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Chump Change Press Press


October 4, 2000
Contact: Annalee Paulo and Michael Lawson
mPRm Public Relations, (323) 933-3399 or


October 4, 2000 (Los Angeles) - Festival Director Christian Gaines today announced the festival's line-up in the following categories: International Competition; New Directions From American Independents, a showcase of new American independent films; Documentary Competition, European Film Showcase, and four programs of short films entitled Shorts Strand.

This year's AFI FEST 2000, Los Angeles' most prestigious film festival, opens on October 19 with a Gala presentation of Buena Vista Pictures' O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?, directed by Joel Coen, at the El Capitan Theatre. On October 25, the festival will feature a special tribute to internationally acclaimed director Philip Kaufman, and on October 26, AFI FEST 2000 will close with the Awards Ceremony and a Gala presentation of Kaufman's QUILLS.

AFI FEST 2000 will showcase more than 90 films. Nine films are presented in the International Competition, presented by the United States Postal Service; ten in the New Directions From American Independents, presented by E! Entertainment Television; ten in the Documentary Competition, presented by AFI Discovery Documentary Film Festival; 11 in the European Film Showcase, presented by Lufthansa; six in the Latin Cinema Series, presented by AT&T Wireless; eight in Asian New Classics, presented by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; and 28 in the Short Strand, comprising four short programs, presented by AFI FEST 2000 will be headquartered at the Egyptian Theatre, with additional screenings at the El Capitan and Vogue theatres, all on Hollywood Blvd. AFI FEST 2000 runs October 19-26, 2000. For ticket sales and festival information, please call 323.520.2000 or visit the festival website at

When asked about the cosmopolitan make up of the festival, Gaines' reflected, "AFI FEST is a true international film festival, the only one of its kind in Los Angeles, with films representing 32 countries. To host filmmakers from around the globe, and enjoy the movie-going experience with them in the heart of Hollywood is sure to be a unique and moving experience."

Nancy Collet, the festival's Director of Programming, concurred when asked about the tough choices she faced watching hundreds of films from around the globe, "AFI FEST will always be a home for new independent films from the U.S., as evidenced by our New Directions from American Independents section of the festival. But the most exciting part of our programming journey every year is finding the films from just about every geographic area of the world."

AFI FEST 2000 selections are as follows:


BEFORE THE STORM -- US Premiere - A piece of cinematic poetry, flawlessly executing a complex narrative style that parallels the lives of two very different people, BEFORE THE STORM follows the story of a taxi driver and a twelve year old whose lives become intertwined. Winner of the Best Director prize in San Sebastian, the articulate performances and fluid direction from Parsa make this film an unforgettable drama (Sweden, 2000, 110 min., Directed by Reza Parsa.)

THE BIG ANIMAL -- US Premiere -- Director Jerry Stuhr passionately brings to the screen this script by the late, acclaimed Polish screenwriter Krzysztof Kieslowski. A mountain town is torn when a respectable couple, the Saweckis, affectionately adopt an unwelcome pet-a camel. Sound absurd? The film surprisingly is not. (Poland, 2000, 75 min. Directed by Jerzy Stuhr.)

BLACKBOARDS -- US Premiere -- Co-written by director Samira Makhmalbaf and her filmmaker father, Mohsen Makmalbaf, BLACKBOARDS is a daring and provocative account of the struggle for survival on the Iran-Iraq border. Two teachers seeking students in mountainous Kurdistan meet different groups of disenfranchised and disillusioned people in this suspenseful, character-driven drama. (Iran/Italy, 2000, 85 min. Directed by Samira Makmalbaf.)

BREAD AND TULIPS --- US Premiere -- Soldini's latest film won nine of Italy's prestigious Donatello Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress. Accidentally left in Venice while on a bus tour of Italy, a housewife embarks on a spiritual and physical adventure of her own. (Italy, 2000, 119 min. Directed by Silvio Soldini.)

GANGSTER NO. 1 -- US Premiere -- An all-star British cast heads up this stylishly thrilling tale of ruthless ambition and betrayal. Set between present day and 1960s London, GANGSTER NO. 1 is the story of a deadly battle of wills played out between a gangland leader and his apprentice, a young man who emulates him to the point of psychosis (UK, 2000, 103 min. Directed by Paul McGuigan.)

HIS WIFE'S DIARY -- US Premiere -- In this intricate love story, the notable Russian writer, Ivan Bunin, dwells at his seaside villa with his wife, his young lover and an inspiring poetess. In this successful endeavor, Russian director Alexey Uchitel depicts the usually hidden side of Bunin with a well-written script and pleasing photography. (Russia, 2000, 110 min. Directed by Alexey Uchitel.)

ODD LITTLE MAN -- US Premiere -- ODD LITTLE MAN takes us back to the years when beloved Norwegian jazz poet Odd Borretzen was a child. Odderman has serious doubts about the values of growing up. In a series of vignettes, he awakens to the depths of everyday life as time recklessly careens ahead at break-neck speed. (Norway, 2000, 88 min. Directed by Stein Leikanger.)

SPRING OF LIFE - US Premiere -- An artistic tour de force, SPRING OF LIFE is the moving story of a young woman caught in the gears of the Third Reich's machine. While participating in a Nazi program whereby young blonde women are impregnated by SS officers, Gretka falls in love with Leo, the last member of a disenfranchised Jewish family. (Czech Republic, 2000, 107 min.Directed by Milan Cieslar.)

THE WIDOW OF ST. PIERRE - US Premiere -- A condemned murderer awaits execution by the French government while being forced to live his remaining days with humility and patience, at which point a daring woman offers a fight for his life. This epic drama is from one of France's leading directors and stars two of its greatest actors, Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil. (France/Canada, 2000, 110 min. Directed by Patrice Leconte.)


ALCATRAZ AVENUE - World Premiere - An examination of what happens when a creative endeavor not only imitates life but determines it. An aspiring writer, with a disturbed family history, rents a room from a "normal" family in order to use them as the model for his novel, but soon begins to manipulate them for his own purposes. (USA, 2000, 100 min. Directed by Tom Edgar.)

CHUMP CHANGE - World Premiere - Based on the writer/director's real life experiences in show business, CHUMP CHANGE is an offbeat, modern comedy which traces the rise, fall, rise, fall, and rise of Milwaukee, a novice screenwriter whose descent into rewrite hell sends him fleeing back to his native Wisconsin where he meets and falls in love with the beautiful, irascible Sam. As Milwaukee tells Sam his story, the film breezes between Milwaukee's past - his surreal, hilarious adventures through the Hollywood looking glass - and the present where he and Sam trek through the snowy tundra and glorious Wisconsin kitsch. CHUMP CHANGE. The very true story of fame, fortune, cheese and beer. (USA, 2000, 89 min. Directed by Stephen D. Burrows.)

EVERYTHING FOR A REASON - World Premiere -- In this appealing twist on the typical "boy meets girl/fear of commitment" angle from Greek-American brothers Vlas and Charley Parlapanides, Manny meets Eve, the woman of his mother's dreams. Meanwhile, his pal and her sister are doing everything for all the wrong reasons. It's almost enough to make Manny pine for an old-world arranged marriage. (USA, 2000, 89 min. Directed by Vlas Parlapanides.)

MAZE - World Premiere -- In actor Rob Morrow's directorial feature debut, Lyle (Morrow)-a sculptor with Tourettes Syndrome-Callie (Laura Linney) and Mike (Craig Sheffer) are three best friends whose desires for love, art and medicine send them through a maze of twists and turns. (USA, 2000, 98 min. Directed by Rob Morrow.)

THE OPPONENT - World Premiere -- A tightly woven tale of fear, passion and self-respect, THE OPPONENT finds love in the most unlikely of places. Patty, a victim of domestic abuse, meets her match in Tommy, a former boxing hopeful looking for a new star to put in the ring. But he never could have imagined it would be Patty. (USA, 2000, 90 min. Directed by Eugene Jarecki.)

POSTMARK PARADISE - World Premiere -- Luminescent Russian star Natalia Nazarova (who also contributes to the soundtrack) is Viktoria, a mail-order bride who comes to Paradise, MI as a "gift" for a local bar regular. Although America is hardly what she expected, Viktoria and the townspeople learn from each other through unexpected depths and friendships. (USA, 2000, 92 min. Directed by Thompson Clay.)

SOMETHING SWEET - World Premiere -- Fueled by fierce, nuanced performances from the leads, SOMETHING SWEET marks the debut of an astonishing young filmmaker. Returning home from college to be with her dying father, Mel strikes up an unlikely bond with a passionate diner owner who encourages her to confront her family, their secrets and herself. (USA, 2000, 98 min. Directed by Olivia Pi-Sunyer.)

SONGCATCHER -- The dazzling cast of SONGCATCHER won the Sundance 2000 Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. Featuring a soundtrack of contemporary American musical talent, Greenwald gives us the story of a musicologist who journeys to 1907 Appalachia to record never-before-heard music, only to fall in love with the people she encounters. (USA, 1999, 109 min. Directed by Maggie Greenwald.)

VERY MEAN MEN -- In this quirky dark comedy featuring an all-star cast, a bartender (Matthew Modine) tries to frighten a tip out of a cheap drunk (Martin Landau), by spinning a crazy tale about two notorious families who go to war over a waitress being stiffed her tip. (USA, 2000, 93 min. Directed by Tony Vitale.)

YOU CAN COUNT ON ME -- In this powerhouse drama, co-winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, a brother and sister are reunited when he returns home to borrow money. Despite their close family ties, they find that their respective lifestyles are irreconcilable until they question their own value system in order to fully realize their own potential. (USA, 2000, 109 min. Directed by Kenneth Lonergan.)


THE ALCOHOL YEARS -- US Premiere -- British filmmaker Carol Morley recounts five self-destructive years of her life in early 1980s Manchester in this stylish, revealing film that reshapes the boundaries of the documentary. Rediscovered friends and acquaintances of Morley confront her and the camera about tales of her alcohol-induced promiscuity, creating a poignant look at sexual behavior and '80s pop culture. (UK, 2000, 50 min. Directed by Carol Morley.)

CINEMA VERITE: DEFINING THE MOMENT -- An incisive and intriguing look into the revolutionary movement of cinema verite and a group of young filmmakers in the '50 s and '60s, this film profiles Pennebaker, Leacock, Maysles and other influential rebel filmmakers. Experience the emergence of a new period, which vanquished the old rules and influenced the modern ways of current media forms. (Canada, 1999,103 min. Directed by Peter Wintonick.)

GAEA GIRLS --- This documentary shows us the incredible world of Japanese female wrestling. From the arrogant, charismatic trainer who fashions the girls in her own image with an iron fist, to the young recruit desperately pursuing her dreaming of making it, this brutal and inspirational documentary is a testament to the indomitable human spirit. (Japan/UK, 2000, 106 min. Directed by Kim Longinotto and Jano Williams.)

HAVANNA MI AMOR -- US Premiere -- This documentary offers a journey into the love lives of seven Cubans whose relationships echo television, but in far more exciting and realistic ways. We see the private love lives of these colorful people whose stories of passion, love, pain and emotional strength outweigh their favorite telenovela characters. (Cuba/Germany, 2000, 80 min. Directed by Uli Gaulke.)

HOMELAND -- An intimate and charming portrait of four Lakota Indian families on the Pine Ridge Reservation and their personal struggles to create a better future for themselves. Through an awe-inspiring backdrop of tradition, HOMELAND breaks the negative stereotypes of Native Americans and reveals what is more common: family loyalty and an ever-important sense of humor. (USA, 1999, 58 min. Directed by Jilann Spitzmiller, Hank Rogerson.)

JAZZ EPISODE 4: THE TRUE WELCOME -- Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns brings us a sneak peek at his third epic documentary with this comprehensive episode on jazz music in America. Part Four of this 10 part series contains many rare and never-before-seen archival clips of all the jazz greats, making for a skillful, striking film. (USA, 1999, 119 min. Directed by Ken Burns.)

LOYALTIES -- This poignant and honest documentary shows that history can never be forgotten or completely escaped. Two women are forced to confront issues of friendship through the lens of race when they learn that the family of one may have once owned the other's ancestors. (Canada, 1999, 58 min. Directed by Lesley Ann Patten.)

ME & ISAAC NEWTON - Director Michael Apted takes an exhilarating journey to the center of the lives of seven brilliant scientists, exploring the personal and spiritual underpinnings of their intellectual quests. As Apted discovers, these scientists' one commonality is an intuitive faith in their own curiosity, or what Einstein calls an appreciation for mystery. (USA, 1999, 107 min. Directed by Michael Apted.).

NAKED STATES -- New York photographer Spencer Tunick crosses the country by van, asking strangers in every state to pose nude in public spaces and, at times, face arrest. From Times Square to Burning Man to a South Dakota biker gathering, Tunick's photos evoke sympathy toward the delicate human form in its often harsh environment. (USA, 2000, 82 min. Directed by Arlene Donnelly.)

STREET LOVE -- US Premiere -- After being forced into Mexico City's prostitution ring at seven years old, Rosa raises eight sons and eventually becomes an advocate for prostitutes' rights in this daring and highly dramatic documentary. Combining elements of traditional narrative filmmaking and documentary, STREET LOVE tells the story of this remarkable woman. (Mexico/Sweden, 2000, 75 min. Directed by Asa Faringer.)


BRIGHTER THAN THE MOON -- Writer-director Widrich won the City of Salzburg Screenplay Award for his debut feature, a charmingly wry send-up of the xenophobic sentiments re-surfacing in Austrian society. BRIGHTER THAN THE MOON highlights the desperation of modern immigrants forced into a life of crime, often with comic results. (Germany, 2000, 88 min. Directed by Virgil Widrich.)

FLICK -- US Premiere -- Intoxicating performances and the resonant echoing soundtrack make this love thriller by director/writer Fintan Connolly a haunting, intensely erotic film. FLICK punctures the surface of an individual adrift in the absence of compassion or support-very much like the suburbs, minus the drinking, smoking and screwing. (Ireland, 1999, 82 min. Directed by Fintan Connolly.)

HARRY, HE'S HERE TO HELP -- On another mundane family vacation, Michel runs into an old high school friend who is at first charming, but not what these average people bargain for. An eerie psychological tale that gripped audiences at this year's Cannes Film Festival, this thriller is Hitchcockian in form, but with a comedic twist. (France, 2000, 117 min. Directed by Dominik Moll.)

HOUSE! -- US Premiere -- Kelly MacDonald is sensational in this stylistic tour-de-force about a clairvoyant waitress who must decide whether or not to use her dubious predictive powers to save the bingo hall where she works from closure. (England, 1999, 90 min. Directed by Julian Kemp.)

THE HUNDRED STEPS - US Premiere -- Set in the tumultuous 1960s, this distinctively Italian film deconstructs family life in relation to a mob-run community. One hundred steps separate teenager Peppino's home from that of Mafia boss Tano Badalamenti. Rejecting the local mafia, the rebellious Peppino instead embraces communism and founds a rebel rock station. (Italy, 2000, 104 min. Directed by Marco Tullio Giordana.)

INNOCENCE -- The sleeper hit on this year's festival circuit, INNOCENCE has been both critically and popularly acclaimed. Claire, now married to another man, is reunited 50 years later with former lover, Andreas. When Claire's husband discovers the renewed affair, she must search her soul and all of their hearts to make her choice. (Australia/Belgium, 2000, 91 min. Directed by Paul Cox.)

KRAMPACK -- This engaging and sensitive coming-of-age tale is a daring exploration of sexuality and friendship. Left alone for the summer, two 16-year-olds boys woo a pair of free-spirited girls, in a quest to lose their virginity. However, one of the boys starts to fall in love not with the girls, but with his friend. (Spain, 2000, 90 min. Directed by Cesc Gay.)

PEPPERMINT -- This charming coming-of-age tale shows us the funny and poignant adventures of a boy in 1960s Greece, as he becomes devoted to his cousin with whom he shares not only secrets, but also an undeniable attraction. Taking home nine prizes at Greece's State Film Awards, PEPPERMINT is a celebration of sensation. (Greece, 1999, 105 min. Directed by Costas Kapakas.)

SUN ALLEY - This film is a hip and edifying look at East Germany in the early '70s, an era where Big Brother is watching while the city basks in all things western. Seventeen-year-old Misch's scattered life is pulled into sharp focus by a goddess who sends him into a whirlwind of self-discovery and clarification. (Germany, 1999, 90 min. Directed by Leaneder Haussmann.)

TOTAL LOSS - US Premiere - This film is a showcase of some of Holland's most promising talent. It's New Year's Eve and three friends are en route to a party, when they find their car seconds away from smashing into a roadblock. The crisis hurls them backwards, and each man examines how he has arrived in this circumstance. (Netherlands, 2000, 90 min. Directed by Dana Nechushtan.)

TSATSIKI, MUM AND THE POLICEMAN -- Eight-year-old Tsatsiki -whose mother is a wannabe rock star and whose absent father doesn't even know he exists-forges a caring relationship with the policeman who rents a room in their house. This film is a sweet and humorous look at realistic family issues. (Sweden, 1999, 91 min. Directed by Ella Lemhagen.)


ANIMATION, 81 minutes

PUMP-ACTION - UK, 2000, 4 min. Video ,color. Directed by Phil Captain 3D McNally

THE PROUD FAMILY - USA, 1999, 7 min. Video, color. Directed by Bruce Smith

MAN OVER THE HILL - USA, 2000, 8 min. Video, color. Directed by Richard Turke

SENTINELLES - Canada, 1999, 7 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by Guy Lampron

IN THE BOX (V KOCKE) - Slovak Republic, 1999, 6 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by Michal Struss

REJECTED - USA, 2000, 10 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by Don Hertzfeldt

GILBERT & SULLIVAN - THE VERY MODELS - UK,1998,16 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by Barry J.C. Purves

SYNCHRONICITY - USA, 2000, 4 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by Hans Uhlig

DOWNPOUR - Canada, 2000, 8 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by Aaron Woodley

THE PERIWIG-MAKER -- Germany, 1999, 15 min., 35mm, color. Directed by Steffen Schaeffler


ENCHANTED (VERZAUBERT) - Germany,1999, 9 min. 35 mm, black & white. Directed by Christian Ditter

THE FIRST TRAIN (DER ERSTE ZUA) - Germany, 1999, 20 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by Nikolaus Baikousis

ORDINARY LOVE (GELIEBTER ALLTAG) - Germany, 2000, 13 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by Oliver Dieckmann

WALKING ON THE WILD SIDE - Belgium, 2000, 13 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon

SUMMERTIME - Switzerland, 2000, 27 min. Video, color. Directed by Anna Luif


RATTLER - USA, 2000, 13 MIN. 35 mm, color. Directed by Tricia Nolan

BLACK XXX-MAS - Belgium, 1999, 11 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by Pieter Van Hees

BILLY JONES - USA, 2000, 17 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by Christopher Bell

OREGON - USA, 2000, 11 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by Rafael Fernandez

BLACK PEOPLE HATE ME AND THEY HATE MY GLASSES - USA, 2000, 14 min. 16 mm, color. Directed by Salamo Levin

WORLD RECORD GUY - USA, 2000, 20 min. 16 mm, color. Directed by Chris Thompson

EDITING IS EVERYTHING - USA, 1999, 7 min. 16 mm, black and white. Directed by Michael Samonek

UNFLINCHING DRAMA Various, 94 minutes

ONE DAY CROSSING - USA/Hungary, 2000, 25 min. 16 mm, black and white. Directed by Joan Stein

BURLAP - USA, 2000,12 min. 16 mm, color. Directed by Eric Lee Bybee

CLEAVE - USA. 2000, 15 min. 16 mm, color. Directed by Hollie Lavenstein

IN THE WINGS - Canada, 2000, 15 min. 16 mm, color. Directed by Lisa Robertson

THE RIDE HOME - USA, 2000,12 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by Sam Hoffman

STOCKHOL (ESTOCOLMO) - Spain, 1999, 15 min. 35 mm, color. Directed by David Pujol

This year's Presenting Sponsor is the United States Postal Service. Other sponsors include AT&T Wireless, E! Entertainment Television, Lufthansa, AFI Discovery Documentary Festival, Hollywood & Highland, Los Angeles Times, Intel, Absolut Vodka, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Palm Springs Festival of Arts Cinemas, Texas Instruments-DLP Cinema Technology, Crest National Optical Media, Ebillboards, Variety, Odwalla, Louise's, Producers Guild of America.

AFI is the preeminent national organization dedicated to advancing and preserving the art of film, television and other forms of the moving image. AFI trains the next generation of filmmakers, coordinates nationwide film preservation efforts and explores new technologies in movie making. AFI also presents the best of film through the AFI International Film Festival in Los Angeles, the AFI National Theatre in Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and the annual AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor given for a career in film. More information about AFI can be found by visiting its award winning website at

© 2000 American Film Institute

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