From left to right, Smash His Camera Producer Adam Schlesinger, Director Leon Gast,
subject Ron Galella and Producer Linda Saffire.
The BFI London Film Festival wraps up this week after two weeks of films from all over the world. The BFI Festival is not necessarily a critical stop on the festival circuit like Cannes, Toronto or Sundance. But, the consistent brilliance of the British film industry and London’s role as a world capital ensure that the BFI festival is filled with important films from around the world. Many of the more popular films were bigger budget, English language selections featuring famous actors and directors. The American, Conviction, Black Swan, The King’s Speech, and Blue Valentine all featured Oscar nominees looking for another go this year. The opening night film, Never Let Me Go, starring Kiera Knightly, was directed by Mark Romanoff, who participated in a very candid Screen Talk my first night in town. He explained how he moved from a highly regarded music video career into the feature film world. Other stand outs included the controversial punk Muslim feature, The Taqwacores, based on the novel credited with creating a sub-culture throughout the Middle East; Heartbeats, by 21 year old French Canadian auteur Xavier Dolan; The Tillman Story, a shocking indictment of US war propaganda led by the family of the man being touted as a national hero; and, Revolucion, a collection of short films by famous Mexican directors and actors to commemorate the 100 anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. The range of stories was stunning and actors Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal from Y Tu Mama Tambien proved as effective behind the camera as in front. My wildest experience was at the screening of Smash His Camera which was attended by Oscar and Sundance winning director Leon Cast. As luck would have it, I was sat next to the subject of the film, renowned paparazzi photographer Ron Galella, who provided a running commentary throughout the film. As someone who was punched by Marlon Brando and sued by Jackie Onassis, he had plenty to say. It was like a live version of a DVD commentary track. Otherwise, I spent most of my time at industry screenings watching awesome documentaries and foreign films and meeting foreign distributors and sales people. As deadCENTER Film moves into our second decade, we are committed to seeking out the very best movies from around the globe and luring them back to Oklahoma: the deadCENTER of the universe.