Rushes: BAFICI | Ross | Wegener

23.April.2012: The Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente (BAFICI) wrapped over the weekend, with the award in the International Official Selection going to the Israeli film Policeman. The critics’ FIPRESCI award went to Céline Sciamma’s Tomboy, which also nabbed Best Actress for Zoé Heran’s performance.

The Los Angeles press has been rehashing Rich Ross’s resignation as chairman of Walt Disney Studios. “Smart as he is, Ross’s learning curve was just too steep,” writes Anne Thompson for Indiewire. She goes on to describe John Carter as “a tsunami disaster that no studio chief could survive.” For The Los Angeles Times, Dawn C. Chmielewski and Rebecca Keegan write that the resignation “[calls] into question [Disney} Chairman and Chief Executive Robert A. Iger’s ambitious attempt to modernize the 89-year-old studio by placing a TV executive in charge of his film division and accelerates uncertainty at a time when all entertainment companies are struggling to come to terms with a dying DVD business and long-term declines in movie ticket sales.”

And speaking of Disney, found footage maestro Bill Morrison will be at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) tonight for the LA premiere of The Miners’ Hymns. “Visually, the film feels like a more visceral Metropolis, with the mythical ethereality of Cocteau’s Orpheus and the muscular punch of a Lewis Hine photo,” writes Victoria Ellison for The Los Angeles Weekly.

More from the land of blockbusters, Michael Ciepley has a long report for The New York Times on Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest, currently flying under the title The Master. “Fiercely protective of his process, [Anderson] has declined to speak publicly about the movie,” Ciepley writes. “But the details suggest a story inspired by the founding of Scientology, and that has provoked industry whispers. With that church’s complicated Hollywood ties and high-profile adherents like Tom Cruise, a film even loosely based on it will guarantee discussion upon its release.”

New York’s MoMA celebrates the centennial of Germany’s Babelsberg studios with a double-feature today of the 2011 thriller Unknown and the 1913 “fantasy of dread and split identity,” The Student of Prague. The latter stars Paul Wegener, who got his start acting with Max Reinhardt and went on to direct the expressionist classic, The Golem: How He Came into the World. “A silent film can force you to stare at people as they stare into you,” writes Aaron Cutler for The L Magazine. “Lillian Gish, Griffith’s muse, had eyes wide enough to hold worlds, and so did Paul Wegener.”

Film producer Martin Poll died last week at the age of 89. Dennis Hevesi has the obituary for The New York Times and writes of Poll’s pioneering move in 1956 to open Gold Medal Studios on the site of the former Biograph Studios in the Bronx. Among the many films shot at the studio were A Face in the Crowd, Butterfield 8, and The Naked City.

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