TELEKANAL OYKUMENA ACQUIRES TITLES FOR TV BROADCAST IN RUSSIA
Russian TV Telekanal has acquired a package of films from Smiley for Russian broadcast. The TV channel selected a number of social interest documentaries with diverse subject matter including a Peabody winning story about a music video director fighting to overcome traumatic brain injury, a year in the life of a 12 year old boy with Downs Syndrome as he approaches his Bar Mitzvah and the firestorm of controversy around the opening of an Arabic language public school in New York City.
SACRED & SECRET ACQUIRED BY METROPOLIS TV
The visually stunning documentary Sacred & Secret that delves int the secret life of the Balinese has been acquired by Metropolis TV for TV distribution in Indonesia.
SACRED & SECRET ACQUIRED BY FILMS FOR HUMANITIES FOR US DISTRIBUTION
Basil Gelpke's latest offering Scared & Secret has been snapped up by one of USA's largest non-theatrical distributor's, Films for the Humanities & Sciences. The evocative documentary penetrated the darkest and deepest corners of the Balinese community and even filmed the largest royal cremations ceremony ever to have taken place.
HIGHER EDUCATION PREMIERES IN SOUTH KOREA
, a documentary film by director Miles Roston will show at the EBS Documentary Film Festival 2011
and has been acquired by EBS channel. The festival runs between August the 19th and the 25th.
CHANNEL NEWS ASIA ACQUIRES 3 OSCAR WINNING AND NOMINATED TITLES
Singaporean based channel Channel News Asia has acquired 3 of Smiley's Oscar winning and nominated titles - The Warriors of Quigang
,The Blood of Yingzhou District
and Smile Pinki
. The Warriors of Quigang was up for an Oscar earlier this year and is the third documentary in the China trilogy by director Ruby Yang and producer Thomas Lennon. The Blood of Yingzhou was the first in the trilogy to be made and won an Oscar at the 79th Academy Awards. Smile Pinki won an Oscar at the 81st Academy Awards and is directed by Megan Mylan whose previous credits include The Lost Boys of Sudan.
5 HOURS WITH RAJA SOLD TO AL JAZEERA INTERNATIONAL
A moving documentary about a baby that only survived for 5 hours after birth has been bought by Al Jazeera Internatonal for its worldwide English channel. 5 Hours with Raja
tracks the journey of a young new Zealand couple who discovered that their unborn baby suffered a rare and fatal birth defect but decided to follow through with the pregnancy. The film was previously sold to The New Zealand Documentary Channel and YES DBS.
MIND TO PLAY AT OUT ON SCREEN FESTIVAL
Australian production house Matchbox's Mind
is set to play at the Out on Screen Festival in Canada between the 8th and the 27th of August.
NOGA ACQUIRES INSHALLAH FOOTBALL AND PUSHING THE ELEPHANT
Israeli broadcaster Noga has acquired Academy Award nominated Ashvin Kumar's Inshallah Football
and Arts Engine's Pushing the Elephant
. Inshallah Football is set in Kashmir and offers a unique look at the region's politics through the experience of a young Kashmiri who dreams of playing football. Whilst attracting critical international festival feedback the film is generating and equal share of political controversy in the Indian media. Pushing the Elephant premiered on PBS in the US and is a an inspirational bio-pic about Rose Mapendo, a survivor of ethnic violence from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rose overcame tremendous hardship to become an outspoken advocate for forgiveness and was nominated a CNN hero for her work with refugees.
ANOTHER OSCAR® NOMINATION FOR A SMILEY TITLE
Smiley is thrilled to announce that THE WARRIORS OF QIUGANG
has been nominated for the Documentary Short Subject at the upcoming 83rd Academy Awards®. Smiley recently acquired the film for worldwide sales. The film follows villagers in the central Chinese province of Anhui who take on a chemical company that is poisoning their water and air. THE WARRIORS OF QIUGANG is the third installation in the trilogy by the Academy Award® winning team, Ruby Yang and Thomas, about the changing face of China. Smiley currently also represents previous Oscar® winners, THE BLOOD OF YINGZHOU DISTRICT
(2007 Winner), FREEHELD
(2008 Winner), and SMILE PINKI
(2009 Winner); and the 2009 nominee, THE WITNESS: FROM THE BALCONY OF ROOM 306
PASSION SELECTED BY SAN FRANCISO INTERNATIONAL ASIAN AMERICAN FF
The recent addition, PASSION
, has been selected for the San Francisco International Asian American FF. With breathtaking landscapes of Mongolia as its backdrop, the film follows a Mongolian director Binder Jigjid as he roams from village to village to promote his zero-budget film. Along the way, Binder philosophises about socialism, the commercial realities filmmaking and broken dreams. Binder’s experience contrasts with that of his father, a distinguished filmmaker during the communist regime. Exploring the artist’s conditions in a transformed system, PASSION is a stunning and thoughtful documentary from a country rarely seen on screen.
FESTIVAL SELECTIONS FOR A BOUNDARY-PUSHING SERIES
The second series of the provocative arthouse series, ANATOMY 2
, proves its worldwide appeal with selections by two festivals from opposite corners of the world. Its first episode, FACE, has been selected for Official Competition at this year’s ZagrebDox in Croatia. FACE is a provocative doc on the human face at point of orgasm. The visually imaginative and exciting doc, MIND, is also due to screen at the Documentary Edge Festival in New Zealand. MIND portrays the captivating tale of award-winning author Tom Cho’s gender transformation from female to male. Combining stylised interviews, archival footage and dramatised excerpts from Cho’s book, MIND is a thoroughly tantalising experience for any audience.
OSCAR® WINNER SOLD TO COMMUNITY CHANNEL (UK)
The 2007 Academy Awards® winner, THE BLOOD OF YINGZHOU DISTRICT
, was sold to the UK-based broadcaster, Community Channel. It follows the life of children in the Province of Anhui, who have lost their parents to AIDS. The film is part of the trilogy on the changing face of China, which also includes this year’s nominee, THE WARRIORS OF QIUGANG
SMILEY RELEASES TWO NEW FEATURE FILM TITLES IN 2011
Smiley is excited to announce the release of two feature films, VOICE OVER from Bulgaria and provocative Chinese drama, THE BUTCHER'S WIFE (previously, Wangliang's Ideal). VOICE OVER
is a black comedy set in Bulgaria’s Cold War period and looks at the predicament faced by a filmmaker working within a state-controlled industry. The filmmaker, a promising DOP, must negotiate his relationship with the director, a high-ranking Communist Party member; whilst trying to reunite with his family who has escaped to West Berlin. THE BUTCHER'S WIFE
is a shocking and tragic drama about obsession set in contemporary China. A simple butcher is unable to consummate his marriage to his young wife who eventually leaves him for the bright lights of the big city. The butcher develops an obsession for finding his wife that ends tragically. The battle between the two becomes a social critique of the new Chinese society and the growing division between the various social classes.
DRUGS AND DEATH AT BAGRAM AND WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BRENDA HEAN? SOLD TO PRESS TV
Iranian broadcaster, Press TV, has acquired Drugs and Death at Bagram
and Whatever Happened to Brenda Hean?
. Drugs and Death at Bagram follows the mystery surrounding the death of a young US soldier on-base in Afghanistan. Shrouded in suspicions of foul play and drug abuse, the search for truth eventually reveals links to Lariam – an anti-malaria drug prescribed routinely by the Army to its personnel with side effects including suicidal tendencies, anxiety , and paranoia. Whatever Happened to Brenda Hean? explores the remarkable story of one of the first leaders of an environmental political fight in the world. Brenda Hean’s fight to save Tasmania’s Lake Pedder lead to her mysterious death in 1972. Thirty years later, a quest to discover the truth takes us on a journey into the landscape and eccentric communities of Tasmania.
INSHALLAH FOOTBALL RECEIVES JURY’S SPECIAL DISTINCTION AWARD AT DUBAI FF
Following the success of its world premiere at the Pusan IFF, Inshallah Football
has received another distinction at a key film festival, Dubai FF. The Festival awarded the film the Jury’s Special Distinction Award. Set in Kashmir - one of world’s most militarized zones - the film follows the journey of a young footballer whose dreams of becoming a professional footballer is thwarted because of his ‘suspicious’ background of being born the son of an ex-militant. He is probed by the Kashmiri investigative authorities, the police and passport authorities in drawn-out struggle to obtain a passport.
NEW DOC: PASSION (MONGOLIA)
Smiley is thrilled to announce the representation of the stunning and talked about documentary Passion
set in Mongolia. With stunning cinematography, Passion is a heart-felt film that explores the complexity of creating art and making films. It follows Mongolian director, Binder Jigjid, and contrasts his experience against that of his distinguished film director father, Jigjid Dejid. The film portrays the director’s concern for financial success and the agony that crosses back and forth between cinematic conviction and despair. The black and white but radiant past, and the colorful but shabby present of Mongolian films curiously blend with the desolate but beautiful landscape of Mongolia.
FRANCE TV ACQUIRES TWO SMILEY TITLES
and Made In Taiwan
were sold to France TV. Just Punishment is a heart wrenching story of a young Australian man, Van Nguyen, caught with heroine by the Singaporean authorities and put on execution by hanging. Covering the two years leading up to his execution – the intense media frenzy, the high-level diplomatic tension between the two governments and the personal hearbreak and shock. In the New Zealand documentary, Made In Taiwan, DNA testing takes the two hosts, Nathan Rarere and Oscar Knightley, both of Polynesian descent take us on a journey across the Pacific and into Asia in search of their roots.
THE BLOOD OF YINGZHOU DISTRICT SOLD TO ASIAN MEDIA RIGHTS
The US distributor, Asian Media Rights, has acquired the Academy Award® winner, The Blood of Yingzhou District
. The film is part of the trilogy about the changing face of China along with Tongzhi in Love
and The Warriors of Qiugang.
PRAYING WITH LIOR WINS GRAND PRIX AT RUSSIAN DISABILITY FF
The critically acclaimed and festivals favourite, Praying with Lior
, has been awarded the Grand Prix at the Russian Disability FF. A touching documentary about Lior Liebling, we follow this extraordinary boy with Down syndrome as he prepares for his Bar Mitzvah. We witness Lior’s journey of challenges and triumphs, we share in the joy, grief and the bitter sweet moments felt by his family and community. Smile Pinki
, the 2009 Academy Awards® winner, also screened at the festival.
US TV BROADCAST SALES
Washington D.C. based MHz Networks has acquired a package of titles from Smiley. Highlights include New Zealand tattoo art film Kiri Wai: Inner Skin
as well as What Are We Doing Here?
. In Inner Skin, young French – American film-maker Bruce Giglio embarks on a South Pacific adventure in search of the deeper meaning underneath the moko
(traditional Maori tattoo art) etched on his skin as a young boy in an earlier journey. This is the second deal for Inner Skin with a third pending for Russian territory. Inner Skin looks at the growing popularity of moko
within Western society and captures New Zealand’s stunning landscape as Giglio travels the length of the country in search of the meaning of the art on his skin.
SMILEY TO ATTEND IDFA AND KLIFF
Smiley will be attending the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) next month. Diana Kluge, the Berlin branch manager will represent Smiley. To set up a meeting with Diana, please contact email@example.com. Smiley’s Managing Director, Ewa Bigio, has been invited to attend the Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival and will be participating as a jury member in the Feature Films competition category. In addition Ewa will be addressing the film industry on the topic of international sales and distribution.
BRAND NEW DOC: PUSHING THE ELEPHANT
How do you forgive someone who has murdered your family? The new addition to Smiley’s catalogue, Pushing the Elephant, chronicles the story of Rose Mapendo – an inspirational survivor of the ethnic violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In spite of the many unthinkable tragedies brought onto her family and her country by the civil war, Rose has become an advocate for forgiveness, speaking around the world from the White House to the UNHCR in Geneva. However, with the reunion with her daughter that she was separated from over a decade ago, Rose finds her greatest challenge - helping her own daughter let go of her painful past. Pushing the Elephant
is due to premiere at IDFA next month.
BRAND NEW DOC: THE WARRIORS OF QIUGANG
The Warriors of Qiugang
follows villagers in the central Chinese province of Anhui who take on a chemical company that is poisoning their water and air. In so doing, the film provides a unique glimpse of Chinese civil society defying tradition and taking the fight to big business and government. For three years, the Anhui villagers fight to transform their environment, catching the media attention nationwide and even that of the national government. The Warriors of Qiugang is the third in a trilogy about the changing face of China produced by the Academy Award winning team behind The Blood of Yingzhou District and Tongzhi In Love. For information about this year’s shortlisted Academy Award documentaries follow this link http://www.oscars.org/press/pressreleases/2010/20101013.html
ANOTHER DEAL FOR INTIFADA NYC
Smiley has wrapped up the 7th deal for Intifada NYC
, with a sale to the Japanese broadcaster, NHK. Unravelling the controversy surrounding US’ first public Arabic-language school and the eventual resignation of its principal, Intifada NYC highlights cultural stereotyping and media manipulation. The film continues on its winning streak, having been sold previously to Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Satellite (Qatar), Russia Today (Russia), Yes DBS (Israel), Press TV (Iran) and Documentary Channel (NZ).
5 HOURS SOLD TO VEA
The moving story of 5 Hours with Raja
, has been sold to VEA (Aus). Following a brave young couple confronted with the diagnosis of a fatal birth defect of their unborn baby, the film reveals the couple’s decision to continue with the pregnancy and the profound impact that the baby would have on the couple and their extended family despite its short life. 5 Hours with Raja is refreshingly uplifting and inspiring take on the taboo subject of infant mortality. The film has been sold previously to Yes DBS (Israel) and Documentary Channel (NZ).
SMILEY AT PUSAN IFF
Smiley’s Managing Director, Ewa Bigio, was an Invited Guest of the Asian Cinema Fund and AND at the prestigious Pusan International Film Festival. Ewa was a guest speaker on a panel dealing with the A-Z of documentaries and spoke on the topic of international sales and distribution.
ANATOMY 2 SOLD TO NOGA
The evocative and visually stimulating series, Anatomy 2
, has been acquired by Noga (Israel). Following the success of its predecessor, ANATOMY 2 continues to explore the relationship between art, sex and the body through the episodes, FACE, EYE and MIND. The subjects examined span widely from a collaborative art project that documents faces at point of orgasm (FACE), to a group of indigenous Australian men living as women within their traditional community (EYE), and the captivating tale of award-winning author Tom Cho’s gender transformation from female to male (MIND).
INSHALLAH, FOOTBALL! WORLD PREMIERE AT PUSAN IFF
The recently completed film, Inshallah, Football!
, will have its world premiere at Pusan IFF next month. Inshallah, Football! follows the journey of a young footballer in Kashmir, whose dreams of becoming a professional footballer is thwarted because of his ‘suspicious’ background of being born the son of an ex-militant. He is probed by the Kashmiri investigative authorities, the police and passport authorities in drawn-out struggle to obtain a passport. Through his story, we are given a rare look into one of the most militarised zones in the world. The film is directed by Academy-nominated Ashvin Kumar.
DRUGS AND DEATH AT BAGRAM SOLD TO RUSSIA TODAY
Moscow-based broadcaster, Russia Today, has acquired the rights to Drugs and Death at Bagram
. DDB tells the story of a family’s pursuit of the truth to their son’s death, who was found dead on base in Afghanistan. Ruled as suicide but clouded by suspicions of murder, on-base heroin abuse and military cover up, their investigation lead to an unexpected link to the controversial anti-malaria drug, Lariam, which was being routinely prescribed by the Army.
FHS ACQUIRES FEATURE DOC THAT LOOKS AT PARALLELS BETWEEN THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND CURRENT RECESSION
US distributor, Films for the Humanities and Sciences, has acquired When the World Breaks
. Featuring rare film archive footages and an impressive line up of well-known figures who lived through the era (from Ray Bradbury to Phyllis Diller to Mickey Ronney), When the World Breaks takes the audience into one of the most formative and creative periods in American history – the 1930s Great Depression era. The film also draws parallels to the current recession to present the idea that extreme times are also times of heightened creativity and innovation. The film was recently sold to Documentary Channel (NZ).
EMMY NOMINATION FOR THE WITNESS PRODUCER
Margaret Hyde, the Executive Producer of The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306
, was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Historical Programming Long Form for her work on the film. The Witness has also been nominated for the 2009 Academy Award and won the Audience Award and Jury Award at the 2008 Palm Springs International ShortFest. The Witness presents an account of the last hours of Dr Martin Luther King on the day of his assassination at the Lorraine Hotel, retold by the man who spent the last hour with him, Rev. Samuel Kyles. It premiered on HBO (USA) and has previously been sold to Viasat (UK), Yes DBS (Israel), Chello Multicanal (Spain) and Documentary Channel (NZ). Congratulations to Margaret for the well-deserved recognition for her great work!
INTIFADA NYC & LOOT AT DMZ IDFF, KOREA
Focusing on themes of ‘peace’ and ‘life’, DMZ International Documentary FF has selected two topical Smiley documentaries for its second edition. Intifada NYC
follows the opening in Brooklyn of US’ first Arabic language school. The uproar against the school and the eventual resignation of the its Yemeni-American Muslim principal draws many parallels to the current controversy surrounding plans to build an Islamic cultural centre near Ground Zero. In both cases, plans have been muddied by stereotypes and gross misconceptions about the Muslim community fuelled by media manipulation and sensationalism. Both are tinged by strong emotions tied to the 9/11 terrorist attack. Intifada NYC has been selected for International Competition and its director, David Teague, has been invited as a guest of the Festival. Loot
has been selected for the special section on “60 Years After the Korean War”. Loot follows two WWII veterans in their search of hidden wartime treasures assisted by a used car salesman. DMZ IDFF is being held between 9 – 13 September in Paju Book City, situated near the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas.
WITH AND WITHOUT YOU SOLD TO TVP
The Polish broadcaster, TVP, has acquired With and Without You
– a powerful film about male suicide and its impact on one family. This award-winning film has previously been sold to Canal Vie and Documentary Channel in Canada, Noga (Israel), VRT (Belgium), UR (Sweden) and RUV (Iceland).
PROVOCATIVE DOCUMENTARY EXPLORING SELF-PORTRAITS OF THE HUMAN FACE DURING ORGASM TO BE RELEASED
Following the success of the critically-acclaimed series, Anatomy
, a second series is now available for acquisition. Like the first series, the three new episodes
continue to push the boundaries by exploring the relationship between art, sex and the body. One of the more provocative episodes "FACE", intimately focuses on the people behind the many faces of Beautiful Agony, a collaborative artwork that explores the diversity of human sexuality by collecting video self-portraits of faces during orgasm. It is an intimate and confronting documentary with unique perspectives from those who have contributed to the project, as well as its founder and art theorist. "FACE" goes beyond the debate between individual expression and artistic pornography to delve deeper into raw sexuality and self-exposure as a form of self-expression. "EYE" follows a photographer and her time with the Sistergirls - a small group of indigenous men who have lived culturally as women within their community for thousands of years. It is a journey that defies existing stereotypes of what it means to be an indigenous Australian today, while also questioning the subject from an artistic point of view. "MIND" is the captivating story of Australian-Chinese writer, Tom Cho, who from an early age thought he was different and knew he did not match his Chinese mother's expectations of a good daughter. Tom's wild imaginings and mental and physical trauma in dealing with questions of identity, desire and personal transformation are presented in a visually imaginative way, combining colour, stylised interviews, archival footage and dramatised excerpts from Cho's book. Anatomy 2
continues on flawlessly from the first series, touching upon a wide range of human experience and emotion well beyond the boundaries of traditional arts documentaries, showcased in visually innovative and tantalising ways.
DRUGS AND DEATH AT ST LOUIS FILMMAKERS SHOWCASE
The documentary on the use of controversial anti-malaria drug Lariam on US bases, Drugs and Death at Bagram
, won top honours at the St Louis Filmmakers Showcase held 17th - 22nd July. The St Louis Film Critics Association awarded the film with Best Documentary Feature, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. The Showcase was the film's World Premiere. Drugs and Death at Bagram delves into the mystery surrounding the death of a young US soldier on-base in Afghanistan, which initially begins with suspicions of foul play and drug abuse but eventually reveals links to Lariam - an anti-malaria drug prescribed routinely by the Army to its personnel with side effects including suicidal tendencies, anxiety, aggression and paranoia. Congratulations to Shaun McCanna (director), Lee Ann Nelson (producer), Andy Thayer (for cinematography) and the team behind the film.
DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL ACQUIRES MULTIPLE SMILEY TITLES
The local broadcaster, Documentary Channel, has acquired a package of titles from Smiley. The package encompasses a variety of topics and subjects from various regions; from a one-time Australian heroine trafficker on death row in Singapore (Just Punishment
) and the practise of matchmaking in modern day Orthodox Jewish communities (Match & Marry
), to the notorious US consumer activist Ralph Nader (An Unreasonable Man
). Some of Smiley's New Zealand titles will get a chance to be seen in their homeland - 5 Hours with Raja
, Chance of a Lifetime
and Pacific Solution
have been acquired in this deal. The Documentary Channel also acquired an "Oscar package" consisting of the winners and nominees of the Academy Awards®; namely The Blood of Yingzhou District
(2007 Winner) , Freeheld
(2008 Winner), Smile Pinki
(2009 Winner) and The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306
(2009 Finalist and Nominee). Smiley's more recently acquired titles are having their NZ premiere with Documentary Channel: When the World Breaks
and Kiri Wai Inner Skin will be broadcast after successful screenings at the Documentary Edge earlier this year. Other titles that were acquired include Intifada NYC
, Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai
, Whatever Happened to Brenda Hean?
, Terra Incognita
, Abel Raises Cain
, Kamp Katrina
, The Slanted Screen
, Tongzhi in Love
and the Peabody Winner, Braindamadj'd... Take II
ANATOMY AND INTIMIDAD SOLD TO UR
Smiley sold to the Swedish broadcaster, UR, “Muscle” and “Heart” from the critically acclaimed Australian series, Anatomy
and the poignant tale of a young Mexican couple, Intimidad
. Anatomy explores the relationship between the physical body and artistic expression , offering unique perspectives on the creative process involved in varying forms of art. “Muscle” follows a travelling acrobatic group on their physical and emotional strain, delving beneath the stylised and artificial realm of circus performance and “Heart” explores the origins of creative inspiration through an artist's portrait of her long-time muse ("Heart"). Series 2 dealing with the themes of “Eye”, “Face” and “Mind” will be released shortly and Series 3 is soon going in production.
Intimidad is the personal story of a working couple in the booming global production centre, Reynosa, Mexico, and their struggles and sacrifices in trying to build a better life for their young family. Their journey is intimately captured against the backdrop of rapid industralisation and consumer culture that fuels such modern-day global production centres.
5 HOURS WITH RAJA SELECTED TO SCREEN IN TAIPEI
The NZ doc, 5 Hours with Raja
, has been selected by the Kaohsiung Film Festival. The Taipei screening will be the film's International Premiere. 5 Hours with Raja is a moving story of a young couple who chose to carry their unborn baby to full term in spite of the diagnosis of a fatal birth defect. At surface a dark tragedy, 5 Hours actually comes out on top as a surprisingly uplifting story that leaves the audience inspired and empowered. Kaohsiung Film Festival will take place from 22nd October to 4th November.
TAKING ROOT WINS GRAND PRIZE FOR SOCIETY, JADE KUNLUN AWARDS
The story of the Green Belt Movement of Kenya and its founder Wangari Maathai - the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize- was awarded the Grand Prize for Society at the Jade Kunlun Awards of 2010 World Mountain Documentary Festival of Qinghai, China. Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai
is a story of how a simple act - in this case that of planting trees - can inspire and generate changes. The Movement and Maathai fought against deforestation, poverty and violent political oppression and helped bring down K's 24-year old dictatorship. Taking Root has been sold to PBS (USA), WDR/ARTE (Germany/France), Teachers TV (UK), Maori Television (NZ), Viasat Broadcasting (UK) and Documentary Channel (NZ).
JAQUIE BROWN DIARIES PREMIERES ON MTVN’s LOGO, USA
On Saturday 12th June, the popular hit comedy series, The Jaquie Brown Diaries
, made its US television premiere on MTV Network's Logo channel. The series takes a satirical look at the life of a C- grade celebrity as Jaquie Brown romances and stomps her way up the media ladder. The series premiered to positive reviews from The Boston Globe, which heaped praise on the script for its "consistently wry attitude", putting "the likes of CBS' 'Rules of Engagement' to shame". Series 2, “The Jaquie Brown Odyssey” premiered on TV3 in New Zealand and will be available for international release shortly.
JULIA'S STORY SOLD TO AETN NETWORKS
, a documentary by the Oscar-winning duo, Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon, has been sold to the Singapore-based AETN Networks. This groundbreaking documentary follows Julia, a university student in China who contracted the HIV virus through heterosexual intercourse, and became the first woman to share her story publicly in China. Julia's Story follows Julia’s journey from the months preceding her 'coming out' in the media with her story and thereafter.
SALE OF THE WITNESS TO MULTICANAL, SPAIN
The Academy Award-nominee, The Witness: from the Balcony of Room 306
, has been acquired by the Spanish programmer, Chello Multicanal. Through recollections of the last surviving witness to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's death, Rev Samuel Kyles, and other civil rights luminaries, The Witness is a poignant retelling of a crucial turning point in the American civil rights movement. The film premiered on HBO in the US and has been sold to Viasat Broadcasting (Scandinavia & Eastern Europe) and Yes DBS (Israel).
WARSAW SHORT FILM FESTIVAL TO SCREEN TWO SMILEY TITLES
Two Academy Award films from the Smiley catalogue have been selected by the Warsaw Short Film Festival for its 2010 programme. The two films are Smile Pinki
which won the Academy Award for the Best Documentary: Short Subject in 2009 and The Witness: from the Balcony of Room 306
which was nominated for an award in the same year. The Warsaw Short Film Festival is a key international film festival in Poland, taking place this year from 8th - 17th October.
CONTROVERSIAL DOC ON CATHOLIC CHURCH ABUSE ACQUIRED BY NOGA CHANNEL 8
The Israeli broadcaster, NOGA, has acquired the Hand of God
- an intimately-told documentary of one family's experience with the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal. The film generated new interest at the recent MIPTV market in light of the current headlines surrounding the Vatican's failure to acknowledge a history of cover up within its highest ranks. Hand of God reveals systematic cover up by the Archdiocese 30 years after the abuse. However, beyond the headlines, filmmaker Joe Cultrera grounds the story of his brother Paul by openly tackling the personal dynamics taking place between Paul and his elderly devout Italian Catholic parents and delivering their tale with a wry sense of humour intact.
PEABODY-WINNER REMAINS A HIT AMONG FESTIVALS AND BROADCASTERS
The 2007 Peabody Award winner, Braindamadj'd... Take II
, continues its presence in the international festival circuit with screenings at the Documentary & Short FF of Kerala, India and the ReFraming Reality Festival, Israel. The worldwide appeal of the film has also seen additional runs being sought by international broadcasters such as NHK Japan and most recently UR in Sweden. Braindamadj'd is the inspiring, poignant and humorous story of Paul Nadler, a television and music video producer, who after suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury, rejected the medical profession’s prognosis of permanent disability and continued to live life to the fullest.
5 HOURS WITH RAJA SOLD TO YES DBS
The New Zealand doc, 5 Hours with Raja
, from emerging local director, Anna McKessar, has been sold to the Israeli broadcaster, Yes DBS. In 5 Hours with Raja McKessar followed a brave young couple who decided to carry their unborn baby to full term despite the diagnosis of a fatal birth defect. It charts the events from the moment of diagnosis, to delivery and the 5 hours of the baby’s life and the profound impact that the short-life of the baby Raja would have on the couple and their extended family in years to come. A heart-wrenching and deeply inspiring film, 5 Hours with Raja goes beyond the pro-life / pro-choice debate and instead presents an enlightening story on the affirmation of love. The director, Anna McKessar, was awarded with the Best Emerging Talent Award at the Documentary Edge Festival in March this year.
DOUBLE DEAL FOR ASSUME NOTHING
Smiley has sold New Zealand documentary, Assume Nothing
, to the Finnish broadcaster, YLE. The film has also been acquired for distribution by VEA, a major non-theatrical distributor in Australia. Smiley has previously sold the film to Films for Humanities & Sciences (USA), Rain TV (Russia), and Noga (Israel) and the film was showcased at the Against the Gravity Festival in Poland earlier this year.
3 TITLES SOLD TO PRESS TV, IRAN
Iranian broadcaster, Press TV, has acquired Intifada NYC
, Water Discourses
and A Soldier's Peace
. Water Discourses looks at how the water management crisis came to a head during the 4th World Water Forum in Mexico, which attracted journalists, high-flying corporate executives and activists from around the world. Water Discourses critically examines the important issues of water scarcity and hydraulic politics of the day. Both Intifada NYC and A Soldier's Peace have previously been sold to Russia Today and Yes DBS.
NEW FICTION FEATURE: BARAH AANA
The newest addition to Smiley's fiction slate is Barah Aana
; a comedy of real life, set in today's Mumbai. The story revolves around three unlikely friends who unwittingly becomes involved in the world of crime. Visually tantalising, Barah Aana is a dark comedy from the perspective of the common man in today's India which is driven by economic growth, the rise of the middle class and a culture of consumption. Barah Aana is directed by Raja Menon and features Naseeruddin Shah (Monsoon Wedding, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), Vijay Raaz, Arjun Mathur and Violante Placido.
BRAND NEW DOC: LOOT
Buried treasures, family secrets and dark wartime histories come together in Smiley's latest addition to its doc genre, LOOT. The director, Darius Marder, follows two WWII veterans across the globe in search of buried wartime treasures that they feel are their own. With their health failing and faint memories of the past, they are assisted by a used car salesman who throws himself into their dubious quests to unearth the past. Described by Morgan Spurlock as "one of the most perfect documentaries", LOOT is a must-see for all.
DOUBLE DEAL WITH AL JAZEERA QATAR AND AL JAZEERA INTERNATIONAL
Al Jazeera International, based in Kuala Lumpur, has acquired two of Smiley's titles: Intifada NYC
and Praying with Lior
. Intifada NYC has been sold also to AJI's Arabic sister channel, Al Jazeera Qatar, based in Doha.
RUSSIAN BROADCASTER BUYS 7 SMILEY TITLES
Rain TV has acquired a package of Smiley titles on a range of subjects, including Abel Raises Cain
, Terra Incognita
, Darling! the Pieter Dirks-Uy Story, Braindamadj'd...Take II
, Smile Pinki
, Praying with Lior
, and Assume Nothing
ANATOMY SERIES TO SHOW AT DOXA FF
The 3-episode Anatomy
series has been selected to show at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival next month. Anatomy is an art series comprising of unusual and compelling stories exploring how the body work as driving forces in the creative process. Season 1 features: Muscle, which follows a three-piece physical performance troupe on tour and delves beneath the artificial realm of circus operformance; Skin, which examines the relationship between the tatoo artist eX de Medici and her long-time client, Geoff, who is considering having his 'body suit' preserved and exhibited after he dies; and Heart which explores the changing nature of love within the creative process following an artist's portrayal of her long-time muse. Season 2 is in production and follows other themes around the human anatomy including the face, eye and mind. DOXA runs from 7 May to 16 May in Vancouver.
FEDERAL COMMISSION AFFIRMS DISCRIMINATION AND MEDIA MANIPULATION PLAYED PART IN RESIGNATION OF PRINCIPAL FEATURED IN INTIFADA NYC
The ousted principal of an Arabic dual-language school in Brooklyn NY featured in the film, Intifada NYC
, achieved a small victory this month in her long-running struggle to get her job back. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found that the New York City's Department of Education discriminated against Ms Debbie Almontaser "on account of her race, religion and national origin" by forcing her to resign. In mid-2007, Ms Almontaser was pressured to resign following the school's opponents labeling her as "9/11 denier" and a "jihadist", culminating in sensationalist reporting by the media on innocuous ties to a Muslim group. Director David Teague follows the principal's struggle to get her job back, the outcry against the school, and the debate provoked about tolerance and freedom of speech. Importantly, the film's examination on exploitative journalism and media manipulation prominent in USA today has been affirmed by the EEOC in its finding, which stated: "Significantly, it was not her actual remarks, but their elaboration by the reporter, creating waves of explicit anti-Muslim bias from several extremist sources - that caused DOE to act".
CATHOLIC CHURCH SEXUAL ABUSE COVER-UP CONFRONTED IN FORCEFUL DOCUMENTARY FEATURING AMERICAN-ITALIAN FAMILY IN 1960s MASSACHUSETTS
Recent revelations of sexual abuse within the Irish Catholic Church prompting Pope Benedict XVI to issue a pastoral letter acknowledging the sense of betrayal felt by victims and their families have dominated world headlines. The Pope's statement, however, falls short of addressing the demands by victims' groups for an admission that abuse was systematically covered up by the Church. Director, Joe Culterera's feature length documentary, Hand of God
, is an intimate and frankly told tale of such betrayal and deception by one family in the 1960s Massachusetts. In a search for truth for the subject, who is none other than the director's own brother, Hand of God presents an engaging and vivid portrait of survival delivered with intimacy and even with humour intact. Hand of God continues to offer a powerful and relevant insight in balancing faith against disappointment and speaking truth to power. Hand of God premiered in the US on PBS Frontline and has subsequently been sold to territories worldwide including The ABC in Australia. The Hand of God Frontline premiere became one of their most talked about shows prompting over 650 emails on their website shortly after its airing. Variety in reviewing the film described the film as “Cerebral...forceful, especially as an indictment of the Catholic Church protecting its own.”
7 SMILEY FILMS SOLD TO MTS
Maori Television Service, the local broadcaster in New Zealand, has bought 7 titles from Smiley's catalogue, including the 2007 Academy Award® winner The Blood of Yingzhou District
and a festivals favourite, Praying with Lior
. Other titles acquired are LUMO
, The Alpha Diaries
, In Search of Shilan
and Taking Root: the Vision of Wangari Maathai
NEW LINE UP: THE BORDER CITY 2 (KOREA), WHEN THE WORLD BREAKS (USA), KIT & MAYNIE (NZ)
Smiley is pleased to announce a series of exciting new acquisitions to the already-outstanding catalogue.
A Korean documentary, The Border City 2
, follows the homecoming and subsequent trial of a Korean philosophy professor and a political exile. Professor Song is scrutinised for claims that he was a North Korean spy and becomes sucked into a growing divisions in the South between progressives and conservatives.
Premiering at the Documentary Edge Film Festival in New Zealand, When the World Breaks
explores one of the most formative and creative decades in the American history: the 1930s Depression era. WTWB looks at creativity and survival in the most desperate of times and draws parallels to our current recession.
Kit & Maynie: Tea, Scones and Nuclear Disarmament
, a humorous New Zealand documentary with a serious message follows the exploits of two octogenrians who juggled peace and nuclear testing demonstrations alongside weekend bake stalls. Kit & Maynie is a heartwarming film of their travels and commitment to worldwide peace.
SMILEY AT DOCUMENTARY EDGE FORUM
Mrs Ewa Bigio, Smiley's founder and Managing Director, attended the Documentary Edge Forum as a panel member alongside other industry professionals such as buyers from Al Jazeera International and ZDF/ARTE. Documengary Edge Form (formerly the DOCNZ Summit
), held 1st - 3rd March this year, is a key event in the Australasian documentary film industry calendar that includes seminars, panels, master classes, and a pitching forum for local and overseas filmmakers, funders, buyers, broadcasters and festival programmers.
3 TITLES FOR NON-THEATRICAL DISTRIBUTION IN AUS
Smiley has sold the non-theatrical rights to The Slanted Screen
, Taking Root: the Vision of Wangari Maathai
and Made In Taiwan
to VEA in Australia. VEA is a major non-theatrical distributor and supplies to secondary, university and other tertiary-level training institutions. Another Smiley film VEA currently distributes is Mardi Gras: Made in China
ANNA MCKESSAR (5 HOURS WITH RAJA) NAMED THE BEST EMERGING TALENT
The director of one of Smiley's newly acquired films, 5 Hours with Raja
, has been honoured with the award for the Best Emerging Talent at the Documentary Edge Film Festival. Smiley congratulates Ms. McKessar and is extremely pleased to be representing the outstanding and important project for international sales.
SMILE PINKI TO SHOW ON KOREAN AIRLINES
The 2009 Academy Award winner, Smile Pinki
, is due to be shown on the inflight services on Korean Airlines. In this real-life fairy tale, the 5 year old Pinki journeys from her home in rural India to the scared city of Banaras where she undergoes a life-changing cleft lip surgery. The film premiered on HBO in the US and has recently been sold to BeTV (Belgium).
JULIAN SHAW AWARDED BEST YOUNG AUSTRALIAN FILMMAKER OF THE YEAR
The Byron Bay International Film Festival andthe Sydney International Film School have named Julian Shaw the Best Young Australian Filmmaker of the Year for his short, Clearing the Air
. The BBFF award is Julian's first major award for fictional film since critical accolades for his winning documentary Darling! The Pieter-Dirk Uys Story - a Runner Up for the Panorama Audience Award and a recipient of the British Film Institute gong. Congratulations to Julian for his latest achievement. Smiley represents the worldwide foreign sales rights to Darling! and has licensed the film previously to broadcasters Link TV ( USA ), YES DBS ( Israel ), TVP ( Poland ) and Free Speech TV ( USA ).
ACADEMY AWARD WINNER, SMILE PINKI, SOLD TO BELGIUM
The 2008 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Short, Smile Pinki
, has been acquired by Belgian broadcasters BeTV. Smile Pinki
is an inspirational tale of a young girl, Pinki, born into poverty with the stigma of a cleft lip and her life-changing surgery.
SMILEY IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS IN BERLIN AND ATTENDS BERLINALE 2010
Smiley has launched its new operations in Berlin and will be represented at the Berlinale by Festivals Manager, Ms Diana Kluge. Ms Kluge is running Smiley’s European office and will be concentrating primarily at the outset on festivals management and strategy, as well as acquisitions and licensing for German territories.
IN SEARCH OF SHILAN ACQUIRED BY A SCOTTISH GAELIC CHANNEL
The UK broadcaster, BBC ALBA, has acquired the Australian documentary, In Search of Shilan
, for its Scottish Gaelic feed. In Search of Shilan
is a poignant love story set against the backdrop of political struggle and guerrilla warfare in the Kurdish and Turkish region.