Tag Archives: film festivals

#SBIFF Announces 2017 Winners

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The  32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced it film awards. This morning over breakfast at The Fess Parker filmmakers were thanked for their participation and the following awards were bestowed:

Audience Choice Award
sponsored by the Santa Barbara Independent
Directed by Yonatan Nir

Best Documentary Award
Directed by Yonatan Nir

Jeffrey C. Barbakow Award – Best International Feature Film
Directed by Rajko Grlić

Panavision Spirit Award for Independent Cinema
Directed by Paul Shoulberg

Nueva Vision Award for Spain/Latin America Cinema
Directed by Elia K. Schneider

Social Justice Award for Documentary Film
Directed by Althea Arnaquq-Baril

ADL Stand Up Award
sponsored by Santa Barbara and Tri-Counties ADL
Directed by Wiktor Ericsson

Valhalla Award for Best Nordic Film
Directed by Amanda Kernell

Best Documentary Short Film Award
Directed by Matthew K. Firpo

Best Documentary Short Film Award
Directed by Joyce Chen and Emily Moore

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Live Action Short Film
Directed by Cameron Fay

Bruce Corwin Award – Best Animated Short Film
Directed by Nico Bonomolo

The festival has year-round programs and screenings including its weekly Showcase Film Series and its Wave Film Festivals featuring films from foreign and exotic locales including Spain, France and Asia. For more information visit sbiff.org.

Nostradamus Report – The Future of Film

Posted by Larry Gleeson

If you could see what the film industry has in store for the next 3-5 years, would you dare…

2017 Nostradamus Report


Despite increased competition for audience attention in general and cinema screens in particular, the number of feature films produced in Europe and the US continues to grow. It is not expected to shrink significantly in the next 3-5 years. Among the reasons are new tax incentives and increasing investment from new platform media companies, but also the impact of real democratization of production technologies and to some degree of funding.

A Swell of Films

While this swell of cinema in theory allows a wider range of voices to be heard, in practice it makes it very difficult even for excellent work – of which there is arguably a lot – to find an audience, as there is no equivalent surge of innovation in distribution and audience relations. It also means that bad or irrelevant work has almost no chance to be seen. While it seems clear that public funds should be redirected from the latter categories either towards more deserving feature projects, or towards the production of excellent film content in other formats or for other platforms, this is currently not politically possible. A change like that might also exacerbate the already difficult career paths especially of directors in a marketplace where films by unknowns are very difficult to fund or sell.

3dtechnologyOn the next 3-5 years, all exhibitors will need to focus on the customer experience to stay competitive, but this can look very different depending on their type. On the one hand, we are seeing the emergence of a technologically oriented cinema optimized for experiencing blockbuster fare. On the other hand, we are seeing a focus on human interactions and live performance – so called “live cinema” – as a rapidly developing segment of the exhibition sector, helping audiences both new and old to build relationships with institutions and curators. These ostensibly very different styles of exhibition have in common that they are immersive, allowing the viewers to place themselves socially or physically inside the story, or to engage with its themes together. The social aspect is also at the heart of the growing market for film festivals aimed at general audiences.

Specializing The Screening Experience

Another approach to eventizing movies is just to make the cinemas a lot nicer, with better chairs, better concessions, food and alcohol, increasing cinema’s appeal to, for instance, grownups on dates. This strategy is working well both in mainstream and arthouse environments. At the extreme end are the dedicated luxury cinemas, offering experiences like butler service, Tempur mattresses, or massages.

While the future looks bright for movie theatres big and small, the sheer number of feature premieres means a theatrical window is not feasible even for all quality films – not even on the festival circuit. There is certainly room in the VOD marketplace for both strong curation and dedicated film libraries, but among the pieces missing from the distribution puzzle are still business models for social or distributed digital premieres.

A complete digital transformation of the small screen landscape seems inevitable and will probably happen relatively fast since audiences neither understand nor much care about business models or back-end technologies. As we discussed last year, the end result will probably look something like TV has for the past few decades, with consumers paying one or a few separate bills to services aggregating OTT content. Viewers are, however, likely to be allowed to pick their packaged channels more selectively than before.

The Uncovered Financial Stream

The revenue streams will of course be radically different from the current models. Mergers and acquisitions are likely to continue as the biggest players scramble to establish dominance throughout the value chain. In the US, studios and networks are eyeing a future after affiliate fees and syndication fees, and considering whether owning the viewer relationship directly could provide a similar amount of revenue. Similarly, it seems feasible that a major technology company could purchase a major studio. If antitrust regulation is relaxed under the Trump administration, as net neutrality rules almost certainly will be, the media landscape is regardless likely to consolidate dramatically during the next four years. Changes in the US entertainment industry have global ripple effects. It is also likely that the cultural importance of US content specifically will diminish in the long term, a tendency that could be accelerated by isolationist policies.


VR on the Verge

In the next 3-5 years, the fundamental grammar of VR storytelling will finally be developed, and the real leaps will happen once the production tools are more widely available. Some standardisation will help focus a splintered marketplace. Investment in “VR cinemas” today should be viewed as tests – exhibitors preparing for a coming generation of the technology that may not be easily available in homes. In the short run we are also likely to see a brief exclusive “theatrical” window for VR.

Download the full report here at your own risk: nostradamus2017


(Source: nostradamusproject.org)






Posted by Larry Gleeson


On its 15th anniversary, Berlinale Talents once again offers the public and its 250 Talents a diverse program of events, and proves that it’s still young enough to keep reinventing itself.

Berlinale Talents Program Manager, Florian Weghorn (Photo via berlinale.de)

“This year’s theme, ‘Courage: Against All Odds,’ couldn’t feel timelier. While segregation is on the rise elsewhere, we stand in solidarity with those who believe in respect and the diversity of culture. Every year, our audiences, guests and Talents prove with their courage and love of cinema that together we’re stronger and more creative,” comments program manager Florian Weghorn.

The everyday bravery of today’s film professionals takes centre stage at the 25 public events at HAU Hebbel am Ufer from February 11 to 16, 2017. In addition, Berlinale Talents presents five public screenings of outstanding alumni films from this year’s Berlinale festival program. All in all, Berlinale Talents can once again boast impressive results in its talent development: 93 films, made with the contributions of 131 alumni, are screening at the Berlinale this year.

Completing the Circle – Alumni Return as Experts and Friends

The constantly growing network of successful alumni also contributes towards the Berlinale Talents program itself. Alumna Ana Lily Amirpour, who came to international prominence with her debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, shares her creative process with the audience in a brainstorming session drawing on influences ranging from Bruce Lee to Back to the Future. The Mexican cinematographer Diego Garciá, who participated at Berlinale Talents in 2014, returns as an expert at the “Camera Studio” after recently shooting with Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Carlos Reygadas and Paul Dano, as well as lensing the visually stunning indie film Boi Neon.


Courage Is a Good Idea – Movers and Shakers of the Summit

Exploring the risks and strategies of the profession, the guests of Berlinale Talents take the audience on a journey through personal, creative and cinematic moments of courage. On the opening panel, the president of the International Jury, Paul Verhoeven, returns to Berlinale Talents to discuss his most recent film, Elle. In “No Longer There: The Art of Disappearance,” artist Christo highlights the role courage plays in creating temporary artworks which are then deliberately allowed to vanish again.

Berlinale Talents amplifies the trends and voices of the film program in the festival. Taking a break from his two film premieres, Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck visits Berlinale Talents for a talk with the expressive title “Shock of the Real: History as Provocation.” And tracing the impact of past revolutions and revolutionaries on today, the documentary filmmakers Andres Veiel and João Moreira Salles delve into archival material from their two festival films.

In “post-truth” times, cinematic storytellers are faced with the challenge of having to redefine their roles as purveyors of truths – both as critics and as activists – while at the same time maintaining their own attitudes and humor. The summit addresses this by hosting advocates of free-spirited cinema from Europe and beyond, including Polish director Agnieszka Holland. Isabel Coixet presents her new short film, It’s Not That Cold Siberia, a journey to the origins of inspiration, followed by an in-depth conversation on stage. And Sally Potter provides insights into how she transforms the film set into a safe haven in which her actors can allow intimacy and personal truthfulness to unfold freely.

Core Mission: Cultural Exchange

Hosting participants from over 70 countries makes cultural exchange an important element of Berlinale Talents. The panel “Doc Different: Co-Producing Culture” assembles bloggers, curators and filmmakers to discuss how new technologies enable us to rethink joint documentary production as a continuous process of democratic exchange. Against the backdrop of political developments in Turkey, the panel “Between the Lines: Film, Critique” gathers Turkish filmmakers and journalists who explain how independent platforms and films can offer and preserve a space for critical voices. And to promote courageous filmmakers in the Arab world, Berlinale Talents once again hosts the award ceremony of the Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Stiftung for International Cooperation Germany / Arab World.

Together We’re Strong – Brave Collectives

More than ever, the public programme of Berlinale Talents allows audiences to experience new collective forms of collaboration. Production designer Alex McDowell (Minority Report, Fight Club) and a team of interdisciplinary experts engage the audience in an onstage world-building session to visualize the future of cities caught between surveillance and spectacle. Members of the much loved Berlin-based performance art collective Gob Squad take the audience on an even more immersive journey. Their emphasis has always been on free interaction and open narrations with multiple outcomes; at Berlinale Talents they playfully transfer their approach to the current hype surrounding Virtual Reality. And animation “wunderkind” David OReilly philosophizes with Maike Mia Hoehne also about the new roles of the viewer, as exemplified in his new computer game Everything which has its world premiere at Berlinale Shorts.

As part of the “Drama Series Days” and supported by ARRI and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the case study “On Location: Berlin Station” provides a multidisciplinary tour of the production processes and digital workflow behind the hit espionage series Berlin Station, which was just recently shot in the German capital. On the subject of film production, three panels during the “Producers Day” put courageous producers and funders in the spotlight. They take on topics such as gender equality in the field of production, successful relations between co-producers and how to systematically support filmmakers who are willing to take financial and narrative risks.

The complete program of Berlinale Talents will follow shortly.


(Source: Berlinale Press Office)


53rd Chicago Int’l Film Fest – Poster Competition

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Be the look of the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival! Cinema/Chicago is again hosting its annual design competition seeking the unique poster to be the key image for this year’s Festival, Oct 12-26, 2017. The winning designer, selected by a panel of Festival officials, will receive a $2,500 cash prize!


The official Festival poster is the signature look of the Chicago International Film Festival each year. Poster submissions should convey the experience of the Festival and be designed with the tagline “BECAUSE LIFE IS A MOVIE” Poster submissions must also conform to Cinema/Chicago’s design and submission guidelines and include the $25/entry fee. Submissions without the required elements (see below) or submission fee will not be considered.

Entries must be submitted by March 31, 2017 at 11:59pm CST. Late entries will not be accepted. Please read the Designer Agreement fully here. Complete rules and details are available here.

Design Guidelines:

  • All designs must be 27” x 40”, or scale to 27” x 40”
  • Must be vertically orientated
  • Design must be easily translated into a variety of mediums (online banners, book covers, etc.)
  • Design must incorporate the Festival’s official “eyes” logo (available here)
  • Design must reflect the theme “BECAUSE LIFE IS A MOVIE” and include that text
  • Design must clearly state: 53rnd Chicago International Film Festival
  • Design must include the festival dates: October 12-27, 2017
  • Design must include website: ChicagoFilmFestival.com
  • Artists must use their own original artwork; Copyrighted characters, images or clip art will not be accepted (with the exception of the Chicago International Film Festival logo)

Submission Guidelines:

  • All file submissions must be in pdf, jpeg or png format
  • Entries must be submitted at 300 dpi (CMYK)
  • File must be no larger than 12MB
  • Entries must include a completed Submission Form
  • To submit multiple designs, submit the Form and entry fee for each design

Good luck!



(Source: chicagofilmfestival.com)

Marjorie Prime Wins Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize at 2017 Sundance Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Winners of Commissioning Grant, Episodic Storytelling Grant and Lab Fellowship Revealed

Park City, Utah — At a reception during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival today, the beneficiaries of $60,000 in grants from Sundance Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation were revealed. Doron Weber, the Vice President of Programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, announced the winners: Michael Almereyda’s Marjorie Prime won the Feature Film Prize; Adam Benic’s Levittown (Sundance Institute | Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Episodic Storytelling Grant); Darcy Brislin and Dyana Winkler’s Bell (Sundance Institute | Sloan Lab Fellowship); and Jamie Dawson and Howard Gertler’s Untitled Smallpox Eradication Project (Sundance Institute | Sloan Commissioning Grant).

The reception was preceded by an all-female panel on women in science and their onscreen portrayals (or lack thereof), with discussion of half a dozen films about women in science that were supported and championed by Sloan, including the hit film Hidden Figures. These activities are part of the Sundance Institute Science-In-Film Initiative, which is made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute (Photo via Sundance.org)

“Support for these artists and their projects is more timely than ever,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, “Telling nuanced, human stories about science and technology is the most effective way to drive understanding of the forces that play such a major role in shaping our world today.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Sundance for the 14th year in a row and award the 2017 Sloan Feature Film Prize at Sundance to Michael Almereyda’s Marjorie


Doron Weber, Vice President at the Sloan Foundation (Photo via Sloan.org)

Prime,” said Doron Weber,  Vice President at the Sloan Foundation. “With cool intelligence, wit and poignancy — allied to a deft directorial hand and a stellar cast — Almereyda explores the emotional landscape of artificial intelligence and dramatizes the emerging impact of intelligent machines on our most intimate human relationships. Sloan is also delighted to award three new screenwriting grants at Sundance focusing on scientists and inventors who helped shape the modern world as part of our “non-profit movie studio for science ” and a national development pipeline which has resulted in 20 feature films to date.”


Marjorie Prime: Winner of Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize

Marjorie Prime has been awarded the 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize and will receive a $20,000 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The Prize is selected by a jury of film and science professionals and presented to outstanding feature films focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character.

Marjorie Prime / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Almereyda) — In the near future—a time of artificial intelligence—86-year-old Marjorie has a handsome new companion who looks like her deceased husband and is programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember, and what would we forget, if given the chance? Cast: Jon Hamm, Geena Davis, Lois Smith, Tim Robbins.

The jury presented the award to the film for its “imaginative and nuanced depiction of the evolving relationship between humans and technology, and its moving dramatization of how intelligent machines can challenge our notions of identity, memory and mortality”

As previously announced, this year’s Alfred P. Sloan jury members are: Heather Berlin, Tracy Drain, Nell Greenfieldboyce, Nicole Perlman and Jennifer Phang.

Previous Alfred P. Sloan Prize Winners include: Ciro Guerra, Embrace of the Serpent (2015); Mike Cahill, I Origins (2014); Andrew Bujalski, Computer Chess (2013); Jake Schreier and Christopher Ford, Robot & Frank (2012); Musa Syeed, Valley of Saints (2012); Mike Cahill and Brit Marling, Another Earth (2011); Diane Bell, Obselidia (2010); Max Mayer, Adam (2009); Alex Rivera, Sleep Dealer (2008); Shi-Zheng Chen, Dark Matter (2007); Andrucha Waddington and Elena Soarez, House of Sand (2006); Werner Herzog, Grizzly Man (2005); Shane Carruth, Primer (2004) and Marc Decena, Dopamine (2003). Several past winners have also been awarded Jury Awards at the Festival, including the Grand Jury Prize for Primer, the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for Sleep Dealer and the Excellence in Cinematography Award for Obselidia.

To support the development of screenplays with science or technology, Sundance Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provide three different opportunities for screenwriters through a Commissioning Grant, a Lab Fellowship and an Episodic Storytelling Grant. All provide a cash award to support further development of a screenplay and to retain science advisors, along with overall creative and strategic feedback throughout development.

Sundance Institute / Sloan Commissioning Grant

Jamie Dawson and Howard Gertler will receive a $12,500 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Previous winner’s include Alex Rivera’s La Vida Robot and Robert Edwards’s American Prometheus.

Untitled Smallpox Eradication Project (U.S.A.) / Jamie Dawson (Writer) and Howard Gertler (Producer)
In 1965, the World Health Organization orders a massive operation to eradicate the deadly smallpox virus from the human population.  A ragtag band of very different personalities — from ashram hippies to tenacious scientists to tactical bureaucrats — clash and collaborate as they fight to pull off the impossible.

Jamie Dawson is a New York native and graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Film Program.  He has sold or optioned work to companies such as BCDF Pictures, Manage-ment/Dan Halsted, Formation Entertainment, and Permut Presentations.  Projects in development include: The Rabbit Garden, his Black List script about controversial author Jerzy Kosinski (Being There) with producer David Permut and director Janusz Kaminski; and Swan Song, a television series based on the award-winning, cult classic novel by Robert McCammon (Boy’s Life).

Oscar-nominated producer Howard Gertler’s credits include David France’s How to Survive a Plague, which premiered in competition at Sundance 2012 and was released by IFC Films/Sundance Selects; in addition to the Academy Award nomination, the film collected New York Film Critics’ Circle, Peabody, IFP Gotham, IDA and GLAAD Media Awards. He’s both an IFP/Gotham and Film Independent Spirit Award winner, the latter of which he won for producing John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus, which premiered in the official selection in Cannes and was released worldwide. His upcoming films include John Cameron Mitchell’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties, produced with See-Saw Films, Film4, Ingenious and Screen Yorkshire, to be released by A24 and Studiocanal UK in 2017.


Sundance Institute / Sloan Lab Fellowship

Darcy Brislin and Dyana Winkler will receive a $15,000 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Previous winners include Logan Kibbens’s Operator, Michael Almereyda’s Experimenter, and Rob Meyer’s A Birder’s Guide to Everything.

Bell (U.S.A.) / Darcy Brislin (Co-Writer) and Dyana Winkler (Co-Writer)
At a pivotal point in history, hearing society began a golden age of communication with the advent of the telephone, while deaf society plummeted into a dark age with the eradication of sign language and spread of eugenics. At the helm of both trajectories stands a single man—Alexander Graham Bell. This project was the recipient of the 2016 Sundance Sloan Commissioning Grant.

A Boston native, Darcy Brislin studied Art History and French at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She received an MFA in screenwriting and directing from EICAR, the International Film School of Paris, where she met co-writer Dyana Winkler. Currently based in Los Angeles, Brislin has written screenplays with Sundance award-winning director Ondi Timoner and has a feature film in development entitled Crown Chasers, with Maria Bello attached to produce.

Dyana Winkler is a writer, director, producer based in Brooklyn. Her most recent film, a feature-length documentary entitled United Skates, is currently in post production and has received awards from the Sundance Institute, New York State Council For the Arts, Fledgling Foundation, Film Independent, Chicken & Egg, IFP, and many more. Winkler met her writing partner, Darcy Brislin, in Paris, France, while completing their MFAs in screenwriting and directing, and discovered their shared passion for casting new light on historical figures. They went on to write their first screenplay Turing, and have teamed up for a second time with Bell, which was the recipient of the 2016 Sundance Sloan Commissioning Grant.

Sundance Institute / Sloan Episodic Storytelling Grant: Levittown

Adam Benic will receive a $12,500 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Levittown (U.S.A.) / Adam Benic (Writer, Creator)
A one-hour drama series about visionary WWII veteran, Lieutenant William Levitt, who on his 40th birthday broke ground on the largest private construction project in American history. Alongside his attorney father and architect brother, Will fights against an antiquated industry to fill the massive postwar housing need, thus building the world’s first mass-produced suburb, Levittown, Long Island.

Adam Benic is a Writers’ Assistant on TNT’s Animal Kingdom, and formerly a Showrunner’s Assistant on Hulu’s Shut Eye, CBS’s Extant, and a graduate of AFI’s MFA Screenwriting program. Adam hails from Long Island, New York where he grew up in a Levitt home.


The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Boyhood, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Whiplash, Brooklyn, Twenty Feet from Stardom, Life Itself, The Cove, The End of the Tour, Blackfish, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Super Size Me, Dope, Little Miss Sunshine, sex, lies, and videotape, Reservoir Dogs, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious and Napoleon Dynamite. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. 2017 Festival sponsors to date include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, SundanceTV, Chase Sapphire®, and Canada Goose; Leadership Sponsors – Adobe, AT&T, DIRECTV, Omnicom, Stella Artois® and YouTube; Sustaining Sponsors – American Airlines, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Creators League Studio, Daydream, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, GEICO, The Hollywood Reporter, IMDb, Jaunt, Kickstarter, Oculus and the University of Utah Health. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists. Look for the Official Sponsor seal at their venues at the Festival. sundance.org/festival



Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The New York based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, makes grants in science, technology, and economic performance. Sloan’s program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience.

Sloan’s Film Program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and compelling stories about scientists, science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. Over the past 15 years, Sloan has partnered with some of the top film schools in the country—including AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA and USC—and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production, along with an annual best-of-the-best Student Grand Jury Prize administered by the Tribeca Film Institute. The Foundation also supports screenplay development programs with the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, the San Francisco Film Society, the Black List, and Film Independent’s Producing Lab and Fast Track program and has helped develop such film projects as Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, Mathew Brown’s The Man Who Knew Infinity, Michael Almereyda’s Experimenter, Rob Meyer’s A Birder’s Guide to Everything, Musa Syeed’s Valley of Saints, and Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess.

The Foundation also has an active theater program and commissions about twenty science plays each year from the Ensemble Studio Theater and Manhattan Theatre Club, as well as supporting select productions across the country. Recent grants have supported Nick Payne’s Incognito, Frank Basloe’s Please Continue, Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Informed Consent, Lucas Hnath’s Isaac’s Eye, and Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51, recently on London’s West End.

The Foundation’s book program includes early stage support for Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, now a major motion picture that was awarded the San Francisco Film Society Sloan Science in Cinema Prize in 2016.

(Source: Press release courtesy of Sundance Media Relations)

*(Featured photo via zimbio.com)





Japanese Short Wins at Sundance

Posted by Larry Gleeson


And so we put goldfish in the pool. Wins Grand Jury Prize


Park City, Utah — Winners of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival jury prizes in short filmmaking were announced today by Sundance Institute at a ceremony in Park City, Utah. The Short Film Grand Jury Prize, awarded to one film in the program of 68 shorts selected from 8,985 submissions, went to And so we put goldfish in the pool., written and directed by Makoto Nagahisa. Full video of the ceremony is at youtube.com/sff. The Short Film program is presented by YouTube.

This year’s Short Film jurors are Shirley Kurata, David Lowery and Patton Oswalt.

Short Film awards winners in previous years include Thunder Road by Jim Cummings, World of Tomorrow by Don Hertzfeldt, SMILF by Frankie Shaw, Of God and Dogs by Abounaddara Collective, Gregory Go Boom by Janicza Bravo, The Whistle by Grzegorz Zariczny, Whiplash by Damien Chazelle, FISHING WITHOUT NETS by Cutter Hodierne, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom by Lucy Walker and The Arm by Brie Larson, Sarah Ramos and Jessie Ennis.

The short film program at the Festival is the centerpiece of Sundance Institute’s year-round efforts to support short filmmaking. Select Festival short films are presented as a traveling program at over 50 theaters in the U.S. and Canada each year, and short films and filmmakers take part in regional Master Classes geared towards supporting emerging shorts-makers in several cities. Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and in partnership with The Guardian and The New York Times’ Op-Docs, provides grants to makers of documentary shorts around the world, including new filmmakers in Cuba featured in a Special Event program at this year’s Festival.

2017 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Jury Awards:

The Short Film Grand Jury Prize was awarded to: And so we put goldfish in the pool. / Japan (Director and screenwriter: Makoto Nagahisa) — One summer day, 400 goldfish were found in the swimming pool of a secondary school. This is a story about the four 15-year-old girls who put them there.

The Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction was presented to: Lucia, Before and After / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Anu Valia) — After traveling 200 miles, a young woman waits out Texas’s state-mandated 24-hour waiting period before her abortion can proceed.

The Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction was presented to: And The Whole Sky Fit In The Dead Cow’s Eye / Chile, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Francisca Alegría) — Emeteria is visited by the ghost of her patrón, Teodoro. She believes he has come to take her to the afterlife—but he has more devastating news.

The Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction was presented to: Alone / U.S.A. (Director: Garrett Bradley) — This investigation into the layers of mass incarceration and its shaping of the modern black American family is seen through the eyes of a single mother in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Short Film Jury Award: Animation was presented to: Broken – The Women’s Prison at Hoheneck / Germany (Directors: Volker Schlecht, Alexander Lahl, Screenwriters: Alexander Lahl, Max Mönch) — This animated documentary about Hoheneck, the main women’s prison in former East Germany, is based on original interviews with former inmates. It’s a film about political imprisonment, forced labor and enormous profits on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

A Special Jury Award for Cinematography was presented to: Dadyaa — The Woodpeckers of Rotha / Nepal, France (Directors and screenwriters: Pooja Gurung, Bibhusan Basnet, Cinematographer: Chintan Rajbhandari)— Atimaley and Devi’s village is haunted by memories. When a dear friend leaves the village without saying goodbye, the old couple faces a dilemma: keep living with the memories or leave the village for good?

A Short Film Special Jury Award for Editing was presented to: Laps / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Charlotte Wells, editor Blair McClendon) — On a routine morning, a woman on a crowded New York City subway is sexually assaulted in plain sight.



The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Boyhood, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Whiplash, Brooklyn, Twenty Feet from Stardom, Life Itself, The Cove, The End of the Tour, Blackfish, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Super Size Me, Dope, Little Miss Sunshine, sex, lies, and videotape, Reservoir Dogs, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious and Napoleon Dynamite. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. 2017 Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, SundanceTV, Chase Sapphire®, and Canada Goose; Leadership Sponsors – Adobe, AT&T, DIRECTV, Omnicom, Stella Artois® and YouTube; Sustaining Sponsors – American Airlines, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Creators League Studio, Daydream, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, GEICO, The Hollywood Reporter, IMDb, Jaunt, Kickstarter, Oculus and the University of Utah Health. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists. Look for the Official Sponsor seal at their venues at the Festival. sundance.org/festival



Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home.


(Source: Sundance Press Office)

Annapurna launches marketing, distribution operation

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Jeremy Kay

The timely development comes as industry sources predict Megan Ellison’s team is in Sundance looking to make a statement buy as the festival wraps up its first weekend.

The full-service distribution and marketing operation will kick off with the inaugural release of Kathryn Bigelow’s Untitled Detroit Project in theatres on August 4.

Marc Weinstock, who recently joined the company as president, will oversee the new division alongside president of marketing David Kaminow and president of distribution Erik Lomis.

The addition of a deep-pocketed buyer adds to speculation over who will make the big acquisition plays in Park City.

Prior to the festival there was talk that YouTube Red, Facebook and Apple could be the ones to watch besides Netflix and Amazon Studios. While those first three companies are making inroads into feature content and have the money to step up, the focus now turns to Annapurna.

Marc Weinstock (Photo via HollywoodReporter.com)

“Kathryn’s Untitled Detroit Project is exemplary of the type of films we will be distributing,” said Weinstock. “I couldn’t be more confident in the team we are establishing to distribute and market the film in a way that is as creative and masterful as her film is.”


Bigelow’s film takes place against the backdrop of Detroit’s 1967 riots. Bigelow is producing with Ellison and Matthew Budman. Mark Boal, who wrote the script, and Colin Wilson are also producers with Greg Shapiro serving as executive producer.

The release date will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the riots and stars an ensemble cast that includes John Boyega, John Krasinski, Anthony Mackie, Jason Mitchell, Will Poulter, Jack Reynor and Jeremy Strong.

Megan Ellison, producer and founder of Annapurna Pictures (Photo via Screendaily.com)

“Kathryn took a chance on me six years ago and I’m honored that she has put her faith in me and my team once again,” said Ellison, referring to Zero Dark Thirty. “I could not be more excited to be launching this new part of our company with such a groundbreaking filmmaker, tremendous collaborator, and dear friend.”

Bigelow added: “Megan has been such a huge supporter of filmmakers as a producer and the fact that she is now offering a full-fledged distribution and marketing home run by such innovative and creative executives is great news to all of us. I am thrilled to be working with them.”

Pictured above, Kathryn Bigelow’s latest film, Untitled Detroit Project, is slated to be Annapurna Pictures’ inaugural combined marketing and distribution operation. (Photo via The  AV Club)


(Source: screendaily.com)



Actress Kristen Stewart Makes Her Directorial Debut at the Sundance Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Kelsie Gibson

Kristen Stewart marked a major milestone in her career at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT, on Thursday. For the first time, the actress appeared at the festival as a director as she attended the premiere of her 17-minute short, Come Swim, which was produced in collaboration with Refinery29 for its Shatterbox Anthology, a collection of short films directed by women.

Kristin Stewart, third from left, poses with her team on the red carpet. (Photo credit: Getty Images/Joe Scarnici)

Rocking black pants, a white t-shirt, and a leather jacket, Kristen looked casual and cool as usual as she posed with her team on the red carpet. “I feel amazing,” she told reporters at the Prospector Square Theater. “I’m so happy that so many actual eyes get to see it in the theater.”

Kristen Stewart is joining the growing number of Hollywood women who’ve moved behind the camera, partnering with Refinery29’s Shatterbox Anthology for her directorial début, Come Swim. A surrealist journey through the imagination’s wild currents, Come Swim conjures a stunningly kaleidoscopic portrait of one man’s emotional interior — it’s unbounded darkness and desire. Click here for a behind-the-scenes look



(Sources: popsugar.com, refinery29.com)

Berlinale 2017: Competition and Berlinale Special Are Complete – Master Directors, Newcomers, and Stars Galore

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Competition and Berlinale Special of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival are now complete. 18 of the 24 films selected for Competition will be competing for the Golden and the Silver Bears. 22 of the films will have their world premieres at the festival.


The Berlinale Special will present recent works by contemporary filmmakers, documentaries, and extraordinary formats, as well as brand new series from around the world.

Berlinale Special Galas will be held at the Friedrichstadt-Palast and Zoo Palast. Other Special premieres will take place at the Kino International. Moderated discussions will follow the screenings at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele.

For the third time, Berlinale Special Series will present a selection of series in the official program. Six German and international productions will have their world premieres at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele this year. Audiences will be able to see the first two episodes of each series.


The following films will complete the Competition program:

Final Portrait
United Kingdom / France
By Stanley Tucci (Big Night, Joe Gould’s Secret, Blind Date)
With Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer, Clémence Poésy, Tony Shalhoub, James Faulkner, Sylvie Testud
World premiere – Out of competition

Hao ji le (Have a Nice Day) – Animation
People’s Republic of China
By Liu Jian (Piercing I)
World premiere

Sage femme (The Midwife)
France / Belgium
By Martin Provost (Le ventre de Juliette, Séraphine, Violette)
With Catherine Frot, Catherine Deneuve, Olivier Gourmet
World premiere – Out of competition

The following countries are participating in the Competition programme: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong – China, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, Lebanon, Norway, People’s Republic of China, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, Slovakian Republic, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and USA.

Berlinale Special

Berlinale Special Gala at the Friedrichstadt-Palast

Canada / Ireland
By Aisling Walsh (Song for a Raggy Boy, The Daisy Chain)
With Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Zachary Bennett
European premiere

Berlinale Special Gala at the Zoo Palast

The Lost City of Z
By James Gray (We Own The Night, Two Lovers, The Immigrant)
With Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland
International premiere

Berlinale Special at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele

the bomb – Experimental film
By Kevin Ford (Three Days, By the River), Smriti Keshari (Food Chains), Eric Schlosser (Command and Control; Fast Food Nation; Food, Inc.)
Live music by The Acid
International premiere

La libertad del diablo (Devil’s Freedom) – Documentary
By Everardo González (Pulque Song, Old Thieves: The Legend of Artegio, El cielo abierto)
World premiere

Nema-ye nazdik (Close Up)
Iran (1990)
By Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry, The Wind Will Carry Us, Certified Copy)
With Hossain Sabzian, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Abolfazl Ahankhah, Mehrdad Ahankhah, Monoochehr Ahankhah
German Premiere of the restored version
As part of the cultural program Iranian Modernity of the Goethe-Institut

The Trial: The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov – Documentary
Estonia / Poland / Czech Republic
By Askold Kurov (Zima, ukhodi!; Leninland; Children 404)
World premiere
30 Years European Film Academy

13 films have been selected for the Berlinale Special program, including productions and co-productions from the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Cuba, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Iran, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Poland, Slovakian Republic, Spain, and USA.

Berlinale Special Series at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele

4 Blocks
Director: Marvin Kren (Blood Glacier, The ABCs of Death 2, Rammbock: Berlin Undead)
With Kida Khodr Ramadan, Frederick Lau, Veysel Gelin, Almila Bagriacik, Maryam Zaree, Karolina Lodyga, Oliver Masucci, Massiv
Broadcaster: TNT Serie
World premiere

Below The Surface
Denmark / Germany
Creator: Kasper Barfoed (Summer of ’92)
Director: Kasper Barfoed
With Johannes Lassen, Sara Hjort Ditlevsen, Paprika Steen
Broadcaster: Kanal 5, Discovery Networks Denmark
World premiere

Black Spot
France / Belgium
Creator: Mathieu Missoffe (Profiling)
By Thierry Poiraud (Goal of the Dead), Julien Despaux (Accused)
With Suliane Brahim, Laurent Capelluto, Hubert Delattre, Samuel Jouy
Broadcaster: France 2
World premiere

Der gleiche Himmel (The Same Sky)
Germany / Czech Republic
Creator: Paula Milne (The Politician’s Wife, The Virgin Queen, Endgame)
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall, 13 Minutes)
With Tom Schilling, Sofia Helin, Friederike Becht, Ben Becker, Jörg Schüttauf
Broadcaster: ZDF
World premiere

USA / Czech Republic
Creator: Steve Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)
With Michael Dorman, Kurtwood Smith, Michael Chernus, Kathleen Munroe, Aliette Opheim, Chris Conrad, Terry O’Quinn
Broadcaster: Amazon Prime Video
World Premiere

United Kingdom
Director: Philipp Kadelbach (Platonic Love, Generation War)
With Sam Riley, Kate Bosworth, Lars Eidinger, James Cosmo, Rainer Bock, Maeve Dermody, Aneurin Barnard, Jason Flemyng
Broadcaster: BBC One
World premiere

The following countries are participating in the Berlinale Special Series programme: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, United Kingdom, and USA.

The 67th Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin will take place February 9 to 19, 2017.
The Award Ceremony will be held at the Berlinale Palast on Saturday, February 18, 2017. The last festival day, February 19, 2017, is the Berlinale Publikumstag.

Competition 2017

Ana, mon amour by Călin Peter Netzer (Romania / Germany / France)
Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (On the Beach at Night Alone) by Hong Sangsoo (Republic of Korea – South Korea)
Beuys by Andres Veiel (Germany) – Documentary
Colo by Teresa Villaverde (Portugal / France)
The Dinner by Oren Moverman (USA)
Django by Etienne Comar (France) – First feature
El bar (The Bar) by Álex de la Iglesia (Spain) – Out of competition
Félicité by Alain Gomis (France / Senegal / Belgium / Germany / Lebanon)
Final Portrait by Stanley Tucci (United Kingdom / France) – Out of competition
Hao ji le (Have a Nice Day) by Liu Jian (People’s Republic of China) – Animation
Helle Nächte (Bright Nights) by Thomas Arslan (Germany / Norway)
Joaquim by Marcelo Gomes (Brazil / Portugal)
Logan by James Mangold (USA) – Out of competition
Mr. Long by Sabu (Japan / Hong Kong, China / Taiwan / Germany)
The Party by Sally Potter (United Kingdom)
Pokot (Spoor) by Agnieszka Holland (Poland / Germany / Czech Republic / Sweden / Slovakian Republic)
Return to Montauk by Volker Schlöndorff (France / Germany / Ireland)
Sage femme (The Midwife) by Martin Provost (France / Belgium) – Out of competition
T2 Trainspotting by Danny Boyle (United Kingdom) – Out of competition
Teströl és lélekröl (On Body and Soul) by Ildikó Enyedi (Hungary)
Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope) by Aki Kaurismäki (Finland / Germany)
Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman) by Sebastián Lelio (Chile / USA / Germany / Spain)
Viceroy’s House by Gurinder Chadha (India / United Kingdom) – Out of competition
Wilde Maus (Wild Mouse) by Josef Hader (Austria) – First feature

Berlinale Special 2017

Acht Stunden sind kein Tag (Eight Hours Don’t Make A Day) by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Federal Republic of Germany 1972) – TV series with 5 episodes
the bomb by Kevin Ford, Smriti Keshari, Eric Schlosser (USA) – Experimental film
Es war einmal in Deutschland… (Bye Bye Germany) by Sam Garbarski (Germany / Luxembourg / Belgium)
In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts (In Times of Fading Light) by Matti Geschonneck (Germany)
La libertad del diablo (Devil’s Freedom) by Everardo González (Mexico) – Documentary
La Reina de España (The Queen of Spain) by Fernando Trueba (Spain)
Le jeune Karl Marx (The Young Karl Marx) by Raoul Peck (France / Germany / Belgium)
The Lost City of Z by James Gray (USA)
Masaryk (A Prominent Patient) by Julius Ševčík (Czech Republic / Slovakian Republic)
Maudie by Aisling Walsh (Canada / Ireland)
Nema-ye nazdik (Close Up) by Abbas Kiarostami (Iran)
The Trial: The State of Russia vs Oleg Sentsov by Askold Kurov (Estonia / Poland / Czech Republic) – documentary
Últimos días en La Habana (Last Days in Havana) by Fernando Pérez (Cuba / Spain)

Berlinale Special Series

4 Blocks – Director: Marvin Kren (Germany)
Below The Surface – Creator / Director: Kasper Barfoed (Denmark / Germany)
Black Spot – Creator: Mathieu Missoffe – Director: Thierry Poiraud, Julien Despaux (France / Belgium)
Der gleiche Himmel (The Same Sky) – Creator: Paula Milne – Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel (Germany / Czech Republic)
Patriot – Creator: Steve Conrad (USA / Czech Republic)
SS-GB – Director: Philipp Kadelbach (United Kingdom)


(Source: Berlinale Press Office)

“EFM Industry Debates” 2017: Promises and Reality of Digital Distribution, Challenges and Opportunities in the Arab Film Industry and Innovations in Film Sales and Marketing

Posted by Larry Gleeson

berlin-efm-european-film-market-2001In the tenth year of their existence, the “EFM Industry Debates” (February 10 to 12) will once again bring together high-calibre international experts to discuss current topics of interest, trends and perspectives for the rapidly changing film industry. The first panel discussion addresses the question to what extent digital distribution can be advantageous, in particular for independent film producers. The second debate focuses on the film industry in the Arab world and its challenges and potential. Finally, the significance and necessity of innovations in the field of film sales and marketing will be treated within the scope of the third debate.

The event is being presented for the sixth time by the IFA, the leading global trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances, the official host of the “EFM Industry Debates”.

The discussion series is organized in co-operation with the international trade magazines Screen International, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. The “EFM Industry Debates” will take place on Friday, February 10; Saturday, February 11 and Sunday, February 12, from 4.00 to 5.00 pm at the Gropius Mirror Restaurant.
Friday, Feb 10, 2017, 4.00–5.00 pm
Online Distribution: Promise and Reality
In co-operation with The Hollywood Reporter

Online distribution promises to be the savior of the independent production industry, providing a long-tail global audience for even the most niche art house films and TV productions.
But how does the promise of online distribution match up to the reality? How can independent producers best use the Internet to both finance productions and recoup on their investment? And how can an indie producer or director assess the real value of their films on the global market?

Moderation: Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter
Saturday, Feb 11, 2017, 4.00-5.00 pm
New Prospects: Challenges and Opportunities in the Arab Film Industry
In co-operation with Variety

The Arab world is growing significantly as a market and producer of films. But growth has been uneven, with screens and investment increasing in areas like the Gulf but lagging in countries such as Egypt. Meanwhile, Arab producers and directors face creative and commercial challenges as pay-TV and SVOD gain ground. What are the region’s prospects? The panel will present fresh data on Arab cinema and discuss how best to navigate a growing but tricky market.

Moderation: Nick Vivarelli, Variety

Sunday, Feb 12, 2017, 4.00-5.00 pm
Market Innovation 2017: How To Get Things Moving?
In co-operation with Screen International

With its new “EFM Horizon” platform, the EFM offers various initiatives focusing on the film industry of the future. “EFM Horizon” sets out to help discover the latest technological developments and forward-looking trends and to take advantage of networks in sectors bordering the audio-visual industry. The panel introduces entrepreneurs with strategies that will shape the future in distribution and marketing of films and potentially attract new audiences. The new “Propellor Film Tech Hub,” of which EFM is a founding partner, is setting up an incubator program for the development of new distribution and marketing prototypes, and will present its strategy for 2017 and 2018.

Moderation: Wendy Mitchell, contributing editor at Screen International.
Admission to the “EFM Industry Debates” is free of charge for owners of the market badge. The “EFM Industry Debates” will be followed every day by a networking cocktail hour.

You can find further information for the event on the EFM website: http://www.efm-berlinale.de


(Source: Berlinale Press Office)