Lagniappe: Local Documentary No Longer "Clandestine"

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This week Lagniappe Magazine’s Asia Frey shared some kind words about Clandestine while giving a shout out to film’s Mobile premiere

Managing to be both illuminating and disorienting at the same time, “Clandestine” is a rare and effective mix of authentic archival material and imagined narrative elements, creating a truly unique viewing experience. 

It’s always nice to hear from our friends at Lagniappe Magazine. Come join them in celebrating the Mobile premiere of Clandestine on April 3rd at 5pm at Bernheim Hall in the Ben May Main Library downtown. An after party will commence at the O.K. Bike Shop immediately following the screening.

REVIEW: Shorts Program 3, Docunation; A Small Mention

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Cynthia Corral, hardcore Cinequester and tireless reviewer gave Clandestine a brief mention in her review of the Shorts Program 3, Docunation.

CLANDESTINE is a narrative about the filmmaker’s father who is a shortwave hobbyist, but intertwined with a documentary about the encrypted messages used by spies, and the history of what happened to some of these spies.  It’s a 30 minute film and I found it to be fascinating and well told.  I like when documentaries teach us something, and this doc was quite interesting.

More than thankful for this review, we are especially grateful for Cynthia’s energy and dedication to Cinequest and independent film. Throughout the duration of Cinequest she watched 26 films in 11 days, and reviewed nearly all of them. She, perhaps unknowingly, was our eyes and ears to the festival.

As you may know, Gideon and I were unable to attend, but Cynthia was kind enough to answer some questions about our second screening. Nearly 100 people attended Shorts Program 3 on Saturday, March 6th. The favorites among audience members were Notes On The Other (which we screened with at IDFA) and How Green Was Our Valley; Cynthia mentioned Clandestine was one of her favorites as well.

Pre-Screening Buzz on Clandestine

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A few hours before the American premiere of Clandestine, a reviewer for Metroactive, Richard von Busack, posted a little blurb about the film:

Clandestine by Gideon Kennedy and Marcus Rosentrater is a fascinating Jay Rosenblatt-style trip down memory lane with help from the Prelinger and other archives. The mystery of sinister “number talkers” is used to contrast the secrets of the narrator’s father: he was another one of those 1950s men much better at dealing with a ham radio than with people in the room. Still: “My father was not, as they say, a member of the second oldest profession”—that is, a spy.

The directors have a big idea here: the way a covert life matches the mystery of the strange numerical codes bounced off the ionosphere by short-wave radios; in short, the father is a code that can’t be broken. There’s a trend in autobiographical indie film, in which it’s explained that a parent’s divorce is obviously the most terrible thing that ever happened in the filmmaker’s life. I don’t at all want to dismiss Clandestine as such, yet I can’t buy its equation that betraying a marriage is the same thing as betraying a country.

If you aren’t familiar with Jay Rosenblatt’s work, this is a compliment.

Clandestine Will Play At The Atlanta Film Festival

Clandestine Will Play At The Atlanta Film Festival

Clandestine Will Play at the Atlanta Film Festival

While it was a tremendous honor for Clandestine to hold its world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, one very important thing was missing: all of our friends, family and supporters. We are fortunate to say that we have supporters all around the world, but only two locations can provide us with the opportunity to gather the maximum amount of you in one place in time. One is Mobile, Alabama, and the other is Atlanta, Georgia. We are happy to announce that the latter will take place as part of the Atlanta Film Festival 2010.

The Atlanta Film Festival has been held annually for 33 years, and this year, it’s 34th, will take place on April 15th - 23rd. We don’t know yet when Clandestine will play exactly, but we are hoping for a good time slot to so you can all attend. More details can be found here as soon as we have them.

Thank you all for your lasting support; we hope to see many of you there.

Clandestine Wins Jurys Choice Selection 1st Prize

Clandestine Wins Jurys Choice Selection 1st Prize

Clandestine Wins Jury’s Choice Selection (1st Prize)

Last night, the Black Maria Film + Video Festival announced their awards and honored Clandestine with a Jury’s Choice Selection (1st Prize). Gideon and Marcus were not able to attend but will be attending some selected screenings of Clandestine across the country.

We would like to congratulate Eva Weber for taking home the Grand Prize for her film The Solitary Life of Cranes. Not only this, but we’d like to extend our compliments to Seoungho Cho, Patrick Bergeron, Joanna Priestley, Tom Gasek, Julie Zammarchi, Anthony Weeks, Ruth Peyser, Pavel Medvedev, and Kathryn Ramey who were also awarded the Jury’s Choice Selection.

This is the first award Clandestine is received, but will hopefully not be the last.

Mod Mobilian reviews "Clandestine"

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This week, Doc at Mod Mobilian wrote a kind review of Clandestine, and in doing so, has reminded us of how incredible the support from Mobile has been. The Doc says Clandestine “is not just a documentary – it is an examination of deceit and “ciphering” in familial communications as well as international espionage”. We hope this will get the town excited for the Mobile premiere of Clandestine which is soon to come.

Thanks Mobile, and thanks Doc!

Come See Clandestine At The 3rd Annual Thin Line Film Festival

Come See Clandestine At The 3rd Annual Thin Line Film Fe

Come see Clandestine at the 3rd annual Thin Line Film Festival

The Texas Premiere of Clandestine will be held on February 19th 2010 at the Fine Arts Theater in Denton, Texas as part of the Thin Line Film Festival. It will showcase as part of Shorts Compilation 1 with three other short films: Second Hand Dolls, Surviving Cupid’s Arrow, and Looking Back. The screening begins at 1pm. See the festival website for more details.

We hope to see you there!

The Thin Line Film Festival presents an environment tailored to Clandestine. The focus on the festival is to present films that blur the thin line between fact and fiction, documentary and narrative; films just like Clandestine.

Attention Abroad: Surfing on the Radio Waves

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It was pleasing to find this post on Clandestine last week by a kind stranger abroad. Tomas Goesl is a Shortwave listener and Ham Radio operator (call OK1JRA), who keeps up a website about radios and communication across the globe. It is very thorough and up to date from what I can tell (it is in the Czech language). For any reader of the Clandestine blog who is interested in the topic of shortwave, radio, and Numbers Stations, it is a good place to subscribe.

Contact has been established with Mr. Goesl through his website, and he has expressed more interest in viewing Clandestine. One possibility for this would be the 44th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival which takes place in July 2010.

So, keep your fingers crossed and tune your dials to Surfing on the Radio Waves.

Note: you can use Google Translate to translate and browse sites in foreign languages.

Here is the Mr. Goesl’s post translated by Google:

In its surfing the net I came across an interesting film. It’s such a cross between a fancy story and document the numbers stations. Film-makers have used freely available documents and information tehta stations, add the story and created a piece that would have fans tehta mysterious stations certainly not be missed. The film lasts about 34 minutes, the black and white and will have its world premiere Dec. 20 at the Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival.

Clandestine Electronic Press Kit Now Available

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You can now access our electronic press kit (EPK) from the press page of our website. Additionally you can download it directly by clicking here.

It is a work in progress that we will be constantly updating with new screenings, photographs, awards (fingers crossed), trailers, and anything that we feel might be helpful in getting the word out on Clandestine. You can always find the latest copy of it at

America Will See Clandestine in February, 3 New Festivals


Since our world premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in November, we’ve been maintaining radio silence. There were certain events that required celebration, and we took advantage of this time to suspend Clandestine activity. But this time away from the editing room has not been completely idle. Gideon and I have been following up with our new friends and operatives, working on publicity, and fielding submission invitations from festivals around the world. To date, Clandestine has been solicited by almost a dozen festivals from three different continents. While we have been greatly encouraged by the interest, we’ve been anxious knowing that the first couple of weeks of 2010 would bring official selection notices for a handful of screening opportunities. We are proud to announce that we have been accepted to three American festivals for the month of February.

Thin Line Film Festival - 3rd Year - Denton, TX
It is not typical for films to hold their country premieres at newer, smaller festivals. But the Thin Line Film Festival presents an environment tailored to Clandestine. The focus on the festival is to present films that blur the thin line between fact and fiction, documentary and narrative; films just like Clandestine. And so it is that Clandestine will hold it’s Texas Premiere at the 3rd annual Thin Line Film Festival.

Black Maria Film + Video Festival - 29th Year - Nationwide
The Black Maria Film + Video Festival is a touring festival. Once the films are selected by a jury, they are taken to over 65 venues across the United States from February until June. This will give Clandestine the opportunity to play in museums, colleges, libraries, and select theaters nationwide. Some notable past venues of the festival are the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian in Washington DC, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and Atlanta’s own Cinefest Theater. Black Maria focuses on short works that reveal an inventive, insightful, and uncommon spirit.

Cinequest Film Festival - 20th Year - San Jose, CA
Being the first major independent film festival to be held after the Academy Awards, Cinequest is a festival and institution that focuses on “The Maverick”. It serves to highlight filmmakers who are doing what others aren’t, who are breaking ground, and doing it with little resources. It is a terrific atmosphere for Clandestine to shine. We hope to see a good crowd come out to see our American Premiere at Cinequest.

The broadcast is in, and the message is clear. Festivals are viewing Clandestine as a fresh, inventive film, worth showcasing to a larger American audience. We are now at the true beginning of our festival tour. The next few months will bring nearly 15 more official selection notices. Expect regular contact. So keep your dials tuned here, or be left in the cold.

End transmission.