April 17-27, 2014
The 28th DC International Film Festival
From the press release
The Washington, DC International Film Festival (Filmfest DC) returns to the nation’s capital for the last time April 17-27 2014, celebrating nearly three decades of bringing award-winning movies to Washington, DC theatergoers. Among its extensive program of over 80 features, documentaries, comedies, shorts, award winners and discoveries, the District’s premiere film festival will highlight audience favorite series, Trust No One: Espionage and Thrillers, The Lighter Side and Justice Matters. Feast Your Eyes will be a special series of full-length features whose fun, inventive and original stories all revolve around the theme of food.
Now in its 28th and final year, Filmfest DC is back to celebrate nearly three decades of bringing thousands of entertaining and thought-provoking films to Washington and to thank the hundreds of thousands of DC film fanatics and volunteers who have attended the festival over the years.
Locations include AMC Mazza Gallerie, Avalon Theater, Embassy of France, Goethe-Institut Washington, Landmark Bethesda Row, Landmark E Street Cinema, Lincoln Theater and the National Gallery of Art.
For more information see the website, e-mail, or call 202-234-3456.
The 22nd Annual DC Film Society Oscar Party
Landmark Wins, Landmark Surprises
By Charles Kirkland, DC Film Society Member
On March 2, 2014, the DC Film Society hosted the 22nd Edition of “And The Winner Is…,” the annual Oscars viewing party to watch the 86th Academy Awards LIVE on the big screen at the Arlington Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse. Despite a looming Titan-ic winter storm, the Drafthouse was filled near to capacity as many gathered to partake of the social event of the year.
Even before the Academy Awards began, social media was the theme for the night as the DC Film Society launched into the Twittersphere. As the attendees queued for entry into the viewing party, they were told that they could tweet throughout the night using the hashtags, “Andthewinneris” and “DCFS.” They were given cards to remind them to tweet with the intention of having the event trend on Twitter. A few attendees were even interviewed with the opportunity to be on a local podcast. Comments submitted were mostly predictions of winners for the night but there were some about the second-time host, Ellen Degeneres.
The fun continued as those early attendees got to choose from several promotional movie items. This year’s selections included one hat (Not Fade Away), “American Hustle” t-shirts, and a variety of DVD or CD soundtracks from Labor Day, The Wolf of Wall Street, Endless Love, etc. The most coveted item seemed to be the copies of Ron Burgundy’s “autobiographical” novel “Let Me Off At The Top.” Everyone was also given a red raffle ticket for the opportunity to get more goodies during the show.
As the red carpet show began, the DC Film Society Director, Michael Kyrioglou reminded everyone about the super DCFS Silent Auction which included excellent items such as: a “Hot Fuzz” Poster signed by actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, a Philomena poster & press notes signed by actor/co-writer Steve Coogan (2014 nominee), “2 Days in Paris” poster signed by actress/writer/director Julie Delpy (2014 nominee), a “Her” poster signed by director/writer Spike Jonze (2014 nominee), a Disney DVD pack of animated features including “The Jungle Book” and “Monsters University”, “A League of Their Own” DVD signed by director Penny Marshall, various theater tickets and movie passes and much more. There was a second announcement that entries for the “Joe Barber Predict-the-Winners Contest” would be received in the rear of the cinema (We still miss him). Then Michael introduced our ever gracious hosts for the evening, the hometown film critic geniuses, Bill Henry and Tim Gordon.
Henry and Gordon welcomed the audience and set the ground rules for the rest of the evening. Mr. Gordon was happy to announce that he was going to be tweeting through the whole night and invited the audience to join him. After a couple of jokes and some critical musings from our hosts, the show was on its way.
Ellen Degeneres took the stage and delivered a predictably cute and funny monologue. While she took a couple of the requisite jabs at the stars, they were nothing compared to the skewers from previous hosts (MacFarlane, Rock). As time would surely tell, Ellen was just warming up for the night of funny. Ellen successfully stole the social media thunder created by the Film Society by crashing Twitter with her selfie retweet! Other Ellen highlights included a great running pizza gag which ended with her delivering pizza to the stars! (“Don’t forget Kerry Washington, she’s pregnant.” Classic!) Was it me or did anyone else notice that we got to see Ellen in a dress?
Notable moments of the bad side of Oscar for the evening were: a barely recognizable Kim Novak, Tyson Beckford on the red carpet and various problems with actors reading from the teleprompter and “Adele Dazeem!” (Seriously guys, did you have to phone it in since you weren’t getting paid? Maybe I should just “Let It Go?”)
As the Awards went, “Gravity” seemed to be on the way to Oscar history as it snagged a number of the early awards. Tim Gordon even openly pondered if it was a sign for the rest of the night. But the night's only “upset/shock” for some was Spike Jonze winning the Best Original Screenplay for “Her!” Congratulations go out to Matthew McConaughey for Best Actor, Cate Blanchett - Best Actress, Jared Leto - Best Supporting Actor, Lupita Nyong’o - Best Supporting Actress, Alfonzo Cuaron - Best Director and “12 Years a Slave” for Best Picture.
(Congratulations also go to the members of the DC Film Society. In the “Best of 2013” poll conducted earlier in the year, five of the top six Oscar winners were also chosen as the best. The only difference was the Society poll picked Steve McQueen as the Best Director for “12 Years A Slave” instead of Cuaron.)
Michael closed the evening with the an expression of appreciation to the hosts (Bill Henry and Tim Gordon), the house (Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse), the staff of the DC Film Society and especially to the guests (all those who braved the threat of snow, to enjoy the show). And on the way out the door there were complimentary posters from “12 Years a Slave” for one and all.
The Washington DC Film Society would like to express special thanks to Allied Integrated Marketing, Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse, and Bill Henry and Tim Gordon. Finally, we would like to thank the following Coordinating Committee members who have volunteered their time and talents to this event and to the DC Film Society all year round. THANK YOU! Director: Michael Kyrioglou, Associate Director: Jim Shippey, Coordinating Committee and volunteers: Cheryl Dixon, Cheryl Fine, Raiford Gaffney, Anita Glick, Annette Graham, Larry Hart, Geri Hirai, Charles Kirkland, Jr., Laura Koschny, Wayson Lee, Stephen Marshall, Deborah Martin, Ky Nguyen, Eugenia Park, Ken Rosenberg, Carolyn Rogers, Adam Spector, Catherine Stanton, Linda Schwartz, Gene St. Hilaire, and Gloria White. See you and your friends next year!
Adam's Rib Examines the Continuing Controversy Surrounding Woody Allen
By Adam Spector, DC Film Society Member
Woody Allen has reached the point in his life and career where he would expect to be celebrated as a national film treasure. As this year has shown, nothing with Allen can be that easy. Few directors have been both this accomplished and this polarizing. Can we separate the art from the artist? I search for answers in my new Adam's Rib column.
Watermark: Q&A with the Filmmakers
By Ron Gordner, DC Film Society Member
Following their acclaimed collaboration film Manufactured Landscapes (2006), photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal reunite to make Watermark, a film that explores the ways in which man has shaped, manipulated and depleted one of its most vital and compromised resources: water. Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video with aerial photos, we see a number of geographic regions where people are drawn to the water and where humanity has rerouted water sources or created their own landscapes from man-made water resources. We see large floating abalone farms off China's Fujian coast and the construction of the biggest arch dam in the world - the Xiluodu, six times the size of our Hoover Dam. We go to the once mighty Colorado River which no longer goes to the ocean. Use of water is demonstrated in the water-intensive leather tanneries of Dhaka in Africa. We see where up to thirty million people gather for a sacred bath in the Ganges at the same time. We also see scientists drill ice cores deep into the Greenland Ice Sheet, and see the watersheds of Northern British Columbia. The following question and answer discussion was held in September 2013 at the Toronto International Film Festival and was moderated by programmer Steve Gravestock. Co-director/writer Jennifer Baichwal, director/photographer Edward Burtynsky, and producer/cinematographer Nick de Pencier took part in the Q&A. The film will open in the DC metro area in mid-April 2014.
Edward Burtynsky and Jennifer Baichwal at the Toronto Film Festival.
Audience Question: Can you comment on international laws about the diversion of waters and are there patents on such diversions?
Jennifer Baichwal: Water is more regional but there are international laws; we started with California which has the most water laws in the United States because they have very little or no water of their own.
Edward Burtynsky: Yes if we talk about water diverted or coming from the Great Lakes as far into the Southwestern U.S. we need laws about the watersheds. Watersheds and ground waters especially are a gray area where there may not be laws and as mentioned in the States it is state by state and regionally that laws have been applied. In Texas, T. Boone Pickens bought areas and pretty much planned to send much of the water around Houston down to Dallas and really would have depleted the Amarillo aquafers. He bought up the lands for something like $30 million and the State had to buy it back for about $500 million to prevent the complete depletion of water in those areas. In Texas, you can pump out water as you like, where next door in New Mexico they have put laws into place to disallow that. They also charge for the water, so that farmers and others more judiciously use their water. It’s a case by case study. In China for instance, it’s said 50 years ago there were 50,000 rivers in China. Today we have only 25,000 rivers so the others have been already diverted or dried up. It’s still fairly unregulated and if you own the land in most places, you have the rights to the water on it.
Steve Gravestock: What about the large dam projects in China also?
Edward Burtynsky: Our last film Manufactured Landscapes showed some of the Three Gorges Dam in China which is planning one of the largest diversions of water. It will divert water over 2,000 kilometers in China to go to Beijing. Chinese officials will tell you that the primary goal of the dams is for flood control. The second goal is to create water reserves and for power.
Audience Question: In Manufactured Landscapes you were more distant or dispassionate from the subjects or politics involved, and in this film you are more passionately involved with the politics and the environmental problems of water diversion. It really is a kind of lament.
Edward Burtynsky: In my work I have always seen the consequences of run-away populations and policies that for one pound of iron ore a great deal of nature is disrupted. I have always been interested in this part of the human enterprise with nature; it’s just not always on our radar screen. So the film brings it back into our consciousness and I feel that although we are plodding ahead with progress, that at one point several years ago the environment was up there as number one against health care and other issues. Now it looks like the economy is number one and other issues have fallen down the ladder of national and international concerns. Nature doesn’t care about our priorities; it is on its own trajectory. So I think the time is now to address these issues again. I think we have the ingenuity to bring to these environmental problems but don’t think we have the time or will fund the resources to get the job done. The move to changes needed are too slow considering the inherent consequences. I feel there is more of an urgency as I get older.
Audience Question: Why did you choose not to focus on some of the domestic Canadian issues?
Nick de Pencier: It took us about three months to get permission to go and film at the Experimental Lakes Area Project area in Ontario, which was under threat to close and now seems ok or has been revived. In China we were given two SUVs at our disposal for the largest dam project and we had trouble getting permission with the ELA project but finally did clear that. That was not the reason we didn’t include it in the film. It was more a philosophical issue. It’s like Ed said, we are all involved in this issue. Our film is not an environmental rant. We want to show both sides if possible. We are very careful in Bangladesh to say that most or all of the water there is being exported. We were also thinking about the Tar Sands, but it is such a broad topic, we had to pick and choose. Our friend Peter Mettler had already covered much of that ground. We didn’t want to be superficial when he has done such a thorough job.
Jennifer Baichwal: On the Experimental Lakes, Nick and I had spent some time there and we felt that it was a travesty if it was no longer going to be funded. We may have a government that is hostile to fresh water independent research. You can read a great deal about that project on the internet. We became quite involved with that and if funding had been dropped but decided that those areas presented really demonstrate the effect of man on nature and water all around the world and the point of the interconnectedness of all of these issues.
Watermark is scheduled to open at Landmark's E Street Cinema on April 11.
Calendar of Events
American Film Institute Silver Theater
The "Festival of New Spanish Cinema" covers seven films April 3-6. Titles are Unit 7, Operation E, A Gun in Each Hand, Peru Sabe, 35 Years and 1 Day, People in Places and Map.
Vivian Leigh's 100th anniversary film series concludes in April with The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961), Anna Karenina (1948), and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).
Part I of the Burt Lancaster series ends in April. The remaining titles are Trapeze (1956), I Walk Alone (1948), The Rose Tattoo (1955), Gunfight at the OK Corral (1957), and The Sweet Smell of Success (1957).
"Play Ball: The Hollywood and American Pastime" looks at baseball movies. Titles for April are Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story (2010), The Rookie (2002), Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream (1995), The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (1998), Sugar (2008), The Lost Son of Havana (2009), Moneyball (2011), 42 (2013) and a program of rare films from the Baseball Hall of Fame with an introduction by David Filipi.
"Action! The Films of Raoul Walsh Part I" continues in April. Two silent films are Kindred of the Dust (1922) and The Red Dance (1928), both with music accompaniment by Andrew Simpson. Other titles are The Roaring Twenties (1939), Artists and Models (1937), College Swing (1938) and Every Night at Eight (1935).
"Overdrive: L.A. Modern, 1960-2000" is a series co-presented with the National Building Museum and runs from February 8 to April 17. This is the second of two series exploring L.A.'s modern architectural legacy in film. Titles in April are Lost Highway (David Lynch, 1997), Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001), Heat (Michael Mann, 1995), Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino, 1997), The Big Lebowski (Joel Coen, 1998), Collateral (Michael Mann, 2004), and To Live and Die in L.A. (William Friedkin, 1985).
Special events include Band of Sisters (2012).
Freer Gallery of Art
On April 11 at 7:00pm is It's Me It's Me, a comedy from Japan with director Satoshi Miki in person. On April 13 at noon is a pre-film talk with director Satoshi Miki and Jim Ulak, curator of the exhibit "Kiyochika: Master of the Night," discussing the links between these two artists’ perceptions of Tokyo. Following the talk, Adrift in Toyko (2007) is shown at 2:00pm with director Satoshi Miki and actress Eri Fuse in person. On April 26 at 2:00pm is A Touch of Sin (2013) with director Jia Zhang-ke and actress Zhao Tao in person.
National Gallery of Art
"Artists, Amateurs, Alternative Spaces: Experimental Cinema in Eastern Europe 1960-1990" is a series of independently made films produced outside the state-run studios. On April 5 at 2:00pm is Innocence Unprotected (Dusan Makavejev, 1968) followed by a panel discussion at 3:30pm held in conjunction with the symposium "The Filmmaker's Voice: The Essay Film and the Circulation of Ideas" organized by the University of Maryland. On April 5 at 4:30pm is Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (Jonas Mekas, 1972). On April 26 at 2:30pm is a selection of short film "Documentaries with a Human Face Part I and at 4:00pm is Part II 235,000,000 (Uldis Brauns, 1967).
"Independent of Reality" Films of Jan Nemec" is a retrospective of the films of Jan Nemec with films also shown at the AFI Silver Theater. On April 6 at 4:00pm is A Report on the Party and the Guests (1966) shown with Martyrs of Love (1967). On April 12 at 12:30pm is The Ferrari Dino Girl (2009) and on April 25 at 12:30pm is Toyen (2005).
"Hard Thawing: Experimental Film and Video from Finland" is a program of short films. On April 12 at 2:30pm is Part I and on April 12 at 4:00pm is Part II.
"Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema" is presented jointly with the AFI Silver Theater. On April 13 at 4:00pm is Night Train (Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1959 shown with The Last Day of Summer (Tadeusz Konwicki, 1958). On April 20 at 2:00pm is Mother Joan of the Angels (Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1961). On April 20 at 4:30pm is Salto (Tadeusz Konwicki, 1965). On April 26 at 12:30pm is Eroica (Andrzej Munk, 1957). More in May.
Special events at the Gallery in April include the silent film He Who Gets Slapped (Victor Seastrom, 1924) with music by the Alloy Orchestra on April 19 at 2:00pm and Helsinki Forever (Peter von Bagh, 2008) shown with the short film Station (1989) on April 27 at 4:00pm.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
On April 3 at 8:00pm is the documentary I Am Divine (Jeffrey Schwarz, 2013). On April 10 at 8:00pm is "Here and Now--A Survey of New Video from Spain.
National Museum of Women in the Arts
On April 24 at 5:00pm is the DC premiere of Meret Oppenheim—A Surrealist on Her Own Terms (Daniela Schmidt-Langels) about the artist. Merit Oppenheim's niece Lisa Wenger will talk about her aunt in a Q&A session with the director and audience.
Washington Jewish Community Center
On April 1 at 7:30pm is the documentary Tinghir-Jerusalem: Echoes from Mellah (Kamal Hachkar, 2012), about the filmmaker's village in Morocco and the town's 2,000 year old Jewish quarter (mellah). Kamal Hachkar will be present for discussion.
On April 13 at 11:00pm is "Work in Progress Screening and Talk," an excerpt of a documentary about Julius Rosenwald, a philanthropist who helped build schools in the south during the Jim Crow era. Filmmaker Aviva Kempner will be present to discuss the making of the documentary.
On April 13 at 3:00pm is The Trials of Muhammed Ali (Bill Siegel, 2013), a documentary about Muhammed Ali.
"German Expressionism" is a series of films shown in conjunction with the National Gallery of Art's exhibition Modern German Prints and Drawings from the Kainen Collection." On April 7 at 6:30pm is Max Beckmann-Departure (Michael Trabitzsch, 2013), a documentary about the painter Max Beckmann (1884-1950). On April 14 at 6:30pm is the documentary Gerhard Richter Painting (Corinna Belz, 2009-2011).
On April 3 at 7:00pm is a film and discussion program. Fritz Lang's M (1931) starring Peter Lorre, and following the screening is a discussion about German Expressionist filmmaking with Kerstin Gaddy from Catholic University and Alex Zavistovich from the Molotov Theatre Group.
On April 26 at 2:00pm is "Shorts-Courts-Kurz," two programs of short films chosen from the 2014 Clermont-Ferrand and Dresden short film festivals.
On April 28 at 6:30pm is Hannah's Journey (Julia von Heinz, 2014), about a German woman who goes to Israel to work with disabled people.
The National Theatre
Films starring Paul Newman will be shown at the National Theatre during April and May. On April 7 at 6:30pm is Somebody Up There Likes Me (Robert Wise, 1956), on April 14 at 6:30pm is Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Richard Brooks, 1958), on April 21 at 6:30pm is The Hustler (Robert Rossen, 1961), and on April 28 at 6:30pm is Cool Hand Luke (Stuart Rosenberg, 1967). More in May.
The National Building Museum
On April 6 at 1:00pm is the world premiere of From Sea to Shining Sea (Evan Mather), a cross-country journey through cities and towns. The filmmaker will be present for questions.
As part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, on April 11 at 7:00pm is In Between Mountains and Oceans (Masaaki Miyazawa), a documentary about Japanese methods of environmental sustainability and protection of forests. Followed by a live performance by the band who provided the film's music.
The "Czech Lions" film for April is Honeymoon (Jan Hrebejk, 2013) on April 9 at 8:00pm, winner of the best director award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The director will be present for Q&A. This month's French Cinematheque film is Two Autumns, Three Winters (Sebastien Betbeder, 2013) is on April 16 at 8:00pm. "Avalon Docs" features a documentary film with Liv and Ingmar (Dheeraj Akolkar, 2012), about actress Liv Ullman and director Ingmar Bergman, shown on April 2 at 8:00pm.
Italian Cultural Institute
On April 29 at 6:30pm is Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator at Piazza Vittorio (Isotta Toso, 2010) about the questioning of residents of an an apartment building after a murder.
Anacostia Community Museum
On April 13 at 2:00pm is A Band Called Death (2013), a documentary about a black punk-rock band in the 1970s. Discussion follows the film.
The Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital
On April 4 at 7:00pm is a documentary Gold Star Children (Matty Griffis Mirrer), about child survivors of war casualties. On April 11 at 7:00pm is Cowboys and Outlaws: The Real Billy the Kid (Pip Gilmour) with the director present for Q&A. On April 25 at 7:00pm is Bach and Friends (Michael Lawrence), a celebration of Bach's work in which musicians of all kinds play and talk about why Bach inspires them. The director will be present for Q&A.
On April 1 at 7:00pm is Children of the Stork (Tony Gatlif, 1999), a road movie about illegal immigrants.
On April 16 at 1:00pm is The Producers (Mel Brooks, 1967), part of "Midday Movie Musicals."
On April 16 at 7:30pm is "Charlie Chaplin 125th Birthday Celebration," a program of Chaplin films, hosted by film historian Bruce Lawton.
University of Maryland, Hoff Theater
"The Filmmaker's Voice: The Essay Film and the Circulation of Ideas" is a symposium held on April 4-5. See the website for speakers and topics. Open to the public.
Busboys and Poets
On April 21 at 6:30pm is Inequality for All at the 5th and K location. On April 7 at 6:00pm is If You Build It at the Hyattsville location. On April 30 at 7:00pm is Faire Kiffer les anges about the French hip hop movement, at the 14th and U location.
George Mason University
On April 30 at 4:30pm is A Fragile Trust (Samantha Grant), about plagiarist Jayson Blair. Skype Q&A with the director follows. Open to the public.
Landmark's E Street Cinema
The "Studio Ghibli Collection" continues in April. Whisper of the Heart (1995), Howl's Moving Castle, (2004), Ponyo (2008) will be shown in 35mm. Also showing is From Up on Poppy Hill. Films are on Saturday and Sunday at 10:30am and 1:00pm. See the website for details.