Bollywood

This article is about the Hindi film industry. For the entire film culture of India, see Cinema of India. For the tree species, see Bollywood (tree).

Bollywood is the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai (Bombay), Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; however, it is only a part of the large Indian film industry, which includes other production centres producing films in multiple languages.[1] Bollywood is one of the largest film producers in India and one of the largest centres of film production in the world.[2][3][4]

Bollywood is more formally referred to as Hindi cinema.[5] There has been a growing presence of Indian English in dialogue and songs as well. It is common to see films that feature dialogue with English words (also known as Hinglish), phrases, or even whole sentences.[6]

Etymology

The name “Bollywood” is a portmanteau derived from Bombay (the former name for Mumbai) and Hollywood, the center of the American film industry.[7] However, unlike Hollywood, Bollywood does not exist as a physical place. Though some deplore the name, arguing that it makes the industry look like a poor cousin to Hollywood,[7][8] it has its own entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.

The naming scheme for “Bollywood” was inspired by “Tollywood”, the name that was used to refer to the cinema of West Bengal. Dating back to 1932, “Tollywood” was the earliest Hollywood-inspired name, referring to the Bengali film industry based in Tollygunge, Calcutta, whose name is reminiscent of “Hollywood” and was the center of the cinema of India at the time.[9] It was this “chance juxtaposition of two pairs of rhyming syllables,” Holly and Tolly, that led to the portmanteau name “Tollywood” being coined. The name “Tollywood” went on to be used as a nickname for the Bengali film industry by the popular Kolkata-based Junior Statesman youth magazine, establishing a precedent for other film industries to use similar-sounding names, eventually leading to the term “Bollywood” being coined.[10] However, more popularly, Tollywood is now used to refer to the Telugu Film Industry in Telangana & Andhra Pradesh. The term “Bollywood” itself has origins in the 1970s, when India overtook America as the world’s largest film producer. Credit for the term has been claimed by several different people, including the lyricist, filmmaker and scholar Amit Khanna,[11] and the journalist Bevinda Collaco.[12]

History

Film poster for first Indian sound film, Ardeshir Irani‘s Alam Ara (1931)

Raja Harishchandra (1913), by Dadasaheb Phalke, is known as the first silent feature film made in India. By the 1930s, the industry was producing over 200 films per annum.[13] The first Indian sound film, Ardeshir Irani‘s Alam Ara (1931), was a major commercial success.[14] There was clearly a huge market for talkies and musicals; Bollywood and all the regional film industries quickly switched to sound filming.

The 1930s and 1940s were tumultuous times: India was buffeted by the Great Depression, World War II, the Indian independence movement, and the violence of the Partition. Most Bollywood films were unabashedly escapist, but there were also a number of filmmakers who tackled tough social issues, or used the struggle for Indian independence as a backdrop for their plots.[13]

In 1937, Ardeshir Irani, of Alam Ara fame, made the first colour film in Hindi, Kisan Kanya. The next year, he made another colour film, a version of Mother India. However, colour did not become a popular feature until the late 1950s. At this time, lavish romantic musicals and melodramas were the staple fare at the cinema.

Golden Age

Awaara (1951) featuring Raj Kapoor became an overnight sensation in South Asia, and found success abroad in the Soviet Union, East Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.[15]

Following India’s independence, the period from the late 1940s to the 1960s is regarded by film historians as the “Golden Age” of Hindi cinema.[16][17][18] Some of the most critically acclaimed Hindi films of all time were produced during this period. Examples include the Guru Dutt films Pyaasa (1957) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) and the Raj Kapoor films Awaara (1951) and Shree 420 (1955). These films expressed social themes mainly dealing with working-class urban life in India; Awaara presented the city as both a nightmare and a dream, while Pyaasa critiqued the unreality of city life.[19] Some of the most famous epic films of Hindi cinema were also produced at the time, including Mehboob Khan‘s Mother India (1957), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film,[20] and K. Asif‘s Mughal-e-Azam (1960).[21] Madhumati (1958), directed by Bimal Roy and written by Ritwik Ghatak, popularised the theme of reincarnation in Western popular culture.[22] Other acclaimed mainstream Hindi filmmakers at the time included Kamal Amrohi and Vijay Bhatt. Successful actors at the time included Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt, while successful actresses included Nargis, Vyjayanthimala, Meena Kumari, Nutan, Madhubala, Waheeda Rehman and Mala Sinha.[23]

While commercial Hindi cinema was thriving, the 1950s also saw the emergence of a new Parallel Cinema movement.[19] Though the movement was mainly led by Bengali cinema, it also began gaining prominence in Hindi cinema. Early examples of Hindi films in this movement include Chetan Anand‘s Neecha Nagar (1946)[24] and Bimal Roy’s Do Bigha Zamin (1953). Their critical acclaim, as well as the latter’s commercial success, paved the way for Indian neorealism[25] and the Indian New Wave.[26] Some of the internationally acclaimed Hindi filmmakers involved in the movement included Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani, Shyam Benegal and Vijaya Mehta.[19]

Ever since the social realist film Neecha Nagar won the Grand Prize at the first Cannes Film Festival,[24] Hindi films were frequently in competition for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, with some of them winning major prizes at the festival.[27] Guru Dutt, while overlooked in his own lifetime, had belatedly generated international recognition much later in the 1980s.[27][28] Dutt is now regarded as one of the greatest Asian filmmakers of all time, alongside the more famous Indian Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray. The 2002 Sight & Sound critics’ and directors’ poll of greatest filmmakers ranked Dutt at No. 73 on the list.[29] Some of his films are now included among the greatest films of all time, with Pyaasa (1957) being featured in Time magazine’s “All-TIME” 100 best movies list,[30] and with both Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) tied at #160 in the 2002 Sight & Sound critics’ and directors’ poll of all-time greatest films. Several other Hindi films from this era were also ranked in the Sight & Sound poll, including Raj Kapoor‘s Awaara (1951), Vijay Bhatt‘s Baiju Bawra (1952), Mehboob Khan‘s Mother India (1957) and K. Asif‘s Mughal-e-Azam (1960) all tied at #346 on the list.[31]

Modern cinema

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, romance movies and action films starred actors like Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar and Shashi Kapoor and actresses like Sharmila Tagore, Mumtaz and Asha Parekh. In the mid-1970s, romantic confections made way for gritty, violent films about gangsters (see Indian mafia) and bandits. Amitabh Bachchan, the star known for his “angry young man” roles, rode the crest of this trend with actors like Mithun Chakraborty, Anil Kapoor and Sunny Deol, which lasted into the early 1990s. Actresses from this era included Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan and Rekha.[23]

Some Hindi filmmakers such as Shyam Benegal continued to produce realistic Parallel Cinema throughout the 1970s,[32] alongside Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Ketan Mehta, Govind Nihalani and Vijaya Mehta.[19] However, the ‘art film’ bent of the Film Finance Corporation came under criticism during a Committee on Public Undertakings investigation in 1976, which accused the body of not doing enough to encourage commercial cinema. The 1970s thus saw the rise of commercial cinema in the form of enduring films such as Sholay (1975), which solidified Amitabh Bachchan’s position as a lead actor. The devotional classic Jai Santoshi Ma was also released in 1975.[33] Another important film from 1975 was Deewar, directed by Yash Chopra and written by Salim-Javed. A crime film pitting “a policeman against his brother, a gang leader based on real-life smuggler Haji Mastan“, portrayed by Amitabh Bachchan, it was described as being “absolutely key to Indian cinema” by Danny Boyle.[34] The most internationally acclaimed Hindi film of the 1980s was Mira Nair‘s Salaam Bombay! (1988), which won the Camera d’Or at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Lagaan was nominated for the best foreign language film at the 74th Academy Award nominations ceremony.[35]

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the pendulum swung back toward family-centric romantic musicals with the success of such films as Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Dil (1990), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994) and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), making stars out of a new generation of actors (such as Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan) and actresses (such as Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla and Kajol).[23] In that point of time, action and comedy films were also successful, with actors like Govinda and actresses such as Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor appearing in popular comedy films, and stunt actor Akshay Kumar gaining popularity for performing dangerous stunts in action films in his well known Khiladi (film series) and other action films.[36][37] Furthermore, this decade marked the entry of new performers in arthouse and independent films, some of which succeeded commercially, the most influential example being Satya (1998), directed by Ram Gopal Varma and written by Anurag Kashyap. The critical and commercial success of Satya led to the emergence of a distinct genre known as Mumbai noir,[38] urban films reflecting social problems in the city of Mumbai.[39] This led to a resurgence of Parallel Cinema by the end of the decade.[38] These films often featured actors like Nana Patekar, Manoj Bajpai, Manisha Koirala, Tabu and Urmila Matondkar, whose performances were usually critically acclaimed.

The 2000s saw a growth in Bollywood’s popularity in the world. This led the nation’s filmmaking to new heights in terms of quality, cinematography and innovative story lines as well as technical advances in areas such as special effects, animation, and so on.[40] Some of the largest production houses, among them Yash Raj Films and Dharma Productions were the producers of new modern films.[40] Some popular films of the decade were Koi… Mil Gaya (2003), Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), Veer-Zaara (2004), Dhoom (2004), Hum Tum (2004), Dhoom 2 (2006), Krrish (2006), and Jab We Met (2007). These films starred established actors. However, the mid-2000s also saw the rise of a new generation of popular actors like Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan, Shahid Kapoor, and Abhishek Bachchan, as well as a new generation of popular actresses like Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Aishwarya Rai, Kareena Kapoor, and Priyanka Chopra.

In the early 2010s, established actors like Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar became known for making big-budget masala entertainers like Dabangg and Rowdy Rathore opposite younger actresses like Sonakshi Sinha. These films were often not critically acclaimed, but were often major commercial successes. While most stars from the 2000s continued their successful careers into the next decade, the 2010s also saw the rise of a new crop of actors like Ranbir Kapoor, Imran Khan, Ranveer Singh, and Arjun Kapoor, as well as actresses like Vidya Balan, Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, and Parineeti Chopra.

The Hindi film industry has preferred films that appeal to all segments of the audience (see the discussion in Ganti, 2004, cited in references), and has resisted making films that target narrow audiences. It was believed that aiming for a broad spectrum would maximise box office receipts. However, filmmakers may be moving towards accepting some box-office segmentation, between films that appeal to rural Indians, and films that appeal to urban and overseas audiences.

Influences for Bollywood

Gokulsing and Dissanayake identify six major influences that have shaped the conventions of Indian popular cinema:[41]

  • The ancient Indian epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana which have exerted a profound influence on the thought and imagination of Indian popular cinema, particularly in its narratives. Examples of this influence include the techniques of a side story, back-story and story within a story. Indian popular films often have plots which branch off into sub-plots; such narrative dispersals can clearly be seen in the 1993 films Khalnayak and Gardish.[41]
  • Ancient Sanskrit drama, with its highly stylised nature and emphasis on spectacle, where music, dance and gesture combined “to create a vibrant artistic unit with dance and mime being central to the dramatic experience.” Sanskrit dramas were known as natya, derived from the root word nrit (dance), characterising them as specacular dance-dramas which has continued Indian cinema.[41] The theory of rasa dating back to ancient Sanskrit drama is believed to be one of the most fundamental features that differentiate Indian cinema, particularly Hindi cinema, from that of the Western world.[42]
  • The traditional folk theatre of India, which became popular from around the 10th century with the decline of Sanskrit theatre. These regional traditions include the Yatra of Bengal, the Ramlila of Uttar Pradesh, and the Terukkuttu of Tamil Nadu.[41]
  • The Parsi theatre, which “blended realism and fantasy, music and dance, narrative and spectacle, earthy dialogue and ingenuity of stage presentation, integrating them into a dramatic discourse of melodrama. The Parsi plays contained crude humour, melodious songs and music, sensationalism and dazzling stagecraft.”[41]
  • Hollywood, where musicals were popular from the 1920s to the 1950s, though Indian filmmakers departed from their Hollywood counterparts in several ways. “For example, the Hollywood musicals had as their plot the world of entertainment itself. Indian filmmakers, while enhancing the elements of fantasy so pervasive in Indian popular films, used song and music as a natural mode of articulation in a given situation in their films. There is a strong Indian tradition of narrating mythology, history, fairy stories and so on through song and dance.” In addition, “whereas Hollywood filmmakers strove to conceal the constructed nature of their work so that the realistic narrative was wholly dominant, Indian filmmakers made no attempt to conceal the fact that what was shown on the screen was a creation, an illusion, a fiction. However, they demonstrated how this creation intersected with people’s day to day lives in complex and interesting ways.”[41]
  • Western musical television, particularly MTV, which has had an increasing influence since the 1990s, as can be seen in the pace, camera angles, dance sequences and music of 2000s Indian films. An early example of this approach was in Mani Ratnam‘s Bombay (1995).[41]

Influence of Bollywood

Perhaps the biggest influence of Bollywood has been on nationalism in India itself, where along with rest of Indian cinema, it has become part and parcel of the ‘Indian story’.[43] In the words of the economist and Bollywood biographer Lord Meghnad Desai,[43]

Cinema actually has been the most vibrant medium for telling India its own story, the story of its struggle for independence, its constant struggle to achieve national integration and to emerge as a global presence.

In the 2000s, Bollywood began influencing musical films in the Western world, and played a particularly instrumental role in the revival of the American musical film genre. Baz Luhrmann stated that his musical film Moulin Rouge! (2001) was directly inspired by Bollywood musicals.[44] The film incorporated an Indian-themed play based on the ancient Sanskrit drama Mṛcchakatika and a Bollywood-style dance sequence with a song from the film China Gate. The critical and financial success of Moulin Rouge! renewed interest in the then-moribund Western musical genre, and subsequently films such as Chicago, The Producers, Rent, Dreamgirls, Hairspray, Sweeney Todd, Across the Universe, The Phantom of the Opera, Enchanted and Mamma Mia! were produced, fuelling a renaissance of the genre.[45][46]

A. R. Rahman, an Indian film composer, wrote the music for Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Bombay Dreams, and a musical version of Hum Aapke Hain Koun has played in London’s West End. The Bollywood musical Lagaan (2001) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and two other Bollywood films Devdas (2002) and Rang De Basanti (2006) were nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Danny Boyle‘s Slumdog Millionaire (2008), which has won four Golden Globes and eight Academy Awards, was also directly inspired by Bollywood films,[34][47] and is considered to be a “homage to Hindi commercial cinema”.[48] The theme of reincarnation was also popularised in Western popular culture through Bollywood films, with Madhumati (1958) inspiring the Hollywood film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975),[22] which in turn inspired the Bollywood film Karz (1980), which in turn influenced another Hollywood film Chances Are (1989).[49] The 1975 film Chhoti Si Baat is believed to have inspired Hitch (2005), which in turn inspired the Bollywood film Partner (2007).[50]

The influence of Bollywood filmi music can also be seen in popular music elsewhere in the world. In 1978, technopop pioneers Haruomi Hosono and Ryuichi Sakamoto of the Yellow Magic Orchestra produced an electronic album Cochin Moon based on an experimental fusion between electronic music and Bollywood-inspired Indian music.[51] Devo‘s 1988 hit song “Disco Dancer” was inspired by the song “I am a Disco Dancer” from the Bollywood film Disco Dancer (1982).[52] The 2002 song “Addictive“, sung by Truth Hurts and produced by DJ Quik and Dr. Dre, was lifted from Lata Mangeshkar‘s “Thoda Resham Lagta Hai” from Jyoti (1981).[53] The Black Eyed PeasGrammy Award winning 2005 song “Don’t Phunk with My Heart” was inspired by two 1970s Bollywood songs: “Ye Mera Dil Yaar Ka Diwana” from Don (1978) and “Ae Nujawan Hai Sub” from Apradh (1972).[54] Both songs were originally composed by Kalyanji Anandji, sung by Asha Bhosle, and featured the dancer Helen.[55] Also in 2005, the Kronos Quartet re-recorded several R. D. Burman compositions, with Asha Bhosle as the singer, into an album You’ve Stolen My Heart: Songs from R.D. Burman’s Bollywood, which was nominated for “Best Contemporary World Music Album” at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Filmi music composed by A. R. Rahman (who would later win two Academy Awards for the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack) has frequently been sampled by musicians elsewhere in the world, including the Singaporean artist Kelly Poon, the Uzbek artist Iroda Dilroz, the French rap group La Caution, the American artist Ciara, and the German band Löwenherz,[56] among others. Many Asian Underground artists, particularly those among the overseas Indian diaspora, have also been inspired by Bollywood music.

Genre conventions

Bollywood films are mostly musicals and are expected to contain catchy music in the form of song-and-dance numbers woven into the script. A film’s success often depends on the quality of such musical numbers.[57] Indeed, a film’s music is often released before the movie and helps increase the audience.

Indian audiences expect full value for their money, with a good entertainer generally referred to as paisa vasool, (literally, “money’s worth”).[58] Songs and dances, love triangles, comedy and dare-devil thrills are all mixed up in a three-hour extravaganza with an intermission. They are called masala films, after the Hindi word for a spice mixture. Like masalas, these movies are a mixture of many things such as action, comedy, romance and so on. Most films have heroes who are able to fight off villains all by themselves.

Melodrama and romance are common ingredients to Bollywood films. Pictured Achhut Kanya(1936)

Bollywood plots have tended to be melodramatic. They frequently employ formulaic ingredients such as star-crossed lovers and angry parents, love triangles, family ties, sacrifice, corrupt politicians, kidnappers, conniving villains, courtesans with hearts of gold, long-lost relatives and siblings separated by fate, dramatic reversals of fortune, and convenient coincidences.

There have always been Indian films with more artistic aims and more sophisticated stories, both inside and outside the Bollywood tradition (see Parallel Cinema). They often lost out at the box office to movies with more mass appeal. Bollywood conventions are changing, however. A large Indian diaspora in English-speaking countries, and increased Western influence at home, have nudged Bollywood films closer to Hollywood models.[59]

Film critic Lata Khubchandani writes, “our earliest films … had liberal doses of sex and kissing scenes in them. Strangely, it was after Independence the censor board came into being and so did all the strictures.”[60] Plots now tend to feature Westernised urbanites dating and dancing in clubs rather than centring on pre-arranged marriages. Though these changes can widely be seen in contemporary Bollywood, traditional conservative ways of Indian culture continue to exist in India outside the industry and an element of resistance by some to western-based influences.[59] Despite this, Bollywood continues to play a major role in fashion in India.[59] Some studies into fashion in India have revealed that some people are unaware that the changing nature of fashion in Bollywood films are often influenced by globalisation; many consider the clothes worn by Bollywood actors as authentically Indian.[59]

Cast and crew

for further details see Indian movie actors, Indian movie actresses, Indian film directors, Indian film music directors and Indian playback singers
Amitabh Bachchan is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema.

Bollywood employs people from all parts of India. It attracts thousands of aspiring actors and actresses, all hoping for a break in the industry. Models and beauty contestants, television actors, theatre actors and even common people come to Mumbai with the hope and dream of becoming a star. Just as in Hollywood, very few succeed. Since many Bollywood films are shot abroad, many foreign extras are employed too.[61]

Very few non-Indian actors are able to make a mark in Bollywood, though many have tried from time to time. There have been some exceptions, of which one recent example is the hit film Rang De Basanti, where the lead actress is Alice Patten, an Englishwoman. Kisna, Lagaan, and The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey also featured foreign actors. Of late, Emma Brown Garett, an Australian born actress, has starred in a few Indian films.

Bollywood can be very clannish, and the relatives of film-industry insiders have an edge in getting coveted roles in films or being part of a film’s crew. However, industry connections are no guarantee of a long career: competition is fierce and if film industry scions do not succeed at the box office, their careers will falter. Some of the biggest stars, such as Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan and Akshay Kumar have succeeded despite a lack of any show business connections. For film clans, see List of Hindi film clans.

Sound

Sound in Bollywood films was once rarely recorded on location (otherwise known as sync sound). Therefore, the sound was usually created (or re-created) entirely in the studio,[62] with the actors reciting their lines as their images appear on-screen in the studio in the process known as “looping in the sound” or ADR—with the foley and sound effects added later. This created several problems, since the sound in these films usually occurs a frame or two earlier or later than the mouth movements or gestures.[62] The actors had to act twice: once on-location, once in the studio—and the emotional level on set is often very difficult to re-create. Commercial Indian films, not just the Hindi-language variety, are known for their lack of ambient sound, so there is a silence underlying everything instead of the background sound and noises usually employed in films to create aurally perceivable depth and environment.

The ubiquity of ADR in Bollywood cinema became prevalent in the early 1960s with the arrival of the Arriflex 3 camera, which required a blimp (cover) in order to shield the sound of the camera, for which it was notorious, from on-location filming. Commercial Indian filmmakers, known for their speed, never bothered to blimp the camera, and its excessive noise required that everything had to be re-created in the studio. Eventually, this became the standard for Indian films.

The trend was bucked in 2001, after a 30-year hiatus of synchronised sound, with the film Lagaan, in which producer-star Aamir Khan insisted that the sound be done on location.[62] This opened up a heated debate on the use and economic feasibility of on-location sound, and several Bollywood films have employed on-location sound since then.

Bollywood song and dance

Further information: Hindi dance songs, Filmi and Music of Bollywood
Priyanka Chopra performing at the 18th Annual Colors Screen Awards (2012)

Bollywood film music is called filmi music (from Hindi, meaning “of films”). Songs from Bollywood movies are generally pre-recorded by professional playback singers, with the actors then lip synching the words to the song on-screen, often while dancing. While most actors, especially today, are excellent dancers, few are also singers. One notable exception was Kishore Kumar, who starred in several major films in the 1950s while also having a stellar career as a playback singer. K. L. Saigal, Suraiyya, and Noor Jehan were also known as both singers and actors. Some actors in the last thirty years have sung one or more songs themselves; for a list, see Singing actors and actresses in Indian cinema.

Playback singers are prominently featured in the opening credits and have their own fans who will go to an otherwise lackluster movie just to hear their favourites. Going by the quality as well as the quantity of the songs they rendered, most notable singers of Bollywood are Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begum, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sadhana Sargam and Alka Yagnik among female playback singers; and K. L. Saigal, Talat Mahmood, Mukesh, Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan and Sonu Nigam among male playback singers. Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi are often considered arguably the finest of the singers that have lent their voice to Bollywood songs, followed by Lata Mangeshkar, who, through the course of a career spanning over six decades, has recorded thousands of songs for Indian movies. The composers of film music, known as music directors, are also well-known. Their songs can make or break a film and usually do. Remixing of film songs with modern beats and rhythms is a common occurrence today, and producers may even release remixed versions of some of their films’ songs along with the films’ regular soundtrack albums.

The dancing in Bollywood films, especially older ones, is primarily modelled on Indian dance: classical dance styles, dances of historic northern Indian courtesans (tawaif), or folk dances. In modern films, Indian dance elements often blend with Western dance styles (as seen on MTV or in Broadway musicals), though it is usual to see Western pop and pure classical dance numbers side by side in the same film. The hero or heroine will often perform with a troupe of supporting dancers. Many song-and-dance routines in Indian films feature unrealistically instantaneous shifts of location or changes of costume between verses of a song. If the hero and heroine dance and sing a duet, it is often staged in beautiful natural surroundings or architecturally grand settings. This staging is referred to as a “picturisation”.

Songs typically comment on the action taking place in the movie, in several ways. Sometimes, a song is worked into the plot, so that a character has a reason to sing. Other times, a song is an externalisation of a character’s thoughts, or presages an event that has not occurred yet in the plot of the movie. In this case, the event is often two characters falling in love. The songs are also often referred to as a “dream sequence”, and anything can happen that would not normally happen in the real world.

Previously song and dance scenes often used to be shot in Kashmir, but due to political unrest in Kashmir since the end of the 1980s,[63] those scenes have since then often been shot in Western Europe, particularly in Switzerland and Austria.[64][65]

Bollywood films have always used what are now called “item numbers“. A physically attractive female character (the “item girl”), often completely unrelated to the main cast and plot of the film, performs a catchy song and dance number in the film. In older films, the “item number” may be performed by a courtesan (tawaif) dancing for a rich client or as part of a cabaret show. The actress Helen was famous for her cabaret numbers. In modern films, item numbers may be inserted as discotheque sequences, dancing at celebrations, or as stage shows.

For the last few decades Bollywood producers have been releasing the film’s soundtrack, as tapes or CDs, before the main movie release, hoping that the music will pull audiences into the cinema later. Often the soundtrack is more popular than the movie. In the last few years some producers have also been releasing music videos, usually featuring a song from the film. However, some promotional videos feature a song which is not included in the movie.

Dialogues and lyrics

Main article: Music of Bollywood

The film script or lines of dialogue (called “dialogues” in Indian English) and the song lyrics are often written by different people.

Dialogues are usually written in an unadorned Hindi that would be understood by the largest possible audience.[5] Some movies, however, have used regional dialects to evoke a village setting, or old-fashioned, courtly, Persian-influenced Urdu in Mughal era historical films. Jyotika Virdi, in her book The cinematic imagiNation [sic], wrote about the presence of Urdu in Hindi films: “Urdu is often used in film titles, screenplay, lyrics, the language of love, war, and martyrdom.” However, she further discussed its decline over the years: “The extent of Urdu used in commercial Hindi cinema has not been stable … the decline of Urdu is mirrored in Hindi films … It is true that many Urdu words have survived and have become part of Hindi cinema’s popular vocabulary. But that is as far as it goes.”[66] Contemporary mainstream movies also make great use of English. According to Bollywood Audiences Editorial, “English has begun to challenge the ideological work done by Urdu.”[67] Some movie scripts are first written in Latin script.[68] Characters may shift from one language to the other to express a certain atmosphere (for example, English in a business setting and Hindi in an informal one).

Cinematic language, whether in dialogues or lyrics, is often melodramatic and invokes God, family, mother, duty, and self-sacrifice liberally. Song lyrics are often about love. Bollywood song lyrics, especially in the old movies, frequently use the poetic vocabulary of court Urdu, with many Persian loanwords.[69] Another source for love lyrics is the long Hindu tradition of poetry about the amours of Krishna, Radha, and the gopis, as referenced in films such as Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje and Lagaan.

Music directors often prefer working with certain lyricists, to the point that the lyricist and composer are seen as a team. This phenomenon is compared to the pairings of American composers and songwriters that created old-time Broadway musicals.

Finances

Bollywood films are multi-million dollar productions, with the most expensive productions costing up to 1 billion rupees (roughly USD 20 million). The latest Science fiction movie Ra.One was made at an immense budget of 135 crores (roughly USD 27 million), making it the most expensive movie ever produced in Bollywood.[70] Sets, costumes, special effects, and cinematography were less than world-class up until the mid-to-late 1990s, although with some notable exceptions. As Western films and television gain wider distribution in India itself, there is an increasing pressure for Bollywood films to attain the same production levels, particularly in areas such as action and special effects. Recent Bollywood films have employed international technicians to improve in these areas, such as Krrish (2006) which has action choreographed by Hong Kong based Tony Ching. The increasing accessibility to professional action and special effects, coupled with rising film budgets, has seen an explosion in the action and sci-fi genres.

Sequences shot overseas have proved a real box office draw, so Mumbai film crews are increasingly filming in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, continental Europe and elsewhere. Nowadays, Indian producers are winning more and more funding for big-budget films shot within India as well, such as Lagaan, Devdas and other recent films.

Funding for Bollywood films often comes from private distributors and a few large studios. Indian banks and financial institutions were forbidden from lending money to movie studios. However, this ban has now been lifted.[71] As finances are not regulated, some funding also comes from illegitimate sources, such as the Mumbai underworld. The Mumbai underworld has been known to be involved in the production of several films, and are notorious for patronising several prominent film personalities. On occasion, they have been known to use money and muscle power to get their way in cinematic deals. In January 2000, Mumbai mafia hitmen shot Rakesh Roshan, a film director and father of star Hrithik Roshan. In 2001, the Central Bureau of Investigation seized all prints of the movie Chori Chori Chupke Chupke after the movie was found to be funded by members of the Mumbai underworld.[72]

Another problem facing Bollywood is widespread copyright infringement of its films. Often, bootleg DVD copies of movies are available before the prints are officially released in cinemas. Manufacturing of bootleg DVD, VCD, and VHS copies of the latest movie titles is a well established ‘small scale industry’ in parts of South Asia and South East Asia. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) estimates that the Bollywood industry loses $100 million annually in loss of revenue from pirated home videos and DVDs. Besides catering to the homegrown market, demand for these copies is large amongst some sections of the Indian diaspora, too. (In fact, bootleg copies are the only way people in Pakistan can watch Bollywood movies, since the Government of Pakistan has banned their sale, distribution and telecast). Films are frequently broadcast without compensation by countless small cable TV companies in India and other parts of South Asia. Small convenience stores run by members of the Indian diaspora in the US and the UK regularly stock tapes and DVDs of dubious provenance, while consumer copying adds to the problem. The availability of illegal copies of movies on the Internet also contributes to the piracy problem.

Satellite TV, television and imported foreign films are making huge inroads into the domestic Indian entertainment market. In the past, most Bollywood films could make money; now fewer tend to do so. However, most Bollywood producers make money, recouping their investments from many sources of revenue, including selling ancillary rights. There are also increasing returns from theatres in Western countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, where Bollywood is slowly getting noticed. As more Indians migrate to these countries, they form a growing market for upscale Indian films.

For a comparison of Hollywood and Bollywood financial figures, see chart. It shows tickets sold in 2002 and total revenue estimates. Bollywood sold 3.6 billion tickets and had total revenues (theatre tickets, DVDs, television and so on.) of US$1.3 billion, whereas Hollywood films sold 2.6 billion tickets and generated total revenues (again from all formats) of US$51 billion.

Advertising

Many Indian artists used to make a living by hand-painting movie billboards and posters (The well-known artist M.F. Hussain used to paint film posters early in his career). This was because human labour was found to be cheaper than printing and distributing publicity material.[73] Now, a majority of the huge and ubiquitous billboards in India’s major cities are created with computer-printed vinyl. The old hand-painted posters, once regarded as ephemera, are becoming increasingly collectible as folk art.[73][74][75][76]

Releasing the film music, or music videos, before the actual release of the film can also be considered a form of advertising. A popular tune is believed to help pull audiences into the theatres.[77]

Bollywood publicists have begun to use the Internet as a venue for advertising. Most of the better-funded film releases now have their own websites, where browsers can view trailers, stills, and information about the story, cast, and crew.[78]

Bollywood is also used to advertise other products. Product placement, as used in Hollywood, is widely practised in Bollywood.[79]

Bollywood movie stars appear in print and television advertisements for other products, such as watches or soap (see Celebrity endorsement). Advertisers say that a star endorsement boosts sales.

Awards

Shahrukh Khan receiving the Apsara Film and Television Producers Guild Awards for Best Actor in readers’ choice, 2011.

The Filmfare Awards ceremony is one of the most prominent film events given for Hindi films in India.[80] The Indian screen magazine Filmfare started the first Filmfare Awards in 1954, and awards were given to the best films of 1953. The ceremony was referred to as the Clare Awards after the magazine’s editor. Modelled after the poll-based merit format of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, individuals may submit their votes in separate categories. A dual voting system was developed in 1956.[81] Like the Oscars, the Filmfare awards are frequently accused of bias towards commercial success rather than artistic merit.

As the Filmfare, the National Film Awards were introduced in 1954. Since 1973, the Indian government has sponsored the National Film Awards, awarded by the government run Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF). The DFF screens not only Bollywood films, but films from all the other regional movie industries and independent/art films. These awards are handed out at an annual ceremony presided over by the President of India. Under this system, in contrast to the National Film Awards, which are decided by a panel appointed by Indian Government, the Filmfare Awards are voted for by both the public and a committee of experts.[82]

Additional ceremonies held within India are:

Ceremonies held overseas are:

Most of these award ceremonies are lavishly staged spectacles, featuring singing, dancing, and numerous celebrities.

Film education

Popularity and appeal

Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan popularly called as SRK by Bollywood fans, is often considered the most popular Bollywood celebrity in India.[83][84]

Besides being popular among the India diaspora, such far off locations as Nigeria to Egypt to Senegal and to Russia generations of non-Indian fans have grown up with Bollywood during the years, bearing witness to the cross-cultural appeal of Indian movies.[85] Over the last years of the twentieth century and beyond, Bollywood progressed in its popularity as it entered the consciousness of Western audiences and producers,[40][86] with Western actors now actively seeking roles in Bollywood movies.[87]

Africa

Bollywood star Salman Khan at People’s Choice Awards 2012

Historically, Hindi films have been distributed to some parts of Africa, largely by Lebanese businessmen. Mother India (1957), for example, continued to be played in Nigeria decades after its release. Indian movies have also gained ground so as to alter the style of Hausa fashions, songs have also been copied by Hausa singers and stories have influenced the writings of Nigerian novelists. Stickers of Indian films and stars decorate taxis and buses in Northern Nigeria, while posters of Indian films adorn the walls of tailor shops and mechanics’ garages in the country. Unlike in Europe and North America where Indian films largely cater to the expatriate Indian market yearning to keep in touch with their homeland, in West Africa, as in many other parts of the world, such movies rose in popularity despite the lack of a significant Indian audience, where movies are about an alien culture, based on a religion wholly different, and, for the most part, a language that is unintelligible to the viewers. One such explanation for this lies in the similarities between the two cultures. Other similarities include wearing turbans; the presence of animals in markets; porters carrying large bundles, chewing sugar cane; youths riding Bajaj motor scooters; wedding celebrations, and so forth. With the strict Muslim culture, Indian movies were said to show “respect” toward women, where Hollywood movies were seen to have “no shame”. In Indian movies women were modestly dressed, men and women rarely kiss, and there is no nudity, thus Indian movies are said to “have culture” that Hollywood films lack. The latter choice was a failure because “they don’t base themselves on the problems of the people,” where the former is based socialist values and on the reality of developing countries emerging from years of colonialism. Indian movies also allowed for a new youth culture to follow without such ideological baggage as “becoming western.”[85]

Several Bollywood personalities have avenued to the continent for both shooting movies and off-camera projects. The film Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav (2005) was one of many movies shot in South Africa.[88] Dil Jo Bhi Kahey (2005) was shot almost entirely in Mauritius, which has a large ethnically Indian population.

Ominously, however, the popularity of old Bollywood versus a new, changing Bollywood seems to be diminishing the popularity on the continent. The changing style of Bollywood has begun to question such an acceptance. The new era features more sexually explicit and violent films. Nigerian viewers, for example, commented that older films of the 1950s and 1960s had culture to the newer, more westernised picturizations.[85] The old days of India avidly “advocating decolonization … and India’s policy was wholly influenced by his missionary zeal to end racial domination and discrimination in the African territories” were replaced by newer realities.[89] The emergence of Nollywood, Africa’s local movie industry has also contributed to the declining popularity of Bollywood films. A greater globalised world worked in tandem with the sexualisation of Indian films so as to become more like American films, thus negating the preferred values of an old Bollywood and diminishing Indian soft power.

Additionally, classic Bollywood actors like Kishore Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan have historically enjoyed popularity in Egypt and Somalia.[90] In Ethiopia, Bollwood movies are shown alongside Hollywood productions in Piazza theatres, such as the Cinema Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.[91] In the Maghreb, Bollywood films are also broadcast, though local aesthetics tend much more toward expressive or auteur cinema than commercial fare.[92]

Asia

Bollywood stars Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor at the 53rd Filmfare Awards ceremony

Bollywood films are widely watched in South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Many Pakistanis watch Bollywood films, as they understand Hindi (due to its linguistic similarity to Urdu).[93] Pakistan banned the legal import of Bollywood movies in 1965. However, trade in pirated DVDs[94] and illegal cable broadcasts ensured the continued popularity of Bollywood releases in Pakistan. Exceptions were made for a few films, such as the 2006 colorised re-release of the classic Mughal-e-Azam or the 2006 film Taj Mahal. Early in 2008, the Pakistani government eased the ban and allowed the import of even more movies; 16 were screened in 2008.[95] Continued easing followed in 2009 and 2010. The new policy is opposed by nationalists and representatives of Pakistan’s small film industry but is embraced by cinema owners, who are making profits after years of low receipts.[96]

Bollywood movies are popular in Afghanistan due to the country’s proximity to the Indian subcontinent and cultural perspectives present in the movies.[97] A number of Bollywood movies were filmed inside Afghanistan while some dealt with the country, including Dharmatma, Kabul Express, Khuda Gawah and Escape From Taliban.[98][99] Hindi films have been popular in Arab countries, including Palestine, Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf countries.[100] Imported Indian films are usually subtitled in Arabic upon the film’s release. Since the early 2000s, Bollywood has progressed in Israel. Special channels dedicated to Indian films have been displayed on cable television.[101] Bollywood films are popular in Southeast Asia (particularly in Maritime Southeast Asia)[102] and Central Asia (particularly in Uzbekistan[103] and Tajikistan).[104]

Bollywood films are widely appreciated in East Asian countries such as China, Japan, South Korea and etc. Some Hindi movies had success in the China and South Korea, Japan in the 1940s and 1950s and are popular till today. The most popular Hindi films in that country were Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946), Awaara (1951) and Do Bigha Zamin (1953). Raj Kapoor was a famous movie star in China, and the song “Awara Hoon” (“I am a Tramp”) was popular in the country. Since then, Hindi films significantly declined in popularity in China, until the Academy Award nominated Lagaan (2001) became the first Indian film to have a nation-wide release there in decades.[105] The Chinese filmmaker He Ping was impressed by Lagaan, especially its soundtrack, and thus hired the film’s music composer A. R. Rahman to score the soundtrack for his film Warriors of Heaven and Earth (2003).[106] Several older Hindi films have a cult following in Japan, particularly the films directed by Guru Dutt.[107]

Indian films are the most popular foreign films in Tajikistan, and Hindi-Urdu departments are very large in the country.[108]

Europe

“Bollywood Steps” show from Bristol

The awareness of Hindi cinema is substantial in the United Kingdom,[109] where they frequently enter the UK top ten. Many films, such as Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001) have been set in London. Bollywood is also appreciated in France, Germany, the Netherlands,[110] and the Scandinavian countries. Various Bollywood movies are dubbed in German and shown on the German television channel RTL II on a regular basis.[111]

Bollywood films are particularly popular in the former Soviet Union.[112] Bollywood films have been dubbed into Russian, and shown in prominent theatres such as Mosfilm and Lenfilm.

Ashok Sharma, Indian Ambassador to Suriname, who has served three times in the Commonwealth of Independent States region during his diplomatic career said:

The popularity of Bollywood in the CIS dates back to the Soviet days when the films from Hollywood and other Western countries were banned in the Soviet Union. As there was no means of other cheap entertainment, the films from Bollywood provided the Soviets a cheap source of entertainment as they were supposed to be non-controversial and non-political. In addition, the Soviet Union was recovering from the onslaught of the Second World War. The films from India, which were also recovering from the disaster of partition and the struggle for freedom from colonial rule, were found to be a good source of providing hope with entertainment to the struggling masses. The aspirations and needs of the people of both countries matched to a great extent. These films were dubbed in Russian and shown in theatres throughout the Soviet Union. The films from Bollywood also strengthened family values, which was a big factor for their popularity with the government authorities in the Soviet Union.[113]

The film Mera Naam Joker (1970), sought to cater to such an appeal and the popularity of Raj Kapoor in Russia, when it recruited Russian actress Kseniya Ryabinkina for the movie. In the contemporary era, Lucky: No Time for Love (2005) was shot entirely in Russia. After the collapse of the Soviet film distribution system, Hollywood occupied the void created in the Russian film market.[112] This made things difficult for Bollywood as it was losing market share to Hollywood. However, Russian newspapers report that there is a renewed interest in Bollywood among young Russians.[114]

North America

Bollywood has experienced a marked growth in revenue in Canada and the United States, particularly popular amongst the South Asian communities in large cities, such as Toronto, Chicago, and New York City.[40] Yash Raj Films, one of India’s largest production houses and distributors, reported in September 2005 that Bollywood films in the United States earn around $100 million a year through theatre screenings, video sales and the sale of movie soundtracks.[40] In other words, films from India do more business in the United States than films from any other non-English speaking country.[40] Numerous films in the mid-1990s and onwards have been largely, or entirely, shot in New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Toronto. Bollywood’s immersion in the traditional Hollywood domain was further tied with such films as The Guru (2002) and Marigold: An Adventure in India (2007) trying to popularise the Bollywood-theme for Hollywood.

Oceania

Bollywood is not as successful in the Oceanic countries and Pacific Islands such as New Guinea. However, it ranks second to Hollywood in countries such as Fiji, with its large Indian minority, Australia and New Zealand.[115]

Australia is one of the countries where there is a large South Asian Diaspora. Bollywood is popular amongst non-Asians in the country as well.[115] Since 1997 the country has provided a backdrop for an increasing number of Bollywood films.[115] Indian filmmakers have been attracted to Australia’s diverse locations and landscapes, and initially used it as the setting for song-and-dance sequences, which demonstrated the contrast between the values.[115] However, nowadays, Australian locations are becoming more important to the plot of Bollywood films.[115] Hindi films shot in Australia usually incorporate aspects of Australian lifestyle. The Yash Raj Film Salaam Namaste (2005) became the first Indian film to be shot entirely in Australia and was the most successful Bollywood film of 2005 in the country.[116] This was followed by Heyy Babyy (2007) Chak De! India (2007) and Singh Is Kinng (2008) which turned out to be box office successes.[115] Following the release of Salaam Namaste, on a visit to India the then prime minister John Howard also sought, having seen the film, to have more Indian movies shooting in the country to boost tourism, where the Bollywood and cricket nexus, was further tightened with Steve Waugh‘s appointment as tourism ambassador to India.[117] Australian actress Tania Zaetta, who co-starred in Salaam Namaste, among other Bollywood films, expressed her keenness to expand her career in Bollywood.[118]

South America

Bollywood movies are not influential in many countries of South America, though Bollywood culture and dance is recognised. However, due to significant South Asian diasporic communities in Suriname[119] and Guyana, Hindi language movies are popular.[120] In 2006, Dhoom 2 became the first Bollywood film to be shot in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[121]

In January 2012, it was announced that UTV Motion Pictures would be releasing movies in Peru, starting with Guzaarish.[122]

Plagiarism

Constrained by rushed production schedules and small budgets, some Bollywood writers and musicians have been known to resort to plagiarism. Ideas, plot lines, tunes or riffs have been copied from other Indian film industries or foreign films (including Hollywood and other Asian films) without acknowledgement of the original source. This has led to criticism towards the film industry.[123]

Before the 1990s, this could be done with impunity. Copyright enforcement was lax in India and few actors or directors ever saw an official contract.[124] The Hindi film industry was not widely known to non-Indian audiences (excluding the Soviet states), who would not even be aware that their material was being copied. Audiences may also not have been aware of the plagiarism since many audiences in India were unfamiliar with foreign films and music.[123] While copyright enforcement in India is still somewhat lenient, Bollywood and other film industries are much more aware of each other now and Indian audiences are more familiar with foreign movies and music. Organizations like the India EU Film Initiative seek to foster a community between film makers and industry professional between India and the EU.[123]

One of the common justifications of plagiarism in Bollywood in the media is that producers often play a safer option by remaking popular Hollywood films in an Indian context. Screenwriters generally produce original scripts, but due to financial uncertainty and insecurity over the success of a film many were rejected.[123] Screenwriters themselves have been criticised for lack of creativity which happened due to tight schedules and restricted funds in the industry to employ better screenwriters.[125] Certain filmmakers see plagiarism in Bollywood as an integral part of globalisation where American and western cultures are firmly embedding themselves into Indian culture, which is manifested, amongst other mediums, in Bollywood films.[125] Vikram Bhatt, director of films such as Raaz, a remake of What Lies Beneath, and Kasoor, a remake of Jagged Edge, has spoken about the strong influence of American culture and desire to produce box office hits based along the same lines in Bollywood. He said, “Financially, I would be more secure knowing that a particular piece of work has already done well at the box office. Copying is endemic everywhere in India. Our TV shows are adaptations of American programmes. We want their films, their cars, their planes, their Diet Cokes and also their attitude. The American way of life is creeping into our culture.”[125] Mahesh Bhatt has said, “If you hide the source, you’re a genius. There’s no such thing as originality in the creative sphere”.[125]

There have been very few cases of film copyright violations taken to court because of serious delays in the legal process, and due to the long time they take to decide a case.[123] There have been some notable cases of conflict though. The makers of Partner (2007) and Zinda (2005) have been targeted by the owners and distributors of the original films, Hitch and Oldboy.[126][127] American Studio Twentieth Century Fox brought the Mumbai-based B.R. Films to court over its forthcoming Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai, allegedly an illegal remake of its 1992 film My Cousin Vinny. B.R. Films eventually settled out of court by paying the studio at a cost of about $200,000, paving the way for the film’s release.[128] Some on the other hand do comply with copyright law, with Orion Pictures in 2008 securing the rights to remake the Hollywood film Wedding Crashers.[129]

See also

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Toronto International Film Festival

Coordinates: 43°38′48″N 79°23′25″W

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF)
Toronto International Film Festival logo.svg

The festival is headquartered at TIFF Bell Lightbox, which opened in 2010.
Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Founded 1976
Number of films least, 85 (1978); most, 460 (1984)[1]
Language International
www.tiff.net

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a publicly attended film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 2012, 372 films from 72 countries were screened at 34 screens in downtown Toronto venues, welcoming an estimated 400,000 attendees, over 4000 of whom were industry professionals.[2] TIFF traditionally kicks off the Thursday night after Labour Day (the first Monday in September in Canada), lasting for eleven days.

Founded in 1976,[3] TIFF is now one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the world. In 1998, Variety magazine acknowledged that TIFF “is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars and market activity.” In 2007, Time noted that TIFF had “grown from its place as the most influential fall film festival to the most influential film festival, period.”[4] This is partially the result of TIFF’s ability and reputation for generating “Oscar buzz”.[5]

Notable films to have had their world or North American premiere at Toronto include Chariots of Fire, The Big Chill, Husbands and Wives, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, Downfall, Sideways, Silver Linings Playbook, The King’s Speech, Argo, Moneyball, and Crash.

Background

The Toronto International Film Festival was founded by William Marshall, Henk van der Kolk and Dusty Cohl.[6] Piers Handling has been the festival’s Director and CEO since 1994, while Noah Cowan became Co-Director of TIFF in 2004. In late 2007, Cowan became the Artistic Director of TIFF Bell Lightbox, while long-time programmer Cameron Bailey succeeded as Co-Director; as of 2013, Bailey also holds the position of Artistic Director.[citation needed]

TIFF was once centered on the Yorkville neighbourhood, but the Toronto Entertainment District later gained a greater level of prominence.[7][8] TIFF is known for the celebrity buzz it brings to the area with international media setting up near its restaurants and stores for photos and interviews with the stars. With the Fall 2010 opening of TIFF Bell Lightbox,[9] TIFF’s permanent home in the Entertainment District, it seems likely that TIFF will continue to spread out from its traditional centre to embrace other locations in the city.[10]

As of 2013, TIFF’s primary focus is independent cinema, and the festival features retrospectives of national cinemas and individual directors, highlights of Canadian cinema, and a variety of African, South American, and Asian films.[citation needed] In particular, the world premieres of a number of Indian films have occurred at TIFF.[11]

History

TIFF box office at the Manulife Centre in 2006

The Toronto International Film Festival, known originally as “The Festival of Festivals”, was founded in 1976 at the Windsor Arms Hotel by Bill Marshall, Henk Van der Kolk and Dusty Cohl.[12] Beginning as a collection of the best films from film festivals around the world, it had an inaugural attendance of 35,000.[13] Ironically however, Hollywood studios withdrew their submissions from TIFF due to concerns that Toronto audiences would be too parochial for their products.[14] In the years following, TIFF continued to concentrate on bringing the best films from around the world.[citation needed]Through consistent investment and promotion by its organizers and sponsors, the Toronto International Film Festival has also grown to become a vital component of Hollywood’s marketing machine.[citation needed]

In 1994, the decision was made to replace the name “Festival of Festivals” with “Toronto International Film Festival”. From 1994 to 2009, the umbrella organization running TIFF was named “Toronto International Film Festival Group” (TIFFG). In 2009, the umbrella organization TIFFG was renamed to TIFF.[15]

In 2001, Perspective Canada, the programme that had focused on Canadian films since 1984, was replaced by two programmes:

  • Canada First!, a forum for Canadian filmmakers presenting their first feature-length work, featuring eight to 15 films, and
  • Short Cuts Canada, which includes 30-40 Canadian short films.

In 2004, TIFF was featured as the site of murder mystery in the film Jiminy Glick in Lalawood, a comedy film starring Martin Short.

In 2008, Rose McGowan caused controversy at a TIFF press conference for her film Fifty Dead Men Walking, when she noted that “I imagine, had I grown up in Belfast, I would 100% have been in the IRA.”[16]

In 2009, TIFF’s decision to spotlight films from Tel Aviv created a controversy with protesters, saying it was part of an attempt to re-brand Israel[17] in a positive light after the January 2009 Gaza War.[18][19][20][21]

In 2007, it was announced that the organization generates an estimated annual impact of $67 million CAD.[22] By 2011, that benefit had grown to $170 million CAD.[23]

Notable film premieres

Films such as American Beauty, Ray, The Wrestler, Mr. Nobody, Antichrist, 127 Hours, Black Swan, Singapore Sling, and I Am Love have premiered at TIFF. Jamie Foxx‘s portrayal of Ray Charles ultimately won him the Academy Award for Best Actor while Slumdog Millionaire went on to win eight Oscars at the 2009 Academy Awards. Precious, which won the 2009 TIFF People’s Choice Award, went on to win two Oscars at the 82nd Academy Awards. The King’s Speech, the winner of the 2010 TIFF People’s Choice Award, won four Oscars at the 83rd Academy Awards, while Silver Linings Playbook, the winner of the 2012 TIFF People’s Choice Award, went to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence.

Many Hollywood studios premiere their films in Toronto due to TIFF’s easy-going non-competitive nature, relatively inexpensive costs (when compared to European festivals), eager film-fluent audiences and convenient timing.[24][25][26]

TIFF Bell Lightbox

TIFF Bell Lightbox

In 2007, the Festival Group began construction on TIFF Bell Lightbox, a new facility at the corner of King and John Streets in downtown Toronto on land donated by Ivan Reitman and family. The $181 million facility is named for founding sponsor Bell Canada, with additional support from the Government of Ontario and Government of Canada.

In 2010, the organization opened a new headquarters at the intersection of King St and John St, in a facility called TIFF Bell Lightbox. The facility, designed by local firm, KPMB Architects, provides extensive year-round galleries, cinemas, archives and activities for cinephiles.[27] The 5-storey facility contains 5 cinemas, 2 gallery spaces, film archives and an extensive reference library, study spaces, film lab facility, and a research centre. There is also a gift shop, two restaurants, a lounge, a cafe, and a three-storey atrium.[28] Cooperatively with Daniels Corporation, there is a 46-storey condominium atop, called the Festival Tower.

The first film screening was Bruce McDonald‘s Trigger. The first exhibition was a retrospective on Tim Burton, organized by the Museum of Modern Art (New York). Subsequent exhibitions included Fellini: Spectacular Obsessions, Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess, and Designing 007: 50 Years of Bond Style, all of which were organized by TIFF, as well as one called Essential Cinema, featuring posters, images and props from TIFF’s The Essential 100 list of films.[29]

People’s Choice Award

Given that TIFF lacks a jury and is non-competitive, regular awards handed out at other festivals for categories such as “Best Actress” or “Best Film” do not exist at the Toronto International Film Festival. The major prize, the People’s Choice Award, is given to a feature-length film with the highest ratings as voted by the TIFF-going populace.[30] The following list shows past winners:

Other awards

TIFF also presents seven other awards for People’s Choice Best Documentary, People’s Choice Best Midnight Madness film, Best Canadian Feature, Best Canadian First Feature, Best Canadian Short Film, FIPRESCI’s Special Presentation Winner and FIPRESCI’s Discovery Section Winner.[31] Since 1984, every decade TIFF has produced a Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time list.

Media coverage

In 2012 TIFF hosted 1,200 members of the press and print media outlets such as the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, The Times of India, Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Miami Herald, and the Toronto Sun have published a significant amount of festival coverage. Also, the major industry trade magazines Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Screen International all produce daily editions during TIFF. TIFF reports also appear in weekly news magazines; American, Canadian and international entertainment shows; news services; and a wide range of film and celebrity blogs.

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

“Hot Docs” redirects here. For the software, see HotDocs.
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Founded 1993 by the Documentary Organization of Canada
Language English
http://www.hotdocs.ca

The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is North America’s largest documentary film festival, conference and market, held annually in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[1] The 2014 edition of the festival had a record attendance of approximately 192,000.[2]

At the initiative of Wyndham Wise, then executive director of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus, now the Documentary Organization of Canada, a national association of independent documentary filmmakers, Hot Docs was launched in 1994 by a team led by Debbie Nightingale. Although not directly related to its precursor, the Grierson Seminar, Hot Docs filled the void it left. For the first five years, Hot Docs served as a promotional vehicle for Caucus filmmakers; however, in 1998, Chris McDonald, formerly of the Canadian Film Centre, was hired as its first full-time employee and the festival was put on a more professional footing. The founding chair of Hot Docs was filmmaker Paul Jay.

Much of the festival’s success can be credited to the logistical support rendered by scores of volunteers every year. Each year, the festival screens more than 170 documentaries from all around the world. Along with the Canadian and international competitive programs, the festival features The Doc Shop, an international documentary market, and the Hot Docs Forum (formerly the Toronto Documentary Forum), a limited-seat event which was launched in the year 2000. Since then, the Forum has established itself as North America’s essential international documentary market event. The festival has been instrumental as the documentary industry’s meeting place with more than 2,000 delegates attending. These delegates include commissioning editors, programmers, filmmakers, buyers and distributors from all over the world. Hot Docs also operates The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto.

See also

National Film Board of Canada

National Film Board of Canada
Office national du film du Canada
National Film Board of Canada logo.svg

National Film Board of Canada logo
Abbreviation NFB
Formation 1939
Type Federal agency
Purpose Film and interactive media producer and distributor
Headquarters Montreal
Official language English, French
Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson Claude Joli-Cœur (interim)
Website NFB.ca

The National Film Board of Canada (or simply National Film Board or NFB) (French: Office national du film du Canada, or ONF) is Canada’s twelve-time Academy Award-winning public film and digital media producer and distributor. An agency of the Government of Canada, the NFB produces and distributes documentary films, animation, web documentaries and alternative dramas. In total, the NFB has produced over 13,000 productions which have won over 5,000 awards.[1] The NFB reports to the Parliament of Canada through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. It has English language and French language production branches.

Purpose

NFB headquarters building, Montreal.

The organization’s purpose and mission have been re-defined numerous times throughout its history. In 2000, the NFB’s mandate was defined as follows:

The overarching objective of the National Film Board is to produce and distribute audio-visual works which provoke discussion and debate on subjects of interest to Canadian audiences and foreign markets; which explore the creative potential of the audio-visual media; and which achieve recognition by Canadians and others for excellence, relevance and innovation.Sheila Copps, Minister of Canadian Heritage (2000)

Operations

The National Film Board maintains its head office in Saint-Laurent, a borough of Montreal, in the Norman McLaren electoral district, named in honour of the NFB animation pioneer.[2] The NFB HQ building is also named for McLaren, and is home to much of its production activity.

The NFB’s offices in Toronto. The ground-floor Mediatheque was closed in April 2012.

In addition to the English and French-language studios in its Montreal HQ, there are centres throughout Canada. English-language production occurs at centres in Toronto (Ontario Centre), Vancouver (Pacific & Yukon Centre, located in the Woodward’s Building), Edmonton (North West Centre), Winnipeg (Prairie Centre), and Halifax (Atlantic Centre). As of October 2009, the Atlantic Centre also operates an office in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.[3] In June 2011, the NFB appointed a producer to work with film and digital media makers across Saskatchewan, to be based in Regina.[4]

Outside Quebec, French language productions are also made in Moncton (Studio Acadie).[5] The NFB also offers support programs for independent filmmakers: in English, via the Filmmaker Assistance Program (FAP) and in French through its Aide du cinéma indépendant – Canada (ACIC) program.

The organization has a hierarchical structure headed by a Board of Trustees, which is chaired by the Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson. It is overseen by the Board of Trustees Secretariat and Legal Affairs.

Funding is derived primarily from government of Canada transfer payments, and also from its own revenue streams. These revenues are from print sales, film production services, rentals, and royalties, and total up to $10 million yearly; the NFB lists this as Respendable Revenues in its financial statements. As a result of cuts imposed by 2012 Canadian federal budget, by 2015 the NFB’s public funding will be reduced by $6.7 million, to $60.3 million.[6]

History

Norman McLaren at work, 1944

In 1938, the Government of Canada invited John Grierson, a British documentary film-maker, to study the state of the government’s film production. Up to that date, the Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau, established in 1918, had been the major Canadian film producer. The results of Grierson’s report were included in the National Film Act of 1939, which led to the establishment of the National Film Commission, which was subsequently renamed the National Film Board. In part, it was founded to create propaganda in support of the Second World War. In 1940, with Canada at war, the NFB launched its Canada Carries On series of morale boosting theatrical shorts.[7] The success of Canada Carries On led to the creation of The World in Action, which was more geared to international audiences.[8]

Early in its history, the NFB was a primarily English-speaking institution. Based in Ottawa, 90% of its staff were English and the few French Canadians in production worked with English crews. There was a French Unit which was responsible for versioning films into French but it was headed by an Anglophone. And in NFB annual reports of the time, French films were listed under “foreign languages.” Screenwriter Jacques Bobet, hired in 1947, worked to strengthen the French Unit and retain French talent, and was appointed producer of French versions in 1951.[9] During that period, commissioner Albert Trueman, sensitive to how the Quiet Revolution was beginning to transform Quebec society, brought in Pierre Juneau as the NFB’s “French Advisor.” Juneau recommended the creation of a French production branch to enable francophone filmmakers to work and create in their own language.[10]

In 1956, the NFB’s headquarters was relocated from Ottawa to Montreal, improving the NFB’s reputation in French Canada and making the NFB more attractive to French-speaking filmmakers. In 1964, a separate French production branch was finally established, with Bobet as one of its four initial executive producers.[9]

During the ’40s and early ’50s, the NFB employed ‘travelling projectionists’ who toured the country, bringing films and public discussions to rural communities.[11][12] A revision of the National Film Act in 1950 removed any direct government intervention into the operation and administration of the NFB.[13] In 1966, the French language Animation Studio was created, led by René Jodoin.[14]

With the creation of the Canadian Film Development Corporation (now known as Telefilm Canada) in 1967, the mandate for the National Film Board was refined. The Canadian Film Development Corporation would become responsible for promoting the development of the film industry.[15] 1967 also saw the creation of Challenge for Change, a community media project that would develop the use of film and video as a tool for initiating social change.[16] The National Film Board produced several educational films in partnership with Parks Canada during the 1960s and 1970s, including Bill Schmalz’s Bears and Man.[17]

In the early 1970s, the NFB began a process of decentralization, opening film production centres in cities across Canada. The move had been championed by NFB producers such as Rex Tasker, who became the first executive producer of the NFB’s studio in Halifax.[18]

Main article: Canada Vignettes

During the 1970s and early 1980s, the National Film Board produced a series of vignettes, some of which aired on CBC and other Canadian broadcasters as interstitial programs. The vignettes became popular because of their cultural depiction of Canada, and because they represented its changing state, such as the vignette Faces which was made to represent the increasing cultural and ethnic diversity of Canada. In 1996, the NFB operating budget was cut by 32%, forcing it to lay off staff and to close its film laboratory, sound stage (now privatized) and other departments.

In 2006, the NFB marked the 65th anniversary of NFB animation with an international retrospective of restored Norman McLaren classics and the launch of the DVD box set, Norman McLaren – The Master’s Edition. The NFB budget has since been cut again. The six-storey John Grierson Building at its Montreal headquarters has been unused for several years – with HQ staff now based solely in its adjacent Norman McLaren Building. In October 2009, the NFB released a free app for Apple’s iPhone that would allow users to watch thousands of NFB films directly on their cell phones. In 2010, the NFB released an iPad version of their app that streams NFB films, many in high definition.

In March 2012, the NFB’s funding was cut 10%, to be phased in over a three-year period, as part of the 2012 Canadian federal budget.[19] The NFB eliminated 73 full and part-time positions.[6]

Beginning May 2, 2014, the NFB’s 75th anniversary was marked by such events as the release of a series of commemorative stamps by Canada Post,[20] and an NFB documentary about the film board’s early years, entitled Shameless Propaganda.[21]

NFB studios and divisions

As of March 2014 the acting commissioner of the Claude Joli-Coeur, while the interim heads of the NFB’s English and French production branches are Michelle van Beusekom and Colette Loumède, respectively.[22][23]

As of 2013, the NFB is organized along the following branches:[24]

  • Office of the Assistant Commissioner and Corporate Services (Acting Commissioner: Claude Joli-Coeur)
  • English Program (Director General: Michelle van Beusekom) (interim)
  • French Program (Director General: Colette Loumède) (interim)
  • Accessibility and Digital Enterprises (Director General: Deborah Drisdell)
  • Finance, Operations and Technology (Director General: Luisa Frate)
  • Marketing and Communications (Director General: Jérôme Dufour)[25]
  • Human Resources (Director General: François Tremblay)

With six regional studios in English Program:

  • Animation Studio based in Montreal, headed by Executive Producer Michael Fukushima[26] and Producers Maral Mohammadian and Jelena Popović[27]
  • Atlantic Centre based in Halifax, headed by Executive Producer Annette Clarke and Producer Paul McNeill
  • Quebec Centre based in Montreal, also headed by Executive Producer Annette Clarke
  • Ontario Centre based in Toronto, headed by Executive Producer Anita Lee[28] and Producer Lea Marin
  • North West Centre based in Edmonton, headed by Executive Producer David Christensen and Producer Bonnie Thompson
  • Pacific and Yukon Centre based in Vancouver, headed by Executive Producer Shirley Vercruysse.[29]
  • With small satellite offices in Winnipeg, Saskatchewan (Cory Generoux) and Newfoundland.[30]

And four regional studios in French Program:

  • Ontario and West Studio based in Toronto, headed by Executive Producer: Jacques Turgeon
  • Quebec Studio based in Montreal, also headed by Executive Producer: Jacques Turgeon
  • French Animation and Youth Studio based in Montreal, headed by Executive Producer: Julie Roy and Producer: Marc Bertrand[27]
  • Studio Acadie/Acadia Studio based in Moncton, headed by Executive Producer: Jacques Turgeon and Producer: Maryse Chapdelaine
  • René Chénier, formerly head of French Animation, is Executive Producer of Special Projects[27]

Animation

When Norman McLaren joined the organization in 1941, the NFB began production of animation. The animation department eventually gained distinction, particularly with the pioneering work of McLaren, an internationally recognized experimental filmmaker. The NFB was a pioneer in several novel techniques such as pinscreen animation, and as of June 2012, the NFB is reported to have the only working animation pinscreen in the world.[31] Most of the NFB’s Oscars and other animation awards have been for its traditional cel animation films.

McLaren’s Oscar-winning Neighbours popularized the form of character movement referred to as pixillation, a variant of stop motion. The term pixilation itself was created by NFB animator Grant Munro in an experimental film of the same name.

The NFB was a pioneer in computer animation, releasing one of the first CGI films, Hunger, in 1974, then forming its Centre d’animatique in 1980 to develop new CGI technologies.[32] Staff at the Centre d’animatique included Daniel Langlois, who left in 1986 to form Softimage.[33]

Interactive

Platforms

In January 2009, the NFB launched its online Screening Room, NFB.ca, offering Canadian and international web users the ability to stream hundreds of NFB films for free as well as embed links in blogs and social sites.[34][35][36] As of May 18, 2013, the NFB’s digital platforms have received approximately 41 million views.[37]

In October 2009, the NFB launched an iPhone application that was downloaded more than 170,000 times and led to more than 500,000 film views in the first four months.[38] In January 2010, the NFB added high-definition and 3D films to the over 1400 productions available for viewing online.[39] The NFB introduced a free iPad application in July 2010,[40] followed by its first app for the Android platform in March 2011.[41] When the BlackBerry PlayBook launched on April 19, 2011, it included a pre-loaded app offering access to 1,500 NFB titles.[42][43] In January 2013, it was announced that the NFB film app would be available for the BlackBerry 10, via the BlackBerry World app store.[44]

In September 2011, the NFB and the Montreal French-language daily Le Devoir announced that they would jointly host three interactive essays on their websites, ONF.ca and ledevoir.com.[45] The NFB is a partner with China’s ifeng.com on NFB Zone, the first Canadian-branded web channel in China, with 130 NFB animated shorts and documentary films available on the company’s digital platforms.[46] NFB documentaries are also available on Netflix Canada.[47]

In April 2013, the NFB announced that it was “seeking commercial partners to establish a subscription service for Internet television and mobile platforms next year. The service would be available internationally and would feature documentaries from around the world as well as the NFB’s own catalogue.”[48]

Interactive works

As of March 2013, the NFB devotes one quarter of its production budget to interactive media, including web documentaries.[49][50] According to transmedia creator Anita Ondine Smith, the NFB is a pioneer in interactive web documentaries, helping to position Canada as a major player in digital storytelling.[51] From January 2010 to June 2011, NFB interactive works reached over 2.2 million users, in both English and French.[52]

Welcome to Pine Point received two Webby Awards while Out My Window, an interactive project from the NFB’s Highrise project, won the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling and an International Digital Emmy Award.[53][54]

Loc Dao is the executive producer and “creative technologist” responsible for NFB English-language digital content and strategy, based in the Woodward’s Building in Vancouver. Jeremy Mendes is an interactive artist producing English-language interactive works for the NFB, whose projects include a collaboration with Leanne Allison (Being Caribou, Finding Farley) on the webdoc Bear 71.[52][55]

Dao’s counterpart for French-language interactive media production at the NFB is Hugues Sweeney, based in Montreal. Sweeney’s recent credits include the online interactive animation work, Bla Bla.[56][57]

Aboriginal filmmaking

In November 2006, the National Film Board of Canada and the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation announced the start of the Nunavut Animation Lab, offering animation training to Nunavut artists.[58] Films from the Nunavut Animation Lab include Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s 2010 digital animation short Lumaajuuq, winner of the Best Aboriginal Award at the Golden Sheaf Awards and named Best Canadian Short Drama at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.[59]

In November 2011, the NFB and partners including the Inuit Relations Secretariat and the Government of Nunavut introduced a DVD and online collection entitled Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories, which will make over 100 NFB films by and about Inuit available in Inuktitut and other Inuit languages, as well as English and French.[60][61]

Former studios and departments

Studio D

In 1974, in conjunction with International Women’s Year, the National Film Board of Canada, on the recommendation of long-time employee Kathleen Shannon created Studio D, the first government-funded film studio dedicated to women filmmakers in the world. Shannon was designated as Executive Director of the new studio which became one of the NFB’s most celebrated filmmaking units, winning awards and breaking distribution records.[62][63]

High profile films produced by the studio include:

Studio D was shut down in 1996, amidst a sweeping set of federal government budget cuts, which impacted the NFB as a whole.

Still Photography Division

Upon its merger with the Canadian Government Motion Picture Bureau in 1941, the NFB’s mandate expanded to include motion as well as still pictures, resulting in the creation of the Still Photography Division of the NFB.

Montreal CineRobotheque, closing in September 2012.

From 1941 to 1984, the Division commissioned freelance photographers to document every aspect of life in Canada. These images were widely distributed through publication in various media.

In 1985, this Division officially became the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography.[64]

The division’s work is the subject of a 2013 book by Carleton University art professor Carol Payne entitled The Official Picture: The National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division and the Image of Canada, 1941-1971, published by the McGill-Queen’s University Press.[65]

Public access facilities in Montreal and Toronto

As part of the 2012 budget cuts, the NFB announced that it was forced to close its Toronto Mediatheque and Montreal CineRobotheque public facilities.[6] They ceased to operate as of September 1, 2012.[66] In September 2013, the Université du Québec à Montréal announced that it had acquired the CineRobotheque for its communications faculty.[67]

People

A brief list of some key NFB filmmakers, artisans and staff.

Government Film Commissioners

As stipulated in the National Film Act of 1950, the person who holds the position of Government Film Commissioner is the head of the NFB. As of December 10, 2013, with the resignation of Tom Perlmutter, the interim NFB Commissioner is Claude Joli-Cœur.[68]

Past NFB Commissioners

Awards

Film and television awards

Over the years, the NFB has been internationally recognized with more than 5000 film awards.[82][83] In 2009, Norman McLaren’s Neighbours was added to UNESCO‘s Memory of the World Programme, listing the most significant documentary heritage collections in the world.[84]

Genie Awards

The NFB has received more than 90 Genie Awards, including a Special Achievement Genie in 1989 for its 50th anniversary. The following is an incomplete list:

Winners:

Nominated:

Academy Awards

The National Film Board of Canada has been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for their work and has garnered a total of 72 Academy Award nominations as of February 2012, more than any film organization in the world outside Hollywood.[22] The first-ever Oscar for documentary went to the NFB production, Churchill’s Island. In 1989, it received an Honorary Award from the Academy “in recognition of its 50th anniversary and its dedicated commitment to originate artistic, creative and technological activity and excellence in every area of filmmaking.”[85] On January 23, 2007, the NFB received its 12th and most recent Academy Award, for the animated short The Danish Poet, directed by Torill Kove and co-produced with MikroFilm AS (Norway).[86] 53 of the NFB’s 72 Oscar nominations have been for its short films.[87]

Winners:

Nominated: (incomplete list)

Peabody Awards

As of April 2014, the NFB has received five Peabody Awards, for the web documentary A Short History of the Highrise, co-produced with The New York Times; the Rezolution Pictures/NFB co-production Reel Injun (2011); Karen Shopsowitz’s NFB documentary My Father’s Camera (2002), the NFB/Télé-Action co-produced mini-series The Boys of St. Vincent (1995) and the NFB documentary Fat Chance (1994).[88][89][90]

Annie Awards

NFB Annie Awards nominations include:

Nominated: (incomplete list)

Interactive awards

In June 2011, NFB received the Award of Excellence in Interactive Programming from the Banff World Media Festival.[91] In August 2011, the NFB received an outstanding technical achievement in digital media award from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.[92]

Webby Awards

As of May 2013, NFB web documentaries have won eight Webby Awards, presented International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for excellence on the internet. Filmmaker-in-Residence, a project by Katerina Cizek about St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, was named best online documentary series at the 2008 Webbys.[93] In 2010, the NFB website Waterlife, on the state of the Great Lakes, won in the Documentary: Individual Episode category.[94] In 2011, Welcome to Pine Point received two Webbys, for Documentary: Individual Episode in the Online Film & Video category and Net art in the Websites category.[95] In 2012, the NFB received two more Webbys, for Bla Bla (best web art) and God’s Lake Narrows (best use of photography).[96] In 2013, Bear 71 received the Webby for best net art.[97] In 2014, the interactive photo essay The Last Hunt received a People’s Voice Award Webby for best navigation/structure.[98]

Others

  • 2014:FITC, Winner, Experimental, The Last Hunt[98]
  • 2012: Digi Awards (formerly Canadian New Media Awards), Best in Canadian culture Burquette (with Attraction Images and Turbulent Media)[99]
  • 2012: Digi Awards (formerly Canadian New Media Awards), Best in web series, non-fiction Bear 71[99]
  • 2011: Sheffield Documentary Festival, Innovation Documentary Award Welcome to Pine Point
  • 2011: Bellaria (Italy) Documentary Festival, Best Cross Media Doc Welcome to Pine Point
  • 2011: The Favourite Website Awards (FWA), Site of the Day Highrise- Out My Window Jan 28, 2011
  • 2011: The FWA, Site of the Day Holy Mountain Jan 17, 2011
  • 2011: The FWA, Site of the Day Welcome to Pine Point Feb 22, 2011
  • 2011: The FWA, Site of the Day Crash Course Jan 9, 2011
  • 2011: FITC, Winner, Flash Narrative Welcome to Pine Point
  • 2011: FITC, Winner, Audio in Flash Highrise-Out My Window
  • 2011: Applied Arts Interactive Awards, Winner-Entertainment, Arts & Tourism Welcome to Pine Point
  • 2011: Applied Arts Interactive Awards, Winner-Entertainment, Arts & Tourism Main Street
  • 2011: Applied Arts Interactive Awards, Winner-Entertainment, Arts & Tourism This Land
  • 2011: Banff World Television Festival, Interactive Rockie Awards, Winner- Best Francophone – Documentary Holy Mountain
  • 2011: Banff World Television Festival, Interactive Rockie Awards, Winner- Best On Line Program – Documentary Welcome to Pine Point
  • 2011: Communication Arts Interactive Annual, Selected The Test Tube with David Suzuki
  • 2011: Communication Arts, Web Pick of the Day Welcome to Pine Point
  • 2010: IDFA Doc Lab, Winner-Digital Storytelling Highrise-Out My Window
  • 2010: BaKaFORUM, Winner- Youth Jury Prize Waterlife
  • 2010: SXSW Interactive, Winner-Activism Category Waterlife
  • 2010: Emmy Awards, International Digital Emmy, Non Ficton Highrise-Out My Window
  • 2010: SXSW Interactive, Winner, Activism Category Waterlife
  • 2010: The FWA, Site of the Day Waterlife June 24, 2010
  • 2010: The FWA, Site of the Day The Test Tube with David Suzuki Oct 5, 2010
  • 2010: The FWA, Site of the Day NFB Interactive Nov 11, 2010
  • 2010: CNMA (Canadian New Media Awards), Community Campaign of the Year The Test Tube with David Suzuki
  • 2010: CNMA (Canadian New Media Awards), Best On Line Program GDP
  • 2010: Applied Arts Interactive Awards, Winner – Experimental and Artistic Flub and Utter
  • 2010: Applied Arts Interactive Awards, Winner – On Line Video Flub and Utter
  • 2010: Applied Arts Interactive Awards, Winner – Experimental and Artistic The Test Tube with David Suzuki
  • 2010: Applied Arts Interactive Awards, Winner – Public Service Charity The Test Tube with David Suzuki
  • 2010: Applied Arts Interactive Awards, Winner – Net Art Holy Mountain
  • 2010: Applied Arts Interactive Awards, Winner – Entertainment, Arts and Tourism Holy Mountain
  • 2010: Applied Arts Interactive Awards, Winner – Entertainment, Arts and Tourism NFB
  • 2010: Applied Arts Interactive Annual, Selected The Test Tube with David Suzuki
  • 2010: On Line Journalism Awards, Winner- Multi Media Feature Presentation, Small Site This Land
  • 2010: Communication Arts Interactive Annual, Selected Waterlife
  • 2010: Communication Arts, Web Pick of the Week The Test Tube with David Suzuki
  • 2010: Adobe Site of the Day The Test Tube with David Suzuki
  • 2009: Hot Docs, Winner- Special Jury Prize Waterlife
  • 2009: CNMA (Canadian New Media Awards), Winner- Best Cross Platform Project Waterlife
  • 2009: Digital Marketing Awards, Winner- Best of Show Waterlife
  • 2009: On Line Journalism Awards, Winner- Best Multi Media Feature Presentation Waterlife
  • 2009: Adobe Site of the Day Waterlife
  • 2009: Applied Arts Interactive Annual, Selected Capturing Reality
  • 2009: Digital Marketing Awards, Winner-DMA Award Capturing Reality

Controversy

In addition to Neighbours, other NFB productions have been criticized for their content, for moral and social reasons or because the production presents an unpopular interpretation of widely held beliefs.

Two NFB productions broadcast on CBC Television criticizing the role of Canadians in wartime were the source of controversy, including questions in the Canadian Senate. The Kid Who Couldn’t Miss (1982) cast doubt on the accomplishments of Canadian World War I flying ace Billy Bishop, sparking widespread outrage, including complaints in the Senate subcommittee on Veterans’ Affairs.[100]

A decade later, The Valour and the Horror outraged some when it suggested that there was incompetence on the part of Canadian military command, and that Canadian soldiers had committed unprosecuted war crimes against German soldiers. The series became the subject of an inquiry by the Senate.

The 1982 film If You Love This Planet, which won an Academy Award for best documentary short subject, was labelled foreign propaganda under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 in the United States.[101]

Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography was a 1981 Studio D documentary critiquing pornography that was itself banned in the province of Ontario on the basis of pornographic content.[102]

During the height of the pro-rights and pro-life abortion debate of the 1980s, the NFB released the documentary film Abortion: Stories from North and South (1984).[103]

NFB on TV

The NFB is a minority owner of the digital television channel, Documentary in Canada. NFB-branded series Retrovision appeared on VisionTV, along with the French-language Carnets ONF series on APTN. Moreover, in 1997 the American cable channel Cartoon Network created a weekly 30-minute show called O Canada specifically showcasing a compilation of NFB-produced works; the segment was discontinued in favour of Adult Swim.[104][105] As of 2010, many of the NFB children’s shows are available on the children’s IPTV service Ameba.

The old NFB logo.

The Board’s logo consists of a standing stylized figure (originally green) with its arms wide upward. The arms are met by an arch that mirrors them. The round head in between then resembles a pupil, making the entire symbol appear to be an eye with legs. Launched in 1969, the logo symbolized a vision of humanity and was called “Man Seeing / L’homme qui voit”. It was designed by Georges Beaupré. It was updated in 2002 by the firm of Paprika Communications.[106]

NFB in popular media

See also

Cinema of Iran

Cinema of Iran

A movie theater in Shiraz
Number of screens 438 (2011)[1]
 • Per capita 0.6 per 100,000 (2011)[1]
Produced feature films (2005)[2]
Total 26
Number of admissions (2009)[3]
Total 18,354,081
National films 18,332,802 (99.9%)
Gross Box Office (2011)[3]
Total $27.9 million

The Iranian Film Industry (or the Cinema of Iran; in Persian: سینمای ایران) refers to the cinema and film industries in Iran which produce a variety of commercial films annually. Iranian art films have garnered international fame and now enjoy a global following.[4]

Along with China, Iran has been lauded as one of the best exporters of cinema in the 1990s.[5] Some critics now rank Iran as the world’s most important national cinema, artistically, with a significance that invites comparison to Italian neorealism and similar movements in past decades.[4] A range of international film festivals have honored Iranian cinema in the last twenty years. World-renowned Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke and German filmmaker Werner Herzog, along with many film critics from around the world, have praised Iranian cinema as one of the world’s most important artistic cinemas.[6]

History

Visual arts in Persia

See also: Persian theatre

The earliest examples of visual representations in Iranian history may be traced back to the bas-reliefs in Persepolis (c. 500 B. C.). Bas relief is a method of sculpting which entails carving or etching away the surface of a flat piece of stone or metal. Persepolis was the ritual center of the ancient kingdom of Achaemenids and “the figures at Persepolis remain bound by the rules of grammar and syntax of visual language.”[7]

Iranian visual arts maybe said to have peaked about a thousand years later during the Sassanian reign. A bas-relief from this period in Taq-e-Bostan (western Iran) depicts a complex hunting scene. Similar works from the period have been found to articulate movements and actions in a highly sophisticated manner. It is even possible to see the progenitor of the cinema close-up: a wounded wild pig escaping from the hunting ground,[8] among these works of art.

After the conversion from Zoroastrianism to Islam — a religion in which visual symbols were avoided — Persian art continued its visual practices. Persian miniatures provide great examples of such continued attempts. The deliberate lack of perspective in Persian miniature enabled the artist to have different plots and sub-plots within the same image space. A very popular form of such art was Pardeh-Khani. Another type of art in the same category was Naqqali.[8]

Popular dramatic performance arts in Iran, before the advent of cinema, include Khaymeshab-bazi (puppet show), Saye-bazi (shadow plays), Rouhozi (comical acts), and Ta’zieh.[9]

Early Persian cinema

Cinema was only five years old when it came to Persia at the beginning of the 20th century. The first Persian filmmaker was Mirza Ebrahim Khan Akkas Bashi, the official photographer of Muzaffar al-Din Shah, the Shah of Persia from 1896–1907. After a visit to Paris in July 1900, Akkas Bashi obtained a camera and filmed the Shah‘s visit to Europe upon the Shah’s orders. He is said to have filmed the Shah’s private and religious ceremonies, but no copies of such films exist today. A few years after Akkas Bashi started photography, Khan Baba Motazedi, another pioneer in Iranian motion picture photography emerged.[10] He shot a considerable amount of newsreel footage during the reign of Qajar to the Pahlavi dynasty.[11]

In 1904, Mirza Ebrahim Khan Sahhafbashi opened the first movie theater in Tehran.[10] After Mirza Ebrahim Khan, several others like Russi Khan, Ardeshir Khan, and Ali Vakili tried to establish new movie theaters in Tehran. Until the early 1930s, there were little more than 15 theatres in Tehran and 11 in other provinces.[8]

In 1925, Ovanes Ohanian, decided to establish the first film school in Iran. Within five years he managed to run the first session of the school under the name “Parvareshgahe Artistiye cinema” (The Cinema Artist Educational Centre).[12]

1930s and 40s

In 1930 the first Iranian silent Film was made by Professor Ovanes Ohanian called Haji Agha. In 1932 he made his second film titled Abi Rubi. Later that year, Abdolhossein Sepanta made the first Iranian sound film, entitled Lor Girl. Sepanta would go on to direct movies such as Ferdowsi (the life story of the most celebrated epic poet of Iran), Shirin and Farhaad (a classic Iranian love story), and Black Eyes (the story of Nader Shah‘s invasion of India). In 1937, he directed Laili and Majnoon, an Eastern love story similar to the English story of Romeo and Juliet.

The present day Iranian film industry owes much of its progress to two industrious personalities, Esmail Koushan and Farrokh Ghaffari. By establishing the first National Iranian Film Society in 1949 at the Iran Bastan Museum and organizing the first Film Week during which English films were exhibited, Ghaffari laid the foundation for alternative and non-commercial films in Iran.

Early Persian directors like Abdolhossein Sepanta and Esmail Koushan took advantage of the richness of Persian literature and ancient Persian mythology. In their work, they emphasized ethics and humanity.[13]

Pre-revolutionary cinema, 1950s-70s

The 1960s was a significant decade for Iranian cinema, with 25 commercial films produced annually on average throughout the early ‘60s, increasing to 65 by the end of the decade. The majority of production focused on melodrama and thrillers.

The movie that really boosted the economy of Iranian cinema and initiated a new genre was Ganj-e-Qarun (Croesus Treasure), made in 1965 by Siamak Yasami. Four years later Masoud Kimiay made Kaiser. With Kaiser (Qeysar), Kimiay depicted the ethics and morals of the romanticized poor working class of the Ganj-e-Qarun genre through his main protagonist, the titular Qeysar. But Kimiay’s film generated another genre in Iranian popular cinema: the tragic action drama.[14]

With the screening of the films Kaiser and The Cow, directed by Masoud Kimiay and Darius Mehrjui respectively in 1969, alternative films established their status in the film industry. Attempts to organize a film festival that had begun in 1954 within the framework of the Golrizan Festival, bore fruits in the form of the Sepas Festival in 1969. The endeavors of Ali Mortazavi also resulted in the formation of the Tehran World Festival in 1973.

Pre-revolutionary Iranian cinema produced notable movies such as:

Post-revolutionary cinema

In the early 1970s, a New Iranian Cinema emerged (cinema motefävet). However, following the Revolution in 1979, a few filmmakers went into exile as Khomeini altered the focus in features. Between 1979 and 1985, about 100 features were released.[15] While Khomeini’s censorship remained, the small number of features produced focused on sexual display and European influence.[15]

In 1982, the annual Fajr Film Festival financed films. The Farabi Cinema Foundation then stepped in to try and reassemble the disorganized cinema. The following year, the government began to provide financial aid. This change in regime encouraged a whole new generation of filmmakers, which included female directors as well. With this, the focus shifted to children overcoming obstacles: true stories, lyrical, mystical drama, real-life problems, documentary footage, etc.

Post-revolutionary Iranian cinema has been celebrated in many international forums and festivals for its distinct style, themes, authors, idea of nationhood, and cultural references. Starting With Viva… by Khosrow Sinai and followed by many excellent Iranian directors who emerged in the last few decades, such as Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi. Kiarostami, who some critics regard as one of the few great directors in the history of cinema,[16] planted Iran firmly on the map of world cinema when he won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for Taste of Cherry in 1997.

The continuous presence of Iranian films in prestigious international festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, and the Berlin Film Festival attracted world attention to Iranian masterpieces .. In 2006, six Iranian films, of six different styles, represented Iranian cinema at the Berlin Film Festival. Critics considered this a remarkable event in the history of Iranian cinema.[17][18]

An important step was taken in 1998 when the Iranian government began to fund ethnic cinema. Since then Iranian Kurdistan has seen the rise of numerous filmmakers. In particular the film industry got momentum in Iranian Kurdistan and the region has seen the emergence of filmmakers such as Bahman Ghobadi, actually the entire Ghobadi family, Ali-Reza Rezai, Khosret Ressoul and many other younger filmmakers.[19]

There is also movie-documentary production, often critical of the society in the name of the Islamic revolution ideal, like the films directed by Mohammedreza Eslamloo.”Tranquility in the Presence of Others” (Aramesh dar Hozur Deegaran, 1973) directed by Nasser Taghvai has been rated by some critics as the best Iranian film of all times.[20]

By the year 2001 the number of features produced in Iran rose to 87 (from 28, which is the number of films that were produced in 1980, after the fall of the Shah). The most popular genres were melodramas and historical pageants which seldom went to festivals. In 1997, the newly elected president, Mohammed Khatemi, would eventually come to play a role in helping filmmakers achieve a certain degree of artistic freedom.[21]

Contemporary Iranian cinema

Today, the Iranian box office is dominated by commercial Iranian films. Western films are occasionally shown in movie theaters. Classic and contemporary Hollywood productions are shown on state television. Iranian art films are often not screened officially, and are viewable via pirate DVDs which are easily available. Nevertheless, some of these acclaimed films were screened in Iran and had box office success. Examples include Rassul Sadr Ameli’s “I’m Taraneh, 15”, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad’s “Under the skin of the City”, Bahman Ghobadi’s “Marooned in Iraq” and Manijeh Hekmat’s “Women’s Prison”.[22]

Commercial cinema in Iran

The internationally award-winning cinema of Iran is quite different from the domestically oriented films. The latter caters to an entirely different audience, which is largely under the age of 25. This commercial Iranian cinema genre is largely unknown in the West, as the films are targeted at local audiences. There are two categories of this type of film:

  • Films about the victory of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the ensuing Iran–Iraq war, filled with strong religious and national motifs.
  • Formulaic films starring popular actors. With 130 Iranian films looking for a screening each year, cinema managers tend to prefer crowd-pleasing comedies, romantic melodramas, and family comedies over the other genres.[23] The Lizard, Outsiders, Aquarium, Ceasefire, M as in Mother, Glass Agency, Charlatan and Killing Mad Dogs were among the post-revolutionary films that gained the highest box office records.[24][25][26]

For many years, the most visible face of Iranian commercial cinema was Mohammad Ali Fardin, who starred in a number of popular successful films. In the more conservative social climate of Iran after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, however, he came to be considered an embarrassment to Iranian national identity and his films — which depicted romance, alcohol, scantily-dressed women, night-clubs, and a lifestyle now condemned by the Islamic government — were banned. Although this would effectively prevent Fardin from making films for the remainder of his life, the ban did little to diminish his broad popularity with Iranian moviegoers: His funeral in Tehran was attended by 20,000 mourners.[27] Before Fardin, one could argue, Iran simply did not have a commercial cinema.[28]

During the war years, crime thrillers such as Senator (1983), The Eagles (1984), Boycott (1985), The Tenants (1986), and Kani Manga (1987) occupied the first position on the sales charts.[29]

Officially, the Iranian government disdains American cinema: in 2007 President Ahmadinejad’s media adviser told the Fars news agency, “We believe that the American cinema system is devoid of all culture and art and is only used as a device.”[30] However, numerous Western commercial films such as Edison, The Illusionist, Passion of the Christ, House of Sand and Fog, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, The Others, Alpha and Omega, Casino Royale, The Mechanic, and The Aviator have been screened in Iranian cinemas and Iranian film festivals since the revolution. Despite great pride in the country’s more than 100-year film history, Western cinema is enormously popular among Iran’s young people, and practically every recent Hollywood film is available on CD, DVD, or video.[22][31][32][33] State television has also broadcast more Western movies—partly because millions of Iranians have been switching to the use of banned satellite television equipment.[33]

There is no particular love of Arab cinema but Indian cinema is relatively popular among the Iranian masses. 6 to 8 Bollywood films make it to Iranian movie theaters each year.

Iranian New Wave films

Main article: Iranian New Wave

In the 1960s, there were ‘New Wave’ movements in the cinema of numerous countries. The pioneers of the Iranian New Wave were directors like Forough Farrokhzad, Khosrow Sinai, Sohrab Shahid Saless, Bahram Beizai, and Parviz Kimiavi. They made innovative art films with highly political and philosophical tones and poetic language. Subsequent films of this type have become known as the New Iranian cinema to distinguish them from their earlier roots. The most notable figures of the Iranian New Wave are Abbas Kiarostami, Jafar Panahi, Majid Majidi, Bahram Beizai, Darius Mehrjui, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Khosrow Sinai, Sohrab Shahid-Saless, Parviz Kimiavi, Samira Makhmalbaf, Amir Naderi, and Abolfazl Jalili.

The factors leading to the rise of the New Wave in Iran were, in part, due to the intellectual and political movements of the time. A romantic climate was developing after the 19 August 1953 coup in the sphere of arts. Alongside this, a socially committed literature took shape in the 1950s and reached a peak in the 1960s, which may consider as the golden era of contemporary Persian literature.[34]

Features of New Wave Iranian film, in particular the works of legendary Abbas Kiarostami, can be classified as postmodern.[35]

Iranian New Wave films shared some characteristics with the European art films of the period, in particular Italian Neorealism. However, in her article ‘Real Fictions’, Rose Issa argues that Iranian films have a distinctively Iranian cinematic language

“that champions the poetry in everyday life and the ordinary person by blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality, feature film with documentary.” She also argues that this unique approach has inspired European cinema directors to emulate this style, citing Michael Winterbottom‘s award winning In This World (2002) as an homage to contemporary Iranian cinema. Issa claims that “This new, humanistic aesthetic language, determined by the film-makers’ individual and national identity, rather than the forces of globalism, has a strong creative dialogue not only on home ground but with audiences around the world.”[36]

In his book Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present, Future (2001) Hamid Dabashi describes modern Iranian cinema and the phenomenon of [Iranian] national cinema as a form of cultural modernity. According to Dabashi, “the visual possibility of seeing the historical person (as opposed to the eternal Qur’anic man) on screen is arguably the single most important event allowing Iranians access to modernity.”

While Kiarostami and Panahi represent the first and second generations of New wave filmmakers respectively, the third generation is represented by Rafi Pitts, Bahman Ghobadi, Maziar Miri, Asghar Farhadi, Mani Haghighi, and Babak Payami,[37][38] along with newly emerged filmmakers such as Kiarash Anvari, Maziar Bahari, Sadaf Foroughi, Saman Saloor, and Mona Zandi-Haqiqi.

Iranian popular art films

Parallel to the Iranian New Wave, with its neorealist and minimalist art cinema, there exists a so-called “popular art cinema” in Iran. Filmmakers who belong to this circle make films with a broader range of audience than the narrow spectrum of highly educated people who admire the New Wave, but believe that their movies are also artistically sound. Filmmakers such as Nasser Taghvaee and Ali Hatami are the best examples of this cinematic movement (some of these filmmakers also make new wave films e.g. Mum’s Guest by Darius Mehrjui).[34] The Demon and the Bald Hassan, Adam and Eve, The Fisherman’s Story, City of Oranges, and Talisman are some of Hatami’s works.

Iranian women’s cinema

Following the rise of the Iranian New Wave, there are now record numbers of film school graduates in Iran and each year more than 20 new directors make their debut films, many of them women. In the last two decades, there have been a higher percentage of women directors in Iran than in most countries in the West.[36]

Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, writer and director is probably Iran’s best-known and certainly most prolific female filmmaker. She has established herself as the elder stateswoman of Iranian cinema with documentaries and films dealing with social pathology.[39] Samira Makhmalbaf directed her first film, The Apple, when she was only 17 years old and won the Cannes Jury Prize in 2000 for her following film The Blackboard.

The success and hard work of the pioneering Rakhshan Bani-Etemad is an example that many women directors in Iran were following much before Samira Makhmalbaf made the headlines. Internationally recognized figures in Iranian women’s cinema are:

Besides women involved in screenwriting and filmmaking, numerous award winning Iranian actresses with uniques styles and talents attract critic. The most notable Iranian actresses are:

In 2006, Marjane Satrapi, became a member of the Cannes Film festival Jury. She is an Iranian contemporary graphic novelist, illustrator and author of the best selling “Persepolis”. In 2007 she won the Cannes jury prize.

Iranian war films

War cinema in Iran was born simultaneously with the beginning of Iran–Iraq War. However, it took many years until it found its way and identity by defining characteristics of Iranian war cinema. In the Alleys of Love (1990), by Khosrow Sinai, shows the most poematic view on the Iran Iraq war and still after years, is one of the leading films about this historical event from a humanistic aspect, although unlike other Iranian war cinema which are fully supported by the Iranian government this film was made with numerous difficulties. In the past decades, the Iranian film industry has produced many war films. In the Iranian war film genre, war has often been portrayed as glorious and “holy”, bringing out the good in the protagonist and pandering to nationalist sentiments with propagandistic messaging. Tears of Cold and Duel were two films that have gone beyond the traditional view of war.[40]

Many renowned directors were involved in developing Iranian war cinema:[41]

Iranian animations

There exist some evidences suggesting that Ancient Iranians made animations. An animated piece on an earthen goblet made 5000 years ago was found in Burnt City in Sistan-Baluchistan province, southeastern Iran. The artist has portrayed a goat that jumps toward a tree and eats its leaves.[42]

The first Tehran International Animation Festival was held in 1999, four decades after the time the production of first animation films in Iran. The Second Tehran International Animation Festival was held in February 2001. Apart from Iranian films, animations from 35 foreign countries participated in the festival.[43]

The following are among the notable filmmakers of Iranian animated films:

Timeline of Iranian films

Main article: List of Iranian films

Influence of Iranians on French New Wave

Amongst the pioneers of French New Wave were François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer or Barbet Schroeder (born in Tehran, Iran in 1941 where his German geologist Father was on assignment).

During the first half of the 20th century, France was the major destination for Iranian students who wished to study abroad. Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Fereydoun Hoveyda was one of them. Fereydoun Hoveyda played a major role in French cultural scene and especially in the field of Cinema, for he was the protégé of François Truffaut whom he befriended and with whom he helped create the well-known film magazine Les Cahiers du Cinéma that spearheaded the French Nouvelle Vague or New Wave Cinema. He also worked closely with Italian film director Roberto Rossellini on several film scripts during that period. Fereydoun Hoveyda was not the only Iranian of his generation to play an active role in promoting the French Cinéma d’Auteur. Youssef Ishaghpour is another example.[44]

Another Iranian figure in French New Wave was Shusha Guppy a singer, writer and filmmaker who was Jacques Prévert‘s girlfriend. However, the most important contribution to the French New Wave cinema is that of Serge Rezvani an Iranian poet born in Tehran in 1928. He played a major role as music composer of both François Truffaut Jules et Jim and Jean-Luc Godard Pierrot le Fou, considered as landmarks of French New Wave Cinema. Farah Diba studied at the Beaux Arts and became the focus of attention and the French press was to see her as the new Persian Cinderella. Farah Diba was one of the rare foreign dignitaries to become a permanent member of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts.

Iranian Robert Hossein (son of legendary musician Aminollah Hossein) started his acting career with his French Armenian friend Chahnour Varinag Aznavourian (known as the famed crooner Charles Aznavour) in the mid fifties essentially type cast as “Mr. Tough Guy”. However he got international acclaim in the early Sixties particularly in Europe, Russia and Asia as the mysterious “Jeoffrey, Comte de Peyrac” lover of the lovely Michèle Mercier in the soft erotic-adventure film series of Angélique Marquise des Anges. In the seventies and eighties he was to play opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo in police thrillers like The Professional. Hossein became known for being a talented theater director and his taste for popular historical vehicles involving large sets and numerous actors.[44]

After the resignation of French President Charles de Gaulle, Iranian Anicée Shahmanesh became known under the screen name Anicée Alvina, playing a French girl in a British film hit called Friends, the music score of which propelled British pop star Elton John. She was also to take on a courageous lesbian role in the screen adaptation of Françoise Mallet-Joris’ novel Le Rempart des Béguines.

Two major documentaries were produced in these years by respectively Agnès Varda and the duo Claude Lelouch-Claude Pinoteau.

Agnès Varda, first to be discovered to young actor Gérard Depardieu in her 1970 film Nausicaa, directed a love story set in Isfahan (1976) between a French woman (Valérie Mairesse) visiting Iran as a tourist and her guide an Iranian Man (Ali Raffi). The film was entitled Plaisir D’Amour en Iran. The romantic film was shot on location in The Masjed Shah.

Claude Pinoteau and Claude Lelouch on the other hand shot their documentary just after the Persepolis Celebrations in 1971. They decided to address the urban transformations and cultural emancipation that the country was subject to by the early seventies.

Several Iranian expats such as Philippe Khorsand or Persian play writer/actor Yasmina Reza have also gained notice in recent years. The latter is particularly known for her highly intellectual introspections in such plays like Art (Sean Connery bought the film rights advised by his French wife).[44]

Music in Iranian cinema

Although Iranian composers usually have their own special style and music structure, they all share one thing: melodic, lively rhythms. That might be because they often begin with folkloric songs and shift to film music. In the past few decades, a few composers have emerged in the Iranian cinema with highly appraised works. Composers like Hormoz Farhat, Morteza Hannaneh, Fariborz Lachini, Ahmad Pejman, Majid Entezami, Babak Bayat, Naser Cheshmazar and Hossein Alizadeh were some of the most successful score composers for Iranian films in the past decades.[45]

Iranian international film festivals

Film festivals have a rather long history in Iran that goes back to the 1950s. The first Tehran International Film Festival opened in April 1973. Although the festival never reached the level of Cannes and Venice, however, it managed to become well known as a class A festival. It was a highly reputable festival and many well-known filmmakers took part in it with their films. Great filmmakers such as Francesco Rosi, Grigori Kozintsev, Alain Tanner, Pietro Germi, Nikita Mikhalkov, Krzysztof Zanussi, Martin Ritt won the festival’s awards.[46]

Fajr Film Festival

The Fajr Film Festival has taken place since 1983. It was intended to be as magnificent and spectacular as possible from its very onset. It had a background as powerful as that of the Tehran International Film Festival and wanted to remain on the same track. Although the Fajr Film Festival is not yet classed among the top film festivals, it has been successful in making policies and setting examples for the future of Iranian cinema.[46] In its early years it had a competition section for professional as well as amateur film (8 mm, 16 mm). Since 1990, there has been an international along with the national competition. The festival also features a competition for advertisement items like posters, stills and trailers. In 2005, the festival added competitions for Asian as well as spiritual films. The top prize is called Crystal Simorgh.[47]

NAM Filmmakers’ Meeting

Iran is the current President of the Non-Aligned Movement and hosted the 16th NAM summit between 26 and 31 August 2012, after which the presidency was handed to Ahmadinejad on 1 September. The latest move by the NAM Chairman has been to organise a NAM filmmakers’ meeting in order to discuss the establishment of a NAM filmmakers’ union. The meeting is to be held in February 2013, concurrently with the 31st Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran.[48]

Isfahan International Festival of Films for Children & Young Adults

This festival has taken place since 1985. In its first three years, it was part of the Fajr Film Festival. From 1988 to 1989, it was located in Tehran and in 1996, it was held in Kerman. The festival features international and national film and video competitions. The top prize is called Golden Butterfly.[49]

Iran Cinema Celebration Awards

On September 12, the national day of Iranian cinema, a celebration is held annually by the House of Cinema. In the 2006 event, Akira Kurosawa was honored.

  • 2006 Best film: Crossroad directed by Abolhassan Davudi.
  • 2005 Best film: So Close, So Far directed and produced by Reza Mir-Karimi.

Noor Iranian Film Festival

Founded in 2007, the Noor Iranian Film Festival is held annually in Los Angeles, California.

International recognition of Iranian cinema

Here is a list of Grand prizes awarded to Iranian cinema by the most prestigious film festivals:[50][51]

Cannes

First presence of Iranian cinema in Cannes dates back to 1991 when in the alleys of love by Khosrow Sinai and then 1992 when Life and nothing more by Abbas Kiarostami represented Iran in the festival.

Venice

Berlinale

Locarno

The first film from Iranian cinema that won a prize in Locarno festival was khaneie doost kojast directed by Abbas Kiarostami (1989).

London

San Sebastian

FIPRESCI

Lifelong achievement awards

The Annual Academy Awards (Oscar)

Golden Globe Awards

Censorship

Main article: Censorship in Iran

Although the Iranian film industry is flourishing, its filmmakers have operated under censorship rules, both before and after the revolution. Some Iranian films that have been internationally acclaimed are banned in Iran itself. Conversely, some Iranian filmmakers have faced hostility in other countries.

Censorship within Iran

Dariush Mehrjui‘s seminal film Gaav (The Cow, 1969) is now considered a pioneering work of the Iranian New Wave. The film was sponsored by the state, but they promptly banned it upon completion because its vision of rural life clashed with the progressive image of Iran that the Shah wished to project, while its prominence at international film festivals annoyed the regime.[53]

After the Iranian revolution, filmmakers experienced more restrictions. Since the mid-1980s, Iran’s policy on film censorship has been changed in order to promote domestic film production: the strict censorship eased after December 1987. Old directors resurfaced and new ones emerged.[53] However, the application of the rules is often inconsistent. Several films have been refused release inside Iran, but have been given export permits to enter international film festivals. Even here, the censorship is inconsistent: May Lady by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad (1998) got through but her contribution to Stories of Kish (1999) did not.[54]

All of Jafar Panahi‘s films[55] have been banned from public theaters in Iran.[56] Offside was relegated to “a guest slot” at the International Fajr Film Festival. “It was not shown as an important film”, says Panahi. “They didn’t give any value to it.”[56] Several of Mohsen Makhmalbaf‘s films are also banned in Iran. For example, Time of Love and The night of Zaiandeh-rood were banned for dealing with physical love and for raising doubts about the revolution.[57]

In 2001, feminist filmmaker Tahmineh Milani made The Hidden Half, which was viewed of presenting the anti-revolutionary forces in a positive light. Milani was jailed and many Iranian and international artists and filmmakers protested her release. Eventually President Khatami and the Minister of Culture were able to secure her release. Of a subsequent film, Two Women, Milani has said “[it] was banned for seven months and before I could even start on it my script was banned for seven years. It was eventually released and was a box office hit in Iran.[58] In Nargess, Rakhshan Bani-Etemad who is a pioneer of Iranian cinema, pushes censorship codes to the limits, questioning the mores of society, showing desperate people overwhelmed by social conditions and a couple living together without being married.[59]

Abbas Kiarostami has had significant acclaim in Europe over several of his films, the Iranian government has refused to permit the showing of his films in his native Iran. Kiarostami’s films have been banned in his country for more than 10 years.[60] They are only accessible there through pirate DVDs and private screenings. Kiarostami is uncertain what the government dislikes about his films, saying “I think they don’t understand my films and so prevent them being shown just in case there is a message they don’t want to get out.”[1]. Despite this, Kiarostami has displayed an extraordinarily benign perspective, at least in recorded interviews: “The government is not in my way, but it is not assisting me either. We lead our separate lives.”[61] Despite the censorship, Kiarostami insists on working in Iran, saying “I think I really produce my best work in Iran.”[61] He believes that throughout the ages and all over the world censorship has existed in one form or another and artists have managed to live with this, saying “Today, the most important thing is that, although there is censorship, Iranian filmmakers are doing their job and they surpass the difficulties of censorship showing and discussing many things. So why ask me about what’s not in the films? It has happened many times that a filmmaker hides a weakness under the excuse of censorship but difficulties have always existed in our lifestyle and our role is to surpass them.”[62]

The director Mohammed Rasoulof, was convicted of charges relating to state security and anti-government propaganda.[63]

House of Cinema temporarly closure

In December 2011, Iran’s Council of Public Culture declared its ‘House of Cinema’, the country’s largest professional organisation for film makers, illegal.[64] Authorities state the organization was shut down because of secret amendments to its charter.[65] House of Cinema came under pressure when it challenged the detention of filmmakers accused of selling films to the BBC.[66]

In September 2013, House of Cinema has been reopened by the new government.[67]

In September 2011, House of Cinema issued a statement in support of several filmmakers detained for contact with the BBC. They questioned the legal basis for the arrests, pointing out that the government itself has contact with international news organizations.[68] As a result, they received an official rebuke.[69][70]

Hostility outside Iran

Given the tense relationship between Iran and the United States, Iranian filmmakers have faced hostility there, even if they have also been banned in their own country. Abbas Kiarostami was refused a visa to attend the New York Film Festival, Ohio University and Harvard University in 2002, in the wake of the September 11 attacks.[71][72][73] Festival director Richard Pena, who had invited him, said: “It’s a terrible sign of what’s happening in my country today that no one seems to realize or care about the kind of negative signal this sends out to the entire Muslim world”.[74] Finnish film director Aki Kaurismäki boycotted the festival in protest.[75] Similarly, Bahman Ghobadi, winner of the Golden Plaque at the Chicago International Film Festival, refused to accept the prize in protest of the U.S. government’s refusal to issue him a visa.[76] In 2007, Ahmed Issawi, the abashed Arab director of the New York South Asian Film Festival admitted that a conscious decision was made not to invite any Iranian filmmakers, saying “That’s a territory I no longer want to tread […] It’s over. Given the whole thing with Iran—I refuse to approach it.”[77]

Several other Iranian film makers have experienced hostilities from other countries. In November 2001 in Afghanistan, Taliban officials, who banned movies and most filmmaking, arrested three of Majid Majidi‘s crew members who were helping him secretly shoot Barefoot to Herat, a documentary on the country’s internal refugees.[78] Samira Makhmalbaf also survived a kidnapping in Afghanistan. {West, Dennis and Makhmalbaf, Mohsen. “I Make Cinema in Order to Breathe: An Interview with Mohsen Makhmalbaf”. Cinéaste. 34.4, Fall 2009: 10-15. JSTOR Web. 24 Apr. 2014}

In March 2007, a bomb explosion severely injuring several actors and crew members halted production in Afghanistan of Two Legged Horse, the film by Iranian helmer Samira Makhmalbaf. Mohsen Makhmalbaf was the target of two unsuccessful murder attempts when he shot Kandahar in Iran near the Afghan border in 2000, and his daughter Hana was twice the victim of a failed abduction attempt during the shooting of Samira’s last film At Five in the Afternoon in the Afghan capital Kabul in 2002.[79]

Iranian film critics

See also

External links

Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival
Location Park City, Utah, United States
Founded 1978
Number of films 200
festival.sundance.org

The Sundance Film Festival, a program of the Sundance Institute, is an American film festival that takes place annually in Utah. With 46,731 attendees in 2012, it is one of the largest independent film festivals in the United States.[1] Held in January in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, as well as at the Sundance Resort, the festival is a showcase for new work from American and international independent filmmakers. The festival comprises competitive sections for American and international dramatic and documentary films, both feature-length films and short films, and a group of out-of-competition sections, including NEXT, New Frontier, Spotlight, and Park City At Midnight. The 2014 Sundance Film Festival started on January 16.

History

Utah/US Film Festival

Sundance began in Salt Lake City in August 1978, as the Utah/US Film Festival in an effort to attract more filmmakers to Utah. It was founded by Sterling Van Wagenen (then head of Wildwood, Robert Redford’s company), John Earle, and Cirina Hampton Catania (both serving on the Utah Film Commission at the time). The 1978 festival featured films such as Deliverance, A Streetcar Named Desire, Midnight Cowboy, Mean Streets, and The Sweet Smell of Success.[2] With chairman Robert Redford, and the help of Utah Governor Scott M. Matheson, the goal of the festival was to showcase strictly American-made films, highlight the potential of independent film, and to increase visibility for filmmaking in Utah. At the time, the main focus of the event was to conduct a competition for independent American films, present a series of retrospective films and filmmaker panel discussions, and to celebrate the Frank Capra Award. The festival also highlighted the work of regional filmmakers who worked outside the Hollywood system.

The jury of the 1978 festival was headed by Gary Allison, and included Verna Fields, Linwood G. Dunn, Katharine Ross, Charles E. Sellier Jr., Mark Rydell, and Anthea Sylbert.

In 1979, Sterling Van Wagenen left to head up the first-year pilot program of what was to become the Sundance Institute, and James W. (Jim) Ure took over briefly as executive director, followed by Cirina Hampton Catania as executive director. More than 60 films were screened at the festival that year, and panels featured many well-known Hollywood filmmakers. Also that year, the first Frank Capra Award went to Jimmy Stewart. The festival also made a profit for the first time. In 1980, Catania left the festival to pursue a production career in Hollywood.

Several factors helped propel the growth of Utah/US Film Festival. First was the involvement of actor and Utah resident Robert Redford, who became the festival’s inaugural chairman. By having Redford’s name associated with the festival, it received great attention. Secondly, the country was hungry for more venues that would celebrate American-made films as the only other festival doing so at the time was the USA Film Festival in Dallas (est. 1971). Response in Hollywood was unprecedented as major studios did all they could to contribute their resources.

In 1981, the festival moved to Park City, Utah, and changed the dates from September to January. The move from late summer to mid-winter was reportedly[by whom?] done on the advice of Hollywood director Sydney Pollack, who suggested that running a film festival in a ski resort during winter would draw more attention from Hollywood.

Change to Sundance

In 1984–85, the now well-established Sundance Institute, headed by Sterling Van Wagenen, took over management of the US Film Festival and changed the name to Sundance.[contradiction] Gary Beer and Van Wagenen spearheaded production of the inaugural Sundance Film Festival, which included Program Director Tony Safford and Administrative Director Jenny Walz Selby. The branding and marketing transition from the US Film Festival to the Sundance Film Festival was managed under the direction of Colleen Allen, Allen Advertising Inc., by appointment of Robert Redford.

Sundance London

UK-based publisher C21 Media first revealed in October 2010 that Robert Redford was planning to bring the Sundance Film Festival to London,[3] and in March the following year, Redford officially announced that the Sundance Film Festival would be held at The O2, in London from April 26–29 2012; the first time it has traveled outside the US.[4]

In a press statement, Redford said, “We are excited to partner with AEG Europe to bring a particular slice of American culture to life in the inspired setting of The O2, and in this city of such rich cultural history. […] It is our mutual goal to bring to the UK, the very best in current American independent cinema, to introduce the artists responsible for it, and in essence help build a picture of our country that is broadly reflective of the diversity of voices not always seen in our cultural exports.”[4]

The majority of the film screenings, including the festival’s premieres, would be held within the Cineworld cinema at The O2 entertainment district.[5] The 2013 Sundance London Festival was held April 25–28 2013, and sponsored by car-maker Jaguar.[6]

Sundance London will take place April 25-27 2014 at the O2 arena.

Sundance Institute

Management of the festival was taken over by the Sundance Institute, a non-profit organization, in 1985. In 1991 the festival was officially renamed the Sundance Film Festival,[contradiction] after Redford’s character The Sundance Kid from the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.[7]

From 2006 through 2008, the Sundance Institute collaborated with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) on a special series of film screenings, performances, panel discussions, and special events bringing the institute’s activities and the festival’s programming to New York City.[8]

Notability of festivals

Many famous independent filmmakers received their big break at Sundance, including Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Todd Field, David O. Russell, Steve James, Paul Thomas Anderson, Steven Soderbergh, Darren Aronofsky, James Wan, Edward Burns, and Jim Jarmusch. The festival is also responsible for bringing wider attention to such films as Saw, Garden State, Super Troopers, The Blair Witch Project, Spanking the Monkey, Reservoir Dogs, Primer, In the Bedroom, Better Luck Tomorrow, Little Miss Sunshine, El Mariachi, Moon, Clerks, Thank You for Smoking, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, The Brothers McMullen, (500) Days of Summer, and Napoleon Dynamite.

Three Seasons was the first in festival history to ever receive both the Grand Jury Award and Audience Award, in 1999. Later films that won both awards are: God Grew Tired of Us in 2006 (documentary category), Quinceañera in 2006 (dramatic category), Precious in 2009, and Fruitvale (later retitled Fruitvale Station) in 2013.

At the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, nine films went on to garner 15 Oscar nominations,[9] and four of the five Best Documentary nominees were Sundance films.[10] The next year, about 45 films were acquired by distributors (the most ever[11]) vs. 14 in 2010, an increase of about 220%.[12] Tom Hall of indieWire said it marked “a return to the glory days of pure, unadulterated content speculation.”[13]

Growth of the festival

The festival has changed over the decades from a low-profile venue for small-budget, independent creators from outside the Hollywood system to a media extravaganza for Hollywood celebrity actors, paparazzi, and luxury lounges set up by companies not affiliated with Sundance. Festival organizers have tried curbing these activities in recent years, beginning in 2007 with their ongoing Focus On Film campaign.

The 2009 film “Official Rejection” documented the experience of small filmmakers trying to get into various festivals in the late 00s, including Sundance. The film contained several arguments that Sundance had become dominated by large studios, and sponsoring corporations. A contrast was made between the 1990s, in which non-famous filmmakers with tiny budget films could get distribution deals from studios like Miramax Films or New Line Cinema, (like Kevin Smith‘s Clerks), and the 00s, when major stars with multi-million dollar films (like The Butterfly Effect with Ashton Kutcher) were dominating Sundance. Kevin Smith doubted that Clerks, if made in the late 00s, would be accepted to Sundance.[14]

Numerous small festivals sprung up around Sundance in the Park City area, including Slamdance, Nodance, Slumdance, It-dance, X-Dance, Lapdance, Tromadance, The Park City Film Music festival, etc.[15]

Included in the Sundance changes made in 2010, a new programming category titled “NEXT” (often denoted simply by the characters “<=>”, which mean “less is greater than”) was introduced to showcase innovative films that are able to transcend the confines of an independent budget. Another recent addition was the Sundance Film Festival USA program, in which eight of the festival’s films are shown in eight different theaters around the United States.[16]

Directors

  • Geoff Gilmore – 1991–2009[17][18]
  • John Cooper – 2009–present[19]

In popular culture

In August 1998, the animated television series South Park episode “Chef’s Chocolate Salty Balls” depicts the directors of the Sundance Festival moving it to a “different small mountain town,” that of the show’s main setting South Park, in order to “drain it and morph it into a new LA.”

In the television series Entourage, one of the independent movies that Vincent Chase stars in (Queens Boulevard) premieres at the Sundance Film Festival, where it begins to gain in popularity.

In the animated television series The SimpsonsAny Given Sundance” episode, Lisa Simpson enters a documentary about her family into the Sundance Film Festival.

In Season 7, Episode 22 of One Tree Hill, Julian Baker takes his film Seven Dreams Till Tuesday to the festival.

See also

Berlin International Film Festival

Berlin International Film Festival

Berlinale Palace in 2007
Location Berlin, Germany
Founded 1951
Awards Golden/Silver Bear
Number of films 395 (966 screenings) in 2012
www.berlinale.de

The Berlin International Film Festival (German: Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), also called the Berlinale, is one of the world’s leading film festivals and most reputable media events.[1] It is held in Berlin, Germany.[2] Founded in West Berlin in 1951,[3] the festival has been celebrated annually in February since 1978. With around 300,000 tickets sold and 500,000 admissions it is considered the largest publicly attended film festival worldwide based on actual attendance rates.[4] Up to 400 films are shown in several sections, representing a comprehensive array of the cinematic world. Around twenty films compete for the awards called the Golden and Silver Bears. Since 2001 the director of the festival has been Dieter Kosslick.[5][6]

The European Film Market (EFM), a film trade fair held simultaneously to the Berlinale, is a major industry meeting for the international film circuit once a year.[7] The trade fair serves distributors, film buyers, producers, financiers and co-production agents. The Berlinale Talent Campus, a week long series of lectures and workshops, gathers young filmmakers from around the globe. It partners with the festival itself and is considered to be a forum for upcoming artists.[8]

The festival, the EFM and other satellite events are attended by around 20,000 professionals from over 130 countries.[9] More than 4200 journalists are responsible for the media exposure in over 110 countries.[10] At high-profile feature film premieres, movie stars and celebrities are present at the red carpet.[11] The Berlinale has established a cosmopolitan character integrating art, glamour, commerce and a global media attention.[12]

The most recent Berlinale, the 63rd Annual Berlin International Film Festival, took place from 7 to 17 February 2013.[13] Chinese film director Wong Kar-wai was announced as the President of the Jury[14] and his film The Grandmaster was the opening film of the festival.[15] The Golden Bear for the best film was awarded to Poziţia Copilului (Child’s Pose) by Călin Peter Netzer.[16] The 64th edition started on 6 February 2014.

Festival programme

Venues of the festival are spread throughout the central city districts

The Berlinale Palast is the venue for the competition premieres

The festival is composed of seven different film sections.[17] Films are chosen in each category by a section director with the advice of a committee of film experts. Categories include:

Competition – comprises feature-length films yet to be released outside their country of origin. Films in the Competition section compete for several prizes, including the top Golden Bear for the best film and a series of Silver Bears for acting, writing and production.[18]

Panorama – comprises new independent and arthouse films that deal with “controversial subjects or unconventional aesthetic styles”. Films in the category are intended to provoke discussion, and have historically involved themes such as gay, lesbian and transgendered issues.[19]

Forum – comprises experimental and documentary films from around the world with a particular emphasis on screening works by younger filmmakers. There are no format or genre restrictions, and films in the Forum do not compete for awards.[20]

Generation – comprises a mixture of short and feature-length films aimed at children and youths. Films in the Generation section compete in two sub-categories: Generation Kplus (aimed at those aged four and above) and Generation 14plus (aimed at those aged fourteen and above). Awards in the section are determined by three separate juries – the Children’s Jury, the Youth Jury and an international jury of experts – whose decisions are made independent of one another.[21]

Perspektive Deutsches Kino – comprises a wide variety of German films, with an emphasis on highlighting current trends in German cinema. There are few entry requirements, enabling emerging filmmakers to display their work to domestic and international audiences.[22]

Berlinale Shorts – comprises domestic and international short films, especially those that demonstrate innovative approaches to filmmaking. Films in the category compete for the Golden Bear for the best short film, as well as a jury-nominated Silver Bear.[23]

Retrospective – comprises classic films previously shown at the Berlinale, with films collated from the Competition, Forum, Panorama and Generation categories. Each year, the Retrospective section is dedicated to important themes or filmmakers. The special Homage series similarly examines past cinema, with a focus on honouring the life work of directors and actors.[24]

In addition to the seven sections, the Berlinale also contains several linked “curated special series”, including the Berlinale Special, Gala Special, Forum Expanded, Culinary Cinema and the Homage.[17] Since 2002 a 50-second trailer opens the performances in all sections of the festival with the exception of the Retrospective.

Awards

Main article: Golden Bear
A Golden Bear statue
Festival director Dieter Kosslick

The Golden Bear (German: Goldener Bär) is the highest prize awarded for the best film at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Golden Bear (Goldener Bär)

Silver Bear (Silberner Bär)

For other uses, see Silver Bear (disambiguation))

The Silver Bear was introduced in 1956 as an award for individual achievements in direction and acting, and for best short film.

In 1965 a special film award for the runner-up to the Golden Bear was introduced. Although its official name was the Special Jury Price from 1965 to 1999, and has been the Jury Grand Prix since 2000, it is commonly known as the Silver Bear (just like the awards for individual achievements) as it is regarded as a second place award after the Golden Bear.

In 1978, a Silver Bear for special recognitions was introduced, in 2002 a Silver Bear for best film music, and in 2008 an award for best screenplay.

  • Jury Grand Prix (since 1965)
  • Best Director (since 1956)
  • Best Actor (since 1956)
  • Best Actress (since 1956)
  • Best Short Film (since 1956)
  • Outstanding Artistic Achievement (since 1978)
  • Best Film Music (since 2002)
  • Best Screenplay (since 2008)
  • Alfred Bauer Prize— in memory of the Festival Founder — for a feature film that opens new perspectives on cinematic art[25]

Other awards at the Berlin International Film Festival

  • Panorama Publikumspreis, the Audience Award
  • Berlinale Camera, a special award for services to the Festival
  • A Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the 14plus section of the Generation Competition
  • A Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the children’s section of the Generation Competition
  • Teddy Award for films with LGBT topics
  • Shooting Stars Award for young European acting talent, awarded by European Film Promotion

European Film Market

The European Film Market takes place at the Martin-Gropius-Bau.

The European Film Market (EFM) is one of three largest movie markets in the world.[26] It is the business centre during the time of the Berlinale Film Festival. The EFM is the major venue for film producers, buyers, financiers, sales agents, and distributors. It is a professional trade event, so is open to registered industry insiders. In 2011, 400 companies registered and 6,982 market badges were issued; 1,532 buyers have registered.[27]

The trade fair provides exhibition space for companies presenting their current line-up. It organizes over 1000 screenings of new films, which take place at movie theatres around Potsdamer Platz. In 2007, the CinemaxX and CineStar were used to showcase new productions. In 2010, the Astor Film Lounge showed market screenings in three dimensions using digital RealD technology.

The Berlinale Co-Production Market is a three-day networking platform for producers and financiers, as well as broadcasting and funding representatives who are participating in international co-productions. At the Berlinale Co-Production Market, producers can introduce selected projects and find co-production partners and/or financiers in one-on-one meetings.

Talent Campus

Wim Wenders attended the Talent Campus as a lecturer

Commencing in 2003, the Berlinale has partnered with the Berlinale Talent Campus, which is a winter school for “up-and-coming filmmakers” that takes place at the same time as the festival. The Talent Campus accepts about 350 applicants each year; the attendees come from around the world, and represent all of the filmmaking professions.[28]

The event runs six days during the Berlinale and features lectures and panel discussions with well-known professionals addressing issues in filmmaking today. Workshops, excursions, personal tutoring, coaching, and training of participants from different fields of work are part of the programme.

The proceedings include presentations by distinguished experts,[29] who have included Park Chan-wook, Frances McDormand, Stephen Frears, Dennis Hopper, Jia Zhangke, Walter Murch, Shah Rukh Khan, Anthony Minghella, Charlotte Rampling, Walter Salles, Ridley Scott, Raoul Peck, Tom Tykwer, Mike Leigh, Tilda Swinton, and Wim Wenders. Many of these presentations and lectures are archived, both as video recordings and as transcripts, on the Talent Campus’ website.

Gallery

See also