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Sylvester Stallone packs an award winning punch, scoring a standing ovation at the LA Film Festival

What is it about seeing movie stars in person that so entrances people?  It must be something more than the magnetism of their fame. Seeing Sylvester Stallone speak at the LA Film Festival was one of those experiences where you can feel the entire audience sitting in awe. It wasn't just the Rocky theme playing loud that whipped the audience into a frenzy as he came in. Stallone had that celebrity sparkle, with his dark sunglasses, and the iconic Stallone strut that made him a st...


"Despicable". Thousands of kids, plastic yellow minions and unanimated studio execs took over the LA Film Festival "Closing Night" this afternoon at the World Premiere of Universal's new animation 'Despicable Me'.   Behind dark 3D glasses I tried to hide the fact I'm not 6 anymore but still had a lot of fun, especially at the after-party enjoying the spectacle of Universal's marketing maching eating children whole. (Oh and the film was funny too)  &nbs...

and the WINNERS ARE....

I didn't think it would be possible for anything to upstage the last few days of the fest, but yes if there is one man whose indie credentials upstage them all it has to be the legendary Roger Corman walking in with none other than Peter Fonda: more in my blog coming soon about his awe-inspiring panel "School of Corman", and the power-packed films that have kept me alive for the last few days on more than just the sponsor's energy bars.     But first, th...

The world premiere of TWILIGHT, and an anti-Twilight

While the full moon hung over LA, long black limos descended on Downtown, delivering sacrificial celebrities to a blood-red carpet for the world premiere of arguably the most anticipated box office film in history. But those 'vampires' held no hold over me. I was busy interviewing the real stars of Twilight- the "Twi-hard" fans who'd flown from all around the country, and as far as Canada, to camp four days in advance for just a chance to beg Robert Pattinson for an autograph. I h...

Rocky vs the Aussies premiering Animal Kingdom

"OMG it's the world premiere of Twilight tonight!! (Everybody SCREEEAAAMMMM!)   It's easy to tell where the movie stars are ranked in the A-list - fans were lining up from 3pm to see Rocky himself, the smooth Sylvestor Stallone, speaking at the LA Film Festival last night. Twilight fans were lining up 3 days ago to see Robert Pattinson tonight. But boy did they miss out last night. Sylvestor Stallone strutted around with dark sunnies on, and a real mov...

Talking about 'Revolucion' ... by the Mexicans, and by Superman at LAFF

Yes everyone, it´s only one day till the world premiere of Twilight. All those happy campers in the square are about to get very excited. But more on that tomorrow... People are not only talking about vampires, but about Superman (the LAFF premiere of 'Waiting for Superman', the new doc on the US public education system)- So I want to share with you something SHOCKING.  All those Americans reading this article, you'd better take a seat. Did you know one high ranking student from ...

Ben Affleck becomes a poster boy again for Indie films

A friend wrote to me last night "what are you going to see tonight?". I answered him, I'm going to see Ben Affleck, of course!  My friend replied "Ask him what happened after Good Will Hunting". Well he answered that. "C´mon, how can he be called indie?" another friend asked. I´d asked the same question myself. Well Ben Affleck answered that too, with reflections on Good Will Hunting that launched his career, role after role in films by Kevin Smith (who fa...

Taken away by ´The Two Escobars´and ´Where Are You Taking Me?´

I wrote yesterday about 2 films receiving a lot of buzz, then felt a little worried they wouldn't meet up to my high expectations... too often the case when you hear about the best of the fest. SO- it was such a relief to emerge from the LA Film Festival cinemas yesterday and say yes, those films deserved all that buzzing. 'Where Are You Taking Me' took me to Uganda with a sincere observational eye that simply lets the magical moments unfold before you, untouched except by Kimi Takes...

Who's got the buzzzz & "Where's the elephant party?!"

Ron Gilbert and I raced from the screening of "Farewell" last night, looking for the drinks. "Let's go the Elephant party!!" he was saying, and who can resist a line like that. "The elephants are all the way down the end there", he said, scanning LA live cinemas 1, 2, 3, 4 and... nothing. "Where are the elephants?" he asked the first person to step into the elevator, "and did you see the zeppelin film?". We'd been hoping to see the premie...

I will marry the man who invents a teleporter

Because I could really do with one right now!  Was confirmed for 3 LAFF red carpets last night, 2 of them at the same time, and the 3rd one on during the cocktail reception for the 1st one at the Live. Create.Lounge. Guess which one I chose? The cocktail party, and the red carpet premiere of Cyrus of course. Couldn't miss the chance to meet the marvellous Marisa Tomei.  She has 2 men fighting over her in Cyrus and yeah, who can blame them, because in this film, like so many ...

"Gutsy, original, smart and free" - Mark Ruffalo says it all, at 'The Kids Are All Right'

Wow, what an opening.  Limos cruised behind the red carpet, helicopters buzzed around LA Live, spotlights strobed the skies, and I felt like I was in a Batman movie, with the big action sequence about to erupt around me.  Festival volunteers ushered me to the rooftop Opening Night party of the LA Film Festival, telling me excitedly "you'll be able to watch the riots from there!".   Yes the riot police were marching out. Were people actually RIOTING over the opening n...

So many films, so many after-parties, so little time!

The last week went by in a New York minute: ran between the NY Human Rights Film Festival, the Brooklyn International Film Festival and the NY Women in Film and Television Feature Film Financing conference. Good to know I must have looked like a New Yorker too, as everyone kept asking me for directions & commenting on how much they liked my clothes and loved my shoes. A drumming troupe on the subway who made my heels move even offered me a job as a samba dancer too. Enjoyed the NY sub...

Adventures in ARRRRUUUUBBAAA!!

The party didn't stop at the red carpet... From a week of whacky island adventures off the road in Aruba, to cocktail parties till late - it was hard to get much reviewing done, I was having too much fun. I quickly had to master the art of speaking eloquently about international cinema whilst balancing a plate of hors doevres and a glass of Moet in one hand, and a designer handbag in the other- and they don't teach you that in film school. A simple slideshow of sun and cinema, Aruba style:...

Another day, another red carpet in Aruba

You gotta love a little glam. "Bring it, girl!" my friend told me, as I raced to Aruba.  And the festival team 'brought it' too. So many red carpets, it turned the little island of Aruba into a little slice of Cannes on the Caribbean.         Bruno Chatelin, a seasoned carpet walker at Cannes, showed his sophistication by casually commenting on opening night in his suave French accent "yes it is a very good red carpet, it is so comfortable ...

2 Degrees of Separation

A few fun trivial facts you may not know, from reliable sources that may remain anonymous; The Aruba Hyatt's most difficult guest is Elton John. He's a regular visitor and likes to walk around naked, even when answering the door for room service. He usually commands that his Hyatt attendees are only men, and has a long list of requirements, from 50 odd kinds of vitamins to be lined up in strict alphabetical order, to a lifetime supply of pickles. Richard Gere, on the other hand, ...

"Film is Lasagne" - rich metaphors from three Italian auteurs

Documentary filmmakers can be very serious. It is a serious art. The Italian Consul-General of New York, Francesco Talo, aptly describes the Festival dei Popoli's New York Documentary Film Festival as "recognising social problems through documentary expression". But the most magical moments and memorable quotes of the festival were so refreshingly funny that I nearly fell off my chair.  Like the best of Italian cinema, the three distinguished Italian directors featured in tribu...

The Film That Was 'Killed' By Variety Lives Again

A great film festival, like a great film, raises questions. The New York Documentary Film Festival- Festival dei Popoli, from its opening film tonight, has posed a controversial one; Why has one of Italy's most awarded auteur films, 'Below Sea Level', (winner of 10 prestigious international awards including Best Documentary Venice Film Festival 2008, Grand Prix Cinema Du Reel 2008 & European Film Academy Awards 2009) not yet premiered in the United States? As Director Gianfranco Ro...

Cannes you make all these cocktail parties?!

Oh so many parties coming up this week;  DON'T MISS                       Friday May 14; 9:00pm  Legendary Fashion Night Villa Oxygene, Cannes   Saturday May 15; 6:30pm-8:30pm  Screen Australian Drinks Screen Australia Office Level 8, Residence du Festival, Cannes (support the Aussie independents!) Sunday M...

´Twilight´ turns Downtown into the new Uptown

The L.A. Film Festival Directors have set the scene. And the Film Independent press conference announced action. Downtown LA will be the stage for the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival, with red carpet events such as the world premiere of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse about to eclipse a lot of fine indie films but spotlight "a vibrant and burgeoning independent arts community in downtown Los Angeles".  ...

Dedication to a fallen friend

A dedication to my friend. We're all saddened by some very bad news. My friend has fallen into a coma. The world here today is a lesser place without her spirit gracing us, her humour, her  joy, her unstoppable positivity and awe-inspiring energy. We remember her as 'the Hurricane', for her infectious forcefield of energy and enthusiasm. Sometimes life just doesn't make sense. Today is one of those days. I don't know what to do except to say to the world write now, whoever is writing, whoe...

Favourite Films of the year

One week more of cinema releases coming up, but nothing looks set to impress. I'm ready to release my pick of the most inspiring films of 2006 - (1) Little Miss Sunshine, (2) Yes, (3) Live and Become 'Little Miss Sunshine'. Delightful. Daring. Dangerously funny. One of the few films I've ever seen that made me want to write to all my friends and say Please, Please, Please do yourself a favour and see this film. Few films can go beyond 'quirky' with quite the same brilliance. T...

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