Pro Tools
•Register a festival or a film
Submit film to festivals Promote for free or with Promo Packages

FILMFESTIVALS | 24/7 world wide coverage

Welcome !

Enjoy the best of both worlds: Portal for Film & Festival News, exploring the best of the festivals community.  

An adventure to explore from imagination to reality,  the arts & talents to be discovered.

Started in 1995 connecting films to festivals, reporting and promoting festivals worldwide.

A brand new website will soon be available. Covid-19 is not helping, stay safe meanwhile.

For collaboration, editorial contributions, or publicity, please send us an email here

User login

|FRENCH VERSION|

RSS Feeds 

James Bond 007 No time to die 2020 Daniel Craig, Rami Malek

Trailers for May 2020

Claus Mueller


Claus Mueller is a Film Festival Ambassador to filmfestivals.com

He is based in New York where he covers the festival scene.


feed

New York Film Festival 2019

Maintaining its importance in the international film festival circuit the New York Film Festival presented more than 150 feature length and short films from 40 countries drawing an audience of nearly 70,00 people at Lincoln Center from September 27 - October 13 at the three venues on 65th street where films were shown.  40 individuals participated in the festival’s Artists and Critics Academy for emerging talent. With talks, seminars and screenings, the extensive program covered virtually all thematic areas audiences from cinephiles to students to industry professionals could be interested in. This included innovative and immersive story telling with different production and audience interaction approaches and several virtual cinema sections in the Convergence section.

Principal components of the screening program were the Main Slate with 29 films, the Spotlight on Documentary with 13, Revivals covered 8 new restorations of classics from renowned filmmakers and 13 short films with 10 shorts by Vittorio De Seta. Special Events presented 3 features including Todd Phillips’ Joker and the Screenwriting Master Class by Olivier Assayas.  Retrospective celebrated the 100th anniversary of the American Society of Cinematographers by showcasing 13 significant and brilliantly photographed films by ASC members produced from 1928-2005. Shorts included four short programs with 23 productions and was presented by Netflix, and Projections sponsored by  MUBI offered 8 features and 6 shorts programs from contemporary artists. The 2019 festival was complemented by two established Artist Initiatives, the Artist Academy with three-day workshops for artists from diverse backgrounds with case studies and screenings with film industry veterans, and the Critics Academy arranged by Film at Lincoln Center and its Film Comment publication supporting the development of aspiring writers from minority backgrounds through its workshops with established professionals.  It is noteworthy that some of the NYFF films were shown by Film at Lincoln Center and commercial venues shortly after the festival closed 

Official sponsors of the 2019 NYFF were HBO, CAMPARI, American Airlines, the New York Times with NETFLIX ILLY and Dolby listed as Benefactors, and as supporting partners Warby Parker, Citi Bank, Mubi, Caliper. There were 7 media supporters and 9 contributors.  The National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts provided awards.

The German Austrian production Heimat is a Space in Time (Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit) directed and written by Thomas Heise was probably the most challenging selection in the festival program. Screened in the Projections section it premiered in the United States and was discussed as outstanding by festival insiders though very few had seen it and the US distributor Icarus films has not announced release plans nor responded to inquiries. Heise’s difficult production does not fit standard criteria and could be classified as a documentary feature, an extended personal essay, an archival biography of Germany’s past conflicts spanning a century or a visual celebration of communication. Running for 3 hours and 38 minutes without a break its subtitled version challenged the audience (and festival programmers).  In 2019 Heimat is a Space in Time was shown in 18 international film festivals and received numerous awards.

Heimat meets the criteria of a reflexive endeavor by presenting complex and difficult issues, forcing the audience to think about the subjects presented rather than to ‘consume’ them and keeping the issues in our minds for review. It helps that the film was produced without any interference from background visuals or the customary soundtrack. Heise presents possibly from an archaeological perspective four generations of his family in Germany’s tortured past. It extends from the 1912 reading of his grandfather’s high school essay rejecting violence and the 1917 images of distant relatives serving as medics in the army to a concluding commentary 90 years later  by Guenter Maschke about the illusions of German Identity, of failed revolutions and of the 1989 unification of East and West Germany. At the end Heise is cleaning up the debris in his mother’s apartment who is about to pass away in the early 90s.

Heise, who grew up in the former socialist East German democratic republic as the son of a philosophy professor dismissed by its functionaries uses the family archive he discovered with letters, photos and other mementos as the documentary context for Heimat. It provides an open-ended backing to Heise’s enlightening cinema which refrains from using any footage not recorded by him or his crew. Any audience expecting visual documentation from the century will be disappointed. To the contrary Heimat is shown in black and white with only few brief segments in color and the black and white, though frequently grey, background shots provide a tapestry with few movements disturbing the spoken word. Some motives re-occur, slowly moving freight trains, railway and subway stations, the moving blades of wind turbines in the background and people rushing for trams and subways. What carries the film is the use of language from Heise’s family letters and correspondence, and his seemingly detached oral presentation of the selections. It is a celebration of the spoken and written word rather than a celebration of creative filming that makes Heimat an outstanding if not already classic work. The visuals reinforce the oral message sometimes with a devastating impact.

In the early part of Heimat Heise reads in sequence the letters exchanged between members of his families living in Berlin and Vienna from the end of 1939 to July 1942 with his Jewish grandmother Edith the dominant figure. In a brilliant step, Heise selects a typed long paged German listing from 1941 to 1942.  It slowly moves up the screen while he reads the letters. The document shows the names, addresses, and dates of birth of those individual, including families, who have been selected for deportation to Eastern Europe. What Heise’s relatives reveal in their letters is the systematic destruction of his family in Vienna. They must abandon their home and possessions, are forced to sell belongings for food, lose the right to use public transportation, no longer have access to coal for heating, and are finally forced on short notice to an assembly point for transportation to Eastern Europe. Silence sets in.

As Heise points out, his coming from a mixed half-Jewish background with strong social democratic and socialist leanings and intellectual orientations created a perfect setting for making Heimat. What makes his audio-visual essay also appealing is that no footage was filmed specifically for it. Rather he used material he recorded before or images his crew came across accidentally.

Atlantics 2019, by French Senegalese director Mati Diop received the 2019 Grand Prix Cannes award for her debut feature.  She presents a compelling romantic feature interspersed with strong elements of a ghost story. Her superbly photographed narration contains realistic imagery of Dakar city, the downside of night life, impoverished people and the problems faced when some try to escape poverty by boat trying to reach Spain as. Ada the lead character of the film is in  love with Suleiman, a construction worker who has taken that path without telling her. But though very close to him Ada is engaged to marry the son of a wealthy family at her parent’s command. Pervasive class distinction and social inequality, the dominant role of wealth, widespread corruption, injustice and the rising youth rebellion against the political elite define the context of the story as reinforced by a great musical soundtrack and surreal imagery.  Coming from a privileged background and benefiting from an outstanding education in France, Mati Diop was raised by a Senegalese father, the musician Wasis Diop, as a niece of the African film maker Jibril Diop. Her mother is a French citizen. That background prepared her vision for Atlantics and for the socio-economic and cultural issues demonstrated, spanning the notion of identity, the impact of traditional mores in a patriarchal society and the struggle for survival of those not part of the elite. Suleiman and his friends perish on their passage to Europe and return as ghosts inhabiting the bodies of their women who in turn take revenge for their deaths. The film was acquired by Netflix and shown with two other Netflix productions selected by the New York Film Festival, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, and Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach

The noted Brazilian film maker Tania Cypriano premiered the timely and stunning 2019 documentary Born to Be at the festival, focusing on the newly established Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at New York’s Mount Sinai medical complex. The Center is apparently the only specialized facility of this kind in the United States. It normalizes and institutionalizes for the first-time professional transgender and non-binary sex care in this country. It currently has a six-month waiting list with 400 patients. It is understaffed and short of resources but shows that the need for such hospital center care has been recognized for the first time.

Decades ago, there was no recognition of this need and it was made very difficult to pass the slowly established procedures to be admitted for gender adjustment surgery with few private and public insurances covering, if at all, the expenses for the adjustment. In the early days, the media reported about the sex reassignment procedures often carried out abroad , but it had not become a serious subject for scientific medical research. Now our notions of what constitutes sexual and even physical identity have become fluid and we live in an environment with greater latitude for definitions of identity adjustment though economic and class specific factors still have an impact.  There is growing support of matching how we appear on the outside and of to our self-conception. Cypriano’s Born to Be plays an important role in opening the discussion further, to erase traditional gender stereotypes and to possibly generate support for the transgender center and other facilities.

Focusing on the personality of the plastic surgeon Dr. Jesse Ting who manages the Mount Sinai Transgender Center is essential for the plausibility of Born to Be.  He can lucidly account for his professional development, explain the complexity of the problems he addresses, and his successes and failures.  Equally essential is Cypriano’s communication with the patients of Ting and their frank and open statements, including visual demonstration. They share the specific issues they are rectifying in highly personal interviews. The audience benefits from knowledge about their background and the context which prompted them to find a solution.

Claus Mueller   filmexchange@gmail.com

 

 

About Claus Mueller

gersbach.net