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DAILY NEWS: Miami and Palm Springs Announce their Openers, and a New Doc Program for Canadian Filmm

DAILY NEWS: Miami and Palm Springs Announce their Openers, and a New Doc Program for Canadian Filmmakers



by Eugene Hernandez and Wendy Mitchell/indieWIRE with a report by Christopher Henderson



>> Miami Fest To Open in February With Spanish Comedy "The Other Side of the Bed"

(indieWIRE: 11.25.02) -- Emilio Martinez Lazaro's "The Other Side of the
Bed
" will open the 20th annual Miami International Film Festival, new
festival director Nicole Guillemet announced. More than 50 films will follow
the Spanish comedy in screenings from February 21 to March 2. Venues will
range from downtown Miami's Gusman Center for the Performing Arts to the
sands of South Miami Beach.


Among the festival's featured films will be John Malkovich's directorial
debut "The Dancer Upstairs", an adaptation of Nicholas Shakespeare's book about a dedicated police detective searching for a guerilla leader starring
Javier Bardem ("Before Night Falls"); and "Stevie," director Steve James' ("Hoop Dreams") documentary about a young man who James mentored years ago but who becomes incarcerated.


"We are excited about presenting a richly diverse slate of films, all of
which are eminently worthy of the Festival's 20th anniversary celebration,"
said Guillemet, who took over the helm of the Miami Film Festival after
leaving her role as co-director at Sundance earlier this year. "Without
exception these films tell great stories and are representative of the
wealth of outstanding international cinema."


Guillemet also announced a new program called "Encuentros de Cine
Iberoamericano en Miami
," an effort to support Latin filmmakers that will
run concurrent to the festival. "Encuentros" will introduce 10 up-and-coming
filmmakers to distributors acquisitions executives and other industry
professionals.


Also set to screen is "Pandemic: Facing AIDS" by Rory Kennedy. The film,
examining the AIDS crisis in India, Thailand, and Brazil as well as other
countries, will also be shown this week at an event hosted by the United
Nations
in New York. Other announced films include Iceland's Oscar entry
"Hafid," Peter Sollett's "Raising Victor Vargas," a comedy about a teenager trying to win the heart of the prettiest girl in his neighborhood, and "Til
Human Voices Wake Us
," the story of a man who is haunted by the spirit of
his childhood sweetheart when he returns to his hometown starring.
[Christopher Henderson with additional reporting by Brian Brooks]


[For more information: www.miamifilmfestival.com]


>> "Callas" to Open Palm Springs with North American Premiere


(indieWIRE: 11.25.02) -- The North American premiere of Franco Zeffirelli's
"Callas Forever" will open the 14th annual Palm Springs International Film
Festival
on January 9 with the films' stars Jeremy Irons and Fanny Ardant expected to attend along with the famed Italian director. "Callas Forever"
is a fictionalized take on the final days of opera legend Maria Callas in
which a Faustian impresario and talent agent, played by Irons, enters
Maria's (Ardant) life and convinces her to make an ill-fated comeback.


"'Callas Forever' is a perfect example of the sort of film the Palm Springs
Festival strives for," commented the event's executive director, Mitch
Levine
, in a festival release. "International in scope and subject matter,
it's an absorbing, fascinating, and highly cinematic story of a well-known
beloved individual."


The Palm Springs International Film Festival takes place in the California
desert community through January 20. In addition to its programming from
around the globe, the event spotlights gay and lesbian films and Jewish and
Bollywood sections, and it screens most of the films submitted for
consideration for the Best Foreign Language Academy Award. Next month, the
festival will also have a special screening of Rob Marshall's "Chicago" as a
prelude to the 12-day event. [Brian Brooks]



>> Canada Film Board Joins Program For Emerging Documentary Filmmakers


(indieWIRE: 11.25.02) -- The National Film Board of Canada and the Ontario
Media Development Corp
. announced a new program partnership to help emerging
Ontario documentarians. The NFB and OMDC will support the production of up
to six new half-hour docs over the next 18 months through the OMDC's Al
Waxman Calling Card
program.


"As a co-producer we can offer a financial contribution as well as
mentoring, marketing, and distribution support to make sure the films and
filmmakers achieve both excellence and prominence," said Sylvia Sweeney,
executive producer of the NFB's Ontario Production Centre, in a prepared
statement.


In addition to a cash award of $45,000 (Canadian) per film, the program
offers business skills training and production advice. The program's next
deadline is December 13. For more information, visit www.omdc.on.ca.
[Wendy Mitchell]

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