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Simply put, the SXSW Film, Music and Interactive Festival is one of the biggest, most prestigious events in the media calendar. Taking place annually in Austin, Texas, it is beloved by film fans and filmmakers from all over the world, and has reached such heights by building a reputation for showcasing excellent content. This results in a high level of competition, with the Narrative Feature category alone having received 1442 submissions this year, and the documentary feature category having received 1,013.
The 2016 event looks to be particularly exciting, with many world premieres and feature debuts already announced. The Narrative Feature category will include Julia Hart’s Miss Stevens, Debra Eisenstadt’s Before The Sun Explodes, Joey Klein’s The Other Half, and Musa Syeed’s A Stray, among others, while the Headliner category will feature Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some.
- Sarah Myles
Yesterday, Nicholas Bell and I issued our Top 10 New Voices, and now we launch into our New Faces. They range in age, amount of screen time, and in this year’s batch of New Faces made memorable turns in supporting or principle character roles. Narrowly breaking into our top ten list we have names such as Sand Storm‘s Lammis Ammar and Spa Night‘s Haerry Kim. Here is our top ten countdown.
Move over Creed. The youngest featured actress to be profiled in our ten set was embraced in Park City as the next “it” personality and for good reason. In Anna Rose Holmer’s debut, Royalty Hightower’s Toni has a lot of volume – she physically inhabits a character who is at odds with her burgeoning teenagehood (a transition that is not always welcomed) in a performance that empathically comes across as non-actingly natural. »
- IONCINEMA.com Contributing Writers
Grammy-winning singer Seal has been cast to play Pontius Pilate in Fox’s upcoming musical event “The Passion,” the network announced Thursday.
Seal joins previously announced host and narrator Tyler Perry, and cast members Jencarlos Canela (Jesus Christ), Chris Daughtry (Judas), Prince Royce (the disciple Peter) and Trisha Yearwood (Mary, the mother of Jesus). Peter Barsocchini’s take on “The Passion” tells the 2000-year-old story of the last hours of Jesus Christ’s life on earth through passages from the Bible and a variety of contemporary popular music, sung by the cast, and arranged by executive producer and music producer Adam Anders. Set in modern day, the event will follow Jesus of Nazareth as he presides over the Last Supper, and then is betrayed by Judas, »
- Laura Prudom
Though details on his character are (of course) being kept under wraps, TV’s erstwhile Carlos Solis is set to recur on Scandal, starting with the second episode back after winter hiatus, according to EW.com.
Scandal resumes Season 5 next Thursday, Feb. 11.
Ready for more of today’s newsy nuggets? Well…
Spike struck a chord with Lip Sync Battle last year and now is continuing its push into the fake-singing realm. The cable net has greenlighted Caraoke Showdown, a Craig Robinson-hosted half-hour special that marks the cable net’s second quasi-musical number inspired by a late-night talk show. Caraoke Showdown features Robinson posing as a driver, picking up unsuspecting contestants for a karaoke-inspired game show. Contestants must belt out their favorite tunes, finish… »
One man's late-night bit is another man's TV special. Spike TV, the network that brought you the series version of Lip Sync Battle, is doing its own spin on "Carpool Karaoke," James Corden's wildly popular recurring bit. THR reports that Howie Mandel is executive-producing a TV special called Caraoke Showdown hosted by the Pontiac Bandit Craig Robinson. During the special, Robinson will pick up contestants who will sing for cash with celebrity guest appearances thrown in. For now, Caraoke Showdown is just slated to be one half-hour special, but if it does well, it will be picked up as a series and Spike TV will finally transform into Ursula the Sea Witch, demanding people sing for her. Now, sing! »
- E. Alex Jung
Spike TV and Howie Mandel’s Alevy Productions are teaming up on new game show “Caraoke Showdown,” which will be hosted and executive produced by Craig Robinson. “Caraoke Showdown” debuts as a half-hour special later this year. The premise of “Caraoke Showdown” features Robinson posing as a driver, picking up unsuspecting contestants who are along for a very unique ride upon realizing they are on a karaoke-inspired game show, per Spike. During various rounds of game play, contestants must belt out their favorite tunes, finish the lyrics or act out songs for cash. Celebrity guest appearances will add to the surprise, »
- Tony Maglio
Although Kenneth Lonergan's "Manchester by the Sea" went unrecognized at Sundance's awards on Saturday because it played out of competition — though Amazon's $10 million deal for the film is still a nice consolation prize — it overwhelmingly dominated Indiewire's annual Sundance Critics Poll. See The Results: The Best Films and Performances of Sundance 2016 After tabulating over three dozen ballots from members of the Criticwire Network, "Manchester" not only placed first in the poll, but received nearly three times as many points as the Best Narrative Feature runner-up, Kelly Reichardt's "Certain Women." Lonergan also handily placed first in Best Director, while star Casey Affleck topped Best Lead Performance. The only category that prevented a clean sweep was Best Supporting Performance, where Craig Robinson's turn in Chad Hartigan's "Morris from America" finished at the top. (Frequent Reichardt collaborator and »
- Steve Greene
U.S. – DRAMATICGrand Jury PrizeThe Birth of a Nation (Nate Parker)Directing AwardSwiss Army Man (Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert)Special Jury AwardAs You Are (Miles Joris-Peyrafitte)Special Jury Award – Breakthrough Performance Spa Night (Joe Seo)Special Jury Award – Individual PerformanceMorris from America (Craig Robinson)The Intervention (Melanie Lynskey)Waldo Salt Screenwriting AwardMorris From America (Chad Hartigan)Audience AwardThe Birth of a Nation (Nate Parker)Next Audience AwardFirst Girl I Loved (Kerem Sanga)
U.S. – DOCUMENTARYGrand Jury PrizeWeiner (Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman)Directing AwardLife, Animated (Roger Ross Williams)Special Jury Award for EditingNUTS! (Penny Lane, Thom Stylinski)Special Jury Award for Social Impact FilmmakingTrapped (Dawn Porter)Special Jury Award for WritingKate Plays Christine (Robert Greene)Special Jury Award for Vérité FilmmakingThe Bad Kids (Lou Pepe, Keith Fulton)Audience AwardJim: The James Foley Story (Brian Oakes)
Variety film critics Justin Chang, Peter Debruge, Guy Lodge, Geoff Berkshire and Dennis Harvey weighed in with their choices for the 21 best films that world-premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The full list follows (in alphabetical order):
1. “Agnus Dei.” Set in a Polish convent ravaged by Russian soldiers at the end of WWII, Anne Fontaine’s finest film in years explores every aspect of an unthinkable situation with tact, intelligence and fine-grained character detail. Beautifully acted by a strong female ensemble, especially the great Agata Kulesza (“Ida”), the film achieves a grace that transcends even its cloistered surroundings. (Justin Chang)
2. “Audrie & Daisy.” Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s documentary was among the festival’s most potent social-issue indictments, delving into two recent high-profile cases underline the high risk of sexual assault among American teens, as well as the “slut-shaming” culture that often exacerbates the trauma such crimes create. (Dennis »
- Variety Staff
Three years after making a splash among indie enthusiasts with his feature This is Martin Bonner, writer-director Chad Hartigan has brought another film to Sundance. But whereas the former was about an old man navigating the barren, grayscale landscape of Sparks, Nevada, Morris from America is aglow with lusty colors and youthful energy. The film centers on young Morris, played by newcomer Markees Christmas, and his difficulty adjusting to life as a black American boy in Heidelberg, Germany. Craig Robinson (of The Office fame) plays Morris’ father, Curtis. At Sundance, we sat down with Hartigan, Robinson, and Christmas to discuss the making of the film and the development of its characters.
The Film Stage: How did you find Markees for the project?
- Daniel Schindel
It may seem nuts to start handicapping next year’s Oscars race before this year’s ceremony has even aired, but Sundance has proven that it’s now a launching pad for awards season contenders.
After January 2014’s debut of “Boyhood” and January 2015’s premiere of “Brooklyn” (both at the Eccles Theater), Sundance may have doubled up and unveiled two best picture nominees in 2016. Those would be “Manchester By the Sea” and “The Birth of a Nation.”
Let’s start with the second title. Nate Parker’s retelling of the 1831 slave revolt led by Nat Turner is a one-man tour-de-force: starring Parker, directed by Parker, produced by Parker and written by the actor best known until now as the star of “Beyond the Lights.” “The Birth of a Nation” will change that. Not only did the historical epic receive the most prolonged standing ovation at this year’s Sundance, it »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Sundance Film Festival Awards Winners 2016 – The Birth Of A Nation
Well, Sundance has finally drawn to a close for another year and last night, the Sundance Film Festival Awards Winners were announced in Park City, Utah.
We’ve listed the Sundance Film Festival Awards Winners below, including an official synopsis supplied by the organisers, but the clear winner and toast of the festival this year was Nate Parker’s The Birth Of A Nation, the film that was picked up for a record-breaking $17.5 million earlier on this week. ‘Birth Of A Nation’ scored The U.S. Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award.
Elsewhere, Asif Kapadia presented the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary to Sonita, a film about an 18-year-old who discovers that her family plans to sell her to an unknown husband for $9,000. The film also picked up Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary. The Audience Award: U.S. »
- Paul Heath
After the last week-plus of covering over 50 films, it’s now time for 2016 Sundance Film Festival to name their favorites. Tonight they’ve unveiled their wide range of winners, topped by Nate Parker‘s Nat Turner slave rebellion drama The Birth of a Nation and, in the documentary section, the political feature Weiner. With many of our other favorites, including Morris From America and Kate Plays Christine, picking up awards, it was another strong year for the festival.
Check out the full list of winners below (with a hat tip tip to Indiewire), including links to our reviews where available, and check back for more coverage all throughout the year for the films.
U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize: The Birth of a Nation
U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize: Weiner
U.S. Documentary Directing Award: Roger Ross Williams, »
- Jordan Raup
“The Birth of a Nation,” writer-director-star Nate Parker’s stirring drama about the life of Nat Turner and the slave rebellion he led in antebellum Virginia, won the grand jury prize and the audience award for American dramatic features at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday night. The film’s double-fisted victory sealed its standing as the sensation of the festival’s 2016 edition, following its record-shattering $17.5 million acquisition earlier in the week by Fox Searchlight.
This is the fourth year in a row that a single film has taken the top two prizes in the U.S. dramatic competition, following “Fruitvale Station” (2013), “Whiplash” (2014) and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” (2015). That general trend aside, many had anticipated precisely this outcome for “The Birth of a Nation,” whose rapturous reception on Monday seemed to chime with a number of issues affecting the culture in general and the film industry in particular. »
- Justin Chang
The story of a 13-year-old boy who moves to a new neighborhood and struggles to find his place, "Morris From America" hails from a familiar playbook. But the specifics of that scenario — Morris (extraordinary newcomer Markees Christmas) is African American, and he's living in Heidelberg, Germany — freshen up the formula. The dissonance of character and place in writer-director Chad Hartigan's followup to 2013's similarly low key "This is Martin Bonner" gives this otherwise straightforward, well-acted coming-of-age tale an added cultural weight. It's both sweetly understated and progressive. Read More: The 2016 Indiewire Sundance Bible: All the Reviews, Interviews and News Posted During The Festival From the moment Morris is seen in the opening shot, bobbing his head to a hip hop beat, Hartigan makes it clear whose perspective the movie will adopt. Sent to his room by his father Curtis (Craig Robinson, in his first genuine dramatic turn) for not liking. »
- Eric Kohn
Nate Parker’s directorial debut claimed the Us Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic and corresponding audience award at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, capping off a barnstorming week for the slave revolt drama.
Last week The Birth Of A Nation sparked a bidding frenzy that resulted in the biggest on-site deal in the festival’s history as Fox Searchlight paid $17.5m for worldwide rights.
Sonita, Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s film about a rapping Afghan teenager opposed to arranged marriage, earned similar double honours as it won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary and audience awards.
In other winners: »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
Welcome to Last Night on TV, our new daily column that looks back at what happened on television the night before. If we’re going to stay up all night and watch TV, we might as well talk about it the next morning. Last night on TV, The Flash twisted the dagger into the backs of everyone who is Team Patty; Christopher Campbell checks in on Agent Carter; Brooklyn Nine-Nine goes on a cruise with Craig Robinson; and New Girl survives just fine without Zooey Deschanel. The Flash is Always In a Hurry This week The Flash writers room continued to twist the knife on Team Patty. It wasn’t enough to have last week end with a big teary goodbye between Barry and Patty, this episode had several more. Though at least it seems like this will be the final blow in the Barry/Patty relationship. Let’s pour one out for Barry’s best chance »
- Neil Miller
A quick review of last night's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" coming up just as soon as I bring my own shuffleboard tang... While "The Cruise" didn't offer the deliriously stupid heights of Jake and Holt's misadventures with the mumps from last week, it was one of the season's most well-balanced episodes, with something to offer from all three storylines, the welcome return of Craig Robinson as Jake's arch-nemesis Doug Judy, and the promising introduction of Niecy Nash as Debbie, Holt's temperamental opposite of a sister. Robinson's annual appearances are always a highlight, because Doug's deep affection for Jake only tends to make our hero crazier for his inability to catch the guy. The cruise setting gave it a different feel from previous Pontiac Bandit stories — though I wish the show had made more use of Paul F. Tompkins as the captain — and hung a light on the ongoing compatibility issues for Jake »
- Alan Sepinwall
Some people look forward to Christmas; I look forward to Craig Robinson's Pontiac Bandit, who also comes but once a year. Doug Judy is an emissary from an alternate-universe Brooklyn Nine-Nine, in which the robbers are just as quirky and goofy as the cops. I know that's something the show can't afford — it's tough to maintain a stable of pricey guest stars — but it's still nice to pretend. It doesn't hurt that Robinson and Andy Samberg continue to play off each other brilliantly. To appropriate Judy's description of Jake and Amy's relationship: Robinson is smooth and lovable, Samberg is scrappy and lovable, and together, they're just lovable. This third installment moves the setting to a cruise ship (and doesn't neglect a reference to Speed 2: Cruise Control — "Great film!" says Judy. "Sandy B. in a sarong.") Unfortunately, that shorts out some of the tension of the first two »
- Allie Pape
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