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      EDITOR'S NOTE
No big year-end summation from me in this week’s newsletter – you can check back on the blog all week for comments on 2008 from myself and all our contributors. For now, just a simple happy holidays to all of you and best wishes for ’09.

See you next year.

Best,

Scott Macaulay
Editor
      NEW IN THEATERS
WALTZ WITH BASHIR
One of the universally praised films from this year's Cannes, Ari Folman's debut doc reconstructs the filmmaker’s missing memories from his time as a solider in the 1982 Lebanon War. But instead of using archival footage and talking heads, Folman makes an animated film, giving himself the freedom to expand his thoughts and recollections farther than any conventional doc on the subject could ever go. Having already won six awards from the Israeli Film Academy, the film has a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Film. Unfortunately it didn't qualify for the Oscar's documentary category but hopefully it will get a nom for Best Animated Feature.

THEATER OF WAR
John Walter (How To Draw a Bunny) takes a behind-the-scenes look at The Public Theater's 2006 production of Bertolt Brecht's legendary work Mother of Courage and her Children in Central Park. Though he highlights the work and preparation of stage and screen heavyweights like Kevin Klein and Meryl Streep, who plays Mother Courage, as well as Tony Kushner, who's commissioned to write a new translation of the work, what Walter spends more time on is the fascinating life and work of Brecht with the use of archival footage of not only he and his family's struggle to stay one step ahead of the Nazi (and later of being black listed), but the original staging of the play.

Read our interview with director John Walter below.

      RECENT BLOGS

This week on the blog, Filmmaker contributor, Karina Longworth, and senior editor, Peter Bowen, recap the year that was 2008 (Milk, pictured left, was Peter's favorite), while Scott Macaulay learns how producer Lorie Marsh is thinking outside the box to promote her films.

To read more posts from our blog, click here.
      UPCOMING AT IFP
A SEASON OF SCREENINGS
January launches a year of new releases, but post-Gotham Awards, it's also catch-up time for the rest of awards season. In addition to the approximately 30 free preview screenings that IFP provides for members throughout the year, IFP screenings will begin in January (in partnership with Film Independent) for the 35 films nominated for Independent Spirit Awards - including Ballast, Frozen River, Rachel Getting Married, Wendy and Lucy, The Wrestler, Milk and more. Although it's too late to register to vote for this year's awards, members can still attend all screenings, so for those who are not yet members, consider the possibilities and sign up here.
      NEWEST WEB ARTICLE
JOHN WALTER, THEATER OF WAR
In the field of documentary, John Walter has emerged as the medium's most eloquent and entertaining cultural historian. For years, Walter had been looking for an opportunity to make a film about the iconic German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht, a literary figure he has been fascinated with for two decades. The opportunity came when he was given permission to film the rehearsal process of the Public Theater's Central Park production of Brecht's Mother Courage and her Children, adapted by Tony Kushner and starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. Theater of War fortunately does not dwell on the minutiae of the show's preparation period or capture arguments between cast members, but instead uses the production as a conduit to discuss the play and its author, plus a number of other topics. read more

      FESTIVAL DEADLINES

DECEMBER
London International Documentary Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Dec. 30
Festival Dates: March 28-April 4

Miami International Film Festival
Submission Deadline: Dec. 31
Festival Dates: March 6-15

JANUARY
Silverdocs
Submission Deadline: Jan. 9, March 6 (Final)
Festival Dates: June 15-22

Hamptons International Film Festival Screenwriters' Lab
Submission Deadline: Jan. 9
Lab Dates: April 3-5

Find more festival deadlines, click here. And get the latest news and notes on the fest circuit at Festival Ambassador.

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