Sunday, April 26, 2009

Here Comes Cannes

The world-renown Cannes Film Festival will open in Cannes, France, 13 May, and run through 24 May 2009, 16 days away at the time of this post. This year is the 62nd edition. Gilles Jacob is president.

Significant Festival history will be made beginning on opening day with the computer-generated animated movie UP (Disney-Pixar, directed by Peter Docter), opening the Festival with its international premiere. This is the first time an animated movie has opened the Cannes Festival, and UP is not just any animated movie, it is in digital 3-D. The top prize is the Golden Palm (Palm d'Or). It could make more Festival history if UP won it, but UP is screening out of competition. The movie is scheduled to release in the U.S. 29 May.

French actress Isabelle Huppert is the jury president at this year's Festival. Only three other women have helmed the panel in the six decades of the Festival. The other women so honored: Liv Ullmann, Jeanne Moreau and Françoise Sagan.

The director lineup in the main competition of 20 strong films will include directors Quentin Tarantino (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS), Ang Lee (TALKING WOODSTOCK), Pedro Almodovar (BROKEN EMBRACES), Jane Campion (BRIGHT STAR) [won as director of THE PIANO, the first woman to win the Golden Palm for directing], Ken Loach (LOOKING FOR ERIC), and Lars von Trier (ANTICHRIST).

Asian films are strong this year. Chinese movies joining Ang Lee's, are Hong Kong director Johnny To's VENGENCE, Park Chan-wook's (THIRST), and Ye Lou's and SPRING FEVER.

One of the Festivals' special screenings will be for HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR by French director Alain Resnais, one of the outstanding French New Wave directors. This year, the Festival commemorates the 50-year anniversary of the film's first screening at Cannes, and Resnais (86) brings his latest film, WILD GRASSES, to Cannes. Two of his fellow countrymen will join him to represent France, Jacques Audiard (A PROPHET) and Xavier Giannoli (IN THE BEGINNING).

Another showcase will be the last film performance of Heath Ledger in the Terry Gilliam fantasy THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS. Ledger died mid-shoot last year and his part was completed by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. Ledger was awarded a posthumous Oscar® this year for his supporting-actor performance as The Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT.

One of the biggest galas associated with the festival, is actually a benefit gala held outside the main Festival, but in conjunction with it - - the annual European fundraiser sponsored by the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR). American actress Sharon Stone will host it again on 21 May. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Carine Roitfeld, Michelle Yeoh and Donatella Versace will be among 800 personalities attending.

This year for the first time, the benefit gala will be held at a Riviera palace, the Eden Roc, at Cap d'Antibes. Singer Annie Lennox will give a special performance. Last year's event raised $10 million.

The closing night film is Dutch-born, now French director, Jan Kounen's COCO CHANEL & IGOR STRAVINSKY, screening out of competition. I shall be following the Festival from now until it closes 24 May.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Memphis IFF Opens Tomorrow

The 10th annual Memphis, TN, Film Festival, sponsored by the Memphis Film Forum, and currently being prefaced by "On Location," opens tomorrow Thursday, 23 April. All screenings will take place at the Malco Ridgeway Four, 5853 Ridgway Center Parkway.

Tickets to individual screenings are on sale at Tickets to Opening Night are $10 each, all other tickets are $8.50 each, with the exception of Cinema For Seniors ($5) and Kids First Films (free).

Opening Night Movie, 7:30 p.m., PROM NIGHT IN MISSISSIPPI, a documentary directed by Paul Saltzman.

Opening Night Party, 10 p.m. [Their Web site time is wrong], at Ground Zero Blues Club just off Beale Street in downtown Memphis, 158 Lt George W Lee Street. Walk the red carpet, get your photo made by the paparazzi, enjoy great music! Festival Awards presentation will take place at approximately 10 p.m. followed by the finalists in the Songwriting Contest and more Memphis music. Admission is free with a festival pass. At the door, $10.00.

Friday afternoon, 24, Senior Citizen's Day (over 55), 12:15 p.m. All films are $5.00.

Saturday morning, 25, Kids First Film Festival, 10:00:00 a.m. All films are free, family friendly, and seating is limited - first come first seated. READ MORE.

To link to the Festival's Web site, click title of this post.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tribeca Film Festival Opens Wednesday

The Tribeca Film Festival in New York City opens this Wednesday (22 April). All available individual tickets are now on sale. See the previous post for more info.

You can access the Festival's Web site by clicking the graphic above or title of this post. Also, Tribeca is on Facebook this year. Visit either site and enter the sweepstakes to win a Transatlantic trip to England on the Cunard Queen Mary2, but hurry as sweepstakes close 31 May.

Monday, April 13, 2009

NYC Tribeca Film Festival Opens 22 April

Geoffrey "Geoff" Gilmore, formerly with Sundance, is the new Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises. He will have been onboard less than two months when the 8th edition of the Tribeca Film Festival (TFFNYC) opens next week, 22 April. Of course, he has had a total of about 20 years of experience helming or assisting with film festivals, so he is probably fully acclimated to his new digs by now.

The Festival's opening film will be the world premiere of Woody Allen's WHATEVER WORKS, a Sony Pictures Classics release. The comedy, written and directed by Allen was filmed in NYC, and stars in alphabetical order: Ed Begley Jr. (PINEAPPLE EXPRESS), Patricia Clarkson (VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA), Larry David (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Evan Rachel Wood (THE WRESTLER), etc. The limited release date is 19 June. Next up for Allen? London.

MY LIFE IN RUINS (USA/Spain), starring Nia Vardalos of MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING (2002) fame, will close the festival 3 May. The director is Donald Petrie (HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS). The "ruins" in the title is a double entendre. You'll get it when you read the synopsis. The release date is 9 June.

You can access the Festival's Web site by clicking the title of this post. Also, Tribeca is on Facebook this year. Visit either site and enter the sweepstakes to win a Transatlantic trip to England on the Cunard Queen Mary2, but hurry as sweepstakes close 31 May.