Monday, 4 June 2007

The Festival so far

Four days are gone!!
The screenings still continuing during this week...but three days are gone and we had a great time! We´ve been able to see the result of all our efforts in the weeks passed as we had people really pleased and interested who had come to watch the movies. In most of our screenings we have had the opportunity to meet the directors and some of the crew and it´s been really a exciting experience. Just after watching the movies, we had time to ask the directors what the film meant to them, their purposes, etc. And also they´ve joined Pete (DeclarationFilmFest Director) in the discussion panels about independent production and distribution so the public knows the hard life of this industry from the protagonists.´s the first day and we are all nervous and excited!! The first films are screened and we´r getting ready for this busy week. We set up everything and we send more brochures out.
During the night we celebrated the DeclarationFilmFest opening and it was great fun!! Duke was amazing as we enjoyed their original music from the start until they had to leave. From Justin Timberlake´s "Sexy Back" to "Don´t let me go" from David Getta Love...they made us enjoy all of their songs made just from a guitar and their three throats and voices. Richard and Terry were also great entertainers for the night as they danced and made us laugh all the time!
So, after the first nervous day, after all the first films, we had time to relax a bit and enjoy the night.

I had the opportunity to see some of the films during the weekend...and they are really good. On Sunday night I saw "Little Chenier" and I was amazed for this moving story. We also met the director, Bethany Ashton Wolf’s, and you could feel in her the calmness of the place where she filmed her movie in Louisiana, where she was born.

"Super amigos", a super story about five different men who work for justice in Mexico. Super Barrio, Super Gay, Ecologista Universal, Super Animal (with his sidekick Super Animalito) and Fray Tormenta fight slum landlords, homophobia , pollution, bullfighters and poverty. Mexican-Canadian director Arturo Perez Torres’s shocks us with this colourful and extraordinary documentary.

"Holes in my shoes" showed us the great story of once the strongest man in New York. Nearly 100 years old, Jack Beers tells us the story of his own long and amazing life. From the beginning till the end you get hooked by this lovely man that had a life full of "ups and downs" but he always knew how to carry on and find something new to do...builder, business man, dog trainer, actor...he never gave up doing things. Clearly he´s it´s an inspirational life.

Do come and enjoy the rest of what´s going on until Thursday!! And remember our competition still on!!!We already have the poster signed by the directors!!

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Win our competition!

The screening starts tomorrow, as you know! So we're doing a competition for all those that come to the screenings.

What you have to do:
- Come to the the film you have chosen
- Write a review of the film or films you watched
- Send it to with your name and e-mail address, so I can get back to you if you win!!

How does it work:
- All the
DeclarationFilmFest team will choose their favourite review.

What you win:
- Two original and trendy shirts of the festival.
- The official and cool poster of the festival, signed by some of the directors that are coming!

You can all win:
- The best reviews will be published in this blog.

Meet the Director

This morning I was lucky enough to have a little chat with the founder, director, organiser...however you want to call him...but he is the one who had the great idea of bringing all these great selection of independent films to London: Peter J. Storey.
I've introduced him before when I posted about this great team we are, but this time we talked about the festival and it's organisation.

You may think that Peter is a geek that spends all the time watching independent films, but no, he is a movie fan who enjoys the magic of blockbusters and the rich diversity of independent films, as he likes variety: a little bit of everything. But he decided to start this big adventure called: The Declaration of Independence Film Festival, because he realised there was a big gap: London, the UK and Europe was missing really good films that the US and Canada are making, but because they are independent, the distribution to this side of the Atlantic is close to impossible.

The idea just came one day in middle 2006. Peter decided start promoting it in between friends and contacts he had here in the UK, but also in North America. Travelling to the States, meeting new directors, producers, crew...was now part of his duty if he wanted to get a good variety of films. He also had the opportunity to attend some of the festivals where our films were screened and awarded, such as Sundance Film Festival 2006.
After his trip around North America and searching for films in, he came back, and started to get ready for the DeclarationFilmFest.

Probably, the hardest thing was to find a name for the project. Peter came up with the original name of "The Declaration of Independence Film Festival": Including the fact that only US and Canadian (which declared independence from Great Britain, Centuries ago) films are allowed in the festival but also, they can only be independent...It's just perfect!

So...after watching more than 350 films, some of them more than once, Peter & Co. came up with the selection we now have and that we'll start screening tomorrow!, the 1st of June and until the 7Th next week.
All these films have been chosen in order showcase the diversity, richness and also originality in the independent film world. Also, the awards, being screened in different festivals and the great film directors of these features, documentaries and shorts has helped Peter to make a decision, as a sign of quality in the projects.

As Peter said, this festival is a unique opportunity to see great films full of different cultural contents and new voices that normally are so hard to find in our film industry. Directors and crew of the films will be at the screenings so you have the chance to meet them and ask them about their work. Panel discussions about independent film production and distribution will take place after some of the screenings and parties, charity gala and live music will be in our program! Don't miss the chance of enjoying the DeclarationFilmFest 2007 for the first time with us!

The best independent documentaries


Darius Weems, a 15-year old from Athens, Georgia, is a car enthusiast and a devotee of Pimp My Ride. He also suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a wasting disease that is rarely survived beyond the early twenties. In an attempt to get his wheelchair `pimped’ on the show, Darius and his friends set off in a giant RV across the breadth of America, from coast to coast. Darius had previously never left his hometown; so, for the first time, he sees the mountains, swims in the ocean and encounters wasabi sauce.
Screening : June 4 18:00 at Cineworld
Screening : June 5 12:00 at The Renoir

Never have so few companies controlled so much of the music played on the radio and for sale at retail stores. At the same time, there are more bands and more ways to discover their music than ever. Music seems to have split in two - the homogenous corporate product that is spoon-fed to consumers and the diverse independent music that finds devoted fans online and at clubs across the country. Before the Music Dies is both an indictment of the corporate music business, with AutoTune as its tool of choice, and a celebration of the joy of real music. From celebrated musicians such as Erykah Badu and Eric Clapton, to Seattle buskers and Mississippi gospel singers, the filmmakers’ tour across the USA combines great performances with a deep love and concern for contemporary music. Screening with the short The Ramones and I (dir. Rusty Nails). A teenage boy finds salvation from the suburbs – through punk. With exclusive live footage from one of New York’s greatest bands.
Screening & After Party : June 2 19:15 at Horse Hospital
After Party : June 2 21:15 at Horse Hospital
Screening : June 5 14:00 at Horse Hospital

Four stand-up comedians embark on an extraordinary tour: entertaining
US troops on bases across Iraq. The title comes from co-director Danny Bevins, one of the comics and himself a former paratrooper, attempting to explain to his mother his motivation in taking easily the world’s most dangerous comedy gig. The film offers both comedy, and revelatory insight into the daily life of US troops in occupied Iraq. From base to base in trucks and Black Hawk helicopters, the comics and the soldiers they meet reflect on war, duty and home.
Screening : June 3 15:00 at Horse Hospital
Screening : June 5 12:00 at Horse Hospital

An award-winning film about the awesome Jack Beers. Raised in extreme poverty in NYC, Jack found fame as “New York's Strongest Boy”. And at 94, the film opens with a reprise of one of his not-to-be-missed feats of strength! An extraordinary tribute to one of New York’s greatest characters. As an ironworker, he built many of the city’s landmarks, including Radio City Music Hall. His engineering contribution to The Manhattan Project is credited with helping to shorten WW2, and saving many lives. He was responsible for erecting the famous Empire State Building spire, was a championship dog trainer, and to top it off, he garnered over 200 film credits as a character actor. A real-life Zelig. This moving, funny, and inspirational documentary follows Jack Beer’s colorful life which perfectly reflects that of his city.
Screening : June 2 13:00 at Horse Hospital
Screening : June 4 14:15 at The Renoir

The world premiere of a concert documentary featuring seminal indie band Sonic Youth on Independence Day 2006. Produced by Reno, Nevada-based Project Moonshine, the film was shot and produced by teenagers, on a shoestring budget, in an echo of Sonic Youth’s own DIY ethos from the eighties. Featuring intimate interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, and an exclusive concert performance, the film is essential viewing for fans of the band. Highlights include new versions of Tom Violence, Shaking Hell, Incinerate and Kool Thing.
Screening : June 2 21:30 at The Renoir
Screening : June 4 20:30 at Horse Hospital

As the first black attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Kennedy Justice Department in the 1960’s, Henderson, fresh out of law school, confronted the intricate challenges of being a black man in authority within the largely all-white world of the American legal system. With rare and powerful archival footage "Soul of Justice" offers viewers an intimate window into the world of the young lawyer as he grapples with tough choices, including the decision to loan a car to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a crucial act which which ultimately cost him his job.
Screening : June 1 17:30 at Horse Hospital
Screening : June 2 15:30 at Horse Hospital

Mexico city is not Gotham City, but if you were to run into any of the five masked activists who protect this metropolis, you’d wonder if you had fallen into a comic book. These real-life superheroes are celebrated Lucha Libre wrestlers who use their fame to battle for social justice. Join Super Barrio, Super Gay, Ecologista Universal, Super Animal (with his sidekick Super Animalito) and Fray Tormenta as they fight slum landlords, bullfighters, homophobia and poverty in Mexican-Canadian director Arturo Perez Torres’s colourful and extraordinary documentary.
Screening : June 1 19:00 at Horse Hospital
Screening : June 3 19:00 at Horse Hospital
Screening : June 7 12:00 at Horse Hospital

The stories of six Los Angeles women, all survivors of the Holocaust. The film begins with their `normal’, pre-war lives across Europe, and we chart their paths from encountering growing anti-Semitism through to the horror of the camps. An essential female perspective on life in the Nazis’ most notorious concentration camp, that claimed the lives of their close family and friends. Yet the story the women tell is not merely that of suffering, but is a testament to solidarity and human resilience. We learn of the singing, the sharing of food, the virtual family groups that carried these remarkable women through unimaginable conditions.
Screening : June 6 21:30 at The Renoir
Screening : June 7 12:00 at The Renoir


A coming of age documentary about a teenage boy who finds salvation from the suburbs with the help of New York's greatest punk band... The Ramones.
Screened before "Before the Music Dies"

The arthritis drug Vioxx was one of Merck’s biggest selling drugs, with up to 80 million prescriptions worldwide and generating revenues estimated at $2.5bn annually. In 2004, the company withdrew the drug following concerns over dramatically increased risks of heart disease, and substantial lawsuits followed. This scathing documentary from directors Lattanzio Firmian and Alberto Baudo follows the Vioxx scandal, and uncovers some deeply disturbing facts about the relationship between the corporations of Big Pharma, the medical profession and the regulatory bodies charged with protecting the public. The Tuesday 5th screening of the film is to be followed by a special panel discussion hosted by Ben Goldacre, doctor, journalist and author of the Guardian’s Bad Science column.
Screening : June 5 18:00 at Horse Hospital
Screening : June 7 16:15 at Horse Hospital

Dalee Henderson claims he was born with three strikes against him: black, gay and from the South. His sheer force of personality drove him to success and fame as one of Hollywood’s leading celebrity hairdressers in the eighties. Then came his diagnosis as HIV positive. White Shadows is a tough and inspiring documentary, following Dalee towards the end of his time. The gruelling portrait of the physical suffering of life with AIDS is offset by his hope, spirit and love of life. Genuinely inspirational.
Screening : June 4 18:30 at Horse Hospital
Screening : June 6 12:00 at Horse Hospital

Before World War II, there were an estimated 200 theatres and troupes in the United States performing in Yiddish. New York’s Second Avenue was the Yiddish Broadway, and the Jewish population of the Lower East Side supported productions with huge casts and outstanding production values. Today, veteran actress Zypora Spaisman faces a daily struggle to keep New York’s last professional Yiddish theatre company alive. Dan Katzir’s warm, funny and moving documentary follows a tenacious and extraordinary woman fighting to preserve a unique corner of cultural heritage.
Screening : June 3 13:00 at Horse Hospital
Screening : June 4 14:00 at Horse Hospital

For many Americans, winning the lottery is the ultimate dream come true. Rags-to-riches stories and their sordid flip side - tales of millions wasted - are common fodder for talk shows, but the public is rarely allowed more than a superficial glimpse into the world of instant, unexpected wealth. Millions follows six big-money lottery winners to show just how dramatically the experience can affect ordinary people. Meet the Minnesota dinnerladies and the poster-boys of the New York State Lottery, Lucky Lightbulb Louis and Curtis, Millions tells their rather more complicated stories in a poignant story of luck, loss and redemption.
Screening : June 4 16:00 at Horse Hospital
Screening : June 6 18:30 at Horse Hospital

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

To make you have a quick idea of the films, take a look...

The story: Mikey Sullivan is released from prison after taking the rap for his best friend. Determined to turn his life around, he struggles with addiction, anger and a low-paying mundane job. However, his old associates have different plans, and in a situation where nothing is quite what it seems, Mikey finds himself in a struggle for freedom, justice and revenge.

Screening: June 4 19:15 at The Renoir
Sreening : June 6 16:00 at The Horse Hospital

This film is based on the award-winning novel by Howard Frank Mosher and the story took place in 1932, just months before the repeal of Prohibition and two weeks shy of Wild Bill's fifteenth birthday.
Kris Kristofferson stars as schemer and dreamer Quebec Bill Bonhomme in a spellbinding tale of high-stakes whiskey-smuggling, a family's mysterious past, and a young boy's rite of passage.Quebec Bill, desperate to raise money to preserve his endangered cattle herd through a long winter, resorts to whiskey smuggling, a traditional family occupation. He takes his son, Wild Bill, on an unforgettable trip that will long remain etched in the viewer's mind: a journey through vast reaches of the Canadian wilderness and into a haunted and elusive past. What they find is the stuff of genuine legend.
Screening : June 3 18:30 at The Renoir
Screening : June 7 16:30 at The Renoir

Ryan is an uberslacker who is nonetheless willing to fall into accidental success. After losing his job the same day he is dumped by his yuppie girlfriend, Ryan gets a dispiriting job with a tacky lottery magazine, photographing winners and writing their stories.In a Mandarin language class Ryan is taking for work, he meets lovely Ming but unfortunately Ming is currently involved with a fast-talking scammer, Bryce. Bryce spots a money-laundering scheme involving the new lottery winners and Ryan soon launches himself into the lifestyle of the suddenly rich and not-otherwise-likely-to-be-famous. Soon, without a lot of thought, Ryan has got the sports car and leather jacket of moneyed youth -something that puts him at odds with Ming ,the beautiful set-dresser from class who just so happens to be in the process of breaking up with Bryce. All Ryan needs to do is convince Ming how different he is from Bryce, which proves a bit harder than ever expected.
Screening : June 6 16:30 at The Renoir
Screening : June 7 18:45 at The Renoir

A romantic fable/black comedy of sweetly odd proportions, Expiration date tells the story of Charlie Silvercloud III, a man with heavy ancestral weight on his shoulders: his grandfather and father both were killed on their 25th birthdays by milk trucks. So, he is just about to turn into 25 and he only has eight days left when he meets in the library a girl who won't let him die in peace.
Screening : June 1 21:15 at The Renoir
Screening : June 6 21:00 at Horse Hospital

Two thirty-something New Yorkers meet for a blind date at a local diner in a rainy night in April. The successful, confident, but lonely, Stuart falls for the younger, reticent Nicole. As they progress from love to marriage to discussions about starting a family, their relationship faces the challenges of critical friends, emotionally demanding relatives, time-consuming careers, religion and the stresses caused by the endless negotiations all couples wage daily. Fearlessly intimate, "Flannel Pajamas" echoes the best, most reflective films of Eric Rohmer in its portrait of the path of a modern relationship.
Screening : June 2 18:30 at The Renoir

Screening : June 5 16:15 at The Renoir

Deep in the Louisiana bayou, Beauxregard `Beaux’ Dupuis and his mentally-handicapped brother Pemon live on a houseboat, and struggle to make ends meet with their bait shop. When Pemon is falsely accused of a crime, Beaux vows to defend his brother, as old prejudices and rivalries threaten to destroy the community of Little Chenier.
Subtitled A Cajun Story, the film is saturated in the atmosphere and culture of the bayou. The pacing, the terrific cinematography, the music and the English-lapsing-into-French dialect create an extraordinary sense of place and community, rarely seen on screen.
Screening : June 1 16:15 at The Renoir

Screening : June 3 21:00 at The Horse Hospital

Dan and Linda are two forty-somethings, living the bohemian life. They earn their crust from selling recycled items from garage sales and the trash; their favourite recreation is smoking weed; their idealism has long faded. All this changes with the arrival of Susan, an angry young pot-dealing radical, with a mission to shake them from their sexual and political complacency. As she becomes entangled with their lives, a far darker history emerges. What does it mean to be committed to a cause in an age of apathy?
Screening : June 4 21:15 at The Renoir
Screening : June 6 14:15 at The Renoir

Cameron Kincaid is in deep trouble at school, with his family and with the law. His one hope is to win a fiercely-contested scholarship to film school – but how do you do that with no money and no crew? Enter Flash Madden – once a legendary gaffer from Hollywood’s Golden Era, now a broken-down old alcoholic. Can they, and Flash’s friends from the Motion Picture Retirement Home, turn it around? Can Cameron achieve his ambition of becoming The Man In The Chair?
Screening : June 4 16:30 at The Renoir
Screening : June 5 21:15 at The Renoir
Screening : June 7 21:15 at The Renoir

Tanuj Chopra’s feature debut follows four days in the life of Mameet, a headstrong Indian-American teenager, lost in grief and rage after the murder of his basketball-star elder brother. A searing portrait of conflicted youth in New York’s South Asian community, "Punching At The Sun" addresses the challenge to family and tradition presented by a violent and cynical American society. With a hip-hop soundtrack from New York’s Asian MCs, and fiercely energetic direction, the film has drawn comparisons to the work of Spike Lee and John Singleton. Complex characterisation and performances complement a fresh visual style and great production values. It is a unique, angry and sensitive portrait of a second-generation immigrant community rarely seen on screen.
Screening : June 3 16:15 at The Renoir
Screening : June 5 19:15 at The Renoir
Screening : June 5 21:00 at The Horse Hospital

Headstrong mail-order bride Inge travels to the Midwestern prairies to marry the taciturn Olaf. However, her German origins provoke an angry reaction from the xenophobic post-World War One community. Despite this ostracisation, ever-present economic hardship and the lack of a common language, the couple gradually, gracefully fall deeply in love. Elizabeth Reaser and Tim Guinee are outstanding as Inge and Olaf, with wonderfully-cast support from Alan Cumming and Ned Beatty. David Tumblety’s breathtaking colour photography acts in harmony with the film’s impeccable period detail and design to make Sweet Land an essential American indie classic.
Screening : June 1 18:30 at The Renoir
Screening : June 2 15:45 at The Renoir
In a non-linear fashion, the film tells the story of three men, inextricably linked to a mysterious murder. Against the backdrop of a harsh Detroit winter and the brutal death of the eponymous low-level drug dealer, the film follows the victim, the killer and the homicide detective on the case - all named Michael Smith. The complex multi-level narrative presents an unwavering journey into violence, loss, and ultimately, redemption. Terrific performances and dazzling visual invention elevate the convention of the crime drama into an outstanding art-house debut. Screening : June 2 13:15 at The Renoir
Screening : June 3 21:15 at The Renoir
Screening : June 7 21:00 at The Horse Hospital

In the wake of a sudden loss, Eddy skips town leaving his friends to mourn for him. A vagabond musician, Eddy runs until there is nowhere left to run to but home. The Pacific and Eddy captures the uncertainty of a time when identities begin to reveal themselves. Some self-destruct, others surge in this story that follows four characters as they each find their own way to deal with the loss of a close friend. In a supremely artful debut, writer-director Matthew Nourse shows sure handling of pace, mood and texture on the Pacific coastline of San Diego County. The naturalistic dialogue is well-performed by a committed cast, and Aaron Platt’s elegant cinematography supports the film’s beautiful and striking imagery.
Screening : June 6 19:00 at The Renoir
Screening : June 7 14:00 at The Renoir

Come and meet the directors


We just wanted to let you know that quite a lot of the directors are coming!! We have confirmation so far from:
Dan Lyon, director of the feature film unit for Telefilm Canada and executive producer of Everything’s Gone Green. He will be attending the festival and participating in panel discussions.
We also have the attendance of:
- Jeff Lipsky - Flannel Pajamas
- Ali Selim - Sweet Land
- Michael Schroeder - Man in the Chair

- Jay Craven - Disappearances
- Tanuj Chopra - Punching at the Sun
- Logan Smalley and his crew - Darius Goes West
- Paul Le Blanc - Millions
- Reginald Harkema - Monkey Warfare
- Jon Kean - Swimming in Auschwitz
- David Wachs - Holes in My Shoes
- Kit Hui - Missing
- Stephanie Carwin - Indiscreet

This is a great opportunity to come and enjoy the films, but also you will have the chance to meet them and there will be time for Q&A for the curious ones!!

Monday, 28 May 2007

Do you want to be part of this team?

We still looking for some volunteers to help us during the screening of our films! So, if you want to take part in it and watch the movies, documentaries and shorts...get in contact wiht our lovely festival Co-ordinator, Sarah Crisp, at!! Also, remember there're parties, discussion pannels and live music! And you will part of our big team!!