7 items from 2012
VI Issue II
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The Invisible War is a documentary about one of America’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. The film paints a startling picture of the extent of the problem— the film claims that today a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. The filmmakers’ state that the Department of Defense estimates there were 22,800 violent sex crimes in the military in 2011, that 20% of all active‐duty female soldiers are sexually assaulted and that female soldiers aged 18 to 21 account for more than half of the victims.
Focusing on the powerfully emotional stories of rape victims, The Invisible War suggests a systemic cover-up of military sex crimes by the military. The film chronicles women’s struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice within and outside the military and features interviews with high-ranking military officials and members of Congress that reveal the conditions that exist for rape in the military, its long history, and suggests what can be done to bring about much-needed change.
Oscar and Emmy nominated director Kirby Dick (Outrage, This Film Is Not Yet Rated), found the inspiration for The Invisible War from a 2007 Salon.com article about women serving in Iraq entitled “The Private War of Women Soldiers,” by Columbia University journalism professor Helen Benedict. When Dick and Emmy-nominated producing partner Amy Ziering (Outrage) read Benedict's piece, they were astounded by the prevalence of sexual assault in the military.
This film is beautifully made, shot, directed and produced. It is one of the strongest films of the year. It shows that rape and other sexually based harassment seems to be wide spread in our military and that the military is unwilling to adjust its culture to effect the necessary change to provide a safe work environment for all of its members. The filmmakers make excellent choices in terms of who they interview, whose stories they tell. This is a strong advocacy film that can make a difference and start pushing the civilians who control our military to demand to make the necessary changes to protect the men and women who serve from each other. Frankly, it has to have a zero tolerance for any kind of harassment. With the striking of “don’t ask, don’t tell” the armed services are on their way to addressing this. The film was short listed for the documentary feature Academy Award.
Director/Writer: Kirby Dick
Editor, Associate Producer: Doug Blush
Executive Producer for Itvs: Sally Jo Fifer Cinedigm and Docurama Films
Gudfinna, a successful 58-year old mid-level employee of the Icelandic bank Landsbankinn, finds herself a victim of the economic failure, not only losing her job, but her lifesavings as well. Proud and independent, she struggles to shield her dire circumstances from her family members and friends. But as tensions in Icelandic society grow, so does her inner turmoil. She finds that she cannot deal with her increasingly desperate financial concerns and her ideas of self-worth. Slowly, Gudfinna, much like the Icelandic economy, finds herself metamorphosed into the utterly helpless being she never could have foreseen becoming.
Revolution Reykjavík is one of the outstanding short films of the 2011/12 year. One of the few works to screen at both New Directors and Telluride and dozens of other festivals, it is evident that Isold Uggadottir, while not yet a known name as a director, is tremendously talented. Watching Gudfinna fall apart is deeply moving. Her inner struggles are evident by the nuanced direction of a subtle performance. The film is nicely shot, edited and at 19 minutes it becomes a metaphor for the 2008 Icelandic banking disaster that wiped out tens of thousands of Icelanders and three of the major banks. It caused thousands of people to lose their jobs and created a political crisis for the country. Few portfolio works try for nuanced and subtle performances but are in-your-face testosterone fueled action works. This film is a keeper.
Director/ Writer’s Bio:
Isold Uggadottir is an Icelandic writer/director. Her four short films have been invited to over 120 international film festivals, including Telluride, Sundance and New Directors/New Films hosted by Lincoln Center & MoMA. Two of her films (Clean and Committed) have been honored with Icelandic Academy Awards for Best Short Film in 2010 and 2011, while Revolution Reykjavík and Family Reunion received nominations in 2012 and 2006. Additionally, Isold has received multiple international awards, most recently in Spain and Greece.
Isold holds an Mfa in writing and directing from Columbia University in New York, where she was honored with the Adrienne Shelly Award for Best Female Director. Screen International named her “one of the rising stars of Icelandic film.”
Written and Directed: Isold Uggadottir
Producers: Snorri Thórisson, Isold Uggadottir
Director of Photography: Óskar Thór Axelsson
Editor: Isold Uggadottir
Academy announces 11 short films shortlisted for the Short Film Nomination
Because of a voting tie the Academy short listed 11 dramatic/fiction short films instead of 10. Culled from 125 submitted films, it is perhaps the best group of films entered in the last 30 years. These films range from a thesis work from Columbia’s University’s graduate film program to When You Find Me, directed by Bryce Howard, filmmaker Ron Howard’s 31 year old daughter, to the Danish 61 year old director Anders Walther with short film Oscar winner (and nominee) producer Tivi Magnusson for 9 Meter.
Following screenings in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in December, Branch members will select three to five nominees from among the 11 semi-finalists. It will be challenging for the committees to find the five best in this really impressive group of films. It is an embarrassment of solid filmmaking from a global group of filmmakers. Please note: I have not seen two of the short listed films and I am relying on others for their synopses to be accurate.
Below is an alphabetical listing of the short listed films, the key filmmakers, the country of production and a link to a clip. Take a look and make up your own mind:
“An inmate convinces his mother to take a risk smuggling a cell phone for him into the penitentiary.
Length: 15 min.
A Somali boy must choose either the life of a pirate or that of a fisherman
Length: 17 min.
Language: Somali with English subtitles.
Two young boys dream of a better life. One is without parents and the other the father wants him to follow into his blacksmithing.
Length: 30 min.
Country: Afghanistan, USA Production
A suicidal New Yorker, Richie’s attempt to end his life is interrupted by a call from his estranged sister asking him to babysit his niece for the evening.
Length: 20 min
This highly produced sci-fi fantasy work is about a dead Wwi soldier stuck in the limbo between life and death who has to collect shadows to regain a second chance at life.
Length: 20 min.
Length: 21 min.
This tour‐de‐force Swedish short begins in a mist of frost and snow. A woman is driving to the hospital in Kiruna, the northernmost city of Sweden. Under the scorching sunlight of Kigali, Rwanda,another woman is being carried to the hospital on a stretcher. The two single mothers‐to‐be are on the verge of giving birth to a baby are thousands of miles apart, but share the same fear of entering the unknown world of motherhood. I think this is the film to beat.
Length: 15 min.
Language: Swedish/ Kinyarwanda
“The Night Shift Belongs to the Stars,” Silvia Bizio and Paola Porrini Bisson, producers (Oh! Pen LLC)
The story of Matteo (Enrico Lo Verso), a passionate mountain climber, and Sonia (Nastassja Kinski), a married woman, also in love with mountain, as they set out to climb a peak on the Dolomites, in Trentino, Italy. (Confession, I have not seen this film.)
Length: 24 min.
“9 meter,” Anders Walther, director, and Tivi Magnusson, producer (M & M Productions A/S)
A boy tries to set a new record in the long jump as his mother fights her illness. (Confession, I have not seen this film.)
Length: 18 min.
In an isolated Bolivian village, on the edge of the vast Uyuni salt flats, two lives collide. This powerful film is my favorite of the 11 short listed films.
Length: 18 min.
This Cannon sponsored film looks at the story of two sisters whose childhood bond is tested by a tragedy that they were too young to understand at the time.
Length: 29 min.
Mitchell Block specializes in conceiving, producing, marketing & distributing independent features & consulting. He is an expert in placing both completed works into distribution & working with producers to make projects fundable. He conducts regular workshops in film producing in Los Angeles and most recently in Maine, Russia and in Myanmar (Burma).
"Poster Girl," produced by Block was nominated for a Documentary Academy Award and selected by the Ida as the "Best" Doc Short 2011. It was also nominated for two Emmy Awards and aired on HBO. He is an executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series "Carrier,” a 10-hour series that he conceived & co-created. Block is a graduate of Tisch School and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. He is a member of Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Television Academy, a founding member of BAFTA-la and has been teaching at USC School of Cinematic Arts since 1979. Currently Block teaches a required class in the USC Peter Stark Producing Program.
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14th Mumbai Film Festival (Mff) announced its complete lineup today in a press conference. Mff will be held from October 18th to 25th at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (Ncpa) and Inox, Nariman Point, Liberty Cinemas, Marine Lines as the main festival venues and Cinemax, Andheri and Cinemax Sion as the satellite venues. Click here to watch trailers and highlights from the festival.
Here is the complete list of films to be screened during the festival (October 18-25)
International Competition for the First Feature Films of Directors
1. From Tuesday To Tuesday (De Martes A Martes)
Dir.: Gustavo Fernandez Triviño (Argentina / 2012 / Col. / 111′)
Dir.: Armando Bo (Argentina / 2012 / Col. / 91′)
Dir.: Wayne Blair (Australia / 2012 / Col. / 103′)
4. The Wall (Die Wand)
Dir.: Julian Pölsler (Austria-Germany / 2012 / Col. / 108′)
5. Teddy Bear (10 timer til Paradis)
Dir.: Mads Matthiesen (Denmark / 2012 / Col. / 93′)
Dir.: Alice Winccour (France / 2012 / Col. »
Looking for a must-see list of great gay documentaries? We've got you covered. We recently asked our readers to nominate up to five of their favorite documentary films via write-in vote. Thousands responded and we tabulated the results to bring you the top 25 here. All of these films are definitely worth a look and to help you learn more about titles you might not be familiar with, we've included trailers, links to reviews, official film websites and more. Plus, for three of the titles we've even embedded the full movie thanks to the Logo Docs library.
So here they are, the 25 Greatest Gay Documentaries. Which ones have you already seen? Which ones do you need to see?
25. Saint of 9/11
Summary: Sir Ian McKellen narrates this inspiring portrait of Father Mychal Judge, a New York City Fire Department Chaplain who wrestled with his sexuality, his genuine dedication to life as a priest, »
- AfterElton.com Staff
Kirby Dick is our most righteous “outer.” I don’t mean he likes to out gays, although he certainly targeted the more virulent right-wing homophobes in his eye-opening documentary Outrage. I mean that, for Dick, the world is full of dark closets packed not with skeletons but bloodsuckers who’d shrivel if someone would only shine a light in their direction. He can’t quite do that in his galvanizing new documentary The Invisible War. The subject is the U.S. armed forces, the villains the alleged sexual predators who operate without restraint or punishment. To name names or venture onto bases for “ambush” interviews would open himself up to libel suits or worse. But he can do the next best thing. He interviews women who’ve emerged from those dark recesses, women who represent the 20 percent of female vets (that’s a low-ball estimate — we might be talking about »
- David Edelstein
Over two decades, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick (Twist of Faith) has explored edge territory in sex, art, and philosophy with films like Private Practice: The Story of a Sex Surrogate, Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist, and Derrida, a playful portrait of the impish French poststructuralist thinker riffing on life and language during his tenure in New York City. In recent years, Dick and his producing partner Amy Ziering have zeroed in on institutional power, scrutinizing the hypocrisies and often dangerous doublespeak of powerful, secret-shrouded entities like the MPAA (This Film Is Not Yet Rated) and the Catholic Church (Twist of Faith), as well as closeted Congressional members who use their position to lobby for anti-gay statutes (Outrage). Such concerns find new expression with The Invisible War, a heartbreaking investigation into the systemic rape of servicewomen in the Us military, which won the 2012 Nestor Almendros Award »
- Damon Smith
Directed by Kirby Dick
2012, USA, 93 minutes
Kirby Dick’s latest investigative documentary begins with a simple title card stating that all statistics used in The Invisible War come from the Us government. The move is bold, effective, and sets a sharp tone. So clear is the crime, so large is the epidemic of rape in the Us military, that the Us government can’t even contest the main weapon The Invisible War wields to condemn them.
To sit in the theatre and watch The Invisible War is to be inundated. Story after story of recruits raped is itself harrowing, but the sheer scale and brutality of rape in the military isn’t even the most outrageous aspect of the issue (and yes, having to write that sentence was bewildering). The most outrageous thing—and the focus of the film—is how the Us military treats rape victims »
- Dave Robson
Cinedigm Entertainment Group and New Video have jointly acquired North American distribution rights to The Invisible War. Directed by Kirby Dick, the film won the U.S. documentary audience award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in January. It will receive a theatrical release this summer. Photos: The Scene at Sundance Film Festival 2012 Dick's investigative documentary takes a devastating look at the rape epidemic in the U.S. military. Amy Ziering (Outrage, Derrida) produced the project. The Invisible War is the first acquisition under the new partnership between Cinedigm and New Video to distribute independent films theatrically, on demand,
- Jay A. Fernandez
7 items from 2012
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