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Film Festivals

First Time Fest Makes Auspicious Debut

You never forget your first. The First Time Fest, which launched March 1 to 4, 2013 in New York City, no doubt took this maxim to heart in slating debut features that are also memorable finds.FirstTimeFest

A dozen films from first-time directors contended for a grand prize that entails theatrical distribution by Cinema Libre Studio. Diego Rougier's Southern Cone Western Sal beat out the competition, while road movie Headfirst earned kudos both for the directorial efforts of Amélie Van Elmbt and for the performance of star Alice de Lencquesaing. Summertime also caught the jury's attention, honoring director/writer Max Weissberg for his screenplay set in Manhattan's Lower East Side.

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Dubai Film Fest: The Celluloid Oasis

burj al arabDubai has to be one of the strangest places in the world.  The world’s tallest building, probably some of the world’s largest shopping malls – including one with an indoor (of course…) ski slope – and every possible business concern can be found here.

Seeing a Starbucks on every corner is no surprise, and neither are the amount of high, high end stores in the malls – YSL, Chopard, Jimmy Choo – but I was amazed to see a Tim Horton’s (well, they do make good donuts), a GNC vitamin shop, and a Tony Roma’s family restaurant on the way in from the airport. So, high end and low end cohabit in this corner of the Arabian Gulf.

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In Flight -- NYFF’s Closing Night Film -- Denzel's An Addicted Pilot Who Saves A Full Plane & Himself

bruce-greenwood-and-denzel-washingtonNobody swaggers like actor Denzel Washington -- especially as he does in Flight, Robert Zemeckis’ latest film.

Washington does his famous swaggering as Whip Whitaker, a veteran airline pilot who’s just had an all-nighter of booze, sex and drugs in an Orlando hotel room. But he pulls it together, kind of, and in shades and uniform he’s off to captain a passenger jet. Though cocky and arrogant, we know that his attitude’s all façade, fueled by cocaine and alcohol. 

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Deceptive Practice: Ricky Jay Enthralls the 50th NY Film Festival

Ricky Jay is an American magician. Make that the American magician. Not only does he make coins appear, he also writes bestselling books, collects arcana, elucidates history and stars on Broadway and in David Mamet films.RickyJay2

Anyone who has seen his one-man shows Ricky Jay and his 52 Assistants and Ricky Jay: On the Stem knows that Ricky is possessed of esoteric knowledge handed down from Hermes. It’s equally clear that he’s divinely entertaining. Both his genius and his game receive riveting closeups in Molly Bernstein and Alan Edelstein’s documentary Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay, which magically appears in the 50th New York Film Festival’s On the Arts sidebar.

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