Friday, October 24, 2008

Motion Picture Academy Awards $450,000 to Festivals

The Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® has awarded $450,000 to 24 U.S. film festivals for the 2009 calendar year, Festival Grants Committee Chair Gale Anne Hurd announced yesterday.

Two festivals, the Nashville Film Festival and the New Orleans Film Festival, will each receive a total of $75,000 over a three-year period to help develop long-term projects. The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Virginia Film Festival are each in the second year of a multi-year grant. The San Francisco International Film Festival will receive $50,000 as part of multi-year grant awarded in 2007.

While the grants are awarded for a variety of programs, film festivals are encouraged to submit proposals that make festival events more accessible to the general public, provide greater access to minority and less visible filmmakers, and help strengthen the connection between the filmmaker and the general public.

The 2009 film festival program allocations are as follows:

San Francisco International Film Festival **
Chicago International Film Festival
Heartland Film Festival (Indianapolis, IN)
Mill Valley Film Festival (San Rafael, CA) **
Sarasota Film Festival (FL)
Seattle International Film Festival
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (Durham, NC)
Nashville Film Festival
New Orleans Film Festival
Virginia Film Festival (Charlottesville)
Portland International Film Festival
Native American Film & Video Festival (New York City)
Roger Ebert’s Film Festival (Urbana, IL) **
Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival (Birmingham, AL)
Woodstock Film Festival (NY)
Asian American International Film Festival (New York City)
Arizona International Film Festival (Tucson)
BAMKids Film Festival (Brooklyn, NY)
Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival (AZ)
Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival (WY)
Olympia Film Festival (WA)
Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival (Colorado Springs)
San Francisco Black Film Festival
Washington Jewish Film Festival (D.C.)

Since its establishment in 1999, the Academy’s Festival Grants Program has distributed 198 grants totaling $3.5 million in funding. For more information on the program, visit

The program is one of the many activities of the Academy Foundation – the Academy’s cultural and educational wing – which annually grants more than $1 million to film scholars, cultural organizations and film festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad. The Foundation also presents the Academy’s rich assortment of screenings and other public programs each year.

** I follow these and more on my Film Festivals Page. Links on sidebar to the 2008 page, parts I, II, and III.

Roger Ebert of Ebertfest

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards – in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners – the Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; provides financial support to a wide range of other movie-related organizations and endeavors; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.

Friday, October 17, 2008


A record 67 countries (63 last year), including first-time entrant Jordan, have submitted feature films for Oscar® consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film (BFLF) category for the 81st Academy Awards® for Best Foreign Language Film of 2008.

In June, the Academy invited 95 countries to submit a film in the category. The deadline to receive the application and all supporting material was 1 October. Selected committees will now select a short list from which five films will be nominated by those in the full Academy membership who can certify they have seen all five films nominated. [This post is also in the link on the right sidebar from now until next year.]

The 2008 submissions, along with director(s) are:

Afghanistan, OPIUM WAR, Siddiq Barmak;
Albania, THE SORROW OF MRS. SCHNEIDER, Piro Milkani and Eno Milkani;
Algeria, MASQUERADES, Lyes Salem;
Argentina, LION'S DEN, Pablo Trapero;
Austria, REVANCHE, Gotz Spielmann;
Azerbaijan, FORTRESS, Shamil Nacafzada;
Bangladesh, AHA!, Enamul Karim Nirjhar;
Belgium, ELDORADO, Bouli Lanners;
Bosnia and Herzegovina, SNOW, Aida Begic;
Brazil, LAST STOP 174, Bruno Barreto;
Bulgaria, ZIFT, Javor Gardev;
Canada, THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE, Benoit Pilon;
Chile, TONY MANERO, Pablo Larrain;
China, DREAM WEAVERS, Jun Gu, director;
Colombia, DOG EAT DOG, Carlos Moreno;
Croatia, NO ONE'S SON, Arsen Anton Ostojic;
Czech Republic, THE KARAMAZOVS, Petr Zelenka;
Denmark, WORLDS APART, Niels Arden Oplev;
Egypt, THE ISLAND, Sherif Arafa;
Estonia, I WAS HERE, Rene Vilbre;
Finland, THE HOME OF DARK BUTTERFLIES, Dome Karukoski;
France, THE CLASS, Laurent Cantet;
Georgia, MEDIATOR, Dito Tsintsadze;
Greece, CORRECTION, Thanos Anastopoulos;
Hong Kong, PAINTED SKIN, Gordon Chan;
Hungary, ISKA'S JOURNEY, Csaba Bollok;
Iceland, WHITE NIGHT WEDDING, Baltasar Kormakur;
India, TAARE ZAMEEN PAR, Aamir Khan;
Israel, WALTZ WITH BASHIR, Ari Folman;
Italy, GOMORRA, Matteo Garrone;
Japan, DEPARTURES, Yojiro Takita;
Jordan, CAPTAIN ABU RAED, Amin Matalqa;
Kazakhstan, TULPAN, Sergey Dvortsevoy;
Korea, CROSSING, Tae-kyun Kim;
Kyrgyzstan, HEAVENS BLUE, Marie Jaoul de Poncheville;
Latvia, DEFENDERS OF RIGA, Aigars Grauba;
Lebanon, UNDER THE BOMBS, Philippe Aractingi;
Lithuania, LOSS, Maris Martinsons;
Luxembourg, NUITS D'ARABIE, Paul Kieffer;
Macedonia, I’M FROM TITOV VELES, Teona Strugar Mitevska;
Mexico, TEAR THIS HEART OUT, Roberto Sneider;
Morocco, GOODBYE MOTHERS, Mohamed Ismail;
The Netherlands, DUNYA & DESIE, Dana Nechushtan;
Norway, O’HORTEN, Bent Hamer;
Palestine, SALT OF THIS SEA, Annemarie Jacir;
Philippines, PLONING, Dante Nico Garcia;
Poland, TRICKS, Andrzej Jakimowski;
Portugal, OUR BELOVED MONTH OF AUGUST, Miguel Gomes;
Romania, THE REST IS SILENCE, Nae Caranfil;
Russia, MERMAID, Anna Melikyan;
Serbia, THE TOUR, Goran Markovic;
Singapore, MY MAGIC, Eric Khoo;
Slovakia, BLIND LOVES, Juraj Lehotsky;
Slovenia, ROOSTER'S BREAKFAST, Marko Nabersnik;
South Africa, JERUSALEMA, Ralph Ziman;
Spain, THE BLIND SUNFLOWERS, Jose Luis Cuerda;
Switzerland, THE FRIEND, Micha Lewinsky;
Taiwan, CAPE NO. 7, Te-Sheng Wei;
Thailand, LOVE OF SIAM, Chookiat Sakveerakul;
Turkey, 3 MONKEYS, Nuri Bilge Ceylan;
Ukraine, ILLUSION OF FEAR, Aleksandr Kiriyenko;
United Kingdom, HOPE ETERNAL, Karl Francis;
Uruguay, KILL THEM ALL, Esteban Schroeder;
Venezuela, THE COLOR OF FAME, Alejandro Bellame Palacios.

Nominations for the 81st Academy Awards will be announced on Thursday, 22 January 2009, at 5:30 a.m., PT, in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

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. The Oscar presentation will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

San Sebastian IFF and Web Site Success

Awards Presentation and Gala 2008

Final report from San Sebastian IFF. Their improved Web site for the 56th International Film Festival (SSIFF) was a huge success attracting millions. Over-all attendance, media coverage and country participation were also up.

The Festival was followed online this year in record-breaking numbers. The official Web site,, provided online live and repeat broadcasts of the opening and closing galas, plus the two Donostia award ceremonies. Those impressive new features, plus up-to-date information with a photo gallery, press conference videos, photocalls, Zabaltegi Meetings and other festival events helped the Festival enjoy a very successful run.

The official Web site logged more than four million visits during the ten days of the Festival. In addition, there were nearly 100,000 video downloads.

The Festival had the highest attendance on record. A total of almost 180,000 spectators took part in the various Festival activities. That figure includes 3,041 film industry professionals and members of the press. Among those were 1,091 registered journalists, representing media outlets from 41 countries. The highest film industry and media attendance in the history of the Festival.

A total of 64 films from 20 countries were part of the 14th edition of Films in Progress: Germany, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, United States, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Portugal, Uruguay and Venezuela. Of the 64 films presented, 13 were co-productions between different countries and 12 had participated in previous years.

Cinema in Motion included projects from 13 countries. Four films were selected to take part in the event during the Festival, attended by 63 companies.

Mimi welcomes follow-up reports from the festivals she follows on her Film Festival Page, which has also grown. The 2008 page is now in three parts: Part I (January - May), Part II (June - September), and Part III (October - December). Also, check Mimi's Awards Page as the Movie Awards Season is now open and will get hectic by December. Links to all these pages are on the right sidebar.

Are you a member of Facebook? Please join "Mimi's Movie Gang," in the Entertainment & Arts Groups.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

First Shortlist for Oscar® Nominations Announced

The Academy of Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences® announced today the first shortlist for the 81st Academy Awards®. It is a list of eight films for the Documentary Short Subject category. From this list three to five films will be nominated in January. Other such shortlists will be announced in the coming days.

The deadline for submission to the Academy of short and feature documentary films was Tuesday, 2 September. Voters from the Academy’s Documentary Branch viewed this year’s 31 eligible short-film contenders in Documentary and submitted their ballots to PricewaterhouseCoopers for tabulation from which eight films were selected. For full schedule, click here, or the link on the right sidebar for 81st Academy Awards Schedule.

The eight short films, in alphabetical order, are:

The Conscience of Nhem En
David McCullough: Painting with Words
The Final Inch
Smile Pinki
Tongzhi in Love
Viva La Causa
The Witness from the Balcony of Room 306

The 81st Academy Awards nominations for outstanding film achievements of 2008 will be announced on Thursday, 22 January 2009, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

The presentation of the 81st Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2008 will be televised live by ABC Television, Sunday, 22 February 2009, from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, Hollywood.

In February of this year, winners of the 80th Academy Awards in the Documentary Short Subject and Documentary Feature categories, respectively, were Freeheld and Taxi to the Dark Side.

Friday, October 03, 2008

SAG Honors James Earl Jones with Achievement Award

Actor James Earl Jones will receive the Screed Actors Guild (SAG) Lifetime Achievement Award when the Guild's annual awards are presented Sunday, 25 January 2009. His million-dollar voice is one of the most recognizable of any actor working today.

He is probably best known as the voice of Darth Vader in STAR WARS and Mufasa in THE LION KING. He has also done countless voiceovers (VO) in commercials and on CNN.

Jones has garnered laurels for his distinguished acting on television and in movies, as well as his appearances on the stage. This year, he starred in Broadway revivals of 'On Golden Pond' (Normal Thayer Jr.) and 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' (Big Daddy). His honors include one Golden Globe, two Tony awards, three Emmys, an Oscar nomination (male lead actor in THE GREAT WHITE HOPE, 1971), and the National Medal of Arts.

In 1995, he received the prestigious National Board of Review, USA, Career Achievement Award. The next year, he was nominated for a SAG award for best performance by a male leading actor in a movie, CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY.

Probably few know today that Jones had a terrible stuttering problem as a child. His problem was so acute that he actually stopped speaking for a long time. His love of reading eventually helped him gain confidence to begin speaking again.

When he did find his voice, he soon became aware his presence and deep resonant voice might lead to an acting career. The 77-year-old actor says his voice is his most prominent asset.

He has two VO projects in the pipeline at the moment: JACK AND THE BEANSTALK (2008), completed, and QUANTUM QUEST: A CASSINI SPACE ODYSSEY (2010), in post-production. However I suspect, as an accomplished actor his real love is live theatre.

For more on current and upcoming awards, click the link on the right sidebar for Mimi's Awards Page.