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DAILY NEWS: Stockholm Winners; Diaspora Fest

DAILY NEWS: Stockholm Winners; Diaspora Fest

DAILY NEWS: Stockholm Winners; Diaspora Fest

by Anthony Kaufman and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

>> Troubled American Youth Films Win Big in Stockholm

(indieWIRE/11.20.01) — The 12th Stockholm International Film Festival gave
its top prize, The Bronze Horse for best film in 2001, to Larry Clark‘s
Bully” over the weekend in the Swedish capital. “Bully” is based on
a true-life incident in 1993 in which a group of teenagers murder another
teen who had been harassing them. “L.I.E.,” also a troubling portrait of
teens growing up in America, by Michael Cuesta, won the Best Feature Film
award, while “Field” by British director Duane Hopkins won Best Short Film.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch” director John Cameron Mitchell received a
Special Mention by the festival. A press released by the event commended
Mitchell for his, “high artistic ambitions and generic flexibility, [in which] he convincingly portrays the chaotic social experiences of a non-conformist.” “Lost and Delirious” by Canadian Lea Pool won the E! Audience Award.

French New-Waver Jean-Luc Godard (“In Praise of Love,”) received the
Stockholm Lifetime Achievement Award. The fest recognized the celebrated
French director for “his youthful lust for rebellion which has only grown bigger over the years.” [Brian Brooks]

>> ArtMatten’s African Diaspora Fest; A Launch Pad for Black Indies

(indieWIRE/11.20.01) — Now in its 9th year, the African Diaspora Film
kicks off this Friday, Nov. 23 with more than 50 films from Brooklyn
to Burkina Faso, numerous U.S. premieres, panel discussions and a special
homage to actress Sheryl Lee Ralph.

The brainchild of husband and wife academics Reinaldo and Diarah Spech, the festival also provides a launching pad for films that the Spechs distribute
through their company, ArtMatten (named after a dry Saharan wind, “harmatten,”
and a combo of ‘art’ and ‘Manhattan’). Current ArtMatten release “Otomo,” for
example, first appeared at last year’s African Diaspora fest in a special program devoted to French actor Isaach de Bankole.

ArtMatten’s first release came in 1994 with “Ashakara,” a comedy-thriller
from Togo that played in New York City. As the company and the festival has
grown, the Spechs began to release films on a larger scale, beginning in
1999 with the children’s film “Kirikou and The Sorceress” and the French
Arab rap drama “100% Arabica.”

“We have a specific market and our festival is very specific,” says
Reinaldo. “If the audience is receptive, we will make an offer on some
of the films.”

At this year’s Diaspora fest, Reinaldo has several films he’s tipped for
audience favorites and possible distribution contenders: the U.S.
premieres of “Sia: The Myth of the Python,” directed by Dani Kouyate
(“Keita! Voice of the Griot“); “The Elephant Balls,” a comedy from Gabon
about political corruption; and “Caribbean in Paris,” a popular French
comedy starring the “French Eddie Murphy,” Pascal Legitimus. Reinaldo
is also championing the British documentary “Injustice” about those who
have died in police custody in the UK, and the fest’s opener, “A Room
to Rent
,” which follows the tribulations of an Egyptian writer seeking
residency in the UK, with American actress Juliette Lewis and directed by
Egypt’s Khaled El-Hagar.

Coming from university backgrounds, the Spechs see the mission of the
festival as not only to entertain, but to educate audiences about “people
of African descent from all over the world,” says Reinaldo. “‘Diaspora’
is a word that was used mostly by the Jewish population, but it’s applicable
to anyone.” As their website declares, “Our mission is to present these films
to diverse audiences, redesign the Black cinema experience and strengthen the
role of African descent directors in contemporary world cinema.”
[Anthony Kaufman]

For more information about the festival, go to their website:

For more information about ArtMatten’s distribution activities, see:

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