The Stoning of Soraya M – Review
Apr 2011 17

In a dusty village in Iran, a man wants to be rid of his wife, Soraya, so he can marry his mistress (and avoid alimony). So, to cover up his own adulteries, he accuses his blameless spouse of infidelity.

Outraged, she tries to bring her own charges. The mayor informs her that different standards apply. Her husband can stand mute and be presumed blameless, but as a woman, she has to prove she didn’t do it.

“So, all women are guilty and all men are innocent,” her aunt Zahra bitterly observes.

Something like that. Read more

‘Shorts’ into Filmmaking
Apr 2011 24

Filmmakers in Britain have always considered short form narratives and documentaries as a viable step into filmmaking. The BBC and Channel 4 in particular have commissioned and purchased shorts for broadcast on terrestrial television, often as a way to test new talent before awarding the filmmakers a more substantial contract to produce a feature film or documentary. However, since 2003, the landscape has changed. In the current climate the terrestrial television channels have scaled back their commissioned shorts programs and rarely acquire shorts for broadcast. This has left filmmakers with relying on festivals as the main alternative to getting their work seen.

Shorts typically have punchier story lines, are often shot on very low budgets giving them a gritty look, that combined with sharp short stories make compelling viewing. Filmmakers have been shooting movies on their mobiles since 2003 when Nokia introduced the first camera phone. Raindance collaborated with Nokis and produced hundreds of 15 second long shrts which can still be viewed on Raindance.tv in a package we labelled The World’s Shortest Film Festival.

The haunting images on television after the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London demonstrated their news ability. This ground-breaking moment paved the way to the present BBC practice who issue quality mobile handsets to home-based journalists, who then email in their footage for quick assembly, edit and broadcast in the studio. Read more

Studies Prove That Documentaries Can Change the World
Jul 2011 16

Social issue documentaries such as An Inconvenient Truth and Food Inc. have made major inroads at the box office, and thanks to the vital work of Participant Media, Sundance Institute, The Good Pitch, Working Films, ITVS and a host of others, these films are generating awareness of and spirited dialogue about the themes and issues they embrace. But what kind of real impact have they made? Where are the raw quantitative and qualitative data that reflect the persuasive power that the best of these docs evince? In the final analysis, do documentaries really effect significant change?

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My Tehran for sale – Review
Oct 2011 11

GRANAZ MOUSSAVI is an Iranian/Australian, a celebrated poet in her country of birth, whose film MY TEHRAN FOR SALE was shot underground in Tehran for good reason because it focuses on the lives of young people in artistic circles whose activities fly in the face of the authorities.

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