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    AFP: South Korean who made movies for North Korean dictator, dies aged 80

    South Korean film director Shin Sang-Ok, who made movies for North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il, has died here aged 80, hospital officials said. Shin said in his memoirs that he was abducted by North Korean agents in Hong Kong in 1978, six months after his actress wife, Choi Un-Hee, was taken to the Stalinist country on the orders of Kim. Choi was at the height of her powers as a screen idol at the time and was known to have admirers in North Korea, including Kim, the heir-apparent to supreme leader Kim Il-Sung. The director said Kim, who took over as dictator following the death of his father in 1994, gave him a luxury villa, a Mercedes Benz ...

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    AFP: Kurosawa's descendants launch film school

    The son and an associate of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa unveiled a film school named after the late legend aimed at passing down his know-how to younger generations. Kurosawa Akira Juku, a two-year film school, started accepting applications for 80 students to study production and 30 acting students for classes opening in September. The school will showcase instructors who worked with Kurosawa along with visits and lectures by global figures such as Iranian cinema's doyen Abbas Kiarostami and Taiwan's Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Hisao Kurosawa, a producer and eldest son of the late director, will serve as chairman of the academy. Agence France Pres...

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    During Tough Times for Indie Film Distribution, Some Hard Truths at a Panel Discussion

    Sometimes with high expectations, independent filmmakers create work and then try to navigate the increasingly murky world of releasing their movie. It might be a hard pill to swallow, but filmmakers today need to know that getting into a top film festival and/or securing representation from a leadi...

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    Spanish Shorts, Fathers and Sons, and a "Danish Poet" Highlight 15th Aspen Shortsfest

    While father/son stories were omnipresent at the 15th edition of Aspen Shortsfest, the short that dominated the closing night award ceremony of the highly prestigious short film festival held April 5 - 9 in Aspen, Colorado was animator Torill Kove's quirky love story, "The Danish Poet." The 15-min...

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    MORE: Shorts
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    "Writscutters" and "Intervention" Take Prizes at 11th Gen Art Film Festival

    Goran Dukic's dark comedy, "Wristcutters: A Love Story" received the Gen Art Film Festival's Acura Grand Jury Feature Film Award, including $10,000, the event announced today, conluding the New York festival, which took place April 5 - 11. Also taking prizes, Jay Duplass,' "The Intervention," won the Acura Grand Jury Short Film Award ($5,000), while the inaugural Stargazer Award, which honors "breakout talent for excellence in acting," was given to Katerhine Cunningham-Eves for her role in Scott Tuft's short film, "The Passage of Mrs. Calabash." The audience award for best feature went to Scott Glosserman's "Behind the Mask," while the prize ...

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    AP: Indian Actor Raj Kumar Dies, Fans Riot

    Raj Kumar, a onetime child actor who became one of south India's most beloved movie stars and later was kidnapped by a notorious bandit, died Wednesday at age 77. Hundreds of distraught fans rioted in Bangalore when police prevented them from forcing their way into the late actor's home, New Delhi Television reported. Police used bamboo canes to drive away angry fans who shattered the windows of several buses and set a half-dozen cars and motorcycles on fire. The actor's body was later moved to a large public park in the heart of the city to allow fans to pay their last respects. The regional government in southern India has decided to give K...

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    NY Times: Giuliani Documentary Seeks to Get Beyond Heroic 9/11 Image

    Fairly or not, it was a phrase that came to symbolize an era thick with accusations of police brutality against minorities, artists and other residents of New York City: "Giuliani Time." Now it is the title of a new documentary about the political life of the mayor who presided over those years - and who, it is safe to assume, would not include the film on his campaign website if he were to decide to run for president in 2008. The two-hour feature is nothing less than a full frontal assault on the civic deification of Rudolph W. Giuliani that occurred in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, when much of the news coverage shined a spotlight on his s...

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    "Mission Impossible III" to Have U.S. Premiere at Tribeca Film Festival

    "Mission Impossible III" and its star Tom Cruise will kick off the film's U.S. debut with a series of events May 3rd in New York City at the Tribeca Film Festival. Cruise will appear live on MTV's "Total Request Live" (TRL) in Times Square in the afternoon, followed by the premiere in the evening at...

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    Beverly Hills Film Festival Awards Golden Palm to "Assyriska"

    The sixth annual Beverly Hills International Film Festival awarded its Golden Palm Award to "Assyriska: A National Team Without a Nation" by Nuri Kino and Erik Sandberg over the weekend. The award was voted on by BHFF's jury and festival attendees. The third episode in a five-part documentary chronicles an Assyrian soccer team from a small Swedish town as it achieves international stardom while also pushing Swedish and Turkish governments to recognize the "forgotten" Assyrian genocide of WWI. Best foreign film went to "Verso La Luna Con Fellini" (Towards the Moon with Fellini), directed by Eugenio Cappuccio. The comical documentary features t...

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    "Friends with Money" Cashes in at the Box office; "Thank You for Smoking" Remains Solid

    It appears that spring has sprung in the art/specialty film business. After several sluggish weeks, there are now two films heading for quick wide release and possible mainstream appeal - Sony Classics' "Friends With Money" and Fox Searchlight's "Thank You For Smoking." Nicole Holofcener's "Friends ...

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