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Vanessa McMahon


Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)

 


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Interview with screenwriter John Gatins, ‘FLIGHT’ (2012)

Denzel Washington plays Whip Whitaker, an alcoholic commercial airline pilot in the Robert Zemeckis directed film; he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor at the 85th Academy Awards.   Read here an interview with quirky comical super talent screenwriter John Gatins of ‘FLIGHT’ (2012), which took place this month at the Lobero Theater at 28th SBIFF.  When asked about the process of 'Flight' emerging from script to screen, Gatins replied: GATINS: It was a p...

ARGO! wins Best Picture at the 85th Academy Awards.

'ARGO' (2013) wins Best Picture at the 85th Academy Awards. First Lady Michelle Obama and Jack Nicholson presented the award. Ben Affleck made a moving speech to his team and his wife.    Recently, Ben Affleck spoke in an evening long interview about his life from 8 year-old child actor to great multi-award winning 'Modern Master' at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara where he bared his soul to moderator Leonard Maltin, proving himself to be a modest and grate...

'Blumenthal' (2012) at 28th SBIFF. Interview with Seth Fischer.

Writer, Director, Actor Seth Fischer’s film ‘Blumenthal’ (2012) held its North American premier this month at the 28th Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Set in NY, the story starts with the death of playwright Harold Blumenthal (Brian Cox) who dies from a heart attack while laughing at his own joke. His brother, Saul, has a hard time coming to terms with Harold’s death, which results in a domino effect on his immediate family where each of them –Saul, his...

THE BEST OFFER (2013) world premier at 63rd Berlinale

Giuseppe Tornatore is back in grand form with his latest film, “The Best Offer” (2013). Filmed between Bolzano, Merano, Vienna and Prague, it is the story about art collector and fine art auctioneer Virgil Oldman (Geoffrey Rush) who can tell a fraudulent painting from an original as easy as distinguishing black from white. Virgil is a sterile man who has pushed down human emotions and relationships for stark professionalism and sharp senses. But one day his better judgment is test...

"Sadourni’s Butterflies" 
("Las Mariposas de Sadourni", 2012), a review.

"Sadourni’s Butterflies" 
("Las Mariposas de Sadourni", 2012) is the first feature film by Argentinian director Dario Nardi. The film made its international premier at the 10th Dubai Film Festival and its North American premier at the 24th Palm Springs International Film Festival in the 'New Voices/New Visions' section. It most recently screened at the EFM market during the 63rd Berlinale. Nardi began work on the film fifteen years ago in 1998 until at last...

'The Lookalike' (2013) at EFM, Berlin

Actor John Corbett as 'Bobby' in 'The Lookalike' (2013).   Crime drama ‘The Lookalike’ (2013) wrapped filming in late January just in time to cut a trailer for buyers at the 2013 Berlinale EFM. Sales company Arclight Films acquired the film for world rights and began pre-sale negotiations at the EFM. Filmmaker Richard Gray and his DOP Thomas Scott Stanton attended the 63rd Berlinale to promote 'The Lookalike' along with Richard Gray’s other film...

'Samson and Delilah' (2009) at 63rd Berlinale

By far one of the best and most memorable films for me in the past five years was the cinematic masterpiece "Samson and Delilah" (2009) by Australian director Warwick Thornton. Directed as his first feature after sixteen years as a cinematographer, the film is set in the Central Australian desert. It is a contemporary Aboriginal rite of passage story about two young lovers, Samson and Delilah, who experience a journey together that changes their lives forever. Thornton’s ...

'The Orator' ('O Le Tulafale', 2011) at the 63rd Berlinale, 2013

Tusi Tamasese's film ‘The Orator’ ('O Le Tulafale', 2011) made film history as the first ever to come from the Samoan Islands. It held its world premier at the 68th Venice International Film Festival in 2011, and most recently screened at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival in the NATIVe - Indigenous Cinema section in 2013.   Saili is a small man with a big heart who lives happily with his beautiful wife Vaaiga and her daughter Litia. Sadly however, t...

'BOY' (2010) at the 63rd Berlinale in NATIVe - Indigenous Cinema section, a retrospective.

Taika Waititi is an actor/writer/director from the Raukorekore region of east coast New Zealand and of Te-Whanau-a-Apanui descent. Two years ago his film 'BOY' (2010) held its North American premier at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. 'BOY' most recently screened in the NATIVe - Indigenous Cinema section of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival, 2013.  'BOY' is by far one of the greatest indie film achievements of recent years that stays long with its v...

'Inch’ Allah' (2012) at 63rd Berlinale

Inch’ Allah. Canada, 2012. Canadian filmmaker Anais Barbeau-Lavalette’s film “Inch'Allah” is about a Quebecer female doctor ‘Chloe’ (played by Evelyne Brochu) working for the Red Cross in a Palestinian refugee camp in Ramallah who finds herself in the midst of war. Every day she crosses the border between the Israeli side of the border where she lives, to the Palestinian side where she works, witness to the quotidian horror of this tragic divide. Large...

STORM SURFERS 3D (2012) at 63rd Berlinale.

Recently the 3D documentary film 'STORM SURFERS' (2012) made its World Premier at the 28th Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The film is about two best friends, surfers Ross Clarke-Jones and Tom Carroll, who brave some of the most dangerous of Mother Nature's elements, monstrous waves, in search of Australia's largest and most threatening. Narrated by Australian actress Toni Collette with stunning cinematography and edge-of-your-seat suspense, this documentary is sure...

LOOKING BACK: Berlinale 2012... Golden Bear Winner 'Caesar Must Die' (2012); Interview with producer Grazia Volpi.

Winner of last year’s Golden Bear Award for Best Film in Berlin 2012 was the Italian film ‘Cesare Deve Morire’ (Caesar Must Die, 2012). Directed by art-house filmmakers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (Padre Padrone, Night of the Shooting Stars and Kaos), the film is set in the Rebibbia prison in Rome and tells the story about a group of prisoners (from murderers to mafia) who love Shakespeare so much that they perform the play ‘Julius Caesar’ from within their jail ce...

'War Witch: Rebelle' (2012) at 24th PSIFF

Arguably one of the most talked about films on the 2012 international festival circuit was the extreme realism drama ‘War Witch' (aka 'Rebelle’), 2012. Written and directed by Kim Nguyen, the film is in French and Lingala and filmed on location in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Canada’s entry for Best Foreign Film for the 85th Academy Awards, ‘War Witch: Rebelle’ tells the story of Komona (Rachel Mwanza) who is kidnapped by Congolese guerilla soldiers....

'A Royal Affair' (2012) goes to the 85th Academy Awards

Leave it to the Danish, once again. The little country between Sweden and Germany is a giant when it comes to international cinema. With its national cinema state funded by the DFI (Danish Film Institute), Denmark has been a mainstay on the cinema scene for decades, having produced some of the world’s most influential and greatest directors of contemporary film- Carl Th. Dreyer (The Passion of Joan of Arc, 1928; Vampyr, 1932), Erik Balling (Qivitoq, 1956), Gabriel Axel (Babette’s ...

Daniel Day Lewis receives Montecito Award at the 28th SBIFF

On January 26th, actor Daniel Day Lewis spoke to a sold out audience of 2000 at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara during the 28th SBIFF. Writer/Director/Producer Michael Mann ('The Last of The Mohicans', 1992) introduced his longtime friend beginning with a powerfully edited montage of all his films spanning Daniel Day’s entire eclectic career, after which Daniel Day modestly replied: ‘this is some cruel and unusual torture’. The two-time Oscar winning actor is...

Ben Affleck honored as a "Modern Master" at 28th SBIFF

  On Friday 25th January, actor Ben Affleck received the 'Modern Masters Award' in Santa Barbara during the 28th Santa Barbara International Film Festival at the Arlington Theater for excellence and outstanding achievement in his prolific career as actor/writer/producer/director and for the recent grand achievement of 'Argo' (2012). Affleck's best friend since childhood, Matt Damon, presented the award to him after making a moving speech about his pride for having shar...

28th SBIFF, from January 24-February 3rd

The 2013 SBIFF runs from Jan 24th-Feb 3rd. It is arguably one of the most important international film festivals as it takes place every year just before the Oscars. The festival showcases domestic premiers and award-winning films from around the world and hosts multiple award ceremonies with some of the film industry's most talented artists, many of whom are up for Academy Awards. It is a fantastic festival to discover new films from around the world as well as watch your favorite stars g...

'KON-TIKI' (2012) travels to 2013 Academy Awards

  ‘Are you a traveler or a tourist?’ That is the question. What Is the difference? A tourist thinks about going home the minute he/she has arrived at his/her destination, whereas a traveler gets so wrapped up in the adventure he/she rarely ever returns home (Paul Bowles’ ‘The Sheltering Sky’). Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl was a true ‘traveler’ and made history with his epic voyage ‘Kon-Tiki’, now a major motion picture nominate...

'Satellite Boy' (2012) at 24th PSIFF. A review!

Director Catriona McKenzie’s Australian film ‘Satellite Boy’ (2012) made its US premier at the 24th Palm Springs International Film Festival in the ‘New Voices/New Visions’ section. Set in the dry and expansive Australian Outback, the film is a perfect arrival for the theme and mood of the synergetic Aquarian Age, confronting the issues of past, present and future for Australia and the world at large. A young Aboriginal boy, Pete (played by Cameron Wallaby), is c...

'I Do' (2012) at 24th PSIFF

  ‘I Do’ (2012) by director Glenn Gaylord featured at the 24th Palm Springs International Film Festival. The film confronts the issue of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). In the film Jack (played by David W. Ross) holds an expired work visa and faces the threat of deportation back to his native England. Jack marries his best friend Ali for a green card to stay in America in order to take care of his fatherless niece, Tara. Jack is gay and falls in love with an architect, Mano; ...

'The Impossible' (2012) at 24th PSIFF

On Saturday January 5th, the PSIFF program 'Talking Pictures' featured actress Naomi Watts on panel where she spoke to a full audience about her work on her latest feature: 'The Impossible' (2012). Watts is best known for her award-winning performance in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive (2001). Other films include: The Ring (2002), 21 Grams (2004), King Kong (2005), Eastern Promises (2007) and Fair Game (2010). A Spanish production directed by Spain's Juan Antonio Bayon...

24th ANNUAL PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS GALA

-OFFICIAL PSIFF PRESS- 24th ANNUAL PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS GALA PRESENTED BY CARTIER Festival Honorees included: Ben Affleck, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, Bradley Cooper, Helen Hunt, Helen Mirren, Mychael Danna, Naomi Watts, Richard Gere, Robert Zemeckis, Sally Field and Tom Hooper. The 24th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) Awards Gala, presented by Cartier, was held Saturday, January 5, 2013 at the Palm Springs Convention Center hosted by Mary ...

'Inuk' at 24th PSIFF

Director Mike Magidson brings Greenland to the world with his stunning film ‘Inuk’ (2012), which screened this past week at the 24th Palm Springs Film Festival. Filmed entirely on location in Greenland, it gives one the sense of having been there after watching this sweeping cinematic masterpiece. With its majestic extensive wide shots of icy landscapes and endless rolling glaciers, it is a visual feast for the eye, a bouquet of contrasts between the timeless and the temporal. Th...

PSIFF 2013

  On January 3rd, 2013 the 24th Palm Springs International Film Festival opened with the screening of Spain's Oscar submission film ‘Blancanieves’ (2012) by Spanish director Pablo Berger. The festival ran from January 3rd until the 14th and hosted 475 screenings of 180 films from 68 countries over 13 days. More than 130,000 filmgoers from all over the world packed the theaters in what is arguably the nation’s most film-lover friendly film festival and this filmgoer...

Interview with Wael Omar on 'In Search of Oil and Sand'.

  Writer/Director/Producer Wael Omar is an avant-garde filmmaker in the true sense, standing at the frontlines of battle in the midst of Egypt’s ongoing political revolution. After receiving an MA in Film Arts, Wael began his filmmaking career making documentary shorts (‘The Countdown’, 2006; ‘Democracy 76, State of Emergency’, 2006; ‘Getting Back’, 2007) and most recently completed his first doc feature with co-director Philippe Dib ‘In Se...
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