Short Takes, November 2004
Imagine Festival Gets Real in NYC
New York's first annual Imagine Festival of Arts, Issues and Ideas coincided with the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City in August. The festival hosted over 125 events that mixed artistic and educational activities through a series of concerts, performances, screenings, forums and town meetings, with the goal of presenting original art work and ideas to direct public dialogue towards many of the key issues affecting our nation: the economy, health care, education, civil liberties, the environment and global responsibility.
Documentaries screened at the festival included Matt Kohn's Everywhere but Florida; Richard Ray Perez and Joan Sekler's Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election; the world premiere of Laura Harrison and Charlotte Lagarde's Voting in America; Jehane Noujaim's Control Room and the world premiere of Julie Talen's Sixty Cameras against the War.
Said co-executive producer Chris Wangro, "The streets will come alive during the Republican National Convention. Opinions will be voiced at fever pitch. Both parties will issue highly manicured public statements. We need a third space to counter the spin from both these extremes. The Imagine Festival is that ‘third space.'"
Final Solution Banned by Censor Board of India
The Censor Board of India recently banned Rakesh Sharma's internationally acclaimed documentary Final Solution. The film is a study of the politics of hate. Set in Gujarat during the period of February 2002-July 2003, the film graphically documents the changing face of right wing politics in India through a study of the 2002 genocide of Moslems in Gujarat. The film has played multiple festivals, and picked up awards at Berlin, Hong Kong, Zanzibar and the Munich Dokfest.
An online petition (www.PetitionOnline.com/FilmBan/petition.html) has been created by Anand Patwardhan to protest against the ban. The petition asks the Central Government to intervene and revoke the ban immediately, which it has the power to do under Indian law.
New Moniker for AFMA
The American Film Marketing Association (AFMA) has officially changed its name to the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA). The purpose of the change was to more clearly identify the members of the organization and what they do in the worldwide marketplace. IFTA represents independent film and television producers and distributors from around the world.
"This is a significant year for us and it is important that our members are part of an organization with a name that reflects the global nature of our business today," commented Chairman Michael Ryan in a statement.
Added President and CEO Jean Prewitt, "Our organization's activities are diverse, including lobbying, arbitration, royalty collections, licensing support and market research, as well as producing the American Film Market—the name of which will remain unchanged. Our new name brings greater clarity to our role as the voice and advocate for the independent. It also distinguishes us at a time when the role of the independent is growing in importance throughout the world."
The 25th Anniversary of the American Film Market (AFM) takes place November 3-10, 2004 in Santa Monica, California, coinciding with the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival (AFI FEST), with whom AFM has entered into a strategic new relationship.
Other changes include the promotion of Susan Cleary to vice president and general counsel. Reny Montesinos has been upped to manager of IFTA Collections (formerly AFMA Collections). The organization's new website is www.ifta-online.org.
New NASA Stock Footage Library Lands at VideoUniversity.com
VideoUniversity.com has released a stock footage library, The Best of NASA Video, on one broadcast-quality miniDV tape. Video and film producers have long known about and used spectacular footage from the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA). However, the process has often been made difficult by the sheer amount of footage, ordering process and transfer requirements.
This brand new buyout video saves lots of time and money and provides easy-to-use footage that can be used over and over without paying royalty fees. According to editor Mike Hardy, "We spent months looking through scores of NASA videos and then transferred the best shots to DV 720 x 480, 4:1:1 (NTSC) and put it all on one miniDV tape with over 50 minutes of the best NASA video shots." Also included is a log with details such as time code, shot descriptions and original NASA source tapes.
VideoUniversity.com is a Web-based organization that provides content and community through articles, forums, guides and resources for video and film producers and hobbyists.
Morris Produces Ads for MoveOn PAC
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Errol Morris (The Fog of War; Fast, Cheap & Out of Control; The Thin Blue Line) has produced a series of ads for the MoveOn PAC, featuring authentic American voices committed to change.
The MoveOn PAC held an open casting call on its website, where contestants filled out a form asking about their personal stories, their thoughts on candidates John Kerry and George W. Bush and their voting history. Morris then interviewed a number of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who voted for Bush in 2000, but will be voting for Kerry in 2004, and created 17 ads, with the goal to appeal to swing voters. At the time of publication, the hope was to raise enough money to air the ads during the Republican National Convention.
Commented Morris in a letter to MoveOn.org about the commercial campaign, "I have been struck by the eloquence of ordinary citizens. And I have thought in the context of the 2004 campaign, rather than have pollsters talk to the American people, why not have the American people talk to the American people—in their own words?"
Gotham Gets New Dates and Categories
IFP/New York has expanding the IFP Gotham Awards Gala to include two new awards. In addition, IFP/New York has moved this annual celebration of visionary filmmaking from September to December.
The two new categories—Best Feature and Best Documentary—will round out the program with official endorsements from New York's film community for the best films of 2004.
Oy, I Want My JTV!
A 24-hour cable and satellite channel targeted at a Jewish demographic is planning to launch in the US in early 2005 with a slate of news and reality-driven shows, albeit, "Not just news and not just Jews," according to the channel's CEO, John Odoner.
JTV will target adults 18-49 and feature "a distinctive slant on current events and cultural trends. So mix one part Fox News Channel with one part Comedy Central, MTV and ESPN, add a special editorial voice, stir thoroughly and you have JTV," said Odoner in a statement.
The channel is planning a varied slate of both original and licensed programming, including news, politics, comedy, music and reality shows.
As reported by worldscreen news.com, Bertram van Munster, the executive producer and co-creator of the successful CBS reality series The Amazing Race, has contracted with Hong Kong TV producer Robert Chua to create an Asia-based reality television production venture. While programming will primarily be aimed at the Asian market, it will also be made available to the European and US markets.
Sony Pictures Classics Strikes With Lightning in a Bottle
On February 7, 2003, renowned artists across multiple music genres and generations commandeered the stage at New York City's Radio City Music Hall to pay tribute to their common heritage and passion—the blues. Lightning in a Bottle, executive produced by Martin Scorsese, produced by Alex Gibney and directed by Antoine Fuqua, follows the story of the week leading up to the concert-including rehearsals and back-stage footage—and the concert itself.
The proceeds from "Salute to the Blues" went to musical education. The film captures this spirit of generosity, and weaves a history of the blues through the juxtaposition of performances, backstage interviews, rehearsals and archival clips of some of the greatest names in American music, from blues royalty like Buddy Guy and B.B. King, to their musical heirs ranging from John Fogerty and Bonnie Raitt to Mos Def and India.Arie.
Sony Pictures Classics will release Lightning in a Bottle in October in New York City and Los Angeles.
Doors Open on Maysles' The Gates Project
As reported in indieWire.com, Albert Maysles is in the final stages of shooting a documentary about environmental artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude's temporary art exhibit The Gates. Set to be unveiled in February 2005, the project will consist of 7,500 gates, all with free hanging saffron colored fabric panels suspended from the top, covering 23 miles of footpaths in Central Park in 2003. The exhibit, which will occur at no cost to the city, was approved for construction by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in January 2003.
Maysles has followed Christo and Jeanne-Claude's work for years, documenting their exhibits in five previous films: Christo's Valley Curtain (1974), Running Fence (1978), Islands (1987), Christo in Paris (1996) and Umbrellas (1994).
The film will show how the artists create The Gates, as well as the development of the project over the last 20 years. Antonio Ferrera is producing.
Newmarket Films Finds Harmony with Rock School
Newmarket Films (the distribution arm of the Newmarket Entertainment group of companies) has acquired worldwide rights to the crowd-pleasing documentary Rock School from 9.14 Pictures, which made its world premiere at the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival.
Directed by Don Argott, who produced the film with Sheena M. Joyce, Rock School profiles the self-proclaimed über-lord Paul Green at the real "School of Rock" as he inspires, berates and encourages a group of misfit kids ages nine to 17 to get in touch with their inner rock star. From rehearsals to the band's climatic performance at the 2003 Zappanale (featuring the kids performing some of Frank Zappa's most complex arrangements) the cameras capture every heart-warming and triumphant moment.
First Look and THINKFilm Release Hybrid Doc September Tapes
First Look Media, in association with THINKFilm, released the hybrid narrative documentary September Tapes last month. Less than a year after the terrorist attacks of September 11, a journalist/filmmaker Christian Johnson and his crew snuck into Afghanistan to do a story on the bounty hunters tracking Osama Bin Laden. They wound up in Kabul asking questions and seeking information and finding themselves the only Americans in a city where Americans are hated.
The footage shot by this team of guerrilla filmmakers is the basis of the film. In this rare look behind-the-scenes of war-torn Afghanistan, the filmmaker, his cameraman, and their translator/guide find themselves traveling in the middle of a battleground, camera in hand, capturing raw footage and encountering dangerous Taliban fighters.
September Tapes, which premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, is a hybrid of fact and fiction that intentionally blurs the lines between what is real and what has been staged. Before embarking on their journey, the filmmakers had an agenda and outline of what they hoped to film in Afghanistan-the search for Bin Laden, the difficulty of shooting in a war zone, the enormous cultural gulf between our country and theirs, and what it is like to be a stranger in a very strange land. However, once they arrived in Kabul, the interviews they garnered, the access they were given (or stumbled upon), and the footage they were ultimately able to shoot was dictated by hazard and chance. Most of the locals, including the Taliban, had no idea this was anything other than an unscripted documentary being made by a group of crazy Americans so the bullets seen whizzing by the camera, the missiles flying through the air and the rubble on the ground are not props or set dressing; they are all real. Because of this, the US Defense Department seized much of director Christian Johnson's raw footage because it was deemed a threat to national security.
COMING TO A SMALL SCREEN NEAR YOU:
American Jobs Puts US Economy on the "Spotts"
First-time filmmaker Greg Spotts' nonpartisan documentary American Jobs was released on DVD on Labor Day. A self-funded personal investigation that took Spotts to 19 cities, the film offers a different take on the state of the American economy than those found on the evening news or in campaign speeches.
A freelance television producer in music and sports, Spotts began researching the loss of American jobs to foreign competition after realizing that so many of his friends were unemployed. After gathering hundreds of news articles on his hard drive, Spotts became convinced that the only way to understand the country's economic plight was to go out and see the damage himself.
Having visited the homes of dozens of recently laid-off American workers, Spotts is now convinced that the economy is undergoing structural rather than cyclical change. "While our politicians argue about the relative strength of the recovery, thousands of Americans are losing their jobs to low-wage foreign competition, and these jobs are never coming back," he explains.
While American Jobs follows in the footsteps of recent direct-to-DVD political documentaries like Robert Greenwald's Outfoxed, Spotts' film did not receive financing from political parties or advocacy groups, and represents a fiercely independent point-of-view. Edited on an Apple laptop, the film was produced in just six months from start to finish.
To promote American Jobs, Spotts plans to bring the movie back to many of the cities and towns in which it was filmed, for a series of premieres and screenings throughout September and October.
Super Size Me Ready for Take Out
In his webblog, Super Size Me filmmaker Morgan Spurlock reported that the DVD version of his popular documentary had a planned launch of September 28, 2004. A "family friendly" version will be made available either in December 2004 or January 2005. Said Spurlock, "Getting this film into every school in America is a priority of mine and we will be doing an edited version, a ‘Family Friendly' version that will eliminate any offensive material so that we can show this to kids nationwide." Each version of the DVD will contain a unique hour of bonus material.
Spurlock also announced a plan to tour colleges, high schools, junior highs and elementary schools with the film. "I want parents, teachers and students to start examining how they can act locally to shift the current obesity trends that are running rampant in our country," wrote Spurlock.
FESTS WRAP UP
LALIFF (Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival) presented the Best Opera Prima Documentary Award to O prisioneiro da grade de ferro (Brazil) by Paulo Sacramento and the Best Documentary Award to Memoria del saqueo (Argentina) by Fernando E. Solanas.
The documentary prize at the Karlovy Vary Festival went to Wedding of Silence by Pavel Medvedev (Russia), with special mentions going to Jiska Rickels' Dutch film Days Under and No Regrets by Czech director Theodora Remundova. The audience award went to the German-Mongolian production The Story of the Weeping Camel (Luigu Falorni and Byambasuren, dirs./prods.).
AWARDS ROUND UP
The following are the nominations for the Emmy Awards in the News and Documentary categories:
Outstanding Coverage of a Current News Story—Long Form: Failure to Protect: The Taking of Logan Marr and The Caseworker Files (Exec. Prod.: David Fanning; Sen Prod.: Ofra Bikel; Prods. Barak Goodman, Rachel Dretzin, Muriel Soenens-FRONTLINE, PBS); Battle of the X-Planes (Sen. Exec. Prod.: Paula S. Apsell; Prod.: Michael Jorgensen; Sen. Ser. Prod.: Melanie Wallace-NOVA, PBS); State of Denial (Exec. Prods.: Cara Mertes, Joseph Lovett; Prod.: Elaine Epstein-P.O.V., PBS); Liberia: American Dream? (Exec. Prod.: David Royle; Sen. Prods.: Margaret Burnette, Jon Goodman; Prod.: Scott Bronstein—National Geographic ULTIMATE EXPLORER, MSNBC).
Outstanding Investigative Journalism—Long Form: A Dangerous Business (Exec. Prods.: David Fanning, Ann Derry, Lawrie Mifflin, David Studer; Prods.: David Rummel, Neil Docherty—FRONTLINE, PBS); Burden of Innocence (Exec. Prod.: David Fanning; Prod.: Ofra Bikel-FRONTLINE, PBS); Chasing the Sleeper Cell (Exec. Prods.: David Fanning, Ann Derry, Lawrie Mifflin; Prods.: Lowell Bergman, David Rummel—FRONTLINE, PBS).
Outstanding Informational Programming—Long Form: CNN PRESENTS: Fit To Kill (Exec. Prod.: Sid Bedingfield; Prod.: Andy Segal—CNN); Dirty Bomb (Exec. Prods.: Paula S. Apsell, Matthew Barrett; Prods.: Kirk Wolfinger , Matthew Collins, Kim Shillinglaw; Sen. Ser. Prod.: Melanie Wallace—NOVA, PBS); Lost Treasures of Tibet Bomb (Exec. Prod.: Paula S. Apsell; Prod.: Liesl Clark; Sen. Ser. Prod.: Melanie Wallace—NOVA, PBS); Flag Wars (Exec. Prods.: Cara Mertes, Sally Jo Fifer; Co-Prods.: Linda Goode Bryant, Laura Poitras—P.O.V., PBS).
Outstanding Historical Programming—Long Form: Becoming American: The Chinese Experience with Bill Moyers (Exec. Prods.: Judy Doctoroff, Felice Firestone; Ser. Prod.: Thomas Lennon; Prods.: Mi Ling Tsui, Thomas Lennon-BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, PBS); ABC News Special-Peter Jennings Reporting "I Have A Dream" (Exec. Prod.:Thomas Yellin; Prod.: Richard E. Robbins-ABC); Secret Lives: Hidden Children and Their Rescuers During WWII (Exec. Prods.: Sheila Nevins, Ann Rubenstein Tisch; Sup. Prod.: John Hoffman; Prod.: Aviva Slesin-CINEMAX REEL LIFE, Cinemax); Wright Brothers' Flying Machines (Sen. Exec. Prod.: Paula S. Apsell; Prod.: David Axelrod; Sen. Ser. Prod.: Melanie Wallace-NOVA, PBS); The Center of the World (Exec. Prods.:Mark Samels, Margaret Drain, Ric Burns, Donald Rosenfeld; Prods.: Ric Burns, Marilyn Ness-THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, PBS).
Outstanding Cultural & Artistic Programming—Long Form: Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony (Exec. Prods.: Sheila Nevins, Sherry Simpson Dean; Sup. Prod.: Nancy Abraham; Prods.: Sherry Simpson Dean, Lee Hirsch, Desiree Markgraaf- CINEMAX REEL LIFE: Cinemax), Sister Helen (Exec. Prod.: Sheila Nevins; Sup. Prods.: Julie Anderson, Lisa Heller; Prods.:Rebecca Cammisa, Rob Fruchtman- CINEMAX REEL LIFE: Cinemax); Spellbound (Exec. Prod.: Sheila Nevins, Sup. Prod.: Nancy Abraham; Prods.: Jeffrey Blitz, Sean Welch-CINEMAX REEL LIFE: Cinemax); The Flute Player (Exec. Prods.: Cara Mertes, Sally Jo Fifer; Prods.: Jocelyn Glatzer, Christine Courtney —P.O.V., PBS).
Outstanding Science, Technology and Nature Programming: Coming Home from Space: The Challenge of Reentry (Exec. Prods.: Mark Marabella, Stephen Reverend, Howard Swartz; Prod.: Brooke Barrows-Discovery Channel); Cosmic Journey: The Voyager Interstellar Mission and Message (Exec. Prods.: Ann Druyan, Kent Gibson; Prod.: Phylis Geller-A&E); The Pill (Prods.: Chana Gazit, David J Steward—THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, PBS); Wolf Pack (Exec. Prod.: David Royle; Sen. Prod.: Jon Goodman; Sup. Prods.: Kevin McCarey, Bruce Norfleet, Kathryn Pasternak; Prod.: Bob Landis-National Geographic ULTIMATE EXPLORER, MSNBC); The Elegant Universe with Brian Greene (Sen. Exec. Prod.: Paula S. Apsell; Ser. Prods.: Joseph McMaster, David Hickman; Prod.: Julia Cort; Sen. Ser. Prod.: Melanie Wallace-NOVA, PBS).
Best Documentary: Be Good, Smile Pretty (Exec. Prods.: Chris Donahue, Sally Jo Fifer; Prods.: Tracy Droz Tragos, Randy Mason, Michael Murphy—INDEPENDENT LENS, PBS); Daddy & Papa (Exec. Prods.: Sally Jo Fifer; Prod.: Johnny Symons—INDEPENDENT LENS, PBS); Killer Cats of the Kalahari (Exec. Prod.: David Royle; Sen. Prod.: Jon Goodman; Sup. Prod.: Kevin McCarey; Prod.: Carol Hughes, David Hughes—National Geographic ULTIMATE EXPLORER, MSNBC); The Elegant Universe with Brian Greene (Sen. Exec. Prod.: Paula S. Apsell; Ser. Prods.: Joseph McMaster, David Hickman; Prod.: Julia Cort; Sen. Ser. Prod.: Melanie Wallace-NOVA, PBS); Reporting America at War (Exec. Prods.: Dalton Delan, David Thompson; Prods.: Stephen G. Ives, Amanda Pollak—PBS); The Center of the World (Exec. Prods.: Mark Samels, Margaret Drain, Ric Burns, Donald Rosenfeld; Prods.: Ric Burns, Marilyn Ness—THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, PBS).
Documentaries that received nominations in the Craft categories include:
Writing: Becoming American: The Chinese Experience with Bill Moyers (Thomas Lennon, Joseph Angier, Bill Moyers; PBS); Everybody Has a Story: Roundup, Montana (Steve Hartman, CBS News The Early Show, CBS); In Memoriam (Martha Teichner; CBS Sunday Morning, CBS); Russia Land of the Tsars (Don Campbell; History Channel); Secret Lives: Hidden Children and Their Rescuers During WWII (Toby Appleton; CINEMAX REEL LIFE, Cinemax); Secret of Photo 51 (Gary Glassman; NOVA,PBS);
Directing: Hiroshima (Stephen Walker; DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD, History Channel); In the Name of God: Scenes from the Extreme (Dan Setton, Helmar Buechel; CINEMAX REEL LIFE, Cinemax); Spellbound (Jeffrey Blitz; CINEMAX REEL LIFE, Cinemax); Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony (Lee Hirsch; CINEMAX REEL LIFE, Cinemax); The Ballad of Bering Strait (Nine Gilden Seavey; CMT);
Research: Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony (Lee Hirsch, Sherry Simpson Dean; CINEMAX REEL LIFE, Cinemax); Becoming American: The Chinese Experience with Bill Moyers (Robert Achs, Joseph Angier, Justine Bertucelli, Hilary Klotz, Thomas Lennon, Sharon Owyang, Robert Rapley, Mi Ling Tsui); Stalin—Man of Steel (Ingeborg Jacobs, Rainer Kaufmann, Maria Kedder, Barbel Schmidt-Sakic, Kai Shafer; History Channel); The Perilous Fight: America's World War II in Color (Karin Basford, David Boardman, Blair Foster, Eduard Gomez, Polly Pettit, Adrian Wood, Mercedes Yaeger; PBS).
Cinematography: Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony (Brand Jordaan, Ivan Leathers, Clive Sacke; CINEMAX REEL LIFE, Cinemax); Blood from a Stone (Scott Duncan; History Channel); Hiroshima (Steve Gray; History Channel); Brazil's Vanishing Cowboys (Gustavo Hadba, Marcos Prado; NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER/ULTIMATE EXPLORER, MSNBC); Killer Cats of the Kalahari (David Hughes, Carol Hughes; NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER/ULTIMATE EXPLORER, MSNBC); Living With Bugs: Close Encounters (Keith Brust, James Reardon, Tim Shepherd; TLC); War Photographer (Peter Indergand; CINEMAX REEL LIFE, CINEMAX).
Editing: Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony (Johanna Demetrakas CINEMAX REEL LIFE, Cinemax); Vanishing Cowboys (Isabela de Castro, Kris Kral, Fernando Linare; NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER/ULTIMATE EXPLORER, MSNBC); Creepy Healers (Salvatore Vecchio; NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER/ULTIMATE EXPLORER, MSNBC); The Elegant Universe With Brian Greene (Jonathan Sahula , Dick Bartlett; NOVA, PBS);The Central Park Jogger (Bob Peterson, Alvaro Trenchi; A Katie Couric Special, NBC); The Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy (Peter Livingston Jr., Eric Davies; ABC News Peter Jennings Reporting, ABC).
Music and Sound: A Gathering of Heroes: The Last Reunion (Colin O'Malley; PBS); Amandla! A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony (Kirk Denson, Al Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Bob Edwards, Ron Roumas, Tony Sereno, Stuart Deutsch; CINEMAX REEL LIFE, Cinemax); Wake Island (Mike Fennel, Earl Rose; History Channel); Blood from a Stone (Jesse LeGrazie, Steve Moseley, Dave Colozzi, Scott Rhame, Vince Caputo, Tom Hedden, David Robidoux; History Channel), Hiroshima (Andy Bush, David Gale, Chris King; History Channel) Russia Land of the Tsars (Gary Pozner, Joe Caterini; History Channel); The Center of the World (New York, Episode 8) (Mariusz Glabinski, Marlena Grzaslewicz, Bruce Kitzmeyer, Ira Spiegel,, Dominic Tavella; THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, PBS).
The following are Primetime Emmy nominations in the Non-Fiction categories:
Outstanding Non-Fiction Special: AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes & Villains: America's Greatest Screen Characters (Exec. Prods.: Gary Smith, Dann Netter, Fred Pierce; Prod.: Bob Gazzale-CBS); Born Rich (Exec. Prod.: Sheila Nevins; Prods.: Dirk Wittenborn, Jamie Johnson-HBO); A Decade under the Influence (Exec. Prods.: Alison Bourke, Caroline Kaplan, Jonathan Sehring; Prods.: Gini Reticker, Jerry Kupfer, Richard LaGravenese, Ted Demme—IFC); The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's (Exec. Prod.: Naomi S. Boak; Prod.: Elizabeth Arledge -PBS); Fred Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor (Exec. Prod.: • PBS • Family Communications, Inc. and WQED Multimedia, Jocelyn Hough; Prods.: Margaret A. Whitmer, Joseph J. Kennedy IV, Rick Sebak—PBS).
Outstanding Non-Fiction Series: American Masters ( Exec. Prods.: Susan Lacy, George Feltenstein, Roger Mayer; Sup. Prod.: Julie Sacks; Ser. Prod.: Prudence Glass; Prods.: Susan Lacy, John Fricke); Biography (Exec. Prods.: Joe Townley, Dierdre O'Hearn; Sup. Prod.: Maro Chermayeff'; Prods.: Steve Stern, Eliza Kurtz—A&E); Cold Case Files (Exec. Prod.: Laura Fleury; Sup. Prod.: Michael T. Harvey; Prod.: Mike West—A&E ); Inside The Actors Studio (Exec. Prods.: James Lipton, Frances Berwick, Christian Barcellos; Prods.: Alice Christian, John Servidio, Mike Kostel—BRAVO); Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues (Exec. Prods.: Martin Scorsese, Paul G. Allen, Jody Patton, Ulrich Felsberg, Peter Schwartzkopf; Ser. Prod.: Alex Gibney; Prod.: Margaret Bodde)
Confessions, created by Canadian filmmakers Karina Griffith and Chris Ikonomopoulos won second place in the "Canada. The Innovation Nation" competition. Sponsored by the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, the film will screen in February in conjunction with the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival. The series explores the intimate secrets of Canadians expressing their lies, mistakes and losses to two intrepid videographers on the street. The result is a humorous, honest and surprising portrait of Canadians unburdening themselves in order to share their wealth of experience with the world.
The Sundance Institute held its second Documentary Composers Lab, a collaboration between the Institute's Documentary Film Program and its Film Music Program, in August. Five documentary filmmakers and six film music composers were selected to participate. This year's Filmmaker Fellows were Ra'ed Andoni (Improvisation—Palestine); Mark Becker (Romantico—USA); Mercedes Moncada (The Immortal —Nicaragua/Spain) and Hank Rogerson and Jilann Spitzmiller (Shakespeare Behind Bars—USA). The Composing Lab Fellows were Peter Fitzpatrick, Aiko Fuskushima, Joseph Julian Gonzales, Gary Louris, Frank Macchia and Ras Mesinai. Together, the documentary filmmaker and composer fellows explored and identified scenes to score, and engaged in critiques and discussions with creative advisors.
CHANGES AT THE HELM
Glickman Succeeds Valenti at MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) announced in July that Dan Glickman, former Secretary of Agriculture and former Congressman from Kansas, has been named President and CEO of the MPAA. Glickman replaced Jack Valenti, who had held the job for the past 38 years.
Among the reasons cited for choosing Glickman were the Democratic Congressman's demonstrated ability to work with members of both political parties; his experience on the House Judiciary Committee, which oversees copyright issues and his understanding of international issues as a result of his role as Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Though Glickman has not had direct involvement in the entertainment industry, his son, Jonathan, is president of Spyglass Entertainment. Said Glickman in a release, "I am honored and inspired by the prospect of joining the MPAA. I have long had a deep affection for the movie industry...What enthuses me is the work of sustaining and enlarging MPAA's role in international cinema. As America's most wanted export, the American movie is also a great source of economic growth."
Christie Returns to RealScreen
Brunico Communications Inc. announced the return of Brendan Christie to the post of RealScreen Editor. Mary Maddever will be leaving the magazine to champion the re-launch of another Brunico publication, Strategy Magazine.
Christie helped launch RealScreen in 1997 as staff writer before working his way up to the post of Editor. In 2002 he took leave to pursue other editing opportunities.
Helping Brendan helm his post will be Kimberley Brown, who has been promoted to managing editor.