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Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You to Be at MoMA

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 New
directed by Frazer Bradshaw
About 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 Chazelle
Shot 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 Mosher
The 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 Me
directed by Ry Russo-Young
Presented at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the film’s screenwriter, Stella Schnabel, portrays a self-destructive 23-year-old woman.

Zero Bridge
directed by Tariq Tapa
The 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:

33rd Annual Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival

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, 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

Another Season of New French Films

Every November, The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) presents a series, modestly titled New French Films, that gives New York film lovers their first chance to see a quintet of the latest features from France. It takes place this year from November 11th to the 15th, 2009.

This year’s selections are highlighted by the new film by Francois Ozon, best known for the creepy Swimming Pool and whose Angel had its local premiere at BAM in this series two years ago. But the best film among the five chosen is Alain Cavalier’s Irene. Although his 1986 film Therese, a quietly poetic biography about St. Thérèse of Lisieux, is among the true masterpieces of the past quarter-century, Cavalier’s name registers nary a blip on anybody’s radar nowadays (with the partial exception of a recent re-release of his debut, Le Combat dans l’île), so seeing Irene—an achingly emotional tribute to his late wife, actress Irene Tunc, who died in a car accident in 1972—is a rare privilege.

None of the other films is up to Cavalier’s level, but Grown Ups, Anne Novion’s modest character study, shows a level of maturity for a first-time feature director. When a middle-aged divorcee takes his 17-year-old daughter on her first trip to Sweden, their rental house is occupied by two women, a tense arrangement which Novion smartly uses to transform all of her characters, creating an original coming-of-age film across three generations even as it concentrates on the teen, wonderfully played by Anaïs Demoustier.

For those who like spotting French actors and actresses, Park Benches, by actor-director Bruno Podalydes, is a “Where’s Waldo”-type diversion. In his sprawling canvas (86 speaking roles!) of various relationships in the thriving city of Versailles, Podalydes is just one of dozens of stars who barely make an impression: in 110 minutes of soap opera-ish antics, we move among so many people and places that no one and no plot line register. As minor compensation, there are the likes of Catherine Deneuve, Mathieu Amalric, Pierre Arditti and Denis Podalydes (Bruno’s brother).

The series’ biggest disappointment is Please Please Me! by actor-writer-director Emmanuel Mouret, who doesn’t deserve the “French Woody Allen” appellation he has gotten. Mouret deadpannedly plays goofballs who somehow attract all sorts of attractive women (here it’s Judith Godrèche, Déborah François, Frédérique Bel), but with no screen presence, he further drains his already arid and unoriginal concepts of any comedic life. At least his last mess, Shall We Kiss?, was brightened by the presence of Virginie Ledoyen. And, apropos the English title, there’s not even a Beatles song to pep things up.

New French Films
BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Avenue

November 11-15, 2009

contact for a full schedule:



12th Annual Savannah Film Festival

The 12th Annual Savannah Film Festival runs October 31 through November 7, 2009, hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. Some films will also be screened at the Trustees Theater, a 1946 cinema house, and the Lucas Theatre, a former vaudeville theater. In addition to the special screenings, the Gutstein Gallery will be host to informative panels on various aspects of filmmaking, including a session with Adobe's Final Cut Pro.

The Festival has also reinstated the surprise Director’s Choice screening on Thursday, November 5, featuring a major studio release that will be kept secret until the opening credits roll.

On opening night, the university’s president, Paula Wallace, presents the Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Award to Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster for recognition of their work in the acclaimed drama, The Messenger. The film’s director and co-writer, Oren Moverman, will also be present.

In The Messenger, Foster stars as Will Montgomery, a U.S. Army officer who has just returned home from a tour in Iraq and is assigned to the Army’s Casualty Notification service. Partnered with fellow officer Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson) to bear the bad news to the loved ones of fallen soldiers, Will faces the challenge of completing his mission while seeking to find comfort and healing back on the home front.

Other honorees for the Festival's annual awards are:

Hugh Dancy and Jeremy Renner will receive Spotlight AwardsDancy for his performance in this year’s release Adam, and Renner for his performance in The Hurt Locker, which will also screen at the festival.

Patricia Clarkson will receive an Achievement in Cinema Award at a screening of her new film, Woody Allen’s Whatever Works. Emmy Rossum will be honored with the Young Hollywood Award prior to a showing of her film, Dare.

Feature films showing are: Jean-Marc Vallée’s The Young Victoria, Grant Heslov’s The Men Who Stare at Goats, Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces, Lone Sherfig’s An Education, James Ivory’s The City of Your Final Destination, the United States premiere of Nick Moran’s Telstar with Moran in attendance, Jodie Markell’s The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (from a screenplay by Tennessee Williams), Bette Gordon’s Handsome Harry, and Cannes Palme d’Or winner Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon

Films in competition include:

Short films: Horn Dog, written and directed by Bill Plympton, the fourth film in the famed Oscar®-nominated Dog series; and I Am So Proud of You, by director/writer Don Hertzfeldt, the second chapter to Everything Will Be OK.

Narrative features: Dear Lemon Lima, by director/writer Suzi Yoonessi, with Savanah Wiltfong, Shayne Topp, Zane Huett and Melissa Leo in the cast; Love Hurts, by director/writer Barra Grant, starring Richard E. Grant and Carrie-Anne Moss.

Documentary features include:

No. 4 Street of Our Lady, directed by Barbara Bird and Judy Maltz, the remarkable yet little-known story of Francisca Halamajowa, a Polish-Catholic woman who hid 16 of her Jewish neighbors during the Holocaust while cleverly passing herself off as a Nazi sympathizer;and An Unlikely Weapon, directed by Susan Morgan Cooper, about photographer Eddie Adams.

On closing night, the Festival is screening the highly acclaimed Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and the Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival. Director Lee Daniels and star Gabourey Sidibe will be in attendance.

Adam and Miguel Arteta’s Youth in Revolt, starring Michael Cera, is included as a special screening.

Jurors for the 2009 Savannah Film Festival's are renowned for their work in the film and entertainment industries. This year’s jurors are:

Patti D’Arbanville, winner of the Best Actress Dramalogue Award, has enjoyed an outstanding career in film, television and on stage, with noteworthy roles in The Main Event, The Sopranos, Guiding Light and Third Watch.

Award-winning actress Rita Gam starred in more than 30 feature films before launching a second career as an author and documentary film producer. She has won numerous accolades for her documentaries and books, including the Literary Medal of Excellency from the United Nations Society of Writers for her contribution to better understanding between nations.

Ingrid Rockefeller has written, performed and produced original material off-Broadway and wrote and directed the award-winning short film Melting Ice. She recently started her own company, Light is Sweet Films, and is producing and co-directing a documentary on the life of photojournalist Lisl Steiner.

Michael Sucsy is the writer, director and producer of the Emmy Award-winning Grey Gardens, a made-for-TV movie starring Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore. The movie also won the 2009 Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Mini-Series, and Specials.

David Twohy, both a writer and director, was named by Entertainment Weekly as one of the most creative people in Hollywood for his work in films such as The Fugitive, Waterworld and The Chronicles of Riddick.

The Savannah Film Festival brings world-renowned filmmakers, producers, actors and journalists, as well as other film enthusiasts, to SCAD and Savannah for eight days of feature films, lectures, workshops, panels and competition films from a range of genres. The festival was started by SCAD President Paula Wallace to provide students with opportunities to network with, meet and learn from entertainment industry leaders and to showcase the university’s talented students and unique resources.

The Savannah Film Festival also plays a significant role in preparing talented students for creative careers. From dramatic writing and performing arts to animation and sound design, almost every department at SCAD-and every student-benefits from the multifaceted festival experience.

For more information, visit

SCAD: The University for Creative Careers

The Savannah College of Art and Design is the most comprehensive art and design university in the world, offering more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design university. SCAD is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees in distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers students a choice of degree programs in 46 majors and more than 50 minors at locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, in Lacoste, France, online through SCAD eLearning, and soon in Hong Kong.

For more information, visit


Jennifer Bins
Media Relations Manager
Savannah College of Art and Design
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