Adama Meshuga'at (2006) - News Poster

News

Bermuda fest tie: 'Mud,' 'Cashback'

Bermuda fest tie: 'Mud,' 'Cashback'
Dror Shual's Sweet Mud and Sean Ellis' Cashback tied for the Mary-Jean Mitchell Green Award for best narrative feature at the 10th annual Bermuda International Film Festival, which concluded Saturday.

Jury member Carrie Fisher called Mud, the story of how a child copes with a mentally ill mother, "a very sad but hopeful film. It is a dark film with a light at the end of the tunnel." Jury member Richard Dreyfuss said of Cashback that "the film had a perfect whimsy that didn't try to become something that it was not."

Linda Hattendorf's The Cats of Mirikitani was named best documentary. Special mentions went to the films Living With Lew and Beyond the Call.

The short film jury, made up of actor Ben Newmark, director Vito Rocco and producer Tamara Tarasova, chose I Want to be a Pilot by Diego Quemada-Diez as the winner of the M3 Wireless Bermuda Shorts Award. Special mentions were given to My Backyard by Choy Aming and T.O.M. by Tom Brown and Daniel Gray.

BIFF audiences voted Robert Favreau's A Sunday in Kigali the Bacardi Limited Audience Choice Award winner.

Slate set as Sundance hits Brooklyn

Slate set as Sundance hits Brooklyn
Sundance Institute at BAM returns to the Brooklyn Academy of Music from May 31-June 10, featuring award-winning feature and short films, live performances and panel discussions.

The series opens with The Savages, Tamara Jenkins' comic drama starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney and Philip Bosco.

This year's dramatic features include Tom DiCillo's Delirious, Sterlin Harjo's Four Sheets to the Wind, JJ Lask's On the Road With Judas, Christopher Zalla's Padre Nuestro, Jeffrey Blitz's Rocket Science, David Gordon Green's Snow Angels and Dror Shaul's Sweet Mud.

The series also will highlight musical performances by Ljova, the Blue Jackets with Bradford Reed, Rhythm Republik and Sussan Deyhim. New York-based theater company Mabou Mines will perform selections from "Song for New York: What Women Do While Men Sit Knitting," directed by Ruth Maleczech, which is scheduled for full production in September.

The closing weekend will feature Barbara Kopple's Shut Up & Sing, Raoul Peck's Lumumba and Nick Broomfield's Soldier Girls, followed by a discussion on social issues and documentary filmmaking.

The full program for the Sundance Institute at BAM will be announced in April.

'Black Book' to open 10th Bermuda fest

NEW YORK -- The Bermuda International Film Festival marks its tenth anniversary with a lineup that includes 85 films from 32 countries, including several award-winning entries from other fests.

The BIFF opens Mar. 16 with Paul Verhoeven's recent best foreign language film Oscar shortlist entry Black Book, and closes with Taika Waititi's comic love story from New Zealand, Eagle vs. Shark.

Carrie Fisher, Richard Dreyfuss and documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson are among the six jurors who will select a best narrative, best documentary and best short film.

Sean Ellis' Cashback, Slalomed Fatback's Retrieval and Dror Shaul's Sweet Mud (Adam Meshuga'at) will compete with other features for best narrative feature. Luke Wolbach's Row Hard, No Excuses, Yael Klopmann's Storm of Emotions and Adam Bardach's Living with Lew are three of the films vying for the docu prize.

"A Conversation With...Earl Cameron" will honor the Bermuda native and U.K. acting vet on Mar. 17.

The rest of the extensive lineup can be seen in several programs, including World Cinema Showcase, Special Presentations, From the Archives: Festival Favorites, Midnight Madness, BIFF Kids, Czech Republic sidebar films and Onion Patch: Five Films with a Bermuda Connection.

'Road' leads to top nods at Miami fest

'Road' leads to top nods at Miami fest
NEW YORK -- Andrea Arnold's Scottish thriller Red Road took home the World Cinema features $25,000 prize and the International Federation of Film Critics prize at the 24th annual Miami International Film Festival.

The awards were announced Saturday along with the news that the fest's director for the past five years, Nicole Guillemet, will be succeeded by former 20th Century Fox Theatrical marketing director and inaugural 2003 Bangkok International Film Festival executive director Patrick de Bokay. Guillemet's departure was announced in December.

Marco Williams' international look at prisoner love stories, Banished, won the $25,000 best documentary jury prize, and Francisco Vargas Quevedo's Mexican political drama The Violin (El Violin) won the $25,000 Ibero-American dramatic features prize.

Audience awards in the three main categories went to Dror Shaul's Israeli coming-of-age tale Sweet Mud (Adama Meshuga'at) in the World Cinema section, Jorge Sanchez-Cabezudo's thriller The Night of the Sunflowers (La Noche de Los Girasoles) in the Ibero-American dramatic feature section and Alberto Arvelo's Venezuelan youth orchestra docu To Play and To Fight (Tocar y Luchar) in the documentary features group.

Sweet Mud

Sweet Mud
Sirocco Prods.

PARK CITY -- Only someone who grew up on an Israeli kibbutz could have made "Sweet Mud". Screenwriter-director Dror Shaul infuses this almost-memoir with a sweet melancholy. A viewer gains a real appreciation for the spirit and romantic idealism of a commune -- and how things can go so wrong. This is a film from the heart, from a firsthand familiarity that yields conflicted emotions over the gap between an ideal and its realization.

"Sweet Mud", the Israeli entry for the foreign-language Oscar, has limited though solid art house potential in North America because it touches on such coming-of-age issues as identity and first love along with the central issue of communal vs. individual needs.

Shaul said the film "is not an entirely true story" but admits he plumbed childhood memories as a Boy Born and raised on a kibbutz. The story he tells is of 12-year-old Dvir (a resourceful Tomer Steinhof), who enters his bar mitzvah year in 1974 in an isolated kibbutz. Like all children, he is raised collectively by the community, sleeping in the "children's house" and assigned farm chores. His solitude is more extreme than most, however, since his father has died -- in circumstances pointedly kept from him -- and his mother Miri (an extraordinary Ronit Yudkevitch) has only recently returned from a mental hospital. An older brother gets distracted by young women and military service, while most of the community is uncomfortable around the mentally fragile Miri, who no longer fits the kibbutz ideal.

A visit by Miri's boyfriend, a much older Swiss gentleman (Henri Garcin), brings things to a head. Just when Miri is happiest, her dreams get dashed and with them her spirit. Dvir must grow up fast to take care of his beloved mother and to understand his growing affection for a young French girl, who suffers from a similar alienation from her parents and community.

Shaul has cinematographer Sebastian Edschmid shoot the kibbutz and surrounding countryside in warm, earthen tones that make the rural community hugely inviting. The utopian spirit is certainly inviting at first, but the discord and small tyrannies become clear over time. Shaul steps through this delicate minefield adroitly, seeing things for what they are yet understanding the ideals that makes utopian communities seem so viable. What the film makes clear is that such collectives have no real way to deal with truly vulnerable individuals.

Sundance announces competition lineup

Sundance announces competition lineup
In announcing the competition slate for the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, Geoffrey Gilmore, its longtime director, said he sees the beginning of a new era in independent filmmaking. "Filmmakers are undergoing a massive expansion in perspective and aesthetic qualities," he said. "Where once independence meant a detachment, a kind of navel-gazing, that doesn't exist right now. Instead, there is engagement and innovation. Filmmakers are going out and engaging the real world in terms of subject matter, vision and innovative storytelling."

Old categories of films long a staple of Sundance -- the coming-of-age picture or the dysfunctional family drama -- are no longer applicable to the competition films in the upcoming festival, Gilmore insisted. These new films tend to be more optimistic about the future, both politically and personally. Where once the independent world created its films almost in reaction to Hollywood and its happy endings, the new independents are drawing on the traditions of the American independent film itself. So if one thing characterizes Sundance 2007, Gilmore said, it is "freshness."

For the festival -- which runs Jan. 18-28 in Park City, Sundance, Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah -- programrs looked at a mind-boggling 3,287 feature submissions. That includes 1,852 U.S. films and 1,435 international movies, an increase over the previous year, when 1,764 U.S. features and 1,384 international films were considered.

The 122 feature films selected include 82 world premieres, 24 North American premieres and 10 U.S. premieres representing 25 countries. The competition section is divided into dramatic and documentary sections for both Independent Film -- meaning American films -- and World Cinema. Each section will present 16 features, for a total of 64 films that screen in competition.

While the number of first-time filmmakers is down, programrs have discovered the phenomenon of filmmakers in "new guises." So Chris Smith, whose American Movie won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, returns in dramatic competition with The Pool, a Hindi-language film set in Goa, India.

"You anticipate what a Chris Smith movie is, then you look at 'The Pool' and you say, 'That's Chris Smith?' " Gilmore said. He added that no fewer than four of the films in the dramatic competition are in languages other than English.

"American independent filmmakers are reaching out and changing the parameters that used to so easily encapsulate them," Gilmore said. "They are redefining what American independent film is."

Diversity is another factor, but not in the way Sundance programrs formerly used the word. Four Sheets to the Wind was developed in the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab by Sterlin Harjo, an Oklahoma resident and descendent of the Seminole and Creek tribes. Adrift in Manhattan from director Alfredo De Villa, who is Latino, focuses on an eye doctor and an aging artist losing his eyesight.

"These are complicated and sophisticated films," Gilmore said. "You can't call them Native-American or Latino films. They no longer are reducible to their origins. They no longer represent a particular community, but are simply American independent works."

Dramatic competition presents a range of subjects from personal stories about life in suburban and small-town America to stories taking place outside the U.S. The documentary competition naturally has films focused on the country's current travails in Iraq, such as Charles Ferguson's No End in Sight and Rory Kennedy's Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, but also on aspects of World War II in Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman's Nanking and Steven Okazaki's "White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Each of the 16 films in dramatic and documentary categories is a world premiere. Programrs saw 856 films submitted for the documentary competition, while 996 features were submitted for the dramatic competition.

Sundance launched the world competition categories in 2005 to bolster the prominence of the international films at a festival long seen as a showcase for American indie films. Director of programming John Cooper said that with the upcoming festival "we now feel the benefit of all the travel we've done (to select films). We have hit our stride with a well-rounded program. Of the 16 films, 13 countries are represented. We found the best films, not necessarily world premieres, to rebuild the respect for foreign films in the U.S."

This year's selections include stories about a writer from China, a nomad in Mongolia, a peasant in Burkina Faso and the aftermath of crime and war in Sierra Leone.

The 2006 Grand Jury Prize winner for "13 (Tzameti)", Gela Babluani, a French director born in Georgia, will return to Park City with The Legacy, a film he made with his father, Temur Babluani. The film looks at culture shock when three French hipsters travel through rural Georgia.

John Carney's Once is a modern-day musical set in Dublin. The Israeli-German production, Sweet Mud (Adama Meshugaat) by Dror Shaul, is Israel's submission for the foreign-language Oscar.

Meanwhile, longtime British documentarian Nick Broomfield ("Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer," "Kurt & Courtney") will showcase Ghosts, a fictional tale of an illegal Chinese immigrant in the U.K.

Traditionally, international films meant art films in the U.S., Gilmore said. "Now these are not necessarily art films. 'Amelie' and 'Downfall' represent a new edge of where international filmmaking is going. It now embraces genre filmmaking all over the world, not just in Asia. Our selections include art, genre films, melodramas and minimalist works that should redefine what international film is in the U.S."

"The films in the world cinema competition contain complex stories that embrace full visions of life and explore topics that transcend the confines of personal, geographic and artistic borders," Cooper said.

The complete list of titles announced Wednesday follows.

Dramatic Competition:

ADRIFT IN MANHATTAN (Director: Alfredo de Villa; Screenwriters: Nat Moss, Alfredo De Villa) -- Set in New York City, a grieving eye doctor is forced to take a closer look at her life; an aging artist confronts the loss of his eyesight, and a young photographer battles his innermost demons. World premiere.

BROKEN ENGLISH (Director and Screenwriter: Zoe Cassavetes) -- A young woman in her thirties finds herself surrounded by friends who are married, in relationships or with children. She unexpectedly meets a quirky Frenchman who opens her eyes to a lot more than love. World premiere.

FOUR SHEETS TO THE WIND (Director and Screenwriter: Sterlin Harjo) -- Cufe Smallhill finds his father dead. Fulfilling a dying wish, he disposes of the body in the family pond and sets off to begin a new life in the big city of Tulsa. World premiere.

THE GOOD LIFE (Director and Screenwriter: Steve Berra) -- A story about a "mostly normal" young man whose small town existence running a faded movie palace is shaken when he comes in contact with a mysterious young woman. World premiere.

GRACE IS GONE (Director and Screenwriter: James C. Strouse) -- A young father learns that his wife has been killed in Iraq and must find the courage to tell his two young daughters the news. World premiere.

JOSHUA (Director: George Ratliff; Screenwriters: David Gilbert, George Ratliff) -- A successful, young Manhattan family is torn apart by the machinations of Joshua, their eight-year-old prodigy, when his newborn baby sister comes home from the hospital. World premiere.

NEVER FOREVER (Director and Screenwriter: Gina Kim) -- When an American woman and her Asian-American husband discover they are unable to conceive, she begins a clandestine relationship with an attractive stranger in a desperate attempt to save her marriage. World premiere.

ON THE ROAD WITH JUDAS (Director and Screenwriter: JJ Lask) -- Reality, fiction and the notions of storytelling intertwine in this narrative about a young thief and the woman he loves.

Sundance announces competition lineup

Sundance announces competition lineup
In announcing the competition slate for the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, Geoffrey Gilmore, its longtime director, said he sees the beginning of a new era in independent filmmaking. "Filmmakers are undergoing a massive expansion in perspective and aesthetic qualities," he said. "Where once independence meant a detachment, a kind of navel-gazing, that doesn't exist right now. Instead, there is engagement and innovation. Filmmakers are going out and engaging the real world in terms of subject matter, vision and innovative storytelling."

Old categories of films long a staple of Sundance -- the coming-of-age picture or the dysfunctional family drama -- are no longer applicable to the competition films in the upcoming festival, Gilmore insisted. These new films tend to be more optimistic about the future, both politically and personally. Where once the independent world created its films almost in reaction to Hollywood and its happy endings, the new independents are drawing on the traditions of the American independent film itself. So if one thing characterizes Sundance 2007, Gilmore said, it is "freshness."

For the festival -- which runs Jan. 18-28 in Park City, Sundance, Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah -- programrs looked at a mind-boggling 3,287 feature submissions. That includes 1,852 U.S. films and 1,435 international movies, an increase over the previous year, when 1,764 U.S. features and 1,384 international films were considered.

The 122 feature films selected include 82 world premieres, 24 North American premieres and 10 U.S. premieres representing 25 countries. The competition section is divided into dramatic and documentary sections for both Independent Film -- meaning American films -- and World Cinema. Each section will present 16 features, for a total of 64 films that screen in competition.

While the number of first-time filmmakers is down, programrs have discovered the phenomenon of filmmakers in "new guises." So Chris Smith, whose American Movie won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, returns in dramatic competition with The Pool, a Hindi-language film set in Goa, India.

"You anticipate what a Chris Smith movie is, then you look at 'The Pool' and you say, 'That's Chris Smith?' " Gilmore said. He added that no fewer than four of the films in the dramatic competition are in languages other than English.

"American independent filmmakers are reaching out and changing the parameters that used to so easily encapsulate them," Gilmore said. "They are redefining what American independent film is."

Diversity is another factor, but not in the way Sundance programrs formerly used the word. Four Sheets to the Wind was developed in the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab by Sterlin Harjo, an Oklahoma resident and descendent of the Seminole and Creek tribes. Adrift in Manhattan from director Alfredo De Villa, who is Latino, focuses on an eye doctor and an aging artist losing his eyesight.

"These are complicated and sophisticated films," Gilmore said. "You can't call them Native-American or Latino films. They no longer are reducible to their origins. They no longer represent a particular community, but are simply American independent works."

Dramatic competition presents a range of subjects from personal stories about life in suburban and small-town America to stories taking place outside the U.S. The documentary competition naturally has films focused on the country's current travails in Iraq, such as Charles Ferguson's No End in Sight and Rory Kennedy's Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, but also on aspects of World War II in Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman's Nanking and Steven Okazaki's "White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Each of the 16 films in dramatic and documentary categories is a world premiere. Programrs saw 856 films submitted for the documentary competition, while 996 features were submitted for the dramatic competition.

Sundance launched the world competition categories in 2005 to bolster the prominence of the international films at a festival long seen as a showcase for American indie films. Director of programming John Cooper said that with the upcoming festival "we now feel the benefit of all the travel we've done (to select films). We have hit our stride with a well-rounded program. Of the 16 films, 13 countries are represented. We found the best films, not necessarily world premieres, to rebuild the respect for foreign films in the U.S."

This year's selections include stories about a writer from China, a nomad in Mongolia, a peasant in Burkina Faso and the aftermath of crime and war in Sierra Leone.

The 2006 Grand Jury Prize winner for "13 (Tzameti)", Gela Babluani, a French director born in Georgia, will return to Park City with The Legacy, a film he made with his father, Temur Babluani. The film looks at culture shock when three French hipsters travel through rural Georgia.

John Carney's Once is a modern-day musical set in Dublin. The Israeli-German production, Sweet Mud (Adama Meshugaat) by Dror Shaul, is Israel's submission for the foreign-language Oscar.

Meanwhile, longtime British documentarian Nick Broomfield ("Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer," "Kurt & Courtney") will showcase Ghosts, a fictional tale of an illegal Chinese immigrant in the U.K.

Traditionally, international films meant art films in the U.S., Gilmore said. "Now these are not necessarily art films. 'Amelie' and 'Downfall' represent a new edge of where international filmmaking is going. It now embraces genre filmmaking all over the world, not just in Asia. Our selections include art, genre films, melodramas and minimalist works that should redefine what international film is in the U.S."

"The films in the world cinema competition contain complex stories that embrace full visions of life and explore topics that transcend the confines of personal, geographic and artistic borders," Cooper said.

The complete list of titles announced Wednesday follows.

Dramatic Competition:

ADRIFT IN MANHATTAN (Director: Alfredo de Villa; Screenwriters: Nat Moss, Alfredo De Villa) -- Set in New York City, a grieving eye doctor is forced to take a closer look at her life; an aging artist confronts the loss of his eyesight, and a young photographer battles his innermost demons. World premiere.

BROKEN ENGLISH (Director and Screenwriter: Zoe Cassavetes) -- A young woman in her thirties finds herself surrounded by friends who are married, in relationships or with children. She unexpectedly meets a quirky Frenchman who opens her eyes to a lot more than love. World premiere.

FOUR SHEETS TO THE WIND (Director and Screenwriter: Sterlin Harjo) -- Cufe Smallhill finds his father dead. Fulfilling a dying wish, he disposes of the body in the family pond and sets off to begin a new life in the big city of Tulsa. World premiere.

THE GOOD LIFE (Director and Screenwriter: Steve Berra) -- A story about a "mostly normal" young man whose small town existence running a faded movie palace is shaken when he comes in contact with a mysterious young woman. World premiere.

GRACE IS GONE (Director and Screenwriter: James C. Strouse) -- A young father learns that his wife has been killed in Iraq and must find the courage to tell his two young daughters the news. World premiere.

JOSHUA (Director: George Ratliff; Screenwriters: David Gilbert, George Ratliff) -- A successful, young Manhattan family is torn apart by the machinations of Joshua, their eight-year-old prodigy, when his newborn baby sister comes home from the hospital. World premiere.

NEVER FOREVER (Director and Screenwriter: Gina Kim) -- When an American woman and her Asian-American husband discover they are unable to conceive, she begins a clandestine relationship with an attractive stranger in a desperate attempt to save her marriage. World premiere.

ON THE ROAD WITH JUDAS (Director and Screenwriter: JJ Lask) -- Reality, fiction and the notions of storytelling intertwine in this narrative about a young thief and the woman he loves.

Sundance announces competition lineup

Sundance announces competition lineup
In announcing the competition slate for the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, Geoffrey Gilmore, its longtime director, said he sees the beginning of a new era in independent filmmaking. "Filmmakers are undergoing a massive expansion in perspective and aesthetic qualities," he said. "Where once independence meant a detachment, a kind of navel-gazing, that doesn't exist right now. Instead, there is engagement and innovation. Filmmakers are going out and engaging the real world in terms of subject matter, vision and innovative storytelling."

Old categories of films long a staple of Sundance -- the coming-of-age picture or the dysfunctional family drama -- are no longer applicable to the competition films in the upcoming festival, Gilmore insisted. These new films tend to be more optimistic about the future, both politically and personally. Where once the independent world created its films almost in reaction to Hollywood and its happy endings, the new independents are drawing on the traditions of the American independent film itself. So if one thing characterizes Sundance 2007, Gilmore said, it is "freshness."

For the festival -- which runs Jan. 18-28 in Park City, Sundance, Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah -- programrs looked at a mind-boggling 3,287 feature submissions. That includes 1,852 U.S. films and 1,435 international movies, an increase over the previous year, when 1,764 U.S. features and 1,384 international films were considered.

The 122 feature films selected include 82 world premieres, 24 North American premieres and 10 U.S. premieres representing 25 countries. The competition section is divided into dramatic and documentary sections for both Independent Film -- meaning American films -- and World Cinema. Each section will present 16 features, for a total of 64 films that screen in competition.

While the number of first-time filmmakers is down, programrs have discovered the phenomenon of filmmakers in "new guises." So Chris Smith, whose American Movie won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, returns in dramatic competition with The Pool, a Hindi-language film set in Goa, India.

"You anticipate what a Chris Smith movie is, then you look at 'The Pool' and you say, 'That's Chris Smith?' " Gilmore said. He added that no fewer than four of the films in the dramatic competition are in languages other than English.

"American independent filmmakers are reaching out and changing the parameters that used to so easily encapsulate them," Gilmore said. "They are redefining what American independent film is."

Diversity is another factor, but not in the way Sundance programrs formerly used the word. Four Sheets to the Wind was developed in the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab by Sterlin Harjo, an Oklahoma resident and descendent of the Seminole and Creek tribes. Adrift in Manhattan from director Alfredo De Villa, who is Latino, focuses on an eye doctor and an aging artist losing his eyesight.

"These are complicated and sophisticated films," Gilmore said. "You can't call them Native-American or Latino films. They no longer are reducible to their origins. They no longer represent a particular community, but are simply American independent works."

Dramatic competition presents a range of subjects from personal stories about life in suburban and small-town America to stories taking place outside the U.S. The documentary competition naturally has films focused on the country's current travails in Iraq, such as Charles Ferguson's No End in Sight and Rory Kennedy's Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, but also on aspects of World War II in Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman's Nanking and Steven Okazaki's "White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Each of the 16 films in dramatic and documentary categories is a world premiere. Programrs saw 856 films submitted for the documentary competition, while 996 features were submitted for the dramatic competition.

Sundance launched the world competition categories in 2005 to bolster the prominence of the international films at a festival long seen as a showcase for American indie films. Director of programming John Cooper said that with the upcoming festival "we now feel the benefit of all the travel we've done (to select films). We have hit our stride with a well-rounded program. Of the 16 films, 13 countries are represented. We found the best films, not necessarily world premieres, to rebuild the respect for foreign films in the U.S."

This year's selections include stories about a writer from China, a nomad in Mongolia, a peasant in Burkina Faso and the aftermath of crime and war in Sierra Leone.

The 2006 Grand Jury Prize winner for "13 (Tzameti)", Gela Babluani, a French director born in Georgia, will return to Park City with The Legacy, a film he made with his father, Temur Babluani. The film looks at culture shock when three French hipsters travel through rural Georgia.

John Carney's Once is a modern-day musical set in Dublin. The Israeli-German production, Sweet Mud (Adama Meshugaat) by Dror Shaul, is Israel's submission for the foreign-language Oscar.

Meanwhile, longtime British documentarian Nick Broomfield ("Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer," "Kurt & Courtney") will showcase Ghosts, a fictional tale of an illegal Chinese immigrant in the U.K.

Traditionally, international films meant art films in the U.S., Gilmore said. "Now these are not necessarily art films. 'Amelie' and 'Downfall' represent a new edge of where international filmmaking is going. It now embraces genre filmmaking all over the world, not just in Asia. Our selections include art, genre films, melodramas and minimalist works that should redefine what international film is in the U.S."

"The films in the world cinema competition contain complex stories that embrace full visions of life and explore topics that transcend the confines of personal, geographic and artistic borders," Cooper said.

The complete list of titles announced Wednesday follows.

Dramatic Competition:

ADRIFT IN MANHATTAN (Director: Alfredo de Villa; Screenwriters: Nat Moss, Alfredo De Villa) -- Set in New York City, a grieving eye doctor is forced to take a closer look at her life; an aging artist confronts the loss of his eyesight, and a young photographer battles his innermost demons. World premiere.

BROKEN ENGLISH (Director and Screenwriter: Zoe Cassavetes) -- A young woman in her thirties finds herself surrounded by friends who are married, in relationships or with children. She unexpectedly meets a quirky Frenchman who opens her eyes to a lot more than love. World premiere.

FOUR SHEETS TO THE WIND (Director and Screenwriter: Sterlin Harjo) -- Cufe Smallhill finds his father dead. Fulfilling a dying wish, he disposes of the body in the family pond and sets off to begin a new life in the big city of Tulsa. World premiere.

THE GOOD LIFE (Director and Screenwriter: Steve Berra) -- A story about a "mostly normal" young man whose small town existence running a faded movie palace is shaken when he comes in contact with a mysterious young woman. World premiere.

GRACE IS GONE (Director and Screenwriter: James C. Strouse) -- A young father learns that his wife has been killed in Iraq and must find the courage to tell his two young daughters the news. World premiere.

JOSHUA (Director: George Ratliff; Screenwriters: David Gilbert, George Ratliff) -- A successful, young Manhattan family is torn apart by the machinations of Joshua, their eight-year-old prodigy, when his newborn baby sister comes home from the hospital. World premiere.

NEVER FOREVER (Director and Screenwriter: Gina Kim) -- When an American woman and her Asian-American husband discover they are unable to conceive, she begins a clandestine relationship with an attractive stranger in a desperate attempt to save her marriage. World premiere.

ON THE ROAD WITH JUDAS (Director and Screenwriter: JJ Lask) -- Reality, fiction and the notions of storytelling intertwine in this narrative about a young thief and the woman he loves.

Sundance announces competition lineup

Sundance announces competition lineup
In announcing the competition slate for the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, Geoffrey Gilmore, its longtime director, said he sees the beginning of a new era in independent filmmaking. "Filmmakers are undergoing a massive expansion in perspective and aesthetic qualities," he said. "Where once independence meant a detachment, a kind of navel-gazing, that doesn't exist right now. Instead, there is engagement and innovation. Filmmakers are going out and engaging the real world in terms of subject matter, vision and innovative storytelling."

Old categories of films long a staple of Sundance -- the coming-of-age picture or the dysfunctional family drama -- are no longer applicable to the competition films in the upcoming festival, Gilmore insisted. These new films tend to be more optimistic about the future, both politically and personally. Where once the independent world created its films almost in reaction to Hollywood and its happy endings, the new independents are drawing on the traditions of the American independent film itself. So if one thing characterizes Sundance 2007, Gilmore said, it is "freshness."

For the festival -- which runs Jan. 18-28 in Park City, Sundance, Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah -- programrs looked at a mind-boggling 3,287 feature submissions. That includes 1,852 U.S. films and 1,435 international movies, an increase over the previous year, when 1,764 U.S. features and 1,384 international films were considered.

The 122 feature films selected include 82 world premieres, 24 North American premieres and 10 U.S. premieres representing 25 countries. The competition section is divided into dramatic and documentary sections for both Independent Film -- meaning American films -- and World Cinema. Each section will present 16 features, for a total of 64 films that screen in competition.

While the number of first-time filmmakers is down, programrs have discovered the phenomenon of filmmakers in "new guises." So Chris Smith, whose American Movie won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, returns in dramatic competition with The Pool, a Hindi-language film set in Goa, India.

"You anticipate what a Chris Smith movie is, then you look at 'The Pool' and you say, 'That's Chris Smith?' " Gilmore said. He added that no fewer than four of the films in the dramatic competition are in languages other than English.

"American independent filmmakers are reaching out and changing the parameters that used to so easily encapsulate them," Gilmore said. "They are redefining what American independent film is."

Diversity is another factor, but not in the way Sundance programrs formerly used the word. Four Sheets to the Wind was developed in the Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab by Sterlin Harjo, an Oklahoma resident and descendent of the Seminole and Creek tribes. Adrift in Manhattan from director Alfredo De Villa, who is Latino, focuses on an eye doctor and an aging artist losing his eyesight.

"These are complicated and sophisticated films," Gilmore said. "You can't call them Native-American or Latino films. They no longer are reducible to their origins. They no longer represent a particular community, but are simply American independent works."

Dramatic competition presents a range of subjects from personal stories about life in suburban and small-town America to stories taking place outside the U.S. The documentary competition naturally has films focused on the country's current travails in Iraq, such as Charles Ferguson's No End in Sight and Rory Kennedy's Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, but also on aspects of World War II in Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman's Nanking and Steven Okazaki's "White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Each of the 16 films in dramatic and documentary categories is a world premiere. Programrs saw 856 films submitted for the documentary competition, while 996 features were submitted for the dramatic competition.

Sundance launched the world competition categories in 2005 to bolster the prominence of the international films at a festival long seen as a showcase for American indie films. Director of programming John Cooper said that with the upcoming festival "we now feel the benefit of all the travel we've done (to select films). We have hit our stride with a well-rounded program. Of the 16 films, 13 countries are represented. We found the best films, not necessarily world premieres, to rebuild the respect for foreign films in the U.S."

This year's selections include stories about a writer from China, a nomad in Mongolia, a peasant in Burkina Faso and the aftermath of crime and war in Sierra Leone.

The 2006 Grand Jury Prize winner for "13 (Tzameti)", Gela Babluani, a French director born in Georgia, will return to Park City with The Legacy, a film he made with his father, Temur Babluani. The film looks at culture shock when three French hipsters travel through rural Georgia.

John Carney's Once is a modern-day musical set in Dublin. The Israeli-German production, Sweet Mud (Adama Meshugaat) by Dror Shaul, is Israel's submission for the foreign-language Oscar.

Meanwhile, longtime British documentarian Nick Broomfield ("Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer," "Kurt & Courtney") will showcase Ghosts, a fictional tale of an illegal Chinese immigrant in the U.K.

Traditionally, international films meant art films in the U.S., Gilmore said. "Now these are not necessarily art films. 'Amelie' and 'Downfall' represent a new edge of where international filmmaking is going. It now embraces genre filmmaking all over the world, not just in Asia. Our selections include art, genre films, melodramas and minimalist works that should redefine what international film is in the U.S."

"The films in the world cinema competition contain complex stories that embrace full visions of life and explore topics that transcend the confines of personal, geographic and artistic borders," Cooper said.

The complete list of titles announced Wednesday follows.

Dramatic Competition:

ADRIFT IN MANHATTAN (Director: Alfredo de Villa; Screenwriters: Nat Moss, Alfredo De Villa) -- Set in New York City, a grieving eye doctor is forced to take a closer look at her life; an aging artist confronts the loss of his eyesight, and a young photographer battles his innermost demons. World premiere.

BROKEN ENGLISH (Director and Screenwriter: Zoe Cassavetes) -- A young woman in her thirties finds herself surrounded by friends who are married, in relationships or with children. She unexpectedly meets a quirky Frenchman who opens her eyes to a lot more than love. World premiere.

FOUR SHEETS TO THE WIND (Director and Screenwriter: Sterlin Harjo) -- Cufe Smallhill finds his father dead. Fulfilling a dying wish, he disposes of the body in the family pond and sets off to begin a new life in the big city of Tulsa. World premiere.

THE GOOD LIFE (Director and Screenwriter: Steve Berra) -- A story about a "mostly normal" young man whose small town existence running a faded movie palace is shaken when he comes in contact with a mysterious young woman. World premiere.

GRACE IS GONE (Director and Screenwriter: James C. Strouse) -- A young father learns that his wife has been killed in Iraq and must find the courage to tell his two young daughters the news. World premiere.

JOSHUA (Director: George Ratliff; Screenwriters: David Gilbert, George Ratliff) -- A successful, young Manhattan family is torn apart by the machinations of Joshua, their eight-year-old prodigy, when his newborn baby sister comes home from the hospital. World premiere.

NEVER FOREVER (Director and Screenwriter: Gina Kim) -- When an American woman and her Asian-American husband discover they are unable to conceive, she begins a clandestine relationship with an attractive stranger in a desperate attempt to save her marriage. World premiere.

ON THE ROAD WITH JUDAS (Director and Screenwriter: JJ Lask) -- Reality, fiction and the notions of storytelling intertwine in this narrative about a young thief and the woman he loves.

See also

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