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The 49th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival opens tonight with the premiere of Mike Cahill’s (Another Earth) sci-fi mystery I Origins. With the festival’s location, it is no wonder that a large part of the programme is dominated by films made in Central and Eastern Europe, but Karlovy Vary has proven in the past that it is a place where discovery and surprise are almost guaranteed, and this year seems no exception.
We are particularly looking forward to the uniquely comprehensive Tribute to Elio Petri, showing 10 films by the seminal and vigorous Italian filmmaker, including The 10th Victim (1965), Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion (1969), his early Kafkaesque detective thriller The Assassin (1961), the murder mystery (and one of the first Italian films about the Mafia) We Still Kill the Old Way (1967) and the dazzlingly experimental A Quiet Place in the Country (1968), alongside two documentaries: Elio Petri: Notes on a Filmmaker, based on the reminiscences of friends and colleagues, including Paola Petri, Ennio Morricone, Franco Nero and Vanessa Redgrave; and Only One Name in the Headlines, a documentary portrait of screenwriter and author Ugo Pirro, one of Elio Petri’s consistent collaborators.
Another exciting festival highlight is the appearance of special guest William Friedkin, who will receive the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema and present a restored version of one of the central films of his career, Sorcerer.
Peter Strickland (Katalin Varga, The Berberian Sound Studio) and Nick Fenton will be on hand for the gala presentation of Biophilia Live, a documentary of Björk’s concert at London’s Alexandra Palace, which completed her 2011 Biophilia tour and multimedia project.
Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer screens as part of the Horizons strand alongside some of the best films from this year’s Berlin and Cannes selections, including David Michôd’s The Rover and Xavier Dolan’s Mommy.
Starting on Sunday 29 June, the brilliant Duke Mitchell Film Club prsent their first DukeFest Zero festival, four nights of fun, intriguing and odd cinematic gems, including special guests, an anniversary screening, a music night, a mystery trailer reel and a live translation by someone who doesn’t speak the film’s language.
The festival kicks off with the European premiere of My Name is Jonah, a documentary on self-described ‘real-life warrior, adventurer and musician’ and cult internet icon Jonah. Monday 1 July is ‘Mix-It-Up Night’, including a screening of Stockholm Nights with live audio translation by Duke host and Electric Sheep contributor Evrim Ersoy (who doesn’t speak Swedish), the Japanese edition of The Great VHS Experiment, and Night of the Trailers. The following night is a music night including Death Waltz’s Musical Horror Trip and Music Video Found Footage. The festival closes on Wednesday 3 July with a 30th anniversary screening of Ulli Lommel’s SF musical comedy Strangers in Paradise, about a hypnotist who cryogenically escapes from the Nazis only to be defrost by fascist Americans in the 80s.
Opening on 18 June 2014 with the world premiere of Gerard Johnson’s Hyena, the 2014 Edinburgh International Film Festival runs until 29 June, boasting a selection of 156 feature films from around the world. This year, there will be a special focus on German cinema and we are looking forward to the retrospective ‘Border Warfare: John McGrath’s Work in Television, Theatre and Film’, celebrating the work of the radical writer-director-producer, which includes three films he scripted: Ken Russell’s sprawling spy thriller Billion Dollar Brain, plus two films directed by Jack Gold, The Bofors Gun and The Reckoning.
But we are, of course, most excited about the long-awaited UK premiere of Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer, starring a terrific Tilda Swinton, on 22 June 2014. Taking place on the same day is a special event called EDIT, which sounds intriguing: a unique collaboration between musician Joe McAlinden, visual artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard and writer Martin McCardie, EDIT showcases a musical work performed live by McAlinden and set against a film by Forsyth and Pollard, scripted by McCardie. The performance will be followed by a Q&A with the four artists.
Snowpiercer screens as part of the Directors’ Showcase strand, which also includes Cathedrals of Culture, an expansive 3D project exploring the soul of buildings from six acclaimed filmmakers such as Wim Wenders and Robert Redford. In addition, the Directors’ Showcase will present Taiwanese master Tsai Ming-liang’s Stray Dogs, which premiered in Venice last year and is said to be his farewell to cinema.
Other highlights of this year’s EIFF programme include Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his final performances, and Abel Ferrara’s controversial Welcome to New York, inspired by the case of former IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn (Gérard Depardieu), which premiered in Cannes last month.
One of the promising contenders among the British films in competition for the Michael Powell Award is Guy Pitt’s compelling debut feature Greyhawk, along with opening film Hyena and We are Monster by Antony Petrou, which explores the real-life case of an Asian teenager murdered by a racist fellow inmate in a UK young offenders institution.
Previously called ‘Night Moves’, this year’s re-launched ‘Wicked & Weird’ strand includes the world premiere of Noel Clarke’s futuristic thriller The Anomaly, James Ward Byrkit’s low-key sci-fi chiller Coherence, Eli Roth’s take on cannibalism The Green Inferno, and Leigh Janiak’s intimate horror Honeymoon, starring Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway as newlyweds.
The very popular EIFF’s Audience Award is also back this year with nominations including Jim Mickle’s highly entertaining revenge thriller Cold in July, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel’s gripping photographer documentary Finding Vivian Maier, and Jeff Baena’s zombie romantic comedy Life after Beth. In addition to the numerous films on show, there will be a series of ‘Hero Hangouts’, which are essentially on-stage interviews with some of the personalities featured in the programme, such as Cold in July star Don Johnson.
For more information about the programme and how to book tickets visit the EIFF website.
Loosely based on Sheridan Le Fanu’s ‘Carmilla’, extravagant, sumptuous, macabre Alucarda hails from the golden age of Mexican horror. Raven-haired orphan Alucarda has been brought up in a convent to shield her from the evil influence of her diabolical father. But the devil in her blood cannot be suppressed and she draws the newly arrived Justine into her world. Thereon ensue copious amounts of nudity, wild-eyed hysteria, repressed desires, hints of lesbian love, religious exaltation, levitation, exorcism, self-flagellating nuns and unholy rituals, most of it set in a womb-like convent with nuns dressed in what looks like bloodied bandages. Part of the Panique movement co-founded by Alejandro Jodorowsky, director Juan López Moctezuma shared his interest in creating a magical and ritualistic kind of spectacle that would shake up audiences’ perceptions. He certainly succeeded with this astounding, surreal, eye-popping stunner.
+ The Moon Bird (Brothers McLeod, UK 2010, 15 minutes)
A dark animated fairy tale in black and white, about an orphan girl kidnapped by a witch who wants her tears for a magic potion.
Co-curated by Strange Attractor Press, this special weekend of EEFF screenings at the Andaz Hotel Liverpool Street’s Masonic Temple includes witches, ghosts and devilish mermaids, taking you from Wicca to haunted Mexican convents, and from British classics to a special evening with Dave McKean. Full schedule below.
Eye of the Devil
J. Lee Thompson | 1966 | UK | 92 mins
Vineyard owner (David Niven) returns to his castle, where he and wife (Deborah Kerr) are confronted by a witch, calling for a blood sacrifice.
14:00 Night of the Eagle
Sidney Hayers | 1962 | UK | 87 mins
A psychology professor discovers that his wife has been practicing witchcraft and presses her to stop. Then things begin to go horribly, supernaturally wrong.
16:00 Audrey Rose
Robert Wise | 1977 | USA | 113 mins – 16mm Screening
A young Anthony Hopkins is unnervingly obsessed with the idea that Ivy Templeton is the reincarnation of his daughter.
19:00 An Evening with Dave McKean
Illustrator and designer Dave McKean has created books and graphic novels of The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman) and The Homecomeing (Ray Bradbury), worked with Richard Dawkins and Stephen King, designed characters for Harry Potter, and exhibited across the world. Join us for an evening with a truly unique artist, where Dave will discuss his work, and offer an exclusive first look at footage from his upcoming feature Luna. His other work can be seen on www.keanoshow.com
2005 | USA/UK | 104 mins + Shorts + Dave McKean in conversation with SF Said
A collaboration with Neil Gaiman, Mirrormask is a dizzying journey into a complex fantasy world. 15-year-old circus worker Helena finds herself in a landscape filled with giants, monkeybirds and dangerous sphinxes. The mysterious Mirrormask is her only hope of escape.
The Week Before
1998 | UK | 23 mins
A card game between God and the Devil, inspired by jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.
2002 | UK | 28 mins
Bruised from a failed marriage, a man wanders around Venice finding old books, memories, and a momentary ghost.
Horror Channel, FrightFest and Movie Mogul have teamed up again, with new partner Wildseed Studios, to create SHORTCUTS TO HELL 2, a nationwide search for new filmmaking talent ready to make their first horror feature film.
The winning filmmaker will have their film produced by Movie Mogul and Wildseed Studios, entering production early 2015, with a minimum cash production fund of £20,000. The completed feature film will receive UK digital distribution, its world premiere at Film4 FrightFest 2015, and a broadcast premiere on Horror Channel.
Launching on 13 May 2014, the jury panel (to be announced shortly) will be looking for a highly driven individual with a burning desire to make their first feature film. All entries will need to submit a 3-minute short film version of their full-length horror movie idea and their submission must clearly demonstrate the core idea, premise, story and characters in narrative form. A shortlist of twenty-six finalists will then be invited to an interview where they will have the opportunity to pitch their feature film directly to the jury panel.
Three filmmakers will then go forward to this year’s FrightFest event at the Vue West End in London, and have their 3-minute films screened before the discerning FrightFest audience. Their work will be broadcast on Horror Channel throughout August and September, where the overall winner will be chosen by public vote. The twenty-six finalists will also receive significant exposure via Horror Channel and UK digital distribution channels.
All entries will have ten weeks to turnaround their cinematic visions of hell and upload to YouTube, submitting the link to email@example.com by 6pm on 22nd July. Downloadable T&C’s from shortcutstohell.com must be adhered to.
• Max duration 3 minutes
• Original material (made for the competition only). Existing film promos WILL NOT be considered.
• Max production budget capped at £666 (evidence required)
• Applicants with previous feature film credits as writer/producer and/or director will not be accepted
Opening on Friday 13 June, the 13th East End Film Festival will run for 13 days until Wednesday 25 June, presenting a selection of new films from around the world as well as industry and music-focused events. One of the most exciting highlights of the festival is the screening of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s fabulous life tale The Dance of Reality, and there is a possibility that the director will be in attendance.
We are also delighted to be taking part again in a special weekend of screenings at the Masonic Temple in Liverpool Street – details to be announced shortly.
The festival opens with the world premiere of Dermaphoria, the second feature by filmmaker and DJ Ross Clarke. There will be a special focus on new Mexican cinema, co-curated by Mexican filmmaker Sebastian Hoffman, which includes excellent miminalist post-apocalyptic zombie drama The Desert.
Among other highlights we are looking forward to Sergio Caballero’s surreal heist movie The Distance, Romanian animator Anca Damian’s first live action feature A Very Unsettled Summer and rockabilly barbershop documentary Stay Greasy.
And as it enters its 13th year, EEFF will also celebrate teen films in their various ventures, including Class Enemy from Slovenia, in which students blame a new teacher for the suicide of a classmate, and White Shadow, which tells the story of a young Albino on the run from witch doctors who want to use his organs for their potions. Also screenig is Metalhead, which follows a heavy metal fanatic who performs before the cows on her family farm while dreaming of escape.
Tickets go on sale on 13 May 2014. For more information about the programme and how to book tickets please visit the EEFF website.
The Terracotta Far East Film Festival returns with a killer line-up. Running from 23 May to 1 June 2014, it starts with a spotlight on the Philippines at the ICA, including Erik Matti’s Cannes-selected crime and corruption thriller On the Job, horrific teen drama How to Disappear Completely and Andrew Leavold’s documentary on tiny Filipino superstar, The Search for Weng Weng.
We are particularly excited about Kim Ki-duk’s highly anticipated Moebius, Snow White Murder Case, the latest film by Yoshihiro Nakamura, as well as the Terror Cotta Horror All-nighter, with Takashi Miike’s Lesson of Evil, psychological thriller Killers by Kimo Stanboel and Timo Tjahjanto (who co-wrote and co-directed the ‘Safe Haven’ segment in V/H/S 2 with The Raid’s Gareth Evans), nightmarish Malaysian horror In the Dark, and Erik Matti’s macabre vampire comedy Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles.
Encompassing a variety of genres and countries, the programme also includes thoughtful Mongolian teen tale Remote Control, spy thriller Commitment and historical saga The Face Reader from South Korea, charming tribute to 1960s Taiwanese cinema Forever Love, as well as the expected Hong Kong actioners and quirky Japanese dramas. In connection to Forever Love, there will be an exhibition of theatrical posters at the festival hub.
The next Terracotta Film Club on 21 May at the Prince Charles Cinema will serve as an appetizer for the festival’s spotlight on the Philippines with a screening of For Y’ur Height Only, which features the Filipino James Bond and shortest martial artist and superstar Weng Weng as Agent 00.
The London International Festival of Science-Fiction and Fantastical Film returns for the 14th time with a programme packed with discoveries from Hungary to the Dominican Republic, programmes of shorts and special events including the 25th anniversary of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and animé and aliens all-nighters.
Taking place at Stratford Picturehouse and BFI Southbank, it opens on 24 April with the premiere of American psychological thriller Lost Time and closes on 4 May with spectacular French-Canadian sci-fi romance Upside Down.
We’re particularly looking forward to Suicide or Lulu and Me in a World Made for Two, inspired by Adolfo Bioy Casares’s brilliant novella The Invention of Morel, The Phoenix Project, described as ‘Primer meets Frankenstein’ and noir action thriller The Scribbler. We’re also intrigued by supernatural love story Soulmate, speculative exploration of genomics The Perfect 46, Dominican Republic thriller Wake and offbeat Belgian oddity When I Will Be Dictator.
This year, the 12th Polish Film Festival brings not only its usual bounty of new works and rare classics, but also very excitingly includes the first major UK retrospective of the work of the brilliant Walerian Borowczyk, a firm favourite at Electric Sheep. We will celebrate this very special event by making Borowczyk the focus of our next theme, starting in May, exploring his work through articles and our usual columns, including a feature by Borowczyk expert Daniel Bird, who collaborated to the retrospective.
The programme will celebrate Borowczyk’s rich and varied body of work, including his artwork, early shorts, animation and live-action features, many of which have been rarely or never seen in the UK and have been fully restored. Best known for insane erotic masterpiece The Beast, Borowczyk had started as a poster designer and acclaimed animator, producing the wonderfully inventive Angels’ Games in 1964 before moving into live-action features with the splendidly surreal The Theatre or Mr and Mrs Kabal and Goto, Island of Love.
For the first time, BFI Southbank and the ICA will be jointly holding a retrospective in partnership with KINOTEKA, running throughout May with film screenings, an exhibition, events and talks, featuring newly restored prints. In addition, the ICA will also be hosting the first UK exhibition of Borowczyk’s artwork, including preliminary work for his animated films, as well as his wooden sound sculptures. The ICA Cinema will also screen two shorts programmes including Angels’ Games.
Career Retrospective ‘Cinema of Desire, The Films of Walerian Borowczyk’ developed in collaboration with Daniel Bird, runs throughout May at BFI Southbank and the exhibition Walerian Borowczyk: The Listening Eye’ takes place at the ICA from 20 May to 29 June.
Arrow Academy’s dual format (DVD + Blu-ray) box set release of Camera Obscura: The Walerian Borowczyk Collection (released 18 August 2014) brings together key films from 1959 through to 1984.
Other highlights of the KINOTEKA festival picked from the press release include:
Pawel Pawlikowski multi-award-winning new film Ida will screen at a special centrepiece gala screening at the Barbican (24 May) ahead of its UK release later this year through Artificial Eye. Pawlikowski’s latest film is a poetic, almost Bressonian exploration of the limits of faith following the story of Anna, a young novice in rural 1960s Poland, who discovers a dark family secret on the verge of taking her vows. Exquisitely composed and shot in luminescent black and white, Ida won Best Film at the London Film Festival.
‘Sex in the Polish Socialist Republic’ is a fascinating and insightful look at sex and intimacy behind the Iron Curtain with a programme of Polish animation shorts from the Communist period, thematically linked around sex. The topic is transformed artistically and often ironically with works by leading Polish animators Julian Józef Antoniusz, Andrzej Czeczot, Piotr Dumała and Alexander Sroczyński amongst others. The screening at the Barbican (12 May) is organised in partnership with the London International Animation Festival.
Riverside Studios will showcase an exhibition of posters designed by Henryk Tomaszewski (21 April – 3 May) to mark the centenary of the birth of one of the founding fathers of the classic Polish School of Posters. Tomaszewski was known for creating expressive posters, based on visual shortcuts and metaphors, opening up a move towards greater simplicity as the foundation of his graphic language. The exhibition in London is a satellite event being held concurrently with a major exhibition of his work in Poland curated by Agnieszka Szewczyk; ‘I’ve Been Here; I Hope The Same For You’ Zachęta – National Gallery of Art in Warsaw (14 March – 10 June).
And we are particularly looking forward to KINOTEKA’S Closing Night Concert, which takes place at the Union Chapel on 30 May, described as follows:
Produced by the Barbican, the concert will premiere two short films by the Quay Brothers with live soundtrack provided by the legendary Arditti Quartet. The Gala will be the UK premiere of the Quay Brothers’ latest short film Kwartet Smyczkovy, and the critically acclaimed In Absentia, taking existing musical compositions for their inspiration. In Absentia directly responds to Stockhausen’s electronic composition Two Couples (1992/1999). The hypnotic visual language of the film and fragmented mode of narrative intensifies the associative power of the music like an additional, visual voice in the polyvocal texture. Kwartet Smyczkovy – Paraphrase on Peter Handke’s ‘The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other’ – is based on Lutosławski’s only string quartet, composed in 1964 and marks the centenary of the composer’s birth. The Quay Brothers react to the melodic superimpositions and flickering micro-rhythms of the composition with stark and eerie twilit images. The Arditti Quartet will perform these pieces live, in dialogue with the projection and will also perform Alban Berg’s Lyrische Suite, between the films, understood as an aural ‘film’ for the ears.