Wednesday, June 25, 2008

AMPAS® Invites and Issues New Rules

Foreign Language Film Entry Forms Go to 95 Countries - -

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS®) mailed Foreign Language Film (BFLF) award entry forms to 96 countries yesterday, inviting submissions in the BFLF category for the 81st Academy Awards®, 22 February 2009, rewarding the best of 2008. Last year, the Academy invited 93 countries to submit. Of those who submitted, films from 61 countries were qualified for nomination.

To qualify for the 2008 Awards, a film must be released in the submitting country between 1 October 2007, and 30 September 2008, and be publicly screened in 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital cinema format, for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theater.

The dialogue track must be predominantly (not quantified) in a language or languages other than English. Accurate English subtitles are required. The director, producers and the production crew must be predominantly (not quantified) from the country submitting the film.

Entry forms and film prints must be received at the Academy by Wednesday, October 1, 2008. Only one picture will be accepted from each country.

Countries that have not received entry packets but are interested in submitting a film for consideration should contact Awards Coordinator Torene Svitil at (310) 247-3000, ext. 116, or via e-mail at

In 2007, the Austrian film THE COUNTERFEITERS won the Oscar® over a field of nominated films from Israel, Kazakhstan, Poland and Russia. See last year's list of qualifying films listed by country.

Minor Rule Change for BFLF Category - -

The governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved the rules for the 81st Academy Awards at their 17 June meeting. Most modifications of the rules include normal date changes and minor “housekeeping” changes. The only significant changes were in the Best Foreign Language Film and the Best Original Song categories.

The change for the BFLF category is mainly procedural. The two-phase process by which the nominees are selected will remain intact. However, the Phase I committee – which is open to any voting member who views a minimum number [not quantified] of the eligible films – will now vote to determine only six of the nine films that will ultimately go to the Phase II committee.

The other three titles will be determined by those members of the 20-member Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee who have qualified to vote in the category. The executive committee’s selections will be made after the Phase I voting has been tallied. Think of the FLF Executive Committee as "super delegates."

This change was evidently made because last year's selection of the final list, from whence the actual nominees came, was a disaster. There was a huge outcry because the highly acclaimed Romanian movie, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, AND 2 DAYS, director Cristian Mungiu, which won best film at Cannes in 2007, did not make the final nomination cut. Some felt it was a political rather than an artistic call because the subject of the movie is forced abortions. Hopefully, things will go better this year. 4 MONTHS is now available on DVD. Click NETFLIX graphic on right sidebar.

Changes in Music Award for Best Original Song - -

There are three changes in the Best Original Song category. First, while there continues to be no limit on the number of songs from a given film that can be submitted for consideration, no more than two songs from any one film may be nominated for an Academy Award. Many felt it was highly unfair that three out of the five song nominations last year went to ENCHANTED.

Second as refers to voting, in addition to the annual screening event at which members of the Music Branch view clips featuring the eligible songs as they appear in the films and vote, DVDs of those same clips will be made available to branch members who are unable to attend the screening; ballots will accompany the DVDs and must be returned by mail.

Thirdly, Music Branch members who have one or more songs in contention for nominations do not vote in the above phase for nomination. Again, to keep the playing field fair. However, they remain eligible to vote on the final ballot to select the winner. See all Academy rules for 81st Oscars.

AMPAS Invites 105 to Become New Members in 2008 - -

The membership policies that the Academy adopted in 2004 in order to slow the growth of the organization would have allowed a maximum of 137 new members in 2008, but as in the previous years, the various branch committees sometimes endorsed fewer candidates than were proposed to them. Voting membership in the organization has now held steady at just under 6,000 members since 2003.

New members will be welcomed into the Academy at an invitation-only reception at the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study in Beverly Hills in September. See list of the 2008 invitees.

The Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2008 will be presented on Sunday, 22 February 2009, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. Also, the Oscar presentation will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Javier Bardem Wins Spain's National Film Award

Javier Bardèm with SAG Award

César Antonio Molina, Minister of Culture of Spain, announced today in Madrid that Spanish Actor Javier Bardèm is the winner of Spain's 2008 National Film Award, an honor given annually by the Cultural Ministry. Bardem, 39, was selected for the $46,500 prize for "goals achieved throughout a long career," for his "defense of the acting profession and a constant commitment to Spanish cinema."

Bardem won a best-supporting actor Oscar and a SAG award for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN in February. His screen credits also include THE SEA INSIDE (Mar Adentro) and BEFORE NIGHT FALLS.

Friday, June 06, 2008

People Already Queuing for Madonna Tickets at TCFF

[See previous post for more detail about this event.]

Tickets for Madonna's visit to the Traverse City (Michigan) Film Festival August 2nd will go on sale tomorrow morning (Saturday, June 7th) at 11 a.m. at the downtown State Theatre. However, Deb Lake, Executive Director of the Festival reported at 8:00 p.m. tonight that a line for tickets began forming at the State Theatre sometime in the wee hours Wednesday night. By last night, three tents had been erected on the sidewalk.

She characterized the crowd as resembling an unofficial Friday Night Live with "vogue-ing" on Front Street. She also admonishes not to fear, because arrangements have been made to accommodate the demand for TC's Madonna Night.

Madonna has agreed to a simultaneous showing of her movie in another venue, and her remarks at the State will be beamed "live" to this other yet-to-be-named location as well. Tickets to this "overflow theater" will be $15, and again, all the proceeds will go to the Raising Malawi Foundation. This way, hundreds more people will have a chance to participate in "Madonna in TC."

Tickets for the alternate event will be split 50-50 between the public and Friends of the TC Festival, as originally announced. So, if you are a Friend and have already sent your Post Card, you are in the lottery pool for both.

She thanks everyone for their overwhelming support and wishes each, "Good luck!" tomorrow.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Madonna in Traverse City, MI, 2 August - get tickets now!

Yes, that's correct. Singer / Actress / Writer / Producer Madonna will appear in person at the Traverse City Film Festival (TCFF), 2 August, for a screening of her documentary, I AM BECAUSE WE ARE. The feature documentary, directed by Nathan Rissman, had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.

The tickets will be available to the general public, ONLY at the historic State Theatre box office in downtown Traverse City, Michigan, and will go on sale this Saturday, 7 June. NO tickets will be sold online or by phone. Tickets are $25. To see Madonna in person? Wow!

The screening is part of the program for the Traverse City Film Festival, which will run from 29 July - 3 August at the downtown State Theatre. It was co-founded by filmmaker Michael Moore and others. He, like Madonna, is a native of Michigan, and the festival is often referred to as Michael Moore's Film Festival.

Michael Moore in SICKO

I AM BECAUSE WE ARE is Madonna's personal journey and meditation about the African country of Malawi, a nation devastated by poverty and disease but filled with a desire to overcome all that it faces. The documentary has been described as "searing," "thoughtful," and "powerful."

The film features Bishop Desmund Tutu, President Bill Clinton, and author/activist Jeffrey Sachs. All proceeds from the event will go to the Raising Malawi Foundation, a project of Madonna's that helps orphans in one of the world's poorest countries.

For more about the festival, and relevant links, click title of this post, or HERE. Also, you might like to read
Madonna's remarks at the screening of the documentary in Cannes last month.