Dutch Queen Visits "Kees, the Kid" Before Opportunity Knocks to Visit the Nameless Kid
European Film Awards in Berlin Honor Claude Chabrol for his Achievement and "Delicieux" Oeuvre
Near-Forgotten Classic Moments Hail Return of Influential American Avant Garde
First Flashes of Oscar® Pops

(December 2003)
The official poster for the 76th annual Academy Awards®
Designer: Burton Morris
Poster © 2003 A.M.P.A.S
Oscar ® Statuette © A.M.P.A.S. ®

  • Another Dutch film about children is appearing presently in the cinemas. This time, it's the classic "Kees de Jongen" ("Kees, the Kid"), based on the novel which has found a warm place in Dutch hearts since its original publication in 1923. A television special about the film "Terug in de tijd met Kees de Jongen" ("Back to the Past with Kees, the Kid") was broadcast twice last month on Dutch television both in celebration and anticipation of the film's premiere. As usual, with programs of this sort, different shots are made behind the scenes to give an impression of the production on location. Rik Thijssen, the granddaughter of Theo Thijssen, the book's author, also makes an appearance in the TV film and discusses not only the man behind the novel, but the small and charming museum located in Amsterdam that opened its doors a few years ago in memory of the writer. "Originally, we were somewhat apprehensive, but after the our initial meetings with producer Matthijs van Heyningen and director André van Duren, we were soon turned around. If you only knew how meticulous they have been. And what an eye for detail they have in their work. Not to mention the fact that they always remained open-minded when it came to discussing the project. We immediately had the feeling that appropriate care would be taken to make sure this would become an impressive movie."

    Ruud Feltkamp stars in the title role the twelve-year-old, Kees Bakkels. Appearing alongside him are Hannah Cheney, Monic Hendrickx, Theo Maassen, and (especially notable in the film for his impressive role as teacher) Hans Kesting.

    Queen Beatrix attended the premiere of the film on November 25th at the Pathé Tuschinski Cinema in Amsterdam. The proceeds from this gala performance will be donated to the Bio-Child Rehabilitation Foundation.

  • The documentary films of Heddy Honigmann were part of a program featuring international filmmakers at the Cinematheque Ontario Jackman Hall during the past weeks under the title "Levels of Truth: The Films of Heddy Honigmann". Among films screened were: "Two Minute Silence, Please" a film examining the rituals of remembrance about Dutch survivors from World War II, "Crazy", a film exploring the role played by music in helping soldiers remain sane during wartime missions, and "Private", which deals with theft, not only of property, but of all things valuable, including relationships. Emotionally revealing, touching, and sometimes shocking, Honigmann's work focuses on the experiences and memories of individuals rather than political or historical context.

  • The Zeppers' film production "Dans, Grozny Dans", a documentary about a young dance group from Chechnya directed by Jos de Putter, keeps winning awards at international festivals. This time around it has picked up the CPH dox award in Copenhagen at a festival and the Best Film Award at the Cinemambiente in Turin.

  • Not only is the 31st of October the day that brings demons of the underworld up through cracks in the earth, but also remains the day we lost one of the greatest achievers in the field of film directing. This year, it is the tenth anniversary since the loss of our imaginative master Fellini and those in the know, know how much he is missed. Know what I mean? (Forgive the triple "know", it must be a sign of Rumfelds 's distinctive speech patterns wearing off, as well as wearing away, on others.) The Netherlands Filmmuseum (www.filmmuseum.nl ) has arranged for a newly restored copy of Fellini's "8 1/2" ("Otto e Mezzo") to be distributed (and has also obtained a copy for their own collection. If you have never seen this masterpiece, don't miss the chance to now. If you have seen it already, don't miss the chance to now. Fellini's alter ego, director Guido Anselmi (in the form of Marcello Mastroianni, naturally) struggles with a writer's/director's block regarding his next film project. Not being able to render concepts to paper, he tries to find his way toward a solution. In the meantime, his wife, mistress, producer, critics, and everyone else around him demand a piece of him and a share of his time. Retreating to a health spa, he finally makes a decision to use his lack of inspiration as the subject for his next film. Considered by many to be his best film (a tough decision that TGH can't make, since "La Dolce Vita" and "Satyricon" deserve top billing equally well with "8 1/2"), this black-and-white fantasy remains one of the best films ever made by anyone, no matter how you slice it. And, considering the occasion, let's include some of the finer details here:
    "8˝" ("Otto e Mezzo")        Italy 1963
    35mm - black/white145 minutes
    Italianwith Dutch subtitles
    DirectorFederico Fellini
    ProducerAngelo Rizzoli
    ScenarioFederico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, & Brunello Rondi
    Camera Gianni Di Venanzo
    MontageLeo Cattozzo
    Art-directionPiero Gherardi
    ScoreNino Rota
    StarringMarcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée
    Distributed byNetherlands Filmmuseum

  • As the Netherlands Filmmuseum in Amsterdam with its short, but fantastic Fellini season (following the spectacular Tati season, which is still screening here and there throughout the Holland) another exciting series will also begin shortly under the title "Unseen Cinema: Early American avant-garde Film". From December 4th through January 7th, a selection made by organizer Bruce Posner, of more than 150 eclectic films chosen from the American experimental cinema and produced between 1893 and 1941, will be made available once again.

    Many of the avant-garde from this period in America were also working in the big film industries of New York and Hollywood. These pioneers used techniques and film styles that were to have enormous influence on both experimental and commercial film worlds. Instead of using linear stories as central points, they placed more emphasis on visual expressions, emotions, and lighting methods. Using new lenses, film material, as well as their innovative lighting and sound techniques, they encouraged discoveries that were to reverberate thousandfold through the ages.

    The compilation program, which is divided into twenty thematic blocks, bears such headings as "Picturing a Metropolis: NYC Unveiled" or "Light Rhythms: Melodies & Montages of The Mechanized Eye". Within these blocks, such pieces as Fernand Leger's "Ballet Mecanique" (1924), D.W. Griffiths' "The Country Doctor" (1909), American Mutoscope & Biograph-films and Leon Shamroy's dark, fantastic "The Tell-Tale Heart" (1928) are to be found among many, many other surprises. Renowned names from the past, like those of Busby Berkely, Ernst Lubitsch, Dorothy Arznerm, Mary Ellen Bute, Oskar Fischinger and Joseph Cornell, will be passing by in this parade from the past. Check the details at www.filmmuseum.nl.

    Bruce Posner will also be present to discuss the history of the early American experimental cinema at 7 PM on December 14th at the Filmmuseum in the Vondelpark. The three different versions of "Ballet Mecanique" will also be screened at 9:30 PM on the same evening and followed by a discussion between Posner and conservationist Mark Paul Meyer regarding the restoration of films. "Unseen Cinema" is a cooperative effort set up by Anthology Film Archives, New York and the Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, sponsored by Cineric Inc., New York.

  • When Giorgio Moroder's EFA-fanfare announces the winners at the 16th European Film Awards in Berlin on December 6th, 1,000 guests of the European Film Academy will be experiencing a celebration of European film. The renowned German actor Heino Ferch ("Wintersleepers", "Comedian Harmonists") will take the audience on a cinematic adventure as the master of ceremony. Icons of European cinema such as Jeanne Moreau, István Szabó and Pedro Almodóvar will act as patrons for the nominated films. Film students from Reykjavik, London, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and Budapest have created filmed postcards allowing a glimpse of the cinematic language of the future. One of the evening's highlights will be the presentation of the lifetime achievement award to the acclaimed French director Claude Chabrol.
    Wim Wenders, Isabelle Huppert & Claude Chabrol
    European Film Awards
    © EFA 2003
    © Sunshine Photos (NL), local agent for EFA photos
    Twenty-four hours later, on December 7, the French-German cultural channel Arte will broadcast the ceremony within a special thematic evening on European cinema. Produced by DDA Productions London, the event will be directed by Volker Weicker, one of the most experienced German TV directors for live events. Artistically, the ceremony will be supervised by EFA President Wim Wenders.

    The most nominated films on the list this year include "Good Bye, Lenin" (5 nominations), "Dogville" (4 nominations),"Dirty Pretty Things" (4 nominations), and "In This World" (3 nominations). Included among the Dutch co-productions this year are Lars van Trier's "Dogville", "Margarethe von Trotta's "Rosenstrasse", and Adela Peeva's "Chia e Tazi Pesen?"

    During the European Film Awards Ceremony on December 6 in Berlin the European Film Academy will celebrate Claude Chabrol and Carlo di Palma for their contributions to the world of film.

    Chabrol will receive the European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award 2003. Starting as a film critic for Les Cahiers du Cinema, Claude Chabrol quickly began to make his own films, initiating the nouvelle vague with films like "Le Beau Serge" and "Les Cousins". As a critical chronicler of society, he has shaped the understanding of film for more than forty years. Chabrol's remarkable body of work includes such unforgettable films as "La Femme Infidele", "Jours Tranquilles a Clichy", "Madame Bovary", and most recently "La Fleur Du Mal".

    In recognition of his outstanding contribution to international film, the European Film Academy will present the award for European Achievement in World Cinema 2003 to the Italian master of cinematography di Palma, who began his career as an assistant to Luchino Visconti and worked with the likes of Gillo Pontecorvo, Michelangelo Antonioni ("Deserto Rosso", "Blow Up") and Sidney Lumet ("The Appointment"). He also collaborated on a total of twelve films with Woody Allen, including "Hannah and her Sisters"; "Radio Days", "Manhattan Murder Mystery" and "Deconstructing Harry".

    More details at www.europeanfilmacademy.org.

  • Tribute will be paid to the year 1903, a seminal time in motion picture development in America, on Wednesday, December 10, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' new theater at the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood. "A Century Ago: The Films of 1903" will include a partial survey of turn-of-the-twentieth-century American filmmaking with trick films, actualities and gag films. The program will include the one-reel "feature" films "A Day in the Life of an American Fireman," "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "Rube and Mandy at Coney Island." Pianist Michael Mortilla will provide live musical accompaniment.

    After being viewed as a technological novelty for years, interest in the motion picture had waned by 1903. Several narrative films were released that year, including Edison's "The Great Train Robbery," (shown during the "100 Year Western Program" at the Netherlands Filmmuseum in Amsterdam earlier this year) and are credited with sparking a renewed interest in the motion picture. A color-tinted print of "The Great Train Robbery" also will be featured during the program. All prints are 35mm and drawn from the collections of the Academy Film Archive, the Library of Congress and the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

  • Pop art takes over the Oscars® this year with the appearance of the exciting poster for the 76th Academy Awards® commemorative poster which is adorned with a yellow-zoot-suited photographer, sporting tie and fedora, popping his flashbulbs in anticipation of the red carpet return of the bright and shining Oscar® on February 29, 2004.

    The simplified lines and vibrant colors that are classic Burton Morris fare create a visually arresting image. "When I think of the Academy Awards® I think of the red carpet, the intense media attention and of course the Oscar® statuette itself," said Morris. "I wanted to incorporate all of these elements into the design in a way that captured that 'larger than life' feeling of the Oscars®."

    "This is a poster unlike any we've used before," said Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences'® Executive Director Bruce Davis. "It's youthful and fun and it captures the excitement that surrounds the Academy Awards®."

    One of the most colorful and unusual Academy Award® posters to date, it was created by Burton Morris, who first gained attention during the mid-1990's in the United States when his artwork was chosen to hang on the set of the NBC television series "Friends," where it remained throughout the show's run. His artwork has been on display in shows around the globe including a recent one-man exhibition that had a grand opening on March 20th at Sotheby's in Amsterdam and moved to the ArteVista gallery where it ran through April 13th.

    We can also look forward to more work from Morris making its appearance on a wide scale in the world at large as he 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.

    The Academy Awards® for outstanding film achievements of 2003 will be presented on Sunday, February 29, 2004, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland®.

  • Roy Christopher will return for his 15th assignment as production designer of an Academy Awards® Presentation. Christopher, whose current projects include two top, long-running comedy series, "Frasier" and "Becker". has received a total of 32 Emmy nominations and has won a total of seven Emmys, for which six have been for his work on Oscar® sets. In February 2004, Christopher will be honored by his peers with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Directors Guild.

  • Eleven films will compete for the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar® in the 2003 Academy Awards® competition. The 11 films were accepted as eligible to compete by the executive committee of the Short Films and Feature Animation branch of the Academy, which recommended to the board of governors that the Award be given for this year. These films are: "Brother Bear", "Finding Nemo", "Jester Till (Till Eulenspiegel)", "The Jungle Book 2", "Looney Tunes: Back in Action", "Millenium Actress", "Piglet's Big Movie", "Pokčmon Heroes", "Rugrats Go Wild!", "Tokyo Godfathers", and "The Triplets of Belleville". Under the rules for this category, a maximum of three films can be nominated in a year in which the field of eligible entries numbers less than sixteen. The 76th Academy Award® nominations will be announced at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Tuesday, January 27, 2004.

  • And speaking of animation, "Finding Nemo" seems to be conquering the cinema world. Already noted as the biggest earner "ever" among animation films, one could easily expect it from the talents of Pixar. Disney certainly had their eyes open when they made that original deal with this company. Happily, they had their minds open too and allowed the artists there to go their merry ways and create fantastic things for us. Released in Holland in 190 theatres, both the original version as well as the Dutch post-synchronized version are presently available on screens. Who knows what the future holds in store from the electronic drawing boards of Pixar?

  • On December 10th, the Contemporary Documentary Series presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy Foundation and the UCLA Film and Television Archive will be screening the IMAX films "Ultimate X" and "Space Station". This screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the IMAX Theater at Exposition Park, and serves as the conclusion of part one of the series.

    "Ultimate X" chronicles the highlights and dramatic stories behind the 2001 Summer X Games held in Philadelphia. With such innovative sports as skateboarding, BMX biking, Moto X and street luge, this highly popular sports championship is an eye-popping showcase of action and energy. Bruce Hendricks directed the film; Art Repola produced. Both filmmakers will be present to participate in a discussion with the audience.

    "Space Station" launches us, in 3D, into orbit 220 miles above the Earth to watch the assembly of the world's first International Space Station. The outer space habitat and science laboratory provide the opportunity for travel to other planets, to discover new medicines, to better understand our daily lives and to extend our dreams beyond the limits of life on Earth. 3D glasses will be provided. This film (which has also been screened previously at the Onmiversum in The Hague and has a screening scheduled for December 5th this month) was directed and produced by Toni Myers. Representatives from the film will be on-hand for discussion with the audience immediately following the screening.

  • Industry censor Joseph I. Breen and silent film director Lois Weber will be the subjects of projects by film professors from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and the University of California at Santa Cruz who have been named the 2003 Academy Film Scholars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    Thomas Doherty, chair of the Film Studies Program at Brandeis, will prepare a monograph exploring the life and legacy of Joseph I. Breen, who from 1934 until 1954 served as head of the Motion Picture Association of America's Production Code Administration. The monograph will be entitled "Joseph I. Breen: The Censor as Auteur."

    Shelley Stamp, associate professor in the Film and Digital Media Department at UC Santa Cruz, will finish a book, "Lois Weber in Early Hollywood," about the director, writer and actress who, at the height of her career in 1916, was, Stamp says, "a director of unparalleled stature."

    Only established scholars, writers, historians and researchers with a significant record of achievement were considered for the grants, said Grants Committee Chair Janet MacLachlan. The Academy Film Scholars program was created in 1999 to "stimulate and support the creation of new, innovative and significant works of film scholarship about aesthetic, cultural, educational, historical, theoretical or scientific aspects of theatrical motion pictures." This is the fourth pair of film scholars to be selected by the Grants Committee of the Academy Foundation for the honor. Each will receive $25,000 from the Academy.

  • Principal photography has commenced in Dublin on "Inside I'm Dancing" directed by Damien O'Donnell. The WT˛/Octagon production, in association with the Irish Film Board, is produced by James Flynn and Juanita Wilson with Morgan O'Sullivan and Working Title's Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Natascha Wharton serving as executive producers. The story of Michael (Steven Robertson), a twenty-four-year old who has cerebral palsy and is a long-term resident of the Carrigmore Residential Home for the Disabled, run by the formidable Eileen (Brenda Fricker). His life is transformed when the maverick Rory O'Shea (James McAvoy) moves in. Universal Pictures will release the film internationally in 2004.

  • A special note for the end of the year. Those of you familiar with the B-film movie world may remember the excruciatingly "original" works of Andy Milligan. Andy, who was a character and a half with a heart that not many people had the occasion to see properly, could a rough, abrasive, unpredictable, and, more often than some would wish, a downright pain-in-the-***. On the other hand, he could be no-nonsense and full-of-nonsense at the same time. A book has appeared on the shelves a couple of years ago, penned by Jimmy McDonough, this volume ("The Ghastly One: The Sex-Gore Netherworld of Filmmaker Andy Milligan"): is a rather fascinating and well-researched portrait (drawing upon the expertise of such informed close friends and associates as actor Hal Borske). Andy had an impact on many people's lives (and not all of them were happy about it.) This, of course, is specialist territory, but we know that many specialists turn to these pages, so we decided to mention it here. If your demented mind wants to follow further into this territory, check out:
    www.papermag.com/magazine/mag_01/mag_oct01/cinemaniac/ and
    www.dvddrive-in.com/reviews/i-m/monstrositygraverobbers91878890.htm and

    The beast goes on! Who ever imagined we would be ending the TGH Buzz for December of 2003 by sprinkling the holidays with a note about our Andy? Is this a ghastly way to bring the New Year in? Oh, well, anything is possible.
    Pictures © 2003 Andy Milligan

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