(San Francisco, CA)—Adding to a substantial catalogue of films which have screened at many of the most prestigious festivals around the world garnering top festival and industry awards, the Independent Television Service (ITVS) announced today that four of its funded films have been selected for the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, to be held from September 4-13, 2008. The three documentaries, SEA POINT DAYS, UNMISTAKEN CHILD and WALTZ WITH BASHIR, represent the ITVS International initiative, while the narrative program GOODBYE SOLO, from ITVS’ domestic funding and production services program, will screen in the Contemporary World Cinema section, on the heels of its world premiere this month at the 65th Venice Film Festival.
One of the central goals of ITVS International’s program stream is to bring new international perspectives to television audiences in the United States. Additionally, many of these productions compete and receive accolades at film festivals around the world, which serves to broaden their impact to an even wider audience. WALTZ WITH BASHIR, which will screen in the Special Presentation section, had a recent very successful screening at Cannes where it competed for the highly coveted Palm d’Or, while SEA POINT DAYS and UNMISTAKEN CHILD will hold their world premieres at Toronto. All three of the ITVS International projects have received production funding for eventual broadcast and are part of a slate of more than 70 ITVS International programs coming to U.S. television in the next two years.
SEA POINT DAYS (Real to Reel Selection – World Premiere)
Directed by: Francois Verster
Produced by: Francois Verster, Lucinda Englehart and Neil Brandt
On any given summer day, a colorful mix of locals gather at Sea Point Promenade and Municipal Pools in Cape Town, South Africa. Rich, poor, old, young, black, white, Christian, Jew, Muslim, homeless, rent boys, sports players and petty criminals all meet in this extraordinary public space: one that offers the possibilities of happiness and belonging and gives voice to some of the contradictions of what it means to be South African. The film is a co-production of Luna Films, Undercurrent Film, Lucinda Englehart and ITVS International.
UNMISTAKEN CHILD (Real to Reel Selection – World Premiere)
Directed by: Nati Baratz
Produced by: Nati Baratz, Ilil Alexander and Arik Bernstein
Lama Konchog was considered the greatest Tibetan mediator of the 20th century. When he died in 2001, Tenzin Zopa, his shy and gifted disciple for 21 years, is unexpectedly appointed to lead the search for the reincarnation of his late Master. The ensuing quest transforms Tenzin from a modest servant into a passionate spiritual leader, only to become a disciple again once the child is found. The film is a co-production of Samsara Films and ITVS International.
WALTZ WITH BASHIR (Special Presentation – North American premiere)
Directed and Produced by: Ari Folman
One night in September 1982, Christian militia members invaded refugee camps in the heart of Beirut and massacred more than three thousand Palestinians while Israeli soldiers surrounded the area. Ari Folman was one of these soldiers. A fully animated documentary, WALTZ WITH BASHIR is Folman's attempt to decipher the horror of that night. The film is a co-production of Bridgit Folman Films Gang and ITVS International.
GOODBYE SOLO (Contemporary World Cinema Selection – North American premiere)
Directed by: Ramin Bahrani
Produced by: Ramin Bahrani and Jason Orans
Solo, a friendly Senegalese taxi driver in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is hired by an elderly Caucasian man named William to drive him in two weeks time to a mountaintop where he plans to commit suicide. GOODBYE SOLO looks at Solo's attempt to become friends with William and change his mind before the two weeks are up. The film is a Gigantic Pictures and Noruz Films production in association with This is That, and a co-production of Barbarian Films and ITVS.
“We at ITVS are thrilled for all our producers whose hard work and dedication has resulted in their inclusion in one of the world’s most prestigious festivals,” said Claire Aguilar, ITVS vice-president of programming. “I look forward to celebrating our filmmakers’ successes and seeing these programs on the big screen in Toronto.”
A full schedule of public screening times and locations is currently available online at the festival website: www.tiff08.ca. A complete list of press screenings, times and locations will be posted to the festival website on August 29, 2008.
The Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10 PM on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.
ABOUT ITVS INTERNATIONAL
ITVS International is a division of the Independent Television Service that promotes an international exchange of documentary films made by independent producers, bringing international voices to U.S. audiences, and American stories to audiences abroad. Through a unique public-private partnership called the Global Perspectives Project, ITVS International administers the International Media Development Fund (IMDF) and True Stories: Life in the USA. The IMDF funds international producers and supports the American broadcast of their programs. True Stories: Life in the USA promotes a series of American independent films to audiences around the world. ITVS created the Global Perspectives Project in 2005 with support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the U.S. Department of State. More information about ITVS International is available online at itvs.org/international. The deadline for the next International Call is February 6, 2009.
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