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What a Green Month it is, me darlin'! Sláinte!

(March 2003)


  • Oscar® time is almost upon us again: a sure sign that spring is approaching and that those wonderful golden statuettes will be springing up in the fields of cinematic glories. Sunday, March 23rd, the ceremony will take place for the second time in the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland®. Get your score card prepared for the fitful night and dwell for a while before over the path of www.ampas.com. When choosing your special accessories for the festivities, remember that diamonds are forever, but emeralds last longer.
  • Paradiso Films in the Netherlands have joined forces with Plan Nederland (previously known as the Foster Parents Plan) to invite family members with the surname of Schmidt to attend a special screening of "About Schmidt" (starring Jack Nicholson) on March 16th, during which afternoon they will also have the opportunity to meet the real-life Warren Schmidt, upon whom the film's story is based.

    1600 invitations have already been sent out the door. It's rare to see a family reunion this big. If you're one of the Schimdts who hasn't, as of yet, received an invite, you can still join the family get-together by sending an e-mail request (and supplying the necessary credentials, naturally) to paradiso@paradisofilms.nl.

    "We're all pretty small in the ground scheme of things.
    The most we can hope for is to make a difference."

    -Warren Schmidt-
  • Holland's Voice comes to Miami Vice. A large number of Dutch DJs will be performing at this year's Winter Music Conference which takes place between 18th - 22nd March in Miami. Some of Holland's most notable dance and electronic talent will be behind the controls at the nighttime shows while a large contingent of Dutch recording companies and distributors will also be present to license material and support the shows of the Dutch DJs. The recent worldwide success of Dutch dance and electronic sounds means that the Dutch music is presently held in high regard both by some of the world's best labels and recording companies. DJ Tisto, a main man behind the latest trends, officially recognized on both sides of the Ocean as one of the Best DJs In The World, is among others scheduled to perform at the Ultra 5 Music Festival at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. Junkie XL (aka Tom Holkenborg), famous for his remix of Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation" (which rose last year to the number 1 spot), will also be performing. Other DJs/producers present include Sander Kleinenberg (Hooj) and Lemon8 (Basic Beat). Interested? I can't hear you. Go to www.dutchsound.nl before you head on down to the park.
  • The 5th Annual Amnesty International Filmfestival will take place in Amsterdam from Thursday March 20th through Sunday March 23rd at The Balie, The Netherlands Filmmuseum, and The Netherlands Filmmuseum Cinerama/Calypso. A number of films screened previously at the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA) and the recent International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) will be shown once again as well as a number of additional films which have been especially chosen for their direct association with the theme of human rights. Among films scheduled are Maljeh Hekmat's "Women's Prison" (about life in an Iranian women's prison), Victor Dashuk's "The Reporting from the Rabbit Hutch" (about "disappeared" opponents in the dictatorship of White Russia), Eugene Iracki's "The Trials of Henry Kissinger" (about the Nobel peace prize winning ex-Secretary of State who is considered by some to be a war criminal), Kim Loginotto's "The Day I Shall Never Forget" (about female circumcision), and Peter Mullins' Golden Lion winner "The Magdalene Sisters" (about an Irish cloister that, into the 1990's, was specialized in the re-education of unwed mothers -- N.B. see further notes on awards for this film below). The entire selection of films on view this year are listed at www.amnesty.nl/filmfestival This is an opportunity not only to increase your awareness and exchange views with others interested in human rights, but to hear first hand points of view from directors about their own work on the subject.
  • The Thomas More Akademie (Thomas More Academy) will be offering a series of films & lectures from March 5th until April 8th under the title of "Spiritualiteit en Liefde" ("Spirituality and Love") in the Dutch cities of Alkmaar, Nijmegen, and Utrecht. The films on offer in each of the three cities are "Chocolat", "The Road Home", "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain", and "All or Nothing".
    For further information: www.thomasmore.nl/lezingreeksen/liefdevj03.html
    (Unfortunately, the screenings in Nijmegen have already been sold out before this month's TGH Buzz could appear online. Time flies. Choose another city!)
  • The performance of "Hamlet Machine" will be receiving its world premiere at Ruigoord in the Netherlands on March 13th. Heiner Müller's text staged and designed by French artist Dominik Barbier, who draws upon various disciplines including visual art, electronic music, dance, and theatre, will enjoy 7 performances between March 13th and March 16th as a preface to the upcoming World Wide Video Festival which will take place in Amsterdam this May. Müller himself was involved in the development of this project until his abrupt death in 1995. Further information available at: www.wwvf.nl/2003/barbier/.
  • "J'etais Hamlet" (1994), a documentary about Heiner Müller's work and Barbier's first meeting with him in 1992, will be screened at the Goethe Institute in Amsterdam Barbier on the evening of March 6th. Barbier will be present to discuss this production afterward.
  • On the evenings of March 4th and 16th the award winners of the German Short Film Award 2002 (as well as all finalists for this category) will be screened at the Goethe Institute on the Herengracht in Amsterdam. Part One includes Bin Chuen Choi's "Old Choi's Film", Kirsten Winter's "Escape", Jan Krüguer's "Freunde" ("The Whiz Kids") and Wolfgang Dinslage's "Die Katze von Altona". Evening two includes Johannes Kaltenhauser's and Jurian Vogel's "Jenseits der Ferne", Richard Lehun's "Fetisch", Hykung Jung's "Sofa", Katje Pratschke's "Fremdkorper", and Lale Nalpantoglu's "Entinen Mies". Other evenings in the month will two-feature length films during which Andreas Dresen's "Halbe Treppe" and Nathalie Steinbart's "Endstation Tanke". "Halbe Treppen" is to be screened at a separate location, namely the Netherlands Filmmuseum in the Vondelpark where director Dresen will be present during the showing on March 12th. Further information at: www.goethe.de/be/ams/nlpfilm.htm or www.filmmuseum.nl.
  • FACT is a fact. The opening of the new multi-media center in Liverpool took place on the 22nd of last month. This long awaited venue with its new and exciting mixture of available art forms included Alex Cox's latest feature "Revenger's Tragedy" and new work from the acclaimed artist Isaac Julien among other spectacular opening events that were on offer.
  • The inaugural edition of the Netherlands Filmmuseum Biennale will take place next month from April 23rd through the 27th in Amsterdam. The central theme for this initial year is the silent film with its musical accompaniment. All of this is offered to soothe you under the title of "See the Sound, Hear the Image". Further information will follow in the TGH BUZZ for April, or you can check it out directly at www.filmmuseum.nl as well as, after March 15th, www.filmmuseum.nl/biennale.
  • The 19th Festival of the Fantastic Film will be taking place in Amsterdam from April 10th and 16th. Further information to come in April's TGH Buzz, but, in the meantime, you can scream your way to: www.filmevents.nl.
  • The Jewish Film Festival will begin a short three-day season at the beginning of next month on April 3rd at Het Ketelhuis cinema in Amsterdam. Further information available at www.joodsfilmfestival.nl.
  • And of course, we must not forget that we are presently in the special month of St. Patrick (one of the Greenest of months) and so we must, without delay, shake out the snakes and include some selected interesting Irish items:
  • Peter Mullan's award-winning "The Magdalene Sisters", winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and the Discovery Award at the Toronto Film Festival received some negative reactions from the Catholic hierarchy, particularly after it picked up the celebrated Italian award. The film provoked a fierce debate, with many nevertheless defending Mullan's portrayal. Despite all the fuss, the film has done well at the Italian box office (Papa is boos!) and the big boys at Miramax picked up the rights asap for the US. So much for bad habits.
  • To stay on the safe side (who knows if there's such a thing as eternal damnation?), we should also quickly mention that the Christian Film & Television Excellence Awards ceremony were held at the Unitarian Church of Dublin where Niall Toibin and Aine Ni Mhuiri received their awards for Best Actor/Actress in a Television Series ("Ballykissangel") for the 2001 season. "Ballykissangel" also received the award for Best Overall Series and BBC Northern Ireland and the writer Kieran Prendiville collected on its behalf. (By the way, Robert Duvall was presented with the very first Gibbowr Award at the same festival. "Gibbowr", for the curious, is Hebrew for "mighty man of valor"). Amen.
  • Paul Greengrass' docu-drama "Bloody Sunday" has scooped yet another award by winning the PRIX UIP 2002 at the Rio Film Festival ( www.paramountclassics.com/bloodysunday). The awards this film has won to date include the World Cinema Audience Award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, the Golden Bear and the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival, Fantasporto Audience, Jury and Directors Week awards and the Hitchcock D'Or at Dinard, France.
  • Damien O'Donnell's film, "Edgardo Mortara" unfortunately collapsed before it was due to start filming in Italy and Romania. The film was expected to be one of the last productions to be supported by FilmFour, which had earlier announced its closure. It's a great blow for director O'Donnell as this might well have been the film that propelled him into a larger, big-budget league following upon the success of his comedy "East is East". "Edgardo Mortara" was to feature Anthony Hopkins and Javier Bardem in the story of a young Jewish boy kidnapped by the Vatican following his secret baptism by a servant. O'Donnell's last film, "Heartlands", was warmly received at its Irish premiere.
  • The inaugural presentation of the UIP Directors' Awards proclaimed Kirsten Sheridan as the winner of the year's Best Feature Award at the Cork Film Festival last October. She received the award for her debut film "Disco Pigs", the tale of a bizarre, intense relationship between two teenagers. Winning director for Best Animated Short was Stephen McCollum for "Pullin' the Devil by the Tail".
  • Upcoming Irish features funded by the Irish Film Board include the John Crowley directed "Intermission", shot in Dublin and Wicklow. Written by Mark O'Rowe (of the play "Howie the Rookie") the film concerns the sleazy side of Irish life by focusing on the story of young criminal Colin Farrell (sounds good to me!). The film also stars Kelly McDonald ("Trainspotting", "Gosford Park"), Cillian Murphy (whose next film "28 Days" opens soon) and Colm Meaney. Also heading our way are "The Actors", directed by Conor McPherson, with Michael Caine and Dylan Moran and "Song for a Raggy Boy" starring Aidan Quinn and produced by Subotica Films, in addition to a host of new low-budget titles in various stages of production.
  • The Irish Film Board, in association with American Cinematheque, enjoys a grand success with the Irish Film Series at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, centering around St Patrick's Day. The series featured an exciting array of Irish shorts, documentaries and films. Included amongst the features are Aisling Walsh's "Songs for a Raggy Boy" (yep, there it is), Johnny Grogan's "The Mapmaker" and Liz Gill's "Goldfish Memory" and Alan Gilsenan's "The Ghost of Roger Casement". And of course, it gives everyone something that's fun to do until the Oscars® ceremony arrives. Sláinte!!!!!!!!!

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