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Features

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    FESTIVAL DISPATCH: In Defense of Peace, Reykjavik Film Fest Spotlights Conflict

    Films from Eastern Europe as well as the former Yugoslavia, including a spotlight on Serbian director Goran Paskaljevic ("The Optimists"), are some of the themes of this year's Reykjavik International Film Festival, currently underway in Iceland. The festival opened with Stephen Frears' critically a...

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    indieWIRE INTERVIEW: Freida Lee Mock, director of "Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner"

    Set against the backdrop of tumultous years in America between 9/11 and the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Freida Lee Mock's "Wrestling With Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner" looks at life and work of acclaimed playwright (and activist) Tony Kushner ("Angels in America," "Caroline, or Change"), including his focus on global issues, his work on the AIDS crisis and exploration of being gay, and also looks at his own Jewish heritage. Mock, an Oscar winner for her documentary "Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision," studied at Berkeley and has received widespread acclaim for numerous films, including "Sing!," "Rose Kennedy: A Life to Remember," "Never...

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    DISPATCH FROM THE NYFF: With NY Fest Underway, "Little Children" and "Bamako" Stir Viewers

    Those who attend the New York Film Festival for the first time quickly notice that at the esteemed Manhattan event things are done a bit differently. This is not your typical film festival, rather its more of a nightly showcase. Just two films from the event's main program screen for the public each evening at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall during NYFF; there are four screenings on weekends. Meanwhile, sidebar showings and events running concurrently in the Film Society of Lincoln Center's adjacent year-round venue, the Walter Reade Theater. Unlike the upstart Tribeca Film Festival which has expanded to numerous New York City neighborhoods...

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    indieWIRE INTERVIEW: John Cameron Mitchell, director of "Shortbus"

    Director John Cameron Mitchell first made a splash in the filmmaking scene after creating the cinematic version of a gender-bending character he developed in the New York nightclub world. It eventually became a popular stage act, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and the film version, which came together via Mitchell's participation in the Sundance Labs, later won the audience and directors prize at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival followed by similar accolades along the festival circuit. His latest film, "Shortbus" continues the talented director's penchant for breaking barriers. The feature is a raw look at the lives of a group of New Yorkers as t...

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    DISPATCH FROM THE NYFF: Considering Customs and Change on Opening Night #44, Stephen Frears' "The Qu

    The classic tug of war between tradition and modernization is quite apparent as the 44th New York Film Festival heads into opening night with the gala North American premiere of "The Queen," Stephen Frears' new film featuring a spectacular performance by Dame Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II. "For 44 years we've been accused of being demanding, inflexible and insanely selective," states the trailer for this year's festival, adding the punchline, "Remarkably like our audience." Produced by the stalwart Film Society of Lincoln Center, the promo piece also highlights a long list of acclaimed filmmakers who have been showcased at the eevnt, fro...

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    indieWIRE INTERVIEW: Steven Cantor and Matthew Galkin, co-directors of "loudQUIETloud: A Film About

    Co-directors Steven Cantor and Matthew Galkin's doc "loudQUIETloud: A Film about the Pixies," which premiered in March at the SXSW Film Festival, caputres the 2004 reunion tour of American band the Pixies from their rehearsals through to their final show one year later. The film depicts interaction between the normally press shy band members as well as their day to day lives with their families and personal dramas. The film provides an "insider's perspective" of a touring band's life, from the loud, emotional highs of performing to sell out crowds, to renewed friction that arose between band members in addition to the striking concert footage...

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    Spotlights, Rising Stars, Burstyn, Altman, Hope and "Astronaut Farmer" Unveiled for 14th Hamptons Fe

    More details of the 14th Hamptons International Film Festival were released Wednesday by organizers. As previously unveiled, the festival will open with the world debut of Philip Haas' "The Situation," a thriller, romance and war movie set in contemporary Iraq, starring Connie Nielsen and Damian Lewis. This year's full lineup includes 114 features and shorts, with 15 world, 15 U.S., eight North American, 20 East Coast and 13 New York premieres slated. Other highlights include honors for actress Ellen Burstyn, "The Fountain" director Darren Aronofsky and producer Ted Hope, while director Robert Altman will participate in this year's "A Convers...

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    indieWIRE INTERVIEW: Dito Montiel, director of "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints"

    Dito Montiel directed "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," which screened in the Independent Film Competition: Dramatic section at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. The film, starring Robert Downey Jr., Shia LaBeouf, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest and Rosario Dawson, is based upon his memoir of the same name, about a boy growing up in a tough New York neighborhood and the people he left behind after moving to Los Angeles. After a return home, he finds friends on a downward spiral or even dead, and begins to believe he has been saved from their fate by figures he recognizes as his "saints." Montiel participated in both the Sundance Screenwrite...

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    "Brothers of the Head" to Open Music-filled Raindance Fest

    Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe's debut feature "Brothers of the Head" will have its London premiere at the 14th Raindance Film Festival, opening the event, which will screen 80 feature-length and 150 short films September 27 - October 8. Music will feature heavily in the festival's line up. "Brothers"...

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    indieWIRE INTERVIEW: Paul Rachman, director of "American Hardcore"

    Veteran filmmaker Paul Rachman has returned to his film music roots with his latest work, 2006 Sundance Film Festival doc, "American Hardcore." Based on the book by Steven Blush ("American Hardcore: A Tribal History"), the film takes a look back at the flourishing punk scene of the early 1980s in the U.S. and Canada. The kids and bands, such as Black Flag, Bad Brains and Minor Threat, took part in a diffused social movement that was a reaction to the prevailing Reagan-era conservatism and conformity of the day. Music from the era helped spawn such later bands as Nirvana, Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers, which, arguably, may not have ga...

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