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  1. Yesterday
  2. I've gotten hugely into Strat-o-Matic, which is basically D&D for baseball nerds.
  3. Last week
  4. My understanding from publisher is that the project is still a go, but things have slowed considerably due to COVID-19. They did recently sent me a form for people considering submitting a chapter. I've attached it here. Ken Spiritually Significant - Essays on the Arts & Faith Top 100 Films.docx
  5. It would really be interesting to see if a Girls State were as strongly pro-life, pro- gun as this group. Maybe in Texas, but in other places? I wander if the American Legion does anything to collate what happens every year. It would also be interesting to have a more than 2 party system. May 3 teams of 40, 35, and 25%.
  6. Up to ep. 4. I categorize as A Man With No Name in the SW universe. Even pretty much sounds like a young Eastwood.
  7. My sense of the Venice, TIFF, NYFF partnership is that they're essentially agreeing to drop (temporarily) their battles over premiere status. Not that it really matters this year. Everyone is just trying to keep people employed and their bills paid in hopes of returning to some new sense of normal in 2022. I suspect the fall festivals will function primarily this year as launch platforms for VOD releases. The festivals will take a small cut of that revenue, but whatever streaming they do will have to be locked down tight. I wonder if the virtual screenings will be like press screeners, with the user's name watermarked on the image? As an aside, I remember attending a public screening of Jia Zhangke's 24 City at TIFF a decade ago. It was in a small room and every seat was sold. I asked a friend, who was formerly a TIFF programmer, why they would put a Jia film on such a small screen. Her answer had never occurred to me before: "This film already has Canadian distribution, and Toronto is Canada's biggest market. Every ticket TIFF sells is one less future ticket sale for Films We Like." Now imagine how a virtual premiere will undercut the market value of a film! I have to imagine that the people behind the fall premieres are essentially writing off US box office -- as we're seeing with the shifting release strategy of films like Tenet. Their best hope is to get the films onto European and Asian screens for two or three weeks and then rent/sell the films online to as many people as possible. Actually, I guess their best hope is a deal with Netflix or Amazon. I have a lot of dear friends who earn their meager livings as filmmakers, publicists, programmers, critics, etc. I don't know how most of them are going to make rent for the next two years. EDIT: After looking at TIFF's lineup, I'm not sure how many of these have VOD launch potential? There are a lot of films by major directors ready for release, not to mention the acclaimed films that premiered at Sundance and Berlin. None of them are playing at TIFF. Looks like we won't be seeing any of them for quite a while. EDIT 2: Variety just published an interesting conversation with Oren Moverman.
  8. I've never attended the festival as press, but I talked a couple of times in my early years of attending with festival director Jody Kielbasa, who seemed interested in my feedback on the festival. There's a bus that goes around the campus and can get you to each venue, but that takes a good amount of coordination and planning to ensure you arrive to your screenings in time. In the past, I've parked near the downtown mall and have left my car there all day to avoid in-and-out parking fees, but last year I drove to different venues and discovered the parking garages nearby are free on the weekends. As for the selection, the festival really stepped it up last year. I think it's competing with Middleburg (also in Virginia) and therefore ended up booking several of the same big titles that festival had landed. Someone told me that had been the case for a few years, but I hadn't noticed.
  9. That's a good reminder. VFF credentialed me several years in a row back when I was writing for CT. I found their line up less attractive (little bit more retrospective and regional stuff with only 1 or 2 headliners), but if they are digital I might definitely apply. (Even pre-this election cycle, Charlottesville was not my favorite place to attend. It's a college town in a more rural out-of-the-way area which means hotels are overpriced (and run down from football weekends) and if you are not a student or personnel it isn't conducive to getting from one end of campus to the other for the alternate venues. That said, the downtown area is great and the press liason (if it's the same guy) was very responsive.
  10. Oh, that's something I hadn't considered, so maybe it's a silver lining that they're shutting out non-Canadian viewers. That softens the blow of this morning's news somewhat. I read and re-read those press announcements, too, but they were long on feel-good sentiment and short on specifics. Especially with Telluride flat-out cancelling, it seems this was nothing more than kumbaya vacuity. That's a great idea; I'll PM you about the nuts and bolts of this. If this doesn't pan out, I'll look into the Virginia options that Christian mentioned.
  11. Of the two Virginia-based festivals I've attended, the Virginia Film Festival, October 21-25, has said it'll be virtual this year. The Middleburg Film Festival, October 15-18, hasn't yet announced a change, but I'll be surprised if the event doesn't go all-digital.
  12. I thought all the major festivals were combining this year...aren't they in coordination with Telluride and NYFF? Anyhow, Andrew, time permitting, you could reach out to the Filmfest 919 people, their selection has been great the last two years, and I would suspect they are going to go digital this year if they hold it at all.
  13. I'll probably take in a film or two if the in-person festival ends up happening, but it'll be absolutely bizarre, to say the least. I have no interest in the online stuff. TIFF's website infrastructure is so bad that I have no trust in them handling a streaming service. CBC Gem and Crave (two Canadian-only streaming services) are bad enough when it comes to quality and buffering. I don't trust a cash-strapped organization like TIFF actually handling the online portion.
  14. Well, shit...this is the email that I received from TIFF this morning: "We have noted in The Weekly what is available only in Canada, but there will continue to be opportunities and programming which is not geo-blocked included as well. To confirm for you, limitations to our digital systems do mean that New releases and collections are not available to rent outside of Canada. However, we are looking to have special talks and panel events as part of year-round and Festival programming added to the platform, which would be accessible to you. We are also committed to making content available on our social channels when we can, including our weekly Stay-at-Home Cinema Q&As with special guests. Of course, we understand that both travel restrictions and system limitations mean that our International friends cannot enjoy a full TIFF experience. As an important part of our community, I want to assure you that we will do all we can to make sure you can still participate as much as possible as we look forward to re-opening our doors to you. Thank you for your ongoing support and enthusiasm for TIFF - it goes a long way toward making us such a thriving member of the international film community." Any recommendations for domestic festivals that will be digital this year?
  15. Earlier
  16. Where/How can I watch Rectify? I did some digging and it seems Netflix has it (I'm not a subscriber). Prime has it, but for a fee. I'd consider blind-buying a Blu-ray, but it looks as though there are no Region 1 Blus, at least not for all seasons? I don't have access to Kanopy. If I'm missing other opportunities, let me know.
  17. Good choices. Among Stravinsky's ballets, I'm only familiar with The Rite of Spring and The Firebird (granted, those are his most popular ballets). I should do a Nielsen symphony cycle. I've only listened to his symphonies in a somewhat haphazard fashion, and not in chronological order. Plus, it's been quite some time since I've listened to any of them. Thanks for the reminder about that podcast. I've just downloaded it and will try to listen to it tonight or tomorrow.
  18. That's a concern of mine as well. Darren, do you know if participation will be possible for those living outside of Canada?
  19. Probably not. With the academic semester being condensed due to COVID, it is harder to schedule a block of time to "get away." I'll always value my years at TIFF, but the rise of Filmfest 919 locally has made it easier for me to catch many of the films I would go to Toronto for in years past. I expect I'll go back some day, maybe when I'm retired, but I've found that aging takes its toll as well...it's harder than it was 12 years ago for travel and sleep limitations to not set me back. These days, I get a much better response approaching studios directly (or publicists) that I ever did from TIFF's press accreditation.
  20. This has become my favorite TV drama. Although we took a break from it after the 2nd season, we finally got around to finishing recently. Season 3 I think may be the weakest of the 4 seasons, but still this is a show that revolves around grace. By the end, that grace fills the lives of all the characters in different ways. My review after season 2: http://bit.ly/2396hde
  21. This will be the first time since 2004 that I haven't spent at least a week at TIFF. Which will be weird. I did the math recently and discovered I've spent more than five months in Toronto over the years. Also weird -- and a little worrying -- is that I have zero interest in online film festivals. To be honest, I've lost most of my interest in films, generally, during the quarantine. When we were all preparing for the Top 100, I binged on great movies. But over the past two months, I've only watched eight feature films, and seven of them were with my kids. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing Chloe Zhao's new film, which is playing Venice, TIFF, and NYFF. It's sad to think I might never get a chance to see it on a big screen.
  22. If the digital/streaming films were made available in the UK, I would gladly participate in TIFF from afar. But I don't think that's happening; the digital TIFF Lightbox website says "not available in your country."
  23. Yes to all of that. It's a symphony to my ears as well, largely because it does have four discrete sections, even if there's no break between them. And I would definitely recommend listening to the podcast I linked to - it turns out that the Brahmsian brass was an intentional homage, with a similar reason for its deployment as Johannes' First Symphony. As for what's next, no survey in the immediate offing (though I have listened to some Nielsen lately and enjoyed it quite a bit). However, I am planning to dig into some 20th C music that I've never paid close attention to before: Stravinsky's classic ballet scores (embarrassed to say I have no recordings, something I plan to remedy promptly), Schoenberg's chamber symphonies and Pierrot Lunaire.
  24. I love the 7th, and it's interesting to think, well, what is it really? A symphony? A symphonic fantasy? A suite? A tone poem? Depending on how loosely we think about form, perhaps we could give it any one of these titles, or maybe it's something else entirely (though in the end it's a symphony to my ears). And then whenever I listen to it I realize, ah, the important thing is that the music is really great, thankfully. The first third or so is very beautiful, and then the music becomes darker and more thrilling, and it concludes with a rousing end -- the pounding timpani signaling the end of the symphony and the end of Sibelius' symphonies. Now that you've been through all of Sibelius' symphonies, Andrew, what's next? Perhaps Nielsen's symphony cycle? Haydn (there are more than 100!)? Mahler, if you haven't gone through all 9 of his? Just curious. Doing surveys of any given composer's work can be a lot of fun.
  25. I've been playing around with videos since Pandemic has moved instruction online, and I'm thinking about making some brief introductions to films on the list. No more than 5 minutes. If you have interest in doing something like this either with me or on your own, let me know.
  26. Anybody else planning to participate? Obviously, Jessica and I won't be crossing the border, but we plan to participate online. In the context of a pandemic, it's first-world problems, but we've not gotten away for more than 48 hours since last year's TIFF, so we're chomping at the bit to rent a house somewhere for a week, order good takeout, and watch good films. The planners have been understandably withholding of details thus far, though premieres of films by Vinterberg and Kawase hold some appeal, and Ammonite sounds promising. Perhaps of greatest interest to folks here is the opening night film: Spike Lee's filming of David Byrne's recent Broadway show, American Utopia. (Quick tangent: a look at Lee's imdb page reveals that his next project after that is a Brooklyn hip-hop retelling of Romeo and Juliet, entitled Prince of Cats. Count me in!)
  27. My neglect persists. I'll see if I can make this happen ASAP.
  28. I have updated the blurbs for This is Martin Bonner (me), The Mission (Rob Z), and The Man Who Planted Trees (Rob Z).
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