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Venice Final Cut Workshop Pacts With Egypt’s Mad Solutions and Abu Dhabi’s Sanad

12 minutes ago

The Venice Film Market’s Final Cut in Venice workshop, which provides support and partnership opportunities to films from Africa and the Arab world, has partnered with Cairo and Abu Dhabi-based marketing and distribution company Mad Solutions and also with Abu Dhabi’s Sanaad fund.

These partnerships underscore how Final Cut, which started out three years ago with a focus on African movies, is shifting more towards Arab cinema because “there just aren’t that many African movies out there,” says Vfm topper Pascal Diot.

The Mad Solutions award comprises promotional and distribution services in the Arab world offered to one of the contending film projects in the workshop, not necessarily and Arab title. Sanaad, which is all that remains of the Abu Dhabi Arab cinema support system after the Abu Dhabi fest was scrapped earlier this year, will provide the winner of best Arab film award in Final Cut »


- Nick Vivarelli

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Im Global Sells Most of World on ‘Remember’ (Exclusive)

16 minutes ago

Im Global has pre-sold most of the world on Atom Egoyan’s “Remember,” which world premieres in Venice competition.

Starring Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau, “Remember” has its North American premiere as a gala screening at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival Sept. 12. Robert Lantos produced.

In most recent sales, Tiberius Film has closed Germany, while Paradiso Filmed Entertainment nabbed Benelux, Lusomundo has taken Portugal and Bravos  picked up Hong Kong. HBO and Pacific Theaters have acquired Asian pay TV rights. U.K. and Australia are under ongoing discussions that are expected to close in Toronto, Im Global founder-ceo Stuart Ford said Thursday.

In a deal handled by Wme, A24 picked up U.S. rights to “Remember” at Cannes in May.

Pact add to major territory deals struck for France (Arp), Japan (Asmik Ace), Italy (Wild Bunch), Spain (Wild Bunch), Scandinavia (Scanbox), South Korea (Joy N Contents Group) and Latin America »


- John Hopewell

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First Italy-China Co-Prod Under New Treaty Is Cristiano Bortone’s ‘Coffee’

16 minutes ago

The Italy-China co-production treaty signed in 2014 has yielded its first feature film, drama “Coffee,” directed by Italy’s Cristiano Bortone and set in Italy, China and Belgium.

“Coffee has three tonalities of taste,” says Bortone whose previous features include “Red Like the Sky.” “There is bitter, sour, and fruity. Each of the three stories in the movie reflects one of these three tonalities.”

“It’s sort of like ‘Babel,’ ’ he added. “Three destinies linked to coffee intertwined in different parts of an increasingly globalised world.”

One tale is set in Trieste, the capital of coffee production in Italy and Europe; the other is set amid China’s increasingly consumer-driven and ecologically devastated society; the third is set in Belgium and is centered around racial tensions. They all intersect in the end.

Pic, which started shooting in Northern Italy in August, is being produced by Bertone’s own Orisa shingle with Rai Cinema, »


- Nick Vivarelli

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Venice Film Review: ‘Francofonia’

48 minutes ago

It will be impossible to neatly package “Francofonia” into a brief and accurate description, since Alexander Sokurov’s dense, enriching meditation on the Louvre and specifically (but not exclusively) the museum’s status during WWII defies categorization. View the trailer and you might think the film is essentially a Sokurovian dramatization of the uncertain relationship between the Louvre’s wartime director and the Nazi officer in charge of preserving France’s artistic patrimony. Watching the film, however, a larger picture emerges, in which Sokurov, via his rather too present voiceover, engages with Paris itself and the philosophical concept of a great museum. More accessible than “Faust,” though definitely not one for the History Channel, “Francofonia” will please the Russian auteur’s fans but is unlikely to win him new converts.

Viewers who have been following the director’s career since the early days will be especially attuned to the way »


- Jay Weissberg

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Venice Film Review: ‘Klezmer’

5 hours ago

Anyone duped by the title into expecting a folksy knees-up from “Klezmer” has a sober awakening in store: The eponymous Ashkenazi Jewish musical tradition may figure obliquely into this stoic, stolid Polish Holocaust drama, but not in any context remotely resembling a celebration. Indeed, Jews are the truly silent victims in a story that instead takes the viewpoint of morally dubious gentiles, torn between mercy and the promise of blood-stained remuneration when they encounter a wounded, voiceless Jewish refugee in the woods. As his fate is dispassionately determined over the course of a single summer afternoon, playwright Piotr Chrzan’s feature directing debut offers some unusual insight into the perspectives of communities caught between the Nazis and their victims, but his script presses pretty insistently on one glum note. Culturally specific festivals rep the pic’s best avenue of exposure following its Venice premiere.

Indirect comparisons to Pawel Pawlikowski’s »


- Guy Lodge

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Sue Mengers Biographer Talks Barbra Streisand Feud, Wild Personality

6 hours ago

Before there was Ovitz or Ari, there was Sue Mengers.

During the peak of her clout in the 1970s, the brash barrier-breaker helped popularize the idea of the Hollywood super-agent. The media lapped up her comic crudity (after the Manson family murdered actress Sharon Tate, she told a frightened Barbra Streisand, “Don’t worry, honey, they’re not killing stars, only featured players”), her legendary dinner parties attracted Tinseltown’s A-list, and “60 Minutes” came calling to do a lengthy interview that captured Mengers dishing and deal-making.

She was so larger than life that she inspired both fictional knockoffs, such as the fast-talking agent portrayed by Dyan Cannon in “The Last of Sheila” and hit Broadway plays like “I’ll Eat You Last,” which had Bette Midler offering a wicked send-up of the legendary tenpercenter. Yet biographer Brian Kellow, fresh off his acclaimed book “Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark, »


- Brent Lang

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Selena Gomez Joins Cast of ‘Neighbors 2’

6 hours ago

Selena Gomez has joined the cast of Universal and Good Universe’s “Neighbors 2.”

She will star alongside Seth Rogen and Zac Efron in the “Neighbors” sequel, along with Chloe Moretz. Gomez proved her rowdy college movie chops in “Spring Breakers.”

Neighbors” was a surprise hit with $269 million in worldwide grosses. Rose Byrne is set to reprise her role, with Nicholas Stoller returning as director.

The original revolved around a couple whose lives are turned upside-down after declaring war on the fraternity that moved in next door. The sequel’s plot is unknown, though sources say a sorority could be the couple’s problem this time.

Gomez’s involvement in the film broke when fan photos revealed that she was on set. While details surrounding her role are unknown, her sorority girl-esque costume (a tight pink dress) suggests her character’s involvement with the Greek system.

Rogen, Evan Goldberg and »


- Justin Kroll

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David Ansen Tapped as Lead Programmer for Palm Springs Film Festival

6 hours ago

Film critic and Los Angeles Film Festival vet David Ansen has joined the Palm Springs Film Festival as lead programmer.

Ansen, who served as artistic director of the Los Angeles Film Festival for five years and critic for Newsweek, will work with Palm Springs artistic director Helen du Toit. He will be responsible for acquiring films from U.S distribution outlets and international sales companies and, working with a team of six other programmers, will also be a key member of the selection committee for films submitted to the festival.

“I’m thrilled to have someone with David’s vast scope and depth of knowledge about film join us as a key member of the Psiff programming team,” said festival director Darryl Macdonald. “His taste in films has always been impeccable, ranging from the discovery of unheralded works from gifted new international directors to a singular appreciation of films from »


- Jacob Bryant

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Director Paul Quinn, Brother of Aidan Quinn, Dies at 55

6 hours ago

Paul Quinn, writer and director of “This Is My Father,” died in his New York home on Sept. 2 after a long battle with cancer. He was 55.

Quinn collaborated with his brothers Aidan and Declan when he directed his debut and most notable feature, 1998’s “This Is My Father,” which screened at the Sundance and Toronto film festivals. The award-winning film stars Aidan, and Declan served as d.p.

Quinn achieved accolades along the festival circuit for the second feature he directed, “Never Get Outta the Boat,” in 2002.

His latest directorial work, “Good Ol’ Boy,” is set to premiere in competition at the 2015 Woodstock Film Festival. The contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” stars Keith David and Angus Macfadyen.

Paul Quinn was also an actor who appeared in “Leaving Las Vegas,” “Bob Roberts” and “Avalon,” and he directed episodes of the NBC comedy “Scrubs.”

Quinn, who trained at Chicago’s Piven Theater Workshop, »


- Mannie Holmes

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Broad Green Hires Alix Madigan as Creative Affairs Chief

7 hours ago

Fast-growing Broad Green Pictures has hired Anonymous Content staff producer Alix Madigan as head of creative affairs.

Madigan was previously a staff producer with Propaganda Films, Skouras Pictures and Avenue Entertainment. She was a producer on “Winter’s Bone,” which featured a breakout Oscar-nominated performance by Jennifer Lawrence.

Madigan also produced “Laggies,” “White Bird in a Blizzard,” “May in the Summer” and “The Automatic Hate,” directed by Justin Lerner and set for release in 2016. She also worked on “Smiley Face,” “Married Life,” “Cleaner,” “Your Friends and Neighbors,” “Case 39” and “Girl Most Likely.”

Year-old Broad Green, founded by brothers Gabriel and Daniel Hammond, has been active in building a slate of adult-themed dramas such as “99 Homes,” “A Walk in the Woods,” “Infiltrator” and “Learning to Drive,” as well as Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups,” “Voyage of Time” and his untitled project starring Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara and Michael Fassbender. »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: Tom Hardy in ‘Legend’

8 hours ago

There are two good reasons to make what might otherwise seem an inessential new biopic of Ronnie and Reggie Kray — and both of them, as it happens, take the formidable form of Tom Hardy. Playing both the infamously savage Cockney crime lords in a dazzling feat of thespian self-splicing to rival Jeremy Irons in “Dead Ringers,” Hardy’s inspired twin turn elevates and complicates the otherwise straightforward terrain of “Legend,” in which U.S. writer-helmer Brian Helgeland gives London’s East End gangland a slightly touristic candy-coating of Swinging ’60s glamor. While Helgeland’s script lacks the wit and grit of his Oscar-winning job on “L.A. Confidential,” this lengthy, engrossing underworld saga creditably attempts to work a female perspective — that of Reggie’s innocent wife, Frances — into these laddish proceedings. If the Hardy Boys’ film-swallowing contribution ultimately thwarts the effort, that can’t be helped.

Given an enduring local fascination with the Brothers Kray, »


- Guy Lodge

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Disney-Imax’s ‘Beautiful Planet’ Documentary Gets April Release

9 hours ago

Disney and Imax have set an April 29 release for their co-production of the Toni Myers documentary “A Beautiful Planet” — a week after the traditional Earth Day celebration.

“A Beautiful Planet” will receive a special presentation at the Giant Screen Cinema Association’s International Conference and Trade Show next week in San Francisco, with Myers unveiling footage from the film.

“A Beautiful Planet” was made in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa). It includes footage shot by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

“Toni has crafted a remarkable film that uniquely captures the raw beauty of our planet,” said Imax Entertainment CEO Greg Foster.

“‘A Beautiful Planet’ provides a unique perspective on our relationship with Earth, offering audiences a vantage point that very few have ever been able to experience,” said Alan Bergman, president of  Walt Disney Studios. “Imax is a perfect format for the film’s spectacular and immersive imagery. »

- Dave McNary

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Film Review: ‘Life in a Walk’

9 hours ago

Yogi Roth’s documentary “Life in a Walk” has a simple premise: After his father Will receives a prostate cancer diagnosis, Yogi realizes how much he’d hate to find himself wishing they’d spent more time together, and asks him to come along for a two-week walk along the famous Camino de Santiago through Portugal and Spain. It’s a sweet idea, and for father and son, the experience appears to have been a meaningful one. But it’s never entirely clear why they needed a camera crew tagging along, as the effect is sometimes more akin to watching a stranger’s unusually well-shot vacation footage. With its heart in the right place and nary a single cynical frame, the doc should exert a limited yet appreciative appeal as it goes out on VOD.

Yogi is a former college football player and assistant coach at USC who now works »


- Andrew Barker

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Michael Ealy, Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut Debate Diversity at ‘The Perfect Guy’ Premiere

9 hours ago

Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut and Michael Ealy hit the red carpet at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills on Wednesday for the world premiere of “The Perfect Guy.”

David M. Rosenthal directed the sexy psycho-thriller penned by Tyger Williams, the scribe behind “Menace II Society.” Although “The Perfect Guy” features three African American leads, Rosenthal said that he identified the cast as professionally-trained actors first.

“I don’t think any of us thought about race when we did this,” Rosenthal told Variety. “I think we were just making a movie and it was just about people in a place and relationships. It was refreshing to not put it in that context and not put a label on it. The studios wanted to do that and the actors wanted to do that, and ultimately, it sells.”

The film follows a woman (Lathan) who is stalked by an ex-boyfriend (Ealy), while »


- Mannie Holmes

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Telluride: Laurie Anderson’s ‘Heart of a Dog’ Bought by HBO, Abramorama

9 hours ago

Abramorama and HBO Documentary Films have acquired Laurie Anderson’s “Heart of a Dog” a day before its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival.

Abramorama will handle all North American rights excluding U.S. television rights, which have been granted to HBO. They will release the film theatrically in North America on Oct. 21 in New York, followed by a national release, while HBO will air the film in 2016.

“Heart of a Dog” will also screen at the Venice Film Festival in competition along with the Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival and San Sebastian Film Festival.

Anderson’s film centers on her rat terrier Lolabelle, who died in 2011. It includes childhood memories, video diaries, musings on data collection, surveillance culture and the Buddhist concept of the afterlife along with tributes to the artists, writers, musicians and thinkers who inspire her.

“I worked with Richard Abramowitz in another »

- Dave McNary

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Industry Vets Join Dodge College of Film and Media Arts Faculty

9 hours ago

Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts has hired six industry veterans to join the faculty for the fall 2015 semester.

Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, screenwriter Rachel Goldberg, producer and director Daniel Petrie Jr., director Donald Petrie, former New Line Cinema and Relativity marketing head Russell Schwartz, and Castle Rock Entertainment co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer Martin Shafer will all be joining the faculty.

“Bringing these Hollywood influentials into the classroom gives our students the chance to learn firsthand what’s happening in the business today,” says Dodge College Dean Robert Bassett. “At the same time, by sharing their time and expertise, these Hollywood faculty are invigorated by interacting with the next generation of young filmmakers. It is definitely a two-way exchange.”

Daniel Petrie will be teaching two screenwriting classes, while Donald Petrie will be teaching three directing classes. Isaacs will »


- Jacob Bryant

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Veteran Movie Executive Alan Glazer Launches Trimax Media

9 hours ago

Veteran movie executive Alan Glazer has launched multimedia company Trimax Media.

The new company has secured an unnamed private equity investor to cover its overhead and forged a production financing agreement with Canada-based Dominant Entertainment. The goal is to finance and produce as many as three films a year, with budgets ranging from $5 million to $40 million. It will also include broadcast programming and digital media.

Glazer most recently served as executive vice president at producer Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment.

Its first project will be a supernatural thriller entitled “Shadow Train,” which Glazer will produce alongside Dominant’s Michael Gianfriddo. Pre-production begins in January.

»


- Brent Lang

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Oscar Foreign-Language Entries Start Piling Up

9 hours ago

With just a month to go before the deadline, the Oscar foreign-language entries are starting to pile up, with nearly two dozen countries having sent in their films.

Among the earliest to name its entry was Hungary, which sent Cannes competition pic “Son of Saul,” directed by Laszlo Nemes.

Last year a record 83 countries submitted films and Italy’s “The Great Beauty,” directed by Paolo Sorrentino, won. The deadline to submit is Oct. 1. A committee will whittle that down to nine entries before the five nominated films are announced on Jan. 14. The Oscar ceremony will be held Feb. 28 at Dolby Theatre and air live on ABC.

Here is a list of entries so far by country, including the directors:

Bosnia & Herzegovina, “Our Everyday Life,” Ines Tanovic

China, “Wolf Totem,” Jean-Jacques Annaud

Croatia, “The High Sun,” Dalibor Matanic

Germany, “Labyrinth of Lies,” Giulio Ricciarelli

Greece, “Xenia,” Panos Koutras

Guatemala, “Ixcanul Volcano, »


- Shalini Dore

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Chris Evans Grew ‘Wildly Critical’ When Filming His Directorial Debut ‘Before We Go’

10 hours ago

Actor Chris Evans became much more self-critical when he hopped into the director’s chair for the first time during the filming of romantic comedy “Before We Go.”

“I feel wildly critical,” Evans confessed. “Being in the editing room is a hellish, hellish process. You see all your own little tricks and clutches and gimmicks. You have to walk in there with some thick skin.”

Evans and actress Alice Eve star as Nick Vaughan and Brooke Dalton, strangers who find themselves stranded in New York for the night with only 80 bucks and two non-functional credit cards between the two of them. Through the course of the night, the strangers become each other’s confidants as they work to sort out their love lives.

Eve believed that her co-star was adept at juggling all of his responsibilities for his directorial debut.

“You have to hold a lot of things in your »


- Jacob Bryant

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Digital Audience Ratings: Shyamalan Thriller Pays a ‘Visit’ to Top Spot, ‘Sicario’ Hits #2

10 hours ago

Each week Variety publishes ListenFirst Digital Audience Ratings (Dar) – Film, a measurement of fan engagement across all the major digital platforms as it relates to film (see the TV version here). Provided by ListenFirst Media, Dar – Film measures what entertainment content is resonating most across Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and Wikipedia combined. For more on the methodology behind Dar, scroll to the bottom of the article.

Digital Audience Ratings (Dar) – Film Weekly Top 5 Wednesday Aug 26, 2015 – Tuesday Sep 1, 2015 Rank Last Week Film Rating(000) 1 – The Visit 6,534 2 – Sicario 3,296 3 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3,005 4 – The Perfect Guy 2,561 5 1 No Escape 2,200 –

Key First time on the chart Pinnacle Rank –

Trending Wednesday Aug 26, 2015 – Tuesday Sep 1, 2015 Film Rating(000) % Change Woodlawn 279 +37,259% Sicario 3,296 +6,150% Rock the Kasbah 173 +2,885%

 

Insights:

Three new September releases debuted on the Dar-Film leaderboard this week thanks to a series of new TV spots. With theatrical releases just around the corner, “The Visit,” “Sicario,” and »


- Jason Klein

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