Festival Ambassador The Festival Ambassador RSS Feed

Friday, January 30, 2009

Originally posted on the blog, Brandon Harris and Scott Macaulay report from the Rotterdam International Film Festival.

Feature film prizes were handed out on the second to last evening of the 38th annual International Film Festival Rotterdam tonight, following the announcements earlier in the week of the CineMart and Tiger Award for Short Film prizes. The festival's top prize, the VPRO Tiger Awards, for which 14 first or second time feature film directors competed, went to three films, as is the festival's custom.

They were far from surprising choices, including Ramtin Lavafipour's Iranian smuggling drama Be Calm, Count to Seven, Yang Ik-June's South Korean gangster melodrama Breathless and Mahmut Fazil Coskun's Turkish drama of unrequited love, Wrong Rosary, all of which drew strong partisans among festival attendees and critics. FIPRESCI gave its critics prize to Edwin's Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly, a formally ambitious if often disjointed comedy about the repression of Chinese identity in Indonesia, while the KNF award (The Association of Dutch Film Critics Circle), which includes all films in the official selection, went to Chilean Pablo Lorrain's riveting look at a Saturday Night Fever obsessed killer during Pinochet's brutal reign, Tony Manero. Below is the full list of winners:

The jury statements on the VPRO Tiger Award winning films:

Be Calm and Count to Seven (Aram bash va ta haft beshmar) by Ramtin Lavafipour (Iran, 2008)
(Supported by Hubert Bals Fund)
‘We were extremely impressed by the artistry and vigor of the first film – the level of craft and cinematic intelligence on the one hand, the dedication to rendering the reality of a particular way of life on the other. For us, this film did what all films strive to do: it represented and dramatized a way of life in terms that were at once specific and universal, not to mention unfailingly vivid.’

Be Calm and Count to Seven is supported by the Hubert Bals Fund.

Breathless (Ddongpari) by Yang Ik-June (South Korea, 2008)
‘A powerfully rendered and acted film with a keen sense of reality in its portrayal of a situation that has been seldom seen in cinema. We were also surprised to see an extremely troubling subject matter treated with a welcome sense of warmth and humor.’

Wrong Rosary (Uzak ihtimal) by Mahmut Fazil Coskun (Turkey, 2008)
‘A uniquely creative film of the most eloquent simplicity, a film built from a feeling of immediacy, moment by moment, breath by breath; a film that builds an absolutely unique form of suspense; a film that stays true to itself from beginning to end.’

Each VPRO Tiger Award comes with a prize of Euro 15,000 and guaranteed broadcast by Dutch public television network VPRO.

The NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Jury, consisting of Film producer Shan Donbing (China), film journalist Okubo Ken’ichi (Japan), and filmmaker Sun Koh (Singapore), presented the NETPAC Award to:

The Land (Dadi) by He Jia (China, 2008)
"The jury awards The Land for achieving in cinema what is impossible through any other art form by showing its subjects and the viewers how humanity remains unchanged with the passage of time."

A Special Mention was awarded to:

Agrarian Utopia by Uruphong Raksasad (Thailand, 2009)
"The jury would like to commend the maker of Agrarian Utopia for his bravery, his folly and his determination in showing us his little piece of heaven."

Agrarian Utopia is supported by the Hubert Bals Fund.

The jury of the international association of film critics FIPRESCI (Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique), consisted of Leo Soesanto (France, ‘Les Inrockuptibles’, Jury Chair), Dana Linssen (Netherlands, ‘Filmkrant’), Maya McKechneay (Austria, ‘Blickpunkt:Film’), Firat Yücel (Turkey, ‘Altyazi’), Ashok Rane (India, ‘Sakal’).

The FIPRESCI decided to award the International Critics’ Prize to Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly (Babi buta yang ingin terbang) by Edwin (Indonesia, 2008), selected for the the VPRO Tiger Awards Competition of the 2009 International Film Festival Rotterdam.

The Jury statement:
"A brave film, fragmented in a way that each bit is very sharp as an edgy, personal and political statement. As critics, we were most challenged on many levels by this work which kept coming back again and again in our discussions as the song "I Just Called to Say I love You" did infectiously in the film".

Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly (Babi buta yang ingin terbang), supported by the Hubert Bals Fund, was selected for CineMart 2008.

KNF Award
The jury of the KNF, the Association of Dutch film critics, at the International Film Festival Rotterdam consisting of jury president Ronald Rovers (‘Filmkrant’, The Netherlands), Jann Ruyters (‘Trouw’, The Netherlands), Leo Bankersen (‘Filmkrant’, The Netherlands), Berend-Jan Bockting (‘VPRO Gids’, The Netherlands), and Sven Gerrets (‘Oor’, The Netherlands).

The KNF Jury has chosen its winner among films in Rotterdam 2009 official selection that have not yet been acquired for Dutch distribution. To the KNF Award, a grant is attached for subtitling the film, sponsored by Holland Subtitling. The Award of the KNF is meant to promote the acquisition for distribution within The Netherlands.

The winner of the KNF Award is Tony Manero by Pablo Larraín (Chile/Brazil, 2008). The Jury stated:
The young director of this film dared to take one of cinema's most beloved icons to tell a grim and subversive story about the nature of dictatorship. He delivers his message with a beautiful deadpan expression in the form of a middle aged psychopath on his quest to become the leading John Travolta impersonator on a nineteen seventies tv-show, thereby providing a mirror for ruthless authoritarianism.
Tony Manero is supported by the Hubert Bals Fund.

Earlier in the festival, the following awards were announced:

Tiger Awards Competition for short film
The three Tiger Awards for Short Film were granted to A Necessary Music by Beatrice Gibson (UK), Despair (Otchajanie) by Galina Myznikova & Sergey Provorov (Russia) and Bernadette by Duncan Campbell (UK).

The jury for Tiger Awards for Short Film comprised Malaysian writer and director Tan Chui Mui (her seven recent short films screen in the festival), Maria Pallier, buyer and programme maker for the Spanish broadcasting company TVE, and the British journalist, curator and artist George Clark.

MovieSquad Award
The Rotterdam young people’s jury, consisting of Ms. Charlotte Eskens (16), Ms. Katinka Nauta (17), Mr. Alain Tjiong (17), Mr. David Hofland (15) and Ms. Thecla Baas (18) chose the winner out of twenty films in official Rotterdam 2009 selection. The award comprises Dutch distribution within the MovieZone educational film programme for young people and 2,000 Euro to be spent on its promotion among young people in The Netherlands.

The jury presented the MovieSquad Award to Slumdog Millionaire by Danny Boyle & Loveleen Tandan (United Kingdom, 2008).

MovieSquad is an initiative of the Nederlands Instituut voor Filmeducatie (Dutch Institute for Film Education) in collaboration with the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

Arte France Cinéma Awards
The Arte France Cinema Award (10,000 Euro) for the best CineMart 2009 Projects was given given to Him by Lance Weiler, a production of Seize The Media (USA).

The Arte France Cinema Awards Jury 2008 consisted of Michel Reilhac (France, General Manager Arte France Cinéma).

The Arte France Cinéma Awards are in cash, given to the producers towards financing the development of the awarded projects. By introducing the Award, Arte France Cinéma and CineMart aim to further support and promote the development and production of independent filmmaking.

Prince Claus Fund Film Grant
The ninth Prince Claus Fund Film Grant of 15,000 Euro has been awarded to the CineMart 2009 Project Birdie (Shuvuukhai) by Byamba Sakhya (Mongolia). The Grant was announced during the CineMart Closing Night Party on January 28, 2009.

The Jury of the 2009 Prince Claus Fund Film Grant consisted of: jury chair Karim Traïdia (Algeria / Netherlands), filmmaker and a member of the Prince Claus Fund Board and jury members Harutyun Khachatryan (Armenia), filmmaker and Prince Claus Laureate 2007; Alicia Scherson (Chile), filmmaker; Monique Hendrickx (Netherlands), actress; and René Mioch (Netherlands), film critic and producer.

The Prince Claus Fund Film Grant is annually awarded in cooperation with CineMart to support the very first creative phase of the development of a film production. Every year, the Film Grant is presented to a CineMart project by a filmmaker from Africa, Asia, Latin America or the Caribbean, and selected for its excellent concept and innovative quality by an international expert jury. -- Brandon Harris


Congratulations to filmmaker, new media creator, and Filmmaker contributor Lance Weiler, who was awarded the Arte France Cinrma prize here at this year's Rotterdam Cinemart. In his remarks when presenting the award, Arte's Michel Reilhac said that the award acknowledged the visionary nature of Weiler's project and noted that it speaks towards the type of new thinking about audience and platforms that will be necessary if our world of specialty cinema is to survive in the coming years.

Weiler's project is described by him in the program book thusly:

HIM is my newest cross-media poject -- a collision of film, gaming and interactive technology that continues with my horror 2.0 series, placing the viewer literally in the shoes of the protagonist. This is a new type of social entertainment experience that fuses storytelling and gaming in a way that enables audience members to become collaborators within the story world.

Congratulations also to Byamba Sakyaan who was awarded the Prince Claus Film Grant for the Cinemart project Birdie. -- Scott Macaulay


# posted by Jason Guerrasio @ 1/30/2009 04:37:00 PM Comments (0)
Saturday, January 24, 2009

The award winners of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival were announced this evening and Lee Daniels's Push: Based on a novel by Sapphire was the big winning as it took not only the Dramatic Grand Jury prize but also the Audience Award and Special Jury prize for actress Mo’Nique. Ondi Timoner's We Live In Public was awarded the top Documentary prize. The full list of winners are below.

Dramatic Grand Jury Prize:
Push: Based on a novel by Sapphire, Lee Daniels

Documentary Grand Jury Prize:
We Live In Public, directed by Ondi Timoner

Dramatic World Cinema Jury Prize:
The Maid, directed by Sebastian Silva

Documentary World Cinema Jury Prize:
Rough Aunties, directed by Kim Longinotto

Dramatic Audience Award:
Push: Based on the novel by Sapphire, directed by Lee Daniels

Documentary Audience Award:
The Cove, directed by Louise Psihoyos

Dramatic World Cinema Audience Award:
An Education, directed by Lone Scherfig

Documentary World Cinema Audience Award:
Afghan Star, directed by Havana Marking

Dramatic U.S. Special Jury Prize:
Mo’Nique, for acting in Push: Based in a novel by Sapphire

Dramatic U.S. Special Jury Prize:
Humpday, directed by Lynn Shelton, “for its independent spirit.”

Documentary U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize:
Good Hair, directed by Jeff Stilson

Dramatic World Cinema Special Jury Prize:
Catalina Saavedra for her performance in The Maid

Dramatic World Cinema Special Jury Prize for Originality:
Louise-Michel, directed by Benoit Delepine and Gustave de Kervern

Documentary World Cinema Special Jury Prize:
Tibet in Song, directed by Ngawang Choephel

U.S. Dramatic Excellence in Directing:
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Sin Nombre

U.S. Documentary Excellence in Directing:
Natalia Almada, El General

World Dramatic Excellence in Directing:
Oliver Hirschbiegel, Five Minutes of Heaven

World Documentary Excellence in Directing:
Havana Marking, Afghan Star

U.S. Dramatic Excellence in Cinematography:
Adriano Goldman, Sin Nombre

U.S. Documentary Excellence in Cinematography:
Bob Richman, The September Issue

World Dramatic Excellence in Cinematography:
John De Borman, An Education

World Documentary Excellence in Cinematography:
John Maringouin, Big River Man

U.S. Documentary Excellence in Editing:
Karen Schmeer, Sergio

World Documentary Excellence in Editing:
Janus Billeskov, Big River Man

Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award:
Nicholas Jasenovec and Charlyne Yi for Paper Heart

World Cinema Screenwriting Award:
Guy Hibbert, Five Minutes of Heaven

The Alfred P. Sloan Prize For a Feature Film:
Adam, directed by Max Mayer

Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Awards:
Diego Lerman, Ciencias Morales (Moral Sciences)
David Riker, The Girl
Qurata Kenji, Speed Girl
Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Evolution

Jury Prize in International Short Filmmaking:
Lies, directed by Jonas Odell

Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking:
Short Term 12, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton

To read our complete Park City coverage click here.


# posted by Jason Guerrasio @ 1/24/2009 11:33:00 PM Comments (0)

Closing its 15th year, the Slamdance Film Festival announced the winners of its 2009 edition Friday night with Mo Perkins's A Quiet Little Marriage winning the Best Narrative Feature Award. The full list of winner are below.

Best Narrative Feature
A Quiet Little Marriage, directed by Mo Perkins

Special Jury Mention for Best Performance: Larry Fessenden in I Sell the Dead

Best Documentary Feature
Strongman, directed by Zachary Levy

Special Jury Mention: Second Sight, directed by Alison McAlpine

Best Narrative Short
Princess Margaret Blvd, directed by Kazik Radwanski

Best Documentary Short
Rare Chicken Rescue, directed by Randall Wood

Best Animated Short
Undone, directed by Hayley Morris

Best Experimental Short
Funny Guy, directed by Frank R. Rinaldi

Special Jury Mention: Tony Zoreil, directed by Valentin Potier

Best Music Video
Don McCloskey Mister Novocaine, directed by Peter Rhoads

Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Punching the Clown, directed by Gregory Viens

Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
Heart of Stone (formerly It’s Hard to be an Indian), directed by Beth Toni Kruvant

Audience Award for Best Anarchy Film
The Tides, directed by Eva Flodstrom

Spirit of Slamdance Award
(tie) Zombie Girl, directed by Aaron Marshall, Erik Mauck, Justin Johnson; and Vapid Lovelies, directed by Frank Feldman

Kodak Vision Award for Best Cinematography
I Sell the Dead cinematographer Richard Lopez

Dos Equis “Most Interesting Film” Award
You Might as Well Live, directed by Simon Ellis

IndieRoad Award
Punching the Clown, directed by Gregory Viens
The online audience award voted on by IndieRoad.net viewers.

Writer Award for Best Screenplay
Numbered, by Neil McGowan

Writer Award for Best Short Screenplay
Crybaby, by Mark Seidel


# posted by Jason Guerrasio @ 1/24/2009 09:32:00 AM Comments (0)
Saturday, January 17, 2009

To get the latest news on this year's Sundance Film Festival, go to our Sundance page which will be updated daily.


# posted by Jason Guerrasio @ 1/17/2009 11:18:00 PM Comments (0)
Monday, January 12, 2009

Only a few days out from Sundance 2009, I'm still soaking in all the moments from film festivals of 2008, the collision of ideas and ideals. Documentary festivals have become my favorite expeditions the past couple years, where films with from social and artistic conscience are captured from inspired perspectives. And, in almost every instance, the great to half-decent filmmakers who take up even the most serious, even severe subjects, hold a wry smile toward the world. It's halfway across the world, but the pair of events that impress me the most each year are in the north of Greece, at the foot of the Balkans. Thessaloniki hosts two festivals each year, its International in November, and its now-10-year-old sibling Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival, in the spring. Several years ago was the most emotional experience of my moviegoing decade, a year the festival marked as "The Year of the Child." The children on-screen suffered; the audience out in the darkness, light reflecting off upturned faces, suffered, too, eyes opened ever wider. While smaller than the fall event, TIDF programs around 100 features from around the world, under thematic umbrellas like "Views of the World," "Stories to Tell, "Recordings of Memory," "Habitat," "Music," and "Human Rights." It's an intriguing way to suggest taxonomy of the topics tackled by festivals that program from the world of nonfiction. Tributes in 2008 included Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, Canadian documentary and the ubiquitous Finnish auteur Arto Halonen (whose amused path I crossed at HotDocs and DocFest as well). Parallel events include outreach to child audiences, an exhibition of photography about Canada's role in rebuilding Afghanistan and work from twelve countries by Sotiris Danezis, called "One Second Of Silence." Best Masterclass title: "I Am Trying To Combine YouTube With Aristotle." [A complete rundown of the event can be found on this omnibus page on the festival website.]

Hanna Björk Valsdóttir, Yung Chang
Yung Chang, Canadian director of Up the Yangtze, became one of the year's most noted. He compares programs with Icelandic journalist-filmmaker Hanna Björk Valsdóttir.

Sotiris Danezis' images of reflection on the battlefields of a world at war are bold.

Tanaz Eshaghian, Simon Brook

Tanaz Eshaghian presented her documentary about transsexuals in Iran, Be Like Others; Simon Brook is the director of the 1968-year-zero collage film, Generations 68.

Greater than less than (Μεγαλύτερος από, λιγότερο από)
At dusk along the waterfront of the city, across Thermaikos Bay,a pair of gulls are less than/more than landscape.
Sinofsky Berlinger

Sinofsky and Berlinger await translation of a question at their press conference.
Bergsteinn Bjorgulfsson, Ari Alexander Ergis Magnusson
Bergsteinn Bjorgulfsson photographs many of the features released in Iceland each year; he and Ari Alexander Ergis Magnusson (Screaming Masterpieces) co-directed the harrowing documentary about 1950s-1960s child abuse at a school for boys in a remote part of Iceland, At the Edge of the World.

κόκκινο μπαλόνι
Parties small are large are part of the scene, as in the fall.

Wintonick Burns
Canadian filmmakers Peter Wintonick and Tiffany Burns at breezy sunset on the rooftop restaurant of the Elektra Palace Hotel.

Currhimboy, Dubowski
Hussain Currimbhoy, programmer of Sheffield Doc/Fest, with Sandi DuBowski, producer of A Jihad For Love, at the annual Agora restaurant "ouzo lunch."
Party legs
Knowing the central city a bit allowed me to guide filmmakers post-party from the anarchist bicycle messenger bar that was unaccountably shuttered at 3 in the morning to the all-night Stoa music bar in the middle of the 1920s-built Modiano Market.
Walk at dawn
Later, just as dawn is breaking, a man takes his morning walk near the water, komboloi (worry beads) behind his back.


# posted by Ray Pride @ 1/12/2009 06:48:00 PM Comments (0)
Sunday, January 11, 2009

Luc Dardenne
MORE FACES IN GREECE: At a reception in honor of he and his gone-missing brother, Luc Dardenne toasts publicist Tatiana Detlefson...

Georges Corraface, Nandita Das, Luc Dardenne

...joined shortly after by festival president Georges Corraface and actress Nandita Das, presenting her directorial debut, Firaaq, with U. S. Consul General Hoyt Brian Yee.


Geoff Andrew, former Time Out film editor and National Film Theatre programmer, on closing night before accepting an award on behalf of the his friend Terence Davies.

Kitano considers

Takeshi Kitano listens for the translation of an impertinent challenge to his premiere of Achilles and the Tortoise.

Diablo Cody

Diablo Cody is amused by a monologuing manifesto by a fellow member of the jury.

Tomas Alfredson flashes his Leica

With his pocket Leica, director Tomas Alfredson takes the audience home with him to his collaborators on Let The Right One In.


As in English, I think the Greek word for "paparazzi" is "paparazzi"; one of the many photographers frames a shot of Festival Director Despina Mouzaki.


Talking about his forthcoming documentary-in-the-making about Latin American politics, Oliver Stone is hands-on.


# posted by Ray Pride @ 1/11/2009 07:24:00 PM Comments (0)
Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Early bird deadline for the 2009 CineVegas Film Festival is next Thursday (Jan. 15). Final deadline: March 1.

Learn how to submit your film here.


# posted by Jason Guerrasio @ 1/07/2009 10:38:00 AM Comments (0)
Thursday, January 1, 2009

Some film festivals are film and some are festival; the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, 49 this year, manages to be both. For instance, here's but one day from my notebook, November 22:

1130am Willem Dafoe masterclass; 1300 Richard Jobson's "digital is the new punk"; 1500 Theo Angelopoulos press conference; 1600 Just Talking panel, Azazel Jacobs, Gerardo Naranjo, the Zellner brothers, Mimi Brody, me; 1800 Michael Ondaatje reading; 1930 Gustavo Santaololla tribute; 2000 Claire Denis' 35 Rhums; 2300 Greek Film party.

A festival in motion... My overview coverage is in the January issue of Filmmaker; here's a few glimpses via video. This year's sustained blowout ran November 14-23; here's their site.

At the Just Talking panel, a wine-and-cheese break each afternoon at 4pm, Aza Jacobs talks about how he's come to the end of a year of going 'round the world with Momma's Man, since its Sundance premiere in January; old friend and collaborator Gerardo Naranjo, director of the terrific Voy A Explotar (I'm Gonna Explode), chimes in.

Emir Kusturica was scheduled to do a masterclass, but it was cancelled after the hours-long concert he and his No Smoking Band performed at a warehouse on the pier where much of the festival takes place. This is from one of the several encores, when a member of the enthused young citizens of Macedonia-Thrace turns the moment into "moshedonia."

Along with eclectic rosters of guests, the juries are diverse as well. The jury head was former filmmaker-novelist Michael Ondaatje ("The English Patient") and the members included screenwriter Diablo Cody. At Cody's masterclass, where she encouraged the eager young Greek audience to simply find their own voice, Ondaatje has a question of his own.

At another just talking, filmmaker Kostis Bassogiannis (Unitas), who describes himself as one of the best dentists of Greece, speaks about why he became a filmmaker and his slightly gloomy perspective on the future. [The sound quality is indifferent in this clip.]

After a late night, headed at the last minute to the pier for the Willem Dafoe conversation, I paused to watch the choppy midday sea, more Angelopoulos than even Angelopoulos would dare it to be. Festival president Georges Corraface snuck up behind me and murmured, "It's alive...."


# posted by Ray Pride @ 1/01/2009 07:24:00 PM Comments (0)

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?




Current Posts
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
August 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009