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Locarno: French Thesp Hafsia Herzi Stars in ‘Love’

Locarno: French Thesp Hafsia Herzi Stars in ‘Love’
Locarno— “The Love of Men” (“L’Amour des hommes”), a new project from Tunisian Mehdi Ben Attia, has been pitched the last several days days at Locarno’s co-production lab Open Doors.

The main character will be played by rising French thesp Hafsia Herzi (Abdellatif Kechiche’s “The Secret of the Grain,” Bertrand Bonello’s “House of Tolerance”), Ben Attia told Variety.

Herzi took Venice’s Marcello Mastroianni Award and the most promising actress award at the Cesars in 2008 for “Grain.”

Helmer-actor-writer Ben Attia’s previous films include Claudia Cardinale starrer “The String” and “I Am Not Dead,” with Maria de Medeiros.

“Love” centers on a young woman. “She is a photographer and she makes portraits. The film’s form and content join together in this idea. ‘Love’ is a ‘film portrait’. I want to take advantage of cinema resources in order to observe human beings in depth,” Ben Attia said.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Siens,’ ‘Hommes,’ ‘Retina’ Enter Locarno’s Open Doors

Locarno— Hassan Legzouli’s “Dieu reconnaitra les siens,” Mehdi Ben Attia’s “L’Amour des hommes” and Nejib Belkadhi’s “Retina” are among 12 projects to be pitched at Locarno’s Open Doors showcase, a co-production forum focusing this year on Africa’s Maghreb countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria.

Taking place August 8-11 at the Swiss fest, the event will grant an Open Doors Award, worth CHF50,000 ($51,827); a €20,000 ($22,149) second cash kudo; and a new plaudit granted by a new initiative of the European Union’s Med Culture program – Icam (Investing in Culture & Art in the South Mediterranean). France’s Cnc film-tv board and broadcaster Arte will also offer prizes.

Six out of 12 projects are debuts. The rest are mostly second or third features.

“Dieu reconnaitra les siens” is the third feature of Hassan Legzouli (“Testament”) whose Celluloid Dreams-sold “The Golden Calf,” a story about a disaffected teen, shared San
See full article at Variety - Film News »

For the record: Submissions for the 2014 Academy Awards in the Foreign Film Category

Best Foreign Language Film Oscar 2014 submissions (photo: Ziyi Zhang in ‘The Grandmaster’) (See previous post: Best Foreign Language Film Oscar: ‘The Past,’ ‘Wadjda,’ Andrzej Wajda Among Omissions) In case you missed it, here’s the full list of submissions (in alphabetical order, per country) for the 2014 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. The list of contenders was originally announced on October 7, 2013. Of note: Saudi Arabia and Moldova were first-timers; Montenegro was a first-timer as an independent country. Afghanistan, Wajma — An Afghan Love Story, Barmak Akram, director; Albania, Agon, Robert Budina, director; Argentina, The German Doctor, Lucía Puenzo, director; Australia, The Rocket, Kim Mordaunt, director; Austria, The Wall, Julian Pölsler, director; Azerbaijan, Steppe Man, Shamil Aliyev, director; Bangladesh, Television, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director; Belgium, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Felix van Groeningen, director; Bosnia and Herzegovina, An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, Danis Tanovic, director; Brazil, Neighboring Sounds, Kleber Mendonça Filho,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Ajyal Youth Film Festival Steps Into Doha Spotlight

Ajyal Youth Film Festival Steps Into Doha Spotlight
The Doha Film Institute’s inaugural Ajyal Youth Film Festival will unspool Nov. 26, with “The Wind Rises,” Hiyao Miyazaki’s dream-like animated feature about an airplane designer. Execs of the nascent fest say the critically acclaimed Japanese film reps their goals perfectly.

“With everything we do, the sky is the limit. There are no borders,” says Fatma Al-Remaihi, who took over the reins as fest director from last year’s head, Dfi CEO Abdulaziz Al-Khater.

It’s a gutsy choice for Qatar’s newest festival, which runs Nov. 26-30, in the slot previously held by the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. That fest was retired this year after Dfi and Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Institute parted ways.

Dfi Tribeca brought high-profile pics and Western festival know-how to Qatar, and it was the gloss under which the Doha Film Institute established year-round programs focused on education, training and the cinematic arts,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Foreign Oscar Entry Review: Wajma: An Afghan Love Story (وژمه)

Wajma: An Afghan Love Story, Afghanistan's Submission for the Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. U.S. : Film Movement. International Sales Agent: Doc & Film International

Geographically the Central Asian nation of Afghanistan is partitioned between luscious valleys, snowy mountains and grand desert landscapes. Similarly diverse are the ethnic groups that make up its society, a society with a well-known warring past. Today, these animosities and rivalries are still present, but the real issue that concerns the inhabitants of the country is the way in which the world keeps moving forward in a rapid race towards modernity while they, due to the cultural and economical isolation during the Taliban’s years, exist in an outdated system. The never-ending battle between tradition and change is clearly more vivid now, and multi-talented Barmak Akram (writer, director, producer, cinematographer, and editor of the film) appears to be saying so in his naturalistic and surprisingly revelatory film Wajma: An Afghan Love Story that begins as a quirky romantic comedy but then quickly transforms into a high-stakes drama.

Advising the viewer that the events depicted are based upon several true stories, which is not hard to believe, the film first showcases a side of modern Afghanistan rarely seen on screen. Middle class suburbs, cafés filled with people using their computers, and wedding parties that could easily be compared to those taking place miles away in a Western country. Mustafa (Mustafa Abdulsatar), dressed with the latest fashions from abroad nothing short of a hipster, is a waiter at one of these upscale restaurants in the heart of Kabul. He has just returned from Iran where he lived during the war and has his eyes set on attractive Wajma (Wajma Bahar), the daughter of a family acquaintance. On her own merit, Wajma is also a reflection of the surging cultural transformation that has occurred after the American military intervention. Unfathomable for a woman just over a decade ago, she is allowed to pursue a career and has just been accepted into the law program at the national university.

As it would happen in any given indie feature about love made in the U.S, their relationship begins with flirtatious banter and is followed by the assiduous courtship from Mustafa who even plays the guitar for her when she sneaks into his apartment hiding from the nosy neighbors. Still, as the title cleverly states, this is a love story governed by a distinctive set of rules that are particular to the Afghan way of living. What started as a playful and tender affair becomes a nightmarish ordeal for the couple after they commit the ultimate offense -- that is, premarital sex. Pregnant and dishonored, Wajma knows her life has no purpose under the established parameters of conduct unless Mustafa marries her to conceal their crime, a proposal that he refuses doubting his evident fatherhood and her virginity before him.

What ensues is a heavy cross to bear for Wajma, since abortion is seen as an abhorrently illegal act in her country, and her father (Haji Gul Aser), who works finding and dismantling mines, would much rather see her dead than living with the stigma her mistake has imposed on the family. Told with a superbly unpretentious and documentary-like style Akram’s film is a journey through the current state of this complicated society. Ironically, one contemporary element that is prominent in the story is the use of cell phones, and they are utilized as tools to uphold the intricate religious conventions by which individuals, and specifically women, must abide.

Led by Wajma Bahar’s disarming performance as a girl who faces an agonizing fate after naively falling for a man who did not calculate the consequences that their relationship could have in her life, and within the context of the world they live in, Wajma: An Afghan Love Story is a compelling small gem. Blending the opposing sides of what it means to be a woman enjoying newly found freedom in present-day Afghanistan and the power of the irrevocable mandates that still prevail as supreme law, director Barmak Akram has delivered an innovative vision of the evolving nature which his country tries to adapt to the future at the same time that it remains grounded on its past, for better or worse.

Read more about all the 76 Best Foreign Language Film Submission for the 2014 Academy Awards
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Ajyal unveils Made in Qatar line-up

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Doha’s youth festival to showcase Qatari filmmakers; unveils competition titles.

Films shot by Qatari nationals and those who call Qatar their home are to be showcased at the inaugural Ajyal Youth Film Festival (Nov 26-30), presented by the Doha Film Institute, in a Made in Qatar strand.

The programme will highglight the works of filmmakers across three segments.

The first will feature the works of winners from the Doha Film Institute’s 48-Hour online Family Film Challenge; the second from the 7-Day Filmmaking Challenge, both of which were open to filmmakers from across Qatar; and the third which will include the screening of Batal Wa Resalah (The Hero and the Message), from Al Rayyan Productions.

Ajyal festival director Fatma Al Remaihi said the Qatar strand would “honour the dedication, creativity and unique voice of our homegrown talent in front of a wide audience”.

She added that the festival is “dedicated to supporting local filmmakers and to
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Oscar’s Final Foreign-Language List Includes a Few Surprises

Oscar’s Final Foreign-Language List Includes a Few Surprises
Saudi Arabia and Moldova have their first entry; Pakistan is repped for the first time in 50 years; Montenegro is submitting for the first time as an independent country; and there are a record 76 films in the Academy’s official roster of foreign-language entries.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released its list Monday, after a review by the exec foreign-language committee. The roster had been expected to be unveiled Friday, as the panel convened that morning to review the submissions. The delay was a clue that some of the films required more investigation into their eligibility. The Czech Republic had submitted the Agniezska Holland film “Burning Bush.” But the Acad’s official roster named Jiri Menzel’s “Don Juans” for the country. The Holland film had made the festival rounds, but was also a TV miniseries, which may have led to the disqualification.

The Acad allows each country to
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Oscars: Academy announces Best Foreign Language Film shortlist

Oscars: Academy announces Best Foreign Language Film shortlist
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its shortlist for the 2014 Foreign Language Film Oscar — totaling a not-so-short 76 submitted films.

The number, up from 71 films last year, sets a new record for the category and includes frontrunners such as Asghar Farhadi’s The Past from Iran, Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt from Denmark, and Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster from Hong Kong. Abdellatif Kechiche’s festival favorite lesbian drama Blue Is the Warmest Color from France, however, failed to make the cut-off date for eligibility, while India controversially submitted Gyan Correa’s The Good Road over Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox.
See full article at EW.com - Inside Movies »

76 nations officially enter Oscar race for Best Foreign Film

76 nations officially enter Oscar race for Best Foreign Film
  A record 76 countries have entered the Oscar race for Best Foreign Film. Moldova and Saudi Arabia are competing for the first time. Montenegro is submitting for the first time as an independent country. Here's the official list. Afghanistan, "Wajma: An Afghan Love Story," Barmak Akram, director; Albania, "Agon," Robert Budina, director; Argentina, "The German Doctor," Lucía Puenzo, director; Australia, "The Rocket," Kim Mordaunt, director; Austria, "The Wall," Julian Pölsler, director; Azerbaijan, "Steppe Man," Shamil Aliyev, director; Bangladesh, "Television," Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director; Belgium, "The Broken Circle Breakdown," Felix van Groeningen, director; -Break- Bosnia and Herzegovina, "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker," Danis Tanovic, director; Brazil, "Neighboring Sounds," Kleber Mendon&cc...
See full article at Gold Derby »

Complete List of 2014 Foreign Language Oscar Contenders Hits Record 76 Submissions

The Academy officially announced today that a record 76 countries have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 2014 Oscars. Among those submitting, Moldova and Saudi Arabia are first-time entrants and this is the first time Montenegro has submitted a film as an independent country. Based solely on name recognition alone I'd say Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt (Denmark) and Asghar Farhadi's The Past (Iran) will be looked at as front-runners. However, I haven't only seen a few of the titles on this list, another of which is Mexico's entry, Heli from Amat Escalante. I have heard good things about Borgman (Netherlands) and it will be interesting to see how Haifaa al-Mansour's Wadjda is treated as it is a story unto itself, not to mention it seems to be receiving high marks from those that have seen it. I'm personally hoping to catch it soon
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Record 76 foreign Oscar entries

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Record 76 foreign Oscar entries
A record 76 countries have submitted films for consideration in the foreign language film category for the 86th Academy Awards.

Moldova and Saudi Arabia are first-time entrants while Montenegro is submitting for the first time as an independent country.

Earlier this year the Academy changed its rule allowing all voting members to vote on the shortlist.

The nominations will be announced on January 16 2014 and the Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled to take place on March 2 2014 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

The 2013 submissions are:

Afghanistan, Wajma: An Afghan Love Story, Barmak Akram

Albania, Agon, Robert Budina

Argentina, Wakolda, Lucía Puenzo

Australia, The Rocket, Kim Mordaunt

Austria, The Wall, Julian Pölsler

Azerbaijan, Steppe Man, Shamil Aliyev

Bangladesh, Television, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki

Belgium, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Felix van Groeningen

Bosnia and Herzegovina, An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, Danis Tanović

Brazil, Neighbouring Sounds, Kleber Mendonça Filho

Bulgaria, The Colour of the Chameleon, Emil Hristov

Cambodia
See full article at ScreenDaily »

76 Foreign Oscar Entries Announced

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has released the list of the 76 countries and their submissions officially competing for the 2014 Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Amongst the high profile entries this year are Australia's "The Rocket," Denmark's "The Hunt," France's "Renoir," Wong Kar-wai's "The Grandmaster," Iran's "The Past," and Saudi Arabia's "Wadjda".

The nominations will be announced on January 16th 2014 ahead of the ceremony on March 2nd. Here is the complete list:

Afghanistan, "Wajma – An Afghan Love Story," Barmak Akram

Albania, "Agon," Robert Budina

Argentina, "The German Doctor," Lucía Puenzo

Australia, "The Rocket," Kim Mordaunt

Austria, "The Wall," Julian Pölsler

Azerbaijan, "Steppe Man," Shamil Aliyev

Bangladesh, "Television," Mostofa Sarwar Farooki

Belgium, "The Broken Circle Breakdown," Felix van Groeningen

Bosnia and Herzegovina, "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker," Danis Tanovic

Brazil, "Neighboring Sounds," Kleber Mendonça Filho

Bulgaria, "The Color of the Chameleon," Emil Hristov

Cambodia, "The Missing Picture,
See full article at Dark Horizons »

The Grandmaster, Renoir, Wadjda, The Hunt Among 76 Films In Oscar’s Foreign Language Film Category

A record 76 countries have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 86th Academy Awards®.

Moldova and Saudi Arabia are first-time entrants; Montenegro is submitting for the first time as an independent country.

The 2013 submissions are:

Afghanistan, “Wajma – An Afghan Love Story,” Barmak Akram, director;

Albania, “Agon,” Robert Budina, director;

Argentina, “The German Doctor,” Lucía Puenzo, director;

Australia, “The Rocket,” Kim Mordaunt, director;

Austria, “The Wall,” Julian Pölsler, director;

Azerbaijan, “Steppe Man,” Shamil Aliyev, director;

Bangladesh, “Television,” Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director;

Belgium, “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” Felix van Groeningen, director;

Bosnia and Herzegovina, “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker,” Danis Tanovic, director;

Brazil, “Neighboring Sounds,” Kleber Mendonça Filho, director;

Bulgaria, “The Color of the Chameleon,” Emil Hristov, director;

Cambodia, “The Missing Picture,” Rithy Panh, director;

Canada, “Gabrielle,” Louise Archambault, director;

Chad, “GriGris,” Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, director;

Chile, “Gloria,” Sebastián Lelio, director;

China, “Back to 1942,” Feng Xiaogang,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Best Foreign-Language Film Academy Award submissions 2013

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Best Foreign-Language Film Academy Award submissions 2013
All entries for the Best Foreign-Language Film at the Academy Awards 2014.

Submissions for the Best Foreign-Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards are coming in and will continue until October, when the full list of eligible submissions will be revealed.

Last year, a record 71 countries submitted features and the eventual winner was Austrian entry Amour, directed by Michael Haneke.

An initial nine finalists will be shortlisted, which will be whittled down to five nominees that will be announced on Jan 16, 2014.

Submissions

Afghanistan, Wajma: An Afghan Love Story, Barmak Akram

Albania, Agon, Robert Budina

Argentina, Wakolda, Lucía Puenzo

Australia, The Rocket, Kim Mordaunt

Austria, The Wall, Julian Pölsler

Azerbaijan, Steppe Man, Shamil Aliyev

Bangladesh, Television, Mostofa Sarwar Farooki

Belgium, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Felix van Groeningen

Bosnia and Herzegovina, An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, Danis Tanović

Brazil, Neighbouring Sounds, Kleber Mendonça Filho

Bulgaria, The Colour of the Chameleon, Emil Hristov

Cambodia
See full article at ScreenDaily »

2014 Foreign Language Oscar Submissions Up to 69 Following Dust Up in India

To begin, Afghanistan and Ecuador have added two more titles to the list of Foreign Language Oscar contenders submitted to the 86th Academy Awards with Barmak Akram's Wajma (An Afghan Love Story) and Javier Andrade's Porcelain Horse, bringing the total number of submissions to 69 so far. Today marked the deadline for submissions and the Academy will soon announce the complete list of films accepted for consideration as this year's race for the Foreign Language category may prove a little more interesting now that the entire voting membership of the Academy can vote for the category, though the nominations will still be determined by a committee. What effect the rule change will have on the end results will be hard to determine since we won't know how it would have happened otherwise, but opening the opportunity to more members can't be a bad thing. Bad things are brewing around the category,
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Film Movement Share Akram’s “An Afghan Love Story” out in the Open

We’re not sure if Barmak Akram should be grouped in with the likes of Siddiq Barmak, Atiq Rahimi and the Makhmalbafs, but his An Afghan Love Story or Wajma (not to be confused with Saudi Arabia’s Wadja) has for the past year been a favorite on the film fest circuit and as a result was the obvious selection for his country’s Academy Awards Foreign Language Film bid and it now appears as possible release here. Fans of subtitled dramatic fair, Adley Gartenstein’s Film Movement have grabbed the U.S. rights to the film. Expect a showing in 2014.

Gist: The film tells the story of gregarious waiter Mustafa, and the pretty student named Wajma whom he charms. The pair begins a clandestine relationship – they’re playful and passionate but ever mindful of the Kabul society rules they are breaking. After Wajma discovers she is pregnant, her certainty
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Film Movement acquires Afghan Love Story

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Film Movement has acquired Us rights to Barmak Akram’s An Afghan Love Story (Aka Wajma), Afghanistan’s official foreign-language Oscar submission.

The sophomore feature from the director of Kabuli Kid received the Sundance 2013 Screenwriting Award and tells of a brief love affair that results in an unexpected pregnancy in a society where both are frowned upon.

Film Movement president Adley Gartenstein brokered the deal with Daniela Elstner, managing director of Doc & Film International.

Fledgling distributor Mance Media has set its first release and will open the found footage horror Loss Of Life on VOD, digital and DVD on October 25. David Damiata and Michael Matteo Rossi directed the story of high school friends plagued by a Halloween party killer. Seda Melkoni and Britton Hein of Journey Pictures produced Loss Of Life. Mance Media is based at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood and focuses on worldwide television distribution as well as film. CEO [link=nm
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Montreal World Fest Includes 113 Int’l Premieres

Montreal World Fest Includes 113 Int’l Premieres
The Montreal World Film Festival announced its full slate of 432 films from around the globe on Tuesday, including 113 world or international feature preems. From the U.S. “The Red Robin” by Michael Z. Wechsler competes in the World section while Adam Rodgers’ “At Middleton” will unspool in the First World competition and Sam Fleischner’s “Stand Clear of the Closing Doors” plays in Focus on World Cinema.

This year’s world competition features 20 features and 11 shorts from 18 different countries. In all there are 113 world premieres, 39 North American preems and 41 Canadian bows.

Twenty helmers will screen their pics in a separate competition for first-time feature filmmakers. Organizers of the sprocket opera attribute the maelstrom of fresh talent to the industry’s digital evolution. Not a single 35 mm print was submitted for competition, and the increasing popularity of digital submissions invited more low-budget productions to toss their hat in the ring.

Other
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Film Festival Coverage Guide: 2013 Sundance

Here is a complete listing of the films that were shown/covered by the Ioncinema.com team comprised of Nicholas Bell (Nb), Jordan M. Smith (Js) and Eric Lavallee (El). We’ll be populating this page up until March.

U.S. Dramatic Competition

Afternoon DelightJill Soloway: Nb (★★ 1/2): Review

Ain’T Them Bodies Saints – David Lowery: El (★★★ 1/2), Nb (★★★ 1/2): Review // Interview

Austenland- Jerusha Hess: Nb (★): Review

C.O.G.- Kyle Patrick Alvarez: Js (★★ 1/2), Nb (★★ 1/2): Review

ConcussionStacie Passon: El (★★★), Js (★★★ 1/2), Nb (★★★): Review // Interview

Emanuel And The Truth About FishesFrancesca Gregorini: Js (★★★), Nb (★★★ 1/2): Review

FruitvaleRyan Coogler: El (★★★), Js (★★★★★), Nb (★★★★): Review // Interview // Video

In A World… – Lake Bell: El (★★★): Review

Kill Your DarlingsJohn Krokidas: El (★★★), Nb (★★★): Review

The LifeguardLiz W. Garcia: El (★★ 1/2): Review

May In The Summer
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »
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