Cannes Ends with…Awards — 3rd of 3

Cannes Ends with…Awards — 3rd of 3

The heightened security with machine gun armed soldiers and policemen constantly patrolling was intensified after the Manchester Massacre. With a pall over the festival, one minute of silence was observed for the 22 murdered and flags hung at half-mast. In addition to that, the sudden death at 57 of the Busan Film Festival deputy director Kim Ji-seok and that of the James Bond star Roger Moore brought the film world into a new perspective as we join the larger world to face the random indications of human mortality. High security vs. cinema as a sanctuary of freedom is highlighted this year like no other time that I can recall in my 31 years here.President of the jury, Pedro Almodovar

But life does go on, the jury judges, the stars get press attention on the red carpet and the rest of us continue to wait patiently in
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Sundance ’17: It’s a Wrap!

Sundance ’17: It’s a Wrap!
Sundance is over and the prizes are won. People have dispersed to their homes and the realities that await them there.

This was a Sundance like no other I can remember, and I have attended every single one since 1986! The cold was extreme; and the political engagement and disgust was extreme. Not only did we have the Inauguration the first day, but the Women’s March the second day had probably 6,000 people marching and on that day the first of many deplorable executive orders (this one against women of the world and their control over their own bodies) began flying off the desk of our current president, who has continued to issue at least one every day, each one more despicable than the previous. Politics and women took center stage.

Chelsea Handler leads the women’s march in Park City, Utah. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The Sundance slant
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Arthouse exhibitors criticise EU bonus scheme

  • ScreenDaily
Arthouse exhibitors criticise EU bonus scheme
Arthouse exhibitors from Poland to Venezuela have added their voices to the chorus of disapproval about Europa Cinemas’ new bonus payment scheme to promote partnerships between cinemas and online distribution platforms.

The International Confederation of Arthouse Cinemas (Cicae) has joined forces with the French Association of Art Cinemas Afcae, Germany’s Ag Kino - Gilde, and Italy’s Arthouse Exhibitors Federation Fice to express their concerns about Europa Cinemas “giving in to the massive demands by ‘Creative Europe’ in Brussels to do away with the release chronology for films”.

“The abandonment of release windows and the introduction of simultaneous releases in the cinemas and as VoD will result in an existential threat for many smaller cinemas with a European profile to their programming,” the associations explained.

“It will mainly affect cinemas in small towns and small countries where there isn’t sufficient or any public funding measures for cinemas.”

The arthouse cinemas argued that “no amount of funding
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Sundance Film Festival Journal Day 1: People Seen and Shorts

We arrived on Thursday on the Sundance Express Airliner. First seats in first class, all on an aisle row seat one behind the other: Rena Ronson of UTA (read Indiewire article on “making the grade at UTA” Here, Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road and Board of Directors Film Independent, Peter Schlessel of Focus Features, and in cabin class Tony Safford, Evp, of acquisitions at 20th Century Fox and his wife Julie. Arriving late, I missed the Sundance press conference. But you can read all about it and all of Day One on the Sundance blog Here. We were also too late to pick up our registration and so our Opening Night looked like it would begin with the annual Indiewire Chili party hosted by Rose McGowan, director of her directorial debut, the short, Dawn. But before braving the cold walk up the hill, we stopped in at the Yarrow Bar to check in on our flat mate Peggy Johnson, Executive Director of The Loft, Tucson’s non-profit, independent arthouse theater.

As always, the best part of our traveling on the film circuit is seeing old and dear friends: Laurie Ann Schag, VP of Independent Documentary Association whose Sundance node is Here , Susan Margolin, Cinedigm President in charge of Docurama and Special Acquisitions, Jillian Slonin missing her husband Larry Kardish, Senior Curator Emeritus of Film, The Museum of Modern Art, New York who was in India on the jury at the Pune International Film Festival, Telefilm Canada’s Sr. Advisor, Festivals and Industry Promotion, Brigitte Hubmann, excited about this years Arthouse Convergence and the possibility of streaming films on new platforms.

While there, we also saw Sony Pictures Classics’s Michael Barker and Dylan Leiner going tete a tete very intensely. They were the first to make a deal here, acquiring opening night film Whiplash U.S. rights (according to Toh, “reportedly for around $3 million, however after Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group had already picked up many foreign territories before the festival”.) Those territories are reported as Canada, Germany and Australia. Parlux has Hungary rights. Writer/ director Damien Chazelle’s prize winning short at last year’s Sundance came back with a feature length film of it this time produced by Jason Blum and financed by Bold Films, (Isa: Sierra Affinity) proving once again, Shorts are In The Air! Miles Teller plays a school drummer with potential who strives for perfection under the tutelage of a ruthless band conductor. This was a Sundance supported project which received 2013 Cinereach Project at Sundance Institute Grant, a Sundance Screenwriting Mentorship as well.

A propos of shorts and Sundance, the Somali pirate film, a U.S.-Somalia-Kenya coproduction, (Isa: Altitude Film, U.S. Producer Rep: Wme) Fishing Without Nets’ filmmakers met Vice Films at Sundance 2012 after they saw the short film, Fishing Without Nets, which led them to producing the feature version as Vice Films’ first fictional feature.

So Sundance is definitely the place for shorts. At the next day’s International Filmmakers Lunch we met another short filmmaker whose short Love, Love, Love about Russian female stereotypes is a must see. More in tomorrow’s Day 2 Sundance Journal.
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The Film Industry in Cannes - The Exhibitor

No discussion of the film industry is complete without talking to an exhibitor. As a filmmaker, it's imperative to get a viewpoint from the first place that a customer might be putting forth hard cash to see your film! Peggy Johnson, Executive Director of the nonprofit Loft Cinema, a mission-driven, independent art house in Tucson, Az offered me some thoughts on exhibition.

What brought you to Cannes?

We started going to Cannes in 2008, adding it to the three or four other festivals we attend annually. We go to Cannes to look for new films, to see what the new trends are, to check out what is going on in other countries, and to generally revel in the incredible diversity and quality of films in competition and in all the other concurrent competitions and the parallel programs.

How did you get started with the theater? What inspired you to get into exhibition?

My incentive to get into exhibition was the fact that the beloved art house in Tucson, The Loft Cinema, was put on the market and was facing demolition. A small group of us formed a nonprofit and managed to purchase the theatre on its 30th anniversary, and now we are about to celebrate 40 years. There were two major incentives: one, of course was the films, and the other was the fact that, without The Loft, we felt that Tucson would not be the same city we had chosen to live in back in 1975. We couldn’t imagine living in a city with only corporate chains offering standard Hollywood movies. We had grown to rely on The Loft and its wonderful, alternative films.

How's it going? What are you working on now?

It’s going great. We will celebrate The Loft’s 40th anniversary in November, which will also be the 10th anniversary of our purchase of the theatre. The community has embraced The Loft and the diverse and inclusive programming we offer - from foreign and Us independent feature films and documentaries and classics, to filmmaker guests, special events and community collaborations.

We are in a capital campaign at the moment, raising funds to add a third screen, renovate and update the existing facility, and add a larger lobby and more parking. The Loft will be green, a model of accessibility with state of the art digital projection and sound (we will continue our commitment to 35mm).

How have you managed to succeed in this tough sector?

I believe The Loft’s success is due to three major factors:

First, the creative staff at The Loft, our “brain trust”, comes up with an amazing, eclectic blend of programming every single week. Second, I believe the quality of specialty films is better than ever, with new exciting talent emerging every year. And third, the Tucson community loves our programming, including everyone from students, the 25-45 demographic, to children and senior citizens. We are constantly reaching new audiences, expanding our reach with new and innovative programming.

Do you feel as if there's a change in public opinion starting to drive people back to local independent theaters, similar to the "buy local" concept?

Yes, definitely. I think people are increasingly aware of the importance of buying local, and everyone recognizes The Loft as a grass-roots, locally-owned independent cinema. When you’re in The Loft, you know you’re in Tucson because it reflects the personality of the community. When you’re in the multiplex you could be anywhere as they all look exactly alike.

But even more important than the fact that we’re local is the quality of the programming, which is a refreshing alternative to the Hollywood product showing at the multi-plexes.

Any advice or anecdotes for filmmakers?

Keep taking chances, keep making bold choices and cinemas like The Loft will work hard to build an audience for your films. We honor the work of filmmakers who are not focus-grouping the edges off their films, and our patrons appreciate the opportunity to experience films that are not afraid to make them think.

Next up . . .The Festival

Written by Zack Coffman. Follow Zack's film marketing tips and adventures @choppertown on Twitter.
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Small Town Girl ‘Leaving Bliss’ for Hollywood to Have Optimistic, Rubbing Time

  • Tilzy.TV
What’s the deal with Bliss, Idaho, and why are we leaving it so soon? I think the answer is that there is no deal. According to Patience Owen, Leaving Bliss‘ main character (played by Shanna Micko), Bliss has a population of 275, “well 275 and 1/2. Peggy Johnson just had a baby girl!” The Wikipedia entry for Bliss (yes, it’s a real town) also show’s the population at 275. Someone’s been doing their homework! Directed by Steve Yager, this is your typical and often done small city girl leaves home to go and make it big as an actress in Hollywood story. From the website: “When Patience Owen leaves her home town of Bliss, Idaho to pursue her dream of being a Hollywood actor, her family is less than supportive, and what she finds in Los Angeles isn’t exactly what she had expected.” If it didn’t work for Joey,
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