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Women to Watch: Katayoon Shahabi, Producer and International Sales Agent

Katayoon is CEO of the first private Iranian company to distribute Iranian-made movies and documentaries around the world. Knowing Katayoon for many years, sharing many experiences as we got to know one another at the festivals and markets, I want to share this heroic woman’s special place in our world for those who do not know her yet. When not at the film festival events supporting her film, Behnam Behzadi’s “Varoonegi” aka “Inversion” aka “Un…

Edinburgh International Film Festival and its Shorts

Established in 1947, EIFF was one of the world's first international film festivals. It has an established reputation for discovering and promoting the very best in international cinema - and for heralding and debating changes in global filmmaking. Intimate in its scale, ambitious in its scope, and fuelled by pure passion for cinema in all its manifestations, EIFF seeks to spotlight the most exciting and innovative new film talent, in a setting steeped in history. The new artistic direc…

Review: The Daniels’ Heartfelt ‘Swiss Army Man’ is a Zany Existentialist Buddy Comedy

Finite and unrecoverable, that’s what our time on this earth is. Mortality comes with the default set of traits for mankind, and such unalterable realization about our expiration date should, in theory, encourage people to live fully before facing the ultimate goodbye. In the Daniels (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) uncompromising and highly singular debut feature, “Swiss Army Man,” the restrains that societal codes place on human happiness and our desire to seek fulfill…

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The Film Prize of The Robert Bosch Stiftung Opens Call for Film Submissions

The Film Prize of Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation has announced the call for film submissions for the interested young German and Arab filmmakers. The prizes, each worth up to 60,000 euros, are awarded for film co-productions in the categories: short animation, short fiction film, and short or feature length documentary.   2016 winners of the Film Prize of Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation   The deadline for submissions is on Thursday the 21st of July, and 12 projects wil…

‘Diary of a Chambermaid’ Director Benoît Jacquot on How a Century-Old Novel Mirrors Today’s World.

Conceived at the dawn of the 20th century and shaped by the outburst of influences during that transitional period, Octave Mirbeau’s novel about a young and defiant Parisian house keeper who refuses to fully surrender to a life of servitude working for wealthy French families in the provinces, ignited the cinematic passions of celebrated auteurs such as Renoir and Buñuel, each of whom adapted the provocative piece with their own sensibilities. Now, nearly 50-years after the …

Women To Watch: Sophie Dulac - Founder of Champs Elysees Film Festival

 Women to Watch: Sophie Dulac, Founder of Champs Elysees Film Festival, Producer, Distributor and Theater(s) Owner For the past five years I have had the honor of interviewing Sophie Dulac three times. She is not only the founder and president of the five-year-old Champs Elysees Film Festival but is also a distributor of eight to ten films a year of which two were in Cannes this year, a theater owner of the Paris mini-chain, Les Ecrans de Paris, a producer, and VP of Publicis, a PR…

Susan Kouguell Interview With Award-winning Australian Filmmaker Joe D’Arcy

In the final days of the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, I had the pleasure of meeting Australian filmmaker Joe D’Arcy, whose 6-minute short film ‘Je suis un Crayon’ (I am a Pencil) curated by Academy-award winner Whoopi Goldberg, was included in the animated shorts program. This program was described as ‘showcasing imaginative storytelling and captivating craft’ and indeed ‘Je suis un Crayon’ was no exception. D'Ary with his wife Carol and Whoopi G…

The Arab World in Cannes

Mohamed Diab’s “Clash” / “Eshtebak” opened Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival this year. It takes place in Cairo during the summer of 2013 - two years after the Egyptian revolution. In the wake of the ouster of Islamist president Morsi, two journalists are grabbed during protests, their cameras and IDs confiscated, and thrown into the back of a police truck. The Clash Full of detained demonstrators of divergent political and religious background…

Two New Festivals of Interest

Cult Film Festival Cult Film Festival’s first edition June 16-19 in Trouville-Sur-Mer by French writer and TV personality Karl Zero who says “Cult is the hyphen between popular and visionary”. Watch the Cult Film Trailer here Cult or Not Cult? Oui = Yes, Non = No and Pas Encore = Not Yet.   The Slum Film Festival Slum Film Festival in Nairobi premiered the short film “Tales from the Slums” from Kenya and was shown in Films Without Borders, the cha…

Susan Kouguell Interview with Writer and Director Leena Yadav

Recently I had the great pleasure to interview writer and director Leena Yadav by phone. In our no holds barred conversation, we covered not only the challenging themes of this film, including conditioning and gender roles, patriarchy, and abuse, but also the challenges of raising money (just over 2.5 million) for this -- as Yadav stated, -- “absolutely independent” film. Thought-provoking and honest, ‘Parched’ tackles these tough and timely topics unapologetica…

The Human Rights Watch Film Festival - New York-June 10 to 19th

‘Almost Sunrise,’ is an open and honest documentary that discusses the emotional demons and moral injuries that some veterans face upon returning home from tours of war. What is a ‘Moral Injury’? ‘Moral injury is a wound to the soul caused by participation in events that violate one’s deeply held sense of right and wrong.’ Being sent to combat at a young age, wondering why they were doing the things they were doing, yet being unable to question …

10th Los Angeles Greek Film Festival Announces Annual International Project Discovery Forum Details

  Now in its fourth edition, the International Project Discovery Forum (IPDF), Los Angeles Greek Film Festival’s Industry Section and development workshop will present six impressive new projects by filmmakers from the Balkans and the Middle­ East region. IPDF Director Araceli Lemos, in talking about this year’s selections remarks,"For this edition,we chose projects which are bold, diverse and thought­provoking. We are excited to meet all the filmmakers in pers…

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