By Brian Brooks | Indiewire August 26, 2009 at 10:28AM
Help out Rooftop Films!
In an email sent out to its members, New York-based Rooftop Films is appealing for contributions - $70K to be exact - by October. In a letter to people on its email list, Rooftop stated: "By now, you've probably heard: despite stellar programming, groundbreaking creative partnerships, and record attendance, the economic crisis has hit Rooftop Films hard. We need to raise $70,000 by October to ensure that we can survive into 2010." The letter goes on to ask members to support the organization by renting its equipment, introduce its organizers to patrons of the arts or simply spread the word about its activities. "If you enjoy Rooftop Films and want to see our work continue, taking any one of these actions will make a difference. Please help us during this difficult time," the letter concludes. For more information and to donate, visit their website. indieWIRE did an extensive profile of Rooftop, which has been a catalyst for the New York film community for over a decade.
Kino nabs rights to TIFF '09 feature "Ajami"
U.S. rights to Arab-Jewish director-duo Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani's "Ajami" have been picked up by Kino International. The film had its world premiere at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival in the Director's Fortnight program, where it received a special mention by the festival's Camera d'Or jury. The film also won the Best Film award at this year's Jerusalem Film Festival, and will have its North American debut at next month's Toronto International Film Festival. In the film, an accidental murder and a murky drug deal spur uncontrolled violence ina Palestinian community. "We agree with the Jerusalem Film Festival," commented Kino president Donald Krim, who negotiated the acquisition with Michael Weber of sales agent The Match Factory. "But we would go further: due to its political complexity and cinematic bravado, we believe that 'Ajami' is one of the most important works of cinema ever to come out of Israel."
Woodstock Fest explores artificial intelligence and more with premieres/discussion
Artificial intelligence, technohumanity, and other bio-technologies will be a focus at the upcoming 10th Woodstock Film Festival with the debuts of two futuristic narratives and panels on the growing fields. The world premiere of "2B," directed by Richard Kroehling, the film portrays a decaying world on the cusp of transformation and explores moral and religious questions raised by the biotech revolution. WFF will partner with the Syfy Channel for a screeningof the feature length pilot of "Caprica," about two family patriarchs, Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) and Joseph Adama (Esai Morales), who compete and thrive in the vibrant realm of the twelve Colonies, a society recognizably close to our own. Topics raised by the screenings will be addressed in a discussion moderated by Dr. James J. Hughes, executive director of the Institute for Emerging Ethics and Technologies and bioethicist at Trinity College, along with futurist/author Raymond Kurzwell, as well as Dr. Martine Rothblatt, lawyer/entrepreneur who is responsible for several satellite tech companies and Wendell Wallach, co-author of Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong. The full Woodstock Film Festival (taking place September 30 - October 4) will be unveiled in September.
2009 AFI Latin American Film Festival reveals line up
30 films representing 18 countries will screen in the 2009 AFI Latin American Film Festival, taking place September 23 - October 12 at teh AFI Silver Theatrein Silver Springs, MD. The event will open with Mexico's "I'm Going to Explode" (Voy a explotar), described as a "New Wave-styled story of young lovers on the run" from writer/director Gerardo Naranjo. This year's Centerpiece is "Beyond Ipanema: Brazilian Waves in Global Music," while 2009 Berlinale Panorama feature, "Just Walking" (Solo quiero caminar) will close the fest. For more information and a full line up, visit AFI's website.
Fortissimo thrills to "Shock Labyrinth"
Fortissimo Films has picked up worldwide rights (except Japan) to live action 3-D thriller, "The Shock Labyrinth." Directed by Takashi Shimizu, the film marks Fortissimo's first foray into the world of 3-D cinema, marks an expansion of its return to director driven, genre films containing elements of both the Horror and Thriller genres. The deal was brokered by Fortissimo's chairman Michael J. Werner and Asmik Ace's Joe Ikeda and comes on the heels of several other recent high profile collaborations between Asmik Ace Entertainment and Fortissimo including "Air Doll" from director Kore-eda Hirokazu.
Tarantino to receive Santa Barbara Fest accolades
"Inglorious Basterds" director Quentin Tarantino will receive the 4th Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Four Seasons Biltmore on October 22 in Santa Barbara. "We are beyond excited to be able to honor a man who has turned filmmaking on its ear," commented SBIFF executive director Roger Durling in a statement. "He has forever changed the direction of American cinema." The award's namesake, Kirk Douglas, will present the award to Tarantino.
Goodridge heads Hollywood Fest jury
Mike Goodridge, editor of Screen International will head an international jury for the 13th Hollywood Film Festival's 'Hollywood World Awards,' taking place October 26 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Also on the jury are: Dan Fainaru (Israel), film critic; Howard Feinstein (US), film critic, Screen International & programmer, Sarajevo Film Festival; Sandra Hebron (UK), artistic director, The Times BFI London Film Festival; Allan Hunter (UK), film critic, The Daily Express, Screen International; Derek Malcolm (UK), film critic, The Evening Standard; Lee Marshall (Italy), film critic; Despina Mouzaki (Greece) director, Thessaloniki International Film Festival; Jacob Neiiendam (Denmark), director, CPH:PIX-Copenhagen Film Festivals; Jonathan Romney (UK), film critic; and Clare Stewart (Australia), director, Sydney Film Festival. Prior Hollywood World Awards winners include "The Motorcycle Diaries," "The Sea Inside," "Mrs. Henderson Presents," "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" and "The Class," among others.
AOL: If This Summer's Indies Were Blockbusters
It's common knowledge that movies marketed toward mass audiences tend to get "watered down" with formulaic plot contrivances and predictable, feel-good endings. Anyone who's watched an episode of 'Entourage' knows that. Independent films, of course, don't always have to play by the same rules. But what if they did? We looked at this summer's crop of the most high-profile indies -- and most importantly, their titles -- and re-imagined them as big-budget, mass-marketed star vehicles. Check out the list of re-imagined indies created by the Moviefone staff.
Screen: San Sebastian announces Films In Progress line-up
San Sebastian Film Festival has revealed its line-up of Latin American projects for the Films In Progress section, including works from rising Uruguayan talents Federico Veiroj and Daniel Hendler. The line-up includes Veiroj's new project "La Vida Util," starring Jorge Jellinek as a middle age man going through a crisis after he loses his job. The film is backed by leading Uruguayan producers Control Z Films, who also supported Veiroj's previous film "Acne." Chris Evans reports.
AFP: Annie Leibovitz, photographer of stars, faces ruin
Annie Leibovitz is as famous as the people she photographs but now the genius behind the lens is close to financial ruin - a victim, some say, of her own relentless artistic ambition...In what now appears as a disastrous decision to raise funds, Leibovitz took a 24-million-dollar loan from Art Capital Group (ACG) in December 2008 using her own photographs as collateral. Luis Torres de la Llosa reports for AFP.
CNN: "Teddy: In His Own Words"
CNN will screen HBO's documentary "Teddy: In His Own Words" Wednesday night at 7pm (and no doubt other times).
[Editor's Note: iW mourns the loss of Senator Kennedy who was a tireless friend to the arts and a true champion for equal rights and working people. God bless the Lion of the Senate!]