Sheffield DocFest extends film submission deadline

From Sheffield DocFest:

This year has seen Sheffield Doc/Fest receive its highest number of film submissions to date. As a result Doc/Fest has extended the deadline for submitting a film to this year's festival to 6pm, Wednesday 1 July 2009.

This gives filmmakers an extra 15 [10 - sorry, Ed!] days to submit a film, which can be completed through Doc/Fest's website www.sheffdocfest.com/view/submitafilm. Applicants may contact Film Programmer Hussain Currimbhoy if they wish to discuss their film before submission (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

The one hundred or so chosen films will be screened to Doc/Fest's renowned audience of 1,500 delegates and members of the public. Over 80 Commissioning Editors have already confirmed attendance at Doc/Fest 2009.

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Ed's Off to a flying start - the 63rd Edinburgh International Film Festival underway

Sam Mendes was in Edinburgh last night with Sean Connfery and Alan Cumming for the opening night gala of his film Away We Go - which has great buzz here in New York where it's already openend. Amidst news that Lars von Trier will now attend the festival next week for the just added UK premiere of AntiChrist, , the festival looks set to continue its mission of discovery with a total of 23 world premieres. Also expected are Alfonso Cuarón, Andrea Arnold, Brenda Blethyn, Darren Aronofsky, Gael Garcia Bernal, Guy Pearce, Hugh Dancy, Jesse Eisenberg, Joe Dante, John Krasinski, Kathryn Bigelow, William H. Macy and Kate Winslet.

Good coverage at the BBC and some video from the opening here.

 

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Basement Jaxx enlist animator Max Hattler to provide new visuals for ‘Where’s Your Head At?’

‘Where’s Your Head At?’ is one of those songs that people remember for the video just as much as they do for the tune. It was innovative, fresh and, quite frankly,  frigging terrifying as rock band monkeys with human faces (ah, in all my years as a journalist, how long have I wanted to be able to type that phrase) go mental to the driving beats. As good as the video is, the genius computer animation and idea started to – slightly – overshadow the song. So, when animator Max Hattler was asked to provide concert visuals for the song, there was one simple request: “There was no brief, no pitch, they just wanted me to do whatever I want – as long as it didn’t involve monkeys!”

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Special Edition # 29

The Wrestler (Optimum Home Entertainment)Life is a strange thing. It keeps interfering when you want to do a DVD column. Yes, due to lots and lots of things, Special Edition has been away for a long time. But it’s never been forgotten and Laurence Boyce returns with Special Edition # 29 complete with lots and lots of discs, including an absolutely ton of British cinema, that you can get to keep you entertained whilst you absolutely ignore Big Brother. A bit like the rest of the UK nation…

After the huge misfire that was The Fountain it was a bit worrying when Darren Aronofsky announced that his latest film would set in the carny world of pro-wrestling. It was even more worrying when Mickey Rourke – long since derided as a Hollywood joke – would take the main role. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the both of them have made The Wrestler (Optimum Home Entertainment) one of the finest US films of the past few years. Whilst there has been a justified amount of praise for Rourke’s brilliant performance as Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a washed up pro-wrestler looking for one last big match,  it’s a shame that the film wasn’t more lauded for Aronofksy’s excellent direction and the excellent cinematography from Maryse Alberti. Even though it’s set in the present day the film throws us into a world of muted greys, trailer parks, old console systems and payphones: much like Randy, we’re apparently trapped by the 80s. Similarly, the camera is continually following Randy (indeed he’s in almost every single scene of the film) and through it's relentless pursuit we know that, ultimately, he can never escape his past. This technical bravura never feels tricksy and, alongside the brutal wrestling scenes, it creates an air of both energy and  bruised romanticism to the entire film. Mention must also be made of Marisa Tomei’s extraordinary and fragile portryal of a stripper whose life mirrors that of our babyface hero. Tragic and moving but also breathtakingly beautiful this is a unique and exciting example of American cinema at its best. The DVD comes with a comprehensive ‘making of’.

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Film Lab North to close

Like Minds (Dir. Gregory J Read). One of the films that passed through Film Lab NorthSad news as I’ve recently heard that Film Lab North, based in Leeds, is going to be shut down in the next few weeks. Given that it was one of the last bastions of Super16mm and 35mm in the area, giving filmmakers in the area the opportunity to shoot on film whilst getting invaluable advice from the friendly staff.

Recent credits included shows such as 'Vincent' and 'Casanova' and the (underrated) feature Like Minds. But the place has a 25-year history with former clients including the likes of Disney and NASA. Yes, the stories of secret agents delivering cans of 16mm – which only a few hours earlier had been orbiting the planet – and then sitting in a darkened lab as they were being processed may seem apocryphal. But when you see a signed picture of the Space Shuttle crew in their offices, and the willingness of the staff to tell the story to anyone who asks, you can tell how important Film Lab North has been to the cinematic history of the region – and indeed – the world.

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BFI runs Refugee Week programme, 16-22 June

thebetrayal01RefugeeYouth, Nueva Generacion and Refugee Action bring a collection of films about exile to BFI Southbank on 16 - 22 June.


The BFI Southbank marks National Refugee Week with a series of award-winning and moving films about exile and will host Refuge in Films, a weekend of films and events curated by young refugees.

Refugee Week celebrates the UK's history of providing sanctuary to people fleeing human rights abuses and their contribution to the UK. As part of their Simple Acts campaign, audiences are being urged to ‘watch a film about refugees’ - just one of the 20 small everyday actions that can be carried out by all in a bid to inspire people to change perceptions of refugees. Between Tuesday 16 and Sunday 21 June, a selection of thought-provoking and award-winning features, short films, interactive workshops and panel discussions with refugees and filmmakers will take place at BFI Southbank.

The programme will include the UK Premiere of Emmy award winning documentary, Made in LA (2007) (curated as part of the Refuge in Films festival) that follows a group of Latina immigrants working in LA garment sweatshops and their battle for basic labour rights. The week will also feature the UK premiere of The Fortress (2008), which won the Golden Leopard at the Locarno festival in 2008 and which investigates the hidden world of a Swiss reception centre for asylum seekers. Following the June 16 screening of The Fortress will be a panel discussion around the depiction of refugees in film that will feature well known film directors and people who have fled their country. During the day, Refugee Action will host a tea party with refugees and a display of award-winning photography in the delegate centre.

Over the course of the week, there will also be an opportunity to see Ellen Kuras’ (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) Oscar nominated documentary, The Betrayal (2008). Curated as part of the Refuge in Films festival, it is a film 20 years in the making that follows a Laotian family who have sought refuge in an unwelcoming Brooklyn, New York. There will also be screenings and a discussion with Mohamed Maklouf, film director and exile.

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For younger viewers The Future Film Institute will hand over its programming of films and events to the Refuge in Films festival throughout the weekend of 19-21 June. The festival is curated by young people from New Generation and Refugee Youth, who come from 19 different countries. They have put together an amazing programme to celebrate Refugee Week. A series of visual workshops and performances will also be taking place over the weekend as well as the launch of Becoming a Londoner, a book produced by young people about their experiences of the process of becoming part of their new city. In the Mediatheque, there will be a special collection jointly curated by The Future Film Institute and Refuge in Film who will also co-host the monthly Future Film discussion group during the weekend. (from BFI Press Release)

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Arts Beyond the Classroom brings parents and children together to explore art and blog about it

It's easy to talk about the digital revolution and the benefits of giving everyone a free and open platform for self-expression if the only people who use the best of the webs tools are contained to one social or economic group. I've previously trained people how to publish online and use CMSs, but I'd never had to teach people to write a blog who had not only never blogged before, but possibly never written publicly, or owned an email address.

"I think what i have learnt the most about this project is.......wait for it....is SELF BELIEF. If an artist or anyone, writes, sings, dances or sculpts etc and believes they have done a good job, well thats all that matters....i have doubted myself in the past, lacked believing in myself and what i can achieve....”
Our first visit to the Tate Modern by Alison and Keon

One of the more enjoyable projects of recent years Netribution has worked on, Arts Beyond the Classroom (artsbeyond.org) is a pilot project from A New Direction, the new name for Creative Partnerships London, in association with two primary schools in inner London with a reputaiton for arts and creativity - and creatively driven by Eelyn Lee Productions.

20 children and their parents in both schools were taken to experience London's cultural delights, including film at the BFI, art at Tate Modern, dance at Sadlers Welles and music at the Royal Festival Hall (and the oft forgotten museums, via St John Soames). The trips were accompanied with workshops for the parents and children, and both parties were encouraged to blog about their experience on a group blog Netribution set up for the project.

"The Hip Hop was extraordinary. I always thought I was too old for hip hop; I never 'got' breakdancing... I thought it was all for young people"
The Creative Party at Sadlers Wells by nickcan

What was originally intended to be a way for the project funders to track the success of the pilot scheme, became a major output in itself, with some (perhaps 10%?) of the bloggers really taking to it and both finding a platform to express themselves honestly, and often a unique style or format.

"Going to the dance was a fantastic experience. My grandmother who was very formal and austere used to take me to the ballet and i absolutely hated it"
The dance workshop and Sadlers Wells by ivan and chrissie

The process was filmed and edited by Eelyn Lee Producitons, one of London's more acclaimed film and video in education delivery organisations. Here's a few of their videos for the project below, including a roasting of the Royal Festival Hall's classical concert for kids, with more at Vimeo (which I set up before I bothered to read the license agreement in full - doh!).

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Young Film Academy, Bringing the UK Film Industry to Britain’s schools.

From Michael Gandy @ Young Film Academy

Young Film Academy (YFA) is not your usual filmmaking teaching provider. YFA founders James Walker and Ed Boase are teaching young filmmakers and making waves in the professional film world too, with their award-winning film production company, Magma Pictures - sister company to Young Film Academy.

The Young Film Academy (YFA) is the UK’s leading educational filmmaking provider for schools in both the secondary and state sectors. Young Film Academy is a unique teaching organisation - directly linked to the UK film industry. Recently YFA have been working with the film industry’s education body, Film Education, getting the winners of the Young Film Critic of the Year Award (held at a star studded ceremony at BAFTA) behind the camera in their schools.

Every year Young Film Academy helps over 5000 young people in more than 50 schools produce their first digital films. Their unique and hugely popular practical filmmaking programme, The One Day Film School (www.onedayfilmschool.co.uk), is opening student and teachers’ eyes alike to the possibilities of digital filmmaking within schools and the curriculum. Young Film Academys’ mission is simple: to get young people making films. The future of the British film industry depends on it.

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New free carbon calculator for film production from Film London

underwater-swimming-polar-bear_2968As Obama continues to walk on water with plans to cut car emmissions drastically, Film London - perhaps the UK's most pioneering screen agency - has released in Cannes its Green Screen plan, with a Carbon Calulator Excel file for calculating a film's carbon footprint. With Hollywood film productions producing more carbon than all LA air traffic, and London's screen industries producing 125,000 tonnes alone (the equivalent of 24,000 houses), the tool and its accompanying research (also available in Hindi, Arabic and Chinese) is long awaited.

In February, London announced a plan to make the city one of the greenest places to film on the planet, as part of a number of sector specific campaigns contributing to the Mayor's comprehensive London Climate Change Action Plan to cut the capital’s emissions by 60 per cent by 2025. Like every other part of London life, the film industry has a role to play in the fight against climate change, showing leadership and setting an example to others. Some of the leading companies and names in the film, TV and commercial production sector are supporting the campaign including: UK Film Council, BAFTA, Equity, Ealing Studios, 3 Mills Studios, Pinewood Studios, the Production Managers Association, Advertising Producers Association, Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television, and the Production Management Association.

The Calculater is available to download here.

As an example of how quickly things are beginning to change, and how London's actions could have an domino effect - this time last year I was struggling to find a UK printer who used FSC (Forrest Stewardship Council) paper and card for our latest funding book edition (FSC means that something like 5 trees are grown for every one felled). A good printer was found at a good price - he sent a mock-up book, but switched the papers from FSC at the last minute so we had to ditch him. All the major printers - including Anthony Rowe, the big indie printers - were unable to help with FSC papers and we eventually found a company who mainly printed business annual reports, that could. We made sure there was a big FSC-off notice about the paper stock at the front of the book, and even told people not to buy a copy unless they had to. Anyway, a few weeks ago I received an email from Anthony Rowe saying that all their paper stocks would now be FSC. I received a book through the post yesterday as a belated birthday present and saw an 'FSC + Harber Collins' logo on the back cover. Even the Scottish Labour leaflet through the door this morning had an ugly FSC notice on it. Yes we can.

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The enviornment is the protagonist in Europe's biggest environmental film festival, Ecovision

From the Ecovision Press Release:

55 films in competition, selectioned among the 1020 arrived, representing 70 countries of the world. 10 world premieres, 3 European premiers confirm the EcoVision’s growing trend, one of the most important European film festival about environment which will take place from 3 to 9 of June in Palermo at Palazzo Chiaramonte (Steri), in a few steps from the biggest European exotic tree, inside the “Univercittà” project. To the winner will be awarded the Fondazione Banco di Sicilia Prize.

The Festival is patronized by Italian Committee of the UNESCO, by Unicef and sponsorized by Regione Siciliana and by Ministero dell’Ambiente e della tutela del territorio e del mare.

“EcoVision – says Tonino Pinto, chairman of the jury – proposes itself as comparison and meeting chance for the author cinema, for the great majors’ cinema, for the courageosuly independent cinema that more and more develops, you can see the last results of 2009 Oscar”.

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Milk, Chocolat and Pi as the Co-Op moves into the film business

Finally some exciting news out of the Croisette - Britain's fifth largest retailer, the UK's biggest farmer and the world's biggest seller of fair trade, non-animal tested and ethically sourced products and services, the Co-Op, is moving into film distribution, starting with the hotly awaited docs Burma VJ and The Vanishing of the Bees.

We often lament in my flat the march to sell out, that has seen the loss of once exclusively Fair Trade Green and Blacks to Cadburys, Pret a Manger to McDonalds, BodyShop to L'Oreal and Innocent to Coke, but often forget a Manchester-founded stalwart whose principles have neither diminished nor been bought out. Continuing to expand in the UK, and my local 24-hour corner shop, the news of the Co-Op's involvement in the social documentary area of the film business, especially given its huge marketing and retail space across its 2,500 stores and its ethical bank, is the best film news I've heard all year. Forget the Auto Workers Union owning 45% of Chrysler - the Co-Op is entirely member and worker owned, and with 3 million members is the UK's largest membership organisation. Best of all, with a film like The Vanishing of the Bees, the co-op is in the rare position of being able to effect a part of the change called in the films, through its farming, investment and trading practices.

Burma VJ poster

(

and I don't think ScreenDaily have written this up yet ;-) Press release clippings follow:

This unique two-way partnership will see Dogwoof and The Co-operative jointly financing the marketing and distribution costs associated with campaigning films on important issues, starting with BURMA VJ and THE VANISHING OF THE BEES.

Both films, which will be premiered in the UK later this year, reflect two of The Co-operative’s hard hitting campaigns – to support the oppressed people of Burma and to help reverse the decline in the honeybee population.

Paul Monaghan, Head of Social Goals and Sustainability at The Co-operative, said:

“We recognise the power of film to motivate people to take action and drive change, and hope that these films will help mobilise our members and the general public.

“The Co-operative, the UK’s largest member-owned business, has three million members and a unique 165 year history of campaigning for change. With support from our customer-members, we have been campaigning for democracy in Burma for years and are leading the fight to save the honeybee. “

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Scott brothers launch Purefold - Blade Runner inspired video universe for brands under CC license

New digital agency AG8 has partnered with Scott Free - digital agency for Tony and Ridley Scott - to launch PureFold, which 'enables participating brands to take an alternative route to brand integration than traditional product placement and embrace invention within a narrative framework'. The project will launch at the upcomming B.Tween Festival in Liverpool.

From Paid Conent:

Purefold is described as an “open media franchise” and has the rather grand aim of answering “what does it mean to be human?” But the short, inter-linked, sci-fi styled films are real and will be created by RSA’s global pool of directors—and the film-makers will use the web as their inspiration, taking chatter from FriendFeed and turning it into plotlines and dialogue. The clips will be distributed via YouTube on a Creative Commons basis. The Leftbrainrightbrain blog reports that there will be seven interlinked storylines and the project wants 10 brands to come on board.

And from the AG8 site:

"What happens when content production frees itself from the shackles of copyright?

What happens when people’s lifestreams influence and drive fictional storytelling?

What happens when storytelling becomes decentralised, grown through a collective rather than through an individual author?

What happens when product and service invention, rather than product placement, drives the development of branded content?

What happens when transmedia thinking is embedded into stories from the very beginning rather than as an afterthought?

What happens when media agencies are able to sell StorySpace rather than AirTime?

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Open Video Conference marks major meetup of video 2.0 pioneers (19/20 June, NYC)

For those feeling underwhelmed by the scarcity of film 2.0 news coming out of Cannes, hold your breath as some of the biggest drivers and thinkers in the emerging Open Video movement will be heading to New York next month for the first Open Video Conference. In what is being billed as the first formal conversation between the cutting edge of entertainment, technology and law, a dialogue which much of our culture hinges on at the moment, the schedule reads like a who's who of the new media opinion-shapers and entreprenerds.

Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, and Professor at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program opens the event, running in NYU Law department on the 19th and 20th (EDIT!) June. Yochai Benkler, Professor at Harvard’s Berkman Center and author of The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom) also gives a Keynote. Xeni Jardin's there, co-editor of the web's no.1 ranked blog and daily presenter of BoingBoing.tv. An interesting presentation the BBC will doubtless be monitoring comes from Eirik Solheim, project manager and strategic advisor at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) where they've begun to distribute TV programmes through P2P torrents (it's almost cost free as a technology) and has been a success supposedly. There's Lance Weiller, feature filmmaker and self distributor interviewed in our film funding book, who runs the brilliant brilliant film2/open video/evolution of cinema multimedia group blog, the Workbook Project. There's Ted Hope, producer of countless features including 21 Grams, alongside Jamie King, the director of Steal this Movie and the brains behind a tipjar system for P2P networks. The most unpopular man in Hollywood (?), DVD Jon, the whizz who cracked the DVD protection system, and is now developing a legitimate multi device media management and purchasing system that seems to blow iTunes out the water for flexibility will be there, as will Nicholas Reville, the driver behind Miro, the incredibly useful open source iTunes-esque video manager, with youtube search and download, RSS syndication of videos/series and file management. There's no Arin, Liz, M Dot or Swarm of Angels - but there's presence/presentations from WikiMedia Foundation, Mozillia (Firefox), web video editing tool Kaltura, Adobe, Yale, Creative Commons , Blip.tv CEO Mike Hudack, Brett 'Remix Manifesto' Gaylor, Lizz Winstead, co-creator (I wanted to type co-greater) of the Daily Show (woo!), Matt 'Pirate's Dilema' Mason and a person whose job title is Director of Evangelism. The event closes with a 'capstone' from Jonathan Zittrain, author of The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, entitled,The Future of Video and How to Stop It before a party headlined by UK mashup supremos Eclectic Method (see below) playing out.

Best of all, it will all be streamed online - so no need to burn up petrol flying there (tho I'm tempted). It'll be interesting to learn more about the Open Video Alliance, who are organisating the event, as Alliances and Openness have sometimes, in the past, been mutually exclusive! But given the quietness of activity in this area in the UK, it's very exciting to see so much movement and focus in the US.

 

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French Temptation Island camera fodder win employment tribunal

Gotta love the French, especially as C4 continue their 9-year long bukaki over the nation's psyche and moral compass:

"Temptation Island constitutes a job and therefore justifies an employment contract," the court said. "Tempting a person of the opposite sex requires concentration and attention."

The decision means the participants are entitled to all the benefits of a full employment contract, including a 35-hour week. (from BBC News)

 

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Before Pirate Bay & Cluetrain: The Temporary Autonomous Zone

pirate bay demo

A rushed three hour write-up on the Pirate Bay en route to the Star and Shadow cinema in Newcastle on Friday, got me looking back to the first time the Pirate Bayern was in the news, when I wrote a piece here linking it to Hakim Bay's Pirate Utopias and the Temporary Autonomous Zone which was written back in spring 1990, long before the birth of the Web. If Cluetrain is the text that precursed social networks and user-generated media, the TAZ pre-empted the Web - both perhaps the first document to name it and is prophetic of many of its features.

It begins by talking of the 'pirate utopias' of the 18th century as islands and remote hidouts, scattered through an "information network" and goes onto define a Web evolving within that net. It's scarily ahead of its time:

"we'll use the term Web to refer to the alternate horizontal open structure of info- exchange, the non-hierarchic network, and reserve the term counter-Net to indicate clandestine illegal and rebellious use of the Web, including actual data-piracy and other forms of leeching off the Net itself."

He goes on, suggesting that re-use of what we find is part of our biological nature,  and that because the web removes production and distribution costs, free non-hierarchical access is assumed as standard:

"(Digression: Before you condemn the Web or counter-Net for its "parasitism," which can never be a truly revolutionary force, ask yourself what "production" consists of in the Age of Simulation. What is the "productive class"? Perhaps you'll be forced to admit that these terms seem to have lost their meaning. In any case the answers to such questions are so complex that the TAZ tends to ignore them altogether and simply picks up what it can use. "Culture is our Nature"-- and we are the thieving magpies, or the hunter/gatherers of the world of CommTech.)"

He doesn't have much hope for efforts to limit technical control of what he calls 'data piracy', citing chaos theory, which is not to assume there's no model to produce good content in the face of collapsing presales (watch this space!):

"Like Gibson and Sterling I am assuming that the official Net will never succeed in shutting down the Web or the counter-Net--that data-piracy, unauthorized transmissions and the free flow of information can never be frozen. (In fact, as I understand it, chaos theory predicts that any universal Control-system is impossible.)"

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Exclusive: Early survey results for young people's cinema-going habits

red-aisleseat-nailbender- 97% of films downloaded are illegal

- 10% of films viewed are non-mainstream

- 45% are sastisfied with choice of films available at cinema

Brendant Tate, for Newcastle College and Hello Ideas, has compiled the early results of his survey into cinema-going habits amongst young people and students.  Published for the first time on Netribution, the results comee from 75 face-to-face interviews, and will hopefully exist in an online form here soon.

“Asking questions is widely accepted as a cost efficient way, of gathering information of past behaviour and experiences, private actions and motives, and beliefs, values, and attitudes.” (Foddy, 1994)

On the following page are some diagrams, which represent the results from the questionnaire, which I distributed as part of the market research for my event.  The market research is on going; these results are based on the answers from 75 questionnaires.  I hope to be able to report on my final findings with twice the amount of data.  The sample group has been taken from outside the Newcastle University, Newcastle College media department, in Marco Polo restaurant, and in the R&B workplace.  This has given me a sample group that represents males, females, students and full-time workers equally, with ages ranging from 19 to 50.

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Netribution's submission to House of Lords Select Committee on Film & TV industry

police3It's easy enough to criticise the government for being out of touch with the web - I frequently do - but without the industry explaining to them the needs and issues at play, it's hard to blame them entirely. In other words democracy only really works if we all play our part in contributing to it (or attacking its weak points, such as these brilliant spoof paranoid transport police adverts over on BoingBoing and right). With this in mind I rushed a rapidly written response to the recent call for evidence for the House of Lords select committee enquiry into the film & TV industries. In the interests of openness (and perhaps debate?) I reprint it here. (Please don't take too much time to tell me about typos and grammatical errors - I wrote this in a rush on a train on my birthday!)

Distribution and finance

How do the current UK arrangements for distribution and exhibition of films affect the commercial success of the film industry?  How might long run changes in international film production and distribution affect the UK film industry and its export potential over the next decade?  To what extent is the raising of finance an inhibiting factor in UK film projects?

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Mohamed Al Daradji's Son of Babylon feature wraps filming in Baghdad

sobFilm looks at Saddam regime's 'modern holocaust'

- second feature from Leeds based Oscar-shortlisted producers Human Film
- 400,000 bodies in mass graves found since 2003 from over 30 years of rule
- cast and crew are made up of many survivors of regime
- includes lead actress Shazada Hussein; the only woman to witness against Saddam during his trial

'If we forget the past, there is no future'
Simon Wiesenthal, KBE, Holocaust Survivor and Nazi Hunter

Son of Babylon is a Holocaust film unlike those we are familiar with. In a country embittered by decades of tyrannical rule, torture and systematic murder at the hands of Saddam’s Ba’athist party, during which an estimated one million people were displaced, a Kurdish mother and her grandson set out to discover the fate of her missing son, captured by Republican Guards 12 years earlier. Travelling across the chaotic landscape and killing fields of Iraq - paralleled by the story of her son, an Iraqi Soldier - she retraces his steps in the hope of reuniting him with his son.

Written and directed by Mohamed Al-Daradji ('Ahlaam', 2004), a Baghdad-born survivor of Saddam’s regime, having fled the country after the execution of his cousin. Produced by Isabelle Stead of Human Film (UK) & Atia Al-Daradji of Iraq Al-Rafidain (IRAQ), the film is about to wrap on location in Baghdad. The film was shot throughout Iraq and the Kurdish territories in the North of the country. Cast and crew are made up of many survivors of Saddam’s regime, including the lead actress Shazada Hussein; the only woman to witness against Saddam during his trial. Like many survivors, who lost their families to Iraq’s 30 year Holocaust, the crew of “Son of Babylon” are using this opportunity to share their experiences of suffering through this story, with the determination to prevent these atrocities from occurring again.

Since 2003, 400,000 bodies have been uncovered. The majority remain unidentified. Yet, 60 years after the Nazi Holocaust, it appears the Western world has become complacent about continuing persecutions similar in size and destruction. In a society occupied by Western Forces, millions of Iraqi, Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites continue to search for answers to the fate of their missing amongst the mounting number of mass graves. Could this obstruction prevent peace and progression in Iraq?

NB - A press conference with cast and crew of 'Son of Babylon' will be scheduled for later Saturday, 7th March, 10am at Abo Noalse Street (opposite the Sheraton Hotel.) BAGHDAD, IRAQ - anyone reading this who could go?

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Deadline for 17th Raindance Film Festival looming

raindancelauriersmallFrom Raindance:

The final deadline for the 17th Raindance Film Festival is 19 June.

Raindance is the UK’s leading independent film festival and each year more and more films achieve success after Raindance screenings. Recent triumphs include IN SEARCH OF A MIDNIGHT KISS (Independent Spirit Award-winner, 2009), TOYLAND (Oscar-winner, Best Short 2009) and ONCE (Oscar-winner, Best Song, 2008).

Over the years, the festival has hosted such guests and filmmakers as Christopher Nolan, Shane Meadows, Ken Loach, Marky Ramone, Iggy Pop, Anton Corbijn, Mick Jones, Andrea Arnold, Adam Yauch, Quentin Tarantino, Faye Dunaway and Lou Reed.

But we’re here for the little guys too. Our big-name successes ensure that attention is on the whole programme. Everyone’s looking for the next big indie hit. Our audience of film fans, journalists, acquisition executives, actors, producers and directors know that a screening at the Raindance Film Festival is a sign of quality.

If you think your film has what it takes to make Raindance ’09 then submit your film before 19 June 2009.

For more details, visit www.raindance.co.uk/site/festival-submissions-2009

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Netribution ran through two periods — a static site & weekly magazine/newsletter from the end of 1999 to early 2002; and as a user-generated, open cms-built site running between January 8th 2006 and 27 May, 2014 when the last user-submitted article was received. After this it became a more-traditional occasional blog. It is maintained here for archive purposes.