20 items from 2016
“Desierto” is the closing film at the La Film Festival, which ends Thursday night.
The film deals with a hot-button political issue that’s been brought to the forefront of public debate, thanks largely to the proposal by presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border to stop illegal immigration.
The film was directed by “Gravity” screenwriter Jonás Cuarón and co-stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Watchmen”). It debuted in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it received strong reviews for its performances and direction, and won the special presentation prize from the International Federation of Film Critics.
“‘Desierto’ operates on a level that is swift, primal and unrelenting,” wrote Justin Chang for Variety in a review at Toronto. »
- Dave McNary
The transition of Film Independent’s Los Angeles Film Festival continues. Geographically, the fest has moved away from downtown to multiple Arclight locations. Opening night in Hollywood, Ricardo de Montreuil’s coming-of-age East L.A. drama “Lowriders,” starring Demián Bichir and Theo Rossi as father and estranged ex-con son, signaled the fest’s mission: Provide a diverse program directed by rising filmmakers: among the 42 competition films, 87% are first-and-second-timers, 43% are women and 38% are people of color, while 90% of the 58 total festival films are world premieres.
Developed by Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, “Lowriders” (written by Cheo Hodari Coker, Joshua Beirne-Golden, Elgin James, and Justin Tipping), finally got made when the budget dropped—under Universal’s low-budget producing partner, Jason Blum—from $20 million to $5 million. The grittiness helps the scruffy, colorful movie, which Laff head Stephanie Allain loved for being “so Los Angeles, so culturally rich,” she told the Arclight crowd. “Made by filmmakers of color, ‘Lowriders’ embodies our mission.” (The film will go out under a Universal label that remains to be seen, per Blum.)
Since Allain took over in 2014, the festival has lost some of its key programming talent (David Ansen, Doug Jones, Maggie McKay); the sprawling program is now commandeered by film professor Roya Rastegar (Bryn Mawr College). Very much in charge is Laff’s high-powered director, studio-trained producer Allain (“Boyz ‘n the Hood,” “Hustle & Flow”), who has pulled her friend Elvis Mitchell into a role as year-round “curator,” which basically means hosting Q & As at Film Independent-programmed events at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
As Laff becomes more local, eclectic, multi-cultural, and interactive, the Laff seeks to occupy a niche and grow its audience via a more populist, less international festival.
Truth is, only a few top-ranked film festivals a year are must-attend destinations packed with high-end world premieres and star attendees. Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Venice, New York, and Telluride top the list. So there’s some logic to opting out of that competitive arena. Increasingly, fests like Tribeca and SXSW are pushing outside the area of indie film to create alluring events for audiences, from interactive transmedia showcases and TV series premieres to high-profile panels, Q & As, and “Master Classes.” So it makes sense to brand Laff with an identifiable niche.
Giving people awards and tributes is another route pursued by awards-friendly fests like Santa Barbara and Palm Springs, hence Saturday Laff will award “Selma” director Ava DuVernay as well as her distribution company Array Releasing (her own “Middle of Nowhere” plus “Ashes and Embers,” “Mississippi Damned,” “Kinyarwanda,” and “Restless City”) with the annual Spirit of Independence Award given to members of the independent film community who “advance the cause of independent film and champion creative freedom.” Last year, Array bought La Film Festival Us Fiction award-winner “Out of My Hand” for distribution, along with “Ayanda.”
Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station”) is the 2016 Festival’s Guest Director; he’s offering a master class on sound design for “Creed.” And Nate Parker hosted a screening of Sundance Oscar contender “Birth of a Nation.” This weekend also brings a panel of women cinematographers.
The question is whether Allain’s quest for diversity will coincide with choosing the best movies, ones that create buzz for must-see titles—so far, actress Amber Tamblyn’s directing debut, “Paint It Black,” debuting Friday night at Lacma, has earned the most advance word of mouth. Established fest circuit titles such as Roger Ross Williams’ autism doc “Life, Animated,” closing night border film “Desierto” from Jonás Cuarón (“Gravity”), starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Mike Birbliglia and Ira Glass’s latest collaboration, improv comedy “Don’t Think Twice,” starring Keegan-Michael Key, are all worth seeing.
But for many of the unknown titles unspooling this week, audiences and buyers will just have to check them out and spread the word, good or bad. Otherwise, they’ll disappear into the ether.
Here are Indiewire’s Laff picks so far.
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- Anne Thompson
One of the most overlooked features thus far in 2016, The Club, finally arrived earlier this year in the United States, and Pablo Larraín is already back with his next film. Premiering at Cannes in the Directors’ Fortnight section, Neruda is a biopic of the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, here played by Luis Gnecco. His No star Gael García Bernal (who just got the lead in Jonás Cuarón‘s Zorro reboot Z) plays Inspector Oscar Peluchoneau, who led the police manhunt for the title character.
Ahead of a premiere shortly, the first international trailer has now landed, which unfortunately doesn’t have subtitles yet. Nonetheless, one can get a sense of a perhaps unexpected playful vibe when compared to the logline, along with Larraín’s striking, crisp visuals. Check it out below with a hat tip to Keyframe for the highly-anticipated film also starring Alfredo Castro, Mercedes Moran, Michael Silva, and Pablo Derqui, »
- Jordan Raup
Noah Isenberg tells the story behind Vicki Baum's Grand Hotel, from its publication through its stage adaptations, including one starring Gustaf Gründgens, through to her attending the premiere of the MGM movie (featuring Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford) with Noël Coward. Also in today's roundup: The New Yorker's Richard Brody recommends Penny Lane's Nuts!, Anna Biller’s "wild and gory comedy" The Love Witch, Chad Hartigan’s Morris from America and Zia Anger's My Last Film. Plus an honorary Palme d'or for Jean-Pierre Léaud, news of forthcoming work from Jonás Cuarón, Bryan Cranston and Jesse Eisenberg and video essays on Raoul Walsh's Pursued and Leos Carax's The Lovers on the Bridge. » - David Hudson »
The new Zorro has a new Zorro. Gael García Bernal has been cast as the legendary swashbuckler in Z, a futuristic reboot to be directed by García Bernal’s Desierto director Jonás Cuarón. (Because they don’t have Rs or Os in the future, I guess?) García Bernal was previously attached to an earlier iteration of this project which was in development several […]
- Angie Han
A few months back, we reported that a new Zorro movie is in the works with Alfonso Cuaron’s son Jonas taking control at the helm. Well, now it looks like Cuaron has cast his leading man, Gael Garcia Bernal.
Bernal will play Zorro in the reboot, which is being referred to a simply Z, and the word on the street is that it will be set slightly in the future. Cuaron also wrote the screenplay for the film, which is expected to head to the Cannes Film Festival this week to be sold around the world.
More on the new Zorro movie as we get it.
The post Gael Garcia Bernal is the new Zorro appeared first on The Hollywood News. »
- Paul Heath
The last time moviegoers saw Zorro on the big screen, it was 2005’s The Legend of Zorro, and Antonio Banderas was playing the famous fictional swordsman. Well, just like a lot of properties, Hollywood wants to give Zorro another shot, and back in February, it was announced that Gravity co-writer Jonás Cuarón would both write and direct the new movie. Now the news it out that this reboot has hired Babel’s Gael Garcia Bernal to play the new iteration of Zorro. According to Deadline, Bernal will re-team with Cuarón (having just worked together on Desierto) for Z, which will tell a Zorro tale set in the near future and introduce him to new audiences. No other details have been released about the reboot, but production is reportedly looking to begin this fall at the Pinewood Dominican Republic studios. Z will »
Deadline is reporting that Gael García Bernal has been cast as Zorro in the upcoming reboot Z, which currently has Jonás Cuarón on board to write and direct. Pegged for a Fall start date, the film will be set in the “near future” and re-imagine the masked hero for a new audience.
Aside from that plot details are scarce, but reuniting Cuarón and Bernal (who previously made Desierto together) is a smart move and one that has us excited to see how the reboot will turn out. They’re both exceptionally talented at what they do and though Bernal may not have been the most obvious choice for Zorro, it will surely be interesting to see his take on the iconic character.
- Josh Wilding
Exclusive: Gael García Bernal and Jonás Cuarón are coming together again — this time for the reboot of Zorro in a film entitled Z. Cuarón's Desierto, which stars García Bernal, will be released by Stx Entertainment later in the year. The new pairing on Zorro is being brought to Cannes after Cuarón introduced the project at Berlin earlier this year. It is written and will be directed by Cuarón and is eyeing a fall start at the Pinewood Dominican Republic studios. García… »
Lantica Media is financing Z and the project will shoot at its Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios.
Z is set in the near-future and reimagines the world inhabited by the swashbuckling masked hero.
“Zorro is a brand that resonates around the world and Gael Garcia Bernal’s performance as the new Zorro will be something audiences globally will want to see,” said Pantelion Films president of international sales Anne-Marie Ross.
“I have always loved Gael for this role,” said Sobioni »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
Jonás Cuarón's Desierto will be the closing night film of the La Film Festival on June. 9. In addition, the festival will also host a world premiere special screening of James Wan's The Conjuring 2 on June 7. The horror film will be released in theaters nationwide on June 10 from New Line/Warner Bros. Also, the cast and creators of The People v. O.J. Simpson will be at the Festival for a screening of the final episode and to discuss the making of the show. The Festival… »
Additionally, the cast and creators of “The People v. O.J. Simpson” will be at the festival for a screening of the FX show’s final episode, and to discuss the making of the series.
“Jonás Cuarón’s ‘Desierto’ is a gripping thriller and a perfect way to close the La Film Festival,” said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. “Cuarón again reveals himself as a powerful new director. Gael García Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan give riveting performances.”
Morgan plays a deranged vigilante in “Desierto” while Garcia Bernal portrays »
- Dave McNary
Panama City — Paddy Breathnach’s Cuban-set “Viva,” set in Havana’s drag nightclubs and selected as Ireland’s entry in this year’s foreign language film Oscar race, will open the fifth Panama International Film Festival (Iff Panama), which bows this Thursday, April 7.
Director Pituka Ortega Heilbron and artistic director Diana Sanchez consider this year’s edition the strongest to date, given the breadth of films slated, the range of guests, the record number of industry events and – key — the unprecedented number of films screening from Central America and the Caribbean.
“There are incredible films now coming out of this region,” says Heilbron. “We’re fortunate to have the perfect prerequisites for a coordinated and well-functioning festival, given the location of Panama City, its connectivity, infrastructure, hotels, access and support from the government, private sector and the local business sector.”
In a mere four years, Iff Panama has carved out »
- Martin Dale
You've probably had enough of Donald Trump by this point, but the team behind Jonás Cuarón’s feature directorial debut “Desierto” have cleverly used the short-fingered candidate's words for their own purposes. Fueled by the leading Republican candidate’s hate-driven speech on how “the U.S. has become the dumping ground for everyone else’s problems,” the monologue provides a powerfully stark, somber tone for what the oppressed individuals face in "Desierto" when making their way to the land of the free and home of the brave. The ongoing threat over their heads feels real and imperative as the Trump declares these immigrants “not the best” the country has to offer, especially as we witness Gael García Bernal and his fellow cast members struggle to make it over the border. And such hard-headed beliefs are what seemingly inspire Jeffrey Morgan’s character to take action once he starts shooting them down one-by-one in this tense, »
- Will Ashton
"Reuniting almost exactly a year after filming the critically-acclaimed Right Now, Wrong Then, director Hong Sang-soo is currently shooting his new film with stars Kim Min-hee and Jung Jae-young," reports Pierce Conran for KoBiz. Also in today's roundup, we have the latest on Claire Denis's English-language science fiction debut, High Life, with Robert Pattinson, Patricia Arquette and Mia Goth and co-written with Zadie Smith and Nick Laird. Jonás Cuarón, who co-wrote Gravity and wrote and directed Desierto, has been tasked with bringing [Zorro back] to life. Martin Provost begins shooting La Sage Femme with Catherine Deneuve, Catherine Frot and Olivier Gourmet, Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are teaming up for a musical comedy—and much more. » - David Hudson »
Lantica Media and Sobini Films will co-produce the action thriller, set to begin principal photography in the summer at Lantica Media’s Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios, a state-of-the-art studio facility in the Dominican Republic. Pantelion Films will handle international sales, which kick off at the European Film Market in Berlin this month.
Cuaron will be writing his own vision of legendary masked vigilante, Zorro, but it will be set in the near future, said Sobini Films CEO Mark Amin. While the script is still being written, Amin projects a mid-range budget no less than $30 million but no more than $100 million. “We hope to use the studio’s water tank but are open to shooting in other locations outside of the Dominican Republic if the script calls for it,” he said.
Amin, whose producing »
- Anna Marie de la Fuente
Citing Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight as inspiration, all signs pointed to Sony gunning for a post-apocalyptic aesthetic for Zorro Reborn. In the time that’s lapsed since we last caught wind of the studio’s masked bandit, it appears the project has been given a total overhaul, with plans now in place for the reboot to be rooted in the near-future.
That’s according to The Hollywood Reporter, revealing that Gravity co-writer Jonás Cuarón will write and direct the remake now formally known as Z. It’s by no means the only property to get the futuristic treatment under Sony, given the company is also whisking Robin Hood and his fellow men in tights into the not-so-distant future for a “revisionist” and “gritty” and “reimagining” and just about every other buzzword that comes to mind.
As for Zorro – sorry, Z – Cuarón is reportedly eyeing a summer start date, »
- Michael Briers
Many of you likely know the name Alfonso Cuarón, the award-winning director of the science fiction film, Gravity, among other well-respected films. What you may not know is that his son, Jonás Cuarón is a filmmaker in his own right. Not only did the writer/director co-write the script for Gravity with his father, but he directed the companion short film Aningaaq. That particular film follows the man that Sandra Bullock's character talks to over the radio at one point in Gravity.
You can check that out below.
Admittedly, that particularly film didn't really add a whole lot to Gravity for me. In some ways, it kind of took away the magic of wondering who Bullock was talking to, and it also made it feel a lot more bitter in retrospect. But, Cuarón has continued on into features, bringing us the upcoming film Desierto, which has gotten pretty good »
- Joseph Medina
Jonás Cuarón, who penned Gravity and recently wrote and directed the Toronto Film Festival pic Desierto, has been tapped to write and direct a new take on Zorro. The pic, titled Z, will be produced by Lantica Media and Sobini Films, and principal photography is set to start in the summer at Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios. Lantica will finance, and Pantelion Films will handle international sales. The title will be up for grabs European Film Market in Berlin this… »
Jonas Cuaron is set to write and direct a new Zorro movie titled “Z” for Lantica Media and Sobini Films, the companies announced Thursday. They will produce the new film from award-winning writer of Gravity, Jonás Cuarón. Cuarón recently wrote and directed Desierto which won the International Critics’ Award at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and is slated for release this spring by Stx. Lantica Media’s CEO Antonio Gennari and Sobini Films’ CEO Mark Amin made today’s announcement. “When I saw Desierto, I was impressed with Jonás’s command of action and suspense, his great visual eye, and the strong performances he. »
- Jeff Sneider
20 items from 2016
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