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Telluride: Weinstein Company Jumps Back Into Oscar Game With Strong ‘Imitation Game’ Screening

4 hours ago

On a day chock full of World Premieres here in Telluride , The Weinstein Company which has used this festival for North American launches of The King’s Speech  and The Artist  and saw both go on to win Best Picture Oscars,  just might be on to another major Best Picture contender after its first public screening of the Alan Turing biopic, The Imitation Game. Of course it is easy this time of year to go into  just about every film that hits the Fall Festival circuit as a potential awards player  after a large drought of Oscar- quality films for the first eight months of the year, but this one just has Academy Award nominations written all over it.  Not just in the Best Picture race where a slot seems likely, but also directing for Norwegian helmer Morten Tyldum (Headhunters), debuting screenwriter Graham Moore, and certainly the stunning lead actor »


- Pete Hammond

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Box Office Friday: ‘Guardians’ Tops 2014; Newcomers In Horserace; ‘Catinflas’ Excellent Opening

6 hours ago

2nd Update, Friday, 11:18 Pm: No surprise that Guardians of the Galaxy and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are continuing their reign at the box office as the Labor Day weekend kicks off. The Star Lord is expected to take in around $15.5M and the Turtles are estimated to grab $11.3M to $11.6M for the three-day. Four-day gross estimates have them at $18.5M to $20M and $14.8M to $15.2M, respectively. Guardians will end up after this holiday as the highest domestic grosser of 2014, surpassing the other Marvel title Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The newcomers this weekend are pretty far down in the Top Ten in terms of gross receipts. According to tonight’s estimates, The November Man which was exec-produced by its star Pierce Brosnan’s Irish Dreamtime, is in horserace for the No. 4 spot with Legendary Pic’s horror offering As Above/So Below from Universal and the fourth »


- Anita Busch

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Global Showbiz Briefs: DreamWorks Signs 4- Series Deal With South Korea’s Studio Mir; Veteran Aussie Actor Bill Kerr Dies; More

7 hours ago

DreamWorks Animation has inked a deal with Studio Mir for the latter to produce as many as to four cartoon TV series during the next four years. The South Korean animation studio, known for 2D fantasy series The Legend Of Korra, which airs stateside on Nickelodeon, said that it will work with the Jeffrey Katzenberg-led Dwa to plan and produce the series, all of which will be 2D and get 78 episodes. Studio Mir founder and executive producer Yoo Jae-myung said such a partnership “has never been done before by a Korean studio.”

Bill Kerr, the Australian actor known as “the boy from Wagga Wagga,” died Thursday in Perth. He was 92. Kerr was a radio and vaudeville star before moving to the UK in 1947. There he became one of Tony Hancock’s sidekicks on the radio version of the popular BBC program Hancock’s Half Hour in 1954. He later appeared »


- Nancy Tartaglione

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Los Angeles City Council Votes To Waive Film Fees

10 hours ago

In another move to make L.A. more film friendly, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously today to renew its waiver of film fees at many city facilities and sites. The moratorium on film fees had expired June 30, and the City Council’s action will make the waiver retroactive to that date.

Related: L.A. Officials Probe Shakedown Claims On Downtown Shoots

“California is on the brink of approving an expanded incentive to keep film and TV production in the state,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, who introduced the measure (read his motion here). “At the local level, it’s important that we do everything we can to retain this vital industry and get ready for the influx of filming opportunities that will surely come. … Waiving fees has made it easier for productions to utilize city-owned properties, sites and equipment, while also lessening the burden on residential areas that don »

- David Robb, Special To Deadline

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Telluride: ‘Wild’ World Premiere Brings Tears And Oscar Talk For Reese Witherspoon

12 hours ago

The Telluride Film Festival  got started with a bang this afternoon — with a special Patrons screening in front of Friday night’s official launch — as Fox Searchlight’s December release Wild  had its World Premiere and first-ever public screening. The best-selling nonfiction book by Cheryl Strayed about her hike across the 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail has been turned into a beautifully crafted cinematic journey by director Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club). Reese Witherspoon, who also co-produced, delivers her best screen work since her Oscar-winning turn in Walk The Line, and this three-dimensional portrayal of a woman searching for herself — after a disastrous divorce, the death of her beloved mother (perfectly played by Laura Dern), sexual promiscuity, drugs and a stint on the streets — is certain to put her back in the thick of the Best Actress race this year. It’s a whale of a tale and a great role. »


- Pete Hammond

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Telluride: Fandor Acquires Sci-Fi Short ‘The Sand Storm’ Starring Ai Weiwei

14 hours ago

Exclusive: Indie film subcription service Fandor has acquired sci-fi short film The Sand Storm ahead of its Telluride debut this weekend, and has set a day and date release coinciding with its world premiere this Sunday, August 31. The narrative short is directed by Jason Wishnow, the filmmaker behind the viral idea-fostering Ted Talks. It co-stars Chinese art star Ai Weiwei (Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry) in the dystopian tale of a city facing a water crisis in the near future, told from the perspectives of a woman, a man, a lover and a water smuggler. Wishnow co-wrote the script with Li-Anne Huang.

Fandor is the indie subscription VOD service that independent producer Ted Hope took the reins of in January. The company will make The Sand Storm available online on Fandor.com simultaneous to its world premiere at Telluride this Sunday at 4pm Mt. Earlier this summer the filmmakers launched a »


- Jen Yamato

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Animation Guild Wage Survey Paints Mixed Picture

15 hours ago

The Animation Guild’s 2014 wage survey is in (read it here), and it shows salaries for animators holding fairly steady this year compared with last year. But the reported median weekly pay for some jobs — most notably staff TV writers, feature storyboard artists, and staff story editors — is down from salaries reported five years ago. The median weekly pay reported by feature animation directors is up compared with 2013 and 24% higher than in 2010. Meanwhile, overall employment at the guild, Iatse Local 839, is at an all-time high. About a third of the guild’s 3,200 members took part in this year’s survey, up from 26% last year.

Related: DisneyToon Studios Hit By More Layoffs

The sample size in some categories is significantly lower than in others and might skew the median weekly pay rates, which are based on a 40-hour week. So it’s hard to tell whether staff TV writers took a »


- David Robb, Special To Deadline and David Bloom

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A Year After First Peek, Universal Trailers Delayed ‘Seventh Son’

17 hours ago

Universal has unveiled a trailer for the Jeff Bridges fantasy film Seventh Son, kicking off a five-month marketing challenge for the long-delayed big budget actioner. The Ya book-inspired adventure directed by Sergei Bodrov has been teased now for over a year in fits and starts, suffering numerous setbacks since first getting caught in the Rhythm & Hues VFX bankruptcy last year. That hitch cost Legendary an extra $4.9 million in post effects on the period fantasy adventure, in which Bridges plays a mystical warrior teaching a farmhand (Ben Barnes) to battle creatures, sorcery, and and evil queen Julianne Moore.

Initially set to open on February 22, 2013, Seventh Son was first pushed to October 18, 2013 to accomodate the VFX work. That summer distributor Warner Bros. moved it again to January 17, 2014, and even took it to Comic-Con for a panel and cast Q&A. But when Thomas Tull’s shingle split with the studio it took Seventh Son along to Universal. »


- Jen Yamato

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Venice: Bogdanovich Unveils Screwball Comedy ‘She’s Funny That Way’, Riffs On ‘Lost Hollywood’

20 hours ago

Thirty-two years after They All Laughed opened the Venice Film Fesitval, Peter Bogdanovich is back on the Lido with screwball comedy She’s Funny That Way. He spoke to the press this afternoon about the star-studded project coming together and noted that today, the kinds of smaller films he likes can only be made independently. “I don’t want to bite the hand that doesn’t feed me,” he said to much laughter, “but unfortunately, Hollywood has gone in the wrong direction.”

The out of competition She’s Funny That Way itself got a lot of laughs when it screened this morning. It stars Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Kathryn Hahn, Imogen Poots, Rhys Ifans, and Will Forte — along with blink-and-you’ll-miss-them cameos from Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and Bogdanovich’s Paper Moon star Tatum O’Neal, as well as a longer turn by a very famous director. The »


- Nancy Tartaglione

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Global Showbiz Briefs Chinese Web Giant Youku Launches Heyi Film; eOne Acquires ‘Seed’ Producer Force Four; More

28 August 2014 10:00 PM, PDT

Joining the growing trend of Chinese companies seeking out a role in the movie business, Internet giant Youku is launching Heyi Film. A wholly owned film production subsidiary, it will make films “to the tastes of the Chinese audience” and “improve film marketing and distribution,” Tech in Asia reported. Heyi is eyeing major theatrical releases and helping online talent branch out. Among the first projects are Bad Sister, starring Ivy Chen; Vacation In Paris, starring Amber Kuo and Louis Koo; and The Master, a co-production with Beijing Century Partner Culture and Media. There’s also a plan to transfer popular web series Yes Boss! and Miss Puff, Tia says. Alibaba is the most recent Chinese company to add film production to its portfolio. However, a red flag was raised over its $804M acquisition of ChinaVision Media Group when the company said it had discovered suspicious accounting and suspended its shares »


- Nancy Tartaglione

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Jena Malone, Douglas Smith Lead ‘Bottom Of The World'; Nick Braun Heads To ‘Stanford'; David Coussins Joins ‘Good Kids’

28 August 2014 8:56 PM, PDT

Jena Malone (The Hunger Games sequels, Hatfields & McCoys) and Douglas Smith (Terminator: Genisys, Ouija) have landed lead roles the indie horror pic Bottom Of The World for director Richard Sears. Malone and Smith play Scarlett and Alex, a young couple who stop at a desert motel on their way to start a new life in L.A. When she vanishes, Alex desperately tries to find her but is plunged into a nightmarish world where he finally realizes that he must be in a dream — but he is not the dreamer. Ted Levine also has joined the cast as a sinister preacher who taunts Alex at every turn. Brian Gottlieb wrote the pic, which starts shooting September 1 in Ottawa. Malone is repped by Gersh and Hirsch Wallerstein; Smyth is with Paradigm, More/Medavoy Management and Morris Yorn.

Nicholas Braun (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, At Middleton) has begun filming The Stanford Prison Experiment. »


- Jen Yamato

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Oscars: Season’s First Academy Award Winners A Worthy Group Who Represent Moviemaking At Its Best

28 August 2014 6:42 PM, PDT

For the first two or three years of the now six-year-old Governors Awards, I regularly wrote a column “suggesting” who I considered to be a deserving choice for Honorary Oscars, people who have been overlooked in their fields over the years.

Related: Big Names, Deserving Recipients For 2013 Governors Awards

On every one of those lists, three names would appear: Angela Lansbury, Maureen O’Hara and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere. Last year, thankfully, the Academy finally got around to recognizing Lansbury with an Honorary Oscar, and now with today’s earlier announcement the AMPAS Board Of Governors has wisely chosen Carriere and O’Hara along with the great (but already Oscar-winning) Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki and Harry Belafonte, the way-overdue Jean Hersholt Humanitarian honoree this year. This is an excellent list for an award that is given for an entire career. Some might quibble about Miyazaki because he actually won an »


- Pete Hammond

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XLrator Media, New Artists Alliance Ink 3-Picture Sci-Fi Pact

28 August 2014 6:30 PM, PDT

Exclusive: Indie distributor XLrator Media is diving into content creation with John Suits and Gabriel Cowan’s film production shingle New Artists Alliance. The companies have inked a three-picture production and distribution deal to co-produce low-budget science fiction action thrillers, starting with the Brandon Routh-Caity Lotz astronaut pic 400 Days, now in post-production.

After seeing a self-described successful digital and VOD return on the $1.5 million-budgeted April sci-fier The Machine, XLrator’s CEO Barry Gordon was seeking similarly budgeted high-concept acquisition titles but found niche offerings to be sparse. He linked up with Naa, the producers behind recent genre pics Bad Milo and SXSW winner Cheap Thrills. The deal gives XLrator a stake in the pipeline driving content tailored to the kind of multiplatform release that made British android pic The Machine an iTunes high performer.

The two companies initially pacted on graphic novel adaptation The Scribbler, the upcoming Suits-helmed »


- Jen Yamato

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Wme Signs ‘Goosebumps’ Star Dylan Minnette

28 August 2014 4:15 PM, PDT

Exclusive: Dylan Minnette has signed with Wme ahead of his roles in two upcoming studio releases. The 17-year-old built a burgeoning film and TV career with recurring roles on Fox’s Prison Break and ABC’s Lost. He next stars opposite Steve Carell in Disney’s October adaptation Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, helmed by Miguel Arteta and produced by Shawn Levy. Minnette also stars in Sony’s chiller Goosebumps opposite Jack Black as author R.L. Stine, set to hit theaters in August 2015. Minnette also appeared recently in Denis Villeneuve’s kidnap thriller Prisoners and Jason Reitman’s Labor Day. Earlier this year he appeared on ABC’s Scandal as the son of President Fitz Grant. He will continue to be repped by Monster Talent and Skrzyniarz & Mallean.

»


- Jen Yamato

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No Hollywood Credits For Obama IP Czar Nominee

28 August 2014 3:43 PM, PDT

It’s been a year since the U.S. had an Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, and now the president has proposed a new one. Danny Marti, a partner at the D.C. law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, was nominated today by President Obama to become the nation’s second-ever IP czar. He would fill the post left vacant when Victoria Espinel stepped down in August 2013.

“We applaud the Administration’s intent to nominate Danny Marti as U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator,” MPAA chief Chris Dodd said today in a statement after the White House made the announcement. “The Ipec plays a critical role in promoting intellectual property as a driver of our nation’s culture and economy. Danny’s impressive record of commitment to enforcing IP rights in the Internet age makes him a particularly strong choice. We urge the Senate to confirm him without delay for this important job. »


- The Deadline Team

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Venice: Lido Digs Story Of Charlie Chaplin Graverobbers ‘The Price Of Fame’

28 August 2014 3:17 PM, PDT

Of Gods And Men director Xavier Beauvois and screenwriter Etienne Comar unveiled their Competition pic La Rançon De La Gloire (The Price Of Fame) in Venice today. They were accompanied by Eugene Chaplin, the son of a key figure in the 1970s-set picture. Charlie Chaplin is the basis of the movie because it’s his coffin that is stolen from a Swiss cemetery by two down-on-their-luck immigrants.

Based on real events, The Price Of Fame has received largely positive reviews here on the Lido. (I personally could have done without an overlong exposition and some frustrating scenes of huffing and puffing graveside…) Eugene has a small role in the movie that recounts the events of March 1978 when, a few days after his father’s death, a pair of Polish and Bulgarian men dug up his grave and held the body for ransom. The film switches the nationalities of the men »


- Nancy Tartaglione

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Drafthouse Acquires Martin Starr Romance ‘Amira & Sam’

28 August 2014 2:59 PM, PDT

Drafthouse Films has sprung for Amira & Sam, an indie dramedy romance starring Martin Starr (Silicon Valley, Freaks and Geeks) and newcomer Dina Shihabi as an Army vet and an illegal Iraqi immigrant whose love is put to the test when she’s faced with deportation. Writer-director Sean Mullin helmed the pic, which is executive produced by The Spectacular Now‘s James Ponsoldt and also stars The Vampire DiariesPaul Wesley, Laith Nakli, and David Rasche. Drafthouse has slated a cross-platform limited theatrical, VOD, digital, and home video release for early 2015.

The Austin-based distributor snapped up Amira & Sam following its premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival earlier this year. It’s scheduled to screen at the Drafthouse’s upcoming femme-centric Forever Fest this Fall. The Five By Eight Productions picture is produced by Terry Leonard from Strongman and Erich Lochner and Matt Miller from Vanishing Angle. Meg Montagnino-Jarrett and Peter »


- Jen Yamato

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Hot Trailer: Jon Stewart’s ‘Rosewater’

28 August 2014 2:17 PM, PDT

Jon Stewart’s directorial debut Rosewater has a trailer. The adaptation of the Maziar Bahari book Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story Of Love, Captivity And Survival stars Gael Garcia Bernal as Bahari, the BBC journalist who left London in June 2009 to cover Iran’s presidential elections. He was kidnapped, spending the next 118 days in Iran’s most notorious prison being brutally interrogated by a man he knew only by one thing: he smelled of rosewater. Stewart took a summer hiatus from his Comedy Central show to direct his own script and will premiere the film tomorrow at Telluride. (See the just-announced Telluride line-up here.) Rosewater then travels to Toronto before Open Road releases it November 7:

Related: Oscar Contenders In Lineup As Telluride Film Festival Announces Schedule

»


- The Deadline Team

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Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision Shingle Unveils 2nd La Horror Festival

28 August 2014 12:31 PM, PDT

Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller’s SpectreVision will host its second annual SpectreFest, expanding the neophyte L.A. horror festival’s run from two weeks in 2013 to two months starting this September. The first annual SpectreFest was inaugurated last year as an offshoot of the then-newly launched film and music label. This year, partnered again with L.A.’s specialty theater Cinefamily, SpectreFest will screen anticipated genre titles including opening film The Guest, closing pic The Babadook, Open Windows, Tusk, and Housebound along with special events anchored by horror icons Cliver Barker presenting his Nightbreed director’s cut, Larry Fessenden, Glenn McQuaid, and Joe Dante presenting the 30th anniversary of Gremlins. Here’s the full lineup of film and music events, which start September 4 and run through October:

9/4 Opening Night Event – The Guest (dir. Adam Wingard) Scheduled to attend: Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett

9/16 Tusk (dir. Kevin Smith »


- Jen Yamato

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World Film Community Joins Hands In Support Of Shuttered Beijing Festival

28 August 2014 11:07 AM, PDT

Film festivals from New York to Sydney have signed a statement of support for the Beijing Independent Film Festival which was shut down by Chinese authorities over the weekend. Representatives of the Berlin, Rotterdam, New York, Sydney and Torino festivals are among the signatories, as is the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Dennis Lim. Their statement calls upon the relevant Chinese authorities to permit the Beijing fest to “pursue its mission to nurture and exhibit a full range of alternative cinematic voices in China, to allow the festival to operate without interference, and to allow the Li Xianting Film Fund to continue its vital mission of archiving and supporting independent Chinese filmmakers.” I’m here at the Venice Film Festival where I’m told organizers were not asked to join the petition. It is believed that Venice would support such an initiative. In a demonstration of support for Iranian »


- Nancy Tartaglione

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