July 1, 2002

Member News, July / August 2002

The documentary Kafkaesque, by Sven Berkemeier and Rich Samuels, was accepted in the Portugese Festival Internacional de Cinema de Famalicão, which ran from May 24-June 2. The film is a non-stop trip though the mind of Egon Kafka, collector of vintage coaches and classical automobiles. The self-proclaimed "transportagonist" faces a constant struggle to keep his dream alive - an overwhelming quest which leads him to consider his true connection to cousin Franz, the famed existentialist writer of the 20th century. Samuels also reports that "LA This Week," the news magazine he produces for the City of Los Angeles and PAX-TV, celebrated its first anniversary with its first award nomination recognizing the best in government-oriented programming.

Christopher Dalrymple’s Choice of Weapons, a feature documentary on African-American fencers, opens in New York at the Screening Room in Tribeca for one week beginning July 12th. Outrider Pictures is handling distribution.

Yellow Cat Productions’ Mary Flannery reports that the company recently signed on with two new distributors for hard copy and broadcast distribution of some of their documentaries. Documentary Educational Resources of Boston picked up three new titles from Yellow Cat: Return To Belaye: A Rite of Passage, about Yellow Cat filmmaker Amy Flannery, and her husband's initiation into manhood in a small village in Senegal; The Akha Way, about a hill tribe in Northern Thailand struggling to survive the ravages of tourism, Christianity and the Thai Army; and Semana Santa in Seville, about the Holy Week celebrations in Seville, Spain. Documentary Educational Resources, which specializes in anthropological films, will sell mostly to libraries and schools and will seeks broadcast distribution for The Akha Way. Another Yellow Cat documentary, Freedom Fighter: The Story of Lian Shengde, was picked up by the Cinema Guild of New York. Cinema Guild will seek broadcast outlets, as well as libraries and schools, for the documentary, which is about a Chinese dissident living near Washington, DC.

Academy Award-nominated filmmaker William Gazecki recently launched OpenEdge Media, Inc., an independent film production company based in West Los Angeles. His hit independent film WACO: The Rules of Engagement was the talk of the Sundance Film Festival a couple years back, and along with the Academy Award nomination, won an Emmy Award and an IDA Award. His newest film, Crop Circles: Quest for Truth, is premiering in August, coincidentally at the same time as the Crop Circle-related feature film Signs, starring Mel Gibson. He has two other films in production and 12 more in development.

Matt Ginsburg’s Uncle Frank had its New York premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Dances of the Prairie, a half-hour documentary by filmmaker Brijetta Hall, explores the creation of the “Texas Sculpture Garden,” one of the largest permanent collections work by Texas sculpture artists ever assembled and open free to the public. The film premiered at the Dallas Video Festival this past May.

Alex Nohe’s The burning sensation (v2.0) screened at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival.

Impacto Films’ director/producer Anayansi Prado and producer Kevin Leadingham held a preview screening/fundraising event for their one-hour documentary Maid in America this past May. The film explores the lives of Latina immigrants who work as domestic workers in the Los Angeles. The film captures an intimate image of the Latino people, culture and history in the United States, and shows how these women are socially redefining the significance of the type of work they do and at the same time inspiring their communities, children and other immigrants.

Producer Robert Richter’s feature documentary In Our Hands, which looks at the largest peace demonstration in history—an anti-nuclear rally held on June 12, 1982, in New York’s Central Park—had its broadcast premiere in June WNET/13.

Mel Stuart has just completed production on a one-hour documentary for the Trio Channel, Still Perfect- 20 Unforgettable Photographs. He is now beginning production on four films dealing with living American Poets.

John Szabo's documentary Creativity Explored, a film about artists with disabilities who create amazing art at an art studio and gallery by the same name in San Francisco (www.creativityexplored.org), premiered at the West Coast Student Film Festival at the August Coppola Theatre in San Francisco this past April. The film was awarded first prize in the Documentary Theme Category.