PALM SPRINGS ANNOUNCES OPENING NIGHT AND CLOSING NIGHT FILMS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

 

The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) announced that the festival’s opening night will be the screening of The Post directed by Steven Spielberg on Thursday, January 4.  The festival will close with The Last Movie Star, directed by Adam Rifkin on Sunday, January 14. The Festival will also screen 180 films from 77 countries, including 39 premieres (4 World, 12 North American and 23 U.S.) from January 2-15, 2018.  The complete line-up includes a focus on cinema from Argentina, Premieres, Talking Pictures, Books to Screen, Special Presentations, Awards Buzz, New Voices New Visions, Modern Masters, True Stories and more.
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PSIFF Artistic Director Michael Lerman

“I couldn’t be happier with the selection of films this year,” said Artistic Director Michael Lerman.  “In a program that includes all of the shortlisted Foreign Language Oscar® nominees, a stellar New Voices New Visions selection, an embarrassment of riches from Argentina that demanded to be highlighted, and an incredible list of attending talent, there’s plenty to get excited about. I’m so proud of our team for putting it all together.” 

 
OPENING AND CLOSING SCREENINGS
PSIFF will open with The Post on Thursday, January 4th.  Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in The Post, a thrilling drama about the unlikely partnership of Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of The Washington Post, and its driven editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents. The two must overcome their differences as they risk their careers—and their very freedom—to bring long-buried truths to light. The Post marks the first time Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have collaborated on a project. In addition to directing, Spielberg produces along with Amy Pascal and Kristie Macosko Krieger. The script was written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer and features an acclaimed ensemble cast including Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Matthew Rhys, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bradley Whitford and Zach Woods.

The festival will close with The Last Movie Star on Sunday, January 14th.  Burt Reynolds stars as an aging screen icon who gets lured into accepting an award at a rinky-dink film festival in Nashville, launching him on both a hilarious fish-out-of-water adventure and an unexpectedly poignant journey into his past. The film from A24/DIRECTV is directed by Adam Rifkin and stars Burt Reynolds, Ariel Winter, Chevy Chase, Clark Duke and Ellar Coltrane.
About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500, presented this year by American Express and sponsored by Cadillac Entertainment Tonight.  The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.  The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.

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Mary J. Blige to Receive Breakthrough Performance Award at 29th Annual PSIFF Film Awards Gala

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Mary J. Blige with the Breakthrough Performance Award for her performance in Mudbound at its annual Film Awards Gala.  Blige joins previously announced 2018 honorees Timothée Chalamet, Gal Gadot, Holly Hunter, Allison Janney, Gary Oldman, Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan and The Shape of Water.  The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2nd at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2–15, 2018.

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Mary J. Blige portrays Florence Jackson, a Missisissppi sharecropper, in Mudbound.

“Mary J. Blige is a global superstar in the world of music who continues to make her mark as an actress in both television and film,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In her current film Mudbound, Blige gives a quiet yet fantastic performance as Florence Jackson, a strong woman supporting her sharecropper family in rural Mississippi. It is our honor to present the 2018 Breakthrough Performance Award to Mary J. Blige.”

Past recipients of the Breakthrough Performance Award include Mahershala Ali, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson, Felicity Huffman, Brie Larson, Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike and Jeremy Renner.  In the years they were honored, Ali, Cotillard, Hudson, Larson and Nyong’o went on to receive Academy Awards®, while Huffman, Pike and Renner received nominations.

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Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees’ Mudbound is an epic story of two families pitted against one another by a ruthless social hierarchy, yet bound together by the shared farmland of the Mississippi Delta. Mudbound follows the McAllan family, newly transplanted from the quiet civility of Memphis and unprepared for the harsh demands of farming. Despite the grandiose dreams of Henry (Jason Clarke), his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan) struggles to keep the faith in her husband’s losing venture. Meanwhile, Hap and Florence Jackson (Rob Morgan and Mary J. Blige), sharecroppers who have worked the land for generations, struggle bravely to build a small dream of their own despite the rigidly enforced social barriers they face. The war upends both families’ plans as their returning loved ones, Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) and Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell), forge a fast but uneasy friendship that challenges the brutal realities of the Jim Crow South in which they live.

Mary J. Blige is a Grammy® Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and philanthropist, with a track record of eight multi-platinum albums, nine Grammy Awards (plus a staggering 32 nominations), a 2012 Golden Globe® nomination, and five American Music Awards. She has appeared in Tyler Perry’s dramatic comedy I Can Do Bad All By Myself and starred in Rock of Ages. Her other credits include the TV movie Betty & Coretta, the holiday musical drama Black Nativity and guest spots on Black-ish, Empire, The Wiz Live! and How To Get Away With Murder.

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About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500, presented this year by American Express and sponsored by Entertainment Tonight.  The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.  The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.

(Source: PSIFF Press Office)

JESSSICA CHASTAIN TO RECEIVE CHAIRMAN’S AWARD AT PALM SPRINGS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Jessica Chastain with the Chairman’s Award for STXfilms and The Mark Gordon Company’s Molly’s Game at its annual Film Awards Gala.  She will join previously announced 2018 honorees Timothée Chalamet, Gal Gadot, Holly Hunter, Allison Janney, Gary Oldman, Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan and The Shape of Water. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2-15, 2018.

“Jessica Chastain is an incredible actress who has continuously challenged herself with complex roles throughout her career,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In her latest film, Molly’s Game, Chastain brings to life Molly Bloom’s story of a determined woman who goes from being an Olympic skier to making millions running an exclusive high-stakes poker game.  It is our honor to present the Chairman’s Award to Jessica Chastain.”

Chastain received the PSIFF Spotlight Award in 2012, going on to receive an Academy Award® nomination for The Help.  Past recipients of the Chairman’s Award include Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Richard Gere, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.

Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game is based on the true story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), an Olympic-class skier who ran one of the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans, and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba), who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe.  The film also stars Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Bill Camp, Chris O’Dowd and Brian d’Arcy James. Mark Gordon, Amy Pascal and Matt Jackson produced. STXfilms and the Mark Gordon Company’s Molly’s Game will open in select theaters nationwide December 25, 2017, and everywhere January 5, 2018.

Two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain has received numerous nominations and accolades for her work from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, LA Film Critics, British Academy of Film and TV, Broadcast Film Critics, HFPA, National Board of Review, Screen Actors Guild and Film Independent, to name a few. Her film credits include Crimson’s Peak, The Debt, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, The Help, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Interstellar, Mama, The Martian, Miss Julie, Miss Sloane, A Most Violent Year, Tree of Life, Zero Dark 30 and The Zookeeper’s Wife. She recently finished production for Susanna White’s period drama Woman Walks Ahead opposite Sam Rockwell and Xavier Dolan’s The Death and Life of John F. Donovan with Natalie Portman, Kit Harington and Nicholas Hoult.

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About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500, presented this year by American Express and sponsored by Entertainment Tonight.  The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.  The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon.

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(Source: Press release from PSIFF press office)

SAOIRSE RONAN TO RECEIVE DESERT PALM ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, ACTRESS AT 29th ANNUAL PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FILM AWARDS GALA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Saoirse Ronan with the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress for her performance in Lady Bird at its annual Film Awards Gala.  Ronan joins previously announced 2018 honorees Timothée Chalamet, Gal Gadot, Holly Hunter, Allison Janney, Gary Oldman, Sam Rockwell and The Shape of Water.  The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2nd at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2–15, 2018.

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Harold Matzner, PSIFF Festival Chairman

“Saoirse Ronan delivers one of the most outstanding performances of this year as an outspoken high school student growing up in Sacramento in the critically acclaimed film Lady Bird,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “Following her exceptional performances in Atonement and Brooklyn, Ronan is sure to receive her third Academy Award nomination.  It is our honor to present the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress to Saoirse Ronan.”

Ronan received the PSIFF International Star Award in 2016 for her performance in Brooklyn, going on to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for the same role.  Additional past recipients of the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress include Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry, Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway, Charlize Theron, and Naomi Watts.

In Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig proves herself a bold new cinematic voice with her directorial debut, excavating the humor and pathos in the turbulent bond between a mother and her teenage daughter.  Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated, strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf), a nurse working to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird’s father (Tracy Letts) loses his job.  Set in Sacramento, California in 2002, amid a rapidly shifting American economic landscape, Lady Bird is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.

For her role in the film, Ronan has already received Best Actress from the Gotham Independent Film Awards and is nominated for Best Female Lead from the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Ronan began her career at just 13 years old with her critically acclaimed performance as Briony Tallis in Atonement, opposite Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. The role garnered her Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations for Best Supporting Actress. She starred as Eilis in Fox Searchlight’s Academy Award-nominated film Brooklyn, written by Nick Hornby and directed by John Crowley. Her portrayal earned her Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Her other film credits include The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hanna, The Lovely Bones, and The Way Back. She recently wrapped production on Dominic Cooke’s On Chesil Beach and is currently in production on Focus Features’ Mary Queen of Scots, playing the title character.

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500, presented this year by American Express and sponsored by Cadillac and Entertainment Tonight.  The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.  The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.

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(Source: Press release provided by PSIFF)

Palm Springs to honor Holly Hunter with its Career Achievement Award

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Holly Hunter with the Career Achievement Award at its annual Film Awards Gala.  The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2-15, 2018.

“Holly Hunter’s career is filled with many memorable performances including her Academy Award-winning role in The Piano as well as other films including Broadcast News, The Firm, The Incredibles and more,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In her recent film The Big Sick, she brings comedy and poignancy as a mother coping with her daughter’s coma, while bonding with her daughter’s ex-boyfriend. It is our great honor to present the Career Achievement Award to Holly Hunter.”

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Holly Hunter, right, will receive the Palm Springs Film Award Gala’s Career Achievement Award, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, on January 2, 2018.

Past recipients of the Career Achievement Award include Annette Bening, Glenn Close, Kevin Costner, Bruce Dern, Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood, Sally Field, Morgan Freeman, Samuel L. Jackson and Lynn Redgrave. Hunter will join previously announced 2018 honorees Timothée Chalamet, Gal Gadot, Allison Janney, Gary Oldman and Sam Rockwell.

Based on the real-life courtship between writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, and directed by Michael Showalter, The Big Sick spotlights Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Zoe Kazan) after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) whom he’s never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart.

A prominent actor on both stage and screen, Holly Hunter is an Academy and Emmy Award winner who has portrayed a vast array of complex and powerful characters throughout her career. Hunter was nominated for an Academy Award for her performances in Broadcast News, The Firm, Thirteen and The Piano, for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress in 1993. She won Primetime Emmy Awards for her performances in Roe vs. Wade and The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, and she was nominated for her work in Things You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her, When Billie Beat Bobby, Saving Grace, and Top of the Lake. In addition to The Big Sick, Hunter was most recently seen in Strange Weather, the story of a mother trying to grieve over the death of her son. Upcoming, Hunter will star in the Alan Ball HBO series Here, Now. Additional film credits include Raising Arizona, Miss Firecracker, Home for the Holidays, Crash, A Life Less Ordinary, Living Out Loud, O Brother Where Art Thou?, The Incredibles, and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500, presented this year by American Express and sponsored by Entertainment Tonight.  The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.  The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon.

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(Source: PSIFF Press release)

Allison Janney to receive Palm Springs Spotlight Award – Actress

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Allison Janney with the Spotlight Award – Actress at its annual Film Awards Gala for her performance in I, Tonya. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2-15, 2018.

 

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Allison Janney portrays Tonya Harding’s mother, LaVona Harding, in the indie sensationalized portrait of the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan figure skating incident, I, Tonya.

“Allison Janney delivers a knock-out performance as Tonya Harding’s mother LaVona Golden in I, Tonya. The usually charming Janney takes a compellingly dark turn as Tonya’s abusive, alcoholic mother,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “For this outstanding performance, which is sure to garner awards attention, it is an honor to present Allison Janney with the Spotlight Award.”

 

Past recipients of the Spotlight Award include Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston, Andrew Garfield, Helen Hunt, Rooney Mara, Julia Roberts and J.K. Simmons. All recipients received Academy Award® nominations in the year they were honored, with Simmons winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.  Janney joins previously announced 2018 honorees Timothée Chalamet, Gal Gadot, Gary Oldman and Sam Rockwell.

Based on unbelievable yet true events, I, Tonya is a darkly comedic tale of American figure skater Tonya Harding and one of the most sensational scandals in sports history. The first American woman to complete a triple-axel in competition, Harding’s legacy was instead defined by her association with an ill-conceived, crudely executed attack on fellow Olympic competitor Nancy Kerrigan. Featuring an iconic turn by Margot Robbie as the fiery Harding, a mustachioed Sebastian Stan as her impetuous ex-husband Jeff Gillooly, and a tour-de-force performance from Allison Janney as her acid-tongued mother, LaVona, Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya is an absurd, irreverent and piercing portrayal of Harding’s life and career.  NEON/30WEST is releasing the film.

Allison Janney currently stars alongside Anna Faris in the CBS/Chuck Lorre hit comedy Mom. Janney also received rave reviews for her turn as Margaret Scully on Showtime’s Masters of Sex. She won Emmys for both roles in the same year and won a second Emmy for Mom the following year.  Adding the four Emmys she previously won during her run on The West Wing, Janney has a total of seven ATAS statues to her name. Her recently released movies include Tallulah, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Girl on the Train, Minions and Spy. Other film credits include The Way, Way Back, The Help, Juno, Hairspray, Finding Nemo, The Hours, American Beauty, Nurse Betty, Drop Dead Gorgeous, 10 Things I Hate About You, Primary Colors, The Ice Storm, The Object of My Affection and Big Night.

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500, presented this year by American Express and sponsored by Cadillac and Entertainment Tonight.  The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.  The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon.

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(Source: PSIFF press release)

GARY OLDMAN TO RECEIVE DESERT PALM ACHIEVEMENT AWARD AT PALM SPRINGS FILM AWARDS GALA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Gary Oldman with the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor at its annual Film Awards Gala for his performance in Darkest Hour. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 4-15, 2018.

 

“Gary Oldman brings to screen one of the most powerful performances of this year as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.  Portraying Britain’s steadfast leader during the tumultuous era of World War II, he has already earned rave reviews from critics and is sure to garner awards attention this season,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “The Palm Springs International Film Festival is honored to present Gary Oldman with this year’s Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor.”

 

Oldman received the International Star Award at the 2012 Palm Springs International Film festival.  Past actor recipients of the Desert Palm Achievement Award include Casey Affleck, Jeff Bridges, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Colin Firth, Matthew McConaughey, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt and Eddie Redmayne. In the years they were honored, Affleck, Bridges, Day-Lewis, McConaughey, Penn and Redmayne went on to win the Academy Award® for Best Actor, while Cooper, Firth and Pitt received Oscar® nominations.

 

From Focus Features, Darkest Hour is a thrilling account inspired by the true story of Winston Churchill’s first weeks in office during the early days of the Second World War. Anthony McCarten’s original screenplay takes a revelatory look at the man behind the icon. The film is directed by Joe Wright and stars Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, Ronald Pickup, and Ben Mendelsohn.

 

Gary Oldman is known for his iconic characterizations of Sirius Black (Harry Potter’s godfather), Commissioner Jim Gordon (Batman/Bruce Wayne’s crime-fighting partner), Dracula, Beethoven, Pontius Pilate, Lee Harvey Oswald, Joe Orton, Sid Vicious, and George Smiley. The latter portrayal, in Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, brought him accolades worldwide including BAFTA Award, British Independent Film Award, European Film Award and Academy Award nominations for Best Actor. In addition to his work in the Harry Potter franchise and Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, his other credits include Sid and Nancy, Prick Up Your Ears, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, State of Grace, JFK, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, True Romance, Immortal Beloved, The Professional, The Fifth Element, Air Force One, Hannibal, The Book of Eli, Child 44, The Contender and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

 

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500.  The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.  The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon. For more information, call 760-778-8979 or 800-898-7256 or visit www.psfilmfest.org.

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Timothée Chalamet to Receive Rising Star Award at 29th Annual PSIFF Film Awards Gala

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Timothée Chalamet with the Rising Star Award – Actor at its annual Film Awards Gala for his performance in Call Me By Your Name. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 4-15, 2018. Chalamet joins previously announced honoree Gal Gadot.

“Timothée Chalamet gives a stirring performance as Elio, a 17-year-old on the brink of passion and self-discovery.  It’s an intimate and erotic performance that transports the audience to another time and place and stays with us long after we’ve left the theater,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “The Palm Springs International Film Festival is honored to present Timothée Chalamet with this year’s Rising Star Award – Actor.”

Past recipients of the Rising Star Award include Ruth Negga, Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Anna Kendrick, Dakota Fanning, Terrence Howard and Adam Beach.

Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, Call Me By Your Name, the new film by Luca Guadagnino, is a sensual and transcendent tale of first love, based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman. The film stars Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg.

 

Timothée Chalamet first attracted attention during the second season of Showtime’s “Homeland” as the Vice President’s son, Finn Walden. He received a Drama League nomination, Clive Barnes Award nomination and received the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actor for his performance in the lead role of Jim Quinn in the play “Prodigal Son”.

Chalamet can currently be see in Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird opposite Saoirse Ronan. Upcoming films for Chalamet include Scott Cooper’s Hostiles and Elijah Bynum’s coming of age drama Hot Summer Nights.  Next fall, he will be seen as the co-lead opposite Steve Carell in Felix Van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy and the male lead in Woody Allen’s film A Rainy Day in New York opposite Selena Gomez and Elle Fanning. Other film credits include Julia Hart’s Miss Stevens, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, and Jason Reitman’s Men Women & Children.

 

 

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500.  The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.  The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon. For more information, call 760-778-8979 or 800-898-7256 or visit www.psfilmfest.org.

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(Source: press release from bwr, public relations)

Gal Gadot to Receive the Rising Star Award at 29th Annual PSIFF Film Awards Gala

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Gal Gadot with the Rising Star Award – Actress at its annual Film Awards Gala for her performance in Wonder Woman. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 4-15, 2018.

“Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman showed us a strong, capable, poised, curious and compassionate character, and her performance has been universally praised, resonating with audiences everywhere.  Gal plays the immortal warrior so well, and the film’s themes are especially apt for today, empowering all types of people—women and men, young and old—the world over,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “The Palm Springs International Film Festival is honored to present Gal Gadot with this year’s Rising Star Award – Actress.”

Past recipients of the Rising Star Award include Ruth Negga, Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Anna Kendrick and Dakota Fanning.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ Wonder Woman is based on the iconic DC character.  In the film, an American pilot crashes off an island and is rescued by Diana, an Amazonian princess and warrior.  He tells the them about the ongoing World War, and Diana decides she must help, leaving with him to fight, discovering her full powers and true destiny along the way.  Wonder Woman, which earned more than $410 million in the U.S. and over $820 million worldwide, set numerous box office records, including becoming the highest-grossing film directed by a woman, the highest-grossing superhero origin film domestically, and the largest opening for a female-led comic-based film.  The action adventure, starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, was directed by Patty Jenkins from a screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Heinberg and Jason Fuchs.

Gal Gadot is an actress born in Rosh Ha’ayin, Israel.  In 2004, she was crowned Miss Israel; then, like all Israeli citizens, went on to serve two years in the Israel Defense Forces.  She studied at IDC Herzliya College before pursuing modeling and acting.  While cultivating television work both in Israel and the U.S., Gadot made her film debut in Fast & Furious, as well as its sequels Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6, also performing her own stunts.  She appeared in the 2010 action comedy films Date Night and Knight and Day, the 2014 Israeli film Kicking Out Shoshana, and the 2016 films Triple 9, Criminal and Keeping Up with the Joneses.  Gadot was cast as Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, before playing the title character in the 2017 mega-hit Wonder Woman, which earned Gadot a Teen Choice Award for Action Actress.  She will reprise the character in the DC extended universe film Justice League, to be released on November 17, 2017.

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500.  The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.  The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon. For more information, call 760-778-8979 or 800-898-7256 or visit www.psfilmfest.org.

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(Source: press release from bwr, public relations)

Sam Rockwell to Receive Spotlight Award at 29th Annual PSIFF Film Awards Gala

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Today, the 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) announced it will present Sam Rockwell with the Spotlight Award – Actor at its annual Film Awards Gala for his performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.  The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 4-15, 2018.

“Sam Rockwell is one of the most dynamic actors of his generation known for creating memorable and diverse characters.  Once again he takes on another challenging role as the immature and explosive Officer Dixon in his critically acclaimed performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “For this outstanding awards-worthy performance, it is an honor to present Sam Rockwell with the Spotlight Award.”

 

Past recipients of the Spotlight Award include Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston, Andrew Garfield, Helen Hunt, Rooney Mara, Julia Roberts and J.K. Simmons. All recipients received Academy Award® nominations in the year they were honored, with Simmons receiving the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Fox Searchlight’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a darkly comedic drama from Academy Award® winner Martin McDonagh. After months without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message for Ebbing’s revered Chief of Police, William Willoughby. With the involvement of Officer Dixon (Rockwell), his short-tempered second-in-command, the battle between Mildred and the town’s law enforcement is only exacerbated. The film is written and directed by McDonagh, starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Željko Ivanek, Caleb Landry Jones, Clarke Peters and Samara Weaving, with John Hawkes and Peter Dinklage. Rockwell won the Hollywood Film Awards Best Supporting Actor Award for his role in the film.

Sam Rockwell’s film credits include Conviction, Iron Man 2, Cowboys and Aliens, Moon, Charlie’s Angels, The Green Mile, Galaxy Quest, The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, Seven Psychopaths, Snow Angels, Welcome to Collinwood, Heist, Everybody’s Fine, Frost/Nixon, Joshua, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Matchstick Men, Celebrity, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lawn Dogs, Safe Men, Jerry and Tom and Box of Moonlight. Rockwell won critical praise, as well as the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Berlin Bear Award and Movieline’s Breakthrough Performance of the Year Award, for his portrayal of Chuck Barris in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. He was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award in 2014 for Best Actor in a Comedy for his performance in The Way, Way Back and in 2010 for Best Supporting Actor for Conviction.

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500.  The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.  The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon. For more information, call 760-778-8979 or 800-898-7256 or visit www.psfilmfest.org.

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 (Source: Press release from bwr, public relations)

MOLLY’S GAME Will Close AFI FEST 2017

Posted by Larry Gleeson

AFI has announced that Academy Award® and Emmy®-winning writer/director Aaron Sorkin will be honored by AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi with a Tribute and Premiere Closing Night Gala screening of STXfilms and The Mark Gordon Company’s MOLLY’S GAME on Thursday, November 16, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre. 

The Tribute will celebrate Sorkin’s career with a moderated discussion of his work followed by the Gala premiere screening. Written and directed by Sorkin, MOLLY’S GAME stars Academy Award® nominee Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba. The film was produced by Mark Gordon, Matt Jackson and Amy Pascal. Entertainment One (eOne) and The Mark Gordon Company financed the feature, with eOne directly distributing the film across its territories. (Sierra/Affinity handled international sales). The Closing Night Gala will be sponsored by VIZIO.

Note that all previously secured tickets to ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD and the two previously scheduled MOLLY’S GAME screenings will be honored at this newly announced Closing Night Gala.

“Aaron Sorkin is an American master, and we are proud to shine a proper spotlight on his directoral debut, MOLLY’S GAME, on AFI FEST’s Closing Night,” said Jacqueline Lyanga, AFI FEST Director. “As Sorkin embarks on this next chapter of his career, his talents are timely for a tribute as he brings his gift of crafting compelling narratives and complex characters to the story of female impresario Molly Bloom.”

One of our nation’s most acclaimed screenwriters, Aaron Sorkin has been honored with an Academy Award® for Best Adapted Screenplay for THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010) and four Emmys® for THE WEST WING. Additional film credits include A FEW GOOD MEN (1992), MALICE (1993), THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT (1995), CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR (2007), MONEYBALL (2011) and STEVE JOBS (2015). Sorkin has also created and written THE NEWSROOM, SPORTS NIGHT, STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP and THE WEST WING for television.

ABOUT THE FILM

Oscar® nominee Jessica Chastain stars in Oscar®-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, set in the glamorous world of high-stakes underground poker games. DIR Aaron Sorkin. SCR Aaron Sorkin. CAST Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, Bill Camp.

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(Source: afi.com)

AFI FEST 2017: Stephen Altman on His Father’s Legacy

Posted by Larry Gleeson

As part of AFI FEST 2017 and the 50th Anniversary of the American Film Institute, a celebration of the late filmmaker Robert Altman’s work , a true master and icon of American cinema, is on display through a series of films.

Robert and Stephen Altman
Robert and Stephen Altman

Born in Kansas City in 1925, Robert Altman was one of the preeminent auteurs of American cinema, from his first studio hit M*A*S*H (1970) to his 39th feature A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION (2006). In the pantheon of American directors, Altman was a maverick who worked both inside and outside the Hollywood system. His films exhibit a trademark style of diffuse ensemble narratives, complex soundtracks and restless zoom lenses. Film remained Altman’s tireless passion until his death in 2006, and he remains an iconoclast of modern American cinema. This year, AFI FEST is proud to present 12 of his greatest achievements.

Ahead of the festival retrospective, AFI spoke with Stephen Altman, Robert Altman’s son and frequent collaborator. Stephen Altman served as the production designer on a wide range of Altman films, from THE PLAYER to GOSFORD PARK, which earned him an Oscar® nomination.

The Robert Altman Retrospective launches at AFI FEST on Thursday, November 9, with THE PLAYER. Head to the Film Guide for free tickets to all 12 Altman screenings.

AFI: You were a production designer on many of Robert Altman’s films. Can you talk about what it was like to collaborate so closely with your father?

Stephen Altman: It was heavy teamwork. He told me what to do, and I said “Yes, sir.” No, actually it started early on. I started as an apprentice editor and projectionist when I was 17, for CALIFORNIA SPLIT — if you’re a gambler, that’s a great one — and on NASHVILLE, I was apprentice editor and did projection for the dailies, but during the day I was helping the sound team. He had made that eight-track sound recorder, with seven mics, which was a new thing. Then I segued into property. I was then on the set for most of the filming, so [Robert Altman] got very used to me. It was an easy transition from there to being his property master and later his set decorator, then his art director, then production designer. I hadn’t stopped working for him since 1974. His last two films I didn’t work on. When he died, sadly, we were scouting locations for another movie. It was abrupt. Had I known that A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION was his last movie, I would’ve quit what I was doing and ran to it.

NASHVILLE
NASHVILLE

AFI: The AFI FEST Retrospective offers a wide-ranging survey of Robert Altman titles, including some his better known efforts such as NASHVILLE, as well as works awaiting rediscovery, such as VINCENT & THEO and KANSAS CITY. What are some of your personal favorites?

SA: MCCABE & MRS. MILLER may be one of my favorite films, not just a favorite “Bob” film. I think it stands out among all of them. I love THE LONG GOODBYE — just really watchable, and fun and interesting. M*A*S*H is timeless. It’s still funny to me, and cool. NASHVILLE I may not like as much as everybody else does, but I get it. I understand why it’s insane and wonderful at the same time. Of all of them, MCCABE & MRS. MILLER is maybe more conventional in some way, with real movie stars.

AFI: And what about a film like SHORT CUTS, which is three hours long but thoroughly engrossing from start to finish, and with a huge tapestry of characters and interweaving plots?

SA: That was very personal for me. It was very funny. At the first screening, it shook me. I used to be in property and editorial and so I would end up watching every single frame of film like a hundred thousand times between dailies and cutting the film. When I moved into production design, I avoided editorial, so when I watched the first cut I thought, “Oh this is fresh and new to me.” I left the screening and my dad called me the next day and said, “I think everybody loved the movie except one person.” I said “Who?” He replied, “You.” I was just shaken by the movie. It’s really heavy. I loved working on it. There’s another one, A WEDDING: it’s not similar but in an Altman kind of way, he turned it from a farce and a comedy into a tragedy without you realizing.

SHORT CUTS
SHORT CUTS

AFI: This retrospective is a treat for Altman fans, but is also meant as an entry-point for those who haven’t discovered Altman before. What would you say to a neophyte who’s starting to navigate the world of his films?

SA: You can see a thread in a lot of them, but they’re all really different. He never did the same movie twice. I would just say what he always said, which was, “Giggle and give in.” Some of them are more commercial or accessible than others. You go from something like MCCABE & MRS. MILLER to NASHVILLE — that’s a pretty big stretch in seven years.

AFI: 3 WOMEN is a good example of a movie that certainly would not be made today.

SA: Right. Exactly. That was the luxury of Fox films at the time. [Robert Altman] said, “Hey, I had this dream the other night. I wrote a script.” And Alan Ladd, Jr., who was running Fox at the time, said “Here’s a million-and-a-half dollars, go to Palm Springs and make a film. Don’t go over budget.” That’s how he used to do those kinds of things. That was quite a fun time in the desert. That’s his real weird dreamy thing. He loved playing with the camera. He had this kind of a water-and-oil mobile sculpture, what he called “the wave machine.” It looked like a flat aquarium. It had oil on the top and blue water on the bottom and it rocked back and forth on a machine and made what looked like ocean waves across the screen. He was always inventing those kinds of things. On QUINTET, he would put Vaseline on the lens to blur the edges.

3 WOMEN
3 WOMEN

AFI: Altman had the spirit of an independent filmmaker even while making studio films, where he maintained creative freedom. How did he accomplish that?

SA: For the most part, they let him go. On one of his later films, THE GINGERBREAD MAN, with Kenneth Branagh, he was more of a director-for-hire. His shooting style, his camerawork and his editing are pretty much done in his head as he’s making the movie. The studio basically got scared of the movie, took it away from him and gave it to a Hollywood editor to try and recut it, with traditional close-ups and that kind of thing. They couldn’t do it, and they couldn’t even put it back together. They gave it back to [Altman] later and said, “Here, put it back together, do what you want. We can’t make any sense of this movie.” He had such his own style that it was hard for anybody really to interfere. It’s hard to go onto the set and say, “You’re doing this wrong.”

On THE PLAYER, we have that 10-minute opening shot. That was no improvisation. That was planned to a T. We built a model of the parking lot, with models of cut-out people. The camera was on this crane with a partially flattened tire and we used the parking lot as basically a huge dolly, and we rehearsed the hell out of that. We could have probably used the first take and walked away. They used take 16, and wrapped right after lunch, and we were four days ahead of schedule. He was really efficient with his money, and everyone knew that, so I think the studios let him be because he would only spend a certain amount of money and come back with a movie. People were eager to gamble with him.

THE PLAYER
THE PLAYER

AFI: Why do you think Altman is a filmmaker we are still talking about today?

SA: He was innovative; he didn’t give in. He had basically final cut on his movies. He was never rich, never got big budgets precisely because he would never let the studios make a movie for him. He said, “If you want a movie, I’ll make my movie.” He was brutal to screenwriters — you give him your script and it may not be recognizable at the end of the day.

After POPEYE, which was deemed the biggest bomb in the entire history of filmmaking, it was hard for him to get any kind of work. That’s when he was filming one-hour plays in a theatrical stage the size of your closet. They offered him M*A*S*H 2. He said, “I can’t do it. It would ruin my career. I’d be like everybody else.” At the end of the day, everybody’s pleased he didn’t do stuff like that. He stuck to his guns. I hate to put him on a pedestal but he was kind of pure in this way. He really didn’t give in to the pressure.

Actors loved him so much because he basically said, “Go out there and act.” Some people were intimidated by that, not having an actual script. “Wait, I’ve got to write my dialogue by myself?” The ones that loved it, embraced it, it was a big joy to them. I think he made everybody comfortable — except for the crew.

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(Source: afi.com)

 

AFI FEST 2017 Presentations and Conversations Announced

Posted by Larry Gleeson

AFI today announced the Presentations and Conversations lineups for AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi.

Events include a conversation on directing with Christopher Nolan; a conversation with filmmaker Agnès Varda; a roundtable of documentary filmmakers presented by the Los Angeles Times; The Hollywood Reporter’s Indie Contenders Roundtable with eight standout artists; an in-depth conversation with director Patty Jenkins; a conversation on storytelling with Angelina Jolie and Loung Ung; and a conversation with Martin McDonagh and Sam Rockwell about THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, presented by Variety.

The complete AFI FEST program includes 137 films (93 features, 44 shorts), representing 53 countries, including 40 films directed/co-directed by women, 19 documentaries and 14 animated short films.  The breakdown by section is: Galas/Tributes (6), Special Screenings (7), American Independents (11), New Auteurs (11), World Cinema (30), Midnight (3), Cinema’s Legacy (9), Retrospective (12), Youth and Family (2) and Short Films (44).  This year’s program includes 14 official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® submissions and 25 films featuring 76 AFI alumni. 

PRESENTATIONS

CINEMATIC STORYTELLING: A CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER NOLAN
Director/writer/producer Christopher Nolan discusses his latest film, DUNKIRK, centering on the British maneuvers from the land, sea and air as the military and civilians attempt to save 400,000 soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, France, during World War II.  A special 70mm film presentation of DUNKIRK will precede the discussion. 

WORLD CINEMA MASTER IN CONVERSATION: AGNÈS VARDA

French auteur and AFI FEST 2013 Guest Artistic Director Agnès Varda sits down for a discussion of her career and her new film FACES PLACES (co-directed with French installation artist JR).  The event begins with a screening of FACES PLACES.  The event will be moderated by Serge Toubiana, President of UniFrance. 

CONVERSATIONS

INDIE CONTENDERS ROUNDTABLE

Hear from a diverse panel of artists who have done standout work in independent film this year. Presented by The Hollywood Reporter and moderated by columnist and blogger Scott Feinberg, the panel will feature a 90-minute discussion with the artists about their careers and influences, as well as the challenges and rewards of working on indies.  Panelists include Sean Baker (THE FLORIDA PROJECT), Richard Gere (NORMAN: THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER), Salma Hayek (BEATRIZ AT DINNER), Diane Kruger (IN THE FADE), Kumail Nanjiani (THE BIG SICK), Robert Pattinson (GOOD TIME), Margot Robbie (I, TONYA) and Lois Smith (MARJORIE PRIME).  The roundtable is presented by The Hollywood Reporter and will be moderated by Scott Feinberg their lead awards analyst.

DOC ROUNDTABLE

Los Angeles Times film critic Justin Chang sits down with a panel of distinguished directors behind some of the most talked-about and acclaimed documentaries of the year.  The panelists will include Evgeny Afineevsky (CRIES FROM SYRIA), Greg Barker (THE FINAL YEAR), Kasper Collin (I CALLED HIM MORGAN), Feras Fayyad (LAST MEN IN ALEPPO), Yance Ford (STRONG ISLAND), Bryan Fogel (ICARUS), Steve James (ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL), Amanda Lipitz (STEP) and Brett Morgen (JANE).  The roundtable it presented by the Los Angeles Times.

ON DIRECTING: PATTY JENKINS

WONDER WOMAN director and AFI Conservatory alumna Patty Jenkins sits down for a moderated, in-depth discussion.

ON DIRECTING: SOFIA COPPOLA

Director/writer Sofia Coppola sits down to discuss her latest film, THE BEGUILED, set during the American Civil War and centering on an all-female Southern boarding school that takes in a wounded Union soldier, with unsettling results.

ON ACTING: BRINGING APES TO LIFE – ANDY SERKIS, TERRY NOTARY, MATT REEVES, JOE LETTERI

Actors Andy Serkis and Terry Notary, director Matt Reeves and Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri of the critically acclaimed and visually stunning WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES sit down for a panel discussion on how performance capture and visual effects bring complex and emotional characters to life.

ON COLLABORATIVE STORYTELLING: ANGELINA JOLIE AND LOUNG UNG

Director Angelina Jolie and writer Loung Ung discuss the artistic and cross-cultural collaboration that brought FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER to the screen.  Based on Ung’s autobiography, the film centers on a young girl who must embark on a harrowing quest for survival amid the sudden rise and terrifying reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.  FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER is Cambodia’s official Best Foreign Language Film Oscar® submission.

CINEMA’S LEGACY: A CONVERSATION WITH JORDAN PEELE  

GET OUT director/writer Jordan Peele sits down for an in-depth conversation about his film and the impact and legacy of GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER (1967), the groundbreaking, Oscar® winner about an interracial romance starring Sidney Poitier that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.  GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER will screen following the conversation.

IN CONVERSATION: MARTIN MCDONAGH AND SAM ROCKWELL

Director/writer/producer Martin McDonagh and actor Sam Rockwell, who have a long relationship working together for both the stage and screen, sit down for a moderated discussion with Jenelle Riley of Variety on THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, a darkly comedic drama centering on a mother (Frances McDormand) who makes a bold move to find her daughter’s murderer, riling local law enforcement.  The conversation is presented by Variety.

afi-fest-2011-logo-and-free-tickets

(Source: afi.com)

World Premiere of Ridley Scott’s ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD Will Close AFI FEST 2017

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Academy Award®-nominated director and producer Ridley Scott will be honored by AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi with a Tribute and World Premiere Closing Night Gala screening of TriStar Pictures’ ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD on Thursday, November 16, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.  The Tribute will celebrate Scott’s legendary filmmaking career with a moderated discussion of his work followed by the World Premiere screening.  Directed by Scott, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD stars Academy Award® nominees Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams, and Academy Award® winner Kevin Spacey.  The Closing Night Gala will be sponsored by VIZIO.

One of our most prolific directors and producers, Ridley Scott is a four-time Academy Award® nominee, including Best Picture for THE MARTIAN (2016) and Best Director for BLACK HAWK DOWN (2001), GLADIATOR (2000) and THELMA & LOUISE (1991).  Additional films include ALIEN (1979), BLADE RUNNER (1982), LEGEND (1985), BLACK RAIN (1989), G.I. JANE (1997), MATCHSTICK MEN (2003), KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (2005), AMERICAN GANGSTER (2007), ROBIN HOOD (2010), PROMETHEUS (2012), THE COUNSELOR (2013), EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS (2014) and ALIEN: COVENANT (2017).

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD follows the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother Gail (Michelle Williams) to convince his billionaire grandfather (Kevin Spacey) to pay the ransom. When Getty, Sr., refuses, Gail attempts to sway him as her son’s captors become increasingly volatile and brutal. With her son’s life in the balance, Gail and Getty’s advisor (Mark Wahlberg) become unlikely allies in the race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money.

Directed by Ridley Scott, TriStar Pictures’ and Imperative Entertainment’s ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD is written by David Scarpa, based on the book by John Pearson. Produced by Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Quentin Curtis, Chris Clark, Ridley Scott, Mark Huffam and Kevin Walsh, the film stars Michelle Williams, Kevin Spacey, Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Charlie Plummer and Timothy Hutton.

The film debuts in theaters this December.

 

(Source: afi.com)

Meet the Press Film Festival With AFI Official Selections Announced

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Quality begets quality.

The Meet the Press Film Festival in Collaboration With the American Film Institute has announced its full slate of official selections — 16 short-length political documentaries produced by filmmakers from across the country.

The inaugural film festival will be held at the Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema in Washington, DC, on the evening of November 13. Film screenings will be organized under seven issues and followed by Q&As with the respective filmmakers and an NBC News correspondent.

See below for descriptions of the selected films. Tickets to the festival are now on sale and available here.

Battling America’s New Epidemic

  • “Heroin(e)”: Once a bustling industrial town, Huntington, WV has become the epicenter of America’s modern opioid epidemic, with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. This flood of heroin now threatens this Appalachian city with a cycle of generational addiction, lawlessness and poverty. But within this distressed landscape, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon (“Hollow”) shows a different side of the fight against drugs — one of hope, highlighting three women working to change the town’s narrative one person at a time.

Love and the Law

  • “62 Days”: Marlise Muñoz was 33 years old and 14 weeks pregnant with her second child when she died, suffering a pulmonary embolism. Pronounced brain-dead in a hospital in Fort Worth, TX, she had discussed her end-of-life wishes with her husband and did not want to be on life support. Director Rebecca Haimowitz tells the story of how, despite this, her family was forced to keep Marlise on mechanical support due to a little-known state law.
  • “Edith + Eddie”: Edith and Eddie, at ages 96 and 95, became America’s oldest interracial newlyweds. Their love story, told by director Laura Checkoway, is disrupted by a family feud that threatens to tear the couple apart.

Life After Prison

  • “Knife Skills”: Over 650,000 people are released from prison every year. Director Thomas Lennon follows the launch of an haute cuisine restaurant in Cleveland, staffed by men and women recently released from behind bars to tell the story of re-entry, second chances and the healing power of fine food.

Higher (Court) Education

  • “Fight for the First”: Director Sharon Liese addresses the freedom of the press in the Trump era through the eyes of journalists-in-training at the world’s oldest journalism school.
  • “Gavin Grimm vs.”: Director Nadia Hallgren tells the story of transgender teen Gavin Grimm suing his local school board in 2016 after its members refused to let him use the bathroom of his choice. He was ready to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court — and then the election happened.

The Cost of Justice

  • “A Debtors’ Prison”: Across the racially segregated landscape of St. Louis County, MO, thousands are routinely sent to jail because they cannot pay local court fines and fees. The vast majority of those fined are poor and black. Directors Brett Story and Todd Chandler follow two plaintiffs in an unfolding court case, as they describe the matrix of controls that subjected them to incarceration for being poor.
  • “Shawna: Life on the Sex Offender Registry”: After having consensual sex with a younger boy while she was still a teenager, Shawna Baldwin found herself one of the 800,000 people on America’s sex offender registries. Director David Feige explores the effects on her life, as she is now in her mid-30s and a mother of three.
  • “219”: A chilling portrait of the inner-workings of the death penalty in America, directed by Ed Hancox and told by the man once known as “the face of executions.”

Living in America

  • “Election Day 2016″: After a long and contentious presidential campaign, 10,000 people spontaneously came to pay tribute to Susan B. Anthony’s grave in Rochester, NY. They placed their “I Voted” stickers upon her headstone and expressed their pride and gratitude to America’s most famous suffragette.
  • “Osama and Ayman”: Osama and Ayman are brothers, skateboarders, entrepreneurs, Americans and Muslims. As they skate through the streets of our nation’s capital, they navigate growing Islamophobia with characteristic style and humor in a film directed by Ben Mullinkosson, Sam Price-Waldman and Chris Cresci.
  • “From Aleppo to L.A.”: Director Julia Meltzer tells the story of Dalya and her mother Rudayna fleeing Aleppo for Los Angeles in 2012. Can they hold on to their Islamic traditions in a country that doesn’t embrace them?
  • “Roadside Attraction”: After a very famous airplane arrives at Palm Beach International Airport, an otherwise ordinary stretch of Florida highway attracts an avid cluster of excited onlookers and selfie-takers, directed by Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan.

On the Edge

  • “Ferryman at the Wall”: Originally proposed as an international peace park with Mexico, Big Bend, TX has a unique relationship with its southern neighbor. For the past 40 years, Mike Davidson has been ferrying tourists across the Rio Grande for a little taste of Mexican life — but now, as director David Freid shows, a great big border wall might divide the park.
  • “Los Lecheros”: The fates of undocumented immigrant workers and Wisconsin’s $43 billion dairy industry are closely intertwined, as director Jim Cricchi tells the story of how both are grappling with their options for survival as fears of ICE raids and deportations under the Trump administration grow.
  • “Monument | Monumento”: Director Laura Gabbert tells the story of Friendship Park, a unique meeting place along the US-Mexico border where family members and loved ones from both countries can see and speak to each other through a meshed fence, but cannot touch.

(Sourced from AFI press release)

LA FILM FESTIVAL MOVES TO FALL SEPTEMBER 20-28, 2018 AT ARCLIGHT CINEMAS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Withoutabox is New Official Submission Service;

Entries Accepted Beginning January 1

LOS ANGELES (October 18, 2017) — Today Film Independent announced new dates for the LA Film Festival and a multi-year partnership with ArcLight Cinemas. The Festival, previously held in June, will now take place in late September starting in 2018. Submissions for the 24th edition of the Festival will open January 1, 2018, exclusively on Withoutabox, as part of a new multi-year collaboration.

“The secret to dramatically changing something is to change it,” said Jennifer Cochis, LA Film Festival Director. “My passion for this Festival is unwavering and the time for an evolution has come. Film Independent is so proud of the work we’ve done in showcasing new American and international cinema that embraces diversity, innovation and unique perspectives, but the fact is that summer is a challenging time for artist driven films, and fall is where we clearly belong. This shift in our dates is an important step in enacting my aim to further develop the LA Film Festival, I sincerely look forward to better serving filmmakers, film lovers, the city and the industry in the fall of 2018 and beyond.”

“We are proud to be the home of the LA Film Festival. The festival has been a staple for filmmakers and cinephiles in Los Angeles,” said Gretchen McCourt, Executive Vice President at ArcLight Cinemas. “LA is an entertainment mecca and has been home to ArcLight for over 15 years. It is partnerships like this that continue to make our programming unique. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be with them on this journey.”

“Great festivals need great partners, and we couldn’t be happier to be entering a multi-year collaboration with ArcLight Cinema and Withoutabox,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “LA audiences know and love the ArcLight experience, and as our submissions continue to grow, Withoutabox is the ideal service for us to accept and evaluate submissions from filmmakers all over the world.”

Creators can submit their work to the LA Film Festival for consideration beginning on January 1, 2018 exclusively on Withoutabox.

ABOUT THE LA FILM FESTIVAL

The LA Film Festival is a key part of the exhibition arm of the nonprofit arts organization Film Independent. Showcasing new American and international cinema that embraces diversity, innovation and unique perspectives, the Festival produces one-of-a-kind events featuring critically acclaimed filmmakers, industry professionals and award-winning talent from Los Angeles and around the world. The Festival’s signature programs include Diversity Speaks, Women Who Lead Luncheon, Spirit of Independence Award, Coffee Talks and more. The Festival’s Future Filmmakers Showcase supports high school filmmakers with screenings of their work and community based film education opportunities. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Albina Oks, Director of Corporate Sponsorship, aoks@filmindependent.org or 310.432.1252.

 

ABOUT FILM INDEPENDENT

Film Independent is the nonprofit arts organization that champions independent visual storytelling and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff and constituents is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a Member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover.

In addition to producing the Spirit Awards, Film Independent produces the LA Film Festival and Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year- round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry. For more information or to become a Member, visit filmindependent.org.

 

ABOUT ARCLIGHT CINEMAS

ArcLight Cinemas, created by Pacific Theatres, a privately owned, Los Angeles based company with 60 years of theatrical exhibition history throughout California, Hawaii and Washington is a premiere movie going destination with an unparalleled commitment to bringing a variety of rich cinematic content to all audiences.  The company brings to life an uninterrupted immersive movie-going experience with no distractions, and a promise to exhibit films the way moviemakers intend their movie to be watched.

ArcLight Cinemas operates seven theaters in California including Hollywood, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, El Segundo, Santa Monica, Culver City and La Jolla, as well as theaters in Bethesda, Md., Chicago and Glenview, Ill., with a new location in Boston for 2019. ArcLight also owns and operates the historic Cinerama Dome and programs the TCL Chinese Theatre and IMAX in Hollywood. Pacific Theatres currently operates theaters in Los Angeles that include The Grove and The Americana at Brand in Glendale, Calif. Additional information about ArcLight Cinemas is available at http://www.arclightcinemas.com.

ABOUT WITHOUTABOX

Withoutabox (https://www.withoutabox.com) is the premier submission service for film festivals and filmmakers. Since 2001, Withoutabox has enabled nearly 3 million festival submissions to the leading film festivals in the world, and more than 150 of these titles went on to receive an Academy Award® nomination with dozens eventually winning an Oscar®. Withoutabox provides a powerful and convenient solution for festivals seeking a service to manage their film festival submissions. World renowned film festivals that rely on Withoutabox to exclusively manage their submissions include The Sundance Film Festival and The Toronto International Film Festival. Filmmakers using Withoutabox can easily submit their films to film festivals around the word and can automatically create a title page for their film on IMDb (the #1 movie website in the world), reaching more than 250 million unique monthly visitors worldwide. Withoutabox continues to evolve on behalf of its customers, including recent product enhancements such as: promo codes; a Fire TV Festival Judging App; HD online screeners; a redesigned filmmaker experience; and support for Vimeo links. To learn more about Withoutabox or to sign up, visit https://www.withoutabox.com. Withoutabox is owned and operated by IMDb.com, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) (http://www.amazon.com). IMDb also offers the membership-based service IMDbPro (http://www.imdbpro.com), the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals.

(Source: Press release provided by Ginsburg/Libby)

AFI FEST 2017 New Auteurs and American Independents Lineups Announced

Posted by Larry Gleeson

AFI has announced the films that will be featured in the New Auteurs and American Independents sections at AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi.

From November 9th through the 16th, AFI FEST 2017 takes place over eight days in Hollywood! Get an express pass here.

afi-fest-2011-logo-and-free-ticketsHighlighting first- and second-time feature film directors, New Auteurs is the festival’s platform for upcoming filmmakers from all over the world to showcase their new films. This year, the section is comprised of 11 films, nine of which come from female directors.

The American Independents section represents the best of independent filmmaking this year. Pushing boundaries of form and content across narrative and documentary cinema, this section includes 11 films from both fresh new voices and filmmakers returning to AFI FEST.

Pictured above: Lola Kirke in GEMINI

NEW AUTEURS

AVA – After an adolescent girl discovers she will soon go blind, she confronts the problem in her own way in this disturbing, visually bold debut. DIR Léa Mysius. SCR Léa Mysius, Paul Guilhaume. CAST Noée Abita, Laure Calamy, Juan Cano. France

CLOSENESS (TESNOTA) – Controversial and beloved in equal measure, the film centers on a young woman eking out an existence in a remote region of Russia, and the choices she must face when her brother and his fiancée are kidnapped. DIR Kantemir Balagov. SCR Kantemir Balagov, Anton Yarush. CAST Atrem Cipin, Olga Dragunova, Veniamin Kac, Darya Zhovnar, Nazir Zhukov. Russia

HANNAH – Charlotte Rampling gives another career-defining performance in this taut and layered film as a woman dealing with the fallout of an abhorrent crime committed by her husband. DIR Andrea Pallaoro. SCR Andrea Pallaoro, Orlando Tirado. CAST Charlotte Rampling, Andre Wilms. Italy, Belgium, France

HAVE A NICE DAY (HAO JI LE) – This morbid, hilarious animated noir cuts deep into the greed fueling the Chinese economic miracle. DIR/SCR Liu Jian. CAST Zhu Changlong, Cao Kai, Liu Jian, Yang Siming, Shi Haitao, Ma Xiaofeng, Xue Feng, Zheng Yi. China

HIGH FANTASY – Four South African friends on a camping trip discover they’ve switched bodies in this found-footage sophomore feature that cathartically examines racial and gender issues. DIR Jenna Bass. SCR Jenna Bass, Qondiswa James, Nala Khumalo, Francesca Varrie Michel, Liza Scholtz, Loren Loubser. CAST Qondiswa James, Nala Khumalo, Francesca Varrie Michel, Liza Scholtz, Loren Loubser. South Africa

I AM NOT A WITCH – A nine-year-old girl ignites a rebellion in the witch camp where she’s been imprisoned, in this bold debut that beautifully mixes satire, superstition and ambiguity. DIR/SCR Rungano Nyoni. CAST Margaret Mulubwa, Henry B.J. Phiri, Nancy Mulilo. France, UK, Germany

MILLA – The happy but impoverished life-on-the-fringes of a young French couple is captured with observational care and quiet grace in this striking new work. DIR/SCR Valérie Massadian. CAST Severine Jonckeere, Luc Chessel, Ethan Jonckeere. France

PENDULAR – This intense and unforgettable debut melds sculpture, dance and film in a tale brimming with sexual passion. DIR/SCR Júlia Murat, Matias Mariani. CAST Raquel Karro, Rodrigo Bolzan, Neto Machado, Marcio Vito, Felipe Rocha, Renato Linhares, Larissa Siqueira, Carlos Eduardo Santos, Valeria Barretta, Martina Revollo. Argentina, Brazil, France

SUMMER 1993 – In this unforgettable and autobiographical debut, a six-year-old girl goes to live with her extended family in the Catalan countryside following her mother’s death from an AIDS-related illness. DIR/SCR Carla Simón. CAST Laia Artigas, Paula Robles, Bruna Cusí, David Verdaguer, Fermí Reixach. Spain

WHAT WOULD PEOPLE SAY (HVA VIL FOLK SI) – A Norwegian-Pakistani teenage girl must bear the consequences of her rebellious actions in this powerful sophomore feature. DIR/SCR Iram Haq. CAST Maria Mozhdah, Adil Hussain, Rohit Saraf, Ekavali Khanna, Ali Arfan, Sheeba Chaddha, Lalit Parimoo, Jannat Zubair Rahmani, Nokokure Dahl, Trine Wiggen, Maria Bock, Sara Khorami. Norway, Germany, Sweden

WINTER BROTHERS (VINTERBRØDRE) – A loner in a snowy mining community is pushed to violent extremes in this hypnotic, beautiful debut out of Denmark. DIR/SCR Hlynur Pálmason. CAST Elliott Crosset Hove, Simon Sears, Victoria Carmen Sonne, Peter Plaugborg, Lars Mikkelsen. Denmark, Iceland

AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS

THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN – Bill Pullman gives a career-best performance in Jared Moshé’s cleverly scripted, thrilling love letter to the Western. DIR/SCR Jared Moshé. CAST Bill Pullman, Kathy Baker, Jim Caviezel, Tommy Flanagan, Peter Fonda. USA

BODIED – A meek white-boy rapper wants to spit fire, but does cultural appropriation outweigh his desire? DIR Joseph Kahn. SCR Alex Larsen. CAST Calum Worthy, Jackie Long, Charlamagne Tha God, Anthony Michael Hall, Rory Uphold, Dumbfoundead, Walter Perez, Shoniqua Shandai, Dizaster, Debra Wilson, Loaded Lux. USA

CALIFORNIA DREAMS – Beautiful and multilayered, Mike Ott’s latest work of docufiction centers on struggling individuals in Valencia, CA, and the profound chasm between their lives and dreams of stardom. DIR Mike Ott. CAST Cory Zacharia, Patrick Ilaguno, Carolan J. Pinto, Neil Harley, Kevin Gilger AKA K-Nine. USA

EL MAR LA MAR – A stunning new film from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab, EL MAR LA MAR dives into matters of life and death at the U.S.-Mexico border in the Sonoran Desert, where legions of immigrants are dying to cross. DIR/SCR Joshua Bonnetta & J.P. Sniadecki. USA

THE ENDLESS – Filmmaking duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead return with another fiercely original sci-fi horror film, this time set in a UFO death cult. DIR Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead. SCR Justin Benson. CAST Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Callie Hernandez, Tate Ellington. USA

FITS AND STARTS – Wyatt Cenac and Greta Lee star in this fantastic and funny debut centering on two married writers — one successful, the other not so much. DIR/SCR Laura Terruso. CAST Wyatt Cenac, Greta Lee, Maria Dizzia. USA

GEMINI – Lola Kirke stars as a personal assistant who must figure out who killed her famous employer (Zoë Kravitz) in this neon-drenched neo-noir from director Aaron Katz. DIR/SCR Aaron Katz. CAST Lola Kirke, Zoë Kravitz, John Cho, Greta Lee. USA

LIFE AND NOTHING MORE – AFI FEST alum Antonio Méndez Esparza’s sophomore feature follows the day-to-day struggles of an African-American mother and her troubled son, who is getting ever closer to following in his imprisoned father’s footsteps. DIR/SCR Antonio Méndez Esparza. CAST Andrew Bleechington, Regina Williams, Robert Williams, Ry’Nesia Chambers. USA

MR. ROOSEVELT – Triple threat Noël Wells directs, writes and stars in this funny tale of a struggling comedian returning to her hometown to mourn an old pet, and play third wheel to her ex and his new girlfriend. DIR/SCR Noël Wells. CAST Noël Wells, Nick Thune, Britt Lower, Daniella Pineda, Andre Hyland. USA

SOLLERS POINT – This moving portrait of one young man’s frustrated attempts to rise above his obstacles after being released from prison is the latest film from indie director Matt Porterfield. DIR/SCR Matthew Porterfield. CAST McCaul Lombardi, Jim Belushi, Zazie Beetz, Everleigh Brenner. USA

THOROUGHBREDS – Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke star in this darkly comedic thriller that recalls films like HEAVENLY CREATURES and HEATHERS. DIR/SCR Cory Finley. CAST Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Anton Yelchin, Paul Sparks, Francie Swift, Kaili Vernoff. USA.

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(Source: afi.com)

Berlinale Spotlight: Films Travel to Asia

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Just when you think it can’t get any better, they go and do something like this!

The Berlinale has had a global presence with specially curated film programs for many years now. The Berlinale Spotlight extends the festival and makes its activities visible throughout the year.

 

Berlinale-Berlinale Spotlight gives us the opportunity to make our work concrete and tangible to audiences even beyond the festival. The films on the screen exemplify what makes the Berlinale sections so distinctive and the Berlinale unique in its complexity,” says Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick.

 

The Berlinale’s long-standing and successful collaboration with the Goethe Institutes in Kolkata and Hong Kong will continue in the autumn and winter of 2017. A total of six short film programmes are to be presented with works from the Berlinale Shorts, Generation, Perspektive Deutsches Kino and Panorama sections, as well as the full-length fiction film Ein Weg (Paths) by Chris Miera (Perspektive Deutsches Kino 2017). The short film programmes have been put together by Maike Mia Höhne, curator of the Berlinale Shorts section.

 

2015_0004_img_175xvar“The films reflect the great diversity of the short format: bold, playful, political, narrative. The short film is an essential sector of the film industry, but also of storytelling and culture. In its capacity as such, it will travel around the world,” says Maike Mia Höhne.

 

The Berlinale Spotlight programmes in East Asia will be shown at the Cine Moko in Hong Kong on October 18 and 25, 2017; at the Cinematheque Passion in Macau on October 15 and 20, 2017; at the Goethe-Institut in Shanghai, China on October 18 and 20, 2017; and at the Goethe-Institut Beijing, China on November 18 and 19, 2017.

 

Berlinale Spotlight has been invited to India for the Kalpanirjhar International Short Fiction Film Festival from December 1 to 5, 2017; DIALOGUES: Calcutta International LGBT Film & Video Festival from November 23 to 26, 2017; and the TENT Little Cinema International Festival in December 2017. All festival screenings will be held at the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, Kolkata.

 

Berlinale Spotlight films:

 

Altas Cidades de Ossadas (High Cities of Bone), directed by: João Salaviza (Portugal), 19 min.

Avant l’envol (Before the Flight), directed by: Laurence Bonvin (Switzerland), 20 min.

Call of Cuteness, directed by: Brenda Lien (Germany), 4 min.
Centauro (Centaur), directed by: Nicolás Suárez (Argentina), 14 min. – Honourable Mention 2017

Cidade Pequena (Small Town), directed by: Diogo Costa Amarante (Portugal), 19 min. – Golden Bear for Best Short Film 2017

Ensueño en la Pradera (Reverie in the Meadow), directed by: Esteban Arrangoiz Julien (Mexico), 17 min. – Silver Bear Jury Prize (Short Film) 2017

Estás vendo coisas (You are seeing things), directed by: Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca (Brazil), 18 min.

Everything, directed by: David OReilly (USA / Ireland), 11 min.

Final Stage, directed by: Nicolaas Schmidt (Germany), 27 min. – Perspektive Deutsches Kino 2017

Fuera de Temporada (Out of Season), directed by: Sabrina Campos (Argentina), 23 min.

Hiwa, directed by: Jacqueline Lentzou (Greece), 11 min.

keep that dream burning, directed by: Rainer Kohlberger (Austria/ Germany), 8 min.

Kometen (The Comet), directed by: Victor Lindgren (Sweden), 11 min.

La prima sueca (Swedish Cousin), directed by: Inés María Barrionuevo, Agustina San Martín (Argentina), 20 min. – Generation 2017

Le film de l’été (The Summer Movie), directed by: Emmanuel Marre (France / Belgium), 30 min.

Martin Pleure (Martin Cries), directed by: Jonathan Vinel (France), 16 min.

Min Homosyster (My Gay Sister), directed by: Lia Hietala (Sweden / Norway), 15 min. – Generation 2017, TEDDY Award 2017

Oh Brother Octopus, directed by: Florian Kunert (Germany), 27 min.

Os Humores Artificiais (The Artificial Humors), directed by: Gabriel Abrantes (Portugal), 30 min. – Berlin Short Film Nominee for the European Film Awards 2017

Street of Death, directed by: Karam Ghossein (Lebanon / Germany), 22 min. – Audi Short Film Award 2017

The Boy from H2, directed by: Helen Yanovsky (Israel / Palestine), 21 min.

The Crying Conch, directed by: Vincent Toi (Canada), 20 min.

The Rabbit Hunt, directed by: Patrick Bresnan (USA / Hungary 2017), 12 min.

Vênus – Filó a fadinha lésbica (Filly the Lesbian Little Fairy), directed by: Sávio Leite (Brazil), 6 min. – Panorama 2017

 

As well as the full-length fiction film:

Ein Weg (Paths), directed by: Chris Miera (Germany), 107 min. – Perspektive Deutsches Kino 2017

 

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(Source: Press release from Berlinale Press Office)

 

AFI FEST 2017 Opening Night MUDBOUND

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Hollywood, California is the place for an Opening Night Gala. The American Film Institute’s AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi will open on Thursday, November 9, 2017, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, with the Netflix film MUDBOUND. Directed by Dee Rees and co-written by Virgil Williams and Rees, the historical period drama features cinematography by AFI Conservatory alumna Rachel Morrison (Class of 2006). The film stars Academy Award nominee Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige and Rob Morgan.

Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees’ MUDBOUND is an epic story of two families pitted against one another by a ruthless social hierarchy, yet bound together by the shared farmland of the Mississippi Delta. MUDBOUND follows the McAllan family, newly transplanted from the quiet civility of Memphis and unprepared for the harsh demands of farming. Despite the grandiose dreams of Henry (Jason Clarke), his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan) struggles to keep the faith in her husband’s losing venture.

Meanwhile, Hap and Florence Jackson (Rob Morgan, Mary J. Blige) — sharecroppers who have worked the land for generations — struggle bravely to build a small dream of their own despite the rigidly enforced social barriers they face.

The war upends both families’ plans as their returning loved ones, Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) and Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell), forge a fast but uneasy friendship that challenges the brutal realities of the Jim Crow South in which they live.

MUDBOUND will be in select theaters and on Netflix on November 17, 2017.

AFI FEST to Present Robert Altman Retrospective

Posted by Larry Gleeson

AFI has announced an inaugural, annual retrospective to spotlight one filmmaker of global significance, as part of AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi, running November 9–16, 2017, in Hollywood, CA.

This year, AFI FEST will present the work of Robert Altman, with screenings and discussions of 12 films — historically the most programmed in the festival for one filmmaker. For the retrospective, legendary director/producer/writer Altman (1925–2006) will be honored with screenings and discussions of his classic  films, including: M*A*S*H (1970), MCCABE & MRS. MILLER (1971), THE LONG GOODBYE (1972), CALIFORNIA SPLIT (1973), NASHVILLE (1975), 3 WOMEN (1977), VINCENT & THEO (1990), THE PLAYER (1992), SHORT CUTS (1993), KANSAS CITY (1996), GOSFORD PARK (2001) and A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION (2006).

pictured above: NASHVILLE, #59 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies

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(Source: afi.com)

 

Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrates Cinema in Venice with a Gala Night

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Official sponsor of the Venice International Film Festival for over a decade, Jaeger-LeCoultre celebrated its commitment with a Gala Dinner held on the 5th of September in the Arsenal of Venice.

Venezia 74

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Deputy CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre Geoffroy Lefebvre and Rebecca Hall wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One High Jewelry
Diane Kruger wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre Joaillerie 101 Reine watch
Catherine Deneuve chose a Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Ivy Secret watch

 

Jaeger-LeCoultre Deputy CEO Geoffroy Lefebvre welcomed friends of the Maison and an array of prestigious guests: Catherine Deneuve, Diane Kruger, jury member of the Film Festival Rebecca Hall, Italian actresses Cristiana Capotondi and Eva Riccobono, international talents Ann Hsu, Shi Ke, Geng Le and director Vivian Qu.

During the evening, Jaeger-LeCoultre honoured Catherine Deneuve for her unparalleled contribution to the art of filmmaking. A long-time friend of the Brand actress Diane Kruger presented her the award on behalf of the Maison.

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Ann Hsu wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Moon in white gold
Andrea Pezzi and Cristiana Capotondi wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Night & Day watch
Matteo Ceccarini wearing a Reverso Classic and Eva Riccobono wearing a Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Ivy in white gold
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Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Sonatina “Séduction” (left) and “Amour” (right) celebrated at the Gala Dinner

The three new Rendez-Vous Sonatina “Séduction”, “Romance” and “Amour” on display were emblematic of this Gala Night that celebrated cinema and the power of emotions that it triggers.

JAEGER-LECOULTRE AND CINEMA

Since 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre has remained dedicated to the legacy of watchmaking traditions while maintaining its expertise for invention in creating authentic, fine watchmaking legends.

Committed to a constant quest for excellence and supported by a unique inventive spirit, Jaeger-LeCoultre has a long-standing engagement in supporting the appreciation and preservation of film.

For more than a decade, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been closely associated with the best artistic film festivals around the world, including Venice, Shanghai, and San Sebastian, and in turn pays tribute to the creative talent of filmmakers by annually awarding the Glory to the Filmmaker Award.

Through its close affinity with the world of film, Jaeger-LeCoultre has found shared values and a common mission: each second bears the imprint of a moment of eternity.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Hosts Gala Dinner At Arsenale In Venice: Arrivals - 74th Venice International Film Festival
 Soo Joo Park arrives for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gala Dinner during the 74th Venice International Film Festival at Arsenale on September 5, 2017 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Jaeger-LeCoultre)

The feminine Rendez-Vous watch is with you in all the precious moments and adapts to every new role. Jaeger-LeCoultre invites every woman to express the actor within her, by capturing an iconic moment or scene from the movies.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Hosts Gala Dinner At Arsenale In Venice: Arrivals - 74th Venice International Film Festival
Ana Brenda Contreras arrives for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gala Dinner during the 74th Venice International Film Festival at Arsenale on September 5, 2017 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Jaeger-LeCoultre

Live a uniquely emotional moment and share it with everyone.

#LikeinaMovie

(Press materials provided by image.net)

 

Venice Movie Stars Lounge, September 6th, 2017

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017, the Venice Movie Stars Lounge hosted the national and international press activities of the actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, the only Spanish actors to win an Academy Award with both obtaining Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively.

 

They came to present the director’s, Fernando León de Aranoa, new film, “Loving Pablo” that narrates about the relationship between the Colombian drug dealer, Pablo Escobar, and his lover, the TV journalist, Virginia Vallejo. The couple, not only in real life but even on set, after carrying out the TV interviews during the morning, had lunch inside the Villa, and then moved on more interviews answering the questions of the journalists.

Stay tuned for more on the glamor, the fashion and the filmmaking of the 74th Venice International Film Festival!

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Official Sponsors of the Venice Movie Stars project are Lamborghini, Palazzina G, Area Stile, Diamond Ice Noble Vodka, Sant’Anna, Safilo, Giaquinto, Corradi, along with the technical partners Forno d’Asolo, Bevande Futuriste, Consorzio Tutela Piave DOP, Hausbrandt, Prosecco Vigna Belvedere, Barbero Davide, Smania, Sixtema, Ethimo, Ideal Lux, Movidos, Banca Fideuram, Round Studio, H&A associati srl

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(Source: Press release provided by Immagicgroup, marketing leader in providing spaces for press activities at the Festivals of Cannes and Berlin, and during the 74 Venice International Film Festival)

VICEROY’S HOUSE opens this Friday September 1st in Los Angeles, New York and VOD

Posted by Larry Gleeson

A throwback to epic, large screen, big production filmmaking, Viceroy’s House is more than just a visual treat. Gurinder Chadha, raised in Great Britain, weaves a mesmerizing tale with magnificent costuming, larger-than-life production design and an abundantly handsome cast set in 1947 colonial India.

This is one not to be missed.  Here’s my original review from the 67th Berlin International Film Festival .

See the film’s official trailer at the bottom of the page!

VICEROY’S HOUSE from writer/director/producer Gurinder Chadha (BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, BRIDE AND PREJUDICE) opens this Friday, September 1st  in Los Angeles, New York and VOD. VICEROY’S HOUSE will expand into more cities the following week.

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Theatres:

Laemmle Royal Theatre

11523 Santa Monica Boulevard, 1st Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90025

Genre:  Drama

Rating:  Unrated

Running Time: 107 Minutes

Language: English

Directed: Gurinder Chadha

Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayal, Huma Qureshi, Om Puri

Synopsis: New nations are rarely born in peace… India, 1947: Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) is dispatched, along with his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson), to New Delhi to oversee the country’s transition from British rule to independence. Taking his place in the resplendent mansion known as the Viceroy’s House, Mountbatten arrives hopeful for a peaceful transference of power. But ending centuries of colonial rule in a country divided by deep religious and cultural differences proves no easy undertaking, setting off a seismic struggle that threatens to tear India apart. With sumptuous period detail, director Gurinder Chadha brings to life a pivotal historical moment that re-shaped the world.​

(Press materials courtesy of IFC Films)

 

INTERVIEW: AFI Conservatory Alumna Mimi Leder on Directing THE LEFTOVERS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

As an executive producer and director on HBO’s THE LEFTOVERS, Mimi Leder (AFI Class of 1973, Cinematography) brought her deft storytelling touch to the recent series finale. But her work has extended well beyond the prestige mystery series, with Primetime Emmy wins and nominations for ER, THE WEST WING and CHINA BEACH, and film-directing credits including DEEP IMPACT (1998), PAY IT FORWARD (2000) and the upcoming Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic ON THE BASIS OF SEX.

AFI spoke to Leder about THE LEFTOVERS finale, and her work as a director. Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen season three of THE LEFTOVERS.

Mimi Leder
Mimi Leder

AFI: In all three seasons of THE LEFTOVERS, there has been more conversation than ever this year — especially now that the series has ended.

ML: We’re all trying to wrap our heads around it. There are many endings. You film it, then you edit, then you’re done editing, you’re done mixing, then it airs and you’re done again. It’s been quite an extraordinary time.

There’s perhaps more rallying around this season because more people have found the show. In the beginning, it lost a lot of viewers because it was rather bleak, but still wonderful. Season two came around and we very much worked towards moving to a new town, and I changed the palette of the show, the color, and very much opened up the scope of the show. The show, in its second season, got quite a lot of recognition. And then in the third season, we continued on to Australia and journeyed with our characters there. The reaction to the third season has been absolutely stunning.

AFI: Reportedly, series co-creator Damon Lindelof said that he measures the show in “pre-Mimi” and “post-Mimi,” since you came onboard halfway into the first season. What do you make of that?

ML: They brought me onto the show and I directed it the way I felt it needed to be, and I felt the show needed to be opened up in order to get in there in an even more in an intimate way. It had to allow the audience to breathe a bit. It was a great partnership with Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, and their writing really spoke to me. We had a very special time doing a show about grief and loss, and hope and love. We all had this life-changing experience; we as a group of people in the exploration of faith, and “what is the meaning of life?”

AFI: This also seems like a writers’ room in which no idea was too crazy.

ML: Oftentimes, it was like, “Can we do this? Well, why not? We enjoy it.” Doing a show on a ferry with a sex orgy going on was really an examination of faith in the background of madness. Nothing was too crazy, at least for us. And the response has verified that for sure.

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Carrie Coon in THE LEFTOVERS

AFI: You directed all three season finales. Was this the most challenging?

ML: They were all challenging. Season three’s finale was, I would say, even more so, because it was the final episode of the series. It was a much quieter episode, and it had almost a comedic feel to it. It almost felt like a rom-com in some instances, and that was very freeing and liberating and really different for our show. In that way, it had to hit the tone just right with our characters, and always stay grounded, and always in the world of our “leftovers.” But I tried not to be too precious about it. There’s always the pressure you put on yourself, when something feels a little bit more important, and that’s where you can go wrong. I ignored those feelings, and always had the mantra in my head: “Keep it simple.”

AFI: You did that beautifully, particularly in the closing monologue. Can you explain the decision not to provide a visual representation of the story that Nora tells about her journey to “the other side”?

ML: We all felt that doing a visual representation of her story would make it feel less ambiguous, and we felt it was very important for her story to be told through Kevin listening to it, and him being our eyes, the audience’s eyes. Kevin had to believe her in order for there to be an opening for love, for them to be together. One of the big themes of this season was our examination of our belief systems, the stories we tell ourselves to get through life. Nora’s story is her story, her belief system. Whether you believe it’s true or not is really unimportant. It really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that she believes it, and that he believes it, and to leave it ambiguous was most important for the audience in order for them to make their decision.

AFI: As a viewer, if you choose to believe that Nora visited this other world, then you get that sort of closure you crave from a series finale.

ML: There really are no answers. There are many answers to the meaning of life, but then again, there are many questions that will never be answered. If we knew all the answers to life, and to the journey, it’d be so boring. Part of the process of living is the exploration, and the journey, and that’s what THE LEFTOVERS, in many ways, was saying. And ultimately, it was this mad love story.

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Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux in THE LEFTOVERS

AFI: Another scene in the finale that was so well-directed shows Nora entering the “LADR” (low amplitude Denzinger radiation) device. Talk about directing Carrie Coon in that scene.

ML: We come into the world naked, and we go out naked. The script said “naked,” and I didn’t want to shoot around her body. There’s nothing more beautiful than a human body, and I felt she was this little girl walking. She was completely vulnerable and fearless all at the same time, and I wanted to be with her, to always feel like she was walking towards us. I did a lot of shots that emphasized that, but I also wanted to be over her shoulder and behind her, and feel like we were absolutely with her. That was a scary scene. I just tried to keep it simple and powerful, with the big wides and the tights, and to stay with her emotionally.

AFI: You’ve gone back and forth between TV over the years.

ML: I’m in prep to direct a film called ON THE BASIS OF SEX, which is about the young years of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It’s an origin story, and also about the first federal precedent declaring sex-based discrimination unconstitutional.

AFI: What’s exciting to you about returning to film?

ML: I don’t really differentiate one from the other, honestly. My approach to storytelling is always the same, whether it’s on a big screen or a small screen. It’s all about the material. Films are projected big, but I really don’t approach it any differently [than a TV episode].

Prestige television has really evolved, and you see feature filmmakers going back and forth because there’s great work to be done, great stories to be told, in television. They’re making less films, but I would venture to say there are more important stories being told in prestige television, even though I’m making a very important — I think — story on film this year. There’s more opportunity in television to make these stories. Maybe there’s too much. You cannot possibly catch up to everything. It’s just overwhelming.

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(Originally posted on afi.com)

Venice dedicates entire island to VR

Posted by Larry Gleeson

If you thought that the Venice Film Festival had lost its relevance, think again. Since 2013 the oldest film festival in the world has become the launching pad for the Oscars and now embraces the future of cinema by hosting the biggest and boldest presentation of Virtual Reality ever seen at any film festival.

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The island, Lazzaretto Vecchio, pictured above, will be transformed into a virtual reality paradise during the Biennale from August 31st to September 5th, 2017.

And they do it in a way that only Venice can – with an immaculate sense of style and aplomb. The main big news is that Venice will dedicate an abandoned island in the lagoon to the presentation of the world’s best VR productions.

Located less than 50 meters from the Lido, where the festival takes place, sits Lazzaretto Vecchio. enice VR will literally be just a stone’s throw from the heart of the Festival and The PalaBiennale, which is one of the largest screening venues. This small, abandoned island used to be a leper colony and a quarantine transit island between the 15th and 17th century. The island alone is worth the short trip comments Michel, “There’s so much history in this place.”

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About a decade ago, the hospital and the adjoining buildings on the island were partly renovated to house a future Museum of Archeology, which has not materialized to date. Now, Lazzaretto Vecchio has found a new purpose.

VR Theater

Venice VR also features a dedicated VR theater with 50 revolving leather seats located in a huge hangar from the 16th century. Visitors can see three programs in competition. Highlights include the first VR piece, The Deserted (55′), by internationally renowned Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-Liang. Additionally, there will be an Out of Competition program featuring previous VR pieces by directors who are part of this year’s Venice Production Bridge – the pitch market of the Festival.

A fifth program features three pieces from this year’s premiere edition of the Venice Biennale College Cinema – Virtual Reality which will be presented out of competition. The Venice Biennale College is a two-part pressure cooker-style training program that preps participants for a bright 360° interactive immersive future. Two projects (out of ten projects developed during this year’s College) have been made with support from Sony are presented alongside the third piece, a VR spinoff from Beautiful Things, which is one of the three “flat” films produced this year by the Biennale College Cinema.

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A small PSVR tie-in piece to the TV-series Snatch on Crackle – Sony’s free, ad-supported media streaming service. A tie-in to Guy Ritchie’s crime comedy from 2000, Snatch is a game where you need to crack the code of a chest.

 

Venice VR Competition at a glance

A major selection criterium of Venice is that all pieces have to be international or world premieres. The second criterium is of course the quality of the piece. 103 submissions were sent in from all over the world for Venice’s first VR competition. Among the 22 VR pieces that were selected are six room-scale installations, six Oculus and three Vive stand ups.

Three of the former hospital’s extended hallways and galleries will offer plenty of space for Venice’s ambitious VR program. “We will have something like 4000 square meters to just do the installations,” says Michel Reilhac. But it’s not just about the space, he adds. The atmosphere on the island is “simply magical.” This will be the very first time ever that the island is opened to visitors.

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Venice Virtual Reality: Installations in Competition

There will be six installations that allow visitors to interact with the space and sometimes with actors. There are a couple of pieces that fall in the category of Reactive Theater; interactive VR experiences that use live performers, also referred to as “reactive actors.” Draw Me Close by the National Theatre and the NFB is a VR installation in which the actors “play” with the audience making the piece more immersive.

For a more complete listing click here!

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An impressive VR-teaser for a very ambitious Hollywood-style movie about a futuristic destroyed city.

(Source: submarinechannel.com, extracted from article by Remco Vlaanderen)

 

John Landis to reside over Venice Virtual Reality Jury

Posted by Larry Gleeson

John Landis, American film director, screenwriter, actor, and producer who got his start in the mail room at 20th Century- Fox has been tabbed to be the President of the Venice Virtual Reality International Jury over the new competition for virtual reality (VR) films: Venice Virtual Reality.

Last year I witnessed the world premiere presentation of the first feature length VR film (Jesus VR). This year there will be up to 18 VR films in the Venice Virtual Reality competition at the newly constructed VR Theater inside the Palazzo del Casinò, Lido di Venezia. The competition will be held from August 31st through September 5th, 2017.

 

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Last year the screening of several experimental films as well as the world premiere of the first feature length VR film, Jesus VR, aroused enormous interest among participants. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

 

The members of the International Jury of the Venice Virtual Reality section are:

· The American director John Landis (President  of the Jury), a key figure in American cinema for the past forty years. Landis has influenced generations of filmmakers with his movies, which include Animal HouseTheBlues BrothersAn American Werewolf in LondonTrading PlacesInto the Night, one of his most famous movies, will be screened in its restored version in Venice this year. In 2008 Landis was a jury member for the Competition at the 65thVenice Film Festival.

· The French screenwriter and director Céline SciammaNaissance des pieuvres, her first film, was presented in Cannes in 2007, as was Bande de filles seven years later. She became famous with her second feature film, Tomboy, presented in Berlin and the winner of many awards. Her screenplays include Ma vie de courgette, which received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film.

· The actor and director Ricky Tognazzi. He won a Silver Bear for Best Director with Ultrà, tying with The Silence of the Lambs, and a David di Donatello in the same category, a feat he repeated two years later with La scorta, which participated In Competition in Cannes. In 2011, he presented Tutta colpa della musica in Venice. He has performed in movies such as Una storia semplice and Caruso Pascoski di padre polacco.

 

The Jury of Venice Virtual Reality will award, with no ex-aequo awards permitted, the following prizes: Best VR, Best VR experience (for interactive content), Best VR story (for linear content).

 

Stay tuned for more on Venice Virtual Reality!

 

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(Sourced from the Biennale Press Office)

Annette Bening to serve as the President of the Venice 74 Film Jury

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 74th Venice International Film Festival has announced Annette Bening will serve as the President of the Venezia 74 Jury for this year’s festival.

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Other Jury members include:

· The Hungarian director and screenwriter Ildikó Enyedi; she won the Golden Camera for Best Debut Film at Cannes for My Twentieth Century; the movie was included on the list of the 12 best Hungarian films of all time. She participated In Competition in Venice in 1994 with Magic Hunter and in Locarno in 1999 with Simon the Magician. Her most recent film, On Body and Soul, won the Golden Bear in Berlin in 2017.

· The director, producer and screenwriter Michel Franco.Born and raised in Mexico he has made five feature films, four of which were presented in Cannes. Después de Lucía and Las hijas de Abril won Best Film and the Special Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard, respectively. Chronic, presented In Competition, won Best Screenplay. He produced Desde allá by Lorenzo Vigas, which won the Golden Lion in Venice in 2015.

· The British actress Rebecca Hall; she spends her time between Great Britain and the United States, where she has worked with directors such as Christopher Nolan, Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen, thanks to whom she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She has also appeared in The TownA Promise and Iron Man 3. She received critical acclaim and major international awards for her performance in Christine.

· The actress Anna Mouglalis is an iconic figure of French art house cinema. At a very young age, she appeared in La captive (2000) by Chantal Akerman. She became famous in Italy thanks to her role in Romanzo criminale (2005) by Michele Placido. She spends her time between Italy and France, making art house films with directors such as Arnaud Desplechin, Mario Martone and Philippe Garrel, and she is in the cast of Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque), a protagonist at the 2011 César awards.

· The Anglo-Australian film critic David Stratton; he directed the Sydney Film Festival for almost twenty years and has been a member of the jury at major film festivals all over the world, including Venice, Cannes and Berlin. Stratton collaborated with Variety for twenty years and he has produced and hosted important television programs about cinema.

· The actress Jasmine Trinca; she is one of the most important Italian actresses of her generation. She has appeared in films by important directors such as Nanni Moretti, Marco Tullio Giordana, Michele Placido and Taviani brothers. In 2009, she won the Marcello Mastroianni Award in Venice for The Big Dream and in 2017 she was awarded Best Actress in Un Certain Regard at Cannes for Fortunata. She has also won two Silver Ribbons.

· The English director and screenwriter Edgar Wright; he is the director of the iconic “Three Flavours Cornetto” Trilogy, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, started with Shaun of the Dead (2004), which revitalized genre parodies. In 2010, he directed Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, an original experiment overlapping film and comics. At the moment, his film Baby Driver is receiving acclaim in the American theaters and it will be released in Italy on September 7th.

· The director, producer and screenwriter Yonfan; world traveler, active across China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, he has written, directed and produced all thirteen of his own movies, including Breaking the Willow (2003) and Prince of Tears (2009), both of which were presented in Venice, the latter film in Competition; he also participated in the project Venezia 70 – Future Reloaded. He has worked with the top Hong Kong stars, including Maggie Cheung, Chow Yung-fat and Daniel Wu, who became well-known for his role in Bishonen.

The Venezia 74 Jury will award the following prizes: Golden Lion for Best Film; Silver Lion – Grand Jury Prize; Silver Lion for Best Director; Coppa Volpi for Best Actor; Coppa Volpi for Best Actress; Award for Best Screenplay; the Special Jury Prize and “Marcello Mastroianni” Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress.

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(Source: Biennale Press Office)

 

 

FILM REVIEW: Atomic Homefront (Cammisa, 2017): USA

Posted and reviewed by Larry Gleeson

Rebecca Cammisa knows a story when she sees one. Cammisa received a tip from a St. Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 4.57.23 PMLouis reporter about a situation unfolding in North County (St. Louis) communities. The “situation” has been festering for over 70 years. St. Louis has a little known secret  – one among many I’m sure. During World War II (WWII), St. Louis was one of the nation’s atomic weapons manufacturing locations. The well-known Mallinckrodt Corporation, in addition to a few other entities, was contracted to carry out war time operations related to to our country’s Manhattan Project atomic program including uranium processing. Using traditional documentary film techniques such as the direct interview, voice-over narration, emotional testimonials and non-diagectic musical scoring, Cammisa gets right into the controversy that pits local residents against the federal government with Atomic Homefront, an HBO Documentary Film.

Here’s why Cammisa made her film. After the atomic bomb uranium processing was mv5bywyyzgizmjktowqxyi00mzq0lweyzwmtmdq3ogqwmzkwnzcyxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymty5otuwma-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_completed, the radioactive waste was deposited in several areas in and around St. Louis and its surrounding communities. A few areas, like the one Cammisa focuses on in her timely film, is the Coldwater Creek area. Here the waste lay in piles exposed to the elements, including rainfall, along Latty Avenue until 1973. The radioactive material ran off into the nearby creek where neighborhood children played. Moreover, when the creek flooded water made its way into nearby homes. Increased cancer rates associated with the radioactive isotope have been, and, are being reported. Cammisa chose to include a heart-wrenching, on-camera interview with a sixteen-year- old male on death’s doorstep. His mother believed she had been contaminated by the radioactive materials and had passed it on to her son. The son heroically states he wanted to “help others” by going on camera.

But there’s more to the situation than the radioactive runoff in the Coldwater Creek area. After receiving numerous complaints of the god-awful stench emanating from the Latty Avenue piles of radioactive waste, the piles were illegally dump into the periphery, West Lake neighborhood landfill, which became an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site in 1990. Now the EPA is responsible for the oversight and cleanup. But what about the odorific stench? Somehow, it’s still emanating and making it into the air making nearby residents cringe and worry about what’s being ingested with each and every breath. And, the “situation” doesn’t end there.

The EPA set up air monitoring sites and the radioactive particles are under levels know to cause harm and advised residents to close their windows. That didn’t sit well with those moms I mentioned earlier. They’ve gotten together and formed Just Moms STL,  a strong group of moms-turned advocates that believe their communities are being poisoned and have vowed to continue fighting until the EPA removes the waste or relocates nearby residents – neither of which or likely to happen anytime soon as the EPA lacks funding. And as reported in the Washington Post on March 28th, 2017, President Trump signs order at the EPA to dismantle environmental protections.

Unbelievably, for the last seven an uncontrolled subterranean fire has been burning in closed areas of the landfill and recently has been migrating towards the buried radioactive waste. And for the last seven years, Republic Services, a waste management company, has been stating the fire is contained and there is no threat from the radiation. Yet, in 2016, the EPA has clearly identified radiologically impacted material had migrated within 700 feet of the fire and was moving closer. What would happen if the radioactive particles attached to the smoldering vapors and became airborne migrating into the communities potentially miles away? Undaunted, Republic Services insists the site is in a “safe and managed state.”

Atomic Homefront highlights St. Louis an example of how radioactive “situations” are sometime just swept under the rug by the federal and private agencies charged with overseeing them. What the federal government knew, knows or doesn’t know is smoldering underneath the center of Camissa latest documentary, Atomic Homefront. A 1988 film nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary, Radio Bikini, highlights another atomic, highly, radioactive “situation” from WWII with a bit more of an historical treatment. Personally, I would have appreciated that from Cammisa as I trained on ground, as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, adjacent to the Weldon Springs, Missouri site (another radiologically contaminated dumping site). Nevertheless, Cammisa presents a powerful portrait of Just Moms STL with Atomic Homefront and poses questions sure to stimulate dialogue. Highly recommended.

*The local EPA office would not allow Atomic Homefront to record any meetings with concerned residents who were demanding answers to this sordid state of affairs.

 

FILM REVIEW: The Midwife (Provost, 2017): France

Posted and reviewed by Larry Gleeson

 

 

Cesar-award winning director, Martin Provost’s latest film, The Midwife, an official selection of the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival, is a bittersweet drama about the unlikely friendship that develops between Claire, a talented but tightly wound midwife, portrayed by Catherine Frot, and Beatrice, the estranged, free-spirited mistress of Claire’s late father, portrayed by Catherine Deneuve. Interestingly, Provost wrote his script with the two French actresses in mind for the lead roles of Claire and Beatrice.

THE MIDWIFE - © Michaal Crotto/Courtesy of Music Box Films

In a printed interview distributed by Music Box Films, Provost, having been saved by a midwife at birth, insists his film work is not autobiographical. After learning of his difficult birth he sought out the midwife who gave her blood that allowed him to live. His efforts turned up nil as the hospital archives were destroyed. Consequently, he decided to pay tribute, in his own way, by dedicating his film to her and through her to all the women who work in the shadows, dedicating their lives to others, without expecting anything in return.

THE MIDWIFE - © Michaâl Crotto/Courtesy of Music Box Films

The film’s opening scene delivery room’s color palette of pink and blue pastels contrasting with cross-cutting establishing shots of earthy tones foreshadow what unfolds in the film’s narrative as Provost unfolds the lives of two very different women.  A non-diagetic score by Gregoire Hetzel, the film’s musical composer, accompanies the scene and is repeated throughout in Claire’s scenes reminiscent of “Peter and the Wolf.” Meanwhile, a stunning mise-en-scene of daybreak is meticulously presented with an enormous tracking shot. A secondary, high, magnificent, omniscient point of view shot of Claire entering a building slowly tilts and pans to reveal the Porte Saint-Denis.

THE MIDWIFE - © Michaâl Crotto/Courtesy of Music Box Films

Another non-diagetic score, decidedly melancholic, accompanies the next scene as Claire hears someone at the door asking if she is the daughter of Olympic swimmer, Antoine Breton. It is Beatrice. And, this score is repeated in scenes with Beatrice. But, unbeknownst to Claire, Beatrice, living off winnings from illegal gambling dens, is destitute and quite possibly terminally ill. All of her life, Beatrice has lived casually, enjoying all that life has to offer with little regard for those around her much like La Fontaine’s Grasshopper from “The Ant and The Grasshopper.”

Yet, the two women slowly become a source of complementarity, of reciprocity, of wisdom. Their relationship is at the heart of the film: for Beatrice, the relationship becomes an opportunity to bring some light into Claire’s life while possibly gaining a better understanding of her own life; and for Claire the relationship becomes an opportunity to rediscover her second mother, the one she chose at a time she was just becoming a young girl.

With The Midwife, Provost introduces a powerful thematic question on what is freedom. On the surface, it appears, Beatrice is the ultimate purveyor of freedom living without boundaries and outside the rules of society. However, upon closer scrutiny, her reality echoes of escapism. For Beatrice, Claire, whose lifestyle Beatrice has always rejected, becomes a conduit for a lasting freedom with the opportunity to create good, loving memories that will live on in Claire’s mind.

Admittedly, some of the delivery room scenes in The Midwife are graphic. Nevertheless, the scenes create a remarkable sense of vulnerability and provide a bird’s eye view of the fragility of life. Ultimately, The Midwife is a story of transmission and of transformation with Claire receiving the light of Beatrice and with Beatrice achieving a deeper understanding that life without others is nothing. Catherine Deneuve is as regal as she has ever been. Catherine Frot emits a chilling performance until warmed over by Deneuve’s character performance. Costumer Bethsabee Dreyfus achieves a strong character sensibility in clothing the lead actresses. Thierry Francois’ production design is the epitome of realism as both actresses are performing in extremely realistic settings of a delivery room and an illegal gambling den.

The Midwife is scheduled to open in Los Angeles and New York on July 21st, 2017 and is highly recommended.

The MidWife

The AFI FEST Interview: FISH STORY Director Charlie Lyne

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Charlie Lyne is an AFI FEST alumnus with his feature film FEAR ITSELF (AFI FEST 2016). AFI spoke to Lyne about his new short film, FISH STORY, which was  just released online and won the Short Film Audience Award at AFI DOCS. The film investigates a mysterious gathering rumored to have taken place in 1980s Wales, at which an unlikely group of people with one thing in common came together.

AFI: You work in both short and feature-length formats. Is the short format more freeing compared to feature-length? Is it harder to tell a story in a much shorter length? 

CL: I think stories can lend themselves to all kinds of runtimes, and one of the great sadnesses of contemporary film culture is the rigid distinction we draw between short and feature-length filmmaking. I’m lucky to have told a lot of stories that wound up being around 90 minutes long, or under 15 minutes long, because there are so many opportunities to show films of those lengths. People whose stories naturally end up 50 minutes long are f—-d!

That said, there are definitely unique charms and challenges to telling a story over a short runtime. For one thing, you can maintain a level of energy or visual dynamism that might be exhausting at feature-length, and you’re free to flout traditional narrative conventions without worrying that an audience will feel stranded. I think viewers are generally more patient and open-minded when it comes to shorts. 

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AFI: At what point in hearing this story did you decide you wanted to film it? Did you face any challenges as you tried to trace the people involved?

CL: I’ve known Caspar Salmon for a long time, but it was only a few years ago that he made the mistake of telling me the story of his grandmother’s attendance at a gathering for the preeminent fish-surnamed people of North Wales. After that, I couldn’t introduce him to anyone without immediately forcing him to retell the story, and each new telling (which seemed to be stranger and more labyrinthine than the last) would make me die laughing all over again. Finally, I talked him into committing the story to film.

The process of making FISH STORY was a genuine voyage of discovery, as I honestly never imagined my investigation would lead anywhere. I thought the film would wind up being about the futility of trying to prove what was, more than likely, a family myth. Obviously, it didn’t turn out that way, which was as thrilling to me as it hopefully now is to viewers.

AFI: You also work as a journalist. How does that experience lend itself to the style of documentary you work in?

CL: I’ve always identified more as a critic than a journalist, partly because I’m far from rigorous when it comes to journalistic practice. Weirdly, this film is by far the closest I’ve come to actual investigative journalism, which seems odd given that it’s about fish surnames, and that my investigative methods — which consisted mainly of looking people up in the phone book — were so rudimentary.

Still, now that the film has been picked up by The Guardian, I fully expect to see it honored at next year’s Pulitzers.

AFI: Your films have screened at festivals all over the world. As a filmmaker how important do you find it to travel with your films to festivals? Do you have any advice for other filmmakers who are trying to figure out how to navigate the film festival landscape?

CL: I can track a huge number of filmmaking opportunities I’ve had in recent years back to specific moments at festivals. There are so few other places where you’re surrounded by likeminded individuals from all over the world, and in a context of heightened artistic engagement — both with the films screening and the ideas being expressed all around you. I couldn’t put a price on it.

That said, the literal price of it can render festivals an impractical luxury for filmmakers just getting started in the industry, especially short filmmakers whose travel and accommodation is rarely paid for by the festivals themselves. Schemes like the British Council’s Shorts Support Scheme, which funds the travel of UK filmmakers like me to international festivals, are therefore invaluable. It’s just a shame so few countries have them.

Ultimately, as the line between short and feature filmmaking becomes more and more blurred — as it inevitably will — I hope and expect that festivals will begin to offer equal provisions to visiting filmmakers, whether their films run 10, 50 or 200 minutes long.

Watch the full FISH STORY here:

AFI FEST 2017 Final call for Submissions

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Send AFI your films! The final deadline for submitting feature, documentary, experimental and short films to AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi is July 14, 2017.

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AFI FEST 2017 is open for submissions via Withoutabox. Please be advised of the  deadlines below.

Early Deadline: March 31, 2017
Short Films (under 30 minutes) – $35
Feature Films (over 30 minutes) – $55

Official Deadline: May 5, 2017
Short Films – $45
Feature Films – $65

Final Deadline: July 14, 2017
Short Films – $55
Feature Films – $75

 

Submit your films here via Withoutabox

 

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FILM REVIEW: Lost In Paris (Abel, Gordon, 2016): France

Reviewed by Larry Gleeson

With Oscilloscope Laboratories, Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon have pumped out their seventh film together, Lost in Paris.

Lost in Paris is a burlesque comedy, about a small-town Canadian librarian, Fiona, portrayed in a stellar performance by Gordon, whose life is disrupted by a letter of distress from her Aunt Martha, who is living in Paris. Fiona hops on the first plane she can only to discover Aunt Martha has disappeared. In a myriad of episodic disasters, Fiona encounters a strangely seductive and oddly egotistical vagabond, Dom, portrayed in an unmissable performance by Abel, who won’t leave Fiona alone.

Replete with memorable antics harkening back to early Hollywood films featuring Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and French filmmaker, Jaques Tati, while mixing in a measure of poetic license with a slapstick-like choreography, Lost in Paris reveals a peculiar story of clownish characters finding love while lost in the City of Lights.

Utilizing a simple narrative within a framework of what appears to be an amateuresque investigation, Abel and Gordon allow their burlesque, larger-than-life characters’ physical performances to take hold and engage the viewers. Almost all the events take place over a period of two days and two nights with the characters bumping into each other almost constantly while in a heightened state of emergency mania.

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88-year-old, renowned French actress and Academy Award-nominee, Emmanuelle Riva, portrays Aunt Martha, a headstrong, independent, audacious and seemingly happy senior citizen on the verge of being placed into a nursing home.  Her freedom is non-negotiable. Aunt Martha represents liberty, lightheartedness and “joie de vivre” (exuberant enjoyment of life).

Fiona embodies a spinster librarian living in rural Canada. She becomes a wonderstruck tourist – lacking in life experience – as she stumbles through every step of her rather awkward journey. In contrast to Martha, Fiona has rarely done anything adventurous until she dives headfirst into Martha’s world. It becomes apparent Fiona is a Martha in the making as she understands Martha.

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Dom, on the other hand, is a selfish, conceited hobo who carries himself with a marked elegance despite his tattered and worn clothing. At first, his impulsiveness infuriates both Martha and Fiona. Yet, as the story unfolds, Dom becomes a liberating presence.

Interestingly, all the film’s characters are non-conformist – full of hope, resistance and innocence – while they evoke laughter, vulnerability and a sense of beauty. Actor Pierre Richard portrays Norman, an elderly, independent, charismatic artist who resurfaces three times throughout the film’s storyline, with an understated grace, humor and charm. A classic foot dance, in my opinion, Norman and Martha engage in, is a defining example of one of the film’s themes – that a sense of lightness doesn’t necessarily convey a sense of triviality or thoughtlessness, but rather a synonym for joy, liberty and vitality.

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Aesthetically, the filmmakers utilize a plethora of fixed shots, long takes and some highly artisanal special effects in Brechtian fashion. In addition, the film is set in Paris, a mythical city and a symbol of dreams and grandeur. Symbolically, Dom lives in a tent at the foot of the Statue of Liberty (a miniature replica). His daily environment is the I’lle aux Cygnes, a portal from which the historical center transforms into the modern city. On one side, there are stone bridges and the Eiffel Tower; on the other side concrete walls, express lanes and rows of skyscrapers. Nevertheless, the directors aren’t showcasing the city’s monuments solely for aesthetics, but rather for symbolic power and the poetic images conveyed as the characters move through the Parisian geography in real-time.

Lost in Paris, firmly anchored in contemporary society, opens in Los Angeles and Orange County today, July 7th, is a funny, poetic, heroic and sometimes pathetic piece about human beings who are knocked about by life and flail in order to exist….and who keep getting up one more time to live their lives on their own life’s terms.

Highly recommended.

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“Blow Up” at Cinema Ritrovato 2017

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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Restored by the Cineteca di Bologna, Istituto Luce Cinecittà and Criterion, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Circus Park and at the Criterion and The Picture Ritrovata laboratories, under the supervision of cinematographer Luca Bigazzi, presented at the seventieth edition of the Cannes Festival on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the victory of the Palme d’Or, Blow Up by Michelangelo Antonioni is also one of the appointments which concludes the Cinema Ritrovato Festival.

Inspired by the short story The burrs of the devil Argentine Julio Cortázar, Blow Up arises at a great distance from the narrative – understood as interweaving, in order to exclusively communicate a sense of mystery and ambiguity. The poetry that “tends to promote the interpreter acts of conscious freedom”, drawn up by Umberto Eco in The Open Work (1962), found with the Antonioni film a true cinematic demonstration: determining an emotional and mental disorientation. Blow Up forces the viewer to question the meaning of the vision through aesthetic and philosophical questions put in the form of allegories.

The story takes place in London in the sixties, the “swinging London,” symbol of a new modernity in which the opposition between conservation and rebellion is in continuous turmoil and the image is the main communication vehicle through mass media, magazines , billboards, shows, models, abstract art. Thomas, the photographer, takes some pictures in a park of a couple in love and, while developing them notices he may have photographed a murder. While trying to uncover the truth, it turns away from him enough to make him believe he had imagined it all. “The crisis of the character in the film was a bit “of me” said Antonioni, who made the protagonist of Blow Up an alter ego of himself and part of his aesthetic research. Though the eyes of Thomas, almost never taken subjectively, comes a way for the director to investigate empirical reality with the meticulousness of an explorer. In contrast, however, the film’s images show that every search for meaning is bound to get lost in the multiplicity of meanings and interpretations.

The sensory experience is inevitably a source of deception. Thomas thinks that he, through the magnification, blow up, can overcome the limitations of his eyes and lens but what we get is a blur: the successive enlargements show only, gigantic, whites and blacks grains of the film. The maximum objectivity, namely the photographic reproduction of the real, therefore, coincides with the indecipherable. The “yellow” to Blow Up does not lead to unravel a murder and unmask a murderess since the mystery around the whole story only intends to prove that the truth does not exist.

They have the art insights, subjective interpretations, aesthetic sublimation but the objective reality to which they refer is substantially undefined and elusive. The tennis match of the final allegory expresses this concept – that what is at stake, in addition to the eye, and, even the imagination of the observer is just an interpretation. Art must surrender to fiction. The mimes play without the ball or racket while Thomas now convinced he had imagined it all, hears the noise of the ball from the nonexistent rackets. As correctly pointed out. Roland Barthes talks about Antonioni: “He, the artist, knows the meaning of a thing is not the truth.”

Thanks to theoretical contents capable of dialogue with the modern society of images, where reality always eats more virtual content, Blow Up, makes it incredibly fascinating to present a meditation on the impossibility of tracing a line between reality and fiction.

—-Gisella Rotiroti

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(Source: ilcinemaritrovato.it)

The European Film Market celebrates 30 year anniversary

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Berlinale_Proud30 years ago, the European Film Market (EFM) celebrated its premiere as an international trade market for films at the 38th Berlin International Film Festival. Today, the EFM is one of the most important film markets worldwide. It has become considerably more than just an industry get-together and distribution point: Starting with the digital transformation, the EFM began strategically opening up to new market participants, business fields, products and distribution paths. In recent years the EFM has increasingly positioned itself as a place for innovation and change in the film trade – without losing sight of its core business as a marketplace offering high-quality content. Its numerous platforms provide the film industry with trendsetting impulses that effectively strengthen its position as one of the most important international transfer points for moving pictures. The exhibition spaces for the upcoming EFM of the 68th Berlin International Film Festival at Martin-Gropius-Bau and the Marriott Hotel are already fully booked. More than 9,000 exhibitors, license traders, producers, buyers and investors are expected to attend the event over the course of nine market days from February 15 – 23, 2018.

 

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EFM director Matthijs Wouter Knol

“The industry is still in the midst of change. The digital transformation is not yet complete and new possibilities for film that are worth a closer look are constantly opening up. With its platforms and different formats, the EFM provides participants with the tools to meet the contemporary challenges of the business.”

 

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Beki Probst, President and founder of EFM

President and founder of the EFM Beki Probst comments on the anniversary: “When the EFM began in 1988, it was clear that the Berlinale wanted to create a meeting point for the industry and that our planned format of a European Film Market would work. We never imagined that the EFM would become one of the most important film markets worldwide, reflecting the movements and pioneering spirit of the film industry in an incomparably diverse way. In all modesty: The EFM is a success story and has consistently been one for 30 years.”

 

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Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick

Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick congratulates Beki Probst on 30 years of successful work: “Without Beki Probst and her contacts worldwide, her charm and cosmopolitan gift for combining business and culture, the EFM would never have become such a successful platform and the strong backbone of the festival.”

 

In its anniversary year, Canada will be the “Country in Focus” at the EFM. Canada’s successful film industry will present itself comprehensively and highlight special aspects of Canadian filmmaking.

 

(Source: Berlin Press Office)

 

 

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9 FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMS ADVANCE IN OSCAR® RACE

Posted by Larry Gleeson

December 14, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that nine features will advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category for the 90th Academy Awards ®. Ninety-two films had originally been considered in the category.

The films, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:

Chile, “A Fantastic Woman,” Sebastián Lelio, director;

Germany, “In the Fade,” Fatih Akin, director;

Hungary, “On Body and Soul,” Ildikó Enyedi, director;

Israel, “Foxtrot,” Samuel Maoz, director;

Lebanon, “The Insult,” Ziad Doueiri, director;

Russia, “Loveless,” Andrey Zvyagintsev, director;

Senegal, “Félicité,” Alain Gomis, director;

South Africa, “The Wound,” John Trengove, director;

Sweden, “The Square,” Ruben Östlund, director.

Foreign Language Film nominations for 2017 are determined in two phases.

The Phase I committee, consisting of Los Angeles-based Academy members, screened the original submissions in the category between mid-October and December 11. The group’s top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist.

Academy members eligible to participate in the Nominations round of voting in New York, London, Los Angeles and, for the first time, the San Francisco Bay Area, will screen the nine shortlisted films in theaters over a three-day period from Friday, January 12, through Sunday, January 14, with three films screening each day. Additionally, international members (who live outside of the U.K.) will be invited to opt-in to stream the nine shortlisted films on the Academy’s member site. Members must see all nine films before casting their ballots.

Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards® will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2018.

The 90th Oscars® will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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# # #

ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 8,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.

 

 

 

75th Golden Globes List Of Nominations

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) nominations for the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards have The Shape of Water, a fantasy love story between a mute woman and a sea creature, holding a leading seven nominations with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Post garnering six each.

Click here to see the full list of the Official 2018 Golden Globe Nominations

The 75th Golden Globe Awards, hosted by comedian Seth Meyers, will be held January 7th, 2018 at the  Beverly Hilton Hotel and will be broadcast live by NBC-TV.

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The HFPA has recognized excellence in film and television, both foreign and domestic since 1944 and announced its 75th nominations on Monday, December 11, 2017.

 

Announcement for the nominations of 24th Screen Actors Guild Awards

Posted by Larry Gleeson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 13, 2017) – Nominees for the  24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® for outstanding individual, cast and ensemble performances in film and television of 2017, as well as the honorees for outstanding action performances by film and television stunt ensembles were announced this morning at the Pacific Design Center’s SilverScreen Theater in West Hollywood.

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris introduced Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse, The Predator) and Niecy Nash (Claws, The Soul Man),who announced the nominees for this year’s Actors® live on TNT, TBS, truTV, tntdrama.com/sagawards,truTV.com and sagawards.org, TNT/TBS apps, and TNT/TBS Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels. Prior to that, SAG Awards Committee Chair JoBeth Williams and Committee Member Elizabeth McLaughlin announced the honorees for outstanding action performances by film and television stunt ensembles.

Click here to see the complete list of the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations

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Berlinale Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary with L’Oréal Paris

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Posted by Larry Gleeson

 

In 2018, the Berlin International Film Festival will be supported by the French cosmetics brand L’Oréal Paris for the 20th year in succession.

Listen to Festival Director Dieter Kosslick:

 

Berlinale-“No make-up, no movies – true to this motto, our partnership with L’Oréal Paris is especially close to our hearts. We are grateful and proud to be able to celebrate this 20th anniversary with our principal partner L’Oréal Paris at the 68th Berlinale. To this day, its passionate engagement and valuable support has given the festival, its guests, and the public many magnificent moments,” says Festival Director Dieter Kosslick.

 

With its professional make-up team, the Berlinale’s official cosmetics specialist has assisted the stars in finding the perfect look for the Red Carpet since 1999.

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Glimmering Gong Li walks the Berlinale Red Carpet outside the Berlinale Palast Pottsdam Theater. Make up by L’Oreal.

And the fact that the world of film is closely related to the world of beauty can be seen in the glamorous Red Carpet appearances of film icons and brand ambassadors such as Julianne Moore, Jane Fonda, Andie MacDowell, Gong Li and Iris Berben.

 

 

 

L’Oréal Paris also offers a very special service for festival-goers. Beauty experts will advise visitors and give them the latest “Berlinale look”, free of charge, at the L’Oréal Paris Make-up-Studio at Potsdamer Platz.

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(Source: Press release provided by Berlin Press Office)

 

 

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