Friday, November 20, 2009

Documentaries In The News

Two fascinating tales of terror. One: the Academy Award short list for feature-length documentaries. Two: an account of a few ... um ... alleged irregularities at the Queens International Film Festival. (Keep in mind, anyone can allege anything. I'm linking to the story as it has been published online -- but you'll definitely want to check out the facts for yourself.)

Ah, what a tangled web we weave, when we try not to deceive. Two somewhat shocking stories....

Oscar Short List of Documentaries Draws Controversy

Pressed for details, Mr. Toback said only that he had experienced something connected with the selections process, “which I put fully in the category of extortion that I did not go along with.” Mr. Toback added that he was “furious” at himself for “having chosen to be passive and quiet in the face of that extortion.”

Film fest head a fraud, many say
A New York filmmaker who served on the advisory board of the first QIFF and has worked with Castaldo on and off for the past several years, said he was conned out of $20,000 this summer. The filmmaker, who wished to remain anonymous as he is negotiating a big movie deal, said Castaldo offered to distribute a film he and his partner had made earlier this year. According to their agreement, the filmmaker allegedly paid Castaldo $20,000, with the understanding that she would take the film to Cannes. “She never went to Cannes,” he said. “It was one total ripoff. ... Everything was phony.” Castaldo allegedly tried to convince him that she had been to Cannes, showing him a website with video footage of her there. The filmmaker said he soon discovered that the footage was doctored. The website offers to Photoshop anyone into Cannes, he said.

1 comment:

Mattson Tomlin said...

interesting. i had a film at the queens international film festival this year. I can't really attest for all the other stuff, but the festival experience itself was pretty lousy. Some of this-

"At least eight DVDs were lost, leading to last-minute cancellations in screenings.
One filmmaker, who came all the way from Asia, said he was embarrassed by the way his film was screened.
“The screening room was just a hotel conference room with a bunch of chairs,” he said. “A tiny projector was set in the front of the room and the screen was smaller than a widescreen TV. "

is pretty right on. i saw a lot of nightmares play out. My screening wasn't all bad- but the guy who showed after me had a scratched DVD (they were showing off of a television, not projection) so they took the dvd out, threw it in the trash, and said 'that's the end i guess'- a nightmare indeed.