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7 items from 2008

Flanders Int'l Film Festival goes to 'Market'

15 October 2008 7:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Brussels -- "The Market," a German-Turkish co-production directed by Britain's Ben Hopkins, won the best film prize at the Flanders International Film Festival in Ghent on Wednesday.

The film centers on a young Turkish market trader in eastern Turkey, whose drinking and gambling drive him into the murky world of black market medicine.

Tolibhon Shahidi won the best music prize for the score of Samira Makhmalbaf's Iranian movie "Two-Legged Horse," best scenario went to writer-director Sylvie Verheyde for "Stella," and Bent Hamer won the director's prize for "O'Horten." »

- By Leo Cendrowicz

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'Pandora's Box' tops San Sebastian fest

28 September 2008 11:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

San Sebastian, Spain -- Yesim Ustaoglu's "Pandora's Box" walked away with the Golden Shell in a ceremony Saturday night that sprinkled prizes broadly and wrapped the 56th San Sebastian International Film Festival.

Michael Winterbottom took the best director honor for "Genova," starring Colin Firth, while Samira Makhmalbaf's Iranian-French "Two-Legged Horse" won the special jury prize.

Cao Baoping's "The Equation of Love and Death" won the coveted 90,000-euro Altadis-New Directors Prize, to be split between the director and the Spanish distributor of the film.

"Pandora's Box" protagonist Tsilla Chelton shared the best actress award with Melissa Leo for her role in "Frozen River," while Oscar Martinez won the actor award for his role as a writer struggling with his children's growing independence in "Empty Nest."

"Nest," directed by Daniel Burman, also picked up the prize for Hugo Colace's cinematography, while Benoit Delepine and Gustave Kervern won the best screenplay prize for "Louise-Michel. »

- By Pamela Rolfe

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Toronto fest taps symposium headliners

18 August 2008 11:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Toronto -- Argentinian producer Sebastian Aloi, Cinetic Rights Management Coo Janet Brown and Spafax executive producer Shane Smith will participate in the Toronto International Film Festival's industry symposium, organizers said Monday.

Other symposium headliners include John Bain, senior vp distribution at Canadian distributor Maple Pictures, Alcina Pictures producer Paul Barkin and Matt Dentler, head of marketing and programming at Cinetic Rights Management.

Toronto also has booked Canadian filmmaker Don McKellar to join French director Olivier Assayas, British producer Stephen Woolley and Iranian filmmaker Samira Makhmalbaf as mentors in the Talent Lab program.

The Toronto International Film Festival is set to run Sept. 4-13. »

- By Etan Vlessing

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San Sebastian adds six titles to lineup

25 July 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Madrid -- Six movies have been added to the slate of films competing for the Golden Shell Prize at the 56th San Sebastian Film Festival, organizers said Thursday.

Briton Michael Winterbottom will bring "Genova," Iranian filmmaker Samira Makhmalbaf's entry is "Two-Legged Horse," and Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda will unspool "Still Walking."

Yesim Ustaoglu of Turkey will show "Pandora's Box," and Spaniard Javier Fesser's "Camino" will compete in the lineup. Making her feature-film debut is Belen Macias, also of Spain, with "El Patio de Mi Carcel" ("My Prison Yard").

The festival runs Sept. 18-27 in the northern Spanish seaside resort. »

- By Benjamin Jones

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Film Review: Lonely Tune of Tehran (Taraneh Tanhaiye Tehran)

19 May 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Lonely Tune of Tehran (Taraneh Tanhaiye Tehran), Cannes, Directors Fortnight

In a bad year for Iranian cinema, when even expected films by Abbas Kiarostami, Samira Makhmalbaf and Amir Naderi have failed to turn up at Cannes, "Lonely Tunes of Tehran" saves the good name of Iran with its touching tale of two lonely misfits struggling to survive in the asphalt jungle. Sensitively written, directed and produced by Saman Salour ("From the Land of Silence", "A Few Kilos of Dates for a Funeral"), this is a film that plucks the heartstrings while it effectively speaks for the masses of poor souls who can neither earn a living nor satisfy their unbearable longing for love. Fest prizes will help unleash its Art House potential.

Salour rolls the dice, and wins, on the unusual casting of leads Hamid (Hamid Habibifar) and Behrouz (Behrouz Jalili), respectively a midget and a giant, the first a cocky, sarcastic electrical engineer; the latter a taciturn, morose war veteran missing a few screws. Comic and dignified at the same time, this odd couple teams with the sweet-tempered driver of a dumpster (Mojtaba Bitarafan) to ply the dangerous trade of satellite dish installers, in a country where dishes are illegal and everyone owns one.

Hamid keeps up a non-stop stream of put-downs at poor Behrouz's expense, as they march up the hills to Tehran's wealthy neighborhoods and install rusty dishes on rooftops, slaving away but never earning enough to pay their rent. Economic woes come second, however, to the piercing loneliness each feels and their inability to find even a hint of love from the opposite sex.

As in Mohamad Ahmadi's "Poet of the Wastes", the main characters unrealistically fall for a beautiful lady they meet (Maryam Sabaghian), who becomes a focus for their fantasies. Salour skillfully plays them off each other, stopping just short of pathos until the final scene when he lets out the emotional stops, abetted by Mohammad Salarvand's touching musical score.

Story can be faulted for being too one-note, as most of the film is nothing more than a comic portrait of Hamid and Behrouz's bickering and bonding. Fortunately the pace of this 75-minute film is swift and even in translation the Persian dialog comes across as amusing.

Giving the proceedings a quality look is Touraj Aslani's superbly imaginative camerawork, which paints an unforgettable double portrait of Tehran both in its daytime, traffic-choked ferocity, and its peaceful nocturnal beauty.

Cast: Hamid Habibifar, Behrouz Jalili, Mojtaba Bitarafan, Maryam Sabaghian, Mohammad-Reza Salour, Mohammad Fassihi. Director: Saman Salour. Screenwriter: Saman Salour. Producers: Saman Salour, Nasrine Medard de Chardon. Director of photography: Touraj Aslani. Production designer: Saman Salour. Music: Mohammad Salarvand. Sound: Mohammad Shahverdi. Editor: Saman Salour

Sales Agent: DreamLab Films, France

No MPAA rating. 79 minutes.


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Cannes Producer's Patch: Wild Bunch

15 May 2008 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- As usual, Wild Bunch comes to Cannes this year loaded up in film offerings with most notably three antcipated titles in post production status: Aronofsky's The Wrestler,  Belge helmer Jaco Van Dormael's Mr Nobody and Claire Denis' White Material. The Paris-based company has a heavy slate which is comprised of Cannes selected films and market projects. A Complete History Of My Sexual Failure  by Chris Waitt - Completed      Afterwards  by Gilles Bourdos - Post-Production  Buddhas Collapsed Out Of Shame   by Hana Makhmalbaf - Completed     Camino  by Javier Fesser - Post-Production     Che - Part 1  by Steven Soderbergh - Completed     Che - Part 2  by Steven Soderbergh - Completed     Chelsea On The Rocks  by Abel Ferrara - Completed     Don't Look Back  by Marina De Van - Post-Production     Dorothy Mills  by Agnès Merlet - Completed     Downloading Nancy  by Johan Renck - Completed     Hollywood : I'm Sleeping Over Tonight  by Antoine De Maximy »

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Top 100 Most Anticipated Films of 2008: #97 Two-Legged Horse

28 January 2008 | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

- #97. Two-Legged Horse Director: Samira Makhmalbaf()Writer: Mohsen MakhmalbafhmalbafProducers: Samira and Mohsen Makhmalbaf Distributor: Currently Seeking Distribution The Gist:  A wealthy boy hires a poor child to carry him around like a horse. Fact: You think being a filmmaker is tough? Try being a female director in Afghanistan. Production was halted in late March after a bomb attack on set (!) left six members of the cast and crew and a number of extras injured. See It: Makhmalbaf family are talented filmmakers working with showstring budgets. Their subject matters deserve our attention. Release Date/Status?: This is the only non-surprise title that we can guarantee will show at the upcoming Cannes film festival. U.S film festival circuit screenings to follow...perhaps Nyff and Tiff.   »

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7 items from 2008

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