11 items from 2016
The transition of Film Independent’s Los Angeles Film Festival continues. Geographically, the fest has moved away from downtown to multiple Arclight locations. Opening night in Hollywood, Ricardo de Montreuil’s coming-of-age East L.A. drama “Lowriders,” starring Demián Bichir and Theo Rossi as father and estranged ex-con son, signaled the fest’s mission: Provide a diverse program directed by rising filmmakers: among the 42 competition films, 87% are first-and-second-timers, 43% are women and 38% are people of color, while 90% of the 58 total festival films are world premieres.
Developed by Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, “Lowriders” (written by Cheo Hodari Coker, Joshua Beirne-Golden, Elgin James, and Justin Tipping), finally got made when the budget dropped—under Universal’s low-budget producing partner, Jason Blum—from $20 million to $5 million. The grittiness helps the scruffy, colorful movie, which Laff head Stephanie Allain loved for being “so Los Angeles, so culturally rich,” she told the Arclight crowd. “Made by filmmakers of color, ‘Lowriders’ embodies our mission.” (The film will go out under a Universal label that remains to be seen, per Blum.)
Since Allain took over in 2014, the festival has lost some of its key programming talent (David Ansen, Doug Jones, Maggie McKay); the sprawling program is now commandeered by film professor Roya Rastegar (Bryn Mawr College). Very much in charge is Laff’s high-powered director, studio-trained producer Allain (“Boyz ‘n the Hood,” “Hustle & Flow”), who has pulled her friend Elvis Mitchell into a role as year-round “curator,” which basically means hosting Q & As at Film Independent-programmed events at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
As Laff becomes more local, eclectic, multi-cultural, and interactive, the Laff seeks to occupy a niche and grow its audience via a more populist, less international festival.
Truth is, only a few top-ranked film festivals a year are must-attend destinations packed with high-end world premieres and star attendees. Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Venice, New York, and Telluride top the list. So there’s some logic to opting out of that competitive arena. Increasingly, fests like Tribeca and SXSW are pushing outside the area of indie film to create alluring events for audiences, from interactive transmedia showcases and TV series premieres to high-profile panels, Q & As, and “Master Classes.” So it makes sense to brand Laff with an identifiable niche.
Giving people awards and tributes is another route pursued by awards-friendly fests like Santa Barbara and Palm Springs, hence Saturday Laff will award “Selma” director Ava DuVernay as well as her distribution company Array Releasing (her own “Middle of Nowhere” plus “Ashes and Embers,” “Mississippi Damned,” “Kinyarwanda,” and “Restless City”) with the annual Spirit of Independence Award given to members of the independent film community who “advance the cause of independent film and champion creative freedom.” Last year, Array bought La Film Festival Us Fiction award-winner “Out of My Hand” for distribution, along with “Ayanda.”
Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station”) is the 2016 Festival’s Guest Director; he’s offering a master class on sound design for “Creed.” And Nate Parker hosted a screening of Sundance Oscar contender “Birth of a Nation.” This weekend also brings a panel of women cinematographers.
The question is whether Allain’s quest for diversity will coincide with choosing the best movies, ones that create buzz for must-see titles—so far, actress Amber Tamblyn’s directing debut, “Paint It Black,” debuting Friday night at Lacma, has earned the most advance word of mouth. Established fest circuit titles such as Roger Ross Williams’ autism doc “Life, Animated,” closing night border film “Desierto” from Jonás Cuarón (“Gravity”), starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Mike Birbliglia and Ira Glass’s latest collaboration, improv comedy “Don’t Think Twice,” starring Keegan-Michael Key, are all worth seeing.
But for many of the unknown titles unspooling this week, audiences and buyers will just have to check them out and spread the word, good or bad. Otherwise, they’ll disappear into the ether.
Here are Indiewire’s Laff picks so far.
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- Anne Thompson
Brace yourselves, Sons of Anarchy fans, because new details have been released on the spinoff series! It's been months since Kurt Sutter revealed plans for the show, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, FX has ordered a script for the spinoff, which is called Mayans Mc. Here's everything we know about the show so far: The same team is behind it. The Sons of Anarchy co-creators, Sutter and Elgin James, are developing the spinoff series together. It will have the "same spirit" as Sons of Anarchy. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mayans Mc has been described as "a dark, visceral family drama that takes a new look at the most American of icons, the 1 percent outlaw, this time, reflected through a Latino lens." The tone will be different. In a series of tweets last year, Sutter said, "Although the Mayan Project may intersect with Soa charters, it will be a very different show. »
- Laura Marie Meyers
FX has given an official script order to Kurt Sutter‘s planned “Sons of Anarchy” spinoff series, now titled “Mayans Mc” — but “Sons of Anarchy” isn’t the only series we think is worthy of a spinoff. Elgin James is joining Sutter as a co-creator on the series, which will focus on the Latino biker gang that often antagonized the Sons in the original FX series. James will write the script, with Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions producing. James and Sutter will produce as well. “I wanted to find a strong, unique Latino voice,” Sutter said of James joining the series. »
- Joe Otterson
FX Networks has officially begun script development on the long-rumored "Sons of Anarchy" spinoff "Mayans Mc".
Kurt Sutter and "Little Birds" helmer Elgin James co-created and produce the project described as a "dark, visceral family drama that takes a new look at the most American of icons, the 1% outlaw, this time reflected through a Latino lens." James will pen the pilot script.
The Mayans were pivotal recurring players on 'Sons' over the course of seven seasons which still stands as the highest-rated drama series in FX Networks' history.
Source: Variety »
- Garth Franklin
It's official! The long-rumored Sons of Anarchy spinoff is moving forward at FX. The show will be called Mayans Mc. And original Soa creator Kurt Sutter will be back as a producer, alongside co-creator of this new series Elgin James. James is writing the script.
FX Network has only just begun script development on the spinoff, according to Variety. Mayans Mc will be a dark and visceral family drama. It will focus on the American icons known as the 1% outlaw. Only this time, the stories will be filtered through a Latino lens. Says Sutter of bringing James into the mix to pen the pilot script.
"I wanted to find a strong, unique Latino voice. Because I didn't think a white guy from Jersey should be writing about Latin culture and traditions. Elgin is that voice."
The Mayans motorcycle gang was a key player in several Sons of Anarchy episodes during »
After seven gripping seasons on the small-screen, viewers bid farewell to the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club two years ago, as FX closed the book on its rip-roaring family drama with aplomb.
In those intervening years, mooted reports of a sequel or some form of spinoff began to gain serious traction, with fans chomping at the bit to learn any potential details regarding setting, characters and perhaps most important of all, which biker gang would anchor said continuation.
Answering most of those questions today, FX has officially nailed down plans for Mayans Mc, a Soa offshoot billed as a “dark, visceral family drama that takes a new look at the most American of icons, the 1% outlaw, this time, reflected through a Latino lens.”
- Michael Briers
FX can't get enough of those outlaw bikers. The network has officially put a Sons of Anarchy spin-off into script development, E! News has confirmed. With Soa creator Kurt Sutter at the helm, Mayans Mc will be what the network describes as "a dark, visceral family drama that takes a new look at the most American of icons, the 1% outlaw, this time, reflected through a Latino lens," following pivotal recurring Soa players, The Mayans. Tapped to write the pilot is Mayans Mc co-creator Elgin James. "I wanted to find a strong, unique Latino voice," Sutter said regarding his hiring of James. "Because I didn't think a white guy from Jersey should be writing about Latin culture »
FX has given an official script order to Kurt Sutter‘s planned “Sons of Anarchy” spinoff series, now titled “Mayans Mc,” TheWrap has confirmed. Elgin James is joining Sutter as a co-creator on the series, which will focus on the Latino biker gang that often antagonized the Sons in the original FX series. James will write the script, with Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions producing. James and Sutter will produce as well. “I wanted to find a strong, unique Latino voice,” Sutter said of James joining the series. “Because I didn’t think a white guy from Jersey should be writing about Latin. »
- Joe Otterson
FX Networks has officially begun script development on long-rumored “Sons of Anarchy” spinoff “Mayans MC,” a drama project co-created and produced by “Sons” creator Kurt Sutter and Elgin James. James will pen the pilot script, which is intended to be a “dark, visceral family drama that takes a new look at the most American of icons, the 1% outlaw, this time reflected through a Latino lens.”
“I wanted to find a strong, unique Latino voice,” said Sutter of James, “Because I didn’t think a white guy from Jersey should be writing about Latin culture and traditions. Elgin is that voice.”
The Mayans were pivotal recurring players on “Sons of Anarchy,” which ran for seven seasons and stands as the highest-rated drama series in FX Networks’ history. Sutter has a long history with the network, having began his television career as a staff writer on FX drama “The Shield,” eventually rising »
- Laura Prudom
FX Networks has begun formal script development on the long-rumored Mayans spinoff series from Kurt Sutter’s hit biker drama Sons of Anarchy. The offshoot, titled Mayans Mc, will be co-created by Sutter and Elgin James (Little Birds), with James writing the pilot script and both producing. Soa studios Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions are back for Mayans Mc. In the spirit of Sons of Anarchy, Mayans Mc will be a dark, visceral family drama that takes a new look… »
FX is revving up its Mayans-centric Sons of Anarchy spinoff.
The cabler announced Wednesday that Soa creator Kurt Sutter has handpicked up-and-coming writer Elgin James to pen the pilot for the potential series, which has been titled Mayans Mc. Sutter will be credited as a co-creator alongside James.
FX, meanwhile, calls Mayans Mc “a dark, visceral family drama that takes a new look at the most American of icons, the 1% outlaw, this time, reflected through a Latino lens.”
On his decision to hire James, »
11 items from 2016
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