Category Archives: television

BRAD PITT SAYS HE NO LONGER REMEMBERS THE FIRST RULE OF FIGHT CLUB AT SBIFF

Posted by Larry Gleeson

BRAD PITT SAYS HE NO LONGER REMEMBERS THE FIRST RULE OF FIGHT CLUB; HONORED WITH MALTIN MODERN MASTER AWARD AT 35TH ANNUAL SANTA BARBARA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (January 23, 2020) – Day 8 of the 35th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) presented by UGG featured a sold-out tribute to Brad Pitt, who received the Maltin Modern Master Award for his long-standing contributions to the film industry, most recently gracing the silver screen in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood from Columbia Pictures and Ad Astra for New Regency.

The evening featured a one-on-one discussion between Pitt and acclaimed film critic Leonard Maltin, who returned for his 29th year to moderate the evening. The two discussed Pitt’s history as they looked back at his iconic career – first as a University of Missouri journalism student (inspired by “All the President’s Men”) who dropped out before graduation to move to Los Angeles. The tribute also featured a slew of clips from Pitt’s film accolades, including Thelma & Louise, Interview with a Vampire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fight Club, Inglourious Basterds, Burn After Reading, 12 Years a Slave, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, and others.

Highlights of the evening included:

  • On turning down the role of Neo in The Matrix: “I did pass on The Matrix. I took the red pill. That’s the only one I’m naming … I wasn’t offered two or three. Only the first one. Just to clarify that. I come from a place, maybe it’s my upbringing, if I didn’t get it, then it wasn’t mine. I really believe [the role] was never mine. It’s not mine. It was someone else’s and they go and make it. I really do believe in that. If we were doing a show on the great movies I’ve passed on, we would need two nights.”

 

  • On his familiarity with Santa Barbara: “You guys don’t know this, but I hang out here a lot. I have been in Goleta since 1999. This is home.”

 

  • On trying to earn his SAG card by adding an unsolicited line while filming (playing the role of a waiter): “I thought, I’m going to try it, and so I went, ‘Would you like anything else?’ And I heard the first assistant director go ‘Cut! Cut! Cut!’  And he said, ‘If you pull that again, you’re out of here.’ So I didn’t get [the SAG card] then.”

 

  • Director David Fincher – who worked with Pitt in the acclaimed films Seven, Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – presented Pitt with the award, saying: “The task of acting is multi-faceted. There’s the grand overriding two-hour arch that one might call the performance. There are the subtle behavioral hints at a lifetime of backstory, often referred to as the characterization. And then, there is the moment. And that is the character at rest. A person, idling. And for me, this is the test. The ultimate challenge. No intention. No witty banter. No dramatic change of trajectory. You just roll the camera and be. And this is the gift to your film that Brad Pitt brings. Like a supple suede jacket, he form fits his characters to the overall narrative and he shows up for more than the big beats. He idles smoothly at 3,000 RPMs in the most fractal of moments. Between speeches. Between stunts. Between moments that most actors actually choose a role for…so few people in the history of movies have been good at this, that we annex them to a special tier. People like Bogart, or Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart or Paul Newman. They exist on celluloid in a way that mere mortals can’t. They have a comfort and ease that cannot be faked, or sadly, duplicated. And they are as rare as albino pandas. They are movie stars. And this is one of them.

 

  • Upon accepting the award, Pitt said: “Wow, it’s things like this and nights like these that tell me I’m old. I’ve been around awhile and I’ve been doing this for a bit … I can’t do night shoots anymore, and I’ll gladly hand a stunt over to a stunt man. I no longer remember the first rule of Fight Club. But it’s also nights like this where I get to look back and feel really, really blessed. I feel so fortunate to all the amazing people I’ve been able to work with who have taught me so much and who’ve touched my life. From editors and composers and amazing directors who have sent me on a trajectory that has meant so much to me… I feel really blessed to be here and I feel grateful for this.

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 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 35th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs from January 15-25, 2020. For more information, and to purchase tickets, festival passes, and packages, please visit www.sbiff.org.

SBIFF35 Poster

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. Over the past 34 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 95,000 attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes, and panels, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire people through the power of film. We celebrate the art of cinema and provide impactful educational experiences for our local, national and global communities.

SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community throughout many free educational programs and events. In June 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 May 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.

SBIFF 35

(Source: sibiff.org)

 

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SBIFF OPENING NIGHT FILM Presented by UGG® US Premiere of “A Bump Along The Way”

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
8:00pm
Arlington Theatre
Santa Barbara, CA

AND
OPENING NIGHT GALA

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Following the Opening Night Film
10:00PM
Paseo Nuevo
Santa Barbara, CA

SBIFF 2020 will start with the Opening Night Film, presented by UGG​®​, tonight Wednesday, January 15, at the historic Arlington Theatre with the U.S. Premiere of ​A BUMP ALONG THE WAY​ directed by ShellyLove and starring Bronagh Gallagher, Lola Petticrew, Mary Moulds, Dan Gordon and Brendan Farrell.

A BUMP ALONG THE WAY​ is female-led, feel-good, comedy-drama set in Derry, Northern Ireland, about a middle-aged woman whose unexpected pregnancy after a one-night stand acts as the catalyst for her to finally take control of her life and become the role model her teenage daughter needs and craves.

Following the film, the Opening Night Gala will take place in the beautiful outdoor Paseo Nuevo Shops and Restaurants in downtown Santa Barbara. It will feature entertainment, food, libations, and celebrate the start of SBIFF.

Get tickets and Passes Here

 

SBIFF 35

(Source: SBIFF News Release)

Casting Society of America announces the film nominees for the 35th Artios Awards

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Ceremonies to be held January 30, 2020 in Los Angeles, New York City, and London

Los Angeles, CA – January 2, 2020 – Casting Society of America (CSA) today announces the film nominees for the 35th Artios Awards, which honor the contribution of Casting Directors to film, television and theatre. The winners will be revealed on Thursday, January 30, 2020 in ceremonies in Los Angeles, New York City, and London. Ron Funches will serve as host for the Los Angeles event, with Michelle Buteau hosting the New York ceremony.

“The art of casting for film continued to shine this year, as represented in this noteworthy list of projects. Joining our television and theatre nominees, these talented Casting Directors exemplify the range of skills and expertise throughout our craft,” said Russell Boast, President, CSA. “The 35th Artios Awards will put a spotlight on the year’s outstanding contributions from our members as we collectively build on this year’s achievements for an even stronger future.”

CSA previously announced the television and theatre nominees and this year’s honorees including Academy Award® winner and advocate Geena Davis, who will receive the Lynn Stalmaster Award for Career Achievement, and Emmy®, Grammy®, and Tony® Award winner Audra McDonald, who will be honored with the Marion Dougherty New York Apple Award.

Among the Casting Directors being recognized are Deborah Aquila, a three-time Artios Award winner for her work on La La Land, My Week with Marilyn and Red, who will receive The Hoyt Bowers Award, and Andy Pryor, an Emmy nominee and stalwart in the British casting community for his work on projects including Stan & Ollie, Dr. Who, Cold Feet and Call the Midwife, who will be honored with the Excellence in Casting Award at the London ceremony.

The film nominees for the 35th Artios Awards are:

Animation

Abominable – Christi Soper Hilt
Frozen 2 – Jamie Sparer Roberts, Sarah Raoufpur (Associate)
The Lion King – Sarah Halley Finn, Jason B. Stamey (Associate)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – Christi Soper Hilt

Toy Story 4 – Kevin Reher, Natalie Lyon

Big Budget – Comedy

Dolemite Is My Name – Mary Vernieu, Lindsay Graham Ahanonu
Hustlers – Gayle Keller
Knives Out – Mary Vernieu, Angela Peri (Location Casting), Brett Howe (Associate)

Rocketman – Reginald Poerscot-Edgerton
Uncut Gems – Francine Maisler

Big Budget – Drama

1917 – Nina Gold
The Irishman – Ellen Lewis, Kate Sprance (Associate)
Joker – Shayna Markowitz
Little Women – Francine Maisler, Kathy Driscoll-Mohler, Douglas Aibel (Location Casting), Carolyn Pickman (Location Casting)
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – Victoria Thomas

Studio or Independent – Comedy

Brittany Runs A Marathon – Laura Rosenthal, Maribeth Fox

The Dead Don’t Die – Ellen Lewis, Kate Sprance (Associate)

The Farewell – Leslie Woo
Jojo Rabbit – Des Hamilton

Late Night – Laura Rosenthal, Maribeth Fox, Kimberly Ostroy (Associate)

Poms – Mary Vernieu, Marisol Roncali, Meagan Lewis (Location Casting)

Studio or Independent – Drama

Harriet – Kim Coleman, Erica Arvold (Location Casting), Anne Chapman (Location Casting), Meghan Apostoles (Associate)
Honey Boy – Chelsea Ellis Bloch, John Papsidera
Judy – Fiona Weir, Alice Searby

Marriage Story – Francine Maisler, Douglas Aibel, Kathy Driscoll-Mohler (Associate)

Waves – Avy Kaufman, Mark Mullen (Location Casting)

Low Budget – Comedy or Drama

Clemency – Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee, Roya Semnanian (Associate)
Diane – Jodi Angstreich
The Last Black Man in San Francisco – Julia Kim, Nina Henninger (Location Casting)

Skin – Jodi Angstreich, Laura Rosenthal, Maribeth Fox
Them That Follow – John McAlary, Orly Sitowitz

Micro-Budget – Comedy or Drama

Low Tide – Susan Shopmaker, Lois Drabkin
Mickey and the Bear – Avy Kaufman
Skin in the Game – Matthew Lessall
The True Don Quixote – Stephanie Holbrook, Ryan Glorioso (Location Casting), Justin Coulter (Associate)

The Wind – Meg Morman, Sunday Boling

The Zeitgeist Award

Avengers: EndGame – Sarah Halley Finn, Chase Paris (Location Casting), Tara Feldstein Bennett (Location Casting), Jason B. Stamey (Associate)
It Chapter 2 – Rich Delia, Stephanie Gorin (Location Casting), Coco Kleppinger (Associate)
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Nina Gold, April Webster, Alyssa Weisberg, Angela Young (Associate)

First held in 1985, the Artios Awards honor Casting Directors in more than 20 different categories encompassing film, television, and theatre. In addition, special honorees are selected for their contributions to the craft. Nominees and winners are voted on by members in good standing of the Casting Society of America. Key dates are below and nominations and additional information will be announced in the coming months.

 

35th Artios Awards Timeline

January 2, 2020 Open final ballot – Features
January 16, 2020 Close final ballot – Features
January 30, 2020 35th ARTIOS AWARDS

 

ABOUT CASTING SOCIETY OF AMERICA 

Casting Society of America (CSA) was founded in February of 1982 with the intention of establishing a recognized standard of professionalism in the casting field and providing its members with a support organization to further their goals and protect their common interests. CSA currently boasts close to 1000 members. CSA casting directors and associate casting directors work around the world, with members based in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. CSA is a global resource for producers, directors and creative teams seeking casting professionals while promoting the image of casting directors and associate casting directors worldwide, engaging in a number of charitable activities and supporting its members by sharing important and helpful professional information. For more information on the Casting Society of America, please visit CastingSociety.com

(Source: News release from Shari Mesulam, The Mesulam Group)

Netflix leads the way at Golden Globes

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Streaming giant Netflix came out a big winner at last week’s Golden Globe nominations by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Netflix Globes

Four Netflix movies garnered Golden Globe best picture nominations, including “The Irishman,” “Marriage Story,” “The Two Popes,” and “Dolemite Is My Name.

“Marriage Story” had six nominations, including picture (drama), actor (Adam Driver), actress (Scarlett Johansson), supporting actress (Laura Dern), screenplay, and original score.

“The Irishman” got nominated five times for picture (drama), director (Martin Scorsese), supporting actor (Al Pacino and Joe Pesci), and screenplay.

The Two Popes” garnered four nominations, including picture (drama), actor (Jonathan Pryce), supporting actor (Anthony Hopkins), and screenplay.

Dolemite Is My Name” picked up two nominations for picture (comedy) and actor (Eddie Murphy).

Dolemite
“Dolemite Is My Name”

Overall, Netflix scored 34 nods, 17 in film and 17 nominations in the Television Section. Sony Pictures was second in the film category with eight nods, spread among “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (five), “Little Women” (two) and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (one).

With Oscar bids coming out next month, Netflix looks in pretty good shape to share in Oscar’s glow at this point.

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The 77th Golden Globes will be hosted by Ricky Gervais and can be seen January 5 on NBC!

AFI AWARDS 2019 HONOREES ANNOUNCED

Posted by Larry Gleeson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Los Angeles, CA, December 4, 2019 — The American Film Screen Shot 2019-12-04 at 12.34.14 PMInstitute (AFI) announced today the recipients of AFI AWARDS 2019. Unique in its celebration of the film and television arts’ collaborative nature, AFI AWARDS – now in its 20thyear – is the only national program that honors creative teams as a whole, recognizing those in front of and behind the camera.

AFI AWARDS honorees include 10 outstanding films and 10 outstanding TV programs deemed culturally and artistically representative of this year’s most significant achievements in the art of the moving image. In addition to the 20 honorees, AFI also recognizes PARASITE and FLEABAG with an AFI Special Award, designated for a work of excellence outside the Institute’s criteria for American film and television.

All of the honored works advance the art of the moving image, inspire audiences and artists alike, enhance the rich cultural heritage of America’s art form and make a mark on American society. When placed in an historical context, these stories provide a complex and rich visual record of our modern world.

 

AFI MOTION PICTURES OF THE YEAR

1917

THE FAREWELL

THE IRISHMAN

JOJO RABBIT

JOKER

KNIVES OUT

LITTLE WOMEN

MARRIAGE STORY

ONCE UPON A TIME IN…HOLLYWOOD

RICHARD JEWELL

SPECIAL AWARD

PARASITE

AFI TELEVISION PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR

CHERNOBYL

THE CROWN

FOSSE/VERDON

GAME OF THRONES

POSE

SUCCESSION

UNBELIEVABLE

VEEP

WATCHMEN

WHEN THEY SEE US

SPECIAL AWARD

FLEABAG

AFI AWARDS selections are made through a jury process where AFI Trustees, scholars, artists and critics determine the year’s most outstanding achievements and provide artistic and cultural context for the selection of each honoree.

This year’s juries — one for film and one for television — featured acclaimed artists including Emmy®-nominated actor John Amos, Emmy®-nominated director Lesli Linka Glatter, Oscar®-winning writer Callie Khouri, Tony-nominated actor Delroy Lindo and Emmy®-nominated director Betty Thomas; renowned authors and scholars representing prestigious universities with recognized motion picture arts and television programs; film historian Leonard Maltin; the AFI Board of Trustees; and film and television critics from media outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, NPR, Rolling Stone, TV Guide and Variety. The juries were chaired by AFI Board of Trustees Vice Chairs Tom Pollock (former Vice Chairman of MCA, Chairman of Universal Pictures) for film and Richard Frank (former Chairman of Walt Disney Television, President of Walt Disney Studios, President of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) for television.

Honorees will gather on January 3, 2020, for recognition at the annual AFI AWARDS private luncheon in Los Angeles, CA — an event favored by the entertainment community for its informal intimacy and its inclusive acknowledgment of excellence.

The 2019 recipients join a distinguished group of previous AFI AWARDS honorees whose works define the art form and contribute to our rich cultural legacy. View all past AFI AWARDS honorees here.

The AFI AWARDS luncheon will be sponsored by Audi, a supporter of AFI and its programs for the past 16 years. The AFI AWARDS luncheon is also sponsored by American Airlines, the official airline of AFI.

About the American Film Institute
The American Film Institute was established by presidential proclamation in the White House Rose Garden, and launched its national mandate on June 5, 1967 — to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI’s founding Trustees included Chairman Gregory Peck, Vice Chairman Sidney Poitier, Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Jack Valenti and George Stevens, Jr., as Director.

About Audi
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands, delivering about 1.878 million vehicles globally in 2017. In the U.S., Audi of America sold nearly 227,000 vehicles in 2017 and broke all-time company sales records for the eighth straight year. Visit audiusa.com or media.audiusa.com for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.

(Sourced from AFI press release)

 

 

BLADE RUNNER 2049

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Relive the Academy Award-winning best visual effects and best cinematography film on the big screen with Dolby Cinema.

Blade Runner 2049

BLADE RUNNER 2049
TWO NIGHTS ONLY
November 22 & 23
FRI, SAT: 9:00pm

Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years.

Directed By Denis Villeneuve
Written By Hampton Fancher, Michael Green
Starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto
163 minutes

Get tickets HERE

 

AFI FEST Interview: JUST MERCY Director/Co-Writer Destin Daniel Cretton

Posted by Larry Gleeson

JUST MERCY plays as a Special Screening at AFI FEST sponsored by Audi on Saturday, November 16 at the TCL Chinese Theatres in Hollywood.

Writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton is an indie darling with credits, including the award-winning drama SHORT TERM 12 and THE GLASS CASTLE — an adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ 2005 bestselling memoir. This spring Marvel came calling, enlisting Cretton to helm SHANG-CHI, the first Asian-led superhero film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.

And this fall, he’ll release his third film, JUST MERCY, a powerful, true story about acclaimed civil rights defense attorney, Bryan Stevenson, as he recounts his experiences and details the case of Walter McMillian, a condemned death row prisoner whom he fought to free. The film stars Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan and follows the release of the documentary, TRUE JUSTICE: BRYAN STEVENSON’S FIGHT FOR EQUALITY, which had its world premiere at AFI DOCS in June.

We spoke with Cretton about collaborating with Bryan Stevenson, assembling an A-list cast for the film and the story’s relevance in light of today’s political climate.

AFI: What initially drew you to make JUST MERCY and to tell Bryan Stevenson and Walter McMillian’s story? 

DDC: I read Bryan’s book, “Just Mercy,” and it honestly floored me. I felt like my heart was torn to shreds and put back together. One would think reading a book about the unfairness of our criminal justice system would leave you feeling defeated and cynical about the state of our world. But Bryan believes that hopelessness is the enemy of justice and that hope allows you to work toward the things that you cannot see. As soon as I finished his book, I had no idea how, but I knew I wanted to find any way to help him tell this story.

AFI: How closely did you work with Bryan before and during filming?

DDC: Andrew Lanham and I worked very closely with Bryan throughout the entire screenwriting process. Before we put any words to the page, we visited Bryan in Montgomery to see the work he does first-hand, alongside his staff at the Equal Justice Initiative. Bryan was an extraordinary collaborator on this project, guiding us throughout to make sure we got it right, while allowing the space for the writing process to organically come together. He was also an invaluable source for all of our department heads during production to make sure the sets, costumes and props all reflected the work they were doing at the time.

AFI: How did Bryan react to seeing the final version of the film?

DDC: I didn’t realize how nervous I was until I left Bryan in a theater at the Warner Brothers lot to watch the film. It was the most stressful two hours of my life. When he came into our editing suite after seeing the movie, he smiled, gave me a hug and said thank you for taking care of his story and the people he cares so much about. I almost fainted out of pure relief.

AFI: What do you think makes this story so topical right now? 

DDC: It was interesting to hear some of the hateful rhetoric coming from politicians or the media while we were shooting this movie. It was very clear that in many ways, we haven’t come very far since 1989. For every nine people executed in this country, one person has been found innocent and released from death row. That’s a pretty staggering rate of error that exists right now.

Director/Co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton

AFI: You have Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Brie Larson and many other amazing actors and actresses in this film. What was it like collaborating with all of these talented people? 

DDC: Honestly, it often feels like I have a front row seat to the best live performance in town. It’s a dream to work with actors of this caliber, who are all telling this story because they believe in it with everything in them. It was a really special thing to witness.

AFI: You screened your short film SHORT TERM 12 at AFI FEST in 2009. How does it feel to be back at the festival with JUST MERCY as a Special Screening?

DDC: True story…my short film, SHORT TERM 12, played at AFI FEST, where it was seen by a producer, Asher Goldstein, who wrote me an email saying how much he liked the short and asked about any feature ideas. Asher ended up producing the feature of SHORT TERM 12, and also produced JUST MERCY. So, if it wasn’t for AFI FEST, I might never have met Asher or done another movie for the rest of my life.

AFI: What would you like audience members at AFI FEST to take away from JUST MERCY?

DDC: In Bryan’s book, his grandmother tells him that you can’t understand the most important things from a distance. You have to get close. I hope this movie allows an audience to get a little closer to the people who are affected by a very real problem in this country. I also hope the audience feels closer to the very real hope and solution to that problem through the life and work of Bryan Stevenson.

AFI: You were a thesis mentor at the AFI Conservatory. What was that experience like for you?

DDC: I always find it so inspiring to be around film students, to be reminded of the pure joy of this medium. There really is no other experience quite like it.

Tickets to all films in the AFI FEST program lineup are available here.

JUST MERCY opens in a limited release on December 25. Watch the trailer below:

(Sourced from AFI.com)

 

AFI and Audi debut “Changing the Chairs” #AFIFEST2019

Posted by Larry Gleeson

AFI and Audi continue to champion female directors in films and television through the campaign “Changing the Chairs.”

51% of the films at AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi are directed by women.

Making its debut at this year’s AFI FEST presented by Audi, “Changing the Chairs” will celebrate, embrace and recognize the change happening now within the industry – more women directing big budget films, more women in leadership positions and more opportunities for women to share their perspective.

To share the #ChangingTheChairs campaign with all audiences during the festival, AFI and Audi are lifting up female directors and sharing their responses to a very important question: “What changes when a woman sits in the director’s chair?” From increasing underrepresented voices to creating more complex storytelling, the answers show the transformative effects of having a woman in the director’s chair.

“Having a woman sit in the director’s chair will inspire generations of little girls to conquer that chair one day too. Having many WOMEN taking these seats, will guarantee equality and diversity in storytelling perspectives and representation.” – Oran Zegman, Director (MARRIAGE MATERIAL, THE MUSICAL!)

“Everything. Everything changes when a woman sits in a director’s chair.  A female director provides female characters with depth and a refreshing and accurate depiction of how life is lived. Women need to be in the director’s chair because we’re in a time where women need to be heard, represented and defended. – Isabella Issa, Director (YELLOW GIRL AND ME)

 

Changing Chairs
“Changing the Chairs” art exhibit inside the Roosevelt Hotel Lobby at the 2019 AFI FEST sponsored by Audi. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson)

51% of the films at AFI FEST 2019 presented by Audi are directed by women.

 

In 2018, 4.5% of the 100 top-grossing films were directed by women.

In 2019, upwards to 14% of the 100 top-grossing films this year will be directed by women.

 

Sponsor Audi

(Sourced from AFI.com)

 

Eva Longoria and the Erasure of LatinX

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Actor/Director/Producer/Activist (ad infinitem), Mexican-American, businesswoman Eva Longoria, took the stage with Dr. Stacy Smith, an Associate Professor of Communication, Annenberg School at the University at Southern California, for an insightful and informative talk on the culturally relevant issue of film’s role in shaping LatinX stereotypes at the The Erasure of LatinX as part of this year’s AFI SUMMIT at the Roosevelt Hotel Ballroom, Friday, November 15th. AFI FEST, presented by Audi, is in its 33rd year.

Due to moving pictures allowing for the suspension of disbelief, most viewers come to believe the images on the screen are real-life representations. Dr. Smith, an empirical data specialist on the current trends and the underrepresentation of women and minorities in the Hollywood film industry, argued the representation of the LatinX community has fallen by 4.5% from last year. Longoria added these LatinX representations are mostly sinister characters and are defining LatinX, in conjunction with conservative political rhetoric, to rural and suburban Americans.

This is not a good representation especially if one believes in the dynamics of a free market and the effects of the invisible hand. According to Longoria, as LatinX resists assimilating into society and remains typecast as criminals in Hollywood film, a shift in policy is needed to allow for Hispanics to participate in the American Dream. These are not issues for most laypeople. For Longoria, however, they are career-defining. With a life and career as diverse as any in the lore of Hollywood, Longoria has focused her laser-like acumen into providing a voice for the Mexican-American community with a powerful and dynamic undertaking, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment, based out of Mountain View, Calif. Already deluged with LatinX works from authentic writers, directors, and producers, Longoria envisions a production house showcasing LatinX films centered around family and love.

Steeped in activism and cured with exposure, Longoria, claiming to have an insight into LatinX (no argument here), is driven to succeed. According to IMDb, Longoria possesses 55 actress credits, 22 producer credits, and 12 director credits. Currently, helming and developing two conceptual projects, The Flaming Cheeto, a Horatio-Algereques take on the development of the product bearing the same name and a bigger budgeted, comedy, feature film, 24-7. Greenlighted by Universal Pictures, 24-7, starring Longoria and cohort, Kerry Washington, and written by Sarah Rothschild, tells a tale of a group of accountants banding together against their firm’s male colleagues to solve a fraud case that will save their jobs

One thing I know for sure, it’s an exciting time to be involved in film with talent like Eva Longoria in the room! AFI FEST 2019, presented by Audi, continues through November 21st. Stay tuned for the upcoming Indie Contenders Panel and the Documentary Filmmaker Roundtable. Until then, I’ll see you at the movies!

 

SABAN FILMS BOARDS sci-fi thriller “BREACH” starring BRUCE WILLIS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

LOS ANGELES (November 10, 2019) – Saban Films announced today that they have acquired North American rights to John Suits’ (Pandemic, The Scribbler) Breach starring Golden Globe Award® winner Bruce Willis (Glass, Die Hard franchise).  The sci-fi thriller also stars Cody Kearsley (“Riverdale,” Power Rangers), Callan Mulvey (Avengers: Endgame, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), Kassandra Clementi (“UnREAL,” “Home and Away”), Timothy V. Murphy (The Lone Ranger, “Snowpiercer”) and Corey Large (In Like Flynn, The Ninth Passenger).  Danny Roth produced under his Almost Never Films banner along with Corey Large and Edward Drake.

Breach follows a young stowaway (Kearsley) aboard an interstellar ark to New Earth. With the help of a seasoned crewmate (Willis), he must outwit a malevolent cosmic terror intent on using the spaceship as a weapon.  The film was shot in Fitzgerald, GA.  Executive producers are Danny H. Chan for Almost Never Films, Mike Donovan, Ryan Charles Griffin, Mary Aloe and Roger Dorman for Aloe Entertainment, Carlos Velazquez, Benjamin Krause, Stephen Eads, Johnny Messner, Edward Drake, and Elizabeth Zavoyskiy and Andrew Kotliar from MEP Capital, who are also financing.

Bill Bromiley
Bill Bromiley

Bill Bromiley said, “Bruce Willis leads a fantastic cast fighting to survive in this highly suspenseful, action-packed thriller that will keep audiences captivated.”

Bromiley also negotiated the deal for Saban Films along with Danny Roth on behalf of the filmmakers.  Screen Media is handling international rights at the upcoming AFM.

Saban Films continues to grow its presence in the industry, remaining active in the acquisition, production and distribution space. The company’s successes have run the gamut from critically acclaimed theatrical films such as The Homesman starring Hilary Swank, to two of the biggest Fathom events with horror icon and heavy metal mastermind Rob Zombie’s 31 in 2016 and 3 From Hell earlier this month, as well as Kevin Smith’s highly-anticipated Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, the sequel to the 2001 comedy Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back which the company partnered on after coming on board at script stage.  Its upcoming slate includes Steven C. Miller’s Line of Duty; Will Forbes’ John Henry starring Terry Crews and Ludacris and executive produced by Matthew Antoun.

About Saban Films

Saban Films

Saban Films, an affiliate of Saban Capital Group (“SCG”), is a film acquisition and distribution company that acquires high-quality, feature films to distribute in North America.  Focusing on commercial, talent-driven films, the company looks at projects in all stages of production for release across multiple platforms, including a day and date theatrical/VOD release strategy. Based in Los Angeles, Saban Films was established by Haim Saban, SCG Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, and is led by Bill Bromiley who serves as President, Shanan Becker, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer and Ness Saban, Vice President of Business Development.

(Source: Press release from Rachel Simmons | DDA Group)