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Film Festival Roundup: Hot Docs Announces Forum Titles, Wisconsin Film Festival Unveils Lineup and More

Keep up with the always-hopping film festival world with our weekly Film Festival Roundup column.

The Lost City of Z

“The Lost City of Z”

Aidan Monaghan

Keep up with the always-hopping film festival world with our weekly Film Festival Roundup column. Check out last week’s Roundup right here.

Lineup Announcements

– The Wisconsin Film Festival returns to Madison, running March 30 – April 6. Highlights of the program include James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z,” Terence Davies’ “A Quiet Passion,” Alex Ross Perry’s “Golden Exits,” Olivier Assayas’ “Personal Shopper,” Geremy Jasper’s “Patti Cake$” and a section dedicated to new women directors. Find out more information at their official site.

– The Denver Film Society has announced its full festival program and schedule for the 7th Women+Film Festival on International Women’s Day. The Festival will take place at the Sie FilmCenter April 4 – 9 and individual tickets and all-access passes are on sale now. The Women+Film Festival shines a spotlight on stories by and about women with a high profile, female-centric mix of documentaries, feature presentations and short films.

This year the Festival will open with “Dolores,” a documentary about labor rights activist and co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association, Dolores Huerta. The film, directed by Peter Bratt, and produced by Carlos Santana, shines a light on Huerta’s essential role in the movement, which is often overshadowed by her male counterpart, Cesar Chavez. The film is also an intimate portrayal of a woman who has had to face scrutiny about her personal life, which was a stark contradiction to the “stay-at-home” sentiment of the times. You can find the whole lineup right here.

– The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS) will open the 41st Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF41), with the World Premiere of “Love Off the Cuff,” directed by Hong Kong director PANG Ho-cheung. The film will kick off HKIFF41 on April 11 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre.

“Love Off the Cuff” is a long-awaited reunion between Jimmy and Cherie in PANG Ho-cheung’s third installment of the romantic comedy since “Love in a Puff” (2010) and “Love in the Buff” (2012). Miriam YEUNG and Shawn YUE reprise their popular roles as a star-crossed couple who strive to stay together happily ever after, only to find their already precarious relationship further strained by external circumstances.  While the first and second films took place in Hong Kong and Beijing respectively, this time the action moves to Taiwan.

A Quiet Passion

“A Quiet Passion”

– Tucson Cine Mexico, a partnership between the University of Arizona Hanson Film Institute, New York-based Cinema Tropical, and Mexico City’s Ambulante, has announced the 2017 festival program. All films in the 14th edition of the festival are Arizona premieres. This year’s festival will run from March 22 – 26. As always, Tucson Cine Mexico events are free.

With a focus on presenting the best of the latest films from Mexico, co-directors Vicky Westover and Carlos Gutiérrez have this year selected films ranging from a bizarre-yet-true crime story from veteran auteur and “master of the Mexican bizarre” Arturo Ripstein, to a debut documentary from director María José Cuevas that swept multiple awards at the past Morelia Film Festival.

Vicky Westover said, “As in past years, Mexican filmmakers created many exceptional films from which to choose for Tucson Cine Mexico audiences.  Carlos and I are excited to present a selection of films that showcase a rich diversity in genre, style, content, and creative approach. We’re also delighted to welcome to Tucson Maria José Cuevas, the incredibly talented first-time director of our Opening Night Film, ‘Bellas de Noche.'” You can check out the full lineup here.

– The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) has announced its galas and 2017 lineup of narrative and documentary features, and short films for its 15th annual festival. Tickets for individual films will go on sale on March 17.

The festival is widely recognized as the premiere showcase of groundbreaking Indian cinema globally. The 15th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) will take place April 5 – 9 at Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center in Los Angeles, California. This will be IFFLA’s first year in the state-of-the-art, world-class cinema in the heart of Los Angeles’ vibrant and developing downtown district. Zee Cinema is returning for a third year as IFFLA’s presenting sponsor.

“As India’s diverse array of talented filmmakers continues to be recognized around the world for their compelling and daring work, IFFLA is extremely proud to collect the best films from emerging voices and experienced masters and present them to Los Angeles,” said Mike Dougherty, Director of Programming. You can check out the full lineup here.

Dates and Other Official Announcements

– The inaugural Audience Awards Film Festival will take place in Los Angeles, April 6 – 9.The Audience Awards Film Festival will showcase 110 award-winning short films by world-class filmmakers and will celebrate some of the most respected, diverse industry voices of our time.

Honorees at the inaugural event include award-winning documentarian Ondi Timoner, who will be recognized with the Maverick Award; Effie Brown, who will receive the Trailblazer Award; Paz Lenchantin of The Pixies, will be the recipient of the Avant-Garde Award; and Jacques Thelemaque, President ofFilmmakers Alliance, will be honored with the Community Impact Award.

The Audience Awards is still accepting narrative and documentary submissions for its Women’s Film Challenge. Films or excerpts of films, 7 minutes or less, made with a woman in an above-the-line position are encouraged to submit before the March 17 deadline. Find out more information here.

– The 5th Annual DC Web Fest returns this year on Saturday, April 1 to celebrate and spotlight the diverse voices in the new media landscape. In previous years the festival has focused primarily on web series, however, this year the event has expanded to include apps, online games and virtual reality (VR). DC Web Fest will take place on Saturday, April 1 from 4pm to 11pm at the U.S. Navy Memorial’s Burke Theater (701 Pennsylvania Ave, NW).

The festival schedule includes a networking happy hour, awards, guest panels, screenings and an after party. Google will present a VR Experience Room, with Google’s Jacquetta Gooden guiding guests through a cultural tour around the world.

Golden Exits Emily Browning

“Golden Exits”

– Earth Day Texas (EDTx) has announced initial plans and dates for the inaugural edition of EARTHxFilm, an environmentally focused film festival which will be presented in conjunction with Earth Day Texas at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas on April 19 – 23.

EARTHxFilm was developed as an outgrowth of the unprecedented success of Earth Day Texas. With strong educational programming, EARTHxFilm will showcase films and emerging media that explore science, conservation, climate change and the environment, while honoring the heroes working to protect this planet. Earth Day Texas and EARTHxFilm have put together an impressive board and advisory council, culled equally from the worlds of film, environmental activism, and business including: John Bowermaster, Trammell S. Crow, Leilani Münter, Stephen Nemeth, and Louie Psihoyos.

Earth Day Texas has firmly established itself as a place where environmentally-conscious organizations, businesses, institutions, and brands have been able to come together to celebrate and share conservation practices and sustainable solutions that will make a difference today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter. Earth Day Texas CEO Ryan Brown and EARTHxFilm Founder/President Michael Cain see EARTHxFilm as a dynamic new component and logical addition to that ever-growing event.

– The Seattle International Film Festival has announced the creation of a new Work-In-Progress program for its 43rd edition, May 18 – June 11.Designed specifically to capitalize on SIFF’s long reputation for extraordinarily savvy cinema audiences while bringing emerging new film projects into view for the global industry, the new Works-In-Progress will be part of the already highly successful SIFF Filmmakers Forum.

Beth Barrett, SIFF Interim Artistic Director says “Discovering talented filmmakers is at the core of SIFF, and to be able to support those voices during the filmmaking process is crucial (to our mission) right now. Our audiences are among the best in the world and will bring a vital, dynamic component to bear as the filmmakers go through this very in-depth creative journey. It’s exciting to marry our audiences with our filmmakers at such a critical junction.”

Tapped to head the new section is former SIFF programmer Kathleen McInnis. As an international film strategist/consultant specializing in world cinema, Kathleen McInnis has over 25 years of experience identifying emerging filmmaking talent and bringing them to their audience via the festival circuit.

“Personal Shopper”

“I’m thrilled to come back to SIFF with such a dynamic and vital program,” said McInnis. “I feel it is especially important today to help bring global voices to the screen, and it seems a natural, perfect fit to combine SIFF’s legendary audiences with filmmakers and industry in order to do so.”

– Nitehawk Cinema’s annual Nitehawk Shorts Festival is a celebration of independent short filmmaking. The 5th edition of the Nitehawk Shorts Festival will feature six days of screenings, special events and parties that highlight and support a diverse range of voices in short films. This year’s edition runs from November 7 – 12, submissions open on April 3.

The Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based festival includes main slate programs (Opening Nite and weekend Matinees), speciality art and music programs (Art Seen and Music Driven), and the popular horror program (Midnite), which last year highlighted many strong female story arcs and female filmmakers. This year will also include filmmaker workshops and hosted artist talks. Programs consist of short films in all forms (animation, documentary, narrative, non-narrative, artist films, music videos, genre) by local, national and international filmmakers.

Forums and Events

– Piper Laurie will appear at the first Ojai Film Festival Special Series in conjunction with Women in Film, for An Evening with Piper Laurie, on Saturday, March 11 from 5:30 – 9:45 p.m. at the Ojai Art Center theater.
The evening will feature Women In Film’s half-hour Piper Laurie “Legacy” documentary, which focuses on her legendary career and her place in Hollywood history. A Q&A with the vibrant 85-year-old follows, and then a reception and screening of “The Hustler (1961), for which she received four award nominations (Academy, BAFTA, Golden Laurel, and NY Film Critics Circle awards) for her role as Sarah Packard, pool hustler Paul Newman’s girlfriend.

Women In Film’s Legacy Series was created to document the personal and creative worlds of exceptional women in Hollywood whose accomplishments paved the way for new generations of women working in the film and television industries.  Sponsored by Dr. Scholl Foundation and Panavision, the filmed interviews of these inspiring women – working both behind the and in front of the camera – create an enduring record of their extraordinary achievements.  The Legacy films are produced by Ilene Kahn Power and directed by Linda Feferman.

Women In Film (WIF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting equal opportunities for women, encouraging creative projects by women, and expanding and enhancing portrayals of women in all forms of global media. Given that women comprise 50 percent of the population, WIF’s ultimate goal is to see the same gender parity reflected on and off screen. Founded in 1973, WIF focuses on advocacy and education— provides scholarships, grants, and film finishing funds—and works to preserve the legacies of all women working in the entertainment community.

In its 18th year, the Ojai Film Festival screens about 70 films during its 10-day run.  Featuring a range of quality films from around the world, the Festival will be held November 2 -12, 2017 in Ojai, a picturesque village nestled in the California mountains about 75 miles northwest of Hollywood. The Ojai Film Festival nurtures its reputation for screening quality works, including documentaries, features, animations, narrative shorts, and student films.  More information on the Festival’s notable achievements can be found on www.ojaifilmfestival.com.

patti cakes sundance

“Patti Cake$”


– Hot Docs has announced the 19 projects that will be presented during this year’s Hot Docs Forum. Recognized as North America’s essential market for the international documentary community, the Hot Docs Forum will take place the mornings of Tuesday, May 2 and Wednesday, May 3, during the 2017 edition of Hot Docs, April 27 – May 7. This year’s projects represent 18 different countries and were selected from over 200 submissions.

Attended by over 500 leading industry professionals, the Forum is focused around a schedule of pre-selected international project presentations made to a roundtable of key international commissioning editors and an observers gallery composed of fellow producers, distributors, sales agents, funders and other buyers. Participating decision makers confirmed to date include ARTE, ARTE G.E.I.E, Al Jazeera, BRITDOC, Catapult Film Fund, CBC, SRC -Radio Canada, Chicken & Egg, Discovery Communications, Fork Films, Knowledge, The New York Times Op-Docs, ORF1 & ORF 2, NHK, PBS, Sundance Institute, SVT, TVO, yesDocu, YLE, VICE, VPRO, ZDF.

For the ninth consecutive year, the Hot Docs Corus Pitch Prize will be awarded to the best Canadian pitch at the event, as determined by a committee of international (non-Canadian) commissioning editors in attendance. The winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize to be used toward the production and completion budget for their project. You can find out more here.

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