Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chris Sullivan on his Animated Feature, “Consuming Spirits”

I first became aware of Chris Sullivan’s epic experimental animation “Consuming Spirits” while trolling the Tribeca Film Festival website, searching for cutting-edge work that might play well in the wild southwest. (I served as the director of programming for the 2012 edition of the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival.) Needless to say, Sullivan’s painstakingly handcrafted, novelistic tale of darkly intersecting lives at a small town newspaper – one that eschews any hint of flashy Disney for highly detailed Cassavetes – turned out to be both a must-see and a must-get for me. So I was pleased to recently have the opportunity to chat more deeply with Sullivan, who fresh off his NYC Film Forum premiere spoke with “Filmmaker” about everything from bringing experimental theater to animation, to academia’s cultural hegemony, to never sacrificing cooking for art.

To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

The Atomic States of America: An Interview with Co-Directors Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce

Premiering at this past Sundance Film Festival, Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce’s “The Atomic States of America” is now coming to a digital – here’s to iTunes and Netflix! – format near you. Unsurprisingly, given that Argott is one of the forces behind “Last Days Here,” last year’s winner of the music doc category at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (and for more on that flick, see my interview for Global Comment with Argott and his longtime editor and co-director Demian Fenton), “Atomic States” is a refreshingly entertaining look at a very thorny social issue. Based on Kelly McMasters’s memoir about life in her Long Island, nuclear-reactor hometown, the film eloquently universalizes the many risks of “going green” – or as McMasters likes to say, “We all live downstream from something.” I spoke with the passionate co-directors prior to the film’s (Sundance Institute Artist Services Initiative-enabled) January 15th release.

To read my interview visit Global Comment.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Queen of A Doll’s House: Toneelgroep Amsterdam Stages Ibsen’s “Nora”

For the past few years I’ve been covering IDFA for “Filmmaker,” and whenever I’m in the city of canals I make sure to find time to catch the latest from Toneelgroep Amsterdam, which presents English sur-titled productions (often frustratingly projected too high above the action – please, directors, my neck!) on Thursday nights. Under the artistic leadership of internationally acclaimed Belgian director Ivo van Hove – known mostly to NYC audiences through his longtime relationship with New York Theatre Workshop – the Netherlands’ largest repertory company is shaking up the stage in ways I could only wish the Dutch filmmaking scene would for the screen.

To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Top of the Doc: Toasting 25 Years at IDFA 2012

Once in a blue moon a festival competition film comes along that’s a masterpiece, so flawless it’s inconceivable that it won’t take top prize. This year at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, that film was Alan Berliner’s “First Cousin Once Removed” (which I actually saw before this year’s 25th edition began), and it did indeed nab the VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary, along with a nice sum of 12,500 euros. Fittingly, my reaction towards Berliner’s breathtaking portrait of his mentor and relative, the acclaimed poet and translator Edwin Honig, as he succumbs to Alzheimer’s disease, mirrors my take on IDFA itself. This crème de la crème fest, that in the past quarter century has grown to become the biggest doc event in the world, is simply in a league of its own.

To read the rest of my coverage visit Filmmaker magazine.

Friday, November 2, 2012

“This Ain’t California”: This Ain’t A Doc?

The most gratifying aspect of curating a film fest is being able to bring an under-the-radar gem you feel passionate about to an audience that might never otherwise see it. And as the director of programming for this year’s Santa Fe Independent Film Festival I was asked several times to name my favorite selection (which, of course, is like being asked to choose between kids). Nevertheless, I’d be lying if I pretended one film didn’t immediately leap to mind, a flick I’d fallen head over heels in love with when I caught it over the summer, courtesy of Rooftop Films.

To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.

Santa Fe Independent Film Festival 2012

Read Kalvin Henely’s coverage of the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival 2012 at Slant Magazine!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Interview: Iepe Rubingh

Iepe Rubingh is a Berlin-based, Dutch performance/visual artist whose last foray into filmmaking involved designing a large-scale installation for Tom Tykwer’s cinematic love triangle “3”. (Tykwer, along with the Wachowski siblings, is also one of the forces behind the long-awaited adaptation of David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas,” premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival later this month.)

And like a character left on the cutting room floor of “Run Lola Run,” Rubingh himself happens to be the founder of the World Chess Boxing Organization, a real fight club that sprang from fiction – in this case from the French graphic novel “Froid Équateur” by Enki Bilal. In what might be the ultimate gladiator showdown, chess boxing alternates four-minute chess rounds with three-minute rounds of boxing – with only one-minute breaks in between – until a winner is declared via checkmate, knockout or a decision by the judges after eleven rounds. Since its debut in 2003 the WCBO has expanded internationally and now includes branches from Siberia to LA. I caught up with the current light heavyweight champ Iepe “The Joker” at the bustling café of De Balie, a massive cultural center in the heart of Amsterdam.

To read my interview visit Global Comment.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Golden State Granddaughters Discuss “California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown”

While “Ethel,” Rory Kennedy’s portrait of her mom, widow of dad Bobby, might have made a splash at Sundance, it’s not the only descendant-directed doc about a member of political royalty to have played the fest circuit this year. With “California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown,” director Sascha Rice and her sister, executive producer Hilary Armstrong – both of them daughters of former California State Treasurer Kathleen Brown – have chosen to bring to the screen the story of their grandpa, the late Governor Pat Brown. Nicknamed the “Architect of the Golden State,” the two-term governor had a slew of larger-than-life achievements that included fathering civil rights acts in employment and housing, affordable higher education, the California Aqueduct – and current Governor Jerry Brown (that would be “Uncle Jerry” to the filmmakers).

To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Pluk de Nacht Primer: Amsterdam’s Answer to Rooftop Films

“Open-air cinema as a means to an end,” is how Caspar Sonnen, the driving force behind IDFA DocLab summed up his vision for the Open Air Film Festival Amsterdam (a.k.a. Pluk de Nacht), the summertime tradition he co-founded back in 2003, when I last chatted with him over coffee at Two For Joy in Frederiksplein. He went on to explain that all the film schools and Netflix DVDs in the world can’t capture the magic of cinema like a single collective movie experience can. “Our organizational structure is that of a block party,” he added.

To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Quick Sail Through the 21st Annual Woods Hole Film Festival

Two days is not nearly enough time to cover the Woods Hole Film Festival, which started as a “one day, one hour” event over two decades ago, and now for eight days takes over this tiny idyllic town on the Cape, otherwise known for its world famous Oceanographic Institution, and where the moneyed can catch a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. Luckily, I used my 48 hours wisely, hopping from venue to quaint venue – including the Lillie Auditorium at the Marine Biological Laboratory, the 120-seat Woods Hole Community Hall, and the 70-seat Old Woods Hole Fire Station – and taking in more solid films (especially docs) than clunkers. Not to mention rediscovering one genuine surprise that served to remind me of the timeless power of the moving image.

To read the rest of my coverage visit Filmmaker magazine.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Aurora Guerrero on “Mosquita y Mari”

Though Aurora Guerrero made "Filmmaker" magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” list in 2006, the director behind this year’s Sundance-premiering, award-winning "Mosquita y Mari" – which most recently took both Outstanding First U.S. Dramatic Feature Film, as well as Outstanding Actress in a U.S. Dramatic Feature Film for its lead Fenessa Pineda, at Outfest – was a welcome new face to me when I caught the film earlier this year. A tale of two Chicanas coming of age in working-class L.A., Guerrero’s feature debut is breathtaking in its understatement, less your typical “queer flick” than a continuation of the type of patient, immigrant-informed cinema practiced by filmmakers like Ramin Bahrani and Rashaad Ernesto Green. Fresh off her Outfest win, Guerrero spoke with "Filmmaker" about the long road to the big screen, being boxed in, and what’s changed for her in the past six years.

To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

The 17th Annual Stony Brook Film Festival

Falling under the umbrella of the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, and still run by its original founder Alan Inkles (whose praises I’ll sing a bit later), the Stony Brook Film Festival is a breath of fresh Long Island air in a sea of desperate-to-please fests. Now in its 17th year, the event runs like a well-oiled machine – with screenings starting promptly on time and technical glitches nonexistent – yet feels more like a 10-day family retreat, complete with marina lodgings in nearby Port Jefferson. It’s also one of the warmest, most accommodating festivals I’ve been to. (Literally. After offhandedly mentioning the freezing temps in the theater due to the cranked up AC, a volunteer suddenly appeared bearing a Stony Brook Film Festival sweatshirt for me.)

To read the rest of my coverage visit Filmmaker magazine.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Work is The Reward: Chris Eyre on “Hide Away”

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 15 years since filmmaker Chris Eyre burst onto the indie scene with 1998’s “Smoke Signals,” based on a short story by fellow Native American Sherman Alexie, who also wrote the screenplay, and starring Native Canadian Gary Farmer (probably best known for Jim Jarmusch’s “Dead Man”). Since then the Portland homeboy has seamlessly shifted from the big screen, to PBS fare, to franchise TV and back again, most recently with “Hide Away,” an existential drama featuring Josh Lucas and James Cromwell. Earlier this year, Chris was tapped for an entirely different gig, chairing the Moving Image Arts Department at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, which is where I first met him when I arrived in town as the new director of programming for the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. (Full disclosure: the second time I ran into Chris it was at Gary Farmer’s house party where the host and his band regaled us guests with an impromptu jam session in the garage. Now that’s what I call a warm southwest welcome!)

To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Acting Up in Uganda: An Interview with “Call Me Kuchu” co-directors Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall

Recently racking up awards from the Berlin Film Festival to Toronto’s Hot Docs, Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall’s “Call Me Kuchu,” which follows a group of Ugandan LGBTI activists in Kampala (led by the recently murdered David Kato, the kuchus’ – Ugandan slang for queers – answer to Martin Luther King, Jr.), is one of those rare docs that manages to enlighten, uplift and enrage in equal doses. It’s a sweeping portrait not just of the heroic gays and lesbians who often literally put themselves in the line of fire each and every day just to demand basic human rights, but also of a disturbingly self-righteous Ugandan society, which bans homosexuality and openly advocates for the death penalty for HIV-positive men. I got a chance to speak with the film’s own fearless co-directors as they were preparing for “Call Me Kuchu” to close the Human Rights Watch Film Festival at NYC’s Film Society of Lincoln Center Walter Reade Theater on June 28th.

To read my interview visit Global Comment.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mission Accomplished: Lorrel Manning and Michael Cuomo on “Happy New Year”

I first met writer/director K. Lorrel Manning and actor/producer Michael Cuomo at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, where we found ourselves the fish-out-of-water New Yorkers in a sea full of Southwest cinephiles. Their SXSW 2011 (sold out) hit "Happy New Year" is grounded in star Cuomo’s nuanced portrayal of a fictional outsider named Cole Lewis, a sergeant who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and now finds himself battling demons both mental and physical in the psych ward of a veterans hospital. I spoke with the two about their veterans outreach effort, Indiegogo versus Kickstarter, and the best places to start a revolution over breakfast.

To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The 2012 Human Rights Watch Film Festival

The strength of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival is also its weakness. This year’s 23rd edition boasts 16 doc and fiction flicks from 12 countries – yet most fall firmly in the category of solid ITVS fare (in fact, only three are narrative features). Like with the agribusiness detailed in Micha X. Peled’s “Bitter Seeds,” about the epidemic of farmer suicides in India, variety is often an illusion – especially when U.S. or U.S. co-productions are in the majority. This is another way of saying that, yes, the chances of seeing a stinker at HRWFF are slim, but there’s also not much in the way of stay-with-you cinematic experience on display, magical discoveries worth dragging yourself up to the Film Society of Lincoln Center Walter Reade Theater for, rather than just wait until the likely PBS broadcast and see it for free. Fortunately, after viewing more than half of this year’s selections I did manage to find the exceptions to what might be called the “Ken Burns Rule.

To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Santa Cruz Film Festival

The “Keep Santa Cruz Weird” campaign in the northern California city that’s been host to the Santa Cruz Film Festival for nearly a dozen years now seems more than a cheap ploy to sell bumper stickers (though the one that read “You’re just jealous because the voices are talking to me” probably captures the essence of the place even better). It’s a serious – and controversial – plea to retain a way of life. For Santa Cruz is nothing if not, well, weird. So exotic, in fact, that SCFF should probably qualify as a foreign film festival showcasing American flicks – way too many in this cinephile’s opinion.

To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"Un Piede Di Roman Polanski" and Roman Polanski

Tonight at De Nieuwe Anita! Our CineKink 2009 winner “Un Piede Di Roman Polanski” will be screening with none other than Roman Polanski’s “Two Men and A Wardrobe,” followed by Radley Metzger’s feature-length “The Image.” Show starts at 8:30 – so if you’re in Amsterdam come on out for the triple bill!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mark Elijah Rosenberg Talks Rooftop Films

As a writer and filmmaker just beginning to branch out into indie festival programming I’ve been looking for an excuse to chat with Mark Elijah Rosenberg for quite some time. The man behind the granddaddy of open-air cinema (hard to believe Rooftop Films is now in its 16th year!) has seen his DIY endeavor expand from avant-garde shorts shown on a roof above his humble apartment to Academy Awards-destined features screened in diverse outdoor venues throughout NYCs boroughs (and beyond). But what’s most impressive to me is that he’s managed to accomplish all this while staying firmly grounded in his indie roots. I finally got the chance to speak with the energetic founder and artistic director a week before Rooftop’s big 2012 opening.
To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Director J-P Passi Diagnoses “The Punk Syndrome”

The word “punk,” like the word “independent,” has been so oversold and misused it’s practically meaningless. So when a film bills itself as “the saga of the last true punk rock band in the world” you have to sigh and wonder whether it’s just more marketing hype. Fortunately, there’s not one false note in “The Punk Syndrome,” co-directors Jukka Kärkkäinen & J-P Passi’s thrilling portrait of Pertti Kurikka’s Name Day, a socially minded and politically incorrect quartet of kick-ass musicians – who just so happen to be mentally disabled, and the real rebellious deal. Prior to the film’s Hot Docs premiere I spoke with Finnish director Passi about redefining “normalcy” and upending preconceived notions, and got the scoop on shooting in arts-supportive Scandinavia.
To read my interview visit Global Comment.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Springtime for Brooklyn: Surveying the Theater Scene

Although there’s no shortage of Broadway bonanzas to attend this spring season, those of us in Brooklyn know that high-quality theater actually lies right in our dynamic boro – a convenient subway ride away from hectic Times Square. In fact, three companies in the young vibrant areas of DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), Fort Greene and Williamsburg will make you wonder why you ever queued up at the TKTS booth in the first place. So mark your calendars and turn off your mobiles ‘cause the shows are about to begin. To read the rest visit the First Class Theater section of Amtrak’s Arrive magazine.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Sonoma International Film Festival

Once-in-a-lifetime experiences abounded at this year’s Sonoma International Film Festival, a boutique event in the heart of northern California’s wine country – complete with complimentary wine and cheese before every screening (and a trailer featuring an animated, tap-dancing wine bottle named Tipsy whose tagline read, “Is everything out of focus, or is it just me?”). Held a week apart and an hour’s drive – yet a world away – from that longest running festival in the U.S., SIFF serves as a worthy reminder that attending fests that aren’t market-driven not only allows one the opportunity to discover overlooked diamonds amongst the seemingly rough cuts, but to enjoy chance encounters that have been programmed out of the older and slicker fests. While the films themselves might not have the cachet associated with the big boy on the Bay (save perhaps for the opening and closing night bookended Luc Besson flicks, “The Lady” and Radu Mihaileanu’s “The Source”) SIFF’s random weirdness factor proved absolutely intoxicating (no pun intended, really) to this non-drinking cinephile.
To read the rest of my coverage visit Filmmaker magazine.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Filmmaker" magazine's spring issue now playing at a newsstand near you!


VIKRAM GANDHI’s Kumaré won festival audience awards even as it angered those who found the director’s impersonation of an Indian spiritual guru mean-spirited. LAUREN WISSOT talks with Gandhi about Borat, cinematic performance art and the guru inside all of us.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Bermuda International Film Festival

“Location, location, location” could very well serve as the tagline for the Bermuda International Film Festival. Set on a paradise island surrounded by spectacular pink sand and Technicolor-blue waters in the North Atlantic, it’s only a couple hours’ plane trip from NYC (or less if you can hitch a ride with the private-jetting Mayor Mike). This gracious and warmly welcoming fest – a reflection of the country’s unbelievably gregarious and helpful population (pull out a map and you’re just as likely to have a total stranger walk you to your destination as point the way) – is now in its 15th year yet exhibits the vitality of a young up-and-comer. Due to an economic crunch that nearly wiped out the 2012 edition, this BIFF was a scaled down version of former incarnations that still managed to screen over 80 flicks from around the world, mostly in a single venue (the Liberty Theatre, a nondescript cinema a few minutes walk from Front Street, the capital of Hamilton’s hopping main drag). And like the smartest, most tenacious indie producers routinely prove, size matters less than passion and the will to make every dollar – yes, this British protectorate conveniently accepts American currency – count.

To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dominic Allan Discusses “Calvet”

The titular tattooed protagonist of Dominic Allan’s “Calvet” is Jean Marc Calvet, who went from being a hustling, drug-addicted street kid in the south of France to an NYC art world darling. But the path he took to get there is equal parts winding, fascinating and downright insane. After being discovered in a shooting competition by a guy who ran a security firm, Calvet joined the “world of bodyguards,” taking care of the likes of Mel Gibson, Forest Whitaker and Tim Robbins at Cannes. But he was soon enticed to leave his young family and “disappear” to America with a rich client – who, unfortunately, turned out to be a Miami mobster who never paid him. That’s when Calvet literally fled to South America – where the British documentary filmmaker Dominic Allan ultimately found him. Which itself is a story stranger than fiction. Luckily, I got the chance to speak with the director about this and more shortly before the U.K. theatrical release of his (nonfiction) suspense thriller. “Calvet” plays the Miami International Film Festival March 7th and 9th in conjunction with an exhibition of Jean Marc Calvet’s work.

To read my interview visit Filmmaker magazine.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The 18th Annual Sedona International Film Festival

Although in the winter most Stateside independent filmmakers set their sights on Sundance and SXSW, while international directors target Rotterdam and Berlin, the cold hard reality is that the majority of cinema’s craftspeople aren’t going to have their labors of love accepted into even one of these fests. (Forget about being wined and dined by the Weinsteins.) That’s the bad news. The good news is that as indie fests increasingly become less populist and more Miramax-ish, regional festivals around the globe are looking to step up to the plate.

To read my coverage visit Filmmaker magazine.

Friday, March 2, 2012

“Last Days Here”: An Interview with Co-Directors Don Argott and Demian Fenton

The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam is the Cannes of nonfiction filmmaking, so just nabbing an invitation anoints a doc amongst the best of the best. Don Argott and Demian Fenton’s “Last Days Here” not only screened the prestigious event this past November, but beat out a handful of other stellar flicks to win the IDFA PLAY Competition for Music Documentary.

None of which came as a surprise to this critic who’s been following the two since their riveting doc “The Art of the Steal” – about the dirty battle over the Barnes Foundation’s 25 billion dollars in art – rocked my world back in 2009. Now the Philadelphia homeboys have trained their lens on another Pennsylvania subject, Pentagram lead singer Bobby Liebling, a hard rock legend and hardcore addict who, as one of Liebling’s friends puts it, sold his soul a long time ago – and is now fighting like hell to get it back, one piece at a time. I spoke with the gung ho co-directors prior to the film’s NYC opening on March 2nd.

To read my interview visit Global Comment.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Selling Sex at 70: An Interview with “Meet the Fokkens” co-directors Gabriëlle Provaas and Rob Schröder

As the world’s largest doc fest the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam is jam-packed with nonfiction gems from around the globe. Yet one of my most delightful and surprising finds at the 24th edition this past November was a small film from the heart of the host city itself. “Meet the Fokkens” is a nuanced portrait and loving celebration of 70-year-old twins Martine and Louise Fokken, two vivacious ladies of the night who’ve been selling sex in Amsterdam’s infamous red light district since 1961 (though Louise, suffering from arthritis, is now retired). Prior to the latest “Meet the Fokkens” screening at February’s Berlinale, I spoke with the doc’s Dutch co-directors, who gave me the scoop on many-splendored things, including Martine’s green fingers, corruption in the red light district, and the history of older professionals in the oldest profession in the world.

To read my interview visit Global Comment.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Kirsten Sheridan and The Factory: Assembling Ireland’s Actors

Talk to Kirsten Sheridan, director of “August Rush” and her latest “Dollhouse” (premiering in the Panorama section of the 2012 Berlinale) about The Factory, the collective she co-founded with fellow filmmakers John Carney (“Once”) and Lance Daly (“Kisses”), and it soon becomes apparent that Ireland’s recent financial woes have done little to dampen Dublin’s DIY spirit. If anything the collapse has, ironically, helped artists, Sheridan theorizes, by making their outsized dreams affordable. Indeed, in a thriving economy just meeting the rent on a space big enough to house everything from production studios, to a fully equipped camera department and editing facilities, to a digital cinema and a recording studio, would leave no time for these Factory friends to actually collectively create.

To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"When Harry Met Chesty" is now online!

For those of you who missed my mash-up of Doris Wishman’s “Deadly Weapons” with Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” (in a tit-filled tale of bittersweet romance) at CineKink NYC 2011 here’s your chance.

And be sure to check out “The Story of Ramb O” (Pornfilmfestival Berlin 2010) and CineKink NYC 2009’s Best Experimental Short “Un Piede di Roman Polanski” while you’re there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Toneelgroep Amsterdam Stages “Cries and Whispers” and “Disgrace”

One of my biggest complaints about Broadway theater is the lack of artistic risk. (Indeed, one could make the case that Julie Taymor’s cursed production of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” had the media riveted more by its performers’ injuries than by its Hollywood blockbuster budget. The safe Great White Way had become dangerous again!) Which is why it’s been like a breath of fresh air to take in several English-surtitled productions from Toneelgroep Amsterdam (headquartered a very easy hour’s train ride away from the International Film Festival Rotterdam), where in lieu of bodily harm to actors there’s a couple of Belgian directors willing to challenge not just an audience but themselves as well.

To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.

Friday, January 20, 2012

World Press Photo Exhibit

The World Press Photo exhibit, which I caught at both the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam and at the UN Headquarters in NYC this past year, and which continues to tour globally, might just qualify as my sensory overload experience of 2011. An independent nonprofit founded in the Netherlands in 1955 to support professional press photographers the organization’s competition is now in its 54th year of highlighting photojournalism’s best-of-the-best. The international jury, including critic Vince Aletti, formerly of the “Village Voice,” narrowed down 54 prizewinners of 23 nationalities from a pool of 5,691 from 125 countries–not to mention a whopping total of 108,059 entries.

To read the rest visit The Rumpus.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Favorite Film Festival Event 2011: Meet the Makers with Steve James

One of the best things about the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, which took place November 16th–27th, is how community-inclusive the fest is, with most activities, from interactive exhibitions to informal master classes, open to the public free of charge. (Indeed, it’s possible to get your cinephile fix on a daily basis without ever buying a movie ticket.) And one of this year’s truly informative events was a Meet the Makers discussion at the Escape Club on Rembrandtplein hosted by Canadian documentarian Peter Wintonick. IDFA guest Steve James, who was honored with a retrospective, was there that Saturday morning to shed light on his diverse selections for this edition’s Top 10 – showing a clip from one of his choices followed by a scene from one of his own films that that particular documentary had influenced.

To read the rest visit Filmmaker magazine.