The 2002 Sundance Film Festival Diary
by Paul Fischer
Exclusive: If it’s January it must be Sundance, and from now till the end of the Festival, Paul Fischer will be updating on the movies he’s seeing, the stars and the atmosphere.
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One can tell that the Sundance Film Festival, now in its fifteenth year, is upon us, when even in the Los Angeles airport would-be filmmakers accost this unsuspecting journalist. Ah yes, if it’s January, welcome to Sundance 2002. It’s the first festival of the year and one of the major North American film festivals. The snowy mountainous slopes welcome one to this wintry wonderland, where skiers descend en masse crashing headlong into the world of dealmakers, filmmakers, cell phones and a plethora of stars, both big and almost big. Sundance is synonymous with independent film, although what is independent these days remains a question of debate. One’s first day at Sundance is best described as a case of organised chaos. You check into the crowded Press Office, collect the first of many bags of surprises, then “do the PR rounds” with as much grace as you can muster. This year, this meet-and-greet ritual runs smoother than usual. Politeness all round, interviews and mini-press junkets are locked in, and one becomes surprised by the smoothness of it all. But then, dear readers, this is only the first day.
After a short rest, it’s off by coach to Salt Lake City, opening night and the beginning of 10 days of cinematic highs and lows. President (of Sundance) Robert Redford is in good form, even quipping when he hears a cell phone go off: “Tell them to call me back, I’m talking now.” Redford reminds us of his initial ideal, and that tonight’s film, The Laramie Project, defines that ideal. And it does. Based on the play, which was conceived at Sundance’s theatre lab, playwright Moises Kaufman’s documentary-style account of the brutal murder of a young gay man [Matthew Sheperd] in Laramie, Wyoming, is a profound and emotionally rich study of bigotry, community, the media and the role of art in examining our lives. The Laramie Project features a stellar cast, all of whom perform sublimely in a vividly textured and insightful, poetic and powerful work. Perhaps not the most obvious choice for opening night, it is yet imbued with a prosaic sense of optimism. The Laramie Project is a wonderful prelude of things to come. May mainstream Hollywood sit up and take notice.
Tomorrow the movies begin and the 2002 Sundance Film Festival will get underway properly. As Redford noted, it’s all about the filmmakers.
On the first full day of Sundance 2002, it was time to settle down and watch a few films, eat for a change and soak in the Sundance atmosphere before the real work begins on Day 2. While it took some getting used to finding new press screening venues, the 8.30 screening of the new Australian film One Night the Moon worthy the preceding frustrations. Already a critical success back in Oz, this exquisitely crafted gem from Aboriginal filmmaker Rachel Perkins, is an original work, blending music and narrative to help tell a passionate and powerful tale. Based on a true story, One Night the Moon is set in early 1932. Emily (Memphis Kelly) the only daughter of a farming family in outback Australia, steps out of her bedroom window, fascinated by the full moon beaming down on a dramatic landscape. Distraught and terrified, her mother (Kaarin Fairfax) and father (Paul Kelly) call the police to search for her, but when Albert (Kelton Pell) the black tracker police constable turns up to help, the father refuses to let him—or any other blackfella—on his property, despite the Sergeant’s (Chris Haywood) insistence that Albert’s the best tracker around. When the search party fails to find Emily and the days stretch to weeks, her mother seeks out Albert for his help. A richly layered drama exploring the tragic effects of bigotry at its most shameful, this haunting work uses operatic convention and dramatic techniques to tell its story. Beautifully shot within the sparseness of South Australia, the film is original and riveting. Unlike Moulin Rouge, One Night the Moon is more cinematically understated which enhances its dominant themes, yet the music remains an integral and poetic facet of the narrative. It’s a tough film to sell here, but hopefully a Showtime or HBO will take it on.
After rushing to a press screening of John Malkovich’s The Dancer Upstairs, only to discover that it’s been cancelled, it was time to head back to Sundance headquarters and actually relax, Then off to the large Eccles auditorium to see the competition entry, xx/xy, an impressive directorial debut by Austin Chick. This starkly honest drama revolves around three friends who begin a dangerous three-way relationship that spirals out of control, leading to dire consequences that haunt them ten years later. A thoughtfully detailed study of passion, sex and that elusive search for love, xx/xy is erotic, startling and maybe a tad too honest. Sharply written by Chick, the film boasts some of the best work by young women I’ve seen on film in years. Australian actress Maya Stange is extraordinary, brave and complex as Sam, the young woman who falls for would be filmmaker Coles (a superb Mark Ruffalo in a tough role}. Stange shows depth and insight and coupled with breathtaking beauty, is a star in the making. Ex-Beverly Hills 90210’s Kathleen Robertson is memorable as the sexual, free-spirited Thea, but it’s newcomer Petra Wright, in just her third major film role, whose portrayal of Coles’ “safe” girlfriend whom we meet 10 years following the initial events in the film, who gives the most astounding performance. Detailed, articulate and honest, Wright is destined for stardom. xx/xy is both profound and real, yet maintains a sense of humour—much like relationships.
Having scored a ticket to the world premiere of John Malkovich’s directorial debut, The Dancer Upstairs, it was obvious this was going to be an intense cinematic experience. And it was. Set somewhere in Latin America, a world of poverty, violence and revolution, the always magnificent Javier Bardem plays a former lawyer now police detective, determined to hunt down a revolutionary leader directly or indirectly responsible for a series of brutal terrorist attacks and murders. At the same time, this happily married father of a young daughter becomes increasingly drawn to a beautiful ballet teacher, which may have dangerous consequences. Though based on Nicholas Shakespeare’s acclaimed novel, Dancer Upstairs resonates with actual events, yet its own right, is an intricately textured and hypnotic masterwork, a provocative piece that is part political thriller and part human drama, and both facets have been perfectly interwoven by an extraordinary new filmmaker. Malkovich the actor is fascinating, but from this visually arresting work, his true calling is directing. Malkovich retains a fluid visual style, and also has a knack in so perfectly creating tone and sustaining tension. Often violent and disturbing, The Dancer Upstairs is not a mass audience film, but it is a movie worth discovering. It’s an intelligent and compelling masterpiece. It was also the perfect film to end the first full day here at Sundance.
Another day and another group of interesting films and the odd interview.
After a rare sleep in, the first order of business on this cloudy Park City morning was to interview the three talented young women from xx/xy. This strong competition entry may have a strong script and excellent direction, but the work of Kathleen Robertson, talented Australian Maya Stange and remarkable newcomer Petra Wright were the heart and soul of this film, and they recounted, often with humour and intelligence, how they felt about shooting sex scenes, the film’s unflinching honesty, and where they go from here. Robertson also spoke about her time on 90210. In all, an interesting and illuminating way to start the day.
It seems that the best of independent films, especially those that screen at Sundance, are mostly defined by their intensity. The next few films are all that, with some working better than others. Blue Car, written and directed by talent first-timer Karen Moncrieff, is a disturbing, melancholy but exquisite tale of a troubled teenager and her often dangerous bond with her English teacher. Remarkable newcomer Agnes Bruckner delivers a deeply moving performance as 16-year old Meg, who is encouraged to write poetry and enter a poetry contest by her English teacher. When tragedy strikes at home, Meg, turns to her teacher as a source of friendship. Blue Car, which so perfectly captures the isolation of adolescence, is a powerful and emotionally haunting film. For the most part. While it does stumble a bit as the relationship between teacher and student ventures into dangerous territory, then film’s emotional richness and the compelling work of Bruckner, makes Blue Car ultimately satisfying.
The same cannot be said for Narc, the first major disappointment I’ve seen at the Festival. After a promising opening, this police thriller revolving around the hunt for an undercover cop’s killers, is pretentiously crafted, with an annoying MTV visual feel, is relentlessly violent and narcissistic, and ultimately remains a simplistic genre film we’ve seen before. While Ray Liotta [who also produced] gives an arresting performance, Narc is all style and no substance.
Ernest Dickerson’s Our America offers an insightful and powerful look at life in the projects of south Chicago through the eyes of two impoverished African-American teenagers. They land a job putting together a radio documentary on their daily life, and through that experience survive against impossible odds. Based on a true story, beautifully directed by Dickerson, Our America is powerful, yet also is touching, funny, poignant and very real. Avoiding the clichés normally associated with tales of Black urban youth, this is a film that tells it as it is, and does so with remarkable skill and texture. A fine film to end another busy day here at Sundance.
TOMORROW: I get to see Jennifer Anniston in The Good Girl, chat with her, and find out what makes John Malkovich tick, if that’s possible. Watch this space.
An 8:30 start to check out the new film from Chuck and Buck director Miguel Arteta. For the most part, his latest film is more conservative and less interesting than its predecessors, and would have had nothing to offer, had it not been for the wonderful work of Jennifer Anniston. As a sad character who escapes a lonely dead-end existence from a job she hates and a husband who smokes dope, she starts an affair with another deep-seated loner who calls himself Holden. A sharply observed study of small-town life, The Good Girl has some lovely moments, but it’s Anniston who drives the film, unlike Jake Gylenhaal, who merely repeats Bubble Boy, but takes it down an octave. After October Sky, he seems to have slipped into a mundane pattern of mediocrity. Here, his insipid, colourless performance is the film’s main flaw. But Anniston’s touching, funny yet profoundly honest performance is its strength, and for her alone, The Good Girl is worth seeing.
Straight after the screening it was time to meet the lovely Ms Anniston. Casually dressed in t-shirt and jeans, Anniston talked Friends and discussed watching her movie with husband Brad Pitt. Anniston emerged as a delightfully unpretentious starlet.
I was then fortunate to have a one-on-one chat with John Malkovich, who talked about what it takes to get the kinds of films he likes made. Quiet, intelligent and fascinating, it was a short but valuable interview.
From Malkovich to Robin Williams? Quite a leap as I headed to my last screening of the day: One Hour Photo, one of the most pleasant surprises at this year’s festival, and featuring an Oscar-calibre performance by Williams. In a role that will bring him a newfound respect, Williams plays a lonely photo lab technician in a large supermarket, whose obsessive fascination for a perfect American family spins out of control once his idealism is shattered. A remarkable film from writer-director Mark Romanek, One Hour Photo plays with the audience, taking the viewer on an unexpected and unpredictable journey. Tautly directed, Romanek superbly creates tension and mood, resulting in a film that is hypnotic and fascinating. Williams creates a character of so many varying masks that one is never certain who he is until the final shot. His performance has a purity to it, and it’s the kind of work that will fully define Williams as an extraordinary actor. Flawless script and top-notch direction, coupled with Williams? performance marks One Hour Photo as an intelligent and intoxicating thriller.
Following the screening, Williams appeared on stage for an uncustomary and highly entertaining question and answer session. A perfect way to end another day at Sundance.
A slightly relaxed day at Sundance, if that’s ever possible. No interviews scheduled (most are tomorrow), so it was time to just check out a few films with not a bad one in the bunch. Maybe I?m more tolerant this year, but it seems that there’s less to complain about. While Pumpkin, my first screening of the day, has garnered a mixed response here, its satiric elements drew me in and I loved it. Giving a phenomenal performance, Christina Ricci (who also co-produced the film) stars as Carolyn, a member of one of those silly American sororities. Her sorority sisters set their sights on the Sorority of the Year award and coaching challenged athletes is their ticket to the trophy. But when the queen of formals finds herself mentoring Pumpkin (Hank Harris), a disabled athlete, their two worlds collide and Carolyn realises that she is far from perfect. Pumpkin is partly a love story, but it is also an entertaining and at times very funny satire on social class distinctions defined by this most peculiar of American traditions. Carolyn believes that her world is all smiles and perfection until she meets someone who sees the woman within, and perfection is not what it’s cracked up to be. Ricci is a consummate actress, and here she is both brilliantly funny and poignant, able to convey an emotional depth rare in someone so young. Her meticulous and rich performance is this film’s centre and she is sublime. Hank Harris is wonderful in the title role, delivering a performance that falls short of being stereotypical, working wonders with his face and eyes. As his overprotective mother, Brenda Blethyn shines. Beautifully crafted by Anthony Abrams and Adam Larson Broder, Pumpkin is both fitfully funny and gently human, an irresistible and luminous fable.
That was followed by another fine comedy up for competition, Cherish, a popular film at Sundance for good reason. In a star-turning performance, Robin Tunney is magnificent as loner Zoe Adler. While dreaming of romance, she spends her time endlessly embracing the sounds of 80’s romantic songs on KXCH “Cherish” radio. While on a date, having drunk 3 martinis, she is carjacked and manages to run down and kill a cop. The carjacker escapes and she is blamed. While awaiting trial, Zoe is imprisoned via the electronic bracelet program, and slowly goes from nerd to strong and self-assured while also falling for her local parole officer. Finn Taylor, best known for Dream with the Fishes, has crafted an exquisite blend of audacious romantic comedy with thriller, and the result is a frenetic and wildly exuberant romp featuring a glorious female lead and delightful support by the diverse Tim Blake Nelson and an hilarious cameo by Jason Priestley. Energetic and original, this competition entry is a delicious, clever entertainment that deserves a wide audience.
A short day today in preparation for tomorrow’s interviews with the likes of Robin Williams, Tim Blake Nelson, Australia’s Miranda Otto and others. Stay tuned for all the gos.
Only two films today, but I got a chance to do some cool interviews and even sit down for an actual meal — an unheard of experience when one is working a festival. It was another 8:30 screening, a case of braving a cloudy, snowy day and grabbing a quick hot chocolate, then it was off to see a sexy side of Sundance’s new indie princess Christina Ricci in the dark comedy/thriller Miranda, a British entry from director Marc Munden. A librarian (John Simm) begins a passionate affair with a mysterious woman (Ricci) who walks into his library. When she suddenly disappears, he travels down to London to search for her only to discover that she has three identities — dancer, dominatrix and con-woman. But which one is the real Miranda? A film about illusion and first impressions, Miranda allows the gifted Ricci to be bold, vulnerable, sexy and childlike, embodied in one extraordinary character and a vivid performance. Though twenty-one, Ricci delivers her first real womanly performance, and fans of the petite actress will be mesmerised. Simm is also a rare find as the librarian whose life dramatically changes when Miranda enters his world. Kyle MacLachlan has an hilarious turn as a seedy businessman who lusts after Miranda. Boldly dark and ferociously original, Miranda easily kept me awake.
A break from the screenings to chat to a diverse group of actors began with Australia’s talented Miranda Otto, here for Human Nature, an irreverent black comedy from the writer of Being John Malkovich. Otto steals the film as the French accented assistant of scientist Tim Robbins, and Miranda spoke at length about working away from Australia and her eagerness to return to the Sydney stage in A Doll’s House, opening Down Under in February. Otto is best known to American audiences as the neighbour of Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer in What Lies Beneath.
Following Otto’s interview in the busy Main Street came a cab right to the Shadow Ridge Hotel to chat to the Pumpkin folks, including actor Hank Harris, who spoke about auditioning and preparing to play a mentally challenged character. “I even went to a school and blended in,” he explained. Christina Ricci smoked through our interview and talked about this world of independent films that has given her chances to play strong, interesting young women. She also spoke about her upcoming directorial debut, Speed Queen, explaining, “That’s a film that suits my sensibilities and should work well if I do it right.”
Then back to Main Street and the stars of Cherish. First I met with the beautiful Robin Tunney. Of course we hit it off, she being a huge fan of Australia (“I’ve been there four times.”) She told me funny stories about her experiences on the unfortunate sci-fi flop Supernova, her work in Vertical Limit and the wonderful character she plays in Cherish. Tim Blake Nelson and I actually spent more time discussing his directorial masterpiece The Gray Zone, which he confirmed will be released here by Lions Gate in September. From Holocaust tragedy it was on to Robin Williams and the interview of the festival. Williams was funny but also incredibly serious and down to earth, talking about his psychological preparation for One Hour Photo and his determination to do something different, calling his next film, Death to Smoochie, “a real wild movie, completely off-the-wall.” The brilliant Oscar-winner also spoke with passion about Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia. “I play a murderer to Pacino’s cop.” It was a great interview to end the day.
Then it was off for a civilised Chinese meal with a fellow journo before heading off to see Human Nature, a disjointed part-farce, part-black comedy about a love triangle involving an apeman of sorts. Human Nature follows the ups and downs of an obsessive male scientist, a female naturalist, and the man they discover, born and raised in the wild. As scientist Nathan (Tim Robbins) trains the wild man, Puff (Rhys Ifans), in the ways of the world — starting with table manners — Nathan’s lover Lila (Patricia Arquette) fights to preserve the man’s ape-like past, It’s a hard film to define, and while it has its moments, the film isn’t helped by a sluggish performance by Tim Robbins. Patricia Arquette gives a brave performance while Miranda Otto and Ifans are the film’s comic stars and perform beautifully. Human Nature is a haphazard film, acutely aware of its own obvious eccentricities.
Thus endeth another busy day here in wintry Park City.
As Sundance slowly begins the process of emerging as a distant, but frenetic memory, it is time to slow down. Only two films were seen by this Sundance reveller today, and a few interviews with his native Australians. First up in the ever-bustling Main Street was Australia’s Sarah Wynter, a luminous actress who may be best known from Bruce Beresford’s Bride of the Wind, or as the sultry villainess in The Sixth Day. Here, she stars in the indie American feature Coastlines, from acclaimed director Victor Nuñez. This film tells of an ex-con who returns to his Florida hometown after three years and becomes involved with the wife of his best friend, the local sheriff. Wynter plays the Florida-raised wife, and discussed preparing for the role by spending a few weeks in Florida “getting a tan and a feel for the accent.” Wynter is a luminous screen presence and one to watch out for.
The remarkable Aussie film Australian Rules has been quite the hit here at Sundance, much to the surprise of producer Mark Lazarus and first-time director Paul Goldman. This magnificent feature, set in South Australia’s barren Prospect Bay, begins as a wry football comedy before slowly enveloping the audience in a powerful and relentless study of racism. Though it centres on Aboriginal themes and characters, director Goldman, whose debut feature is an ambitious and profound work, insists that it stretches beyond the parochialism of Australia. “I’m sure international audiences will respond to it immensely.” Based on audience responses here, he may well be right.
From themes of injustice in Australian Rules [football] to a British film — on injustice. Bloody Sunday recounts that horrific day thirty years ago when, on 30th January 1972, British soldiers shot dead thirteen unarmed civilians taking part in an anti-internment civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland. This tragic event became known as Bloody Sunday and was the forerunner of the next twenty-five years of ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland. Bloody Sunday is an impressively mounted film, an in-your-face account of this one horrific day. The film is powerful in the way it cinematically describes the operation and the British callousness that pervaded. Featuring a strong performance by James Nesbitt (a Northern Irishman in real life) the film packs a wallop, though it refuses to give audiences a feel of whom these characters were, which is its major flaw. But for gripping re-examination of this horrific day, Bloody Sunday is exceptional.
Birthday Girl was a somewhat different experience and, taking it as an entertainment, remains one of the most entertaining and beguiling films of the Festival. A sexy, dark comedy thriller, Birthday Girl casts a luminous Nicole Kidman as a Russian mail-order bride who creates havoc for bank clerk Ben Chaplin. A slight but engaging romp of a movie, Kidman continues to impress one with her flawless range, and here she is convincingly Russian, very sexy, tough and ultimately vulnerable, the perfect match to Chaplin’s initially awkward bank teller. Birthday Girl is an immeasurably entertaining movie ride, full of sharp humour, and Kidman fans will be amazed at her continuous skill and unpredictability. This was the perfect film to end a relaxing day in the snow. Tomorrow, I’ll find out what Kidman and Chaplin have to say, plus Britain’s beautiful Olivia Williams. It’s a tough life I know, but I deserve it. ‘Til next time here at Park City…
A long day as I head into the final stretch. Many interviews and three films that define the diversity of Sundance. The World Cinema section is the one least written about. Not as much hype surrounds foreign films here and catching them is generally tough as the festival rarely screens them to the press. So it was nice to check out The Last Kiss from Italy, a delightful entry from Gabriele Muccino, who tells a multi-character tale about people agonising about commitment. The director told me when we spoke that it was a personal tale, and this is a funny, very Italian comedy that has the potential to do well beyond its parochial shores.
Then back to Main Street and a half hour chat with down-to-earth Brit Ben Chaplin, co-star of Birthday Girl, who talked about doing sex scenes with Nicole Kidman, working in Tibet and his love of Sydney, Australia. Great guy and talented to boot. Further up Main Street, talked to the gorgeous Olivia Williams (remember her in The Postman?). Here she’s promoting Lucky Break, a comedy from Peter Cattaneo, director of The Full Monty, about a group of prisoners who decide to stage a musical. Olivia talked about being single, being naked with Kevin Costner and her take on the fame game. I was then joined by Ireland’s James Nesbitt, also in Lucky Break as well as the tougher Bloody Sunday.
After a short break, time to catch up with Nicole Kidman at a press conference for Birthday Girl. As gracious and sweet as she was the first time we met fifteen years ago, Nicole talked the Golden Globes, learning Russian and taking risks. Moving from Australia to New Zealand, the highlight of this trip was Russell Crowe meeting and greeting the press prior to the premiere of his documentary, Texas. Here, he was gracious, funny and charming, talking candidly about why he wanted to make this film and whether he would ever choose music or acting. Then it was time to check out his debut as a producer of the raw and kinetic Texas, a fascinating and enjoyable documentary that examines the relationship between Russell Crowe: Celebrity and Crowe the down-to-earth musician. It presents Crowe in a different light and takes the viewer on a wonderful journey behind the scenes of his band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts. Sometimes hilarious and always illuminating, Texas is a vivid music documentary that Crowe fans will love and appreciate, but it deserves to find an audience beyond that. The music is an added bonus to top it off.
Tomorrow, the last full day, interviews with Andie McDowell and Jodie Foster. Not a bad way to say farewell to Sundance 2002.
Though Sundance officially concludes tomorrow night with the awards, this was my last full day covering the festival. It was a day of cancellations, first by Andie McDowell, then by Australian director Rachel Perkins (thanks for the one hour notice, guys) and then a pair of documentary directors. But that was fine and dandy. It gave me a chance to escape the snow and slush, and catch up on the best film of the festival, and the one that most defined why most of us are here in the first place: The Kid Stays in the Picture, a visually arresting masterpiece based on the tumultuous life of Hollywood producer Robert Evans. The man behind such classic seventies gems as Love Story, The Godfather, The Conversation and Rosemary’s Baby, Evans had a wild up-and-down existence. King of Hollywood on the one hand, dragged down by scandal and drug addiction on the other and now back to where it all began: on the backlot of Paramount. Evans symbolised the best and worst of American cinema, and this brilliant film, narrated by Evans himself, encapsulates those extremes. Directed by Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein, The Kid Stays in the Picture combines various cinematic techniques and digital effects to bring Evans’ fascinating tale to cinematic life. Though a documentary, it feels like a narrative feature and has all the elements of such: Humour, drama and genuine poignancy. Most importantly, it’s the story of a man impassioned by moviemaking, and without that passion, the likes of Sundance would not exist. What a fitting film to close a festival defined by its ability to remain diverse and challenging.
As the snow eases here at Park City, this remains one of the best Sundance Festivals I have attended. As for my favourites, they are xx/xy for its realism and sense of character, Cherish for its charm and quirkiness, One Hour Photo for its sheer audacity and Robin Williams’ bravado performance, and The Kid Stays in the Picture. Until Sundance 2003 —- enjoy the movies!
Personal Velocity, a drama exploring the lives of three women, took the grand jury prize for best feature film at the Sundance Film Festival Saturday night, the last official night of the Festival, while Daughter from Danang, about a Vietnamese refugee’s search for identity, took the night’s other top prize, the grand jury award for best documentary.
In addition came the audience award, voted on by the public for their favourite film. The audience award for top feature film went to Patricia Cardosa’s Real Women Have Curves, the story of a young Mexican American teenage girl’s coming of age, while documentary honours went to Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony.
Other awards were for best screenplay (Gordy Hoffman) for Love Liza, a film about a man struggling with his wife’s suicide. Rob Fruchtman and Rebecca Cammisa earned the director’s grand jury prize for their documentary Sister Helen, which chronicles the day-to-day life of a Benedictine nun who runs a rooming house for recovering alcoholic and drug-addicted men.
Cinematography awards went to Ellen Kuras for Personal Velocity and Daniel Gold for the documentary Blue Vinyl, about the effects vinyl production has on the environment.
Sundance juries also named their favourite films from the World Cinema category, a tie between Bloody Sunday, about the events of January 30, 1972, which were a turning point in the modern Irish troubles, and to the Italian romance The Last Kiss.
Sundance also gave its Freedom of Expression Award to Amandla!
Paul Fischer is originally from Australia. Now he is an interviewer and film critic living in Hollywood.
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