Gerard Amsellem has recently shared an interview with Jennifer Brodsky on her "MUST LISTEN NOW" podcast, perNYC!
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Gerard Amsellem spoke to Essex News Daily about La Cinémathèque's Israeli Film Series and the importance of quality cinema education.
"Israel is a very tiny country and we talk about Israel a lot. Since the 1980s, there have been a lot of filmmakers coming from Israel, and there are very strong films connected to everything from political affiliations to questions of existential beliefs."
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Newly returned from France, director Gerard Amsellem has been featured in another news article and a blog post. He spent the last few weeks filming interviews and locations for upcoming documentary, La Création jusqu'au bout, about the life and work of painter Bernard Réquichot.
An American wants to make a film on B. Réquichot
Caption: The director (second from the right) was welcomed by Sylvie Hersemeule, the mayor, and inhabitants.
Bernard Réquichot, who was born in Asnières in 1929, lived in the villa of Saint Gilles for many years. He is a well-known painter and writer who died in Paris in 1961. Gerard Amsellem, teacher of French and cinema in the United States, hopes to direct a 15-20 minute short film. "We got shots in the Saint Gilles villa this morning and we want to explore the places where he lived to better understand his visions," said Gerard Amsellem, who would like to find funds to direct a 52 minute documentary.
With his cameraman, he wandered and filmed the empty path of Trompe Souris. "I would like for Réquichot to get the recognition he deserves in the world of art, and I've been in touch with the painter's niece who supports the project," he added while discussing with Sylvie Hersemeule, the president of the Heritage Association. The director dreams of showing his idol's work in the USA.
On the Trail of Bernard Réquichot in Asnières-sur-Vègre
Gerard Amsellem’s visit, filmmaker and artist…
Thursday, November 11, 2015
by Pierre Sternberger for Asnières-sur-mon-blog
Translation (original here):
From 1953 to 1956, Bernard Réquichot collaborated alongside museum curator Melle Preé on the restoration of the murals in the romanesque church in Asnières-sur-Vègre.
Gerard Amsellem, filmmaker and painter, arrived in Asnières from New York on November 3, 2015, to follow the footsteps of Bernard Réquichot, painter, writer, and native of Asnières-sur-Vègre.
Ever an admirer, he has set himself to directing a documentary on the life and work of Bernard Réquichot.
After corresponding by mail between France and the USA, Sylvie Hersemeule, President of the Heritage Association of Asnières, and Jean Emile, administrator, had to organize a very short, two-day visit for Gerard Amsellem and his cameraman, Mike.
After a trip to Réquichot’s birthplace, Amsellem came to see the frescoes in the church where Jean Emile pointed out the paint under the whitewash, still visible in the choir, exposing many layers of paintings corresponding to different time periods.
Sylvie Hersemeule had organized a meeting with Jean-Pierre Bourrély, mayor, and François Beaugey and his spouse, big champions of Réquichot's memory.
A press briefing was made at the Café Associatif of Relais Saint-Hilaire in the presence of Médérie Boquet, cultural coordinator of the Manoir de la Cour.
During this time, Mike continued his location shooting all around the village.
At the end of the next morning, Paul Lesage, honorary mayor of Asnières-sur-Vègre, received Gerard at his home to speak about the Réquichot family, whom he knew well.
The Réquichot family were regular clients of the grocery that his parents kept in the Rue Principale, which wasn’t yet renamed Rue Saint-Hilaire.
Gerard Amsellem's visit was very interesting and we hope it allowed him to collect enough information and images for creating his documentary on Bernard Réquichot, his life, and his work, which will be titled “La Creation Jusqu’au Bout”.
Director Gerard Amsellem has been in France working on his latest project, La Création jusq'au bout, a documentary based on the life of painter Bernard Réquichot. While there, he and his efforts were featured in local newspapers, including a write-up in Le Main Libre and an interview with Ouest France, both on Thursday, November 5.
On the trail of the painter Réquichot
The work of Bernard Réquichot, iconic painter of the post-war era, born in Asnières-sur-Vègre in 1929, should see a little light and media coverage soon thanks to an American filmmaker, Gerard Amsellem (photo). Long passionate about the unusual life and work of this artist, Gerard Amesellem, a painter himself, follows the footsteps of Réquichot in Sarthe and Paris. Objective: to supply testimonies and images in a documentary which will soon be dedicated to him.
A film project on Bernard Réquichot
A director, based in the USA, has started shooting a documentary about the painter, born in Asnières, who inspires him.
Caption: The director (second from the right) is welcomed in a neighborhood cafe in Asnières, in the company of the mayor and locals.
He took a sabbitcal and left the United States to follow his passion: the paintings of Bernard Réquichot, who was born in Asnières and died in 1961.
Gerard Amsellem, teacher of cinema and French in a New Jersey high school, filmed shots of Asnières on Tuesday. The goal: "to direct a short film, from fifteen to twenty minutes, first and foremost," he said, a painter himself. And to carry out test shots before setting to work on a "fifty-two minute documentary on Bernard Réquichot, who was quite artistic and not very mainstream."
Notably, he filmed the house in Saint-Gilles. "It's through the exploration of the details of the man, the place he lived, that one understands the work of the artist."
Why traverse the Atlantic for such a project? "Bernard Réquichot has never had his proper recognition in the world of art." The director described himself as "impassioned".
He grew up in France and saw all the painter's expositions, whose work is now on display at the Pompidou Center in Paris. "He's someone who fascinated me. And then, one year, I was looking online, and I realized there was almost nothing on him." From there, the documentary project was born.
Gerard Amsellem got in touch with Aleth Prime, the painter's niece, who looks after his work. "She supports my project." He would like to film the depths of the artist.
All that's left is to find financial partners. "A production house in Nantes has shown interest; we're in discussion. This won't bring me any money," assured the director.
He has already shot "little films" and has "a little production house in the US." He dreams of bringing to light the work of his idol.
Jerome LE BOURSICOT
Local News-Record ran an article about Gerard and La Cinémathèque on October 1, 2015.
The article by Shanee Frazier and focuses on the current 5-part Iranian film series at La Cinémathèque, and includes background on both Gerard and Professor Hossein Hafezian. For a list of all of La Cinémathèque's upcoming events, click here.
Film Series Presents the Works of Acclaimed Iranian Directors and Provides Insights Into the Country’s Culture, Politics and People.
South Orange, New Jersey, September X, 2015 – A series of five films by acclaimed Iranian filmmakers will open Sunday, September 13th with “The Cow,” a landmark work by the celebrated director Dariush Mehrjui that premiered internationally in 1969. The complete schedule for the series includes “The Cyclist” (1987) by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, screening Oct. 4, “Close Up” (1990) by Abbas Kiarostami on November 29, “The Children of Heaven” (1997) by Majid Majidi and “The Separation” (2011) by Asghar Farhadi. Screenings for all the films begin at 2:00 pm. The location for the screenings is the Loft at South Orange Performing Arts Center in South Orange, NJ.
The Iranian film series is the latest offering of Gerard Amsellem’s “La Cinematheque Film Club that specializes in presenting extraordinary and important works of film art rarely seen in the U.S. Mr. Amsellem, an artist, filmmaker and educator who resides in South Orange personally chooses all the films, provides extensive background information and notes on each film, introduces each film and leads a discussion following each screening.
For the upcoming series Mr. Amsellem will be joined by Iranian born scholar and author Dr. Hossein Hafezian who will provide historical and cultural context for all the films. Dr. Hafezian, is uniquely qualified for this role. He received a PhD in political science from the University of Tehran in 2004 and is the author of “Women and the Revolution: The Untold Story and co-author of the “Role of Women in the Muslim Countries’ Development.” Currently Dr. Hafezian is adjunct Assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and Law at Montclair State University and an undergraduate and graduate school instructor in Middle East studies at the School of Diplomacy at Seton Hall University. From 2006 – 2010 Dr. Hafezian was chair of the Department of Political Science at Azad University in Karaj Iran.
“I’m excited to be able to bring the work of these talented and courageous directors to a wider audience,” said Gerard Amsellem, founder and director of the La Cinematheque Film Club. “With Dr. Hossein as our guide this series of films is going to be a unique event that not only explores the filmmakers’ artistic brilliance but a learning experience providing insights into the people, politics and culture of Iran.”
The cost to become a member of the film club and attend all five screenings is $65. Tickets can be purchased at the SOPAC box office, One SOPAC Way South Orange, NJ 07079. Box Office hours are 12pm – 6pm Monday through Saturday or Online at SOPACnow.org/education/filmclub. For information call 973-313-2787.
Larry Dell, LDPR, llc