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Last September, I was at the Ottawa Animation Festival, which is the main thing that happens in Canada’s capitol aside from government bureaucracy, and on the last day I was there, there was a long gap between screenings, so I went down to the Arts Center where some events I hadn’t noticed before were still going on, and I when I got there, I saw that there was a long, long line.
This was for Pearl, a 360° short film released as part of Google’s Spotlight Stories project. Now what this thing was, was not one of those 3D things where you need special glasses for, but something more important: A narrative Virtual Reality experience.
It blew me away. This is the future of cinema. It told a story (about a guy, his kid, and their car), and it did what VR was supposed to do, put you in the middle of the action. You had to put on the goggles and headphones to see it, and that’s fine, it’s the way we’re going to watch movies in the ’30s and ’40s. We have to start somewhere.
In the early 1930s, a two-reeler called La Cucaracha got an Oscar for Best Short. It wasn’t very good in and of itself, but it was the first film to use 3-strip Technicolor, and as such looked gorgeous. So it was, for the time, a technical marvel.
Pearl is that sort of film. Not something that will thrill viewers 30 years from now. But something like, Dire Straits’ music video Money for Nothing back in the ‘80s, something that was really cool and somewhat visionary at the time, but soon become dated. That thing looked kind of primitive when it came out. So did FDR’s television from 1939. State of the Art doesn’t seem “state of the art” for very long.
And thus it is for Pearl. The first successful experiment of something that would show the world the possibilities of the next phase in the evolution of the art form.
The people who make the nominations pretty much all saw the 360° version, and yes, that version deserved all the accolades it can get. But here’s the rub. The nominees have to be seen on the silver screen, which means the people who voted on the Oscar itself won’t see it. They will see a “cinematic” cut down version that’s nowhere near as good, and these people will wonder how this nice, but by no means exceptional, little film earned a nomination in the Best Animated Short category.
So it will lose. Which is sad.
Father and Guns
Canada has given us so much in comedy, whether it is from writers, TV shows, and movies. Now on September 18 - 25, 2015 at Cinema Village (22 E 12th St, New York, NY), the Canada Cool - Comedy Tour, presented by Telefilm, celebrates the comedic legacy of the northern territories. A curated selection of ten Canadian films that have not yet reached American theaters, plus two classics.
For more info and showtimes, visit: http://www.cinemavillage.com/
Canada Cool - Comedy Tour
September 18 - 25, 2015
Cinema Village22 E 12th St.New York, NY 10003
Kenneth MacMillan was, along with Frederick Ashton (whose The Dream is being performed by the American Ballet Theater later this season) and Antony Tudor, one of the greatest British choreographers of the twentieth century. His Manon, after Jules Massenet's opera of the same name and adapted from the classic, 18th-century French novel Manon Lescaut by the Abbé Prévost that is the source for the opera, is a masterpiece. The current production, which returns after an interval of several years and dates from 1974, has new sets — these are unsatisfactory — and new costumes — these are somewhat better — by Peter Farmer. What really matters here, however, is MacMillan’s glorious, meticulous choreography — which soars, carried by Massenet’s beautiful melodies, orchestrated and arranged by Martin Yates — and the magnificent Ballet Theater dancers.
The sublimity of the evening performance on Wednesday, June 4th, was owed most of all to the astonishing dancing of the great Russian ballerina, Polina Semionova, in the title role, who surprised me in her ability to evince the sexuality inherent in the character. Her partner, the handsome Cory Stearns, as Des Grieux displayed an impressive virtuosity. As Lescaut, James Whiteside’s athleticism was riveting, although he lacked actorly conviction. Veronika Part as Lescaut’s mistress was dazzling and effectively worldly. The dynamism of the secondary cast and the corps as a whole — they have been superb this season — was enthralling.
The matinee performance on the same day was weaker overall but still engaging. Xiomara Reyes, who has excelled this season, danced beautifully and excitingly and captured much of the intense romanticism of Manon, especially in her exhilarating duets, but she fell short of the tragic force of Semionova. Her partner, Kevin Jackson, an Exchange Artist with The Australian Ballet, was technically accomplished but not as memorable as Stearns. Sascha Radetsky was a more plausible Lescaut than Whiteside and is a fine dancer but Whiteside’s execution was more remarkable. Isabella Boylston as Lescaut’s mistress danced elegantly but was less striking as an actress than was Part.
It's the Second Time Around for First Time Fest. A unique film festival celebrating first-time feature filmmakers, the five-day event is aimed at discovering and providing exposure for the next generation of great filmmakers from around the world. FTF is set for April 3 – 7, 2014, and it will be based at their new home, NeueHouse (110 East 25th St.).
It combines a competition section that showcases new and exciting debut films with a series of screenings and discussions with now-prominent filmmakers presenting their first films with the creators usually participating in a post screening Q&A. This fest offers an interplay of veterans mentoring the first-timers.
Most screenings, including all the competition films, take place at the AMC Loews Village 7 (11th St. & Third Ave.)
Celebrities expected to attend the fest include:
Carol Alt, Christopher Abbott, Lake Bell, Brady Corbett, Frederick Elms, Hill Harper, Jennie Livingston, Albert Maysles, Tom McCarthy, Michael Moore, Rosie Perez, Kelly Reichardt, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Brooke Shields, Slash, James Toback, Julie Taymor
Jury Members: Noah Levy, Anne-Katrin Titze, Stephanie Zacharek;
Competition Filmmakers: Jayce Bartok, Mikael Berg, Rok Bicek, Josephine Decker,Mona Fastvold, Jakob Lass, Serene Meshel-Dillman, Marieke Niestadt, Tommy Oliver, Yael Reuveny:
Out-Of-Competition Directors: Anthony Leonard III, Drew Tobia & Jess Weixler
FTF Co-Founders: Johanna Bennett, Mandy Ward
FTF Director of Programming: David Schwartz
Great Festival Supporter: Tony Bennett
Below is a schedule of this year's First Time Fest:
Thursday, April 3, 2014
6:00pm (5:30 Arrivals) –
NeueHouse. Panel: RBC’s Women in Entertainment featuring panelists Carol Alt, Rosie Perez, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Brooke Shields. Also expected are Tony Bennett, Amy Carlson, Elizabeth Rohm, Jordana Spiro, Carmen Ejogo
7:30pm (7:00pm Arrivals) –
Loews Theater 3.
Opening Night Film:
Paris Is Burning
Director Jennie Livingston.
Also attending are Tony Bennett, Brooke Shields, Johnny Abrahams, Frida Torresblanco, Competition Filmmakers, Lady Bunny & other performers
10:00 pm – Mister H at the Mondrian Soho (9 Crosby Street, between Grand and Howard/Canal) Opening Night Party.
Attending will be all the Competition Filmmakers, Jennie Livingston and more…
Friday, April 4, 2014
1:00pm – Loews Theater 2.
Competition Film: Farewell, Her Schwarz,
Directed by Yael Reuveny (Germany/Israel),
followed by Q&A and Jury Hot Seat.
2:00pm – NeueHouse. Panel: What’s Up Doc?
4:00pm – Loews Theater 2.
Directed by Tommy Oliver (USA), followed by Q&A and Jury Hot
Seat. Also attending will be cast member
and Troi Zee, Wayne Brady.
4:00pm (Red carpet arrival at 4:45pm)
First Exposure Film: Salesman,
Directed by Albert Maysles (1969).
Albert Maysles will attend for a discussion with the
4:30pm – NeueHouse. Panel:
Help Me Help You
5:00-7:00pm – Ninth Ward
(180 2nd Ave, between 11th & 12th Sts.).
Happy Hour Reception
7:00pm (Red carpet arrival at 9:10pm)
– Loews Theater 3. First
Exposure Film: Titus, Directed by Julie
Taymor (1999). Julie Taymor and Composer
Elliot Goldenthal will attend for a
discussion with the audience.
7:30pm – Loews Theater 2.
Competition Film: The Sleepwalker
(Norway/USA), Directed by Mona Fastvold,
followed by Q&A and Jury Hot Seat. Also
attending are cast members Christopher
Abbott and Brady Corbet
10:00pm – No. 8 (357 W.
16th St., between 8th & 9th Aves.).
Saturday, April 5, 2014
11:00am – NeueHouse. Panel:
Show Me The Money
12:30pm (Red carpet arrival 1:30pm)
[WINDOWS-1252?]– Loews Theater 3. First
Exposure Film: Roger and Me, Directed by
Michael Moore (1989). Michael Moore will
attend for a discussion with the audience.
1:00pm [WINDOWS-1252?]– Loews Theater 2.
Competition Film: Miss Julie, Directed by
Mikael Berg (Sweden), followed by Q&A and
Jury Hot Seat. Also Attending is the star
2:30pm [WINDOWS-1252?]– NeueHouse. Panel:
We Need A Bigger Boat
3:30pm [WINDOWS-1252?]– Loews Theater 3.
1252?]Alone” Conversation: Michael Moore.
4:00pm [WINDOWS-1252?]– Loews Theater 2.
Competition Film: Love Steaks, Directed by
Jakob Lass (Germany), followed by Q&A and
Jury Hot Seat. Attending the fest will be
Editor Gesa Jager.
4:30pm (Red carpet arrival 5:40pm)
Exposure Film: River of Grass, Directed
by Kelly Reichardt (1994). Kelly Reichardt
will attend for a discussion with the
5:00-7:00pm [WINDOWS-1252?]– Kingston Hall
(149 2nd Ave., between 9th & 10th Sts.).
6:00pm (Red carpet arrival 6:45pm)
Exposure Film, Eraserhead, Directed by
David Lynch (1977). Cinematographer
Frederick Elmes will attend for a
8:00pm [WINDOWS-1252?]– Loews Theater 2.
Competition Film: Fall To Rise, Directed
by Jayce Bartok (USA), followed by Q&A and
Jury Hot Seat. Also attending are cast
members Katherine Crockett, Desmond
Richardson, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Tamara
9:00pm [WINDOWS-1252?]– Loews Theater 3.
Special Screening: See You Next Tuesday,
Directed by Drew Tabia (USA) who will be
attending. Q&A to be moderated by Jess
11:30pm – Loews Theater 3.
Midnight Horror Screening: Nothing To
Fear, Directed by Anthony Leonardi III
(USA), who will be attending with first
time producer Slash.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
11:00am [WINDOWS-1252?]– Loews Theater 2.
Competition Film: Class Enemy, Directed by
Rok Bicek (Slovenia), followed by Q&A and
Jury Hot Seat.
12:00pm (Red carpet arrival 12:45pm) – Loews Theater 3. First
Exposure Film: Fingers, Directed by James
Toback (1978). James Toback will attend
for a discussion with the audience.
12:00pm – NeueHouse.
Panel: The Critical Eye
2:30pm [WINDOWS-1252?]– Loews Theater 2.
Competition Film: Getting To The
Nutcracker, Directed by Serene Meshel-
Dillman (USA), followed by a Q&A and Jury
3:00pm [WINDOWS-1252?]– Loews Theater 3.
First Exposure Film: Targets, Directed by
Peter Bogdanovich (1968). Peter
Bogdanovich will not be able to attend,
but may appear via Skype for a discussion
with the audience.
3:00 pm – NeueHouse. Panel:
The Grammy’s Present: From
Rock To Score. Panelists include Guns N’ Roses guitarist (and first time producer of one of the competition films) Slash, and singer/songwriter Duncan Sheik.
3:00pm – NeueHouse. Panel: Sell Baby Sell
5:00-7:00pm – Kingston Hall (149 2nd Ave., between 9th & 10th Sts.). Happy Hour Reception
5:30pm – Loews Theater 2.
Competition Film: Bittersweet, Directed by Marieke Niestadt (USA/Netherlands),
followed by a Q&A and Jury Hot Seat.
9:00pm – Loews Theater 2.
Competition Film: Butter On The Latch,
Directed by Josephine Decker (USA),
followed by a Q&A and Jury Hot Seat. Also attending are cast members Sarah Small, Isold Chae-Lawrence.
Monday, April 7, 2014
3:00pm – NeueHouse. Panel: Filmmaker Forum. Attending will be all
the Competition Filmmakers.
7:00pm [WINDOWS-1252?]– 42West (516 W.
42nd St. [WINDOWS-1252?]– between 11th &
12th Aves). Closing Night Awards and
Party. Presentation of the John Huston
Award for Achievement in Cinema to Ms.
Various Locations including
NeueHouse (110 East 25th Street)
Filmmaker Forum & Panel Venue
Loews Village VII (Third Ave. at 11th
Street) Competition Films, First Exposure
Films, Tributes & Special Film
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