PRODUCTION JOURNAL: Sundance and Rotterdam Roundups 2015 + BERLINALE 2015 Lineup

Stardate: 1.10.15

Two top film festivals have ended and we are in the beginning stages of a third top fest & film market (Berlinale). I study the news of the film festivals in a bipolar fashion; my left brain analyzes what kind of films made deals to get a pulse on the market and my right brain what films have the potential to inspire, impress or interrogate me.  ~~ Danny Indio


Sundance 2015 lineup ~~ MUBI Notebook

Grand Jury Prize
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon)
Audience Award
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Alfonso Gomez-Rejon)
Directing Award
The Witch (Robert Eggers, U.S./Canada)
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award
The Stanford Prison Experiment (Tim Talbott)
Special Jury Award – Excellence in Cinematography
Diary of a Teenage Girl (Brandon Trost)
Special Jury Award – Excellence in Editing
Dope (Lee Haugen)
Special Jury Award – Collaborative Vision
Advantageous (Jacqueline Kim, Jennifer Phang)
Grand Jury Prize
The Wolfpack (Crystal Moselle)
Audience Award
Meru (Jimmy Chin, E. Chai Vasarhelyi)
Directing Award
Cartel Land (Matthew Heineman, U.S./Mexico)
Special Jury Award — Social Impact
3 1/2 Minutes (Marc Silver)
Special Jury Award – Verite Filmmaking
Western (Bill Ross, Turner Ross)
Special Jury Award – Break Out First Feature
(T)error (Lyric R. Cabral, David Felix Sutcliffe)
Special Jury Award – Cinematography
Cartel Land (Matthew Heineman, Matt Porwoll)
Grand Jury Prize
Slow West (John Maclean, UK/New Zealand)
Audience Award – World Cinema Dramatic
Umrika (Prashant Nair, India)
Directing Award
The Summer of Sangaile (Alanté Kavaïté, Lithuania/France/The Netherlands)
Special Jury Award – Cinematography
Partisan (Germain McMicking, Australia)
Special Jury Award – Acting
Glassland (Jack Reynor, Ireland)
Special Jury Award – Acting
The Second Mother (Regina Casé, Camila Márdila, Brazil)
Grand Jury Prize
The Russian Woodpecker (Chad Gracia, UK)
Audience Award – World Cinema Documentary
Dark Horse (Louise Osmond, UK)
Directing Award
Dreamcatcher (Kim Longinotto, UK)
Special Jury Award – Editing
How To Change The World (Jim Scott, UK/Canada)
Special Jury Award – Impact
Pervert Park (Frida Barkfors, Lasse Barkfors, Sweden/Denmark)
Special Jury Award – Unparalleled Access
The Chinese Mayor (Hao Zhou, China)
Audience Award – NEXT
James White (Josh Mond)
Short Film Grand Jury Prize
World of Tomorrow (Don Hertzfeldt, U.S.)
Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction
SMILF (Frankie Shaw, U.S.)
Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction
Oh Lucy! (Atsuko Hirayanagi, Japan/Singapore/U.S.)
Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction
The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul (Kitty Green, Australia)
Short Film Jury Award: Animation
Storm hits jacket (Paul Cabon, France)
Short Film Special Jury Award for Acting
Back Alley (Cécile Ducrocq, France)
Short Film Special Jury Award for Visual Poetry
Object (Paulina Skibińska, Poland)

"What was notable was the feeding frenzy of independent distribution companies as the formerly hesitant buying pace of recent years picked up with a sense of mission. The biggest deal of the festival came midweek, when Fox Searchlight spent $9 million for “Brooklyn,” a 1950s coming-of-age drama about an Irish immigrant (Saoirse Ronan) in New York, based on the novel by Colm Toibin and adapted by Nick Hornby. The company also picked up rights to “Me & Earl & the Dying Girl,” a festival favorite, based on a young adult novel that slots neatly into the nascent teen cancer genre, and “Mistress America,” the latest indie comedy from director Noah Baumbauch and his leading lady, Greta Gerwig.

What’s fueling the action? All of these movies should be coming to theaters near you in the coming year, but some of them may reach larger audiences — and reap potentially bigger profits — in the various streaming platforms that are starting to cannibalize theatrical markets. The qualified on-demand success in 2014 of films like “Snowpiercer” and “The Interview” means that the industry will continue to test these waters, with smaller distributors wading in where larger studios fear to tread.
As usual, Sundance has been a showcase for strong, often-overpowering documentaries. Some of these arrived in town with deals in place. “The Hunting Ground,” a sobering overview of campus rape, will be distributed to theaters and on-demand markets by Weinstein Company subsidiary Radius and on broadcast TV by CNN. “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” an unrelenting takedown of the controversial religion from the prolific Alex Gibney, will air on HBO after going to theaters. Other documentaries came looking for deals, like the heartbreaking “Hot Girls Wanted,” about the amateur porn business. Coproduced by actress Rashida Jones, the film is extremely sympathetic to the naïve 18-year-olds who enter porn seeking fame and money, much less so to the culture that supports the industry." ~~ Boston Globe

"For many filmmakers at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, it was a good week. Unlike last year, when the highest bid for distribution came in at around $3 million, there have been several big pay days. There’s no formula for snagging a great distribution deal — films in a range of genres, with A-list actors and virtual unknowns have all been picked up. Also, many industry insiders are puzzled, due to the stagnant returns from many previous years’ acquisitions, noted by Variety. Whatever the reason for the uptick in deals, many analysts feel the eager atmosphere at this year’s festival may signal a “return to health for independent film,” reports The New York Times. Will any of this year’s films change the course? Here are four that have raked in serious distribution dough." ~~

"With the festival almost behind us, there are many topics and trends that stood out. Here is my recap of the most prominent topics that took over the streets of Park City during the previous week:

1. Acquisitions galore! Trades and online film outlets alike were rolling in ecstasy just a few days ago when incorrect news of a $12 Million sale (of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, to Fox Searchlight) spread like wildfire...

2. Coming of Age: Still a favorite Sundance genre.Yes, there is that title again. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. But it needs to be mentioned here, as it proved Sundance just loves watching children and teenagers come of age...

3. An exciting crop of female storytellers is emerging, with movies about women on the horizon. In a recent interview with Variety, Sony Pictures Classics’ Tom Bernard and Michael Barker spoke of female voices of Sundance, having just grabbed the distribution rights to Marielle Heller’s The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which frankly explores female sexually –a topic that is rather poorly served in mainstream cinema. Bernard said “It’s the year of the woman,” and he is clearly on to something...

4. The blurring lines between Film & TV: also a Sundance topic. It was voiced during the Day 1 press conference that the Sundance institute champions storytellers not only in writing feature-length projects, but also in creating episodic content. With a wealth of talent trying their hand on both film and TV, and innovative TV shows taking up the lion's share of the popular culture, it was only a matter of time that the Sundance Institute further blurred the line between two mediums...

5. There is this thing called “sex.” It’s going to be big.  I remember my first Sundance Film Festival in 2013, when Robert Redford referred to “sex” as a thematic element to pay attention to. And he was certainly on point with titles such as Hannah Fidel's A Teacher and Anne Fontaine's Adore (formerly titled Two Mothers) among others that year. After a relatively sterile 2014, we are in the presence of an even more sexually-charged Sundance this year..." ~~ Film Journal

"PETER DEBRUGE: Here we are, approaching the end of the Sundance Film Festival, and let me just say, having spent the last year attending festivals abroad, I miss American independent cinema, far too little of which lands overseas distribution. Sundance is the place where we can all stock up on all those squirrely, hard-to-categorize movies that come out between the blockbusters and cookie-cutter releases the rest of the year, and this year’s bounty leaves me optimistic — and for more reasons than just sheer entertainment value.

This is the most diverse Sundance lineup I can remember, featuring new films from black, Asian and LGBT filmmakers set in their respective communities (“Dope,” “Seoul Searching” and “I Am Michael”), and while hardly a minority — except in Hollywood — a wealth of films directed by women, including the terrific, sexually liberated coming-of-age movie “The Diary of a Teenage Girl.”
But more interesting than that is a general sense of “color-blindness” we’ve seen in the casting of these films. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but these young directors don’t seem to be hung up on that default assumption that all principal characters might as well be white. In Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s knockout “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” (made by a Texas-born Latino), two white teens have a black best friend. In Spike Lee-produced “Cronies,” the ratio is flipped, but no one’s keeping score." ~~ Variety

The Rotterdam 2015 lineup ~~ MUBI Notebook

La obra del siglo by Carlos M. Quintela
Videophilia (and Other Viral Syndromes) by Juan Daniel F. Molero
Vanishing Point by Jakrawal Nilthamrong
Second Coming by Debbie Tucker Green
Poet on a Business Trip by Ju Anqi (China)
Battles by Isabelle Tollenaere (Belgium, The Netherlands)
Key House Mirror by Michael Noer 
  1. The Dark Horse
  2. The Farewell Party
  3. Loin des Hommes
  4. La Vie de Jean-Marie
  5. Alice Cares
  1. Los hongos by Oscar Ruiz Navia 
  2. La Mujer de los Perros
  3. NN
  4. Court
  5. The Tribe
"Rotterdam, once thought of as a festival for emerging talents or the avant-garde, is becoming increasingly popular (even populist, based on the opening night film, Tom Harper’s War Book). To cope with this growth, change most certainly lies ahead for the fest (especially with director Rutger Wolfson leaving), and it most likely won’t only apply to how booze is bought. ~~ MUBI Notebook

"Though we’re a couple of days into the 44th edition, we haven’t yet seen all that many reviews coming out of Rotterdam. Not a good sign. When IFFR 2015 opened on Wednesday, the Hollywood Reporter ran a piece in which Scott Roxborough suggests that the festival is slipping. The first reason he offers—that “Rotterdam’s brand of avantgarde movies is out of fashion these days”—is, to put bluntly, ridiculous. If that were so, Locarno would not be on the rise (and most certainly it is).

Nonetheless, Roxborough does have Ab Zagt, film editor at Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, telling him, “The festival has lost a lot of its urgency, a lot of professionals are telling me there’s no reason to come to Rotterdam anymore.” According to Roxborough, “Zagt is among the many Rotterdam critics who put much of the blame for the festival’s supposed decline on the shoulders of IFFR director Rutger Wolfson, who will be stepping down after this year’s festival.” Wolfson counters: “Far from being out of touch with the industry, I think we have been very responsive, and innovative, to the challenges the industry faces.”
And Wolfson elaborates in Wendy Mitchell‘s interview with him for Screen, arguing that the festival has met those challenges with new initiatives such as IFFR Live!, a series of five premieres to be screened simultaneously in cinemas across Europe and on VOD, and Tiger Release, a partnership with Infostrada that’ll nudge festival films onto a variety of VOD platforms.
Neither piece mentions shifts in the festival calendar—probably not a decisive factor, but a factor nonetheless. Years ago, surfers along the festival circuit could “do” Sundance, then fly to Europe and catch a good week of Rotterdam before taking on Berlin. But Sundance has shifted its dates into IFFR territory; this year, the two festivals are running all but simultaneously." ~~ Fandor
"It’s a thrill to see two out of three of the CineMart Awards are to filmmakers we are tracking: “Luxembourg” by Myroslav Slaboshptyskly from Ukraine and Cuba’s Claudia Calvino and Carlos Lechuga's “Santa y Delfin” won the inaugural Wouter Barendrecht Award. Best unpublished screenplay prize was awarded to the team this past December at Havana’s Festival de Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano. The Ukrainian-German production to be produced by MIFF’s Business Square founder Anna Katchko, “Luxembourg”, was awarded the €7,000 ARTE International Prize after winning the Sundance AJ+ sponsored Global Filmmaking Award of US $10,000."~~ Sydney's Buzz

BERLINALE 2015 Lineup

Cinderella (Kenneth Branagh)
Ixcanul (Jayro Bustamante)
As We Were Dreaming (Andreas Dresen)
Under Electric Clouds (Alexey German)
Eisenstein in Guanajuato (Peter Greenaway)
45 Years (Andrew Haigh)
Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick)
Body (Malgorzata Szumowska)
Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories (Di Phan Dang)
Diary of a Chambermaid (Benoit Jacquot)
Mr. Holmes (Bill Condon)
Queen of the Desert (Werner Herzog)
Taxi (Jafar Panahi)
Victoria (Sebastian Schipper)
Gone with the Bullets (Wen Jiang) 
Love & Mercy (Bill Pohlad, USA)
Selma (Ava DuVernay, USA)
Woman in Gold (Simon Curtis, USA)
Life (Anton Corbjin, UK/Canada)
Virgin Mountain (Dagur Kári, Iceland/Denmark)
Breathe Umphefumlo (La Bohème) (Mark Dornford-May,  South Africa)
The Misplaced World (Margarethe von Trotta, Germany)
The Seventh Fire (Jack Pettibone Riccobonoe, USA)
Greenery Will Bloom Again (Ermanno Olmi, Italy)
The Boda Boda Thieves (Yes! That’s Us, Uganda / South Africa / Kenya / Germany)
The Valley (Ghassan Salhab, Lebanon / France / Germany)
Memories of Overdevelopment Redux (Kidlat Tahimik, The Philippines)
Seashore (Filipe Matzembacher, Marcio Reolon, Brazil)
Ben Zaken (Efrat Corem, Israel)
Brazilian Dream (Marcelo Pedroso, Brazil)
This Gigantic Furrowing of the Ground (Claire Angelini, France)
The Gulls (Ella Manzheeva, Russian Federation)
End of Winter (Kim Dae-hwan, Republic of Korea)
Counting (Jem Cohen, USA)
Dari Marusan (Izumi Takahashi, Japan)
The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills (Marcin Malaszczak, Germany / Poland / USA)
Portrait of the Artist (Antoine Barraud, France)
Exotica, Erotica, Etc. (Evangelia Kranioti, France)
Flotel Europa (Vladimir Tomic, Denmark / Serbia)
The Forbidden Room (Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Canada)
After Work (Janina Herhoffer, Germany)
Nuclear Nation II (Atsushi Funahashi, Japan)
The Money Complex (Juan Rodrigáñez, Spain)
Hand Gestures (Francesco Clerici, Italy)
H. (Rania Attieh, Daniel Garcia, Argentina / USA)
Hedi Schneider is Stuck (Sonja Heiss, Germany / Norway)
The Story of Judas (Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche, France)
Hotline (Silvina Landsmann, Israel / France)
K (Emyr ap Richard, Darhad Erdenibulag, People’s Republic of China / United Kingdom)
Koza (Ivan Ostrochovský, Slovakia / Czech Republic)
Atom Heart Mother (Ali Ahmadzadeh, Iran)
Evilness (Joshua Gil, Mexico)
Mar (Dominga Sotomayor, Chile / Argentina)
The Voice of Water (Masashi Yamamoto, Japan)
The Mud Woman (Sergio Castro San Martín, Chile / Argentina)
Until I Lose My Breath (Emine Emel Balcı, Turkey / Germany)
The Night and the Kid (David Yon, France)
Queen of Earth (Alex Ross Perry, USA)
Fish Tail (Joaquim Pinto, Nuno Leonel)
The Siren of Faso Fani (Michel K. Zongo, Burkina Faso / France / Germany)
Androids Dream (Ion de Sosa, Spain / Germany)
Superworld (Karl Markovics, Austria)
Twenty-Eight Nights and A Poem (Akram Zaatari, Lebanon / France)
Over the Years (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Austria)
Journey into Post-History (Vincent Dieutre, France)
Violence (Jorge Forero, Colombia / Mexico)
Zurich (Sacha Polak, The Netherlands / Germany / Belgium)
Ruhe auf der Leinwand (Friedl vom Gröller, Austria)
Fish Plane, Heart Clock (Arvo Leo, Canada / Switzerland)
Into the Hinterlands (Julia Yezbick, USA)
Face B (Leila Albayaty, Belgium / Germany)
Black President (Mpumelelo Mcata, Zimbabwe / South Africa / United Kingdom)
Oskar Dawicki in the Performer (Łukasz Ronduda/Maciej Sobieszczanski, Poland)
This is Cosmos (Anton Vidokle, USA)
Shape Shifting (Elke Marhöfer, Mikhail Lylov, Germany / Japan)
Institute Above - Ground (Florian Zeyfang/Lisa Schmidt-Colinet/ Alexander Schmoeger, Germany)
Out on the Street (Jasmina Metwaly/Philip Rizk, Egypt)
Memories for a Private Eye (Rania Stephan, Lebanon)
La Dolce Siria (Ammar Al Beik, United Arab Emirates / Egypt)
Calamity Qui? (Isabelle Prim, Canada / France)
Have You Ever Killed a Bear? Or Becoming Jamila (Marwa Arsanios, Lebanon)
Acapella (Islam Safiyyudin Mohamed, Egypt)
Escape from my Eyes (Felipe Bragança, Brazil / Germany)
Orchard Street (Ken Jacobs, USA)
Cyclops Observes the Celestial Bodies (Ken Jacobs, USA)
Les Choses et les Mots de Mudimbe (Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Cameroon)
From Ramallah (Asem Naser, Palestine / Germany)
Untitled (Human Mask) (Pierre Huyghe, France)
A Field Guide to the Ferns (Basma Alsharif, USA)
Wayward Fronds (Fern Silva, USA)
Iec Long (João Pedro Rodrigues, João Rui Guerra da Mata, Portugal)
Cancelled Faces (Lior Shamriz, South Korea, Germany)
20 Handshakes for Peace (Mahdi Fleifel, Palestine / Germany)
And on a Different Note (Mohammad Shawky Hassan, Egypt)
Gineva (Nicolas Cilins, Switzerland)
Embroideress (Lyusya Matveeva, Russia)
Dear John (Hans Scheugl, Austria)
Three Quarters (Kevin Jerome Everson, USA)
Strom (Eva C. Heldmann, Germany)
600 Miles (Gabriel Ripstein, Mexico)
The Sea Is Behind (Hicham Lasri, Morocco)
Love, Theft and Other Entanglements (Muayad Alayan, Palestinian Territories)
Angelica (Mitchell Lichtenstein, USA)
Absence (Chico Teixeira, Brazil / Chile / France)
Bizarre (Étienne Faure, France / USA)
Why me? (Tudor Giurgiu, Romania / Bulgaria / Hungary)
The Fire (Juan Schnitman, Argentina)
Tough Love (Rosa von Praunheim, Germany)
Every Time (Josh Kim, Thailand / USA / Indonesia)
Butterfly (Marco Berger, Argentina)
Nasty Baby (USA By Sebastián Silva)
Necktie Youth (Sibs Shongwe-La Mer, South Africa)
The Blue Hour (Anucha Boonyawatana, Thailand)
Out of My Hand (Takeshi Fukunaga, USA)
A Minor Leap Down (Hamed Rajabi, Iran / France)
Petting Zoo (Micah Magee, Germany / Greece / USA)
Pioneer Heroes (Natalia Kudryashova, Russian Federation)
The Second Mother (Anna Muylaert, Brazil)
The Summer of Sangailé (Alanté Kavaïté, Lithuania / France / Netherlands)
Blue Blood (Lirio Ferreira, Brazil)
Thanatos, Drunk (Chang Tso-Chi, Taiwan)
54: The Director's Cut (Mark Christopher, USA)
Chorus (François Delisle, Canada)
The Last Summer of the Rich (Peter Kern, Austria)
Dora or The Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents (Stina Werenfels, Switzerland / Germany)
Dyke Hard (Bitte Andersson, Sweden)
Ode to My Father (JK Youn, Republic of Korea)
I Am Michael (Justin Kelly, USA)
Paradise in Service (Doze Niu Chen-Zer, Taiwan)
Murder in Pacot (Raoul Peck, France / Haiti / Norway)
Out of Nature (Ole Giæver, Marte Vold, Norway)
Ned Rifle (Hal Hartley, USA)
Stories of Our Lives (Jim Chuchu, Kenya)
Censored Voices (Mor Loushy, Israel / Germany)
Cobain: Montage of Heck (Brett Morgen, Great Britain / USA)
The Resistors “their spirit prevails ...” (Ula Stöckl, Katrin Seybold, Germany)
Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer (Jack Walsh, USA)
Prison System 4614 (Jan Soldat, Germany)
My Name is Annemarie Schwarzenbach (Véronique Aubouy, France)
Jia Zhang-ke, a Guy from Fenyang (Walter Salles, Brazil)
Misfits (Jannik Splidsboel, Denmark / Sweden)
Sumé - The Sound of a Revolution (Inuk Silis Høegh, Greenland / Denmark / Norway)
Tell Spring Not to Come This Year (Saeed Taji Farouky, Michael McEvoy, Great Britain)
A German Youth (Jean-Gabriel Périot, France/Switzerland/Germany)
What Happened, Miss Simone? (Liz Garbus, USA)
B-Movie: Lust & Sound in West-Berlin (Jörg A. Hoppe, Klaus Maeck, Heiko Lange, Germany)
Daniel’s World (Veronika Lišková, Czech Republic)
The New Man (Aldo Garay, Uruguay / Chile)
Fassbinder – To Love without Demands (Christian Braad Thomsen, Denmark)
Iraqi Odyssey (Samir, Switzerland / Germany / Iraq / United Arab Emirates)
The Yes Men Are Revolting (Laura Nix, Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno)
The Bunker (Nikias Chryssos)
Spiderwebhouse (Mara Eibl-Eibesfeldt)
HomeSick (Jakob M. Erwa)
Wanja (Carolina Hellsgård)
Sibylle (Michael Krummenacher)
A Perfect Place (Anatol Schuster)
I Remember (Janna Ji Wonders)
Short Skin (Duccio Chiarini, Italy)
Corbo (Mathieu Denis, Canada)
Nena (Saskia Diesing, Netherlands/Germany)
Flocken (Beata Gårdeler, Sweden)
The Beat Beneath My Feet (John Williams, Great Britain)
Paper Planes (Robert Connolly, Australia)
Snow Pirates (Faruk Hacıhafızoğlu, Turkey)
Mini and the Mozzies (Jannik Hastrup and Flemming Quist Møller, Denmark)
Rainbow (Nagesh Kukunoor, India)
My Skinny Sister (Sanna Lenken, Sweden/Germany)
You're Ugly Too (Mark Noonan, Ireland)
Golden Kingdom (Brian Perkins, USA)
Confetti Harvest (Tallulah Schwab, Netherlands)
NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema - from Zacatecas to Patagonia
Eldest Brother (María Dolores Arias Martínez, Mexico)
Echo of the Mountain (Nicolás Echevarría, Mexico)
Gerónima (Raúl Tosso, Argentina)
Paraguayan Hammock (Paz Encina, Argentina / France / Netherlands / Paraguay / Spain)
The Hyperwomen (Carlos Fausto, Leonardo Sette, Takumã Kuikuro, Brazil)
Gone with the River (Mario Crespo, Venezuela)
Madeinusa (Claudia Llosa, Peru / Spain)
The Master and Divino (Tiago Campos Tôrres, Brazil)
The Quispe Girls (Sebastián Sepúlveda, Chile / France / Argentina)
Silvestre Pantaleón (Roberto Olivares, Jonathan Amith, Mexico)
Sip’ohi – Manduré Place (Sebastián Lingiardi, Argentina)
Land without Evil (Juan Carlos Valdivia, Bolivia / Mexico / Norway)
On Hold (Gabriela Calvache, Ecuador)
The Fighting Cholitas (Mariam Jobrani, USA)
Hepari Idub’rada, Thank you Brother (Divino Tserewahú, Brazil)
Man of the North (Marcelo Martinessi, Paraguay)
Koltavanej (Concepción Suárez Aguilar, Mexico)
I’ve Already Become an Image (Zezinho Yube, Brazil)


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