Breaking Through Reality: 25-28 Nov

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Juan Foo on Breaking Through Reality




NATALIE PANG interviews JUAN FOO, a 12-year veteran in the film and media business. His works include Dirty Laundry (2002) and Perth (2005).



Natalie: How is the concept of reality important to you as a producer? Do you think that it is essential that films should adopt realism to tell their story?

Juan: I think film is always about portrayal and portrayal has certain levels of responsibility to show what people can identify with. As filmmakers, you always fall back on something people can identify with. Ultimately, I think that a good film is about how it can connect with people and how it can interpret each and every one of our perceived realities. Reality also means emotions. What do you feel like at that moment in time? How does watching a film reflect your own reality and your own problems and your own emotions?

People can ask “How about fantasy films or animation? If you look at all of them, those are mainly genres and those are just the differences of the same.

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Jia Zhangke on 24 City

With special thanks to Time Out (Hong Kong), the article “Invisible cities: an interview with Jia Zhangke” gives us an insight into the film, 24 City.

Invisible cities: an interview with Jia Zhangke

Edmund Lee talks to the renowned Chinese filmmaker, Jia Zhangke, about his stunning new film, ’24 City’

Jia Zhangke’s latest film, ‘24 City‘, chronicles the stories of workers in a giant Chengdu munitions factory that has been demolished to make way for a housing and entertainment development. It’s an experimental hybrid of fiction and non-fiction – five interviews with real factory workers are interspersed with monologues from actors, including Joan Chen (‘Lust, Caution’) and Zhao Tao (star of Jia’s ‘The World’), and scenes of the factory’s demolition.

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Albert Maysles on Gimme Shelter

The interview with Albert Maysles, reproduced from Straight.com, reveals the documentation process and after-thoughts of his legendary film, Gimme Shelter.


Q&A with Albert Maysles, director of Rolling Stones doc Gimme Shelter

By Brian Lynch, April 29, 2010

Legendary filmmaker Albert Maysleshad a front-row view of the moment when the Flower Power movement of the late ’60s slid irrevocably into chaos. Maysles, now 83, will be in Vancouver tomorrow and Saturday (April 30 and May 1) for screenings of his groundbreaking documentaries, among them the classic 1970 concert film Gimme Shelter, which depicts the Rolling Stones’ infamous December 1969 show at the Altamont Speedway near San Francisco. Along with his brother, David, and a crew of camera operators, Maysles captured an event marred by powerful drugs and pool-cue-swinging violence unleashed on audience members by drunken Hells Angels, who’d been hired by the Stones as security. As the film shows, the chaos peaked with the fatal stabbing of an 18-year-old audience member, Meredith Hunter, only yards from the band.

Maysles will be on-hand at Pacific Cinémathèque on Friday (April 30) to take questions between showings of Gimme Shelter and his 1976 cult favourite Grey Gardens. Also on the program will be Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out, a half-hour film composed of outtakes from the Gimme Shelter footage.

The following evening (May 1), he’ll be at Capilano University for a retrospective of his storied career and a look at his current projects.

The Straight recently caught up with Maysles by phone at his New York office.

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Interview with Ari Folman

Together with The Evening Class, discover how Ari Folman draws inspiration for the various aspects of his artistic film, Waltz with Bashir.


WALTZ WITH BASHIR—The Evening Class Interview with Ari Folman

It took four years for Israeli director Ari Folman to complete his animated documentary Waltz With Bashir, which was entered in the competition for the Palme d’Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. Though—despite predictions—it did not win that honor, Waltz With Bashir went on to win six awards from the Israeli Film Academy, including Best Picture. It had its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and its US premiere at the 46th New York Film Festival. The film has been submitted as Israel’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, as well as for Best Animated Feature. Predictions for an Oscar win look optimistic, judging from its recent Golden Globe for Best Foreign Feature; the first nonfiction film in Golden Globe history to claim that honor. Concerned with the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre, the film came highly praised at its Cannes premiere as one that would “leave its mark forever on the ethics of war films in general” (Screen Daily).Variety hailed it as “something special, strange and peculiarly potent.” Time magazine asserted that “the message of the futility of war has rarely been painted with such bold strokes.” It was with considerable respect that I sat down to converse with Ari Folman.

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On Abbas Kiarostami and “Ten”

In the 1990s, the international film festival circuit provided the context for Kiarostami’s emergence as a world renowned Iranian filmmaker.  At that time, opportunities for a glimpse into Iranian culture and society were rare.  Foreign audiences’ wetted appetites for narratives, images, and subjects from an alien and exotic culture, especially when they turned out to be so warm and brilliant, have now been assuaged.  The ready availability of contemporary Iranian films, through cinematic releases and DVD distribution, has to an extent made contemporary Iranian cinema familiar, even banal, to the outside world.  Considering the political focus on the Middle East since the derided “War on Terror” launched by the Bush Administration from 2001, the social realism that many Iranian films advocate serves to neutralise the adverse and dehumanising publicity that Iran specifically, and the Middle East in general, receive in mainstream global media. Continue Reading

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