Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pressure Cooker Screens November 24 @ 7pm

Pressure Cooker Screens November 24 @ 7pm

Location: SOHO Coffee, corner of 20th Avenue South and Yesler Way, Seattle's Central District

There's a force-of-nature behind the door to Room 325 at Frankford High School in Philadelphia. Her name is Wilma Stephenson and she teaches Culinary Arts. Infamously blunt, Mrs. Stephenson runs a "boot camp" at Frankford, disciplining her students into capable chefs and responsible students. Behind her tough-talking exterior is a teacher, who cares passionately about getting the best out of her students and making sure they receive the opportunities – including scholarships to top programs – that will help them escape the meager minimum-wage job opportunities of Northeast Philly.

Wilma Stephenson has taught at Frankford for 40 years, long before Culinary Arts became part of the school's curriculum. She can be cantankerous, and she knows it, but she will do anything for the students who get with the program and show true promise and the hunger to succeed. Those who fall short of her discipline will not be missed; many will drop out before the first week is over.

The documentary documents Mrs. Stephenson and those students committed enough to surrender themselves to her enlightened despotism through both semesters in Culinary Arts. By the end of the school year, 13 of her students will have made it through the gauntlet. These seniors aspire to scholarships that can enable them to escape the status quo of Northeast Philly and move on to a future of more opportunities. Mrs. Stephenson spells it out on the first day of school by telling the newcomers that 11 members of last year's class earned over $750,000 in scholarships, a staggering amount. At a school where over 40% of students don't even make it to their senior year, Ms. Stephenson's class stands in stark contrast. She offers these kids her version of the American Dream: You choose a realistic goal. You work hard. You work the system. You get out of Northeast Philly.

At the end of their school year, there is a one-day scholarship competition, where top Philadelphia chefs judge the students' skills and talent. But, in the end, the scholarships are even more dependent on the kids' capacity for sustained drive throughout their senior year. Can they endure the stressful challenges wrought by their home lives – having to hold minimum-wage jobs after school, and acting as surrogate parents to their siblings –
while still finding the motivation to wake up at 6AM to get to Mrs. Stephenson's class early enough to master their crepes and tournee potatoes…

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Opportunities for Artists and Academics

Rooftop Films is accepting entries for the 2010 Rooftop Films Summer Series

Submit your movies! We are currently accepting submissions for the 2010 Rooftop Films Summer Series ( Submit your films and videos now and participate in one of the most unforgettable, unique, filmmaker-friendly, independent film events in the world! You can submit directly to us by downloading the submission form ( or you can submit via Without A Box (

The 2010 Summer Series will run from May through September and will feature more than 200 daring new films, all screened outdoors, in front of big, loyal audiences in parks, on boats, and on rooftops overlooking the greatest city in the world. More than 25,000 people attended Rooftop screenings in 2009, making it one of the biggest festivals for underground films in the world. We show films of all genres, formats, and lengths, as long as they're daring, creative, and unique.

Earlybird: $9 - December 5, 2009.
Regular: $15, ($10 for WAB members) - January 15, 2010.
Late: $20, ($15 for WAB) - February 15, 2010.
Without A Box Extended: $20 for WAB members - March 1, 2010

Plus, if you submit a work to Rooftop Films you automatically get 2 free tickets to any Rooftop Summer Series show (an $18 value).

You can mail any submissions to: Rooftop Films / PMB 401 / 285 Fifth Avenue / Brooklyn, NY 11215

If you have any questions regarding submissions, please email program director Dan Nuxoll at:
submit * at * rooftopfilms * dot * com.

Rooftop Films
Underground Movies Outdoors

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Babylon launches its 2010 programme with a major new initiative linking filmmakers across continents

*BABYLON is now open for applications for 2010.

*BABYLON provides high-level, project-based training and mentorship for producer/writer-director teams seeking to broaden their access to the international film industry.

In a major new initiative funded by the European Union's MEDIA International and the Nigerian Film Corporation, European filmmakers will have the opportunity to work together with African colleagues on script and story development, production technique, and access to the international marketplace via BABYLON's network of industry consultants, funders, international sales agents and distributors.
The 2010 programme includes:

- a 5-day intensive development workshop for 14 selected projects (7 European, 7 African) during the International Film Festival Rotterdam (30th Jan- 4th Feb 2010); with script consultancy, one-on-one production and marketing analysis, screenings, case studies and networking forums;
- individual mentoring from Babylon experts during the script rewrite and preparation phase in February and March;

- a 5-day production lab based at the Nigerian Film Institute in Jos, (27th April- 2nd May 2010) which consolidates the script development of each project and gives filmmaking teams the opportunity to workshop scenes from their films or produce promotional short films based on their feature-film material; plus presentation of projects and their promotional material at the Zuma Film festival in Abuja (3rd-5th May 2010);

- Onward mentoring and promotion of all Babylon projects.

Visit now for details on how to apply.

Deadline for applications: 27th November 2009.

BABYLON INTERNATIONAL is led by BABYLON co-producers Script House (Berlin), Scenario Films (London) and Play Film (Paris) and is funded by the European Union's MEDIA International, the Nigerian Film Corporation and the Centre National du Cin?ma, Gabon, as well as by BABYLON's existing sponsors the British Council, the Goethe- Institut, Filmfonds Wien and Mira Media.

Centre Culturel Allemand
Rue de Diourbel angle Piscine Olympique
Point E
B.P. 25862 - C.P. 12524
DAKAR, Senegal
T. +221 33 8698880
Fax 8251371

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African Film Library Launched

M-Net launched the African Film Library in late September. The site has a feature films, shorts, and documentaries from the last 50 years and is available at It's in beta.
You can browse the site by a variety of factors or you can search by keyword. When I browsed for everything alphabetically I got 12 pages of results that could hold nine listings at a time, so I would guess something over 100 films are available here.

Click on the title and you'll get details about the film, including a synopsis, length, date it was produced, and language.

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Supports emerging documentary filmmakers and videographers
who live and work in California, Oregon, and Washington with
grants of $1,000 - $10,000. Filmmakers must demonstrate a
commitment to the art of making documentaries by several years
(but no more than 10) of practical film or video experience.
Deadline: December 15, 2009.


At the Documentary Center of The George Washington University
(May 26-July 8, 2010, Washington, DC). Intensive 6-week program
that will include 20 emerging documentary filmmakers from
across the globe. Fellows will work together in a collaborative
environment geared toward launching their work onto the world
stage. Applications are invited from countries around the world
where traditional infrastructure for the creation and
distribution of documentary does not currently exist. Fellows
will make 2 films, participate in round-table discussions with
notable U.S. filmmakers, and meet representatives from major
broadcast networks. Deadline December 4, 2009.

Tribeca All Access Call For Submissions

Tribeca All Access (TAA) is a year round networking and career development program of the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) that supports the work of filmmakers from traditionally under-represented communities within the industry by providing access to industry representatives looking for new projects in development. Approximately 20 qualified directors and screenwriters will be selected to participate in one-on-one meetings with key industry players in addition to networking and learning from dedicated panels and comprehensive workshops during the Tribeca Film Festival. Program alumni receive year-round support through TAA OnTrack, which includes educational panels and workshops; TFI hosted presentation screenings; promotional support for completed films; and the use of digital filmmaking and editing equipment.

Tribeca All Access is open to both mid-career and emerging narrative and documentary filmmakers. Applicants are required to apply with a completed feature-length screenplay, documentary proposal, or documentary work-in-progress and must have at least one screenwriter or director attached who qualifies. Projects may be of any subject matter, genre, or budget range suited for independent or major studio production.

The program is now a recognized talent pool within the industry and an unrivaled opportunity to advance your filmmaking career.

Apply Now! Deadline is Monday, December 14, 2009.

Visit for complete details and upcoming events.