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The 6th annual San Francisco International Women's Film Festival is running April 7 to 11, 2010 at the Roxie Theater and other venues around the San Francisco Bay Area. This cavalcade of shorts and features, both documentary and otherwise, from a vast array of films by women all over the world make for a lavish feast of cinematic riches The Opening Night Tribute Award will be presented to Peabody Award winning filmmaker Judith Helfand (Blue Vinyl), whose many contributions to cinema promote community building. She believes in "using films for engagement and social change" and as a filmmaker she participates in the environmental health and justice movement. This tribute includes the 20th anniversary of A Healthy Baby Girl, Helfand’s debut film about life after DES-related cancer. The film explores how the anti-miscarriage drug DES (administered to her mother during pregnancy) changed Helfand’s life and radically transformed her future. Also shown is an excerpt from her Sundance Film Fesitval award-winning sequel, Blue Vinyl, and her short film Ek Velt, about the big move from the blue vinyl house. In addition to moderating panels, Helfand is also holding a special master class, as she shares storytelling strategies that lead to effective (even funny and entertaining) filmmaking and ‘call to action’ activism.Included in this year’s Festival is LUNAFEST: Film Festival by, for, about Women, a selection of 10 short films from a widely diverse group of women, including Monday Before Thanksgiving, a short film made by Courtney Cox. The Festival tracks include:The Jane Campion Retrospective, featuring award-winning short films by the internationally acclaimed director who went on to helm The Piano, An Angel at My Table, Sweetie and Bright Star. The films are: A Girl's Own Story; Passionless Moments; and Peel, a Palme d'Or winner at Cannes. "Girl Shorts", showcasing the best Lesbian Cinema from around the world. "Making Herstory: Young Women in the Director's Chair", honoring the upcoming generation of women filmmakersChildren's Animation ProgramPanels, including:Local Filmmakers Panel: Documentary and ActivismGrant Guidelines, FAQ’s and best practices before applying The Heroine's Journey: The Craft of Writing Female Characters with Pamela GrayDocumentaries include:Orgasm Inc. Liz Canner’s film is a look inside the medical industry and the marketing campaigns that attempt to determine our lives, our health, “and that ultimate moment: orgasm.” 21 Days To Nawroz, directed by Michelle Mama. This film explores the lives of three very different Kurdish women: a feminist attorney, an eight year-old girl, and a tech-savvy young woman, and the effect that experimental democracy really has on women. Code Name: Butterflies, directed and written by Chilean filmmaker Cecilia Domeyko, tells the powerful story of the Mirabal sisters of the Dominican Republic who in the 1950s, under the code name 'Butterflies', created a secret resistance movement against dictator Rafael Trujillo, who had the women assassinated. Indie Spotlight: Narrative films include:Everyday Black Man, directed by Carmen Madden. A thoughtful man running a small neighborhood fruit and vegetable store takes on a young man as a partner, only to realize the younger man is selling more than just baked goods. The award-winning director is also making history as one of the first African American women to run a feature film studio. Between Floors, directed by Jen White, examines the human condition through a uniquely claustrophobic lens, five stuck elevators and the people trapped inside them. About SFWIFFFilmmaker and community educator Scarlett Shepard founded the San Francisco Women’s Film Festival in 2004. Originally held at San Francisco State University, the success of its first run prompted Shepard to expand the festival beyond the SFSU campus and rename the festival. “SFWFF is a necessary step - women directors should no longer be left out or considered a side note in film festivals, film history and the film industry,” says Shepard.For further information, visit www.sfwff.com. San Francisco International Women's Film Festival April 7-11, 2010 Roxie Theatre3117 16th StreetSan Francisco, CA 94103(415) 863-1087SF Women's Building3543 18th Street #8San Francisco, CA 94110(415) 431-1180Plus other venues
For its 13th installment, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival opens with Kings of Pastry, about a French chef competition. The gastronomic theme pairs well with Full Frame's closing barbecue, a tradition that incarnates the Southern hospitality associated with this Durham, N.C., event, taking place April 8 to 11, 2010.Yet not so long ago, a film celebrating quiche-eaters might not have enjoyed such a visible U.S. premiere. That this Gallic bakeoff by husband-and-wife filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus whets moviegoers' appetites suggests a cultural shift, since French fries were renamed "freedom fries" in the early days of the Iraq War.America's battles, however, rage on, and one of the most highly anticipated films to be screened at this Full Frame follows a U.S. platoon in the deadly Korengal Valley of Afghanistan. Titled Restrepo, this collaboration between Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger won the Grand Jury award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and is touted as a corrective to the liberties taken in The Hurt Locker.Another combat-themed film at Full Frame is How to Fold a Flag (pictured on our front page). The fourth installment in Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein's Iraq War series tracks the four U.S. soldiers introduced in Gunner Palace (2004) as they readjust to civilian life. An especially poignant scene concerns dishonorable discharge, which a vet suffering from post-traumatic disorders sees as a ruse to manage the demands on VA hospitals.Compared against the recent past, programming director Sadie Tillery "would not say this year's films were especially bleak." The selection committee "culled together a mix from such a broad spectrum … some celebratory, some grim," she commented.Of the more than 1,200 submissions that swarmed the Festival inbox, only 57 made it to the 2010 "New Docs" section.Alex Gibney — whose Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) and Oscar laureate Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) graced previous Full Frame editions — returns with Casino Jack and the United States of Money. The gripping saga of lobbyist Jack Abramoff spans his early years as Republican cheerleader through his incarceration for fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials, by way of Indian casinos, Russian spies, Chinese sweatshops and Mafia-style murder in Miami, Fla. As depressing as it is enlightening, Gibney's crash course in the commerce of democracy bares the nightmarish potential of the American Dream.
Yoruba Richen's Promised Land also vies in the "New Docs" competition. This study of land claims cases in South Africa follows two black communities struggling to reclaim their inheritance from white citizens who gained ownership under apartheid.Screening alongside the competition will be a program of films about labor, identity and globalization. The series, which was curated by the directing team of Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, includes China Blue. Micha X. Peled's clandestine exposé of blue-jeans manufacture in China squints the human aspects of globalization, and makes you rethink what really comes between you and your denims.Bognar and Reichert's latest film, The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, will be screened in the "Invited" category alongside such works as Michel Gondry's family album, The Thorn in the Heart, and Steven Soderbergh’s look back on monologist Spaulding Grey, And Everything is Going Fine.This year's Career Award honors Liz Garbus and Rory Kennedy, makers of films on the legal system, AIDS, human rights and other social issues involving everyday heroes.The four-day Festival, which is jointly presented with Duke University, offers conversations with filmmakers, workshops, parties and a handful of free community screenings.For now, it has no plans to follow a small but growing roster of film festivals entering the distribution business. This could change under new executive director Dierdre Haj, though Tillery doesn't consider herself "a distributor or someone who can negotiate that deal.""We made a conscious decision not to be a market," she adds. Nor does the Festival require premieres. "It's important for filmmakers to show as at many platforms as possible," explains Tillery.The current thrust of Full Frame's industry ambitions is to allow "filmmakers to see one another's work and…have time to sit down with and enjoy coffee and discuss what they just saw." Set within a single downtown block, the Festival nurtures an atmosphere of sanity by the mere fact that "you're not running to the next shuttle or screening," says Tillery.For further details, consult www.fullframefest.orgFull Frame Documentary Film Festival324 Blackwell Street, Suite 500Washington Building, Bay 5Durham, NC 27701(919) 687-4100
And for FFTraveler's coverage of Durham proper go to: http://filmfestivaltraveler.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=678:durham-nc-&catid=105:travel-feature&Itemid=107
For 39 years now, the first sign of spring is a mating dance between the Museum of Modern Art and The Film Society of Lincoln Center called New Directors/New Films. The series culls the latest creations from directors who themselves tend to be recently hatched.
Noteworthy selections include Mia Hansen-Løve's Father of My Children (Le père de mes enfants) and exiled Iranian video artist Shirin Neshat's Women Without Men. Coincidentally, both stories pivot on a suicide.
The San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival runs March 11-21, 2010 at the Castro Theatre and Sundance Kabuki Cinemas in San Francisco, and other venues, and, in conjunction, the festival is also being held for the ninth year in San Jose on March 19-21. Presented by the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), the 28th edition showcases an array of films that span the genres, from international horror and romantic comedies to documentaries on poet/ activists and a Japanese American Black Panther. This year's edition of the largest festival dedicated to Asian and Asian American films also coincides with the 30th anniversary of CAAM, and to celebrate they present a lineup of live events, interactive projects, online contests and more. Leading films are:The Opening Night Gala film, Today’s Special, directed by David Kaplan, starring Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show), Naseeruddin Shah and celebrity chef Madhur Jaffrey. A sous-chef whose life is turning to hash finds renewal with some unlikely characters. The Centerpiece Film, The People I've Slept With, directed by Quentin Lee, is a new comedy about a promiscuous young woman who suddenly finds herself pregnant. Starring Karin Anna Cheung (Better Luck Tomorrow), Archie Kao (CSI) and James Shigeta.The Closing Night Gala film is Au Revoir Taipei, directed by Arvin Chen, which follows a lovesick boy and a female bookstore clerk through the sights and streets of nighttime Taipei in their quest for love.Other features in this awesome lineup include:God is D_ad, directed by Abraham Lim, won the Best Picture award at last week's Korean Film Festival in Los Angeles. This road trip gathers together some strangers headed for a gamers' tournament in Chicago for a journey that prompts the question: are we bound by free will, an omniscient God or the roll of the Dungeon Master's dice? The U.S. Premiere of The Message, directed by Chen Kuo-fu and Gao Qunshu. In Japanese-occupied Nanjing, “the Phantom” is leaking Japanese secrets to the resistance. Five suspects are rounded up: will they destroy one another—and the resistance—to save themselves? Starring Li Bingbing and Zhou Xun (Suzhou River).Hong Kong’s entry for this year’s Academy Awards is Prince of Tears, directed by Yonfan. Two young sisters come of age during Taiwan’s brutal anti-communist crackdowns of the ‘50s.Documentaries include:The World Premiere of Lessons of the Blood, directed by James T. Hong and Yin-Ju Chen. This film is a brilliant exploration of the explosive and contested history of Japanese atrocities and biological warfare in China during WWII. Aoki, directed by Mike Cheng and Ben Wang, highlights the life of Bay Area Japanese American activist Richard Aoki (1938 – 2009), a founding member of the Black Panther Party. From a Japanese internment camp to the Vietnam War and a friendship with Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, Aoki’s remarkable life and activism is covered through interviews, contemporary footage and archival material.State of Aloha, directed by Anne Misawa reveals that despite its reputation, the 50th state in the Union is far from an idyllic paradise. Narrated by Hawai’i resident Jason Scott Lee, this documentary explores the hot-button controversies surrounding Hawai’ian statehood and all that it has entailed.Other special presentations:A Retrospective of Lino Brocka, the first Filipino director to screen at Cannes. The four films selected for screening are:Manila in the Claws of Neon, about a young provincial looking for his lost love in Manila; You Have Been Weighed and Found Wanting, about a sensitive young man who is drawn to the outcasts of his small town; Insiang, about a young woman in the slums of Tondo whose efforts to respect her "serpent-like" are blown apart by the mother's younger lover; and Bayan Ko, about how depoliticized individuals are still, no matter what, destroyed by economic circumstances. The film’s Cannes screening caused a furious Marcos regime to revoke Brocka’s citizenship.This year’s "Spotlight" is on Oscar and Emmy-award winning producer, director and writer Freida Lee Mock (Maya Lin: a Strong Clear Vision). Two of her latest documentaries are screened, and she will be present for discussions following the screenings.Lt. Watada – Lieutenant Ehren Watada is the bravest man in the military, or the best friend of Al Qaeda, depending on whom you ask. Mock’s riveting documentary tells the lieutenant’s tale, from heroic enlister in the armed forces to famed resister of the Iraq War. Sing China! – The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus tours across a China preparing for the Beijing Olympics. Part travelogue of a nation on the verge of change, part cultural investigation of American preteens having their eyes opened to a new world, and all an extraordinary musical experience. Other festival events include The Bonesetter’s Daughter: Making of an Opera (Working Title ) is a work-in-progress screening of a new opera written by Amy Tan from her novel, sung by the San Francisco Opera."Up Close & Personal with the Asian American Film Industry," a session with top film producer Karin Chien (The Motel, Robot Stories). "Imagining Atrocity: City of Life and Death and the Nanjing Massacre on Film," presented by Michael Berry, Associate Professor of Contemporary Chinese Cultural Studies at UC Santa Barbara. "Best Fest Photo Contest": Attendees can submit their Festival photos and enter to win a Flip Video MinoHD Camcorder plus two Fast Passes to the 2011 SFIAAFF. Entries in three categories: Paparazzi – Snap photos of favorite Festival celebritiesPlaces and Spaces – Get shots of the many beautiful & iconic venues of the FestivalFest Faces, sponsored by shu uemura – Capture all the fabulous faces of the FestivalAbout the FestivalThe Center for Asian America Media presents the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (SFIAAFF) every March. The SFIAAFF is the nation’s largest showcase for new Asian American and Asian films, annually presenting approximately 120 works in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Jose. Since 1982, the SFIAAFF has been an important launching point for Asian American independent filmmakers as well as a vital source for new Asian cinema.For more information, visit festival.asianamericanmedia.org. San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival March 11-21, 2010Castro Theatre29 Castro St., San Francisco415-621-6120Sundance Kabuki Cinemas 1881 Post St., San Francisco415-346-3243
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