Monday, August 13, 2007

FACING SUDAN WINS!

This weekend, Facing Sudan, won BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE at the Landlocked Film Festival in Iowa City. The jury was actually split on the decision and we share the award with THE CLINTON 12, a documentary about the first court ordered high school integration in the South.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Notes from Breckenridge


Facing Sudan
screened this weekend at the 27th annual Breckenridge Festival of Film. The festival was hosted by film critic Jeffrey Lyons and showcased a variety of independent films. Facing Sudan screened twice and the response to the film was phenomenal. Several people commented on how they were moved by it. One theater-goer told me that he thought the film should be required viewing for every American.

After the first screening, I had the pleasure to meet Carl Tinstman and his wife Tinbet. Carl had worked for the UN for many years in South Sudan. After the screening, he invited me out to lunch. We were joined by members of the Denver Save Darfur Coalition: Ben, Mary and Mike. We had a great lunch and great conversation about Sudan and what needs to be done there. Thanks again, Carl, for the lunch.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Elaine Bennett. She spoke to the audience for a few minutes about her project of opening a safe-house near Khartoum for Sudanese “Lost Girls.” She and her husband are planning another trip to Sudan this fall to help these homeless girls in Sudan. For more information about her efforts, please visit Mothers Without Borders.


The nice thing about the festival was meeting fellow filmmakers. One filmmaker who I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with was Jay Curlee. His film, Rocking the Boat: A Musical Conversation and Journey, focuses on Delbert McClinton and his annual cruise that showcases some of the best musicians in American independent music. The film not only has some amazing performances, but also some amusing and insightful stories from McClinton and others. The film is a celebration of art unbound by the constraints of a corporate dominated media world. For more information about the film and to view the trailer visit Jay’s website.

I had the opportunity to meet with other filmmakers as well and the experience---my first festival experience—was an overall rewarding one.

Some other highlights from the festival:

A Death at a Funeral. This was the opening night film. Directed by Frank Oz, Death at a Funeral, is a fast-paced farce about a dysfunctional funeral in England. Although full of clich├ęs, the film was truly hysterical; at one point, a scene involving fecal material literally had me in tears. The film opens nationwide on June 29. Check out the website for the film.

Last Stop for Paul. This was a truly amazing film which followed friends Charlie and Cliff on a trip across the world so that Cliff could spread the ashes of his recently deceased friend, Paul and attend the "Full Moon Party" in Thailand. Interestingly, the film was shot with one digital camera on the fly at various locations across the world. Director, writer and star Neil Mandt actually cast locals on the spot to play the various roles the often improvised scripted called for. As a result, Last Stop for Paul is a refreshingly natural and funny look at world travel. You can actually watch the entire film online in web episodes at the official site.

Dirt Nap. One of the weirdest and amusing animated shorts I have ever seen. In fact, I will have to view it several more times to catch all of the zaniness that filmmakers Kirk Reid and Mark Estep put into their 8 year long project. The film is a philosophical look at life and death by following recently deceased Norval as he descends into hell and meets God’s employees, including a crazy clown who works with Death and sports a Canadian accent. Einstein works in hell as well and is very angry with God because the Almighty had given his theory of relativity a resounding “F” grade. Einstein wants revenge. A truly original and funny short, Dirt Nap deserves a look. Even the tagline is funny: "Life sucks, and then you die. And then death sucks." Check out the website.

La Vie en Rose. This French film premiered at Breckenridge and chronicles the life---the sad and tragic life---of Edith Piaf. Told in a non-linear narrative, the film traces Piaf’s sad life from her birth to her death (although her actions in World War II are conspicuously absent). The film is engrossing and the performance by Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf is truly one of the best female performances that I have ever seen in a motion picture. Her performance alone is worth the entrance fee as she literally becomes Edith Piaf. But don’t expect to leave the theater in an uplifting mood as En Vie La Rose is a depressing chronicle of a trainwreck that was Edith Piaf’s life. For more information about the film, visit the official site.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Facing Sudan at the Boston International Film Festival

Today, Facing Sudan screened at the Boston International Film Festival. Here's what the Boston Weekly Dig said about the film:
Bruce David Janu, a filmmaker and teacher in Illinois, was pulled into the genocidal mess in Sudan through Brian Burns, a custodian at the high school where Janu teaches. Burns’s enthusiasm for aid work in Africa was infectious enough to inspire Janu to film a full-length documentary about him and other ordinary people who have taken it upon themselves to help Sudanese refugees. It’s a departure for Janu, whose filmmaking until now has been limited to amusingly titled educational films like The Adventures of History Guy: Gothic Cathedrals. But his educational background has served him well—he’s meticulous about documenting the haunting horror of the refugees and rescuers alike. Hard will be the conscience that leaves the theater unpricked.


Monday, April 30, 2007

A New Festival


Facing Sudan has been accepted to the Flint Film Festival. This festival runs from May 17-20 at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan.

That brings the total film festival screenings to six.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More Fests Coming Up!

We are pleased to announce that 3 more festivals have picked Facing Sudan as an official selection. Facing Sudan will screen at the following festivals:

Boston International Film Festival
AMC/Loews Boston Commons
175 Tremont St. Boston
June 7, 2007
1-3:30 pm




Breckenridge Festival of Film

June 8, 2007
Screening T.B.A.



South Side Film Festival

June 19-23, 2007
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Screening T.B.A.



We are looking forward to screening in these fests. If you live in the vicinity of any of these fests, let us know.

We may recruit you to hang some posters. :)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Going to Staten Island!

Facing Sudan is an official selection of the Staten Island Film Festival. The festival runs June 20-24, 2007.

With the selection at Longbaugh, Facing Sudan will now have a screening on both coasts!

Here is the screening information for Longbaugh:

Facing Sudan
Saturday March 31, 2007
12 pm The Living Room Theaters
Portland, Oregon

A detailed schedule for the festival can be found here.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Facing Sudan Soundtrack Now Available!

The Facing Sudan soundtrack is now available via download from LuLu. The soundtrack features sixteen songs from the film.

Here is what I wrote about the music on the LuLu site:

The music by Tom Flannery and Lorne Clarke is nothing short of amazing. The music provides a special complement to the images and words in the film. Tom and Lorne have captured the emotional quality I wanted to have for the film and one listen will tell you that this music was created with passion---passion for not only raising awareness about genocide but also for human rights.

The movie opens with Lorne Clarke's "How Do We Sleep at Night?" This song raises a central question of the film, as Lorne sings with a compassionate bewilderment at society's lack of empathy and action in the face of such horrendous atrocities.

When I first heard Tom Flannery's "Crayons and Paper," I was moved to tears. The song is about drawings made by children in Darfur, brought back to the states by Dr. Jerry Ehrlich. Nothing hits harder than seeing war through the eyes of innocent children.

The soundtrack includes other songs as well: "Lost Boys" tells the story of Sudanese children driven from their homes by war; "Requiem for Butare" recounts an earlier genocide in Rwanda; "It's Called Genocide" takes modern western nations to task for ignoring the situation in Darfur.

There are more songs contained on the soundtrack. Take a listen. You will not be disappointed. I consider myself very lucky to have found Tom and Lorne. Facing Sudan would not be the film it is if it weren't for the work of these two marvelously gifted songwriters.

The soundtrack is only $10 and you can even listen to a preview. The download includes not only the songs but also a digital booklet which inlcudes the lyrics. Help support the songwriters by downloading the soundtrack here: http://www.lulu.com/content/693402

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Longbaugh Film Festival

The Longbaugh Film Festival will host the premiere of Facing Sudan. Although the schedule has not been published yet, the film will play between March 29 and April 1.

In today's Willamette Week, festival director David Walker had this to say about the festival and Facing Sudan.:

Countdown To Longbaugh 2007


Step into the sunshine of WW's film festival.

BY DAVID WALKER

In case you haven't been paying attention, it's that time of year again...time for WW's Longbaugh Film Festival, presented by Comcast. With only a month until the 2007 festival kicks into high gear (this year, Longbaugh runs March 29-April 1), now is the time for shameless self-promotion. Fortunately, there truly is an incredible selection of films to back up my hyperbolic boast that Longbaugh is the best festival in Portland.

The recent success of the Oscar-winning film Little Miss Sunshine serves as a great reminder for the need to support independent film. The family in the yellow VW, however, was one of those rare exceptions—a minor player called up from the farm leagues to play with the big boys. For every film like Sunshine that manages to sneak past the Hollywood behemoth that dominates the public line of sight, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other great indie films equally deserving of an audience. And that's what Longbaugh is all about: Showcasing films that need to be seen by an audience that wants to be challenged intellectually and emotionally.

Every year Longbaugh features an eclectic mix of features, documentaries and shorts, and the 2007 lineup is no exception. One of this year's highlights is Kenneth Glenaan's Yasmin, an evocative character study of a Pakistani-Muslim woman living in England, attempting to mask her heritage while she tries desperately to fit into British culture. But after 9/11, everything changes for Yasmin and her family, forcing them all to evaluate their roles in the world around them. Bruce Janu's documentary Facing Sudan offers an insightful into the war-ravaged African nation of Sudan, where genocide and civil war have ravaged much of the country. Janu profiles individuals that have struggled to make life better in Sudan, proving that a single person can make a difference.

http://www.wweek.com/editorial/3316/8614/

Thursday, February 08, 2007

New Facing Sudan Clip

Here is a new clip from the documentary. It is called "Voices from Darfur" and features a song by Lorne Clarke entitled, "Requiem for Butare." The song is from "The Rwandan Song Cycle" by Lorne Clarke and Tom Flannery. The entire song cycle can be found at http://www.songaweek.com/rwanda.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Our First Film Festival!


Happy New Year! It's been awhile since our last post. We have been busily finalizing the film and sending it off to film festivals across the country.

I am pleased to announce that the film has been selected for the Longbaugh Film Festival in Portland, Oregon, March 29-April 1, 2007.

Exact details of the screening will be coming soon. Plus, we will be posting some more clips in the near future. Check back often!