Tag Archives: Variety

“10 Directors to Watch” at #PSIFF

Posted by Larry Gleeson

“10 Directors to Watch”

“10 Directors to Watch” debuted in 1996 and the annual event moved to the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January 2011.  “10 Directors to Watch” was the first of Variety’s “10 to Watch” series spotlighting the most exciting new talents in the fields of directing, writing, producing, acting, cinematography and comedy.

This year’s “10 Directors to Watch” include:
MAREN ADE, Toni Erdmann
RITESH BATRA, The Sense of an Ending
OTTO BELL, The Eagle Huntress
JULIA DUCOURNAU, Raw
GEREMY JASPER, Patti Cake$
BARRY JENKINS, Moonlight
EMMETT & BRENDAN MALLOY, The Tribes of Palos Verdes
KLEBER MENDONÇA FILHO, Aquarius
WILLIAM OLDROYD, Lady Macbeth
DAVID SANDBERG, Lights Out

Past “10 Directors to Watch” honorees have included Ben Affleck (“Gone Baby Gone”), Wes Anderson (“Bottle Rocket”), Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart”), Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”), Christopher Nolan (“Memento”), Sam Matt Ross (“Captain Fantastic), Taylor Wood (“Nowhere Boy”) and Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), among others.

“One of the most exciting things for me about the festival is being able to host Variety’s 10michael Directors to Watch brunch,” said Michael Lerman, Artistic Director. Not only is it a fantastic event, but it also nicely compliments our festival program with selections from our Talking Pictures and Awards Buzz sections, as well as the director of our opening night film The Sense of an Ending, Ritesh Batra. It’s an exciting list this year!”

The event will be presented by Mercedes-Benz with venue partner the Parker Palm Springs.

 

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About Variety
Variety remains the seminal voice of the entertainment industry for 111 years and counting. Featuring award-winning breaking news reporting, insightful award-season coverage, must-read feature spotlights and intelligent analysis of the industry’s most prominent players, Variety is the trusted source for the business of global entertainment. Read by a highly engaged audience of industry insiders, Variety’s multi-platform content coverage expands across digital, mobile, social, print and branded events and summits.

In 2015 Variety’s “Actors on Actors” on PBS SoCal was awarded the Emmy for best entertainment programming at the Television Academy’s 67th Los Angeles area Emmy Awards. “Actors on Actors,” which is an interview special that features pairings of prominent actors discussing their craft, was produced by PBS SoCal in partnership with Variety Media, LLC. Follow Variety on Facebook facebook.com/variety; Twitter, @variety; Instagram, @Variety; Pinterest and Snapchat. The Variety Group – Variety, Variety.com, Variety Insight, IndieWire, LA 411, NY 411 – is owned by Variety Media, LLC, a division of Penske Media Corporation.

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About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, annually welcoming more than 135,000 attendees for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, a glamorous, black-tie event attended by 2,500 guests, presented this year by Chopard and sponsored by Mercedes Benz and Entertainment Tonight.  The Film Awards Gala honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.  The celebrated list of talents who have been honored in recent years includes Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, David O. Russell, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.  PSIFF is organized by The Palm Springs International Film Society, a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization with a mission to cultivate and promote the art and science of film through education and cross-cultural awareness.

For more information, call 760-778-8979 or 800-898-7256 or visit www.psfilmfest.org.

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About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Atlanta, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States.  MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse lineup in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty CLA-Class four-door coupe to the flagship S-Class and the Mercedes-AMG GT S.

MBUSA is also responsible for Mercedes-Benz Vans and smart products in the U.S. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.comwww.mbsprinterusa.com andwww.smartusa.com.

Accredited journalists can visit our media site at www.media.mbusa.com.

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About Parker Palm Springs
Situated on 13 lush acres, the Parker Palm Springs is an estate where luxury is fun. Designed by Jonathan Adler, the property boasts 131 rooms, 12 villas and the 2 bedroom Gene Autry Residence.  There are 4 restaurants – Norma’s (of NY fame), mister parker’s a dark and seductive French bistro, Counter Reformation a hidden wine bar and the Lemonade Stand, perfect for an afternoon bite or cocktail.  The Palm Springs Yacht Club spa at over 18,000 sq. feet is well-known and a place to indulge in a treatment, take a yoga class or even lounge at the Deck. Additionally the hotel has 4 red clay tennis courts, grounds consisting of games such as croquet and petanque as well as outdoor firepits and fountains.  The perfect desert escape!  4200 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264. (760) 770-5000, www.theparkerpalmsprings.com.

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

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

(Source: http://www.psfilmfest.org)

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How a Monster-Sized Marketing Campaign was Built for China’s ‘Great Wall’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Patrick Frater, Asia Bureau Chief

The Great Wall” presents a whole series of firsts. It is the first movie made in English by Zhang Yimou, China’s master of the big spectacle. Costing some $150 million it is possibly the biggest-budget Chinese film of all time. It is certainly the biggest Hollywood-Chinese co-production to date and is Matt Damon’s first Asian movie.

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US Actor Matt Damon takes on his first role in an Asian film with the Great Wall, the biggest Hollywood-Chinese co-production to date. (Photo courtesy of Universal)

Additionally, it is the first picture to emerge from Legendary East, the Chinese wing of Thomas Tull’s – now Wanda-owned — Legendary Entertainment production powerhouse.

All that is another way of saying there is a lot at stake. And it is why the movie’s upcoming release in China is being delivered to market with an unprecedented marketing and promotional campaign.

“It is a new kind of film,” says producer Peter Loehr, and CEO of Legendary East. The action-fantasy-adventure movie has major elements of Western blockbuster cinema, yet is 20% in Chinese and is directed by Zhang, whose film credits include epic “Hero” and “House of Flying Daggers.” His track record mounting massive live events includes the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games, and the recent G20 Summit Conference in Hangzhou.

“This film is absolutely what I’ve spent 25 years of my career building up to,” says Beijing-based Loehr, who was previously a Chinese indie producer and later the China head of talent agency CAA.

Jeff Shell, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, believes that the film can change the course of Chinese movies in international markets as well. “At Universal we are huge believers in a bright future for Chinese Cinema, fueled by the impressive recent growth of the Chinese theatrical marketplace. Our participation in ‘The Great Wall’ is very exciting to us. The combination of a tentpole scale Chinese-themed picture, the vision of the renowned filmmaker Zhang Yimou, the star power of Matt Damon and the enormous cast of talented Chinese actors make it the ideal vehicle to introduce Chinese creative product to the global audience,” Shell told Variety by email.

The film originated with a high concept idea – that the Great Wall of China only needed to be that size if it was built to keep out something far nastier than mere humans – from Legendary founder, Tull.

“It is not that I actually saw it from a plane. Rather when I was a little boy I heard that the only man-made object you could see from space was The Great Wall of China. Whether it is true or not, I could not conceive of the feat of engineering and ingenuity needed to build it. And I’ve been fascinated with it my whole life,” Tull says.

The film was shot in mid-2015 and Zhang has spent more than a year in post-production. The China release date of Dec. 16 puts it squarely at the height of peak season cinemagoing in the Middle Kingdom. It releases in North America on Feb. 17 next year with outings in international territories between those dates.

The lengthy post-production period gave plenty of time to cut visual material for promotion. Online marketing is much more important to film releases in China than in Western markets where posters and TV ads may dominate. Producers delivered more than 60 pieces of bespoke video for online consumption, in addition to a conventional trailer, a teaser trailer and three music videos. The trailers have played ahead of nearly every significant local and Hollywood film in Chinese theaters since Oct. 1.

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Marketing efforts for China’s Zhang Yimou’s Great Wall, are rolling out for a December 16, 2016, nation-wide release in China and a February 17, 2017 North American release. (Photo credit: China.org.cn)

Marketing in China shifted up a further gear  with a major event called the “Five Armies Press Conference” on Nov. 15. “The film’s marketing is stretched over a series of events, introducing the film’s worlds in pieces, so that people get to know the concept progressively,” says Loehr. The Five Armies event introduced the battle groups, their leaders and the actors who play them as well as the unique weapons required to fight the film’s monsters.

That has been followed by the release of the first and second singles from the soundtrack. This week (Dec. 6) sees a large glitzy press conference in Beijing with the full cast in attendance, followed by a one day junket for domestic Chinese press, and then another for South East Asian press who are being flown in.

Along the way there will be further reveals about the creatures, their interaction with the human characters and the release of the final song. On Friday, the promotional action shifts to Shanghai for an event with more focus on the movie’s animation and proceeds going to the Great Wall Preservation Fund.

Screenings for Chinese press, friends-and-family and opinion leaders begin from Dec. 12. Public screenings begin from 7pm on Dec. 15, the evening before the official release date. Presentations will use an almost unprecedented combination of formats including 2D, 3D, IMAX 2D and 3D, China Giant Screen, and 4DX, the Korean technology that sees supplementary content and screen extensions projected on a cinema’s side walls for a 270-degree effect.

The film was conceived and green-lighted even before Wanda acquired Legendary in the deal that was announced in January this year. Its four financiers and presenters are Legendary, Universal Pictures, China Film Group and Le Vision Pictures.

The range of resources that Wanda can bring to bear – China’s largest cinema chain, distribution, and two marketing companies — elevate the film’s launch into a national event. China Film and Wanda’s Wuzhou Distribution firm are the distributors of record, while Legendary and Le Vision (part of the Le Eco group) oversee marketing and promotion.

“Where we might have had 8 people in a marketing meeting for ‘Pacific Rim’ or ‘Godzilla’ that expanded to 20 people on ‘Warcraft,’ including people from Wanda, Wanda Cinema Line and (social media giant) Tencent,” says Loehr. “Warcraft had a stellar opening and achieved a lifetime gross of $220 million, making it the third biggest film this year in China, a figure that dwarfed the $47.2 million it achieved in North America.

“For ‘The Great Wall’ we’ve held marketing and strategy meetings every Saturday with up to 60 people in the room from Legendary, Le Vision, CFG, Wanda Cinema, Tencent, China Movie Marketing Group, Mtime, Wanda Malls and Wanda’s real estate development team,” says Loehr. Some 260 of Wanda’s malls are putting on “Wall” events. Mtime, the movie ticketing and marketing firm Wanda acquired this year, is putting on “Dare to Dream” and Zhang Yimou exhibitions in a further 56 malls and CMMG will promote an augmented reality video game.

“If you are doing things that are formulaic, or that audiences feel they’ve seen before, it is going to be a hard sell,” says Tull. “The canvas and some of what Zhang accomplished is jaw-dropping.”

(Source: http://variety.com)

Note from Roger Durling

Dear Cinephiles,

L’Shana Tova!  This week we’re featuring SAND STORM – Israel’s official submission to this past year’s Academy Award.  The film takes place in a Bedouin village in Southern Israel – and it’s rich in cultural specifics.  But it’s themes are so universal.  It gives a powerful – clear–eyed look at the inequalities facing women in that part of the world.
Below is a review from Variety.  It plays tonight at 5:00pm and tomorrow at 7:30pm at the Riviera Theatre.

Get tickets here!

See you at the movies!
Roger Durling

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A sympathetic but clear-eyed look at the inequalities that entrap women (and the men they love and resent) in a Bedouin village.
By Ella Taylor – Variety

On the face of it, “Sand Storm” presents a familiar feminist tale of a teenaged girl trapped between her desire to control her destiny and the constraints of her traditional family. Yet this emotionally intelligent first feature offers a sympathetic but clear-eyed look at the tangled skein of inequalities that entrap women (and the men they love and resent) in a Bedouin village stranded between modernization and anachronistic patriarchy. Written and directed by a Jewish Israeli woman, Elite Zexer, and made with a Jewish-Arab crew, the film boasts alluring desert visuals, muscular acting and intricate psychology that should attract audiences for women’s movies, foreign art films and those who believe that melodrama still has a place in cinema.

Men are not permitted at a Bedouin celebration in Southern Israel to welcome (with variable enthusiasm) the arrival of a second wife. Instead the older women wear fake mustaches, one of many striking images in “Sand Storm” that address the crucible of anger and pain that simmers beneath the revelry. Jalila (Ruba Blal-Asfour), the man’s first wife, glowers magnificently, and not just because she’s going to have to share power with the younger newcomer. Discovering that her daughter, Layla (Lamis Ammar), has a secret lover at school, Jalila freaks out at first, then defends Layla to her father, Suliman (Haitham Omari), who has given his eldest child many modern advantages — a cell phone, driving lessons, an education — and yet, for his own murky reasons, shows willing to sacrifice her future to an arranged marriage to a village man she barely knows.

At once autocratic and weak, Suliman props up an archaic social structure in which men call the shots but women clean up the messes. Ammar makes a charmingly frisky Layla, but the energy of “Sand Storm” surely belongs to Blal-Asfour as her mother, a caged tiger who smolders and paces and deliver tongue-lashings to her hapless conformist of a husband as needed. Rail as they might, Jalila and Layla remain caught between loyalty to their disintegrating family and an emerging hunger for autonomy and experience that are prohibited by their medieval fate. Those fake mustaches signal both strength and vulnerability, and the movie captures the stark beauty of the Negev desert where this traditionally nomadic tribe has put down roots, marred by a pervasive sense of entrapment for the young woman who’s both deeply attached to her mother and sisters, and desperate to fly the coop.

The handheld camerawork can be rough at times, and here and there Zexer steps a little heavily on the pedal of metaphor: A long tunnel works a touch too hard to flag Layla’s struggle between freedom and family duty. But the director juggles different points of view with aplomb, and her strong script addresses with impressive subtlety the gap between what people say and what they do under extreme pressure.

The strands of her narrative come together to show how everyone is left the loser in polygamous marriage, a divide-and-rule institution that pits not only husband and wife against one another, but also women who would otherwise be inclined to mutual support. Mercifully there’s no Hollywood ending here, only a bracing touch of mordant humor about interior decor that has the discreet hum of groundwork being laid, and rebellions yet to come.

 

Watch: Trailer for Venice Film Festival’s ‘Quit Staring at my Plate’ Bows (EXCLUSIVE)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

From Variety
by
Leo Barraclough, Senior International Correspondent

Variety has been given exclusive access to the trailer for “Quit Staring at my Plate,” which plays at the Venice Film Festival in the Venice Days section. World sales are being handled by New Europe Film Sales.

Croatian director Hana Jusic’s debut feature centers on Marijana, whose dominant father falls seriously ill and she takes over his role as the head of the family, taking care of her irresponsible mother and mentally disabled older brother. “The new power constellation allows her to explore her sexuality and her inner strength and gives her a taste of freedom,” according to a statement.

The film introduces the actress Mia Petricevic making her screen debut, alongside Zlatko Buric (“Pusher,” 2012).

Produced by Kinorama’s Ankica Juric Tilic (“The High Sun”), in co-production with Beofilm (“Teddy Bear”), the film was developed in Torino Film Lab and presented in the 2015 Les Arcs Co-Production Village works in progress section.

New Europe Film Sales’ line-up includes “The Last Family” (best actor award in Locarno), Toronto-bound “Zoology” (Special Jury Prize in Karlovy Vary), “One Week and a Day” (55th Cannes Critics’ Week – Gan Distribution Prize), “United States of Love” (Silver Bear, 66th Berlinale) and 66th Berlinale Panorama Fipresci winner “Aloys.”

(Source:www.variety.com)