Dec 232010

by Toby Simkin

The annual Algarve International Film Festival is the oldest of its kind in Portugal. Through the years, it has greatly helped in the promotion and showcasing of short films both from local and international talents. Locally known as FICA or the “Festival Internacional de Cine do Algarve”, this event has been conducted every year since its inception in 1972 in the small Portuguese town of Portimao.

The Algarve International Film Festival centers on its famous short film competition. This competition draws entries that feature either animated or live-action short films with a maximum duration of 30 minutes. These films have to be shot in 16 mm or 35 mm reels. Although the short film competition is the main draw of this festival, there are other important events that are featured here as well, including an awards show that is presided over by a jury. The awards show gives out prizes in various categories such as Best Film by a Portuguese Directory, Best Film about the Algarve and Best Film about Nature. The most popular category among these awards however, is the Best Film with a Message of Love and Peace among Men. All the films screened at this festival are presented in their original language along with subtitles in either Portuguese or English.

In addition to the short films and its award ceremony, the Algarve International Film Festival is also known for its regional presentations and screenings. The regional events and presentations are divided into various categories according to different factors, like the towns from which they originate.

Across the years, the towns of Lagos, Alvor, Portimao, Monchique, Mexilhoeira da Carregacao, Mexillhoeira Grande, Albufeira, Messines, Silves, Guja, Faro, Loule, Tavira and Olhao have all consistently participated in the Algarve International Film Festival. Visitors can also expect entries to come in from towns like Saboia, Ourique, Milfontes, the Alentejo area and various other regions.

The Short Films Section of the Algarve International Film Festival has traditionally been divided into five different components. Each of these sections features a different type of short film. The different sections are: the retrospective, Winners of the main prize over the years, FICA 30, National Shorts section, Homage to Annecy (which is home to the most important animation festivals in the world) and New Territories, which takes a look at the new trends that are emerging across the world and showcases various individual filmmakers.

There is a different program featured every year, which is divided into seven different categories. These sections vary every year according to the theme of the show. Tickets to the Algarve International Film Festival are available on the Internet.

Palm Springs film festival announces lineup
The 22nd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, which runs from Jan. 6-17, will feature 193 films from 68 countries including 59 premieres — nine world, 17 North American and 33 U.S.
Read more on Los Angeles Times

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Dec 162010

PHOENIX, AZ, (PRWEB) June 9, 2004

El Trafico, an independent short film from Volarefilms LLC, makes its Western European premier at the 5th annual Filmstock International Film Festival in the UK. The film festival, scheduled to run from June 1st through June 15th will exhibit “El Trafico” as part of its slate of short and feature length films and documentaries.

Directed by first time filmmaker Marco Santiago, the story reflects the growing violence involved in the trafficking of humans. Set in Southern Arizona, the story depicts a young boy who gets caught-up in the underworld of human traffickers. “El Trafico” is one of a series of short films directed by Marco Santiago that deal with immigration issues in the United States, human trafficking in general, and their associated violence. “We feel that this film is as timely as you can get considering the current events in the United States and the rest of the world, and Filmstock is a great place to premier this film.” says Marco Santiago, director of “El Trafico”. “El Trafico is only the beginning. The plan is to continue to crank out content that is relevant, creative, and emotionally impacting.” he continues.

Along those lines, Volarefilms LLC is currently in production of a feature length documentary film titled “Into the Border”. In production since July 5th 2003, the documentary deals explicitly with the border issues in Arizona. Also in Production is a short film titled “Once Upon a Time in the Desert”, set to complete filming at the end of June, as well as a 30 minutes short film titled “86″, set to go into production in the September/October time frame. Volarefilms is also developing a feature length film, titled “Volare”, set to go into production in mid 2005.

For more information regarding the short film “El Trafico”, or for a copy of the “El Trafico” Press Kit, visit or contact Marco Santiago. IMDB information can be obtained at

Volarefilms LLC is an Arizona based independent film company engaged in the development and production of feature length motion pictures, film shorts, and documentaries with the aim of creating works that are commercially viable, culturally significant, intellectually satisfying, and emotionally impacting.


Marco Santiago

Volarefilms LLC


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Dec 132010

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The Acorn Penny heads to the Los Angeles Womens International Film Festival

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

Cleveland, OH (Vocus) March 24, 2010

THE ACORN PENNY, a short film by filmmaking father – daughter team, LAUFER FILM will have it’s next festival screening March 27th at the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival. It is playing at the Laemmles Sunset 5 theater in the Shorts Program 2 at 3:15 pm.

The Alliance of Women Filmmakers Inc., a non-profit 501c(3) organization is the producer of the LA Womens International Film Festival. The group established the festival to empower women filmmakers to create diverse roles for women as well as increase exposure for women made movies. AFI trained cinematographer and director Tiff Laufer is a both successful filmmaker and a perfect fit for the festival.

The Acorn Penny is a visionary short film helmed by AFI graduate Tiffany Ann Laufer. The movie 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. “estimates suggest that 5.9 million people have died in the DRC over the past decade”. The UN is spending a billion dollars a year just in the Congo – we felt this was a story that needed to be told,” Laufer said. The film includes footage from the Cleveland Museum of Art collections archive and actual footage from Congolese refugee camps, footage provided by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.

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 was 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 was well received at the second annual Amelia Island Film Festival where Michelle Eggers of the Jacksonville Nassau Sun called the Acorn Penny “more pressing, a movie which guides viewers through the metaphorical journey of a young African refugee and her magical acorn.” Asked about her motivation for the movie, Tiffany Laufer said “I originally hoped to produce a feature-length film on genocide in the Congo, but because of the immediacy of the issue, created a short instead.” “This message is too important to wait,” Laufer said, “I knew that I needed to get it out to people as quickly as possible.” In a similar statement of pressing need, Ben Affleck, an early inspiration to Laufer, has just founded the East Congo Initiative to help raise fund and awareness about issues facing the people in the Congo.

The short film was also selected to be shown at the “Short Film Corner” a market for short films to be held at the Cannes International Film Festival, May 12 – 22nd.



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