#Oscars2016 foreign-language submissions: Up-to-today August 27, there are 10 entries. Today Germany, Guatemala, Palestine and Switzerland submissions. News from India and Norway.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

#Venezia72 Check No. 9 - The Americans

There are three directors that come from America or better said United States of America, two directed one film -the only animated film in competition- and one has a film that spontaneously look -very- mainstream as has huge movie stars.

Charlie Kaufman

Born on November 19, 1958 in New York City, New York, USA. He spent his sophomore, junior and senior years in West Hartford, Connecticut, after moving there from Massapequa, Long Island. In 1976 he received his school's Diane T. Weldon Scholarship for Achievement in Dramatic Arts upon graduation. After graduating headed off for Boston University but transferred to NYU to study film.

No doubt that he's known better as a writer than a comedic actor, lyricist, producer or even as a director; so there is no surprise when most of his early life was spent writing press articles and -unsuccessful- TV scripts. He moves to Los Angeles and after a few years with no steady job starts to write for "successful" TV shows like The Dana Carvey Show, Ned and Stacey and more. Then in 1999 everything changes for him when he writes the screenplay of Being John Malkovich (his first Academy Award nomination) soon followed by scripts for 2001 Human Nature, 2002 Adaptation (his second Academy Award nomination), 2002 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and 2004 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the script that gave him the Oscar for Best Writing, Original Script -shared with Michel Gondry and Pierre Bismuth.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

9th Queer Lion Award Lineup

Today organizers released the films in competition and there are seven (7) films that will be considered for the 2015 Queer Lion.

Besides the seven films in competition, worth mentioning are, furthermore, two documentaries of queer interest presented in the Venezia Classici sidebar: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Maddin directed by Yves Montmayeur, and Helmut Berger, Actor helmed by Andreas Horvath; and in the same sidebar, we must as well remember the 40th anniversary restoration, courtesy of the Cineteca di Bologna, of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s controversial masterpiece Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma.

Monday, August 24, 2015

#Venezia72 Check No. 8 - The Auteurs

Was checking the meaning of auteur in the English language and surprise, check what it says: "a filmmaker whose personal influence and artistic control over a movie are so great that the filmmaker is regarded as the author of the movie". Nice description of great cinema, isn't?

According to the definition -and my own interpretation-, besides the many other auteurs in #Venezia72 competition that have been already covered geographically, there are two auteurs that still have to be check and whom will be covered in this post: Cary Fukunaga and Oliver Hermanus.  They have in common more things than what you can imagine as both are young filmmakers, their third feature-film is in Venice 72 competition and most interesting, both are very easy on the eyes (lol).

Cary Fukunaga

Born on July 10, 1977 in Oakland, California, USA. His full name is Cary Jôji Fukunaga and is the son of a third-generation Japanese-American born in a Japanese internment camp during WWII, and a Swedish-American mother. His parents divorced and remarried, his father to an Argentine woman and his mother to a Mexican-American. All these family data is the background to get an idea of why he is fluent in English, French and Spanish plus where his very handsome looks come from (there are some spectacular b/w photos of him, browse the Internet to find them).

He is an M.F.A. candidate from New York University’s Graduate Film Program, and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz. He also has a degree from Institut d'études politiques (IEP) in Grenoble, France.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

#Venezia72 Check No. 7 - The Asians

There are two directors from Asia, Amos Gitaï from Israel and Zhao Liang from China. Besides geography both have in common the fact of being politically committed, thus controversial in their own countries.

Amos Gitaï

Born on October 11, 1950 in Haifa, Israel. After studying Hebrew school, living in a Kibbutz, do his compulsory military service, he enrolls in Haifa's Faculty of Architecture where in 1975 graduates in Architecture. In 1979 he gets his PhD in Architecture from Berkeley University.

More related to cinema, it is in 1972 when his mother gives him a Super-8 camera and he starts to make his first experimental films. In 1974 he does his first short film Ahare and from 1976 to 1979 he does more short films until 1980 when he does a full-length documentary, House, for the Israeli television corporation, which refuses to show it. The film, which describes the attachment of Palestinians to their land, is the first of a trilogy of works on the same house in West Jerusalem. The others are A House in Jerusalem (1998) and News from Home / News from House (2005).

Saturday, August 22, 2015

#Venezia72 Check No. 6 - The Female Directors

There are only two female directors in Venezia 72 competition, Sue Brooks from Australia and Laurie Anderson from USA.  I'm not familiar with them so this exercise will help to meet them.

Sue Brooks

Born on May 1st, 1953 in Pyramid Hill, Victoria, Australia. She worked in a medical company before deciding to study film and television. The Drover's Wife from 1984 was her first short film followed by 1985 documentary High Heels, and short film 1988 An Ordinary Woman. His debut feature film, 1997 Road to Nhill, won the Golden Alexander at Thessaloniki fest plus more local and international accolades.

After some TV work, her second feature-film 2003 Japanese Story opened in Cannes Un Certain Regard and went to collect many honors in the fest circuit and in local awards like, for example, eight AFI awards, Best Actress in a Leading Role to Toni Collette plus Best Film, Best Director and more. In 2009 her third feature film, Subdivision, was a comedy/drama with mainly local release.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

#Venezia72 Check No. 5 - From Europe and Asia

Turn to check two (2) bi-continental directors, Emin Alpert from Turkey and outstanding Aleksandr Sokurov from Russia

Emin Alper

Not much info about this director but here are the basics; most data comes from Berlinale official site. Born on August 13, 1974 in Konya, Turkey. Trained in Economics and History at Bogazici University-Istambul; holds a PH.D. degree in Turkish Modern History. He teaches at Istanbul Technical University's Humanities and Social Sciences Department.

He is the writer and director of the short films, 2005 Mekup (The Letter) and 2006 Rifat. He has also occasionally acted in a couple of short films. His debut feature film, Tepenin Ardi (Beyond the Hill), collected multiple accolades all over the world after premiering in 2012 Berlinale Forum section.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

40th Toronto International Film Festival Platform Line-Up

We all know that Toronto fest has been a non-competitive festival but in their 40th edition there will be a competition, which -if continues to happen in the future- takes fest into the road of becoming THE most important festival in the Americas.

There are hundreds of films in the festival, but most are films that come from European festivals which will have their North American premiere. Can't deny that the main function of this festival has been -until now- the showcase of films that most likely will be honored with an Academy Award nomination.

63rd San Sebastian International Film Festival Lineup

In the last few weeks organizers have been announcing drop by drop the films in the many sections of the festival. Seems that finally today the last drop was announced, so decided to do the post that could be upgraded if they decide there are more news. Sigh.

Up to this moment there are seventeen (17) films in the main competition, which is a true eclectic collection of films from almost every genre. Most notable are latest work by great authors like Rúnar Rúnarsson, Joachim Lafosse and Pablo Agüero.

Monday, August 17, 2015

#Venezia72 Check No. 4 - The Europeans

As we already covered four (4) Italian directors and two (2) French directors, lets research now the other two (2) European directors, one from Poland, Jerzy Skolimowski, and one from UK, Tom Hooper. Next post will be about another two directors that can also be considered European but also Asian as their countries are located in both continents.

Jerzy Skolimowski

Born in May 5, 1938 in Łódź, Poland. A graduate of the prestigious National Film School in Łódź, Skolimowski has directed more than twenty films since his 1960 début Oko wykol (The Menacing Eye). He lived in Los Angeles for over 20 years where he painted in a figurative, expressionist mode and acted occasionally in films (has 21 credits as an actor in IMDb, including performing in Eastern Promises and Before Night Falls).

Jerzy Skolimowski’s most celebrated work includes the Berlin Golden Bear winner 1967 The Departure, Cannes Grand Prix winner 1978 The Shout and Best Screenplay winner 1982 Moonlighting , Venice Special Jury Prize winner 1985 The Lightship. He also collaborated with Roman Polanski on the screenplay for Knife in the Water -he has 25 credits as a writer at IMDb.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

68th Festival del Film Locarno Award Winners

A few minutes ago, organizers announced the winners for this edition and my first reaction is that winners tend to be more from Asian cinema than from any other cinema in the world, as most awards in the top competition and other competitons went to films from that side of the world.

As a matter of fact top award, Pardo d'Oro Best Film goes to Hong Sang-Soo film Right Now, Wrong Then that comes after in 2013 winning the Pardo d'Argento as Best Director of Our Sunhi.

#Venezia72 Check No. 3 - Latin American Directors

Latin American cinema will be represented in this year's Venezia72 competition with two directors, well-known Pablo Trapero and Lorenzo Vigas with his debut feature film.

Pablo Trapero

Born on October 4, 1971 in San Justo, La Matanza, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Studied filmmaking at Universidad del Cine in Buenos Aires. He wrote, directed and edited short films and documentaries before directing his first feature film, award-winning Mundo Grúa (Crane World) that opened in 1999 Venice. A film that many claim was the breaking-point in Argentinean cinema as stimulated the creation of what now is known as New Argentinean Cinema.

In 2002, he opened his production company, Matanza Cine, that produces films for fellow filmmakers, as well as his own; his business partner is well-known actress Martina Gusman, who happens to also be his wife and muse. His second feature film El Bonaerense premiered in 2002 Cannes Un Certain Regard to critical and audience acclaim. After two locally acclaimed feature films, 2004 Familia Rodante that opens at Venice and 2006 Nacido y Criado that opens at Toronto, in 2008 he does the film that propels him to international recognition: Leonera (Lion's Den) starring none other than Martina Gusman.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

#Venezia72 Check No. 2 - The French

The 2015 Biennale has in the main competition two French directors, Christian Vincent and Xavier Giannoli, which I'm not really much familiar with; but, have seen some of their earlier films because I like the actors. So, interesting will be for me if with this exercise the directors become more relevant that their actors. (Update: No, didn't happen. Sigh)

Christian Vincent

Born on November 5, 1955 in Paris, France. After studying Sociology and film, in 1979 joins the Institut des hautes études cinématographiques (IDHEC) where he does several short films including his first one, 1983 Il ne faut jurer de rien starring none other than Fabrice Luchini.

In 1990 directs and co writes his debut feature film, La discrète, also starring Fabrice Luchini; film opens in 1990 Venice Critics Week were wins the FIPRESCI Prize ex aequo, and most interesting two 1991 César for Best Debut Film and Best Screenplay -also wins Best New Actress. In 1992 his second film, "modest" Beau Fixe, has the most interesting fact as is where Isabelle Carré and Elsa Zylberstein have their firs grand role.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#Venezia72 Check No. 1 - The Italians Part 2

In the second part of the Italian directors in #Venezia72 competition will check Luca Guadagnino and Marco Bellocchio.

Luca Guadagnino

Born in Palermo, Sicily, Italy in 1971 but spent his childhood in Ethiopia. He and his family went back to Italy in 1977. Has a degree from Rome's University La Sapienza, faculty of History and Critics of Cinema, where he graduated with a thesis on film director Jonathan Demme. Cinephile and occasional cinema critic he begins his filmmaking career with a 1996 documentary about Algeria presented at the African Cinema Festival.

His first short film 1997 Qui opens in the Taormina Festival and two years later in 1999 does his debut feature film The Protagonists that opens at the Venice fest and yes, movie is in English. This film is the first of several collaborations between Guadagnino and Tilda Swinton. After many short films, documentaries and videos, Guadagnino does his debut feature film in Italian, 2005 Melissa P. which has the questionable achievement of toping the Italian box office because is based on a scandalous book by Melissa Panarello.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

#Venezia72 Check No. 1 - The Italians Part 1

Series Intro

As the Cannes Series gave a more detailed view of the films in the main competition, today decided to start another "Check Series" this time for Venice International Film Festival, also known as La Mostra or La Biennale.

The 2015 edition has twenty-one (21) films in the main competition and assume there will no more as a few days back were announced two more films that "completed" the selection. So, let's check some facts for these 21 films.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

72nd Venice Film Festival Lineup - Update 1

Two new titles complete the lineup of the festival that is directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta.

The first is Tharlo by Tibetan director Pema Tseden in the Orizzonti section and the second is Out of Competition documentary I ricordi del fiune by Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio. Also today was announced the Orizzonti opening film and is none other than the film by Rodrigo Plá, Un Monstruo de Mil Cabezas (A Monster with a Thousand Heads).

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