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Fifty Is The New Thirty

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If one subscribes to the hype that 50 is the new 30, then a Pandora’s box of complications, mixed signals and confused messages arise. These are some of the themes explored in the insightful comedy ABOUT FIFTY (formerly titled FIFTY-NOTHING) which opened the 2011 edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival on Friday evening. The resonant film is a modern comedy that explores the simple truth that it’s never too late to start over again. Even at age 50. The action centers on tw...

Fifty Is The New Thirty

user
  If one subscribes to the hype that 50 is the new 30, then a Pandora’s box of complications, mixed signals and confused messages arise. These are some of the themes explored in the insightful comedy ABOUT FIFTY (formerly titled FIFTY-NOTHING) which opened the 2011 edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival on Friday evening. The resonant film is a modern comedy that explores the simple truth that it’s never too late to start over again. Even at age 50. The action cen...

Fort Lauderdale Honorees

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  The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) launches on Friday evening with a three week marathon of premieres, special events, chic soirees and a number of tributes to celebrity guests. Actress Penelope Ann Miller, best remembered for her roles in such films as CARLITO’S WAY, CHAPLIN and KINDERGARTEN COP, will receive a Career Achievement Award on Saturday evening at the gala screening of her new film THE ARTIST. This contemporary black and white silent film by French di...

A Vacation From Ordinary Film

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  The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, now in its 26th year, has got it right. It invites its audiences to take a vacation from ordinary film to dive into the many pleasures of its offerings from a cinematic survey of more than 150 films from 35 countries. With Fort Lauderdale’s reputation as one of America’s leisure playgrounds, the phrase is an invitation for immersion that has many rewards. Two things distinguish this festival…..one is the wide range of its venues, ...

Dancing The Raindance

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  Twenty years ago when Raindance founder Elliot Grove proposed the name for a festival he had in mind that would be devoted to indie films to take place in his adopted city of London, little did he realize how the organization would grow in the past two decades to become one of the pre-eminent festivals and filmmaker training programs on the continent. In a clear nod to the successful profile of the Sundance Film Festival (although with a specifically British nod to the drizzly UK weathe...

Toronto Film Festival Takes Shape

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For most of the planet, the official end of summer does not come until the autumn equinox on September 21. However, for people in the film industry, the Fall season begins in only a few weeks, with the beginning of the autumn film festival cycle. Kicking off (startingly early this year) in Montreal on August 18 with the Montreal World Film Festival and then dashing across the pond to the Venice Film Festival, which begins on August 28, and then back across to the Toronto Film Festival, ...

The Savior Of New Orleans

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  Harry Shearer  With the Mississippi River about to overflow its banks in the beleaguered city of New Orleans, the specter of Hurricane Katrina, a devastation the city has still not recovered from, becomes an interesting focus of renewed speculation from a somewhat unlikely source. Harry Shearer, the Saturday Night Live veteran, actor/director of several “mockumentaries” (SPINAL TAP) and the voice of several characters on THE SIMPSONS, who also is a New Orleans residen...

A Tale of Two Cannes Sensations

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Lars Von Trier       Jafar Panahi  The 64th edition of the Cannes Film Festival is now history, but two standout personalities on opposite poles of the spectrum have defined this year as one of the most unusual in memory. In one corner, we have the Danish filmmaker provocateur Lars Von Trier whose verbal missteps about Nazism at his press conference led...

Woody Allen: Still On Top

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Consider this proposition…..you are an aging film director whose last hit film occurred when Ronald Reagan was President; you were caught with your pants down in a sexual scandal with a stepdaughter 35 years your junior; you have burned countless professional bridges with a reputation for being demanding, exhausting and off-putting. And yet…..you are still at the top of your game. Not many film directors (or lesser mortals) could suffer the sling and arrows of all these misfortunes. But Woo...

Woody Allen: Still On Top

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  Consider this proposition…..you are an aging film director whose last hit film occurred when Ronald Reagan was President; you were caught with your pants down  in a sexual scandal with a stepdaughter 35 years your junior; you have burned countless professional bridges with a reputation for being demanding, exhausting and off-putting. And yet…..you are still at the top of your game. Not many film directors (or lesser mortals) could suffer the sling and arrows of all these misfortunes....

Cinefondation In Cannes

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  In parallel to the red carpet galas and the celebrity schmoozing that characterizes the Cannes Film Festival, the Cinéfondation iniative will work with fledgling filmmakers to get their projects seen by the attending throngs of film professionals, critics and festival programmers. Cinéfondation was created in 1998. Its mission is based on three complementary strategies: The Cinéfondation Selection, which presents movies from film schools in the framework of the Official Selection; ...

Meet The Cannes Jurors

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  Being a juror for the Competition Section of the Cannes Film Festival is quite the honor. It is perhaps second only to an Oscar nomination in terms of industry prestige and clout. But let’s remember that it is not simply red carpet appearances and having one too many glasses of French champagne at all-night beach orgies. Jurors must view all the films in the Shorts and Features competition titles, which run to more than 30 films total. And then there is the inevitable debate to deter...

An India Beyond Slumdog Millionaires

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  While there is no question that the Danny Boyle film SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE did much to rivet attention in the West on the cinema of India and southern Asia, the various film industries in the second largest country on earth has been a staple of moviegoing in Asia, South America, Africa and even Europe for many decades. Very few of the quality films from the region are given big screen time in North America but that represents both an obstacle and a challenge for the New York Indian Film...

The Rhythm Of Haiti At Tribeca Film Festival

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  A sneak preview of the music documentary WHEN THE DRUM IS BEATING will be featured at the Tribeca Drive-In this evening as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. The screening will be followed by a free live concert by  Haiti's beloved national band Orchestre Septentrional at the World Financial Center Plaza in Battery Park City in lower Manhattan.  WHEN THE DRUM IS BEATING is a feature documentary by director Whitney Dow about Haiti’s rich musical culture and the legendary band the Orc...

Today Is Earth Day

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  Today is Earth Day…..in fact it is the 40th anniversary of the date inaugurated in 1970 to foster awareness about ecology and the environment. In its inaugural year, the concern about “saving the planet” was secondary to the protestors energizing college campuses in a push to end the war in Vietnam. In those days, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution wa...

Tribeca Turns Ten

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  The Tribeca Film Festival, which begins on April 20, turns ten years old this year. It seems like only yesterday that the event sparked controversy (and not a little enmity) among the denizens of the city’s arthouse upper crust. Launched a few months after the event of 9/11 by Robert De Niro, a downtown celebrity and major property owner, the Festival was designed to create interest and to attract locals and tourists back to the neighborhoods economically devastated by the colla...

Tribeca Turns Ten

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The Tribeca Film Festival, which begins on April 20, turns ten years old this year. It seems like only yesterday that the event sparked controversy (and not a little enmity) among the denizens of the city’s arthouse upper crust. Launched a few months after the event of 9/11 by Robert De Niro, a downtown celebrity and major property owner, the Festival was designed to create interest and to attract locals and tourists back to the neighborhoods economically devastated by the collapse of the Twin...

Cannes Film Festival Announces Its Competition Lineup

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  At a press conference held in Paris yesterday, the Cannes Film Festival unveiled the powerhouse lineup for its 64th edition to be held May 11 to 21 in the French Riviera resort town. The list of films playing in the Main Competition section is by a mix of established veterans and strong newcomers. Among the major auteurs represented are such established arthouse names as Pedro Almodovar, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Bruno Dumont, Terrence Malick and Lars Von Trier.   America...

Palm Beach Film Festival Perseveres

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  Despite intense economic challenges and a precipitous cut in cultural funding, the Palm Beach International Film Festival, one of the best regional festivals on the circuit, is persevering with an exciting program planned for later this month. Longtime Festival honcho Randi Emerman continues to push on for quality and diversity for local audiences in Palm Beach County, an area on Florida's southeast coast that perhaps has the greatest disparity between wealth and poverty in the nation...

Can Film Festivals Work Together?

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  Can film festivals work together? That was one of the provocative questions brought up on the first full day of the International Film Festival Summit, a "meeting of the minds" event that is bringing together leading film festival reps in Berlin today and tomorrow. The event is being held at the Berlin Hilton Hotel. "While I think that collaboration can always happen, the idea that film festivals will share their contacts, films or sponsors is rather utopian", ...

Meet The Film Festival Mavens

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  Bruno Chatelin, COO, Filmfestivals.com/Fest21.com  A “who’s who” of film festival mavens are speaking at the International Film Festival Summit, taking place at the Berlin Hilton on 8 and 9 February, on the eve of the Berlinale. Here are the bold face names making presentations at the event: Bruno Chatelin, COO, filmfestivals.com and fest21.com (Conference Chair); Stacey Donen, Artistic Director, Whistler Film Festival; Marina Fabri, Co-director, Courmayeur Noir ...

Film Festival Honchos Huddle In Berlin

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  Leading representatives from film festivals, distribution companies and marketing mavens are huddling in Berlin in the next few days just prior to the Berlinale for a "meeting of the minds" conference. The International Film Festival Summit, a European addition to the highly successful industry conference and trade event held every year in Las Vegas in December, will bring together an intriguing mix of film festival programmers, managers and marketers. The 4th Annual ...

A Film Feast In Connecticut

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  The Connecticut Film Festival, one of the more important regional events devoted to indie filmmaking, is taking its act on the road, with a series of weekend mini-festivals around the state. The first is taking place this weekend in the central Connecticut town of Torrington. All screenings are held at the historic Warner Theater, an art deco gem from the great era of movie palaces. The 3 day program, which mixes up film premieres, industry seminars and reception events, began on ...

Sundance 2011 Crowns Its Winners

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Winning an award at the Sundance Film Festival is no small accomplishment. The competition to just get into the Festival is fierce (150 films chosen out of over 2000 submissions.....ouch). However, winning the top prizes is still no assurance that the films will be widely seen or make any dent at the box office. Some years, the top prize winners have barely registered beyond the festival circuit. In others, such as last year's winner WINTER'S BONE, the win at Sundance led to an outstanding showi...

Sundance Crowns Its Winners

user
  Winning an award at the Sundance Film Festival is no small accomplishment. The competition to just get into the Festival is fierce (150 films chosen out of over 2000 submissions.....ouch). However, winning the top prizes is still no assurance that the films will be widely seen or make any dent at the box office. Some years, the top prize winners have barely registered beyond the festival circuit. In others, such as last year's winner WINTER'S BONE, the win at Sundance led to an outs...

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