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Rex Ranch Takes Inspiration from Sundance with Grand Plans for Non-Profit Arts Institute

6 December 2013 8:17 AM, PST

Rex Ranch, a historic 50-acre property developed in the Sonoran desert of Arizona in the 1880s and vacant since 2012, has grand plans to become the next non-profit cultural arts institution -- with residencies, workshops and public programs -- if it can raise enough money. Save Rex Ranch, a new nonprofit organization, has formed in order to raise money online through crowd funding to purchase the property and turn it into a world-class institute. "We're trying for the greatest comeback since Lazarus," said Joseph Beyer, who is Volunteer Director of the project and also works for the Sundance Institute (which is not affiliated with this project). The project also boasts an impressive board of creative advisers (or as the web site calls them "cool people involved.") The plan is for Rex Ranch to be an inter-disciplinary creative breeding ground for artists, thinkers, designers and scientists. "Rex Ranch can become a Southwest mecca for creative leaders, »


- Paula Bernstein

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In Memory of Nelson Mandela, Watch These Films About the South African Revolutionary For Free On SnagFilms

6 December 2013 8:16 AM, PST

It's indisputable that Nelson Mandela, whose death was announced yesterday, will continue to live on through his ideals and the countless lives he inspired. But his legacy will also endure thanks to the cinematic medium, with the biopic "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" having just been released in theaters. To honor the former South African president and anti-apartheid revolutionary, we have put together a list of films about Mandela that are free to watch on SnagFilms. [SnagFilms is Indiewire's parent company.] List below (synopses courtesy of SnagFilms): "Nelson Mandela: Free At Last" This 80 minute documentary is the definitive primer on Nelson Mandela's struggle against Apartheid, with rare footage, interviews with principal players, and the first speech Mandela gave upon his release from prison. PBS national broadcast and Jci home video release. "Meeting Mandela: A Staying Alive Special" Hosted by Beyonce Knowles, the documentary brings four young people to South Africa to »


- Clint Holloway

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Critic's Picks: The 8 Most Underappreciated Supporting Actors (and Characters!) on TV

6 December 2013 8:08 AM, PST

We're kicking off our look back at the year in television by taking some time to salute some of its unsung (or at least less appreciated) heroes, the characters who've stolen the spotlight or emerged as far more compelling than anyone might have guessed from their starts. After all, reams have been written about the greatness of Bryan Cranston's Walter White, but no hero or anti-hero stands alone. Here are eight supporting turns worthy of extra praise. Annet Mahendru as Nina, "The Americans" She doesn't get to wear wigs or beat people to a pulp like Elizabeth (Keri Russell) or Phil (Matthew Rhys), but Nina's journey into double or triple agency was one of the most interesting and unpredictable storylines in the excellent first season of FX's 1980s espionage drama. Mahendru was able to deftly turn Nina from manipulated to manipulator, taking a character who started as a low-level »


- Alison Willmore

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5 Tips from Master Cinematographer Gordon Willis

6 December 2013 7:30 AM, PST

We've recently discovered Craft Truck, a wonderful resource for behind-the-scenes information about filmmaking. Jeff at Craft Truck interviewed master cinematographer Gordon Willis, who has worked with Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola,, Alan J. Pakula and other great directors. Craft Truck has given us permission to republish it here. You can read Willis' tips below: 1. Cut the Hyperbole.  Before the interview began Gordon said, "Our job isn’t to recreate reality, our job is to represent reality." He was saying that no matter how you slice it, photography is art. There isn't a hierarchy of realism because that doesn't even exist. The question is how do you use the tools available to tell a story? Sounds basic enough but he never used the word "naturalism." Not once. Later on he stated, "I just think about….what I want it to look like." He also used "good" and "bad" a lot to describe things. »


- Indiewire

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Why the Poignant, Fascinating 'Lenny Cooke' Is Not Your Typical Sports Doc

6 December 2013 7:22 AM, PST

New York filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie are known for their irreverent urban narratives "The Pleasure of Being Robbed" and "Daddy Longlegs," both of which contain a naturalistic quality that suggests they could work wonders with non-fiction. With "Lenny Cooke," they've done just that: Partly a found footage documentary about former high school basketball star Lenny Cooke, who in 2001 ranked highest in the country, the movie follows Cooke from his promising teen years through the series of disappointments that follow, constructing a beguiling American tragedy that defies genre categorization and eventually veers into magic realism even as it remains tethered to a true story. The Safdies have stood out over the last few years for continually challenging audience expectations even while seeming to adhere to conventional storytelling traditions, and that's certainly true here: You've never seen a sports movie like this before. Early on, it's clear that the Safdies find their subject. »


- Eric Kohn

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Here Are Seven Directing Lessons From 'The Immigrant' Filmmaker James Gray

6 December 2013 7:17 AM, PST

James Gray began his Marrakech Film Festival Master Class with a self-deprecatory warning to everyone in attendance at the Salles des Ambassadeurs at the Palais de Congress, including moderator Scott Foundas. "I don't think I have anything to say," he claimed, before embarking on an earnest, entertaining, and ebullient 110-minute disquisition on everything from his own films to 'Raging Bull,' and from the importance of making films personal to taking it personally when peers don't like your films. Though his films shade, by his own admission, toward dark themes and hard truths, in person Gray is voluble and loquacious, playing both the cut up (he offered impressions of Joaquin Phoenix, Francis Ford Coppola, and Al Pacino, among others), and the outer borough sod ("my whole life was fairly miserable" he said of growing up in Queens). The following are excerpts from the session. 1) Make it personal, and be sincere. »


- Eric Hynes

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Watch: A Woman Gets Invited to a Kinky Housewarming Party in Exclusive 'White Reindeer' Scene

6 December 2013 7:12 AM, PST

With Zach Clarke's "White Reindeer" opening in select theaters today (it's also available on VOD), Indiewire is pleased to exclusively premiere a scene from the dark comedy. This tale of an unexpected tragedy around the holiday season centers on a housewife struggling to put her life back together. In his glowing review out of SXSW, where the film world premiered earlier this year, Indiewire's Eric Kohn wrote that Clarke "delivers a solemn twist on the holiday movie formula that simultaneously inhabits the genre and turns it inside out." Watch the scene, featuring indie staple Joe Swanberg as a mysterious neighbor, below: »


- Nigel M Smith

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The Coen Brothers, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake Go Behind-the-Scenes of 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

6 December 2013 7:03 AM, PST

[Editor's Note: This feature originally ran during the 2013 Cannes Film Festival where "Inside Llewyn Davis" world premiered and won the Grand Prix award. It opens today in select theaters.] Greeted with a lot of big laughs and extended applause at its first Cannes press screening last night, Joel and Ethan Coen's latest love letter to music "Inside Llewyn Davis" did not disappoint. (Our own Eric Kohn went so far as to say "it isn't the minor Coen Bros. movie it looks like.") "Inside Llewyn Davis" substitutes the bluegrass music found in "O. Brother Where Art Thou" for folk music to tell a similar "Odyssey"-like tale of a musician struggling to get by through life as an artist. Taking place over the course of several days, Oscar Isaac (in a breakthrough performance sure to garner him awards-buzz once the film lands stateside) stars as the titular singer-songwriter, while Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake and a scene-stealing John Goodman round out the colorful supporting cast of. »


- Nigel M Smith

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Watch: Errol Morris Explains to Indiewire Why Donald Rumsfeld Was the 'Strangest Interview' He's Ever Done

6 December 2013 7:03 AM, PST

After completing his latest documentary feature, Errol Morris professed that the film captured "the strangest interview I’ve ever done." And for Morris, the man famous for the invention of his interviewing machine aptly coined The Interrotron, this conversation with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is just one of thousands he’s conducted over the course of his filmmaking career. So to refer to it as "the strangest" is certainly saying something. After developing a personal fascination with Rumsfeld's "snowflakes"—the enormous mountain of memos he composed during his almost fifty years of public service—Morris asked Rumsfeld to read and explain these memos for his cameras. When he sat down with Rumsfeld to interview him for what would become "The Unknown Known," Morris was interested in digging deeper into the unfamiliar territory that is Rumsfeld’s mind. What he found there was not a substantive accumulation of evil. »


- Katharine Relth

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Watch the Trailer for Joseph Gordon-Levitt's 'HitRecord on TV,' Set to Debut at Sundance and on Pivot in January

6 December 2013 6:58 AM, PST

Joseph Gordon-Levitt will debut his new television show "HitRecord on TV" at Sundance this year. The first three episodes of the reimagined variety show will premiere in the New Frontier sidebar, where Gordon-Levitt has previously screened work from HitRecord, the crowdsourced multimedia production company he founded. This marks a second incursion of TV into the festival, after Jane Campion's miniseries "Top of the Lake" played last year.  "HitRecord on TV" will play Sundance on January 17th and will premiere on Pivot, the cable network launched by Participant Media earlier this year, on January 18th with two back-to-back episodes. The season consists of eight episodes overall. "I can't think of a better way to celebrate the premiere of 'HitRecord on TV' than by a screening at Sundance -- a place that means a great deal to me personally," said Gordon-Levitt. "We launched hitRECord as a production company at Sundance back »


- Alison Willmore

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Harvey Weinstein and Idris Elba React to Nelson Mandela's Passing

5 December 2013 3:11 PM, PST

The news broke this afternoon that Nelson Mandela, the South African revolutionary, anti-apartheid icon and former President of South Africa, passed away at age 95. He'll be mourned the world over, including in the film industry, where the biopic "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" has been one of the Weinstein Company's major fall releases, with Idris Elba playing Nelson Mandela and Naomie Harris as Winnie Madikizela. Indiewire's review of the film can be found here. Harvey Weinstein released the following statement about Mandela's death: One of the privileges of making movies is having the opportunity to immortalize those who have made a profound impact on humanity. We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela’s story and legacy. It’s been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history’s greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice. »


- Indiewire

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Academy Announces Special Effects Shortlist, Does Not Yet Name 'Gravity' Winner

5 December 2013 2:46 PM, PST

Today, the Academy announced the ten films that will vie for the Special Effects Oscar.  The films will be pared down to the nominees after the visual effects branch gets together to evaluate the effects all at once in a special event in January.  While "The Lone Ranger" and "World War Z" are surprises, one notable absence is "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."   Nominations will be announced January 16. The visual effects shortlist, in alphabetical order: "Elysium" "Gravity" "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" "Iron Man 3" "The Lone Ranger" "Oblivion" "Star Trek Into Darkness" "Thor: The Dark World: "Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures Pacific Rim" "World War Z" »


- Indiewire

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Sundance 2014 Reveals Spotlight, Park City at Midnight and New Frontier Lineups

5 December 2013 1:15 PM, PST

A day after unveiling the films in competition, the Sundance Institute today announced the films playing in the Spotlight, Park City at Midnight, New Frontier and Sundance Kids sections of the event. This year's Spotlight lineup includes Jim Jarmusch's beloved "Only Lovers Left Alive," the acclaimed French thriller "Stranger by the Lake" and Jeremy Saulnier's Cannes-winning "Blue Ruin." Highlights in the New Frontiers section include Sundance regular Joseph Gordon-Levtitt's latest online video experiment "Hit Record On TV," and "The Better Angels" starring Brit Marling and Jason Clarke. Below are links to all the announced films. Premieres and Documentary Premieres section announcements are coming soon.2014 Competition Lineup:u.S Dramatic CompetitionU.S. Documentary CompetitionWorld Dramatic CompetitionWorld Documentary Competition Next<=>2014 Out of Competition:New Frontier FilmsPark City at MidnightSpotlightSundance Kids »


- Indiewire

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Syfy Greenlights 'Dominion,' a Post-Apocalyptic Drama Based on the Movie 'Legion'

5 December 2013 1:03 PM, PST

Syfy has officially greenlit the sci-fi supernatural drama "Dominion," based on characters from Scott Stewart's 2010 film "Legion," which starred Paul Bettany as a fallen archangel trying to protect the savior of mankind from a heavenly host sent to kill him. "Dominion" is set in the year 25 A.E. in a post-apocalyptic struggle for survival between the archangel Gabriel and his army of angels on one side, and the humankind-siding archangel Michael on the other. To make matters worse, following a devastating 25-year long battle, human beings have been confined to city fortifications under the violent stress of shifting political alliances. "Dominion" stars Christopher Egan ("Kings"), Tom Wisdom ("300"), Roxanne McKee ("Game of Thrones"), Alan Dale ("Lost"), Anthony Stewart Head ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and Luke Allen-Gale ("The Borgias"). Scott Stewart, who helmed and co-wrote the movie, will direct the series pilot and is one of the show's executive producers. Also executive. »


- Ramzi De Coster

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Sundance 2014: Sundance Kids Section

5 December 2013 12:59 PM, PST

Here are the two films playing in the Sundance Kids section.Ernest and Celestine / France, Belgium, Luxembourg (Directors: Benjamin Renner, Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Screenwriter: Daniel Pennac) — Unlike her fellow mice, Celestine is an artist and a dreamer. When she nearly ends up as breakfast for a bear named Ernest, the two form an unlikely bond that is quickly challenged by their respective communities. Cast: Forest Whitaker, Mackenzie Foy, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Nick Offerman. World Premiere (English version) Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang / Spain (Director: Oskar Santos, Screenwriters: Francisco Roncal, Jorge Lara, Oskar Santos) — Zip and Zap are punished by being sent to a re-education center. Guided by intelligence, they uncover a mysterious secret hidden deep within the school and end up having the most exciting adventure of their lives. Cast: Javier Gutiérrez, Daniel Cerezo, Raúl Rivas, Claudia Vega, Marcos Ruiz, Fran García. U. »


- Indiewire

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Sundance 2014: New Frontier Films

5 December 2013 12:59 PM, PST

Here are the five films playing in the New Frontier sidebar. The Better Angels / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: A.J. Edwards) — Set in the harsh wilderness of Indiana, this is the story of Abraham Lincoln’s youth. It tells of the hardships that shaped him, the tragedy that marked him forever, and the two women who guided him to immortality. Cast: Jason Clarke, Diane Kruger, Brit Marling, Wes Bentley. World Premiere The Girl from Nagasaki / Germany, U.S.A., Japan, Italy (Director: Michel Comte, Screenwriters: Anne-Marie Mackay, Ayako Yoshida, Michel Comte) — This 3D feature film production of the classic Puccini opera Madame Butterfly is directed by world-renowned photographer Michel Comte. It's a modern-day tale that starts with the young madame emerging from the ashes of the atomic bomb in Nagasaki. Cast: Christopher Lee, Sasha Alexander, Michael Wincott, Michael Nyqvist, Robert Evans, Polina Semionova. International Premiere Hit Record On TV / U. »


- Indiewire

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Sundance 2014: Spotlight Section

5 December 2013 12:59 PM, PST

Here are the eight films playing in the Spotlight program. Blue Ruin / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jeremy Saulnier) — A mysterious outsider’s quiet life turns upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving to be an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family. Cast: Macon Blair, Amy Hargreaves, Sidné Anderson, Devin Ratray, Kevin Kolack. The Double / United Kingdom (Director: Richard Ayoade, Screenwriter: Avi Korine) — Jesse Eisenberg plays Simon, a timid and isolated man who is overlooked at work. When James, a new coworker arrives, he upsets the balance because he is both Simon's physical double and his opposite: confident and good with women. Then James slowly starts taking over Simon's life. Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor, Cathy Moriarty, James Fox. Ida / Poland (Director: Pawel Pawlikowski, Screenwriters: Pawel Pawlikowski, »


- Indiewire

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Sundance 2014: Park City at Midnight

5 December 2013 12:59 PM, PST

Here are the eight films playing in the Park City at Midnight Section. The Babadook / Australia (Director and screenwriter: Jennifer Kent) — A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son's fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her. Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, Barbara West, Ben Winspear. Cooties / U.S.A. (Directors: Jonathan Millott, Cary Murnion, Screenwriters: Leigh Whannell, Ian Brennan) — A mysterious virus hits an isolated elementary school and transforms the students into a feral swarm of mass savages; then an unlikely hero must lead a motley band of teachers in the fight of their lives. Cast: Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Nasim Pedrad. Dead Snow; Red vs. Dead / Norway (Director: Tommy Wirkola, Screenwriters: Tommy Wirkola, Stig Frode Henriksen, Vegar Hoel) — The gruesome Nazi Zombies are back to finish their. »


- Indiewire

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Stream Them Now: Get Your French New Wave Education with 9 Films Available to Stream on Hulu Plus

5 December 2013 12:11 PM, PST

From Wes Anderson to Steven Soderbergh, contemporary filmmakers are often unambiguously influenced by the French New Wave.  Through the 50s to 60s the French New Wave brought with it an explosive fountain of art and inspiration that became not merely a pioneering trend in French cinematic culture, but a major source of influence that continues to manifest itself in class and on set around the world. French New Wave classics such as Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless" or Francois Truffaut's "Jules et Jim" are either central additions to a cinema studies curriculum if not the curriculum itself, and for good reason. They were among other films technically, structurally and thematically game-changing in their respective historical contexts. But while the French New Wave might reasonably have had its fair share of fans as well as critics at the time and to this day, as Martin Scorsese put it: "The New Wave »


- Ramzi De Coster

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VOD Platform Fandor Announces Partnership with Cinedigm, Factory 25 and Oscilloscope Laboratories

5 December 2013 11:53 AM, PST

San Francisco-based VOD platform Fandor has announced a partnership deal with Cinedigm, Factory 25 and Oscilloscope Laboratories. Fandor aspires to bring a broad selection of independent and international movies for instant streaming to its subscribers. At present, Fandor offers a film library of over 5,000 titles and as a two-year old streaming platform, continues to expand into indie film markets. "Following our expansion into Canada in September, film acquisitions have accelerated accordingly," Fandor co-founder and Chief Content Officer Jonathan Marlow commented, adding that "Over the last few weeks, we have added many invaluable partnerships to an already exceptional portfolio of distributors, aggregators and individual filmmakers." Check out a selection of films recently acquired and added to the Fandor library, as well as this month's upcoming releases: An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (2012) director Terence Nance [Cinema Guild] Computer Chess (2013) »


- Ramzi De Coster

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