the traveler's resource guide to festivals & films
a site
part of Insider Media llc.

Connect with us:


The Stars Align at the 14th Capri Hollywood Film Fest

Since the dawn of civilization, midwinter festivals have harvested culture, community and light to compensate for the distant sun. The 14th annual Capri Hollywood Film Festival, which comes just after the December solstice, is South Italy’s cool-weather ritual of storytelling, parties and stars.
In the warmer months, tourists flock to the Isle of Capri. That’s not the case in winter, which is one reason why Capri in the World Institute and TV journalist Pascal Vicedomini created the Festival, in 1995. For one week a year, Capri becomes Hollywood in the Tyrrhenian, with entertainment headliners turning its central Piazzetta into Cannes’s Croisette.
This year’s session, spanning December 26, 2009 – January 2, 2010, will bask in the glow of singer/actor Mariah Carey, actors Samuel L. Jackson and Elsa Pataky, directors Jim Sheridan, Terry Gilliam, Antoine Fuqua and Harold Becker, composers Elliot Goldenthal and Michael Nyman and costume designer Colleen Atwood, among other celestial bodies receiving awards or sharing their wisdoms or both.
Don’t tell Palm Springs, but Capri prides itself on jumpstarting awards season. The Capri Award gala, which will take place on December 28 (a week before PSIFF), honors the year’s critical favorites and sparks insider speculation about Golden Globe and Oscar verdicts to come. For Italy, the Capri awards polish a proud tradition of trans-Atlantic collaboration; more pragmatically, they shine the limelight on the national industry at an opportune moment in the annual film calendar.
This year, Guiseppe Tornatore will accept a prize for his epic Sicilian tale, Baaria, which represents Italy in the Best Foreign Language Oscar category. Other compatriots to be garlanded in the 14th-century Charterhouse of St. James (Certosa di San Giacomo), where the gala ceremony will unfold, include Vincere director Marco Bellocchio, Christmas in Beverly Hills star Massimo Ghini, Letters to Juliet supporting actor Franco Nero and actor/writer/director Asia Argento, to name but a few.
Festival-goers can catch Italian and European premieres at the Charterhouse and mingle with the stars at the Venice Casino Lounge. Rob Marshall’s Nine, Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Lee Daniels’ Precious, Harold Becker’s Vengeance: A Love Story and Bigas Luna’s Di, Di Hollywood are some of the titles unspooling at the Festival, whose other venues include the Congress Center Auditorium and the Church of St. Michele, perched 900 feet above sea level in the village of Anacapri.   
Exchanges with industry brass include roundtables, post-screening discussions and the globally-themed Fiuggi Symposium. For young Italian auteurs, there’s also Capri Movie Class, a masterclass series taught by a power roster that boasts Jim Sheridan, Terry Gilliam and Harold Becker. Another initiative to coddle Italy’s budding talent is a shorts competition called To Be Italian–Proud of My Country, the winner of which will participate in the 5th Los Angeles-Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest (February 28-March 6, 2010) leading up to the Academy Awards.
Honorees at the 14th Capri Hollywood Film Festival:
Mariah Carey, Capri Award
Elliot Goldenthal, Music Capri Legend Award
Marco Bellocchio, Master of Cinema - Legend Award
Harold Becker, Capri-Cis Career Award
Massimo Ghini, Capri Patroni Griffi Award
Terry Gilliam, Excellence Award

for more info go to:

Capri in the World Institute

Via Rodolfo Lanciani, 74-00162
Rome, Italy
Charterhouse of St. James
Via Certosa,
Congress Center Auditorium
Vico Sella Orta, 3
Church of St. Michele
Piazza St. Nicola,

Related FFtrav story:

Washington Jewish Film Festival Enters 19th Year

Since 1990, the Washington Jewish Film Festival has exhibited international cinema in celebrating the diversity of Jewish history, culture and experience. They aim to create dialogue with festival go-ers as unexpected stories are unearthed and Jewish stereotypes are debunked, which has earned them recognition as being one of the most respected Jewish Film festivals in North America.

The WJFF is expected to bring more than 7,000 people to Washington, D.C.'s Jewish Community Center for this year's installment of the festival, running from Dec. 3 through Dec. 13, 2009.

At the festival, new and award-winning films that chronicle Jewish life stories, issues and ideas that open minds will screen at the Washington DCJCC and venues all throughout the metropolitan area. Several films will also have premieres, including:

Mid-Atlantic Premiere at 7 p.m. on Dec. 5
Camera Obscura
directed by Maria Victoria Menis
At the end of the 19th century, an ugly duckling enters the world — and the New World — as a ship of immigrants docks in Buenos Aires. Shy and self-conscious, Gertrudis grows up in a colony of Argentinean Jews, keeping herself almost invisible, even hiding her face in photographs. After she is married off to an older, wealthy Jewish rancher, Gertrudis quietly raises a family until the arrival of a visionary French photographer jolts her into really seeing herself for the first time.

Washington, D.C. Premiere at 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 5
directed by Cyril Gelblat
As the French title, literally "load-bearing walls," implies, the weight of life can threaten even the strongest foundations. Frida (Shulamit Adar) is an aging Holocaust survivor who increasingly confuses the past with the present. Facing middle age, her daughter (Miou-Miou) and son (Charles Berling) are losing their mother, while their own children slip away into adulthood.

Washington, D.C. Premiere at 12:15 p.m. on Dec. 6
Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist
directed by Andrew D. Cooke
Will Eisner began drawing comics in the 1930s, just as the art form was exploding in popularity and cultural relevance. Eisner's creations, combining art, literature and film, were some of the most original of all, and led to a successful career in what he called "sequential art," the forerunner of today's graphic novels. His gritty crime fighter series, The Spirit, incorporated film noir aspects with elements of the Jewish experience and the fight against anti-Semitism.

East Coast Premiere at 5:45 p.m. on Dec. 6
Broken Promise
directed by Jiri Chumsky
Based on the remarkable true story of Martin Friedmann, born in 1926 in Western Slovakia. On the eve of WWII, as his bar mitzvah approaches, young Martin's carefree life of soccer playing and boyish idleness in his small town is abruptly changed. He narrowly escapes deportation to a concentration camp partly thanks to his soccer skills and primarily thanks to luck and a string of unlikely coincidences.

Washington, D.C. Premiere at 8:15 p.m. on Dec. 6
directed by Scandar Copti
Set on the mean streets of Jaffa's Ajami neighborhood, this compelling crime drama reveals the complexities of life and relationships in a melting pot of cultures. Stories are intertwined: a sensitive young boy and his brother live in fear of clan retaliation; a naive young Palestinian refugee works to save his mother's life; an affluent Palestinian dreams of a future with his Jewish girlfriend; a Jewish policeman searches for his missing brother. Human values, not politics, dominate the lives of people who want the same things, but rarely are able to overcome conflicting views among Jews, Muslims and Christians.

Washington, D.C. Premiere at 7 p.m. on Dec. 7

The Girl on the Train
directed by Andre Techine
Jeanne (Emilie Dequenne) lives in the suburbs of Paris with her mother Louise (Catherine Deneuve), and spends her days halfheartedly looking for work. When Louise finds a help wanted ad on the internet, she believes that fate has intervened, and moves to get her daughter a job with a famous attorney she knew in her youth. Jeanne's world and that of the Jewish attorney are light-years apart, but on a collision course due to an incredible lie she is about to tell--a lie that was at the heart of one of the most highly publicized and politicized news items in France in recent years.

Washington, D.C. Premiere at 9 p.m. on Dec. 7

Mary and Max
directed by Adam Elliot
Meet Mary Daisy Dinkle and Max Horowitz, two lonely souls reaching out for a friend in this quirky claymation tale. One day, Mary,a chubby young Australian girl with a crazy family, flips through a phone book and finds Max, an obese middle-aged New York Jew with Asperger's syndrome. The two become unlikely pen pals, sharing years of life's ups and downs.

North American Premiere at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9
Marcel Reich-Ranicki — Author of Himself
directed by Dror Zahavi
Marcel Reich-Ranicki is arguably the most well-known, influential and controversial critic of German literature today. Yet far more riveting than much of the fiction he reviews is his own life story, rooted in the darkest hours of the 20th century. Based on Reich-Ranicki's autobiography, this film retraces his remarkable life from his childhood in Poland to captivity in the Warsaw Ghetto, his escape and hiding with his wife until the end of the war, joining and then cutting ties with the Polish Communist Party, and, finally, his departure for West Germany in the late 1950s. Through it all, he never loses his love for German literature, leading to his career as a literary critic that he has now passionately pursued for over 50 years.

East Coast Premiere at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 12
directed by Joshua Sinclair
Legendary photographer Philippe Halsman, who shot more covers of LIFE magazine than any other photographer, often captured the essence of celebrity personalities on film. His own personality, however, was defined by the tragic experiences. As re-told in the film, the young Halsman (Ben Silverstone) was on a hike with his father, Jewish dentist Morduch Halsman (Heinz Hoenig) in Austria in 1928. After a fall, his father dies. Halsman is put on trial for murder, defended by the Jewish lawyer Richard Pressburger (Patrick Swayze in one of his last roles). The trial causes an uproar all over Austria, and an increasingly anti-Semitic crowd judges the defendant.

Tickets are $10 general admission, and $9 for students and seniors. Advanced tickets for all screenings can be purchased only online at or

More information is available at:

Washington Jewish Film Festival
Dec. 3 to Dec. 13, 2009
Washington, D.C. Jewish Community Center

1529 16th Street Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20036

African Diaspora Film Festival 2009

The African Diaspora Film Festival (ADFF) is the first film festival focusing on the human experience of people of color. The Festival begins every year on the last Friday of November during the Thanksgiving weekend and runs for 18 days. ADFF's 17th anniversary will be celebrated from Friday, November 27 through Sunday, December 15, 2009.

The venues are at various locations in Manhattan, NYC including: Anthology Film Archives, The Thalia Cinema, the Riverside Theater, the Schomburg Center and Teachers College, Columbia University.

The festival highlights include a world premiere and 39 U.S. premieres, and more than 35 films by and about women, including the ArtMattan Productions Competition for the Best Film Directed by a Woman of Color.

Opening Night screenings are Wole Soyinka: Child of the Forest, directed by Akin Omotoso - A profile of the life of Wole Soyinka, Nigerian writer, poet and playwright, the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature; and Nothing but the Truth, directed by John Kani, who also plays the lead, in this adaptation of his award-winning play. The story explores the struggle between those Black South Africans who remained in South Africa and risked their lives to lead the struggle against apartheid and those who returned victoriously after living in exile.

The Centerpiece Screening is the New York Premiere of Inside Buffalo, directed by Fred Kudjo Kuwornu. Inside Buffalo is a full length documentary about the 92nd Infantry Division, an African American segregated unit of 15,000 soldiers known as “Buffalo Soldiers,” who served in Italy during WWII.

The ADFF 2009 Filmmaker In Residence is Egyptian-born Khaled El Hagar. Three of El Hagar’s films are having New York premieres: Stolen Kisses / Kobolat Masroka, about nine 20-something Egyptians coping with life in modern Cairo; None but That! / Mafeesh Gher Keda!, Egypt’s first musical, which follows the life of a struggling single mother and her family as they cope with sudden fame and wealth; and A Gulf Between Us, about a relationship between an Arab student and a Jewish woman during the Gulf War. This 1995 film stirred up such outrage that El Hagar was compelled to leave Egypt and could not return until 2003.

The other films are Women's Love / Hob El Banat is El Hagar’s award-winning romantic comedy about three half-sisters brought together by the death of their father, and A Room to Rent, which depicts a young Egyptian screenwriter seeking his artistic freedom in London. Elements of Mine is a short drama dance film El Hagar made with Norbert Servos. The filmmaker will be present for Q&A sessions after all of his films.

This year’s ADFF Theme Programs include six tracks that examine the lives of women: Afro-Colombian Women, African Women Stories, Girl Stories, Palestinian Women, Portraits of Haitian Women, and Women Indies Night

The other themes include African Men in Shorts, African Syncretism in Tunisia and India, Exile & Cinema in Sudan, Hip Hop Stories, Cultures of Resistance and South African Cinema.

Another special feature of the ADFF is the Two by One Program, which screens two films each by selected directors. This year, the selections are by King Ampaw (Ghana), Sylvia D. Hamilton (Canada), Tunde Kelani (Nigeria), Angel Muñiz (Dominican Republic), Edmundo H. Rodriguez (Puerto Rico), Khady Silla (Senegal), Silvio Tendler (Brazil) and Issa Traore De Brahima (Burkina Faso).

Several eye-opening documentaries are also screened:

Directed by Ana Lucia Ramos Lisboa, Amilcar Cabral recounts the story of Amilcar Cabral, the leader of the Liberation Movement of Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau and the founder of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC). This documentary provides considerable background about this revolutionary giant. The documentary is skillfully produced with a wealth of rare archive footage and several interviews with important African personalities.

Katanga Business, directed by Thierry Michel, is a documentary exploring the efforts of the charismatic Congolese governor as he deals with entreupreuneurs from Europe and China and with his own national government while fighting for a better life for Congolese workers. This thriller-like documentary offers a revealing look at the impact of globalization on Africa in the diamond rich Katanga region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A Forgotten Injustice, directed by Vicente Serrano, is the first documentary that uncovers the story of almost two million Mexican Americans and U.S. citizens who were forced out of the United States during the Great Depression in the 1930s. These people were forced to leave because of one reason: They were of Mexican descent. In order to avoid making the same mistakes in our efforts to find a solution to today's immigration problem, we have to look back and learn from "A Forgotten Injustice."

Occupation of Hawai'i / Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai'i, directed by Anne Keala Kelly. “This is an emotionally raw portrayal of issues that shape the political, economic and cultural world of Hawaiians. The film provides a contemporary look at the impact of militarism, tourism and real estate, making critical links between these seemingly unrelated industries via their collective power to force Hawaiians out of their homeland economically, politically and culturally. It frames desecration of Hawaiian burials and sacred sites as an intentional tool deployed by the American system and questions the role settlers play in the dispossession of the Hawaiian people and disruption of their inherent sovereignty.” In the current spirit of change and cultural awareness, this film is a must-see for all Americans whose impressions of Hawai’i have too long been limited to idealized tradition.

The ADFF was created in November 1993 by the husband and wife team of Reinaldo Barroso-Spech & Diarah N'Daw-Spech on the belief that education is power. He is an educator in foreign languages and Black Literature and she a financial consultant and university budget manager. They are of the reality that film is the truest medium for creating a fertile ground for education. The future of communities of color is directly tied to the expansion of the experiences, depth and breadth of their reach and interaction with other communities and the framework from which talent can stand front and center. The fest and their goal is an informed and talented community coming together to exchange ideas and strategies for improving our respective world.

Since its launch, the Festival has claimed a history of firsts in presenting, interpreting and educating about films from throughout the world that depict the lives of people from Africa and the African Diaspora. The festival features world and US premieres, recent popular titles, classic movies, foreign and independent releases. Post-screening question-and-answer sessions and panel discussions are part of the program.

The ADFF also holds a series of traveling festivals/events at the Jersey City Museum in January, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in February, at Facets Cinematheque in Chicago in June, at National Geographic in Washington DC in July and at the Riverside Theatre in Manhattan in August.

The African Diaspora Film Festival has its ADFF Cine-Club which holds monthly community screenings at Teachers College, Columbia University that are free and open to the public.

Today more than at any other time, there are more films by black directors, more films on the black experience, and more films with featured black actors enjoyed by all audiences. Notwithstanding, the international Black communities, whether in Europe, Latin America or Africa, continue to play a disproportionately marginal role in the art of cinema. Further, many creative and visionary films lay collecting dust without the light of a screening owing to the lack of distribution outlets that showcase the films of this experience.

The images of stereotypes, myths, and deprived cultural experiences continue, while talented people of color proceed to run up against the infamous "numbers" game with respect to how many directors or films of color can an "already permeated" market absorb.

ADFF’s mission is to present these films to diverse audiences, redesign the Black cinema experience, and strengthen the role of African and African descent directors in contemporary world cinema. In response to this mission, ADFF features the work of emerging and established filmmakers of color. Most important, ADFF distinguishes itself through its presentation of outstanding works that shine a different or comprehensive light on African Diaspora life and culture --no matter what the filmmaker’s race or nationality.

By placing the spotlight on innovative films that would otherwise be ignored by traditional venues, the Festival offers a unique platform for conveying African Diaspora artistic styles and craft in film. The ADFF is a bridge between diverse communities looking for works that cannot be found in other festivals and talented and visionary filmmakers and works that are part of Africa and the African Diaspora.
The ADFF is where people from diverse races, nationalities and backgrounds come together to enjoy important cinematic works of creativity, intellectual expansion, identity, and equality. In this world there are no boundaries around people because they are embraced in a universal understanding of humanity. This is the element of commonality that weaves through this annual event of images from Africa and the African Diaspora.

For further information: 212-864-1760 or

The African Diaspora Film Festival (ADFF)
27 - Sunday, Dec. 15, 2009
Anthology Film Archives
The Thalia Cinema
The Riverside Theater

The Schomburg Center
Teachers College. Columbia University
Manhattan, NYC


Cinema’s United Nations in Palm Springs

Lots of festivals have “international” in their name, but don’t really mean it. Not so The Palm Springs International Film Festival, cinema’s answer to the UN.
PSIFF Director Darryl MacDonald
PSIFF assembles the films that have been nominated by their countries of origin as the year’s surest shot at winning a Best Foreign Language Oscar. The Festival’s 21st session, running January 5-18, 2010, will show more than 200 films from 60 countries. From rogue nations to close allies, much of the global community will vie in a juried competition decided by majority vote.

PSIFF also presents American independent and international films launching their world, North American or domestic premieres, as well as filmmaker tributes, industry seminars and cultural do’s.

The centerpiece of the Festival is its annual Awards Gala, which serves as “a precursor to the Golden Globes and Oscars,” per Festival Director Darryl Macdonald. Three of last year’s honorees – actor Anne Hathaway, director Gus Van Sant and composer Alexandre Desplat – were nominated for Academy Awards, and another, Sean Penn, took home Best Actor statuette.

Attendees of the January 5, 2010 black tie affair at The Palm Springs Convention Center can hope to rub shoulders with the likes of Mariah Carey, Anna Kendrick, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren. Carey will receive The Breakthrough Performance Award for her supporting role in Lee DanielsPrecious: Based on the Novel “Push” By Sapphire, while Kendrick’s performance in Up in the Air, directed by Jason Reitman, will land her The Rising Star Award. Freeman and Mirren will add The Career Achievement Award to their mantle of trophies, touting their respective star turns as Nelson Mandela in Invictus and as Countess Sofya Tolstoy in The Last Station, among a combined body of work spanning eight decades.

Aside from garnering for the Festival what Macdonald terms “credible attention,” the Gala also plumps its coffers. Last year’s swank soiree mobilized more than a million dollars for the desert jamboree founded in 1990 by then Mayor Sonny Bono. Ticket sales reportedly brought in another $1,126,900, and the Festival’s 15 plexes seated nearly 130,000 bottoms, 3% more than in 2008. Not bad for the toughest times since the Great Depression.

How is 2010 shaping up?

Though Festival passes are selling more briskly this year and sponsorship is holding steady, the mood remains “cautious,” said Macdonald. He cited the dramatic dip in ticket sales and sponsors incurred by the Seattle Film Festival, which he founded, and Sundance’s recent loss of wine and beer sponsors as but two examples of economic fallout on the festival circuit.  

Thanks to its strategic position in the annual film cycle, PSIFF serves as an oracle and a marketing tool for awards contenders. Consulates and film companies from around the world throw resources at it, from glitzy parties to glossy ads touting their submissions. Palm Springs is the last chance for members of the Foreign Oscar committees to catch an Academy-recognized screening.

Beyond the industry, film buffs come to the winter happening for its quality slate, balmy temperatures and resort atmosphere. “You’ve got warm weather and a lot of decent pictures to see,” said film critic Harlan Jacobson, who leads festival tours to Palm Springs through his national cinema forum, Talk Cinema. “It’s the official summation of the year that has just ended…and of what’s headed to that Oscar gateway,” he continued.

Films that come to PSIFF 2010 amid quickened whispers include:

Argentina’s The Secret of Their Eyes, a thriller by Juan Jose Campanella about a man trying to crack a murder case gone 30-years-cold, and South Africa’s White Wedding, a post-apartheid road comedy by Jann Turner in Afrikaans, English, Zulu and Xhosa.

From Peru, there’s Claudia Llosa’s The Milk of Sorrow, which took The Golden Bear at The Berlin Film Festival for its fable of rape and trauma.

Berlin’s Silver Bear went to suspense drama About Elly, Iran’s official submission directed by Asghar Farhadi. Terribly Happy also carries advanced buzz.

Henrik Ruben Genz did Denmark proud when his stylish noir flick bagged The Grand Prix Crystal Globe at The Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

Australia’s official Oscar submission is Walpiri-language Samson & Delilah.

The debut feature by indigenous filmmaker Warwick Thornton won The Camera d’Or at Cannes.

According to Macdonald, PSIFF will celebrate Australia’s “standout” year with a special showcase of the country’s emerging directors. “One of the tasks we set ourselves is the discovery of new talents who have a fresh voice in storytelling,” said Macdonald, adding that more than 50 of this year’s films are by first-time directors.   

As the globe shrinks, are Americans becoming more – or less – drawn to the sort of international fare shown at Palm Springs? “Festival audiences by and large have a higher gross income, and are interested in exploring the universe,” noted Macdonald. Translation: PSIFF may be one of North America’s largest festivals, but it’s no gauge of mainstream enthusiasm for subtitles.

For more info got to:

Palm Springs International Film Festival
Jan. 5 - 18, 2010
Opening Night Black Tie Awards Gala
Palm Springs Convention Center
277 North Avenida Caballeros
Palm Springs, CA 92262

General Screenings

Various Locations TBD

Closing Night 

Palm Springs High School
2401 East Baristo Rd
Palm Springs, CA 92262

Palm Springs International Film Society
1700 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, Suite #3

Palm Springs, CA 92262 

Phone:  760 322 2930

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Newsletter Sign Up

Upcoming Events

No Calendar Events Found or Calendar not set to Public.