award winners

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Former Chlotrudis Short Film Festival Winner Hits Big at IFFBoston!

From Nothing, SomethingIn 2009, at our 15th annual awards ceremony, Chlotrudis honored Tim Cawley's WELL-FOUNDED CONCERNS, about an unapologietic germophobe facing a devastating plague and the first blooms of love, with our Best Short Film award.  Now Tim is back on the big screen in Boston with his first feature film, FROM NOTHING, SOMETHING.  Tim's documentary profiles creative thinkers across a variety of disciplines and finds common methods, habits, mindsets and neuroses that help bring breakthrough ideas into being.  It is a thoughtful, intimate, often funny look at the creative process -- straight from the brains of some of our culture's most accopmlished and inspiring talents. | Read more »

The TIFF Announcements Just Keep Coming!

The past week saw a whole passel of Gala and Special Presentation screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival, including new films from the Coen Brothers, Fatih Akin, last year's Best Movie Chltorudis winner's director, Werner Herzog, and Drew Barrymore's directorial debut starring Ellen Page.

GALAS

The Damned United Tom Hooper, United Kingdom
North American Premiere
Set in 1960's and 1970's England, this is the confrontational and darkly humorous story of Brian Clough's doomed 44 day tenure as manager of the reigning champions of English football Leeds United. Previously managed by his bitter rival Don Revie, and on the back of their most successful period ever as a football club, Leeds was perceived by many to represent a new aggressive and cynical style of football. Taking the Leeds job without his trusted lieutenant, Peter Taylor, by his side, Clough encounters a changing-room full of players who - in his mind - were still Don's boys. An examination of Clough's belligerence and brilliance, The Damned United stars Michael Sheen, is written by Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon) and directed by Tom Hooper (John Adams, Longford).

Dil Bole Hadippa Anurag Singh, India
World Premiere
In a village where girls don't play cricket, Veera (Rani Mukherjee) has to put on a turban and beard and become a man to fulfill her dreams. Her brilliance on the field earns her a place in Rohan's (Shahid Kapoor) team and Veera Kaur becomes Veer Pratap Singh. And then begins a roller-coaster journey of Veera, Rohan and Veer filled with music, romance and comedy through Punjab and beyond.

Dorian Gray Oliver Parker, United Kingdom
World Premiere
In Victorian London, the handsome Dorian Gray (Ben Barnes) is swept into a social whirlwind by the charismatic and cunning Lord Wotton (Colin Firth). Immersed in the hedonistic pleasures of the city, Dorian vows he would give anything to keep his youth and beauty - even his soul. Based on the Oscar Wilde novel, Dorian Gray examines the destructive power of beauty, the blind pursuit of pleasure and the darkness that can result from both.

Micmacs Jean-Pierre Jeunet, France
World Premiere
Is it better to live with a bullet lodged in your brain, even if it means you might drop dead any time or would you rather have the bullet taken out and live the rest of your life as a vegetable? Are zebras white with black stripes or black with white stripes? Is scrap metal worth more than landmines? Can you get drunk from eating waffles? Can a woman fit inside a refrigerator? What is the human cannonball world record? Micmacs, a fantastical comedy from the world class director of Amélie and Delicatessen, answers these questions and way more.

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee Rebecca Miller, USA
North American Premiere
From all outward appearances, Pippa Lee (Robin Wright Penn) leads a charmed existence. An anchor of feminine serenity, she is the devoted wife of an accomplished publisher (Alan Arkin) 30 years her senior, the proud mother of two grown children, a trusted friend and confidant. But as Pippa dutifully follows her husband to a new life in a staid Connecticut retirement community, her idyllic world and the persona she has built over the course of her marriage will be put to the ultimate test. Adapted from writer-director Rebecca Miller's novel of the same name, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee presents the complex portrait of the many lives behind a single name.

What's Your Raashee? Ashutosh Gowariker, India
World Premiere
What's Your Raashee? is a romantic comedy about a young man who has always wanted to marry for love. When he suddenly is told that he must find his dream girl within ten days in order to save his family from utter ruin, he discovers that finding her is even hard when it has to happen in a hurry. The film is based on the Gujarati novel, Kimball Ravenswood, by Madhu Rye and stars Harman Baweja and Priyanka Chopra.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Werner Herzog, USA
North American Premiere
Terence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage), a homicide detective with the New Orleans Police Department, is promoted to Lieutenant after he saves a prisoner from drowning in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. However, during his heroic act, he severely injures his back and is put on prescription pain medication. A year later, Terence - struggling with his addictions to sex, Vicodin and cocaine - finds himself in the battle to bring down drug dealer Big Fate, who is suspected of massacring an entire family of African immigrants.

Capitalism: A Love Story Michael Moore, USA
North American Premiere
On the 20-year anniversary of his groundbreaking masterpiece Roger & Me, Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story comes home to the issue he's been examining throughout his career: the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans (and by default, the rest of the world). But this time the culprit is much bigger than General Motors, and the crime scene far wider than Flint, Michigan. From Middle America, to the halls of power in Washington, to the global financial epicenter in Manhattan, Michael Moore will once again take film-goers into uncharted territory.

The Good Heart Dagur Kári, Iceland
World Premiere
A homeless boy Lucas (Paul Dano), meets Jacques (Brian Cox), a grumpy bar-owner, whose unhealthy lifestyle has brought him five heart attacks. Jacques takes Lucas under his wing with the intention of having him continue his legacy. Everything is going according to plan until a drunken stewardess named April enters the bar.

Harry Brown Daniel Barber, United Kingdom
World Premiere
Harry Brown is a provocative and thought-provoking modern urban western featuring a tour-de-force lead performance from two-time Academy Award®-winner Michael Caine. Harry Brown has lived to see his community descend into crime and violence, and ruled over by a gang of teenage thugs. After his best friend is brutally murdered and the gang leader responsible walks free, Harry reaches a breaking point and revenge becomes his only aim.

The Hole Joe Dante, USA
North American Premiere
After moving into a new town, brothers Dane and Lucas and their neighbour Julie discover a bottomless hole in their basement that brings their nightmares to life. With shadows lurking around every corner, they must face their darkest fears in order to put an end to the mystery of the hole.

Perrier's Bounty Ian Fitzgibbon, Ireland/United Kingdom
World Premiere
When Michael's (Cillian Murphy) debt to Dublin kingpin Darren Perrier (Brendan Gleeson) is called in and one of Perrier's goons accidentally ends up dead, Michael escapes to the mountains with his father Jim (Jim Broadbent) and best friend, Brenda. Flat broke, on the run and with only 24 hours to pay up, Michael is forced to confront his true feelings for Brenda and make amends with his father. However, with Perrier and his gang in hot pursuit, time is running out for Michael and only fate, a bit of luck and possibly a gang of savage dogs will save him, in this cracking gangster comedy.

A Serious Man Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, USA
World Premiere
Imaginatively exploring questions of faith, familial responsibility, delinquent behaviour, dental phenomena, academia, mortality and Judaism - and intersections thereof - A Serious Man is the new film from Academy Award®-winning writer-directors Joel and Ethan Coen.

Soul Kitchen Fatih Akin, Germany
North American Premiere
From the director of HEAD-ON comes the story of a young restaurant owner Zinos is down on his luck. His girlfriend Nadine has moved to Shanghai, his Soul Kitchen customers are boycotting the new gourmet chef, and he's having back trouble. Things start looking up when the hip crowd embraces his revamped culinary concept, but that doesn't mend Zinos' broken heart. He decides to fly to China for Nadine, leaving the restaurant in the hands of his unreliable ex-con brother Illias.

Triage Danis Tanovic, Ireland/Spain
World Premiere
Mark (Colin Farrell), a war photographer, returns home from Kurdistan without his friend and colleague David (Jamie Sives). As time goes on, it becomes clear that Mark holds the key to the truth of David's disappearance.

Up in the Air Jason Reitman, USA
World Premiere
From Jason Reitman, the Oscar®-nominated director of JUNO, comes a comedy starring George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and just after he's met the frequent-traveller woman of his dreams.

Whip It Drew Barrymore, USA
World Premiere
Drew Barrymore's directorial debut stars Ellen Page (Juno) as Bliss, a rebellious Texas teen who throws in her small-town beauty pageant crown for the rowdy world of roller-derby. Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River, Pollock) plays Bliss's disapproving mother, while Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live) and Juliette Lewis (Old School) play roller-derby stars. Whip It also stars Eve, Jimmy Fallon, Daniel Stern, Alia Shawkat, Ari Graynor, Andrew Wilson, Zoe Bell and singer-songwriter Landon Pigg.

Women Without Men Shirin Neshat, Germany/France/Austria
North American Premiere
Shirin Neshat's first feature-length film is based on a magic-realist novel written by Iranian author Sharnush Parsipur. The narrative interweaves the lives of four Iranian women during the summer of 1953, a pivotal moment in Iranian history when an American led coup d'état brought down the democratically elected prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh and reinstalled the Shah to power. The film chronicles each woman's quest for change and their mysterious encounter in a magical orchard.

Paprika Steen Wins Best Actress Award at Karlovy Vary

Bolstered by what Variety calls a "fearless, tour-de-force performance" Paprika Steen's has taken the Best Actress Award at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for her new film APPLAUSE. The role was written especially for Paprika, who plays an arrogant aging diva struggling with addiction so she can regain custody of her two sons.

The film is set for limited release in Denmark at the end of September. I'm hoping that the film plays Toronto and that I might actually get to meet Paprika in person at last. This is one we'll definitely keep an eye out for!

Check out this great scene from the film:

It was only a matter of time...

Cinematical reports that Chlotrudis Hall-of-Famer Philip Seymour Hoffman will be stepping behind the camera for the first time with JACK GOES BOATING, an adaptation of an Off-Broadway play by Bob Glaudini. Phil will also star in this quirky, romantic comedy opposite GONE BABY GONE'S Amy Ryan. With "cooking classes, swimming lessons, and illegal drugs" involved in the plot, it's sure to be quirky and fun. Given Phil's thoughtful film choices as an actor, and his experience directing for the stage, it's a safe bet that he will make a fine film director.

Next up for Phil as an actor is the intriguing-sounding Richard Curtis film, THE BOAT THAT ROCKED. Phil will co-star opposite Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy and Kenneth Brannagh among others, and Curtis is responsible for the Mr. Bean films and the Bridget Jones films among others. Sounds like fun to me!

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE the Best Movie of 2008?

The National Board of Review announced their choice for the best film of 2008: Danny Boyle's SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. Now those who know me well, or those who simply read my reviews on this site, must know that this genuinely shocked me, and I pretty actively disliked SLUMDOG. Even more shocking to me than the best movie award is the acknowledgement to Simon Beaufoy script, for Best Adapted Screenplay as I find the screenplay particularly reprehensible. Now I realize that I'm not going to agree with every honor bestowed by critics groups around the world, but I'm always a bit surprised when a movie I dislike fairly seriously garners enough support from other film buffs to win such honors. I'm sure Beth Caldwell is feeling the same way about all the honors being bestowed on FROZEN RIVER.

Anyway, upon reading this I immediately wanted to find out more about the NBR, to see how authoritative they might be. This is what I discovered on their website:

"The screening membership comprises knowledgeable film buffs, academics, young film professionals, and students in the New York metropolitan area."

Hmmm... I guess this must just be a highly divisive film. I know there are Chlotrudis members whose opinions I respect who love SLUMDOG as well.

The NBR's other honors follow:

Film: "Slumdog Millionaire"
Director: David Fincher, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Actor: Clint Eastwood, "Gran Torino"
Actress: Anne Hathaway, "Rachel Getting Married"
Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, "Milk"
Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Foreign Language Film: "Mongol"
Documentary: "Man On Wire"
Animated Feature: "Wall-E"
Ensemble Cast: "Doubt"
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: Dev Patel, "Slumdog Millionaire"
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: Viola Davis, "Doubt"
Directorial Debut: Courtney Hunt, "Frozen River"
Original Screenplay: Nick Schenk, "Gran Torino"
Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, "Slumdog Millionaire"
Eric Roth, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Spotlight Award: Melissa Leo, "Frozen River"
Richard Jenkins, "The Visitor"
The BVLGARI Award for NBR Freedom of Expression: "Trumbo"

TOP TEN FILMS

* "Burn After Reading"
* "Changeling"
* "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button"
* "The Dark Knight"
* "Defiance"
* "Frost/Nixon"
* "Gran Torino"
* "Milk"
* "Wall-E"
* "The Wrestler"

TOP FIVE FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMS

* Edge Of Heaven
* Let The Right One In
* Roman De Guerre
* A Secret
* Waltz With Bashir

TOP FIVE DOCUMENTARY FILMS

* American Teen
* The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
* Dear Zachary
* Encounters At The End Of The World
* Roman Polanski: Wanted And Desired

Better a Year-and-a-Half Late than Never?

Okay, so it's taken a year-and-a-half, but the photos from 2007's 13th Annual Chlotrudis Awards Ceremony featuring Don McKellar and Tracy Wright are finally up on the website. Perhaps we'll even get the pictures from this year's 14th Annual Ceremony up before the calendar year ends! Take a look at the 13th Annual Ceremony here.

Independent Distribution Loses Another Outlet.

Red Envelope Entertainment, the acquisition and and distribution wing of Netflix has closed its doors. As blockbusters make more money and indies get more and more marginalized, going direct to DVD or to Cable TV, we hate to see indie distributors disappear, thus making our cinematic choices that much more limited.

Red Envelope Entertainment had released some pretty significant Chlotrudis films in its short life, including Chlotrudis Best Documentary winners from the past two years PROTAGONIST and THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED. Just recently Red Envelope provided U.S. distribution for two Chlotrudis co-presentations, LOVE SONGS and WATER LILIES. Hopefully another company will turn up to take its place.

While discussing the difficulties of indie and foreign-language film distribution, a film that is sure to be of interest to Chlotrudis members has just been released directly to DVD in the States. HELP ME EROS the Taiwanese film directed by and starring Lee Kang-Sheng, muse and lead actor for beloved Chlotrudis director Tsai Ming-Liang, was released this week on DVD without receiving an official theatrical release. While most Chlotrudis members would probably prefer to see HELP ME EROS on the big screen, better on DVD than not at all!

Peter Keough and Popcorn 'N Roses Report on Awards

Peter Keough, our pal from the Boston Phoenix, had some lovely things to say about our Annual Awards Ceremony earlier this week on his blog, Outside the Frame. (And no, it was not an April Fool's Joke.) Chlotrudis member TC also commented on the Awards at the IndieFilmSpotlight on his Popcorn N Roses website.

Susan Blackwell of Susan Blackwell Fame

Theatre-going New Yorkers may know Susan Blackwell from her terrific performance in [title of show] or her supporting role in the current Off-Broadway hit Speech and Debate. Chlotrudis members may know Susan Blackwell from her star turn in the Chlotrudis Award-winning Short Film BUN-BUN. But Scot is the lucky man who knew Susan Blackwell as a friend and fellow theatre major in college. Tonight we saw Susan's brief appearance in Noah Baumbach's MARGOT AT THE WEDDING, then what do I find in my RSS feed when I get home but 61 photos from the upcoming Hilary Swank film P.S. I LOVE YOU. One of those photos features a great photo with Susan having a rip-roaring argument with Swank while Gina Gershon holds her back. Check it out!

David Cronenberg and Guy Maddin win Awards at TIFF

The Toronto International Film Festival announced its award winners on Saturday, September 15 with co-directors Piers Handling and Noah Cowan handing out prizes on the closing day of the festival. Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg won the Cadillac People's Choice Award for the film EASTERN PROMISES. Cronenberg's crime film starring Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel, and Armin Mueller-Stahl, opened this weekend in New York and makes its Boston debut next Friday at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. There were two runners-up announced as well; Jason Reitman's comedy, JUNO starring Ellen Page, a favorite among Chlotrudis attendees, and Ellen Spiro's and Phil Donahue's documentary on the Iraqi War, BODY OF WAR.

On a side note, this year's People's Choice Award was poorly handled; possibly the single biggest gaffe I've ever seen in the generally well-run festival. At the beginning of each screening, volunteers pass out slips with the by-now-familiar-to-festgoers, voting ranks along the bottom. As festivalgoers are accustomed, at the end of the film you tear through the number that corresponds to the rank about how you enjoyed the film: 0 meaning poor, 4 meaning the best. The tearing eliminates the need for a writing instrument, which many people seeing a movie do not have. No instruction is given on the voting process; apparently it was assumed that feativalgoers would be familiar with this type of ballot and proceed accordingly. What a surprise, three days into the festival when Bruce was reprimanded by a volunteer about not having written the film's name on the slip! This was news to all of us, and made the whole tearing through the number irrelevant! Strangely enough, a couple of days later, volunteers were starting to announce, "Don't forget to write the name of the movie on your ballot." This surely hurt the voting, as many people couldn't be bothered and just skipped the voting process altogehter. Let's hope they get this right next year.

Another Chlotrudis favorite, Guy Maddin's MY WINNIPEG, took the CityTV Award for Best Canadian Feature Film. This amazing flim merges documentary and narrative, bringing together the best of Maddin's creative genius to tell the story of the Canadian city that is the heart of the heart of the country. IFC Entertainment has purchased the distribution rights for the United States, so watch out for its release!

The complete list of award-winners at TIFF follows:

Cadillac People's Choice Award:
EASTERN PROMISES, directed by David Cronenberg

FIPRESCI International Critics Prize:
LA ZONA, directed by Rodrigo Pla

Artistic Innovation Award:
ENCARNACION, directed by Anahi Berneri

Diesel Discovery Award:
COCHOCHI, directed by Israel Cardenas & Laura Amelia Guzman

CityTV Award for Best Canadian Feature Film:
MY WINNIPEG, directed by Guy Maddin

Toronto-City Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film:
CONTINENTAL, UN FILM SANS FUSIL, directed by Stephane Lafleur

Award for Best Canadian Short Film:
POOL, directed by Chris Chong Chan Fui