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‘Leave No Trace’ Is An Unforgettable, Universal Experience [Sundance Review]

Eight years ago, director Debra Granik along with a then unknown Jennifer Lawrence premiered “Winter’s Bone” to a stunned Sundance audience. The film would go on to garner four Oscar nominations (Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay), and Lawrence would take Hollywood by storm soon after. Meanwhile Granik, whose only other film at the time was the underrated “Down to the Bone” starring Vera Farmiga, made a major statement with that Ozarkian fable.

Continue reading ‘Leave No Trace’ Is An Unforgettable, Universal Experience [Sundance Review] at The Playlist.
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“I Never Saw a Shot on Anything Bigger Than a 5″ Monitor”: Dp Michael McDonough on Leave No Trace

Cinematographer Michael McDonough met director Debra Granik in 1994, when they were both enrolled at the same NYU film studies class. Leave No Trace is their third collaboration, following Down to the Bone and Winter’s Bone, and also marks Granik’s first narrative feature in the eight years following the latter. Leave No Trace follows father Will (Ben Foster) and 12-year-old daughter Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), squatters secretly living in a forest in almost total isolation. When they’re spotted by a hiker, social workers get involved and Tom is torn from the woods, entering the social world and potential friendships for the first time. Prior to […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Female Filmmakers Dominated the Sundance Awards, But That Doesn’t Guarantee a Career Boost

Female Filmmakers Dominated the Sundance Awards, But That Doesn’t Guarantee a Career Boost
At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the annual event broke some of its own barriers, doling out each of its four directing awards to female filmmakers. For the first time in the festival’s 34-year history, directing prizes went only to women, spanning all four major categories — narrative and documentary, U.S. and world cinema: Sara Colangelo (“The Kindergarten Teacher”), Alexandria Bombach (“On Her Shoulders”), Sandi Tan (“Shirkers”), and Isold Uggadottir (“And Breathe Normally”). The festival’s juries also awarded Desiree Akhavan’s “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” the Grand Jury Prize, the festival’s highest honor; Sundance’s sole dedicated screenplay honor, the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, went to Christina Choe for “Nancy.”

In short, it was a big festival for women. But what does winning an award at Sundance actually mean for female filmmakers? How does it impact future projects? Does it guarantee further success in the industry?
See full article at Indiewire »

‘Leave No Trace’ Film Review: Debra Granik Returns with Another Subtle Powerhouse Drama

  • The Wrap
‘Leave No Trace’ Film Review: Debra Granik Returns with Another Subtle Powerhouse Drama
There’s a fair amount of pressure on Debra Granik’s new indie: Every film she’s taken to Sundance has been a winner, starting with her short “Snake Feed” in 1998. In 2004, her celebrated drama “Down to the Bone” brought awards for both her and then-up-and-coming actress Vera Farmiga. And 2010’s “Winter’s Bone” went on to earn four Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture and another for the film’s little-known lead, Jennifer Lawrence. So yeah, comparisons will be made. But are they fair? Not really. It would be unlikely for any director to achieve the same sort of commercial triumph...
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'Leave No Trace': Film Review | Sundance 2018

'Leave No Trace': Film Review | Sundance 2018
With just a few films — about a strung-out mother in Down to the Bone, Ozark meth cookers in Winter’s Bone and a motorcycle-riding Vietnam vet in the documentary Stray DogDebra Granik has carved out a niche as one of American cinema’s foremost chroniclers of the white poor and working class.

Since the rise of Trump, these citizens (and oh-so-hot election commodities) have been on the receiving end of renewed fascination in newspaper pages — and, less fetishistically, though unmistakably, in movies like Logan Lucky, The Florida Project, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and I, Tonya. But with...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

"Godzilla: King Of The Monsters" - Enter Vera Farmiga

  • SneakPeek
Sneak Peek footage and images of Emmy nominated actress Vera Farmiga ("Bates Motel"), now attached to co-star in director Michael Dougherty's upcoming feature "Godzilla: King Of The Monsters":

Farmiga's breakout film work was in "Down To The Bone" (2004), followed by "The Manchurian Candidate" (2004), fan-favorite "The Departed" (2006), "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" (2008), "Nothing But the Truth" (2008) and an Oscar-nominated best Supporting actress role in "Up In The Air" (2009).

This was followed by work in Orphan (2009), "Source Code" (2011) and "Safe House" (2012). 

Farmiga also starred in and directed the feature "Higher Ground" (2011).

She played paranormal investigator 'Lorraine Warren' in the horror feature "The Conjuring" and the 2016 sequel "The Conjuring 2".

Since 2013, Farmiga has starred as 'Norma Louise Bates' in the A&E drama-thriller series "Bates Motel".

Farmiga is now set to star in Shana Feste's "Boundaries" (2017) followed by "The Commuter" (2018), Rupert Wyatt's "Captive State"(2018) and "Godzilla:
See full article at SneakPeek »

Toronto: Strand Releasing Acquires U.S. Rights to Michael O’Shea’s ‘The Transfiguration’ (Exclusive)

L.A.-based Strand Releasing has acquired U.S. rights to Michael O’Shea’s atmospheric New York tale “The Transfiguration,” which world-premiered at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard.

Sold by Protagonist Pictures at Toronto, “The Transfiguration” marks the feature debut of writer-director Michael O’Shea, and stars Eric Ruffin along with Chloe Levine (“Savage Youth”).

An elevated genre film dealing with love, loss and vampires, “The Transfiguration” stars Ruffin as a 14-year-old misfit who gets bullied at school and immerses himself in the world of vampires to escape his solitude when he returns home.

“Mr. O’Shea’s film is a unique hybrid that audiences and critics will be compelled by,” said Strand Releasing’s partner Jon Gerrans, who discovered the film at Cannes.

Commenting on the deal, Protagonist CEO Mike Goodridge said, “Strand is a company with such a strong legacy of launching bold and daring cinema in the U.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cannes: Arp acquires 'The Transfiguration' for France

  • ScreenDaily
Michael O’Shea’s debut to world premiere next week at Cannes Film Festival.

French distributor Arp has acquired Michael O’Shea’s drama-horror The Transfiguration from Protagonist Pictures, a week before its world premiere at Cannes in Un Certain Regard.

The film stars newcomer Eric Ruffin alongside Chloe Levine, who made her film debut in Hilary Brougher thriller Innocence (2014) and has been cast in the next season of Netflix’s House Of Cards.

Producer is Susan Leber, whose credits include Sundance winner Down To The Bone directed by Debra Granik and Ti West’s first feature The Roost. She was also supervising producer on Gillian Robespierre’s comedy hit Obvious Child.

O’Shea both wrote and directed this New York story of love, loss and obsession. The story centres on a teenage outsider (Ruffin) who takes refuge from bullies in the apartment he shares with his older brother. To escape his solitude, he immerses
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Cannes: ARP Acquires Un Certain Regard Title ‘The Transfiguration’ from Protagonist

London — French distributor ARP has acquired Michael O’Shea’s debut feature “The Transfiguration” from Protagonist Pictures, a week before its world premiere at Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard.

The film stars newcomer Eric Ruffin alongside Chloe Levine, and is produced by Susan Leber, whose credits include Sundance winner “Down to the Bone,” directed by Debra Granik and Ti West’s first feature “The Roost.” O’Shea both wrote and directed the pic, described as an “atmospheric New York tale about love, loss and obsession.”

The deal was negotiated by Jennifer Fattell for Protagonist Pictures and Michele Halberstadt, CEO for Arp. Halberstadt commented: “We fell in love with this utterly original, atmospheric and moving tale of self-discovery.”
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cannes: Protagonist Picks Up Un Certain Regard Title ‘The Transfiguration’

Cannes: Protagonist Picks Up Un Certain Regard Title ‘The Transfiguration’
London — Protagonist Pictures has taken on worldwide sales rights to first-time filmmaker Michael O’Shea’s debut film “The Transfiguration,” which will have its world premiere in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

O’Shea wrote and directed this atmospheric New York tale about love, loss… and vampires. The film stars newcomer Eric Ruffin alongside Chloe Levine, who made her film debut in Hilary Brougher’s thriller “Innocence,” and has been cast in the next season of Netflix’s “House of Cards.”

The film is produced by Susan Leber, whose credits include Sundance winner “Down to the Bone,” directed by Debra Granik, and Ti West’s first feature “The Roost.” She was also supervising producer on Gillian Robespierre’s comedy hit “Obvious Child.”

The pic was shot by Sung Rae Cho, who also shot the critically acclaimed “Graceland.” The editor was Kathryn Schubert (Michael Almereyda’s
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cannes: Protagonist picks up Un Certain Regard title

  • ScreenDaily
Cannes: Protagonist picks up Un Certain Regard title
UK sales team boards Michael O’Shea’s Us drama-horror The Transfiguration.

Protagonist Pictures has taken on worldwide sales rights to first-time filmmaker Micahael OShea’s The Transfiguration, which will have its world premiere in Un Certain Regard in Cannes next month.

The film stars newcomer Eric Ruffin alongside Chloe Levine, who made her film debut in Hilary Brougher’s thriller Innocence and has been cast in the next season of Netflix’s House Of Cards.

The film is produced by Susan Leber whose credits include Sundance winner Down To The Bone, directed by Debra Granik, and Ti West’s first feature The Roost. She was also supervising producer on Gillian Robespierre’s comedy hit Obvious Child.

Michael O’Shea both wrote and directed the atmospheric New York tale about love, loss and vampires.

The film was shot by Sung Rae Cho, who also shot Graceland, while editor was Kathryn Schubert (The Experimenter) and the sound designer
See full article at ScreenDaily »

New to Streaming: ‘The Invitation,’ ‘Joy,’ ‘Summer Interlude,’ and More

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

Christmas, Again (Charles Poekel)

Christmas time is a lonely time for many; a “time of giving” that reminds more than a few of us what we’ve lost. This is the feeling Christmas, Again wades in, as produced, written and directed by Charles Poekel. We follow Noel (Kentucker Audley), who’s selling Christmas trees on a Manhattan curb for the fifth winter in a row. He
See full article at The Film Stage »

Mira Nair, Debra Granik To Screen Their Films and Speak at Made in NY Media Center

As part of the “Gothams Classics” event series celebrating the Gotham Independent Film Awards awarded annually by Ifp (Filmmaker‘s parent organization), directors Mira Nair and Debra Granik will be in conversation at the Made in NY Media Center following screenings of two of their films. Tonight, Mira Nair will be speaking in between screenings of two of her best known films, Monsoon Wedding and The Namesake; more information on that event can be found here. Tomorrow night, acclaimed narrative and documentary filmmaker Debra Granik will speak after screenings of Down to the Bone and Winter’s Bone; more information on that event can be found here. […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Mira Nair, Debra Granik To Screen Their Films and Speak at Made in NY Media Center

As part of the “Gothams Classics” event series celebrating the Gotham Independent Film Awards awarded annually by Ifp (Filmmaker‘s parent organization), directors Mira Nair and Debra Granik will be in conversation at the Made in NY Media Center following screenings of two of their films. Tonight, Mira Nair will be speaking in between screenings of two of her best known films, Monsoon Wedding and The Namesake; more information on that event can be found here. Tomorrow night, acclaimed narrative and documentary filmmaker Debra Granik will speak after screenings of Down to the Bone and Winter’s Bone; more information on that event can be found here. […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

The Conversation: Top 10 American Indie Filmmakers Missing in Action

No film buff wants to see a promising, or prominent filmmaker pull a disappearing act a la Terrence Malick, (though it seems he isn’t keen to repeat another lapse like the one between Days of Heaven to The Thin Red Line), but whether they’re dealing with unforeseeable professional (endless pre-production woes, writer’s block) or personal issues, sometimes there is a considerable time between projects.

With John Cameron Mitchell, Charlie Kaufman, Rebecca Miller, Patty Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan and more recently, Barry Jenkins recently moving out of the so called “inactive” period, we decided to compile a list of the top ten American filmmakers who, for the most part, we’ve lost sight of and would like to see get back in the director’s chair again. Most of the filmmakers listed below have gone well over half a decade without a substantial movement in this category. Here is
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Bone Tomahawk | Review

Down to the Bone: Zahler’s Debut a Dapper Genre Hybrid

For his directorial debut, screenwriter S. Craig Zahler assembles an illustrious cast in Bone Tomahawk, an old-school Western eventually shading by successful moments of horror. Though this feels like somewhat of an ingenious, if perverted version of something like The Searchers (1956), and is not the only recent blending of western horror (J.T. Petty’s 2008 film The Burrowers terrorizes its settlers with subterranean creatures), Zahler’s painstaking characterizations elevate the material beyond the usual potential of swarthy genre films handled as B-grade fare.

Although sporting an uncustomary running time considering the limited narrative (eclipsing two hours), which sometimes seems unnecessary, Zahler’s film is never arduous and sports a completely fine-tuned package of superb visuals and increasingly ominous score.

In the small town of Bright Hope, Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell) is the amiable voice of the law, assisted
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Why Debra Granik Went from 'Winter's Bone' to 'Stray Dog,' Season Opener of PBS Docuseries 'Independent Lens'

Why Debra Granik Went from 'Winter's Bone' to 'Stray Dog,' Season Opener of PBS Docuseries 'Independent Lens'
Filmmaker Debra Granik earned an impressive four Oscar nominations for 2010's "Winter's Bone," including best picture, actress (Jennifer Lawrence), supporting actor (John Hawkes) and adapted screenplay. Clearly all the talent on display in 2004's "Down to the Bone," which boosted the career of Vera Farmiga, was not a flash in the pan. What was the deliberate New York filmmaker, who works closely with producer-writer Anne Rossellini, going to do next? Well, she pursued several promising projects that have yet to come to fruition. Among them were "American High Life," a possible HBO series created by young writer Nicki Paluga, and Granik's film version of Russell Banks' novel "Rule Of The Bone," marking the third part of her unofficial osteo-trilogy, about an abused 14-year-old Jamaican-American who turns to drugs, gets kicked out of his home, and returns to Jamaica to find his father. Banks was optimistic that a cast of unknowns and names would.
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

“There’s No Space for that Old Style of the Big Barking Orders Coming from the Big Man”: Debra Granik Talks Documentary Filmmaking on the She Does Podcast

We’re so excited and honored to feature Debra Granik in our fourth episode of She Does. Granik is the Academy Award-nominated director and writer of Winter’s Bone, which features a young Jennifer Lawrence in a gripping story set in the Ozarks. Winter’s Bone won several awards including the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It also received four 2011 Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. Previously, she wrote and directed Down to the Bone, starring Vera Farmiga. Her narrative work is heavily influenced by real life […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

“There’s No Space for that Old Style of the Big Barking Orders Coming from the Big Man”: Debra Granik Talks Documentary Filmmaking on the She Does Podcast

We’re so excited and honored to feature Debra Granik in our fourth episode of She Does. Granik is the Academy Award-nominated director and writer of Winter’s Bone, which features a young Jennifer Lawrence in a gripping story set in the Ozarks. Winter’s Bone won several awards including the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Film at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It also received four 2011 Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. Previously, she wrote and directed Down to the Bone, starring Vera Farmiga. Her narrative work is heavily influenced by real life […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Women in the Director's Chair Panel at the Woodstock Film Festival

Film critic Thelma Adams moderated a provocative discussion with filmmakers Courteney Cox (feature directorial debut "Just Before I Go," Friends actress, actress/producer/director Cougar Town), Debra Granik (Academy Award nominated director/co-writer "Winter’s Bone" nominated for four Oscars, "Down to the Bone" Best Director at 2004 Sundance Film Festival), Leah Meyerhoff ("I Believe in Unicorns" her debut feature premiered at SXSW 2014, previous award-winning short films have screened in over 200 film festivals), and Jenna Ricker (wrote, directed and produced her first feature film, "Ben's Plan" awarded Best Drama at the Aof Festival, Distinguished Debut at the London Independent Festival, and honored with the Mira Nair Award for Rising Female Filmmaker).

According to Celluloid Ceiling (the report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University) only 6% of directors working in the top movies in 2013 movies were women; a 3-point drop from 2012. Only 16% directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, cinematographers in 2013 were women. Women directors working independently, outside the Hollywood studio system, are finding more opportunities, but there is still a vast inequity.

Moderator Thelma Adams cited some additional statistics to which the panel commented about their dismay of the reality of these numbers before jumping in on the question:

What is this thing with the title women’s panel?

Granik: There’s always a question whether it’s a ghettoization of women or raising them up by using the word “women” as a gender identifier. Using language that allows a person to be a person without a gender identifier can feel more powerful than using the word “woman”.

Meyerhoff: We all struggle with how to identify as a female director. When I came to film, I felt I didn’t want to be pigeonholed. I founded a female filmmaker collective --Film Fatales (http://www.filmfatalesnyc.com/#!leah-meyerhoff/c14fk) for this reason. There’s strength in numbers.

Cox: I had one man on set of a project I directed, who would go to other people to get their opinions before he would come to me, the director. I called him up so I could understand why he was doing that. And then I told him to get over it.

How do stories live without gender?

Kathryn Bigelow’s name came up in the discussion (the first woman director to win the Oscar) and how Hurt Locker was not categorized in Hollywood terms as a female film. The panelists agreed that there are myths about what audiences want, and wanting to make movies about women was important despite the naysayers; there is indeed an audience for these films – the box office numbers confirm this.

Whining?

I asked the panel their advice to student filmmakers about breaking into the (independent and/or Hollywood) industry, opening my question with the quote from director Agnès Varda: “Stop categorizing us as women filmmakers,” which I cited in an article I wrote about her at the Locarno Film Festival this year, and the vitriolic Facebook post comment I received from a male producer: “Stop complaining and just make movies.”

Granik: We’re going through pushback. There’s often that accusation of complaining, calling women “whiners” when discussing this topic. The reality is that it’s not so easy for women to get a film financed. For students, they need to come to their power and work together as a collective. Their power is not to look at the industry for reasons to make films; go smaller. Work together

Ricker: I was on panel at Sundance and a producer on the panel said: “I won’t trust money with women directors.” The producer was female. For students at college now, they need to start working with their peers -- these are the people with whom you’ll be forming meaningful work relationships, which will continue after you graduate. Take advantage of these relationships at school.

Perhaps using male pseudonyms might further women’s careers

Adams : There was George Eliot.

The directors agreed that their first names were often a hindrance in getting hired, and jokinly added that in order to get the word out about women directors was to start the hashtag: #wheresthecock.

Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker, Susan Kouguell teaches screenwriting at Purchase College Suny, and presents international seminars on screenwriting and film. Author of Savvy Characters Sell Screenplays! and The Savvy Screenwriter, she is chairperson of Su-City Pictures East, LLC, a consulting company founded in 1990 where she works with writers, filmmakers, and executives worldwide. www.su-city-pictures.com, http://su-city-pictures.com/wpblog
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »
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