All posts by HollywoodGlee

I’m a veteran of several film festivals including the Newport Beach Film Festival, the Berlin International Film Festival, the American Film Institute's AFIFest Hollywood and AFI DOCS, the famed Venice International Film Festival, the San Luis Obispo SLO Film Fest, and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's family of festivals including the SBIFF, the SBIFF Wave Festivals and the SBIFF Showcase Film Series. To date I’ve written and published over 100 film reviews and have work posted on four sites including sbccfilmreviews.org, imdb.com. I have also been published in Classic Film Images magazine. In addition to writing reviews and covering film festivals, I am currently seeking distribution for new films. I have contacts in several major markets including Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, and Cannes, France. So when you’re looking for your film to get noticed, remember HollywoodGlee can help. We have professional marketers, respected critics and the most knowledgeable contacts on what film festival and/or distribution channel is right for you and your film. See you at the movies!

BEING THE RICARDOS Is Coming!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

As America’s funniest and most beloved TV couple, Lucy and Ricky Ricardo have been a constant presence on television around the world since the characters first appeared in the iconic sitcom “I Love Lucy,” which premiered on CBS in 1951.

 

JAVIER BARDEM and NICOLE KIDMAN star in BEING THE RICARDOS Photo: GLEN WILSON © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

 

As the quintessential dizzy redhead and the charismatic Cuban bandleader she married, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were among the brightest stars in the growing television universe, delighting their record-breaking audiences each week with Lucy’s hare-brained schemes and hilarious antics. But as America enjoyed the sitcom world of Lucy and Ricky, Ball and Arnaz were actually facing problems that could have brought an end to their newfound success and their marriage.

 

Director AARON SORKIN and NICOLE KIDMAN on the set of BEING THE RICARDOS Photo: GLEN WILSON © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

 

Despite her gift for scene-stealing physical comedy as Lucy Ricardo, Lucille Ball was a demanding and hard-nosed perfectionist behind the scenes. Desi Arnaz, in addition to being a multi-talented showman like his television character, was also a shrewd and innovative businessman who built a powerful and prolific Hollywood studio.

 

JAVIER BARDEM, J.K. SIMMONS, NINA ARIANDA, and NICOLE KDIMAN star in BEING THE RICARDOS Photo: GLEN WILSON © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

 

In addition, the Ricardos’ neighbors and landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz were crucial to the show’s success. The constantly squabbling former vaudevillians appear in virtually every episode of the show and the actors who played them, William Frawley and Vivian Vance, became close friends of Ball and Arnaz.

 

NINA ARIANDA stars in BEING THE RICARDOS Photo: GLEN WILSON © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

 

Frawley, a heavy-drinking veteran of Hollywood and vaudeville, is played by J.K. Simmons, winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Whiplash. Sorkin wrote the role of the cantankerous but loyal Frawley with Simmons in mind. Tony-winning actress Nina Arianda was chosen to portray Vance. Arianda says she grew up watching “I Love Lucy” and was intimidated by the idea of playing an iconic television star.

 

After sifting through the historical documents, writer Aaron Sorkin proposed going back in time some 70 years to chronicle one one production week of “I Love Lucy” — from Monday table read through Friday audience taping — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz face a series of personal and professional crises that threaten their show, their careers, and their marriage. Oscar® winners Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem star as the power couple behind the beloved 1950s television sitcom “I Love Lucy” in Oscar-winning writer and director Aaron Sorkin’s behind-the-scenes drama, Being the Ricardos.

I’ve always been a fan of I Love Lucy having watched it with growing up, and I can honestly say I had never laughed as hard as I did as I watched The Long, Long Trailer (1953) starring Lucille and Dezi Arnaz. So, with bated breath, I wait until December 21 to see Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos. 

Until then, I’ll see you at the movies!

ACADEMY LAUNCHES GLOBAL DIGITAL PRESERVATION FORUM

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announce the launch of the Academy Digital Preservation Forum (ADPF), a global online gathering place dedicated to exploring the latest issues surrounding the digital preservation of motion pictures.  An initiative of the Academy’s Science and Technology Council, the forum hosts original content and resources and will serve as an ongoing discussion place for stakeholders and practitioners within the field and those interested in learning more.  Visit the forum at academydigitalpreservationforum.org.

Andy Maltz, Senior Vice President, Science and Technology Council

“Preserving motion pictures – whether film or digital – is an imperative from both cultural and commercial perspectives,” said Andy Maltz, Senior Vice President, Science and Technology Council.  “As long as digital motion picture technologies evolve, there will be a need for collaboration between archivists, technologists, and filmmakers.  The ADPF provides a foundation for productive communication and problem-solving to ensure future generations can access the movies we enjoy today and those yet to come.”

 

The ADPF’s mission is to confront challenges facing the digital preservation field, encourage information exchange, and catalyze work towards sustainable solutions.  By inspiring active participation from online community members, including Academy members, filmmakers, studio executives, archivists, operations professionals, technologists, and other practitioners, the forum aims to reinforce the importance of digital preservation to modern filmmaking and help shape the future of this work.  Resources include workflows, practices, technical standards, educational materials, and critical research on digital preservation.

The forum will bring industry experts together to examine the state of digital motion picture preservation.  This is the next phase of the Council’s work in this area beginning with the publications of The Digital Dilemma in 2007 and The Digital Dilemma 2 in 2012, the Council’s two groundbreaking reports on the long-term preservation of digital motion picture materials.

 

ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 10,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers, and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach, and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

(From Academy News)

Why Does Sundance Institute Celebrate Indigenous Voices?

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Adam Piron

We’re in a moment. As much as Indigenous people have always been carving their own ways throughout the dynamics of colonialism, the time we’re in now has been the result of generations of Indigenous people’s vigilance against being silenced. From the tribes of first contact to the current struggle of the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s land defenders, Indigenous people in North America (and everywhere) have remained steadfast in upholding their rights to control their own land and voices. It’s from this resilience that we’re still here and it’s by their collective strength that we continue to maintain the foundation we have.

At Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program, our core values in how we support our artists have been rooted in that foundation and spirit of change. As filmmaker Darol Olu Kae recently stated in SEEN:

“When faced with the violent history of cinema and its logic of storytelling, Black, Brown, and Indigenous artists can’t afford to simply appropriate the prerogatives of white image-makers. We have a different kind of history that requires us to move differently…”

Whether it’s been the success of television series like Sterlin Harjo’s Reservation Dogs, Taika Waititi’s recent Oscar win, or Sky Hopinka’s I’ll Remember You as You Were, not as What You’ll Become, now currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art, Indigenous artists are continuing to forge new paths for not only what it means for us to make our own images, but also for the possibilities that this work creates for generations to come. As a program, we’re proud to support, uphold and celebrate all of our artists and alumni as they continue to add to that foundation and push forward.

In the continued spirit of celebrating Native American Heritage Month, my team and I also felt that in affirming our program’s support we ought to also share the values that inform the work that we do and why we celebrate the voices of our Indigenous artists and their communities. We hope you find them meaningful and that you continue to support and embolden Indigenous voices to tell their own stories.

Sundance Institute Indigenous Program’s Values Statement

Since the birth of the moving image, Native American communities have been mined for their imagery and stories but have rarely had creative control in the stories being told about their communities. This has resulted in the misrepresentation and invisibility of Native people in contemporary American popular culture and around the world. In the early years of Robert Redford’s involvement with the film and television industry, he noticed the absence of Native writers, directors, and personally began to mentor and support them to tell their own stories. In keeping with this early work, in 1981 Native American filmmakers were invited to participate in the founding meetings of Sundance Institute and its first filmmaking Lab. Thanks to our founder, this formed the commitment for the Sundance Institute to serve Native filmmakers in its work nurturing artists. Since then that commitment has grown to become a core program of the Institute, the Indigenous Program, and provides deep support and championing of Indigenous-created stories that have broadened to include supporting Indigenous filmmakers on a global scale.

The Indigenous Program has prioritized serving Native American filmmakers in the United States and North America with opportunities like the Merata Mita Fellowship being awarded to an Indigenous woman honoree selected from a global pool. The Institute’s Feature Film Program, Documentary Film Program, and Sundance Film Festival actively outreach to Indigenous artists and collaborate with the Indigenous Program to identify artists for support. Since its founding, the Sundance Institute has supported four generations of Indigenous artists who have firmly established our filmmaking community and created a significant body and canon of Cinema, and now the fifth generation is starting to emerge who we are beginning to invest in.

The Sundance Institute Indigenous Program honors and upholds the inherent Sovereignty of Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples. We respect and uphold that Sovereignty and the nuances of Indigenous cultures, kinship and community, and their right to determine belonging and citizenship. Throughout the Program’s history, and across Sundance Institute, this has remained a priority of our mandate of support for Indigenous storytelling. For Indigenous Peoples, the community comes in many forms and we recognize the shifting nature of community due to colonization and genocide that has impacted Indigenous peoples across the US and around the world in different ways.

Throughout the history of Sundance Institute and the Indigenous Program, we have maintained our commitment to supporting the voices of Indigenous artists and self-determination in storytelling. The Sundance Institute Indigenous Program works with Indigenous communities around the world from the Pacific, Australasia, Circumpolar Arctic, North America, and Latin America. Today, the artists and allies from these regions have contributed to a thriving global Indigenous Cinema community. In our work we emulate our core values of decolonizing the screen and uplifting the voices of Indigenous artists, recognizing that telling Indigenous stories comes with deep obligations and responsibilities towards Indigenous peoples, communities, and their Sovereignty.

(From Sundance.org)

New Date Set for AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute to Julie Andrews

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Gala Tribute To Take Place June 9, 2022

Tribute to Premiere on TNT and Encore on Turner Classic Movies

December 1, 2021

The American Film Institute announced today that the 48th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute celebrating Julie Andrews will take place June 9, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The event was originally scheduled for 2020 but was postponed due to health and safety concerns. The air date for the premiere of the Emmy® Award-winning Tribute special on TNT and encore presentations on sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will be announced at a later date.

Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO

“Julie Andrews has sent spirits soaring across generations,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “This new date for her AFI Tribute enriches our anticipation to celebrate her in a manner worthy at a time the world needs it most.”

A legendary actress of both stage and screen, Andrews has enchanted and delighted audiences around the world with her uplifting and inspiring body of work. She continues to captivate viewers in front of the camera, with her remarkable wit, characteristic grace, and an incandescent and unmistakable voice all of her own — while also shining a light on humanitarian issues in her activism and philanthropic work.

A three-time Academy Award nominee, Andrews’ star turn in MARY POPPINS won her both a BAFTA and an Oscar®. From her early debut as Polly Browne in “The Boyfriend” to her critically acclaimed Eliza Doolittle in the Broadway hit “My Fair Lady” to her timeless performance as Maria von Trapp in THE SOUND OF MUSIC to her groundbreaking dual roles in the gender-bending VICTOR/VICTORIA, Andrews has proven herself an accomplished and versatile actress. Throughout an illustrious career that spans seven decades, she has won five Golden Globes, three Grammys®, and two Emmys® for projects infused with her incomparable charm and recognized for their ability to enthrall audiences worldwide. The critically lauded Andrews is also a Kennedy Center honoree, a Disney Legend inductee and the recipient of a SAG Life Achievement Award.

On stage and screen, she has delivered transcendent performances known for their elegance, artistry, and humor, with additional acting credits including “Camelot” (1960), THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY (1964), TORN CURTAIN (1966), HAWAII (1966), THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE (1967), STAR! (1968), 10 (1979), LITTLE MISS MARKER (1980), THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN (1983), DUET FOR ONE (1986), ENCHANTED (2007) and AQUAMAN (2018). She has also starred in multiple, successful franchises, including THE PRINCESS DIARIES 1 and 2 (2001); SHREK 2 (2004), SHREK THE THIRD (2007) and SHREK FOREVER AFTER (2010); and DESPICABLE ME (2010), DESPICABLE ME 3 (2017) and the upcoming MINIONS (2022). Recently, Andrews played a sharp-tongued gossip writer in Regency London in Shonda Rhimes’ Netflix series BRIDGERTON, marking her continued evolution as an actress and icon. Andrews’ second memoir, “Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years” — a follow-up to her successful 2008 New York Times Best Seller, “Home: A Memoir of My Early Years” — was released in 2019.

(Sourced from AFI News Release)

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):

STAN LEE ALLIANCES: A TRICK OF LIGHT

STAN LEE ALLIANCES: A NEW REALITY

  • 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!