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2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

10 items from 2015


Women to Watch: Jennifer Levine of Untitled Entertainment

5 May 2015 10:28 AM, PDT | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

I have watched Jennifer for years as she and I participate at the Sundance World Cinema networking event, speaking to international filmmakers whose films are showing at the festival. But it is only now that I have actually heard about all she does:

So what is it you do?

As a manager of writers and directors for over 16 years at Untitled Entertainment (a company I helped launch), I have always been particularly interested in working with voices from around the globe and am drawn to strong, distinctive storytellers with unique points of view. I also act as a producer on a selective basis.

How do you select clients?

My roster of clients really reflects both my personal taste in storytelling and in people; coupled with my instincts about what I think the marketplace will respond to. By that I don’t mean selling a certain genre of content that I think the market will buy (though it is great when that happens), but rather introducing producers, executives, other artists and financiers to writers and/or directors with material that is fearless, exceptionally well executed and provokes an authentic emotional reaction – whatever the genre.

Do you consider yourself a “Hollywood” manager?

I have found that some of the most interesting film and television projects have emerged from the intersection of storytellers from both inside and outside the Hollywood system. I had the unforgettable experience earlier this year of seeing a team of Argentine filmmakers (Armando Bo and Nicolas Giacobone) I signed off of a Spanish language film at Sundance a few years ago, win the Academy Award for best original screenplay as the co-writers of “Birdman." That was a journey I would not have predicted three years ago and yet it is a fantastic recognition that if you bring strong, distinctive storytelling into the world, there will be an audience to appreciate it.

What do you have to do with the film currently hitting the theaters, “Black Souls”?

One of my most recent client signs is a stunningly talented Italian filmmaker named Francesco Munzi whose film “Black Souls” (his third feature) premiered at the most recent Venice and Toronto film festivals. It has always been a personal interest of mine to find an Italian filmmaker to represent as I lived in Italy for a few years and have always been drawn to the culture and speak the language. I was really captivated by the sophistication and gritty realism of Francesco’s filmmaking in “Black Souls." From both a level of craft and storytelling, as well as the intensity of the performances he captured, I felt strongly that he has the ability to speak to an international audience and wanted to help him transition into English language films.

Read More: 'Black Souls' is a Sobering and Sharply Executed Twist on the Mob Genre

Fortunately Vitagraph picked up “Black Souls” for a U.S. theatrical release and it just started rolling out across the country in April. The reviews so far have been pretty stellar. I am excited to help introduce the entertainment industry to him and his work so we can find the right English-language debut project for him.

How do you define your role in the business?

My role is not limited to representing only film and television writers and directors. I work in every and any medium that my clients want to explore (theater, books, digital content, graphic novels, video games, etc) which is part of the fun of being a manager. It also means I am constantly learning something new, which is partly why I am still challenged by my job so many years into it. For example, taking playwrights and helping them transition into successful film and television writers (two of my clients who started in the theater and continue to work actively in the theater, are seeing great success in every medium right now including current Blacklist scribe David Bar Katz who is writing films for Universal, Fox and Warner Bros and past Blacklist scribe Bess Wohl who has a network pilot in post-production for ABC and features in development for Paramount and Disney).

I am also still excited to discover someone at the very beginning of their career and have recently helped launch a young filmmaker named Steven Caple Jr. who just came out of USC film school last year with some award winning short films. I was introduced to the script for his debut feature along with a teaser he shot for it and knew that he had something to say and the vision and drive to make it happen. A year after first meeting him, we are about to head into pre-production on that feature. I also believe strongly in working with women filmmakers and am fortunate enough to work with exceptional artists like U.K. director Sophie Muller who is an internationally acclaimed music video director and award winning Canadian Ruba Nadda (“Cairo Time”, “October Gale”) who has made four features (a feat for any young filmmaker).

How did you become a manager?

I fell into management almost by accident but it turned out to be a great match for me, allowing me to evolve creatively and professionally in this changing marketplace. It is a role which requires that I utilize skills from almost every job I have ever had (from being a summer camp counselor in high school, to working in finance in NYC, film acquisitions in Italy and studio development and production experience in Hollywood) and I treasure the feeling of true partnership I go into with the artists I represent.

The flexibility and entrepreneurial nature of my role as a manager has also presented exciting producing opportunities. A recent example is the film “Meadowland” which I executive produced and which just had a world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival – written by client Chris Rossi and starring Untitled client Olivia Wilde. I’m heading to Cannes in May with projects that I am championing both for management clients and (in a few instances) as a producer. And of course, keeping my eyes open for exciting new writers and directors.

Jennifer Levine – Bio

Jennifer Levine, Head of Production and Literary Management at Untitled Entertainment (a top Hollywood entertainment management and production company with offices in Los Angeles, New York, and London), divides her time between representing a diverse group of writer, director, producer, and actor clients and shepherding a wide range of entertainment projects as a producer.

Prior to her position at Untitled, a company she helped start over sixteen years ago, Ms. Levine held positions in both feature film development and production, including stints at 20th Century Fox, Disney, and Kopelson Entertainment. In her various capacities, she has worked on dozens of studio and independent films.

Ms. Levine also spent three years based in Milan, Italy acquiring film and television rights for Italian distributor Compagnia Distribuzione Audiovisivi and participating in numerous international film markets and festivals. While in Italy, she also ran her own highly successful special events business and has been profiled in a wide range of Italian publications. Before moving to Italy, Jennifer started her career on Wall Street, working with international investment funds for Chase Manhattan Bank.

Ms. Levine holds an M.F.A. from USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program, where she was also a national finalist for the Sundance Producing Fellowship, winner of the Charles Ferguson Marketing Award, and recipient of the Ray Stark Film Grant. She has an undergraduate degree in literature from Wesleyan University and was born in New York and raised in Los Angeles. »

- Sydney Levine

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Women to Watch: Jennifer Levine of Untitled Entertainment

4 May 2015 6:30 AM, PDT | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

I have watched Jennifer for years as she and I participate at the Sundance World Cinema networking event, speaking to international filmmakers whose films are showing at the festival. But it is only now that I have actually heard about all she does:

So what is it you do?

As a manager of writers and directors for over 16 years at Untitled Entertainment (a company I helped launch), I have always been particularly interested in working with voices from around the globe and am drawn to strong, distinctive storytellers with unique points of view. I also act as a producer on a selective basis.

How do you select clients?

My roster of clients really reflects both my personal taste in storytelling and in people; coupled with my instincts about what I think the marketplace will respond to. By that I don’t mean selling a certain genre of content that I think the market will buy (though it is great when that happens), but rather introducing producers, executives, other artists and financiers to writers and/or directors with material that is fearless, exceptionally well executed and provokes an authentic emotional reaction – whatever the genre.

Do you consider yourself a “Hollywood” manager?

I have found that some of the most interesting film and television projects have emerged from the intersection of storytellers from both inside and outside the Hollywood system. I had the unforgettable experience earlier this year of seeing a team of Argentine filmmakers (Armando Bo and Nicolas Giacobone) I signed off of a Spanish language film at Sundance a few years ago, win the Academy Award for best original screenplay as the co-writers of “Birdman." That was a journey I would not have predicted three years ago and yet it is a fantastic recognition that if you bring strong, distinctive storytelling into the world, there will be an audience to appreciate it.

What do you have to do with the film currently hitting the theaters, “Black Souls”?

One of my most recent client signs is a stunningly talented Italian filmmaker named Francesco Munzi whose film “Black Souls” (his third feature) premiered at the most recent Venice and Toronto film festivals. It has always been a personal interest of mine to find an Italian filmmaker to represent as I lived in Italy for a few years and have always been drawn to the culture and speak the language. I was really captivated by the sophistication and gritty realism of Francesco’s filmmaking in “Black Souls." From both a level of craft and storytelling, as well as the intensity of the performances he captured, I felt strongly that he has the ability to speak to an international audience and wanted to help him transition into English language films.

Read More: 'Black Souls' is a Sobering and Sharply Executed Twist on the Mob Genre

Fortunately Vitagraph picked up “Black Souls” for a U.S. theatrical release and it just started rolling out across the country in April. The reviews so far have been pretty stellar. I am excited to help introduce the entertainment industry to him and his work so we can find the right English-language debut project for him.

How do you define your role in the business?

My role is not limited to representing only film and television writers and directors. I work in every and any medium that my clients want to explore (theater, books, digital content, graphic novels, video games, etc) which is part of the fun of being a manager. It also means I am constantly learning something new, which is partly why I am still challenged by my job so many years into it. For example, taking playwrights and helping them transition into successful film and television writers (two of my clients who started in the theater and continue to work actively in the theater, are seeing great success in every medium right now including current Blacklist scribe David Bar Katz who is writing films for Universal, Fox and Warner Bros and past Blacklist scribe Bess Wohl who has a network pilot in post-production for ABC and features in development for Paramount and Disney).

I am also still excited to discover someone at the very beginning of their career and have recently helped launch a young filmmaker named Steven Caple Jr. who just came out of USC film school last year with some award winning short films. I was introduced to the script for his debut feature along with a teaser he shot for it and knew that he had something to say and the vision and drive to make it happen. A year after first meeting him, we are about to head into pre-production on that feature. I also believe strongly in working with women filmmakers and am fortunate enough to work with exceptional artists like U.K. director Sophie Muller who is an internationally acclaimed music video director and award winning Canadian Ruba Nadda (“Cairo Time”, “October Gale”) who has made four features (a feat for any young filmmaker).

How did you become a manager?

I fell into management almost by accident but it turned out to be a great match for me, allowing me to evolve creatively and professionally in this changing marketplace. It is a role which requires that I utilize skills from almost every job I have ever had (from being a summer camp counselor in high school, to working in finance in NYC, film acquisitions in Italy and studio development and production experience in Hollywood) and I treasure the feeling of true partnership I go into with the artists I represent.

The flexibility and entrepreneurial nature of my role as a manager has also presented exciting producing opportunities. A recent example is the film “Meadowland” which I executive produced and which just had a world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival – written by client Chris Rossi and starring Untitled client Olivia Wilde. I’m heading to Cannes in May with projects that I am championing both for management clients and (in a few instances) as a producer. And of course, keeping my eyes open for exciting new writers and directors.

Jennifer Levine – Bio

Jennifer Levine, Head of Production and Literary Management at Untitled Entertainment (a top Hollywood entertainment management and production company with offices in Los Angeles, New York, and London), divides her time between representing a diverse group of writer, director, producer, and actor clients and shepherding a wide range of entertainment projects as a producer.

Prior to her position at Untitled, a company she helped start over sixteen years ago, Ms. Levine held positions in both feature film development and production, including stints at 20th Century Fox, Disney, and Kopelson Entertainment. In her various capacities, she has worked on dozens of studio and independent films.

Ms. Levine also spent three years based in Milan, Italy acquiring film and television rights for Italian distributor Compagnia Distribuzione Audiovisivi and participating in numerous international film markets and festivals. While in Italy, she also ran her own highly successful special events business and has been profiled in a wide range of Italian publications. Before moving to Italy, Jennifer started her career on Wall Street, working with international investment funds for Chase Manhattan Bank.

Ms. Levine holds an M.F.A. from USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program, where she was also a national finalist for the Sundance Producing Fellowship, winner of the Charles Ferguson Marketing Award, and recipient of the Ray Stark Film Grant. She has an undergraduate degree in literature from Wesleyan University and was born in New York and raised in Los Angeles. »

- Sydney Levine

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October Gale movie review: islands in the scream

9 March 2015 7:27 AM, PDT | www.flickfilosopher.com | See recent FlickFilosopher news »

It’s not very suspenseful or romantic, but the always awesome Patricia Clarkson remains calm and kicks some ass, so that’s something. I’m “biast” (pro): love Patricia Clarkson

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Well, it’s a different sort of damsel-in-distress flick, at least. It’s not very suspenseful or thrilling or exciting, and it’s entirely romantically inert, which is not what it intends, but hey, Patricia Clarkson (The Maze Runner) is as awesome as always. She is Helen, a doctor from Toronto who is spending some alone time at her remote lakeside cabin on an island reachable only by boat, still grieving for her husband (Callum Keith Rennie [Fifty Shades of Grey] in flashbacks) who died the year before. But there’s always a mysterious stranger! When William (Scott Speedman: The Vow) washes up on her solitary femaleness, bleeding from a gunshot wound, »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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October Gale Review

7 March 2015 9:00 AM, PST | We Got This Covered | See recent We Got This Covered news »

Patricia Clarkson is one of those indispensable character actors that is too rarely delegated to leading lady status. However, she makes the most of a meandering script in a new film she headlines, October Gale, which also reunites her with Cairo Time director Ruba Nadda.

The actress plays Helen Matthews, a recently widowed woman in her fifties returning to the Ontario cottage she used to enjoy with her husband, James (played in flashback by Callum Keith Rennie). It’s hard for Helen to let go, especially when remnants of James are everywhere: in the picture frames on the wall, in the deck of cards she shuffles tenderly, in the year-old sports section of the newspaper left by the fireplace.

Helen could use something to pre-occupy her as she lounges around the cabin, tenderly coveting the things her husband used to own, and that distraction soon comes in the form of »

- Jordan Adler

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October Gale | Review

4 March 2015 12:00 PM, PST | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

Perfect Storm: Mystery Tinged Romance from Nadda Gets Blown Away in Gusts

There’s much to admire in Montreal-born director Ruba Nadda’s latest film, October Gale, which reunites her with the Patricia Clarkson, star of her generally well-received 2009 film, Cairo Time. Nadda once again provides Clarkson with a melancholy tinged lead role that provides us with a framework that recalls classic ‘women’s pictures’ of the studio era, something we’d most likely have seen from a Cukor or Negulesco and starring the embittered likes of a Joan Crawford or Barbara Stanwyck. Clarkson evokes a softer sentimentality than those references, which may explain why many will be dismayed when the film suddenly becomes a romance tinged mystery thriller, only one that doesn’t want to sacrifice any of these particular elements and therefore tends to seem watered down on all fronts.

A Toronto doctor still grieving over the tragic »

- Nicholas Bell

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October Gale Is a Character-Driven Thriller

3 March 2015 9:00 PM, PST | Village Voice | See recent Village Voice news »

Ruba Nadda followed up her breakthrough film Cairo Time with thrillers for its two leads: Inescapable for Alexander Siddig, and now October Gale for Patricia Clarkson. Both rely on character-driven drama more than traditional action, exploring the intricacies of family relationships and the repercussions of loss. Dr. Helen Matthews (Clarkson) was accustomed to peaceful getaways with her husband, James, in the Hamptons of northern Ontario, a lake district that's long been a retreat for affluent Toronto residents. James died during an October gale on Lake Joseph, and Helen is still submerged in grief as she opens up their island cottage the following spring. Tidying the house triggers memories of James (Callum Keith Rennie), and Nadda uses these flashbacks to »

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October Gale Review

2 March 2015 9:00 AM, PST | The Hollywood News | See recent The Hollywood News news »

Director: Ruba Nadda

Cast: Patricia Clarkson, Scott Speedman, Tim Roth, Aidan Devine, Callum Keith Rennie

Run Time: 91 minutes

Synopsis: Whilst mourning the death of her husband on their island retreat, a widowed doctor is forced to treat a mysterious man who washes ashore during stormy weather with a gunshot wound. 

Premiering during a special presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff), October Gale is a dramatic thriller that’s too devoid of tension to be considered thrilling and far short of emotional and relatable characters to be considered dramatic.

All this is a shame because the opening sequence of sweeping Parry Sound long shots and Steadicam shots of Helen (Patricia Clarkson) opening and cleaning the family’s vacation cottage offered a promising segue into what appears to be (on the surface), a study in normative bereavement with a murderous twist. Likewise, the film’s setting is a beautiful contradiction »

- Sacha Hall

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Tiberius acquires four at Efm

6 February 2015 5:13 AM, PST | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

German distributor picks ip Love At First Fight (Les Combattants) [pictured], October Gale, Cabin Fever: Reboot and Viy,

Tiberius Film has acquired four films at the Efm.

The German independent distributor has picked up Thomas Cailley’s romantic comedy Love At First Fight (Les Combattants), which has just been nominated for nine César 2015 awards, and Ruba Nadda’s thriller October Gale which premiered at Toronto 2014 and stars Patricia Clarkson, Scott Speedman and Tim Roth.

Travis Zariwny’s Cabin Fever: Reboot, written by the writer-director of the original film Eli Roth, and Oleg Stepchenko’s Russian box office hit Viy have also been acquired by Tiberius Film.

Wolfgang Carl, managing director of Tiberius Film GmbH, commented: “The Efm is always a very good forum for us to discover exciting and promising movies. We are very excited that our acquisitions have begun so well this year. Our new films include a variety of highlights for all target groups »

- ian.sandwell@screendaily.com (Ian Sandwell)

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The Trailer For October Gale Breezes In

27 January 2015 3:02 AM, PST | We Got This Covered | See recent We Got This Covered news »

First hearing about October Gale last year, with the announcement of casting, hopes were high. With writer-director Ruba Nadda (Cairo Time) at the helm, steering performances from Academy Award nominee Patricia Clarkson (Pieces Of April), Academy Award nominee Tim Roth (Rob Roy), and Genie Award nominee Scott Speedman (Adoration) – it had all the hallmarks of a taut thriller, with perhaps something of a twist on the tired home invasion schtick that persists in cinema. At the very least, it promised a dark drama, made by a woman, and led by a woman.

For those unfamiliar with the project, Patricia Clarkson plays Helen – a qualified doctor who is mourning her dead husband. She opts to spend some time alone at their isolated waterside cottage during a huge storm, but is disturbed when a man (Scott Speedman) washes ashore with a gunshot wound. Soon enough, his would-be assassins follow – led by Tim Roth. »

- Sarah Myles

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Watch: Trouble Blows In For Patricia Clarkson, Tim Roth, And Scott Speedman In Trailer For Thriller 'October Gale'

26 January 2015 4:20 PM, PST | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

Patricia Clarkson is one of the most talented and versatile American actresses working today, so it’s always a nice surprise to see her headlining a feature, even if said feature looks like a generic home invasion thriller. At least, that’s what the recently released trailer for “October Gale” makes it look like. Clarkson stars as Helen, a depressed woman who is working through the grief of losing her husband by cleaning out the remote cottage she shared with him. After a mysterious wounded man (Scott Speedman) crawls into her cottage, Helen is compelled to take care of him. When the man’s attackers, led by Tim Roth in full-on stoic creep mode that we know and love, find the cottage to finish the job, Helen has to defend her life by any means necessary. With “October Gale”, Canadian writer/director Ruba Nadda works with Clarkson again after the »

- Oktay Ege Kozak

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2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

10 items from 2015


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