Congratulations to the PFF24 Award Winners!

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Uncategorized

Last night, the awards winners for the 24th Philadelphia Film Festival were announced proceeding Closing Night film Where to Invade Next.  Congratulations to all our winners!


Audience Awards // When Voices Meet

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Student Choice Award // The Boy and the Beast

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Best Narrative // Ixcanul Volcano

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Honorable Mention | Best Screenplay // The White Knights

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Honorable Mention | Best Acting // The Club

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Best Documentary // The Pearl Button

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Honorable Mention // (T)ERROR


Best Short // World of Tomorrow

World of Tomorrow

Honorable Mention // Manoman


Sharon Pinkenson for Best Local Feature // Beer Runners

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Archie Award for Best First Feature // Mustang


Film Review – Dheepan


Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Don Malvasi

Republished from

If you haven’t seen Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet (2010), do whatever it takes to catch up. Also, don’t miss Auduard’s latest, Dheepan, winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Dheepan is the story of a “fake family” of refuges from war-torn Sri Lanka. Former Tamil Tiger Dheepan (Antonysaythan Jesuthasan, himself a former boy soldier), in order to escape the battle zone, assembles a pretend family while in the refugee camp. A woman, Yalini (Kalieaswara Srinivisan), searches the camp for orphaned children. She eventually finds nine-year-old Illayaal (Claudine Vinasithamby), a perfect fit for the dead family whose identity and passports the threesome will now assume.

Film Review – Ixcanul Volcano


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By Don Malvasi

Republished from

Dirt-poor with no running water nor electricity, and unable to read or write, Maria (unprofessional actress Maria Mercedes Coroy) is set up by her strong-willed, well-meaning parents for an arranged marriage to the foreman of the coffee plantation they inhabit. What transpires is a revealing glimpse into the Mayan culture of the Guatemalan highlands. Maria’s gaze is so intently piercing, it isn’t hard to figure out she is constantly alert for danger. She and her parents, who speak the Kaqchikel language and virtually no Spanish, do things the way they have been done for centuries.

When Maria begins to question things, she proceeds cautiously. Yet her drive for self-expression holds steady through a caldron of superstition and physical danger, including a host of poisonous snakes. I left the film with a deep fondness for these indigenous people, high admiration for Maria’s dynamic mom (a terrific Maria Telon), and nothing but respect for Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante. Bustamante’s excellent helpers include cinematographer Luis Armango Arteaga and veteran sound designer Julien Cloquet, who had me wondering whether the theater’s sound system was going haywire only to figure out that it was actually the eerie roar of the smoldering dormant volcano in the background. When Maria asks her friend Pepe what is on the other side of the volcano, he flippantly replies the U. S. with that little thing Mexico in between.

ixanul volcano will play again on saturday, october 31 at the Ritz Bourse.

Film Review – The Program

The Program

Written by Alex Gibson on . Posted in Blogs

By Don Malvasi

Republished from

The narrative surrounding Lance Armstrong was just too good to offer much public resistance. His overcoming of testicular cancer diagnosed at age 21, his championing of promoting others to fight the disease, and not least, his seven consecutive Tour de France victories all clouded the many signals that something grim was awry. Stephen FrearsThe Program outlines the injections, the blood transfusions, the bullying, and most of all, the self-deception that eventually doomed Armstrong into disgrace. Highlighted by an excellent Ben Foster performance as Armstrong, the film also boasts a very good Chris O’Dowd as the London Sunday Times journalist who led the expose. The film’s compassion for Armstrong centers on his unqualified desire to be a champion. His “everybody’s doping” argument finally subsides when he realizes he’s lost, but not before we get a chilling glimpse into the psyche of an obsessed competitor, equal parts flinty and freaked out.

So Bad It’s Good – Labyrinth


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By Amber Maiden

Have you ever tried to explain a movie to someone who has never seen it, and as you do so, you realize that you sound absolutely insane? That was my experience trying to explain the plot of Jim Henson’s 1986 film Labyrinth, starring David Bowie as a tight-pants-wearing, child-kidnapping, Goblin King named Jareth. Along side, a young Jennifer Connelly plays a bratty 16 year-old named Sarah, who just wants to dance in the park in peace, and not babysit her younger brother. The movie devolves into sexual innuendos, creepy Muppet-like goblins, random bursts of song and dance, and a giant, seemingly unsolvable maze.

And You Call Yourself a Film Buff?! – The Graduate


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By Melissa Chen

With classic lines such as “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me, aren’t you?” and iconic images such as a young Dustin Hoffman staring at a woman’s silk stocking-ed leg, The Graduate is one of those films that’s been referenced so much in pop culture that I was able to go through my entire 23 years of life pretending that I watched it. Well, those days are over (although, truthfully, they should’ve been over weeks ago, at PFS’s BYO screening).

PFS Review – The Walk


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See it at the Roxy! copyBy Don Malvasi

Originally posted on

An unnerving, exhilarating, you-are-there capturing of the sensations an aerialist experiences is really all that matters in The Walk. Director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forest Gump, Cast Away) tells the story of Philippe Petit, who walked a high wire strung between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center not long before the irrecoverable monuments opened to the public in 1974. Zemeckis trumpets Petit’s daredevilry and moxy amidst an extravagant if impressive feast of special effects probably not for the fainthearted, nor for the acrophobic.

PFS Review – Mississippi Grind


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By Don Malvasi

Originally posted on

See it at the Roxy! copyA couple of apparent losers get acquainted during a poker game in some godforsaken Iowa town. One, Gerry (a terrific Ben Mendelsohn), is a fascinating degenerate gambler who probably couldn’t stop if someone told him the world would end tomorrow if he didn’t. The other player, Curtis (an equally good Ryan Reynolds), is like-able although swaggering and outgoing to the point of badgering. He is also hard to figure out. Curtis gambles, too, although more on the people in his life, strangers included, than on actual games.

Pleasantly Plot-light and atmosphere-heavy through most of its 108 minutes, Mississippi Grind turns the tables and indulges in a flurry of dramatic twists in its final quarter. Most of them work but chiefly as exclamation points on an unnerving, intimate character study. As Curtis is quick to point out during the twosome’s road jaunt through St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans, it is the journey that counts not the destination.

Film 101 – Slashers


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By Andrea Selitto

With Halloween rapidly approaching, the time has come to bring back a popular fall tradition: the scary movie. Whether you’re the kind of movie-watcher who enjoys a good scare, or one who always hides behind the couch, there’s no doubting that there’s something thrilling about a scary film. While there are a wide variety of horror films to choose from for your Halloween viewing, perhaps some of the most iconic characters are from a particular segment of the horror genre: the slasher. Few other films have inspired so many sequels, remakes, and spin-offs as slashers have. Whether you love them or hate them, no one can deny the impact that slasher films have made on popular culture, especially around this time of year. Here are a handful of films that have made the genre what it is today; if you’re looking for something scary to get you into the Halloween spirit, they’re certainly worth watching… if you dare.

PFS Interview – Richard Gere & Oren Moverman // Time Out of Mind


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By Alex Gibson

When most people see the title of Richard Gere’s latest film, they will undoubtedly recall the Bob Dylan album of the same name. However, the phrase “Time Out of Mind” did not originate with Dylan, according to director Oren Moverman.Like all great Dylan, [it] comes from Shakespeare, from Romeo & Juliet…and then it turns out it was also rooted in British law.  It means a time in memorial…something that exists beyond memory, beyond time…” Moverman went on to say this idea closely described how he saw Time Out of Mind’s main character.

In the first scene of Time Out of Mind, we find a well-known face – one that has graced the screen and lived in our hearts  as a knight, an officer, a gentleman, a gigolo, and dozens of other characters. Though his face is engrained in our memories, when Richard Gere first appears in Time Out of Mind, there is something harshly unfamiliar about him, with his shabby clothes, scruff, and a curved scar on his scalp. Rather than the debonair character he usually portrays, this time Gere plays George Hammond, a meandering homeless man who spends his days wandering the streets of New York City.