Monday, January 9, 2017

Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) Call for Entries

Edinburgh - United Kingdom
June 21 to July 2, 2017
71st Annual Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), a premier event in the UK and a global leader in discovering the best new films. As the longest continually running film festival in the world, EIFF is especially interested in films by emerging filmmakers whose work manifests stylistic boldness, strength of form, and the ambition to use the medium in a way that resists cliché. EIFF's globally applauded showcase includes screenings of Fiction, Documentaries, Animation and Experimental films. 

Awards at EIFF include Best International Feature Film, Best International Documentary Feature, the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film and the Audience Award. EIFF also gives awards in the categories of animation and short film. Along with award recognition the festival offers a series of talent development initiatives designed to support the best emerging talent from across the UK.

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January 18, 2017 - Regular Deadline

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EIFF seeks to represent the most innovative and adventurous developments in world cinema, bring worthy filmmakers to local and worldwide attention, and provide a forum for appreciative and informed discussion of their work.

It is a high priority for EIFF to support filmmakers with means to attend the festival if accepted. Support includes complimentary passes to attend the Festival and its Industry programme, and select filmmakers will receive travel and accommodation stipends.

Various film categories are now open to filmmakers around the globe - qualify your film today!

Regional, anti-Dalit Oppression Movies Mark A More Discerning Audience Trend


As 2016 faded out into the New Year, the many cinemas of India showed clear signs of change, certainly welcome and also heart-warming. 

Audiences, whether young or old, made their choices more clear. They were not as mesmerised by star-driven, glitzy, high luxury lifestyles being paraded on screen. Instead they opted for interesting, reality driven content that connected with our times and our culture. 

Secondly, even the patently commercial films and far more so, in our regional language films, the subject that ruled was the abject and extreme cruelty of the upper caste hierarchy in all pockets of society. 

Many films made over 2016 depicted the plight of the marginalised Dalit community and the oppression they face to this day. Linked closely to this aspect, films were also led by stories of immigrants moving from one region to another and facing the same abject subjugation.

Changing tastes in cinema also pointed to audiences veering towards regional films over the popular Bollywood-type bonanzas. Even in the latter, it was the regional flavour pervading the subject matter, augmented at times by star power, that drew hopeful film-goers to theatres. 

The BookMyShow review of movie trends in 2016 provides a yardstick. Their data corroborates that regional content was favoured by audiences all over the country and as example, that online movie ticketing for Malayalam cinema showed an 80% growth over 2015. The top grosser here was the Tamil film P A Ranjith’s ‘Kabali’ starring Rajnikanth, followed by Mahesh Manjrekar’s ‘Natsamrat’ in Marathi (on an ageing stage actor whose retirement makes him feel that his children are distancing themselves from him and his wife). Only four Hindi and English films rated in BookMyShow’s top 10. The rest were taken by regional films. 

The themes of most films that caught the public eye connect with India dealing with its down-trodden or maltreated segments within a community. ‘Kabali’, albeit an action film, deals with the ills meted out to the migrant Tamil community in Malaysia, who for over three decades had to work as drug traffickers under Chinese mafia gangs. Enter Kabaleeswaran, a member of a another gang, who decides to fight for his beleaguered people, and the film blazes his trail. 

Nitesh Tiwari’s ‘Dangal’ has won all-round praise for the courage and wisdom of its out-of-the-ordinary theme. Besides risking using a rural theme in which girls excel in a forbidden sport, principal co-producer Aamir Khan actually altered his star presence by gaining immense weight to play the lead role. The film deservedly has hit the jackpot, despite its trumpeting a male mascot, a father no less, who believes in empowering gender equation.

There is Nagraj Manjule’s ‘Sairat’, the runaway surprise hit by a grounded art film exponent, breaking into the commercial mould. With a huge difference though. At the crux of this story is the divide between the lower and upper class and even more so, the inevitable traditional righteousness that justifies their exalted superiority. The last scene is a tragic look at what an orphaned toddler of mixed parentage will inherit and what the future holds for him. 

The International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) held in December is the last of India’s major film festivals and considered by many as the most rewarding. It is preceded by IFFI-Goa, and the highly rated NFDC Film Bazaar that runs concurrent to it for its first four days. At these film events held during the autumn season, the films that stood out, mostly by first-time directors, straddled India’s casteism in disturbing and telling ways. The many world premieres of Malayalam films at IFFK dealt with this one theme. 

The film that won two top awards, ‘Manhole’, is a debut work that heralds the first time a woman filmmaker (Vidhu Vincent) has competed in IFFK. The film is on migrants of a scavenging caste from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh who arrived in the 1920s in Kerala lured by hopes of a better life. But to this day they continue working in the most hideous and dangerous ways of manually clearing faeces and other human waste that clog the huge manholes attached to buildings. Deaths are frequent as no protective gear is provided even though it is mandatory by law. The task is carried out in the dead of night because the stench and filth is pervasive and unbearable. The film follows a young girl from this community who gets educated, finds a job, then obtains a law degree and decides she will use her skills and profession to fight for her people. The film unfurls in a low-key, contained mood, with a sensitivity that gives it credibility and strength. 

Other films such as ‘Aaradi’ (Six Feet), directed by Saji Palamel Sreedharan, stressed the ignominy and suffering in this caste divide, and how it is invading the political system as well. This film is again about a Dalit family of little means whose father, a noted Gandhian, needs to be cremated. Step by step this simple human need is denied to them at every turn by other communities, by local party leaders, by all and sundry. In despair he resorts to the unthinkable as the only way out of his dilemma. The film ‘Kismath”, directed by Shanavas K. Bavakutty, although filled with sugary songs that jar, is about a Dalit Hindu girl of around 28 years of age and her younger upper-class Muslim boyfriend. They decide to elope. When they seek police protection during the wedding, the consequences are far more disastrous than they ever imagined. 

It was indeed satisfying to note at the end of 2016, there were two exceptional films that set the box office humming. One was Indian and the other, pure Hollywood. Both are extravagantly set blockbusters, led by a leading star, superbly mounted and brilliantly executed on stories that were sizzlingly new. 

From India, the Xmas bonanza was Nitesh Tiwari’s ‘Dangal’ and from the US, the Cannes Palme d’or musical stunner, ‘La La Land’ directed by Damien Chazelle. Both films testified to the fact that commercial escapism is not what stirs cine goers these days. What they like are daring, bold good stories that stir their hearts and minds in a way they can identify with and relish. 

(Cover Photograph; Still from Manhole; Other two photographs: stills from Aaradi and Manhole) 

(The writer is a well known film critic based in Mumbai)

Courtesy:  - India's first independent on-line daily which was launched on January 27, 2014. Reproducing Uma da Cunha's column

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The World of Film International Festival Glasgow Call for entries

4th edition of the World of Film International Festival 

September 28 – October 1, 2017

January 12, 2017 Earlybird Deadline
The submissions for the 4th edition of the World of Film International Festival in Glasgow, Scotland are now open. The very earlybird submitters can send their short and feature films across the three main sections of the festival - First Features & Shorts Competition, Female Perspective & Focus on Balkan Cinema. 
Films can be exclusively submitted via Film Freeway by clicking on the link below. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Official Call for Entries! Provincetown International Film Festival

Provincetown, Massachusetts - USA
June 14 to 18, 2017
19th Annual Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF), an established festival that continues to unearth some of the best independent storytellers in all genres. PIFF presents a diverse array of American and international narrative features, documentaries, shorts, and student films. Awards include HBO Audience Award for Best Narrative; HBO Audience Award for Best Documentary; John Schlesinger Award for Best Narrative from an Emerging Filmmaker and Juried Shorts Awards.

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January 13, 2017 - Regular Deadline

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The Provincetown Film Society (PFS) is a non-profit dedicated to continuing the founding mission of the Provincetown Art Colony - to provide a welcoming, nurturing and inspiring environment for boundless and authentic creative exploration - in film.

PIFF was first produced in 1999, the same year Provincetown celebrated its 100th anniversary as America's oldest art colony. Literally on the edge - both artistically and geographically - Provincetown takes pride in embracing creativity and diversity in a thriving and increasingly year-round tourist, business and art economy. For decades, Provincetown has been known to attract such legendary artists, writers and filmmakers as Eugene O'Neill, Norman Mailer, Dashiell Hammett, Lillian Hellman, Robert Motherwell, Edward Hopper, Lily Tomlin, John Waters, Connie Francis, Helen Hayes, Marc Jacobs, Ethan Coen, and Quentin Tarantino among many more.

Be discovered by PIFF and submit your work today!