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Claus Mueller

Pnomh Phen: Cambodian Film Making Challenges

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Over a period of fifteen years through 1975, known as the golden age of the Khmer cinema, Cambodia produced almost 400 films. Under the four year terror regime of the Khmer Rouge the Cambodian film industry and most of its worker were terminated with only 30 films left intact. Laboratories, films, and theatres were destroyed; actors and directors slaughtered. Very few were able to leave the country. Others lived underground, like the noted Mao Ayuth, disguising their professional background fo...

Berlin 2011: Wieland Speck on Queer Films and the Berlinale

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Wieland Speck who is in charge of the Berlinale's Panorama  has been heading the TEDDY program and  awards for the last 25 years and transformed it into the world's most important platform for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual cinema (LGBT).  The Berlinale was the first major international film festival which made a queer film program part of its official repertoire.  Films with these themes account now for about 20% of  all production in the  Berlinale program.  The Teddy program ...

Berlinale 2011: Dieter Kosslick Interview

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  Claus Mueller :    You have been running the Berlinale for 10 years now. What are your most important achievements and what were the biggest challenges?                                     Dieter Kosslick:   We have achieved what we wanted; the festival is younger through our initiatives such as ...

Berlinale 2011 Overview

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The Berlinale continues to solidify its position among the top three film festivals and film markets. It scored well  this year with about 800 films in the Berlinale  and the European Film Market program attracting close to 20,000 accredited  professionals  including 3900 journalist and  selling  300 000 tickets to the general public.  Undoubtedly, as the first major international film festival and film market in the calendar year offering a widely differentiated program with a strong doc...

Berlin 2011: Wieland Speck on Queer Films and the Berlinale

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Wieland Speck who is in charge of the Berlinale's Panorama has been heading the TEDDY program and awards for the last 25 years and transformed it into the world's most important platform for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual cinema (LGBT). The Berlinale was the first major international film festival which made a queer film program part of its official repertoire. Films with these themes account now for about 20% of all production in the Berlinale program. The Teddy program has been ...

Berlinale 2011: Dieter Kosslick Interview

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Claus Mueller : You have been running the Berlinale for 10 years now. What are your most important achievements and what were the biggest challenges? Dieter Kosslick: We have achieved what we wanted; the festival is younger through our initiatives such as the World Cinema Fund. We have a great market this year which has become one of our biggest challenges, there are lots of side bars which offer programs for specific target groups Thus there is no need to do much more. CM: What about t...

New York: 2011 Jewish Film Festival

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                 In its 20th edition, the New York Jewish Film Festival presented 36 features and shorts from 14 countries; 31 premiered in New York.  As in past years a balanced program provided perspectives on the Jewish experience and included several outstanding productions on the holocaust period and its aftermath.                In LILITH (Eytan Harris, ISRAEL, 2010), a documentary; prejudices and resentments are revealed when a mother...

New York: HBO's Sheila Nevins documentary programming

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In the US and overseas two organizations have become more prominent over the last few years at film and television festivals: the French-German consortium arte, and the U.S. based HBO. A growing number of their productions have been selected and received a disproportionate number of awards. HBO and arte are now leading funders and producers of outstanding documentaries and feature films. This article covers HBO and a different one will cover arte.     For HBO much credit for the succes...

New York Documentary Film Festival

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The Italian Festival dei Popoli arranged at the Anthology Film Archives in New York from May 26 -30 a documentary film festival and presented a selection of Italian productions. Guided by 'The Feeling of Being There' theme the program included influential classic international documentaries produced during the 1958-1965 period which had a strong impact on documentary film making. An additional focus was an Italian Chronicles section with the work of Alessandro Rossetto and a Special Events pa...

New York: Tribeca 2010 Documentaries

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Documentaries screened at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival tended to be superior to the feature films in its program an assessment not disputed by its creative director Geoff Gilmore.  In one of the seminars Gilmore admitted that the Sundance festival which he had directed before coming to New York experienced a similar discrepancy.  Similar to the US market position of foreign language films, documentaries play a minor role at the US box office. In the 2009 U.S. total box office of $10.6 billio...

New York: Tribeca 2010 Documentaries

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Documentaries screened at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival tended to be superior to the feature films in its program an assessment not disputed by its creative director Geoff Gilmore. In one of the seminars Gilmore admitted that the Sundance festival which he had directed before coming to New York experienced a similar discrepancy. Similar to the US market position of foreign language films, documentaries play a minor role at the US box office. In the 2009 U.S. total box office of $10.6 billion,...

German Films in the US since 1979 ...

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Among the top foreign language features shown in the United States from 1979 through 2009 which grossed $1,3 billion dollars, German productions ranked seventh behind France, Taiwan, China, Italy, Mexico, and Spain with a total of $49 million. Only five German features generated more than $5 million in the US: DOWNFALL, NOWHERE IN AFRICA, RUN LOLA RUN, LIVES OF OTHERS, and the commercially most successful one, DAS BOOT, a 1982 release, which scored $11.5 million. It may very well be that ...

New York: Foreign Language Films in the US market

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Against the background of an overall decline of US revenues from foreign films, Europe as the dominant source  of such productions has been surpassed by Asian Countries. Even for   internationally acclaimed films as evidenced by  awards and critical reviews, the income seems minuscule.  Of the 1000 foreign language films  which entered the US market since 1980, 70% scored less than $1 million and only 22 more than $10 million. For each successful foreign release there are dozen if not hu...

Tribeca 2010: From Pipelines to Film Culture?

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It belongs to our common sense perception that distribution and production technologies develop more rapidly than the content they cover and that great competence in technologies is not equivalent to the mastery of creative content. Knowing grammar and vocabulary or different types of filters and lenses is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for creative output. Over the last few years in virtually all related film festival seminars there have been discussions about the new distribution p...

Tribeca 2010: From Pipelines to Film Culture?

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c Over the last few years in virtually all related film festival seminars there have been discussions about the new distribution platforms which for some observers will revive independent productions whereas others consider the sky already fallen for Indies. Spirited defenses of the internet as an answer to independent woes have subsided given the negligible financial impact the internet has been having, not to speak of the catastrophic unmooring of the music industry. Yet, whether or not the...

Havana Film Festival – New York: April 16-23

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Entering its second decade the most important US film festival with a focus on Cuban film making has expanded its programs and venues including links with some of the most prestigious New York art institutions. As a member of the group which established the Havana Film Festival in New York in 2001 I was fortunate to secure some funding from the Ford Foundation for bringing Cuba film makers to the festival, a practice which was continued in the following years contingent on funding and the vaga...

New York: New Directors/New Films 2010 - from several outstanding films to some passing ones…

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In its 39th edition of New Directors / New Films the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art presented through April 4th 27 features and documentaries as well as eleven shorts from 20 countries, spanning a broad spectrum of themes and approaches. Most were rather impressive, some of lesser interest other than having been shown at prestigious festivals. Yet the impressive ones were far superior in their reflexive reality presentations demonstrating again the merit o...

Berlinale 2010 two lasting film moments and some stars

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Awards by the specialized juries at the berlinale sometimes are a better indication of the quality of the productions selected than the official awards, though in the 2010 berlinale edition, few disputed the selections of the jury run by Werner Herzog and concurred with the choice of awards for BAL, THE GHOSTWRITER, CATERPILLAR, HOW I ENDED THIS SUMMER, and IF I WANT TO WHISTLE, I WHISTLE. These films obtaining the golden or silver bear awards, let in Herzog’s word the viewer discern dark corn...

Interview with Berlinale’s 2010 Panorama : Wieland Speck

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Wieland serves as the Director of the Panorama section and the Teddy Awards. He has worked at the berlinale for 30 years as a programmer, was appointed head of Panorama in 1993 and has managed the Teddy awards ever since. His first film was shown at the berlinale in 1981.  Wieland has lived in Berlin since 1982.  He studied drama, literature and ethnology and worked on numerous video and film projects with an early focus on the men's movement and homosexual identity. Among ...

2010 berlinale: JUD SUESS resurrected

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In German and Jewish themed film festivals the focus on the Third Reich and the Holocaust remains essential as expressed in the large number of features and documentaries screened on those topics. The New York Jewish Film Festival excelled earlier this year with documentaries like EINSATZGRUPPEN: THE DEATH BRIGADES (Michal Prazan) and FORGOTTEN TRANSPORTS: TO POLAND (Lukas Pribyl) or features like GRUBNER'S JOURNEY (Radu Gabrea) and PROTECTOR (Marek Najbrt). These films may differ in their cre...

Interview with Dieter Kosslick,and a look back on 2010 Berlinale

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Under Kosslick's direction the Berlin International Film Festival has become the largest international film festival adding virtually each year new program components, which have been frequently emulated by other film festivals. As distinct from the Cannes Film Festival which admits only professionals and Venice which has limited screenings for the public, the Berlin International Film Festival has been open to the general public since its founding in 1951 as a political showcase. With close to...

Interview with Dieter Kosslick observations and a look back on 2010 Berlinale

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Under Kosslick's direction the Berlin International Film Festival has become the largest international film festival adding virtually each year new program components, which have been frequently emulated by other film festivals. As distinct from the Cannes Film Festival which admits only professionals and Venice which has limited screenings for the public, the Berlin International Film Festival has been open to the general public since its founding in 1951 as a political showcase.  With...

New York: Cinema Eye Honors non-fiction films

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For the third time, Cinema Eye Honors (CEH) the annual award celebration of "innovation and exemplary craft in nonfiction filmmaking" was held in New York on  January 15 under the principal sponsorship of IndiePix , a noted innovative  US distribution company,  and support from HBO, the Danish Film Institute and others.  Named after the Russian documentary film maker Dziga Vertov, CHE focuses on outstanding artistic achievements in nonfiction story telling providing 12 awards ran...

Interview with Sarah Hoch - Mexico - Expresion en Corto : ... and the budget crisis.

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A scarcity of Mexican production and the absence of exhibition platforms prompted Sarah Hoch to establish  the festival Expresion en Corto twelve years ago which she has helmed ever since. As a publicly funded film festival, Expresion en Corto had a primary focus on short films. By 2009 it has morphed into one of the most important Latin American fests offering a comprehensive program with productions drawn from many countries, a program which stands comparison to much bigger major impo...

Interview with Sarah Hoch (Mexico - Expresion en Corto) ... and the budget crisis.

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A scarcity of Mexican production and the absence of exhibition platforms prompted Sarah Hoch to establish the festival Expresion en Corto twelve years ago which she has helmed ever since. As a publicly funded film festival, Expresion en Corto had a primary focus on short films. By 2009 it has morphed into one of the most important Latin American fests offering a comprehensive program with productions drawn from many countries, a program which stands comparison to much bigger major important fe...

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