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Women producers triumph at When East Meets West co-pro forum

  • ScreenDaily
Trieste event welcomed 350 industry professionals this year.

Women producers were the big winners at the seventh edition of Trieste’s When East Meets West (Wemw) co-production forum, which was attended by more than 350 industry professional from over 30 countries.

The Wemw jury awarded the Cnc Development Award to Italian producer Erica Barbiani for her pitch of Hungarian director Peter Kerekes’ new documentary Wishing On A Star.

Two free accreditations to Cannes’ Producers Network went to Cecilia Frugiuele for Bosnian filmmaker Una Gunjak’s debut feature Alfa and to Georgia’s Tekla Machavariani for Marine Gulbiani’s documentary Before Father Is Back, about two Muslim girls waiting for their fathers to come home from abroad.

The Turkish producer-director team of Anna Maria Aslanoglu and Nazli Elif Durlu went home with the Flow Postproduction Award for Durlu’s feature debut Zuhal.

Film London’s Helena Mackenzie and Mia Co-Production Market’s Alexia De Vito were in Trieste to present the Trl
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Nejjar, Breish and Arraf secure Doha Film Institute grants

Nejjar, Breish and Arraf secure Doha Film Institute grants
Qatar’s Doha Film Institute (Dfi) backs 32 projects in autumn funding round.

Moroccan filmmaker Narjiss Nejjar (Cry No More), Lebanon’s Bassem Breish and Palestinian director Suha Arraf (Villa Touma, pictured) are among the latest recipients of the Doha Film Institute’s grants programme aimed at first and second-time film-makers in the Middle East and Africa region.

The Qatari organization backed a total 32 projects from 27 countries in its autumn funding round.

Nejjar received support for upcoming film Stateless about a girl who will do anything to re-connect with her mother, including marry an aging, blind man.

Breish is working on The Maiden’s Pond, about two woman connected to the same man who need to find a way of living side by side in the same village.

Arraf, whose last film was Villa Touma, is currently working on The Poster, about a Palestinian village situated within Israeli borders which is stirred up when a controversial poster appears
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‘Narco Cultura’ Director Shaul Schwartz Among Doha Film Institute Grants Winners

‘Narco Cultura’ Director Shaul Schwartz Among Doha Film Institute Grants Winners
Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Brooklyn-based directors Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau’s documentary “Trophy,” an in-depth look at the big-game hunting industry, is among 32 projects selected for the latest round of grants by the Doha Film Institute, which supports emerging international filmmakers though the bulk of their funding goes to Arab projects.

Schwartz, a photographer/filmmaker, is the director of doc “Narco Cultura,” which was released theatrically in the U.S. by Cinedigm after it premiered in 2013 at Sundance. He more recently helmed two-part TV series “A Year in Space” for Time and PBS, nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award this year.

The Dfi’s 2016 Fall grants for emerging filmmakers will support an unprecedented 32 films, 15 of them directed by women, coming from 27 countries.

In addition to projects by Qatari directors, the Dfi program covers projects in various production stages from Algeria, Argentina, Burkina Faso, Canada, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Germany,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Israel’s Relationship With Palestinian Filmmakers Sees Ups, Downs

Thriving in spite of rising conservative pressures, Israeli cinema is back at Locarno festival with Israeli and Palestinian projects, a year after facing widespread threats of a cultural boycott, proving that it still boasts a liberal industry.

At Locarno, Israel is being showcased at the Match Me forum, along with Brazilian and Chilean producers. It’s not surprising that one of the three producers chosen by Locarno to represent Israel is a Palestinian one: Baher Agbariya, the producer of Maha Haj’s “Personal Affairs” which opened at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard. Whereas its TV landscape is vastly dominated by Israelis, its film industry owes its international profile and recognition in festivals to both Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers.

But amid the current turmoil shaking up the Arab world and tensions with Israel’s right-wing government, the relationship of Palestinian producers and directors with Israel is being put to test.

“(Politically-speaking), we
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Goa’s International Film Festival of India 2015 Closes with Colombian film ‘Embrace of the Serpent’ Taking Home the Best Film

  • Bollyspice
Ar Rahman

The Colombian film ‘Embrace of the Serpent’ directed by Ciro Guerra and produced by Cristina Gallego has been awarded the Best Film Award at the 46th International Film Festival of India. Honourable Chief Minister of Goa, Shri Laxmikant Parsekar and Honourable Minister of State I&B, Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore jointly presented the Golden Peacock to the Art Director of the film, Ramses Benjumea at a spectacular closing ceremony held at Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium in Goa. The ceremony was compered by the actors Lillete Dubey and Kabir Bedi.

The world renowned and Oscar-winning music composer Mr. A. R. Rahman was the chief guest of the evening. He said, “I am so fascinated by the way the festival is being organized. I thank Iffi team for hosting the festival so beautifully. I hope that supported by festivals like Iffi, the people will come up with great cinema
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Iffi 2015 is all set for a grand closing ceremony

  • Bollyspice
The 46th edition of International Film Festival of India (Iffi) is all set to conclude with a grand closing ceremony to be held at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium, Goa. Honorable Minister of State, I&B, Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore (Retd) along with Honorable Governor of Goa, Smt. Mridula Sinha, Honorable Chief Minister Goa, Shri Laxmikant Parsekar and Secretary I&B, Shri Sunil Arora will inaugurate the closing ceremony. The ceremony will be compered by actors Lillete Dubey and Kabir Bedi.

Vice Chairman, Entertainment Society of Goa, Shri. Damodar Naik, Chief Secretary, Government of Goa, Shri R.K Srivastava, Secretary General Icft, Ms. Lola Poggi Goujon, CEO, Entertainment Society of Goa, Ameya Abhyankar will also be present at the event.

A.R. Rahman is the Chief Guest of the evening. International Jury members including the chairperson, Shekhar Kapur, UK based BAFTA winner director, Micheal Radford, Palestinian based Israel director, Ms. Suha Arraf,
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‘The Man Who Knew Infinity,’ ‘The Clan’ to Bookend Iffi Festival in Goa

‘The Man Who Knew Infinity,’ ‘The Clan’ to Bookend Iffi Festival in Goa
The 46th edition of the International Film Festival of India, Goa will kick off Friday with Matthew Brown’s biopic of Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” starring Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons.

The festival (Nov. 20-30) will close with Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan,” Argentina’s submission in the Oscar foreign-language category. Tom Hooper’s “The Danish Girl,” starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, will be the mid-festival gala.

Easily the richest film festival in India, the festival hands out cash awards totaling $200,000 across various competitive segments. The international competition section will have 15 features competing, including Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Journey to the Shore,” Peter Greenaway’s “Eisenstein in Guanajuato,” Stephane Brize’s “The Measure of a Man,” Grimur Hakonarson’s “Rams” and a brace of Indian features – Debesh Chatterjee’s “Natoker Moto” and Kaushik Ganguly’s “Cinemawala.”

The international jury will be chaired by filmmaker Shekhar Kapur
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Iffi 2015 to bring a perfect mélange of spectacular films and celebrities

  • Bollyspice
The International Film Festival of India (Iffi) today announced a stellar lineup of International Competition, Indian Panorama films and Juries for its 46th edition to be held in Goa from November 20 to 30 2015. The film festival will showcase 187 films from 89 countries in World Cinema section along with 26 Feature and 21 Non-Feature films in Indian Panorama section.

Curtain Raiser Press Conference of Iffi 2015

Addressing the curtain raiser press conference, Shri Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble Minister, I&B, Finance & Corporate Affairs said, “The Kingdom of Spain is the focus country of Iffi 2015.The films of master Spanish filmmakers Carlos Saura and Pedro Almadovar along with contemporary filmmakers like Alejandro Amenabar will be screened at the festival. The section will also feature Spanish actress Leticia Dolera’s directorial debut ‘Requirements to Be a Normal Person.’ ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ written and directed by Matthew Brown would be the opening film of Iffi 2015. Mr. Anil Kapoor
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Locarno: Israeli Film Community Wrestles With National, Foreign Pressures

Locarno: Israeli Film Community Wrestles With National, Foreign Pressures
For years, films and TV shows have been the shining lights of Israeli culture, with the small yet thriving industry somehow managing to stand apart from the politics of the country.

But in the last few months, the entertainment biz has been caught in an unprecedented storm coming from within Israel, where the right-wing government reportedly threatens freedom of expression, and from abroad, where directors such as Ken Loach are pushing for a cultural boycott of Israel.

The Locarno Film Festival, for instance, was heavily criticized for hosting a Carte Blanche (later renamed First Look) on Israeli cinema. A petition calling for the boycott of Israel was signed by a wide range of filmmakers including Loach, Jean-Luc Godard and a number of Palestinian directors who’ve had movies financed in Israel, such as Hany Abu-Assad, Eyal Sivan and Suha Arraf. Arraf had already sparked uproar after listing her latest film
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Israeli artists sound alarm over growing censorship

Israeli artists sound alarm over growing censorship
According to local filmmakers, the recent suppression of documentary Beyond The Fear is just one episode in a quickening erosion of artistic freedom in Israel.

As Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre began to roll on the opening night of the Jerusalem Film Festival in the picturesque Sultan’s Pool amphitheatre in early July, another screening was kicking off just metres above the spectators’ heads.

On a terrace overlooking the event, some 50 film-makers and producers had gathered for a protest screening of Maria Kravchenko and the late Herz Frank’s Beyond The Fear.

They included The Kindergarten Teacher director Nadav Lapid; Keren Yedaya, who won Cannes’ Camera d’Or for her debut work Or; Ra’anan Alexandrowicz, whose credits include the award-winning The Law In These Parts; and Shlomi Elkabetz, co-director of the Golden Globe-nominated Gett: The Trial Of Viviane Amsalem which premiered in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in May 2014 and went on to win best film at
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Premieres galore at Sydney Film Festival

  • IF.com.au
Neil Armfield.s Holding the Man, Simon Stone.s The Daughter, Jeremy Sims. Last Cab to Darwin and Jen Peedom.s feature doc Sherpa will have their world premieres at the Sydney Film Festival.

The festival program unveiled today includes 33 world premieres (including 22 shorts) and 135 Australian premieres (with 18 shorts) among 251 titles from 68 countries.

Among the other premieres will be Daina Reid.s The Secret River, Ruby Entertainment's. ABC-tv miniseries starring Oliver Jackson Cohen and Sarah Snook, and three Oz docs, Marc Eberle.s The Cambodian Space Project — Not Easy Rock .n. Roll, Steve Thomas. Freedom Stories and Lisa Nicol.s Wide Open Sky.

Festival director Nashen Moodley boasted. this year.s event will be far larger than 2014's when 183 films from 47 countries were screened, including 15 world premieres. The expansion is possible in part due to the addition of two new screening venues in Newtown and Liverpool.

As previously announced, Brendan Cowell
See full article at IF.com.au »

Filmmakers Call Israeli Film Funder’s Loyalty Oath Troubling

Filmmakers Call Israeli Film Funder’s Loyalty Oath Troubling
Director Suha Arraf is an Arab who considers herself Palestinian, like 20% of Israel’s citizens. She pays Israeli taxes, and carries an Israeli identity card. Her directorial debut, “Villa Touma,” was partially financed by the Israel Film Fund. Her sector of the Israeli population is routinely touted as an example of Israel’s democratic nature and progressive society.

So when Arraf, one of Variety’s 2014 Screenwriters to Watch, took the picture to the Venice Film Fest and listed it as a Palestinian film, she set off a firestorm. The Israeli government — which helps bankroll the fund — demanded it repay its 1.4 million shekel ($356,000) grant.

Late last month Israel’s Yehoshua Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts took steps to avoid the occurrence of a similar fallout, amending the contract it requires all fund recipients to sign to include a declaration that they represent themselves as Israeli on those projects.

“We asked our
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘McFarland USA’ To Close Santa Barbara Film Festival: Full Lineup

  • Deadline
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.

World Premieres

A Better You, USA

Directed by Matt Walsh

Cast: Brian Huskey,
See full article at Deadline »

'McFarland, USA' will close out 30th annual Santa Barbara Film Festival

  • Hitfix
'McFarland, USA' will close out 30th annual Santa Barbara Film Festival
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,
See full article at Hitfix »

Zero Motivation | Review #2

  • ioncinema
Band of Girls: Lavie’s Acerbic, Confident Debut

Exacerbated ennui is explored to comedic effect in Tayla Lavie’s striking directorial debut, Zero Motivation, which explores life on an Israeli military base through the perspective of several female soldiers. Groups of humans not taken seriously and treated with demeaning abandon tend to disengage from rational behaviors, and Lavie explores the rampant pettiness born out of being kept in certain positions without any opportunity to grow. Some have criticized Lavie for abstaining from composing the film as a more complicated and transgressive portrait of the reductive nature of war, in general. Coming from an area where cinematic offerings are saturated and inflected with the constant, aggravated unrest transpiring there, Lavie’s film is already a subtly wicked statement, and her focus on the trivialities of one group of women on one military base serves as the subtle microcosm for the enduring
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Israel Rules That Director Must Return State Funding for Film Presented as Palestinian

Israel Rules That Director Must Return State Funding for Film Presented as Palestinian
Israeli-Arab director Suha Arraf must repay the state funding she received for her debut feature Villa Touma, an Israeli government committee has ruled, arguing that the film should have been labeled as "Israeli" rather than "Palestinian." The film, a black comedy about a young girl who goes to live with her three unmarried aunts in the West Bank, had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where it was presented as Palestinian. But a backlash followed, with the Israeli economy minister Naftali Bennett in August saying Arraf would have to return the $150,000 she received from the

read more
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Antalya Film Festival Nurtures Cinema’s Young Turks

Antalya Film Festival Nurtures Cinema’s Young Turks
Half a century ago, the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival was launched to boost production of quality Turkish pics by showcasing them alongside global standouts in an international movie industry milieu.

That plan seems to be working.

Local auteurs are going strong with Nuri Bilge Ceylan winning this year’s Cannes Palme d’Or for “Winter Sleep” and first-timer Kaan Mujdeci’s “Sivas” recently taking a top Venice nod. These are not one-off cases. Semih Kaplanoglu’s poetic “Honey,” about the touching rapport between a beekeeper who works in the mountains of Rize province and his 6-year-old son, took the Berlin Golden Bear in 2010.

“The awards received in important film festivals around the world clearly indicate that the Turkish film industry is on its way to becoming one of the world’s strongest,” says Mesut Cem Erkul, who heads the Turkish culture ministry’s film department.

There is plenty of room for improvement,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Italian comedy wins in Reykjavik

  • ScreenDaily
Italian comedy wins in Reykjavik
I Can Quit Whenever I Want wins the Golden Puffin; Shawn Christensen’s Before I Disappear gets special jury mention.

Italian comedy I Can Quit Whenever I Want (Smetto quando voglio) has won the Golden Puffin at the Reykjavik International Film Festival (Sept 25 - Oct 5).

The film marks the directorial debut of Sydney Sibilia and topped the 12 titles in Riff’s New Visions competitive strand, which are all first or second features.

The story centres on a university researcher who is fired because of cutbacks and decides to produce drugs with his former colleagues

A special mention of the jury was given to drama Before I Disappear, written, directed and starring Shawn Christensen.

The jury comprised Icelanic actor Björn Thors, international distributor Pascale Ramonda, Film London CEO Adrian Wooton, Peter Debruge, and festival advisor Margrét Hallgrímsdóttir, keeper of the national treasures and the manager of the Office of National Heritage.

The jury described
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Reykjavik unveils competition line-up

  • ScreenDaily
Reykjavik unveils competition line-up
Titles include Shawn Christensen’s Before I Disappear and Suha Arraf’s Villa Touma [pictured]; guests include Mike Leigh and Ruben Ostlund.

The Reykjavik International Film Festival (Sept 25 - Oct 5) has unveiled the 12 features in competition for the Golden Puffin award, reserved for first or second time directors.

They include Us drama Before I Disappear, from director Shawn Christensen, which picked up the audience audience at SXSW, where it received its world premiere.

Also in the running is family drama Villa Touma, from Palestinian/Israeli director Suha Arraf, which played at Venice and Toronto; and Grzegorz Jaroszuk’s Kebab and Horoscope, which debuted at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

The competition line-up includes:

Villa Touma,Suha ArrafThe Lack, Masbedo (It)Age of Cannibals, Johannes Naber (Ger)Before I Disappear, Shawn Christensen (Us-uk)Bonobo, Matthew Hammett Knott (UK)Heimurinn, Iris Elezi, Thomas LogorrheicThe Council of Birds, Timm Kröger (Ger)I Can Quit Whenever I Want,Sydney Sibilia (It)Kebab
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Venice Film Review: ‘Villa Touma’

Venice Film Review: ‘Villa Touma’
The idea of a film without a country makes an excellent statement about the Israeli-Palestinian disaster — it’s a pity the concept is considerably more powerful than the movie at hand. Given Suha Arraf’s record as scripter on “The Syrian Bride” and “Lemon Tree,” one expects more than ham-fisted dialogue from her helming debut, “Villa Touma,” . Stolid, stilted and lensed with little understanding of modulation, the pic has sparked controversy, yet once that dies down, “Villa” will be subsumed by far superior Palestinian product.

Arraf originally submitted the film as a Palestinian production, but when Israeli politicos realized that all the coin came from Israel, they demanded the money back. The compromise, sending the pic to fests as a stateless feature, is such a clever idea it’s surprising it’s not done more often; if only “Villa Touma” on its own could make such a potent declaration. The Palestinian haute bourgeoisie,
See full article at Variety - Film News »
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