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What Happened to the Women Directors in Hollywood? Part 5: 2000–2017

24 March 2017 2:02 PM, PDT | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

Mira Nair and Ava DuVernay: Wikimedia Commons/IndiaFM/Bollywoodhungama/usbotschaftberlin

by Carrie Rickey

This five-part Truthdig series by Carrie Rickey is published in partnership with Women and Hollywood. The series considers the historic accomplishments of women behind the camera, how they got marginalized, and how they are fighting for equal employment. Specifically, this series asks, why do females make up between 33 and 50 percent of film-school graduates but account for only seven percent of working directors? What happened to the women directors in Hollywood?

Female filmmakers greeted the 21st century with optimism. By most measures, movies by women were garnering increased respect in the industry and at the multiplex. Their makers cracked glass ceilings, created new genres, and established new box-office records.

With “Nowhere in Africa” (2001), Caroline Link became the second woman to direct the Oscar-winner for the year’s best foreign film. With “Lost in Translation” (2003), Sofia Coppola was the third woman to receive a best director nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And with “The Hurt Locker” (2009), Kathryn Bigelow was the fourth woman nominated in the directing category — and the first to win. The following year, Danish filmmaker Susanna Bier directed the winner in the best foreign film category, “In a Better World.”

Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “Love & Basketball” (2000), Karyn Kusama’s “Girlfight” (2000) and Gurinder Chadha’s “Bend It Like Beckham” (2003) created what might be called the “Title IX” movie, celebrating female athletes on the court, in the ring, and on the field. These are sports movies that celebrate the female body — not for its sex appeal, but for its power. These films inspired younger women (and their mothers were thrilled to take them to movies that didn’t objectify women).

Comedies by women continued to make serious box office, proving the Hollywood wisdom that “funny is money.” Nancy Meyers’ “What Women Want” (2000), starring Mel Gibson as a player briefly given the power to hear what women think about him, made $374 million. Sharon Maguire’s “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001), in which the title character says what she thinks about womanizers and prigs, brought in $282 million. Movies like these permitted men and women to laugh at men’s foibles.

From Patricia Cardoso’s “Real Women Have Curves” (2002), which introduced America Ferrera as a college-bound Latina, to Julie Taymor’s biopic “Frida” (2003), with Salma Hayek as Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, to Patty Jenkins’ “Monster” (2003), with Charlize Theron as serial killer Aileen Wuornos, audiences saw realistic women — as opposed to human swizzle sticks with breasts — in movies by women.

Many critics hailed Niki Caro’s “Whale Rider” (2003), about a Maori preteen who challenges her tribal patriarchy and becomes the new chief, as a harbinger of the triumph of female filmmakers over the status quo. Others pointed to the fact that for the first time since records had been kept, in 2000 women made 11 percent of the top 250 box office films. For women who make movies, the new century felt like a new day.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Sadly, that encouraging percentage turned out to be a fluke. After 2000, the number dwindled. It remains stuck in the 6 to 9 percent range, says Martha Lauzen, professor of communications and head of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. Since 1998 Lauzen has tracked women working in the industry in her annual “Celluloid Ceiling” report.

“When I started this, I thought it was merely an issue of people not knowing how low the numbers were,” Lauzen said ruefully. “I didn’t know how slow social change is.”

Lauzen’s reporting represents one of three vital resources for understanding the triumphs female filmmakers have made and how far they need to go to achieve parity with men. The others are Stacy Smith’s Media Diversity and Social Change Institute at USC’s Annenberg School and The Bunche Center at UCLA.

Collectively and individually, these creators of annual good news/bad news reports have kept the issue of representation in the public eye.

The Good: For Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker,” “Zero Dark Thirty”), the late Nora Ephron (“Julie & Julia”), and Nancy Meyers (“It’s Complicated,” “The Intern”), the 21st century has been a fruitful time. So, too, for younger female moviemakers. Consider Lisa Cholodenko (“Laurel Canyon,” “The Kids Are All Right”), Ava DuVernay (“Selma,” “13th”), and Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding,” “The Namesake”).

Consider also that Catherine Hardwicke established a franchise with “Twilight” (which made $393 million), Sam Taylor-Johnson created another with “50 Shades of Grey” ($571 million), and that Anne Fletcher’s “The Proposal” made $317 million and Phyllida Lloyd’s “Mamma Mia!” earned $609 million.

Additionally, filmmakers like Dee Rees (“Pariah”), Debra Granik (“Winter’s Bone”), and Lone Scherfig (“An Education”) broke into the market with unique visions and eyes for new talent, including Adepero Oduye, Jennifer Lawrence, and Carey Mulligan. Significantly, Vicky Jenson (“Shrek”), Jennifer Lee (“Frozen”), Jennifer Yuh Nelson (“Kung Fu Panda 2”), and Brenda Chapman (“Brave”) staked a place for women in animation.

The Bad: For every woman appearing onscreen in movies in 2015 there were 2.3 men, according to Stacy Smith’s Media Diversity & Social Change Initiative.

The Ugly: When Walt Hickey, culture reporter for the website fivethirtyeight.com, goes to the movies and sees the screen population is 69 percent male, it just looks wrong to him. “It’s like something apocalyptic has happened, like a parallel universe — a man’s world,” he says.

Both Lauzen’s and Smith’s data show that when a woman is behind the camera and/or screenplay, 39 percent of protagonists are female. In movies by male directors, only four percent of the lead characters are female.

A century ago, male dominance behind the camera and on the screen was not the norm. For women behind the camera, it’s been the norm since 1920. And for women onscreen, it’s been the norm since 1950. Because of this, moviegoers have a distorted picture of America as predominantly male and predominantly Caucasian, when it is neither. (For finer-grain data on minority representation, see this annual report from UCLA’s Bunche Center.)

The Force Reawakens

The Hollywood Dream Factory tailors the majority of its product to the measurements of the men in the audience. This troubles those who want their daughters to partake of the same professional opportunities, cultural representation, and dream lives as their sons. While “Nine to Five,” “Norma Rae,” and “Erin Brockovich” show that studios love stories of women who triumph over the odds, there is less obvious love for female filmmakers trying to beat the odds stacked against them in their professional lives.

Since the Original Six filed suit against two studios in 1983 (see Part 3), female filmmakers have met, strategized, and troubleshot. So much so that in one of her final essays before her death in 2012, Nora Ephron made a list of “Things I Won’t Miss.” Near the top: “Panels on Women in Film.” Many women in film felt as though they were running in place.

“Instead of holding a million panels about it,” Christine Vachon, producer of “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Carol,” exclaimed at the 2016 Sundance Festival, “let’s do something about it!”

Someone had. She is Maria Giese, director of the feature films “When Saturday Comes” and “Hunger.” In February 2013 she brought a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Eeoc) in Los Angeles. Her contention was that the cohort of working filmmakers in the Directors Guild of America (DGA), of which she is a member, was overwhelmingly male.

(While the number of women in the guild directing episodic television amounts to 17 percent, the DGA 2015 census of female filmmakers registered 6.4 percent. That’s lower than the nine percent of female coal miners, and fractional next to the 32 percent of practicing physicians and 36 percent of practicing lawyers who are women).

The Eeoc, which collects data on employer/employee relations for each calendar year, was reluctant to take on a class-action suit.

In April 2013, Giese contacted the Aclu of Southern California and showed the evidence to Melissa Goodman, director of its Lgbtq, Gender & Reproductive Justice Project. For the next two years Goodman and her colleague Ariela Migdal took testimony from more than 50 female directors. In May 2015 they sent the Eeoc an extraordinary letter that counted the ways in which “female filmmakers are effectively excluded from directing big-budget films and seriously underrepresented in television.” A compelling argument in their letter: “The entertainment industry employs many people and makes products that profoundly shape our culture and the perception of women and girls.” Later in 2015, the Eeoc commenced its own investigation.

In January 2017, based on a high-level internal DGA leak received by Giese, Deadline Hollywood reported that after a federal investigation spanning a year that included testimony from over 100 women directors, the Eeoc recently served charges of sex discrimination and unfair hiring practice against all six major studios. While the federal agency does not comment on active cases, Gillian Thomas and Melissa Goodman of the Aclu wrote in an editorial that they had no reason to doubt the veracity of the leak.

A key factor contributing to Giese’s success in getting this issue to the Aclu and Eeoc was her ability to expose the structural obstacles female filmmakers face, from a guild that puts female and minority filmmakers in the same category, to the studios that question the fitness of women to direct.

Myths and Continued Underrepresentation

Over the 25 years I’ve reported on female filmmakers, I’ve interviewed two generations of movie executives. Most, but not all, were male. Most took seriously my questions about the apparent exclusion of women behind the camera, both on the screen and their forthcoming line-up.

Without exception, all of them retold one or more of the “Three Hollywood Myths.”

Myth #1) “Women don’t want to direct action movies and those are the films which are making money.”

Untrue. See: Martha Coolidge’s “Real Genius” (1985), Kathryn Bigelow’s “Point Break” (1991), Mimi Leder’s “The Peacemaker” (1997) and “Deep Impact” (1998), Lexi Alexander’s “Punisher: War Zone” (2008), and Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” (2009) and “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012).

What is true is that Patty Jenkins was hired to direct “Thor: The Dark World” (2013) and left due to creative differences. She is now working on the forthcoming “Wonder Woman.”

What is true is that Mira Nair was offered a “Harry Potter” film and chose instead to make the family drama “The Namesake” because the material was more important to her, and that Ava DuVernay was offered “Black Panther,” the film version of the Marvel Comics series, and declined for similar reasons.

Myth #2) “Movies by women don’t make money.”

Untrue again. Some movies by women don’t make back their investment, just as some movies by men do not. What is true is that many movies by women make major bank. Catherine Hardwicke’s little $37 million film “Twilight” grossed $393 million and launched a billion-dollar franchise.

Hardwicke told me by phone that she hears all the time from studios that films by women are poor investments. “And every time you say, ‘Well, this one made money, that one made money,’ they say, ‘This one made money because it was based on a best-selling book,’ or ‘That one made money because of its hot actress.’”

Here are six more films by women and their box-office grosses. They made money because they powerfully connected with audiences.

Bend it Like Beckham” (Gurinder Chadha). Cost: $6 million/Gross: $77 million“Frida” (Julie Taymor). Cost: $12 million/Gross: $56 million“Frozen” (Jennifer Lee). Cost: $150 million/Gross: $1.2 billion“The Proposal” (Anne Fletcher). Cost: $40 million/Gross: $317 million“Selma” (Ava DuVernay). Cost: $20 million/Gross $67 million“Lost in Translation” (Sofia Coppola). Cost: $4 million/Gross $120 million

Myth #3) “A woman behind the camera means women on the screen and no men in the audience.”

Untrue, if taken literally. Sometimes movies by women have a lower percentage of men in the audience, just as sometimes movies by men have a lower percentage of women in the audience. Take, for example, the 2015 films, “Bridge of Spies” by Steven Spielberg and “The Intern” by Nancy Meyers.

According to Paul Dergarabedian of comScore, the research company’s “PostTrak” data shows the audience gender breakdown at “Bridge of Spies,” a ’60s-era political thriller starring Tom Hanks, was 54 percent male and 46 percent female. For “The Intern,” a contemporary workplace comedy co-starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, it was 41 percent male and 59 percent female. Spielberg’s film grossed $165 million; Meyers’ $194 million. His budget was $40 million; hers was $35 million.

Ava DuVernay’s “Selma,” the story of the 1965 march for voting rights led by Martin Luther King and starring David Oyelowo, had an audience gender breakdown of 47 percent male and 53 percent female. The assumption that movies come gendered with a blue or pink ribbon is a canard that still lingers in Hollywood, perhaps a vestige of the target marketing that began in the 1980s.

Speaking from the set of “Queen Sugar” in 2016, DuVernay observed, “We’re in a place right now where every other film is about a comic book superhero. We’re top-heavy with testosterone.”

How did Hollywood, a century ago a place where female directors thrived and prospered, come to this?

Stacy Title, director of “The Last Supper” and “The Bye Bye Man,” points the finger at “unconscious bias.”

Mira Nair, who was born in India, suspects chauvinism. “I’ve always remarked at the irony that the percentage of female directors is higher in India than in the United States,” she explained in a phone conversation. “India is supposed to be the traditional chauvinist culture,” she observes. Nair wonders if the historic examples of female prime ministers in South Asia — Indira Gandhi in India, Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan — may have broken the glass ceiling for all professional women there. “Their examples don’t exist in the U.S.”

DuVernay looks forward to the outcome — and hoped-for positive resolution — of the Eeoc investigation. “It’s a systematic problem and it requires radical change,” she said. “If it’s not happening organically, systems should be put in place.” Like many female filmmakers, DuVernay hopes the Eeoc can reconfigure what Giese calls the “vertical playing field for women” into a level one.

“One thing I’m heartened by,” said Nair, who’s been making features for nearly 30 years, “is that the variety and confidence of female filmmakers today is inspiring.”

Do others think it’s changed for the better for women since the 1980s?

“For me, there’s no comparison between the ’80s and now,” reflected Nancy Meyers, whose six films as a director or writer/director have grossed more than a billion dollars. By email she wrote:

Men were still getting used to us being on set in the ’80s. (Men used to have photos of pinups on the set in the ’80s! I’m not kidding.)The only women around back then worked in costumes and hair and makeup. Today women are in every department and often department heads. There are still very few women in the camera department and that’s a shame. That seems to still be a real boy’s club. Today, most crew members are far more comfortable working for and with women.

Yet one thing has not changed: “Now, getting the job to be the director — that’s still an uphill battle,” Meyers said.

In addition to writing film reviews and essays for Truthdig, Carrie Rickey has been a film critic at The Philadelphia Inquirer and Village Voice, and an art critic at Artforum and Art in America. Rickey has taught at various institutions, including School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania, and has appeared frequently on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” MSNBC, and CNN.

What Happened to the Women Directors in Hollywood? Part 5: 2000–2017 was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »

- Women and Hollywood

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'Full Monty' director, 'Marigold Hotel' writer team with Monumental for 'Alex Woods'

23 March 2017 1:18 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Exclusive: Peter Cattaneo and Ol Parker team on novel adaptation developed with BBC Films.

The Full Monty director Peter Cattaneo and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel writer Ol Parker (both pictured) are teaming up on a feature adaptation of UK novel The Universe Versus Alex Woods.

Alison Owen and Debra Hayward’s UK film and TV outfit Monumental are producing the feature, which has been developed with BBC Films.

The team is currently in discussion with cast and is aiming for a summer shoot on the project, which could be Monumental’s first feature to go into production.

UK writer Gavin Extence’s debut novel, a poignant mystery-comedy, charts the story of a teenage science nerd who is hit by a meteorite, strikes up a friendship with a pot-smoking Vietnam veteran and who may or may not be involved in his death.

The novel was nominated for the National Book Award in 2013.

The film would mark Cattaneo »

- andreas.wiseman@screendaily.com (Andreas Wiseman)

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Working Title boss: Netflix and Amazon series pose challenge to film business

20 March 2017 5:02 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Film production is becoming “more difficult” for Working Title due to boom in high-end series, says Tim Bevan.

Working Title co-chairman Tim Bevan has said that the rise of big-budget “super TV” series such as Netflix’s The Crown represents a challenge to his company’s film business.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House programme yesterday (Mar 19), Bevan commented: “With Netflix and Amazon coming into the market place aggressively, it is a new form. It’s a form that actors, directors and writers are finding very attractive.”

Asked whether he believed the rise of high-end series backed by those SVoD players was negatively impacting the film industry, Bevan responded: “The area of the film business that Working Title works in, which is quality medium budget movies, $15m-$25m movies, has certainly been impacted by this.”

“They’re telling similar stories, but also it has become competitive, particularly for acting talent; these films have been squeezed by the »

- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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Working Title boss: 'super TV' poses challenge to film business

20 March 2017 5:02 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Film production is becoming “more difficult” for Working Title due to boom in high-end series, says Tim Bevan.

Working Title co-chairman Tim Bevan has said that the rise of big-budget “super TV” series such as Netflix’s The Crown represents a challenge to his company’s film business.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House programme yesterday (Mar 19), Bevan commented: “With Netflix and Amazon coming into the market place aggressively, it is a new form. It’s a form that actors, directors and writers are finding very attractive.”

Asked whether he believed the rise of high-end series backed by those SVoD players was negatively impacting the film industry, Bevan responded: “The area of the film business that Working Title works in, which is quality medium budget movies, $15m-$25m movies, has certainly been impacted by this.”

“They’re telling similar stories, but also it has become competitive, particularly for acting talent; these films have been squeezed by the »

- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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Stx dates first UK release 'Breathe’ starring Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy

17 March 2017 5:00 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

First image revealed for Andy Serkis-directed drama.

Andy Serkis’s feature directorial debut Breathe will be released in the UK on October 27, 2017, by distributor STXinternational.

The film marks the first UK release for the company, whose international division is headed by former Film4 boss David Kosse.

Claire Foy and Andrew Garfield lead the drama, which tells the story of an adventurous young man who is struck by Polio in his late 20s. Paralysed and only able to breathe with the help of a machine, he defies his doctors, who give him months to live, by travelling the world.

Garfield plays the lead opposite Foy who plays his wife and travel companion.

Supporting cast includes Hugh Bonneville and Tom Hollander.

Jonathan Cavendish (Bridget Jones’s Diary) produced the film - which is based on the life of his parents - for The Imaginarium Studios, which he runs with Serkis.

Financing comes from Silver Reel, BBC Films and the »

- tom.grater@screendaily.com (Tom Grater)

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Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling go head to head in trailer for The Sense of an Ending

6 March 2017 2:00 AM, PST | HeyUGuys.co.uk | See recent HeyUGuys news »

Author: Zehra Phelan

British author Julian Barnes’ 2011 Man Booker prize-winning novel, The Sense of an Ending, has followed suit of many a novel and obtained itself a film adaptation that contains a stellar cast of British talent. With its release in just over a month a new trailer and poster has been released which we can all enjoy today.

Related: Charlotte Rampling on 45 Years.

BAFTA award nominated Ritesh Batra, who is best known for his debut feature film, The Lunchbox, takes the helm on this very British affair which features performances from some of the greatest long-standing and most celebrated British actors today; Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter, Bridget Jones), swinging sixties icon Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) best known for her art house work, Dame Harriet Walter (Atonement, The Young Victoria), and Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey).  Also on the cast of exceptional talent is Matthew Goode and Emily Mortimer.

The trailer features »

- Zehra Phelan

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Sally Phillips To Host UK Casting Directors Association’s Inaugural Awards Ceremony

28 February 2017 10:14 AM, PST | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Britain's Casting Directors Association is launching an awards ceremony geared specifically towards honoring the work of the casting director. The inaugural event, dubbed the Casting Awards, will take place in London on March 17, 2017, and is set to be hosted by comic actress and writer Sally Phillips (Bridget Jones Diary, Smack the Pony). An independent panel of industry judges, including United Agents' Gabe Blair, Apa chief exec Steve Davies and TV and commercials… »

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Sally Phillips To Host UK Casting Directors Association’s Inaugural Awards Ceremony

28 February 2017 10:14 AM, PST | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Britain's Casting Directors Association is launching an awards ceremony geared specifically towards honoring the work of the casting director. The inaugural event, dubbed the Casting Awards, will take place in London on March 17, 2017, and is set to be hosted by comic actress and writer Sally Phillips (Bridget Jones Diary, Smack the Pony). An independent panel of industry judges, including United Agents' Gabe Blair, Apa chief exec Steve Davies and TV and commercials… »

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Study Ranks American Actors’ British Accents, and Vice Versa

27 February 2017 4:29 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Anyone who’s seen “Mary Poppins” knows what a bad Cockney accent sounds like. But for the first time, British actors have ranked Dick Van Dyke’s “mockney” as the worst attempt at a U.K. accent in a pool of the highest grossing films’ leads.

Language-learning app Babbel commissioned ex-pat professional actors from both the U.K. and U.S. to vote on a five-point scale on how convincing the accents were for leading parts in blockbusters grossing over $100 million.

For the United States accent, American Actors UK awarded British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor a 4.5/5 for his work as Solomon Northup in “12 Years a Slave.” Tied for second are the DC superheros; Christian Bale as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman both garnered 4.2/5 scores.

Best in show for the Americans attempting the over-the-pond accents, awarded by British Actors in La, are Meryl Streep, Gwyneth Paltrow and Renée Zellweger. Streep’s »

- Dani Levy

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Long Awaited Sequels: A Trainspotting 2 Inspired List

20 February 2017 6:38 AM, PST | Cineplex | See recent Cineplex news »

Long Awaited Sequels: A Trainspotting 2 Inspired ListLong Awaited Sequels: A Trainspotting 2 Inspired ListScott Goodyer2/20/2017 9:38:00 Am

We can not be more excited about Danny Boyle's highly anticipated sequel Trainspotting 2 coming to Cineplex theatres next month!

The original 1996 movie, based on Irvine Welch's 1993 novel, defined a drug generation in the UK. With an electrifying soundtrack, a memorable group of characters and filled with moments that contributed to the pop culture of the cinema world, Trainspotting was definitely one of a kind. Not to mention a talent of a cast: Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Ewen Bremne and Kelly Macdonald.

Well, 20 years later... the original crew is back as Renton (McGregor) returns to his home town after "choosing life" and abandoning his misfit friends. In honour of T2: Trainspotting, we have compiled our own little list of long awaited sequels.

Read the list below and check out »

- Scott Goodyer

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New Halloween Movie Slated for October 19th, 2018, David Gordon Green to Direct

9 February 2017 3:53 PM, PST | DailyDead | See recent DailyDead news »

John Carpenter just gave Michael Myers fans a huge reason to mark their calendars by announcing an October 19th, 2018 release date for Blumhouse and Miramax's new Halloween movie, which will be directed by David Gordon Green (Joe, Pineapple Express) from a screenplay he's writing with Danny McBride (Alien: Covenant, Eastbound & Down).

In addition to executive producing the new Halloween film, Carpenter might also help guide the franchise he began back in 1978 by providing the music for the film. Green and McBride will also be executive producing the anticipated project, along with Malek Akkad and Jason Blum. We have the official press release below with full details, including Carpenter's initial announcement of Green and McBride's involvement:

Press Release (via HalloweenMovies.com): Los Angeles, February 9, 2017 – John Carpenter announced today via his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JohnCarpenterTheMasterofHorror/) that David Gordon Green (Stronger, Our Brand Is Crisis, Joe, Pineapple Express »

- Derek Anderson

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Richard E. Grant & More Join Melissa McCarthy In ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’

30 January 2017 2:34 PM, PST | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Richard E. Grant is set to star opposite Melissa McCarthy in Fox Searchlight’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? He is joined by Jane Curtin (The Heat), Dolly Wells (Bridget Jones’ Baby), Anna Deavere Smith (Black-ish) and Jennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein). The Diary Of A Teenage Girl director Marielle Heller is at the helm, directing from a script by Nicole Holofcener  and Jeff Whitty. Based on Lee Israel’s memoir of the same name, the film follows best-selling celebrity… »

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DVD Review – Urban Hymn (2015)

30 January 2017 5:00 AM, PST | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Urban Hymn, 2015.

Directed by Michael Caton-Jones.

Starring Shirley Henderson, Letitia Wright, Isabella Laughland, Steven Mackintosh, and Ian Hart.

Synopsis :

Set against a backdrop of the 2011 UK summer riots, a determined social worker encourages a young offender to develop her singing talent.

Urban Hymn is a drama certainly singing from a worthy enough song sheet. The film details the sort of youthful (and not so youthful) rage, delinquent activity and anti-social lawlessness that marked much of the UK riots of summer 2011.  It aims to bring a clear sense that this sort of rage needs to be understood and the disenfranchised need to be inspired to do something more productive with their time other than looting and robbing. It’s only partially successful in this, getting bogged down by a fairly old-fashioned style of formatting and direction. Michael Caton-Jones (Rob Roy, Doc Hollywood) is an experienced director, but this picture has a fairly flat-footed delivery when, »

- Robert W Monk

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Bridget Jones’s Baby; Deepwater Horizon; War on Everyone and more – review

29 January 2017 12:00 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Comforts, catastrophes and chills in a week dominated by Renée Zellweger’s return as the klutzy singleton and Mark Walhlberg’s heroics in the Mexican Gulf

At a time when nearly every day brings news – or just a Donald Trump tweet, really – that augurs ill for the future, it’s hard to overstate the virtues of stubbornly refusing to move forward. Bridget Jones’s Baby (Universal, 15) is the cinematic equivalent of burying one’s head in the sand, except the sand turns out to be a plumped-up down pillow big enough to envelop one’s entire body.

Twelve years have passed since we left Helen Fielding’s bumbling singleton at the abysmal edge of reason, but it’s the time-swallowing continuity that comforts here. The jokes, it turns out, are much the same, whether they’re about being alone and panicked in your 30s or being alone and panicked in your 40s, »

- Guy Lodge

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Richard Curtis To Receive WGA West’s Top Humanitarian Award

24 January 2017 12:06 PM, PST | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Richard Curtis, one of the industry's greatest humanitarians and one of its most gifted writers of romantic comedies, will be this year's recipient of the WGA West's Valentine Davies Award in recognition of his charitable and humanitarian endeavors. His writing credits include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually – which he also directed – and Bridget Jones' Diary. His charitable efforts include serving as vice-chair of Comic Relief, which he co-founded in 1985… »

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Richard Curtis To Receive WGA West’s Top Humanitarian Award

24 January 2017 12:06 PM, PST | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Richard Curtis, one of the industry's greatest humanitarians and one of its most gifted writers of romantic comedies, will be this year's recipient of the WGA West's Valentine Davies Award in recognition of his charitable and humanitarian endeavors. His writing credits include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually – which he also directed – and Bridget Jones' Diary. His charitable efforts include serving as vice-chair of Comic Relief, which he co-founded in 1985… »

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Richard Curtis Honored by Writers Guild With Valentine Davies Award

24 January 2017 10:56 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Richard Curtis has been named the recipient of the Writers Guild of America West’s Valentine Davies Award in recognition of his humanitarian efforts, charitable initiatives and world service.

Curtis’ screenplay credits include “Love Actually,” “Bridget Jones’ Diary,” “War Hose” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” He will be honored at the Writers Guild Awards ceremony on Feb. 19 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

“The Valentine Davies Award is given to that Wgaw member whose contributions to the entertainment industry and the community-at-large have brought dignity and honor to writers everywhere.” said WGA West President Howard A. Rodman.

“We can think of no better recipient than Richard Curtis. He is not only one of our best screenwriters but a man who has used his gifts and his position to combat poverty and injustice. Curtis is an exemplar of empathy. His work resonates strongly on the screen, and his charitable efforts have »

- Dave McNary

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Wamg Giveaway – Win The Whole Truth Blu-ray – Stars Keanu Reeves

17 January 2017 2:58 PM, PST | WeAreMovieGeeks.com | See recent WeAreMovieGeeks.com news »

Witness the tense legal thriller The Whole Truth when it arrives on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD and Digital HD January 17 from Lionsgate. Keanu Reeves stars as a defense attorney trying to clear a teen in the brutal stabbing of his father. Rounding out the acclaimed cast are Renée Zellweger, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Gabriel Basso, and Jim Belushi. The Whole Truth Blu-ray and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98 respectively.

Now you can own the The Whole Truth Blu-ray. We Are Movie Geeks has four copies to give away! All you have to do is leave a comment below and answer the following question: what is your favorite movie starring Keanu Reeves? (mine is The River’S Edge)

It’s so easy! Good Luck!

Official Rules:

1. You Must Be A Us Resident. Prize Will Only Be Shipped To Us Addresses.  No P.O. Boxes.  No Duplicate Addresses. »

- Tom Stockman

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Number of women directors fell in 2016, study finds

12 January 2017 9:03 AM, PST | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

There was a drop in the number of women working on high profile Hollywood films, despite ongoing diversity debate.

Women directed only 7% of the 250 top grossing films in the Us, falling from 9% in 2015.

The damning figures come from a report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

The report, entitled ‘The Celluloid Ceiling’ also shows that in 2016, women comprised 17% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films, a decline of two percentage points from 2015.

Only 24% of all producers for the top 250 films were women, (fall of 2%); 17% of editors (falling from 23% in 2015) and 5% of cinematographers (a decrease of 1%).

The number of women writers was up two percentage points, to 13%.

Some more statistics from the study:

92% of films had no women directors77% had no women writers58% had no women executive producers34% had no women producers79% had no women editors96% had »

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Invite Culebras Into Your Home This February with From Dusk Till Dawn Season 3 on Blu-ray / DVD

9 January 2017 11:26 AM, PST | DailyDead | See recent DailyDead news »

Neck-chomping culebras will make house calls this February when Entertainment One unleashes the third season of El Rey Network's From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series on Blu-ray and DVD, and we have a look at the cover art and sizable list of bonus features for the ravenous release.

Press Release: From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series - Season Three

Street Date: February 7, 2017

Blu-ray/DVD Srp: $49.99/$38.99

The Loaded 3-Disc Set Features All 10 Unedited Episodes and Exclusive Extras from the Recently-Wrapped Third Season of the Action-Packed, Horror-Filled Series Starring D.J. Cotrona, Zane Holtz, Eiza González and Guest Stars Including Ana de la Reguara and Tom Savini

Program Synopsis:

This February, home audiences will be whisked deep into the vortex of a culebra underworld on the verge exploding in From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series - Season Three. Across 10 new horror-packed episodes, Miramax and El Rey's fan-favorite, supernatural crime saga returns on loaded blu-ray and DVD, »

- Derek Anderson

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