In an industry where people often take themselves too seriously, Neil LaBute's self-deprecating humour comes as a breath of fresh air. The burly writer-director and playwright has been lavished with critical praise for his edgy, disconcerting screenplays ever since he made a splash with his low-budget debut In The Company of Men in 1997. However, speaking at the Vancouver International Film Festival Trade Forum earlier this month he quickly put that all aside.
A family drama looking at the deep political divisions in modern Israeli society through the eyes of Schlomo, a nine-year-old Ethiopian boy was voted most popular film at this year's Vancouver International Film Festival. In Rahu Mihaileanu's Live and Become (Va, vis et deviens) young Schlomo is part of a program that returned Ethiopian Jews to Israel. The film follows the boy, whose secret is that he is not Jewish and not an orphan, as he grows up with a new family in a new land.
Here are some more notes from three panels at the excellent Vancouver International Film Festival Trade Forum.
Dennis Gassner, production designer for Bugsy, Waterworld, The Truman Show and a succession of Coen Brothers films, said the way he works is not much different from method acting. "I like to get to that point where you're just creating the feeling," he said.
At the recent Vancouver International Film Festival Trade Forum, Michael Oates Palmer, one of the screenwriters for the West Wing, gave an excellent overview of where North American episodic television is going. He also offered advice for budding television writers. Some of the information below is particularly focussed on North America, but much is universal or has parallels in the UK.
William Goldman's salutory comment that in the movie industry "nobody knows anything" has lost none of its freshness. Several delegates at last month's Vancouver International Film Festival Trade Forum, a four-day industry event of seminars and panels, reiterated the maxim. Perhaps it was by way of a casual disclaimer, but also it was clearly out of hard-earned experience.
Canadians are not happy with the state of their film industry. They look South of the border at the powerful US film industry and then they look back at their own output, and it's understandable that they feel like the anaemic waif to the big kid next door.
Cinemagoers are about to flock to the flicks in the Capital, taking their seats at the NFT on the South Bank, in Leicester Square, the ICA and the Ritzy, as the 49th London Film Festival gets underway in mid-October.
Whatever else he achieves in his acting career 27 year old Jason Biggs will go down in screen history as the man who engaged in an unnatural act with pastry product in American Pie. Two subsequent sequels subjected him to more embarrassment, and box office success, but he has continued to ring the changes in other roles. He starred opposite Woody Allen in Say Anything, and with Christina Ricci on Prozac Nation; played the title role in Loser and was directed by Kevin Smith on Jersey Girl.
Films examining man, the land, and cultural identity at Vancouver Film Festival touch on themes close to home in this West Coast city.The Vancouver International Film Festival gets under way this week. Of the films that I've had a chance to preview, one theme that is cropping up is the land and the way that our culture and identity feeds off it.
Editors are one of the least visible groups in the film industry. Even in this age of DIY filmmaking, where people are much more attuned to the editing process, the editor still carries little weight either for the success or the failure of a film, even though they can play an influential role.