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Film Festival News and Reviews: Sundance, Cannes and more

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    BERLIN '08 NOTEBOOK | More Berlinale Disappointments: "Elite Squad," "La Rabia," "Quiet Chaos"; "Sum

    When a film festival disappoints, as the Berlinale has this year, you find yourself adopting a tone of consolation when speaking to your fellow attendees, like the friendly bartender with the mournful drunk: "Why the long face, chum?" And like that bartender, you hear much the same tales of woe repeated again and again: no films worth buying/programming/seeing; no point in hanging around; nothing to show for all those expenses. "I'm just sick of sitting through things that are OKAY," one Berlin veteran complained. "You don't feel angry. You don't feel exhilarated. You just think, well, there goes another hundred minutes of my life. And for wh...

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    iW NEWS | "Queen Raquela" Wins Top Teddy Prize

    Olaf de Fleur's "The Amazing Truth about Queen Raquela" won the Teddy Award for best feature film at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival tonight in Germany, with Tanaz Eshagian's doc, "Be Like Others" winning both the jury prize and the Siegessaeule Reader's Choice Award. The prize for best documentary went to David Assmann and Ayat Najafi's "Football Under Cover." "This year's documentaries overwhelmingly won the hearts of the Teddy Jury by approaching challenging and thought-provoking subjects in an accessible and effective manner," said the jury, in a statement, "The most cinematic and gripping of them all subtly and humorously tac...

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    BERLINALE '08 | Buoyed by Sundance and Berlin, "Ballast" Prepares for Unsteady Market with IFC

    Lance Hammer's feature debut "Ballast" isn't the first American independent film to leap from laurels in Park City to a prestigious competition slot in Berlin. In 1999, Tony Bui's Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner "Three Seasons" went onto the Berlinale contest, while more recently, Joshua Marston's ...

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    BERLIN '08 DISPATCH | Life in London: Madonna and Mike Leigh In Berlinale Spotlight

    Her first feature may have been made relatively under the radar -- at least for a woman of her stature -- but iconic actress/author and all around uber pop star, now turned filmmaker, Madonna nevertheless made quite a splash in Berlin today. She landed on the cover of local tabloids ahead of the wo...

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    BERLINALE '08 NOTEBOOK | Digging Past the Competition Where Austrian and Italian Films Shine

    Personally, I'm always relieved to see a new Hong San Soo film -- perhaps because I know, when I do, that our friends at the New York Film Festival automatically have one less slot to fill. (And if there's a new Wes Anderson or Michael Haneke too, well, the programme practically selects itself!) Unu...

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    BERLIN '08 DISPATCH | Image and Reality: Errol Morris' "Standard Operating Procedure"

    Four years after the horrors within the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were revealed through amateur photographs, the incidents are the subject of another documentary. Following in the footsteps of Rory Kennedy's "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" and Alex Gibney's Oscar nominated "Taxi To The Dark Side," comes the ...

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    iW NEWS | SXSW '08 Adds Films, Panels

    Eva Norvind's "Born Without" and Everardo Gonzalez' "The Old Thieves" have been added to the roster for the upcoming SXSW Film Conference and Festival, screening in the event's new "Global Doc Days" section that will showcase programming from various international film organizations. The section will also include docs from Canada, Norway, and China. Also added to the SXSW lineup are panels featuring Billy Bob Thornton & Dwight Yoakam (In conversation on March 11), separate conversations with Helen Hunt and Stanley Nelson (both on March 9th), and an acting workshop with Jeffrey Tambor on the same day. The event is also adding "Drugs, Politics,...

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    BERLINALE '08 NOTEBOOK | Drink, Sex and Gynecology: "Julia," "Transsiberian," "Leo," "Black Ice" and

    Ah, the sour taste of disappointment. Watching Erick Zonca's Berlinale competition entry "Julia" -- his first feature since his superb 1998 debut, "The Dream Life of Angels" -- the question became less, 'Where has he been?,' than 'What the hell HAPPENED to him?' Playing a tottery lush in a successio...

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    BERLIN '08 DISPATCH | Optimism v. Skepticism, Independents v. Hollywood at EFM Talks About the Futur

    At the Berlin International FIlm Festival, which kicked off on Thursday night here in the German capital, bold-faced names including Penelope Cruz, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tilda Swinton, Goldie Hawn and The Rolling Stones have been in the spotlight in Potsdamer Platz, while over at the nearby Martin Gropius Bau, thousands of buyers and sellers from around the world are making deals for finished films and pre-bought projects during the concurrent European Film Market. But, just under the radar leading industry insiders have been gathering daily over the weekend to discuss and debate the future of digital cinema, online distribution, and new technolo...

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    EFM NEWS | Scorsese Set With Marley Film

    Announced at the European Film Market this morning in Berlin -- the day after the world premiere of "Shine A Light" -- is the news that Martin Scorsese will make an authorized documentary about musician Bob Marley. Produced by Tuff Gong Pictures and Steve Bing's Shangri-La Entertainment, the film is...

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