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Wednesday roundup: Soderbergh's Spalding Gray doc to premiere at Slamdance

December 9, 2009 |  2:24 pm

Steven Soderbergh

"Informant!" director Steven Soderbergh's latest film, "And Everything Is Going Fine," will be the centerpiece of the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival. The movie, which concerns the late performance artist Spalding Gray, whom Soderbergh directed in 1996's "Gray's Anatomy," is the latest connection between the director and the fest, which began in 1996 when Greg Mottola's "The Daytrippers," which Soderbergh produced, won its Jury Prize.

Soderbergh will also participate in Slamdance's Filmmaker Summit, which highlights new technological venues by which filmmakers can create and distribute their work outside the means currently available to the independent film community. The summit and premiere of "And Everything Is Going Fine" will both take place on Jan. 23; the festival itself runs concurrently with the Sundance Film Festival, which is Jan. 21 to 28.

Since 2001, the Toronto International Film Festival has been showing its support for Canadian feature films and shorts with its annual Top Ten, which pays tribute to the best in homegrown cinema. They've just released this year's list, which will be shown at TIFF Cinematheque from Jan. 14 to 21. Among the films are such festival favorites as Ruba Nadda's TIFF award-winning "Cairo Time," with Patricia Clarkson as a diplomat's wife who falls for her husband's friend (Alexander Siddig); "Defendor," with Woody Harrelson as a deluded would-be superhero; and "The Trotsky," with Jay Baruchel ("The Sorcerer's Apprentice") as a young man who believes himself to be the reincarnation of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. A selection of shorts, such as "The Spine," by Oscar winner Chris Landreth (2004's "Ryan), will also be included, as well as a panel discussion with Canadian filmmakers, educators and distributors. Planning to be in Ontario in January? You can see the full schedule and buy tickets to Top Ten here.

The Palm Springs International ShortFest appears to share the same level of prestige and accuracy of award prediction as its parent festival, the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Since its inception 16 years ago, 69 of the short live action and animated films featured at ShortFest have gone on to earn major awards or nominations, including Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth's "Freeheld" (best documentary, short subjects, 2008 Oscars), "This Way Up" (best short film, animated, 2009 Oscars) and "The Dinner" (best short film, special mention, 2008 Venice Film Festival). The 2010 edition of ShortFest has been announced for June 22 through 28 at the Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs

The festival offers 20 prizes in six categories, with $100,000 in cash awards or film production prizes in each category. And all first-prize winners in the live action, animation and best-of-the-fest categories are automatically qualified for nomination consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Early entry deadline for submissions is Jan. 15; the regular deadline is Feb. 15. More information can be found at the festival's website.

-- Paul Gaita

Photo: Steven Soderbergh. Credit: Getty Images

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