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Festival Dispatch

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    DISPATCH FROM LOS ANGELES: Mountains, Music, Genocide and More True Stories in AFI Fest Doc Competit

    As is often the case at U.S. film festivals, the documentary competition can present some of a festival's strongest works. A number of acclaimed new non-fiction films are having their U.S. premiere at AFI Fest 2006, alongside a selection of world premieres. From the Toronto International Film Festiv...

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    DISPATCH FROM LOS ANGELES: Foreign Films Get AFI Fest Star Treatment

    AFI Fest rightfully styles itself as an international festival, showcasing foreign films from around the world in a city that is not always receptive to overseas fare. Though non-U.S. work may have difficulty at the box office during their regular rollouts in L.A., screenings are often full for foreign films at the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival. In fact the festival has added three new sections this year, including a world cinema, African Voices and a "genre bending" Dark Horizons sidebar that includes science fiction/thriller titles from the U.K., U.S. and Asia. Additionally, this year's AFI is screening over a dozen best forei...

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    DISPATCH FROM LOS ANGELES: The Lure of Hollywood: Art and Commerce at AFM & AFI

    An actor from a successful indie film is paying the bills working in the restaurant at Hollywood's upscale ArcLight Cinemas complex, while upstairs an AFI Fest filmmaker is taking a few days off of work as an underpaid set P.A. to double as a "real filmmaker" while his latest film screens at the festival. Meanwhile out in Santa Monica, would-be producers trade business cards and buzz inside the crowded lobby of the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel at the American Film Market. Here in Los Angeles, more than in any other American city, the dream of making it in the movies seems to be on display everywhere you turn. Sit by the pool at your hotel a...

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    DISPATCH FROM LOS ANGELES: Penelope Cruz in Spotlight at AFI Fest Tribute

    After nearly six months of critical attention and acclaim for her lead performance in Pedro Almodovar's "Volver," actress Penelope Cruz stepped into Hollywood's spotlight on Thursday night, accepting this year's AFI Fest tribute on the second night of the festival. A veteran of some 40 films in just over 15 years, Cruz was joined by close friends and family at the AFI Fest event, thanking them for allowing her to pursue her acting dreams at the age of 17. Singling out her father in the audience, Cruz praised her parents who were, "so generous for letting me fly so young. I really appreciate, now that I am older, that it was hard for them -- t...

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    DISPATCH FROM LOS ANGELES: Famous Faces and FILMEX in Spotlight as AFI Opens 20th Fest

    A long line of men in tuxedos and women in cocktail dresses gathered outside the Kodak Theater on Hollywood Blvd. last night in Los Angeles, but while it wasn't Oscar night, a nearby red carpet was filled with name Hollywood actors and rows of screaming fans. The big crowd of formally dressed guests were waiting to check-in for the opening night of AFI Fest at Hollywood's legendary Grauman's Chinese Theater down the street. The festival, celebrating its 20th Anniversary, opened with the U.S. premiere of Emilio Estevez' "Bobby" and evoked the November 1971 kick-off of FILMEX, the venerable Los Angeles film festival that preceded the American F...

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    DISPATCH FROM BRAZIL: At 30 Years, the Sao Paulo International Film Festival Celebrates Its Legacy

    How fitting that the Sao Paulo International Film Festival, or the "Mostra" (short for Mostra Internacional de Cinema), celebrated its landmark 30th year as Brazilians went to the polls to elect their next president. (Lula was re-elected on Sunday.) On opening night on October 19 in the Auditorio do...

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    DISPATCH FROM INDIANA: Faith is in the spotlight at Heartland Film Festival

    Filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke would never have been invited to Indianapolis' Heartland Film Festival for her acclaimed coming-of-age drama "thirteen" although its messages of a wayward teenage girl's self-improvement and learning to make good choices would fit under the Heartland Film Festival banne...

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    DISPATCH FROM THE HAMPTONS: Award Winners, Altman, Pollock, and a Piano at 14th Hamptons Fest

    Jens Lien's Norwegian film "The Bothersome Man" won a pair of jury prizes at the 14th Hamptons International Film Festival this weekend. Lien's follow-up to his 2003 feature "Jonny Vang" won the Golden Starfish Competition, nabbing the in-kind production services package valued at $185,000 and it also won the Kodak award for best cinematography for the work of John Christian Rosenlund. Jurors made a special mention of Rajnesh Domalpalli's "Vanaja" in the narrative competition. Meanwhile, in the documentary competition, Georgi Lazarevski's "Voyage in G Major" won the $5,000 cash Golden Starfish documentary award. Jamie Travis from Canada won t...

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    DISPATCH FROM THE HAMPTONS: Leading Independent Producers Gather to Toast Ted Hope at 3rd Annual Ind

    With a mix of sincerity and silliness, leading independent film producer Ted Hope was saluted Thursday night at the Hamptons International Film Festival by an leading group of filmmaking colleagues and industry friends. The event, presented in conjunction with indieWIRE, ranged from toast to roast as M.C. Rosie Perez, filmmakers John Waters and Todd Solondz, fellow producers Christine Vachon, Jason Kliot & Joana Vicente, Anthony Bregman, Scott Macaulay, Ross Katz, This Is That colleagues Anne Carey and Diana Victor, and former Good Machine business partner James Schamus stood to speak about Hope (others including Hal Hartley and Ang Lee sent ...

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    DISPATCH FROM THE HAMPTONS: Haas' War Story, "The Situation," Kicks Off a Festival of International

    Out on the East End of Long Island Wednesday night, the world premiere of Philip Haas' "The Situation" kicked off the 14th Hamptons International Film Festival. Set in contemporary Iraq, the film stars Connie Nielsen and Damian Lewis and will be released by Shadow Distribution early next year. Three...

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