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Sundance Goes National

On Thursday, January 28, 2010, eight filmmakers and their films will be dispatched from Park City to cities across America, thanks to the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute will start the series/tour, Sundance Film Festival U.S.A, where select films that premiere at the 10-day Festival will also have simultaneous screenings nationwide starting that night of , January 28yh to theatres in eight cities, while featuring coinciding premiere screenings and topical events at the Festival in Utah.   

For the first time the fest will provide audiences the opportunity to experience screenings direct from the Festival in their home town art houses and to engage in live conversation with Festival artists. An introduction video featuring Robert Redford and highlights from the Festival will precede the screenings. 

Selections for films and filmmakers traveling to the eight cities will take place shortly after the programming announcement in December. All films will be selected from the official Sundance Film Festival program.

The Sundance Film Festival presents dramatic and documentary feature-length films from emerging and established artists, innovative short films, filmmaker forums and panels, live music performances ranging from solo acts to film composer events, cutting-edge media installations, and engaging community and student programs. And the Festival brings together the most original storytellers of our time with film industry players of every stripe.

Supported by the non-profit Sundance Institute, the Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most ground-breaking films of the past two decades, including sex, lies, and videotape, Maria Full of Grace, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Trouble the Water, and Central Station and, through its New Frontier initiative, has brought to audiences the cinematic works of media artists including Isaac Julian, Doug Aitken, Pierre Huyghe, Jennifer Steinkamp, and Matthew Barney.

Tickets will be available through each theater’s individual box office.

Southwest Airlines is the official airline partner of Sundance Film Festival U.S.A.

Sundance Film Festival U.S.A. Across America participating cities and their theatres are:

Michigan Theater
Ann Arbor, MI

Coolidge Corner Theatre
Brookline, MA

Brooklyn Acadamy of Music
Brooklyn, NY

Music Box Theatre
Chicago, IL

Downtown Independent
Los Angeles, CA

Sundance Cinemas Madison
Madison, WI

The Belcourt Theatre
Nashville, TN

Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
San Francisco, CA

4th Annual Romanian Film Festival

The rising prominence of Romanian film reached a high-water mark last year with 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, writer-director Cristian Mungiu's 2007 Palme d'Or-winning drama set in Communist Romania in the waning days of Nicolae Ceausescu. It went on to international acclaim and a bevy of top-10 lists as it unfurled across the globe.

Romanian cinema,
which reaches back to the 19th century and includes some of the earliest efforts of the emerging medium, also impressed the world by winning the Best Short award at Cannes in 2004 and 2008.

Hooked (Pescuit sportiv), directed by Adrian Sitaru

With this new-found attention came the city-specific Romanian Film Festival in NY, beginning 2006. Now in its fourth year, the festival is a collaboration of the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, The Tribeca Film Festival and The Transylvania International Film Festival.

This year's festival, the fourth annual, runs December 4-6, 2009, at Tribeca Cinemas in New York City. A companion film series will air nationally on Link TV and in New York on CUNY TV.

Titled "4 Years, 3 Days and 2 Decades Later," the festival features some of the most recent films from Romania's unique and critically exalted national body of contemporary cinema, keyed to the 20th anniversary of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. To this end, festival curator Mihai Chirilov has created a retrospective section, "Waving at the Revolution," which includes the opening night film Videograms of a Revolution

Attending the festival will be actor Vlad Ivanov (Police, Adjective and The Other Irene), winner of the 2007 award for Best Supporting Actor of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days; director Horaţiu Mălăele (Silent Wedding), actor Andi VasluianuThe Other Irene), and, producer/director Tudor Giurgiu (Katalin Varga and Australia). (

"The Actors of the Romanian New Wave," a festival event Monday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m., features a  conversation with Ivanov, Mălăele and Vasluianu. It will be held at the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, 200 East 38th St. (at Third Avenue), and admission is free.

The festival line up is:

Hooked (Pescuit sportiv), 2008, directed by Adrian Sitaru (image above)
Katalin Varga, 2009, directed by Peter Strickland
The Other Irene (Cealaltă Irina), 2009, directed by Andrei Grusnickzi
Police, Adjective (Poliţist. adj.), 2009, directed by Corneliu Porumboiu - the Romanian selection for the 82nd Academy Awards. An IFC Films release.
Silent Wedding (Nunta mută), 2008, directed by Horaţiu Mălăele

Special program:  "Waving at the Revolution"
Videograms of a Revolution (Videogramme einer Revolution), 1992, directed by Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujică
The Oak (Balanţa), 1992, directed by Lucian Pintilie
State of Things (Stare de fapt), 1995, directed by Stere Gulea

Australia, 2009, directed by Claudiu Mitcu
The Flower Bridge (Podul de flori), 2008, directed by Thomas Ciulei

11 PM, 2009, directed by Alexandru Sava
Bric-Brac, 2009, directed by Gabriel Achim
For Him (Pentru el), 2009, directed by Stanca Radu
Oli's Wedding (Nunta lui Oli), 2009, directed by Tudor Jiurgiu
Renovation (Renovare), 2009, directed by Paul Negoescu
Tarantyno, 2009, directed by Mircea Nestor

 In partnership with the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, Link TV will broadcast nationally the complementary film series The Romanian New Wave. The feature films included in this special presentation of Link TV will also air on cable in New York City on CUNY TV (Channel 75) starting Friday, December 4, at 10 p.m. ET with The Paper Will Be Blue. This series is curated by Steven Lawrence, Vice President of Music and Cultural Programming at Link TV. 

The schedule of films to air on CUNY TV is:

The Paper Will Be Blue (Hîrtia va fi albastră), 2006, directed by Radu Muntean, December 4
Stuff and Dough (Marfa şi banii), 2001, directed by Cristi Puiu, December 11
Exam (Examen), 2003, directed by Titus Muntean, December 18
12:08 East of Bucharest (A fost sau n-a fost?), 2006, directed by Corneliu Porumboiu, December 25
Love Sick (Legături bolnăvicioase), 2006, directed by Tudor Giurgiu, January 1

The following films will be broadcast nationally on Link TV. For a full schedule and program information visit:


12:08 East of Bucharest (A fost sau n-a fost?)
directed by Corneliu Porumboiu

Exam (Examen)
directed by Titus Muntean

Love Sick (Legături bolnăvicioase)
directed by Tudor Giurgiu

The Paper Will Be Blue (Hîrtia va fi albastră)
directed by Radu Muntean

Stuff and Dough (Marfa şi banii)
directed by Cristi Puiu


Bar de zi and Other Stories (Bar de zi şi alte povestiri)
directed by Corina Radu

Cold Waves (Război pe calea undelor)
directed by Alexandru Solomon

directed by Răzvan Georgescu

All films will be screened in the original language with English subtitles, introduced by Romanian film critics. 

Tickets: Adult, $10. Student/Senior, $7.  On sale at the box office starting December 4.

For more information:

The 4th Annual Romanian Film Festival in New York
December 4-6, 2009
Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street (at Laight Street)
New York, NY


Israel Film Fest In NYC -- Kudos for A New Generation

The saga of early Israeli cinema is the saga of selfless heroes building a nation, both onscreen and off. Glimpse these mythical creatures in A History of Israeli Cinema, a look back at the country’s 70-plus years of moviemaking. Raphaël Nadjari’s two-part documentary will have its American premiere at The Israel Film Festival (December 5-13, 2009, in New York), which has overlapped with 24 of those years.

As if to underscore how far the national film culture has come from since its birth, 2009 IFF opens with the sumo wrestling comedy, A Matter of Size. Directors Sharon Maymon and Erez Tadmor show Israel’s New Man as a fatso unable to sacrifice a snack, much less his life. The film is slated for an American remake. Today’s anti-heros sell Sabra power like their patriotic forebears could only hope to.

“Israeli film is on the go,” says IFF Founder/Executive Director Meir Fenigstein. “These days Israeli filmmakers believe their film will be in competition in Cannes or Berlin. They deserve to dream, because that’s where the Israeli film industry is now.”

In recent years, such films as Walk on Water (2004), The Band's Visit (2007), Beaufort (2007) and Waltz with Bashir (2008) have won critical international acclaim, with Beaufort and Waltz with Bashir garnering nominations for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Fenigstein partly credits this breakthrough to the infusion of state and private funding for cinema, nearly a decade in the works. New voices have since found an in, opening the Israeli screen to diversity and innovation. With so much at stake, film advocates geared up for a major battle last July, when the Knesset slashed the industry’s budget proposal of NIS 67 million (roughly $18 million) per year to NIS 25 million. Those shekels sustain the annual production of 14 - 18 feature films and some 120 hours of documentaries, with outlays of $500,000 - $1,000,000 per film and roughly $150,000 per hour of documentary.

This year’s IFF showcases the varied complexion of Israeli filmmaking via 28 features, documentaries and shorts. Kirot, by Danny Lerner, ventures into genre territory with the story of a sex worker who becomes a hit woman in hopes of returning to her native Ukraine. Shmuel Beru’s Zrubavel also investigates crime, but from the perspective of an Ethiopian family seeking to blend in with Israeli culture.

Several of the films invoke Arab-Israeli affairs, whether in the political or romantic sense. Seven Minutes in Heaven reconstructs the bus explosion and subsequent events that injured director/writer Omri Givon’s protagonist and ultimately killed her boyfriend. Mid-Eastern variations on Romeo and Juliet surface in two selections: Jaffa, by Keren Yedaya, shoots cupid’s arrow at the daughter of an Israeli car repair shop owner and a Palestinian mechanic; and in Dror Zahavi’s For My Father, a Palestinian botches his suicide mission and falls for a Tel Aviv beauty raised in an Orthodox Jewish home.

Bruriah takes a different angle on an Orthodox daughter. Avraham Kushnir’s nonfiction debut is a modern drama loosely inspired by the 2nd-century legend of Bruriah, a sage whose rabbi husband sent a student to seduce her as proof that "women are lightheaded.”

American director Paul Schrader also unearths a dark tale from the past for Adam Resurrected, in this case a 1968 novel by Yoram Kaniuk about a charismatic patient of an Israeli asylum for Holocaust survivors. Rounding out the fiction slate are Seven Days, Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz’s melodrama of Jewish mourning, and Mrs. Moscowitz & the Cats, a sentimental education among retirees, from Jorge Gurvich.

Itself past 60, Israel continues to evolve apace. Its changing social landscape crops up in several documentaries, like David Ofek’s Tale of Nicolai, about Romanian workers who run afoul of Israeli law, and Ilan Aboody’s The "Shakshuka" System, which probes Israeli wealth and power through the lens of the elite Ofer family.  

Few come to the IFF for an escape from reality, but rather to check in with that reality, from proliferating points of view. Ideally, a work’s impact “stays with them for ten minutes,” as Fenigstein recalls former Festival honoree Miloš Forman couching his goal as a filmmaker.   

This year’s honorees include actor Elliott Gould (Lifetime Achievement Award), who emceed Opening Night Awards at the 4th Annual IFF; writer/director Paul Schrader (Achievement in Film Award); and Don Krim (Visionary Award), president of Kino International distribution company, whose Israeli titles include Renen Schorr’s Late Summer Blues, Amos Gitai’s Kadosh and Kippur, Cannes Camera d’Or winner Or, Joseph Cedar’s In the Time of Favor and Beaufort as well as this year’s submission from Israel to the Academy Awards, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani’s Ajami.

Opening night honors and Festival screenings will take place at the SVA Theatre, at 23rd Street and 8th Avenue. (IFF program and ticketing information is available at

Presented by IsraFest Foundation, Inc., in association with the Consulate General of Israel in New York, IFF seeks to promote cultural interchange through American-Israeli encounters and the medium of Israeli cinema. In keeping with its mission, the Festival will bring in 15 special guests to attend the 2009 festivities and conduct post-screening discussions. And ever-attuned to tomorrow’s talent, it will showcase student productions, this year from seven Israeli film schools.  

In the near future, the IFF faces its Silver Anniversary. “What do you do with a milestone like that?” Fenigstein wonders. “Maybe someone from the audience has a good idea.”

Inviting community input, itself, would seem a good idea. As Israeli cinema continues its ascent, forcing the IFF to compete with more powerful siblings like Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance and now TriBeca, the Festival -- like Israel -- may be ripe for some soul searching. “It used to be that I was the only kid on the block,” says Fenigstein, “but we have to adjust to the situation.”

Israel Film Festival (New York)
December 5-13, 2009
Israfest Foundation, Inc.

6404 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1240

Los Angeles, California 90048

Phone: 323-966-4166 


All Screenings

SVA Theater

333 West 23rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues

New York, NY 10011

Int'l Doc Film Festival Amsterdam 2009

The 22nd edition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)—the biggest documentary festival in the world—runs from November 19 through 29 at Festival Cinemas Pathé Tuschinski, Reguliersbreestraat 34; Pathé de Munt, Vijzelstraat 15; Amsterdam Public Library (OBA), Oosterdokskade 143, Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square) in Amsterdam.

The opening film, War Games and the Man Who Stopped Them by Polish director Dariusz Jablonski (1961), tells the story of Ryszard Kuklinski, a Polish colonel who during the Cold War passed on more than forty thousand strategic documents concerning the Warsaw Pact to the American CIA.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, five Russian documentaries that were screened during the first edition of IDFA in 1988 as part of its Glasnost program will be included in the Perestroika – 20 Years Ago program.

More than 300 documentaries will be screened in various (competition) programs. To complement the film program, IDFA is also organizing daily talk shows, debates and master classes that include guests such as Frederick Wiseman, Eyal Sivan and Ira Glass.

This edition also sees the first IDFA Lecture, given on this occasion by the English filmmaker Julien Temple. The nominations will be announced in the Talk of the Day on Wednesday, November 25. The award ceremony will take place on Friday, November 27, in Pathé Tuschinski 1.

Other programs include Reflecting Images: Best of Fests, with 31 documentaries that made an impact at international film festivals over the course of the past year. Reflecting Images: Masters explores the work of documentary filmmakers. This year, new films by Michael Moore, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Yoav Shamir, Michael Winterbottom and Frederick Wiseman will be among those screened. Reflecting Images: Panorama comprises 58 urgent, socially engaged documentaries.

Paradocs will feature daring experimental films at the interface of documentary and art. The 23 innovative films and videos in this program tell their stories in unconventional ways. The theme of Paradocs Talks will be The Making Of. Various filmmakers will provide insights into their working methodology in their own unique way. Participants include William Raban (4’22’’) and Jeanette Groenendaal (work-in-progress performance)

The Israeli filmmaker Eyal Sivan compiled this year’s Top 10. The most important themes in his selection for the Top 10 are the functioning of collective memory, ethics and the representation of history. These subjects are also central to Sivan’s own work. In addition to his Top 10 films, IDFA will also be screening his latest, Jaffa, The Orange Clockwork.

In honour of his 80th birthday, IDFA pays considerable attention to the work of Frederick Wiseman. Wiseman has directed and produced dozens of documentaries that explore social relationships in various American institutions. In addition to a retrospective of his work that he compiled himself, IDFA will also screen his latest film La danse – The Paris Opera Ballet.

All the films that won the Audience Award during the past ten years will be screened again this year in the Keuze van de Kijker (Viewers Choice). The public will also have the opportunity to evaluate recent films from this year’s program.

A jury comprising five youngsters will select the best film from the DOC U! program, which were shortlisted from the IDFA program by youngsters. The DOC U! jury consists of youngsters aged from 15 to 18 years old, who will confer the IDFA DOC U! Award.

Frederick Wiseman and actress Catherine Samie will participate in a special theatrical event based on Happy Days, a play by Samuel Beckett. This event will combine live performance, lectures, film fragments and a discussion about Wiseman’s version of the play, which he produced for the Comédie Française in the Théatre du Vieux-Colombier in Paris.

This year, IDFA is paying particular attention to the theme Niet Normaal (Abnormal) in a special program in collaboration with the art event to begin on December 16, 2009 in the Beurs van Berlage. In it, international artists respond to a topical social issue: what is normal and who decides? The IDFA program includes 11 recent documentaries about people who, for various reasons, do not lead a normal life. The program also explores the ethical boundaries of the desire to be normal.

De Open Stad is also a theme of the festival program. Each of the documentaries in this program is located in a large city, such as Peking, Mumbai and Bogota, which are dealing with the various problems and challenges arising from global urbanisation.

Each year, IDFA’s Doc Lab presents a program that explores the relationship between new media and documentaries. The festival will include a selection of films and web-documentaries, installations, live presentations and meetings, taking place at participating cinemas and elsewhere. This year’s theme is Live Stories. These are documentaries whose narrative is not entirely pre-determined and the maker continues to exert influence over the outcome of the story during its presentation.

Doc Lab’s special guest this year is Ira Glass, the radio producer. The radio version of his documentary program This American Life (there is also a television version) draws more 1.8 million listeners each week and has won almost every non-fiction prize in existence since it started in 1995. The bizarre, moving and superb documentary stories that Glass presents during his weekly radio show have already inspired a dozen feature films (the most recent being The Informant, with Matt Damon). During his afternoon lecture, Glass will explain how he brings a story to life on the radio and how, using the correct techniques, a minor anecdote can be transformed into a grand and engaging documentary story. For a complete overview of all Doc Lab’s activities, locations and projects, see:

The productions screened in the Workshop Results program came about thanks to the IDFA Documentary Workshop. This year the program comprises four documentaries.

IDFA TV is IDFA’s online documentary channel. Visitors to the IDFA website ( can view around 40 complete documentaries from the festival archive, free of charge. They include Hair India and Necrobusiness (the films that feature in this year’s IDFA commercials). There is also a selection of the best films made in the past with grants from the Jan Vrijman Fund, IDFA’s fund for filmmakers in developing countries. Furthermore, visitors to IDFA TV can view video reportages, trailers, IDFA commercials and complete recordings of IDFA events, all year round. The number of complete films available online will increase significantly in coming years.

Other programs include:

Educational programs for students, in which special early-morning screenings will be held for schools.

IDFA’s Documentary Workshop, an annual event organized in cooperation with the Dutch Cultural Media Fund. The goal is to create a film treatment for a 50-minute documentary which will be produce/co-produced and broadcast by one of the Netherlands’ public broadcasting services.

IDFAcademy, a carefully compiled training program for film students and promising young filmmakers from all over the world.

Each year, IDFA organises the FORUM, an international co-financing market where independent producers pitch documentary projects to international broadcasting corporations such as the BBC, ARTE, ZDF, Al Jazeera and ITUS, as well as all public broadcasting services in the Netherlands. This year, 42 projects have been selected from 27 different countries. The FORUM will be held from November 23 to 25 in the Compagnie Theatre, Amsterdam.

IDFA has grown from an institution organising an annual film festival into a platform involved in screening, making and discussing creative documentaries. Together, IDFA, Docs for Sale, the FORUM and the Jan Vrijman Fund form a centre for documentary film that is unparalleled anywhere in the world. These four organisations attract more than 2000 representatives from the international field to Amsterdam.

For more information, visit


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