Tag Archives: Hollywood

Streaming And The Shifting Dynamics Of 21st Century Indie Film Distribution

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Justine Harrison

Ten years ago, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA would have been a Miramax or Paramount Vintage picture. Now? It’s being distributed by a company that began as an online bookseller.

The history of Hollywood is a long and winding one. Over the course of its existence, it has been everything from a series of content factories to an accessory for giant multinationalscreen-shot-2016-11-30-at-3-40-24-pm hybrid companies. It has been through numerous cycles of boom and bust. It has given us both The Terminator and Terminator: Genisys (or as I prefer to call it, Terminator: Spylling Arror). And, as with any institution that exists for an extensive period of time, Hollywood’s methodologies have grown and changed. Low budget genre pictures are no longer made by the dozens on a production assembly line. Directors and actors work job to job, rather than on contracts built around a set number of films. The general structure and tone of blockbusters has changed time and again. And, just as the methods of producing films and the type of films that get made have changed, so too have the methods of getting them out into the world.

When Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea opens in theaters this week, it will be the latest offering from Amazon Films, the film distribution branch of the online bookseller screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-3-42-49-pmturned general internet juggernaut. It will receive both a theatrical and a home media release, but ultimately those are loss leaders for its eventual premiere on Amazon Prime’s streaming service. It will join Chi-Raq, Wiener Dog, The Neon Demon, The Handmaiden and others as part of a sales pitch to its potential audience. That pitch goes something like this – “We have distinctive films by distinctive filmmakers, and if you subscribe to our service, you will have access to them through what is currently being sold as the most accessible way to watch movies and television.” Netflix does something similar with its own original content, although they generally give more promotional focus to their serialized content as opposed to their standalone films. Streaming is still a relatively recent factor in the state of non-blockbuster film distribution, and it has major implications for film as a whole that are still being worked out. But on a purely business level, it is easy to understand why distribution for smaller films has turned so sharply towards streaming in the past few years. Through streaming, Netflix, Amazon and their peers in distribution are making a move that their predecessors could not.

Many of the biggest independent and semi-independent film distributors from the last century have either folded or been dramatically transformed. Miramax and New Line, arguably the biggest and most powerful of these mini-major studios, are now much smaller companies. The Weinstein brothers left Miramax in the 2000s to form The Weinstein Company, and Disney ultimately chose to sell the company off. Its film library, which includes every one of Quentin Tarantino’s pictures up to Kill Bill, is now distributed by former rival Lionsgate. New Line has similarly lost much of the influence it once had, and it now exists as a subsidiary of Warner Brothers. Warner Independent Pictures (Before Sunset, A Scanner Darkly)and Paramount Vantage (No Country for Old Men, Nebraska) have been completely shut down. These companies and subdivisions lived and died on their ability to sell and spread comparatively small, specific movies as comparatively small, specific movies. New Line made its name with A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises, both of which were huge hits in comparison to their budgets. Miramax sold itself as a haven for filmmakers championed as auteurs – Tarantino, Kevin Smith and their peers. Paramount Vantage distributed the Coens after a string of unsuccessful movies, and Warner Independent Pictures backed Richard Linklater on two of his more ambitious projects (his first return to Jesse and Céline, ten years after Before Sunrise and a cell-shaded adaptation of Phillip K. Dick’s quietly dystopian drug war story, featuring a post-rehab pre-Iron Man Robert Downey, Jr.). While some of these movies have become blockbusters, none of them (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aside, and even with the success of the cartoon, New Line could not put Disney money behind their adaptation) could initially have been sold as such. So they narrowed their focus, and tailored their products to a specific audience that they could reach. When they overplayed their hand, or the audience moved on, they failed.

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Streaming enables the targeting of a more specific audience than ever before, for both good and ill. Amazon can play specifically to folks who want to see Manchester by the Sea or The Neon Demon and guarantee that they will have an audience, but it will be just as easy for a movie to get lost in the endless backrows, particularly if it is only pointed out to a specific audience. It’s why I’m glad Amazon has been making a push to get their movies into theaters, and why simultaneously I want them to push harder. They’ve distributed some really amazing movies, and I want those movies to have a life beyond an ad saying that they are now streaming on Amazon Prime.

(Source: www.birthmoviesdeath.com)

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LA LA LAND to Receive the Vanguard Award at Palm Springs

Palm Springs, CA (November 21, 2016) – The 28th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present the film La La Land with the Vanguard Award at its annual Film Awards Gala.  The award is presented to the film’s cast and director recognizing its outstanding creative ensemble. Cast members Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone and director/writer Damien Chazelle are expected to attend. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mart Hart, will be held Monday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2-16.

“Director and writer Damien Chazelle delivers a resonant cinematic masterpiece with La La Land,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “This visually stunning film pays tribute to classic Hollywood musicals with a contemporary love story driven by pitch-perfect performances by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.  It is our honor to present the Vanguard Award to La La Land.”

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La La Land Director/Writer Damien Chazelle  (Photo courtesy of ASCA Images/Biennale Cinema di Venezia)

Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Damien Chazelle, La La Land, from Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label, tells the story of an aspiring actress, Mia (Emma Stone), and a dedicated jazz musician, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), both struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern-day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.

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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

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(www.psfilmfest.org)

 

Pakistani cinemas will screen Iranian and Turkish films to fill void

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Written by Munnazzah Raza

As the ban on Indian content persists, Pakistani cinema owners and film distributors hope to bring about a change in the cinema experience for audiences by screening IranianFilm distribution , Turkish and hopefully Chinese and South Korean films.

Film distribution company IMGC’s Chairman Shaikh Amjad Rashid and Mohsin Yaseen of Cinepax management speak with Images on screening foreign films in Pakistan.

“It’s in the initial states right now. We’ve decided to screen films from Iran and Turkey to fill the gap of Indian films,” says Rashid.

“Yes. We are looking at different options from around the world to fill the gap, as Turkish dramas had a good following in Pakistan, we feel their movies will have a good impact too. Currently, we only play films from Hollywood, Bollywood and Pakistan,” echoes Mohsin Yaseen of Cinepax (Karachi) management.

The hit Turkish drama ‘Ishq e Mamnoon’ went viral in Pakistan and girls couldn’t stop gushing over Behlül.

This move comes because local productions aren’t enough to sustain Pakistani cinemas.

Says Yaseen, “Hollywood has a set number of releases around the year and these films have a certain market following. Bollywood has a huge market following but due to the political scenario there will always be uncertainty. Pakistani movies are coming in but they are limited in quantity, and are not enough to run 52 weeks of cinema business in a year. And Iranian films have good international repute, some Iranian directors have won international awards as well.”

However, both agree that this won’t necessarily be a permanent move. The chairman explains: “If the ban on Indian films is lifted, this will fizzle out because they (Iranian and Turkish films) will not yield a profitable response; they’re very different from Pakistani culture.”

Although Turkish dramas like Ishq e Mamnoon, Fatima Gull and Mera Sultan went viral in Pakistan, it’s costly to buy their rights. But Yaseen hopes that Turkish films will be just as popular as these TV dramas.

The reason being Indian films don’t have a language barrier and our culture closely mirrors theirs. Additionally, the Pakistani audience is more receptive to Indian artists because they are popular here and are frequently seen in TV commercials, he explains.

“Iranian artists are new (to our audience), even I don’t know who their top actor or actress is,” says Rashid. “However, this experiment can be done and it can be said that there is potential by placing one or two films.”

Although Turkish dramas like Ishq e Mamnoon, Fatima Gull and Mera Sultan went viral in Pakistan, Rashid explains that they stopped playing here because it became costly to buy the rights. Plus, the traction died down.screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-7-40-56-am

“We had some advantage through Turkish dramas but there’s a difference in TV audience and the cinema audience,” he explains. “It’s about paying money to go watch a show, as opposed to sitting at home and watching one which is available on cable.”

Yaseen, on the other hand, is hopeful that the films will be as successful as the Turkish shows. “This formula worked on TV content. We are experimenting on a similar pattern as we have seen few screeners of the films and they are amazing and I’m sure our audience will like these movies as well.

On screening foreign films, IMGC aims create a trade system with Iran and Turkey and also bring China on board. “There should be a barter system. In new markets we should do a barter system, Pakistani films should also be screened there,” says the chairman.

Rashid discloses that a Pak-China film is in the works penned by Amjad Islam, which will be directed by Shehzad Rafique.

He adds, “South Korea is making exceptional movies nowadays, and we should explore China (as a market), even if 5% are released there it’ll be profitable. When Pakistani films were released in China they did really well and were screening for years.”

Although China is a viable option, as it is the second largest market after the U.S., there are a few considerations to note. For example, only 20% of foreign films are allowed to be screened in Chinese cinemas, the rest are all local productions.

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“When the Indian PM went to China he took an Indian film distributor with him to sign a film agreement with them. It’s unfortunate that when Pakistani officials go they don’t take anybody from the film industry or try to get the agreements signed,” says Rashid.

However, efforts are being made on both fronts to strengthen ties with China. He discloses that a Pak-China film is in the works penned by Amjad Islam, which will soon be directed by Shehzad Rafique. They’re planning on taking two actresses; one from Pakistan and one from China. The working title of which is Rishta Hai Pyaar Ka and shooting will begin after winter.

Both, Yaseen and Rashid agree that it will take a long period of time till people become comfortable with the idea of foreign films. As of now, the foreign films which will be screened have not been finalised.

(Source: www.images.dawn.com)

FILM CAPSULE: Singin’ In The Rain (Donen, Kelly, 1952): USA

Viewed during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Reviewed by Larry Gleeson.

Singin’ In The Rain, is a Hollywood gem created under auspicious beginnings as the writers, Green and Comden, pushed themselves through the night to come up with a musical recycling some of the great tunes of yesteryear. One can’t help but wonder!

singin-in-the-rain-7438_1The musical film contains toe-tapping tunes and choreographed dancing that are a pleasure to experience. The version I watched was in color and the colors were vivid and bright and complemented the tone of the film.

In addition, the musical had a significant industry milestone contained within as the transition from silent to talkies was showcased in a lighthearted, laughable, and fun manner as we see a camera hidden in a phone booth, a microphone placed in flower pot and the outcomes of such attempts as preview audiences laugh and guffaw at the attempts to synchronize and balance the recorded voices.

Even the film’s climax brings laughter as the audience witnesses platinum blondesingin-in-the-rain-ending bombshell, Lina Lamont, played to a tee by Jean Hagen, a prim a-donna of the worst sort, who has connived, bullied and blackmailed co-stars and executives alike in making her way to the top, being brought down as the curtain is raised showcasing a new rising star, Kathy, played by the effervescent Debbie Reynolds. The audience sees Kathy singing and Lamont’s contemptuous attempt at lip synching. When confronted Lamont speaks and the audience roars with laughter at her high-pitched Brooklyn accent.

The theme of contempt isn’t just introduced at the end. It’s evident from the opening as Don, played by Gene Kelly, overwhelms a reporter as he details his rise to stardom with his partner Cosmo, played by Donald O’Connor, with “Dignity. Always Dignity.” Yet, the truth is the two struggled and scraped and clawed their way to the top working in pool halls, slapstick vaudeville sketches and even burlesque. Not one to be left out, Kathy gets in on the contempt as she tells Don she’s a serious actor and then we see her jumping out of a birthday cake.

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Meanwhile the studio is sending out press releases stating Don and Lina are a romantic couple. Hilarity ensues as Lina believes the press releases and is in hot pursuit of her man Don. And, studio executive Simpson, played by Millard Mitchell insists talkies will never catch on. Most everything gets turned this side of Tuesday as Don and Kathy become romantically involved, Lina finally gets what’s coming to her (although one can’t help but sympathize with such a nitwit), talkies catch on and sound get synchronized onto the film as it’s shot, and the project is a success.

Definitely a feel-good film from start to finish. I highly recommend this film the any cinephile as it’s a Hollywood treasure in respect to the industry at large and also because of the superb dancing and singing performances. Furthermore, I strongly encourage  those interested viewers to watch this film on the big screen as it’s characters are larger than life.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan to play in Russian-Chinese film on Gogol story

Russia and China are currently working on a film project under the tentative title Viy 2: Journey to China, the press service of the producer of the film, Gleb Fetisov, said.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan and Jason Flemyng are said to be involved in the project.

“The filming with Schwarzenegger is held in China. There is another Hollywood star taking part in the making of Viy 2 – Jackie Chan,” RIA Novosti quoted the producer’s press service.

The Chinese side sees the Viy 2: Journey to China as a potential blockbuster and hope to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in the local box office.

British actor Jason Flemyng (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch) will play the main role of British explorer Jonathan Green. In the film, Mr. Green receives an order from tsar Peter I to produce maps of the Far East of Russia and finds himself in China.

The premiere of “Viy 2” is scheduled for early 2017.

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“Viy” is a horror novella by the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol that he published in 1835. The title of the story is also the name of the demonic creature.

“Viy” the motion picture was made in 1967 in the Soviet Union and became one of the leaders of Soviet film distribution in 1968 (32.6 million viewers). The 1967 motion picture became the USSR’s only horror film.

(Source: Pravda.Ru)

 

FILM CAPSULE: The Central Park Five (Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, 2012): USA

Reviewed by Larry Gleeson Viewed at the AFI Fest 2012 at Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, Calif.

In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem are arrested and  convicted of raping a white woman jogging in New York City’s Central Park. They are incarcerated in prison ranging between 6 and 13 years  before a serial rapist confesses to one of the erroneously convicted that he alone had committed the crime, leading to the  convictions of those erroneously imprisoned being overturned. Set against a backdrop of a decaying city beset by violence and racial tension during the mid 80’s crack cocaine boom, The Central Park Five,  tells the story of crime, a miscarriage of justice, the push by the police for confessions, a sensationalized media frenzy clamoring for emotionally charged stories and a public pushed to the brink with the common place Central Park “wildings’ occurring each weekend , and the five lives upended by the police department, the prosecutor’s office and the New York City Mayor’s Office. The five youths admitted they were in the park that evening committing other crimes.

The film is directed by legendary documentarian Ken Burns and his newcomer daughter Sarah Burns, who is the driving force behind the making of the film as she wrote her college thesis on the five falsely accused teens. Extensive use of archival footage combined with photos and current seated interviews provide an authenticity to the storytelling. At times it’s difficult to fathom how these young men were coerced into confessing. Yet, the Burns’ take the viewer on an “inch by inch” journey culminating in the release of the Central Park Five from their respective incarcerations. The question propagated being: was justice carried out? The obvious answer is not for these five young men. Other questions come to mind when these men are shown present day as they are finding it challenging to live life on life’s terms.

In a Q & A following the film (three of the Central Park Five were present and participated in a panel along with Ken and Sarah Burns), a civil suit against the prosecutor’s office and the police department came to light. The lawsuit is now nine years old and depositions haven’t even begun. The general consensus being that two to three more years will pass before the depositions are completed. Then, and only then, will the case be heard.

Yesterday’s headline news again reported a female jogger being approached by another group of five  young, teen-age men around 8:30 P/M in the northern part of New York City’s Central Park seeking the woman to provide them with kisses. The woman rebuffed the advances and police officers claim one of the teens touched her genital/groin area and purportedly ran off. The Central Park Five, is a very provocative film revolving around the issue of what constitutes justice and what collateral damage occurs in carrying out a Machiavellian “the end justifies the means” brand of justice.

 

China launches art house film circuit

China has gotten its first circuit of cinemas specializing in the exhibition of art-house films. The long-awaited move involves a coalition of public and private companies. This creates a third distribution channel for specialist and award-winning titles in China, which have struggled to enter the market through the existing quota system.

The network is formally headed by Beijing-based China Film Archive. Other members include Huaxia Film Distribution, Wanda Cinemas, Lumiere Pavilions, and online ticketing firm Beijing Weying Technology, giving it an initial footprint in 31 towns and cities.

It will see its first release handled in November. CFA is expected to curate a series of thematic strands, but each cinema is free to choose its own program within that.

“We have 100 cinemas that are already part of the network with 400 more being added. Each cinema is committed to screening three art-house films per day in at least ten prime time slots per week,” said Sun Xianghui, director of China Film Archive.

There is expected to be an accent on premium and award-winning titles. That emphasis is understood to be part of the reason that the circuit may be able to show films that are not imported as part of the commercially-driven, revenue-sharing quotas and then released by the state-owned distributors China Film Corp and Huaxia.

Auteur director Jia Zhangke’s newly launched Fabula Entertainment is also part of the network.

 

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Beijing based auteur director Jia Zhangke (Photo credit: NY Times.com)

“We will have a small committee. This committee is composed of film scholars, film historians and curators, who will determine which films meet our requirements for the entire circuit. So it is not just for Chinese young directors. We also want to introduce international filmmakers to Chinese audiences. It is a bilateral communication,” said film director Jia Zhangke.

The move is part of a long-gestating initiative by the Chinese government to increase diversity in the China film market, which is dominated by mainstream Hollywood and Chinese titles.

(Source: www.cctv.com)

AFI FEST 2016 Cinema’s Legacy Lineup

AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi has announced its annual Cinema Legacy’s lineup. This section highlights classic movies and, this year, is comprised of nine iconic titles from film history, including Orson Welles’ masterpiece CITIZEN KANE (1941), along with films featuring the three female film trailblazers adorning this year’s festival key art: CARMEN JONES (1954), starring Dorothy Dandridge; THE HITCH-HIKER (1953), directed by Ida Lupino; and PICCADILLY (1929), starring Anna May Wong. Additionally, the Cinema’s Legacy section will present AFI Conservatory alumna Julie Dash’s (Class of 1974) groundbreaking DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (1991).

CINEMA’S LEGACY

CARMEN JONES – Dorothy Dandridge stars in the title role that made her the first African-American woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar®. DIR Otto Preminger. SCR Harry Kleiner. CAST Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, Pearl Bailey, Olga James, Joe Adams, Brock Peters, Roy Glenn, Nick Stewart, Diahann Carroll. USA

CITIZEN KANE – Orson Welles’ classic — number one on AFI’s list of the greatest films of all time — follows the tragic life of newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane. DIR Orson Welles. SCRS Herman J. Mankiewicz, Orson Welles. CAST Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Linda Winters, Agnes Moorehead, Ruth Warrick, Ray Collins, Erskine Sanford, Everett Sloane, William Alland, Paul Stewart, George Coulouris. USA

DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST – Filmmaker Julie Dash (AFI Class of 1974) weaves lush imagery and a poetic narrative in this tale of three generations of African-American slave descendants on a journey to the North. DIR Julie Dash. SCR Julie Dash. CAST Adisa Anderson, Barbara-O, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Cora Lee Day, Geraldine Dunston, Vertamae Grosvenor, Tommy Hicks, Kaycee Moore. USA

FLIRTING WITH DISASTER – In David O. Russell’s sophomore feature, Ben Stiller, Téa Leoni and Patricia Arquette play an oddball trio careening across America. DIR David O. Russell. SCR David O. Russell. CAST Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Téa Leoni, Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin, Richard Jenkins, Josh Brolin. USA

THE HITCH-HIKER – A deranged hitchhiker takes two all-American Everymen as hostages in this gripping film noir classic. DIR Ida Lupino. SCR Ida Lupino, Collier Young, Robert Joseph. CAST Edmond O’Brien, Frank Lovejoy, William Talman, José Torvay, Sam Hayes, Wendell Niles, Jean Del Val, Clark Howat. USA

IL SORPASSO – A classic road trip comedy meets the most fabulous of odd couple pairings in Dino Risi’s IL SORPASSO, considered the holy grail of commedia all’italiana. DIR Dino Risi. SCRS Dino Risi, Ettore Scola, Ruggero Maccari. CAST Vittotio Gassman, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Catherine Spaak, Claudio Gora, Luciana Angiolillo. Italy

MIFUNE, THE LAST SAMURAI – This thoughtful, elegant documentary on Japanese cinema’s greatest actor, Toshiro Mifune, is a cinephile’s dream. DIR Steven Okazaki. SCRS Steven Okazaki, Stuart Galbraith IV. FEAT Keanu Reeves, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Kyôko Kagawa, Toshio Tshuchiya. Japan

PICCADILLY – Anna May Wong, the first Chinese-American movie star, is astonishing as a dishwasher promoted to the headlining act at outré London club Piccadilly. DIR Ewald André Dupont. Presented with live DJ accompaniment from Ms. 45s. SCR Arnold Bennett. CAST Gilda Gray, Anna May Wong, Jameson Thomas, King Ho-Chang, Cyril Ritchard, Charles Laughton. UK

SPEEDY – Special engagement of the silent film classic, presented with original live music accompaniment by DJ Z-Trip. The great Harold Lloyd stars in the title role as a man who hilariously tries to save the last horse-drawn streetcar in an increasingly modern New York City. DIR Ted Wilde. SCRS John Grey, Lex Neal, Howard Rogers, Jay Howe, Albert De Mond. CAST Harold Lloyd, Ann Christy, Bert Woodruff, Babe Ruth, Brooks Benedict. USA

Tickets to Cinema’s Legacy screenings will be available on AFI.com beginning November 1.

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(Source: www.blog.afi.com)

AFI FEST 2016 Unveils New Auteurs, Shorts, American Independents and Midnight Sections

AFI has announced the films that will be featured in the New Auteurs, Shorts, American Independents and Midnight sections at AFI FEST 2016 presented by Audi. Films in the New Auteurs and Shorts sections are eligible for Grand Jury Awards. The full program information is below.

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 AFI.com now to purchase Patron Packages, which can include access to Galas and other high-demand films and events.  Individual tickets will be available on AFI.com beginning November 1.

NEW AUTEURS 

Highlighting first- and second-time feature film directors, New Auteurs is the festival’s platform for upcoming filmmakers from all over the world to showcase their new films. This year, the section is comprised of 10 films, seven of which come from female directors.

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ALWAYS SHINE – When two actress friends get together for a weekend in Big Sur, their hopes for reconnection spiral into jealousy, tension and fragmented identities. DIR Sophia Takal. SCR Lawerence Michael Levine. CAST Mackenzie Davis, Caitlin FitzGerald, Lawrence Michael Levine, Alexander Koch, Jane Adams. USA

BUSTER’S MAL HEART – Rami Malek plays a man split in two by grief in AFI FEST alum Sarah Adina Smith’s visceral, mind-bending mystery. DIR Sarah Adina Smith. SCR Sarah Adina Smith. CAST Rami Malek, Kate Lyn Sheil, DJ Qualls, Mark Kelly, Sukha Belle Potter, Lin Shaye, Toby Huss. USA

DIVINES – A fearless and ferocious teenager and her charismatic best friend strive for money, power and respect by following in the footsteps of a ruthless female drug dealer. DIR Houda Benyamina. SCRS Romain Compingt, Houda Benyamina, Malik Rumeau. CAST Oulaya Amamra, Jisca Kalvanda, Kévin Mischel, Déborah Lukumuena, Yasin Houicha, Majdouline Idrissi. France | Qatar

THE FUTURE PERFECT (EL FUTURO PERFECTO) – In this whimsical debut, a young Chinese immigrant is determined to assimilate into her new home of Buenos Aires, but her traditional Chinese family and Indian beau complicate things. DIR Nele Wohlatz. SCR Nele Wohlatz. CAST Xiaobin Zhang, Saroj Kumar Malik, Mian Jiang, Dong Xi Wang, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart. Argentina

GODLESS – A nurse running scams on her elderly patients calls her hardened life into question when she strikes up a friendship with a retired choirmaster. DIR Ralitza Petrova. SCR Ralitza Petrova. CAST Irena Ivanova, Ivan Nalbantov, Ventzislav Konstantinov, Alexandr Triffonov, Dimitar Petkov. Bulgaria

KATI KATI – In this beautiful, dreamlike depiction of the afterlife, an African woman finds herself in a resort where every soul has their wishes granted — except escape. DIR Mbithi Masya. SCRS Mbithi Masya, Mugambi Nthiga. CAST Nyokabi Gethaiga, Elsaphan Njora, Paul Ogola, Peter King Mwania. Kenya | Germany

KILL ME PLEASE – In this giallo-tinged meditation on puberty, a 15-year-old girl living in Rio de Janeiro must navigate a wave of murders in her neighborhood. DIR Anita Rocha da Silveira. SCR Anita Rocha da Silveira. CAST Valentina Herszage, Dora Freind, Julia Roliz, Mari Oliveira, Bernardo Marinho. Brazil

ONE WEEK AND A DAY (SHAVUA VE YOM) – A man, grieving the death of his son, befriends his stoner neighbor in this wry and moving dramedy. DIR Asaph Polonsky. SCR Asaph Polonsky. CAST Shai Avivi, Evgenia Dodina, Tomer Kapon, Sharon Alexander, Uri Gvariel, Carmit Mesilati-Kaplan, Alona Shauloff. Israel

OSCURO ANIMAL – This gorgeously shot debut follows three Colombian women who are all brutally affected by the country’s armed conflict. DIR Felipe Guerrero. SCR Felipe Guerrero. CAST Marleyda Soto, Jocelyn Meneses, Luisa Vides, Verónica Carvajal, Josué Quiñones, Pedro Suárez, Lorena Vides. Colombia 

STILL LIFE – This simultaneously beautiful and disturbing portrait follows a young nameless worker earning a temporary living in a livestock slaughterhouse. DIR Maud Alpi. SCRS Maud Alpi, Baptiste Boulba. CAST Virgile Hanrot, Dimitri Buchenet, Boston. France

SHORTS

The Shorts selections represent distinct, often far-flung international viewpoints, with 39 films including nine animated films. Shorts filmmakers come from 17 countries, with 12 films from directors who are returning to AFI FEST this year.

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ALL THESE VOICES – A Nazi soldier in disguise encounters a survivors’ avant-garde theater troupe celebrating the end of the war. DIR David Henry Gerson. SCRS David Henry Gerson, Martin Horvat, Brennan Elizabeth Peters. CAST Harrison Thomas, Beata Poźniak, Kristof Konrad, Kinga Philipps, Kasia Kowalczyk, Anthony Nikolchev. USA

BLOODY BARBARA – Barbara roams the streets covered in blood, reenacting the scenes from some of her favorite films. DIR Shawn Bannon. SCR Shawn Bannon. CAST Atheena Frizzell. USA

THE BLOOP – In 1997 an unusual sound was recorded. It lasted one minute and was never heard again. DIR Cara Cusumano. USA

A BRIEF HISTORY OF PRINCESS X – A supercharged history of sculptor Constantin Brancusi’s infamous “Princess X.” DIR Gabriel Abrantes. SCR Gabriel Abrantes. CAST Filipe Vargas, Francisco Cipriano, Joana Barrios. Portugal | France | UK 

A COAT MADE DARK – Two burglars strike it rich after stealing a mysterious coat. DIR Jack O’Shea. SCR Jack O’Shea. CAST Hugh O’Conor, Declan Conlon, Antonia Campbell Hughes. Ireland

CRYSTAL LAKE – A group of girls takes over the half pipe. There on the ramp, with no boys around, they are thriving and visible. DIR Jennifer Reeder. SCR Jennifer Reeder. CAST Marcela Okeke, Shea Glover, Sebastian Summers, Kristyn Zoe Wilkerson, Ron Stevens. USA

DEER FLOWER – A family visit to a deer farm results in a peculiar experience. DIR Kangmin Kim. SCR Kangmin Kim. CAST Kangmin Kim. USA

DIRT – Some things must die to live. DIR Darius Clark Monroe. SCR Darius Clark Monroe. CAST Segun Akande. USA

THE DISAPPOINTMENT TOUR – Three generations of women, crammed into a car along with their emotional baggage, experience an unexpected moment of connection on the side of the road.. DIR Erica Liu. SCR Erica Liu. CAST Michelle Farrah Huang, Grace Shen, Cindera Che, Gaby Santinelli. USA

DRAMATIC RELATIONSHIPS – The male gaze inspected through the relationship between a director and his female actors. DIR Dustin Guy Defa. SCR Dustin Guy Defa. CAST Lindsay Burdge, Elisa Lasowski, Hannah Gross, Keith Poulson, Stephen Gurewitz, Agostina Galvez. USA

DREAMING OF BALTIMORE – Freedom means only one thing: riding your dirt bike in the street, front wheel aimed at the sky. DIR Lola Quivoron. SCRS Lola Quivoron, Pauline Rambeau de Baralon. CAST Clark Gernet, Owen Kanga, Jean-Marie Narainen, Sébastien Lecouvreur, Benjamin Fortin. France

E.W.A – Ewa can’t stop bleeding. DIR Gigi Ben Artzi. SCRS Gigi Ben Artzi, Roy Ben Artzi, Adam Horowitz. CAST Alihah Galyautdinova, Gil Abramov. Ukraine

EARS, NOSE AND THROAT – A woman’s testimonial faculties are confirmed through medical examinations before she recites a tragic story, whose horrors we don’t see, hear or smell, but can imagine far too easily. DIR Kevin Jerome Everson. CAST Shadeena Brooks, Dr. Eric Mansfield, Dr. Heather Honeycutt. USA

FATA MORGANA – A grieving couple is forced to examine their marriage when they journey from China to the United States for the funeral for their only child. DIR Amelie Wen. SCRS Amelie Wen, Jon Keng. CAST Mardy Ma, Liu Peiqi, Anita Liao, Anna Pan, Laurie Faso, Dave Bean, Briana McLean, April Moreau. USA

GLOVE – The true story of a glove that’s been floating in space forever since 1968. DIRS Alexa Lim Haas, Bernardo Britto. CAST Henry Parker. USA

HAM HEADS – Larry and Barry are the world’s oldest living conjoined twins. They live in their brother’s basement. DIR Efren Hernandez. SCR Efren Hernandez. CAST Olan Montgomery, Thomas Montgomery, Mike Montgomery, Madeleine Russell, Robert “Lil’ Bob” McCall, Todd Lewis, Corey Pelizzi. USA

HIDDEN – Possessed by sibling rivalry, Parham must face his role in a series of events that have incapacitated his half-brother. DIR Farzad Ostovarzadeh. SCR Farzad Ostovarzadeh. CAST Daniel Zolghadri, Shary Nassimi, Bardia Seiri, Niousha Jafarian. Iran | USA

HOUNDS – On the day of a would-be promotion, a museum worker must deal with an accident involving a prized sculpture. DIR Omer Tobi. SCR Omer Tobi. CAST Orna Banai, Ilanit Ben Yaacov, Eti Levi, Hila Shalev, Dalia Beger, Anat Vaksman. Israel

ICEBOX – A young boy from Honduras finds himself in a difficult situation when he is arrested at the U.S. border. DIR Daniel Sawka. SCR Daniel Sawka. CAST Anthony Gonzales, Lane Garrison, José Alvarez, Jonathan Castellanos, Jeff Houkal, Sisa Grey, Steven Stapenhorst, Tonja Kahlens. USA

THE ITCHING – In this parable, a shy wolf tries to connect with a group of hip, party-loving bunnies, but finds her body is in revolt. DIR Dianne Bellino. SCR Dianne Bellino. USA

JÁAJI APPROX. – The distance between a father and son is narrowed when locations and language meet. DIR Sky Hopinka. SCR Sky Hopinka. CAST Sky Hopinka, Michael Hopinka. USA

KITTY – A young girl finds herself transformed. DIR Chloë Sevigny. SCR Chloë Sevigny. CAST Edie Yvonne, Ione Skye, Lee Meriwether, Jesse Pearson, Luke Adler, M Blash, Andrew Mixon. USA

LIMBO – The leopard shall lie down with the goat. The wolves shall live with the lambs. And the young boy will lead them. Thirteen kids and the carcass of a whale washed ashore. DIR Konstantina Kotzamani. SCR Konstantina Kotzamani. CAST Felix Margenfeld, Aggelos Ntanos, Lucjano Cani, Haris Fountas, Hristos Psihramis, David Szymczak. Greece

LOVE – Affection is described in three different chapters, through an impact on a distant solar system. DIR Réka Bucsi. SCR Réka Bucsi. France | Hungary

MADE. NOT BORN! – A home movie from 1981 turns out far more hypnotic than originally planned. DIR Mike Plante. USA

MOTHER (MADRE) – Sixteen-year-old Andrea travels downtown from her poor neighborhood to audition for a porno film. DIR Simón Mesa Soto. SCR Simón Mesa Soto. CAST Yurani Anduquia Cortés, María Camila Maldonado, Paulo de Jesús Barros Sousa. Sweden | Colombia

A NIGHT IN TOKORIKI (O NOAPTE ÎN TOKORIKI) – On Geanina’s 18th birthday, her boyfriend and Alin will give her a most surprising gift. DIR Roxana Stroe. SCRS Ana-Maria Gheorghe, Roxana Stroe. CAST Cristian Priboi, Cristian Bota, Iulia Ciochină, Sorin Cociş, Daniela Elena Preda, Cristian Toma, Costi Apostol, Andrei Ciopec, Tudor Morar, Adrian Loghin. Romania

PEDRO – Pedro gets home at dawn. Before he falls asleep, his lonely mother drags him to the beach. DIRS André Santos, Marco Leão. SCRS André Santos, Marco Leão. CAST Filipe Abreu, Rita Durão, João Villas-Boas, Marcello Urgeghe. Portugal

PUSSY (CIPKA) – A young girl decides to have a pleasurable evening at home, but not everything goes according to plan. DIR Renata Gasiorowska. SCR Renata Gasiorowska. Poland

SCENERY (DECORADO) – The world is a wonderful stage, but its characters are disgraceful. DIR Alberto Vázquez. SCR Alberto Vázquez. CAST Josep Ramos, Mireia Fuara, Angel Gómez, Kepa Cueto. France | Spain

THE SEND-OFF – Emboldened by a giant block party on the evening of their high school prom, a group of students enter the night with the hope of transcending their rural town and the industrial landscape that surround them. DIRS Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan. CAST Tiana Crawford, Chris Burgess, Jr., Jamila Smith-Boyce, Ta’Questa Browning. USA

SPEAKING IS DIFFICULT – Beginning in the present day, a scene of tragedy unfolds, telling a cumulative history that is both unbearable and inevitable. DIR AJ Schnack. USA

A STROLL DOWN SUNFLOWER LANE (ذاكرة عبّاد الشمس) – An old grandfather, a little granddaughter, an old house and some glimpses of memory. She was growing up building hers. He was getting old losing his. DIR Mayye Zayed. SCR Mayye Zayed. CAST Ahmed Khalil, Jana Abdel Aziz. Egypt

SUMMER CAMP ISLAND – Oscar has to accept that his totally normal sleepover with Hedgehog isn’t going to be totally normal. DIR Julia Pott. SCR Julia Pott. CAST Ashley Boettcher, Thomas Vaethroeder, Anna Strupinsky, Kathleen Wilhoite, Judd Hirsch. USA

SUPERBIA – In the land of Superbia, strict rules divide the societies of women and men. DIR Luca Tóth. SCR Luca Tóth. Hungary | Czech Republic | Slovakia

TARGETING THE WORLD – In Fayetteville, NC, surveillance technologies are tested. DIR Jesse Moss. USA

A THOUSAND MIDNIGHTS – A lyrical documentary following the social histories of black Americans. DIR Carlos Javier Ortiz. SCR Carlos Javier Ortiz. USA

THUNDER ROAD – Officer Arnaud loved his mom. DIR Jim Cummings. SCR Jim Cummings. CAST Jim Cummings, Melissa Papel, Kitty Barshay, Francesca Biasiolo. USA

UNIVITELLIN – A classic story in a far-from-classic reworking. DIR Terence Nance. SCR Terence Nance. CAST Aminata M’Bathie, Naky Sy Savané, Badara N’Gom, Maman Faso, Igor Tranchot, Raoul Tranchot, Tony Cortes, Florent Toudard, Jonathan Ynsa, Moustapha Sarr, Yanice Haboussa, Anderson Da Cruz Lima. USA

AMERICAN INDEPENDENTS

The American Independents section represents the best of independent filmmaking this year. Pushing boundaries of form and content across narrative and documentary cinema, this section includes eight films from both new voices and filmmakers coming back to AFI FEST.  

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ACTOR MARTINEZ – AFI FEST alums Mike Ott and Nathan Silver play themselves in this enjoyable experiment that blurs the lines between documentary and narrative. DIRS Nathan Silver, Mike Ott. SCRS Mike Ott, Nathan Silver. CAST Arthur Martinez, Lindsay Burdge, Mike Ott, Nathan Silver, Kenneth Berba, Rae Radke. USA

DARK NIGHT – A quiet meditation on the planning and impact of a Cineplex massacre in a suburban town, taking place over one day, from sunrise to midnight. DIR Tim Sutton. SCR Tim Sutton. CAST Robert Jumper, Anna Rose Hopkins, Rosie Rodriguez, Karina Macias, Aaron Purvis, Marilyn Purvis, Ciara Hampton, Andres Vega, Bryce Hampton, Eddie Cacciola. USA

DONALD CRIED – This darkly funny character study centers on former childhood best friends who reconnect decades later in their working-class Rhode Island neighborhood. DIR Kris Avedisian. SCR Kris Avedisian. CAST Kristopher Avedisian, Jesse Wakeman, Louisa Krause, Ted Arcidi, Robby Morse Levy, Kate Fitzgerald, William Billington, Sr. USA

THE EYES OF MY MOTHER – In this enthralling horror debut, a young woman perpetuates the chilling cycle of violence that began with a traumatic event in her childhood. DIR Nicolas Pesce. SCR Nicolas Pesce. CAST Kika Magalhaes, Will Brill, Flora Diaz, Paul Nazak, Clara Wong, Diana Agostini, Olivia Bond. USA

FRAUD – One of the most fascinating debuts of the year focuses on one family — via home video footage on YouTube — who get swept up in American consumerism, recklessly spending money that may not be their own. DIR Dean Fleischer-Camp. SCR Dean Fleischer-Camp. USA

HUNTER GATHERER – Two men living in South L.A. – one recently out of prison and the other trying to save the life of his bedridden grandfather – form an unlikely friendship in this feature debut. DIR Josh Locy. SCR Josh Locy. CAST Andre Royo, George Sample III, Kellee Stewart, Ashley Wilkerson, Kevin Jackson, Antonio D. Charity, Celestial, Alexis DeLaRosa, Jeanetta Arnette. USA

LIVE CARGO – A young couple grieving after a terrible loss escape to the Bahamas, where they are confronted with simmering tensions and dark secrets. DIR Logan Sandler. SCRS Logan Sandler, Thymaya Payne. CAST Dree Hemingway, Keith Stanfield, Sam Dillon, Leonard Earl Howze, Robert Wisdom, Ayumi Iizuka, Frantz Lecoeur. USA

MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL SINKING INTO THE SEA – This painterly mixed-media animated film is a surreal cross between teen comedies and THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE. DIR Dash Shaw. SCR Dash Shaw. CAST Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph, Susan Sarandon, John Cameron Mitchell, Alex Karpovsky, Thomas Jay Ryan, Louisa Krause. USA

MIDNIGHT

The festival’s Midnight section will captivate and terrify audiences with three genre-bending films from around the globe.

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FEAR ITSELF – Film essayist Charlie Lyne uses horror film footage to explore why the world’s most popular film genre burrows so deeply into our psyches. DIR Charlie Lyne. SCR Charlie Lyne. UK

THE LURE – Two man-eating mermaid sisters travel through 1980s Warsaw in human form. But time away from the water intensifies their craving for human flesh. DIR Agnieszka Smoczyńska. SCR Robert Bolesto. CAST Kinga Preis, Michalina Olszańska, Marta Mazurek, Jakub Gierszał, Andrzej Konopka, Zygmunt Malanowicz, Marcin Kowalczyk, Magdelena Cielecka, Katarzyna Herman. Poland

PREVENGE – In this pitch-black comedy, a pregnant woman receives murderous instructions from her misanthropic fetus to kill as many people as she can. DIR Alice Lowe. SCR Alice Lowe. CAST Alice Lowe, Gemma Whelan, Kate Dickie, Jo Hartley, Dan Renton Skinner, Kayvan Novak, Mike Wozniak, Tom Davis, Tom Meeten. UK

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(Source: www.blog.afi.com)

 

 

TOM FORD, MARC PLATT AND KENNETH LONERGAN TO BE HONORED AT THE 20th ANNUAL HOLLYWOOD FILM AWARDS®

Ford to Receive the “Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award” 

Platt to Be Awarded the “Hollywood Producer Award”

Lonergan will Accept the “Hollywood Screenwriter Award”

*James Corden Will Host Special Anniversary Ceremony on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel

Hollywood, CA (October 19, 2016) – dick clark productions announced today that acclaimed new director and established fashion designer Tom Ford will receive this year’s “Hollywood Breakthrough Director Award” for “Nocturnal Animals,” Academy Award-nominated producer Marc Platt will receive the “Hollywood Producer Award” for his numerous films this year including “La La Land,” “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” and “The Girl on the Train,” and two-time Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan will receive the “Hollywood Screenwriter Award” for his screenplay “Manchester by the Sea” at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards.

The awards ceremony, celebrating its 20th anniversary as the official launch of the awards season®, will be hosted by actor and comedian James Corden, and will take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, on November 6, 2016. The Hollywood Film Awards honors some of the most acclaimed films and actors, as well as artists in Cinematography, Visual Effects, Film Composing, Costume Design, Editing, Production Design, Sound and Makeup & Hairstyling. Its honorees over the past 20 years have included the world’s biggest stars and more than 110 have gone on to garner Oscar nominations and/or wins.

Mr. Ford’s second film “Nocturnal Animals,” the hauntingly romantic thriller that explores the thin lines between love and cruelty stars Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal as a divorced couple discovering dark truths about each other and themselves. The film premiered at the 73rd annual Venice Film Festival in 2016, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. Focus Features will release “Nocturnal Animals” in select cities beginning November 18th and nationwide on December 9th.

Tom Ford is a highly respected and successful fashion designer and film director. One of the most esteemed and prolific designers of his generation, Mr. Ford has won numerous awards for his distinguished work at Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and his eponymous luxury brand TOM FORD, which launched in 2005. That same year, he formed his Los Angeles-based film production company Fade To Black through which he directed, produced and co-wrote his first feature film “A Single Man,” starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore.  The film premiered at the 66th annual Venice Film Festival in 2009, where Mr. Firth was awarded Best Actor for his performance.  The critically acclaimed film went on to receive multiple awards and nominations including the Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Marc Platt’s producing career spans film, theatre and television with his projects garnering a combined 17 Oscar nominations, 18 Tony nominations, 17 Golden Globe nominations and 29 Emmy nominations. His films this year are “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” “The Girl on the Train,” and “La La Land.” Last year, Platt received a “Best Picture” Oscar nomination for “Bridge of Spies,” which was among the six earned for the film overall. Other credits include “Into the Woods,” “Drive,” “Rachel Getting Married,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” “Wanted,” “Nine,” “2 Guns,” “Cop Out,” “Ricki and the Flash,” “Legally Blonde,” “Legally Blonde 2,” “Honey,” “Josie and the Pussycats” and Disney’s upcoming “Mary Poppins Returns.”  He produced Broadway’s blockbuster musical, “Wicked,” and for television he earned an Emmy Award for executive producing “Grease Live!” and an Emmy and Golden Globe awards for HBO’s “Empire Falls.”  Prior to becoming an independent producer, Platt served as president of production for three movie studios — Orion, TriStar and Universal.

Kenneth Lonergan wrote and directed “You Can Count On Me” (2000 Academy Award® and Golden Globe® Nominee for Best Screenplay), “Margaret” (2011), and “Margaret” – Extended Edition (2012). He also co-wrote the screenplays for “Analyze This” (1999) and “Gangs Of New York” (2002 WGA® and Academy Award® nomination for Best Original Screenplay). Lonergan’s plays include Tony nominated “This Is Our Youth” (1996), Pulitzer Prize finalist “The Waverly Gallery” (2000), and Olivier Award nominated “Lobby Hero” (2001). He recently completed the television adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel, “Howards End,” for the BBC. His upcoming film, “Manchester by the Sea,” which he both wrote and directed, stars Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges and Kyle Chandler.  The film premiered to great acclaim at the 2016 Sundance, Telluride, Toronto, and New York Film Festivals, and will be released by Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions on November 18, 2016.

Previously announced honorees for this year’s show include: “Hollywood Career Achievement Award,” Eddie Murphy; “Hollywood Actor Award,” Tom Hanks; “Hollywood Blockbuster Award,” “The Jungle Book”; “Hollywood Animation Award,” “Zootopia”; “Hollywood Cinematography Award,” Linus Sandgren; “Hollywood Film Composer Award,” Mychael Danna; “Hollywood Editor Award,” John Gilbert; “Hollywood Visual Effects Award,” Stephane Ceretti and Richard Bluff; “Hollywood Sound Award,” Christopher Boyes and Frank Eulner; “Hollywood Costume Design Award,” Albert Wolsky; “Hollywood Make Up & Hair Styling Award,” Shane Thomas, Angela Conte, Bec Taylor and Noriko Waztanabe; and “Hollywood Production Design Award,” Wynn Thomas.

(Source: Hollywood Awards Press Release)