Tag Archives: Larry Gleeson



Support Comes From Wide Range of Art and Cultural Institutions, Media Partners and Corporations

Apple Original Films Joins AFI DOCS as a Premium Sponsor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, June 18, 2021, WASHINGTON, DC — The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced the sponsors for AFI DOCS 2021. Support for the festival comes from both local organizations based in the DC-metro area and major corporations across the nation. The 19th edition of AFI DOCS will run June 22–27, with films available to view on DOCS.AFI.com as well as in-person screenings at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, MD.

“AFI DOCS reaches a nationwide audience with the support of our sponsors,” said Sarah Harris, AFI Festivals Director of Programming. “It is their generosity that amplifies the voices of today’s most vital storytellers, and we thank them on behalf of all who find inspiration in the arts.” 

In addition to supporting AFI DOCS film programming and events, sponsors provide services and exclusive experiences to filmmakers and audiences throughout the festival. Sponsor participation includes sponsoring specific film screenings, panels and events as well as national and local promotion of the festival.  

This year, AFI is proud to have Apple Original Films support AFI DOCS for the first time as a Premium Sponsor. Top festival sponsors will give audiences sneak peeks at exclusive upcoming trailers and content on the festival’s streaming platform and in the AFI DOCS Festival Hub. Media partners will also provide DOCS audiences with access to their digital issues during the week of the festival via a virtual newsstand.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) returns as Official Sponsor of the festival. CPB is Official Sponsor of the AFI DOCS Industry Forum and the Spotlight on the Hindsight Project, a special selection of short filmsthat chronicle the experiences of BIPOC communities in the American South and U.S. Territories during the unprecedented events of 2020.  

NBC News’ Meet the Press with Chuck Todd and The Washington Post return this year as Primary Media Partners. Meet the Press and The Washington Post, in conjunction with the Washington Post Press Freedom Partnership, will provide moderators for a number of films in this year’s festival. Highlights include Meet the Press Moderator and NBC Political Director Chuck Todd moderating LFG and NBC News Correspondent Morgan Radford moderating the discussion following the Opening Night World Premiere of NAOMI OSAKA. In addition to supporting post-screening discussions, Washington Post Live, The Post’s live journalism platform, will host a conversation with ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN filmmaker Morgan Neville. Post Managing Editor for Diversity and Inclusion Krissah Thompson will also moderate the World Premiere of WE THE PEOPLE in the inaugural DOCS Talks program.

Variety and The Hollywood Reporter are this year’s Official Media Partners. This year, Variety sponsors the Charles Guggenheim Symposium, which will feature a conversation between the 2021 Guggenheim honoree Dawn Porter and Variety’s Clayton Davis, and The Hollywood Reporter will be a media partner for the screening of SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED). 

The Wrap joins AFI DOCS as an Affiliate Media Partner this year and is a media partner for the screening of TOM PETTY: SOMEWHERE YOU FEEL FREE.

Screen Sponsors are SHOWTIME® Documentary Films, Netflix, WarnerMedia and HBO Documentary Films. SHOWTIME® Documentary Films will once again host a networking event for filmmakers and industry, adjusted to be virtual instead of the in-person event they have hosted in the past. SHOWTIME® willalso send a special, customized gift to the festival filmmakers as they celebrate AFI DOCS from home.

Participant returns as a Major Sponsor, along with new sponsors National Geographic and Eventive. 

This year’s Contributing Sponsors are ESPN, the National Endowment for the Arts and the DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment (OCTFME). 

Supporting Sponsors include the Maryland Film Office, Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce and Rev. 

The Embassy of Denmark in Washington, DC, and the Farhang Foundation are this year’s Cultural Sponsors. 

Generous individual support comes from Stephanie and Hunter Hunt.


AFI DOCS is the American Film Institute’s annual documentary festival historically held in Washington, DC.  Presenting the year’s best documentaries, AFI DOCS is the only festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the heart of our nation’s government. The AFI DOCS advisory board includes Ken Burns, Davis Guggenheim, Chris Hegedus, Werner Herzog, Rory Kennedy, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Errol Morris, Stanley Nelson and Frederick Wiseman. Now in its 19th year, the festival will be held June 22-27, 2021. Visit DOCS.AFI.comand connect on Twitter.com/AFIDOCS,Facebook.com/AFIDOCSYouTube.com/AFI andInstagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute

About the American Film Institute (AFI)
Established in 1967, the American Film Institute is the nation’s nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring artists and audiences through initiatives that champion the past, present and future of the moving image. AFI’s pioneering programs include filmmaker training at the AFI Conservatory; year-round exhibition at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and at AFI Festivals across the nation; workshops aimed at increasing diversity in the storytelling community; honoring today’s masters through the AFI Life Achievement Award and AFI AWARDS; and scholarly efforts such as the AFI Catalog of Feature Films that uphold film history for future generations. Read about all of these programs and more at AFI.com and follow us on social media atFacebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute,YouTube.com/AFI, Twitter.com/AmericanFilm andInstagram.com/AmericanFilmInstitute.

About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting  

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,500 locally managed and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org and follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia,Facebook and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates. 

About The Washington Post and Washington Post Press Freedom Partnership  

The Washington Post is an award-winning news leader whose mission is to connect, inform and enlighten local, national and global readers with trustworthy reporting, in-depth analysis and engaging opinions. It combines world-class journalism with the latest technology and tools so readers can interact with The Post anytime, anywhere.  

The Press Freedom Partnership is a public service initiative from The Washington Post to promote press freedom and raise awareness of the rights of journalists who are in pursuit of the truth. Learn more at www.wapo.st/pressfreedom

About Meet the Press with Chuck Todd 

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd is where newsmakers come to make news — setting the political agenda and spotlighting the impact Washington decision-making has on Americans across the country. It is the #1 most-watched Sunday public affairs show for the 2019-2020 season, reaching more than three million viewers every Sunday and millions more through social, digital and on-demand platforms. Meet the Press brings its authority and influencer interviews to MSNBC with MTP Daily weekdays at 1 p.m. ET, to the ongoing weekly podcast, The Chuck ToddCast, and to Meet the Press Reports, a 30-minute program on NBC News NOW and Peacock, focusing on a single topic explored through the Meet the Press lens. It’s the longest-running show in television history, recently expanding its brand to also include a political short-documentary film festival in collaboration with the American Film Institute. Chuck Todd is the political director of NBC News and the moderator of Meet the Press; John Reiss is the executive producer. 


Elizabeth Ward, AFI DOCS PR,elizabeth@prcollaborative.com 

American Film Institute: Stacy Adamski, 323.856.7759,SAdamski@AFI.com

TCM Celebrates Legendary Actor Michael Douglas

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Festival Lineup Also Features Cast Reunion of Christopher Guest’s Best in Show, Plus Appearances by Film and Television Icons John Landis, Dick Cavett and Bob Newhart

Special Presentations for 2017 Festival Include Rare Nitrate and Cinerama Screenings

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) recently announced that legendary actor Michael Douglas will attend the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival for a pair of major events. On April 8, Douglas will sit down with TCM host Ben Mankiewicz for an in-depth interview about his career at the legendary The Ricardo Montalbán Theatre as part of the annual Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival series. In addition, the Oscar®-winning icon will participate in a discussion following a screening of the 1979 thriller The China Syndrome, which he produced and starred in opposite Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon.

“Michael Douglas has been part of our collective Hollywood consciousness his entire life. From chasing bad guys through the streets of San Francisco to playing an iconic bad guy in Gordon Gekko, Michael has stayed not only relevant, but vital,” said Mankiewicz. “To say that I’m looking forward to discussing the career of an actor who played Liberace 38 years after producing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a huge understatement.”

TCM continues to add screen legends and beloved icons to its impressive lineup for the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival, which is set to take place April 6 – April 9 in Hollywood, including:

  • Best in Show (2000) – cast members from Christopher Guest’s acclaimed mockumentary – Fred Willard, John Michael Higgins, Jim Piddock and Bob Balaban – will be on hand to discuss the hilarious comedy about the eccentric characters competing at a national dog show.
  • Bob Newhart – the Golden Globe® and Emmy® winner will introduce a screening of Hell Is For Heroes (1962).
  • John Landis, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker – will attend a 40th Anniversary screening of their irreverent sketch comedy The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) and participate in a conversation about the film.
  • Dick Cavett –Emmy-winning television personality will introduce screenings of Monkey Business (1931), the first original film production from the Marx Brothers, Way Out West (1937) and sit down for a conversation in Club TCM.

In addition, the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival will present a number of rare screening events that celebrate cinema’s ability to immerse viewers in the film experience, including:

  • Nitrate Films – this years festival will showcase the history of cinema and highlight the institutions that work hard to protect original nitrate prints for contemporary audiences to experience, including Academy Film Archive, George Eastman Museum and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Lineup includes: Black Narcissus (1947), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), Laura (1944), and Lady in the Dark (1944) all shown at the Egyptian Theatre. Nitrate projection made possible through support of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Turner Classic Movies and The Film Foundation in partnership with the American Cinematheque and the Academy Film Archive.
  • Cinerama – a screeing of the very first film made for the ultra-widescreen process – the aptly titled This is Cinerama (1952) – in its original format presented at ArcLight Cinemas’ Cinerama Dome.
  • Speedy Accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra – a screening of the Harold Lloyd comedy Speedy (1928), with original music by the famed Alloy Orchestra.
  • Those Redheads from Seattle in 3Dthe world-premiere restoration of the rarely-seen musical Those Redheads from Seattle (1953), presented in its original 3D format.

Previously announced events and appearances include Oscar® winner Sidney Poitier for the 50th anniversary opening-night screening of In the Heat of the Night (1967); Mel Brooks for the 40th anniversary screening of his Hitchcock spoof High Anxiety (1977); actress Lee Grant for screenings of Detective Story (1951) and The Landlord (1970); and actor-director Peter Bogdanovich for screenings of The Last Picture Show (1971) and What’s Up, Doc? (1972). Grant and Bogdanovich will also be interviewed in the Festival’s central gathering point, Club TCM. And legendary father and son filmmakers Carl Reiner and Rob Reiner will be honored with a hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theater IMAX®.

Complete bios for each of the artists appearing at the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival and for film descriptions, please visit the festival’s website: filmfestival.tcm.com

About the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival

For the eighth consecutive year, thousands of movie lovers from around the globe will descend upon Hollywood for the TCM Classic Film Festival. The 2017 festival is set to take place Thursday, April 6 – Sunday, April 9, 2017. Over four packed days and nights, attendees will be treated to an extensive lineup of great movies, appearances by legendary stars and filmmakers, fascinating presentations and panel discussions, special events and more.

TCM host Ben Mankiewicz will serve as official host of the TCM Classic Film Festival, with TCM’s Tiffany Vazquez introducing various events. The festival’s official hotel and central gathering point for the eighth consecutive year will be The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which has a longstanding role in movie history and was the site of the first Academy Awards® ceremony. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel will also offer special rates for festival attendees. Screenings and events during the festival will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and the Egyptian Theatre, as well as other Hollywood venues.

This year’s festival theme will be Make ‘Em Laugh: Comedy In The Movies. From lowbrow to high, slapstick to sophisticated comedies of manners, the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival will showcase the greatest cinematic achievements of lone clowns, comedic duos and madcap ensembles.

Festival Passes

Passes for the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival are on sale now. Fans are able to purchase them through the TCM Classic Film Festival website. As the number of passes available is limited, fans are encouraged to purchase their passes as soon as possible.

The “Spotlight” Festival Pass: $2,149 – Includes all privileges available to “Classic” and “Essential” passholders, priority entry to all screening events; plus entry to the exclusive opening-night party following the red-carpet gala screening at TCL Chinese Theatre; meet-and-greet events with special guests,; and a limited edition TCM Classic Film Festival poster.

The “Essential” Festival Pass: $799 – Includes all privileges available to “Classic” passholders, plus entry to the opening-night red-carpet gala screening at TCL Chinese Theatre and official TCM Classic Film Festival gift bags.

The “Classic” Festival Pass: $649 – Includes access to all film programs at festival venues Thursday, April 6 – Sunday, April 9 (does not include admittance to the opening-night red-carpet gala screening at TCL Chinese Theatre or the opening-night party); access to all Club TCM events, panels and poolside screenings at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; an opening-night welcome reception at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; and the closing-night event.

The “Palace” Festival Pass: $299 – Includes access to all screenings and events at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre (excluding the opening-night red-carpet gala) and the Egyptian Theatre Friday, April 7 – Sunday, April 9, as well as poolside screenings at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.


About Turner Classic Movies (TCM)

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a two-time Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world highlighting the entire spectrum of film history. TCM features the insights from Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz and Saturday daytime host Tiffany Vazquez, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests and serves as the ultimate movie lover destination. Currently in its 22nd year as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers critically acclaimed series like The Essentials, along with annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar® in February and Summer Under the Stars in August. TCM also directly connects with movie fans through events as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the TCM Classic Cruise, as well as through the TCM Classic Film Tour in New York City and Los Angeles. In addition, TCM produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs, and hosts a wealth of material online at tcm.com and through the Watch TCM mobile app.

TCM is a division of Turner, a Time Warner company, Turner creates and programs branded news, entertainment, sports, animation and young adult multi-platform content for consumers around the world. Turner brands and businesses include CNN/U.S., HLN, CNN International and CNN.com, TBS, TNT, TCM, truTV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim, Turner Sports, Bleacher Report, FilmStruck, Super Deluxe, iStreamPlanet and ELEAGUE


(Source: TCM Press Release)

Atlanta Film Festival Announces Opening Night, Closing Night, Special Presentations & Creative Conference

Posted by Larry Gleeson

ATLANTA, GA (March 3, 2017)  — The 2017 Atlanta Film Festival (ATLFF) is pleased to unveil key programming highlights that will take place during the 41st annual event from Friday, March 24, 2017 – Sunday, April 2, 2017. The featured screenings and events, announced first by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, include Opening and Closing Night Presentations, 18 Marquee and World Premiere screenings, 40 Creative Conference events and 12 unique Special Presentations. The programming revealed today will join a spectacular lineup of 163 previously announced feature length and short films, selected from a record 6,000+ submissions.

To kick-off the fest, ATLFF is pleased to welcome the feature film DAVE MADE A MAZE, as the Opening Night Presentation on Friday, March 24, 2017. Lauded “a cult classic in the making,” the narrative feature-length film combines elements of live action, puppetry and stop-motion video. The film stars comedian Nick Thune and is the directorial debut of writer-director Bill Watterson. Watterson and select cast and crewmembers will attend the Opening Night red carpet screening and celebration.

The festival’s Marquee screenings will take place throughout the ten-day event, giving attendees the opportunity to see a diverse lineup of upcoming releases from major film studios, including: Focus Features, 20th Century Fox, CBS Films and Sony Pictures Classics. Marquee screenings will include: THE LOST CITY OF Z (starring Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson), THE BOSS BABY (starring Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Lisa Kudrow, Jimmy Kimmel, Toby Maguire), and DEAN (starring Demetri Martin and Kevin Kline).

Among the Marquee screenings is a trio of films presented in partnership with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF). ATLFF is proud to partner with AJFF to co-present three films with strong ties to Judaism that both celebrate and honor the Jewish faith and heritage. Based on the best-selling novel by Diane Ackerman, THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE (starring Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Daniel Brühl) recounts the true story of the Polish couple, who fought to save humans and animals in the Warsaw Zoo during World War II. NORMAN: THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER – partially shot in Israel – tells the story of Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere), an opportunist who finds himself in the center of a geopolitical drama beyond anything he could have imagined.

To conclude Atlanta’s 2017 celebration of culture and cinema, ATLFF will close with MENASHE from A24 Films, the studio behind the ‘Best Picture’ winner at the 2017 Academy Awards®.  A Yiddish comedic drama that explores New York’s ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community, MENASHE is the third film presented in partnership with the AJFF. Executive Producer Danelle Eliav is scheduled to appear at the Closing Night celebration.

ATLFF is proud to host the World Premiere of seven feature-length narrative or documentary films and two episodic pilots during the 2017 festival. World Premiere presentations will feature films from ATLFF specialty tracks (New Mavericks, Pink Peach, Georgia-Made) and with casts that include notable actors such as Maggie Grace, Justin Chatwin, Maika Monroe and Will Patton.

In addition to film screenings, ATLFF hosts a series of Special Presentations annually, including fest-favorites Food on Film and SOUND + VISION. This is the fifth year that ATLFF has hosted the Food on Film event, which pairs a food-themed movie with a delicious after party. This year, foodies and film lovers can expect a 25th Anniversary Presentation of Georgia-made classic MY COUSIN VINNY, followed by a southern celebration to honor grits. SOUND + VISION will also return to the 2017 festival with details to be announced. Also joining the Special Presentations lineup this year is a block of emerging creative media including music videos, episodic television pilots and virtual reality screenings.

Rounding out the announcement of key programming is the 2017 ATLFF Creative Conference schedule. As the festival’s educational programming track, the five-day Creative Conference program consists of nearly 40 panels, talks and demos that delve deeper into the captivating world of cinema, focusing on topics such as screenwriting, acting, producing, casting, funding and distribution. This year ATLFF is delighted to offer conferences on production location, IMDB, costume design, script writing and more.

For a full lineup of films, or to purchase passes, please visit www.AtlantaFilmFestival.com. Select individual screening tickets are on sale now and will be updated as additional events are announced.

The Atlanta Film Festival is the annual centerpiece of educational and enriching film programing that is provided year-round by parent organization, the Atlanta Film Society.

Additional announcements will be made as programming is added to the 2017 ATLFF lineup.



Dave Made A Maze

Directed by Bill Watterson
USA, 2017, English, 81 minutes
Friday, March 24, 2017, 7:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

In a struggling attempt to create something of significance, Dave builds a fort in his living room where he falls victim to his own creation. Now trapped in a world filled with booby traps and fantastical pitfalls, Dave advises his girlfriend against entering the ever-changing mythical world to save him.
#Puppetry, #Marquee

Director Bill Watterson and select cast and crew members scheduled to attend.
Sponsored by Moonshine Post-Production.




directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein
USA/Israel, 2017, Yiddish, 91 minutes
Saturday, April 1, 2017, 7:30 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main
Presented in partnership with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Deep in the heart of New York’s ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community, Menashe, a kind, hapless grocery store clerk, struggles to make ends meet and responsibly parent his young son, Rieven, following his wife Leah’s death. Tradition prohibits Menashe from raising his son alone, so Rieven’s strict uncle adopts him, leaving Menashe heartbroken. Meanwhile, though Menashe seems to bungle every challenge in his path, his rabbi grants him one special week with Rieven before Leah’s memorial. It’s his chance to prove himself a suitable man of faith and fatherhood, and restore respect among his doubters.

Executive Producer & Unit Production Manager Danelle Eliav scheduled to attend.
Sponsored by Music Matters.



The Boss Baby

Directed by Tom McGrath
USA, 2017, English
Saturday, March 25, 2017, 2:15 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

Meet a most unusual baby. He wears a suit, speaks with the voice and wit of Alec Baldwin, and stars in the animated comedy, DreamWorks’ “The Boss Baby.” “The Boss Baby” is a hilariously universal story about how a new baby’s arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator, a wildly imaginative 7-year-old named Tim.
#Animation #FamilyFriendly


Directed by Demetri Martin
USA, 2016, English, 87 minutes
Saturday, March 25, 2017, 9:45 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Dean (Demetri Martin) is an illustrator whose unwillingness to deal with the recent death of his mother means escaping his hometown of New York for an interview with an ad agency in Los Angeles. His retired engineer dad Robert (Kevin Kline) takes a more regimented approach to grief, including putting the family home up for sale. Both father and son set out on their own paths to find a new normal as unexpected circumstances and potential new love interests threaten to thwart all plans.

The Hero

Directed by Brett Haley
USA, 2017, English 96 minutes
Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 7:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) is an aging Western icon with a golden voice, but his best performances are decades behind him. He spends his days reliving old glories and smoking too much weed with his former-co-star-turned-dealer, Jeremy (Nick Offerman), until a surprise cancer diagnosis brings his priorities into sharp focus. He soon strikes up an exciting, contentious relationship with stand-up comic Charlotte (Laura Prepon), and he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter), all while searching for one final role to cement his legacy.


The Lost City of Z

Directed by James Gray
USA, 2016, English, 140 minutes
Thursday, March 30, 2017, 7:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

Based on author David Grann’s nonfiction bestseller, “The Lost City of Z” tells the incredible true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment who regard indigenous populations as ‘savages,’ the determined Fawcett — supported by his devoted wife (Sienna Miller), son (Tom Holland) and aide-de-camp (Robert Pattinson) — returns time and again to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925.


Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer

Directed by Joseph Cedar
USA/Israel, 2016, English, 117 minutes
Sunday, April 2, 2017, 2:45 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs
Presented in partnership with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere) only wants to matter. Living a lonely life in the shadow of power and money, he uses any angle or connection to put himself in a position of significance. He is an opportunist, just not a very good one. Until he finally bets on the right horse by buying a pair of expensive shoes for Micha Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), a lowly Israeli politician. When Micha becomes Prime Minister, Norman finds himself in the center of a geopolitical drama beyond anything he could have imagined.
The Promise

Directed by Terry George
Spain/Portugal/Malta/USA, 2016, English/German/French, 134 minutes
Sunday, April 2, 2017, 7:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

Michael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac) arrives in 1914 Constantinople as a medical student determined to bring modern medicine back to Siroun, his ancestral village in Southern Turkey. Photo-journalist Chris Myers (Christian Bale), has come here only partly to cover geo-politics. He is mesmerized by his love for Ana (Charlotte le Bon), an Armenian artist he has accompanied from Paris after the sudden death of her father. When Michael meets Ana, their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between the two men even as Michael hangs on to a promise from his past. After the Turks join the war on the German side, the Empire turns violently against its own ethnic minorities. Despite their conflicts, everyone must find a way to survive—even as monumental events envelope their lives.



Directed by Albert Birney & Kentucker Audley
USA, 2017, English, 80 minutes
Monday, March 27, 2017, 8:00 PM — Dad’s Garage

It’s the story of a small town gorilla, Sylvio, who is stuck in his job at a debt collection agency. Deep down he just wants to express himself with his hand puppet, Herbert Herpels, and his experimental puppet show that highlights the quiet moments of life.


Whose Streets?

Directed by Sabaah Folayan & Damon Davis
USA, 2017, English, 103 minutes
Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 9:30 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main

Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, “Whose Streets?” is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising. When unarmed teenager Michael Brown is killed by police and left lying in the street for hours, it marks a breaking point for the residents of St. Louis, Missouri. Grief, long-standing racial tensions and renewed anger bring residents together to hold vigil and protest this latest tragedy. Empowered parents, artists, and teachers from around the country come together as freedom fighters. As the national guard descends on Ferguson with military grade weaponry, these young community members become the torchbearers of a new resistance.


The Zookeeper’s Wife

Directed by Niki Caro
UK/USA/Czech Republic/New Zealand, 2017, English, 126 minutes
Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 7:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main
Presented in partnership with the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival

In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabińska (Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Germans, Jan and Antonina are stunned and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl). To fight back on their own terms, the Żabińskis covertly begin working with the Resistance and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk.
#NewMavericks, #Marquee



WonderRoot’s Local Film Series
Thursday, March 23, 2017, 7:30 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main — $12 at door/$10 in advance

Once again, we kick-off the festival with WonderRoot’s generally local, mostly independent film series. Join us for a night of awe-inspiring short films from our own backyard.

ATLFF Screenplay Competition: Table Read

Friday, March 24, 2017, 4:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs — FREE with RSVP

Join us for a script read of selections from each of the three 2017 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition winners, featuring local SAG-AFTRA actors.

AIGA Poster Show: Art Director’s Cut

Friday, March 24, 2017, 7:00 PM — Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge — FREE with RSVP

It’s the sequel to last year’s smash hit Poster Show + Mixtape Collaboration fundraiser with a new twist: MOVIES! Our carefully selected critics have curated a poster exhibition that will be on display during the festival to pay homage to our favorite movies. All attendees will take home an event poster for free.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Friday, March 24 & 31, 2017, 12:00 AM — Plaza Theatre, Main — $12

It’s a Plaza Theatre institution! Lips Down On Dixie performs the interactive version of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at Midnight each Friday.


Fear Haus
Saturday, March 25, 2017, 10:15 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main — $12 at door/$10 in advance

Join the FEAR HAUS team during their hand-picked, 1-hour horror genre block, presented by Blair Bathory and Drew Sawyer, with guests of honor Luchagore! FEAR HAUS is an Atlanta-based international brand that curates episodic and feature content with directors and filmmaking teams from around the world. We are proud to have Luchagore with us at the festival, kicking off our newest season. Additionally, Luchagore is collaborating with FEAR HAUS on original content in Atlanta as part of our brand new FEARMAKER program. FEARMAKER provides sustainable production opportunities for talented genre filmmakers, helping showcase them and other’s work around the world. Prepare to make horror your new home.


Food on Film – 25th Anniversary presentation: My Cousin Vinny
directed by Jonathan Lynn
USA, 1992, English, 120 minutes
Sunday, March 26, 2017, 12:00 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main — $12 at door/$10 in advance

Bill Gambini and Stan Rothenstein are a couple of 21-year-old college guys taking a cross-country road trek to UCLA via the back roads of the deep South. They should be having the time of their lives, except for one small mishap: They are wrongfully arrested in Wahzoo City, Alabama, for murdering a convenience store clerk. At best, they face long-term jail sentences; at worst…the electric chair. Their only hope is legal representation from Bill’s cousin Vinny, a Brooklyn lawyer who took six years to pass the bar and only made it six weeks ago. This is not only his first murder trial it’s his first case. Refusing help from his fiery Brooklyn girlfriend, Lisa, the novice lawyer must wrestle with legal procedures in an alien environment under the intimidating eye of Chamberlain Haller, a tough country judge with an obsession for the letter of the law and a powerful dislike for Vinny. This year, we are having an after-party to celebrate GRITS, in all the glorious, Southern dishes we can get our hands on(After-party FREE with “My Cousin Vinny” ticket or festival badge.)


Puppet Slam
Sunday, March 26, 2017, 9:30 PM — Plaza Theatre, Main — $12 at door/$10 in advance

Hosted by Beau Brown, the Puppet Slam (formerly known as Touch the Puppet Head) is a combination of live puppetry performances and curated short puppet films. Featuring “New Roommate” directed by Victor Yerrid, “Pets” directed by Raymond Carr & Molly Coffee, “Fade to Grey” directed by Rowan Patel and “Fruit Flies” directed by Benjamin Wilson.

The Florida State University College Of Motion Picture Arts Presents: Selected Keylight Films

Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 6:45 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs — FREE with RSVP

The FSU College of Motion Pictures Arts presents a showcase of eight short student films followed by a panel discussion with representatives from the College. Ranked by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the top 25 film schools in the country, FSU College of Motion Picture Arts produces student films that regularly win prestigious awards like the Student Emmys and Oscars. Join us for an evening of cinematic entertainment as we showcase this year’s selected Keylight Films.

The Art Institute of Atlanta Presents: Senior Film Screening

Thursday, March 30, 2017, 5:00 PM — 7 Stages Theatre, Main — FREE with RSVP

A showcase of short films created by senior level students from The Art Institute of Atlanta.



Enjoy family pilots before the shorts block Planet of the Children!
Saturday, March 25, 2017, 12:15 PM — Towne Cinema

The Discovery of Dit Dodson
Directed by Kelley Kali | USA, 2016, English, 10:35
In the Bayous of Louisiana, 14-year-old Dit discovers that she inherited magical healing powers, but they get her into a world of trouble.
#FamilyFriendly, #WorldPremiere

Little Mouse
Directed by Ervin B. Nagy | Hungary, 2016, Hungarian, 7:12
1986. Budapest. The later olympic champion swimmer Krisztina Egerszegi is only 12. Her opponents are stronger and bigger.


Binge through three full season comedies at Dad’s Garage!
Sunday, March 26, 2017, 3 PM, 5PM & 7:30 PM — Dad’s Garage Theatre
$12 at door/$10 in advance

The Benefits of Gusbandry
Directed by Alicia J. Rose | USA, 2016, English, 1:17:00
One woman, one man, a lot of weed, a little crying and NO sexual attraction whatsoever.  Love is so gay.
#NewMavericks, #PinkPeach

The Minutes Collection
Directed by Jim Cummings & Dustin Hahn | USA, 2015, English, 1:27:10
Dona Nobis Pacem: grant us peace.

Hart of America
Directed by Arlen Konopaki | USA, 2016, English, 55:00
Alcoholic bigfoot, sex-crazed teens, and a hard-nosed detective cross paths in the Georgia woods searching for fulfillment.


Tune into vignettes of local and domestic artists in our documentary block.
Sunday, March 26, 2017, 4:30 PM — 7 Stages Theatre, Main
$12 at door/$10 in advance

Directed by Myisa Plancq-Graham | USA, 2017, English, 25:00
An original series documenting the presence, global influence, and varied interests of the African diaspora.
#NewMavericks, #PinkPeach

We The Creators
Directed by Babacar Ndiaye | USA, 2016, English, 12:00
“We the Creators” takes a closer look at a diverse group of artists specializing in multiple art forms.


Head to Poncey-Highland for some late night drama.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 7:20 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs
$12 at door/$10 in advance

Directed by Christelle Gras | France, 2016, French, 33:57
The end of the world, the beginning of theirs

Directed by Fernando Sanchez & Pascual Sisto | USA, 2016, English, 59:00
A series that rearranges itself to form unique episodes for each viewer as it weaves the deviant drives of several unconnected people.



Monday, March 27 & Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 6PM to 10PM — 7 Stages Theatre, Black Box

Ch’aak’ S’aagi (Eagle Bone)
Directed by Tracy Rector
USA, 2016, Lushootseed/English/Tlingit, 5:00

Nature reminds us that we are all connected and to reflect on the teachings of the old ones.

Fossil Hunters of the Gobi
Directed by Jason Drakeford
USA, 2016, English, 3:44
We immerse the viewer in the journey of 1920s explorer and fossil hunter Roy Chapman Andrews, leading up to current day research.

Directed by Lilian Mehrel
USA, 2016, English, 7:39
“haunt” is a short virtual reality film about presence, experienced through the eyes of a ghost.

I Philip
Directed by Pierre Zandrowicz
France, 2016, English, 13:00

“I Philip” is an immersive short fiction that takes the viewer inside the mind of one of the greatest writers of science-fiction of our time.

Please State Your Name
Directed by Jak Wilmot
USA, 2016, English, 9:00

Stuck with a broken voice box, a decapitated robot head desperately tries to escape a giant garbage facility.

Directed by Gabriela Arp
USA, 2016, English, 8:00

Traces is a cinematic virtual reality film exploring the meaning of memory for one woman living with Alzheimer’s disease.
#Georgia, #NewMavericks

Women on the Move
Directed by Shannon Carroll
Niger, 2016, English, 6:24

A woman’s life in rural Niger changes when she enters into a savings group. Will her granddaughter take the next step out of poverty?



Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 9:45 PM — Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

“Oh Elise” – VIECH
Directed by Arne v. Nostitz-Rieneck | Austria, 2016, German, 6:19

“It Keeps You Running (To The Hills)” – Metal McDonald
Directed by Video Rahim | USA, 2016, English, 6:37

“Dangerous” – Big Freedia
Directed by Wilberto Lucci | USA, 2015, English, 4:30

“The Rush” – Langtunes
Directed by Sahar Tarzi | Iran, 2015, English, 3:37

“Young Rebels” – TW Walsh
Directed by Brit Wigintton | USA, 2016, English, 3:03

“Soy Yo” – Bomba Estéreo
Directed by Torben Kjelstrup | Denmark, 2016, Spanish, 2:55

“Left & Right” – Pazes
Directed by Camila Lima | Brazil, 2016, 3:29

“Ponura Tresura” – Makabreski
Directed by Ala nunu Leszynska | Poland, 2016, Polish, 5:09

“Time Stops” – StarBenders
Directed by Benjamin Roberds | USA, 2016, English, 3:49

“Fighter” – Supa Good D Smoke feat. Jackie Gouché + Davion Farris
Directed by Erica Eng | USA, 2016, English, 6:00

Directed by Åsa Ritton & Andreas Emenius | Denmark/Sweden, 2016, English, 5:08

“Move” – Austin Royale
Directed by Josh Yates | USA, 2016, English, 2:30

“Funeral Regrets” – Closet Witch
Directed by Autojektor | UK/USA, 2016, English, 2:55

“Flight Attendant” – XXX
Directed by Mattis Dovier | South Korea/France, 2016, Korean, 3:52

“Beasts in the Garden” – Spires That In The Sunset Rise
Directed by Lori Felker | USA, 2015, English, 6:29

“The Was” – The Avalanches
Directed by Soda_Jerk | Australia, 2016, English, 13:40




Location, Location, Location — 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

A director, production designer, and location managers discuss finding the right location and how collaboration can produce the perfect look.

Reputation is Everything — 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM, 7 Stages Theatre, Black Box

From your resume to the basics of IMDb, learn to accurately and properly list your credits whether you’re an actor or crew.

Create Me — 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

A writer, director, actor, propmaster, and costume designer work together to construct different characters from the page to the stage.

Trust Me — 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Documentary filmmakers explore when and how to build trust with their subject(s), the difficulty of staying neutral, and the lines to avoid crossing.

Make It Work — 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

Development is crucial to success—what’s involved, why it’s about more than just script rewrites, and how the right team can help bring your ideas into focus.

Breaking In — 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Production Assistants discuss how they got started, what they wish they’d known, tips for success, and networking best practices to keep getting gigs.

I’ll be in my Trailer — 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

Actors working on network television shows and studio features share what it took to get there, and how indie film started their careers.

SAGIndie: Get Great Talent — 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Producers and production staff: SAGIndie offers an indepth look at the various low budget contracts that the Screen Actors Guild has to offer.



Fincannon & Associates: Casting Master Class — 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM, Plaza Theatre, Main

Mark Fincannon explains the art of casting, self-taping, auditions, discovering new talent, and more.

Based on a True Story — 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Narrative, reality TV, and documentary filmmakers discuss the pros and cons of crafting stories based in real life.

Back to One — 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

Actors and directors explore how to find a common language to best communicate intention, and what makes a good working relationship.

A Fist Full Of Dollars — 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Art department members share tips and tricks to save money, like recycling big budget sets to keep them out of landfills.

Note to Self — 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

A writer, director, producer, and editor talk about the art of giving and receiving notes, whether from each other or a studio.

Working in a Virtual World — 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Directors and DPs examine the differences and challenges of VR storytelling vs typical narrative work.

Block, Light, Rehearse, Shoot — 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

From shot lists to scheduling, how the DP, Director, and 1st AD collaborate to ensure a production runs smoothly.

The Business of The Biz — 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Former film crew members explain how their insider knowledge allowed them to start an ancillary business that serves the film industry and their previous craft.



Grip Truck Show and Tell — 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM, 7 Stages Theatre, Back Parking Lot

Day 1 Production Services showcases the typical 3-ton non-CDL grip truck used by indie features and smaller productions.


The Fine Print — 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Entertainment attorneys discuss the contracts necessary to protect everyone involved on your next production.

Light and Shoot Your Indie — 11:15 AM – 12:45 AM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

PC&E demos cameras, lighting, and grip equipment to help you choose the right gear for your next production.

Stop and Care: Set Safety  — 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

From insurance and safety meetings to stunts and guns, how to get the shots you need, encourage your crew to speak up, and keep your set safe.

Animate It — 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM, The Workshop

Hands-on workshop provides the tools, equipment, and know how to create an animated project in under an hour.


Sound is Half the Picture — 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

From on-location sound recording and basic equipment to post audio and foley, the dos and don’ts of sound recording.

Show Me The Money — 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Film investment, tax credits, sales reps, and self distribution; panelists share how their process works and best practices.

ShareGrid: Cinematography — 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

Directors of Photography discuss cameras, lenses, and the art of moving the story forward, not simply using a camera as a tool to capture the moment.

Pop-Up Panel — 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Maybe a master class, maybe another amazing panel discussion, either way you won’t want to miss this pop-up surprise.



Disrupting Hollywood — 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

The Hollywood system has made movies the same way for over 100 years. Is Atlanta poised to disrupt the status quo using data and new technologies?

I Recognize That Voice — 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

From animation to VO and narration, Atlanta’s voice talent community examines what it takes to succeed.

Good, Fast, Cheap: Pick Two — 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

Filmmakers share the challenges and freedom of low budget filmmaking, plus tips and tricks to help you succeed.

Unions & Guilds — 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Reps discuss who their unions/guilds represent, how to join, how they work with indie productions, and what to expect when under a union contract.

It’s a Small World Afterall — 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

How diversity behind and in front of the camera increases marketability and sales; delivering your message to an ever-growing diverse, worldwide audience.

Truth or Consequences — 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Documentary filmmakers examine ‘truth’ in today’s climate, its affect on their power to persuade, and whether agenda based or neutral approaches may work best.

Not Your Parents’ Cartoons — 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

Network animated series creators share how new digital platforms expand distribution possibilities for their shows as well as animators in general.

#ShePersisted — 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Film Fatales, PGA WIN committee, BWFN, WIFTA, New Mavericks, and more discuss opportunities for females in education, mentorship, and support.



Managing Media — 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

Post-production companies handling studio features, network TV shows, and indie features explain best practices for organizational workflow.

Playing Games — 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

With over 100 video game studios, Georgia is a hotbed of talent, creating opportunities for gamemakers and interesting alliances with filmmakers.

Georgia On My Mind — 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

Georgia has a deep and diverse music scene—how to license songs, get an original score, and use music to complement rather than overwhelm the moment.

Airport Shorts: Puppetry and Stop Motion Animation — 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Molly Coffee and friends discuss the making of “Passing 66,” her felt puppet stop motion animation airport short.

Case Study: A Scene for Sound Design — 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM, 7 Stages Theatre, Main

John Kassab, sound designer and producer of last year’s ATLFF feature “Like Lambs,” dissects scenes from the movie to illustrate the art of sound design.

Case Study: VFX in GIFs — 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM, Plaza Theatre, Upstairs

Self-taught viral video GIF maker Chris Nik demystifies the process, explains improv comedy’s influence, and how to VFX problem solve on a DIY budget.

(Source: atlantafilmfestival.com)

Actor/producer JOSH BROLIN will receive SLO Film Fest 2017 King Vidor Award.

Posted by Larry Gleeson

2017 King Vidor Award – Josh Brolin

Presented by BHE Renewables

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival will honor Academy Award® nominee Josh Brolin with the prestigious King Vidor Award for Excellence in Filmmaking at its 23rd Annual SLO Film Fest in March.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 12.13.45 AMNamed for film director, producer, screenwriter, and part time SLO County resident King Vidor, the King Vidor Award is presented as an annual tribute to a talented filmmaker, actor or film artist in recognition of his or her exceptional artistic contributions to the motion picture industry. A powerful, sought-after film actor, Academy Award® nominated Josh Brolin continues to balance challenging roles in both mainstream studio productions as well as thought-provoking independents. In addition to impressive careers in common, Vidor and Brolin share a deep affection for SLO County.

Fellow actor and former King Vidor Award recipient, Jeff Bridges, hopes to be available to present the award to his friend and colleague at the event taking place at the historic Fremont Theatre in Downtown San Luis Obispo on Saturday, March 18 at 7:00pm. TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz will chat with Josh Brolin about his accomplished career after the award presentation.

The Awards Night evening will begin at 7:00pm (6:30pm Red Carpet) with the George Sidney juried Filmmaker Awards. Representatives from festival media sponsors New Times, KSBY, Tribune and Coast 104.5 will present cash awards to winning filmmakers. There will be a no-host bar in the lobby serving wine and beer.

Former King Vidor Award recipient Jeff Bridges will present the King Vidor Award to Josh Brolin. Then TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz will sit down with Brolin for a conversation about his career and a short Q&A from the audience. An awards after-party will follow at the SLO Masonic Lodge in downtown San Luis Obispo. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN will screen at the Fremont Theatre after a short intermission as well.

This event is also sponsored by: Coast 104.5, New Times, Tribune, KSBY, Novo, Big Sky, Windows on the Water, The Cakestress, SLO Provisions, Sidecar, Central Coast Distributing, Filipponi Ranch Winery, Justin Vineyards and more…

Get Tickets Here

7:00pm – King Vidor Award and George Sidney Filmmaker Awards
Saturday, March 18, Fremont Theatre, 1025 Monterey St. SLO
$20 General / $15 Students & Film Society (Only Movie Mogul Passes accepted).
9:00pm – Awards Night After-Party – King David Masonic Lodge, 859 Marsh St. SLO
At door: $50 General / $45 Students & Film Society.

About Josh Brolin

The Santa Monica-born son of actor James Brolin, and late wildlife advocate Jane Cameron Agee, Josh Brolin moved to Templeton, CA in his infancy, later attending Templeton Elementary and Templeton Middle School. He returned to the area as an adult and currently owns a ranch in the Templeton-Adelaida area. Brolin made his feature film debut starring in the action-comedy classic GOONIES, directed by Richard Donner for producer Steven Spielberg.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 12.09.21 AMHe was nominated for an Academy Award®, a Screen Actors Guild Award and received awards from the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review for his portrayal of Dan White in Gus Van Sant’s acclaimed film MILK. He also co-starred in the Coen Brothers’ TRUE GRIT, which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards®including Best Picture. Prior to that, Brolin earned a Screen Actors Guild Award as part of the ensemble for his work in the Coen Brothers’ NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, which also won four Academy Awards®, including Best Picture and Best Director.  Brolin received rave reviews and a Critics Choice Award nomination for his performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s INHERENT VICE, opposite Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon.

Currently in production on SOLDADO, a follow up to SICARIO, Brolin will reprise his role as ‘Matt Graver.’ He can next be seen in GRANITE MOUNTAIN opposite Jeff Bridges, Miles Teller, and Jennifer Connelly, and in Jody Hill’s THE LEGACY OF A WHITETAIL DEER HUNTER alongside Danny McBride.

Brolin will soon begin production on GEORGE AND TAMMY opposite Jessica Chastain. The film follows the rise and fall of country music icons George Jones and Tammy Wynette, with Brolin starring as “George Jones.” Additionally, he is set to star in George Clooney’s upcoming film SUBURBICON, opposite Oscar Isaac, Julianne Moore, and Matt Damon. The crime mystery is written by Joel and Ethan Coen. Furthermore, Brolin will join the illustrious AVENGERS franchise as supervillain ‘Thanos.’

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 12.11.08 AMBrolin was last seen in Joel and Ethan Coen’s HAIL, CAESAR!, co-starring George Clooney, Channing Tatum, and Tilda Swinton. Brolin plays ‘Eddie Mannix,’ a Hollywood fixer in the 1950’s, who works to keep the studio’s stars in line. He also starred in Lionsgate’s SICARIO opposite Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro. The film debuted in competition at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2015. Additionally, Brolin co-starred in EVEREST, based on the book ‘Into Thin Air.’

Other film credits include: LABOR DAY directed by Jason Reitman; Spike Lee’s OLD BOY; Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller-directed SIN CITY 2: A DAME TO KILL; GANGSTER SQUAD opposite Sean Penn; MEN IN BLACK 3 opposite Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones; Oliver Stone’s WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS and as the title role in W.; Ridley Scott’s blockbuster AMERICAN GANGSTER opposite Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe; Woody Allen’s YOU MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER; PLANET TERROR, part of the critically acclaimed Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez double feature, GRINDHOUSE; IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH for director Paul Haggis; John Stockwell’s INTO THE BLUE; Paul Verhoeven’s blockbuster hit, HOLLOW MAN; Scott Silver’s MOD SQUAD; Ole Bornedal’s psychological thriller NIGHTWATCH; BEST LAID PLANS opposite Reese Witherspoon, produced by Mike Newell; ALL THE RAGE; and Guillermo Del Toro’s science-fiction thriller, MIMIC. Brolin also received recognition from critics and audiences in David O. Russell’s FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, portraying a bisexual federal agent, alongside an outstanding ensemble cast led by Ben Stiller.

How Paso resident Josh Brolin became one of Hollywood’s best character actors and a SLO Film Fest honoree

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Glen Starkey

Apparently, becoming a Hollywood movie star isn’t quite as glamorous as people think. In fact, to hear Josh Brolin paint it, the acting profession is a long series of rejections marked by occasional small paying jobs and maybe, if you’re one of the rare ones, you luck upon a film that changes your career.

Next Saturday, March 18, Brolin—who was nominated for a 2009 Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Dan White in the 2008 film Milk—will receive the SLO International Film Festival’s King Vidor Award for Excellence in Filmmaking in a special ceremony at the Fremont Theater.

The 23rd annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival takes place Tuesday, March 14, through Sunday, March 19, in various locations throughout SLO County. Learn all the details and purchase tickets and festival passes at slofilmfest.org. Josh Brolin is this year’s King Vidor Award for Excellence in Filmmaking winner, and he’ll receive his award on Saturday, March 18, in the Fremont Theater, beginning at 7 p.m. Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz will chat with Brolin about his career after the award ceremony, followed by a brief audience Q-and-A.

According to Festival Director Wendy Eidson, Brolin seemed like the perfect selection for this year’s King Vidor Award.

“Back in 2008, I met Josh when he came to the festival as a filmmaker with a short film called X,” Eidson said. “He was refreshingly down-to-earth, friendly, and fun, and I immediately asked him to be on our advisory board so we could keep him involved in our growing festival. Since then, he has done one fantastic role after another, worked with many of the greatest directors of our time, and leading actors as well, and has really earned his distinction as one of the top actors in Hollywood today.

“His career has spanned more than three decades and even though he is possibly the youngest person to receive the King Vidor award in our festival’s history, we feel he is more than worthy of this honor,” Eidson continued. “King Vidor is famous for having the most prolific career as a director, so it’s important that we honor his legacy by giving the award to someone with a similarly long and successful career. As an added bonus, King Vidor and Josh Brolin share a passion for the Central Coast and both were/are owners of a ranch in North County. Josh is an exciting choice for this award, and I look forward to honoring his past, current, and future success as an actor, director, and producer.”

As for Brolin, who spoke to New Times by phone, he couldn’t be happier about the accolade.

“For me, it’s really an honor,” Brolin said. “It’s almost weird. I’m just a little ranch kid, and the odds of my doing well—or anyone doing well—in my profession are slim to none, so it’s surreal to me, and I love being a local. I tried to move to different places and was always sucked back by Paso, the solitude of it, how mentally grounded I feel because of living here. It’s nice, man. I just feel very honored to be part of this place I love. It’s nice to be a local.”

The early years

Born on Feb. 12, 1968, in Santa Monica, Brolin, 49, moved to a ranch in the Adelaida area of Paso Robles when he was an infant, and he grew up there, attending elementary and middle school in Templeton.

“We lived on what was Route 1, now called Vineyard Drive,” Brolin recalled. “It was very different back then. There were a couple of wineries, but it was real ranch living. We had a 230-acre horse ranch, and I had to feed those horses every morning.”


Young Josh Brolin on his Paso Robles-area family ranch with a canine.
Around age 11 or 12, he moved to Santa Barbara, where he eventually attended high school.

When I went to high school,” Brolin quipped, making reference to his ne’er-do-well younger years that purportedly included a stolen car, heroin use, and a gaggle of rough surfer and skater friends, most of whom ended up dead.

“There’s nothing more to write about it—it’s all been written,” Brolin laughed about his well-documented wayward youth.

The story circulating online about his foray into acting began with an improv class in his junior year of high school, and then the role of Stanley in his high school’s production of A Street Car Named Desire. Did it happen that way?

“Sort of,” Brolin admitted. “A lot of that stuff was me fibbing to get work later, so some of it was true—I did have a really great improv teacher—but some was made up. Now I can talk about this, but there’s this perception that because a member of your family is in acting [Brolin’s father is the actor James Brolin], people immediately assume you can get jobs. Well, a family member might be able to get you a job, like a guest role on CSI or something, but they can’t give you a career. When I first started out, I auditioned constantly, but I wasn’t great. I didn’t come out of the gate a talented actor.”

In fact, in his younger years, Brolin had no interest in acting. He didn’t spend much time on his father’s sets, and they didn’t have a lot of actors up to the ranch.

“My mom was much more apt to invite country singers to the ranch. Actors, on a respect level, were not very high in my mom’s point of view. It seemed like a very insecure profession to me. At that age I was interested in law.”


Josh Brolin with his mom, Jane Cameron Agee.


When he did finally take that improv class, the acting bug hit.

“I wasn’t one of those kids who at 4 years old says, ‘I want to be an actor.’ That wasn’t me at all, but when I first started, I got it. I had a lot of fear and a lot of stage fright, but I found when I played a character, that fear went away, and I had an excuse to act and react to the character, and it was great, like a drug—I finally could let go and not think about all the consequences of what was going on in my life and be this other person.”


Catching the acting bug and suddenly having an acting career are not the same things, of course. Yes, Brolin scored the role of Brand, the older brother, in The Goonies (1985).

“I’m gonna hit you so hard that when you wake up your clothes will be out of style,” Brant famously threatened in the cult classic.


The following year he got the lead part of Corey Webster in Thrashin’ (1986), a story about rival skateboard gangs. When he saw the film, however, Brolin thought his performance was terrible. He nearly quit, but instead he kept auditioning.


By 1989, he’d scored the role of James Butler Hickok in the TV series The Young Riders (1989-1992), and the job and a friendship with co-star and character actor Anthony Zerbe (American Hustle, Papillon, The Dead Zone, Cool Hand Luke) changed his life and career.

While his castmates were spending their three-month annual hiatus trying to score film roles, Zerbe encouraged Brolin to do theater.


“Anthony Zerbe, who’s still my best friend, told me to get my ass to Rochester, N.Y., to do a play on my hiatus, and that’s what I did for four or five years. The natural trajectory was to use your hiatus to do a film, but theater work turned out to be the best thing that ever happened, and he [Zerbe] turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. During that time, I found the ability to lose myself in a character and to understand the bigger psychological and sociological implications of each role.”


The big break

If you look at Brolin’s pre-No Country for Old Men filmography, it looks as if he was working constantly, but he paints a different picture of his early years.



Josh Brolin’s first role, filmed when he was 16, was in the Richard Donner-directed ‘The Goonies,’ with a story by Steven Spielberg and a screenplay by Chris Columbus.

“It looks like a lot of work, but it wasn’t. There were a lot of small roles, and I wasn’t being paid a lot because I didn’t have a lot of value as a commodity. For instance, Flirting with Disaster [1996, with Ben Stiller and Patricia Arquette] was an art film and it wasn’t very profitable.”


After his foray into TV, he went on to roles in films such as Nightwatch (1997, with Ewan McGregor), Mimic (1997, with Mira Sorvino), The Mod Squad (1999, with Claire Danes), and Hollow Man (2000, with Kevin Bacon).

He also had a pivotal role in Into the Blue (2005, with Paul Walker and Jessica Alba), and an important part in the “Planet Terror” segment of Grindhouse (2007, with Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, and Bruce Willis), and then No Country for Old Men (2007, with Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem) became a surprise hit.


“You never really know what’s going to work. Did we think No Country was going to be a hit? Not in the least. They hired a Spanish guy that American audiences didn’t know, and Tommy had been doing a lot of movies but he wasn’t exactly a big star anymore. Javier I knew from some small art house films, and who am I? Nobody. It all should have gone horribly wrong, man. I had the same experience on Sicario [2015, with Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro]. After we wrapped filming, I was talking to Benicio and director of photography Roger Deakins, and we were like, ‘Oh well, we tried.’ Then we saw the movie.”



In ‘Labor Day,’ a depressed single mother falls for a wounded and escaped convict played by Josh Brolin.

The film about an idealistic FBI agent (Blunt) who’s enlisted to help a secret taskforce trying to disrupt the Mexican drug trade was a surprise hit, and Brolin and Del Toro recently wrapped filming a follow-up in New Mexico and Mexico, called Soldado, scheduled for release later this year.


“You really never know,” Brolin admitted. “Movies you think are good don’t go anywhere and one’s you think are a flop … they hit.”


No Country for Old Men, the 2008 Academy Award-winning Best Picture, suddenly made Brolin into a hot Hollywood commodity, and all you need to know about his long-lasting affinity for the Central Coast is the scene in which Brolin, as Llewelyn Moss, wears a Templeton High School jacket. Brolin lobbied directors Joel and Ethan Coen to include the jacket in the film. You can take the man out of the Central Coast, but you can’t take the Central Coast out of the man.


The Brolin spread

After Brolin’s parents—James, now married to Barbra Streisand, and his mother Jane Cameron Agee, a wildlife activist—divorced, he lived on the ranch with his mother, who passed away when he was in his 20s, when he took over running the ranch in 1995.

“My mom didn’t have a lot of money, and the ranch had heavy liens on it. I learned a lot from running it. I’ve always been a numbers guy, and I started doing some stock trading. I raised my kids there, but in 2004, I sold it. It was the top of the market, I wasn’t acting a lot then, and it seemed like a smart thing to do.”



In ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,’ Josh Brolin plays Dwight, a private detective who keeps falling for the wrong woman.


Brolin used the proceeds of the sale to invest further. He made a killing in the stock market, and that coupled with his No Country success put him in a position to reacquire the property, which he did in 2010.


“I overpaid for it, but I don’t care,” Brolin confided. “The place is special to me.”

Brolin truly feels connected to SLO County. When he’s not on location working, it’s his home.


“We’re really tucked back into a corner of Adelaida, and we’re surrounded by old-school Paso families whose roots go way back. We’re sort of the newest of that gang, but we’re very much a part of the gang, which I appreciate very much. I’ve tried to leave the area a couple times, but I always get pulled back, like the mafia. They pull you back in.”

Brolin now shares the ranch with his new bride, model Kathryn Boyd, whom he married last year. Judging from his Instagram account, they’re madly in love.

“We are, man,” Brolin said. “It’s not a bullshit presentation. We’re really happy, and it was a really wonderful wedding.”


Becoming a consummate actor

Brolin used to dismiss vocal coaches and the trappings of “serious” acting—he was more of a “just do it” guy—but these days as he’s stretched himself into more challenging roles, for instance as Hollywood fixer Eddie Mannix in the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar! (2016) with George Clooney, he’s realized the importance of preparation. In the film, he changed his voice, his mannerisms, and his walk. He was like a person transformed in the role.

“Now, every role I take on, I think of it like going back to school. Right now I’m preparing to play [country singer] George Jones [in the 2018 film George and Tammy, directed by Taylor Hackford and co-starring Jessica Chastain], so I’ve been taking guitar and singing lessons. It’s like going to college and getting a degree.”



In his third collaboration with famed directors the Coen Brothers after his star turn in ‘No Country for Old Men’ and his role in the remake of ‘True Grit,’ Josh Brolin played Eddie Mannix in the ’50s-era Hollywood homage ‘Hail, Caesar!’

Frequently typecast as a tough guy, Brolin is landing increasingly different roles.

“Look, you have a certain physicality, you know? You don’t look at me and think, ‘He’s definitely a rom-com kind of guy.’ Physically you have a certain niche, and as an actor you try to stretch yourself away from that look that fills a certain archetype. I’ve been lucky to do comedies like W. [2008, where he played George W. Bush in a film directed by Oliver Stone] and a Woody Allen film [You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, 2010].”


He’s also started to forgive himself for some of his early performances.

“I just think that every role requires something different. Even with Thrashin’, which I saw at 18 and thought, ‘Get out of this business and save people from the horrible pain of your bad acting,’ I’ve had people come up and say, ‘Dude, you changed my life. I grew up with drug addict parents and watching that film got me into skateboarding and changed my life,’ so I don’t judge anymore. Different films speak to different people.”

He’s also found he loves the hard work of really digging into a role.


“I’m lucky to have a good voice and I’m good at mimicry, so with Eddie Mannix, he was a different kind of role and doing his voice wasn’t easy. It was New Jersey and Abbott and Costello. I actually rented a theater in LA and treated the script like a play. Even before we began working with the Coens, the other actors and I would rehearse, and I have to say, this part of the process I enjoy more than anything. It’s like building a house. Planning to build your house is amazing, and living in the house after it’s built is amazing, but building the house is a pain in the ass. Acting is a lot of work and a lot of trial and error; it can be an embarrassing thing, things can not be working, but you keep going, and you find the magic in that not working and the reaction to it. It’s like painting a picture—sometimes an accident is the best part. But acting is truly a profession of humiliation.”

(Source: Newtimes.com)

Seattle Film Festival Announces Bold New Forum

Posted by Larry Gleeson

SIFF Announces New Work-In-Progress Forum

Invitation-only section to target emerging new work from world and US filmmakers

Festival Forum program to involve visual storytellers, industry and audience in uniquely collaborative setting

The Seattle International Film Festival has announced the creation of a new Work-In-Progress program for its 43rd edition, May 18-June 11, 2017. Designed specifically to capitalize on SIFF’s long reputation for extraordinarily savvy cinema audiences while bringing emerging new film projects into view for the global industry, the new Works-In-Progress will be part of the already highly successful SIFF Filmmakers Forum.

Beth Barrett, Seattle International Film Festival Interim Artistic Director

Beth Barrett, SIFF Interim Artistic Director says “Discovering talented filmmakers is at the core of SIFF, and to be able to support those voices during the filmmaking process is crucial (to our mission) right now. Our audiences are among the best in the world and will bring a vital, dynamic component to bear as the filmmakers go through this very in-depth creative journey. It’s exciting to marry our audiences with our filmmakers at such a critical junction.”

SIFF has been a forerunner and supporter of world cinema since its inception when festival directors Dan Ireland and Darryl Macdonald started the festival specifically to showcase Dutch New Wave cinema. Now, 43 editions later, SIFF will once again stand as vanguard to the diverse, global voices that use cinema as their palette. Four hand-selected film projects will be curated out of new works-in-progress culled from around the globe. Two documentary and two narrative selections will be under the industry & audience microscope over two days during the final week of the festival. Participating industry will include funders, producers and press, while the local audience will be composed of Seattle’s dynamic cinephiles and working filmmakers.

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Sarah Wilke, SIFF Executive Director

Sarah Wilke, SIFF Executive Director says “Building on SIFF’s strong year-round audience feedback programs, the New Work-In-Progress Forum provides the next level of support for filmmakers, giving diverse and independent voices in the field an additional launchpad for their work though access to our greatest asset, our audiences.”

Tapped to head the new section is former SIFF programmer Kathleen McInnis. As an international film strategist/consultant specializing in world cinema, Kathleen McInnis has over 25 years of experience identifying emerging filmmaking talent and bringing them to their audience via the festival circuit.

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SIFF’S Kathleen McInnis

“I’m thrilled to come back to SIFF with such a dynamic and vital program,” said McInnis. “I feel it is especially important today to help bring global voices to the screen, and it seems a natural, perfect fit to combine SIFF’s legendary audiences with filmmakers and industry in order to do so.”

 The submission deadline for New Works-In-Progress Forum is April 15. Click here for further submission details.


Founded in 1976, SIFF creates experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world with the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema, and SIFF Education. Recognized as one of the top film festivals in North America, the Seattle International Film Festival is the largest, most highly attended film festival in the United States, reaching more than 150,000 annually. The 25-day festival is renowned for its wide-ranging and eclectic programming, presenting over 400 features, short films, and documentaries from over 80 countries each year. SIFF Cinema exhibits premiere theatrical engagements, repertory, classic, and revival film showings 365 days a year on five screens at the SIFF Cinema Uptown, SIFF Cinema Egyptian, and SIFF Film Center, reaching more than 175,000 attendees annually. SIFF Education offers educational programs for all audiences serving more than 13,000 students and youth in the community with free programs each year.


(Source: Press release provided by Nikki Croney/BWR)

2017 #SLOIFF Surf Nite – Between Land & Sea

Posted by Larry Gleeson


Presented by San Luis Obispo Collection

Also sponsored by Apple Farm, City of Pismo Beach, Cliffs Resort, Quality Suites of San Luis Obispo, Sea Venture Resort, Coast 104.5, and Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa.

Directed by SLO Film Fest alum, Ross Whitaker (his short Bye Bye Now screened at SLO Film Fest in 2010) Between Land and Sea,  screening March 17th at 7 PM in the stunning Art Deco inspired Fremont Theater, chronicles a year in the life of an Irish surf town at the mercy of the Atlantic Ocean.

Against the backdrop of Ireland’s stunning west coast, this film digs deep into the day to day lives of the surf community, taking the audience beyond the bluster of the typical adrenaline fueled film to create a very real portrait of those who choose the surf lifestyle.

Irish Big Wave surfer Ollie O’Flaherty will be in attendance, along with the Irish Patagonia surf ambassador, Tom Doidge-Harrison. Both are featured throughout the film and will be traveling to San Luis Obispo for the Premiere.

And if that’s not enough for you, the evening will begin with a short called CHANDLER’S ARK, about Scott Chandler’s quest to put a record number of dogs on a surf board and have them catch a wave! It’s entertaining, amazing and…no dogs were harmed in the making of that film.

But wait there’s more…

Coast 104.5’s Adam Monteil will host the event! Join Surf Nite special guests, visiting filmmakers, and fellow Surf Nite attendees at an After-party in the Festival VIP tent after the movie and Q&A. $10 and a Surf Nite wristband is the cover charge for beer, wine and snacks in the Filmmakers tent.

Get your tickets here!

Surf Nite 2015 at the SLO Film Fest in downtown San Luis Obispo, Calif. The Art Deco inspired Fremont Theater hosts this epic wave event. Lining the street each year are a collection of classic surfing rides. An event and sight not to be missed! (Photo via kcet.org)


*To learn more about SLOIFF click here.

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 9.34.04 AM

(Source: slofilmfest.org)

#SLOIFF is vamping up for its 2017 Opening Night

Posted by Larry Gleeson.

The 23rd San Luis Obispo SLO Film Fest (SLOIFF) is vamping up for its Opening Night. After last year’s mesmerizing Opening Night Film, Nosferatu, this year’s fest is starting with Academy Award Nominee Leslie Iwerks’ new documentary on New Orleans famed restaurateur Ella Brennan, “ELLA BRENNAN: Commanding the Table.” The Brennan family is the first family of restauranting in NOLA. Three generations of the iconic Brennan family operate and run 17 dining establishments!

The Brennan family’s Commander’s Palace Couples Dining Room in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo via neworleans.com)

The Festival Headquarters, located at 1003 Osos St. (corner of Monterey), is open for business. According to the festivals’ website, slofilmfest.org, “the Festival Ticket Mistresses look forward to helping you with ticket and pass purchases, and festival information.” Click here for the Festival Headquarters hours.

This year promises to be the biggest and best festival yet!

To learn more about SLOIFF click here.

Golden Bear and Prizes of the Berlin International Jury

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Quite an eventful 67th Berlinale. Some fantastic films. I had the good fortune to view all but one of the award-winning films, Silver Bear for Best Screenplay, Sebastián Lelio and Gonzalo Maza’s  Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman).  Pokot Spoor winner of the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize for a feature film that opens new perspectives from Agnieszka Holland did not receive my recommendation. Thank you to the jury for all their hard work and diligent efforts!

*Members of the Jury: Paul Verhoeven (Jury President), Dora Bouchoucha Fourati, Olafur Eliasson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julia Jentsch, Diego Luna and Wang Quan’an



GOLDEN BEAR FOR BEST FILM (awarded to the film’s producer) Testről és lélekről On Body and Soul by Ildikó Enyedi


SILVER BEAR ALFRED BAUER PRIZE for a feature film that opens new perspectives Pokot Spoor by Agnieszka Holland

SILVER BEAR FOR BEST DIRECTOR Aki Kaurismäki for Toivon tuolla puolen (The Other Side of Hope/Die andere Seite der Hoffnung)

SILVER BEAR FOR BEST ACTRESS Kim Minhee in Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja (On the Beach at Night Alone) by Hong Sangsoo

SILVER BEAR FOR BEST ACTOR Georg Friedrich in Helle Nächte (Bright Nights) by Thomas Arslan

SILVER BEAR FOR BEST SCREENPLAY Sebastián Lelio and Gonzalo Maza for Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman) by Sebastián Lelio

SILVER BEAR FOR OUTSTANDING ARTISTIC CONTRIBUTION in the categories camera, editing, music score, costume or set design

*Dana Bunescu for the editing in Ana, mon amour by Călin Peter Netzer

The complete award list of the 67th Berlinale: 67_berlinale_awards-1


(Source: Berlinale Press Office)

Behind ‘La La Land,’ A Long Relationship Between A Director And A Composer

Posted by Larry Gleeson

La La Land has already won seven Golden Globe Awards and is nominated for fourteen Oscars, including Best Original Score and two Best Original Songs. The music and the film’s story, about two struggling artists in Los Angeles who can’t launch their careers, are inseparable — it’s a musical, after all. But the collaboration between La La Land‘s composer and its director goes all the way back to college.

Composer Justin Hurwitz and director Damien Chazelle already had a successful track record with their previous film, Whiplash, but Hurwitz says selling a traditional musical in 21st century Hollywood was not easy.

“If he would have said no, our roads would have been very different and there certainly wouldn’t have been a La La Land,” the director says. “The smartest decision I ever made was to latch on to him and not let go.”

When Chazelle and Hurwitz finally got the green light to make La La Land, they wrote and composed hand-in-hand. The first task Chazelle put to the composer was to come up with a main theme.

“I spent so much time at the piano working on demo after demo, idea after idea,” Hurwitz says of what became “Mia & Sebastian’s Theme.” “As soon as I came up with that melody, it was like an “A-ha!” moment for me and Damien: ‘OK, wow, that’s the theme of the movie.'”

He and Chazelle also asked their stars, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, to help create the sound of the film by singing some of the songs live on camera while Hurwitz played the keyboard backstage.

“We did that because we wanted those really intimate moments to feel live and to have that live vulnerability,” Chazelle says, “and to let Emma and Ryan really act those moments and those songs in a way that probably wouldn’t have happened if they had to pre-record those songs in a studio months earlier.”

That sometimes unorthodox approach that Hurwitz and Chazelle took to collaborating has paid off. But the director says their sentimental musical was never a sure bet.

“The idea of embracing that, not apologizing for it, not trying to coat it in any kind of irony, and also embracing the kind of emotions that can come with that, that I feel like we downplay in movies these days,” Chazelle says. “The sort of full-fledged romanticism that movies of an earlier era were able to embrace without hesitation, and now it feels like we’re a little scared to embrace those sometimes.”

Chazelle has another movie in the pipeline, although it’s not a musical. As soon as it gets a green light, Hurwitz says, he will sit back down at his piano to compose once again.

(Source: npr.org)