Iron Man

Posted by Larry Gleeson

In 2009, I had the good fortune of attending Photoshop World, the conference for everything Photoshop, Lightroom, and Photography. The main attraction the first day was a massive conference on how Iron Man was created via Photoshop. I was tracking the opening moves. Then, the presenter announced he was speeding up the process due to time constraints. And, in the blink of an eye, step after step was shown in rapid succession that would make even the most ardent fan of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psych shower scene envious!



So today, I share the AFI Movie Club film, IRON MAN (2008), starring Robert Downey Jr., as Tony Stark, a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man. Matthew Libatique (AFI Class of 1992) provided the cinematography.

Not surprisingly, Iron Man was honored with an AFI AWARD in 2008 – recognizing it as one of the 10 outstanding films deemed culturally and artistically representative of the year’s most significant achievements in the art of the moving image. According to the official rationale, “IRON MAN smashes through the cinematic stratosphere to take its rightful place among the leading superhero sagas in American film. Witty and bold, this dynamic film is a shining example of summer entertainment that can both entertain and enlighten.

“Jon Favreau’s dynamic direction delights in the medium, using visual effects with a light touch and in perfect service to the story. Robert Downey, Jr.’s inspired interpretation lifts the title role off the pages of a comic book with great respect — and his own indelible quirkiness — launching it into the future as audiences cheer both a hero and their own humanity.”


Interestingly, Iron Man, co-created by Stan Lee was Marvel Studio’s first fully self-financed movie. Its success launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe which now includes Captain America, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, the Incredible Hulk, Black Widow, and many more of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Iron Man is currently streaming on Disney+.




FIRST LOOK: “Alliances: Orphans” Original Graphic Novel, Written by Stan Lee, Luke Lieberman and Ryan Silbert

Posted by Larry Gleeson

First Look at Alliances: Orphans Original Graphic Novel

Written by Stan Lee, Luke Lieberman, and Ryan Silbert, Alliances: Orphans Will Be Published By Dynamite Entertainment’s New Figment Imprint in Summer 2022 and Features Art from Bill Sienkiewicz and Szymon Kudranski.



November 27, 2020:

Big day for “Alliances: Orphans” Original Graphic Novel, written by Stan Lee, Luke Lieberman, and Ryan Silbert

  • Dynamite Entertainment’s new Figment imprint today unveiled a first look at the new original graphic novel Alliances: Orphans.
  • Alliances: Orphans is the first Original Graphic Novel in the expanding Stan Lee Alliances universe, and the first story to be written by Alliances co-creators Ryan Silbert, Luke Lieberman.
  • Alliances; Orphans features a prologue co-written by Stan Lee.
  • Alliances Universe co-creators and Alliances: Orphansco-writers Luke Lieberman and Ryan Silbert quote: “We can’t wait to share this fantastical story from Stan’s Alliances Universe with the fans. We dreamed about finding the perfect partners to expand the bullpen. With Bill, Szymon, and Nick’s team at Dynamite, that dream is now a reality.”
  • Dynamite CEO and Publisher Nick Barrucci quote: “The tapestry created by Luke, Ryan, and Stan is incredible, and the stories have been fantastic. When Luke and Ryan approached us to take their best-selling series, and create the first Original Graphic Novel, we were excited and honored. Great stories like this are the ones that help grow our genre and the entire comics audience, and I could not be prouder to be a part of this series.”
  • More on the Stan Lee Alliances Universe (first two novels/audio events):



  • Alliances: Orphans takes the Alliances Universe into outer space, and reveals a dozen new Stan Lee characters.
  • Alliances: Orphans is the first collaboration between acclaimed artists Bill Sienkiewicz and Stan Lee. The deal was negotiated by Michael Lovitz of Lovitz IP for Bill Sienkiewicz. (This is Sienkiewicz’s first writing credit with Lee. Sienkiewicz began his career with the “Stan Lee Presents” title above his work at Marvel.)
  • Coming off of an Emmy nomination for The Boys, Orphans is the latest prestige project from Dynamite Entertainment CEO and Publisher Nick Barucci who brought the IP into the company along with Executive Editor Joseph Rybandt who is overseeing the creative team. Susan Karlin is coordinating editorial on behalf of Bill Sienkiewicz Art.
  • Award-Winning Artist Bill Sienkiewicz illustrates the Alliances: Orphans cover and the first chapter, Traitor’s Revenge written by Lee and Alliances co-creators Luke Lieberman and Ryan Silbert.
  • Artist Szymon Kudranski illustrates the Alliances: Orphans original material written by Luke Lieberman and Ryan Silbert, all set in the Alliances Universe co-created by Stan Lee, Luke Lieberman, and Ryan Silbert.
  • Alliances: Orphans is the debut of the creator-owned Figment comic book imprint (co-owned by Ryan Silbert’s Origin Story and Luke’s Magik Doom).
  • Dynamite CEO and Publisher Nick Barrucci and Luke Lieberman have a long-standing relationship through the best-selling Red Sonja ongoing publications.
  • More info on the San Diego Comic-Con Special Edition Thanksgiving 2021 Panel Conversation On Alliances: Orphans:

In 2019, fans were introduced to one of Stan Lee’s final collaborations with the Audible Original A Trick of Light,  the first story in the complex braided narrative of the Alliances Universe. Now, Alliances creative architects, Luke Lieberman and Ryan Silbert are excited to reveal the next stage of the expanding Alliances Universe which is now in publishing, audio and soon to be graphic novel – Alliances: Orphans featuring a never before seen story written by Lee, Lieberman, and Silbert featuring the art of legendary artist Bill Sienkiewicz and fan-favorite Szymon Kudranski.  Sienkiewicz will join Lieberman and Silbert in revealing dozens of new characters and a galaxy-spanning story.  Orphans is Stan Lee by way of Kurosawa as the epic canvas of Alliances is opened up to introduce a giant quest to save the fabric of reality with a band of misfits forced to confront their own dark pasts in order to pave the way for a brighter future. Alliances: Orphans will be published by Dynamite Entertainment (“The Boys”) under the Figment imprint from Ryan Silbert’s Origin Story and Luke Lieberman’s Magik Doom. 

About Dynamite Entertainment

Dynamite was founded in 2004 and is home to several best-selling comic book titles and properties, including The Boys, The Shadow, Red Sonja, Warlord of Mars, Bionic Man, A Game of Thrones, and more. Dynamite owns and controls an extensive library with over 3,000 characters (which includes the Harris Comics and Chaos Comics properties), such as Vampirella, Pantha, Evil Ernie, Smiley the Psychotic Button, Chastity, and Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt. In addition to their critically-acclaimed titles and bestselling comics, Dynamite works with some of the most high-profile creators in comics and entertainment, including Gail Simone, Christopher Priest, Leah Moore, Kevin Smith, David Walker, Vita Ayala, Danny Lore, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson, Mark Russell, Brandon Thomas, Amy Chu, Reginald Hudlin, Nancy Collins, David Walker, Steve Orlando, Greg Pak, Jenny Frison, Matt Wagner, and a host of up-and-coming new talent. Dynamite is consistently ranked in the upper tiers of comic book publishers and several of their titles – including Alex Ross and Jim Krueger’s Project Superpowers – have debuted in the Top Ten lists produced by Diamond Comics Distributors. In 2005, Diamond awarded the company a GEM award for Best New Publisher and another GEM in 2006 for Comics Publisher of the Year (under 5%) and again in 2011. The company has also been nominated for and won several industry awards, including the prestigious Harvey and Eisner Awards.

About Bill Sienkiewicz

Bill Sienkiewicz (pronounced sin-KEV-itch) is a multi-Eisner-winning, Emmy-nominated artist best known for revamping the style of comic and graphic novel illustration from 1980 onward—most notably with Marvel’s Elektra: Assassin, Moon Knight, and New Mutants (which inspired FX’s Legion and Disney’s New Mutants), and his acclaimed graphic novel Stray Toasters—earning him an international reputation and cult status across media industries. 

A classically trained painter, Sienkiewicz’s renderings incorporate abstract and expressionist influences and any combination of oil painting, acrylics, watercolor, mixed media, collage, and mimeograph – previously unheard of in comics. His paintings have graced the National Museum of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, galleries in New York, Paris, Barcelona, and Tuscany, Spain’s famed La Semana Negra (The Black Week) Festival, and the internationally touring exhibition Marvel: Universe of Super-Heroes.

Sienkiewicz’s retrospective art books include the Eisner-winning Bill Sienkiewicz’s Mutants and Moon Knights and Assassins (IDW), Revolution (Six Foot Press), and The New Mutants: Bill Sienkiewicz Marvel Artist Select Series (IDW). He also illustrated The Island of Dr. Moreau (Beehive), Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix (Kitchen Sink), and Moby Dick (Classics Illustrated). His commentary and artwork will feature in Conde Nast’s upcoming retrospective book on DC’s The Shadow.

Sienkiewicz’s commercial and editorial work includes the comic cover, cast portraits, and promotional artwork for the upcoming Dune, and posters for next year’s The Batman, 2018 Halloween remake, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Netflix’s The Black Godfather, Logan, The Grinch, The Green Mile, Unforgiven, and 2006 Winter Olympics; advertising campaigns for Legion, Nike, MTV and Nissan; CCG game cards for Magic: The Gathering and VS System; promotional art for Titmouse Studios; and magazines such as Playboy, Entertainment Weekly, and Spin. He has also done album covers for Seth MacFarlane, Kevin Smith, RZA/Bobby Digital, Kid Cudi, EPMD, T.I., and Bruce Cockburn.

He has also contributed on-set paintings for HBO’s upcoming White House Plumbers, on-set props and portraiture for Legion, storyboards for The Green Mile, and production and character design for the PBS children’s TV series Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? The character of Kingpin in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was modeled after Sienkiewicz’s interpretation in Marvel’s Daredevil: Love and War.

He has taught at The Illustration Academy in Kansas City, MO and The Kubert School in Dover, NJ, and spoken at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and ArtCenter in Pasadena, CA.

Sienkiewicz has garnered numerous accolades—most notably 2019 Eisner Awards for the Eisner Hall of Fame and Best Archival Collection for IDW’s Bill Sienkiewicz’s Mutants and Moon Knights and Assassins, 2004 Eisner for DC Comics’ The Sandman: Endless Nights, and 1995 and 1996 Emmy Award nominations for Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego? In 2021, the UK’s Tripwire Awards inducted him into its Roll of Honor. In the mid-80s, Elektra: Assassin swept the top comic illustration awards in the U.S. and Europe, with a Kirby Award, Yellow Kid Award, and Gran Guigiri Award. He also earned a Spectrum Grand Master Award, Inkpot Award, four Eagle Awards, Alpe d’Huez Award, Baxter Award, Adamson Award, March of Dimes Award for charity work, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art, which he attended.

About Ryan Silbert and Luke Lieberman

Ryan Silbert is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, writer, producer, and founder of Origin Story Entertainment, a multi-platform entertainment company with a global focus on storytelling. Silbert’s expansive repertoire includes such films as the Academy Award® winning GOD OF LOVE and Spike Lee’s THE GIRL IS IN TROUBLE. As the founder of Origin Story Entertainment, Silbert is currently in development on television, film, and immersive narratives projects created specifically for audio platforms including the recent Audible best-seller and Lovie Award winner The Coldest Case starring Aaron Paul, Nathalie Emmanuel and Krysten Ritter. He is a co-creator with Stan Lee and Luke Lieberman on Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light and the recently released Audible Original, A New Reality.

Luke Lieberman is a writer, filmmaker, and practitioner of entertainment law who started his career under the mentorship of Stan Lee. He is responsible for the relaunch of the Red Sonja franchise, overseeing more than 50 graphic novels and writing numerous issues himself, including Red Sonja: Birth of a She-Devil and Red Sonja: Price of Blood for Dynamite Entertainment.  Luke is also producing the live-action feature film adaptation of Red Sonja. Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light was Luke’s first collaboration with Stan Lee and co-creator Ryan Silbert. 

Together Silbert and Lieberman are the creative architects of the expanding Alliances universe including co-writing the upcoming graphic novel Alliances: Orphans to be published by Dynamite Entertainment.

(Source: News release provided by the Lede Company)

Around the World in 14 Films

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Berlinale Spotlight: World Cinema Fund at “Around the World in 14 Films”

For many years, the Berlinale has been presenting specially curated programs outside the festival timeframe. The program goes by the name of Berlinale Spotlight.

Since 2018, the Berlinale funding initiative World Cinema Fund (WCF) has presented a Berlinale Spotlight every year at the Berlin film festival “Around the World in 14 Films” (December 2-11, 2021). In 2020, the “Around the World in 14 Films” festival – along with its Berlinale Spotlight program – did not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is particularly pleasing that the presentation of WCF films is once again planned for December 2021.

On December 5, 2021, the Berlinale Spotlight will present five films that received funding from the World Cinema Fund. This year, the selection features works by filmmakers from Argentina, Costa Rica, Egypt, Indonesia, and Thailand.



The unique film Clara Sola, by Nathalie Álvarez Mesén, hails from Costa Rica; it tells the story of the titular protagonist, who no longer wants to be a “saint”, and wants to reclaim and experience her body and her desire.

Feathers by Omar El Zohairy, from Egypt, is a surprising film; a highly amusing and bitterly ironic tragicomedy with a consistent artistic identity and a powerful political core. Both Clara Sola and Feathers had successful premieres at the Cannes Film Festival in July.

Anatomy of Time by Jakrawal Nilthamrong follows in the best traditions of the fascinating visual arts potency of contemporary Thai cinema. The film invites the viewer on an existential, philosophical meditation, which also involves a political and historical look at the country’s past. The film was screened in September at the Venice Film Festival.

The winner of this year’s Locarno Film Festival, Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash, by Edwin from Indonesia, takes the viewer by surprise with a narrative and choreographic identity that is wonderfully entertaining, and serves as a homage to the B-movies of the region. At the same time, the film represents an examination of the local culture of masculinity, virility, and violence, which also connects it with the country’s problematic past.

The festival will be showing a film that exemplifies WCF funding activities in recent years and pays homage to the life’s work of its director. Zama by Lucrecia Martel focuses on the colonial histories of Spain and Latin America, mesmerizing the viewer with its simultaneously realistic and hallucinogenic images.

Vincenzo Bugno, head of the WCF, will introduce the Berlinale Spotlight at “Around the World in 14 Films”: “Films really blossom with an audience, and cinemas are meeting places where we share a cultural experience. We’re very pleased to be able to continue our cooperation with ‘Around the World in 14 Films’ after such a long period of tight restrictions. Numerous WCF-funded films were completed and able to celebrate their premieres at international film festivals this past year despite the pandemic. And now it’s wonderful that some of these WCF films can be presented to the enthusiastic ‘Around the World in 14 Films’ festival audiences. All the films are very different, and they provoke thought, or laughter, or both. They are films that were conceived, shot, and produced very far away from here, and yet still hit close to home.”

The WCF has been funding films in regions with weak production infrastructures since 2004, and promotes cultural diversity in German and European cinema:


Susanne Bieger, left, and Bernhard Karl

“With all the films and artists that the World Cinema Fund passionately supports, year after year this special funding program opens our eyes to other cultures and their stories. And it creates awareness for the frequent necessity of collaborations, co-productions, and openness for cultural and cinematic productions to succeed”, comment the festival directors of ‘Around the World in 14 Films’”, Susanne Bieger and Bernhard Karl.

The 16th edition of the independent Berlin film festival “Around the World in 14 Films” will take place from December 2 – 11, 2021 at the KulturBrauerei cinema. For the first time, many of the high-caliber “Best Of” films, with cinematic highlights from Cannes, Locarno, Venice, and San Sebastián, will also be presented at the Delphi LUX and Neues Off cinemas.

(Source: Berlinale Press Release)


Stephen Sondheim Remembered

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Master Stephen Sondheim, an American composer, and lyricist was one of the most important figures in 20th-century musical theatre passed away yesterday, November 26, 2021, at his home in Roxbury, Conn., at the age of 91.

Sondheim is/was considered one of the greatest Broadway writers ever writing stunningly striking original lyrics. While his works were critically acclaimed they were not always commercially successful. Nevertheless, his work raised the bar for artistic standards.

Some of Sondheim’s works as a composer and lyricist include: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), and Into the Woods (1987). He was also known for writing the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959).

Film adaptations of Sondheim’s work include West Side Story (1961), Gypsy (1962), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966), A Little Night Music (1977), Gypsy (1993), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Into the Woods (2014), West Side Story (2021).

Sondheim was still very much part of pop culture and is featured as a cameo in Lin Miranda’s film adaptation tick,tick…BOOM! Sondheim’s work had inspired Larson who in turn inspired, Miranda. In addition, In addition, Steven Spielberg’s 2021 film adaptation of West Side Story is heading to theatres in December. Furthermore, Sondheim received a Best Original Song Academy Award for penning “Sooner Or Later,” performed by Madonna in the 1990 film Dick Tracy.

In all Sondheim received nine Tony Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Tony in 2008). eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom. He also had a theatre named for him on Broadway and in the West End of London.

Gone but never forgotten….Stephen Sonheim.


SMOKE SIGNALS Native American Heritage Day

Posted by Larry Gleeson

With today being Native-American Heritage Day, AFI Movie Club chose SMOKE SIGNALS as its pick. Smoke Signals is directed and co-produced by Chris Eyre, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Nations.

Featuring an entirely Indigenous cast telling an authentic story from their own perspectives, Smoke Signals is a gateway work in its depiction of Native-American culture – rich in emotion and its characteristic wry, self-deprecating humor that deflects negativity in cosmic ways!

Personally, after viewing Smoke Signals, I felt a strong desire to see more Native American stories and for the development of a vibrant Native American Cinema. The 2021 Sundance Film Festival showcased the critically acclaimed Wild Indian, starring Michel Greyeyes. Interestingly, Greyeyes portrays Junior Palatkin in Smoke Signals.


In 2018, the Smoke Signals was selected for preservation in the United States’National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Check it out!

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

SOUL FOOD – Family is Everything this Thanksgiving!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Written and directed by George Tillman Jr., SOUL FOOD is a classic comedy  starring Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox and Nia Long celebrating the importance of family dinners – and recognizing that they’re about more than just the meal on the table. SOUL FOOD is this year’s AFI Movie Club’s Thanksgiving Day selection.



Writer/director George Tillman, Jr. Tillman based the family in the film on his own Midwestern Chicago upbringing. Soul Food has been widely acclaimed for presenting a more positive image of African-Americans than is typically seen in Hollywood films.

Soul Food revolves around the experiences of an extended African-American family and captures its love and dysfunction through the eyes of an 11-year old boy. Soul Food was Tillman’s major studio debut.


Tracey Edmonds, an AFI Trustee Emerita, and then-husband Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds produced Soul Food and it was the inaugural film for their Edmonds Productions.

In 2000, Showtime premiered a one-hour Soul Food television series that ran for five seasons with an almost entirely fresh cast. In 2015, 20th Century Fox announced a sequel, written by Tillman, titled More Soul Food.

Stay tuned!

In the meantime, join film lovers from around the world to celebrate and discover – or rediscover – the greatest American films and storytellers of all time. As a member of AFI, you’ll enjoy access to AFI-curated films, exclusive member-only content from the AFI Archive, year-round benefits and deep discounts to all AFI festivals, and more.

Consider becoming an AFI member or donating today!


Happy Thanksgiving, Watch Movies! FILMOCRACY Unveils Industry/Festival Education and Networking Program For Filmocracy 2021 Nationwide

Posted by Larry Gleeson


Triad of FestDance Panels, Filmocracy Talks, and Round Tables Adds Education, Networking

ff hero for landing

Roster of Ambassadors Grows as Networking Opportunities Expand For Hybrid Event During Filmocracy Fest December 9th-10th in Los Angeles and Nationwide

Los Angeles, CA (November 24, 2021)—Filmocracy, the world’s premiere digital screening, distribution, and experience platform, announced its roster of new industry programs today. As the independent film and festival spaces continue to evolve, Filmocracy’s founders saw an opportunity to expand networking and mentorship opportunities.

More than forty Ambassadors joined the inaugural Filmocracy Fest in 2020—participating in various panel discussions—and will continue support in 2021, along with numerous additional industry professionals who have joined the program along three tracks: FestDance will present eight panels over two days; Filmocracy Talks will include four programs; and there will two Round Table discussions.

FestDance is a two-day hybrid in-person/virtual event December 9th-10th that convenes filmmakers, festivals, and film lovers from around the world. A first of its kind fusion experience, local and virtual audiences will explore the film industry while celebrating the new era of digital cinema and innovative technologies. There are two key tracks, one for Film Festivals and another for Filmmakers.

The Festival track includes the following panels: Engagement: Audience & Filmmaker Relations; Technology: Capitalizing on the Digital Frontier; Sponsorship Relations; and Revenue Opportunities. 
The Filmmaker track will include the following panels: Submission Strategies: Knowing your Goals; Networking; Getting on the Radar; Distribution & Exhibition.

Filmocracy Fest Co-Founder Jon Fitzgerald predicted last year in a white paper published by IndieWire, “filmmakers want more revenue-sharing, networking opportunities, and data from online festivals. Festivals, distributors, and filmmakers need to adjust to this new normal, and see this change as opportunities for all parties to rethink how their relationships work. FestDance is an opportunity to continue that conversation in a hybrid world: digital presentation is here to stay.” History bore him out, with most festivals resuming in person screenings whilst retaining digital ones.

“FestDance is an opportunity for the festival and filmmaker community to take stock, absorb all the last eighteen months, and collaborate to share best practices and make for a more robust, impactful, profitable film festival ecosystem,” adds Filmocracy CEO Paul Jun. “We’re going to use our own platform to deliver an informative, exciting and content-rich experience while fusing the digital and in-person audiences.”

Filmocracy Talks 
In their informal version of a TED talk, Filmocracy will cover specific categories, with festival veterans sharing words of wisdom. Filmocracy Fest Filmmakers will have an opportunity to join the discussion on stage. The host will also answer a few questions from passholders that have been submitted in advance. Talks will take place virtually at 5:00pm, kicking off the Festival Happy Hours, virtually and in person at Boomtown Brewery. Categories will include:

1. Have a custom strategy for your movie. 
2. Get on the radar. 
3. Develop your submission spreadsheet.

1. Your movie as a brand. 
2. Keys to a good trailer. 
3. How your website evolves.

1. Understanding VOD models. 
2. Creating a custom distribution strategy for your film. 
3. Your movie deliverables.

1. Maximizing festival play. 
2. Have your next project under your arm. 
3. Connecting with industry professionals

Round Table Discussions 
Filmocracy has invited 5-8 experts to participate in two discussions, Impact Filmmaking: Education & CTA and Independent Film Exhibition: Discovery & Distribution, each led by a moderator. Each session will last 30-45 minutes and cover all sides of the topic. They will also answer a few passholder questions that have been submitted in advance.

Impact Filmmaking: Education and Call to Action 
Ever since Participant Media ushered in a wave of social impact films, from the Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth (2006), to Food, Inc. (2008) and The Cove (2008), we’ve seen the documentary space grow exponentially. Many of these films go beyond mainstream theatrical and streaming platform releases into educational markets, creating lasting awareness and evergreen activations. We will explore how these films inform and create change with their Call to Action.

Independent Film Exhibition: Discovery & Distribution 
As the number of film festivals and streaming platforms each increase, there are more opportunities for exhibition. Emerging filmmakers want to be discovered by industry professionals and audiences. Acquisition executives continue to seek projects to distribute. With this discussion, industry experts will shed light on the overlapping paths of discovery and distribution.

Happy Hours 
Festival Sponsor Boomtown Brewery will host nighttime Happy Hours, offering Filmocracy Fest filmmakers and passholders a discount on their favorite beer at the DTLA Brewery’s tap room. For those joining Happy Hour virtually, Boomtown’s brewmasters will lead a nightly tasting of Boomtown brews.

For full programming details visit:

2021 Industry Ambassadors include (list in formation): 
Melanie Addington (Tallgrass Film Festival) 
Tiffany Boyle (Ramo Law) 
Lela Meadow Conner (Film Festival Alliance) 
Lauren DeVillier (CEO, Struum) 
Justin Giddings (Film Festival Mastery) 
Chris Gore (Film Threat) 
Jasper Grey (The Vedetta Group) 
Ben Lock (Vuulr) 
Barbara Morgan (Austin FF) 
Alex Nohe (Blood Sweat & Honey) 
Julian Silver (Actor) 
Leslie Vanderpool (Bahamas FF) 
Jeffrey Winter (The Film Collaborative) 
Jeremy Wine (Elevent) 
Viviana Zarragoitia (3 Point Capital)

Tickets are on sale now! The All-Access VIP Pass costs $200.00 and includes entry to all Festival screenings, panels, happy hours and receptions. The Festival Pass is $100.00 and includes screenings and happy hours but not Special Events and receptions. Individual ticket prices are $10.00 for scheduled virtual screenings and Q&As, and $7.00 for OnDemand streaming, and $12.50 for Theatrical in person screenings. Filmocracy PAYS filmmakers 30% of their box office receipts.

About Filmocracy: 
Filmocracy is a film and festival streaming platform that rewards users for discovering amazing independent films. Users earn virtual popcorn for watching and rating movies, which can be spent in their shop to earn movie tickets, redeem gift cards, or attend virtual film festivals hosted from around the world. Bringing a powerful combination of technologies together to enhance the virtual cinema and conference experience for filmmakers, industry professionals and audiences around the world. Filmocracy’s mission is to help all independent filmmakers reach wider audiences and grow their communities through storytelling. Festival Co-Founder Paul Jun serves as CEO of Filmocracy.

In December 2020, Filmocracy staged the First Annual Filmocracy Fest, an all-digital juried film festival. Filmocracy Fest presented a slate of 44 films; panels; mentorship program; live performances; script readings; cause-related partners; and dozens of virtual conversations with directors and industry talent. Jon Fitzgerald served as Executive Director.

Filmocracy also has a library of more than 3,500 titles for streaming that is constantly evolving and rotating. Liquid Media Group Ltd (NASDAQ: YVR) has joined Filmocracy as presenting sponsor.

Get Social!

(Source: Press release provided by PMG Platform Media Group)

FILM REVIEW: The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson, 2021)

THE FRENCH DISPATCH. (Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Searchlight Pictures and Indian Paintbrush’s American Empirical Picture presents Wes Anderson’s, The French Dispatch, being hailed as Anderson’s love letter to a fading vocation and literary form – magazine journalism. The French Dispatch brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of a widely circulated American magazine, The French Dispatch (the film’s title) published in a fictional 20th-century French city, Ennui-sur-Blasé.


(From L-R): Elisabeth Moss, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Fisher Stevens and Griffin Dunne in the film THE FRENCH DISPATCH. (Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved)


On the occasion of the death of its beloved Kansas-born editor Arthur Howitzer, Jr., portrayed by Bill Murray, his hand-picked staff—including the Cartoonist (Jason Schwartzman), the Story Editor (Fisher Stevens), the Legal Advisor (Griffin Dunne), the Copy Editor (Elisabeth Moss), the Proofreader (Anjelica Bette Fellini) and a cheery Writer Wally Wolodarsky – who has haunted the French Dispatch offices for years but never written a single word – assembles over the body to collaborate on an obituary.

They are led by Howitzer’s beloved writers, who he coddled and encouraged, and dressed down and built up, earning him their devotion and their love: Herbsaint Sazerac (Owen Wilson), the intrepid Cycling Reporter, drawn to the most unsettling and unsavory aspects of the far-flung cities he visits…J.K.L. Berendsen (Tilda Swinton), the critic and chronicler on intimate terms with every side of the modern art world…Lucinda Krementz (Frances McDormand), the solitary essayist who guards her journalistic integrity as closely as her private passions…and Roebuck Wright (Jeffrey Wright), the lonely expatriate polymath with a typographic memory, discovered and rescued by Howitzer under humiliating circumstances.

Memories of Howitzer flow into the creation of four stories: a travelogue of the seediest sections of the city itself from The Cycling Reporter; “The Concrete Masterpiece,” about a criminally insane painter, his guard and muse, and his ravenous dealers; “Revisions to a Manifesto,” a chronicle of love and death on the barricades at the height of student revolt; and “The Private Dining Room of the Police Commissioner,” a suspenseful tale of drugs, kidnapping and fine dining.


Timothée Chalamet and Lyna Khoudri in the film THE FRENCH DISPATCH. (Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2021 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved)


The creative team behind The French Dispatch included Wes Anderson, executive producer Roman Coppola, director of photography Robert Yeoman A.S.C., production designer Adam Stockhausen, costume designer Milena Canonero, editor Andrew Weisblum, and composer Alexandre Desplat. The film also stars Liev Schreiber (Showtime’s Ray Donovan, SPOTLIGHT, ISLE OF DOGS), Edward Norton (BIRDMAN, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL), Willem Dafoe (THE LIGHTHOUSE, SPIDERMAN), Saoirse Ronan (LITTLE WOMEN, LADY BIRD), Christoph Waltz (DJANGO UNCHAINED), Henry Winkler (Arrested Development, Barry, Happy Days), and Anjelica Huston (ISLE OF DOGS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY) as the Narrator.

The French Dispatch is definitely Wes Anderson fare for his loyal followers. It’s strongly written with humor intricately woven into the artsy cinematography/production design. Anderson professed his love for the New Yorker Magazine and the influence shines brightly through in The French Dispatch’s witty dialogue. Anderson is credited with the screenplay as well as directing. And….oh, what a cast! The creme de la creme. It’s such a treat watching their characters interact delivering deadpan humor that’s sure to keep any literary mind off-balance. The French Dispatch is an avant-garde delicacy. Highly recommended!


FILM CAPSULE NEWS: Cyrano (Joe Wright, 2021)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

A Special Tribute at the 48th Telluride Film Festival to powerhouse actor, Peter Dinklage, generated massive buzz before the world premiere of the new film musical, Cyrano, directed by MGM’s Joe Wright and written by Erica Schmidt (based on her 2018 play of the same name). Both stage play and screenplay are based on Edmund Rostand’s 1897 play, Cyrano de Bergerac, incidentally credited with introducing “panache” to the English language.

Peter Dinklage stars as Cyrano and Bashir Salahuddin as Le Bret in Joe Wright’s CYRANO – A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. (Photo credit: Peter Mountain © 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

The film is breathtakingly beautiful with lavish costuming, epic battles, and spirited musical numbers. The film garnered three nominations at the Hollywood Music In Media Awards (HMMA): Best Original Song – Feature Film for “Every Letter”; Best Song – Onscreen for “Whenever I Fall”; and, Best Music Themed Film, Biopic or Musical.


Haley Bennett stars as Roxanne in Joe Wright’s CYRANO –  A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. (Photo credit: Peter Mountain © 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


Haley Bennett stars as Roxanne in Joe Wright’s CYRANO – A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. (Photo credit: Peter Mountain © 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

In Cyrano Dinklage strongly carries the weight of the lead with a remarkable melancholic voice, enhanced and embossed by Haley Bennett’s equally impressive performance as Roxanne. Both Bennett and Dinklage are reprising their roles from the 2018 Connecticut-based Goodspeed Musicals production of Cyrano.

Haley Bennett stars as Roxanne and Peter Dinklage as Cyrano in Joe Wright’s CYRANO – A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. (Photo credit: Peter Mountain
© 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Dinklage is a four-time Emmy Award-winner for his work as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones and has turned in several strong performances on the big screen in Station Agent, Elf, and I Care A Lot, and was recently Dinklage was recently announced as a Gotham Award Performer Recipient. Numerous pundits are mouthing Dinklage’s performance as Oscar-caliber – the question being is it enough for this record-setting Emmy recipient to become an Oscar recipient?

Peter Dinklage stars as Cyrano and Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Christian in Joe Wright’s CYRANO – A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. (Photo credit: Peter Mountain
© 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

Cyrano was coming out for the holidays…For most audiences, the date has been pushed back to January 21st, 2022, as the film recently positioned itself to take advantage of the upcoming Oscar nomination season by scheduling a one-week opening run in Los Angeles beginning December 17th, followed by a back-to-back platform release and national rollout in January. Oscar nomination voting begins January 27th and wraps up the first week of February.

2022 Sundance Film Festival: New Frontier Spans Biodigital Terrain, Blends Online & In-Person in Real Time

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Audiences to Have Access To New XR Works From Anywhere; Festival Introduces New, Connected On the Ground Venue

Park City, UT — When the 2022 Sundance Film Festival kicks off on January 20, it invites audiences to participate from wherever they are, including in person in Utah. The 2022 edition of the Festival’s New Frontier section will be a fully biodigital showcase, presented simultaneously on a bespoke WebXR spatialized virtual venue, The Spaceship, that has touchpoints in a newly conceived, free-to-access venue in Park City, The Craft. Ticketed New Frontier performances will also be presented in Park City’s iconic Egyptian Theatre, with simultaneous presentations on The Spaceship.

The Spaceship, globally accessible via laptop or VR headset, houses spaces for Festivalgoers to see the official New Frontier lineup, interact with others and gather together to watch programs and performances in an immersive arthouse theater. This year, Sundance, working again with the creative studio Active Theory, will unveil a number of upgrades to enhance The Spaceship’s functionality and accessibility. Festival attendees, both on the ground in Park City and online, can interact with each other

and maintain the sense of community that the Festival always aims to provide, including a bleeding-edge human-scale Biodigital Bridge that connects Festivalgoers in Park City and those attending The Spaceship online from anywhere in the world — establishing the Festival as a metaverse that overlays the physical event with a virtual one.
Since 2007, the New Frontier exhibition has showcased multimedia storytelling, art installations, and biodigital performances that make use of emerging technologies like virtual reality, haptic tech and AI, among other tools. The 2022 edition is visualized as a human-scale and person-first digital experience that balances connection with a sense of place.
“Since the earliest stages of planning ’22, we’ve centered access and learnings from past iterations,” said Shari Frilot, senior programmer and New Frontier chief curator. “After the  ’21 festival, we realized that presenting the work online effectively took one of the hottest, hardest-to-access experiences of prior Festivals and made it instantly and globally accessible to anyone with the right tech. New Frontier this year prioritizes biodigital design as a very adventurous endeavor, and one that speaks to the priorities of its creators, artists and audiences.”
Full details on New Frontier’s 2022 edition, taking place across:
The Spaceship is a virtual venue situated to orbit Earth alongside the International Space Station and is globally accessible January 20-28 via laptop or VR headset. It will host:

  • The Gallery, which will showcase the complete 2022 New Frontier lineup of XR work + Easter eggs.
  • Cinema House, a venue featuring live streaming, room-scale address and chat functionalities.
  • A programmed series of Artist Spotlights designed to enable artists to represent their projects in person at The Craft in Park City and on The Spaceship in Cinema House.
  • Film Party, a virtual social space, that allows audiences to inhabit avatars for organic, proximity-based, person-to-person webcam chat and connection. This venue will host dedicated film premiere parties after their online premieres and live Q&As, bringing filmmakers together with their online audiences to celebrate their films in both halves of the festival.  

The Craft is a newly conceived space in Park City for artists to come together around the present and future of artistic practice. It is an immersive environment that’s free and open to all Festival patrons. By day, artists present, discuss and celebrate the creative process through a series of special public events, also livestreamed through the online Festival platform. Providing a point of convergence between the online and  “on-mountain” Festivalgoers, The Craft is open January 21-25 and will host:

  • Creators, Festival filmmakers, New Frontier artists and creative technologists inside a venue that provides multiple immersive touchpoints to The Spaceship, including a bleeding-edge human-scale Biodigital Bridge — an innovative piece of technology from Active Theory  that connects Festivalgoers at The Craft in Park City and those attending The Spaceship online from anywhere in the world. 
  • Daily curated Beyond Filmconversations, artist and community panels, talks and gatherings, featuring Festival Artists and including Artist Spotlights.
  • Social spaces designed for artistic encounters.
  • Access to the  2022 New Frontier XR lineup with equipment and assistance provided. (Attendees are also encouraged to bring their own headsets, with equipment specs to be announced at a later date.)

The Egyptian Theatre will present dynamic New Frontier performances (simultaneously happening on The Spaceship) to a live and biodigitally converged audience who will be able to participate in a post-performance Q&A. Tickets are required and will be available on December 17 (packages) and January 5 (single tickets). 

The 2022 edition of New Frontier at the Sundance Film Festival on the Spaceship is accessible to all holders of the Explorer Pass ($50 via link), which is also part of all ticket packages.
The Sundance Institute New Frontier Program is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Unity, Adobe, Dell Technologies, Rally, Metaplex Studios and Canon USA, Inc.

Festival Sponsors and Host State
The Festival is a program of the nonprofit Sundance Institute. The 2022 Festival sponsors include Presenting Sponsors – Acura, AMC+, Chase Sapphire, Adobe; Leadership Sponsors – Amazon Studios, DIRECTV, DoorDash, Dropbox, Netflix, Omnicom Group, WarnerMedia, XRM Media; Sustaining Sponsors – Aflac, Audible, Canada Goose, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Dell Technologies, IMDbPro, Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, Rabbit Hole Bourbon & Rye, Southwest Airlines®, Unity Technologies, University of Utah Health, White Claw Hard Seltzer; Media Sponsors – The Atlantic, IndieWire, Los Angeles Times, NPR, Shadow and Act, Variety and Vulture. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists. 

Sundance Institute
As a champion and curator of independent stories for the stage and screen, Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theater, film composing and digital media to create and thrive.
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature Labs, granting and mentorship programs dedicated to developing new work take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. Sundance Collab, a digital community platform, brings artists together to learn from each other and Sundance advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as ClemencyNever Rarely Sometimes AlwaysZolaOn The RecordBoys StateThe FarewellHoneylandOne Child NationThe SouvenirThe InfiltratorsSorry to Bother YouWon’t You Be My Neighbor?HereditaryCall Me By Your NameGet OutThe Big SickMudboundFruitvale StationCity So RealTop of the LakeBetween the World & MeWild Goose Dreams and Fun Home. Join the Sundance Instituteon FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube.