8 items from 2016
With tensions spreading across the Arab world, in particular in the Middle East and Southwestern Asia throughout 2016, Morocco proved, more than ever, the go-to destination for foreign filmmakers.
Indeed, Morocco managed to draw a large volume of foreign films and series, including many high-profile U.S. productions in 2016, in spite of the fact that the much-anticipated tax incentive failed to kick in at the start of the year.
Among the biggest productions that chose Morocco were Brad Anderson’s “High Wire Act” with Rosamund Pike and Jon Hamm, Alexandre Moors’s “The Yellow Birds” with Jennifer Aniston, Per Fly’s “Backstabbing For Beginners” with Ben Kingsley, Jason Hall’s “Thank You for Your Services” with Amy Schumer, as well as the trailers for “The Mummy” and “Allied,” and episodes of “Prison Break,””The Missing,””Viking” and “Homeland.”
- Elsa Keslassy
Since film-loving King Mohamed VI ascended to the throne in 1999, Moroccan cinema has received significant state support – enabling the country to spawn one of the most dynamic national film industries in the Arab world, with significant international festival presence and a regular number of domestic hits.
However, in 2016, against the backdrop of a sliding box-office, the national film industry has clocked up fewer local successes than in recent years.
Admissions until September, 2016, at 982,648 tickets sold, are 28% lower than the same period in 2015, and considering the third quarter alone, entries have virtually halved between 2015 and 2016. The admissions slide has been driven in part by continued closure of the few remaining cinemas in Morocco, and also by a lower number of popular local films that have attracted audiences to local screens.
This year’s biggest local hit, with 105,764 admissions, is a local black comedy about the film business, “Dallas” by Mohamed Ali El Majboud. »
- Martin Dale
Entering its 33rd year, Sundance Film Festival has unveiled its official competition and Next line-ups for the 2017 edition of the festival. At first glance, initial highlights include Alex Ross Perry’s Queen of Earth follow-up Golden Exits and two David Lowery projects (his small-budget A Ghost Story starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara as well as The Yellow Birds, which he co-wrote).
There’s also Beach Rats, the latest film from It Felt Like Love director Eliza Hittman, Obvious Child director Gillian Robespierre‘s Landline, and Blue Ruin and Green Room star Macon Blair‘s directorial debut I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore.
Check out the line-up below and images as they become available.
U.S. Dramatic Competition
The 16 films in this section are all world premieres.
“Band Aid” (Director and screenwriter: Zoe Lister-Jones) — A couple who can’t stop fighting embark on a last-ditch effort »
- Leonard Pearce
It’s never easy for even established filmmakers to get into the Sundance Film Festival, but word is this year was even more competitive than usual. Judging by the selections announced by the Sundance Institute in the U.S. Dramatic, World Dramatic, U.S. Documentary, World Documentary and Next categories for the 2017 edition of the festival, that doesn’t seem like an industry exaggeration.
Intriguing titles in the U.S. Dramatic competition include “Ingrid Goes West” with Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen (the photo accompanying this article) the hazing drama “Burning Sands” with Trevante Rhodes (the second hazing movie in two years after “Goat” last year), Alex Ross Perry’s “Golden Exits” with Emily Browning and Mary-Louise Parker (Perry’s “Listen Up Phillip” debuted at Sundance in 2014), Michael Larnell’s “Roxanne Roxanne” with Mahershala Ali and Nia Long, Marti Noxon’s “To the Bone” with Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves, »
- Gregory Ellwood
British director Johannes Roberts is re-teaming with production and finance outfit The Fyzz Facility for coming-of-age drama “Hearts,” an adaptation of Stephen King’s critically acclaimed novella “Hearts in Atlantis.”
Set in 1966, “Hearts” is a bittersweet coming-of-age story about a group of college boys and their first time away from home, their obsession and self-destruction, and what it means to be an adult in a world where, in the face of a devastating war no one understands, adults can no longer be trusted.
Roberts adapted the story with his regular writing partner, Ernest Riera. The pair has recently come off of horror film “The Other Side Of The Door,” starring Sarah Wayne Callies and released worldwide by 20th Century Fox, and shark thriller “47 Meters Down,” starring Mandy Moore, which marked Roberts’ first collaboration with The Fyzz Facility. “47 Meters Down”is scheduled for U.S. release through Entertainment Freestyle in 2017.
“As a teenager, »
- Robert Mitchell
If you’ve been living under a rock all day then you might have missed the news earlier, that the forthcoming Han Solo spin-off has found its new Han Solo: Alden Ehrenreich.
Whilst there are probably a small handful of you guys out there who may recognise the actor’s name as the scene-stealer and standout from the Coen Brothers’ brilliant Hail, Caesar! earlier this year, it wouldn’t surprise me if the name got a lot of people scratching their heads. Now, for those that fall under the latter umbrella, there’s no need to worry about just who our new Han Solo is because we’re going to answer that question.
The 26-year-old actor’s name had been in the running for the role for quite some time and a couple of months ago, it was reported that he seemed like the frontrunner from finalists Taron Egerton and Jack Reynor, »
- Awais Irfan
Chris Gerolmo will adapt the book of the same name written by New York Times columnist Joe Sharkey. “Above Suspicion” is the chilling true story of a newly married FBI poster boy assigned to an Appalachian mountain town in Kentucky. There he is drawn into an illicit affair with an impoverished local woman who becomes his star informant. She sees in him her means of escape; instead, it’s a ticket to disaster for both of them. This scandal shook the foundations of the nation’s top law enforcement agency, ending in the first ever conviction of an FBI agent for murder.
The film will be produced by Colleen Camp for Colleen Camp Productions, and produced and financed by Mohamed AlRafi and Tim Degraye. Also producing are Emmy-nominated writer Angela Amato-Velez and Amy Adelson. »
- Justin Kroll
Olivia Crocicchia (Palo Alto) has scored a role in The Yellow Birds for director Alexandre Moors and Cinelou Films. The story follows two young soldiers (Alden Ehrenreich and Tye Sheridan) who become friends in boot camp and vow to take care of each other. But it becomes increasingly difficult in wartime, and then the unthinkable happens. Crocicchia plays Tess, the ex-girlfriend of Ehrenreich’s character. Toni Collette, Jason Patric, Jennifer Aniston and Jack Huston… »
8 items from 2016
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