Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Read More About the Top Winners


Three films, “Insider’s Guide to Riga,” “Whale Wisdom” and “What Goes Unsaid” captured top awards in the 2019 US International Film & Video Festival. 

“Insider’s Guide to Riga,” from the Riga Tourism Development Bureau, was Best of Festival -- Corporate. It was created by DDB Latvia as part of a campaign to promote Riga, Latvia, as a city-break destination. The project included Facebook video content that would appeal to a younger crowd. The production uses eight fictional characters to show the different sides of the city such as creative, party and entertainment, and destination for kids. Site visitors can select their preferences of activities, foods, etc., and then are assigned a guide who takes them on a specialized tour.

Since the introduction in 2017, more than 10 million views have been recorded in target markets for client Live Riga. Janis Nords was production director; Jurgis Kmins, director of photography, and Vairis Strazdz was creative director. Production was by nonsense.tv with Augustinas Katilius as producer. 

Humpback Whales outsmart humans
 “Whale Wisdom,” Best of Festival – Documentary, was produced by Terra Mater Factual Studios GmbH, Vienna, Austria. It explores the environment and senses of humpback whales, the ocean giants. Marine biologist-filmmaker Rick Rosenthal uses science and his own observations and long-held beliefs to capture the hunting techniques of these ocean giants and even their songs.  
In the film, a humpback whale outwits humans at a salmon hatchery repeatedly to get their fish. The whales have also learned to interpret orcas’ feeding calls and use them to their advantage. The humpbacks wait for the orcas to herd herring into tight schools and then swoop in to swallow the feast.

The film uses ultrasonography mapping to illustrate the scientists’ recording of one whale learning the song from another. Researchers believe the songs contain important information, possibly about their migrations, which is shared when the song is transferred – a cultural exchange among whales.
The work is a co-production with Doclights/NDR Naturfilm in association with ARTE France/Unité Découverte et Connaissance produced by Wild Logic.

LGBT Healthcare topic for IQ One World Award
“What Goes Unsaid,” from the National LGBT Cancer Network, New York City, was selected for the IQ One World Award. The production addresses disparities in healthcare for lesbian, gay, bisexual 
and transgender persons.

This award is sponsored and selected by the International Quorum of Motion Picture Producers, where a group of international judges considered its message powerful and much needed for an issue that is worldwide. IQ is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn.

The film shows how lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people experience significant healthcare disparities that result directly and indirectly from discrimination, “including, sadly, discrimination and lack of cultural competence WITHIN the healthcare system,” according to the National LGBT Cancer Network. The film points out that 20 percent of trans and GNC (gender nonconformity) people have reported being turned away by a healthcare provider, simply for being trans or GNC.

The film is a result of experiences the Network had in developing an LGBT training curriculum offered to universities, large healthcare systems and social service organizations. Two federal agencies, the Institute of Medicine and the Joint Commission had recommended LGBT cultural competence training and, in 2013, the Network was awarded a five-year grant from the New York State Department of Health to develop the curriculum.

During that training, the Network learned that providers needed more exposure to the real life experiences of trans and GNC people. The result was “What Goes Unsaid,” a 14- minute film that exposes the well-intentioned but misguided attempts at connection with trans and GNC patients, coupled with frank monologues. It was produced by the National LGBT Cancer Network and Films for Nonprofits with Liz Margolies as producer. Cinematographer/director was Ken Ross; editor was Phyllis Famiglietti, and sound was by Liz Ellis Victorini.


A full listing of winners is available at www.filmfestawards.com along with links to the winning videos.     

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Ideas behind Best of Festival nominees

 
All film productions have a purpose – and specific audience (or they should). Here is a bit more about the 2019 Best of Festival nominee productions.   
Corporate nominees:
  • OOO, Moscow, Russia, for "Image clip of Group of Companies KIT Film & Television," a story of a boy’s journey on a tram hovering in the air from the city to uncharted country where whales can fly -- reflects the idea of the Group of Companies, which is to create a world where reality is limited only by imagination. The project was filmed in Lisbon and created by Anton Nenashev, television designer and advertising director.     
  • BeaversBrothers, Ekaterinburg, Russia, for "RUSAL. True stories. Love for the sky" done for UC RUSAL, Moscow; the story of Igor Demchenko, a metallurgist  who has always wanted to fly. The film promotes one of the world's major producers of aluminium as a place where people can work and live brightly, following their dream.   
  • "One in a Million," done by fictionless, New York, N.Y.,  for the University of Utah Health, explains the hospital’s genomic medicine program.  
  • Riga Tourism Development Bureau, Riga, Latvia, for "Insiders Guide to Riga" done by DDB Riga and nonsense.tv for Live Riga, Riga Tourism Council. The film is part of a series for Facebook to promote Riga as a city-break destination to a younger crowd.
Documentary:
  • Terra Mater Factual Studios GmbH, Vienna, Austria, for "Whale Wisdom," marine biologist and filmmaker Rick Rosenthal’s journey to explore whales;
  • CBC Television Co. Ltd., Nagoya, Japan, for "Shikake-Ideas that Trigger Behavioral Change” about an academic discipline that uses psychology to manipulate human behavior without people realizing that they were influenced;
  • GMA Network Inc. (GMA News TV), Quezon City, Philippines, for "Bawal ang Pasaway kay Mareng Winnie: Nadenggoy ng Dengvaxia? (Offenders, Beware!: Deceived by Dengvaxia?)"; interview with senator involved in scandal;
  • GMA Network Inc., Quezon City, for "The Atom Araullo Specials: Babies for Sale.Ph"; explores how social media is used for the sale of babies.













Friday, April 19, 2019

3 Newcomers Join 2019 Jury Panel

For 2019, US International Film & Video Festival welcomes three first-time members to its jury panel. Libor Spacek, a director and cinematographer from Prague, joins California producer Chris King and Canadian producer-consultant Marie Natanson. All come with a string of  awards of their own.
Spacek (pictured above) has some 80 awards for documentary, short film and photography shot throughout the world for an “Escape to Nature” film series. His latest “Escape” documentary series underway is “Escape to Pacific,” to be photographed in remote Melanesia islands.
He founded “Escape to Nature” with Petra Dolezalova, who like Spacek is an experienced diver and photographer. Their work is published on www.escapetonature.com.eu and in travel magazines as well as in TV broadcasting in the Czech Republic and abroad. The nature work not only shows the beauty of nature but also its “fragility,” which Libor and Petra consider their contribution to the preservation of the planet.

Underwater fine art
In addition to nature photography, Libor is founder, director and photographer of a photography company specializing in fine arts-fashion and underwater photography. His photo collection “Underwater Fine Art Nudes” has had wide appeal.

Does screenplays and film
Chris King is a three-time NorCal Emmy nominated producer in the The San Francisco/Northern
King
California Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences competition. His screenplays have received attention in The Nicholl Fellowship, the Chesterfield Film Project, Fade In Magazine and HBO’s Project Greenlight. His films have played at more than 225 film festivals in over 90 countries and have received over 100 awards and nominations.

Chris's short film "Birthday" qualified for the Academy Award (Live Action Short) in 2017 and played in more than 150 international film festivals. He just completed a short narrative film "Pipe Dream” on the early days of Carol Burnett. Chris and his co-producer/co-writer wife Heather reside in Roseville, Calif., with their two daughters.

Story editing part of  resume
Marie Natanson of Toronto is an independent producer and consultant whose most recent projects include mentoring and coaching Canadian directors for On Screen Manitoba in 2016 and the Italian delegation at Hot Docs, TIFF and the Rome Film Festival in 2015.
Natanson

Marie worked as a story editor on such films as “This is my Land…. Hebron,” which won Best Italian Documentary at the Festival dei Popoli and Festival International du Film des Droits de l’homme (Paris).  Working with 40 broadcasters, she assisted in the global launch to 200 countries of the award winning series “Why Democracy?”

Marie previously was executive producer of the Independent Documentary Unit of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation where she commissioned and co-produced films that won awards including four Geminis for Best Documentary Series (aka as the Canadian Screen awards), five Emmys, two Peabodys and numerous Best Feature at Hot Docs. Before joining the Documentary Unit, Marie was a Senior Editor on CBC’s flaghship daily current affairs program, “The Journal” where she directed documentaries in Canada, the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. 

These three join returning judges from United Kingdom, Italy, Turkey and Japan. See the full list here:  http://www.filmfestawards.com/judges.asp




Thursday, February 21, 2019

Winning Film to Show in Canadian Museum



"Stitchers: Tapestry of Spirit," a short documentary film that won a Gold Camera First Place award in the 2018 US International Film & Video Festival, will debut at the Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto. The film will be part of a June-October 2019 exhibit showcasing “Torah Stitch by Stitch,” a project to hand-stitch books of the Torah scroll. The film was produced by 90th Parallel Productions Ltd., Toronto.

Temma Gentles of Toronto, an internationally renowned Judaic fiber artist, envisioned a hand-stitched scroll of the entire Torah large enough for people to walk among the holy words. Her project has been worked on by more than 1,300 stitchers of all faiths in 27 countries.

Each crossed-stitched four verses of the holy book in Hebrew, and many have adorned the text with fascinating illuminations. Many had never stitched and did not know Hebrew. Stitchers were assigned a personal coach and encouraged to explore their assigned verses and respond with creative expressions and anecdotal information about their experience. 

So far, about 150,000 hours of volunteer dedication over five years have brought what is probably the largest scroll in the world near to completion

The scroll is about 90 percent complete and when done will be about seven feet high and 300 feet long.  It will occupy all 10 of the Textile Museum's upper-level galleries and display the entire books of Genesis and Exodus and the final third of Deuteronomy.  The Creation theme of those books will be put in context with the other Abrahamic faiths with the inclusion of selected passages from the Scriptures in Greek and from the Qur'an in Arabic.To support the labor and expense of the museum exhibition debut, the charitable website Jewcer.org is collecting donations (501 (c)3 tax-deductible in the U.S.) with a goal of $54,000. Presently the effort has collected $9,645. Donations at a number of levels come with a set of benefits for the donor.

“Tapestry of Spirit” will be presented from June 12 to Oct. 27, 2019, according to the museum website, www.textilemuseum.ca. Photos: Exodus 35 3-6 and Caravan are courtesy of Torah Stitch By Stitch.



Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Films promote tourism, boost economy

Films, delivered in a variety of venues, are obviously popular for viewers and competitions, but also for Economic Development offices. And, for good reason. Films attract tourists; they also offer the travel-dreamer fuel for planning.
Examples of what a film can do for tourism has been well documented, including in such far-apart places as Thailand and the state of North Carolina in the U.S.
According to writers in the February 2018 issue of the academic journal Social & Cultural Geography, the film “Lost in Thailand” in 2012 sold tickets valued at more than $200 million U.S. dollars. It also has become the highest-grossing homegrown film for the country. The film inspired tourism-related events in northern Thailand where it is set, including re-enactment of some of the film scenes on university campuses, in temples and around the city of Chiang Mai.
“Film-induced tourism is increasingly popular in the United States and globally,” according to the Southeastern Geographer Summer 2012 issue. A 1960s television show starring Andy Griffith and set in a North Carolina mountain town of  Mt. Airy spawned an entire industry built around the theme that Mt. Airy, Griffith’s home town, was the town of Mayberry in “The Andy Griffith Show.” Griffith said his hometown was not the model for Mayberry, but apparently no one cares. The popularity of the TV show – which continues in reruns today – has enticed visitors to that area, especially since “Mayberry Days” celebration began in 1990. Visit Mayberry even has its own website.
“Film tourism is an important part of a state’s income, as visitors flock to their favorite celebrity’s hometown or where a particular movie was filmed. They book hotel rooms, visit museums and other points of interest and spend money in local businesses,” wrote author Lisa Iannucci in a January 2017 article for TravelPulse.com.
A November 2018 article in the U.S. edition of The Guardian noted that Scotland was preparing for a major influx of tourists because of the Netflix film, “The Outlaw King,” about the life of Robert the Bruce. The country already experiences expanded tourism from the “Outlander” TV drama series.
Film is one way to give the world a different look at a country not always at the forefront of tourism.  In the 2018 competition, FilmFest had 16 tourism film winners. Among them was “Arz e Pakistan (Land of Pakistan)," directed by Ali Sohail Jaura. In his description of the project, Jaura explained its intent  “was to promote both local and international tourism in the Northern regions of Pakistan, to make people aware of the environmental treasures so that it can be preserved, and bring about the positive and cultural image of Pakistan that is often neglected by the mainstream media.”
The popularity of videos and the accessibility to them through YouTube and other internet resources have boosted all types of films into roles as drivers of tourism. Perhaps the best example is how the television show “Game of Thrones” has affected tourism in Dubrovnik where it was shot. “The medieval-like context of the series highlights Dubrovnik's most attractive tourist assets such as the rich and preserved historic town center,” wrote Marina Tkalec, Ivan Zilic and Vedran Recher from the Institute of Economics in Zagreb. Their report, The Effect of Film Industry on Tourism: Game of Thrones and Dubrovnik,  further states that “Croatian national statistics report that tourist arrivals to the Dubrovnik county increased by 37.9 percent in the period 2011–2015, accompanied by an increase in overnight stays by 28.5 percent.”
They concluded: “We find a robust and positive effect of filming the TV series in Dubrovnik on the number of tourist arrivals.” They also found “positive spillover effects on other counties and the whole country.”
Celebrity locations, locales found in literature, and beautiful photos inspired travel prior to the internet. Who hasn’t followed Ernest Hemingway’s footsteps through Paris based on his writings? Now new and greater visuals -- through mini-movies, basic tourist films and the more complex movie or television show -- urge people into strange lands.
US International Film & Video Festival is proud to be a part of helping films gain recognition.

By Sandra Brown Kelly, Media Manager