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Wild Bunch’s ‘150 Milligrams,’ from Emmanuelle Bercot, Opens San Sebastian

1 hour ago

Madrid — Sold by Wild Bunch, Emmanuelle Bercot’s “La Fille de Brest” (150 Milligrams) will open the 64th San Sebastian Festival, the highest-profile movie event in the Spanish-speaking world.

The Sept. 16 opening night berth marks another step-up in status for France’s Bercot, fast emerging as one of Europe’s most prominent writer-director-actresses after her annus mirabilis at Cannes last year when “La Tete haute” (Standing Tall), her fifth feature as a director, opened the festival while “Mon Roi” (My King) won her best actress at the 2015 event.

“150 Milligrams” also marks the fourth high-profile Wild Bunch title to date at the Spanish festival, which closes the festival with Jerome Salle’s “The Odyssey.” Wild Bunch is also handling world sales on one of San Sebastian’s most-anticipated competition contenders – Bertrand Bonello’s youth terrorist thriller “Nocturama,” plus Oliver Stone’s “Snowden,” which screens out of competition.

Reflected at other big fests, »


- John Hopewell

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Oscar-Winning Director Steve McQueen to Receive British Film Institute’s Fellowship

2 hours ago

Oscar-winning director-writer-producer Steve McQueen will receive the British Film Institute’s highest accolade, the BFI Fellowship, at the BFI London Film Festival’s awards ceremony on Oct. 15 at London’s Banqueting House.

Josh Berger, chair of the BFI, said: “He is one of the most influential and important British artists of the past 25 years and his work, both short and long-form, has consistently explored the endurance of humanity — even when it is confronted by inhumane cruelty — with a poetry and visual style that he has made his own.”

McQueen commented: “I first walked into the BFI library and cinema 28 years ago. To think that I will now be a Fellow and honorary member, with such a distinguished list of people, is mind-blowing. I’m humbly honored.”

The BFI Fellowship is being awarded to McQueen “in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film culture,” showcased in his range of artworks and three multi-award-winning features, »


- Leo Barraclough

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Haugesund: Helmer Praises Spirit of ‘The Lion Woman’

5 hours ago

“I was immediately captured by the characters — they were people I knew or had even met. And it was a timeless story, about universally human values, although it takes place more than 100 years ago,” said Norwegian writer-director Vibeke Idsøe of “The Lion Woman,” her period drama that had its world premiere Aug. 21 at the opening of the 44th Norwegian Intl. Film Festival in Haugesund.

“Most people have at some stage of their lives felt they were different, and beyond the usual scope of being loved — or thought they were. Here is a woman who certainly looks odd, and she knows it will never change; but will she stand up against it, or will it destroy her? This woman decides to fight,” Idsøe said.

Adapted from Norwegian author Erik Fosnes Hansen’s international bestseller, “The Lion Woman” is set between 1912-1937 and follows Eva, the daughter of the stationmaster in a small Norwegian community, »


- Jorn Rossing Jensen

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AFI Cancels ‘Birth of a Nation’ Screening, Nate Parker Q&A

5 hours ago

The American Film Institute has canceled its Friday screening of “Birth of a Nation,” which was to be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker and star Nate Parker, whose 1999 rape case has put the filmmaker and distributor Fox Searchlight on the defensive this past week.

AFI dean Jan Schuette made the announcement to students late Tuesday. The AFI screening would have been Parker’s first public event since the story about the rape case became widely known earlier this month.

“I have been the recipient of many different passionate points of view about the screening, and I believe it is essential that we discuss these issues together — messenger and message, gender, race and more — before we see the film,” Schuette said. “Next week, we will be scheduling a special moderated discussion so we may explore these issues together as artists and audience.”

Fox will hold a different AFI screening of “Birth” later this year. »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: ‘Greater’

7 hours ago

When it comes to the all-time greatest walk-on (i.e. non-scholarship) college football player, Arkansas offensive lineman Brandon Burlsworth easily bests Notre Dame’s more famous Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger. In terms of their biopics, however, “Greater” — an account of Burlsworth’s inspiring rise and tragic demise — pales in comparison to the latter’s beloved “Rudy.” An insistent, clunky sermon about triumph through faith, David Hunt’s film is so determined to turn its subject into a Christ-like saint that it loses any sense of him as an actual flesh-and-blood man, the result being a third-string sports saga only apt to play to its devout target audience.

Burlsworth was a heavyset Arkansas kid who, without any prior commitment from the nationally ranked team, fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming an Arkansas Razorbacks member in 1994 — a feat that was then surpassed when he became an all-American offensive lineman during his senior year, »


- Nick Schager

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Melissa Leo, Patton Oswalt Join Charlene deGuzman’s ‘Unlovable’

10 hours ago

Melissa Leo will star in Charlene deGuzman’s low-budget film “Unlovable,” which is being funded with a Kickstarter campaign.

Patton Oswalt has also joined the project as an associate producer for “Unlovable,” a story about a woman’s struggle with sex and love addiction. The project topped its $50,000 fundraising goal Tuesday with four days left in the campaign.

Unlovable” follows character named Joy, based on deGuzman’s own experiences which include entering a 12-step program in 2014.

Leo will be playing Maddie, Joy’s “fearless sponsor,” according to the site.

DeGuzman developed the story with independent film stalwart Mark Duplass, whose credits include “Jeff Who Lives at Home,” “The Skeleton Twins,” “Creep,” “The Do-Deca-Pentathlon” and HBO’s “Togetherness” .

Jen Roskind in producing. Yoonessi is directing from a script by deGuzman and Sarah Adina Smith.

Yoonesi and Leo previously teamed on the shorts “Dear Lemon Lima,” “Bomb” and “No Shoulder.”

DeGuzman’s »


- Dave McNary

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Film Review: ‘The Last Princess’ (Deok-hye Onju)

12 hours ago

Yi Deok-hye, the last royal member of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty, spent her whole life in captivity and exile, an archetypal damsel-in-distress with no fairy-tale ending. “The Last Princess,” directed by Hur Jin-ho (“Christmas in August”) with the old-school romanticism of Hollywood classics like “Anastasia” (1956), focuses on her desperate attempts to return to her homeland. A heart-rending lead performance by Son Ye-jin graces the heavily wrought melodrama with true pathos. Since opening, the film has reigned at the domestic box office and should crown its run with multiple overseas releases, including a Stateside bow.

The screenplay by Hur, Lee Han-eol, and Seo Yoo-min, based on Kwon Bi-young’s novel of the same title, spans the protagonist’s life, from her pampered childhood in Seoul’s Changdeok palace, to enforced residence in Japan and repatriation in old age. It’s part of a recent wave of colonial dramas helmed by Korea »


- Maggie Lee

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Ronald Reagan Biopic Draws ‘Soul Surfer’ Director Sean McNamara

13 hours ago

Soul SurferSean McNamara has signed to helm a Ronald Reagan biopic that’s set to start production next spring.

The independent movie, titled “Reagan,” will cover Reagan’s life from his teenage years through his becoming the 40th President in 1981 as seen through the eyes of a Kgb agent assigned to follow him during his presidency of the Screen Actors Guild between 1947 and 1952. Reagan testified in 1947 as a friendly witness at the start of hearings by the House Unamerican Activities Committee, which led to the creation of the Hollywood Blacklist.

Reagan was governor of California from 1967 to 1975 and easily won two terms as President. He died in 2004.

Space Cowboys” writer Howie Klausner is writing the script for the $25 million project. Mark Joseph is producing and Ralph Winter is executive producing.

David Henrie, who starred in Disney Channel’s “Wizards of Waverly Place,” has signed to star as the young Reagan. »


- Dave McNary

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Fox Film Chief Jim Gianopulos to Exit Early (Exclusive)

14 hours ago

Twentieth Century Fox Film chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos will be exiting the studio early, it announced on Tuesday.

The studio chief is departing Sept. 1 after being pushed aside in June in favor of Stacey Snider.

“We are incredibly grateful to Jim for his many contributions to our film business over his storied career at the studio and wish him much success on his next endeavors,” said Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch in a statement. “We are fortunate to have Stacey with us to lead the studio into its next chapter and are confident we will see great success under her headship.”

“I am so grateful to Jim for his guidance and friendship since I joined Fox,” said Snider. “We will all miss his wisdom and business instincts and wish him the best in whatever endeavors he takes on next. I am truly excited to embark upon this new challenge »


- Brent Lang and James Rainey

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Rumer Willis, Emma Dumont Starring in Thriller ‘What Lies Ahead’

14 hours ago

Rumer Willis and Emma Dumont are starring in the thriller “What Lies Ahead,” which has started principal photography in Kentucky.

Rob Gardner is directing from a script by William J. Viglione in which Dumont’s character and her boyfriend’s sister, portrayed by Willis, take an unexpected road trip from Georgia to New York in which an unseen peril emerges.

Gardner and Viglione are producing through their Lago Pictures company along with Joel Segal and Joe Burke. Jeff Mardis, Renee Mardis, Ray Perkins and Marv Dauer are executive producers.

Willis announced last week her “Over The Love Tour (A Post Modern Cabaret),” which kicks off in October with stops in Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Dallas. She won the 20th season of “Dancing with the Stars” last year, made her Broadway debut in September in “Chicago” as Roxie Hart and recently wrapped completed “Future World” opposite James Franco.

Dumont starred in »


- Dave McNary

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Patrick Wilson Boards Liam Neeson’s Thriller ‘The Commuter’

15 hours ago

Patrick Wilson is coming aboard the Liam Neeson thriller “The Commuter,” joining his “The Conjuring 2” star Vera Farmiga.

Jaume Collet-Serra is directing the film, marking the fourth collaboration between Neeson and Collet-Serra, who teamed up on last year’s “Run All Night,” 2013’s “Nonstop” and 2011’s “Unknown.”

Byron Willinger and Phil de Blasi wrote the script for Studiocanal and the Picture Company. The Picture Company’s Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman are producing. Collet-Serra will also serve as executive producer along with his Ombra Films partner Juan Sola.

Lionsgate bought U.S. rights for “The Commuter” and the “Our Kind of Traitor,” starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, in November at the American Film Market.

The Commuter” centers on a businessman caught up in a criminal conspiracy during his daily commute home. Wilson will portray a trusted friend of Neeson’s character and Farmiga will play a mysterious woman »


- Dave McNary

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AFI Faculty Calls for Firing of Dean Jan Schuette

15 hours ago

The faculty union at the American Film Institute today called upon the administration to fire Jan Schuette, the dean who took command of the elite conservatory in 2014.

In a letter to CEO Bob Gazzale and the AFI board, the union warned that the school is “on the brink of unraveling.” The letter alleged that Schuette had failed to consult with the faculty and created a culture of “fear and intimidation.”

Though the conflict has been brewing for at least a year, the union decided to go public with its concerns when five union members were dismissed this summer. The union accuses the AFI of retaliating against its membership, which the institute denies.

“The dean has lost the faith and trust and support of the faculty,” said Rob Spera, a directing instructor who led the effort to form a faculty union this spring. “He no longer can lead us. We’ve »


- Gene Maddaus

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Emma Stone Sings Melancholy Tune in Stunning ‘La La Land’ Teaser Trailer

16 hours ago

Damien Chazelle once again produces a jazz-hued cinematic experience with his latest film “La La Land.”

A new teaser trailer, released on Tuesday, shows Emma Stone’s character singing the melancholy tune “Audition” — one of six original songs in the film. The movie marks a reunion for Stone and Ryan Gosling, who first appeared together in the 2011 romantic comedy “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” and again in 2013’s crime thriller “Gangster Squad.”

With Los Angeles as the film’s backdrop, “La La Land” centers on aspiring actress Mia (Stone) and struggling jazz pianist Sebastian (Gosling) whose relationship begins to deteriorate as their careers blossom.

La La Land” also stars J. K. Simmons, who worked with Chazelle in his highly-acclaimed film “Whiplash.” The movie went on to win three Academy Awards, including a best supporting actor trophy for Simmons.

The musical will have its world premiere as the opening night pic at this year’s Venice Film Festival. »


- Arya Roshanian

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“Mechanic: Resurrection” Director Hopes to Turn Film Into Action Franchise

16 hours ago

The stars turned out for the Los Angeles premiere of “Mechanic: Resurrection” at Hollywood’s Arclight Cinema Monday night.

Celebrities such as Randy Couture, Chris D’Elia and Rosie Huntington Whiteley joined cast members Jason Statham, Jessica Alba and Sam Hazeldine on the red carpet, with revved-up fans screaming from every corner of the theater.

With the new film comes a new director, Dennis Gansel. Gansel stated that he saw the potential in a multi-million dollar franchise after seeing the 2011 reboot of the classic film, and hopes to expand the “Mechanic” series with additional sequels in the near future.

“I’ve always seen [protagonist] Arthur Bishop as sort of a dirty James Bond,” Gansel said. “I saw this as the perfect opportunity to make the franchise bigger and better, and also by choosing more exotic locations, like Rio and Thailand.”

Gansel, a native of Hanover, Germany, also discussed his love of working with Hollywood’s elite. »


- Arya Roshanian

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Li Bingbing in Talks for Shark Movie ‘Meg’ (Exclusive)

16 hours ago

Chinese actress Li Bingbing is in final talks to star opposite Jason Statham and Jessica McNamee in Warner Bros. prehistoric shark tentpole “Meg.”

National Treasure” helmer Jon Turteltaub will direct the film. Fan Bingbing had been cast but has departed due to scheduling issues.

The film will be co-financed by Flagship Entertainment; Gravity Pictures, a division of China Media Capital (Cmc); and Warner Bros. Gravity Pictures will distribute the film in China, with Warners handling elswhere.

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Belle Avery and Colin Wilson are producing. Executive producers are Wei Wayne Jiang, Barrie M. Osborne, Randy Greenberg and Gerald R. Molen.

Meg” is set for a March 2, 2018, release. The story is based on Steve Alten’s novel “Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror,” published in 1997, in which the ancient Megalodon species is discovered to have survived in the Mariana Trench due to a barrier of cold water.

Meg” centers »


- Dave McNary

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Stx Acquires Virtual Reality Creator, Distributor Surreal

16 hours ago

Flush with new investment from Chinese and other backers, Stx Entertainment announced it is expanding its multi-platform business into virtual reality with the acquisition of Surreal, a producer and distributor of “immersive content” experiences.

The acquisition will lead to the formation of Stx’s first full-scale division in the new media field and will bring in-house Surreal’s two founders, Rick Rey and Andy Vick.

The duo and their company have produced more than 70 immersive experiences in the last year, which have been viewed more than 35 million times across various platforms, according to an announcement from Stx.

Sophie Watts, president of Stx Entertainment, predicted that talent will be drawn to the company because of the ability they will have to create content across multiple platforms. “Stx will become the number one destination for talent, brands, and content creators seeking a way to create programming designed to play on every Vr system, »


- James Rainey

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‘Ben-Hur’ Could Lose $100 Million at Box Office

16 hours ago

Ben-Hur” could lose $100 million after collapsing at the box office last weekend.

The biblical epic cost well over $100 million to produce and tens of millions to market and distribute globally. That amounts to a hefty price, one that stands little chance of being recouped following “Ben-Hur’s” paltry $11.2 million domestic debut. The film will be lucky to top out at $30 million when it finishes its stateside run, and will almost certainly shed screens next weekend as theaters try to move more popular films onto that real estate.

Those estimates come from executives at rival studios. Sources close to the film, however, believe the ultimate losses will likely be between $60 million and $75 million, because they think that the film could do well on DVD and other home entertainment platforms. “Ben-Hur” seemed to resonate more strongly in the South, particularly with faith-based consumers.

Overseas, “Ben-Hur” may fare better. The film kicked off to $10.7 million from 18 international markets, »


- Brent Lang

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HanWay Hires Bloom’s Gabrielle Stewart to Lead World Sales Operation

17 hours ago

Gabrielle Stewart has been appointed managing director of world sales company HanWay Films. Its slate includes Lone Scherfig’s “Their Finest,” starring Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin and Bill Nighy, Juan Carlos Medina’s “The Limehouse Golem,” and Khyentse Norbu’s “Hema-Hema,” which are all bound for the Toronto Film Festival.

Stewart joins the London-based company, chaired by producer Jeremy Thomas, in October, replacing Thorsten Schumacher, who announced his departure in July.

Stewart has served as senior VP of international sales and distribution at Los Angeles-based Bloom Media since she left Exclusive Media with Alex Walton to establish the company three years ago. Prior to Exclusive she spent eight years in London at Focus Features International, where she served as VP of international sales. She started out in the business at Renaissance Films. Stewart will remain part of the Bloom team during the Toronto Film Festival.

Thomas said: “For nearly 20 years »


- Leo Barraclough

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NBCUniversal Sets New DreamWorks Animation Chain of Command

18 hours ago

The day after the closing of the $3.8 billion deal that put DreamWorks Animation under the Comcast corporate umbrella, the company announced the new management structure that will oversee the cartoon studio.

Stepping down, after a transition period, will be DreamWorks Animation President Ann Daly. Her departure will be cushioned by a nearly $40 million severance package revealed in a regulatory filing Monday.

DreamWorks’ co-presidents of feature animation, Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria, will now report to Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley.

Margie Cohn, head of animation TV, will lead a newly integrated combination of the television animation shops for DreamWorks and Universal. She will report to Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Jeff Shell.

The joint games unit, along with digital and consumer products for Universal and DreamWorks, will be headed by Vince Klaseus, NBCUniversal’s brand development president. He will also report to Shell.

Following the closing of NBCUniversal’s acquisition of DreamWorks Animation yesterday, »


- James Rainey

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After ‘The Infiltrator’ Fizzles, Broad Green Plots Its Comeback

18 hours ago

Gabriel Hammond was frustrated.

After “The Infiltrator” — a thriller about an agent trying to bring down drug kingpin Pablo Escobar — collapsed at the box office, Hammond assembled the staff of his Broad Green Pictures in the sleek corporate headquarters he’d spared no expense outfitting. The gleaming offices in the heart of Hollywood, which include a commissary and screening room, have inspired envy and gossip among the chattering classes, who say that Hammond and his brother, Daniel, are profligate moviemakers in danger of losing their shirts.

But Hammond’s message that day in July was different. There was no reason “The Infiltrator” shouldn’t have connected with consumers, he said. After all, it featured Bryan Cranston in a showy role, and had arrived with critical raves. But after Broad Green had spent $20 million to buy, market, and distribute “The Infiltrator,” the film netted only $15.1 million at the box office.

“Audiences »


- Brent Lang

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