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The Elite Squad + Rolling Stones: Berlin Film Festival Controversial Winner

The Elite Squad Wagner Moura
The Elite Squad with Wagner Moura.
Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

The second Brazilian production to win the Berlin Film Festival’s Golden Bear, José Padilha’s Tropa de Elite / The Elite Squad, a violent tale about Rio’s special police unit’s fight against slum-based druglords, was a controversial choice for the 2008 festival’s top award. Unlike the previous Brazilian winning entry, the considerably cozier Central Station back in 1998, The Elite Squad was greeted with strong reservations in certain quarters both in Brazil and elsewhere.

The Elite Squad is a Hollywood movie spoken in Portuguese,” wrote Plínio Fraga in the daily Folha de São Paulo. “José Padilha’s effort is Hollywoodian when it comes to both its technical proficiency, and its social and esthetic conservatism. A quick-paced narrative, solid cinematography, impeccable sound, well-directed performers, and production costs in the neighborhood of millions of reais [approximately 10 million reais, or about US$5 million] are some of the film’s qualities – which, not by chance, was [financially] assisted by producer Harvey Weinstein (ex-Miramax).

“But The Elite Squad [also] inherited from the American cinema the schematic screenplay, the mythologizing moralism, the utilitarian cynicism, the social hypocrisy, the monolithic way of thinking. It trivializes and glamorizes torture. … It’s a film that is both inhuman and authoritarian.” [Fraga’s full review can be read in this forum.]

In Variety, Jay Weissberg lambasted The Elite Squad for elevating Rio’s special police unit “to Rambo-style heroes,” calling the film “a one-note celebration of violence-for-good that plays like a recruitment film for fascist thugs.”

Padilha (right), whose similarly themed documentary Bus 174 (2002) received numerous positive reviews, asserts that his dramatic feature debut was “misunderstood” by some. That could well be, though claims in the Brazilian media that “foreigners” who didn’t like The Elite Squad failed to appreciate it because they were unable to fully comprehend its sociopolitical context are at best disingenuous. (Just take a look at Fraga’s review; more reviews can be found – via Google’s translator – here.)

“I don’t make any moral judgments,” Padilha told the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo, “for I’ve made a film about choices. There are nearly 40,000 military police officers in [the state of] Rio and 3 million drug users. The users don’t have a choice, but the police officers do. They make little money, they’re poorly equipped, and they risk their lives for nothing. Their choices are: to become corrupted, to do nothing, or to go to war. Each one of those is shit.”

In the same article, Padilha added, “When I remember that Taxi Driver and Apocalypse Now were also called fascist, then I think I’m in pretty good company.”

The curious thing about the accusations that The Elite Squad is a far-right take on Brazil’s myriad social problems is that the president of this year’s Berlin jury was none other than Costa-Gavras, a talent hardly known for espousing right-wing views. The Greek-born director of Z, State of Siege, and Missing remarked that The Elite Squad was the six-person jury’s unanimous choice.

After receiving the Golden Bear, Padilha told The Hollywood Reporter that the award was “for everybody who worked on this film and also for the Brazilian audience who elected this movie with their underground movement to watch it and pass it on. They are sending a clear message that they want the police corruption to stop. They want the violence to stop. This film won’t do that but I have hope they [sic] people in Brazil will do it.”

Also at the festival, the director declared that he wanted “European countries to help us open the debate on the hypocrisy surrounding the issue of drug trafficking, [and] to try to help us legalize drug use, something that would prevent millions of people from continuing to die.”

Based on anthropologist Luiz Eduardo Soares, and former special unit officers Rodrigo Pimentel and André Batista’s book Elite da Tropa (“The Squad’s Elite”), The Elite Squad, co-adapted by Padilha, Pimentel, and City of God co-writer Bráulio Mantovani, and starring Wagner Moura (whose character’s catchphrase is “war is war”; see top photo), became a cause célèbre in Brazil after pirated copies – I’m assuming that’s the “underground movement” Padilha mentions above – were watched by an estimated 1 million people long before the film hit Brazilian screens. (Some sources claim that approximately 11 million Brazilians have watched the pirated version, which was taken from a print stolen before post-production work on the film had been completed. Another 2.5 million Brazilians saw it at movie theaters.)

By the way, The Elite Squad wasn’t Brazil’s entry for the 2008 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. Since the Academy’s foreign-language film voters opted not to pick Fernando Meirelles’ ultra-violent and much praised (in my view, way overpraised) City of God in 2002, the Brazilian Ministry of Culture opted to submit Cao Hamburger’s much more Academy-friendly The Year My Parents Went on Vacation, the story of a street-alone little boy who is befriended by an elderly Jewish man in the São Paulo of the 1970s. The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (also co-written by Bráulio Mantovani) was one of the nine semi-finalists in the foreign-language film category, but failed to make the final cut.

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Next Feb. 27, the Elite Squad DVD will be officially released in Brazil, where Padilha’s film is also scheduled to become a TV series. It will open in the United States (via The Weinstein Co.) in the summer.

Now, since we’re talking about Harvey Weinstein, look for The Elite Squad at next year’s Oscar nominations list. In fact, according to reports, Weinstein himself pressured Berlin festival organizers to include The Elite Squad in its main competition section after the film had been chosen to screen in the Panorama sidebar.

Ah, Rio’s Secretary of Public Safety, who apparently gets Brazilian reality mixed up with Brazilian soaps, claims that the murderous violence committed by Rio’s “elite squad” takes place only at the movies. Amnesty International thinks otherwise.

Golden Bear: Tropa de Elite / The Elite Squad, directed by José Padilha

Silver Bear – The Jury Grand Prix: Standard Operating Procedure, directed by Errol Morris

Silver Bear – Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood

Silver Bear – Best Actor: Reza Najie for Song of Sparrows

Silver Bear – Best Actress: Sally Hawkins in Happy-Go-Lucky

Silver Bear – Best Screenplay: Wang Xiaoshuai for Zuo You / In Love We Trust

Silver Bear – Artistic Contribution: Jonny Greenwood for the score from There Will Be Blood

Alfred Bauer Prize: Lake Tahoe, directed by Fernando Eimbcke

Honorary Golden Bear: Francesco Rosi

Berlinale Camera: Karlheinz Böhm (a.k.a. Karl Boehm) and Otto Sander

Best First Feature Award: Asyl – Park and Love Hotel, directed by Kumasaka Izuru

Short Film Award

Golden Bear: O zi buna de plaja by Bogdan Mustata

Silver Bear: Udedh bun by Siddharth Sinha

Prix UIP: Frankie by Darren Thornton

DAAD Short Film Prize: B teme by Olga Popova

Special Mentions: Superfície by Rui Xavier and RGB XYZ by David OReilly


Competition: Lake Tahoe by Fernando Eimbcke

Panorama: Rusalka / Mermaid by Anna Melikian

Forum: Shahida – Brides of Allah / Brides of Allah by Natalie Assouline

Prizes of the Ecumenical Jury

Competition: Il y a longtemps que je t’aime… / I’ve Loved You So Long… by Philippe Claudel

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Special Mention: Zuo You / In Love We Trust by Wang Xiaoshuai

Panorama: Boy A by John Crowley

Forum: Corridor #8 by Boris Despodov

Prize of the Guild of German Art House Cinemas: Restless by Amos Kollek

C.I.C.A.E Prizes

Panorama: Revanche by Götz Spielmann

Forum: United Red Army by Wakamatsu Koji

“Label Europa Cinemas”: Revanche by Götz Spielmann

Manfred Salzgeber Prize: Megane / Glasses by Naoko Ogigami

Special Mention: Improvvisamente l’inverno scorso / Suddenly, Last Winter by Gustav Hofer, Luca Ragazzi

Teddy Awards

Best Feature Film: The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela by Olaf de Fleur Johannesson

Jury Prize: Be Like Others by Tanaz Eshaghian

Best Documentary Film: Football Under Cover by David Assmann and Ayat Najafi

Best Short Film: by Felipe Sholl

Dialogue en perspective: Drifter by Sebastian Heidinger

Special Mention: Lostage / Star-Crossed by Bettina Eberhard

Caligari Film Prize: Tirador / Slingshot by Brillante Ma. Mendoza

NETPAC Prize: United Red Army by Wakamatsu Koji

Special Mention: Paruthiveeran by Ameer Sulthan

Peace Film Award: Buda Az Sharm Foru Rikht / Buddha collapsed out of shame by Hana Makhmalbaf

Amnesty International Film Prize: Sleep Dealer by Alex Rivera

Special Mention: Be Like Others by Tanaz Eshaghian

Femina Film Prize: Maria Gruber for set design, Revanche by Götz Spielmann

Special Mention: Isabelle Baumgartner for costume design, Teenage Angst by Thomas Stuber

Readers Juries and Audience Awards

Panorama Audience Award: Lemon Tree by Eran Riklis

2nd place: Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story by Julian Shaw

3rd place: Erika Rabau – Puck of Berlin by Samson Vicent

The “Berliner Morgenpost” Readers’ Jury: Il y a longtemps que je t’aime… / I’ve Loved You So Long… by Philippe Claudel

The ELSE Siegessäule Reader’s Choice Award: Be Like Others by Tanaz Eshagian

The “Tagesspiegel” Readers’ Jury: God Man Dog by Singing Chen

Volkswagen Audience Award: Conrad Oleak

Berlin Today Award: Maheen Zia for Match Factor

Prizes of the Generation Kplus Children’s Jury

Crystal Bear for Best Feature Film: Buddha Collapsed Out Of Shame by Hana Makmalbaf

Special Mention: The Ten Lives of Titanic the Cat by Grethe Bøe

Crystal Bear for Best Short Film: Nana by Warwick Thornton:

Special Mention: New Boy by Steph Green

Prizes of the Generation 14plus Youth Jury

Crystal Bear for Best Feature Film: The Black Balloon by Elissa Down

Special Mention: Sita Sings the Blues by Nina Paley

Crystal Bear for Best Short Film: Café com Leite by Daniel Ribeiro

Special Mention: Take 3 by Roseanne Liang

Generation Kplus International Jury’s Deutsche Kinderhilfswerk Grand Prix for Best Feature Film: GO WEST! A Lucky Luke Adventure by Olivier Jean-Marie

Special Mention: Mutum by Sandra Kogut

Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk Special Prize: My Uncle Loved the Colour Yellow by Mats Olof Olsson

Special Mention: POST! by Christian Asmussen and Matthias Bruhn

Golden Bear Jury: Greek-born director Costa-Gavras (president), Taiwanese actress Shu Qi, US film editor Walter Murch, Russian TV and film producer Alexander Rodniansky, German production designer Uli Hanisch, and German actress Diane Kruger. At the last minute, Danish director Susanne Bier and French actress Sandrine Bonnaire had to cancel their participation at the festival.

Best First Feature Jury: Ben Barenholtz, Dominique Cabrera, Jasmila Zbanic

International Short Film Jury: Marc Barbé, Ada Solomon, Laura Tonke

Ecumenical Jury: Julia Helmke (jury president), Alina Birzache, Douglas P. Fahleson, Wolfgang Hussmann, Milan Šimacek, Magali Van Reeth

FIPRESCI Jury: Par Haddal (jury president), Jurica Pavicic, Barbara Hollender (Competition); Göran Bjelkendal, Hassouna Mansouri, Thomas Abeltshauser (Panorama); Elfriede Schmitt, Pablo Utin, Gulnara Abikejeva (Forum)

Guild of German Art House Cinemas Jury: Adrian Kutter, Hans-Werner Renneke, Rudolf Huber

C.I.C.A.E. Jury: Steffen Heinke, Francois Aymé, Tibor Biro (Panorama), Thorsten Kleinschmidt, Marta Krutel, Nikos Grigoriadis (Forum)

Label Europa Cinemas: Robert Kenny, Barbara Suhren, Marko Röhr, Wolfgang Steininger

Manfred Salzgeber Prize Jury: Bee Thiam, Mirsad Purivatra, Susanne Pfeffer

Teddy Awards Jury: Maria Cyber, Marcin Pietras, Yair Hochner, Vicci Ho, Meninapurtri Wismurti, Basil Tsiokos, Melissa Pritchard, Chirilov Mihai-Cristian

Caligari Film Prize Jury: Andreas Heidenreich, Dagmar Kamlah, Julia Teichmann

NETPAC Jury: Aditya Assarat, Garin Nugroho and Meenakshi Shedde

Dialogue in Perspective Jury: Suzanne Berjot, Hélène Courtel, Marie Klein, Ariane Kujawski, Markus Müller, Haddad Mehdi, Julian Radlmaier

Amnesty International Film Prize Jury: Heike Makatsch, Selina Nelte, Oliver Stoltz

Peace Film Prize Jury: Harriet Eder, Christoph Heubner, Oliver Passek, Wilma Pradetto, Monica Ch. Puginier, Michael Schorr, Christoph Wermke, Marianne Wündrich-Brosien, Christian Ziewer

Femina Film Prize Jury: Adriana Altara, Bettina Böhler, Ann Kristin Reyels

Berlin Film Festival Site

Photos: David Prichard / TWC

Martin Scorsese The Rolling Stones Keith Richards Charlie Watts Mick Jagger Ron Wood
Martin Scorsese and The Rolling Stones (Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger and Ron Wood).

Martin Scorsese The Rolling Stones movie ‘Shine a Light’ opens Berlin Film Festival

Martin Scorsese’s The Rolling Stones concert movie Shine a Light, featuring Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, and Ron Wood, opened the 2008 Berlin Film Festival this evening, Feb. 7.

“Raunchy and affectionate,” writes Lee Marshall in Screen Daily, “Scorsese’s Rolling Stones film […] is as much homage as concert film. In bringing the miracle of the Stones’ survival to a wider audience, it’s the cinematic equivalent of an all-singing, all-dancing Tutankhamun exhibition. And for all its delight this is one of the limitations of what is nevertheless a lively, likeable, hip-shaking two-hour rockfest.

Every concert film needs to tell a story, and in choosing the narrative of miraculous preservation, coupled with a technically flawless but often surprisingly conventional shooting style, Scorsese inevitably forfeits some of the rawness of the straight-up live rock movie.”

Mick Jagger The Rolling Stones movie
Mick Jagger in Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Stones movie ‘Shine a Light,’ with Jack White.

Two Rolling Stones concerts

Shine a Light, which opens in the United States on April 4, is composed of bits and pieces from two Rolling Stones concerts held at New York City’s historic Beacon Theatre in the autumn of 2006, one of which was a charity benefit tied to former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s 60th birthday party.

Mick Jagger initially wanted Martin Scorsese to film the Rolling Stones’ Rio de Janeiro beach concert in Feb. 2006, but the director, as reported in The Associated Press, wanted “something much more intimate.”

The 2008 Berlin Film Festival runs February 7–17.

Berlin Film Festival: Official Competition

Avaze Gonjeshk-ha / The Song of Sparrows. Iran (World Premiere).
Director: Majid Majidi.
Cast: Reza Najie. Maryam Akbari. Kamran Dehghan. Hossein Aghazi.

Ballast. U.S. (International Premiere).
Director: Lance Hammer.
Cast: Micheal J. Smith. Jim Myron Ross. Tarra Riggs.

Bam gua Nat / Night and Day. Republic of Korea (World Premiere).
Director: Hong Sangsoo.
Cast: Kim Youngho. Park Eunhye. Hwang Soojung.

Caos calmo / Quiet Chaos. Italy (International Premiere).
Director: Antonello Grimaldi.
Cast: Nanni Moretti. Isabella Ferrari. Alessandro Gassman. Valeria Golino.

Elegy. U.S.
Director: Isabel Coixet.
Cast: Penélope Cruz. Ben Kingsley. Dennis Hopper.

Feuerherz / Heart of Fire. Germany / Austria.
Director: Luigi Falorni.
Cast: Letekidan Micael.

Gardens of the Night. Great Britain / U.S. (World Premiere).
Director: Damian Harris.
Cast: Gillian Jacobs. Evan Ross. Tom Arnold and John Malkovich.

Happy-Go-Lucky. U.K.
Director: Mike Leigh.
Cast: Sally Hawkins. Alexis Zegerman. Eddie Marsan. Samuel Roukin.

Il y a longtemps que je t’aime / I’ve Loved You So Long. France / Germany (World Premiere).
Director: Philippe Claudel.
Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas. Elsa Zylberstein. Serge Hazanavicius. Laurent Grevill.

Julia. France.
Director: Erick Zonca.
Cast: Tilda Swinton. Aidan Gould. Saul Rubinek.

Kabei / Kabei Our Mother. Japan (International Premiere).
Director: Yoji Yamada.
Cast: Sayuri Yoshinaga. Mitsugoro Bando. Tadanobu Asano.

Kirschblüten Hanami / Cherry Blossoms. Germany.
Director: Doris Dörrie.
Cast: Elmar Wepper. Hannelore Elsner. Nadja Uhl.

Lady Jane. France.
Director: Robert Guédiguian.
Cast: Ariane Ascaride. Gérard Meylan. Frédérique Bonnal.

Lake Tahoe. Mexico / U.S. (World Premiere).
Director: Fernando Eimbcke.
Cast: Diego Cataño. Héctor Herrera. Daniela Valentine. Juan Carlos Lara. Yemil Sefani.

Musta Jaä / Black Ice. Finland / Germany (International Premiere).
Director: Petri Kotwica.
Cast: Outi Mäenpää. Ria Kataja. Martti Suosala. Ville Virtanen.

Restless. Israel / Germany / Canada / France / Belgium.
Director: Amos Kollek.
Cast: Moshe Ivgy. Ran Danker. Karen Young. Phyllis Sommerville.

S.O.P. Standard Operating Procedure. U.S. (World Premiere).
Director: Errol Morris.

The Sparrow. Hong Kong.
Director: Johnnie To.
Cast: Simon Yam Tat Wah. Kelly Lin Hsi Lei. Gordon Lam Ka Tung. Lam Suet.

There Will Be Blood. U.S.
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson.
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis. Paul Dano.

Tropa de Elite / The Elite Squad. Brazil (International Premiere).
Director: José Padilha.
Cast: Wagner Moura. Caio Junqueira. André Ramiro.

Zuo You / In Love We Trust. China (World Premiere).
Director: Wang Xiaoshuai.
Cast: Liu Weiwei. Zhang Jiayu. Yu Nan.

Out of Competition movies

Opening Film: Shine a Light. U.S.
Director: Martin Scorsese.
Cast: The Rolling Stones.

Fireflies in the Garden. U.S. (World Premiere).
Director: Dennis Lee.
Cast: Julia Roberts. Ryan Reynolds. Willem Dafoe. Emily Watson. Carrie-Anne Moss. Ioan Gruffudd. Hayden Panettiere. Shannon Lucio. Cayden Boyd. Katyn. Poland (International Premiere).
Director: Andrzej Wajda.
Cast: Maja Ostaszewska. Artur Zmijewski. Andrzej Chyra. The Other Boleyn Girl. U.S. / Great Britain (World Premiere).
Director: Justin Chadwick.
Cast: Natalie Portman. Scarlett Johansson. Eric Bana. Jim Sturgess. Kristin Scott Thomas. Mark Rylance. Benedict Cumberbatch. Ana Torrent. Eddie Redmayne. Oliver Coleman. Juno Temple. David Morrissey. Andrew Garfield. Closing Film: Be Kind Rewind. U.S. (International Premiere).
Director: Michel Gondry.
Cast: Jack Black. Mos Def. Danny Glover. Mia Farrow. Melonie Diaz.

Images from the Martin Scorsese Rolling Stones movie Shine a Light and other films: Berlin Film Festival.

Martin Scorsese and The Rolling Stones (Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, and Ron Wood), Mick Jagger and Jack White photos: Berlin Film Festival.

Berlin Film Festival website.

SXSW Movies: Birdwatchers in Arkansas Bayou + ‘Dance of the Dead’

24 Beats per Second

Blip Festival: Reformat the Planet
Director: Paul Owens.
A documentary look at the movement known as ChipTunes, a vibrant underground scene based around creating new, original music using old video game hardware. (World Premiere)

Heavy Load
Director: Jerry Rothwell.
Heavy Load are a punk outfit subject to the combustible flux of ego, ambition, fantasy, expectation and desire that fuels any emerging band. But they’re also, uniquely, made up of musicians with and without learning disabilities. (World Premiere)

Heavy Metal in Baghdad
Director: Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi.
Playing heavy metal in a Muslim country has always been a difficult proposition, but after Saddam’s regime was toppled, there was a brief moment for the band in which real freedom seemed possible. (U.S. Premiere)

Nerdcore Rising
Director: Negin Farsad.
“Nerdcore” is the newest, dorkiest wave of hip-hop, born out of the internet and made possible by computer-obsessed geeks. (World Premiere)

Of All The Things
Director: Jody Lambert.
A Filipino concert promoter has been begging Dennis Lambert (one of the most successful and gifted songwriter/producers of the ’70s and ’80s) to come tour for decades. Thirty-five years after the release of his solo album, he finally agreed. (World Premiere)

Rainbow Around the Sun
Directors: Kevin Ely and Beau Leland. Writers: Matthew Alvin Brown and Kevin Ely. Starring: Matthew Alvin Brown, Jamie Buxton, Doug Van Liew, Brian Stockton.
A rock musical about the healing power of creativity. Matthew Alvin Brown stars as Zachary Blasto, a hard-drinking, talented songwriter and performer who envisions madcap musical fantasies in order to avoid dealing with the downward spiral of his personal life. (World Premiere)

Throw Down Your Heart
Director: Sascha Paladino.
Cameras follow American banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck on his journey to Africa to explore the little known African roots of the banjo, and record an album. (World Premiere)

The Upsetter: The Life & Music of Lee “Scratch” Perry
Directors: Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough.
The fascinating story of Lee “Scratch” Perry, a visionary musician and artist from poor rural Jamaica who soon became of the most influential artists in reggae and dub. (World Premiere)

Wesley Willis’s Joyrides
Director: Chris Bagley and Kim Shively.
A portrait of the self-proclaimed rock ‘n’ roll star and Chicago city artist, Wesley Willis. (Regional Premiere)

The Wrecking Crew
Director: Denny Tedesco.
You heard them playing on the Beach Boys hits, on the Mamas and the Papas’ recordings, on Frank Sinatra records, on Monkees’ singles, and they were Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. Most likely, you never heard their name. If you knew who they were, you called them “the Wrecking Crew.” (World Premiere)

Emerging Visions

A Necessary Death
Director: Daniel Stamm. Starring: GJ Echternkamp, Matt Tilley, Valerie Hurt, Michael Traynor. “Documentary Filmmaker looking for suicidal individual to follow from first preparation to final act.” Cut from 142 video tapes, this project sheds light on the tragedy following the infamous internet ad. (World Premiere)

The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela
Director/writer: Olaf de Fleur. Starring: Raquela Rios, Stefan Schaefer, Olivia Galudo. Raquela is looking for a way out of her tireless job as a “ladyboy” prostitute, which brings her to Iceland with some unexpected outcomes. (North American Premiere)

Ano Una
Director/writer: Jonas Cuaron. Starring: Eireann Harper, Diego Catano. An impossible romance between Molly, a 21 year-old American, and Diego, a Mexican in the throes of puberty. (Regional Premiere)

‘Bama Girl
Director: Rachel Goslins. A charismatic black woman at the University of Alabama runs for Homecoming Queen, going up against a century of ingrained racial segregation, internal black politics, and a secret association of all-white fraternities. (World Premiere)

Bootleg Wisconsin
Director: Brandon Linden. Writers: Brandon Linden, Tim Donovan. Starring: Lepolion Henderson, Angela Harris, Alissa Bailey, Joyce Porter. A married Chicago Public School Teacher spends part of her summer vacation visiting outlet malls across the Midwest. At her penultimate stop, in Pleasant Prairie Wisconsin, she meets a young man who works at the mall. A relationship develops that makes them both question their lives and their futures. (World Premiere)

Flying On One Engine
Director: Joshua Z Weinstein. The documentary story of an Indian-American surgeon who, despite being critically ill himself and living in a one-room Brooklyn apartment, travels back to India every year to perform marathon surgery “camps” where he repairs the cleft lips of 700 children in a week. (World Premiere)

Director/writer: Jennifer Phang. Starring: Sanoe Lake, Alexander Agate, Julia Nickson, Ben Redgrave.
As troubling signs of global cataclysms accelerate, a brother and sister react to their father’s desertion and the powerful presence of their mother’s new boyfriend. (Regional Premiere)

Humboldt County
Director/writer: Danny Jacobs & Darren Grodsky. Starring: Fairuza Balk, Peter Bogdanovich, Frances Conroy, Madison Davenport, Brad Dourif, Chris Messina, Jeremy Strong.
When Peter Hadley, a promising yet disillusioned medical student, stumbles upon an eccentric community of marijuana farmers, his life will never be the same. (World Premiere)

Director/writer: Russell Friedenberg. Starring: Christian Campbell, Russell Friedenberg, Chris Kriesa, Heather Rae.
Recently escaped from Trinity Psychiatric Center, a pair of patients hit the road on a mission to inscribe an addendum to the Ten Commandments in order to save the world. (World Premiere)

In A Dream
Director: Jeremiah Zagar.
The chaotic story of Julia Zagar and her husband Isaiah Zagar, a renowned mosaic artist, who for the past 30 years has covered more than 40,000 square feet of Philadelphia top to bottom with tile, mirror, paint, and concrete. (World Premiere)

The Marconi Bros.
Director/writers: Marco Ricci, Michael Canzoniero. Starring: Brendan Sexton III, Dan Fogler, Jon Polito, Zoe Lister Jones.
Anthony and Carmine Marconi have been dutifully serving out life sentences in the family carpet business. Their opportunity to escape occurs when they meet the undisputed king of the Long Island wedding video business. (World Premiere)

Medicine For Melancholy
Director/writer: Barry Jenkins. Starring: Wyatt Cenac, Tracey Heggins.
A love story of bikes and one-night stands told through two African-American twenty-somethings dealing with issues of class, identity, and the evolving conundrum of being a minority living in a rapidly gentrifying San Francisco. (World Premiere)

Natural Causes
Directors: Alex Cannon, Paul Cannon, Michael Lerman. Writers: Alex Cannon, Paul Cannon, Michael Lerman, Paul Cannon. Starring: Jerzy Gwiazdowski, Leah Goldstein, Shonda Leigh Robbins, Peter Davenport Swan III. In the wake of a brief, but intense relationship with Shaina, David struggles to find the same connection with Cara, his new flame and Shaina’s former best friend. (World Premiere)

The New Year Parade
Director/writer: Tom Quinn. Starring: Greg Lyons, Jennifer Welsh, Andrew Conway, MaryAnn McDonald.
When Mike and Lisa separate, their children suffer quietly in the middle of the annual Mummer’s Parade. (Regional Premiere)

One Minute to Nine
Director: Tommy Davis.
A haunting and touching documentary look at one family, thrown into the disturbing reality that follows a history of domestic abuse, as one member prepares to serve a jail sentence. (North American Premiere)

The Ostrich Testimonies
Director: Jonathan VanBallenberghe.
The dramatic story of the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch near Tucson, Arizona, where in 2002, two hot-air balloons triggered a stampede of 1,600 ostriches. (World Premiere)

The Pleasure of Being Robbed
Director: Josh Safdie. Writers: Josh Safdie & Eleonore Hendricks. Starring: Eleonore Hendricks, Josh Safdie, Wayne Chin, Francesca & Miranda LaPrelle.
A curious and lost Eleonore looks for something everywhere, even in the bags of strangers who find themselves sadly smiling only well after she’s left their lives. They owe her their thanks. (World Premiere)

Present Company
Director/writer: Frank V. Ross. Starring: Anthony Baker, Tamara Fana Sasha Gioppo, Allison Latta.
Leading very separate lives, Christy and her boyfriend Buddy live together in her parent’s basement with their baby Mikey. As they struggle with the realities of their lives, questions are formed about obligations, consequences, and all the identities we employ to get through the day. (World Premiere)

Director: Alex Karpovsky. Writers: Alex Karpovsky, Jon E. Hyrns. Starring: Jon E. Hyrns, Wesley Yang, Ken Parham.
Fanatical birdwatchers have descended upon a small town in the Arkansas bayou in hopes of finding the celebrated Ivory Billed Woodpecker. Declared extinct in the 1940s, the bird has apparently been spotted by numerous experts over the past few months. The news is miraculous, yet concrete proof remains elusive. (World Premiere)

‘Round Midnight

Dance of the Dead
Director: Gregg Bishop. Writer: Joe Ballarini. Starring: Jared Kusnitz, Greyson Chadwick, Justin Welborn, Chandler Darby.
A horror/adventure that takes place on the night of the big High School Prom: the dead rise to eat the living, and the only people who can stop them are the losers who couldn’t get dates to the dance. (World Premiere)

Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie
Director: Jay Delaney.
Through the experiences of two amateur bigfoot researchers in southern Ohio, we see how the power of a dream can bring two men together and provide a source of hope and meaning. (World Premiere)

Director: Tony Krantz. Writer: Thomas Schnauz & Erik Jendresen. Starring: Daniel Stern, Illeana Douglas, Kevin Pollak, Jere Burns.
A black comedy satire about a “Leave It To Beaver” family colliding with the dark world of a serial killer that takes on murderous twists with hilarious consequences. (World Premiere)

Registered Sex Offender
Director/writer: Robert Byington. Starring: Gabriel McIver, Kristen Tucker, Andrew Bujalski, Kevin Corrigan.
There may be one thing worse than being a sex offender sent to prison: Being a sex offender released from prison. (World Premiere)

Director/writer: Edward Anderson. Starring: Tony Curran, Peyton List, Cameron Goodman, James Snyder, Cullen Douglas, Dave Power.
A late-night airport shuttle ride home descends into darkness. (World Premiere)

Southern Gothic
Director/writer: Mark Young. Starring: Yul Vazquez, Nicole DuPort, William Forsythe.
A man must atone for a tragic mistake by saving a little girl from a ruthless, undead preacher. (World Premiere)

Lone Star States

Cook County
Director/writer: David Pomes. Starring: Anson Mount, Xander Berkeley, Ryan Donowho, Polly Cole.
Set in the deep woods of East Texas, an abused and alienated teenage boy and his absentee father struggle to reconnect and beat their respective addictions to crystal meth amidst a family of meth addicts and a community crumbling under the meth epidemic. (World Premiere)

Directors: David Redmon & Ashley Sabin.
Cecy and Camilo recently migrated to Reynosa, Mexico with a dream to buy land and build a home. A year later they return to their rural hometown to reunite with their daughter. What seems like a satisfying reunion turns into a confusing dilemma that transforms the course of their marriage.
(World Premiere)

The King of Texas
Director: Rene Pinnell and Claire Huie.
Although Eagle Pennell was quickly becoming a regional film legend, his acute alcoholism and legendary ego alienated many of his friends and collaborators. Eagle remained a forgotten and mostly unsung talent throughout his life, which ended in 2002. Friends, family, and fellow filmmakers recall Eagle’s life, the excitement of working alongside him, and the burden of his addictions. (World Premiere)

Tulia, Texas
Director: Cassandra Herrman & Kelly Whalen.
At the end of one of the biggest drug stings in Texas history, dozens of residents of the small farming town of Tulia had been rounded up and thrown behind bars. Of 46 people indicted for cocaine dealing, 39 were African American. In the years to follow, troubling evidence about Coleman’s investigation and his past began to surface. (World Premiere)

Special Screenings

Agile, Mobile, Hostile: A Year With Andre Williams
Director: Eric Matthies and Tricia Todd.
A year in the life of Andre Williams, one of the unsung heroes of the American R&B community, who walks us through the hard life he’s led over five decades of making music. (World Premiere)

Bi The Way
Director: Brittany Blockman and Josephine Decker.
Journeying through the changing sexual landscape of America, BI THE WAY investigates the latest scientific reports and social opinions on bisexuality, while following five members of the emerging “whatever generation”— teens and twenty-somethings who seem to be ushering in whole new sexual revolution. (World Premiere)

The Black List
Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. Writer: Elvis Mitchell.
In a film that works as series of living portraits, twenty prominent African Americans of various professions, disciplines and backgrounds offer their own stories and insights on the struggles, triumphs and joys of black life in this country and manage to re-define “blacklist” for a new century in the process. (Regional Premiere)

Body of War
Directors: Ellen Spiro & Phil Donahue.
“Support our troops” has long been a rallying cry for war proponents. But that phrase will never sound the same after you meet Tomas Young, an eloquent former soldier and current war protester. (Regional Premiere)

Dancing Alfonso
Director: Barak Heymann.
Alfonso is the lead dancer in a flamenco troupe, which rehearses in a Tel Aviv suburb After the death of his wife, he begins to obsessively court Sima, a dancer with the troupe, to the displeasure of his children, who are unwilling to accept the fact that their father might be interested in another woman. (U.S. Premiere)

Dear Zachary: a letter to a son about his father
Director: Kurt Kuenne.
After Dr. Andrew Bagby was brutally murdered, the prime suspect (his former girlfriend) announced that she was pregnant with Andrew’s baby. Andrew’s childhood friend began this film as a way for the baby to learn about his father, until things started to take an even more unpredictable turn. (Regional Premiere)

Do You Sleep In the Nude?
Director: Marshall Fine.
Forty years after he blazed across the scene, Rex Reed is still going strong – a brand-name movie critic whose name and face remain easily recognizable, even if his influence has waned. (Regional Premiere)

Don’t Get Me Wrong
Director: Adina Pintilie
Within a stark Romanian psychiatric hospital, patients move stones, help each other perform daily tasks and discuss the existence of God and how to stop the rain. (U.S. Premiere)

Director: David Zellner. Writers: David and Nathan Zellner. Starring: David Zellner, Caroline O’Connor, Nathan Zellner.
A recently divorced man tries to find the one aspect of his marriage that still matters to him: his missing cat, Goliath. (Regional Premiere)

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Director: Alex Gibney.
With access to never-before-seen archives, this is a fascinating documentary look at the legendary and undeniable Hunter S. Thompson. (Regional Premiere)

Here Is What Is
Director: Adam Vollick & Adam Samuels.
An invitation to experience a year of creation, looking over Daniel Lanois’ shoulder. His psychedelic past emerges throughout the film as the hyperrealism of the in-studio documentation is contrasted by moments of wild fantasia. (U.S. Premiere)

Here’s Johnny
Director: Kat Mansoor, Adam Lavis and WIll Hood.
Previously renowned for his work in the comics Judge Dredd and 2000AD, Johnny now lives in an increasing state of immobility and frustration. He escapes the confines of his front room by drawing, and through the expression of his brilliant, and sometimes troubled, imagination we learn about the disease that he is forced to co-exist with. (World Premiere)

Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry
Director: Erich Weiss
A feature-length documentary exploring the roots of American tattooing through the life of its most iconoclastic figure Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins. (World Premiere)

Joy Division
Director: Grant Gee.
The filmmakers investigate why Joy Division’s collective musical genius and singular vision enjoys a larger audience and influence thirty years on.
(U.S. Premiere)

Director: Sergei Bodrov. Writers: Arif Aliyev, Sergei Bodrov. Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Honglei Sun, Khulan Chuluun. The first part in a planned trilogy about the epic, violent, and romantic life of Genghis Khan. (Regional Premiere)

The Night James Brown Saved Boston
Director: David Leaf.
A documentary look at the historic James Brown concert, held just days after Martin Luther King’s assassination, when the city of Boston was ready to boil. (Work-In-Progress)

Director: Peter Galison & Robb Moss.
The film is about the vast, invisible world of government secrecy. By filming people from the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, reporters, information seekers, and individuals whose lives have been marked by their encounters with the classification bureaucracy, the film probes secrecy’s relationship to fear, executive power and national security. (Regional Premiere)

The Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice
Director: Vincent Kralyevich.
This documentary is the culmination of a two-year journey with Wanda Jackson, now 70, in performances across the United States and Europe. (World Premiere)

The Visitor
Director/writer: Thomas McCarthy. Starring: Richard Jenkins.
A college professor becomes embroiled in the lives of a young immigrant couple he discovers squatting in his Manhattan apartment. Confronted with adversity, these strangers become inextricably bound together. (Regional Premiere)

Triage: Dr. James Orbinski’s Humanitarian Dilemma
Director: Patrick Reed.
The former head of Doctors Without Borders returns to Africa, to confront its harsh realities. (Regional Premiere)

We Dreamed America
Director: Alex Walker.
A documentary that delves deep into the dark and hilarious recesses of the British Americana music scene, exploring the gritty underworld of the New British Country movement. (U.S. Premiere)

The Wild Horse Redemption
Director: John Zaritsky.
At a prison in the high desert foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, hard-core criminals are given 90 days to tame wild mustang horses. Most of the inmates who volunteer for the program have never trained a horse before, or even ridden one. (U.S. Premiere)


The SXSW Film Festival runs March 7–15 ’08

Bulletproof Salesman
Director: Michael Tucker & Petra Epperlein
Fidelis Cloer is a self-confessed war profiteer who found The Perfect War when the US invaded Iraq. It wasn’t about selling a dozen cars, or even a hundred, it was a thousand-car war where security would become the ultimate product. (World Premiere)

Director: Caroline Suh
The campaign for student body president at Stuyvesant, perhaps the most prestigious public high school in the country, is almost as sophisticated as any presidential election. But unlike presidential candidates, they also have to do their homework, take their SATs and write their college applications. (World Premiere)

Full Battle Rattle
Directors: Jesse Moss & Tony Gerber
A feature documentary about life inside the US Army’s Iraq Simulation in California’s Mojave Desert. The film follows one Army Battalion’s efforts to pacify the town of Medina Wasl, one of thirteen villages in the simulation, as it tips precariously on the brink of civil war. (North American Premiere)

The Matador
Directors: Stephen Higgins & Nina Gilden Seavey
The epic tale of David Fandila’s quest to become the world’s top-ranked bullfighter. Heart-wrenching setbacks and thrilling successes dramatize his three-year journey across Spain and Latin America and into the pages of bullfighting history. (World Premiere)

Sex Positive
Director: Daryl Wein
A look at the life of Richard Berkowitz, a revolutionary gay S&M hustler turned AIDS activist in the 1980s, whose incomparable contribution to the invention of safe sex has long since been forgotten. (World Premiere)

Some Assembly Required
Director: Dori Berinstein
Over 2000 kids. 400 teams nationwide. Eight months of brainstorming, designing and building. One goal: to create the next great toy. (World Premiere)

They Killed Sister Dorothy
Director: Daniel Junge
On February 12th, 2005, a 73 year-old Catholic nun from Ohio, was shot six times at point blank range and left to die on a muddy Amazon road. Who was this woman, and why was she killed? What will become of her murderers, and who else was involved? What are the implications of her murder and these trials on the future? (World Premiere)

We Are Wizards
Director: Josh Koury
An entertaining and comprehensive portrait of the passionate culture of Harry Potter fans. (World Premiere)


Director: Robert Luketic. Writers: Peter Steinfeld, Allan Loeb. Starring: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne.
Based on the true story of a group of MIT students who, under the guidance of a cryptic professor, take Vegas casinos for millions through the mathematical art of counting cards. (Opening Night Film)

American Teen
Director: Nanette Burstein. A documentary on seniors at a high school in a small Indiana town, and their various cliques. (Regional Premiere)

Assassination of a High School President
Director: Brett Simon. Writers: Tim Calpin, Kevin Jakubowski. Starring: Reece Thompson, Mischa Barton, Melonie Diaz, Bruce Willis.
A rookie journalist for the school paper unravels a mysterious plot involving the class president, drugs, and a ring of stolen test scores in this noir caper set at a quirky Catholic High School. (Regional Premiere)

At the Death House Door
Director: Steve James & Peter Gilbert.
An investigation of the wrongful death of Carlos DeLuna, who was executed in Texas on December 7, 1989, after prosecutors ignored evidence inculpating a man, who bragged to friends about committing the crimes of which DeLuna was convicted. (World Premiere)

Director/writers: Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass. Starring: Steve Zissis, Ross Partridge, Greta Gerwig, Elise Muller.
An in-depth study of the relationship dynamics for a group of desperate actor friends. And a bag. And a head. (Regional Premiere)

Director: Ceri Levy.
An in-depth and revealing glimpse at the cryptic cartoon band, Gorillaz. (North American Premiere)

Battle in Seattle
Director/writer: Stuart Townsend. Starring: Martin Henderson, Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, Ray Liotta.
An all-star, edge-of-your-seat glimpse at the 1999 WTO demonstrations in Seattle, told from the perspective of protesters, police, and city officials. (U.S. Premiere)

Beautiful Losers
Directors: Aaron Rose & Joshua Leonard.
A feature documentary film celebrating the independent and D.I.Y. spirit that unified a loose-knit group of American artists who emerged from the underground youth subcultures of skateboarding, graffiti, punk rock and hip-hop. (World Premiere)

Director/writer: Clark Gregg. Starring: Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly Macdonald.
An adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, this is the sardonic story about mother and son relationship, fear of aging, sexual addiction, and the dark side of historical theme parks. (Regional Premiere)

Director: David Modigliani
Just a short time before George W. Bush announced his intentions to run for the Presidency, the New Haven-born hopeful bought a ranch in tiny Crawford, Texas. This is what happened next. (World Premiere)

Dreams With Sharp Teeth
Director: Erik Nelson.
A documentary portrait of acclaimed author Harlan Ellison, as he looks back on his fabled and influential career as one of the world’s top genre writers for television and print. (World Premiere)

Director: Michael Radford. Writer: Edward Anderson. Starring: Demi Moore, Michael Caine.
In 1960s London, a talented but overlooked diamond executive is convinced to participate in a jewelry heist when a veteran janitor hatches a plan. (Regional Premiere)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Director: Nicholas Stoller. Writer: Jason Segel. Starring: Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Jonah Hill, Russell Brand.
A comic look at one guy’s arduous quest to grow up and get over the heartbreak of getting dumped. If only his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend weren’t staying at the same hotel.

Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
Director/writers: Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg. Starring: Kal Penn, John Cho, Rob Corddry, Neil Patrick Harris.
The triumphant return of the two hilarious, slacker anti-heroes. This time, the boys get themselves in trouble trying to sneak a bong onboard a flight to Amsterdam. Now, being suspected of terrorism, they are forced to run from the law and try to find a way to prove their innocence. What follows is an irreverent and epic journey of deep thoughts, deeper inhaling and a wild trip around the world that is as “un-PC” as it gets.

Living with the Tudors
Directors: Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope.
After four years of participation as costumed historical re-enactors, Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope were given unprecedented access with their cameras to the UK’s oldest and largest historical re-enactment at Kentwell Hall in rural Suffolk. (North American Premiere)

Lou Reed’s Berlin
Director: Julian Schnabel.
An artful document of musical legend Lou Reed, performing his influential record, “Berlin,” to audiences in New York City. (U.S. Premiere)

Love Songs
Director/writer: Christophe Honore. Starring: Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier, Chiara Mastroianni, Clotilde Hesme.
Ismael and Julie are the ideal young Parisian couple. They both have good jobs, a great apartment and are considered part of each other’s families. After several years together, they decide to add a spark to their relationship and take on a third lover, Alice. (Regional Premiere)

Mister Foe
Director: David Mackenzie. Writers: David Mackenzie, Ed Whitmore. Starring: Jamie Bell, Sophia Myles, Ciaran Hinds, Claire Forlani.
Driven to expose the true cause of his mother’s death, young Hallam Foe instead finds himself searching the rooftops of the city of Edinburgh for love. (U.S. Premiere)

Mister Lonely
Director: Harmony Korine. Writers: Avi Korine & Harmony Korine. Starring: Werner Herzog, Diego Luna, Samantha Morton, Denis Lavant.
A Michael Jackson impersonator lives alone in Paris and performs on the streets to make ends meet. At a performance in a retirement home, Michael falls for a beautiful Marilyn Monroe look-alike who suggests he move to a commune of impersonators in the Scottish Highlands. (U.S. Premiere)

New Orleans Mon Amour
Director: Michael Almereyda. Starring: Christopher Eccleston, Elisabeth Moss, Isabel Gillies.
A year after Hurricane Katrina, an affluent surgeon in New Orleans is attempting to get his life back on track. He is remarrying his ex-wife, renovating her house and restarting his medical practice. His plan begins to unravel when he runs into an old flame. (World Premiere)

Nights and Weekends
Director/writers: Joe Swanberg & Greta Gerwig. Starring: Joe Swanberg, Greta Gerwig, Elizabeth Donius, Jay Duplass, Lynn Shelton, Kent Osborne.
A man and woman must face the tension that builds between them during a long-distance relationship. (World Premiere)

Directors: Daniel O’Connor, Neil Ortenberg.
Under Barney Rosset, Grove Press and Evergreen Review fought decisive battles to defeat legal censorship, and opened American life to new and dangerous currents of freedom. This is Rosset’s story. (U.S. Premiere)

The Order of Myths
Director: Margaret Brown.
A probing and artful portrait of the divided Mardi Gras communities that still exist today in Alabama. (Regional Premiere)

The Promotion
Director/writer: Steven Conrad. Starring: Seann William Scott, John C. Reilly, Jenna Fischer, Lili Taylor.
The story of two mid-level supermarket employees who compete ruthlessly for a coveted post at a new store location. (World Premiere)

Run, Fat Boy, Run
Director: David Schwimmer. Writers: Michael Ian Black, Simon Pegg. Starring: Simon Pegg, Thandie Newton, Hank Azaria.
An out-of-shape divorced father makes one last attempt to win back the respect of his son, his ex-wife, and the community around him. All he has to do is finish his first marathon. (Regional Premiere)

Second Skin
Director: Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza.
An intimate look at people whose lives have become transformed by the virtual worlds in online games such as World of Warcraft, Everquest and Second Life. (World Premiere)

Shine A Light
Director: Martin Scorsese.
A career-spanning documentary on the Rolling Stones, with concert footage from their “A Bigger Bang” tour. (North American Premiere)

Shot In Bombay
Director: Liz Mermin.
Yes, Bollywood makes gangster films. This fast paced documentary, populated by a charismatic and often surreal cast of characters, goes beyond the tinselly glamour of “Bollywood” to explore some of the industry’s darker sides.
(North American Premiere)

Director: Kimberly Peirce. Writers: Kimberly Peirce, Mark Richard. Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Abbie Cornish, Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Back home in Texas after fighting in Iraq, a soldier refuses to return to battle despite the government mandate requiring him to do so.

Super High Me
Director: Michael Blieden
Comedian Doug Benson, a famous marijuana advocate, decides to test the limits of his body during two, 30-day stretches. (Regional Premiere)

Then She Found Me
Director: Helen Hunt. Writers: Alice Arlen, Victor Levin, Helen Hunt. Starring: Helen Hunt, Colin Firth, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick.
Adapted from Elinor Lipman’s novel of the same name, Helen Hunt makes her feature directing debut with this touching story of schoolteacher April Epner and her very unlikely path towards personal fulfillment. (Regional Premiere)

The Toe Tactic
Director/writer: Emily Hubley. Starring: Lily Rabe, Daniel London, Kevin Corrigan, Sakina Jaffrey.
In this hybrid of live-action and animation, a young woman grieves for her father while unaware of the magical world around her. (World Premiere)

Where In The World is Osama Bin Laden?
Director: Morgan Spurlock.
Acclaimed filmmaker Morgan Spurlock heads to the Middle East for two reasons: to understand cultures overseas and to find Osama Bin Laden. (Regional Premiere)

Wild Blue Yonder
Director: Celia Maysles.
Celia Maysles had no idea her father and his brother Albert were pioneers of verite documentary filmmaking. Determined to uncover the secrets surrounding her background, Celia sets out on a quest to rediscover her father by using his own artistic process. (North American Premiere)

Director: Stephen Walker.
The touching and heartfelt portrait of a New England senior citizens chorus that has delighted audiences worldwide with their covers of songs by everyone from The Clash to Coldplay. (Closing Night Film)

Andoni Gracia in Twins for President by Miguel Angel Calvo Buttini

Tiburon Film Festival: ‘Twins for President’

The 2008 Tiburon (Calif.) International Film Festival (TIFF), set for March 13–21, will be showcasing more than 225 films from 94 countries.

The festival will open with the US premiere of Miguel Angel Calvo Buttini’s political comedy Dos rivales casi iguales / Twins for President at 7 p.m. at the Playhouse Theater on March 13.

Twins for President follows twin brothers (Andoni Gracia) of different political stripes as they fight for the Spanish presidency. Calvo Buttini will attend the screening, which will be followed by a q&a session.

Among the 2008 TIFF tributes are those to John Wayne, with a screening of John Ford’s 1956 Western The Searchers (March 16 at 4:45pm), which some critics consider one of the greatest movies ever made. (The best John Wayne vehicle I’ve seen is Howard HawksRio Bravo).

Other Tiburon tributees are Bob Rafelson, whose first-rate – and Oscar-nominated – 1970 counterculture-cum-existential drama Five Easy Pieces, starring Jack Nicholson and Karen Black, will be screened on March 14 at 7:25pm; and Blake Edwards, whose The Pink Panther Strikes Again, starring Peter Sellers, will be screened on March 15 at 5:00pm.

Rafelson, Edwards, and members of Wayne’s family are expected to attend the screenings.

The festival’s 2008 Spotlight will be on Brazilian Cinema. Among the 10 scheduled films are Heitor Dhalia’s 2006 Rio de Janeiro Film Festival Jury Prize winner Drained; Ricardo Van Steen’s The Samba Poet (above), about 1930s samba composer Noel Rosa; and Glauber Rocha’s 1964 Cinema Novo classic Black God, White Devil.

The festival’s 2008 special programs include panel discussions on “Film, Politics and Culture: How Films Shape Political Beliefs” and “New Technologies for Acquisition and Distribution,” and Academy Award-winning visual effects animator Hal T. Hickel’s presentation on the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Hickel (right) won his Academy Award for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest; this year, he’s in the running for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

For ticket information: or 415.789.8854

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Dan Brazil -

Teca, have you even read the post? The film was the point of view of a fascist, a police officer, but the film itself, at the directors point of view, was just showing a sick, twisted perspective of that situation, which is the policeman’s one, that is the one that criminalizes drug use, and the drug market, read Padilha’s quotation again:

“European countries to help us open the debate on the hypocrisy surrounding the issue of drug trafficking, [and] to try to help us legalize drug use, something that would prevent millions of people from continuing to die.”.

How does that fit with you comment?! It doesn’t.

Teca Arantes -

Clearly it´s difficult to non-brazilians to understand that this film was a huge protest against what CAUSES violence: corruption and those who use drugs and yet advocates for human rights.

Nancy Allen -

Brings me back to my days of original Rock in the 60’s and 70’s. I sill listen to ‘ole Rock’, but others too, now that I’m older! (Mick is older too).


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