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ICMF-FF5: Programmer's Thread

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St. Gloede
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#481

Post by St. Gloede »

beavis wrote: June 16th, 2021, 3:35 pm
St. Gloede wrote: June 16th, 2021, 1:13 pm I can't find the ICM list? Does anyone have the link or know what it is called? (ICMFFF5, ICMF FF5, ICMFF2021, ICMFFF2021 and ICMF FF2021 do not work)
this one is linked earlier in the thread
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/icm+ ... ns/zzzorf/

I added it to the fist post for easy reference in the future!

64 checked!!

83 unchecked...
but not to deter the amazing participation of the programmers this year, it was never implied that you needed to see all or even as much as possible of the nominations :)
(but I love that some of you are trying!!)
you are all doing great, we are cooking up a nice roster, take it easy at this stage and watch what you want to watch when you have the time for it
Cheers, I Watchlisted it on ICM as well.

I also just noticed that La ciudad oculta is nominated, so will aim to see it soon.
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#482

Post by St. Gloede »

beavis wrote: June 16th, 2021, 3:45 pm
St. Gloede wrote: June 16th, 2021, 1:03 pm I saw Kill It and Leave This Town yesterday, and (I was sure this was a nominee ...):
Spoiler
I can definitely see it making waves in the animation slate. At its best it is thoroughly unnerving bleak existentialism and surrealism creates a bizarre, reflective and minimalist nightmare scape that blends genuine emotion and angst with unforgettable images. At its worst, it feels a little too juvenile - and the extremely minimalist animation (mainly black and white sketches, often with a touch of red for blood) is not always equally effective. The nightmare is disjointed, but clearly centres on the relationship of a son and his mother (and dead father), and seems composed of fragments of thoughts, imagination, loss, fear and creativity - which is just really engaging. A thoroughly good film made (seemingly) with very few resources. 7 (2).
Nvm.
you could still nominate it... we always need more options for that section and Poland + Animation is enough to peak my interest!
Not great enough for a nomination I'm afraid.

I'm excluding most 8s as well at this point.
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#483

Post by beavis »

St. Gloede wrote: June 16th, 2021, 4:24 pm I also just noticed that La ciudad oculta is nominated, so will aim to see it soon.
so you missed post #314 then... shame! :)
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5265&start=280#p699132
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St. Gloede
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#484

Post by St. Gloede »

beavis wrote: June 16th, 2021, 9:18 pm
St. Gloede wrote: June 16th, 2021, 4:24 pm I also just noticed that La ciudad oculta is nominated, so will aim to see it soon.
so you missed post #314 then... shame! :)
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5265&start=280#p699132
:lol:

Good reminder, all 4 look intriguing.
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#485

Post by xianjiro »

zzzorf wrote: June 16th, 2021, 9:22 am
xianjiro wrote: June 16th, 2021, 7:18 am
I do think we need to have at least something on Jb4D (most likely) that will either be gripping or scary. I think we've got a lot of the other bases covered, but don't know which does that. If one of you who is more into horror than I am could look over the spreadsheet (at films tagged for Jb4D) and let me know which unseen (by me) pix might best fit that bill, I'll put extra effort into tracking them down.

Just not sure I'll be able to get to everything on the spreadsheet though. :satstunned:
Of the movies I've seen I think Anything for Jackson might be the sort of thing your looking for, possibly even my nominee Impetigore may work but both have already got enough points to qualify (though the more support the more chance to make the slate).

I do have a few nominees in the JB4D without another watcher, of them I really think Mutant Blast should be watched by someone else as I think it will get quick support onto the slate and is in its last year of eligibility, but may not be the style you were asking for.
thanks! I've put holds on the first two and have a source for the third ;)
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#486

Post by xianjiro »

Watched both Mutant Blast and Los Silencios in the last couple of days. I give both strong 2s. Neither would be misplaced on their respective slates.

The main word that keeps coming to mind when thinking about Mutant Blast is campy - not necessarily over-the-top gay camp, but that just this side of silly but still fun camp. As requested, there's plenty of blood and good bit of gore. I didn't find it scary but I was quite interested to see where it was going to go. Mostly - well, blood and gore aren't really my thing - it kept me interested though it seemed the FX were meant to be more realistic earlier than later as we also see the film's schtick finally drop (don't want to spoil it, but anyone who sees it will probably know of what I'm referencing). It's a mix a of genres and maybe one reason I liked it is I get a kick out of things we don't necessarily expect together working together. Overall I thought it skillfully made and intentional, light-hearted with plenty of squish that will keep a receptive audience happy - the only shame is that we won't be programming this for an entire theatre as I really think is plays better to a group. Bet this does well at horror themed fests and would probably do well in a more general release but for the subs: I'm surprised it hasn't been picked up for streaming in the States. Would be good to see what bantha thinks ...

I struggled to decide between a strong 2 or weak 3 for Los Silencios but ultimately decided I could stand behind the strong 2. All the parts are there but I spent most of the movie second guessing my understanding of what was happening on the screen. I thought it well-crafted with a mix of professional and non actors giving understated performances. Part of me wants to believe I'd get it if I were Colombian or a descendant of native peoples from the Amazon, but I'm not sure even then it would work. Thought it had an arthouse vibe and the filmmaker is on to something, but it was just a touch too vague for my tastes. The thing is, I want to like it more than I actually do (if that makes sense). Believe this would play to mixed reactions from our audience but don't believe it would be a horrible choice - just suspicious we have four better choices for both Arthouse and LatAm.
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#487

Post by zzzorf »

Thanks for checking both movies out xianjiro. That change in movie type in Mutant Blast is one of the reasons I like it so much, it's a reason why I like From Dusk till Dawn, two movies that mesh into one great movie.

As to Los Silencios I can get where you are coming from. I enjoyed the movie but it wasn't till afterward and some further reading through some reviews did I piece together some stuff and enjoyed it even more. Yes there may be 4 better choices but I expect them (or at least some) to end up on the main slate, thus letting this slip in to fill the hole.
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#488

Post by St. Gloede »

Watched 2 more:

Shirley (2020, Josephine Decker)

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Few active directors have built up a career of semi-experimental unnerving breakdowns of reality, and what we indeed see than Josephine Decker. This is a director who knows how to build visual tension, play with form and make the conventional feel harrowing, unstable and just a little terrifying. These final three attributes also describe Elisabeth Moss's performance as real-life novelist Shirley Jackson - and it is frankly, the first time Decker has been blessed with such a magnificent performance - holding all else together. In fact, she has not just one phenomenal performance, she has two. The excellent Michael Stuhlbarg plays her husband, and together the two of them build up a degree of sick joy in torment comparable to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf on the unsuspecting couple coming into their home.

You genuinely never know where you have them, what they will do next, what their goals are. Moss' Shirley is sickly, yet biting. Barely able to move, torturing herself, but finding utter delight in torturing others. Stuhlberg's Stanley on the other hand is far more deceptive. The life of the party, filled with charisma, but ready to stab you in the gut at any time. In fact, he can shift from charming to enabling to the real-devil at any point in time - and the two of them get so much material to work with. Moss performance is the main attraction, worthy of a best actress nomination, if not a win. She is thoroughly offputting, yet incredibly charismatic. She can be monstrous and yet inspire everything from empathy to pity to respect. Powerful, weak, genius - all attributes shine through as we get a dynamic and consistently powerful portrayal of the writer, her life and her obsessions.

The couple entering their home, played by Odessa Young and Logan Lerman leave far less of an impression - but then they also have far less material to work with. Still, the friendship that develops between Moss and Young would have been even stronger if the latter had just a little more to give. However, she is still perfectly solid in her role, as is Lerman, as mostly unsuspecting foils that slowly get taken in. There are also other slighter or less explored areas within the film, such as the creation of Shirley's new book, which often gets centre stage, as does the case it is based on - but drown out in the rest of the intrigue. These elements could easily have been magnified or dropped - though the final flashes are still rewatched - and as a whole this may both be Moss' best performance and Decker's greatest work to date. 8/10. (3)

Note: Excellent pick for the Indie slate.


Dating Amber (2020, David Freyne)

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Caught in hyper-conservative Ireland, two closeted teenagers, tired of being bullied over their assumed sexuality, decide to participate in a deceptive act of self-preservation: to pretend to be a couple. Set in the midst of the 90s, with a backdrop in everything from militarism and Blur, it takes on all the standard high school tropes, but in a fairly charming and empathetic way - lead forth by the reasonably charismatic and likeable leads.

It does have the cinematography and sense of form of a high production Irish TV show, ala Derry Girls (though the exposition in the opening scene itself is very well done) - and as such is entirely dependent on plot, dialogue, narrative - and I suppose also a sense of 90s nostalgia - to carry through - and in this, it manages perfectly well. It is nothing unique, beyond perhaps the central premise, but it plays well and is a charming and frequently funny film. 6.5/10. (2)
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#489

Post by filmbantha »

I've added two more nominations to the list, bringing me to a total of 25 nominations. I'll probably round this off with my final five towards the end of July, depending on how my viewings go in the coming month.

The first is Valley of Soul (Tantas Almas) - A powerful Colombian slow-burn drama about a fisherman who sets off down the river to track down the body of his dead son. Its a sombre and brooding film with a gripping central performance from Jose Arley de Jesus Carvallido Lobo in his screen debut. I was hesitant about nominating this earlier in the year due to availability but spotted that it is streaming on MUBI currently so this should hopefully be more accessible to the festival audience now. I see this as a great fit for the Latam segment providing it chimes with other programmers - I'm curious to see if Beavis is on board with this one as he has also seen it.

The second nomination is Bye Bye Morons (Adieu Les Cons) - A touching French comedy with all of the charm of a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film that instantly became one of my favourite films of 2020. I'm aware that the Euro slate is already overcrowded but I had to nominate this; its tale of a young mother and her quest to find the baby that she gave up for adoption is utterly delightful and its swipe at the bureaucracy of the ruling authorities is tres amusant! Gloede already told me he would rate it a 2 so I've taken the liberty of populating the spreadsheet for him, I also see that Xianjiro has watched this recently so I hope it was well received there also :)

I watched Primal: Tales of Savagery a week or two ago and that was a strong 2. It would have been a 3 were it not for the episodic nature of adapting a tv series into a feature film having somewhat of a stilted impact on the film's ending. It's a dark and violent tale of a caveman and a dinosaur who encounter all manner of dangerous beasts and perilous situations after they become companions following a life changing incident. I really enjoyed this and although I rarely watch TV series, I'm very tempted to check out the rest of the series based upon my experience with this film, which is essentially the first four episodes. I could see this as a good fit for the animation section.

I also watched Shiva Baby last week and feel like that could be a great addition to the festival though my concern is that it will probably cross the 10,000 votes threshold before the festival commences as it is getting a fair bit of attention. It would be a good fit for the indie section and would get a 3 from me if anyone else considers voting it but I think it will probably be widely seen regardless of whether we include it in the festival.

I am hoping to watch Mutant Blast at some point though I have struggled to locate a copy of the film. If anyone can help me out then please let me know. I don't use torrents and can't seem to find anywhere that is streaming it?
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#490

Post by beavis »

filmbantha wrote: June 22nd, 2021, 3:01 pm two more nominations
The first is Valley of Soul (Tantas Almas) - I'm curious to see if Beavis is on board with this one as he has also seen it.
very much on board, great movie
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#491

Post by St. Gloede »

I have already written about how much I enjoyed Bye Bye Morons elsewhere, and while I don't quite think it is great (the plotting feels a little too random and as it is doing things just be be quirky - nothing necessarily wrong with that though) I will support it with a strong 2.

Valley of Soul (Tantas Almas) looks really intruiging.
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#492

Post by xianjiro »

St. Gloede wrote: June 22nd, 2021, 4:40 pm I have already written about how much I enjoyed Bye Bye Morons elsewhere, and while I don't quite think it is great (the plotting feels a little too random and as it is doing things just be be quirky - nothing necessarily wrong with that though) I will support it with a strong 2.
pretty much my thoughts as well - was actually surprised after watching that it hadn't been nominated, nice that's been fixed.
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#493

Post by zzzorf »

So it's been bugging me how my ratings for my nominated movies were held to a different rating system than the movies I watched because of you guys. Seemed a little unfair that movies had different ratings in the spreadsheet yet on IMDb had the same score. (Honestly don't know why I ever did it that way.

Anyway what that means is all my 2's became 3's, 1's became 2's and a few 0's now became 1's.
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#494

Post by xianjiro »

I don't really follow, @zzzorf. Are you saying we've rated your nominees unfairly or that you feel your ratings for the movies you watched were skewed downward in a way that puts them out of sync with others? Or am I'm still missing the point?
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#495

Post by zzzorf »

xianjiro wrote: June 24th, 2021, 8:54 am I don't really follow, @zzzorf. Are you saying we've rated your nominees unfairly or that you feel your ratings for the movies you watched were skewed downward in a way that puts them out of sync with others? Or am I'm still missing the point?
It was all to do with my ratings. I was rating my nominated movies to a different scale than my watched nominations of everybody else. It was all me and had nothing to do with you guys. Therefore ratings I had for your movies have been increased in a lot of cases.
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#496

Post by St. Gloede »

4 more nominations:

Acasa, My Home (2020, Radu Ciorniciuc) - Best Fit: Documentary
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11364376/

Image

This is what I wish more documentaries could be: capturing emotion, a sense of place, a sense of connection, a sense of life in all its visceral and cinematically beautiful glory. Acasa, My Home is an instantly immersive film - taking you through the weeds, following children's play, and being thrown into their midst. You can feel their joy - and at times horror - at others, ambivalence - as their home becomes more and more threatened by the outside world. The fact that the filmmaking is immersive, emotional, empathic and visceral is also to a degree necessary to truly form the idea of the sense of home, security and stability that the family actually feels - as any other method of filmmaking would instantly have turned you against them.

The children live in entirely unhealthy surroundings, and don't even appear to go to school - but the backdrop of understanding this sense of home - however odd it may be - placed in a large unbuilt, natural area in the midst of Bucharest. As child protective services, and the state, keep getting involved - we see their lives change drastically. I do not want to "spoil" how the film develops - as it has a clear narrative character - that can also feel like a character and family study - but it does go interesting places. The only slight negative is that the youngest children do get less screen time as the film continues, in favour of the arc of the father and especially the older brother - but the emotional range - and cinematic prowess is incredible.

Slight warning: In an early scene, the oldest son plays with a swan in a way that could clearly be viewed as animal abuse (he presses it down with his body). Don't worry, it appears to be unharmed, and seems merely startled, but it may be hard to watch for some.


Maryjki / Marygoround (2020, Daria Woszek) - Best fit: Just Before Dawn, Arthouse
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10132068/

Image

Half oversaturated, artificial depresso-realism - half neon nightmare, Marygoround is a visually stunning and mad trip into a menopausal woman's psyche. We follow Maria, a 50-year old, highly religious virgin working in a small grocery shop - that could easily be mistaken as a set from a Paul Vecchiali film from the 80s, with a pinch of Kaurismaki dryness. Life seems a lull, but things start to unravel and breakthrough mundanity with menopause hits, and she not only starts to get urges she never felt before.

The result is utter fantasy, mood swings, hallucinations and rasher and rasher acts - played for both comedy and horror - but never without sympathy. This 80-minute film won't fly by - rather it will click you down with utter unease as you start to feel every second - and wonder just what will happen next. It is dynamic enough to genuinely leave you surprised, and to somehow, in all its deranged madness maintain a sense of, erm, charm? This is a balancing act unlike most you've seen, and frankly, regardless of some pulpier elements, it succeeds in both styles - and marvellously well.


Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus (2020, Dalibor Baric) - Best Fit: Animation
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12354878/

Image

Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus, one of the most visually unique films I have seen - combining everything from cutouts to computer altered images from films - to drawings - to cartoons/graphic novels, to everything at once. It is a psychedelic threat that is eternally dynamic, changing the visual ideas from shot to shot - or even, within the same shot, altering the colour tones, design, rendering, etc. entirely as a character speaks. Scenes of cars driving can on the other hand be a mixture of a print with clear edges being moved over a map, to drawings, to real cars rendered in various animated styles - and you never know what you will see next. 

Old film stock is actively reworked, complete with new dialogue and stories, mixing and blending characters, contemplative narrations and set-pieces. My only issue with the film is that it simply lacked a clear drive or purpose beyond simply existing. We get several set-pieces, some fantastic, some lesson, with characters and situations, but they all rather merge into a bit of a blob. Undoubtedly extremely accomplished, and a great viewing, but if it had that purpose and drive it could even have become my number 1. As it stands though, it is "merely" a great film - but one I think everyone should see.


Nos ili zagovor netakikh / The Nose or Conspiracy of Mavericks (2020, Andrey Khrzhanovskiy) - Best fit: Animation
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11689090/

Image
The Nose or Conspiracy of Mavericks is not just a visually creative animated opera production of The Nose. It simultaneously stages the creation of the story, the opera adaptation, the actual performance(s) of the opera, the reactions against it and even the creation of the film itself. It is a reflection of Russian and USSR heritage, a highly comical takedown of Stalin's regime and also just all out operatic surrealism.

The film actually opens in the real world, as passengers on a plane watch various movies on their small screens. Some rather tacky American productions and blockbusters, others Russian classics - and it is in this kind of collective consciousness that The Nose or Conspiracy of Mavericks is born. This is a film that in certain ways is even a little informative, and sets the stage, while in others is just all-out ridiculous. 

Extremely fast-paced, and almost throwing too much at you in too high a tempo - and maybe not thinking through each of its ideas. It is genuinely not uncommon for a sequence to include the animator creating that very sequence - and the visual style and the topic at hand is constantly moving and changing. Let's just put it like this: there is never a dull moment. The Nose or Conspiracy of Mavericks manages to be visually intense and spellbinding, funny and melancholic, all at the same time - while managing to speak of both the love of creation and the history of Russia/USSR.

-

Sidenote: 2020 is a really interesting year for experimental animation. Along with my previous nomination Circumstantial Pleasures, not to mention Zzzorf's Away, and films like Kill It and Leave This Town, etc. the offering has either been far more notable than usual - or, they have somehow gotten more prominence in the vacuum left by cinema closures and many larger films moves to 2021


My nominees so far:

First Batch: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5265#p681808

1. Longa Noite / Endless Night (2019, Eloy Enciso)
2. This is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection (2019, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese)
3. Om det oändliga / About Endlessness (2019, Roy Andersson)
4. Transit (2018, Christian Petzold)
5. Der goldene Handschuh / The Golden Glove (2019, Faith Akin)
6. O que arde / Fire will come (2019, Oliver Laxe)

Second Batch: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5265#p682206

7. Dylba / Beanpole (2019, Kantemir Balagov)
8. Kız Kardeşler / Tale of Three Sisters (2019, Emin Alper)
9. Le Livre d'image / The Image Book (2018, Jean-Luc Godard)
10. La fameuse invasion des ours en Sicile / The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily (2019, Lorenzo Mattotti)
11. Raiva / Rage (2018, Sérgio Tréfaut)
12. Your Face (2018, Tsai Ming-liang)
13. Lúa vermella / Red Moon Tide (2020, Lois Patiño)

Third batch: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5265&start=80#p683612

14. Ar Condicionado / Air Conditioner (2020, Fradique)
15. Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle / Just Don't Think I'll Scream (2019, Frank Beauvais)
16. Les hirondelles de Kaboul / The Swallows of Kabul (2019, Zabou Breitman, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec)
17. Sheytan vojud nadarad / There is No Evil (2020, Mohammad Rasoulof)
18. Eyimofe / This is My Desire (2019, Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri)
19. Tipografic majuscul / Uppercase Print (2020, Radu Jude)

4th/5th Batch:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5265&start=160#p687799
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5265&start=200#p691213

20. A Metamorfose dos Pássaros / The Metamorphosis of Birds (2020, Catarina Vasconcelos)
21. The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open (2019, Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn)
-
22. A portuguesa / A Portuguese Woman (2018, Rita Azevedo Gomes)

6th Batch:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5265&start=440#p712867

23. Bergmál / Echo (2019, Rúnar Rúnarsson)
24. Khorshid / Sun Children (2020, Majid Majidi)
25. Circumstantial Pleasures (2020, Lewis Klahr)

7th Batch:
See above.

26. Acasa, My Home (2020, Radu Ciorniciuc)
27. Maryjki / Marygoround (2020, Daria Woszek)
28. Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus (2020, Dalibor Baric)
29. Nos ili zagovor netakikh / The Nose or Conspiracy of Mavericks (2020, Andrey Khrzhanovskiy)

-

And with that I only have 1 wildcard left.
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#497

Post by beavis »

Some interesting new options!
Wouldn't have thought you'd like Maryjki enough to even nominate it, but all the better! Gets my support.
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#498

Post by St. Gloede »

Thanks, Beavis. Funny that Maryjki was the recommendation that hit home best (besides Malmkrog, which I could use as a wild card, but the runtime would like put people off) when it was the one film you warned me about. I also think it is such a perfect fit for the festival, and one likely to unite the JB4D crowd and the arthouse crowd.
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#499

Post by beavis »

it hits that sweet spot between the two, that is true. Which is also why I wasn't sure if you'd like it or not... it could be too arty or too "weird" for some. I also thought it is a very good film, just not a complete homerun for me to nominate it, but I gave full support on the spreadsheet anyway.
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#500

Post by St. Gloede »

Obscuro Barroco (2018, Evangelia Kranioti)

Quick question: Is Transvestite and Transgender somehow considered synonyms in Brazil, or did my copy just have terrible translations (possibly by a very confused translator)? The IMDb page references the focus person in the piece as transgender, but I don't think transgender was used a single time in the film, while "Transvestite" consistently is - yet, several characters are clearly transgender.

Image

Obscuro Barroco is a visually breathtaking essay film that immerses you in a series of images and sounds that slowly starts to form a very personal depiction of a person, a city and an entire subculture. What is so poignant about this film is the way it frames and presents the very being of Rio de Janeiro, the carnival and gender expression.

We follow striking depictions of people wandering through the night, dancing, glitter, lights, cityscapes - for a long time with limited narration until we start to get closer to a transvestite and/or transgender subculture (this is left unclear) - and it is wonderful seeing an exploration of these themes where the central premise is normalcy and belonging.

The visual and poetical blend ties it all together into a powerfully visceral experience. While the style and form do become slightly more narrative and less obscuring as the film progresses, the real magic Obscurrp Barocco manages to create is the stunning emotional narrative, which feels like a perfect whole. 8/10 (3)
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#501

Post by zzzorf »

Well it has been about a month since I updated my viewings here see lets see what I've watched over that month.

About Endlessness - I've already pointed out my problems with the Art House section yet they continue to be the easiest ones to find. This one was interesting though I never truly understood it. 0

Jonaki - This one unfortunately failed completely with me. 0

Residue - This one started off with potential but unfortunately as it progressed it failed to fulfil that potential. 0

Echo - I knew if I stuck with Art House I would finally find something that would work for me making all those 0's worth while and in this I found that movie. The stories in this seemed both specific to the area yet universal the world over. I'm yet to find something from Runarsson that I dislike, a director that I am definitely keeping an eye on. 3

The 20th Century - Oh look, 2 Art House in a row that worked for me, what is it with online streaming that makes them choose these movies first to stream yet for the general viewership these are movies they won't watch. I quite enjoyed the stylish choices in this and the humour was entertaining. I've seen it compared to Monty Python in humour style, quite a good possibility on why I liked it. 3

Red Moon Tide - Again I like the stylistic approach here, made me think of Risttuules though it didn't pack any power like that movie. There was a good idea here but it failed to resonate with me. 1

Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes - Another movie I had hoped to like but it just failed to connect with me. I think if we are to choose to have only one older woman Lesbian stories The Heiresses is easily the better of the two. 0
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#502

Post by St. Gloede »

Canción sin nombre / Song Without a Name (2019, Melina León)

A stark b/w drama, inspired by true events and with a slow-burning and brooding atmosphere that forces the viewer to claw at the same doors and walls. The visuals and the visual style, is striking, and while it at times seems an easy way to clean up a low-budget it is often downright beautiful to watch. The only things I can really fault the film for is some of its character progression, and how it started to feel a little wayward after the central drama and tension was built up and all we have left is a journalistic inquest, and a subplot, which both feel a little slight. It is a strong film however and could do very well in the Latin American slate. 7/10 (2).
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#503

Post by xianjiro »

Just finished Thity (Dreissig) and give it a weak 2. In terms of story, if it has one, I'm much more like a 1. Basically we see a group of 'friends' - and I've put that word in inverted commas intentionally because they simply seem to be passing time together as one of the actor/subject/characters celebrates his birthday. This is more about the feeling and not a traditionally plotted drama. So story-wise, it can feel a bit pointless much of the time but then again, that is the point. It's interesting to note that being single and 30 hasn't changed much in a quarter century nor does it seem to matter which large city one finds oneself in the developed world, it's pretty much the same thing.

But what really makes this one is what the director/writer/editor is able to do with her actors/subjects/characters, most of who don't have credits listed on IMDb, but we don't really get the sense that they are acting. This is one of those productions where they use their given names and we're left to wonder if we just happened to catch them as the prepared for and then celebrated. Were the various locations on the night out all staged or did the camera simply follow along to actual venues? Either way, we get the sense that the director is painting the feeling of being single and thirty and time is very much part of her brushstrokes.

It's an interesting concept but I spent a good chunk of the time bored: I'm glad I'm no longer thirty and don't particularly need to see others in that state to remember what it was like. This isn't a movie where those long past thirty will remember the 'good ole days'. Maybe it's a cautionary tale for the twentysomethings though I can hardly say what a twentysomething would think of it. I expect that reactions will vary quite a bit to this but I'm not convinced it would be a big hit with our audience unless they are really interested in the concept.
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#504

Post by beavis »

That's a fair assessment. It's all about the feelings, not even about being 30 (or 20 or whatever, these feelings are always the same), and people either connect with it or are left bored. It is the kind of cinema that always impresses me the most.
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#505

Post by filmbantha »

I love how a few posts prior Beavis said we could all take a rest as the roster was shaping up nicely and we have put a lot of work in so far, yet the reviews just keep coming in - what a dedicated bunch of programmers we have here!

I've had an excellent week or so of watching nominations, including finding a new favourite which seems to be a rarity these days, so I'm quite content to keep working through the nominated films in search of more.

Fanny Lye Deliver'd (3) - This was an exceptional period piece; incredibly bleak and savage with a striking soundtrack and stunning performances from the small group of actors who perfectly captured the struggles of the tumultuous times the film depicts. I would put this forward as a very strong main slate candidate. It was interesting to read Xianjiro's post on Fanny Lye as a suggestion was made that this could be a good fit for the dawn section. I think that this could potentially set the viewer up for disappointment if they were to enter the film expecting another supernatural horror in the vein of The Witch; there are undoubtedly some elements of horror towards the end, though they are grounded in realism and I think if it doesn't make the main slate it would be better suited to Indie. Either way, I hope more programmers take the time to seek this out as I would be very disappointed if it doesn't make our slate. Thanks Beavis for introducing me to a new favourite!

Mutant Blast (1) - It's encouraging to see Troma take a stab at something a little different in Mutant Blast and the film delivers a wild ride though I'm not sure how much appeal it would have beyond hardened genre fans. Fans of gore and Peter Jackson's early work will probably lap this up though not all of the humour lands. I enjoyed it to some degree though I imagine the experience might have been a lot more memorable had I seen it in a cinema full of like-minded horror fans.

Air Conditioner (2)
- Air Conditioner is an unusual mood piece from Angola; its a short yet arresting film with striking visuals and a wonderful soundtrack. The film is as laidback as its charming central character who is in no rush to get things done, and this gives the audience time to enjoy the architecture of a cityscape whilst the narrative meanders along at a leisurely pace. I didn't expect to like this as much as I did which was a pleasant surprise seeing as I don't really have a huge affinity with the world of arthouse cinema.

Braid (0) - This isn't a nomination for this year's festival but was on the list of those from last year that were not selected in the final roster. It has been on my watchlist for a while and that is where it should have stayed. It wasn't a bad film as such, the production values were good and there was some inventive editing but the story was farfetched and ultimately disappointing. The director shows promise, though it might be a few films down the line before they realise their potential. Needless to say I won't be nominating this.

Los Silencios (1) - A haunting drama about the turmoil that engulfs those who reside on an island in the Amazon river near the borders of Colombia, Peru and Brazil; Los Silencios creates a subdued atmosphere that creeps under your skin. The story is fascinating and the acting is solid though something didn't really click with me here. It's a good film but one that I didn't find particularly memorable. It may well work for the festival and I would not be opposed to including it though I am hoping we may find better options.

S He (3) - Easily the best animated feature I have seen whilst working through the nominations! S He is a bold and beautiful Chinese stop-motion animation that will resonate with fans of Jan Svankmajer and the Quay Brothers. It could easily be enjoyed at face value for the absurd Lynchian nightmare world it depicts (Brains with legs that fart cigarettes?) though it also offers thoughtful commentary on gender, overthrowing the system, and Chinese factory shop workers - not bad for an animated film with no dialogue whatsoever. There were times when S He was a little difficult to follow; I wasn't sure if some of the scenes were depicted in such a way due to symbolism that went over my head or were just stylistic choices that looked good but that is only a minor gripe. This is a surefire contender for the animated slate, huge thanks to Zzzorf for bringing it to my attention.


As well as watching the above films I have a couple of ideas to put out there. I'm sure that I read previously that most people who watch the films during the festival prioritise the main slate which makes perfect sense. To encourage people to check out the films in the other slates, how about we partner some films together. We could add a little blurb at the end of the description of each film in the main slate along the lines of 'if you enjoyed this film, we recommend that you seek out this film in such a slate etc...' We could elaborate on the reasons why and perhaps this would bring more attention to the individual slates?

I may have missed something similar to this in the past seeing as it is only my first year participating as a programmer, however, I think it could be worthwhile putting together a survey after the festival if this has not been done before. I did this for the Talking Images Podcast and we had some great feedback which gave us lots of food for thought on the direction we were taking the podcast in. I would be happy to lead this and create a survey after this year's festival if people think it would be a good idea.

Finally, one of the animated nominees - The Swallows of Kabul - is streaming online for free through Myfrenchfilmfestival in July. I posted the details in the Online film festival thread so this is a good opportunity to catch up with it should you be interested in seeing it.
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#506

Post by xianjiro »

filmbantha wrote: June 27th, 2021, 11:06 am Finally, one of the animated nominees - The Swallows of Kabul - is streaming online for free through Myfrenchfilmfestival in July. I posted the details in the Online film festival thread so this is a good opportunity to catch up with it should you be interested in seeing it.
viewtopic.php?p=715242#p716983

I've tried to figure out how we can see it, but best I can come up with is
https://en.unifrance.org/news/16079/the ... n-revealed
which says to check Unifrance's YouTube channel after the 7th though on that it says to go to https://www.myfrenchfilmfestival.com/en/

It's really circuitous, so if anyone figures it out, please post. I'll watch it if I don't have to pay and can decide when during the week to view it.
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#507

Post by filmbantha »

From my understanding the films will all be available online from the start of the festival, so the website is likely to be updated once the films go live. I'll check this out once the festival commences in July.
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#508

Post by beavis »

filmbantha wrote: June 27th, 2021, 11:06 am Fanny Lye Deliver'd (3) - Thanks Beavis for introducing me to a new favourite!
you're welcome :)
filmbantha wrote: June 27th, 2021, 11:06 am As well as watching the above films I have a couple of ideas to put out there. I'm sure that I read previously that most people who watch the films during the festival prioritise the main slate which makes perfect sense. To encourage people to check out the films in the other slates, how about we partner some films together. We could add a little blurb at the end of the description of each film in the main slate along the lines of 'if you enjoyed this film, we recommend that you seek out this film in such a slate etc...' We could elaborate on the reasons why and perhaps this would bring more attention to the individual slates?

I may have missed something similar to this in the past seeing as it is only my first year participating as a programmer, however, I think it could be worthwhile putting together a survey after the festival if this has not been done before. I did this for the Talking Images Podcast and we had some great feedback which gave us lots of food for thought on the direction we were taking the podcast in. I would be happy to lead this and create a survey after this year's festival if people think it would be a good idea.
The festival is always open to improvements! We usually start a feedback thread at the end for some closing thoughts and "tips and tops" from the participants, but setting up a questionnaire might make it easier for people to give that kind of feedback. It seemed to work for the podcast indeed.

With regards to making links and/or more direct recommendations in the announcement of the various slates, that sounds like a good idea! I am always in for having "double bills" or certain themes that we see emerging. We already talked earlier about Gallician movies, Gloede noticed the unusual crop of experimental animation recently... those things are fun to highlight.

The way we go about it though, throwing the top of our crop over to jury for a main slate selection, is a complication. And another thing is that at the stage of the creation of all the festival threads there is very little time left to have long discussions about what we are going to write. Last year I just gathered some stills and some quotes, and that was that (also at that stage the other programmers seemed to have very little left to say, even my very first suggestion for the final programme seemed very ok to everyone...). So if there are good ideas and/or people who want to write a piece about their favorite movie(s) in order to get eyeballs on them... better not wait to the very end, but start spit-balling ideas or volunteering to manage threads early... maybe in the final month when we are wrapping up our watchings(?)
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#509

Post by beavis »

I watched both The Burning Buddha Man (2013) and Violence Voyager (2018) from director Ujicha today. I have to say I liked his debut better, both in story and creature design. But that one is not valid for the festival, so I still support Violence Voyager. The tone of that one is slightly more comical and irreverent, but in a way that does not entirely work for me. It makes it too silly at times, but also a little bit disturbing in other ways than just the bloody gore absurdities... I mean when
Spoiler
the old man wants to keep the underpants of the young boy because of all the fond memories
, that kind of disturbing...
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#510

Post by xianjiro »

@bantha: sounds good on the French Film Festival - mostly I'm likely to forget without a gentle reminder

As for writing blurbs and such, I can do Docu. I'd be more inclined to look to the nominator to pimp the film's that make the slates, of course with input from anyone interested in a given film. I'm not inclined to think about that though until I've got a sense what's going to make the festival.
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#511

Post by xianjiro »

Watched Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist today and give it a weak 3. This is exactly the kind of "artist's process" discussion that I find quite interesting. It's a bit more than the usual "making of" stuff with Friedkin talking about what was in his mind and how he worked with others to get a film he's proud of. There are a couple of places where they left the "interviewer's" questions/prompts in, but mostly this is Friedkin talking and occasionally clips are tossed in to illustrate the points he's making.

While I found it interesting, not sure how others will feel since it's basically a "talking head" documentary. I'd think that cinephiles would find it interesting but it's had surprisingly few views for such a seminal film - love it or hate it. Is it because viewers don't know about it and need an excuse to watch? Or are they bored with the what falls into the realm of disc bonus features now? I don't know that this has been packaged with The Exorcist yet. Definitely worth consideration for our audience though.

PS: I'm not the best one to comment on editing but thought this flowed really well - a lot of hard work went into piecing it all together.
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#512

Post by filmbantha »

I remember the still and quotes being good last year Beavis, you did a great job there.

I'm more than happy to chip in and help out with creating blurbs for the slates and individual films. We have put a lot of effort in to creating a memorable festival so far and I intend to continue with that approach until the slates are officially announced! I will happily take on any writing that is required for the before dawn section, and maybe one or two of the country slates providing I have seen the films that are chosen. A couple of lines for each film in the festival and a short paragraph for each slate shouldn't take us too long if we combine forces.

It might be a bit much for every programmer to cover the films they have nominated and I respect that other programmers may not wish to be involved in this process but if those who are willing can group together and make this work then I'm all for it. I'll have a look at some of the strong outlier films so far and put together a couple of examples to see what everyone thinks. If we can't muster up enough support to get every film covered then I'm sure we could use quotes again for some of the films as per last year's approach.

@Beavis - Thanks for checking out Violent Voyager, it has been interesting to see everyone's responses to one of the strangest films I have encountered in a long time! I think it is probably unlikely to make the festival at this rate but I knew it would be a stretch when nominating it.

@Xianjiro - Great to see you enjoyed Leap of Faith! I would like to think that the low view counts are more indicative of the lack of marketing rather than a lack of interest. It's clearly a passion project and one that is definitely deserving of a wider audience, particularly amongst cinephiles who are most likely to enjoy it, and I feel like it's the type of film that relies on strong word of mouth to find an audience. This is part of the reason why I think it's a good fit for the festival, but we shall see how it fares with any other programmers who give it a shot.
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#513

Post by filmbantha »

Here is a mock up of a description I've put together for Fanny Lye Deliver'd under the assumption that it makes the main slate:

This Atmospheric slow burn depicts a bleak and violent encounter in 17th Century England where a puritan family have their faith tested with the arrival of two vagabonds. Powerful performances from Maxine Peake and Charles Dance breathe life into this authentically gritty period piece whilst the striking visuals and brooding soundtrack offer an immersive and unforgettable experience.

Strongly recommended by programmers Beavis, Filmbantha & Xianjiro

For another film about a family pushed to breaking point, be sure to check out Brothers' Nest in the Indie Slate
For another film featuring a strong female lead whose character experiences a revelatory catharsis check out Marygoround in the arthouse slate.


This is just me toying around with ideas/suggestions in advance so feel free to share any thoughts on whether this would be a useful approach to take when announcing the programme. We have been sharing our reviews on each film throughout this thread so it may be a relatively easy process to put together a small blurb for each film based upon the thoughts we have posted along the way.
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#514

Post by beavis »

I love the initiative, won't go into the content yet as so much depends on the final selections
a first concert that pops into my mind is how to get this approach uniform for all movies... might be a lot of work or hard to pull of at the last notice... we'll see. But don't make it any bigger than this proposal I'd say :)
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#515

Post by zzzorf »

I love the look and the writeup though I have a couple of points to make.

The Strongly recommended spot may lead to prejudice (wrong word I think) as my name may not earn as much weight as most others (doesn't effect me as much, just using me as the example) due to forum involvement.

There is no way I could write something so eloquent for my nominations so it may put to much pressure on others to write something for those of us who can't write so precisely or for those picking up our slack.
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#516

Post by filmbantha »

Thanks for your feedback guys! The strongly recommended concept was an idea for participants to work out whose tastes chime with theirs as that may encourage people to seek out other films based upon which of us has supported them. It could be changed to something like strongly recommended by 3 of the 4 programmers who watched it, if that would be preferable, or scrapped altogether. Just playing around with ideas at this stage so nothing is concrete as of yet and we have plenty of time to decide how we would like to approach this.

The last thing we want is any added pressure so my thoughts were that those who would like to can write blurbs for any films of their choice. Then for any films that are left without blurbs we can adopt the method used by Beavis last year and source them from online reviews.

Additionally, I was thinking that the suggestions for other similar films would only be applied to those in the main slate, as a way to encourage people to check out the other slates. I imagine it would be a lot of work to try and include similar suggestions under every single film but I suppose we can see how this shapes up closer to the time.

My main aim with these ideas is to encourage people to watch as many of the films in the festival as possible. I'm confident that the films will speak for themselves once people start watching them. However, an intriguing write up, enticing screenshots and some suggestions from the programmers could also go a long way towards achieving this.
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#517

Post by St. Gloede »

I'm happy to contribute blurbs as well.

I think we have more than enough time to see who wants to write abd/or find blurbs. I can certainly help with images, etc. as well.

Anyhow, I just discovered a new favourite thanks to the nominees sheet, and hope to discover many more. I'll try to focus more on the slates needed a bit more love, ie Animation, LGTBQ+ and LatAm. Some great looking films there.


S He (2018, Shengwei Zhou)

Image

S He takes us into a viscerally unnerving, past borderline grotesque experience of metal, leather and cloth, where each everyday item can be as off-putting and disturbing as the next. There is an elusive power in stop motion to render everyday objects sinister and this is a perfect case study in all its nightmarish splendour.

In case there was any doubt from hearing this is a film about shoes, I brush away any fantasy that this might be something akin Disney or Pixar. If anything it is closer to Svankmajer.

This is a world with rigid gender-conformity and oppression. The male leather shoes, where anything feminine must be killed a replaced with paint and metal - and frankly, this is ideal by comparison. The women shoes are kept imprisoned, locked away within layers of clothes - their only allowed use being reproduction - and this despite the vibrancy living within them.

There is not a line of dialogue in the film. Everything is done through sound - and the sounds ape is unsettling in and off itself. The visceral euphoric expression of nature vs. metal - here represented by the metallic contraption acting as an artificial form of domination for the men - and the literal plants/flowers growing from the women - and the clashes that occur when one woman's shoe breaks free is both sublime and horrifying.

This is however not a film with easy points about gender roles, but a horrifying trip into an extended nightmare with increasingly twisted turns, embodiments and expressions. It may require many more viewings to interpret and pick apart what it actually means - and even what certain scenes actually depict - but as a sensory experience it is unlike almost anything else.

Honestly, this feels like the kind of film festivals like ours are meant to show and help people discover. One of the greatest discoveries of the festival, and an incredible visual style. Filmbantha sold it to be as comparable to Svankmajer's style, and that is a great and fairly accurate way to sell it - though it is entirely a beast of its own. 8.5/10 (3)


Fin de siglo /End of the Century (2019, Lucio Castro)

Image

Two Argentinian men meet each other in Barcelona and have what first appear to be a one night stand, before it becomes clear to both that they met eachother 20 years earlier.

The first 10-20 minutes are wonderful. Slow, brooding and rhythmic, all while showing us a sense of longing and emptiness - as well as romantic/lusting glances. The first line of dialog was well after the 10 minute mark, and the degree of familiarity and atmosphere built up by this point was excellent. I also enjoyed the early moments of the affair, the humour and just how barebined and simple it all was.

The leisurely pace carries on throughout, but the film broke down for me with its central premise - which takes us back 20 years to the end of the century - showing us how our two leads truly met and their hours together. This was just terribly done, as the Ages of the actors seemed identical. No effort seemed to be made in either case to make them look younger or older, and it broke the believability.

The romance itself was pleasant enough, but nothing too special - the memorable stroke of genius (though far from perfectly handled), likely standing out to most in its creative and playful what if melanchony only comes towards the very end. A great opening and a great ending, but struggling in the middle. 6/10. (1)
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#518

Post by St. Gloede »

One additional film I saw was A Sun, which was a lusciously shot, slow-brooding crime drama with a small c, focusing primarily on the impact of the crime on the family of one of the perpetrators. One of the most refreshing parts of this film is how it carried on beyond the obvious endings and clearly took aim for being a dramatic epic - with an above 150 minute running time and several emotional set-pieces. It also attempts to balance many different types of atmosphere and manages to do this fairly well. Still, despite being a good film with several epic attributes, it feels a little slighter than it believes itself to be. The music can be a little over-bearing and the elements of minimalism is not quite stylized enough to make up for often slim characters and plotting. It simply never quite has the material to become the great film it wants to be, held back by flat editing (where it could have harnessed more power with more contemplative and/or intense long takes) and familiar tropes that just aren't that interesting. 6/10 (1).
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#519

Post by Fergenaprido »

filmbantha wrote: June 29th, 2021, 1:06 pm Thanks for your feedback guys! The strongly recommended concept was an idea for participants to work out whose tastes chime with theirs as that may encourage people to seek out other films based upon which of us has supported them. It could be changed to something like strongly recommended by 3 of the 4 programmers who watched it, if that would be preferable, or scrapped altogether. Just playing around with ideas at this stage so nothing is concrete as of yet and we have plenty of time to decide how we would like to approach this.

The last thing we want is any added pressure so my thoughts were that those who would like to can write blurbs for any films of their choice. Then for any films that are left without blurbs we can adopt the method used by Beavis last year and source them from online reviews.

Additionally, I was thinking that the suggestions for other similar films would only be applied to those in the main slate, as a way to encourage people to check out the other slates. I imagine it would be a lot of work to try and include similar suggestions under every single film but I suppose we can see how this shapes up closer to the time.

My main aim with these ideas is to encourage people to watch as many of the films in the festival as possible. I'm confident that the films will speak for themselves once people start watching them. However, an intriguing write up, enticing screenshots and some suggestions from the programmers could also go a long way towards achieving this.
I also would advise against adding a "strongly recommended" section to the write-ups: If the films weren't strongly recommended, they shouldn't be included in the program in the first place (especially the main slate). If the intention is to get people to see films based on who has already seen them, I think that is detrimental: a) I don't think a lot of festival goers really understand whose tastes (from the programmers, at least) are akin to their own, b) giving them this information only reinforces their tastes and doesn't encourage them to try films that other programmers liked, c) I think it will decrease the overall participation of the festival by unintentionally encouraging only select films at the expense of others.

The only thing I kind of agree with is the "if you liked this [main slate film], be sure to check out this [other slate]" idea. But even then I hesitate because it might cause people to think of certain main slate films as "only" animation, or queer, or horror, as opposed to going into all main slate films with equal aplomb.
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#520

Post by St. Gloede »

That's a great point re: "strongly recommended by". I agree. Interested participants can always check the sheet.
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