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Sandy Mandelberger

Sandy Mandelberger, a dear colleague passed away.

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    Arthur “Sandy” Mandelberger: 1954 - 2012 Dear Sandy thank you for beeing with us, for so many years. It has been great to know you and fun too. We loved your dedication and professonalism. We already miss you dearly. The Indie community is sad. Rest in Peace. Bruno Chatelin - Managing Editor He battled cancer for nine years and asked that any donations be made to the Film Society of Lincoln Center. For information about...

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...

Can a Film be French and American Indie????

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  There is indeed much to celebrate in France with the multiple Oscar wins by THE ARTIST, which has made film history as the first silent film to win Best Picture in 80 years and the first wins by a French director and actor in their respective categories. The five Oscar wins by THE ARTIST (matched only by Martin Scorsese's exquisite period film HUGO, which dominated the technical prizes), its sweep of the Cesar Awards and all the other awards that the film has won during this seemingly...

Sundance Audience Favorites

  THE SURROGATE (Ben Lewin, USA) Perhaps even more of an indicator of a film’s eventual commercial career is the Audience Awards given at the Sundance Film Festival because they point to an enthusiasm by the public. Distributors who may be wary of taking on certain titles can look to these prize winners for an early indication of how they will be received by audiences. In the U.S. Documentary Competition, the audience favorite announced at Saturday’s closing awa...

Sundance Winners And Losers

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They call it the Sundance alchemy…..the strange and rather unknowable process by which films with advanced buzz fall flat and titles that come out of nowhere become the next big indie flings. Such was the case at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where several of the higher profile films did not get the love from audiences, critics or distributors, and where a few unheralded films walked away with the lion’s share of prizes and, most importantly, distribution contacts that wil...

John Cooper: Indie Innovator

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  It is probably safe to say that John Cooper, the Director of the Sundance Film Festival, dreams in 24 frames per second. He has said in various interviews over the years that film has been part of his DNA going way back to childhood, although his first immersion in the arts was in live theater, ranging from performance to design. He spent the obligatory years in New York City, the center of live performing arts, but in 1989, by chance (or fate), he volunteered at the Sundance Institute...

Sony Classics Takes Two

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  Sony Pictures Classics has taken the rights to two high profile films at the Sundance Film Festival. The company started off the sales stampede last week with the acquisition of the musical documentary SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN. The film, a Swedish/UK co-production directed by Malik Bendjelloul, tells the tale of Rodriguez, a 1970s rock n roller who quickly fell out of favor and died, but was rediscovered by avid fans in South Africa. The film follows two South African fans who go on a jo...

Sundance Behind Closed Doors

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  Far from the red carpet glamour, the throngs trying to party crash on Main Street, the critics and programmers waiting on lines, there is another Sundance Film Festival taking place behind closed doors. While the Festival does not have an official market, as do such other events as Berlin and Cannes, there is definitely market business going on in private hotel suites and luxurious mountaintop villas. These are the precincts where sleep deprived sales agents hawk their wares to domesti...

Scandinavian Invasion Of Sundance

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  TEDDY BEAR (Denmark)  It is now pretty clear that Vikings made landfall in North America several centuries before Columbus collided with the West Indies. If they had colonized the land, we would all be blonds and speaking Norwegian. Such, my children, are the vagaries of history. Well a new invasion from the Scandinavian nation is about to commence at the Sundance Film Festival, where a strong sampling of films from Norway, Sweden and Denmark are literally making waves. De...

The World Comes To Sundance

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  The world comes to the Sundance Film Festival from January 19 to 29. In the past several years, the Festival, which first made its reputation with American Indie cinema, has put as much emphasis on its World Cinema competitions, including sections for Dramatic Feature and Documentary Feature. By laying out a red carpet for international filmmakers and industry professionals, Sundance has been able to go mano-a-mano with such prestigious European-based film festivals as Berlin, Cannes a...

Fifty Is The New Thirty

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If one subscribes to the hype that 50 is the new 30, then a Pandora’s box of complications, mixed signals and confused messages arise. These are some of the themes explored in the insightful comedy ABOUT FIFTY (formerly titled FIFTY-NOTHING) which opened the 2011 edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival on Friday evening. The resonant film is a modern comedy that explores the simple truth that it’s never too late to start over again. Even at age 50. The action centers on tw...

Gotham Awards Nominees

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  The Gotham Awards, one of the first events of the awards season, have announced the nominees for their 21st edition. The big winners were THE DESCENDANTS (Alexander Payne) and MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (Sean Durkin), which each led the pack with three nominations each. Films nominated in the top category of Best Feature include THE TREE OF LIFE (Terrence Malick), THE DESCENDANTS (Alexander Payne), BEGINNERS (Mike Mills), TAKE SHELTER (Jeff Nichols) and MEEK’S CUTOFF (Kelly Reichardt). I...

Gotham Awards Nominees

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The Gotham Awards, one of the first events of the awards season, have announced the nominees for their 21st edition. The big winners were THE DESCENDANTS (Alexander Payne) and MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (Sean Durkin), which each led the pack with three nominations each. Films nominated in the top category of Best Feature include THE TREE OF LIFE (Terrence Malick), THE DESCENDANTS (Alexander Payne), BEGINNERS (Mike Mills), TAKE SHELTER (Jeff Nichols) and MEEK’S CUTOFF (Kelly Reichardt). In a sur...

Fifty Is The New Thirty

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  If one subscribes to the hype that 50 is the new 30, then a Pandora’s box of complications, mixed signals and confused messages arise. These are some of the themes explored in the insightful comedy ABOUT FIFTY (formerly titled FIFTY-NOTHING) which opened the 2011 edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival on Friday evening. The resonant film is a modern comedy that explores the simple truth that it’s never too late to start over again. Even at age 50. The action cen...

Fort Lauderdale Honorees

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  The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) launches on Friday evening with a three week marathon of premieres, special events, chic soirees and a number of tributes to celebrity guests. Actress Penelope Ann Miller, best remembered for her roles in such films as CARLITO’S WAY, CHAPLIN and KINDERGARTEN COP, will receive a Career Achievement Award on Saturday evening at the gala screening of her new film THE ARTIST. This contemporary black and white silent film by French di...

A Vacation From Ordinary Film

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  The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, now in its 26th year, has got it right. It invites its audiences to take a vacation from ordinary film to dive into the many pleasures of its offerings from a cinematic survey of more than 150 films from 35 countries. With Fort Lauderdale’s reputation as one of America’s leisure playgrounds, the phrase is an invitation for immersion that has many rewards. Two things distinguish this festival…..one is the wide range of its venues, ...

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...

Dancing The Raindance

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  Twenty years ago when Raindance founder Elliot Grove proposed the name for a festival he had in mind that would be devoted to indie films to take place in his adopted city of London, little did he realize how the organization would grow in the past two decades to become one of the pre-eminent festivals and filmmaker training programs on the continent. In a clear nod to the successful profile of the Sundance Film Festival (although with a specifically British nod to the drizzly UK weathe...

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...

Strong Film Sales Emerging From Toronto

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  SHAME (UK, Steve McQueen) Although it began rather slowly, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) which just concluded on Sunday, saw a good degree of sales and acquisition activity, with many more deals to be announced in the coming weeks. Although it does not have an official market sidebar like Cannes or Berlin, there is a good amount of informal rubbing of shoulders between members of the international film community who were in attendance in force. According to ...

A Corrupt Cop's Inner World

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  This is Woody Harrelson’s moment. The actor, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as an incendiary army officer in 2009’s THE MESSENGER, reteams with director Israeli-born director Oren Moverman on an even more explosive drama that is tailored to his particular talent for playing characters with a short fuse. World premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, RAMPART, set in a neo-noir Los Angeles in the late 1990s, alludes to the Ramp...
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