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Home International Cinema Fetish Festival & British Indies + Toronto & San Sebastian Winners + Irish Gabriel Byrne

Fetish Festival & British Indies + Toronto & San Sebastian Winners + Irish Gabriel Byrne

Modern Love Is Automatic
Fetish Festival: Featured movies include Modern Love Is Automatic by Zach Clark.

Kiel’s Fetish Film Festival, which runs from Oct. 29-31 at the Traum-Kino in the northern German city, prides itself in presenting “the best in Fetish and BDSM” cinema.

Among the 2009 festival’s screening films are Zach Clark’s Modern Love Is Automatic, which follows a nurse (Melodie Sisk) working on the side as a professional dominatrix while facing some serious issues with her mattress-selling, supermodel-wannabe roommate (Maggie Ross); Frank-Peter Lenze’s short comedy The Pawn Layman, in which Katharina Wackernagel plays a professional Mistress who makes good (or bad?) use of a young man in desperate need of money; and Nick Broomfield’s 1996 documentary Fetishes, in which Broomfield and his crew interview employees at Pandora’s Box, an upscale house of bondage on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.

Each screening will be followed by a discussion. A “big fetish-SM party” will close the mini-festival.

Nov. 2 update: Flemish filmmaker Erik Lamens’ SM-rechter / SM Judge was chosen the best narrative feature at the 2009 Fetish Film Festival, held in the northern German city of Kiel from Oct. 29-31.

Inspired by a true story, Lamens’ SM Judge tells the story of Belgian judge Koen Aurousseau, who, as per Flanders Today, “was accused of physical assault and incitement to prostitution” in 1997. Following his conviction, Aurousseau found himself mired in a deep emotional and financial hole; his only source of support was his wife, Magda, the person who’d initially asked him to get involved in S&M sex practices.

“I heard on TV the other day that this is ‘the most controversial film of the year,’ Lamens is quoted as saying in Flanders Today, “but I didn’t make it to be controversial. I just wanted to show people what they don’t already know – why a woman asks this after 15 years of marriage, and why he says yes.”

Gene Bervoets and Veerle Dobbelaere took the festival’s top acting honors for their portrayal of the judge and his wife.

The best documentary feature, Hilton Ariel Ruiz’s Rogues, Rebels and Renegades: The Art of an Outlaw deals with the never-ending debate about the separation of Art and Porn – that is, if there must be such a split.

Ruiz’s documentary features several rogues, rebels, and renegades, including Katalin Vad (a.k.a. Michelle Wild), Guy Gonzales, Tony Knighthawk, Steven Speliotis, and Vivian Bondage, performers and artists whose oeuvre would give seizures to the ardently religious, ideologues of the Left and Right, and the politically correct crowd.

In fact, in the more extreme cases it’s hard to believe that there’s anyone, no matter their socio-political-cultural persuasion, who’ll not be offended – or at least not be taken aback – by something in their work.

The Fetish Film Festival winners listed below were selected by audience members.

Best Film
SM JUDGE

Best Documentary
ROGUES, REBELS AND RENEGADES

Best Actor
Gene Bervoets in SM JUDGE

Best Actress
Veerle Dobbelaere in SM JUDGE

Best Short Film
KICK THE COCK

Best Short Documentary
HERAS HARTE SCHULE: ROLLENSPIELE

Best Music Video
PUSSY by Rammstein

Best Concert Performance
Britney Spears I’M A SLAVE FOR YOU

Best Film Producers’ Website
MEN IN PAIN

Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe Precious Based Novel Push by Sapphire
Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.

Toronto Film Festival Winners: ‘Precious’ Tops

The curiously titled Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, formerly known as Push: Based on a Novel by Sapphire, was the Audience Award winner at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival. The Toronto win, which follows widespread critical acclaim and a couple of Sundance awards earlier in the year, has pushed Precious to the forefront of likely Oscar contenders come February 2010. (Last year’s Toronto winner and critics’ favorite, Slumdog Millionaire, eventually turned out to be the best picture Oscar winner.)

Directed by Lee Daniels, Precious tells the story of an overweight, illiterate, pregnant teenager (Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe) who is abused by her mother (Mo’Nique), but finds emotional support from her teacher (Paula Patton), who happens to be a lesbian.

There were two runners-up in the best narrative film category: Bruce Beresford’s Mao’s Last Dancer (above), based on the real-life story of China’s ballet dancer Li Cunxin (Chi Cao), who refused to return to China after getting a taste of real freedom in – you guessed it – Texas; and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Micmacs, a fantasy tale featuring Dany Boon as a man bent on avenging his father’s death at the hands of evil arms manufacturers.

Toronto fest filmgoers also picked Leanne Pooley’s The Topp Twins (above, top photo), about two lesbian country-singing sisters from New Zealand, as best documentary, and Sean Byrne’s Australian-made The Loved Ones (above, lower photo), in which a young man (Xavier Samuel) becomes the “prom king at a macabre, sadistic event where he is the entertainment,” as best film in the Midnight Madness sidebar.

Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story, an attack on Wall Street greed, was the runner-up in the documentary category, while the runner-up among the Midnight Madness films was Michael and Peter Spierig’s Daybreakers, about human beings trying to recover their former dominant position on a planet now (2019) dominated by mutant vampires (who, minus the blood diet, sound quite a bit like 2009 human beings).

Other winners were Ruba Nadda’s Cairo Time, voted the best Canadian film, in which Patricia Clarkson plays a married woman who develops an intimate relationship with an Egyptian man (Alexander Siddig) while waiting for her husband to arrive in Cairo; Bruno Dumont’s Hadewijch, the International Film Critics’ choice, which revolves around a devout Catholic and former theology student (Julie Sokolowski) and an equally devout Muslim fundamentalist (Karl Sarafidis) who discover that despite their different holy books they share a strong bond in their mad religious fervor; and International Film Critics’ Discovery award winner The Man Beyond the Bridge, Laxmikant Shetgaonkar’s romantic drama about the budding relationship between an Indian forest ranger and a “madwoman” he finds hiding near his house.

Alexandre Franchi’s The Wild Hunt (above), about a reenacted Medieval “fantasy” battle run amok, was chosen the best Canadian first feature, while Pedro Pires’ Danse Macabre, featuring the motions of a corpse, won top honors among the festival’s short films. The runner-up in that category was Jamie Travis’ The Armoire, the chronicle of a boy who starts living inside his armoire after his best friend goes missing in their idyllic suburban neighborhood.

Photos: Toronto Film Festival

Toronto Film Festival Awards

2009 Toronto Film Festival: Sept. 10-19

Cadillac People’s Choice Awards:
PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE

Runners-up:
MAO’S LAST DANCER
MICMACS

Documentary:
THE TOPP TWINS

Runner up:
CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY

Midnight Madness
THE LOVED ONES

Runner up:
DAYBREAKERS

FIPRESCI Special Presentation Prize: HADEWIJCH

FIPRESCI Discovery: THE MAN BEYOND THE BRIDGE

Best Canadian Feature: CAIRO TIME

Skyy Vodka Best Canadian First Feature: THE WILD HUNT

Best Canadian Short: DANSE MACABRE

Honorable Mention: THE ARMOIRE

Katie Jarvis Fish Tank
Katie Jarvis in Fish Tank.

‘Moon,’ ‘Fish Tank’: British Independent Film Award Nominations

Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank leads the list of 2009 British Independent Film Award nominees.

The tale of a rough teenager (Katie Jarvis) whose life is upended after her mother gets a new boyfriend, Fish Tank was shortlisted in eight categories including best independent British film, best director, best screenplay (Arnold), best actress (Jarvis), best supporting actress (Kierston Wareing), best supporting actor (2008 BIFA best actor winner Michael Fassbender), and most promising newcomer (also Jarvis).

Duncan Jones’ feature-film debut, the sci-fi thriller Moon, received seven nominations including best British film, best director, best debut director, and best actor (Sam Rockwell).

Lone Scherfig’s An Education, about a London schoolgirl (best actress nominee Carey Mulligan) who falls for a man in his 30s; Armando Iannucci’s political comedy In the Loop; and Sam Taylor Wood’s John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy each garnered six nominations.

Best foreign film nominees include Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo, a clever look at former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti and the netherworld of Italian politics; Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker; and Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire tale Let the Right One In.

Curiously, Jane Campion’s Bright Star, about the short-lived love affair between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, was shortlisted in four categories including best director, best actress (Abbie Cornish), and best supporting actress (Kerry Fox) – but not best film, best screenplay, best actor (Ben Whishaw), or best supporting actor (the much-praised Paul Schneider).

Also absent from the British Independent Film Award list of nominees are Christopher Plummer and Heath Ledger for The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; Emma Thompson, Peter Sarsgaard, and Cara Seymour for An Education; and filmmaker Ken Loach for Looking for Eric.

Of note: three of the five best director nominees are women (Campion, Scherfig, and Arnold), in addition to actress-turned-filmmaker Samantha Morton (for The Unloved) in the best debut director category.

Also worthy of note, especially considering that truly small movies – no matter how good – hardly ever get recognized by award-giving groups (including those promoting “independent” films), are this year’s Raindance Award nominations for films made against the odds: Marc Price’s zombie-horror Colin, J. Blakeson’s drama The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Ben Wheatley’s comedy Down Terrace, Stuart Hazeldine’s thriller Exam, and Gordon Mason’s documentary They Call It Acid.

Daniel Day-Lewis, whose latest vehicle, Nine, opens later this year in the US, will be honored with the Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution to British film.

The British Independent Film Award nominees are selected by an Advisory Committee whose members are supposed to have watched more than 200 films before making their selections. To be considered for this year’s awards, a film must have had a public, paid screening or UK festival screening between December 1, 2008, and November 30, 2009. Its budget cannot exceed £10 million (US$ 20 million).

Among those in the jury panel who’ll be voting for this year’s winners are actors Jodie Whittaker, Idris Elba, Liam Cunningham, Eddie Marsan and Peter Mullan, documentary filmmaker Kate Blewett, and directors Sarah Gavron and Eran Creevy.

Among previous BIFA winners that have gone on to win or be nominated for awards elsewhere are Slumdog Millionaire, Waltz with Bashir, The Lives of Others, City of God, Mike Leigh for Vera Drake, Rachel Weisz for The Constant Gardener, Viggo Mortensen for Eastern Promises, Steve McQueen for Hunger, and Stephen Daldry for Billy Elliot.

The British Independent Film Award winners will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 6, at The Brewery in London. James Nesbitt will host the ceremony.

BEST BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM
An Education
Fish Tank
In the Loop
Moon
Nowhere Boy

BEST FOREIGN FILM
Il Divo
The Hurt Locker
Let The Right One In
Sin Nombre
The Wrestler

BEST DOCUMENTARY
The Age of Stupid
The End of The Line
Mugabe and The White African
Sons of Cuba
Sounds Like Teen Spirit

BEST DIRECTOR
Andrea Arnold – Fish Tank
Armando Iannucci – In the Loop
Duncan Jones – Moon
Jane Campion – Bright Star
Lone Scherfig – An Education

THE DOUGLAS HICKOX AWARD FOR BEST DEBUT DIRECTOR
Armando Iannucci – In the Loop
Duncan Jones – Moon
Peter Strickland – Katalin Varga
Sam Taylor Wood – Nowhere Boy
Samantha Morton – The Unloved

BEST ACTRESS
Abbie Cornish – Bright Star
Carey Mulligan – An Education
Emily Blunt – The Young Victoria
Katie Jarvis – Fish Tank
Sophie OkonedoSkin

BEST ACTOR
Aaron Johnson – Nowhere Boy
Andy SerkisSex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
Peter Capaldi – In the Loop
Sam Rockwell – Moon
Tom HardyBronson

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Anne-Marie DuffNowhere Boy
Kerry Fox – Bright Star
Kierston Wareing – Fish Tank
Kristin Scott ThomasNowhere Boy
Rosamund Pike – An Education

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alfred MolinaAn Education
Jim Broadbent – The Damned United
John Henshaw – Looking for Eric
Michael Fassbender – Fish Tank
Tom Hollander – In the Loop

BEST SCREENPLAY
An EducationNick Hornby
Fish Tank – Andrea Arnold
In the Loop – Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Moon – Nathan Parker
Nowhere Boy – Matt Greenhalgh

MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER
Christian McKay – Me & Orson Welles
Edward Hogg – White Lightnin’
George MacKay – The Boys Are Back
Hilda Péter – Katalin Varga
Katie Jarvis – Fish Tank

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION
Bronson
Bunny & The Bull
The Hide
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Katalin Varga

BEST TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT
Bright Star – Cinematography – Greig Fraser
Bunny & The Bull – Production Design – Gary Williamson
Fish Tank – Cinematography – Robbie Ryan
Moon – Original Score – Clint Mansell
Moon – Production Design – Tony Noble

RAINDANCE AWARD (“for filmmakers working against the odds”)
Colin
The Disappearance of Alice Creed
Down Terrace
Exam
They Call It Acid

BEST BRITISH SHORT
Christmas with Dad
Leaving
Love You More
Sidney Turtlebaum
Washdays

THE RICHARD HARRIS AWARD (for outstanding contribution to British Film)
Daniel Day-Lewis

THE VARIETY AWARD
To Be Announced

THE SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
Announced at the British Independent Film Awards on Sunday 6 December

Nominees are selected by an Advisory Committee. Winners are selected by a jury panel.

Jury: Actress Jodie Whittaker, Actors Idris Elba, Liam Cunningham, Eddie Marsan and Peter Mullan, Directors Sarah Gavron and Eran Creevy, Producers Dixie Linder, Anita Overland and Adrian Sturges, Documentary Filmmaker Kate Blewett, Film Marketing Consultant Robert Mitchell, Projectionist Paul Speed, and Head of Distribution and Exhibition at The UK Film Council Peter Buckingham.

Mississippi Damned
Tina Mabry’s Mississippi Damned depicts the issues faced by the children of a poor and highly dysfunctional family in rural Mississippi. Earlier this year, the film was given the top prize at Outfest in Los Angeles.

Chicago Film Festival Awards

International Feature Film Competition

Gold Hugo for Best Film: MISSISSIPPI DAMNED (US)

Silver Hugo for Special Jury Award: FISH TANK (UK)

Silver Hugo for Best Director: Marco Bellocchio for VINCERE (Italy)

Silver Hugo for Best Actress: Giovanna Mezzogiorno of VINCERE (Italy)

Silver Hugo for Best Actor: Filippo Timi of VINCERE (Italy)

Gold Plaque for Best Supporting Actress: Jossie Harris Thacker in MISSISSIPPI DAMNED (US)

Gold Plaque for Best Supporting Actor: Michael Fassbender in FISH TANK (UK)

Gold Plaque for Best Screenplay: Tina Mabry of MISSISSIPPI DAMNED (USA)

Gold Plaque for Best Cinematography: Daniele Ciprì (VINCERE, Italy)

Gold Plaque for Best Art Direction: HIPSTERS (Russia)

Silver Plaque: BACKYARD (Mexico)

New Directors Competition

Gold Hugo: GIGANTE (Uruguay)

Silver Hugo: MADE IN CHINA (USA)

Gold Plaque: PARTNERS (Switzerland/France)

Docufest Competition

Gold Hugo: COOKING HISTORY (Austria/Slovakia/Czech Republic)

Silver Hugo: RACING DREAMS (USA)

Gold Plaque in Direction: SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION (USA)

Short Film Competition

Gold Hugo for Best Short Film: THE HISTORY OF AVIATION (Hungary)

Silver Hugo Grand Jury Prize for Short Film: GOOD ADVICE (Sweden)

Silver Hugo for Best Animated Short Film: SKHIZEIN (France)

Gold Plaque for Best Experimental Short Film: PHOTOGRAPH OF JESUS (UK)

Gold Plaque for Best Student Short Film: CHERRY ON THE CAKE (UK)

Gold Plaque for Best Essay Short Film: THE ILLUSION (Cuba)

Special Mention for Best Ensemble Performances: SHORT TERM 12 (USA)

Special Mention for Animated Short Film: ATTACHED TO YOU (Sweden)

Chicago Award Competition: WET

A Special Mention: GIRLS ON THE WALL

A Special Mention: AN EVENING WITH EMERY LONG

Audience Award: Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, by Lee Daniels

Runners-up: An Education, by Lone Scherfig; No Hard Feelings! by Yves Hanchar

Tribute Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award: Martin Landau

Career Achievement Award: Uma Thurman

Career Achievement Award: Willem Dafoe

Career Achievement Award: Patrice Chéreau

Artistic Achievement Award: Lee Daniels

Breakthrough Performance Award: Gabourey Sidibe

International Feature Film Competition Jury: jury president Jacqueline Bisset (UK), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Iran), Duane Byrge (US), Pablo Cruz (Mexico), and Bruce Sheridan (New Zealand)

New Directors Competition Jury: Charin Alvarez (USA),Chiara Arroyo Cella (Spain), Leonardo Garcia Tsao (Mexico),and David Robinson (UK)

Documentary Jury: John Russell Taylor (UK), Matt Irvine (USA), Alison Cuddy (USA).

Short Film Jury: Jacinta Banks, John Bleeden, Gabe Clinger, and Armando Ibanez

Chicago Award Jury: Kathleen Ermitage, Betsy Steinberg, and Mike McNamara

Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais. Photo: David Eustace / HBO

Golden Globes: Ricky Gervais to Host Awards Ceremony

Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Ricky Gervais, probably best known for his role as David Brent on the BBC version of The Office, will host the 2010 Golden Globe Awards ceremony on Sunday, January 17, 2010, on NBC.

This year’s show will be broadcast live coast-to-coast from 5-8 p.m. (PT) / 8-11 p.m. (ET) from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. This marks the first time the Golden Globes telecast has had a host since 1995.

“Not only is this the biggest Hollywood celebration of the industry which includes both film and TV,” Gervais is quoted as saying in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s press release, “but also an environment where I feel I can get free reign as a host. I have resisted many other offers like this, but there are just some things you don’t turn down.”

Gervais’ latest feature-film effort was The Invention of Lying, which he wrote, directed, and starred opposite Jennifer Garner. Cemetery Junction – Gervais’ second film as writer and director, and his first writing-directing feature-film partnership with Stephen Merchant – is slated to be released in April 2010. Also in the Cemetery Junction cast: Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson, and Matthew Goode.

Nominations for 2010 Golden Globes will be announced at 5 a.m. (PT) on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Tokyo Film Festival Awards

2009 Tokyo Film Festival: Oct. 17-25.

Eastern Plays by Kamen Kalev
In Kamen Kalev’s Bulgarian drama Eastern Plays, two estranged brothers are unexpectedly brought together after they play opposing roles in a racist beating – Georgi is a new member of a neo-Nazi group; Itso, a drug-addicted artist, rescues the victimized Turkish family. Compounding matters, Georgi (Ovanes Torosian) starts to question his place in the neo-nazi movement while Itso (Tokyo best actor winner Christo Christov) falls for the Turkish girl he saved. Eastern Plays is the second film featuring neo-nazi characters to win a top international film festival prize this week. Nicolo Donato’s Danish drama Brotherhood, about two neo-nazis who fall in love with one another, was the winner at the Rome Film Festival a few days ago.

Tokyo SAKURA Grandprix: Eastern Plays, Director: Kamen Kalev

Best Director: Kamen Kalev, Eastern Plays

Special Jury Prize: Rabia, Director: Sebastian Cordero

Best Actress: Julie Gayet, Huit fois debout / Eight Times Up

Best Actor: Christo Christov (above left, with Ovanes Torosian), Eastern Plays

Audience Award: The Trotsky, Director: Jacob Tierney

Earth Grand Prix: Wolf, Director: Nicolas Vanier

Winds of Asia / Middle East

Best Asian Film Award: A Brand New Life, Director: Ounie Lecomte

Special Contribution Award: Yasmin Ahmad

Special Mention: I Saw the Sun, Director: Mahsun Kirmizigül

Japanese Eyes

Best Picture Award: LIVE TAPE, Director: Tetsuaki Matsue

Tokyo International Film Festival Site

Toronto: IndieWIRE’s Critics’ Poll

An indieWIRE poll of “more than 25” film critics and bloggers (blogging film critics?) shows that the overwhelmingly favorite film screened at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival was Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man (not to be confused with Tom Ford’s A Single Man or the Michael Douglas vehicle Solitary Man), a black comedy about a suburbanite (Michael Stuhlbarg) whose life suddenly unravels after his wife asks for a divorce. A Serious Man hits US theaters on Oct. 2.

The best performance was delivered by Colin Firth in A Single Man (not to be confused with either Solitary Man or the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man), in which the British actor plays a serious professor – so serious, in fact, he’s ready to commit suicide following the death of his lover (Matthew Goode) in a car accident.

The best supporting performances were those of Sundance winner Mo’Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire and Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air.

Erik Gandini’s Videocracy, about Italy in the age of video and Silvio Berlusconi, was voted the best documentary. As Thom Powers explains in his commentary on the Toronto festival’s website, “as the owner of the country’s television empire, [Berlusconi] wields a powerful tool for shaping public opinion to his benefit. His force of will is reflected by the TV commercial in which throngs of Italians sing, ‘Thank God Silvio exists.'”

Sounds scary? It gets scarier if you actually sit to watch the shows instead of just reading about them. I know what I’m talking about, as I subscribe to RAI International. It’s a great way to practice my Italian, but if that station’s programming is a reflection of Italy’s cultural state in the early 21st century then it’s a good thing Michelangelo, Dante, et al. have been long dead. Heck, where’s Pasolini when you most need him?

Directed by Karyn Kusama and written by Academy Award winner Diablo Cody, Jennifer’s Body, about a young woman (Megan Fox) who enjoys feasting on the bodies of young men, was chosen the festival’s worst film. Jennifer’s Body opened to dismal box office this past weekend in the US – though perhaps it has a bright future on one of Berlusconi’s TV channels.

2009 San Sebastian Film Festival Awards

2009 San Sebastian Film Festival: Sept. 18–26.

Official Selection

City of Life and Death

GOLDEN SHELL FOR BEST FILM
CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH by LU CHUAN (China)

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
LE REFUGE by FRANÇOIS OZON (France)

SILVER SHELL FOR BEST DIRECTOR
JAVIER REBOLLO for LA MUJER SIN PIANO (Spain-France)

SILVER SHELL FOR BEST ACTOR
PABLO PINEDA for YO, TAMBIÉN (Spain)

SILVER SHELL FOR BEST ACTRESS
LOLA DUEÑAS for YO, TAMBIÉN (Spain)

JURY PRIZE FOR BEST SCREENPLAY
ANDREW BOVELL, MELISSA REEVES, PATRICIA CORNELIUS and CHRISTOS TSIOLKAS for BLESSED (Australia)

JURY PRIZE FOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
CAO YU for CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH (China)

Official Competition Jury: LAURENT CANTET (France) (President), BONG JOON-HO (Korea), DANIEL GIMÉNEZ CACHO (Spain), JOHN MADDEN (United Kingdom), LEONOR SILVEIRA (Portugal), PILAR LÓPEZ DE AYALA (Spain), SAMIRA MAKHMALBAF (Iran)

Los Angeles Irish Film Festival Features Gabriel Byrne

The 2009 Los Angeles Irish Film Festival is currently being held at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.

Gabriel Byrne will be present tonight for a screening of Gabriel Byrne: Stories from Home, directed by Pat Collins.

Upcoming films include Vittoria Colonna Di Stigliano’s Identities, about Ireland’s transgender denizens; Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey’s animated adventure tale The Secret of Kells; and Lance Daly’s Kisses, about two pre-teens who run away from home and end up in the streets of Dublin.

The Aero is located at 1328 Montana Avenue (at 14th Street) in Santa Monica.

The schedule and synopses below are from the American Cinematheque’s press release:

Friday, September 25 – 7:30 PM
Double Feature:

CHERRYBOMB, 2009, Little Film Company, 86 min. Dirs. Lisa Barros D’Sa & Glenn Leyburn. Teenagers Luke, Malachy and Michelle embark on a wild weekend of drinking, drugs, shoplifting and stealing cars. But what starts out as a game turns deadly serious when they discover they can’t get off the wild ride they’ve set in motion. With Rupert Grint (HARRY POTTER’s Ron Weasley), Robert Sheehan (“Young Blades,” “Foreign Exchange” ), Kimberley Nixon (EASY VIRTUE), James Nesbitt (“Cold Feet,” “Murphy’s Law” ). Plus “Call Me Son” (U.K., 2008, 11 min.) Dir. Louis McCullagh. When you’ve had more parents than birthdays, the last thing you want are two more.

IDENTITIES, 2008, Underground Films, 84 min. Dir. Vittoria Colonna Di Stigliano. Charting the multicolored, multicultural transgender community in Ireland, five stories give shape to the worlds of transvestism, transsexualism, drag, sexual identity and gender dysphoria. A film that forgoes stereotyping in favor of an empathetic look at the human spirit. Filmmakers in person.
Plus “Out of the Blue” (Ireland, 2008, 9 min.) Dir. Michael Lavelle. A lonely man’s life is suddenly transformed when he discovers an old TV floating in the sea.

Saturday, September 26 – 1:00 PM
Documentary Short Program:

THE BOYS OF ST COLUMB’S (2009, 53 min.), Dir. Tom Collins. This documentary tells the story of some of Ireland’s most famous sons, including Seamus Heaney, Eamonn McCann and John Hume. Plus “Raise the Last Glass” (2009, 11 min.) Dirs. Lucy Kennedy, Lauren Kesner. When Waterford Crystal closed its main factory in January, its longtime workers staged a sit-in for almost two months to try to save their jobs. Plus “Guests of Another Nation” (1988, 28 min.), Dirs. Mark Stewart, John Fleming. Recently rediscovered, this 1988 film uses interviews to capture the alienation of young Irish emigrants in London in the late 1980s. Director Tom Collins will appear for discussion following the screening.

Saturday, September 26 – 4:00 PM

THE SECRET OF KELLS, 2009, Buena Vista Films, 75 min. Dirs. Tomm Moore & Nora Twomey. Adventure, action and danger await 12-year-old Brendan, who must fight Vikings and a serpent god to find a crystal and complete the legendary Book of Kells in this acclaimed animated film. Featuring the voices of Brendan Gleeson (IN BRUGES) and Mick Lally (“Ballykissangel” ). Winner of 2009 Audience Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. “…the kind of movie where you want to keep stopping it to admire the many elaborate layers that nearly every frame is loaded with.” – Jeremy W. Kaufman, Destroy All Podcasts DX. Join us at 3:00 PM at Every Picture Tells a Story for an hour of Irish storytelling.

Saturday, September 26 – 7:30 PM
Double Feature! Spotlight Screening:

KISSES, 2008, Oscilloscope, 72 min. Director Lance Daly’s powerful film follows Kylie and Dylan, two 11-year-olds whose innocence is challenged on a daily basis. When both kids find themselves in danger of severe abuse at the hands of their elders, they run away to Dublin. Over the course of a long night in the city, the kids face various dangers and turn to each other for love, friendship and safety. “A modern-day romantic fairytale amidst a pitiless city backdrop, ‘Kisses’ heralds the coming of the next generation in Irish filmmakers in Daly.” – Gavin Burke, entertainment.ie. “It’s always warm and engaging — and terrifically played by its young leads.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian.

WAVERIDERS, 2009, Inis Films, 80 min. Dir. Joel Conroy. Detailing the unlikely Irish roots of the worldwide surfing phenomenon, Conroy showcases the world-class surfing destinations off the northwest coast of Ireland. The story unfolds via the inspirational and ultimately tragic history of Irish/Hawaiian legendary waterman George Freeth, who was responsible for the rebirth of this sport of Hawaiian kings in the early 20th century. Winner of the Audience Award at the 2009 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. “…A documentary of universal appeal…” – Mike Sheridan, entertainment.ie. Filmmakers In Person.
Plus “Countdown” (Ireland, 2008, 3 min.) Dir. David Tynan. Adapted from Adrian Wistreich’s poem “Countdown to Ecstasy,” this short film follows Robbie and Sinead’s relationship in the months and the night leading up to Sinead’s overdose.

Sunday, September 27 – 5:00 PM
25th Anniversary of the Dun Laoghaire National Film School:

IRISH SHORT FILMS, 60 min.
We celebrate the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology’s (IADT) 25th anniversary by showcasing the best work of its 25 years of graduates, including Kirsten Sheridan (AUGUST RUSH), Ken Wardrop (CONTAGIOUS), Ciaran Donnelly (“Cold Feet,” “The Tudors” ), Aisling Walsh (LITTLE BIRD), Declan McGrath (REIGN OF FIRE), Donal Nolan (WANTED, ANGELS & DEMONS) and James Mather (“Adam & Paul,” “Prosperity” ).

Sunday, September 27 – 7:30 PM
Hugh Leonard Tribute:

DA, 1988, FilmDallas Pictures,102 min. Dir. Matt Clark. A New York playwright is summoned to Ireland to bury his father (his “Da” ). While at his boyhood home, he encounters his father’s spirit and relives memories both pleasant and not. Barnard Hughes re-creates his stage role in the movie version of Hugh Leonard’s popular stage play. With Martin Sheen. Discussion following with Martin Sheen and filmmakers Matt Clarke and Bill Greenblatt (schedule permitting). Reception following. Author Mary Pat Kelly will be signing her latest book, Galway Bay, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of the theatre.

Los Angeles Irish Film Festival website.

American Cinematheque website.

Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel Byrne will be present at a screening of Gabriel Byrne: Stories from Home at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. Stories from Home, which screens this evening (Thursday), Sept. 24, at 7:30 pm will be followed by Macdara Vallely’s Peacefire. Byrne will take part in an onstage discussion between the two film presentations.

Both films are being screened as part of the Los Angeles Irish Film Festival, which continues until Sunday, Sept. 27.

Schedule and synopses below form the American Cinematheque’s press release:

Thursday, September 24 – 7:30 PM
Double Feature:

GABRIEL BYRNE: STORIES FROM HOME, 2008, South Wind Blows/Harvest Films, 76 min., Dir. Pat Collins. A revealing look at the life and creative impulse of Gabriel Byrne (“In Treatment”), one of the most respected actors of his generation. Using intimate interviews and extracts from his journals and diaries, this is an evocative and insightful film with universal appeal.

Plus Atlantic, (Ireland, 2008, 4 min.) Dir. Conor Ferguson. A quietly gripping tale of a lonely farmer and the potentially life-changing letter on its way from the woman who loved and left him many years ago.

PEACEFIRE, 2008, Goldcrest Independent/mayFLY Entertainment, 87 min. Dir. Macdara Vallely. Colin (John Travers, SONG FOR A RAGGY BOY) is a joy-riding hood who couldn’t care less about the local political situation. But a chance encounter with a ruthless detective (Gerry Doherty) turns him into an informer for the so-called forces of law and order and a target for retribution for his father’s old mates in the Irish Republican Army. “… (M)uch of its dramatic power comes from quiet, visually poetic moments.” – Peter Brunette, The Hollywood Reporter

Plus Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty (Ireland, 2008, 6 min.) Dir. Nicky Phelan. A seemingly sweet old lady loses the plot as she tells her version of Sleeping Beauty to her terrified granddaughter.

The Aero is located at 1328 Montana Avenue (at 14th Street) in Santa Monica.

Osaka European Film Festival

Among the 2009 Osaka European Film Festival screenings are:

Gabriele Salvatore’s As God Commands

Krisztina Goda’s Chameleon

Oliver Paulus’ Tandoori Love

Stijn Coninx’s Priest Daens

Erik Van Looy’s The Alzheimer Case

Erik Van Looy’s Loft

Maurice Jarre at Osaka European Film Festival

Also, the photo exhibition “Bye Bye Maurice,” featuring Maurice Jarre

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