New York Times
Sundance, under new leadership, is trying to tilt risky. The programmers of the Sundance Film Festival on Wednesday announced a schedule of competition films that at least in their view, reflect no particular current in independent cinema except one: the artier the better. “We really tried to hunker down and make some hard decisions,” said John Cooper, the festival’s new director. “We tried not to be wishy-washy about what is independent, which I know has been a criticism in the past.” A swing toward art over commerce is perhaps inevitable given the market. Over the last two years studios have folded specialty divisions (Warner Independent, Paramount Vantage) or scaled them back drastically (Miramax). Outside the studio system, financing has become extremely difficult to obtain due to the credit crisis and recession.
Variety reports that young filmmakers are blooming with new cinema tools and event, such as a special youth festival circuit popping up to showcase the best of the bunch. Chicago Children’s Film Festival founder Nicole Dreiske has noted the quality of independently made youth pics has improved in recent years. Other festivals, from Los Angeles to Tribeca, feature sidebars for student-created work, but young filmmakers chafe at the idea of being stuck at the kids’ table. “Every big festival wants to have a youth section to seem like they’re supporting young filmmakers, but they separate it out so much from the rest of the festival,” says 23-year-old Jesse Harris, who persuaded his parents to let him skip college and spend the money it would have cost making his feature debut, “Living Life.” In 2007, Harris co-founded Seattle’s own National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) for work created by helmers 22 and under. This year, the event screened 113 films for more than 4,000 people over the course of three days, dividing entries (nearly all shorts) by category, rather than by age.
Daily Journal Of Commerce
The Seattle International Film Festival plans to move next year to a permanent home at Seattle Center that will give it enough room during the festival, as well as space for year-round classes, events and screenings. The $1.9 million project, designed by Owen Richards Architects, involves remodeling the 1962 Alki Room, A free standing building that shares a roof with Seattle Center’s Northwest Rooms.
Three Imaginary Girls
SIFF is now less than three weeks away and just unveiled the list of films playing (but the final schedule won’t be out until Thursday, where it’ll appear in the Seattle Times). The opening night film is In the Loop, a British political satire that stars Steve Coogan and James Gandolfini. It’s about the British’s involvement in the run up to the Iraq War and is very funny. It plays SIFF’s opening on Thursday, May 21 at the Paramount. I hear they’re closing off 9th avenue to continue the gala that follows the screening outside. The closing film is OSS 117: Lost in Rio, a French spy spoof that is the sequel to OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (which won the Golden Space Needle award for Best Picture at SIFF 2006). It also looks to be very funny.
Hugh Jackman? X-Men Origins: Wolverine? Yawn. We’ve got better things to see tomorrow. Like the Georgetown Super-8 Film Festival. Screenings will apparently be at multiple venues, with final schedule and tickets available at ButtonMakers. An outdoor screening begins at 9 p.m. This is the fourth year for the fest, which solicits local directors to submit their work.
Congrats to Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton and her crew who are off to Cannes. Her latest, Humpday, screens in the prestigious Director’s Fortnight, whose inaugural year NWFF is celebrating in their 69 series.
Mountainfilm is a 31-year-old environmentally focused film and culture festival held high up on the Rockies in Telluride, Colorado. Nearly a decade ago, the festival’s organizers decided to expand their reach by sending part of the festival on the road in a tour across the nation. This year a selection of the 2009 festival’s films will be arriving in Seattle for a showing on Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25.
Looking to go to a movie this weekend? There are a lot of great choices, from NFFTY to the Jewish Film Festival, to The Langston Hughes Film festival and even more. Check out the whole list!
Filmmakers Spike Lee and Francis Ford Coppola will be among the guests at the 35th annual Seattle International Film Festival, beginning May 21. Lee will receive the 2009 Golden Space Needle Award at a special tribute ceremony May 23 at the Egyptian Theatre. Coppola, the Academy Award-winning director of “The Godfather” and “The Godfather, Part II” will appear with his new drama “Tetro,” the story of an Italian immigrant family in Argentina. SIFF will run through June 14 at several local theaters, including new venues in Kirkland and West Seattle.