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Julien Temple, the godfather of the music movie, was ideal person to take on a film about the history of the Glastonbury festival, Britain’s answer to Woodstock. Temple waded through 900 hours of footage (around half of which he shot himself) to put together a documentary which gives a rich, panoramic perspective of the festival. Not only is there archival footage over the course of the past 35 years, from Bowie and James Brown (RIP) through to Björk and Coldplay, by way of The Smiths and The Clash, but Temple’s film evokes the character and spirit of Glastonbury (the mud, the campfires, the dodgy burgers, the pagan rituals) in a chaotic, unordered manner that makes the festival experience all the more immediate.

The title of British debutant director Tom Vaughan’s light romantic drama namechecks a catchphrase from University Challenge, the real-life TV quiz show which the movie’s hero, Brian Jackson (James McAvoy), dreams of going on. A bright working-class boy, Brian earns a place at a good university and makes it onto the team for the show, only to discover that university life has pitfalls and problems he is totally unprepared for. The film is a nostalgic look back at life and young love in the mid-1980s that blends funny, sweet moments with more serious ones in which class issues in the dark days of Thatcherite Britain are addressed. It also ably showcases the talents of young lead James McAvoy, fresh from impressing opposite Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland.

Congrats to Esther Robinson (pictured), one of Filmmaker's 25 New Faces, for winning this year's Berlin Film Festival Teddy Award with her A Walk in the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory.

For more on the film check out Brian Brooks at Indiewire, who has a feature up on Robinson's doc along with two others: Steven Kijak's Scott Walker documentary and Rodolphe Marconi's Lagerfeld Confidential. Check out the Teddy link on the blog for the other awards, which include the Best Narrative Feature Prize to Zero Chou's Spider Lillies.


IFP have posted some clips on Youtube of an interview with Alfonso Cuarón, who was honored along with his fellow Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu at the 2006 Gotham Awards. He talks about his close working relationship with Iñárritu and Guillermo Arriaga, Iñárritu's regular writing partner, and the rationale between him moving from standard studio fare such as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and current Oscar contender The Children of Men. For more on these subjects and more, see also our own interview with Cuarón.


While in Rotterdam I caught Container, the latest experiment from one my favorite filmmakers, Lukas Moodysson. The film, which premiered in Berlin last year, features black-and-white footage of a heavy-set crossdresser and a young Asian woman doing all sorts of strange things underneath a voiceover by actress Jena Malone. To be clear, it is Jena Malone on the soundtrack, and she identifies herself as "the American actress Jena Malone," but it's unclear if the non-diagetic voiceover is completely unrelated to the image or whether its the fantasy of one of the characters. In any case, Picturehouse supposedly has the film for U.S. release, but in the meantime, we can check out another experiment involving Malone. The young star of Donnie Darko has a MySpace page up and is streaming demos of her new band, Jena Malone and her Bloodstains. She'a also teamed up with NYC producers the Social Registry and is planning both an upcoming 7" as well as shows at New York's the Mercury Lounge, Union Hall and Joe's Pub.

Read the complete stories at Filmmakermagazine's Blog...


INDUSTRY BEAT - Anthony Kaufman checks the status of no-budget filmmaking.
With digital-video cameras, credit cards and Final Cut Pro, any aspiring director can make a movie for $100,000. But few producers can earn a living helping directors make these no-budget productions.

This month, for example, InDigEnt, the eight-year-old low-budget production arm famous for its digital output and profit-sharing model, officially closed shop. While the company brings its final production, Andrew Wagner’s Starting Out in the Evening, to Sundance’s 2007 competition and had a good run with digital-video pictures such as Tadpole, Pieces of April and Personal Velocity, InDigEnt partner and producer Jake Abraham says the changing marketplace has made the endeavor obsolete...

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