Monday, November 29, 2010

Pairing Films at IDFA

For a docu-phile, attending the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam — with its nearly 300 films to choose from — feels less like being a kid in a candy store and more like being stuck in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory for a week and a half. In addition to being Europe’s biggest fest for nonfiction flicks IDFA boasts round the clock events. (Literally — if you were still revved at three in the morning after IDFA Dance Night a program called “Docs Around The Clock” continued until 9AM, breakfast included.) In between screenings at the Pathe de Munt or the gorgeous Pathe Tuschinski, named for the movie-loving Polish immigrant who built the stunning Art Deco cathedral before perishing in the Holocaust, there was enough to keep even the most ADD-addled attendee busy. You could go to debates and panels in the afternoons, and “Guests meet Guests” meet-and-greets at Brasserie Schiller followed by talk shows and a free surprise film screening at the Escape Club in the evenings. There was also an art exhibition titled “Expanding Documentary” that starred the dynamite “HIGHRISE/Out My Window,” an installation featuring an international array of 360-degree images from Webby Award recipient Katerina Cizek. And I haven’t even mentioned the brunches, dinners and after-parties (nor the master classes or various markets if you came with a doc to pitch).

To read the rest of my epic coverage visit Filmmaker magazine.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sex and The Stad 2

Check out my latest column on page 89 of Amsterdam Magazine. Bonus points if you can separate hard fact from hot fiction.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Debating Climate Change at IDFA

Before IDFA’s Green Screen Climate Debate began at the Escape Club in Rembrandtplein Monday afternoon, our host noted that none other than Al Gore was due to arrive at Schiphol airport at any moment (no doubt in one of his private environmentally-damaging jets). Though he was in Holland to receive an award, the Nobel laureate, unfortunately, had declined the festival’s offer to stop by to debate. Too bad because we were left with the star of “Cool It,” Bjorn Lomborg — the John Cameron Mitchell-resembling “skeptical environmentalist” whose book the film was based on — instead facing down Jan Rotman, an aptly named and pissed-off Rotterdam professor who had the former vice-president’s harrumphing condescension down pat. (He also looked a lot like Nicolas Cage, one audience member commented somewhat inexplicably.)

To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

@IDFA: “Client 9,” “Prosecutor”

In straightforward PBS style, Canadian Barry Stevens’s “Prosecutor” follows Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and an unconventional and charismatic Argentinean with a colorful past. Moreno-Ocampo’s resume runs the gamut from bringing to justice the war criminals of his homeland in the 1980s and teaching at Harvard to serving as soccer star Maradona’s lawyer and hosting a “Judge Judy”-type TV show. Five years on the job and still struggling to reel in big Sudanese fish Omar Al-Bashir, Moreno-Ocampo is finally bringing his first case — the prosecution of a Congolese military leader charged with conscripting child soldiers — to trial. Yet what’s most fascinating about “Prosecutor” is that the lead hero, who favors white suits, has less in common with the wise old Nuremberg prosecutor who visits his office to express his support than he does with a onetime Attorney General starring in another doc also screening here at IDFA, “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer.” While Moreno-Campo is probably more likely to be found winding down with “Law and Order” episodes on videotape (glimpsed in his apartment in The Hague) than he is dialing for hookers, he’d do even better to catch Gibney’s film in his spare time. The fate of New York’s steamroller governor could serve as a crucial cautionary tale about the price of moral high ground hubris.

To read the rest of my review visit Filmmaker magazine.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sex and The Stad

Check out my inaugural column on page 97 of the latest issue of Amsterdam Magazine. Greetz!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Festival Coverage: Pornfilmfestival Berlin

As a filmmaker who makes G-rated porn I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being thoroughly excited when I learned that a festival devoted to celebrating sex onscreen had filled its opening night slot with a flick that contains not one sex scene. And writer/director/producer/editor Zach Clark’s SXSW 2009 hit “Modern Love Is Automatic,” a refreshingly respectful and poignant comedy that centers around a jaded nurse who moonlights as a dominatrix and her aspiring (or rather delusional) model roommate, wasn’t the only selection to subversively screw with the very definition of porn. This year’s fifth edition, which concluded on Halloween, included some highly improbable subgenres in the mix — gay zombie and vampire porn and even a porn musical retrospective.

And Rambo porn. Or rather one critical essay in the form of my short, “The Story of Ramb O,” in which I’ve juxtaposed images from “Rambo First Blood: Part 2” with text from “The Story of O” (to show that a soldier is forever the government’s bitch).

To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.