Weekly Roundup – Berlinale and SXSW have some news to share, Rotterdam wraps up, and the NFB opens its vault

Your handy one-stop-shop for film news, interviews, articles, and videos from the week that was.

This week saw both the Berlinale and SXSW unveil the lineups for the March editions of their respective online editions.

Announcing titles over the course of four days, Berlinale directors Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian culminated their reveals with the Competition lineup for their 71st edition. The section features the latest work from several directors familiar to VIFF attendees, including Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s Celine Sciamma with Petite Maman and Hong Sangsoo with Introduction. There are also a number of films with Vancouver connections, as Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers stars in Danis Goulet’s The Night Raiders, UBC faculty member Igor Drljača’s Tabija (The White Fortress) premieres in Generations 14Plus and SFU grad Pablo Alvarez Mesa’s Bicentenario screens in Forum Expanded.

In an interview with Screen’s Jeremy Kay, SXSW’s Director of Film Janet Pierson reflects on having to rethink this year’s edition in the wake of cancelling the 2020 festival just days before it was set to commence. “It was devastating while it was happening… Everything was discussed, every possible alternative… It was just a company-wide process to get to what we are presenting now.”

With International Film Festival Rotterdam’s online edition having wrapped this past weekend, Lyssaria’s Ela Bittencourt writes on Karen Cinorre’s Mayday and Norika Sefa’s Looking for Venera, two films she cites as being “centred on girl anger”. Over at Little White Lies, David Jenkins names James Vaughn’s Friends and Strangers and Vinothraj PS’s Pebbles as highlights while speculating on whether digital film festivals are here to stay.

The Tyee’s Dorothy Woodend comes down in favour of the way festivals are changing in the face of “the darned pandemic”. Having toiled for both VIFF and DOXA, she opines, “As new forms of media continue to emerge from virtual reality to augmented reality to mixed reality, artists and filmmakers have an exponentially vast new set of tools with which to make cool stuff. Why not expand this type of innovation to festivals themselves on a more permanent basis?”

The Oscars took another step towards eventually becoming a reality by announcing their shortlists for nine categories. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Another Round, Dear Comrades! and Two of Us are not only still in the running for Best International Film but also currently available on our VIFF Connect streaming platform.

If nothing else, this announcement offers an ideal excuse to head over to the NFB’s website and take a deep dive into their treasure trove of almost 70 Oscar-nominated films that are all free to view. We’ll leave you with Alison Snowden and David Fine’s Bob’s Birthday, which won the Vancouver filmmakers a gold statue back in 1993.

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