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Claus Mueller


Claus Mueller is filmfestivals.com  Senior New York Correspondent

New York City based Claus Mueller reviews film festivals and related issues and serves as a  senior editor for Society and Diplomatic Review.

As a professor emeritus he covered at Hunter College / CUNY social and media research and is an accredited member of the US State Department's Foreign Press Center.

 


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3D Tourism: China

The favorite destinations for Chinese travelers are the US and within the US New York City ranks highest. Here nine out of every ten Chinese visitors spent an average of $10,800 on during their 14 day visit. About 2.2 million tourists from China spent $23.7 billion in the US with 274,400 Chinese students in the US contributing an additional $22 billion to the economy. (2014 data from the China Daily USA).The proportion of luxury items bought by Chinese outside China is growing rapidly compa...

Wolf Totem, The Last Wolf, Chinese Films, Jean Jacques Annaud, Jean-Marie Dreujou

Set in Inner Mongolia at the onset of the Cultural Revolution WOLF TOTEM is an extraordinary   Chinese feature film focusing on the breakdown of the natural ecological balance in a region inhabited by nomads. This breakdown is observed by the intellectuals Chen Zhen and a comrade who were sent there in1967 to live with the nomads and teach them Chinese. The film is based on the semi-biographical bestselling book by Lu Jiamin published under the pseudonym Jian Rong in 2004. Jiamin liv...

New York: Asian American International Film Festival, 2015

Celebrating its 40h anniversary Asian CineVision presented from July 23 to August 1 the 38th edition of the Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF) with more than 50 features and shorts from different countries by and about Asian and Asian Americans. Broadly speaking the productions dealt with migration, cultural and social Asian American identities, labor and political issues, the experience of Asian groups in different countries, and the problems of education and gr...

Japan Cuts New York 2015

Japan Cuts is the largest annual festival of Japanese films in the United States celebrating its 9th edition from July 9-19 at New York’s Japan Society. It is no longer tied to the New York Asian Film Festival and offered a comprehensive survey of current Japanese cinema. The selection ranged from the bizarre, to the popular, to art house productions, films which were never shown before in New York with half of the titles North American premieres. The 2015 program had 28 features, i...

Human Rights Watch Film Festival New York 2015

Starting with the 1978 establishment of the Helsinki Watch focusing on compliance with the Helsinki accords and human rights violations and the creation of watch committees for the Americas and other regions in the eighties, the human rights watch has emerged as the largest global organization tracking and revealing human rights violations.  Its work is distinguished  by  fact  based  non-partisan rigorous research, effective media use  and has involved  ...

Roy Andersson A PIGEON SAT ON A BRANCH REFLECTING ON EXISTENCE

In more than 30 interrelated segments Andersson offers a somber, acerbic interpretation of everyday life in modern society reaffirming his rank as one of the most innovative European film directors. As Lars von Trier observed, Andersson is the only film maker whose Palme d’Or competition he fears. Having been involved in film making for more than forty years Andersson has produced many commercial spots and relatively few features.  A PIGEON … offering panoramic reflections ab...

New York: Open Roads – New Italian Cinema

Organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Instituto Luce Cinecitta the 15th edition of Open Roads was held from June 4-11 and presented 16 contemporary Italian feature films from emerging and established film makers ranging from commercial to independent productions. They covered a broad thematic range including several outstanding productions. Most of the films selected were U.S. premieres.  GREENERY WILL BLOOM AGAIN by Ermanno Olmi (2014) ranks among the best and mos...

Tribeca Film Festival 2015: Documentaries

By now the Tribeca festival is firmly established as a recognized international film fest with extensive programming platforms meshing with virtually all interests of film goers and beyond.  Held from April 15-26 the festival offered a diversified innovative program. Though the Tribeca fest has no firm profile its eclectic approach beyond the standard fare of other fests is unique. It has retained and expanded its community base but the festival is also constantly embracing innovative the...

KINO! 2015, Festival of German Films

Marketing foreign language films in the United States faces problematic challenges thanks to declining theatrical revenues. The hoped for compensation through new internet distribution platforms has not materialized. Any income from internet services has not matched the limited and declining revenue from theatrical distribution. To make matters worse, Netflix’ share of foreign language films has been declining. Foreign and independent productions are now frequently found on ancillary pla...

New York Indian Film Festival – Interview with Aroon Shivdasani

         Celebrating its 15th anniversary from May 4-9, 2015, the New York Indian Film Festival was the first festival in the United States devoted to Indian films and has grown to be the largest and most influential, helping to set up several other Indian Film festivals in the US. It is part of a comprehensive program in the arts offered by the New York based Indo-American Arts Council. As other specialty or niche festivals, the NYIFF has ...

New Directors / New Films, 2015

As in past editions, the 2014 New Directors/New Films series in New York, now in its 44th year, organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Museum of Modern Art, offered a wide range of cinematographic and narrative approaches. From hundreds of films Dennis Lim from the Film Society and Rojendra Roy from Moma selected 24 feature and 16 shorts, mostly the filmmakers’ first or second productions. They covered superb traditional departures (Creation of Meaning), issue oriented ...

New York: Delhi Art Gallery Opening

The Delhi Art Gallery (DAG) opened its new space with the India Modern:  Narratives of 20th Century Indian Art exhibition on March 17, 2015 for an upscale audience from the Indian American community, American collectors, art world professionals, other prominent individuals, and the media world.  About 600 individuals attended the opening of the exhibitions which offered the first comprehensive overview of modern twentieth century Indian art.  Numerous serious buy...

New York: The Luxury Technology Show

Organized by the New York based Rand Luxury Company, the 2015 edition of the Luxury Technology Show on March 12 show featured at the Metropolitan Pavilion the latest innovative technologies spanning a wide spectrum Including products presented for the first time in the United States. They covered numerous audio visual technologies, upscale appliances, cars, mobile devices, accessories, and more.  Appealing to affluent consumers relatively few low cost products were shown. The price range ...

New York: Burma themed films – Retrospective of Midi Z

The New York Asia Society presented from March 6 – 13  Homecoming Myanmar, the first US screening of the films by Midi Z, a Burmese-Taiwanese film maker. Under the military dictatorship the once vibrant Burmese film industry was destroyed and is now slowly recovering; overcoming the obstacles of having no film infra-structure and competing with pirated films. Midi Z was born in 1982 in Myanmar to ethnic Chinese parentage and raised there. He left at the age of 16 for Taiwan where h...

New York: Winter Film Awards Fest 2015

The Winter Film Awards festival showcased from February 25-28 productions on a wide range of topics in feature film, shorts and documentary formats. It has become an important platform for independent productions from the United States and foreign countries with entries in virtually all genres. Compared to past editions, the higher production value of submitted films is noteworthy. This results apparently from film makers’ ingenuity but also from the inexpensive sophisticated production ...

New York: Documentary Fortnight 2015

In its 14th edition Documentary Fortnight 2015, MoMA’s International Festival of nonfiction Film and Media’ showcased from February 13 – 27 twenty one feature films, seven shorts, archival films, a seminar and a media installation. As with other major festivals Documentary Fortnight is expanding its wide range of themes and creative approaches. Held at one of New York’s most prominent museums, the Museum of Modern Art, programming the festival had more fl...

New York Jewish Film Festival 2015

Held for the 24th time from January 14 to 27 at New York’s Walter Read theatre Center the Jewish Film Festival offered an expanded selection. Organized by the Jewish Museum and the Film Society of Lincoln Center the main program presented 22 features from 13 countries including several co-productions, 36 films in special programs and four seminars. Compared to last year’s edition the program has become more differentiated to reach its goal of proving a broad exploration of the...

New York: Wild Film Festival 2015

Celebrating wilderness and adventure, the festival was staged for a packed audience in the New York’s Explorers Club from January 29 – 31, selecting 21 award winning productions and finalists originating in 27 countries from more than 200 submissions. As the Polar Film Festival held in the same venue last November, the films chosen were characterized by outstanding cinematography and had a clear tendency towards action oriented advocacy documentaries. Introductions to the film...

New York: Ruben Oestlund Retrospective

The film society of the Lincoln Society organized the first retrospective of Ruben Oestlund’s films. His films and innovative approaches were largely unknown in the United States until his most recent production FORCE MAJEURE prompted attention because of its nomination as the Swedish entry for the foreign language  Oscar. Oestlund’s   depiction of Swedish society mirrors a dark and satirical perception with absurd overtones. He avoids linear story lines, not permitting ...

LIFE SENTENCES, Israel 2013, Nurit Kedar and Yaron Shani

  It has frequently been suggested that the creation of a reasonable identity is more difficult in postindustrial society. After all we experience the decline of collectively shared value systems, the weakening of family structures and the decay of supportive communities, to mention just some of the factors that provided stability in the past. In our times identities seem to have become flexible, if not temporary, and the sense of self has become precarious. In this context, the documen...

New York: DOC NYC, 2014

Netflix, Showtime, specifically HBO and more recently CNN as well as Aljazeera America, have been providing expanded platforms for documentaries which can be readily accessed.  Further festivals such as Britdocs and the Guanajuato International Film Festival’s ‘Documentary with an Impact’ program identify documentaries which have real consequences driving discernible change. Non-fiction programs have secured a firm position in the media landscape especially if they are i...

New York: Polar Film Festival 2014

Held at the renowned New York Explorer’s Club, the annual Polar Film Festival was staged for the third time from November 21-22 presenting a selection of shorts and documentaries with Arctic and Antarctica themes.  The program included the 2013 feature film Maina by Michel Poulette on the role of an Innu leader’s daughter in the conflict between two clans. Given its focus and the superb photography of most productions selected the imagery of nature and icescapes shown was stun...

New York: 2014 Margaret Mead Film Festival

Held at the American Museum of Natural History the Margret Mead Film Festival was guided by the theme “Past Forward”   and presented from October 23 - 27 44 films from more than 50 countries. The film program of this well organized fest was accompanied by events including art installations with cell phone made content and a participatory web-based interactive documentary project on the history of a rural US county. Three ‘Mead Dialogues’  covered screenin...

New York: New York City Independent Film Festival

Staged for the fifth time, the New York City Independent Film Festival show cased this year from October 15-19 over 254 films from 38 countries covering feature films, documentaries and short films.  Aimed at new, underground and experimental independent filmmakers the NYCIFF has established itself as a festival platform for domestic and foreign independent producers and directors. Panels of more than 100 judges selected  from 1000 submissions 47 features, 132 short films and 75 supe...

New York: 2014 NY Film Festival - Documentaries

Not offering any awards, outlandish social events and a sales market the New York Film Festival remains one of the most important US film festivals following its unique strategy of programming demanding artistic films as well as excellent movies which meet commercial demands.  As the main selection, the retrospective,   the revival, and Spotlight on Documentary programs and side bars demonstrate the fest has retained its appeal for cineastes as does the inclusion of first rate f...

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