Eleven directors from 11 countries each contribute an 11-minute short reflecting on the events of 11 September 2001. A village teacher in Iran tries to explain to her young students what’s happened. City kids in Burkina Faso think they’ve spotted Osama bin Laden. A deaf Frenchwoman in Manhattan writes a Dear John letter to a man who has left that morning for work at the World Trade Center. A Chilean remembers Allende. Events recall other deaths. A mother endures more than her son’s death. And so on. The tone varies, as do the locales. Most stories are about others coming to terms with the events of the day, but at least one confronts the viewer with tragedy and death. –IMDb
Youssef Chahine (born in Alexandria, Egypt, 1926) started studying in a friars’ school, and then turned to English College until the High School Certificate. After one year in the University of Alexandria, he moved to the U.S. and spent two years at the Pasadena Play House, taking courses on film and dramatic arts. After coming back to Egypt, cinematographer Alevise Orfanelli helped him into the film business. His film debut was Baba Amin (1950): one year later, with Ibn el Nil (1951) he was first invited to the Cannes Film festival. In 1970, he was awarded a Golden Tanit at the Carthage Festival. With Le moineau (1973), he directed the first Egypt-Algeria co-production. He won a Silver Bear in Berlin for Iskanderija… lih? (1978), the first installment in what proved to be an autobiographic trilogy, completed with adduta misrija (1982) and Iskanderija, kaman oue kaman (1990).
In 1992, Jacques Lassalle proposed him to stage a piece of his choice for Comédie Française… read more
Born in Haifa in 1950, as the second son of architect Munio Weinraub and former Sionist activist Efratia Margalit. On the year of his birth, his parents changed the family name to “Gitai”, which is the Hebrew translation of the German name “Weinraub”. While he was a student in architecture, Amos Gitai joined the Yom Kippur war in 1973 as a reserve duty officer, and served as part of a helicopter rescue team. While serving during the war, he started filming with a 8mm camera his mother gave him as his birthday present. On his 23rd birthday, October 11th 1973, his helicopter was shot down by a Syrian missile. Among the 7 crews on board, 6 of them survived, including Gitai himself, who was inspired by this traumatic experience to quit architecture and move to filmmaking. He made a documentary on this incident and his fellow survivors, “Kippur: War Memories” in 1993, then a fictional recreation of it “Kippur” in 2000.
in 1979, Gitai directed his first feature-length documentary “House”… read more
Born in México City, Mexico, in 1963, Alejandro González Iñárritu started his show-business career in 1984 as a DJ at top-rated Mexican radio station WFM. At the same time he studied filmmaking and theater. From 1988 to 1990 he composed music for six Mexican features, including Garra de tigre (1989). In the 1990s he became one of the youngest producers in Mexican TV: looking for good stories, he read a lot of scripts and one day was introduced to Guillermo Arriaga, a screenwriter, and they planned to make 11 shorts to show the contradictory nature of Mexico City. After three years and 36 drafts, they ended up settling on only three stories and expanding them. That movie, Amores Perros, became a major hit at its release at the Festival de Cannes 2000, where it received the award of the best film by the Semaine de la Critique, and went on to huge worldwide success. It also earned an Oscar nomination for best foreign movie. His second feature, 21 Grams (2003), was also written by Arriaga… read more
Shohei Imamura’s ribald, darkly comic films about messy human relationships and coarse, indomitable women repelled early European critics who had grown to cherish the graceful, exotic image of Japan typified by Kenji Mizoguchi films. Yet Imamura remains a critically important director, both as one of the seminal Japanese New Wave directors (along with Nagisa Oshima and Masahiro Shinoda) and as a chronicler of a side of Japan rarely seen in Mizoguchi movies or tourist brochures.
Born in 1926, in Tokyo, Imamura attended the elite elementary and middle schools that normally would have aimed him toward a prestigious university degree and a comfortable career in business or government. His love of theater and loathing of bourgeois presumptions, however, steered him away from a conventional lifestyle. When he failed the entrance exam for the agriculture program at the national university in Hokkaido, he enrolled in a technical school to evade the draft. The day the Pacific War ended… read more
Born in the 9th arrondissement of Paris to a Jewish family of Algerian origin, Lelouch won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966 for Un homme et une femme (A Man and a Woman), as well as two oscars including best foreign language film. The 1981 musical epic Les Uns et les Autres is widely considered as his masterpiece, and his credits now add up to 50 or so films. His father gave him a camera to give him a fresh start after his failure in the baccalaureat. He started his career with reportage – one of the first to film daily life in the U.S.S.R., the camera hidden under his coat as he made his personal journey. He also filmed sporting events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Tour de France. His first full length film as director, Le Propre de l’homme, was decried by the critics – ‘Claude Lelouch, remember this name well, because you will not hear it again’ – Cahiers du Cinema said. La Femme Spectacle (1963), following prostitutes, women shopping, going for nose-jobs… read more
Unlike virtually all his contemporaries, Ken Loach has never succumbed to the siren call of Hollywood, and it’s virtually impossible to imagine his particular brand of British socialist realism translating well to that context. After studying law at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, he branched out into the theater, performing with a touring repertory company. This led to television, where in alliance with producer ‘Tony Garnett’ he produced a series of docudramas, most notably the devastating “Cathy Come Home” episode of “The Wednesday Play” (1964), whose impact was so massive that it led directly to a change in the homeless laws. He made his feature debut Poor Cow (1967) the following year, and with “Kes”, he produced what is now acclaimed as one of the finest films ever made in Britain. However, the following two decades saw his career in the doldrums with his films poorly distributed (despite the obvious quality of work such as The Gamekeeper (1968) (TV) and Looks and Smiles (1981… read more
Samira Makhmalbaf (Persian: سمیرا مخملباف, UniPers: Samirâ Maxmalbâf) (born February 15, 1980, Tehran) is an internationally acclaimed Iranian filmmaker and script writer. She is the daughter of Mohsen Makhmalbaf, the film director and writer. Samira Makhmalbaf belongs to the New wave movement within Iranian cinema. At the age of 20 Samira studied Psychology and Law at Roehampton University in London.
At the age of seven, she acted in her father’s film The Bicyclist. She left high school when she was 14, to learn cinema in the Mohhmalbaf Film House for 5 years. At the age of 17, after directing two video productions, she went on to direct the movie The Apple. One year later, the 18 year old director went on to become the youngest director in the world participating in the official section of the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. The Apple has been invited to more than 100 international film festivals in a period of two years, while going to the screen in more… read more
The highly acclaimed director from India, Mira Nair leapt into the world’s spotlight with her film Salaam, Bombay! This film is considered by many to be her best work although she may be better known for the controversial subject matter of her latest film Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love.
Mira Nair was born in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa to a civil servant in 1957. She went on to attend the University of New Delhi where she studied Sociology and Theater. Dissatisfied with the quality of the education, she applied elsewhere. As result she came to Harvard in 1976 on full scholarship to continue studying Sociology. While at Harvard her focus drifted to documentary film. She describes documentary as “a marriage of my interests in the visual arts, theatre, and life as it is lived”.
Mira’s first film was Jama Masjid Street Journal which was also her Master’s thesis project. This film explores the life of a traditional Muslim community from the Western perspective… read more
Idrissa Ouedraogo is one of Africa’s most prolific filmmakers. His early films are remakable in their ability to communicate through imagery. Poko, Les Ecuelles (The Wooden Bowls), Les Funerailles du Larle Naba (The Funeral of Larle Narba), Ouagadougou, Ouga deux roues (Ouagadougou, Ouga Two Wheels), and Issa le tisserand (Issa the Weaver) appeal to a multi-lingual audience without using dialogue or voice-over narration. Although his subsequent films incorporate dialogue, Ouedraogo’s talent for creating meaning with images remains a hallmark of his work.
Ouedraogo’s first commercial success, Yaaba (Grandmother), narrates the story of two young children who befriend an old woman wrongly accused of malevolent sorcery. This film exemplifies Ouedraogo’s interest in the multiple ramifications of individual choices. It also demonstrates Ouedraogo’s skill at adapting the poetics of African oral tales to contemporary cinema. Nwachukwu Frank… read more
Powerhouse film performer capable of intensely moving work who has gone from strength to strength during a colourful film career, and who has drawn much media attention for his stormy private life and political viewpoints, California-born Sean Penn is the second son of actress Eileen Ryan & director Leo Penn, also brother of Chris Penn. He first appeared in roles as strong-headed or unruly youths such as the military cadet defending his academy against closure in Taps (1981), then as fast-talking surfer stoner Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982).
Fans and critics were enthused about his obvious talent and he next contributed a stellar performance alongside Timothy Hutton in the Cold War spy thriller The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), followed by a teaming with icy Christopher Walken in the chilling At Close Range (1986). The youthful Sean then paired up with his then wife, pop diva Madonna in the woeful, and painful, read more
Danis Tanović was born in 1969 in Zenica, former Yugoslavia, today Bosnia & Herzegovina. After a diploma in civil engineering, he studied piano at the Academy of Theatre Arts and film at the Sarajevo Film Academy and then spent two years on the frontline filming for the army. In 1994 Tanović emigrated to Belgium to continue his film studies. He has directed No Man’s Land (2001) – Best Foreign Language film at the Academy Awards, Hell (2005) and Triage (2009). Cirkus Columbia has been selected as the Bosnian entry for Best Foreign Language film at the Academy Awards 2011. —Göteborg International Film Festival