Monday, February 18, 2008

Salim Baba

i can't believe i have forgotten to write about Tim Sternberg's amazing Academy Award nominated documentary short, Salim Baba. i sat with co-producer and cinematographer extraordinaire, Francisco Bello, and watched -- captivated, teary, nostaligic and hopeful . . .

see this truly lovely image from the Salim Baba press kit here (it's worth it, but i couldn't convert)

the 14 minute short shares (from rv films site) " [. . . ] a portrait of travelling bioscope projectionist Mohammad Al-Salim, a true living link between the birth of cinema at the dawn of the 20th century and the digital age of today."

The Ropa Vieja site also provides the following synopsis: "Salim Muhammad is a 55-year-old man who lives in North Kolkata [India] with his wife and five children. Since the age of ten he has made a living screening discarded film scraps for the kids in his surrounding neighborhoods using a hand-cranked [1897] projector that he inherited from his father. A pragmatic businessman as well as a cinephile, Salim runs his projector with his sons in the hopes that they will carry on his legacy of showing films to the local children" (emphasis mine).

the filmmakers have created a way to give charitably to Salim Baba at

because the film is up for an Academy Award, the trailers and teasers have been removed from the web; there has been some controversy regarding their former existence and Oscar availability. there is controversy -- read the comments and links -- as well, regarding the release forms signed by and financial arrangements made with Salim Baba; i am still researching this latter controversy, but the director has issued this statement, arguing that the accusations found in the original Calcutta Telegraph piece were/are false. i'm inclined to want to believe the director and hope that the earlier stories are false.

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