Ending the Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before ChristmasI usually avoided political statements here, but given the current state of the nation, I really need to speak up and urge my fellow Americans to vote for Barak Obama and Democratic congressional candidates. I have no illusions that Obama is the second coming of FDR, but given the nightmare that the Bush administration has become, his election offers at least the hope of fresh leadership and new ideas.

Azur et Asmar Finally Gets U.S. Release

Azur et AsmarWhen I reviewed Michel Ocelot’s latest film, Azur et Asmar in August, I bemoaned the fact that it did not have an American distributor. This has now changed. As Dave Jesteadt wrote me:

I enjoyed reading your thoughts about Michel Ocelot’s Azur and Asmar, and wanted to let you know that the film is indeed getting a theatrical release (albeit limited) stateside. We first showed the film at the 2006 New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival, and our distribution arm, GKIDS, is now aiding the Weinstein Company in doing a theatrical release of the Prince’s Quest version of the film. The film just opened in NYC at the IFC Center, where it sold out all screenings and is getting held over for a second week, and we have added dates in Seattle, Chicago, Hartford, Washington DC and Columbus with hopefully many more to come.

For more information on the film’s American release, as well as the company’s other activies, please check out the GKIDS website.

Europa Film Treasures

Philips Broadcast of 1938Europa Film Treasures logo And still they come …. Thanks to Mark Mayerson for spotting Europa Film Treasures,  another interesting (to say the least) site for online films; part of the “Treasures from European Film Archives” project, it promises films from 28 European film archives, ranging from the UK’s British Film Institute and the Imperial War Museum to Russia’s GosFilmoFond and Spain’s Filmoteca Española. So far, there are only a handful of titles available, including George Pal’s Philips Broadcast of 1938 (1938) (see above) in its French release version (La Grande Revue Philips) (from Lobster Films, a private archive run by Serge Bromberg, who is also Artistic Director of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival); the copy seems cleaner than than the one on The Puppetoon Movie DVD, though the colors lack its saturation; a plus is it includes English subtitles for the Dutch titles.

Besides animation, the site’s offerings range from John Ford’s early feature, Bucking Broadway (1917) to the Slippery Jim French trick film, Pickpock ne craint pas les entraves (1909), as well as documentaries and erotica among other categories. Most of the films are European, but films from elsewhere are included as well.

Besides films, there is news of archival and festival screenings, and promised sections on documentation (including “bibliographies, a glossary of technical terms, and a presentation of professional networks”) and teaching resources that will include “teaching aids, as well as recreational activities suitable for a young audience.”