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Philadelphia highlights

For 14 Days, the Festival Presents 259 Features, Documentaries, Animated Films
and Shorts from 42 Countries, including 31 World or US Premieres

Awards go to Malcolm McDowell and Steve Buscemi;
New Festival Award Named for Archie Perlmutter

2005 Programs Demonstrate Festival’s International Flair and Philadelphia Roots

New Films from Araki, Miike, Ozon, Solondz, Wenders and Van Gogh -- his last film;
46 First-time Directors include Actors David Duchovny, Peter Riegert

(Philadelphia—March 22, 2005) The 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival will mark the fifth anniversary of its transformation into a major international film event under the leadership of Artistic Director Raymond Murray with a richly varied program that features a record number of 31 world, North American or United States premieres. Produced by the non-profit Philadelphia Film Society, the Festival will run for two weeks, from April 7-20, screening 110 feature films, 24 full-length documentaries and 125 short films from 42 countries.

A total of 301 screenings will be held in five different venues across Philadelphia: the Ritz East and Ritz at the Bourse in Old City, the Prince Music Theater (including both the Main Auditorium and the Black Box) in Center City, and International House and the Bridge: cinema de lux in University City.

Founded in 1992 by International House as the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema, the festival came under new management in 2001 with Raymond Murray as Artistic Director and Thom Cardwell as Executive Director. Under their leadership the festival has reinvented itself over the past five years, dramatically expanding the scope of its programming. Film lovers have responded in kind by more than tripling its attendance, from 19,000 in 2000 to 61,000 in 2004. This year they are joined by Patrick Brogan as Managing Director.

Programming: The 2005 Festival programming continues the model Murray and his team first introduced with twelve thematic focuses:

· Centerpiece/Special Screenings – The festival’s headlining events, including Opening and Closing Night, four Centerpiece Screenings and several special programs;
· International Masters – A showcase of the latest works from the top filmmakers in the world, beginning with Francois Ozon’s 5 x 2: FIVE TIMES TWO;
· World Focus – The heart of the festival, a survey of international drama, romance, comedy, mystery and more;
· Spanish and Latin Cinema Now – One of the Festival’s specialties, films from Spain and Latin America, featuring such international stars as Carmen Maura, Victoria Abril and John Leguizamo;
· New Korean Cinema – A recurring focus, presenting Korea’s biggest hits, curated by Travis Crawford;
· Cinema of the Muslim Worlds – Perhaps the Festival’s most provocative and newsworthy section, led this year by the controversial four-hour epic DOOR TO THE SUN;
· American Discoveries – The latest films from America’s truly independent filmmakers (Murray considers this year’s programming to be the strongest in years);
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Announcing the 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival
Page Two


· Documentary Tradition – A presentation of cutting-edge non-fiction film, curated by Jennifer Steinberg, who has proven adept at finding future Academy Award nominees;
· Danger After Dark – The Festival’s most innovative – and unconventional – section, a celebration of the “genre” film, also curated by Travis Crawford and this year featuring three films by Takashi Miike and a four-film salute to Tartan Film’s Asia Extreme label;
· University of the Arts Animation Festival – Returning for a second year, curated by Michael Enright and sponsored again by the University of the Arts, with one feature film (MCDULL, PRINCE DE LA BUN from Hong Kong) and four programs of more than 50 shorts, including a program for families (“Family Funamation,” April 10) and another strictly for adults (“Not Your Saturday Morning Carton,” April 14);
· Philadelphia CityPaper Festival of Independents – The annual festival-within-a-festival of regional filmmaking, curated by Scott Johnston, with four shorts programs and four feature films, all by first-time filmmakers, opening with CELLAR on April 8, and closing with WHITE MEN CAN’T RAP on April 19.

Awards: Among the best-received innovations of the past five years have been the annual presentations of special awards to leading figures in filmmaking and the establishment of a juried competition and audience awards. This year has three especially notable presentations:

· The Artistic Achievement Award in Acting will be given to British actor Malcolm McDowell on Friday, April 16. In his honor the festival will screen his latest film, the horror/docudrama EVILENKO about a Russian serial killer, and the film that made him famous, Stanley Kubrick’s A CLOCKWORK ORANGE;

· The 2004 American Independents Award will be given to one of the pillars of independent filmmaking, actor-director Steve Buscemi, on Monday, April 18. He will introduce his third directorial effort, LONESOME JIM, starring Casey Affleck, Liv Tyler and Mary Kay Place;

· This year, the Festival will inaugurate a new juried award for a first-time director – the “Archie,” named in memory of the late Archie Perlmutter, a founding board member of the Philadelphia Film Society (along with his wife Ruth) and one of the city’s best-loved promoters of all things cinematic. The award has been specially designed by sculptor Jennie Shanker.

Premieres and Debuts: A film festival’s status is often judged by the number of “firsts” in its programming. This year the PFF presents a record number of major premieres in virtually every section, beginning with eight world premieres spread across American Discoveries, Festival of Independents, New Korean Cinema, World Focus and Special Screenings; followed by ten North American premieres and 13 U.S. premieres.

This year’s festival also introduces nearly four dozen filmmakers making their feature film debuts. The most famous are actors David Duchovny, who will introduce his new film HOUSE OF D, starring Teá Leoni, Robin Williams, Orlando Jones, Frank Langella and himself; and Peter Riegert, who will introduce his film KING OF THE CORNER, starring Eric Bogosian, Beverly D’Angelo, Isabella Rosselini, Rita Moreno and himself.

Star Directors: While honoring newcomers, the festival hasn’t forgotten the masters. Among the world-famous filmmakers whose new works will be shown (and not just in the International Masters section), are:

· Gregg Araki, who will introduce his MYSTERIOUS SKIN, a Centerpiece Screening about two young men (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brady Corbet) coping with abuse in very different ways;
· Álex de la Iglesia, a 2002 Festival honoree, who will open this year’s festival on April 8 with FERPECT CRIME, a savagely funny look at the bloodthirsty – and blood-soaked – office politics within the women’s section of a Madrid department store;
· Todd Solondz, who will introduce his PALINDROMES, the story of a 12-year-old girl – portrayed by eight different actors;
· Wim Wenders, whose LAND OF PLENTY is his look at post 9/11 America;
· The previously-mentioned Francios Ozon and Takashi Miike.

The festival will also screen COOL!, the final film of the controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, whose shocking murder made international headlines in November 2004.

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Announcing the 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival
Page Three


Philadelphia Ties: For all its growing international prestige, the PFF proudly remains rooted in Philadelphia. This year has several specific Philadelphia-related events in addition to the Festival of Independents:

· The Festival will close on Wednesday, April 20 with a new documentary starring members of the Philadelphia Orchestra: MUSIC FROM THE INSIDE OUT. Directed by Daniel Anker, it explores the joy of music and the artistic spark that creates it. The documentary features scenes from the Orchestra’s international tours and versatile performances by the musicians away from the Orchestra stage. Members of the Orchestra will introduce the screening;

· On Saturday, April 9, the festival will pay tribute to American filmmaker Robert Downey, Sr., with the world premiere of his new documentary, RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, produced by Max Raab, who directed the 2002 Festival’s Opening Night film about the Mummers, STRUT, and also executive produced Malcolm McDowell’s A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. The next day, April 10, the festival will screen Downey’s 1969 social satire, PUTNEY SWOPE;

· Also on Sunday, April 10, the Festival will present ten short films that are part of the Scribe Video Center’s Precious Places Community Oral History Project. This project gave video cameras to community groups across the city to record the stories of their neighborhoods;

· Again on April 10, the Festival will give the world premiere of Damon Dash’s STATE PROPERTY II, filmed in Philadelphia. Two days earlier, on April 8, the festival will screen another Damon Dash film, DEATH OF A DYNASTY, a mock-umentary set in Dash’s hip-hop record company Roc-a-Fella Records;

· The Festival will show 11 films being distributed by TLA Releasing, Philadelphia’s only major film distribution company. Among the TLA titles are MA MÈRE, the sexual story of a mother and son, starring Isabelle Huppert; the gay-themed films BEAR CUB and EVERYONE, the French dissection of father-son relationships, THREE DANCING SLAVES, the poetic Canadian film FAR SIDE OF THE MOON, and the aforementioned MYSTERIOUS SKIN (co-distributed with Tartan Films USA) and DEATH OF A DYNASTY.

Other Festival Highlights: The remainder of the festival’s programming is studded with star events:

· Film Festival Hits: The PFF will show several award winners from other international film festivals, including:
- Three 2005 Sundance winners: ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW, winner of a special Jury Prize; MURDERBALL, the Audience Award winner for Best Documentary, and a PFF Centerpiece Screening, and SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL, the Best World Documentary recipient;
- Two 2004 Cannes winners: OR (MY TREASURE), winner of the Camera d’Or Prix; and KONTROLL, winner of the Prix de le Jeunesse;

· On both Saturdays (April 9 and 16), Disco Volante will host “Night of 100 Films,” a collection of short films that each last 30 seconds or less;

· On Sunday, April 10, Academy Award-winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker (RAGING BULL, THE AVIATOR) will celebrate the career of her late husband, renowned British director Michael Powell, with a screening of his 1945 classic I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING, starring Wendy Hiller, and a question-and-answer session;

· For the third year, the Festival will show the best films from the Philadelphia edition of the 48 Hour Film Project, which requires filmmakers to make a short film in only one weekend (Tuesday, April 12);

· On Wednesday, April 13, the Festival will screen a restored version of Sam Fuller’s World War II epic, THE BIG RED ONE, starring Lee Marvin and Mark Hamill, and featuring over one hour of unseen footage;

· On Sunday, April 17, the festival will give its annual silent film presentation, curated by George Stewart: the 1920 adventure epic THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, starring Wallace Beery. Live musical accompaniment will be provided by regular Festival guest Don Kinnier.

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Announcing the 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival
Page Four


Events: To extend the “festival” spirit after the lights turn on, the PFF will host several parties and film-related gatherings and events. The celebrations begin Opening Night with a post-screening FERPECT CRIME party at the Top of the Tower, and end Closing Night with a MUSIC FROM THE INSIDE OUT party at Solmssen Court (formerly the Great Hall) at the University of the Arts, featuring performances by Philadelphia Orchestra musicians and presentations of the “Archie” and other Jury and Audience Awards.

The Philadelphia CityPaper Festival of Independents will hold its own Opening Night party on April 8 and Closing Night party on April 17, both at the Fringe Cabaret. The University of the Arts Festival of Animation will have its Closing Night party on April 14, at Hamburger Mary’s Dragonfly Lounge, where the Jury Award for Best Animation will be announced.

The Festival will host several panels and forums throughout the two weeks. Topics include copyright issues in filmmaking (April 10), film acting (April 10), a mid-festival “report” (April 12) and music in film (April 16). There will also be two movie trivia contests (known as “Quizzos’), on April 11 and 18, at 8 pm at the Bridge’s 12 Lounge.

On Saturday, April 9, Greater Philadelphia Filmmakers will announce the winners of its annual “Set in Philadelphia” Screenwriting Contest. As part of the celebration, there will be several related events throughout the day, all at the Radisson Plaza-Warwick Hotel. Then, on April 11, there will be a reading of the winner of the Grand Prize at Mike Lemon Casting, beginning at 7:30 pm.

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