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    DISPATCH FROM GREECE | Ten Years and Building: Thessaloniki Cements its Reputation as a World-Class

    It's a difficult thing for an international guest to head to the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival and keep one's mind on the movies. Not that the programming isn't outstanding. It is. 153 films appear in this noncompetitive fest (though lots of auxiliary prizes are awarded), and th...

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    SXSW '08 | Film & Music Abound Along with the Late Late Nights

    Encompassing two of the largest creative industries, SXSW has created a formula spotlighting both film and music during its nine-day run (not to mention the massive influx of interactive folks), and it's a unique opportunity for both to converge under one mega event. But some have observed amusing differences. Just the other day, a group of film industry members joked that coming to Austin for the film fest is so full of revelry and parties -- along with the many panels, screenings and other events that make up the SXSW Film Conference & Festival-- that mornings can be a bit rough after the late nights. Still, the group observed, the really g...

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    SXSW '08 DOC NOTEBOOK | Snapshots from the Competition: "Dorothy," "Wizards," "Assembly"

    One of the films I was most interested in seeing at the South by Southwest film festival was a documentary called "They Killed Sister Dorothy," about the murder of Sister Dorothy Strang, a social and environmental activist, in Brazil. Daniel Junge's film won both the grand jury prize at the doc audience award at the 2008 SXSW Film Festival. Sister Dorothy, who had lived and worked as a missionary in Brazil since the 1960s, was involved in a sustainable living project in the Amazonian rain forest that was designed to set aside rain forest lands for poor farmers, allowing them to work the land in sustainable ways without destroying the biodive...

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    SXSW '08 NARRATIVE NOTEBOOK | The Latest from Austin: "Nights and Weekends," "Medicine for Melanchol

    When South by Southwest film festival producer Matt Dentler introduced "Nights and Weekends" on Sunday night with the observation that some people have started referring to the festival as "South by South Swanberg," he was only half-joking. As the makeshift figurehead of a movement loosely held together by the term "mumblecore," Joe Swanberg -- the idea, not the man -- was born here, where his rambling, virtually plotless accounts of white young people hanging out strike familiar notes year after year. "Nights and Weekends" is technically his first collaborative directorial effort -- he shares the credit with "Hannah Takes the Stairs" star Gr...

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    indieWIRE INTERVIEW | "Wetlands Preserved" Director Dean Budnick

    Director Dean Budnick's feature directorial debut, "Wetlands Preserved," is a documentary that details "activist nightclub" The Wetlands Preserve. In 1989, Larry Bloch and his collective opened a nightclub just south of the Holland Tunnel in the then-underdeveloped Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. The club had been the first venue for New York performances of bands like Pearl Jam and Rage Against The Machine, and fused music with environmental activism in an entirely unique manner. Budnick's doc portrays a critical moment in recent music history, and is a tribute to a club that closed prematurely on September 10, 2001. Budnick, who is als...

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    SXSW '08 DISPATCH | "Sister Dorothy" and "Wellness" Big Winners at SXSW

    Daniel Junge's documentary "They Killed Sister Dorothy," about the murder of a devoted nun who fought to protect the Amazon and tirelessly supported the region's poor, won the top two doc prizes at the SXSW Film Festival, which continues through this weekend in Austin, TX. The film won the documentary grand jury prize and the festival's doc audience award as the event's film conference came to a close on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Jake Mahaffy's "Wellness," a film about the chaotic journey of one man trying to succeed in a business that doesn't exist, won the narrative grand jury award. It recently debuted at the Rotterdam International Film Festiva...

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    SXSW '08 DOC NOTEBOOK | Sex, War, Bullfights and High School: SXSW Docs Run the Gamut

    This year's South By Southwest Film Festival boasts an impressive range of subject matter among the films screening in the Documentary Competition. Last year the fest circuit was filled to capacity with Iraq war docs, so it's a refreshing change to see films on so many topics competing at this fest. "Sex Positive" is about Richard Berkowitz, a former gay S&M hustler turned AIDS activist, who spearheaded the safe sex movement in the gay community some 25 years ago. Back when AIDS was a new disease spreading like wildfire in the gay communities in cities like New York, San Francisco and London, Berkowitz was one of the few voices advocating s...

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    SXSW '08 INTERVIEW | "The Lost Coast" Director Gabriel Fleming

    EDITORS NOTE: This is part of a series of interviews, conducted via email, profiling directors who have films screening at the 2008 South By Southwest Film Festival.

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    SXSW '08 NOTEBOOK | Notable Narratives: "Humbolt County", "Explicit Ills", "Natural Causes", and "A

    While the goofball stoner antics of "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" and the sheen of the new Kevin Spacey vehicle "21" might help raise the profile of the South by Southwest Film Festival, its soul comes from filmmakers operating out of sheer creative impulses. Many of the entries cont...

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    SXSW '08 INTERVIEW | "Explicit Ills" Director Mark Webber

    EDITORS NOTE: This is part of a series of interviews, conducted via email, profiling directors who have films screening at the 2008 South By Southwest Film Festival.

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