Festivals & Events

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IFP Announces 26 Projects Selected for 2020 Documentary, Narrative and Episodic Labs

The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced today twenty-six feature projects and series selected to participate across three labs over the next month: The IFP Filmmaker Labs’ Documentary Lab (currently running through May 22) and Narrative Lab (running June 15 – 19) for feature films by directors currently in post-production on their debut features; and the IFP Episodic Lab (running June 1 – 5), for outstanding series projects in development for TV and digital platforms from breakthrough creators. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, all labs will take place virtually. The IFP Filmmaker Labs support first-time feature filmmakers through the […]

“You Can Only Sit on a Zoom Call for So Long”: Tamara Dawit (Finding Sally) on Online Markets and the Hot Docs 2020 Digital Experience

Splitting her time between Toronto and Addis Ababa, Canadian-Ethiopian filmmaker Tamara Dawit is no stranger to international workshops and events. (Or to Hot Docs. When the pandemic hit the longtime alum had been set to premiere her latest Finding Sally, a personal investigation into the life of a long-lost communist rebel aunt four decades after her disappearance.) “I think the upside of online meetings is that the cost is less. You don’t have to pay for flights and hotels, which is what often makes attending a market like Cannes or the EFM too expensive for many people,” Dawit offered. “And right […]

“People are Actually Reading My Scripts When I Send Them!”: Brea Grant on Tribeca Premiere 12 Hour Shift

It was to be a triumphant springtime festival run for Brea Grant. The actor, writer and director (who first won notoriety a decade ago on the NBC series Heroes), had not one, but two, premieres on her calendar at the season’s biggest film festivals, South by Southwest and Tribeca. Grant wrote and has the lead role in Lucky, a thriller about a self-help author besieged by a stalker. The SXSW selection got sidelined as the festival became one of the first to cancel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, 12 Hour Shift, the pitch-black comedy Grant wrote and directed, likewise […]

On What Would Have Been the Launch of Cannes, a Celebration of 26 Film Festivals — and 26 Festival Directors

Film festivals are all about a community coming together to celebrate an art form that we all love. They were one of the first group of events to cancelled when the coronavirus began to spread. The current crisis in the film industry (and across society and the economy as a whole) — the job losses and closures — made it difficult to publish my look back over my year in film festivals, as I’ve done on an annual basis for Filmmaker since 2014. (Also, I had broken my finger over Christmas so was unable to type for three weeks, which […]

Visions du Réel 2020 (2): The Pageant, The Plastic House

The public-facing side of Visions du Réel 2020 has ended and, as far as I can tell, under the circumstances it’s a success. Variety reports that 95 out of 97 features went online; one of the abstainers simply couldn’t get their post done in time after the lockdown hit. In the regular international feature competition, Eytan Ipeker’s The Pageant is the rare film as infuriatingly outrageous as promised by its surprisingly unambiguous festival description (credited to selection committee member Emmanuel Chicon): Beauty contests, with their proven sexist aspect, can irritate. But that which has been taking place since 2012 in Haifa can arouse horror. Sponsored […]

Visions du Réel 2020 (1): Intimate Distances, On a Clear Day You Can See the Revolution From Here, An Ordinary Country

Visions du Réel’s pivot to online-only festival has given me an unexpected new pool of films to sift through. Nearly everything that was supposed to be on the ground at a fest I’d normally never have the resources to attend is accessible online, and the streaming technology is holding up excellently. (AirDropping from laptop to TV, if you have that option, eliminates the watermark, so it’s about as good as online streaming gets.) On the public-facing side (I have no idea how that’s going), the festival went “live” on Saturday the 25th and wraps up on May 2nd. For those […]

Tribeca Critic’s Notebook: Socks on Fire, Sweet Thing, Kokoloko and Unemployable

What’s the point of a film festival if there’s no … festival? That’s the existential question we’re all asking ourselves right now, as organizations scramble to offset cancellations and postponements of physical gatherings in the wake of the global COVID-19 outbreak. In a bid to at least offer filmmakers some exposure, the Tribeca Film Festival is among those fests that made a pivot to online screenings for press and industry, representing maybe a quarter of its feature programming (supplemented by work in shorts, episodic and other categories). The funny thing is, this is how I often have experienced Tribeca – […]

“I Don’t Want to Work in a Place Where I Can’t Touch the Camera”: Gerardo Naranjo on Tribeca 2020 Premiere Kokoloko

A girl, a number of guns, also some cars: recombining knowingly archetypal elements from Gerardo Naranjo’s first two features, Drama/Mex and I’m Gonna Explode, Kokoloko is delightfully loose and unconstrained. In Oaxaca, Marisol (Alejandra Herrera) loves Mundo (Noé Hernández), much to the disapproval of her thuggish cousin Mauro (Eduardo Mendizábal), who literally picks her up and throws her in his car to separate the two. The not-quite-love-triangle unfolds in a larger, equally unsettled arena: road blockades are plotted, cartels are in orbit, and violence erupts at every level. The beachside backdrop recalls the Acapulco setting of Drama/Mex, Marisol and Mundo’s lovers-on-the-run arc I’m […]

Amazon Prime Video, SXSW Announce “SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection”; No U.S. Narratives Among Seven Feature Titles

After announcing on April 2 that the two companies would partner to bring titles from the cancelled 2020 SXSW Film Festival to home viewers, Amazon Prime Video and SXSW announced today the titles that will comprise the free-to-view “2020 SXSW Film Festival Collection.” A total of 39 works — features, shorts, music videos and episodic titles — opted into the program. Of the 39, only seven are features — five percent of the festival’s feature selection — and the four narrative films are all international titles. For producers and filmmakers, the Amazon/SXSW collaboration was immediately controversial upon announcement, with several […]