Words like ‘disappointing’, ‘lackluster’ and ‘depressing’ were used by the international press to describe this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which wrapped up its 2003 edition on May 25. It was also a lackluster year for docs; none were in competition this year (unsurprising, since they are technically ineligible to compete, last year’s Bowling for Columbine notwithstanding) and few were screened. One exception was Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s American Splendor, which picked up a FIBRESCI (film critics’ award) in the Un Certain Regard section. The film combines documentary and fictional elements to tell the story of cartoonist Harvey Pekar.
Organizers could not have asked for a more fitting film to open a film festival in Las Vegas, U.S. than Wayne Ewing‘s doc Breakfast With Hunter, which follows gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson during his Pyrrhic attempts to bring his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to the big screen. Thompson will be present at the premiere of the doc, marking his first time back in Vegas since completing Fear and Loathing in the ’70s. The film will open the CineVegas International Film Festival (June 13 to 21, 2003). For more festival info, visit http://www. cinevegas.com.
The upcoming Newport International Film Festival (June 10 to 15, 2003) in the U.S. announced its lineup, which includes a number of docs, such as Spanish directors Carles Bosch and Josep Maria Domenech’s Balseros; Russian director Rostislav Aalto’s Cleaning Up!;and Brazilian director Jose Padilha’s Bus 174. For the full festival lineup, visit http://www.newportfilmfestival.com.
June 1: The deadline to sign up for the 2003 Advanced Platypus Workshop (July 5 to 13) in Ventura, U.S. The workshop is open only to graduates of the Platypus Workshop (a class for aspiring photojournalists to learn how to shoot and edit on DV.) The advanced workshop will be will be run by Oscar-nominated doc-maker Chuck Braverman and will cover development, sales, production, post-production and distribution. For more info, visit http://www.digitaljournalist.org.
June 13: Final deadline for entries to the 19th annual IDA (International Documentary Association) Awards. For more info, go to http://www.documentary.org.
June 15: The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival has extended its film competition deadline to June 15. For more info, visit http://www.jhfestival.org
June 15: The Woodstock Film Festival (September 17 to 21) in the U.S. is accepting submissions to its event until June 15. Entry forms and more info can be found at http://www.woodstock filmfestival.com.
July 15: Regular deadline for submissions to the Denver International Film Festival (October 9 to 19) in the U.S. For details, go to http://www.denverfilm.org.
August 15: Deadline for entries to the Sithengi and Cape Town World Cinema Festival (November 14 to 23, 2003) in South Africa. In 2002, its inaugural year, this event was known as the Sithengi Film Festival. For more information, visit the festival site at http://www.sithengi.co.za.
August 23: IFP/Los Angeles is accepting submissions for its annual Independent Producers Lab, a seven-week program designed to help filmmakers develop skills as independent producers. For more information or a Filmmaker Lab application form, go to http://www.ifp.org.