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Festival Dispatch

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    DISPATCH FROM AMSTERDAM: "Together" Tops at IDFA (So Far); and Berliner's Best

    A number of films have stirred audiences and industry alike here at IDFA this year and based on informal surveys of insiders attending the festival, the taste of general attendees seems to be in line with that of the professionals. Perhaps the most buzzed about title at mid-week is Paul Taylor's deb...

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    DISPATCH FROM AMSTERDAM: At a Leading Doc Festival, Surveying the Global State of Documentary Film

    Some 600 Q & A sessions are ongoing throughout the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, yielding a considerable amount of doc talk at a festival with the slogan, "Film For Thought." Organizers kick-started the chatting over the weekend with a special "UnDebate" on the state of document...

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    DISPATCH FROM AMSTERDAM: Talking about "Elements" As 19th IDFA Kicks Off in The Netherlands

    Documentary filmmakers, buyers, sellers & funders of non-fiction films, festival programmers, journalists, and large general audiences have converged upon The Netherlands for the 19th International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) this week. The leading documentary festival offers hundreds...

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    DISPATCH FROM BRAZIL | Getting Bigger and Better, Mix Brasil Walks the Line Between Experimental and

    Turning 14 years old, the Mix Brasil Film and Video Festival of Sexual Diversity has grown from a fringe showing of alternative Brazilian cinema to a popular international queer film festival. Its flagship showing was Nov. 9-19 in Sao Paulo, but the event will also tour to Rio de Janeiro, Niteroi, ...

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    DISPATCH FROM LOS ANGELES: International Stories Take Top Prizes as AFI Fest Wraps

    One week after announcing its U.S. distribution deal at the American Film Market, Jasmila Zbanic's "Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams" won the narrative grand jury prize at AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival. Winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlinale in February, the film is Bosnia and Herzegovina's official entry for the 2006 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award and Strand Releasing is planning a 2007 release of the acclaimed feature film. Set in a contemporary Sarajevo still reeling from the aftermath of war, the film is the story of a single mother who lives with her rebellious twelve-year-old daughter in the Grbavica district...

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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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