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‘The Pass’ interview: Ben A. Williams on his remarkable feature debut

The Pass Interview with filmmaker Ben A. Williams. Arinze Kene and Russell Tovey in The Pass

Opening in cinemas this week is one of the most impressive British films of the year. The Pass is directed by celebrated British filmmaker Ben A. Williams, and opens on professional footballers Jason (Russell Tovey) and Ade (Arinzé Kene), who are holed up in a Romanian hotel room on the even of a huge Champion’s League football match. They are both over-excited, unable to sleep and spend the evening fighting, knowingly mocking each other, preparing their kit, and even watching a teammate’s sex tape. Then, one of them kisses the other and their lives are changed forever.

We caught up with director Ben A. Williams earlier this week to talk about his debut feature film.

The Hollywood News: Hi Ben, pleased to meet you and congratulations on the film.

Ben A. Williams: Thank you so much.
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Lionsgate Acquires U.K. Rights to ‘Churchill,’ Starring Brian Cox (Exclusive)

Lionsgate Acquires U.K. Rights to ‘Churchill,’ Starring Brian Cox (Exclusive)
Lionsgate Intl. UK has added “Churchill,” starring Brian Cox as the British World War II leader and Miranda Richardson as his wife, Clementine, to its 2017 movie release slate in the U.K. The film was acquired from Embankment Films.

The movie, which also stars John Slattery and Ella Purnell, was directed by Jonathan Teplitzky (“The Railway Man”) and written by Alex von Tunzelmann. It was produced by Nick Taussig, Paul Van Carter, Piers Tempest and Claudia Bluemhuber. The film is scheduled to be released in the summer.

The title marks the studio’s second partnership with Teplitzky and producer/financier Silver Reel, having released “The Railway Man,” starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, in 2013.

This addition to the slate builds on what already promises to be a record year in terms of the breadth of British product handled by the studio. The 2017 schedule includes Toronto Intl. Film Festival entry “Their Finest,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

New poster for British drama ‘The Pass’

Lionsgate has just released a brand new poster for the upcoming British drama The Pass. The film comes from debut director Ben A. Williams, starring Russell Tovey (Looking, Being Human, The History Boys) and Arinze Kene.

The film, from screenwriter John Donnelly from his hit play first presented at the Royal Court Theatre, and is produced by renowned British film producer Duncan Kenworthy (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Love Actually, The Eagle).

Here’s the poster, followed by the official synopsis.

The Pass is the story of three very different nights over 10 years in the life of a Premier League Footballer. Jason (Russell Tovey) is at the beginning of his career, and on the night before his first big international match he and long-time friend and team-mate Ade (Arinze Kene) share a hotel room, trying to beat the inevitable pre-match tensions with locker-room banter and teenage high-jinks. Out of nowhere Jason kisses Ade.
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Stanley Tucci, Fionn Whitehead Join Emma Thompson For ‘The Children Act’

  • Deadline
Stanley Tucci, Fionn Whitehead Join Emma Thompson For ‘The Children Act’
Stanley Tucci and up-and-coming actor Fionn Whitehead have been cast alongside Emma Thompson in The Children Act. Deadline first broke news of the project and Thompson's involvement in August. Heavyweight UK producer Duncan Kenworthy, whose credits include Notting Hill and Love Actually, will produce the project, based on Ian McEwan's novel. Notes on a Scandal filmmaker Richard Eyre has been set to direct. Story sees Thompson play Fiona Maye, an eminent High Court judget…
See full article at Deadline »

Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci to Star in Ian McEwan’s ‘The Children Act’

Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci to Star in Ian McEwan’s ‘The Children Act’
Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci are to star in “The Children Act,” which will be directed by Richard Eyre and is being produced by “Notting Hill” and “Love Actually’s” Duncan Kenworthy. The project has been adapted by author Ian McEwan from his novel.

FilmNation Entertainment is handling worldwide rights and has sold out the film internationally; it co-finances with BBC Films. Filming will take place on location in London from mid-October. Also starring is Fionn Whitehead, who appears in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming “Dunkirk.”

Thompson plays Fiona Maye, an eminent judge in London “presiding with wisdom and compassion over ethically complex cases of family law,” according to a statement. “But she has paid a heavy personal price for her workload, and her marriage to American professor Jack (Tucci) is at breaking point.

“In this moment of personal crisis, Fiona is asked to rule on the case of Adam (Whitehead
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Thompson, Tucci, Whitehead board 'The Children Act'

  • ScreenDaily
Exclusive: FilmNation and BBC Films are co-financing the Duncan Kenworthy production, which has sold out worldwide.

Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci and 2016 Screen Star Of Tomorrow Fionn Whitehead are to star in director Richard Eyre’s adaptation of Ian McEwan’s The Children Act.

Filming on the Duncan Kenworthy production will take place on location in London from mid-October. FilmNation Entertainment, who are co-financing with BBC Films, is handling worldwide rights and has sold out the film internationally. McEwan adapted his own 2014 novel for the screen.

International distributors who have boarded the film include: eOne in the UK and Canada, Telemunchen in Germany, Bim in Italy, Vertigo in Spain, Roadshow in Australia, Kino in Japan, Swen in Latin America, Cineart in Benelux, Scanbox in Scandinavia, Spentzos in Greece, Lev in Israel, Italia in the Middle East, Ster Kinekor in South Africa and Bravos in Hong Kong.

Thompson stars in The Children Act as Fiona Maye, an eminent
See full article at ScreenDaily »

BFI Film Academy to receive $1.4m funding boost

  • ScreenDaily
BFI Film Academy to receive $1.4m funding boost
Announcement coincides with the unveiling of six films by BFI graduates.

The UK’s Department for Education has announced it will invest $1.4m (£1m) of funding to support the BFI Film Academy in 2016-17.

The boost is on top of the $5.6m (£4m) the Dfe has invested in the Academy’s residential and regional programmes since 2012.

The move came on the day that 66 young filmmakers from the BFI Film Academy unveiled six short films to British film industry figures including producers Alison Owen (Suffragette, Saving Mr. Banks), Faye Ward (Suffragette, Jane Eyre) and Duncan Kenworthy (The Pass, Love Actually).

The screening and graduation ceremony, held today at BFI Southbank in London, showcased films created as part of the BFI Film Academy course at the National Film and Television School.

BFI CEO Amanda Nevill said: “Talent is everywhere but opportunity is not, and the BFI Film Academy is designed to change that. If UK film
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Barbara Broccoli named BAFTA VP for Film

  • ScreenDaily
Barbara Broccoli named BAFTA VP for Film
James Bond producer to join Greg Dyke in co-chairing BAFTA’s Council.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced that Barbara Broccoli OBE has been appointed vice president for Film.

Following the recent appointment of Greg Dyke as BAFTA’s VP for Television, Broccoli will join Dyke in co-chairing BAFTA’s Council, assuming an ambassadorial role for the charity. Previous Film VP’s include Duncan Kenworthy (2009-2015) and Lord Puttnam (1995-2004).

Broccoli, who owns Eon Productions with her brother Michael G Wilson and has produced the last eight James Bond films including Skyfall and Spectre, said: “I am passionate about BAFTA’s role in educating, inspiring and celebrating generations of British film-makers. I am therefore honoured to accept the role of BAFTA’s Vice President for Film.”

BAFTA chair Anne Morrison said: “With her connections on both sides of the Atlantic, Barbara is well placed to be a brilliant ambassador for BAFTA and I know
See full article at ScreenDaily »

James Bond Producer Barbara Broccoli Appointed BAFTA Vice-President For Film

  • Deadline
James Bond Producer Barbara Broccoli Appointed BAFTA Vice-President For Film
James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli has been appointed BAFTA’s VP for film. Her appointment follows Greg Dyke coming aboard as BAFTA’s VP for TV. Previous VPs for film include Duncan Kenworthy and Lord Puttnam. BAFTA can appoint up to three VPs, in film, television and games, for a term of up to six years. "I am passionate about BAFTA's role in educating, inspiring and celebrating generations of British filmmakers,” said Broccoli. “I am therefore honored to accept the…
See full article at Deadline »

James Bond Producer Barbara Broccoli Named as BAFTA’s Vice President for Film

James Bond Producer Barbara Broccoli Named as BAFTA’s Vice President for Film
Cannes — James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli has been appointed vice president for film at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

The news follows the recent appointment of Greg Dyke as BAFTA’s vice president for television. Broccoli will join Dyke in co-chairing BAFTA’s council, supporting the academy’s president, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, and assuming an ambassadorial role for the charity.

Previous vice presidents for film have been Duncan Kenworthy (2009-2015) and David Puttnam (1995-2004). BAFTA can appoint up to three vice presidents, one in each of the three sectors of film, television and games, who can serve a term of up to six years.

Broccoli said: “I am passionate about BAFTA’s role in educating, inspiring and celebrating generations of British filmmakers. I am therefore honored to accept the role of BAFTA’s vice president for film.”

Anne Morrison, chair of BAFTA, said: “I am delighted that Barbara Broccoli,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Film Review: ‘The Pass’

Film Review: ‘The Pass’
Adapted by John Donnelly from his own well-regarded play, this directorial debut from Ben A. Williams — collaborating here with veteran British producer Duncan Kenworthy (“Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Notting Hill”) — provides a knockout showcase for Russell Tovey as Jason, an ambitious soccer player leading a life of denial at the expense of his former bond with plucky wannabe Ade (Arinze Kene). With the drama set entirely inside three different hotel rooms, its theatrical origins are difficult to disguise, but any attempt to broaden the scope purely to feel more notionally cinematic would surely have fatally deflated its claustrophobic chamber-piece tension. Its sincere grappling with issues of fame and sexuality lends a topical urgency to a generally absorbing indie that raises the curtain with appropriate flair on the Flare London Lgbt Film Festival.

As “The Pass” opens in a Romanian hotel room the night before a big match, young Jason
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Duncan Kenworthy talks his under-the-radar strategy for 'The Pass'

  • ScreenDaily
Duncan Kenworthy talks his under-the-radar strategy for 'The Pass'
How the Love Actually producer guided the gay-footballers chamber piece from Royal Court sell-out to BFI Flare opening-night film.

Last night (Mar 16), The Pass opened the 30th edition of the BFI’s long-running Lgbt film festival - now called Flare - at the Odeon Leicester Square.

As well as being the first Flare opener to premiere at Odeon’s flagship cinema in 10 years, it also marked a return for Duncan Kenworthy, producer of Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill, Love Actually and The Eagle among others, who has premiered four films at the venue.

For Kenworthy, opening BFI Flare with The Pass was an optimal result for a film he self-funded and produced entirely under the radar, with the understanding that if it wasn’t a creative success, he could decide not to unveil it to the wider world. Fortunately, reviews for the Ben A. Williams-directed adaptation of John Donnelly’s play about gay footballers
See full article at ScreenDaily »

"Questions were asked in parliament": the story behind Lgbt film festival BFI Flare

Charles Gant chronicles the evolution of London’s long-running Lgbt film festival.

When in 1986, film programmer Mark Finch persuaded the British Film Institute (BFI) to let him present a seven-day season of nine gay and lesbian features under the banner Gays’ Own Pictures, nobody would have envisaged the scale and popularity of the annual festival that resulted – or its status within the BFI calendar.

As the 30th edition of London’s Lgbt film festival sets to launch this week with the world premiere of the Duncan Kenworthy-produced The Pass at the 1,679-capacity Odeon Leicester Square, the BFI can be forgiven for allowing itself a celebratory mood over the event it rebranded Flare two years ago.

Programmers past and present all concur regarding the distance the festival has travelled in its 30 years. Says Briony Hanson, co-programmer from 1997 to 2000 and now director of film at the British Council: “I look at the festival now, going to the
See full article at ScreenDaily »

London's Biggest Lgbt Film Festival to Open With Football Film 'The Pass'

  • Indiewire
London's Biggest Lgbt Film Festival to Open With Football Film 'The Pass'
Read More: Happy Pride Month: Here's 43 Great Lgbt Films To Help You Celebrate The BFI announced today that it will host first-time feature filmmaker Ben A. Williams' adaptation of "The Pass" at the opening night ceremony of this year's BFI Flare: London Lgbt Film Festival. As the UK's longest running Lgbt film event, the Flare features 50 hand-chosen submissions from nearly 23,000 submissions. "The Pass," produced by Duncan Kenworthy of "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Notting Hill" and "Love Actually" fame, discusses the personal and profession ramifications of coming out as an athlete. The film stars "Looking" breakout Russell Tovey as a premier league footballer who shares an intimate moment with his teammate while they room together on the night of a big international match. "'The Pass' boldly tackles a forbidden topic, outlining one man’s struggle to embrace his sexuality within the hyper masculine and...
See full article at Indiewire »

BFI Flare to open with world premiere of 'The Pass'

BFI Flare to open with world premiere of 'The Pass'
Russell Tovey-starring film to open the 30th anniversary of the BFI’s annual Lgbt film festival.

The Pass will have its world premiere as the opening film of the 2016 edition of BFI Flare: London Lgbt Film Festival (March 16-27).

Ben A. Williams’ feature debut stars Russell Tovey (Being Human) as a premier league footballer who, on the night of his first big international match, rooms with a team mate – played by Arinze Kene (Freestyle) – and the two share an intimate moment that has repercussions on their public and private lives.

Duncan Kenworthy (Love Actually, Notting Hill) produced the film, which has a screenplay from John Donnelly, adapted from his Royal Court Theatre play.

The premiere will take place at London’s Odeon Leicester Square on March 16, kicking off the BFI Flare festival which runs until March 27 and is celebrating its 30th edition in 2016.

The festival’s full programme will include screenings of 50 feature films, as well as
See full article at ScreenDaily »

BAFTA Announces Partnership With Beijing Film Academy

  • Indiewire
Read More: For Your Consideration: Predicting the BAFTA Award Nominations The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced their signing of an agreement with the Beijing Film Academy, a Memorandum of Understanding the pledges to link the two institutions. The Memorandum was facilitated by Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, and Zhang Huijun, President of the Beijing Film Academy.  The partnership has been forged in pursuit of a stronger cultural exchange between the two vastly different film, television and game markets. With the signing of the memorandum, BAFTA aims to feature a series of events centered on interviews, lectures and masterclasses showcasing Chinese talent. Directors and actors like Johnnie To, Duncan Kenworthy, Eddie Redmayne and Lois Burwell have already collaborated in the cultural exchange since 2013, so BAFTA and the Beijing Film Academy is eager to bring in even more talent for 2016. The agreement is...
See full article at Indiewire »

BBC Commissions Original Scripted Motown Musical Drama Series

  • ShadowAndAct
BBC One has ordered a contemporary musical series titled "Stop! In the Name of Love," that will tell the interwoven stories of "six smart, thirty-something women" and will incorporate the iconic sounds of Motown. Specifically, songs from the record label will be woven into the plot, with characters singing at key moments within the spoken narrative. Executive producer Duncan Kenworthy said: “I’m hugely excited about this opportunity to integrate some of the coolest songs ever written into a big, bold, diverse drama about contemporary love lives, and delighted that the BBC has commissioned it. Some music is so famous that it’s already woven into our lives. 'Stop! In...
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

BBC Commissions Original Scripted Motown Musical Drama Series

BBC Commissions Original Scripted Motown Musical Drama Series
BBC One has ordered a contemporary musical series titled "Stop! In the Name of Love," that will tell the interwoven stories of "six smart, thirty-something women" and will incorporate the iconic sounds of Motown. Specifically, songs from the record label will be woven into the plot, with characters singing at key moments within the spoken narrative. Executive producer Duncan Kenworthy said: “I’m hugely excited about this opportunity to integrate some of the coolest songs ever written into a big, bold, diverse drama about contemporary love lives, and delighted that the BBC has commissioned it. Some music is so famous that it’s already woven into our lives. 'Stop! In the Name of Love' will use Motown’s unforgettable tunes and powerful lyrics to help express the emotional complications—the heart and the heartbreak—of the new world we’re living in... The musical arrangements and cutting edge choreography
See full article at Indiewire Television »

BBC Greenlights Motown Musical Drama ‘Stop! In the Name of Love’

BBC Greenlights Motown Musical Drama ‘Stop! In the Name of Love’
London — The BBC has commissioned musical drama miniseries “Stop! In the Name of Love,” which incorporates many Motown songs.

The four-part miniseries is written by Tony Jordan (“Hustle,” “Life on Mars”), based on a format created by Stop! (London) Ltd. It is a co-production between Jordan’s Red Planet Pictures and Stop! (London) Ltd. following a deal with Emi Music Publishing.

The drama follows six smart thirtysomething women in contemporary England. It focuses on the women’s complicated lives as they deal with love, friendship, success and failure. The music of Berry Gordy Jr.’s record label will be woven into each drama, with characters singing songs at key moments within the spoken narrative. Each song (five per episode) will express the situation and emotions of the characters and be an integral part of the drama.

The production is the product of a joint venture between Jordan, top U.K.
See full article at Variety - TV News »

7 actors who were too attractive for the role: Hugh Grant, Harry Potter

7 actors who were too attractive for the role: Hugh Grant, Harry Potter
Ok, so we all know that movie logic increases the median attractiveness of everybody on screen by at least 50%, and we accept it. But what happens when an actor is just too attractive for suspension of disbelief to work in a particular role?

Mae Whitman being cast as the eponymous "designated ugly fat friend" in this weekend's The Duff is a fine example. Thankfully the film (which is kind of great, by the way) does take pains to emphasise that even perfectly attractive people can be the Duff in their friendship group, because Duff is a state of mind. Or something.

Digital Spy takes a look back at seven more actors who were too attractive for the part, most of whom still got cast anyway.

Hugh Grant (Four Weddings and a Funeral)

Last year, mere months after Four Weddings celebrated its 20th birthday, Hugh Grant dropped the bombshell that nobody
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »
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