Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Montreal World FF Opens Thursday

The 33rd Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF, Le Festival des Films du Monde Montréal) opens Thursday, 27th, and will run through 7 September. The Iranian New Wave director, Jafar Panahi, will preside over the international jury, and the full film lineup is available for download in PDF on their Web site. Most of Panahi's films are banned in his home country.

Other members of the jury include Japanese actor-turned-director Eiji Okuda, Quebec actor-producer David La Haye, Spanish writer-director Fernando Méndez-Leite Serrano, French director Pascal Thomas, French film music composer Reinhardt Wagner, and Diane Demers of Montreal, who was chosen in a contest to represent the public on the official jury.

Unfortunately, their press release with the list of films is one big muddle, and the PDF file is by venue and date. There is an alphabetized index at the end of the document, but it is in French.

Thus, I apologize for not giving Film highlights here. I have not the time to wade through it all, so you are on your own. See previous posts on this blog about this year's festival, and click title of this post for link to Web site.

Sorry, that's all I can do concerning Montreal until the jury awards are announced, unless, I get some press releases that are better written.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

San Sebastián IFF Sets Competition

The 57th San Sebastián International Film Festival (SIFF) film competition for the Golden Shell will open 18 September with Canadian director Atom Egoyan's CHLOE, starring Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried. This is first time Egoyan will have a film in competition at the SSIFF.

Columbian born writer and director Rodrigo García, son of Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Márquez, will close the Festival with his North American film MOTHER and CHILD, starring Naomi Watts, Annette Bening and Samuel L. Jackson. One of Garcia's best known films is NINE LIVES, 2005, and he has extensive credits in television.

American Aaron Schneider, Academy Award winner for Best Short Film, TWO SOLDIERS, 2003, will bring his directorial feature debut, GET LOW, which stars the Donostia Award recipient Robert Duvall, alongside Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek. GET LOW will also compete for the Kutxa-New Directors Award along with 17 others.

From Turkey comes the winner of the SSIFF's Zabaltegi-New Directors in 2005.Turkish director Pelin Esmer, who won with her directorial feature debut OYUN (The Play), will compete for the first time in the Official Selection with 10 to 11 (11’e 10 kala), a co-production between Turkey, France and Germany.

Three of France’s most prestigious directors will enter the competition. Bruno Dumont, having bagged the Cannes Grand Jury Prize twice with L’Humanité (1999) and FLANDERS (2006), will bring HADEWIJCH. François Ozon will present REFUGE (Le refuge). Christophe Honoré returns to the Official Selection for the second consecutive year with MAKING PLANS FOR LENA, starring Chiara Mastroianni, Marie-Christine Barrault and Jean-Marc Barr.

German cinema will be represented by Matthias Glasner with THIS IS LOVE. From Argentina, Juan José Campanella adds THE SECRET OF YOUR EYES (El secreto de sus ojos).

Three Spanish films will participate in the competitive Official Selection: THE DAMNED (Los condenados), THE WOMAN WITHOUT A PIANO (La mujer sin piano), and ME, TOO (Yo, también). In additioin, Fernando Trueba will present THE DANCER AND THE THIEF (El baile de la Victoria) out of competition.

From Iran there is THE WHITE MEADOWS (Keshtzarhaye sepid) by Mohammad Rasoulof. Asia will be represented by South Korean Jeon Soo-il's I CAME FROM BUSAN, and Chinese director Lu Chuan's THE CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH. Lu Chuan is also known as Chuan Lu.

Zabaltegi-Pearls, the showcase for movies feted at the big international festivals but not yet released in Spain, with open with Quentin Tarantino's INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (Tarantino's spelling). This film, winner of the Best Actor Award for Christoph Waltz at Cannes, will be screened on the first day of the 57th edition on Friday, 18 September.

Also in this showcase are new films by Woody Allen (WHATEVER WORKS), Ang Lee (TAKING WOODSTOCK), Jim Jarmusch (THE LIMITS OF CONTROL, filmed in Madrid), Bahman Ghobadi (NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS), Bong Joon-ho (MOTHER) and Johnnie To (VENGEANCE).

PRECIOUS, the big hit at Sundance Festival, winner of the Special Jury Prize, Best Actress for Mo’Nique and Audience Award, will also be screened in Zabaltegi-Pearls. This movie, initially presented at Sundance and Cannes with the title of PUSH, directed by Lee Daniels, is based on the novel by Sapphire.

Overall, 18 films will compete in competition (Official Selection), 13 Latin American films will compete for the Horizons Award, 17 in the Kutxa-New Directors, plus other sections, and more are yet to be announced. See previous posts for previously announced events, etc. Click title of this post to go to Web site for much more info.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

SERIES: Upcoming Film Festivals - August III

VENICE (VIFF - Labiennale)

The 66th Venice International Film Festival, oldest of all, will run at Venice Lido from 2nd to 12th September 2009.The film program has been announced. The USA is well represented this year.

In the International Feature Competition, as mentioned earlier here, BAARÌA, written and directed by Italian Oscar-winner Giuseppe Tornatore (CINEMA PARADISO), will open the Festival. The film will screen in competition.

Some U.S. films in competition that caught my eye, featuring world premieres for all, are:

Director Werner Herzog's BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS, starring Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer and Michael Shannon; Tom Ford's A SINGLE MAN, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore and Matthew Goode; John Hillcoa's THE ROAD, Charlize Theron, Viggo Mortensen, Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce; and MICHAEL MOORE's new documentary - CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY.

Three interesting USA productions screening out of competition are:

Director Grant Heslov's THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS, with George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey; John Lasseter's TOY STORY, 3-D, and TOY STORY 2, 3-D; and Antoine Fuqua's BROOKLYN’S FINEST, with Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes and Ellen Barkin, among Hollywood's finest.

American actor Sylvester Stallone will receive a special award. The retrospective section is on Italian cinema rediscovered, and there will be a new trends in world and Italian cinema section, plus an international short film competition.


Toronto International Film Festival, which runs 10 to 19 September will offer 21 Special Presentations. These will feature the works of Alejandro Amenábar, Miguel Arteta, Sylvain Chomet, Rodrigo Garcia, Werner Herzog, Grant Heslov, John Hillcoat, and Tom Ford's directorial debut.

They will include on-screen performances by international superstars Annette Bening, Jeff Bridges, Michael Cera, George Clooney, Willem Dafoe, Robert Duvall, Colin Firth, Zach Galifianakis, Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Liotta, Ewan McGregor, Demi Moore, Julianne Moore, Viggo Mortensen, Guy Pearce, Natalie Portman, Til Schweiger, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz.

Canadian favorites include Christopher Plummer, Jay Baruchel, Atom Egoyan, Don McKellar, Dilip Mehta, Ruba Nadda, Sandra Oh, Saul Rubinek, Lisa Ray, Peter Stebbings and Jacob Tierney.

Born in India and now Canadian citizens, siblings Deepah and Dilip Mehta wrote the latest Hinglish movie, COOKING WITH STELLA, and brother Dilip directed. The film will premiere 16 September at Toronto in the Roy Thompson Hall. Deepah is best known for her trilogy, FIRE, EARTH, WATER, and BOLLYWOOD / HOLLYWOOD.

The new film center, known as the Bell Lightbox, is now taking shape at the corner of King and John Streets in downtown Toronto. Bell Lightbox will not be ready for this year's festival, but promises to be spectacular.

The five-story complex will bring together the film-loving public, Canadian and international filmmakers, industry professionals, academia and visitors to Toronto from around the world to explore the power of cinema.

Toronto International Film Festival Will again offer a series of free outdoor events at Yonge-Dundas Square (YDS) taking place 10 - 19, and featuring special appearances by George A. Romero, Neil Young, Joan Baez, Jonathan Demme and more.

This year, the Festival is on Facebook. The full film list will be available 20 August, and the schedule goes live on Facebook 25 August, so sign up now. The current film list is posted, but it is not the full one, yet.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

SERIES: Upcoming Film Festivals - August II

Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF)

The film program for the 33rd Montreal World Film Festival, 27 August to 7 September 2009, was announced today. This year, once again, the MWFF has a strong program of non-fiction films, beginning with the world premiere of the Official Documentary Film of the Beijing Olympics, THE EVERLASTING FLAME - BEIJING 2008, directed by Gu Jun.

Steven Spielberg called Yang Zhimou's production of the Olympic show "the grandest spectacle of the new millennium." This film, a record of what happened at the 2008 games, will be shown on 5 September. Gu Jun will attend.

The Opening Film of the World Competition is the French film, FAUBOURG 36, written and directed by Christophe Barratier, a nephew of French producer - director Jacques Perrin. The movie stars Gérard Jugnot, Clovis Cornillac, Kad Merad, Nora Arnezeder and Pierre Richard.
Barratier drew from his classical music education for his debut movie, LES CHORISTES (The Chorus). It was the closing film of the 2004 MWFF, and a runaway box office hit in France. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song, Vois Sur Ton Chemin (Look to Your Path), for which Barratier wrote the lyrics.

The famous Cirque Éloize will perform at the opening of the 33rd Montreal World Film Festival at the Théâtre Maisonneuve of Place des Arts. The circus troupe will highlight the Festival's visual accent with a performance on the Russian bar, an exciting circus act which combines the skills of the balance beam, the rebound tempo skills of trampoline and the swing handstands skills of the uneven bars and the parallel bars.

The performance will precede the world premiere of 1981, directed by Ricardo Trogi. The Festival's opening evening is by invitation only. Direct Information. Click title of this post for Website. Also, see previous posts in this series for more.

The 15th Sarajevo Film Festival (SHFF) opens today, 12 August. The full program is available online in English
. There is no one list, searching will be a chore. As mentioned here before, TALES FROM THE GOLDEN AGE will open the Festival.

The Teen Arena opens Thursday, 13 August. The German film THE WILD CHICKS CREW AND LIFE will open the program at the Bosnian Cultural Center. The Sarajevo Film Festival staff has prepared numerous entertaining events for the evening.

This year, the Sarajevo Film Festival launches online ticket sales. A limited number of tickets are available through Bosnia and Herzegovina's first online ticket shop. See previous posts in this series for more.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

SERIES: Upcoming Film Festivals - August Updates

Times BFI London Film Festival

The Times BFI London Film Festival (TBFI) is proud to announce that this year's Festival, the 53rd, will open Wednesday, 14 October with the world premiere of FAMTASTIC MR. FOX from visionary director Wes Anderson (THE ROYAL TENEBAUMS, THE DARJEELING LIMITED). The Festival runs from 14 - 29 October 2009.

MR. FOX is Anderson's first animated film, which he co-wrote with Noah Baumbach. He uses classic handmade stop motion techniques to tell the story of the best selling children's book by British author Roald Dahl (author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach). The film features the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep (Mr. and Mrs. Fox), Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Wally Wolodarsky, Eric Anderson, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Jarvis Cocker and Helen McCrory.

Wes Anderson, George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman are expected to attend the opening night screening along with other members of the voice cast.

The Closing Night Gala will include the World Premiere of Ecosse Films' NOWHERE BOY, the highly anticipated debut feature from British artist Sam Taylor-Wood. The film is set in Liverpool, England, 1955. A smart and troubled fifteen year-old named John Lennon (newcomer Aaron Johnson) is hungry for experience.

In a family full of secrets, John's buttoned-up Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas), who raised him, and his prodigal mother, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), clash over him. Yearning for a normal family, he escapes into rock n' roll, and finds a kindred spirit in teenager Paul McCartney (Thomas Brodie Sangster). Just as John begins his new life, tragedy strikes.

Sam Bell, another newcomer portrays George Harrison alongside a strong supporting cast that includes David Morrissey and David Threlfall. Matt Greenhalgh (CONTROL) wrote the script.

Sam Taylor-Wood has confirmed she will attend the Festival. No word yet on the rest of the cast. The film will release in the UK on 26 December 2009.

The full program for The Festival will be announced at the Press Launch on Wednesday 9 September. The 2009 Festival Web site is not up yet. Click title of this post for Web site.


The Sarajevo Film Festival (SHFF) announces the juries for the feature, documentary and short films competitions, as well as the jury to select the European short films for the festival. This year is the 15th edition, and it will run from 12 - 20 August.

Festival will host Oscar-winning filmmaker Andrea Arnold, who will present her newest film, FISH TANK in the Open Air Program. American Actor Kevin Spacey, who helped found the Festival is expected to attend again this year. So is UK director Mike Leigh, another Festival sponsor.


The 36th Telluride Film Festival (TFF), 4-7 September, 2009, in Telluride, Colorado, presented by National Film Preserve LTD, will present a special program in honor of artist and film critic Manny Farber. "The Celebration of Manny Farber" will include an intimate bookstore signing of The Library of America's September 2009 release, Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber, with editor Robert Polito and Farber's wife and collaborator, Patricia Patterson.

San Sebastián

Fernando Trueba, winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award for BELLE EPOQUE (1992), will present his new film, El baile de la Victoria (The Dancer and the Thief), as part of the Official Selection, out of competition at the
Sebastián International Film Festival (SSIFF).

Belle époque, n., French, Belle = beautiful, époque = era. Usually referring to an era of artistic and cultural refinement in a society, especially in France at the beginning of the 20th century.

For more on Spanish films at the Festival

Hollywood Film Festival

The 13th annual Hollywood Film Festival (HFF) will run 21 - 26 October, 2009. Web page is up, and they are calling for entries.