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Posted by Larry Gleeson.


Audience crowds at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival have once again been overwhelming. Halfway through the festival, again more than 250,000 tickets have been sold.

Berlinale_Director“We’re very happy that the Berlinale has drawn so many people into cinemas again this year. The passion for film shown by curious audiences who spend eleven days on a cinematic voyage of discovery, is really impressive. And the response to the new EFM initiatives and events is extremely positive”, says Festival Director Dieter Kosslik.

The Open House program at the Audi Berlinale Lounge gives the public an additional opportunity to experience the festival up-close and personal and see Berlinale guests in the flesh. Open events are held there every day, such as talks with celebrity filmmakers, discussions, and lounge nights with a DJ or live music.

The 2017 European Film Market (EFM) has drawn more participants than last year (9,640). The popular “EFM Industry Debates” segment celebrated its ten-year anniversary this weekend. This year, Gropius Park also played host for the first time to the “Berlinale Africa Hub”, a platform for innovative projects and ideas from the African film industry.

Over at Berlinale Talents, Jury President Paul Verhoeven and juror of the International Jury Maggie Gyllenhaal, as well as the artist Christo, have been among the distinguished guests at the panel discussions. The coming days will see more exciting events, with Agnieszka Holland, Isabel Coixet, Sally Potter, David OReilly, Raoul Peck and juror Olafur Eliasson on the program.

The Berlinale Publikumstag on Sunday, February 19, 2017, provides an encore chance for audiences. That day, numerous festival films from various sections will have repeat screenings at the Berlinale venues.


(Source: Berlinale Press Office)


Posted by Larry Gleeson


In 2017 the Berlin International Film Festival will again work towards furthering the integration of refugees. The Festival has always made a point of fostering understanding, tolerance, and acceptance, as well as responding to current events in society – not only with its film program, but also with many other activities.

The Berlinale will renew its collaboration with KulturLeben Berlin in order to promote the participation of the socially disadvantaged in the cultural life of the city. Tickets for vacant seats will again be available to people with low incomes at a 50 percent discount.

Last year several concrete projects were launched to support refugees. Due to the very positive feedback of the participants and the desire to achieve longer-lasting integration, these projects will be continued and expanded.

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-2-16-06-pmA call for donations

The Berlinale would like to urge Festival guests and visitors to make donations to the children and youth department of Zentrum ÜBERLEBEN (formerly called the Behandlungszentrum für Folteropfer e. V.). This Berlin-based centre provides psychological, social, and integrative support to children and adolescents who have been traumatized by torture, flight, and/or persecution. In addition to individual therapeutic care, group activities are an important feature of the centre’s work. The money collected last year enabled adolescents who have experienced flight and trauma to attend a film camp. There they were able to try out different positions in front of and behind the camera, and creatively explore topics of their choice, some of which were autobiographical.

Donations may be paid into an account (banking details are at the bottom of this press release) or made at 17 donation boxes distributed around the Festival grounds.


Movie mentors for refugees
Within the scope of a “movie mentoring”-project, volunteers from Berlin’s non-profit refugee aid organizations are asked to register as mentors and accompany refugees to Berlinale screenings.
With this project the Berlinale wants to show its appreciation to volunteers for their engagement and strengthen existing relationships, as well as promote cultural exchange.

LOLA at the Berlinale
Within the scope of a collaboration with the Berliner Volkshochschulen (VHS: schools for adult education), the Berlinale is offering 160 free tickets to VHS “integration classes” and their instructors. They will be able to select from eight German films screening in the LOLA series of the Berlinale at the Zoo Palast.

Guest trainees
During the Berlinale around 20 guest trainees who came to Germany as refugees will be given the chance to take a look at various fields behind the scenes of the Festival in collaboration with the Beratungs- und Betreuungszentrum für junge Flüchtlinge und Migrant*innen (BBZ/ KommMit e.V.).

Generation: School projects for “welcome classes”
For eleven years now, the Generation section has offered pupils the opportunity to participate within the framework of a school project in the Berlinale. With educational staff that is well versed in cinema, these pupils may see and discuss films, as well as work on assignments about them afterwards.
Since last year, the Berlinale’s school program has been extended to include “welcome classes” (introductory German language classes for refugees). This year ten “welcome classes” are to participate in the program.

Banking details for donations:

Bank für Sozialwirtschaft
IBAN: DE82 1002 0500 0001 5048 00
Reason for transfer: “Berlinale helps 2017”


(Source: Berlinale press Office)



SBIFF Announces New App

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced its long-awaited festival app. The app had been in beta for several months leading up to the announcement, is fully functional and can be updated easily to reflect last-minute additions to the festival’s programming.

sbiff_app_menu“With the app, not only can you view the schedule and info on all films and events, you can add reminders to your device’s calendar and join in discussions about each film through a Facebook login,” according to the festival.

Utilizing an extensive drop-down menu, the new app’s design packs a powerful punch of information to keep festival goers up-to-date on films and events. Included is an interactive map for routes to the various venues, a complete schedule of films with an option to set reminders, a link for passes and tickets and detailed information on each event under the Discover tab.

Other tabs available are the Information & Social, My Profile and My Favorites. These tabs require some engagement. The payoff is a one-stop-shop for social media and up-to-date festival information. All-in-all, the SBIFF app is a comprehensive app and a most welcomed addition to the festival experience. Highly recommended!

The app is available for download on iOS and Android platforms.



La La Land leads 2017 Oscar Noms with a record-tying 14

Posted by Larry Gleeson

La La Land continues its strong showing on the awards circuit with a whopping 14 Oscar nominations tying the all-time nominations record 0f 14 set by All About Eve (1950) and tied first by Titanic (1997).


With over 336 feature films in contention for best picture, the list is now nine;  Arrival,  Fences, Hell or Highwater, Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge,  La La Land, Lion,  Manchester By The Sea, and Moonlight. In addition,


Meryl Streep receives a record-breaking 2oth Oscar nmination for her role in Florence Foster Jenkins (Photo via imdb)

Legendary Hollywood actress, Meryl Streep, received a record-breaking 20th Oscar nomination for her role as a deluded singer in Florence Foster Jenkins. Ms. Streep breaks her own record of 19 nominations.


O.J.: Made in America, a Documentary Feature nominee, is the longest film ever nominated for an Academy Award with a run time of 7 hours and 47 minutes.
La La Land is the first musical with original music and story to receive a Best Picture nomination since All That Jazz (1979) and the second since Anchors Aweigh (1945).
Denzel Washington is the seventh individual to receive Acting and Best Picture nominations for the same film, joining Warren Beatty, Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper.
With his Best Picture nomination for Manchester by the Sea, Matt Damon becomes only the third individual to be nominated in the Acting, Writing and Best Picture categories. The others are Warren Beatty and George Clooney.
With their Best Picture nominations for Moonlight, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner become the first individual producers to have nominations in the Best Picture category in four consecutive years.

In the acting categories, seven individuals are first-time nominees (Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Lucas Hedges, Dev Patel, Isabelle Huppert, Ruth Negga and Naomie Harris). Six of the nominees are previous acting winners (Denzel Washington, Jeff Bridges,Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Octavia Spencer).

A comprehensive 89th Oscars fact sheet is available, in addition to the brief history of the Oscars previously posted.


The 89th Academy Awards will be announced in the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center, Sunday, February 26, 2017. Jimmy Kimmel is scheduled to host and the program will air on ABC at 7PM EST. Without further ado,

The Nominees are:

Actor in a Leading Role


Casey Affleck

Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield

Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling

La La Land

Viggo Mortensen

Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington


Actor in a Supporting Role


Mahershala Ali


Jeff Bridges

Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges

Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel


Michael Shannon

Nocturnal Animals

Actress in a Leading Role


Isabelle Huppert


Ruth Negga


Natalie Portman


Emma Stone

La La Land

Meryl Streep

Florence Foster Jenkins

Actress in a Supporting Role


Viola Davis


Naomie Harris


Nicole Kidman


Octavia Spencer

Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams

Manchester by the Sea

Animated Feature Film


Kubo and the Two Strings

Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner


John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer

My Life as a Zucchini

Claude Barras and Max Karli

The Red Turtle

Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki


Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer




Bradford Young

La La Land

Linus Sandgren


Greig Fraser


James Laxton


Rodrigo Prieto

Costume Design



Joanna Johnston

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Colleen Atwood

Florence Foster Jenkins

Consolata Boyle


Madeline Fontaine

La La Land

Mary Zophres




Denis Villeneuve

Hacksaw Ridge

Mel Gibson

La La Land

Damien Chazelle

Manchester by the Sea

Kenneth Lonergan


Barry Jenkins

Documentary (Feature)


Fire at Sea

Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo

I Am Not Your Negro

Raoul Peck, Rémi Grellety and Hébert Peck

Life, Animated

Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman

O.J.: Made in America

Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow


Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish

Documentary (Short Subject)



Dan Krauss

4.1 Miles

Daphne Matziaraki

Joe’s Violin

Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen

Watani: My Homeland

Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis

The White Helmets

Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Film Editing



Joe Walker

Hacksaw Ridge

John Gilbert

Hell or High Water

Jake Roberts

La La Land

Tom Cross


Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Foreign Language Film


Land of Mine


A Man Called Ove


The Salesman




Toni Erdmann


Makeup and Hairstyling


A Man Called Ove

Eva von Bahr and Love Larson

Star Trek Beyond

Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo

Suicide Squad

Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson

Music (Original Score)



Mica Levi

La La Land

Justin Hurwitz


Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka


Nicholas Britell


Thomas Newman

Music (Original Song)


Audition (The Fools Who Dream)

from La La Land; Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Can’t Stop The Feeling

from Trolls; Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster

City of Stars

from La La Land; Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

The Empty Chair

from Jim: The James Foley Story; Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting

How Far I’ll Go

from Moana; Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Best Picture



Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Aaron Ryder and David Linde, Producers


Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington and Todd Black, Producers

Hacksaw Ridge

Bill Mechanic and David Permut, Producers

Hell or High Water

Carla Hacken and Julie Yorn, Producers

Hidden Figures

Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams and Theodore Melfi, Producers

La La Land

Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt, Producers


Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder, Producers

Manchester by the Sea

Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck and Kevin J. Walsh, Producers


Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers

Production Design



Production Design: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Paul Hotte

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

Hail, Caesar!

Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

La La Land

Production Design: David Wasco; Set Decoration: Sandy Reynolds-Wasco


Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena

Short Film (Animated)


Blind Vaysha

Theodore Ushev

Borrowed Time

Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj

Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Robert Valley and Cara Speller


Patrick Osborne


Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer

Short Film (Live Action)


Ennemis Intérieurs

Sélim Azzazi

La Femme et le TGV

Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff

Silent Nights

Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson


Kristof Deák and Anna Udvardy


Juanjo Giménez

Sound Editing



Sylvain Bellemare

Deepwater Horizon

Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli

Hacksaw Ridge

Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright

La La Land

Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan


Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Sound Mixing



Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye

Hacksaw Ridge

Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace

La La Land

Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth

Visual Effects


Deepwater Horizon

Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton

Doctor Strange

Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould

The Jungle Book

Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon

Kubo and the Two Strings

Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)



Screenplay by Eric Heisserer


Screenplay by August Wilson

Hidden Figures

Screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi


Screenplay by Luke Davies


Screenplay by Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Writing (Original Screenplay)


Hell or High Water

Written by Taylor Sheridan

La La Land

Written by Damien Chazelle

The Lobster

Written by Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou

Manchester by the Sea

Written by Kenneth Lonergan

20th Century Women

Written by Mike Mills
Thank you to Oscars Producers Jennifer Todd and Mike DeLuca!
Pictured left to right, Oscars Producers Jennifer Todd and Mike DeLuca. (Photo courtesy of Oscars.org)
(Source: oscars.org)

The Film Industry of the Future: EFM Horizon

Posted by Larry Gleeson

“EFM Horizon presented by Audi”: Virtual Reality, Computer Games, Startups, New Technologies and Innovations at the European Film Market

The film industry of the future, with the newest technological developments, trends that provide a glimpse of things to come and evolving business models, is the focus of a total of five innovative events united under the newly created label “EFM Horizon” and made possible with the support of Audi. The platform, which encompasses the formats “Propellor | Speednic”, “EFM Startups”, “VR NOW Con Business Mixer”, “Game & Cinema” and “The Next Level of Cinema”, simultaneously aims to offer EFM trade visitors opportunities for networking with members of adjacent sectors of the audio-visual industry, such as tech, virtual reality and games.


“Game & Cinema”
Friday, February 10, 2017, 7:30pm to 9:30pm
MGB Kino (Niederkirchnerstr. 7, 10963 Berlin)

The local multiplayer event “Game & Cinema” combines cinema and computer games in a shared gaming experience that plays out on the big screen. The event format is produced by Booster Space and was presented for the first time at the International Games Week in Berlin. Trade guests from the film market can experience the world of gaming together with an audience of gaming fans within the cinema context and discover potential new uses for cinemas in the process.


EFM Startups”
Monday, February 13, 10am to 12:30pm
Berliner Freiheit (Berliner Freiheit 2, 10785 Berlin)

The successful “EFM Startups” initiative, which brings the film industry together with thought leaders and mavericks from the tech scene, is continuing under the umbrella of “EFM Horizon presented by Audi”. Ten select startups from Germany, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Spain will present new technologies for production, distribution and marketing to EFM trade visitors. Pre-arranged one-on-one meetings with potential partners are intended to serve to pave the way for possible co-operations. “EFM PopUp Offices” in the atrium of the Martin-Gropius-Bau will be made available for use by the attending startups.logo_medienboard_berlin-brandenburg_1_


EFM Startups” is made possible with the support of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

The participants at “EFM Startups” 2017:

  • AIVA (Luxembourg)
  • CtrlMovie (Switzerland)
  • DIVE (Spain)
  • Illusion-Walk (Germany)
  • Mobisol Group (Germany)
  • Native Studios Creace (Germany)
  • PICL (The Netherlands)
  • SPHERIE by SpiceVR (Germany)
  • Viorama (Germany)
  • Virtelio by realab (Luxembourg)


“VR NOW Con Business Mixer”
Monday, February 13, 4pm to 7pm
Berliner Freiheit (Berliner Freiheit 2, 10785 Berlin)

Everyone is talking about virtual reality – and the film industry is no exception. At the same time, there is a lot of uncertainty about how these new technologies of VR, AR, MR, and 360° can be used in the film business, which technologies make sense, what costs they bring with them, etc. In talks, presentations and discussions, the “VR NOW Con Business Mixer” – a conference and networking event – addresses the most current impulses and trends in the sector and brings virtual reality pioneers and experts together with members of the film industry. At the same time, participants also have the opportunity to test diverse VR technologies.

The event is organized in co-operation with Virtual Reality e.V. Berlin-Brandenburg and made possible with the support of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.


“The Next Level of Cinema”
Tuesday, February 14, 11am to 1pm
Audi Berlinale Lounge (Marlene-Dietrich-Platz 1, 10785 Berlin)

Leading companies and creatives provide interested distributors, sales agents, producers, exhibitors and cinema operators with insight into the challenges facing the film industry of the future. Special emphasis is placed here on the topics of digitization and innovation. After taking a look at brief case studies, there will be opportunities for discussion with and among participants.

Included among the guests expected to attend are representatives from Audi, IBM (Watson), Dolby (Atmos) and filmmakers such as David O’Reilly and Thomas Wallner.


“Propellor | Speednic”
Tuesday, February 14, 2:30pm to 4:30pm
Rooftop Café (Potsdamer Platz 1, 10785 Berlin)

The question of the film industry of the future and how the branch can best work to actively shape its own development by employing forward-thinking concepts and innovations is at the centre of the first “Propellor | Speednic”, a closed networking and workshop event in Berlin. 24 select participants – twelve of them from the film industry and twelve from the technology sector – will discuss how we can develop and implement new sales, distribution and marketing models together as well as how we can learn from success stories from other branches.


The incubator programme “Propellor Film Tech Hub” is a joint initiative of EFM, the International Film Festival Rotterda

m (IFFR), the international documentary film festival CPH:DOX and the Berlin-based i

nnovation studio Cinemathon.

Further information on the events as well as details regarding possibilities for attending “EFM Horizon presented by Audi” can be found at the „EFM Horizon” website.


(Source: Berlinale Press Office)

Books at Berlinale


Posted by Larry Gleeson


Twelve New International Novels Ripe for Screen Adaptation

On February 14, film producers attending “Books at Berlinale” will have the chance to discover twelve new literary works that lend themselves perfectly for adaptation to the screen. The selected novels will be presented at a pitching session in the framework of the Berlinale Co-Production Market. At a get-together following the session, the invited producers will be able to join in conversation with respected, internationally active literary agents and representatives of publishing houses who hold the film rights to the works in question. There they can establish and cultivate contacts in the international book world or perhaps even begin to negotiate right away to option the film rights to one or more of the selected books.

The twelve literary works that make up the selection at this year’s edition of “Books at Berlinale” come from publishers and agencies from Belgium, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. More than 130 works from over 30 countries were submitted for consideration in the program.

In addition to the brand-new novels of best-selling authors Martin Suter (Switzerland) and Herman Koch of the Netherlands, whose international hit “Het Dinner” (“The Dinner”) is represented this year in the Berlinale Competition in a screen adaptation starring Richard Gere, and a new work from multiple prize-winning Kurdish author Bachtyar Ali, the selection presents a broad spectrum of themes and genres with a high potential for adaptation to the screen.

The selected novels deal with urgent contemporary questions such as the potential consequences of genetic manipulation, with dystopian scenarios arising after the extinction of bees, but also with child heroes who grow into crusaders against evil along with a group of mascots in one particularly comedic instance. Beyond that, they relate epic historical sagas based on real persons and events: German POWs in American camps at the end of the Second World War; the opalescent life story of banker Hugo Simon, companion of Thomas Mann and many other artists, who was forced to flee from Berlin with his family into exile in Brazil; and the daughter of James Joyce, who, engaged to Samuel Beckett, moved through Paris of the 1920s as a dancer in search of her destiny.

“Books at Berlinale” has been organized annually by the Berlinale in co-operation with the Frankfurt Book Fair since 2006.

Berlinale-“With ‘Books at Berlinale’, we have been able, together with the Frankfurt Book Fair, to create an event with a large network, which promotes co-operation in the area of literary adaptations, which themselves represent an important part of the film production world,” according to Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick.

Film producers who are active in the area of literary adaptations (or would like to be) as well as publishers and literary agents can register to participate in the event until February 8 at .

“Books at Berlinale” takes place in the Berlin House of Representatives in the framework of the Berlinale Co-Production Market. Primary partners of the Berlinale Co-Production Market are MDM – Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung and Creative Europe – MEDIA, a programme of the European Union. The Berlinale Co-Production Market is a part of the European Film Market (EFM).

The following works have been selected for “Books at Berlinale” 2017:
(in alphabetical order by company presenting the film)

“Elefant“ / “Elephant” (Martin Suter), Diogenes Verlag, Switzerland

“Never Be Sad Again” (Baptiste Beaulieu), Éditions Fayard, France

“The Boy” (Marcus Malte), Éditions Zulma, France

“Ein mögliches Leben“ / “One Possible Life“ (Hannes Köhler), Elisabeth Ruge Agentur, Germany

“The Mascoteers: Enter the Zebra” (Rollo de Walden), Kaiken Publishing, Finland

“The Last Pomegranate” (Bachtyar Ali), Literarische Agentur Mertin, Germany

“The History of Bees” (Maja Lunde), Norse Code Agency, Norway

“Berlin – Fires of Tegel” (Fabio Geda & Marco Magnone), Oetinger Filmrechte-Agentur, Germany

“The Ditch” (Herman Koch), Shared Stories, The Netherlands

“We Own the Sky” (Luke Allnutt), The Artists Partnership, United Kingdom

“The Remnant” (Rafael Cardoso), Villas-Boas & Moss Literary Agency, Brazil

“The Joyce Girl” (Annabel Abbs), Zeitgeist Literary Agency, Belgium


(Source: Berlinale Press Office)

Actress Kristen Stewart Makes Her Directorial Debut at the Sundance Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Kelsie Gibson

Kristen Stewart marked a major milestone in her career at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT, on Thursday. For the first time, the actress appeared at the festival as a director as she attended the premiere of her 17-minute short, Come Swim, which was produced in collaboration with Refinery29 for its Shatterbox Anthology, a collection of short films directed by women.

Kristin Stewart, third from left, poses with her team on the red carpet. (Photo credit: Getty Images/Joe Scarnici)

Rocking black pants, a white t-shirt, and a leather jacket, Kristen looked casual and cool as usual as she posed with her team on the red carpet. “I feel amazing,” she told reporters at the Prospector Square Theater. “I’m so happy that so many actual eyes get to see it in the theater.”

Kristen Stewart is joining the growing number of Hollywood women who’ve moved behind the camera, partnering with Refinery29’s Shatterbox Anthology for her directorial début, Come Swim. A surrealist journey through the imagination’s wild currents, Come Swim conjures a stunningly kaleidoscopic portrait of one man’s emotional interior — it’s unbounded darkness and desire. Click here for a behind-the-scenes look



(Sources: popsugar.com, refinery29.com)

Sundance: Exploring the Implications of Amazon’s New Distribution Play

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Dan Shoenbrun


Earlier this week, Amazon Video Direct (AVD, a department within Amazon focused on self-publishing distribution tools for filmmakers) announced an intriguing new opportunity available to Sundance 2017 feature filmmakers. Dubbed the “Film Festival Stars” program, AVD is offering, in exchange for a two-year worldwide SVOD (subscription VOD) contract (with one-year exclusive) an up-front “cash bonus” to Sundance titles on a sliding scale based on section ($100,000 for US Narrative Competition titles, $75,000 for US Documentary Competition Titles, and $25,000 for titles in the NEXT, Midnight, Kids, World, New Frontiers, and Spotlight sections). The deal also offers a preferential rate on Amazon’s standard payouts per stream.

Though AVD framed this announcement as a “self-distribution opportunity,” it was greeted with debate from a subset of influential independent producers on Facebook, who pointed out that it sounded less like “self-distribution” and more like a traditional, albeit standardized SVOD distribution deal. The point was raised that the initial exclusivity clause would all but rule out other distribution opportunities (as SVOD is the most lucrative revenue stream on most independent films in 2017), and that what was here being referred to as a “cash bonus” was simply a rebranded version of what other distributors referred to as an MG (or “minimum guarantee”). Further concern was raised over the fact that this standardized “cash bonus” publicly assigned an across-the-board standard price point to all Sundance films premiering in a given category. Would this devalue the market overall? $100k or $25k, after all, would hardly be considered “recouping” for most films premiering at Sundance.

This is a depressing fact, but to my eyes Amazon’s numbers are actually quite generous when you consider the fact that this is a deal aimed not at the major, star-driven films premiering at the festival, but rather at those films that won’t land a big sale. There are certainly plenty of Sundance films that will not be offered worldwide MGs for nearly as high an amount as those offered here.

So is there a downside to filmmakers and producers having this additional opportunity available to them?

Probably not, at least not in the immediate future. But in my opinion this announcement should worry one subsection of the industry: niche and micro-budget distributors. By naming a standardized price that many distributors can’t hope to match, Amazon wagers that there are filmmakers out there willing to choose upfront money over the less quantifiable benefits that a smaller distributor will offer in lieu of an MG (marketing, PR, P&A, theatrical bookings).

I queried AVD about their Film Festival Stars program via email, and tried to ask questions that I’d want to know more about if I was a filmmaker or producer considering this deal, or a distributor fretting about the future of my business. They replied with these responses attributed collectively to the AVD team.

Filmmaker: Can you clarify how Amazon Video Direct differs from Amazon Studios? Are the films participating in Amazon Video Direct also available to stream for free to all Amazon Prime members?

AVD: Amazon Original Movies is interested in films for acquisition purposes — they are looking to purchase, co-finance, pre-buy and invest in premium original content that will be theatrically released and can be viewed exclusively by Prime members. Amazon Video Direct is a service offered by Amazon Video that enables filmmakers and other content creators to make their titles available to Amazon customers worldwide, including millions of Amazon Prime customers, through a self-service publishing interface without the need for complex negotiations or contracts. The Film Festival Stars program, from Amazon Video Direct, is a program focused on filmmakers, beyond those targeted for direct acquisition by AOM and Prime Video teams at Sundance, who want to self-distribute their films by providing additional opportunities to make their films available to Amazon Prime members. The opt-in nature of Amazon Video Direct and Film Festival Stars is what makes it unique.

Filmmaker: Will similar offers (with upfront “publishing bonuses”) be made to filmmakers premiering at other US festivals like SXSW and Tribeca? Or is this deal unique to Sundance?

AVD: At this time, the Film Festival Stars program is only open to films chosen as official selections at Sundance 2017.

Filmmaker: Can you speak a bit about how you determined the pricing tiers offered in this deal? The numbers imply that you have generally determined that US Dramatic Competition films are 25% more valuable than US Documentaries, and four-times more valuable than films in the Foreign and Midnight sections. How did you arrive at these estimates?

AVD: As an opt-in program, we are not placing value on individual or classes of films. The non-recoupable up front bonus for filmmakers who opt-in to the program is intended to pay for a portion of the marketing and theatrical costs typically associated with films in these categories. Every title that is published in the program will earn double the per-hour royalty rate we pay with our standard terms.

Filmmaker: Why is exclusivity important to AVD’s business plan?

AVD: We require exclusivity to justify the substantial up-front cash bonus (non-recoupable) and elevated per-hour royalty rate. AVD is investing in the film with an up-front bonus (marketing dollars), and in exchange ask it to be exclusive to Prime members through SVOD for the first 12 months (starting after a 6-month window).

Filmmaker: Some producers have criticized the windowing of this deal (which requires films start streaming by September), arguing that smaller films considering self-distribution need more time to exhaust all distribution options, and to realistically plan and execute a theatrical release. How did you arrive at this deadline, and what is your response to those who say its in a filmmaker’s best interest to wait longer before choosing a VOD partner?

AVD: There are many high-quality films screened at major film festivals that are ultimately not acquired for full service distribution. The Film Festival Stars program is designed to provide a new distribution pathway alternative for a broader set of films screened during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Each film is unique and we believe expanding distribution options for filmmakers will result in more great films reaching a bigger audience. We also feel it is important to ensure filmmakers retain the flexibility to pursue additional distribution options outside of our SVOD exclusivity terms.

Filmmaker: I imagine many filmmakers will find themselves torn between this AVD offer and offers from smaller, niche distributors who are making lower monetary bids but with a more tailored, hands-on approach to things like P&A and theatrical. Taking into account that smaller distributors are still able to place films on major streaming platforms (including Amazon), and that self-distribution can be quite a time-consuming and costly endeavor, what would your argument be to a filmmaker to go with AVD outside of the money offered?

AVD: The “opt-in” nature of Film Festival Stars is what makes it unique.  Filmmakers who do not choose to participate in the Film Festival Stars program are free to choose whether they want to license their SVOD rights on the standard program terms. With the Film Festival Stars program we are creating another option for filmmakers as they craft a holistic distribution strategy, which may include self-distribution or working with other distribution partners. The filmmaker is making the choice and in control.


(Source: filmmakermagazine.com)

Hugh Jackman’s Logan claws out world premiere in Berlin film festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Andrew Pulver

Logan, the third and final standalone Wolverine film to star Hugh Jackman as the adamantine-clawed mutant, is to receive its world premiere at the Berlin film festival in February.

Logan, which follows X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and The Wolverine (2013) in featuring the character as its main protagonist, revolves around an ageing Wolverine whose powers are failing. Directed by James Mangold, and co-starring Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen, Logan will screen an as out-of-competition film, ahead of its cinematic release in early March.

Also receiving its world premiere at the festival will be Viceroy’s House, the Gurinder Chadha-directed historical drama about the end of the Raj and the partition of India, featuring Hugh Bonneville as Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India, and Gillian Anderson as Lady Edwina Mountbatten.

Like Logan, Viceroy’s House will screen in an out-of-competition slot; as will T2 Trainspotting, the long-awaited sequel to the 1996 Irvine Welsh adaptation. Although T2 Trainspotting will have been released in the UK before the festival begins, its screening at the festival is billed as an “international premiere”.

These films join the already announced lineup, which includes the Richard Gere thriller The Dinner, Penélope Cruz in The Queen of Spain and Aki Kaurismäki’s latest, The Other Side of Hope. The festival also revealed recently that this year’s opening film would be Django, a biopic of the jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt directed by Étienne Comar.


The Berlin international film festival runs from 9-18 February.

(Source: theguardian.com)

Nashville Film Festival Competitions Closing

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Competitions Closing this Sunday!!

Don’t miss the chance to enter the 2017 Nashville Film Festival.  Nashville Film Festival was voted one of “25 film festivals worth the entry fee” by MovieMaker Magazine and highlighted as One of the Best Film Festival Prizes by Film Festival Today. Brooks Institute named it one of the top 5 film festivals in the U.S. See the links for your gateway to entry!

Enter the Film Competition

Enter the Screenwriting Competition

Enter the Virtual Reality/360 Film Competition 

More on NashFilm

NashFilm presents the best in World Cinema, American Indies, documentaries, and numerous short form programs by veteran masters, up-and-coming directors, and first-time filmmakers. NashFilm films have won the highest honors in the film world.  Films screened in the past include 13 Assassins, (500) Days of Summer, Cyrus, Terri, Buck, Nowhere Boy, Project Nim and Academy Award nominees, I Am Love, Ajami, and Dogtooth.


With Academy Award qualifying status and numerous well-attended shorts programs, NashFilm has screened many prize-winning narrative and animated shorts.

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NashFilm is also the place where many up-and-coming filmmakers get their first big break. Craig Brewer – Footloose, Hustle & Flow, and Black Snake Moon won his first award at NashFilm. Most recently, Clay Jeter received the Ground Zero Tennessee Spirit Award for Best Short Film and used the finishing funds to complete Jess + Moss, which then premiered at Sundance and was accepted for competition in Berlin before returning to the NashFilm 2011.

The 48th Annual Nashville Film Festival will take place April 20 – 29, 2017 at Regal Cinema Hollywood in Nashville, TN.

See you there!

(Source: nashvillefilmfestival.org)