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Caméras d’Afrique: The Films of West Africa


  • By Carlos Aguilar
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  • October 1, 2013 3:30 PM
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Rarely do American audiences get to experience the cinematic diversity from the African continent; however, this October thanks to Film Independent and the Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television, audiences in Los Angeles will be able to be part of a month-long series showcasing the best of modern cinema from West Africa. Curated by Film Independent and LACMA curator Ellvis Mitchell, Cameras d'Afrique: The Films of West Africa runs from October 3-28, 2013 at LACMA. The event will feature an array of 21 film, both narrative and documentary, many of which have never been screened in the U.S, most screenings will also include Q&As with the talented African filmmakers.

Berlinale's World Cinema Fund Announces New Films

  • By Sydney Levine
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  • July 8, 2011 2:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments
The Berlinale's World Cinema Fund has selected four new film projects for production funding as well as four films for distribution funding at the 14th session of the World Cinema Fund (WCF) jury on July 3.

Palm Spring International ShortFest Awards

  • By Sydney Levine
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  • June 28, 2011 2:30 AM
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Shorts are having an impact on new digital media and new types of distribution. Their importance and their filmmakers' importance has long been recognized by the top festivals (Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, TIFF) and among the trade, agents keep an eye on the top shorts filmmakers. So too, certain leading shorts film festivals and markets, the leaders of which are Clermont Ferrand in France and Oberhausen in Germany (for more cutting edge shorts), festivals like the Guanajuato International Film Festival, Expresión en Corto, held during the final week of July in the cities of San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato Capital, Mexico and the Palm Spring Shortfest, NeXt in Bucharest and the Cannes Film Festival's Shorts Corner are increasingly important as are their winners who are the talents to watch.

U.S. Distributors: Zeitgeist's BCNY Breaks Records

  • By Sydney Levine
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  • April 29, 2011 2:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Bill Cunningham New York broke all house records at Film Forum and we’re still playing in 3 theatres in Manhattan. We’ve already opened in 30 cities and it’s doing well everywhere. Our rollout will be in over 200 cities. BCNY appeals to people who love fashion because it’s so much fun to watch and it’s crossing over because audiences are moved and inspired by Bill’s simplicity and humility and passion for his work. He’s a beacon in these cynical times!

Gun Hill Road

  • By Sydney Levine
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  • March 25, 2011 2:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment
I am finally catching up with some of what I missed at Sundance -- just in time for Cannes!. This one I had heard about from a acting school colleague of Rashaad before Sundance was announced. Now I have finally seen the film! Wow! It is so strong and uncompromising, I actually had a tough time staying with these characters, so strongly into their own world were they. The realism of their characters, flaws and strengths, the realism of those rough South Bronx streets, the grittiness and proximity were palpable. This film will remain with me for a long time to come. Esai Morales and Judy Reyes were great. And the young man...who is he? Even IMDb didn’t help me find him as I forgot his name in the film. What a sweet and beautiful young man. All the actors were good, even the supporting roles, especially of the nemisis, Sugar, played by Robert Salzman, who must have done something as horrendous as what our hero, Enrique, fears in his own son. Enrique's steadfast and unquestionable machismo made Esai Morales' figure positively tragic. The video here speaks with Robert Salzman's own voice and makes you understand how he was able to play the role of the convict/ ex-con Sugar:Director Rashaad Ernesto Green started his own his career as an actor and has a natural feel for the actors. A New York native, he received his BA from Dartmouth College, MFA from the NYU Graduate Acting Program, and will graduate this May from NYU's Graduate Film Program. After spending three years acting in theaters nationwide and working with directors such as Spike Lee, Rashaad worked as a teacher in the South Bronx before moving behind the camera to tell stories. Rashaad was included on the latest edition of Filmmaker Magazine’s elite 25 New Faces of Independent Film list as well as indieWIRE's 2009 Top Ten New Voices in Cinema. Gun Hill Road's Rashaad Ernesto Green, courtesy of Sundance InstituteThe world premiere of Rashaad’s film Premature won the Grand Jury Prize in the HBO Short Film Competition at the 2008 American Black Film Festival, is currently airing on HBO and has played over 40 festivals worldwide, including Palm Springs International Shortfest, Munich International Film Festival, Sapporo International Film Festival of Japan, has broadcast in England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Kenya, Japan, and has garnered over 20 awards, including the Directors Guild of America Student Award and the National Board of Review Award. His short Choices premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and his latest short Cuts has also screened on HBO. Selected for the 2010 Tribeca All Access Program, IFP’s Independent Film Week, and a recipient of the prestigious Princess Grace Foundation–Cary Grant Film Award, Rashaad recently completed his thesis feature film Gun Hill Road which premiered in the 2011 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Competition. Gun Hill Road was picked up by U.S. distributor Motion Film Group and will be released early this summer.

Zanzibar International Film Festival Honors Guests

  • By Sydney Levine
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  • March 22, 2011 2:30 AM
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Zanzibar International Film Festival has been a participant of the course I teach yearly at Deutsche Welle Akademie. Film festival directors from Africa and Asia come for five weeks to learn the business and are taken into the Berlinale fold to help them overcome obstacles they always hit, like how to get sponsorship, how to find the right films, how to find financial resources, how to make alliances internationally.

Media Arts Center San Diego receives grant award from California Council for the Humanities

  • By Sydney Levine
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  • March 12, 2011 3:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
There is actually still government grant money being awarded to worthy projects!

International Sales Agent of the Day: Pyramide

  • By Sydney Levine
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  • February 3, 2011 3:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Pyramide International is part of Pyramide group which is a French distribution company (Pyramide Distribution) and a French production company (Pyramide Productions) as well as an international sales agent. The company was founded in 1989. As a world sales agent, Pyramide International (former FPI) has deliberately focused on the “film d’auteur”, and promotes international sales of young directors like Sandrine Veysset (WILL IT SNOW FOR XMAS ?), Diego Lerman (TAN DE REPENTE), Wang Xiao-Shuai (BEIJING BICYCLE), Eleonore Faucher (BRODEUSES) and more recently Etgar Keret & Shira Geffen (JELLYFISH – Camera d’Or Cannes 2007) and Lucia Puenzo (XXY – Grand Prize of Critics’ Week Cannes 2007). Of course it continues with representation of the many directors and their producers who have trusted the company throughout its own development.

When Are Films Political? Tunisia Today

  • By Sydney Levine
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  • February 1, 2011 7:45 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Producer Tarak Ben Ammar will produce a feature about the now iconic Tunisian figure Mohamed Bouaziz whose actions, when he set himself on fire to protest about unemployment and the lack of freedoms in Tunisia, set off a historic chain of events that led to the Jasmin Revolution in Tunisia and the overthrow of Tunisian President Zein El-Abedin Ben Ali. Bouazizi's act of self-sacrifice has led to shockwaves across the Arab world and seen him proclaimed as a hero and martyr across the region. The current protesters in Egypt and other parts of North Africa and the Middle East have all cited Bouazizi as an inspiration in their own demands for liberty in their countries.

AFFRM: A New View of Distribution

  • By Sydney Levine
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  • January 31, 2011 3:30 AM
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  • 3 Comments
On Sunday, January 25, 2011, AFFRM hosted the third of a trio of dinners for black filmmakers and filmthinkers at Sundance Film Festival. Filmmaker and publicist Ava DuVernay created these dynamic group conversations on "all things black + indie + film" at Cafe Terigo, overlooking Main Street in Park City. I like to think of myself as a filmthinker because I have been rethinking distribution of films along with everyone else in the business, but have been especially concerned about underserved audiences in the Latino and African American sectors. I have been reframing my own ideas (with such a coach as Tom Bernard leading the way) as I teach my course on the international film business at UCLA Extension, Deutsche Welle Akademie, the Berlinale Talent Campus and Woodbury College. I hope that I elucidate the issues in this blog and that that is why I was invited to partake in one of these very special dinners. With five African American film festivals curating, the best of African American films will receive theatrical releases through AMC theaters in five top markets along with national reviews. From that point on, it will be up to the filmmakers to use the existing services of such entities as their own ingenious use of social networking, The Film Collaborative or Distribber's new Cable VoD initiative to maximize their theatrical runs and the attendant marketing, to distribute their films to obtain the maximum returns. Even further theatrical exhibition can be considered through Emerging Picture's network of some 95 theaters.Read the New York Times article for more information on AFFRM.And see below the jump which festivals are the founding five.

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