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Meet some of the best directors working today, who haven't gone down the blockbuster movie route...
Ever find it a bit lame when the same big name directors get kicked around for every high profile project? Christopher Nolan, Jj Abrams, maybe the Russo Brothers? With so much focus on blockbuster films these days, getting a major franchise job seems like the main acknowledgement of success for a filmmaker. And yes, both the financial and creative rewards can be great. But there are plenty of other directors out there, doing their own thing, from art house auteurs to Dtv action specialists.
Here are 25 examples.
Even if you don’t know his name, you’ve probably seen Lee Hardcastle’s ultraviolent claymations shared on social media. He first started getting noticed for his two-minute remake of The Thing, starring the famous stop motion penguin Pingu. Far from just a cheap one-joke mash-up, »
For A 1000 Lives
San Sebastian International Film Festival director José Luis Rebordinos has announced the festival's backing for the For A Thousand Lives: Be Human campaign, which was launched September 2. The campaign calls for people fleeing war, terror, or political persecution to be provided with legal means of receiving protection from the EU. It calls on EU countries to work in solidarity, repealing the Dublin convention that says refugees mus seek asylum in the first country they reach, and ensure better distribution of those in need between different nations. The emphasis mus be on showing respect and giving people the chance to work, study and rebuild their lives, it argues.
The campaign already has the support of over 5,000 film industry professionals, including Brits Daniel Craig, Jonathan Pryce, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh. Other big names involved include Isabella Rossellini, Michael Haneke, Bertrand Tavernier, Agnieszka Holland, Thomas Vinterberg and Michel Hazanavicius. »
- Jennie Kermode
A film-maker has to cope with her dying mother and a pompous American star in this tragicomic triumph by Nanni Moretti
Italian tragicomic auteur Nanni Moretti approached the subject of his own mortality in 1993’s international breakthrough feature Caro diario (Dear Diary), which documented, among other things, his all too real encounter with cancer. In his most celebrated feature, the 2001 Palme d’Or winner La stanza del figlio (The Son’s Room), he dealt superbly with parental bereavement and mourning. Now, in Mia Madre, he focuses on the impending loss of a mother, drawing heavily upon personal experience (Moretti’s own mother Agata died while he was completing 2011’s Habemus Papam/We Have a Pope), but also keeping enough distance from his subject to achieve a sense of universality. The beautifully observed and delicately balanced result is a sublimely modulated blend of laughter and tears, a film that cuts to »
- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
This BFI year’s Luminous charity auction, which aims to raise funding for the UK’s national film collection archive, will this year offer bidders a trip to the 2016 Venince Film Festival opening gala, the chance to walk the red carpet at the UK premiere of The Danish Girl, a private screening at BFI Southbank with Mel Brooks and a walk-on part in the upcoming Paddington 2.
Other prizes include the chance to join Ken Loach in the editing suite as he works on his latest film, a seat in the royal box at the 2016 Fa Cup final and a trip to the 2016 Cannes Film festival, including tickets to the opening film and two night’s stay on a yacht.
The auction is a part of the BFI’s Luminous fundraising gala, which will take »
Nancy Meyers is an easy target for cynical critics, and she's certainly responsible for her fair share of glossy nonsense. She's also the most financially successful female filmmaker of all time, and as big a brand as any male filmmaker working right now. The only difference between her and, say, Michael Bay is which altar they worship at. Michael Bay makes movies that are so artificial, so technically-driven but hysterically soulless that it's like Skynet got addicted to Internet porn and Jerry Bruckheimer movies, while Nancy Meyers' voice is more like what would happen if Pottery Barn became sentient. I think Meyers is genuinely trying to expand the definition of what a studio comedy is, though. I think she's someone who has found her own niche, and just like Judd Apatow, she tells stories about characters who live the way she lives, which is to say very, very well. »
- Drew McWeeny
The award was presented this morning (Sept 7) during the Venice Film Festival by the Fondazione ente dello Spettacolo (FedS) and the cinema magazine Rivista del Cinematografo in recognition of “a director who has given testimony of the difficult path towards the search for the spiritual meaning of life”.
Makhmalbaf’s most recent film, The President, was shown in Venice last year.
Speaking to ScreenDaily ahead of the award ceremony, Makhmalbaf said that he had been made aware of Sentsov’s fate by festival programming director Alexey Medvedev when he served as jury president at the On The Edge Film Festival in the Russian Far East town of Sakhalin last month.
¨In recent »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Martin Blaney)
Director: Ruth Platt
Running Time: 97 minutes
Synopsis: Awkward teen Fin (Bendall) finds himself in the worse school lesson of his life when his teacher Mr. Gale (Hands) snaps.
Remember that teacher at school that always seemed a little nervous around the boisterous kids? Well now imagine that one day he snapped and decided to fight back with knowledge (and power tools), and you have the basic premise of The Lesson.
The Lesson review
One of the few Frightfest offerings this year to be directed by a female, The Lesson is a grounded and grisly study of the relationship between teachers and pupils in today’s chav-riddled society. Set in an underprivileged part of Britain, The Lesson starts off channelling Ken Loach‘s Kes before »
- Kat Smith
World festival roundup: Highlights of the upcoming fall and winter season promise a wide range of cinematic treats around the world. Festivals listed in chronological order.
Aug. 27-Sept. 7
World Film Festival
Fest will open with the world premiere of “Muhammad,” the 171-minute epic from Iranian director Majid Majidi, shot by Italian cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. Mwff has received a record number of short films — over 1,200 (an increase of 42% over 2014) from some 64 countries, “evidence of the vitality of today’s young filmmakers,” notes Mwff president Serge Losique. Fest is adding a Chinese Cinema section with more than 10 new features.
The fest, above, nestled in the mountains of Colorado, has always been an intimate, casual, carefully curated event that isn’t just a competition but also a celebration of the best in film. Even though the festival doesn’t announce its lineup until the day before it begins unspooling, »
- Iain Blair
British cinematographer Chris Menges is to receive a lifetime achievement award at Camerimage (Nov 14-21), the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography.
Menges will attend the 23rd edition of Camerimage in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz to accept the award, introduce screenings of his films and will meet with the festival’s audience.
He returned to work with Loach on Kes, which marked »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
After being arrested in May 2014 by the Russian Federal Security Service on suspicion of terrorist plotting and entanglement in a Ukrainian paramilitary group, Oleg Sentsov could be sentenced to 23 more years in prison Tuesday. So in the face of this week's verdict, which would exile the Ukrainian filmmaker to a high-security penal colony, the European Film Academy has gathered over 1,000 signatures calling for his release from Russia, whose accusations remain shadowy after the retraction of a key witness testimony last month. Petitioning supporters (listed here) come from all over Europe, including film academies in Poland, Germany, Austria and Czech Republic, and the Union of Russian Filmmakers—who aren't strangers to censorship. Filmmakers on the list include: Stephen Daldry, Mike Leigh, Mike Downey, Agnieszka Holland, Dariusz Jablonski, Aki Kaurismäki, Ken Loach, Wojciech Marczewski, Béla Tarr, Bertrand Tavernier, Andrzej Wajda and Wim Wenders. Read More: »
- Ryan Lattanzio
August 25 will be a big night for Academy board members: That’s when they select 2015 recipients of the Governors Awards.
According to the website, AMPAS encourages members of the Academy to weigh in. They didn’t say anything about non-members, but why not? Movie fans have strong ideas too.
So here are some proposals: Michael Apted, whose range includes the “Seven Up!” docus to “Coal Miner’s Daughter”; Tsui Hark, a key figure in Asia’s action films; Richard Lester, the influential director; documaker extraordinaire Frederick Wiseman; and actress-director Jeanne Moreau. Incredibly, none has ever been nominated for an Oscar. And how about activist Rob Reiner for the Hersholt?
Variety exec editor Steven Gaydos also offers some stellar names for consideration: Gilles Jacob, who led the Cannes Fest for decades; producer-casting pro Fred Roos, whose groundbreaking credits include “The Godfather” and “American Graffiti”; Brit filmmaker Ken Loach; American actress Gena Rowlands »
- Tim Gray
Here are a bunch of little bites to satisfy your hunger for movie culture: Movie Truth of the Day: The Film Theorists consider the scientific possibility of the title character from Hitman: Agent 47 having bulletproof skin: Alternate Dimension Movie of the Day: Here's what Star Wars might look like if Ken Loach wrote and directed it (via Topless Robot): Toys of the Day: Speaking of Star Wars, here's a gallery of all the new toys hitting stores on September 4, aka Force Friday (via /Film): Hasbro Force Friday Catalog Fan Financial System of the Day: Speaking of Star Wars again, these coins are apparently legal tender in the island country of Niue. So are coins with Disney Princess and Doctor...
- Christopher Campbell
By Cate Marquis
Director Ken Loach delivers a nice, enjoyable little slice of Irish history in Jimmy’S Hall, a tale about one-time rural firebrand who returns to his native County Leitrim, Ireland, a decade after his leadership in the upheaval of the 1921 Irish Troubles forced him to flee. Jimmy Gralton (Barry Ward) only intends to care for his aging widowed mother Alice (Aileen Henry) and live a quiet life, yet the community almost immediately begins urging him to re-open the now-empty community center, Pearse-Connolly Hall. The elderly local priest, Father Sheridan (Jim Norton), is firming opposed to reopening the hall, fearing it will lead to a loss of Church control. He and the local authorities will do whatever is needed to prevent it.
This well-crafted, well-acted, fact-based film takes a light touch in dealing with the real historical events and social issues of the time. British socialist-realist director Ken Loach »
- Movie Geeks
Very much a reflection of modern society, especially given the film was inspired by a real life event when a teacher, after 20 years of teaching – with no prior episodes of anger or violence – suddenly lost it with a child in class; The Lesson tells the story of Fin and Joel, two teenage wasters running wild in an arid rural landscape. But their bad education is about to take a turn for the intellectual best as someone at the end of their tether has decided to teach both schoolboys a lesson they will never forget.
Now I don’t know about you, but I thought high school was torture… However The Lesson takes that idea to the extreme. Made on a budget of just £27k, this film is, at its most basic level, a »
- Phil Wheat
Sarajevo, Bosnia — A group of prominent European filmmakers, including Wim Wenders, Stephen Daldry, Agnieszka Holland and Mike Leigh, has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to order the release of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, whose trial resumes in Russia today.
Sentsov, who is accused of having committed “crimes of a terrorist nature,” faces up to 20 years in prison. The prosecution’s main witness has retracted his statement, but the trial continues nonetheless.
The letter states that the filmmakers have been “deeply worried” since Sentsov was arrested by Russia’s Federal Security Service (Fsb), the successor to the Kgb, in his house in Simferopol, Crimea, on May 11, 2014. It adds: “Having observed the trial and especially the fact that the key witness for the prosecution has retracted his testimony as ‘given under pressure and duress,’ we are shocked that the accusation of Oleg Sentsov having committed ‘crimes of a terrorist nature’ is still being upheld. »
- Leo Barraclough
British director Mike Leigh, who has been Oscar nominated seven times, will receive the “A Tribute to…” Golden Eye award at the Zurich Film Festival, which runs Sept. 24 – Oct. 4.
Leigh will collect the award during a ceremony on Oct. 3 and also conduct a public masterclass during the festival. Additionally, the festival will screen a retrospective of some of his most notable works.
Leigh was Oscar nominated twice each for “Secrets & Lies” and “Vera Drake,” and also for “Happy-Go-Lucky,” “Topsy-Turvy” and “Another Year.” He won the director award at Cannes for “Naked” and the Palme d’Or for “Secrets & Lies,” and Venice’s Golden Lion for “Vera Drake.” Along with fellow directors Ken Loach and Stephen Frears, he was part of the New British Cinema movement, which has provided a social critique of Britain over the past three decades.
- Seth Kelley
Director: Chris Columbus; Screenwriters: Tim Herlihy, Timothy Dowling; Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Michelle Monaghan, Brian Cox, Sean Bean; Running time: 106 mins; Certificate: 12A
The prospect of a new Adam Sandler movie hitting cinemas instills the same sense of trepidation as the theme from Jaws. Shivers down the spine. Heart palpitations. A cold sweat. Can the intriguing blockbuster premise of Pixels prove to be that bigger boat and offer us salvation?
Scarily similar in concept to a 2002 episode of Futurama, Pixels revolves around an attack on Earth by aliens who have received a signal beamed into outer space that includes classic arcade games from the 1980s. They interpret it as a declaration of war and use a giant size Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and other such characters to launch a wave of destruction.
It's left to childhood video game champion and adulthood loser Sam (Sandler), his »
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