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Sandy Mandelberger

A Tale of Two Cannes Sensations

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Lars Von Trier       Jafar Panahi  The 64th edition of the Cannes Film Festival is now history, but two standout personalities on opposite poles of the spectrum have defined this year as one of the most unusual in memory. In one corner, we have the Danish filmmaker provocateur Lars Von Trier whose verbal missteps about Nazism at his press conference led...

Woody Allen: Still On Top

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Consider this proposition…..you are an aging film director whose last hit film occurred when Ronald Reagan was President; you were caught with your pants down in a sexual scandal with a stepdaughter 35 years your junior; you have burned countless professional bridges with a reputation for being demanding, exhausting and off-putting. And yet…..you are still at the top of your game. Not many film directors (or lesser mortals) could suffer the sling and arrows of all these misfortunes. But Woo...

Woody Allen: Still On Top

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  Consider this proposition…..you are an aging film director whose last hit film occurred when Ronald Reagan was President; you were caught with your pants down  in a sexual scandal with a stepdaughter 35 years your junior; you have burned countless professional bridges with a reputation for being demanding, exhausting and off-putting. And yet…..you are still at the top of your game. Not many film directors (or lesser mortals) could suffer the sling and arrows of all these misfortunes....

Cinefondation In Cannes

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  In parallel to the red carpet galas and the celebrity schmoozing that characterizes the Cannes Film Festival, the Cinéfondation iniative will work with fledgling filmmakers to get their projects seen by the attending throngs of film professionals, critics and festival programmers. Cinéfondation was created in 1998. Its mission is based on three complementary strategies: The Cinéfondation Selection, which presents movies from film schools in the framework of the Official Selection; ...

Meet The Cannes Jurors

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  Being a juror for the Competition Section of the Cannes Film Festival is quite the honor. It is perhaps second only to an Oscar nomination in terms of industry prestige and clout. But let’s remember that it is not simply red carpet appearances and having one too many glasses of French champagne at all-night beach orgies. Jurors must view all the films in the Shorts and Features competition titles, which run to more than 30 films total. And then there is the inevitable debate to deter...

Israel Film Festival Spotlights New Film Talents

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  Israeli films have had a strong profile at international film festivals and in the Oscar competitions for the past decade. For the next two weeks, New York area audiences will get a chance to sample the variety, dexterity and quality of contemporary Israeli films as the Israel Film Festival marks its 25th anniversary. The Festival runs through May 19 at the AMC Loews 84th Street Theater on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.  Over a dozen filmmakers will join us from Israel for their film...

George Platt Lynes: Idolizing The Male Body

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  Since the first recorded images to the pantheons of Greece and Rome to the contemporary art world's fascination with the human form, the human body has not only been a source of inspiration but also of expression for artists in all medium. The sculptures that we still admire from ancient times are just the starting point for a continued obsession with the perfection of the human musculature. That obsession was certainly the key note in the artistic development and output of photographer...

An India Beyond Slumdog Millionaires

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  While there is no question that the Danny Boyle film SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE did much to rivet attention in the West on the cinema of India and southern Asia, the various film industries in the second largest country on earth has been a staple of moviegoing in Asia, South America, Africa and even Europe for many decades. Very few of the quality films from the region are given big screen time in North America but that represents both an obstacle and a challenge for the New York Indian Film...

Cool Cinema In New York's Hippest Borough

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  As one New York film festival ends (Tribeca), attention turns across the East River to the New York borough of Brooklyn where another cinema celebration has been unveiled. In only its third year, the BAMcinemaFest, presented by BAMcinématek at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, has become an important film event on the cultural calendar and a festival with a reputation for innovative programming. The third annual BAMcinemaFest, which runs June 16 to 26, will present 19 New Yo...

A Tribute To Sidney Poitier

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  Sidney Poitier, an iconic screen presence and a game changer for the way that African Americans were perceived in the turbulent years of the 1950s and 1960s, is being honored this evening by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York with the 2011 Chaplin Award. Poitier will be praised by an eclectic and star-studded list of celebrities including Dan Ackroyd, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Ruby Dee, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover, Norman Jewison, James Earl Jones, Quincy Jones, Ben Ki...

2011 Tribeca Film Festival Awards

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  SHE MONKEYS, a coming of age film with sexual undertones from Swedish director Lisa Aschan was named Best Narrative Film at the 10th Tribeca Film Festival, which ended its 12 day run yesterday. The film, which won a top prize at the Gothenberg Film Festival and the Teddy Award as best gay film at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year, is a hothouse story of emerging sexuality set amongst teenage girls in a horse acrobatics training school. Competition, both athletic and sexual, b...

Social Media Meets The Movies

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  Aside from the smorgasboard of films on tap at this year’s 10th Tribeca Film Festival, which runs through Sunday, the event has been filled with very interesting film panels and talks. One of the most interesting took place on Tuesday entitled Digital By Design. Paramount Digital Entertainment president Tom Lesinski led a panel of experts to discuss how social media can assist in both the marketing and the distribution of independent films. Now that more movies are being distr...

Tribeca Online: The Festival In Your Home

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  With the Tribeca Film Festival reaching its mid-point, one does not necessarily have to be in New York to be part of the excitement. The Tribeca (Online) Film Festival, supported by founding partner American Express, is a pioneering digital initiative that allows audiences across the USA to view feature and short films for free and worldwide audiences to engage with filmmakers and industry experts as the Tribeca Film Festival’s 10th edition runs concurrently in lower Manhattan from Ap...

Robert De Niro: The Downtown Don

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  It has been quite a year for veteran actor Robert De Niro. In January, he was honored at the Golden Globes with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Currently, his brainchild and labor of love, the Tribeca Film Festival, is celebrating its 10th anniversary as one of New York’s most provocative film and culture showcases. Next month, De Niro heads to the south of France as President of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival. After more than 50 years in the business and a film career that spans ...

Sports Meets Cinema at Tribeca Film Festival

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  FIRE IN BABYLON (USA)  America’s twin obsessions with the movies and sports finds voice at the Tribeca Film Festival, particularly with its Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film series. With sports-topic films such as WIN WIN and SOUL SURFER making major waves at the theatrical box office, the commercial viability of the sports story remains a potent one. The films in the series offer a variety of pleasures, both visual and sensual.  FIRE IN BABYLON by Stevan Riley is a story of the succe...

The Rhythm Of Haiti At Tribeca Film Festival

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  A sneak preview of the music documentary WHEN THE DRUM IS BEATING will be featured at the Tribeca Drive-In this evening as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. The screening will be followed by a free live concert by  Haiti's beloved national band Orchestre Septentrional at the World Financial Center Plaza in Battery Park City in lower Manhattan.  WHEN THE DRUM IS BEATING is a feature documentary by director Whitney Dow about Haiti’s rich musical culture and the legendary band the Orc...

Today Is Earth Day

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  Today is Earth Day…..in fact it is the 40th anniversary of the date inaugurated in 1970 to foster awareness about ecology and the environment. In its inaugural year, the concern about “saving the planet” was secondary to the protestors energizing college campuses in a push to end the war in Vietnam. In those days, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution wa...

Tribeca Turns Ten

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  The Tribeca Film Festival, which begins on April 20, turns ten years old this year. It seems like only yesterday that the event sparked controversy (and not a little enmity) among the denizens of the city’s arthouse upper crust. Launched a few months after the event of 9/11 by Robert De Niro, a downtown celebrity and major property owner, the Festival was designed to create interest and to attract locals and tourists back to the neighborhoods economically devastated by the colla...

Tribeca Turns Ten

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The Tribeca Film Festival, which begins on April 20, turns ten years old this year. It seems like only yesterday that the event sparked controversy (and not a little enmity) among the denizens of the city’s arthouse upper crust. Launched a few months after the event of 9/11 by Robert De Niro, a downtown celebrity and major property owner, the Festival was designed to create interest and to attract locals and tourists back to the neighborhoods economically devastated by the collapse of the Twin...

Cannes Film Festival Announces Its Competition Lineup

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  At a press conference held in Paris yesterday, the Cannes Film Festival unveiled the powerhouse lineup for its 64th edition to be held May 11 to 21 in the French Riviera resort town. The list of films playing in the Main Competition section is by a mix of established veterans and strong newcomers. Among the major auteurs represented are such established arthouse names as Pedro Almodovar, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Bruno Dumont, Terrence Malick and Lars Von Trier.   America...

Sidney Lumet: One Of The Greats

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  We lost one of the greats this past week. Sidney Lumet, a national treasure and the quintessential New York filmmaker (sorry, Woody Allen) died last week at the age of 86. In a career that spanned over 50 years in both live television and the big screen, Lumet was nominated for the Best Director Oscar four times and has left an indelible filmography of titles that are distinguished by their social relevancy and strong caliber of acting. Lumet’s most famous films were shot in and were ...

SoHo International Film Festival: A New York Film Week

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  New York’s crowded film festival calendar has now become positively stifling with the (welcome) addition of the SoHo International Film Festival NYC  (SIFFNYC), which builds on its auspicious debut of last year to offer a second edition of 8 days of films, professional workshops and special events. The Festival will be held at downtown New York’s Quad Cinema from Friday, April 15th through Friday, April 22nd. Nearly 100 features, shorts and documentaries, from bo...

Time Tripping To The 1970s

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  Ah, New York City in the 1970s......while the city was crumbling into a cesspool of urban decay, vigilante violence and moral morass (with the federal government looking away while the city declared bankruptcy), the art underground was, in fact, in full flower. This paradox (or not nearly one, if one contemplates other times and places where the social environment was in chaos and the artistic output was intense, say Berlin in the 1920s) is the focus of several films that are curre...

The Suspensful Career of Brian De Palma

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  While Alfred Hitchcock will forever be known as the "master of suspense", one of his true admirers, the director Brian De Palma, also shares the master's abiding interest and superb execution of the thriller genre. If anything, De Palma was able to be much more explicit in the depiction of violence and sexality than Hitchcock was able to do in the more buttoned-down decades of the 1950s and 1960s. In many ways, De Palma combines the classic elements of less-is-more film sus...

Connecticut Film Festival Launches Tonight

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  While this blog concentrates on film events in New York City proper, the entire region (from northern Connecticut to southern New Jersey) is quite lively with film and media celebrations all season long. One of the most vital and diverse of these launches this evening in the historic city of Danbury, Connecticut.   The Connecticut Film Festival, one of the most dynamic regional showcases of its kind, opens this evening with a fundraising event accompanied by a work-in-pro...
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