Keep up with the always-hopping film festival world with our weekly Film Festival Roundup column.
– The 60th BFI London Film Festival has announced that Mira Nair’s “Queen of Katwe” will receive its European Premiere on October 9 at the Odeon Leicester Square, screening in the Festival’s prestigious headline gala section. The film stars David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga. It is Nair’s seventh film to show at the festival.
The film “is the vibrant true story of a young girl, Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga) selling corn on the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess by Robert Katende (Oyelowo) a soccer player turned missionary. As a result of the support she receives from her mother Harriet (Nyong’o), family and community, Phiona is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion.”
– Michael Fassbender will be this year’s guest of honor at TIFF Soirée, an annual fundraiser and celebratory kick-off for the 41st Toronto International Film Festival. At the event, the actor “will share his experiences and stories about the diverse, iconic characters he has portrayed throughout his film career. The exclusive onstage conversation with Fassbender will be followed by a glamorous cocktail party on the TIFF Bell Lightbox rooftop, overlooking Toronto’s skyline.”
The event takes place at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on Wednesday, September 7, starting at 7PM. The 41st Toronto International Film Festival runs September 8 – 18.
– Aspen Film has tapped three female industry veterans to lead its slates in the coming year, as the organization has announced special guest programmers for its flagship events during the 2016-17 season. Rachel Chanoff has been named Director of Programming for the 38th annual Aspen Filmfest (September 21-25, 2016); Jane Schoettle will serve as Director of Programming for the 25th Aspen Film Academy Screenings (December 21, 2016-January 1, 2017); and Kathleen McInnis will bring her shorts expertise as Director of Programming for the 26th Annual Aspen Shortsfest (April 5-9, 2017).
Chanoff has been working in performing arts and film for 35 years and is founder and director of The Office performing arts + film, a New York City programming, consulting, and production company. She is curator of Performing Arts and Film for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), director of programming of the CenterSeries at the ‘62 Center for Theater and Dance at Williams College, consultant to the Feature Film and Theater programs for the Sundance Institute and to the RAWI screenwriters lab in Jordan, curator of the New York Jewish Film Festival and the Margaret Mead Film Festival, and artistic director of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. Chanoff is also proud to serve on the board of the 52nd Street Project and Working Films.
Schoettle is an international programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival, responsible for programming films from Australia, New Zealand and Israel, as well as American independent cinema. She has served as a jury member for Narrative Features at SXSW in Austin and has served on numerous international festival juries including the Jerusalem International Film Lab and events in Scandinavia, Europe, South America and South Asia. Schoettle has participated in numerous film residency programs, most recently for the South Australian Film Corporation at the Adelaide Film Festival and for Screen Australia held in Sydney. Also known as a script consultant for private film-related clients, she frequently appears on-camera or in print as a film expert.
McInnis is an international film festival programmer with over 25 years of experience. Currently a Short Cuts programmer at the Toronto International Film Festival, she previously served as festival director for the Slamdance Film Festival and Palm Springs ShortFest and lead programmer for the Seattle International Film Festival, among other programming posts. Recently a panelist for the UK Film Council at the Cannes Film Festival, McInnis has served on festival juries worldwide and, through her company See-Through Films, consults filmmakers at such worldwide festivals and markets as Toronto, Sundance, Berlin and San Sebastian. Teaching festival strategies at UCLA School of Film, Television and Theater, she is a regular guest lecturer at Brooklyn College and USC.
– Rooftop Films will celebrate its twentieth anniversary with two, free, short-film programs that highlight some of the best and most memorable short films to screen at Rooftop in the past two decades. The first event, on Friday, July 29 will feature the best of their annual New York Non-Fiction program at Brookfield Place’s Waterfront Plaza. The second retrospective screening, 20 Years of Rooftop Short Films, will feature the early works of some of Rooftops highly-acclaimed alumni filmmakers and will take place on Monday, August 8 on the Beach at Coney Island.
For more information, check out Rooftop’s official website.
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