Friday, April 30, 2010

April Film Festival Awards and Wraps

SERIES: Major Film Festivals

As April comes to a close, only two major film festivals that opened in April are still in progress: (1) Tribeca (TFF), which opened the 21st and will close May 2nd, and (2) San Francisco (SFIFF), which opened April 22nd and will close May 6th.Tribeca announced its film awards last night at W Union Square in New York City.

In the 2010 World Narrative Feature Competition, the Founders Award for Best Film went to WHEN WE LEAVE (Die Fremde, Germany), directed and written by Feo Aladag. Actress Sibel Kekilli won Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film for he role as Umay in the movie. Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film went to Eric Elmosnino as Serge Gainsbourg in GAINSBOURG, I LOVE YOU MORE THAN ME (Je t’Aime… Moi Non Plus, France), directed and written by Joann Sfar.

LOOSE CANNONS (Mine Vaganti, Italy) received a Special Jury Mention. It was directed by Ferzan Ozpetek. It was written by Ozpetek and Ivan Cotroneo. Kim Chapiron of France was named Best New Narrative Filmmaker for DOG POUND. Chapiron wrote the screenplay with Jeremie Delon.

In the Documentary World Competition, MONICA & DAVID, directed by Alexandra Codina, USA, was named Best Documentary Feature, and BUDRUS (USA, Palestine, Israel), directed by Julia Bacha, received a Special Jury Mention. Click the title of this post for all the awards, including New York and Short Film competitions, the monetary prizes, pictures and more. Also, see previous post for more about the Tribeca IFF.

On the West Coast, the San Francisco International Film Festival is also handing out awards. Tonight, Roger Ebert will receive the San Francisco International Film Festival's annual Mel Novikoff Award, and he'll be in attendance for "An Evening with Roger Ebert and Friends." His friends for the celebration include filmmakers Philip Kaufman, Errol Morris, Jason Reitman and Terry Zwigoff. A screening of Ebert's chosen film, Erick Zonca's uncompromising 2008 genre-buster JULIA, starring Festival favorite Tilda Swinton will follow.

The Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting will go to James Schamus, who will be on hand today for a retrospective clip reel and onstage interview with critic and cultural theorist B. Ruby Rich. Schamus' RIDE WITH THE DEVIL (director's cut), directed by his frequent collaborator, Ang Lee, will follow. SFIFF Official Site. Also see previous post for more about the SFIFF.

The regional festivals, covered in the previous post have now wrapped. The Florida Film Festival (FFF) in Orlando reports a successful and fun festival. I am pleased to report that WINTER'S BONE, the first motion picture I picked to do well this year based on the response it received at Sundance, won the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature. There is more about this movie, directed by Debra Granik, in the previous post. It is definitely one to follow this year.

Other narrative feature winners were:

Special Jury Award for Narrative Filmmaking, HOMEWRECKER, directed by Brad and Todd Barnes; Nestle® Cranberry Raisinets® Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature, DON’T LET ME DROWN, directed by Cruz Angeles; and Nestle® Cranberry Raisinets ® Audience Award for Best International Feature, THE TOPP TWINS: UNTOUCHABLE GIRLS, directed by Leanne Pooley. To see all the award winners, including documentary and short films, go here.

RiverRun in Winston-Salem, NC (RRFF), had a very good film schedule, but gave no awards, and the same for Ebertfest, Champaign, IL. On Location: Memphis, TN (MIFMF), gave awards but, frankly, I never heard of any of the films. Will report later if I lean the festival's picks scored at any other festival. Here is the Memphis list. For more about any of these regional festivals, see the previous post.

Some breaking news from Montreal. Above is the official poster of the 2010 Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF), 26 August - 6 September, unveiled yesterday. The poster was selected by public votes from among three finalists, all students in graphic arts at UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal). Their professor, Philippe Béha, who designed the official MWFF poster in 1986, assigned his students the task of designing a poster for the 2010 Festival. The winner is Hubert Samson. Official Site.

COMING IN MAY: Cannes International Film Festival (CIFF), 12 - 23 May 2010; Mountain Film in Telluride, 28 - 31 May 2010.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Major Film Festivals in April 2010

SERIES: Major Film Festivals

9th Tribeca International Film Festival 21 April - 2 May 2010, New York City. (TIFF)

The Festival, sponsored again by its founding partner American Express, is more highly interactive this year. Their slogan is, "Here comes the neighborhood." Also, the Festival Web site is nominated for a Webby Award (The "Oscar®" of Web Awards).

Since there is so much happening at the Festival this year, here are only some of the highlights - -

Big green news! The premiere of DreamWorks Animation's SHREK FOREVER AFTER is opening night of the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express—the first 3D movie for both Shrek and TIFF!

Among those serving on one of the six juries are: Jessica Alba, Justin Bartha, Selma Blair, Marshall Curry, Hope Davis, Aaron Eckhart, Aidan Quinn, America Ferrera, Whoopi Goldberg and Brooke Shield.

Tribeca Film Festival Virtual will kick off its opening night on April 23 with NICE GUY JOHNNY, the latest NY story from Edward Burns. How can YOU see it, even if you are not in NYC?

With a TIFF Virtual Premium Pass, some of the movies screened at the Festival will be available online. This brand new pass, available for $45.00 to a limited number of U.S. residents, 18 years or older, will allow fans to participate fully in Tribeca Film Festival Virtual. Want it? Better get it now

The closing night gala will be the documentary FREAKONOMICS, based on the book by journalist Stephen Dubner and economist Steven Levitt. The doc, directed by Alex Gibney with a host of other doc-making luminaries, is less about economics than about the strange connections between seemingly disparate topics—for instance, how drug dealing is like working at McDonald’s or why good parenting methods don’t really matter in the long run. It has been acquired by Magnolia Pictures.

Gibney, who received an Oscar for Best Documentary Film with his TAXIE TO THE DARK SIDE is also bringing his latest, MY TRIP TO AL-QAEDA, which HBO has bought, as well as a work-in-progress, ELIOT SPITZER.

Go to the Official Web site for much more by clicking the title of this blog post, and don't forget to vote for the Webby Award.

19th Annual Florida Film Festival, 9 - 18 April 2010, Enzian Theater, Orlando, Florida. (FFF)

Watch video about Florida FF on YouTube (too wide to embed in this blog).

The Florida Film Festival is currently underway in Orlando screening 162 films from 25 countries. In competition, there are 20 feature films, 10 narrative and 10 documentary. Among them, three East Coast premieres were selected, with 11 filmmakers making their feature directorial debuts, including eight female directors.

One feature film among them is the female director Debra Granik’s WINTER'S BONE, co-written with Anne Rosellini, and based on the novel by Missouri-based author Daniel Woodrell. In this movie, "An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact." It will have its U.S. East Coast premiere in Orlando.

BONE made it first festival appearance, and had its U.S. West Coast Premiere, at the Sundance IFF this January where it won the two top awards, Grand Jury Prize and Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. The next month in Berlin it won the prestigious C.I.C.A.E. (Confédération Internationnale des Cinémas d'Art et d'Essai), and the Festival's Der Tagesspiegel Award (The Daily Mirror), sponsored by the Berlin-based newspaper of the same name.

Michael Paul Stephenson’s documentary BEST WORST MOVIE won a Crystal Bear at Berlin this year and has won a number of awards at various other film festivals. It will screen along with Marshall Curry’s RACING DREAMS, which won Best Documentary at the 2009 Tribecca Film Festival.

All 20 films will be eligible for various awards such as the Grand Jury award for best film, a Special Jury award, given at the jury’s discretion for exceptional achievements, and an audience choice award.

In addition there is a fabulous retro section. The opening party theme, "No Grits, No Glory."

Another film festival currently underway is the 12th annual RiverRun International Film Festival (RRIF) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 15 - 25 April 2010.

RiverRun is one of the outstanding film festivals in the Southeastern U.S. North Carolina ranks third in movie and television production in U.S., only behind Los Angeles and New York City, respectively. The festival gets its name from the French Broad River near Brevard, NC, where the festival was originally held. In 2003, Dale Pollock, a former film producer and then-Dean of the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, moved RiverRun to Winston-Salem, where it resides today as an independent arts organization dedicated to showcasing the best new films from independent, international and student filmmakers.

This festival screens only independent films. RiverRun is an eco-friendly festival, and has an Environmental Sidebar. Read about it. The opening night film is THE EXTRA MAN, directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini.

The Festival also has a side-bar showing films from a foreign country, mostly films that have critical credibility. This year, the side-bar is Mexico and they made excellent choices with Louis Buñuel's classic LOS OLVIDADOS (The Forgotten Ones), Alfonso Curaon's Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Amores Perros (Amorous Dogs), and Alfonso Alrau's LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE, plus two others.

Filmmaker David Gordon Green will attend the screenings of two of his films, GEORGE WASHINGTON and PINAPPLE EXPRESS, and - - gasp - - Peter Bogdanovich will be there for PAPER MOON. Bogdonovich will receive the Festival's Master of Cinema award, a real crystal ball. For children under 12 there is a Saturday morning cartoon show.

In keeping with the Festival's Environmental Film Focus and Eco-Initiative, their partner, Whole Foods Market, for a party on the eve (21st) of Earth Day Thursday, 22nd. party on Thursday, 22nd. This party will feature all-natural beverages and hors d’oeuvres provided by Whole Foods Market Winston-Salem, while the music and visuals will be created by students from UNCSA. The festivities will begin immediately following the screening of Disney's documentary OCEANS. There will also be a cash bar for beer and wine.

As the Festival winds down, they are spicing things up with a Mad Hot Mambo party at the Millennium Center, featuring live Salsa music by the renowned band, West End Mambo. The festivities will begin immediately following the Saturday Night screening of Werner Herzog's MY SON, MY SON WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? at the Steven’s Center. There are two other parties. After all, it isn't a true film festival without the parties.

12th Roger Ebert's Film Festival, 21 - 25 April 2010, Virginia Theater, Champaign, Illinois. (Ebertfest, REFF)

All films are selected from those Mr. Ebert sees during his normal viewing and reviewing. The festival stressed, "Do not send films."

The Illinois Champaign County Anti-Stigma Alliance, is pleased to announce that they will have a special showing of THE SOLOIST immediately following the close of Ebertfest (April 25). The Alliance was formed to challenge disability discrimination and promote education and awareness. This screening will be at the Virginia Theatre at 4:30 pm, and it will free to the public. The screening will be followed by a panel of guest speakers.

Contact: Mary Susan Britt , 217-244-0552.

11th On Location: Memphis International Film and Music Festival, 22 - 25 April 2010, Malco's Ridgeway Four, Memphis, Tennessee. (MIFMF)

Formerly known as the Memphis Film Festival the festival has now added music to the program to increase its influence in the region, but its emphasis is still on film, especially that of regional filmmakers. It has morphed into a full-grown film organization that is active year-round.

The Festival is also now more "family friendly." Last year, they added a Kids First Film Festival, and it will take place Saturday, April 24th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 pm, featuring a compilation of short films to entertain and educate. It's free. Here's the information and films that will be shown.
The festivities begin at 1:00 pm on Thursday, 22nd, and will run until late Saturday night. The opening film is HOMETOWN GLORY, written, directed and produced by Hollywood entertainment manager/publicist Ray Costa. As a teenager, Costa was among the ranks of Germantown, TN, teenage volunteers who risked their lives to protect their town fighting fires in the 1970's.

The screening is the official premiere of HOMETOWN GLORY, 7:30 pm, at the Malco Ridgeway Four. Attending the event will be Ray Costa, composer George S. Clinton and the firefighters chronicled in the film. Tickets are $10 and will go on sale April 18. The Festival After Party will follow at the Blues City Café Bandbox.

The closing party follows at Ernestine and Hazel's.

There are two documentaries screening on Saturday afternoon that should not be missed. The first at 1:30 pm is THE COVE. It is about the dolphin slaughter in Japan and what drives it, and it won the Academy Award® this year for Best Documentary Film of 2009. The other one is TIBET IN SONG, which follows THE COVE at 4:00 pm.

This Festival still has a public relations handicap due to its amateurish Web site and always being late getting out the publicity.

53rd San Francisco International Film Festival, 22 April - 6 May 2010, Castro Theatre and other venues, San Francisco, California. (SFIFF)

Opening Night is Thursday, 22 April, and the opening film is MICMACS (Micmacs à tire-larigot), by French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie), which screens at the Castro Theatre, 7:00 pm, followed by a party at The Regency Center, 9:30 pm.

Saturday, May 1, the Centerpiece Film will screen at he Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 6:30 pm. HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE is the debut film for Ohio native Josh Radnor, who also wrote the screenplay. This being San Francisco, it will be followed by a party at Manor West.

The gala awards night is Thursday, 29 April in the Westin St. Francis Hotel, Grand Ballroom, beginning with a VIP cocktail reception with celebrity guests. This star-studded occasion honors this year’s directing, acting and screenwriting award recipients with a glamorous black-tie evening featuring onstage celebrity appearances and gourmet dining.

Here are only two of a number of special awards to be given to celebrity guests at the festival this year, and each guest will have a special day which includes a screening of an associated film:

Robert Duvall will be the recipient of the Peter J. Owens Award to be presented at the 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival. The onstage tribute to Duvall at the Castro Theatre will feature a clip reel of career highlights, an onstage interview and a screening of his most recent film GET LOW.

This year's Novikoff Award for an individual or institution whose work has enhanced the filmgoing public’s knowledge and appreciation of world cinema goes to film critic Roger Ebert. A screening will follow of Erick Zonca's JULIA.
Closing Night is Thursday, 6 May and the film is JOAN RIVERS -- A PIECE OF WORK, screen at the Castro Theatre, 7:00 pm. The party follows at Folsom.

COMING IN MAY: Cannes International Film Festival, 12 - 23 May 2010; Mountain Film in Telluride, 28 - 31 May 2010.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Sid Ganis Will Oversee Academy's Highest Honors

Sid Ganis with 80th Anniversary Poster

Producer Sid Ganis, junior past president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®, will produce the 2nd annual Governors Awards for the Academy. Ganis currently represents the public relations branch on the Board of Governors. His producer credits include AKEELAH AND THE BEE, BIG DADDY and MR. DEEDS

The honorary awards are no longer presented as a segment during the Oscar® Gala Broadcast when the elected awards are presented. One or more of the Academy’s highest honors – the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the Honorary Award – will be presented at the Governors' Ball, set for Saturday, November 13, 2010. These awards are not voted upon by the Academy membership, nor are they mandated annual awards, but are presented when the Academy's Board of Governors deems a member of the Academy worthy of a certain award.

The 2010 honorees will be selected at a specially convened meeting of the Academy’s Board in late August. The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the Honorary Award are Oscar statuettes. The Irving G. Thalberg Award is a bust of its namesake.

The most recent recipients of Honorary Awards are Lauren Bacall, Roger Corman and Gordon Willis. John Calley is the most recent recipient of the Thalberg Award.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Dates for Next Academy Awards® Announced

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® has already released key dates scheduled for the 83rd Academy Awards® to be presented Sunday, February 27, 2011. The ceremony will again take place at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, California, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network.

Key dates currently scheduled are:

* Saturday, November 13, 2010: Governors Awards presentation.
* Wednesday, December 1, 2010: Official Screen Credits forms due.
* Monday, December 27, 2010: Nominations ballots mailed.
* Official Screen Credits forms due.
* Monday, December 27, 2010: Nominations ballots mailed.
* Friday, January 14, 2011: Nominations polls close 5 p.m. PT.
* Tuesday, January 25, 2011: Nominations announced 5:30 a.m. PT, Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
* Wednesday, February 2, 2011: Final ballots mailed.
* Monday, February 7, 2011: Nominees Luncheon.
* Saturday, February 12, 2011: Scientific and Technical Awards presentation.
* Tuesday, February 22, 2011: Final polls close 5 p.m. PT.
* Sunday, February 27, 2011: 83rd Annual Academy Awards presentation.

Some dates to be announced later:

Deadline for Documentary short subjects and Feature Documentaries submissions.
Deadline for entry forms with documentation and prints or digital copies, for Best Foreign Language Film, live action and animated feature shorts.
Deadline to qualify for the Best Animated Feature Category.
Deadline for prints in the Best Animated Feature category to arrive at the Academy.

The schedule for the 83rd Academy Awards is posted on the right sidebar. It will be added to as dates are announced, and will remain until after February 2011.