Don't Let Me Drown (2009) - News Poster


LatinoBuzz: CineFestival Adds Latino Screenwriter's Lab, and Narco Cultura to its Upcoming 2013 Edition

The 35th CineFestival, which takes place in San Antonio Feb. 23 - Mar 2, has unveiled the launch of The Latino Screenwriters Project, a screenwriting conference in which Sundance Institute is lending critical consulting support. Per the press release, the three-day workshop aims to elevate the presence, representation and quality of stories that narrate the U.S. Latino experience.

Fellows will be provided a network of support in a hands-on environment where they can get quality feedback, mentoring and inspiration to further hone their craft, polish their screenplays and take their stories to the next level.

Festival Director, Jim Mendiola along with filmmaker Cruz Angeles (Don't Let Me Drown), both Sundance alumni fellows, conceived of the program and turned to Sundance Institute for support. “Cruz and I both recognized the benefit of the Sundance Labs both in terms of a career and in improving one’s craft,” Mendiola says, “since we wanted to champion Latino stories, bringing an experience like that to CineFestival seemed liked the perfect fit."

“Latinos are yearning for more access and representation in American cinema,” Angeles says, "We want American-based Latino screenplays to be more competitive in the industry.”

Labs Director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, Ilyse McKimmie adds, "We’re thrilled to be providing consulting support to CineFestival’s Latino Screenwriters Project, the goals of which so closely align with our own. It’s part of our ongoing commitment to encourage and celebrate a diverse group of storytellers and helping them bring their visions to the screen".

In addition to the previously announced film lineup, CineFestival has added a special screening of Narco Cultura directed by Shaul Schwarz and produced by Jay Van Hoy and Lars Knudsen. The film recently premiered in U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and Berlin's distinguished Panorama section. Strikingly lensed, it is an explosive look at the drug cartels’ pop culture influence on both sides of the border as experienced by an La narcocorrido singer dreaming of stardom and a Juarez crime scene investigator on the front line of Mexico’s Drug War. Thought provoking and prescribed viewing, I'm excited for San Antonio audiences to engage with the sociological complexities in the film. Tickets available here.

The four Fellows chosen for the inaugural 2013 workshop below. The full press release can be found here, and for passes tickets and schedule information check here and follow on Twitter and Facebook.

Gabi by Zoe Salicrup Junco (New York, NY) After the unexpected death of her mother, a modern, emancipated Puerto Rican woman in her late 30‘s forces herself to explore the possibilities of becoming a mother for the first time.

La Perdida by Miguel Alvarez (Austin, TX) In the mid-21st century, a memory-wiped psychiatric patient illegally travels back in time to stop a tragedy she can’t remember from happening all over again. But along the way, she can’t help but get swallowed up in a Moebius strip of time, memory, and loss.

Rachel’s Quinceanera by Mauro Flores Jr. (Los Angeles, CA) A coming-of-age story set in South Texas. A shy nerd has a crush on the head cheerleader, but due to his social status Rachel doesn’t know he exists. But a family obligation forces Rachel to include the nerd in the Court of Honor for her upcoming Quinceañera.

The Andes Project by Jose R. Casado (New York, NY) When Sofia, an opportunistic American Latina journalist, attempts to revive her career by investigating mysterious disappearances in Paraguay, she teams up with an idealistic young local reporter doing the same and together they uncover a complex water conspiracy instead.
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LatinoBuzz: Q & A with Joshua Sanchez - 'Four' to Screen at Los Angeles Film Fest

Joshua Sanchez, a native of Houston, Tejas graduated from Columbia University’s Mfa Film Program with several internationally screened short films under his belt along with the HBO Films Young Producer’s Development Award. His feature debut, Four, based on a play written by Christopher Shinn, participated in the Tribeca All Access program at the Tribeca Film Festival and after a few false starts and delays, Joshua cast Wendell Pierce ('The Wire', 'Treme'), Emory Cohen ('Afterschool', TV's 'Smash'), Aja Naomi King ('Blue Bloods') and Ej Bonilla ('Mamitas', 'Don't Let Me Drown') as his "Four". Once in the can he was able to complete the post production when he became the recipient of the Jerome Foundation’s Film and Video grant. Adding his favorite New York bands to the soundtrack as icing on the cake, Joshua is ready to world premiere the film at the Los Angeles Film Festival on June 15th.

LatinoBuzz: Four is based on a play by Christopher Shinn - What drew you to adapting it for the screen and how much did race factor in your desire to tell this story? Was there ever an urge to stray from the original story?

Joshua Sanchez: I saw one of Chris' other plays called Where Do We Live at the Vineyard Theatre in New York in 2004, right around the time I finished film school. The play had such a fresh voice that spoke to me, so I sought out Shinn's other work. Of all of his plays up to that time, Four really floored me mostly because it felt like experiences that I had in my adolescence, growing up as a closeted gay Mexican-American kid in a conservative suburb in Houston, Texas. The play also felt very cinematic and contained in that it takes place over one night and sort of roves around the city. It really could be any American city, which is how we shot it, although the play takes place in Hartford. I could see and feel the story so clearly right after I read, which is a good sign if you're thinking about whether a play could make a good movie.

I definitely appreciate the way race was dealt with in the play and it made me want to do the film more, although I probably initially responded more to the gay aspect of it. I'm Mexican-American and grew up in Texas but I don't speak Spanish, regrettably because I think it was sort of frowned upon in my generation of trying to assimilate into being an American. I think that sad aspect of my upbringing helped me deal with the race aspect of Four because I think that the story is so unconventional in its dealing with the race of the characters. Race in my life was never a 'normal' thing to deal with and I think the way it plays into the characters lives in Four is very complex as well.

This version of Four does stray away from the original story to some degree, which I think you'll pick up on if you read the play and see the movie. But I think the initial core of the characters and their arc in the story remains true to what Shinn wrote. We tried to make this as much of a cinematic experience as possible. But this is my interpretation of this story. I'm sure there will be others in the future.

LatinoBuzz: From your '04 short film Kill or Be Killed to your feature film Four - you've shown characters who are searching for something to fill an emotional void. What's Joshua Sanchez looking for?

Joshua Sanchez: When I first stared to watch movies seriously as an adolescent, I wanted them to echo back to me what I felt inside.I think a lot of where Kill or Be Killed and Four were coming from for me personally was the loneliness and isolation I felt as a kid trying to make sense of the intense dysfunction of my family life and the fact that my sexuality made me very different from what was in any way desirable to the people around me as a child.

A lot of time has passed between the time I directed Kill or Be Killed and now. A lot of that time for me creatively was spent trying to get Four off the ground. I've gone through a lot of changes as a person in that period. I would say at this point in my life, I value the people that I'm close to. I have wonderful friends and a wonderful partner that I'm so blessed to have in my life. My main priority in life is to practice trying to love them and to love myself every day and to balance that with trying to make work that is meaningful and fulfilling to me.

I think film can be a really powerful vehicle to share and be witness to the experiences that we go through in our daily lives. Film really helped me when I was a kid and had nobody to turn to. I know they work that way for others and I feel a certain responsibility to myself and to any audience that watches my work to be as honest as possible.

And I still have a lot to learn as well. This is my first feature film, so I'm looking forward to pushing the boundaries of what I've learned and what I'm capable of in this medium.

LatinoBuzz: Is there a songwriter you've admired that had they gone that route would have made amazing filmmakers? (and why?)

Joshua Sanchez:I would like to have seen what Elliott Smith would have done with film. He was such a clever lyricist and inventive musician. I actually taught myself how to play guitar from listening to Either/Or and his self-titled album. 'Needle in the Hay' was the first song I learned. He's a weird player to learn from because his tunings are so off and he used a lot of strange variations and chord progressions that are really not normal, but it really opens up your mind to what is capable on a guitar. I learned the basic chords of guitar with my guitar tuned a step down because that's how a lot of his songs are tuned. I didn't know it for a long time that it wasn't the standard tuning. He had such an evolved sense of imagery and metaphor. When I hear 'Say Yes' I can almost see the movie in my head.

LatinoBuzz: Do Latino filmmakers have a responsibility on the images we convey to the broader audience? Or should we have the freedom as artists?

Joshua Sanchez: I think it's more important to maintain authenticity and honesty than it is to portray a certain PC image of what it means to be Latino. I've always felt somewhat out of place as a Latino since I don't speak Spanish very well and I'm fairly light skinned. I was essentially a shy skateboard, punk rock, lower middle class kid from the suburbs and that is really my perspective and where I come from. I appreciate it when I see work that challenges me to look at the world through different eyes. It's more important that Latinos feel free to express their own individual realities, rather than an accepted version of Latinoness.

LatinoBuzz: Which of the following villians best describes you as a director on set? Rasputin? Dick Dastardly? The Guy from Caligula? or Han from 'Enter The Dragon'?

Joshua Sanchez: Probably Rasputin if I had to pick one. He was a mystic.

LatinoBuzz: You've written short stories too as well as short films - Where do you draw your stories from?

Joshua Sanchez: The stories I write are usually somewhat autobiographical, or contain aspects of my observations and experiences. I started writing short stories in the middle of making Four actually, which took almost six years. Partially, I wrote these because I wanted to practice storytelling and keep my mind sharp in this realm. But in general, I love to write them because they are very low pressure to me. It's really fun to keep my mind working as a writer and to be able to practice turning my observations into story. I am inspired a lot by the short stories of John Cheever, who is probably my favorite fiction writer of all time.

LatinoBuzz: Ok -- For this interviews sake only -- Your life has spiraled out of control, You've hit rock bottom -- You are offered a second chance. Butyou have to direct a film based on a childhood game (Board or Video game). Anyone. Michael Bay is producing so you are in Great hands. Pick one. And who stars in it?

Joshua Sanchez: Definitely 'The Legend of Zelda'.

Bradford Cox from the band Deerhunter had a great idea that he posted on his blog of making one of their music videos about a lonely boy who is playing the original Nintendo 'Legend of Zelda' and the hero of the video game is echoing the kid's feeling of loneliness, walking aimlessly around these dark landscapes in the game. Then his abusive, drunk father comes in and starts beating him, and it's the beginning of a story about how the kid is escaping into playing the video game and how he transcends his abusive surroundings.

I would want to collaborate with Bradford and Michael Bay about turning this into a feature film version of 'Zelda' starring Justin Bieber. This is a movie I would definitely want to see.

LatinoBuzz: You went to Columbia Film School. There's the endless discussion of Film School versus skipping it and just making a film -- Both sides have great arguments. How do you feel about some of these short films with outrageous budgets when some people are trying to make features with the same amount?

Joshua Sanchez: I think it's less about the budgets of these films and more about whether they work as films at all. A few of my film school classmates went really overboard making their shorts that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and trying to be the star of the class or win an award right out of the gate. I think it's wiser to think of making films as a progression through a body of work. Your budget can be small, but if you have a great idea that is well executed, this will always win out in the end. There are also really great short filmmakers that don't transition well into feature films.

For me film school was beneficial in the sense that it got me out of Texas and forced me into a situation where I had to learn how to tell stories and work on the basics of narrative filmmaking. But in retrospect, the most beneficial aspect of the whole film school experience was being in New York City and beginning to take advantage of all the resources that are here. So much of that was outside of film school for me. It wasn't really until I started going out downtown and moved to Brooklyn that things began to change for me. I was meeting other artists and having experiences that made me want to keep working and coming up with ideas.

The downsides are that it left me with a lot of debt and the environment of film school itself can be somewhat unbearable and suffocating. It's competitive and can often times can be a difficult place to find support and inspiration.

When I started film school it was in the late 90's. The equipment was terrible and there was a very old model of distribution and exhibition in place for up-and-coming filmmakers. Now, anyone can by a 5D and Final Cut and make something that looks fantastic.

I don't think film school is right for everyone and would encourage filmmakers that are interested in doing it to weigh their options very carefully. At the end of the day what you buy is a sort of entrance into the film world, but if you don't have an interesting perspective to back it up, you can get lost in the shuffle.

LatinoBuzz: Any particular films or filmmakers that inspired the aesthetic of your vision for 'Four'?

Joshua Sanchez: The two films I kept coming back to with Four were John Cassavetes' Faces and Larry Clark's Kids. They are both films that take place over a day or a night and both have a sort of intimacy in style that I found fit well with the story and characters of Four. I wanted the film to have the sort of Americana feel of say American Graffiti, mixed with the emotional rawness of Kids or Faces. I also watched a lot of Two Lane Blacktop and the film Over The Edge, which is about a teen rebellion in a small American suburban town.

LatinoBuzz: Anything as a filmmaker so far you wish you had done differently?

Joshua Sanchez:I think there are always things that you wished you'd done differently, but there is really nothing I regret in terms of my career as a filmmaker. It's a long road for anyone that wants to do this and it certainly has been for me as well. But I came to the conclusion a long time ago that I was only interested in doing the films that I feel passionate about partially because it's so much work and sacrifice. You really have to believe in what you are doing to make it worth your time. I'm proud of the body of work I've produced and hope I can continue to do it!

Joshua's website is

his twitter world is:

and his Facebook face is:

And Click Here for the latest on Four

Written by Juan Caceres and Vanessa Erazo, LatinoBuzz is a weekly feature on SydneysBuzz that highlights emerging and established Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in the Latino film world with the specific objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices. Follow @LatinoBuzzon twitter.
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2012 Sundance Predictions: Patricia Benoit's Stones in the Sun

#61. Stones in the Sun  - Patricia Benoit Known as "Haiti Cherie" back when it was in 2007 Screenwriters and Directors Lab at Sundance, it has since picked up an Annenberg Film Fellowship Grant in 2009 and changed its name to Stones in the Sun. A longtime in the works, Patricia Benoit's debut should be a good fit for the U.S Dramatic Comp or the Next section. Note: pic above is a random shot of Haiti. Gist: Through interconnected stories of exile, a young couple, two sisters and a father and son find that shedding the past is impossible when it is marred by torture and violence. Achingly real and timely, the film reveals the rich complexity of immigrant life in the United States and the powerful links between the personal and the political, the present and the past. Producers: Karin Chien (Circumstance), Ben Howe (Don't Let Me Drown) and Mynette Louie (Children of Invention)(Ioncinema.
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Exclusive: Aaron Katz Talks Cold Weather

Exclusive: Aaron Katz Talks Cold Weather
Director Aaron Katz takes us behind-the-scenes of this upcoming Portland-based mystery featuring Cris Lankenau and Trieste Kelly Dunn

After dropping out of college in Chicago, Doug (Cris Lankenau) returns home to rainy Portland, Oregon to live with his more stable and responsible sister, Gail (Trieste Kelly Dunn). Unsure of what to do next, Doug spends his days sleeping until noon and rereading old detective novels, while Gail goes about the daily routines of her quiet life. Eventually Doug manages to find a job working the night shift at an ice factory. There he meets Carlos (Ra&#250l Castillo), a longtime employee who moonlights as a DJ. Carlos is initially skeptical of Doug. He's seen all kinds of people pass through the job. But the two become friends after Doug lends him a copy of his favorite book, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Doug has not quite settled into his new
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The 'Don't Let Me Drown' DVD Giveaway

Two teenagers unite and fall in love as they learn to cope in a post-9/11 world amidst the tragedies and hardships that life presents. To celebrate its recent DVD release, JustPressPlay is giving one reader a chance to win a copy. And, as always, you just have to do two things to win.

Though their families differ in ethnicity, Lalo and Stefanie find joy in all they share in common as life slowly returns to normal in their gritty but tightly knit neighborhood. Over their parents’ objections, their friendship grows as they discover the healing power of love. Starring Ricardo Chavira (Desperate Housewives, Piranha 3D), Emmy nominee E.J. Bonilla (Guiding Light, Law & Order), and Gina Torres (Huge, Angel, Firefly) Don't Let Me Drown is a poignant, moving tale of two Latino teens learning that sometimes the only thing that can keep them from drowning is love.

To win, you just
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The Weekly DVD Round-Up - October 15th, 2010

Another week's gone by and that brings a new assortment of things to catch up with on DVD. From classic television to some SNL anthology re-issues. So take a look and find a few interesting tidbits to occupy your time this weekend.

Saturday Night Live: The Best of Eddie Murphy & The Best of Adam Sandler

Vintage Eddie Murphy is a lot of fun. He's quick-witted, vulgar, politically incorrect and a master impersonator. His skits like the: "James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub," "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood," and "Buh Weet Sings" are inventive and at times, laugh out loud funny. What is interesting about this particular collection, however, as well as the Adam Sandler best of collection is how it theyare both evidence of just how much times have changed.

"Mr. Robsinson's Neighborhood" is a parody of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood," except he lives in a place with pictures coming off the walls and cracks in the ceiling.
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Exclusive: Don't Let Me Drown DVD Clip

We have a brand new exclusive DVD clip from Don't Let Me Drown, which just arrived on the DVD shelves on October 5. Click below to watch this exclusive clip, which features Gina Torres trying to keep her family together:

Don't Let Me Drown: Family Dynamic

Two young people are brought together by a tragedy that has touched both of their families in this refreshing and honest love story. Stefanie (Gleendilys Inoa) is a teenaged girl whose family has moved to Brooklyn shortly after the September 11 terrorist attack, which claimed the life of Stephanie's sister. Meanwhile, Lalo (E.J. Bonilla) comes from a family that struggles financially and Lalo's father works sifting through the debris at Ground Zero. Stephanie meets Lalo at a party in a city park, and while she's not sure how she feels about him at first, he's immediately infatuated with her and as he pursues her, they
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Small Screen | "Human Centipede" and "The Pentagon Papers" Make for an Eclectic Week

Small Screen |
This weekend, the gross-out hit of the year Tom Six's "The Human Centipede," the Oscar-nominated animated feature "The Secret of Kells," and the Sundance flicks "Don't Let Me Drown" and "Holy Rollers" come home on DVD. Also on the small screen, Pov debuts the Oscar-nominated doc "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers." Tonight on PBS, the Pov series rolls on with Judith Ehrlich and Rick ...
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Trailer Alert: "Don't Let Me Drown"

Check out the trailer for the upcoming DVD release, Don't Let Me Drown. Two Brooklyn teenagers personally affected by the World Trade Center tragedy find comfort with each other. Though their families differ in ethnicity, Lalo and Stefanie find joy in all they share in common as life slowly returns to normal in their gritty but tightly knit neighborhood. Over their parents’ objections, their friendship grows as they discover the healing power of love. Starring Ricardo Chavira (Desperate Housewives, Piranha 3D), Emmy nominee E.J. Bonilla (Guiding Light, Law & Order), and Gina Torres (Huge, Angel, Firefly) Don't Let Me Drown is a poignant, moving tale of two Latino teens learning that sometimes the only thing that can keep them from drowning is love.

See full article at JustPressPlay »

Danny Huston is Back in "Black," a Complete "Grindhouse," and More New DVDs

  • IFC
A look at what's new on DVD today:

"Fade to Black" (2010)

Directed by Oliver Parker

Released by Image Entertainment

It looks like we'll have to update our list of actors who've played Orson Welles with this long-delayed drama from "The Importance of Being Earnest" director Parker, which stars Danny Huston as the "Touch of Evil" auteur who gets caught up in a murder mystery all his own on 1948's "Black Magic" in Italy when he finds out his name is on a hit list. Christopher Walken, Diego Luna and Paz Vega co-star.

"30 Days of Night: Dark Days" (2010)

Directed by Ben Ketai

Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Rare for a direct-to-video sequel, original author Steve Niles returns to co-write this follow-up to the 2007 graphic novel adaptation about a vampire attack in Alaska. This time, "Lost" star Kiele Sanchez is protecting her neck, along with Diora Baird, Harold Perrineau, Rhys Coiro and Mia Kirshner,
See full article at IFC »

MPAA ratings: Aug. 11, 2010

MPAA ratings: Aug. 11, 2010. The following feature-length motion pictures have been reviewed and rated by the Classification and Rating Administration pursuant to the Motion Picture Classification and Rating program. Each of the designated ratings is defined as follows under the Motion Picture Classification and Rating program.

G -- General Audiences. All ages admitted.

PG -- Parental Guidance Suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

PG -13 --Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

R -- Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Nc-17 -- No One 17 And Under Admitted.

Film Distributor Reason Rating 127 Hours   

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

Rated for language and some disturbing violent content/bloody images. R Alpha and Omega  Lionsgate

Rated for rude humor and some mild action.  PG Avatar Special Edition Re-Release

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

Rated for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking.
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Latest MPAA Ratings: Bulletin No: 2133

Here are the new MPAA ratings from Bulletin No: 2133.

127 Hours Rated R For language and some disturbing violent content/bloody images. Release Date: November 5, 2010 Alpha And Omega Rated PG For rude humor and some mild action. Release Date: September 17, 2010 Avatar Special Edition Re-Release Rated PG-13 For intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking. Release Date: August 27, 2010 Note: Edited Version. Content Is Different From "PG-13" Rated Version, Bulletin No. 2097 (11/24/09). Black Swan Rated R For strong sexual content, disturbing violent images, language and some drug use. Release Date: December 1, 2010 Buried Rated R For language and some violent content. Release Date: September 24, 2010 Don't Let Me Drown Rated R For pervasive language and some sexual references. Easy "A" Rated PG-13 For mature thematic elements involving teen sexuality, language and some drug material. Release Date: September 17, 2010 Inside Job Rated PG-13 For some drug and sex-related material. Release Date: October 8, 2010 Mandie And
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American New Wave 25: Inbal Weinberg

A blue collar family's nest. A motel specializing in one nighter theme rooms. A unit in a retired folks home that describes a person's life in one snapshot. Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine affecting and memorable relationship study is brought to life via layers of descriptive info – you have Production Designer to thank for that boost of realism. From dressing suburbia settings to adding subtle traits to folks living in one of the five boroughs, if I were to poll the numerous filmmakers with who've worked with Inbal Weinberg, I'd bet they'd say she's gets the look down to a tee. Weinberg's impressive filmography includes too many credits to mention here, but some of the highlights in her ascension to the ranks as a go-to choice of production designer, includes her work as an art department co-ordinator for Todd Solondz's Palindromes, and as the art director for 2006's Stephanie Daley and Half Nelson.
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Cold Weather Acquired by IFC

Cold Weather Acquired by IFC
IFC has picked SXSW fave Cold Weather for North America and select foreign territories. Written, edited and directed by Aaron Katz, Cold Weather stars Cris Lankenau (Katz’s Quiet City), Trieste Kelly Dunn (United 93) and Raul Castillo (Don't Let Me Drown). "It's great fun to see [Katz] play with the detective/mystery genre," states IFC President Jonathan Sehring. "This is one of the most original American independent films of the year." The film will be released through the IFC in Theatres platform, which offers on-demand viewing starting the same day as their theatrical premieres. Cold Weather, a Holmes-esque mystery about friendship and family camaraderie, follows Doug, who is just returned to his hometown of Portland, Oregon to live with his sister and kick-start their adulthood. The return ...
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

"Winter's Bone," "Flag" Top Florida Fest Winners

The 19th annual Florida Film Festival concluded this weekend, handing out its juried and audience awards in a variety of categories. Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner "Winter's Bone" led the narrative jury winners, while Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein's "How To Hold a Flag" led in the documentary jury category. Audiences opted for two different films, with Cruz Angeles's "Don't Let Me Drown" and Marshall Curry's "Racing Dreams" winning the narrative ...
See full article at Indiewire »

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths Saves the Day in Los Angeles!

We hit the red carpet and screening of this new DC Universe Animated Original Movie

The renowned Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles is certainly on a nice little superhero streak. I recently covered an event there for the new Planet Hulk DVD and Blu-ray release and, while it was quite a night for the new Marvel Entertainment film, last week it was DC's turn to celebrate. A new group of comic book fans gathered at the Paley Center for the premiere of the new DC Universe Animated Original Movie, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, which will be released on DVD, two-disc special edition DVD and Blu-ray on February 23.

This brand new animated film boasts and incredible cast of characters from the DC universe, and also an incredible cast of voice actors portraying them. Among the star-studded cast are Mark Harmon (Superman), Daniel Baldwin (Batman), Alyssa Milano (Aimee
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Latin America in Sundance (and Slamdance!)

This blog, Latin America in Sundance, will continue to be updated at least up to the day of the World Cinema round tables January 28 which Caroline Libresco inaugurated several years ago. The focus of this blog obviously will be the selection of Latin American films from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba, Mexico, and Peru. We shall see if any creates enough of a stir - or what I consider a stir - within my purview of buying and selling (the agents surely will discover the directors and other talent without my prompting) - for a longer span of my attention. The politics of the films also interest me as Latin America is such an integral part of the USA today.

Nalip has this to say about the current state of Latino programming: "... in Nalip's 11th year, this seems worse than slow: it appears that diversity is really on a backburner.
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CIFF 2009: The winners! And our reviews

CIFF 2009: The winners! And our reviews
Tina Mabry's "Mississippi Damned," an independent American production, won the Gold Hugo as the best film in the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival, and added Gold Plaques for best supporting actress (Jossie Thacker) and best screenplay (Mabry). It tells the harrowing story of three black children growing up in rural Mississippi in circumstances of violence and addiction. The film's trailer and an interview with Mabry are linked at the bottom.

Kylee Russell in "Mississippi Damned"

The win came over a crowed field of competitors from all over the world, many of them with much larger budgets. The other big winner at the Pump Room of the Ambassador East awards ceremony Saturday evening was by veteran master Marco Bellocchio of Italy, who won the Silver Hugo as best director for "Vincere," the story of Mussolini's younger brother. Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Filippo Timi won Silver Hugos as best actress and actor,
See full article at Roger Ebert's Blog »

Nominees of 2009 Gotham Awards Announced

On Monday, October 19, the Independent Filmmaker Project has announced the nominees for the 19th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, unraveling the dominance of "The Hurt Locker" and "Big Fan". Both feature films received the most nominations with three gongs each, and will battle it out in two categories, Best Feature and Breakthrough Actor.

In the Best Feature category, the two are up against Cherien Dabis' "Amreeka", Sebastian Silva's "The Maid" and the Coen brothers' "A Serious Man". As for the actor title, "Hurt Locker" enlisted Jeremy Renner and "Big Fan" put Patton Oswalt in competition with Ben Foster, Catalina Saavedra and Soulemane Sy Savane.

The third nod "Hurt Locker" collected is for Best Ensemble Performance, placing it to compete against "Adventureland" and "Cold Souls" among other movies. Meanwhile, "Big Fan" lands its third nomination for its director Robert Siegel. In the particular category, Siegel is listed against Cruz Angeles,
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"The Hurt Locker" Tops Gotham Independent Film Awards!

"The Hurt Locker's" march to the Oscars has begun! The film, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, is nominated for best feature, breakthrough actor, and best ensemble performance at the 19th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards.

Robert Siegel's "Big Fan" also topped the Gotham nominations with best features, breakthrough actor, and breakthrough director noms.

"The Hurt Locker" is one of my favorite films this year (Click Watch My Top 10 Best Movies of Summer 2009!) so I'm rooting for this brilliant flick!

Bigelow, Natalie Portman, and Stanley Tucci, and producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will each be presented with a career tribute.

The ceremony will be held Nov. 30 at Cipriani Wall Street.

And the nominees for the 19th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards are:

Best Feature


Cherien Dabis, director; Christina Piovesan, Paul Barkin, producers (National Geographic Entertainment)

"Big Fan"

Robert Siegel, director; Jean Kouremetis, Elan Bogarin, producers (First Independent Pictures)

"The Hurt Locker"

Kathryn Bigelow,
See full article at Manny the Movie Guy »
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