Monday 30 September 2019

LFF 2019 Preview: Love, Life and Laughter

The 63rd BFI London Film Festival has announced George Pearson’s Love, Life and Laughter (1923) as this year’s Archive Special Presentation. Lost for nearly a century, this film was on the BFI 75 Most Wanted list and one of its most sought after titles for decades and has now been carefully restored by the team at the BFI National Archive. Its screening at this year’s Festival gives audiences the chance to fall under the spell of Betty Balfour, Britain’s ‘Queen of Happiness’ and the nation’s biggest star of the 1920s. The presentation will take place at BFI Southbank on Thursday 3rd October, 6.10pm in NFT1 with a live musical accompaniment.

This restoration is from a Dutch-language version of the film, which was identified by archivists at Eye Filmmuseum in the Netherlands while being catalogued following its arrival at the archive in November 2012. The archive responded to the BFI’s 75 Most Wanted list, a list compiled in 2010 outlining the film titles the BFI National Archive would like to preserve and make available. The print is part of a collection of film cans that belonged to a local cinema in the small town of Hattem (near Zwolle). Cinema Theater De Vries, run by the De Vries family had only been active for 3 years, from 1929 – 1932 and subsequently the film cans came into the possession of the Van Egmond family. In 2012, when the cinema building was about to be redeveloped, an employee at a local television station, Gerhard van der Worp, took the initiative of bringing the material to Eye. No-one had any idea of the contents of the film cans. Despite being an incomplete version of the film this discovery is hugely significant in terms of film history of that period, with over 80% of silent films made still missing.

Betty Balfour’s star persona, her bubbly personality and physical comedy were very popular in Holland, which is one of the reasons the film was found there. The film was found with Dutch intertitles, and the original English titles were missing – part of the painstaking restoration by the BFI team included the recreation of English intertitles in keeping with Betty Balfour’s working class dialect. Balfour previously worked with Pearson through the 1920s as the comic character Squibs, in a hugely popular series of films. She was much in demand as a popular foreign export and worked with leading directors in Germany, Austria and France (including the great Marcel L’Herbier). She starred in Hitchcock’s 1928 silent Champagne which was restored by the BFI National Archive in 2012. Born in London in 1903, she died in Weybridge in 1978.

Source: BFI


Monday 23 September 2019

LFF 2019 Event: Mariette Rissenbeek / Inge de Leeuw

Mariette Rissenbeek. Image © German Films / Kurt Krieger
The London Film Festival’s series of Big Picture sessions will explore how the industry is adapting to disruption and change, from production to reaching audiences and across film, high-end television, streamers and in the immersive world. Leading international and UK figures in the industry will discuss the challenges, opportunities across the international sales, distribution, festival and emerging high-end television landscape and explore how these sectors move forwards over the next few years.

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director said: "This year’s LFF industry programme tunes into the fact that the film, TV and wider screen industries are experiencing huge global change, and that UK businesses are continuing to seek international collaborations despite uncertainty. We wanted to offer a platform for urgent conversations about those industry changes, and how we are adapting."  
International Film Festival Rotterdam. Image: IFFR
The festival circuit currently finds itself in a moment of flux, with a widespread changing of the guard at the top level. It is also facing challenges to its traditional role in the distribution ecosystem as deep-pocketed streamers disrupt the traditional acquisitions markets at festivals, and with the emergence of new platforms including Apple+, HBO Max, Quibi and Disney+ over the coming year, premium content will increasingly be able to find its way directly to audiences on a variety of platforms, without having to rely on a traditional festival-theatrical-distribution model. There are urgent questions about the role that festivals play as gatekeepers and ensuring a more diverse range of voices are heard. Kate Taylor, LFF Senior Programmer, moderates Key Questions Facing the Festival Circuit (in Vue 6, at 15:30 on 7/10/19) with Giona Nazzaro, General Delegate, Venice International Film Critics’ Week; Inge de Leeuw, Programmer, International Film Festival Rotterdam; and Mariette Rissenbeek, Executive Director, Berlinale.

Source: BFI

Monday 16 September 2019

LFF 2019 Preview: Monos / The Other Lamb

Alejandro Landes delivers one of the most talked-about films of the year in Monos: a hallucinogenic, intoxicating thriller about child soldiers that has inspired feverish buzz and earned comparisons to Apocalypse Now and Lord of the Flies.

High in the mountains of South America, above the billowing clouds but with gunshots heard in the distance, a motley group of child and teenage soldiers train and wait for instruction while in the presence of their American hostage, the Doctora.

Despite wearing its influences on its sleeve, the film is a wildly original vision from Landes and screenwriter Alexis dos Santos; the camera prowling over mud and organic decay, cutting swathes through the jungle, all to the strains of Mica Levi’s visceral score.

Małgorzata Szumowska’s (Berlin Jury Prize-winner Mug and LFF 2015’s Body) English-language debut The Other Lamb is a beguiling, genre-tinged examination of life in an otherworldly cult.

Selah was born into The Flock, a community of women and girls ruled over by Shepherd, the only male, and a seemingly benevolent but undisputed leader of the strictly regimented and isolated woodland settlement. Selah appears the most perfect of the faithful flock, until unsettling revelations see her devotion shaken.

Szumowska offers an eerie ethereal vision that compellingly recalls a range of references, from David Koresh’s Waco, Texas cult to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian science fiction.

Source: BFI

Images: trigon-filmTrustNordisk

Monday 9 September 2019

9th Cairo Video Festival (9/9/19–30/9/19)

The 9th edition of the Cairo Video Festival will be launched at Cinema Zawya with a public screening of one of the festival’s programs titled Peripheral Vision at 7pm on Monday, 9th of September 2019.
A total of 101 works from over 30 countries are featured in this edition, which includes individual artists, collectives, the outcome of creative writing workshop Butterflies Are Not Drawn to Light and 4 commissioned works. Video works featured in the 9th edition are produced after January 2017. All videos have Arabic and English subtitles wherever intended.
The 9th edition of the Cairo Video Festival consists of 9 programs, each program contains a selection of videos that will be screened and installed across the city, in addition to the online showcase. Screenings will be screened amongst venues such as public vitrines, bookstores and community spaces in order to promote, expand and harvest attention to the practice of video art and experimental film.
The works in this edition have been nominated and selected by the festival’s team, as well as the Selection and Programmers Committee, including: Ahmed Refaat, Alaa Abdelhamid, Islam Kamal, Mai Elwakil, Mona Gamil, Sarrah Abdelrahman and 96 negative. The 9th edition contains reflections and input from contributors including Islam Shabana, Lara El Gibaly, Marwan Elgamal, Nour El Safoury, Samir El Kordy and Wael Abdel Fattah.
The 9th Cairo Video Festival is organized by Medrar and supported by British Council, DEDI - Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute, the French Institute, Pro Helvetia Cairo, Swiss Arts Council, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Egypt and Elaraby Group.

Words/image: copyright © Cairo Video Festival 2019


Tuesday 3 September 2019

Programme Launch: London Film Festival 2019

The 63rd BFI London Film Festival (LFF) announced its full programme on Thursday 29th August, 2019, presenting 229 feature films from some of the world’s greatest filmmakers and emerging talent.

For 12 days from 2-13 October 2019 the LFF will celebrate the diverse landscape of international cinema, showcasing films set to entertain and inspire, provoke debate and tackle the urgent issues of our time.

As Britain’s leading cinema event and one of the world’s most important film festivals, the programme offers UK audiences the chance to see some of the most anticipated new films from around the globe, including a host of new works destined to be major awards contenders. This October, the Festival will present 28 World Premieres, 12 International Premieres and 28 European Premieres, welcoming an impressive line up of first-class filmmakers and acting talent.

The programme presents stories from a broad range of voices, continuing to support both home-grown cinema and international productions. 78 countries are represented across short films and features, with 40% of all films directed or co-directed by women. The Festival continues to act as a launch pad for debut filmmakers, often supporting them throughout their career, demonstrated by returning Festival alumni in this year’s programme. The 229 feature films screening include: 41 documentaries, 7 animations, 13 archive restorations and 7 artists’ moving image features. The programme also includes 116 short films.

The Competitive sections serve to recognise remarkable creative achievements from British and international filmmakers. Winners are selected by hand-picked juries across four categories: Official Competition, First Feature, Documentary and Short Film. Last year, audiences were placed at the heart of the awards celebrations for the first time, when the winning film from each section was presented to the public as a surprise screening, following the on-stage announcement of the winner. Building on last year’s sell-out success, audiences will once again have the chance to buy tickets to these awards screenings and be part of the proceedings.

Alongside the Galas, Special Presentations and films in Competition, the Festival will show a range of new world cinema in sections Love, Debate, Laugh, Dare, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Create, Experimenta and Family – which provide pathways for audiences to navigate the extensive programme.

Source: BFI