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As the four-day Telluride Film Festival wraps Sept. 1, the big awards question is: Did we see the 2014 Oscar best-pic winner?
Since Telluride has screened the winner in five of the last six years, it’s a valid question. The answer is that there was no slam dunk. But three films that debuted here are clear possibilities for a best-pic nomination and maybe more: “Birdman,” “The Imitation Game” and “Wild.” The festival also offered Sony Classics’ “Foxcatcher,” which had bowed at Cannes and which seems destined to be a golden player in all categories.
“Foxcatcher” is universally admired; no one seems to dislike it, and some love it. “Birdman” is inspiring the most animated discussions, with many enthusing about the content and the technical magic. But it is too early to declare either film a front-runner.
Aside from those four, Telluride offered films that had premiered at other fests and that »
- Tim Gray
By Anjelica Oswald
With the conclusion of the 41st Telluride Film Festival today, and the commencement of the 39th Toronto International Film Festival Sept. 4 (which runs through Sept. 14), the impetus of Oscar season is upon us.
Though Telluride is known for being a more intimate and low-key festival, it has become a frontrunner in debuting Oscar contenders and winners in recent years. In the past six years, four of the Best Picture winners have premiered at Telluride: 12 Years a Slave (2013), Argo (2012), The King’s Speech (2010) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008). Gravity (2013), winner of seven Academy Awards, made its North American debut at Telluride last year. Academy Award winners Capote (2005), Juno (2007) and The Descendants (2011) all bowed at the festival. Countless Academy Award nominees, including Amélie (2001; North American premiere), Little Children (2006) and Up in the Air (2009), were introduced in the small Colorado town.
Telluride’s debuting prowess has been recognized by filmmakers and film buffs alike, »
- Anjelica Oswald
"I knew Jb well before I was involved in the film," he explained. "I ran into him in 2007 at a function, asked him what he was doing. »
Director: Craig Gillespie.
Running Time: 124 minutes.
Synopsis: A twenty-something comedienne’s unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront the realities of independent womanhood for the first time.
Jon Hamm continues an incredibly lingering transition to the big screen with Disney’s American hit Million Dollar Arm, part sports drama, part romance, part fish-out-of-water comedy which combines to make up what is essentially a biographical rags-to-riches tale.
Tracking the story of sports agent Jb Bernstein (Hamm) and an innovative idea which takes him to India (via a path of self-enlightenment and Britain’s Got Talent), we are introduced to his tough-to-like cynic who, whilst residing in a pristine apartment decorated with a flash car on the drive, spends his days dating models, soullessly shunning hellos from Lake Bell’s kooky tenant, Brenda.
With this being Disney, »
- Jacob Stolworthy
As fully expected, Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" was on the Telluride slate when it was announced this morning. This marks Miller's second trip to the Colorado fest after 2005's "Capote," and that last time was kind of significant. Many will point to the 2005 Telluride program as a real turning point for its place in the Oscar scheme. In addition to "Capote," Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain" came here (after premiering in Venice the day before), as did James Mangold's Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line." Suddenly the in-betweener slot made a lot of sense, and after that we saw "Juno," "Slumdog Millionaire," "The King's Speech," "Argo," "12 Years a Slave," etc., etc. Is this year's Best Picture winner on hand this time around? And will Miller's latest get as solid a boost out of the mountains this year as "Capote" did? Time will tell. For now, Sony Classics has made sure »
- Kristopher Tapley
Mixing high-profile star power with offbeat titles, the 41st Telluride Film Festival is offering an impressive glimpse at an array of awards contenders over Labor Day weekend.
The four-day fest, which starts Friday with a tribute to Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now,” includes the first showings of Reese Witherspoon’s “Wild,” Benedict Cumberbatch’s “The Imitation Game,” Jon Stewart’s “Rosewater” and Mia Wasikowska’s “Madame Bovary” — the 10th film adaptation of the French novel.
The Venice Film Festival opener “Birdman,” which has vaulted Michael Keaton into awards contention, will also screen at Telluride. Ramin Bahrani’s housing crisis drama “99 Homes” is screening at both festivals as is Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary “The Look of Silence.”
Several Cannes titles are coming to Telluride: Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner,” Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher,” Xavier Dolan’s “Mommy,” the Dardenne Brothers’ workplace drama “Two Days, One Night,” Andrei Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan »
- Dave McNary
Prior to Million Dollar Arm, Madhur Mittal’s biggest role had been in Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire. In both films he manages to leave a lasting impression, and we can only hope to see more of the up and coming actor in future.
Ahead of this week’s UK release of Million Dollar Arm we sat down with Mittal and the film’s producer Mark Ciardi to quiz them on their favourite sports flicks, how they adapt when they’re out of their comfort zones, and much more. We also promised Madhur we’d get the word out on his days as a Michael Jackson impersonator. Regretfully, a dance-off did not take place. Have a watch below.
The post The HeyUGuys Interview: Madhur Mittal and »
- Amon Warmann
If your film is named Trash, it better be pretty great, or it will instantly be fodder for reviewers upon release. The good news is that Stephen Daldry’s latest effort, starring Rooney Mara, Martin Sheen and three newcomers who could have a bright future in Hollywood, looks terrific, a mix of gritty slum story and inspirational drama. In other words, this could be the new Slumdog Millionaire and it already comes from a director who has danced with Oscar nominations before.
Trash could also easily be up for foreign language film at this year’s Academy Awards, since 80 percent of it is in Portuguese (the rest is in English). The film is based off a best-selling novel by Andy Mulligan, which follows three kids living in a Rio slum who find a wallet filled with money and valuables connecting to officials in power. When the police show up to »
- Jordan Adler
In between Mad Men seasons, Jon Hamm has understandably steered away from roles that could be seen as riffs on the Don Draper persona - he'll pop up as the sleazy booty call in Bridesmaids, or the dangerously dumb Dr Drew in 30 Rock. But the affable Million Dollar Arm opens with Hamm's sports agent Jb Bernstein practising his smooth, confident pitch for a prospective new client.
This might be in the ballpark of the Draper hard sell, but here nobody's buying it. Bernstein's independent management company has hit the skids, with most of their star players now past their prime, and behind the slick exterior lies desperation: he urgently needs to sign new star talent in order to turn things around. So begins a true story which Thomas McCarthy »
Healthy, even heated competition between film festivals is nothing new. Cannes was founded in the late ’30s as the French response to Venice. In recent years, Shanghai has felt the heat from the government-backed Beijing, while both SXSW and Tribeca have sought to position themselves as viable alternatives to Sundance.
Rarely, however, have such tensions spiked quite so visibly, or with such high stakes involved, as in the case of Telluride and Toronto.
Nestled deep in the Rocky Mountains, the 41-year-old Telluride Film Festival is an intimate four-day affair that screens a highly selective program for Hollywood elites and deep-pocketed movie buffs. The 39-year-old Toronto Film Festival is an 11-day press and industry behemoth, Byzantine in its complexity and Canadian in its efficiency, which unspools about 300 features and attracts journalists, publicists, filmmakers and dealmakers from all over the world. Two very different events, forced by the vagaries of art, commerce »
- Justin Chang
It’s hard to survive as an independent label at a major studio. Paramount Vantage and Warner Independent are gone; Universal Pictures’ Focus Features has been retooled. Miramax is a shell of its former self. But Fox Searchlight, now in its 20th year, endures. The division that has backed such critical and commercial hits as “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” has had a particularly enviable past few months, picking up the best picture Oscar for “12 Years a Slave” and scoring an arthouse breakout with “The Grand Budapest Hotel” ($171 million global gross, and counting). Fox Searchlight co-presidents Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley and president of production Claudia Lewis sat down with Variety to talk about their film strategy, the rise of video-on-demand, and how they keep top movies running through the pipeline without the division spinning off the financial rails.
Do you try to find movies that appeal to Oscar voters? »
- Brent Lang
Based on a true story, Million Dollar Arm is an inspirational and uplifting journey packed with funny moments which celebrates teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family. With business failing, struggling Us sports agent Jb Bernstein (Jon Hamm) travels to India in a last ditch effort to save his career by finding a young cricketer to turn into a major sports star. With the help of a cantankerous retired talent scout (Alan Arkin) Jb sets up a national contest called “The Million Dollar Arm” and discovers Rinku (played by Life of Pi’s Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh (Slumdog Millionaire’s Madhur Mittal), two 18-year-old boys who have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to make a quick buck he brings them to La to train, however the boys, who have never left their rural villages before, struggle as they try to adjust to their new life »
- Paul Heath
Identity Card – Ek Lifeline, a hard-hitting storyline on Kashmir in India, is set to thrill its audience with worldwide release on 29th August 2014.
Billed as a story of the common man in Kashmir, Identity Card -Ek Lifeline is a Rahat Kazmi directorial film that ensue the story of a Delhi-based journalist Naazia Siddiqui (played by multi-talented actor and singer Tia Bajpai of 1920 Evil Returns fame) who arrives in Kashmir looking to make a documentary and revive her flagging career gets trapped into the turmoil of Kashmir. The film highlights the issue that has plagued both India and Pakistan since partition by capturing the ideological differences of people in the valley and the importance of an ‘Identity Card’ in a warlike situation of Kashmir.
“After worldwide acclamation in international festivals, screening invites from Holland, Toronto, Karachi and other parts of the world, we are delighted to announce the release of Identity Card »
- Press Releases
Directed by Ava DuVernay (Middle Of Nowhere), Selma is being produced by Oprah Winfrey, Plan B -- the producers of the Academy Award-winning Twelve Years A Slave, and Cloud Eight Films’ Academy Award-winning Christian Colson (127 Hours,” “Slumdog Millionaire). Selma is the story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic struggle to secure voting rights for all people – a dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated with the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and led to President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The film’s release will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the landmark legislation. The film stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., Tom Wilkinson as Lyndon Baines Johnson, Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Andre Holland as Andrew Young, »
- Pietro Filipponi
Like Curry For Chocolat: Hallstrom Sticks to the Fruits of the Bestseller List
If you’re going to compare director Lasse Hallstrom’s latest film, The Hundred-Foot Journey to his extensive filmography over the past decade, then it stands out like a bright shiny penny. Another of Hallstrom’s adaptations of recently beloved bestselling novels, this tries to recreate the magical culinary delights that drove his 2000 hit Chocolat to such great heights. Here he has stapled another grand actress into the cast with Helen Mirren (moonlighting with her best French accent—the magical chocolate film had Juliette Binoche) and has producers like Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg behind it. It’s an entirely prim and proper endeavor and appears clearly calibrated for a particular audience that favors a certain conservative strain to storytelling, where life’s uglier conceits like carnal knowledge and racist tendencies of the pastoral French are »
- Nicholas Bell
London — U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 revealed today that the new chief of its filmmaking division, Film4 — which has backed Oscar-winning pics like Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” and Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” — would be David Kosse, who is president, international, at Universal Pictures. Variety spoke to Kosse about his new role.
Kosse, who joins Film4 on Nov. 1, said it was a bit early to speak about specific plans for Film4, but added that he had no intention of changing the “creative remit” of the production unit. “There continues to be a focus on emerging filmmakers, young talent and creative risk-taking,” he said.
Recent pics from emerging U.K. talent backed by Film4 include Yann Demange’s feature debut “’71,” which premiered in Berlin competition, and Daniel Wolfe’s first film “Catch Me Daddy,” which bowed in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight.
- Leo Barraclough
David Kosse has been appointed as the new director of Film4.
Kosse leaves his role as President, International at Universal Pictures, and will begin his new role at Film4 on November 1.
Speaking about the position, Kosse said: "This is undeniably one of the best jobs in the British film industry. I've always had a passion for film and filmmakers and been a huge advocate for and a supporter of the British film industry so I am really excited about joining Film4.
"Tessa Ross and her team have done a fantastic job over the past few years and I hope my experience in international production, financing and distribution will see Film4 continue to flourish.
"We want to build a slate of innovative, exciting British films which continues Film4's »
Few filmmakers have the Oscar pedigree of Stephen Daldry, whose past works include Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (all of which have been nominated for Best Picture and/or Best Director). And so, though his upcoming film Trash doesn’t yet have a U.S. release date, it would be foolhardy to count it out of this year’s awards race.
In the film, scripted by Richard Curtis (About Time), “three poverty-stricken boys who discover something unusual, mysterious, and dangerous in a city dump.” The latest trailer for Trash, released through Universal Pictures Brazil, certainly maintains the thrilling, adventurous vibe that the film’s first preview gave off.
Though I can honestly claim to understand less than one-fifth of this international trailer, the Slumdog Millionaire-esque tone and impressive visuals paint Trash as another fascinating work from Daldry. And with Rooney Mara and »
- Isaac Feldberg
David Kosse has been named the new head of Film4, ending months of industry speculation over the appointment.
The widely-respected production and distribution executive will take up the position from November 1 after a decade at studio Universal, most recently as president of international.
He takes over from outgoing boss Tessa Ross, who leaves to become chief executive of the National Theatre in the autumn.
As director of Film4 Kosse will oversee the development, financing and green-lighting of all feature films, and support for the production and distribution of all Film4-backed releases both in the UK and internationally.
“He has built impeccable creative relationships with British and international talent and is also steeped in knowledge and experience of changing distribution models in film,” Abraham added in »
- email@example.com (Andreas Wiseman)
Universal Pictures’ David Kosse has joined the UK's Channel 4 as director of its feature filmmaking division, Film4. Kosse, who has been Universal Pictures's president of International since 2009, and will the new job begin Nov. 1. He replaces Tessa Ross, who announced her departure to become chief executive of the National Theatre in March. Also read: Oscar Winner '12 Years a Slave’ Spikes 75 Percent at Overseas Box Office Film4 has developed and co-financed many of the most successful UK films of recent years, including Academy Award winners such as Steve McQueen‘s “12 Years a Slave,” Danny Boyle‘s “Slumdog Millionaire. »
- Tim Molloy
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