Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dallas International Film Festival

The Dallas International Film Festival runs March 31 – April 10 and features films from four of our Sister City countries -- Mexico, Indonesia, Japan and Germany. Check the schedule for locations and times.

Adiós Mundo Cruel (Goodbye Cruel World) (Mexico)
Director: Jack Zagha
When a hard-working accountant is let go from his job because of the economic slump, he finds a new way of earning a living: becoming part of a criminal gang. ADIÓS MUNDO CRUEL is a creative comedy from Mexico that finds humor in a series of unfortunate events. Starring Carlos Alberto Orozco, Mónica Bejarano, José Montini, Lourdes Villarreal, Sandra Sánchez Cantú, Carlos Aragón, Justo Martínez and Pedro Gámez.

Blood of Eagles (Darah garuda – Merah putih II) (Indonesia) – US PREMIERE
Director: Yadi Sugandi, Conor Allyn
An epic, action-packed intrigue thriller set in Java during Indonesia's War of Independence in 1947, BLOOD OF EAGLES follows a heroic band of guerrilla soldiers recruited to halt the construction of an enemy’s key airfield. The cast includes Doni Alamsyah, Ario Bayu and Atiqah Hasiholan.

13 Assassins (Jûsan-nin no shikaku) World Cinema (Japan) 2010, 141 mins, 35mm)
Directed By: Takashi Miike
Cast: Kôji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada and Yûsuke Iseya
In feudal Japan, a group of unemployed samurai are enjoined to bring down a sadistic lord and prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into war. 13 ASSASSINS is a gritty, old-school samurai film that pulls no punches and isn’t shy about spilling blood.

She Deserved It (Sie hat es verdient)(Germany) 2010, 89 mins, Digital Betacam)
In German with English subtitles
Directed By: Thomas Stiller
Cast: Renate Delfs, Martin Feifel, Veronica Ferres
Susanne, a protected, spoiled girl, has a crush on one of her classmates. Linda, however, is jealous and comes up with a plan for revenge. Thomas Stiller’s film is based on the real story of young adults who, for no obvious reasons, turn into cold-blooded killers.

By Day and By Night (De dia y de noche) Latino Showcase (Mexico) 2010, 95 mins, 35mm)
In Spanish with English subtitles
Directed By: Alejandro Molina
Cast: Sandra Echeverria, Manuel Balbi, Marius Biegai, Richie Mestre
After kissing a stranger in a bar, Jenna wakes up the next day to discover a nasty lesion has appeared on her lip.

The Future (Germany) 2011, 91 mins)
Directed By: Miranda July
Cast: Miranda July, Hamish Linklater, David Warshofsky
Sophie and Jason live in a small apartment, have jobs they hate, and in one month they'll adopt a stray cat. He'll need around-the-clock care — he may die in six months, or it may take five years. Despite their good intentions, the couple is terrified of their looming loss of freedom, so they quit their jobs, and the internet, to pursue their dreams.

Royal Wedding

I'm taking a leap here and am assuming that actor and Swaziland native Richard E. Grant will be attending the wedding between Kate Middleton and Prince William on April 29. Grant was one of the few in attendance at the wedding between Camilla Parker-Bowles and Prince Charles in 2005.

Free Films for Fast Responders

The Global Film Initiative is offering films for schools to be shown during World Cinema Week 2011, April 11-15, but you must apply online by March 31.

The Chinese film "Dooman River" from Director Zhang Lu is one of the offerings. "Dooman River" takes us to rural China rural. GFI says, "The story revolves around 12-year-old Chang-ho, living with his grandfather and mute sister along the frozen river-border with North Korea. Although fraught with unemployment and other tensions, his community seems sympathetic toward the Korean refugees fleeing famine and misery; Chang-ho even bonds over soccer with one young border-crosser who comes scavenging food for a sibling. But he soon turns on his new friend as suspicions mount against the illegal immigrants and his sister reels from unexpected aggression, provoking a quandary over his loyalties in an exquisitely detailed story of compassion and strife across an uneasy geopolitical border."

Click here for full details and registration.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Indonesian Casting Call Girls

The New York Times has an interesting article on a controversial casting practice in Indonesia. Apparently Japanese porn stars, such as Sora Aoi, are being cast in Indonesian films to draw larger audiences. The public is paying top dollar to see these clothed actresses in hooror flicks.

Indonesia has one of the largest Muslim populations in Asia, and the government often takes a conservative stance on film industry issues. Obviously not all directors follow the practice.

Read the full story via the link below.

This Just in ... 3.29.11

This week’s DVDs. If we can’t watch ‘em in the theater, we’ll watch ‘em at home. Look for them at Amazon, Netlfix, RedBox, Blockbuster.

The Vanquished (I Vinti) (1953)
Anna-Maria Ferrero (Actor), Franco Interlenghi (Actor), Michelangelo Antonioni (Director) | Rated: Unrated | Format: DVD
Product DescriptionDirector Michelangelo Antonioni's unique triptych film features three murders, one taking place in Paris, another in Rome, and another in London. All of the perpetrators are affluent youths, each killing for his own dubious motive. In the France segment, a group of adolescents kill for money, even though they don't need it. In the London segment, a poet uncovers a woman's body and tries to profit from the discovery. And in the Italian segment, a student becomes caught up in a smuggling ring, with deadly results. Though each crime is investigated, the guilty are rarely singled out for their actions.

Silent Naruse
A five-film collection from Japanese director Mikio Naruse released by Criterion Collection. The collection includes “Flunky, Work Hard” (1931); “No Blood Relation” (1932); “Apart From You” (1933); “Every-Night Dreams” (1933); and “Street Without End” (1934).
Product DescriptionMikio Naruse is one of the most popular directors in the history of Japanese cinema, a crafter of heartrending melodramas often compared with the work of Yasujiro Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi. From the outset of his career, with his silent films of the early thirties, Naruse focused on characters, mostly women—geisha, housewives, waitresses—carrying on despite the compromises and disappointments of confined daily lives, a subject that would continue to fascinate him for the next three decades. Though he made two dozen silent films, only five are known to exist today; these works—poignant, brilliantly photographed and edited dramas all—are collected here, on DVD for the first time and featuring new scores by noted musicians Robin Holcomb and Wayne Horvitz.

Sgt. Frog: Season One
Directed by Jamie Marchi
Product DescriptionKeroro is Sergeant Frog - the leader of a platoon of warriors sent to conquer planet Earth. But when the amphibious invaders discovered how much humans enjoy dissecting their comrades, the troops were scattered, the mission was aborted, and Keroro was abandoned. Now, this once proud soldier spends more time wielding a vacuum than he does the weapons of war. It's a far cry from the glory of battle, but hey, at least he's got his own room. And though the invasion may have slowed to a hop, Sergeant Frog still occasionally yearns to overcome his karaoke addiction and reassemble his troops. Watch out world, the frogs are taking over. 26 episodes on 4 dvds.

Linebarrels of Iron: The Complete Series (Seasons 1, 2 and OVA) Directed by Caitlin Glass
Product DescriptionKouichi dreams of being a hero, but in reality, he’s a punching bag for every bully on the block. His life flatlines when the mysteriously naked Emi crash lands on his pitiful existence, thrusting Kouichi into the middle of an intergalactic showdown between rival races of self-regenerating Machinas. Through his death-bed partnership with the Linebarrel mecha, Kouichi gains the strength to stand up to his tormentors and crush the alien invasion force that’s determined to conquer Earth. There’s just one problem. All this newfound power and special attention from nearly-naked babes is turning Kouichi into a jerk. His friends can’t stand him, he makes his dream girl sick, and those aliens want to kill him extra dead! Kouichi may have the mechanized muscle to save the world, but he has much to learn about being a true “Hero of Justice”.

Evangelion: 1.11 You Are Not Alone
Directed by Hideaki Anno
Product DescriptionThe stunning rebuild of the anime masterpiece is now extended and enhanced with never before seen new animation and 266 visual and audio improvements. Tokyo-3 still stands after most of civilization was decimated in the Second Impact. Now the city endures the ceaseless onslaught of the deadly Angels, bizarre creatures bent on eradicating the human race. To combat this strange and ruthless enemy, the government agency NERV constructs a fleet of towering humanoid machines – the Evas – and Shinji Ikari is called into action, reluctantly taking his place at the controls of Eva Unit 01. Living a life of loneliness and questioning his existence, Shinji struggles to accept responsibility for mankind’s battle for survival in this visually striking rebuild of one of the most important anime of all time. Shinji will fight the Angels alongside the only person who might understand his plight – Rei Ayanami, the elusive and frail pilot of Eva Unit 00. In this film experience not to be missed, Shinji and Rei will struggle to learn a simple truth: when carrying the burden of humanity’s survival on your shoulders, you are not alone.

Evangelion: 2.22 You Can [Not] Advance
Directed by Mike McFarland, Hideaki Anno Product DescriptionThe landmark anime Evangelion evolves, reaching new heights of intensity in the feature film: Evangelion 2.22. In this explosive new story, brutal action and primal emotion clash as a group of young pilots maneuver their towering cyborg Eva Units into combat against a deadly and disturbing enemy. In the battle to prevent the apocalyptic Third Impact, Shinji and Rei were forced to carry humanity's hopes on their shoulders. Now, as the onslaught of the bizarre, monstrous Angels escalates, they find their burden shared by two new Eva pilots, the fiery Asuka and the mysterious Mari. In this thrilling experience for fans of giant robot destruction, the young pilots fight desperately to save mankind - and struggle to save themselves.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mexican Ariel Award nominees announced

"Abel", "Chicogrande" and "El infierno" (Hell) were nominated for Best Picture in the 2011 Premio Ariel (Ariel Awards) presented by the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences. "El inferno" received 14 nominations, "Chicogrande" received eight nominations and "Abel" received seven nominations.

The award ceremony will be May 7 at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

Best Director
Felipe Cazals, Chicogrande
Luis Estrada, El infierno (Hell)
Diego Luna, Abel

Best Actress
Karina Gidi, Abel
Mónica del Carmen, Año bisiesto (Leap Year)
Maricel Álvarez, Biutiful
Úrsula Pruneda, Las buenas hierbas (The Good Herbs)

Best Actor
Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Damián Alcázar, El infierno (Hell)
Demián Bichir, Hidalgo, la historia jamás contada (Hidalgo, the Untold Story)
Hansel Ramírez, La mitad del mundo (Half the World)

Best Supporting Actress
María Rojo, El infierno (Hell)
Carolina Politti, Hidalgo, la historia jamás contada (Hidalgo, the Untold Story)
Luisa Huertas, La mitad del mundo (Half the World)
Ofelia Medina, Las buenas hierbas (The Good Herbs)

Best Supporting Actor
Daniel Martínez, Chicogrande
Ernesto Gómez Cruz, El infierno (Hell)
Joaquín Cosio, El infierno (Hell)
Juan Ignacio Aranda, Hidalgo, la historia jamás contada (Hidalgo, the Untold Story)

Best Newcomer
Cristopher Ruiz-Esparza, Abel
Gerardo Ruiz-Esparza, Abel
Natan Machado Palombini, Alamar (To the Sea)Iván Rafael González, Chicogrande

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

'Carried Away' screening in Fort Worth

Fort Worth’s Tom Huckabee will present a screening of his film “Carried Away” at 7 p.m., Friday, March 25 at Photosphere Micro Gallery, 3023 Lackland Road, Fort Worth.

The semiautobiographical film tells the story of a Fort Worth man who returns from Hollywood to find his grandmother has been placed in a nursing home against her will. The young man decides to spring his granny and take her back to Los Angeles. Soon his family begins a cross-country chase to stop the two.

The film has a couple film festival awards to its credit and is a great local film.

If you’re interested in attending the “donations requested” showing, contact Hucakbee on Facebook. A director’s Q&A will follow.

Plus Tom’s a nice guy. Check it out.

Fifth Annual Asian Film Awards

South Korea won five awards at the Fifth Asian Film Awards, but the Thai film “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” was named Best Film at the March 21 awards ceremony in Hong Kong.

The Thai film bested “Aftershock” (Mainland China/Hong Kong), “Confessions” (Japan), “Let the Bullets Fly” (Mainland China/Hong Kong), “Peepli Live” (India) and “Poetry” (South Korea) in the annual competition.

Korea won Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Editing

The winners were
BEST DIRECTOR — LEE Chang-dong / POETRY (South Korea)
BEST ACTOR — HA Jung-woo / THE YELLOW SEA (South Korea)
BEST ACTRESS – XU Fan / AFTERSHOCK (Mainland China / Hong Kong)
BEST NEWCOMER – Mark CHAO You-Ting / MONGA (Taiwan)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Sammo HUNG Kam-po / IP MAN 2 (Hong Kong)
BEST SCREENPLAY – LEE Chang-dong / POETRY (South Korea)
BEST EDITING – NAM Na-young / I SAW THE DEVIL (South Korea)
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – Phil JONES, ZHANG Yan-ming / AFTERSHOCK (Mainland China/ Hong Kong)
BEST COSTUME DESIGNER – William CHANG Suk-ping / LET THE BULLETS FLY (Mainland China / Hong Kong)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This Just In ... New DVDs

This week’s DVDs. If we can’t watch ‘em in the theater, we’ll watch ‘em at home. Look for them at Amazon, Netlfix, RedBox, Blockbuster.
The Perfume of the Lady in Black (Il Profumo della Signora in Nero) – 1974
Directed by Francesco Barilli
Starring:  Mimsy Farmer, Maurizio Bonuglia
Promotional Notes: Mimsy Farmer portrays Sylvia, a chemist who begins to suffer from strange visions. She sees a mysterious woman in black applying perfume in a mirror, strangers following her everywhere she goes, and a ghostly little girl reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, who may be Sylvia herself as a child. It turns out that Sylvia stabbed her mother's sexually abusive boyfriend to death long ago, and now her visions are driving her to madness and cleaver-murders. The other possibility, however, is that literally all of Sylvia's friends are Satanists conspiring to cause her suicide. This is a remarkable film, weaving reality, fantasy and memory into an almost seamless fabric to dizzying and poetic effect.
Buy or rent it:
Filmies says: “Who doesn’t love a good cleaver-weilding chemist movie?”
Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne: The Complete Series (Classic)
Directed by Christopher Bevins
Funimation: Anime
Promotional Notes: Rin Asogi is an immortal private detective with a thirst for vodka and a talent for attracting things that go bump in the night. In a series of nightmarish vignettes spanning sixty-five years, Rin’s lush body is sadistically pierced, blown up, and mulched to a bloody pulp. The fiend behind her tortured existence is Apos, an eternal being obsessed with sacrificing Rin to Yggdrasil, the tree of all life. While Rin struggles to unravel the secrets of her endless agony, Apos lurks in the shadows, eager to tear into her ripe body and devour the memories of her countless lives. Rin’s no stranger to the realm of the dead, but her next visit could last forever.
Buy or rent it:
Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple - Season Two
Directed by Monica Rial
Funimation: Anime
Promotional Notes: Kenichi’s a lot tougher than he used to be – living in a dojo with six martial arts masters will do that to you. But thanks to his reputation as a skilled fighter, the guy’s got more problems than ever.
The goons in Ragnarok are gunning for him in a big way, especially the gang’s leaders: the Eight Fists, a dangerously unpredictable crew known to play dirty. Luckily, Kenichi’s got allies like Miu by his side. She’s as tough as she is hot, and even if he still hasn’t scored with the blonde brawler, her very presence makes Kenichi train harder to be the best. Yeah, he’s come a long way – but Kenichi’s fight to be the mightiest disciple isn’t over yet.
Buy or rent it:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dubai Festival Focuses on German Film & Financing

The Dubai International Film Festival, slated for Dec. 7-14, will focus on German film providing a valuable opportunity for producers.

In addition to showcasing contemporary German cinema and talent, the In Focus: Germany presentation will also introduce German producers, distributors, sales agents, studios, scouts, festivals and development agencies to their counterparts in Dubai and the wider Arab world.

“German organizations, producers and investors from The World Cinema Fund to ZDF/Arte have long supported filmmakers from around the Arab world through co-productions, funding, broadcast and knowledge sharing, and this year’s DIFF focus is both a recognition of their valuable support and an effort to boost these collaborations,” said DIFF Managing Director Shivani Pandya said in a release.

Read the full release here.

Bela Tarr's Win at Berlinale Comes with Strings

Following his win a the Berlin International Film Festival, Hungarian Director Bela Tarr reportedly told a German newspaper, "The government hates intellectuals because they are liberal and oppositional. It has insulted us as traitors."

Days later her recanted in the Hungarian media, only to change his tune again several days later.

Tarr and other artists have accused Prime Minister Viktor Orban of forcing film production companies into bankruptcy and Cultural Warfare.

Tarr's film "The Turin Horse" won the Silver Bear at the Berlin fest, and later Hungarian film distributor MOKEP-Pannonia canceled plans to distribute the film.

Read more here.

Del Toro Debuts Dreamworks Trailers

Mexican Director Guillermo del Toro debuted the trailers for his first films as a creative consultant for Dreamworks. The animated films "Kung Fu Panda 2" and "Puss in Boots" will hit theaters this year.

"Kung Fu Panda 2" features the return of comedian Jack Black in the title role and premieres May 26. "Puss in Boots" extends the "Shrek" franchise Nov. 4 and stars Antonio Banderas, reprising his role as Puss.

Watch the trailers: "Kung Fu Panda 2" and "Puss in Boots."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hungarian Film Fest gets go ahead

The Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary (MMKA) announced that Hungarian Film Week is now slated for May 5-8.

The dates for the troubled film festival have moved several times, but the MMKA appears to have gotten a handle on the event. Organizers are now accepting and reviewing submissions. An announcement on showcase films is expected closer to the event.

The details are spelled out in the non-English version of the festival site.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the story earlier this week.

Mexican film ban overturned

A Mexican appeals court ruled that the governnment's decision to pull a documentary film from theaters violates freedom of information.

The film "Presumed Guilty," which became Mexico's all-time grossing documentary, details the wrongful conviction of Antonio Zuniga. But the Mexican government sought it's removal because one of the people featured in the film did not give his consent to use trial footage. The producers said the public venue did not require permission.

Human rights groups and some Mexican legislators decried the ban. Read more about the case in this article from The Guardian.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mexican Documentary Censored

The popular Mexican documentary "Presumed Guilty" is being forced out of theaters by the Mexican government. The film covers the 2005 murder trial of Antonio Zuniga, whose conviction was later overturned.

The government claims producers did not receive permission to use footage of an individual from the trial. But the producers say the footage was filmed during a public portion of the trial.

Human rights activists and Mexican legislators are decrying the films censorship.

Read more in this Hollywood Reporter article.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Give Indonesian Film A Chance

Over the last couple of weeks the Indonesian film industry and government have been feuding over film subsidies.

I don't understand the ins and outs -- nor for that matter the players -- of the local market.
The Jakarta Globe put together a series looking at the issue, film history and reader feedback.

It gave me a little more understanding and also helped me find a couple more films to research.

Give Indonesia Films a Chance

Indonesian Films That Give Reel Satisfaction

Subsidies from Government

Hollywood Film Ban Debate

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pozsgai Film in Dallas

The Hungarian Multicultural Center in Dallas will host Director Zsolt Pozsgai's "The Earth's Lover" at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, March 19.

Pozsgai is a Europa Prize winning playwright, theatre and film director. He was born in 1960, Pecs, Hungary. "The Earth's Lover" is about the maker of world-famous porcelain of Pecs, the inventor of eosin, Vilmos Zsolnay. It's a story from Hungary which takes place at the end of the 19th century.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Indonesian Film Industry & Government at Odds Over Funding

The Indonesian film industry and the Indonesian government are at odds over a program in which the government would provide funding for films that "instill love to the nation, raise patriotism and national defense."

Director Joko Anwar, told the Jakarta Globe, "If the ministry only subsidizes films that improve patriotism, it would actually just foster the creation of bad patriotic movies. Filmmakers will try to meet the criteria needed to get the subsidy instead of focusing their creative efforts on producing a quality film."

Click here to read more from the article.