Thanks to E! for a reminder of why I wanted to do FAFR. Their "most comprehensive coverage on TV" of Cannes treated the festival like it was a working PR vacation for Americans, with a handful of classy Brits, Canadians and an English-speaking Almodovar thrown in. The festival this year boasted new films by Ruiz, Sokurov, Greenaway, Kitano, Oliveira, Bellocchio, Makhmalbaf, Ripstein, Carax and Chen Kaige in the competition alone, but as far as I noticed none of these directors or their films even had their names mentioned. And with the comment that Mel Gibson's production company produced the new Atom Egoyan film, guess who got the longest interview?
This is the description put together to give writers an idea of what FAFR will be.
At work recently, I heard several fellow employees discussing how "foreign films" have become worse over the years yet a month later when I temporarily re-arranged my schedule to attend a series of Iranian films they kidded me for being hopelessly esoteric. At that series I saw A Taste of Cherry which is one of the most beautiful and moving films I've ever seen. In a nutshell, that's where the idea for FAFR came from. Most reviewers and filmgoers in the US increasingly focus on a limited array of films, picking one or two non-US releases a month as their duty to art or personal hipness. Those of us with a serious and passionate interest in film have to scrounge to hear about films and directors and actors that don't fit this pattern; it requires even more digging and haunting museum and college screenings or video stores to even see these films.
That's what I hope FAFR can help resolve, in however small a way. FAFR will be a webzine devoted to information, reviews, profiles and articles on films and filmmakers that are often ignored even by "alternative" media. For example, there's no need to give any additional coverage, positive or negative, to Life Is Beautiful but there are literally thousands of worthwhile films known only to select groups. In addition to feature fiction films, I hope FAFR will cover documentaries, shorts, avant-garde, animation and other work. My conception of what needs to be covered will of course be from an American viewpoint but with any luck writers and readers will point out where to go. It won't be done on a monthly schedule but updated as needed. And though I'm enough of a purist to see no reason to include standard television, I also see no reason to exclude digital video, made-for-TV movies, worthwhile mini-series or whatever as long as they relate in some way to a larger cinematic framework. In fact, I would also like to include as much as possible some of the sub-cinema that's usually not even well-known enough to be ignored: industrial & training films, scientific film, home movies, surveillance, etc. E-mail if you can help. Thanks, Lang Thompson, Editor
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