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FilmColumbia announces 2006 festival lineup

FilmColumbia Announces 2006 Film Festival Line-up

[Chatham, NY – September 6, 2006] -- On Thursday, October 19th the FilmColumbia Festival returns to Chatham, New York for its 7th season of outstanding independent films and exciting events. “Last year's festival broke all previous attendance records,” said festival director Calliope Nicholas. “Several of the films sold out completely, and those who were able to snag tickets for our Saturday night sneak preview, Brokeback Mountain, participated in a lively post-film Q&A with the film's producer, James Schamus. We're expecting tickets for this year's features to sell out very quickly.”

Hosted by the Chatham Film Club at the historic Crandell Theatre, the festival will screen 19 independent films, documentaries, shorts, and animations from around the world, including:

o Two Square Miles. Filmmaker Barbara Ettinger's documentary on Hudson, N.Y., and the Columbia County-wide battle over the expansion of the St. Lawrence cement plant.

o Old Joy. Set in the wilderness of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, Kelly Reichardt's stunningly photographed, self-described “New Age western” was the toast of this year's Sundance Film Festival. Reichardt will be present to discuss the film and answer questions. She is also this year's recipient of the “FilmColumbia Emerging Filmmakers Grant”, sponsored by Kodak.

o Babel. Directed by Alejandro Inarritu (21 Grams). A tragic accident involving an American couple in Morocco sparks a chain of events for four families in different countries throughout the world. Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Koji Yakusho lead an international ensemble of actors and non-professional actors from Morocco, Tijuana, and Tokyo.

o The Aura. Fabian Bielinsky, one of South America's most promising directors, died earlier this year of a heart attack at age 47. The Aura, his last film, is a powerful and moving thriller. Actor Ricardo Darin plays an epileptic, dysfunctional taxidermist who takes advantage of an accident to commit the perfect robbery – a grim thriller, a great story.

o Requiem. German director/producer Hans-Christian Schmid's haunting and disturbing film uses the same source material as last year's American film, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, but crafts a story with a much lighter and sensitive step.

o The Host. Based on an actual incident, Bong Joon-ho's South Korean genre-bending monster mash begins on an American military base, where a U.S. Army officer leaks formaldehyde into the Han River that runs through Seoul, with predictably dire consequences. The combination of convincing effects, off-beat humor, politics, and solid character development makes for a breathless adrenalin rush.

o The Lives of Others. (German) Writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck has crafted a hard-hitting look at the devastating effect East Germay's secret police, the Stasi, had on its citizens. The film won 7 German Films Awards.

o Celebration. Danish director Thomas Vinterberg's unblinking view of family relationships. The story takes place at a 60th birthday celebration for the patriarch of a large and prosperous family. As the evening unfolds, the family's dark secrets – involving incest and perversion – are revealed. Bingham Ray, co-founder of October Films and former president of United Artists will be on hand to discuss the film and answer questions.

o Breaking and Entering. Directed by Anthony Minghella and starring Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, and Robin Wright Penn. A landscape architect suffers a series of office burglaries which set in motion a chain of related events and clashes between

o Infamous. Directed by Doug McGrath, who will be at the festival to introduce the film. Infamous may have lost the "Capote” battle in release timing, but it seems to have won the war. Featuring Sandra Bullock, Jeff Daniels, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hope Davis, Isabella Rosselini, Sigourney Weaver, and Toby Jones as Truman Capote, the film tells the now familiar back-story of Capote's breakthrough book In Cold Blood. There will be a post screening discussion led by Bingham Ray.

o Brother's Shadow. Jake Groden gets out of prison just as his identical twin brother has suddenly died, prompting his sister-in-law to put the family cabinetry business on the block. Enter Groden, who tries to step into his brother's shoes with dramatic consequences. Led by East Chatham's Scott Cohen as Groden, the cast features Judd Hirsch and Susan Floyd.

o Iraq in Fragments. Director James Longley gives us a cinema verite-style documentary about post-war Iraq that explores the lives of ordinary Iraqis: people whose thoughts, beliefs, aspirations, and concerns are at once personal and illustrative of larger issues in Iraq today.

o Animation For Grownups. The best in award-winning shorts by top animators illustrates the wide range and expression possible in this medium, from computer generated to hand drawn. Many of the animators will be on hand for Q&A afterwards. Programmed by Gary Leib, animator for American Splendor.

o Children's Film Program. Beautiful, award-winning film shorts from around the world. Ideal for those 14 & under and young at heart. Curated by Stephanie Fishette and Patti Greany of Bob Giraldi Productions in NYC.

In addition to the film line-up, the festival will offer two “sneak preview” feature films. The festival's sneak previews are among the most highly anticipated independent films and often go on to garner major film award nominations and wins. Past sneak previews have included Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Pianist, 21 Grams, and last year's Brokeback Mountain.

The intimate setting of the festival gives audiences a unique opportunity to interact with and learn from filmmakers and film experts. This year's events feature a Friday night cocktail party at the popular Chatham pub, Peint O Gwrw. The party will offer hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar, and is open to all ticket-holding festival-goers and Chatham Film Club members.

Saturday afternoon will feature a staged script reading, at the Tracy Memorial building, of St. Faith's Shelter, based on Mary Gail Biebel's experience of giving up a child for adoption in 1966 and her subsequent search for him. On Saturday night the festival will once again present its “Film and Dessert” event which includes the screening of the sneak preview followed by dessert and coffee at The Blue Plate restaurant.

On Sunday, Kodak will sponsor a filmmakers brunch and panel discussion entitled Through the Lens: Creating the Vision of Film. Movies are deeply shaped by the cinematographer's craft: lighting, photography, and film type. But despite this valuable role, the importance of cinematography is often overlooked. This panel of film experts will discuss the impact and contributions of cinematography on some of our most memorable films and examine the behind-the-scenes techniques of creating a film’s mood and ambience.

The town of Chatham will once again be host to the festival's Camera, Action, Art! program. This year's program of sculpture and print work is being curated by Art Omi, the renowned residency program for international visual artists and the curators of The Fields Sculpture Park, a year round public exhibition space for contemporary sculpture. In addition to the work curated by Art Omi, the program will feature work by local sculptor Roy Kanwit whose large-scale pieces are constructed from stone, concrete, and steel.

Tickets for FilmColumbia 2006 will go on sale September 30 and can be purchased by phone, at 518-392-3445, or by order forms on the festival brochure (downloadable from our website). Tickets will also be available at the Tracy Memorial Building during the festival. Please visit the FilmColumbia website for further details.

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