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From NYC to New South Wales, these stellar schools earn accolades for their showbiz programs.
U.S. Showbiz Programs
American Film Institute
AFI’s Conservatory is training 260 Fellows that are all, per the school, “worthy to watch.” The school’s participants create between four and 10 movies during the two-year program, and 37 alumni have received Oscar nominations in the past decade alone. An additional 118 have participated in award-winning projects ranging from “Boyhood” to “Mad Men.”
Art Center College of Design
The venerable private college’s film and graduate broadcast program continues to establish itself as an influential entity through its immersive curriculum and close working relationships between students and faculty. Its list of celebrated alumni includes director Zack Snyder and conceptual designers Ralph McQuarrie (“Star Wars”) and Syd Mead (“Blade Runner”).
Boston U. Department Film & Television, College of Communication
2015 saw the establishment of a one-year Mfa program, »
- Variety Staff
At a loss for what to watch this week? From new DVDs and Blu-rays, to what's streaming on Netflix, we've got you covered.
New on DVD and Blu-ray
Jennifer Lopez plays a sexy high school teacher whose fling with a teenager turns into a dark obsession in this so-bad-it's-good thriller. The Blu-ray and DVD combo pack includes the bonus features "The Making of The Boy Next Door," feature commentary from director Rob Cohen, and deleted scenes. Here's an exclusive clip from the Blu-ray release, with Lopez talking about how much she loves psychological thrillers:
Jimmy (Kevin Hart) is paid to be the best man at weddings for awkward loners. One of those loners, Doug (Josh Gad), hires Jimmy for his wedding, and so begins an elaborate charade and a hilarious bromantic comedy. The Blu-ray includes outtakes, deleted scenes, music video, improvised lines, and some scene commentary. »
- Gina Carbone
Liam Neeson’s back with his certain set of skills as Taken 3 arrives on Blu-ray in an unrated version and loaded with enough action to keep fans of the franchise happy. The film’s formula breaks some new ground as Neeson’s Bryan Mills is set-up for the murder of his ex-wife and one the run from the police. Directed by Olivier Megaton from a script by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, Taken 3 sees Neeson joined by Forest Whittaker, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Dougray Scott, Sam Spruell and Leland Orser. The new film brings the action to Los Angeles as […] »
- Patrick Luce
Mexican director Bernando Arellano’s Beginning Of Time won best film in the Tiantan Awards of this year’s revamped Beijing International Film Festival, while Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem won best director and best visual effects.
Slovakian filmmaker Jaro Vojtek’s Chilren (Deti) won awards for best supporting actress (Eva Bandor), best screenplay and best cinematography. Best supporting actor went to Tony Leung Ka-fai for his role as the villain in Tsui Hark’s The Taking Of Tiger Mountain, while best music went to German filmmaker Marie Kreutzer’s Gruber Geht.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Liz Shackleton)
Mexican drama “Beginning of Time” (aka “El Comienzo del Tiempo”) was named as best film at the Beijing International Film Festival (April 16-23). Its Tiantan award was presented jointly by jury president Luc Besson and Chinese superstar Jackie Chan.
Four-part story “Children” (aka “Deti”) from Slovakia and the Czech Republic claimed a trio of prizes: for best cinematography, screenplay, and for Eva Bandor’s performance, which earned her the supporting actress prize.
Best director was Jean-Jacques Annaud, the Frenchman who recently completed “Wolf Totem,” a Chinese-French co-production about post-Cultural Revolution life in Mongolia. The film, which was released in time for Chinese New Year in mid-February, also picked up the prize for best visual effects.
“The Taking of Tiger Mountain,” the other Chinese-produced hit that appeared in competition, earned a solitary award, for Tony Leung Kar-fai as best supporting actor. The main acting prizes – for best actor and actress — went »
- Patrick Frater
For some reason, Hollywood fell in love with British actors again in the 1990s. Sparked by Alan Rickman's turn as Hans Gruber in Die Hard at the back end of the 1980s, many movie villains were either Brits, or in the case of Cliffhanger, John Lithgow taking on the mannerisms of a British antagonist.
Yet in particular, Hollywood went recruiting British comedy talent, with faces then mainly - but not exclusively - known for their small screen work getting roles of various sizes in Hollywood productions. Here are some who racked up the air miles - starting with the man who arguably became one of the most successful...
Hugh Laurie - 101 Dalmatians
Laurie is a man of many talents, who ultimately cracked America with »
Former Disney chief Dick Cook’s announcement of the launch of Dick Cook Studios, with $150m in Chinese financing, was one of several deals unveiled at the Beijing Film Market (Bfm), which wrapped on Monday night.
Cook said that Citic Guoan, a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Citic, is investing $150m in the start-up studio.
“China is very important and this investment will serve as a significant building block in helping us reach our goals,” said Cook in a statement.
“It took us quite awhile to find the right partners that share our vision to create quality content and our passion of family entertainment through telling rich stories that will travel the globe. Citic Guoan is an extremely diverse company with many businesses that range from film and television, publishing, media, to sports, tourism and outsourcing services that will be of great benefit to both of our companies.”
Based in Los Angeles, Dick Cook Studios »
- email@example.com (Liz Shackleton)
Cannes – Shaping up as one of the big event TV series to come out of Europe as it ramps up ever more ambitious TV fiction, Rola Bauer’s Germany-based Tandem Productions (“Pillars of the Earth”), a Studiocanal company, is said to be developing epic TV drama “Lionshearts: The Crusade,” linking with the BBC and “24’s” Robert Cochran.
Helmer of the 2008’s first “Taken,” which gave Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp its biggest movie franchise ever, France’s Pierre Morel (“Taken”) is believed to have committed to direct the first two episodes.
Producer and co-creator of Fox’s “24,” Cochran is attached to “Lionshearts,” which turns on the most famous crusade of all, the Third Crusade of 1191-92. English-language and almost certainly a big epic BBC primetime series,
“Lionhearts: The Crusade” looks a firm candidate for a U.S. deal of some sorts. As Tandem prexy Bauer pointed out last month, made over the last 15 years, »
- John Hopewell
Cannes – Two big “Ds” – Dramas, Digital – look set to galvanize much Croisette business, as well as multiple conference panels, at next week’s Cannes Mip TV, which catches part of the international TV business in the full flush of evolution, convulsed by ramping consolidation – Mip TV will be the first market for new joint venture Endemol Shine Group, for instance – and the ever-clearer emergence of international drama as a serious alternative to Us fare.
As the number of high-end drama escalates, competition for top-notch show-runners – mostly based out of the U.S. will become all the more bitter.
Last Wednesday, Amazon Studios aconfirmed Diego Luna to play the lead in its untitled Casanova period drama, exec produced by Electus Ent.’s Ben Silverman and Stu Zicherman. Expect further high-end drama announcements – of epics and event dramas – or first-look talent deals at 2015’s Mip TV.
Traditionally, May’ L.A. Screenings, and October’s Mipcom TV mart, »
- John Hopewell
Yes, Richard Linklater's 12-year labor of love and the critically reviled, unintentionally funny Jennifer Lopez vehicle are both among the nominees for the 2015 MTV Movie Awards, the former for Movie of the Year and Breakthrough Performance (Ellar Coltrane), the latter for "Best Scared-As-Shit Performance." Indeed, as always, the nominees skew young, beautiful, and memorably underdressed—Zac Efron ("Neighbors") is vying for his second consecutive award for "Best Shirtless Performance," after all, though it seems a shame he won't have to compete against Lopez's "The Boy Next Door" co-star Ryan Guzman. He was robbed, I tell you! Robbed! Other highlights include a nod to Scarlett Johansson for her performance in Luc Besson's ludicrously fun "Lucy," Movie of the Year nominations for "Gone Girl," "Whiplash," and "Selma" (take that, Oscars!), and a general affection for some of last year's finest studio »
- Matt Brennan
The production and sales outfit, which has offices in Paris and L.A., is set to host a screening of Finnish hospital drama “The Replacements” at the confab. Set in the near future, the series centers on a nurse who falls in love with a man without knowing that he’s a clone created by her father to save her from a terminal blood disease. Produced by Matti Halonen and Miikko Oikkonen’s Fisher King, the 12-episode series has already been picked up Finnish broadcaster Nelonen.
Modeled on the U.S.’ fully integrated studios, Breton created Federation Entertainment in partnership with experienced execs and creatives, notably Alex Berger, a former Canal Plus senior exec, and French helmer-writer Eric Rochant, who are behind “The Bureau, »
- Elsa Keslassy
Cannes – Linking three of the Europe’s biggest film-tv companies, Studiocanal has acquired international sales rights to Olivier Marchal’s “Section Zéro,” one of France’s most-anticipated high-end TV dramas, which is produced by Luc Besson’s France-u.S. studio EuropaCorp and France’s Canal Plus, forming part of its original programming lineup.
Set in 2024, as an elite cop squad battles big corporations and their droids, “Zéro” marks the comeback as a showrunner-director of Marchal, whose hard-boiled cop skein “Braquo,” another Canal Plus original series, proved a milestone for Gallic TV production, taking it to U.S. cable terrain.
Described by Rodolphe Buet, Studiocanal’s new president of international marketing and distribution, as “a mix of ‘Fargo,’ ‘The Returned,’ and ‘The Mad Max Trilogy,’” “Section Zéro,” Canal Plus’ first futuristic skein, looks in other ways toward the future.
On March 10, Studiocanal announced the launch of its own TV sales operation, »
- John Hopewell
Edging towards some sort of record for the most eclectic cast ever assembled, director Ang Lee has just added two more names to his roster for Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. Vin Diesel and Chris Tucker have signed up to join Steve Martin, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart and newcomer Joe Alwyn.There's no indication of who either will be playing yet, but it's the first time Diesel has turned out for anything other than an action role (Groot nothwithstanding) since Find Me Guilty in 2006. On that occasion he was working for Sidney Lumet, so clearly he's amenable to taking a risk for the right director.Tucker, meanwhile, has been quiet since Silver Linings Playbook in 2012, partly thanks to a lifestyle change since his Jackie Brown / Rush Hour heyday. But it's an interesting footnote that he was previously part of another unusually varied cast in Luc Besson's The Fifth Element. »
With the launch of Netflix in France, the competition for subscribers has heated up, and Gallic pay TV giant Canal Plus is now, more than ever, banking on premium original drama, and building bridges with local and international film and TV talent, to keep its 11 million subs happy, and lure more.
A decade ago, Canal Plus was all about soccer and films. But today, the TV landscape has changed, and the paybox — which has lost some of its French soccer rights to Al Jazeera’s Bein Sports — has begun to measure its value in high-quality local series rather than be overly dependent on U.S. drama imports (such as “Scandal,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Revenge”). Fabrice de la Patelliere, the boss of Canal Plus’ fiction department, is kicking off a new chapter in the pay TV group’s history by joining forces with James Gray on “Hard Apple,” an »
- Elsa Keslassy
There’s far more behind the success of “Furious 7” at the box office this weekend than the memory of Paul Walker, the late actor who had been an anchor in the film franchise. But there’s no denying that fans wishing to pay homage to Walker swelled the numbers for the film, which were very impressive — $143 million domestically and $240 million from overseas for a whopping total of $384 million globally. “Furious 7” wasn’t the only film featuring Walker to debut after his death. The last movie he completed was a French-Canadian urban action film co-written by Luc Besson, “Brick. »
- Todd Cunningham
Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp has announced a June 26, 2015 release date - in the thick of the summer movie season - for the Samuel L. Jackson actioner "Big Game," Finnish director Jalmari Helander’s English-language debut. Jackson co-stars (playing the President of the USA) alongside Onni Tommila. The film follows a shy, nervous 13-year-old boy named Oskari (Tommila), who must prove his manhood by spending a night alone in the forest, when Air Force One is shot down by terrorists and Oskari discovers the President (Jackson) in an escape pod. With the terrorists closing in, Oskari and the President team up to survive the night. I'm actually looking »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Jackson portrays the President of the United States in a story set in Finland, where a 13 year old (Onni Tommila) embarks on a traditional quest to prove himself by spending 24 hours alone in the wild. After witnessing a spectacular crash, he discovers the escape pod from Air Force One containing the President — and the two then realize that a group of kidnappers is hot on their trail.
- Dave McNary
The Transporter: Refuelled's release date has been delayed from summer to autumn.
The next instalment in the Transporter series was originally scheduled for release on June 19, but is being moved back to September 4.
The Transporter: Refuelled was filmed on location in Paris last summer. Watch a teaser below: »
EuropaCorp said today it has pushed the release date of its franchise reboot The Transporter Refueled from mid-June to September 4. Luc Besson’s company says the move puts the film into the same fall-release zone when the other pics in the series bowed. It also said the new date will capitalize on the cast's ability to promote the film. Hillsong – Let Hope Rise has moved from May 29 to September 30. The documentary follows Australian band Hillsong United, which emerged… »
The company said the fall release for “Refueled,” the start of a new trilogy in the Transporter franchise, will help capitalize on the cast’s ability to promote the film. It noted that the previous three “Transporter” films, starring Jason Statham, were also released during the fall, in 2002, 2005 and 2008.
“Transporter Refueled” stars Ed Skrein (“Game of Thrones”), Loan Chabanol, Radivoje Bukvic, Gabriella Wright, Anatole Taubman and Tatiana Pajkovic. Camille Delamarre directed from a script by Bill Collage and Adam Cooper, based on the characters created by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen.
The Labor Day date will also see the U.S. launches of Relativity’s “Jane Got a Gun,” Sony »
- Dave McNary
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