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If the Sundance Film Festival has always been the place to discover tomorrow’s biggest stars in front of and behind the camera during the past 30 years, it seems to have become even more fruitful in recent years. From young filmmakers like Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), and Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Mud) to ready-to-launch superstars like Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) and Dane DeHaan (Kill Your Darlings), Hollywood has quickly found its future in the snowy peaks of Park City. “One of the biggest changes in the last 30 years is how independent film »
- Jeff Labrecque
This year is the 20th anniversary of the Slamdance Film Festival. For those who don’t know about Slamdance, it runs during the same time as the Sundance Film Festival, and all of the films are true indies. Sundance has its fair share, but you won’t see any famous actors in a Slamdance movie. However, you could see the debut work from an up-and-coming director. Slamdance alums include Christopher Nolan (Following), Marc Forster (Loungers), Jared Hess (Peluca), Lena Dunham (Dealing), Benh Zeitlin (Egg), and Lynn Shelton (We Go Way Back). If I had time to swing by Slamdance, I would because while it’s definitely a crapshoot, you could end up seeing something entirely unexpected and worth championing. Hit the jump for a list of films playing in competition at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival, which runs from January 17th – 23rd in Park City, Utah at the Treasure Mountain Inn. »
- Matt Goldberg
The Slamdance Film Festival, launched two decades ago as an alternative to Sundance, has unveiled 18 titles for its narrative and documentary feature film competition programs.
The lineup — which includes 11 world premieres, four North American premieres, and one U.S. premiere — was selected from more than 5,000 submissions. All competition films are feature film directorial debuts with budgets of less than $1 million and without U.S. distribution.
The 20th iteration of the festival will take place Jan. 17-23 in Park City, Utah at the Treasure Mountain Inn.
The fest has included showings of such notable titles as Oren Peli’s “Paranormal Actvity,” Marilyn Argrelo’s “Mad Hot Ballroom” and Seth Gordon’s “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.” Slamdance alumni include Christopher Nolan, Marc Forster, Jared Hess, Lena Dunham, Benh Zeitlin and Lynn Shelton.
- Dave McNary
Variety has chosen its 10 Directors to Watch for 2013.
At a time when many have criticized the entertainment industry for the absence of female directors, it’s worth noting that five of the 11 directors on the list (one entry consists of a pair) are women.
Amma Asante (“Belle”) Clio Barnard (“The Selfish Giant”) Anthony Chen (“Ilo Ilo“) Paul Duane (“Very Extremely Dangerous.” “Natan”) Ben Falcone (“Tammy”) Maya Forbes (“Infinitely Polar Bear”) Aron Gaudet & Gita Pullapilly (“Beneath the Harvest Sky”) Dome Karukoski (“Heart of a Lion”) Justin Simien (“Dear White People”) Gren Wells (“The Road Within”)
Variety will also recognize John Lee Hancock (“Saving Mr. Banks.”) with the Creative Impact in Directing award and actor Jonah Hill (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) with the Creative Impact in Acting Award.
The Dec. 17 issue of Variety will include profiles of the directors and Creative Impact honorees, who will also be honored at a brunch on Jan. »
- Variety Staff
While prognosticators like to think they can predict the awards season race weeks and even months away from when the dust settles, there is always a surprise or two that no one would have seen coming. (For example, who would've thought Benh Zeitlin would get a Best Director nomination over Ben Affleck last year?) And so, A24 is hoping a bit of hustling can do some wonders for James Franco. Certainly, the buzz around Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers" is getting revived a bit thanks to appearances on best of the year lists by Cahiers Du Cinema and John Waters, and so a brand new sizzle reel of sorts has been created to remind voters about Alien. And more specifically, Franco's complete transformation in that role of the blinged out dealer in Florida who collides with four girls on spring break with surreal and hedonistic results. Would you vote for Franco? »
- Kevin Jagernauth
“12 Years a Slave” and “Nebraska” may have earned the most nominations for the Indie Spirit Awards, but the biggest beneficiaries could be films including “All is Lost” (pictured), “Blue Jasmine,” “Before Midnight,” “Enough Said,” “Fruitvale Station” and “Mud.”
“Slave” and “Nebraska” were already high on the radar of voters for other awards, notably Oscars, and deservedly so. But multiple noms for “All is Lost” and “Blue Jasmine” (four and three, respectively) serve as a reminder that these are not just one-man vehicles for stars Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett.
“Fruitvale Station” and “Short Term 12” earned three noms apiece, which boosts the profiles of these “little” films. Also earning three was “Inside Llewyn Davis” from the Coen brothers, but any offering from that Oscar-winning team is a must-see for Academy voters; “Fruitvale” and “Short Term,” which each have fervid supporters, are now must-sees as well.
The Indie Spirits are not reliable bellwethers of Oscar. »
- Tim Gray
We are covering topics far and wide today with Oscar talk, new DVDs and Blu-rays and the sequelization of today's movies. Plus Laremy saw Ender's Game, The Way, Way Back and The Internship so we talk some more about those plus we get to your questions and voicemails, play some games and pretty much discuss whatever comes to mind. If you are on Twitter, we have a Twitter account dedicated to the podcast at @bnlpod. Give us a follow won'tchac I want to remind you that you can call in and leave us your comments, thoughts, questions, etc. directly on our Google Voice account, which you can call and leave a message for us at (925) 526-5763, which may be even easier to remember at (925) 5-bnl-pod. Just call, leave us a voice mail and we'll add those to the show and respond directly. An alternative to that option is a new »
- Brad Brevet
As an auteurist, Best Director, maybe even more than Best Picture, is the Oscar category that most fascinates me. The interesting thing about the category is that it tends to simultaneously be both a point of pride and shame for the Academy Awards. On the one hand, the Directors branch has done a decent job of nominating directors who push and expand the boundaries of cinema, regardless of the genre they work in and from whichever country they hail from. Directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Federico Fellini, Stanley Kubrick, Ingmar Bergman, John Cassavetes, Francois Truffaut, David Lynch, Akira Kurosawa, and Spike Jonze have all seen recognition in this category (some multiple times) for films that received very little attention from any other branches of the Academy.
On the other hand, when it comes to actually crowning a Best Director (which is a job given to the Academy as a whole, »
- Christopher Lominac
The San Francisco Film Society (Sffs) in partnership with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation (Krf) announced nine narrative projects that will receive a total of $425,000 in funding.
The Film Society’s flagship Sffs / Krf Filmmaking Grants are awarded twice annually to filmmakers for narrative feature films that will have significant economic or professional impact on the Bay Area filmmaking community.
The nine film-making teams were granted the funding to help with their next stage of production, from screenwriting to post.
“These will be exceptional films, and we are honored to have a part in bringing them into being,” the jury noted in a statement. “Each of these projects explores a unique and authentic world and presents compelling characters that we want to see on the screen.”
Nick Kroll, star of Comedy Central’s Kroll Show and FX’s The League, will host the Gotham Independent Film Awards on Dec. 2 in New York. “I cannot wait to host the Gotham Awards as I’ve always wanted to meet Batman in person,” Kroll said in a statement. “This is just one example of the soon-to-be classic jokes I will bring to this celebrated event. Seriously, it’s an honor to be asked by Ifp.”
The Gotham Awards are one of the season’s first major stops, with indies competing for top honors. Last year, Wes Anderson’s Moonlight »
- Jeff Labrecque
By Mark Pinkert
In a recent interview with A.O. Scott of the New York Times, Joel and Ethan Coen admitted they first auditioned only “real musicians” for the part of the eponymous 1960s folk singer in their latest film, Inside Llewyn Davis (CBS Films). The role was to be heavily performance-based, so casting a proven guitarist/singer seemed only logical.
The Coens realized quickly, though, that it would be difficult to marshal an inexperienced actor through an entire movie, regardless of his musical proficiency, telling one outlet: “It’s often possible — sometimes it’s even easy — to get somebody like that through a scene or two scenes or three scenes or whatever, and it’s great, it’s fine. But this character’s literally in every scene in the movie, so we realized we were going the wrong direction, and we just started seeing actors who could play, as »
- Mark Pinkert
The World Soundtrack Academy has revealed the winners of the World Soundtrack Awards 2013, the closing event of the 40th Film Fest Gent.
The Public Choice Award went to Rahman Altin for The Butterfly’s Dream (Kelebeğin Rüyası).
The Slamdance Film Festival, launched as an alternative to Sundance, is touting its Do-It-Yourself roots for the 2014 fest on Jan. 17-23.
The fest — which has included showings of such notable titles as Oren Peli’s “Paranormal Actvity” — will celebrate its 20th anniversary with the world premiere of Slamdance documentary “Diy,” directed by Slamdance President and Co-Founder Peter Baxter and Slamdance veterans Ben Hethcoat and Eric Ekman.
Besides Peli, the best-known Slamdance alumni include Christopher Nolan, Marc Forster, Jared Hess, Lena Dunham, Benh Zeitlin, Seth Gordon and Lynn Shelton. Significant titles that debuted at Slamdance include “Mad Hot Ballroom” and Gordon’s “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.”
The Slamdance feature competition is limited to films made with budgets under $1 million and made by first-time directors.
“From humble beginnings we all shared one thing in common: a Do-It-Yourself filmmaking spirit which, along with self-governance, has allowed the Slamdance community to grow, »
- Dave McNary
Known for it’s love of lists iTunes have recently devised a list of the cream of the indie film director crop. Imaginatively entitled ‘Directors To Watch‘ the list can be find within the sites ‘iTunes Essentials: Independent Films‘ section. We love a good indie film and sharing them to a wider audience, so we thought we’d led you subtly in the same direction, no pun intended. Here’s the list in the order they feature in iTunes, accompanied by the film that got them on the list:
5. Cary Fukunaga – Si Nombre
As you can see none of the names are »
- Kat Smith
Indie film fans will, no doubt, already be familiar with the majority of these directors (they're not exactly undiscovered gems), but it's still worth taking a look at the iTunes store's selection of "Directors to Watch," which is part of their list of "iTunes Essentials: Independent Films." Here is the list of "Directors to Watch" along with the films which warranted their inclusion: 1, Benh Zeitlin ("Beasts of the Southern Wild") 2. Derek Cianfrance ("Blue Valentine") 3. Sofia Coppola ("Lost in Translation") 4. Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass ("Cyrus") 5. Cary Fukunaga ("Si Nombre") 6. Lena Dunham ("Tiny Furniture") 7. Noah Baumbach ("The Squid and the Whale") 8. Rian Johnson ("Brick") 9. Miranda July ("Me and You and Everyone We Know") 10. Ramin Bahrani ("Goodbye Solo") What do you think of their list? Who did they leave off of it? »
- Paula Bernstein
The San Francisco Film Society and Kenneth Rainin Foundation have selected 14 finalists for the latest round of Sffs/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grants.More than $300,000 will be awarded to one or more narrative feature films at any stage of production. List of finalists below. The Sffs/Krf Filmmaking Grants are awarded twice annually.Winners of the fall 2013 Grant will be announced in late October. Previous Grant-winning feature films include Destin Cretton's currently released "Short Term 12" (Cretton has another film in this round of finalists), Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station" and Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Note: at the request of the filmmakers, one finalist project has been omitted from this announcement.FINALISTSDoctor — Musa Syeed, director/producer/writer; Nicholas Bruckman, coproducer — screenwritingSalim, a disgraced young doctor from India, will do anything to rebuild his former life. But when he starts practicing medicine illegally in New »
- Beth Hanna
Ja from Mnpp here - have y'all seen The New York Times' list of 20 Young Directors To Watch? I only stumbled upon it with the news that Beasts of the Southern Wild director Benh Zeitlin tells them what his next movie's going to be about therein, and seeing as how I'm not a Beasts of the Southern Wild fan that was a strange way for me to come upon it, especially when there are names therein I'm much more interested in.
My personal favorite picks of theirs would be Sarah Polley (who I fell in love with in The Sweet Hereafter and then really fell in love with, like squared, in Go, and then you just keep on multiplying that love every single time she does anything - I think me and her and our love affair are pretty much at infinity about now here in the wake of Stories We Tell »
Oscar-nominated director Benh Zeitlin to remain in fantasy territory with an unconventional love story
• Watch a clip from the film
His debut film, the environmental fantasy Beasts of the Southern Wild, wowed critics and picked up four Oscar nominations with its offbeat, freeform vision of a young girl's fight for survival down on the flood-threatened Louisiana bayou. Now Benh Zeitlin has revealed the synopsis for his next film, and there's no sign of a segue into bland orthodoxy.
Speaking to the New York Times, Zeitlin said the new movie would be about a young girl "who gets kidnapped on to a hidden ecosystem, where a tribal war is raging over a form of pollen that breaks the relationship between ageing and time".
He added: "It follows a friendship-love story-adventure of her and a joyous, reckless, pleasure-mongering young boy as they swirl »
- Ben Child
It was just about a year ago, while still basking in the spotlight of his acclaimed directorial debut that Beasts of the Southern Wild director, and New Orleans resident, Benh Zeitlin, revealed in an interview that he had already begun work on his follow-up film, which he said would also likely be set in New Orleans, where Zeitlin's Court 13 film production company calls home. Further, Zeitlin shared at the time, that he planned on using the same production team for his second film that he used on Beasts, And, of most interest, that he wanted to, once again, cast Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry in the new project - both who made »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Speaking with The New York Times, Zeitlin says: "The new film is about a young girl who gets kidnapped onto a hidden ecosystem where a tribal war is raging over a form of pollen that breaks the relationship between aging and time."
He goes on to say a young girl is again the central focus, and: "It follows a friendship-love story-adventure of her and a joyous, reckless, pleasure-mongering young boy as they swirl in and out of youth and as the ecosystem around them spirals toward destruction."
While he and his crew is hard at work on developing the film, there aren't any dates yet set. »
- Garth Franklin
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