Thai Night Reception at American Film Market 2019

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Thai Night at American Film Market 2019, took place on Friday, November 8th, 2019, at the Colonnade Ballroom, Hotel Casa Del Mar, Santa Monica, California, hosted by the Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, Royal Thai Government. Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi of Thailand, graciously presided over Thai Night, an evening filled with ambiance and the Thai Royal Princess’s presence as the door to a brilliant and captivating film industry opened.

One of my top World Cinema films comes from Thailand and Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul the 2010 Cannes Palme d’Or winner,  UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES – a layered film delving into the human condition, transformation and annihilation. Since then, the Thai film industry has exploded expanding exponentially becoming the top producing cinema in the region.

In addition to Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi and the Thai Dance Troup, the top eight Thai film companies were on display to inform about filming in Thailand and to showcase Thai films during a cocktail and networking reception. Thai inspired finger foods and canapés and specially crafted Thai Mocktails were all the rage followed by a Thai Select Buffet line. For those who aren’t familiar with the work being done in Thailand, now is an excellent time to check it out!

(To note: One of the first deals announced out of AFM, NEON landed North American rights to Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s latest film, MEMORIA.)

 

 

 

 

Until next time, I’ll see you at the movies

Thai HollywoodGlee
Larry Gleeson

*Featured Photo: Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi of Thailand (Photo by Larry Gleeson)

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FILM REVIEW: The Lighthouse (Eggers, 2019)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Lighthouse Poster

Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe star as two lightkeepers, Ephraim Winslow and Thomas Wake, trying to survive and maintain their sanity on a mysterious island while living at a remote, New England lighthouse in the 1890s, in The Lighthouse, directed by Robert Eggers (The Witch). Evoking such seafaring literary classics by Herman Mehlville (Moby Dick) and Ernest Hemingway (Old Man and the Sea) as the film opens with an almost square aspect ratio (1.19:1) harkening back to early cinema. The effect is at once claustrophobic and mysteriously out of place.

In a traditional narrative fashion, the characters are introduced and established. Winslow, a strapping, mysterious, young man of few words and who appears to have a troubled past claiming a work history as a Canadian lumberjack is the hired help (wickie) under contract for four weeks with hopes of moving up the ladder and someday hoping to become a lighthouse operator like his housemate Wake, a salty, crusty archetypal seaman. Wake comes across as an experienced sea hand with knowledge of sailor life and mythology who has the inexplicable behavior of farting loudly much to Winlow’s chagrin. Moreover, Wake treats Winslow harshly despite Winlsow’s unswerving dedication to carrying out the chores, emptying chamber pots and swabbing the floor repeatedly to Wake’s unending condemnation.

The two work together, sleep together and eat together. Winslow refrains from alcohol until a storm begins pounding the lighthouse. Together the two imbibe, dance, sing and became Marry. Soon, however, a darkness creeps in and the two men vie for control of the lighthouse. Also, Wake refuses Winslow access to the lantern room atop the lighthouse. Intrigued a jealous Winslow begins spying on Wake’s ritualistic time in front of the massive light bulb and becomes infatuated with Wake’s unearthly obsession. The two lighthouse keepers engage in an escalating battle of wills in a tension-fed, trapped scenario with mysterious forces, real or imagined, looming while a seemingly never-ending storm rages outside, leaving the men stranded.

Eggers uses several crew members from The Witch including cinematographer Jarin Blaschke, production designer Craig Lathrop, costume designer Linda Muir, composer Mark Korven, and editor, Louise Ford, to transport the audience into a realm of terrifying unknown. The cinematography is nothing short of spectacular as the lighting and framing create a sense of the paranormal. And, the production design along with the costuming transports the viewer, via the suspension of disbelief, into the time of the 1890s capturing the harshness of the film’s setting. Furthermore, Pattinson and DaFoe play off of each other very well. But, in my opinion, the attention to detail with the sound design including foghorn, seagulls, waves, machinery, and furnace, lend strong credence to the film’s reality.

The stormy night is when the film goes into warp drive and provides a catalyst for all the odd and unusual behavior to come alive and take over the film’s consciousness. Eggers’s use of black and white allows for the utmost effect in facial lines and scene shadowing. These scenes have a supernatural, expressionistic appearance as the film delves into insanity. What emerges is a tragic Greek myth (it begins with a capital P). Highly recommended!

 

Nashville Film Festival’s 50th Anniversary Wrap-Up

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival has come and gone. New friends were made. Good times were had. And, most importantly, wonderful films were shared.

The 2019 Nashville Film Festival featured over 300 of the year’s best independent films from all over the world. But the one that captured my heart was Nashville’s own Bluebird, Brian Loschiavo’s mesmerizing documentary about The Bluebird Cafe, an accidental landmark that changed the course of music history with its Sunday audition nights and implementation of the “in The Round” method, whereby, writers sit in the center of The Bluebird singing, taking turns and telling stories. A must-see!

JoJoRabbit opened the festival and set the bar for quality entertainment. The Opening Night Party piggybacked onto Taika Waititi’s moving WWII drama, featuring Scarlett Johansson, Roman Griffin Thomas, and Thomasin McKenzie, with a celebration at The Clementine. Executive Director Jason Padgitt welcomed festivalgoers and without adieu, turned the satge over to some of Nashville’s hot, rising talent. If there’s one thing in particular, Nashville does well, it’s entertain!

Opening Night-1
Singer/songwriter Lauren Jenkins performs at The Clementine to kick off the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

Out of the fire and into the ashes, a phoenix rising in the form of the Creators Conference ushered in opening weekend with its combined mojo of professional development and festival-style kinetic energy. Friday, October 4, 2019, Evolve Studio, a start-up venture from brothers, Joel and Jessie Edwards, who shared their exerience and hope working and creating in Nashville, personified the Creators spirit.

Friday night Chuck Berry, directed by Ron Brewer, made its world premiere at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival, Friday, October 4, 2019, Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville. Berry, an extraordinary entertainer, ushered in the era of rock-n-roll, with a showmanship that has often been imitated and rarely duplicated. Rock legend, Alice Cooper appeared in the film saying Mr. Berry created a blueprint for what rock-n-roll should be with his pioneering style. Highly recommended!

Berry Family
The Berry Family on the red carpet at the 50th Nashville Film Festival (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)
Bery Fam
The Berry Family on the red carpet at the 50th Nashville Film Festival (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)

Saturday was highlighted by a keynote panel with HBO’s Len Amato and Evyen J. Klean, providing key insights into how ideas are chosen by the network giant and brought to life. Johnathon Shcaech and Jessica Barth’s #METOO panel, and an all-star comedy panel were just a few highlights from day three.

The girls from NashFilm’s Living Reel Project debuted their song and short created for the festival. The Livin’ Reel Program, gives at-risk teens a hands-on experience in filmmaking and songwriting. During the project, a group of teens dedicates after-school hours to write a song telling the story of their strength and the struggles they have overcome. By the end of their production week, they have a finished song and a short film documenting their entire process. This film is then taken on the road to the Nashville Film Festival and various TV/radio interviews where their work and proven strength within adversity is celebrated.

‘Who’s The Girl? The Ashley Cleveland’ had a sell-out crowd on day four.

Who's the Girl
Cast of Who’s the Girl? at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival (Photo by Donny Evan)
Music Supervisors
The Music Supervisors at the 50th Nashville Film Festival Opening Night After Party (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)

Cat Rhinehart and Lahna Turner screened the world premiere of What’s Eating Ralphie May. 

For Turner, the event allowed for a sense of closure. “The Nashville Film Festival was the perfect place to premiere what’s Eating Ralphie May? Nashville was one of Ralphie’s favorite cities but even more significant is that the premiere took place on the day after the two year anniversary of Ralphie’s passing. Ralphie would have been very proud that we were able to remember and honor him with this amazing film.

For me the premiere allowed me to close some doors and open new ones. I haven’t been back to Nashville since having to do some very painful things like clean out our home, so it felt really nice to return to a town that I love so much to celebrate and create new happy memories.”

Rhinehart echoed, “I thought Nashville’s 50th was the perfect time and place to premiere. Ralphie loved Nashville – and he talks about it in the film. I could tell the audience felt that affinity – so I couldn’t imagine a better fit. Ralphie would have been proud.”

What’s Eating Ralphie May won an audience award and received a third screening with the Best of Fest lineup, Saturday, August 12th. Highly recommended!

Cat Turner
Comedian Lahna Turner, left, and Filmmaker Cat Rhinehart on the red carpet, October 7th, 2019, at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival. (Photo credit: Donny Evan)

The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash also screened at 6 pm. posing quality of life issues for many festivalgoers, including myself. I put this one on my list of films to see and it received tearful admiration from more than one fan.

Cash Red Carpet
John Carter Cash on the red carpet at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival (Photo by Donny Evan)

NashFilm also hosted the Tennessee premiere of Bluebird with Amy Grant, Tenille Townes, Shane McAnally, Lori McKenna, Callie Khouri, Ruby Amanfu, Tony Arata, Dave Barnes, Steve Buchanan, Gary Burr, Roger Cook, Barry Dean, Tom Douglas, Mark Germino, Don Henry, Claude Kelly, Luke Laird, and more coming out to support the Nashville film. Filmmaker Brian A. Loschiavo welcomed the sold-out house with an outpouring of emotion, “This is so overwhelming to see a spirited group in the room with songwriters and bluebirds as we make our official Nashville premiere. There is a real community in this town (Nashville). Thank you for coming out to hear and see the music and songs. We are family.”

Bluebird
The filmmaking team of Bluebird on the red carpet at the 50th Nashville Film Festival (Photo credit by Donny Evan)
Charlie
The ABC Nashville television series star and producer team on the red carpet for the Tennessee premiere of Bluebird at the Nashville Film Festival (Photo by Donny Evan)

The Screenwriting Competition took place on Tuesday with over 1600 entries. A slew of readers provided a treatment of all the finalists’ work. Mo Morgan took honors in the Narrative Feature and Kelly Anelons took home honors in the Comedy Feature category.

Mo Morgan
Mo Morgan poses for a photo after receiving the trophy for Best Narrative Feature for his screenplay, Sight, in the 2019 Nashville Film Festival’s Screenwriting Contest. (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)
Kelly A
Kelly Anelons poses for a photo after receiving the trophy for her Best Comedy Feature screenplay, Life’s a Beaut, in the 2019 Nashville Film Festival’s Screenwriting Contest. (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)

Eternal Winter took home the Festival Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature. Beautifully shot film complete with powerful acting and strong production values. Highly recommended. Another top narrative feature, in my opinion, was Alice, a bold and audacious drama delving into the female psyche from start to finish. See the full list of Jury winners here.

The closing night party was held at The Valentine in downtown Nashville. The festival continued into Saturday with the “Best of the Fest” films running all day Saturday, Oct. 12. On the list – HollywoodGlee makes Feedspot Top 20 Hollywood Blogs. Thank you, Anuj Agarwal!

Until next time, I’ll see you at the movies!

50th

About

The Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) is a globally-recognized non-profit organization and cultural event presenting the best in the world cinema, American independent films and documentaries by veteran masters, up-and-coming directors, and first-time filmmakers.

With Academy Award® qualifying status, the Nashville Film Festival celebrates innovation, music and the many voices of the human spirit through the art of film. Originally founded in 1969, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the first film festivals in the United States.

*Featured photo: Larry Gleeson, left, with filmmaker Flavio Alves (The Garden Left Behind) at Best of Fest, Saturday, October 12th, 2019, at the 50th Anniversary Film Festival Nashville. (Photo credit: Giuliana Mignone)

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A Masterpiece! Brian Loschiavo’s Bluebird Receives Standing Ovation at NashFilm 2019!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Brian Loschiavo’s documentary, Bluebird, made it’s Nashville Premiere last night, October 8th, 2019 at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival receiving a standing ovation for the filmmakers from a sold out Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville theatre audience. Loschiavo’s film is about The Bluebird Cafe, an accidental Nashville landmark that changed the course of music history with its Sunday audition nights and implementation of the “in The Round” method, whereby, writers sit in the center of The Bluebird singing, taking turns and telling stories.

After starting out in 1982 as a traditional, upscale, gourmet restaurant business venture by Amy Kurtland, The Bluebird morphed into Nashville’s most famous songwriters club jump starting and launching the careers of countless artists including Taylor Swift, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Kelsea Ballerini, Kasey Musgraves, Maren Morris, Tenille Townes, Pam Tillis and Jason Isbell to name a few – all of whom appear in the film. The documentary also features interviews and/or performances of these stars inside or about their experiences inside The Bluebird.

The genesis of the film emanated from a conversation approximately two and a half years ago between Loschiavo (Riverside Entertainment) and the Bluebird Cafe Manager, Erika Wollam Nichols. While the venue had been portrayed in Callie Khouri’s ABC hit drama, Nashville, incredulously, no one had made a film about the Nashville “songwriters-in-the-round” at The Bluebird Cafe. Nichols, who had been running the restaurant for more than a decade, felt a film telling the story of the artists and the spirit of the community was important. As one of the cast members eloquently said, “Nashville wouldn’t be Nashville without The Bluebird.”

Technically, the film is a gem. Seamless editing, harmonious non-diegetic background music combined with the film’s mise-en-scene evoked a moment of self-awareness and the suspension of disbelief. Cinematographer Jeff Molyneaux captures artists’ frames with precision belying the challenges he faced. Anyone who has seen the performances of the songwriters-in-the-round at work might imagine a special production set was built to the very minutia detail of the cafe’s interior (as in the ABC Nashville series wth Charles Esten) allowing Molyneaux to set up his shoot. Years from now, film professors will prod their student to explain how the shots were executed in the live, at-capacity space.

Setting aside the spectacular techniques utilized, the film has a spiritual life of its own mirroring the songwriters, The Bluebird personnel, the artists who perform and the physical structure of the venue. With an atmospheric of a living room and a church sanctuary, artists from Faith Hill to Garth Brooks espouse the nurturing nature of The Bluebird. Fifteen year-old Landon Wall is also featured in the film performing in the venue several times as he honed his craft. In addition, Maren Morris hearkens the Holy Ghost in a powerful performance of “My Church” evoking memories of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” And, more than one tear was shed as Tenille Townes and Taylor Swift performed “Jersey on the Wall” and “Better Man,” respectively.

With irrefutable evidence accumulated over the years in the form of testimonies, The Bluebird is hallowed ground. It had been a best kept secret. After its depiction in the ABC Nashville television series, The Bluebird has become a mecca for songwriters and travelers alike from around the globe hoping to get a taste and glimpse of the establishment. It has also made songwriting cool. A groovy profession. Despite Amy Kurland’s effort to safeguard The Bluebird and its legacy by turning it over to the Nashville Songwriters Association International on January 1, 2008, a real estate developer has purchased the strip mall where The Bluebird is located.

A mesmerizing documentary about the Holy Grail of country music, Bluebird is a masterpiece. Best seen on the big screen…. A must-see film! Coming out with a limited release November 15.

FILM REVIEW: Lost Bayou (Brian C. Miller Richard, 2019)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Lost Bayou, a film from Director/Producer Brian C. Miller Richard, made its Southeast Premiere at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival. Lost Bayou is a poetic portrait of a Cajun Traiteur and life out in the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest river swamp in the United States. Richard set out to make a film about Cajun life in the Basin having grown up and lived there most of his life. Nick Lavin and Hunter Burke wrote the screenplay that deals with a young woman, who appears to have an addiction, and her connection with her faith-healing father.

The film opens with a piece of footage bordering on the macabre that sets the tone as a man in a swamp states he was declared legally dead by a medical doctor only to wake up with a man kneeling over him praying. A fade to black transition reveals the story’s main character, Gal, portrayed by Teri Wyble, in a vehicle popping a pill and chasing it down with a swig of hard liquor. She asks the driver to wait for her as she exits the vehicle. The driver pulls away hurriedly. Apparently, Gal forgot what day it was and missed her young son’s birthday.

A fortuitous call comes in from Gal’s father, Pop, portrayed by Dane Rhodes. Pop speaks with a Cajun dialect and requests that Gal come home as her mother has a serious complication. The only issue is Gal’s mother has been deceased for two years. Gal finally agrees after Pop’s insistence. After the call ends, a bird flies into Gal’s door. Gal picks up the lifeless bird and takes it to the water whereupon a surreal moment takes place with a French prayer and the bird begins moving under its own power.

Needless to say, when Gal gets down to Pop’s floating raft-house the situation is about life and death and who decides who can cross the divide and when. Pop feels the swamp allows for better communication with his God, whereas Gal believes not knowing and not believing “ain’t such a bad thing.” Along the way, several tense moments and sharp camera operation kept my attention focused and the life in the bayou is revealed in a southern gothic style. Life on the bayou has its unique ways and Richard manages to let us in on it stylistically.

The film’s production values are strong. Exquisite cinematography from Natalie Kingston, production design by Mark and Matthew Whittle, and Mehgan Cornay’s costuming deliver an ethereal feel to the film while realistically capturing life in the region. The musical score was provided by the Grammy award-winning Lost Bayou Ramblers. The Ramblers are known predominantly for their acoustic Cajun style and seem to hit the right notes and melodies to drive the emotionality of the film’s scenes. The editing team of Richard and Robert Grigsby Wilson stitch and weave images in a seamless continuity. And, from an acting standpoint, Wyble does most of the heavy lifting. Rhodes adds a powerful presence honed from his theatrical stage work and the ensemble cast worked very well.

In the Q & A following the film, Richard revealed the inner workings of the project. Numerous members of the team had close relatives working on set including Richard’s own father. With a run time of 87 minutes, the film seemed a tad short….probably because I wanted to see more!

Highly recommended!

FILM REVIEW: What’s Eating Ralphie May?

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Cat Rhinehart’s documentary, What’s Eating Ralphie May?, made its world premiere at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival. “I thought Nashville’s 50th was the perfect time and place to premiere. Ralphie loved Nashville – and he talks about it in the film. I could tell the audience felt that affinity – so I couldn’t imagine a better fit. Ralphie would have been proud,” said Rhinehart.

Ralphie May was an American stand-up comedian known for his extensive touring and television comedy specials. Ralphie appeared to be living the American Dream with a beautiful wife, Lahna Turner, and two perfect children. May suffered from obesity. He loved making people laugh. And, people loved Ralphie in return.

Rhinehart began documenting May as he set out to lose weight. He asked his lovely wife, Lahna, to help him. Turner could see a bright future with a successful documentary and possibly a book deal for Ralphie. After losing 300 pounds from a starting point of 800 pounds, Ralphie plateaued. Unable to get through, he turned to pain medicine to alleviate his suffering. He decided not to have weight loss surgery.

After Ralphie landed a year-long contract to perform in Las Vegas, tensions became unbearable. Lahna decided to focus on herself. One night after a show Ralphie came back to his room and fell smashing his skull on a table on the way down. Shocked and bewildered, Turner and Rhinehart dedicated the footage they had and decided to honor Ralphie with What’s Eating Ralphie May?

Screen Shot 2019-10-07 at 1.31.02 AM

Utilizing traditional documentary filmmaking techniques, including archival footage, direct interviews and still photographs, Rhinehart traces Ralphie’s early life including his difficult childhood in Arkansas, his fascination with comedian Sam Kinison, his runner-up finish debacle in Jay Mohr’s Last Comic Standing in 2003 and documents his marital strife.

Following Ralphie’s untimely death, Rhinehart decided to interview Ralphie and Lahna’s daughter for the film. When asked if she wanted to say anything about her dad, she replied, “I love my dad and hope he feels better now that he’s out of that body.” Lahna continues to perform her stand-up comedy.

What’s Eating Ralphie May? is more than direct cinema. It’s an important film documenting and illuminating issues about marital relationships and obesity, and how people deal with them. Ralphie’s New York Times obituary read that he died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease. No mention was made of Ralphie suffering from obesity, a complex disease involving an excessive amount of body fat. Ralphie confesssed to Lahna he didn’t want to be fat. Lahna wanted Ralphie to get healthy.

Unfortunately, the film never quite answers the question of what caused Ralphie’s addiction to food. Instead, it portrays Lahna as a victim (which she denies vociferously) unable to do for Ralphie what he couldn’t do for himself. Ralphie opted to continue working, doing what he loved most, making people laugh, despite – or maybe in spite of – his unhealthy obesity.

Highly recommended film.

 

 

NashFilm’s 50th Anniversary is Making Memories

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival is showing hot films while the temperatures are cooling. Try the Nashville Film Festival App and Plan Your Fest! Find it the App stores.

Fest in style with a VIP Badge! Available here: NashFilm

 

Check out a few of yesterday’s candid shots!

Kate and Jan

Upcoming Hot Tickets

Mars

The Sheriff of Mars | Directed by Jason Ressler, Matthew Woolf
Mon, Oct 7, 1:30 PM

This is an uplifting tale of the musical redemption of a lovable, complex artist who exudes a magical and unique authenticity. Daniel Antopolsky is a country singer/songwriter who was discovered in France when he was 65. He had with him “he had 500 of the best songs no one had ever heard”. Today, he has released 4 albums with major media attention and toured the world with his music. Watch his rise as a Nashville recording artist and concert musician. TICKETS

Lost Bayou

Lost Bayou | Directed by Brian C. Miller Richard
Mon. Oct 7, 6:30 PM
Tues. Oct 8, 12:00 PM

In this hauntingly evocative Southern Gothic mystery, a struggling addict ventures into the Louisiana swampland to reconnect with her faith healer father, only to discover he is hiding a troubling secret aboard his houseboat. TICKETS

Wall of Mexico

The Wall of Mexico| | Directed by Zachary Cotler, Magdalena Zyzak
Mon. Oct 7, 7:30 PM

Veteran actors Esai Morales and Mariel Hemingway join with some newcomers to spin a fantasy about rich Mexicans turning the tables on poor white people. Inspired by the Trump Presidency, The Wall of Mexico premiered at SXSW is a role-reversing fantasy about a wealthy Mexican-American family that decides to build a wall to deter the intrusion of poor white people in the vicinity. TICKETS

Rodman

SCREAM, QUEEN! MY NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET | Directed by Roman Chimienti, Tuler Jensen
Tues. Oct 8, 6:00 PM

Mark Patton travels to horror conventions across the U.S. Each new city unwraps a chapter from his life that is met with equal parts joyful and bittersweet detail, as he attempts to make peace with his past and embrace his legacy as cinema’s first male “scream queen.” TICKETS

Berry Hill

Berry Hill | Directed by Buzz Cason and Mark Harper
Tues. Oct. 8, 2:30 PM 

Nashville‘s Berry Hill, now home to 40 music studios, took off when Buz Cason opened Creative Workshop there in 1970. He quickly recorded five number one hits by the Gatlin Brothers, and followed up with top artists like Gene Cotton, Kim Carnes, Dottie West, Kenny Rogers, the Doobie Brothers, Olivia Newton-John, Roy Orbison, The Faces, Merle Haggard, Leon Russell, Elvis Presley and more. The studio, known now as Blackbird, is owned by John McBride, and is one of Nashville’s premier recording studios, sound engineer schools and equipment rental companies. TICKETS

Bluebird

Bluebird | Directed by Brian Loschiavo
Still Tickets Available
Tues. Oct. 8, 5:30 PM / 7:00 PM / 7:15 PM / Sat. Oct. 12, 12 PM

It was 1982, and Amy Kurland, a 27-year-old culinary school graduate, was opening a café in the strip mall of an upscale Nashville suburb. She had no idea it would eventually become the most influential listening room in America. Over the next three decades, with Amy’s unwavering passion to showcase and nurture new talent, this unassuming venue would help birth legendary careers of Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Vince Gill, Taylor Swift and countless more. The film features unforgettable performances by Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Maren Morris, Vince Gill, Jason Isbell and many more. TICKETS

Doc Shorts

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
Documentary Shorts 1:Sun, Oct 6, 6:30 PM & Wed, Oct 9, 3:00 PM
Documentary Shorts 2: Mon. Oct 7, 12:30 PM & Tues. Oct 8, 6:00 PM

Everything You Wanted to Know About Sudden Birth* (*but were afraid to ask) is the amazing story of how the Berkeley police department, the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands, an Academy Award winner and Mr. Spock are all connected by “Sudden Birth”, one of the most unintentionally hilarious and disturbing educational films ever created.TICKETS

Lumineers

The Lumineers III | Directed by Kevin Phillips
Sat., Oct. 12, 4:30 PM

The Lumineers’ III is a visual exploration of the band’s third and latest album. In three chapters corresponding with the album’s ten tracks, we follow three generations of a working-class family in the American Northeast. TICKETS

See you at the movies!

Screen Shot 2019-09-25 at 8.42.21 AM

*Featured photo: Emmett Anderson, left, and Talya Klein, finalists for Drama Feature Screenwriting Competition

Nashville Film Fest Hosts Chuck Berry World Premiere

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Chuck Berry, directed by Ron Brewer, made its world premiere at the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival, Friday, October 4, 2019, Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville. Berry, an extraordinary entertainer, ushered in the era of rock-n-roll, with a showmanship that has often been imitated and rarely duplicated.

The evening opened with a full on red carpet and Nashville hospitality. The screening was well received as the film’s director, Ron Brewer, does his homework as he shed light on the man and career that shaped and molded the British invasion during the 1960’s. The night continued with a celebratory after party at Nashville Acme Seed.

 

Bery Fam
Berry Family posing with an authentic Gibson Berry Guitar at the 50th Nashville Film Festival’s Acme Seed After Party, October 4th, 2019. The family was present for the world premiere of Ron Brewer’s documentary, Chuck Berry, Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville. (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)
Acme After Party
Live entertainment at the 50th Nashville Film Festival’s Acme Seed After Party, October 4th, 2019, following th world premiere of Ron Brewer’s documentary, Chuck Berry, Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville. (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)
Music Supervisors
The Music Supervisors at the 50th Nashville Film Festival’s Acme Seed After Party, October 4th, 2019, following the world premiere of Ron Brewer’s documentary, Chuck Berry, Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville. (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)

Stay tuned for more as the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival is heating up as temperatures outside are coming down!

See you at the movies…..

 

NashFilm’s 50th Anniversary Is In Full Swing!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival is well into its opening weekend. The  Festival App is an excellent tool to plan the Fest! It is available in App stores. A VIP Badge offers the premium festival experience and are available.

 

Here’s a quick look at upcoming films.

Music Documentaries | Chuck Berry: Directed by John Brewer

Sunday 10/6 2:00 PM

Berry

Brewer tells the story of a black preacher’s son who managed to cross the racial divide in 1950’s America with the power of a well-crafted song and a Fender guitar, only to discover that what was on the other side held the organized prejudice of a nation. This is a highly artistic nod to Sin City that shines a light on the facts and phantoms around the story of the Granddaddy of Rock & Roll. Cast: Chuck Berry, Alice Cooper, Themetta Berry, Joe Perry, Carles Berry, Stevie Van Zandt. TICKETS

Graveyard Shift | Driven – Dark Comedy/Thriller – Directed by Glenn Payne

Driven

 

In this dark-comedy thriller, Emerson (Casey Dillard) is a ride share driver with nights full of annoyances until she picks up Roger (Richard Speight, Jr.), a mysterious out of towner on a mission to break a multi-generational curse.

This delightful movie handles jobs we hate, self-identity crisis, and coming of age tales all while slashing through legions of demons and reminding us to tip our drivers. It got snark, scares, and a whole lot of heart that pushes the boundaries of what can be done in genre films to give viewers the best ride possible. TICKETS

Documentaries | Gay Chorus: Deep South – Directed by David Charles Rodrigues

Saturday 10/5 12:00 PM

Gay Chorus

In response to a wave of anti-LGBT laws in Southern states and the divisive 2016 election, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus embarks on a tour of the American Deep South. Joined by allies, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, they bring a message of music, love, and acceptance to communities and individuals confronting intolerance. The journey is a celebration of the power of music. TICKETS.

Music Documentaries | Kate Nash: Underestimate the Girl – Directed by Amy Goldstein

Saturday 10/5 6:30 PM
Sunday 10/6 12:30 PM

Kate Nash

Kate Nash, punk renegade, TV wrestling queen (GLOW), and DIY leader of an all-girl band forgoes money and fame to speak out about gender inequality in the music business and to embolden other young women to find their voice. Cast: Kate Nash, Alicia Warrington, Frederik Thaae, Kate Craig, Tom Biller, Jarrad Kritzstein. TICKETS.

See you at the movies!

50th

(Sourced from press releases provided by NashFest and Alexa Oliphant)

 

Nashville Film Festival Kicks Off 50th Anniversary Edition In Style

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Opening Night-1
Singer-Songwriter Lauren Jenkins in a soulful performance at the Clementine in Nashville, Tenn., at the Opening Night Gala, Thursday, October 3rd, 2019, to lift off the 50th Nashville Film Festival. The festival is set to run October 3-12, 2019. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

The 50th Nashville Film Festival is underway. Executive Director Jason Padgitt welcomed filmgoers, filmmakers and talent alike at the Clementine in Nashville, Tennessee, Thursday night……and he wasn’t alone! Padgitt provided the traditional opening remarks onstage with rising talent, singer-songwriter, Lauren Jenkins.

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Jason Padgitt, left, introduces singer-songwriter, Lauren Jenkins, Thursday night, October 3rd, 2019, at the Clementine in Nashville, Tenn., at the Opening Night Gala for the 50th Anniversary of the Nashville Film Festival with a run of October 3rd through October 12th. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

The Opening Night Film program screened Taika Waititi’s much-buzzed-about dark comedy JoJo Rabbit, which delves into the World War II-era perspective of a young German boy who is forced to reconsider the nationalism in which he was raised. The film was proceeded by a VIP tent party at the Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville, home to this year’s screenings and the Creators Conference.

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VIP Hospitality at the Nashville Film Festival on Opening Night, Thursday, October 3rd, 2019, Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)
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Band members from Nikki’s Wives and Veridian gather for a little fun and socializing at the 50th Nashville Film Festival on October 3rd, 2019, Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville, (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)
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Saint Luna Opening Night Cocktail Sponsor at the Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville  (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)
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Nashville Film Festival Sponsor Mercedez-Benz adorns the entryway of the Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville  (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)
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Regal Hollywood ScreenX & RPX Cinema – Nashville, home to this year’s screenings and the Creators Conference. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

For more information on the 5oth Nashville Film Festival, including purchasing tickets and passes, please visit: https://nashvillefilmfestival.org/

About

The Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) is a globally-recognized non-profit organization and cultural event presenting the best in the world cinema, American independent films and documentaries by veteran masters, up-and-coming directors, and first-time filmmakers.

With Academy Award® qualifying status, the Nashville Film Festival celebrates innovation, music and the many voices of the human spirit through the art of film. Originally founded in 1969, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the first film festivals in the United States.

*Featured photo: Bryce Bilello, Theatre Operations, Nashville Film Festival (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

50th

Early Music-Based Docs at Nashville Are Making Sweet Vibrations

Posted by Larry Gleeson

NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL JUMP STARTS 50th ANNIVERSARY AND ANNOUNCES SELECT MUSIC DOCUMENTARIES INCLUDING “BLUEBIRD,” “CHUCK BERRY,” “BORN INTO THE GIG,” “COOL DADDIO,” AND “THE SHERIFF OF MARS”

The Nashville Film Festival, taking place October 3-12, 2019, announces early music documentary features for 2019, including the world premiere of “Chuck Berry” by filmmaker Jon Brewer; “Born Into the Gig” by filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner; “Cool Daddio: The Second Youth of R. Stevie Moore” from filmmakers Imogen Putler and Monika Baran; and “The Sheriff of Mars” from filmmakers Jason Ressler and Matthew Woolf.

 

The Nashville Film Festival is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, making it one of the longest running independent film festivals in the U.S. Under the new leadership of Executive Director, Jason Padgitt, the Nashville Film Festival will feature a diverse lineup of more than 250 films with an increased focus on music-based films, films from female directors and top American independent narrative feature films.

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Nashville Film Festival’s Executive Director, Jason Padgitt (Photo courtesy of NashFilm)

“The Nashville Film Festival is celebrating an incredible 50 year milestone by honoring the history of the festival while pointing the organization to a future of expanded opportunities for filmmakers worldwide and for the amazing arts community here in Tennessee,” said Nashville Film Festival’s Executive Director, Jason Padgitt. “There are so many great stories to share at this year’s festival and we’re very excited about all of the incredible films and events planned for this historic event.”

“We are thrilled to announce these music documentary titles for our 50th Festival. Each film truly complements Nashville’s wide variety of musical and artistic roots,” said Lauren Ponto, Programming Manager for the Nashville Film Festival. “We are looking forward to presenting these powerful music documentaries as just one part of our amazing full slate of films.”

 

Lauren Ponto, Programming Manager for the Nashville Film Festival
Lauren Ponto, Programming Manager for the Nashville Film Festival

“We are thrilled to announce these music documentary titles for our 50th Festival. Each film truly complements Nashville’s wide variety of musical and artistic roots,” said Lauren Ponto, Programming Manager for the Nashville Film Festival.

“We are looking forward to presenting these powerful music documentaries as just one part of our amazing full slate of films.”

 

 

Select Music Documentaries Include:

Chuck Berry: The Original King Of Rock 'N' Roll

Title: CHUCK BERRY

Dir.: Jon Brewer

Cast: Chuck Berry, Alice Cooper, Themetta Berry, Joe Perry, Charles Berry, Stevie Van Zandt

Synopsis: In this highly anticipated feature- length documentary, the absolute instigator of Rock and Roll, CHUCK BERRY is truly revealed, with exclusive access. Despite his iconic status, and reverence for his talent by rock’s heroes John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, Steve Van Zandt, Joe Perry, Alice Cooper) all featured, Chuck Berry was a family man. He was a prolific craftsman of word and chords; an undisputed and stunning combination of talent and charisma. Award-winning Film maker Jon Brewer (BB King The Life of Riley, Nat King Cole: Afraid of the Dark), lends new insight to the man known as the bedrock of Rock n Roll.

Premiere Status: World Premiere

BLUEBIRD

Title:     BLUEBIRD

Dir.:       Brian Loschiavo

Cast:      Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Vince Gill, Maren Morris, Jason Isbell

Synopsis: It’s where megastars like Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and Taylor Swift got their break, and where emerging singer-songwriters continue to flock for a chance to perform original material. But The Bluebird Cafe, this unassuming venue nestled in a suburban Nashville strip-mall, faces an uncertain future. Featuring unforgettable performances by Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Maren Morris, Vince Gill, Jason Isbell and many more, we’ll explore the past and present of this accidental landmark that has altered the course of music history.

Premiere Status: Southeast US Premiere

COOL DADDIO: THE SECOND YOUTH OF R. STEVIE MOORE

Title:     COOL DADDIO: THE SECOND YOUTH OF R. STEVIE MOORE

Dir.:       Imogen Putler, Monika Baran

Cast:      R. Stevie Moore, Mac DeMarco, Ariel Pink, Theophilus London, Tim Burgess, David Shrigley

Synopsis: Cool Daddio: The Second Youth of R. Stevie Moore tells a story of the greatest ‘undiscovered’ musical genius of all time. He has recorded 400 albums in 40 years… in his bedroom. Unique and eccentric. Unrecognized outside of a small group of music insiders, until now…

Premiere Status: US Premiere

 

Title:     BORN INTO THE GIG

Dir.:       Kate Davis and David Heilbroner

Cast:      Chris Stills, Skip Marley, Kori Withers, Ben and Sally Taylor

Synopsis: BORN INTO THE GIG tracks the children of rock stars James Taylor, Carly Simon, Bill Withers, Stephen Stills and the Marleys as they become singer- songwriters in the shadow of their legendary parents.  The path for these young artists is tricky — filled with family tension, humor, and courage as they strive to create their own music.

Premiere Status: World Premiere

THE SHERIFF OF MARS

Title:     THE SHERIFF OF MARS

Dir.:       Jason Ressler, Matthew Woolf

Cast:      Daniel Antopolsky, Townes Van Zand, Bill Hedgepeth, Sylvia Antopolsky

Synopsis: In space, no one can hear you sing…. The story of a lost singer who did everything he could not to become successful and ended up being so anyway.

Premiere Status: World Premiere

 

ABOUT NASHVILLE FILM FESTIVAL

The Nashville Film Festival is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, making it one of the longest running independent film festivals in the U.S. Under the new leadership of Executive Director, Jason Padgitt, the Nashville Film Festival will feature a diverse lineup of more than 250 films with an increased focus on music-based films, films from female directors and top American independent narrative feature films.

The Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) is a globally-recognized non-profit organization and cultural event presenting the best in world cinema, American independent films and documentaries by veteran masters, up-and-coming directors, and first-time filmmakers. With Academy Award® qualifying status, the Nashville Film Festival celebrates innovation, music and the many voices of the human spirit through the art of film and partners with the Thompson Nashville to host guests from all over the world. Originally founded in 1969, the Nashville Film Festival is one of the first film festivals in the United States and will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in October, 2019.  For more information, visit nashfilm.org.

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(Source: NashFilm blog)

Motherless Brooklyn (Norton, 2019):USA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ford v Ferrari (Mangold, 2019):USA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

AFI FEST 2019 Special Screening: I AM WOMAN

Posted by Larry Gleeson

HELEN REDDY BIOPIC TO HAVE ITS US PREMIERE ON 

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE– Los Angeles, CA, November 12, 2019 – The American Film Institute (AFI) today announced that AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi has added a Special Screening of I AM WOMAN, the Helen Reddy biopic, directed by Unjoo Moon (AFI Class of 2000).  The film is produced by Moon and Rosemary Blight, written by Emma Jensen and stars Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Evan Peters and Danielle Macdonald. The film will have its US premiere on Thursday, November 21 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres.

I AM WOMAN tells the inspiring story of singer Helen Reddy, who wrote and sang the song “I Am Woman” that became the anthem for the women’s movement in the 1970s.  The film is a story of fearless ambition and passion, of a woman who smashed through the patriarchal norms of her time to become the international singing superstar she always dreamed of being.

Tickets to this event and all other screenings and events are now available at Fest.AFI.com.

AS PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED

AFI FEST 2019 takes place November 14-21, 2019, at historic theaters in Los Angeles. Screenings, Galas, and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, and the Hollywood Roosevelt and will open with the World Premiere of AFI Conservatory alumna Melina Matsoukas’s QUEEN & SLIM. The festival will close with the World Premiere of Apple’s THE BANKER. The full program and schedule can be found here.

Audi returns for the 16th year as the exclusive Presenting Sponsor of AFI FEST, enabling the festival to host the very best of world cinema. Audi and their visionary support reflect a continuing commitment to create opportunities for equality in film and television. Audi also supports AFI through the Audi Fellowship for Women, a full-tuition scholarship created in 2017 to support promising female directors entering the AFI Conservatory. This Fellowship is part of the Audi commitment to drive progress and a landmark investment in the future of the storytelling community.

Audi is the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2019. Additional top sponsors include AT&T and American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.

About the American Film Institute (AFI)

AFI FEST

Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations.  Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media atFacebook.com/AmericanFilmInstituteyoutube.com/AFItwitter.com/American Filmand Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

About AFI FEST presented by Audi
Now in its 33rdyear, AFI FEST presented by Audi is a world-class event, showcasing the best films from across the globe to captivated audiences in Los Angeles. With a diverse and innovative slate of programming, the eight-day festival presents screenings, panels and conversations, featuring both master filmmakers and new voices. World premieres, Galas and other special events take place at iconic LA locations, such as the historic TCL Chinese Theatre and the glamorous Hollywood Roosevelt. This year’s edition takes place on November 14-21, 2019. Additional information about AFI FEST is available at AFI.com/AFIFEST. Connect with AFI FEST at facebook.com/AFIFESTtwitter.com/AFIFESTand youtube.com/AFI.

About Audi 

 

Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands, delivering about 1.812 million vehicles globally in 2018. In the U.S., Audi of America sold nearly 224,000 vehicles in 2018. 2019 marks 50 years for the brand in the U.S. Visit audiusa.com or media.audiusa.com for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

 

Sponsor Audi

(Source: AFIFEST Press Release)

 

SABAN FILMS BOARDS sci-fi thriller “BREACH” starring BRUCE WILLIS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

LOS ANGELES (November 10, 2019) – Saban Films announced today that they have acquired North American rights to John Suits’ (Pandemic, The Scribbler) Breach starring Golden Globe Award® winner Bruce Willis (Glass, Die Hard franchise).  The sci-fi thriller also stars Cody Kearsley (“Riverdale,” Power Rangers), Callan Mulvey (Avengers: Endgame, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), Kassandra Clementi (“UnREAL,” “Home and Away”), Timothy V. Murphy (The Lone Ranger, “Snowpiercer”) and Corey Large (In Like Flynn, The Ninth Passenger).  Danny Roth produced under his Almost Never Films banner along with Corey Large and Edward Drake.

Breach follows a young stowaway (Kearsley) aboard an interstellar ark to New Earth. With the help of a seasoned crewmate (Willis), he must outwit a malevolent cosmic terror intent on using the spaceship as a weapon.  The film was shot in Fitzgerald, GA.  Executive producers are Danny H. Chan for Almost Never Films, Mike Donovan, Ryan Charles Griffin, Mary Aloe and Roger Dorman for Aloe Entertainment, Carlos Velazquez, Benjamin Krause, Stephen Eads, Johnny Messner, Edward Drake, and Elizabeth Zavoyskiy and Andrew Kotliar from MEP Capital, who are also financing.

Bill Bromiley
Bill Bromiley

Bill Bromiley said, “Bruce Willis leads a fantastic cast fighting to survive in this highly suspenseful, action-packed thriller that will keep audiences captivated.”

Bromiley also negotiated the deal for Saban Films along with Danny Roth on behalf of the filmmakers.  Screen Media is handling international rights at the upcoming AFM.

Saban Films continues to grow its presence in the industry, remaining active in the acquisition, production and distribution space. The company’s successes have run the gamut from critically acclaimed theatrical films such as The Homesman starring Hilary Swank, to two of the biggest Fathom events with horror icon and heavy metal mastermind Rob Zombie’s 31 in 2016 and 3 From Hell earlier this month, as well as Kevin Smith’s highly-anticipated Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, the sequel to the 2001 comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back which the company partnered on after coming on board at script stage.  Its upcoming slate includes Steven C. Miller’s Line of Duty; Will Forbes’ John Henry starring Terry Crews and Ludacris and executive produced by Matthew Antoun.

About Saban Films

Saban Films

Saban Films, an affiliate of Saban Capital Group (“SCG”), is a film acquisition and distribution company that acquires high-quality, feature films to distribute in North America.  Focusing on commercial, talent-driven films, the company looks at projects in all stages of production for release across multiple platforms, including a day and date theatrical/VOD release strategy. Based in Los Angeles, Saban Films was established by Haim Saban, SCG Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, and is led by Bill Bromiley who serves as President, Shanan Becker, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer and Ness Saban, Vice President of Business Development.

(Source: Press release from Rachel Simmons | DDA Group)

‘NO SAFE SPACES’ EXPANSION CONTINUES

Posted by Larry Gleeson

‘NO SAFE SPACES’ EXPANSION CONTINUES: FREE SPEECH DOCUDRAMA MOVES INTO FLORIDA AND SOUTH CAROLINA; OUTPACES ZOMBIELAND AND DOWNTON IN PER SCREEN AVERAGE

Adam Carolla/Dennis Prager Docudrama Shows Continued Strength At The Box Office

NOVEMBER 11, 2019 (Los Angeles, CA) – Building on a stunning debut in Phoenix which made it the second largest opening for a documentary on a single screen in history after Michael Moore’s Sicko, the free-speech docudrama No Safe Spaces continued to surprise box office watchers by posting solid weekend grosses, outpacing competitors like Zombieland and Downton Abbey on a per screen average basis in its third weekend of release as it continues its rollout.

 The film, co-starring comedian and podcast king Adam Carolla and radio talk show host Dennis Prager continued its market expansion over the weekend in Florida and South Carolina, taking in an estimated $65k and delivering higher per screen average estimates than Zombieland and Downton Abbey, averaging $1,800 on 37 screens, a 12% increase from the previous week. The film will continue to expand next week into Los Angeles, Sacramento, Fresno, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Orlando and San Antonio. 

 In No Safe Spaces Carolla and Prager travel the country, talking to experts and advocates on the left and right, tour college campuses, and examine their own upbringings to try to understand what is happening in America today and what free speech in this country should look (and sound) like.

“We are grateful for everyone giving us so much support as we take this movie into more theaters across America,” said Prager.

ARCLIGHT FILMS LOCKS WORLDWIDE DISTRIBUTION DEAL FOR THE EPIC FEATURE FILM ‘TOMIRIS’

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Beverly Hills, California (November 9, 2019) – Leading entertainment company Arclight Films, led by chairman Gary Hamilton, announced today the company has closed worldwide distribution rights (excluding Kazakhstan), for the action adventure Tomiris, the powerful and epic portrayal of the legendary Queen Tomiris, directed by multi award-winning director Akan Satayev (“The Liquidator”) and Kazakhstan’s official Golden Globe submission. 

Starring Kazakhstan superstars Almira Tursyn (as Tomiris), Adil Akhmetov (as Argun), and Aizhan Lighg (as Sardana) who perform all of their own action packed stunts, Tomiris, tells the real life story of the great Queen who along with her female warriors united divided tribes of nomadic warriors and created a powerful nation.

Queen Tomiris lived 2,500 years ago but her legacy lives on and continues to thrive today. She was a mother, warrior, and incomparable strategist known and credited for the creation of female warrior divisions. Her beauty inspired many artists in Europe, her life even described in great detail in the chronicles of Greek historian Herodotus, and her legacy still inspires thousands of women throughout Central Asia.

“The story of Queen Tomiris is extraordinarily powerful, filled with heartbreak, loss, inspiration and victory,” stated Arclight Chairman Gary Hamilton. “This feature is full of action and beautifully shot in Kazakhstan where it has received a rave reception at the box-office where it is currently in theatrical release and is the highest grossing action film in the history of Kazakhstan.  We are delighted to share this special and rare film with our distribution partners around the world.”

The film is a co-production between Kazakhfilm Studios and Sataifilm. The film was released in Kazakhstan on October 1, 2019 with a strong reception, making it one of the highest grossing films in the history of Kazakhstan.

The distribution deal was negotiated directly by Gary Hamilton and Ying Ye on behalf of Arclight Films and Gaukhar (Gia) Noortas, a Kazakh-American film producer, and the head of the Honorary Consulate of Kazakhstan in Los Angeles on behalf of Sataifilm and Kazakhfilm Studios.

ABOUT ARCLIGHT FILMS

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Arclight Films is one of the world’s leading international sales companies for theatrical, television and home entertainment.  Arclight Films has sold over 300 motion pictures including the Best Picture Oscar® winner Crash, Golden Globe® Best Picture Nominee Bobby and Lord of War starring Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto and Ethan Hawke and the recent Oscar® nominated feature First Reformed (for Best Original Screenplay).

 Arclight Films’ slate includes the Australian the action thriller Long Gone Heroes starring Ben Kingsley, Guy Pearce, and Maggie Q, Twist currently in production and starring Michael Caine and Here are the Young Men starring Travis Fimmel, Dean Charles Chapman, Finn Cole and Anya Taylor-Joy, the true-life prison break story, Escape From Pretoria, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Daniel Webber, the sci-fi thriller Possessor starring Andrea Riseborough, Christopher Abbott, Sean Bean, Jennifer Jason Leigh, directed by Brandon Cronenberg, the 2019 Berlin Film Festival official selection Öndög from Berlin Golden Bear winning director Wang Quan’an, and the big budget Chinese co-production Killer 10 to be directed by Phillip Noyce.

The company’s recent films include the highly anticipated Hotel Mumbai starring Armie Hammer, Dev Patel, Nazanin Boniadi, Anupam Kher, and Jason Isaacs, directed by Anthony Maras released in the US by Bleecker Street on March 22nd, the powerhouse actioner Triple Threat starring Chinese stars Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais and Tiger Chen, and the Vietnamese action thriller Furie both films released by Well Go USA in March 2019, and the successful biopic Jungle starring Daniel Radcliffe released by eOne.

Arclight’s past films include 2016 Official Cannes Directors’ Fortnight selection Dog Eat Dog starring Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe, The Confirmation starring Clive Owen and Maria Bello, directed by Academy Award-winner Bob Nelson (Nebraska), 2016 Sundance Official Selection Frank & Lola starring Imogen Poots and Michael Shannon, Predestination starring Ethan Hawke released through Sony Pictures, Last Knights starring Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman, Paper Planes starring Sam Worthington, and Shangri-La Suite starring Emily Browning and Luke Grimes.

Arclight Films additionally encompasses subsidiary labels Darclight Films, the edgy genre-driven division of the company whose films include the worldwide horror hits Wolf Creek, Wolf Creek 2 and action thriller Bait 3D (the highest grossing Australian film in the history of Chinese cinema), and Easternlight, a specialty arm showcasing Asian cinema with the largest film library of any non-Asian-based indie film label. Films sold under the Easternlight banner include the worldwide blockbuster Forbidden Kingdom starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li, 14 Blades starring Donnie Yen, and legendary auteur Chen Kaige’s Sacrifice.

The latest additions to Easternlight includes Guardians Of The Tomb starring Kellen Lutz and Bingbing Li, Snow Girl And The Dark Crystal starring Bingbing Li, Wolf Warrior starring Wu Jing (which opened #1 at the Chinese Box Office, earning more than $32.5M in one weekend) Outcast starring Nicolas Cage, Special Id Starring Donnie Yen, and Badges Of Fury.

Arclight Films maintains a presence at all major motion picture and television festivals and markets with offices in Los Angeles, Sydney, Hong Kong, Beijing and Toronto.

About Kazakhstan Studios

The film studio was founded in 1934 as the Alma-Ata newsreel studio, in 1936 the first documentaries were released. On November 15, 1941, the Alma-Ata film studio merged with the Mosfilm and Lenfilm film studios that were evacuated to Kazakhstan to the Central United Film Studio – TsOKS, which worked in Alma-Ata until 1944 and produced 80% of all domestic feature films during the war years. On January 9, 1960, it was renamed the Kazakhfilm film studio from the Alma-Ata film studio of feature and chronicles films. In 1984, the film studio was named after the outstanding figure of national cinema Shaken Kenzhetayevich Aimanov.

In the context of decades, the average dynamics of production of feature films of the Kazakhfilm film studio, starting from the 60s of the last century, is annually: 60s – 3 films; 70s – 4 films; 80s – 7 films; 90s – 3 films. In the period from 2000 to 2008, there were 4 films. And only in the last few years, the average annual production rate is 7-10 films.

Over the years since Kazakhstan gained independence (from 1991 to 2016), the Kazakhfilm film studio has created about 136 full-length feature films (including 6 television feature films); 73 short films; 258 documentaries (including 8 documentary series); 67 animated films (of which 1 animated series, 1 full-length animated film).

In the period from 2008 to the present, over 200 films of the Kazakhfilm film studio have become participants in more than 220 festivals and international shows in 60 countries.

 About Sataifilm

The company was founded in 2003 by Akan Satayev. Initially, it was engaged in the production of commercials for a long time. The first full-length film was launched in 2006, it was a sensational “Racketeer“, the film completely recouped its budget and did very good in local box office, and most importantly became one of the most loved movies of domestic audience. After the success of “Racketeer” the company moved to a permanent mode of production of multi-series and feature films. Biggest projects are pictures as “Racketeer”, “Brothers” (a multi-part full-length series), “Strayed“, “Hacker“, “Racketeer 2“, “Raiyony” and “Alone“, which was released recently not only in Kazakhstan but also in the CIS.

An interesting fact is that the company’s logo depicts the profile of Akan Satayev’s father in the role of Akane Sery in the film Trizna / Kulager of 1972. Today the company is considered one of the largest private film studios in the territory of Kazakhstan and to this day is engaged in the production of feature films and series.

 

Saban Films Game for TIFF Action Thriller GUNS AKIMBO Starring Daniel Radcliffe

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Saban FilmsLOS ANGELES (November 9, 2019) – Saban Films announced today that they have acquired North American rights to writer/director Jason Lei Howden’s (Deathgasm) Guns Akimbo following its World Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.  The darkly comedic action sci-fi thriller stars Daniel Radcliffe (the Harry Potter franchise, Swiss Army Man, Now You See Me 2), Samara Weaving (Ready or Not, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Rhys Darby (“Flight of the Conchords”, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Natasha Liu Bordizzo (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, “The Society”) and Ned Dennehy (“Good Omens”, “Peaky Blinders”).  Occupant Entertainment’s Joe Neurauter and Felipe Marino and Four Knights Film’s Tom Hern produced.

Guns Akimbo watches a nerdy video game developer (Radcliffe) become the next contestant in an illegal live-streamed death match, in this hilariously dark, viciously violent, and chillingly prescient sci-fi thriller.

“With gaming on the rise, Guns Akimbo is a timely film that will keep audiences on the

Bill Bromiley
Bill Bromiley

edge of their seats,” commented Saban Films’ Bill Bromiley.  “Daniel is in a role you’ve never seen him in before.  He and Samara shine throughout this thought-provoking take on the gaming industry’s future.”

 

Altitude Film Sales is handling international rights for the film, with Endeavor representing U.S. rights.  Bill Bromiley and Jonathan Saba negotiated the deal for Saban Films along with Altitude on behalf of the filmmakers.

Saban Films continues to grow its presence in the industry, remaining active in the acquisition, production and distribution space. The company’s successes have run the gamut from critically acclaimed theatrical films such as The Homesman starring Hilary Swank, to two of the biggest Fathom events with horror icon and heavy metal mastermind Rob Zombie’s 31 in 2016 and 3 From Hell earlier this month, as well as Kevin Smith’s highly-anticipated Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, the sequel to the 2001 comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back which the company partnered on after coming onboard at script stage.  Its upcoming slate includes: Steven C. Miller’s Line of Duty; Will Forbes’ John Henry starring Terry Crews and Ludacris and executive produced by Matthew Antoun; Darren Lynn Bousman’s Death of Me starring Maggie Q and Luke Hemsworth; and Nicol Paone’s Friendsgiving starring Malin Akerman, Kat Dennings, Chelsea Peretti, Christine Taylor, Golden Globe Award® winner Jane Seymour, Aisha Tyler, Deon Cole, Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho and Fortune Feimsterfdeat.

About Saban Films

Saban Films, an affiliate of Saban Capital Group (“SCG”), is a film acquisition and distribution company which acquires high-quality, feature films to distribute in North America.  Focusing on commercial, talent driven films, the company looks at projects in all stages of production for release across multiple platforms, including a day and date theatrical/VOD release strategy. Based in Los Angeles, Saban Films was established by Haim Saban, SCG Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and is led by Bill Bromiley who serves as President, Shanan Becker, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer and Ness Saban, Vice President of Business Development.

Script to Screen

(Source: Press Release DDA Group | Rachel Simmons

Created in Moscow premieres at the AFM

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Santa Monica. November 7 — The key Moscow-based producers of feature films, TV series, and animation are presenting new projects at the American Film Market that opened yesterday. The presentation of Russian content under the umbrella brand “Created in Moscow” has put together about 100 major global buyers. Supported by Moscow Export Center, 17 production and distribution companies brought more than 50 projects to the US. Russian filmmakers will show their titles to global producers in Russian, French, German, English, and Chinese. At the AFM, Moscow opened a series of presentations of the top world film production hubs.

The participation of Moscow companies in the largest film market is part of the Moscow Export Center’s program to support local creative powerhouses and its access to international markets.

Russian Film
Kirill Ilichev

“Moscow authorities pay great attention to supporting the export of products and services of creative industries, and in particular, film and animation products,” says Moscow Export Center’s General Director Kirill Ilichev, “Last year, exports of audio-visual and related services from Russia were up 5.2%, coming in at USD 210.7 million. We hope that the excellence of the projects from Moscow companies and the grand scale of the American Film Market, a place where over USD 1 billion worth of deals are made each year, will ensure that all its participants can be successful.”

“Global promotion is a crucial growth driver for the global film and entertainment

Evgenia Markova
Evgenia Markova

industry and Russia is no exception here. At one of the busiest film markets in the world we are standing together as a major industry player in films, TV content, and animation. And this year there is a good case for the most of leading companies to appear at the AFM under a single brand, Created in Moscow,” adds Evgenia Markova, Industry Relations Director at Expocontent. Russian film companies have brought to the US commercial films that have reached mass audiences in recent years and generated growing box office receipts outside Russia. The annual growth rate of Russian content sales abroad over the last three years has topped 20%…Created in Moscow brand is not only about content but also about the people involved and their professional excellence and readiness to cooperate. A shared history shows our foreign partners that Russia – and Moscow, in particular – can see new opportunities arising for the creative industry, including the co-production of international projects. These new opportunities emerged with the launch of a rebate scheme for foreign producers that has come into effect today, with the rebate ranging between 30 and 40%

Russian line-up at the AFM

Central Partnership, a major Russian distribution and rental company, is launching the sales of two large-scale projects. One is Chernobyl. Abyss, a drama directed by Danila Kozlovsky and produced by Non-Stop Production and DK Entertainment, focusing on the repercussions of Chernobyl accident elimination. The other is Fire, an action movie produced by Nikita Mikhalkov’s TriTe Studio, with the participation of TV Channel Russia 1, an epic about firefighters and rescuers, for whom heroic deeds are all in a day’s work.
At the AFM, Central Partnership will premiere The Blackout, a fantasy/action/thriller from Premier Studios.

Katarina
Katerina Pshenitsyna

“International buyers would be able to see the premiere of this movie’s final cut with a working CG version. The project has already been sold to several European territories, and after the AFM we expect to strike deals with the Asian buyers who continue to show a great interest in the project,” says Katerina Pshenitsyna, Central Partnership’s VP, International Distribution, “We will also continue to sell Silver Skates, a romantic adventure film, which is a joint project between Central Partnership, the GPM KIT group of companies, Nikita Mikhalkov’s TriTe Studio, and Kinoslovo; and The Ninth, a thriller from Non-Stop Production.”

The company’s slate also includes the animated feature film The Fixies vs. Crabots of the Aeroplane studio.

AFM Animation

Art Pictures Studio will offer fantasy blockbuster Invasion directed by Fedor Bondarchuk; Ice 2 by Zhora Kryzhovnikov, co-produced with Vodorod; and sci-fi Sputnik by Yegor Abramenko, which is a co-production of Vodorod, Art Pictures and Hype Film. In its line-up, Art Pictures Studio also has Fedor Konyukhov, Fedor Bondarchuk’s new international project about the famous Russian explorer and his recent extreme adventure to circumnavigate the world in an air balloon. Still in productions, Fedor Konyukhov is to be released in late 2020.

The flagships of Mars Media include A Dog Named Palm, an adventure film for family viewing by Alexander Domogarov Jr., and Sabre Dance by Yusup Razykov, an Aram Khachaturian biopic co-produced by Russia and Armenia. The picture tells the story of how the famous music composer wrote his most famous piece in just eight hours amid World War 2. “Sabre Dance has already been sold to Japan, Thailand and Latin America, and we plan to finalize negotiations with some other countries in Santa Monica,” says Mila Rozanova, Mars Media’s Global Sales Head. Sabre Dance’s release is scheduled for December 2019. In Santa Monica, Mars Media will also present Rzhev, a war drama by Igor Kopylov.

Premier Studios continue to negotiate TV series still in production, Six Empty Seats, a thriller by Pyotr Todorovskiy; Dyatlov’s Pass, a drama by Valeriy Fedorovich and Evgeniy Nikishov based on real life events and detective series detective Identification by Vladlena Sandu.

Production company Sreda will present their TV series, premiering the trailers for Vano Burduli’s The Actor; Roman Volobuev’s dramedy Irregulars and Nurbek Egen’s action/thriller/drama Sherlock Holmes in Russia, featuring Maxim Matveev as Sherlock Holmes.

Created in Moscow suite at the AFM also features recent productions by All Media Company, Ark Pictures, KD Studios, Mint Films International, Planeta Inform Telecontent, Revolution Film, RFG Distribution, Russian World Vision, Vega Film.

Russian animation at the AFM

Licensing Brands will present two new 3D projects for family viewing, Pinocchio and Big Trip 2: Special Delivery. Licensing Brands intend to sell the rights to these projects to uncovered territories such as the US and Western Europe.

Kolobanga Media will offer in Los Angeles its own 3D animation: full-length adventure films Kolobanga. Hello, Internet and Netski. The Universe of the Net. As Kolobanga planned to distribute Netski in Europe, North and South America at Marche du Film and MIFA in Annecy, it intends to continue pre-sales and cover new territories for Kolobanga. Hello, Internet at the AFM.

A turning point for the Russian film industry

Positioning the national Russian cinematography brand at all key industry events is part of a general strategy to internationally promote the Russian film industry and content production.

(Source: Press release from Created in Moscow ExpoContent)

NEON Nabs MEMORIA From Palme d’Or Winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul at AFM

Posted by Larry Gleeson

THE COLOMBIAN SET DRAMA STARS ACADEMY AWARD WINNER TILDA SWINTON

Los Angeles, CA (November 7, 2019) –  In one of the first deals announced out of AFM, NEON has landed North American rights to Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s MEMORIA. The Colombian set drama, written and directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, stars Tilda Swinton, Jeanne Balibar, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Juan Pablo Urrego and Elkin Diaz.  The film is produced by Weerasethakul’s Kick the Machine, Burning and Illuminations Films. Weerasethakul previously won the Cannes Palme d’Or in 2010 for his fantastical film, UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES.

Details of the plot are being kept under wraps.

The deal was negotiated by Jeff Deutchman on behalf of NEON and Thania Dimitrakopoulou of The Match Factory on behalf of the filmmakers.

At last year’s AFM NEON announced the acquisition of Bong Joon Ho’s Palme d’Or winner, PARASITE, which has  gone on to gross over $100mm worldwide and set box office records in the US after launching on October 11th.

About NEON

A little more than 2 and a half years since inception, NEON has grossed over $100M at the Box Office and continues to push the boundaries and take creative risks on bold content with films such as: Bong Joon Ho’s critically acclaimed, record-breaking drama PARASITE, which unanimously won the Palme d’Or this year at Cannes and when released on October 11 broke multiple box office records including highest per screen average of the year and highest per screen average for a foreign language film of all time.  Other noteworthy releases include Todd Douglas Miller’s APOLLO 11, the highest grossing documentary in the world at $16M and growing, Tim Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers, winner of the Sundance Special Jury Award for Storytelling which surpassed $13m at the box office, and Craig Gillespie’s I,TONYA, which garnered multiple Academy Award® nominations, one win for Allison Janney and amassed over $30M in box office in North America.

With other recent acquisitions such as the critically acclaimed Cannes hit PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, NEON continues to be an impressive force at festivals. Recent releases include: Alejandro Landes’ cinematic thriller MONOS (the Colombian selection for the Academy Awards®); Abe Forsythe’s LITTLE MONSTERS with Lupita Nyong’o, Julius Onah’s LUCE starring Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer; Tom Harper’s WILD ROSE starring Jessie Buckley; John Chester’s THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM; Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov’s award-winning HONEYLAND (the Macedonia selection for the Academy Awards®)and the electrifying documentary about Aretha Franklin, AMAZING GRACE. Its upcoming slate also includes: Chinonye Chukwu’s CLEMENCY starring Academy Award® Nominee Alfre Woodard and Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz‘s horror film THE LODGE starring Riley Keough.

(Source: Press release from Cassie Kauffman)

DUSTIN HOFFMAN, CANDICE BERGEN, SIMON HELBERG AND OLIVIA THIRLBY JOIN FILM MODE ENTERTAINMENT’S ‘AS SICK AS THEY MADE US’

Posted by Larry Gleeson

New comedy-drama from the star of The Big Bang Theory and Blossom, and the producers of After Everything, Burn, Stage Mother and Quinceañera, Announces All-Star Cast at World’s Largest Film Market

LOS ANGELES (November 7, 2019) – Clay Epstein’s Film Mode Entertainment and producers Anne Clements (Stage Mother, Quinceañera), and Ash Christian (After Everything, Burn) are pleased to announce the lead cast and AFM (American Film Market) market premiere of As Sick As They Made Us. The new comedy-drama features a multiple-award-winning cast that includes two-time Academy Award-winner, Dustin HoffmanAcademy Award nominee and five-time Emmy Award winner,  Candice Bergen,  Simon Helberg and Olivia Thirlby.

AS SICK AS THEY MADE US is written and directed by multiple award-winner and nominee Mayim Bialik a two-time winner of the Critic’s Choice Television Award for best-supporting actress for The Big Bang Theory, that has also won The People’s Choice Award for Best Comedy 3 times, a 4-time Emmy-nominee and a 3-time SAG award-nominee.

Hoffman is a two-time Academy Award winner and seven-time nominee. He is well known for his film roles in The Graduate, Tootsie, Lenny, Midnight Cowboy, Kramer vs. Kramer, Wag The Dog, Rain Man, and most recently, Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) opposite Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Candice Bergen. Hoffman is currently starring in Donato Carrisi’s Into the Labyrinth opposite Tony Servillo. Bergen is known for her starring role in the hit series Murphy Brown for which she won 5 Emmy Awards, and her Oscar-nominated performance in Starting Over to the more recent hit Book Club, and the upcoming Let Them All Talk directed by Steven Soderbergh and co-starring Meryl Streep and Diane Weist.  Helberg – who starred opposite Bialik on The Big Bang Theory – has impressive credits in features including his Golden Globe-nominated performance in Florence Foster Jenkins opposite Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant for director Stephen Frears. He is currently filming a starring role in Leos Carax’s highly anticipated musical Annette with Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard. Thirlby quickly gained momentum on screen after her performances in films such as Juno, United 93, The Wackness, and New York I Love You. Her other credits include Dredd 3D, The Wedding Ringer, and The Stanford Prison Experiment to name a few. Thirlby will next be seen in the revival of the Showtime series, The L Word: Generation Q set to air this December.

As Sick as They Made Us is about a successful divorced mother of two who rekindles love in her life amidst the crazy antics of her dysfunctional family. Now she attempts to convince the stubborn, and comically unfortunate family members to hold it together while they embrace one final farewell.

The film marks Mayim Bialik’s screenwriting and directorial debut. In addition to playing the beloved title character on Blossom, she also starred as Amy in the longest-running multi-camera series on television, The Big Bang Theory. The show premiered on CBS in September of 2007 and concluded in May of 2019, having broadcast a total of 279 episodes over 12 seasons. The show is syndicated in approximately 100 countries around the world to date.

“We can’t wait to see this stellar cast bring such lovable and interesting characters to life. It’s evident that these amazing actors share our love of the materials and we are thrilled to see Mayim’s vision become a reality.”  Said Epstein.

“It is an incredible honor and a writer and director’s dream come true to work with actors I’ve respected and adored my entire life. I cannot wait to see what we can create together! “ Said Bialik.

Most recently, her production company, Sad Clown Productions, inked a multi-year deal with WBTV including a talent-holding provision for her acting services. A multifaceted artist and entrepreneur, Bialik, who also holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCLA,  has published 4 books, two of which were NY Times bestsellers focusing on the neuroscience and psychology of puberty.

Producers include Anne Clements and Ash Christian. Clay Epstein/Film Mode Entertainment will serve as an executive producer.

Hoffman is represented by WME and Tavistock Wood Management.

Bergen is represented by ICM Partners.

Helberg is represented by UTA, MGMT Entertainment, and Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher.

Thirlby is represented by ICM Partners, 3 Arts Entertainment, and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren & Richman LLP.

Bialik is represented by Tiffany Kuzon at Mosaic, Shep Rosenman at Katz Golden Rosenman LLC, and WME.

Film Mode Entertainment is representing worldwide rights on the film.

About Film Mode Entertainment

Film Mode

Film Mode Entertainment is a leading worldwide sales agent, production entity and distribution company, focusing on commercially driven feature films of all genres and budget sizes. Film Mode represents projects at all stages of the filmmaking process, often as Executive Producer, with the aim of helping producers and distributors achieve maximum exposure for their films. Film Mode’s recent titles include CRYPTO starring Kurt Russell, Luke Hemsworth and Alexis Bledel, BAILEY AND DARLA starring Brittany Snow, Sam Richardson and Vivica A. Fox, STAGE MOTHER starring Academy Award nominee Jacki Weaver, Lucy Liu and Adrian Grenier, BURN starring Josh Hutcherson and Suki Waterhouse, and RABID, a reimagining of David Cronenberg’s 1977 Cult Horror Classic, directed by the Soska Sisters. Previous releases include SUGAR MOUNTAIN starring Jason Momoa, and THE GOOD NEIGHBOR starring Academy Award nominee James Caan. Film Mode accelerated their growth and expanded their capabilities by entering into a partnership with SCREEN MEDIA, representing their catalogue of over 600 titles, including WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE starring Leonardo DiCaprio, who was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his performance, and MONSTER, starring Charlize Theron who won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress for the film. The company also has its own distribution arm, as well as a documentary label, DocMode. Film Mode is based in Beverly Hills, CA.

(Source: Press release Lon Haber & Co. | IPPR)

 

ZOEY DEUTCH’s “BUFFALOED” ACQUIRED BY FILM BRIDGE INTERNATIONAL AT AFM

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Crime Dramedy Premiered at Tribeca and stars Zoey Deutch, Judy Greer and Jai Courtney

Los Angeles, CA (November 7, 2019) ­ Leading sales agent Film Bridge International has come aboard to handle international sales rights for the comedy, BUFFALOED, starring and produced by Zoey Deutch (Netflix¹s The Politician and Set It Up, Zombieland: Double Tap).  The announcement was made today by Ellen S. Wander, CEO of Film Bridge International.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 10.26.02 AMSet in the underworld of debt collecting, BUFFALOED follows homegrown hustler, Peg Dahl (Deutch), who will do anything to escape Buffalo, NY. After getting into some trouble, Peg finds herself crippled by debt. With her chances of a brighter future outside of her hometown squandered, she decides to become a debt collector herself and wages war with Buffalo’s “king pin” of debt collecting.

 The feature was directed by Tanya Wexler (Hysteria, Ball in the House, Finding North) and was penned by Brian Sacca. This is Sacca¹s first feature film as a writer. As an actor he is a series regular on TBS¹s WRECKED, and was featured in WOLF OF WALL STREET, BAND OF ROBBERS, and KINGS OF SUMMER.  Wexler is currently in post-production on JOLT, a female-driven action comedy starring Kate Beckinsale, which she is directing for Millennium Films.  She first made waves with the romantic comedy HYSTERIA, her 2011 film about the invention of the vibrator starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, and Felicity Jones, which premiered at the Toronto Film festival. In TV, she most recently directed an episode of GIRLFRIENDS’ GUIDE TO DIVORCE and THE ARRANGEMENT.

Zoey Deutch can currently be seen starring in ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP alongside Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, and Emma Stone. On the small screen, Deutch can be seen starring in Ryan Murphy¹s Netflix series THE POLITICIAN opposite Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jessica Lange, in which Murphy serves as writer, showrunner and executive producer. Recently announced, Deutch will be re-teaming with Glen Powell, whom she co-starred alongside in Netflix¹s SET IT UP. Together they are working with the same team of filmmakers for a new Netflix romantic comedy, tentatively titled MOST DANGEROUS GAME. The film will go into production in early 2020, with Deutch also on board as an executive producer. Other film credits include FLOWER opposite Kathryn Hanh, Tim Heidecker, and Adam Scott, THE YEAR OF SPECTACULAR MEN alongside her sister Madelyn Deutch and directed by their mother, Lea Thompson; REBEL IN THE RYE opposite Nicholas Hoult; and BEFORE I FALL, the adaptation of the 2010 young adult novel of the same name.

 The film also stars Judy Greer (Ant-Man and the Wasp, 13 Going on 30, Where¹d You Go Bernadette), Jermaine Fowler (Sorry to Bother You, and the upcoming Coming 2 America), Noah Reid (Schitt¹s Creek) and Jai Courtney (Divergent, Suicide Squad, Terminator Genisys).

 BUFFALOED was produced by Lost City¹s Mason Novick (Tully, Juno) and John Finemore and Bold Crayon¹s Bannor MacGregor and Jeffrey Katz, along with Deutch and Sacca. James Hoppe, Elizabeth Grave and Brooke Davies executive produced for Lost City, Phil Quartararo for Bold Crayon, along with Mary Anne Waterhouse and Kirsten Ames. Hyperion Equity Partners provided the financing on behalf of Bold Crayon.

“It is my pleasure to bring Buffaloed to the masses,” says producer John Finemore. “This meaningful film is a conversation starter and we know it will be a fun and thought provoking, treat for moviegoers everywhere, anchored by a performance by Zoey Deutch that’s nothing short of incredible.”

“We are excited to work with Zoey Deutch, Lost City and Bold Crayon on Buffaloed. The film is a gem and we know it will do extremely well with international audiences,” stated Ellen S. Wander, CEO of Film Bridge International

Film Bridge

 BUFFALOED is being introduced to and screening for international buyers this week, and producers will announce their domestic distribution partner shortly.

 About LOST CITY

Lost City is a film production and financing company managed by principals, partners and producers John Finemore and James Hoppe. It operates from headquarters in Los Angeles with additional offices in Melbourne, Australia. Lost City is currently in post production on DESPERADOS, a Netflix Original, starring Nasim Perdrad, Anna Camp, Sarah Burns Lamorne Morris and Robbie Amell. Previously, Lost City produced and financed Drake Doremus¹s feature NEWNESS, starring Nicholas Hoult and Laia Costa, which premiered at Sundance in 2017 and produced Tony Elliott¹s ARQ for Netflix, which starred Robbie Amell and Rachael Taylor and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016.

About BOLD CRAYON

Bold Crayon is film production and financing company managed by principals Bannor Michael MacGregor, Jeffrey Katz, and Phil Quartararo with offices in Santa Monica, Raleigh, and NYC.  Bold Crayon is currently developing feature films including SPREAD THE WORD, an urban story of redemption and THIEF, an action thriller to be set in South Korea.  Bold Crayon expects to be publicly traded through the OTC Venture Market in 2020.

(Source: Press release from Prism Media/Maggi Simpson PR+Media Relations)

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