Julie Delpy sings!

I knew Julie Delpy looked like an angel, but I didn't know she could sing like one too...

DOC'S KINGDOM presents this year's programme

DOC'S KINGDOM, the documentary cinema gathering that will take place between 13 and 18 June in Serpa, Portugal has posted the programme for the event. Frederick Wiseman will be attending, which makes the event quite unmissable really.

Festival site.

Ken Loach wins the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival with his new film, The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

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John Waters: No Smoking

I just came across this in the viral section of Ifilm...priceless...


Enron former execs found guilty

While the film Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room has been doing really well in the UK - it took £37,746 on just six screens when it opened on 28 April - former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling and founder Kenneth Lay have been found guilty of conspiracy and fraud following the 15-week trial which involved a total of 54 witnesses and a jury of eight women and four men.

The decision came after six days of deliberations, with Kenneth Lay proved to be guilty on all six of his charges and Jeff Skilling found guilty on 19 of the 26 charges he faced. The former executives have been found guilty of misleading the public about the true financial health of Enron, which has become one of the biggest business scandals in American history and has sent shockwaves through corporate boardrooms worldwide.

The documentary feature Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, which received an Oscar nomination this year, is still playing round the country. The film is based on the best-selling book The Smartest Guys in the Room by Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind and features insider accounts and corporate audio and videotapes.

Film site.


Executives step in to defend Da Vinci Code film at Cannes Film Festival

Via the New Zealand Herald today: "Senior movie industry executives went on the offensive yesterday in defence of The Da Vinci Code after its mauling by the critics at the Cannes Film Festival. Executives took the almost unheard-of step of speaking personally to the press to deliver initial box office results that indicate a strong public appetite for more Dan Brown, despite criticisms that the adaptation of his bestselling book is boring and baffling."

Full story +


Kenneth Anger in Bremen

Those who happen to be visiting the German town of Bremen until 25 June (as you do) should take the opportunity to see a show of Kenneth Anger's films at the Künstlerhaus Bremen under the title Pleased to Meet You (ed: a reference to the Stones' Sympathy for the Devil, which rock and roll legend says was inspired by Mr Anger).

The text that accompanies the show gives us a brief introduction to Mr Anger's life and times:

"At the Festival du Film Maudit in Biarritz in 1949 a group of young cinéastes came together. With their challenge to established cinema, they incorporated the new generation, the later Nouvelle Vague. The winner of the festival in the category Poetic Film was the 19-year-old American Kenneth Anger with his film Fireworks. One weekend in 1947 – Mr. and Mrs. Anger had gone to a funeral – 17-year-old Kenneth had availed himself of the opportunity and made an experimental film in his parents' apartment; it was to become a milestone in the history of the genre. While the Nouvelle Vague attempted to oppose the bourgeois traditions of the cinema, Anger's films constituted a critique of the dream factory Hollywood. He had his own, very different approach to collective dreams, myths and desire. Anger's films are not narrative, they present images of magic rituals in which each sign points to some unknown transcendence. The heightened sensuality resulting from the intensely opulent colours and the way individual images are blended imbue these films with a baroque splendour. Anger's technique of linking image and sound and his borrowings from popular culture were formative and would later impact the genre of the music video. Anger inspired the Rolling Stones to their hit song Sympathy for the Devil and greatly influenced film directors such as David Lynch, Donald Cammell, Roger Corman, R. W. Fassbinder and Martin Scorsese, who called Anger “an artist of exceptional imagination”."

This exhibition of Kenneth Anger's oeuvre at the Künstlerhaus Bremen is his first solo exhibition in Germany.


Teaser: Wal-Mart the Movie

Watch it +
©American Rights at Work www.americanrightsatwork.org/walmart


Cannes 2006

Cahier du Cinema's May issue has a special section on Cannes.
The magazine gave the cover to Sophia Coppola's Marie-Antoienette, starred by Kirsten Dunst (the rest of the cast includes god and his wife). The same issue has a French language review of Almodovar's new film 'Volver', which apparently is due out in the UK in August.

Documentary on Jack Smith

Having been a fan of director/performer/artist/writer underground pioneer Jack Smith since I discovered him in 1999 thanks to the now defunct cinema in Hoxton Square, London, I was pleased to find out about Mary Jordan's debut feature on Smith called Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis - those familiar with Smith's work will know what the reference in the title is all about (he was obsessed with Atlantis, The Thousand and One Nights and Maria Montez).

Jack Smith (left) in action

Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis screened at the Tribeca film festival which folded last weekend (7/5; a review of the festival is being uploaded tonight) and hopefully will be arriving in the UK in the near future.

Meanwhile, the film's website contains clips and all sorts of Flash animations. It also gives the uninitiated a good introduction to Smith's legacy.


It's Cannes time...again

Is it me or it seems like yesterday since the last edition of the Cannes Festival? The arrival of the festival always catches me by surprise, like a preying feline suddenly jumping on the road. Indiewire has filed a good overview of the independent corner of Cannes 06:

"Italy, Australia and Romania are the hotbeds of world cinema, with Spain and Mexico not far behind, while Middle Eastern and Asian movies have lost their luster. That is, of course, if you believe the films chosen to screen at next week's Cannes Film Festival can be taken as a sign of cinematic prosperity."

Full article +


European Media Art Festival

EMAF, Europe's leading media art festival, starts tomorrow in the town of Osnabrück in Germany and I'll be there during the coming weekend as a guest and exhibitor. My video 'Job Interview' was selected for this year's programme. I'll be filing a dispatch early next week.

The objective of the festival is to offer comprehensive overview over the latest tendencies and developments of media art. This year's programme includes 200 new experimental films and videos plus 50 installations, performances, lectures and discussions.

Under the motto "Smart Art" the EMAF's organisers are promising to show "current works that question social conventions, take familiar things out of their context and subtly track down the absurdities of individual and social everyday life. The approaches range from popular subjects to
provocative statements that go down new paths of artistic debate in film, installation and expanded media, making playful and intelligent use of various media."

Check out the festival's site to see more details of the programme.


24 in London

The film version of the hit TV programme '24' will be shot in London, wrote the Telegraph.

Full story+


Another Tribeca Paradox

The New York press has found yet another paradox in the Tribeca Film Festival. According to the NY Times [registration req'd], foreigners make better films about what is happening in the world than Americans.

Five years into the festival's existence, one of the paradoxes of this New York-centric event is that many of its freshest, most startling films are political dramas and satires from non-American perspectives.

No kidding. In the land of individualism, filmmakers prefer the coming-of-age or the David-Goliath success stories. Art in general is less about examining the larger world and more about examining every square inch of your own tortured soul.

I walked out of yet another sloppily scripted, shot-on-video New York indie only last week. East Broadway applies the Cinderella myth to a young Cantonese financial wizard who has her own corner office and a studio on the Upper East Side. 'Poor' Cinderella! She wants to play with the really rich folk who live on Park Avenue! It's hard to sympathise with such a goal, even though there was a convoluted plot line about illegal sweatshops in Chinatown. The problem with this film, and another one I walked out of (Return to Rajapur) is that yes, if you are psychotic (ehm, driven?) enough you can find some money in New York to shoot a feature.

In both cases, the filmmakers had written, directed and produced their debut features based on their own wobbly first-time scripts. There was no one experienced on board to guide their weak screenplays towards completion. At least in Europe, the funding bodies have committees or consultants to do that. It's a myth that struggling filmmakers are always battling those 'enemies' who are supposedly intent on butchering their personal vision. They might be highly overestimating their creative powers. These self-made Newyorkers shot everything the way they wanted to, without a seasoned producer for guidance, but I couldn't bear to sit through the results.

Video is just an excuse to shoot features that nobody wanted to finance. And they end up looking it. Return to Rajapur could only afford film because it was shot in India with cheap labour. No wonder East Broadway was merely selected for the festival's NY Features section and not the feature competition.

Stay tuned for a round-up of Tribeca's truly worthy discoveries.

So bad it's good

Via the Guardian: a feature article about what it takes for a bad movie to be promoted to the 'so-bad-it's good' category.

Full article +


Online viewing...

See how the internet is adding possibilities to the world of film. Online film site Clickflicks.net is hosting the online voting for candidate short films, spec commercials and music videos for the 2006 Gotham City International Film & Video Festival, to be held between 29 October and 5 November in New York City.

Voting started yesterday and goes on until 15 June. The candidate films, commercials and music videos will be available for online viewing and voting in a special festival section of the site. The top two films from each of nine categories will become finalists in the festival.

Clickflicks +

Gotham Festival +


Kamera arrived back from its Labour Day break to find out that our regular contributor Calum Waddell is a semi-finalist in the 2006 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

Congratulations Calum!