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Italian Neorealism

The Film Society of Lincoln Center presents Life Lessons: Italian Neorealism and the Birth of Modern Cinema -- the biggest collection of Italian Neorealist films ever screened in the United States. Running from October 30 through November 25, 2009, the series spans the range from early films by Italy’s household-name directors--Antonioni, De Sica, Fellini, Pasolini, Rossellini and Visconti--to those less popularly well-known, including Alberto Lattuada, Carlo Lizzani, Ermanno Olmi and Luigi Zampa.

To be viewed at the Walter Reade Theater, the series kicks off with Roberto Rossellini’s Open City, the film that has come to be regarded as the movie that launched the movement. Also to be seen in the series are Rossellini’s Paisán and his rarely seen Voyage to Italy.

Two virtual mini-retros are included for Vittorio De Sica and Giuseppe De Santis. De Sica’s films are Bicycle Thieves, Miracle in Milan, Umberto D, and Shoeshine, the first foreign language film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

De Santis’ screenings are Bitter Rice, Rome 11:00, The Tragic Pursuit, and Days of Glory, the 1945 documentary film with sequences by Mario Serandrei, Marcello Pagliero and Luchino Visconti.

Also included is Visconti’s Ossessione, his unauthorized adaptation of James M. Cain’s novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, which was not seen in the U.S. until the 1976 New York Film Festival.

Two earlier works by directors who are as famous for inspiring several generations of filmmakers worldwide as they are for their own landmark films are I vitelloni, by Federico Fellini, and Il grido, by Michelangelo Antonioni.

This is a series that is not to be missed by any serious film aficionado.

For more information, visit

NYC Downtown Short Film Festival

The Sixth Annual NYC Downtown Short Film Festival is presenting its Audience Choice Screenings Dec. 2nd-4th, 2009, in which ordinary filmgoers help determine the films that will make it into the April festival.

Being held at the DUO Theatre in Manhattan's East Village, The Audience Choice Screenings came about after the festival had more than 1,000 films submitted last year.

In today's attention-deficient world of YouTube, instant messages, and blog posts, the short film has never been more relevant. The same can be said for the NYCDSFF, which attracts more submissions and a larger audience every year.The $10 screenings, start each evening at 8 p.m. and last approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. The audience will watch four to five short films. Afterward, a ballot is given to rate each film, and those rated the highest will earn a spot at the NYCDSFF.

The films to be featured include some of the best that have been produced internationally as well as the work of established American actors and directors. Those being showcased include Jesse L. Martin, Eric Roberts, Shelly Long, Linda Hunt, Jose Rivera, Ana Ortiz, Mark Margolis, Neil Flynn, G. Gordon Liddy, Blanche Baker, Eddie Murphy, Dan Butler, Robert Guthrie, Emily Deschanel, Melissa Joan Hart, Gary Marshall, Tony Tanner and Nick Tate, among others.

Seating is general admission, and tickets can be purchased at or by calling 212-868-4444.

If available, tickets will be sold for $15 at the box office.

DUO Theatre
62 East 4th Street New York City
Dec. 2 to Dec. 4, 2009

For more information, including the screening schedule, check out:

Think Kink: San Fran Hosts CineKink Film Fest Tour

Following its February premiere in New York City, the CineKink NYC Festival heads to the city The Auteur (2008) CineKink NYC 2009by the sea, San Francisco, for  a weekend of what it calls "sex-positive and kink-friendly depictions in film and television", at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street (at Third).

With "offerings drawn from both Hollywood and beyond, with works ranging from documentary to drama, camp comedy to hot porn, mildly spicy to quite explicit," the fest (running from Nov. 19-21) to opens with A. Benjamin's 46-minute documentary Kinky (Nov. 19th, 7 p.m.), about African-American race and sexuality issues in the world of bondage, fetish and BDSM. Screening with it is the documentary short BDSM: It's. Not What You Think.

At 9 p.m., the festival screens the shorts program Whips & Restraint, featuring the pieces Gravuren Desade, Butler in the Closet, 20 Licks, Valley of the Dommes, Serving Madame Gina and Kink, Inc.

Night two opens at 7 p.m. with the shorts program Lipsticks & Crinoline, featuring Miss Jezebel's Feathers, Dorian: A Picture, Pritch and Panch Do... The Cinderfella Experience at Miss Vera's Finishing School and The Tour De Pants. At 9 p.m. is a companion shorts program, "Wanton Female Desire," with the films Teat Beat of Sex: 8-11, My Favorite Time of the Day, Barcelona Sex Project: Irina, Case 1112: Forty Is the New 14, Strap On Motel and Matinee.

On Saturday night at 7 p.m. is James Westby's 2008 comedy feature The Auteur (above), winner of the Audience Choice Award for Best Narrative Feature. A mockumentary set in the world of adult film, it follows a renowned porn director who has arrived in Portland, Ore., to receive a Lifetime Achievement award at a film festival. Screening with it is the darkly comic short Je Dis Non, Ali.

Closing out the festival at 8 p.m. is Best of CineKink/2009 Shorts Sampler. The program includes At the Porno Shop, Teat Beat of Sex: 8-11, Un Piede di Roman Polanski, Erotic, Belle de Nature, Rubberheart and Kink, Inc.

CineKink 2010's final Call for Entries is December 4th and the next CineKink NYC, the annual festival, takes place
from February 16-21, 2010 in New York City.

More info/tickets:

CineKink Festival
from Nov. 19-21
The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street (at Third)
San Francisco, CA

Starz Denver Film Festival 2009 Now in 32nd Year

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.

Included are: 

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


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