15th Annual Washington,
D.C. International Film Festival
The Fifteenth Annual Washington, DC International Film Festival will
again bring outstanding world cinema to the nation's capital. From Tuesday,
April 17th to Sunday, April 29th, Filmfest
DC will celebrate its fifteenth year with more than 100 features,
documentaries, short films, special programs and favorites from past
Highlights of the 13-day festival will include new films from Argentina,
Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Poland,
Sweden, Tunisia, and Turkey, and a "3D" version of House of Wax.
"It is a delight to present the Washington premiere of these accomplished
films from around the world, and to present them in an increasing number
of venues to Washington audiences," stated Tony Gittens, founder and
director of the Festival.
This Year's Focus
The focus of this year's festival will be a retrospective of the extraordinary
films of Argentinean director Eliseo Subiela, one of the masters of
The festival will open on Tuesday, April 17th at Lisner Auditorium,
730 21st Street, N.W., with the Washington, D.C. premiere of the Mexican/Spanish
film Compassionate Sex, an award-winning feature directed
by Laura Mana. Master of Ceremonies NBC4's Arch Campbell will attend
the screening and the celebration, which immediately follows in the
Atrium of the World Bank at 1818 H Street, N.W. The reception will feature
champagne, dessert and entertainment. Tickets are $40 per person, and
will be available starting April 5th through Tickets.com. Filmfest DC
covers service charges on all Tickets.com sales. Sponsors of the Opening
Night Gala are the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the Mayor's
Office of Motion Picture and Television Development, The World Bank
and the Embassy of Mexico.
Special events include the Opening Night Premiere at Lisner Auditorium
and the Opening Night Gala at the World Bank Atrium, CineCafes, Directors'
Roundtables, the premiere of With a Friend Like Harry
at the French Embassy, House of Wax in 3D at the American
Film Institute, the silent Nosferatu accompanied by the
Alloy Orchestra at the National Gallary of Art, a Latin American Filmmaker's
Panel at the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Closing Night
Party and film.
Special Film Society Screening
During Film Fest
The Luzhin Defence, directed by Marleen Gorris on Wednesday,
April 18, at 7:30 pm (time subject to change, check the hotline) at
the General Cinema Mazza Gallerie, 5300 Wisconsin Avenue. John Turturro
and Emily Watson are in the cast. The story is by Vladimir Nabokov.
Popular free programs such as Filmfest DC for Kids will return to complete
the loop. Details will be posted on the festival website as they become
available at filmfestdc.org. The complete catalog will be distributed
as an insert in The Washington Post on Friday, April 13th. Tickets
are moderately priced at $8.00 for most screenings. Advance ticket sales
will be available starting April 5th through Tickets.com at (703) 218-6500.
Major Filmfest DC sponsors include the D.C. Commission on the Arts and
Humanities, the Mayor's Office of Motion Picture and Television Development,
The National Endowment for the Arts and agencies of the District of
Columbia Government and Westlake Consulting Group. Continental Airlines
is the official airline for Filmfest, DC. The Radisson Barcelo Hotel
is the official hotel; WRC-TV 4 is the official television. WAMU 88.5
FM is the official radio station and Hisaoka Public Relations is the
official public relations firm. The Filmfest DC public information line
is (202) 628-FILM.
The Cinema Lounge Discusses
by Adam Spector
In 1989 Steven Soderbergh directed sex, lies, and videotape,
a film credited by many as starting the proliferation of independent
film in the 1990s. Last February, Soderbergh made history by receiving
two Oscar nominations for Best Director in the same year, the first
director to be so honored in 63 years. He is currently shooting a remake
of Ocean's Eleven with mainstream stars such as Julia
Roberts, George Clooney and Brad Pitt. On the flip side, Joel Schumacher,
best known for the last two Batman movies, most recently
directed the low-budget film Tigerland.
On Monday, March 12 the Cinema Lounge
met to discuss the increasing number of filmmakers and actors who made
their mark in either mainstream or independent film crossing over to
the other side. We mentioned Parker Posey, who at one time was labeled
the "indie queen," but later surfaced in You've Got Mail.
We also spoke of Nick Nolte who went from Three Fugitives
to the critically acclaimed indie Affliction.
Generally we agreed that the crossover is beneficial. Indies give Hollywood
vets a chance to earn some artistic cache (Bruce Willis in Pulp
Fiction, Brendan Fraser in Gods and Monsters),
while mainstream films let some outsiders pay the bills. Working with
the studio system also lets filmmakers work with a bigger budget which
can offer them more freedom. We also noted how a star's involvement
can be critical in securing the financing to make an independent film
(Harvey Keitel for Reservoir Dogs, Samuel L. Jackson for
Eve's Bayou). We were reluctant to label those who move
from indies to mainstream pictures as "sellouts," although some did
use that label for Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck.
By the end of our discussion we arrived at a conclusion: The crossover
between mainstream and indie talent is a sign that the line between
independent and studio films is very blurry. Many so-called independents
are really smaller studios owned by larger ones. Even a film distributed
by an independent theatrically may have a major studio handle the video
release. We acknowledged that the films themselves are hard to distinguish.
Independent used to mean low-budget, daring and edgy. But films such
as Miramax's Chocolat are anything but and more closely
resemble Hollywood fare. While we agreed that the blending of two distinct
worlds can be an opportunity, we also recognized the danger of independent
films becoming so commercialized that they lose the spirit that attracted
us to them in the first place.
Join us for the next Cinema Lounge on Monday, April 9, at 7:30
p.m. at Borders Books, 5333 Wisconsin Avenue NW in the Café Espresso
on the 2nd floor when we discuss shock films. From Un chien Andalou
(1928) to Requiem for a Dream (2000), filmmakers have
titillated moviegoers with shocking images. Sometimes deemed pornographic
or ultra-violent, do these controversial films have any merit or are
they just . shocking?
Film Society Members Best
The votes have been counted and the members of The Washington DC Film
Society have spoken.
On Sunday, March 25, the official winners of the Best of 2000 were announced
at the 9th Annual Capital Oscars Party. Here is The DC Film Society's
Best of 2000:
Best Picture: Gladiator
Best Director: Steven Soderbergh, Traffic
Best Actor: Russell Crowe, Gladiator
Best Actress: Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich
Best Supporting Actor: Benecio Del Toro, Traffic
Best Supporting Actress: Kate Hudson, Almost Famous
Best Foreign Film: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Taiwan
Our only miscalls were the supporting actor and supporting actress.
Many thanks to all the members who voted. Remember, the 2001 movie season
has already begun. Have you started compiling your favorites yet?
A New Feature: Welcome to
by Adam Spector
If you live in the Washington area, you must love a good argument, and
if you're reading the Storyboard, you must love films. So what can top a
heated argument about movies? One of the charms of film is it's
subjectivity-there is no clear right or wrong. Someone could claim that
Steven Seagal has more talent than Robert De Niro. You could question
this person's judgement, intelligence, or even their very existence, but
you could not offer any hard proof to refute their claim. Box office,
reviews, and Oscars merely reflect the opinions, beliefs and prejudices
of certain viewers, be it a select group or the public at large.
Let us celebrate our differences. The Washington D.C. Film Society consistently
provides an opportunity to for spirited debates about film through venues
such as the monthly Cinema Lounge. My
goal is to encourage further argument and rancor through Adam's
Rib, a new regular column on the Washington DC Film Society's
Website. Unlike most of my past essays, Adam's Rib will not include
reviews of a single film, but my take on anything from a group of films
to larger film issues. I might comment on the Oscars or why Keanu Reeves
keeps finding work. I hope that this will not just be me spouting off,
but you spouting right back. That's the fun. So whether you agree, disagree,
or believe that I should be barred from movie theaters, please let me
know. E-mail me and I will
make sure your views are posted, along with my response (you know I
need to have the last word). Give it a try.
Contact us: Membership
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