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Los Cabos: Oscilloscope and Northern Banner Snag U.S. and Canada to Canadian Docu ‘Grand Prairie’ (Exclusive)

Los Cabos: Oscilloscope and Northern Banner Snag U.S. and Canada to Canadian Docu ‘Grand Prairie’ (Exclusive)
Los Cabos, Mexico – On the eve of the Los Cabos Int’l Film Fest, Oscilloscope Laboratories picked up U.S. rights, while Northern Banner snagged the Canadian rights, to upcoming 70 mm docu “Grand Prairie,” with the latter deal facilitated by acquisitions consultant Tom Davia of Cinemaven.

“Experimental projects from emerging filmmakers can be a risk, but given the nature and scope of this project, it is one definitely worth taking,” said Davia on behalf of Northern Banner, the Canadian distribution arm of Raven Banner Entertainment.

The feature-length docu debut of acclaimed cinematographer Evan Prosofsky participates in Los Cabos’ development program, Cine en Desarrollo. Told entirely through the immersive medium of real Imax 70 mm, “Grand Prairie” captures the everyday lives of young Albertans as they come of age in a series of vignettes, staged scenes and fly-on-the-wall instances.

Imagery in the fiction-doc-autobiographical hybrid will range from intimate character moments to grand landscapes, said Calgary-based
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Gareth Edwards’ 10 Favorite Films

With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story currently dominating the box-office, well on its way to crossing the $1 billion threshold, even if you didn’t fully embrace the movie, it’s hard to withhold appreciation in how Gareth Edwards captured this well-trodden universe in a new aesthetic way. One can now get a glimpse at some of his directorial influences with the latest Sight & Sound poll at BFI, where the director gave his top 10 films of all-time.

“One of the first things I do is grab imagery and put together a document, a Pdf, that is just full of thousands of images,” Edwards told Complex. “For me, the films that I got a lot of images from were Apocalypse Now, Thin Red Line, Alien, Blade Runner, and a film called Baraka.” A few of these can be found in his list, which of course includes George LucasStar Wars, which
See full article at The Film Stage »

'Sherpa' Director Jennifer Peedom's 'Koyaanisqatsi' Homage, 'Mountain,' Acquired by Submarine and Dogwoof

'Sherpa' Director Jennifer Peedom's 'Koyaanisqatsi' Homage, 'Mountain,' Acquired by Submarine and Dogwoof
Submarine and Dogwoof have acquired all rights—minus Australia/New Zealand and German-speaking territories—to "Sherpa" director Jennifer Peedom’s "Mountain," an examination of humankind's troubled and triumphant relationship with mountains in the vein of "Baraka" (Ron Fricke, 1992) and "Koyaanisqatsi" (Godfrey Reggio, 1982). Read More: "Review: A Decade After Qatsi Trilogy, Avant-Garde Cine-Poem 'Visitors' Marks Godfrey Reggio's Triumphant Return" "Mountain," currently in production, is a collaboration between Peedom and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and features cinematography by Renan Ozturk, the Dp behind the gorgeous images of "Sherpa" and Producers Guild nominee "Meru." Renowned author Robert Macfarlane, whose best-selling book "Mountains of the Mind" explores similar themes contained in this work, will write the narration. Watch: "How Star Climber Jimmy...
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Film Review: ‘Planetary’

Film Review: ‘Planetary’
Like “Baraka” or “Koyaanisquatsi” with a scholarly/preachy commentary track, Guy Reid’s “Planetary” is equal parts stunning cinematic picture book and worthy if somewhat overreaching lecture on the imperiled state of Mother Earth. Some viewers may be turned off a bit by the talking-head experts’ eventual shift from scientific to more spiritual matters. Those who prefer their eco-consciousness delivered with a drop (or a full draught) of New Age-iness will have a new favorite movie.

A most impressive logistical and aesthetic feat for the first-time feature filmmaking team, “Planetary” had a single-date release at venues scattered around the globe on (of course) Earth Day, April 22. While it’s not necessarily too late for correction, it’s a pity that the pic otherwise bypassed theaters, going straight to VOD via Vimeo: D.p. Christoph Ferstad’s frequently ravishing widescreen images rep a bigscreen experience if ever there was one.

It’s not his camera,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Film Review: ‘Monsoon’

Film Review: ‘Monsoon’
Visually fussy to a fault, “Monsoon” applies a near-“Baraka”-level degree of New Age-y pictorialism to its titular subject. We learn superficially about the vast importance of this annual weather phenomenon to India’s people, agriculture and economy, but helmer Sturla Gunnarsson seems far more interested in overstudied imagery that would make for a great coffee-table book, yet feels like a triumph of hollow aestheticism over content onscreen. Nonetheless, that armchair-tourist surface spectacle might push the pic (shot in the extra-high-def 4K format) into the commercial theatrical sphere, attracting the same audiences who’ve glimpsed profundity in the photo-of-the-year compilations crafted by Godfrey Reggio and Ron Fricke.

Considered “the soul of India,” monsoon season provides the majority of that vast nation’s drinking and farming water. (A minority comes from mountain snow melt.) But while the rain may fall anywhere throughout the subcontinent, it can’t be counted on
See full article at Variety - Film News »

'Birdman,' 'Wild,' 'Imitation Game' and an 'Apocalypse Now' treat set for 41st Telluride

  • Hitfix
'Birdman,' 'Wild,' 'Imitation Game' and an 'Apocalypse Now' treat set for 41st Telluride
Telluride — With all the reindeer games going on in the fall festival world, a lot of the drama and mystery surrounding Telluride's perennially on-the-lowdown program began to seep out like a steadily deflating balloon this year. Toronto, Venice and New York notations of "World Premiere," "Canada Premiere," "New York Premiere" or "International Premiere" and the like made it all rather obvious which films were heading to the San Juans for the 41st edition of the tiny mining village's cinephile gathering, and which were not. But the fact is, if you're in it just for the surprises — or certainly, for the awards-baiting heavies — you're never going to be fully satisfied by the Telluride experience. That having been said, this year's program might just be the most exciting one in my six years of attending. Starting with all of the stuff we were expecting, indeed, Cannes players "Foxcatcher," "Mr. Turner" and "Leviathan
See full article at Hitfix »

'Lucy' (2014) Movie Review

If you're hung up on the fact Lucy perpetuates the myth humans only use 10% of their brain then I don't know why you're reading this review. However, if you thought Transcendence was a talky bore and wish there had been more action and less jibber-jabber then you might want to stick around since the two films essentially approach the idea of the singularity, but get there using dramatically different means. Directed by Luc Besson (The Professional, The Fifth Element), Lucy tells the story of the title character, played by Scarlett Johansson with all the wooden acuity of Keanu Reeves, as she is forced into serving as a drug mule, carrying a package of a new drug next to her intestines. Unfortunately for her, when she's kicked in the stomach a small amount of the drug leaks into her system, giving her abilities beyond that of a "normal" human being and
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

'Lessons of Darkness' (1992) Movie Review

"The oil is treacherous, because it reflects the sky." Herzog says in voice over as we look upon what could very easily be small ponds and streams of water in an otherwise barren wasteland. Herzog speaks to this very thought adding, "The oil is trying to disguise itself as water." It's a statement only Herzog could make and it's one of the few heard throughout the brisk 50 minutes that make up his 1992 documentary Lessons of Darkness, which I think is best described as a cousin to Ron Fricke's wonderful wordless documentaries Baraka and Samsara, though with this film Herzog has a much more specific topic he's exploring. Broken into thirteen separate sections, all with their own "chapter" heading, Herzog tells the story of the 1991 Kuwait oil fires through sparse voice over (much of which are words read from the Bible), aerial and on the ground images captured on 16mm
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014: Happiness Review

  • HeyUGuys
Earlier this year, Av Festival in Newcastle was the destination of many durational documentary enthusiasts (admittedly a niche market): a meaty Wang Bing retrospective was screened over several days. For all who are unfamiliar with the Chinese documentarian’s work, he has a tight catalogue of epic films such as West of the Tracks and Crude Oil that are in excess of ten hours apiece, which seek to tell objective stories of diminishing local labour or of nomadic existence in the great wilds of China and Mongolia. More palatable docs, while containing a similar gaze, have been delivered to us in recent years by Ron Fricke (namely Baraka and Samsara).

Director Thomas Balmès’ interest in cross-cultural filmmaking has allowed him to scaffold a bridge between these two styles of documentary: employing a lingering, dewy-eyed camera to portray stunning landscapes and untouched panoramas while telegraphing easy-to-watch glimpses of silent societies.
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Visitors Review

It may not be on everyone’s DVD shelf, but filmmaker Godfrey Reggio’s first film Koyaanisqatsi – released in 1982 – was a landmark piece of cinema. Comprised mainly of slow motion and time-lapse shots, the film had no narrative in the strict sense of the word, it simply observed our world, both human and natural, and left it up to the viewer to form their own ideas. Stunningly shot (cinematographer Ron Fricke went on to make similar films Baraka and Samsara), Koyaanisqatsi revolutionised techniques that we now take for granted and would be referenced in places as far afield as Grand Theft Auto, Madonna videos, and even an episode of Scrubs. Reggio followed this up with two more films to complete the Qatsi trilogy and now returns three decades later with Visitors, a film similar in concept, but completely different in its execution.

Filmed in a low-key, velvety black-and-white, Visitors runs
See full article at HeyUGuys »

'Bottled Up' Lands at Freestyle Releasing

'Bottled Up' Lands at Freestyle Releasing
Freestyle Digital Media (Fdm) and Freestyle Releasing announce today that they have acquired the film, and set February 28th as the release date for Bottled Up, the moving family indie that stars Academy Award-winning actress Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Winter's Bone), Josh Hamilton (J. Edgar, American Horror Story) and Marin Ireland (Side Effects, I Am Legend).

Written and directed by Enid Zentelis (Evergreen), the film was produced by Zentelis, Amanda Beckner, Anthony Brandonisio, , Erik Weigel, and Executive Produced by Leslie Urdang and Dean Vanech of Olympus Pictures - the production company behind Rabbit Hole and Beginners. The film is slated for both a national theatrical and VOD release.

Leo plays hopelessly hopeful Fay, mother to Sylvie (Ireland), who, many months after a car accident, continues to complain of back pain. After refusing physical therapy, it becomes clear to everyone but Fay that her daughter is addicted to pain killers. When
See full article at MovieWeb »

Toronto Film Review: ‘Visitors’

Toronto Film Review: ‘Visitors’
Thirty years after blowing minds with his first feature, “Koyaanisqatsi,” helmer Godfrey Reggio supplies yet another dialogue-free juxtaposition of visceral imagery, time-lapse photography and mesmerizing Philip Glass music with “Visitors.” But with two other “Qatsi” films having emerged in the interim, Reggio’s m.o. is by now practically a cliche, having long since been appropriated by advertising execs and musicvideo directors, as well as his former cameraman Ron Fricke. Distribs will need to be ultra-creative to attract a niche audience prepared to engage with this velvety black-and-white reverie on the bigscreen, where it will be seen to its best advantage. Cinedigm plans a 2014 release.

The world premiere of ” Visitors” at Toronto — where 71 members of the Toronto Symphony performed the score under the baton of Michael Riesman — offered a model, albeit a pricey one, for how to “eventize” the film. (The music on the release version is performed by the Bruckner Orchestra Linz,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Eat Mor Chikin

One of the best documentaries of last year was Ron Fricke's Samsara, a wordless follow-up to Baraka and if you have any doubts as to how provocative a wordless documentary can actually be, the production has just brought online one of the more devastating clips from the film taking a close look at our world's food production. Here's a quote from producer Mark Magidson that accompanied the clip. "We are happy this clip has struck a chord with so many people, and we hope that the interest in this clip will lead viewers to see Samsara in its entirety. This clip represents only 6 minutes from a 100 minute long film, which was photographed in 25 countries and explores many other diverse aspects of the human experience. We would love for viewers to experience Samsara as a whole." ~ producer Mark Magidson Samsara is a film best seen on the biggest screen possible
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Interview: Ziad Doueiri (The Attack)

Lebanese writer/director Ziad Doueiri (West Beirut – ’98, Lila Says- ’04) finally returns behind the camera for his third feature, an adaptation of the novel by Algerian writer Yasmina Khadra. A successful Arab surgeon living in Israel finds his life shattered when he finds his wife was involved in a suicide bombing thus sending him on a journey full of unintentional discovery. A thoroughly profound, layered and complex film, the Israeli and Palestinian conflict provides the backdrop for what is essentially a thriller with a love story at its core. With Ali Suliman in a dramatically anchor-heavy lead role, and equally strong perfs from supporting players Reymond Amsalem and Uri Gavriel, according to our four-star review, “this is perhaps the most humanistic take on the never-ending conflict to ever be presented on the screen, definitely an important and compelling film.” The Attack [06.21 - NYC and Washington] received its world premiere showing at Tiff last fall where
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American Cinema Editors Love "Argo," "Silver Linings Playbook"

"Argo" remains the Oscar-frontrunner! The Ben Affleck film was the big winner at the recently concluded 63rd Annual Ace Eddie Awards honoring outstanding editing in nine categories of film, television, and documentaries. "Argo" won the Dramatic category, "Silver Linings Playbook" for Comedy/Musical, "Brave" for Animated, and "Searching for Sugar Man" for Documentary.

Here are the complete list of nominees; for winners/nominees of other award-giving bodies, click here:

Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic):

*** Argo

William Goldenberg, A.C.E.

Life of Pi

Tim Squyres, A.C.E.


Michael Kahn, A.C.E.


Stuart Baird, A.C.E.

Zero Dark Thirty

Dylan Tichenor, A.C.E. and William Goldenberg, A.C.E.

Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy Or Musical):

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Chris Gill

Les Misérables

Melanie Ann Oliver & Chris Dickens, A.C.E.

Moonrise Kingdom

Andrew Weisblum, A.C.E.

*** Silver Linings Playbook

Jay Cassidy,
See full article at Manny the Movie Guy »

'Argo' and 'Silver Linings Playbook' Top 2013 Ace Editing Awards

The American Cinema Editors (Ace) handed out the 2013 Eddie Awards last night and the race didn't change too much, that is unless you were confused as to who the two primary front-runners heading into next Sunday's Oscars were. Argo (edited by William Goldenberg, A.C.E.) and Silver Linings Playbook (edited by Jay Cassidy, A.C.E. and Crispin Struthers) won Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic) and Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy/Musical) respectively. Brave won in the Animated category while presumptive Best Documentary winner, Searching for Sugar Man won in the Documentary category. Of course, just to keep things interesting and ensure "Team Lincoln" didn't go home entirely empty handed, Steven Spielberg received the Ace Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year honor presented to him by longtime collaborator and friend Kathleen Kennedy. I've already updated the Oscar Overture with the wins for Argo and Silver Linings as the path
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

The Beauty of "Baraka" Finds a Successor in "Samsara"

Part of the visionary genius behind The Qatsi Trilogy owes credit to the eye of cinematographer Ron Fricke, whose own film Baraka has become a visual standard unto itself. His follow-up film Samsara, follows almost 20 years later and took five years to put together thanks to its highly varied content and the globetrotting approach, capturing moments of human life and industry across 25 countries. It’s an absolutely stunning work of cinematography and Fricke’s eye for detail and color has only improved over the years, and now it has the benefit of high-definition to make it downright breathtaking at times in terms of scope, and at other times it manages to make the mundane seem incomprehensibly special.

See full article at JustPressPlay »

Samsara Blu-ray Review

  • HeyUGuys
Here is a documentary so difficult to describe it’s hard to understand the motivation to watch it never mind to think that you’d like it. A wordless documentary filmed over twenty-five countries in five continents, it’s all about the imagery and the accompanying music so that you may interpret it as you wish. All the images you see are completely magnanimous with every interpretation being as correct as every other as there’s no guiding voice to narrate you to the thoughts of the filmmakers. Instead, you see images that he’s captured over fours of filming on seventy-millimetre film while it transports you around the globe seamlessly. It seemingly melts societies from one place to another showing that there may be differences but we are all the same and suffer similar tribulations.

The best setting was had when I watched this film, thankfully. Although sitting and
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Godfrey Reggio’s ‘Qatsi’ Trilogy and the Diminishing Returns of Pure Cinema

The Qatsi series is made up of several compelling contradictions. On the one hand, the first film, Koyaanisqatsi (1983), was a unique-for-its-time, one-of-a-kind event; but on the other hand, that film used many of the same cinematic tactics and strategies common to “pure cinema” (or “absolute film”) projects that characterized experimental filmmaking in the 1920s, like Dziga Vertov’s Man with the Movie Camera, Fernand Leger’s Ballet Mechanique, and the geometric filmmaking of Viking Eggeling. On the one hand, the Qatsi series is often celebrated as a series, or as an accomplishment characterized by a long-term vision realized across several films; but on the other hand, celebrations of the weight and accomplishment of this series are often relegated to the first film. Koyaanisqatsi’s sequels, Powaqqatsi (1988) and Naqoyqatsi (2002), are only mentioned a fraction as often as the landmark first film. On the one hand, this trilogy is one of the most radical critical critiques of capitalism and
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Pina Blu Ray Review

Pina Directed by: Wim Wenders Featuring: Regina Advento, Malou Airaudo, Ruth Amarante Written by: Wim Wenders Being a fan of both documentaries and the work of German filmmaker Wim Wenders, I went into Pina with the hopes that my absolute distaste for modern dance might be tempered by some great filmmaking and an interesting story. Unfortunately, as Pina's tagline states, this is 'a film for Pina Bausch by Wim Wenders' and not a film for Jay Cheel. Be warned, if you don't like modern dance or ballet, Pina might not be for you. The film focuses on the work of its title character/subject, Pina Bausch. It seems Wenders assumes that most people watching the film might be coming in with a basic knowledge of Pina and her work. Either that or he simply doesn't care, which is sort of respectable I suppose. I personally had no idea
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