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Amy Berg Got a Kick Out of Jumping from Docs to Fiction

14 hours ago

Oscar-nominated for her Catholic sex abuse doc "Deliver Us From Evil" (2006) and acclaimed for  "West of Memphis"  (2012), her deep-dive into Arkansas' imprisonment of the teenage West Memphis Three, Berg debuted at Sundance 2015 her Mormon expose "Prophet's Prey" (September 18, Showtime) and at Doc NYC the controversial Hollywood sex abuse doc "An Open Secret," (June 5, Rocky Mountain Pictures). Authoritative and whip-smart, Berg had no trouble setting up her first feature "Every Secret Thing," which is in theaters now. Actress Frances McDormand wanted her to direct the Nicole Holofcener script about two hardscrabble teenage girls who wind up on the wrong side of the law when they kidnap a baby. When they return from prison to their parents and try to reestablish their lives, the young adults become suspects in another child disappearance.  Berg thoroughly enjoyed »


- Anne Thompson

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Daniel Clowes Wants to Revisit His 'Ghost World' Characters, Talks 'Wilson' Film

15 hours ago

Eccentric author and illustrator Daniel Clowes twice adapted his own funny-sad comic books to the screen for director Terry Zwigoff. Before 2006's "Art School Confidential," there was "Ghost World," the 2001 cult classic starring Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson as a pair of misanthropic misfits drifting out of high school and through their hilariously pathetic suburban wasteland world. Well, in a new interview with The Guardian, Clowes admits that he may want to revisit the beloved "Ghost World" characters that got him a screenplay Oscar nom (which, by the by, he should have won). Before appearing in book form in 1997, the "Ghost World" story was serialized throughout the '90s in his "Eightball" series, which gets the anthology treatment this July. "I’ve thought about doing the 'Ghost World' girls as adults," Clowes says. "I think one day I may just revisit all the characters. I may do something. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Cannes Buy: Matteo Garrone's Love-It-or-Hate-It 'Tale of Tales' Goes to IFC (Trailer)

16 hours ago

IFC had a productive Cannes this year, scooping up hot titles including "Disorder" and "A Perfect Day" out of the festival's sidebars, along with Jacques Audiard's Palme d'Or winner "Dheepan." Now they've picked up Us rights to one of the last of the sought-after English-language films with name elements in an overheated seller's market.  That's because Italian Matteo Garrone's English-language debut "Tale of Tales" did not play well out of the Competition. The cast includes Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Vincent Cassel, Toby JonesShirley Henderson, Hayley Carmichael, Bebe Cave and Alba Rohrwacher. Read More: "Tale of Tales" Cannes Review and Roundup Reilly and Hayek play the king and queen of a small kingdom in a fairytale land far far away. There are rock canyons a lot like the world of Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings," and mossy deep forests for the likes of hunter kings »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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Ambitious Edinburgh Film Fest Reveals 2015 Program, From 'Amy' to 'Inside Out'

16 hours ago

The reinvented Edinburgh Film Festival, under new artistic director and taste-making film critic Mark Adams, unveiled its 69th lineup. From June 17 to 28, the festival will present 164 films from 36 countries. Among the program are 24 world premieres, and guest appearances from Ewan McGregor, Jane Seymour, Malcolm McDowell and Hong Kong auteur Johnnie To, and a conversation with Eiff honoree Seamus McGarvey and Oscar-winning Dp Haskell Wexler. Highlights include the UK premiere of Asif Kapadia's rapturously praised Cannes doc "Amy," Disney/Pixar's "Inside Out," the wonderful Brian Wilson biopic "Love and Mercy," 2015 Sundance premiere "Last Days in the Desert" starring McGregor as Jesus and the Devil, Andrew Haigh's Berlinale fave "45 Years" starring Charlotte RamplingOliver Hirschbiegel's "13 Minutes," Rick Famuyiwa's Sundance winner "Dope," Patrick Brice's razor-smart sex romp "The »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Exclusive: 8 Indie Filmmaking Teams Win Sf Film Society Grants

17 hours ago

Eight filmmaking teams receive the grants to push their projects into the next stage of their creative process, from screenwriting to production. Awarded twice annually, the grants are intended for narrative features that impact the burgeoning Bay Area film community. These are promising projects to watch for. Past films have enjoyed indie success on the festival circuit and theatrically, including Ira Sachs' "Love Is Strange," Destin Cretton's "Short Term 12," Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station," which went all the way to win a Cannes prize, and Benh Zeitlin's Best Picture-nominated "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Read More: Melissa Leo Joins James Franco in Ian Olds' Wartime Drama "The Fixer" Several of this year's winners, from Travis Mathews to Ian Olds, already have considerable traction in the indie film scene and received Film Society backing in 2014. Also, "Jones" writer/director Sally El Hosaini was Sffs's »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Joe Wright Boards 'The Lifeboat' with Anne Hathaway

18 hours ago

Brit director Joe Wright is stepping back into period garb to direct "The Lifeboat," reports Deadline. In this film version of Charlotte Rogan's celebrated debut novel,  Anne Hathaway is attached to star as Grace Winter, a young widow on trial for murder and who survives her husband on a sinking ocean liner and ends up marooned on a lifeboat in 1914. The number of people on board leads to a moral question of who stays, and who goes. Focus Features and Working Title acquired rights to the film, which Hathaway is also in talks to produce. "Castaway" scribe William Broyles Jr., fittingly, is writing this script and executive-producing. Working Title's Tim Beva and Eric Fellner — who backed Wright's 2007 Best Picture nominee "Atonement" — and Liza Chasin are producing alongside Film 360. Read More: Joe Wright's "Pan" Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Meanwhile, Joe Wright's Jm Barrie update "Pan, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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And This Year's Tony Awards Presenters Are...

18 hours ago

If you can't win it, present it. Or in the case of this year's Tony Awards, maybe both? Two of this year's 26 Tony presenters, Bradley Cooper and Sting, are nominees. Plenty of these folks are also on Broadway right now, or are doing well in TV and film, like Taylor Schilling, Rose Byrne, Amanda Seyfried, Corey Stoll and Anna Chlumsky (who recently had a mic-dropping moment on HBO's "Veep" that should garner her Emmys kudos). This year's towering nominees include "The Elephant Man," "Skylight," "Wolf Hall," "American in Paris" and "The King and I." The 69th Tony Awards hosted by Kristin Chenoweth (also a nominee this year) and Alan Cumming will take place at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, broadcast on CBS. Here's the list of presenters: Read More: Tony Awards: Hollywood Falls for Broadway, But Some Get Tony Cold Shoulder Current nominees: Bradley Cooper (up for Leading Actor in "The Elephant. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Quentin Tarantino Spoils La Cinephiles with New Beverly's June Program

19 hours ago

Quentin Tarantino's 35mm movie haven, now 37 this year, ditched digital last Fall when he took over programming. Despite skepticism of this celluloid model, Tarantino's $8 35mm double features work with La audiences. (Last month, I attended a near-packed screening of Atom Egoyan's "Exotica." Who knew?) New Beverly's June program looks delicious to any La movie maven. From Hitchcock to Godard, Bogdanovich to Billy Wilder, there's a lot to love here. Diehard "Kill Bill" fans can catch "Vol. 2" every Friday in June at midnight. It's hard to believe that film is already over 10 years old. Read More: Quentin Tarantino Enjoys Running the New Beverly, Even When He's Shooting a Movie Jean Becker's rare ménage à deux "Backfire," starring the ultimate cinema dream team of Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, is a must-see for Nouvelle Vague completists. Preminger's "Anatomy of a Murder" looks dynamite on 35mm, and here »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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James Schamus Makes First-Look Deal with China's Meridian Entertainment

27 May 2015 3:24 PM, PDT

James Schamus’s New York-based film and TV production company Symbolic Exchange has found a backer for its English-language slate. It makes perfect sense that one of the few creative executives and producers in Hollywood to have worked successfully on Chinese projects, producing and writing with long-time collaborator Ang Lee such films as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," would make a pact with a Chinese company. Chinese start-up Meridian Entertainment has entered into a first-look and strategic cooperation agreement with Symbolic Exchange and will provide development and production funding, while the two companies also co-develop Chinese projects. Schamus will serve as a chief creative and strategic advisor to Meridian, as it seeks to widen its investments outside China.  "While we continue to build our portfolio in China, the world’s fastest growing film market," stated Meridian’s Jennifer Dong, "we know »


- Anne Thompson

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Jason Reitman Taps His Inner Child for DreamWorks Animation's 'Beekle'

27 May 2015 2:11 PM, PDT

Jason Reitman needs redemption after his 2014 flop "Men, Women & Children" and tepidly received 2013 awards-hopeful-that-couldn't "Labor Day." The typically adult-leaning director of "Thank You for Smoking," witty Oscar nominees "Juno" and "Up in the Air" and under-appreciated and acidic "Young Adult" will now write and direct "Beekle" for DreamWorks Animation. The story of an oddball imaginary friend who embarks on a magical journey to find his perfect (real-life) match, the project marks Reitman's first animated effort, and DreamWorks Animation's first project under new co-presidents Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria. The studio is feeling confident after racking up nearly $350 million worldwide for this year's animated "Home," and is taking sweet time on promising projects, including 2016's "Kung Fu Panda 3." DreamWorks Animation development exec Damon Ross brought the project to the »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Revisiting John Huston's Late-Career 'The Life & Times of Judge Roy Bean'

27 May 2015 1:55 PM, PDT

This late career John Huston comedy-western seems to have been an attempt to hitch a ride on the " Butch Cassidy" train to box office glory, but it was a critical and financial misfire. Paul Newman is back, this time as a highly unlikely incarnation of frontier hardass Roy Bean, the self-appointed “judge” known as “the only Law west of the Pecos”. Huston seems to be having fun, as does the terrific character-laden supporting cast. »


- Trailers From Hell

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Tom Cruise and His 'Edge of Tomorrow' Director Doug Liman Start Shooting 'Mena'

27 May 2015 1:22 PM, PDT

Originally a 2014 Black List spec script by Gary Spinelli, Liman's reconnaissance thriller is based on the outrageous and real exploits of hustler and pilot Barry Seal, a CIA recruit tasked with bringing down a burgeoning communist threat in Central America. This covert operation spawned the Medellin cartel and nearly brought down the Reagan White House during the days of the Iran Contra scandal. Seal was eventually gunned down in Baton Rouge. "Mena" has now begun filming in Georgia, where star Tom Cruise will be joined by a hot cast including Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Jesse Plemons, E. Roger Mitchell Caleb Landry Jones and Lola Kirke. Cross Creek Pictures will fully finance Mena. The film is produced by Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson, alongside Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Kim Roth, and Quadrant PicturesDoug Davison. "Mena" will film through July in counties throughout Georgia including Cherokee, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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How the Safdies Made Verité Drug Drama 'Heaven Knows What' with a Real-Life Ex-Junkie

27 May 2015 12:55 PM, PDT

Josh and Ben Safdie burrow into "Panic in Needle Park" territory with their raw-nerved heroin addiction drama "Heaven Knows What." Star Arielle Holmes lived this life, and wrote a book, "Mad Love in New York City," about her experiences kicking it on the streets of New York as a homeless drug fiend after the Safdies found her and put her in front of a camera for the very first time. "That's her life we recreated," Josh Safdie said of star Holmes, whose memoir is the basis for the film's script. Now she has signed with an agency. "She's doing another film right now, which is very beautiful." Caleb Landry Jones, the only professional actor here, also anchors this suffocatingly powerful work as her on-and-off and also drug-addicted boyfriend Ilya, a stringy-haired transient who is barely tolerating the needy Harley's (Holmes) excesses, from her toxic infatuation with him to her scratchy need to get high. »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Tilda Swinton Enters Marvel Universe with 'Doctor Strange' (Exclusive Video)

27 May 2015 12:36 PM, PDT

THR reports that cinema chameleon Tilda Swinton has been tapped to portray a Tibetan mystic called Ancient One, a mentor to Benedict Cumberbatch's Dr. Stephen Strange, in Marvel Studio's upcoming project. Set for November 4, 2016 release and directed by Scott Derrickson, "Doctor Strange" turns on the titular supernatural hero, a genius surgeon who, after the demise of his career, gets taken under the wings of the Ancient One who trains him to defend the world against evil. Originally in the comics, the Ancient One had been male. But, likely in light of increasing gender paradigm shifts within the industry, Marvel Studios is going female. The film will begin shooting this November in the UK, with Kevin Feige onboard to produce. Busy actress Swinton will soon be seen in Judd Apatow's Summer comedy "Trainwreck," the Coens' 2016 release "Hail, Caesar!" and (later this year, we hope) "A Bigger Splash" from Luca Guadagnino, »


- Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio

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Louis C.K., Back on the Knife's Edge as 'Louie' Season Finale Looms

27 May 2015 12:21 PM, PDT

"Did Louis C.K. go too far?" This was the question on the lips of more than a few media outlets this weekend, after the comedian's opening monologue on the season finale of "Saturday Night Live." In what amounted to a nine-minute excerpt from one of his stand-up routines (with the foul language edited out), C.K. tackled Middle Eastern politics, his own "mild racism," and the psychology of child molesters, setting off uncomfortable titters in the audience and a common debate in contemporary comedy. Was he provocative, or simply offensive? Did he go too far, or did he go just far enough? When it comes to C.K.—a humorist of privilege and its discontents—even framing one's response in these terms implies a certain success. As evidenced by the sterling fifth season of his FX series, "Louie," which concludes Thursday night, he's at his funniest, and his most insightful, »


- Matt Brennan

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Watch: Trailers for Sundance Must-Sees 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' 'End of the Tour'

27 May 2015 11:45 AM, PDT

Two of the buzziest films to emerge from Sundance 2015 were "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" and "The End of the Tour." These may be Summer releases, but don't count them out of the year-end awards race. A moving and tender story of female sexuality in full bloom set in '70s San Francisco, Marielle Heller's "Diary of a Teenage Girl" opens from Sony Pictures Classics on August 7. Kristen Wiig shines as the hard-living mother of titular Minnie, played by spectacular newcomer Bel Powley, who takes up an affair with mom's hunky boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgard). Read More: Breakthrough New Director Marielle Heller on the Road to "Diary of a Teenage Girl" A24, meanwhile, will give James Ponsoldt's "End of the Tour" an early start going into the 2015 Oscar corridor for Jesse Eisenberg, who plays journo David Lipsyky, opposite Jason Segel's David Foster Wallace. Based on Lipsky's memoir »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Cinematography Legend Caleb Deschanel Gets AFI Alumni Medal

27 May 2015 11:16 AM, PDT

Master cinematographer and television director Caleb Deschanel will receive AFI's 25th Annual Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal, which has previously gone to the likes of Darren Aronofsky, Patty Jenkins, David Lynch, Wally Pfister and fellow Dp Janusz Kaminski. This honor recognizes the extraordinary creative talents of an AFI Conservatory alum who embodies the qualities of filmmaker Franklin Schaffner, the Oscar-winning director of 1970's "Patton." An AFI grad from the class of 1969, Deschanel is a five-time Oscar nominee for "The Passion of the Christ," "The Patriot," "Fly Away Home," "The Natural" and "The Right Stuff." AFI cinematography alumni have been nominated 17 times across the past 12 years — winning five times. Deschanel won the American Society of Cinematographers (Asc) Award for "The Patriot" and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Asc in 2010. His directing credits »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Exclusive: Watch 10 La Film Fest Directors Talk Shooting Indie in Los Angeles

27 May 2015 10:27 AM, PDT

Running June 10-18 in downtown La, Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival 2015 program includes its second annual Muse lineup of films set in, inspired by or shot in Los Angeles. Below, we reveal an exclusive video series documenting the making of these films. The 2015 La Muse lineup consists of three documentaries and seven fiction films; five films are by first time directors. All the films are having their world premiere at the Festival. You may recognize one name: Zoe Cassavetes, daughter of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands, who makes her first film since 2007 breakout "Broken English." “La is one of the most creative cities in the world –it’s where stars and rebels are born,” Roya Rastegar, Associate Director of Programming and Curated Content. “From Inglewood to Laurel Canyon, Venice Beach to Little Armenia, the films in the La Muse section feature the triumphs and tribulations of ballet dancers, Hollywood actresses and improv comedians, »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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Mary Ellen Mark: The Empathetic Eye

27 May 2015 9:08 AM, PDT

Mary Ellen Mark, the street photographer, empath and occasional catcher of celebrity souls, died Monday at the age of 75. She was equally deft at capturing the spirit of those on the fringes of the society as she was in getting those at the center of the red carpet.  My favorite among her celeb shots is the one she made of John Belushi on the set of The Blues Brothers, very deadpan, a perfect distillation of his sly humor. Yours? »


- Carrie Rickey

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La Film Fest Adds Free Screenings of 'Love and Basketball,' 'Roger Rabbit' and More

26 May 2015 12:57 PM, PDT

From June to 18, Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival returns to downtown's La Live with 74 feature films, 60 short films and over 50 new media works representing 35 countries. The festival has just added a 15th anniversary screening of Gina Prince-Bythewood's "Love & Basketball," Robert Zemeckis' "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" and more. Also announced today, the annual Coffee Talks Panels featuring actors Kathryn Hahn, David Koechner, Bryce Dallas Howard and Alfre Woodard, "Jurassic World" director Colin Trevorrow and more. The Festival will also host a special panel on the Un about filmmaking and a special Members only screening of "Fan Girl," starring Kiernan Shipka. Love & Basketball, dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood Gina Prince Bythewood's ode to romance on the court - and the competitive efforts to keep romance alive off the hardwood - stars Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps as friends whose lifelong relationship »


- Ryan Lattanzio

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