Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Movie-recommendation app Filmster launches

Filmster finds the best movies on iTunes and Netflix, based on their selection by international film festivals and award ceremonies.

Cinephiles' beloved app Filmster announces the launch of Movies available on iTunes and Netflix are listed according to the awards that they won at top film competitions: Cannes Film Festival, Venice, Berlin, Toronto, Sundance, The Oscars, Césars Awards. Novelties include polls of the Greatest Movies of All Time by the magazine Sight & Sound, and TV series nominated for Emmy Awards.

Finding a good film on iTunes or Netflix can turn into an ordeal for true movie-lovers. Standard search options focus on popularity rather than quality, which often disagree. Filmster's philosophy is to offer new ways of finding the most interesting films available on iTunes and Netflix. Main search criteria are film competitions and award categories. Filmster can for example find films that won Best Director awards at the Cannes or Venice Film Festival. There are also annual top 10 lists by French magazine Cahiers du Cinéma, All Time lists by Sight & Sound, and favorite films of famous directors (Coppola, Kubrick, Scorsese, Tarantino, and more). It has never been easier to find a great movie to watch.

"Filmster allows cinephiles to discover all the movie-gems buried in the vast catalogues on iTunes and Netflix." -- Maxime Gabella, creator of Filmster

Press release

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Great movies recently added to iTunes

Here are some of the best movies that have recently appeared on the US iTunes Store (as of October 2015):

These great recent movies should be available to Rent, Buy, or Pre-Order.

Find many more delectable films on!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - find the best films on iTunes

You can now use Filmster on your computer at and find the finest movies on iTunes. If you are looking for a great movie to download and you are not satisfied with algorithmic recommendations, check out Filmster's selection, from top film festivals - Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Toronto - and from the Oscars and Césars Awards. In addition, you will find gems among the annual top 10 lists by the prestigious French review Cahiers du Cinéma, the 2012 polls by Sight&Sound for the top movies of all time, and famous directors' lists of their favorite films. is the best way to discover exciting films to watch with your friends!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cecilia Music - Best Albums on iTunes

Cecilia is the music counterpart of Filmster. It finds the best albums on iTunes and Apple Music, as selected by the Grammy Awards, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Consequence of Sound, the Gramophone Awards, Diapason d'Or, and Down Beat. There are 3000 fantastically good albums for you to discover!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cannes 2015: Jury

It was known for some time that the Coen Brothers will preside at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, and now the full list of members of the Jury has been announced. It consists of the following distinguished ladies and gentlemen:

  • Joel and Ethan Coen
  • Rossy de Palma
  • Sophie Marceau
  • Sienna Miller
  • Rokia Traoré
  • Guillermo del Toro
  • Xavier Dolan
  • Jake Gyllenhaal

Can you guess from their personalities which film will get the Palme d'Or?

It is a bit surprising to find Rokia Traoré among the Jury members, since she doesn't seem to have any obvious connections with cinema. Nevertheless, she is undoubtedly a very gifted music artist, so the organizers made a great choice. She was born in Mali but travelled most of her youth and is now London-based, if I'm not mistaken. Her influences are so broad that she passes for a Londoner musician in Mali and for a Malian musician in London. Her 2003 album Bowmboi is wonderful, and even features the renown Kronos Quartet.

Rossy de Palma will bring some Movida madness to the Jury. She performed in many movies by Pedro Almodovar, such as the hilarious Tie me up! Tie me down!

Hopefully Sophie Marceau will be less stressed out than in 1999 when she delivered a speech that went down in history as a masterpiece of vacuity and awkwardness.

It's fantastic that the organizers also chose the remarkably talented Canadian director Xavier Dolan. Although he's only 26, he is already very accomplished, and won the Jury Prize last year for Mommy. Actually he shared it with none other than Jean-Luc Godard for Goodbye to Language!

Given the energy and freshness of this Jury, I wouldn't be surprised if the Palme d'Or went to László Nemes for his first film Saul Fia (Son of Saul). I don't think this ever happened in the history of Cannes Film Festival.

Note also that the delightful Isabella Rossellini will be the president of the Un Certain Regard Jury. Will she favor some Green Porno?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Official Selection for Cannes 2015

The Official Selection for the 2015 Cannes Film Festival has been announced today!
Discover it on the Festival's website. There's a lot of goodies.

Some well-established directors are in competition, such as Nanni Moretti, who won the Palme d'Or in 2001 for The Son's Room (La stanza del figlio), Gus Van Sant, who won it in 2003 for Elephant, and Hou Hsiao-Hsien who has been in competition six times and won the Jury Prize in 1993 for The Puppetmaster. But there is also a lot of newcomers, and in particular the Hungarian László Nemes, who was the assistant of Bela Tarr, with his first film, Saul Fia (Son of Saul).

Woody Allen will present Irrational Man out of competition.

Friday, April 10, 2015

How to stream a movie from your iPhone to your Apple TV using AirPlay

Filmster exists as an iPhone app which allows you to find the cream of the cream among the movies on iTunes. Once you find a movie that you want to watch, you can buy or rent it, but does that mean that you will have to watch it on your iPhone? I don't think that David Lynch would approve...

Fortunately, Apple recently made it possible to transfer an iTunes Store purchase from an iPhone (or other iOS device) to a computer. Even easier: you can just re-download the purchase on the computer thanks to iCould. This makes a lot of sense.

But there is an even cooler option. If you're the lucky owner of an Apple TV (only $69), you can stream the movie from your iPhone to your TV screen. For this, you simply use AirPlay, which can be activated from the Control Center (swipe up from the bottom of your screen).

So there is no need to transfer or re-download your movie, it just plays smoothly and wirelessly on your TV!

Now you can really watch Mulholland Drive without pissing off its genius director.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

2015 Cannes Film Festival: Coen brothers

The 68th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will be held from 13 to 24 May 2015. For the first time the President of the Jury will be bicephalic [only one "l"!] in the person of the Coen brothers, namely Joel (60) and Ethan (57). If we also add "Roderick Jaynes," the alias under which they edit their films, we get to the picture of a three-headed dog that will defend the imaginary world of cinema just like Cerberus was guarding the entrance of the Greek underworld (drawing by William Blake, 1824-1827).

It is quite remarkable that two individuals collaborate so well together and so persistently that they end up being known primarily as a unique composite entity. In fact, such a close collaboration seems to require also some consanguinity. The only counter-example that I can think of is the Straub-Huillet duo of filmmakers, but then they were married. The prominence of the duo apparently even transcends death, since the films directed by Jean-Marie Straub since the death of Danièle Huillet in 2006 are still part of its filmography on the French Wikipedia. (Other collaborative couples in art include the duo of photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher, or with the duo of artists Gilbert & George.) It is easier to find examples of cinematic brothers: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (Palme d'Or for Rosetta in 1999 and again for L'Enfant (The Child) in 2005), Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (Palme d'Or for Padre Padrone (Father and Master) in 1977 and Golden Bear for Caesar Must Die in 2012), or even the Wachowski "brothers" (The Matrix). See more brothers here.

A natural explanation for the ubiquity of cinema duos could be searched in the transdisciplinarity inherent to filmmaking. The creation of a movie involves a relatively large number of diverse activities, from screenwriting to production, from direction to editing. It's a tantalising task for a single creator to succeed in achieving a satisfactory level of involvement in all these aspects of filmmaking. So it clearly helps to be more than one for that. But then why so specifically brothers, and not simply friends of colleagues? The thing is that in order for the collaboration to work, the vision for the movie, the creative source must coincide precisely in the minds of the two directors. This is obviously very hard to achieve: we have no means to directly communicate images from mind to mind, and language cannot transmit the true essence of a cinematic vision (it can indeed be argued that cinema is a genuine art inasmuch as it is able to convey more than language). Then it makes sense that successful duos of filmmakers consists of partners that not only happen to have affinities, but moreover developed their sensitivities together, just like brothers with the same passion would.
The close relation between cinema and childhood makes it probable that children reinforce each other's fascination.

A similar argument would be to consider the idea that a good film needs to be rich, in the sense that it should constitute a synthesis of broad array of perspectives on several level: emotional, intellectual, sensual, etc. And again it is certainly simpler to achieve this breadth when one has more than one heart and spirit. It is interesting to notice that both Ethan Coen and Luc Dardenne did not study film or drama like their brothers, but rather philosophy. This might have helped their respective duos to produce films with considerable existential width.

Final scene of A Serious Man (2009)

We could however go further and wonder if there is not something deeper in the relation between brotherhood and cinema. Just remember that the first filmmakers in history were none other than the brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière!

Of course, there is nothing surprising at the end of the XIXth century for two brothers to end up working together in their father's firm. Many if not most businesses were family businesses at the time. Is there more to it? Did the fact that the first (true) motion picture, Sortie de l'usine Lumière de Lyon (1895), was created by brothers set a precedent in the subconscious history of cinema?

PS: serendipitously, this first motion picture ever was shot exactly 120 years before the publication of this post!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Toronto International Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is North America's most popular film festival. Each year hundreds of carefully selected films from all over the world are screened in a variety of programmes. TIFF is non-competitive, which means that there is no jury. The audiences vote for their favourite movies and the movie with the highest rating receives the People's Choice Award.

The next version of Filmster will contain almost 600 films that were shown at TIFF since 2000. For concreteness, the films are taken from the two most important programmes: Gala Presentation (major movies), and Masters (art-house filmmakers). The names of the awards have been standardised, so that Best Film corresponds to the People's Choice Award, and Best Director to the First Runner Up. The Midnight Madness Award and Documentary Award are also sometimes included.

As a preview, here are the films that were selected in the Masters Programme in 2014:

  • 1001 Grams by Bent Hamer
  • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence by Roy Andersson
  • The Face of an Angel by Michael Winterbottom
  • Foreign Body by Krzysztof Zanussi
  • The Golden Era by Ann Hui
  • Goodbye to Language by Jean-Luc Godard
  • Hill of Freedom by Hong Sang-soo
  • Leviathan by Andrey Zvyagintsev
  • Murder in Pacot by Raoul Peck
  • Revivre by Im Kwon-taek
  • The Tale of Princess Kaguya by Isao Takahata
  • Timbuktu by Abderrahmane Sissako
  • Trick or Treaty? by Alanis Obomsawin
  • Winter Sleep by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Filmster 1.1: Video Preview

Version 1.1 of Filmster is waiting for review on iTunes Connect.

Here's already a video preview of it:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Facebook page for Filmster

There is now a brand new Facebook page for Filmster.
Go there, like it, share it, do what people do on FB!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oscars 2015

The winners of The Oscars 2015, or 87th Academy Awards, will be included in the next version of Filmster. The nominees for Best Picture are

  • Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu

The winners of the most important Awards are

  • Best Film:    Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu
  • Best Director:    Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu
  • Best Actress:    Julianne Moore -- Still Alice, Richard Glatzer
  • Best Screenplay:    Birdman, Alejandro González Iñárritu
  • Best Foreign Language Film:    Ida, Paweł Pawlikowski

Twelve years is a long time for a Best Supporting Actress Award, isn't it?
At least 12 Years a Slave got Best Picture...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

César Awards

A great addition to Filmster would be the films selected for the César Awards, the French equivalent of the Academy Awards in the United States.

The 40th César Awards ceremony took place on 20 February 2015 in Paris. The following films were nominated for Best Film:

The winners of the most important awards are

  • Best Film:    Timbuktu, Abderrahmane Sissako
  • Best Director:    Timbuktu, Abderrahmane Sissako
  • Best Actress:    Adèle Haenel -- Love at First Fight (Les Combattants), Thomas Cailley
  • Best Screenplay:    Timbuktu, Abderrahmane Sissako

Timbuktu also won Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Sound, and Best Music, totalising seven awards!

Congratulations to Adèle Haenel, who seems to have a remarkably original personality.
See also her interview at UniversCiné.

Pierre Niney gave a vibrant speech, stressing the necessity to have in France a "youth that dreams" ("une jeunesee qui rêve") thank to the "benevolence" of the established artists. At age 25, he is the youngest recipient of the César Award for Best Actor (since 2010, he is also the youngest member of the Comédie-Française). His performance in 20 Ans d'Ecart was splendid. But above all, I would warmly recommend Casting(s), the hilarious short tv series that he co-created. Episode 1.14 MC Clash: Biopic d'un rappeur is a masterpiece of ridiculousness. Watch also Avalanche with the very funny Laurent Lafitte.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Press Release for Filmster 1.0

[] Lausanne, Switzerland - Independent developer, Maxime Gabella today is proud to introduce Filmster for iOS devices. The app searches iTunes for films that were in competition at top international film festivals---Cannes, Venice, Berlin---and at the Oscars. It creates a list of available films specifying the awards that they won. All film enthusiasts can benefit from this quick and enlightened way to find gold on iTunes.

Looking for a good movie on iTunes can turn into a challenging experience. The homepage is flooded with movies sorted by release date or genre, but only very few of them are genuinely interesting. The "Bestsellers" are promoted blindly, regardless of their (dubious) quality. Even though it is not possible to use it in the search, some qualitative information is provided by the "Ratings." However, they are averaged over many contributors, which dilutes their critical relevance.

Filmster is designed to boost iTunes search engine. It relies on film festivals and award ceremonies, whose vocation is precisely to select the most exciting films in the world. The user can choose between four major events: Cannes, Venice, Berlin Film Festivals, and The Oscars. The search can be refined with the categories of awards and the years (1981-2014). Filmster then generates a list of films satisfying these criteria, and tapping on one of them redirects to the iTunes Store in the user's country (adjustable in the Parameters). Just like in gold panning, dull films spilled out and only the gold remains!

"Quantitative classifications by bestsellers, popularity, or average ratings do not accurately reflect the quality of the films they are promoting. It makes much more sense to trust specific cinema experts to select truly fascinating films," said Maxime Gabella, creator of Filmster.

Upcoming versions of Filmster will involve more festivals (Toronto, Sundance, Tribeca, and more) and more award ceremonies (BAFTA, Cesar), as well as top-film lists by celebrated directors.

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
* Requires iOS 8.1 or later
* Size: 1.0 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Filmster 1.0 is free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Entertainment category. The app works best with iTunes Stores in English or other European languages. 

Independent developer, Maxime Gabella is based in Lausanne, Switzerland. All Material and Software (C) Copyright 2015 Maxime Gabella. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other trademarks and registered trademarks may be the property of their respective owners.

Press release at

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Filmster: description

Filmster is an iOS app about prestigious films that were selected by international film festivals and award ceremonies. Filmster is currently adapted for iPhone (4S or later) and iPad.

The concept is very simple. You filter films according to the events that selected them and the awards that they won. Filmster then finds the corresponding films that are available on your iTunes Store.

Here's a short Video Preview:

You can choose between four important Events:

You can then select the categories of Awards that most interest you:
  • Best Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Actress
  • Best Actor
  • Best Screenplay
  • All awards
  • All films in competition
The names of the awards have been homogenized. For example, the category "Best Film" corresponds to the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) in Cannes, the Leone d'Oro (Golden Lion) in Venice, the Goldener Bär (Golden Bear) in Berlin, and the Best Picture at The Oscars.

The category "All awards" includes not only all the awards above, but also some special awards.
The category "All films in competition" includes all the films that were selected or nominated, whether they won an award or not.

You can also adjust the Years of the events: from 2014 back to 1981 for Cannes and The Oscars, and to 2000 for Venice and Berlin. This represents a total of about 1500 films.

Filmster then creates a list of films satisfying your criteria and searches for them on your iTunes Store. The films that are found are highlighted by an image and a small iTunes badge, while the films that are not found turn gray. Tapping on the row of a highlighted film redirects you to its page on your iTunes Store, where you can buy or rent it.

A word of caution is in order here. Even though Filmster is extremely accurate in its search, it is not entirely perfect. There are two types of potential issues. Firstly, a film that is available on iTunes may be missing from the results given by Filmster. This is most often explained by the fact that the title of the film is given in a translated form on iTunes (Filmster's database only contains the original title and the English title), or by the absence of the director's name. Secondly, in rare cases there can be a mismatch between the film listed in the results and the film that was searched for. If you find such a mismatch, it would be very helpful if you could notify us.

In the Parameters, you can select the Country of your iTunes Store. The default country is USA. For the reasons just mentioned, the search works best for iTunes Stores in English-speaking countries, but it also works very well in most European languages. For other languages the search is incomplete. There is also a Contact Us button, which allows you to send feedback on Filmster.

We hope you find Filmster useful and enjoy many beautiful films!

Credit lines:
Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. iTunes is for legal or right holder-authorized copying only. Don't steal music.