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ICMF-FF5: Programmer's Thread

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Fergenaprido
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#81

Post by Fergenaprido »

zzzorf wrote: January 7th, 2021, 2:55 am Just looking around at availability of the movies for me at work and I found this copy of nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up on YouTube. It is about half the length of what IMDb says but a quick skim through it is seems complete, Fergenaprido can you confirm maybe?

No, that's not the complete film. That's a version that's been edited down to fit an hour-long timeslot for the national cable channel. There's a similarly shortened version of 52minutes for education purposes available on the NFB site.

The full doc is here: https://www.nfb.ca/film/nipawistamasowi ... -stand-up/ but I'm not sure if it's available outside of Canada - sometimes there are restrictions on a few films.
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#82

Post by xianjiro »

I just checked and it's geo-blocked (outside Canada?)
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#83

Post by beavis »

mightysparks wrote: January 7th, 2021, 12:31 am I'm not going to be a programmer this year. I didn't realise quite how draining uni was going to be and I haven't really got my film mojo back since middle of last year. And I just don't watch enough new stuff/have enough in common with the other programmers so I can't contribute much. Will see how things go after I finish this degree.
Ah, that's too bad. But understandable. Thanks for letting us know.
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#84

Post by filmbantha »

St. Gloede wrote: January 6th, 2021, 12:36 pm
filmbantha wrote: January 5th, 2021, 4:19 pm
St. Gloede wrote: January 5th, 2021, 12:53 pm

Happy I could help and really happy to see two African nominees. :cheers:
I would love to know your thoughts on either if you check them out! I can't imagine they are exactly your cup of tea but it is never a bad thing to broaden your horizons and take a punt on something you perhaps wouldn't usually watch - i'm hoping to do just that during this nominations process. It is especially pleasing to be able to nominate two excellent genre efforts from Africa seeing as the continent is not particularly well known for its genre cinema.
I will definitely give at least one of them a shot. Which one do you think would knock my socks off and get me ready to see the next one too?
I would definitely start with Jesus shows you the Way to the Highway first - both of the films are bizarre head trips but this offers more of a surreal nightmare as opposed to the disturbing nightmare of Fried Barry!
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#85

Post by filmbantha »

beavis wrote: January 6th, 2021, 10:51 pm
Bantha, while all your nominations sound very promising, I wasn't able to find a lot of them... this might be a bit of a problem for them getting support, unless you're betting they are becoming available soon?
Thanks for checking this out, I had a quick scan myself and found that all seem to be widely available apart from Come True, Fried Barry and Butchers.

Come True is not due to be released on VOD until March in the US and Butchers is due out on VOD next week. I wasn't aware that Fried Barry was still pending a release after its festival screenings but hopefully it will not be long before it gets a general release. I shall keep my eyes peeled with that. If there are any of the others you want to see and can't locate then let me know and I will see if I can help you find out where you can watch them.
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#86

Post by beavis »

for now my watchlist is already bloated and I had planned a few things to do before jumping on the nominated films, so there is no hurry. But I do hope to catch Fried Barry in time. From your noms I have only Dead Dicks lined up to give a spin at this time...
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#87

Post by filmbantha »

That's cool, like you mention there is no rush anyway at this stage. I'm enjoying having an added focus to my viewing habits and will be gradually working my way through nominees as and when I find the time. I will probably add a prompt in this thread when I spot that come true and fried barry have been released.
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#88

Post by filmbantha »

zzzorf wrote: January 6th, 2021, 7:51 am I was just putting into the notes in the spreadsheet where some of my movies can be found if people want but I felt that I might point out here that Rejected, my pick from Kazakhstan, is available for free on YouTube as uploaded by the director herself with English subtitles. the fact only 6 people have voted for this on IMDb is criminal.
I watched Rejected tonight and it was a bleak and sobering experience. The stirring soundtrack was a highlight, adding an emotional depth to the compelling storyline. There were times where the film felt a little rough around the edges and lacked the polish of a refined production but that is only a minor gripe as it didn't detract too much from the overall impact. I will be recommending Rejected although I'm uncertain if it will be a 1 or a 2 yet, I need to read up on the film and let it settle in my mind for a day or so before I reach a decision. Thanks for highlighting this film as I doubt I would have ever seen it otherwise.
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#89

Post by zzzorf »

filmbantha wrote: January 8th, 2021, 9:14 pm
zzzorf wrote: January 6th, 2021, 7:51 am I was just putting into the notes in the spreadsheet where some of my movies can be found if people want but I felt that I might point out here that Rejected, my pick from Kazakhstan, is available for free on YouTube as uploaded by the director herself with English subtitles. the fact only 6 people have voted for this on IMDb is criminal.
I watched Rejected tonight and it was a bleak and sobering experience. The stirring soundtrack was a highlight, adding an emotional depth to the compelling storyline. There were times where the film felt a little rough around the edges and lacked the polish of a refined production but that is only a minor gripe as it didn't detract too much from the overall impact. I will be recommending Rejected although I'm uncertain if it will be a 1 or a 2 yet, I need to read up on the film and let it settle in my mind for a day or so before I reach a decision. Thanks for highlighting this film as I doubt I would have ever seen it otherwise.
Glad you enjoyed it. I agree about the polish being missing but I tend to overlook that sort of thing from countries not known for their cinema mastery. The only reason I even stumbled across this was I was looking around to find a movie from Kazakhstan as I was correcting an oversight on Letterboxd saying I had watched a movie from there when it was a co-production, I was happy to stumble across a pretty decent one, other countries I have done this for weren't so lucky.
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#90

Post by kingink »

Hey guys! I had a great time watching every single film in the last festival. You made a great selection. And I am still obsessed with new releases from around the world. So I thought I should join you guys as a programmer this year. I already have in my mind several films I could nominate and I am already planning to watch many more films that could easily fit in.
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#91

Post by St. Gloede »

kingink wrote: January 9th, 2021, 7:27 am Hey guys! I had a great time watching every single film in the last festival. You made a great selection. And I am still obsessed with new releases from around the world. So I thought I should join you guys as a programmer this year. I already have in my mind several films I could nominate and I am already planning to watch many more films that could easily fit in.
:cheers: :cheers: :cheers:

Fantastic news, great to have you onboard and really looking forward to your nominations.
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#92

Post by beavis »

indeed, welcome!!
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#93

Post by zzzorf »

I echo the sentiments of the others, welcome, look forward to what you bring to the table.
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#94

Post by zzzorf »

Ok well I have thought about my scoring issue that I have had and decided the way I was approaching this exercise was wrong so have corrected my scores for my nominations in the spreadsheet.

Also I made an IMDb list of all the potential movies that a) I have watched that are eligible and I would contemplate nominating or b) have on my hard drive ready to watch and could be potential nominations (note: these were all on there before I signed up). If you want to check it out and see if there is any potential support from you you can find the list here https://www.imdb.com/list/ls084726496/ (The list is ordered from most IMDb votes down and I will add/subtract as things become in/eligible or my mind is made up)
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#95

Post by St. Gloede »

Saw my first nominee - from Beavis. What an incredible pick!

The Twentieth Century (2019, Matthew Rankin)

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The Twentienth Century is a visually breathtaking, thoroughly bizarre and certifiably campy reimaging of the rise to power of one William Lyon Mackenzie King - one of Canada's longest-serving prime ministers and a symbol of pre and post WW2 Canada.

In this reality Canada is a poor, gaslighted and willing prisoner of a Fascistic Britain - represented by Lord Protector Moto - and flying the flag of the "Old Disappointment". Canadian citizens are to "do more than expected, and accept less than deserved". Freedom is terrorism, loyalty is all - and democracy is nowhere to be seen: replaced by baby seal clubbing, the art of passive aggressiveness - and a long line of other great trials of "Canadian manhood".

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The stylization here is simply exquisite. We see old, outdated acting styles, and a purposeful tints, degradation to time footage - though it is not the cinema of the 1900s, but the early 30s and 40s we are reminded of. Just as Rankin's countryman Guy Maddin, this is not done in a mocking way, but rather to create the feeling of a neverworld, a surreal, eerie pastiche reality where extreme patriotism, ridiculous trials, men playing women, women playing men and fake talking birds are instantly accepted.

It is near impossible not to write about The Twentieth Century without writing about Guy Maddin. The amount of work I needed to put in to not place referenced to him and his work in the first sentence can hardly be described. The Twentieth Century simply invites too many comparisons, and can, if taken badly, be accused of plagiarising one of the last centuries most unique styles. The acting style, and the way the bizarre neverworld is created, where the ridiculous is simultaneously fitting and amusing - is unmistakable. 

However, there are clear differences. Where Maddin uses his style solely to create unique worlds, dissect his own memory and present a personal, introspective form of cinematic poetry coupled with the amazing and the ridiculous - The Twentieth Century do it in the aim of cultural and political examination - in a light-hearted but still extremely slick way. Rankin is also not incorporating Maddin's silent aesthetics - and does something far different - and spectacular in crafting bring, minimalist outside sets - perhaps best described as sets from German expressionist plays shot almost as if in neon colours - though the minimalist here goes even further.

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I also have to say that this is a degree of ingenuity, passion and drive that Maddin has been sorely lacking of late. While it may be dismissed as a copy, I'd praise it as a continuation of a style that should be used more often - and an exercise within it that rivals Maddin's very best.

The Twentieth Century is absolutely hilarious in its spin on Canada's place 120 years ago - as well as the 20th century as a whole. It is always playful - the tone is spot on - the actors all deliver incredible and pitch-perfect performances within this campy neverworld - and the balance between comedy, visual art and play is incredible to observe. It does not just get bogged into a fun exercise, it contains emotion and depth - and is one of the few magnificent films you can truly get lost within. There are so many details, so much play, so much clear passion that it is - if this style is alluring to you - hard not to love every single second.

9.5/10
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#96

Post by beavis »

could't agree more! ;) :cheers:
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#97

Post by filmbantha »

zzzorf wrote: January 9th, 2021, 11:12 am
Also I made an IMDb list of all the potential movies that a) I have watched that are eligible and I would contemplate nominating or b) have on my hard drive ready to watch and could be potential nominations (note: these were all on there before I signed up). If you want to check it out and see if there is any potential support from you you can find the list here https://www.imdb.com/list/ls084726496/ (The list is ordered from most IMDb votes down and I will add/subtract as things become in/eligible or my mind is made up)
That's an interesting list, lots of horror films there i haven't heard of that I would be happy to watch. I would probably prioritise those you have given a 3 to first depending on their availability.

I have seen 1BR and Rabid, both of which I gave a 5/10 so I'm afraid they are films that would receive a 0 from me if they were put forward as nominees.
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#98

Post by St. Gloede »

Third batch

Really excited about this new set. It includes 3 new favourites (including my current top 2 of 2020). I am so happy I signed up as a programmer as it is making me seek out all my top watchlisted films from the last 3 years, and the success rate is wonderful.

This selection also has 2 essay films (will lobby to push at least one essay into the Documentary section) and 1 more animated film. I was really hoping to be able to push more, but two of my hopefuls, Hoffmaniada and Funan did not quite make it. I'm also really happy to be able to nominate two more great African films. If I recall correctly this brings us up to 9 nominated films from Africa - which is such a wonderful surprise (especially this early). I still have The Burial of Kojo on my watchlist - and may seek out more before I run out of nominations. Suppose I need to be careful now, I'm already at 19/30 after this batch.

Nominations:

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


Reviews:

Tipografic majuscul / Uppercase Print (2020, Radu Jude)

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Whoever said that lines deliver flat, without any emotion - composure held - faces still - can not deliver a punch. Maybe no one ever did; as it has been proven time and again to be false. However - this is not Bresson's monologues - but the recitation of real reports and letters - at first awkwardly amusing - but shortly, increasingly disturbing.
Uppercase Prints takes, from the archives, the real story, and the real words, of a massive investigation into who wrote slogans - yes, in UPPERCASE PRINT - on walls in Bucharest in 1981. This criminal act sets forth an investigation with hundreds of informants, countless police offers staking out suspect areas - and increasingly bizarre reports - including letters from regular people and their reactions to the words/phenomenon.

The visual world Radu Jude creates here - is as if Godard's The Joy of Learning - was blown up at a larger scale - and policed into an incredible Brechtian theatre. Standing in front of walls decorated merely by a recorder, a TV, and other baseline characteristics giving a mild inference of context - lighted up with strong colours - our "characters" recite their reports, letters, notations - as the reality of life in 80s Romania becomes increasingly clear.

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This is interwoven with real footage from the TV stations at the time - connecting the real reality of political suppression - and a horrifying big brother - with lighthearted fare, calls for patriotism and odd, "playful" ways to lull people into following rolls - such as a clip from a comedic segment with police issuing fines for honking. It all creates a simultaneously surreal and real underbelly that becomes stronger and stronger as the stakes get higher. 

Though based on the documentary play by the same name, it should have been clear already, but Uppercase Print truly cements Radu Jude as one of the great cinematic masters of our age. Throughout his career he has been in a conversation with history - examining the persecution of Roma people in Aferim! and exploring the rise and then essentially love of fascism with Scarred Hearts and I Don't Care if We Go Down in History as Barbarians. 

It is exciting to see just how well he commands every style he handled, from Aferim!'s epic scope, comparable to The Saragossa Manuscript - or even Samurai tale - only placed in Feudal Romania - to the restrained minimalism of Scarred Hearts - to his explosive meta film "I Don't Care ...". Uppercase Print takes these meta elements even further - creating a meta essay that both dissects, contextualizes and dramatizes real events - the outcome - and leaves you with a real feeling of utter unease. The ending scene is particularly strong, and plays further with the ideas of breaking down all walls and making it clear you are watching and interacting with a film - as well as history - and as each representation could be seen as speaking directly to you - you are an active participant.

Note: Uppercase Print could be understood to be a documentary - as it features re-enactment of real words - along with real archive footage. There are no labels on IMDb yet. This is a really interesting case of an essay that could easily be seen as leaning either way on the documentary vs. feature scale.

9-9.5/10




Sheytan vojud nadarad / There is No Evil (2020, Mohammad Rasoulof)

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This may be one of the bravest denunciations of the oppressive Iranian regime - and what is accepted as the rule of law. There is No Evil leaves the vile just on the edges - and focuses on the mundanity, familiarity and intimacy of life - all amidst actions and choices of deadly and ever-lasting consequences. 

In exploring close relationships - and the choices people make, or do not make - There is No Evil places an emphasis on submission or resistance in what soon becomes clear to be a no-win situation. This connected theme is carried through 4 separate stories capturing entirely different emotional motifs - for the slow lull of every day - to gripping tension - to sneaking realization to a sombre life on the outside of society. 

I really can't say more without spoiling the film. It packs several punches - and the first encounter with the "evil" in question comes out of nowhere - and acts as a gateway into just what is in a "choice". 9/10.



Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle / Just Don't Think I'll Scream (2019, Frank Beauvais)

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I don't believe I have ever seen a film more suited for our forum!

In this personal and intimate essay, Frank Beauvais narrates his stale, isolated existence as he closes a chapter of his life and moves on to the next. He has been living in the outskirts of France - moving with his partner to be close to nature - now, the relationship is over - and what's more - he has suffered a close, personal loss.

His way of passing time - even when with friends, and his ill father, is to watch films. From April to October 2016 he watched 400 films - and this film is composed of shots from each of them - focusing in on details such as hands, rooms, TVs as he shapes his reality and mental state with the films he saw as a canvas - tying in his own film work - relationships and ongoing news and events - from terrorist attacks and Kiarostami's death - and cutting back to his own life - to a friend's heart attack.

The result is beautiful, contemplative examination of his life that brings out the best of what a personal essay can do. It tells a story, evokes emotion and acts as powerful lyrical and visual poetry. His voice and choices of focus is near perfect - bringing in melancholy - hope and an examination of the largely sedentary cinephile existence.  9/10



Les hirondelles de Kaboul / The Swallows of Kabul (2019, Zabou Breitman, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec)

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What do you do in the face of oppression and tyranny? Do you succumb or try to break free? These are the questions pushed forth by The Swallows of Kabul, set in the midst of the Taliban occupation of Afghanistan's capital, and following the lives of two couples as they merely exist.

One of the most poignant scenes here comes at the very beginning as we see Moshen watch the stoning of a woman - completely out of place with the people around him - and you can see/feel his unease and sorrow - until he too picks up a rock. This sadness embodies every shot as our leads attempt to live in this newfound misery - with flashes of what was - and remnants of love.   

What makes The Swallows of Kabul powerful is the strong contrast between the violence, brutality, psychological torment and executions and the muted watercolours and restrained animation style. It is as if you experience a lulling effect, where the reactions of our characters and their frequent submissions can not just be seen but felt. 8/10.



Ar Condicionado / Air Conditioner (2020, Fradique)

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In a world where air conditioners are coming crashing down around them - with accusations that it is a conspiracy involving China and the fan-industry: Air Conditioner paves out a clever, quirky and outlandish piece of magical realism. 

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It is quick to establish eerie, yet comical overtones, but what is perhaps most impressive is how its unique scenario only serves as a backdrop for an examination of class relations, and most poignantly the life of Angola's working classes - their poverty - and their need for some kind of escape.

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The feeling of poverty, the sense of escape - and the increasingly strange and unsettling happenstance of falling ACs is brought to life with stunning cinematography, and hypnotic long takes. You can feel the heat and even more impressive - you can feel dreams come to life - and the little moments become magical. The music use is wonderful, and the small, quicky gallery of characters and bizarre interactions are a joy to observe.

8-8.5/10



Eyimofe / This is My Desire (2019, Arie Esiri, Chuko Esiri)

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Eyimofe is a slow-brooding exploration of the want of a better life outside of Nigeria. It depicts poverty in Lagos is striking detail as we explore two dreams/desires, two stories - taking place in the same neighbourhood - but not intersecting beyond thematic of money, passports and a long grind as straws are clutched and dreams are put under tighter and tighter odds - is the desire of escape even worth it at the consequences they may entail?

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The way it portrays power relations, be it in the form of hazardous, unrewarding work and Kafkaesque bureaucracy in our first tale - or the pressure from landlords, and the impossibility of equality and true romance in the second - or, evidenced in both - what poverty may make you do or accept - and what happens if the world around you finally cracks you.

It is interesting to compare Air Conditioner and Eyimofe as they are both so similar and so different. Both look at the lower working class and their dreams - yet the former does it with surreal, quirky overtones, comedy, magical realism and beautiful visuals. Eyimofe is far more low-key - driven by story and characters. However, it is still astute in its observations and details, as well as the slow and careful way it shows the grind of every day - and draws up distinctions on class, wealth and power. A relationship in the second tale, between a poor young woman and a relatively wealthy white American jumps into remarkably interesting psychology - and diverging realities.

8/10

P.S. Eyimofe is a shining example of a new phenomenon in Nigeria: independent productions outside of the Nollywood - and even more exciting for our festival: it is an English-language independent. 

P.P.S. It is also worth noting that both Air Conditioner and Eyimofe is made by first-time feature directors, and could be the start of 3 very interesting careers.
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#99

Post by kingink »

You guys have already gathered so many interesting films! I have seen several of them so I will add my ratings in the file. I am compiling a list with films that I have already seen and I am thinking of recommending. I will think about them some more and start posting them.
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#100

Post by xianjiro »

I've read the first page of last year's programmers' thread - that's when it started to drift over to comments on individual films instead of mostly being about the work of the programmer. I might skim more later on, but now I have a question, how does commentary here versus the spreadsheet weigh when selecting films? As I'm sure most of you know, I'm really, really reluctant to read about films before watching them. However, that said, I need to remember to search the thread after watching to see what's been said.

I've already teed up around 10 films. and that's only searching about 30 of the titles on the spreadsheet.
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#101

Post by Fergenaprido »

I'd say that the ratings are the starting point, and if we don't have enough films for a slate, or not enough consensus, or we need to break a tie, then that's when the comments come into place. I also try to avoid the comments/reviews of films before I see them, though I will skim through them to see the screenshots because sometimes those will motivate me to watch a film.
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#102

Post by St. Gloede »

If I understand correctly the tie-breaking process and actual discussion related to the shortlist does not really start until September.

There may be relevant discussions in terms of what films/slates to put extra focus on before then, for instance, I noticed that Latin America is faring very poorly so far compared to the two other continent/region slates in terms of nominations:

Europe: 27
Asia and Africa: 25
Latin America: 4

This may fix itself as more programmers join / additional nominations come in - but worth keeping in mind prioritizing Latin America slightly more.
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#103

Post by xianjiro »

St. Gloede wrote: January 11th, 2021, 8:47 am If I understand correctly the tie-breaking process and actual discussion related to the shortlist does not really start until September.

There may be relevant discussions in terms of what films/slates to put extra focus on before then, for instance, I noticed that Latin America is faring very poorly so far compared to the two other continent/region slates in terms of nominations:

Europe: 27
Asia and Africa: 25
Latin America: 4

This may fix itself as more programmers join / additional nominations come in - but worth keeping in mind prioritizing Latin America slightly more.
who helped with Latin America last year? Think having a programmer from the region would be helpful. Failing that, one of us is going to need to put lots of efforts into figuring out a good source for reviews. Cinema Tropical would be worth a look, but I've no idea where they focus (other than the region).
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#104

Post by beavis »

I have at least 6 Brazillian movies (again) lined up for viewing, also very curious about "Chico ventana también quisiera tener un submarino" and Gloede's suggestion of "Una vez la noche"
From what I have already seen these are some good recommendations that I might end up nominating: Vendrá la muerte y tendrá tus ojos, Tantas Almas, Blanco en blanco (wouldn't mind for others to nominate them before I get to them either).
I kinda wish I could get onto all of that NOW, but in my planning I feel most happy right now by keeping me focused on the challenges, as I wont go back to some of the topics there later in the year (I haven't watched as much 1940's cinema as I did the last few days in ages, also a few longer works I am pushing myself to finally get to).

An area I really hear too little about, again, is US indie. So that is another thing I need to focus on ;)
I liked Black Bear, but I think not enough to nominate it myself. Fourteen is now the one I have most expectations for
also looking into Black Mother, Relaxer, What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?, Regarding the Case of Joan of Arc, Donnybrook and (if it hasn't got too much imdb votes) First Cow
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#105

Post by kingink »

I have two films from Latin America that I was considering nominating for the LGBT section though. And I have two other films that I will watch to see if I like them enough. Hopefully they will make the cut. Oh and guys... So I just edit the spreadsheet adding a column for myself etc right?
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#106

Post by beavis »

you can edit, add columns, add remarks
Fergenaprido will keep it under control (I guess) if the layout is getting screwed or otherwise out of hand

also, It is helpful to suggest a section where the film would be most appropriate, but do list ALL sections where it could fit! this will give us some wiggle room when making the final program (which we will also discuss here, so if you really don't like a film to be in a specific section, you can always argue your case then)
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#107

Post by kingink »

Ok Thanks Beavis. I was hoping to know that someone will keep it under control in case I screw this up :lol:
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#108

Post by beavis »

So, I have films that I want to get to before nominating more, AND nominations are coming in hot (very happy with the amount of action here!!), while I'm "stuck" in the 1000<400 :)
Time to keep tabs on what I am committing to see from those nominations! It is clear I've found a very like-minded fellow in Gloede! His nominations keep piling up on my want list, but zzzorf is a close second. I'll try to watch at least more than one suggested film from each programmer. Not promising to have watched all of these in the end, but this is what catched my attention on first glance AND I was able to find

Gloede
Air Conditioner (Ar Condicionado) 2020
Rage (Raiva) 2018
Red Moon Tide (Lúa vermella) 2020
The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily (La fameuse invasion des ours en Sicile) 2019
This Is My Desire (Eyimofe) 2020
Uppercase Print (Tipografic majuscul) 2020
Your Face (Ni de lian) 2018

zzzorf
A Whisker Away (Nakitai watashi wa neko wo kaburu) 2020
Fragtime 2019
Mutant Blast 2018
My Dad Is a Heel Wrestler (Papa wa warumono chanpion) 2018
The Soul Collector (8) 2019

Fergen
M 2018

fban
Dead Dicks 2019

Another thing to note at this point is that when making the final program the oldest movies will get the most priority (when choices need to be made, but also in general it is wise to leave the most recent films for a later edition of the festival). So when nominating also try to keep that in mind, if possible.
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#109

Post by xianjiro »

Okay, I'm going to put my comments in spoiler tags in case others want to avoid reading until they've seen the film.

I watched Monstrous tonight. First and foremost, FORE MOST, everyone knows Bigfoot moves between the Cascades and Coast Range. The race was probably among the first residents of Cascadia, though I've seen no discussion of who came first, Bigfoot's ancestors or the ancestors of the people we now call Native Americans or First Nations. So this was like a big, fat, hairy foot placed squarely on the side of my skull -- oh, the pain of it! Why do freakin' New Yorkers have to make everything about them? Shit, next they'll want an active volcano and subduction zone with huge mega quakes every 500 years! Blanky-blankers ...

But I digress.
Spoiler
I was not impressed. Shields strikes me as a better actress than writer and I thought this one had plotting issues throughout. The first problem for me was how stilted the dialog felt at times and that can't just be explained away by the spartan production. Other than the closing song, I'd call the soundtrack, both sound design and music, rather amateurish - not the worst, but certainly not equal to picture quality - and certainly overdone at points. Other design issues: well, two of the characters are in Michigan early on, so what else than put one in a Michigan sweatshirt for his scenes. Otherwise, and excluding the Big Man's costume, it seemed like they used stuff they had lying around. I'm assuming people don't have sasquatch costumes lying around, but I could be wrong. Especially in New York. Maybe they rented a car - I'm undecided about that, but then why was the first "victim" from Virginia?

This definitely had an American Indie sensibility, but that's probably mostly because their budget was quite limited. Rather than workshopped through Sundance Institute, this felt a bit better than a garage production but not by much. They made okay use of drone footage: why? Because they could. I would not consider this for either Indie or LGBTQ slates. I might consider it for Jb4D if there is absolutely nothing else. If we had a "home made" slate, this would be at the top of that list. Do we have three other films for such a slate?

I'm going to rate this a 1 - as I said, it might be okay for Jb4D if we need one more film and other programmers really think it should be included. And while I did not like it, I'm giving it this rating because I don't really believe it would offer much to our wonderful little festival. BTW, I jumped on this one when I saw it's IMDb rating. I can't argue with a 3.6, but I probably moved the score a tad bit higher. I'll also say I don't believe this is a drama - it clearly has more horror elements. Can't say I cared much about the characters or their plight. It also required way more suspension of disbelief (and not because of the 'squatch) than I cared to give. :down:
I have also seen the following prior to becoming a programmer: The Image Book, The Heiresses, Transit, and El Ángel. If we get to a place where we can't decide, I'd probably want to rewatch before making a final, final decision.
Spoiler
First off I'm not terribly thrilled by either Image Book or El Ángel. Godard isn't overlooked and Image Book had plenty of Best of 2018 buzz. It's also on the 21st Century list. If more people haven't watched it, it's because lots of us are so over Godard. Tired of him even. I gave it a 1 because I'm not willing to rule it out completely: it might make sense in Arthouse, but that's a decision I'd ultimately like to postpone and will be contingent on what else we have.

The main thing I remember about El Ángel is very similar to why I didn't like Beach Rats. Maybe having this main character be gay was edgy for Argentina a couple years ago, but I'm not excited by gay characters who are sociopaths - we've gotten enough bad press over the years. I'm just not sure I'm ready to hold up so much darkness and emptiness and say "Look at the gay psychopath." Like the other films though, I'd be willing to rewatch and discuss if others really want to include, but it didn't seem to have much interest last year. It is an official check on two lists, so that should create enough iCM/forum buzz. I've rated it a 1. I don't like it for LGBTQ, a slim maybe for Latin America.

I gave Transit a 2. I didn't love this one as much as the critics and at 8263 ratings on IMDb, it might get close to our limit. If would make a solid choice for the European slate. Maybe even the main slate. Could probably consider for Arthouse, but I'm also guessing we'll have no trouble filling up these latter two with more worthy "under the radar" fare. I think the voice over bugged me. Why? Because narration usually does. Like an oppressive soundtrack that tries to force emotions bugs me. However, some think this is an important piece of what makes this beyond good. It also plays with the WWII era thing (Nazis and all) by being out of time and thereby forcing viewers to ask: is this now or then?

Probably the most promising of the bunch is The Heiresses, especially if we need a film for Latin America. While production help came from a number of more mature cinema countries, it's set in Paraguay and looks at two aging women (a couple but that isn't what I remember about the film and I'd certainly want to rewatch before considering for LGBTQ), both from wealthy families, who have to sell off possessions to meet expenses. It's a story about longing, class, and privilege. It could probably be called a character study since it's not really plot driven. It's about these women, their relationship, and how they fit into the world, both of the remembered past and their present reality. So far I've given it a 2, but that's because I've got little to compare it with. Short of 4 strong contenders for Latin America, it could easily be a 3.
Okay, now I'm up-to-date on all watches and have plenty more to see. Will keep rating in the spreadsheet and writing my thoughts here in the thread. As I said, I'm probably not going to be the best one to generate leads, but I'm willing to watch everything I can get a hold of.

If we don't have good leads for one of the threads (Latin America or Documentary?), I should probably know by March so I can try to research movies to see and suggest.
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#110

Post by St. Gloede »

Just Don't Think I'll Scream could potentially make the LGBT slate as well (if the slate would end up being in trouble), however, I did not list it down as the relationship the director is overcoming seems secondary (even though it in many ways is the main framing device).
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#111

Post by St. Gloede »

Re: Transit/Image Book - Transit has been out and generally available since 2018 so we do not need to worry about it crossing the 10,000 limit - but it has had reasonable exposure in cinephile circles. If we get in a bind, it is one I'm happy to let slip in favour of something more obscure. I can also see your point on Godard, and people being tired/uninterested - though a lot of people have also not taken the time to watch (much) beyond his 60s work, and a few acclaimed later efforts. I honestly think many people are in the "is he still alive?!" mode, rather than actively being tired - and seeing what he does now could be a revelation. At the same time, it is another film I don't mind being pushed back for something that needs the exposure more.
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#112

Post by Fergenaprido »

Re: Latin America last year, I think beavis and I provided most of the noms, and a lot of mine came from Mubi, including many films that I didn't see until the summer. It's one region that Mubi seems to be particularly strong in when it comes to contemporary cinema, as they did both a Brazilian and an Argentinian special last year (some films of which are still available). I agree we're short on films for Lat Am now, but I'm not worried about us being able to fill the slate come September.

Re: the spreadsheet, yes, I'll fix anything that gets messed up, no worries :D (but don't try to mess it up on purpose :P )
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#113

Post by xianjiro »

RE: Latin America - sounds good

Then how about documentaries? I could focus on that area if we think there's a need (and a not-quite-full slate is likely).

Finding "one more film" won't be so tough, probably for any of the slates, but if we don't even have ten things to watch in the meantime, it will make September more of a scramble. And who knows what will happen to our world between now and then. Gads!

Speaking of number of films, I'm hoping the rest of you will consider doing more than one a month with the long list we've already got. It would be best if we have more than one (divergent) opinion when ruling one way or the other. Again, not really sure how this has worked in the past, but I also get the sense that we haven't had so many nominations so early in the process. Or maybe I'm misreading something.

Either way, hope everyone feels empowered to contribute and comment! :)
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#114

Post by kingink »

Oh no!!! So many movies I haven't watched!

Re: Image Book
I agree with you guys that it could be pushed back if we find something more exciting and fresh. But I always love the reactions on Godard films. hehe
I haven't seen it and I don't really want to. How many chances can I give to his recent filmography? Which may be a problem if we add it to the festival. I think people will know what to expect and skip it. We shall see.
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#115

Post by zzzorf »

kingink wrote: January 12th, 2021, 9:54 am Oh no!!! So many movies I haven't watched!
Don't worry, other than my nominations I haven't seen anything yet. I do have a lot set up to watch though with March seeing a big turnover for them when I do my 4th annual March Around the World on Letterboxd.
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#116

Post by St. Gloede »

Yes, I have only seen 2 beyond my nominees.
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#117

Post by kingink »

Then I am good :D But still so many left (D:)
But the quarantine here still stands, so I have time...
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#118

Post by filmbantha »

xianjiro wrote: January 11th, 2021, 10:45 am Okay, I'm going to put my comments in spoiler tags in case others want to avoid reading until they've seen the film.

I watched Monstrous tonight. First and foremost, FORE MOST, everyone knows Bigfoot moves between the Cascades and Coast Range. The race was probably among the first residents of Cascadia, though I've seen no discussion of who came first, Bigfoot's ancestors or the ancestors of the people we now call Native Americans or First Nations. So this was like a big, fat, hairy foot placed squarely on the side of my skull -- oh, the pain of it! Why do freakin' New Yorkers have to make everything about them? Shit, next they'll want an active volcano and subduction zone with huge mega quakes every 500 years! Blanky-blankers ...

But I digress.
Spoiler
I was not impressed. Shields strikes me as a better actress than writer and I thought this one had plotting issues throughout. The first problem for me was how stilted the dialog felt at times and that can't just be explained away by the spartan production. Other than the closing song, I'd call the soundtrack, both sound design and music, rather amateurish - not the worst, but certainly not equal to picture quality - and certainly overdone at points. Other design issues: well, two of the characters are in Michigan early on, so what else than put one in a Michigan sweatshirt for his scenes. Otherwise, and excluding the Big Man's costume, it seemed like they used stuff they had lying around. I'm assuming people don't have sasquatch costumes lying around, but I could be wrong. Especially in New York. Maybe they rented a car - I'm undecided about that, but then why was the first "victim" from Virginia?

This definitely had an American Indie sensibility, but that's probably mostly because their budget was quite limited. Rather than workshopped through Sundance Institute, this felt a bit better than a garage production but not by much. They made okay use of drone footage: why? Because they could. I would not consider this for either Indie or LGBTQ slates. I might consider it for Jb4D if there is absolutely nothing else. If we had a "home made" slate, this would be at the top of that list. Do we have three other films for such a slate?

I'm going to rate this a 1 - as I said, it might be okay for Jb4D if we need one more film and other programmers really think it should be included. And while I did not like it, I'm giving it this rating because I don't really believe it would offer much to our wonderful little festival. BTW, I jumped on this one when I saw it's IMDb rating. I can't argue with a 3.6, but I probably moved the score a tad bit higher. I'll also say I don't believe this is a drama - it clearly has more horror elements. Can't say I cared much about the characters or their plight. It also required way more suspension of disbelief (and not because of the 'squatch) than I cared to give. :down:
Thank you for taking a punt on my nomination of Monstrous. It's a shame that you didn't enjoy it but I appreciate you explaining your reasons why in detail, which is much better than most of the criticisms I have read about the film that focus almost solely on the fact that it's a bigfoot movie and you don't get to see enough of bigfoot. I don't really know much about bigfoot mythology or US geography so some of the things that detracted from your experience were not even on my radar. I was impressed by the unusual direction the film went in and also the convincing performance from the lead. I feel that it shows a lot of promise from Director Bruce Wemple and the low rating on IMDB leaves me totally baffled. Although it was a strong 7/10 for me, it might be one of the weakest of my picks so far, with most of them being 8/10's so hopefully this won't put you off watching any more of my nominations :D
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#119

Post by filmbantha »

I watched Just Friends the other day as it was streaming on either Netflix or Prime. It felt like a relatively average romantic comedy/drama with slick production values and a nice soundtrack but there was nothing on show to convince me it was festival material. It was an easy way to pass the time though so it wasn't all bad but it is not a film I will be supporting.
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#120

Post by xianjiro »

filmbantha wrote: January 12th, 2021, 8:43 pm so hopefully this won't put you off watching any more of my nominations :D
oh absolutely not! have no fear, I'll don't track nominator anyway and my goal is to watch what I can find from our list - so I can comment, but also so I can see more of what people are doing these days

(side thought: we might want to let our year window slide in the near future - not sure how much production is being impacted by lockdowns and such)

Also, the errors in geography intro was largely meant humorously since I was writing about other sides of the continent. (Plus a little free commentary on the NY state of mind.)
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