Independent film never seems to get the appreciation that it deserves. This Sunday, however, the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film plans to rectify that situation by celebrating the best independent films of 2010 at their 17th Annual awards ceremony.
For over a decade, the Chlotrudis Society for Independent Film, a Boston based non-profit organization “that teaches people to view film actively and experience the world through independent film” has highlighted its own commitment to independent and foreign film by holding an awards ceremony that celebrates this year’s best in independent film.
Some of this year’s most nominated films are Independent Spirit Award winner Winter’s Bone, Oscar winner for Best Picture, The King’s Speech, I Killed My Mother, Jack Goes Boating, and the latest South Korean film from Joon-ho Bong, Mother.
Along with the typical categories at most award shows (Best Director, Actor, etc.), the Chlotrudis Awards has a “Buried Treasure” category that has some unique requirements. To win a nomination in this category, films must have earned less than $250,000 in its US theatrical run and members can submit no more than 3 entries for films they feel deserve a wider audience. This year’s Buried Treasure nominees are Greece’s Dogtooth, Down Terrace, Mary and Max, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Mine and Terribly Happy.
The Chlotrudis Society also presents special awards that honor individuals or films for particular distinction. Past recipients include Ellen Page, Kerry Washington, Don McKellar, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. This year’s honoree will be horror-auteur director Larry Fessenden of The Last Winter, Wendigo, Broken Flowers and Habit.
Be on the lookout for Hollywood East’s latest up-and-coming artiste! Ahmed Khawaja, a 2010 graduate of Boston University’s Film & Television department, is embarking on his first full-length feature film, Ten Nights Bliss, a personal story of homelessness in which he plays himself. Khawaja, originally from Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates, says the production is a self-record, “mostly a malicious attempt at getting back at my ex-girlfriend.”
Most of Khawaja’s childhood was spent devoid of a father figure; his own father was “absent a lot, very detached,” Khawaja says. “That’s a lot of what this movie is about, feeling detached from your own family, yet still doing everything to can to try to make it work.” Thus, when asked how his Boston University education helped his career as a director, Khawaja remarked that the staff of the Film & Television department provided him with many mentors.
In particular, Ray Carney, a professor of Film and American Studies at BU, served a father figure and role model. ”He was a funny guy and he really cared about his students.” Associate Professor John Kelly was also supportive to Khawaja as a student and aspiring director.
Boston University was also where Khawaja met and became close to the co-writer of Ten Nights Bliss, Andre Puca. Puca was a graduate student at BU and a teacher’s assistant in one of Khawaja’s courses within the College of Communication. The two began talking about films more when Puca, who is ten years older, would came to visit Khawaja at the Harvard Film Archive, where he works as an usher. The two found that they had a lot in common, and Puca became an integral part of the writing and producing of Ten Nights Bliss. For Khawaja, it was “really reassuring to have an elder brother kind of figure to look over the whole thing.”
Looking back on the process of filming over the past year, Khawaja says the best part of producing his first film was “the ability to make people have a good time that only comes about when you’re directing a film.”
Ten Nights Bliss, which Khawaja admits draws inspiration from the classic films of Jim Jarmusch, Paul Mazursky, and Charlie Chaplin, is expected to be complete by November 2010. According to Khawaja, the ultimate destination for his masterpiece is the prestigous Cannes Film Festival: “Our big thing is Cannes.” Working with the Directors Fortnight, a division of the Cannes Film Festival that debuts first films by first filmmakers, Khawaja hopes to screen the film in May 2011.
If you want to stay up to date on the filming and release of Ten Nights Bliss and any future Khawaja Films productions, contact the director at [email protected]
Central Productions a non-profit organization that provides services to filmmakers and film enthusiasts in the Boston area through its public programs and community outreach, is looking for emerging New England filmmakers to submit to the 9th Annual Boston Cinema Census.
The Boston Cinema Census is an annual showcase of the most creative thought out short film productions in fiction, animation, experimental and documentary. Mike Bowes, Co-director of Central Productions told us that each year the festival has grown and in the ninth year, they have already received over 100 submissions. Bowes admits they started the BCC nine years ago out of curiosity and for selfish reasons. They wanted to see what local filmmakers where producing and to get a sense of the filmmaking scene. Bowes also told us that the most popular category submitted to is narrative and the least is animation, which surprises him. The festival, hosted by the Brattle Theatre, whose walls have been screening films for over 100 years, exposes these regional filmmakers to a large community of film buffs.
“We encourage everyone to submit, because it’s really fun.” Bowes said, “We have a real filmmakers presence in the audience and a really good question and answer after the films are reviewed, which helps these filmmakers emerge.”
For the past nine years, submissions have been recognized at festivals such as the New York Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival. This is an opportunity for local video and filmmakers to get the year rolling by submitting your work. The deadline is February 10th. Why let another year go by without getting the exposure you deserve? Check out Boston Cinema Census for more information. Bowes told us they haven’t set an exact date for the festival but it will be held in the month of March.
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