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After a year of turmoil following staff shakeups and a reduction in its operating hours, no one was sure how all the changes with the Denver Film Society (DFS) would affect the long-running Starz Denver Film Festival. What could have been a huge disaster for the fest eventually resulted in a strong comeback for this year's 11-day long event.
In its 32nd year, the Starz Denver Film Festival makes its big return on Nov. 12th lasting through Nov. 21, 2009. The DFS will be hosting panels with filmmakers, an award presentation, and most notably, screening some of the standout films of 2009. The main venues where the screenings will be taking place are the Starz FilmCenter at the Tivoli, SFC Theatres 5–12 and the Vuka Theatre in Denver, Colorado.
Opening the festival this year is the Sundance award-winning Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. The actress playing the title role, Gabourey Sidibe, will be in attendance. This is a breakout part for a woman from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and her performance is worthy of celebration. Along with "Gabby" on the Red Carpet will be Denver's very own Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, two of the film's producers, as well as director Lee Daniels. This is one opening night that will a memorable event for sure.The festivall's centerpiece, The Big Night Feature, is The Last Station, directed by Michael Hoffman, about two romances, starring Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti and James McAvoy.
The Closing Night film will be The Young Victoria, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, starring Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend and Miranda Richardson.A highlight of the documentaries the festival is screening will be Convention, directed by AJ Schnack -- a breathless, comprehensive look behind the scenes at the 2008 Democratic National Convention held in Denver.
Ernie Gehr, the New York-based experimental filmmaker, will be the recipient of the 2009 Stan Brakhage Vision Award during the program, An Evening with Ernie Gehr. Gehr's program will include the premieres of his three most recent short films.
The Maysles Brothers Award for the Best Documentary is awarded annually by Albert Maysles, in recognition of a feature-length, non-fiction film without U.S. distribution. This year’s entries include:
American Faust: From Condi to Neo-Condi, a scathing documentary portrait of former Secretary of State (and University of Denver alumna) Condoleezza Rice by British filmmaker Sebastian Doggart.
My Neighbor My Killer, director Anne Aghion’s documents the excruciating process of reconciliation between Tutsis and Hutus following the slaughter of more than half a million people in the 1994 genocide.
Among the awards being presented this year will be the 2009 Mayor's Career Achievement Award for Acting to actor-director Ed Harris (The Right Stuff, Places in the Heart, Appaloosa), and Tony-and Emmy-award winning actor Hal Holbrook will receive the 2009 Excellence in Acting Award following a screening of his new film,That Evening Sun,. His wife, co-star Dixie Carter, will also be present for the award presentation.
SDFF presents Festival de Cine Mexicano, a showcase of Mexico's most recent and influential films. This year, eight new films, as well as a number of directors from Mexico will be showcased in Denver.
Caja Negra (Black Box), directed by Luis Ortega, a psychological thriller about a secret organization that plots to kill a political candidate, using a dying man as its unwilling assassin.
Norteado (Northless), Oaxacan-born director Rigoberto Perezcano's first feature, about a young man’s repeated, futile attempts to cross the U.S. border which puts him on the verge of giving up.
La Ultima y Nos Vamos (One for the Road), about three young men in Mexico City who discover an entirely new world. Director Eva López-Sánchez based her drama on the real-life experiences of her coauthor, Alfredo Mier y Terán.
For more information, visit www.denverfilm.org.
New Italian Cinema Returns for the 13th Triumphant Year in San Francisco at Landmark's Embarcadero Center Cinema, November 15–22, 2009.The mainstay of New Italian Cinema is the competitive section featuring seven films by emerging directors. NIC opens with a three-film tribute to director Marco Risi, one of Italy's most celebrated filmmakers and closes with Marco Bellocchio's latest tour de force, Vincere, an operatic take on the true story of Mussolini's first wife and their secret child.“The 2009 New Italian Cinema festival offers yet another provocative, yet often light-hearted, lineup of recent works by up-and-coming directors,” said Film Society programmer Rod Armstrong. “This year's edition covers issues of local politics, father-son relationships, romantic conundrums and mafia depredations. The New Italian Cinema Events (NICE) organization in Florence—working with selection committee members Rod Armstrong and journalists Deborah Young and Barbara Corsi—chose the best Italian entries from the year's major European film festivals to present in the 2009 New Italian Cinema competition. Most filmmakers are expected at the Embarcadero for Q&As with the audiences. The NICE City of Florence Award will be decided by audience ballot and announced at the Closing Night Award presentation following the screening of Vincere.The Opening Night presentation is the West Coast Premiere of Fortapàsc, directed by Marco Risi, who will be presernt. The film relays the account of Neapolitan journalist Giancarlo Siani, who was murdered in 1985 for his reporting on the local crime organization, the Camorra. Risi's fast-paced, coolly observational drama pays tribute to Siani's life and reportage by detailing the events leading up to his death. With Libero de Rienzo, Valentina Lodovini, Massimiliano Gallo, Michele Riondino and Ernesto Mahieux. Following the opening night film is Marco Risi in Retrospect, featuring films that show the broad range of Risi's talent, from gritty drama to female-focused farce. Films include: Three Wives (Tre mogli), a farcical road-trip movie about three women from different socioeconomic classes who chase their husbands across Argentina, where the men have fled after they rob an Italian bank, starring Francesca d'Aloja, Iaia Forte and Silke Klein. Boys on the Outside (Ragazzi fuori) is Risi’s hard-hitting story of crime and joblessness among Palermo youth who leave a juvenile reformatory and try to reenter society. Featuring stunning performances by several nonprofessional actors. With Francesco Benigno, Maurizio Prollo, Alessandro di Sanzo, Roberto Mariano. Also included in the program are City of Florence Award Competition Films, many of which are having North American premieres. Among them are: The Sicilian Girl (La siciliana ribelle), directed by Marco Amenta who will be in attendance. The film is about 17-year-old Rita Atria, who visits a tireless anti-Mafia judge to denounce the organization responsible for the murders of her father and brother. With Veronica d'Agostino, Gérard Jugnot, Miriana Faja. The North American Premiere of Ex, directed by Fausto Brizzi, who will also be in attendance. This mostly comic study focuses on six different couples and the ups and downs of their relationships. With Claudio Bisio, Alessandro Gassman, Cécile Cassel, Nancy Brilli, Cristiana Capotondi.The House in the Clouds (La casa sulle nuvole), also a North American Premiere, directed by Claudio Giovannesi who also will attend. Two brothers of different temperaments attempt to come to terms with their irresponsible and self-absorbed parents in this intimate family drama. With Emanuele Bosi, Adriano Giannini, Emilio Bonucci.Another North America Premiere is Different from Whom? (Diverso da chi?), with director Umberto Carteni attending. Carteni's comedic debut concerns a gay man whose life is complicated when he runs for office in a right-wing town. With Luca Argentero, Claudia Gerini, Filippo Nigro. The Closing Night film is the West Coast Premiere of Vincere, Marco Bellocchio's latest masterpiece about the life of Ida Dalser, the mother of Benito Mussolini's only acknowledged illegitimate child. With Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Filippo Timi, Fausto Russo Alesi, Corinne Castelli.New Italian Cinema is presented in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute, San Francisco under the auspices of the Consulate General of Italy.Full schedule and information: www.sffs.org.
For the fourth year in a row, The Museum of Modern Art is collaborating with the Independent Feature Project and Filmmaker Magazine, the organization’s quarterly publication, to screen the five films nominated for the IFP Gotham Independent Film Award, “Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.”
The exhibition, run by the MoMA’s Department of Film, will be held from Nov. 19th to Nov. 22nd at the museum’s Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters. Senior members of Filmmaker’s editorial staff selected the nominees, each of which represents the year’s best American independent films that have screened at festivals but have yet to be picked up for theatrical distribution.Films in the running this year include:
Everything Strange and Newdirected by Frazer BradshawAbout a San Franciscan carpenter dealing with the monotony of his mid-life, Bradshaw’s directorial debut has already earned him the critics’ prize at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench directed by Damien ChazelleShot on a shoestring budget, this is a spirited mix of a downtown slacker relationship drama and a Hollywood movie musical.October Country directed by Michael Palmieri and Donal MosherThe feature-length documentary about a troubled, working-class family dealing with issues of poverty, teen pregnancy, abuse and war has already won the Grand Jury prize at this year’s Silverdocs.
You Won’t Miss Medirected by Ry Russo-YoungPresented at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the film’s screenwriter, Stella Schnabel, portrays a self-destructive 23-year-old woman.
Zero Bridgedirected by Tariq TapaThe film, discovered at this year’s Venice and Karlovy Vary Film Festivals, depicts daily life in the war-torn city of Srinagar, Kashmir, as seen through the eyes of a teenage pickpocket in love with a girl whose passport he stole.
Those nominated filmmakers will introduce their works in select screenings and will take part in a Q&A session afterwards. The winner will be announced at 19th Annual IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards, to be held Nov. 30.
As the first honors of the film awards season, the Gotham Independent Film Awards helps independent films expands its audience and supports the work that IFP does throughout the year to bring such films to fruition.
The Museum of Modern Art 11 West 53rd Street New York City Nov. 19 to Nov. 22
For more information, check out: http://moma.org/visit/calendar/films/1013
The Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival—the longest-running documentary film festival in the United States—celebrate 33 years at the American Museum of Natural History from Thursday, November 12 through Sunday, November 15, 2009 at the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Theater, Kaufmann Theater, Linder Theater, and the People Center, all at the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, in New York City. Screening an outstanding and varied selection of titles culled from more than 1,000 submissions, the Festival is distinguished by extraordinary films that tackle diverse and challenging subjects, as well as exciting discussions with filmmakers and special guest speakers. The Festival presents a far-reaching selection of documentaries and other non-narrative works as well as animation, experimental films, and indigenous media.
This year, the Mead will highlight a series of films in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibition Traveling the Silk Road. This series includes Hair India (Raffaele Brunetti and Marco Leopardi, NY Premiere), a stirring story about a destitute family’s religious sacrifice of hair that is processed and ultimately sold for profit; and Cooking History (Péter Kerekes, director in person, NY Premiere), an exploration of the customs and conflicts of food on the frontlines, from serving up savory blinis to Soviet soldiers fighting off Nazi armies to feeding French forces during the Algerian War. Other Festival highlights include Babaji, an Indian Love Story (Jiska Rickels, US Premiere), a captivating tale about a centenarian man near Hazaribagh, India who has dug a grave next to his late wife’s and descends into it each morning to await death; Beyond the Game (Jos de Putter, director in person, US Premiere), a behind-the-scenes look at the tight-knit and competitive community of cybergamers that follows the top players of Warcraft III, the most popular game globally, on their way to the professional world championships; and Blind Loves (Juraj Lehotsky, NY Premiere), an emotional story about four non-sighted subjects as they demonstrate and discuss their passions and anxieties while managing independent lives. Also included is an exploration of the science and history behind Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica, a new multimedia performance by Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky), which incorporates the sounds of melting ice recorded by Miller in Antarctica.Films are set in Austria, Bosnia, Czech Republic, China, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, The Netherlands, and United States.Tickets can be purchased by phone at 212-769-5200, online at www.amnh.org/mead, or at any of the American Museum of Natural History admission desks. For more information, the public should call 212-769-5305, or download the schedule at www.amnh.org/programs/mead.
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