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International Film Festival

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    Latino in Sundance (and Slamdance)

    Last year's blog on Latin America in Sundance had more to say and more films to choose to talk about, including Lucy Walker's acclaimed Waste Land which I loved back then. This year's Slamdance has 3 Latino films. One, Drama, is most notable because of its filmmaker. Matias Lira spent much time here in L.A. and we even eagerly sponsored him for his green card. Matias graduated UCLA Film School and stayed on as an acquisitions person for a large Latin American distributor. He seemed to be the only genuine Latino here and looked like he was going to go to the highest levels possible here. But Chile suddenly awoke and created a film world wh...

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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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    Oscar Watch: Kazakhstan's Strayed by Akan Satayev

    Paradigm is repping U.S. distribution and remake rights to Strayed, Katzakhstan's submission for Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Language Oscar. They are showing it to U.S. distributors now and there is interest. It mixes genres and yet is reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs although its story ...

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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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    UPDATE: Iraq's First Academy Award Nomination?

    Son of Babylon film, has simultaneous global screenings to recognize 10th December, International Human Rights Day - including special UK solidarity screening at Leeds University Occupation. Leeds, UK 9th December, 2010 - Son of Babylon, Iraq’s official entry for the Golden Globes and Oscars 2011 will simultaneously screen internationally, giving new audiences the opportunity to see the extraordinary film by director Mohamed Al-Daradji. The film was made with the intent to raise awareness of the 1,000,000 + people who are currently missing in Iraq, as well as inspiring activism that will help find answers for their families. Human Film have ...

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    Slamdance Narrative & Docs

    IndieWIRE posts the Slamdance selection of ten narrative and eight documentary features for this year’s event, taking place January 21 - 27. “All Is Not Lost” is the theme for this year’s Slamdance and all films, the fest touts, have been “made on a small budget and head to Park City without distr...

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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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    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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