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The Ultimate Guide To Film, Video and Entertainment In New York City

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Harnessing The Creative

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What is creativity and how can it be cultivated and enhanced? This was the provocative set of questions at the heart of the Advancing Creative Thinking: Imagination To Innovation conference held in Ridgefield, CT this past weekend. The 2-day event, co-presented by the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Ridgfield Library and the Ridgefield Arts Council, brought together a truly eclectic set of speakers to explore the prism of creativity and its pragmatic use from the perspecti...

Connecticut Film Festival Highlights

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  The Connecticut Film Festival, which took place this past weekend in Danbury and Bethel, Connecticut, offered a creative mix of programming, educational seminars and special events. In all, some 75 films were showcased at the 4 day event. An extensive boot camp of educational seminars was geared to local and visiting filmmakers, new media entrepreneurs and television producers. Highlights included an master class by Focus Features president Andrew Karpen, a screening of...

Wall Street Crisis Film Opens CT Film Festival

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The 2012 Connecticut Film Festival opens on Thursday, April 26 with the world premiere of CONFIDENCE GAME, an inside look at the Wall Street economic downfall by the players at the center of the crisis, directed by local Connecticut filmmaker Nick Verbitzky. Through the eyes of former employees of financial giant Bear Sterns, shyster mortgage brokers, devastated homeowners, whistle blowers and eminent financial journalists including Bryan Burrough, William D. Cohan and Andrew R...

Something For Everyone At NY Film Festival

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  The 49th edition of the New York Film Festival, a sure sign of the Fall season, is underway, and in its substantially expanded format, there is literally something for everyone at this year’s event. The Festival, which has prided itself on being a boutique as opposed to the bazaar offered at such events in Toronto, Cannes and Berlin (and at New York’s own Tribeca Film Festival) still offers the cream of the crop from those other festival celebrations, with a sprinkling of highbrow c...

George Harrison: The Quiet Beatle

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  George Harrison, the bass player for the famed rock group The Beatles, was always referred to in the press as the “quiet one”. Now, almost 10 years after his death from lung cancer, several art exhibitions and a new documentary film by Martin Scorsese will reveal the intimate details of the Beatle who is perhaps the least known and celebrated of the group. GEORGE HARRISON: LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD is a 4-hour exploration of the intimate personal and professional life of the man ...

Fiercely Independent Woodstock Film Festival

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  The 12th edition of the Woodstock Film Festival, an event that takes seriously its reputation for being “fiercely independent” is in full flower (power) this weekend in the center of Woodstock, New York and neighboring towns through Sunday, September 25. For this year’s edition, the Festival is presenting nearly 150 films, along with a series of professional panels, music performances and special events. Among the highlights taking place this weekend are a repeat screening of the...

The Return Of Roman Polanski

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  Word comes from Europe that the celebrated director Roman Polanski will be returning to Zurich, Switzerland this week to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Zurich Film Festival. This could have been a standard issue awards story except for the fact that Mr. Polanski’s trip to Zurich two years ago to pick up this same honor precipitated a one-year legal battle that led to months of house arrest and his possible extradition to the United States to face a prison term for fl...

The Mournful Maturity Of Miranda July

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  For 37-year-old performance artist, writer and filmmaker Miranda July, life is a series of lessons about loss, mortality and the inescapable feeling that time is slipping away. And yet, despite these heavy themes, her depiction of a kind of blank and ironic human comedy has been the hallmark of her style. This maddeningly passivity has clearly connected with some and infuriates others. Well, both these camps will have much to react to as July’s sophomore film effort THE FUTURE starts it...

Dominic Cooper's Sadistic Madman

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  Dreamboat British actor Dominic Cooper (MAMMA MIA!, AN EDUCATION) steps up to leading man stature in THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE, a harrowing and unsettling portrait of the consequences of complete and corruptible power. The film tells the true and truly sickening story of Uday Hussein, the power-mad and sadistic son of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein whose personal reign of terror gave him free reign to kill, rape and maim at will. In order to protect his personal security, he forces a former c...

Geek Glory At 2011 Comic-Con

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  Any event that can bring together such high power heavyweights as Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and a host of stellar movie stars is the definition of clout. So, let’s be clear…..Comic-Con, the sprawling exhibition and promotion extravaganza that just wrapped in San Diego, has major clout. The confab, originally a geeky celebration of comic book culture, has become the go-to place for film and television series with comic book origins and fantasy/supernatural/phantasmagoric films in ge...

Rajendra Roy: Charting The Waters At MoMA

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  For Rajendra Roy, it’s all about the passion. Beginning his fifth year as the Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of the legendary Department Of Film at New York’s Museum Of Modern Art (MoMA), Raj (as he is affectionately known by friends and colleagues) can look back at significant accomplishments during his tenure and substantial challenges ahead. “The film world has changed so much since I started this job”, Roy shared with me in an interview in his intimate, no-frills office. “...

Errol Morris' Tabloid Tale

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  Oscar winning documentarian Errol Morris has had more than his share of interesting interview subjects in his 30 year plus career, but perhaps none is quite as gonzo as the one he captures in his new film TABLOID, which opens in limited release in North America this week (and is available on most VOD platforms). The film focuses on the bizarre-but-true story of Joyce McKinney, a former Miss Wyoming beauty queen who became a notorious tabloid sensation in the 1970s when she snatched her...

NewFest: A Meeting Of The LGBT Clan

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  "Film festivals for the LGBT community are not just about cinema”, Lesli Klainberg, NewFest’s Executive Director commented in a phone interview. “They have always functioned as community building events where like-minded audiences can commune in the presence of filmmakers in a shared experience.” This cinematic sharing begins later this week as NewFest: The New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Film  Festival kicks off an ambitious season of films currently playin...

Israel Film Festival Spotlights New Film Talents

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  Israeli films have had a strong profile at international film festivals and in the Oscar competitions for the past decade. For the next two weeks, New York area audiences will get a chance to sample the variety, dexterity and quality of contemporary Israeli films as the Israel Film Festival marks its 25th anniversary. The Festival runs through May 19 at the AMC Loews 84th Street Theater on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  Over a dozen filmmakers will join us from Israel for their film...

Cool Cinema In New York's Hippest Borough

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  As one New York film festival ends (Tribeca), attention turns across the East River to the New York borough of Brooklyn where another cinema celebration has been unveiled. In only its third year, the BAMcinemaFest, presented by BAMcinématek at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, has become an important film event on the cultural calendar and a festival with a reputation for innovative programming. The third annual BAMcinemaFest, which runs June 16 to 26, will present 19 New Yo...

A Tribute To Sidney Poitier

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  Sidney Poitier, an iconic screen presence and a game changer for the way that African Americans were perceived in the turbulent years of the 1950s and 1960s, is being honored this evening by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York with the 2011 Chaplin Award. Poitier will be praised by an eclectic and star-studded list of celebrities including Dan Ackroyd, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Ruby Dee, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover, Norman Jewison, James Earl Jones, Quincy Jones, Ben Ki...

2011 Tribeca Film Festival Awards

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  SHE MONKEYS, a coming of age film with sexual undertones from Swedish director Lisa Aschan was named Best Narrative Film at the 10th Tribeca Film Festival, which ended its 12 day run yesterday. The film, which won a top prize at the Gothenberg Film Festival and the Teddy Award as best gay film at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, is a hothouse story of emerging sexuality set amongst teenage girls in a horse acrobatics training school. Competition, both athletic and sexual, b...

Social Media Meets The Movies

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  Aside from the smorgasboard of films on tap at this year’s 10th Tribeca Film Festival, which runs through Sunday, the event has been filled with very interesting film panels and talks. One of the most interesting took place on Tuesday entitled Digital By Design. Paramount Digital Entertainment president Tom Lesinski led a panel of experts to discuss how social media can assist in both the marketing and the distribution of independent films. Now that more movies are being distr...

Tribeca Online: The Festival In Your Home

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  With the Tribeca Film Festival reaching its mid-point, one does not necessarily have to be in New York to be part of the excitement. The Tribeca (Online) Film Festival, supported by founding partner American Express, is a pioneering digital initiative that allows audiences across the USA to view feature and short films for free and worldwide audiences to engage with filmmakers and industry experts as the Tribeca Film Festival’s 10th edition runs concurrently in lower Manhattan from Ap...

Robert De Niro: The Downtown Don

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  It has been quite a year for veteran actor Robert De Niro. In January, he was honored at the Golden Globes with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Currently, his brainchild and labor of love, the Tribeca Film Festival, is celebrating its 10th anniversary as one of New York’s most provocative film and culture showcases. Next month, De Niro heads to the south of France as President of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival. After more than 50 years in the business and a film career that spans ...

Sports Meets Cinema at Tribeca Film Festival

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  FIRE IN BABYLON (USA)  America’s twin obsessions with the movies and sports finds voice at the Tribeca Film Festival, particularly with its Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film series. With sports-topic films such as WIN WIN and SOUL SURFER making major waves at the theatrical box office, the commercial viability of the sports story remains a potent one. The films in the series offer a variety of pleasures, both visual and sensual.  FIRE IN BABYLON by Stevan Riley is a story of the succe...

Sidney Lumet: One Of The Greats

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  We lost one of the greats this past week. Sidney Lumet, a national treasure and the quintessential New York filmmaker (sorry, Woody Allen) died last week at the age of 86. In a career that spanned over 50 years in both live television and the big screen, Lumet was nominated for the Best Director Oscar four times and has left an indelible filmography of titles that are distinguished by their social relevancy and strong caliber of acting. Lumet’s most famous films were shot in and were ...

SoHo International Film Festival: A New York Film Week

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  New York’s crowded film festival calendar has now become positively stifling with the (welcome) addition of the SoHo International Film Festival NYC  (SIFFNYC), which builds on its auspicious debut of last year to offer a second edition of 8 days of films, professional workshops and special events. The Festival will be held at downtown New York’s Quad Cinema from Friday, April 15th through Friday, April 22nd. Nearly 100 features, shorts and documentaries, from bo...

Time Tripping To The 1970s

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  Ah, New York City in the 1970s......while the city was crumbling into a cesspool of urban decay, vigilante violence and moral morass (with the federal government looking away while the city declared bankruptcy), the art underground was, in fact, in full flower. This paradox (or not nearly one, if one contemplates other times and places where the social environment was in chaos and the artistic output was intense, say Berlin in the 1920s) is the focus of several films that are curre...

The Suspensful Career of Brian De Palma

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  While Alfred Hitchcock will forever be known as the "master of suspense", one of his true admirers, the director Brian De Palma, also shares the master's abiding interest and superb execution of the thriller genre. If anything, De Palma was able to be much more explicit in the depiction of violence and sexality than Hitchcock was able to do in the more buttoned-down decades of the 1950s and 1960s. In many ways, De Palma combines the classic elements of less-is-more film sus...
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