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Giona A. Nazzaro on Why Locarno’s Competition Features First Works Solely by Female Filmmakers and No U.S. Titles

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New films from well-known auteurs such as Hong Sang-soo, Wang Bing and Ben Rivers will compete for the Golden Leopard against potential discoveries by newcomers and lesser known helmers in a competition that Locarno Film Festival artistic director Giona A. Nazzaro has called “a mosaic that reflects the multiple forms of contemporary cinema.” Interestingly, all […]

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The Curtas Vila do Conde film festival, which runs from July 12th to 21st, remains focused on the intersection between cinema and other artistic disciplines, with, as usual in its STEREO section, an emphasis on contemporary trends and movements related to the future of music and cinema.

Pride 2024: An Exploration of Queer Cinema

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June is Pride Month, as people all over the world come together to celebrate LGBTQIA+ voices. It’s a time to celebrate how far we’ve come as well as fight against the discrimination and injustice that still persists around the world. Cinema is a way to spotlight fresh perspectives, tackle complex subject matters and open audiences’ hearts and minds. Today, we are bringing you a roundup of exciting UK-based queer film events to add to your calendar.

Queer 80s | Barbican, London | 5-26 June

Time travel through the movie screen back to the 1980s, a decade when LGBTQIA+ representation and creativity thrived in the build-up to enormous geopolitical and social change. Historic events shaped the 1980s as borders were starting to shift and archaic laws against homosexuality began to be revoked. Queer filmmakers seized the camera to tell new stories in different ways. More interesting, provocative and unapologetic depictions of LGBTQIA+ people made it to the big screen. In the background, the world was on the edge of transformation.

FilmPride: The Brighton & Hove Pride Film Festival | Preston Park, Bristol | 3-4 August

FilmPride is part of Fabuloso in the Park – Brighton & Hove Pride’s official fundraiser for the Brighton Rainbow Fund. During Pride weekend, this film festival will take place in Preston Park, the beating heart of every year’s event. This is the place to spend the weekend watching some of the best contemporary indie queer films, made by, and about, members of the LGBTQIA+ community. This year’s edition will include a packed programme of international short films, documentaries and animations on a range of topics. There’ll be something for everyone!

Queer Film Club | The Love Tank, London | 12 June

The Queer Film Club is specially curated for queer migrants and queer people of colour and hosted by Krzysztof Dubicki, a Polish LGBTQIA+ film expert. Discover powerful, independent, films from across the globe, each thoughtfully selected to celebrate diverse voices and stories. With his background in film and screen media studies, along with his role as an assistant to the London Independent Film Festival, Krzysztof is always up to date with the newest film premieres, ensuring an enriching and engaging experience for all who are in attendance.

Queer Vision Film Festival | Watershed, Bristol | 28 June – 12 July

Queer Vision is now in its 12th year of celebrating LGBTIA+ cinema! It’s a festival founded upon the power of representation – having LGBTQIA+ people behind and in front of the camera – and film as a tool for social change. Events are held year round, but the main festival takes place during Bristol Pride. This year’s programme aims to increase the visibility and accessibility of queer media, with projects from Ila Mehrotra, Pedro Almodóvar and Amy Pennington. Join queer film lovers in a safe space, make new friends and chat about your newest movie obsession.

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Meet the Vanguard of Documentary Filmmaking

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The Listening Pitch is a cinematic exploration of the unheard. For the past four years, Aesthetica and Audible have come together to offer a £20,000 grant for filmmakers to make a documentary about the power of listening. This year’s theme asked: What can we hear if we listen right now? We challenged documentarians to amplify unheard voices and share unheard stories. Today, we are proud to announce the two winners of the 2024 grant are: Liberty Smith’s Greensound (Main Prize) and Ornella Mutoni’s One Thousand Hills Between Us (Runner Up). Both Liberty and Ornella will premiere their projects at the BAFTA-Qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival on Saturday 9 November in York, UK.

Greensound is Liberty Smith’s Main Prize-winning project. The short film follows a group of men from Port Talbot, Wales, on a summer of sensory and immersive forest walks. They are from a community in the middle of devastating economic turmoil. In January 2024, the Tata Steel Plant announced it would close both its blast furnaces in the town, resulting in over 2,500 people losing their jobs. Greensounds’ protagonists are reeling from the impact of such large-scale redundancies and meet in the forest to share their experiences and memories. Each participant is equipped with directional microphones and headphones, which amplify the surrounding soundscape. This means they can hear everything from the distant noise of industry to a caterpillar crawling nearby. Active listening is a way for these men to connect, talk about everything on their minds and know that they don’t have to face such an uncertain future alone. Their conversations come to the fore amongst the sounds of the forest so the film intertwines personal narratives with broader themes like the environment, industrial decline and shifting identities. Greensound champions the transformative power of listening, and the connection built by becoming a listener to nature, ourselves and each other.

Runner Up Ornella Mutoni will produce a documentary reflecting on the experiences of contemporary Rwandans three decades after the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. One Thousand Hills Between Us follows Thierry, a 29-year-old whose mother’s world was torn apart by the genocide, who confronts family secrets and the intergenerational wounds carried by his peers. Along with a group of young adults, he takes part in a healing workshop where they learn to lean on each other and find the courage to break the cycle of trauma together. The group is led by Emilienne, a community healer, whose practice revolves around open conversations. However, she does not share her memories with her own daughters. This layered, multi-faceted short celebrates collective healing whilst acknowledging the pain of genocide and mass violence. The film probes at silence and the impact this will have on the next generation of Rwandans.

Since 2021, the Listening Pitch has funded and produced six ground-breaking films. Our 2023 winners were Banana, directed by Matthew Herbert, and Meghan McDonough’s Old Lesbians, which has recently been acquired by Guardian Documentaries. Sparsh Ahuja and Omi Gupta won in 2022 with Birdsong, also distributed by Guardian Documentaries, alongside Jade Ang Jackman’s Speed of Sound and Ross McClean’s

Exploring the Roots of the African Imaginary: “African Folktales Reimagined” through the Lens of Korede Azeez

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“African Folktales Reimagined” poster, imagine taken from https://about.netflix.com/en/news/african-folktales-reimagined-short-films-launch-date-announced 23/05/24, 14:30

In the vast cinematic landscape, few works have the power to transport the viewer into enchanted worlds steeped in culture and tradition as the short films in the “African Folktales Reimagined” series. These short cinematic gems stand as a bridge between the past and the present, between the richness of ancient African stories and contemporary visual aesthetics.

With a keen eye and a masterful touch, the filmmakers of this series take us on a journey through the depths of African fairy tales and legends, reinterpreting them in surprising and engaging ways. Each short film is a narrative treasure that immerses us in fantastic worlds, populated by mythical creatures, brave heroes and life lessons woven with ancestral wisdom.

This article aspires to convince our readers to explore the fascination and relevance of the “African Folktales Reimagined” short films, and discover a behind-the-scenes look at one of their fascinating chapters thanks to the kind availability of one of the directors of the series, Korede Azeez, who shot the incredible short film “Halima’s Choice”. 

The Genesis of “African Folktales Reimagined”

The “African Folktales Reimagined” project originated from a partnership between Netflix and UNESCO, aimed at launching a short film competition targeting sub-Saharan Africa. This joint initiative was conceived to offer young African filmmakers an unprecedented opportunity to express their creativity and share their interpretations of ancient African folktales and legends. The competition was opened on 14 October 2021 and closed just one month later, on 14 November 2021 and after a selection process, several promising projects were chosen. The winners were awarded a financial prize to realize their projects and received guidance and mentorship directly from industry professionals. 

Thanks to this collaboration, “African Folktales Reimagined” has become not only a vehicle for innovative cinematic storytelling but also a means to promote cultural diversity and support the development of African film industries. The six winning directors, Korede Azeez from Nigeria, Voline Ogutu from Kenya, Loukman Ali from Uganda, Walt Mzengi Corey from Tanzania, Mohamed Echkouna from Mauritania, and Gcobisa Yako from South Africa could see their short films on Netflix from 29 March 2024. 

I recently had the privilege of conversing with one of the talented directors of this series, Korede Azeez, whose short film captured the attention and hearts of many viewers. Through our discussion, I had the opportunity to peer beyond the veil of filmmaking, exploring the creative motivations, challenges encountered and the importance of giving voice to African traditions in the global landscape of cinema.

“I hope Netflix or other organizations do projects like this more often from now on – says Korede Azeez about the project –  I feel like we haven’t even started to scratch the surface of the stories we have in Africa”. After seeing the reaction of the judges to the pitch in South Africa she realized immediately that she had a chance of winning, but the subsequent news that she had been shortlisted as a winner made it all the more real and exciting. After the win, Azeez was joined by filmmaker, photographer and writer Jenna Cato Bass. They have created an instant rapport

Get to Know This Summer’s Filmmakers Through These 12 Sundance Films

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(L–R) Writer-director Hannah Pearl Utt and co-writer Jen Tullock star as sisters in “Before You Know It,” which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

By Lucy Spicer

Summer is just around the corner, and with it comes the time-honored tradition of beating the heat by losing yourself in a new story inside a darkened movie theater (or through a streaming service on your couch, take your pick). 

This summer’s lineup of films runs the gamut — a music documentary, a historical drama, a video game adventure, a classic disaster movie sequel, an absurdist anthology, and much more. And a dozen of their filmmakers have ties to Sundance Institute. 

So before you book your tickets to their new releases, why not familiarize yourself with these filmmakers’ earlier Sundance-supported works?

BEFORE YOU SEE THE BEACH BOYS

Combining previously unseen footage with both archival and contemporary interviews, Frank Marshall and Thom Zimny’s documentary celebrates the history of The Beach Boys, whose iconic harmonies and lyrics made them one of the most influential bands in pop music. Streaming on Disney+ May 24.

… WATCH WILLIE NELSON & FAMILY

Told in his own words as well as those of close family and friends, this multipart series traces the legendary career of Willie Nelson — spanning an impressive seven decades — and paints a portrait of the man’s legacy in music, philanthropy, and activism. Directed by Zimny and Oren Moverman, the series premiered in its entirety at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Check viewing options here.

BEFORE YOU SEE JIM HENSON IDEA MAN

Academy Award–winning director Ron Howard chronicles the life of filmmaker and puppeteer Jim Henson, whose tireless imagination created characters that continue to be beloved by all ages today, over 30 years after Henson’s passing. The new documentary features interviews with Henson’s family and collaborators, including fellow puppeteer Frank Oz. Streaming on Disney+ May 31.

… WATCH REBUILDING PARADISE

On November 18, 2018, the town of Paradise was almost entirely destroyed by the deadliest wildfire in California’s history. Howard’s poignant film bears witness to both the trauma and resilience of the town’s residents as they attempt to rebuild their community. Featuring a score composed by Lorne Balfe and Hans Zimmer, the documentary premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Check viewing options here.

BEFORE YOU SEE CORA BORA

Cora (Megan Stalter) hasn’t had much luck launching her music career in Los Angeles, and her long-distance open relationship with girlfriend Justine (Jojo T. Gibbs) isn’t thriving, either. When it looks as though Justine may have fallen in love with someone else, Cora travels to Portland in an attempt to revive her

SoundTrack Cologne 21 Lifetime Achievement Award for Gustavo Santaolalla

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SoundTrack_Cologne 21

The Lifetime Achievement Award of the twenty-first edition of STC goes to the two-time Academy award winner Gustavo Santaolalla. The composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist will attend SoundTrack_Cologne 21 from the 3rd to the 5th of July.

On Wednesday, 3rd of July, Santaolalla will present his German Netflix-series Liebes Kind (Dear Child). He will share the stage with Isabel Kleefeld (director / creative producer and showrunner), Renata Salazar Ivancan (editor), Tom Spieß (producer), Christoph Becker (music supervisor) and Juan Luqui (co-composer). On Thursday, 4th of July he will talk with Oscar nominated composer Gary Yershon about his career in music. On Friday, 5th of July he will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award of SoundTrack_Cologne, while some of his scores will be played by the 40-piece Neues Rheinisches Kammerorchester.

Working almost 60 years in the music industry, 25 of them dedicated most intensely to composing scores for film, TV and video games, Gustavo Santaolalla has become one of the most highly acclaimed and prolific contemporary South American composers and musicians in the world. For his film work, he received Academy Awards for Best Original Score for Brokeback Mountain (2006) and Babel (2007), as well as a Golden Globe for Best Original Song (A Love That Will Never Grow Old) co-written with Bernie Taupin for Brokeback Mountain.

Santaolalla has written music for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Biutiful; Walter Salles’ Motorcycle Diaries and On the Road; Jorge R. Gutiérrez’ The Book of Life; Joseph Vilsmaier's Nanga Parbat (his first assignment for a German production), among many others.

His work for TV series includes compositions for Jane the Virgin, Hell on Wheels, Narcos: México, The House, The Last of Us, Max and the German thriller Liebes Kind (Dear Child).

Since his foray into the world of video games in 2013 with The Last of Us, Santaolalla has also remained active in the medium. The Last of Us for Sony PlayStation, won more than 200 awards, including BAFTA's Game of the Year, becoming one of the most successful video games in history.

Throughout his career, Santaollala has produced, with his own record label Surco, more than 100 albums for renowned Latin American artists, including Café Tacvba, Julieta Venegas, Molotov, Los Prisioneros, Juana Molina, Bajofondo, Los Tigres del Norte and Juanes establishing him as one of the fundamental pillars of the history of the movement known as Rock en Español.

In 2020, he produced Break It All, Netflix’s mini-series about the history of rock in Latin America. Santaolalla has also won 2 Grammys and 19 Latin Grammys.

In addition to the re-release of his acclaimed Ronroco album in a 25th anniversary vinyl edition at the beginning of this year, Santaolalla will perform an album's European tour this fall.

 

Wednesday 03.07.
16:00 - 17:00
Gustavo Santaolalla, Juan Luqui, Isabel Kleefeld, Renata Salazar Ivancan, Tom Spieß, Christoph Becker
Liebes Kind (Dear Child)
Case study moderated by Hansjörg Kohli

Thursday 04.07.
19:00 - 20:00
Gustavo Santaolalla
In

VIDEO: Interview with Phillip Bergson, UK Film Critic

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Interview with Philip Bergson, UK Film Critic and long-time blog contributer here on Filmfestivals.com. 
 
Phillip Bergson: "winner of the Student Journalist of the Year competition in the UK weekly New Statesman, as a Classics Scholar Phillip Bergson then founded the Oxford Film Festival and, on graduating, was selected by “The Sunday Times” as a ‘New Critic’ and in the same week began broadcasting on film for many BBC Radio programmes. A contributor to the “Times Literary Supplement”, “TES”, “Screen International”, “Film Bulletin”, “Film a Doba” inter alia, he also worked for the “European Script Fund”, has scripted shorts and features (that have been produced and released) and, fluent in eight-and-a-half languages, currently programmes and advises several international film festivals. At the National Media Museum in his native Yorkshire, he created the “Eurovisions” project, to promote classic and contemporary European cinema."

Truong Minh Quy on Moving Past Vietnam’s Ban of His Un Certain Regard Film ‘Viet and Nam’: ‘Like Being at Home, but Homeless at the Same Time’

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Young Vietnamese director Truong Minh Quy made a splash at the Cannes Film Festival with his Un Certain Regard film “Viet and Nam,” which debuted on Wednesday. His story, a contemporary-ish romance between two young miners, traces the memories and dreams of a nation. It is sensuous, atmospheric, formal, but humane, and mixes moments of […]

The IndieFEST Film Awards Announces Latest Winners! April 2024

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Rick Prickett, Competition Director

858-454-9787

TheIndieFEST.com

Info@TheIndieFEST.com

 

The IndieFEST Film Awards Announces Latest Winners!

La Jolla, CA, May 2024 - The IndieFEST is proud to announce the latest winners. Congratulations to all the filmmakers who participated in the current season!The awards go to those filmmakers who produce fresh, standout entertainment and compelling documentaries. The IndieFEST is a top-tier international awards competition. It honors professionals, established and emerging, who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity. The goal of The IndieFEST is to help the winners of this coveted award achieve the recognition they deserve. Additionally, each year IndieFEST also bestows a special award to productions that make significant contributions to social change or a humanitarian effort. Please visit www.TheIndieFEST.com to learn more about the IndieFEST Humanitarian Award.

May 2024

 

~ Best of Show ~  My Mercury – Joëlle Chesselet and Pippa Ehrlich

 

Joëlle Chesselet and Pippa Ehrlich (United Kingdom), My Mercury, Documentary Feature – Oscar-winner Ehrlich (My Octopus Teacher) teams up with director Chesselet to deliver a doc that is as gripping and complicated as it is wildly compelling. At 28, conservationist Yves Chesselet abandons modern comforts to live alone on Namibia’s remote Mercury Island for 8 years amidst a cacophony of constant sounds and smells. His mission: relocate 15,000 seals, making room for endangered seabirds. Through Yves’ diaries and video footage, his sister Joëlle unfolds a tale of environmental urgency, human struggle, Yves’ troubled past, his unrelenting internal torment and his moral choices. We witness a hermit’s ethical battle against nature’s harsh beauty, where saving one species means harming another. Ultimately, it’s a triumph for the birds, but with a haunting cost. This intimate documentary explores re-wilding as a complex dance between man, nature and our human psyches.

As Yves grapples with the moral complexities of his mission, we are forced to confront our own notions of ethics and responsibility. What sacrifices are we willing to make in the name of conservation? How do we reconcile the harsh realities of nature with our innate desire to protect and nurture it?

My Mercury is more than a documentary—it’s a meditation on the fragile balance between man and nature, and the profound impact of our choices on the world around us. It challenges us to reevaluate our relationship with the environment and consider the true cost of our actions. In the end, it leaves us with a haunting question: what are we willing to sacrifice for the greater good. Ultimately, it reminds us that the fate of earth, and all that live here, rests upon the choices we make and the compassion we embrace toward a world that we are destroying.

A24 Films & Dog Star Films. Written by Emmy-nominee Jinx Godfrey, Producers: Emmy nominee Ben CotnerNews & Doc Emmy winner Adriana BantaNews & Doc Emmy Nominee Emily OsborneMandy ChangNick Shumaker

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