Ally Derks Talks About IDFA and Documentary Film Trends

allyderksAlly Derks has been the director of IDFA, aka the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, for a quarter of a century, and has grown the annual event into the documentary film industry’s preeminent showcase, not only offering filmmakers opportunity to pitch projects and make distribution deals for their finished films, but providing an extraordinary program of socially relevant films for documentary watchers from around the globe. In the documentaries realm, what Derks thinks matters. Read on…

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GONE GIRL – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

gonegirlposter

Ruins itself as even high-toned cinematic junk food when its justifiable cynicism morphs into something manipulative and dangerously disingenuous. Read more>>

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Sept. 29-Oct. 3: GONE GIRL

gone girl poster copyOpening Oct. 3, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Gone Girl, David Fincher’s hotly anticipated adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling page turner. Novelist Flynn – who has also teamed with Fincher on the US remake of Brit TV hit Utopia – has turned her fast-paced novel into a cinematic thriller, where nothing is as it seems. Ben Affleck takes the lead as charismatic Nick Dunne, whose perfect world is turned upside down when his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) disappears; taking to the media to appeal for her return, Nick soon finds the finger of suspicion pointing in his direction. Read on…

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GONE GIRL – Review by Susan Granger

Utilizing Gillian Flynn’s savvy, streamlined screen adaptation of her 2012 best-seller, director David Fincher has created an intense Hitchockian thriller – with an innocent man accused, a coolly elegant platinum blonde, psychologically complex characters who cannot be trusted and constant suspense as the mystery unfolds. Since I had not read the novel, the bizarre plot twists and turns took me by surprise. Yet what’s most impressive is the cinematic artistry of the entire cast and production team. Read on…

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Jerusalem Film Festival 2014: Top Awards to Female Filmmakers – Jennifer Merin reports

jerusalemfilmfestlogo60,000 viewers who attended the 2014 Jerusalem Film Festival (July 10-20, 2014) enjoyed an outstanding program of local and international cinema.despite heighten concerns for security in Israel. Many of the programmed films use character-driven narratives to explore current social and political trends in Israel. A wide range of 24 awards with a cash value of some $80,000 indicate festival highlights. And, most unusual, a majority of the awards went to female filmmakers. Read more>>

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Kathryn Bigelow’s PSA Targets Elephant Poachers – Jennifer Merin reports

kathrynbigelowcinemacitcroppedFilmmaker Kathryn Bigelow has directed her enormous talents to address a huge issue. Bigelow has made an effective and affecting three-minute PSA to support the cause of saving elephants in Sub-Sahan Africa, where poachers are slaughtering entire herds of the wonderful creatures for their ivory tusks — although international trade in ivory is universally illegal. Entitled Last Days, the PSA premieres at New York Film Festival on September 27 at Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at NYC’s Lincoln Center. Read more>>

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The Jennifer/Penny Chronicles: Making HISSS – Part One – Martha P. Nochimson comments

Jennifer Lynch and Penny Vozniak

Jennifer Lynch and Penny Vozniak

This is the first installment of an eight part exploration of the failure of the American-East Indian co-production of Hisss (2010), filmmaker Jennifer Lynch’s greatly anticipated third feature film. Despite Lynch’s previous cinematic successes, Hisss, a tale about the Indian snake goddess Nagin, turned into an artistic and box office disaster that derailed its talented director. The making of Hiss and the aftermath for Lynch are the subject of Despite the Gods, an intimate documentary by Penny Vozniak, whose feminist perspective offers rare insight about the troubled production and its outcome. Read more>>

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THE EQUALIZER – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Yet another artifact of the long stagnation of Hollywood, which has been remaking the same movies over and over and over again for the past 30 years. Read more>>

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Sept. 22-28: PRIDE

hr_Pride_1 copyOpening Sept. 26, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Pride, directed by Matthew Warchus and written by Stephen Beresford. Inspired by the true story of what happened when a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists decide to raise money for mineworkers’ families during the union strike in the summer of 1984. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person. As the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes for the strongest union of all. The movie features Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Paddy Considine in an uplifting, crowd-pleasing story in the vein of The Full Monty and Billy Elliot. Read on…

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THE MAZE RUNNER – Review by Susan Granger

How many dystopian, young adult survival thrillers will movie-goers support? After “The Hunger Games” and “The Giver,” among others, that’s the question facing this screen adaptation of James Dashner’s post-apocalyptic adventure. Read on…

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