It was a big weekend for Chlotrudis as nominations for the 17th annual Chlotrudis Awards were finalized by the nominating committee. Leading the pack is Debra Granik’s stunning WINTER’S BONE, with 8 nominations, including Best Movie, Best Director and Best Actress. Five other films received 4 or more nominations, including fellow Best Movie nominees THE KING’S SPEECH, starring Colin Firth & Geoffrey Rush; Quebecois wunderkind Xavier Dolan’s I KILLED MY MOTHER; JACK GOES BOATING, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut; and MOTHER, the latest from Korea’s Joon-ho Bong. Rounding out the category is the Peruvian ghost story, UNDERTOW. In all, 40 films received nominations; 20 countries were represented, with US films making up just over 30%. There were other multiple nominees, among them three-timers ANIMAL KINGDOM, FISH TANK and RABBIT HOLE. | Read more »
CHLOTRUDIS CO-PRESENTS at the BOSTON LGBT FILM FESTIVAL IN MAY: AND THEN CAME LOLA and WILD ABOUT HARRY
The Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film (CSIF) is pleased to join with the BOSTON LGBT FILM FESTIVAL once again to co-present two films during the festival’s run. Inspired by the German film RUN LOLA RUN, AND THEN CAME LOLA will play on Friday May 7th at 8:30pm at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. WILD ABOUT HARRY, starring Tate Donovan and Adam Pascal, will play at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square, Cambridge, on Sunday May 9th at 7:30 pm. | Read more »
Despite the late nights, I got up early on Friday morning in order to make it to my first (and ultimately only) "Breakfast with..." PIFF has this great series of breakfasts which feature different categories of filmmakers discussing their craft over a fine meal in a local restaurant. Friday morning's breakfast featured documentary filmmakers and a lovely breakfast as Bayside Betsy's. On the panel were Randy Barbato, director of THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE and INSIDE DEEP THROAT who was attending the festival with WHEN I KNEW; Lucia Small, director of MY FATHER, THE GENIUS, who was screening THE AXE IN THE ATTIC this year, and John Walter, director of HOW TO DRAW A BUNNY, this year attending with his film THEATER OF WAR. Moderating the panel was Boston Phoenix film critic Gerry Peary. The panelists talked about their very different documentary styles, the profitability of the documentary today, and how their careers evolved. (at right: Peary, Small, Barbato, Walker).
This Danish science fiction/comedy/suspense film hits all the right notes, especially with the casting of the divine Paprika Steen in the title role. What's a willful and rowdy class of students to do when they discover that the substitute teacher is an alien from outer space? They try to do the right thing and go to their parents, but Ulla is no dummy and she's already spoken to them about their kids' overactive imaginations.
The success or failure of THE SUBSTITUTE relies completely on Steen's performance, and the actress/director's outstanding performance doesn't miss a note. She alternates between cruetly and kindness with her students, she is sweet then monstrous wihotut missing a beat. She is all kinds of fun, and this performance, added to her many others has catapulted her into the upper echelon of my favorite actresses. I wonder if I can get her to come to Chlotrudis next year? This one's tons of fun, and I hope you get a chance to see it. 4 cats.
Based on the short film FAIRIES (which was entered into the Chlotrudis Short Film Festival a few years ago) WERE THE WORLD MINE focuses on Timothy a young gay high school student who, after winning the role of Puck in the drama classes' production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," develops a potion to make people fall in love with the first person they see. It sure sounds fun and also like a dream come true for this put upon student in an all-boys' private school. Not only must he endure the taunts and jeers of his classmates and phys. ed. teacher, the conservative little town he lives in is pretty darn homophobic as well, as his single-mother knows and endures herself.
I'm getting tired of films where the protagonist continues to make bad choices that hurt others until they finally learn the lesson of the film. I'm also really tired of seeing films with endless beautiful people. Ironically I was chatting with a young film student at the festival, and he only likes films with beautiful people in it (we were talking about AMERICAN TEEN) so perhas it's a generational thing... and WERE THE WORLD MINE is about high school kids, so maybe that audience needs everyone to be beautiful. Wendy Robie (one-eyed Nadine from David Lynch's "Twin Peaks") is pretty awesome as the Titania-like drama teacher, Ms. Tebbt, and the young men are good singers for the most part... oh did I mention that it's a musical? I usually love a good musical, and the actors are certainly talented, but unfortunately this one just didn't work for me. 2 cats
After the day's films we headed over to the Schoolhouse for the Filmmaker reception. This is one of our favorite parties and I did have the honor of being rubbed against by Gael Garcia Bernal as he left with his fiancee while we arrived. Also saw the ubiquitous John Waters (and got to thank him for his help with the Q&A at last year's AMERICAN CRIME screening) Gregg Araki, Tom Kalin and Christine Vachon. We also hung out with WERE THE WORLD MINE director Tom Gustafson and co-screenwriter Cory James Krueckeberg. Very nice guys and fun to hang out with at a party. I'm sorry I didn't enjoy their movie more.
Recently a new Chlotrudis member, Philip, posed a question on the Chlotrudis discussion list for a friend who wanted to know if there were any films focusing on geography, either documentary or narrative. He is pursuing his graduate degree in Geography and Geographic Information Systems. Aside from the Stellar Cartography scenes in the Star Trek TNG films, Philip couldn't think of anything off-hand, but when posed with this challenge, Chlotrudis members came back with several suggestions. We thought it might be nice to provide the list for any curiosity seekers who might wonder the same thing. Here they are... films about geography!
- Berlin: Die Symphonie der Großstadt (Berlin: Symphony of a City) (doc; Walter Ruttmann)
- David Thompson: the Great Mapmaker (narrative short; Bernard Devlin)
- Encounters at the End of the World (doc; Werner Herzog)
- Fata Morgana (narrative; Werner Herzog)
- Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse (The Gleaners & I) (doc; Agnes Varda)
- An Inconvenient Truth (doc; Davis Guggenheim)
- Keep the River on your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale (doc; David and Laurie Shapiro)
- La Soufriere (doc/short; Werner Herzog)
- Lektionen in Finsternis (Lessons in Darkness) (doc; Werner Herzog)
- Manhatta (doc/short; Charles Sheeler/Paul Strand)
- Chelovek s kino-apparatom (The Man with the Movie Camera) (doc; Dziga Vertov)
- Map of the Human Heart (narrative; Vincent Ward)
- The Mapmaker (narrative; Johnny Gogan)
- Manufactured Landscapes (doc; Jennifer Baichwal)
- My Winnipeg (doc/narrative; Guy Maddin)
- Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea (doc; Chris Metzler; Jeff Springer)
- À propos de Nice (doc/short; Jean Vigo)
- Regen (doc/short; Mannus Franken/Joris Ivens)
- Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time (doc; Thomas Riedelsheimer)
- Tuvalu (narrative; Veit Helmer)
- Winged Migration (doc; Jacques Cluzaud, Michel Debats)
Can you think of anymore? Add to this list by posting in the comments.
Chlotrudis Technology and Song-and-Dance Man weighs in with his Top 10.
Scot says, "Okay, okay. I'm not really a list maker, but here are my top ten films of 2007 ... as it stands today."
Today the Boston Society of Film Critics announced their awards for 2007. Awards season has begun with a vengeance, with announcements for the Independent Spirit Awards, National Board of Review Awards, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association already released, and the Golden Globe nominees coming next Thursday. Here in Boston, our critics followed the lead of the NBR by selecting the Coen Brothers' NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN as their top film of the year. I guess the most surprising thing for me here is the hometown allegiance to GONE BABY GONE, and more particularly, Ben Affleck. I haven't seen the film, so I probably shouldn't comment, but I find it hard to believe (from what I've heard) that he's deserving of the Best New Filmmaker Award. Here's the complete list:
Frank Langella for STARTING OUT IN THE EVENING
Marion Cotillard for LA VIE EN ROSE
Best Supporting Actor
Javier Bardem for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Best Supporting Actress
Amy Ryan for GONE BABY GONE
Julian Schnabel for THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
Brad Bird for RATATOUILLE
Janusz Kaminski for THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
Best Foreign-Language Film
Best New Filmmaker
Ben Affleck for GONE BABY GONE
Best Ensemble Cast
The Boston Society of Film Critics is a group of 18 film writers who publish in the Boston area, including several friends of Chlotrudis including Ty Burr, Peter Keough, Loren King, Wesley Morris, and Gerry Peary. I wonder if their meeting today was as fun and/or contentious as our upcoming Chlotrudis Awards Nominating Committee Meeting which will take place on Saturday, January 19.
Posted on behalf of Gil...
Just wanted to pass along some interesting news that I came across on YouTube. As you probably know, the filmmakers of FOUR-EYED MONSTERS have been extremely resourceful in promoting their independent film on the web. Last year, they even worked with IFFB in screening their film at the Somerville Theatre for a few weeks.
Now, the filmmakers have decided to work with Spout.com to post their whole 70-minute film on YouTube for free for one week only. At the beginning of the film, they explain that they will receive $1 for every person that signs up with Spout.com which is a social networking site for film fans. Signing up doesn't cost anything and only takes a few seconds. At the moment, they have raised $3100.
When coming across this on YouTube, I got excited for two reasons. First, I had missed the film at the Somerville so I'm glad that I had a chance to see this film. After watching it, I can see why they've developed a following and I hope that the filmmakers make another film. Second, if the FOUR-EYED MONSTERS filmmakers prove to have success in bringing new subscribers to Spout, it could provide an ideal alternative for indie filmmakers to fund their films.
So check out spout.com/foureyedmonsters and you'll see what I'm talking about.
After Gil sent me this piece, I checked out Spout.com. It's pretty cool, I signed up, and made the FOUR-EYED MONSTERS another $1! So easy. Support Independent Film, and make me your friend if you join!
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Apicatpong "Joe" Weeasethakul's new film SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY. Apparently there's quite a story brewing around this film by the director of Buried Treasure nominee TROPICAL MALADY. After Thailand's Censorship Board demanded Joe cut four "sensitive scenes" from his film, he decided not to release the film in his home country unless the laws were changed to allow it to be screened in its intended form. Joe has started a petition of have those laws changed called the "Free Thai Cinema Movement" where he says, ""We're petitioning not only for a just decision for Syndromes and a Century, but also for a long-needed modernization of Thai legislation concerning movie censorship." GreenCine Daily reports that the movement is receiving some serious backing from political and cultural heavyweights. Chlotrudis members, especially those that voted for this year's Best Documentary winner THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED, should take a look at the petition and consider signing it. I did.
Incidentally, according to Limitless Cinema, the four "sensitive scenes" that the Thai Censorship Board demanded cut showed:
- a young monk playing a guitar
- a group of doctors drinking whisky in a hospital basement
- a doctor kissing his girlfriend in a hospital locker room
- two monks playing with a radio-controlled flying saucer
Now don't you really want to sign the petition?
posted on behalf of Gil Cordova by Michael Colford at the O'Hare Airport in Chicago!
While some may associate the South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin only with music, SXSW is actually a ten-day festival in mid-March that also includes an interactive media conference in addition to one of the top film festivals and film conferences in the country. As some of you know, Amanda and I lived in Austin before moving to Boston and we’ve been able to attend SXSW on and off for the last ten years. So this year, we were fortunate enough to travel south for a steady diet of good films interspersed with margaritas, barbecue, and warm weather.
With all that in mind, here’s a quick rundown of the films that we saw:
RUNNING WITH ARNOLD – Half-baked political doc about the action star turned California governor. Despite some great footage, the film only brushed the surface as to why California voters thought Arnold was their best option to govern the state. Due to scheduling, the film didn’t include his recent re-election which would have provided another interesting chapter of the Arnold saga. (2 ½ cats)
THE UNFORESEEN – In this documentary produced by Robert Redford and Terence Malick, Austin filmmaker Laura Dunn profiles the life of real estate developer Gary Bradley and his battles with local Austin environmentalists. The film, which includes some of the most gorgeous cinematography that you are likely to see, presents a thorough analysis of the types of sacrifices that come with economic progress. (4 ½ cats) Will be screened at IFFB.
STEAL A PENCIL FOR ME (www.stealapencil.com)–Director Michele Ohayon (Cowboy del Amor) profiles the life of Jack Polak, a young accountant who was sent to a concentration camp in 1943 with both his wife and girlfriend. Adapted from the novel by the same name, the film is both a tragedy and a love story and also noteworthy for condensing a large amount of history and personal narrative in an informative and engaging manner. (4 ½ cats)
SCRAMBLED BEER (MALTA CON HUEVO) – Odd-couple comedy from Chile about a slob who is trying to get along with his neat freak roommate. Formulaic at first, the film has some nice twists that prove original and entertaining. (3 ½ cats)
EAGLE VS. SHARK – Certain to appeal to fans of NAPOLEON DYNAMITE and MURIEL'S WEDDING. A funny little comedy from New Zealand about two relationship-challenged twentysomethings. (4 cats) Will be screened at IFFB.
KNOCKED UP – the latest comedy by one of my favorite writers/directors, Judd Apatow, who directed THE FORTY YEAR-OLD VIRGIN and the cult TV shows "Freaks and Greeks" and "Undeclared." In this film, Seth Rogan plays Ben, an aimless slacker who is forced to make some mature decisions when he “knocks up” Katherine Heigl after a drunken one-night stand. As with Virgin, Apatow brings some heart and depth to a one-note premise and it is certain to be one of the better studio films that will be released this summer. (4 ½ cats)
638 WAYS TO KILL CASTRO – British filmmaker Dollan Cannell looks into the countless attempts by the CIA and Cuban exiles to kill Fidel Castro. Without doubt, the film includes some unbelievable footage, yet I couldn’t help but think that the parts were better than the whole. Still worth checking out for those thought-provoking parts. (3 ½ cats)
RUN GRANNY RUN – Documentary about 90-year-old Doris “Granny D” Haddock who was the Democratic nominee for the New Hampshire US Senate seat. Underestimated by both her opponents and allies, Granny D struck a chord with voters as she campaigned against politicians who caved in to special interests. One of the better political docs that I’ve seen and another example of the difference that one person can make. (4 cats)
MONKEY WARFARE – In this Canadian feature starring Chlotrudis faves Don McKellar and Tracy Wright, the two actors play former revolutionaries who are keeping a low profile from the authorities. As a result they are forced to work low-income office jobs and sell garage sales purchases on the Internet. When the two encounter a young woman intent on taking on the establishment, an interesting conflict develops. While McKellar is great as usual, the film is a true showcase for Wright. (4 cats) Will be screened at IFFBoston AND CO-SPONSORED BY CHLOTRUDIS.
As is the case with festivals, we could not see everything that we wanted to see. Fortunately, the Independent Film Festival of Boston (IFFB) will be screening many of the most buzzed-about films that were shown at SXSW. IFFB starts next Wednesday, April 25 and continues through Monday, April 30th. Some of the films include:
FAY GRIM - the IFFB opening night film and a follow-up to Hal Hartley’s Henry Fool
AUDIENCE OF ONE – Special Jury Award Doc Winner at SXSW about a minister who believes that God told him to make the next blockbuster biblical film
BLACK SHEEP – Peter Jackson-produced horror/comedy about genetically-mutated killer sheep
HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS – the new film from “mumblecore” filmmaker Joe Swanberg (LOL) and starring fellow “mumblecore” filmmakers Andrew Bujalski (MUTUAL APPRECIATION), Mark Duplass (THE PUFFY CHAIR) and Todd Rohal (THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE)
THE KING OF KONG – Documentary about competitors looking to break the world record score on video game classic Donkey Kong
A LAWYER WALKS INTO A BAR – Documentary about the legal world and five law school graduates studying for the bar exam
Many festival films now have their own websites and MySpace pages where you can view trailers which is the best way to get an idea as to whether you might want to see the film. If you haven’t already checked out the IFFBoston lineup (www.iffboston.org), I encourage you to check it out so you’ll be all set for next week.