5 items from 2015
The Italy-China co-production treaty signed in 2014 has yielded its first feature film, drama “Coffee,” directed by Italy’s Cristiano Bortone and set in Italy, China and Belgium.
“Coffee has three tonalities of taste,” says Bortone whose previous features include “Red Like the Sky.” “There is bitter, sour, and fruity. Each of the three stories in the movie reflects one of these three tonalities.”
“It’s sort of like ‘Babel,’ ’ he added. “Three destinies linked to coffee intertwined in different parts of an increasingly globalised world.”
One tale is set in Trieste, the capital of coffee production in Italy and Europe; the other is set amid China’s increasingly consumer-driven and ecologically devastated society; the third is set in Belgium and is centered around racial tensions. They all intersect in the end.
Pic, which started shooting in Northern Italy in August, is being produced by Bertone’s own Orisa shingle with Rai Cinema, »
- Nick Vivarelli
Marco Mueller, recently appointed general advisor of the 5th Beijing International Film Festival (Bjiff), has unveiled his team of ten international industry professionals.
The programming team is headed by Chinese director Chen Zhiheng, who has been appointed general secretary, external affairs of this year’s Bjiff. He will head a China-based team that will support Mueller’s overseas professionals.
The overseas team includes Alena Shumakova, an experienced consultant for international film festivals; programmer Marie-Pierre Duhamel; India-based curator Deepti D’Cunha; writer and programmer Paolo Bertolin; critic and consultant Diego Lerer; journalist and festival organiser Joumane Chahine; publisher and producer Martin Marquet; Tomita Mikiko, a film selector focusing on Japan and Europe; and Iranian actor, video editor and film festival professional Babak Karimi.
In addition to programming the festival, the international team is looking at potential collaborators for market activity and special events. The team is also making arrangements to bring film industry delegations to the festival, which »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Liz Shackleton)
Marco Mueller, former head of the Rome, Venice and Locarno festivals, has picked a multi-national selection team to support him in his new role at the Beijing International Film Festival.
Mueller was appointed last month as general advisor to the Bjiff, after he parted from the Rome festival which he had led for three years.
The selection team goes some way to suggesting that the festival, now in its fifth year, may gain some credibility as an artistic venture. Previous editions of the festival, which is backed by the Beijing municipal authorities, have focussed more on headline events, red carpet parades and attracting international celebrity guests.
Given China’s strict censorship regime, it remains unclear, however, how much freedom the selectors will be given to pick films with controversial or politically-difficult subject matter, or those which give art-house treatment to sex and sexuality.
Mueller’s selection team is headed by Chen Zhiheng, »
- Patrick Frater
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has unveiled its 2015 line-up which includes films representing 54 countries, 23 world premieres and 53 U.S. premieres. The U.S. premiere of Niki Caro’s McFarland USA will close out the 30th fest. Based on the 1987 true story and starring Kevin Costner and Maria Bello, the film follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. The unlikely band of runners overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well.
The festival runs from January 27-February 7.
Below is the list of World and U.S. Premiere films followed by the list of titles by sidebar categories.
A Better You, USA
Directed by Matt Walsh
Cast: Brian Huskey, »
- The Deadline Team
A self-acknowledged "showcase for Academy Award frontrunners," the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is often overlooked for the actual films that earn it festival status. An amalgamation of international discoveries and ’merica’s circuit highlights, the Sbiff curates a week of best-of-the-best to pair with their star-praising. The 2015 edition offers another expansive selection, bookended by two films that aren’t on any radars just yet. Sbiff will open with "Desert Dancer," producer Richard Raymond’s directorial debut. Starring Reece Ritchie and Frieda Pinto, the drama follows a group of friends who wave off the harsh political climate of Iran’s 2009 presidential election in favor of forming a dance team, picking up moves from Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev thanks to the magic of YouTube. The festival will close with "McFarland, USA," starring Kevin Costner and Maria Bello. Telling the 1987 true story of a Latino high school’s underdog cross-country team, »
- Matt Patches
5 items from 2015
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