscars.org)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
AFI: In all three seasons of THE LEFTOVERS, there has been more conversation than ever this year — especially now that the series has ended.
ML: We’re all trying to wrap our heads around it. There are many endings. You film it, then you edit, then you’re done editing, you’re done mixing, then it airs and you’re done again. It’s been quite an extraordinary time.
There’s perhaps more rallying around this season because more people have found the show. In the beginning, it lost a lot of viewers because it was rather bleak, but still wonderful. Season two came around and we very much worked towards moving to a new town, and I changed the palette of the show, the color, and very much opened up the scope of the show. The show, in its second season, got quite a lot of recognition. And then in the third season, we continued on to Australia and journeyed with our characters there. The reaction to the third season has been absolutely stunning.
AFI: Reportedly, series co-creator Damon Lindelof said that he measures the show in “pre-Mimi” and “post-Mimi,” since you came onboard halfway into the first season. What do you make of that?
ML: They brought me onto the show and I directed it the way I felt it needed to be, and I felt the show needed to be opened up in order to get in there in an even more in an intimate way. It had to allow the audience to breathe a bit. It was a great partnership with Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, and their writing really spoke to me. We had a very special time doing a show about grief and loss, and hope and love. We all had this life-changing experience; we as a group of people in the exploration of faith, and “what is the meaning of life?”
AFI: This also seems like a writers’ room in which no idea was too crazy.
ML: Oftentimes, it was like, “Can we do this? Well, why not? We enjoy it.” Doing a show on a ferry with a sex orgy going on was really an examination of faith in the background of madness. Nothing was too crazy, at least for us. And the response has verified that for sure.
AFI: You directed all three season finales. Was this the most challenging?
ML: They were all challenging. Season three’s finale was, I would say, even more so, because it was the final episode of the series. It was a much quieter episode, and it had almost a comedic feel to it. It almost felt like a rom-com in some instances, and that was very freeing and liberating and really different for our show. In that way, it had to hit the tone just right with our characters, and always stay grounded, and always in the world of our “leftovers.” But I tried not to be too precious about it. There’s always the pressure you put on yourself, when something feels a little bit more important, and that’s where you can go wrong. I ignored those feelings, and always had the mantra in my head: “Keep it simple.”
AFI: You did that beautifully, particularly in the closing monologue. Can you explain the decision not to provide a visual representation of the story that Nora tells about her journey to “the other side”?
ML: We all felt that doing a visual representation of her story would make it feel less ambiguous, and we felt it was very important for her story to be told through Kevin listening to it, and him being our eyes, the audience’s eyes. Kevin had to believe her in order for there to be an opening for love, for them to be together. One of the big themes of this season was our examination of our belief systems, the stories we tell ourselves to get through life. Nora’s story is her story, her belief system. Whether you believe it’s true or not is really unimportant. It really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that she believes it, and that he believes it, and to leave it ambiguous was most important for the audience in order for them to make their decision.
AFI: As a viewer, if you choose to believe that Nora visited this other world, then you get that sort of closure you crave from a series finale.
ML: There really are no answers. There are many answers to the meaning of life, but then again, there are many questions that will never be answered. If we knew all the answers to life, and to the journey, it’d be so boring. Part of the process of living is the exploration, and the journey, and that’s what THE LEFTOVERS, in many ways, was saying. And ultimately, it was this mad love story.
AFI: Another scene in the finale that was so well-directed shows Nora entering the “LADR” (low amplitude Denzinger radiation) device. Talk about directing Carrie Coon in that scene.
ML: We come into the world naked, and we go out naked. The script said “naked,” and I didn’t want to shoot around her body. There’s nothing more beautiful than a human body, and I felt she was this little girl walking. She was completely vulnerable and fearless all at the same time, and I wanted to be with her, to always feel like she was walking towards us. I did a lot of shots that emphasized that, but I also wanted to be over her shoulder and behind her, and feel like we were absolutely with her. That was a scary scene. I just tried to keep it simple and powerful, with the big wides and the tights, and to stay with her emotionally.
AFI: You’ve gone back and forth between TV over the years.
ML: I’m in prep to direct a film called ON THE BASIS OF SEX, which is about the young years of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It’s an origin story, and also about the first federal precedent declaring sex-based discrimination unconstitutional.
AFI: What’s exciting to you about returning to film?
ML: I don’t really differentiate one from the other, honestly. My approach to storytelling is always the same, whether it’s on a big screen or a small screen. It’s all about the material. Films are projected big, but I really don’t approach it any differently [than a TV episode].
Prestige television has really evolved, and you see feature filmmakers going back and forth because there’s great work to be done, great stories to be told, in television. They’re making less films, but I would venture to say there are more important stories being told in prestige television, even though I’m making a very important — I think — story on film this year. There’s more opportunity in television to make these stories. Maybe there’s too much. You cannot possibly catch up to everything. It’s just overwhelming.
(Originally posted on afi.com)
Fabulous film! A must see!
Posted by Larry Gleeson
Cesar-award winning director, Martin Provost’s latest film, The Midwife,was an official selection of the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival starring Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Prost.
Written and Directed by Martin Provost (Violette, Séraphine)
Starring Catherine Deneuve, Catherine Frot (Marguerite, Haute Cuisine) and Olivier Gourmet (The Minister, The Son)
Opens in Los Angeles and New York on July 21st
Official Selection: 2017 Berlin Film Festival
THE MIDWIFE, starring Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot in their first on screen appearance together in a moving drama about unlikely friendships, forgiveness, and the need for change, written specifically for them by director Martin Provost (Séraphine, Violette). THE MIDWIFE is scheduled to open in Los Angeles and New York on Friday, July 21st.
Claire (Catherine Frot-Marguerite) is a talented but tightly wound midwife and single mother on the cusp of losing her job as her small maternity clinic can’t compete with the nearby big hospital. Béatrice (Catherine Deneuve), is the estranged, free-spirited but broken-down mistress of Claire’s deceased father looking for redemption. Though polar opposites in almost every way, the two women come to rely on each other to cope with the unusual circumstances that brings them together.
THE MIDWIFE is scheduled to open in Los Angeles and New York on Friday, July 21st.
Running Time: 117 Minutes
Language:French with English subtitles.
Sources: FILM REVIEW: The Midwife (Provost, 2017): France (Press materials provided by Marina Bailey PR)
Posted and reviewed by Larry Gleeson
Rebecca Cammisa knows a story when she sees one. Cammisa received a tip from a St. Louis reporter about a situation unfolding in North County (St. Louis) communities. The “situation” has been festering for over 70 years. St. Louis has a little known secret – one among many I’m sure. During World War II (WWII), St. Louis was one of the nation’s atomic weapons manufacturing locations. The well-known Mallinckrodt Corporation, in addition to a few other entities, was contracted to carry out war time operations related to to our country’s Manhattan Project atomic program including uranium processing. Using traditional documentary film techniques such as the direct interview, voice-over narration, emotional testimonials and non-diagectic musical scoring, Cammisa gets right into the controversy that pits local residents against the federal government with Atomic Homefront, an HBO Documentary Film.
Here’s why Cammisa made her film. After the atomic bomb uranium processing was completed, the radioactive waste was deposited in several areas in and around St. Louis and its surrounding communities. A few areas, like the one Cammisa focuses on in her timely film, is the Coldwater Creek area. Here the waste lay in piles exposed to the elements, including rainfall, along Latty Avenue until 1973. The radioactive material ran off into the nearby creek where neighborhood children played. Moreover, when the creek flooded water made its way into nearby homes. Increased cancer rates associated with the radioactive isotope have been, and, are being reported. Cammisa chose to include a heart-wrenching, on-camera interview with a sixteen-year- old male on death’s doorstep. His mother believed she had been contaminated by the radioactive materials and had passed it on to her son. The son heroically states he wanted to “help others” by going on camera.
But there’s more to the situation than the radioactive runoff in the Coldwater Creek area. After receiving numerous complaints of the god-awful stench emanating from the Latty Avenue piles of radioactive waste, the piles were illegally dump into the periphery, West Lake neighborhood landfill, which became an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site in 1990. Now the EPA is responsible for the oversight and cleanup. But what about the odorific stench? Somehow, it’s still emanating and making it into the air making nearby residents cringe and worry about what’s being ingested with each and every breath. And, the “situation” doesn’t end there.
The EPA set up air monitoring sites and the radioactive particles are under levels know to cause harm and advised residents to close their windows. That didn’t sit well with those moms I mentioned earlier. They’ve gotten together and formed Just Moms STL, a strong group of moms-turned advocates that believe their communities are being poisoned and have vowed to continue fighting until the EPA removes the waste or relocates nearby residents – neither of which or likely to happen anytime soon as the EPA lacks funding. And as reported in the Washington Post on March 28th, 2017, President Trump signs order at the EPA to dismantle environmental protections.
Unbelievably, for the last seven an uncontrolled subterranean fire has been burning in closed areas of the landfill and recently has been migrating towards the buried radioactive waste. And for the last seven years, Republic Services, a waste management company, has been stating the fire is contained and there is no threat from the radiation. Yet, in 2016, the EPA has clearly identified radiologically impacted material had migrated within 700 feet of the fire and was moving closer. What would happen if the radioactive particles attached to the smoldering vapors and became airborne migrating into the communities potentially miles away? Undaunted, Republic Services insists the site is in a “safe and managed state.”
Atomic Homefront highlights St. Louis an example of how radioactive “situations” are sometime just swept under the rug by the federal and private agencies charged with overseeing them. What the federal government knew, knows or doesn’t know is smoldering underneath the center of Camissa latest documentary, Atomic Homefront. A 1988 film nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary, Radio Bikini, highlights another atomic, highly, radioactive “situation” from WWII with a bit more of an historical treatment. Personally, I would have appreciated that from Cammisa as I trained on ground, as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, adjacent to the Weldon Springs, Missouri site (another radiologically contaminated dumping site). Nevertheless, Cammisa presents a powerful portrait of Just Moms STL with Atomic Homefront and poses questions sure to stimulate dialogue. Highly recommended.
*The local EPA office would not allow Atomic Homefront to record any meetings with concerned residents who were demanding answers to this sordid state of affairs.