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If films focused on women and their experiences are rare, women in roles behind the camera are rarer still. Shorter still is the list of film festivals with a mission to represent female perspectives. The 12th annual High Falls Film Festival — held in Rochester, New York, from October 23 - 26, 2014 — carries on its tradition of honoring independent films by female storytellers who work on both sides of the camera.
The opening film I Know a Woman Like That was produced by mother-daughter team Elaine and Virginia Madsen. Virginia, best known for Sideways (2004), produced the film that her mother — poet, producer and playwright Elaine — directed. The director will be on hand to discuss the movie. With Q&As following most films, festival goers get an ample opportunity to interact with filmmakers.
The festival will debut three world and two U.S. premieres among its 19 screenings of over 35 international and U.S. films, documentaries and shorts. Paula Hernandez's U.S. romantic drama Un Amor Argentina — about adolescent infatuation that unfolds over time into an enduring love triangle — premieres on October 23. Alexis Krasilovsky's U.S. documentary Let Them Eat Cake premieres October 24 and looks at pastries through a scope both sensual and socioeconomic.
Also debuting October 24 is Courtney Cobb's world-premiere documentary Crafting a Nation about the breweries behind the craft beer craze. A second world-premiere documentary is Caroline Krugmann's We Weren't Given Anything for Free, about 22-year-old Annita Malavasi becoming one of the Italian resistance's few female commanders in German-occupied Italy. Lastly, Ann LeSchander's romantic comedy The Park Bench uses both live action and animation to tell the story of a graduate student and her American Literature tutor falling in love over their park bench talks.
There will be three separate short programs: Short Cuts, the Women of SoFA Short Program put on by RIT's School of Film and Animation, and a free program of 14 Children's Shorts from five countries. One of these films has special Rochester interest, as it was made in the local Public School 8 after-school program.
Another feature of particular interest for Rochester-area film enthusiasts is the educational panel Lights, Camera Action: Tips for local Filmmakers. More than just adding local interest, these regional features foreground HFFF's affiliation with Rochester as the birthplace of motion picture film: George Eastman founded the Eastman Kodak Company in 1888 and invented motion picture film there, according to the HFFF website.
To learn more, go to: http://highfallsfilmfestival.com/
High Falls Film FestivalOctober 23 - 26, 2014
Dryden Theatre900 East AveRochester, NY 14604Little 5240 East Ave
Rochester, NY 14604
The Film Society of Lincoln Center is screening Noël Burch and Thom Andersen’s not uninteresting essay-film, Red Hollywood, which explores the contribution of screenwriters who were Communists or fellow travelers, in its documentary series, The Art of the Real, which runs from April 11th to April 26th, 2014.
212 875 5601212 875 5601
The Rated SR Socially Relevant Film Festival New York focuses on socially relevant human stories to raise awareness of social problems by offering positive solutions through the medium of cinema.
A new non-profit film festival, it runs from March 14 to the 20th, 2014, at New York’s Quad Cinema; its main slate offers an international selection of narrative and documentary features representing a dozen nations.
Founded by award-winning actor, filmmaker and curator Nora Armani, the festival showcases films with human interest stories and socially impactful themes as a response to the proliferation of violent storytelling.
The festival founders and supporters believe that by expanding knowledge about diverse cultures and the human condition as a whole, it’s possible to create a better world free of violence, hate and crime.
The festival shines the spotlight on filmmakers who tell compelling, socially relevant narratives across a broad range of social issues without resorting to gratuitous violence and violent forms of movie making.
Over 30 narrative and documentary films will screen including 12 features that compete for the Grand Prize — a week-long theatrical engagement at the Quad Cinema, courtesy of the QuadFlix Select Program. The 10 documentaries will compete for the documentary prize which offers the winner will a VOD DVD distribution deal courtesy of Cinema Libre Studio, a leader in the distribution of social issue documentaries and independent feature films.
The following lists the main slate of films in competition.
Coney Island: Dreams for SaleAlessandra GiordanoUSA, 81min., 2013documentary
Dovid MeyerPaul MonesUSA/Israel, 101 min., 2013narrative
FloreJean-Albert LievreFrance, 2014, 85min.documentary
Forward 13: Waking Up the American DreamPatrick LovellUSA, 120 min., 2013documentary
Full CircleZhang YangChina, 2012,104min.narrative
If Only EveryoneNataliya BelyauskeneArmenia, 2012, 94min.narrative
Indian SummerSimon BrookFrance, 84 min., 2013documentary
My Love Awaits Me by the Sea (Habibi Biyestannani and el Bahr)Mais DarwazahPalestine, Qatar, Germany, Jordan80min., 2013documentary
Offside Trap (Abseitsfalle)Stefan HeringGermany, 98min., 2012narrative
Orphans of the GenocideBared MaronianUSA, 91min., 2013documentary
Small Small ThingJessica ValeUSA, 85min., 2013documentary
Coal RushLorena Luciano & Filipo PiscopoUSA, 85min., 2013documentary
ControlChris Bravo, Lindsey SchneiderUSA, 50min., 2013 (NYFA artist)documentary
Destiny’s BridgeJack BalloUSA, 80min., 2013 (NYFA artist)documentary
Fred Ho's Last YearSteven de CastroUSA, 58min., 2013documentary
From the Black You Make ColorRichie Sherman and Judy MaltzUSA, Israel, 75min., 2012documentary
Hamshen Community at the Crossroads of Past and PresentLucine SahakyanArmenia, Turkey, 60min., 2012documentary
Not Who We AreCarol MansourLebanon, 72min., 2013documentary
Stable LifeSara MacPhersonUSA, 52min., 2013documentary
The ThrowawaysBhawin SuchakUSA, 62min., 2013documentary
Journalist/author/radio commentator Amy Goodman, host of will deliver the keynote address on "The Impact of Socially Relevant Films" and will present an award for a film in the Rated SR Social Justice Category. Democracy Now! currently aired by more than 1,000 radio, television, satellite and cable TV networks in North America, and watched in dozens of countries via the Internet.
Partner supporters include:
· Academic partner, the School of the Visual Arts Social Documentary department, home of the new MFA in Social Documentary filmmaking.
· Dailymotion (http://www.dailymotion.com/RatedSR#video=x19e8px), the official video media partner. A selection of close to 100 film trailers from the festival submissions are viewable on an official festival page, garnering close to 100,000 visits to date.
· Village Voice (Media partner)
Other promotional partners of the festival include:
NYFA, Indieflix, Unifrance Films International, Cineuropa, Alouette Communications, FIAF, Samuel Infirmier, Final Draft and Center for Remembering and Sharing.
New-York based metalsmith designer Michael Aram has donated a special trophy to be awarded to the recognized Rated SR honoree.
The festival also presents the Vanya Exerjian award to a film that raises awareness to violence against women and girls, in commemoration of Armani’s late cousin and uncle, victims of a violent hate crime.
The closing night includes the Awards Ceremony reception which takes place at the Tenri Center (across from the Quad Cinema) where one can applaud the winners, see the filmmakers win their awards, and view the closing night films all on one night.
A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales each year of the festival will be donated to a charity selected from the fields of: poverty, homelessness, cancer and aging. Rated SR aims to promote positive social change through the powerful medium of cinema.
For tickets there is a variety of packages and discounted ticket options are now on sale at: www.ratedsrfilms.org
Individual tickets are available at Quad Cinema: www.quadcinema.com
Rated SR Socially Relevant Film Festival New YorkMarch 14-20, 2014
The Quad Cinema34 West 13th StreetNew York, NY212-255-8800212-255-8800
This year's installment of the Rendezvous with French Cinema series, The 19th edition -- presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Unifrance Films -- annually showcases a slice of contemporary French film of the previous year.
Running from March 6th through the 16th, 2014, this festival features several interesting new works at three venues: The Film Society, the IFC Center and BAMcinématek.
In François Ozon's Young & Beautiful, a gorgeous 17-year-old — Marine Vacth, in a striking, quasi-Bressonian performance — decides to become a call-girl. The director's films are consistently stylistically accomplished and this is no exception — his handling of camera-movement, camera-placement, composition for the frame, and editing are remarkable.
Ozon, working from his own screenplay, achieves some unexpected pathos and his refusal to explain his protagonist is admirable, although I would have appreciated greater artistic ambition here, as I would regarding the director's other films.
The digital image in Young & Beautiful is mostly handsome although some sensuality is attenuated in scenes with bright light. The sphinx-like Charlotte Rampling has a memorable cameo and the great French actress, Nathalie Richard, is featured in a small role. A final bonus is the expressive use of several Françoise Hardy songs on the film’s soundtrack, each one marking a passage of time.
In Jacques Doillon’s Love Battles, from the director’s own screenplay, a young woman engages in a series of erotic and romantic confrontations with a man whom she has fixated upon. Doillon is faithful to his austere conception and risks tedium in the pursuit of artistic honesty and refusal to charm but this certainly has many of the impressive qualities that distinguish the director’s original body of work.
The intertwining of aggression and hostility with vulnerability and tenderness is remarkable here and the female lead, Sara Forestier, gives an especially compelling performance. The film is shot in a relatively loose style, with a lot of handheld shots, generating an unusual intimacy. The use of a digital format, however, proves to be a serious liability as the copious bright sunshine in the film washes out the image due to the narrow range of contrast.
Agnès Jaoui's entertaining Under the Rainbow is about, among other things, a romance between a music student and the daughter of an industrialist, interspersed with fairy-tale elements. Working with her regular writing partner, Jean-Pierre Bacri — who brilliantly co-stars with Jaoui here — the filmmaker has constructed an clever screenplay with excellent dialogue. The mise-en-scène, however, is undisciplined, lacking the elegance of an earlier feature like Look at Me. This weakness is further compounded by the inadequacies of the digital format.
Serge Bozon's eccentric Tip Top follows the investigation by two Internal Affairs operatives into the murder of an immigrant Algerian informant. The unusual tone here is engaging and it’s pleasurably disorienting effect is enhanced by delightful, comic performances by Isabelle Huppert and Sandrine Kiberlain, in the lead roles. The director's style is formally controlled and characterized by abundant visual wit although the formal splendors are hampered by the deficiencies of the digital format. (The intriguing Bozon was the subject of a Film Society retrospective a few years ago.)
Bertrand Tavernier's Quai d'Orsay observes the circus-like atmosphere in which a newly hired young speechwriter attempts to please his employer, a Minister of foreign affairs. Thierry Lhermitte gives a bravura performance as the manic politician but Niels Arestrup as the chief deputy is even more impressive.
Quai d'Orsay is not without interest but does not rise to the level of the director's best films, such as Coup de Torchon or Captain Conan. The absorbing classicism that opens the film settles into a somewhat routine conventionality for most its length. Here, again, the reliance on a digital format lamentably diminishes the visual texture.
For more information go to: www.filmlinc.com/films/series/rendez-vous-with-french-cinema-2014
Film Society of Lincoln Center70 Lincoln Center PlazaNew York, NY 10023
IFC Center323 Avenue of the AmericasNew York, NY 10014
BAMcinématek30 Lafayette AvenueBrooklyn, NY 11217
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