Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Opening night at the Leipzig Film Festival

Pictured: Countess Eva-Maria von Schönburg-Glauchau at Café Spizz.

Leipzig’s glitterati, and then some, gathered last night at the Museum der bildenden Künste for opening celebrations of the city’s annual film festival, Das Internationale Leipziger Festival für Dokumentar- und Animationsfilm, running until 5 November (see link below). Although a poor cousin to the Berlin Film Festival, in focusing on the genres of documentary and animation, the Leipzig festival has found its niche.

As the reluctant subject of THE FOUNDATION, a documentary film currently in production by Australian filmmaker Richard Moore, I’ve been busily booking out the festival season to see what I’m getting myself into.

The evening kicked off with a screening of three powerful films, most notably the short TOWER BAWHER by the Bulgarian digital animator Theodore Usher, who currently lives in Canada. Featuring the score “Time Forward” by Georgy Sviridov, the work sees Russian constructivism deconstructed by the 2nd law of thermodynamics, as entropy rules Usher's universe of line, volume, colour and form.

To the festival organisers' credit, more women directors than ever are represented, but the Eurocentric focus of the directors chosen (if not their subject matter) remains a disappointment.

The usual drinks and chatter followed, with a gracious welcome from mayor Burkhard Junj, before the crowd sprawled out into the chill in search of late-night venues on a sleepy Leipzig Monday. A few years beyond raving, I made my way with the international, but mostly European, contingent to Café Spizz, a local jazz club.

After a grilling over MuseumZeitraum’s American financial backing and a round of questioning over rumours of Wassmann Foundation director Jeff Wassmann’s intelligence connections (yes, I believe Mr. Wassmann was formerly with the U.S. Department of State and has some tie to the Kennedy clan; no, he isn’t a spook, to the best of my knowledge), the evening eased into the usual late-night banter covering the war in Iraq, Prof Dr Angela Dorothea Merkel, the sorry state of film funding and, of course, to what extent our Leipzig School painters have ‘gone Faust’.

With first light breaking and the birds a-chirping, I'll say good night for now and keep you posted as the week progresses.

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