Tuesday, May 27, 2008

June! Tony and Emmy Awards, and Film Festivals!

Whoopi Goldberg will host Tonys.

Regis gets Lifetime Emmy.

Ah. The month of June will be here next week. Two of my favorite award shows come out of the gate in June - the Tony Awards (15 June, NYC) and the Daytime Emmy Awards (20 June, Hollywood).

The nominations for both organizations are in, and the hosts have been announced. Click here for the Tony nominations, and for the Daytime Emmy nominations. To find much more, and access official sites, click my 2009 Awards Page link on the right sidebar.

At the same time the Theatre Wing and the Television Academy are honoring their own in June, the film festival crowd tries to beat the heat in Wyoming (Jackson Hole), Scotland (Edinburgh), or on the beach in L.A. It's a great life, if you can live it. Should they prefer more exotic and hotter times with their movies, they may head for Shanghai. Or, later, to Sarajevo.

I'm now following so many film festivals that one page is not enough. So, for 2008, I'm splitting the coverage into at least three parts.

Part I began in Palm Springs, California, and ended in Cannes, France. Cannes closed this week, but you can read about it, and others during the first part of year, for as long as you like by clicking the link for Part I on the right sidebar.

Film Festivals Part II is now online, with lots of interesting festivals. A link is also on the sidebar.

Part II begins with the Jackson Hole Festival and ends in early October with the 46th New York Film Festival in NYC. In between you'll find Montreal, Telluride, San Sebastian, and more.

Coming online in August will be Part III. It begins with Vancouver in September. I'm not sure where it will end. It may be necessary to add a Part IV. At any rate, watch this blog for notification when Part III is online sometime in August.

To get the overview of the film festivals I cover during a year, take a look at my Film Festivals Page 2007.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

61st Cannes Winners Spread Among Countries

The 61st Cannes Film Festival, which wrapped today, spread the festival awards among many countries with the biggest winners being France and Italy.

The jury headed by Sean Penn named the French movie THE CLASS (Entre Les Murs), the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) winner for best film at Cannes. It was directed by Laurent Cantet (TIME OUT, 2001, HUMAN RESOURCES, 1999), and is based on an autobiographical novel by Francois Begaudeau who plays himself as a young French teacher facing a sometimes rebellious class (surprise?).

The Grand Prix runner-up prize went to Italy's GOMORRAH (Gomorra), Matteo Garrone's hard-hitting film about the world of modern day Naples crime families, the principal one being the Camorra family. The movie is based on the book by Neapolitan writer Roberto Saviano.

The second Italian competition entry, IL DIVO, a satire on the life of former prime minister Giulio Andreotti and directed by Paolo Sorrentino, won the jury award.

A special prize was given to screen legend Catherine Deneuve, as well as Clint Eastwood whose film THE EXCHANGE (a.k.a., CHANGELING) was in competition. The Camera d'Or for best new directorial debut went to Britain's Steve McQueen for HUNGER. Yes, that's his name.

The Best Director award went to Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan's dark tale, THREE MONKEYS.

Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro was named Best Actor for his portrayal of the Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara in Steven Soderbergh's epic four-and-a-half hour CHE (USA).

The Best Actress award went to Brazil's Sandra Corveloni. She portrays the trials of a now pregnant mother, who already has four sons, in the popular Brazilian drama LINHA DE PASSE (Line of Passage), co-written and directed by Walter Salles, which is set in the slums of Sao Paulo.

Belgium's Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc, won Best Screenplay for LORNA'S SILENCE. Previously, the brothers have won two Golden Palms together: L' ENFANT (2005) and ROSETTA (1999).

The Federation of International Film Critics (FIPRESCI) awarded their FIPRESCI Prize for "Revolation Film" to Mexican filmmaker Fernando Eimbcke's second feature, LAKE TAHOE. The award was announced 19 May during Critics' Week.

Films receiving this award at Cannes must have won a FIPRESCI at a previous festival during the year, and TAHOE won the FIPRESCI at the Berlinale in Berlin this year. His first film, DUCK SEASON, won the same award during the Cannes Critics' Week in 2004.

For a list of the 22 films in competition, to read more about these films and Cannes, click the link on the right sidebar to access my Film Festivals Page-Part I.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

AMPAS® Announces Student Academy Awards®

Students from eight colleges and universities have been named winners of the Academy of Motions Pictures Arts and Sciences' 35th Annual Student Academy Awards®. Eleven students attending college in the U.S., and one film student from the Academy of Media Arts, Cologne, Germany, who has been selected to receive the honorary foreign film award, will receive their awards in a ceremony 7 June at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Tickets are now available and are free.

The U.S. students first competed in one of three regional competitions. Each of those regions was permitted to send as many as three finalist films in each of four award categories. Academy members then screened the finalists’ films and voted to select the winners.

Winner's placement – Gold, Silver or Bronze – will not be revealed until the ceremony 7 June. In addition to a trophy, Gold Medal winners receive $5,000, Silver Medal winners receive $3,000, Bronze Medal winners receive $2,000, and the Honorary Foreign Film winner receives $1,000.

Winners are (listed alphabetically within each category by University):

San Francisco State University - Phoebe Tooke, CIRCLES OF CONFUSION.
University of Southern California (USC, Los Angeles) - Shih-Ting Hung, VIOLA: THE TRAVELING ROOMS OF A LITTLE GIANT.

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts, Valencia, CA)- Nicole Mitchell, ZOOLOGIC.
The Ringling College of Arts and Design (Sarasota, FL) - Evan Mayfield, THE VISIONARY.
The School of Visual Arts (NYC) - Tatchapon Lertwirojkul, SIMULACRA.

American University (Washington, D.C.) - Laura Waters Hinson, AS WE FORGIVE.
Columbia University (NYC) - J.J. Adler, UNATTACHED.

Florida State University - Z. Eric Yang, THE STATE OF SUNSHINE.
USC - Melanie McGraw, PITSTOP.
USC - Rajeev Dassani, A DAY'S WORK.

Honorary Foreign Film:
Academy of Media Arts, Cologne, Germany - Reto Caffi, ON THE LINE (Auf der Strecke). Caffi was selected from a pool of 43 entries.

Information about tickets, etc.:
The Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Doors open at 5 p.m. All seating is unreserved. The Gold Medal-winning films and the Honorary Foreign Film will be screened in their entirety. A maximum of four free tickets may be requested online (click title of this post), in person at the Academy box office, by calling the Student Academy Awards department at (310) 247-3000, ext. 130, or by mail: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; 8949 Wilshire Boulevard; Beverly Hills CA 90211-1972.

The Academy established the Student Academy Awards in 1972 to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level. Past Student Academy Award winners have gone on to receive 35 Oscar® nominations and have won, or shared, six Academy Awards. Two former Student Academy Award winners were nominated in the Documentary Short Subject category at the 80th Academy Awards held earlier this year. James Longley was nominated for SARI'S MOTHER, and Amanda Micheli for LA CORONA (The Crown). The winner was Josh Raskin's I MET THE WALRUS.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Here Comes Cannes 2008

Harrison Ford in Indy4

The Riviera resort of Cannes prepares to welcome the who's who of filmdom Wednesday. That's the opening day of the 61st Cannes International Film Festival, which means the festival is much older than the majority of the potential attendees.

One of the biggest premieres at the festival will surely be INDIANA JONES and the KINGDOM of the CRYSTAL SCULL, or Indy4 for short. It is screening out of competition. Of course, it would be unlikely to win the Golden Palm (Palme d'Or), anyway. But, it will generate a lot of excitement.

One of the longest features, Steven Soderberg's CHE (a.k.a., GUERRILLA - USA, France, Spain), a two-part, four-and-a-half-hour epic on Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, will premiere in competition. Benicio del Toro stars as the charismatic Guevara.

These are only two top motion pictures in the 12-day movie marathon, which will command world attention while cinephiles watch for the two, or three, break-out feature films that will make cinematic history in 2008. Then, the question becomes, "Will any one of the favorites at Cannes claim the biggest prize of all, the Oscar® for Best Motion Picture of 2008?"

You can read about Cannes, and 18 other major and/or popular festivals already completed this year, on my Film Festivals Page. This year, I am dividing the festivals into three sections. Every year, I add more, and every year I write more, so it was the only sensible thing to do. Cannes completes Part I for 2008, which began with Palm Springs in January.

Part II is now online. It begins with Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in June, and ends with the New York Film Festival, opening in late September.

Next up will be Part III, beginning with the International Film Festival of Catalonia (Sitges, Spain) the first week in October, and probably ending with the Dubai Festival in mid-December. I can't say for sure yet because the Dubai dates run very close to the New Latin American Festival in Havana, Cuba.

Part III should be online by the last of August. By the end of October the action will shift to my Awards Page, which is the time the Oscar race really shifts into high gear, but there will still be some interesting film festivals to follow until Christmas. Then, my Film Festivals Page for 2009 begins.

I think you will find my Festivals Page handy. I try to note interesting tidbits, sometimes from my personal experience, and I always include handy links to help viewers quickly find the information in which they may be most interested. You can access the page by clicking the title of this post, or the permanent link on the right sidebar. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Memphis Area Alert: Free Screening

On Location: Memphis, and WKNO (Radio and TV), are hosting a free preview screening of SON OF RAMBOW at Malco's Studio on the Square in Memphis, TN, Wednesday, 14 May at 7:30 p.m. On Location: Memphis sponsors the annual Memphis Film Festival.

Directed by Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), the movie was an audience favorite at this year's Sundance Film Festival. It is described as a hilariously fresh and visually inventive take on friendship, family, film heroes and death-defying adventures, during an English summer in the 1980s.

To request free passes to the screening, send an email to lisab@onlocationmemphis.org, or call 901.626.9685. Be sure to include your name and phone number. Passes may be picked up Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, at 326 Ellsworth, or held at the door. The film is rated PG-13.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Tribeca Festival Wraps with Cadillac Audience Award

The Cadillac Award: The Audience Choice for Best Feature Film at the Tribeca Film Festival (23 April - 4 May), New York City, was announced 4 May, and the winner is the documentary feature, WAR CHILD. It won over nine others, including PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, which won the juried award for the best documentary feature.

First-time director C. Karim Chrobog received a cash prize of $25,000, the art award "Peripheral Drift Illusion" by Ryan McGinness, and a one-of-a-kind trophy to commemorate his achievement for WAR CHILD.

The true story in the doc: Emmanuel Jal raps his "Warchild," and tells his story of being conscripted as a soldier into the Sudanese People's Liberation Army when he was only eight years old. Now, as a veteran of a 20-year civil war between the Muslim North and Christian South, he has become, at 28, a rising hip-hop star.

Jal had declined other offers to film his story, but Chrobog offered him something else, "We want to use the story so you can give back and build a school." Last fall, Jal and Chrobog launched a foundation,
Gua Africa, which is raising money to build two schools, one in southern Sudan and another outside of Nairobi, Kenya.

The top ten in the running for the award were:

1. Pray the Devil Back to Hell - won Best Documentary Feature.
2. War Child
3. Gotta Dance
4. Playing For Change: Peace Through Music
5. Man on Wire
6. Run For Your Life
7. Under Our Skin
8. Kicking It
9. The Wackness
10. Fighter

To view a still from WAR CHILD, read about other awards at Tribeca and other festivals, plus links, click the link for My Film Festivals Page on the right sidebar.

Jal's MySpace / Read more about the film