Special Report By Moira Sullivan
The Stockholm International Film Festival is considered one of the top 10 film festivals in the world. In the darkest time of the year in Sweden when the sun sets early in the afternoon the festival lights up the public.
Actress Lauren Bacall was selected this year to receive the festival's 'Lifetime Achievement Award'. She met the Swedish public in a 'Face 2 Face seminar' and revealed that life in the studio system of which she is regarded a legend was not always easy. She tells of not being able to take advantages of parts, and of being controlled by Howard Hawks, director of To Have and Have Not. Hawks, she claims, chose her to represent the 'woman who was equal to men'. Bacall was a different kind of femme fatal who did not spell ruin for men, but instead stood by their side and earned their respect. This deviation from the classic film noir female character has made Bacall unique. Lauren Bacall admitted that one of her favorite directors was Martin Scorcese. "Id be a wonderful hood. He doesn't understand what I'm saying. Don't you agree? Would I not be a fabulous 'Don'? Why can't I be that!'[See Special Report by Moira Sullivan on Lauren Bacall for Movie Magazine International]
This year the award for Best Film, the coveted Bronze Horse, went to Moroccan Nabil Ayouch for Ali Zaoua , a touching film on boys who live in street gangs in Casablanca. The film has won awards at other film festivals already in Mannheim-Heidelberg, Cairo and Olso. It is also Morrocco's contribution to the 2001 Academy Awards nominations.
Ayouch claims that Morocco does not want to see problems at the movies, but Ali Zaoua became an enormous public success and was seen by 140,000 people only three weeks after its premiere. Ayouch lived with the street boys who are the actors of this film for three years in order to gain their trust-- and became a sort of 'social worker with a camera'. He did not want to make a heavy 'docu-drama' but provide something more uplifting which gave the boys dignity. The film touches all ages with charming inserts of animation and exquisite cinematography.
Other notable awards went to Ellen Burstyn for Best Actress As Sara Goldfarb in Requiem For a Dream by Darren Aronofsky (USA). Burstyn plays an ordinary housewife that becomes an amphetamine addict while trying to lose weight for a television show. Aronofsky's film on drug addiction is a riveting, shocking testimony of the process of deterioration that besets healthy lives.
Debut film Billy Elliot by British theatre director StephenDaldry won the Best First Feature Film award. The film about 11-year old Billy who decides to learn ballet and boxing, meeting resistance from both father and brother walked away with two other awards. The E! Audience Award, and the international critic jury FIPRESCI award for Best Film. The Stockholm jury wrote that "Billy Elliot dances his way right to the stars".
Notable to the Stockholm event was the I- festival, an Internet festival of ten films where viewers could vote for best film. A short warm animation called Cloud Cover by Swedish director Lisbeth Svärling won Best I-festival film in an event watched by around 500,000 viewers on the Internet around the world during the festival. Svärling called the event 'democratic' and a good way of getting work out. Other digital film festivals on the web are cropping up, providing short film production with an accessible outlet. Formally, short films were a way to lead up to feature film production. Now they have come into their own and Stockholm International Film Festival is one of the first festivals to create a section exclusively for web broadcasting of shorts.
[Presentation by Git Scheynius, director of Stockholm International Film Festival and Suzanne Hugoson, coordinator of the I-festival for Movie Magazine International in Part 2 of this program]
This is Moira Sullivan for Movie Magazine International Stockholm, SWEDEN
© 2000 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 12/00
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