Friday, April 18, 2014

Locarno Summer Academy 2014
Werner Herzog, Pardo d’onore Swisscom 2013
© Festival del film Locarno

Applications are now open for the Filmmakers Academy and the Critics Academy, the Festival del film Locarno’s training programs for young directors and film critics.
The fifth edition of the Locarno Summer Academy, the Festival del film Locarno’s training program, once again offers an opportunity to around eighty young filmmakers, critics and students to experience the Festival and to meet film professionals attending the Locarno event.
From today until the closing deadline of 25 May, registrations are open for the Filmmakers Academy and the Critics Academy.

The Filmmakers Academy (10 – 16 August) involves 20 young filmmakers from all over the world, who will enjoy daily encounters with directors, producers and other film professionals of international standing: an opportunity to extend a network of professional relationships and learn more about the various aspects of what it is to be a filmmaker. Starting this year, participants can also share their experience of the Locarno festival with the 5 talents selected for the Cannes Festival’s Cinéfondation Résidence.

The Critics Academy (6 – 16 August), involves 10 international young critics who will work on a daily basis, under the editorial guidance of Indiewire editor-in-chief Eric Kohn and Eugene Hernandez, Deputy Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York. The participants will be covering the Festival with reviews of films in the selection, articles on sidebar events, in-depth reflection on the various program sections or interviews with the Festival’s guests. Starting this year, the Critics Academy will dedicate an additional program to Swiss participants, thanks to the collaboration with the Federal Office of Culture (FOC), the Association of Swiss Film Journalists and the website The Locarno Summer Academy, co-ordinated by Ticino filmmaker and journalist Stefano Knuchel, also comprises two other initiatives: the Documentary Summer School and Cinema & Gioventù.

The Documentary Summer School is organized by the Università della Svizzera italiana and the Festival, in collaboration with the Semaine de la critique. The program will be announced within the next weeks.

The long-established Cinema&Gioventù program (5 – 16 August), now in its 55th edition, brings together 32 college students, from Swiss and north Italian vocational schools and universities. Participants will have the chance to experience the Festival as protagonists themselves, such as being jury members and/or privileged viewers, meeting directors and actors and participating in meetings with experts in the field. Cinema&Gioventù is a project of the Centro didattico cantonale of the Canton of Ticino’s Department of Education, Culture and Sport, organized by Bellinzona’s Castellinaria International Young Film Festival.
Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian stresses the importance of the Locarno Summer Academy within the Locarno Festival’s various initiatives: “The attention paid to young talents is part of the Festival del film Locarno’s DNA. For this reason the Summer Academy is an essential counterpart to the space given them in the various program sections. The programs, differentiated by professional orientation and age, that the Festival has developed are not so much a response to a will to address or shape the coming generations but rather to work with them on pinpointing significant indications of current and future trends in the world of film. In this respect the Locarno Summer Academy is not an ancillary activity but is at the heart of the project of research and growth that the Festival is articulating and promoting.

The Locarno Summer Academy enjoys the support of the Ernst Göhner Stiftung.

The 67th Festival del film Locarno takes place 6 – 16 August, 2014.

Announcements concerning the competition and information about the Locarno Summer Academy’s initiatives can be consulted on:

Press Office
67° Festival del film Locarno
6 – 16 | 8 | 2014
Via Ciseri 23 | CH-6601 Locarno
tel +41 91 756 21 21 | fax +41 91 756 21 49 |

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Exclusive Coverage of the 12th Indian Film Festival of LA

Indian Cinema In The Heart Of Hollywood
Tue Apr 15, 2014

Shivangi Ranawat at IFFLA where her film Alchemy
won the Best Short Film award
LOS ANGELES: The 12th Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) attracted record participation of films, film-makers and audiences over six tumultuous days, April 8 to 13. Specially notable was the array of fine first-time filmmakers who attended.

What is specially attractive about IFFLA, apart from its great geographic location, is the venue itself. The best of recent Indian films are screened at Arclight Hollywood, which has the crystal clear sound and projection that directors dream about.

As Indian advisor on IFFLA programming, I had seen all but one of the features finally selected. But seeing them again under Arclight’s ideal conditions was like discovering them afresh, with eye and ear relishing each nuance. An added pleasure is the ambience, the theatre’s spacious courtyard offering space and seating for groups to gather at leisure. There is an IFFLA bonus to boot – a first-floor Lounge made Indian in character for delegates and friends.

This year, IFFLA’s package of 35 films featured ten languages. Russian is one, in the 12-minute “Love, Love, Love” directed by Sandhya Daisy Sunderam. It tells of the forces of love lived through many Russian summers.
This year, the selection offered a majority of first-time filmmakers. Among them were many internationally known and acclaimed.

The opening American film Sold is the debut feature of Jeffrey D Brown. Based on Patricia McCormick’s book, the film is a vivid portrayal of a spirited 12-year-old girl from Nepal lured to Kolkata with a job offer then inducted brutally into prostitution. The film’s executive producer is Emma Thompson. Actress Gillian Anderson (of X Files fame) plays a key role. Both celebrities are actively involved in social causes specially those connected with child abuse. Niyar Saikia from Assam excels in the lead role. Jeffrey Brown is eager to use his film to raise large-scale funding in the fight against child trafficking. He also wants to implement medical and yogic procedures in India that are geared to treating the trauma of rape survivors.

Other first timers were Nagraj Manjule (Fandry, in Marathi), Indranil Chowdhury (Phoring, in Bengali), Amit Kumar (Monsoon Shootout, in Hindi), Amit V Masurkar (Sulemani Keeda, in Hindi), Geetu Mohandas (Liar’s Dice, in Hindi) and two from the US, James E. Duff (Hank and Asha) and Mahesh Pailur’s Brahmin Bulls (English, starring Roshan Seth).

There were quite a few second features: from Canada, Richie Mehta’s Siddharth and Anup Singh’s Qissa (in Punjabi). The package included Ankhon Dekhi, actor-director’s Rajat Kapoor’s fourth feature film.

The programme contained a fine collection of shorts and documentaries. A highlight was Shivangi Ranawat’s animated films, the Little Gypsy (6 minutes) and Alchemy (5 minutes). The first is a graduation diploma film from DSK Supinfocum, an animation film school established in 2008 as a joint venture between the DSK Group, India and Supinfocom Group, France. The academics are controlled by the French institute to match international standards and its teachers are recruited from various parts of Europe and Asia.

Little Gypsy is a stunning visual kaleidoscope inspired by various Indian folk songs. The film depicts a mythical journey that celebrates the power game between various forces. Ranawat’s Alchemy is the first film of a newly formed collective, Ekabhuya, of which she is the founder-director. The film is a music video on modern-day India.

Another first that drew as much laughter as applause from the audience was the 85-minute documentary The Auction House: A Tale of Two Brothers by British director Ed Owles. The film is on the family-owned auction house, Russell Exchange, in Kolkata. It was run for 40 years by the younger brother Arshad. Suddenly, his elder more assertive brother Anwar decides to return from a top job in the UK to bring some elan and style to the messy, run-down, old-fashioned appearance and method of operation at Russell Exchange. While the film observes the two brothers locking horns over every issue, its backdrop provides a wry yet endearing look at those who inhabit the world of Russell Exchange and the bustling streets that lead to it from many corners of Kolkata.
Courtesy: - India's first independent on-line daily which was launched on January 27, 2014.reproducing Uma da Cunha's column


Monday, April 14, 2014


FANDRY receives Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature,

POWERLESS receives Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary.

Best Short Film winner, ALCHEMY, will receive a cash grant from HBO.

Audience Choice Awards go to SIDDHARTH, FAITH CONNECTIONS, and KUSH

LOS ANGELES, CA (April 14, 2012) – The 12 annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) concluded on Sunday evening (April 13) with a red carpet and gala fete that included the Los Angeles premiere of Amit Gupta’s JADOO and the presentation of the festival's Grand Jury and Audience Choice Awards.

This year the festival showcased more than 30 film features, documentaries, and shorts at ArcLight Hollywood, home of IFFLA since its inception. “The awards are bittersweet, as this means the festival has reached its conclusion,” said IFFLA Artistic Director Jasmine Jaisinghani. “We’ve had an incredible six days celebrating Indian cinema, creating dialogue between our filmmakers and our wonderful Los Angeles audiences, and building bridges for our filmmakers with industry professionals.”

FANDRY, directed by Nagraj Manjule, took home the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature, with an honorable mention for Richie Mehta’s SIDDHARTH. The Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary went to co-directors Fahad Mustafa and Deepti Kakkar for POWERLESS.

The prize for Best Short, which included a cash grant from HBO, was presented to ALCHEMY, directed by Pranay Patwardhan, Shivangi Ranawat, and Janmeet Singh. An honorable mention was given to LOVE. LOVE. LOVE., directed by Sandhya Daisy Sundaram.

The Narrative Films jury stated: “All of the films were a pleasure to watch. We are in awe of and inspired by the stories that the filmmakers brought to us. So many of the films dealt with the exploitation of children, such as child labor. The film we chose – FANDRY - features stunning cinematic quality and powerful story-telling, capturing the inner life of its young hero, and providing a detailed and intimate illustration of the social power structure of his village.”

The statement from the Documentary Film Jury reads: “For its portrayal of a community faced with a power struggle over limited resources and its complex web of stories, the jury gives the documentary award to POWERLESS.”

Regarding the Short Film Awards, the jury stated: “The Honorable Mention goes to LOVE. LOVE. LOVE., a well crafted documentary from a fresh filmmaking voice that seamlessly transports us from character to character and touched our hearts along the way. The Grand Jury Prize is presented to ALCHEMY. Culturally rooted and formally inventive, this film used mixed media to create a one of a kind film-going experience.”

The 2014 narrative film jurors were: award winning actress Shoreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog, House of Saddam), writer and prolific television actress Meera Simhan (Miss India America), Variety film journalist and educator David Chute, and Head of Digital Development for Crackle and Sony Pictures Television John Orlando. The Best Documentary Award was decided by award-winning writer, producer, and director Brian Knappenberger (The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz), film festival programmer Dilcia Barrera (Sundance, AFI FEST, LACMA), and producer Chris Salvaterra (The Visitor, Syriana, Good Night and Good Luck). Judging the short films were Senior Vice President of Post-Production at HBO Entertainment Gena Desclos, award-winning director and writer Kamal K.M.(I.D.),and Sundance and Palm Springs International ShortFest programmer Heidi Zwicker.

IFFLAFrom Left to Right: Richie Mehta (SIDDARTH), Nagraj Manjule (FANDRY), Shivangi Ranawat (ALCHEMY), Vivek Kajaria (FANDRY), and Pan Nalin (FAITH CONNECTIONS)