Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Jacques Audiard's Dheepan wins Palme D'Or

French director Jacques Audiard won this year’s Palme d’Or for Dheepan, which tells story of a Tamil Tiger refugee trying to make a new life in France only to find himself in a crime-ridden estate on the edge of Paris. Audiard previously won top prize at Cannes for his 2012 film Rust and Bone and received the Grand Prix for A Prophet in 2010.

The choice, made by a jury led by American filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, was a surprise. “This isn’t a jury of film critics,” said Joel Coen. “This is a jury of artists who are looking at the work.”

Audiard said: “To receive a prize from the Coen brothers is something pretty exceptional. I’m very touched. I'm thinking of my father.”

This year’s Grand Prix was presented to the Holocaust drama Son of Saul, the debut film by Hungarian director László Nemes. The festival’s Jury Prize went Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster, a dystopian comedy starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz.

The Camera d’Or is the festival’s prize for best first feature. This year it went to Colombian César Augusto Acevedo for his family drama La tierra y la sombra.

Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien took best director for his martial arts thriller The Assassin. This was his first film in eight years.

The best screenplay award went to Mexican writer-director Michel Franco for the emotional Chronic, starring Tim Roth, who lost out in best actor category to Vincent Lindon for The Measure of a Man (La Loi du marche).

The best actress award was shared between Rooney Mara for Todd Haynes’s Patricia Highsmith adaptation, Carol, and Emmanuelle Bercot for Maïwenn’s Mon roi.

The best short film prize was presented to Waves ‘98, directed by Ely Dagher.

French New Wave veteran Agnès Varda, director of classics such as Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962), was awarded with a special lifetime achievement Palme.

The competition was to a large degree overshadowed by a row over dress codes and accusations of sexism after several women reported being turned away from screenings for not wearing high heels. Film producer Valeria Richter, who has part of her left foot amputated, was one of those stopped. The festival denied high heels were part of the official dress code.

Cannes 2015 winners in full
  • Palme d’Or 
- Jacques Audiard for Dheepan
  • Grand Prix
 - László Nemes for Son of Saul
  • Jury Prize
 - Yorgos Lanthimos for The Lobster
  • Camera d’Or 
- César Augusto Acevedo for La tierra y la sombra (Land and Shade)
  • Best director
 - Hou Hsiao-hsien for The Assassin
  • Best screenplay 
- Michel Franco for Chronic
  • Best actress
 - Rooney Mara for Carol and Emmanuelle Bercot for Mon roi
  • Best actor
 - Vincent Lindon for La Loi du marche
  • Short film
 - Ely Dagher for Waves ‘98
  • Honorary Palme d’Or
 - Agnès Varda

Doc/Fest explores world of immersive art

Two immersive art works will be presented by Doc/Fest as part of Interactive at Sheffield. The annual festival will explore and facilitate work by artists and artist filmmakers. The works are by Heather Phillipson, who has exhibited at the Serpentine Gallery, BALTIC and Tate Britain, and multimedia artist Oscar Raby, winner of the Audience Interactive Award for Assent at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2014 and os now creative director of the new Virtual Reality studio VRTOV.com.

FINAL DAYS, Phillipson’s newly commissioned video and sculptural installation for Castle House, a defunct department store in Sheffield city centre, posits real-life shopping as a now inoperative, disembodied landscape. Structured episodically, FINAL DAYS’ suite of six videos, shown on clustered monitors, functions as sequential ‘departments’ (bedroom, underwear, towels and textiles, hosiery, office and special offers) – each one a means to conjure – or depart from – social, personal and intimate scenarios, now physically absent.

FINAL DAYS was commissioned by Sheffield Doc/Fest, with support from Arts Council England. It is presented in partnership with University of Sheffield and Serpentine Galleries and Forma Arts. Phillipson will be present at Castle House to talk about her work with Lucia Pietroiusti, curator at Serpentine Galleries on Saturday 6 June. Philippson is currently writer in residence at London’s Whitechapel Gallery  and has been invited to participate in the Istanbul Biennial later this year.

Oscar Raby will present Hola World, an interactive psychedelic journey through a digital Arcadia, in the Virtual Reality Arcade at the Site Gallery. The work uses an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and Leap Motion technology that allows viwers to manipulate their environment. Hola World is commissioned by Sheffield Doc/Fest, Crossover and Site Gallery, with support from Arts Council England.

Hola World
Additional artists represented in the Virtual Reality Arcade in the Site Gallery include Grayson Perry (Grayson Perry's 360 Tour of 'A House for Essex), Chris Milk and French photographic artist JR (Walking New York), and Vincent Morisset (Way to Go).

Artists with work in The Interactive Exhibition at Millennium Gallery include Lawrence Abu Hamdan (The Whole Truth), Matt Huynh (The Boat) and Jan Rothuizen (Refugee Republic). The ArteFact strand also includes a programme of feature docs made by artist-filmmakers including Omer Fast, Bill Morrison and Nelly Ben Hayoun.

Three sessions in the conference programme will look at what broadcasters and other funders are looking for from artist filmmakers:
  • Meet the Arts Commissioners: Producing for Broadcast & Galleries will explore different models of commissioning and diverse opportunities for getting work funded for the small screen, the big screen and for the gallery space. The session will be moderated by Penny Woolcock, with participants Sabine Bubeck-Paaz, ZDF/ARTE, Lucia Pietroiusti, Serpentine Galleries and Jan Younghusband, BBC Music & Events.
  • Commissioning Panel: Arts will feature Mark Bell, the BBC’s head of commissioning arts, Mandy Chang, ABC’s commissioning editor, Celia Taylor, Sky Entertainment’s head of non-scripted commissioning, and John Hay, Channel 4’s head of commissioning, arts. The session will be moderated by BBC arts correspondent Will Gompertz, 
  • Online Platforms for the Arts: Put out to Pasture or a Place for Innovation? investigates what is being produced, what has been the impact – and what are the opportunities for artists? Moderated by creative producer Matt Locke, with participants Pegah Farahmand, editor of Random Acts on Channel 4, Cian Smyth, producer of The Space, Mary Sackville-West, producer of BBC’s Get Creative, and Alison Clark, director of combined arts at the Arts Council.

In the Marketplace, a new Arts Market Round Table on 6 June will invite artists working in documentary or experimenting with factual moving image. At the event artists can meet with decision-makers working across the broadcast, online and gallery sectors, industry, from BBC, Channel 4, ARTE, Forma Arts and the Serpentine Gallery. The idea is to bring practitioners together with arts commissioners working across a range of platforms to each explore different routes to financing, and different ways of working.

Bringing Superman Lives back to life

Kevin Smith
Films about films that were never completed offer intriguing glimpses of what could have been. The 1965 documentary The Epic That Never Was presented sequences from Alexander Korda’s unfinished 1937 production of I, Claudius starring Charles Laughton. Filming had to cease when actress Merle Oberon was involved in a car crash.

The collapse of Terry Gilliam’s bid to make The Man Who Killed Don Quixote in 2000 was captured by Keith Felton and Louis Pepe, who had set out to produce a ‘making of’ film along the lines of The Hamster Factor, which recorded life behind the scenes on Gilliam’s time travel drama Twelve Monkeys. In the end, their 2002 documentary Lost in La Mancha provided an intriguing portrait of how a movie production can be derailed by illness, the elements and insurance companies.

Jon Schnepp with
Tim Burton
Frank Pavich’s 2013 film Jodorowsky’s Dune documented at bid by Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ambitious attempt to film James Herbert’s science-fiction epic. This project would have tapped the talents of the likes of Salvador Dali, Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson, David Carradine, HR Giger, Douglas Trumbul Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd. In this case the cameras never started to roll.

Another film which never made it to the sound stage was Superman Lives, a 1990s' attempt to reboot the DC Comic after Christopher Reeve hung up his cape. The failure of Superman Lives to fly is recounted in a documentary by Jon Schnepp, The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?

In 1996, Warner Brothers engaged Kevin Smith to write the screenplay of Superman Lives. Tim Burton was hired to direct and Nicolas Cage cast as Superman. Then Warner Brothers scrapped the project shortly before principal photography began.

The Death Of Superman Lives: What Happened? features interviews with Tim Burton, Kevin Smith as well as producers Jon Peters and Lorenzo di Bonaventura; screenwriters Wesley Strick and Dan Gilroy, production designer Rick Heinrichs, special effects artist Steve Johnson, storyboard artist Tim Burgard and costume designer Colleen Atwood.

The Death Of Superman Lives: What Happened? was screened at MCM London ComicCon over the Bank Holiday weekend and is set to be theatrically released this summer.