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DVD Obscura: Gift Sets, Stephen Sondheim, Stanley Kubrick and More

21 November 2012 6:00 PM, PST | Movies.com | See recent Movies.com news »

New: Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams Are Unhappily Married It ran for just four nights in New York before being shown in movie theaters across the country, but if you missed the latest, all-star incarnation of Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical Company (Image Entertainment; now available), it’s yours to own on DVD and Blu-ray. This musical about love, sex and marriage totally rewrote the Broadway playbook when it first premiered in the early 1970s, and four decades later, it’s still a showstopper, especially with this extraordinary cast. Neil Patrick Harris stars as Bobby, the charming, handsome guy who’s the only bachelor in his group of married friends, mainly because he runs from...

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- Alonso Duralde

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Music Director Paul Gemignani Honored With Oscar Hammerstein Award

20 November 2012 9:26 AM, PST | backstage.com | See recent Backstage news »

Brian Stokes Mitchell, Marin Mazzie, Mario Cantone, George Hearn, and more were on hand to honor beloved music director Paul Gemignani at the 21st annual Oscar Hammerstein Award Gala, benefitting the York Theatre Company, at the Edison Ballroom on Monday night. "He's part of you when you perform," said Lonny Price, who directed the evening's presentation. "He breathes with you." Gemignani is the first music director to receive the Hammerstein Award and has worked on 39 Broadway shows, including every one of Stephen Sondheim's musicals. Sondheim provided a special video message at the event. "I love how he can make an actor feel like a singer," Sondheim said. Gemignani's son Alexander hosted the evening, and a veritable smorgasbord of A-list Broadway talent performed for their friend and colleague. Jenn Colella sang "I Know Things Now" from "Into the Woods," and later joined Alex Gemignani for "Move On" from "Sunday in the Park With George. »

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Us DVD & Blu-Ray – New Release Tuesday

13 November 2012 3:00 AM, PST | The Hollywood News | See recent The Hollywood News news »

Home entertainment Tuesday is upon us once again, and we’ve got some good stuff for you:

Pixar’s biggest risk  Brave is released giving everyone the chance to revisit the polarising tale of a Scottish girl going against the grain and trying to forge her own path. Available as a three-disc and a rather excessive five-disc set we think Brave is well worth another trip to the highlands.

Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

Getting the same anniversary package as the UK, Lawrence Of Arabia gets the chance to enchant a new generation. David Lean’s masterpiece is mammoth at over 200 minutes, but is worth every sun-drenched second.

Epic rumination on a flamboyant and controversial British military figure »

- Sam Carey

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A Cast of Stephen Colbert, Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone and More Puts Stephen Sondheim in Excellent "Company"

7 November 2012 10:30 AM, PST | JustPressPlay.net | See recent JustPressPlay news »

Stephen Sondheim fans rejoice! Over a year since the New York Philharmonic Orchestra revived Company for a weekend, the sensational concert performance starring Anika Noni Rose, Christina Hendricks, Craig Bierko, Jon Cryer, Martha Plimpton, Neil Patrick Harris, Patti LuPone, and Stephen Colbert is finally released on Blu-ray (and DVD). The musical tells the story of perpetually 35-year-old Bobby in a series of vignettes that show his interactions with his married friends and various girlfriends as he explores “the challenge of maintaining relationships in an increasingly depersonalized society.” A theme that Sondheim found important to examine in 1970 and that audiences still find important today.

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- John Keith

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AFM is Nearly Here

22 October 2012 9:00 PM, PDT | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

120 companies looking to buy films will attend the American Film Market for the first time, part of the more than 750 distributors from 75 countries that have registered for the only stand-alone theatrical feature film market (all others are attached to festivals) October 31-November 7 in Santa Monica. Korea (25), China (13), and the U.S. (11) lead the way with the most newcomers, AFM Managing Director and Independent Film & Television Alliance EVP Jonathan Wolf said in a release. “We are seeing a shift in the way sub-distributors acquire film as they steadily rely less on local distributors and more on direct acquisitions”, he said. “We also expect a significant increase in buyers from China.” AFM expects 1,500 individuals from these companies at the market from more than 70 countries.  More than 420 features will screen including 77 world premieres and 306 market premieres.  The numbers of prebuys are also looking good after their near demise in the financial crisis of 2008.

Films making their World Premieres include: A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, from writer/director Roman Coppola and starring Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Charlie Sheen (Independent) was first announced at the Berlin EFM 2012 and has already presold to Koch Media Gmbh for Germany, Canana for Mexico, Praesens-Film AG for Switzerland; Cottage Country, starring Malin Akerman and Lucy Punch (Vmi Worldwide); The Frozen Ground, starring Nicolas Cage, John Cusack and Vanessa Hudgens (Voltage Pictures), which has already sold to Brazil (Imagem Filmes Distribuidora Ltda), Italy (Videa - Cde S.P.A.), Japan (Culture Convenience Club Co.,Ltd. / Culture Publishers Company), Netherlands (Independent Films), And Turkey (Calinos Films); Nous York, starring Leila Bekhti and Géraldine Nakache (Pathé International); The Numbers Station, starring John Cusack and Malin Akerman (Content) which was presold over the past year to Sena For Iceland, Pomi International For Indonesia, Content Media Corporation Plc For U.K. And Grandview Castle Entertainment for U.S., Pawn, starring Nikki Reed and Ray Liotta (Red Sea Media) and Summer In February, starring Dominic Cooper and Emily Browning (Speranza13 Media).

Among the 306 films set to make their Market Premieres are The ABCs of Death starring Ingrid Bolsø Berdal and Iván González (Magnolia Pictures (for which Praesens has already acquired Swiss rights, ); Come Out and Play, starring Daniel Gimenez Cacho and Vinessa Shaw (Celsius Entertainment) for which Metrodome has U.K; Ginger and Rosa, starring Christina Hendricks and Elle Fanning (The Match Factory); Here Comes the Devil, starring Francisco Barreiro and Laura Caro (Mpi Media Group) for which Metrodome has U.K.; Kon-Tiki, starring Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen (HanWay Films) which is owned by A Contracorriente for Spain; Quartet, starring Maggie Smith and Michael Gambon, and directed by Dustin Hoffman (HanWay Films) already licensed to Germany – Dcm, Hungary -  Ads Service Ltd., Israel -  Lev Films (Shani Films), Spain -  Vertice Cine, Simon Killer, starring Brady Corbet and Mati Diop (Fortissimo Film) for which IFC has U.S.; and Zaytoun starring Stephen Dorff and Alice Taglioni (Pathé International).

Other Market Premieres include: After, starring Steven Strait and Karolina Wydra (Jinga Films); The Assassins, starring Chow Yun-Fat, Yifei Liu and written by Bin Wang (Easternlight) for which Well Go has U.S. rights; Dan Mirvish's Between Us, starring Melissa George, Julia Stiles, and Taye Diggs (Premiere Entertainment Group Elias Axume's new company) which Premiere will release theatrically; a 10 minute promo of The Body, starring Belén Rueda and Hugo Silva (DeAPlaneta Internacional) which Dark Light Media will release in China; Boxing Day which premiered in Venice, starring Danny Huston and Matthew Jacobs (Independent); The Brass Teapot, starring Juno Temple, Alexis Bledel, and Annette Bening (TF1 International); Fin (The End), starring Maribel Verdu (Film Factory Entertainment) sold to France-Tf1 International, Hong Kong (China)-Intercontinental Films Dist. (Hk) Ltd., Mexico-Cien Films, New Zealand-Vendetta Films; Great Expectations, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes (HanWay Films) sold to Belgium-Paradiso Filmed Entertainment, Germany-Telepool Gmbh, Italy-Videa - Cde S.P.A., Korea (South)-Daisy & Cinergy Entertainment, Poland-Gutek Film Ltd, Russia-Carmen Film Group, Spain-A Contracorriente Films, Switzerland-Pathe Films Ag, United Arab Emirates-Front Row Filmed Entertainment, United Kingdom-Lionsgate Uk Ltd, Usa-Unison Films; Greetings from Tim Buckley, starring Penn Badgley and Imogen Poots (Celluloid Dreams) which Celluloid Dreams will distribute in France; A Late Quartet, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken (WestEnd Films) presold to Australia-Hopscotch, Netherlands-Wild Bunch Benelux, Spain-Savor Ediciones, S.A.; The Reluctant Fundamentalist after its Toronto debut, starring Kate Hudson and Liev Schreiber (K5 International) sold to Vendetta for N.Z.; Revenge for Jolly!, starring Elijah Wood, Ryan Phillippe, and Kristen Wiig (Highland Film Group); Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, straight out of Tiff 12, starring James Franco, Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens (Kinology) sold to Canada-V V S Films, France-Mars Films, Germany-Wild Bunch Germany; Thanks for Sharing, starring Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow and written by Stuart Blumberg (Voltage Pictures) sold to Roadside Attractions for U.S., Germany and Switzerland-Falcom Media, Greece-Strada Films, Italy-Minerva Pictures Group; What Maisie Knew, starring Alexander Skarsgård and Julianne Moore (Fortissimo Film) sold to Millennium for U.S., Germany-Pandastorm Pictures Gmbh, Turkey-Bir Film; and Writers (Tiff 12), starring Greg Kinnear, Logan Lerman, Kristen Bell, Jennifer Connelly, and Lily Collins, (The Solution Entertainment Group).

For Complete Rights Roundup Before, During And After The Major Festivals And Markets, Notify Sydney Levine Via Email Sydney At Sydneysbuzz.

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- Sydney Levine

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Dread Central Takes Another Look at Delusion

16 October 2012 10:44 PM, PDT | DreadCentral.com | See recent Dread Central news »

On October 11th, this writer (and his better half) visited the interactive horror play Delusion: The Blood Rite in Los Angeles, CA, and we both came away thinking, “This is the most entertaining, engaging, inventive, creepy, and downright fun, live-action horror experience I’ve ever had.”

You can quote me on that.

Produced by Jon Braver and Neil Patrick Harris through The First Interactive Horror Theatre Company and written and directed by Jon Braver, Delusion: The Blood Rite’s now sold-out run lasts through November 10th, and takes place just off the 10 Freeway and Western Avenue, in a hundred plus year old manse at 2218 S. Harvard Blvd. Initially for me there was a moment of calm familiarity regarding the location, as I’ve in the past been in the house for several productions, including the filming of the series “Scream Queens 2” and Rob Zombie’s Halloween (it resides directly »

- Sean Decker

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Theater Reviews: Marry Me a Little, Paris Commune, Hamlet, and Ten Chimneys

4 October 2012 12:00 PM, PDT | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

If you’re not there already, hie thee to the Prelude.12 festival at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the Cuny Graduate Center, which promises “a feast of provoking, ravishing, bizarre, complicated and blithely entertaining work — enough to delight the most voracious performance-lover.” If this were 1999, I’d call it a theater Sundance, a preview of cutting-edge work and status-quo-annihilating thrills to come. Today, I’d reverse that: Sundance should aspire to Prelude-level ambition and courage. A few other things (Short runs! Act now! Grab a date!) worth noting:Marry Me a Little Somewhere in loftland — probably Bushwick, by the look of the Ikea hand-me-downs — two lonely young singles pass a long, loveless Saturday night in separate romantic wallows, singing deep cuts from the Stephen Sondheim canon. Hey, it could happen! Not every hipster mopes to School of Seven Bells. The Keen Company's retooled version of Marry Me »

- Scott Brown

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Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival 2012 Has Wrapped!

3 October 2012 1:27 PM, PDT | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

Trinidad & Tobago is a very small country filled with every race, as varied as the innumerable species of rice. "One quality we all share as humans is we are all different from each other," to quote Dylan Kerrigan. T&T seems like a microcosm of the world today at its best. I know I am not seeing the daily or the political problems the people must cope with in their lives, but I do have the privilege not to be a tourist but a participant in trinidad + tobago film festival, a seven year old event. Film, one of the seven new industries this oil-rich republic has designated for development, is vibrant and alive here. This country is not only a tropical paradise with its beaches and its forests, its music and its people of indescribable beauty, but its intelligence -- made of Amerindian, African, East Indian, Asian, Arabic, Spanish, French, British and American traditions as translated by the new generation -- is unique. The new and well-educated generation, as we all know, has a special edge over the old and the mainstream. What do I mean with these flaunting words?

I am astounded by what I have discovered here. The Caribbean multiplicity of island cultures, T&T's proximity to Latin America and how the film festival's founder and director Bruce Paddington sees the film industry developing from this pivotal point inspires me and everyone who attends this festival.

To wax a little bit more poetic: the solution to the "immigration problem" can be solved simply by relabeling the state of the world today as one of Diaspora. When I grew up I thought the word Diaspora pertained exclusively to the Jews. We went through numerous diasporas, from the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem to the expulsion from Spain, then from all Europe. I think that if the greatest thinkers of the western world had not perished in the Shoah, we would have found words and formulations to deal with the issues of immigration and integration we are facing today. The words immigration and integration are antipodes. Looking at Trinidad & Tobago, immediately apparent and a constant topic of discussion in the society itself, in music, art and film, is Diaspora. The entire human race is represented here as a product of Diaspora, not immigrants, but citizens of a society of people in Diaspora. And the Diaspora of Trinidadians in the world today mainly to Canada, New York, U.K. and Miami sees more Trinidadians outside than in the country itself. Diaspora is the new synthesis of the world today.

Speaking of Diaspora, the country's genius-created instrument, Pan, or the steel drum, the only new musical instrument created in the 20th century, is now a subject of study in most university music schools and has more adherents and orchestras abroad than in the country itself.  Pan is compulsory in Finnish primary schools. In France it builds self-esteem and discipline in schools in rough neighborhoods. There are more steelbands in Switzerland (although they are smaller) than in T&T (where a small orchestra has 120 members). In African it is different. Johannesburg ensembles combine pans and marimbas. In Tokyo they are extensions of large corporations. Soon all will come to pan’s Mecca for a grand family reunion.  During Carnival, 1,000 steel drum musicians converge here from all over the world  where a giant parade and competition called Panorama transform T&T into a musical  paradise.  You cannot imagine the transformative power of a steel band orchestra (called "pan") unless you experience it first hand.  

A grand transmedia project called Pan is now being planned for 2013 by the film and music producer, Jean Michel Giber (his recently completed Calypso Rose is a doc about a 70 year old Calypso singer) and written by Dr. Kim Johnson a noted authority on the pan in collaboration with story consultant Fernanda Rossi who has doctored films that went on to be nominated for Academy Awards®.

And yet another aspect of Diaspora: Canada whose citizens are also spread throughout the world in diaspora and who has the most coproduction treaties in the world is also here lending strong sponsorship support through its Rbc Royal Bank which has banks throughout the Caribbean and Flow which offers internet, telephone and tv throughout the region.  This year's focus is on Canada which is celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations and cultural and creative links between the two countries.  Aside from the number of Canadian films screening and the number of Canadian filmmakers attending, Christian Sida-Valenzuela, Director of the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival is on the jury.

The film world here is developing on four levels simultaneously and by design.  Inclusive of British, French, Dutch and Spanish colonial and slave-trading traditions, Amerindian, African, Indian, Arab and Asian diaspora communities here are working in film education, festival, production and distribution not only at home but throughout the region of the Caribbean nations, already represented in The United Nations in a 15 member Caribbean Community political consortium called Caricom. 

The industry has come to ttff to tell of subsidies and coproduction opportunities, possibilities for marketing and distribution in the global marketplace, and to give immersion workshops on filmmaking and film criticism. 

Ttff  has formed alliances with Tribeca Film Institute, Cba Worldview -- Commonwealth Broadcasting Association aims to improve U.K. public understanding and awareness of the developing world via the mainstream broadcast and digital media. WorldView supports producers bringing the richness and diversity of the wider-world to U.K. audiences. Cba Worldview provides seed funding to producers to enable them to spend time in the developing world researching stories, identifying characters and locations and shooting taster tapes. Cba Worldview itself has alliances with Tribeca, Sundance and Idfa.  Other ttff alliances are with Cuba's Icaic and the Havana Film Festival, Curacao Film Festival which is itself an extension of the Rotterdam Film Festival, U.S.'s  National Black Programming Consortium, a part of the Public Broadcasting System and Acp which is the European Union's cultural subsidy arm (separate from Eurimages). 

Acp has a fund of €12 million to grant in all areas of culture to reinforce and support access to markets, improve the regulatory environment and reduce unemployment, and it grants €10 million of this to cinema and the audiovisual sector. Acp's Director, Mohamed Ben Shabbaz gave their award to the feature which best epitomizes cultural diversity to the feature Stone Street. On presenting the prize, he reiterated Acp's motto,  "No future without culture" and presented the prize on behalf of its membership of 79 countries and their 800 million people while encouraging filmmakers to submit projects which are eligible if produced by any member of the Caribbean, African and Latin American nations included in the Acp for grants. 

Because Guadaloupe is French, it can access the French Cnc production subsidies and coproductions with them can share this. The BBC seriesDeath in Paradise has been such a hit that the BBC is renewing the series to the benefit of Guadaloupe's coffers. 

Another incentive to make movies in this untapped and untrammeled region of the world is the 35% rebate on monies spent on production in Trinidad.

All this bounty would stir me as a filmmaker anywhere in the world to hasten to find coproducers in these countries to make a movie out of the myriad of stories that exist here.  Guadaloupe novelist Simone Schwartz-Bart's great novel written in collaboration with her husband, Andre Schwartz-Bart (Last of the Just), A Woman Called Solitude, one of the most emotionally moving novels I 've ever read, has yet to be made into a movie.  Dominican writer Jean Rhys' Wide Saragossa Sea, the prequel to Bronte's Jane Eyre, has been made in 1993 and in 2006 and yet remains mostly forgotten.  Perhaps it's time for a remake.  Or how about the novels of Antiguan Jamaica Kincaid, Cuban Alejo Carpentier or Martiniquese Edward Glissant?  

The winner of the Jury Prize for Best Caribbean Film by a non-Caribbean went to Canadian filmmaker Christy Garland for her documentary The Bastard Sings the Sweetest Song, a documentary that had the strongest buzz here.  The trailer alone moved the audience at the awards ceremony to a collective and spontaneous sigh of sympathy.  What a fiction adaptation could be made from the stories these people have to tell.

Some filmmakers are already embedding themselves here.  Trinidadian native Ian Harnarin comes from Canada and lives in New York.  We met at Tiff this year in a mentoring program where he was one of four most promising new filmmakers.  His short was executive produced by Spike Lee.  He is now working on the feature length film of the short.  "I'm extremely happy to be taking my film Doubles With Slight Pepper to the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival. The film was shot on location throughout Trinidad with a local cast and a lot of local crew. The film has garnered some amazing awards and screened at other festivals around the world, so Ttff will mark a homecoming for it. It's coming to be very special for the local audience to finally see it with the cast and filmmakers."  This film is available on iTunes. 

Alrick Brown, the director of Kinyarwanda, a hit of last year 's Sundance Ff, led the immersion workshops in documentaries with Fernanda Rossi, a New York based doc scriptwriter. Alrick also teaches at Rutgers and Nyu. Andrew Donsunmu, the director of Restless City  which Ronna Wallace has been actively repping since Sundance (she just made a good digital deal for the film) and which will be released stateside by Affrm (as will Kinyarwanda) was part of a very interesting informal discussion which took place on the bus returning  from our day at the beach about movement and the almost genetic styles of dance and choices of sports of the African diaspora...like why so many islanders can't swim, why they don't eat fish in Cuba, how Samba, Calypso, and a certain Jamaican dance use the same steps though to different beats.  Such animated discussions of intercultural topics are frequent here and always fascinate and animate the participants and residents.

The filmmakers also participated in panels for the industry, sharing their motivation and modi operandi.  Christy Garland, director of Bastards Sing the Sweetest Song, filmed in French Guyana spoke of how she enters an unknown culture with a vague idea for a subject and proceeds to draw people out until the story unveils itself to her.  Patricia Benoit, director of  Stones in the Sun which participated in Wroclaw's American Film Festival for films in post-production competition spoke of her dislike of people always talking of Haiti's "resilence" in the face of all its troubles and wanted to show the hidden wounds of Haitians with their own history while living in New York. The films title comes from the proverb, “Stones in the water don't know the suffering of stones in the sun.”   You can read Indiewire's interview with her from Tribeca Film Festival here.  Matias Meyer spoke of The Last Christeros, which showed in Toronto and is being sold by FiGa Films, wanting to show not the battles but the spaces between battles when a segment of the 90% Catholic population of Mexico waged war against the state in the 1920s when the government banned religion.  American filmmaker Chris Metzler  spoke of his film Everyday Sunshine: the Story of Fishbone as a wonderful tribute to failure.  Another Trinidadian in Canada, Richard Fung talked of how when he grew up he loved dhalpuri roti and so set out to discover where this spicy flatbread was born in the film Dal Puri Diaspora.  Next month Richard will present his film at Nyu.  One entire panel discussion was given to The Jamaican Collective's New Caribbean Cinema collection of shorts all made Guerilla style in one day, Ring di Alarm.  Shadow and Act covered this last month.

In addition to this productive work of sharing business ideas and sharing the visions of over 120 feature-length and short films, there is the added bonus of being in one of the most amazing spots on earth.  Island people, isolated from mainland civilizations and united among themselves by the water which also separates them, have opened their arms and invited us to join them these past few days in celebrating life.  They have shared the natural beauty and the music and other arts of their island paradise  And imagine the food-- a mix, (like the people themselves) of Caribbean, Indian, Asian, Arabian and African cuisine, all so fresh and with a homemade touch which rivals your own home cooking.  Bake and Shark, a deep fried pita stuffed with delicious fresh and tender shark, or Roti, a variation of a curry dish found in India,  Doubles, another street food well loved by the people.  The economy, supported by its oil industry which contributes 60% to the Gnp, though 40% is Bp, a cause for some political dissension, does not need to rely on tourism for its sustenance.  And though this is the wealthiest of all the Caricom countries because of its oil and natural gas, it still has the ubiquitous poverty seen worldwide including in our own United States of America.   It is by no means perfect, but...

In Moscow this past June, the event Doors held similar discussions among 25 American distributors and Russian filmmakers about exporting their films and creating viable co- productions. After those three days in Moscow, we were rewarded with the most spectacular trip any of us had ever experienced, driving to St. Petersburg and Petershof, attending the Mariansky Ballet to see Sleeping Beauty and the star ballet dancer of Russia from the best seats in the house, taking a long cruise through St. Petersburg's canals during the White Nights, when the sun never sets.  That trip which we were privileged to participate in (thanks to L.A.'s Russian Film Commissioner Eleonora Granata and her boss Catherine Mtsitouridze who hired us to organize) did not surpass the bonus tour ttff  gave us industry-ites to Las Maracas beach where we rode the waves in warm water until a tropical rain storm and hurricane type wind, lightning and thunder drove us out of the water to huddle under a shelter until if passed, and the evening Leslie Fields-Cruz of the National Programming Consortium of PBS and I spent with Trinidadian film and music producer, Jean Michel Gibert of Caribbean Music Group, music scholar extraordinaire Tim Johnson and Nestor Sullivan, music legend, steel drum virtuoso and manager of the prize-winning 120 piece steel band orchestra Pamberi at a steel drum orchestra rehearsal for Carnaval. I can say with authority, this experience  was on an equal par with the best Russia has to offer.

Validation of the genius of this country can be found in the story of one man, Anthony Williams, who invented the tuned steelpan, and in a discussion I had with another Trinidad filmmaker, Janine Fung, who won the People's Choice for Best Documentary La Gaita. Janine, as you can guess from her name, is of Chinese descent, though thoroughly international and Trinidadian to boot.  Her grandmother's extended family lived in Trinidad.  Recently the Chinese embassy called her to see if she might research and make a documentary about a Trinidad woman who brought western ballet to China. When they named her she realized it as her grandmother's first cousin who had left Trinidad to study ballet in London and when she toured to China, she captivated the audience and remained to establish western ballet in China. No one in Trinidad is aware of this and Janine now must make the documentary.  I love stories like this.  Nestor Sullivan whose father played in the same steel drum orchestra which is 70 years old, told me that his grandmother told him he was the spitting image of her father who came to Trinidad somewhere between 1840 to 60 after slavery had been abolished (1833). His father was a Yoruban prince who was never enslaved except when kidnapped and carried to the New World.  Looking at Nestor, you know this to be true.  His grandmother was born in 1888.  When we did the math, I calculated this was around the same time that my own grandmother was born after her mother had come to USA as a bride in 1881.

Filmmaker, Faisal Lutchmedial (Mr. Crab, a delightful short film of a shy 10 year old boy who idolizes and fears his imposing father and hides and escapes into a dream world, where the frightening Mr Crab with his deadly sharp claws awaits him until he hears the real fear in his father's voice when he cannot find him) resides in Montreal, and tells of his family's home in a section of Trinidad which has, to this day, remained almost exactly as it was when his father was a boy in 1945.  In fact, he took a photograph of himself standing in the same spot where his father stood as a child and the surroundings are identical. He was looking forward to going there to "lime" for a few days after the festival.

When the two part France TV feature Toussaint Ouveture won two prizes, one for Audience Award for Best Narrative and the other to Jimmy Jean-Louis for Best Actor in a Caribbean film, Jimmy,whose stunning presence is as sweet as his beautiful face, and who is fluent in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Creole, spoke sponteously of Haiti's continued plight and of the fact that this historical epic deserves to be seen as widely as possible to remind the world that Haiti was the first nation to liberate itself and its slaves from its colonial masters 200 years before most other Caribbean nations declared or were granted their independence.

One other discovery I made was of Dana Verde of 3Ck Media (meaning 3rd culture kids, a term coined in the 50s by cultural anthropologist Ruth Hill Useem).  Dana Verde is a Cuban-Jamaican filmmaker who enjoys telling stories from the Latin American and Caribbean Diaspora. After receiving her Ma in Filmmaking from the London Film School in 2008, the Brooklyn filmmaker returned to New York to work as an independent filmmaker – writing and directing spec commercials, music videos and short films. Currently she divides her time between New York and Los Angeles and is venturing into directing feature films that encapsulate a crosscultural perspective. Check out her short Lock and Key on Facebook.

In summation of this whirlwind 4 day trip, it was well worth the 8 hour flight. So immersed was I that I find I must return, and much as I hate to reveal this new untrammeled festival and country, I must tell about it.  I was the only press there, but I'm sure it will catch the eye of then rest of the world soon as it is a growth area for film invention and innovation on all fronts, from education (Bruce Paddington who teaches film at the University of The West Indies along with Christopher Meir, a native of Buffalo, New York).to production to marketing and distribution under the aegis of T&T Film Company. Although in the 50s Robert Mitchum filmed The Fire Down Below and Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison in T&T and you can be sure he had a blast there, still I feel like I have discovered it anew!

The awards themselves reflect the complexity of a society which, when its own special voice is raised in unison by its citizens, has the grandly unique and harmonic sound of the music of its own steel band.  The gala awards ceremony of the ttff/12 took place at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port of Spain. Here is a full list of the winners which can also be found here.

Jury Awards: Best Films

Best Narrative Feature: Distancia, directed by Sergio Ramirez from Guatemala

Best Documentary Feature: The Story of Lover’s Rock, directed by Menelik Shabazz

Best Short: Peace: Memories of Anton de Kom, directed by Ida Does

Best Caribbean Film by an International Filmmaker: The Bastard Sings the Sweetest Song, directed by Christy Garland

Special mentions in the best film category: 

Best Narrative Feature: Choco, directed by Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza

Best Documentary Feature: Broken Stones, directed by Guetty Felin

Best Short: Awa Brak, directed by Juan Francisco Pardo

Jury Awards: Best Local Films

Best Local Feature: Inward Hunger, directed by Mariel Brown

Best Local Short: Where the Sun Sets, directed by Ryan Latchmansingh

Jury Awards: Acting

Best Actor in a Caribbean Film: Jimmy Jean-Louis, Toussaint L’Ouverture, directed by Philippe Niang

Best Actor in a Local Film: Christopher Chin Choy, Where the Sun Sets, directed by Ryan Latchmansingh

Best Actress in a Local Film: Terri Lyons, No Soca, No Life, directed by Kevin Adams

People’s Choice Awards

People’s Choice Award: Narrative Feature: Toussaint L’Ouverture, directed by Philippe Niang

People’s Choice Award: Documentary Feature: La Gaita, directed by Janine Fung

People’s Choice Award: Best Short: Buck: The Man Spirit, directed by Steven Taylor

Other Awards

Film in Development Award: Cutlass, Deresha Beresford & Teneille Newallo

WorldView/Tribeca Film Film Institute Pitch Awards: Ryan Khan, Joaquin Ruano, Natalie Wei

Rbc Focus: Filmmakers’ Immersion Pitch Award: Michelle Serieux

Film that Best Epitomises Cultural Diversity: Stone Street, directed by Elspeth Kydd

Film Criticism Award: Barbara Jenkins, “Three’s a Crowd”, review of Una Noche, directed by Lucy Mulloy

Film Criticism Special Mentions: Dainia Wright, Renelle White

Best Student, University of the West Indies Film Programme: Dinesh Maharaj

AfroPop/National Black Programming Consortium Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award: Mandisa Pantin

50-Second Film Competition: M Jay Gonzalez

»

- Sydney Levine

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Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, John Goodman and Bryan Cranston, to receive the “Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award” for “Argo” by Josh Abraham

3 October 2012 8:26 AM, PDT | Hollywoodnews.com | See recent Hollywoodnews.com news »

HollywoodNews.com: The 16th Annual Hollywood Film Awards, presented by the Los Angeles Times, is pleased to announce that the feature "Argo," directed by Ben Affleck, will receive the "Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award." "We are very proud to recognize the ensemble cast of "Argo," for their dramatic and outstanding performances," said Carlos de Abreu, Founder and Executive Director of the Hollywood Film Awards. The 2012 Hollywood Film Awards has also announced that it will honor director David O. Russell with the "Hollywood Director Award"; Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro with the "Hollywood Supporting Actor Award"; Academy Award-winning actress Marion Cotillard with the "Hollywood Actress Award"; three-time Academy Award-nominated actress Amy Adams with the "Hollywood Supporting Actress Award"; producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner with the "Hollywood Producers Award"; writer/director Judd Apatow with the "Hollywood Comedy Award"; actor John Hawkes with the "Hollywood Breakout Performance Award" for "The Sessions"; and Quvenzhané Wallis »

- Josh Abraham

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2012 Primetime Emmys Winners’ List: ‘Modern Family’, ‘Homeland’, ‘Game Change’, Kevin Costner, Julianne Moore, ‘Daily Show’, Claire Danes, Damian Lewis

23 September 2012 5:01 PM, PDT | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Related: Nikki Finke: Live-Snarking The 64th Emmys 2012 Primetime Emmys: By The Numbers Refresh for latest… Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker Modern Family ABC; Levitan-Lloyd Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Louis C.K., Written by Louie, “Pregnant” FX Networks; Pig Newton, Inc. in association with FX Productions Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy Modern Family ABC; Levitan-Lloyd Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series Steven Levitan, Director Modern Family, “Baby On Board” ABC; Levitan-Lloyd Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television Steven Levitan, Director Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series Jon Cryer as Alan Harper Two And A Half Men CBS; Chuck Lorre Productions Inc., The Tannenbaum Company in association with Warner Bros. Television Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series »

- THE DEADLINE TEAM

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Toronto Film Fest: Silver Linings Playbook’s Oscar Chances Increase with Win

16 September 2012 2:04 PM, PDT | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

"I'm happy to announce, or re-announce..." Toronto International Film Festival artistic director Cameron Bailey began the anti-climactic unveiling of the Blackberry People's Choice Award (the fest's top prize) after he'd spoiled the news almost two hours earlier via an accidental Tweet. Bailey had swiftly deleted his congratulations to David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, but not before word swept through the awards brunch, making the ceremony seem a little unnecessary. At least it was open bar. The award itself, though, is pretty significant. It vaults Playbook into the thick of the Best Picture race, giving it the most heat among the Weinstein Company's other heavyweight films this year: The Master and Django Unchained. (Although, with The Master breaking independent box office records, Harvey is having a pretty good weekend either way.) Past People's Choice winners have included Best Picture winners The King's Speech and Slumdog Millionaire. The first »

- Jada Yuan

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Blu-ray, DVD Release: Company (2011)

13 September 2012 12:37 PM, PDT | Disc Dish | See recent Disc Dish news »

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Nov. 13, 2012

Price: DVD $24.98, Blu-ray $29.98

Studio: Image

Neil Patrick Harris leads an all-star cast in the 2011 revival of Company.

First produced in 1970 from a book by George Furth with music and lyrics by the legendary Stephen Sondheim (West Side Story), the musical comedy Company was again mounted in 2011 with an all-star cast and orchestrations by the New York Philharmonic.

The cast of the four-nights-only 2011 revival is led by Neil Patrick Harris (A Very Harold &Kumar Christmas) and also includes Craig Bierko (The Change-Up), Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer (TV’s Two and a Half Men), Christina Hendricks (TV’s Mad Men), Broadway song-and-dance veterans Patti LuPone and Katie Finneran, Martha Plimpton (The Goonies) and Anika Noni Rose (For Colored Girls).

Company’s plot revolves around unable-to-commit bachelor Bobby (Harris), the five married couples who are his best friends, and his three girlfriends. Unlike most book musicals, which follow a clearly delineated plot, »

- Laurence

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Cloudy 2: Revenge Of The Leftovers Casting and Plot Details

22 August 2012 2:55 AM, PDT | Filmofilia | See recent Filmofilia news »

The forecast is sunny side up for Sony Pictures Animation as the studio has reassembled the all-star, comedy voice cast of the animated hit Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs for Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers, set for release in 3D on February 7, 2014. The first Cloudy film took in $243 million worldwide.

The sequel is directed by Cody Cameron (whose story artist credits include Shrek, Madagascar , Surf’s Up and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) & Kris Pearn (head of story on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and story supervisor on Arthur Christmas ) and produced by longtime Sony Pictures Animation producer Kirk Bodyfelt.

The lead voice cast from the first film returns, including Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live, Men In Black 3) as inventor Flint Lockwood; Anna Faris (Scary Movie, The House Bunny) as brainy weather girl Sam Sparks; James Caan (The Godfather, Elf) as Flint’s technophobic dad, »

- Allan Ford

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Original Voice Cast Back for Seconds in ‘Cloudy 2,’ Plus New Stars and a Delicious Synopsis

21 August 2012 2:00 PM, PDT | FilmSchoolRejects.com | See recent FilmSchoolRejects news »

Get your eyes (plates?) ready to feast on a delicious new Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs sequel that’s apparently so tasty that almost all of its lead voice cast has returned for seconds. End food puns. Sony Pictures Animation has today announced, quite unsurprisingly, that the voice cast for Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers will include “Bill Hader as inventor Flint Lockwood; Anna Faris as brainy weather girl Sam Sparks; James Caan as Flint’s technophobic dad, Tim Lockwood; Andy Samberg as Swallow Falls’ local celebrity “Baby” Brent; Neil Patrick Harris as Steve the gummy bear-loving monkey; and Benjamin Bratt as Sam’s mild mannered cameraman Manny.” Joining the cast is Will Forte as “world-famous super-inventor” and head of the Live Corp Company Chester V (Forte played a background character named Joe Towne in the first film), Kristen Schaal as Chester’s talking orangutan Barb (essentially, she’s his Steve), and Terry Crews as »

- Kate Erbland

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Sony Pictures Animation Sets All-Star Voice Cast For Cloudy 2: Revenge Of The Leftovers; 3D Release Storms Into Theaters On February 7, 2014

21 August 2012 11:13 AM, PDT | WeAreMovieGeeks.com | See recent WeAreMovieGeeks.com news »

The forecast is sunny side up for Sony Pictures Animation as the studio has reassembled the all-star, comedy voice cast of the animated hit Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs for Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers, set for release in 3D on February 7, 2014. The first Cloudy film took in $243 million worldwide. The sequel is directed by Cody Cameron (whose story artist credits include ShrekMadagascar, Surf’s Up and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) & Kris Pearn (head of story on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and story supervisor on Arthur Christmas) and produced by longtime Sony Pictures Animation producer Kirk Bodyfelt.

The lead voice cast from the first film returns, including Bill Hader (Saturday Night LiveMen In Black 3) as inventor Flint Lockwood; Anna Faris (Scary MovieThe House Bunny) as brainy weather girl Sam SparksJames Caan (The GodfatherElf) as Flint’s technophobic dad, »

- Michelle McCue

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Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers Adds Terry Crews

21 August 2012 11:01 AM, PDT | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

The forecast is sunny side up for Sony Pictures Animation as the studio has reassembled the all-star, comedy voice cast of the animated hit Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs for Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers, set for release in 3D on February 7, 2014. The first Cloudy film took in $243 million worldwide. The sequel is directed by Cody Cameron (whose story artist credits include Shrek, Madagascar, Surf's Up and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) & Kris Pearn (head of story on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and story supervisor on Arthur Christmas) and produced by longtime Sony Pictures Animation producer Kirk Bodyfelt.

The lead voice cast from the first film returns, including Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live, Men in Black 3) as inventor Flint Lockwood; Anna Faris (Scary Movie, The House Bunny) as brainy weather girl Sam Sparks; James Caan (The Godfather, Elf) as Flint's technophobic dad, Tim Lockwood; Andy Samberg (Saturday Night Live, »

- MovieWeb

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Neil Patrick Harris Reuniting With Original 'Assassins' Cast for One-Night-Only Benefit

20 August 2012 9:55 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris is reuniting with the original Broadway cast of the musical Assassins for a one-night-only benefit for the Roundabout Theater Company, according to Playbill.com. Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's dark musical explores the lives and motivations of the people who have killed or tried to kill U.S. presidents, including John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald and John Hinckley Jr. Photos: 'How I Met Your Mother' Meets Baby The show won five Tonys, including best revival; best director for Joe Mantello; and best featured actor in a musical for

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»

- Kimberly Nordyke

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The Good Wife Season 3 DVD Giveaway!

20 August 2012 7:30 AM, PDT | The Hollywood News | See recent The Hollywood News news »

It’s more politically charged and scandalous than ever, the critically acclaimed legal drama and we’re pleased to announce that thanks to Paramount Home Entertainment, we’ve got a box set of The Good Wife – Season 3 – to giveaway that’s released on DVD on 27th August!

Headlined by Julianna Margulies in her Emmy® and Golden Globe® award-winning role, The Good Wife – The Third Season not only includes 22 must-watch episodes, but is packed with bonus features providing a rare, inside look at the creation of the celebrated drama.

Margulies stars as Alicia Florrick, a wife and mother who assumes full responsibility for her family and re-enters the workforce after her husband’s (Chris Noth) very public sex and political corruption scandal.  The third season of the series continues with Alicia struggling to balance her professional and personal lives as she strives to provide a stable home for her children.  In »

- Dan Bullock

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Actors Discuss Bringing 'The Exorcist' From Screen to Stage

1 July 2012 11:00 PM, PDT | backstage.com | See recent Backstage news »

Things are about to get biblical at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, with "The Exorcist," beginning performances July 3 for a July 11 opening. The play is based on the book by William Peter Blatty, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for the popular 1973 film. The world premiere comes courtesy of acclaimed director John Doyle, known for his innovative stagings of Stephen Sondheim's "Company" and "Sweeney Todd," and playwright John Pielmeier, who previously examined issues of faith and the supernatural with "Agnes of God." "The Exorcist" stars Brooke Shields as Chris MacNeil, an actor and single mother whose 12-year-old daughter begins to exhibit signs of demonic possession and Richard Chamberlin as Father Merrin, the priest brought in to save the girl. Rounding out the cast are a list of stage veterans, three of whom sat down to speak with Back Stage. They are three-time Tony nominee Harry »

- help@backstage.com (Jenelle Riley)

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Stephen Colbert And Allison Janney Join Dreamworks Animation’s Mr. Peabody & Sherman – November 8, 2013 Release Date

12 June 2012 8:48 AM, PDT | WeAreMovieGeeks.com | See recent WeAreMovieGeeks.com news »

DreamWorks Animation has announced that Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report), Emmy Award® winner Allison Janney (The Help, The West Wing), Ellie Kemper (Bridesmaids, The Office), Ariel Winter (Modern Family) and Stephen Tobolowsky (Californication, Dr. SeussThe Lorax) have joined previously announced cast members, Emmy Award® winner Ty Burrell (Modern Family) and Max Charles (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Three Stooges) in the studio’s Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which is now scheduled to be released on November 8, 2013. The film had previously been slated for March 14, 2014, a release date now planned for the studio’s Me & My Shadow.

“These incredible casting additions have elevated Mr. Peabody & Sherman to a new level of excitement and we are truly fortunate to work with so many talented actors,” said DreamWorks Animation Chief Creative Officer Bill Damaschke. “I’m certain that their collective passion and enthusiasm for the film will bring the classic characters of Mr. Peabody »

- Michelle McCue

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