Category Archives: World Premiere

Venice News: David Cronenberg to Receive Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement

Posted by Larry Gleeson

David Cronenberg will receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement for directors at the 75th Venice International Film Festival (August 29 – September 8, 2018).


Accepting the award, David Cronenberg declared: “I’ve always loved the Golden Lion of Venice. A lion that flies on golden wings –that’s the essence of art, isn’t it? The essence of cinema. It will be almost unbearably thrilling to receive a Golden Lion of my own.”

The decision was made by the Board of Directors of the Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, who espoused the proposal made by the Festival Director, Alberto Barbera.

With regard to this prize, Alberto Barbera declared: “Although Cronenberg was originally relegated to the margins of the horror genre, right from his first, scandalously subversive movies, the director has shown that he wants to take his audiences well beyond the cinema of exploitation, as he constructs an original and highly personal structure, movie after movie. Revolving around the inseparable relationship of body, sex, and death, his universe is populated by grotesque deformities and terrifying couplings, a horror which reflects the fear of mutations inflicted on bodies by science and technology, of disease and physical decay, of the unresolved conflict between spirit and flesh. Violence, sexual transgression, confusion between what is real and what is virtual, the image’s deforming role in contemporary society: these are a few of the recurring themes which have helped make him one of the most daring and stimulating filmmakers ever, a tireless innovator of forms and languages.”

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The AFI DOCS Interview: Juliane Dressner, Director of Opening Night World Premiere PERSONAL STATEMENT

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Karoline, Enoch and Christine are Brooklyn high school seniors who just want to go to college, but like so many public school students throughout the country, their schools don’t have enough college guidance support. Refusing to give up, they decide to work as college counselors in their schools, becoming the very resource they don’t have themselves. Inspirational and moving, heartwarming and heartbreaking, PERSONAL STATEMENT is a testament to the power of knowledge and the ability to lead with a dream.

PERSONAL STATEMENT opens AFI DOCS on Wednesday, June 13 at the Newseum. Get tickets here.

AFI spoke with filmmaker Juliane Dressner, in an interview below.

AFI:What led you to pursue documentary filmmaking?

JD: Before my film career, I worked as a consultant in the nonprofit sector, documenting best practices in social programs, including youth organizing. I was so inspired by the young people who were addressing problems in their communities that I decided to become a filmmaker so that others could see the power of their work.

AFI: What inspired you to tell this story?

JD: College access is one of the dominant civil rights issues of our time. People from low-income backgrounds are increasingly excluded from higher education. One reason why this disparity exists is because many low-income students don’t have access to enough college guidance support.

When I learned that young people were taking it upon themselves to close the college guidance gap in their schools, I realized this was an extraordinary opportunity to both understand the obstacles they face, and to draw attention to their inspirational determination to surmount them.

AFI: How did you find the subjects in your film?

JD: I reached out to the staff at CARA (College Access: Research & Action), the organization that trains students to work as college counselors in their schools, and they were open to collaborating on a film. They knew that seeing these young people bringing about change in their communities is the best way to understand just how effective they can be.

CARA invited me to the peer counselor training, and that is where I met Karoline, Christine and Enoch. They were three of the 70 inspirational young people I met that day who had decided to step up and fill the guidance gap in their schools by working as peer college counselors.

AFI: What was a particular obstacle you faced while making the film? 

JD: When I showed up on the first day of the peer college counselor training with a camera crew, I had raised enough money to make a short video.

After meeting Karoline, Christine and Enoch, and understanding the enormous responsibility they were taking on, we realized that the best to way tell their stories was to follow them through their senior year and into college. This would mean shooting at their schools and homes at least weekly — and sometimes even more often. But I did not have the funds to pay for a crew to do that much filming. I considered delaying to raise money in order to film the next cohort of peer college counselors. But after meeting Karoline, Enoch and Christine, who were all interested in collaborating on a film, I felt compelled to continue. So I used what little money we had to purchase a camera.

I ended up doing much of the filming on my own. In some cases, and especially when capturing sound would be challenging with a one-person crew, Eddie Martinez and I would work as a two-person crew, with Eddie shooting. Even as I was filming, I was raising funds for the film. It was hard, but I think that the film benefited from having a small crew. Karoline, Christine and Enoch, as well as their families, classmates and teachers, became accustomed to us. As a result, we were able to capture pivotal and intimate moments.

AFI: What do you want audiences to walk away with after screening your film?

JD: Low-income teenagers want all that higher education promises: the possibility of prospering and moving beyond survival mode. They know that a college degree is their best bet. But many of them can’t get there, and as a result, income inequality persists.

One of the main barriers keeping low-income students out of college is the lack of college guidance in public schools. Many people don’t realize that most public schools don’t employ college counselors. Instead, guidance counselors are expected to provide help with the college process. But nationwide, the guidance counselor to student ratio is one to 490. And guidance counselors report that they can spend only 22% of their time on college guidance. The lack of college guidance support is especially troubling for students who don’t have someone at home who can help them with the college process.

I hope that audiences walk away from the film with a better awareness of the college guidance gap. The film sheds light on both the systemic barriers that keep so many young people from attaining a college degree, and the power that already exists within their communities to address problems of inequality. In the film we see that the very people who are affected by a problem are in fact the ones who are best situated to solve it.

AFI: Why is Washington, DC, a valuable location to screen your film?

JD: There is no better place for PERSONAL STATEMENT to premiere than Washington because the issues addressed in the film are national ones. We hope that the film will build support for systemic change throughout the U.S.

AFI: Why are documentary films important today?

JD: Documentary films are a powerful vehicle for transporting viewers to worlds they have never experienced. Watching PERSONAL STATEMENT, the audience comes to understand what it is like to navigate the daunting college process on a terribly uneven playing field. We see how challenging it can be for low-income students to become the first in their families to go to college. We hope the film will build support for the reforms that are needed to enable all young people to fulfill their potential.




World Premiere: DREAM BOAT documentary to screen at Berlin Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

World Premiere of DREAM BOAT

by Tristan Ferland Milewski

Official Selection – Section Panorama Dokumente Berlinale 2017



A cruise ship and 3,000 men – it is a universe without heteros and women that usually remains a mystery to the outside world. Once a year the DREAM BOAT sets sail for a cruise exclusively for gay men where most passengers are united by the wish to live life dreamboat_berlinauthentically as themselves in a protected place: Dipankar from India escaped an arranged marriage and now throws himself into the action to find his dream man. But the gay community‘s ideal of masculinity increasingly becomes a tight corset for him. Ramzi from Palestine was persecuted by the police in his home country, Palestine, for being gay and had to start a new life in Europe with nothing. The Frenchman Philippe was let down by his family when he was bound to a wheelchair. The more important is his long-term relationship with his partner, and his gay substitute family. Martin from Austria enjoys the hedonism and abundant choice of men to the full and gives perspectives on how to deal with HIV today. Marek from Poland, has everything he needs to stand out on the men’s market, thanks to his trained body. However, he feels lonely in the crowd. Now the countdown is on for seven days of hunting for freedom, love, and happiness – but on board are also their personal stories, their doubts and uncertainties…



Tristan Ferland Milewski has directed numerous documentary portraits about top pop acts like Madonna, among others and was responsible for the script and direction of the documentary series MAKE LOVE – ONE CAN LEARN HOW TO MAKE LOVE (nominated for the German Television Prize 2017). DREAM BOAT is his first feature-length documentary for theatrical release.

Dream Boat Director , Tristan Ferland Milewski (Photo courtesy of Koelner Filmpresse)

The film has been produced by the award winning production company gebrueder beetz filmproduktion (Sundance, IDFA, SXSW).



Deutschland  2017

92 Min. / OmU



(Source: Press release courtesy of Koelner Filmpresse)

Glashütte Original Documentary Award Jury

Posted by Larry Gleeson

For many years now, the Berlin International Film Festival has been committed to documentary film and diverse documentary forms. This was evident not only in the programmes of the different sections, initiatives and special series but also in the European Film Market (EFM).


Thanks to the support of Glashütte Original, watch manufacturer from Saxony, the Berlin International Film Festival is launching a new award, the Glashütte Original Documentary Award.

The Glashütte Original Documentary Award is endowed with € 50,000, funded by Glashütte Original. The prize money will be split between the film’s director and producer. A total of 16 documentary entries from the current programmes of the Competition, Berlinale Special, Panorama, Forum, Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino sections are nominated for the Glashütte Original Documentary Award.

The prize will be presented during the official Award Ceremony in the Berlinale Palast on February 18. In addition to the prize money, Glashütte Original will also provide the trophy, which will be finely crafted in the company’s manufactory in Saxony.


A three-member jury will pick the winner:



Daniela Michel (Photo by Fabrizio Maltese)

Daniela Michel (Mexico)
Born in Mexico City, Daniela Michel is a film critic and founding director of the Morelia International Film Festival, an annual event launched in 2003 to support a new generation of Mexican filmmakers. After studying filmmaking she received a degree in English Literature. She has curated retrospectives of Mexican cinema in and outside Mexico. Michel has also served on the Jury for the “Un Certain Regard” and “La Semaine de la Critique” sections of the Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, the Locarno International Film Festival, the San Sebastian International Film Festival, the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the Sarajevo Film Festival, among other festivals, as well as the Rockefeller Foundation’s Media Arts Fellowships and the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.



Laura Poitras (Photo by Jan Sturman

Laura Poitras (USA)
Laura Poitras, who was born in the USA, first studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and then The New School in New York. Her work crosses the boundaries of documentary film, journalism, and art. In 2006 she began her 9/11 Trilogy with the film My Country, My Country, for which she received her first Oscar nomination. This was followed by The Oath (2010), which like My Country, My Country, was shown in the Berlinale’s Forum section. With CITIZENFOUR, the third part of her trilogy, Poitras won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2015. With this film about Edward Snowden, she also took home awards from the German Film Prize, the Director’s Guild of America, and BAFTA. Her reporting on NSA surveillance has appeared in Der Spiegel, The Guardian, and the Washington Post, and received a Pulitzer Prize and the Nannen Prize for Press Freedom. In 2016, she mounted her first solo museum exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She is co-creator of the visual journalism project, Field of Vision.



Samir (Photo courtesy of Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion)

Samir (Iraq / Switzerland)
Samir was born in Bagdad and moved with his family to Switzerland when he was seven years old. In the 1980s, after studying at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) and training to be a typesetter, he began working as a cameraman, director, and screenwriter. Over the years he has made more than 40 short and full-length films. In 1994, he – and documentary filmmaker Werner Schweizer and producer Karin Koch – took over Dschoint Ventschr (spoken like Joint Venture) Filmproduktion, which concentrates on promoting young Swiss talents. Samir has directed both fiction and documentary films for the cinema and television – including Snow White (2005), which received multiple awards – as well as many stage productions. His documentary Iraqi Odyssey was screened in the Berlinale Panorama in 2015 and submitted by Switzerland for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.


The following films are nominated for the Glashütte Original Documentary Award:

Competition (1)

Beuys – Germany
By Andres Veiel

Berlinale Special (1)

La libertad del diablo (Devil’s Freedom) – Mexico
By Everardo González

Panorama (5)

Belinda – France
By Marie Dumora

El Pacto de Adriana – Chile
By Lissette Orozco

Erase and Forget – United Kingdom
By Andrea Luka Zimmerman

Fünf Sterne (Five Stars) – Germany
By Annekatrin Hendel

Istiyad Ashbah (Ghost Hunting) – France / Palestine/ Switzerland / Qatar
By Raed Andoni

Forum (5)

For Ahkheem – USA
By Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest

Maman Colonelle (Mama Colonel) – Democratic Republic of Congo / France
By Dieudo Hamadi

El mar la mar – USA
By Joshua Bonnetta and J.P. Sniadecki

Mzis qalaqi (City of the Sun) – Georgia / USA / The Netherlands / Qatar
By Rati Oneli

Tigmi n Igren (House in the Fields) – Morocco / Qatar
By Tala Hadid

Generation (3)

Almost Heaven – United Kingdom
By Carol Salter

Shkola nomer 3 (School Number 3) – Ukraine / Germany
By Yelizaveta Smith, Georg Genoux

Soldado (Soldier) – Argentina
By Manuel Abramovich

Perspektive Deutsches Kino (1)

Eisenkopf (Ironhead) – Germany
By Tian Dong

All nominated films will celebrate their world premiere at the Berlinale 2017.

(Source: Berlinale Press Office)

Hedgehog’s Home to Premiere at Berlin International Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Hedgehog’s Home (Ježeva kuća), an animated film by Canadian-Croatian Eva Cvijanović based on a classic tale by Branko Ćopić, will have its world premiere at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.

The film, which was part of the national curriculum for primary school literature in Croatia, has been included in the Generation Kplus competition programme at the famous festival, which will be held from 9 – 19 February 2017.

Hedgehog’s Home is about a hedgehog who lives in a lush and lively forest. He is respected and envied by the other animals. However, the hedgehog’s unwavering devotion to his home annoys a quartet of insatiable beasts. Together, they march off towards Hedgehog’s home and spark a tense and prickly standoff.


Cvijanović’s 10-minute animated film is based on Ćopić’s classic story which is a warm and universal tale for young and old that reminds us there truly is no place like home.


The film has been narrated in three languages – Croatian (by actor Rade Šerbedžija), English (by actor Kenneth Welsh (Twin Peaks), and in French (by actor France Castel).

The film is co-produced by The National Film Board (NFB) of Canada, winner of 12 Oscar Awards, and Croatia’s Bonobostudio.

Find out more about the film here.


2017 Opening Night Film – CHARGED

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 2017 SBIFF will kick off the festival on Wednesday, February 1st, at the historic Arlington Theatre with the World Premiere of CHARGED. The Opening Night Film is sponsored by UGG®.

Directed by Phillip Baribeau, CHARGED chronicles the journey of chef and outdoorsman, Eduardo Garcia and his recovery after being electrocuted by 2400 volts of electricity miles from help in the Montana backcountry.  Garcia had his hand amputated, lost ribs, muscle mass and nearly his life, but more important than what he lost is what he found. CHARGED tells Eduardo’s remarkable journey from getting up off the forest floor to becoming the man he is today.

The documentary is produced by Dennis Aig and Phillip Baribeau along with executive producers Teri Weinberg, Scott Ballew, Doug Ellin, Peter Hochfelder, Constance Schwartz–Morini and Michael Strahan.


Opening Night Film

Directed by Phillip Baribeau
Starring Eduardo Garcia

Wednesday, February 1, 2017 @ 8:00pm
Arlington Theatre


Directed by Phillip Baribeau, CHARGED chronicles the journey of chef and outdoorsman, Eduardo Garcia and his recovery after being electrocuted by 2400 volts of electricity miles from help in the Montana backcountry.  Garcia had his hand amputated, lost ribs, muscle mass and nearly his life, but more important than what he lost is what he found. CHARGED tells Eduardo’s remarkable journey from getting up off the forest floor to becoming the man he is today.

The documentary is produced by Dennis Aig and Phillip Baribeau along with executive producers Teri Weinberg, Scott Ballew, Doug Ellin, Peter Hochfelder, Constance Schwartz–Morini and Michael Strahan.


Palm Springs International Film Festival – January 11

Posted by Larry Gleeson




On Monday, January 9 students from around the Coachella Valley gathered at Palm Springs High School for Student Screening Day. First they saw the film THE EAGLE HUNTRESS with a special taped introduction by the film’s Director, Otto Bell. Following the screening there was a taped Q&A session with Mr. Bell.
After a lunch break the students got to see A MAN CALLED OVE, introduced by Director, Hannes Holm who answered the student’s questions about the film following the screening.




Israel – 2016 – 103 minutes
Director: Avi Nesher
US Premiere
In 1977 Jerusalem, two sisters, the daughters of Holocaust survivors, investigate a taboo topic: the mystery of their difficult father’s experiences in Poland during World War II. This profoundly moving drama confronts a burden of history that is still very much part of the Israeli present.
Thu, Jan 124:30 PM – Annenberg
Fri, Jan 131:15 PM – Annenberg
Director, Avi Nesher to attend.
Purchase tickets HERE.


Spain – 2016 – 90 minutes
Director: Luis González
North American Premiere

An exuberant follow-up to last year’s scrumptious, globe-trotting documentary Cooking Up a Tribute, this is a delicious travelogue following the acclaimed Roca brothers (from El Celler de Can Roca) as they dive into the rich and diverse food cultures of Turkey.

Thu, Jan 125:45 PM – Palm Canyon
Fri, Jan 1310:30 AM – Regal
Screenwriter, Andrea Gómez to attend.
Purchase tickets HERE.



U.S. – 2017 – 84 minutes
Director: Gus Van Sant
North American Premiere

From Gus van Sant and Dustin Lance Black (Milk), the first episode of their stirring seven-part docudrama that charts the progress of Gay Liberation from its early days in San Francisco in the 1960s to its 21st century triumphs.

Thu, Jan 126:45 PM – PSHS
Director, Gus Van Sant; Writer, Dustin Lance Black and Actors, Guy Pearce,
Rachel Griffiths and Ivory Aquino to attend.

Purchase tickets HERE.



A stand-alone Film Festival Store  for the Palm Springs International Film Festival is featuring a complete collection of Film Festival Merchandise at Destination PSP. The Festival Store is now open and will be open every day through January 16.
The Festival Store is located in the Regal Cinema Courtyard Plaza, unit 16,
just down from the Regal Cinemas and across the courtyard from the
Festival Ticket and Information Center.

You can also shop online at Destination PSP by clicking HERE.


UK/Jordan/Qatar – 2016 – 84 minutes
Director: Babak Anvari
A tense, firmly feminist horror movie with echoes of The Babadook, Poltergeist and Repulsion, Babak Anvari’s Farsi-language frightener (Britain’s Foreign-Language Oscar® nominee) pits an Iranian ghost story against the backdrop of the Iran-Iraq war. An unnerving, audacious debut that stands as one of the best of 2016-if you can handle it.
Thu, Jan 127:30 PM – Mary Pickford
Fri, Jan 137:00 PM – Mary Pickford
Purchase tickets HERE.


Chile – 2016 – 89 minutes
Director: Claudia Huaiquimilla
North American Premiere
Against the backdrop of an impending environmental crisis, two troubled adolescents strive to find their place in the world in this stirring debut film from Chile, which weaves together political themes both social and personal. Winner: Best First Feature, Valdiva.
Just click HERE.

Thu, Jan 127:30 PM – Regal
Sun, Jan 1511:30 AM – Regal
Director, Claudia Huaiquimilla to attend.
Purchase tickets HERE.


Sweden/U.S. – 2016 – 91 minutes
Director: Kasper Collin
Built around a recently recovered interview with Helen More, widow of jazz legend Lee Morgan (The Sidewinder), this is not just an evocative music film but a sucker punch of a crime story, related with palpable love and respect.
Thu, Jan 128:30 PM – Palm Canyon
Sat, Jan 141:00 PM – Regal
Sun, Jan 154:30 PM – Palm Canyon
Purchase tickets HERE



BONTA Restaurant & Bar

If you’re going to one of the great Festival films at the Mary Pickford (or even if you’re not) bonta-webour friend Chef Hector Salvatierra at Bonta Restaurant & Bar, is offering a special discount to those attending the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
10% off entire check includes all bar items and dinner menu!
Bonta is located at 68510 E Palm Canyon Drive, Suite 140, Cathedral City, CA 92234 (across the street from the Mary Pickford Theatres in the Desert Cinema building). Telephone: 760-832-6100.
Ticket and Pass holders need to show their pass or ticket they have purchased at any time during the Festival. Tickets will be honored throughout the festival dates, they expire at end of festival.
They will be serving lunch from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm, Happy hour from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm, dinner from 4:00 pm. Cocktails $4.50, Wine $5.00. Martinis $5.50.
They will also have take-out lunch boxes:
Soup and Salad or soup and Sandwich combos
Our Famous Homemade Chips and Chef Hectors Famous Chili and Split Pea soup
Check out their full menu HERE.
Make sure to stop by and say hello to Chef Hector and enjoy his truly amazing food. Tell him Larry sent you for a special treat!

AFI FEST 2016 Announces Special Screenings

The Special Screenings section of AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi includes three World Premieres and four additional highly anticipated films. The World Premiere of the CG-animated film MOANA (DIRS Ron Clements, John Musker) will play in the Special Screenings section, along with BRIGHT LIGHTS: STARRING CARRIE FISHER AND DEBBIE REYNOLDS (DIRS Fisher Stevens, Alexis Bloom), LION (DIR Garth Davis), PATERSON (DIR Jim Jarmusch) and TONI ERDMANN (DIR Maren Ade). Also bowing as Special Screenings will be the World Premieres of MISS SLOANE (DIR John Madden) and, as previously announced, THE COMEDIAN (DIR Taylor Hackford).

This documentary is a revealing portrait of Hollywood royalty in all its eccentricity. Two golden ages of American cinema are explored through the bittersweet relationship of Carrie Fisher and her mother, Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds. DIRS Fisher Stevens, Alexis Bloom. CAST Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher, Todd Fisher. USA

An aging comic icon, Jackie has seen better days. Despite his efforts to reinvent himself and his comic genius, the audience only wants to know him as the former television character he once played. Already a strain on his younger brother and his wife, Jackie is forced to serve out a sentence doing community service for accosting an audience member. While there, he meets the daughter of a sleazy Florida real estate mogul, and the two find inspiration in one another, resulting in surprising consequences. DIR Taylor Hackford. SCR Art Linson. CAST Robert De Niro, Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito, Edie Falco, Veronica Ferres, Charles Grodin, Cloris Leachman, Patti LuPone, Harvey Keitel. USA. World Premiere.

About LION
Twenty-five years after getting lost on a train and separated from his home and family, Saroo (Dev Patel) returns to India to find them. DIR Garth Davis. SCR Luke Davies. CAST Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, Sunny Pawar, Abhishek Bharate, Priyanka Bose, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Deepti Naval, Divian Ladwa, Pallavi Sharda, Arka Das. Australia

In the high-stakes world of political power brokers, Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain) is the most sought-after and formidable lobbyist in DC. Known equally for her cunning and her track record of success, she has always done whatever is required to win. But when she takes on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds that winning may come at too high a price. DIR John Madden. SCR Jonathan Perera. CAST Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alison Pill, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jake Lacy. USA. World Premiere

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes a sweeping, CG-animated feature film about an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people. DIRS Ron Clements, John Musker. SCR Jared Bush. CAST Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson. USA. World Premiere

In Jim Jarmusch’s latest, Adam Driver stars as a working-class poet and bus driver living a routine existence, and finding beauty in the details of everyday life. DIR Jim Jarmusch. SCR Jim Jarmusch. CAST Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani. USA

The smash hit of this year’s Cannes Film Festival centers on a workaholic woman who must deal with her father’s eccentric new identity when he comes to stay. DIR Maren Ade. SCR Maren Ade. CAST Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hüller, Michael Wittenborn, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Pütter, Hadewych Minis, Lucy Russell, Ingrid Bisu, Vlad Ivanov, Victoria Cocias. Germany


Tickets to Special Screenings will be available on beginning November 1.




AFI FEST Presents World Premiere of THE COMEDIAN with Robert De Niro & Leslie Mann

The World Premiere of THE COMEDIAN from Sony Pictures Classics and Cinelou Films will play as a Special Screening of AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi. The film stars Oscar® winner Robert De Niro, along with Leslie Mann, Oscar® nominee Danny DeVito, Edie Falco, Veronica Ferres, Charles Grodin, Oscar® winner Cloris Leachman, Patti LuPone and Oscar® nominee Harvey Keitel. Written by Art Linson, directed by Oscar® winner Taylor Hackford and produced by Art Linson, John Linson, Mark Canton, Courtney Solomon and Taylor Hackford.

In THE COMEDIAN, an aging comic icon, Jackie (De Niro) has seen better days. Despite his efforts to reinvent himself and his comic genius, the audience only wants to know him as the former television character he once played. Already a strain on his younger brother (DeVito) and his wife (LuPone), Jackie is forced to serve out a sentence doing community service for accosting an audience member. While there, he meets Harmony (Mann), the daughter of a sleazy Florida real estate mogul (Keitel), and the two find inspiration in one another, resulting in surprising consequences.THE COMEDIAN will screen on Friday, November 11, at the Egyptian Theatre.


AFI FEST takes place November 10–17, 2016, in the heart of Hollywood. Screenings, Galas and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and The Hollywood Roosevelt. The full festival lineup and schedule will be unveiled in October.




Go to for details to purchase Patron Packages, which include access to Galas and other high-demand films and events. Individual tickets will be available on beginning November 1.


TIFF 2016: Woody Harrelson in One More Biopic of LBJ—This Time a Good One

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By George Prentice

Beneath a mound of makeup and fake proboscis, Woody Harrelson performs the hell out of Lyndon Baines Johnson in LBJ, yet another dramatization of the 36th president of the United States.

The subject of President Johnson has been well trod. There have been four magnificent books written on LBJ by Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Caro; the Tony Award-winning 2012 Broadway play All the Way by Robert Schennkan; and the 2016 HBO adaptation of the play, which will most certainly win its star, Bryan Cranston, another Emmy Award this Sunday.

Now comes director Rob Reiner’s LBJ, which has yet to set a release date in North America but made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“You got your show horses and you got your workhorses,” LBJ says to an aide early in the film, referring to then-President John F. Kennedy’s popularity versus his vice president’s respectability. “And when the field needs plowin’, you need the right one leavin’ the barn.”

LBJ chronicles Johnson’s reluctance to accept the vice presidency from JFK, followed by his taking of the reins in the shadow of the latter’s assassination. Harrelson plays the irascible yet sly Texan as a tough SOB who still obsessed over not being liked.

“I could walk on the Potomac River and the next day’s headlines would say, ‘Johnson can’t swim,'” he complains.

Expectations were low for the film. Reiner has had his share of hits (When Harry Met Sally, A Few Good Men), but he’s had more misses of late (Being Charlie, Rumor Has it, The Story of Us). Considering Reiner also directed the widely-popular 1995 film The American President, this is territory he’s comfortable with—and it shows.

Harrelson, whose dramatic turns increase with every project (one recent highlight being HBO’s True Detective), mines his own Texas roots to uncover subtleties in LBJ than many other actors haven’t been able to deliver. For that reason alone, LBJ is worth seeing and goes a long way to making it Reiner’s best film since The American President.