Jun 022011



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box[ur]shorts Announces 1st Awards Night in Hollywood — International Festival ‘Boxes’ Short Films, Creates New Platform for Viewers at Restaurants, Coffee Houses & Laundromats











Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) December 1, 2006

box[ur]shorts Film Festival, a yearlong short film exhibition taking place internationally at restaurants, bars, coffee houses and laundromats in cities from Los Angeles and New York to Basel, Switzerland and Hiroshima, Japan, today announced its first annual awards night will take place at the Karma Coffeehouse, 1544 N Cahuenga Blvd, in Hollywood on Tuesday, December 19. Doors open at 6 pm and the event starts at 7.

box[ur]shorts, a new form of short film exhibition and concept created by festival directors Giacun Caduff and Ryan Reichenfeld, is an innovative approach to watching movies that becomes part of viewers’ everyday experiences — something one can do while waiting for a table at a restaurant or hanging out at a favorite coffee house.

“Our goal is to bring short films to new audiences and to establish a direct connection between filmmakers and their viewer. We do this by screening at places where the audience has time to watch a short; be that at a coffee shop, laundry store, bar, etc. It’s entertainment to bridge waits along with online streaming of the films – this is how we hope to create a new platform for short films,” says Caduff.

On the box[ur]shorts concept, Denise Mann, Co-chair, Producers Program, and Assistant Professor, UCLA Department of Film, TV and Digital Media comments, “The art-house is no longer hidden away in some small, dank theater, but readily available. There’s an immediacy to this way of experiencing film that is refreshing and exciting.”

box[ur]shorts Film Festival has shown all competing movies during the year in artistic movie jukeboxes at international locations. The films are programmed in four seasons and loop non-stop on different size LCD screens inside boxes and also gives the viewer an option to make a selection from an interactive menu.

The first box[ur]shorts Film Festival Award Night will open its doors for the public to enjoy their top 15 movies on the big screen. Pre-registration to attend the private party event is required at http://www.boxurshorts.com. Chosen by an industry panel of diverse judges, the films will be lined up in a countdown screening for the evening. Based on the judges’ selections, filmmakers will be awarded Golden, Silver, and Bronze box[ur]shorts trophies. And, one filmmaker will receive the box[ur]shorts Audience Award as voted on and selected by the audience both online and that evening. Access more information about box[ur]shorts Film Festival at: http://www.boxurshorts.com

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Jun 022011



xml:lang=”en” lang=”en” xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml”>

box[ur]shorts Announces 1st Awards Night in Hollywood — International Festival ‘Boxes’ Short Films, Creates New Platform for Viewers at Restaurants, Coffee Houses & Laundromats











Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) December 1, 2006

box[ur]shorts Film Festival, a yearlong short film exhibition taking place internationally at restaurants, bars, coffee houses and laundromats in cities from Los Angeles and New York to Basel, Switzerland and Hiroshima, Japan, today announced its first annual awards night will take place at the Karma Coffeehouse, 1544 N Cahuenga Blvd, in Hollywood on Tuesday, December 19. Doors open at 6 pm and the event starts at 7.

box[ur]shorts, a new form of short film exhibition and concept created by festival directors Giacun Caduff and Ryan Reichenfeld, is an innovative approach to watching movies that becomes part of viewers’ everyday experiences — something one can do while waiting for a table at a restaurant or hanging out at a favorite coffee house.

“Our goal is to bring short films to new audiences and to establish a direct connection between filmmakers and their viewer. We do this by screening at places where the audience has time to watch a short; be that at a coffee shop, laundry store, bar, etc. It’s entertainment to bridge waits along with online streaming of the films – this is how we hope to create a new platform for short films,” says Caduff.

On the box[ur]shorts concept, Denise Mann, Co-chair, Producers Program, and Assistant Professor, UCLA Department of Film, TV and Digital Media comments, “The art-house is no longer hidden away in some small, dank theater, but readily available. There’s an immediacy to this way of experiencing film that is refreshing and exciting.”

box[ur]shorts Film Festival has shown all competing movies during the year in artistic movie jukeboxes at international locations. The films are programmed in four seasons and loop non-stop on different size LCD screens inside boxes and also gives the viewer an option to make a selection from an interactive menu.

The first box[ur]shorts Film Festival Award Night will open its doors for the public to enjoy their top 15 movies on the big screen. Pre-registration to attend the private party event is required at http://www.boxurshorts.com. Chosen by an industry panel of diverse judges, the films will be lined up in a countdown screening for the evening. Based on the judges’ selections, filmmakers will be awarded Golden, Silver, and Bronze box[ur]shorts trophies. And, one filmmaker will receive the box[ur]shorts Audience Award as voted on and selected by the audience both online and that evening. Access more information about box[ur]shorts Film Festival at: http://www.boxurshorts.com

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Vocus, PRWeb, and Publicity Wire are trademarks or registered trademarks of Vocus, Inc. or Vocus PRW Holdings, LLC.







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May 192011
short film
by watchmojo

There are many a Christmas film to entertain during this most special time of year and in spite of this tradition not going back as far as the music and stories that accompany this season; it has become just as much apart of Christmas as any other. Christmas films; now a days are just as eagerly awaited as perhaps the season itself by cinema goers all over the world with every season bringing on a new batch, most of which will probably be forgotten before the season returns the following year.

With regards to the history behind these films perhaps it can be said that the first films of this season limited themselves to subjects which portrayed the birth and life of Jesus Christ or at least the way it is said to have taken place in the “New Testament” of the bible. These films concentrating on showing three wise men being lead by a star to a place where the virgin Mary gave birth to the one whom Christians through out the world have called the messiah. Some films would include the events of Jesus’ life but for the most part these films of Christmas would limit themselves to the events that preceded his birth.

With time however Christmas films as did perhaps the season itself; moved away from only being focused on the birth of Christ and started including such themes as Santa Claus. This being the man who supposedly lives in the North Pole and gives presents to all those children, regardless of any condition other then weather or not they have been good through out the year.

Christmas eventually stretched beyond even these two themes and like Christmas itself which expanded so did the films concerning this time of year, to include the effect this season has on most people and their relationships to one another. As a strange coincidence or perhaps it was not the first film to go a way from these two themes was “A Christmas Carol”, based on the famous book written by Charles Dickens. As it might have been this story which was the first to concentrate on another matter concerning Christmas other then Jesus or Santa Claus.

With regards however to film versions of “A Christmas Carol”, the first of which was not even given this title but “Scrooge” (though sometimes also referred to as “Marley’s ghost”), it being released way back in 1901 as a short film. Many films however would follow based on the theme created by Dickens though perhaps the one that sticks out the most from all these versions of the same, at least as far as those which are in black and white is the one staring Reginald Owen in 1938 in the role of the Ebenezer Scrooge. The biter old man who needed to be reminded by three ghosts sent to him by his deceased business partner, Marley of the joy he once held for Christmas which had been replaced by his greed for money.

Where “A Christmas Carol” can be said to have been the first film to focus on other then religious subjects perhaps it is the film “It’s A Wonderful Life” which in a way goes back to them though again not concentrating on Jesus’ birth but on an angel coming down to earth to assist “George Bailey”. This being a man who on Christmas day decided that his path would be suicide to escape from a life he considered not to have been of use to any; only to be proven that in fact many around him would be far worse of if he had not been born.

“It’s A Wonderful Life” in my opinion and that of many (at least in the United States) others has in recent years replaced “A Christmas Carol” as far as being the most symbolic film of the Christmas season. As it perhaps even more so then “A Christmas Carol” captures that spirit so abundant during this season. That being the spirit of giving and sharing with our neighbors specially should they be in need or if they through out their lives have done as much as George Bailey did for those in his town of Bedford Falls. As for myself personally I would have to say that looking at this film even from a critical angle, that it is the one that I would recommend above all others when it comes to Christmas films. It combining sentimentalism but in a strange manner those who are portrayed as such are also shown as being practical. After all they in a way are simply showing their gratitude to the man who was responsible for them being able to buy the homes they live in. This sentiment being exclaimed in the line “I wouldn’t even have a roof over my head it if wasn’t for you George” used by one of the characters who contributes to solve George’s dilemma over the money which had been stolen from his savings and loan.

Perhaps one of the reasons why “It’s A Wonderful Life” has replaced “A Christmas Carol” as the standard Christmas film is because “It’s A Wonderful Life” contrary to “A Christmas Carol” has not had so many different versions made, which makes it that when people refer to it they naturally only think of the one made by Capra staring James Stewart. This being the case though a very forgettable version called “It happened One Christmas” was made in 1977 which given the fact that many were not familiar with the original version at the time become very popular. This till “It’s A Wonderful Life” was made popular on TV to the point of almost being shown at least once a day at Christmas time. All of which sending “It happened One Christmas” back to the obscurity from which it should have never left.

“A Christmas Carol” however has had many versions made of it, making it almost that there is no version which can be considered classic or even the original one. All of which making it hard for film viewers to focus on any one particular version or associating the main character “Ebenezer Scrooge” with any particular actor, given that many from George C. Scot to Henry Winkler (mostly known for his portrayal of the “Happy Days” character the “Fonz”) to Reginald Owen have played have played it. This not being the case for George Bailey; as this character has come to be associated exclusively with James Stewart.

“A Christmas Carol” perhaps because it was first known as a great piece of literature went on however to have its theme repeated not only in many a film but TV serials as well. For instance “The Odd Couple” did so when Oscar dreamed he was “Scrooge” being visited by the ghost of Felix; given that the ghost of Marley could not make it given that it was his busiest time of year. “The Six Million Dollar Man”, a TV show about a man turned part robot also took from this theme as did many a cartoon like “Mr. Magoo” and even Walt Disney cashed in on the idea using Donald Duck’s rich but often parsimonious Scottish uncle.

However, many are the films regarding Christmas that I would say deserve honorable mention such as “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t”, which I might add I went to see with my class while a student at the parochial school I attended in my early years in New York City. “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t” I would recommend as being nice though it perhaps lacks somewhat in originality as it takes a page from “It’s A Wonderful Life”. This coming in the form that it is the children who help Santa raise the money he needs to pay off his debt or the toys he has worked on all year will be taken instead.

However when mentioning Christmas films there are some which I would not take even the most rotten kids I know to see such as the one made with Dudley Moore called “Santa Claus” or “Miracle On 34th Street”. This last film being in extremely poor taste in my opinion; as it tries to show the hardships of a “poor little girl” who cries because she has to content herself with living in luxurious apartment on Westside of Central Park; given her mother does not own an equally posh house in the country. This “poor girl’s” tragedy is even augmented because she has no father, as if her more then loving mother were not enough. This making me think of how one could classify those orphaned children I saw living on the streets of South America, who had to do with much less then this spoilt American child; while not having anybody what so ever.

Of course there are other films which were made and can be purchased on DVD such as “The Bells Of Saint Marry” though this film I know very little about as I have neither seen it nor read its synopsis and what little I do know about it is that there is a Swedish actress by the name of Ingrid Bergman, who plays a nun. This being what I picked up from a scene in “The Godfather” in which Michael Corleone (played by Al Pacino) and his girlfriend, Kate (Played by Diane Keaton) walk out of Radio City (when they showed films there) after seeing it and comment on how perhaps Michael would prefer it if Kate were a nun or Ingrid Bergman. I having little in the way of knowledge about this film can not recommend it though I have heard from many that it is worth seeing but then again this was what I heard about that tactless film “Miracle On 34th Street”.

As for animated films that have taken my interest during this time of year, I would have to say that “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” ranks up there as one of the finest films I have seen connected to this time of year. This 30 minute animated film by “Doctor Zeus” showing how a little girl teaches the mean Grinch, that there is more to Christmas then toys and decorations; is a real Christmas classic which no child should ever miss. Those who see this film in English and are old enough might recognize the voice of Boris Karloff (real name William Pratt), also known for his portrayal of Frankenstein. Where I recommend this animated film I by no means do so the idiotic film version made in recent years with the same title by director Ron Howard (also known for his portrayal of the Happy Days character Ritchie Cunningham) staring Jim Carey. This because I have a hard time deciding if this film is even a bigger tragedy then some of the other Christmas disasters I have tried to watch on TV; most of which I will not even mention in this article.

TV shows have also contributed great stories for this time of year known as Christmas and it is with all my heart that I would like to recommend to those who should read this article, that this Christmas they turn on Youtube and watch the episode of the Twilight Zone; entitled “Night Of The Meek”. This being a truly igneous story of a man of good nature by the name of Henry Corwin; who through the magic that is Christmas is literally transformed in to Santa Claus but not before having been fired from his Job as the department store Santa Clause for drunkenness.

It is this story which I would say is my favorite as far as stories portraying the character who is also known as Saint Nick. As it portrays Henry Corwin as a generous man, who drinks because he is unable to help the poor and helpless one’s as he refers to them who are all around him. One of which contrary to the child in “Miracle On 34th Street” asks not for a house in the country but a job for his unemployed father. It is however when confronted by a bag of Christmas presents which seems to not only never run out of presents but have in it all that those around ask for; such as toys, sweaters and just about anything anybody could want that Henry Corwin gets what he always wanted. To become the biggest gift giver of all.

In conclusion I would say that Christmas is a wonderful time of year and perhaps in a way it is made more so by the films mentioned in this article; for they thanks to their stories show us how this time of year can truly bring people closer together in a way that nothing else can. As for a personal confession of mine, I must say that “It’s A Wonderful Life” along with “The Night Of Meek” never fail to bring tears to my eyes. This being the case regardless of weather I find myself watching or even describing their plots as I have done so in this piece of mine.

Download the original soundtrack for free: www.mediafire.com Ennui Pictures on Facebook www.facebook.com To Claire; From Sonny on Facebook www.facebook.com This film is under a Creative Commons (by-nc-sa) license: creativecommons.org ———————————————————— To Claire; From Sonny Written/Directed/Edited/Music by Josh Beattie DP/Cinematography/Camera: Shuwei Zhang with Henry Orr as ‘Sonny’ Emmie Seaton as ‘Claire’ Gianna Gillies as ‘Jess’ ———————————————————— Technical stuff: Shot with one Canon EOS 7D SLR; audio and soundtrack recorded with the Blue Yeti condenser mic and mixed in Logic Pro 8; film sequenced in Final Cut Pro 3, colourgraded with Magic Bullet Looks 1.4; stabilised with Adobe After Effects CS5. Shot in 3 full days in Brisbane, Australia; smuggling camera gear into subways, rooftops, and ferries. Done in about three to four months pre-to-post.

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Apr 222011

by drmvm1

There is no denying the concept that the film or movie is a good vehicle of culture. When the cinema has just appeared its power to display modern events was highly appreciated. This particular feature of the cinema has provided the popularity for the movie as a new kind of supervision and entertainment. Consequently, today the cinema has become one of the favorite things people do when they have free time.

The cinema in international scale got the new creative urge with the film of Lars Von Trier ‘Dancer in the Dark’ and Fatih Akin ‘Head-On’. ‘Dancer in the Dark’ and ‘Head-On’ are well-known for their power as a way of cultural production. These films are generally recognized as best foreign films. The films ‘Dancer In the Dark’ and ‘Head-On’ concentrate on the life of the people who live in a foreign country like the directors of these films. The essay analyzes the films critically making allowance for its setting, language, acting and directing.

‘Dancer in the Dark’ and ‘Head-On’ are well-known and astonishing foreign films which received awards. ‘Dancer in the Dark’ was released in 2000 and ‘Head-On’ was released in 2004. These films have become famous worldwide as best foreign films. These films show the cinema importance and are highly appraised for the plot, scenery and casting. Special attention should be paid to the plot of both films, which describe people from different countries who have left their native land. ‘Dancer in the Dark’ and ‘Head-On’ both address the concept of ‘foreignness’, defined as the state of not being ‘at home’, of being ‘other’, or non-native.

When you live far from your native country, your life can be unpredictable and can change suddenly in this or that way. You may have really interesting and unforgettable experience; however, the changing of a place of living may have very significant effects on your life and on the life of your relatives. First of all, living in another country affects the life of the main characters of the movie as they miss their fatherland greatly. They try to find happiness in the life or at least to forget about the negative side of a life as in case of the major heroine from ‘Dancer in the Dark’.

‘Dancer in the Dark’ and ‘Head-On’ are based on the study of life and emotions, of the important moments people face. The plots of the films are thrilling and full of feelings and emotions. Every part of these films has its greatness, splendor. Besides, every its shot is beautiful and appeals to the deep and profound interest of a spectator. The movies ‘Dancer in the Dark’ and ‘Head-On’ are well-known for their power as a way of cultural production. The films ‘Dancer in the Dark’ and ‘Head-On’ concentrate on the life of the people who live in a foreign country like the directors of these films. All people have experienced ‘foreignness’ and ‘otherness’ at some point in their lives when they are meeting new people, being in new surroundings or a foreign country. Both films ‘Dancer in the Dark’ and ‘Head-On’ masterly display the theme of ‘foreignness’ so that the spectators are able to feel the idea of the ‘outsider’.

Another Pinoy director on his way to Cannes
Alessandra de Rossi in ‘Busong,’ director Auraeus Solito’s (inset) latest masterpiece MANILA, Philippines – Film director Auraeus Solito is the latest Filipino to make it to the Cannes Film Festival.   A report on filmbiz.asia April 20 confirmed the entry of Solito’s film “Busong” as one of three Asian films to be screened as part of the Directors’ Fortnight (Quinzaine des Realisateurs) section.  

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Apr 152011



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Laufer Film and MadWerkz R2 Studios Produce Socially Relevant Films











The Acorn Penny: Kinshasa (Jada Young) in IDP camp (Photo Laufer Film, 2009)


Cleveland, OH (Vocus) January 6, 2010

Local Independent Production Companies Laufer Film and MadWerkz R2 Studios have entered the film festival circuit with films dealing with the socially relevant topics of genocide in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Global Housing crisis. Both productions decided to forego traditional video in favor of the digital ultra high resolution RED™ Camera – a first use of this technology for independent film in Northeastern Ohio.

Laufer Film’s “The Acorn Penny”, a visionary short film helmed by AFI graduate Tiffany Ann Laufer, takes a unique view about a young Congolese girl who is forced to live in an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp due to the civil war in her native land. “We felt strongly that this story should be brought to the forefront, but in a way to which western audiences could relate,” said Producer William C. Laufer. “5.4 million people have died in the DRC over the past decade. With the UN spending a billion dollars a year just in the Congo, we felt this was a story that needed to be told,” Laufer said.

To that end, Director / writer Tiffany Ann Laufer uses thirteen (13) year old actress Jada Young to tell the story of Kinshasa, a young girl who is at first seen as an ordinary American youth but whose different reality is gradually revealed and whose true situation becomes arrestingly apparent. Ms. Laufer uses four magical acorns, both real and computer generated, to lead and guide Kinshasa thru this world and her adventure. Tiffany Laufer said, “I am very much inspired by Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and finding that perfect balance in magical realism is very important in capturing your audience’s imagination. We didn’t want to focus on the war in the DRC, but on the dreams that still exist in the children who have survived the atrocities.”

The film includes actual footage from Congolese refugee camps, which was provided by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and also footage from the Cleveland Museum of Art collections archive. In contrast, “The Bubble” is a complex story which deals with the intermixed lives of four strangers on the worst time in recent economic memory, September 2008. In the footsteps of films such as ”Traffic and Crash,” ”The Bubble” tells the story of separate individuals, a young middle class housewife, an FBI special agent, and a young Bank Vice President, who are, on one day, forever tied together by one property, a home in main street America.

Written initially as a feature film, the film was quickly reformatted for a 4 day production to enable MadWerkz R2 to deliver a short for the upcoming festival circuit and the BET Television show “Lens on Talent”. “The story is very dense, with several subplots, which made its compression into the short film format very challenging,” stated writer and director, Joddy Eric Matthews. “We don’t take sides, the film tries to show the point of view of everyone, from the people who lost everything to those who perpetrated the actions that led to the crisis.” Says Producer Alexander Rivera. Both films have been submitted to film festivals such as Sundance, Cleveland, Cannes, Toronto, Santa Barbara, AFI, Athens and Seattle and BET’s Lens On Talent.

ABOUT LAUFER FILM

Laufer Film is an Independent Film production company based in Cleveland, Ohio and Los Angeles. Run by father and daughter team, William and Tiffany Ann Laufer, Laufer Film has produced the critically acclaimed feature film “Christmas at Maxwell’s”, the cooking show “Journey to Your Plate” with Food Network co-host Jack Hourigan and most recently “The Acorn Penny”. Tiffany’s work as cinematographer was also seen on BET in the film ‘Women’s Work’. For more information on Laufer Film, visit: http://www.lauferfilm.com. For more information on The Acorn Penny, visit: http://www.theacornpenny.com

ABOUT MADWERKZ STUDIOS

MadWerkz R2 is one of the top animation, effects and design boutiques in the Midwest. Consisting of MadWerkz Films and The Render Ranch, MadWerkz R2 produces original content such as the short “The Bubble”, the children’s animated show ”Flight of The Fruit Flies” and the religious based DVD series “The Covenant”. MadWerkz R2 Studios is located in Cleveland and Chicago. For additional information on MadWerkz Studios, visit its website at http://www.madwerkz.com. For more info on “The Bubble”, visit http://www.madwerkz.com/films/thebubble/index.html.

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Apr 072011
short film
by vancouverfilmschool

There is no doubt when it comes to film festival is one of the hardest events to organize, in this article I will uncover my experience and some of the errors in London Kurdish Film Festival and the organizers.

London Kurdish Film Festival is running its 6th Festival this year, and their goal is to promote Kurdish artist and filmmakers, they accept films all over the world as long as you are a Kurdish director or artist. DO THEY ?

As an independent Kurdish filmmaker in my visit to North Iraq Kurdistan Region in august 2008 in an attempt to shoot my short film ‘MIX’ and to see my old Institute of art student friends which most of them are now teachers in the same institute teaching Drama, Acting & Directing also an opportunity for them to take part in the film.

After going through a hectic time to organize shooting, I was happy to come back to London and start post production procedures, and it took a few month to finish due to the amount of effects that applied to the film.

When I submitted the film to London Kurdish Film Festival in June 2009 I was surprised that I didn’t get any confirmation e-mail letter phone call et.. for the recipient !!! Few month later time were getting close to the festival and still no words from them, so I contacted them 2 weeks before the  festival starts via facebook ! because their e-mail address from their website http://www.lkff.co.uk/ were either wrong or they had a full inbox or it didn’t exists, when I was trying to send them e-mails from my 3 different e-mail addresses it kept coming back with the     ‘mail delivery failed’ message

As I contacted one of the festival committee via facebook he replied with this message:

Dear sangar
i have emailed you after the independent committee’s decision that your films has not been selected for the competition therefore for the the programme of the festival. as festival committee we have invited 7 kurdish and non-kurdish individuals to form pre selection committee to decide on the films to go in to competition. unfortunately your one has been qualified by the selection committee

I red this message for about 5 times but no chance of understanding, I showed it to couple of friends no clue, it is possible that they accepted or not or maybe both !! And I never received any e-mails from them.

So I decided to contact the guy again and he kindly apologized and confirmed that my film is NOT been accepted for the competition.

But still no explanation of the reasons why is not been accepted !

A few days later I visited London Kurdish Film Festival website and I was going through the upcoming programs of this year festival, I noticed they also have a none competition screening !!  and  there is 3 short films in this screening section which they are not taking part in the competition, and 2 of them is by a female Kurdish Director, and that Kurdish director is also a Jury within the festival !! And she have one more film which is taking part in the competition !! in the same festival ! So total of 3 films for one Director, and she is also a jury in the festival ! THAT NEVER HAPPENED IN A HISTORY OF FILM FESTIVAL this is all  been published in their website http://www.lkff.co.uk/
there is also a male Kurdish Jury in the festival who have a feature film in the festival ! does it exist to be a jury on your own film ?!

It doesn’t seem right, if one of the mission of London Kurdish Film festival is to promote Kurdish artist and Filmmakers wouldn’t be fair to replace at lest one of the 3 films with a new Kurdish Director film ? rather than promote one director with 3 films and be a jury on their own films ?! A new face or Introduce another filmmaker to take part ?

What is also worth to mention is that the same director with the 3 films this year also anticipated with a film in the previous London Kurdish Film Festival ! I think we all know that raise so many questions.

Personally I have nothing against the respected Kurdish Directors who are also a jury in the festival . My debate here is about Promoting New Kurdish films and artist, if you ask me so far the mission is not accomplished.

Sangar Kamal

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Mar 262011
short film
by vancouverfilmschool

…and how to turn this situation around.

The first time I ever set foot on a movie set was back in 2001 (working as a boom operator on a Sarah Polley short film). Since that day my passion for making movies has only grown and intensified. But one underlining question that continues to run through my mind is…why do most (95% or more) Canadian films tank at the box office.

Ask any Canadian filmmaker this question and you’re sure to start up a very long and never-ending conversation that might leave you wonder what made you want to open that can of worms. Well, I’m going to open the can of worms…just for this article. I’m so proud to be Canadian and our industry produces world-class movies year after year, however, these films just don’t seem to make any money (profit).

I found a great article by Canadian actor, writer and producer, James O’Regan that explores this matter in further detail:

Over the last year or so, a great teeth-gnashing has broken out within the Canadian Movie industry. Producers and their public sector confreres at Telefilm Canada sat down to wonder why no-one saw Canadian movies in the theatres. And now Telefilm has unveiled new money to throw at the problem.

In case you don’t know, Telefilm Canada is an arms length crown agency that has no public accountability via a “value for money” audit unless its own board of directors thinks it needs one – wow, get me on that gravy train, quick! It has generated, over the last 30 years, an industry wholly ignorant of Canadian theatrical film markets and wholly dependent on cultural welfare in the mistaken belief that you just can’t make any dough here a mare usque… I and every American film distribution company on the planet know different. I know because I’ve made money in the Canadian box office, in fact more money on one film than all Telefilm films on average. My short comedy, Edsville – about an innocent young couple that stumbles upon a town of Ed Sullivan impersonators – has a recoupment rate of 20% while the average recoupment rate published in Telefilm’s annual report, year after year, hovers at 2%-ish. I’ve also observed what our Yankee cousins actually do. All you have to do is ask them and they’ll actually tell you – hey, who knew?

So let’s see what it takes to make money and sell movies in Canadian moviedom. Here’s the top 12 for anyone who wants to make M on a movie in three weeks in Canada:

Rule # 1: No one knows what sells

Rule # 2: See Rule # 1, no, seriously, memorize Rule #1. I’m not saying this only to make the list apostolic, really. I could make something else up.

Rule # 3: Anything that helps sell is good

Rule # 4: The public will pay to see things or people they really like

Rule #5: Exploit people or things that the public likes

Rule #6: The Canadian Public doesn’t care who directs, writes or produces movies

Rule #7: The Canadian Public pays to see “people” on the screen. Actors are the Product

Rule # 8: The Canadian Public loves Stars

Rule # 9: Make sure you have a story

Rule #10: Comedy Sells (Canadians are masters of comedy)

Rule #11: Do everything you can to ensure the Canadian Public knows about the movie

Rule #12: To the risk taker goes the reward. All else is bunk.

To manufacture and market a Canadian movie to the Canadian market, you have to invest .5M. Making the movie costs CDN .5M. Marketing the movie for a 100 screen three week release costs CDN M.

Let’s take a look at how much money you can make. A 100-screen release can generate up to M in revenue. If you control the marketing with your M, you get M back from your .5M investment. Isn’t math for fun and profit great?

If you don’t spend that M, you are guaranteed to make nothing at the Canadian box office. Telefilm Canada and its producers don’t spend the money and the results are predictable. Movies funded by Telefilm Canada don’t earn a profit from Canadian box office; they don’t even recoup. Telefilm Canada data shows that Canadian distributors have an average marketing budget per Canadian film of ,000 – about 0K short of what they need; that this average results from a blend of a majority of films released with an actual budget of less than ,000. Hoo boy, why aren’t these films making the big bucks, eh?

Let’s say it again for the benefit of Telefilm and its Canadian producers, you must spend M regardless of a movie’s budget to have a chance at success.

Had the recent Egoyan opus, The Sweet Hereafter, received M in Canadian marketing highlighting the divine Sarah Polley, it might have made some bucks. After all, Polley has a following in Canada – more of a following than Egoyan. Yet it was Egoyan that the producers tried to market, not Polley. The little money that was spent was spent foolishly – see rule #6.

Even a American B movie like Nurse Betty gets the full M marketing treatment. Learn the lesson from American distributors who know better; who do spend M for each film they release in Canada.

Here’s the best part about making sacks of cash in Canada. Manufacturing, distribution and marketing infrastructure are all 100% in place. All you have to do is come up with a movie to market and some cash to market it with. Hey, pinch me!

Why isn’t it working now? Why is Telefilm’s record so dismal? Public policy has intervened in the movie business only at the level of manufacturing – dolling out wallops of cash to make movies. The new funds maintain that approach. This is simply bad policy and we have bank vaults full of unseen films to prove it.

The only successful public policy intervention on the books are Canadian Content (CanCon) rules for the Canadian music industry. There, public policy told the radio stations (the exhibitors) that they had to play a percentage of Canadian music or else they would be shut down. Today, we have a thriving music industry with big Canadian stars.

Before CanCon in the music industry, Canadian Radio stations played about 3% of Canadian content. After CanCon, it became 30%. Can-con drove the business of the Canadian music industry. It supported the early market-driven development of Canadian music stars. It allowed financial and artistic success in the small Canadian market. Remember there was no success before Can-con rules for the music industry. That Canadian-based market success worked as a springboard to world success for many Canadian performers. It took a while to work but work it did.

Marketing is simple. It just costs money. With its new infusion of funds, it appears that Telefilm will try to mystify the process per usual, read the entrails and divvy up the dough without recognizing rule # 1 – no one knows what sells. That is the mystery and joy of movie selling – ya just don’t know and no-one can give you the magic bullet, i.e. previous box office records, e.g. think how many major studios have hit rock bottom with a series of losers only to bounce back “unexpectedly.”

If public policy is going to intervene, it should get out of movie production and into the marketplace with CanCon for Canadian cinemas. Set a quota, step out of the way and voilà: in five years, we will have a thriving movie business with big Canadian stars. Movie producers are much better at making movies than cultural bureaucrats. I know, call me crazy, but it’s true.

CanCon rules for the Canadian movie business are one means of helping create movies and movie stars without spending a lot of tax dollars. That’s all they do. Canadian movies don’t need it to succeed but if government is to intervene to help reward risk, then that’s the best way and means of intervention, and cheaper too.

For public policy, how bad could it be to issue an “initiative” to exhibitors across the country, insisting that 10%, 20%, 30%, 40% of product viewed in Canadian cinemas must be indigenous Canadian product over a period of years. Then stand aside and let the industry do what it does best: sell movies.

Hey, it ain’t that hard. After all, no one, not even Hollywood, knows what sells. Remember rule #1?

How to turn this situation around?

Now, it’s time for me to add in my two cents worth. We (the Canadian film industry) need more film studios here in Canada. I’m not talking about some glorified soundstage like Filmport but a full-fledged independent movie studio that has 100% control of the financing, development, production and worldwide distribution of their movies. These Canadian movie studios should have only two objectives:

1)     To make movies that will entertain millions of people around the world. Focus on giving moviegoers what they want and according to the current all-time North American box office stats…people want to see movies with Action, Animation and Special effects. Success leaves clues.

2)   To maximize profits.

That’s it. When that day happens, then we’ll definitely see a lot more Canadian films reaching the #1 spot at the box office. Both domestically and overseas.

Ian Agard
Filmmaker & Author of “Stop Waiting and Make Your Movie” 
http://www.ianagard.com 

P.S. Get info about my new ebook at:

http://www.ianagard.com/how-to-finance-your-movie

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Feb 262011

Houston & Los Angeles (PRWEB) May 27, 2008

Gatecrasher Films is pleased to announce that the feature film “Mutants” will be screened at this year’s Marché du Film at the Cannes Film Festival. In addition, it will be submitting its short film “First Date” to the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival. Gatecrasher Films and AV1 Productions also recently completed filming a music video for hip-hop superstar Lupe Fiasco.

The feature film “Mutants” will be screened at this year’s Cannes Film Festival’s Marché du Film, currently taking place in Cannes, France. The horror/science-fiction film stars Michael Ironside (“Top Gun”, “Starship Troopers”) and Steven Bauer (“Scarface”); directed by Amir Valinia of Gatecrasher Films / AV1 Productions, produced by George Kostuch and Matt Keith of K2 Pictures and co-produced by Ron Finberg of Gatecrasher Films. The film is being distributed by Spotlight Pictures. Amir also recently directed the films “Lords of the Street”, starring Kris Kristofferson, and “Lockjaw: Rise of the Kulev Serpent”, starring hip-hop superstar DMX.

The Marché du Film is the key business counterpart and heart of the Festival de Cannes, and it is the most important motion picture gathering in the world where, every year, cinema and dealmaking are at their best. More than 8,000 participants from 93 countries from the film industry, including producers, international sales agents, distributors and investors, are expected to converge in Cannes for the Marché du Film making deals for tomorrow’s films.

On a separate note, Gatecrasher Films will be submitting its short film comedy production “First Date” to the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival. The plot is about a couple on a blind date and what happens when they become too honest with each other. The film was directed by Amir Valinia and produced by Ron Finberg and Ming Wang. Accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences the LA Shorts Fest is the largest, most recognized short film festival in the world.

Lastly, Gatecrasher Films / AV1 Productions recently completed production on the music video “Hip-Hop Saved My Life” for rap and hip hop superstar Lupe Fiasco. Directed by Dr. Teeth, the video also features singer/songwriter Nikki Jean.

Gatecrasher Films is full-service motion picture production company, specializing in films, music videos and commercials, using cost-effective strategies and efficient processes and techniques resulting in beautiful motion pictures at ultra-competitive rates.

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Feb 212011

This particular movie genre is often confused and misrepresented. While it has many fans across the world, several films which fall in different categories are placed under the “horror” label and they are accepted by the general public. Sites which should provide a good definition of horror, such as the site with the same domain name, features movies such as “Pan’s Labyrinth” in such genre which is absolutely erroneous. Movies such as Pans’s Labyrinth fall within the “Fantasie/Sci-Fi” genre which has nothing to do with horror.

To have a better idea of what this particular genre involves we can define horror films such as: “films that are designed to elicit fright, fear, terror, or horror from viewers. In horror film plots, evil forces, events, or characters, sometimes of supernatural origin, intrude into the everyday world.”

Keeping this definition in mind, the best horror movies tend to leave a certain impression in the viewer. Movies such as “Hostel” or “Saw”, while they are very cool in their own “gory way” fail to deliver the after effects of a good horror movie, for instance, after watching any of the previously mentioned films, an average horror movie fan would go to bed like nothing ever happened, however, if the same viewer were to see a good foreign horror movie such as “The Ring – AKA Ringu” or “Dark Water”, right at the time to turn off the lights and go to bed, an overwhelming feeling of fear takes over; and that’s exactly the way we know that the movie we have seen is a great “horror” movie.

Films which show a great deal of killing are “disturbing” but we all know that if a killer were to attack any of us we’d have a way to fight back, after all, regardless of how twisted a killer might be, he/she is still human. On the other hand, films which portray evil spirits, ghosts, apparitions and demons are a whole different story; what is really frightening to us humans is the fact that if we were in the actor’s shoes we’d realize that “There is absolutely NO way to fight back against these forces”, and relying on a sacred object is not as reassuring as having a weapon which we know is going to injure or vanish whoever or whatever is after us, of course this is all figurative speech, we are just illustrating a point!

Asian horror movies tend to deliver the right blow as far as horror movies go. Since not much is invested in “special effects” they focus their efforts towards ‘the story’ which is way more effective and leaves a stronger impression. All of the movies mentioned below were so good that each had an english remake, which had visual effects improvements in the remake but as many hardcore-horror movie fans can tell, the story might have been ruined which fails to deliver the horrifying effects (in the viewers) compared to the original. Good examples of such movies are:

Ringu: This is also known as “The Ring”. The story revolves around a girl’s death story and the way she was apparently killed by her own parents, then thrown into the depths of a well where she now lives, and escapes into the real world through a cursed video tape in order to take revenge and kill people.

Dark Water (Honogurai mizu no soko kara): This is a particularly exceptional Japanese production which shows bone chilling scenes of a little girl who all she ever wanted was to have a mother, even after death! The title describes part of how she died and the element she used to haunt people.

Ju-On: The title translates to english as “The Curse of the Grudge”. This particular movie has no happy ending compared to American movies where the vengeful spirit is exorcised at the end. The story revolves around a house where a mother and a child were murdered by the father, and the way that these spirits come back to hunt whoever who lies within the walls of this residence.

Very few american movies have taken the horror movie making factors into their own productions. The very best example we have of a good english horror movie is “Silent Hill” which was derived from a video game but had a terrific story and amazingly frightening special effects. Besides such rare movies, asian films know how to deliver bone chilling productions relying mostly on good story telling rather than gory scenes and visual effects. Other Asian movie recommendations are: A tale of two sisters, Phone, Premonition, Uzumaki, The Cure.

Algerian resistance with gangster feel
Outside the Law, an Oscar-nominated foreign film from Rachid Bouchareb, is a gripping French-Algerian coproduction that makes Algeria’s epic struggle for independence from France look like a gangster movie.

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Feb 062011

ATLANTA, GA (PRWEB) November 6, 2003

[www.ZoieFilms.com Today, ZoieFilms announced submission details for the 2004 Zoie Films Online Film Festival. Entry forms are available online at www.ZoieFilms.com website. Submissions for this yearÂ’s Online Film Festival deadlines are December 1st, 2003 with late deadline on February 10th 2004. The 2004 ZoieFest Online Film Festival will begin in March 20th, 2004 at www.ZoieFilms.com.

The leader in online film festivals, Zoie Films Festival is open to feature films, film shorts, documentaries, animations, music videos and mixed media projects utilizing innovative techniques. All entries are judged by a media panel and winning films are showcased online via special screenings available at high speed internet connections. Zoie Films utilizes the latest encryption technology to present the finest quality streaming programs. Zoie Films Festival presents certificates, prizes and awards in animation, drama, comedy, action and new media forms.

For complete information regarding film guidelines, entry rules, or an application form for the Zoie Films Online Film Festival, go to www.ZoieFilms.com and electronic submissions are also acceptable. Entry forms are available online at www.Zoie Films.com and must be sent with submission fees of $ 40 under 30 minutes and $ 50 for feature films.

Founded by Victoria lynn Weston in 1996, Zoie Films Festival is an exclusive online film festival dedicated to the development of independent artists and exploring innovative exhibitions of their work. Since its inception, Zoie Films Festival has grown into a globally recognized venue for filmmakers and screenwriters. Zoie Films Festival is held every March and celebrates independent works from around the world. Zoie Films Festival is the leading online film festival for international works and maintains a unique archive of independent films, documentaries and animations.

Contact: info@zoiefilms.com

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