New York Women in Film & Television has named Lisa Denker the winner of the Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant for her documentary feature Still Judy. The first-ever Honorable Mention award was given to Alyscia Cunningham for her documentary feature I Am More Than My Hair. The film completion grant, now in its 14th year, is provided through the generosity of longtime disability rights advocate Loreen Arbus and awards $7,500 to a woman filmmaker for a film on physical or developmental disability issues; the Honorable Mention winner receives $1,500.
The winner of the 44th Portland International Film Festival’s Future/future competition is Identifying Features, directed by Fernanda Valadez. The film, an intriguing and confident first feature following a mother’s journey to find out what happened to her son along the Mexican border, was awarded the honor as well as a $1,000 prize.
Image Nation Abu Dhabi has launched a series of webinars in partnership with the Israel Film Fund to foster the exchange of cultural content and support filmmakers in the two countries. The webinar series, titled Film Exchange: Abu Dhabi - Israel, will focus on critical areas within production, talent development and filming in both Abu Dhabi and Israel as a way to encourage collaboration and co-productions between Image Nation and the IFF.
Cinenso has launched the Cinenso Channel, a secure platform, with multi-digital rights management, and payment infrastructure and storage at a nominal cost for global programmers of independent film content, from short films to niche genre films. It will enable curators – including scholars, rights holders and programmers – to create channels for film screenings, discussions, and archival content.
Nagra has been selected by U.S.-based Eventive, a leading platform in virtual cinema, to use Nagra’s forensic watermarking and multi-digital rights management tools to protect every film on its virtual screening platform.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has begun a long-term partnership with the Harlem Film House’s Hip Hop Film Festival by introducing The Vanguard Collection. Now available on Alamo on Demand, the series includes important and influential films about the Black experience and will also feature exclusive content and perspectives from voices of the Hip Hop culture.
Snake White: Love Endures is a mesmerizing new independent film based on a timeless Chinese love fable. The earliest known written version of the story appeared in the 1600s during the Ming Dynasty. Over the centuries it has been repeated many times in operas, movies and television series and is considered to be one of China's Four Great Folktales. This latest film, while faithful to the spirit of the original folktale, is almost in a category of its own as it combines traditional Cantonese opera with modern music and breathtaking visual effects.
The Göteborg Film Festival's 8th Nostradamus Report, Transforming Storytelling Together, was presented at the festival's annual Nostradamus seminar. The annual report looks into the future of the screen industries three to five years from now through research and interviews with industry experts. The 2021 report expects the industry to go through an extensive reality check moving from streaming to reality warfare, and from pandemic to green issues.
Claudia Raschke is an award-winning New York City based cinematographer best known for such films as Oscar-nominated and Emmy winning RBG (Magnolia/ Participant/ CNN), Oscar-nominated God is Bigger Than Elvis (HBO), Peabody Award-winning Black Magic (ESPN), Oscar short-listed Mad Hot Ballroom (Paramount), Particle Fever (Bond), Atomic Homefront (HBO), and The Freedom to Marry (Argot Pictures). Her latest film, which screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is My Name is Pauli Murray. Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat, and a full decade before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned separate-but-equal legislation, Pauli Murray was already knee-deep fighting for social justice. A pioneering attorney, activist and dedicated memoirist, Murray shaped landmark litigation—and consciousness— around race and gender equity. As an African American youth raised in the segregated South—who was also wrestling with broader notions of gender identity—Murray understood, intrinsically, what it was to exist beyond previously accepted categories and cultural norms. The film was made by the same team that made RBG including directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West, producer Talleah Bridges McMahon and editor Cinque Northern. My conversation with Raschke, via email, began with that team.
Erin Vassilopoulos’ directorial feature debut, Superior, is having its world premiere in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Superior was inspired by a short film of the same name that she wrote and directed in 2015 when she was working on her MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. While both films explore the relationship of identical twins and feature the same actresses, they tell very different stories. In the feature length version, when Marian is on the run, she goes to the only place she knows is safe: her childhood home. She is greeted by her estranged sister, Vivian, a stay-at-home housewife struggling to conceive and on the verge of a failing marriage. Though the two are identical twins, they live opposite lives. Marian’s mysterious return disrupts Vivian’s small-town routine, and the sisters must learn to reconnect and reconcile. When Marian's haunting past finally catches up to her, their separate worlds collide, catapulting both sisters into grave danger. I spoke with Vassilopoulos by email during the Festival. Our conversation began with what it was about twins that captured her imagination as a storyteller.