When you think of how many films are screened during your average film festival it boggles the mind. With that many possibilities as the festival attendee you resign yourself to the fact that there will be some dogs amidst the line-up. This is not the case with the Cinemania Film Festival. I defy you to find a dog in this roster of films. Special care and extraordinary vision is used by Managing Director Genevieve Royer and Festival founder Maidy Teitelbaum when selecting films. They travel far and wide to find them and only bring the best to us. It is practically a guarantee that if you make the effort to go see a film at this festival that they have previously made the effort to make sure it's a good one. Take that one to the bank!
The director of the Mel Hoppenheim Prix du Public award-winning film, Julian Schnabel ruled the art world of New York and just over 20 years ago he walked away from it all. Being the artist that he was he could not completely stifle his creative urges and so he turned his talents towards the world of film. "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Le Scaphandre et le Papillon) is his third feature film (Basquiat, Before Night Falls) and it is winning rave reviews everywhere. The story of French fashion magazine editor Jean-Dominique Beauby, who suffered a debilitating stroke which left him with the use of only his left eye, won Schnabel the prestigious Palme D'Or at Cannes this year and now this award. With his paintings he was quoted as saying that he was trying to create an emotional state that would literally blanket people. Well, it seems like this talented man has succeeded doing this with his films as well.
This year besides the great films Cinemania afforded us the opportunity to take in a Master Class with French director Bertrand Tavernier. In this session we got an inside track on how a film director and screenwriter goes about their work from one who knows. Tavernier also took part in the honouring of his colleague actor Phillippe Noiret, who passed away one year ago. The festival screened five films that highlighted the collaboration between Noiret and Tavernier. Also, the Honourary President of the festival, actress Emmanuelle Devos, was on hand to present her latest film "Those Who Remain". It is interesting to note that many of the festival's films were by first-time directors and a good one-third were directed by women. This is a festival that goes a long way in giving a voice to those who might not always have the opportunity. Cinemania truly is a celebration of French language and film that has been made accessible to even those who do not speak the language. Make sure you plan to be at the 14th edition of the Cinemania Film Festival, which will take place November 6-16, 2008.