“For Sama”, “Exit 12” win top documentary awards at SXSW

“For Sama”, “Exit 12” win top documentary awards at SXSW

Sources: Realscreen and Film Threat

Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts’ “For Sama” was awarded the top prize in the Documentary Feature category at the 26th annual SXSW Film Festival Awards on Tuesday.

In 2011, a peaceful uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s brutal dictatorship in Syria ended five years later in a bloodbath of Russian bombs, leaving the city of Aleppo reduced to ruins.

For those in the U.S., ISIS became the focus, burying the reality of what Assad’s regime was actually doing to its own people with the aid of Russian military while allowing the separate struggles to become muddled as a single event.

The reality couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Amid the turmoil, economics student Waad al-Khateab saw a glimmer of hope in the initial protests on her university campus and picked up her camera.  Without knowing how far it all would go, she documented this struggle from its humble origins to its blood-drenched end.

That footage has now been assembled into a love letter to her oldest daughter with the assistance of documentarian Edward Watts.

“For Sama” is also one of the most important films you’ll ever see in your life.

In the Documentary Shorts category, Mohammad Gorjestani’s “Exit 12” was awarded the top prize for his film that centers around former U.S. Marine Roman Baca who opens a New York-based dance company to help other veterans cope with the depression, anxiety, and anger of war through dance and choreography.

Read the story at Realscreen and Film Threat.

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Beto O’Rourke receives standing ovation at SXSW for “Running With Beto”

Beto O’Rourke receives standing ovation at SXSW for “Running With Beto”

Source:  Variety

Beto O’Rourke received a standing ovation at South by Southwest on Saturday afternoon after the premiere of “Running With Beto.”

Although the documentary plays like an announcement for a presidential run, O’Rourke sidestepped the question about 2020 at a Q&A following the film.

“Running With Beto” follows O’Rourke as he mounts a failed 2018 campaign to topple Ted Cruz from his Texas seat in the U.S. Senate.

The film’s director, David Modigliani, revealed that he spent two years on the road with O’Rourke, collecting 700 hours of footage for the project.

“Running With Beto” premieres this spring on HBO.

Read the story at Variety.

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Architecture and Design Film Festival to screen films on Gehry, Piano, and Rams

Architecture and Design Film Festival to screen films on Gehry, Piano, and Rams

Source:  Interior Design

After making its debut ten years ago in New York City, the Architecture Design Film Festival is having its third Los Angeles run on March 13-17.

Curated by the festival’s founder, Kyle Bergman, this year’s films explore the lives of several architecture and design heroes—Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, and Dieter Rams—among others.

The 22 features and shorts—which include Interior Design’s foray into filmmaking, “Peter Bohlin: From Here to There”—will be held at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.

Opening night will see the Los Angeles premiere of “Frank Gehry: Building Justice,” which delves into the Pritzker Prize laureate’s study of prison design as an ideal way to teach architecture, with students from SCI-Arc and Yale exploring the subject and learning first-hand about life inside.

Read the story at Interior Design.

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“Talking About Trees” wins top documentary award at Berlin International Film Festival

“Talking About Trees” wins top documentary award at Berlin International Film Festival

Source:  Deadline

The Berlin International Film Festival crowned its winners last night at a ceremony in the Berlinale Palast.

“Talking With Trees” was awarded the Berlinale Glashütte Original – Documentary Award, the festival’s top documentary award.  The film also won the Panorama Audience Award in the documentary category.

Directed by Suhain Gasmelbari, “Talking About Trees” chronicles the actions of the Sudanese Film Club, a group of retired (though not through their own volition) movie directors who try to reopen a theater in the city of Omdourman, located just outside of Khartoum.

But in a country dominated by Islamists who have made the existence of cinema extremely difficult, especially in the public arena, it proves to be a Sisyphean task.

Read the story at Deadline.

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“One Child Nation”, “Honeyland” win top documentary prizes at Sundance Film Festival

“One Child Nation”, “Honeyland” win top documentary prizes at Sundance Film Festival

“One Child Nation” and “Honeyland” were awarded the two top documentary prizes at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

The awards were announced last night at the festival’s annual awards ceremony, which was hosted by filmmaker and actress Marianna Palka at the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse in Park City, Utah.

The complete list of documentary award winners is below.

U.S. Documentary Competition

Grand Jury Prize – “One Child Nation,” director: Nanfu Wang

Directing – “American Factory,” directors: Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

Special Jury Award for Moral Urgency – “Always in Season,” director: Jacqueline Olive

Special Jury Award for Emerging Filmmaker – “Jawline,” directed by Liza Mandelup

Special Jury Award for Editing – “Apollo 11,” director: Todd Douglas Miller

Special Jury Award for Cinematography – Luke Lorentzen for “Midnight Family”

World Cinema Documentary Competition

Grand Jury Prize – “Honeyland,” directors: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov

Directing – “Cold Case Hammarskjold,” director: Mads Brugger

Special Jury Award for No Borders – “Midnight Traveler,” director: Hassan Fazili

Special Jury Prize for Impact for Change – “Honeyland,” directors: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov

Special Jury Award for Cinematography – “Honeyland,” Fejmi Daut, Samir Legume

Audience Awards

U.S. Documentary – “Knock Down the House,” director: Rachel Lears

World Cinema Documentary – “Sea of Shadows,” director: Richard Ladkani

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Food and politics mix at Berlin International Film Festival’s Culinary Cinema lineup

Food and politics mix at Berlin International Film Festival’s Culinary Cinema lineup

Source:  The Hollywood Reporter

For the latest edition of its popular Culinary Cinema sidebar, the Berlin International Film Festival is mixing food, culture, and politics.

Under the motto “A Taste for Balance,” the festival’s section of food-focused features and documentaries looks to draw links between the culinary business and culture and the society that produces it.

“The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution,” a documentary from Canadian director Maya Gallus, which opens the Culinary Cinema sidebar on Feb. 10, looks at a new generation of female chefs who are transforming the high-end cooking industry.

Filmmaking farmer John Cester’s doc, “The Biggest Little Farm,” looks at how he and his team transformed parched land in California into fertile soil.

In “A God in Each Lentil,” Spanish director Miguel Angel Jimenez explores the struggle for work/life balance through the story of the family-run Michelin-starred restaurant L’Escaleta.

Read the story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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