Saturday, September 29, 2018

Animation Nights New York presents the third annual ANNY Best of Fest

Animation Nights New York presents "Best of Fest 2018"

Animation Nights New York (ANNY) presents the ANNY Best of Fest for the third year in the row running. The TWO DAY conference (Saturday & Sunday, October 6-7, 12pm-10pm) features Animation Screenings, a Fine Art Installation, an XR Showcase, VR Workshop Presentations, Professional Panels, and Industry Events. The conference will be held at 180 Maiden Lane in the beautiful Seaport District of NYC.

Highlights for this year's program include a special screening of 'Goose in High Heels' presented by director John Dilworth, the Oscar predictive Animation Showcase curated and co-presented by Benoit Berthe Siward, and a collection of VR and AR experiences. Also featured will be the 2018 ANNY Cannes Program showcase, as well as the 2018 ANNY Best of Fest Showcase featuring ANNY Best of Fest Winners selected from the Animation Nights New York's curated monthly screenings of in-competition films. This year's prestigious panel of jurors includes: Paul Young (Cartoon Saloon), Jimbo Matison (Independent Animation Director), Joanna Quinn (Beryl Studios), Kajsa Næss (Mikrofilm) and Ralph Eggleston (Pixar), Maija Burnett (Cal Arts), Jonathan Marlow (Arbelos, CFI Releasing) and Elizabeth Ito (Independent Animator). The 2018 ANNY Best of Fest Grand Prize Winner, as well as the first ever 2018 ANNY Best of Fest VR Prize will be announced at the festival. Jay Francis (Disney Television Animation) is selecting the 2018 ANNY Best of Fest Grand Prize Winner while D.J. Smith (The Glimpse Group), is selecting the 2018 ANNY Best of Fest VR Grand Prize Winner. Chris Perkins is selecting the Animation for Adults Award Winner.

2018 ANNY Best of Fest Filmmakers
  • Catherine. Britt Raes. Belgium, 11:51.
  • DEAD RECKONING. Paul Wenninger, Susan Young. Austria, 02:47.
  • Elsewhere. Junyi Xiao. United States, 06:11.
  • Frankfurter Str 99a. Evgenia Gostrer. Germany, 03:00.
  • Ghostory. Alžběta Göbelová. Czech Republic, 09:44.
  • HYBRIDS.  Florian Brauch, Matthieu Pujol, Kim Tailhades, Yohan Thireau, Romain Thirion. France, 06:22.
  • If You Fall. Tisha Deb Pillai. Canada, 06:04.
  • Invisible. Paola Tejera Manchón. Spain, 06:25.
  • La Caverna. Hello Savants. Netherlands, 02:02.
  • Li.Le. Natia Nikolashvili. Georgia, 09:38.
  • Negative Space. Ru Kuwahata, Max Porter. France, 05:30.
  • Noon. Tzu Hsin Yang. Taiwan, 03:50.
  • Oh Willy. Emma de Swaef, Marc James Roels. Belgium, 16:42.
  • Private Parts. Anna Ginsburg. UK, 03:35.
  • SPOON. Yikun Wang. Japan, 03:57.
  • The Ape Man. Pieter Vandenabeele. Belgium, 11:30.
  • The Bigger Picture. Daisy Jacobs. UK, 07:25.
  • Three Fitted Flies. María Álvarez, Elisa Morais. Spain, 07:47.
  • TIS. Chloë Lesueur. France, 09:00.
  • Tough. Jennifer Zheng. UK, 04:49.
Furthermore, the Anderson Contemporary will be curating Art in Motion III featuring Fine Art Installation celebrating animation.

The VR Showcase features works from: Within, GO! Pictures KG, Looking Glass Factory, NFB, Polyarc, Stanford University Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Tvori, AnimVR, David Lobser, Baobab Studios and more.

The 2018 ANNY Best of Fest is free to the public, however, industry badges are available for purchase and allow exclusive access to all of ANNY's Best of Fest events, including pre-registration for the Emerging Technology Animation Showcase, VR Workshop Presentations, and access to all Industry Events. Both packages (Enthusiast Package - Free, and Industry Package - $30) are available for purchase online. Donations will also be accepted to support the continued efforts of ANNY to promote independent animation.

Industry events include:VR Workshop Presentations by Micah Milner, Michael Markman, Gordey Chernyy, Maria Mishurenko, Jeremy Casper, Harold Dumur, Thomas Cheng, and Christopher Valore. We are also hosting several Networking Musical Chairs Events and Industry Roundtables via ANNY Exchange.

Panel Discussions and Presentations include a presentation by Bill Plympton, panels on Animation & Documentary, Paving the way for Animation in VR, Changing Trends in Distribution, Titmouse Ballmastrz, Puppetry & Animation in Traditional and Emerging Platforms, Animation Pipeline for Film, Games & VR (IGDA NY), Tomorrow's Marketing for XR, The Importance of Story, Blockchain, Asset Management, & Virtual Worlds, Procedural Animation, Motion Capture, Keyframes, & Creativity, a panel by Justin Hendrix of NYC Media Lab, as well as Animation business discussions on the subjects of Contracts for Artists and Budgeting, Pitching & Negotiating with Clients.

To register for 2018 ANNY Best of Fest and to see the current schedule, please visit and bookmark our mobile Festival link:


Saturday, October 6th, 2018 and Sunday, October 7th, 2018, 12pm - 10pm, 180 Maiden Lane in the beautiful Seaport District of NYC

RSVP: WebsiteEventbriteFacebook, and Meetup (Please RSVP. OPEN SEATING.)

Train:R & W to Cortlandt Street then a 7 min walk. A & C to Fulton Street then a 6 min walk. 4 & 5 to Wall Street then a 5 min walk. J & Z to Broad St. then a 4 min walk. 2 & 3 to Wall St. then a 3 min walk. Path train then a 9 min walk.

2018 ANNY Best of Fest Filmmaker Film Stills

Highlights from last year's 2017 ANNY Best of Fest (Credit: Katelyn Thomas):

Photos from last year (Photo credit: Larry Auerbach):

We curate and connect.

Animation Nights New York is a curated monthly screening event and annual festival held in NYC. We show animated short films and virtual reality animation experiences from all around the world.

ANNY Exchange connects talent to AR/VR/Traditional projects.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Combat Veteran Cast in a Film Starring Twin Sisters

When casting began on the film "Mirror Image", director Linda Shayne auditioned hundreds of actors to portray the federal agent characters.  Versatility, believability, along with a combination of strength and vulnerability were essential for these roles in this short film about the recruitment and war game testing of identical twins.

"When actor Marlon Sanders auditioned, he had a way of imbuing confidence and a sense of heroism in the character," explained director Linda Shayne. "Marlon's acting talents, his stature and his baritone voice brought the role to life."  Sanders' previous acting credits include "NCIS", "Shameless" and "The Forgiven".

Juxtaposing Sanders' six-foot plus presence, Shayne cast retired colonel, now full-time actress, Lisa Costanza to portray Sander's partner, a colonel in the military. Shayne made a point of opening all roles in the film to veterans. Costanza is a member of Veterans in Media & Entertainment (VME), a non-profit that unites current and former members of the military working in film and television.

"Lisa Costanza is an extremely versatile actress, in theater, film and TV.  She joined the service as a private before going through Officer Candidate School and then went on to become an Army Colonel, commanding at every level from platoon through brigade," Shayne stated.  "Having served in Kosovo and through Operation Iraqi freedom and Operation New Dawn, Costanza has seen the battlefield and she brought authenticity and gravity to the project, especially the recruitment scenes."  Lisa Costanza has acted in "Doubt", "The Guest Book" and the award winning Amazon series, "Transparent". Shayne and Costanza are now developing a project inspired by Costanza's extraordinary 20 year military career.

Screenwriter, director Linda Shayne has directed for Nickelodeon and Paramount and has written for Disney, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment, Warner Bros., Quincy Jones' QDE and Showtime. Shayne is a dual citizen, American and Canadian, with a degree from the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley).

Shayne developed the film "Mirror Image" for twins to portray a pair of identical undercover recruits.  "My idea was inspired by a real-life espionage incident involving twin undercover agents and I envisioned a re-interpretation regarding gender and age," Shayne explained. "The short will serve as an introduction to the movie or TV series."

Identical twins Emily Hinkler and Elizabeth Hinkler star in the film. Emily Hinkler is featured in the feature film, "Boy Erased" starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, directed by Joel Edgerton that world premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and is screening at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Elizabeth Hinkler appears in "Under the Stars" starring Sydney Sweeney and Topher Grace opening in December. Both Emily Hinkler and Elizabeth Hinkler guest starred in two episodes of the CBS TV series, "The Good Doctor", starring Freddie Highmore.

"Mirror Image" introduces young actor, Easton von der Lieth and includes Jonathan Asgari, Matt Steele and Emmanuel Salgado. The cinematographer is Rachel Bardin, with James Regan composing an original score, the production designers are Angella Gasparin and Jorge Garcia, the film's producers are Max Vought, Linda Shayne, Lauren Taylor and Jonathan Regan.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Chinese documentary "Common Destiny" presented at Venice Film Festival

A Chinese documentary about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was presented at the Venice Film Festival on Sunday.

Common Destiny, tells the stories of ordinary people, fighting for their dreams across five continents, whose lives are affected by the BRI, China's multi-billion-dollar global trading and infrastructure initiative.

One of the stories is about a schoolgirl in an isolated Kenyan village who wants to become an artist.

She saves money by selling milk from the family goat, until she is finally able to buy a train ticket to Nairobi. There, she finds an art teacher willing to come back to her village to teach her and the other kids.

Another story concerns a retired papermaker who lives in the Spanish city of Cuenca who travels to China to connect with a master craftsman in a remote village. There, he learns the ancient Chinese art of making paper. Inspired, he returns home to Cuenca to reopen his studio and hires a young apprentice.

The protagonist of this story, Segundo Santos, was on hand at the presentation in Venice. "I've been making paper for 40 years," Santos said. "In my city, Cuenca, we've been making paper for 400 years." He said that paper first made its way into Europe through Spain in the 1500's, thanks to trade along the ancient Silk Road. "During my trip to China, I learned from Chinese masters, who transmitted their knowledge along with their friendship and their generosity."

Four-time Bafta award winner Guy Hibbert was one of three screenwriters who worked on the documentary, put together by six Chinese directors and four directors of photography: one American, two British, and one Chinese. "These stories connect to a single narrative, on how the new Silk Road will transform the lives of people across the globe," said Hibbert. "What I love about the premise of this film is that the emphasis is on ordinary people and the struggles in their daily lives."

He described another story from the film, about villagers in Pakistan with no access to electricity, who are desperate to watch cricket games on TV. "These are ordinary stories, but everyone's story is important and profound. I'm a passionate believer in countries working together."

Beijing University Professor Lei Jianjun, who consulted on the documentary, said that humanity is facing the key challenges of environmental protection and sustainable development. "We must face these together," said Lei. "This is why we made the documentary". By showing that people all over the world share similar emotions, needs, and concerns, the documentary shows that "we have a common destiny, and we must work for it together."

Common Destiny is scheduled for release in 2019.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Bonnie Bedelia Hosts “Die Hard” Screening at 2018 Atlantic City Cinefest

Atlantic City Cinefest will honor Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Bonnie Bedelia with the Lifesaver Award at the 11th annual film festival Oct. 12 to 14. Bedelia will also host a screening of “Die Hard” to mark the 30th anniversary of the film, where she played Holly Gennero McClane, Bruce Willis’ wife. She also appeared in “Die Hard 2.” The screening occurs Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Dante Hall, 14 N. Mississippi Ave.

Bedelia received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress for her role as drag racer Shirley Muldowney in “Heart Like a Wheel” and Emmy nominations for her performance in the children's special “Locked in Silence” and as Guest Actress in the series’ “Fallen Angels” episode, “The Quiet Room,” directed by Steven Soderbergh. In addition, she co-starred as Camille Braverman, the matriarch of the family in the television version of “Parenthood,” which ran for six years.

A native New Yorker, Bedelia made her professional debut as a child in a North Jersey Playhouse production of “Dr. Praetorius”, before nabbing a role as teen Sandy Porter in the New York-based daytime soap “Love of Life,” cast alongside Roy Scheider, Cicely Tyson and Christopher Reeve. During her stint on the soap, she appeared in several Broadway plays: “Isle of Children”, “Enter Laughing,” “The Playroom” and “My Sweet Charlie.” 
Bedelia also appeared on episodes of “The Defenders,” “Naked City” and “East Side / West Side” and studied with Uta Hagen and with The Actors Studio. She relocated to Los Angeles where her stage roles included “Richard III,” “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” “The Glass Menagerie” and “The Seagull.”

Bedelia made her film debut in John Frankenheimer's “The Gypsy Moths,” followed by a stellar performance as a dirt-poor pregnant marathon dancer who pitches songs for pennies in Sydney Pollack's “They Shoot Horses, Don't They?” She spent much of the 70s doing TV, returning to the big screen for “Heart Like A Wheel.” She starred opposite Ed Harris and Max Von Sydow in Stephen King's “Needful Things,” opposite Keanu Reeves in “The Prince of Pennsylvania,” for which she received a Spirit Award nom and opposite Paul Newman in “Fat Man and Little Boy.” She chilled moviegoers as the deranged, murderous wife in Alan Pakula's “Presumed Innocent,” co-starring Harrison Ford.

The actress found a niche in numerous television films with relevant social themes such as “The Elizabeth Morgan Story” and “Any Mother's Son,” for which she received a CableACE nomination. She played a seductress in HBO's “Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture” and an adulterous presiding court judge in the Showtime thriller “Judicial Consent.”

For four seasons, Bedelia starred as Captain Kate McCafferty on the hit police drama “The Division,” and later in HBO’s “Big Love.” She just completed filming a thriller, “A Stone in the Water.”

Bedelia is the mother of two grown sons, and has been married for 25 years to the actor, Michael MacRae.

Tickets for Die Hard and other films in the Atlantic City Cinefest go on sale soon.

The Atlantic City Cinefest celebrates the art form of independent moviemaking. The festival has hosted Kevin Smith, Terry Winter, Robert Downey, Sr., Blanche Baker, Scott Rosenfelt, William Forsythe, Dominique Swain and Brian O'Halloran during the first nine years. Presented by Downbeach Film Festival, the Cinefest shows movies at Dante Hall Theater, 14 N. Mississippi Avenue and the Noyes Arts Garage, 2200 Fairmount Avenue. Both venues are managed by Stockton University. 

Monday, September 3, 2018

Labor Day 2018

Wishing you a happy Labor Day from all of us here at the Daily Film Forum.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

"Pretty Outrageous" Teen Comedy Offers Sun, Sand, Music

 Pretty Outrageous, a new comedy from writer/director Elizabeth Blake-Thomas, is now available to rent or own on AmazonFandangoNOW and Cable On Demand. Featuring Isabella Blake-Thomas (ABC's Once Upon a Time;'s Game Shakers), Cameron Bright (Twilight), and Gabe Eggerling (Amazon's The Kicks) the film also stars Dan Richardson, who is known for Disney's The Lodge and as an animal spokesperson for the Born Free Foundation.

Filmed on location in Hermosa Beach, California, Pretty Outrageous tells the story of three talented teens (Scarlett Rayner, Ladybird Ward and Blake-Thomas) who enter a local competition to be the next big Girl Band. Enlisting a fourth band member, played by Jaime Adler (Anastasia; Damned) the girls are thwarted at every turn by bad luck, bad timing, bad neighbors and bad boyfriends, but get unexpected help from their crazy uncle Wayne (Richardson) and a moody but secretly silver-voiced sister (Georgia Hair).

Also appearing in the film are William Romeo (Henry Danger; American Gladiators), Jake Brennan (Netflix's Richie Rich) and Olivia Sanabia (Amazon's Just Add Magic).

Director Elizabeth Blake-Thomas's other features include The League of Legend KeepersMaybe I'm Fine and the upcoming Running on Empty.

Says Blake-Thomas, "I like making films my teenage daughter can watch and enjoy, films built on the premise that anything is possible. In Pretty Outrageous, the message is that, even when everything appears to be against you, you can make it happen."