Drafthouse Films is carving out a serious niche with the films they are picking up. The latest is filmmaker’s Mads Brügger under the watchful eye of Lars Von Trier’s production house, Zentropa opus The Ambassador where we find Brügger attempting to purchase suitcases full of blood diamonds from officials in the Central African Republic. Under the name of Cortzen, a wealthy business with some serious diplomatic status, the trailer below shows a very different, and quite intriguing type of documentary.
“I want to show an Africa stripped of NGOs, Bono, child soldiers and kids with bloated bellies, to show the kind of people you never see in the documentaries: white businessmen and diplomats, the fat cats in the urban centers, all the people who are in post-colonial French Africa having a great time,” Brügger said.
Check out the trailer below. The Ambassador is available in VOD now and opens in theatres August 29th.
About The Film This darkly comic, genre-bending piece of gonzo journalism from international provocateur Mads Brügger (filmmaker of Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner RED CHAPEL) rips the corroded lid off the global scheme of political corruption and exploitation happening in one of the most dangerous places on the planet: the Central African Republic. Armed with a phalanx of hidden cameras, black-market diplomatic credentials and a bleeding-edge wit, Brügger transforms himself into an outlandish caricature of a European-African consul. As he immerses himself in the life-threatening underworld of nefarious bureaucrats, Brügger encounters blood diamond smuggling, bribery, and even murder — while somehow managing to crack amazing razor-sharp barbs at every step along the way. From each absurdly terrifying/hilarious situation to the next, THE AMBASSADOR is a one-of-a-kind excursion from the man whom The Huffington Post has called “the most provocative filmmaker in the world.”
Here is the press release announcing Drafthouse Films picking the film up: (via Indiewire)
Controversial Sundance Hit Innovates New Documentary Genre “Performative Journalism” with Hilarious & Shocking Results
AUSTIN, TX – Monday, July 9th 2011 – Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the world-famous Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, announced their acquisition of The Ambassador, a darkly comic, genre-bending documentary that exposes the corrupt business of selling diplomatic titles to exploit the lucrative and limited resources of war torn, third world nations. Filmmaker/journalist/provocateur Mads Brügger (Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner for Red Chapel) uses humor in his jaw-dropping descent into one of the most dangerous places on the planet: Central African Republic. From each absurdly terrifying and hilarious situation to the next, The Ambassador is a one-of-a-kind excursion from the man whom The Huffington Post has called “the most provocative filmmaker in the world.” The Ambassador is scheduled to launch on VOD and digital platforms August 4th and theatrically in New York City (IFC Center) on August 29th, Los Angeles (The Cinefamily) and Austin (Alamo Drafthouse locations) on August 31st.
Financed by filmmaker Lars Von Trier’s production company Zentropa (Melancholia, Klown) to expose the violence, greed and corruption of foreign businessman in the Central African Republic, Brügger developed a new documentary style that he calls “performative journalism,” in which he creates an absurd caricature of a corrupt diplomat and arms himself with a phalanx of hidden cameras, black-market credentials and razor-sharp wit. It’s part performance art, part investigative journalism, producing humor, shocking revelations and above all a tragic picture of a failed and corrupt state.
Brügger, who experienced blood diamond smuggling, bribery and murder, said, ”I want to show an Africa stripped of NGOs (non-governmental organizations), Bono, child soldiers and kids with bloated bellies, to show the kind of people you never see in the documentaries: white businessmen and diplomats, the fat cats in the urban centers, all the people who are in post-colonial Francafrique (French Africa) having a great time. To show this Africa of the affluent I use “performative journalism” – instead of disguising as a fly on the wall observing neutrally, I dress for my part and interact as an agent provocateur. With all the intentions of a journalist to disclose an unnoticed world I went to Central African Republic as a rich white business man with diplomatic credentials pursuing all the perks that follows this title (reckless diamond hunt, practicing power misuse etc.), and became a respected member of their society.”
“The Ambassador is the kind of exciting and provocative work from a fearless visionary that is an exact DNA match for our brand,” says Drafthouse Films Director of Acquisitions Evan Husney, “and from his jaw-dropping stunts in Northern Korea as seen in Red Chapel to the hostile blood diamond mines in central Africa, Brügger is this generation’s foremost gonzo journalist.”
The deal was negotiated by James Emanuel Shapiro of Drafthouse Films and Susan Wendt of Trustnordisk on behalf of the film’s producers at Zentropa.
The Ambassador is available for additional theatrical bookings. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 65th edition of the annual Festival de Cannes is upon us and it’s looking to rebound from the Lars Von Trier “I’m a Nazi” debacle from last year. A quick recap: The provocative director’s rambling id was musing about his family history at his press conference for “Melancholia” when he went on to say he “could understand and sympathize with Hitler”. See, the whole theme of last year’s festival was Freedom of Expression, the touchstones being two Iranian films banned in their homeland but smuggled into Cannes. The festival’s omnipresent board defended the quirky director’s freedom the same day however, after a huge public backlash, they awoke the next morning and named Von Trier ‘persona non grata’, banishing him for the remainder of the festival.
That episode took the spotlight from what was arguably the strongest recent lineup at Cannes, with titles including the aforementioned “Melancholia“, Terence Malick‘s Palme D’Or Winner “Tree of Life“, “The Artist“, which eventually won Best Picture at the Oscars, the Ryan Gosling indie sensation “Drive“, Tilda Swinton in the overlooked psychological thriller “We Need to Talk About Kevin“, and some of the best foreign films of the last year in “Footnote“, “Le Havre“, “The Kid With a Bike“, “Polisse” and “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia“.
It appears the festival is ready to move on this year by making “celebration” of its 65th anniversary the optimum word to describe this current edition’s theme, at least from the outset. If there is to be a major controversy this year, it’s that none of the selected films in competition are directed by women, provoking pre-festival critiques and rumblings across the media and from within the industry at large.
In our Cannes follow-ups this week we’ll take a look at the entire field, from the categories of Un Certain Regard to the Out of Competition lineup, as well as other notable titles that show at the Cannes marketplace, (where hundreds of movies look to be bought for distribution).
The opening night film is another hotly-anticipated American comedy in “Moonrise Kingdom“, Wes Anderson‘s (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited) return to live-action filmmaking after the wonderful animated feature “Fantastic Mr. Fox” from 2009. Good things should follow for the film if it opens as warmly as last year’s opener, Woody Allen‘s “Midnight in Paris“.
There are 22 films in competition for the Palme D’Or and they include a strong pedigree of directing and acting talent. The notables include two Cannes heavyweights in Ken Loach and Michael Haneke who are the early favourites.
Loach is essentially the Meryl Streep of Cannes, with the drama “The Angel’s Share” being his 17th film to show at the festival. He has 4 Cannes awards including the most recent one being the big prize, the Palme D’Or, for “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” from 2006.
The second heavyweight is Michael Haneke, with his tenth film at Cannes in “Amour (Love)“. He would be the Jack Nicholson of the fest over the last decade, picking up the Grand Prix, 2nd place, for “The Piano Teacher” in 2001, the directing prize for 2006′s “Cache“, and then finally winning the big prize for the 2009 WWI drama “The White Ribbon“.
Bubbling just underneath those two would have to be Alain Resnais (Wild Grass) who at 90 years of age makes his tenth appearance at Cannes with “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet“. (The french favorite took home the lifetime achievement award 3 years ago).
Lee Daniels (Precious) premieres his highly-anticipated second feature with the death-row drama “The Paperboy“, starring Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron.
Another one to watch is Jacques Audiard, who took home the Grand Prix to Haneke’s “White Ribbon” in 2009 with his equally impressive crime-drama “A Prophet” and returns this year with the human drama, “Rust and Bone“.
Canada’s own David Cronenberg returns to the lineup for the fourth time with his dark dramedy “Cosmopolis“, starring Robert Pattinson, Jay Baruchel, Paul Giamatti and Samantha Morton. Cronenberg won the Jury Prize (2nd place at the time) in 1996 for “Crash“. A lot of buzz on this one heading into the festival.
Christian Mungui, the Romanian director who won the Palme D’Or for 2007′s cinema verite-styled drama “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” is back with another female-centric drama in “Beyond the Hills“.
Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg, Jury Prize Winner for 1998′s “The Celebration” returns in competition again–at last–with the thriller “The Hunt“.
Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James…) makes his first appearance at Cannes this year with his third feature, “Killing Them Softly“. Brad Pitt returns as his leading man once again in this heist picture that also stars James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, and Sam Shepard.
Also making his first Cannes appearance is Jeff Nichols, who made one of the best films of 2008 with “Shotgun Stories” and then 2011′s best film, in my humble opinion, in “Take Shelter“. His new one is called “Mud” and his collaboration with Michael Shannon continues for the third straight time here, albeit in a supporting role to Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon in what’s billed as an adventure-drama.
And yet another third-time director making it to Cannes for the first time is Canadian John Hillcoat, who made the wonderful Guy Pearce western “The Proposition” and the dark Viggo Mortensen starring “The Road“. His third is “Lawless“, a Prohibition-era story based on the true story of two bootlegging siblings played by Shia LaBoeuf and Tom Hardy.
Inexplicable Cannes favorite Abbas Kiarostami has his thirteenth film in the festival this year with “Like Someone in Love“. I say ‘inexplicable’ because other than last year’s “Certified Copy“, I can’t think of a director who is able to make as boring a movie as this man does. I can never give myself over to many of his movies because of how detached he seems to be from the entire exercise at times. Why he is the most celebrated Iranian director is beyond me, but I’ll suspend judgment on this new one since Juliette Binoche made his last one remarkable for a change.
Carlos Reygadas is the best Mexican director you’ve never heard of. His “Silent Light” was one of the best films of 2008. This is his fourth Cannes entry with the family drama “Post Tenebras Lux“.
And Matteo Garrone, the Italian director behind 2008′s gritty crime-drama that won the Grand Prix about Italy’s drug trade in “Gomorrah” is back at the helm with the social-critique dramedy “Reality” about a man who tries out for Italy’s version of “Big Brother“.
The 9-member jury this year is headed by Italian director Nanni Moretti, the winner of the Palme D’Or for the 2001 family drama “The Son’s Room“. Is it any coincidence that he only happens to look uncannily like Robert De Niro, last year’s jury president?
The rest include Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass; British director Andrea Arnold of “Fish Tank” fame, starring Michael Fassbender; one of the best young french actresses you haven’t heard of in Emmanuelle Devos (In the Beginning); British actor Ewan McGregor; German actress Diane Kruger; costume designer Jean-Paul Gaultier (famous for Madonna‘s “Blond Ambition” tour as well as the last three Almodovar pics); American director Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants); and Haitian director Raoul Peck (Lumumba).
The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 16-27.
Bit by bit we have been hearing about some of the films that are going to be screened at the upcoming 64th Annual Cannes International Film Festival. There are some big name directors showing up with their films including Woody Allen, Lars Von Trier, Pedro Almodovar, Terence Malik and Takashi Miike.
They just released the full list and those attending are going to be in for a great slate of films.
Still though, nothing beats the TIFF Festival.
Here is the list of films:
Midnight In Paris (dir. Woody Allen)
Out of Competition
The Beaver (dir. Foster) La Conquete (dir. Xavier Durringer) The Artist (dir. Hazanavicius) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (dir. Rob Marshall)
The Skin I Live In (dir. Pedro Almodovar) L’Apollonide – Souvenirs de la maison close (dir. Bertrand Bonello) Hearat Shulayim (Footnote) (dir. Joseph Cedar) Pater (dir. Alain Cavalier) Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’da (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia) (dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan) Le gamin au vélo (dir. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) Le Havre (dir. Aki Kaurismäki) Hanezu no Tsuki (dir. Naomi Kawase) Sleeping Beauty (dir. Julia Leigh) Polisse (dir. Maïwenn) The Tree of Life (dir. Terrence Malick) La source des femmes (dir. Radu Mihaileanu) Ishimei (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai) (dir. Takashi Miike) Habemus Papam (dir. Nanni Moretti) We Need to Talk about Kevin (dir. Lynne Ramsay) Melancholia (dir. Lars Von Trier) Drive (dir. Nicolas Winding Refn)
Un Certain Regard
Restless (dir. Gus Van Sant) Martha Marcy May Marlene (dir. Sean Durkin) The Hunter (dir. Bakur Bakuradze) Halt auf freier Strecke (dir. Andreas Dresen) Hors Satan (dir. Bruno Dumont) Les neiges du Kilimandjaro (dir. Robert Guédiguian) Skoonheid (dir. Oliver Hermanus) The Day He Arrives (dir. Hong Sangsoo) Hong Sangsoo (dir. Cristián Jiménez) Tatsumi (dir. Eric Khoo) Arirang (dir. Kim Ki-duk) Et maintenant on va où? (dir. Nadine Labaki) Loverboy (dir. Catalin Mitulescu) Yellow Sea (dir. Na Hong-jin) Miss Bala (dir. Gerardo Naranjo) Trabalhar cansa (Travailler Fatigue) (dir. Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra) L’exercice de l’Etat (dir. Pierre Schoeller) Toomelah (dir. Ivan Sen) Oslo, August 31st (dir. Joachim Trier)
Labrador (dir. Frederikke Aspöck) Wu Xia (dir. Chan Peter Ho-Sun) Days of Grace (dir. Everardo Gout) Le Maitre Des Forges De L’Enfre (dir. Rithy Panh) Michael Petrucciani (dir. Michael Radford) Tous Au Larzac (dir. Christian Rouaud)
I know someone who is going this year. Next year I will be going.
source - Film School Rejects.