Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On Self Distribution from Guest Blogger Peter Belsito

After discussion with various in-the-know friends and pros, the following is the UNIVERSAL UNANIMOUS recommendation for what is needed for taking out 'your film'. For a low fee you have here many options on DIY distribution ('do it yourself' strategies) and, from what I gather at this moment, they are the cutting edge. The expert-advisors in DIY must watch the film and talk to you to decide if it fits their plan. So it is not guaranteed that you are 'in there' but it is well worth the try as you will learn more with each encounter. If you do not land with a particular expert-advisor, there are other strategies ( is one which filmmakers I know love, and they are already cooperating with the suggestion below). For you to consider joining with "the one below, Orly Ravid and Jeffrey Winter's new company, you must go on their website AND READ THROUGH IT COMPLETELY, THOROUGHLY before deciding. But it is my strong recommend for you at this point if you are considering DIY distribution as a strategy. The website is:

The Collaborative is Orly and Jeffrey's most exciting, new brilliantly conceived business and it is non profit. The new website (still developing but up and running) has dozens of films already participating. It is a one stop shop for filmmakers seeking to do their own distribution.  Everything is covered. I cannot praise it highly enough and the principals are at the cutting edge of the new DIY movement for films where filmmakers must / seek to control their own distribution. This is an important new and developing element in our world. Again, the name of the founder you will talk to is Orly Ravid. She has worked in many capacities as an executive and a film buyer for various distributors from both here and Europe and, like us at SydneysBuzz, has a completely international outlook and view. You'll love her. Her partners are very high level wonderful people. Go on the website or email


I have been following the progress of DIY'er Scott Bushaw and his very funny 'From Hollywood to Hollywood'. In the idiot buddy road movie comedy tradition of 'Dumb and Dumber' and 'Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay' this one has a neat website, great poster, funny trailer and a sweet heart. You can also shop very easily and buy the film and download from the site. I'd like to see more indies develop their marketing pitch to this degree.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Hollywood Reporter and Variety

Nikki Finke reports that The Hollywood Reporter Publisher Mika Is Officially Out.  New CEO Richard Beckman just informed the staff about Eric Mika.  Variety online is no longer free, nor is Screen Daily.  Quick!  Send me to IndieWire for news!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cannes 2010 Cinefondation Announces its Lineup

Cannes's 6th Cinefondation Atelier has a lineup of directors which this year includes more known auteurs than previously. It has also joined with Mexico's Expresion den Corto for a summer residence program in Guanajuato, Mexico. Both programs include a dozen of the best young filmmakers in the world, offering them a platform designed to propel their careers with master's classes, workshops and meetings with public and private organizaitons to help obtain financing for their film projects.

The Cannes lineup of 15 films this year includes 4 films by first time directors one of whom is a woman and 2 Latino filmmakers.

Debuting directors:

Taiwan based former actress Show-Chun Lee from France, a protege of Claude Miller with Shanghai-Belleville

Karoly Ujj Meszaros from Hungary with Liza, the Fox-Fairy, a comedic serial killer nurse romp

Diego Quemada-Diez from Mexico with La Jaula de oro

Ruben Sierra Salles from Venezuela with Lucia

A third Latino filmmaker with his sophmore film is Argentina's Pablo Fendrik with The Ardor which was also presented in the Berlin CoProduction market about a minor Chinese mobster in Buenos Aires

Out of 15 films a total of 2 (13%) are by women including debuting Show-Chun Lee's Shanghai-Belleville and

The second film by Holland's Urszula Antoniak (Nothing Personal) Code Blue, about a nurse who practices euthanasia.  (Nurses seem to be becoming a trend.)

Shinji Aoyama's Decadent Sisters, winner of the Pusan Award and $20,000 at the Pusan Promotion Plan 2009 is the director's 15th feature. The subject is siblings who survive as prostitutes in Tokyo after WWII.

Dream and Silence is about spirituality in a postmodern age according to director Jaime Rosales whose 4th feature this is.

Les Etoiles de Sidi Moumen, also the 4th film by the leading Moroccan director of his generation -- Nabil Ayouch -- is based on the novel by Mahi Binebine about Casablanca's 2003 suicide bombings.

Cambodian director Rithy Panh (The Sea Wall) presents Gibier d'elevage.

Indonesia's Edwin, whose 2008 debut, Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly won a Fipresci Rotterdam fest award is presenting Postcards from the Zoo.

Bulgaria's Javor Gardel, who made B.O. hit Zift and was recognized as a "producer on the move" last Cannes by EFP presents his second film, Zincograph.

Turkey's Huseyin Karabey, helmer of Gitmek, My Marlon and Brando, a Tribeca best director winner has Come to My Voice.

Iran's Massoud Bakhshi ("Teheran Has No More Pomegranates") is attending with Khorramshahr.

Circles comes from Serbia's Sdran Golubovic, director of the Berlinale Forum's The Trap.

In 2009 the Festival de Cannes's various sections featured 10 feature films and two shorts by "alumni" of the Cinéfondation:

Official Selection:
Face by Tsai Ming-Liang (Atelier 2007)
Spring Fever by Lou Ye in Competition, took part in the 2008 Atelier for his next project.

Un Certain Regard:

Los viajes del viento by Ciro Guerra (Atelier 2007
Skazka pro temnotu aka Tale in the Darkness by Nikolay Khomeriki (2nd prize Cinéfondation Selection 2005)Independencia by Raya Martin (Résidence of the Cinéfondation (2005/2006) 
Manila (co-direction by Raya Martin with Adolfo Alix Jr.
Police, Adjective by Corneliu Porumboiu (2nd prize Cinéfondation Selection 2004, Résidence 2005, Caméra d'Or 2006)
Morrer como un homen aka To Die Like a Man by João Pedro Rodrigues (Atelier 2007)
Eyes Wide Open by Haim Tabakman (Cinéfondation Selection 2003 and 2004)

Special Screening:
No meu Lugar aka Eye of the Storm by Eduardo Valente (1st prize Cinéfondation Selection 2002, Résidence 2005)

Directors' Fortnight:
Navidad by Sebastian Lelio Campos (Résidence of the Cinéfondation (2006/2007)

Critics' Week:
The Ordinary People by Vladimir Perisic (Cinéfondation Selection 2003, Résidence 2004)

Together (short film) by Eicke Bettinga (Cinéfondation Selection 2002)
C'est gratuit pour les filles (short film) by Claire Burger (2nd prize Cinéfondation Selection 2008)

Rotterdam Tiger Awards 2010:
The VPRO Tiger Awards, given last February,to Agua fría de mar by Paz Fábrega from Costa Rica, Mundane History by Anocha Suwichakornpong from Thailand and Alamar by Mexican director Pedro González-Rubio.

Two of these three filmmakers were spotted by the Cinéfondation. Paz Fabrega has attended the 19th session of the Residence where she has developed Todos Nosotros, her second feature film project.

Anocha Suwichakornpong had presented her short film Graceland at the Cinéfondation Selection in 2006.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gamila Ylstra new Director Binger Filmlab

The international Amsterdam-based lab for writers, directors and producers has a new general director. Gamila Ylstra has worked the last 20 years in key positions in the Dutch film world: Editor in Chief for public broadcaster NPS Television, director of tax based investment company FINE B.V. and 6 years as head of the Film Division of the Dutch Ministry of Culture.
Ido Abrams' departure in May 0-10, of and his taking the reins of the eye Film Institute Netherlands.

Ate de Jong – director and producer – will act as interim director in the intervening months.

Gamila Ylstra (51), studied Cultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam and Camera & Directing at the Film academy in Tokyo. After making documentaries following her studies she moved in 1990 to the Dutch Ministry of Culture (OCW) where she became Head of Film until 1997. In 1998 Ylstra was asked by the Finance Ministry to lead the introduction of new policies to stimulate the Dutch film infrastructure. Then from 1999 to 2004 Ylstra was managing director of FINE BV a tax based finance entity co-investing in commercial films for the Dutch film industry. In 2004 she became Editor in Chief for public broadcaster NPS Television.

For more information:
Daan Gielis
Binger Filmlab / +31 20 5309630

Friday, March 26, 2010

Venice International Film Festival Adds a New Category With Award

This goes against the grain of the population's reduced attention spans, but adds something new in the festival world.  The 67th Venice Film Festival's (September 1-11, 2010) Horizontal Section, the "Orizzonti", is creating four new awards to "extra-format" works which means Very Long Feature Films will receive a special award for its category, as well as three other new awards for long feature, short feature and medium feature formats.

They will also award John Woo with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.

The 67th Festival’s advisors for the various regions of the world are: Paolo Bertolin (South Korea/South-east Asia); Dora Bouchoucha (Africa and Arab world); Chen Zhiheng (China); Cecilia Cossio (India); Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan (USA); Fabio Fumagalli (Benelux, Portugal, Switzerland); Babak Karimi (Iran); Donald Ranvaud, Luciano Barisone (Central and South America); Alëna Shumakova (Russia and former USSR countries); and Tomita Mikiko (Japan).And the Venice Film Festival’s Selection Committee has continue to operate in 2010 which will include: Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan, Giorgio De Vincenti, Marie-Pierre Duhamel, Antonella Gaeta and Alberto Pezzotta. Alongside them will be Enrico Magrelli as the Director’s advisor.

With them will be the two researchers for the Orizzonti section: Cecilia Alemani and Sergio Fant.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cannes Countdown: 24 Days to Go: Hyde Park

Blue Valentine which premiered in Sundance is showing in Un Certain Regard.

Its US distribution deal made in Sundance with The Weinstein Co. stirred up lots of interest.  But of greater interest is the international sales agent who has already sold in in Italy to CDI, the Middle East to Front Row and Australia to Palace.

Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment's commitment to the global film industry, to develop, finance and produce cross-cultural commercial films, continues to grow in Asia and the Middle East with the appointment of Jason Mirch to head its Abu Dhabi office Imagenation and Yeo Chang in Singapore to manage operations of Hyde Park Imagenation Singapore, along with finding and developing projects in Asia. Hyde Park Imagenation aims to create up to 20 features that will “open a window on Middle Eastern and Asian culture, enabling audiences around the world to look in and appreciate the region’s rich and increasingly dynamic heritage” states Imagenation Abu Dhabi COO Stefan Brunner.  Mirch and Chang will work alongside Hyde Park International president Mimi Steinbauer, Hyde Park executive vice-president Patrick Aiello, and Imagenation Abu Dhabi COO Stefan Brunner.

Economic Fallout Hits Handmade Films and Continues to Drop on MGM

Guy Collins has resigned from Hand Made Films International and the sales team has been cut in half.  Film projects still remain on its slate including the remake of The Long Good Friday and children’s film Eloise In ParisMichael Ryan has also left.  Former AFM president, Ryan was the M in J&M Entertainment, one of London’s most respected sales outfits in the 1990s the training ground for Summit Entertainment boss Patrick Wachsberger. and acquisition executive Karen Roberts; its dissolution disappointed the entire industry.

Handmade was founded by Beatle George Harrison in that starry moment in 1979 when British films hit America with Stephen Frears' debut film My Beautiful Laundrette (not a Hand Made Film, but the first British import), followed by their great films, John MacKenzie's The Long Good Friday, Terry Jones' Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Neil Jordan's Mona Lisa (1986), Bruce Robinson's Withnail and I, Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits (1981) up to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in 1997. Patrick Meehan, the former manager of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, re-launched the company 3 1/2 years ago. Stay tuned in the next month for more business decisions to be taken by the new interim CEO Anthony Fraser.

Further fallout regarding MGM as reported by Screen Daily: "Lionsgate and Access Industries are understood to have made offers for the debt-ridden studio, with Time Warner also known to be interested. There has been wide speculation that none of the bids will reach $2bn.  MGM’s 4,000-strong library may not be the greenest in the business however there are gems in the mix. The studio, which is currently run by a consortium, owns the James Bond and Hobbit franchises."

Women and the New Disney - from Cinematical Blog

Straight  from the Cinematical blog, too good to ignore in my quest for parity.  Even Disney and Warner Bros. are taking [a small] part in the conversation.  Where do women belong?  Girls on Film: Supergirl Battles the Princesses by Monika Bartyzel Mar 22nd 2010.  Thank you Monika!

After being the die-hard backbone to Disney's media wealth, the Princesses are getting thrown into Baby's dance-free corner. Sure, the Mouse House is a company centered around the little guy with the big ears, but Mickey's media presence doesn't come close to that of the princesses, with their towers, flowing locks, and plentiful product lines. Nevertheless, as we learned earlier this month, Disney is turning their back on the whimsical girls and their wild tresses. They have decided that Rapunzel isn't a boy-friendly title, and have changed it to Tangled to help lure the boys in. The reasoning? The Princess and the Frog only made a paltry $160 million over their production budget because the word "princess" turned the boys away from all that squicky girl stuff.

Head of Disney Animation Studios Ed Catmull said: "We did not want to be put in a box. Some people might assume it's a fairy tale for girls when it's not. We make movies to be appreciated and loved by everybody." You can put lipstick on a... you get the hint. Tangled, Rapunzel, whatever it's titled, the boys will see the royal dude, his love, and all those lovey dovey eyes. A change in title won't magically mask that. (And that's ignoring the enforcement of girl-centric media as not boy-friendly, or the fact that tangled hair isn't typically a boy attention-getter anyway.)

On the heels of this rather ridiculous news, what could another studio do to compete? By grabbing the super-strength of Supergirl, that's what.

Variety reports that Warner Bros. is going use Supergirl as a commercial alternative to Disney's popular princess line. The studio is teaming with JCPenney to start a brand of clothing that "prominently features the S-shield" on "T-shirts, dresses, dancewear, and other apparel." Olympic medalist Nastia Liukin will be the face of the brand, while also pushing "a message of empowerment." To top that off, she's also got a pretty sweet side-deal: the studio has just launched a "Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup" which will honor rising gymnast stars.

Surprisingly, this news isn't being matched with any cinematic announcements. Warner Bros. is starting with the marketing, rather than the movie, even if rumors were swirling regarding a reboot with Taylor Swift back in December. I, however, don't think this means that we won't get one. Rather, the studio will probably get the girl-power vibe in full swing and create a loyal fandom for a future movie. I've no doubt that if the line takes off and tykes sport the big S, Supergirl will fly to the big screen in no time, the sisterly companion to Spider-Man's youthful reboot, the family fare alternative to flicks like Iron Man.

For adults, it's a bit of a bummer. If there's one superhero who could use a little darker, adult reimagining, it's the oft-sidelined Supergirl. Created in 1959, she's always flown around the outskirts of comic fandom, even getting killed in the '80s so that Supes could be the sole survivor of Krypton. Supergirl doesn't have much more than a shitty movie and a recent porn-star look that dares to dress her in a belt for a skirt and a white cut-off tee (though she has received a bit more love on Smallville.) I can't help but wish that Christopher Nolan would give her, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the super ladies more worthy backstory and depth -- something to wipe the abysmal Catwoman stigma off for good -- and finally allow Supergirl to become Superwoman ... but I digress.

I think this is a pretty brilliant move for Warner Bros. -- to embrace the young girl who wants more than towers and steeds, to put out a message that if the main source of kids' fare won't champion girl power, they'll step up to the plate instead. As Disney starts to alienate its bread and butter, dividing boys and girls and shrouding the pull of the princesses, we've got a strong girl to fill the void. Why have princesses when you can have a super girl? It challenges the Mouse House whilst also tapping into the increasing fan voice of young women. Don't like the fact that Twilight is resulting in a Twi-hard infestation at Comic Cons? How about a horde of Supergirl followers instead? It's a great way to bridge girl and boy comic fandoms, to teach youngin's that heroes aren't only boys, and possibly create a future moviegoing public that won't be so boy/girl secular.

At the same time, I realize that this is a very, very small step. This isn't even a widespread marketing scheme; it's solely focused on one department store. The line has to do well and expand before this will mean anything more to the young, female moviegoing public. Unless, of course, this is just step one in a plan to slowly work towards Supergirl on the screen, which seems to be the case. I've heard rumors from WB headquarters that Supergirl is going to make her mark on a DTV release later this year, and some of her Justice League episodes might end up on the DVD as well.

I find myself hoping that this is the spur that kicks Disney's ass into the new millennium. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why Disney isn't as successful as Pixar when it comes to children's stories. One is addicted to an antiquated habit of storytelling while the other strives for reality in its fantasy. Instead of blaming the boys and alienating girls, it's time the Mouse House took responsibility for their fairy tale romance obsession and strove for new storylines and, more importantly, storytelling. Create some new superheroes, and girls and boys who don't live in fairy tales. We could always use more kids like Carl and Ellie.

And even if Disney keeps those fairy tale blinders on, let's hope Warner Bros. ignites a new horde of superheroines and alternatives for the younger crowd. Maybe the notion that girls aren't so different than boys will finally make an impact, as well as the idea that girls want more than just princesses... That you can have a girl on-screen who doesn't need a prince to rescue her from a tower. That a girl is not doomed if she happens to have split ends. That she can fight without it all coming down to a boy or prince. Supergirl can allow for new themes to enter the playing field, and it's high time she kicks Hollywood into girl-gear.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Guadalajara FF - Producers Network: Global Film Initiative

The Producers Network today and tomorrow accept seasoned producers to meet at roundtables hosted by such industry luminaries as Julie Bergeron who is responsible for exporting this version of the PN from the Cannes Market, Clauia Landsberger who served 8 years as head of European Film Promotion, continues to head up Holland Film and is on the Berlinale selection committee, Alfredo Calvino head of the Mexican based Latinofusion who is awarding US$60,000 to filmmakers in various competitions, Mexican line producer Carlos TaiboHugo Villa, and Strategic Partners' Jan Miller.   Each in turn hosts an expert to discuss specific subjects with the participants around a table.

My choice on day one was Carlos Taibo's hosted table for Susan Weeks of the Global Film Initiative which Susan initially founded with Noah Cowan to promote cross-cultural understanding through the medium of cinema. Their model was based on the Hubert Bals Fund and it was mentored by Simon Field who was then head of the Rotterdam Film Festival where it was launched in January 2002. 

Privately funded, this non-profit organization gives small grants of $10,000 two times a year toward production of films from countries with little or no visibility in the U.S.  Of some 80 applicants, 5 to 7 receive the grants which are awarded at script but materially given out at the rushes of the film.  This week evalutations are being made.  The next round will be in June.

Awards are made to filmmakers whose work exhibits artistic excellence, authentic self-representation and accomplished storytelling. The granting program furthers the Initiative's mission of contributing to the development of local film industries while offering audiences a variety of cultural perspectives on daily life around the world. Monies received through the Initiative's granting program are used to support completion of film production, and to subsidize post-production costs, such as laboratory and sound mixing fees and access to modern editing systems.

The Global Film Initiative accepts grant applications from countries in the following regions: Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Asia (excluding Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan), and Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand).  One success story occurred in 2003 or 2004 when a woman Angola filmmaker, Maria João Ganga, was awarded the grant which became the first film out of Angola in 8 years after 20 years of civil war.  The grant so impressed the government that it funded the rest of the film Hollow.

Mexico is on the award list because, like all Latino films in the US, there are not enought films made frequently enough to create a theatrical audience.  And audience building, along with distribution, are two key points fostered by Global, who also acquires about 10 film a year. 

The films play in 35 to 40 cities in the US including colleges, creating an audience awareness and accompanied by a strong educational component for high schools.  Whereas 40 years ago there were film societies in every college and practically every city had an art house theater, today there is virtually no business in "subtitled" films theatrically. 

The Traveling Series ensures that the best of developing world cinema is available on screens throughout the United States and the provinces of English speaking Canada, with a particular focus on films in languages other than English. Ten films that represent the diversity and excellence of cinema from the developing world are chosen from the Initiative’s Granting and Acquisitions programs by the Initiative, in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA). MoMA launched the program in an annual series (Global Lens) in New York City, November 2003 and the films go to 35 to 40 major cultural institutions each year. Partners have been invited to participate based on their demonstrated excellence in community outreach, commitment to broad educational programming and regional balance now include the year round Puerto Rico Film Society and Asia Society which shows Asian films in Manila, Mumbai, Cairo.  They are the only subtitled films seen on Virgin Airlines as well.

Being based in San Francisco, Global has constant access to the newest technological (digital) distribution schemes and with its aggregation of 80 films it has some leverage and can influence digital exhibition whereas with the current state of digital exhibition, other such entities pay filmmakers $200 or $300 as a flat rate to allow films to be downloaded or streamed with a click and there is no accounting for such clicks if it is not VOD.  Their fair hands-on dealing with digital exhibition creates an environment where the filmmaker will hopefully sign on for the next film as well.

When the Global Film Initiative takes on distribution and a film perfoms so exceptionally well in its premier festival showings, the door is left open for the filmmaker to buy the film back should there be an offer made by a  larger distribution entity to take on the film. And when they do acquire a film, they pay a minumum guarantee upfront and negotiate fair percentages for licensing to theatrical, TV, home video and digital markets. 

They do their own dvd distribution now and they do not fund animation or documentaries.

Global's education program is free to high school students and comes with advice on marketing, lesson plans, maps, historical background, director's notes, and notes regarding themes, music, camera and aesthetics.  The flagship program was Moma and it began with the Palestinian film Ticket to Jerusalem

The first questions after the film are What do you remember and why.  The students proved to be totally engaged.  Even the shy student who could speak Arabic could contribute when the question was asked if the subtitles failed to tell something that only a speaker of Arabic could understand.

The college market has so collapsed since it fostered "subtitled" films 40 years ago that building it up is done college by college, and department by department.

The Education Program of The Global Film Initiative presents full-length feature films from around the world, in specially-designed programs that encourage students to gain a deeper understanding of different cultural points of view, understnding what matters most to peoplem, how they deal with conflict, suffering, loss, being uprooted from homelands, etc.   From the opening scenes of these films, students are transported to the outskirts of Cape Town, the turbulent heart of Tehran and the hauntingly beautiful beaches of Andaman & Nicobar, just after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Within their cultural contexts, this year’s films investigate universal and unique themes:

Masquerades (Algeria) A young bride is caught in an unusual love-triangle that pits her dreams of a storybook wedding against the absurd wishes of her family.

My Tehran for Sale (Iran) Amidst personal angst and political unrest, a poet tries to break free of her conservative surroundings and leave the only home she’s ever known.

Ocean of an Old Man (India) An elderly schoolteacher, obsessed with the loss of his students to a natural disaster, struggles to cope with his loss and loneliness.

Shirley Adams (South Africa) A resilient single mother strives to create a better life after her teenage son falls victim to gang violence, and loses his ability to walk.

Adrift (Vietnam)
Becloud aka Vaho (Mexico)
Gods aka Dioses (Brazil)
Leo's Room (Uruguay)
Ordinary People (Serbia)
The Shaft (China)

The Lesson Plans and Discussion Guides that accompany most films provide standards-based, structured learning that supports core programs in the high school curriculum. If you would like to download any of their educational materials (Teaching Guides, Discussion Guides, Subtitles, Presenter Guides) click here to log-in.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Guadalajara Film Festival (aka FICG) Celebrates 25 Years

This year's Guadalajara Film Festival (FICG - Festival International de Cine Guadalajara) has so many events, sections and sidebars that one barely knows where to begin. Established in 1986 it now has an attendence of about 66,000 with industry attendence at about 3,000 all of whom are interested in interacting with one another and with filmmakers in an extremely friendly upbeat environment.  Its festival has a competition for Mexican and Iberoamerican fiction, docs and shorts, French  features with a focus on Agnes Varda, animation, alternative, childrens, and of course gala sections.  It has a film market, numerous panels and has incorporated several key international initiatives.

About my ever active Women Directors' TallyOf 160 new features at the festival, 27 are by women, equalling 16%.   Those women are the ones who are currently playing the most important festivals: Paz Fabrega, Natalia Smirnoff, Florence Jaugey, Maria Novaro, Renate Costa, Urszula Antoniak, Elizabeth Chi Vasarhelyi, the ones not yet listed in IMDb: Luciana Burlamaqui nor is her film On the Edge of Light and Shadow a doc about two now ex con rappers over 7 years in Carandiru, the worst prison in Brazilnow closed down, Rosana Matecki and Story of a Day, Regina Alvarez, Ana Rosa, Ina Gomez Concheiro; new comersPettina Perut, Maya Da-Rin, Adriana Camacho Torres, Andrea Borbolla, Viviana Garcia Besne, Daniela Ludlow, Lilian Liberman, Julia Solomonoff, Elisabet Cabeza, Ana Perez y Marta ArribasDiana Fabianova, and veterans: Jessica Hausner, Claire Denis, Barbara Kopple, Isabel Coixet.
1. Guadalajara's 8th Film Market (with the requisite film library) hosts the European Film Promotion umbrella representing all participating European films as well as EFP's huge membership of 30 European institutions. A catalogue of recent European films screening in Guadalajara, is online on EFP's website. Representatives from each international sales company are all here personally.

One of the 11 films supported by EFP is Autlook's documentary EPISODE III - ENJOY POVERTY by director Renzo Martens from The Netherlands and Belgium, an investigation of the emotional and economic value of Africa's most lucrative export: filmed poverty. Deep in the interiors of the Congo, Dutch artist Renzo Martens single-handedly undertakes an epic journey and launches an emancipatory program that helps the poor become aware of what is their primary capital resource: Poverty.  Autlook deserves first place here for its slate of political documentaries, including Gonzalo Arijon's doc which so impressed me in its premier at Mar Del Plata, Eyes Wide Open, a view of Latin America's democracies today.  I invite the reader to my December blog on the subject of Latin America. 

Others include:
Charivari Films (France)
77 Doronship by Pablo Aguero, France, Argentina 2009

Coach14 (France)
Police, Adjective (Politist, Adjectiv) by Corneliu Porumboiu, Romania 2009

Films Boutique (Germany)
She, A Chinese by Xiaolu Guo, UK, China 2009

Jinga Pictures (UK)
Only When I Dance by Beadie Finzi, UK, France, The Netherlands

m-appeal (Germany)
Lost Times (Utolsó Idök) by Àron Mátyássy, Hungary 2009
New York Memories by Rosa von Praunheim, Germany 2010

Media Luna (Germany)
Dirty Mind by Pieter van Hees, Belgium 2009

Oberon Cinematografica (Spain)
Masks (Màscares) by Elisabeth Cabeza & Esteve Riambau, Spain 2009

UMedia (France)
Cuchillo de Palo (108) by Renate Costa, Spain 2010

Wide Management (France)
Two In The Wave (Les deux de la Vague) by Emmanuel Laurent , France 2010

3. Talent Campus from the Berlinale.  The second edition of the Talent Campus Guadalajara for up-and-coming filmmakers and professionals from Central America and the Caribbean is hotsting a brand new hands-on training programme for film critics, the Talent Press.  The Goethe Institut is also a backer.

4. Iberoamerican Co-Production Market.  In an effort to contribute to the development of the Mexican and Ibero-American film industry producers of 25 projects in development are set up in one-on-one meetings with potential co-producers, buyers and international sales agents and  international financing funds including the Fonds Sud, the French fund devoted to support the production of films from developing countries.,

5. Producers Network from Cannes.  For the fourth year, Cannes and Guadaljara have cooperated in creating thematic roundtables to discuss issues relevant to the seasoned producers invited to attend.

6. Iberoamercan Crossing Borders.  To encourage films to circulate beyond their own countries, producers pitch and show their films to the industry professionals who will either represent the films internationally, distribute them in their territories or plan for future projects from the producers, directors or other talents.

7. Honoring France and an homage to Agnes Varda

8. Honoring Mexican actress Maria Rojo and actor Joaquin Pardave

9. Honoring Matt Dillon who is giving a masters class

10. Latinofusión Distribution Award to the Best Iberoamerican Fiction Feature Film and the Best Mexican Fiction Feature Film grants US$20,000 each as an advance for the international representation rights to the films. This award is in addition to the Latinofusión Award granted to the producers of the winning film in Guadalajara Construye which add up to a total of US$60,000.

11. Cinema en Construya (works in progress) for films, which once filmed find difficulties during their post-production stage and later on—while trying to guarantee theatrical release— is made of a maximum of 6 productions from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean region (including Colombia).  Accredited professionals —producers, distributors, sales agents, service companies, funds and festivals— watch them with an eye toward supporting the completion of projects and their subsequent exhibition.  Documnentaries are included.

Where do we begin?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

International Women's Day: Women in Berlin

Until women reach a 50-50 parity with men directors, my mission continues to count the women directors in upcoming and recent film festivals (and an occasional informal glance at what’s selling in the markets). Women’s films in Berlin reflect women’s place in the world both in content and in the numbers of women represented as directors, producers, writers, etc. John Cooper of Sundance stresses the increasing and possibly 50-50 parity of women producers, but I am looking at the directors. As March is Women’s History Month (and all the other months are Men’s History Month according to Gloria Steinem’s L.A. Times Article of March 4, 2010) this blog is in honor of all women everywhere.

Congratulations to Kathryn Bigelow for winning the Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture.  LA Times puts into perspective the fact that the Best Director Oscar went to Kathryn Bigelow and that in the world of directors "...Although successful female directors appear to have gained higher profiles of late, the actual percentage of top films directed by women has remained static for 25 years at 7% to 9%, according to an annual study of women writers, directors, and producers of the 250 top-grossing films of the year by the Center for the Study of Women in Film and Television at San Diego State University.  'We're running in place. There's been no progress since 1987', said Martha Lauzen, the center's executive director.

I have learned much during this festival cycle of Sundance, Rotterdam and Berlin from the lesbian filmmaking community. The lesbian community regards cinema from a historical point of view and their films, as I learned in The Owls (which stands for Older, Wiser Lesbians) are made (and seen) in the historical perspective of speaking up, and progressing from being ghettoized and to becoming mainstream…a progression applauded in The Kids Are All Right, one of the most acclaimed films both in its Sundance premiere and here in Berlin. The Owls’ broken narrative sheds illuminating light on the broad spectrum of lesbian “types” from femme to transmale as opposed to butch, etc. I think this inner reflection is definitely a female trait which in this film reaches a glorious compendium of naming as many types as there as there are individuals. I was charmed by the film and its storytelling techniques. As a companion piece to the picture it paints of modern day lesbianism, the newly restored 30 year old feature showing in the Forum Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives dovetails with this theme.

Wieland Speck, head programmer of the Panorama at the Berlinale has this to say of The Owls by Cheryl Dunye: a very interesting American filmmaker. Dunye works to some extent with a Brechtian V-Effekt (distancing effect) and, using a split screen, thereby repeatedly intervening in the dramatic process. The story is interrupted, the actresses reflect upon the characters and their life situations, but also on the current situation of lesbians in the US. In this story about an all-women band, they’ve survived everything imaginable, the glamour has faded, and relationships are disintegrating. Something new has to happen. And so a tragic story from the past related to the band resurfaces – here too you see the movement towards the past. These and other paths back into history are perhaps due to a certain zeitgeist, which is a little scared of the future, but which doesn’t want to remain passive.

To continue into the Berlinale counts, in Competition and Special Sreenings, women directors are represented by a mere 7 out of 30 or 35% if I am correct in attributing the female gender to these directors: Jasmila Zbanic’s On the Path from Bosnia, Natalia Smirnoff’s Argentinean Rompecabezas (Puzzle), Pernille Fischer Christensen’s A Family from Denmark, Doris Dorie’s The Hairdresser (Die Friseuse), Anusha Rizvi makes her feature directorial debut on Peepli Live, the story of a poor farmer who announces he will kill himself so his family can benefit from a controversial compensation scheme, Please Give by Nicole Holefcener and The Kids Are All Right by Lisa Choldenko. These last three screened in Berlinale competition as well as at Sundance. Revolucion features 2 women directors out of the 10 chosen -- Marianna Chenillo ('Nora's Will') and Patricia Riggen ('Under the Same Moon'). Nicht so viel (Not many)…

The Forum (15 out of 68 titles = 23%): Los Angelina Sharon Lockhart’s Double Tide about a female clam digger in Maine, Lockhart’s 4th film about work, American Laura Poitras’s The Oath which also played in Sundance, Chinese Yang Rui’s Fan shan (Crossing the Mountain), Finland’s Anastasia Lapsui and Markku Lehmuskallio’s Seven Songs from the Tundra, France’s Chantal Akerman’s D’est, Tatjana Turanskyj’s Eine flexible frau (The Drifter), Imani by Uganda’s Caroline Kamya, Orly by Germany’s Angela Schanelec about two people meeting in the Paris airport, Argentinean Ines de Oliveira Cezar’s El recuento de los danos (The Counting of the Damages), Gamma Bak’s Schnupfen im Kopf (Head Cold) the staged video diary that Gamma Bak filmed in 1993 at her kitchen table, two years before she underwent her first psychotic episode. Five more episodes follow. Yang Yonghi, a Korean-Japanese with an M.A. in Media from The New School in New York City, tells the story of her family, a story that takes place between North Korea and Japan, in Sona, the Other Myself. Other films by women include Sunny Land by Berliner and Bennington and Humboldt Universities graduate Marietta Kesting and Aljoscha Weskott, Brandeis and Edinburgh educated, Debra Granik’s Winter Bone, acquired during Sundance by Roadside Attractions for the US and in time for EFM by Fortissimo, the still apt Mariposa Film Group’s Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives, the lives of 26 lesbians and gay men in December 1977, a year before Harvey Milk was shot dead and just acquired by Rialto for US, and finally, Claire Denis’ Beau Travail.

Panorama (9 of 54 films = 17%): Film Unfinished by Yael Hersonski was in Sundance FF and is in Panorama Documentary, Cuchillo de Palo by Renate Costa, The Owls by Cheryl Dunye, Missing Man by Anna Fenchenko, Budrus by Julia Bacha, Lucy Walker’s audience winner Waste Land, Fucking Different Sao Paulo by Monica Palazzo, Joana Galvao and Max Julien, Death by Instalments by Ilona Ziok, Blank City by Céline Danhier, USA

Generation(s) The percentages are too small to calculate:

Pudana – Last of the Line (Sukunsa Viimeinen) by Anastsia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio of Finland in Generation Kplus, A Brand New Life from South Korea and France by Ounie Lecomte, Bran Nue Dae by Rachel Perkins, Dutch director Ellen Smit’s EEP!, La Pivellina by Tizza Covi & Rainer Frimmel

Perspektive Deutsches Kino: Portraits of German Alcoholics by Carolin Schmitz, Cindy Does Not Love Me by Hannah Schweier, Desert Flower by Sherry Hormann

Market Screenings: A quick and informal glimpse at the market screenings: Stefanie Sycholt’s Themba from Germany and South Africa being sold by Sola Media, Sweden’s Teresa Fabik’s Starring Maja (Preinsessa), Lola Doillon In Your Hands being sold by Elle Driver, Sherry White’s Crackie being sold by Shoreline, Paz Fabrega’s Agua Fria being sold by Films Boutique, Dominque Monfery’s Eleonore’s Secret sold by Films Distribution, Adriana Magg’s Grown Up Movie Star, Luca (?) Guadagnino’s Io Sono L’Amore (I Am Love) (The Works sold it to Cineart for Benelux), Susanne Bier’s Vengeance (Trust Nordisk sold to Cineart), Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights (Hanway to Cineart), Anahi Berneri’s It’s Your Fault (Por Tu Culpa), Dania Paquini and Max Giwa’s Street Dance 3D, Urzulla Antoniak’s Nothing Personal, Charlotte Sieling’s Above the Street Below the Water being sold by The Match Factory, Bettina Oberli’s The Murder Farm, Simone Laine’s Michel Ciment, The Art of Sharing MoviesChildren Of Glory, directed by Krisztina Goda and produced by Andrew G Vajna, an epic story of the 1856 revolution in Hungary. Visit licensed Picture Me to Strand Releasing for US. a documentary by Ole Schell and Sara Ziff, and is also selling Ramona Diaz’s Don’t Stop Believing: Everyman’s Journey. Wide is selling Valerie Minetto’s Mine, My Life Behind The Scenes, Ines Compan’s Open-Sky is a Mosaique Films and Le Hamac Rouge production about the Kolla natives of Argentina and their battle against a Canadian silver-mining company, In addition, Wide screened a 60-minute rough cut version of Laure Charpentier’s Gigola, with a cast including Lou Doillon, Eduardo Noriega, and Marisa Berenson. The drama focuses on a well-known character from 1960s Pigalle, an area of Paris, and is based on Charpentier’s controversial bestseller of the same name. Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s The Extra Man. Leila, from director Audrey Estrougo, sold in Bulgaria (Pro Films), Hungary (DMC), Czech Republic (Hollywood Classics), South Africa (Video Vision) and Korea (Mars), among several others. Pierre Salvadori’s Full Treatment sold in Switzerland (Frenetic), Spain (Golem), Portugal (Lusomondo), the Baltic States (Acme) and China (Champs Lis), Donatella Maiorca’s Sea Purple (Viola di mare), She a Chinese by Xiaolu Guo, Rai Trade’s Ten Winters (Dieci inverni) by Isabella Ragonese, Michele Riondino, Glan Blackhall, France’s Mes Cheres Etudes by Emmanuelle Bercot, Cuban Rebeca Chavez’ City in Red, Canada’s Danishka Esterhazy’s Black Field, Dorothee van den Berghe’s My Queen Karo, Spain’s Mascares by Elisabet Cabeza,

Birgitte Berman’s Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel is seeking a sales agent. I would suggest Lightning or Arrow as both deal with mainstream and spiritual themes. Cinemavault would also be good.

Coming up: Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnau (Persepolis)’s Waiting for Azrael by Celluloid Dreams, Studio Babelserg and Clou Partners, all under the umbrella of new European production powerhouse TheManipulators.
More soon on the Berlinale Co-Production Market, but for now: Alicia Scherson’s The Future.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Berlin Endnotes

During the first five days of the Berlinale and EFM, I was hardly able to see a film, but I was happily busy the last three days catching up on whatever movies I could get tickets to and had been too busy to see earlier during the main events of the market.

From the well selling Arclight film Red Hill (I’m not a Western fan) to The Owls whose distribution through bears watching, to Menemsha’s pickup of Kawasaki Rose the Czech Republic’s version of The Lives of Others, the Brazilian film produced by Hank Levine     and directed by Lucy Walker, Waste Land, which deservedly won the Audience Award in the Panorama and has been called the breakout film of the of the Berlinale, Kyoto Story, a surprising and deeply satisfying sweetly bittersweet love story showing the real workers of Japanese society as doc with the fictitious love story well integrated into Kyoto's daily life, Sundance film Welcome to the Rileys, Jud Suss an embarrassingly heavy handed treatment of German anti Semitism filled with vulgar inauthentic scenes, Argentinean film Rompacabezas (Puzzle), Andrew Davies’ poorly executed Rock Hudson – Dark and Handsome Stranger to the really weird 1951 Expressionistic Tales of Hoffmann, and -- except for being shut out of the sold out Exit Through the Gift Shop and the DDR 1957 Berlin – Ecke Schoenhauser -- I feel I have seen a fair sampling of films this year and have not missed the great breakouts, because, frankly I haven't heard of any that I might have missed.
It’s been tough and tiring trudging through snow and ice for every event -- lots of broken legs, dislocated backs and even one broken shoulder were reported.  The exhaustion from the extreme cold eliminated every desire to attend a late screening or party.  Except for the Wide party in a crazy gay “East Berlin” bar where I got to hang out with the Wide crew and Cannes’s Myriam Arab and her husband, I’ve been asleep almost every night by 11.  And I’ve been much occupied with our own clients and with the Talent Campus and the Deutsche Welle Akademie activities. 
Giving tours this 5th year to Talent Campus members and working  with the Deutsche Welle Akademie 2 and ½ days with 12 festival directors from Africa and Asia has given me a view of upcoming talent and the truly international nature of the film industry and the films which will be taking the center stage over the coming decade.

Trends and themes in the market:  
  • English language films coming out of Europe, originally spurred on the French and German tax benefits are on the rise.  
  • Presales are on the rise.  Presales have returned to fill the gap left by the sudden downturn of film production during the financial crisis.  Interested readers can go through my Berlin Rights Round up with a search for “prebuy” and “presale” to highlight the current business model for acquisitions.
  • Documentaries continue to hold their own in the various companies' lineups.
  • Music films showed a strong presence
  • Africa also is showing up in many sales agents' lineups.
The Threepenny Opera, the 1928 Berlin musical by Brecht and Weill will be made by Andy Serkis, the pioneer of motion-capture performance in Lord of the Rings, King Kong and the upcoming Tintin films who also gave a bravura performance in the Panorama film sexdrugs&rock&roll as the late rock star Ian Dury, a film just picked up for US distribution by Tribeca Film Festival for its new distribution operation.  To name only a few other music films:  Every Little Step, Who Killed Nancy?, Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, Street Dance 3D, Dance For All, Wim Wenders' Pina, Made In Hungaria a musical set in the 1950s, Bruce Beresford’s Zebras, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group’ acquisition of a raft of rights to Inner City Films’ Beat The World including US, while E1 Entertainment has taken UK, Canadian and Scandinavian rights.  The dance film blends Hip-Hop and Parkour and features such artists as The Flying Steps and The Pink Ladies in the story of dance troupes who face off in a high-stakes dance contest in Detroit.  There is also Julien Temple’s third film of his trilogy about the British music culture of the 1970s. See The Hollywood Reporter related article: Music themes make comeback at EFM for more examples, "This year a number of musical-themed movies are playing, and selling, in Berlin, though in ways you might not expect".

Women's Films
I received lots of praise for my blog and am grateful for it all.  The Women’s blog in particular was favored and I will take it in a slightly new direction thanks to my friends in the lesbian community who have given me new insights to their part in the community of women.  The Owls by Cheryl Dunye and a Sundance discussion with Maria of Wolfe Releasing and some Sundance filmmakers of focused my attention on their unique pov regarding their films.  More on that later.
Politics Not As Usual

Also noteworthy was the focus on Iran and the outburst of emotions which erupted at the World Cinema Fund Day about Iranian films with filmmaker Rafi Pitts (The Hunter) and the heated remarks of 30 year exiles in Berlin who staged a happening in Potsdamer Platz, and Jafar Panahi whose trip was cancelled by the Iranian government and who has since been further detained in what might have been a scene in Women Without Men. 

I have to admit that I was so relieved not to have to witness the Israeli-Palestinian temper tantrums which have been dogging festivals over the past six months – and more as far back as I can remember…Rotterdam IFF 1976 when I visited it while working at 20th Century Fox International’s City Fox Films in Amsterdam was also a forum of Palestinian fulmigating against Israeli.  Thankfully the Israeli-Palestine issues were being seen on screen with the optimistic Budrus taking the lead, and with many new and interesting Arab films which are claiming much audience interest and are also taking on other subjects, another welcome sign of the internationalization of the film industry. 

Omar Sharif will play King Lear transplanted to modern day Egypt.  Sharif has acted as a bridge between the West and the Middle East for 50 years.  Bestselling novelist Khaled Al Khamissi who will adapt the drama says that one of his earliest memories as a child was hearing his grandfather say that Shakespeare was not really English but in fact was Arab and his real name wasn’t Shakespeare but Al-Sheikh Kabeer, so now he will write the story of Al-Sheikh Kabeer, ‘Al-Sheikh Lear’, the Egyptian Lear.

Ever self renewing Michael Winterbottom, who looks like he'll continue like Clint Eastwood to innovate and play with his topics and style, or like Picasso if he lives long enough, is taking on The Promised Land "which recounts the months leading up to the 1948 partition of Palestine and the subsequent creation of the state of Israel. Pic is bound to raise eyebrows on both sides of the divide with its depiction of Jewish militant groups launching terror attacks against British forces and Palestinian civilians during their campaign for statehood." Kudos to Fortissimo for handling the international rights.

Other western filmmakers taking on aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict include Julian Schnabel's Miral, starring Hiam Abbas and Freida Pinto, for Pathe based on the true story of a Palestinian nurse who founded the Dar Al-Tifi orphanage in Jerusalem in 1948,  Untitled Helen Mirren Project as a Jewish woman whose journalist daughter is murdered while covering events in Gaza, and Serbian Emir Kusturica's Cool Water, about two Palestinian brothers who smuggle the dead body of their father from Jerusalem to Ramallah.  

Indians entering mainstream:
Indians increasingly seem to be considering how to integrate their vast experience into mainstream cinema as well.  IM Global and Reliance Big’s alliance starting with IM Global’s international representation of 3 Idiots, a huge box office hit in India and staring superstar Aamir Khan (My Name is Khan) and a slate of other films as well.
US is not Center Stage:
During discussions at Talent Campus, the United States and American films were barely mentioned.  It seemed like every “talent” was born in one country but raised in another, and they were articulate and experienced.  One talent from Portugal had spent two years in America working with Lisa Wilson and Ashok Amritrage of Hyde Park, a training she was proud and lucky to have received as she develops her financial and producing skills.  We had a great time on the tour of The Forum Expanded exhibits, a curated show throughout Berlin, east to west.  One stage designer talent -- born in India, raised in Pakistan and living in London -- wondered if perhaps she should move to Berlin, so in love was she with the city, its architecture, its safe streets at all hours of the night, its both new and old beauty and its upcoming place within the German film industry and, ,most of all, its conscious striving toward a national identity which includes diversity of population, a continuation of the convivial discussions which began in the Age of Enlightment and continued into the Age of Emancipation here in the heart of Berlin itself, and continues to this day to create that world seen through the idealistic German Jewish eyes of Heine, Hess and Marx (and the non-Jewish eyes of Engels as well).  That, as all my friends know, echoes my exact sentiments.  And I was proud to be able to say, as an American, that our nation’s greatness lies in the fact that it is an entire country of immigrants (with a spiritual nation of native Americans within it) and that every generation assures a new crop of young original thinking hyphenated (Whatever-American), talent which will give us a view of a world never before viewed by such eyes as theirs.  Immigration, like grains of rice, thrives best when a large variety of types is kept healthy, well and able to travel, to reinvigorate a society as it becomes too ingrown and too lazy to do its proper, private and even public work by itself.  The immigrant take the worst paying jobs and yet are somehow able to raise the next generation up into the next class while new immigrants take their place.  The second generation is able to raise itself up upon the shoulders of the parents…a process to be seen in societies which thrive in peace.  The prosperity such a peaceful and encouraging environment allows for is that sweet perfection which makes Yamada Yoji’s and Abe Tsutomui’s Kyoto Story (Kyoto Uzumasa Monogatari) so appealing and memorable.

As my final endnote, I wonder why the film companies holing up in the Hyatt and Ritz Carlton were not mentioned as participants of EFM or even shown on the map of the European Film Market.  Were they all the “big” American companies, and are they building private walls around themselves as the rest of the world discovers its voice and finds its digital path into the world of cinema?  Or are the high flyers making the gems which we have yet to see in upcoming festivals? 
The Ritz Carlton nights recalled late nights at the Principe in Milan and I so enjoyed my late night drinks with Sal Ledestro, Carl Spence, Michael Barker, Dylan Leiner, and Marcus Hu.  When Wieland Speck paid his respects and Bill Kong joined us, I felt I once again how privileged I am to be a part of this grand world community of film.  

Monday, March 1, 2010


(Peter Belsito is Sydney Levine's partner and he recently attended the Festival and moderated a panel at Cinequest)

'The Panel on new and traditional forms of the film business was certainly a highlight of this wonderful Fest this year for me. It was very well attended in a big hall and the panel experts from the industry offered hundreds of filmmakers a glimpse into the future of distribution--both traditional theatrical and the latest cutting-edge Internet options.

We have heard so much lately of digital this and DIY that and I think that what is forgotten is that although these developments of technology have offered us new (and welcome!) options, the fact is that the film business such as it is still exits and, if the recent Berlin Fest and EFM Market is any evidence, is quite vigorously alive and kicking and must and should be taken into account by filmmakers, whether they go DIY or not.

Cinequest's strength and position as one of the foremost US Festivals is its focus on filmmakers always and its cutting edge programming tastes. My friend and fest knowledgeable guy Christian Gaines (formerly Hawaii FF Head, AFI Fest Head, now Festival Head of IMDb) once said, "The way you judge a festival is not by any one year but by the way it steadily delivers quality events and experiences year after year ..." I could not agree more and Cinequest this year by its lineup and programs has gone on once again to prove its first ranking place among US Festivals.'