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Movie Review – Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

6 May 2016 5:25 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Florence Foster Jenkins, 2016.

Directed by Stephen Frears.

Starring Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg and Rebecca Ferguson.

Synopsis:

The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice.

Are we to laugh with, or laugh at Florence Foster Jenkins, a question proposed and rather crudely dismantled in the aptly titled Florence Foster Jenkins. Somewhere deep beneath the saccharin, tooth-achingly sweet exterior, there’s an interesting study of sadness of which director Stephen Frears struggles to locate. Instead, we have a charming, if breezy tale of musical delusion.

Meryl Streep stars as the titular Florence, a patron of the arts with delusional dreams of being a great soprano, an issue her entourage, filled with the most vanilla of the aristocratic bourgeoisie, refuse to acknowledge. Enabling her lies is St Clair Bayfield – played with aplomb by Hugh Grant – and »

- Amie Cranswick

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Florence Foster Jenkins: Exclusive Costume Sketches

4 May 2016 5:56 AM, PDT | Clothes on Film | See recent Clothes on Film news »

Friday 6th May sees the release of Florence Foster Jenkins, the 1944 set true story of a woman, Ms. Foster Jenkins herself (played by Meryl Streep) who heard nothing but sweet angels in her head, yet couldn’t actually sing for a toffee. Her manager and husband St. Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant) hides the truth during the private recitals, but when Florence agrees to sing live at Carnegie Hall, things begin to get a little tricky…

Costume designer for Florence Foster Jenkins is Consolata Boyle, a BAFTA award winner probably best known for her work on The Queen (2006), The Iron Lady (2011), and more recently Philomena (2013) – and yes there is definitely a ‘real life’ theme here. For this project, however, everything had to be even larger than real life. This is mid-forties New York (even if the film was actually shot in Liverpool) with Foster Jenkins a full-on society dame enabling an eccentricity ingrained since childhood. »

- Lord Christopher Laverty

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Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Trailer Has Edina and Patsy on The Run

27 April 2016 8:03 AM, PDT | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

Appropriate for their big screen debut, Edina and Patsy (Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley) are still oozing glitz and glamour, living the high life they are accustomed to; shopping, drinking and clubbing their way around London's trendiest hotspots. Blamed for a major incident at an uber fashionable launch party, they become entangled in a media storm and are relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi. Fleeing penniless to the glamorous playground of the super-rich, the French Riviera, they hatch a plan to make their escape permanent and live the high life forever more!

In theaters this summer, an all-new international trailer has arrived for Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie courtesy of Fox Searchlight. This hilarious new adventure reunites Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley along with the rest of the original cast that includes Julia Sawalha as Saffy, Jane Horrocks as Bubble and June Whitfield as Mother. The award-winning team behind the camera includes Mandie Fletcher (Blackadder, »

- MovieWeb

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Kate Moss, Perez Hilton to Have Cameos in ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’

25 April 2016 4:04 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

London — Fox Searchlight Pictures has revealed that Kate Moss, Jerry Hall, Jean Paul Gaultier, Perez Hilton and Stella McCartney are among the celebrities making cameo appearances in “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie,” which stars Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks and June Whitfield.

Other leading lights from the worlds of acting, music and fashion appearing in the film include: Abbey Clancy, Alesha Dixon, Alex Jones, Alexa Chung, Alice Dellal, Anya Hindmarch, Barry Humphries (a.k.a. Dame Edna Everage), Beattie Edmondson, Bip Ling, Brix Smith-Start, Bruno Tonioli, Camilla Rutherford, Chris Colfer, Daisy Lowe, Daniel Lismore, Dawn French, Ella Eyre, Foxes, Giles Deacon, Gwendoline Christie, Jade Parfitt, Jamie Laing, Janette Tough, Joan Collins, Jodie Harsh, Jourdan Dunn, Kathy Lette, Kelly Hoppen, La Roux, La Voix, Lara Stone, Lily Cole, Marcia Warren, Miquita Oliver, Nick Grimshaw, Nick Mohammed, Orla Guerin, Ozwald Boateng, Pam Hogg, Poppy Delevingne, Richard Arnold, Robert Webb, Rylan Clark, »

- Leo Barraclough

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Daniel Battsek Takes Over as Director of Film4

14 April 2016 3:50 PM, PDT | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

Channel 4 Chief Executive David Abraham has announced that Daniel Battsek will join the corporation as Director of Film4, following the news that David Kosse is to step down to join Stx Entertainment.

Battsek will join Film4 in July, relocating to the UK from New York after fulfilling his contract as President of Cohen Media Group - where he has overseen the acquisition and release of projects including back-to-back Oscar® nominees "Timbuktu" and "Mustang," as well as a development and production slate of films that includes John Williams’ renowned novel Stoner, a co-production with Film4.   Prior to this role Daniel was President of National Geographic Films, and before that President, Filmed Entertainment at Miramax Films.

David Kosse will continue working for Film4 during the transition period on a consultancy basis until October.

Battsek will inherit the increased spend announced by David Abraham and David Kosse in February 2016 of £25 million for the year, with the ambition of maintaining similar increased levels of Film4 funding in future years.

Under Battsek’s leadership, Film4 will continue to seek out new partnerships like those announced with Fox Searchlight and Fp Films in February, which allow the company to take a greater stake in certain projects, with a view to seeing more of the returns flowing back to Film4 for investment in the company’s future slate.

Battsek also inherits a development slate which includes new work from Lenny Abrahamson, Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrew Haigh, Steve McQueen, Martin McDonagh, Clio Barnard, Bart Layton, Garth Davis and Mike Leigh. as well as completed or near completed films from Andrea Arnold, Ben Wheatley, Ang Lee, Paddy Considine, Susanna White, John Cameron Mitchell, acclaimed theatre director Benedict Andrews, newcomer Toby Macdonald and Danny Boyle.

Channel 4 Chief Executive David Abraham commented: “Daniel Battsek’s passion for independent, filmmaker driven cinema, and experience in film production, development and distribution at the highest level in both the Us and UK markets, are second to none. He’s a perfect fit for the Film4 brand. We’re thrilled to bring this talented British executive back to the UK.

“As demonstrated by our record breaking year at both the Oscars and the BAFTAs, Daniel will inherit a Film4 business in fine creative and commercial health from David Kosse.  We’re sad he couldn’t have been with us longer but he’s had an incredible impact in the time he has led the division.  Both the exciting upcoming slate and the increased funding for original film we announced earlier this year are testament to the successful strategy implemented by David.   I’m delighted that he will be working alongside Daniel on a smooth transition over the summer and ensuring that it is business as usual for Film4 over this period.”

Daniel Battsek added: "I am hugely honored to have been offered this opportunity. My career began with so many of Film4's early productions and I have retained strong ties with British filmmakers throughout my time in the Us. Joining Film4 feels almost like coming full circle. I look forward to returning to the UK and putting the experience I've gained on both sides of the Atlantic to good use."

David Kosse said: "Film4 is a unique organization and a very special brand and it was a difficult decision to leave, but joining Stx at this stage is an opportunity that I couldn't pass up.  Over almost two years, I'm incredibly proud to have put in place a new strategy for Film4 which has boosted funding for the film industry to a record level and to have introduced an exciting new slate of high quality productions and developments with a diverse group of filmmakers.  David Abraham and the Channel 4 leadership team have been fantastic partners since day one and I look forward to continuing to work with them over the coming months."

Having worked at the cutting edge of the independent sector on three continents, Battsek brings 30 years’ production, development and distribution experience to Film4. For the last three years Battsek has served as President of New York based Cohen Media Group, where he has overseen the acquisition and release of arthouse/crossover releases including back-to-back Oscar® nominees "Timbuktu" and "Mustang," as well as a development and production slate of films that includes John Williams’ renowned novel Stoner, a co-production with Film4. Prior to that he spent 2½ years at National Geographic Films, where as President he acquired projects for development and production including the  Oscar® nominated documentary Restrepo, as well as National Geographic branded large screen and Imax 3D projects.

Battsek relocated from the UK to New York in 2005, where he served for five years as President, Filmed Entertainment at Miramax Films. Projects he greenlit and/or acquired there included Oscar® winners "The Queen," "No Country For Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" and Oscar® nominees "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and "Happy-Go-Lucky". From 1991 to 2005, Battsek held the position of Evp and Managing Director, UK Distribution and European Production & Acquisitions at Buena Vista International, UK, where he oversaw all aspects of UK distribution for 18-25 releases per annum from Walt Disney Studios and their partners including Pixar and Miramax Films. At Bvi, Battsek also set up a Comedy Production Label in 2001 which financed and produced three films, including "Calendar Girls" and "Kinky Boots." Prior to that, Battsek spent six years as Managing Director of Palace Pictures, where he was responsible for the acquisition and distribution of quality independent titles from around the world for release in the UK, and he also spent three years as a Sales & Marketing Executive for Hoyts Entertainment in Australia, where he first cut his teeth in distribution.

Film4 is Channel 4 Television’s feature film division, which develops and co-finances films and has an established track record for working with the most distinctive and innovative talent in UK and international filmmaking.  Film4 has developed and/or co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years - Academy Award-winners such as Steve McQueen’s "12 Years a Slave," Danny Boyle’s "Slumdog Millionaire," Lenny Abrahamson’s "Room," Alex Garland’s "Ex Machina," Asif Kapadia’s Amy, Andrew Haigh’s "45 Years" and Phyllida Lloyd’s "The Iron Lady," in addition to critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, Chris Morris’ "Four Lions," Shane Meadows’ "This is England," Martin McDonagh’s "Seven Psychopaths," Yann Demange’s "71," Ben Wheatley’s "High-Rise," Clio Barnard’s "The Selfish Giant," Jonathan Glazer’s "Under the Skin" and David Mackenzie’s "Starred Up." »

- Sydney Levine

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Florence Foster Jenkins review: “Near note perfect”

13 April 2016 12:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood News | See recent The Hollywood News news »

Florence Foster Jenkins review: Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant hit the right notes in this Stephen Frears directed comedy drama about the world’s best worst singer.

Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant lead the cast of the Stephen Frears directed film which focusses the true events of the latter days of America socialite, Florence Foster Jenkins. Here’s our Florence Foster Jenkins review.

Stephen Frears’ follow-up movie to last year’s impressive biopic The Program could not be any different, and here he teams with Nicholas Martin, a successful television writer behind episodes of Midsomer Murders, Soldier Soldier and Dalziel & Pascoe, for an brilliantly funny romp set in New York City towards the end of the second World War.

Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) was known for her very off-key performances as an opera singer, her appearances on-stage fully financed from her fortune left to her by her late father. At »

- Paul Heath

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New poster for Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

8 April 2016 5:26 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

A new poster has debuted for Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie featuring Jennifer Saunders’ Edina and Joanna Lumley’s Patsy; check it out below…

See Also: First look teaser for Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Appropriate for their big screen debut, Edina and Patsy are still oozing glitz and glamour, living the high life they are accustomed to; shopping, drinking and clubbing their way around London’s trendiest hotspots. Blamed for a major incident at an uber fashionable launch party, they become entangled in a media storm and are relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi. Fleeing penniless to the glamorous playground of the super-rich, the French Riviera, they hatch a plan to make their escape permanent and live the high life forevermore!

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie reunites Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as the iconic Edina and Patsy along with the rest of the original cast that includes Julia Sawalha as Saffy, Jane Horrocks »

- Amie Cranswick

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Inside Meryl Streep's Bedside Vigil for Dying Boyfriend John Cazale and How She Found Love Again with Don Gummer

31 March 2016 6:10 AM, PDT | PEOPLE.com | See recent PEOPLE.com news »

When Meryl Streep's boyfriend John Cazale died of cancer in 1978, the actress was devastated. But, as it sometimes does, love and light came out of the tragedy - in this case, quite quickly. Streep's two-year romance with Cazale, a talented actor who starred in five Best Picture nominees in just six years, is detailed in Michael Schulman's upcoming biography Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, published April 26 by HarperCollins. Meeting first during an audition for New York City's famed Shakespeare in the Park, Streep and The Godfather star's connection was obvious to their castmates and director Joe Papp. Schulman »

- Lindsay Kimble, @lekimble

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First poster for Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

8 March 2016 10:49 AM, PST | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

The first poster has arrived online for Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, which as you’d expect features Jennifer Saunders’ Edina and Joanna Lumley’s Patsy; check it out here…

See Also: First look teaser for Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Appropriate for their big screen debut, Edina and Patsy are still oozing glitz and glamour, living the high life they are accustomed to; shopping, drinking and clubbing their way around London’s trendiest hotspots. Blamed for a major incident at an uber fashionable launch party, they become entangled in a media storm and are relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi. Fleeing penniless to the glamorous playground of the super-rich, the French Riviera, they hatch a plan to make their escape permanent and live the high life forevermore!

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie reunites Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as the iconic Edina and Patsy along with the rest of the original cast that includes Julia Sawalha as Saffy, »

- Amie Cranswick

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Oscars Facts: 25 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About the Academy Awards

26 February 2016 7:00 AM, PST | Moviefone | See recent Moviefone news »

It's almost here -- the 88th Academy Awards finally airs this Sunday, and we're counting down the minutes.

We've already given you our Oscar predictions, and now we're bringing you some of the best (and, um, craziest) facts about Hollywood's biggest awards show. From the first Best Actor winner, to the "one dollar" Oscar rule, here are 25 things you (probably) don't know about the Oscars.

1. The youngest Oscar winner was Tatum O'Neal (above), who won Best Supporting Actress for "Paper Moon" (1973) when she was only 10 years old. Shirley Temple won the short-lived Juvenile Award at 6 years old.

2. After winning Best Actress for "Cabaret" (1972), Liza Minnelli became (and still is) the only Oscar winner whose parents both earned Oscars. Her mother, Judy Garland, received an honorary award in 1939 and her father, Vincente Minnelli, won Best Director for "Gigi" (1958).

3. Nameplates for all potential winners are prepared ahead of time; in 2014, the Academy made 215 of them! »

- Phil Pirrello

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The 25 greatest Oscar speeches

19 February 2016 4:05 PM, PST | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

We're just a week away from another gold-tinged year of speeches, upsets, and snubs. After all the hype, what ends up mattering about the Oscars? I'd argue it's the speeches, and that's why we're picking the 25 best acceptance speeches ever -- by actors only. Sorry, but glamor is a key element in any Oscar moment and I don't have time to remember if the guy who adapted The Last Emperor thanked his mom.  25. Dustin Hoffman, Kramer vs. Kramer Dustin Hoffman's seriousness initially seems worrisome, but his mix of sarcasm and sincerity is right for the ceremony.  24. Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose Cotillard's tearful speech makes you realize how rare it is than an Oscar recipient is surprised to win. As Cotillard scrambles to make sense of the honor, she comes up with an ebullient finale: "Thank you, life! Thank you, love! It is -- there are some angels in this city. »

- Louis Virtel

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'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie' Trailer Reunites Edina and Patsy

18 February 2016 8:28 AM, PST | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

Back in October, production finally started on the long-awaited Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, with the first photo released from the set featuring original Absolutely Fabulous stars Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley reprising their roles as the iconic Edina and Patsy. Today, Fox Searchlight Pictures has released the first international trailer, which shows that Edina and Patsy are still living a life of luxury. The studio will release this comedy in U.K. and U.S. theaters July 1.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie reunites Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley along with the rest of the original cast that includes Julia Sawalha as Saffy, Jane Horrocks as Bubble and June Whitfield as Mother. The award-winning team behind the camera includes Mandie Fletcher (Blackadder, Absolutely Fabulous) directing from a script by Jennifer Saunders, producers Jon Plowman (Absolutely Fabulous, The Vicar of Dibley) and Damian Jones (The Iron Lady, Belle, Dad's Army) with Steve Milne, »

- MovieWeb

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First look teaser for Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

18 February 2016 4:29 AM, PST | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

It’s cool, it’s refreshing, it’s absolutely fabulous! Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley are back as Edina and Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, and we have a first look teaser for you here ahead of its release this summer; take a look…

Appropriate for their big screen debut, Edina and Patsy are still oozing glitz and glamour, living the high life they are accustomed to; shopping, drinking and clubbing their way around London’s trendiest hotspots. Blamed for a major incident at an uber fashionable launch party, they become entangled in a media storm and are relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi. Fleeing penniless to the glamorous playground of the super-rich, the French Riviera, they hatch a plan to make their escape permanent and live the high life forevermore!

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie reunites Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as the iconic Edina and Patsy along with the »

- Gary Collinson

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Berlin: Meryl Streep Talks Working With Clint Eastwood, Female Directors and Vanity

14 February 2016 8:55 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Berlinale jury president Meryl Streep took time in between watching competition films to chat about her long career on Sunday as part of a Berlinale Talents event series.

In a casual and oftentimes humorous conversation with film historian and writer Peter Cowie, Streep spoke about working with leading directors, selecting parts, her ear for languages and the changing role of women in the film business.

Asked about working with Clint Eastwood in “The Bridges of Madison County,” Streep quipped that director Mike Nichols used to drill her about other directors she had worked with. “I’d say, ‘That’s like asking about the other boyfriends. Does he do it better than I do?’ They are all different.”

About Eastwood, Streep said, “He never says action. As director, I would sort of have to divine when he was starting to act. He would stroll from behind the camera into the kitchen and he would say, »

- Ed Meza

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It's May for Meryl

12 February 2016 3:15 PM, PST | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

As Meryl Streep starts her jury duties at the Berlinale, Murtada has news about her next film.

Streep at the Berlinale Jury Press Conference

Gird your loins! There must be a rupture in the movie universe because we might not get the new Meryl Streep movie when we usually do. Since 2008's Mamma Mia, movies led by Streep have had only 2 release dates. The December prestige slot (Doubt, The Iron Lady, August Osage County, Into the Woods). Or late summer blockbuster comedy counter programming (Julie and Julia, Hope Springs, Ricki and the Flash). Plus one anomaly with the comedy It's Complicated inexplicably slotted into the December prestige date. Yes comedies get released year round, but not Meryl comedies!

2016 is changing all that. Pathe have announced a May 6 UK release of Streep's latest, Florence Foster Jenkins. Directed by Stephen Frears and also starring Hugh Grant and Rebecca Ferguson, the film is »

- Murtada Elfadl

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Meryl Streep On Berlin Jury Duty: “I Don’t Know How To Do This” – Update

11 February 2016 12:02 PM, PST | Deadline | See recent Deadline news »

Update, with reaction to Meryl Streep comments below: Meryl Streep was trending this morning on Twitter in Germany with the Oscar-winner here at the Berlin Film Festival in her first appearance as president of the main competition jury. At the fest’s first press conference today, Streep said she was “extremely honored and proud” to have been invited, but admitted, “I don’t know how to do this.” However, the actress who won an Oscar for playing The Iron Lady and was… »

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Wrap-Ranker Poll: Who’s Best Actress to Win Oscar, Golden Globe for Same Role?

11 February 2016 9:09 AM, PST | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

After covering the best actors to win an Oscar and a Golden Globe, it’s time we turn our attention to the leading ladies. Jodie Foster is a two-time winner of the Oscar/Globe sweep for playing a rape survivor in “The Accused” and FBI agent Clarice Starling in “The Silence of the Lambs,” arguably the role she is still known for today. Another two-time winner for both awards, Meryl Streep spanned a few decades between playing a grieving Holocaust survivor in “Sophie’s Choice” to portraying Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.” Also Read: Hey, Oscar Nominees: Here's the Secret to Winning Best Picture. »

- Matt Hejl

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FILM4 is the Company with 15 Academy Award Nominations Nobody is Talking About but Should Be

9 February 2016 4:04 PM, PST | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

Titles backed by Film4 this year have a total of 15 Oscar nominations including a Best Picture and Best Director nomination and three of the five Oscar Best Actress Nominees: Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Charlotte Rampling.  The total tally of Film4’s awards nominations and wins across the Academy, BAFTA, critics groups, guilds, etc. in 2015 to date is: 181 wins out of a total 581 nominations (95% of which were in the U.S.) across 11 films -  “Room”, “Carol”, “Suffragette”, “Youth”, “The Lobster", "Ex Machina", "45 Years”,  “Amy”, “Macbeth”, “Slow West”, and “Dark Horse”.

Film4 has already had two Academy Best Picture wins in recent years with "Slumdog Millionaire" and "12 Years A Slave" amid other Academy Award nominations, so we can declare they are a force to be reckoned with.

This year again they have more nominations than most Hollywood Studios!  The New York based Distribution and Production Company A24 has seven nominations, and people are talking about them as serious players in the Oscar race, so let’s talk about Film4

Film4 is known for working with the most distinctive and innovative, both new and established, talent. It develops and co-finances films and is well known for its involvement with “The Last King of Scotland” (2006), “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008), “This is England” (2006), “Seven Psychopaths” (2012), “12 Years a Slave” (2013) as well as its most recent crop of successes in the current awards season which has also already garnered a record number of BAFTA nominations this year - 22 in all.

Sue Bruce Smith is the head of distribution and brand strategy at Channel 4’s feature film division, Film4.  She supports the building and financing of projects from the U.K. broadcaster. She works in some capacity across most of the Film4 slate but has been particularly associated with films like “Room”, “The Lobster”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, “The Last King of Scotland”, “Tyrannosaur”, “The Imposter” and “Le Weekend”,

Sue has been at Film4 over 12 years. Prior to this she has worked variously in U.K. distribution, broadcaster investment in film, international sales and independent production at Palace Pictures, BBC Films, Littlebird and Film4.

Sl: Can you define what exactly you do at Film4?

Sue Bruce Smith: What I do varies quite a bit from film to film.  Some of the seasoned producers are more adept at finding partners and don’t need much in the way of help putting their finance together.  However, we also work with emerging producers and directors who require more guidance so I am on hand to help them access the right co-production or distribution partners to ensure the film is built in the best possible way.  Once the film is completed, I again get involved in the strategy for the launch of the film and I oversee the distribution activity.  Protecting and maximizing the strength of our Film4 brand is a key consideration in everything I do.  We are also the only free-to-air channel dedicated to film in the U.K. so this really helps define our strong brand.

 

Sl: How are productions greenlit at Film4?

Sue Bruce Smith:The creative and commercial team within Film4 will guide a project through development to final greenlight.  David Kosse, Director of Film4 is a key part of the whole progression of the film and his final decision, based very much on the soundings he gets from his senior team, also obviously draws heavily on his valuable experience and understanding of film investment and the international marketplace.  The Film4 team is a very inclusive team of about 23 people working across development, production, finance and distribution.  it is also able to draw upon additional resources within the Channel4, most specifically in marketing and press.

Sl: Do you do co-productions?

Sue Bruce Smith: If you mean financial co-productions, yes lots.  These tend to be U.S. set financial co-productions or they might come out of Europe.  But official co-productions are relatively rare as it is more difficult and takes longer to set up.  “Room”, however, was an official co-production with Telefilm Canada and “The Lobster” was the result of a wonderful collaboration of over five different European co-producers.

Sl: What sort of budget parameters do you work with?

Sue Bruce Smith: We span from the very low to sometimes quite high.  We try not to limit ourselves and allow the project to find its optimum level.   When we developed “Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk” with Ink Factory, in the course of looking for partners we found a fan in Tom Rothman who at that time was in the process of rebuilding production at TriStar and we have ended up, as a result, being involved in an Ang Lee film!  However these are the exceptions and the range is usually between Us $3m to Us$15m.

Going forward, we are keen to be bolder in how Film4 invests especially when we feel a film is a potential break out.  We operate a cross subsidy model where the bigger, more commercial investments allow us to generate revenue that then supports the new emerging talent.  It is worth noting that absolutely everything we earn from our films goes straight back into more development and film investment.

Sl: Do you have special “strands” for particular types of films?

Sue Bruce Smith: We don’t really distinguish films in strands we just work across many levels and genres. First time filmmakers tend to have smaller budgets - around Us$3m and they are built in a slightly different way.  For our larger projects I’d say our sweet spot is $10 – 15 million. 

Sl: How do you find projects?

Sue Bruce Smith:: We are constantly scouting for interesting new talent, watching shorts like “Robots of Brixton” where we found Kibwe Tavares, culling talent from our TV arm (like Yann Demange who worked with us on the TV series “Top Boy” before making “'71”) from theater (Lucy Kirkwood who we are making a short film with and developing a feature), the arts (which is where Steve McQueen originated and is still very active) and writing (Alex Garland who adapted “Never Let Me Go” for us and went on to make his striking debut “Ex Machina”)

Sl: I notice you don’t do international sales like you used to in the 80s.

Sue Bruce Smith: Yes we shed the international sales division and the U.K. Distribution arm back in 2002 and brought the focus back to our core development and co-financing activities.  We currently work with a wide range of sales agents like Protagonist, Hanway, Cornerstone, FilmNation, Westend, Pathe, Studio Canal, Independent and others.

Sl: In the early days in the 1980s operations were different.

Sue Bruce Smith: David Rose, in 1982, was the real visionary behind Film4.  He decided Channel4 would be different from all other TV channels.  Channel4 was the first U.K. broadcaster, through its film arm, Film on Four, to develop and co-finance films and, crucially, to allow these films to play in cinemas before their television transmission on Channel4. Our theatrical model became Film on Four and HBO, Sbs and Arte followed this lead. “Walter” by Stephen Frears followed this route in 1982.   Frear's next film “My Beautiful Laundrette” followed shortly after in 1985

(An aside here by Sydney Levine):

If my readers will indulge me for a little history lesson in how films change with technological change, I want to point out that in the early days of home video, in 1985, Sue and I (a couple of the pioneer women in the modern business) shared in the good fortune resulting from the shift in the movie and TV business.  

Working for the biggest TV production house in U.S. in the days of “Dallas”, I came to Lorimar to buy for home video, the fastest growing new technological distribution tool yet.  We put up $175,000 advance to acquire home video rights to the Film4 feature “My Beautiful Laundrette” for U.S.  $75,000 of that was to be used as P&A by theatrical distributor Orion Pictures Classics’ platform theatrical release – to platform first in N.Y. and L.A for critical reviews, and then, if profitable, to expand across the nation.  It was the first British film to come to U.S. in many a year (except of course for the James Bond franchise).  Orion Classics was headed by Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Donna Gigliotti who paid no advance but used the P&A allotment wisely and well.  It was a happy association that we shared a couple of more times before they moved on to form Sony Pictures Classics and I moved on to Republic Pictures, reconstructed by Cnb’s Russell Goldsmith, former CEO of Lorimar. This Film4 picture, “My Beautiful Laundrette” was by complete unknowns in the U.S. and was a first for us all.  We did not know it would go on to gross $7 million at the box office (a huge amount at that time for an independent film) and would sell 75,000 video units (at $50 wholesale a piece = $3,750,000).  We at Lorimar made a $1 million profit and overages of $1 million went to Channel 4 and $1 million went to Working Title.  I got a $100 bonus, and we were all delighted.  My association with Film4 was followed by many loyal and loving years and reunions, but that is another lesson.  

To quote Adam P. Davies, the writer of the U.K. Film Finance Handbook 2005/6: How to Fund Your Film:

Stephen Frears’s 1985 “My Beautiful Laundrette” signalled a change in direction for the industry in that TV backed film investment started to feed local productions.  The Channel4 film encouraged the broadcasters to increase investment in filmmaking over the late 80s and also launched Working Title, initially run by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radcliffe (who left in 1992 to run her own company) and later Eric Fellner, with whom Bevan runs the company today [in a longstanding deal with Universal-Focus].  Video distributor and producer Palace Pictures, run by Nik Powell and Stephen Woolley, followed the success in 1985 of Neil Jordan’s “Company of Wolves” with “Mona Lisa” in 1986.  The British Film Commission launched in 1992 [when “The Crying Game” had its world success]. 

Sue was at Palace Productions when I was at Lorimar and Republic and our paths crossed many times and so I was quite eager to share the latest good fortune of the 2016 Academy Awards at a time when the Academy is being besieged by negative publicity.  At that time, back in ’85, I suggested to Michael and Tom that they put up Daniel Day Lewis for Best Actor Nomination and as I recall, they told me British films or British actors in British films were not acceptable to the Academy, and so neither he nor the film was put up for nomination. 

My Beautiful Laundrette” obviously had Asian actors; it was about a gay skinhead and a Pakistani.  Diversity was at its core, but it did not get past the British line of demarcation the Academy had drawn in ’85.  Its ethnic boundaries might have existed if anyone had tried to test them but that was not even an issue in 1985. “Diversity” in those days did not exist as a word one used and the very idea of diversity was even more limited than today.  

Film4 has had a key role in proactively promoting different voices and stories since the 1980s. And today diversity is a crucial consideration in the decisions Film4 makes about its developments and productions with the aim of increasing diversity across all areas of the business.  They have several films currently in development with Bame writers and directors and are successfully working with many female directors such as Andrea Arnold, Debbie Tucker Green, Susanna White, Clio Bernard, Sarah Gavron and Lynne Ramsay.

In January last year parent company Channel4 launched the 360 Degree Diversity Charter which is all about a commitment to implementing diversity on and off screen and to measuring its progress.  It is tied to Project Diamond, an industry-wide diversity monitoring system.  Its results will be published in the next few months. 

Film4 has developed and co-financed many of the most successful U.K. films of recent years, Academy Award-winners such as Steve McQueen’s "12 Years a Slave", Danny Boyle’s "Slumdog Millionaire", Phyllida Lloyd’s "The Iron Lady” and Martin McDonagh’s "In Bruges" in addition to critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Mike Leigh’s "Mr. Turner", Chris Morris’ "Four Lions", Shane Meadows’ "This is England", Ben Wheatley’s “Sightseers", Clio Barnard’s "The Selfish Giant" Jonathan Glazer’s "Under the Skin" and David Mackenzie’s "Starred Up".

Film4’s recent releases include; Lenny Abrahamson’s “Room", Todd Haynes’ “Carol", Sarah Gavron’s “Suffragette", Justin Kurzel’s “Macbeth", Yorgos Lanthimos’ "The Lobster", Asif Kapadia’s box office record breaking documentary “Amy", Andrew Haigh’s "45 Years", Alex Garland’s "Ex Machina", Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth", Peter Strickland’s "The Duke of Burgundy", Daniel Wolfe’s "Catch Me Daddy" and John Maclean’s "Slow West".

Forthcoming releases include; Ben Wheatley’s "High-Rise" and "Free Fire", Ang Lee’s "Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk", Benedict Andrews’ “Una" and Andrea Arnold’s "American Honey".

For further information visit www.film4.com/productions, but for now, here is the Cheat Sheet on Film4’s 2016 Total Oscar Nominations numbering 15.  It will be at my side as I watch the Awards on February. Parenthetically, I am also looking forward to watching the fashions before the show, and inside the show, to catching that one loose cannon who will deliver the only inspirational speech in a rather inspirationless, basically boring, but still worthy traditional show.

3 of 5 Oscar Best Actress Nominees – Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Charlotte Rampling

Nomination tally by film:

Room” – 4 - Picture, Actress, Director, Best Adapted Screenplay

Carol” – 6 –Actress, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume Design, Original Score

Ex Machina” – 2 –Original screenplay, Visual Effects

Amy” – 1 – Documentary Feature

“45 Years” – 1 – Actress

Youth” – 1 – Original Song

Film4-backed films Oscar® nominations in full:

Carol

Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett

Actress in a Supporting Role: Rooney Mara

Adapted Screenplay: Phyllis Nagy

Achievement in Cinematography: Ed Lachman

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original score): Carter Burwell

Achievement in Costume Design: Sandy Powell

Room

Best Motion Picture of the Year: Ed Guiney

Achievement in Directing: Lenny Abrahamson

Actress in a Leading Role: Brie Larson

Adapted Screenplay: Emma Donoghue

Ex Machina

Original Screenplay: Alex Garland

Achievement in Visual Effects: Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett

“45 Years”:

Actress in a Leading Role: Charlotte Rampling

Youth

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original song): Simple Song # 3, music and lyrics by David Lang

Amy

Best Documentary Feature: Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees

  »

- Sydney Levine

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Europe’s Indie Film Biz More Open For Women to Launch Careers

9 February 2016 10:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Hollywood and the global film business have a long way to go before approaching gender parity, but in Europe, the independent film biz has been a fertile place for women to foster careers. Government subsidies and national funding organizations that put an emphasis on art rather than commerce are among the factors helping women gain a toehold in the business. But as the Berlin Film Festival gets ready to unspool on Feb. 11, many acknowledge that inequities aren’t hard to find despite gains.

The U.K. has been a fantastic launchpad for female execs and creatives. Home-grown producers ranging from Elizabeth Karlsen (“Carol”) to Alison Owen (“Saving Mr. Banks,” “Me Before You”) to Debra Hayward (“Les Miserables,” “Bridget Jones’s Baby”) to Faye Ward (“Suffragette,” TV series “The Crown”) have mastered the indie financing game to bring top-notch product to screen, and the country has produced scribes such as Abi Morgan (“The Iron Lady, »

- Diana Lodderhose

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Full Berlinale International Jury Revealed

2 February 2016 3:55 AM, PST | The Hollywood News | See recent The Hollywood News news »

We’ve got just over a week until the 66th Berlin Film Festival kicks off in Germany. We’ll be in Berlin for full coverage of this year’s festival, a first for The Hollywood News.

Today, the full Berlinale International Jury was announced. Meryl Streep will be serving as Jury President this year, and the Berlinale International Jury will decide who will receive the Golden Bear and Silver Bears of the 2016 Berlinale Competition.

Berlinale International Jury 2016

The other members of the International Jury will be actor Lars Eidinger (Germany), film critic Nick James (United Kingdom), photographer Brigitte Lacombe (France), actor Clive Owen (United Kingdom), actress Alba Rohrwacher (Italy) and director Ma?gorzata Szumowska (Poland).

Here’s their respective career essentials.

Meryl Streep, Jury President, USA

Meryl Streep has appeared in over 40 films and is considered one of the world’s most talented and versatile actresses. She has received countless awards and nominations, »

- Paul Heath

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