Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Into Africa

So what’s it like filming in Africa?
Across the continent, film groups are trying to pull film producers in to learn more about options and opportunities.
James Hall, executive director of the Golden Lion Film Festival in Mbabane, Swaziland, has spent time cultivating the consular corps in his country. The work has netted him invitations to visit France and Cannes to market his festival and country.
The Golden Lion web site makes this invitation: “Filmmakers are invited to explore Swaziland, where African culture and tradition thrive in a beautiful mountainous setting. Mlilwane Game Reserve is only 15 minutes from two of the festival’s principal venues. Our South Africa venue, Casterbridge Cinema, is located in White River, the gateway to Kruger National Park, Africa’s oldest game reserve.” http://www.goldlionfest.co.sz/festival.html
And in Uganda director Kevin Macdonald told how his visit in 2002 for research encouraged him to return when it came time for filming. Macdonald’s The Last King of Scotland has been earning raves and actor Forest Whitaker appears a shoe-in for Best Actor at this weekend’s Academy Awards. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0455590/
"The locals had the desire for it to be good because it was their story, a lot of them had lived through the Amin period or knew Amin,” Macdonald said in an article posted on Filmmaker South Africa.
In South Africa recently, screenwriters were cultivated with a symposium for writers attended by two-time Academy Award-winner Emma Thompson and British actor Stephen Fry at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg. The programs were held prior to the release of a film on local poet Ingrid Jonker. http://www.capefilmcommission.co.za/

New This Week

German director Mathias Dinter’s Night of the Living Dorks arrives this week on DVD. It looks like your typical American teenage movie – only in German. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0378417/
The promo I saw on Netflix said, “Philip, Konrad and Weener – the three biggest dorks at Frederich Nietzsche High School – get a second stab at coolness when they’re killed in an auto accident and reanimated as flesh-eating zombies.”
How could that not be good?
At the opposite end of the spectrum a biopic called Puccini is this week’s Italian offering. The 1952 film by director Carmine Gallone presents selections from Madama Butterfly, La Boheme and Turandot. The film focuses on Puccini’s romantic life via a singer, a beauty and a servent.
And finally, this week’s anime feature: Chevalier D’Eon is set in France, but is a Japanese animated film. D’Eon is based on a true story http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevalier_d about a brother who begins investigating the death of his sister, along with many other women who are turning up dead in Paris's Seine River, D’Eon becomes inhabited by his sister’s spirit and the diplomat, writer, spy and Freemason adds another moniker, as he spends the second half of his life living as a woman. Now that’s a story.