Category Archives: Film Festival

Riveting! 42West Sundance 2022 Slate

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Another day, another batch of Sundance 2022 films! The film festival is set to run January 20th throught January 30th, 2022. Check out 42West Sundance 2022 Slate with riveting and informative documentaries from Rory Kennedy (DOWNFALL: THE CASE AGAINST BOEING), Eva Longoria Bastion (LA GUERRA CIVIL  chronicling the epic boxing matches between Oscar De la Hoya and Julio César Chávez), Tia Lessin, and Emma Pildes (THE JANES, a revelatory period piece on finding a safe alternative to a life-threatening pregnancy). And, there’s the riveting Maika Monroe-led Watcher from Chloe Okuno! See below for more.

Maika Monroe appears in Watcher by Chloe Okuno, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

 

42West Sundance 2022 Slate

 

CALL JANE

Premieres — Acquisition

Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

A film by Phyllis Nagy

Starring Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Chris Messina, Kate Mara, Wunmi Mosaku, Cory Michael Smith, Grace Edwards

Set in Chicago, 1968. As a city and the nation are poised on the brink of violent political upheaval, suburban housewife Joy leads an ordinary life with her husband and daughter. When Joy’s pregnancy leads to a life-threatening condition, she must navigate a medical establishment unwilling to help. Her journey to find a solution to an impossible situation leads her to the “Janes,” a clandestine organization of women who provide Joy with a safer alternative — and in the process, change her life.

 

DOWNFALL: THE CASE AGAINST BOEING

Premieres — Netflix

Courtesy of IMDb and Sundance Institute.

A film by Rory Kennedy

Many of us take for granted that commercial air travel is safe. In 2018, with some 10,000 aircraft in service in more than 150 countries, industry leader Boeing had built its reputation on a dogged commitment to safety. But after 346 passengers are killed when two Boeing 737 MAX jets crash less than five months apart, dedicated journalists, surviving family members, and the United States Congress fight to reveal a culture of concealment and deceit within the venerated company.

Acclaimed director Rory Kennedy returns to the Sundance Film Festival with this comprehensive investigation into the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Families of the victims relate the human cost of these tragedies, while aviation experts and former Boeing employees reveal what went wrong at the company, offering damning evidence of lies, negligence, and cover-up. DOWNFALL: The Case Against Boeing serves as a searing indictment of a once-principled company corrupted by the influence of Wall Street to prioritize profits above all else.

Rory’s films are all well-researched, informative and can pack a punch – expect nothing less with DOWNFALL.

 

GOD’S COUNTRY

Premieres — Acquisition

Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

A film by Julian Higgins

Starring Thandiwe Newton, Jeremy Bobb, Joris Jarsky, Jefferson White, Kai Lennox, Tanaya Beatty

When a grieving college professor confronts two hunters she catches trespassing on her property, she’s drawn into an escalating battle of wills with catastrophic consequences.

 

THE JANES

US Documentary Competition — HBO

Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

A film by Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes

In the spring of 1972, police raided an apartment on the South Side of Chicago. Seven women were arrested and charged. The accused were part of a clandestine network. Using code names, blindfolds, and safe houses to protect their identities and their work, they built an underground service for women seeking safe, affordable, illegal abortions. They called themselves Jane. Facing off against the mafia, the church, and the state, the Janes exhibited unparalleled bravery and compassion for those most in need.

Co-directors and Sundance Film Festival alumni Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes unearth this incredibly timely story to demonstrate how the fight for safe and legal abortions was and continues to be, an uncertain and perilous undertaking. Electrifying archival footage of Chicago in the late ’60s and early ’70s, coupled with affectingly honest interviews with the Janes themselves, brings to life the city and its spirit of revolution in that historic moment.

 

LA GUERRA CIVIL

Premieres — DAZN

Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

A film by Eva Langoria Bastón

This feature-length documentary follows the epic rivalry between iconic boxers Oscar De La Hoya and Julio César Chávez in the 1990s sparked a cultural divide between Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans. A chronicle of a battle that was more than a boxing rivalry, and examining a fascinating slice of the Latino experience in the process. La Guerra Civil is a DAZN Originals production, directed by Actress, Producer, Director & Activist, Eva Longoria Bastón and produced by her Emmy-nominated UnbeliEVAble Entertainment.

 

MEET ME IN THE BATHROOM

Midnight — Acquisition

Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

A film by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace

An immersive journey through the New York music scene of the early 2000s. Set against the backdrop of 9/11, the film tells the story of how a new generation kickstarted a musical rebirth for New York City that reverberated around the world. Inspired by the book by Lizzy Goodman.

 

WATCHER

U.S. Dramatic Competition — Acquisition

Maika Monroe appears in Watcher by Chloe Okuno, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

A film by Chloe Okuno

Starring Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman, Burn Gorman, Ciubuciu Bogdan Alexandru

A young woman moves into a new apartment with her fiancé and is tormented by the feeling that she is being stalked by an unseen watcher in an adjacent building.

 

SNOWPIERCER

Season Three Premiere Event Screening + Panel

Daveed Diggs, Rowan Blanchard, Lena Hall, Iddo Goldberg, Alison Wright, Mickey Sumner, Katie McGuinness, Chelsea Harris, Mike O’Malley, Annalise Basso, Steven Ogg, Sheila Vand, Roberto Urbina, Christoph Schrewe (subject to change pending availability)

WarnerMedia Lodge

Friday, January 21st at 5:00-6:30PM 

ABOUT SNOWPIERCER SEASON THREE: At the end of “Snowpiercer” season two, Layton (Daveed Diggs) and Ruth (Alison Wright), who were banished to Big Alice’s compost car, plotted to take back Snowpiercer. With the help of Javier (Roberto Urbina) and Alexandra (Rowan Blanchard), Layton and Ruth made it back to Snowpiercer and rallied with their supporters. Josie (Katie McGuiness) destroyed the Aquarium car, separating Snowpiercer’s head from the remaining 1,023 cars. Season three picks up with Layton (Diggs) and his inner circle commanding a small 10 car “pirate train” in search of Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) and a possible warm location to restart civilization; while back on Snowpiercer, Mr. Wilford (Sean Bean) is consolidating power, awaiting Layton’s return.

Stay tuned!

Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah.

 

FILM REVIEW: Jane Campion’s The Power Of The Dog

Posted by Larry Gleeson

THE POWER OF THE DOG: BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH as PHIL BURBANK in THE POWER OF THE DOG. (Photo credit: KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX © 2021)

 

Jane Campion’s latest work, The Power of the Dog, screened as part of a Red Carpet Premiere at the historic Chinese Theatre in Hollywood California, during the American Film Institute’s  AFI FEST 2021, on Thursday, November 11th. Campion is a New Zealand screenwriter, producer, and director. She is the second of seven women ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and the first female filmmaker to receive the Palme d’Or; both of these achievements came for The Piano (1993).

 

The Power of the Dog,  written and directed by Campion, is set in 1925 Montana and circles around two well-off brothers who own an influential ranching operation. The Burbank brothers, played by Jesse Plemons and Benedict Cumberbatch, come across as polar opposites. Phil Burbank, played by Cumberbatch, is an infamous Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale University who prefers the daily grind of working the ranch with the hired hands. Cumberbatch brings a deep dark presence to the character in what might be his best performance to date. Plemmons plays Gordon Burbank,  the slower, mild-mannered younger brother, embodying a ranch gentleman with grace and style. Kirsten Dunst portrays Rose Gordon, a compelling love interest as a saloon-style restaurant owner who serves dinners to the locals with her son, Peter, portrayed by Kodi Smith-McPhee in a breakout performance.

While The Power of the Dog is set in Montana, the actual film location is New Zealand – adding a surreal quality. And, Campion’s writing matches it full force. The twists and turns in the dramatic, psychological, roller-coaster ride narrative combined with Cumberbatch’s powerful, dark character portrayal set the audience on the edge of their seats and their eyes fixed on the big screen. Undoubtedly, Campion is in the mix for her second Oscar for screenwriting and appears to be in the mix for a directorial nod as well.

 

Q & A, on November 11th, 2021, following the screening of The Power of the Dog, inside Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre. (Photo by Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

 

Following the screening, a fun-filled Q & A unfolded as the film’s actors, editor, cinematographer, and director sparred, cajoled, and informed under the watchful eye of moderator Hahn as she effectively marshaled the energies of The Power of the Dog conversation. The Power of the Dog, set for a December 1st, 2021, release date,  is a magnificent and majestic work tantalizing and titillating – a bonafide Oscar contender for now – in multiple categories! Highly recommended. One of the year’s best films!

 

Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil Gordon in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, set for a December 1st, 2021 release. (Photo Cr. KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX © 2021 Cross City Films Limited/Courtesy of Netflix)

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

FILM CAPSULE: Sean Baker’s RED ROCKET

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Sean Baker ( Tangerine, The Florida Project, Starlet) and A24’s Red Rocket, a dramedy, featuring Simon Rex, a standout media personality, Suzanna Son, and Bree Elrod, tells the tale of Mikey Saber, a washed up, 20 year veteran performer in the adult film industry who returns home for more of the same, screened last night at the 2021 AFI FEST.

Simon Rex as Mikey Saber in Sean Baker’s Red Rocket (Photo from fest.afi.com)

Red Rocket, follows Mikey Saber (played by a compelling Simon Rex), as he futilely careens in and out of harrowing situations in dark places never fully grasping the ramifications of his actions and choices. Bree Elrod as Lexi, and Suzanna Son as Strawberry, deliver riveting performances with exquisite line execution. Rex turns in a tour de force performance as Mikey Saber.

Red Rocket is Sean Baker at his best in this low, low-budget filmmaking. Providing a snapshot of Mikey and the socially marginalized characters that are in his orbit, Baker elevates Red Rocket with snappy dialogue, carefully executed camera work, and the trust he places in the audience. Captivating work from start to finish.

Interestingly,  the Q & A immediately following the screening led by AFI Programming Director Sarah Harris got a little saucy. Baker and Rex took exception when an audience member, who coincidentally works in the adult film industry and performs in Ninja Thyberg’s Pleasure, also screening at AFI FEST 2021, stated his displeasure hearing the audience guffawing loudly at a term thrown out by Lexi at Red Rocket’s end.

(Left to right) Sarah Harris, AFI Programming Director, Director Sean Baker, Actor Simon Rex, Actor Bree Elrod, and Actor Suzanna Son participate in a Q&A, on November 12, 2021, following the AFI FEST screening of RED ROCKET, at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGLee)

Baker shared the film had five consultants work over the script and scene work to make Red Rocket’s depiction of a former porn star as realistic as possible. Rex chimed in stating few people in the audience would recognize the industry term.

Red Rocket is Sean Baker’s strongest work to date. Not for the faint of heart. Earthy with frontal nudity. Coming to theatres December 10th. Very warmly recommended!

FILM REVIEW: KING RICHARD Serves Up An Ace @AFIFEST

Posted by Larry Gleeson

King Richard, the Will Smith-led, Warner Bros. biopic, served as the 2021 AFI FEST Closing Night Film at the historic Hollywood Chinese Theatre with a Red Carpet Premiere.

King Richard tells the story of Richard Williams, the father of women’s tennis superstar sisters, Venus and Serena Williams. With a run time of 144 minutes, King Richard seemed to reach its conclusion too quickly – a tribute to how mesmerizing the film is. Numerous times the audience erupted with applause and approval as the Williams family overcame obstacle after obstacle. Will Smith portrayed Richard Williams with fortitude and tenderness – qualities not always evident from Richard Williams’ public persona. Saniyya Sidney and Demi Singleton portray Venus and Serena in very compelling performances. Aunjanue Ellis portrays Oracene ‘Brandy’ Williams. Ellis and Smith play off each other remarkably well. The pair were recently announced as the recipients of the 2022 Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s (SBIFF) Outstanding Performers of the Year. Kudos to Casting Directors Rich Delia and Avy Kaufman!

In life, Richard Williams often came across in the media as brash, touting with a braggadociousness how his daughters were coming to dominate women’s tennis, the likes of which had never been seen before, would never be seen again, and there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it. What he didn’t tell the public, and what King Richard tells so well, is he also wanted his daughters to have a real childhood, meaningful adolescence, and to be prepared to lead successful lives. Throughout King Richard, Richard Williams came across as a devoted husband, loving father, and dedicated coach delving into some of his formative life experiences growing up in a racist environment. Rearing his family in Compton, California, also had its challenges for Williams. But, Richard Williams had a plan – he wanted a better life for his family.

Technically speaking the film is very solid. The film’s cinematography is excellent. AFI Conservatory Alumnus, Robert Elswit utilizes some natural lighting with traditional lenses and frames for establishing shots juxtaposed with fast zoom lenses to capture the action with tight framing combined with extreme closeups of the Williams sisters, generating some major pace with their groundstrokes and capturing winning overhead smashes. Editor Pamela Martin made the shots and their complementary counterparts (returns) appear seamless with the continuity editing and helped create some riveting moments with the shots provided. In addition, non-diegetic sounds kept the film’s pace and helped match the film’s tone and the actors’ emotionality. Kris Bowers is credited with the music. Costuming, make-up, and production design are all complementary to the characters and the period covered in the film.

And, last but not least, Director Reinaldo Marcus Green, helming only his second feature film, steered King Richard to a beautiful conclusion culminating in Venus’s first professional matches and first tennis matches of any kind in three years. The excitement she (and Serena later) brought to the game of tennis encouraged an entire generation of young African-American girls that anything is possible if they are willing to put in the work. Credit to Zach Baylin for writing sharp dialogue and creating an engaging narrative.

King Richard is chock full of inspiration and hope. Ahhh…the power of film and the magic of AFI FEST – Hollywood. Talk about speaking truth to power in layers. Look for King Richard in theatres and on HBO Max Friday. Highly recommended!

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

AFI FEST 2021 Announces Award Winners

Posted by Larry Gleeson

AFI Announces Audience And Jury Award Winners

Congratulations to the AFI FEST 2021 award winners! This year’s hybrid festival heralded a return to theaters – and it was electric.

 

Sarah Harris, AFI FEST Programming Director (Photo courtesy of AFI)

“Bringing filmmakers and movie fans together to celebrate the moving image is at the heart of AFI FEST. The excitement of all festivalgoers to be together in the theaters, once again, was electric,” said Sarah Harris, Director of Programming, AFI Festivals. “This year’s festival has truly shown everyone the power of the art form to lift our spirits when it’s needed the most.” 

 Following are the Jury and Audience Award winners:

Audience Award – Narrative Feature

JOCKEY (DIR Clint Bentley)

An aging jockey hopes to win one last title for his longtime trainer who has acquired what appears to be a championship horse. But the years – and injuries – have taken a toll on his body, throwing into question his ability to continue his lifelong passion.

Audience Award – Documentary Feature

JUICE WRLD (DIR Tommy Oliver)

This intimate documentary explores the life and death of the young hip hop star Juice WRLD.

Audience Award – Short Film

ONLY THE MOON STANDS STILL (明月依旧) (DIR Johnson Cheng)

Three generations of Chinese women say goodbye to their family ballroom dance studio.

JURY AWARDS

The Grand Jury Award winners for Live Action and Animated Short will be eligible for the 2021 Best Live Action Short and Best Animated Short Academy Awards®. The Jury was comprised of film curator and writer Kiva Reardon; Amanda Salazar, head of programming and acquisitions at Argo; and writer/director Angel Kristi Williams.

Grand Jury Prize – Animation

LOVE, DAD (MILÝ TATI) (DIR Diana Cam Van Nguyen)

Jury Statement: “For its melding of form and content that makes for a deeply vulnerable and personal viewing experience, the Jury would like to award LOVE, DAD as Best Animated Short.”

Grand Jury Prize – Live Action

AL-SIT (DIR Suzannah Mirghani)

Jury Statement: “For going beyond its central story to make a densely layered and truly cinematic experience, the Jury would like to honor AL-SIT the Best Narrative Short.”

Special Mention

BABYBANGZ ( DIR Juliana Kasumi)

Jury Statement: “The Jury would like to award BABYBANGZ with an Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Storytelling for its combination of stunning imagery, important conversations and compelling subjects.”

Special Mention

PLAY IT SAFE (DIR Mitch Kalisa)

Jury Statement: “For the bold formal choices made throughout the film, specifically in the final scene, the Jury would like to give an Honorable Mention for Direction to Mitch Kalisa, the director of PLAY IT SAFE.”

Special Mention

HER DANCE (RIKUD HASSIDI) (DIR Bar Cohen)

Jury Statement: “For a commanding performance that anchors the film, the Jury would like to give an Honorable Mention for Acting to Leeoz Levy for HER DANCE.”

The Grand Jury Award winners for Live Action and Animated Short will be eligible for the 2021 Best Live Action Short and Best Animated Short Academy Awards®. The Jury was comprised of film curator and writer Kiva Reardon; Amanda Salazar, head of programming and acquisitions at Argo; and writer/director Angel Kristi Williams.

The complete AFI FEST 2021 program included 118 titles (51 features, 1 episodic, 49 shorts, including 19 Meet the Press Film Festival at AFI FEST shorts and 17 AFI Conservatory Showcase shorts) of which 51% were directed by women, 39% were directed by BIPOC and 13% were directed by LGBTQ+. This year’s program represented 53 countries and included 7 World Premieres.

This year’s Red Carpet Premieres included the World Premieres of BRUISED (DIR Halle Berry), SING 2 (DIR Garth Jennings), SWAN SONG (DIR Benjamin Cleary) and tick, tick…BOOM! (DIR Lin-Manuel Miranda), in addition to KING RICHARD (DIR Reinaldo Marcus Green), PARALLEL MOTHERS (Pedro Almodóvar) and THE POWER OF THE DOG (DIR Jane Campion).

(Source: AFI Press Release)

Last chance to experience AFI FEST 2021!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

All good things must come to end – but not before one last day of amazing films! Tickets to today’s in-person and virtual screenings still available. VIEW SCHEDULE & BUY TICKETS

The ever-optimistic Buster Moon and his all-star cast of performers prepare to launch their most dazzling stage show yet…all in the glamorous entertainment capital of the world, Redshore City. There’s just one hitch: they first have to persuade the world’s most reclusive rock star – played by global music icon Bono – to join them. Screening at the TCL Chinese Theatre today at 2:00 p.m. BUY TICKETS

Following the screening, join us for an in-depth conversation with director Clint Bentley, Clifton Collins Jr.,  Molly Parker and more moderated by Variety’s Clayton Davis. Screening today at 2:00 p.m. BUY TICKETS

This whip-smart feature debut from Araceli Lemos is a potent and visceral tale of race, class and tradition filtered through body and social horror. Screening today at 7:30 p.m.BUY TICKETS

After escaping a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution in China, the film’s nameless hero has one goal – to watch a newsreel screening in which his daughter was briefly captured on film. On this journey, he meets a young orphan who has her own schemes for a newsreel, as well as a small village’s much-loved film projectionist named Mr. Movie. Screening in person today at 5:00 p.m.BUY TICKETS

Winner of the Best Documentary Award at Cannes, Payal Kapadia’s hypnotic feature directorial debut examines rediscovered, once lost film reels and a diary written by a student (“L”) to her absent lover at the Film & Television Institute of India. Screening in person today at 3:30 p.m.BUY TICKETSVIEW MORE FILMS

Whether you enjoy this year’s AFI FEST films in the theater or at home, make sure you vote after the screenings for the Audience Award!

(From AFI News)

A night that can’t be duplicated! @AFIFEST 2021

Posted by Larry Gleeson

SWAN SONG, stars Mahershala Ali, Awkwafina, Lee Shorten, Nyasha Hatendi, Dax Rey, writer/director Benjamin Cleary and more took to the red carpet at AFI FEST to celebrate the film’s world’s premiere. Check it out!

Set in the near future, SWAN SONG is told through the eyes of Cameron (two-time Academy Award® winner Mahershala Ali), a loving husband and father diagnosed with a terminal illness who is presented with an alternative solution by his doctor (eight-time Academy Award® nominee Glenn Close) to shield his family from grief. As Cam grapples with whether or not to alter his family’s fate, he learns more about life and love than he ever imagined. Written and directed by Oscar® winner Benjamin Cleary, this searing drama also stars Naomie Harris, Awkwafina and Adam Beach.

Benjamin Cleary, Mahershala Ali, Dax Rey, Awkwafina, Lee Shorten and Nyasha Hatendi – AFI FEST 2021 World Premiere of SWAN SONG at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 12, 2021 – Photo Credit: John Salangsang

Awkwafina – AFI FEST 2021 World Premiere of SWAN SONG at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 12, 2021 – Photo Credit: John Salangsang

Mahershala Ali – AFI FEST 2021 World Premiere of SWAN SONG at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 12, 2021 – Photo Credit: John Salangsang

Mahershala Ali and Sarah Harris – AFI FEST 2021 World Premiere of SWAN SONG at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 12, 2021 – Photo Credit: John Salangsang

Awkwafina – AFI FEST 2021 World Premiere of SWAN SONG at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 12, 2021 – Photo Credit: John Salangsang

Benjamin Cleary and guest – AFI FEST 2021 World Premiere of SWAN SONG at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 12, 2021 – Photo Credit: John Salangsang

Dax Rey and family – AFI FEST 2021 World Premiere of SWAN SONG at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 12, 2021 – Photo Credit: John Salangsang

Lee Shorten – AFI FEST 2021 World Premiere of SWAN SONG at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 12, 2021 – Photo Credit: John Salangsang

Mahershala Ali – AFI FEST 2021 World Premiere of SWAN SONG at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 12, 2021 – Photo Credit: John Salangsang

Mahershala Ali and Amatus Sami-Karim – AFI FEST 2021 World Premiere of SWAN SONG at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 12, 2021

Mahershala Ali and Dax Rey – AFI FEST 2021 World Premiere of SWAN SONG at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 12, 2021 – Photo Credit: John Salangsang

Lee Shorten – AFI FEST 2021 World Premiere of SWAN SONG at the TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 12, 2021 – Photo Credit: John Salangsang

Stay tuned for Halle Berry’s World Premiere BRUISED on the red carpet at the historic Chinese Theatre  in Hollywood, California!

Halle Berry – AFI FEST 2021 World Premiere of BRUISED – TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 13, 2021

 

 

UPDATE: Saturday Afternoon Premiere at AFI FEST 2021 – Almodovar’s PARALLEL MOTHERS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Today at 2:00 P.M, Pedro Almodavar’s PARALLEL MOTHERS, starring Penelope Cruz, is making an afternoon Red Carpet Premiere at the historic Chinese Theatre, in Hollywood, Calif. Visit fest.afi.com for more information including ticketing.

Pedro Almodovar’s PARALLEL MOTHERS, starring Penelope Cruz, is slated for an AFI FEST Red Carpet Premiere, today, November 13th, 2021, 2:00 P.M., at the historic Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo from fest.afi.com)

UPDATE: There will be a post-screening conversation with Pedro Almodóvar(Director) moderated by film critic Alonso Duralde.

PARALLEL MOTHERS, follows two women Janis and Ana – both single mothers – from the moment they give birth to two daughters. Janis is thrilled by her accidental pregnancy, seeing it as perhaps her last chance at motherhood, while the adolescent Ana is scared and traumatized by the ordeal.

According to AFI Movie Club, Almodovar has been percolating the idea since 1999, when he first pitched it to Penelope Cruz while she was working on Almodvar’s ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER. This is the eighth collaboration between the Spanish duo. In addition, PARALLEL MOTHERS marks the 13th collaboration between Sony Pictures Classics and the production company El Deseo, which Almodovar operates with his brother Augustin Almodovar.

The Power of a Dog Left Audience Members Howling for More @AFIFEST 2021

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Jane Campion’s latest film, The Power of the Dog, with Campion, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee present, lit up the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard last night with an AFI FEST 2021 Red Carpet Premiere.

Once inside the hallowed Hollywood landmark, AFI President Bob Gazzale welcomed the audience before eloquently introducing the film and Director Jane Campion to loud cheers and hearty rounds of applause. Following the film’s screening a conversation moderated by Hollywood’s delightful Kathryn Hahn entertained the house.

The Power of the Dog, a semi-dark psychological drama, is a magnificent and majestic work tantalizing and titillating – a bonafied Oscar contender in multiple categories.

The evening embodied a new peak for film festival entertainment as post-screening actors, editor, cinematographer, and director sparred, cajoled and informed under the watchful eye of moderator Hahn as she effectively marshaled the energies of The Power of the Dog conversation.

Kirsten Dunst, Red Carpet Premiere Screening of ‘The Power of the Dog’, Intro and Q and A, AFI FEST, TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, California, USA – 11 Nov 2021
Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jane Campion, Kirsten Dunst and Benedict Cumberbatch – AFI FEST 2021 Red Carpet Premiere Screening of THE POWER OF THE DOG, TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, California, Nov. 11, 2021

The AFI FEST continues through November 14th, offering the best in global cinema.

Tickets Are Still Available for Select In-person Screenings Tomorrow! Check out these selections for your viewing.

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

Boom! It’s Opening Night at the 2021 AFI FEST!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

OPENING NIGHT

World Premiere of tick, tick…BOOM!

 

AFI FEST 2021 kicks off tonight with AFI FEST’s return to the theaters with the Red Carpet Premiere of tick, tick…BOOM! directed by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Bob Gazzale, AFI President

“AFI was created to fulfill a need, and that need seems to change every year, certainly during a global pandemic,” Gazzale says. “And what we determined early was that the goal of AFI this year was to manifest what we learned during the pandemic: that experiencing life with others is a joy. To laugh together, to experience a jump scare, to experience a story well told has always proven a tonic for dark times.”

Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his feature directorial debut with tick, tick…BOOM!, an adaptation of the autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, who revolutionized theater as the creator of “Rent.”

Jon is a young theater composer who’s waiting tables at a New York City diner in 1990 while writing what he hopes will be the next great American musical. Days before he’s due to showcase his work in a make-or-break performance, Jon is feeling the pressure from everywhere: from his girlfriend Susan, who dreams of an artistic life beyond New York City; from his friend Michael, who has moved on from his dream to a life of financial security; amidst an artistic community ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. With the clock ticking, Jon is at a crossroads and faces the question everyone must reckon with: What are we meant to do with the time we have?

There will be a post-screening conversation with Lin-Manuel Miranda (Director), Andrew Garfield (Actor), Robin De Jesus (Actor), Alexandra Shipp (Actor) and Steven Levenson (Screenwriter) moderated by filmmaker Rian Johnson.

More films playing this week at AFI FEST:

THE POWER OF THE DOG

Academy Award® winner Jane Campion crafts an enthralling psychological drama set in the American West starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a brutally beguiling rancher. Jane Campion, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and more in attendance for post-screening conversation. Screening in person Thursday, November 11, 7:30 p.m. One of HollywoodGlee’s Select Pics! The performances led by Cumberbatch and strongly supported by Plemons and Dunst make this a “don’t miss” film.

UPDATE: There will be a post-screening conversation with Jane Campion (Director), Benedict Cumberbatch (Actor), Kirsten Dunst (Actor), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Actor), Ari Wegner (Cinematographer), Peter Sciberras (Editor), and moderated by recently announced actress and comedian, Kathryn Hahn.

MEDUSA

Deeply seeded carnal desires bubble to the surface and topple over in this cathartic narrative which fuses the darkly morbid with the sublimely feminine. Director Anita Rocha da Silveira (KILL ME PLEASE) returns to AFI FEST with this modern horror-satire that fiercely critiques evangelical fanaticism in a Brazil. Screening in person Saturday, November 13 at 8:30 p.m.

TO WHAT REMAINS

World Premiere

This powerful documentary follows Dr. Pat Scannon and a team of professionals, volunteers and other veterans searching for those left behind in forgotten battles. Screening in person Thursday, November 11 at 5:00 p.m. and virtually beginning November 12.

MON AMI QUI BRILLE DANS LA NUIT

A ghost struck with memory loss makes an ephemeral friendship with Arthur, a human, and learns patience in its journey to the afterlife…It’s the ghost story that ghosts deserve to have. Screening as part of Shorts Program 2. Screening virtually beginning November 11 and in person November 12 at 6:00 p.m.

CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: AMERICA’S SECRET NAZIS

During WWII, a group of young Jewish refugees are sent to a secret POW camp near Washington, DC – and soon discover that the prisoners are Hitler’s top scientists. Join us for these compelling – and true – stories as part of the Meet The Press Film Festival at AFI FEST. Post-screening conversation moderated by NBC News journalists. Screening virtually beginning November 11 and in person Thursday, November 11 at 2:00 p.m.

WHO WE ARE: A CHRONICLE OF RACISM IN AMERICA

Directed by Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler, this powerful documentary is an essential deep dive into a divided nation’s history and the ongoing racial reckoning of our times. Join us for a post-screening discussion with the filmmakers and the ACLU’s Jeffery Robinson, moderated by Variety’s Clayton Davis. Screening in person Thursday, November 11 at 6:00 p.m.

 

 

The complete AFI FEST program includes 115 titles (48 Features, 1 Episodic, 49 Short Films and 17 Conservatory Showcase Shorts) of which 51% are directed by women, 40% directed by BIPOC filmmakers and 13% are directed by LGBTQIA+ filmmakers. This year’s program represents 50 countries and includes six World .