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Entertainment Education: 20 Schools Offering Competitive Film Instruction

44 minutes ago

These 20 standout schools offer competitive, world-renowned cinema instruction for aspiring filmmakers:

American Film Institute

Los Angeles

With several of its alumni receiving awards and nominations during the 2016-17 awards season, AFI’s newly implemented programs aim to further increase the progression of students from education to the workforce. Students have the opportunity to take screenwriting courses that employ the collaborative format of a TV writers’ room for creating pilots, and participate in the AFI Writers’ Room Ready, pairing graduating screenwriters and their pilot scripts with accomplished AFI mentors. This year, AFI alumnus and cinematographer Frederick Elmes will receive the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal, an honor that recognizes the exceptional creative talents of an AFI alum who embodies the qualities of cinematographer Schaffner.

Art Center College of Design

Pasadena, Calif.

The private Pasadena college boasts a wide range of educational partnerships, allowing students to collaborate with industry partners and gain real-world experience. »


- Variety Staff

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Israeli Filmmaking Programs Transform the Lives of At-Risk Youth

44 minutes ago

Israel’s film and television industry is one of its most lucrative exports, with series such as “Fauda” and the feature-length comedy “Zero Motivation” packing a collective critical punch on American screens. But the power of film is also being used for good in the Middle East nation.

The Lahav Assn., a nonprofit project founded in 1998 by director, producer and drama therapist Sylvain Biegeleisen, is changing the lives of children on Israel’s periphery — the low-income, low-achieving communities that exist beyond the satellites of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv — by harnessing the transformative power of film. Filmmaking, say Udi Segal and Itai Kahn, chairperson and director of the organization respectively, can also function as therapy. Working alongside schools and government funds, Lahav helps kids on the brink to make movies about the topics that are directly affecting their lives: violence, race relations, parental issues, social gaps and bullying.

It’s a cinematic twist on art therapy, »


- Malina Saval and Debra Kamin

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Educational Exchanges at Leading Film Schools Close Cultural Gaps

44 minutes ago

While U.S. and Chinese studios attempt to uncover the formula for cracking each other’s markets, a number of colleges and universities have begun an educational exchange in which American and Chinese film students become immersed in an array of disciplines from each other’s film industries, from technology and storytelling to law, ethics and communication.

The long-term goal of such programs is to not only foster what Robert Bassett, dean of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, describes as “an amalgam of Chinese and Western storytelling that’s satisfying to both cultures,” but also a stronger connection between both countries and cultures.

According to Forbes.com, China’s box office revenues in 2016 totaled nearly $6.6 billion, placing it second only to the United States in terms of ticket sales and number of theaters (an estimated 39,000). Should China continue these modest gains, says Michael Ellis, Motion Picture Assn. »


- Paul Gaita

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Variety’s Mentor of the Year, Bradley Battersby, Takes Experimental Approach to Teaching Film

44 minutes ago

When Bradley Battersby was hired to head the undergraduate film department at Ringling College of Art and Design in 2009, the program was so small fellow professors on campus didn’t even know that it existed.

“We were pretty nimble, we had a new curriculum and it was a little bland,” says Battersby, who is being honored by Variety as Mentor of the Year, of those nascent days at the Sarasota school. “We had just gone through accreditation, and we had to change everything. I had to get the word out about it, the college didn’t even know we had a film program. They had tried before to get momentum, they had gone through two other department heads, but it was tough.

“Ringling was out in front in terms of making art with computers — in particular, its animation program grew up literally alongside Pixar — so they had tasted success and »


- Malina Saval

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Entertainment Education: 30 Stellar Film Schools in 2017

44 minutes ago

Variety picks 30 stellar academies in the U.S. and abroad:

Altos de Chavon Film School

Dominican Republic

The La Romana film school is a two-year program in audiovisual media, offering both theoretical and practical study in screenwriting, film production, animation techniques, digital post-production and design. The school integrates its other disciplines — fine art, fashion and visual communication — into the film studies program to provide a broader perspective of artistic and cultural images.

Boston University

Boston

Entering the second year of offering its pioneering Mfa in cinema and media production, Boston University’s Department of Film and Television at its College of Communication promotes a collaborative team approach focused on developing, prepping and shooting a thesis project, aimed at preparing students for the creative collaboration they will experience in the professional sphere.

California Institute of the Arts

Valencia, Calif.

CalArts boasts a list of distinguished alumni, including Tim Burton, Brenda Chapman, »


- Variety Staff

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M. Night Shyamalan Unveils ‘Split’/’Unbreakable’ Sequel Starring Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson

1 hour ago

M. Night Shyamalan has unveiled a sequel to his films “Split” and “Unbreakable,” called “Glass,” which will conclude the movie trilogy.

The film stars Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, and Anya Taylor-Joy. Universal Pictures and Blumhouse are producing and the film, which will be released on Jan. 18, 2019.

Shyamalan announced the news on Wednesday in a series of tweets.

 

My new film is the sequel to #Unbreakable And #Split. It was always my dream to have both films collide in this third film.

M. Night Shyamalan (@MNightShyamalan) April 26, 2017

The title of the new film appears to be derived from Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah Price character in “Unbreakable” — also known by his pseudonym Mr. Glass.  Willis also returns as  the David Dunn character from “Unbreakable.”

McAvoy is reprising his “Split” role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the 23 multiple identities including The Beast who reside within. Also returning is Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, »


- Dave McNary

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Miramax Hires Veteran Producer Bill Block as CEO

1 hour ago

Miramax has named entertainment industry veteran Bill Block as Chief Executive Officer, four months after Steven Schoch left the post.

Block’s best known for serving as the founder and CEO of production company-financier Qed. Prior to that, Block was the president of Artisan Entertainment and headed West Coast operations for ICM.

“Bill’s extensive experience across numerous platforms, combined with his deep knowledge of the industry, makes him outstandingly qualified to propel Miramax into this new and transformative world of distribution, content and sales,” said Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Chairman of Miramax and beIN Media Group. “Miramax is committed to expand production and acquisitions in film and television and Bill’s strong leadership will surely lead Miramax successfully into the future, and we are thrilled to have him on board.”

Miramax was founded in 1979 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein and sold to the Walt Disney Company in 1993 — by which time, it »


- Dave McNary

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Hollywood Reacts to Oscar-Winning Director Jonathan Demme’s Death

1 hour ago

Hollywood was quick to mourn the loss of the acclaimed director Jonathan Demme, who died of cancer complications.

Demme made about as big a splash in Hollywood as anyone ever has with 1991’s “The Silence of the Lambs” which earned five Oscars including best director for Demme. His follow-up, 1993’s “Philadelphia,” earned Tom Hanks his first Academy Award.

His most recent work behind the camera was an episode of the Fox police drama “Shots Fired,” which is scheduled to air on April 26 — the same day the director’s death was announced. He also recently filmed Justin Timberlake’s 2016 concert tour documentary “Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids.” His most recent feature was the Meryl Streep starrer, “Ricki and the Flash.”

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Jonathan Demme, ‘Silence of the Lambs’ Director, Dies at 73

The producers of “Shots FiredGina Prince-Bythewood and Reggie Rock Bythewood wrote, “We mourn the passing of Jonathan Demme. He was »


- Seth Kelley

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Jonathan Demme, ‘Silence of the Lambs’ Director, Dies at 73

2 hours ago

Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme died Wednesday in New York of cancer complications, his publicist told Variety. He was 73 years old.

Demme is best known for directing “The Silence of the Lambs,” the 1991 horror-thriller that was a box office smash, a critical triumph, and introduced moviegoers to Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter, a charismatic serial with a yen for Chianti, fava beans, and cannibalism. The story of a novice FBI analyst (Jodie Foster) on the trail of a murderer became only the third film in history to win Academy Awards in all the top five categories ( picture, actor, actress, director, and adapted screenplay), joining the ranks of “It Happened One Night” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Though he had his greatest success terrifying audiences, most of Demme’s work was looser and quirkier. In particular, he showed a great humanism and an empathy for outsiders in the likes of “Melvin and Howard, »


- Brent Lang and Carmel Dagan

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Tribeca Film Review: ‘Psychopaths’

3 hours ago

Devoid of characters or a story about which one might care, “Psychopaths” proves to be a fright-free pastiche without purpose — save, that is, for unimaginatively paying homage to a string of superior genre predecessors. As in his prior “Carnage Park,” writer-director Mickey Keating offers up a schizo nightmare that’s narratively splintered to pieces and rife with nods toward his favorite ’70s and ’80s horror movies. However, there’s so little substance or originality to this lurid, abstract affair that it comes off as simply a faded grindhouse collage. Even in the midnight-movie arena, its dull derivativeness will likely spell its doom.

An introductory video recording of death-row killer Starkweather (Larry Fessenden) ranting and raving about how his “children will inherit the Earth” sets the hysterical and nonsensical tone of “Psychopaths,” whose narrator (Jeff Daniel Phillips) informs us that Starkweather’s prophesy — namely, that his evil spirit will possess other »


- Nick Schager

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Netflix Considers Limited Theatrical Release in France for Cannes In-Competition Films

3 hours ago

After facing pressure from foreign distributors in recent weeks, Netflix is considering a limited theatrical release in France for its movies that are playing at the Cannes Film Festival.

This marks the first year that Netflix has opened films at the prestigious film festival in the south of France. Two of its titles will be debuting in competition there: Bong Joon-ho’s monster movie “Okja” with Jake Gyllenhaal, and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories,” starring Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller.

Netflix’s inclusion in the glitziest film gathering in the world shows just how far the new-media giant has come in a remarkably short time. It was only in 2015 that the company made its big push into producing its own films with “Beasts of No Nation.” But its iconoclastic distribution strategy, one that forgoes a traditional theatrical release in favor of launching directly to its streaming-service subscribers, has made it controversial, »


- Ramin Setoodeh

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Paul Verhoeven to Direct ‘Blessed Virgin,’ Based on True Story of Lesbian Nun

5 hours ago

Paul Verhoeven’s next project will be “Blessed Virgin,” which will see the director re-team with producer Said Ben Said and actress Virginie Efira from “Elle” on a film about a lesbian nun.

The new French-language project was revealed late Tuesday night in a tweet by Said and confirmed by production company Sbs on Wednesday.

In “Blessed Virgin,” Belgian actress Efira, who had a key role in “Elle,” will play a 17th-century nun who suffers from disturbing religious and erotic visions. A companion is assigned to assist her through these visions, and the relationship between the two women develops into a romantic affair.

The film is based on a 1986 book by Judith C. Brown, “Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy.” Based on candid archival documents, “Immodest Acts” tells the true account of the rise and fall of Sister Benedetta Carlini, abbess of the Convent of »


- Robert Mitchell

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Telecinco Cinema to Receive the CineEurope Independent Producer of the Year Award

5 hours ago

Madrid — Telecinco Cinema, the film production arm of Mediaset España, Spain’s biggest TV network, has won the 2017 CineEurope Independent Producer of the Year Award.

Adjudicated by the International Union of Cinema (Unic), Europe’s umbrella assn. of national exhibitor associations. Telecinco Cinema’s two driving forces, CEO Ghislain Barrois, and Alvaro Augustin, its director general, will accept the Award at the 26th CineEurope, whose prize ceremony takes place on June 22 in Barcelona.

Described by Andrew Sunshine, VP of the Film Expo Group, which manages CineEurope, as “one of the major feature film studios no only in the Spanish market but in Europe also,” Telecinco Cinema launched in 1999 as Estudios Picasso Fabrica de Ficción, which channeled a government-imposed obligation to invest part of its revenues in Spanish or other European movie production.

Making a virtue out of a necessity, Telecinco Cinema has gone on to co-produce six of the top »


- John Hopewell

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Cannes: Protagonist Picks Up Directors’ Fortnight Film ‘The Rider’

6 hours ago

Protagonist Pictures has come on board to handle worldwide sales on Cannes Directors’ Fortnight title “The Rider,” written and directed by Chloé Zhao, Protagonist CEO Mike Goodridge said Wednesday. This is Zhao’s second feature and second film selected for Directors’ Fortnight.

Based on the true story of Brady Jandreau, the film stars Jandreau along with Tim Jandreau, Lilly Jandreau, Lane Scott and Cat Clifford. While visiting the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for her first feature, “Songs My Brothers Taught Me,” Zhao connected with a group of Lakota cowboys, including Brady, and wrote “The Rider” around his “tragic and ultimately universal story.”

“Once a rising star of the rodeo circuit, young cowboy Brady is warned that his competition days are over after a tragic riding accident. Back home, Brady finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a »


- Leo Barraclough

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Stars of ‘Babylon Berlin,’ Netflix’s ‘Dark’ Join Effort to Highlight German Cinema (Exclusive)

7 hours ago

Six German actors have been chosen to lead the second wave of an effort to highlight German cinema around the world after a year that saw the success of such films as Oscar-nominated “Toni Erdmann” and high-end television dramas like “Deutschland 83.”

Volker Bruch (pictured, far left), star of Tom Tykwer’s eagerly anticipated TV series “Babylon Berlin” from Sky, will join up-and-coming actors Louis Hofmann and Jannis Niewoehner as well as more established stars Alexander Fehling, Ronald Zehrfeld and Tom Schilling in the “Face to Face With German Films” campaign. The initiative by national film-promotion body German Films was first launched last fall with six leading German actresses, including “Toni Erdmann” star Sandra Hueller.

The six actors are to serve as ambassadors of German cinema at festivals and events around the world, and will all attend next month’s Cannes Film Festival for the new phase’s official launch. »


- Robert Mitchell

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Max Richter, ‘The Leftovers’ Composer, Signs With Decca Publishing

8 hours ago

German composer Max Richter, whose ambient, post-minimalist style has made him popular with directors as from Michael Scorsese to Michael Bay, is the first artist to sign a long-term, global publishing deal with Universal Music’s newly launched Decca Publishing.

Richter has been the composer of record on HBO’s “The Leftovers,” now in season three, and excerpts from “On the Nature of Daylight,” from his 2004 album “The Blue Notebooks,” can be heard in Scorsese’s 2010 film” Shutter Island” and 2016’s “Arrival” (which its integral use to bookend the narrative resulted in Oscar disqualification for Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score).

Richter’s music was also a standout among Super Bowl 51 syncs, providing the evocative backing track to Paramount’s promo for this summer’s “Transformers: The Last Knight.” For all that, Richter is still a relative unknown in mainstream entertainment circles, something Universal and Decca plan to change.

Max Richter »


- Paula Parisi

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China Sets Day-and-Date Releases for ‘Transformers,’ ‘Despicable Me’

10 hours ago

At least four major Hollywood films – “Wonder Woman,” “Cars 3,” “Transformers: The Last Knight” and “Despicable Me 3” – will enjoy day-and-date theatrical releases in China in June.

Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman” will release in China on June 2, in a day-and-date outing aligned with the North American and international releases.

Disney’s “Cars 3” is scheduled for June 16, simultaneous with the sequel’s North American release.

Transformers” has been given a June 23 slot, again a day-and-date with North America.

Universal’s Illumination Entertainment-produced “Despicable Me” will reach Chinese audiences on June 30.

In an earlier announcement, Disney revealed that Shanghai will host the world premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” on May 11, ahead of a commercial release on May 26.

Hollywood studios are not permitted to handle release of their own films in China. Those titles imported under the revenue-sharing quota are distributed by state-owned enterprise China Film Co. »


- Patrick Frater

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Tribeca Film Review: ‘The Divine Order’

11 hours ago

The long-fought battle for women’s suffrage in America ended in 1920, but it wasn’t until 1971 that Switzerland granted its female population the right to vote. “The Divine Order” revisits this fight for equality through the fictional lens of a housewife in one of the country’s remote villages, where her mounting desire for autonomy and actualization is opposed by backward-thinking cretins of both genders. Though the film’s feel-good construction undercuts its ability to surprise, Petra Volpe’s cine-history lesson remains a mainstream crowd-pleaser adept at inspiring and amusing in equal measure.

Nora (Marie Leuenberger) spends her days doing laundry, making beds and vacuuming around her domineering father-in-law, and her nights cooking and caring for husband Hans (Max Simonischek) and their two sons. At first, see seems agreeably submissive to this life of routine servitude. But unfamiliar stirrings of outrage over her place in society — and that of her »


- Nick Schager

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Tribeca Film Review: ‘One Percent More Humid’

12 hours ago

“You used to be so original,” spits a spurned character to her partner near the end of “One Percent More Humid,” but from the outset, writer-director Liz W. Garcia’s indie drama plays like a tag sale of cinematic clichés, each one piled haphazardly atop another. A dreamy tale of guilt and grief whose affectations prevent any sort of genuine engagement with those emotions, this story about two girls coping with their role in the death of a friend has sporadic moments of genuine passion and humor. Mostly, though, it unravels at a pace far faster than it can spin the stories of its protagonists, limiting the prospects of this Tribeca Film Festival entry.

In an upstate New England university town, twentysomething Iris (Juno Temple) is joined by best friend Catherine (Julia Garner) to waste away the summer smoking weed and skinny-dipping at the local lake. Catherine’s so rich »


- Nick Schager

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Korea’s Yu Ji-tae Joins Lars von Trier’s ‘The House That Jack Built’

12 hours ago

South Korean actor, Yu Ji-tae has joined the cast of maverick filmmaker Lars von Trier’s upcoming “The House That Jack Built.” Yu is the first Asian actor to appear in a von Trier movie.

Set in the U.S. in the 1970s, “House” revolves around a serial killer played by Matt Dillon. Uma Thurman, Bruno Ganz, and Riley Keough are also on board.

Yu won the role following a joint pitch by producer Zentropa Entertainment and and Korean distributor Atnine Film. Neither company has revealed details of his role, which Yu finished shooting in Sweden in late March.

Known for his role in Park Chan-wook’s 2003 hardboiled thriller “Old Boy,” Yu has expanded his career into directing, producing and film festival organizing. His recent filmography includes crime drama “Split,” which is now in competition at Italy’s Udine Far East Film Festival. “House” is set for a 2018 release.

Related »


- Sonia Kil

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