Thursday, February 11, 2010

Major Film Festivals in February 2010

SERIES: Major Film Festivals

1. 60th Berlin IFF Opens Today - - 2. 25th Santa Barbara IFF Ready for Awards.

2. 60th BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Berlinale), Berlin, Germany 11 - 21 February 2010.


The Berlinale (BIFF) is the first major European film festival on the calendar each year, as Sundance is the first major U.S. Festival. The BIFF is considered second only to Cannes as a prestigious film showcase in world cinema along with Venice, the oldest film festival. The first BIFF I attended was in July, and many events were held outside under the stars or in tents. Now, it takes place in February. Brrrrr!

The International Jury, presided over by Werner Herzog, will decide who will take home the Golden Bear and the Silver Bears, as well as the Alfred Bauer Prize in the Competition Section of the Berlinale 2010. Texas-born Oscar-winning actress Renée Zellweger will join President Herzog and other members of the Jury.

The Jury for the Best First Feature Award will be headed by Michael Verhoeven, one of the formative personalities in what is known as New German Film. He presented his feature film debut, THE DANCE OF DEATH, at the 1967 Festival. Debut feature films from the sections Competition, Panorama, Generation Kplus and 14plus as well as debut films from the Forum will compete for the award. The winners will be announced at the official award ceremony in the Berlinale Palast on 30 February.

American actor Ben Foster (X-MEN: The Last Stand, 3:10 TO YUMA and ALPHA DOG) will join Verhoeven and other Jury members. He was a guest at the 2009 Berlinale Competition with his lead role in the acclaimed drama THE MESSENGER.

The winner of the Golden Bear 2009, MILK OF SORROW (La Teta Asustada) by Claudia Llosa from Peru, and AJAMI by Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti (Israel) were both funded by the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund, and they are both nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category for 2009.

Opening Movie: The World Premiere of APART TOGETHER (Tuan Yuan, People's Republic of China, 2009) director, Wang Quan'an, in Shanghainese and Mandarin. Section: Competition. Cast: Lisa Lu, Ling Feng, Xu Caigen, Monica Mo, Ma Xiaoqing. Wang's TUYA'S MARRIAGE won the Golden Bear in 2007.

Closing Movie: The Festival's award winning feature film will be screened 20 February in the Zoo Palast 1, at 3:00 p.m., with the awards gala beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the CinemaxX 3.

The Festival is a sponsor of the second edition of the Talent Campus Guadalajara for up-and-coming filmmakers and professionals from Central America and the Caribbean, which will take place from 11-15 March 2010. New this year in Guadalajara: a brand new hands-on training program for film critics, the Talent Press. Sorry, the applications have closed./b>

Also, the full screening schedule for Berlin is available for download, but only in German. For more information, click the title of this post to access the Festival's Official Website

1. 25th SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, Santa Barbara, California. Thursday, 4 February - Sunday, 14 February 2010.

Santa Barbara's festival has all the glitz and glam of Palm Springs while, at the same time, offering a roster of films worthy of following Sundance. This year is SBIFF's silver anniversary, and they deserve hearty congratulations for offering an exhilarating festival year after year. I know because I have attended a number of them.

The 25th edition features 200 films including 18 World Premieres, 28 U.S. Premieres and a vast selection of films representing 45 countries. The motto this year is "11 Amazing Days, 10 Starry Nights".

The Festival opened with a gala screening at the downtown historic Arlington Theatre featuring the world premiere screening of FLYING LESSONS, directed by Derek Magyar, in his directorial debut. The movie stars Christine Lahti, Maggie Grace, Jonathan Tucker, Cary Elwes, Joanna Cassidy and Hal Holbrook. The gala evening concluded with a party at Paseo Nuevo in downtown Santa Barbara.

Closing Night will feature the world premiere screening of MIDDLE MEN, directed by George Gallo and starring Giovanni Ribisi, Luke Wilson, James Caan, Kelsey Grammar and Kevin Pollack. The director and cast will attend. Closing Night festivities also take place at the Arlington Theatre.

Actress Emily Blunt received the Chopin Virtuoso Award - in recognition of this years emerging film talent - Sunday, 7 February. Also, receiving the Chopin Virtuosos 2010 Award were Carey Mulligan (AN EDUCATION), Saoirse Ronan (THE LOVELY BONES) and Michael Stuhlbarg (A SERIOUS MAN).

Actress Sandra Bullok received The American Riviera Award, 5 February, and director James Cameron received the esteemed Lucky Brand™ Modern Master Award 6 February.

Continuing the annual tradition of highlighting a guest director, SBIFF selected Kathryn Bigelow as the Outstanding Director of the Year. Monday, 8 February the Festival began the day with a retrospective of Bigelow’s films: NEAR DARK, POINT BREAK, and STRANGE DAYS. Following a conversation with the director, there was a special screening of her latest movie, the Oscar nominated, THE HURT LOCKER, and Bigelow is nominated for an Oscar for directing the movie.

David Attenborough Award for Excellence in Nature Filmmaking will be awarded to THE COVE, Wednesday, 10 February, at the Lobero Theatre. The award-winning documentary is one of he favorites in the Oscar's Best Documentary Feature of 2009 category.

Actor Colin Firth will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award for his role as 'George' in A SINGLE MAN, Thursday, 11 February at the Arlington Theatre. Also, Actress Julianne Moore will receive the Montecito Award. The evening will be moderated by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.

Friday, 12 February, at the Lobero Theatre, Durling will moderate the evening when the Cinema Vanguard Awards will be presented to Vera Farmiga (UP IN THE AIR), Peter Sarsgaard (AN EDUCATION), Stanley Tucci (THE LOVELY BONES) and Christoph Waltz (INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS) in recognition of artists who have forged their own path by taking artistic risks.Also, actress Gabourey Sidibe, (PRECIOUS) will receive the Chopin Virtuoso Award.

Santa Barbara celebrates one of their own with Jeff Bridges Day. Sunday, 14 February, will start early with screenings of Bridges’ Oscar-nominated films: THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, THUNDERBOLT and LIGHTFOOT, STARMAN, and THE CONTENDER. Bridges will appear for a Conversation, followed by a screening of CRAZY HEART. Bridges is nominated for best actor in the leading role for his role in the movie as Bad Blake, a broken-down hard-living former country singer.

Link for the Festival's Official Website.

Coming up first in March is the Miami International Film Festival, presented by the Miami Film Society and Miami Dade College, followed by SXSW, and the 25th Guadalajara International Film Festival, 12 - 19 March. More on those and others later.

This week, I received information from the Venice IFF and the San Sebastián IFF. Neither will open until much later this year, but I will be adding newsflashes to the bottom of these posts to incorporate the latest from the best film festivals when I receive information that I think is "hot".

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