Anti-Censorship Hangs in Air at Rotterdam while Japanese Amodal Suspension Flies Around Yamaguchi and the Globe  /
Friedmans Serving Up IDFA's First "Film For Thought"  /
Sheridan Segment of Irish Life Drama Takes Main Prize in Ghent  /
Belgian "Sea of Silence" Changes in Mid-Stream to Avoid Onslaught of Waves Preceding Oscar® Ceremonies  /
Seventy-Five Years With Darling Oscar ® Is Quite a History  /
Spirituality and Love Return to Holland for Short Run  /
Russian Return of "War and Peace"  /
Battle of Bulge and World War II visit UCLA

(November 2003)

  • The International Documentary Filmfestival of Amsterdam (IDFA) starts its annual festivities on November 20th and will run through November 30th. The opening film this year is the already much talked and written about American film "Capturing the Friedmans" (Andrew Jarecki, 2003). Last year Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" attracted a lot of attention and this years "eye-opener" is bound to do the same. But the opening and closing films are not the only things to keep you on the alert. This festival has grown, in the able hands of festival director Ally Derks and her constantly busy hard-working team, into one of the most notable documentary festivals in the world through the years and the spectrum of films on offer each year is truly incredible and often unforgettable.
  • For 2003 Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl ("Hundestagen" / "Dog Days", 2001) will choose the annual top10 films which will be screened within the framework of the "top ten program". The Dutch documentary between 1945 and 1965 (a period considered by many as its heyday for this form in Netherlands) will also take a spotlight this year and that means that the work of such directors as Bert Haanstra and Herman van der Horst will enjoy another moment in the sun. Bert Hogenkamp, multimedia historian connected to the Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision Hilversum has assembled a special program for this year's festival during which time his new book "The Documentary Film 1945-1965" will also be launched. The entire program for this year's event will be available on line starting on November 13th.

    Check it all out (and, believe me, there's always lots to check) at www.idfa.nl. The box office at the Stadsschouwburg on the Leidseplein in Amsterdam will begin selling tickets on the same day. For those of you with a tendency toward the realistic, this is always an event not to be missed.

  • Jeanne Moreau announced director Jim Sheridan's "In America" as winner of the Best Film Award during the 30th Flanders International Film festival in Ghent last month. The Georges Delerue Award for Best Music went to Zygmunt Konieczny for Jan Jakub Kolski's film "La Pornographie". The SABAM Writers Award for Best Script was won by Bent Hamer for "Kitchen Stories". The Robert Wise Prize for Best Director was presented to Im Songsoo for "A Good Lawyer's Wife". Check the rest out for yourself at www.festival.be, but let us leave you with the consoling thought that Hollywood legend Tony Curtis received the special Flanders Holeman's Award.
  • On November 13th from 2 to 5 P.M. Jan Perret, director of Visions du Réels, the International Film Festival of Nyon, Switzerland will deliver a lecture in the Amsterdam Filmmuseum that will interspersed with fragments of documentary films that elucidate his personal theories about the documentary form. Perrer, who studied in Paris and Zurich, has penned several books as well as articles for various newspapers and magazines, presently teaches semiotics and film and has, in the past, produced radio programs and television documentaries. The topic of his Master's thesis is the Swiss documentary of the 1930's. Further information available at: www.ddifa.nl or www.filmmuseum.nl.
  • The European co-production "Verder Dan De Maan" ("Sea of Silence") starring Huub Stapel, Johanna Ter Steege and Neeltje de Vree will finally be released on November 27th after undergoing a change of plot. Following its premiere screening at the Dutch Film Festival in Utrecht last month, Belgian director Stijn Coninx decided to alter the final section of the film in order to achieve a more coherent ending and possibly a more positive audience reception. The film has already been selected for submission as the Belgian entry for consideration as Best Foreign Film at the following Oscars®.
  • "Polleke", the latest film from director Ineke Houtmanm, opened the 17th Cinekid Film Festival last month in Amsterdam. The movie, based upon the work of noted children's author Gus Kuijer, tells the story of the relationship between an 11-year-old Dutch girl named Polleke and a Moroccan boy named Mimoen. The film features actors Halina Reijn and Daan Schuurmans in two of the adult roles.
  • The month of November will also be the month of "Sprituality and Love" throughout the south and east of the Netherlands. A series of films and lectures sponsored by the Soeterbeeck program (previously known as the Thomas More Institute) will be taking place in The Hague, Heerlen, Tilburg and Wageningen. The four films chosen for this year's screenings are "The Road Home", "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulin", "All or Nothing" and "Chocolat". Speakers appearing alongside these cinematic essences are Tjeu van den Berk, Jos Boesten, Marjeet Verbeek, and the inevitable Dana Linssen (re: Amelie). (Beware >>> all lectures will be delivered in Dutch). Further information concerning these films and related lectures as well as their respective dates and times is available at: www.soeterbeeck.kun.nl.
  • On 1 November 1st, 2003, YCAM, the new centre for art and media, opens its doors in Yamaguchi, Japan. Especially for this occasion, artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer has developed the spectacular interactive installation 'Amodal Suspension'.

    Amodal Suspension
    © Amodal Net / YCAM  /
    photo courtesy: Amodal Net and V2_
    In the sky above the new centre huge searchlights will project a choreography of light which will be controlled by SMS messages and e-mails that people send to each other from all over the world via the website www.amodal.net. At thirteen designated locations around the world, so-called "Access Pods" have been placed where visitors can send messages which will be displayed in the installation without delay and can be viewed on a large screen at the "pod" locations. One of these "Access Pods" is situated in the V2_Store, Eendrachtsstraat 10, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. More information on www.v2.nl/2003. The installation will be available for access and participation through November 24th.

  • Considering how external attempts at control, monitoring, and employing censorship threaten the Internet's basic structural integrity, the OPEN SYSTEM, i.e. Internet's fundamental "user logic", is being transformed into a mechanism of restriction and surveillance in danger of becoming a network of exclusive-digital-gated communities. "Open Systems, What happens the day after the Internet ... ?" is a seminar (organized as a collaboration between V2_ and the Goethe-Institute in Rotterdam) that will take place on Thursday November 27th from 11:00 AM to 17.00 PM. Examining how emergent fields of intelligent and generative systems, swarm technologies, free networks, and open source models are being developed to keep the System Open and annihilation free, the day's program will be introduced and moderated by Stephen Kovats, a program developer for V2_. Speakers will include Armin Medosch (writer, curator and media artist), Drazen Pantic (media theorist and 'open source' product developer), Seda Guerses (computer scientist), Julian Priest (media activist, artist and writer), Michael Bitterman (architect and media theorist), Jo Walsh (programmer, media artist and activist), and Prof. Marco Dorigo (computer scientist). For those unable to make it, the seminar will be streamed live via the website www.v2.nl/live. An irc chatroom is available for direct online participation. More information available at: www.v2.nl/2003.
  • Technologists and artists will brought together to share information and better understand how artists work and how engineers build software tools at the 'Tools & Creators Workshop (a collaboration between V2_ and exStream) which also intends to examine the various tools available for the creation of interactive and non-linear media. Friday, November 28th between 14:00 PM - 17:00 PM at V2_, Eendrachtsstraat 10, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. For those interested in registration, please mail inquiries to: workshop@v2.nl.
  • Reviewer, director, and ex-terror-filmfestival organizer Jan Doense has recently won the award for Best Horror Comedy Short at the "Screamfest" in Los Angeles. Further information available at www.screamfestla.com/index2.html". Director Doense, overjoyed at winning the prize, is busy at the moment working on a new script for a future feature film that he refers to as a cross between "Costa!" en "Braindead", although TGH suspects many cinephiles might have a hard time deciphering exactly what the difference is between these two.
  • Director Paula van der Oest's film "Moonlight" was chosen last month as Best European Film of the year for 2003 at the Hollywood Film Festival. Details at: www.hollywoodawards.com/finalists/features20033.html#moonlight
  • Monday, November 3, is the deadline for makers of eligible animated feature films to submit their entry forms and supporting materials to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for consideration in the 76th Academy Awards®. The deadline for submitting film prints is Thursday, November 20. The 76th Academy Award® nominations will be announced at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Tuesday, January 27, 2004.
  • Carice van Houten, noted for her leading role as a cat-woman in the film "Minoes" (based upon the book by Annie M.G. Schmidt) and soon to be seen in the filmed version of Karel Glastra van Loon's novel "De Passievrucht", is currently treading the boards in " Het Bewijs" alongside actors Jules Hamel, Joost Claes and Sandra Mattie. This is the Dutch version of the applauded Pulitzer Prize and Tony award winning play "Proof" by American playwright David Auburn which ran for two years on Broadway. The play, which deals with the world of mathematics and suggests how ill-suited the mathematical notion of truth is for life, will undoubtedly be of interest to many theatregoers in Holland. The performance will be traveling throughout the country until February 8th of next year. A complete list of performance dates, cities, and theatres is available at: www.toneel.nl.
  • The weekend running from November 7th to 8th will see a number of cinemas in 36 cities throughout Holland (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Den Haag, Leeuwarden, Den Bosch, Arnhem, Maastricht, etc.) celebrating "Tarantino Nights". The film programs will be screening "Pulp Fiction", "Jackie Brown", "From Dusk till Dawn" and ending the marathon with "Kill Bill". Further information can be found at "Kill Bill" under: www.belbios.nl. Those who miss this weekend will have to wait for the Dutch premiere of Tarantino's latest treat on November 20th.
  • The "Noordelijk Filmfestival te Leeuwarden" ("Northern Filmfestival in Leeuwarden") will be taking place, obviously, in the northern part of the Netherlands from November 5th through November 9th. We do know that Bulgarian director Iglika Triffonova will be present for the screening of her new film "Letter to America", a poetic road movie that is a mixture between documentary and fiction. Information received by our office was scarce before our November deadline, so you'll have to check out the rest for yourself at www.filminfriesland.nl. A lovely part of the country and well worth a visit. Make sure you get a nice, warm room while you're staying there and take along a sweater or two.
  • American Judith Weston was in the Netherlands once again last month to give a series of acting classes for directors at the Binger Institute in Amsterdam. Her latest book "The Film Director's Intuition" was launched during this stay and she amicably spent an evening being interviewed by Bram van Splunteren about her insights and visions before an audience of students and professionals. This is one of the many interesting initiatives offered by the Binger Institute. Further information about the institute can be found at: www.binger.nl.
  • Stichting Park Junior, housed at the Filmmuseum in the Amsterdam Vondelpark, is a foundation dedicated to the distribution and promotion of children's and young people's films. Among their latest offerings are the Greek summer-hit, Eddie Thomas Petersen's "Tsatsiki, Friends Forever" and Morten Kohlert's Danish film "Tinke". Park Junior's aptitude and know-how in choosing winning titles proves to be successful, as obviously reflected by three of their choices this year. "Wallah Be", the debut film from Danish director Pia Bovin won the Cinekid award for Best Film last month, while Norwegian Peder Norlund's "The Summer of the Wolf" won the Public Award, and Klaus Haro's "Elina" received a Special Mention. ("Wallah Be" has also been selected by MiraMedia for their Motion Culture project and will be screened in diverse Dutch cinemas with signing performances in order to make the film more easily accessible for children who are audibly challenged.)
  • photo © AMPAS 2003
    Robert Osborne's "75 Years of the Oscar®: The Official History of the Academy Awards®" has just been published by Abbeville Press. An exciting and comprehensive portrait of Oscar® through the years, it traces the history of the awards from the formative years of the film industry through to the present. Osborne discusses how the Oscars have been influenced by changing world events and how each year is a reflection of their specific time. Lavishly illustrated with 725 images from the Academy's archives, many which are rarely seen, the history is presented decade by decade, chronicling the origins of the Academy and presenting details of the Awards ceremony and the events leading up to it for each individual year. Osborne, who is a columnist and critic for The Hollywood Reporter and prime-time host and anchor of the Turner Classic Movies Cable television network will be signing copies of the book on Tuesday, November 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble store at The Grove at Farmers Market in Los Angeles.

  • Pop artist Burton Morris has been selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to design the poster for the 76th Academy Awards®. "We've had our eye on Burton for a couple of years," said Academy Executive Director Bruce Davis. "We considered asking him to do something for us last year, but the 75th anniversary seemed to demand a certain solemnity. Burton Morris doesn't do solemn, so we held off and turned him loose on this year's poster." Often compared to artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Morris uses simplified lines and rich acrylic colors to put his own distinctive spin on American pop culture items. First gaining attention in the mid-1990's when his artwork was chosen to hang on the set of the NBC television series "Friends" (where it has remained throughout the show's run), he has created artwork for such campaigns for Absolut Vodka, Perrier, Gallo Winery and AT&T.

    His artwork also has been on display in shows around the globe including a one-man exhibition at Sotheby's Amsterdam. In addition, Morris was recently chosen by the United States Olympic Committee to be an official artist for the U.S. team at the 2004 Games in Athens. He will be on hand when the 76th Awards poster design is unveiled at a special event on November 13th. Academy Awards® for outstanding film achievements of 2003 will be presented on Sunday, February 29, 2004, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland®.

  • "War and Peace" in the incomparable Russian six-and-one-half-hour version directed by Sergei Bundarchuck (Soviet Union 1968, 390 min) was screened to a sold-out house last month in the Kriterion cinema on the Roeterstraat in Amsterdam. The atmosphere was kept appropriately thematic throughout the evening by the tasty addition of a Russian buffet, the wildly emphatic tones of Russian musicians (playing throughout the breaks) and the fantastic addition of a drink or two or three of the always appropriate Russian WODKA. Due to the immense interest shown by the public, the performance will be repeated (alas, without the music, food, or WODKA the next time around. Awww.!!!!!) on Sunday, November 30th from12:30 tot 19:30. (We must mention that it will be a DVD screening displayed on the big screen.) And, for your information, Bondarchuck won the Best Foreign Film Oscar® in '68 for this little beauty. Further info at: www.kriterion.nl.
  • Two films that focus on World War II will be screened at the November 12th installment of the Contemporary Documentary Series, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy Foundation and the UCLA Film and Television Archive. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in UCLA's James Bridges Theater.

    In "The Price of Freedom," seven American men imprisoned by our enemies during WWII delve deep into their psyches to create a composite portrait of the prisoner-of-war experience. Their common experiences of horror, shame, survival, struggle and liberation shape their lives to this day and, in this film, together they make sense of and embrace their roles in preserving America's freedom. The film was directed by Bruce Norfleet, who also produced with Steve Kalafer.

    "Berga: Soldiers of Another War" was directed by Charles Guggenheim and produced by Grace Guggenheim. After capturing thousands of American troops at the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, German forces separated out Americans who were Jewish or even suspected of being Jewish. These "undesirables" were sent to Berga, a satellite camp of Buchenwald, where many died under deplorable conditions working with fellow concentration camp inmates as slave laborers.

    When Germany's defeat appeared imminent by 1945, surviving prisoners were sent on a death march, receiving little food or water. This is the story of the American GI Holocaust, which has remained largely a secret, lost in the trauma of the great war. The film's producer is expected to attend the screening.

    Admission to all screenings in the series is free. The James Bridges Theater is located in Westwood on the northeast corner of the UCLA campus, near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Hilgard Avenue. Parking is available for $7 in Lot 3, adjacent to the theater. For more information, call 310-247-3600 or 310-206-FILM.

  • Paul and Chris Weitz will deliver the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' "Jack Oakie Lecture on Comedy in Film" on Thursday, November 13th, at 20:00, in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The Weitz Brothers directed and wrote the screenplay adaptation for "About a Boy." Their directorial debut was "American Pie" and they served as executive producers for the two follow up installments, "American Pie 2" and "American Wedding." The Jack Oakie Lecture provides an opportunity for established filmmakers to share their experiences and to discuss the specific challenges and delights of the comedy film genre. The lecture is named in memory of the comic and character actor, born a century ago on November 12th, 1903, whose career spanned vaudeville and Broadway musicals as well as including eighty-seven pictures, most of which were comedies or musical comedies.

    Tickets for the event may be purchased in advance beginning November 3rd at the Academy during regular business hours, by mail, or on the night of the event, if still available, when the doors open at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information call 310-247-3000, ext. 111.

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