Film & Politics Collide: Iran to Protest Sanctions with Venice Film Festival Boycott

In America, you typically hear news filtered through the lens that says government and religion should stand separate. But, how about government and film?

In response to recent oil sanctions against Iran by the European Union, Iran has threatened to pull out of the Venice Film Festival.

The festival currently has one film from Iran slated to screen – Kianoosh Ayari’s The Paternal House.

However, the Culture Ministry’s Supervision and Evaluation Office Director Alireza Sajjadpur stated, “We naturally are thinking over a plan to boycott the festival this year.”

The Paternal House is not in official competition and is only in the out-of-competition Horizon section of the Italy’s festival.

The Tehran Times published a report from the official stating: “Considering that the EU has imposed the strongest inhumane and illegal sanctions against Iran, we are naturally thinking of boycotting the Venice film festival.”

Could the film still screen?

This would not be the first time in recent years that an Iranian film had to make it’s way to the public by clandestine efforts. Jafar Panahi’s This Is Not A Film was smuggled into Cannes in 2011, while the director was under house arrest. He used a flash drive hidden inside a cake (perhaps inspired by Ma Beagle from Ducktales). Now that Iran is wise to the “old flash drive inside a cake” routine, Ayari will have to come up with a more creative way to get a screening copy of the film to the festival.

Ayari’s film focuses on the struggles of Iranian women living under a patriarchal society. Irregardless of the proposed boycott, Sajjadpur said that the film would need to go through a series of “corrections” since the film’s topics are against the current Iranian regime.

Photos: ‘Knife Fight’ Red Carpet at the Tribeca Film Festival, with Rob Lowe & Jennifer Morrison

This week, the cast of Bill Guttentag’s Knife Fight descended on the Tribeca Film Festival to turn heads on the red carpet.

Jennifer Morrison Knife Fight

In attendance were: Writer/Director Guttnenag, Co-Writer/Producer Chris Lehane, Rob Lowe (Californication, Parks and Recreation), Richard Schiff (NCIS), Jennifer Morrison (Once Upon a Time, How I Met Your Mother), Jamie Chung (upcoming 7500), David Harbour (Pan Am), Alan Dershowitz, David Havok, Michelle Krusiec (Fox’s Touch) as well as Producers Catherine Davilla and Daniel Davila.

Check out the gallery below, click thumbnails to enlarge:

Knife Fight centers on Lowe as Paul Turner, a political strategist. The film takes a cynical look into the political machine, focusing on Turner’s wayward clients.

Chris Rock Brings His Pain and W. Kamau Bell to FX For Late Night Show

chris rock late night fx showComedian Chris Rock signed on the dotted line with the FX network to deliver six, half-hour installments of an untitled late night show premiering this summer. Rock will serve as the show’s executive producer will star fellow stand-up comedian W. Kamau Bell as he dissects politics, pop culture, race, religion, the media, and sex.

“The presentation pilot that Chris and Kamau shot was terrific,” said FX Executive Vice President of Original Programming, Nick Grad. “Kamau is a tremendous young comedian who has a very smart and sharp take on life. Working with Chris will only bring out the best of his talents. This series, along with Russell Brand’s Strangely Uplifting, puts FX on really solid footing in the latenight arena.”

It was also announced today that Rock will be appearing in the new Julie Delpy film, “2 Days in New York” that will show at the Tribeca Film Festival in its Spotlight lineup. Rock will play Delpy’s lover meeting her family for the first time. This is a sequel or follow-up to her 2007 film, “2 Days in Paris.”

FX has been assembling an impressive comedy roster over the last two years, showing that there’s more to comedy than what passes for the networks. Rock’s show will be paired with Russell Brand’s Strangely Uplifting, which was also signed for six weeks, and will likely fill out a thursday block of comedy that will include the second season of Wilfred and the third season of Louie. The rest of the FX comedy cart includes The League, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Archer and Unsupervised.

Rock and FX are no strangers to each other. The comedian appeared on Louie last summer, when Louis C.K.’s character Louie needed someone to pick him in New Jersey late night after a botched affair turned into an awkward threesome proposal. Rock, played himself and picked Louie up, saving him from embarrassment, only to berate and chide him while also getting scolded by Rock’s wife. Louie has been a new TV home for many stand-up veterans so it makes sense that FX expand its relationship with the industry by bringing on Rock and an idea that seems tailor made to his strengths.

‘The Avengers’ Assemble A Week Early to Close 2012 Tribeca Film Fest

The hottest ticket at Tribeca won’t be a powerful documentary, or an unknown independent film. The Avengers are assembling a week early as the closing film of the 11th Annual Tribeca Film Festival on April 28. TFF announced today that Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures are bringing the film and the cast to “celebrate everyday heroes from police agencies, fire departments, first responders and various branches of the U.S. military”. Members of these local forces will be given an opportunity to attend the screening and meet the cast. The event is being sponsored by Bombay Sapphire Gin.

avengers circle jerk

“We are proud that Marvel’s The Avengers is the closing film of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival,” Marvel Studios’ producer Kevin Feige said. “And we are excited to welcome local heroes to the screening as special guests. We all know and love our iconic Super Heroes, but when it really counts, it’s our real-life heroes who save the world every day by making it a better place for all of us.”

The Avengers is categorized by the festival as a Gala film, meaning that it will carry a premium price to get in. Right now the only tickets the festival is selling is Early Bird Passes and Ticket Packages and those do not include entrance into the Gala screenings. After those are all fulfilled, April 10th will likely be the day when the Gala film tickets go on sale, including The Avengers, are open for the public, BUT make sure you have an American Express card since those are the only customers allowed to buy single tickets for five days. April 15th is the next date to open to downtown residents only at ticket outlets with proof of zip code below Canal Street. April 16th is when single tickets and discounted ticket packages go on sale to the general public. The price for the closing Gala screening have not been posted yet on festival website and The Avengers is not yet even shown in the schedule grid. More information can be found here on the TFF Website.

The Avengers, which will be released nationwide a week later on May 4, will be an unprecedented first in blockbuster films, bringing together so many leading characters from separate big-budgeted super hero films for one big summer tentpole film. It stars Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Tom Hiddleston (Loki), with Stellan Skarsgård (Professor Selvig) and Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), and is directed by Joss Whedon (Serenity).

Cannes Film Festival: Angelina Jolie Helmed Film Gets US Release

Today at the Cannes Film Festival, FilmDistrict announced that Angelina Jolie’s film In the Land of Blood and Honey will get a US debut in December. The film will be Jolie’s first time directing a feature length film.

The film stars Zana Marjanovic, Goran Kostic and Rade Serbedzija and deals with the Bosnian Civil War in the 90s. Jolie wrote the script, shooting it in Serbo-Croatian which was spoken during the war.

Graham King who served as a producer on the film said, “The filmmaking is impeccable, and signals the arrival of a visceral and compelling storyteller.” FilmDistrict is a new subsidiary of King’s GK Films. King also said that he was “extremely proud of this film.”

Jolie states, “The film is specific to the Bosnian War, but it’s also universal… I wanted to tell a story of how human relationships and behavior are deeply affected by living inside a war.”

“The former Yugoslavia has a rich history of dramatic arts,” Jolie added. “The cast was extraordinary. I was privileged and honored to work with them and I am very excited for everyone to see their immense talent.”

Mario: PWNT SXSW, Check! Now, onto Nintendo 3DS Launch

Mario has accomplished much in his 25+ year life of stomping turtles, rescuing princesses named Peach and making Nintendo the gaming behemoth it is today.

At the SXSW Festival in Austin, TX, Mario opened up the show with a high on mushrooms film trailer written and directed by Joe Nicolosi. Like me, you’ve probably seen several lackluster attempts at making fun of Mario’s Scooby Doo subtext. He’s a plumber that grows to enormous sizes when he eats mushrooms. However, none of them quite had the polish needed to be memorable. This spoof film bumper opened up the SXSW 2011.


If you’re a gamer, you’ll probably quickly jump to the opinion that somebody needs to make this into a full feature film. Although at the same time, you’ll say, “Well, it’s funny for two-minutes, but throwing in a plot will probably make it suck.” Regardless, don’t expect Nintendo to commission a doped-up Mario movie. This spoof trailer doesn’t make any mention of “Thank you” to Nintendo in the credits.

On March 27, the Mario company is set to stage their next big takeover in gaming with the launch of the 3DS. The launch event will kick off in NYC at the Best Buy in Union Square in NYC on Saturday, March 26th. This is the biggest launch since the Wii so expect gamers to line up by the hundreds, if not thousands.

The 3DS launch will take place at Best Buy in Union Square. Fans can expect a midnight countdown, and possibly a giant Mario walking down the streets with Nintendo’s corporate leaders.

The SXSW music and film festival ends Sunday, March 20.

Pre-Order – Aqua Blue

Nintendo 3DS – Cosmo Black

Sundance Film Festival 2011 Selections Announced

The 2011 Sundance Film Festival is almost here. The Sundance Institute has just released its official selections of films in competition for the U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. In addition to the four Competition Categories, the Festival presents films in six out-of-competition sections to be announced on December 2. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival runs January 20-30 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

After traveling the globe in search of new talent and work, watching countless films, and hours upon hours of debate with the Programming team, the day has finally come when we announce which films will play at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in January. With more than 10,000 films submitted this year, we have had to make some very tough choices. Yet in the end, I’m excited about the way the program has come together. It’s an incredible honor to introduce these films and filmmaker…these are the stories that will define not only our Festival, but also the cultural year ahead. – John Cooper, director of Sundance Film Festival

Cooper added, “The Festival is a challenge to narrowly define. It is all at once exciting, fun, crazy, engaging, visceral, and sometimes even painful. We can explain storylines, we can share what we know of each artist’s unique journey, but ultimately what we will experience for 10 days in January is different for each of us. It’s the spark from the filmmakers – their passion – that brings 200 unique worlds to life and, in turn, ignites the audience. The films, conversations, encounters are there to experience. And that’s what makes Sundance so magical.”

Trevor Groth, Director of Programming, stated, “Knowing how difficult it is to get a film made anywhere, and given that the number of submissions was higher than ever, it is a testament to the passion and creativity of filmmakers everywhere that they are able to preserve and stay true to their vision. The caliber of films submitted this year was exceptional and made for exhilarating discussion among the programmers. Now that discussion gets turned over to the audience.”

The selections are listed below:

Another Earth (Director: Mike Cahill; Screenwriters: Mike Cahill and Brit Marling) – On the eve of the discovery of a duplicate Earth, a horrible tragedy irrevocably alters the lives of two strangers, who begin an unlikely love affair.
Cast: William Mapother, Brit Marling, Jordan Baker, Robin Lord Taylor, Flint Beverage.

Benavides Born (Director: Amy Wendel; Screenwriters: Daniel Meisel and Amy Wendel) – A high school senior in a forgotten town has earned admission to the University of Texas at Austin but can’t afford to go. Her one shot is a scholarship for winning the State Powerlifting Championship. Cast: Corina Calderon, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Joseph Julian Soria, Julia Vera, Julio César Cedillo.

Circumstance/U.S.A., Iran (Director and screenwriter: Maryam Keshavarz) – A wealthy Iranian family struggles to contain a teenager’s growing sexual rebellion and her brother’s dangerous obsession. Cast: Nikohl Boosheri, Sarah Kazemy, Reza Sixo Safai, Soheil Parsa, Nasrin Pakkho.

Gun Hill Road (Director and screenwriter: Rashaad Ernesto Green) – After three years in prison, Enrique is back in his beloved Bronx, back in the arms of an estranged wife and back in the life of his teenage son, who is stumbling towards a transformation that will put the bonds of their embattled family to the test. Cast: Esai Morales, Judy Reyes, Harmony Santana, Vanessa Aspillaga.

HERE (Director: Braden King; Written By: Braden King and Dani Valent) – On assignment to create a new, more accurate satellite survey of Armenia, an American cartographer forms a powerful bond with an Armenian expatriate and art photographer. Cast: Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal with Narek Nersisyan, Yuri Kostanyan and Sofik Sarkisyan.

Higher Ground (Director: Vera Farmiga; Screenwriters: Carolyn S. Briggs and Tim Metcalfe) – A frustrated young mother turns to a fundamentalist community for answers, but after years of dogma and loss, she must find the courage to ask the questions that will help her reclaim her life. Cast: Vera Farmiga, Joshua Leonard, John Hawkes, Dagmara Dominczyk, Norbert Leo Butz.

Homework (Director and screenwriter: Gavin Wiesen) – Quirky, rebellious George has no ambitions other than to cut his next class. But one day, one girl gives him the perfect reason to figure out who he really is. Cast: Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser with Rita Wilson and Blair Underwood.

The Ledge (Director and screenwriter: Matthew Chapman) – Perched on a ledge, a man says he must jump by noon, while a cop races against time to get to the bottom of it. Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson and Terrence Howard with Christopher Gorham.

Like Crazy (Director: Drake Doremus; Screenwriters: Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones) – A young American guy and a young British girl meet in college and fall in love. Their love is tested when she is required to leave the country and they must face the challenges of a long-distance relationship. Cast: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley, Alex Kingston.

Little Birds (Director and screenwriter: Elgin James) – Amidst the stark landscape of the Salton Sea, two 15-year-old girls test the limits of their friendship when one follows the other to Los Angeles, only to discover that the boredom of home may be better than learning to survive in the big city. Cast: Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker, Leslie Mann, Kate Bosworth, Kyle Gallner.

The Loved Ones (Director and screenwriter: Sam Levinson) – A pair of reckless siblings are dragged into a chaotic family wedding by their overwrought mother. Cast: Demi Moore, Kate Bosworth, Jeffrey DeMunn, Ellen Barkin, Ellen Burstyn, Thomas Haden Church.

Martha Marcy May Marlene (Director and screenwriter: Sean Durkin)- Haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to re-assimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult. Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Brady Corbet, Hugh Dancy, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson.

On the Ice (Director and screenwriter: Andrew Okpeaha MacLean) – On the snow-covered Arctic tundra, two teenagers try to get away with murder. Cast: Josiah Patkotak, Frank Qutuq Irelan, Teddy Kyle Smith, Adamina Kerr, Sierra Jade Sampson.

Pariah (Director and screenwriter: Dee Rees) – When forced to choose between losing her best friend or destroying her family, a Bronx teenager juggles conflicting identities and endures heartbreak in a desperate search for sexual expression. Cast: Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Kim Wayans, Charles Parnell, Aasha Davis.

Take Shelter (Director and screenwriter: Jeff Nichols) – A working-class husband and father questions whether his terrifying dreams of an apocalyptic storm signal something real to come or the onset of an inherited mental illness he’s feared his whole life. Cast: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain, Shea Whigham, Katy Mixon, Kathy Baker.

Terri (Director: Azazel Jacobs; Screenwriters: Patrick Dewitt and Azazel Jacobs) – Orphaned to an uncle who is fading away, mercilessly teased by his peers and roundly ignored by his teachers, Terri is alienated and alone. When the dreaded vice-principal sees something of himself in Terri, they establish a friendship which opens Terri up to the possibility that life is not something to be endured, but something to be shared, and even enjoyed. Cast: Jacob Wysocki, John C. Reilly, Creed Bratton, Olivia Crocicchia, Bridger Zadina.

Beats, Rhymes and Life (Director: Michael Rapaport) – The story of the rise and influence of one of the most innovative and influential hip hop bands of all time, the collective known as A Tribe Called Quest.

BEING ELMO: A Puppeteer’s Journey (Director: Constance Marks) – The Muppet Elmo is one of the most beloved characters among children across the globe. Meet the unlikely man behind the puppet – the heart and soul of Elmo – Kevin Clash.

Buck (Director: Cindy Meehl) – In a story about the power of non-violence, master horse trainer Buck Brannaman uses principles of respect and trust to tame horses and inspire their human counterparts.

Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology (Director: Tiffany Shlain; Screenwriters: Tiffany Shlain, Ken Goldberg, Carlton Evans and Sawyer Steele) – Connected is an exhilarating stream-of-consciousness ride through the interconnectedness of humankind, nature, progress and morality at the dawn of the 21st century. For centuries we’ve been declaring independence. With insight, curiosity, and humor, the film explores whether it’s time to declare our interdependence.

Crime After Crime (Director: Yoav Potash) – Debbie Peagler is a survivor of brutal domestic violence incarcerated for her connection to the murder of her abuser. Two decades later a pair of rookie land-use attorneys cut their teeth on her case, attracting global attention to the troubled intersection of domestic violence and criminal justice.

Hot Coffee (Director: Susan Saladoff) – Following subjects whose lives have been devastated by an inability to access the courts, this film shows that many long-held beliefs about our civil justice system have been paid for by corporate America.

How to Die in Oregon (Director: Peter D. Richardson) – In 1994 Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. How to Die in Oregon gently enters the lives of terminally ill Oregonians to illuminate the power of death with dignity.

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (Director: Marshall Curry) – The Earth Liberation Front is a radical environmental group that the FBI calls America’s ‘number one domestic terrorist threat.’ Daniel McGowan, an ELF member, faces life in prison for two multi-million dollar arsons against Oregon timber companies. But who is really to blame?

The Last Mountain (Director: Bill Haney; Screenwriters: Bill Haney and Peter Rhodes) – A coal mining corporation and a tiny community vie for the last great mountain in Appalachia in a battle for the future of energy that affects us all.

Miss Representation (Director: Jennifer Siebel Newsom; Screenwriters: Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Jessica Congdon) – Miss Representation uncovers how American mainstream media’s limited and disparaging portrayals of women contribute to the under-representation of women in power positions – creating another generation of women defined by youth, beauty and sexuality, and not by their capacity as leaders.

Page One: A year inside the New York Times (Director: Andrew Rossi; Screenwriters: Kate Novack and Andrew Rossi) – Unprecedented access to the New York Times newsroom yields a complex view of the transformation of a media landscape fraught with both peril and opportunity.

The Redemption of General Butt Naked (Directors: Eric Strauss and Daniele Anastasion) – A brutal warlord who murdered thousands during Liberia’s horrific 14-year civil war renounces his violent past and reinvents himself as an Evangelist, facing those he once terrorized.

Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (Director: Jon Foy) – An urban mystery unfurls as one man pieces together the surreal meaning of hundreds of cryptic tiled messages that have been appearing in city streets across the U.S. and South America.

Sing Your Song (A film by Susanne Rostock) – Most people know the lasting legacy of Harry Belafonte, the entertainer; this film unearths his significant contribution to and his leadership in the civil rights movement in America and to social justice globally.

Troubadours (Director: Morgan Neville) – A musical journey tracing the lives and careers of James Taylor and Carole King, pillars of the California singer/songwriter scene, which converged in and around LA’s Troubadour Club in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

We Were Here (Director: David Weissman) – A deep and reflective look at the arrival and impact of AIDS in San Francisco and how individuals rose to the occasion during the first years of this unimaginable crisis.

Abraxas / Japan (Director: Dai Sako; Screenwriters: Dai Sako and Naoki Kato) – After botching a speech on career guidance at a local high school, a depressed Zen monk with a heavy metal past realizes that only music can revive his spirit. Cast: Suneohair, Rie Tomosaka, Manami Honjou, Ryouta Murai, Kaoru Kobayashi. International Premiere

All Your Dead Ones (Todos Tus Muertos) / Colombia (Director Carlos Moreno; Screenwriters: Alonso Torres and Carlos Moreno) – One morning, a peasant wakes to find a pile of bodies in the middle of his crops. When he goes to the authorities, he quickly realizes that the dead ones are a problem nobody wants to deal with. Cast: Alvaro Rodríguez, Jorge Herrera, Martha Marquez, Harold Devasten, John Alex Castillo. World Premiere

The Cinema Hold Up (Asalto Al Cine) / Mexico (Director: Iria Gómez Concheiro; Screenwriters: Iria Gómez Concheiro and Juan Pablo Gómez) – Four childhood friends in Mexico’s Guerrero colony toy with the idea of robbing a cinema. Each hopes that the heist will hurtle them past life’s obstacles, only to realize that the caper risks the only thing they have: their friendship. Cast: Gabino Rodríguez, Juan Pablo de Santiago, Ángel Sosa, Paulina Avalos. World Premiere

A Few Days of Respite (Quelque Jours de Repit) / Algeria, France (Director and screenwriter: Amor Hakkar) – A pair of gay men who have escaped from Iran seek safe harbor in a small French village, where a lonely middle-aged woman offers aid. Cast: Marina Vlady, Samir Guesmi, Amor Hakkar. World Premiere

The Guard / Ireland (Director and screenwriter: John Michael McDonagh) – A small-town cop in Ireland has a confrontational personality, a subversive sense of humor, a fondness for prostitutes and absolutely no interest whatsoever in the international drug-smuggling ring that has brought a straight-laced FBI agent to his door. However, a surreal chain of events pulls him into the action. Cast: Don Cheadle, Brendan Gleeson, Mark Strong, Liam Cunningham, David Wilmot, Fionnula Flanagan. World Premiere

Happy, Happy (Sykt Lykkelig) / Norway (Director: Anne Sewitsky; Screenwriter: Ragnhild Tronvoll) – A perfect housewife, who just happens to be sex-starved, struggles to keep her emotions in check when an attractive family moves in next door. Cast: Agnes Kittelsen, Henrik Rafaelsen, Maibritt Saerens, Joachim Rafaelsen. International Premiere

Kinyarwanda / Rwanda, USA (Director and screenwriter: Alrick Brown) – Based on accounts from survivors, Kinyarwanda tells the story of Rwandans who crossed the lines of hatred during the 1994 genocide, turning mosques into places of refuge for Muslims and Christians, Hutus and Tutsis. Cast: Edouard Bamporiki, Cassandra Freeman, Cleophas Kabasiita, Hadidja Zaninka, Kennedy Mazimpaka, Hassan Kabera. World Premiere

Lost Kisses (I baci mai dati) / Italy (Director: Roberta Torre; Screenwriters: Roberta Torre and Laura Nuccilli) – A 13-year-old girl in the deprived outskirts of a sprawling Sicilian city becomes a local celebrity to her needy community when word spreads that she just might be able to perform miracles. Cast:Donatella Finocchiaro, Pino Micol, Giuseppe Fiorello, Carla Marchese, Martina Galletta, Tony Palazzo. International Premiere

Mad Bastards / Australia (Director: Brendan Fletcher; Screenwriters: Brendan Fletcher in collaboration with Dean Daley-Jones, Greg Tait and John Watson) – In a frontier town of northern Australia’s Kimberley Region, an urban street warrior meets his match in a local cop. Performances and stories from real people in Kimberley are woven through the music of legendary Broome musicians, The Pigram Brothers. Cast: Dean Daley-Jones, Greg Tait, John Watson, Ngaire Pigram, Lucas Yeeda. International Premiere

Restoration (Boker Tov Adon Fidelman) / Israel (Director: Yossi Madmoni; Screenwriter: Erez Kav-El) – Aided by a young and mysterious apprentice, an antique furniture restorer struggles to keep his workshop alive, while his relationship with his own estranged son, who is trying to close down the shop, begins to disintegrate. Cast: Sasson Gabay, Henry David, Nevo Kimchi, Sarah Adler. World Premiere

The Salesman (Le Vendeur) / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Sébastien Pilote) – Car salesman Marcel Lévesque operates by the rules of a bygone era, turning on the charm to make his quota. But the increasing decline of his fading industrial town threatens to plummet this peddler of dreams into an unfriendly reality. Cast: Gilbert Sicotte, Nathalie Cavezzali. World Premiere

Ticket to Paradise (Boleto al Paraiso) / Cuba (Director: Gerardo Chijona Valdes; Screenwriters: Gerardo Chijona Valdes, Francisco Garcia Gonzalez and Maykel Rodriguez Ponjuan) – A teenage girl running away from her father’s sexual harassment meets a young rocker who has escaped to Havana with his misfit group of friends. Set in 1993, during a period of acute shortages in Cuba, the local AIDS hospice begins to look like an unlikely refuge to the hopeless teens. Cast: Miriel Cejas, Héctor Medina, Dunia Matos, Jorge Perugorria, Luis A. Garcia. International Premiere

Tyrannosaur / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Paddy Considine) – For Joseph, a man plagued by self-destructive violence and rage, a chance of redemption appears in the form of Hannah, a Christian charity shop worker with a devastating secret of her own. Cast: Peter Mullan, Eddie Marsan, Olivia Colman. World Premiere

Vampire / Japan, Canada (Director and screenwriter: Iwai Shunji) – On the surface, Simon seems like a fairly normal, average young man, devoted to his teaching job and ailing mother. Secretly, he is compelled to hunt through online chat rooms and message boards, searching for the perfect girl who will ensure his own survival. Cast: Kevin Zegers, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rachel Leigh Cook, Kristin Kreuk, Aoi Yu and Adelaide Clemens. World Premiere

An African Election / Ghana, Switzerland, U.S.A. (Director: Jarreth Merz) – The 2008 presidential elections in Ghana, West Africa, serve as a backdrop for this feature documentary that looks behind the scenes at the complex, political machinery of a third-world democracy struggling to avoid civil war and establish stability for good. North American Premiere

The Bengali Detective / India, U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director: Phil Cox) – Chubby, dance-obsessed private-detective Rajesh Bharti and his motley band of helpers tackle poisonings, adultery and the occasional murder on the frenzied streets of Kolkata. World Premiere

The Blackpower Mixtape 1967-1975 / Sweden, U.S.A. (Director: Göran Olsson) – From 1967 to 1975, Swedish journalists chronicled the Black Power movement in America. Combining that 16mm footage, undiscovered until now, with contemporary audio interviews, this film illuminates the people and culture that fueled change and brings the movement to life anew. World Premiere

Family Portrait in Black and White / Canada, Ukraine (Director: Julia Ivanova) – In a small Ukrainian town, Olga Nenya, raises 16 black orphans amidst a population of Slavic blue-eyed blondes. Their stories expose the harsh realities of growing up as a bi-racial child in Eastern Europe. World Premiere

The Flaw / United Kingdom (Director: David Sington) – Within a few months in 2008, several American financial institutions failed, and before you knew it the U.S.A. was in the red. An imaginative blend of archive, animation and personal stories delivers a devastating indictment of the unfettered capitalism which has led to crippling, catastrophic income inequality in the land of the free. North American Premiere

The Green Wave (Irans grüner Sommer) / Germany (Director: Ali Samadi Ahadi) – Animated blogs and tweets tell the story of democracy under fire and hopes dashed as protesters are arrested, tortured and raped during Iran’s tumultuous elections of June 2009. North American Premiere

Hell and Back Again / U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director: Danfung Dennis) – Told through the eyes of one Marine from the start of his 2009 Aghanistan tour to his distressing return and rehabilitation in the U.S., we witness what modern “unconventional” warfare really means to the men who are fighting it. World Premiere

KNUCKLE / Ireland, United Kingdom (Director: Ian Palmer) – An epic 12-year journey into the brutal and secretive world of Irish Traveler bare-knuckle fighting, this film follows a history of violent feuding between rival clans. World Premiere

Position Among the Stars (Stand Van De Sterren) / Netherlands (Director: Leonard Retel Helmrich) – The effects of globalization in Indonesia’s rapidly changing society ripple into the life of a poor Christian woman living in the slums of Jakarta with her Muslim sons and teenage granddaughter. International Premiere

Project Nim / United Kingdom (Director: James Marsh) – From the Oscar-winning team behind Man on Wire comes the story of Nim, the chimpanzee who was taught to communicate with language as he was raised and nurtured like a human child. World Premiere

Senna / United Kingdom (Director: Asif Kapadia; Screenwriter: Manish Pandey) – The story of the legendary racing driver and Brazilian hero Ayrton Senna takes us on the ultimate journey of what it means to become the greatest when faced with the constant possibility of death. North American Premiere

Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure / Australia, U.S.A. (Director: Matthew Bate) – When two friends tape-recorded the fights of their violently noisy neighbors, they accidentally created one of the world’s first ‘viral’ pop-culture sensations. World Premiere

Monday Madness: Tribeca Film On Demand Giveaway

Happy Monday! It’s week 18 of 2010, and we’ve got our latest Monday Madness Giveaway for our faithful readers.

Today’s Monday Madness giveaway is brought to you by the Tribeca Film Festival.

The Tribeca Film Festival is back in New York City. To celebrate the festival, the Tribeca Film Festival and BuzzFocus are giving away a Tribeca Film on Demand Prize featuring a Poster signed by the Tribeca Film On Demand filmmakers!

Tribeca film festival american express

There are two ways to enter:
1) Follow us on Twitter @buzzfocus and RT this : I entered the Monday Madness: “Tribeca Film On Demand” Giveaway
2) Join us on Facebook and Leave a comment on our Facebook Wall at (facebook entries must be posted separately from other contest entries) or in the form below.

About Tribeca Film On Demand:
Until June 16th —and supported by Founding Partner American Express®—the new film distribution initiative from Tribeca Film has kicked off by bringing you films that have been curated (including titles from the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival) right to your home via On Demand!

Something for Everyone—Tribeca Film titles range from romantic comedies and animated sci-fi thrillers to sports documentaries and rock-and-roll biopics. And that is not all…get access to red carpet highlights, filmmaker interviews and behind the scenes action as well. Click here for a guide to all the available films. Like the Tribeca Film Festival on Facebook !

Here are the Official Rules:
Entering is simple. By entering, you certify that you are 18 years of age and that you reside in the United States. The winners will be contacted via Facebook message/email or Twitter Direct Message and will have 3 days from the point of contact to claim their prize. All entries must be received before Monday, May 17, 2010 11:59PM PST!

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Exclusive Tribeca Film Festival Interview: Directors Jeff and Michael Zimbalist Discuss 'The Two Escobars'

Filmmakers Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist spoke with BuzzFocus at The Two Escobars premiere screening after party, hosted by American Apothecary. The Zimbalists had just learned that their film was selected to be in this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The Two Escobars contrasts the diverse lives of Pablo Escobar, the infamous head of the Medallin Cartel, and Andres Escobar, the soccer player who was gunned down after he scored a goal against his own team in the 1994 World Cup.

Pop culture has long been infatuated with the life of Pablo Escobar. From music to television, Pablo’s exploits have become legend. TV shows like Entourage, where Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) and Eric Murphy (Kevin Connolly) traveled to Columbia to make the film Medallin, hardly bring to life the truths of Pablo’s societal impact. By contrast, few still remember the tragic story of Andres. The Two Escobars is a unique documentary that intertwines the story of crime and sport.

In this interview, Jeff and Michael share their thoughts on creating The Two Escobars. Jeff also discusses another upcoming Columbia project, The Scribe of Uruwa, a film about the first peace community in Latin America. “It’s going to be ridiculous,” Jeff exclaims.

Michael Zimbalist is also credited as the writer on the film.

Watch the interview:
[jambovideo id=”205837″ wide=”yes” /]

Exclusive Tribeca Film Festival Interview: American Apothecary Designers Talk Escobar Impact at Premiere Party

American Apothecary, a new avant garde t-shirt company, hosted the after party for The Two Escobars (Directed by Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist), which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film contrasts the lives of two of Columbia’s most famous Escobars: Pablo Escobar, the infamous head of the Medallin Cartel, and Andres Escobar, a soccer player who was gunned down for accidentally scoring a goal against his own team at the 1994 World Cup.

The creators of the American Apothecary label, Jeremy Sziklay and Matt Kronenberg, were on hand with designer Anastassia Fokina to share their thoughts on The Two Escobars. Sziklay and Kronenberg also tell us about their new social movement and how it relates to Pablo and Andres Escobar. American Apothecary’s designs employ vintage drug labels (like heroin and cocaine) to raise awareness for America’s dubious pharmacological past.

Actor Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas) was on hand for the festivities.

Watch the interview:
[jambovideo id=”205826″ wide=”yes” /]