Motherless Brooklyn (Norton, 2019):USA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Viewed as part of the 46th Telluride Film Festival at the Palm Theatre. Motherless Brooklyn, a crime, drama film noir throwback by Edward Norton, tells the story of a gum shoe detective with Tourettes Syndrome, a disorder characterized by involuntary tics, investigating the death of his boss, mentor and adoptive father figure, Frank Minnis, played by Bruce Willis. Edward Norton wrote, directed, starred and produced the film.

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Edward Norton in Warner Brothers Pictures MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. (Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)

 

A passion project twenty years in the making, Motherless Brooklyn, attempts to re-imagine the famed film noir era. While most noir films were black and white, Norton chose to showcase his work in color. And with a cast including Leslie Mann, Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Bobby Cannavale, Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe, I can certainly understand and appreciate his decision with the film’s colorful characters. Norton’s performance as Lionel Essrog, the Touretted detective, reminded me of Norton’s Oscar nominated performance as Roy/Aaron in the 1996 crime drama, Primal Fear. It’s every bit as impressive though seemingly carries a lighter psychological heft.

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Alec Baldwin, left, and Edward Norton in Warner Brothers Pictures MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. (Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)

In Motherless Brooklyn, Lionel finds his legs in the world of detective investigations after the death/murder of his boss/mentor and adoptive father figure, Frank Minna. Driven to find the truth, Lionel navigates various scenes and worlds of New York City in the 1950’s with a rock-hard determination as the film’s peripheral characters are uninterested in who killed Frank Minna. Rather, each character has his or her selfish interests to pursue. Lionel, on the other hand, is steadfast and goes to any lengths to pursue the truth going so far as to impersonate a prominent and well-known New York Times newspaper reporter.

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Edward Norton in Warner Brothers Pictures MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. (Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)

Norton’s character, Lionel, carries the film from start to finish. Utilizing a traditional, signature noir element, the narrative voice-over, Lionel fills the audience in on background elements as the film dives, reminiscent of Roman Polanski’s Chinatown, into a world of gangland violence and shady real estate deals within a flourishing underground entertainment scene.

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Gugu Mbatha-Raw, left, and Edward Norton in Warner Brothers Pictures MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. (Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)

Several other aspects of the film push the work into the apex of top films. The film’s musical score by Daniel Pemberton takes a seat with the Miles Davis score in Elevator to the Gallows. Wynton Marsalis and Michael K. Williams deliver an astonishing, melodic trumpeting as Lionel and Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s character, Laura, a community, housing fairness activist, share a heartfelt, tender moment. The costuming from Amy Roth,  the cast of characters by Avy Kaufman and production design from Beth Mickle qualify the film as a solid period piece set in the 1950’s New York City. And while the mise-en-scene appears simple, it works magically with the calm, cool, polished voice-over narrative of a retrospective Lionel. Interestingly, Norton collaborated heavily with two-time Oscar nominee, Cinematographer Dick Pope.

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Edward Norton, right, and Willem Dafoe, center, in Warner Brothers Pictures MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. (Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures)

Granted, with a A-list cast of Hollywood actors, Norton’s directorial work would seem to be a walk in the park. Yet, Norton not only directed the film, he also played the lead role adapting the Jonathan Lethem prize-winning novel of the same name to the screen, and was a major producing partner.

With a run time of 144 minutes, Motherless Brooklyn, comes in on time. Some editing and production choices allowed an emotional peek into the “broken brain” of Lionel and his coming to terms with his Tourettes that some viewers might find unsettling. Undoubtedly, the film, a Warner Brothers Picture production, is a vehicle for Edward Norton to showcase his talents. Yet, it also sheds light on a ruthless period in the urban planning of New York City providing an illumination into today’s socio-economic/political environment. Highly recommended.

 

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Ford v Ferrari (Mangold, 2019):USA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Viewed as part of the 46th Telluride Film Festival at the Werner Herzog Theatre, Ford v Ferrari (titled Le Mans ’66 in the UK and other destinations), directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line), tells the story of two obsessive artists, Matt Damon as car designer, Carroll Shelby, and Christian Bale as race car driver, Ken Miles, clashing and teaming up to build the world’s fastest race car after a verbal slight by Enzo Ferrari, owner of the then dominant Ferrari Formula One race car, towards Henry Ford II, proud Chairman of the Ford Motor Company.

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Matt Damon in Twentieth Century Fox’s FORD V. FERRARI. (Photo Credit: Merrick Morton TM and © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.)

The film is driven almost exclusively by the powerful relationship dynamic of two strongly convicted characters who know how to win and have the will to do whatever it takes to do so – even going as far as paying the ultimate price for the love and exhilaration of the race car. Director Mangold skillfully manages the competing personalities not only of the film’s lead characters but also the egos and ambitions of the peripheral players from Ford as the managerial layers come to bear on the project.

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Christian Bale in Twentieth Century Fox’s FORD V. FERRARI. (Photo Credit: Merrick Morton TM and © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Complete with a dizzying array of tightly-framed close-ups of Bales’ character, Miles, behind the wheel, the audience is treated to a smiling, charismatic professional race car driver as he handles and brings to fruition a winning racing machinery with grace and expertise with mesmerizing cinematography from Phedon Papamichael (Nebraska, Walk the Line). Meanwhile, Damon crushes his “good ‘ol boy” Shelby character, often cutting the Ford Motor Company executives off in mid-stream as his self-determination to make the world’s fastest car becomes an obsession.

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Christian Bale in Twentieth Century Fox’s FORD V. FERRARI. (Photo Credit: Merrick Morton TM and © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.)

One aspect of filmmaking often overlooked by moviegoers is the sound and the role it plays in augmenting the film’s emotional intent. With Ford v Ferrari, Sound Designer Ted Wilkinson, turns the onscreen car racing world into a virtual spin with an exceptional soundtrack putting the viewer into the driver’s seat of race car driving including several live pit stops in the heat of the LeMans ’66 racing competition.

And while Bale and Damon garner most of the screen time, four-time Golden Globe nominee, Caitrione Balfe (Outlander), keeps both lead characters in check as the boys wind up in fisticuffs as they struggle to make their shared dream a reality. In addition, Noah Jupe (A Quiet Place) carries a load as Peter Miles, Bales’ character, Ken Miles’ adoring son. Steady actor, Josh Lucas, delivers a strong performance as Leo Beebe, the Ford executive who, in trying to maintain a wholesome image for the motor company, almost single-handedly derails the project. Tracy Letts embodies the character of Henry Ford II in more than one memorable scene.

Ford v Ferrari has a fast run time of 152 minutes and is a family-friendly film produced by Chernin Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox (now owned by Disney). The release date is scheduled for November 15, 2019, putting the film right in the heart of the Oscar race. A must-see film, I highly recommend Ford v Ferrari be experienced with an advanced cinema sound system. You’ll be glad you did!

An important note: Through a long-term partnership with a goal of creating extraordinary film experiences, Meyer Sound and the Telluride Film Festival have collaborated to bring a custom designed Meyer Sound cinema sound system to a few of the festival major venues, including the Werner Herzog Theatre.

*Featured photo: Matt Damon and Christian Bale in Twentieth Century Fox’s FORD V. FERRARI. Photo Credit: Merrick Morton TM and © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

 

JUDY (Goold, 2019):USACAPOC

Posted by Larry Gleeson.

Viewed at the Werner Herzog Theatre as a part of the 46th Telluride Film Festival, Judy, directed by Rupert Goold (True Story), screen written by Tom Edge, and starring Renee Zellwegger (Chicago, Bridget Jones Diary, Jerry Maguire) made its world premiere, Saturday, August 31st, 2019, in Telluride, Colorado.

Renee Zellwegger’s performance as Judy Garland is not only spot-on as she brings out the humanity of one of America’s showbiz icons dealing with an overbearing Hollywood industry, conniving husbands and a overwhelming desire for normalcy, it is also heartfelt and disciplined as Zellwegger captures the spirit and tenacity of Garland’s stage persona and her withering attempts in living life on life’s terms.

Set in the winter months of 1968, showbiz legend Judy Garland arrives in Swinging London to perform a five-week, sold-out run at The Talk of the Town, formerly known as the London Hippodrome Theatre and Restaurant. It has been 30 years since Garland shot to global stardom in The Wizard of Oz and while her voice may have weakened, its dramatic intensity has only grown. As Garland prepares for the show, she battles with management, charms musicians and reminisces with friends and adoring fans. All the while, her wit and warmth shine brilliantly through the camera lens. Makeup and hair designer Jeremy Woodhead earns his pay and then some as Zellwegger’s likeness is uncanny – a real “spit n’ image” if there ever was one!

Director Goold cut his teeth directing stage performances and in creating the film Judy, adapts a musical, “End of the Rainbow,” dealing with a similar time frame of Garland’s career – stands to reason the most powerful scenes are those with Zellweger on stage performing as Judy Garland. Cinematogapher Ole Bratt Birkeland adds some crafty work here as well. Despite not singing onscreen since her performance in Chicago, Zellwegger’s voice in these moments themselves make the film truly extraordinary. Moreover, Goold adds a theatrical vision to his flashbacks of Garlands early years as a child performer under the auspices of an imposing studio head in the from of movie mogul, Luis B. Mayer that are surreal and disturbing to the sensibilities and lend credibility to Garland’s pill and alcohol addiction.

As the film delves into the dreamlike (nightmarish) flashbacks of Garland’s childhood-crushing experiences at the hands Mayer, Garland continues to forge forward with her London tour determined to regain custody of her children while her dreams of love seem undimmed as she embarks on a whirlwind romance with Mickey Deans, her soon-to-be fifth husband, all the while seeking to protect and raise her children.

Featuring some of Judy Garland’s best-known songs, the film celebrates the voice, the capacity for love, and the sheer pizzazz of “the world’s greatest entertainer.” Gabriel Yared handles the quiet, heartbreaking score while Zellwegger delivers stirring, moving Garland musical performances evoking an awareness of a thought, “Is this live or Memorex?” Hats off to Renee Zellwegger, the sound team and Adrian Bell (sound mixer).

Judy is set to be released into theatres September 27th, and is a highly recommended film.

 

JUDY Q&A
Judy Director, Rupert Goold, explains his directorial style during a Q & A following a screening at the Werner Herzog Theatre in Telluride, Colo., on September 1, 2019. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)
*Featured Photo: Renée Zellweger, Bella Ramsey and Lewin Lloyd in JUDY (Photo credit: David Hindley Courtesy of LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions)

The Heartland International Film Festival announces selections for 28th edition (October 10-20)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Marielle Heller’s A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD is
the Opening Night selection, Destin Daniel Cretton’s JUST MERCY
is the Closing Night choice, Noah Baumbach’s MARRIAGE STORY
takes the Centerpiece Screening slot, and Fernando Meirelles’
THE TWO POPES will be the Showcase Screening

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PRESS RELEASE

Indianapolis, IN (September 18, 2019) – The Heartland International Film Festival announced the official selections for its 28th edition, taking place October 10-20. Four top-tier titles expected to be major awards players this year have been secured for each of the gala slots for this year’s edition of the film festival, and a number of attention-getting films will join them as Heartland takes another major step toward being a leader on the regional circuit. Marielle Heller’s Tom Hanks-starrer A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD was chosen as the Opening Night Gala film, and Destin Daniel Cretton’s JUST MERCY will screen as the Closing Night Gala selection. Noah Baumbach’s MARRIAGE STORY is set to be the Centerpiece Screening, and Fernando Meirelles’ THE TWO POPES will be the Showcase Screening.

MARRIAGE STORY, THE TWO POPES

Nine films will make their world premieres, including; Julie Sokolow’s BAREFOOT: THE MARK BAUMER STORY; Brian Presley’s THE GREAT ALASKAN RACE; Aaron McCann and Dominic Pearce’s KOKO: A RED DOG STORY; Nate James Bakke’s MAN CAMP; Jason Mac’s THE OLDMAN AND THE POND; Chateaubriand Bezerra, Michael Basha, Sarah Gross, Reeyaz Habib, Sade Clacken Joseph, Julia Kennedy, Maria De Sanctis, Christina Jun, and Sohil Vaidya’s
SAMIR; Stephen Edwards’ SYNDROME K; Ashton Gleckman’s WE SHALL NOT DIE NOW; and Skyler Lawson’s WHELM.

Among the 7 films making their U.S. premieres at the Heartland International Film Festival this year will be; Carlye Rubin and Katie Green’s 1275 DAYS; Dani Tenenbaum’s A NEW CHRISTMAS; Bill Crossland’s CATCHING UP; Vivienne Kernick and Kirsty Griffin’s HOUSE OF CHAMPIONS; Rebecca Panian’s LOVERS; Anjali Bhushan’s MY HOME INDIA; and Nora Fingscheidt’s SYSTEM CRASHER (Systemsprenger).

As it continues the robust growth the film festival has exhibited in the last couple of years, Heartland International Film Festival has nearly doubled the number of films to be screened this year in comparison to last year, showcasing more than 210 films (182 features, 28 shorts) representing 43 countries, and will hand out cash prizes totaling more than $60,000 at the conclusion of the film festival

“We could not be more excited about what’s in store for this year’s Heartland International Film Festival and welcome filmgoers to explore our bold cinematic space,” said Craig Prater, Heartland Film President. “From award contenders, premieres, stars, and sensational events, Heartland is proud to be able to represent this important art form on such an international scale here in Indiana.”

Heller’s A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD stars Tom Hanks as the iconic and beloved Mr. Rogers in the film based on the real life meeting and subsequent friendship that developed between Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. The film is already a certified crown-pleaser following its debut at the Toronto Film Festival and will open Heartland, screening at Newfields on Thursday, October 10.

Destin Daniel Cretton’s JUST MERCY will serve as the Closing Night Gala selection, screening at Newfields on Sunday, October 20 at Newfields. The film follows the history-making battle for justice undertaken by world-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson concerning the case of a condemned death row prisoner whom he fought to free. Starring Academy Award Winners Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson, in addition to Michael B. Jordan.

On Wednesday, October 16 a Newfields, Noah Baumbach’s MARRIAGE STORY has been selected as this year’s Centerpiece Screening. The film is an incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together with an incredible star-driven cast including Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta.

The following evening, Thursday, October 17 (also at Newfields), Fernando Meirelles’ THE TWO POPES takes this year’s Showcase screening slot. The film features two powerhouse actors, Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, as the traditionalist Pope Benedict and the reformist future Pope Francis, who face an uncomfortable task of finding common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.

Additional special events include the previously announced Pioneering Spirit: Life Achievement Award presentations to Michael Apted (prior to a screening of his film, 63 UP), and Cloris Leachman (via taped acceptance prior to a screening of her latest film, WHEN LAST WE SPOKE). Also previously announced, Brendan Fraser will come to Heartland for a special film retrospective including a 20th Anniversary screening of his blockbuster hit, THE MUMMY, which will include a Q&A with Deadline Hollywood’s Chief Film Critic Pete Hammond.

Adding to Heartland’s Anniversary screening series, will be two more special events: A 40th Anniversary presentation of Peter Yates’ classic Indiana-favorite film, BREAKING AWAY will take place at Newfields on Saturday, October 19 with the star of the film, Dennis Christopher in attendance. A 50th Anniversary presentation of John Schlesinger’s Academy Award Best Picture winner MIDNIGHT COWBOY will take pace at AMC Castleton Square on Tuesday, October 15. Photographer Michael Childers scheduled to attend and add some behind-the-scenes details with a moderated Q&A hosted by Longtime Palm Springs Desert Sun arts reporter Bruce Fessier.

THE GARDEN LEFT BEHIND, GREENER GRASS

This year’s Narrative Finalists, vying for Heartland’s $25,000 Grand Prize, include; Tom Quinn’s COLEWELL, featuring a startling dramatic turn by Karen Allen as a woman facing an unexpected retirement as her small town post office is slated for closure; Flavio Alves’ THE GARDEN LEFT BEHIND, winner of a number of awards, including Best of Fest at the Bentonville Film Festival, the film follows the relationship between a young trans woman and her grandmother, as they struggle to build a life for themselves as undocumented immigrants in New York City; Jocelyn DeBoer, and Dawn Luebbe’s twisted comedy GREENER GRASS
set in a surreal suburban neighborhood where every adult engages in more and more bizarre behavior in a competition for acceptance; Timothy Busfield’s GUEST ARTIST, which stars Jeff Daniels as a legendary but troubled playwright, who arrives at a small Michigan town at Christmastime to mount his latest play; and Bora Kim’s HOUSE OF HUMMINGBIRD, which focuses on a lonely 14-year-old, Eun-hee who feels a new teacher may really understand her.
FOR SAMA, JUMP SHOT

The Documentary Film Finalists, also in competition for a $25,000 Grand Prize, include; Davy Rothbart’s 17 BLOCKS about a Washington, D.C. family, who began to film their daily lives in America’s most dangerous neighborhood — just 17 blocks behind the U.S. Capitol building; Jenifer McShane’s ERNIE & JOE, an intimate portrait of two Texas police officers who are helping change the way police respond to mental health calls; Waad Al-Khateab, and Edward Watts’s FOR SAMA, a video love letter from a young mother to her daughter, which tells the story of her life through five years of the uprising in Aleppo; Jacob Hamilton’s JUMP SHOT, which looks at the inspiring true story of Kenny Sailors, the developer of the modern day jump shot in basketball; and Irene Taylor Brodsky’s MOONLIGHT SONATA: DEAFNESS IN THREE MOVEMENTS, a deeply personal memoir about a deaf boy growing up, and his deaf grandfather growing old.

IN FABRIC, WAVES, PARASITE

Additional highlights among the jam-packed schedule dotted with award-winners, hot film festival titles, and the film festival’s first stab at horror include; Ben Berman’s THE AMAZING JOHNATHAN DOCUMENTARY, which begins following the final tour of a dying magician – and becomes an unexpected and increasingly bizarre journey; Chinonye Chukwu’s CLEMENCY, A Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance, which stars Alfre Woodard as a prison warden confronting the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill; Peter Strickland’s surreal and frightening haunted dress story, IN FABRIC, marks the Heartland’s first dedicated foray into programming horror and genre films; Nadav Lapid’s SYNONYMS a Golden Bear winner at the Berlin Film Festival, about a young Israeli man attempting to start fresh in Paris with the aid of his French-language dictionary; and two major buzz-worthy titles with; WAVES, Trey Edwards Shults’s latest, about two young couples navigating the emotional minefield of growing up and falling in love; and Bong Joon Ho’s PARASITE, about an unemployed family that takes peculiar interest in a wealthy and glamorous family for their livelihood until they get entangled in an unexpected incident. The film was the winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Film festival passes and tickets are on-sale now. For more information, go to: http://heartlandfilmfestival.org.

The Assistant (Green, 2019):USA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Viewed as part of the 46th Telluride Film Festival at the Werner Herzog Theatre.

Written and directed by Kitty Green (Casting JonBenet, The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul), The Assistant from Cinereach and Forensic Films, tells the story of Jane, a talented young production office assistant for a powerful corporate studio head. Actress Julia Garner (Ozark) portrays the young assistant freshly out of college and new to the industry. Other cast members included stars Matthew Macfadyen, Juliana Canfield, Kristine Froseth, Jon Orsini, Dagmara Domińczyk, Makenzie Leigh, Noah Robbins, and Purva Bedi.

The film follows a day in the life of an office assistant as Director Green allows the camera to capture the mundane tasks undertaken from preparing the coffee maker to ensuring the correct number of designer water bottles are readied for an upcoming visit. As the day progresses, an angry wife calls in and the assistant is passed the call. Despite suggestions from her co-workers to assuage the wife with a plausible meeting occupying the executives time, the assistant goes her own way offering no excuse fro the executives absence leading to a blistering rebuke from the executive over the telephone. This happens again later in the day and the executive takes an interest in the assistant telling her he will make her great.

A visit to the human resource office to explain the executive’s actions including flying a beautiful young waitress in from Idaho and putting the waitress up at a posh New York City hotel and handing her a production office assistant position for which the waitress has no clue in how to do. The human resource director stonewalls the assistant’s efforts and reminds her that she is new and needs to learn from the experience if she wants a career in the industry. A supermodel shows up to retrieve an ear ring lost inside a hotel room couch under the executive’s name. All this happens on the assistant’s father’s birthday who she eventually calls from a dingy coffee shop near the office. All in a day’s work.

Undoubtedly, Green was inspired by the media frenzy surrounding the Weinstein Company and the Harvey Weinstein meltdown as the studio executive’s past actions were brought into the public eye. Interestingly, Green tangentially allows the viewer to experience the uncomfortableness from an office assistant’s point of view who has aspirations of being a film producer. Shot in darker tones and at times in a chiaroscuro palette, Cinematographer Michael Latham captures the claustrophobic and stifling atmosphere of the work space. Fletcher Chancey handled the production design with John Arnos steering the art direction. In addition, Tamar-kali composed an original score for the film.

The Assistant, with a short run time of 85 minutes, is an underscored character study that speaks volumes of the degradation and abuse that occurred inside and outside the studio executive’s workplace. Green makes a statement providing the viewer with an introspective experience of the clammy and dank office atmospheric of a powerful studio executive driving a runaway locomotive. Warmly recommended.

 

AFI AWARDS 2019 Call for Submission and Dates

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Honorees Announced December 4

Outstanding Achievements in Film and TV Celebrated
at Invitation-Only Luncheon on January 3, 2020

Recognizing the year’s most outstanding achievements in the art of the moving image, AFI AWARDS is the American Film Institute’s annual stamp of excellence — celebrating works of significance in both film and television. Submissions for AFI AWARDS 2019 are now being accepted at www.afi.com/afi-awards-submissions/ through Thursday, October 17. Honorees will be announced on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. An invitation-only luncheon celebrating the honorees will follow on Friday, January 3, 2020. AFI is proud to have Audi return as an Official Sponsor of AFI AWARDS.

Favored by artists and entertainment executives for its intimacy and collaborative recognition, the annual gathering is the only form of national appreciation that honors the creative ensemble as a whole — those in front of and behind the camera — and is popular with honorees because there are no winners or losers.

Marking its 20th year as part of the American Film Institute’s ongoing record of excellence within the creative community, AFI AWARDS honorees are selected by a jury comprised of experts, including film and television artists, critics, scholars and AFI Trustees.

Film/Television Submission Deadline: October 17, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. PST
Honorees Announced: December 4, 2019
AFI AWARDS 2019 Luncheon: January 3, 2020

See you there!

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(Source: AFI Press release)

The Aeronauts (Harper, 2019):USA

Posted by Larry Gleeson.

Amazon Studios presented Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in their newest film to an at capacity audience for the world premiere of The Aeronauts, written and directed by Tom Harper, at the 46th Telluride Film Festival at the Werner Herzog Theatre, August 30th, 2019. Set in 1862 London, Redmayne plays an weather scientist, James Glashier (pronounced like glacier) trying to gain the respect of his peers by attempting to establish a new discipline, meteorology, to predict weather patterns while Jones plays a well-to-do, wealthy, entertainer-adventuress, widower, Amelia Wren, dealing with the recent, tragic loss of her husband. What starts out a rather pleasant balloon ride with much fanfare – bringing to mind The Greatest Showman – turns into an epic journey with visual effects reminiscent of the Oscar-winning (7) film Gravity.

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Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in THE AERONAUTS Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Studios

As their ascent continues the tension between the Glashier and Wren mounts with intimate truths of each of their lives revealed. Redmayne and Jones are at their best here complementing and treating each other with the utmost respect. But not all in the air is cotton candy and marmalade skies as the elements and weather extract a magnificent toll on the balloonists as they venture ever higher as Glashier insists on continuing his weather readings and documentation while Wren sounds verbal warnings while lending a supporting hand that culminates in death-defying actions that allow the journey to continue with both lives in tact.

The Aeronauts is a fun film with adept visual effects and crafty make-up. Redmayne and Jones’s chemistry hasn’t missed a beat since they teamed up in the intimate relationship film, Theory of Everything, with Redmayne playing famous physicist, Stephen Hawking, with Jones portraying his wife, Jane. In addition, the special effects of rain, hail and snow pummeling the balloon are quite realistic and a kaleidoscope of butterflies is at once surreal and mesmerizing to behold well up into the earth’s atmosphere. Production design was handled by David Hindle and Christian Huband. Art direction was headed by Alice Sutton and George Steel was the film’s cinematographer.

This is a film that is best suited for the big screen – the bigger the better – as several of the scenes were shot with IMAX cameras. Moreover, it is a film the entire family can enjoy. Highly recommended!

The theatrical release of the film in the United States is scheduled on December 6, 2019. After a brief run in cinemas the film will debut on Amazon Prime December 20th, 2019.

Last Call for the 55th Chicago International Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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The ​Chicago International Film Festival​ is still accepting ​​entries for all programs of the Festival’s 55​th​ edition taking place October 16-27, 2019. Filmmakers can now submit feature-length, documentary, and short films on the ​Festival’s website​ through ​FilmFreeway​ or ​Withoutabox​. Competitive programs in the Festival include the ​International Feature Film Competition​, which awarded the Gold Hugo for Best Film to ​Alice Rohrwacher’s ​Happy as Lazzaro​ in 2018, along with the ​International Documentary Competition​, ​New Directors Competition​, ​Short Film Competition​, and more. The Festival continues to be an Academy Award-qualifying festival for the winners of the Best Live Action Short and Best Documentary Short competitions. Last submission deadline for the 55​th​ Chicago International Film Festival for all films is – July 8, 2019

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Full submission guidelines and eligibility requirements can be found at https://www.chicagofilmfestival.com/submit/​. Questions about submissions can be directed toentries@chicagofilmfestival.com​.

Last call for the Biennale College Cinema International

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Biennale College – Cinema has now reached its 8th edition: a strategic programme for training new filmmakers from all around the world, which was already operating in the Dance, Music, Theatre departments of La Biennale di Venezia.

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Biennale College fosters new talents, allowing them to work in contact with masters in order to develop “creations”.

This is a project of crucial importance and the Cinema department of La Biennale di Venezia has been revitalized and given a brand new configuration: a program of permanent activities “after and beyond the Festival” with a strong commitment to developing new creative energies channeled into producing art.

Biennale College – Cinema is supported by Ministero per i Beni e le attività culturali.

The primary goal is to supplement the Venice International Film Festival with an advanced training workshop for the development and production of micro-budget audio-visual works, open to teams of directors and producers from around the world.

The challenge is to be able to create – at the end of a year-long series of activities that cover the entire spectrum of filmmaking including the conception, development, production, marketing, audience engagement, sales and distribution of films – up to 3 feature length micro-budget audio-visual works – among which 1 Italian – that will be presented during the Venice International Film Festival and also have an on-line screening on the “Sala Web”, the virtual theatre added to the traditional theatres that house the screenings for the public and pass holders in the Lido.

An essential element of the initiative is the combination of not only training and production finance but also the screening of the completed film at the Venice International Film Festival giving the selected filmmakers much needed visibility – the lack of which is one of the major problems of today’s independent cinema.
Biennale College – Cinema also aims to advance research on micro-budget productions, which have become, in times of economic crisis, one of the few opportunities that new talents have to make the leap into producing and directing full feature films.

The eighth edition includes two different calls, one Italian (open 20th February until 15th April 2019) and one International, until 1st July. Click here for Registration.

For each call, Biennale College Cinema is looking for feature-length audio-visual concepts that can be made with € 150.000,00 to be completed, developed, produced, edited and screened at the Venice International Film Festival in 2020.

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(Sourced from Biennale Press)

Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper to Step Aside

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper
to Step Aside

Will Assume Newly-Created Emeritus Director Role Following 2020 Festival,
After 30 Years on Staff, 11 as Director

Legacies Include Short Film Category & Competition, New Frontier, Festivals in London & Hong Kong

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Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper announces he’s stepping aside after the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Following Robert Redford’s lead from last year’s press conference, Sundance Film Festival Director John Cooper stepping aside.

robert redford
Robert Redford addresses the 2019 Sundance Film Festival Press Conference. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

Los AngelesSundance Institute announced today that John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, will move into a newly-created Emeritus Director role following the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. 2020 will mark his 30th Sundance Film Festival, and his 11th year as Festival Director.

The new role will focus on special projects and overseeing the 40th anniversary of the Sundance Institute to be celebrated in 2021. The search for a new Director for the Sundance Film Festival will be led by the Institute’s CEO, Keri Putnam.

During his tenure to date, Cooper has kept the Festival vital and competitive with the growing independent film community and industry. Signature achievements in the Festival’s programming include the creation of the Short Film section and competition, as well as the Documentary Premiere, NEXT and New Frontier sections. His cultivation of the global independent film community, including helming Sundance Film Festival: London and Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong, have helped build and reinforce the Institute’s year round global presence.

His community-building efforts included creating the Sundance Industry Office and the youth-focused Sundance Ignite Program, as well as early development of the Arthouse Convergence, all the while building systems and staff to handle a growing volume of submissions.

Said Cooper, “This journey has been exhilarating. I’ve been lucky to find my perfect job. l always had the founding principles, passed down by Robert Redford, to guide me. I attribute any success I have had to being part of an amazing staff (past and present) who strive together to help storytellers follow their dreams and launch careers. I’ve got such confidence and pride in the team, and am excited by all that the future holds. I look forward to remaining a part of this fantastic organization in my new role, and creating a seamless transition for new Festival leadership.”

Putnam said, “Cooper’s contributions are immeasurably large and he will be missed in this role…but then again, he will be right down the hall in this new capacity. He’ll lend his vision and experience to key projects, as we build towards our 40th anniversary celebration and look ahead to the coming decades of supporting independent creativity.”

Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Sorry to Bother You, Eighth Grade, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, RBG, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Top of the Lake, Winter’s Bone, Dear White People, Brooklyn, Little Miss Sunshine, 20 Feet From Stardom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, I’m Poppy, America to Me, Leimert Park, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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(Source: Press release provided by Sundance Press Office)

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