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!

Sundance Institute Names 20 Fellows

Posted by Larry Gleeson

20 Fellows Named Across Feature Film Directors and Screenwriters Labs, Native Lab

Customized Support for Emerging Creators, in Collaborative Digital Environment

PARK CITY, UTAH — The Sundance Institute today named the artists and projects selected for the first group of the upcoming signature summer Labs including 12 fellows for the Directors and Screenwriters Labs and 9 fellows participating in the Native Lab (one fellow will participate in both Labs). The Labs provide a space for writers and directors to spend time developing their craft and selected projects. Elements of this year’s Labs will take place digitally via Sundance Collab. At the heart of the Institute’s commitment to supporting and cultivating artists, these Labs connect a curated selection of independent storytellers with the larger creative and artistic community, enabling field-wide benefits as Creative Advisors and Industry Mentors generously give back, inspire, and learn from rising artists.

 

During the Directors Lab (June 1 – July 2, 2021), filmmakers will participate in a robust schedule of learning opportunities focusing on key areas of craft including directing actors, exploring the visual storytelling language of their films, and building a creatively rigorous pre-production process. They will engage with advisors through roundtable discussions, presentations, and one-on-one meetings and have the opportunity to rehearse, shoot, and edit a scene from their work-in-progress screenplays as an exercise in their home location. The Screenwriters Lab (July 6 – 9, 2021) will include one-on-one story sessions and customized support for the continued development of their original and timely screenplays.

The Native Lab (May 10 – 21, 2021) focuses on the specific development of storytellers from Native and Indigenous backgrounds, encompassing feature film, episodic work, and general cultivation of Artists-in-Residence. Participating are Native Lab Fellows, 2 Artists-in-Residence, and 3 Indigenous Program Full Circle Fellows, supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (U.S.-based Native artists, aged 18-24). During the Lab, Fellows will hone their storytelling and technical skills in a hands-on and supportive environment, including one-on-one feedback sessions with advisors and roundtable discussions. With Fellows working across both feature and episodic formats, they will also explore and discuss indigenizing their creative practices in regard to writing their scripts.

These Labs are organized under the aegis of Feature Film Program Founding Director Michelle Satter, FFP Deputy Director Ilyse McKimmie, and Indigenous Program Director N. Bird Runningwater, and are a key part of the Institute’s year-round continuum of customized artist support, including creative mentorship, direct granting, and tactical advice from Institute staff and industry professionals.

 

Michelle Satter

“We’re thrilled to be launching such a visionary group of filmmakers who have met this year’s challenges with an unstoppable resilience and spirit of collaboration and creativity,” said Satter. “Their stories bear witness to the world we’re living in, and give voice to characters and worlds that are both deeply personal and universal. We’re excited to provide meaningful and holistic mentorship and connections to these artists, and be part of their burgeoning creative and career development as writers and directors.”

 

“Support for Indigenous storytellers has been part of the Institute’s mission since its founding,” said Runningwater. “We’re excited to nurture this cohort of filmmakers and their stories, strengthening the Indigenous lens through which their stories are being told and supporting them along their creative journey to the screen and audiences.”

 

Creative Advisors for the Native Lab include: James Ashcroft, Kat Candler, Aurora Guerrero, and Jennifer Reeder.

Creative Advisors for the Directors Lab include: Directors Miguel Arteta, Joan Darling, Rick Famuyiwa, Gyula Gazdag (Artistic Director, Directors Lab), Lesli Linka Glatter, Keith Gordon, Randa Haines, Kasi Lemmons, Ira Sachs, Walter Salles, Joan Tewkesbury; DP’s Charlotte Bruus Christensen, Robert Elswit, Stephen Goldblatt, Bradford Young; Editors Joi McMillon, Michelle Tesoro and Dylan Tichenor, and Casting Directors Jodi Angstreich, Eyde Belasco, Maribeth Fox, Richard Hicks. Creative Advisors for the Screenwriters Lab include: Naomi Foner, John Gatins, Gyula Gazdag, Felicia Henderson, Amanda Idoko, Bráulio Mantovani, Malia Scotch Marmo, Tracy Oliver, Howard Rodman (Artistic Director, Screenwriters Lab), Tyger Williams, and Doug Wright.

The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program is supported by explore.org, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation; Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation; Maja Kristin; NBCUniversal; Hollywood Foreign Press Association; Karen Lauder; Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund; Sandra and Malcolm Berman Charitable Foundation; Comedy Central; National Endowment for the Arts; NHK/NHK Enterprises, Inc.; Amazon Studios; Kimberly Steward—K Period Media; SAGindie; Philip Fung—A3 Foundation; Rosalie Swedlin and Robert Cort; Directors Guild of America; Deborah Reinisch and Michael Theodore Fund; and Writers Guild of America West.

The Sundance Institute Indigenous Program is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, WarnerMedia, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Nia Tero Foundation, Indigenous Screen Office, SAGindie, New Zealand Film Commission, Jenifer and Jeffrey Westphal, Indigenous Media Initiatives, Felix Culpa, Sarah Luther, and Susan Shilliday.

 

Fellows and projects selected for the 2021 Native Lab:

Miciana Alise (Tlingit)
Mia, Too         
In this life, a woman’s biggest challenges are the love she chooses to accept, the tough love of a well-meaning mother, and the absence of love that heartbreak leaves behind. Mia will have to face them all in order to find a way to finally love herself.

Miciana Alise interned with Jesse Collins Entertainment during the 2013 Black Entertainment Television Awards and served as First Assistant Director under Director Randy Reinholz during Perseverance Theatre’s production of an original Alaska Native play. She penned her first feature length script in 2018, leading to her selection as a 2019 Sundance Institute Indigenous Film Fellow. She hosts a YouTube channel focused on educating Native youth regarding current events and Indigenous history. Fancy Dance, a feature she co-wrote with Erica Tremblay, was included on the inaugural Indigenous List hosted by The Black List. She is a current Sundance Institute Screenwriting Fellow.

Doane Tulugaq Avery (Iñupiaq)
Mama Dragon
As a 40-year-old queer ex-Mormon begins to navigate the world as a recent divorcee, she is surprised to find support in raising her nonbinary child from an advocacy group called Mama Dragons, a Mormon led organization that breathes fire for their LGBTQ family members.

Doane Tulugaq Avery is a filmmaker whose stories focus on feminine, queer, and Indigenous character-driven narratives. She was the recipient of the LA Skins Fest Emerging Filmmaker Award and the imagineNATIVE Jane Glassco Award for Emerging Talent. Her short films have screened at Outfest, Oaxaca Film Fest, Seattle Queer Film Festival, and Māoriland. She was selected as a fellow for the Sundance Institute + IAIA Native Writers Workshop, the Barcid Foundation’s Native American TV Writers Lab, and the 2nd Annual Native American Writers Room sponsored by the Pop Culture Collaborative. She recently worked with Topple Productions as a co-writer on the forthcoming film Mothertrucker. She received an MFA in Film Directing from the California Institute of the Arts. Doane is from the Pacific Northwest and lives in Los Angeles.

Bryson Chun (Kanaka Maoli)
Poi Dogs
When a small-town, high-end Hawai’i dog groomer learns that a hit was put on her on the Dark Web, she has to race to find the culprit among her friends and family before it’s too late.

Bryson Chun is a Native Hawaiian filmmaker who has produced award-winning short and feature films in Hawai’i that have gone on to screen for PBS, The Smithsonian Institution, The Criterion Collection, and at festivals all over the world. He was a writing fellow for Sundance, imagineNATIVE, LA Skins, and ‘Ohina Labs where he developed his Greenlight award-winning short Other People under the mentorship of Thor Ragnarok writer Eric Pearson. His television pilot Poi Dogs was recently selected to be part of The Blacklist’s Inaugural Indigenous List. He was part of the 2021 CAPE New Writers Fellowship and is currently pursuing his MFA in Screenwriting from the Institute of American Indian Arts.

Alexandra Lazarowich (Cree)
Sweet Home Reservation
After the death of her aunt, a successful fashion business woman returns to her childhood home on the Cree reservation in Northern Alberta, Canada for the funeral. However unbeknownst to her large, loud Native family, she brings home her new fiancé — a musician from Malibu.​

Alexandra Lazarowich is an award-winning Cree filmmaker from northern Alberta. Her short film Fast Horse was honored with The Special Jury Prize for Directing at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Her body of work as director and producer include LakeIndian Rights for Indian WomenCree Code TalkerEmpty Metal and INAATE/SE/. She is the series producer for the CBC’s multi-award-winning comedy documentary series Still Standing. Her fellowship is made possible with support from the Indigenous Screen Office.

2021 Native Lab – Artist In Residence:

Charine Pilar Gonzales (San Ildefonso Pueblo)
Rosa (at booth #515)
An aspiring Pueblo photographer drops out of college and decides to sell her photos at Native art shows full-time to support her family. She struggles with self-doubt, competitive attitudes and understanding the market – in order to establish herself as an artist.

Charine Pilar Gonzales (San Ildefonso Pueblo) is a Tewa filmmaker whose work focuses on empowering women, celebrating resilience and laughing in-between. Gonzales is Lead Editor for Native Lens, a crowdsourced series by RMPBS and KSUT Tribal Radio. She’s a 2021 graduate from IAIA where she studied Cinematic Arts and Technology. She’s a current Artist in Business Leadership Fellow through First Peoples Fund. She’s an alumna of the Indigenous Film Opportunity Fellowship and Full Circle Fellowship, both through the Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program. Gonzales earned an English-Communication BA from Fort Lewis College in 2017. Her favorite foods are red chile and oven bread.

Tommy Pico (Kumeyaay) – writer
Sometimes
Tommy is a “sometimes” person: sometimes Brooklyn, sometimes rez, but never both. When his best friend becomes a punk singer, a dream Tommy wanted for himself, his identities begin to blur against a backdrop of punk music, ceremony, and the ghost of an ex he killed on the rez.

Tommy “Teebs” Pico is a poet, podcaster, and TV writer. He authored the books IRL, Nature Poem, Junk, and Feed. He hosts the podcasts Food 4 Thot and Scream, Queen! and writes on the TV shows Reservation Dogs and Resident Alien.

The 2021 Native Lab Fellows will be joined at Lab by the 2021 Full Circle Fellows:

Jamie John (Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians)
Jamie John is a two-spirit Anishinaabe and Korean multidisciplinary artist living in their historic homeland of so-called Michigan. They’re an enrolled tribal citizen of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, a graduate in interdisciplinary arts at Interlochen Arts Academy, and currently reconnecting to their Anishinaabe ceremonial way of life. Art has been used as a tool to carve out a space for Jamie despite the impact of colonialism, intergenerational suffering, and gender violence. With works tackling topics of colonialism and historical loss, Jamie attempts to pull the thread of resistance to these atrocities through cultural connection and emphasizing collective survival.

Sarah Liese (Diné and an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians)
Sarah Liese is a master’s student at Ohio University, where she studies journalism and photography. She is a research assistant to Dr. Victoria LaPoe, which has allowed her to learn more about Indigenous reporting – a topic Liese is passionate about, as she is Diné and a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. In her free time, Sarah works as a poetry reader for the New Ohio Review. She plans to earn her master’s degree from Ohio University in April 2022 and begin her career as a documentary filmmaker, highlighting Indigenous stories. She is a graduate of Mississippi University in the state where she grew up and maintains strong family connections.

Christina Zuni (Isleta Pueblo)
Christina Zuni is a Native filmmaker and cinematographer from Isleta Pueblo, N.M. She is a soon-to-be graduate at New Mexico State University in the Digital Filmmaking program. Growing up in a culture-driven community, she developed an interest in pueblo art at a young age. The combination of Native art and visual media heavily influences the themes present in her work. By giving a voice to the unheard and unspoken, she advocates and empowers communities in ways that uplift them. Her goal in filmmaking is to enrich humanity’s interest in Native American traditions and encourage pueblo youth to find their creativity.

Fellows and projects selected for the 2021 Directors Lab are:

Fancy Dance (U.S.A.)
Erica Tremblay, co-writer/director
Miciana Alise, co-writer
Following the disappearance of her sister, a Native American hustler kidnaps her niece from her white grandparents and sets out for the state powwow in the hopes of keeping what’s left of their family intact.

Erica Tremblay is an award-winning writer and director from the Seneca-Cayuga Nation. Her short film Little Chief premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was included on IndieWire’s top 10 must-see short films at the fest. Tremblay was a 2018 Sundance Native Film Lab Fellow and she is a current Sundance Screenwriters Lab Fellow. She was recently honored as a 40 Under 40 Native American. Tremblay lives on Cayuga Lake in upstate New York where she is studying her Indigenous language.

Miciana Alise interned with the Native American Journalists Association in 2011 and 2012.
She served as first assistant director under the guidance of director Randy Reinholz during
his production of the original Alaska Native play, William Inc., for Perseverance Theater in
Juneau, Alaska. Alise self-published her first book, Heavens & Heathens, a young adult
fantasy fiction novel in 2016, and was selected as a Sundance Institute Indigenous Film
Fellow in 2018. Alise is a 2021 Sundance Screenwriters Lab fellow and she is currently a student in the Film and Media Studies Program at Arizona State University.

forward (U.S.A.)
Cris Gris, director
Mary Ann Anane, writer
After moving to a working-class part of the Hamptons, a Latinx teen employed as a housecleaner for the elite explores identity and love in the shadow of gentrification and inevitable loss.

Cris Gris is a Mexican filmmaker whose films have screened internationally in prestigious festivals, including La Semaine de la Critique, Festival de Cannes. She’s known for moving between acting, writing, and directing, and landed her first leading role in the feature independent drama Fish Bones (2018). Her short San Miguel (2018) received the Spike Lee Film Production Fund, the HFPA Fellows Fund, and was named a 2019 NBR student grant winner. Her short Pia & Mike (2019) premiered at FICM. Gris is a Film Independent Project Involve 2020 fellow and a 2021 Sundance Screenwriters Lab fellow. forward will be her feature directorial debut.

Mary Ann Anane is a Ghanaian-born, New-Jersey raised screenwriter and novelist. She is a graduate of Northwestern University with a concentration in playwriting. Anane is a 2021 Sundance Screenwriters Lab Fellow, 2020 Athena Feature Lab fellow, 2020 Film Independent’s Project Involve fellow, and a finalist for MACRO’s inaugural Episodic Lab. Outside of writing, Anane was a development assistant at Endeavor Content, a producer’s assistant on The Farewell and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and has worked on off-Broadway productions at New York Theatre Workshop. All her titles are lowercased.

The Macrobiotic Toker (U.S.A.)
Tracy Droz Tragos, writer/director
Living in a mommune, balancing her alternative lifestyle and a bitter separation, Sula’s life is plunged into potential chaos by an unplanned pregnancy. After discovering how to procure abortion pills online, she travels an unexpected path to become an underground supplier, an accidental pro-choice activist, and ultimately, a convicted felon. Inspired by true events.

Tracy Droz Tragos is a writer, filmmaker, and mother of two kids. Her documentary work includes Abortion: Stories Women Tell, the HBO film about unplanned pregnancies and resilience; Be Good, Smile Pretty, an Emmy Award-winning documentary about the grief and healing of survivors of the Vietnam War; and Rich Hill (Grand Jury Prize, U.S. Documentary, 2014 Sundance Film Festival) for which she embedded in the homes of low-income families in rural Missouri. In 2020, Tragos won a Guggenheim Fellowship for her long-form work on the documentary Sarah. She received her MFA in screenwriting from USC.

The Mysterious Gaze of the Flamingo (Chile)
Diego Céspedes, writer/director
Chile, 1984. A remote mining town is stricken with a mysterious disease, said to be transmitted between men through eye contact. Twelve-year-old Lidia must protect her older brother Alexo, who raised her, when he comes under threat from the fearful townspeople.

Diego Céspedes is a Chilean filmmaker. In 2018, he wrote and directed his first short, The Summer of the Electric Lion, which won the Cinéfondation First Prize at Cannes Film Festival and the Nest First Prize at San Sebastian Film Festival, and also screened at Sundance, Palm Springs, and AFI Fest, among others. The Mysterious Gaze of the Flamingo will mark his feature directorial debut. The project has been supported by the Cinéfondation Residence (Cannes), the Ikusmira Berriak Residence (San Sebastian) and the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. It also won the TorinoFilmLab and the Ibermedia production fund.

Neon Tilapia (Kenya, U.S.A.)
Tony Koros, writer/director
When a dangerous water-weed threatens to take over his lake and livelihood, a fisherman in rural Kenya forms an unexpected alliance with his estranged granddaughter to fight back using glowing, genetically modified fish. As strange lights appear in the lake, chaos erupts in the village, and the two are challenged to reach a new understanding of each other.

Tony Koros is a New York-based Kenyan screenwriter, director and producer. He is a 2021 Sundance Screenwriters Lab Fellow, a recipient of the 2020 Tribeca Film Institute Sloan Grant, a 2020 Cine Qua Non Lab Script Revision Lab fellowship, the Martin E. Segal Production Grant and the 2019 Hollywood Foreign Press Association grant. His latest short film, Tithes & Offerings, premiered in competition at Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival 2019 and has since been acquired for distribution by CANAL+. His previous short films have screened at over 70 international film festivals including Palm Springs International Shortfest where he won the Alexis Prize in 2017, Clermont-Ferrand 2018, FESPACO 2017, and won the Sembene prize at the Zanzibar International Film Festival. He holds an MFA in Filmmaking from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (2018).

Parts & Labor (U.S.A.)
Cristina Costantini, co-writer/director
Jacob Albert, co-writer
Working single mom Maria Burgos signs on as a gestational surrogate for a wealthy, controlling New York couple to pay for her son’s college tuition. She tolerates their degrading demands until the relationship explodes, and Maria seizes the moment to blackmail her way to the American Dream.

Cristina Costantini is an Emmy Award-winning director. Her latest documentary Mucho Mucho Amor premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and on Netflix in 2020. The film was nominated for a Critics Choice Award and won the Best Latinx Film award from NALIP. Her first feature documentary, Science Fair, won the Sundance Festival Favorite Award as well as the SXSW Audience Award, a Critics Choice Award for Best First Time Director, and an Emmy award. The Milwaukee native is a Yale grad who now lives in California with her husband and their pug dog Harriet.

Jacob Albert lives in Oakland. He ghostwrites popular science books for research scientists and is at work on a novel. Formerly a Stegner Fellow at Stanford, he has received fellowships from the Blue Mountain Center, the Michener Center, and the Elizabeth George Foundation.

A Real One (U.S.A.)
McKenzie Chinn, writer/director
A bright teenager in a working class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side discovers the power and beauty of true friendship when her illicit relationship with a teacher is discovered amid the final weeks of her senior year in high school.

McKenzie Chinn is a filmmaker, actor, and poet based in Chicago. She is the writer and lead actor of Olympia, which premiered at the 2018 LA Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the 2019 Bentonville Film Festival. Her poetry has been nominated for multiple awards including a Pushcart Prize. She is part of Growing Concerns Poetry Collective whose releases include the album BIG DARK BRIGHT FUTURES (2020) and the poetry collection Five Fifths (Candor Arts 2018). She is a 2021 Sundance Screenwriters Lab Fellow and the recipient of the inaugural NBCUniversal Grant through the Bentonville Film Foundation.

Stampede (U.S.A.)
Sontenish Myers, writer/director
On a southern plantation in the 1800s, Lena is an 11-year-old slave with telekinetic abilities she cannot yet control. When she is separated from her mother and moved into close quarters with the volatile Master’s wife, Lena must grapple with the danger of her gift as well as its potential power.

Sontenish Myers is a Jamaican American writer-director based in Harlem, New York. She is a graduate of NYU’s Graduate Film program where she’s now an adjunct professor. Her short film, Cross My Heart, won the Alexis Award for Best Emerging Student Filmmaker at the Palm Springs International Shortfest and the Vimeo Staff Pick Award at Hamptons International Film Festival. Stampede, her debut feature, was accepted into the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, HIFF Screenwriting Lab, Film Independent Screenwriting Lab and IFP Week. It is also a selected script on the Black List 2019, and a recipient of SFFILM’s Rainin Grant and Tribeca All Access Grant.

The 2021 Directors Lab Fellows will be joined at the Screenwriters Lab by:

White Knuckle (U.S.A.)
Xavier Coleman, writer/director
When a serial killer begins targeting the gentrifiers of a dwindling, historically Black neighborhood, a young newcomer must determine the murderer’s identity—before she’s next.

Xavier Coleman is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker with a focus on the intersection of genre and identity. His most recent directorial effort was the short film, White Knuckle. The film screened at the Movies Under the Stars series presented by the N.Y.C. Mayor’s Office, and was listed in AMC and Shudder’s Horror Noire syllabus of Black horror. The feature-length screenplay for White Knuckle was selected for the 2021 Sundance Screenwriters Intensive. As a nonfiction editor, Coleman has worked with writers and directors including Elliot Page, Ira Glass, and Joe Berlinger. His latest documentary feature film as an editor, There’s Something in the Water, premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.

About 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, theatre, 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 Co//ab, 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 recent projects as Clemency, I Carry You With Me, Never Rarely Sometimes AlwaysZola, Time, Minari, Boys State, American Factory, The Farewell, HoneylandOne Child NationThe Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale StationCity So Real, Top of the Lake, Between the World & Me, Wild Goose Dreams and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

 

 

Berlinale Summer Special to Take Place as an Outdoor Event

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Good news from the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale)! The plan to hold the Berlinale Summer Special (June 9-20, 2021) as an outdoor event is now set. The Berlinale is pleased to be able to give audiences the enjoyment of an open-air cinema experience at 16 venues in total at the Summer Special. Both Berlin’s falling 7-day incidence for COVID-19, as well as positive signals by government offices to support the request for a pilot project with mandatory testing, have reinforced the festival directors’ planning of an all-outdoor event.

 

Carlo Chatrian, left, and Mariette Rissenbeek, Directors of the Berlinale.

“We’re extremely pleased about the new concept for the Berlinale Summer Special, despite having planned it differently at the outset. Audiences will be getting a very special, collective festival experience – something we’ve all been missing for such a long time. The Summer Special is geared towards re-igniting the desire to go to the cinema and to contribute to the revival of cultural activities with an audience. We’ll be able to present the festival program to Berlin audiences in almost every part of the city at a total of 16 venues, including a specially created outdoor cinema at the historic Museum Island Berlin as the main venue. The “Kiez-Kino” local cinema screenings will also take place as outdoor events, and be more strongly represented in different parts of the city. Thanks to the generous additional funding by the BKM, Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media Monika Grütters, for the festival’s two-phase format in 2021, and the support of the Berlin Senate, we can now prepare the Summer Special and look forward to welcoming filmmakers and jury members who can make the journey to Berlin in June,” comment the directors of the Berlinale, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian, on their recent decision.

 

The Berlin International Film Festival is now working at full speed to implement the outdoor festival concept. Hygiene and security plans have been developed and will be coordinated in close dialogue with the venues. The Summer Special will celebrate its opening on June 9 at the main venue at Museum Island Berlin, and on June 13, the awards ceremony will take place following the decisions of the official juries already made in March. In addition, the Berlinale Documentary Award, sponsored by Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg and endowed with 40,000 euros, and the GWFF Best First Feature Award, sponsored by the Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Film- und Fernsehrechten and endowed with 50,000 euros, will also be awarded at the main venue at Museum Island Berlin. Other special events at the Museum Island Berlin venue may be added to the schedule of award ceremonies and film premieres.

The Summer Special will also offer selected screenings for younger audiences. Furthermore, the Children’s and Youth Juries of the Generation section, inactive in March due to the pandemic, will watch the competition films of Kplus and 14plus for the Summer Special, and award the Crystal Bears to the winning films during the event.

The Summer Special program will be available at www.berlinale.de as of May 20. Ticket sales will start on May 27.

Flowers of the Berlinale (Photo by @Larry_Gleeson)

The films of the Berlinale Summer Special will be screened at these open-air cinema locations:

 

Freiluftkino Museumsinsel

Location: Bodestr. 1-3, 10178 Berlin

 

Freiluftkino Friedrichshain

Location: Volkspark Friedrichshain, 10249 Berlin

 

Freiluftkino Rehberge
Location: Volkspark Rehberge, 13351 Berlin

 

Freiluftkino Kreuzberg

Location: Hof des Kunstquartier Bethanien am Mariannenplatz, entrance via Adalbertstraße, 10997 Berlin

 

Freiluftkino Hasenheide

Location: Volkspark Hasenheide, 10967 Berlin

 

ARTE Sommerkino Kulturforum

Location: Matthäikirchplatz 4/6, 10785 Berlin

 

ARTE Sommerkino Schloss Charlottenburg

Location: Spandauer Damm 10-22, 14059 Berlin

 

Open Air Kino HKW 

Location: John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, 10557 Berlin

 

silent green 

Location: Gerichtstr. 35, 13347 Berlin

 

The open-air screenings will also take place in following “Kiez-Kino” cinemas:

 

Atelier Gardens Freiluftkino @ BUFA

Location: Oberlandstr. 26-35, 12099 Berlin

 

Freilichtbühne Weißensee

Location: Große Seestr.10, 13086 Berlin

 

Freiluftkino Biesdorfer Parkbühne

Location: Schlosspark Biesdorf, Nordpromenade 5, 12683 Berlin

 

Freiluftkino Friedrichshagen

Location: Hinter dem Kurpark 13, 12587 Berlin

 

Freiluftkino Pompeji

Location: Laskerstr. 5, 10245 Berlin

 

Freiluftkino of Filmrauschpalast

Location: Lehrterstr. 35, 10557, Berlin    

 

Frischluftkino@Studentendorf

Location: Wasgenstraße 75, 14129 Berlin

Larry Gleeson stands underneath the Berlinale Bear near Potsdamer Plaza between screenings at the 67th Berlinale. (Photo courtesy of @HollywoodGlee)

Press contactpress@berlinale.de

 

NEW ANNOUNCEMENT! #TCMFF MARTIN SCORSESE ON TCM AND HBO MAX

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The legendary director and cinephile Martin Scorcese will join the TCM Classic Film Festival on TCM and HBO Max for two special introductions, with his Oscar-nominated gangster drama GOODFELLAS (1990) in the Classics Curated by TCM hub on HBO Max and MEAN STREETS (1973) on TCM airing tonight, May 6, at 11:15 PM ET.

Both TCM and HBO Max networks are screening tonight’s Opening Night film at 8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. PT — with the 60th-anniversary screening of “West Side Story” (1961) with new and exclusive interviews with the film’s stars Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn.

The 2021 TCM Classic Film Festival runs through Sunday, May 9, on two virtual venues: the TCM network and the Classics Curated by TCM Hub on HBO Max.

While the respective lineups are complementary, they are also different. Access to the TCM lineup can be found here. Access to the HBO Max lineup of movies can be found here.

Tune in to Ben Mankiewicz’s introductory video with tips and tricks on How To Fest! In addition, check out the TCM How To Guide!

TCM Classic Film Festival Starts Tomorrow

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 2021 TCM Classic Film Festival begins tomorrow – Thursday, May 6 – and runs through Sunday, May 9, at two virtual venues: the TCM network and the Classics Curated by TCM Hub on HBO Max.

While the respective lineups are complementary, they are also different. Access to the TCM lineup can be found here. Access to the HBO Max lineup of movies can be found here.

Both TCM and HBO Max networks are screening the festival’s Opening Night film on Thursday, May 6, at 8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. PT — with the 60th-anniversary screening of “West Side Story” (1961) with new and exclusive interviews with the film’s stars Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn.

“Curating the Classics” was held this afternoon and had the distinctive feel of the traditional TCM Classic Film Festival Press Conference. *(Pictured top to bottom are some of the curators, Ben Mankiewicz, Anne King, Genevieve Magillucuddy, Dextor Fedor, and Susane Fedor. Not pictured Charlie Tabesh and one other.)

 

This year’s festival seems to be hitting all the marks. Last year’s initial festival cancellation felt like the doomsday device had been activated only to be annihilated with a pivot that pushed the first major film festival into virtual space. Personally, last year’s edition was a thrill ride and from the architecture in place, this year’s festival appears headed to a place where we won’t need cars!

So, tune in to the TCM network and/or HBO Max for four fantastic days featuring a curated selection of films reflecting a broad spectrum of classic movies – each surrounded by new interviews, special presentations, archival content, and clips from past TCM Classic Film Festivals. The HBO Max films will remain available throughout the month of May.

Check out the How to Fest Guide for all the tips and tricks to navigating this year’s festival – found here: TCM-CFF_HowToGuide

Until next time, I look forward to seeing you at the movies!

Larry Gleeson, left, with 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival’s special guest, Angie Dickinson, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel during the pre-festival Meet and Greet. (HollywoodGlee photo)

THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES PASSES ON SALE FOR THE 19TH ANNUAL AFI DOCS FILM FESTIVAL TO BE HELD JUNE 22-27, 2021

Posted by Larry Gleeson

THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE ANNOUNCES PASSES ON SALE 

FOR THE 19TH ANNUAL AFI DOCS FILM FESTIVAL 

TO BE HELD JUNE 22-27, 2021 

 

The Hybrid Festival Will Feature Virtual Offerings 

As Well As Limited Capacity In-Person Screenings  

At The Storied AFI Silver Theatre And Cultural Center In Silver Spring, Maryland 

AFI DOCS, the American Film Institute’s annual documentary celebration will once again offer an opportunity for movie fans to view documentary films online and anticipate welcoming a limited number of festival-goers back to the storied AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD for in-person screenings. Passes go on sale today for the virtual experience. Individual tickets for in-person screenings and at-home opportunities go on sale June 8. AFI DOCS will be held June 22-27, 2021.

“AFI is committed to both the peerless magic of in-person screenings and the vast accessibility of virtual offerings, which last year allowed AFI DOCS to reach festival-goers in all 50 states,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “With both options now available to movie lovers across the nation, we look forward to celebrating the very best the documentary art form has to offer.”

Now in its 19th year, AFI DOCS will be held June 22-27. The festival program will include world premieres and works by master and emerging filmmakers alike. Last year, AFI DOCS presented a successful, fully-virtual festival with 59 films from 11 countries, opening with Apple and A24’s BOYS STATE and closing with the world premiere of JIMMY CARTER ROCK & ROLL PRESIDENT, which concluded with a surprise conversation with President Jimmy Carter.

Passes can be purchased now at DOCS.AFI.com. Early Bird pricing will be available until June 1. Tickets for individual and in-person screenings will be available June 8.

About AFI DOCS 

AFI DOCS is the American Film Institute’s annual documentary festival historically held in Washington, DC.  Presenting the year’s best documentaries, AFI DOCS is the only festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the heart of our nation’s government. The AFI DOCS advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Rory Kennedy, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson and Frederick Wiseman.  Now in its 19th year, the festival will be held June 22-27, 2021. Visit DOCS.AFI.com and connect on Twitter.com/AFIDOCSFacebook.com/AFIDOCSYouTube.com/AFI and Instagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

 

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

CONTACT: 

Elizabeth Ward, AFI DOCS PR, elizabeth@prcollaborative.com

American Film Institute: Stacy Adamski, SAdamski@AFI.com

ABOUT ENDLESSNESS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

 

ABOUT ENDLESSNESS

Magnolia Pictures

Opening April 30th, 2021, in Theaters and on Demand

76 minutes

Swedish with English Subtitles

*2019 Venice International Film Festival –Winner: Silver Lion for Best Direction

A scene from ABOUT ENDLESSNESS, a Magnolia Pictures release.Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

SYNOPSIS: A reflection on human life in all its beauty and cruelty, its splendor and banality.

A scene from ABOUT ENDLESSNESS, a Magnolia Pictures release.Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

We wander, dreamlike, gently guided by our Scheherazade-esque narrator. Inconsequential moments take on the same significance as historical events: a couple floats over a war-torn Cologne; on the way to a birthday party, a father stops to tie his daughter’s shoelaces in the pouring rain; teenage girls dance outside a cafe; a defeated army marches to a prisoner-of-war camp.

A scene from ABOUT ENDLESSNESS, a Magnolia Pictures release.Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Simultaneously an ode and a lament, ABOUT ENDLESSNESS presents a kaleidoscope of all that is eternally human, an infinite story of the vulnerability of existence.

A scene from ABOUT ENDLESSNESS, a Magnolia Pictures release.Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Roy Andersson on ABOUT ENDLESSNESS

An interview by Philippe Bober

 

Some of the themes in ABOUT ENDLESSNESS are present in your other films: optimism represented by youth, but also war and despair, and the absence of God. Here you show a priest who doesn’t believe in God. Would you say there is always a balance between hope and despair?

Roy Andersson: The main theme of my work is the vulnerability of human beings. And I think it is a hopeful act to create something showing vulnerability. Because if you are aware of the vulnerability of existence, you can become respectful and careful of what you have.

I wanted to emphasize the beauty of existence, of being alive. But of course, to get that, you need to have a contrast. You need to show the bad side, the cruel side of existence.

Looking at art history, for example, a lot of paintings are very tragic. But even if they depict cruel and sad scenes, by painting them the artists have in some way transferred the energy and created hope.

For each of your films, you have taken inspiration from paintings. What were your influences for ABOUT ENDLESSNESS?

I am interested in the Neue Sachlichkeit artists because of the strength of their paintings. In my opinion, they are extraordinarily sharp and detailed: everything is in focus, everything is very clear and distinct. You can’t find this sharpness in film history: the background has to be out of focus. That’s why I find these paintings very inspiring for my scenes: everything is in focus, even the grotesque moments in life.

I am often very jealous of painting because I feel that film history doesn’t have the same quality as painting history. I really want movies to be as rich as painting can be.

Is there one specific painting that inspired you for this film?

I like Otto Dix’s “Portrait of the Journalist Sylvia von Harden” very much.

The Neue Sachlichkeit movement took place in the 1920s just before the apocalypse. Would you say that ABOUT ENDLESSNESS is also taking place just before an apocalypse?

I hope not. It would be very pessimistic to think we are living in such a moment. I don’t think even Otto Dix believed an apocalypse was coming, but he warned us about the possibility. All of his paintings can be seen as warnings. That is also true for the Old Masters, they portray our existence but also warn us about its briefness: “Let us remember that life is not eternal. And you have to be thankful for the time you have left.”

You also mentioned architecture as an influence, that the Swedish Functionalism movement of the 50’s was an inspiring aesthetic element for your films. What is the connection between functionalism and ABOUT ENDLESSNESS?

I had the ambition to show the existence in all its aspects: that includes functionalism, modernism, Stalinism. It’s a mixture of multiple ambitions to create houses, to create societies. I didn’t have the ambition to create a pure style, I wanted to show our time, and in Sweden, functionalism was very popular and used abundantly.

You have said that the presence of a narrator in the film is inspired by the character of Scheherazade in the Arabian Nights. Is this also why you chose a woman to be the storyteller?

Yes, that was a choice. I was hesitant: I tried with a man, and even with my voice but finally found it more interesting to choose a woman. She’s like a fairy, very clever, maybe even eternal. It is the first time that I have used a voice-over, it is new to me. I was influenced by the voice in HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR. In certain scenes, the main character describes what the audience sees on-screen at the same time. And I really loved it.

Your films always include historical scenes, why is it so important for you?

I’ve always been very interested in history. It was my major at university: I studied the history of literature, history of philosophy, even Nordic languages. I was especially interested in the two World Wars. For instance, I was fascinated by the pictures of WWI that I saw as a teenager.

In the film, the war scenes depict the losers. Why?

Yes, winners are not interesting. Because we are all losers in some sense. It is important to acknowledge that in the end, no one is a winner. I am not a pessimistic person but the fact is: there is no hope. Life is a tragedy. I’m not the first person to say it.

I thought it was about hubris, represented by Charles XII, or Hitler in your films.

Yes, in some periods in your life, especially when you’re young, you experience this hubris. You think you are invulnerable, that you will always win. That is very characteristic of young and strong people. I also experienced that feeling myself, especially when I was around 25 and had just made A SWEDISH LOVE STORY. That was my hubris period when I thought I would always be a winner, that I would never lose if I fought and worked hard enough.

I wanted to ask you about youth in your films: what does it represent for you?

It’s very beautiful, most of the time. I especially like to look at children because they are so full of ideas, hope, and vitality; it’s beautiful to look at. As long as you are young you keep this hope but then you lose it step by step, as you grow older.

For instance, I really like the scene showing the father and daughter in the rain, on their way to a birthday party. The father forfeits his umbrella to help her, an act of selflessness, whilst the daughter just wants to have her shoes tied, and that is so nice to see. Also, in the scene with the girls dancing, I think it’s very charming to see the vitality of these young people who are very happy to exist, they love to dance and so that is what they do. There is something contagious about their energy.

You have a very special sense of humor. What do you find funny?

I think truth is very often funny. When I started my career, I was inspired by Milos Forman, Jiri Menzel, and other Czech filmmakers. They showed us existence in a very humorous tone. Depicting people that are a little lost, so to say. Not losers, but a little lost. And I really like these films, showing us that kind of humor: small but very funny stories. A lot of filmmakers attempt to create this everyday humor, but it’s very easy to fail. I also fail many times, but I don’t give up.

Did you shoot everything in your studio?

Yes. Apart from one exterior, the scene with the German army marching, which was shot in Norway.

What were the most challenging scenes in the film, from a technical point of view?

It has to be the flying couple scene. Even setting aside the making of the model city of Cologne, it took us a very long time. The scale is maybe 1/200. For example, the Cathedral is half a meter high.

The whole city is an enormous set. It took a month to build.

What does this scene mean to you?

It is a terrible reminiscence from history: that a beautiful city was bombed and destroyed. But in spite of that, I wanted to show that life goes on. Love, tenderness, sensuality keep existing. It was important to show these sides of existence over a destroyed city.

Though you have these historical scenes, there is a sense of timelessness to your films and here it also ties into the title.

Yes, I wanted to have these scenes which are very close to being timeless though we see it is September or snowing or a historical scene there should be a feeling of timelessness. Again, I am inspired by paintings, and artwork that talks to us in our time talked to others two hundred years ago, or more. It suggests that we human beings are quite similar throughout the ages and time.

The “endlessness” of the title has nothing to do with the never-ending space. It is not in terms of science, endlessness in this film is about the endlessness of signs of existence, the signs of being human.

A scene from ABOUT ENDLESSNESS, a Magnolia Pictures release.Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DELROY LINDO ACCEPTS AMERICAN RIVIERA AWARD AT THE 36TH ANNUAL SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Delroy Lindo received the illustrious American Riviera Award at the 36th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, April 8, 2021, and was recognized for his many attributes to the art of film over the years, most recently, for his work in Spike Lee’s DA 5 BLOODS from Netflix.

Lindo virtually sat down with Indiewire Editor-at-Large Anne Thompson for an in-depth discussion about his career in film, television, and in the theater.

Here are some highlights from the conversation:

  • On working with Chadwick Boseman without the knowledge of his illness & a special request for Denzel Washington: “We did not [know what he was going through]. In retrospect, it adds another layer of I don’t know what. To the extent that it was an extraordinary experience, it adds another component to the specialness of the experience of making this work…I thought it [his work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom] was terrific. I remember seeing that play and I am all for having his [August Wilson] work committed to film. I thought they did a wonderful job…I will say to you Denzel, I want to play Bynum Walker in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. So, I have no clue if that will ever get to Denzel’s ear…But I’m putting it out there into the ether.”

 

  • On deciding what roles to take: “The question always is ‘who is this human being? Where is this person’s humanity? And can I inform humanity of who this person is? If the answer is yes, I feel I can contribute then I’m more apt to take the work on. If the answer is no and if for whatever reason the writing is stereotypical or cliche or I do not feel like I can contribute something then I’m apt to say no, to pass.”

 

  • On acting for television: “Television has been really important to me…The challenge of television for me is it is really fast so what I am challenged to do when working in television is prepare, prepare, prepare, prepare…because when one shows up on set, you have to pretty much be ready to work because the speed is, if you’re not ready, you’re going to have a problem.”

 

  • On why he hesitated to take the role in The Cider House Rules: “Mr. Rose impregnates his daughter…I was deeply uncomfortable with that whole narrative and what caused me to be able to do the work and play that part is because I found what I hoped would be the humanity in Mr. Rose…What I decided for myself was that I had a deep, deep, deep and genuine love for my daughter and that was real and that comes out in a scene between me and Tobey Maguire when I say to him, “I love her!”

During Lindo’s conversation with Thompson, numerous clips were shown from his acting career, including Malcom X, Crookland, Clockers, Get Shorty, Soul of the Game, Feeling Minnesota, Ransom, The Cider House Rules, Romeo Must Die and Da 5 Bloods.

 

Following the conversation, Oscar-nominated composer Terence Blanchard presented him with the American Rivera Award. Blanchard opened his remarks by saying: “The thing about Delroy is that he leaves an impression. The way he can effortlessly inhabit the characters, the authority in which he delivers his lines, the impact he leaves on a project, whether you remember the story or not, you definitely remember Delroy…He stands out in these vast ensembles…It is my great honor to present my brother, Delroy Lindo, with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s American Rivera Award to Delroy. Congratulations!”

Upon accepting his award, Lindo said: “Thank you so much Terence…To the extent that I inspire you, I’m saying right back at you bro, you inspire me…I can’t imagine being more honored to get the award from you…Thank you to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival…I appreciate the recognition. That recognition comes all down to Spike Lee and him bringing us all together to work on this particular film. On a lot of levels, my appreciation for Spike stems from that time [1992]…I have a deep, deep, deep appreciation for Spike specifically for this film but also for all of the work that we’ve done. Spike, if you’re watching I want to say that I have an enhanced appreciation for your particular genius…I want to say thank you to my brothers, the cast and crew of Da 5 Bloods in terms of the community they created and the safe space that we all created together to make this work possible…A particular thank you to my brothers in arms…My cousins Ronnie and Ted, they were Vietnam veterans…and to all the black and brown vets who’s stories never get told on film…Thank you to my son…my son inspires me in ways that you never know…Thank you to my wife, Neshormeh, I love you…Thank you all, god bless. I really really appreciate it.”

The American Riviera Award was established to recognize actors who have made a significant contribution to American Cinema. Previous recipients include Renée Zellweger, Viggo Mortenson, Sam Rockwell, Jeff Bridges, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Robert Redford, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, Mickey Rourke, Tommy Lee Jones, Forrest Whitaker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Bacon and Diane Lane.

 

The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG, will continue through April 10th, 2021, online and with the two ocean-front drive-ins sponsored by TOYOTA. Tickets and passes are available at SBIFF.org.

About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 35 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000+ attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film. In 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theatre is now SBIFF’s new state-of-the-art, year-round home, showing new international and independent films every day. In 2019, SBIFF opened its own Education Center in downtown Santa Barbara on State Street to serve as a home for its many educational programs and a place for creativity and learning.

Chloé Zhao, David Fincher, Lee Isaac Chung, and Thomas Vinterberg receive the Outstanding Directors of the Year Award at SBIFF

Posted by Larry Gleeson

CHLOÉ ZHAO, DAVID FINCHER, LEE ISAAC CHUNG, AND THOMAS VINTERBERG ARE HONORED WITH OUTSTANDING DIRECTORS OF THE YEAR AWARD AT THE 36TH ANNUAL SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

The 36th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) presented by UGG featured a tribute to this year’s recipients of the Outstanding Directors of the Year Award, sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter. Chloé Zhao (Nomadland), David Fincher (Mank), Lee Isaac Chung (Minari), and Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round) received their awards during the live virtual event and discussed their work with The Hollywood Reporter’s longtime awards columnist and host of its popular Awards Chatter podcast, as well as a professor at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, Scott Feinberg.

Some of the highlights from the conversation included:

Chloé Zhao on connecting with Francis McDormand: “She’s so authentically herself and tries to live a life that’s authentic to herself. And she brings that with her to whichever character she plays. When we first met, we both took off our shoes and sat on the floor….that was pretty telling. We all know that she is an incredible actress, but for me it was most important for her ability to be vulnerable and to not always know the character in the moment, to not always know what’s going to happen and yet be completely present.”

When speaking about the film The Searchers, Zhao noted, “If there is a modern-day John Wayne, it is Francis McDormand.”

David Fincher on Mank and the script written by his father: “My father was sort of raised in movie theaters. He was a latch key kid during the depression in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and had a fairly difficult relationship with his father who drank a lot. My grandfather’s idea of taking care of little Jack was to leave him in a movie theater for the 11 o’clock, 1 o’clock, and 3 o’clock so he saw the dream factor of Hollywood as very much a safe place to sort of nestling in and spend one’s afternoons. Mank was a film that began with sort of a quest for a challenge, he was retiring and decided that he wanted to take a swing at writing a screenplay. He was the kind of person and writer who very much had a great deal of respect and almost awe for how screenplays were constructed. I mean that not in a highest-minded way, but he loved entertainment, he saw movies very much in the same way people now love television shows. So, for him, it was a way to go out into the world and to sort of experience anything else that was happening in Tulsa.”

Lee Isaac Chung’s objective of making Minari for his daughter: I came to a point in my work where I wasn’t sure of what I was doing, if what I was doing was really what I wanted to do, especially once my daughter came. I started to think more on the long term, what would it be that she’s watching based on work that I’ve made. That question stayed with me and haunted me quite a lot and so naturally I ended up coming to this point where I just started to want to make a film that she could have in the future. She was the age that the character of Alan [Kim] is in the story and that helped me kind of figure out how to write a story that’s told from her perspective and also captures a little bit of what I see in her.”

Thomas Vinterberg on filming Another Round during a personally challenging time: “As you know, I lost my precious daughter while making this movie and it has made this whole situation very different from anything I’ve ever tried and hopefully anything I’ll ever try again. It made this film precious to me. As we decided to make this movie for her. She died four days into shooting this film. She was supposed to be in it, she loved it dearly, she loved the whole project. Making this movie, I guess, kept me from insanity. The whole thing is inseparable from what we experienced with my daughter. All these people, including Madds, knew my daughter since she was born and we were all in grief, of course particularly myself and my family and we still are, and they carried me through, the actors and the crew of this film. There was so much love on the set, there was so much embracement and I hope you can see that on the screen.”

The honorees came together at the end of the discussion and spoke about what it’s been like meeting each other for the first time during this year’s award season and participated in a rapid-fire list of questions from Feinberg. Here are the top things we learned:

On their “Must Watch Film” this season:

  • Chloé Zhao – Ramin Bahrani’s The White Tiger

  • Lee Isaac Chung – Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always

  • Thomas Vinterberg – Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks

 

On the one question they never want to be asked again about their current film:

  • David Fincher – Did the film have to be in black & white?

  • Chloé Zhao – Why isn’t this a documentary?

  • Lee Isaac Chung – Did I really feed my grandmother pee?

  • Thomas Vinterberg – Were the actors drunk on set?

 

On the first thing to do post-pandemic:

  • David Fincher – “To go back to movie theaters and fly.”

  • Chloé Zhao – “International travel, going back to China and eating the food I can digest.”

  • Lee Isaac Chung – “Drinking together again.”

  • Thomas Vinterberg – “To sleep a full night.”

SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling provided glowing accolades to the recipients making filmic connections to their work that brought admiring smiles from me, Scott Feinberg, Chloe Zhou, and David Fincher. Thomas Vinterberg seemingly sat in a dumbfounded form of awe. Unfortunately, at the time of publishing, I did not have access to a clip that I might share as Durling is quite remarkable.

The Outstanding Directors Award was created to recognize a select group of directors who have pushed the boundaries in their storytelling and created films that showcase the art of filmmaking at its best.

The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG, will continue through April 10th, 2021, online and with the two ocean-front drive-ins sponsored by TOYOTA. Tickets and passes are available at SBIFF.org.

About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 35 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000+ attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film. In 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theatre is now SBIFF’s new state-of-the-art, year-round home, showing new international and independent films every day. In 2019, SBIFF opened its own Education Center in downtown Santa Barbara on State Street to serve as a home for its many educational programs and a place for creativity and learning.

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Mia Neal, Leslie Odom, Jr. + more receive the 7th Annual Variety Artisans Award at SBIFF

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 36th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented by UGG continued with the presentation of and interviews with the recipients of the Variety Artisans Award, an honor that celebrates those essential to the filmmaking process and who have exhibited the most exciting and innovative work of the year in their respective fields. The evening is one of the most educational events of the festival serving as a primer for young people looking at the arts and crafts that support the film industry.

Nicolas Becker (Sound of Metal), Joshua James Richards (Nomadland), Donald Graham Burt & Jan Pascale (Mank), Alexandra Byrne (Emma), Alan Baumgarten (Trial of Chicago 7), Mia Neal (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Sean Faden (Mulan), Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth (One Night in Miami), Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (Mank) discussed their work, their influence and offered advice to the younger generation with dreams of breaking into the industry with Variety’s Senior Artisans Editor Jazz Tangcay. Clips from each of the films were shown in advance of the conversation. Following the conversation, David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds-Wasco presented the award to the artisans.

Some of the highlights from the conversation included:

Leslie Odom, Jr. on the genesis of Speak Now: “She (Regina King) showed us an early cut of her beautiful film and we went to work…We only had two weeks…If you use your time well a week is plenty of time, there is a lot of hours in a week. We just kept coming back to it and making it better every time we came back. Doing our best anyway, trying to be artisans, you know.”

Mia Neal on the research she did before starting work on Ma’s hair and makeup: “Ma is a very interesting character…If you think about, you know, this was a woman of color during the 1920s, probably the first generation born free from enslavement in her family to leave the rural south and to start to travel and be a blues singer and her lyrics very racy for the time. She had a husband and a wife. She didn’t follow the rules, she just set the tone. There aren’t many photos of Ma. I think there’s a total of 7 that exist in the world…A lot of our decisions were just based on descriptions that other people gave of her and then thinking about the psychology of her, just her life and where she came from and how she really recreated herself…Of course, I followed the leadership of Ann Roth, our costume designer, who through her research discovered that Ma Rainey wore horsehair wigs so we kept that authentic. Putting her in a fur coat in the summertime, that was like ‘okay, this woman follows absolutely no rules and social norms.’…Her clothing alone – whatever store that would’ve sold that clothing, they would not have allowed blacks in at that time but she still had it…It’s nice to have been challenged in that way where I didn’t have the photos…I really got to play more with this psychologically than normal.”

Mia Neal on the wig creation process: “Leah Loukas and I built over 100 wigs to bring down for the production. That was for the background, for Ma’s dancers, and then a separate set of wigs for the main principal characters…The horsehair wig came from Europe and it just came in a stalk. It had string tied around it and it was covered in manure and lice eggs, nothing active. It had clearly been stored away somewhere for a very long time because I had to peel it apart…The hairs were so wiry and thick that I could only fit one through the lace that I used to build the wigs on so the entire wig is single strand. I boiled it afterwards trying to clean it and clean it. I figured out that it softened the hairs once I boiled it, so I used that process to set the wig as well. I wish I would’ve timed myself…close to 80 hours.”

Trent Reznor on how their experience with Watchman helped their experience working on Mank: “From the timeline of things, we were deep in the world of Watchman when we knew Mank was coming out. Soul was also lingering around. We had quite a bit of time before we actually started working on these projects to deeply think about them and feel tremendous anxiety about them. We thought it [Mank] would require us, and it did, to move into a different lane that we’re not that accustomed to, in this case, every note being played by other musicians in an orchestral setting, in a different style, with the added challenge of it happening during a pandemic…An opportunity came up during Watchman where we needed the exact same thing [as we needed here with Mank]…so it was a good test run to see if we could pull it off and it worked out great and I think that experience gave us the confidence…that we can pull of the unique to us challenges. We can adapt into this new canvas. It greatly influenced how we approached the score writing for Mank.”

Atticus Ross on recording during the pandemic: “The challenge was there is no other option. We were lucky we had a very good team on this who helped put the musicians together, phenomenal musicians, probably the only bonus of the pandemic was there wasn’t a lot of music being recorded so we had incredible musicians at our disposal. Every part was recorded separately at home by the musician, our engineer would supply us with mics that would be transported from one place to another, sanitized, with instructions on how they should be set up to record. The sheet music obviously and then we basically just prayed to god that it would work out.”

Sean Faden on creating the epic battle scene: “We visited the Valley in the south of New Zealand in helicopters…We found a location that would work great for the open space. We knew if we added special effects steam…We ended up having 80 real soldiers for the imperial side and we had at most 67 horseman riders but in the end it had to look like at least 500 on each side…Sony Pictures Imageworks did that work. We started by creating soldier assets so we could replicate the soldiers. We built horses…We also needed to create the mountain that was going to be around it…I just used my iPad to sketch where the mountain would be…The reason why that sequence works well is because it was conceived as an epic battle that was not going to be gory…We used layers of steam to hide some of the violence so it was almost just suggested.”

Sean Faden on the transformation of Gong Li: “The one takeaway from the visual effects is there’s a lot of it, we did over 2,000 shots. Most of them are supporting the story and expanding the world that Niki [Caro] was creating…The scene plays out as one shot and the transformation is so subtle you almost have to play it back because there’s so many layers…The mandate for that was to make it subtle to make it beautiful…It was a challenge to create something that was that sleight of hand.”

Alan Baumgarten on his editing process: “I had the great gift of a wonderful script and great performances from our incredible ensemble cast…It’s just a matter of working my way through. Building it for the script and then finding the unexpected moments where we can explore and diverge from what was there on the page. I let the performances lead me. I find that when I’m working on a scene I really concentrate on that and I let the acting and the performance tell me which shot selection I want to be in and where I want to be for the emotional moments.”

Alexandra Byrne on changing Emma’s color palette changing with the seasons throughout the film: “I was talking to Autumn and we felt that because the story goes over a calendar year, we could use Emma as the central character to tell that story…By making her the pivotal role, and locating her palette in a seasonal palette, we could then really put the other characters in her context which is how she viewed the world and that everything was orbital to her existence. It just helped us contain what could’ve gotten out of control.”

On films that influenced and inspired them:

“My parents thought it was really important to take us to see Spike Lee movies on the weekends that they came out…I do remember Malcolm X being a high watermark for Spike as a filmmaker at that time. I think because I had a context for the filmmaker too, I knew a little of Spike, I knew a little of Denzel, so just to see them achieve new heights had a profound impact on me and I don’t think I’ve ever shaken that.” –Leslie Odom, Jr.

“I got hold of that Michael Jackson Thriller box set…it had the behind the scenes of Thriller… The other big one was Charlie Chaplin. The idea of the iconic always fascinated me.” –Joshua James Richard

“Raiders of the Lost Arc…blown away by the world that was created…It inspired me and I didn’t know I was going to get into visual effects or anything like that at the time but I knew there was a world for being creative.” –Sean Faden

Lawrence of Arabia…I was just astounded that this world existed. I’d never seen anything like it.” –Alexandra Bryne

“I was really into horror films growing up. It was something about that burnt face on Freddy Krueger…I was always fascinated like ‘how do they do that?’…The first film that really transformed me was Little Women…that movie made me feel different about this industry.” –Mia Neal

“…I have to go back to the movies with the soundtracks that impacted me the most which would be Good Will Hunting and Magnolia…The entire Magnolia soundtrack probably planted the seed that I’d want to make music for movies one day.” –Sam Ashworth

“Bladerunner…I think for me the most important is the real-life…My favorite film is life.” –-Nicolas Becker

“Birdman…it blew my mind…It was an eye-opener.” –Jan Pascale

“…In Cold Blood which scared me to death…When I went to college I remember seeing a movie called Eraserhead and I think that was the movie that made me turn the corner there.” –Donald Graham Burt

The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG, will continue through April 10th, 2021, online and with the two ocean-front drive-ins sponsored by TOYOTA. Tickets and passes are available at SBIFF.org.

About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 35 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000+ attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes, and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film. In 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theatre is now SBIFF’s new state-of-the-art, year-round home, showing new international and independent films every day. In 2019, SBIFF opened its own Education Center in downtown Santa Barbara on State Street to serve as a home for its many educational programs and a place for creativity and learning.

BILL MURRAY ACCEPTS MALTIN MODERN MASTER AWARD AT THE 36TH ANNUAL SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, PRESENTED BY SOFIA AND ROMAN COPPOLA

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 36th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented by UGG featured a tribute to Academy Award-nominated actor and American film legend Bill Murray, who received the prestigious Maltin Modern Master Award, presented by Sofia and Roman Coppola. Murray was recognized for his long-standing contributions to the film industry, most recently in the role of Felix Keane in Coppola’s On the Rocks opposite Rashida Jones and Marlon Wayans, for which he received Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice nominations.

Murray, above right, virtually sat down with Leonard Maltin, who returned for his 31st year to moderate the evening for an insightful conversation and look back at his career.

Highlights from the conversation included:

On who he enjoyed watching when he was younger: “To me it was more interesting was the people that I really didn’t quite understand when I was younger that later I got to really like. The person that jumps into my mind is Jack Benny who I thought was a little bit dry for a 10 or 12 year old, but later when I watched him I saw that he was daft. His timing was so precise, his face was such a beautiful photograph that I would turn on the TV and record him just to go back and watch him. I didn’t really care for John Wayne much when I was a kid. I thought he was kind of stiff but later I got to like him and watched him more. I thought he had extraordinary self control; he didn’t push it, he let the story come to him. Cary Grant is another one where people thought ‘well he’s just a really good looking guy,’ but I can watch, like most of the world, North by Northwest at any hour of the day. If it’s on the TV, I can’t not watch it. Part of it is Hitchcock, but Cary Grant is just stunning in that role and he does so many things. He is funny, he’s romantic, he’s heavy, he’s frightened. It’s a really nice performance and he did it all the time. Unfortunately, he had this beautiful body and handsome face and people didn’t take it seriously.”

On transitioning from improv comedy to film: “The most difficult thing is that when you tell a joke or say something funny and no one laughs for nine months, you forget and you have this incomplete feeling in your gut that something’s wrong. And when you go to the movie and you realize that I said something funny a long time ago and no one laughed. And then when you see it with an audience you think ‘oh thank God that’s over, what a relief that was.”

On filming Ghostbusters: “A script is two-dimensions, a script can be as good as can be, but when you enter the physical world and you have to stand, move, walk and talk, something arise that’s unexpected and unaccounted for and that’s where you make your bones; it’s what happens there. A movie that is sort of lifeless is one where sometimes the script is all you get and the actors don’t take into it all that’s happening in the moment of the real shooting…the more alive the scene becomes and the more alive the film becomes. That movie had great cinematography. Of course, László Kovács…you know a lot of special effects movies look pretty weak nowadays but that movie [Ghostbusters] still has a real look to it. It is pretty legit, it was ahead of its time, we had great special effects people. They were really good and László was really good. The four of us, Ernie Hudson, Danny and Harold, we knew we were gonna sink or swim together so we were always looking out for each other. We were constantly making sure that everybody was pumping and all getting it. As far as improvising goes, Harold was the mind of the Ghostbusters, Danny was the heart of the Ghostbusters, Ernie was the soul of the Ghostbusters and I was the mouth of the Ghostbusters.”

On his introduction to Wes Anderson: “My agent kept sending me cassettes of his [Wes Anderson] first film, Bottle Rocket. Finally, they sent me the script to Rushmore and asked me if I would like to meet him and I said that’s not necessary. He knows exactly what he wants to do. When I read the script, I thought this guy knew exactly what he was going to do. My agent asked well do you want to meet him? I said it’s not necessary, when do we shoot? Sort of like that.”

On writing and directing: “I really think of myself as I should be writing. I really do wish to be a writer. I can write dialogues and scenes, but to write a full-length anything is different…I just haven’t buckled down. I really do enjoy directing, and I thought I was going to do it all the time because I liked it. I liked working with actors and I thought I understood actors, I could do that. My life changed and to direct a movie it takes a long time out of your life to make. When it was time for me to continue directing movies, I didn’t have that time to give.”

During Murray’s conversation with Maltin, guests enjoyed nostalgic clips of his film career, including Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, Lost in Translation, St. Vincente, On the Rocks, and more.

Roman Coppola, lower left, with sister Sofia Coppola, lower right, presented Bill Murray, upper right with the 2021 Santa Barbara International Film Festival Maltin Modern Master Award. Leonard Maltin, upper left, for whom the award is named after, moderated the tribute virtually on April 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy of SBIFF)

Following Murray’s conversation with Maltin, Sofia and Roman Coppola presented him with the Maltin Modern Master Award. Sofia opened her remarks by saying: “I’m so happy to join and present Bill with the Maltin Modern Master Award. It’s been fun to look at the clips from all the great films. Thank you for all the fun and love you bring to our lives through your work and as a person. It’s always fun making movies with you and thank you for helping me make the movies that I wanted to make. I’m happy to know you and have you in my family.”

Upon accepting his award, Murray said: “I’d like to say a few words before sentencing… it’s really an honor to receive the Maltin Milk award. When I heard I was involved in the award, I was taken by surprise, thinking that you had passed away. I had worked up so many nice things to say about you. But I was very happy to hear you were still alive. That’s my happy-sad moment.”

The Modern Master Award was established in 1995 and is the highest accolade presented by SBIFF. Created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through accomplishments in the motion picture industry, it was re-named the Maltin Modern Master Award in 2015 in honor of long-time SBIFF moderator and renowned film critic Leonard Maltin. Past recipients include Judy Garland, Brad Pitt, Glenn Close, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton, Bruce Dern, Ben Affleck, Christopher Plummer, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, Cate Blanchett, Will Smith, George Clooney and Peter Jackson.

The 36th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, presented by UGG, will continue through April 10th, 2021, online and with the two ocean-front drive-ins sponsored by TOYOTA. Tickets and passes are available at SBIFF.org.

About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 35 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000+ attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film. In 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theatre is now SBIFF’s new state-of-the-art, year-round home, showing new international and independent films every day. In 2019, SBIFF opened its own Education Center in downtown Santa Barbara on State Street to serve as a home for its many educational programs and a place for creativity and learning.