Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grammy Awards - nominations

The Recording Academy held a concert tonight to announce the nominees for their 54th Grammy Awards. Kanye West topped the field with seven nominations, followed by Adele, Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars with six each and five for Lil Wayne and Skrillex.

Kanye West missed out on the Album of the Year category, however, which will be decided between Adele (21), Foo Fighters (Wasting Light), Lady Gaga (Born This Way), Bruno Mars (Doo-Wops & Hooligans) and Rihanna (Loud). The nominees for Record of the Year, which goes to the artist, producers, engineers and mixers, are Adele's "Rolling in the Deep," Bon Iver's "Holocene," Mars' "Grenade," Mumford & Sons' "The Cave" and Katy Perry's "Firework."

This year has been controversial as the huge number of nominees was trimmed from 109 to 78. Many of the categories that were eliminated were in the ethnic and world music categories, leading to charges of racism. Still, 78 categories seems an excessive number of awards to give out.

The 54th Grammy Awards will be held on February 12, 2012 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Call for submissions: Short Film Grants Program

Short Film Grants

The Short Film Grants Program awards grants to directors and writer/directors to help with production expenses for short films. Grants are awarded at 3 levels: $500, $1000 and $2000. Selection is made based on the overall quality of the proposal and Octavia Films will never exclude a film from consideration based solely on genre or content, with the exception that the films cannot be documentaries.

These grants are intended for emerging filmmakers, with a limited track record, who can demonstrate a sound knowledge of the craft and show strong potential for future artistic achievement. The grant can be used for any stage of the filmmaking process. For this program, a short film is defined as a film of less than 10 minutes with a budget of no more than $5000.

Eligibility for the Short Film Grants Program is subject to the following rules:

2012 Sundance Film Festival competition lineup

2012 Sundance Film Festival Announces Films in Competition

Park City, UT — Sundance Institute announced today the films selected for the U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Film Festival will take place January 19 through 29 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The complete list of films is available at

Robert Redford, Founder and President of Sundance Institute remarked, “We are, and always have been, a festival about the filmmakers. So what are they doing? What are they saying? They are making statements about the changing world we are living in. Some are straight-forward, some novel and some offbeat but always interesting. One can never predict. We know only at the end, and I love that.”

John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, “In these challenging economic times, filmmakers have had to be more resourceful and truly independent in their approaches to filmmaking. Looking at this year’s submissions, the result is more fully realized visions and stronger stories; we are proud to see the Festival emerging as a key indicator of the health and creativity of our filmmaking community. The overall quality of the films in the 2012 Competition section will make for an exciting Festival and a remarkable year ahead for independent film audiences everywhere.”

Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards - nominations

The Australian Film Institute's newly established subsidiary Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) announced the nominees for the inaugural Samsung AACTA Awards. Leading the field with 14 nominations, Daniel Nettheim’s The Hunter picked up nods for Best Film, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Lead Actor (Willem Dafoe), Actress (Frances O’Connor), Supporting Actor (Sam Neill) and Supporting Actress (Morgana Davies) among others.

The Eye Of The Storm by Fred Schepisi was next with 12 nominations. Its nods also included Best Film, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Lead Actor (Geoffrey Rush), Actress (Judy Davis, Charlotte Rampling), Supporting Actor (John Gaden) and Supporting Actress (Helen Morse, Alexandra Schepisi).

They were followed by Justin Kurzel's Snowtown with 10, Kriv Stenders' RED DOG with 8, Jim Loach's Oranges And Sunshine with 7, and Brendan Fletcher's Mad Bastards with 5. These four films were also each nominated for Best Film. The same six Best Film nominees were also selected as nominees for the AFI Members' Choice Award. All other categories only had four slots, however, so Loach and Fletcher were left off the list for Best Director.

A total of 14 Feature Films out of a possible 21 received nominations. The AACTA Awards also recognized 14 Documentaries, 4 Short Animations, 6 Short Fiction Films and 23 Television  Productions.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 New York Film Critics Circle Awards - winners

Shortly after leading the announced nominations for the Film Independent Spirit Awards, The Artist was the big winner at the first major critics' awards, the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. It was named Best Film and Michel Hazanavicus was named Best Director.

Although its acting awards were shared, The Tree of Life picked up more mentions with three. It won Best Cinematography and acting awards for Brad Pitt (shared with Moneyball) and Jessica Chastain (shared with The Help and Take Shelter).

Moneyball was also a winner in the Screenplay category for its Oscar-winning writers Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin.

Meryl Streep was named Best Actress for The Iron Lady, while Best Supporting Actor was Albert Brooks for his role as a villain in Drive.

2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards - nominations

Film Independent have announced their nominees for the 27th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, or Indie Spirit Awards. Leading the pack with five nominations each were Michel Hazanavicius modern take on silent film The Artist and Jeff Nichols' moody drama Take Shelter. Both were nominated for Best Feature as well as Director and Male Lead.

Beginners, Drive, The Descendants and Martha Marcy May Marlene each followed with four nominations apiece. Each received a Best Feature nomination except for Martha Marcy May Marlene. There was a sixth nominee, however it went to the cancer-themed comedy 50/50.

Martha Marcy May Marlene did get a nod for Best First Feature. It was joined by Another EarthIn The FamilyMargin Call and Natural Selection.

The Documentary, the nominees were An African ElectionBill Cunningham New YorkThe InterruptersWe Were Here and The Redemption of General Butt Naked. With Foreign Film, only two of the selections weren't in English since they don't specify Foreign Language as the Academy does. The Foreign Film nominees were A SeparationMelancholiaShameThe Kid With a Bike and Tyrannosaur.

Call for submissions: Pitch Blitz, Theatre Passe Muraille

Theatre Passe Muraille would like to invite artists of all disciplines and backgrounds to come and make a pitch to Artistic Director Andy McKim. Releasing the bounds of a formal audition, the TPM Pitch Blitz is an opportunity for artists to introduce themselves to Theatre Passe Muraille in whatever way best represents them. The TPM Pitch Blitz gives artists five minutes to showcase themselves or present their project.

Pitch an idea, pitch a show, pitch yourself! We’re on the lookout for exciting new artists to work with and remarkable artistic projects to facilitate. Spend five minutes showcasing who you are, what you’ve done in the past, and what your ideas are for the future. This is an opportunity to talk about what it is that brings you to us, and to show us what you might want to bring to TPM.

At Theatre Passe Muraille, we’re committed to enhancing meaningful interactions between our communities, and extending the development life of projects developed both inside and outside our walls. We have a special interest in independent, emerging, collaborative, intercultural and multidisciplinary artists, and seek out all whose voices are marginalized. Our vision is of a theatre space that functions as an arts centre and a town square in one.

Monday, November 28, 2011

2011 Gotham Independent Film Awards - winners

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) held their 21st Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards tonight at Cipriani Wall Street, in New York City. The event was hosted by Oliver Platt and Edie Falco.

Curiously, there was a tie for the Best Feature Award. It was presented simultaneously to both Mike Mills' Beginners and to Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. Natalie Portman explained by video that the jury had a difficult time deciding between the films and could not decide between the two very different choices. Accepting his award, Mills joked "I'm surprised that everyone on that jury saw our film." Beginners also picked up the prize for Best Ensemble Performance.

The Breakthrough Director Award went to Dee Rees for Pariah. It was presented by Alexander Payne and Felicity Jones. Jones was herself a winner for Breakthrough Actor for her role on Like Crazy. Her award was presented by Stanley Tucci and Melissa Leo.

The award for Best Documentary was presented to Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega's Better This World, while the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You was awarded to Scenes of a Crime by director/producers Blue Hadaegh and Grover Babcock.

2011 Ghana Movie Awards 2011 - nominations [UPDATED]

The Ghana Movie Awards held a nomination party at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi this weekend to announce the nominees for their second edition of their awards.

Leading the way with a whopping 21 nominations was Leila Djansi and Kevin Huie's Ties That Bind [see update below]. Its nominated categories included Best Picture, Directing [English Language], Actress (Kimberly Elise and Omotola Jalade) and Best Writing. There was a minor controversy since Kimberly Elise (For Colored Girls) is American while Omotola Jalade is a Nollywood actress, however, this is the first year they've opened the nominations to non-Ghanians.

The Adams Apple series of films by Shirley Frimpong-Manso picked up 20 nominations including Best Picture and Director. Another Frimpong-Manso film 6 Hours To Christmas picked up three more nominations for her.

Other nominees for Best Picture were Bed Of RosesSingle SixSomewhere In AfricaWho Owns The CityKofi AgenkwaEmmanuelMasquerades and Agyaa Koo Gbengbentus.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

2011 Golden Horse Awards - winners

The Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival held its ceremony for the 48th annual Golden Horse Awards (金馬獎) in Hsinchu City, in northern Taiwan. The awards are given to Chinese-language films from Taiwan, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Malaysia and Singapore.

The Taiwanese epic film 賽德克‧巴萊 (Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale) claimed the Best Picture Award. It had led with eleven nominations and won five awards total.

許鞍華's (Ann Hui's) 桃姐 (A Simple Life) was also a big winner. It won Best Director as well as the top acting prizes for Actor 劉德華 (Andy Lau) and Actress 葉德嫻 (Deanie Ip) (pictured).

The Butcher the Chef and the Swordsman won two awards for Best New Director (Wuershan) as well as Make up/Costume. Return Ticket and Let the Bullets Fly were also double winners.

Friday, November 25, 2011

International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) Awards - winners

As the 24th annual International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) draws to a close, they held a ceremony to present this year's IDFA Awards.  The VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary was awarded to the South Korean film 달팽이의 별 (Planet of Snail) by 이승준 (Seung-Jun Yi). It profiles a deaf and blind man and his partner. The award comes with a € 12,500 cash prize.

Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi’s 5 Broken Cameras won both the Special Jury Award and the Publieke Omroep IDFA Audience Award. The film provides a first-hand portrait of a Palestinian village's resistance to the surrounding Jewish settlements. The Audience Award comes with € 5.000 cash.

Montreal-based Eyesteelfilm's The Vanishing Spring Light by debut filmmaker Xun Yu won the IDFA Award for First Appearance. Previously, Eyesteelfilm have made other award-winning Chinese co-productions Up the Yangtze and Last Train Home.

Other award winners include the NTR IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary going to Jorge Gaggero's Montenegro; Jessica Gorter's 900 Days winning the Dioraphte IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary; and Micha X. Peled's Bitter Seeds taking the IDFA Award for Best Green Screen Documentary.

2011 Blue Dragon Awards - winners

Tonight at KBS Hall, Kyunghee University in Seoul, the 청룡영화상 (Blue Dragon Film Awards) held their 32nd annual awards ceremony. The event was hosted by actor 이범수 (Lee Beom Soo) and actress 김혜수 (Kim Hye Soo) who was hosting it for her 13th year in a row. She ended the night with one of the Popularity Awards.

In something of an upset, the surprise winner of the night was 부당거래 (The Unjust) by 류승완 (Ryoo Seung-Wan). It won Best Film as well as Director and Screenplay.

최종병기 활 (War of the Arrows
or Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon) picked up more awards, however. It picked up five prizes for Best Actor for 박해일 (Park Hae-Il), Supporting Actor for 류승룡 (Ryoo Seung-Ryong), New Actress for 문채원 (Moon Chae-Won), the Technical Award based on the movie's action, and the Audience Choice Award for Most Popular Movie.

고지전 (The Front Line) by 장훈 (Jang Hoon) had led with eleven nominations and dominated the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards. This time, it only managed two awards in the categories of Cinematography and Art Direction.

Brazil Film Festival of Montreal, Nov 25-Dec 1

The 5th edition of the Festival du Film Brésilien de Montréal (Brazil Film Festival of Montreal) begins tonight and runs for a week.

The opening film is the acclaimed documentary Senna by Asif Kapadia, an outstanding profile of the Formula One driver which I thoroughly enjoyed even though I have no interest in motor racing. It will be followed by a screening of the film Desenrola (Untangle) by Rosane Svartman. Senna will be presented with French subtitles, while Untangle will be shown with English subtitles.

The program consists of eight features: 5 x Favela, Now by Ourselves; Como Esquecer (So Hard to Forget)Manu De Bicicleta (Malu On A Bicycle); Ó Paí, Ó; Além da Estrada (Beyond the Road); Trampolim do Forte (Into the Blue); and À Deriva (Adrift), in addition to tonight's Desenrola (Untangle). The five documentaries are Senna; 5x Upp; Gisele Omindarewa; Memórias do Recôncavo: Besouro and Other Capoeiras; and Rio Sonata: Nana Caymmi. All films are in Portuguese with subtitles in either French or English.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Inaugural Haiti Movie Awards - winners

On November 20, the Motion Picture Association of Haiti (MPAH) held their first ever Haiti Movie Awards at the UMass Boston campus center ballroom. The MPAH is based in Boston and is dedicated to helping and developing the emerging film industry in Haiti. The country is still struggling to recover from the devastating January 2010 earthquake.

The winner of the Best Picture prize was Oasis II, directed by Reginald Lubin. It was, however, it's only win of the ceremony. The Best Director Award went to Tutu Demosthène for The birth of an assassin.

San pran souf won two acting prizes. It took Best Actor for Jean Alix Holmand and Best Actress for Myriam Jean. Le peché et le pardon (Sin and Forgiveness) was also a double winner for acting. It took the supporting categories for Supporting Actor Huberman Saintil and Supporting Actress Martine Joseph.

Arnold Antonin was given a Lifetime Achievement Award. MPAH also honoured Governor Deval Patrick and State Representative Linda Forry with Humanitarian Awards for their efforts following the 2010 earthquake.

2011 Prix Louis-Delluc - nominations

The Prix Louis-Delluc (Louis Delluc Prize) has announced its short list of nominees for their 69th annual awards. The Prix Louis-Delluc is awarded by a jury of critics to their choice of the best French film of the year, and is named after filmmaker and writer Louis Delluc.

Eight of the nine nominees played at this year's Festival de Cannes. They include well-received films such as The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius, La Guerre est déclarée (Declaration of War), Valérie Donzelli, and Le Havre by Aki Kaurismäki. The last two films are submissions by Finland and France respectively for the Academy Award's Best Foreign Language Film category.

The exception that didn't play at the Cannes Festival is Tomboy by Céline Sciamma. However, the Prix du Jury (Jury Prize) winner from Cannes, Polisse by Maïwenn, did not make the short list.

The jury is composed of 20 members, made up of a group of film critics and personalities who are culturally significant. Gilles Jacob is the president of the jury, and perhaps not coincidentally the president of Festival de Cannes.

Reel Awareness Film Festival, Nov 24-27

Starting tonight, Amnesty International Toronto presents the 6th annual Reel Awareness Film Festival - the Amnesty International Toronto Human Rights Film Festival. After a reception, tonight's opening night screening will be of Michael Collins' Give Up Tomorrow. It examines the case of Paco Larranaga, who was accused of killing two Chinese-Filipino sisters in the Philippines.

Other films being screening include Prosecutor by Barry Stevens, about the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo; Ali Samadi Ahadi's The Green Wave about the 2009 Iran election; and Anne Gyrithe Bonne's The Lady of No Fear about Nobel Prize-winning peace activist Aung San Suu Kyi.

Q&As will take place each screening with special guests. There will also be panel discussions and other activities.

Admission is Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC) at the door, with a suggested donation of $5.00.

2011 Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) - winners

The Asia Pacific Screen Academy held their ceremony for the 5th annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSAs) in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Interestingly, these awards don't just consider films from the Pacific region but from 70 countries and areas from all of Asia including Russia and the Middle East.

The top prize Best Feature Award went to the Iranian film Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (A Separation) by Asghar Farhadi. It had led the nominations with four along with Turkey's Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia)A Separation has won numerous prizes this year including the Golden Bear at Berlin. It was one of the first recipients of APSA's film fund.

Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia), however, was a multiple winner. It picked up Best Directing (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) and Best Cinematography. In addition, producer Zeynep Özbatur Atakan was awarded the Screen International Jury Grand Prize.

The Best Animated Feature Award went to Korea's Madangeul naon amtak (Leafie)Jag Var Värd 50 Lamm (I Was Worth 50 Sheepwas named Best Documentary. The Best Children's Feature was Azerbaijan's Buta.

Romanian Film Festival of Montreal, Nov. 24–27

The 5e Festival du Film Roumain de Montréal (Romanian Film Festival of Montreal) begins today at the CinéRobothèque at the ONF/NFB at 1564 Saint-Denis.

Films being screened will be Morgen (Tomorrow)Poliţist, adjectiv (Police, Adjective), California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit) (California Dreamin' (Endless))Buna! Ce faci? (Hello! How Are You?)Niki Ardelean, colonel în rezerva (Niki & Flo)Kapitalism - Reteta noastra secreta (Capitalism - Our Improved Formula)Balanta (The Oak)Principii de viaţă (Principles of Life), Loverboy and Cea mai fericită fată din lume (The Happiest Girl in the World).

A special guest attending the screenings will be noted Romanian film writer Irina Margareta Nistor. She will be joined on occasion by actor Razvan Vasilescu,

Films will be shown with either French or English Subtitles.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Awards-season screenplays available online [UPDATED]

I've posted previously on the screenplays that studios are making available online as part of their awards campaigns. I posted the links for Focus Features' scripts, Bridesmaids, Moneyball and Warrior. Now more have been made available, so it's time to gather them all onto one page as I did on this page last year.

Fox Searchlight has provided the screenplays for The Descendants, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Shame and Win Win. Relativity Media has posted their screenplay for Machine Gun Preacher.

I've posted them all below in alphabetical order. Just click on the title to link to the screenplay. This time around, I'll note the official studio versions with a asterisk (*) to distinguish them from other versions in circulation.

Fox Searchlight is promoting The Tree of Life as well, but as of now their link to the "script" provides a 44-page press kit of the film.

Reel Asian Film Festival awards - winners


Toronto, November 23, 2011 – The 15th annual Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival came to a close on Saturday, November 19th, wrapping its biggest and most successful edition yet - bringing the best of Asian and pan-Asian cinema to Toronto and Richmond Hill audiences who look forward to the festival’s unique programming.

While promoting cross-cultural exchange, the festival continued to showcase innovative films and videos, presenting 60 films from 12 countries to enthusiastic audiences from across the region. Highlights include the opening night gala presentation of LOVER’S DISCOURSE from Hong Kong, the Canadian shorts program TRAILBLAZERS, the world premiere of Vietnamese-Canadian feature film PEARLS OF THE FAR EAST, the new media exhibition LOST SECRETS OF THE ROYAL, multi-award winner from Taiwan JUMP ASHIN! and the Closing Night Gala presentation of BUDDHA MOUNTAIN from China, with lead actor Chen Po Lin in attendance.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Free Advance Screening of Shame

The University of Toronto's Cinema Studies Student Union and Alliance Films are joining together to present a free advance screening of Shame, starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan.

It is directed and co-written by British director Steve McQueen who previously worked with Fassbender on Hunger, which was my favourite movie of 2008. The other co-writer is Abi Morgan who also wrote The Iron Lady starring Meryl Streep as margaret Thatcher. It is produced by Iain Canning and Emile Sherman who produced last year's Best Picture Oscar-winner The King's Speech with Gareth Unwin.

Shame explores a man's sex-addiction and his complicated relationship with his sister. Exceptional and artful, it has moments of sexuality and male nudity which have led the ever-prudish Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to give it its harshest rating, NC-17. The studio Fox Searchlight have wisely decided against cutting it to receive an R-rating and instead will release it in its original form and embrace the rating.

2011 SOCAN Awards - winners

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) held their 22nd Annual SOCAN Awards last night in Toronto.

A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the Calgary country/pop group The Stampeders. The International Achievement Award was given to K'naan. He also picked up a Pop/Rock Music Award for his hit single “Wavin' Flag”. Vancouver's Michael Bublé also picked up two awards for “Haven’t Met You Yet” which was the pop-rock song that had the most airplay and the song with the highest international earnings in 2010

A National Achievement Award went to Prairie Oyster, while a Special Achievement Award went to Bob Ezrin.

The film composer brothers Mychael and Jeff Danna each won film music awards. Mychael won the Domestic Feature Film Music Award for Chloe, while Jeff won the International Film Music Award for The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Call for submissions: Canadian Film Fest 2012


TORONTO, November 22, 2011 – The Canadian Film Fest (CFF), a forum dedicated solely to the advancement of Canadian film, today announced the sixth festival will be held in Toronto from March 27 to 31, 2012. 

Filmmakers from across the country are invited to submit their short and feature length films for consideration by the Festival jury. Submission forms and rules are available on the CFF web site: Deadline for submissions is January 13th, 2012.

39th annual American Music Awards - winners

The 39th annual American Music Awards (AMAs) were broadcast live from the Nokia Theatre L.A. on Sunday. 17 acts performed throughout the night, including Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, The Band Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Brown, Pitbull and Katy Perry.

The night's two big winners were Taylor Swift and Adele. Taylor Swift picked up all three awards for which she was nominated: Artist of the Year, Favorite Country Female Artist, and Favorite Country Album for Speak Now. It was her fourth time in a row winning Favorite Country Female Artist.

Adele had come into the night with a leading four nominations and also won three prizes: Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, Favorite Pop/Rock Album for 21, and Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist. She missed out on Artist of the Year, however, losing to Taylor Swift.

Nick Minaj picked up prizes for Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist and Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Album for Pink Friday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

RIDM Awards - winners

The 2011 Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) held its awards ceremony at the closing night gala screening of Stefano Savona's Tahrir, Place de la Libération.

The Grand Prize for Canadian Feature went to Catherine Hébert for Carnets d’un grand détour, while the Cinémathèque Québécoise Critics' Choice Award went to another African-themed film Les États-Unis d’Afrique by Yanick Létourneau.

The Grand Prize for Best International Feature went to Territoire Perdu by Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd, which is also set in Africa. Territoire Perdu also picked up the Best Editing Award.

The winner of the People’s Choice Award was Bouton by director Res Balzli.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

RIDM's opening night controversy with Crazy Horse

An unusual situation has unfolded as a result of Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM) selecting Crazy Horse as the festival's opening night film. The screening itself got off to a good start after a lively introduction by Chair of the RIDM Board of Directors Mila Aung-Thwin, Executive Director Roxanne Sayegh, and Director of Programming Charlotte Selb, as well as a pre-taped introduction by Crazy Horse director Frederick Wiseman. But the mood gradually became restless and tense during the screening itself and some people walked out. As the film ended, the applause was punctuated by a shout of "Sexist! Sexist! Boo!"

I understand that the shout came from Sophie Bissonnette, a respected veteran documentarian whom I interviewed last year. She has made a number of films on women's issues including Une histoire de femmes (A Wives’ Tale)A Vision in the Darkness, and Sexy Inc.: Our Children Under Influence. She is one of the various documentarians that founded the festival.

At the post-screening party, there was certainly a lively debate with opinions sharply divided. It tended to divided along gender lines with women disliking more, while men defended it. But there were men who were also put off by it, while the person I spoke to who liked it the most without any reservation was a young woman who is currently studying film at Concordia.

The next day a group letter was spear-headed by Bissonnette and sent to the festival to voice their objections. A total of 29 members of the filmmaking community signed the letter. Nine of the signatories, however, hadn't seen the film. Among the charges in the letter were that the film objectified the women, was complicit in their exploitation, was inappropriate to open the festival, and was simply "boring." The letter is reprinted below.

Friday, November 18, 2011

15 films shortlisted for Best Documentary Oscar

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has revealed the shortlist of 15 documentary feature films still being considered for a nomination as Best Documentary Feature.

Among the nominees were films such as Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory which played an important part in helping to release the innocent group known as the West Memphis Three who were jailed nearly two decades. Wim Wenders' film Pina is already being considered for the Best Foreign Language Film category. The shortlisted film Undefeated is not the badly-reviewed Sarah Palin puff piece (0% on Rotten Tomatoes), but the gritty look at three underprivileged student-athletes from inner-city Memphis.

There were some notable omissions. Among the missing are Steve James' The Interrupters (99% on Rotten Tomatoes), Asif Kapadia'a Senna, and Patricio Guzmán's Nostalgia for the Light which has been nominated for the the IDA Documentary Awards and the Cinema Eye Honors. Also missing are Werner Herzog's Into the Abyss and Errol Morris' Tabloid.

Under Fire: Journalists in Combat is a Canadian-made doc by Toronto filmmaker Martyn Burke. His previous credits include co-writing the comedy Top Secret! and directing documentaries such as Witnesses: Afghanistan, the Untold Story.

Call for submissions: New Toronto Works


Now in its nineteenth year, Pleasure Dome’s New Toronto Works 2012 show is seeking new video and film works, performance and media installations produced after January 2010. Curated by Sharlene Bamboat, Zoë Heyn-Jones and Alexis Mitchell this show highlights cutting edge work and offers a sample of the vibrant and multi-faceted local media arts community.

Please send all preview tapes, DVDs and/or Super 8 and 16mm films and a synopsis to:

195 Rushton Rd
Toronto M6G 3J2

or drop off at

401 Richmond Street West
Suite 452

Inaugural Animaze Festival, Nov 18-20

The inaugural ANIMAZE - Montreal's Animation Film Festival gets underway tonight at Cinéma du Parc. The opening night film is Jez Jerzy (George the Hedgehog) by Tomasz Lesniak, Jakub Tarkowski and Wojtek Wawszczyk from Poland.

Other features include No Longer Human, Fimfárum - Third Time Lucky, First Squad, Metropia,  Viva The NamOne Night in One City, and Redline. There will be a special 30th Anniversary screening of Heavy Metal with director Gerald Potterton in attendance.

A documentary Freleng: Frame by Frame will be followed by a Master Class with director Greg Ford. Proceeds from the show will go to Sun Youth Montreal. A Saturday Morning Cartoon screening will also be for the benefit of Sun Youth Montreal. In addition, they will be holding a charity raffle.

ANIMAZE continues until Sunday, November 20 at Concordia University's Hall Building Auditorium.

Breast Fest Film Festival, Nov 18-20

Although October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this weekend the 4th annual Breast Fest Film Festival takes place in Toronto. It is the only film festival in the world that is dedicated to breast cancer issues.

The opening night film is Patricia Zagarella’s Baring it All, about fashion photographer David Jay's SCAR Project, a Pulitzer-nominated exhibition of portraits of 18-35 year-old breast cancer survivors. SCAR is an acronym for Surviving Cancer Absolute Reality, and Jay began the project when his girlfriend’s twin sister, Paulina, underwent a mastectomy for her breast cancer at age 32 and agreed to participate in a topless photo shoot to reveal the resulting scars. Director Paticia Zagarella and Photographer David Jay will be in attendance.

In addition to screenings, the festival will present a comedy evening Tits N’ Sass, hosted by Elvira Kurt. Live. Laugh. Lunch. is a free luncheon on Saturday exclusively for women who have experienced breast cancer. There will also be several free panel discussions which take place after related screenings.

The festival continues until Sunday November 20 at the Royal Ontario Museum Theatre, 100 Queen's Park.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just a few days left to enjoy RIDM

Montreal, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011 – There have been more than 100 screenings since the opening of the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) last Wednesday. There are still a few days left to enjoy the festival’s 14th edition, which ends on November 20, including the chance to meet filmmakers from around the world.

For the festival’s second weekend, the programming team has put together few recommendations. Thursday evening, filmmaker Andrea Bussmann will attend a screening of her film He Whose Face Gives No Light, at 9 p.m. at Excentris. This poetic work, filmed in Mexico, is a sublime chiaroscuro look at elderly Mexicans who were extras in a fictional film. The screening of the medium-length film will be followed by a second medium-length work, Bielutine – Dans le jardin du temps, by French filmmaker Clément Cogitore, which takes viewers into the home of an elderly Moscow couple who own one of the world’s most impressive private art collections. This terrific double bill will be repeated on Saturday at 3:15 p.m.

Friday at 5:15 p.m. at Excentris, director Res Balzli will present Bouton, a poignant film about a lifelike puppet and its creator, who is battling cancer. Between smiles and tears, documentary reality and poetic fiction, the filmmaker’s first film is a wonderful fable about courage and joie de vivre in the face of illness –  an inspiring story in which the magic of creation transcends the cruelty of fate. At 6 p.m. at the Grande Bibliothèque, a screening of Impunidad, from directors Juan José Lozano and Hollman Morris, looks at Colombia’s “Justice and Peace” law, which was supposed to shed light on massacres of civilians. The screening will be followed by a debate on the theme The Language of War, A Colombian Dead End?The language of war evolves in a calculated fashion, influenced by vested interests, legal issues and media agendas. This debate is an attempt to rethink the doublespeak of war – words like “victim,” “conflict,” and “terrorism” – in order to gauge their power in present-day Colombia.

2011 European Union Film Festival - Toronto, Nov 17 - 30

Tonight is the opening night of the 7th edition of the European Union Film Festival in Toronto. The opening film is The Winner from Poland. Over the next two weeks, they will be presenting 24 award-winning films from 24 Countries.  Two films will play from Poland, the other being Joanna.

Some selected films that are submissions to the Academy for the Best Foreign Language Film category, including Тилт (Tilt) from Bulgaria, and Atmen (Breathing) by Karl Markovics.

All screenings take place at the Royal Cinema, 608 College St. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. It is advisable to go early to line-up as admission is first-come first-served until the theatre is full.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

45 Oscar Qualifying Animated Shorts on Cartoon Brew

As they do every year in the run up to the Oscars, the website Cartoon Brew has gathered together the names and links for all the eligible films submitted in the Best Animated Short Film category. This year, there are 45 eligible submissions.

A number of the nominees are Canadian, including four films of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). They are I Was the Child of Holocaust Survivors by Anne Marie Fleming, Dimanche / Sunday by Patrick Doyon, Romance by George Schwizgebel, and Wild Life by Amanda Forbis & Wendy Tilby.

The next stage in the process is to whittle it down to a short list of 10 before the final 5 nominations are named with all the others on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. The 84th Academy Awards takes place on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.

Call for submissions: imagineNATIVE/NFB digital media partnership

Call for Interactive Digital Media Proposals

(cliquez ici pour le français)

imagineNATIVE and the NFB Renew Digital Media Partnership with Call for Proposals for Innovative Interactive Works (download PDF)

Toronto, November 16, 2011 – The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) have renewed their digital media partnership for a second year of collaboration, and are inviting Canadian Aboriginal artists to submit proposals for innovative interactive digital media projects. Proposals can be for works in any digital medium and genre, including interactive documentary, mobile and locative media, interactive animation, interactive photo essay, data visualization and physical installation.

De Nort, an online locative video, photo and auditory journey into life on a northern reserve by Winnipeg’s ITWE collective, was selected through last year’s call for proposals and is now in pre-production at the NFB’s Winnipeg production studio. It’s slated to launch at the 2012 imagineNATIVE Festival.

2011 Inside Film (IF) Awards for Australian film - winners

Tonight, Inside Film held their 2011 Jameson IF Awards at the Big Top at Luna Park in Sydney, Australia. The big winner of the night was box-office hit Red Dog which took home seven awards. It won for Best Feature Film, Best Director (Kriv Stenders) and Best Actor (Josh Lucas), Best Script (Daniel Taplitz), Best Cinematography, Best Music, and the IF Award for Best Box Office Achievement. Koko, the canine star of the family film, attended the ceremony with the film's producers Nelson Woss and Julie Ryan.

Red Dog had been up against fellow Best Feature Film nominees The Eye of the Storm, Oranges and Sunshine and Face to Face in the Best Actor and Best Actress categories as well. Oranges and Sunshine picked up Best Actress (Emily Watson) as well as Best Production Design. The Eye of the Storm went home empty-handed.

Eyebrows were raised when critically-acclaimed Snowtown was shut out of the acting in its five nominations. It won for Best Editing (Veronika Jenet).

The Jameson IF Awards are the people’s choice awards for Australian films and created in 1999 by IF Media. Votes are tallied from audiences attending one or more of the 20 major film festivals and cinema screenings, and from IF eligible DVD releases.

Screenplays for Warrior now available online

Previously, I've posted the links to screenplays for Moneyball, Bridesmaids and six films from Focus Features including Hanna and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Now Lionsgate has made available their official script for Gavin O'Connor's mixed-martial arts film Warrior. The film stars Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as brothers who are both mixed martial arts fighters who have a complicated relationship with each other as well as their father, played by Nick Nolte. Critically well-received, it scored 84% on from the critics and 93% from the audience.

Others studios have been slow to release their screenplays, but they are posting more information on films they hope to promote as possible Oscar/Awards contenders. Previously, Sony Pictures Classics only plugged La piel que habito (The Skin I Live In), but now they also have A Dangerous Method and Carnage. Disney has added The Muppets to their list. Warner Brothers is providing screening info for Contagion, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Happy Feet Two, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, J. Edgar, The Hangover Part II, Horrible Bosses, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and Crazy Stupid Love.

It goes without saying that if and when those screenplays and any others become available, I'll provide the links for them as well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Call for submissions: 2012 Festival of Ideas & Creation

Canadian Stage has announced a call for submissions to its Festival of Ideas & Creation for artists who are currently in early stages of developing new works of any length, and wish to share the work publicly in a festival.

For the upcoming festival, they will particularly focus on stage work that involves innovative music or sound. Possibilities include performance-based work that incorporates opera, classical, traditional and contemporary music, musical theatre, song or digital sound design.

The Festival of Ideas & Creation is the leading event for artistic development at Canadian Stage.  The Canadian Stage Company was formed in 1987 from the merger of CentreStage and Toronto Free Theatre and have since grown to become Canada's third-largest non-profit contemporary theatre company. In addition to producing international works, they are committed to developing and producing Canadian works.

2011 aluCine Toronto Latin Film & Media Arts Festival, Nov 15-19

Today is the opening of the 12th annual aluCine Toronto Latin Film & Media Arts Festival. it begins with a free show of tired of counting by rosa mesa at Coffee and All That Jazz Café. It runs all day from 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 7pm, and continues each day. Starting on Thursday, the festival will present a free installation called bye bye berlin, by Maria Linares & rosa mesa.

The film festival proper begins on Thursday night with a screening of Los Extraños Presagios de León Prozak (The Mysterious Presages of León Prozak). The artist will be in attendance. This will be followed by a screening of International short films in a program entitled To Record, To Retell, To React.

aluCine is a Latin, Canadian and international festival showcasing the worldʼs best in short film, video and media art with a strong focus on works made by Latin American artists living in Canada and abroad. As a festival, aluCine creates platforms of communication aimed at fostering a critical discourse among film and video makers, media artists, curators and audiences in Canada, Latin America and the world through screenings, touring exhibitions, installations, performances, artist talks and workshops.

LIVE! AMMUNITION! Pitching Contest

Raindance brings their LIVE! AMMUNITION! Pitching Contest to Toronto today to give everyone a chance to sell a panel of film industry professionals on their movie ideas. Anyone can sign up and win prizes.

Everyone who wants to will be given two minutes to sell their idea to the judges and to the audience. Prizes include the first place prize of cash, lunch with industry panelist, script coverage from Raindance Canada, a free Raindance course, free premium membership with Raindance and a mention in the Raindance Newletter.

The judges for the event will be actress Shauna MacDonald, broadcaster Jane Jankovic, musician Rita Chiarelli, and filmmakers Ingrid Veninger and Zoltán Barabás.

Raindance is an international organization begun in England to support independent filmmakers. They launched the British Independent Film Awards in 1998. They've since expanded internationally and in Canada, they have branches in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Call for submissions: CFC Cineplex Entertainment Film Program

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) has just put out their call for submissions to the CFC Cineplex Entertainment Film Program.

This is their five-and-a-half month intensive training program for filmmakers to further develop their skills. The program runs in the second half of the year from July 9 to December 7, 2012. Each year they take up to five participants in each of the four disciplines of directing, producing, screenwriting and editing.

They have separate programs for television, documentary, new media and acting, as well as feature film programs.

The deadline for submissions to the CFC Cineplex Entertainment Film Program is January 23, 2012.

Tarragon Theatre - Free Play Reading Week

The Tarragon Theatre holds its annual Play Reading Week starting tonight. All readings are free. Readings take place at 8pm except for the Sunday reading at 2:30pm.

The Tarragon invites six writers every year into its Playwrights Unit, where they develop a new play under the guidance of artistic director Richard Rose and literary manager Andrea Romaldi. The first draft is read by professional actors in January, followed by quarterly meetings to read successive drafts. The process culminates with the Play Reading Week where each play from the unit gets a public reading by professional actors.

Among the plays being read are David Yee's carried away on the crest of a wave. David Yee is currently the Artistic Director of the fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company, and a very witty and talented writer. His play reading is the final event of the Play Reading Week on November 20, and is the only play reading that takes place in the afternoon at 2:30pm.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

2011 British Academy Scotland Awards - winners

Tonight at Glasgow’s Radisson Blu hotel, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in Scotland held their 2011 British Academy Scotland Awards. The evening was hosted by Glaswegian comedian Kevin Bridges.

Morag McKinnon's Donkeys took the night's top prize of Best Feature Film. It also won Best Actor for one of its stars James Cosmo, who was competing against co-star Brian Pettifer in that category. It had led with five nominations

Also winning two prizes was Peter Mullan's NEDS. He claimed both Best Writer and Best Director prizes for himself as the filmmaker.

The Cineworld Audience Award went to Carter Ferguson's Fast Romance. The award was selected by online voters choosing their favourite film of the last two years.

2011 AMPAS Governors Awards for Smith, Jones, Winfrey

On Saturday night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences held their Governors Awards ceremony to celebrate this year's honourary Oscar recipients. Actor James Earl Jones and Make-Up Artist Dick Smith were chosen to receive honourary statuettes, while Oprah Winfrey was named to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. There was no Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award given this year.

The ceremony got off to a humourous start with Darth Vader taking the stage, in a nod to James Earl Jones' famous voice role. "Vader" then removed his helmet to reveal Academy President Tom Sherak. He greeted the crowd with "How was your week?" which got a laugh from the audience. This had been a roller-coaster week for the Academy with Brett Ratner and Eddie Murphy dropping out of their Oscar duties due to Ratner's controversial remarks. Sherak named the honourees, and then paid tribute to the late Oscar ceremony producers Laura Ziskin and Gil Cates, who both passed recently. Sherak said “to us, they were family” as he toasted them.

The first of the evening's three tributes began with Mary J. Blige performing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" from The Lion King, which featured another voice performance by Jones. Then Alec Baldwin and Glenn Close gave testimonials. Jones himself was unable to attend because he is currently doing a London production of Driving Miss Daisy with Vanessa Redgrave at Wyndhams Theatre. He accepted the award by video after an afternoon matinee of the show. Redgrave asked the audience to stay in their seats for the honorary Oscar presentation. Former Academy president Sid Ganis, who was in the theatre audience, brought the statuette which was presented to Jones by Sir Ben Kingsley.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

2011 Aotearoa Film & Television Awards (AFTAs) - winners

The 2011 Aotearoa Film & Television Awards (AFTAs) to honour film/TV in New Zealand took place tonight at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland. Florian Habicht's film Love Story was the top prize-winner with Best Feature Film as well as Best Director and Best Editing.

Jason Stutter's Predicament had led with 11 nominations and came away with the most awards, capturing a total of six. It won for Cinematography, Original Music, Production Design, Costume Design, Make-up Design and Visual Effects. 

A number of films were double winners. The Insatiable Moon took two acting prizes -- Best Lead Actor (Rawiri Paratene) and Best Supporting Actor (Greg Johnson). My Wedding And Other Secrets won Best Screenplay (Roseanne Liang, Angeline Loo) and Best Lead Actress (Michelle Ang). The short film Ebony Society won Best Short Film and Best Screenplay for a Short Film.

2011 Best of Nollywood Awards - winners

The 3rd annual Best of Nollywood (BON) Awards took place Friday night at the Lagoon Restaurant, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

2 Brides & a Baby picked up a number of awards including Screenplay of the Year. It had led with 12 nominations. Obi Emenloye's Mirror Boy picked up Best Movie by a Nigerian in Diaspora.

Mr. & Mrs. picked up both Best Actor (Joseph Benjamin) and Best Actress (Nse Ikpe Etim) in the English category. The unusual category Fresh and Scandal Free Actress was won by Queen Nwokoye.

Nigerian Comedian Gbenga Adeyinka presented The Lifetime Recognition Award to the Sola Fajobi of the television reality shows The Next Movie Star and Super Mom.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Toronto International Portuguese Film Festival, Nov 11-13

This weekend, the Toronto International Portuguese Film Festival presents its 6th edition. All screenings are free to the public.

After the Opening Ceremony tonight, they will present an Animation Program followed by What's New About Love and Luso-Can Tuna. Tomorrow, they will screen Isabella Nicolas' Cinema Brasileiro, Zev Robinson's Life in the DouroHeaven's Mirror by Joshua Dylan Mellars, Fado Entertainment by Paulo Filipe. Sunday's screenings are Fluidos by Alexandre Carvalho, José Miguel Pereira's A Parideira, and Gente de Fajãs by João António Saraiva.

The 6th Toronto International Portuguese Film Festival runs until Sunday November 13 at Casa do Alentejo, 1130 Dupont Street (at Dufferin and Dupont); 416-537-7766.

Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA) Awards - winners

The Hollywood Post Alliance held its 6th annual HPA Awards last night at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. The winners in the film categories were The Help (Outstanding Color Grading using a DI process), The Social Network (Outstanding Editing), The Green Lantern (Outstanding Sound) and Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Outstanding Compositing).

In addition, one of the previously announced Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation went to Steven J. Scott of EFILM for Tree of Life.

For television, the winners were Mad Men (Outstanding Color Grading), Downton Abbey (Outstanding Editing), House (Outstanding Sound), and Boardwalk Empire (Outstanding Compositing).

A Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Cyril Drabinsky, the President and CEO of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

2011 Blue Dragon Awards - nominations

After leading the field at the 31st Korean Association of Film Critics Awards, the film 고지전 (The Front Line) by 장훈 (Jang Hoon) is poised to dominate the 32nd Annual Blue Dragon Film Awards (청룡영화상) too. It received eleven nominations altogether for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best New Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Lighting, Best Original Score, Best Art Direction, Technical Award and Best Original Screenplay. The story is about soldiers caught in a battle early in the Korean War despite the 1951 ceasefire. 고지전 (The Front Line) is the Republic of Korea’s entry to the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

Following closely, 최종병기 활 (Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon or War of the Arrows) by 김한민 (Kim Han-Min) picked up nine nominations including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor. 써니 (Sunny) picked up eight nominations, while 도가니 (Silenced) picked up seven.

Presented by the newspaper Sports Chosun, the Blue Dragon Awards are one of the two main film awards in Korea along with the Grand Bell Awards. It was formed in 1963 by The Chosun Ilbo newspaper and discontinued in 1973. The sports daily Sports Chosun resurrected the ceremony in 1990 after which it has become an annual event.

Free CFC Master Classes with Comedy Filmmakers

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) is launching this year's Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab with two public masterclasses with Comedy Creators David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me) and Mike White (School of Rock, Nacho Libre). The Master Classes take place on November 15 and 16 at TIFF Bell Lightbox and are free for anyone to attend.

The Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab is run by the CFC in conjunction with Telefilm Canada and the Juste pour rire (Just For Laughs) comedy festival.

David Frankel is a writer, director and producer who won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 1996 for Dear Diary and an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series for the pilot episode of Entourage (2004). Mike White also produces and directs but is primarily an actor and screenwriter. He received an Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award in 2000 for writing Chuck & Buck, and won Best Screenplay at the Indie Spirit Awards for The Good Girl in 2003.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lars von Trier: Waiting for the End of the World, Nov 9-19

Beginning tonight, the TIFF Bell Lightbox will begin screening a retrospective series on the controversial Danish director Lars von Trier.

He is a contentious and highly misunderstood director, as can be seen by the whole Hitler/Nazi debacle at Cannes earlier this year which was misrepresented by much of the media. He is often accused of misogyny because his films tend to feature women protagonists and he stays away from Hollywood endings. Thus some people draw the easy conclusion that he wishes suffering on women.

Nonetheless, he is clearly a highly talented writer and director. He is able to evoke from actors some of their finest work. Actresses Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Björk won the Prix d’interpretation feminine (Best Actress Award) at Festival de Cannes for Melancholia, Antichrist and Dancer in the Dark respectively. Many other fine actresses wouldn't hesitate to work with him, while Johnny Depp told a Danish magazine, "tell von Trier I'm waiting for an offer; when he is ready, so am I."