ROBOT & FRANK to open 2012 Sarasota Film Festival

ROBOT & FRANK to open 2012 Sarasota Film Festival

Jake Schreier’s ROBOT & FRANK will open the 2012 Sarasota Film Festival on Friday, April 13th.  Frank Langella and Mr. Schreier will attend the festival’s Opening Night. Set in the near future, ROBOT & FRANK is the story of Frank (Frank Langella), a retired thief living alone and resigned to longing for the local librarian (Susan Sarandon). Concerned about his father’s health, Frank’s son brings him a new caretaker; a state of the art robot […]

2012 Full Frame Announces Films in ‘Family Affair’ Thematic Program

2012 Full Frame Announces Films in ‘Family Affair’ Thematic Program

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, held April 12-15, in Durham, N.C., announced the lineup for its 2012 Thematic Program, entitled “Family Affairs”. The program curated by filmmaker Ross McElwee features 10 selections that explore the delicate terrain along the fault line of family. The program features the work of 9 directors: Steven Ascher, Alan Berliner, Doug Block, Morgan Dews, Alfred Guzzetti, Jeanne Jordan, Ed Pincus, Lucia Small, and Marco Williams, who will attend the […]

CHIMPANZEE film to Open and DAVID About a Muslim Boy in Brooklyn to Close 2012 Tumbleweeds Film Festival

CHIMPANZEE film to Open and DAVID About a Muslim Boy in Brooklyn to Close 2012 Tumbleweeds Film Festival

The 2012 Tumbleweeds Film Festival kicks off on March 23 with a special screening of CHIMPANZEE, the new film from Disneynature and the award-winning filmmakers of Earth and closes with a screening of film festival favorite DAVID, a charming film that examines the complexities of life through the eyes of an 11-year old Muslim boy growing up in Brooklyn. The 2012 Tumbleweeds Film Festival runs March 23-25 and presents films from around the world for […]

2012 Tribeca Film Festival Announces World Narrative And Documentary Competition Selections Plus Out-Of-Competition Viewpoints Titles

2012 Tribeca Film Festival Announces World Narrative And Documentary Competition Selections Plus Out-Of-Competition Viewpoints Titles

The 2012 Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) today announced the World Narrative and Documentary Competition film selections, along with selections for the out-of-competition Viewpoints section—the program established last year that highlights personal stories in international and independent cinema. Forty-six of the 90 feature-length films were announced. The 11th edition of the Festival will take place from April 18 to April 29 at locations around New York City.

WORLD NARRATIVE AND DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION, AND VIEWPOINTS
World Narrative and Documentary Competition
This year, 12 narrative and 12 documentary features making their North American, International, or World Premieres will compete for combined cash prizes amounting to $180,000 and donated artwork from the Artists Awards program sponsored by Chanel, featuring renowned artists including Cindy Sherman, JR, Kara Walker and Stanley Whitney.
The complete list of films selected for the World Narrative Feature and World Documentary Competition is as follows:

World Narrative Feature Competition
Of the 12 films in Tribeca’s 2012 World Narrative Competition, half are international productions and half American. Though the balance is less a product of design than serendipity, it amply reflects the Tribeca Film Festival’s commitment to fostering dialogue between the global filmmaking community and U.S. audiences and auteurs. Borders figure prominently in this year’s slate—zealously patrolled by some characters and surreptitiously crossed by others—from the Unites States’ desert border with Mexico (The Girl) and ocean gulf from Cuba (Una Noche), to the ancestral lines separating a Turkish family’s feudal farmland from nearby nomadic peoples (Beyond the Hill). Films centering on specific geographic divisions are complemented by the ultimate universal theme of romantic connection, from the dizzying rush of first love (Jack and Diane) through a second chance at reuniting with an old flame (All In) to a woman whose life is rejuvenated by an unexpected relationship with a younger man (While We Were Here). The program is rounded out by a pair of claustrophobic character studies seamlessly incorporating elements of genre (Nancy, Please; First Winter) and a sunny portrait of the visitors coming to and from an Indonesian zoo (Postcards From the Zoo). Films in this section compete for the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature, Best New Narrative Director, Best Actor and Actress, Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography.

All In (La Suerte En Tus Manos), directed by Daniel Burman, written by Daniel Burman and Sergio Dubcovsky. (Argentina) – International Premiere. Professional poker player Uriel has been on a real hot streak—with the ladies—since his marriage fizzled out. But in between growing his online gambling business and helping to raise his kids, Uriel has rediscovered his old pre-marriage flame, Gloria…. Starring the great Valeria Bertuccelli (XXY) and Oscar®-winning songwriter Jorge Drexler, this romantic comedy from Daniel Burman (Lost Embrace) unfolds in the acclaimed director’s signature style: poignant, natural, and bitingly funny. In Spanish with subtitles.

Beyond the Hill (Tepenin Ardi), directed and written by Emin Alper. (Turkey, Greece) – North American Premiere. Faik, a proud old forester, is having trouble with nomads grazing their livestock on his land. For revenge, he and his hulking farm hand Mehmet snatch a goat to butcher for a family holiday, unwittingly sparking a dire blood feud. Debuting Turkish director Emin Alper creates an atmosphere of skin-crawling terror in this psychological drama by withholding, not showing, the escalating acts of violence that hurtle these feuding farmers toward a shocking confrontation. In Turkish with subtitles.

First Winter, directed and written by Benjamin Dickinson. (USA) – World Premiere. In this extraordinary debut feature, a blackout of apocalyptic proportions strands a group of Brooklyn hipsters in a remote country farmhouse with no heat and no electricity during the coldest winter on record. At first, it’s all sex and drugs and acoustic guitars. But as the days go on and the food supply dwindles, struggles of power, jealousy, and desire threaten the group’s ability to work together in order to survive.

The Girl, directed and written by David Riker. (USA, Mexico) – World Premiere. From the director of La Ciudad comes this moving drama about a single mother (Abbie Cornish) caught in emotional quicksand after losing her job and custody of her son. Desperate to earn cash for her custody battle, she makes the daring choice to help smuggle illegal immigrants over the border. A deep connection to a young Mexican girl will take her on a life-changing journey and force her to confront her past. In English, Spanish with subtitles.

Jack and Diane, directed and written by Bradley Rust Gray. (USA) – World Premiere. Tomboy Jack and bubbly Diane fall head over heels in love one hot summer in New York City. When Diane reveals she must leave the city for school in Europe, their budding love is tested. Weaving horror elements into a distinctive and fresh yet timeless and universal first-love story, TFF alum Bradley Rust Gray (The Exploding Girl) brings his unique vision to this idiosyncratic story of the joys and terrors of first love. A Magnolia Pictures release.

Nancy, Please, directed by Andrew Semans, written by Will Heinrich and Andrew Semans. (USA) – World Premiere. Paul’s life is good. He has a gig teaching literature at Yale, and he just moved in with his longtime girlfriend, finally shedding his casually sinister roommate, Nancy. There’s just one thing. Paul left an item of great importance at his old apartment, and Nancy doesn’t want to give it back.… Paul’s life is about to unravel. Debuting director Andrew Semans skillfully orchestrates a minor annoyance into an all-consuming obsession in this smart, stunning psychodrama.

Postcards From the Zoo (Kebun Binatang), directed by Edwin, written by Edwin, Daud Sumolang, and Titien Wattimena. (Indonesia) – North American Premiere. Acclaimed Chinese-Indonesian director Edwin (Blind Pig Who Wants To Fly) returns with a gorgeous, dreamlike fairy tale set inside Jakarta’s wondrous Ragunan Zoo. Abandoned in the zoo as a little girl and raised among the wild menagerie, Lana finally embarks outside the peculiar confines she has always known—and into the seedier side of Jakarta—when she falls in love with a charming magician. In Indonesian with subtitles.

Una Noche, directed and written by Lucy Mulloy. (UK, Cuba, USA) – North American Premiere. Fed up with catering to the privileged tourist class, Cuban teens Raul and Elio are tantalized by the promise of a new life in Miami. Accused of assaulting a foreigner, Raul has no choice but to flee, but Elio must decide whether his own escape is worth abandoning his beloved sister. Brimming with the nervous energy of Havana’s restless youth and evocative cinematography of the sun-bleached capital, Una Noche follows one sweltering day, full of hope and fraught with tensions, that burns to a shocking climax. In Spanish with subtitles.

Unit 7 (Grupo 7), directed by Alberto Rodriguez, written by Rafael Cobos and Alberto Rodriguez. (Spain) – International Premiere. Unit 7 is a semi-official police detail with a seemingly impossible mission: kick Seville’s most vicious drug trafficking ring out of town ahead of a major international expo. By any means necessary. As they slip outside the bounds of the law in the name of duty, two officers fueled by violence, lies, and ambition end up on opposing paths. Spanish superstar Mario Casas (Neon Flesh) stars in this adrenaline-pumping action thriller. In Spanish with subtitles.

War Witch (Rebelle), directed and written by Kim Nguyen. (Canada) – North American Premiere, Narrative. At 14, Komona has lived through horrors that eclipse any adult’s worst nightmares. In this mesmerizing, otherworldly drama, shot entirely in the Congo, she confides to the baby growing inside of her the harrowing story of her life since rebel warlords stormed her village. Fortified by eerily mystical powers and the warming friendship of an albino boy, the sensitive girl battles through this dire, war-ravaged world enchained as a child soldier. In French, Lingala with subtitles.

While We Were Here, directed and written by Kat Coiro. (USA) – World Premiere. Jane (Kate Bosworth) and her English husband travel to Naples hoping to reinvigorate their silently disintegrating marriage and escape a personal tragedy that hangs heavily between them. When Jane, facing writer’s block, takes a day trip to a beautiful island off the coast, she meets a young American man living a hermetic life on the island. As the two embark on an unlikely emotional affair, Jane faces some drastic changes in her life.

Yossi (Ha-Sippur Shel Yossi), directed by Eytan Fox, written by Itay Segal. (Israel) – World Premiere. Returning to the role that won him TFF’s Best Actor award in Eytan Fox’s Yossi & Jagger in 2003, Ohad Knoller is extraordinary as Yossi, a closeted gay man living a solitary existence in Tel Aviv. A chance encounter with a group of soldiers ignites Yossi’s desire to live an open, fulfilling life. Written and directed with uncommon honesty and compassion by Fox, this is a deeply moving film about the power of second chances. In Hebrew with subtitles.

World Documentary Feature Competition
The 12 films of this year’s World Documentary Competition cover a wide range of aesthetics in American and international subjects. Beth Murphy’s The List challenges us with the moral obligation of the U.S. government as we pull out of our wars in the Middle East, while Nisha Pahuja’s The World Before Her weaves the complexity of possibilities for women in India in contrasting conservative and progressive veins. In the more personal documentaries, Denmark’s Christian Bonke and Andreas Koefoed bring us a beautiful, tragic romance in the complicated partnership of Ballroom Dancer, while from South Korea hails Seung-Jun Yi’s Planet of Snail, a tender portrait of an aspiring writer, who is deaf and blind, and his partner. Filmmakers push the documentary form in adventurous ways, from Israel’s Arnon Goldfinger with his mysterious, riveting Holocaust documentary The Flat, to Namir Abdel Messeeh’s The Virgin, the Copts and Me, a heartwarming, offbeat comedy shot in Egypt. Films in this section compete for Best Documentary Feature, Best New Documentary Director, and Best Editing.

Ballroom Dancer, directed and written by Christian Bonke and Andreas Koefoed. (Denmark) – North American Premiere. In 2000, Slavik Kryklyvyy became the World Latin American Dance Champion. Enduring success seemed assured, but instead Slavik’s career sputtered… until redemption seemed possible with his new partner and lover, Anna. But will Slavik’s unwavering ambition prove toxic to their romance? Subtly depicting the pair’s shifting relationship through gestures, glances, and the dance itself, Ballroom Dancer begins as a comeback story and evolves into a movingly intimate tragic romance. In Russian, English with subtitles.

Downeast, directed by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin. (USA) – World Premiere. Gouldsboro, Maine. Hit hard by the closure of the sardine canning factory, its laid-off residents—mostly 70-year-olds—just want to get back to work. So why is Italian immigrant Antonio Bussone having so much trouble getting federal funds to open a new lobster processing plant? Charged with the spirit of a generation that still gives it 110 percent, this poignant and poetic documentary sheds new light on the trying task of putting America back to work.

Fame High, directed and written by Scott Hamilton Kennedy. (USA) – World Premiere. Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s follow-up to his Oscar®-nominated The Garden captures all the drama, competition, heartbreak, and triumph among a group of struggling students at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. From the nail-biting freshman auditions to the spectacular senior graduation performance, this endearing coming-of-age documentary is a tribute to discovering your passion and deciding whether you have the talent to take it to the next level.

The Flat (Ha-dira), directed and written by Arnon Goldfinger. (Israel, Germany) – North American Premiere. At age 98, director Arnon Goldfinger’s grandmother passed away, leaving him the task of clearing out the Tel Aviv flat that she and her husband shared since immigrating to Palestine from Nazi Germany in the 1930s. In this emotionally riveting documentary, Goldfinger follows the hints they left behind in a lifetime’s collection of documents to investigate long-buried family secrets and uncover the mystery of his grandparents’ painful past. In Hebrew, German, English with subtitles.

High Tech, Low Life, directed by Stephen Maing. (USA, China) – World Premiere. With the Chinese government employing 40,000 “internet police,” more than half a million websites are blocked in the country. Local TV stations only publicize “the good news.” The rising tide of censorship has aroused a wave of citizen reporters committed to investigating local news stories and crime scenes. This timely and probing documentary tracks rogue bloggers Zola and Tiger Temple as they risk political persecution to become China’s uncensored eyes and ears. In Mandarin with subtitles.

The List, directed by Beth Murphy. (USA) – World Premiere. After leading rebuilding teams in war-torn cities in Iraq, Kirk Johnson returned to America to establish and advocate for a growing number of Iraqi citizens now targeted by radical militias because they aided the U.S. in the reconstruction effort. TFF alum Beth Murphy (Beyond Belief) creates an affecting portrait of an unlikely but passionate humanitarian who has championed the cause of Iraqi refugees largely ignored by the U.S. government. In English, Arabic with subtitles.

Off Label, directed by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher. (USA) – World Premiere. The term “off-label” refers to the use of pharmaceuticals in any way counter to their prescribed dosage and function. Weaving together the powerful, personal stories of misdiagnosed patients, professional guinea pigs, recreational drug users, and soldiers struggling with PTSD, Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher (October Country) expose the breadth of off-label drug use and take us on an emotional road trip through an overmedicated, misdiagnosed, and drug-addled America.

Planet of Snail, directed by Seung-Jun Yi. (South Korea) – North American Premiere. Deaf and blind, Young-Chan lives in a quiet, isolated world in his small apartment. But when Soon-Ho, an empathetic woman compromised by a spinal disability, comes into his life, a unique love story begins. Poetic and gently paced, Planet of Snail brings to life the sensual world shared by this special couple, and illustrates that the greatest beauty can be found in the smallest and most unlikely love stories. In Korean with subtitles.

The Revisionaries, directed by Scott Thurman, written by Jawad Metni and Scott Thurman. (USA) – World Premiere. Once in a decade, the 15 members of the Texas State Board of Education meet in Austin to revise the textbook standards for five million schoolchildren. Led by Don McLeroy, a Young-Earth Creationist and Evangelical Christian, the panel implements standards that will ultimately go into effect in science and history textbooks for schoolchildren across the nation. The Revisionaries is a galvanizing peek behind the curtain at the politicization of education.

The Virgin, the Copts and Me (La Vierges, les Coptes et Moi), directed by Namir Abdel Messeeh, written by Namir Abdel Messeeh, Nathalie Najem, and Anne Paschetta. (France, Qatar) – North American Premiere. In his feature debut, French-Egyptian filmmaker Namir Abdel Messeeh sets out to investigate the phenomenon of supposedly miraculous Virgin Mary apparitions in Egypt’s Coptic Christian community. But when the secular director faces opposition from skittish producers and his Coptic family, Namir turns the camera on his wonderfully smart-alecky mother and reimagines his film as a touching, uniquely hilarious portrait of family and heritage. In Arabic, French with subtitles.

Wavumba, directed by Jeroen van Velzen, written by Jeroen van Velzen and Sara Kee. (Netherlands) – North American Premiere. Mysticism and color reign in this stunning documentary steeped in the fishermen lore of Kenya. Revisiting a childhood fairy tale of a spirit-filled island with the magic to either bless or curse a fisherman’s journey, Dutch filmmaker Jeroen van Velzen explores his memories via Masoud, a real-life legend of shark fishing. His glory days long gone, Masoud relives his youth through grandiose stories told with swaggering pride and heartbreaking nostalgia. In English, Swahili with subtitles.

The World Before Her, directed by Nisha Pahuja. (Canada) – World Premiere. Weaving together the seemingly opposing stories of the Miss India beauty pageant and a fundamentalist Hindu camp for girls, director Nisha Pahuja illuminates the situation of women across contemporary India, drawing surprising parallels in the way women are perceived and the opportunities that are afforded them in both modernizing and traditional cultures. The World Before Her is a riveting, thoughtful profile of the fundamental contradictions of a country in transition. In English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati with subtitles. {jathumbnail off}

 

Documentary Filmmaker Barbara Kopple to be honored at 2012 San Francisco International Film Festival

Documentary Filmmaker Barbara Kopple to be honored at 2012 San Francisco International Film Festival

The 55th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 19 – May 3) will present the Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award to veteran documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple. Kopple will be presented with the POV award Sunday, April 22, 3:30 pm at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, preceding the screening of her masterful landmark documentary Harlan County, USA (USA 1976). “Barbara Kopple is a pioneering documentarian who brings the highest level of craft to her work whether she […]

Grabbers from 2012 Sundance Film Festival is headed to theaters later this year

Grabbers from 2012 Sundance Film Festival is headed to theaters later this year

Another film from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival is headed to theaters. IFC Midnight will release director later this year, Jon Wright’s comedy GRABBERS, starring Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey, Lalor Roddy, David Pearse, and Bronagh Gallagher. In GRABBERS, something sinister has come to the shores of Erin Island, unbeknownst to the quaint population of this sleepy fishing village restingsomewhere off the coast of Ireland. First, some fishermen go missing. Then there is the […]

2012 Atlanta Film Festival Line-Up Plus L!fe Happens to Open and The Cabin in the Woods to Close Festival

2012 Atlanta Film Festival Line-Up Plus L!fe Happens to Open and The Cabin in the Woods to Close Festival

The Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) announced its 2012 lineup of narrative and documentary features and short films for this year’s festival, March 23-April 1 in Atlanta, GA. 

The Atlanta Film Festival will open with the feature film L!fe Happens, a film by director Kat Coiro.  L!fe Happens is a comedy about three Los Angelenos  and what happens when a one-night-stands results in an unexpected pregnancy,  Co-writer Krysten Ritter (“Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23”, She’s Out of My League) stars in the film along with Kate Bosworth and Rachel Bilson.  Director Kat Coiro and Krysten Ritter will be in attendance on opening night.  The Atlanta Film Festival closing night will take place on Saturday, March 31 and will feature The Cabin in the Woods, the highly anticipated horror film starring Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Kristen Connolly (The Happening, Revolutionary Road). 

The lineup consists of 29 Narrative Features, 26 Documentary Features and 9 Short Program Presentations with over 50 features/shorts with ties to Georgia.

The Narrative Feature Competition includes: A Little Bit Zombie, directed by Casey Walker; OK, Good directed by Daniel Martinico, That’s What She Said directed by Carrie Preston, and Welcome to Pine Hill, directed by Keith Miller.  The Pink Peach Feature Competition includes: Glitterboys and Ganglands, directed by Lauren Beukes; The Grove, directed by Andy Abrahams Wilson; and Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads, directed by Michael Schiralli. The Documentary Feature Competition includes Brooklyn Castle, directed by Katie Dellamaggiore; Coal Rush, directed by Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopa; Code 2600, directed by Jeremy Zerechak; Danland, directed by Alexandra Berger; Her Master’s Voice directed by Nina Conti; I Want My Name Back, directed by Roger Paradiso and Trash Dance, directed by Andrew Garrison.

The 2012 Atlanta Film Festival will feature:

OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHT

L!fe Happens (USA)
Director: Kat Coiro
From director Kat Coiro comes L!FE HAPPENS, a comedy centered on three young women – Kim (Krysten Ritter), Deena (Kate Bosworth) and Laura (Rachel Bilson) – who all live under the same roof in Los Angeles. When one of Kim’s one-night-stands results in an unexpected pregnancy, things take a sudden turn for the trio. With the help of her girlfriends, Kim must cope with single motherhood as she jumps back into the dating scene amid the fear that toting around a tot can be a dating ‘buzz-kill.’ Also featuring Jason Biggs, Seymour Cassel, Rhys Coiro, Justin Kirk, Kristen Johnston, Andrea Savage, Geoff Stults and Fallon Goodson, L!FE HAPPENS takes a look at single living, friendship and the joys of life’s curveballs.
Cast: Krysten Ritter, Kate Bosworth, Rachel Bilson, Justin Kirk
(Opening Night)

The Cabin in the Woods (USA)

Director: Drew Goddard
Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen.  If you think you know this story, think again. From fan favorites Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard comes THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, a mind blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out.
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins Bradley Witford
(Closing Night)  {jathumbnail off}

 

Gianni Di Gregorio’s Film The Salt of Life Will Charm Your Winter Blues Away

Gianni Di Gregorio’s Film The Salt of Life Will Charm Your Winter Blues Away

  By Francesca McCaffery “The Salt of Life” is a charming film by Italian actor and filmmaker Gianni Di Gregorio, who plays an aging man trying to come to grips with the fact that he feels like a “discarded engine on the side of the road.” Treated like with condescension by his wife, dealing with a petulant and spoiled daughter, and with an aging mother who treats him like a servant. Gianni (also the character […]

“Last Days Here” A Strange Little Documentary About Doing or Dying For Rock-n-Roll

“Last Days Here” A Strange Little Documentary About Doing or Dying For Rock-n-Roll

by Francesca McCaffery The new documentary “Last Days Here” (opening today March 2nd at the IFC Center in NYC) directed by Don Argott and Demian Fenton, had so much crazy subtext going on, it could be a few tiny little films in itself: The film focuses on “underground heavy metal legend” Bobby Liebling, the singer- songwriter-guitarist for the ‘70s metal band Pentagram. According to some rabid fans, Pentagram was the best metal band from that […]

Sony Pictures Classics to Release High Profile Documentary WEST OF MEMPHIS from Sundance Film Festival

Sony Pictures Classics to Release High Profile Documentary WEST OF MEMPHIS from Sundance Film Festival

Sony Pictures Classics have acquired worldwide rights to Academy Award®nominated filmmaker Amy Berg’s (DELIVER US FROM EVIL) high profile documentary WEST OF MEMPHIS, which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.  WEST OF MEMPHIS is a powerful documentary that chronicles the new investigation surrounding the “West Memphis Three,” which ultimately broke the case open and led to the freedom of three innocent men: Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. Beginning with […]

2012 Florida Film Festival Announces Narrative and Documentary Feature Films and Selects Renee as Opening Night Film

2012 Florida Film Festival Announces Narrative and Documentary Feature Films and Selects Renee as Opening Night Film

The 2012 Florida Film Festival, announced that a record-breaking 167 films were selected to screen at the festival, with 144 having their Florida premiere (or higher) at the Festival. This year’s Festival runs April 13-22, 2012 and is located in Central Florida. The Narrative and Documentary Feature Film selections for the 2012 Florida Film Festival American Independent Competition were announced. Among them, DeLand based director Sylvia Caminer unveils her documentary on pop star Rick Springfield. […]

The Five-Year Engagement Starring Emily Blunt and Jason Segel to Open 2012 Tribeca Film Festival

The Five-Year Engagement Starring Emily Blunt and Jason Segel to Open 2012 Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) today announced that The Five-Year Engagement will open the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival. Director/writer/producer Nicholas Stoller and writer/star Jason Segel of Forgetting Sarah Marshall reteam for the irreverent comedy, which also stars Emily Blunt, Rhys Ifans, Chris Pratt and Alison Brie. The premiere will take place on Wednesday, April 18, and the Festival will run through April 29. Beginning where most romantic comedies end, The Five-Year Engagement looks at what […]

1st inaugural Montclair Film Festival Official Poster

1st inaugural Montclair Film Festival Official Poster

The Montclair Film Festival has chosen Chris Gash’s submission as the winner of the poster contest for the 2012 Festival. Chris is a Visiting Specialist at Montclair State University in New Jersey. The 1st inaugural Montclair Film Festival is scheduled for May 1 thru 6, 2012 in Montclair, New Jersey.  

Chris Kennedy is New Programmer of TIFF Free Screen

Chris Kennedy is New Programmer of TIFF Free Screen

Noah Cowan, Artistic Director, TIFF Bell Lightbox, announced the appointment of Chris Kennedy as the new programmer for The Free Screen, TIFF Cinematheque’s renowned ongoing free series that features independent and avant-garde works. “Chris has long been a champion of Canadian and international experimental film and video,” said Cowan. “His commitment and experience within the local and international experimental film and video community as well as his active participation in artist-run culture in the city […]

2012 Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Children in Utah Film Lineup

2012 Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Children in Utah Film Lineup

The 2nd annual Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Children in Utah announced this year’s line up includes 11 feature films and 14 short films films from 7 countries, in 5 languages.  Many films will be screened in their original languages, with a reader narrating the subtitles for younger audience members. In addition to the 18 film presentations, the festival includes four film related workshops presented by Spy Hop Productions. Screenings and workshops will be held March […]

Iraqi director Oday Rasheed to be San Francisco Film Society 2012 Spring Artist in Residence

Iraqi director Oday Rasheed to be San Francisco Film Society 2012 Spring Artist in Residence

The San Francisco Film Society announced that Iraqi director Oday Rasheed will be in San Francisco for the Film Society’s third Artist in Residence program, April 2 – 16. Rasheed’s schedule will include programs in each of the Film Society’s core areas — education, exhibition and filmmaker services — including visits to Bay Area high school and college classrooms, a screening of his feature Qarantina and networking events with the local film community. Rasheed’s residency […]

Author Jonathan Lethem to Deliver State of Cinema address at 2012 San Francisco International Film Festival

Author Jonathan Lethem to Deliver State of Cinema address at 2012 San Francisco International Film Festival

Author Jonathan Lethem will deliver the ninth annual State of Cinema address at the 55th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 19 – May 3). Each year, the Film Society invites a public figure to discuss the intersecting worlds of contemporary cinema and visual arts, culture and society, images and ideas. This year, New York Times bestselling novelist, essayist and short story writer Jonathan Lethem investigates the “ecstasies of influence” constituting the cinematic experience. From […]

Australia’s Fantastic Planet Film Festival Announces Lineup and The Divide as Opening Night Film

Australia’s Fantastic Planet Film Festival Announces Lineup and The Divide as Opening Night Film

Australia’s Fantastic Planet Film Festival kicks of on March 22, 2012, for 11 days of horror, fantasy and science fiction films. Opening night of the Festival will see the Australian premiere of the post-apocalyptic science fiction thriller and nominee for ‘Best New International Feature’ at the 2011 Edinburgh International Film Festival, THE DIVIDE; followed by the science fiction drama ANOTHER EARTH, winner of the prestigious Sloan Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The Festival’s […]

Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour in Lousiville This Weekend

Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour in Lousiville This Weekend

The Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour returns to the Clifton Center’s Eifler Theatre in Louisville on Saturday, March 3, 2012, from 8:30-11:00 p.m screening inspirational and motivational films, hosted again by Kentucky Waterways Alliance . “The Wild & Scenic film festival is a great opportunity to bring our community together around local environmental issues, inspire advocacy and offer people a direct way to get involved locally,” said Judith Petersen, Kentucky Waterways Alliance executive […]

Winners of the 84th annual Academy Awards

Winners of the 84th annual Academy Awards

No surprise here, The Artist was the big winner at the 84th annual Academy Awards, taking home the big award of the night, Best Picture along with Best Actor for leading actor Jean Dujardin. The list of the winners from the 84th annual Academy Awards: Best picture: “The Artist.” Actress in a leading role: Meryl Streep, “Iron Lady.” Actor in a leading role: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist.” Actress in a supporting role: Octavia Spencer, “The […]

The Artist, Pariah, The Descendants Win at 27th Film Independent Spirit Awards

The Artist, Pariah, The Descendants Win at 27th Film Independent Spirit Awards

The Artist, as expected, was the big winner at yesterday’s 27th Film Independent Spirit Awards, winning awards for Best Feature, Best Director, Best Male Lead and Best Cinematography. Other winners included My Week With Marilyn, which won Best Female Lead; The Descendants, which won Best Supporting Female and Best Screenplay; Beginners, which won Best Supporting Male and Pariah, which won the John Cassavetes Award; 50/50, which won Best First Screenplay; Margin Call, which won Best […]

Mike Ratel’s Documentary About Lawn Mower Racing to World Premiere at 2012 DC Independent Film Festival

Mike Ratel’s Documentary About Lawn Mower Racing to World Premiere at 2012 DC Independent Film Festival

On Your Mark, Get Set, MOW! has been officially selected to screen at the 2012 DC Independent Film Festival, Saturday, March 3, 2012, 5:00pm. The documentary film which will make its world premiere, will explore the world of lawn mower racing through the eyes of a Michigan family who has lost six members to Huntington’s disease and uses the sport to raise awareness of the disease and funds for its research. Filmmaker Mike Ratel has […]

29 Films on Lineup for 2012 New Directors/New Films

29 Films on Lineup for 2012 New Directors/New Films

The 41st New Directors/New Films (March 21 – April 1) organized by The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art will screen 29 feature films (24 narrative, 5 documentary) and 12 short films representing 28 countries.

The opening night feature is Nadine Labaki’s WHERE DO WE GO NOW?. Screening on Wednesday, March 21 at MoMA, Labaki’s follow up to the critically acclaimed CARAMEL follows the events that transpire after women of different religions in a remote Lebanese village band together and invent schemes to prevent their men from killing each other in the intractable religious conflict that surrounds their community. This entertaining and unlikely near-musical tears down stereotypes of women in the Middle East and uses humor to explore serious subjects, with one eye toward Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and the other toward Bollywood. Winning audience awards at the Toronto and San Sebastian Film Festivals after a successful premiere in Cannes, WHERE DO WE GO NOW? is refreshing and unflinching. The film is a Sony Pictures Classics Release.

The 41st edition of New Directors/New Films will be marked by a series of first time events for the festival: The screening and celebration of Stanley Kubrick’s first feature, FEAR AND DESIRE (1953) breaks precedent by presenting a film nearly 20 years older than the festival itself. THE RABBI’S CAT, directed by Antoine Delesvaux and Joann Sfar will be the first 3-D feature screened at ND/NF, as well as the first feature shown as a family film. Two programs of short films have also been added to this year’s schedule and Gareth Huw Evans’ Indonesian martial-arts thriller THE RAID will be the first late-night screening of a ND/NF selection.

This year a special surprise screening will be featured as the Closing Night selection. The film will not be revealed to the audience until it screens at the Film Society on Sunday, April 1.

Among the feature debuts are films by actors-turned-directors Karl Markovics and Roschdy Zem. Markovics’ BREATHING follows an inmate at a juvenile detention center whose last hope of parole rests on his ability to hold down a job as a morgue assistant, while Zem’s thriller OMAR KILLED ME is about a Moroccan gardener wrongly accused of murder. Visual artist and musician Terence Nance’s AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY is a personal meditation on love in the new millennium. The film was an audience favorite at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

Additional first-time feature outings include Adam Leon’s GIMME THE LOOT, a New York-fueled adventure about two ambitious graffiti artists with a plan to make their revenge-inspired mark on the city. Song Chuan’s HUAN HUAN weaves an emotionally charged story about a woman whose indiscretions have a domino effect within her rural village. Similarly, Kleber Mendonça Filho’s NEIGHBORING SOUNDS looks at the unexpected consequences that occur when a private security firm is hired to police a prosperous middle class neighborhood sitting next to a low-income area. Finally, Lee Kwang-Kuk puts the lessons learned from being assistant director to Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo on display with his film ROMANCE JOE which thrusts the viewer into a series of intertwined stories triggered by a bar maid telling of the time she met a suicidal guy called ‘Romance Joe.’

Returning to New Directors/New Films are Mads Brügger (THE RED CHAPEL, 2010) with his film THE AMBASSADOR, in which he takes center stage as the title character in an effort to expose African political misdeeds; and Joachim Trier (REPRISE, 2007) with his (previously announced) OSLO, AUGUST 31ST which follows a young man on what will be the most significant day of his life.

Daring and experimental approaches to documentary filmmaking are highlighted by Anca Damian’s (previously announced) CRULIC: THE PATH TO BEYOND which utilizes hand-drawn, cutout and collage animation techniques and Victor Ginzburg’s GENERATION P, a metaphysical Mad Men from the go-go 1990s. Other documentaries include Emad Burnat’s and Guy Davidi’s Sundance award-winner for Best Documentary Direction, 5 BROKEN CAMERAS, which chronicles the jarring events that have taken place in Palestine over the past five years and David France’s HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, which provides an immersive moving-image document chronicling the rise of AIDS activism.

The 41st New Directors/New Films features selections include:

THE AMBASSADOR (Ambassadøren) (2011) 94min
Directed by Mads Brügger
Country: Denmark
The consummate agent-provocateur–his method fittingly described as “Graham Greene meets Borat”–Brügger (THE RED CHAPEL, NDNF 2010) shocks and mightily entertains by performing an artistic intervention in reality using role-playing and hidden cameras to expose an awful truth about life in central Africa.

BREATHING (Atmen) (2011) 90min
Director: Karl Markovics
Country: Austria
The remarkably assured directorial debut from veteran Austrian actor Karl Markovics (THE COUNTERFEITERS) creates a slipstream between the perilousness of youth and the inevitability of death as it tells the story of an inmate at a juvenile detention center whose last hope of parole rests on his ability to hold down a job…as a morgue assistant. A Kino Lorber release.

CRULIC: THE PATH TO BEYOND (2011) 73min
Director: Anca Damian
Country: Romania
Anca Damian’s documentary utilizes hand drawn, cutout and collage animation techniques, combined with some very dark humor to create a striking documentary about a young Romanian’s hunger strike in a Polish jail.

DONOMA (2011) 133min
Directed by Djinn Carrénard
Country: France
Rumored to have been shot for about $200, DONOMA announces the arrival of an intriguing new talent on the French scene, Haitian-born, Paris based Djinn Carrénard. Devised, shot (often guerrilla-style) and edited over a period of years, the film is a choral piece that chronicles the romantic destinies of three women, offering a fresh, funny portrait of an emerging French generation.

FEAR AND DESIRE (1953) 72min
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Country: USA
Directed, photographed, and edited by the talented and ambitious 24-year-old Kubrick, FEAR AND DESIRE was written by his high school classmate, Howard Sackler, who would go on to win the Pulitzer Prize in playwriting. Some Kubrick scholars see this wartime drama of five soldiers behind enemy lines and their encounter with a native woman as a dry run for PATHS OF GLORY; others see it as the original to the second half of FULL METAL JACKET. A Kino Lorber release.

5 BROKEN CAMERAS (2011) 90min
Directors: Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
Countries: Palestine/Israel/France
Emad Burnat’s and Guy Davidi’s documentary began five years ago in the Palestinian town of Bil’in when Burnat bought a camera to record the birth of his son Gibreel. Gibreel’s arrival, however, coincided with a period of great unrest in the area, which is witnessed by five video cameras, each subsequently damaged by bullets or rocks. A Kino Lorber release.

FOUND MEMORIES (Historias Que Só Existem Quando Lembradas) (2011) 98min
Director: Julia Murat
Country: Brazil
The original title, which translates as “stories that only exist when remembered,” beautifully expresses the theme and core sentiment of Julia Murat’s poetic rendering of the fictive town of Jotuomba. A magical confluence of generations and cultures is occasioned by the visit of Rita, a young photographer, to this place where time has seemingly stood still and life is rooted in the fixed roles of tradition soon to be rendered obsolete. A Film Movement release.

GENERATION P (2011) 116min
Director: Victor Ginzburg
Country: Russia
Ginzburg’s GENERATION P could be described as a metaphysical Mad Men from the go-go 1990s – a wonderland of images and ideas that emerged from the rebirth of a nation as a marketer’s paradise. The film offers a “view” of post-Communist Russia as the arrival of democracy and Pepsi-Cola brought the advance of capitalism with all of its mechanisms and fuzzy messages.

GIMME THE LOOT (2012) 81min
Director: Adam Leon
Country: USA
In his feature film debut, Adam Leon has created a raucous, car-less road trip that is an homage to street-smart kids and New York City. Malcolm and Sofia, two determined teens from the Bronx, are the ultimate graffiti writers. When their latest masterpiece is wiped out by a rival gang, they must hustle, steal and scheme to get spectacular revenge and become the biggest graffiti writers in the city.

GOODBYE (Bé omid é didar) (2011) 104min
Director: Mohammad Rasoulof.
Country: Iran
In his latest film, celebrated Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof creates a dramatic and tense tale set in Tehran, where a young woman is desperately attempting to acquire a visa to leave the country. The beautifully shot film uses the confinement of space to cinematically express claustrophobia, its precise framing catching every subtle expression on the face of the astonishing Leyla Zareh, who plays the disbarred human rights lawyer, Noora, looking for a way out.

HEMEL (2012) 80min
Director: Sacha Polak
Country: The Netherlands/Spain
Sacha Polak’s HEMEL features Hannah Hoekstra as a strong-willed, complicated, and vulnerable heroine who longs (perhaps too much) to connect with her elusive father and ultimately find herself. The film is a powerful investigation of a sexually-empowered woman and her search for physical and intellectual intimacy.

HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE (2012) 109min
Director: David France
Country: USA
David France’s immersive moving-image document chronicling the rise of AIDS activism shows a movement though the lenses of those who captured it firsthand. Desperate people leveraged the skills they had—some wrote, some lobbied, many marched, and all mobilized—to flight a plague that vast swaths of society saw as just punishment for immoral actions. A Sundance Selects release.

HUAN HUAN (2011) 90min
Director: Song Chuan
Country: China
Song Chuan’s first feature captures the dreams and desires, disappointments and regrets, of a life not fully lived via the title character. In a rural Chinese village, a young woman who is the local doctor’s mistress struggles against her family, government bureaucracy and social mores to move away and create a life for herself.

IT LOOKS PRETTY FROM A DISTANCE (Z daleka widok jest piekny) (2011) 77min
Directors: Anka and Wilhelm Sasnal
Country: Poland
Anka and Wilhelm Sasnal’s film is set in a Polish village effectively cut off from civilization, where rough and impassive Pawel makes a living scavenging for scrap metal. There’s bad blood between him and the “community” (a more spiteful collection of individuals would be hard to imagine), and when he goes AWOL his neighbors loot and vandalize his home. What if he returns? A brooding, almost wordless drama vision of a world in an advanced state of entropy.

LAS ACACIAS (2011) 85min
Director: Pablo Giorgelli
Country: Argentina
One of the discoveries of the 2011 Cannes Critics Week, Pablo Giogelli’s road movie with a difference takes a 900-mile trip from Asunción in Paraguay to Buenos Aires in the company of Rubén, a gruff, taciturn truck driver and the two illegal immigrants—a young woman, and her new-born daughter—he is reluctantly transporting.

THE MINISTER (L’exercice de l’État) (2011) 115min
Director: Pierre Schöller
Country: France
Pierre Schöller’s political thriller focuses on a cabinet minister (Olivier Gourmet) in charge of national transportation who believes himself to be a man of the people. He wants both to be and do good, but in order to get anything done he must, given the exigencies of compromise, cajole, bend and even betray.

NEIGHBORING SOUNDS (O som ao redor) (2012) 124min
Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho
Country: Brazil
A thrilling debut from a breakout talent, Kleber Mendonça Filho’s NEIGHBORING SOUNDS delves into the lives of a group of prosperous middle-class families residing on a quiet street, close to a low-income neighborhood. A private security firm hired to police the street becomes the catalyst for an exploration of the neighbors’ discontents and anxieties, which are exacerbated by a palpable sense of unease over their society’s troubled past and present inequities.

NOW, FORAGER (2012) 93min
Directors: Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin
Countries: USA/Poland
A quiet tale about the search for integrity and the perfect mushroom, Jason Cortlund’s and Julia Halperin’s NOW, FORAGER follows Lucien and Regina, an urban couple living off the land foraging for fungi in upstate New York with a dream of following the seasonal emergence of exotic varieties across the country. That is, until Regina’s decision to take a job in the kitchen of a hip restaurant offers a more solid opportunity, even as it betrays Lucien’s off-the-grid ethos.

OMAR KILLED ME (Omar m’a tuer) (2011) 85min
Director: Roschdy Zem
Country: France
Actor-turned-director Roschdy Zem’s OMAR KILLED ME tells a story of racism, politics, and injustice with the clarity of a documentary and the pacing of a thriller. When a rich widow was murdered in the south of France 20 years ago, her Moroccan gardener was convicted and jailed with no evidence; it took a committed journalist to try to unravel the rush to judgment that laid bare the racism that was hidden in the French justice system.

OSLO, AUGUST 31ST (2011) 96min
Director: Joachim Trier
Country: Norway
Daylight lingers at the end of August in Oslo, but sunlight is not a friend to Anders, a semi-recovered addict, facing a new life, which may not be appealing without former habits. Adapted from the same novel as Louis Malle’s THE FIRE WITHIN (1963), Joachim Trier’s OSLO, AUGUST 31ST follows Anders as he tries to adjust – making love, wandering through Oslo, having a job interview, seeing old friends, and trying to get comfortable with his situation. A Strand Releasing Film.

AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY (2011) 95min
Directed by Terence Nance
Country: USA
Frank, funny, and bracingly contemporary, visual artist Terence Nance gleefully bends the cinematic rules for his personal meditation on love in the new millennium with his film, AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF BEAUTY. Passages of live action sequences and direct-to-camera interviews are accented with a wide variety of animation styles as Nance analyzes his amorous history as well as his current circumstances.

PORFIRIO (2011) 101min
Director: Alejandro Landes
Country: Colombia
Paralyzed from the waist down by a stray police bullet, the title character in Alejandro Landes’ remarkable film spends his days selling minutes on his cell phone when not flirting with his comely neighbor, and secretly plotting his revenge. Landes worked on the film for five years, creating a tale that joined the most intimate details of Porfirio’s day-to-day life with an astonishing re-creation of his attempt to hijack an airplane.

THE RABBI’S CAT (Le chat du rabbin) (2011) 89min
Director: Antoine Delesvaux
Countries: France/Austria
Adapted from the graphic novels by Joanne Sfar, THE RABBI’S CAT is a vivid, lively, and imaginative animated film co-directed by Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux . Set in 1920’s Algiers, a widower rabbi lives with his voluptuous and dutiful daughter and their pesky cat who swallows a parakeet and begins to speak, driving everyone crazy and moving the plot ahead by insisting on having a bar-mitzvah.

THE RAID (2011) 100min
Director: Gareth Huw Evans
Countries: Indonesia/USA
In Gareth Huw Evans’ sensational thriller, THE RAID, a police SWAT team storms a housing project ruled by gangsters and inhabited by machete-wielding lowlifes—but the mission has been leaked, the tables are turned, and a dwindling band of elite fighters find themselves massively outnumbered in a lethal game of cat and mouse. What ensues is a relentless and savage succession of close-quarters shoot-outs and punishing martial-arts combat sequences, each jaw-dropping smackdown unbelievably topping the previous one. This film is wild! A Sony Pictures Classics release.

ROMANCE JOE (Ro-maen-seu Jo ) (2011) 115min
Director: Lee Kwang-Kuk
Country: South Korea
In his playful first feature, Lee Kwang-Kuk expertly weaves several narrative strands into an elegant web and a meditation on storytelling. A teasing and pleasing portrait of a filmmaker in search of a story to tell, ROMANCE JOE begins as a young, self-possessed barmaid in a remote inn recalls the time she met the title character.

TEDDY BEAR (2012) 92min
Director: Mads Matthiesen
Country: Denmark
Mads Matthiesen’s character-based and understated comedy, TEDDY BEAR tells the story of a gentle giant of a body builder who self sculpts his muscles by day and lives quietly at home with his mom at night. But at 38, he really wants a proper girlfriend, and despite his mother’s resistance (she is a master of emotional manipulation) and his own profound awkwardness, he draws up the courage to find one–even if he has to leave Denmark to do so.

TWILIGHT PORTRAIT (2011) 105min
Director: Angelina Nikonova
Country: Russia
TWILIGHT PORTRAIT is a powerhouse collaboration co-written and co-produced by Angelina Nikonova, who directed, and Olga Dihovichnaya, who stars in this very dark, provocative and constantly surprising debut feature film. In a modern Russian city where corruption, apathy and class warfare are the norm, a woman is raped, rather casually, by the police. What follows explodes the conventions of sexual politics—and will certainly have filmgoers talking.

WHERE DO WE GO NOW? (2010) 100min
Director: Nadine Labaki
Countries: France/Lebanon/Italy/Egypt
Labaki’s film focuses on a group of women of different religions in a remote Lebanese village that band together and invent schemes to prevent their men from killing each other in the intractable religious conflict that surrounds their community. This entertaining and unlikely near-musical tears down stereotypes of women in the Middle East and uses humor to explore serious subjects, with one eye toward Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and the other toward Bollywood. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.

The 41st New Directors/New Films shorts selections include: {jathumbnail off}

Brian Bolsters film THE LOOKOUT and Jeff Orlowsskis CHASING ICE Win Top Awards at 2012 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

Brian Bolsters film THE LOOKOUT and Jeff Orlowsskis CHASING ICE Win Top Awards at 2012 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

The 9th annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival announced this year’s award winning films in the four competitive categories: Best Feature, Big Sky Award, Best Short Film and Best Mini Doc (under 15 minutes) on Thursday evening at a ceremony at The Loft in downtown Missoula. Each category winner will receive $500, courtesy of The Documentary Channel. FEATURE FILM COMPETITION  The Best Feature prize was awarded to Jeff Orlowsskis CHASING ICE,  about National Geographic environmental […]