July 1, 1999

Short Takes, July / August 1999


I've got news from the citadel of docs that is so significant it warrants headlines, so here we go:


IDA hosted the first board meeting of ISSFED, the International Society of Specialty Film Exhibitors and Distributors, last April. Reps from all walks-for-profit, nonprofit, commercial and non-commercial—confabbed about marketing specialty films to new audiences and prepping for the upcoming ISSFED conference in Toronto in September.

Michael Apted to Receive 1999 IDA Career Achievement Award

Michael Apted, whose pioneering Up series has captivated viewers worldwide, will receive the IDA Career Achievement Award this fall. Mr. Apted won an IDA Distinguished Documentary Achievement Award in 1994 for Moving the Mountain.

Apted's career began with the Up series, when as a young researcher with Granada Television, he selected a cross-section of English children as a premise to look at the English class system through their eyes. What began as a project specific to England, and its peculiar mores, evolved over the years into a fascinating study of ordinary people growing up and coping with life's vicissitudes-in front of an audience of millions.

Apted is one of the few filmmakers to make a successful career out of crossing back and forth between the fiction and nonfiction worlds, reflecting a talent for storytelling and a concern for the state of the world. His films include Coal Miner's Daughter, Gorky Park, Bring on the Night, Gorillas in the Mist, The Long Walk Home, Thunderheart, Incident at Oglala, Blink and Nell.

Breashears to Pen National Geo Book on III-Fated Everest Climb

Filmmaker and mountaineer David Breashears and historian and mountaineering writer Audrey Salkeld have teamed up to write a book about Englishman George Mallory who, in 1924, perished in an attempt to be the first to reach the top of Mount Everest. Mallory's body was only recently discovered on Everest, on a ledge at 27,000 feet by an expedition that was searching for him. The Last Climb: The Legendary Everest Expeditions of George Mallory will be rushed to publication for a fall release date.

The expedition was financed by NOVA and BBC, and Breashears is serving as advisor to the film being made about the expedition. Breashears is no stranger to the legendary mountain, being the first American to reach the summit twice and having made the IMAX hit Everest. The book will include stunning images of the Himalayas, never-before-published photos of Mallory's expeditions, as well as recent shots of the expedition to find him.


Hubbell Ankles IMAGE

Anne Hubbell, Executive Director of the Atlanta-based IMAGE Film & Video Center has stepped down from her position at the top after a three-year tenure and a total of five years with IMAGE. In her capacity as Executive Director. Hubbell also oversaw the Atlanta Film & Video Festival and OUT on Film, as well as the screenings, workshops, seminars and services that IMAGE offers. Hubbell is moving to New York.

Albert Joins Mandalay

Mandalay Media Arts, the two-year-old company formed by Peter Guber, Al Giddings and Barry Clrirk, to produce nonfiction film and television programming, announced in May the appointment of Justin Albert as President. Albert comes to Mandalay from Transatlantic Films, one of Britain's oldest and most prestigious documentary film companies, where he served as Managing Director. At Mandalay, Albert will oversee creative development and production, and will be responsible for placing the company's projects in the domestic and international markets.

Mandalay is currently completing post-production on the HDTV special Sahara: Seasons in the Sand for IDA Trustees Devillier Donegan Enterprises and PBS. In addition, MMA recently wrapped production on Galapagos 3-D, a large-format film produced in conjunction with IMAX and the Smithsonian Institution; that film will debut this fall at the Smithsonian's IMAX 3-D theater.

BAVC Wants to Save Your Videos

Thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) maintains an extensive video preservation program to enable archivists, librarians, curators and artists to preserve their collection before it's too late. BAVC can provide the lowest rates in the industry for cleaning and re-mastering tapes while still maintaining excellent quality. Among BAVC's clients are Pacific Film Archive, Wexner Center for the Arts, The Georges Pompidou Center, San Francisco Museum of Art, and many more. For information, contact Eleanor Harwood, Preservation Coordinator, 415-558-21 l5; email: eleanor@bavc.org.


Seventh Art Releasing, the Academy Award@-winning distributor, has picked up the North American rights to the German documentary Karussell. Written, directed and co-produced by Ilona Ziok, this film explores the bittersweet iourney of Jewish entertainer Kurt Gerron, who performed in cabarets and films, including The Blue Angel, during the cultural heyday of Weimar Germany. Deported to concentration camp, he was forced to make the propaganda film The Führer Gives the Jews a City. Gerron later perished in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Connecticut Public Television and Latino Entertainment Group have begun production on a 90-min. program on the history of Latinos in baseball. Beisbol. which Frank Borres will direct. will follow the careers of the Latino players who broke into the North American Major Leagues and look at current baseball programs in such countries as Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Mexico.


Telluride Indiefest reports that CenterSeat, LLC, a digital media company, will broadcast the December festival over the Internet. Screenings, workshops and interviews will be aired in real-time via broadband technology to millions of Net surfers around the world... The second annual docfest showcased a number of New York, U.S. and world premieres, along with such classics as Frederick Wiseman's Law and Order, William Wyler's The Memphis Belle and Louis Hayward's The Battle of Tarawua. Among the Sundance '99 faves making their New York premieres were Adrian Belic's Genghis Blues, Jessica Yu's The Living Museum, Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen's On the Ropes and Chuck Workman's The Source. Dan Reed's The Valley, Marco Amenta's One Girl Against the Mafia, Andrzej Fidyk's Battu's Bioscope, and Jesper Jargil's The Humiliated all made their U.S. premieres at docfest, while Emmanuel Thorbecke's In the Rhythm of Time received its world premiere... The Discovery Channel Award will be introduced at this year's Filmfest München to complement the festival's coveted MediaNet Award. The Discovery Channel Award will go to the documentary that "excels in its discussion of future visions of mankind." The Georgia-based Digital Projection provided a POWER Display Projector to the San Francisco International Film Festival to screen Hitchcock, Selznick and the End of Hollywood and Citizen Hong Kong. Here's the breakdown of the winners of the Festival's Golden Gate Awards in the documentary categories: The Arts—Golden Spire: Dancemaker, Matthew Diamond; Silver Spire: Urban Clan, Michelle Mahrer; Certificates of Merit: Forrest Bess: Kev to the Riddle, Chuck Smith, and Regardez Moi, Je Vous Regarde, Brigette Lemaine. Biography—Golden Spire: Voices. Andrey Osipov: Silver Spire: Mob Law. Paul Wilmshurst: Certificate of Merit: Takeover: The Trials of Eddie Hatcher. David Hardy. Current Events—Golden Spire: Megacities. Michael Glawoogger: Certificates of Merit: A Murder in Abidijan, Mosco Boucault, and One Girl Against the Mafia, Rosita Bonanno. First Person Documentary—Golden Spire: okay bye-bye, Rebecca Baron: Silver Spire: Mom's First Olympics, Ran Carmeli; Certificates of Merit: Death: A Love Story, Michelle LeBrun, and Sunrise over Tiananmen Square, Shui-Bo Wang. History—Golden Spire: The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords, Stanley Nelson; Silver Spire: Riviera Hotel, Bernie Ijdis: Certificates of Merit: Show Girls, Meilan Lam, and Their Frozen Dream, Jan Troell. Short Documentary—Golden Spire: Welcome to Womanhood, Charlotte Metcalf; Silver Spire: Relative Strangers, Rosemary Hesp; Certificates of Merit: Ground Level India, Bradley Morales, and It Belongs to the Bank, Asaf Bernstein. Society and Culture—U.S.: Silver Spire: On The Ropes, Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen; Certificates of Merit: Dirt, David Evans, Kids by the Bay, Judy Irving, and Riding the Icelandic Horse, Curt Worden. Society and Culture—International—Golden Spire: Divorce Iranian Style, Kim Longinotto and Zuba Mir-Hosseini; Silver Spire: Amerasians, Erik Gandini; Certificates of Merit: Children of Gaia, Bente Milton, and Lucy People Center International, Johan Sederberg and Erik Pauser. And in the Television categories... The Arts—Golden Spire: Hitchcock, Selznick and the End of Hollywood, Michael Epstein/Films Transit; Silver Spire: The Case of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Patrick-Mario Bernard and Pierre Trividic/Taxi Video Brousse; Certificate of Merit, Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note, Susan Lacy/American Masters. Current Events—Golden Spire: A Season Outside, Amar Kanwar; Silver Spire: Diary of a Terrorist: Mikdad, Dan Setton/HBO ; Certificates of Merit: Correspondent Special: Two Weddings and a Rouble, David Akerman/BBC News and Vanished: Inside the Witness Protection Program, Calvin Skaggs/Tapestry Int'l. History—Golden Spire: Little Dieter Needs to Fly, Werner Herzog/HBO; Silver Spire: The 50 Years War: Israel and the Arabs, Norma Percy and Dai Richards/Brian Lapping Associates and BBC; Certificates of Merit: City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal, George Roy and Steve Stern/HBO and Timewatch; The Oklahoma Outlaw, Jonathan Gili/BBC. Science & Nature­—Golden Spire: The Dragons of Galapagos, David Parer and Elizabeth Parer-Cook/ABC Natural History Unit; Silver Spire: The Human Body—The End of Life, Alan Bookbinder, Lorraine Heggessey, Richard Dale and Christopher Spencer/BBC; Certificates of Merit: Animalicious, Mark Lewis, Radio Pictures, and The Health Show: Hemorrhoids, Chris Mullington, CBC. Society and Culture—Golden Spire: Battu 's Bioscope, Andresz Fidyk/Polish Television; Silver Spire: Lisdoonvarna—Lourdes of Love, Hans Heijnen/Nederlandse Omroep Stichtung; Certificates of Merit: Every Other Saturday, Claudine Bories/Perifilms, and The Farmer's Wife, David Sutherland/WGBH/FRONTLINE... The Karlovy Vary Festival reports that, due to budget cuts, the documentary competition section will be dropped. The Czech Republic-based festival, scheduled for this month, will also eliminate complimentary flights for fest participants... The Best Documentary Award at the Canyonlands Film Festival went to Forgotten Fires, by Michael Chandler, whose film also won the Most Inspirational Award... Vicky Funari 's Paulina, the DOCtober veteran, took the Gold Special Jury Award at WorldFest-Houston, while Godspeed, John Glenn, from Discovery Channel, Great Divide Pictures and Rocket Pictures, was honored for Best Documentary Production. The IMAX film Mysteries of Egypt, co-produced by Destination Cinema and National Geographic Films, won the Best New Media Presentation award. On the Road Again, from WindHorse Productions, won the Gold Medal for Documentary... Slamdance, the venerated Park City alternative, has been making its presence known at Cannes, the grand old dame of the festival demimonde. Slamdance On the Road screened Amerikan Passport, Reed Paget's Best Documentary winner, and The Girl Next Door, by IDA member Christine Fugate.