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Established 1995 serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.


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Hollywood Film Festival mixes Star Power with discoveries

The Hollywood Film Festival, which ended its six day run on Sunday, is a unique event that mixes the high profile of the Hollywood film industry with new discoveries from the worlds of American independent film and international cinema.

Screenings were held at Hollywood’s Arclight Theaters, a major venue for specialty cinema (and also the home of next month’s AFI Film Festival). The Festival, which celebrates its ninth anniversary under the direction of its Founder and Executive Director Carlos de Abreu, has seen its offerings grow in stature, with the inclusion of a host of world and US premieres.

The Festival is also consolidating its position as an important stop for films with Oscar buzz (thus feeding into the start of the ravenous Oscar season). The Festival opened on October 18 with a premiere screening at the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theater with Shane Black’s directorial debut KISS KISS, BANG BANG, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer. Closing night on Sunday saw the world premiere of Disney Studio’s MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, the latest animation gem from Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki.

Other high profile films that made their debut this past week as US premieres included FIERCE PEOPLE, starring Diane Lane and Donald Sutherland; NORTH COUNTRY, directed by New Zealand auteur Niki Caro and featuring an Oscar buzz performance by Charlize Theron; the made-for-television documentary BULLETS OVER HOLLYWOOD, featuring James Caan, Talia Shire and Chazz Palminteri; and A GOOD WOMAN, featuring the long awaited comeback of Oscar winner Helen Hunt and New Hollywood actress Scarlet Johansson.

International cinema has become an important component of the Festival, and this year the Festival presented an impressive roster of films from over 20 countries including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

A special sidebar at this year’s Festival was the presentation of the parallel
Hollywood Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Festival, which showcased an exciting mix of horror films…..a genre that hardly ever gets the mainstream Festival treatment (in spite of its continued popularity with audiences around the world). The program was coordinated in alliance with Chris Gore’s Film Threat.

The Festival concludes on Monday evening, 24 October with its Awards Gala, which has become one of Hollywood’s must-attend celebrity-sighting events. co chaired with Carlos de Abreu and Paula Wagner the former editon of the Hollywood European Awards, which this year transformed into Hollywood World Award. (the awards was handed on stage by Bruno Chatelin to Mar Adentro).

Where else in Hollywood can a little-known international director rub shoulders with such industry honorees as Diane Keaton, Charlize Theron, Joaquin Phoenix and Susan Sarandon (to name just a few of the night’s awards recipients)?
This is the flavor that has made this eclectic event (a little bit Hollywood, a little bit rock and roll) one of the most unique on the Festival circuit (more on the Awards Gala in a future article).

Sandy Mandelberger
Industry Editor


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