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Weird Weekend: Providing Audio Description in Non-Theatrical Cinema Spaces

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In this blog, Matchbox Cine’s Sean Welsh explains how they’ve managed to reliably and consistently produce and present optional audio description at their Weird Weekend events, which take place in an ‘emerging’ non-theatrical space.

Like most exhibitors[1], we’re keen for our events to be as accessible as possible – hardly anyone is anti-access[2]. As professional access practitioners[3], though, we’re in the unusual position of also having the practical tools to deliver that provision ourselves. We realised very early on that if we could, we should, and we committed that all our own events should have descriptive subtitles on-screen by default. It’s also why, for the past several months, we’ve been dragging a flight case full of audio description equipment back and forth to Weird Weekend’s Glasgow host venue, OFFLINE, from Edinburgh, where it normally lives. The use of that kit is part of our solution to how to host a non-theatrical screening for a general audience which also welcomes Blind and Deaf audience members, as standard.

OFFLINE is an ‘emerging’ venue, effectively still being built around us. With the intent to stage a monthly screening series leading into a full film festival in October of this year, we were faced with a steep learning curve – how to present all of our programmes with reliable, optional (professional quality) audio description, as standard, in a venue that barely has electricity. Not to mention a programme of films (and our specially-curated supporting material) that do not come provided with audio description.

The audio description equipment on its way to OFFLINE. Photo credit: Matchbox Cine

Where they can’t be sourced, we create our own mono audio description tracks for both our feature presentation and our supporting programme (including a 15-minute pre-show), which we manually trigger from a portable digital audio player[4] to sync with our digital screening materials[5]. That player is plugged into a radio unit which broadcasts to nearby handheld receivers (with basic headphones plugged in) tuned in to the correct channel, all loaned from Audio Description Association (Scotland). As paid-up[6] members of ADA (Scotland), we are given free loan of this kit, facilitated via the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, where the kit lives when it’s not hired out. Since the kit is primarily used for live theatre, it also comes with a microphone headset, which we keep as back-up, in case we need to deliver our pre-prepared AD script live.

Our programmes are purposefully on the niche end of the repertory cult film spectrum. We want as many people to see these films as possible and we want our events to be open to all, as much as is practically possible, and we don’t want to silo our audience. We don’t programme specifically to a Deaf or Blind audience, but we presume that Deaf or Blind audience members are as likely as anyone to enjoy the strange cinema we celebrate. What is unique about the theatrical experience – no matter what’s being shown – is that it’s immersive and communal, and that informs our approach to access materials as well as our event delivery.

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Ten Bets #4 for TFF #51 / Bits and Pieces / Another One Bites the Dust

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There is a bit of movement in the Ten Bets this week.  One move is the result of Mark Cousin's winning the Crystal Globe, the top prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, last week.  Relatedly, I re-read the Indiewire article about that and discovered this line from its author, Anne Thompson:

"Word is, Sean Baker’s Palme d’Or winner “Anora” (Neon) may play exclusively at Telluride, which does not announce its slate in advance..."
Anne Thompson is an impeccable source so that tidbit is enough for me to move Anora up even more on the Ten Bets list.

Here's this week's Ten Bets for TFF #51:

1) Anora/Baker
2) Emilia Perez/Jacques Audiard
3) The Room Next Door/Pedro Almodovar
4) The Seed of the Scared Fig/Mohammad Rasoulof
5) Nickel Boys/Ross
6) A Sudden Glimpse to Deeper Things/Cousins
7) Maria/Pablo Larrain
8) Conclave/Berger
9) Queer/Luca Guadagnino
10) Bird/Arnold

Other possibilities:

The End/Oppenheimer
I'm Still Here/Salles
In the Hand of Dante/Schnabel
Hard Truths/Leigh
The Piano Lesson/Washington
Untitled Noah Baumbach
Napoleon (new restoration)/Gance
Leonardo DaVinci/Burns
Oh, Canada/Schrader
The Actor/Johnson
SNL 1975
All We Imagine as Light
Memoir of a Snail


I've spent some time looking at the most common distributors who screen films at TFF.  To date that has included these distribs and their most likely films to be possible for Telluride:

A24:Parthenope, Babygirl, On B

Sundance Film Festival: Asia Returns to Taipei, Showcasing Global Independent Cinema

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In a celebration of independent filmmaking, the Sundance Film Festival: Asia is set to make its return to Taipei, Taiwan, from August 21-25, 2024. The festival, organized by G2Go Entertainment and the nonprofit Sundance Institute, will transform SPOT-Huashan into a hub for cinephiles and filmmakers alike, offering a carefully curated selection of award-winning features and shorts from the renowned 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

This year’s lineup boasts an impressive array of 10 feature-length films and 5 award-winning shorts, representing a diverse range of voices from Europe, Asia, the United States, and South America. The festival will kick off with the Taiwan premiere of “Dìdi” (弟弟), a highly anticipated work written and directed by Academy Award®-nominated Taiwanese American filmmaker Sean Wang.

Eugene Hernandez, Director of the Sundance Film Festival and Public Programming, along with Kim Yutani, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming, expressed their enthusiasm for the event. “We are excited to return to Taipei for a second year with a fantastic lineup of films,” they stated. “It’s a privilege to bring 10 feature films and five short films from the 2024 Sundance Film Festival to Taiwanese audiences and to have the opportunity to connect with and foster the independent film community in Asia and around the world.”

The feature film selection showcases a rich tapestry of storytelling, including several award winners from the main Sundance Film Festival. Among the highlights are Rich Peppiatt’s “Kneecap,” winner of the 2024 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award: NEXT, starring Academy Award® nominee Michael Fassbender, and “Sujo,” directed by Astrid Rondero and Fernanda Valadez, which clinched the 2024 Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic.

Documentary enthusiasts will be treated to all three prize-winning documentaries from the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. These include “Porcelain War” by Brendan Bellomo and Slava Leontyev, winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary; “A New Kind of Wilderness” by Norwegian filmmaker Silje Evensmo Jacobsen, recipient of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary; and “The Remarkable Life of Ibelin” by Benjamin Ree, which secured the Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary.

Sundance Film Festival - Asia Returns to Taipei, Showcasing Global Independent Cinema - Indie Shorts Mag

In recognition of the growing appetite for compelling short-form content, the festival will present a special program of award-winning shorts from the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. This carefully curated selection includes “The Masterpiece” by Àlex Lora, winner of the Short Film Grand Jury Prize, and “The Stag” by An Chu, which took home the Short Film Jury Award for International Fiction.

Kevin Lin, Founder of G2Go Entertainment, shared his excitement about the festival’s return to Taipei. “In our inaugural year in 2023, Sundance Film Festival: Asia in Taipei had over 3,000 attendees. With a larger slate of films this year, we hope to provide them to a broader audience,” Lin stated. He emphasized the unique opportunity for Taiwanese movie lovers to experience these premieres on the big screen, celebrating Sundance and independent film in a distinctive setting.

The Sundance Film Festival: Asia serves as an expansion of the Sundance Institute’s programming in the region, aiming to champion and promote visibility for independent storytelling to a wider global audience. As a traveling e

Indie Shorts Mag Short Film Festival (ISMSFF) Reveals Finalists for 2024 Edition

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Celebrating Excellence: Congratulations to the ISMSFF 2024 Finalists!

We are thrilled to announce the finalists of ISMSFF’s fourth edition (2024)! Your creative vision and dedication have brought your films to this prestigious platform, earning well-deserved recognition from our esteemed judges and critics.

It’s an honor and a privilege to be part of a community that not only experiences these remarkable films but also celebrates their achievements in our unique ISMSFF style.

Below, we present the list of outstanding films that have advanced to the finals—one step closer to this year’s festival’s grand conclusion!

Indie Shorts Mag Short Film Festival 2024 Finalists – Documentary
  • Bon Apoutine (ENG) by Ludovic L’Heureux Devinat, Bertrand Niquel
  • The real Panama Canal Stories by Shihyun Wang
  • Before You Were Born
Indie Shorts Mag Short Film Festival 2024 Finalists – Short Films
  • Jenny´s Absinthe by Gregor Gašperin
  • Because I Love You by Bob Celli
  • Disconnect by Riley Wadden
  • Chipper by Shaun MacLean
  • The present by RACHID JNANE
  • Whippy by James Rooke
  • DRAGON FRUIT by J.Brown
  • What We Did Yesterday by Matt Rene
  • Star Crossed by Pat Bradley
  • Everyone Writes Memoir by Mark Solter, Alexander Campbell
  • Love and Hunger by Gabriel de Varona
  • LifeQuest by Richard Lounello
  • Broken Castles by Ginevra Gentili
  • Scrap of Paper by Victor de Almeida
  • BFFR by Erika Apelgren
  • The Last Ashlyn by AJ Moss
  • Madison by Alex Tyler
  • HARLEM FRAGMENTS by Cameron Tyler Carr
Indie Shorts Mag Short Film Festival 2024 Finalists – AI-Generated Short Films
  • Eximium Cor – Verdant 9 by John Kalning
  • Dear Elf on the Shelf by Tor Martin Norvik
  • Cat Chaser by SiJia Zheng
  • Love & Lethal Endings by Dan Trimarchi
  • LIFE, an absurd and delicate wonder by Donovan Marsh
  • The Good The Bad and The Bloodthirsty Vol1 by John Kalning
  • Your every hesitation could destroy the world
  • Requiem Zone by Leonidas Alexandrou Goudelis
  • Little Martians: Dear Human, My Muse’ by Vanessa Rosa
  • The Hermit by Roney G
  • Dream Master Lake by Mathieu Samson
  • Bad Seed by Karan Sridharan
  • The Shadow by Christian Mariotti

To all our finalists: Your storytelling prowess and cinematic artistry have captivated us. We look forward to showcasing your work and celebrating your success at ISMSFF 2024!

Stay tuned for more updates on our upcoming events and the announcement of our Nominees & Winners. The anticipation is building, and we can’t wait to see which films will take home the top honours this year!

Related Link:

Indie Shorts Mag Short Film Festival (ISMSFF) Unveils Official Selections for 2024 Edition

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We are thrilled to reveal the official selections for the fourth edition of the ISMSFF. Building on the success of our previous events, we opened submissions for this year’s festival in January, and for the first time ever, we accepted AI-generated short films, and the response has been overwhelming in all the categories! ISMSFF 2024 continues its mission to showcase emerging talent while offering a prestigious platform for established filmmakers to share their industry insights and experiences.

ISMSFF 2024 will kick off with an exciting screening session, followed by the highly anticipated Winner’s announcement on July 13, 2024. We’ll be releasing more information about the event schedule in the coming days, so stay tuned to our official channels.

On behalf of the entire ISMSFF team, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the filmmakers who submitted their work. Your creativity and dedication are the driving force behind this festival’s continued success.

Indie Shorts Mag Short Film Festival 2024 Official Selection – Documentary
  • Bon Apoutine (ENG) by Ludovic L’Heureux Devinat, Bertrand Niquel
  • The real Panama Canal Stories by Shihyun Wang
  • Before You Were Born
Indie Shorts Mag Short Film Festival 2024 Official Selection – Short Films
  • BIANCA by Simona Mancini
  • Extension by Guy Pearson
  • Zombie by Lisa Margot Spencer
  • Jenny´s Absinthe by Gregor Gašperin
  • EGRESS by Andy Lee
  • Blood Alone by Brian Nestor
  • Mailbox by sal cirmi
  • The Music of Erich Zann by Chad Garrett
  • NICOTINE by Luca Vines
  • Ma terre d’accueil by Amandine Garrido, Emmanuelle Roberge
  • Alice, To The Moon by Mikyla Bordner
  • Bay for Blood by Harry Waldman
  • FIRMAMENT BREACH “Supreme Commanders”. by Omnahr Sha Kari
  • Because I Love You by Bob Celli
  • Disconnect by Riley Wadden
  • Power in the Name of by David Brooks, Ouiwey Collins, Brent Beck
  • Chipper by Shaun MacLean
  • The Stones of Rome by Sean Tansey
  • The present by RACHID JNANE
  • I’m A Tradie by Paul Parker
  • Dream Farm by Bryce Mackie
  • Whippy by James Rooke
  • DRAGON FRUIT by J.Brown
  • What We Did Yesterday by Matt Rene
  • Star Crossed by Pat Bradley
  • Developing Agents by Allen Childress
  • Everyone Writes Memoir by Mark Solter, Alexander Campbell
  • Cupid’s Treasures by Bryce Mackie
  • Clarity by Bryce Mackie
  • Phoebe Comes Home by Tamara Josephine Kachelmeier, Lawrence Tate, John KixMiller
  • Love and Hunger by Gabriel de Varona
  • LifeQuest by Richard Lounello
  • Broken Castles by Ginevra Gentili
  • Scrap of Paper by Victor de Almeida
  • BFFR by Erika Apelgren
  • The Stalker- Virtual play- film noir by Emily Kathleen
  • The Last Ashlyn by AJ Moss
  • Madison by Alex Tyler
  • Chop Chop by Allen Jarmolinski
  • HARLEM FRAGMENTS by Cameron Tyler Carr
  • A Modern Guide To Dating by David Stallings, Kale Klein
Indie Shorts Mag Short Film Festival 2024 Official Selection – AI-Generated Short Films
  • TRETA by francesco siro brigiano
  • Winter Death by Clayton Windatt
  • Eximium Cor – Verdant 9 by John Kalning
  • Unity by Szilvia Szakács
  • Dear Elf on the Shelf by Tor Martin Norvik
  • Cat Chaser by SiJia Zheng
  • REBIRTH by Alfonso García López <

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 […]

“Skywalkers: A Love Story” Takes Love to Unimaginable Heights

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Jeff Zimbalist, Ivan Beerkus, Angela Nikolau, and Maria Bukhonina at the premiere of “Skywalkers: A Love Story” at The Ray Theatre in Park City, Utah, on January 18, 2024. (Photo by Donyale West/ Shutterstock for Sundance Film Festival)

By Stephanie Ornelas

“Our full potential is on the other side of fear.”  – Angela Nikolau, skywalker 

Fire of Love, The Deepest Breath — you can now add Skywalkers: A Love Story to the list of thrilling docs that have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, giving us a glimpse into another boundary-pushing duo: rooftoppers Angela Nikolau and Ivan Beerkus from Moscow. 

Audience members were gasping on the edge of their seats as Nikolau and Beerkus took them on a fairytale journey of their rise to the top. Centering on this remarkable partnership where trust is key — a matter of life or death, even — director Jeff Zimbalist puts an up-close lens on Nikolau and Beerkus as they build their professional careers traveling across the globe to climb some of the world’s highest skyscrapers and sharing intimate photos with their millions of followers on social media.  

“It took seven years of production, over 300 hours of archival cinema verite footage, so many unexpected twists and turns, and a shocking climax that I still can’t believe,” Zimbalist says during the post-premiere Q&A on January 19 at The Ray in Park City, Utah.     

The documentary is a beautiful yet complicated love story, and shows the highs and lows of a relationship between two daredevils. Through breathtaking drone shots and intimate GoPro footage from the climbers themselves, audiences start to witness Beerkus’ concern for his own safety shift to that of Nikolau, but her desire to make the ultimate climb only continues to grow. Constant gasps fill the air as Festgoers witness the couple climb insane heights, escaping law enforcement and death as they dangle off some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. By the end, audiences delivered a standing ovation. 

“I didn’t know my heart could race faster than being on the roofs with these guys but that standing ovation, you got me,” Zimbalist tells the audience. 

“Everybody that got on board this project took a major gamble. There was nothing rational about it. It was a harebrained passion project that had so many unknowns, so many variables. I’m so grateful to all of you for choosing to believe in the film and choosing to believe in me.” 

When COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine led to a Russian shutdown of social media, ultimately causing them to lose their sponsors, which was a huge source of income, audiences start to see a dramatic shift in the couple’s relationship. But when Beerkus gets the idea of how to revive it all by scaling the Merdeka 118 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — and performing a bold acrobatic stunt at the very top of the spire — before a security-camera system is put in place, their journey to the top begins, thus continuing the hair-raising vertigo-inducing adventure. But there was one condition Beerkus had: This would be their last climb.    

Zimbalist shared with audiences how the team worked tirelessly to bring Nikolau and Beerkus to the Festival, but it just wasn’t possible due to logistical constraints. However, he did bring up the couple on livestream. Audience members were thrilled to see them on screen… before being given one last surprise. 

Filmmaking Mastery

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Today, we’re taking a trip down masterclass memory lane in preparation for the release of the 2024 Programme. Over the years, a remarkable list of industry experts have shared their insights in our masterclass series. Today, we’ve brought together some interesting and thought-provoking reflections from notable figures, such as Sally Potter OBE (Orlando, The Roads Not Taken), Asif Kapadia (Creature, Diego Maradona) and Dame Judi Dench (Skyfall, Chocolat).

Sally Potter OBE

“I don’t think you can really make an interesting film unless you love the history of cinema and what’s gone before. You also can’t become an interesting human being unless you are prepared to completely rebel against all oppression that imprisons intelligence and spirit.”

Francis Lee

“Across my films, I am exploring topics that have felt very personal to me and things that I know. Landscape, class and identity were topics that I was constantly trying to work out for myself.”

Dame Judi Dench

“You need theatre. You need film. Because it’s part of our lives … It’ll never die, because it’s part of us all.”

Asif Kapadia

“Every film I do is like doing a degree or a Masters on a subject. I go in there to learn and you study during the journey. By learning on the journey, you’re the first member of the audience.”

Alice Seabright

“By making shorts, you get to practice making those micro decisions that teach you to trust your instincts and know what you like and what you don’t like – your directorial voice is the sum of those instincts.”

Watch more incredible family friendly movies at Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2024, which runs from Wednesday 6 November until Sunday 10 November. Tickets available from mid June 2024.

Tickets Coming Soon. Learn more:

The post Filmmaking Mastery first appeared on Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

‘The Last Stop in Yuma County’ Takes Top Prize at Bucheon Fantasy Film Festival

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American-made films took two top prizes at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BiFan) in South Korea, ahead of a slew of Korean and Taiwanese titles that took the lesser prizes. “The Last Stop in Yuma County,” a crime thriller directed by Francis Galluppi and set around a restaurant in Arizona, won the KRW20 million […]

“Fly Me to the Moon” Launches Well

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Fly Me to the Moon (Greg Berlanti, 2024) 3½ out of 5 stars On the upcoming July 16, it will have been 55 years since the Apollo 11 mission set off into space. The year was 1969, and on July 20, two of the three astronauts—Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin—became the first humans to set […]

The post “Fly Me to the Moon” Launches Well first appeared on Film Festival Today.