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18 items from 2016


Ava DuVernay Original Prison Documentary Set To Open The 54th New York Film Festival

19 July 2016 7:15 AM, PDT | LatinoReview | See recent LatinoReview news »

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announces Ava DuVernay’s documentary The 13th as the Opening Night selection of the 54th New York Film Festival (September 30 – October 16), making its world premiere at Alice Tully Hall. The 13th is the first-ever nonfiction work to open the festival, and will debut on Netflix and open in a limited theatrical run on October 7.

Chronicling the history of racial inequality in the United States, The 13th examines how our country has produced the highest rate of incarceration in the world, with the majority of those imprisoned being African-American. The title of DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing film refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution—“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States . . . ” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass incarceration and »

- Kellvin Chavez

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Ava DuVernay’s ‘The 13th’ Will Open the 2016 New York Film Festival

19 July 2016 6:06 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

If the languid summer tentpole season has you down, fear not, as the promising fall slate is around the corner and today brings the first news of what we’ll see at the 2016 New York Film Festival. For the first time ever, a non-fiction film will open The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s festival: Ava DuVernay‘s The 13th. Her timely follow-up to Selma chronicles the history of racial inequality in the United States and will arrive on Netflix and in limited theaters shortly after its premiere at Nyff, on October 7.

“It is a true honor for me and my collaborators to premiere The 13th as the opening night selection of the New York Film Festival,” Ava DuVernay says. “This film was made as an answer to my own questions about how and why we have become the most incarcerated nation in the world, how and why we regard »

- Jordan Raup

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WestEnd Launches Female-Focused WeLove With Agnieszka Holland, Alexis Zegerman Movies (Exclusive)

27 June 2016 1:00 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

International movie sales and finance house WestEnd Films has launched a brand aimed at female audiences called WeLove, with new projects from Agnieszka Holland and Alexis Zegerman forming part of its launch slate.

By launching WeLove, WestEnd aims to meet demand from what it sees as an under-served female audience for high-quality commercial projects in a variety of formats, including feature films, TV and web series, and documentaries.

“It’s an endeavor that answers a real need. The ‘Bridesmaids’ and ‘Trainwrecks’ of this world are too few and far between,” WestEnd managing director Eve Schoukroun said.

WestEnd points out that the majority of moviegoers are female — 52% in the U.S — and that since 2006 in the U.S., movies about men have made an average of $80.6 million, while movies about women have made an average of $121.6 million. Female-led movies have made more on average than male-led ones for nearly every year in the past decade, »

- Leo Barraclough

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Poland’s Film Biz Builds on Decade of Growth at B.O. and Festivals

14 May 2016 9:00 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Polish film industry has continued to strengthen in the past year, both artistically and commercially, building on a decade of growth. The coming year looks promising, too, with a string of ambitious movies in the pipeline.

February provided one indicator of the good health of the Polish biz. On the one hand, Tomasz Wasilewski’s relationship drama “United States of Love” won the script prize at the Berlin Film Festival, and on the other, Mitja Okorn’s romantic comedy “Planet Single” beat “Deadpool” to top the Polish box office. It is this ability to be audience-, critic- and festival-friendly that has helped the Polish industry to push on year after year, and that is largely due to the support provided by the Polish Film Institute and the regional film funds.

Magdalena Sroka, who took over as general director of the Polish Film Institute in October and describes it as the local industry’s “heart, »

- Leo Barraclough

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Beta launches Ruzowitzky, Holland, Dresen, Netzer films

10 May 2016 10:00 PM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Exclusive: Titles on Beta’s slate include films from Agnieszka Holland and Stefan Ruzowitzky.

German sales powerhouse Beta Cinema has revealed details of its new Cannes titles, among them the latest features from Oscar winner Stefan Ruzowitzky, Oscer nominee Agnieszka Holland, Un Certain Regard-winner Andreas Dresen and Golden Bear-winner Calin Peter Netzer

Beta’s auteur-driven slate is headed by hard-boiled genre film Hell (working title, pictured), from Ruzowitzky, who won his Oscar for The Counterfeiters. Hell is a taut thriller about a young woman witnessing a brutal murder by a fanatic Islamist serial killer.

Shot by DoP Benedict Neuenfels (The Counterfeiters, AnonymaA Woman In Berlin) and starring Violetta Schurawkow and Tobias Moretti, Hell is produced by genre experts Allegro Film and Amazing Film Company and is currently in post-production. First footage will be revealed at the Beta Cinema Cannes office.  

Beta is also introducing buyers to Agnieszka Holland’s Game Count, a thriller »

- geoffrey@macnab.demon.co.uk (Geoffrey Macnab)

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Woman to Watch: Elba McAllister of Cineplex of Colombia

22 April 2016 10:41 AM, PDT | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

Elba McAllister’s Cineplex of Colombia seems to be everywhere.  We met up at the Iff Panama this April and had some time to talk, a rarity at such events as Cannes or Berlin.

It seemed to me she had been in the business forever, though I only met her when Ficg (Guadalajara Film Festival) began its market maybe 10 years ago.  Cineplex itself is 23 years old, having begun in 1993 in a partnership with the well-known buyers rep and producer Andre Boissier.

Twenty-three years ago, Colombia screened very few arthouse movies. Cineplex and other indie distributors introduced smaller films from Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North America.  Now Colombia’s international coproductions are extending viewer’s perspectives even further.  Indies captured 5.9% of the market in 2007, compared with a relatively paltry 3.6% in 2003.  Local and foreign independent films now share 20% of the market.

About a decade ago, the country had 250 screens and now it has 935. In 2005 there were 15M people going to the cinema per year. Now it’s 58M. In local currency, there was a 71% increase in box office from 2011 to 2015.

Colombia has seen notable growth thanks in part to the construction of more shopping malls. Mexican exhibition giant Cinépolis opened its first megaplex in Colombia in 2008. 

Cineplex is one of the leading distributors of independent films in Colombia. In 23 years in the market, it has presented and average of 20 to 25 films a year, over 300 high quality films, selected from major festivals and film markets around the world. 

Elba actually began her career in the pharmaceutical industry but later joined her husband and her brother-in-law in a new venture -- film distribution, something she knew nothing about.  In Colombia, the films acquired by Cineplex go first into cinemas and progress to all windows including DVD, VOD and TV in all its forms (Pan TV, VOD, Svod, Cable, Free TV).

In 2000 Cineplex expanded its distribution to include Central America & Ecuador. Elba McAllister and her husband, Juan David McAllister, have brought in such directors as Wong Kar Wai, Susanne Bier, Mike Leigh, Lars von trier, Katherine Bigelow, Claude Chabrol, Agnieszka Holland and Ken Loach and others to Colombia and its neighbors.

Cineplex began forming alliances with other Latin American indies and prebuying pan-Latin rights to name some,  “Satin Rouge,” “Evil”, ¨Reconstruction¨, “Broken Flowers”, “Brokeback Mountain”, ¨My Blueberry Nights¨ and most recently ¨Mustang¨.

Two recent stand-out films include “Mustang” and “Land and Shade” the Cannes 2015 Camera d’Or and Critics’ Week Winner sold by France’s Pyramide. Lead produced by Diana Bustamante’s Burning Blue, (Diana Bustamente, currently the Director of Cartagena Film Festival as well)  “Land and Shade” also won two prizes at Cannes Critics’ Week: the France 4 Visionary Award and Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Sacd Prize.  Other new releases include Academy Award winners and contenders “Carol”, “Theeb” and “Brooklyn”.

Anne Marie De La Fuente in Variety quotes Elba as saying,  

“Bringing art house films to Colombia and shifting moviegoers’ attention from Hollywood blockbusters requires close work with universities, embassies and cultural institutions and creating original grassroots campaigns. Whenever possible, Cineplex gets the directors and/ or actors to fly in to help promote their pictures.”

With Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” which Cineplex pre-bought for Latam, it organized marketing tie-ins with Levis, Universal Music (for the soundtrack) and a gay rights foundation. Marlboro sponsored the premiere in Bogota.

Additionally Cineplex helps Colombian filmmakers representing their films for Latin America and advising the world sales agent, depending their films to name a few, Ciro Guerra, William Vega, Oscar Ruiz, Dago Garcia among others. 

Last year, Diana Salcedo (Elba´s daughter) joined the family business to strengthen the distribution in different platforms (theatrical, TV, VOD, Ott) for Colombian and Latin American films in different markets. Diana is bringing wide experience after working for a major Latin American Pay TV and Ott broadcaster.

“We believe in the potential of independent cinema with the participation of strategic partners that make marketing a global business. We want to make each of our friends, colleagues, competitors and customers a community that allows a film to reach its greatest potential. We believe humanity has a chance to think and act without borders and that its only limit is in its own desire to achieve the best result using innovation and partnership with strategic partners that will be part of each project.”

“We’ve brought in what we wanted: films that don’t need pretty faces, multimillion-dollar budgets, special effects or predictable endings. Marketing Independent cinema is our passion¨. »

- Sydney Levine

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'American Honey', 'Rams' execs among Efp Producers On The Move

21 April 2016 1:00 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

The UK’s Lucas Ochoa and Poland’s Klaudia Smieja are among upcoming European producers set for neworking initiative in Cannes.Scroll down for the full list

European Film Promotion (Efp) has selected 20 emerging European producers for the 17th edition of its Producers on the Move networking initiative, which will be held during the Cannes Film Festival between May 14-17.

The participating producers will take part in a programme of round-table project presentations, one-on-one speed dating pitches and case studies of successful projects.

The 2016 selection includes the UK’s Lucas Ochoa, producer on Andrea Arnold’s Cannes competition entry American Honey. Ochoa has had winning films at the Sundance Film Festival for four years in a row including Robert Egger’s multi-award winning The Witch and this year’s Michal Marczak documentary All These Sleepless Night.

Poland’s Klaudia Smieja, an executive producer on Icelandic hit Rams, has also been selected. Her additional »

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Agnieszka Holland says cinema is a 'boys' club' that ignores women

14 April 2016 3:14 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Acclaimed film-maker says TV is now a more female-friendly environment and criticises Hollywood for refusing to believe women can make blockbusters

The Oscar-nominated Polish director Agnieszka Holland has described cinema as a “boys’ club” during an on-stage interview at BFI Southbank, revealing that she now feels more comfortable as a woman working in television.

Holland, whose 1990 film Europa Europa was nominated for the best adapted screenplay Oscar and won the 1991 Golden Globe for best foreign language film, was in London for a celebration of her work at the Thameside venue. Interviewed by the Guardian’s Mark Lawson, she said female directors struggled because the “demanding” profession was “difficult to combine with a family life”, in comments first reported by the BBC.

Related: Agnieszka Holland: light in the darkness

Continue reading »

- Ben Child

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Agnieszka Holland says cinema is a 'boys' club' that ignores women

14 April 2016 3:14 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Acclaimed film-maker says TV is now a more female-friendly environment and criticises Hollywood for refusing to believe women can make blockbusters

The Oscar-nominated Polish director Agnieszka Holland has described cinema as a “boys’ club” during an on-stage interview at BFI Southbank, revealing that she now feels more comfortable as a woman working in television.

Holland, whose 1990 film Europa Europa was nominated for the best adapted screenplay Oscar and won the 1991 Golden Globe for best foreign language film, was in London for a celebration of her work at the Thameside venue. Interviewed by the Guardian’s Mark Lawson, she said female directors struggled because the “demanding” profession was “difficult to combine with a family life”, in comments first reported by the BBC.

Continue reading »

- Ben Child

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Kinoteka 2016: Provincial Actors review

12 April 2016 7:45 AM, PDT | CineVue | See recent CineVue news »

★★★★☆ "What does a play about actors and the theatre mean?" These may be indignant words taken from the mouth of the frustrated Krzysztof (Tadeusz Huk) but it's a question pertinent to the film it appears in, Agnieszka Holland's first major feature, Provincial Actors. The director has oft been quoted as stating that this was not a 'thesis film' and that she intended to present characters' entwined fates rather than make a political statement. Of course, any work produced in Poland in the late 1970s is inextricably enmeshed in political dialogue - more so a film completed in 1979 when Holland was to leave the country for exile in France in 1981 immediately prior to the introduction of martial law.

»

- CineVue UK

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Agnieszka Holland, Tom Of Finland films get Swedish Film Institute backing

4 April 2016 3:39 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

The Swedish Film Institute has backed nineteen projects in its latest round of funding.

Swedish director Sanna Lenken, who won Berlin’s Crystal Bear in 2015 with My Skinny Sister, is now making a 30-minute short Night Child (Nattbarn), based on a graphic novel by Hanna Gustafsson.

The story is about 14-year-old girl Iggy “who lives a parallel online life to avoid the everyday tedium. A story about identity, sexuality, borderlands and friendship.”

The film is one of several new productions getting backing from the Swedish Film Institute. Others include Dome Karukoski’s anticipated new Tom Of Finland biopic [pictured] and Agnieszka Holland’s Polish drama Game Count.

Other projects backed, listed from highest investments, are:

Becoming Zlatan, wr/dirs Fredrik Gertten, Magnus Gertten; prods Margarete Jangård, Lennart Ström. Documentary about charismatic footballer Zlatan Ibrahimović. $246,000 (2m Sek)

Tom Of Finland, dir Dome Karukoski, wr Aleksi Bardy, prods Gunnar Carlsson, Emma Åkesdotter Ronge. Drama about the »

- wendy.mitchell@screendaily.com (Wendy Mitchell)

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News Bits: Speck, Kind, War, Caretaker, Nike

16 March 2016 8:11 PM, PDT | Dark Horizons | See recent Dark Horizons news »

A Speck in the Sea

Weinstein Books has acquired publishing rights for John Aldridge and Anthony Sosinski's novel "A Speck in The Sea" which will be developed into a film at The Weinstein Company. Jeff Pope will adapt the script while Rachael Horovitz, Jason Blum and Harvey Weinstein will produce.

Aldridge is a Montauk fisherman who fell of his boat into the ocean, forty miles off Montauk in the middle of the night without a life vest. His childhood best Sosinski helped launch a multi-state rescue operation - with the film set to cover that rescue in real time. [Source: Deadline]

The Kind Worth Killing

Agnieszka Holland ("In Darkness," "Angry Harvest") is attached to direct an adaptation of the Peter Swanson thriller novel "The Kind Worth Killing" for Chockstone Pictures and Nick Wechsler Productions. Christopher Kyle penned the adapted screenplay.

The story follows a man who tells a female fellow passenger about »

- Garth Franklin

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Agnieszka Holland Set To Helm ‘The Kind Worth Killing’

16 March 2016 2:29 PM, PDT | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Exclusive: Agnieszka Holland is attached to direct The Kind Worth Killing, an adaptation of the Peter Swanson thriller novel for Chockstone Pictures and Nick Wechsler Productions. Paula Mae Schwartz, Steve Schwartz and Wechsler are producing; Roger Schwartz is  co-producer. The novel focuses on a particularly ruthless female killer. On a late-night flight from London to Boston, Ted Severson meets fellow passenger Lily Kintner. Thinking he will never see her again, he… »

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United States of Love | 2016 Berlin Intl. Film Festival Review

26 February 2016 12:05 PM, PST | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

Certain Women: Wasilewski Explores Enlightenment and Despair

It was 1990, and the climate was changing. Or so begins Polish director Tomas Wasilewski’s third feature, United States of Love, which chooses to focus on four somewhat related women from the same apartment complex during significant political changes during the dissolution of the Soviet bloc. Accompanying their growing sense of freedom is a nagging element of dissatisfaction as they attempt to pursue fantasies and desires, often resulting in a disquieting mix of euphoria and despair. Arrestingly photographed in flat, sterile palettes with intermittent splotches of vibrant color, theirs is a universe just experiencing the tingle of life following deadening paralysis, with emotions like reawakened limbs still struggling to obtain an originally appointed purpose. Coldly observational, the film is sometimes curiously unsympathetic in its depiction of women experiencing glancing notions of freedom but hopelessly realized they’re still chained to incredibly limiting options. »

- Nicholas Bell

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Polish Party Rocks Berlin’s Homebase Lounge

15 February 2016 11:07 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

On Friday, the Polish Party, hosted by the Polish Film Institute and Film Commission Poland, drew directors Tomasz Wasilewski, whose “United States of Love” is in Berlin Competition, Malgoska Szumowska, who won the Berlinale Silver Bear for best director last year with “Body” and serves on the festival’s international jury this year, and Agnieszka Holland, Ewa Puszczynska, the producer of Oscar winner “Ida,” Karel Och, head of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Eurimages chief Roberto Olla, and hundreds of other guests, many of whom were dancing into the early hours of the morning.

Magdalena Sroka, the chief of the Polish Film Institute, and Tomasz Dabrowski, head of Film Commission Poland, hosted the evening. Variety was the media partner.

Roberto Olla of Eurimages, Izabela Kiszka-Hoflik of Polish Film Institute, Tomasz Dabrowski of Film Commission Poland, Johannes Rexin of Heimat Film

Nikolaj Nikitin of the Berlinale, Magdalena Sroka of the Polish Film Institute, »

- Variety Staff

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Jews in the News: Washington Jewish Film Festival Announces 2016 Line-Up

15 January 2016 12:21 PM, PST | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

Now in its 26th year, Washington Jewish Film Festival (February 24 – March 6) explores gender, migration, the supernatural, Arab citizens of Israel, artists’ lives, and Lgbtq themes. In addition to the groundbreaking lineup of films, the Festival will host talkbacks and panel discussions with over 50 domestic and international filmmaker guests. The Festival is one of the region’s preeminent showcases for international and independent cinema.

A project of the Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center (Dcjcc), the Washington Jewish Film Festival (Wjff) is the largest Jewish cultural event in the greater Washington, D.C. area. This year’s Festival includes 69 films and over 150 screenings at the AFI Silver Theatre, the Avalon Theatre, Bethesda Row Cinema, E Street Cinema, the Jcc of Greater Washington, the National Gallery of Art, West End Cinema, and the Aaron & Cecile Goldman Theater at the Dcjcc.

“We are excited to present our most ambitious Festival yet,” said Ilya Tovbis, Director of the Washington Jewish Film Festival. “The Washington Jewish Film Festival is a highlight on our city’s cultural calendar. This has been a banner year for original cinematic visions hitting the screen. It is a genuine pleasure to share this crop of bold, independent, film voices that have been garnering praise at Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, and elsewhere, with DC audiences. This year’s Festival simultaneously challenges and expands on our understanding of Jewish identity.”

The lineup includes new and classic films, encompassing a wide range of Jewish perspectives from the United States, Israel, Europe, Asia, and Africa. While the Festival touches a broad set of themes, this year’s lineup offers two programmatic focuses – one on the lives of artists (“Re-framing the Artists”) and the other on Lgbtq individuals (“Rated Lgbtq”). “Reframing the Artist” features an in-depth exploration of artists’ lives, accomplishments, and inspiration. The seven-film “Rated Lgbtq” series explores sexuality, gender, and identity on screen.

The Festival will also engage attendees with off-screen programming including “Story District Presents: God Loves You? True Stories about Faith and Sexuality,” an evening of true stories presented in partnership with Story District, and the 6th Annual Community Education Day on Arab Citizens of Israel. Kicked off by a screening of "Women in Sink," this day features in-depth conversations with Reem Younis, co-founder of Nazareth-based global high-tech company Alpha Omega, and Tziona Koenig-Yair, Israel’s first Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner.

A full Festival schedule can be found at www.wjff.org . Select highlights are included below:

Opening Night: "Baba Joon"

Opening Night features Israel’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award®, "Baba Joon," a tender tale of a generational divide and the immigrant experience. Yitzhak (Navid Negahban of Showtime’s Emmy Award-winning original series “Homeland”) runs the turkey farm his father built after they emigrated from Iran to Israel.

When his son Moti turns 13, Yitzhak teaches him the trade in hopes that he will take over the family business — but Moti’s dreams lie elsewhere. The arrival of an uncle from America further ratchets up the tension and the family’s tight bonds are put to the test. Opening Night will be held at the AFI Silver Theatre on Wednesday, February 24 at 6:30 p.m. The Opening Night Party, with DirectorYuval Delshad, will be held at the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza immediately following the screening. 

Closing Night : "A Tale of Love and Darkness"

Closing Night centers on Academy Award®-winning actress Natalie Portman in her debut as a director (and screenwriter) in a hauntingly beautiful adaptation of Amos Oz’s best-selling memoir, "A Tale of Love and Darkness." In this dream-like tale, Portman inhabits Fania—Oz’s mother—who brings up her son in Jerusalem during the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel. Dissatisfied with her marriage, and disoriented by the foreign land surrounding her, Fania escapes into elaborate, fanciful stories of make-believe — bringing her adoring, wide-eyed son along. Closing Night will be held at the Dcjcc on Sunday, March 6 at 6:45 p.m. Followed by a Closing Night Reception and the Audience Award Ceremony.

Wjff Visionary Award Presented to Armin Mueller-Stahl

The Wjff’s Annual Visionary Award recognizes creativity and insight in presenting the full diversity of the Jewish experience through moving image. The 2016 honoree is Armin Mueller-Stahl, who will join us for a special extended Q&A and the presentation of the Wjff Visionary Award. The award will be presented alongside a screening of Barry Levinson’s 1990 film "Avalon," an evocative, nostalgic film that celebrates the virtues of family life. “Avalon” begins with Jewish immigrant Sam Krichinsky (portrayed by Armin Mueller-Stahl) arriving in America on July 4th. He settles in Baltimore with his brothers and raises a family. Director Barry Levinson traces various transitions within the Krichinsky family and conveys his appreciation for the anxieties that afflict the suburban middle-class – and multiple generations of immigrants in particular.

Armin Mueller-Stahl is a German actor, painter, writer and musician. He began acting in East Berlin in 1950, winning the Gdr State Prize for his film work. By 1977, however, he was blacklisted by the communist regime due to his persistent activism in protesting government suppression of the arts. After relocating to the West in 1980, he starred in groundbreaking independent European films, such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Lola” and “Veronika Voss” and Agnieszka Holland’s “Angry Harvest.” He gained major recognition stateside with two radically different characterizations: an aging Nazi war criminal in Costa-Gavras’ “The Music Box” and Jewish grandpa Sam Krischinsky in Barry Levinson’s “Avalon.” He went on to earn an Oscar® nomination for his role in Scott HicksShine and appeared in such varied work as “Eastern Promises,” “The Game,” “The West Wing,” “The X Files” and “Knight of Cups.”

The Wjff Visionary Award program will take place at the AFI Silver Theatre on Thursday, March 3 at 6:45 p.m.

Spotlight Evening:

Compared to What? The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank 

A polarizing, revolutionary, effective and a most-singular figure in American politics, Barney Frank shaped the debate around progressive values and gay rights in the U.S. Congress for over 40 years. A fresh and contemporary political drama with unparalleled access to one of Congress’ first openly gay Representatives and easily one of the most captivating public figures in recent memory.

Born Jewish, and a longtime friend to the Jewish community and supporter of Israel, Frank is refreshingly honest, likeable and passionate – a beacon of statesmanship that politicians and citizens alike, can look to for inspiration.

Screenings will take place on Tuesday, March 1st at the Avalon Theatre at 6:15 p.m. and Wednesday, March 2 at the Dcjcc at 6:15 p.m. Both screenings followed by a discussion with Barney Frank, husband Jim Ready and filmmakers Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler.

Spotlight Evening: 

Gary Lucas’ Fleischerei: Music From Max Fleischer Cartoons 

Celebrating the release of the titular album—on Silver Spring-based label Cuneiform—legendary guitarist Gary Lucas joins forces with Tony®-nominated singer and actress Sarah Stiles (Q Street,Hand to God) for a loving musical tribute to the swinging, jazzy soundtracks that adorned master animator Max Fleischer’s surreal, wacky and Yiddish-inflected "Betty Boop" and "Popeye" cartoons of the 1930’s.

Backed by the cartoons themselves, and the cream of NYC’s jazz performers (Jeff Lederer on reeds, Michael Bates on bass, Rob Garcia on drums and Mingus Big Band’s Joe Fiedler on trombone), Lucas and Stiles have a rare evening in store. Get ready for a swirling melting-pot of jungle-band jazz, Tin Pan Alley torch songs, raucous vaudeville turns, and Dixieland mixed with a pinch of Klezmer.

This event will take place at AFI Silver Theatre on Saturday, March 5 at 8:30 p.m.

Additional Films of Note 

The Wjff will present the mid-Atlantic premiere of "Barash." In the film, seventeen-year-old Naama Barash enjoys drugs, alcohol and hanging out with like-minded friends. Her activities are an escape from a strained home life where her parents fight and her rebellious, army-enrolled sister wreaks havoc by dating a Palestinian before going Awol all together. As her parents fret about their older daughter’s disappearance, Naama meets a wild girl in school and discovers the intoxicating rush of first love. “Barash” will be screened three times during the festival, on February 27 at 8:45 p.m. at E Street Cinema, on March 2 at 8:45 p.m. at the Avalon Theatre and on March 3 at 6:15 p.m. at Bethesda Row Cinema.

"Black Jews: The Roots of the Olive Tree" will have its World Premiere at Wjff. The documentary offers a fascinating exploration of African tribes with Jewish roots – in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Cameroon. Some claim to be descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes; others believe their ancestors were Jews who immigrated from Judea to Yemen. Far from a dry archaeological account, the film focuses on the modern-day personal and institutional practice of Judaism throughout Africa, as well as of recent African immigrants in Israel. This film will be screened on March 2 at 6:45 p.m. at Bethesda Row Cinema and on March 3 at 6:30 p.m. at E Street Cinema.

The mid-Atlantic premiere of "Demon," from director Marcin Wrona, features a chilling, modern interpretation of the Dybbuk legend. Piotr’s joy at visiting his bride-to-be at her Polish home is quickly upended by his discovery of human bones on the property. Since his future father-in-law plans to gift the newlyweds the land, Piotr at first overlooks this ominous find. The disturbed spirit inhabiting these remains isn’t willing to let him off so easily however. Marcin Wrona’s wickedly sharp and creepy story of possession is set against a bacchanal celebration of blissful union. “Demon” will be screened on February 25th at 8:45 p.m. at E Street Cinema and on March 1 at 9:15 p.m. at AFI Silver Theatre.

From Spain, the mid-Atlantic premiere of "Dirty Wolves" is a WWII thriller imbued with notes of magical realism. Director Simón Casal  works in the Wolfram (aka tungsten) mines in rural Galicia. A ruthless Nazi brigade, intent on harvesting the rare metal to feed the Third Reich’s war machine, has captured the mines. When Manuela’s sister helps a Jewish prisoner cross the border to Portugal, they are unwittingly forced into a desperate test, which puts their survival squarely at odds with their sense of justice. “Dirty Wolves” will be screened on February 27 at 6:15 p.m. at West End Cinema, on March 1 at 8:45 p.m. at the Avalon Theatre and on March 2 at 6:45 p.m. at AFI Silver Theatre.

In "The Hebrew Superhero," directors Saul Betser and Asaf Galay examine how Israelis long shunned comics as something on the cultural fringe – they were deemed childish, trivial and, perhaps most cuttingly, un-Israeli. Shaul Betser and Asaf Galay (“The Muses of Isaac Bashevis Singer”) outline the medium’s origins, tracing its evolution from quirky upstart to an indelible reflection on the various forms of Israeli heroes. Featuring gorgeous animation and interviews with Daniella London Dekel, Etgar Keret and Dudu Geva, Wjff is presenting the mid-Atlantic premiere of this documentary, which will be screened on February 25 at 7:15 p.m. at the AFI Silver Theatre, March 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Bethesda Row Cinema and March 3 at 8:30 p.m. at E Street Cinema.

Simone Veil’s intrepid fight to legalize abortion in France is brilliantly brought to life in "The Law." In 1974, Veil was charged with decriminalizing abortion and easing access to contraceptives. Facing strong opposition from politicians, an enraged public and the Catholic Church, Veil— an Auschwitz survivor—refused to give up. Fighting for justice amidst a swirl of anti-Semitic sentiment, sexism and personal attacks, her perseverance struck at the heart of national bigotry in a rallying cry for a woman’s right to choose. Wjff will present the D.C. premiere of this French film. It will be screened on February 25 at 8:15 p.m. at Bethesda Row Cinema, on February 29 at 8:45 p.m. at E Street Cinema and on March 5 at 4:45 p.m. at the Dcjcc.

At 90, Miriam Beerman is a survivor. This groundbreaking artist and Potomac, Maryland resident has overcome personal tragedy to inspire friends, family, peers, patrons and students about how to remain defiant, creative and strong. Miriam has struggled with her artistic demons to create haunting images that evoke the suffering of generations of victims. "Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaosis" a memorable profile of an artist who has elevated her empathy for the plight of the world’s cast-offs into powerful portrayals of dignity. The Wjff is hosting the mid-Atlantic premiere of this documentary. Screenings will take place on March 2 at 6:30 p.m. at Bethesda Row Cinema and March 3 at 6:15 p.m. at the Dcjcc.

Author and director David Bezmozgis brings his film "Natasha" to Wjff for its D.C. premiere. Adapting his prize-winning story collection,Natasha and Other Stories, to screen, Bezmogis delivers a tragic story of young love. Sixteen-year-old Mark Berman, the son of Latvian-Jewish immigrants, wiles away his hours reading Nietzsche, smoking pot and watching porn. His slacker lifestyle is upended when a 14-year-old hurricane, named Natasha, enters the picture. Drawn to her reckless ways and whispers of her promiscuous past, Mark enters an illicit romance with calamitous consequences. Screenings will take place on February 28 at 5:00 p.m. at West End Cinema, March 3 at 8:30 p.m. at Bethesda Row Cinema and March 5 at 6:15 p.m. at AFI Silver Theatre.

If you believe the fastest way to the heart is through the stomach, "In Search of Israeli Cuisine" offers a delectable, eye-popping culinary journey through Israel is your personal valentine. Weaving through bustling markets, restaurants, kitchens and farms, we meet cooks, vintners and cheese makers drawn from the wide gamut of cultures making up Israel today — Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian and Druze. With James Beard award-winning chef Michael Solomonov as your guide, get ready for a cinematic buffet that’s humorous, heady, and of course, delicious! Wjff will be showing the mid-Atlantic premiere of this new documentary. Screenings will take place on February 28 at 5:15 p.m. at E Street Cinema, March 1 at 8:15 p.m. at Bethesda Row Cinema and March 4 at 12:30 p.m. at the Dcjcc.

A complete festival schedule can be found online at www.wjff.org »

- Sydney Levine

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Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2016: #34. Agnieszka Holland’s Game Count

11 January 2016 12:00 PM, PST | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

Game Count

Director: Agnieszka Holland

Writers: Agnieszka Holland, Olga Tokarczuk

Polish auteur Agnieszka Holland, once the protégé of Krzysztof Zanussi, is still best remembered for early 90s titles such as Europa Europa (1990) and her Arthur Rimbaud biopic starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Total Eclipse (1993). Her last feature was 2011’s In Darkness, nominated for Best Foreign Language film that year, and she’s been steadily working in television, from the superb mini-series “Burning Bush,” to English language items such as episodes of “House of Cards,” and the t.v. treatment of “Rosemary’s Baby.” She’s been attempting to adapt famed Polish novelist Olga Tokarzuk’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead for several years, and phases of filmmaking have commenced on her adaptation, known as Game Count and co-written by Tokarzuk. Filming is supposed to wrap in late 2015/early 2016 on what’s described as a crime thriller with comedic »

- Nicholas Bell

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Notebook's 8th Writers Poll: Fantasy Double Features of 2015

4 January 2016 6:41 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

How would you program this year's newest, most interesting films into double features with movies of the past you saw in 2015?Looking back over the year at what films moved and impressed us, it is clear that watching old films is a crucial part of making new films meaningful. Thus, the annual tradition of our end of year poll, which calls upon our writers to pick both a new and an old film: they were challenged to choose a new film they saw in 2015—in theatres or at a festival—and creatively pair it with an old film they also saw in 2015 to create a unique double feature.All the contributors were given the option to write some text explaining their 2015 fantasy double feature. What's more, each writer was given the option to list more pairings, with or without explanation, as further imaginative film programming we'd be lucky to catch »

- Notebook

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18 items from 2016


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