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Germany Strengthens Foreign Ties

Germany Strengthens Foreign Ties
With more international co-productions in cinemas than ever before and a new crop of high-profile titles this year, Germany’s renown as fertile ground for foreign filmmakers continues to soar.

The number of German-backed cross-border titles in local theaters rose 30% last year to 98 — the most ever — and the trend looks set to continue. This year a slew of German co-productions are vying for Cannes’ Palme d’Or, among them Terrence Malick’s historical drama “A Hidden Life”; Jessica Hausner’s sci-fi thriller “Little Joe”; Marco Bellocchio’s mafia pic “The Traitor”; Corneliu Porumboiu’s “The Whistlers”; and Elia Suleiman’s “It Must Be Heaven.”

Key to the country’s filmmaking allure is a generous system of federal and regional funding sources and a dynamic film industry geared toward international co-production.

Leading companies include Pallas Films, whose credits include “It Must Be Heaven” and Sergey Dvortsevoy’s “Ayka”; Pandora Film, co-producer
See full article at Variety »

Hot Docs Forum Fetes 20 Years of Groundbreaking Stories

  • Variety
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in Toronto this week, the Hot Docs Forum will once again showcase some of the most anticipated films slated to hit the documentary world. Over the course of the two-day event, 20 pre-selected projects will be presented to a round table of industry insiders from around the globe, including leading commissioning editors, film fund representatives, public financiers, private investors, festival programmers, sales agents and distributors.

“Pitching in a forum such as Hot Docs is as much a promotional and market validation and marketing exercise as it is a financing one—to be able to establish an auteur, a visionary, a filmmaker, and have them in a really quick, seven-minute way present their work to the entire international documentary community in one place,” said Hot Docs industry program director Elizabeth Radshaw. “It’s as much about cultivating that individual project as it is about cultivating the production companies and the artists themselves.
See full article at Variety »

‘Yaya,’ ‘Anne Frank,’ ‘Musketeers’ Catch Investors’ Attention at Cartoon Movie

  • Variety
‘Yaya,’ ‘Anne Frank,’ ‘Musketeers’ Catch Investors’ Attention at Cartoon Movie
“The Ballad of Yaya,” “Where is Anne Frank?” and “Musketeers of the Tsar” proved the most-attended of industry presentations among 66 feature projects pitched at this year Cartoon Movie, Europe’s top animated feature co-production forum which ran at the French port city of Bordeaux over March 5-7.

A production of Blue Spirit Productions, the company behind François Laguionie’s César-nominated “The Painting” and Claude Barras’ “My Life as a Zucchini,” “The Ballad of Yaya” is penned by Patrick Marty, Céline Ronté and Antoine Schoumsk. The director is yet to be confirmed.

Set in 1937, in development, and targeting 6-12s, it turns on 9-year-old Chinese girl Yaya, raised in the French Concession in Shanghai, who flees Japanese bombings to join her family in Hong Kong.

Already in production and targeting family audiences “Where is Anne Frank?” is the new project of Ari Folman, a revisitation of the Nazi legacy through the
See full article at Variety »

Cartoon Movie unveils the winners of its 2019 co-production forum

Cartoon Movie unveils the winners of its 2019 co-production forum
New feature projects from Ari Folman, Anca Damian, Karsten Killerich were also presented.

Spanish animator Salvador Simo was voted European director of the year by delegates attending the Cartoon Movie Co-Production Forum in Bordeaux in France this week (March 5-7).

Simo’s feature Bunuel In The Labyrinth Of The Turtles, which is being handled internationally by Latido, screened as a sneak preview at the forum.

Stuttgart-based sales agent Sola Media was voted European distributor of the year.

Dutch animation studio Submarine was named European producer of the year. The company is involved with four of the projects presented at the
See full article at ScreenDaily »

‘My Grandfather Used to Say He Saw Demons’ Marks Sardinha em Lata’s Animation Build

  • Variety
Portuguese animator-producer-director Nuno Beato, whose credits include “Emma & Gui,” “Híssis” and the multi-prized “My Life In Your Hands,” will pitch a new project, currently in development, “My Grandfather Used to Say He Saw Demons” at Bordeaux’s upcoming Cartoon Movie, the leading European animated feature forum.

Cartoon Movie runs March 5-7.

Combining 2D and stop-motion, “My Grandfather” turns on Rosa, a successful designer who feels her life has little point. The sudden death of her grandfather, who raised her, leaves her with the feeling that she didn’t give back all the love she received from him. Rosa returns to her family home and discovers letters and clues that help her to be at one with herself while repairing her grandfather’s mistakes.

The contrast between a mechanical lifestyle in the city and Rosa’s search for her grandfather’s memories as well as meaning to her own life is
See full article at Variety »

European Animation Grows Up With Mature Themes

  • Variety
European Animation Grows Up With Mature Themes
European animated films continue to tackle weighty subject matter with diverse works aimed at older and more mature audiences.

A number of celebrated titles last year impressed by tackling historical, political and cultural subject matter in original ways, among them Raúl de la Fuente and Damian Nenow’s European Film Award winner “Another Day of Life,” above, Denis Do’s “Funan,” which took the top prize in Annecy, and Nora Twomey’s “The Breadwinner,” which won a plethora of prizes around the globe.

This year the trend continues with new and upcoming projects that explore wide ranging subject matter, from such sobering themes as the plight of refugees, racism and war to lighter fare like surrealist cinema and quirky romance.

Norwegian director Mats Grorud tackles the politically charged topic of Palestinian refugees in “Wardi” (The Tower). The film follows an 11-year-old girl living with her family in a Beirut refugee
See full article at Variety »

Won’t you be my director? It’ll be a beautiful day at the DGA Awards for Oscar-snubbed documentary

  • Gold Derby
Won’t you be my director? It’ll be a beautiful day at the DGA Awards for Oscar-snubbed documentary
One of the biggest surprises on Oscar nominations morning was the snub of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” from Best Documentary Feature. But that doesn’t seem to indicate a lack of support from the industry. The film actually won Best Documentary at the Producers Guild Awards, and now we think director Morgan Neville will be avenged at the Directors Guild Awards.

“Neighbor” is a biographical film about the life and career of children’s television host Fred Rogers, placing his work in the larger context of children’s education and cultural change through the second half of the 20th century. It was a box office blockbuster by documentary standards, grossing $22 million. And it was admired by critics, scoring 85 on MetaCritic and winning top honors at the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.

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But the academy decided to look the other way,
See full article at Gold Derby »

Dutch film industry optimistic for 2019

Dutch film industry optimistic for 2019
Near record levels of inward investment are boosting the local industry.

As the Dutch film industry comes together at International Film Festival Rotterdam (Iffr), there is much to be optimistic about in 2019.

The local industry is experiencing near record levels of inward investment as a location and post-production hub and Dutch co-production is blossoming. There may have been a slight - 0.8% - decline in admissions to 35.7 million cinema visitors in the Netherlands in 2018 but box office revenue has risen due to an increase in ticket prices.

Dutch market share for local films has remained broadly stable: it fell slightly from
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Cinema Eye Honors 2018: ‘Minding the Gap,’ ‘Hale County,’ ‘Shirkers,’ and More First-Time Films Dominate

Cinema Eye Honors 2018: ‘Minding the Gap,’ ‘Hale County,’ ‘Shirkers,’ and More First-Time Films Dominate
The Cinema Eye Honors, which annually presents awards to “celebrate outstanding artistry and craft in nonfiction film,” has revealed its nominees in 10 categories, including Outstanding Nonfiction Feature and Outstanding Nonfiction Short. Multiple nominees include Robert Greene’s ​”Bisbee ‘17,” Sandi Tan’s “Shirkers,” and RaMell Ross’ ​”Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” with five nods each. While Greene is a Cinema Eye Honors vet, both Tan and Ross are first-time filmmakers.

Another first-time filmmaker on the rise: Bing Liu, whose autobiographical skateboarding doc “Minding the Gap,” leads the nominees with a total of seven nominations. That’s good enough to put the newbie filmmaker into rarefied territory, tying his film with lauded documentaries like Louie Psihoyos’ ​”The Cove​​,” Lixin Fan’s ​”Last Train Home​,”​ and Ari Folman’s “​Waltz With Bashir​​” for most Cinema Eye Honors nods ever. As Liu is a named nominee for six of those awards, he’s
See full article at Indiewire »

Hulu’s ‘Minding the Gap’ Ties Cinema Eye Honors All-Time Nominations Record

  • Variety
Hulu’s ‘Minding the Gap’ Ties Cinema Eye Honors All-Time Nominations Record
Bing Liu’s “Minding the Gap,” an look at small-town American life through the lens of a group of skateboarder friends, led the 2018 Cinema Eye Honors nominations for nonfiction filmmaking Thursday.

The film, a Hulu original documentary, landed seven bids, for direction, editing, cinematography, original score, debut feature and the audience award, in addition to outstanding achievement in nonfiction feature filmmaking, the organization’s top prize. It was also mentioned in the “Unforgettables” sidebar honoring the subjects of many of this year’s documentaries.

The seven-nomination haul was enough to match Cinema Eye’s record, held by Louie Psihoyos’ “The Cove,” Lixin Fan’s “Last Train Home” and Ari Folman’s “Waltz With Bashir.”

The other nominees for outstanding achievement in nonfiction feature filmmaking were “Bisbee ’17” (five nominations), “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” (five nominations), “Of Fathers and Sons” (three nominations), “Three Identical Strangers” (three nominations) and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
See full article at Variety »

Oscars: Why the Gap Is Closing Between Foreign-Language and Documentary Categories

  • Variety
Oscars: Why the Gap Is Closing Between Foreign-Language and Documentary Categories
For most of the 60-plus years in which foreign-language film and documentary feature have been competitive Oscar categories, they have had very little to do with each other: separate fields to honor the kinds of film that most Academy voters won’t consider for best picture, with no intersection between them. To this day, no film has ever been nominated for both awards.

In recent years, however, a few have come close, beginning with a 2008 landmark: Israel’s “Waltz With Bashir.” Ari Folman’s path-breaking animated Lebanon War memoir made history by becoming the first documentary ever nominated for foreign-language film; the documentary branch, however, ruled it ineligible due to its lack of a bi-coastal qualifying run. (The animation branch didn’t spring for it either.) One doc has cracked the foreign-language category since: Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh’s Khmer Rouge reflection “The Missing Picture,” in 2013. Unlike Folman’s film,
See full article at Variety »

Unusual Films That Explore The Middle East

To celebrate the release of Nora Twomey’s Oscar-nominated adaptation of Deborah Ellis’ novel The Breadwinner, out now on Est, DVD and Blu-ray, we take a look at some of the most unusual films that explore The Middle East.

The Breadwinner (2017)

From executive producer Angelina Jolie and twice Academy Award and BAFTA-nominated animation studio Cartoon Saloon, The Breadwinner tells the story of Parvana, an 11-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. When her father is wrongfully arrested, Parvana disguises herself as a boy in order to support her family.

Under the Shadow (2016)

Babak Anvari directs this chilling horror based in 1980s Tehran, during the War of the Cities. Under the Shadow explores a mother (Shideh) and her daughter (Dorsa) haunted by an unseen malevolent spirit after a missile destroys their home.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)

This Persian-language film, directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, follows
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Marcelo Martinessi's 'The Heiresses' wins top prize at Athens Film Festival

Other winners included Museo (Museum), In den Gangen (In the Aisles) and Andid Edlilega (And Breathe Normally).

The Heiresses (Las herederas) by Marcelo Martinessi has won the best film award (Golden Athena) at the 24th Athens International Film Festival (September 19-30).

The film, an international coproduction by Paraguay, Uruguay, Germany, Brazil, Norway and France, is a socially charged drama placing a loving couple of two mid aged women in a stressful situation of intense imbalance. It is sold worldwide by French outfit Luxbox.

Paraguayan Martinessi’s debut premiered in Berlinale last February where it won the Alfred Bauer award for best first film,
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Tel Aviv’s Gaudeamus Productions debuts at Jerusalem, wins Pitch Point award

Tel Aviv’s Gaudeamus Productions debuts at Jerusalem, wins Pitch Point award
The company is screening ’The Love Letter’ in the Short Film Competition.

Tel Aviv University’s fledgling company Gaudeamus Productions is enjoying a high-profile Jerusalem Film Festival (Jff) debut this year, both in the festival line-up and its parallel industry events.

The production outfit showed Atara Frish’s award-winning work The Love Letter in the Israeli Short Film Competition on Monday (Aug 30) and will premiere its first feature-length work, Yona Rozenkier’s sibling drama The Dive in the Feature Competition on Wednesday (Aug 1), which heads to the Locarno Film Festival later this month.

Gaudeamus is also celebrating a win for
See full article at ScreenDaily »

'The Tower': Film Review | Annecy 2018

'The Tower': Film Review | Annecy 2018
Portraying 70 years of strife through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl exiled in Beirut, Mats Grorud’s The Tower offers up a dark if rather accessible depiction of how Israel’s creation in 1948 resulted in the forced displacement of a quarter of a million Palestinians — most of whom have never returned to their homeland.

Premiering out of competition in Annecy, the animated feature, which mixes claymation and 2D techniques, is at times reminiscent of Ari Folman’s Waltz With Bashir, especially in its sequences detailing the 1982 Lebanon War and the deadly attacks on Palestinian refugee camps. A bit ...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter »

‘The State Against Mandela and the Others’ Review: Nelson Mandela Documentary Corrects Oversight in Biopics — Cannes 2018

‘The State Against Mandela and the Others’ Review: Nelson Mandela Documentary Corrects Oversight in Biopics — Cannes 2018
The life of iconic activist and South African president Nelson Mandela is the subject of multiple features, including “Invictus,” “Mandela,” and Idris Elba’s criminally underrated turn in Justin Chadwick’s “Long Walk to Freedom.” However, when these narratives detailed the trial that convicted him of treason, the nine other defendants hardly rated a footnote. A nonfiction feature, “The State Against Mandela and the Others,” bridges that gap.

While Mandela led South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement here his lesser-known co-defendants take center stage. Directors Nicolas Champeaux and Gilles Porte’s documentary is the most in-depth examination of the Mandela’s trial, rolling back the veil of secrecy to reveal the day-to-day courtroom testimony.

Based on 280 hours of sound archives from Mandela’s trial with nine other men between 1963 and 1964, “The State Against Mandela” utilizes fresh techniques and technology to chronicle everything from the arrest to the indictment and eventual sentencing.
See full article at Indiewire »

In Pictures: Future Leaders & Producers On The Move come together in Cannes

The networking session took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel on May 14.

Screen International joined forces with European Film Promotion (Efp) to organise a networking session for Screen’s 2018 Future Leaders together with Efp’s Producers On The Move during the Cannes Film Festival.

The two groups of up-and-coming producers came together on May 14 at the Radisson Blu Hotel to exchange experiences with Tanya Seghatchian and Ewa Puszczynska, producers of Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War – one of this year’s Competition favourites.

Seghatchian previously produced Pawlikowski’s My Summer Of Love and jointly owns and runs UK production company Apocalypso Pictures
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Serial killer drama 'Quick', sci-fi sea story 'Sea Fever' unveiled on Scandinavia's Film i Väst slate

Serial killer drama 'Quick', sci-fi sea story 'Sea Fever' unveiled on Scandinavia's Film i Väst slate
David Dencik (Top of The Lake: China Girl), Jonas Karlsson (The Snowman) and Alba August (Becoming Astrid) will star in Quick.

David Dencik (Top of The Lake: China Girl), Jonas Karlsson (The Snowman) and Alba August (Becoming Astrid) will star in Quick for director Mikael Håfström (Evil), which TrustNordisk is selling.

Quick is among the new projects backed by Film i Väst, Scandinavia’s leading film fund, which is based in Trollhättan in West Sweden.

Quick, produced by Helena Danielsson for Brain Academy, is described as a “character-driven journalistic thriller and psychological drama.” Director Håfström told Screen, “Thomas Quick was Sweden’s worst serial killer,

Asif Kapadia's 'Maradona' amongst Cineart acquisitions (exclusive)

The latest acquisitions were confirmed at the Cannes Marché du Film.

Benelux’s leading arthouse buyers have confirmed their latest acquisitions at the Cannes Marché du Film.

Cineart has added Life Itself (sold by FilmNation) and The Children’s Act, both sold by FilmNation, Asif Kapadia’s Maradona documentary (Altitude), Laszlo Nemes’ Sunset (Playtime) and Ari Folman’s animated Anne Frank feature, Where Is Anne Frank (Wild Bunch), to its distribution roster.

These titles complement the eight features in official selection that Cineart has already acquired. From the Competition line-up, the company has Everybody Knows, Christophe Honore’s Sorry Angel,
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Ari Folman Set to Direct ‘The Horse Boy’ With Lea Seydoux, Joel Kinnaman (Exclusive)

  • Variety
Ari Folman Set to Direct ‘The Horse Boy’ With Lea Seydoux, Joel Kinnaman (Exclusive)
Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman, whose 2008 “Waltz With Bashir” nabbed a foreign-language Oscar nom, is set to write and direct “The Horse Boy,” an English-language feature based on Rupert Isaacson’s New York Times bestseller that will topline current Cannes jury member Léa Seydoux and Joel Kinnaman.

Gaumont has come on board to co-produce, take international sales and handle French distribution on the ambitious film, one of the hottest titles being pitched at Cannes. Gaumont and Endeavor Content are co-repping U.S rights.

Folman’s first full-on live-action movie, “The Horse Boy” is being produced by Didar Domehri — whose “Girls of the Sun” is competing at Cannes — Laurent Baudens and Gael Nouaille at Full House, the joint label of French banners Maneki Films and Borsalino Prods. Diana Elbaum at Belgium’s Beluga Tree is also producing.

The film follows the journey of Emily and Jonathan’s son, Noah, an autistic child
See full article at Variety »
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