Tribeca Film Festival 2013 MUST SEES! WINNERS of the Best Actress and Best Screenplay Categories at the Tribeca Film Festival 2013!

April 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

Every film during the Pre-Festival screenings has been exceptional, however, many are under an embargo, and we are unable to write about them until after the premiere. I will, however, highlight a handful that are not under embargo.

The Broken Circle Breakdown: World Narrative Competition, (Belgium, Netherlands)  WINNER OF THE 12th ANNUAL TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL, BEST ACTRESS: Veerle Baetens, and BEST SCREENPLAY, Carl Joos and Felix van Groeningen

Elise runs a tattoo parlor. Didier is a tall, bearded, country-living, singer and banjo player in a bluegrass band. The movie starts off showing them as a couple with a six year old daughter who is battling cancer and seeking treatment in the hospital. Throughout the course of the film, there are flashbacks as to how the couple met, fell in love, their wedding, her pregnancy, and other key events. While Elise is a religious Catholic, Didier is an atheist. When the religious, legal, moral and ethical questions of adult and embryonic stem cells appears in their lives, their relationship(s) and beliefs are put to the test.

Musicians:

Veerle Baetens – Singer

Johan Heldenbergh – Singer

Bjorn Eriksson – Singer and Guitar

Lennart Dauphin – Bass

Geert Waegeman – Violin and Mandolin

Nils De Caster – Violin, Mandolin and Singer

Hank Van Damme – Banjo, Guitar and Singer

David Buyle – Violin on “Sand Mountain”

Arno Kuypers – Guitar on “Sand Mountain”

Peter Pask – Acoustic Guitar on “Sand Mountain”

Geert Van Rampleberg – Extra Singer

Jan Bijvoet – Extra Singer

Robby Cleiren – Extra Singer

Bert Huysentruyt – Extra Singer

Songs:

“Will the Circle Be Unbroken” – The BCB Band, originally AP Carter

“Mega Mindy Tijo” – Mega Mindy

“The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn” – The BCB Band, traditional

“Reuben’s Train” – The BCB Band, traditional

“The Lion Sleeps Tonight” – The BCB Band, originally Louigi Creatore/Solomon Linda/Hugo Peretti/George Weis

“Country in my Genes” – The BCB Band, originally Larry Cordle, Larry Shell, Betty Key

“Wayfaring Stranger” – The BCB Band, traditional

“Didn’t Leave Nobody but the Baby” – The BCB Band, originally Alan Lomax, T-Bone Burnett, Gillian Welch

“Cowboy Man” – The BCB Band, originally Lyle Lovett

“Over in the Glory Land” – The BCB Band, traditional

“Sand Mountain” – The BCB Band, originally Johnny Bellar

“Bruiloftsmars” – Jan Bijvoet and Robby Cleiren, originally Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

“If I Needed You” – The BCB Band, originally Townes Van Zandt

“Where the Soul of a Man Never Dies” – Veerle Baetens and Johan Heldenbergh

The Rocket:  Australia, World Narrative Competition

Red Obsession: World Documentary Competition, (Australia)

Narrated by Russell Crowe.

What happens when the gold rush and silk road migrates East towards red grapes and fine wines as investments?

China has become France’s largest importer of exclusive Bordeaux wines including Lafite Rothschild 2008, as “China wants to be richer and more powerful,” “they want to please people”, “they never want to look back towards oppression,” are encouraged to work hard and shoot for the stars, they want to try new things and enjoy outside influences, and would like to make life better for future generations.”

What happens when your best customer turns into your biggest competitor?  

In France, vineyards and cellars have been around for hundreds of years, and buyers have become complacent, while in China, wine is new and the silk road ready to connect them to the rest of the world. With over 270 billionaires living in the region, many want to impress their clients as the beverage is thought of  as a status symbol which gives them position as they face the West. As this proud culture dreams of doing everything better than the rest of the world, China will soon be the world’s largest producer of wine.  When conducting business there, remember, there are lots of conflicts when people think the system in China will work like the one in their own home country. It is China, and it runs differently with Chinese characteristics.

INTERVIEW:

As Australian directors, how did you come to shoot a movie about the relationship between a French wine producing region and China? What was the starting point for RED OBSESSION?

It was serendipitous really – the genesis of the project happened on board a Qantas flight from Sydney to London. Andrew Caillard, a Master of Wine, happened to be on the flight and we struck up a conversation. We had met once before so he knew I was a filmmaker and a vigneron and I knew he was a Master of Wine – (there are fewer MWs in the world than there have been astronauts!). Andrew asked if I had ever thought about making a film about wine, which I hadn’t. As the hours passed on the flight, I became more and more intrigued by what he told me about Bordeaux, a region he knew intimately – prices had been skyrocketing over the past two years for one reason – China. In fact, despite the Global Financial Crisis, which decimated the US and UK markets for these rare and desirable wines, China’s economy had been powering, minting new millionaires at an incredible rate. I was hooked – what happens when the world’s most voracious consumer of luxury goods turns its attention to a rare and ethereal but strictly limited product? On top of that, the next vintage to be released, the 2010, was being mooted as the vintage of the Century. This could be the perfect storm of the wine world.

Was it difficult for you to gain access to the Châteaux in Bordeaux and talk to their owners and managers? Did they voluntarily open their ‘caves’ up to you?

Andrew’s connections in Bordeaux are second to none. MWs are respected as THE wine authorities in the world. They are welcomed and feted in Bordeaux. Andrew’s involvement there goes back many years and although most of the Chateaux were very wary after a few unpleasant experiences with documentary makers, they opened their gates to us, trusting in Andrew’s integrity. As often happens with documentaries that require filming over a long period (in our case we filmed in Bordeaux on and off over 12 months), trust is built over time.Your film follows the development of the Bordeaux vintages over more than two years. How much time did you spend working on the project overall?

After that initial meeting on the aeroplane, I called my long time creative partner, David Roach, then Andrew, David and I met over coffee to discus how we would move forward. I explained to Andrew that we would need 6 months to research, write and raise the budget and it was then that Andrew dropped the bombshell that we needed to be in Bordeaux in 4 weeks time ready to shoot. The reason? – Every year in early April, the Bordelais reveal their new wines to the world’s wine writers, critics and merchants for their assessment. Early rumours out of Bordeaux pointed to the likelihood that the 2010 vintage would be the greatest vintage in 100 years. If we missed that, we would miss a critical moment in the history of Bordeaux. So three weeks later we were on a plane and hit the ground running. That was April 2011 at the En Primeur campaign. We went back again in June to capture summer, then again in September to film the harvest of the 2011 vintage and again for En Primeur in April 2012, so we captured the whole cycle.

What is your relationship to wine – are you collectors, tasters, drinkers…

I (Warwick) am a vigneron myself, so I have the knowledge that any vigneron would have about growing and producing wine. This allowed me to feel very comfortable with the subject and the processes and to empathize to some degree with the growers in Bordeaux. I like a good drop also – and having spent 12 months with some of the world’s greatest Chateaux, the wines we experienced were breathtaking! I’m not really a collector or a taster – I’m a drinker.

You worked with several prominent figures in the international wine world, from Robert Parker to Francis Ford Coppola. What was the most impressive encounter you had during the entire journey?

I think I’ll have to split this answer: As a filmmaker, meeting, interviewing and sharing thoughts about films and film making with Francis Ford Coppola was an exceptional experience. I think I related to that encounter more than any other because we are both filmmakers and wine producers. I’m not sure why those two disciplines go hand in hand so well, but they do. He even spoke about the parallels between filmmaking and wine making which resonated with me.

Oz Clarke was another fascinating interviewee – his candour, insights and wonderful anecdotes (he was a West End actor at one stage) were gold!

Christian Moueix from Chateau Petrus was the most philosophical of our 82 interviewees. He is disarming, charismatic, an art lover and a poet. His descriptions of a bottle of wine being a ‘tweet’ which you send over the world, won us over. His candid assessment of Bordeaux’s hubris allowed us to form our ending.

Russell Crowe narrates the film – how did he become involved in the project?

Russell is a friend of my Executive Producer, Rob Coe. He also loves his wines! The themes of the film resonated with him immediately – Bordeaux and China. The challenge was to try and find some time in his ridiculously busy schedule. He was filming “Noah” in New York and was finishing “Les Miserables” at the same time. Hurricane Sandy, which caused so much misery for so many people, forced a sudden postponement in Russell’s schedule and allowed just enough time for him to record the narration for us.

Starting in Bordeaux, RED OBSESSION takes us on a journey to China, allowing the audience to discover the largely unknown world of chinese wine lovers, collectors and producers. How did you experience this discovery?

We were lucky enough to be taken to places in China we would never have been allowed access to – or even to have known about. Demei Li, China’s most recognized wine maker and a lecturer at Beijing University of Agriculture, suggested we accompany him to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in far western China, on the old Silk Road, where Chinese authorities are planting thousands of acres of vines. The stunning red deserts, camel trains and traditional Muslim communities were scenes reminiscent of Lawrence of Arabia – a film-makers dream.

Getting access to billionaire collectors was even more tricky – Chinese society, particularly at the high end, can be very closed, especially to foreigners and it took many months for intermediaries to explain what we wanted to do and to eventually gain their trust to allow us film them in their environments. Once we had their confidence, nothing was too much trouble and we were often invited to stay after the interview and share a superb bottle of Bordeaux over a Chinese banquet.

The emergence of China as a buying power and a dominant force in the wine world has been so swift and so powerful as to represent a near paradigm shift. What questions does this raise about wine as a tradition and an art versus just a pure commodity?

This question is one we faced time and time again during the course of our filming. Ultimately when a product is viewed purely as a commodity, it tends to lose its soul. We discovered that the more valuable wine becomes, the more it’s treated as a pure commodity, attracting the avaricious world of commodity traders. Some clients will spend a million dollars on cases of expensive wine, only to store them in a warehouse somewhere, to be sold in the future when the price has doubled or trebled. The bottles of wine go unopened, even unseen by their owners. This is a pure business trade – about as far away from the passion and art of the vineyard as one can get. This trend emerged some years ago when prices of Bordeaux wines started rising so rapidly (faster than the Dow Jones, the FTSE and Gold) that they became the target of pure investors. The China effect of the past 3 or 4 years has only exacerbated this effect. Ironically, it’s western investors who are doing the investing, while the Chinese, who are driving the prices up through sheer buying power, are either drinking the wines, presenting them as gifts, or serving them to guests to show the esteem in which they are held.

As such, it could be argued that the Chinese are honouring the passion and art of the wines more than the western investors.

By now you must have tasted many great vintages with wine lovers both from Bordeaux and from China. Is there a great difference in how they taste, experience and ‘feel’ the wine itself?

Yes, there is a great difference. Whereas the traditional markets of the US, France, UK and Europe have been drinking wines for hundreds of years, the Chinese are still new to wine culture. Initially, this led to stories of the Chinese adding Coca-Cola to glasses of Chateau Lafite to make them palatable, as the taste of undiluted wine was so foreign. This practice, quite common until recently, has given way to a great desire to appreciate the wine for what it is. As such, it is not uncommon to see bus loads of Chinese visitors in Bordeaux, determined to educate themselves not just about the wine itself but about the intricacies of production methods and ‘terroir’ points of difference. The Chinese have found that the key to appreciating wine is to relate it to their tea culture. Both have a tannic structure – and tea has been part of Chinese meals for centuries.

The film provides a very balanced view of the Bordeaux/China phenomenon, with optimistic as well as more critical voices coming from both sides. Now that you know both of these worlds well, how do you see the future of wine – in China and in Bordeaux?

As the Chinese understanding of wine broadens, Bordeaux will become less of a focus and other regions such as Burgundy, the Rhone etc, not to mention Italy, Spain and South America will feel the surge in Chinese interest. Current predictions are that in 20 or 30 years, the entire world’s production will not be enough to satisfy the China market. This is recognised by the Chinese government, who are now planting tens of thousands of acres of vines each year to try to cope with future demand.

Bordeaux’s fortunes have always been tied to the fluctuations of world markets but with such a limited and finite resource, notwithstanding the broadening out of Chinese interest, there is only one direction the prices of Bordeaux’s finest wines will ultimately go – up.

What Richard Did: Viewpoints, (Ireland)

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