“Increasingly, the movies Hollywood likes to honor are not the same movies people like you want to see,” wrote E! online’s Leslie Gornstein. “The answer may kind of insult you…and that’s that Hollywood — the moviemakers and the critics — seems to kind of not like you.”
Monthly archives for December, 2010
As 2010 comes to a close, it’s time to take stock of the year in cinema and post the requisite “Best of” list. However, this one won’t look like any other you may see. And for good reason. Rules, disclaimers, and those good reasons follow for those who are as passionate about the subject as I am.
My world revolves around independent films and festivals so this list includes only indies which I saw at film festivals for the first time in 2010.
It’s time to set aside all the other awards and lists and ceremonies for a moment. The results are in for the 2010 indieWIRE Critics Poll. So far this year, 101 leading film critics and bloggers have participated, surveying the best in film for 2010.
These journalists are generally more conscious of those movies which would otherwise go overlooked in the traditional critics’ polls.
As 2010 comes to a close, it becomes immediately apparent that the South by Southwest Film Conference & Festival (SXSW) is just over 12 weeks away. As readers of this blog know, of the many I attend each year, few film festivals can beat SXSW for sheer enjoyment, both in the quality of the program as well as the kickass rock ‘n roll setting in which it takes place.
This will be my sixth year and I’m looking forward to heading back down to Austin, Texas, sitting in darkened theaters, and partying with true film lovers.
You’ve seen awards and nominations from many critics’ groups over the past several weeks on this blog, which is why this post is so different — and, possibly, important. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) prides itself on being one of the few bodies presenting peer awards — actors vote for actors, etc.
The Pacific Design Center’s Silver Screen Theater in West Hollywood was the site of this morning’s unveiling of nominations for this year’s acting kudos, both individual as well as cast awards. 2100 Guild members selected the nominees.
It’s been a big week for awards and festival selection announcements. The 17th Slamdance Film Festival takes place January 21-27 on Main Street in Park City, Utah. Yes, that’s the same time and location for the Sundance Film Festival, and that’s the idea. Slamdance was conceived as a sort of anti-Sundance, although it’s come into its own as a standout independent film festival in its own right.
“The quality and breadth of independent film has increased exponentially over the past few years,” said Peter Baxter, Slamdance president and co-founder. “However, even as audience dissatisfaction with the standard studio fare grows, independent film continues to be squeezed out at the box office. Slamdance to the rescue!”
The program of short films screening at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival has just been announced. The numbers are impressive. According to the Sundance Institute, 81 shorts from U.S. and international filmmakers were selected from 6,467 submissions. Last week I posted the complete lineup of feature-length films in competition and out-of-competition.
“It’s a marvel to discover the creativity in this year’s shorts program,” said Director of Programming Trevor Groth. “These filmmakers are charged with telling compelling stories, nurturing breakout performances and engaging the audience, all in a fraction of the time allocated to features, and each one delivers.”
The British Independent Film Awards were handed out at today the Old Billingsgate in London. BIFA was created in 1998 by Raindance founder Elliot Grove to celebrate achievement in independently funded British movies. The closest equivalent in America would be the Film Independent Spirit Awards, which announced their nominations several days ago. Moon took top honors here last year.
The King’s Speech led the way with five awards. Monsters took home three. I selected Monsters as one of my Top 3 Picks from June’s Los Angeles Film Festival.
The European Film Awards were handed out tonight in Tallinn, Estonia. The 23rd annual event was presented by the European Film Academy. Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer swept best film, director, screenplay, actor, production design, and composer prizes.
Founded in 1988, the European Film Academy (EFA) unites more than 2,300 European film professionals with the common aim of promoting European film culture. Throughout the year, the EFA initiates and participates in a series of activities dealing with film politics as well as economic, artistic, and training aspects.
The National Board of Review (NBR) Awards are significant in being the first of the major critics’ awards to be handed out over the next few months. They are often a bellwether for the year’s Academy Award-nominated selections. This year the NBR screened over 250 films including studio, independent, foreign-language, animated and documentary selections.
“This year the NBR honored The Social Network, as well as its director David Fincher, lead actor Jesse Eisenberg and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin,” said NBR President Annie Schulhof. “We believe the film portrays a dramatic story that will stand up over time and appeal to many generations.”
The lineup of films screening at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in the out-of-competition sections of Premieres, Documentary Premieres, Next, Native Showcase, Spotlight, New Frontier and Park City at Midnight has just been announced. Yesterday I posted the complete list of films in competition.
Sundance is one of only five festivals each year which I attend sight unseen — that is, regardless of what the lineup is (the others are SXSW, Toronto, Los Angeles, and Tribeca). This will be my sixth year there and, as always, I will be reporting live and posting reviews of the films, along with pictures and videos of the actors and filmmakers I meet.
It’s always nice when my favorite festival films are picked up for distribution. It’s not just validation of my choices — it means that the movies I’ve been championing will be seen by a wider audience than those lucky enough to catch these films on the festival circuit. All too often they languish on the shelf after that and enter the indie ether, never to be seen or heard from again.
The past few days were particularly fertile as two of my Top Picks from 2010 festivals have received release dates — one from the final Gen Art Film Festival in April and one from the Tribeca Film Festival that same month.
December begins today, which means it’s time for independent film fans to turn their attention to the many awards, nominations, and festival selections which will be rolled out on almost a daily basis.
There is certainly no shortage of awards ceremonies but only one major event in America, Film Independent’s Spirit Awards, focuses solely on indies. Nominations were announced yesterday and are posted here on my blog. The awards will be telecast on IFC Channel at 10:00 PM PST/EST on February 26, 2011.