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Film Independent Seals Netflix Deal, Announces 2015 Documentary Lab Fellows

11 hours ago

La nonprofit Film Independent has selected 10 filmmakers and six projects for the 2015 Documentary Lab, a five-week intensive program designed to help filmmakers who are currently in post-production on their feature-length documentaries. Film Independent has also unveiled a year-round partnership with doc juggernaut Netflix ("The Square," "Virunga") to support documentary filmmakers. Netflix is now the official supporter of all Film Independent’s documentary initiatives, including the annual Documentary Lab, the Documentary Competition at the Los Angeles Film Festival and all the documentary elements in Film Independent’s educational programs.  Read More: Why Netflix Shelled Out for Cary Fukunaga's "Beasts of No Nation" With Netflix's support, this year's Lab includes a finishing fund for selected projects. The lab is designed to provide creative feedback to filmmakers, and to help them strategize distribution and marketing. This year's »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Telluride Film Festival Taps Rachel Kushner as Guest Director

11 hours ago

The Telluride Film Festival has named author and film programmer Rachel Kushner as its 2015 Guest Director. She will select a series of films to present at the 42nd Telluride Film Festival, running over Labor Day Weekend, September 4-7, 2015. Per usual, the Telluride lineup will be kept secret until Opening Day.  In a rare co-presentation between the Bay Area-based festival and the San Francisco International Film Festival, Kushner will present Barbara Loden's 1970 verite working class drama "Wanda" in 35mm at Sfiff this year. The film screened at Telluride 2005, back when author Don DeLillo was Guest Director. Read More: San Francisco Film Fest Highlights Rachel Kushner is the author of 2013 National Book Award finalist "The Flamethrowers," also a finalist for the Folio Prize, the James Tait Black Prize and among The New York Times Top Five Novels of 2013. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013. Her fiction and essays »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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San Francisco Film Fest Highlights, From Isabella Rossellini to '54: The Director's Cut'

11 hours ago

From April 23 to May 7, Sf International suffuses the Bay Area with world and North American premieres, titles hot off the fest circuit and a surfeit of tributes, guest programming and many-faceted sidebars. This looks to be among the fest's juiciest slates yet. As previously announced, Alex Gibney's unsparing documentary "Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine" will open Sfiff, with buzzy Sundance premieres "The End of the Tour" and "Experimenter" rounding out the Centerpiece and Closing Night slots, respectively. Also already announced are tributes to Guillermo del Toro and Richard Gere, a new performance piece by Miranda July and more (below). Read More: Sf Film Fest Gets 3 Films from Sundance and SXSW Sfiff has also generously programmed films from last year's Cannes and Fall festivals, and more from this year's Sundance and SXSW. On the narrative side, we'll see: mumblecore granddaddy Andrew Bujalski's "Results," brazen dark road comedy. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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'Jurassic World' Director Colin Trevorrow Lands Hush-Hush Next Project

12 hours ago

Colin Trevorrow will direct "Book of Henry" for Sidney Kimmel Entertainment from an original screenplay by novelist Gregg Hurwitz, author of crime novels and "Batman: The Dark Knight" for DC Comics. "Book of Henry" will begin shooting in New York this September. Hurwitz recently signed on to adapt his novel "Orphan X," with Bradley Cooper producing and possibly starring. Read More: "Jurassic World" Director Trevorrow Sets Record Straight on New Plot Details and Leaks This is about all we know about the mysterious "Book of Henry." Before Universal tapped him to director "Jurassic World," Trevorrow broke out at Sundance 2012 with nifty time travel comedy "Safety Not Guaranteed" starring Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass, a far-cry from the big-budget world of prehistoric creatures. "Jurassic World" has been in the works since the early 2000s, when Steven Spielberg confirmed a new »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: Antonio Banderas Is a Trapped Chilean Miner in Claustrophobic 'The 33' Trailer

12 hours ago

It was inevitable that the 2010 Chilean mining incident would hit the big screen. The tragedy of 33 miners trapped half a mile underground after a 121-year-old copper-gold mine caved in is reenacted by Antonio Banderas, Lou Diamond Phillips, Rodrigo Santoro and Juliette Binoche as one of the entombed miner's sisters. A first international trailer has arrived via 20th Century Fox Chile. The film is entirely in English, with Chilean accents, which should secure its international appeal (while annoying others). Written by Mikko Alanne and José Rivera, "The 33" is produced by "Apocalypse Now" producer Mike Medavoy, who worked closely with the families to tell this story. After 69 days, and several attempts, all 33 miners were rescued. "The 33" opens in Chile on April 6 and in the Us sometime in 2015 »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Nicole Kidman, Ava DuVernay, Jill Soloway Are 2015 Women in Film Winners

13 hours ago

This year’s gala will support Women in Film La's educational and philanthropic programs and its advocacy for gender parity for women in the industry and is being held on Tuesday, June 16 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Century City. This year’s Crystal + Lucy Award honorees are: 2015 Crystal Award for Excellence in Film – Nicole Kidman 2015 Lucy Award for Excellence in Television – Jill Soloway 2015 Dorothy Arzner Directors Award – Ava DuVERNAY 2015 Face of the Future – Kate Mara 2015 Tiffany & Co. / Bruce Paltrow Mentorship Award – Sue Kroll 2015 Sue Mengers Award – Toni Howard "Selma" director Ava DuVernay and "Transparent" creator Jill Soloway had great 2014-2015 awards seasons with their groundbreaking works in film and television. Nicole Kidman faces a good year ahead with Sundance drama "Strangerland," picked up by Alchemy, and Werner Herzog's Berlin premiere "Queen of the Desert," which is still seeking Us »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: Helen Mirren Huffs Helium and Chats with Jimmy Fallon

13 hours ago

Helen Mirren has espionage art thriller "The Woman in Gold" hitting theaters tomorrow, April Fools' Day, and in spirit, or something, the Dame herself hopped on Jimmy Fallon for a helium-filled chat. Fallon presents her with a faux Oscar and she gives a faux acceptance speech. "I'm getting lightheaded! I'm going to pass out." Watch: Helen Mirren on Playing the Queen Again, and How Al Pacino Inspires Her »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Paul Feig on 'Ghostbusters,' Sexist Backlash and Carving Out Great Roles for Women (Watch 'Spy' Trailer)

13 hours ago

Melissa McCarthy and Rose Byrne are hilarious in the Bond spoof "Spy," the latest female-driven comedy from sharp writer/director Paul Feig, who brought us the strongly women-oriented box office hits "Bridesmaids" and "The Heat." The film played huge for the Paramount Theatre crowd at last night's SXSW world premiere, where McCarthy came briefly onstage to introduce the film before shuttling off to catch a flight to shoot another movie. (Watch the "Spy" trailer below.) With its broad humor and long and muddled action scenes, this is one of Feig's more ambivalently directed efforts. But as always, he's a daffy and deft writer of female dialogue, giving McCarthy (as dowdy CIA agent Susan Cooper) and Byrne (as a prim, terrorist affiliate of the CIA's arch nemesis) many uproarious moments to chew on. Jason Statham brings comic machismo as a childishly sulky agent gone rogue. The audience ate it all up, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Ari Folman Reveals Wondrous First Look at His Animated Anne Frank Film

16 hours ago

Ari Folman continues to follow his own strange star. The Israeli filmmaker will follow his spellbinding animation hybrids "Waltz with Bashir" (Oscar-nominated) and "The Congress" (a high-iq cult oddity that will someday get its due) with an animated retelling of the life and diary of Anne Frank. A blend of stop-motion and traditional animation—with 2D characters cut into stop-motion backgrounds — his Anne Frank Film is the first of its kind. That's because Folman, with Diana Elbaum of Belgian-based production company Entre Chien et Loup, negotiated to obtain world rights in all languages and media and complete access to the Anne Frank archives. Read More: Ari Folman Takes on Animated Anne Frank Feature Production began in winter 2014. Folman has finally shared concept art from the studio at Passion Films in London. Folman is collaborating with "Fantastic Mr. Fox" Dp Tristan Oliver and designer Andy Gent to hew the film's stop motion look, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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'Mulan' Joins Disney Roster of Live Action Remakes of Animated Classics (Video)

30 March 2015 6:34 PM, PDT

The latest entry in Disney's push to own the fairy tale universe--as studio label Marvel does its comic book heroes-- is a live-action version of its 1998 animated musical “Mulan." Produced by Chris Bender and J.C. Spink (“We’re the Millers,” “Horrible Bosses 2") and written by Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek, the live action movie will again focus on Chinese warrior Hua Mulan, who impersonated a man in order to take her ailing father's position in the army, accompanied by her dragon Mushu. Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook's animated musical “Mulan” grossed $300 million worldwide.  Next up in Disney's planned series of live action remakes of animated films is Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" (2016), directed by Jon Favreau with CG animals sharing the screen with a real boy, based the 1967 Disney animated classic. Also in the works is Tim Burton's live-action "Dumbo" and "Through the Looking Glass," a. »


- Anne Thompson

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Weinsteins' Dimension Drops Big Bucks on 'Gold' Starring Matthew McConaughey

30 March 2015 4:13 PM, PDT

As Harvey Weinstein finds himself brought in for some uncomfortable questioning by the New York City Police Department, his brother Bob Weinstein has laid out a reported $15-million minimum guarantee to win U.S. rights in a CAA bidding war for "Syriana" director Steve Gaghan's mining drama "Gold," a movie starring Matthew McConaughey and Edgar Ramirez that is going into production in June in Thailand, New York and New Mexico.   Advance footage was screened for buyers in Berlin. Open Road, Focus Features and Stx were reportedly in the bidding. Numbers are escalating as new buyers drive up prices in this heated sellers market; Netflix recently outbid Focus Features, buying world rights to Cary Fukunaga's "Beasts of No Nation" for $12 million.  TWC-Dimension is also committing to a P&A guarantee of more than $20 million to support a theatrical release on some 2500 screens. This kind of commitment is unusual these days »


- Anne Thompson

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Zadan and Meron Skip Oscars But Land 'The Wiz' Live on NBC

30 March 2015 1:18 PM, PDT

Stage-to-screen impresarios Zadan and Meron are getting back to what they know and love: live musical productions. The producing duo behind the 2015 Oscars, whose ratings sank and whose host Neil Patrick Harris fell flat after two successful years, will be mounting "The Wiz," the soul music re-telling of "The Wizard of Oz." The production will take center stage on NBC December 3, 2015. This is not Zadan and Meron's first foray into live song-and-dance spectacles on NBC. "The Wiz" will be their third consecutive special after 2013's "The Sound of Music Live!" starring Carrie Underwood, who had the pipes to carry Maria von Trapp. And in 2014, Zadan and Meron drummed up "Peter Pan Live!," a magnificent failure starring Allison Williams who, between "Pan" and her simpering dullard Marnie on HBO's "Girls," seems to be grooming for more singing roles. Read More: Academy: Hire Judd Apatow to Produce 2016 »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Ivy Film Fest Tributes Todd Haynes

30 March 2015 12:09 PM, PDT

The 14th student-run Ivy Film Festival (April 6-12) is giving a major tribute to alumnus Haynes. And we'll get our first-ever look at the drama "Carol" via a first-ever clip. Haynes' adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's landmark lesbian novella "The Price of Salt" is likely to debut at Cannes 2015. The indie pioneer's first film since 2007's experimental Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There," "Carol" stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as two women in a relationship in 1950s New York.   "I very much look forward to being able to take part in this year's Ivy Film Festival, largely because it's a student run event and it was students who reached out to me directly," said Todd Haynes, who studied semiotics at Ivy's home base, Brown University. "I decided to screen both material from 'Carol,' which has hasn't been seen anywhere so far, [and] my earliest works that I felt might be interesting to students. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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From Technothrillers to Muckraking Dramas, German Highlights of New York's Kino! Film Festival

30 March 2015 11:17 AM, PDT

Now in its second year as an independent festival, Kino! will showcase ten feature-length films, with four North American premieres and six East Coast debuts, plus the German Short Film Night at the Cinema Village in Lower Manhattan. Trailers rounded up below. Organized by German Films, Kino! kicks off April 9 with Christian Zübert's "Tour de Force," a dramedy that follows a group of German friends biking across Belgium. Variety writes that the film, which played Toronto, Miami and elsewhere, "stands a solid chance at being one of [Germany's] more successful pics." Mark Monheim's coming-of-age drama "About a Girl," picked up by Global Screen for worldwide distribution, turns on a 15-year-old mortuary apprentice whose failed suicide attempts leads her to finding romance. Christoph Hochhäusler mines "All the President's Men" territory with his political thriller "The Lies of the Victors," an acclaimed Rome premiere with »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Watch: Why the Power of 'The Exorcist' Still Compels Us

30 March 2015 10:18 AM, PDT

William Friedkin and William Peter Blatty’s seminal embellishment on an actual 1949 case of exorcism is one of the most disturbing horror films of all time (particularly effective on lapsed Catholics). Its unprecedented success spawned a mini-genre of demonic possession movies the world over, as well as a couple of sequels and a prequel (which morphed into two different films). Ten Oscar nominations (including Best Picture, the first horror film to so qualify) yielded two wins for sound mixing and adapted screenplay. »


- Trailers From Hell

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Trevor Noah to Host 'The Daily Show,' But Late Night's Revolution Remains Unfinished

30 March 2015 10:05 AM, PDT

Update: South African comedian Trevor Noah has been chosen to replace Jon Stewart as host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" later this year, the network announced this morning. The exact date for Stewart to pass the baton has yet to be determined. Noah, who is biracial and multilingual, further widens the gulf between broadcast late night, still the domain of white men, and cable/streaming late night, which increasingly offers a platform for women and people of color. Though he has only appeared on "Tds" three times since his December debut as the show's "senior international correspondent," race and race relations have long been a subject of Noah's comedy, and he seems poised to bring an international perspective to late-night programming that only John Oliver, who frequently covers news from around the globe on HBO's "Last Week Tonight," has done with any regularity.     Earlier: With a tip of the cap from David Letterman, »


- Matt Brennan

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Nicolas Winding Refn's Female Horror Film 'The Neon Demon' Starts Shooting Today

30 March 2015 10:00 AM, PDT

Nicolas Winding Refn's Space Rocket Nation announced today the start of production in Los Angeles on the writer/director's "The Neon Demon," starring an uber-cool cast including Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Karl Glusman, Bella Heathcote, Abbey Lee, Desmond Harrington, Christina Hendricks, and Keanu Reeves. Without further ado, here's the official synopsis: "When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has." Refn cowrote this La-set, female-led horror film with Mary Laws. Refn dipped into genre moviemaking before with his kickass, po-mo noir "Drive," but "Neon Demon" marks the director's first leap into true horror movie terrain. Read More: Get to Know the Real Nicolas Winding Refn, Warts and All, in His Wife's New Doc Most directors start with horror and move on—as was the case for Francis Ford Coppola, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Top 15 Classic Noir Films

30 March 2015 9:22 AM, PDT

Film noir cognoscente Eddie Muller defines noir as "the flip-side of the all-American success story." On his website he has posted the list 25 Noir Films That Will Stand the Test of Time, a drool-worthy selection of classics that also happen to be some of our own favorites. Thus, in spirit, we present our picks below, including such Muller faves as "In a Lonely Place," "Double Indemnity," "Sweet Smell of Success," "Touch of Evil" and "Detour." For those lovers of more contemporary noir, here are our 15 favorite neo-noirs. From Jacques Tourneur to Humphrey Bogart, What to See at La's Noir City Festival Anne Thompson's Top 5: 1. "Touch of Evil" (1958): Orson Welles' bravura noir starts out strong with a delirious sustained single shot, as newlyweds Mr. and Mrs. Vargas (Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh) stroll across the Mexican border to the sound of Henry Mancini and a ticking bomb, which explodes after. »


- TOH!

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From Jacques Tourneur to Humphrey Bogart, What to See at La's Noir City

30 March 2015 9:19 AM, PDT

The American Cinematheque and the Film Noir Foundation present the 17th annual Noir City fest, running April 3-19 at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Rarely seen gems, restorations, new 35mm prints, films unavailable on DVD and Oscar nominees abound in this journey of 12 nights and 26 films through the side streets and back alleys of film noir. This year, some true giants of the genre get a salute, including Humphrey Bogart in Delmer Daves' pitch-black 1947 "Dark Passage" opposite Lauren Bacall, Barbara Stanwyck in Roy Rowland's 1954 "Witness to Murder" (like Hitchcock's "Rear Window" through the eyes of a woman) and John Sturges' 1953 "Jeopardy" and French-American auteur Jacques Tourneur's "Circle of Danger" and "Berlin Express." Also check out the Film Noir Foundation's 35mm restoration of "Woman on the Run," which world-premiered earlier this year at San Francisco's Noir City. Directed by Norman »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Fox Searchlight Grabs Malala Yousafzai Doc

30 March 2015 8:52 AM, PDT

Fox Searchlight has acquired worldwide rights, except for France and other French-speaking territories, to the documentary "He Named Me Malala." Directed by Davis Guggenheim, who won an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth" and also directed "Waiting for Superman," the film is slated for 2015 release. The documentary, produced by Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald under their long-term production partnership with Image Nation Abu Dhabi and co-financed by Participant Media, follows Yousafzai as a leading campaigner for the rights of children worldwide who became the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Davis and his filmmaking team spent 18 months with Yousafzai in making this film. The film will also launch an international advocacy and fundraising campaign in partnership with the Malala Fund, Malala’s nonprofit organization working to empower adolescent girls globally through secondary education.   Executive producers include Mohamed Al »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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