Middleburg Film Festival 2023 Wrap – Nell Minow reports

The highlight of the Middleburg Film Festival every year is not a movie. It is the annual tribute to a film composer, with the Loudoun Symphony’s full orchestra playing the music. Festival founder Sheila Johnson was a music major in college, and she always reminds attendees of the vital importance of a score in guiding the emotions of the film audience. This year’s awardee, Michael Giacchino, attracted such an enthusiastic crowd that the staff of the festival had to rush to bring in several more rows of chairs.

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DC/DOX 2023: Wrap of the Inaugural Festival – Nell Minow reports

When the Washington DC-based AFI Docs festival was merged with the LA festival, PR Collaborative’s Jamie Shor and Sky Sitney, director of the film and media studies program at Georgetown, created DC/Dox, which had its premiere festival from June 15 to 18, 2023. The first festival’s program included 31 features and 21 shorts from eight countries, screening in venues including the Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, the National Archives’ William G. McGowan Theater, and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.

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The 7th Nitrate Picture Show – Diane Carson reports

The George Eastman Museum’s Nitrate Picture Show justifiably boasts of a unique, defining characteristic that differentiates it from other prestigious film festivals. All twelve programs screen on nitrate film, either technicolor or black and white, borrowed from archives worldwide. This first weekend of June, the 7th Nitrate Picture Show did not disappoint, reminding me of the joy immersing oneself in the aesthetic pleasure of nitrate film, the film used before safety film stock became the norm in the 1950s.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Kristen Stewart named Berlinale Jury President – Brandy McDonnell reports

Oscar-nominated American actor, screenwriter and director Kristen Stewart will serve as the president of the International Jury at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival. Stewart first attended the Berlin International Film Festival in 2010 with Welcome to the Rileys. She has just completed production on Love Me, as well as on Love Lies Bleeding, and is currently working on her feature-length directorial debut, the adaptation of Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water.

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Assessing the Film Festival Scene – Pamela Powell comments

In 2020, after the Sundance Film Festival squeezed in its 12-day celebration and the U.S. recognized and reacted to the dangers of Covid-19, most festivals either cancelled or went the virtual route with limited success. For critics who attended these events, this new viewing format created a void and a distancing from filmmaking. With no true end to the pandemic in site, how will this effect the future of festivals and critics’ attendance?

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SPOTLIGHT January 2021: Keri Putnam, Sundance Executive Director and Activist

With consistent commitment, creativity and compassion, Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam opens opportunities for diverse voices in moviemaking. She has built industry-wide alliances that advocate and enact change. Numbers don’t lie. The Sundance fest 2021 program boasts 50% female filmmakers. Sundance grants fund films that Hollywood would deny. When, at some point in the future, we all see ourselves represented onscreen and in the credits, we can thank Keri Putnam Putnam for moving the needle forward to make it happen.

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HEARTLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ROUND UP – Laura Emerick reports

To stand out among the many regional film festivals nationwide, Heartland has created its own special niche by focusing on movies that convey the transformative power of cinema. Witness its mission statement: “The films we select and exhibit — whether they inspire and uplift, educate and inform, or shift audiences’ perspectives on the world — all have one thing in common: they are story-driven films that do more than entertain.”

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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Rachel Emerson on the Making and Meaning of MAVEN VOYAGE – Jennifer Merin interviews

Rachel Emerson’s Maven Voyage, one of twenty short films selected to compete for the $50,000 cash award bestowed by the annual Louisiana Film Prize, was shot in Shreveport, per submission requirements. Emerson won the fest’s $1,000 best actress award and a $3,000 Founders Circle Award to seed her next project. She comments on the making and meaning of her film, an engaging scifi adventure about a gal (Emerson) who wants to join the first manned mission to Mars.

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Memphis Film Prize Top 10 finalist Lauren Cox talks WITHOUT A ROOF, domestic violence and homelessness – Brandy McDonnell interviews

While she was pregnant with her second child, Lauren Cox also wrote, produced, directed and starred in her third short film. “Without a Roof,” starring Cox as a pregnant woman who resorts to homelessness to escape her abusive marriage, was one of the Top 10 finalists earlier this month for the Memphis Film Prize, where Cox also was a nominee for best performance by an actress.

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Memphis Film Prize winners Abby Meyers and Kevin Brooks talk A NIGHT OUT and Sexual Violence – Brandy McDonnell interviews

A Night Out was primarily shot in the twisty hallways and narrow staircases of the Mollie Fontaine Lounge, an old Victorian mansion that has been converted into a trendy Memphis night spot. The short literally follows Jessica (Rosalyn Ross) as she wanders through the corridors and encounters an admiring stranger (Bertram Williams) who takes flirtation too far.

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