Friday, January 28, 2011

Beaufort Film Festival

Beaufort loves film and the feeling is mutual. Think Big Chill, Forrest Gump, Prince of Tides, Rules of Engagement, Bagger Vance, and Something to Talk About. These are some of the movies that have been filmed in and around Beaufort. 
The Beaufort Film Society produces the annual Beaufort International Film Festival which will be held February 16-20, 2011.

The festival will be screening features, shorts, animation, student films and documentaries. This year's submissions came from 24 countries. See the schedule below, and visit the website,  but before you go there, let me encourage you to consider seeing some of the documentaries. 

I plan to see them all,  but I'm especially excited to see Stolen by Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw, from Sydney, Australia.  Their film is about the enslavement of Saharawi refugees. 
Stolen trailer:

If you decide to go, be sure to look up festival director, Ron Tucker, who also happens to be the president of the Beaufort Film Society, and owner of Sandbar Production. Ron is a busy man, but I'm sure with his Marine Corps training, he'll have the films start on time.

Wed: Feb 16 - Opening night reception - Join the Beaufort Film Society to ensure an invitation to this event at or purchase an All Events Ticket by Feb 14.
Thu-Fri: Feb 17-18 - Screenings and Workshops 8:00 am - 11:00 pm 

Thu-Fri: Feb 17-18 - Walking/Van Tours of Movie Sites. 
Sat: Feb 19 - Screenings and Workshops 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
Sat: Feb 19 - Awards Gala 
Sun: Feb 20 - Filmmaker Farewell Brunch

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Documentary Trailer of the Week

Manda Bala - Send a Bullet, directed by American Jason Kohn, this Sundance winner examines corruption in Brazil through the stories of both victims and perpetrators of corruption, greed and violence - a plastic surgeon who reconstructs ears of kidnapping victims, a policeman in Sao Paulo's anti-kidnapping division, a masked kidnapper and a politician whose laundered income comes from a frog farm.

"Wow, bet the Brazilian Tourism Board hates this movie." - Tom Long, Detroit News

"Manda Bala (Send a Bullet), a documentary about corruption, crime and human adaptation during difficult circumstances, is a slick, sly and beautifully shot documentary." - Philip Kennicott, Washington Post

Thanks to Tom Laffay, a young documentary filmmaker, for this great suggestion. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lucy Massie Phenix

Karen Karnes with filmmaker Lucy Massie Phenix

Life has taken unexpected turns recently – good and bad, big and small.  

I received a surprising call from Lucy Massie Phenix, who has always been something of a role model for me as a documentary filmmaker.  Lucy Phenix is an exceptional filmmaker who is mostly known for social documentaries like You Got to Move (1985) about community activists.  I first saw it when I was a fledging filmmaker and was blown away. I saw it again recently and it still holds up. Milestone is coming out with the 25th anniversary edition with bonus track interviews with the filmmaker and others (more on that soon). 

I had never spoken to Lucy Phenix before, but just as I suspected, found her to be so very intelligent, compassionate and creative.  She wanted me to collaborate on a bonus track with her.  Astonishing!

We talked and emailed about different things and sent each other a film we had made.  Lucy lives in CA and I’m in SC. Just today, I viewed Lucy’s Don’t Know Will See: The Work of Karen Karnes.  It is a beautiful, lyrical documentary about an 85+ year-old potter.  Of course, you should see it if you love pottery and the 20th century craft movement, of course. See it to learn about the creative process. See it to learn how to grow old well. See it because Ms. Karnes is a joy.

What I found profoundly moving about the film portrait is that Ms. Karnes is such a vibrant and spirited artist without the slightest bit of pretension. She would be the first to admit that she is still learning and experimenting.  The tile of the film, Don’t Know We’ll See, comes from the otherwise very articulate Ms. Karnes when asked about the progression of her work, as in what’s next.  Lucy Phenix captures Ms. Karnes vividly, with the help of exquisite photography by Alan Dater, and provides us with an enlightening view into the creative process.

Lucy speaks about this film in a YouTube video. Check the interview and all of Lucy's works

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tap Out

The world is running out of fresh water. 

China has 25% of the world’s population but only 6% of its water. Saudi Arabia is headed towards total depletion of its aquifers. In dry season, the Ganges no longer reaches the sea. Already, the vast Ogallala Aquifer in the Midwest is being depleted faster than it can recharge. 

Yet in the United States, many think that the world water crisis will not affect them. They would be wrong.

The documentary film, Tap Out looks at water in America, particularly the seemingly water-rich areas of the Carolinas. It looks at the challenges to water quality and quantity as well as the side effects of ignoring the ever increasing warning signs. 

Three students, Evan, Jessica and Nick set out to travel the Catawba River in North and South Carolina and learn why it was named America’s most endangered river.  On their journey, they talk with scientists, environmentalists and industry and government spokesmen about mercury contamination, ash ponds, invasive species, contaminated groundwater, sedimentation, flow and just everything that affects water. 

In the martial arts, when a fighter is overwhelmed by a dangerous opponent and cannot escape, the fighter submits, or taps out.   When it comes to fresh water, we need to be sure that we never have to Tap Out.  

 Full disclosure - Tap Out was created by Virginia Tormey Friedman, that's me. My son is a martial artist and taught me about tapping out and other important life lessons. This blog is not about me or my films, but rather about my passion, documentary film. I thought it was important to get this out of the way first.

There will be more about Tap Out from time to time because it has become a lightning rod, channeling the fury of those who seek to avoid blame for their actions.