December 1, 1999

Short Takes, December 1999

Archive Photos Now Representing Anne Frank Photo Collection

Archive Photos, one of the leading suppliers of images from world history, recently announced an agreement with The Anne Frank House for exclusive worldwide representation of the Anne Frank Photo Collection.

The Anne Frank Collection is comprised almost entirely of photos found in both her celebrated diary and the Frank family photo albums. These images were rescued by friends of the Franks who helped hide the family during the Holocaust. Selections from the collection can be found at www.archivephotos.com.

DOCS WATCH

Fox Signs on Cutler for High School Doc Series

High school is familiar territory to television producers and viewers alike, but 20th Century Fox Television, home of Beverly Hills 90210, has upped the ante. The network signed on veteran documentary maker R.J. Cutler, known for The War Room and The Perfect Candidate, to create a hybrid documentary-drama series (not to be confused with docudrama) set at a high school. Part Real World, part Frederick Wiseman's High School, executive producer Cutler and producers Erwin More and Cheryl Stanley are spending a year filming at a Chicago-area high school and will shape the verite-style footage into a series of one-hour dramas. The production team has also equipped selected students with digital cameras to record their personal video diaries, which will be incorporated into the series. Cutler and his crew have been filming since the start of the school year; Fox will air the series next summer.

AWARDS ROUNDUP

Michael Camerini and Shari Robertson received the 1999 "In the Works" grant from Kodak for Well Founded Fear, which will make its broadcast premiere next year on P.O.V., PBS' award-winning showcase for independent nonfiction media. The grant consists of $10,000 in products or services. Well Founded Fear takes a look at the process of obtaining political asylum in the United States; Camerini served as cinematographer and shared producer and director responsibilities with Robertson. The "In the Works" program was inaugurated in 1998; it is open to all filmmakers working on nonfiction projects originating on 16mm or 35mm. For further information, check out the P.O.V. website at www.pbs.org/pov....

The Directors Guild of America announced in October a new awards program that would honor the eastern region's film and television community. The program, Directors Guild of America Honors..., this year saluted filmmaker Martin Scorcese, US Representative Richard Gephart (D, MO), Teamsters Local 817 President Thomas O'Donnell, and the Austin Film Society. The awards ceremony took place last month at the New York Hilton.

FESTIVALS ROUNDUP

The Film Arts Festival, presented by Film Arts Foundation, presented the world premieres of Surfing for Life, IDA member David L. Brown's portrait of six elderly surfers on a lifelong quest for the perfect wave; and Brian Lanker's They Drew Fire, which tells the story of World War II soldiers commissioned to paint battle scenes from the front lines.... Michael Chandler's Forgotten Fires won the Crystal Heart Award for Best Documentary at the Heartland Film Festival in October... Owsley Brown's Night Waltz: The Music of Paul Bowles took Best Documentary honors at the Hamptons International Film Festival, while Don McGlynn and Joe Lauro's Louis Prima: The Wildest nabbed the Audience Best Documentary prize, with Honorable Mentions going to Paul Todisco's Freak Talks About Sex and Mark Landsman's Peace of Mind... Chris Roe continues to rack up the kudos for Pop & Me, his account of the around-the-world voyage he took with his father; the film was voted Audience Favorite Documentary at the Aspen FilmFest last September, while Andrew Kuehn's Get Bruce, a profile of Hollywood comedy writer Bruce Villanch, was runner-up....

Speaking of burgeoning trophy cases, Roko and Adrian Belic earned another prize for Genghis Blues: The Air Canada Award for Most Popular Film at the Vancouver Film Festival; the film also won the festival's Chief Dan George Humanitarian Award. The National Film Board of Canada gave the Best Documentary Feature Award to Michael Glowegger's Megacities, a tour of the inner cities of some of the world's sprawling metropolises. One film that reportedly generated lots of hubbub was the world premiere of Mark Achbar's Two Brides and a Scalpel: Diary of a Lesbian Marriage. The film tells the story of Canada's first legally married same-sex couple, but there's more: Georgina Scott was once George, a heavy equipment operator and semi-automatic weapons specialist. Achbar documents the transformation from George to Georgina in intimate, graphic detail....

Hot Docs, the Canadian International Documentary Festival, in partnership with Telefilm Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs & International Trade, the Ontario Film Development Corporation and the Aboriginal People's Television Network, sent a delegation of Canadian documentary filmmakers to the Australian International Documentary Conference in Adelaide last month. The delegation included Katherine Baulu, Gregory Coyes, Doug Cuthand, Barbara Doran, Judy Jackson, Michael McNamara, Michael McMahon, David Ostriker, Michel Oullette, Sylvie Peltier, Peter Raymont, Glen Salzman and Peter Wintonick.

CYBERTAKES

Faust Assumes Top Post at Online Entertainment Site

Robert Faust, the recently departed head of the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, resurfaced as president of an upstart online entertainment site. The site, MediaTrip.com, made its debut in October with the streaming of Joe Nussbaum's George Lucas in Love. Faust's management team includes chairman and CEO Austin Harrison, former executive producer at Hollywood.com; Tom Brunelle, director of programming and marketing, who was associate publisher at Filmmaker magazine; and Patrick Lynn, vice president of acquisitions.

"MediaTrip.com provides a home for existing and emerging talent willing to take risks, push boundaries and create truly unique programming," said Faust in a prepared statement. "Where the LAIFF was able to offer an outlet in Los Angeles for talent to showcase their work, MediaTrip.com provides a global platform—combining equal parts creativity, outrageousness, wisdom and experience to give you what you've been missing."

iFILM to Premiere Home Page

Home Page, Doug Block's acclaimed documentary about the cultures and subcultures of the World Wide Web and his own adventures in cyberspace, made its post-festival circuit debut last month on www.iFILM.net—a week before the film's theatrical run in New York City. iFILM is also helping to sell the video version of Home Page through links to other sites, and, as a truly interactive marketing endeavor that few other films could provide, iFILM is linking up with the websites mentioned in Home Page, thereby enabling the viewer to contact virtually everyone associated with the film—virtually.

StageTools Launches MovingPicture

StageTools, the Virginia-based production software firm, has introduced MovingPictures, a software tool for documentary and industrial filmmakers to pan and zoom on high-resolution images. Here's how it works: A virtual camera viewfinder is positioned over the digital image (up to 4,000 by 4,000 pixels) in real time. A series of "key frames" can be set, each specifying what the camera will see at some point in time. The program will flow through the key frames in real time. The resulting scenes can be recorded on videotape in real time for use directly or as a source to a nonlinear editor. For more information about MovingTools, an evaluation copy can be downloaded from www.stagetools.com.

Mystic Fire Re-emerges with New Website

Mystic Fire Video, the publisher and distributor of alternative video and audios, has emerged from a period of creative retrenchment with a content-rich website, www.mysticfire.com. The site features Quicktime video and audio clips from some of the most original thinkers of the century, from the Dalai Lama and Joseph Campbell to Jack Kerouac and James Joyce. Other new features include a gallery of photos and artwork, an archive of biographical information on Mystic Fire filmmakers, and, of course, the opportunity to purchase Mystic Fire's recent and upcoming releases.

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