Category Archives: Toronto International Film Festival

Drafthouse Films acquires “R100”

Posted by Larry Gleeson

R100 one was a midnight favorite at the American Film Institute’s AFIFEST 2013. I ventured out with a Japanese exchange student/cohort. We were in stitches and the audience was rollicking. I went on to review the film initially at the Santa Barbara City College SBCC Film and Media Studies site before posting it here earlier this year. In addition, at a recent Art Cinema Seminar/Class led by Santa Barbara International Film Festival Program Director Michael Albright, R1oo, received noteworthy mention. This is a film I highly recommend from a nationally renowned and esteemed Japanese director, Hitosi Matsumoto. Please enjoy the excerpt from Austin360.com!

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Editor’s note: This article was originally published September 26, 2013.

Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, has acquired of North American rights to Japanese director Hitoshi Matsumoto’s “R100,” a lunatic tale of male self-destruction. R100 premiered at Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness section and made its US premiere at Fantastic Fest last weekend. A VOD/Digital and theatrical release is planned for 2014.

It is not suprising that Drafthouse is picking this one up. Drafthouse and Fest founder Tim League introduced the completely gaga “R100” himself, nothing that it was the last film booked but that League, a huge Matsumoto fan, wasn’t going to let it get away. “If you don’t like this movie, you are (expletive) stupid,” League said…

fl20131006cub“R100” (The title is itself a play on the Japanese movie ratings R-15 and R-18) is an almost early-Woody Allen-esque comedy (think “Without Feathers” era or “What’s Up, Tigher Lilly?”) about Takafumi Katayama (Nao Ohmori, the star of “Ichi The Killer” fame) whose life has gone a bit pear-shaped. His department store job is mindless, his father-in-law is helping Katayama raise his young son while his wife is in a coma in the hospital and things are just looking kind of rough for the guy (the color palette for much of the film is all browns, tans and neutrals, washed out and quite 70’s looking in spots).

No wonder the guy feels the need to contact a dominatrix service and gets more than he bargained for. To wit: he never knows exactly when the doms (called “Queens,” each with a special, uh, talent) are going to show up to beat or humiliate him. At first, things seem to go fine. Then the wheels start to come off and things start to get very, very strange.

Matsumoto masterfully switches tones, almost from scene to scene. There are quiet, tender scenes that could hail from an earnest indie movie. There is old school silent movie boffo comedy. There are a couple of solid runs at the fourth wall. As League noted in his introduction, Matsumoto takes his time to set up a joke, but the payoffs are tremendous. And it features the best use of the “Ode to Joy” since “Raising Arizona.”

(Source: Excerpted from austin360.com)
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Q&A: Gosling and Stone on ‘La La Land’ & their movie romance

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By AP Film Writer Jake Coyle

NEW YORK (AP) — Bogart and Bacall. Tracy and Hepburn. Stone and Gosling.

The hugely charming Los Angeles musical “La La Land” seals it: Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have entered the ranks of great cinematic couples. Their easy rapport together was first hinted at with “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” and carried through the crime drama “Gangster Squad.”

Those, though, were only appetizers to Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land,” in which they star as two flailing aspirants trying to make it in LA. Stone plays an actress, Gosling a jazz pianist. They sing. They dance. They patter like Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn.

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Ryan Gosling, right and Emma Stone dancing in a scene from their upcoming movie, La La Land. (Photo Credit: Dale Robinette/Lionsgate)

This image released by Lionsgate shows Ryan Gosling, right, and Emma Stone in a scene from, “La La Land.” (Dale Robinette/Lionsgate via AP)

“La La Land,” a resurrection of joyful 1930s studio musicals on contemporary LA streets, is an impassioned argument for the movies, in all their widescreen glory. And part of that vintage Hollywood experience includes big ol’ movie stars.

In an era that has struggled to produce them, Stone and Gosling stand apart as two of our best answers. In “La La Land,” they’re our version of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, maybe not quite as light on their feet (who is?), but more natural and funnier.

How far will they push their on-screen chemistry? “Do you think people would let us do anything together again?” Stone asked her co-star during an interview earlier this fall. “I don’t think we’d be allowed.”

After greeting warmly (Gosling had been shooting “Blade Runner 2049”), the actors sat down to reflect on why they go so well together, their own tortured paths to Hollywood success and just how deep their movie love runs.

AP: Did either of you hesitate about working together again?

STONE: That was an exciting aspect that it was our third thing together. The characters also have by the end five years between them and I think we’d probably known each other that long by that point. It’s kind of nice to not have to find that when the story depends so much on the connection between the two of them.

GOSLING: It’s also nice when you know the people you’re working with. Most of the time, everyone’s a stranger. It’s fine. That’s your job to make it seem like you have a relationship. But it certainly makes it a lot easier when you have one. And you listen to the way that person says their line more closely. You watch the way they’re playing the scene because you know each other. You’re more engaged in the scene than you would be otherwise.

AP: Did you feel a connection right away on your first film together, “Crazy, Stupid, Love”?

GOSLING: We’ve been asked to improvise a lot in the films that we’ve done together. I think even in our first audition we were asked to improvise. That just kind of connects actors in a way that just saying dialogue doesn’t do.

AP: Emma, you started in improv comedy.

STONE: That was the thing I loved to do the most. I thought I was just going to do comedy forever. I’ve always really loved to improvise but maybe strangely less so as time goes on. (She laughs.) Sometimes it’s nice to have a script nailed down. But comedy improv is pretty different from dramatic improv. Comedy improv is a lot of heckling.

AP: You both seem to a certain degree like comedic actors at heart.

STONE: It’s the best. It’s my favorite. Not to the exclusion of other types of films, but I do love comedy. That will always be my first love. (Turns to Gosling.) What do you think?

GOSLING: Well I don’t have as much experience with it…

STONE: But you’re so good at it.

GOSLING: What’s nice about it is you want to feel that whatever you’re doing is working. With comedy, it’s funny or it’s not.

AP: The film portrays some soul-crushing auditions. Were they familiar?

STONE: The first audition was inspired by Ryan’s story.

GOSLING: Yeah, where I had to cry and this lady took a call in the middle of it. And then just told me to go on, “Pick up where I left off.” That was part of what was great about making this film was Damien encouraged us to bring our experiences to these characters.

AP: Were they traumatic experiences?

GOSLING: Yeah, but it was so nice to see it realized in a movie and see Emma doing it. We made some lemonade out of lemons.

AP: Did either of you ever think about giving up?

STONE: I definitely thought about it. It was like a twice a year thing. Every six months there was a little meltdown. I’ve also thought about giving up in the middle of shoots before. “Well, after this one, I’m just never going to work again. That’s going to be fine. I’m never, ever going to work again because this is clearly not for me.”

GOSLING: About two week before shooting. “Can I still get out of this? They have time to find someone else.” It can be very discouraging. It’s kind of built in a way to discourage you. In some ways now being outside of it, I realize how inefficient it is, the auditioning process. It seems to reward people who are good at auditioning, which doesn’t really have anything to do with what happens when you get on set. The kind of people who are really great in a film I think you’ll find are for the most part pretty bad at auditioning. Yet they never feel they need to tinker with that system at all.

AP: How do you feel about being part of a proudly big-screen film like “La La Land” at a time when television is seen as eclipsing the movies?

STONE: I don’t think films are less than TV now, but there are some amazing characters on TV, so I understand why people want to do TV. When movies are at their full glory, I think it’s pretty mind-blowing. What do you think, Ry?

GOSLING: When I first met with Damien, it wasn’t about this. It was just kind of a general meeting. He has a very infectious love of movies but also of the experience of going to the movies. He talked a lot about wanting to make movies that you couldn’t watch on your iPhone, that you really wanted to see in a theater with an audience.

AP: Your love of movies seems clear, since you’ve previously acknowledged stuffing DVDs down your pants.

STONE: You put DVDs down your pants?!

GOSLING: (laughing) VHS. Look, in these kinds of situations, you’re encouraged to say anything. And it’s celebrated. And then you pay the price for that later.

STONE: Was it to be closer to your favorite movie?

GOSLING: No. It was one story a long time ago where I had to hide an R-rated movie from my parents. It was very intimate. This is the danger of this kind of thing that you do because it haunts us.

AP: Well, it’s a very vivid example of movie love.

GOSLING: I do love movies but I love making them more. I’ve never found something professionally that engages me as much as that. You work with such a large group of people and it’s this constant problem solving process that gets you to this end, whatever that is. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s always a crapshoot.

STONE: For me, watching movies is what makes me want to make movies. I’m so inspired by watching movies. The process of making it is engaging but I get so reinvigorated every time I see a great movie. Then I feel like I’m the character in the movie for the rest of the day. Then I realize I can’t play that same character I just watched.

AP: What was the first film that you mimicked that way?

STONE: “The Jerk.” Also “Hocus Pocus.” It was a combination of “The Jerk” and “Hocus Pocus,” so it shows my age and not my age. (Turns to Gosling) What was yours?

GOSLING: “Hocus Pocus.”

*Featured photo: Ryan Gosling, left, and Emma Stone posing for a portrait to promote their film, “La La Land,” at the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto, Sept. 12, 2016. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

(Source: www.bigstory.ap.org)

Natalie Portman to Receive Palm Springs Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress

Palm Springs, CA (November 30, 2016) – The 28th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Natalie Portman with the Desert Palm Achievement Natalie PortmanAward, Actress for her performance in Jackie at its annual Film Awards Gala.  The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Monday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2-16.

“Natalie Portman truly brings to life one of this country’s most treasured public figures in the acclaimed new film Jackie,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “Portman delivers a transformative and deeply human portrayal of the former First Lady following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, one of the most challenging moments in our nation’s history.  It is our honor to once again present the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress to Natalie Portman.”

Portman received the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress in 2011 for her performance in Black Swan, where she went on to win the Academy Award® for Best Actress.  Additional past recipients of the award include Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry, Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway, Charlize Theron and Naomi Watts.

From Fox Searchlight, Jackie is a searing and intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Natalie Portman).  Jackie places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband’s assassination.  Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a psychological portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to maintain her husband’s legacy and the world of “Camelot” that they created and loved so well.  The film is directed by Pablo Larraín and also stars Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Richard E. Grant, Caspar Phillipson, John Carroll Lynch, Beth Grant, and Max Casella, with Billy Crudup and John Hurt.

Jackie is the recipient of the Toronto International Film Festival Platform Prize and Venice Film Festival Golden Osella Best Screenplay Award.  The film received four Film Independent Spirt Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress.  For her role in the film, Portman received the Hollywood Film Award for Best Actress and is nominated for an IFP Gotham Award.

Natalie Portman received her second Academy Award® nomination and first Best Actress win for her performance in Darren Aronofsky’s critically acclaimed film, Black Swan. For her role, Portman also received a Golden Globe, BAFTA Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Critics Choice Award.  Her other film credits include The Professional, Beautiful Girls, Anywhere But Here, Cold Mountain, Garden State, Closer, V For Vendetta, Goya’s Ghosts, The Other Boleyn Girl, New York, I Love You, Brothers, No Strings Attached, Hesher, Knight of Cups, Thor, and the three prequels to the Star Wars trilogies. Portman also recently directed and wrote her first feature A Tale of Love and Darkness which debuted at Cannes in 2015. Her upcoming projects include Weightless, Planetarium and Annihilation.

Previously announced honorees attending the 2017 Film Awards Gala are Casey Affleck, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Ruth Negga and the cast of La La Land, including Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, and director Damien Chazelle.

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About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, an upscale black-tie event attended by 2,500, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who, in recent years, have included Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, David O. Russell, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.

For more information, call 760-322-2930 or 800-898-7256 or visit www.psfilmfest.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Steven Wilson / Lauren Peteroy
B|W|R Public Relations
212-901-3920
steven.wilson@bwr-pr.com / lauren.peteroy@bwr-pr.com

David Lee
Palm Springs International Film Society
760-322-2930
david@psfilmfest.org

(Source: www.psfilmfest.org)

Palm Springs Film Fest Appoints Michael Lerman as Artistic Director

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) has announced the hiring of Michael Lerman as Artistic Director.  Currently, Lerman serves as Acting Michael LermanHead of Programming and Primetime Programmer for the Toronto Film Festival, which concludes its 11-day run on September 18, as well as the Artistic Director for the Philadelphia Film Society, where he has worked since 2005.

Lerman will oversee all artistic decisions for the 28th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival that runs from January 2-16, 2017.

“Michael Lerman is a young but very seasoned film festival veteran who brings a keen eye for identifying and curating remarkable films and filmmaker talent. He is an exemplary match for the Palm Springs International Film Festival,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “We were very impressed with his programming work at the Toronto International Film Festival and are honored to have him join our Palm Springs team.”

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The 28th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), will hold its Film Awards Gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center on Monday, January 2, 2017 hosted by Mary Hart.  Considered an important stop on the Oscar campaign trail, the Film Awards Gala honors individuals in the film industry with awards for acting, directing and lifetime achievement.  Honorees will be presented with either the John Kennedy “The Entertainer” statue or a Chihuly Glass Sculpture.   In the past 4 years, 40 of the 44 honorees have been nominated for the Academy Awards.  Amazingly, all honorees have attended for the past 14 years. The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries.

For more information, call 760-322-2930 or 800-898-7256 or visit www.psfilmfest.org.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Steven Wilson
B|W|R Public Relations
212-901-3920
steven.wilson@bwr-pr.com

David Lee
Palm Springs International Film Society
760-322-2930
david@psfilmfest.org

FILM REVIEW: Laurence Anyways (Dolan, 2012): Canada

Reviewed by Larry Gleeson.

affiche_bigViewed during the Santa Barbara International Film. Laurence Anyways, is a visual feast as Canadian director, Xavier Dolan, tells a love story between two highly charged individuals, Fred, played by Suzanne Clement a fashionable female film and television producer, and Laurence, played by Melvil Poupad, an up and coming successful, thirty-something in his own right who has decided he wants to be a woman and that he’s always wanted to be a woman. Imagine that!

While definitely viewed as a game-changer  Laurence’s decision to become a woman  isn’t really the central focus of the film despite the amount of attention Dolan provides for it as we see Laurence first few awkward moments and then his full on embodiment and womanly maturation.  Nevertheless, the film wouldn’t have the soul to evolve without the essence of Fred as his fiance. Despite all the hype about the film being a caricature of a transvestite it’s a real love story between Fred and Laurence that takes place over the course of the ten years we are privy to in Mr. Dolan’s long tale.girlfriend for this film is really a portrait of their relationship over the course of ten years. They play wonderfully off each other, immediately conjuring intimate undercurrent  relationship squabbles, shared amusements, and deep understanding of one another and each ones  personal and emotional needs.

Laurence isn’t gay per se, yet Fred unequivocally states she wants to be  with a man. Respectfully and with tremendous courage both Laurence and Fred try to go with it. Also of interest to note about Laurence  – his mother, played by Nathalie Baye,  hated her son but now loves her daughter. Poupad really seems to capture the very assertive yet conflicted nature of Laurence as he meanders emotionally revealing deep scarring in his psyche. Yet by the end of the film it’s become obvious Suzanne Clements has literally stolen the show with her round-robin buildup of intense emotional pandering to the man she so deeply loves and it’s her eyes that treat the viewer to Laurance’s transformation.

Undoubtedly, Dolan is establishing himself as a filmmaker and editor of quite some skill, having won awards at Cannes and at Toronto, and here takes on the costume design as well. Granted often said the clothes don’t make the man but in Laurence Anyways, the costumes illuminate the characters and raise them to a level of such visual delight I would venture to say these costumes help make the characters and assuredly radiate their inner  light. In addition, Dolan seems to  handle the  obvious story beats with a crisp, elegant, and understated style and permeates the screen with an eye for color, pattern, and composition and with a solid dose of fetishism. He also cuts a mean musical score here as well using Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony to accompany a superb montage of raw emotion as the causality of the  relationship implodes.

The film runs at 2:45 minutes. In my opinion, the story needs a little more brevity. Still, I give it a strong endorsement as it hits a home run with the 80’s nostalgia, the actor’s powerful performance levels,  the gorgeous cinematography, and the colorful characters magnified so profoundly by the  extraordinary costume design. Highly recommended.

Critically Acclaimed Film ‘Moonlight’ Coming to U.K., Ireland

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Reuters and Variety

Altitude Film Distribution has acquired distribution rights in the U.K. and Ireland to Barry Jenkins’ critically acclaimed movie “Moonlight,” which is expected to be an awards contender. Altitude will release the film in early February, allowing the pic to be eligible for the BAFTAs.

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-9-39-32-amAltitude chief Will Clarke said: “‘Moonlight’ is one of those life-affirming films that immerses you in its universal themes and kaleidoscopic view of life, but told with such emotional intimacy, delicacy and beauty that no one could fail to be moved in a way that is surprising and unforgettable. It is pure cinema and a milestone in independent film.”

A24 is handling international sales on the film, and is also distributing in the U.S., where it has grossed $1.47 million to date from a limited release. A24 will expand the release in the coming weeks.

“Moonlight,” the second feature from writer-director Jenkins (“Medicine for Melancholy”), was a hit with critics at its premiere at Telluride Film Festival and subsequent festival screenings at Toronto and London.

The pic — about a young gay African-American man growing up in a tough neighborhood of Miami — won the Gotham Special Jury Award for the performances of its cast, including a breakout performance by former athlete Trevante Rhodes (“Westworld”) as the lead character, Chiron. Also starring are Andre Holland (“The Knick”), Janelle Monae (“The Equalizer”), Naomie Harris (“Skyfall”), Ashton Sanders (“Straight Outta Compton”), Jharrel Jerome (“Monster”) and Mahershala Ali (“House of Cards”).

The producers are Jeremy Kleiner, Dede Gardner, and Adele Romansk.

(Source:www.nbcnews.com)

National Geographic’s ‘Before The Flood’s Numbers Are Rising

National Geographic’s Before The Flood has reached over 30 million unique viewers world wide in its streaming, digital. linear and social platforms making it the most watched documentary since An Inconvenient Truth.

With an unprecedented distribution rollout, the film premiered in Los Angeles, New York and London before hitting the National Geographic channel airways in over 170 countries, and in 45 languages on October 30th. In keeping with its commitment to cover climate change, National Geographic has made the film available for free until November 6th on various streaming and digital platforms including NatGeoTv.com, YouTube, Google Play, Amazon and Vudu as well as NatGeo Tv apps for iPhones, Androids, XBox One and 360 .

Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Global Networks proudly asserts,

women2013courteneymonroe“At National Geographic, we believe in the power of storytelling to change the world, and with our unparalleled reach and history-making distribution of BEFORE THE FLOOD, we have already accomplished 100 percent of what we set out to do — to get this important and exceptional film in front of the widest audience possible, delivering it to viewers in every way they consume media. I am beyond proud that we have been able to bring the issue of climate change to the forefront of the global conversation — especially in the U.S. ahead of the elections — and hopefully inspire viewers to take action in their own way.”

 

Before the Flood, presents a riveting account of the dramatic changes occurring now around the world due to climate change as well as the actions we as individuals and as a society need to take to prevent catastrophic disruption of life on our planet. Serving as a warning ahead of the U.S. elections this fall to vote for leaders who prioritize climate change policies, the film also explains real, practical solutions to help save the planet. As a United Nations Messenger of Peace, actor Leonardo DiCaprio interviews individuals from every facet of society in both developing and developed nations who provide unique, impassioned and pragmatic views on what must be done today and in the future to transition our economic and political systems into environmentally friendly institutions.

Interviews in the film include President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Kerry, U.N. Secretary-General Ki-Moon and Pope Francis as well as top NASA researchers, forest conservationists, revered scientists, community leaders and fervent activists working to save the world.

(Excerpt from BusinessWire.com)

 

White Sun to premiere at Kimff 2016

Nepali feature film White Sun (Seto Surya) will open the 14th Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (Kimff), slated to be held at the Kumari Hall in Kamal Pokhari in the Capital, starting Dec 8. White Sun, which was recently screened in Toronto International Film Festival and Venice Film festival, is slated for an all-Nepal release from Dec 9.

Speaking during an event hosted in the Capital earlier this week, Tsering Ritar Sherpa, producer of the film, shared, “We are very excited with the response the film received after being screened at the Venice Film Festival. The film, based on the 10-year Maoist insurgency, has been garnering positive reviews internationally; hopefully, the audience at home will like it too.”

According to Sherpa, the film tries to explore the psychological impact the insurgency had on Nepalis.

Directed by Deepak Rauniyar, White Sun features actors Dayahang Rai, Raj Kumar Baniya and Sumi Malla in lead roles.

Along with White Sun, Kimff 2016 will feature a total of 80 films—features, animations, short films and documentaries—from 28 different countries.

The film fest will also hold a short film competition under the theme: Strengthening Nepal’s Public Services.

This year’s festival is slated to run through Dec 12.

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(Source: www.kathmandupost.ekantipur.com)

 

EDITORIAL: Messages and meaning at the Middleburg Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Times-Mirror Editorial Board

In just four years, the Middleburg Film Festival has earned a place among such iconic film festivals as Sundance, Telluride, Tribeca, Toronto, Melbourne, Berlin, Venice and Cannes. The film festival’s quaint venues – a converted ballroom at Salamander Resort, a performing arts auditorium at an elementary school, a library-museum for horse enthusiasts, a spartan reception hall in Upperville and the barrel room of a local winery – differentiate the festival from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood’s showplaces.

Middleburg brings something more meaningful to the conversation about movies: an intimacy with the stories and the people of the movies.

The charming town tucked in Virginia hunt-and-horse country is more than just a setting for a cozy film festival. Middleburg is also a character in the movies shown there.

Over four postcard-perfect days, about 4,000 people traveled to what looks like a back lot for idyllic moviemaking. Film buffs took Route 50, the two-lane road that follows the rolling hills, stone fences and horse farms to the charming town in Loudoun’s southern tier. Nearing the town, two oversized Trump banners greeted visitors from a private parcel of land on the roadside – seemingly out of place and out of character in a setting known for its style and discretion.

The wearisome soundbites of the presidential campaign become a faint echo at Middleburg’s one stoplight, a few hundred feet down Route 50 where it becomes Washington Street. Make a right turn, or a left, and you are at an unexpected venue for a movie. Or you can follow scenic side roads to the festival’s more distant venues.

At this place, in this time, Middleburg is about movies. But something more, too.

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In Loving,the quiet and courageous love story of Richard and Mildred Loving, the Virginia countryside is both prominent and familiar, enhancing the realism of rural racism in the commonwealth at the time. The movie follows the courtship and marriage of Mildred Jeter, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who are arrested and sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 because their interracial marriage violates the state’s anti-miscegenation laws. Exiled to Washington, they sue the Commonwealth of Virginia in a series of proceedings leading to the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Loving v. Virginia, which holds that laws prohibiting interracial marriage are unconstitutional.

The film, scheduled for release in the U.S. on Nov. 4, was shown at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington on Monday. But at a discussion following the screening on Sunday, Virginians were able to better appreciate the continuing relevance of Loving as its British producer and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder gave the story context. Following the program, dozens of attendees swarmed Holder, the first African American to serve as Attorney General (2009-2015).

Middleburg also had a brief role in the screening of Jackie, Natalie Portman’s riveting portrayal of Jacqueline Kennedy’s private grief as she coped with her public persona and the nation’s reaction to the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy.

The movie would not have been screened in Middleburg but for a photograph of Jackie attending mass with JFK at the Middleburg Community Center, which now serves as the box office for the film festival. The distributors of Jackie had initially rejected the advance screening of the movie in Middleburg, a young festival with a relatively small audience in rural Virginia. But the photo provided a meaningful connection between Jackie Kennedy and Middleburg, where she spent private time away from Washington riding at her farm.

As Middleburg presented itself as a haven away from the front lines of the nation’s capitol 43 miles down the road, the film festival also provided a conversation that played to the politics of the moment. A conversation about presidents, politics and the movies quickly turned to “the elephant in the room,” as CNN political analyst David Gergen observed: Donald Trump.

Who would play Trump in the movie about the current presidential race? Alec Baldwin, of course, came the response to a joke that was apparently known to all in the audience. Film clips from movies about past presidents then left attendees to wonder whether art imitates life or life imitates art.

Middleburg’s messages echoed beyond. The Eagle Huntress followed Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl who trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter and rises to the pinnacle of a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries. While there were many old Kazakh eagle hunters who vehemently rejected the idea of a female taking part in their ancient tradition, Aisholpan’s father, Nurgaiv, believed that a girl could do anything a boy can, as long as she was determined.

That idea brought cheers from the denizens in Virginia that included local Girl Scout troops that came to honor Aisholpan. The girl and her father traveled from Mongolia to Middleburg to acknowledge the cheers and to demonstrate how ordinary people could do extraordinary things. The cheers came again when it was announced that Aishholpan would become a character in a super-heroes cartoon.

So we come to superheros and the deeper meaning of the Middleburg Film Festival. In just four years, Sheila Johnson has exceeded her dream of turning her passion for cinema into a festive gathering of fellow film aficionados in the chic yet comfy venues of Northern Virginia’s horse country. The entrepreneur, philanthropist and film producer has made Middleburg a metaphor for creative endeavor with a social purpose. She has provided a lens to view the important films about our our culture, as well as perspective that is authentically Virginia.

But perhaps Johnson’s greatest gift is bringing together movies and people who make us think, feel and belong. Devoid of cynicism, these are the stories of our times. Johnson presents them as a kindred spirit in a place called Middleburg.

(Source:www.loudountimes.com)

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‘Barry,’ The Young Obama Netflix Movie Will Tell Things People Don’t Know About The Outgoing President

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Joseph S.

Barry, the young Obama movie is just right on the dot as President Barack Obama is cleaning out his desk at the oval office before he finally returns to private life. Some people are already feeling nostalgic about him leaving the White House. This movie would be an apt tribute to the first black President of what is regarded as the most powerful nation on earth.

The Movie’s Premiere Was A Hit

When Barry premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, it was an instant hit. The role of the president was played by Devon Terrell, a newcomer. The story revolves around the president’s younger years while he was studying at Columbia University in New York City in the early ’80s.

This Is The Official Plot Summary

The plot of the real-life story of the U.S. President goes like this: “In a crime-ridden and racially charged environment, Barry finds himself pulled between various social spheres and struggles to maintain a series of increasingly strained relationships with his Kansas-born mother, his estranged Kenyan father, and his classmates. Barry is the story of a young man grappling with those same issues that his country, and arguably the world, are still coming to terms with 35 years later.”

The Trailer Is A Real Teaser

In the trailer, young Obama is always showing his back to the viewer.He is constantly moving forward, perhaps giving the image that his life’s approach is always to look and move forward. It is only at the end of the teaser where the young Obama’s face was revealed – in the mirror – since his back is still on the viewer. He was arranging his tie before he goes out.

A report from Entertainment Weekly indicated that Netflix has just acquired the film last month when it was shown at the Toronto Film Festival. IMDB rates the film at 7.8 while Rotten Tomatoes gave it 92 percent. It was directed by the director of “Vice,” Vikram Gandhi and written by Adam Mansbach. Netflix will air the movie on Dec. 16. Take a peek at the first trailer below.

(Source: www.itechpost.com)