Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Announcing 2010 Award Winners

(L to R) Doug Whipple, Andre Hennicke, Andreas Arnstedt & Thom Mulligan
Festival Director Thom Mulligan
Greetings! New Hope Film Festival announced awards on the stage of Havana Restaurant on Sunday night, and for the official record, here are the winners:

Danny Award, Best Picture The Dispensables (Andreas Arnsedt, Germany)

Honorable Mention - Best Picture Black Field (Danishka Esterhazy, Canada)
Artistic Spirit Award The Soil and the People (Sisir Sahana, India)
Audience Favorite - Short Film Saveta’s Gift (Mark Parees, USA)
Audience Favorite - Documentary When Police Become Prey (Candis McLean, Canada)
Audience Favorite - Student Film Made in America (Mike Infante and Jessica Thoubourron, USA)
Audience Favorite - Action Film The Crimson Mask (Elias Plagianos, USA)
Audience Favorite - Feature Film The Dispensables (Andreas Arnsedt, Germany)
Audience Favorite - Mid-Atlantic Film Embraceable You (Geri Delevich and Doug Keith, USA)
Audience Favorite - Mid-Atlantic Student Film Memory Collect (Elizabeth Phillips, USA)

Additionally, the following films were nominated for jury awards:

Danny Award - Best Picture Nominees
Hope (Steve Thomas, Australia, Documentary)
The Good Fight: James Farmer Remembers the Civil Rights Movement (Jessica Schoenbaechler, USA, Documentary)
Black Field (Danishka Esterhazy, Canada, Art House Feature)
Earthwork (Chris Ordal, USA, Art House Feature)
The Dispensables (Andreas Arnstedt, Germany, Art House Feature)
The Soil and the People (Sisir Sahana, India, Art House Feature)
The Book of Tomorrow (David Yohe, USA, Student)
Breathtaking (Vojin Vasovic, Serbia/Montenegro, Short)

Artistic Spirit Award Nominees
This award honors artistic quality and bravery in the face of substantial obstacles.
The Soil and the People (Sisir Sahana, India, Art House Feature)
Esther's Diary (Mariusz Kotowski, USA, Art House Feature)
The Journey (Chineze Anyaene, Nigeria, Student)
When Police Become Prey (Candis McLean, Canada/UK, Documentary)
Made in America (Jessica Thoubbouron and Mike Infante, USA, Student)
Bakhtiari Alphabet (Sima Sedigh and Reza Ghadyani, USA/Iran, Documentary)
Overload (Robert Fritz, USA, Art House Feature)
A Little Bit of Love: The Making of a Message (Scott Hatfield, Uganda/USA, Short)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Dispensables-Film Review

Hi Everyone!

I'm Sarah, a recent addition to the New Hope Film Festival--I'm looking forward to meeting you all! I just got a chance to screen Andreas Arnstedt's, The Dispensables. Here's my take on the film--you can check it out this Saturday (6/26) at the Stephen J. Buck Auditorium in New Hope, PA. It's definitely worth the price of admission so I hope you can all check out, and let me know what you think!

The Dispensables

Dir. Andreas Arnstedt, Germany

By Sarah Leventer

The Dispensables is a beautifully shot family drama, reminiscent in look and tone of Andrei Zvyagintsev’s The Return. Based on a true story, the film follows 11-year-old Jacob (Oskar Böckelmann) as he tries to hide a devastating secret about his father, Jürgen (André Hennicke), and opens as a drunk Jürgen publicly defaces a German political campaign poster with an axe. This opening suggests that, also like The Return, The Dispensables is an intensely personal story with connections to a much longer, complicated national history, another aspect that sets it apart from the air-brushed perfection of Hollywood summer blockbusters of late. However, it is worth noting that The Dispensables’ nationalistic tone is subtle and understated, meaning references to Germany’s past are there for those who choose to see them, but majoring in German is not a prerequisite to appreciate the film.

Fitting its semi-autobiographical content, The Dispensables is told in first-person so the audience gets to experience the world as Jacob does. While lying beside his father, Jacob looks up lights that remind him of a carnival, and flashes back to a date with his girlfriend, Hannah (Kathi Hahn); this is one of many instances when Jacob’s memories erupt (often unexpectedly) into the present-day. Moments like these are an interesting comment on the way memories work in life, coming unexpectedly and often “out of order,” and also give insight into Jacob’s current situation in a subtle, artful way. As Jacob snaps out from the memory of the carnival, for instance, the audience realizes that, because of the man lying beside him, this date will be the last carefree memory he’ll have for a very long time.

Andreas Arnstedt treats the children who anchor his film with a great deal of respect and authenticity. The director successfully resists the urge to infantilize his protagonists though they don’t sound straight off the set of Dawson’s Creek either. Jacob and Hannah are at once thoughtful, considerate and thoroughly childlike—they are also wiser than adults give them credit for, another aspect that makes watching the world from their perspective a uniquely worthwhile experience: especially compared to their precocious or alternatively 20-somethings-playing-a-14-year-old Hollywood counterparts.

In addition to Hannah, Jacob’s world is populated by compelling characters like his grandmother, Rosemarie, (Ingeborg Westphal) the only truly reliable adult in his life, Mr. Rott (Mathieu Carrière), an elderly neighbor who is a haunting reminder of Germany’s past and Jacob’s only other friend, and Jacob’s parents, Jürgen and Silke (Steffi Kühnert). Demonstrating a wisdom few first-time directors have, Arnstedt shows both the loving and damaging sides of Jacob’s parents, giving their performances the same meaningful complexity as the rest of his film.

To buy tickets to the U.S. premier of The Dispensables, go to: https://new-hope-film-festival-ltd.ticketleap.com

Happy Filmgoing!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Links on Facebook

If you're the type of person who dives into anything you do, and you want to learn more about our movies, check out the dynamic Links section of our Facebook page.

Sarah Leventer, a terrific and new addition to New Hope Film Fest, earned her Master's of Fine Arts in Film Studies at Boston University last year and now, in addition to working as a freelance writer, she's heading up our online efforts.

Don't miss the terrific reviews, interviews and other gems she's finding all over the World Wide Web!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Now on Twitter!

For helpful thoughts, updates and comments about NHFF, follow my new Twitter feed!