Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nonobjective Films at the Guggenheim Museum

Tomorrow, Friday November 6, at 2pm, and again on November 20, in New York, there will be an accompanying program to the Guggenheim's Kandinsky exhibition, called "Nonobjective Films, 1920's-1950's." A program of artists supported by Hilla Rebay and organized by the Center for Visual Music.

Image from the Center of Visual MusicIn the 1940's, curator and founding director Hilla Rebay planned to establish a film center at the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, which later became the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, to collect and promote nonobjective films. She awarded grants to artists and presented programs of short experimental films. With the help of Oskar Fischinger, an elaborate film center was planned to include studios and planetarium-style projection capability. Although unrealized, Rebay's support enabled many filmmakers to continue their work in abstract film. This program presents short films by filmmakers whose work was screened and/or supported by Rebay, including Jordan Belson, Mary Ellen Bute, Charles Dockum, Oskar Fischinger, Norman McLaren, Hans Richter, Harry Smith, among others. Having experimented with nonobjectivity, many of these artists were familiar with the work of Vasily Kandinsky, one of its most famous practitioners.

The films will be projected at 2 pm (16mm films) and 2:30 pm (35mm films), at the New Media Theater, free with Museum admission. And the program is:


- "Symphonie Diagonale," Viking Eggeling, 1921-24.
- "Film Studie," Hans Richter, 1926.
- "Tarantella," Mary Ellen Bute, 1940.
- "Film no. 7," Harry Smith, c.1952.
- "Mobilcolor Performance at the Guggenheim Museum," Charles Dockum, 1952.
- "Séance," Jordan Belson, 1959.


- "Studie no. 7," Oskar Fischinger, 1931.
- "Loops," Norman McLaren, 1940.
- "Allegretto," Oskar Fischinger, 1936-1943.
- "Radio Dynamics," Oskar Fischinger, 1942.

Almost all are new prints; the Fischingers and Dockum are new prints from the Center for Visual Music's recent preservation projects. CVM also thanks Cecile Starr and Robert Haller.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Margaret Mead Festival Line-Up

The 33rd Annual Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival line-up is live at the Museum of Natural History website, at this link. They are presenting 33 films, 25 premieres, and 26 filmmakers, who will be in attendance, on November 12-15.

Ariella J. Ben-Dov, Artistic and Festival Director of the "Mead," says, "Travel the world all from the comfort of the American Museum of Natural History, where you can get to know the people and places from Mauritania to Mumbai, from Chongqing, China, to St. Petersburg, Russia, and from the Gulf Coast of southern Florida to right next door in Brooklyn. We'll follow the length of a race-track that starts in Paris and ends in Dakar Africa, pausing to meet with the communities along the way. We'll go north to the Seward Peninsula where a Native Alaskan community comes together to mourn the impending loss of their land to climate change. A schoolyard in Brooklyn becomes a battlefield in the War on Terror. And two historic neighborhoods facing the ugly side of urban renewal, one in Beijing, the other St. Petersburg."

Image From Margaret Mead Festival 2009 The opening night film, "Cooking History", takes us across the battlefields of the 20th century, where even the destructive force of war has contributed to culinary and cultural exchange. In "Hair India", which closes the festival, sacrificial hair shorn in a Hindu temple is transported to a factory in Bangalore, to a distributor in Rome, then back to India’s finest salons. In "Babaji, an Indian Love Story", a Hindi man embraces the burial practices of another religion in hopes of being reunited with his beloved wife. Finally, "Hotel Sahara", about Africans looking for a way into Europe, and "7915 KM", about Europeans racing through northeastern Africa to Dakar, demonstrate how, for better and worse, we continue to carve new grooves into the world.

The Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival honors the legacy of famed anthropologist and American Museum of Natural History curator Margaret Mead, showing documentaries that increase our understanding of the complexity and diversity of the peoples and cultures that populate our planet.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Free Teleseminar with Sundance Programmer

Caroline Libresco, Senior Programmer of the Sundance Film Festival, will be on a free teleseminar this Thursday evening, October 15th, at 5:30pm PST, talking about how to get into Sundance, how to prepare if you get in, what you can do if you don't get in, and how to make the most out of the festival circuit.

To register for the free call, click on this link, part of the website Documentary How To.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Camden International Film Festival call for entries

The Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) is now accepting submissions for their 2009 program. Documentary features and shorts of all lengths from all corners of the globe are eligible. The 5th Annual Film Festival will take place from October 1st - 4th, 2009, screening the best international documentary film to audiences in venues throughout Midcoast Maine. The weekend will also consist of panels, workshops, musical concerts, photographic exhibits, parties and other special events.

The CIFF is committed to supporting and generating interest in independent documentary films. The annual festival presents a snapshot of the cultural landscape through the year's best non-fiction storytelling, connecting filmmakers with eager audiences and industry representatives to discuss documentary film as an art form, a catalyst for change and as an outlet for the independent voice.


July 15, 2009: Regular deadline. Feature $30; Short $25
August 1, 2009: Late deadline. Feature $35; Short $30
August 10, 2009: Extended deadline. Feature $45; Short $40

Friday, July 3, 2009

IDA Documentary Awards 2009: Final Deadline

The International Documentary Association (IDA) Documentary Awards is the foremost event dedicated to the art of documentary film. And they are proud to announce the Special Recognition Awards for the 2009 awards program. Many Special Recognition Awards carry with them cash prizes. These awards recognize outstanding documentaries focusing on the natural environment, social justice, diversity of the human race, as well as achievement in the use of news footage. To apply for the IDA Documentary Awards, please go to to submit your entry online. The final deadline is by 11:59pm July 7th.

Logo IDA. c. IDA
The IDA Distinguished Award Main Categories are:

FEATURE: Individual, stand-alone documentary, more than 40 minutes long. Student feature projects not eligible in this category and should submit as an entry in the IDA/David L. Wolper Award below. Award recipient - Limited to two persons, one of whom must be the credited Director who exercised directorial control, and the other of whom must have a Producer or Director credit.

SHORT: Individual, stand-alone documentary, less than or equal to 40minutes long. Student short projects not eligible in this category, and should submit as an entry in the IDA/David L. Wolper Award below. Award recipients - Limited to two persons, one of whom must be the credited Director who exercised directorial control, and the other of whom must have a Producer or Director credit.

LIMITED SERIES: A limited series of episodes with a specific, continuing theme, topic or subject. (Sin City Law, The Supreme Court). Student projects are not eligible in this category. Award recipients -Limited to two persons. While co-production partners may be credited, only the Series Producer(s) will be presented with the award.

CONTINUING SERIES: An ongoing series. (American Masters, Nova, ThisAmerican Life). While co-production partners may be credited, only the Executive Producer(s) of the continuing series will be presented with the award. Student projects are not eligible in this category. Awardrecipients - Limited to two persons.

IDA/DAVID L. WOLPER STUDENT DOCUMENTARY ACHIEVEMENT: A short or feature film/video, produced by registered, degree-seeking student(s). This award recognizes exceptional achievement in non-fiction film and video production at the university level and brings greater public and industry awareness to the work of students in the documentary field. PRIZE: $1,000 honorarium, $1,000 toward the purchase of motion picture film, courtesy of The Eastman Kodak Company, and production of 1,000 DVD's courtesy of Magic Rock Entertainment.

Special Recognition Awards:

Not all five main categories of awards are eligible for every special recognition award listed below. See each one below for specific rules relating to which categories can be submitted for special recognition.

IDA/ABCNEWS VIDEO SOURCE AWARD for the best use of news footage as an integral component in a documentary. “News footage” is defined here as factual footage, contemporary or historical, shot for use in context such as newsreels, news specials, magazines or nightly news. “Integral component” is defined here as footage which is central to the structure, meaning and impact of the work. All main categories are eligible for this award. PRIZE: $2,000 Honorarium and $2,000 worth of research time at the ABCNEWS Video Source facility in New York.

IDA/PARE LORENTZ AWARD In keeping with the nature of Pare Lorentz's films —a successful candidate for the Pare Lorentz Award will demonstrate one or more of Lorentz's central concerns— the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all and the illumination of pressing social problems— presented as a compelling story by skillful film-making. A Pare Lorentz film will exhibit the highest production values: objective research, artistic writing, and outstanding music composition along with skillful direction, camerawork and editing. All main categories are eligible for this award. PRIZE: $2500 Honorarium.

IDA/HUMANITAS AWARD is given to a documentarian whose film strives to unify the human family by exploring the stories of human beings who are different in culture, race, lifestyle, political loyalties and religious beliefs in order to break down the wall of ignorance and fear that separates us. Only entries into the Distinguished Feature main category may apply for this award. Student projects are not eligible in this category. PRIZE: $2500 Honorarium.

IDA MUSIC DOCUMENTARY AWARD is given to a filmmaker for an outstanding documentary communicating the cultural importance of music and its power to enrich the human spirit. The entry must have all rights cleared. The award goes to ONE recipient: the credited individual who exercised creative control. Only stand-alone entries into the Distinguished Feature or Short main category may apply for this award. Student projects are not eligible in this category.

Submission fees:

Features & Shorts - $150 (members), $180 (non members).

Wolper Student Achievement Award - $50 (members), $60 (non members).

Limited & Continuing Series - $350 (members), $450 (non members).

Applicants will be notified in mid-October if selected to participate. Entry fee is NON-REFUNDABLE.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Call for entries music documentary film festival in Barcelona

The submission deadline of the 7th "In-Edit.Beefeater" International Music Documentary Film Festival in Barcelona will close on the 30th of June. Films submitted after that date will not be considered for this year's edition. The Festival will take place from the 29th of October to the 8th of November.

As every year, "In-Edit.Beefeater", the only music documentary film festival in Spain and one of the few in the world, invites filmmakers, producers and distributors around the world to submit their music films. After successful editions of "In-Edit" in Chile, Argentina and Mexico (in Brazil it is just about to start), the Festival will come back to Barcelona with a selection of remarkable music documentaries from around the World.

Logo In-Edit Beefeater

Monday, June 1, 2009

Welcome to Silverdocs 2009

The seventh ediction of the Documentary Film Festival "Silverdocs" will run from Monday, June 15th through Monday June 22nd. "Silverdocs" will present 122 films representing 58 countries selected from 1,983 submissions with seven World, three North American, 12 US, and 14 east coast premieres, plus 12 retrospective films.

The films will be screened in six sections: Sterling US Feature Competition, Sterling World Feature Competition, Best Music Documentary, Silver Spectrum, Sterling Short Films and Special Programs. And its International Documentary Conference will explore storytelling in an ‘always on’ world, with a particular emphasis on youth, craft and next generation media artists. Tom Bernard, Sony Pictures Classics co-president and co-founder, will be this year’s featured speaker addressing “The Future is Strange”.

But the most important thing is... the films. The site for independent filmmakers "IndieWire" has published the selection in this link.

To get warmer, just enjoy this interview at Silverdocs with Martin Scorsese in 2006.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Call for entries at the Margaret Mead Festival

The Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival early deadline is fast approaching this June 26th! Send in your submission today. The Mead is the longest running documentary film festival in the United States. They are seeking a range of non-narrative works: feature and short documentaries, experimental and essay films, animation, indigenous media, and more.

Image from the film In the Land of the Head Hunters.

There are two ways of submitting your work to the Festival:

1. Mail the film along with an entry form. All forms and guidelines can be downloaded from the web site at:

2. Submit the film through "Without A Box" at:

Your can also join the Facebook group Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival and get updatesabout screenings and other Festival related events.

The Mead was founded by the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1977, in honor of pioneering anthropologist Margaret Mead on her seventy-fifth birthday and her fiftieth year at the Museum. A film festival represented an especially apt form with which to celebrate Mead's life, as she was one of the first anthropologists to recognize the significance of film for fieldwork. Organized by the Museum's Public Programs Division in the Department of Education, the Festival is held each November as well as a Traveling Festival, which includes a selection of titles from the Festival. TheTraveling Festival screens at museums, universities and theaters throughout the United States and abroad.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pere Portabella's "Vampir-Cuadecuc" in Chicago

White Light Cinema presents a special screening of Spanish filmmaker Pere Portabella’s 1970 masterpiece VAMPIR-CUADECUC, showing in a restored 35mm print. This screening takes place at the Music Box Theatre on Sunday, November 9, at 5:00 pm and will be introduced by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum ("Chicago Reader"). Portabella, the subject of a retrospective at the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2006, is one of the key figures in contemporary Spanish cinema. Little known in the U.S. until the last few years, Portabella’s career struggled under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. Recently he has been finding an artistic and critical resurgence with a new feature film and major retrospectives in Chicago and New York.

VAMPIR-CUADECUC is a dreamlike combination of documentary, narrative, experimental, and essay film styles and is one of the key films of contemporary Spanish cinema. Shot on the set of Jesus Franco’s Italian horror film “Count Dracula,” and featuring the star of that film, Christopher Lee, VAMPIR is both a sly political allegory about dictator General Francisco Franco, a gentle homage to early films about the vampire legend, particularly Dreyer’s “Vampyr” and Murnau’s “Nosferatu,” and a work of subtle beauty and great richness.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Far from Vietnam, far from the war

"Far From Vietnam", the film of Chris Marker, Jean-Luc Godard, Joris Ivens, Agnes Varda, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, and Alain Resnais, will be screened at Light Industry on Tuesday, October 28, at 8 pm. Light Industry is on 55 33rd Street, 3rd Floor, Brooklyn, New York, and tickets, available at door, are $6.

This film, from 1967, has seven parts, because of the idea of Chris Marker to make an anti-war story with different point of views to help the Vietnamese people. Organized under the aegis of SLON (Société pour le Lancement des OeuvresNouvelles) and overseen by Chris Marker as a protest of the US involvement in Vietnam, this legendary portmanteau, which features contributions by seven iconic artists, stands as watershed moment for political cinema as well as collective filmmaking. A melange of fictional and documentary elements shot across the U.S., France, Cuba, and Vietnam, it was a source of some controversy in its time, and remains a provocative and resonant essay on global conflict and life during wartime.

Alan Resnais: "'Far from Vietnam' is a film of question marks, of questions we ask ourselves as often perhaps as you. It's for that reason that we put them on the screen: after all, it is as natural for filmmakers to speak on a whitecanvas as in a cafe."

William Klein: "On the corner of 42nd Street and 8th Avenue in New York, a guy is recitinga poem consisting of the syllables na-palm. And no one knows what napalm is. It showed me how blind people become to something they hear referred to all day long. So, we decided to do something a little like Picasso confronted by the bombing of Guernica."

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Moving Image Source: "One of the most powerful documentary statements about the opposition to the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. In fact, I would cite Emile de Antonio's 1968 'In the Year of the Pig' and the collectively made 1972 'Winter Soldier' as its only real competitors."

Light Industry is a new venue for film and electronic art in Brooklyn, New York. Developed and overseen by Thomas Beard and Ed Halter, the project has begun as a series of weekly events at Industry City in Sunset Park, each organized by a different artist, critic, or curator. Conceptually, Light Industry draws equal inspiration from the long history of alternative artspaces in New York as well its storied tradition of cinematheques and other intrepid film exhibitors. Through a regular program of screenings, performances, and lectures, its goal is to explore new models for the presentation of time-based media and foster an ongoing dialogue amongst awide range of artists and audiences within the city.

Industry City, an industrial complex in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, is home to across-section of manufacturing, warehousing and light industry. As part of a regeneration program intended to diversify the use of its 6 million square feet of space to better reflect 21st century production, Industry City now includes workspace for artists. In addition to offering studios at competitive rates, Industry City also provides a limited number ofrent-stabilized studios for artists in need of low-cost rental space. This program was conceived in response to the lack of affordable workspace for artists in New York City and aims to establish a new paradigm for industrial redevelopment -- one that does not displace artists, workers, local residents or industry but instead builds a sustainable community in a context that integrates cultural and industrial production.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The restored vision of Edward S. Curtis

The anthropological Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival is coming up November 14th through 16th. At the opening night, they will screen a newly restored print of "In the land of the head hunters", by Edward S. Curtis (1914), along with live music by the Coast Orchestra. The entire program is on line here.

The New York premiere of the restored 35 mm print, will be on Friday, November 14th, at 7:00 pm, at the American Museum of Natural History. Found in a Chicago area dumpster in 1947, this silent-era melodrama, made by American photographer Edward S. Curtis and featuring performances by the Kwakwaka'wakw of British Columbia, has finally been restored with help of the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Set in a time when the First Nation peoples had not yet encountered Europeans, the film tells of Motana, the chief's son, who must overcome many challenges in the spirit and physical world to woo and win the lovely Naida, a young girl whose bewitching dancing has the power to save her from the evil Sorcerer. This film screens with live musical accompaniment by the Coast Orchestra, a Native American classical ensemble conducted by Timothy Long. After this, there will be a discussion with Chief Bill Cranmer and William Wasden, Jr. from the U'mista Cultural Centre.

The film restoration has been possible thanks to UCLA Film & Television Archive, in cooperation with the Field Museum. John Braham Score: Research Library, The Getty Research Institute. Performance Edition: David Gilbert, UCLA Music Library.

4th Contemporary Chinese Documentary Biennial

The Center for Media, Culture, and History presents the 4th Documentary Biennial "Reel China", in New York, October 17-18 and 24-25. The goal of this independent film festival is showing to the world the best contemporary Chinese documentaries. Conferences and screenings are ope to the public and free of charge.

Reel China 2008 Poster
This is the schedule of events:

Friday, October 17:

1:00 pm - Opening Program. Welcome by Faye Ginsburg and Angela Zito

1:15 pm - Introduction by Zhang Zhen. "Bing Ai", by Feng Yan. 2007. 114 minutes. English subtitles. With the completion of the Three Gorges Dam, 1.13 million people along the Yangtze River will have been dislocated. The majority of them are farmers. BING AI features one woman farmer who refuses to move away from her village. The film follows her seven-year struggle with officials who pressure her to relocate, while a strong devotion to her land compels her to remain in the place she calls home.

3:30 - 4:00 pm - Q & A with scholar and critic CUI Weiping.

4:00 – 6:00 pm - Roundtable on Documentary in China Today with Jonathan Kahana (Cinema Studies), LU Xinyu (Fudan University, Shanghai), Angela Zito (CRM). Moderated by Zhang Zhen (Cinema Studies), joined by several visiting filmmakers.

6:00 pm - Opening Reception.

Saturday, October 18:

10:00 am - Introduction by Angela Zito. "Growing Up (Chengzhang)", by Li Youjie. 2007. 11 minutes. English subtitles. This witty short allows elementary, middle and high school students to share their dreams with the camera. The director describes the “hatching” process of schooling thus: “When I was small, I watched chicks hatching, excited to see tiny lives, to see them grow up slowly, mature and come into themselves. When did I myself hatch? Or, I might ask, how will I hatch someday?”

"We Are the Children of Communism (Women shi gongchan zhuyi shengluehao)", by Cui Zi’en. 2007. 94 minutes. English subtitles. The Yuanhai Migrants Children’s School closes for unknown reasons. The students manage to continue class first in a ruined factory and in the street. Then, even these makeshift classrooms disappear. In one semester, attendance drops from 720 to 16 as they learn in a minibus and in a teacher’s tiny home. Intimately shot, the film reflects the pressures that new city migrants face, and illuminates the children’s struggle.

Noon - 12:30 pm - Q & A with filmmaker Cui Zi’en.

12:30 - 1:30 pm - Break for lunch.

1:30 pm - "My Dear (Qin ai de)", by Gu Yaping. 2007. 82 minutes. English subtitles. The film records its maker’s search for herself through her relationships with several other similar urban women artists--their struggles in and out of marriage, their confusion in the face of conflicts between their ideals and realities, as well as their tense friendships which go through moments of mutual caring, understanding and discord.

3:00 - 3:30 pm - Q & A with filmmaker Gu Yaping.

3:30 - 3:45 pm - Break.

3:45 pm - "Though I Am Gone (Wo sui si qu)", by Hu Jie. 2007. 68 minutes. English subtitles. In August 1966, the Red Guards’ violent phase of 'The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution’ spread from the educational sector to all other social circles. Within this month of ‘Red August’, Beijing alone saw 1,774 people killed. Bian Zhongyun, Vice Principal of the prestigious Beijing Normal University Girls Secondary School, was the first victim beaten to death during this month of terror. The film draws upon photographs of Bian's death taken by her husband, Wang Jingyao, eyewitness accounts from courageous interviewees and broadcast footage from the period.

5:00 - 6:00 pm - Roundtable with filmmaker Hu Jie, joined by Zhu Rikun (curator and critic) and Rebecca Karl (EAS/History).

Friday, October 24:

10:00 am - Introduction by Angela Zito. "Have Meal When You Have To (Gai chifan, chifan)", by Gao Yanfei & Wu Yifei. 2007. 69 minutes. English subtitles. In Lianzhuang, a community in the southern city of Hangzhou, there are two distinct groups of people: students who come from all over the country to take prep classes in art for the art-major of the National College Entrance Examination and those who service them. This other group includes elderly people who equally come from all kinds of regions and backgrounds and who work as models for the students.

11:15 am - "That Winter, This Summer (Nanian dongitan, jinnian xiatian)", by Yang Huazhou. 2007. 88 minutes. English subtitles. Wang Anjiang—an ethnic Miao peasant—beggared himself and his family collecting ancient Miao folksongs. During that 34-year period, his wife died because they had no money for her treatment, and his eldest son poisoned himself to death because they could not afford his tuition. Everyone blames Wang but he persists, finally managing to collect twelve volumes of folk songs ranging from “Nüwa mending the fallen sky” to those about everyday lives of the Miao people. He wants to publish these collections. After a heavy snow, the old man becomes sick. Three years later, his younger son has a family of his own and drinks less, his grandson can now walk, and Wang is even older and quieter. But he keeps repeating: “I must think of a way to publish the book…” In the end, father and son carry the folk song collection to a prospective publishing company in the city.

1:45 pm - "Wuding River (Wu Ding He)", by Li Xiaofeng & Jia Kai. 2007. 103 minutes. English subtitles. In northern Shann'xi province, the poorest region in China, many tricycle drivers left their farmland to make a living in the small city. They pin all hopes on their kids, believing their lives will change when the kids enter university. In one family, four years pass and the eldest child finally graduates, only to find there's no job waiting for her. But the family has already begun another round of battle for college competition. Instinctively, like hens, the whole family turns energy toward hatching another new hope: the younger child.

3:30 pm - "Golden Lotus—The Legacy of Bound Feet (Zhong Guo Jin Lian)", by Joanne Cheng. 2006. 59 minutes. English subtitles. The filmmaker searches the banks of the northern Yellow River and in remote villages in southwest Yunnan for the last women with bound feet, China's thousand year-old tradition of erotic beauty, mutilation and female survival. Told through the first-person narrative of the filmmaker, who was raised by her bound-foot grandmother, the film captures otherwise lost voices and the haunting memories of twelve bound-feet Chinese women aged 78 to 106, including that of the 90 year-old paper cut folk artist, Yang Huixiu. Their combination of strength and delicacy raises questions about the status of women in societies once, and still, dominated by men.

7:00 pm - Special Feature. Introduction by Zhang Zhen. "Taishi Village (Taishi Cun)", by Ai Xaoming. 2005. 120 minutes. English subtitles. Shot over twenty days in the autumn of 2005, AI Xiaoming’s film follows the escalating violence surrounding a political dispute over an election in a village in Guangzhou. Disgusted at the corruption shown by local officials in one land theft after another, the population and its government finally deadlocked over the contested recall—and we are left wondering just who are the people threatening, and in some cases literally attacking, the village organizers and their lawyers.

Saturday, October 25:

10:00 am - Introduction by Zhang Zhen. "The Road (Lu)", by Jia Ding. 2006. 56 minutes. English Subtitles. Hou-yin-dou Village is located in Mizhi County, Shaanxi Province in the middle of the Loess Plateau of central China. A new road is desperately needed to improve the living and economic conditions of the villagers. Ms. Ji Qiaoling, a poverty alleviation official sent from the county government, starts fund-raising. She tries everything: pooling funds from local villagers, applying for support at the unresponsive county bureau of transportation, and finally turning to ask a local “big bill” (da kuan)—an illiterate rich mine-owner originally from the village. The rich guy does not give a clear answer. Ji Qiaoling and her fellow officials decide to host a theatrical performance in the village and invite the mine-owner back to his hometown. The performance starts, the rich guy is back, the banquet is on, and Ji is already slightly drunk, yet the “big bill” still holds back his promise…
11:00 am - "Torch Troupes (Huo Ba Ju Tuan)", by Xu Xin. 2006. 110 minutes. English subtitles. “Torch Troupes” got their name during the Cultural Revolution, when traditional Sichuan Opera was prohibited in public and troupes could only tour remote rural areas, performing underground at night by torchlight. In 2001, six national Sichuan Opera companies were integrated into one that rarely performs. Today, the informal show troupes created by Sichuan Opera actors dismissed by national companies in the 1990s have become the new struggling “torch troupes.” Three or four of them continue to perform in tea-houses scattered in the old neighborhoods of Chengdu. With the ageing audience and teahouse venues disappearing, some actors switch to “dance shows” or turn to running small businesses. Li Baoting, a master of Sichuan opera, began his career at eight but now mingles with showgirls in popular and cheap bars. On the other hand, actor Wang Bin refuses to give up, going on with his troupe in a temporary tent in this big city where everybody seems to be in a rush.

1:45 pm - Introduction by Richard Allen and Angela Zito. "Faith (Xin Xin)", by Wei Xueqi. 2008. 98 minutes. English subtitles. Director Bai is the person-in-charge of the local church. There are five services in Yiminhe but only one is legal. Every day, Director Bai has to rush to different services, so she wants to build a big church to hold them all. After two years of effort, approval is secured. The documentary begins as construction commences, with insufficient funds raised by local Christians. Eventually costing over one million RMB, the construction has trapped Director Bai in a web of huge debt. The contractor refuses to hand over the church, Bai continues to fund-raise, and the Christians still use their original venues.

3:30 pm - "Idle People in Society (Xianzhe)", by Zhang Weijie. 2006. 79 minutes. English subtitles. This documentary presents the life of four street performing singers from various walks of life: Old Fang, an unemployed worker; Old Zhao, an unemployed migrant peasant worker; Shi Jing, a widow from Shandong Province; and Little Ding, another unemployed man who tries to support his child in college. They work hard, but without acknowledgement from family members and society. Amidst challenges and setbacks, they use singing in the streets to seek dignity, explain history and reality, vent their happiness and sadness, and pray for a better tomorrow.

4:50 - 5:50 pm - Roundtable with Hao Jian (scholar and critic), Cui Weiping (Scholar and critic), and Xudong Zhang (EAS). Moderated by Angela Zito.

6:00 - 7:00 pm - Closing reception.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sound preservation grants program 2009

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Program for the Preservation of Classical Music Historical Recordings was founded by Al Schlachtmeyer and the ARSC Board of Directors to encourage and support the preservation of historically significant soundrecordings of Western Art Music by individuals and organizations. This program is separate from the ARSC Research Grants Program, which supports scholarship and publication in the fields of sound recording research and audio preservation.

The ARSC Program for the Preservation of Classical Music Historical Recordings will consider funding:

- Projects involving preservation, in any valid and reasonable fashion, such as providing a collection with proper climate control, moving a collection to facilities with proper storage conditions, re-sleeving a collection of discs, setting up a volunteer project to organize and inventory a stored collection, rescuing recordings from danger, copying recordings from endangered or unstable media, etc.

- Projects promoting public access to recordings.

- Projects involving commercial as well as private, instantaneous recordings.

- Projects involving collections anywhere in the world (non-U.S. applicants are encouraged to apply).

The program is administered by an ARSC Grants Committee including the chairman, a member of the ARSC Technical Committee, a member of the ARSC Associated Audio Archives Committee, and an expert on classical music. Grant amounts generally range from $2,000 to $10,000. Grant projects should be completed within 24 months. The deadline for receipt of applications is December 15, 2008. Written notification of decisions on projects will be made approximately three months after the submission deadline. Send completed applications to: Richard Warren Jr., ARSC Grants Program, Historical Sound Recordings, Yale Music Library, P.O. Box 208240, New Haven, CT 06520-8240, USA. Grant applications must be received by December 15, 2008.

For further details, guidelines, and application instructions, visit this link. Questions about the Preservation Grants Program should be directed to Mr. Warren at his email contact. The Association for Recorded Sound Collections is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings -- in all genres of music and speech, in all formats, and from all periods. ARSC is unique in bringing together private individuals and institutional professionals --everyone with a serious interest in recorded sound.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Almudena Carracedo receives the Documentary Emmy Award

The film "Made in L.A." has won the Documentary Emmy Award, and its Spanish director, Almudena Carracedo, has written this in the film's blog:

"We are thrilled beyond words to report that Made in L.A., which started as such a small grassroots project, has just won an Emmy award! The film received the Emmy at the 29th Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards in the category of Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story-Long Form at a ceremony on Monday night (September 22nd) in New York. 'Made in L.A.' has been a six-year journey, and we couldn't be happier to have received this honor. Robert and I were both there to accept the award and it was exciting and very moving... Acceptance speeches provide a unique opportunity to say 'thank you', since this film could not have been made without the care, support and encouragement of literally hundreds of people. And so we took the moment to thank our families, our friends, our amazing crew, the organizations that believed in us (including NALIP and our fiscal sponsor Women Make Movies), and the hundreds of individuals that have supported this film throughout its journey. Special thanks must also go to our Executive Producers Simon Kilmurry, Cara Mertes and Sally Jo Fifer, and to Cynthia Lopez, Annelise Wunderlich and the amazing teams at American Documentary P.O.V. and ITVS that took such care and devotion in bringing 'Made in L.A.' to a national audience. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to PBS and to our funders ITVS, POV, the Sundance Documentary Fund, Latino Public Broadcasting, CPB, Pacific Pioneer Fund, Unitarian Universalist Fund for a Just Society, Diane Middleton Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Agape Foundation, and nearly 300 individual donors. Finally, we thank our outreach partners for helping us to spread the word and make an impact!

Above all, we owe the deepest, most personal thanks to the people in the film and to the three amazing women in 'Made in L.A.', Lupe, Maria and Maura, who opened their lives to us and allowed us to capture and portray their stories in 'Made in L.A.'. As we said in front of more than 1,200 attendees on Monday night, we dedicate this award to them, because it was their fight for their rights and personal dignity that taught us the true meaning of courage and perseverance".

"Made in L.A." is Carracedo’s first feature documentary. The 70-minute film follows the story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from a trendy clothing retailer.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The filmmaker José Luis Guerín at the Princeton Documentary Film Festival 2008

The "Princeton Documentary Festival", called in this edition "Real Stories: Fact and Fiction in the Documentary", will be celebrated in October 2 - 4, on East Pyne 010, Princeton University. All films are in original language with English subtitles and the screenings are free and open to the public. The program is:

Thursday, October 2:

4:30 pm, "The Work of the Real". Talk by Consuelo Lins.

7:00 pm, "Jogo de cena / Playing", by Eduardo Coutinho, Brazil, 2007, 103 min. In Portuguese with English subtitles. An ad in the Rio newspaper brings in women from all walks of life to talk about their experiences, but are they telling the truth? Commentary by Maite Conde (Columbia University).

Friday, October 3:

2:00 pm, "Developing Films of Underdevelopment". Talk by filmmaker Luis Ospina.

2:30 pm, "Agarrando pueblo / The vampires of poverty", by Luis Ospina and Carlos Mayolo, Colombia, 1978, 28 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. A team of committed Colombian filmmakers goes out on the streets of Cali to make a searing exposé of the Colombian underclass for German TV–or is it exploitation? Commentary by Jens Andermann (Birkbeck College).

4:30 pm, "La desazón suprema: Retrato incesante de Fernando Vallejo / The supreme uneasiness: Incessant portrait of Fernando Vallejo", by Luis Ospina, Colombia, 2003, 90 min. In Spanish with English subtitles. Fernando Vallejo, the great Colombian novelist, invites filmmaker Ospina into his home for an unsparing self-portrait. Together, they unravel the writer's bitter love-hate relationship with his native country, which is at the creative root of an astonishing autobiographical oeuvre. Commentary by Rubén Gallo (Princeton University).

Saturday, October 4:

10:00 am, "La guerre d'un seul homme / One man's war", by Edgardo Cozarinsky, France, 1981, 105 min. The war-time diaries of writer Karl Junger, sensitive observer of human behavior and -–at the same time— military governor of Nazi-occupied Paris, serve as a departure for Cozarinsky’s enthralling reflection on personal responsibility and collective guilt. Made in exile, this remains a groundbreaking work of Latin American documentary. Commentary by Gabriela Nouzeilles (Princeton University).

1:30 pm, "Public lies, private truths". Talk by filmmaker Edgardo Cozarinsky.

3:00 pm, "Unas fotos en la ciudad de Sylvia / Photos in the city of Sylvia", by José Luis Guerín, Spain, 2007, 67 min. The quest to find a young woman met long ago in a foreign city allows Guerín to virtually reinvent the possibilities of cinema by a paradoxical process of subtraction: no movement, only photographs, and no sound, only words written on the screen. The result -a new kind of literature according to the filmmaker- is absolutely spellbinding. Discussion with José Luis Guerín. Commentary by Eduardo Cadava (Princeton University).

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Slacker Uprising": Michael Moore in campaign


This is it. The time has arrived! You can be one of the first people ever to legally download, for FREE, a brand new, feature-length film. It's my new movie, 'Slacker Uprising', and I'm giving it to you as a gift of thanks for coming to my films over the 20 years I've been a filmmaker. It's also one of my contributions to help get out the vote November 4th. That's why I'm giving you my blanket permission to not only download it, but also to email it, burn it, and share it with anyone and everyone (in the U.S. and Canada only). I want you to use 'Slacker Uprising' in any way you see fit to help with the election or to do the work that you do in your community. You can show my film in your local theater, your high school classroom, your college auditorium, your church, union hall or community center. You can have your friends and neighbors over to the house for a viewing. You can broadcast it on TV, on cable access, on regular channels or on the web. It's completely free -- I don't want to see a dime from this. And if you want, you can charge admission or ask for a donation if it's to raise money for a candidate, a voter drive, or for any non-profit or educational purpose. In other words -- it's yours!

'Slacker Uprising' chronicles the 62-city tour I did leading up to the 2004 election. It is electrifying to see the tens of thousands of young people who were ready then for the uprising -- and who, this year, are actually making it happen. This is my concert film tribute to the young voters who are going to save this country from four more years of Republican rule. There are a number of ways, that you can download or stream 'Slacker Uprising' thanks to our distributor, Brave New Films:

1) will provide standard resolution streaming, free of commercials and advertising.
2) Amazon Video on Demand will provide a high quality version of the above stream.
3) iTunes will make it easy for you to download 'Slacker Uprising' on your iTunes, iPod, or Apple TV, and view it there or transmit it to your television. This way, the film can be portable as well as for home viewing.
4) Hypernia is providing bandwidth, servers and management to host 'Slacker Uprising' online, so you can download the film and view it at any time or burn it onto a DVD.

I am fortunate to have all these great people bringing you my movie for free. There will be no ads and they have all agreed to supply their services free of charge. All of them wanted to be part of this historic moment when the first major feature-length movie is being released for free on the internet. And for those of you who don't download, there will be a low-cost DVD available). [...].


Michael Moore".

Iowa City and experimental documentaries

The Iowa City International Documentary Festival is now accepting submissions for the 2009 Festival, to be held April 9, 10, 11 - 2009. You can see the submission guidelines for more details, including fees, mailing address, preview formats, etc., in the Festival's website or email The early deadline is December 12, 2008, and the late one is January 16, 2009.

They are looking to put together a diverse program that covers a broad range of forms, modes and styles; both conventional documentary to experimental non-fiction. In short, anything that adds to the field or to the way we think about what it means to produce a document. All we ask is that the work be less than 30 minutes in length, as programming is tight and very rarely are we able to make space for longer work.

How we fight

"How we fight: Conscripts, mercenaries, terrorists and peacekeepers" is a five program series of documentaries, some experimental some more conventional, on the topic of soldiering, and the names we give it. The event is arranged by Kino 21 y curated by Irina Leimbacher. And all shows take place at Artists' Television Access, 992 Valencia, San Francisco, California.

The program presents international works that explore soldiering and depict the experience of war from the point of view of those on the ground. From Argentina, Russia, Iraq, Germany, France, Holland and the U.S., several of these films are US premieres. The series begins with an assembly of DIY videos from soldiers and militia currently in Iraq and continues through depictions of Russian conscripts in Chechnya, Kurdish PKK rebels in the mountains of Iraq, American veterans returned from Vietnam, and mercenaries and peacekeepers stationed across the globe, from Bosnia to Rwanda, from the Middle East to the USA.

First program was Thursday, September 25th, at 8pm, with the film "Iraqi short films", by Mauro Andrizzi. It's a feature length compilation of short videos shot in the midst of war, whether by US or British soldiers, Iraqi militia members, or corporate workers. These are not films per se. They are a mix of slices of life recorded on video (many shot while firing on the enemy or being fired upon), pithy propaganda pieces, and soldiers visions of war as music video.

Subsequent shows:

Thursday, October 9, 2008. "Conscripts interviews with My Lai veterans" by Joseph Strick(USA, 1971, 22 minutes); "Clean Thursday" by Aleksandr Rastorguev (Russia, 2002, 45 minutes)

Thursday, October 30, 2008. "Terrorists notes of a kurdish rebel", by Stefano Savona (France, 2005, 78 minutes); "November" by Hito Steyerl (Germany, 2004, 24 minutes).

Sunday, November 9, 2008. "Peacekeepers crazy", by Hedy Honigmann (Holland, 1999, 97 minutes).

Sunday November 23, 2008. "Mercenaries Warheads" (pending confirmation), by Romuald Karmaker (Germany, 1992, 182 minutes).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Copyright reform for recorded sound

The following message has been posted by the Outreach Committee of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC). Author Tim BrooksChair, ARSC Copyright & Fair Use Committee:

"American Library Association is the sixth major organization to endorseARSC proposal for sound recording copyright reform. The Council of the 65,000-member American Library Association has voted to endorse the Association for Recorded Sound Collections proposal that Congress direct the U.S. Copyright Office to conduct a study on the desirability of bringing sound recordings made before 1972 under federal jurisdiction. Such a study would be the first step toward realizing the first of ARSC's five major recommendations for sound recording copyright reform, to remove pre-1972 recordings from state control and place the munder a single national law that provides for a public domain, fair use, and preservation exemptions for libraries and archives.

Wording for legislation to authorize the study has been prepared by ARSC and presented to the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property. It is being co-sponsored by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH).

Five other organizations have also endorsed some or all of the ARSC proposals, which are designed to encourage preservation of and access to historical recordings, a majority of which are currently inaccessible due tostate laws, while respecting the legitimate interests of rights holders. The Association of Moving Image Archivists is backing the proposal for a Copyright Office study; and the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors, the Music Library Association, the Society for American Music, and the Society of American Archivists have each voted to endorse all five of the ARSC reform proposals, which can be found here.

Following is additional information on the organizations currently supporting ARSC copyright initiatives:

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 65,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. Its mission is to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. The ALA maintains an office in Washington to represent libraries on Capitol Hill.

The Association of Moving Image Archivists is a nonprofit professional association established to advance the field of moving image archiving by fostering cooperation among individuals and organizations concerned with the acquisition, description, preservation, exhibition, and use of moving image materials. Moving images include film, television, video, and digital formats. AMIA advocates for the acknowledgement of movingimages as important educational, historical, and cultural resources.

The International Association of Jazz Record Collectors, which describes itself as 'a meeting ground for jazz record collectors of all persuasions', was founded in 1964 to encourage collecting and research; advance the cause of jazz music by creating more recognition of the great jazz musicians; improve communications between and among collectors, dealers, musicians, and the public; and sponsor publications, recordings, and conferences dedicated to jazz music.

The Music Library Association is the professional association for music libraries and librarianship in the UnitedS tates. It has an international membership of librarians, musicians, scholars, educators, and members of the book and music trades. The MLA's purpose is to promote the establishment, growth, and use of music libraries; to increase efficiency in music library service and administration; and to promote the profession of music librarianship.

The Society for American Music was founded in 1975 to stimulate the appreciation, performance, creation, and study of American music in all its diversity, and the full range of activities and institutions associated with that music. "America" is understood to embrace North America, including Central America and the Caribbean, and aspects of its cultures everywhere in the world.

Founded in 1936, the Society of American Archivists is North America' s oldest and largest national archival professional association. SAA's mission is to serve the educational and informational needs of more than 5,000 individual and institutional members and to provide leadership to ensure the identification, preservation, and use of records of historical value.

The Association for Recorded Sound Collections is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings -- in all genres of music and speech, in all formats, and from all periods. ARSC is unique inbringing together private individuals and institutional professionals -- everyone with a serious interest in recorded sound".

Saturday, September 13, 2008

J.M.W. Turner: As alive as a landscape

"J.M.W. Turner". The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Last day.

Friday, September 12, 2008

International Documentary Film Festival "Documenta Madrid" 09: Call for entries

The VI International Film Festival "Documenta Madrid", that will be celebrated from May 1st through the 10th, 2009, has opened the registration of films. This must be done online, at the Festival website. The deadline for submissions is December 31th, 2008.

Cover of Documenta Madrid 09. c. Documenta Madrid.

Documenta Madrid 2009 will have four competitive sections:

Original Documentary Section: All films previously unreleased in Spain with an original or innovative perspective in terms of either form or content will be admitted for competition. This section has two categories: Full-length films, for films exceeding 45 minutes in length. And short films, for films up to 45 minutes in length that do not make up part of a series.

Documentary Reporting Competition: This section is intended for those documentary films previously unreleased in Spain whose point of view is either of an informative nature or about current events in our world. All films made for cinema or television will be admitted for competition, regardless of their duration. In the case of television documentaries belonging to a series, only one episode from the series may be sent for admission.

National Competition: For films previously unreleased in Spain whose production is entirely or mostly of Spanish nationality. This section has two categories: Full-length films, for films exceeding 45 minutes in length. And short films, for films up to 45 minutes in length that do not make up part of a series. For films selected in the three previously mentioned sections and included in the Filmotech website for safe downloads. The conditions are to be announced upon completion of the selection process. The films, the copyright holder of which voluntarily decides to post them on to have them legally downloaded, may compete for the award.

And the Awards are:

Original Documentary Section:

Full-length films:

- First Prize of the Jury, to be awarded 10,000 € and a trophy.
- Second Prize of the Jury, to be awarded 5,000 € and a trophy.
- Honorable Mention of the Jury, to be awarded a diploma.
- Audience Award for Best Film, to be awarded 3.000 € a diploma, and the possibility for automatic distribution in Spain as part of "The documentary of the Month" initiative.

Short films:

- First Prize of the Jury, to be awarded 5,000 € and a trophy.
- Second Prize of the Jury, to be awarded 3,000 € and a trophy.
- Honorable Mention of the Jury, to be awarded a diploma.
- Audience Award for Best Film, to be awarded 3.000 € and a diploma.

Reporting Competition:

- First Prize of the Jury, to be awarded 10,000 € and a trophy.
- Second Prize of the Jury, to be awarded 5,000 € and a trophy.
- Honorable Mention of the Jury, to be awarded a diploma.
- Audience Award for Best Film, to be awarded 3.000 € and a diploma.

National Competition:

Full-length films:

- First Prize of the Jury, to be awarded 8,000 € and a trophy.
- Second Prize of the Jury, to be awarded 4,000 € and a trophy.
- Audience Award, to be awarded 2.000 € and a diploma.

Short films:

- First Prize of the Jury, to be awarded 4.000 € and a trophy.
- Second Prize of the Jury, to be awarded 3,000 € and a trophy.
- Audience Award, to be awarded 2.000 € and a diploma AWARD, with 3,000 € and a diploma.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One, two, three... Wake up!

Today, seven years exactly after the terrorist attacks in Manhattan, the children, siblings, parents, colleagues, and friends of the missing ones met at Ground Zero to read their names, and one felt that all New York embraced them in a hug, sharing their pain. Time and again, one could hear the names of various members of the same family.

The images and sounds were very impressing, maybe because they were simple and natural. I'm sure you can remember watching television on September 11th and thinking that what you were seeing had to be a film -- it could not be real.

The solemn, sad roll-call went on. All of a sudden, I heard a little girl reading a name that sounded strangely similar to mine...