FENCES, a new film from Paramount Studios, is scheduled to open in theaters December 25, 2016. The film is directed by Denzel Washington from a screenplay by August Wilson, adapted from Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play. See trailer below.
The film stars Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Jovan Adepo, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, and Saniyya Sydney.
The film is produced by Denzel Washington, Todd Black and Scott Rudin.
Early Oscar speculation has a best actor nom for Washington for his lead role as a failed baseball player who faces discrimination as a garbage collector.
Reviewed by Larry Gleeson. Viewed at the AFI Fest 2012 at Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, Calif.
In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem are arrested and convicted of raping a white woman jogging in New York City’s Central Park. They are incarcerated in prison ranging between 6 and 13 years before a serial rapist confesses to one of the erroneously convicted that he alone had committed the crime, leading to the convictions of those erroneously imprisoned being overturned. Set against a backdrop of a decaying city beset by violence and racial tension during the mid 80’s crack cocaine boom, The Central Park Five, tells the story of crime, a miscarriage of justice, the push by the police for confessions, a sensationalized media frenzy clamoring for emotionally charged stories and a public pushed to the brink with the common place Central Park “wildings’ occurring each weekend , and the five lives upended by the police department, the prosecutor’s office and the New York City Mayor’s Office. The five youths admitted they were in the park that evening committing other crimes.
The film is directed by legendary documentarian Ken Burns and his newcomer daughter Sarah Burns, who is the driving force behind the making of the film as she wrote her college thesis on the five falsely accused teens. Extensive use of archival footage combined with photos and current seated interviews provide an authenticity to the storytelling. At times it’s difficult to fathom how these young men were coerced into confessing. Yet, the Burns’ take the viewer on an “inch by inch” journey culminating in the release of the Central Park Five from their respective incarcerations. The question propagated being: was justice carried out? The obvious answer is not for these five young men. Other questions come to mind when these men are shown present day as they are finding it challenging to live life on life’s terms.
In a Q & A following the film (three of the Central Park Five were present and participated in a panel along with Ken and Sarah Burns), a civil suit against the prosecutor’s office and the police department came to light. The lawsuit is now nine years old and depositions haven’t even begun. The general consensus being that two to three more years will pass before the depositions are completed. Then, and only then, will the case be heard.
Yesterday’s headline news again reported a female jogger being approached by another group of five young, teen-age men around 8:30 P/M in the northern part of New York City’s Central Park seeking the woman to provide them with kisses. The woman rebuffed the advances and police officers claim one of the teens touched her genital/groin area and purportedly ran off. The Central Park Five, is a very provocative film revolving around the issue of what constitutes justice and what collateral damage occurs in carrying out a Machiavellian “the end justifies the means” brand of justice.
Universal Pictures’ SPLIT — from Academy Award®-nominated director/writer/producer M. Night Shyamalan and Academy Award®-nominated producer Jason Blum — will play as a Special Screening at AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi. Watch the trailer below.
Written and directed by Shyamalan, SPLIT is an original thriller that delves into the mysterious recesses of one man’s fractured, gifted mind. Though Kevin (James McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others. Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him — as well as everyone around him — as the walls between his compartments begin to shatter apart.
Following last year’s THE VISIT, Shyamalan reunites with producers Blum and Marc Bienstock and executive producers Ashwin Rajan and Steven Schneider for the film, which also stars Jessica Sula and Haley Lu Richardson.
SPLIT joins the already announced Special Screenings BRIGHT LIGHTS: STARRING CARRIE FISHER AND DEBBIE REYNOLDS (DIRS Fisher Stevens, Alexis Bloom), THE COMEDIAN (DIR Taylor Hackford), LION (DIR Garth Davis), MISS SLOANE (DIR John Madden), MOANA (DIRS Ron Clements, John Musker), PATERSON (DIR Jim Jarmusch) and TONI ERDMANN (DIR Maren Ade).
Free tickets to AFI FEST will be available on AFI.com beginning November 1. For the full slate of previously announced titles screening at the festival, visit the Film Guide, now online here.
The acquisition will allow the film to be seen in the UK, Canada, the USA, and Australia and New Zealand (in addition to Ireland).
The film is based around Ireland’s biggest cocaine seizure, which occurred when a boat got in trouble in west Cork. It follows as two hapless young teens decide to go on a trip to find one of the bales of cocaine.
The Young Offenders is a first-time feature for director Peter Foott and stars young Cork actors, Alex Murphy and Chris Walley.
Peter Foott said of the distribution deal:
The cast, crew and myself are delighted! Having our film reach such a huge audience is incredible and we are so happy it’s Vertigo who are taking us on this journey.
The film also stars Hilary Rose (of The Republic Of Telly) and stand-up comedian PJ Gallagher (Naked Camera).
It has grossed over €1m for Wildcard Distribution in Ireland, and is still playing in Irish cinemas.
Rupert Preston and Ed Caffrey of Vertigo Releasing described The Young Offenders as “one of the funniest and freshest films we’ve seen in years”, saying they are “thrilled to be working with Peter to bring the film to a UK and international audience”.
Viewed at the AFI Fest 2012 at the Egyptian Theatre. Holy Motors, winner of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival’s Award of the Youth and the Hugo Award for Best Feature at the 2012 Chicago International Film Festival, directed by controversial Frenchman Leos Carax of Tokyo! fame, tells a beguiling tale of one Monsieur Oscar, a master of disguise, as he journeys from one appointment to another through the course of the dark hours of the night in Paris. He is, in turn, a beggar, captain of industry, an assassin, a bizarre reptilian-like virtual sexcapade participant, a sewer-dwelling, underground railroad member resurfacing as a cemetery-robbing monster gorging himself on flower bouquets and eventually kidnapping a famous model (played stunningly by Eva Mendez) complete in accompaniment with accordion players and more bizarre culinary choices with Ms. Mendez’s hair and paper Euros.
The film opens with a beautiful shot of the night sky. From there the unusualness begins. We see a sleeping audience. Then, the “appointments” begin with the old woman without a care begging on the sidewalk.While his stretch limo motors from locale to locale Monsieur Oscar utilizes the commute time to change his appearance through elaborate forms of make-up and disguise techniques. Carax gives the viewer an eyeful with a frontal nudity scene while paying tribute to American Beauty with rose petals and in a more human form with the camera presence of beauty Mendez. Throughout Holy Motors Carax allows famed cinematographer, Caroline Champetier (Of Gods & Men ) the camera ample time in the limo itself. This choice amplifies the effects of Monsieur Oscar’s ability to metamorphisize while on the go from appointment to appointment lending a genius effect that Monsieur Oscar is involved in transacting business, of sorts.
I initially was excited to see Parisian scenes and the River Seine. And while I did get to see these, I also got to see a lot more in the way of artistic license as Carax pushes the limits of normalcy through the antics of Monsieur Oscar through the dark of night in an unseen before Parisian form. Finally, towards the end of the night the viewer is returned to a sense of normalcy as Monsieur Oscar plays a caring family only to be trumped by a surprise ending
I do recommend this film. It has a most interesting style of storytelling. While it may or may not be mainstream, it has unusual artistic value in the subtlety Carax implements to drive home his point that in the end French cinema is all about business in one form or another. Well done, Mr. Carax.
Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi — this year’s Artist-in-Residence at the AFI Conservatory — returns to his neorealist roots with THE SALESMAN, the suspenseful tale of married couple of theater actors, Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), starring in a performance of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” Their lives are thrown into turmoil after Rana is attacked in their Tehran apartment — during the play’s opening weekend — and Emad becomes increasingly obsessed with exacting vengeance.
Like Farhadi’s previous films ABOUT ELLY (2009), the Oscar® winner A SEPARATION (2011) and THE PAST (2013), THE SALESMAN dwells in the domestic discord struck by class conflict in Iran, and the moral ambivalence of the film’s protagonists. Farhadi re-teams with his longtime collaborators, editor Hayedeh Safiyari and cinematographer Hossein Jafarian, to craft a dramatic “whodunit” that leaves the audience gripped, and with more questions than answers.
On the AFI Campus recently, Farhadi — who taught a workshop for Directing Fellows this September — fielded questions from AFI Conservatory Dean Jan Schuette and from Fellows about THE SALESMAN for the Conservatory’s Harold Lloyd Master Seminar series.
How did you begin to develop and approach this story, which begins and ends on a theater stage?
I always have an image in my head and the story starts from the image all the time. From the period that I was in student theater, I had this image in my head that I knew that I would have to use someday. I could see a house in the theater stage and different parts of the home would light up, and then all of the lights would go dark and then all of them would come on so you could see the whole house. I gradually thought of my themes like this as well — dropping light on different parts of the family and at the end, you feel like you know the whole family. So, the story started with this image and this image was like a magnet, it went over my brain and grabbed all of the things that were related to the story.
How do you collaborate with your editor and your cinematographer?
The biggest quality of both the cinematographer and that editor is that they hide behind their work and don’t show themselves — this is something that comes from Eastern art. In some periods of Eastern art, artists wouldn’t sign their pieces. They were thinking that when the audience sees the piece, they shouldn’t think about the artist but [instead] think about the piece itself. In Western art, when you see, for example, the statue of Michelangelo, you applaud Michelangelo rather than the statue itself. It means that the artist, or the shadow of the artist, is in between the relationship of the audience and the piece. I did my best to hide myself behind the work so nobody can see me behind the scenes, behind the film. So they can feel like no one wrote the dialogue and it’s just actors, the characters, who are really saying these things. This is the most important thing that I have in mind when making a film.
How did you craft the audience experience of the mystery and thriller elements of THE SALESMAN, which blend realism and fantasy?
There are so many movies made that have suspense and drama. Some of the best ones are Alfred Hitchcock. Part of Billy Wilder’s work is like that as well. On the other side, there are so many films that have the feeling of everyday life, a documentary feeling. I think the best example is [Iranian director] Abbas Kiarostami. But, we haven’t seen that much of this combination, both drama and documentary. By that I mean, you see a drama and you feel like that is real life. By watching Hitchcock films, you get very excited and applaud Hitchcock’s craft, but don’t get anything about the people who are living at that time in those conditions. I really tried to make my film go in that direction, mixing drama and real life.
What is the process after you’ve finished your films? To whom do you show them first?
The whole thing is a torture. And the whole process is very enjoyable as well. It’s like giving birth. Full of pain, but it’s the best thing that can happen to the person in the end. But the hardest part for me is when the movie is done, when the movie starts to have its distance from me.
I feel like that part is not really my job. You go to the festivals, and then you have to just talk about something where you were hired on purpose. When the movie is over, I don’t show it to actors because they just look at themselves. Their opinion wouldn’t help you. I show it to some people who have nothing to do with cinema; same with the script. I passed my script [of THE SALESMAN] to the French teacher of my daughter. When normal people see the film, they can’t tell you what they feel right away. But while they are watching the film, you can sit with them and see at which parts they are getting bored and at which parts they’re excited. The most important thing for me to understand at the end of the film is if it’s boring or not. I don’t like anyone to go out of my films, even if they have to pee. My film has to do something where you have to finish it, and then leave.
THE SALESMAN is Iran’s 2016 entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar®. The film opens stateside on December 9, 2016.
Nepali feature film White Sun (Seto Surya) will open the 14th Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (Kimff), slated to be held at the Kumari Hall in Kamal Pokhari in the Capital, starting Dec 8. White Sun, which was recently screened in Toronto International Film Festival and Venice Film festival, is slated for an all-Nepal release from Dec 9.
Speaking during an event hosted in the Capital earlier this week, Tsering Ritar Sherpa, producer of the film, shared, “We are very excited with the response the film received after being screened at the Venice Film Festival. The film, based on the 10-year Maoist insurgency, has been garnering positive reviews internationally; hopefully, the audience at home will like it too.”
According to Sherpa, the film tries to explore the psychological impact the insurgency had on Nepalis.
Directed by Deepak Rauniyar, White Sun features actors Dayahang Rai, Raj Kumar Baniya and Sumi Malla in lead roles.
Along with White Sun, Kimff 2016 will feature a total of 80 films—features, animations, short films and documentaries—from 28 different countries.
The film fest will also hold a short film competition under the theme: Strengthening Nepal’s Public Services.
This year’s festival is slated to run through Dec 12.
In just four years, the Middleburg Film Festival has earned a place among such iconic film festivals as Sundance, Telluride, Tribeca, Toronto, Melbourne, Berlin, Venice and Cannes. The film festival’s quaint venues – a converted ballroom at Salamander Resort, a performing arts auditorium at an elementary school, a library-museum for horse enthusiasts, a spartan reception hall in Upperville and the barrel room of a local winery – differentiate the festival from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood’s showplaces.
Middleburg brings something more meaningful to the conversation about movies: an intimacy with the stories and the people of the movies.
The charming town tucked in Virginia hunt-and-horse country is more than just a setting for a cozy film festival. Middleburg is also a character in the movies shown there.
Over four postcard-perfect days, about 4,000 people traveled to what looks like a back lot for idyllic moviemaking. Film buffs took Route 50, the two-lane road that follows the rolling hills, stone fences and horse farms to the charming town in Loudoun’s southern tier. Nearing the town, two oversized Trump banners greeted visitors from a private parcel of land on the roadside – seemingly out of place and out of character in a setting known for its style and discretion.
The wearisome soundbites of the presidential campaign become a faint echo at Middleburg’s one stoplight, a few hundred feet down Route 50 where it becomes Washington Street. Make a right turn, or a left, and you are at an unexpected venue for a movie. Or you can follow scenic side roads to the festival’s more distant venues.
At this place, in this time, Middleburg is about movies. But something more, too.
In Loving,the quiet and courageous love story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the Virginia countryside is both prominent and familiar, enhancing the realism of rural racism in the commonwealth at the time. The movie follows the courtship and marriage of Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who are arrested and sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 because their interracial marriage violates the state’s anti-miscegenation laws. Exiled to Washington, they sue the Commonwealth of Virginia in a series of proceedings leading to the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Loving v. Virginia, which holds that laws prohibiting interracial marriage are unconstitutional.
The film, scheduled for release in the U.S. on Nov. 4, was shown at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington on Monday. But at a discussion following the screening on Sunday, Virginians were able to better appreciate the continuing relevance of Loving as its British producer and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder gave the story context. Following the program, dozens of attendees swarmed Holder, the first African American to serve as Attorney General (2009-2015).
Middleburg also had a brief role in the screening of Jackie, Natalie Portman’s riveting portrayal of Jacqueline Kennedy’s private grief as she coped with her public persona and the nation’s reaction to the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy.
The movie would not have been screened in Middleburg but for a photograph of Jackie attending mass with JFK at the Middleburg Community Center, which now serves as the box office for the film festival. The distributors of Jackie had initially rejected the advance screening of the movie in Middleburg, a young festival with a relatively small audience in rural Virginia. But the photo provided a meaningful connection between Jackie Kennedy and Middleburg, where she spent private time away from Washington riding at her farm.
As Middleburg presented itself as a haven away from the front lines of the nation’s capitol 43 miles down the road, the film festival also provided a conversation that played to the politics of the moment. A conversation about presidents, politics and the movies quickly turned to “the elephant in the room,” as CNN political analyst David Gergen observed: Donald Trump.
Who would play Trump in the movie about the current presidential race? Alec Baldwin, of course, came the response to a joke that was apparently known to all in the audience. Film clips from movies about past presidents then left attendees to wonder whether art imitates life or life imitates art.
Middleburg’s messages echoed beyond. The Eagle Huntress followed Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl who trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries. While there were many old Kazakh eagle hunters who vehemently rejected the idea of a female taking part in their ancient tradition, Aisholpan’s father, Nurgaiv, believed that a girl could do anything a boy can, as long as she was determined.
That idea brought cheers from the denizens in Virginia that included local Girl Scout troops that came to honor Aisholpan. The girl and her father traveled from Mongolia to Middleburg to acknowledge the cheers and to demonstrate how ordinary people could do extraordinary things. The cheers came again when it was announced that Aishholpan would become a character in a super-heroes cartoon.
So we come to superheros and the deeper meaning of the Middleburg Film Festival. In just four years, Sheila Johnson has exceeded her dream of turning her passion for cinema into a festive gathering of fellow film aficionados in the chic yet comfy venues of Northern Virginia’s horse country. The entrepreneur, philanthropist and film producer has made Middleburg a metaphor for creative endeavor with a social purpose. She has provided a lens to view the important films about our our culture, as well as perspective that is authentically Virginia.
But perhaps Johnson’s greatest gift is bringing together movies and people who make us think, feel and belong. Devoid of cynicism, these are the stories of our times. Johnson presents them as a kindred spirit in a place called Middleburg.