Wednesday, September 16, 2009

SSIFF High Tech, TIFF Brouhaha, NYFF Opening

Wouldn't you know. I posted yesterday about the San Sebastián International Film Festival (SSIFF) and, low and behold, today I received a notice that many of the programs, including the opening and closing ceremonies, will be Web cast, and available on mobile phones.

But before I give you the skinny, remember, you can access every post on this blog concerning the Festival, and any other festival, by clicking the tag for that festival (i.e., SSIFF, TIFF, HFF, etc.) found at the bottom of almost every post. Okay, here is the skinny.

This year, San Sebastian Festival TV offers the opening and closing galas, the Donostia Award ceremonies and the press conferences, also a number of videos among which are the Zabaltegi Meetings and the Horizontes Breakfasts, the arrival to San Sebastian of guests, the photocalls, a summary of each day, interviews, different aspects of participation of the teams presenting films at the Festival, and all of the clips of the films participating in the different sections. The content is presented in easy-to-use galleries, with search options to simplify consultation and navigation.

The majority of the programs are broadcast in Spanish, with some English and French. Some subtitles, except for live events. The Official Web site's contents will be accessible also through mobile phones, with a new navigation system adapted to use on these devices accessible through the Festival Official site.

The Festival Newspaper, Festival Diary, will be available in digital (pdf), which will make it available for download from the Official site. There will be special sites for the Press, and for industry representatives. Besides the usual audio translations, the Festival will offer assistance to persons with visual and hearing impairments.

All the above will begin opening day, except for Festival TV where trailers, etc., are now being shown.

See previous posts for more on SSIFF, and click title of this post for Official Site.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Brouhaha is over the Festival's choice of Tel Aviv for this year's City to City program.

Piers Handling, Director and CEO of TIFF and Cameron Bailey, Co-Director of the Toronto International Film Festival issued the following statement regarding the City to City program: (See (1) at end of statement)

The Toronto International Film Festival stands by our choice of Tel Aviv as the inaugural focus for the City to City program and we welcome the discussion that is being prompted by our series. We programmed City to City to give our audience a window into Tel Aviv from the perspective of filmmakers who live and work there -- this includes filmmakers who cast a critical eye on the status quo. The city's filmmakers are experiencing a renaissance right now, and we congratulate Tel Aviv director Samuel Maoz on winning the top prize Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for his film LEBANON. Healthy debate about the role of cinema in society is at the core of our Festival every year.

It is unfortunate that the producers of the film HELIOPOLIS have decided to withdraw their film in protest of this year’s City to City program. While director Ahmad Abdalla has voiced his opposition to the program, he is a champion of ensuring that filmmakers from the Arab world continue to have a voice at our Festival. The producers, however, have the legal authority to withdraw the film. . . .

We have had to cancel the first screening for THE TRAVELLER due to a legal dispute between the Italian producer and the Egyptian producer, the Ministry of Culture. The Festival has received no communication from the film's director or producers referring to the issues surrounding the City to City program. . . .

We continue to encourage everyone engaged in the CTC debate to keep the work of these filmmakers front and center as we all grapple with that eternal question: what can art do?"

(1). Slightly edited for length and for American English.

The 47 New York Film Festival opens 25 September and runs through 11 October. Here are some of the special programs:

Opening Night - WILD GRASS (Les herbes folles) based on Christian Gailly’s novel 'The Incident,' Alain Resnais, 2009, France.

Closing Night - BROKEN EMBRACES (Los abrazos rotos), Pedro Almodóvar, 2009, Spain.

Center Piece - PRECIOUS, based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, directed by Lee Daniels, 2009, USA, winner at the Sundance Film Festival. PRECIOUS won both the grand jury prize and the audience award for drama as well as a special jury prize for acting to Mo'Nique.

Special Screening - LIFE DURING WARTIME, Todd Solondz, 2009, USA.,

Special Screening - LEBANON, Samuel Maoz, 2009, winner of the Golden Lion at this year's Venice Film Festival.

Special Screening - THE WIZARD OF OZ, Victor Fleming, 1939, USA. Celebrating the digital release of this beloved classic, and there will be some special surprise guests, plus a new Warner Home Video Release.

Tickets are on sale now, and are not cheap. Regular screenings, $20, special screenings and programs, $40. Rush Tickets: $10, and only 50 tickets will go on sale one hour before showtime, limit two. Check their Official Site for more options.

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