Film Festival Blogs

Blogging SilverDocs: Closing Night

"The Nine Lives of Marion Barry" draws a large crowd at SilverDocs 2009.


Marion Barry greets supporters inside the AFI Silver Theatre before the film's screening.

Independent blogger Enette Ngoei attends the closing night screening of The Nine Lives of Marion Barry, where filmmakers Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer explore the political career and private life of the former D.C. mayor. The world premiere was kicked off with a visit from Barry, which was ill-received by gay rights protesters (watch a YouTube video of Barry's arrival here) and ended with an after-screening Q&A, where Barry deflected tough questions from the audience.

Excitement at SilverDocs 2009 reached a crescendo on its closing night. Throngs of people turned up in Silver Spring, MD, to catch the sold-out film, The Nine Lives of Marion Barry. Not all of them got a seat in the AFI Silver Theatre.

Blogging CineVegas: From the Wild Weekend to Closing Night

An inside look at the films, Q&As, promotions and local flare at CineVegas 2009.


Emmanuelle Chriqui and Justin Long in <i>Patriotville</i>, which screened at CineVegas on Friday.

The Independent's Jessica Tripp bypasses the sold out 500 Days of Summer and opts for a screening of Patriotville (view a clip here), a series of locally-made shorts, which can be viewed online here, and Asylum Seekers (view the trailer here) and, after a crazy Vegas weekend, ends the festival, with a low-key drive-in screening on Fremont Street.

In grand Vegas tradition, CineVegas really heated up for the weekend. Theaters became more and more crowded as locals and visitors joined the press and film students that had been watching faithfully since Wednesday.

Blogging SilverDocs: The Centerpiece Screening

Blogger Enette Ngoei attends the Centerpiece Screeing of AJ Schnack's "Convention."


A still from AJ Schnack's <i>Convention</i< filmed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Independent blogger Enette Ngoei is forced to choose between the many nighttime screenings offered at SilverDocs this year. Going back and forth between AJ Schnack's Convention, Peter Greenaway's Act of God (view the trailer here) and Oded Adomi Leshem's Voices from El-Sayed (view the trailer here), she makes a snap decision to go with the Centerpiece Screening of Convention and gets an inside look at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Limited by a day job, I was confined to picking one of the 122 nighttime screenings at SilverDocs 2009 and, not knowing much about any of them, my decision was a bit of a gamble.

Blogging SilverDocs: The Filmmakers

Q&As with four of the filmmakers screening at SilverDocs this year.


No Imact Man and his daughter shop for food at a local farmers' market.

The Independent's Randi Cecchine talks to four filmmakers screening at SilverDocs this month, and with subjects ranging from extreme attempts to reduce a carbon footprint, to a Romanian teenagers run-in with Sacha Baron Cohen, this preview gives a taste of the subjects and variety that SilverDocs has to offer this year. Read interviews with the directors of No Impact Man, Off and Running (view the trailer here), Carmen Meets Borat (view a clip from the film here), and Long Distance.

This week I’ll be heading to SilverDocs Documentary Film Festival and International Documentary Conference in Silver Spring, MD outside of Washington, DC.

I interviewed four filmmakers via e-mail before the festival and I look forward to meeting up with them and asking more questions at SilverDocs.

Long Distance
Moritz Siebert
28 min. | United Kingdom

Blogging CineVegas: An Introduction to the Festival

A look at the films, parties and panels at the CineVegas Film Festival.


A still from Kerry Prior's "zompire" movie, <i>The Revenant</i>.

Las Vegas is known for being over the top, so of course nothing less can be expected for its film festival. This year CineVegas showcases films from all over the world as well as local talent, like Kerry Prior, whose horror film, The Revenant (view the trailer here), had its world premiere at CineVegas. The Independent's Jessica Tripp blogs from the festival for a Vegas tell-all, from the Q&As to the after parties.

A god lands in a Nevada Suburb. The mentally insane compete for the last bed in a fancy asylum. A dead man rises for a joyride in a Camaro. Yes, it's just another day at CineVegas at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas.

Blogging Sci-Fi London: A Day and Night in the Life

A single-orbit sampling of labs, flicks and vibes from London’s largest genre film festival


A montage of the films, directors and goings-on at Sci-Fi London.

London is known for many things, but not necessarily genre film. Overlapping with the Palestine Film Festival and hot on the heels of the East End Film Festival, Sci-Fi London recently hoisted its flag of science-fiction and fantastical film for its eighth edition. The term “science-fiction” doesn’t quite cover this richly-packed six-day event which notably offers a stream of “science fact” related talks, debates and demonstrations. Check out genre films like former Skids frontman Scotsman Richard Jobson's short I Am Digital (view the trailer here) and Stingray Sam, the newly-completed six-part series from Cory McAbee (view the trailer here). The Independent’s Patrick Pearce did a fly-by of the fest to give you a sample of the films, directors and general goings-on at Sci-Fi London.

The Apollo Piccadilly’s neon-lit stairs bathe me in a blue glow, zapping all worries of H1N1 and other possible outside world infections as I descend into Sci Fi London’s infectiously enthusiastic lower lobby, bar, gaming arcade and general festival hub.

Blogging Tribeca 2009: Interview with Matt Faust of "home"

Interview with Director Matt Faust of the film "home."


A still from "home"

Hurricane Katrina inspired a bevy of documentary films, but none captures the personal loss more artfully than Matt Faust's six-minute film home, which won Best Documentary Short at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. The Independent spoke with Matt Faust about his experience making the film and its inspiration, the loss of his family home.

Hurricane Katrina inspired a bevy of documentary films, but none captures the personal loss more artfully than Matt Faust's six-minute film home, which won Best Documentary Short at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. The Independent spoke with Matt Faust about his experience making the film and its inspiration, the loss of his family home.

Blogging Tribeca 2009: Interview with Shelly Kling-Yosef of "Gefilte Fish."


A still from "Gefilte Fish," which screened at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. Photo by Shlomi Yosef.

Shelly Kling-Yosef's Gefilte Fish (watch the trailer) tells the story of a young woman torn between her pre-nuptial family tradition to kill and prepare gefilte fish versus her sympathy for the live carp swimming in her bathtub. Kling-Yosef, who grew up in Haifa and graduated from the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem, produced the film in Israel. Here she talks with The Independent about the making of her short film Gefilte Fish which screened at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.

Shelly Kling-Yosef's Gefilte Fish tells the story of a young woman torn between her pre-nuptial family tradition to kill and prepare gefilte fish versus her sympathy for the live carp swimming in her bathtub. Although an uniquely Jewish story, the film's characters, comedy and poignancy transcend the boundaries of language and culture.

Blogging Tribeca 2009: Interview with George Griffin of "The Bather"

An interview with director George Griffin whose film "The Bather" screened at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.


A still from "The Bather"

George Griffin's experimental film The Bather incorporates a woman showering, text across the screen, and a flipbook that comes to life through animation. Griffin, who grew up in Tennessee and now lives in New York City, has an impressive body of work including cartoons, narratives, docs, and musicals. Here he talks with The Independent about his short film The Bather which screened at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival and can currently be seen online.

George Griffin's experimental film The Bather incorporates a woman showering, text across the screen, and a flipbook that comes to life through animation. Griffin, who grew up in Tennessee and now lives in New York City, has an impressive body of work including cartoons, narratives, docs, and musicals.

Blogging Tribeca 2009: Short Films

Tribeca Film Festival has gathered a diverse selection of short films ranging from experimental animations to personal stories and little comedy and drama gems from across the globe.


"Love Does Grow on Trees" screened at Tribeca 2009.

Tribeca Film Festival has gathered a diverse selection of short films ranging from experimental animations to personal stories, along with comedy and drama gems from across the globe. In fact, the two festival-winning short films – home (Best Documentary Short, directed by Matthew Faust, and The North Road (La route du Nord) (Best Narrative Short, directed and written by Carlos Chahine) – were both directorial debuts. Here is a small sampling of several short films that deserve another look.

There’s no doubt that the Tribeca Film Festival exudes star power and red carpet glitz – at least in the mainstream media. And yet, somewhat more quietly, Tribeca has gathered a diverse selection of short films ranging from experimental animations to personal stories – for a variety of documentary and narrative gems from across the globe.

Blogging Tribeca 2009: Pre-Festival Buzz

The Independent's picks of buzz-worthy independent films by first-time directors at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.


Entre Nos screens at Tribeca Film Festival. (Photo: James Adolphus)

As publications create their 'must-see' lists for the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, we decided to take a different approach: directorial debuts. With the festival's start date of April 22 fast approaching, The Independent offers our picks of buzz-worthy independent films by first-time directors, including Entre Nos (see trailer), Off and Running (see trailer), and Original (see trailer).

With 85 features and 46 shorts being showcased at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, the success of any individual film has much to do with its pre-festival buzz.

Blogging the London International Documentary Festival: Youth Voices From Pakistan

A round-up and interview with four young Pakistani filmmakers at LIDF.


One of the filmmaking teams in post workshop with UK trainers.

What do we know of Pakistan? Formerly part of India and an independent state recently turned 60. Dodgy government and military, complicated nuclear-armed international politics. And in the media blasts of recent years, the home of boot camps and hideouts for international terrorists. But what else? With this question, LIDF director Patrick Hazard set out to see if filmmaking for social change could fly in Pakistan.

With the support (and security apparatus) of the British High Commission, Hazard teamed up last January with Peter Fraser from UK media organization InSight Education to lead 12 media students from four Pakistan universities through an intensive five day documentary workshop in Karachi.

Blogging the London International Documentary Festival: Engaging Audiences

A chat with festival director Patrick Hazard


Entertainment before screening of The Last American Freak Show.

The London International Documentary Festival has no film marketplace, no pitching sessions, and its debates seem more oriented towards society at large rather than the industry. So what drives it? The Independent’s Patrick Pearce chats with festival director Patrick Hazard about the LIDF’s origins, themes and raison d’être.

Let’s backtrack a bit and tell me about how the festival came into being.

Blogging SXSW: The Memorable Moments

A look back at the films and filmmakers that stood out at SXSW '09.


Alex Karpovsky, director of <i>Trust Us, This Is All Made Up</i>, does a Q&A with subjects T.J. Jagodowski and David Pasquesi.

Wrapping up SXSW '09, The Independent's Steven Abrams recalls the moments, both on screen and off, that made the festival memorable and contributed to its success. Abrams recalls a memorable scene in Paul Cotter's stand-out film Bomber (view the trailer here), a glimpse of what its like to be on the "other side" with film critic Gerald Peary's For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism (view the trailer here), and looks at the carefully-selected short films, like Gary Huggins' Happy 95 Birthday Grandpa (view the trailer here).

There is a special moment in Alex Karpovsky's film, Trust Us, This Is All Made Up. Part performance doc, part study in the art of improvisation, the film follows T.J. Jagodowski and David Pasquesi, two seasoned improv veterans, from preparation, to performance, to their reactions after the show.

Blogging SXSW: Discovering Austin

How Austin and SXSW have become inextricably intertwined.


A still from Cliff & Kyle Bogart's <i>Artois the Goat</i>, which had its world premiere at SXSW '09.

What Sundance is to Park City, SXSW is to Austin--but instead of skiing and fur-lined hoodies, SXSW boasts BBQ and Wetnaps. The Independent's Steven Abrams, an Austin local, describes how the festival has become an integral part of the city and vice versa, as popular Austin locales are overtaken with world premieres of films like Pierre Laffargue's Black (view the trailer here) and Gary Hustwit's Objectified (view the trailer here).

In its 22 years, South By Southwest has grown from just a music fest into a three-headed monster of Film, Interactivity, and Music, taking over much of downtown Austin for a nine-day blitz of creativity, media, and networking. The convention center, the main hub of the festival, is crowded with people and awash with colors as film posters and marketing brochures land on every table and wall.