EAST EUROPE EDITION WARSAW 2020 ISSUE: 07
NASSER AL DHAHERI THE AWARD WINNING FILMMAKER
IN CELEBRATION OF TOLERANCE SEE MORE INSIDE|PAGE 4
From AWARD WINNING PRODUCER
VIJAYKUMAR MIRCHANDANI A Collection of Award Winning Short Films
24 FILM FESTIVALS 9 AWARDS
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14th December 2020 19:30 GMT
Meeting ID: 483 910 6278 Passcode: FU510n
18th December 2020
Join us on Zoom for an open networking night. Meet and connect with people across the virtual platform.
Meeting ID: 483 910 6278 Passcode: FU510n
19th December 2020 18:30 GMT
Awards Night Available Online
www.fusionfilmfestivals.com Our Awards Night will be a streamed live via a private Facebook group - the evening will be hosted by Dan & Steve and will incorporate the presentation of all awards. Upon purchasing your ticket you will be sent a link to join the Facebook group.
Dear Filmmakers & Creatives, Welcome to our East Europe International Film Festival: Online Edition 2020. As a crazy year concludes we are delighted to bring to you our second Online Film Festival of the year. We would love to have been enjoying the winter chill of the Polish capital Warsaw with so many of you, but we have created an online environment once again where we can come together to connect, collaborate and celebrate. Our small team here at Fusion have
worked hard to keep positive and keep focused. The main source of that focus and energy is working as hard as we can for each and every one of you. You might not know it but you truly have been and continue to be our saviours. Without you we wouldn’t have the dreams and aspirations we have.
We have a vision and passion to support, encourage and to connect creative minds from all over the world and bring them together at festivals across Europe.
We are delighted to be hosting online networking events along with a wonderful selection of industry panels. Thank you to Jean-Francois Cavelier, Rebekah Louisa Smith and the team at FilmDoo.
The films and scripts we have had submitted to this Festival have been of the highest quality, so a huge congratulations for your official selection. We know how much hard work and dedication goes into each aspect of making a film, this is why we recognise such a wide range of categories with our film festival nominations.
Also don’t forget to drop by for the 2nd version of Dan’s Quiz Night!!
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EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
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Navigating the world of independent film festivals can often be a challenge in itself. The aim of Fusion International Film Festivals is to continue to support the industry offering a platform for like-minded creative’s to meet and collaborate. We will always be on hand to offer industry advice should you need it. We have been fortunate enough to connect with a number of industry professionals ranging from UK and international distributors, marketing consultants, production houses, VOD platforms and Film Commissions who are keen to support our network of filmmakers at festivals and from afar.
Thank you to our Festival Jury for supporting us and our wonderful filmmakers & script writers. Your feedback and insight allows us to recognise our winners in an honest and transparent way. Our Fusion Team is small but our hearts and passion for what we do is immeasurable - we would like to thank Stephen Mina who has taken on such a huge role in adapting our Fusion brand for an online event. We have been producing podcasts, Fusion + profiles, Green Room interviews and all our online visuals. Stephen is the cog that gets it all in place, we thank you greatly.
Colin and Laura Graham our festival ambassadors - we thank you eternally for sharing our passion and supporting us in our adventure. We hope that you enjoy your virtual time with us and hope soon that we can finally meet again in person and share some wonderful festival memories. *virtual fist-bump* Dan & Steve
TOLERANCE NASSER AL DHAHERI – DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, WRITER - AN EXTRAORDINARY AND PASSIONATE FILMMAKER.
With his latest short “Tolerance” in competition at our Warsaw film Festival here we were lucky enough to interview Nasser Al Dhaheri who gives us some background to this beautifully shot film. Al Dhaheri is an acclaimed Emirati filmmaker, writer and journalist. He was born in 1960 in al-Ain, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. He was educated in the UAE and in France. He has published several volumes of fiction and non-fiction, including short story collections and novels. As a journalist, he has been involved with a number of publications and has held various positions, including the Editor-in- Chief of the ‘Dur El Watan’ magazine, managing editor of “El Ittihad newspaper”, Chairman of the Emirates Writers Union, General Manager and Editor of the Arab Association of Press and Media Publications and editor of the “Disney - Warner Brothers - BBC” Arabic children’s publications. He is a member of the International Organization of Journalists, the Board of Trustees of Al Owais Cultural Award, the Board of Trustees of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Journalism Award. Many of his works have been translated into several foreign languages including English, French, Russian, Spanish, Hindi, Malyalam, Portugal, Italy and Germany. He has held several national and international photo exhibitions and received numerous awards & accolades from countries all over the world. FF: Please can you tell us why you decided to make “Tolerance” and where the idea came from? In the United Arab Emirates, it is announced annually before the end of the year that the next year will be a year of supreme human value or a supreme humanitarian symbol that gave goodness to humanity, and before the end of 2018 it was announced that 2019 is the year of tolerance, from here the idea came, so I proceeded to make my work personal creativity, my contribution to supporting this demonstration, and flying it outside the Emirates, because I am one of the people that most admires the idea of tolerance, which is the only one that can make the world live in safety, peace, love, freedom, equality and brotherly coexistence. Each letter of tolerance in Arabic means one of the values of tolerance, so love, brotherhood, coexistence, freedom, peace, equality and others appeared, so that was a short 15-minute film, but it was full of poetic language and a warm human sense, and the meanings of tolerance appeared in the UAE such as; A Christian builds a mosque for the Muslim employees of his company to EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
pray, 90,000 children from the UAE were born by Christian doctors and nurses through the Kennedy Hospital 1960-2000, the Abrahamic House that includes a mosque, a church and a synagogue, the first Hindu temple in the Emirates, Tolerance Street in Abu Dhabi, the Tolerance Bridge in Dubai, and other examples. FF: Right away the imagery for “Tolerance” is so striking, the shot of the bird, moving to an eye then to a (very clever) transition to the earth represented by groups of people shaping themselves into different countries and accents and so on, can you tell us how this was arrived at and how it was made? I travel a lot and wander, and during that I do not forget that I am a writer and filmmaker, so all my thoughts travel with me, and many times I work on two topics at the same time as an independent filmmaker, and a writer who does not recognize borders, I try to build my own films archive full of natural
and warm shots and conversations with ordinary people, and in a movie “Tolerance” I photographed more than twenty characters representing different languages and from different countries, and I asked them lovingly, just saying: Good morning in their languages, when the time came and found it expressing tolerance, coexistence, presence and giving the morning greeting, a guide to peace. As for the implementation of these shots, it was a joint work with my friend Dutch editor “Hans Dunnewijk”, we worked together on editing and sound design in a professional way that satisfies everyone. FF: Why did you decide to use hands as the theme to understanding tolerance? Hands are an essential center for sincere feeling, so if you greet a friend, you will find warmth in them, and if you embrace your sweetheart’s hands, she will find safety in them, and if you touch your child’s head,
tenderness will flow in them, so it is the language of the hands, you can threaten an enemy, and you can welcome a dear guest so, people have used them since eternity to send peace and greetings to the other strange party, but if he feels fear of him or a threat, he use them as a weapon to defend himself, so I found that the hands are a beautiful symbol of tolerance, so the movie poster was made of four interlocking hands representing different human races In color and culture. FF: “Tolerance” is so different to a previous film of yours that we were lucky enough to see – “A Tale of Water, Palm Trees and Family” and yet both have a beautiful way of highlighting care, respect and understanding, do you believe that these values are to some people not as important as they should be? In the film “A Tale of Water, Palm and Family” I wanted the world to see us as it should see us in our true reality, not the fallacy of a
stereotype, for the world knows us through camels and petroleum, and does not know much about the depth of our history and our civilization spanning thousands of years. All the things may die from thirst, so my old family dug the stone to search for water, and planted palm trees to find life. This is the story of my family that must be told to the world. On the higher human values that we can meet with different cultures, religions, languages and the colors of our skin, such as love, peace, coexistence, freedom, equality, harmony, respect and brotherhood, all these words can be found in the letters of the word tolerance in the Arabic language. FF:Again the colours are so vivid – it really has to be seen to be believed - and as we watched “Tolerance” it struck us that you must have had to use so much time creating the shots and editing and colour correcting them, how difficult was that and how much footage did you actually have to discard!?
I am dearer to the cinematographs, shoots and scenes that I tired of and for, but in the end, you have to choose consciously, I do not want to use that proverb that speaks about the sacrifice, patience and execution of the cat in life when it eats of one of its children so that the rest can live. I do not like cats in this side, but certainly on the way out to come out a final work of art after seeing it done, not as it was conceived on paper.The color in the film tolerance is part of the film, because the multiplicity of colors that differ in races and ethnicities are the basis of tolerance that the world wants so, in the movie, you find a red apple and a green one, you find the fingers of a child stained with colors, you find the shine of gold in temples, and the colors of hermits clothes, the color of sand and the sea, and despite their differences, but they live next to each other peacefully, the sea is this blue stretch, and extending to the horizon and the mainland has its share of land, or what is left of the sea.
FF: The religious imagery such as The Wailing Wall, then cutting to an image of a stainedglass window and a shot of someone holding a rosary in front of a depiction of Christ to a shot of Mecca and so many more was so interesting. I’m guessing that the theme of religious tolerance was very important in making this film and can you tell us a little more about that? At the beginning of a person’s life on this earth, conflicts and wars were motivated by the love of survival, but after they were brought up, religion was part of this civilization, became as a control and possession, humans tried to issue their religions to others with the aim of joining the different others or harnessing him to serve his goals or control capabilities, so religions turned from spreading love and peace to hatred and wars, so the world today needs to restore balance to human matters and concepts, the important thing in this life EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
is the human being, and religion came only to guide them to some values and morals, so it is necessary for religions to return to their holy temples if they want to worship the Lord, and let people plan their lives far away from the drums of war that religions want to beat or who wear the robe of religion in order to annihilate humanity and destroy the universe. FF: And the theme of love in “Tolerance” was also so strong – if you could tell us how you wove that into your film? Love is the equivalent of hatred, and a civilization has never settled on the concept of hatred. Love is the creation of civilizations, love of work, love of innovation, love of ambition, and love of distinction. Love is what makes the family, and love is what makes us see the rose and we do not see its thorns, love alone makes life colorful, songs are possible, so love often triumphs in order to create tolerance, and it is
a love that does not want in return, for I love my country, but I do not necessarily hate the country of the other, love is like a mother and her giving, she does not stop constantly giving, and does not get tired of love. FF: It’s so hard to try and explain to people the logistics of putting together any film but “Tolerance” is a great example of how much is involved, your film is less than 14-minutes but the work required must have been extraordinary, perhaps you can explain how you had to plan and execute everything involved in producing this film? During the ten-month period of film production, I had to travel a lot or contract with professional photographers in their countries in order to implement what I ask of them from the shots, they may not know their details or composition that are in my head or I put them on paper to make the film, and
sometimes I was traveling for a one shot, but I think it is important if I do not find a way to communicate with people in that country, such as traveling to Tatarstan, and the city of Kazan in particular to shoot a scene of the temple of different religions, and shooting a mosque and a neighboring church since ancient history, the most beautiful works are those that were the fun of fatigue. FF: There is very little dialogue or people talking to camera in “Tolerance”, why did you decide to make your film this way? I did not rely on professional actors, because the nature of the film is different. I used ordinary people to play silent roles, from different nationalities, genders and religions to show the nature of tolerance. The main players in the film are the writer, director and camera man, and I used to play these three roles sometime, then the film editor, and for this we lived together for two months in different cities to complete this work, I sought help from camera men in different countries to give me the flavor I needed for the film. We went to the desert to shoot the Ghaf tree “Prosopis”, which was a symbol of the meaning of tolerance. This tree always gives and does not expect anything from anyone. Even water depends on its roots to find it in the thirsty sands. FF: What do you think that the film industry will look like in 10-years? I think that the movie industry and attending films in its main halls will remain as long as a person needs to get out of his home or away from his work or need to be alone with his girlfriend over a late dinner in the open space, and as long as the person needs different knowledge, hearing different voices and learning about different peoples’ experiences, but the cinema has to absorb everything new that enters into the tools of this industry, and it must also deceive to reach the new and complicated modern man with small details in life, gasping for time, and giving his soul and mind nothing of the positive energy that cinema brings, it’s fun and the aesthetics of its industry.
FF: What is the thing that you most love about filmmaking? The most important thing I love about filmmaking is that deep knowledge of things, a sense of beauty in everything, and the amazement that delights you with the first discovery of everything that you do not know.There is something beautiful like prayer and tranquility in cinema, when you are alone with your soul in a cold and dark room contemplating a masterpiece, which can steal you from your world into its world for two hours, and then leave after it, as if you captured something of happiness and inner joy. FF: Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking was such a passion in your life? It is difficult to say to a poet why do you embroider a poem in the eyes of your sweetheart? It is difficult to tell the painter why the butterfly did tempt you with its harmonious colors, and you did mess with the brush and dyes, so is the filmmaker, and the movie lover. Except that it is love and happiness, and that purification he feels. When a movie is finished, and it is shown in that cold and dark room, cinema is for me a childish joy that I hope will never end. FF: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life creating film? Only he has to follow his passion, strive to build himself, support his dream of cinema with a high and sublime culture, and he has to present something different for people to pay attention to, and be happy with what he offers, then he will find success, nothing comes without fatigue, without patience, without perseverance, and without a true love for the profession. FF: It must be so fulfilling creating films – is it possible to explain the feeling you get when you see people’s reaction to your work for the 1st time? A beautiful feeling that is not without fear and apprehension, but confidence in what is presented, from cinematic language, from rich intellectual material, from pleasure and astonishment, and from a story with which you can take the viewer’s hand gently to enter the space of your imagined world, a feeling similar to the feeling of the joy of success. EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
FF: If there is one or more thing you think would make the film making better, what would it be? In the complex and group cinematic work there is nothing to the individuality or the one solution or the one person, it is an integrated system in which each person is important, not individually, but within the group. A group of good friends sometimes can make up for the lack of funds, but as a cinema industry, money is the number one foundation that can make great ideas fly. FF: Do you believe that platforms such as Netfilx and Amazon are helping or hindering filmmaking? Distribution is a problem facing independent filmmakers, but distinguished films can enter international festivals, as it is a nice opportunity to get acquainted with different cinemas from different countries, as well as through distribution market on their sidelines, and it is also possible with great movie shows on smart applications platforms. There is a limit to this aspect of introducing independent works that are distinguished by their cinematic language. Smart platforms can help movies reach viewers, but it does not mean more money for producers. FF: Can you tell us about your next project or projects? I have been working for more than a year and a half on a long experimental film. The film talks about the philosophy of time, called “ Goddess of Time”, and in it I follow the most important milestones in a person’s life since the beginning of creation, where time was a commonplace, but with his attendance, man began to think about time and make calculations for it. He relates it to natural accidents such as floods of rivers, volcanoes, rains and storms, then he began philosophizing time with its sophistication and preparation, for war is a time, for love is a time, for the agricultural season is a time, for social rituals is a time, time is besieging people everywhere, all of this is present in the film in a visual language and sometimes silent, after which I evoke the wall clocks of the major cities in the world, which I portrayed through my long travels as witnesses of time, as guardians of cities, and then the film ends with the cruelty of time on human faces, and how the time leads it while sticking to the stick towards their graves, as the last farewell to this running behind time, the slogan of the film: “Time was empty, then mankind consumed it”.
Tolerance UAE pioneers medal. Abu Dhabi Best director – Madrid international film festival. Spain. Award of Merit – Best Shortscompetition. LA – USA. Semi -finalist – Tokyo international short film festival. Japan. Honorable Mention in Documentary. Montreal independent film festival. Canada. Silver Award Documentary Short film & Silver award for directing. Latitude Film Awards. London - UK Best international short Documentary film. New York independent cinema awards.USA. Official selection & Nominee in ARFF Berlin international awards. Germany. SHORT FILM 14 MINUTES
17th December 2020 20:00 GMT
Meeting ID: 483 910 6278 Passcode: FU510n
Dan Hickford invites you along to push your knowledge on film trivia in “Dan’s Quiz Night”. Test yourself against other participants or teams in this fun Fusion event, pour yourself a drink and get comfortable!
Driven To Make Positive Films And “Be The Change” Disruptor | Social Entrepreneur | Artist For Change | Film Festival Jury | Altruistic Filmmaker
With two thought provoking short films in competition - Paese Che Vai - When In Rome and Love Can’t Be Locked Down - at our Warsaw Film Festival, Vijaykumar Mirchandani is a truly gifted filmmaker but, his strive to make films that have a socially positive message makes him stand out from the crowd. Here, we have a fascinating insight into his life story that includes some remarkable commentary from filmmakers that have been directly involved with VJ in bringing his films to the screen. Lights, Camera, Action! Three words that changed his life from in front to behind the camera as an award winning filmmaker who is always in search of inspirational stories that need a voice. An incredible journey growing under the backdrop of Bollywood to working in Dubai, Italy, Qatar, Malaysia, Australia, China and now USA, branded this engineer as a disruptor in the mid-90’s learning the soup to nuts of TV broadcasting. Having moved 8 countries in the last 20 years, the world is not enough and looks like it’s a never-ending journey for this passionate storyteller from Bollywood. VJ as he is popularly known is a hybrid filmmaker with the ability to own a room, who masters in storytelling and content creation. With a filmmaking course from Sydney, he has a successful track record in developing relevant and compelling stories that forge strong emotional connections between brand and consumer and attracts audiences. His Italian LGBTQ short film “Paese Che Vai-When in Rome” has received 24 international film festival selections including 5 Academy Award®, BAFTA, Canadian Screenplay Qualifying Film Festivals and Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase 2020. It has won 9 awards - Best LGBTQ Short, Best Comedy, Best Audience Choice, Best Story, Best Writing, Best Twist & Best First Time Filmmaker and is still counting. Being a visionary creative entrepreneur, this pandemic wave was not going to keep his creativity locked down. He took the leap of faith in producing a short film on bigotry on Asian Americans “Love Can’t Be Locked Down”. The film has bagged 8 international film festival selections including the Human Rights Film Festival in Naples, Italy. Sticking to his motto “be the change”, he proved to be a disruptor achieving a remarkable feat of 32 film festival screenings and 9 awards in 2020. Amidst, the pandemic, there was a big outcry of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US that kindled another spark for this dare-devil and inspired him to address EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
that issue through his creative vision. He produced a short film “Divide” which is in the final stages of completion and will hit the festival circuit in January 2021. Spiritual at heart, VJ believes in giving back to the community in whatever best way he can. He is passionate about giving a voice and supporting humanitarian issues that matter. His future projects include a feature documentary “Paula Lucas: Keeping her Promise”, written and directed by him that is in post-production. The documentary features victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and marital rape. It showcases how one woman Paula Lucas, is fighting against odds to help serve the community and keep her promise. The documentary unveils the bitter reality that Americans are unaware of and are living in denial. Another documentary on the stigma of mental illness in India featuring Dr. Bharat Vatwani, winner of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award is currently under development and he is seeking funds for both projects. Following his mission of making a difference, his first Australian feature documentary “Where the Streets Have No Name” (2010) received 14 Awards and 33 International Film Festival selections. The film addresses on the universal issue of homelessness in Australia. This inspirational documentary made a huge impact with the audiences and was broadcast in Australia, Germany, Hungary, Austria, UK, Switzerland, US and is currently on Amazon Prime. He has coproduced a music CD on classical Indian music being played on the first of its kind “Fluid Piano” by renowned pianist Utsav Lal. VJ has many avatars, in the creative space as a consultant on short films, corporate sizzles, documentaries, CSR’s, digital/social media projects, music videos, film festival strategy and distribution. He is a fashion model and is regularly seen on the runway at New York Fashion Week. He is also the brand ambassador for an Urban Street Wear fashion label G-Hustle Wear®. He has received several international awards in promotions & marketing and also serves as the jury with PROMAXBDA, Cine Awards, New York Festivals TV & Film and Diversity in Cannes. Throughout his career his passion and dedication to his craft in telling inspirational stories has earned him close to 100 film festival selections and 31 awards. In addition to another 14 awards in on-air promotions and marketing. He knows the path to success is not easy and believes in supporting his
brethren from the film community. He consults seasoned or aspiring filmmakers on the success mantras of film festival strategy, marketing and promotions. His other short films have been on diverse subjects like “Habaneros” on women’s march and “The Process” based on a true story. These films also found great connection with the audiences and were screened at several international film
festivals winning numerous awards. He directed a fashion music video “Kush Komodo” which was nominated for Best Music Video and Best Director at the TOP Indie awards. FF: So let’s go right back to the beginning, how did you end up where you are today? VJ: I would say that I grew up in a normal Indian family, where you had to have a
secure job and a salary so you can have a comfortable life and I was a part of that upbringing. So just be a doctor or an engineer or a lawyer and of course engineering was the most comfortable of all those professions. So I studied for Bachelors in Engineering and whilst in college I was always involved in creative activities, inter-college competitions in ad-making, fashion shows, personality contests, elections and so on. I was
surrounded by friends either from a film background, media or creative professions and were living their life whilst I was the odd one out. I had creativity but it was a case of how do I use it. So after a year of working in the engineering field I just realised this is not for me and at the same time I was finding myself burnt out and I wanted to do something more and I must have something more to offer to people and here I am, I’m wearing a tie carrying
12 a suitcase going to work every day and that wasn’t for me I mean I feel god damn it there has to be something bigger than this and the funny thing is my name actually translates as Victory! So I took a big chance and left the engineering career behind and from there I went into modelling and working on advert productions and I literally found myself and I realised that’s what I wanted to do and I wanted to turn my hobby into my passion and into my career. At the same time India opened up to satellite and cable TV, the world opened up and the internet boomed so this was both an evolution and a revolution and I was already in the early stages as a disruptor and the funny thing was with the timing, if this hasn’t happened then I would have carried on being part of the bandwagon. Of course there were many risks and much disturbance but I was not afraid to take those chances. I would jump into every opportunity and all of a sudden I was travelling to different countries and experiencing different languages all over
EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
the world. I just went for it because I believed in myself, so I’ve gone through all the different genres of TV broadcasting, live sports, promotions, news... everything you can think of. Then when I did my job with Al Jazeera in the documentary channel then I realised I have the ability to be a storyteller, it really was the turning point as I did a short documentary on autistic children which was screened on Al Jazeera and then I realised that I wanted to make films on social issues for people that did not have a voice. And it’s been over 10 years now and I’ve achieved that, and I feel very content that my life has meaning and it’s given me immense pleasure. So I never made films to win awards but what I found is people resonate with my film and the subjects so much and I’ve been very lucky as all of my films have won many awards globally and I’m immensely proud. FF: What’s fascinating is that although you are the disruptor, the entrepreneur, the risk taker you have effectively
given a massive opportunity to other filmmakers, because let’s be honest at the end of the day it’s your risk and your finance. So I guess another word I’m looking for to describe you is altruistic but can you tell us a little about why you are willing to do this, to take this chance? VJ: This is a very good point, and what happened in 2010 when I made my first documentary on homelessness in Australia I had won an award at COMMFEST called “Making a Difference Award” and “Redemptive Storyteller Award” at Redemptive Film Festival. These awards were a testimony that I was on the right path to celebrate making a difference with people and in society and at that time I’d vowed to myself that I would create a platform for filmmakers to tell a story that is going to make a difference. Well, I knew ultimately I would be putting my money on them but for me it was incredibly important to give other filmmakers a chance to make socially positive films.
FF: But something must have happened, something must have affected you along the way and it may have been a chance meeting or an incident or something that you witnessed? VJ: Another great question and now we’re getting to a crucial point. When I was making this documentary film on my protagonist Dr. Harald Falge, if that’s the right word, was an immigrant from Germany who wanted to migrate to Australia and he did that at the age of 8 and he became a chiropractor and he served the people of that country and, when he told me his story I was so impressed that there are these people, these wonderful people, who do such amazing things with their lives. I mean there are so many issues in this world and yet there are people like him who would go out on the streets for 20 years everyday to feed these homeless kids and of course he doesn’t know these kids so that they would not prostitute for food. It was quite remarkable and I wanted to be a voice to show there are people like this in the world who are GOD sent. I wanted to contribute to society and mankind, ok so maybe I can’t feed them and maybe I don’t have the money to do all of that but what I do have is the drive and
creativity to represent these stories and be their voice.
and this is exactly the kind of message I want to get out there!
And in fact I think that has been the guiding force behind all of my films, all of the social impact and this is the turning point that hit my heart and what I am doing is incredibly important and generally outside of people’s comfort zones.
Luca Padrini - Director, Writer & CoProducer – “Paese Che Vai - When In Rome” FF: Hi Luca, I understand that it was a pure coincidence that you and VJ came together to make “Paese Che Vai - When In Rome”, please can you give us some insight into how it was working with him on this project? LP: Making a short film with a small production, with restricted resources it’s always challenging and hard too. So, when you get to the end of the production after editing and grading, your strength for the “after” is very thin so meeting a person like VJ, is absolutely relieving because you can have him enter the scene full of energy ready to push the limits taking the film to the next level in the film festival arena, while you finally try to understand what you really you have done!
FF: So if I came to you and said look I have this script, I have this story to tell & I think it’s going to be the best comedy in the last 10 years can I assume that unless there is a social message in there that it just won’t be of interest to you? VJ: So unless the film has a message that will make a contribution to society, watching a film that is just a flat story for 2 hours with no (positive) social message and that there will be no call to action and it won’t have an impact I’m looking for. It’s quite simple, I would say; does the story have a message and it must contribute to society in one way or another and if so then we’re talking! It could be a book, it could be real life incident, it could be an organisation or person but It needs me to get out my chair and to go f*** I want to make this
Having met him through my Executive Producer Giuseppe Mottola, and learning about the successful track record he had with his other films, I was confident that we were in safe hands and I just told him one simple thing “Vincenzo work your magic”. The rest is history.
14 FF: The story and themes of this film – as a short LGBTQ (comedy) – would seem to fit perfectly with VJ’s vision of always wanting to be involved with socially positive films but can you give us an idea of his enthusiasm for this project? LP: There was plenty of enthusiasm and I had from the beginning the right attitude in dealing with this theme. It’s easy to fall in the “stereotype” on this kind of a project. It was something that I always wanted to avoid from the beginning of the writing, so, it was indispensable to me that anybody working on this project would have the same feeling. That’s what I got from VJ and his optimism and conviction on the project spoke a lot about his success on such socially positive films. We knew we had a good film but just needed wings for it to fly and we had found our pilot! Naman Gupta – Director – “Love Can’t Be Locked Down” FF: Hi Naman, what I really liked about this film and made it stand out is how you framed “Love Can’t Be Locked Down” by looking back from ten years in the future to the Covid situation now, what was it like having VJ involved in your film and how he helped you bring your vision come to life? NG: Thank you. From the get go I wanted to make sure that this is not another sad pandemic story. I wanted to give some hope that things will get better, they always do. Me,
EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
VJ & the writer, all three of us worked through a bunch of ideas and settled on a radio jockey VO idea suggested by VJ which became Chi’s podcast show. It’s always a pleasure working with VJ. Once he comes on board, I usually go back to focusing on my creative stuff, trusting and relying on VJ to make everything else happen. From pre production to production to post, he is always ready and willing to get his hands dirty and is extremely hard working. There is never any ego involved and as I found out during the Love Can’t Be Locked Down aftermath, he is also great in dealing with difficult situations and people. He is the best producer a director could ask for. FF: I know that you had worked with VJ on a previous film – “The Process” but this is a completely different theme with this film, can you give us an idea of how between you, you worked out how to actually shoot this film during the Covid crisis? NG: Trying to shoot a pandemic film during pandemic in one of the biggest cities in the world sure was challenging. From an actor cancelling last minute to finding a crew to finding location to camera failure to filming in Times Square. The fact that we were able to shoot this film at all (and that too a day before complete lockdown of NYC) is astounding. And without VJ we would not have been able to pull it off at all. From casting to location scouting to props to crafts to dealing with NYPD to parking, he took care of everything. And all that with a smile on his face.
Jorge Alvarez – Executive Producer – “Divide” (In Post Production) FF: Hi Jorge, the Black Lives Matter movement has become so powerful and with this as the central theme of your film “Divide” it would be great if you could explain how this project began? JA: Like Everyone else in the world, I spent a lot of time at home watching the news during the lockdown in 2020. Keeping track on the COVID-19 situation. Then the Ahmaud Arbery murder happened, followed by Breonna Taylor a few weeks later. Then the George Floyd situation. I began to see how angry this country was becoming over racial inequalities in America. Myself included being a person of color, having a few unpleasant incidents with police when I was just walking home. The co-writer and director of “Divide” Anthony Paulino reached out to me and said he has an idea for a short film. After hearing his idea, I fell in love with the story and the message the film had. So, we hit the ground running to get his project made. FF: VJ is totally focused on socially positive films so I can fully understand how he would have been invested in your film but can you give an idea of how he collaborated with you on this project and what it was like to work with him in bringing “Divide” to the screen? JA: Knowing how important this film is, I wanted to bring in a producer who had a little more experience than myself to really give it that extra push. Then I remember meeting VJ at the premier of my short film “Red Rose”. After seeing his previous work and getting to know him, I knew he was the perfect man for the job. Since we had to shoot during the COVID-19 limitations and I knew VJ had done a pandemic film under those situations, his experience to navigate on the finer points was going to be a great advantage. Being a successful filmmaker himself, VJ has a complete holistic view on how the film will transpire right from inception to completion, which is so valuable for any team and project. VJ also has a hunger to showcase and tell stories of people who have been persecuted just for their race, religion or sexual preferences. When he come onboard the project everything just clicked, and we made a film that really embodies the Black Lives Matter movement without seeding the seeds of more hate. He was very meticulous on set, sometimes driving some people on the crew a little bit crazy, but he knew we had a responsibility to make this film right and reflect on something that is happening in America for over two hundred years and counting. We made something that we are extremely proud of, and VJ got us to that level. PAESE CHE VAI / WHEN IN ROME SHORT FILM 11 MINUTES LOVE CAN’T BE LOCKED DOWN SHORT FILM 8 MINUTES
By Dan Hickford
Here at Fusion International Film Festivals it has always been our goal to become established as a group of festivals that really focus on giving back and adding as much value as possible to those filmmakers & creatives that join us and engage with us across all our platforms. Back in October, it was our absolute pleasure to bring Two-Time Oscar Winner Paul Haggis to our audience for an online Q & A Masterclass. The panel was conducted across multiple time zones and it was fantastic to see so many creatives join us in what felt like the new normal for 2020, an event on Zoom. It was 7pm UK time and having engaged with Paul multiple times via email ahead of the panel we were still excited and perhaps nervous to see his request to join the Zoom meeting. We saw the names of multiple attendees enter the waiting room but we just wanted to see one name before we could get the show underway. After a few moments and lots of scrolling up and down it was there, ‘Paul Haggis requested to join your meeting’! And Go! Having had to reschedule by a week due to a filming conflict, Paul joined us from a New York apartment, iconic black fire escape steps in the window behind taking up a portion of the frame. An unintentional nod to many of the scenes in Paul’s 1994 series Due South. The sole purpose of this panel was to give back and allow all those that joined us the opportunity to learn and even have their own questions answered.
For the next 75 minutes Paul showed such class and charisma as he took the time to personally engage and respond to all the questions put to him. We opted to moderate the panel and with lots of questions coming in it was wonderful to see such passionate engagement. We asked participants to unmute their microphones to communicate with Paul directly, a nice personal moment between creatives and an industry icon. Questions ranged from narrative arcs, to what was Paul’s 60 second pitch for ‘Crash’. There was an eagerness from all involved Paul included to make the most of this intimate gathering and just talk about creativity and the love of film. With 2020 giving us one of the wildest scripts we could imagine being able to focus on the industry we love amongst familiar faces and new ones was something special. The down to earth and humble approach of Paul was so refreshing. At Fusion we know we are not at the top tiers of festivals with regards to being a powerhouse yet we are spending time at the gym and flexing where we can. This was definitely one of those powered workouts for us. For all the 2020 madness this goes down as one of our most proudest and magical achievements to date. Steven Spielberg….. when are you free?
For anyone that is keen to watch the Zoom edited recording please email: email@example.com To continue our support of Paul’s Artists For Peace & Justice Charity we would ask for a small £5.00 donation to access.
VLADIVOSTOK TERMINUS DIRECTED, EDITED AND PRODUCED BY LAURENT CANCHES
This trip to Russia and to the Russian people in 2018 is the trip of a French director, feeling European always, but imbued with Russian culture since his birth. For its realisation, I worked during the shooting with three young women, a French cinematographer, and a Russian and Belarusian for the translation and the sound recording. They are part of the story of the film and of this journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Vladivostok. Two of them live in Kazan, another is from Minsk. We met 110 Russians along this journey on this mythical train and in the train itself. I spoke to every Russian randomly encountered in places crossed by the TransSiberian. Culturally, I remembered the writings on Europe, Russia and the Eastern world of Russian writers of yesterday and today. The film does not talk about the “problems” of Russians today (but who really knows them?) although they do mention them many times throughout the movie. A large majority of the Russians we meet “dream” of Western Europe, France, Italy, Spain, Norway or England and Germany. I also remember Nastya, this 9-year-old Siberian girl, who feels “European” even if her desire to travel goes to Australia like 6% of the Russians interviewed. And SHE seems to me to represent the future of Russia, as in a mirror effect to all the great writers of the past, enamoured of Western European culture. This is the main statement that I did not expect to make, when taking the road to Vladivostok.
And as a reference, during the editing of the film which was long --- 40 days and 40 nights of shooting --- 9,282 km by train! - This book by two Russian writers, who converse about this “great Russian question” which is the relationship of the Russians to Western Europe. An advertiser and a sociologist. Leonid Iosifovich Bleher, Georgy Yuryevich Lyubarsky: The main Russian dispute: From Westerners and Slavophiles to globalism and the New Middle Ages. The book was published in Moscow in 2005. Reference: Леонид Иосифович Блехер, Георгий Юрьевич Любарский: Главный русский спор: От западников и славянофилов до глобализма и Нового Средневековья.. In the movie I am the modest French witness / traveller, gone, simply, to listen to the Russians, without any a prior or preconceived values or judgment. By mixing the three languages of Russian, French and English. The film has been selected in many festivals in 2020: Warsaw in Poland, in Spain (Barcelona Primavera, Valencia at South Europe IFF with the award for best feature-length documentary film), Italy (Milan, Ostia), England (London) , in Switzerland (Geneva), in Iceland (Reykjavik); in Bhutan, and recently in San Francisco… And in 7 festivals in Russia - Five festivals in Moscow, Sochi and soon in Crimea Vladivostok Terminus is off the beaten track, because it was first created to bring people and cultures together, again in 2020.” With the participation of ANDREY GELASSIMOV, AïRAT KHAMDULLIN, IAROSLAV STARTSEV, ANTONINA AGAPHONOVNA, VIATCHESLAV KOLESNIKOV, PAVEL GOLOVKINE, KARINA MOULEVA, IGOR OVETCHKIN, VASSILY PAVLOV, SVETLANA MIKHEEVA, RUFFINA MARTINOVA and many others.
Duration: The film lasts 92 minutes but it is possible to divide it into two parts, especially after the sequence of the director’s experiment in the emergency room in Tyumen (Siberia), which is halfway through the film.
Production: ITINERO FILMS Camera: Plume FABRE Sound/translation: Tatiana SAFINA Sound: Dinara GATAOULLINA French/russian translator: Larissa IVASHKEVICH DOCUMENTARY FILM RUN TIME 92 MINUTES FACEBOOK.COM/TERMINUSVLADIVOSTOK
THE XYNTHIA PROJECT 3:33am, PORT DES YACHTS STREET AN UPCOMING NEW FILM BY LAURENT CANCHES
Between the 27th and the 28th February 2010, I lived in the Xynthia tempest in a small village la Faute-sur-mer, of South Vendée, in France where there are just 900 inhabitants. During this night, Christine, my wife, called me at 3:20 telling me desperately “Laurent I’m going to die drowning”. I didn’t realise what really happened in my house and in this village. I just told her: “Call the fire department, they will come”. She called twice. They never arrived. I lost my house, all the souvenirs of both of my parents and just around my place, 29 people died in the so called “basin” of Faute sur mer. The film is dedicated to these 29 victims, --the youngest was 3 years old, the oldest one 88. A very few testimonies of neighbours and both phone calls to the fire department will appear in their entirety. Two amongst 100 in this village that night of Xynthia…
FRENCH TITLE: 3H33 RUE DU PORT DES YACHTS DURATION: 32 MINUTES PRODUCTION: ITINERO FILMS (LAURENT CANCHES) & LEETCHI CROWDFUNDING EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
FRENCH ASSOCIATION FROM VENDÉE: ARTISTS FOR XYNTHIA CURRENT STATUS: COMPLETION DUE FOR LATE DECEMBER
THE SPIRITUALIZATION OF JEFF BOYD A SCRIPT BY UWE SCHWARZWALDER
Here we were lucky enough to interview Uwe about his latest script which gave us some fascinating insight into his writing process * Notorious Jeff Boyd goes on a spiritual quest after escaping a mental institution to start over and find meaning. He travels to Australia where his friend Morton helps him to get a hold of his life, but after being robbed and tricked by suspicious characters in the Outback, he’s had it and tries to find his luck with a monk in the Balkan mountains who gives workshops to become enlightened. Jeff’s is followed by Prisha, a guru’s daughter from India he had a short encounter with at the bakery, who joins the workshop at Jeff’s surprise. The two fall in love and discover that they need each other and leave the workshop to go to India where Prisha’s father is expecting them, but Jeff and Prisha find themselves fighting against intrigues and mistrust in the community where they want to start a new life - and Jeff’s past demons. The ambitious screenplay is setup in beautiful locations in the Australian Outback, Balkan Mountains, and Indian temples while adding ethnic music from the respected countries. The Spiritualization of Jeff Boyd is about taking risks, setbacks, and starting over to find new ways to conquer a life with meaning - and love. Uwe Schwarzwalder aims to play out the story as a dark comedy, with weird situations, awkward moments, and many twists. Jeff Boyd is always on the run, driven by overwhelming events, but always moving forward to find the light. FF: Can you tell us how the The Spiritualization of Jeff Boyd extends the main character from the actual film (The Radicalization Of Jeff Boyd) that you produced? US: It’s interesting because although the story is kind of a dark comedy he’s also on the run from his past life, he wants to become a better person. But as it is in life, you want to become better but your past catches up with you. I like this idea and touching on the actual film of “The Radicalization Of Jeff Boyd” he’s actually really becoming radicalized by the circumstances that he’s in so it’s a good example of how we shouldn’t take words too literally in life! FF: Could you create a TV or web series based on Jeff Boyd’s adventures or life? US: I like that; I mean that would be possible and I always like to see where he goes (as a character) and the thing is I like really good EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
dialogue, especially when it’s ping ponging back and forth as a dynamic but also because I study a lot in acting and this influences me a lot, because I write for the actor. Somebody actually asked me if I’m a stage actor which I’m not but that’s probably how I write. FF: We often hear how important the script is, would you agree? US: Yes absolutely! I remember saying that a lot, it’s the story that carries you through and you have to believe in your story and you have to be critical about it to yourself, does it work? You can have the best equipment but you still have to write a good script to the best of your abilities. FEATURE SCRIPT WWW.THERADICALIZATION.COM WATCH FULL INTERVIEW: HTTPS://YOUTU.BE/J4T1CZBGMDW
16th December 2020 17:30 GMT
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THE LOSS ADJUSTER DIRECTED BY VINCENT WOODS PRODUCED BY JAYNEY MACKIE & ROSS CONNOCK
The hapless lead character Martin, played by the ever talented Luke Goss, finds out what really matters in life in this new take on a Christmas story. EVERY ONE HAS A MARTIN DAY Trying to come up with a unique Christmas theme is often more challenging than we think. Jayney Mackie, the writer/producer of this dramedy starring Joan Collins, Luke Goss, Martin Kemp and Guy Siner among a star studied cast, has come up with something oddly British, a quirky indie film that breaks some of the traditional seasonal story lines of the last few decades. “I wrote the script based on a series of unusual events in my life and on real characters that I met, even the rat! I try to see the lighter side of things - I’m very much a glass half full person. So I just wanted to have a story that explored humanity in a slightly dark but comedic way and the Christmas backdrop seemed to fit perfectly with the underlying theme of materialism and how we have come to view it especially at this time of year.” explains Jayney Mackie mother of four and CEO of the recently formed Pink Flamingo Films, based in London and backed by a private equity fund. Pink Flamingo also recently opened Pink Flamingo Records, Publishing and Management. Jayney was also the Lyricist to the theme song ‘A Christmas Wish – Theme To The Loss Adjuster’ which she found and brought to UK Queen of ‘Soul’ Beverly Knight to sing and has been behind the distribution of it worldwide and the creation of the pop promo which is a mini film in its self, reflecting the difficulties that the arts has had in 2020.
EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
The scenes with Joan Collins (Mrs RogerSykes) and Luke Goss (Martin) certainly gives us a view of how good Goss is in a role we certainly haven’t seen before. This film throws us lots of beautiful, weird, yet wonderful moments highlighted most by the connection between Lorna Fitzgerald who plays the love interest (Emmaline) and alongside our down beat yet warm hearted Martin. “I was delighted how Lorna and Luke really connected. Especially pleasing for me, as I cast Lorna so late in the day. I threw her straight in and filmed some critical scenes on one of the busiest streets in North London, and they worked so well together.” The Director Vincent Woods explains. “We shot nearly everything in north London as I wanted to create that landscape for the viewer and with some hard bargaining and lots of favours from the local community we managed to get some
incredible locations on a very tight budget. Which helped lift the film enormously. That and working with such a talented crew and cast made the shoot a pleasure enabling me with the incredible support from my producer, to get in extra scenes like the tube scene which we shot in less than 45mins”. Woods and Mackie’s local connections has served them well with an impressive cast and equally impressive set of locations, this independent little gem has already attracted attention internationally after its UK and USA 2020 release this Christmas. No doubt this film in years to come will be a subtle reminder of 2020 and the loss we had to experience and overcome. The film is theatrically released in the UK and will play through to January and available ‘On Demand’ and all major retailers in the UK and ‘On Demand’ in North America.
COMEDY FEATURE RUN TIME 100 MINUTES INFO@PINKFLAMINGO.CO.UK THELOSSADJUSTERMOVIE.CO.UK
Born To Do It: Becoming the Leader of a Business Niche Using Powerful Spiritual Techniques By Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith We are delighted to see the release of “Born To Do It” by our wonderful festival partner Dr. Rebekah Louisa Smith World Renowned “Film Festival Doctor” Reveals How She Discovered her Soul Purpose, Found Her Niche and Drove Her Business to Increasing Heights through Mastering Spiritual & Business Practices Smith Provides a Roadmap for People Looking to Start or Grow a Business They Love—And Thrive! Rebekah Louisa Smith was earning her PhD, headed to the life of an academic. She had a plan completely mapped out until one day at a conference someone gushed about life as an academic and suddenly she realized, it wasn’t her passion. She didn’t gush over teaching film! But fortunately, she was also simultaneously working at the Abertoir Horror Festival in Wales, traveling around to festivals all over Europe, gaining a tremendous amount of knowledge about film festivals, as she recruited filmmakers to the prestigious horror festival. She began giving advice to filmmakers who wanted to get into more festivals, win awards and gain visibility that would lead to sales revenue. Then it hit her, that’s what she loved doing! She had a marketable skill that she could turn into a business. Rebekah ultimately became recognised worldwide as The Film Festival Doctor, an innovator in her field. Her company has won more than 800 awards for her clients and has supported 850 creatives to achieve their filmmaking dreams. But through the years, she sputtered at times, struggled, hit many roadblocks and made lots of mistakes. What finally cleared the path to her rapid accession and towering success was the business guidance and the spiritual practices she learned from experts, and then immediately put into practice in her business.
In her new book, Born to Do It: Becoming the Leader of a Business Niche Using Powerful Spiritual Techniques, Rebekah wants to save you the same headaches she experienced, and she provides a roadmap to business success that embraces the spiritual principles that righted her ship. It is a book for someone just contemplating the entrepreneurial journey, for anyone already growing a business that is struggling, or in need of revitalisation. Here is a rare book that combines finding and defining the niche that empowers you, practical business skills and the spiritual “magic” that ignites acceleration! The first of the key stops on Rebekah’s roadmap is the process of finding exactly what it is that you were born to do, your Soul Purpose, which gains momentum from your passion and helps you discover your special unique niche. From there, Rebekah takes you on a journey to: • Grow your business niche • Energetically brand your business • Create a solid business infrastructure and craft a strong sales pitch • Implement cosmic ordering, manifestation and Feng Shui techniques into your business for maximum success Using her own experiences as examples and saluting the experts who guided her in the process, she shows precisely what she learned and how you can apply that wisdom. This book will quickly get you to clarity on what it is that you are born to do and empowers the drive and ambition in you to create the business your heart and soul desires.
Born To Do It: Becoming the Leader of a Business Niche Using Powerful Spiritual Techniques by Dr Rebekah Louisa Smith (Author) Kindle Edition $6.49 | Paperback $19.99
JOE CAMARENO Joe Camareno – Award Winning Director, Actor, Writer & Producer With a feature comedy “Tin Holiday” and the short dramatic film “Patriots” in competition at our Warsaw Film Festival, here we are delighted to showcase Joe Camareno’s extraordinary talent. TIN HOLIDAY Best friends Samuel and Jesse travel to London after a life-changing event in Samuel’s life. They find themselves in trouble with the Punjabi mafia, Interpol and in inappropriate couplings. Director Statement As a filmmaker of Native American (Tohono O’odham) and Latino mixed background, and also identifying as gay, I was inspired to tell the story in ‘Tin’ because of the lack of roles for Latino and gay actors/characters in traditional Hollywood fare. This story, while not specifically written for two ethnic lead actors, ‘Tin’ was written to showcase Latino’s in a positive light, just as “regular” people in a film. The gay characters are also shown in this manner. They are not stereotypes or amalgamations of what someone might think a gay person is in the broad sense but shown as complex people living their day-today lives. The character of Jesse is best friends with a straight man, Samuel, whom he met at university. Both men forged a friendship based on loyalty, despite societal norms on friendships and what we tend to see on the big screen. The characters of Jesse and Simon are also not stereotypical representations of gay people on the big screen. They are slightly older and not part of the young party world we typically see in gay cinema or exploitive television. While we don’t see what Jesse does for a living, we do come to find that Simon is (SPOILER ALERT) a spy on a deepcover assignment. Shot mostly in London, England, this film, while on the surface is a light rom-com, shows depictions of gay and Latino characters as regular people. If there is a message to glean from this film, it’s to show how people of color and gay people aspire to be seen on the big screen, as normal everyday people just as Caucasians and straight characters are seen in traditional studio films. The story in ‘Tin’ is presented in a very matterof-fact way, whether romantic or platonic, the characters are just a viable part of the fabric of the lives in the story. The gay romance is not the whole story, but part of the major storyline, something that mainstream films tend to miss the boat on. I’ve never considered myself to be an activist filmmaker, but I do go against the grain when showing people of color, women, or gay characters on the screen. EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
PATRIOTS When the line between protecting the republic and being an enemy of the state is blurred, the realities of true freedom are questioned. Brash CIA operative Eric Simms is on a personal mission to set things straight after a mishap on an unsanctioned black ops operation in the recent past. Career long loyalties are questioned as he uncovers a sinister plot at play. Unsure of what to do, he justifies his motives and is then faced with the ultimate question of loyalty. What makes one a steadfast defender of a republic, one who goes against protocol to make those difficult choices in righting a perceived wrong, or one who toes the line and follows procedure? This short-form spy thriller is being developed into a full-length feature film. TIN HOLIDAY - FEATURE COMEDY RUN TIME 90 MINUTES CELTINOENTERTAINMENT.COM/TIN-HOLIDAY PATRIOTS - SHORT FILM RUN TIME 7 MINUTES CELTINOENTERTAINMENT.COM/PATRIOTS
16th December 2020 19:00 GMT
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Meeting ID: 483 910 6278 Passcode: FU510n
Jean-Francois Cavelier has more than 30 years experience in international film sales and distribution. He is known among his peers for his strong communication skills and for his relationship-building ability.
IT’S ALWAYS BEEN YOU! FILMMAKER: ANDREW MCCARDLE
It’s Always Been You! was a time and place, eleven thirty five am on September the fifth 2016 to be exact, where it seemed life’s loose ends and a changing world, in all of its dimensions, were beginning to coalesce. Though it might just as well have been selffulfilled, as the ideas for the work began to assemble in the spring of that year and we first rolled camera in summer, the feeling continued to gain momentum. So much of what rose to the surface in the years following had its roots during that summer of the 2016 year. So much of what seemed, then, a footnote took center-stage over the subsequent time as we cut the film. We seem to be at a moment in time, where personal and individual narrative is falling away and a collective, omniscient narrative is taking hold; in this way, to feel as though we are everywhere and everything at once at key moments in the film, was the goal. To be omni-present, if at all possible, was the aim for our audience with the film. No matter where we go, or whose story we are following, we as viewers are always at the center of the film’s experience. It seemed clear to me then, and even clearer now, that we were all leading double lives in a singular, and isolated, stream of consciousness that summer in 2016 - In one way everyone in their own private newsfeed, parallel narratives on how the world is, that somehow never seemed to line up. Each character is caught in the current of the ‘now’, transfixed by their sources of information and only a few break away, and throughout the film, touch a more spiritual place of awareness when they do. In other ways, the world I saw around me, the people I met, worked with, on the streets and subway, were but one element of the time and age we were living in. The other ‘element’ we were living in, of course, was online in cyberspace; a world not so different from our own because it, and all of its inhabitants, were a reflection of our own, and yet somehow inhuman. It’s glib to even discuss, in a way, it feels so obvious, it’s so close to us we barely want to call out the elephant in the room. It’s a world where the living create proxies, images and avatars, from themselves and the dead don’t die, they merely assimilate into this mass digital tableau. It felt proper, then, that the film drive toward this place. Rather than move through the narrative, the film descends through the portrait of this ‘now’ until we land, ultimately, in a digitized, artificial world. EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
It’s alive all around us at every moment and yet it can’t be seen or touched. This then led me on a different line of thinking. I wondered if this was how our ancestors felt as they looked at the world around them, at the night sky, they saw an unknowable and untouchable world of Gods, of angels and demons, of spirits of the dead still looking on upon them from beyond the grave; and they imagined a great tapestry of which we are all a detail. The here and now holds meaning and importance, but the real forces that control our world must have felt somewhere else, invisible. The idea that we’ve recreated this for ourselves today, a netherverse of pixels and coding language where the fates and tempests of our collective consciousness reside, is of special interest to the film overall. This is a place that draws us all into it like a whirlpool whether we like it or not, and so for the final reel we have fully entered a digital dreamscape which in turn becomes a kind of nightmare. I think at that time, and now, we were all feeling reminded constantly of the ever-present possibility
of eruptions of this kind of mass violence. Some mass paranoia that exists on the fringes of the collective mind, again invisible and rarely spoken of in specific, and that was where I wanted to travel for the film’s final act, the fringes. As we ripple outward we end the film in a place of full surrealism completely removed from reality. It felt fitting to include these kinds of thoughts in the tapestry and not disregard them. In our lived experience (especially now when the hyper-connected world presents a perpetual loop of our own thoughts and opinions fed back to us), anywhere we go, there we are. Anything we hear about, there we are, our own voice speaking back to us. Outside of all that, which feels increasingly distant, another world opens up to us. For ‘It’s Always Been You!’, we’re searching for what lies beyond, outside of ourselves, within others, within and without the world. The film exists in these three movements; the aetherial, the material and the digital. To capture that spirit of the times, nothing speaks to it better than Debord’s concept of
the Spectacle, and now more than ever we live in Spectacular Time where each moment brings a new phenomena that washes over the population in a wave of sound and fury and is subsequently discarded and forgotten about the next instant when a new fanfare comes to replace it. Those who populate the film, our cast of characters are firmly in the grip of this spectacle as it hypnotically, drawing their attention toward a few topics of the day they seem preoccupied with. I see the film as partially a time capsule and wanted to capture as much of the feeling of 2016 as possible, as time goes on I’ll know if I was successful or not. In Debord’s definition the process of production with its false, near-constant ”improvements” are not reflected in our consumption, which constitutes an ‘extended repetition of the past’. CInema is this in itself, a constant repetition of the past as well, the past moment dominates the present moment. If this is truly illusorily lived time, it becomes important to represent both the natural flow of realtime with several long unbroken takes of
actual time passing, as well as the illusion of compressed spectacular time with many scenes comprised entirely of quick cuts and montage. By living in both within the film, each reveals the other. The other element of this spectacle is how it would affect landscapes and pockets of time and place where not only does the past dominate the present, but the image of the place comes to dominate the current reality of it. In New York there are endless discussions of the ‘real’ New York, implying of course that there is a false New York, a phony place constructed to be the epitome of the outsider’s mental image. This, of course, is a mark of our times, where banalized landscapes are offered up as sacrifices to the popular imagination, cinema itself plays its role, as well as international tourism. Once a place or event has been properly frozen in time, it can become a destination we congregate around. Midtown Manhattan being one such landscape, a phony hint of amusement park-style constructed reality where “the locals never go”. Those who’ve spent their lives in this city lament the loss of the gritty, rough days of old New York, where the city was a living document, a common characteristic that most cities share in the early years of the twenty-first century. It took such a large team over the course of so many years to bring the film into its final stage, first and foremost the cast. A beautiful combination of those who answered neighborhood calls for casting sessions and people who live on these streets. Sparkman Clark and Victor Barranca brought what I think is the film’s signature scene to life as they wax philosophical on the streets of Park Slope and browse a record shop. They bring so much of the personality to the film overall. Sparkman is one of the hardest working people from writing to directing, to being in front of the camera, just massive amounts of respect for her.
34 Matt McGlade, I think anyone who sees the film will agree, is unforgettable as a man ranting to anyone who’ll listen, somehow a conduit for the thoughts in the air, like a radio stuck between multiple channels. So much of the character, from costume and beyond, is his creation and he really disappears into the part. We kept adding days and dialogue throughout to keep him in more of the film. Our three silent characters who represent each of the three dimensions of the film were of course Kate Mulberry as the aetherial Lola Montez, Jacqueline Real as the material plane of Earth and Emmy Corinne as the digital plane. They each bear witness and ‘see’ during the film, they react but never speak. It’s difficult to connect with the audience without dialogue but their physical performances I think resonate so deeply. Camila Pujol Ochoa and Cezar Constantine knock it out of the park as a couple dating in the cemetery, their energy brings us into another world. Peter Napolitano, one of the best minds in Brooklyn and a brilliant modern day philosopher sets the stage with a cameo during the opening sequence at Lioni Italian Heroes in Bensonhurst. So many friends and colleagues came to the rescue on this one to crew as well, above all the producer Matt Barone and actor/producer Roger Mulligan who were massively instrumental, it can’t be overstated. At times the crew consisted of many people and at times the crew was literally the three of us and those ‘skeleton crew’ sequences are honestly some of the best. They gave it their all and deserve all the credit in the world on this one. I’ve never met someone so knowledgeable on history and philosophy in general, and especially New York history, as Richard McGuire who produced many of the film’s shoots and on into post as well, it could not have been made without his involvement. Then there is Whitney Browne, love of my life, who provided so much of the visual atmosphere to the moodier sequences shot later, much of the naturalistic sequences Ellison Santos oversaw as DP and they both did brilliant work. The sound design is what really allows the film to sing in my opinion, and sound designer Luigi Porto transformed the film and it truly came alive with his work, what Luigi did here was to give the film its voice. John Nathans created many original sounds and Vinny Alfano oversaw the rest of post sound and fully mixed the film. He was with us almost a year in post and guided the process every step of the way, his contribution to the film can’t be overstated. The score is, and always will be, one of the most crucial elements in the paint kit for cinema. With music comes the entire atmosphere. For a film like this with its separate worlds, it was crucial to have two very different voices speaking to us through the composition. For the main score the EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
composer Silvio Buchmeier wrote and conducted the brilliant pieces that capture each of the tones of the material and aetherial segments. The music for the film needed to feel like the dance of life. With Silvio’s score suddenly cement trucks or a woman walking her dog seem to be stepping in-time to the rhythm of the city and the flow of time. His music swells and recedes counterpoint to the roaring of city buses, the hum of cicadas in green-spaces, the shouts and sirens of the streets. All people and all moods fill these streets, and within his music are the triumphant horns of the elated ones and his melancholy strings finding the stillness of the ones who search. When we descend into the digital, electronic artist Tyler Gilmore (BlankFor.ms) provides the synths and tones that transform the film. For the film’s final act, his slowly building, slowly burning composition brings us into that next dimension, filled with longing and humanity in a completely synthetic reality. The characters here, as real as fabrications could be, inhabit a digital dream and eventually a nightmare. The way the two scores fit together amazes me and each is incredibly strong on its own. For several key moments as well, many thanks to Giorgio Rossi for allowing us the use of Carlo Alberto Rossi’s incredible piece ‘Stradivarius’. The neighborhoods themselves from Park Slope to Sunset Park to Windsor Terrace to Bensonhurst were great to us at every turn. 5th Avenue Records in Park Slope was a favorite stop for so many years and a dream come true to film in. Lioni, as mentioned in Bensonhurst embraced the entire cast and crew, giving us free rein to stage any concept on-site (and no exaggeration best sandwiches in Brooklyn). Frank Velez from Classic Signs hand-painted every sign in Lioni and was kind enough to work with us and bring the aesthetic to the poster, along with Brijean Murphy who designed the character art. Villa Mosconi in Manhattan opened up to us for the final scene, they’re legendary in New York, there’s no question,
and they provide the atmosphere for what is, straight from audience reactions, the most memorable sequence in the movie. Club Xstasy in Sunset Park was the perfect locale for the flashing neon lights of the final act. Of course, if I had to confess a favorite location it’s the iconic Greenwood Cemetery, another dream come true getting to stage a scene there. It’s a place I go to often and your mind just wanders. In the end the film is this kaleidoscope of past and future, of material and thoughtform, no idea felt too out of reach not to take its place in the collage. It’s a series of snapshots on a hot day as everyone boils over. Each voice, the streets, the car horns, those pigeons, the wind through the park, those planes flying overhead, all are a piece of the tapestry. It’s Always Been You! sees the tapestry at play; the past as fetish, romanticizing a future, and the present as crisis.
CAN’T STOP THE SUN FROM SHINING A Moving Documentary Film By Dr Teresa Mular
Dr Teresa Mular was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was raised and educated there, completing her University studies and graduating as a Medical Doctor at age 23. Parallel to that she studied piano and voice at the National Conservatory of Music in Buenos Aires. She moved to New York to further her training at Downstate Medical Center, State University of New York where she became Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at age 35. She has been President of the New York Gynecological Society from 2014 to 2015. She started her second career as cinematographer in 2009. Her first film” Flying on the Wings of Time” is a trilogy and documentary about the cultural life of Buenos Aires. Internationally and nationally awarded and acclaimed work. Winning for Best Foreign Language documentary at the International Cinema Awards in Milan 2018 and Best Story at the East Europe International Film Festival in Warsaw, 2019. Obtaining the Silver Award at the Oregon International Film Festival 2014. Screened at the XXXIV International Women Film Festival, Florence, Italy 2012 and at the Huntington Cinema Arts Centre, Huntington, Long Island, New York. Also screened at the 5th Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival, India, 2015 and at the Argentine Cultural Center, Long Beach, New York. It received multiple official selections and nominations: at Oaxaca Film Festival, Mexico in 2019; at Brussels Fusion Film Festival 2019 for best story, best feature documentary and best director of feature documentary. At Lake View Film Festival, Calcutta, India 2018. Her second documentary “The Muse is the Mountain “2013-about artisan women living in the remote mountainous regions of Monteverde, Costa Rica and their
struggles to become independent and successful in their own habitat which led to numerous official selections, nominations and awards, both in USA and abroad. Her third and fourth and fifth films are short comedies written, produced and directed by her. Based mostly on actual facts and indignities she experienced while boarding planes at various airports, the uniqueness of these three works is that dogs (including her own) were included as actors. The first was “Now Boarding “-2015- acclaimed nationally and internationally with multiple awards and official nominations. Among them, the First New York Dog Film Festival, New York City ,2015. Awarded at the Madrid International Filmmaker festival for Best Screenplay 2016. Then for Best Comedy at the Milan International Filmmaker Festival 2016. Also, for Best Director at the Color Tape Film Festival in Brisbane, Australia 2016. Best film at the Lakeview International Film Festival 2017. Best film at the Canine Film Festival in Florida (USA)2018, Best Comedy at the Fusion Film Festival, Valencia 2019, and Best Short Comedy at the Brussels Fusion International film festival,2019. The next comedy is “USA Dog Presidential Debate”2016. Awarded as Finalist Short Film Award at the Color Tape festival, Brisbane, Australia. And screened at the New York Short Film Festival, Brooklyn, New York 2016. Next comedy” Now Boarding 2” a sequel for the first one, this includes boarding a ship and the wedding of a couple of dogs. It received four awards for Best screenplay in short comedy at the Milan International Film Festival,2017. Best comedy at the Amsterdam International Filmmaker festival ,2018. And award winner at the Canada Short film festival.
Her third documentary “Four Journeys” 2016, is about four Latin American women who immigrated to New York and how they struggled, worked and successfully achieved their goals in a foreign land. Multiple awards have been received for this work. Her latest fim “Can’t Stop The Sun From Shining” is about centenarian and almost centenarian women between 94 and 105 years old. Their stories are inspiring, compelling and they all unravel a strong sense of zest and determination in their personalities. This film conveys a message against ageism and in favor of older individuals, who in spite of adversities and life challenges arrive with dignity and charm to the autumn and winter of their lives. A current topic that can’t be ignored.
DOCUMENTARY FILM RUN TIME 48 MINUTES THMULAR@OPTONLINE.NET EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
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by Dr Teresa Mular MD
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LET GO: LETTING GO A POWERFUL AND MOVING SHORT FILM BY AREK ZASOWSKI
Henk had it all, a dream job and the love of his life, beautiful fiancée Tiffany. After an accident, left alone, with a big void to fill in, deep in his memories, Henk refuses to move on with his life and accept that Tiffany is gone. Set one year after an award winning LET GO: THE PRELUDE, LET GO: LETTING GO follows Henk in his pursuit to find the meaning of life as he continues in his struggle to recover and find the closure after losing the love of his life, his fiancée Tiffany. Would Vivian (Natasha Jules) become Henk’s catharsis in his struggle?
Director Statement Set a year after the original award winning “Let Go: The Prelude”, “Let Go: Letting Go” follows an archaeologist Henk in his pursuit to find the meaning of life as he continues in his struggle to recover and find the closure after losing the love of his life, his fiancée Tiffany in a tragic accident. Would Vivian (Natasha Jules) become Henk’s catharsis in his struggle? I am very excited to be working with very talented American and international cast including: Natasha Jules, Daniela Tanner, Viola Zasowska, Edwin Barandarou, Paul A. Taylor, Olga Malchevska, Pat Ceasar, Martin Thompson, Costas Eleftheriou and Tamia Dow. Arek Zasowski is an award winning Polish international Actor and Film Director based in London, England. Since 2016, Arek Zasowski won multiple film awards at film festivals in Hollywood, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, Albuquerque, Toronto and Sydney, including the prestigious Golden State Film Festival and Culver City Film Festival. Zasowski’s credits include: “Let Go: Letting Go”, “Call Me”, “Let Go: The Prelude”, “Chinese Angel” and “The Cure”.
RUN TIME 20 MINUTES
CUBA’S FORGOTTEN JEWELS: A HAVEN IN HAVANA A DOCUMENTARY FILM BY JUDY KREITH & ROBIN TRUESDALE
In 1940, most countries around the world had closed their doors to Jewish refugees desperate to escape the horrors of Nazioccupied Europe. As their plight became evermore dire, the island of Cuba offered refuge and hope for survival. This documentary tells the experiences of young Marion Finkels and others who found safe haven in Cuba from the extermination of Jews during WWII. As a young girl, Marion escaped war-torn Europe with her family, evading Nazi capture and crossing the Atlantic to a tropical paradise. There, she and other Jews experienced the exotic food, rhythms, and language of this new land combined with the tropical heat and arduous work in a refugee-established diamond polishing industry. Along with other survivor accounts, Marion’s tale conjures a dramatic view of 1940s Havana – an era at once tumultuous, heartbreaking, and intoxicating – to reveal a tale of escape from the Holocaust and an immigration success story. EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
Filmmakers’ note:There is a vast difference between being tolerated as a refugee and becoming integrated and respected in a host society. The Jewish refugees brought with them skills, connections, and a drive to succeed in their new surroundings. The Cubans met this Jewish perseverance with a willingness to work side by side, and together they forged a life-sustaining industry. For us, one of the most endearing aspects of this story is the acceptance of the refugees by the Cuban people. Co-director Judy Kreith is the daughter of Marion Finkels Kreith, who inspired the film.
DOCUMENTARY FILM RUN TIME 46 MINUTES WWW.FORGOTTENJEWELSFILM.COM DISTRIBUTED BY WWW.JEWISHFILM.ORG
Cuba’s Forgotten Jewels: A Haven in Havana
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EMPIRE AN ARRESTING NEW FEATURE BY PAUL L. CARR
EMPIRE is a feature film following the misadventures of two men shipwrecked in the vast Pacific Trash Vortex. As the men struggle to survive, the power play between them devolves from the darkly comedic and absurd into crashing fear and existential terror. Often hallucinogenic with stunning visuals, this parable mixes apocalyptic and kaleidoscopic imagery as humankind’s perverse relationship with plastic is exposed. Literally surrounded by a world of trash that these men helped create, their very survival hangs in the balance. This grotesque dystopia presents a most epic challenge: man vs. garbage. Observers of this film can perhaps see many tangents from a diverse array of influences— Charlie Chaplin, the Old Testament, Mel Brooks, Spaghetti Westerns, Lord of The Flies, Kurt Vonnegut, Edgar Allen Poe, Hunter S. Thompson--and it all seems reminiscent of a 50’s sci-fi flick. Somehow it all spilled into the script for this B-movie fever dream of a film, as trippy as anything you’ve seen at the midnight matinee. Actors Nick Leininger and Don Schroeder are superb in depicting their
descent into madness while the green screen so artfully embellished by Editor Nick Schultz serves as something like a Greek chorus for the film, vitally engaged with the action and the subtext beneath the narrative. The script, by Paul L. Carr, asks not only, “How did we get here?” It also asks the audience, “How the hell do we get out?” Empire was produced by Busted City Productions, following their award-winning feature films Busted City and American Barbarian. Casual Criminals, a feature-length comedy, is the latest effort by Busted City Productions. The film is currently in postproduction and should be completed by 2021. Any inquiries regarding films by Busted City Productions should be sent to Paul L. Carr. Trailers, production photos and additional info can be found on the Facebook production page and Instagram.
RUN TIME 73 MINUTES INSTAGRAM: @PABLOGLOBAL WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/BUSTEDCITY
FULL CIRCLE A MULTI AWARD WINNING FEATURE FILM BY NOEL BRADY
Winner of Best Director at the London International Filmmakers festival and Best Screenplay at Milan International Filmmakers Festival and with multiple nominations Full Circle has traveled the world. Taking in countries such as the USA, Australia, India, Italy, France the UK and Ireland. And with 2 distribution deals Full Circle has enjoyed a very successful tour on the circuit. And we look forward to our screening and nominations here at the Fusions - East Europe International Film Festival - Warsaw online edition. Synopsis. The lives of two men, an Irish war journalist and an American living in Ireland intertwine in an unusual tale of enlightenment and redemption. Documentary Film-Maker, Malcolm Walker (Michael Bates) returns to Ireland after his last production in Gaza went horribly wrong, causing the death of his wife Linda (Susan Bracken). Now back home, Malcolm finds it hard to cope, and falls deeper into his own private hell. EAST EUROPE ONLINE EDITION WARSAW 2020
A chance meeting of these two leads Travis to believe that Malcolm can help bring Rose back from this catatonic state. For Travis believes that Rose’s catatonic state is caused by a curse, the curse of the ‘Órach Stone’
Just at its darkest the smallest speck of light appears in the shape of Travis Sear (Mark Schrier), an American who’s wife, Rose (Annette Kelly) is stuck in a catatonic state following a car accident. This car accident happened two years earlier just minutes after Malcolm Walker had interviewed them at the ancient site of Newgrange co.Meath.
When Travis and Rose were at Newgrange, Rose had found an ancient stone called ‘The Órach’. She kept this stone and took it from the sacred ground, thus evoking the curse. However, Travis believes that Rose can return to him. And this can be only accomplished by returning the ‘Órach’ stone to ‘Newgrange’ and performing the ancient sacred ritual of ‘The Órach’ with the chosen one. And the ‘Chosen One’ is Malcolm! FEATURE FILM RUN TIME 94 MINUTES HTTPS://FULLCIRCLETHEMOVIE.COM
DR WUNDERKIND BY CLAUDIA ZIE
Lukas got kicked out of Europe’s best medschool for ghost-writing PhD thesis papers under the table.
We live in a world in which upward mobility has been replaced by Instagram followers. Fact and fiction are all the same. But these two dangerously ambitious, brilliant Millennials refuse to accept their place in the world. They’re willing to fight dirty and they know how to.
Karolina got disinherited by her old-money, patriarchal parents who favor her aimless younger brother. Game recognizes game when Lukas meets Karolina in a room filled with people who believe he’s walking on water. She sees right through his charade, as he’s trying to scam an elite group of wealthy boomers into throwing money at a cancer treatment he hasn’t invented yet. Marketing-genius Karolina makes the establishment believe that Lukas is the Steve Jobs of medicine. Together, they con their way to the very top of the top 1%. Until reality catches up and everything bursts into flames. Little do they know they both sealed a pact with the devil.
Rooting for either of them is inevitable, while being morally utterly wrong. But getting seduced by the dark side is fun, especially in times of darkness. As a filmmaker and writer, I draw inspiration from collaborating with other artists. Dr. Wunderkind was co-created by our leading actor Philipp Maximilian. We have the same work ethic and sense of humor. Due to our shared heritage, we complement each other well in our creative approach to storytelling. We were both raised in Germany in an international environment and now live and work in Los Angeles
DARK COMEDY SHORT 5 MINUTES
ARTISTS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
For over 10 years, Artists for Peace and Justice has been dedicated to changing the lives of those most in need. We understand the game-changing effects of secondary and higher education in breaking the cycle of endemic poverty. On January 12, 2010 a magnitude 7 earthquake devastated Haiti. Hundreds of thousands were killed and much of the capital city was leveled. The destruction was unimaginable, but urgency of that moment required action. We pledged our support to do more than just provide immediate humanitarian relief. We pledged to build lasting academic institutions that would serve a greater purpose.
We believe youth, especially those living in abject poverty, deserve liberty and equality to build a better life for themselves and for their families. By developing partnerships with local leaders in communities that need us most, Artists for Peace and Justice works to create real opportunity with Valuable Education, Meaningful Employment, Inspiring Voices and Ethical Leadership. APJ is comprised of artists, advocates, and creatives across all disciplines who believe in the power of artists to change the world. We believe that everyone has the creative capacity and voice to make a difference and that it is our duty to leverage our collective talent to help create a more just and peaceful world.
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We believe youth, especially those living in abject poverty, deserve liberty and equality to build a better life for themselves and for their families. www.apjnow.org
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