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London Film Festival unveils auteur-packed programe and star-studded opening

fantastic_mr_fox_large_2George Clooney, fresh from his naked press conference proposal for The Men Who Stare at Goats in Venice will join Bill Murray, Steven Soderbergh, Jim Jarmusch, Julian Moore, Emma Thompson and Michel Gondry at the 53rd Times BFI London International Film Festival. With special events focussing on environmental filmmaking, Iranian Cinema and production design, the festival will screen 191 features and 113 shorts from around the world, including the latest films from John Lasseter, Ang Lee, Lone Sherfig, Julian Temple, Stephen Poliakof, Gaspar Noé, Todd Solondz, Claire Denis and Harmony Korine.

Opening Night film, Wes Anderson’s FANTASTIC MR. FOX - which controversially Americanises the heroes while keeping the villains as British - is one of the Festival’s 15 world premieres and will be presented by the director and cast members including Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Helen McCrory.   Other films celebrating their world premieres include Sam Taylor-Wood’s Closing Night Gala NOWHERE BOY and the Festival’s first ever Archive Gala, the BFI’s new restoration of Anthony Asquith’s UNDERGROUND, with live music accompaniment by the Prima Vista Social Club, led by Neil Brand.  The Festival will also host 23 European premieres, including Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s MICMACS, Scott Hicks’ THE BOYS ARE BACK and Robert Connolly’s BALIBO, as well as Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni’s THE WELL and Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson’s MUGABE AND THE WHITE AFRICAN.  The 4 international premieres that will be featured are 45365 from Bill and Turner Ross, Celine Danhier’s BLANK CITY, Mike Judge’s EXTRACT and Rumle Hammerich’s HEADHUNTER. Festival audiences will also have the chance to enjoy the UK premiere of John Lasseter’s TOY STORY 2 in Disney Digital 3D™.


No limits for Brazilian Cinema as the latest releases come to London

I Cine Fest Brasil London - 17th to 20th September 2009 - Riverside Studios

cinefestbrasil-sponsorsFrom Rose Chamberlein

NO LIMITS FOR BRAZILIAN CINEMA is how Inffinito presents their worldwide festival circuit. After wrapping up their New York edition, in Central Park and the Tribeca Cinema, they are getting the reels ready to fly across the Atlantic, to the heart of London, at the Riverside Studios. Well-established as a cultural brand, the Inffinito Festival Circuit has been working in partnership with the Brazilian Government for the last 14 years to promote Brazil's audiovisual productions overseas.

Following Inffinito's international success in Buenos Aires, Canudos, Miami, Vancouver, Rome, Moscow, Madrid, Barcelona and New York, it is bringing its cinematic showcase to London in September, to continue its mission of screening a selection of the finest contemporary Brazilian cinema to a global audience. The programme of the 1st edition of the Cine Fest Brasil is made up of 20 productions comprising feature films, documentaries and short films, from a range of different genres that includes everything from blockbuster hits to talented-newcomer discoveries.


The World Premiere of Fantastic Mr. Fox will open the Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival

The Times BFI London Film Festival is proud to announce that this year's Festival will open on Wednesday 14 October with the world premiere of Fantastic Mr. Fox, from visionary director Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenebaums, The Darjeeling Limited).

Anderson's first animated film, which he co-wrote with Noah Baumbach, uses classic handmade stop motion techniques to tell the story of the best selling children's book by British author Roald Dahl (author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach). The film features the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill MurrayWally Wolodarsky, Eric Anderson, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Jarvis Cocker and Helen McCrory. It is produced by Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin and Allison Abbate.


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.



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


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 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 , 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.



Trailers for most of the Cannes 2009 Competition selection

As Cannes Film Festival relaunches it website with a new service offering all films selected for the festival the chance to preview the first five minutes of their film, on release, on their site, and in a year bursting with the latest offerings from the festivals favourite auteurs, here's as many of the trailers as I could find. Starting with Lars von Trier's first return to horror since the Kingdom. It's a long time since a trailer scared the fluids out of me, and I can only hope it lives up to its promise. Full marks to Zentropa for having the only film in competition to shun YouTube's inferior quality streaming - in fact half the films don't even have websites or trailers ready, presumably because the films are still being finished, (or the producers are linktards). For more detailed write-up - Variety has a good run down.


More info from


More info from


No trailer yet. Photos available on the official site -

Pedro ALMODÓVAR - LOS ABRAZOS ROTOS  (Broken Embraces) -  2h09

Gaspar NOE  -  ENTER THE VOID -   2h30

No trailer yet. Photos available on the official site -

TSAI Ming-Liang - VISAGE (Face) - 2h18

Footage above of extracts from the film - no trailer yet. 

Andrea ARNOLD -  FISH TANK -  2h02

No trailer or website exists for this film (in fact BBC Films and Artifical Eye don't even give it a page on their sites. I've seen coffee mornings better promoted).


No trailer or website for this yet either. Pah, publicity? Poo!


Yeah! Woo! War! Killing People! WOW! Cruelty! And not just people, but NAZIS! With Cruelty.
That Hitler guy, he so funny, he get so angry!

Can't Quentin just go into rehab or somewhere for a few years and come out to make one more masterpiece? Is it so much to ask?

Brillante MENDOZA - KINATAY -   1h45

Erm, no trailer or website for this film either. Which planet are these guys living in?


Ken Loach in feel good film shock?! And a stoner film at that? More info from


More info from The site has a video diary, but no trailer.

Xavier GIANNOLI -  A L’ORIGINE  - 2h30

No trailer or website either, as far as I can tell

Jacques AUDIARD  - UN PROPHÈTE  - 2h35

No website or trailer.

LOU Ye CHUN - FENG CHEN ZUI DE YE WAN (Spring Fever) -   1h55

No website or trailer.


PARK Chan-Wook - BAK-JWI (Thirst)  - 2h13


No website, no trailer.

OPENING FILM - Peter DOCTER - UP -  Out of Competition -  1h35

More info from website -

Johnnie TO - VENGEANCE  -   1h48

Marco BELLOCCHIO - VINCERE  -   2h08

Michael HANEKE - DAS WEISSE BAND (The White Ribbon)   - 2h24

Extract above, full trailer and website awaited.


Hull lights up from tonight with shorts

hullfilm1The biggest British short film festival north of London, and Netribution partner, Glimmer (the 7th International Hull Film Festival), opens tonight with a packed program. I will be at the festival over the weekend for an interesting event on Saturday:

Pay to Play? 25th April, 3.30pm-5pm

This year GLIMMER allowed filmmakers to choose how much they paid in submission fees. This was not only to allow those who would normally be unable to afford to enter film festivals the chance of submitting their films but also to promote a debate about the ethics of charging for entry. From this Glimmer presents a panel discussion that looks at the current financial climate in which film festivals – and the entire film industry – find themselves in with a global recession and, in the UK at least, the Olympics threatening public money for the arts. It will also examine how the industry treats those who work within it: with low pay and many people working for virtually free. Just when should people be adequately rewarded for the work they do and when does the phrase “You should feel lucky that you’re working on something you enjoy,” start to become tiresome?"

Against the backdrop of Pirate Bay tweets, this should be a particularly interesting topic, especially given Netribution's DVD editor and Hull Film head, Laurence Boyce's history of inspiring debate at festivals. Netribution's first public discussion was the now infamous Who Shot British Film?, a provocative chat at Leeds Film Fest under Laurence's drive, then the Never Mind the Celluloid debate he conceived in 2005. This predated and foretold the 'garage filmmaker' renaisance YouTube/Vimeo/DailyMotion presents us with today (and even made it to the pages of Wikipedia!). Check for updated information on speakers and other events.


Salad Fingers' web legend David Firth has first retrospective at Hull International Film Festival

6 days, 5 masterclasses, 4 competitions, 3 days of industry events, 2 retrospectives and 1 Hull Short Film Festival.

starwarstheempirestrikesbackNow in it's seventh year, the Hull International Short Film Festival is cementing its position as the UK's number one short film event north of London, continuing to determinedly beat its cultural heart in a town much maligned and misunderstand - and a place where I've had some of the most memorable festival experiences anywhere. Standing besides a giant bonfire with Oscar nominated genius Virgil Widrich at a Hutt Street party in 2004, singing a spontaneous acoustic mashup of Blue Moon, Happiness is a Warm Gun and A Message to You Rudy (all use the same chord structure, btw) with the festival team last year, Hull's really quite like Glasgow, and if you've visited either you'll know what I mean.

This year sees the first Anthoney Minghella Memorial Awards, the highly anticipated retrospective of one of the UK's leading web filmmakers -  local-boy / bedroom animator wizard David 'Salad Fingers' Firth - (the "creepiest and best flash animation online" San Francisco Chronicle) who regularly chalks up millions of viewers for his films on YouTube (see below), as well as an astonishingly good exhibition of Polish film posters (featured) and more than 50 World, International, European and UK Premieres in a programme almost as full as programmer Laurence Boyce's DVD collection.

Full details of the 200+ films and the rest of the programme are at Sponsored by the University of Hull, the Anthony Minghella Awards for Best International and UK Short will see movies from intense drama to hilarious animation, all compete for the award that commemorates one of the UK’s most talented – and missed – directors. The GLIMMER Award for Best Yorkshire Short will shine the spotlight on the talent from our own region whilst Hull City Council will support the GLIMMER Award for Best Hull Short.