Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Call for Entries the cool Karoo Apollo Film Festival

Victoria West’s cool and internationally recognized Apollo Film Festival, soars into a sixth year of impressive and exhilarating new activities, special events and initiatives. The Sixth Apollo Film Festival is now accepting entries for the 2006 festival.

We would like to invite you submit a DVD or VHS Pal copy of your film for consideration and possible inclusion in our 2006 programme. Please note that English subtitled 35mm print or BETA SP Pal tape would need to be available for a minimum of two screenings over the dates above.
The Film Festival will take place September 22-30, 2006 at the Apollo Theatre located in beautiful town Victoria West in the Karoo desert.

Last year’s festival was attended by an audience of film lovers, filmmakers, actors, programmers, distributors, industry representatives and journalists. The Apollo Film Festival has used the unique geographical and cultural position of the Northern Cape province to make the festival a premiere venue for the exhibition of South African features, shorts and documentaries and student work.

Selection Process:

The festival is seeking innovative works that are 'by', 'about' or 'for' the South African community, that have been produced between 2005-2006. Work previously exhibited at the Apollo Festival is not eligible to apply. A panel of distinguished judges from South Africa community will select the films and videos to be screened during the "Official Selection" of the festival. All entries will be pre-screened for eligibility by curators, however, not all entries will be programmed.

An additional panel of distinguished filmmakers, International film critics, and actors will sit on this year's Awards Jury. Awards are given for excellence in form and content.

Awards Categories include:

Best South African film feature
Best Film ( International Youth Jury)
Best South African documentary
Best South African short (professional category)
Best South African short (Student and newcomer category)
Most promising newcomer (directing)
Best Actor in a feature
Best Actress in a feature
Best Script for a feature length film
Best Cinematography for a feature length film
Deadline for submissions to the festival is June 15th 2006


No films to be submitted without complete entry forms.
All viewing-tapes to be clearly labelled.
All submissions to include the following: approx. 200 word synopsis, 2 stills from the film either in hard copy or scanned to JPEG with 300 dpi, complete filmography/biography of the director.

Viewing tapes and any promotional material submitted will not be returned to the sender.
No material sent at charge of Festival will be accepted.
All VHS viewing tapes to be submitted in PAL format.

In the event of your film being selected it must be available in Beta SP PAL format or 35 mm print in English or with English subtitles.

The holder of copyright authorises the Festival to make excerpts of a maximum of three minutes available to television channels and for use on the Apollo Film Festival website for the promotion of the film and the Festival.


The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. Thursday 15th June 2006. No late entries will be considered.

Entry Forms will be emailed upon your request.

Leon van der Merwe - Festival Organiser Reginald Khanzi - Festival Manager
Telephone: (+27) 0837924320 (+27) 053 621 1173
Fax: (+27) 086 6421457 (+27) 053 621 1113
Email: films_for_africa@telkomsa.net filmfestival@apollotheatre.co.za

Postal Address
Apollo Film Festival
PO BOX 5235
Cape Town
8000 7070

Ster Kinekor and Big World Cinema announce distribution of six films

South African production company, Big World Cinema and leading South African distributor, Ster Kinekor Distribution have announced a new partnership where Ster Kinekor will distribute a slate of six of Big World Cinema's films over the next 3-4 years including four feature films and two feature length documentaries.
Further to the distribution deal, Ster Kinekor will consider each project's investment potential. Big World Cinema will continue to bring new projects to Ster Kinekor beyond the slate of six.

This partnership is the culmination of 12 months of negotiations between the two companies. Big World Cinema has produced and executive produced award-winning features, docs and shorts such as Inja (Oscar nomination), Boy Called Twist (Cannes 2005) , Beyond Freedom ( Berlin Competition 2006) , Husk ( Cannes Competition 1999) and Project 10 (Sundance, Berlin). Ster Kinekor is the leading distributor and exhibitor in Southern Africa and the key distributor in promoting South African content.

Helen Kuun, Marketing and Acquisitions Manager for Ster-Kinekor Distribution said: "This partnership serves to further strengthen Ster-Kinekor Distribution's strategy to secure a significant number of homegrown releases for release to the South-Africa consumer on an annual basis. We believe that this arrangement with the producers of Big World Cinema will further stimulate the delivery of relevant projects to South-African audiences on a sustainable basis, and thereby support the development of local content."

Steven Markovitz and Platon Trakoshis, producers of Big World Cinema said: ''This partnership creates an important platform for our films in the Southern African market. This development is adding considerable momentum to these films and further confidence amongst investors and funders. We will continue to develop films that have commercial viability and artistic merit for South African and international audiences''

Source: http://www.bigworld.co.za

The Fourth Reich (1990)

The director's cut of The Fourth Reich, also linear in structure and realistic in style, is Manie Van Rensburg's greatest achievement. The film is basically structured as a thriller, a hunt by a dedicated Afrikaner policeman, Jan Taillard (Marius Weyers), working undercover to expose and capture the fascist, Robey Leibbrandt (Ryno Hattingh), before he carries out his plan to assassinate General Smuts. Van Rensburg's themes of betrayal, the outcast, communication problems in relationships (in this case between Taillard and his wife) and Afrikaner nationalism are all present and brilliantly developed in the director's cut which runs for over three hours.

The controversy surrounding the production has suggested that the shorter theatrical version is perhaps not fully the film Van Rensburg made, and that to see his concept at its best one should watch the three-hour television version. But even the shorter version is still an impressive achievement: it depicts, as does Heroes, a time when the country was divided, as thousands of Afrikaner patriots, instead of joining the war effort, flocked to an ultra right-wing organisation violently opposed to the British.

Right-wing extremist sentiments are personified in the Leibbrandt character. He objects to his parents' friendship with a Jewish family. According to him, they are exploiting the Afrikaner nation. Later in the film, he and members of the Stormjaers blow up the shop of this Jewish family. During the recruiting of members, he remarks: "The Afrikaner grew up with his Bible in his one hand and his gun in the other. This is why we are still here." After this sequence, he starts a sabotage campaign.

The film is well structured and edited. Its linear structure involves two parallel narrative lines of Leibbrandt and Taillard respectively starting their missions, receiving instructions and making contact with crucial people. These storylines become one in both characters' involvement with a German woman. Taillard cannot tell his wife about his mission. His obsessive involvement in his work contributes to the separation between them. It is never resolved.

The Fourth Reich is one of the few South African films to make the great landscapes of this country (in particular the Cape Province, a recurring landscape within Van Rensburg's oeuvre) an integral part of the narrative structure.

Visually the film is hauntingly beautiful, photographed by Dewald Aukema. It fully deserved the 1990 AA Life Vita Award for best cinematography. The film's authentic images consist mostly of long shots of figures against the landscapes of a rural South Africa in contrast to medium and close-up shots of characters within darkly lit indoor settings.

Louis van Rensburg composed a remarkably authentic musical score for the film, developing specific musical themes for the key characters. Concertinas and violins were used throughout, as well as the Second Movement of Franz Schubert's Piano Trio in E-Flat Op 100, for the characterisation of the German woman, Frau Dorfman.

The failure of the film at the box office, however, was a shock for the industry. It cost some R16 million to make, raised mostly through the tax incentive scheme. The film opened with 20 prints, a saturated media and highly favourable reviews. Van Rensburg took best director at the Vita Awards. One explanation for its failure is that the main distributors, Ster-Kinekor, Nu Metro and UPI only cater for a small portion of the population. There are no cinema outlets to which blacks have easy access, the luxury complexes only being in the cities. Cinemas may be multi-racial, but outside the cities there are no substantial distribution chains to ensure that the majority of the South African population will see local movies.

What next for Tsotsi's Gavin Hood


Gavin Hood has gone from obscure South African director to in-demand film-maker deluged by script offers.

Gavin Hood's life changed the minute he walked on to the stage to accept an Oscar for his film Tsotsi. The South African film, which took out the award for best foreign film at this year's Academy Awards, had been a labour of love for Hood. The director now finds himself in the enviable position of being swamped with movie offers – more than he knows what to do with.

"I've gone from being in the business of begging people to help me make a film or finance a film to being in a position where people think I can help them get their films made," he says.

"The first week after the Oscars I got 70 scripts and thousands of emails. My manager got 3000 emails the week after the Oscars . . . It's a sign of the slight craziness of the business."

The Afrikaans word for thug, Tsotsi is set in the Johannesburg township of Soweto. It follows six days in the life of a seemingly cold-hearted young gang leader who ends up caring for a baby he accidentally kidnaps during a carjacking.

Tsotsi, played by Presley Chweneyagae, has been orphaned at an early age and forced to survive for himself – which hardens him and makes him devoid of compassion.

The Oscar win has forced Hood to employ a team of people to help him sort out correspondence and give him guidance on future projects.

"At the tender age of 42 I'm able to get access to funding in ways I wasn't before and on a scale that was unthinkable before," he says.

"I've got a team of people that I never used to have before. I feel lucky to have people helping me work out what I'm going to do next because the truth is, it could all go away if I made a bad film. It's a very fickle business."

Hood says that in filming Tsotsi he used twins to double as the kidnapped baby so as to make things easier on-set.

"They were a boy and a girl. What was very helpful was that the boy cried and screamed a lot and the little girl was a perfect angel and slept and smiled a lot. So we just swapped them over as the script required."

He is eager to point out that the ants which crawl over the sleeping baby's face are not real but computer-generated.

"When I first told the young 3D artist who put the ants on the baby's face (about the scene) he said, 'Great, come back in a couple of days and I'll have some drawings'. Of course when I went back the face was swarming with ants and I had to say, 'It's not a horror movie!' "

Hood trained as a lawyer and worked briefly as an actor before studying screenwriting and directing at the University of California.

After finishing his studies he returned to South Africa and got a job making dramas for the health department, which was about to launch a series of educational initiatives about the impact of Aids.

That work helped him establish a real understanding for the character because it involved working with plenty of real-life Tsotsi cases.

"When I first graduated from film school I worked with a lot of young people. I was writing and directing educational dramas, usually centred around HIV. We were trying to talk about it at a time when no one else did. I met a lot of very distressed young people. Tsotsi to me is about these young people all crammed into one character.

"I think it's about a child who is trying to pretend to be an adult and is doing some pretty bad things. He is understandably angry at the world and is like, 'f . . . the world, it hasn't dealt me a good hand so why should I give a shit?'.

"Through his encounters he is almost unwillingly bumped towards a point of self-awareness.

"The moment that point happens, he falls apart."

In 1998 Hood made his directorial debut with a short film called The Storekeeper which went on to win 13 international film festival awards, including the Grand Prize at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

That success helped to pave the way for Hood to make his low-budget feature debut, A Reasonable Man, in which he also starred. In 2000, he was named by movie industry magazine Variety as one of their "10 directors to watch".

Wood's next film will be a Middle Eastern thriller called Rendition, currently getting priority from New Line. "It's a story set between Cairo and the US. I've been reading a lot of scripts in the last month . . . I've (been) looking for a theme that fascinates me and that I find slightly difficult."

Despite the accolades and ever-increasing power within the film industry, Hood is a down-to-earth individual who seems a little unsure how to handle the praise.

"I think the trick is not to take it too seriously and yet be very grateful for it because it's enormously helpful and I've certainly been trying to work out how to make the most of my very good fortune at this moment."

He's delighted Tsotsi has broken into the mainstream market – always a difficult feat for a foreign-language film. Part of its success, he thinks, is the timeless storyline, originally penned by South African author Athol Fugard.

"I was very familiar with Athol's work and a huge admirer of the fact his characters are always profoundly human. What I like about Tsosti is on the one hand it's a very South African film set in a specific context, but actually at its core it's a universal and timeless coming-of-age story. You could set this film in almost any major city in the world."

When he wrote the film script, Hood deliberately tried to limit the dialogue.

"The language of emotion is universal, that's what I wanted to get in there. People's response to trauma is universal. You lose your mother, I lose mine, we both cry."

He is proud that the film is having a positive effect and that it is reaching the ghettos – as can be gauged by the number of pirated copies on sale. Days earlier, the South African media reported a carjacking case that mirrored Tsotsi's. The mother called the assailant on her mobile phone which was also in the car and he agreed to return her baby.

Coincidentally, the assistant to Tsotsi's director of photography was carjacked, only to be freed after he revealed he helped make the film. "As the robber held a gun to his head, the assistant said, `Man, come on, this is like Tsosti. I helped make that film. Did you see it?' and he says, `Yeah, that was a great movie, get out of the car'."

Sounds like something straight from a Hollywood script, an irony not lost on Hood.

SABC cencors documentaries

In a very worrying development the Freedom of Expression Institute reports that the South African National Broadcaster has removed and changed documentaries critical of South African President Mbeki.

South Africa: FXI Concerned About 'Growing Trend of Self-Censorship' at SABC

FXI concerned about growing trend of self-censorship at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) The FXI is deeply disturbed about recent reports regarding the SABC's decision not to [broadcast] a documentary on South African President Thabo Mbeki scheduled for Wednesday of last week. Apparently the documentary takes a critical look at the President's governance style, including what many commentators have referred to as a growing centralisation of government.

Several newspaper reports have quoted sources stating that the documentary was canned shortly before it was due to be screened after a member of SABC's management had an informal meeting with the Communications Department of the Presidency, where concern was expressed about the documentary's contents.

Also, apparently management was concerned that the timing of the documentary was wrong. Mbeki has been accused of being behind the demise of the former Deputy President Jacob Zuma, who was recently acquitted of rape, and reportedly management was concerned that a critical documentary may heighten the political [tensions] in the country. The FXI has also just learnt that another documentary, [one] on Irvin Khoza, was altered by removing the most controversial part from the film.

Read the whole story here.

Director Manie van Rensburg remembered

Kwailawai* remembers one of South Africa's greatest directors, Manie van Rensburg, with two links to research done by Martin Botha on his life, times and work.

Van Rensburg produced remarkable work in an era when the government, financing and technology was not as benign to independent South African film-makers as they are today.

Read part one here.

Part two is here.

Read a summary of one of his movies - The 4th Reich - here.

Friday, May 26, 2006

South Africa and Britain sign co-production agreements

24 May - South African Culture Minister Zweledinga Pallo Jordan today signed an agreement with his British counterpart in London, which will make the way for co-productions that may tap from British promotion funds. The UK government was guided by the many recent successes of the South African film industry on the international market when choosing a new partner for a co-production agreement.

Minister Jordan in London met with the British Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and today finalised the deal that will unite the two countries' national film industries. The deal is to "enable the UK and South African film industries to work together to create top class cinema," the optimistic ministers said in a statement today.

Under the new co-production treaty, filmmakers from both countries may pool their resources to create films that will benefit both countries financially and culturally. This means that a South African film deploying some UK actors or other professionals may be termed a co-production and thus have access to British state funds promoting the national film industry.

This type of agreements enable films made jointly by UK producers and their counterparts in other countries to qualify as films with "national" status in both the UK and the other country, meaning that they may be eligible for any national incentives. The co-productions will also be treated as "national" films at film festivals and other arrangements that may include prices.

The British government has so far entered into rather few co-production treaties with other countries, only focusing on prestigious filmmakers. Existing UK agreements include Australia, New Zealand, Canada and France. Currently, however, the Britons aim at developing a new package of bi-lateral co-production agreements, namely with India, China, Jamaica and Morocco.

The first new deal within this initiative - and the first African deal ever - however became South Africa. While Africa's film giant is Nigeria, South African films lately have convinced with several international successes, testifying of the high quality of the national film industry.

This success had been a decisive factor for the Britons to seek an agreement with South Africa, Culture Secretary Jowell revealed. While the British film industry is down from its previous heights, South Africans have gone from success to success. Since 1986 the film industry in South Africa has produced 78 feature films, including "Totsi", "Drum", "Hotel Rwanda", "Red Dust" and "Yesterday". In 2005-06 the industry produced 17 feature films with combined box office earnings of around 50 million rand.

Read the whole story from Afrol news here.

The Filmmaker’s Guide, reflecting South African film

South African film has had a phenomenal year. The service industry is stronger than ever, while, backed by international acclaim and increased funding streams, the local industry has never been more confident.

The Filmmaker’s Guide to South Africa is the definitive guide to the film industry. Now in production on its sixth edition, this guide has evolved, transformed and progressed to reflect the new heights and expectations of the industry.

The editorial looks at a year in the making. Encompassing the resurgence of the film service machine, the creatives that showcase our nation, and the inspired local production that reflects it – as well as the facilities that make every stills, commercial and long form shoot possible.

The Filmmaker’s Guide to South Africa 2007 is in the last stages of its advertising cycle and would like to remind advertisers to book their positions in the 6th edition now. Beat the final deadline! Limited space is still available for high-profile full page and strip adverts.

A major part of the book is the profile section that features South African-based, international production. The Filmmakers Guide to South Africa is produced in association with the National Film & Video Foundation. The country’s top production companies, as well as vital film suppliers, supporters and production companies are outlined in its attractive pages.

The Filmmakers Guide is also in production on the forth edition of its digital newsletter. Profiling major achievements within the industry as and when they happen, each newsletter offers advertorial and banner space. Now there really is no reason for your company and its services not to reach the top members of the film industry.

For more information on the Filmmaker’s Guide to South Africa 2007 advertising, please email taryn@filmevent.co.za or contact her on +27 21 670 1345 or go to The Film Event website.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Colossus draws big names in statement on Iraq War

According to Variety, Rachel Weisz, Ian McKellen and Susan Sarandon have joined actor Colin Firth in the production of The Colossus.

The film, a colonial drama set in South Africa at the turn of the 20th century, will be helmed by rookie director Sean Mathias (Bent).

Mathias and Myer Taub wrote the script based on Ann Harries' novel Manly Pursuits.

The Colossus will give a fictionalized version of the events preceding the Boer War. The story will tell of a ornithologist hired to transport English songbirds to the recently deposed Cape prime minister (Cecil Rhodes). An ill Rhodes believes that only English bird song can cure him. The ornithologist falls in love with a firebrand political activist (Olive Screiner) and becomes entangled in a plot to stop the imminent Boer War.

The Colossus is likely to be a romantic Hollywood statement against the Iraq War. Britain, like the US was the dominant global power at the turn of the previous century. Both powers had at its height about 260,000 troops involved in a War to subdue a very small country. Both had ruthless characters like Lord Alfred Milner and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, imbued by a weird mix of liberal and conservative ideologies, set on instigating war.

The Little Film Co. is selling the $15 million project worldwide. Production is expected to begin September.

Rachel Weisz can be seen in the upcoming Darren Aronofsky film The Fountain and Ian McKellen can be seen this upcoming weekend in X-Men: The Last Stand.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Elalini adds to SA film awards tally

South Africa has another Oscar winner. The student film Elalini has been selected by the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences membership as the winning film in the 33rd Annual Student Academy Awards Honorary Foreign Film category.

The winning director, Tristan Holmes, will travel to Los Angeles as a guest of the Academy to spend the Student Academy Awards week with the other winning filmmakers from the US.

The film was part of Holmes' honours study at the Afda film and drama school in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. It will be shown to an audience of 2 000 top people in the film world.

"Nomakaya, a disillusioned policewoman haunted by the memory of a boy's death, who must decide between the city and her rural home when the protection of her own child is placed under threat

"Her traditionalist father, now too weak to look after him, journeys the long distance to Johannesburg to convince her to return.

"It is through a broken and lost street child, Moses, that she is able to find the strength in herself to forgive, and resume her responsibilities as a mother."

Read more.

Teboho Mahlatsi on his new project Scar

Teboho Mahlatsi talks about his new movie project Scar at Cannes.

Again it's about young people, young, hip South Africa now. It is set in the Kwaito music culture. Two friends, one gangster and the other an spiring rapper and the girl who is caught between them. Sexy road movie. "The Harder They Come" meets "Jules and Jim" in urban Africa. It is inspired by the local music here and Wong Kar Wai movies.

Read more here

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bunny Chow gets local distribution

Bunny Chow, described as “urban comedy”, is the first feature film from John Barker and the Dog Pack crew (Kagiso Lediga and John Barker)

Currently in post production, the film guarantees local and international audiences a great laugh. It will be released nationwide by Ster-Kinekor in early 2007. Dv8 Films is handling worldwide sales.

Starring some of South Africa’s funniest stand-up comedians, it follows the road trip of four comedians to a popular rock concert, Oppi Koppi, their trails and tribulations, and generally unsuccessful attempts at relationships with women.

Directed by John Barker, and written by David Kibuuka and John Barker and story by Salah Sabiti and Joey Rasdien, the film also stars the increasingly popular Kim Engelbrecht. It is produced by Kagiso Lediga and Leanne Callanan of Dog Pack Films, and Michelle Wheatley.

Barker explains that he was blown away with the support of the local industry. “We managed to do this film because established companies agreed to board the project in an amazing way. Magus Visual and Terraplane gave time, experience and equipment to the project. Ministry of illusion and Cut and Paste helped to finish the film to an acceptable standard and Dv8 and Ster-Kinekor Distribution have come on board to distribute locally.”

For full story see May issue of Screen Africa magazine.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Alive in Joburg

Gavin Hood, director of Tsotsi, has said that his film was - amongst other things - an opportunity to show the world the dramatic city scapes of Johannesburg. But arguably Neill Blomkamp's amazing but dystopian sci-fi short, Alive in Joburg, which also features Joburgs skyline, has been seen by thousands more across the globe.

The reason for this is simple: Alive in Joburg was distributed over the Internet.

See it on YouTube.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

WAH-WAH: Richard E. Grant Makes Directorial Debut

Richard E. Grant Richard E. Grant wears a watch on each wrist. One tells the time in London; the other is set to the time in Swaziland, the country of his birth.

The scene is based on truth, Grant says — as is nearly everything in the film, a warm but unsentimental coming-of-age story set during the last days of the British Empire.

Actor Richard E. Grant displays the same wit in his directorial debut as he did in his diary "With Nails." Grant's semi-autobiographical telling of adolescence in Swaziland is a bittersweet toast to the past.

Young Ralph (Nicholas Hoult) endures his parents' (Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson) battles, infidelity and inevitably searing divorce. Two years later, a brash American (Emily Watson) marries his dad, proclaiming the English propensity to mask what they really mean as "wah wah."

The film is so well acted that its more cloying moments -- a stage play of "Camelot" where "one brief shining moment" coincides with the release of Swaziland from British colonialization -- are moot. It's the things that aren't said and Byrne's alcoholic regret that make the "wah wah" so effective in this personal drama. (P.N.) Grade: B

Read more here.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Ongeriewe in line for best short film at Cannes

Ongeriewe in line for best short film at Cannes

What started out as a graduation film project has landed four local film-makers in France for the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

Capetonians Robin Kleinsmidt, the director, Christopher Wessels, the cinematographer, and Keenan Arrison, the lead actor, with Tristram Atkins, the producer, have had their film, Ongeriewe, chosen as a finalist for the Cannes 2006 Best Short Film award.

Read more

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

South Park missing episode in Afrikaans

A rather funny adaptation of South Park, with voice over in Cape Town Afrikaans has found its way onto YouTube.

Afrikaans has been described by Wallpaper* magazine as arguably one of the ugliest languages in the world. But it seems some Youtube users think it sounds rather sexy.

Note - it seems that YouTube has removed this clip.

SABC declined to fund Tsotsi

The South African Mail and Guardian has reported that the SABC and the NFVF had been approached for funding by the Tsotsi producers - numerous times. All of which were declined.

Tsotsi is not a black film

Gavin Hood has been quoted in Der Spiegel that Tsotsi is not a black film.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: But is there a difficulty in you, as a white person from a relatively affluent background, going in and making a film about black poverty? Or is that an unfair criticism?

Hood: No, it's a comment I hear all the time. And I have never found a perfect answer to it. Other than to try to say, at the risk of being controversial, "Tsotsi" isn't a black film. And I think it's kind of patronizing to constantly talk about black people, as if they are somehow so different from white people, that white people cannot understand them. This is a story about a traumatized young person. He happens to be black. But frankly he might have been Chinese in Shanghai, white in Moscow or African-American in South Central LA. I really believe that trauma is trauma. What gives the film its flavor, is its cultural specificity, but it's not what gives the film its soul. I am a story-teller working with a craft. My job is to use my craft -- which is a different thing to my race -- and tell a story well. Take someone like Ang Lee: I admire his artistry in films like "Sense and Sensibility", which is quintessentially English, or a film like "the Ice Storm", which is very American. Or a film like "Brokeback Mountain" which is about gay love, by a director, who as far as I know is heterosexual, using two actors who are heterosexual. The point is they are artists able to empathize and use their craft to tell a story, that perhaps lesser artists of whatever race or sexual orientation may not have told as well. You have to separate artistic ability from ethnic origin. Not only am I not black, I am also not a woman, therefore how can I direct women? I am also only 42, therefore how can I direct someone who's 60? So you see where the argument ends up? If you take it to its logical conclusion, I would have to walk around and point a video camera at myself. And who the hell is interested in that?

Indeed. Indeed.