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    Oscar Watch: Austria's La Pivellina by Tizza Cavi and Rainer Frimmel

    La Pivellina is almost the sort of film which could win at least one of the five nominations for the Academy Award Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. It's about a child and a family living in the exotic though poor circumstances of circus performers. A beautifully authentic and touching film, it is clearly a favorite of festivals where it premiered in Cannes' Directors Fortnight in 2009 and thoroughly covered the festival circuit including Karlovy Vary, Toronto Vancouver, Palm Springs, Berlin, New Directors and has won the requisite awards. Represented internationally by Films Distribution, and by First Run in U.S., it has sold widely t...

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    Oscar Watch: Hermano by Marcel Rasquin, Venezuela

    Venezuela’s submission for Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film Oscar, Hermano, (official site: www.hermano.com.ve) just showed at the Havana Film Festival in Cuba, where it won the Special Jury Prize for Opera Prima (First Film), and played in 800 and 1,200 seat theaters filled with enthu...

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    Oscar Watch: Thailand's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

    This film received mucho publicity during Cannes but has very lttle visibility here in the U.S. in spite of its having been picked up for U.S. by Strand and its being Thailand's official submission for Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Language Oscar. I don't think it will be nominated as feels so off-kilter, albeit totally original. I don't think the Academy will have the patience for it. However, this Cannes winning competition film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul is the penultimate example of how a film from a perhaps underfunded country can get enough financing to be made and d...

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    U.S. Distributors Are Popping Up Like Mushrooms: Film Desk

    I first saw a notice of this up-to-now-completely-unknown distributor in connection to the release of Antonioni's The Girlfriends (1955) which was written up in a fascinating article in L.A. Times, and so I did some investigating. I discovered a film lover, Jacob Perlin, 35 years old, living in New York whose day job is associate programmer for BAM's Cinematek, a program somewhat similar to LACMA plus the American Cinematheque which programs films every day, in 35mm: classic films, premieres, festivals, and retrospectives, plus special appearances by filmmakers and critics. Jacob Perlin's Film Desk is a one man show which Jacob runs out of ...

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    Oscar Watch: When We Leave (Die Fremde)

    This past summer I spent in Berlin and was invited to the first screening of When We Leave (Die Fremde), Germany's submission for Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Language film. I was welcomed to the screening by a tall young man who turned out to be American but had come to Berlin on a Fulbright Scholarship and stayed to enter the film business there. We became friendly and he asked my advice about going to UCLA film school where he had applied. I strongly suggested he go if accepted, telling him he would have such an advantage over others because he already had the international perspective so needed in film today. Not only is ...

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    More on African Cinema

    I have discovered a wonderful new blog on Africa for those of you interested in keeping up with the latest developments taking place in cinema there. African Screens' Don Omope describes it below.Don Omope

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    Latino Days Are Here Again!

    Looking forward to what's new at Ventana Sur and being able to watch films via Cinando during the event itself, I am made aware that Latin America has a rapidly expanding film industry due to new technologies, new well trained filmmakers and governments who have stepped up local support of local filmmaking. The current call for submissions for Cine En Construcion, the twice-yearly rendezvous held at the San Sebastian and Toulouse Festivals gives a welcome place for networking in Toulouse on March 24 and 25, 2011. This initiative by the San Sebastian International Film Festival and the Rencontres Cinémas d’Amérique Latine in Toulouse focuses ...

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    Sundance Film Festival Offers A Window on the World (with Contacts)

    Sundance's announcement yesterday of the 4 main categories plus Premieres - U.S. Dramatic Competition, U.S. Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, World Cinema Documentary Competition -- is a mash of many cultures not only in "World" sections, but within the U.S. sections themselves. Consistent with my vision (and wish) to see world cultures enter the mainstream of independent features as I write about Africa (and its diaspora), Latino films, and about women filmmakers (♀), and Asia, a look at the Sundance lineup takes us beyond these cultures as they increasingly merge with one another. European cinema also looks healthy...

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    Ventana Sur Opens a Window on Latin American Films

    Ventana Sur December 3-6, 2010The second edition of Ventana Sur is about to open in Buenos Aires and will bring together international sales companies, distributors and buyers from all over the world to offer a complete selection of all the Latin American films produced over the last twelve months. More than 400 films were produced this year. 120 world premières will be presented over the four day event to more than 300 sales representatives and buyers from Latin American and the rest of the world. Devoted to Latin American cinema, organized by the Instituto Nacional De Cine Y Artes Audiovisuales (INCAA) in partnership with the Cannes Marche...

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    Africa and the Movies

    Today there is a great interest throughout the world in Africa. Its cinema is slowly entering the world's film markets and the festivals. In the U.S., though not made by Africans, still "of African interest", this week's release of Claire Denis's ♀White Material has garnered a strong review by Kenneth Turan in the L.A. Times.Simultaneously poetic, dramatic and realistic, "White Material" is an altogether stunning work. Directed by Claire Denis and starring Isabelle Huppert in a bravura performance as a woman confronting armed chaos in Africa, this is filmmaking that is at once exhilarating and chilling, powerful and powerfully disturbing. W...

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