Europa Cinemas at the Berlin festival

Further supporting its ongoing campaign to promote European films, Europa Cinemas will return once again to this years Berlin Film Festival, awarding its Label prize to the best European film in the Panorama section (February 8-18). This marks the third year that the Europa Cinemas Label will be awarded at Berlin, and complements the Labels awarded at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, the Venice Days section of the Mostra del Cinema, and Karlovy Vary.

A jury of four Europa Cinemas exhibitors will award the Label at Berlin, with the winning film receiving the support of extended theatrical exposure and additional promotion from the Europa Cinemas network. The Panorama jury will consist of Stas Ravter (Slovenia), Exhibitor at the Kinodvor cinema and General Manager of the Slovenian Cinematheque (Llubljana); Georgette Ranucci (Italy), Exhibitor at the Alcazar cinema in Rome; Michal Drobny (Czech Republic), Manager of the distribution/exhibition company Continental Film in Bratislava and Christian Schmalz (Germany), exbitor at the Off Broadway Kino in Cologne.

Founded in 1992, the Europa Cinemas network now consists of 1,689 screens in 690 cinemas in 403 cities in 55 countries. Europa Cinemas’ aim is to support the programming and visibility of European films outside their country of origin, and to foster initiatives aimed at encouraging younger audiences to develop their interest in European films and cultural diversity.

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Rotterdam festival

The Rotterdam International Film Festival has announced that its 36th edition will include 38 world, 21 international and 23 European feature premieres, focusing on ´independent and innovative filmmaking´. The full programme will be announced online next Thursday 18th January, and contains a mixture of brand new films, underestimated gems and highlights of the year.

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Andrzej Munk at London's Riverside 3-17 January 2006

A recent interest in Andrzej Munk’s work started with the distribution company Second Run's DVD release of his film The Passenger late last year. Following on from that, the Polish Cultural Institute in association with the Riverside in London are paying their own tribute to the director who died from a car crash at the tragically early age of 39.

The Passenger plays next week (17th Jan) and, though fictionalised, is one of the most harrowing accounts of Auschwitz you will see, emulating even Alain Resnais's Night and Fog. However, Munk also saw humour in the tragedy of life and tonight's (10th Jan) double-bill at the Riverside starts with his Bad Luck from 1960, about a Polish everyman who always finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's followed by its Andrzej Kotkowski directed sequel Citizen Piszczyk, made 29 years later and starring Jerzy Stuhr.

The film critic and historian Phiip Kemp will introduce the screenings on 17th Jan that, along with The Passenger, include Munk shorts and The Last Pictures, Andrzej Brzozowski's documentary on the great director from 2001. Brzozowski was Munk's assistant on The Passenger and here he takes us through the film and how he completed it to what he believed were Munk's intentions, also adding phtographs and a voice-over narration.

More information on the Andrzej Munk season at the Riverside can be found on this page

The Online Film Critics choose United 93 as Best Picture...

...with Helen Mirren (The Queen) and Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) taking Best Acting honours and Martin Scorcese winning Best Director. But the most interesting mentions on their list are in the smaller categories: the critics of the Online Film Critics Society (of which I am a member) choose Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly as Best Animated Film, Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain for Best Score, and the screenplays of El laberinto del fauno (Pan's Labyrinth) and Children of Men as Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplays respectively, which is interesting since both were written (at least partly) by Mexicans, with El laberinto written in a foreign language (the Spanish-Mexican co-production also won Best Foreign Film). Children of Men also won the Best Cinematography category for its Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, with United 93 also winning the Best Editing category. Jackie Earle Haley won the Best Supporting Actor mention for his creepy character in Todd Field's Little Children, with the young Abigail Breslin taking home the Best Supporting Actress prize for the indie hit comedy Little Miss Sunshine. The full list of winners is available here.


Factory Girl trailer

Don't hold your breath for yet another film exploiting that whole Andy Warhol/Factory mythology, which has become something of a sub-genre, and a catastrophic one at that. Factory Girl focuses on the short life of It girl Edie Sedgwick, who was Warhol's muse for a while. In a truly astouding example os miscasting, they hired the mediocre Sienna Miller for the part. What about Guy Pearce as Warhol? If this trailer is anything to go by, Factory Girl looks, quite simply, ridiculous.

Factory Girl trailer +

And here's the trailer of Ciao Manhattan (1972), a film which the real Edie starred in:


Jonas Mekas 365 project kicks off

Jonas Mekas (pictured), that infatigable doyen of independent cinema, yesterday started posting short films on his site as part of his 365 project. The films can be downloaded for free on the day they are posted.

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