Despite the complete lack of interest from much of the population — and assuredly the tax incentive and rebate-averse Idaho State Legislature, the same one chronicled by Frederick Wisemen a decade ago in one of his lengthy, late-career epics — film culture is thriving in the Gem State. There’s no more evidence of this than the fifth annual Sun Valley Film Festival, directed by Ted Grennan in a relaxed, welcoming style and inventively programmed by Laura Mehlhaff. And while the absence of incentives might hamper both Hollywood and indie productions from coming here — during the Q&A for a local shorts block, much talk rang out about a Tom Cruise production that had passed up the land of potatoes for pastures with greener state subsidies — there was still plenty of interesting local work by filmmakers such as Christian Lynbrook (Carbon), Cody Gittings and Stephen Heleker (Smoke), and Jaffe Zinn, who premiered his latest feature, Children, starring Kate … [Read more...] about Primary Colors: On the Sun Valley and Miami Film Festivals in the Hour of Republican Reckoning!
Native film festival
After ten years of being the scrappy little guy to the Seattle International Film Festival’s big kahuna, the Seattle True Independent Film Festival has run its course — which is exactly why I decided to visit the tech-addicted city (as a guest of the fest) to check out the outgoing underdog. Rather than pluck along as second fiddle for another 10 years, STIFF has done what I wish more regional festivals would do: rebrand for the future. As of this year STIFF now stands for the Seattle Transmedia Independent Film Festival, putting the focus squarely on “web series, video game concepts, storytelling apps for mobile phone and tablet, and social media narratives.”Filmmaker spoke with festival director Tim Vernor throughout the festival, then continued the conversation with the savvy Seattle native post-fest.Filmmaker: So what was the impetus for the rebranding, so to speak? Why become a transmedia event after a ten-year run?Vernor: In the last ten years the number … [Read more...] about In Trans(media)ition: the Seattle Transmedia Independent Film Festival
“Are you the new festival director?” asks a woman after briefly interrupting our interview. She approached us to ask for directions to a screening room in de Doelen, the central hub of Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR). In his native Dutch, Bero Beyer provides what seems to be an elaborate route, but the woman is satisfied. “It’s a great one,” he tells her in English after learning the title she’s off to watch. All at once, the woman realizes who she’s talking to but asks for confirmation anyway. “It’s so nice to meet you, sir,” she blushes, rushing off to catch the film.Tall and thin, in a dark blue suit, Bero Beyer is a recognizable figure gliding around venues, in and out of screenings, parties, and events at Rotterdam International Film Festival. Known mostly for his producing work, Beyer helms the 45th IFFR, having been appointed artistic director just over six months ago. In his new role at the festival, Beyer … [Read more...] about Rotterdam International Film Festival Director Bero Beyer on His New Position
Festival insiders were stunned to learn that co-director Noah Cowan -- long considered the anointed successor to festival CEO Piers Handling -- was being replaced by veteran film programmer and broadcaster Cameron Bailey. Even more surprising was the fact that Cowan, in what can only be seen as a lateral move, was being reassigned to the artistic director post at Bell Lightbox, the festival's year-round home that isn't set to open until 2010 at the earliest.Cowan's move followed the return to Britain last fall of Jim Hamilton, the former British Film Institute head of exhibition picked by Handling in 2006 to run the festival's future headquarters.By the time the dust settled, the industry was left to wonder who -- if anyone -- would succeed Handling on the Toronto throne."All this was related to how much control Piers was willing to give to Noah," a festival insider says.Despite being hired in 2004 as co-director, Cowan never fully seized the festival reins from Handling, who emerged … [Read more...] about Toronto Int’l Film Festival
DUBAI -- Nashen Moodley can't be blamed for being thrilled to bring the world premiere of "My Secret Sky," a Zulu-language film from his native South Africa, to Dubai.Finished just weeks before the festival, the English-subtitled film about the resilience of a young brother and sister in the big city for the first time is the feature debut of theater and TV director Madoda Ncayiyana. "We are so lucky to have this wonderful film about these wonderful children," said Moodley, organizer of DIFF's first Muhr Awards for Excellence in Asia Africa Cinema -- a section programmed by former Singapore International Film Festival chief Philip Cheah."Sky" was produced by South African Jeremy Nathan, who also produced director Darrell James Roodt's timely competition film "Zimbabwe," about the ravages of AIDS in one of Africa's poorest countries."Dubai pushed us to bring it to the festival and we're proud to launch it to the world here and see what happens," Nathan said. "It's a tough world at the … [Read more...] about Dubai film festival fetes Asian, African films