Category Archives: In the Spotlight
Well, the reviews are in.
LA Weekly calls Chantal Akerman’s latest feature film, Almayer’s Folly, “thrilling”; the Village Voice names it “one of the year’s most hypnotic and fascinating films.” Indiewire proclaims it to be “another brilliant, mesmerizing film from Chantal Akerman”. Slant Magazine writes that it is “both fervently passionate and formally meticulous, the latest stunning coup for a director who’s made a career of repurposing archetypal storylines.“ The eminent film critic J. Hoberman, writing in ARTINFO, affirms it to be “a movie made with the excitement and eccentricity of genius.” The New York Times describes the film as “a prolonged fever dream that ultimately yields madness.”
The internationally renowned filmmaker Chantal Akerman is teaching on our MFA faculty as a Distinguished Lecturer within the Media Arts Production program at CCNY. Current graduate student Niav Conty has this to say of her teaching, ”Her comments in class are full of her experience and her talent. It is a privilege to get advice from someone who has seen and done so much in the world of film and who lives filmmaking in such a passionate way.” Recent graduate David Blaikie adds, “It was exciting enough to have a legendary filmmaker discussing my work and sharing her insights into the filmmaking process; it was even more richly rewarding to find her to be a teacher and mentor generous with her time and attention. She was a brilliant advisor and unfailingly warm and sincere, and her support of student thesis projects was unflagging.”
Akerman is known for an extraordinary body of work that is atmospheric, subversive and perfectly controlled, and her latest film is no exception. Loosely adapting Joseph Conrad’s first novel and transplanting it from the 1890s to the 1950s, Akerman has crafted a contemplative story of colonialism, cultural conflict, desire, and despair. It premiered in the Venice Film Festival and was subsequently featured in Toronto, London, Vancouver, and Melbourne Film Festivals to name just a few. Here in New York, it was showcased by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and went on to have a semi-theatrical run at Anthology Film Archives.
Akerman’s work was recently included in the “Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time” compiled by Sight & Sound magazine from the ballots of eight hundred and forty-six film critics and scholars around the world (in 2012 she is still the only woman chosen for this list.) She was also recently honored in the 2012 New York Film Festival with a retrospective screening of her acclaimed self-portrait, Chantal Akerman by Chantal Akerman, as part of the 50th anniversary of the New York Film Festival special series, Cinéastes/Cinema of Our Time. Akerman continues to be acknowledged, over and over, as one of the world’s leading cinéastes – of our time and of all time.
Nueva York, CUNY TV’s Spanish language series about Latino life in New York City, took home two awards at the 55th annual ceremony of the New York Emmy Awards held April 1, 2012 at the Marriot Times Square/NYC. This year’s awards were for Best Magazine Program (Best of Season 6) and Environment Program/Special (Auralis).
This year’s awards were for Best Magazine Program Nueva York: Best of Season 6 (August 4, 2011) and Environment – Program/Special Nueva York: Auralis (April 7, 2011).
Led by Professor Jerry W Carlson, the Nueva York production team boasts six producer/editors who are graduates of the MFA program: Sarah Foudy, Yolanda Pividal, Wilson Reyes, Mario Rosales, Gisela Sanders-Alcantara, and Carmen Vidal. All bilingual, they hail from Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Spain, and the USA. The entire team was honored for Best of Season 6. The episode summarizes the diversity of Latino experience in New York. Individual segments of the episode include: Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature; Auralis, an eco-fashion designer of Puerto Rican descent; Mexican singer Lila Downs; Albor Ruiz, Daily News columnist, who has covered the Dream Act movement; a short report on how the Latino community tries to encourage fair migratory reform; and writers from the Latino LGBT population who perform their work as part of the series Panic!
Producer/editor Sarah Foudy was individually honored in the category of Environment – Program/Special for her segment Nueva York: Auralis. The piece portrays Puerto Rican fashion designer Auralis who discovered, as she began her career, that fashion is one of the industries most responsible for environmental degradation. Foudy’s documentary chronicles how, from Sunset Park-Brooklyn, Auralis creates eco-friendly clothing inspired by the tropical environment of her native island.
Other editions of the Emmys have brought the series six previous awards. The show holds more trophies than any other production of CUNY TV. To read and learn more, visit: http://www.cuny.tv/show/nuevayork
It’s the stuff of legend. Zack Borst (Class ’10) made a Commercial for General Motors and it aired during the Super Bowl XLVI. The Budget? $478 (Yes – Four Hundred Seventy Eight Dollars).
Read more and view it at: http://www.chevrolet.com/culture/article/superbowl-route-66.html
Alex Lora’s short documentary, ODYSSEUS’ GAMBIT, made as a class assignment for Prof. Antonio Tibaldi’s Digital Production class, won awards at 18 international film festivals including Tous Court at Aix-en Provence and Kracaw International Film Festival. The film was one of 7 selected for the “Short Documentaries” competition at the Sundance 2013 Film Festival and was nominated for the Gaudi Catalan Academy Awards (Spain). Lora’s “experimental short”, entitled US, made for Prof. Herman Lew’s Camera Class, was nominated for a 2012 Student Academy Award. Lora also served as Assistant Editor and Sound Designer on Tibaldi’s 62-min documentary, [s]comparse, winner of the Spirit Award at the Brooklyn Film Festival, and nominated for Best Documentary at Torino Film Festival; American Documentary Film Festival (Palm Springs); Archipelago Film Festival (Rome).
PAPILIO BUDDHA, the first feature film by 2010 MFA Graduate Jayan Cherian has been denied certification by a The Indian Central Board of Film Certification and cannot be shown commercially anywhere in the country.
The film, which highlights the plight of ethnic Dalits in Kerala, is set to reignite the debate on the role of government bodies in acting as final arbiters of worthiness of works of art. The movie also revives the decades old debate on whether Mahatma Gandhi’s advocacy on behalf of Dalits did in fact benefit the community at all. “A certificate cannot be issued for its exhibition,” the board wrote in a letter citing a number of issues including burning Gandhi’s effigy, and the film’s use of “visuals of extreme violence against a woman” and “filthy” language.
Cherian, the film’s producers, and its supporters here and in India see the board’s decision as an assault on freedom of expression. “Papilio Buddha is a film that focuses on atrocities committed against Dalits, women and the environment,” Cherian said, ““Most of the objections [of the board] are about denigrating Gandhi, Buddha and [19th and 20th Century Dalit leader] Ayyankali. The perceived denigration seems to be coming from the realistic treatment of the film’s climax scene, where landless Dalits are confronted by the police, who use overwhelming force to evict the protestors.”
Thampi Antony, actor and co-producer of the film, also termed the board’s action as a “violation of freedom of expression.” He continued, “ The idea of a government body censoring a piece of art in itself is ridiculous and it is a shame that a democratic country like India still has state instruments that curtails freedom of artistic expression.”
Cherian is now in New York, but will return to India to appeal the decision in November, 2012.