Browsing: Conversations

Over the past twenty-three years, I have had the opportunity to get to know and work with Phil Mendez, known as the enigma of the animation world. This is a man who has as many stories told about him as he tells about himself and the industry with which he has had a love hate relationship. Phil would say that that’s too strongly said and what he has is a general dislike for the unkind things the industry has done to this art form and its creators. Phil is a very positive up beat person; so if you believe these…

American Visa is the second movie directed by Bolivian film director Juan Carlos Valdivia. American Visa is the story of Mario Alvarez, a man that in In post-9/11 Bolivia harsh new laws plans on traveling to Miami to reunite with his son and start a new life in the US. But it is almost impossible to get a US visa and what complicate his situation even more,is Blanca, a beautiful young woman who is looking for change in her life. Mario facing deadends goes wild. Cinema Without Borders: What inspired you to make “American Visa”? Juan Carlos Valdivia: Three reasons.…

Milena Andonova is the elder daughter of the late stage and film director Metodi Andonov, one of the legendary figures in Bulgarian culture. “Monkeys in Winter” is a film based on three short stories by writer Maria Stankova, whose heroines are always driven by extreme passions.In her feature film debut, Milena Andonova tells the separate and tragic stories of three women. The story of Dona, a Roma woman with three children to different fathers, is set in the 60s. In order to protect her children and their future she moves in with a disabled man; a move with unforeseeable consequences.…

Harutyun Khachatryan was born in Georgia in 1955 where he completed his film studies. He worked as director and directing assistant and is now head of the documentary department of the Hayfilm/Armenfilm Studios. Previous films include Voices from our Neighbourhood (1981, short), Chronicles of an Event (1985, short), A Visit With the Commander (1986), Three Rounds in Yengibarian’s Life (1986, short), Kond (1987, short), White Town (1989, short), The Wind of Emptiness (1990), Return to the Promised Land (1992), Verchin gayan / The Last Station (1994), Documentarist (2003), Poeti veradrdze/Return of the poet (2005). Shohreh Jandaghian – Could you please…

The US vs. John Lennon is a great documentary that has a deep look into political activities of John Lennon and his part in the anti-war movement. “The U.S. vs. John Lennon” is also a compelling reminder of why we love/loved John Lennon and why, 26 years after his death, he is still so sorely missed. Now after a successful theatrical release the DVD of The US vs. John Lennon is released.Cinema Without Borders: John, how did you encounter this story and what inspired you to make The US vs John Lennon? John Scheinfeld: David Leaf and I are gigantic Beatles…

A native New Yorker, John Kochman lived in Paris for 25 years before becoming Executive Direcor of Unifrance USA. John was Head of International Sales at MK2 Productions from 1990-1995, and Deputy Head of International Sales at StudioCanal from1995-2006. He has had extensive experience selling European and American film rights to distributors in the US and around the world. Bijan Tehrani: John, please tell me briefly about the background of the French Film Office. John Kochman: Unifrance USA has been in existence for about 40 years. Unifrance is headquartered in Paris, it’s an association of about 600 film professionals, producers,…

Rare Bird is true story of a boy who helped find a bird believed extinct for over 300 years. This against all odds story about a struggle for survival takes a dramatic turn, when the bird faces a greater threat. Ravaged by a hurricane what will they do to save the species once again from oblivion? Bermudian filmmaker, Lucinda Spurling has spent the last several years in her home country pursuing her first feature documentary, Rare Bird. After graduating with a degree in Communications from Tulane University, she worked as a journalist before attending Bristol University (Bristol, UK) where she…

Eric Matthies is Producer, Cinematographer and one of the Directors of Ayamye*. Currently he is an award winning producer and director specializing in documentaries, video installations and special features for DVD’s. Between 1986 and 1994, Eric was a cameraman with the seminal production company H-Gun, shooting notable music videos for artists such as Nine Inch Nails, De La Soul, Public Enemy and Soundgarden. As a young director he received recognition from The Chicago International Film Festival for his work with the legendary band Suicidal Tendencies. After many years of helping other directors realize their visions, Ayamye* is proudly his first…

“The Passion of the Mao” begins by correcting misconceptions about Mao’s early years. Unlike the tyrants with whom he is usually compared, Mao was a successful scholar and businessman before he became a rabble-rouser. By the mid1950s, he had unified China, spurred an impressive rate of growth, restructured the education system, and improved living standards. Then he became a Maoist. Mao devoted the rest of his life to eliminating the centralized Soviet bureaucracy he and his colleagues had built. The film takes viewers back to the 1960s. Successful women and men, some now professors at major universities in the West,…

Nurbek Egen, a filmmaker from Kyrgyzstan, graduated from the Institute of Art in Bishkek and then went to VGIK to study film direction. Nurbek started his career as a film director by making two short films and a documentary. “The Wedding Chest” is Nurbek’s first feature film. Wedding Chest is the story of Aidar who has left his Kirghiz mountain village and now lives in Paris with his French girlfriend, Isabelle. Aidar takes Isabelle for a visit to his home town. Aidar has changed but everything at home has remained the same. The relatives and neighbors are just as he…

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