6 items from 2016
Dubai, United Arab Emirates — A group of high-caliber American and British film executives have made the trek to the Dubai Film Market for the newly launched Dubai Investors Club where they will show the ropes and hobnob with Arab entrepreneurs who have grown weary of Hollywood seeing them as Atm machines for propositions known to have disastrous consequences.
“They’ve all heard these terrible stories,” says U.S. producer Paul Miller, a former head of financing at the Doha Film Institute, who is organising the two-day, Dec. 8 and 9, closed-doors event at the Madinat Jumeirah resort (pictured).
“The point is to say: ‘look, we are going to introduce you to the fundamentals of what film investment is and explain that it’s not about writing the check and just praying.” There are so many more sophisticated ways to invest in film,” he notes.
Up to 15 undisclosed top-level potential Arab investors will »
- Nick Vivarelli
It's arrived -- thanks in part to a successful Kickstarter campaign, this nearly comprehensive compendium of American 'Race Films' is here in a deluxe Blu-ray presentation. Pioneers of African-American Cinema Blu-ray Kino Classics 1915-1946 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 952 min. / Street Date July 26, 2016 / available through Kino Lorber / 99.95 Directed by Richard Norman, Richard Maurice, Spencer Williams and Oscar Micheaux
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
Black Cinema History? We didn't hear a peep about any such thing back in film school. Sometime in the 1980s PBS would broadcast a barely watchable (see sample just below) copy of a creaky silent 'race movie' about a 'backsliding' black man in trouble with the law, the Lord and his wife in that order. The cultural segregation has been almost complete. It wasn't until even later that I read articles about a long-extinct nationwide circuit of movie theaters catering to black audiences, wherever the populations were big enough to support the trade. »
- Glenn Erickson
It’s hard to consider the release of a piece of entertainment, specifically a DVD and Blu-ray box set, as a culturally significant moment, but then again there are few items quite like the newest release from the team at Kino Lorber.
After a refreshingly successful Kickstarter campaign, Kino Lorber has finally released their groundbreaking collection, Pioneers Of African American Cinema, and to call it one of the year’s best home video releases is to truly understate the sociological import carried within this release.
Silent era and early-talkie cinema, as seen by many a film aficionado, is a deeply problematic world. Primarily helmed by white men, films more than occasionally featured everything from frustratingly cartoonish caricatures of African-American characters (furthering stereotypes like the “Mamie”) to white actors donning black face (of which there is also a great deal within this set as well) in what is seen today as a disturbing bit of racism. »
- Joshua Brunsting
Looking to create your own vehicle to success? Tangerine Entertainment, a production company founded to support women in film, is now accepting applications from female actor-writers for the Tangerine Fellowship until the regular deadline on July 1 and the last-minute deadline on August 1. Recipients will receive one full year of mentorship, a ticket to the 2017 Spring Writers’ Retreat, a free copy of Final Draft 9—the industry standard for screenwriting—and more. This season’s mentors include Austin Chick (“Xx/Yy”), casting director Ellen Parks (“Secretary,” “Sideways”), Parts & Labor development executive Lauren Haber (“Adventureland”), award-winning creative and executive producer Paul Miller (“Lone Star”), and producer and production counsel Jonathan Gray (“The Birth of a Nation”). “We are pleased to expand our work with Stowe Story Labs and offer this important opportunity to emerging women writers,” said Tangerine partner and creative producer Anne Hubbell in a statement. “The Labs and Retreat help emerging »
"I'm not spying! I'm listening." It's hard to not think of The Sound and the Shadow as an indie version of other classic "listening" thrillers like Brian De Palma's Blow Out, or The Conversation, but there's also something original about Justin Paul Miller vision.
The film about an eavestopping shut-in that finds himself unmittingly involved in a missing persons case stars Paul Miller and stars Joseph E. Murray (All My Children), Mary Kate Wiles (Squaresville, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries) and Alex Anfanger (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)
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There is palpable new energy emanating from the Arab film world, largely due to a group of younger breakthrough directors finding their way to the fore, as attested by two Oscar-nominated titles this year, Jordanian Bedouin epic “Theeb” and Palestinian comic short “Ave Maria.”
This burst of creative forces is driven by daring producers tapping into new forms of financing and opportunities that are generating a wider range of pics amid a shift from a constraining Arab auteur mindset to genre movies and fresher, more audience-friendly fare.
Case in point is Naji Abu Nowar’s debut feature “Theeb,” the first Jordanian film to receive a nomination in Oscar’s foreign-language film category. Nowar, who studied screenwriting at the Sundance Institute Lab’s first Middle East program in Jordan, shot “Theeb” in Jordan’s stunning Wadi Rum valley. The film combines aspects of Bedouin tribal culture with riffs on Sergio Leone and John Ford Westerns. »
- Nick Vivarelli
6 items from 2016
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