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Festival Dispatch

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    SF Film Fest: Starstudded Tributes, "Brothers of the Head," "Half Nelson," and "The Bridge"

    The second week of the 49th San Francisco International Film Festival was packed with tributes and special events, luring crowds diverse enough to be equally starstruck by Werner Herzog and Ed Harris. (Not as diverse, alas: all of the honorees -- not to mention their on-stage interviewers -- were middle-aged white guys.) Still, all the kudos were well-deserved. April 25, the Persistence of Vision Award, previously given to the likes of Kenneth Anger and Faith Hubley, went to wildly creative Canadian Guy Maddin, who sheepishly accepted his award with an anecdote recalling his first visit to SFIFF back in 1989 (punch line: "You don't get a hang...

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    TRIBECA '06: Trying to Make Science Entertaining in "The Flock of Dodos"

    The conflict between the religious right and science -- about the origin of life -- has garnered a spotlight in liberal Manhattan with the Tribeca Film Festival screening of writer/director Randy Olson's "The Flock of Dodos" playing in the fest's Discovery section. Utilizing an entertaining and unacademic angle -- this is not your high school biology class film -- the film aims for the style of Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me," or a Michael Moore film to try to make science interesting. Olson, an evolutionary ecologist with a Ph.D. from Harvard, tackles the current debate in the United States over intelligent design and looks at its place in...

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    TRIBECA '06: In a Time of Change for the Movie Business, Talking About Emerging Distribution Platfor

    While John Cassavetes is hailed as the godfather of the modern independent film movement, many have argued that the Indiewood business model was truly born when Bob and Harvey Weinstein acquired and released Steven Soderbergh's "Sex, Lies and Videotape" in 1989. But now, that model seems to be changing. Earlier this year Soderbergh, whose career fluctuates regularly between high-profile Hollywood fare like "Oceans Twelve" and low-budget movies, like "Bubble," was at the center of a heated entertainment industry debate when his recent HD feature was distributed in select movie theaters, on cable television, and via DVD on the exact same date. ...

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    TRIBECA '06: Trying to Reach Beyond Potential Boundaries: "Jesus Camp", "The Wars Tapes", and "The T

    Among the more popular films that have screened so far at the Tribeca Film Festival here in New York City are three movies -- two docs and one fiction feature -- that are eyeing potentially unlikely audiences. A documentary about evangelical Christians is trying to play to both sides of the aisle, a...

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    TRIBECA '06: Uptown and Downtown With "Walker Payne," "Boy Culture" and "Big Bad Swim"

    On the first full day of screenings Wednesday, Tribeca Film Festival organizers presented some 40 individual showings throughout Manhattan, more than half of them for Midtown and Uptown audiences for the first time. Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal stepped out onto the stage at the Tribeca Perform...

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    From here to Iberia, the San Francisco International Film Festival

    Heroic firefighters, the eeriest simian costumes since "Planet of the Apes," a "Baywatch" star-as-activist, fierce flamenco dancers, and a rushing tide of watermelon juice: Welcome to the first four days of the 49th annual San Francisco International Film Festival.

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    TRIBECA '06: Striking, Somber "United 93" Opens 5th TFF

    The 2006 Tribeca Film Festival opened on a strikingly somber note Tuesday night in Midtown Manhattan with the world premiere screening of Paul Greengrass' "United 93," a dramatization of the events surrounding the crash of the fourth hijacked flight on 9/11. Nearly 100 families of those who died tha...

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    TRIBECA '06: Making Sense of TFF's Market; Can the Fest Turn The Corner?

    Asked to offer a few long-term goals for the Tribeca Film Festival during the annual kick-off press conference in Lower Manhattan Monday, event co-founder Jane Rosenthal reminded attendees that the first TFF was planned in just a few short months leading up to its May 2002 debut. Lacking a history of long-range plans Rosenthal further considered the question, making a public plea for more downtown venues and finally added, "I hope that we will eventually evolve as a market." Industry expectations seem a bit higher for this year's event, given the large number of new films coming to the fest without distribution, even if a number of insiders c...

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    TRIBECA '06: Ever Expanding, Tribeca Fest Heads Uptown As It Hits Year Five

    When the Tribeca Film Festival launched five years ago in the aftermath of 9/11, it was just a five-day event offering about 75 feature films. Established to boost the injured Lower Manhattan neighborhood adjacent to the World Trade Center, the festival sold about 35,000 tickets and boosted income in the neighborhood. As has been widely discussed and debated in the days and weeks leading up to this year's Tribeca Film Festival, the event had grown tremendously. Tribeca '06 will include more than 170 feature films, with organizers predicting a screening attendance of 250,000 this year. The jump would be due in part to the fact that a majority ...

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    Katrina, Class, Politics and A Few Filmmaking Legends in Spotlight at 9th Full Frame Doc Fest

    At the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, organizers like to think of festival filmmakers as family. At the end of a busy weekend of movie watching last Sunday afternoon in Durham, NC, event founder and artistic director Nancy Buirski thanked attendees from the stage during the awards ceremony and BBQ lunch, congratulating all fest filmmakers and inviting them back to the event even if they don't have a film to show. Such warmth clearly works, because a number of doc directors made the trip to North Carolina just to hang out, see some movies, and support fellow filmmakers. A festival that embraces both emerging and established directors, t...

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