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Independent

Maatr (The Mother) uncensored, Review by Siraj Syed: She will kill at will

Maatr (The Mother) uncensored, Review by Siraj Syed: She will kill at will Lead actress Raveena Tandon told the media that, in Maatr, “We have just shown 10 percent of what a woman has to deal with when such a thing happens with her.” ‘Such a thing’ that she was referring to is gang rape. Sure enough, the film landed in trouble before the Central Board of Film Certification (CFBC), the Indian body that has to approve every film before it is released. I have had privile...

Félicité, Review by Siraj Syed: Cinema réalité

Félicité, Review by Siraj Syed: Cinema réalité Challenging forms and formats, genres and categories, Félicité agitates your mind by showing too much of some things and too little of other elements. It begins as an indictment of the colonial legacy in Congo but ends up becoming a slave to its repetitive shot-taking and sombre imagery. Too much is promised and just about much is delivered. Nevertheless, Félicité is going to be talked about...

IIFBoston 2017 Pre-fest: It Stays With You

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The tag line for Independent Film Festival Boston 2017 is “It Stays With You”.  In my case, that is certainly true.  You’ll see what I mean in a bit.  First, some back story. A year ago Sunday, I was in the latter stages of moving.  My then-landlord was… not the best at maintenance, to be charitable.  The house was near the beach, which meant you had to keep an eye on the wood weathering from the salt air.  The front door threshold had been...

There is still time to get in on the action at Tribeca

This year's Tribeca Film Festival is another a great opportunity to see some great films, join some exciting discussions about movies, and even to rub shoulder with some of your favorite celebrities. Photos © Mustafa Önder   The Festival was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center. With strong roo...

INJURY TIME | Drama Short Film Released (shot on ARRI ALEXA)

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INJURY TIME traverses the dying minutes of a soccer manager’s desperate struggle to win The Game on his own terms. This gripping, high concept thriller is told in real-time in one continuous shot.   <iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1-dQcTA5e-M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>   Jack Sheridan - Director Julie Byrne - Producer Jennifer Jones - Producer  ...

Postcards from Blighty

        Not only the not-so-very United Kingdom is facing crises of identity and culture-clashes currently, in the months apres-BREXIT and avant the various elections looming across Europe, but the cinema itself seems to be going thr...

Despair, Exclusive first-ever review, by Siraj Syed: Performances dispel the gloom in this psycho thriller

Despair, Exclusive first-ever review, by Siraj Syed: Performances dispel the gloom in this psycho thriller Being humane can cost you dear could be one take away from the indie psychological thriller, Despair. Disjointed families and obsession can kill, as had been demonstrated by so many films of yore, and this could have been one more for the record, had it not been for the other take away: sympathy and empathy are the cornerstones of love, and even if you have to pay a heavy price for nurtu...

LEDIS | Comedy Short Film (2016)

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Eva and Berenice live in Rome and fight every day with the chaos of the city, the precarious works and loves. Berenice has finally met Cristiano and seems happily in love. Eva however is plagued by men but can never find the right one.  Today is Sunday, and the LEDIS are coming back from a brunch, where EVA met the usually play boy who wanted to impress her, obviously without success. Berenice is convinced that it's the fault of Eve because she seriusly influenced from physical a...

CUT - Drama Short Film (2016)

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A barber who recently retired from injure wants to rejoin, only finding his shop is taken over as a vintage salon by his son.     Muqing Li - Director Muqing Li - Writer Muqing Li - Producer Steve T. Bartlett - Key Cast Brandon Tyler Jones - Key Cast Tony Yan - Original Music   Genres: Drama Country of Origin: United States Completion Date: September 20, 2016 Film Language: English Camera: RED Epic   ...

Aamir, Nasir, Tahir, Tariq, Mansoor, Amjad: Movies, Masti, Modernity, Flashback 10: Aamir

Aamir, Nasir, Tahir, Tariq, Mansoor, Amjad: Movies, Masti, Modernity, Flashback 10: Aamir To remind you, Aamir is indeed Aamir Khan, Amjad is definitely Gabbar Singh, and the triple M above is to acknowledge that it was Akshay Manwani’s biographical book on the cinema of Nasir Hussain that got me delving into the period of about 15 years, when I interacted with the Hussain Khans (first five) and the bare Khan (last, but the most imposing personality). Actually, Mansoor did not use his m...

Mirza Juuliet, Review by Siraj Syed: ‘Sex peer’ or Shakespeare

Mirza Juuliet, Review by Siraj Syed: ‘Sex peer’ or Shakespeare Six timeless tales of doomed love continue to enjoy tremendous popularity in India, even in the 21st century: Laila-Majnu, Shirin-Farhad, Sohni-Mahiwal, Heer-Ranjha, Mirza-Sahibaa and Romeo and Juliet. Of these, five are Indian or from the sub-continent and only Shakespeare’s R&J makes it from the foreign category. India had its own Shakespeare, named Agha Hashr Kashmiri, who in the period 1920s-50s, transla...

Blue Mountains, Review by Siraj Syed: Colourless Molehills

Blue Mountains, Review by Siraj Syed: Colourless Molehills Used as a metaphor for distance, apparently unattainable goals, the Blue Mountains of the title prove as elusive and illusory as the real ones the makers project on screen. Lots of colour, lots of singing, lots of dancing, lots of melodrama, and lots of snow do not help Blue Mountains attain any height. Instead, we find ourselves in a cave, at best, or, rather, a gorge. Som (Yatharth Rastogi), a hill-town boy, and part of a gang of f...

The Roswell SciFi Film Festival 2017!

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Submit your Short or Feature length film! Roswell SciFi Film Festival 2017 The ROSWELL SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY Film Festival is the only film making festival dedicated to bringing artist's visions of the universe to the UFO capital of the world. It provides a venue for independent SCI-FI/FANTASY filmmakers to get their films screened as well as network with some of the best independent short and feature-length genre filmmakers in the world. ...

Colossal, Review by Siraj Syed: Loss all

Colossal, Review by Siraj Syed: Loss all Colossal loses big on two counts: It appears to have several allegorical, illusionary hidden agendas, and it goes about framing them in minimalistic, over-simplified montage. There is always a grave risk in making a socio-political commentary using metaphors like video games and giant monsters/robots, and the risk involves alienating (pun intended) both classes of audiences—the superhero aficionados, and the intelligentsia film-goers. Colossal no...

Mukti Bhawan review, by Siraj Syed: Pulsating, Soulful, Lively tale, of Death

Mukti Bhawan review, by Siraj Syed: Pulsating, Soulful, Lively tale, of Death Mukti is Hindi for release or detachment, and Bhawan is home or mansion. Don’t wait too long after Mukti Bhawan is released in the nearest mansion (cinema hall). And do yourself a favour: Don’t die till you have seen this film about death. A sublime blend of realism and metaphor, Mukti Bhawan is ostensibly the tale of an old man who wants to move to the ‘dying quarters’ in the city of Banara...

To Die For | Comedy Horror Short Film (2016)

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Nick and Charlie finally get the girls to notice them. Unfortunately, these girls just happen to be terrifying zombies, who want to do more than just eat them...   Africa's first Zombie Comedy, "To Die For", was shot on location in Johannesburg in an abandoned building on a budget of less than $600.     Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be the first one to see the best short films https://goo.gl/jc977Z   Graeme Roux - ...

Siraj Syed interviews young film-maker Pratik Rajen Kothari

Siraj Syed interviews young film-maker Pratik Rajen Kothari *How many films have you made since your student days and what/who made it possible to make them? I have made three short films plus co-directed one before Hell O Hello. I also made some music videos. Almost all of these are zero/extremely low budget. At the start, people who are instrumental in making it possible are your like-minded friends. I have a very co-operative core team, without whom, I just wouldn't have had the coura...

Aamir, Nasir, Tahir, Tariq, Mansoor, Amjad: Movies, Masti, Modernity, Flashback 7

Aamir, Nasir, Tahir, Tariq, Mansoor, Amjad: Movies, Masti, Modernity, Flashback 7 To remind you, Aamir is indeed Aamir Khan, Amjad is definitely Gabbar Singh, and the triple M above is to acknowledge that it was Akshay Manwani’s biographical book on the cinema of Nasir Hussain that got me delving into the period of about 15 years, when I interacted with the Hussain Khans (first five) and the bare Khan (last, but the most imposing personality). Actually, Mansoor did not use his middle na...

HawkFilme Is A Semi-Finalist At An International Science-Fiction Film Festival

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ALEPH TO TAW – abreger, a short film by James W. Hawk was a semi-finalist at The NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival this year. Here is NanoCon’s description of their event: “This year, the NanoCon Mk. IV Science-Fiction Convention began on Friday, March 24, 2017 with The NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival. The annual festival accepts submissions of short-subject, science-fiction films from all over the world. This year 95...

HawkFilme Is A Semi-Finalist At An International Science-Fiction Film Festival

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ALEPH TO TAW – abreger, a short film by James W. Hawk was a semi-finalist at The NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival this year. Here is NanoCon’s description of their event: “This year, the NanoCon Mk. IV Science-Fiction Convention began on Friday, March 24, 2017 with The NanoCon International Science-Fiction Film Festival. The annual festival accepts submissions of short-subject, science-fiction films from all over the world. This year 95...

Siraj Syed reviews Anaarkali of Arrah: Item girl--“Spite ’em girl, Bite ’em girl”

Siraj Syed reviews Anaarkali of Arrah: Item girl--“Spite ’em girl, Bite ’em girl” Ten minutes into this loud and raw film, you know you will root for the protagonist, an item girl plying her art in Arrah, a small town in the eastern Indian state of Bihar. An item girl is a woman who wears garish costumes, sings, dances, cavorts, titillates and tantalises on stage, to a public, sing-along audience, that joins her full-of-double-entendre lyrics, lusts after her and drool...

Local Newspaper Chronicles Determination Of Filmmaker Hawk

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The Cheshire Herald ran a two page story about the film making determination of a local independent filmmaker, James W. Hawk. An enlarged copy of that story which is easier to read than the reproduction below can be accessed with this link:  Link to the article: (https://www.buzzfeed.com/jameswhawk/local-newspaper-chronicles-determination-of-filmma-2sm4o?utm_term=.vkVopA4Zo#.fs1vVlJRv)   The writer and editor of The Cheshire Herald, John Rook did the article in ...

Siraj Syed reviews Mantra: Travails and travesties

Siraj Syed reviews Mantra: Travails and travesties In one scene of Mantra, the protagonist, a Delhi industrialist called KK (Kapil Kapoor) who is about to sell his bleeding chips-manufacturing business to his cash-rich multi-national rival, finds a Frenchman looking for a drug (of the smoking kind) and the two manage to find a dealer named Rahul. On a high, the man tells the Frenchman that the Beatles have split. Nothing wrong in breaking such news to a pot-partner, even if the guy happens to...

Siraj Syed reviews Machine: Misguided Machinations and Mechanical Malfunction

Siraj Syed reviews Machine: Misguided Machinations and Mechanical Malfunction Abbas Burmawalla-Mustan Burmawalla are a director-brother duo that gave an early hit to Indian Superstar ShaRukh Khan in the shape of Baazigar (Player/Gambler). Khan, never averse to accepting negative parts, lapped it up in delight, and a hit ensued. All those who cried foul, that the film was plagiarised from A Kiss before Dying, were mere spectators as the film, and its dizzy, snazzy sound-track jingled at the bo...

Straddling between different genres-Malayalam cinema director Dr.Biju and his films by Mr.Lalit Rao [FIPRESCI]

The world of cinema is full of surprises. One needs to learn the intricacies involved with this art in order to transform words into images. Hence, it is not so often that an ordinary layman can think of embarking on a creative journey in order to become a filmmaker merely by watching some good Iranian and Turkish films shown at film festivals. However, Bijukumar Damodaran is a very strong exception to this rule. In his native Kerala, South India, he is more commonly known as Dr.Biju. &n...
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