Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Michigan Filmmaker Award Today


Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem in Traverse City Festival's Opening Movie


Michael Moore, founder and Grand Puba of the Traverse City Film Festival, will present the Michigan Filmmaker Award to Oscar-winning screenwriter Kurt Luedtke (OUT OF AFRICA and ABSENCE OF MALICE ) at the official opening of the Traverse City Film Festival this afternoon (2:00 pm).

Tonight's opening-night party has been moved to Building 50 as rain is expected. GHOSTBUSTERS is due to be shown outdoors tonight, and should it get rained out, it will be shown on Sunday night. The opening movie, VICKI CRISTINA BARCELONA starring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, will be shown as scheduled.

Moore reports that Luedtke, "wrote OUT OF AFRICA on Glen Lake! How cool is that?!" Luedtke was born in Grand Rapids.

For those of you who, like me, are not Michiganders, Glen Lake is in Northern Michigan (Leelanau County) next to Lake Michigan. It is separated by a small strip of land, known as Leelanau Peninsular, upon which some quaint towns and a number of resorts reside.

Traverse City, is located at the base of Lake Michigan's western arm of Grand Traverse Bay. When counting its micropolitan area, which it does in order to be a city (an official city has a population of 50,000 or more), is the largest city in a 21-county area of Northern Michigan, with over 142,000. Within the actual city limits of Traverse City, the population is about 15,000. See MAP.

For previous posts about the TCFF on this blog click:(1) (2).

To everyone working at, and attending, the festival - - Happy Festival!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Traverse City prepares for Film Festival


State Theater in downtown Traverse City, MI.

Today, I received an e-mail from Michael Moore asking that I make it clear that there are many films at the Traverse City Film Festival (29 July - 3 August) not sold out. Since documentary is his passion, he wants to recommend the section, "Movies from People Who Want to Kill Us." They are from Muslim countries and half of the directors are women. Surprised? However, Michael tells me he is concerned about the title of the section, because the people involved in these films definitely do not want to kill us. They want us to see their movies.

Chief among them is BUDDHA COLLAPSED OUT OF SHAME, a powerful documentary screening at the festival, and the debut of 18-year-old Iranian director Hana Makhmalbaf. The movie is set in Bamian, a small town in Afghanistan where the Taliban destroyed giant Buddha statues in 2001. Michael says about this film, "A wonderful celebration of the human spirit. My second-favorite film of the festival." Hmmmm. Is he going to tell me his favorite?

Two others in the section are: BAGHDAD HIGH - A group of kids secretly record their life at a Baghdad high school; MY DINNER WITH THE PRESIDENT - A [Pakistani] woman decides to invite a dictator to dinner. He accepts. She asks to film it. He agrees.

Michael is also concerned that people will stay away from the documentary ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL, "because it is about a heavy metal band [Anvil], and perhaps there aren't that many metalheads among you. You do NOT need to like heavy metal to love this film. Anvil is the band that essentially invented heavy metal -- but they were a couple years too soon. . . . ANVIL is at times is hilarious (these guys are the real life Spinal Tap)."

ANVIL, the movie, directed by Sacha Gervasi, features Steven "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner, not the same as Rob Reiner, the actor known as "Meathead" from TV's All in the Family, director of the movie THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984), and son of the legendary Carl. After the movie on Friday and Saturday night, Anvil [the band] will take the stage and play a set live for the audience.

The historic State theatre in downtown Traverse City, MI, will be dark this weekend (July 25-28) in order to upgrade the already excellent sound system, install a bigger screen, and to permanently install the theater organ in time for the Traverse City Film Festival, mostly thanks to an anonymous donor. Yes, sir, the folks in Traverse City have reason to be excited.

There are some films sold out for the festival, which opens 29 July and runs through 3 August, but dozens are still available. They are available at the walk-up box office located downtown at 300 E Front Street in the Art Center, online, and by phone.
Among the exciting events, Singer / actress / and producer Madonna who, like Michael Moore, is a Michigan native, will appear during the festival for a screening of her documentary, I AM BECAUSE WE ARE, on 2 August. See previous post on this blog for more detail. The event is oversold, but they are trying to add additional screenings of the movie.

The opening movie, VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, directed by Woody Allen, is sold out, and the party afterward may be as well. There are still some tickets for writer-director Andrew Fleming's closing movie, HAMLET.

You can read more, and view some video about the Traverse City Film Festival, a.k.a. Michael Moore's Film Festival, and order available tickets online by clicking the title of this post. There is more about the film in this post on my Film Festivals Page II (link on the right sidebar). On that page you will find more information about this festival, and many others. There is always a link to the official Web site for each festival covered on my Film Festivals Page, and you might find it a handy page to bookmark (favorite) for quick reference.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Actress Annette Bening Newly Elected to Academy Board


Actress Annette Bening is the only new Governor elected to the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the ensuing three-year term. She is representing the Actors Branch. Eight incumbents were reelected, along with six other filmmakers who will return to the Board after a time away.

The other five electrets for this term are returning to the Board after a hiatus. They are: Jeffrey Kurland, Art Directors; Martha Coolidge, Directors; Arthur Hamilton, Music; Don Hall, Sound; and Phil Robinson, Writers.

The Board of Governors oversee the Academy's business, artistic, preservation, and philanthropic endeavors related to cinema. One of their main duties is to establish and enforce rules for the Academy Awards®.

Fourteen of the Academy’s 15 branches are each represented by three governors, who may serve up to three consecutive three-year terms. Terms are staggered so that each branch elects or reelects one governor each year. The Makeup Branch is represented by a single governor, currently Leonard Engelman, whose seat was not part of this election cycle.

Incumbent governors reelected to another term are Owen Roizman, Cinematographers; Michael Apted, Documentary; Robert Rehme, Executives; Donn Cambern, Film Editors; Kathleen Kennedy, Producers; Sid Ganis, Public Relations; John Lasseter, Short Films and Feature Animation; and Craig Barron, Visual Effects. Hall’s return to the Board fills a seat left vacant when J. Paul Huntsman died earlier this year.

Governors who were not up for reelection and who continue on the Board are Ed Begley, Jr. and Henry Winkler, Actors Branch; Rosemary Brandenburg and Jeannine Oppewall, Art Directors; Caleb Deschanel and Vilmos Zsigmond, Cinematographers; Curtis Hanson and Paul Mazursky, Directors; Rob Epstein and Richard Pearce, Documentary; Jim Gianopulos and Tom Sherak, Executives; Dede Allen and Mark Goldblatt, Film Editors; Bruce Broughton and Charles Fox, Music; Mark Johnson and Hawk Koch, Producers; Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Marvin Levy, Public Relations; Carl Bell and Jon Bloom, Short Films and Feature Animation; Curt Behlmer and Kevin O’Connell, Sound; Richard Edlund and Bill Taylor, Visual Effects; and James L. Brooks and Frank Pierson, Writers.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Film Festivals and Awards in June Wrap


Sir Sean Connery presented the awards in Edinburgh.

All the film festivals that I follow in June have wrapped, Edinburgh (Scotland) and Los Angeles (USA) this past weekend. For information about these, and others held this month: Jackson Hole (USA), AFI SILVERDOCS (D.C.), and Shanghai (China), click the link on the right sidebar for my Film Festivals Page II. There is also a link for Part I, which began in January with Palm Springs and ended with Cannes.

Next up: Michael Moore's Traverse City (fellow Michigander Madonna will be there with her new film) and then, Sarajevo (Bosnia). Festivals in August and September are also in Part II.

The Daytime Emmy and Broadway's Tony Awards wrapped in June, too. The Emmys had three awards sessions: the sports awards, daytime creative arts and entertainment awards, and the 35th daytime Emmy gala hosted by ABC's Cameron Masterson (All My Children) and Sherri Shepherd (The View). Regis Philbin (Live With Regis and Kelly) took home the lifetime achievement Emmy.

For more on these awards and many more for this year, click the link on the right sidebar for my Awards Page.