Sean Penn Doc Heads to Cannes; SFIFF Wraps

Posted by Brian Brooks on 5.14.2013

Sean Penn Takes Cannes Spotlight with Haiti Untold Documentary
Haiti Untold is a new documentary which takes a look at the rebuilding effort taking place in the impoverished Caribbean island in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that killed thousands in 2010. The feature concentrates on NGOs working to rebuild Haiti including J/P Haitian Relief Organization, the group set up by Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn, THR reports.

San Francisco International Film Festival Wraps 56th Edition
SFIFF featured 158 films from 51 countries with over 210 filmmakers attending over its 15 day run. Among its guests this year were Steven Soderbergh, Harrison Ford, Richard Linklater, Philip Kaufman, Julie Delpy, William Friedkin, David Gordon Green, Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig, Sarah Polley, Michael Cera and Kate Bosworth. Belmin Sölyemez's Present Tense (Turkey) won the festival's New Directors Prize, while its FIPRESCI award went to Sébastian Betbeder's Nights with Theodore. Kalyanee Mam's A River Changes Course won Best Documentary, while the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature went to Régis Roinsard's Populaire. Morgan Neville's Twenty Feet From Stardom received the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Where Have All the Women Gone in Movies?
There have been recent success in women-lead movies such as Bridesmaids, Hunger Games and Twilight, but female representation in popular movies is at its lowest level in five years, according to a study by USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Among the 100 highest-grossing movies at the U.S. box office last year, only 28.4% of speaking characters were women, a drop from 32.8% three years ago, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Cannes Doc Heads to HBO
The Cannes Film Festival is giving the premium cable network its spotlight, including Steven Soderbergh's Behind the Candelabra in its Official Selection. And HBO has now picked up rights in the U.S. and Canada to James Toback's feature documentary Seduced and Abandoned, which is making its world premiere as a Special Screening in the Cannes Official Selection. Told by Alec Baldwin and Toback, the film is described as a "cinematic exploration of several interconnected subjects: The Cannes Film Festival and cinema art, money, glamor and death." Shot during the 65th Anniversary Festival in 2012, it features fascinating and original portraits of Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, Ryan Gosling, Jessica Chastain, Berenice Bejo, Diane Kruger and James Caan.

10 Docs Chosen for Independent Filmmaker Labs
The key creative teams of the selected films, chosen from 200 nationwide, will participate in three week-long sessions over the course of 2013 with the first—the Time Warner Foundation Documentary Completion Lab—taking place May 13-17 in New York City. The ten include Approaching the Elephant by Jay Craven, Bringing Tibet Home by Tenzin Tsetan Choklay, Do I Sound Gay? by David Thorpe, Evolution of a Criminal by Darius Clark Monroe, Farmer Veteran by D.L. Anderson, In Country by Megan O'Hara and Mike Attie, Kasamayaki (Made in Kasama) by Yuki Kokubo, The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest by Gabriel London, Mateo by AaronNaar and Roots and Webs by Sara Dosa. Recent fellows headed for theatrical distribution include SXSW's 12 O'Clock Boys, These Birds Walk and New Directors/New Films' Our Nixon.

Cambodian Filmmaker Rithy Panh to Compile IDFA Top 10
Rithy Panh came to international prominence in 2003 with his documentary S21, The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, for which he filmed the testimony of former inmates and guards of a Khmer Rouge punishment camp, and his latest, l’Image Manquante, will screen in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival, which begins this week. Rithy Panh will be a guest of the festival during IDFA 2013, where he will talk about his work and his Top 10 in a masterclass. The 26th IDFA will run from November 20 to December 1 in Amsterdam.

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