Post(s) tagged with "fest feed"

Alumni Nominated for Film Independent Spirit Awards and National Board of Review Awards

AFI is happy to congratulate the following AFI Conservatory alums that have been recently nominated for the 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards and the 2012 National Board of Review Awards.

2013 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS
(7 Films with 9 Alums credited)

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Affonso Gonçalves (AFI Class of 1993), Editor
Best Feature (Nominee)

THE INVISIBLE WAR
Kirby Dick (AFI Class of 1983), Director/Screenwriter
Best Documentary (Nominee)

KEEP THE LIGHTS ON
Affonso Gonçalves (AFI Class of 1993), Editor
Best Feature (Nominee)

MOSQUITA Y MARI
Magela Crosignani (AFI Class of 2008), Cinematographer
Augie Robles (AFI Class of 1995), Editor
John Cassavetes Award (Nominee)

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
Rita DaSilva (AFI Class of 2005), Additional Editor
Best First Feature (Nominee)

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Screened at AFI FEST 2012)
Masanobu Takayanagi (AFI Class of 2002), Cinematographer
Jay Cassidy (AFI Class of 1976), Editor
Best Feature (Nominee)

SOUND OF MY VOICE
Zal Batmanglij (AFI Class of 2006), Director/Screenwriter
Rachel Morrison (AFI Class of 2006), Cinematographer
Best First Feature (Nominee)

2012 NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW AWARDS
(11 Films with 15 Alums credited)

ARBITRAGE
Lauren Versel (AFI Class of 1984), Executive Producer
Brian Young (AFI Class of 1974), Executive Producer
Top 10 Independent Films

ARGO
Sharon Seymour (AFI Class of 1984), Production Designer
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (AFI Class of 1997), Second Unit Director
Top Films

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Affonso Gonçalves (AFI Class of 1993), Editor
Top Films

DJANGO UNCHAINED
Robert Richardson (AFI Class of 1979), Cinematographer
Top Films

END OF WATCH
Jillian Longnecker (AFI Class of 2002), Co-Producer
Top 10 Independent Films

THE INVISIBLE WAR
Kirby Dick (AFI Class of 1983), Director/Screenwriter
Top 5 Documentaries

LINCOLN (Screened at AFI FEST 2012)
Janusz Kamiński, AFI Class of 1987), Cinematographer
Sarah Broshar (AFI Class of 2005), First Assistant Editor
Top Films

NO
Daniel Dreifuss (AFI Class of 2007), Producer
Top 5 Foreign Language Films

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
Rita DaSilva (AFI Class of 2005), Additional Editor
Top Films

PROMISED LAND
Gregory Weimerskirch (AFI Class of 1994), Art Director
Top Films

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (Screened at AFI FEST 2012)
Masanobu Takayanagi (AFI Class of 2002), Cinematographer
Jay Cassidy (AFI Class of 1976), Editor

Catching up with AFI FEST 2012 Filmmaker Roger Hayn

Can you briefly summarize your short film INTRODUCING BOBBY?

The film might best be described as a collage-form character portrait of an individual in conflict with himself.

How did this story come to you or what was the inspiration that began this journey?

I’ve always referred to myself as a ‘sensation enthusiast’ and I’m fascinated by the concept of character. I’m mainly attracted to characters in a state of psychological turmoil who experience an intense variety of emotions. Bobby is a complex character who exists in territory that’s unfamiliar to a lot of people, which is exactly what I’m inspired to make films about. Overall, I aimed to tell a story about a troubled personality who I identify with and also admire in many ways. 

Telling a full/complete story in a small amount of time is an art. Can you talk about the challenges in the cutting room and discuss the challenges and advantages of making shorts?

When I finished filming I had nine hours of footage and three additional hours of unlabeled audio recordings. It was a nightmare. I have a tendency to lose focus on a project if I don’t complete it immediately so I spent roughly 40 hours cutting up and assembling everything in a dark windowless room. I operated on practically no sleep. By the time I was done I hated the film and never wanted to see it again. Luckily that changed after a while. As for making shorts - I think they just require you to be more concise with what you’re trying to express. They require you to think in terms of what can be made ultimately gratifying within a compressed period of time. There are unique freedoms within those restrictions, so it’s all about adjusting the way you approach narrative.

You mentioned during your stay in Los Angeles that AFI FEST was the only festival you officially submitted to. Why is that?

I’m going for quality over quantity with the festival screenings. I’d prefer it only be exhibited a few times by festivals with strong reputations. I think the film is better left as something intimate and, though I’d like for it to reach an audience, I’d rather not jam it down anyone’s throat. I might screen one or two more festivals but no more than that. Also, I’m filming a new short in early 2013 and always try to focus on new projects instead of lingering on old stuff.

What are some of your AFI FEST 2012 highlights? (Events you attended, people you met.)

I generally avoid film-making circles because I find myself as an artist benefiting from a certain amount of isolation. It also allows me to cherish situations where I do actually interact with other filmmakers, such as at AFI FEST. Coming to LA and mixing with nothing but film people for five days was in itself one giant highlight. I also loved meeting the AFI programmers and staff, who I can’t thank enough for inviting me to the festival. 

AFI FEST 2012 Films Nominated for Golden Globes

Congratulations to all the AFI FEST 2012 films that have been nominated for Golden Globes!

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
LIFE OF PI
LINCOLN

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Marion Cotillard, RUST AND BONE
Helen Mirren, HITCHCOCK
Naomi Watts, THE IMPOSSIBLE

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Daniel Day-Lewis, LINCOLN

BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Jennifer Lawrence, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Maggie Smith, QUARTET

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Bradley Cooper, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
A ROYAL AFFAIR
AMOUR
KON-TIKI
RUST AND BONE

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Sally Field, LINCOLN

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Tommy Lee Jones, LINCOLN

BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
Ang Lee, LIFE OF PI
Steven Spielberg, LINCOLN

BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
Tony Kushner, LINCOLN
David O. Russell, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

AFI FEST Filmmakers Nominated for Independent Spirit Awards

We are so proud that many talented filmmakers who attended AFI FEST 2011 & 2012 have been nominated for Independent Spirit Awards!

Best Feature
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (AFI FEST 2012)

Best Director
Julia Loktev - THE LONELIEST PLANET (AFI FEST 2011)
David O. Russell - SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (AFI FEST 2012)

Best Screenplay
David O. Russell - SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (AFI FEST 2012)

John Cassavetes Award
THE COLOR WHEEL - Alex Ross Perry & Carlen Altman (AFI FEST 2011)
STARLET - Sean Baker (AFI FEST 2012)

Best Male Lead
Bradley Cooper - SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (AFI FEST 2012)

Best Documentary
THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE (AFI FEST 2012)

Best International Film
AMOUR (AFI FEST 2012)
ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (AFI FEST 2011)
RUST & BONE (AFI FEST 2012)
WAR WITCH (AFI FEST 2012)

Robert Altman Award
STARLET - Sean Baker (AFI FEST 2012)

Someone to Watch Award
ELECTRICK CHILDREN - Rebecca Thomas (AFI FEST 2012)

Truer Than Fiction Award
LEVIATHAN - Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel (AFI FEST 2012)
ONLY THE YOUNG - Jason Tippet & Elizabeth Mims (AFI FEST 2012)

Adult Violence, Childlike Love

WAR WITCH
11/04/12 - Chinese 1, 3:45 p.m.
11/06/12 - Chinese 6, 1:45 p.m. 

By Andrew Johnson

It would be easy for a film about child soldiers to crumble under the weight of its dour and depressing subject matter, but WAR WITCH sidesteps this problem by being a character-driven film rather than an issue-driven one. Kim Nguyen’s latest offering follows Komona, a young African girl abducted from her village at the age of 12 after being forced to shoot her parents. In the hands of a les assured filmmaker this premise might become an excuse for a laborious exercise in “poverty porn,” but Nguyen treats his subject matter with greater respect, choosing to depict suffering through the eyes of a child rather than the desensitized gaze of an adult—are not the young often more capable of processing horror than the old?

Nguyen inserts elements of magical realism into the proceedings, giving them an eerie and otherworldly atmosphere while also accentuating the thematic subtext. Komona has visions of the dead standing motionless around her, caked in white ash. Her parents are her most frequent visitors, and their presence is a constant reminder of her sins. She may have killed them in order to survive, but they weren’t given a proper burial, and until their souls are laid to rest hers never will be.

The second act plays more like a coming-of-age tale, a MOONRISE KINGDOM-esque romance set against the backdrop of poverty and war-torn Africa. The key difference is that these two youngsters are just old enough to act on their hormonal impulses, something which strikes me as just a bit too subversive for a filmmaker like Anderson, and perhaps for mainstream Western audiences. I usually consider myself pretty open-minded when it comes to sex and gender issues, but when confronted with the prospect of Komona having sex with a fellow soldier (they’re so young!), I found myself forced to grapple with my own assumptions and preferences regarding appropriate sexual behavior. I wondered, were they ready for such intimacy? Was this really the best thing for them right now? Couldn’t it bring more trouble than it was worth?

In retrospect, it seems so silly of me to think so. I had fallen prey to the common cultural myth perpetuated by Hollywood that violence is a more acceptable element of youth than sex. Watching children murder their elders was horrible enough, but it was the idea of teenage sexuality that upset me the most! The brilliance of Nguyen’s screenplay is that it acknowledges common Western perceptions of sexuality in Africa as a tragic act inextricably linked to rape and HIV and gradually turns them on its head.

Here, teenage sexuality isn’t a cause for concern, it’s a cause for celebration, a relieving respite from the oppressive and manipulative sex of adulthood. Komona’s body may be a tool to satiate adult (blood)lust, but it never ceases to be hers, and when she becomes empowered to use it to act on her own desires, she reclaims her innocence rather than losing it. In the haze of young love her sins are momentarily washed away, and the endless possibilities of childhood are instantly possible again.

It’s a small miracle that WAR WITCH didn’t turn out completely unwatchable. Nguyen takes several diverse genres — war film, coming-of-age romance, and supernatural horror allegory, to name a few — and combines them all into something beautiful. The film stands as a haunting reminder that we must take care not to delve too deeply into the darkness of others, lest we be blinded from confronting the darkness in ourselves. As Kamona puts it at one point, “I won’t tell you what happened … you won’t listen anymore.” Nguyen wisely takes the eroticism out of violence and places it back where it belongs, in the space between two people. In doing so, he keeps WAR WITCH from coming another gratuitous look at African suffering and allows his images to retain their power, enabling us to better identify the evil around us.

Andrew Johnson is a freelance journalist and the founder of Film Geek Radio, a network of film-and-TV-themed podcasts.

A Conversation with Antonio Campos

By Joey Ally, AFI FEST Now

Before anything else, in the interest of journalistic integrity I should admit to the following: I am absolutely Antonio Campos’s #1 fanboy (or, in this case, girl). I first became aware of Campos’s work five years ago when — still a New Yorker and still (kinda/sorta/sometimes on Wednesdays) trying to make acting my main jam — my scene study teacher was plucked for a role in AFTERSCHOOL (AFI FEST 2008). The work since produced by his film company — Borderline Films, comprised of Campos (writer/director: AFTERSCHOOL, SIMON KILLER), Sean Durkin (writer/director: MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE), and Josh Mond (producer of all three, in addition to numerous others), who met during their time in undergrad film school at NYU — has been nothing short of incendiary, engendering discourse and (gasp!) even agreement throughout the independent film world. Everyone digs these dudes.

Yet sitting down with Campos on Tuesday in Beverly Hills, it was immediately apparent that in spite of the Hollywood-hoover-cloud swirling just above him, Campos possesses one of the most calming demeanors I’ve yet to come across this go round the sun. The lull of his voice, the minimalism of his motions, and the intention behind his eye-contact — as though saying “yes, I’m here with you” — make it apparent why he is able to command such delicately tremendous performances. Actors trust him because he’s a guy you trust, plain and simple.

For 40 minutes, we chatted about SIMON KILLER, AFTERSCHOOL, the New York from which Campos draws his inspiration, and why existentialism shakes his cage, among many other things (such as why the choice of handle for the titular character in SIMON KILLER is not, in fact, a reference to the game “Simon says”….though if you’re reading, Antonio, I maintain that the hypothesis was not totally unfounded).

Here’s some of that conversation.

AFN: First of all, I just want to say thank you for meeting with me. I’ve actually been following you, and Borderline Films, since the casting stage of AFTERSCHOOL because I was in Alexandra Neil’s scene study at the time.

AC: Oh I’m so happy to hear that — I really like Alex. I had it in my head that Alex Neil’s character was sort of connecting the AFTERSCHOOL universe and SIMON KILLER. We were gonna put Brady (Corbet, who portrays the eponymous “Simon”) in a “Brighton Academy” (the fictitious school that serves as the backdrop for AFTERSCHOOL) sweatshirt, like he was the brother to the twins that died or something, but it was too much.

Read More

Jury and Audience Awards


EAT SLEEP DIE

AFI FEST 2012 presented by Audi announced today the features and short films that are the recipients of this year’s Audience and Jury Awards. Select award-winning films will screen again today at the Chinese 6 Theatres.

GRAND JURY AWARD, NEW AUTEURS

The jury is comprised exclusively of film writers: Dana Harris (Indiewire), David Hudson (Fandor), Gregg Kilday (The Hollywood Reporter) and Bérénice Reynaud (Senses of Cinema).

Grand Jury Award: EAT SLEEP DIE for director Gabriela Pichler’s “sensitive portrait of a young woman fighting to keep her job and her dignity in the globalized economy, driven by an energetic performance from Nermina Lukac, is an extraordinary work accessible to many audiences.”

Special Mention for Performance: SIMON KILLER’s Mati Diop for “her contribution to SIMON KILLER as both an actress and screenwriter.”

Special Mention: HERE AND THERE by Antonio Mendez Esparza for “its honest depiction of lives that are otherwise often invisible in our society.”

GRAND JURY AWARDS,
LIVE ACTION AND ANIMATED SHORT

This year’s Shorts jury consisted of Claudette Godfrey (Short Film Programmer for the South by Southwest Film Conference); Mike Plante (Sundance Film Festival Programmer, publisher of Cinemad and filmmaker); Ry Russo-Young (NOBODY WALKS); Ryan Silbert (Academy Award®-winning filmmaker, Live Action Short, GOD OF LOVE); and Jenny Slate (actress, best-selling author, and voice, co-writer and co-creator of MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON, winner of Best Animated Short at AFI FEST 2010).

Grand Jury Award, Live Action Short: INTRODUCING: BOBBY. by Roger Hayn “for crafting an honest vision of America by making an insightful portrayal of a single man.”

Grand Jury Award, Animated Short: OH WILLY… by Emma De Swaef and Marc Roels “for melding a dynamic narrative with innovative animation style that leads the viewer to pure wonderment.”

Special Jury Award for Animation: BELLY by Julia Pott “for its personal touch to technique and playful storytelling that is a welcome addition to the pantheon of animation.”

Special Jury Award for Documentary Filmmaking: WHATEVEREST by Kristoffer Borgli “for constructing a film that contextualizes the digital generation and reflects on what happens when we turn the camera onto ourselves.”

Honorable Mention for Performance: NARCOCORRIDO (DIR Ryan Prows) for Raul Castillo’s “penetrating lead performance that conveys a sense of loss that leaves a lasting mark on the audience.”

Honorable Mention for Promising Vision: DOGS ARE SAID TO SEE THINGS by Guto Parente “for pulling together social criticism with a pool party and actually making something fresh and smart.”

AUDIENCE AWARDS

Audience Award, World Cinema: A ROYAL AFFAIR. DIR Nikolaj Arcel. Denmark/Sweden/Czech Republic/Germany.

Audience Award, New Auteurs: A HIJACKING. DIR Tobias Lindholm. Denmark.

Audience Award, Young Americans: ONLY THE YOUNG. DIR Jason Tippet, Elizabeth Mims. USA.

Audience Award, Breakthrough: NAIROBI HALF LIFE. DIR David Tosh Gitonga. Kenya/Germany. Award accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize.

Photos from Day 7 of AFI FEST presented by Audi.

Photos from the Election Night Party held on Day 6 of AFI FEST presented by Audi at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, CA on Nov. 6, 2012

How Far Will Simon Go?

SIMON KILLER
11/05/12 - Chinese 2, 7:00 p.m.
11/07/12 - Chinese 4, 10:15 p.m.

By Joey Ally

SIMON KILLER, Antonio Campos’ follow-up to his chilling, coming-of-age AFTERSCHOOL (AFI FEST 2008), is a film about vision in both the literal and metaphorical sense, and the ends justified out of desperation to synthesize the two. It does not structure itself in terms of a literal film-within-a-film, as does AFTERSCHOOL, yet it is still a film about film, deftly and quietly probing much of the same territory regarding voyeurism, storytelling and the intractable barrier between action and experience.

The film follows (often literally, in lengthy walking sequences shot from behind) Simon (played by the complicated, captivating Brady Corbet), a recently graduated, recently singled 20-something. With no one to hold onto, the structure of school days past, and the monotony of office life successfully staved off with the help of parental support, Simon is, for the first time in his life, an island — a man free to do as he pleases, whenever and with whomever. A dangerous man.

A neuroscience major, Simon focused his studies on the relationship between the eyes and the brain. His published thesis examined “size pooling,” or the study of how the width and size of an object is weighted against the objects surrounding it. This is the only detail Simon shares in the same exact verbiage regardless of the listener — a definition he recounts immediately and frequently throughout the course of the film with apparent pride. It’s a poignant and pointed trope, considering that Simon has just experienced his first real heartbreak, and his time in Paris becomes devoted to cultivating experiences adequately intense to contextualize, and thereby minimize, the accompanying pain and isolation. Simon has come to the most notoriously romantic city in the world for the express purpose of examining the width and the size of his loss.

For a while, this translates into stomping down cobblestone streets, blasting feeling- fraught music into his brain, and occasionally trying out a phrase en Françaison a girl or two before retreating, defeated, to his dark apartment to watch porn, e-mail his estranged ex-girlfriend and video chat with his mother. The only insight offered into his childhood comes from these conversations with “mom” (a small yet pivotal role, portrayed with remarkably filled-out restraint by the fantastic Alexandra Neil), a woman whose love is apparent, yet muted by the conventions of her New York society manners.

After weeks of cyclical meandering, Simon encounters a young prostitute, Victoria (a ravishing and nuanced Mati Diop, who fills out the film’s writing team in addition to her lingerie-heavy wardrobe), with whom he shares a monetized and awkward, yet nearly tender, sexual encounter. It is here that the film begins to take off, as we watch as Simon moves from a boy afraid of his freedom, into a still-boy emboldened by it.

The only music we hear as soundtrack over the course of the film pumps from Simon’s iPod, a genius aural device in the movie that brings us literally into Simon’s headspace; similarly, visual cross-fades bring washes of pulsating color that mirror the intensity of his moods. Slowly, it becomes clear that Simon is fabricating his own reality. Unequipped to deal, and utterly bored, with the meager obstacles facing his privileged existence, Simon conjures heightened narratives within which he might experience the emotions he’s been promised in literature, music and film. Simon is controlling the story.

The realization that he cannot control Victoria frustrates him into near-mania, as it leads him to devastating acts of physical compromise, twisting deception and extortion. Simon was undoubtedly that kid who would slam his own finger in the door so a distracted mommy would halt her business to kiss it and listen to his falsified account of how it happened; now he is the grown man picking fights with strangers so a detached prostitute will tend to his bruises and offer him shelter in her own home.

The film is a study in how far Simon, unchecked by context, will go. The answer is: really far. As he adds more imagined storylines, more people and more elaborate ruses, he loses control of his manipulations. He’s inexperienced at this game, and as the real danger of his calculations intensifies, we watch his exhilaration turn to horror when he loses control over his own behavior. Simon has been searching for an experience that might overpower his malaise, but predictably the reality of the emotions that accompany the circumstances of his new lives is too much.

It is tempting to characterize Simon as a sociopath — he’s a pathological liar, a philanderer (as much as one can stray when he’s chosen to date someone whose vocation involves sexually satisfying other men) and a dilettante whose dearth of consideration for the feelings he actively seeks from others is shocking. Yet, this kind of classification is the easy choice, and the wrong one. Simon is not a person without emotion, or remorse — he is a boy like any other of his generation, reared on romanticism and the notion that each of us is special, only to discover at the end that he might just be some lonely dude who wrote a really technical thesis on a subject he’ll never fully understand. His desire to amplify his importance in this world, while misguided, does have genuine moments. Simon talks Victoria into an extortion scheme with her clients, and when collecting from one particularly pleading man, he says “It’s not for me; it’s for her” with a vulnerability that suggests he really believes he has positioned himself as a kind of hero.

Simon seems to want to do good — or at least see what it feels like — but he can’t figure out how to do it in real life. He entraps himself, therefore, in a space between fake lives full of excitement and promise, built upon false foundations, and a real life devoid of meaning. He just can’t figure out how to be a real person — how to take what is outside, and make it touch the inside, or take what is inside and let it touch the outside.

Campos’ filmmaking is exquisite here.  He, Corbet and Diop wrote as they shot, and the intimacy they found as collaborators drips off the screen. This is definitely a narrative in which the words spoken leave determination of the “truth” to the viewer, while the shots themselves leave nothing to question. Campos knows where he wants us to look, because he knows what Simon wants us to see, and that he manages to integrate the two without it ever feeling like a device is a triumph. This is filmmaking in the first person that feels like filmmaking in the third person; Simon is dragging us along, but it is only afterward that we are fully aware of it.

SIMON KILLER is a fresh and frightening view of the open-armed, eyes-raised- toward-the-sky wailing of a generation desperate to find meaning in the absence of obstacles; of the struggle that accompanies the lack of struggle, and the emptiness that follows. It is an existential look at perception versus experience, and the space between the lens and the film — a space I’m certain Campos will continue to fill, much to our collective discomfort and delight.

Joey Ally is a writer and actor who comes from New York City, lives in Silver Lake, and can be found on Twitter at @joellenally.

About

AFI is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI provides leadership in film, television and digital media and is dedicated to initiatives that engage the past, the present and the future of the moving image arts.

As a non-profit educational and cultural organization open to the public, AFI relies on the generous financial support from moving arts enthusiasts like you to provide funding for its programs and initiatives. Become a member today and support your American Film Institute!

CONNECT

American Film Institute

AFI FEST presented by Audi


AFI Conservatory

AFI Silver Theatre

AFI Docs