Tag Archives: television

Berlinale FILM CAPSULE: The Other Side of Hope (Kaurismaki, 2017): Finland

Posted by Larry Gleeson.

Writer/Director Aki Kaurismaki served up a full platter of entertainment with Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope) during the 67th Berlin International Film Festival at the Berlinale Palast Theater. Tackling the migration and asylum bureaucratic processing issues of the day, Kaurismaki serves up quite a treat with The Other Side of Hope.

The film opens in the dark of night in a shipping harbor complete with fog horn blasts and heavy equipment operating including a dock loader transferring coal from ship to shore. The black, glistening bituminous coal shimmering in the light as it is being piled is magical this night. Emerging from the center of the pile a rounded shape with two spherical orbs projecting light are visible. Soon a human form emerges.

A cut is made to a businessman, Wikstrom, played by Sakari Kuosmanen primping himself for what appears to be another day. Yet, on this day, Wikstrom has decided to leave his wife, who comes into frame with a full head of curlers, a cigarette dangling from her mouth, attired in a cheaply-made, tropical floral robe. Wikstrom places his wedding ban on the table and exits. The woman reached for a gin bottle pouring herself a double taking a mouthful to wrap up the scene.

Using these two main protagonists, Kaurismaki embarks on a story showcasing two very different lives. Wikstrom, a haberdasher of sorts peddling ties and men’s shirts, drives a black luxury sedan listening to Western music while the coal refugee, Khaled, a Syrian asylum seeker, portrayed by Sherwan Haji, takes a coin-fed shower releasing the black soot from his skin’s pores. These men are on different trajectories. Khaled tries to do the right thing by finding the nearest police station in Helsinki to seek political sanctuary status from Aleppo. Despite his best efforts Khaled is denied sanctuary and decides to stay in the country illegally as many in his predicament seem to be doing. Wikstrom is hustling at a private, high-stakes poker game winning enough money to purchase outright an old, seemingly well-established restaurant in one of the remotest areas of Helsinki.

The restaurant undergoes several incarnations – each one bringing more laughs from the audience than the previous one. Wikstrom has developed very solid rapport with the chef and head waiter and takes to heart almost every one of their suggestions. Khaled, on the other hand, has been living on the streets and has made friends with a hip and funky group of rock-n-rollers. As luck would have it, or, maybe it was a form of divine Providence, the Wikstrom finds Khaled sleeping in the back of his restaurant and winds up giving him a bed and a job. With the help of the Wikstrom’s connections, Khaled is reunited with his sister and manages to find a way to stay in the country.

Hats off to Kaurismak. He wields quite a powerful wand in The Other Side of Hope. Bringing the main protagonists together after nearly forty minutes and having the story and its characters gel in a believable manner is no easy task. Quite the opposite. Tiina Kaukanen rapid fire costume changes aids immensely in the humorous attempts to find a working restaurant motif. I would be amiss not to mention the uber strong production design managed by Mark Lwoff and Misha Jaari. Director of Photography, Timo Salminen, captures the telling mise-en-scene with various lighting sets ranging from very low-key sets to more traditional tungsten indoor lighting set ups.

An interesting note: Eevi Kareinen handled the casting while serving as the Assistant Director.

In the end, Kaurismaki brings these two characters together – the practical businessman and a refugee seeking a life free from Syrian war for him and his sister. Along the way, he provides plenty of comic relief in this heart-warming and life-affirming tale of pragmatism and redemption. An exceptional film in light of the present migration dilemma and one I recommend highly without reservation.

*Featured photo credit: Malla Hukkanen © Sputnik Oy

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Chicago Film Fest CineYouth Challenge 2017 – Entries Now Open

Posted by Larry Gleeson

CineYouth Film Challenge
Do you know an aspiring young filmmaker? We’ve got a great opportunity for students ages 10-18 to participate in a single day filmmaking experience. Join us for CineYouth Film Challenge on Saturday, April 22, at Columbia College Chicago, where students will collaborate on making a short film from start to finish. The completed films will go on to screen at CineYouth Festival, May 4-6.
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The Film Challenge is generously supported by sponsor Allstate Insurance and partner Columbia College Chicago.

(Source: Chicago Press Office)

Berlinale Goes Kiez: The Festival in Neighbourhood Cinemas

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Once again the Berlinale Goes Kiez special series is bringing the glamour of the festival to Berlin’s very diverse neighborhoods and the city of Potsdam. The Berlinale will screen at seven select arthouse cinemas known for participating in and contributing to cultural life in their respective neighborhoods.

In Neukölln a new cinema  w o l f  will be opening its doors for the first time with the Berlinale. And in the Wrangelkiez, one of Kreuzberg’s most upbeat neighborhoods, the Red Carpet will again be rolled out at the newly converted and enlarged EISZEIT cinema.

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From February 11 to 17, 2017, a selection of films from the official Berlinale program will be shown in neighborhoods, ranging from Berlin-Weißensee to beyond the city limits in Potsdam-Babelsberg. Each evening one arthouse cinema will be turned into a festival venue.

Members of film teams have already announced their intention to present their works personally and discuss them with audiences after the screenings. At each neighborhood cinema a prominent film personality will serve as its patron.

The Berlinale Goes Kiez series will also begin with the official opening film of this year’s Berlinale. Django (Competition) by Etienne Comar will kick off the evening at the Bundesplatz-Kino in Wilmersdorf. Local moviegoers can expect a long and interesting evening, as shortly before midnight a film from the Berlinale Classics program will be presented as well: the digitally restored version of George A. Romero’s horror classic Night of the Living Dead.

For the first time NATIVe, the Berlinale special series on Indigenous cinema, has been invited to participate in Berlinale Goes Kiez. At the EISZEIT cinema in Kreuzberg, two films from Canada will represent this year’s special region of focus, the Artic.
At the  w o l f  in Neukölln, Berlinale Goes Kiez and Berlinale Talents will launch their first collaboration. In public talks titled “Local Heroes: Community Cinema Reloaded”, innovative international cinema operators will discuss with the audience ways to curate, finance, and involve the neighborhood in local movie theatres.

 

Berlinale-Festival Director Dieter Kosslick: “Our ‘local heroes’ are neighborhood cinemas in Berlin and Brandenburg that are open to topics important to the community and foster an on-going dialogue through the stories presented on their screens.”

 

Advance sales start on February 6, 2017; tickets will also be available at the respective cinemas.

Neighbourhood cinemas and programme

Saturday, February 11 at Bundesplatz-Kino, Wilmersdorf
6.00 pm Competition
Django by Etienne Comar

9.00 pm Competition
Teströl és lélekröl (On Body and Soul) by Ildikó Enyedi

11.45 pm Berlinale Classics
Night of the Living Dead by George A. Romero

Sunday, February 12 at Toni & Tonino, Weißensee
3.30 pm Generation Kplus
Die Häschenschule – Jagd nach dem Goldenen Ei (Rabbit School – Guardians of the Golden Egg) by Ute von Münchow-Pohl

6.30 pm Competition
Wilde Maus (Wild Mouse) by Josef Hader

9.30 pm Perspektive Deutsches Kino
Back for Good by Mia Spengler

Monday, February 13 at Odeon, Schöneberg
6.30 pm Berlinale Special Gala
Le jeune Karl Marx (The Young Karl Marx) by Raoul Peck

9.30 pm Competition
Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman) by Sebastián Lelio

Tuesday, February 14 at  w o l f  , Neukölln
4.30 pm Talents Go Kiez
“Local Heroes: Community Cinema Reloaded”
Public talk (in English)

6.30 pm Panorama Special
Tiger Girl by Jakob Lass

9.30 pm Forum
Chemi bednieri ojakhi (My Happy Family) by Nana & Simon

Wednesday, February 15 at Thalia Programmkino, Potsdam-Babelsberg
6.30 pm Competition
Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope) by Aki Kaurismäki

9.30 pm Competition
Beuys by Andres Veiel

Thursday, February 16 at City Kino Wedding
in Centre Français de Berlin, Wedding
6.30 pm Forum
Tiere (Animals) by Greg Zglinski

9.30 pm Berlinale Shorts Go Kiez
Fishing Is Not Done On Tuesdays by Lukas Marxt, Marcel Odenbach
Kometen (The Comet) by Victor Lindgren
Everything by David OReilly
Estás vendo coisas (You are seeing things) by Bárbara Wagner, Benjamin de Burca
Os Humores Artificiais (The Artificial Humors) by Gabriel Abrantes

Friday, February 17 at EISZEIT cinema, Kreuzberg
6.30 pm Culinary Cinema Goes Kiez
Theater of Life by Peter Svatek
After the screening menu at Markthalle Neun

9.00 pm NATIVe Goes Kiez
Tungijuq by Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël
Angry Inuk by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril

Berlinale Goes Kiez is supported by the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. Its complete programme can be found at http://www.berlinale.de. Please contact Uschi Feldges for more information ().

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(Source: Berlinale Press Office)

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)

DGA 69th ANNUAL AWARDS WINNERS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Los Angeles – The winners of the Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement Awards for 2016 were announced during the 69th Annual DGA Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. Damien Chazelle won the DGA’s Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for La La Land.

Actor Jane Lynch hosted the ceremony before an audience of more than 1,200 guests. Presenters included (in alphabetical order): Amy Adams, Michael Apted, Casey Affleck, Paris Barclay, Martha Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Billy Crudup, Michael Fassbender, America Ferrera, Cuba Gooding Jr., Ryan Gosling, Taylor Hackford, Tony Hale, Alex R. Hibbert, Gale Anne Hurd, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicole Kidman, Christine Lahti, Helen Mirren, Mandy Moore, Kevin Nealon, Christopher Nolan, Sarah Paulson, Gene Reynolds, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, John Singleton, Emma Stone, Milo Ventimiglia, and Kerry Washington.

Click the links below to view specific categories:

Feature Film First-Time Feature Film
Dramatic Series Movies for Television and Mini-Series
Comedy Series Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Regular
Reality Programs Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Specials
Children’s Programs Commercials
Documentary Achievement & Service Awards

(Source: dga.org)

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals Honors Ryan Reynolds as 2017 Man Of The Year

Posted by Larry Gleeson

CAMBRIDGE, MA (February 3rd, 2017) – The Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the oldest theatrical organization in the United States, welcomed producer and Golden Globe nominated actor, RYAN REYNOLDS, to Harvard University where he received his Man of the Year award.

The Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ Man and Woman of the Year Awards are presented annually to performers who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment. The Man of the Year award was established in 1963. Its past recipients include, among others, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Justin Timberlake, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Pratt and most recently, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was the 50th Man of the Year.

Hasty Pudding Theatricals Honors Ryan Reynolds as 2017 Man Of The Year
CAMBRIDGE, MA – FEBRUARY 03: (L-R) Roaster Natalie Kim, actor Ryan Reynolds and roaster Adam Chiavacci perform on stage during Hasty Pudding Theatricals Honors Ryan Reynolds as 2017 Man Of The Year on February 3, 2017 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images for for Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770)

The Man of the Year festivities, presented by RELATED, started early in the day, when Mr. Reynolds was given a tour of Farkas Hall, followed by a private seminar with the members of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals. In the evening, Mr. Reynolds was given the Pudding’s traditional roast and was then made to earn his Pudding Pot as punishment for not finishing college degree. Some of the tasks, which Mr. Reynolds had to perform, were acting out a “traditional” Canadian wedding, complete with lap dance, and auditioning for a role in Deadpool 2, which tested his ability to hurl Deadpool-esque insults at beloved figures, like Tom Brady and former Woman of the Year, Meryl Streep.

A press conference followed the presentation, which was the second to be live-streamed free and to the public via the Hasty Pudding’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/thehastypudding), as it happened. To close out the festivities, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals members gave the Opening Night performance of their 169th production, Casino Evil.

TO PURCHASE TICKETS to the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ 169th production, Casino Evil, contact the HPT Box Office at 617-495-5205 or order online www.hastypudding.org

The show will be performed at Harvard University’s historic Farkas Hall, located at 12 Holyoke Street, from February 3rd until March 5th. The company then travels to New York to perform at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College on March 10th and 11th (call 212-772-4448 for tickets), followed by performances on March 15th-17th at Hamilton City Hall in Bermuda.

ABOUT THE HASTY PUDDING INSTITUTE OF 1770

The Hasty Pudding Institute of 1770’s philanthropic mission is to provide educational and developmental support in all aspects of the performing arts for the underprivileged, to encourage satire and comedy, and to cultivate young talent around the world. The Institute is comprises the Hasty Pudding Club (the oldest social club in the United States), the Hasty Pudding Theatricals (the third oldest theater group in the world, after the Comédie-Française and the Oberammergau Passion Players) and the Harvard Krokodiloes (the foremost collegiate a cappella group in the United States). Over the last two centuries, it has grown into a premiere performing arts organization, a patron of the arts and comedy, and an advocate for satire and discourse as tools for change worldwide.

(Source: image.net/hastypudding.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

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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.

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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

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(Source: nostradamusproject.org)