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Fantasia draws record numbers

  • ScreenDaily
Fantasia draws record numbers
Montreal’s genre festival ran from July 17-Aug 6 and saw audiences of more than 129,000; its Frontières co-production market also drew a record attendance, up 30% on 2013.

With more than 129,000 people attending screenings and events over its 18th year, Fantasia International Film Festival co-director Mitch Davis (pictured) has marked the event as an “extraordinary” year.

Speaking to Screen, Davis was particularly pleased that the smaller films shone through.

“We showcased just over 160 feature films, which is more than our norm and is, frankly, no subtle number,” said Davis. “The worry in doing that is the chancing that certain so-called smaller films could somehow fall between the cracks.

“I’m thrilled to say that this didn’t happen. It’s often the smaller independent discovery titles that we have some of the strongest love for and we go the extra mile to make sure they stand out and even then, anything could happen. Happily, a good
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Fantasia co-director hails mighty year

  • ScreenDaily
Fantasia co-director hails mighty year
Montreal’s genre festival ran from July 17-Aug 6 and saw audiences of more than 129,000; its Frontières co-production market also drew a record attendance, up 30% on 2013.

With more than 129,000 people attending screenings and events over its 18th year, Fantasia International Film Festival co-director Mitch Davis (pictured) has marked the event as an “extraordinary” year.

Speaking to Screen, Davis was particularly pleased that the smaller films shone through.

“We showcased just over 160 feature films, which is more than our norm and is, frankly, no subtle number,” said Davis. “The worry in doing that is the chancing that certain so-called smaller films could somehow fall between the cracks.

“I’m thrilled to say that this didn’t happen. It’s often the smaller independent discovery titles that we have some of the strongest love for and we go the extra mile to make sure they stand out and even then, anything could happen. Happily, a good
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Fantasia 2014 Award Winners Include Cybernatural and Closer to God; 2015 Dates Announced

This past Wednesday, August 6th, saw the close of the 18th edition of Montreal's Fantasia Film Festival; and now that the dust has settled, we have the full list of this year's award winners plus the Fest's dates for 2015.

From the Press Release:

Returning to its home at Concordia University after the location’s massive 2013 renovations, the acclaimed Fantasia International Film Festival, North America’s longest-running genre film fest, benefited from having three theaters in which to screen its record 160+ films.

Among the numerous highlights that took place during the three-week festival were the crowd-pleasing, revelatory world premieres of Leo Gabriadze’s Cybernatural (review here), Sarah Adina Smith’s The Midnight Swim, and Bennett JonesI Am A Knife With Legs. Also of note were massively successful screenings of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy, Lee Su-jin’s Han Gong-ju, Keishi Otomo’s Rurouni Kenshin – Kyoto Inferno,
See full article at Dread Central »

Fantasia unveils full line-up

  • ScreenDaily
Fantasia unveils full line-up
Montreal-based genre festival to screen over 160 films at its 18th edition, which runs July 17-Aug 6.

Fantasia International Film Festival has unveiled the full line-up for its 18th edition, which takes place in Montreal from July 17-Aug 6.

Along with those previously announced in the first two waves, this year’s festival will also host the world premieres of Gun Ho Jang’s Heavenly Sword, Simon Boisvert’s Bold & Brash: Filmmaking Boisvert Style, Nick Szostakiwskyj’s Black Mountain Side, Maude Michaud’s Dys-, Chad Archibald & Matt Wiele’s Ejecta and LeRoy McCoy’s McCoy the Space Cowboy.

As previously announced, Jacky in the Kingdom of Women and Welcome to New York bookend this year’s festival.

Strands

Jonas Alexander Amby’s Cannes title When Animals Dream will receive its North American premiere as part of the festival’s Camera Lucida strand, which will also screen the likes of Josephine Decker’s Thou Wast Mild and Lovely and the North
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Fantasia Film Fest announces full line-up

Following previous announcements of their film lineup, the Fantasia International Film Festival has released their full lineup of movies to be shown at the 18th Annual festival, starting July 17.

New additions to the lineup include 2014 Cannes Selection When Animals Dream, directed by Jonas Alexander Amby and the return of Fantasia’s showcase of animated films, Axis.

Tickets for the festival go on sale starting July 16, and the festival runs through August 5.

View the whole press release of additional announcements below:

Fantasia Celebrates Its 18th Birthday

With Over 160 Feature Films Montreal, Thursday July 10, 2014 – 2014 is the year that Fantasia turns 18. We can’t believe it either. Fantasia’s 18th birthday means over 160 features and something in the neighborhood of 300 shorts, many being shown for the first time on this continent, a good number screening here for the first time anywhere in the world.In addition to being stacked with a multitude of breathtaking debut filmmaker discoveries,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

First Look At George Takei’s To Be Takei Trailer

Watch the first trailer for director Jennifer M. Kroot’s To Be Takei.

Starring George Takei, Brad Takei, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, Dan Savage, and Walter Koenig, the film will premiere July 3rd on Directv and opens in theaters, On Demand and iTunes on August 22nd.

To Be Takei is an entertaining and moving look at the many roles played by eclectic 76-year-old actor/activist George Takei whose wit, humor and grace has allowed him to become an internationally beloved figure.

It balances unprecedented access to the day-to-day life of George and his husband/business partner Brad Takei with George’s fascinating personal journey, from his childhood in a Japanese American internment camp, to his iconic and groundbreaking role as Sulu on “Star Trek,” through his rise as an internet phenomenon with over 6-million Facebook likes.

The film shows what it truly means To Be Takei.

To Be Takei
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Oak Cliff 2014 Preview: Buzzard, Fight Church, Limo Ride, Repertory Titles, And More

The third annual Oak Cliff Film Festival, a celebration of all things independent, starts tonight, June 19, and runs through June 22. The opening night presentation is To Be Takei, a documentary about actor / activist George Takei, directed by Jennifer M. Kroot and Bill Weber.Held in the North Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas, Texas, the festival will take place at the historic Texas Theatre, the Kessler Theater, the Bishop Arts Theater, and other nearby venues. It's a long-established neighborhood that's been revitalized in recent years by a growing arts community, and the festival reflects that combination of the old and the new, with a keen awareness of its important place in the local scene and a desire to connect with the world at large. This...

[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
See full article at Screen Anarchy »

Directors Daniel Geller & Dayna Goldfine On Their Enthralling Documentary "The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden"

Inhospitable locations are prompt to be the source of legends and enigmatic theories. For most people the Galapagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador, are only relevant due to their biodiversity made universally famous by none other than Darwin. His findings are studied by millions of children around the world as feasible proof of evolution. What they don't teach in school is the human history of this exuberant archipelago. One chapter in particular within this short, but surely captivating account of people settling there, is rather intriguing. As if pulled from the pages of a crime novel, what filmmakers Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine found is a story that involves deceit, deviant romances, and possibly even murder.

In 1929, Freidrich Ritter, a German doctor and a fan of Nietzsche's ideology, decides to leave his wife and head for the islands, his only companion was Dore Strauch, a woman who was enticed by the idea of leaving civilized society for the emptiness of an untouched paradise. Soon after their arrival to the uninhabited Floreana island, the pair discovers life in the wilderness is a serious endeavor. With Ww II lurking on the horizon, it wasn't long before other Germans decided to follow on their footsteps, thus when the Wittmer family arrived, Ritter's ideal solitude was disturbed. Still, it appears as if the two groups would manage to share the space, but when a third party settles in, an Austrian woman claiming to be a Baroness and her two lovers, conflict unravels leaving behind a trail of mysterious events - unsolved to this date. Such is the premise of Geller and Goldfine's documentary The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden, which compiles archive footage, interviews, and narrations by the likes of Cate Blanchett , Sebastian Koch , and Diane Kruger This highly entertaining, darkly comedic, and well-crafted real-life melodrama tells a story almost impossible to believe. The directors shared with us the challenges and the huge undertaking that this project required, as well as their individual perceptions on such an incredible and, until now, hidden anecdote that adds to the allure the islands evoke.

Aguilar: How did you get involved with this fascinating and insane project?

Dayna: We were asked by a friend way back in 1998 to do camera and sound work on a sort of Darwin-type science project down in the Galapagos. We went not knowing anything about the islands except that Darwin had used them for his experiments and they had lots of really cool animals on them. Certainly not knowing that anyone lived there, because there is actually no indigenous people on the islands. Anyone that’s there now has emigrated, or their parents have emigrated, from some other place. While we were down there on our little boat traveling from island to island, one night we picked a book off the tiny little library shelf in the boat, and it was about the human history of the islands. We were like “Wow there is enough human history to fill a book?”. Then, even more cool was chapter 3 or 4, which was called “Murder in Paradise.”

Aguilar: What a title

Dan: [Laughs] Dayna loves her true crime books, so from that moment on, the fixation began for the rest of our trip around the islands that time

Dayna: Basically at that moment I sort of grabbed this little chapter and I said “Dan you’ve got to read this, it’s just so wacky” Then our naturalist guide, who had lived in the islands forever and knows everyone, he said to us “Well guess what you guys, the old lady [Margret] is still alive” This was back in 1998, she didn’t die until 2000. At that moment I became obsessed, I was like “We are in the islands for two weeks, there is no way we can’t go to Floreana and meet this woman,” but what we didn’t know at that point was that the way it works in the Galapagos, you got this very specific itinerary that’s attached to each boat and our boat was not supposed to go to Floreana.

Dan: The project we were working on, the science foundation project that we were shooting, had very specific animals and variations of species that our friend Doug needed, and none of them were the ones particular to Floreana. That’s why it wasn’t on the itinerary, and you can’t bend the itinerary once you get going, unless your boat breaks down in front of the island, which is what happened [Laughs]

Dayna: Literally every morning we’d wake up and I’d say, “So today Doug we are going to Floreana right? We are gonna go meet Margret Wittmer”, and it got to be kind of a joke but I know we were pissing off our friend Doug who hired us. He would roll his eyes [Laughs]. Finally almost towards the very end of our two weeks, the boat literally broke down in front of Floreana. We had to get off, we even got to take showers on the island, and we got to have tea with Margret.

Aguilar: What did she say? Was she open to speak about what happened to the Baroness?

Dan: She was mostly talking about how president Roosevelt came to visit because there was an airbase built in Galapagos during World War II to protect the Panama Canal. She was proud of that and kept talking about it, and then would wander into some different topics. In a moment where there was just a little bit of quiet in the conversation we all looked around for a beat, that’s when she blurted out apropos of nothing “En la boca cerrada no entran moscas”.We saw Miguel Mosquera, who was our naturalist on that trip, and who became our location manager for all the subsequent trips for our film, and his eyes popped out wide. I said, “What did she say?” because at the time neither Dayna nor I spoke Spanish, we’ve subsequently started to learn. After we left, Dayna and I said “ Miguel what did she just say?” and he translated for us: “A closed mouth admits no flies.” We thought, “Oh my God, she is toying with the reputation and the legacy, and teasing people about it”. Whether she did that because it was just her way to antagonize people because she was sick of being asked or because she has a devilish sense of humor. I think it's the latter because certainly her son and daughter, Rolf and Floreanita, have very sly senses of humor, so I think they inherited it from her.

Dayna: I think she was sort of playing with the visitors that came to the island. By that point and time she was in her 90s and so many years had gone by. There is no way she would’ve talked about it explicitly, but I think she really did get a kick out of it. She knew that when a visitor came to the island, front and foremost in their mind was “Ok what happened to the Baroness?” [Laughs]. Although no one would ask her about it at that point, I think it was her way of sort of joking around with us,

Aguilar: The search behind the film must have been extensive, how difficult was to find the footage and making a film out of a story hidden away for so long?

Dan: What happened is that, even though we were at that point fascinated with the story, there was no way to tell it without any kind of visual material. We were starting another movie called Ballets Russes, so we just thought “All right we’ll let it be for now” Then when the same friend Doug was starting a different science education project, he was working with a USC professor who also had brought his students down to Galapagos over the years. Of course because he was at USC, he happened to know of the archive in Doheny Library of all that footage. So our friend Doug, who we definitely owe a cocktail or two for this [Laughs], said “You guys have got to get down to USC and talked to this professor, Bill McComas, and see if you can get access because the archive is falling apart. There may be gold in there” We did, we started talking to the archivist, and then the university gave thumps up for us to take the footage with us and try to save it because they didn’t have the means to do it. We took that big risk, financially at least, and once we started seeing what was on those reels we thought “Ok, now we’ve got something going, we got a way to tell the story” I think that’s one reason why the story hadn’t been told for all those years, because you need to see those people in that situation to believe it! This story is so crazy you’d say “No, no that could’ve never happened.”

Aguilar: It is very ironic that people that wanted to be left alone and be isolated had so much footage of themselves and pictures. It feels as if they wanted to be noticed.

Dayna: It was one of those weird unfathomable ironies. First of all, we did use a little bit of an “artistic light,” basically all the footage or 99% of it was actually shot by Captain Allan Hancock and his cameraman. What he did is, once he and his crew of scientists landed on the island in 1931 and discovered Friedrich and Dore, he started asking them to reenact their lives for the camera. We always sort of say “Who knows, maybe he was inspired by Nanook of the North", because Robert J. Flaherty went in and actually had his protagonist go through his life again. Hancock asked them to reenact what they were doing, and he took photos and filmed, it was actually shot originally on 35 mm nitrate, which doesn’t exist any longer. Luckily he made a bunch of 16mm safety prints which were what we found in the archive. Once they got to the island, Friedrich, Dore, the Wittmers, certainly the baroness and her lovers, they were all pretty proud of the fact that they had managed to create these lives in this very unfriendly terrain, and they were willing to show it off. The other irony is that not only did they pose for the cameras, but they all brought typewriters. In Friedrich Ritter’s case it made sense because he really did want to go into seclusion so he could write the great philosophical manifesto.

Dan: Part of it is, I think, that in those days everyone wrote letters, and I suppose the odds of a typewritten letter getting there across all the moisture in the oceans might have been better than one written with a pen.Margret ultimately wrote a memoir, Dore Strauch wrote a memoir, they also wrote letters, Ritter wrote articles for magazine and newspapers around the world, John Garth, the scientist on the Velero, kept his journal. We wound up with a wealth of first person expressions that could be used to form this script where the characters come to life through their own words in writing. In our case we put them in opposition to each other and it didn’t take much work because they all had their own point of view, and sometimes insinuated that the other one was responsible for what was going on down there. That became more or less a screenwriter adaptation job, not adapting one book, but adapting 2 books, 2 sets of journals, and who knows how many articles, and letters. Dayna and I, and our fellow writer Celeste Schaefer Snyder, bit by bit went through the murder mystery story and tried to give everyone voice, and also keep it kind of fun and suspenseful.

Aguilar: With all the sexual tension and intrigue, this could have easily been a narrative drama. As a documentary, how did you balance the interviews with current islanders, the first person narratives, the footage, and all the other different sources to create something cohesive?

Dayna: It’s funny, Hollywood had been trying to make it as a fiction forever. The reason why it hasn't happened yet, although scripts have been flying around for over 20 years, is that it is such a complicated story, and there are so many characters. Each one is worthy of their own script, certainly they are all larger than life. That was really what took us the longest, I would say we worked with Bill Weber, our editor, for about two years. We went down so many dead ends, I can’t even tell you, we had so many work-in-progress screenings, scratch our heads, rewrote, re-cut, tried different balances of one character vs. another, or vs. the islanders perspective.

Dan: I think one thing that was important in setting each character onto the island was that we wanted to give them at least some moments where they could state clearly, and with real seriousness, why they were going and what their first impressions were like. Then that way, when things begin to verge toward the melodramatic or darkly humorous, there was already a foundation where you understood these people weren’t just cartoon characters. They had thought this through as much as they could and were trying to do something with a good spirit behind them. Even the Baroness, though her notions of the hotel or certainly her ability to fulfill the notion of the hotel was suspect from the beginning.

Aguilar: Even though you focus on this set of characters, the islands themselves have a mystifying personality and they appear to affect the people in them. Was this idea part of your creative process?

Dayna: Thank you so much, that’s exactly how we felt!. You are right when that woman tries to get away from the island it kind of sucks her back, in much the same way that Lorenz was sucked back and landed on Marchenta Isaland. In many ways the fact that the island had a drought, a really severe drought one of the worst in decades, we deeply believe it led to whatever happened to the Baroness and Phillipson. It’s funy, when were just starting to do the project, the series Lost was playing. Lost really did have the island as a character, and as we were watching the early episodes were chuckling and saying “It’s not so far from reality”

Dan: I wouldn’t have been surprised if we got into a backroom in a hotel and found the Dharma machine and someone was punching in the numbers every 90 minutes [Laughs]. Talking about the island reaching out, it turned out that Margery Simkin, who was our casting director on the movie, was in the Galapagos in 1986, her boat broke down, and she met Margret Wittmer in an unscheduled stop on Flroreana also. Maybe there is something about those islands, the fact that they’ve been uninhabited for so long, or that they are sitting over a volcanic hotspot. I don’t know what kind of lore you want to assign to it, but I agree with you, there is something weirdly mystical and prehistoric about the whole place.

Aguilar: Through their writing and the footage, both of you essentially met these characters, what are your thoughts on these characters who wanted to get away and begin again some place new?

Dayan: They each had different reasons. One of the things that sort of drew me to the project on a philosophical and emotional level was that I’m not sure there is anyone who hasn’t had that, momentary at least, dream of forsaking everything and going off to live on some deserted island somewhere. Everyone has his or her own reasons for wanting to do that at any specific moment. What was so interesting is that each of those people or collective groups in the film, had their own very specific reasons for going. In a way, each had its own very specific notions of what paradise might look like. One of the things that we talked about between us since the beginning of the project is that the film is about what could happen if you do take that leap? You leave society and you go in pursuit of your own little deserted island, in search of paradise. But when you get there, someone else is already situated on that same island and their notion of paradise clashes explicitly with your notion of paradise. What do you do?
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Le Chef, To Be Takei to open RiverRun

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Le Chef, To Be Takei to open RiverRun
Le Chef (France-Spain) from Daniel Cohen and Jennifer M Kroot and Bill Weber’s To Be Takei (Us) will open the 2014 RiverRun International Film Festival, while Phillippe Le Guay’s Bicycling With Molière (France) will close the festival.

Gillian Robespierre’s (Us) Obvious Child is the Centerpiece Premiere and David Gordon Green’s Joe the Southern Showcase. The festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is set to run from April 4-13 and will screen 145 films, including 63 features and 82 shorts from 33 countries.

The 10 films in Narrative Competition include Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida (Poland-Denmark), Chloe Robichaud’s Sarah Prefers To Run (Canada), Tanta Agua (Uruguay-Mexico-Netherlands-Germany) from Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge and Andrzej Walda’s Walesa: Man Of Hope (Poland).

Documentary Competition entries include Dave Carroll’s Bending Steel (Us), Ben Cotner and Ryan White’s The Case Against 8 (Us), Marmato (Columbia-us) from Mark Grieco and Joe Berlinger’s Whitey (Us).

Special Presentations include Locke (UK) Breathe In (Us), The German Doctor
See full article at ScreenDaily »

How to Survive a Plague – review

The story of activist group Act Up and its struggle with authority in the early years of Aids makes for a compelling and often moving documentary

"Plague!" howls screenwriter/playwright Larry Kramer like some Old Testament prophet in one of the many arresting moments from this urgent, heartbreaking, and ultimately empowering account of how Aids activists took control of their own destiny in the late 1980s when the Us government and health services failed to do so. Kramer is addressing an increasingly heated Act Up (Aids Coalition to Unleash Power) meeting, silencing those who have fallen into factional bickering with a voice which conjures up rage, anger and defiance.

Kramer's outburst is extraordinary, captured in grainy footage along with 700 hours of archive material (TV interviews, news broadcasts, reportage), through which director David France sifts to put us right there in the middle of the emerging struggle. What's even more remarkable
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

My Week With Marilyn, Love Crime, One Day: Mick Lasalle/Surprising Top Ten Movies of 2011

My Week with Marilyn: actress Michelle Williams, director Simon Curtis The Artist topped the Top Ten Movies of 2011 list compiled by the San Francisco Chronicle's Mick Lasalle. Michel Hazanavicius' French-made comedy-drama set in Hollywood at the dawn of the sound era has been a critical favorite. The Artist, which stars Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, is also a front-runner for the 2012 Academy Awards. Among the surprises in Lasalle's list — as in, movies that haven't received very much praise elsewhere — are: Simon Curtis' My Week with Marilyn, set during the time Marilyn Monroe was working with Laurence Olivier on Olivier's The Prince and the Showgirl in the late '50s; Alain Corneau's last film (Corneau died in August 2010), Crime d'amour / Love Crime, a psychological crime drama starring Kristin Scott Thomas as a ruthless executive and Ludivine Sagnier as her naive assistant; and the Anne Hathaway-Jim Sturgess romantic drama One Day,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

David Weissman On The Importance Of Relating The Stories Of The AIDS Epidemic In We Were Here

  • ShockYa
David Weissman On The Importance Of Relating The Stories Of The AIDS Epidemic In We Were Here
David Weissman feels that as a person who was living in San Francisco during the early 1980s AIDS epidemic, he has a mission. “It’s the obligation of people like me who lived through that time to tell their story,” he said. Weissman has completed his part of the obligation by directing (along with Bill Weber) and producing “We Were Here,” a documentary focusing on four individuals–Paul Boneberg, the executive director of the Glbt Historical Society; Guy Clark, a florist in the Castro district; Daniel Goldstein, an artist; Ed Wolf, a healthcare worker and Eileen Glutzer, a nurse who was on the front lines during the beginning of the outbreak in...
See full article at ShockYa »

This week's new films

Take Shelter (15)

(Jeff Nichols, 2011, Us) Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Tova Stewart. 121 mins.

After a year-long disaster-movie onslaught, apocalypse fatigue could well be setting in, but this one's worth the extra effort – particularly since it's less about the end of the world than the threat of it. That plays large in the mind of Shannon's modern-day Midwestern Noah, who sets about building his underground ark. His wife worries more about his mental health, and their day-to-day problems. Brilliantly constructed and performed, it's a domestic saga infused with haunting, unnamed dread.

50/50 (15)

(Jonathan Levine, 2011, Us) Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick. 100 mins.

The Knocked Up of cancer movies? Not quite, but this is funnier and more frank than most terminal illness movies. Gordon-Levitt is a potential victim, to whom Rogen offers blokey support.

The Deep Blue Sea (12A)

(Terence Davies, 2011, UK) Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston. 98 mins.

Davies again recreates postwar Britain, this
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Film Review: 'We Were Here'

  • CineVue
★★★★☆ Directors David Weissman and Bill Weber (The Cockettes [2002]) return to screens this week with the powerful and moving AIDS focused documentary We Were Here (2011), set during the 1970s and 80s in the liberal Us city of San Francisco. Drawing on intimate interviews from people who moved to San Francisco in the early 70s, we are introduced to those who first came face-to-face with what would become one of the most terrifying pandemics of the 20th century.

Read more »
See full article at CineVue »

10 Best Documentaries of 2011

Documentaries have come a long way in the past twenty years, especially in the past decade. Ten years ago, I would have been at a loss for words had you asked me to name ten “great” documentaries released in a single year. Documentary film has developed into a popular and visible form of entertainment, while having a bigger effect on society, usually addressing important issues with the goal of informing the public and pushing for social change.

The shortlist of documentary nominees for the 84th Annual Academy Awards were announced recently. As expected, many bloggers have commented on their disappointment with the number of misfires. I doubt that these same bloggers have seen the majority of the films listed, so it is a bit unfair that they presume these 15 titles aren’t worthy of consideration. With that said, I can say that two of the best films I’ve seen
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Ayrton Senna documentary ruled out of 2012 Oscars

Asif Kapadia's film about the Formula One driver is among the documentaries not to make the Academy Award shortlist

It may have taken a victory lap at the box office, but Senna, Asif Kapadia's documentary on the Brazilian Formula One racing driver, won't even be on the starting grid at next year's Oscars.

Kapadia's film is not on the list of nominations that will go on to the next stage of the competition for the best documentary Oscar at the 84th Academy Awards. Other critically acclaimed films, including Steve James's The Interrupters, which follows a group of former gangsters trying to prevent violence in Chicago, and Werner Herzog's death-row documentary Into the Abyss, have also been eliminated.

Published late last week, the list, whittled down from 124 entrants by the Academy's documentary branch screening committee, gives the go ahead to 15 titles. Among them are Wim Wender's Pina – a
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

AIDS, War, the Environment, the West Memphis Three: Oscar 2012 Documentary Semi-Finalists

The West Memphis Three: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky's Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory AIDS, American football, horses, the environment, war, the American Injustice System, Harry Belafonte. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the 15 semi-finalists for the 2012 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award. Included on the list are James Marsh's Project Nim, a nominee for the British Independent Film Awards; Wim Wenders' Pina, Germany's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar; and Cindy Meehl's Buck, about the man who inspired the book The Horse Whisperer and the ensuing Robert Redford movie. Now, before anyone freaks out because of the inclusion of Undefeated: rest assured that this is Dan Lindsay and T. J. Martin's documentary about underprivileged football players — Lindsay and Martin's effort has nothing to do with the Sarah Palin movie The Undefeated, a shoo-in Razzie nominee. Lorenz Knauer's Jane's Journey,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Daily Briefing. New Issues: Scope and Film Comment

  • MUBI
Go ahead and tell us you click it for the articles, but there's no shame in admitting that what you're really after are the book reviews. And the new issue of Scope, the online journal of film and TV studies from the University of Nottingham, has ten new book reviews. Sampling from one of them, Daniele Rugo writes, "As the title provocatively announces Dudley Andrew's book What Cinema Is! engages in the complex task of responding to André Bazin's attempt to identify the core of the cinematographic creation…. Andrew develops an inspired and insightful, if perhaps nostalgic, roadmap delineating how cinema should proceed to remain faithful to its origins (or to Bazin's original ideas)." Let Catherine Grant be your guide to the full issue.

The November/December 2011 issue of Film Comment is up, with nearly as many online exclusives as samples from the print edition: Peter von Bagh's uncut interview with Aki Kaurismäki,
See full article at MUBI »

Docs. Leonard Retel Helmrich, Andrei Ujică, More

  • MUBI
"Leonard Retel Helmrich's Position Among the Stars should be essential viewing for anyone curious to know what the rapidly modernizing 'second world' actually looks like," writes Steve Macfarlane in the L: "motorcycles, bootlegged t-shirts, plastic Tupperware containers, cell phones, and scores of dead cockroaches. Indonesia — the fourth biggest country in the world, and the nation with the largest Muslim population — has been the topic of Helmrich's life work, a trilogy of docs culminating here."

This "third documentary about the same Indonesian family is a dazzler in at least a couple ways," adds Seth Colter Walls in the Voice. "First off, it's the rare final chapter in a decade-plus-long saga — a trilogy that also includes 2001's The Eye of the Day and 2004's Shape of the Moon — that you can slide right into without any prior knowledge. There's a brief 'previously in post-Suharto Indonesia' montage at the beginning that draws
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We Were Here | Review - aGLIFF 2011 (Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival)

Directors: David Weissman, Bill Weber David Weissman and Bill Weber's We Were Here documents the coming of what was then called the "Gay Plague" in San Francisco in the early 1980s; yet instead of dwelling on death, Weissman and Weber opt to focus on five people (Guy Clark, a dancer and flowerist; Paul Boneberg, a political activist; Eileen Glutzer, a nurse and researcher of several AIDS drugs; Daniel Goldstein, an HIV-positive artist who lost two lovers to AIDS; Ed Wolf, a counselor to AIDS-infected men) who survived and are willing to document their personal oral histories of those devastating years. They each arrived in San Francisco during the 1970s when Harvey Milk was energizing the gay community; but when Milk was assassinated in 1978, everything began to change. Then came AIDS... Clark, Boneberg, Glutzer, Goldstein and Wolf's young and healthy gay friends suddenly came down with mysterious symptoms -- such
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