Blank City (2010) - News Poster

(2010)

News

Fisher Stevens to Direct Ex-Con Drama ‘Palmer’

Fisher Stevens to Direct Ex-Con Drama ‘Palmer’
Fisher Stevens, who directed “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds,” has signed on to direct the independent drama “Palmer” for Route One Entertainment. Shooting will start by the end of June.

Stevens recently co-directed the HBO documentary “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds” and National Geographic’s “Before the Flood,” featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. He won the Independent Spirit Award for co-directing and producing the documentary “Crazy Love” and won the Academy Award for producing the documentary “The Cove” in 2010.

Written by Cheryl Guerriero (“Hunting Season”), “Palmer” centers on an ex-con who returns to his hometown and forms an unexpected bond with a young boy abandoned by his junkie mother. The script was optioned by Route One last year and subsequently named to the 2016 Blacklist.

“Fisher’s success as an actor, film and theater director and documentary producer/director is truly unique in the business,” said Route One CEO Russell Levine.
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘The Joneses’ Exclusive Clip: New Documentary Follows a Lively 74-Year-Old Transgender Divorcee and Her Family

  • Indiewire
‘The Joneses’ Exclusive Clip: New Documentary Follows a Lively 74-Year-Old Transgender Divorcee and Her Family
Moby Longinotto’s documentary “The Joneses” explores the story of Jheri Jones, a lively 74-year-old transgender divorcee and her family who live in Bible Belt Mississippi. Though she’s reconciled with the family after years of estrangement, and now lives with two of her sons in a trailer park home, Jheri embarks on a new journey to reveal her identity to her grandchildren, resolve old resentments and reconcile thorny questions from the past. Watch an exclusive clip from the film below.

Read More: ‘Weiner,’ Yes; ‘The Eagle Huntress,’ No: The 15 Documentaries on the Doc NYC Short List

This is Longinotto’s first feature-length documentary. He has previously directed short documentary films that have won numerous awards and have aired around the world. Some of his films include “Bad Boy” for the BBC, which followed a young man released from prison who attempts to reenter society, and “Smalltown Boy” for Channel 4,
See full article at Indiewire »

A Conversation With Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Director, 'Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict'

Totally and tragically unconventional, Peggy Guggenheim moved through the cultural upheaval of the 20th century collecting not only not only art, but artists. Her sexual life was -- and still today is -- more discussed than the art itself which she collected, not for her own consumption but for the world to enjoy.

Her colorful personal history included such figures as Samuel Beckett, Max Ernst, Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp and countless others. Guggenheim helped introduce the world to Pollock, Motherwell, Rothko and scores of others now recognized as key masters of modernism.

In 1921 she moved to Paris and mingled with Picasso, Dali, Joyce, Pound, Stein, Leger, Kandinsky. In 1938 she opened a gallery in London and began showing Cocteau, Tanguy, Magritte, Miro, Brancusi, etc., and then back to Paris and New York after the Nazi invasion, followed by the opening of her NYC gallery Art of This Century, which became one of the premiere avant-garde spaces in the U.S. While fighting through personal tragedy, she maintained her vision to build one of the most important collections of modern art, now enshrined in her Venetian palazzo where she moved in 1947. Since 1951, her collection has become one of the world’s most visited art spaces.

Featuring: Jean Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Arshile Gorky, Vasil Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Willem de Kooning, Fernand Leger, Rene Magritte, Man Ray, Jean Miro, Piet Mondrian, Henry Moore, Robert Motherwell, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Kurt Schwitters, Gino Severini, Clyfford Still and Yves Tanguy.

Lisa Immordino Vreeland (Director and Producer)

Lisa Immordino Vreeland has been immersed in the world of fashion and art for the past 25 years. She started her career in fashion as the Director of Public Relations for Polo Ralph Lauren in Italy and quickly moved on to launch two fashion companies, Pratico, a sportswear line for women, and Mago, a cashmere knitwear collection of her own design. Her first book was accompanied by her directorial debut of the documentary of the same name, "Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel" (2012). The film about the editor of Harper's Bazaar had its European premiere at the Venice Film Festival and its North American premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, going on to win the Silver Hugo at the Chicago Film Festival and the fashion category for the Design of the Year awards, otherwise known as “The Oscars” of design—at the Design Museum in London.

"Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict" is Lisa Immordino Vreeland's followup to her acclaimed debut, "Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel". She is now working on her third doc on Cecil Beaton who Lisa says, "has been circling around all these stories. What's great about him is the creativity: fashion photography, war photography, "My Fair Lady" winning an Oscar."

Sydney Levine: I have read numerous accounts and interviews with you about this film and rather than repeat all that has been said, I refer my readers to Indiewire's Women and Hollywood interview at Tribeca this year, and your Indiewire interview with Aubrey Page, November 6, 2015 .

Let's try to cover new territory here.

First of all, what about you? What is your relationship to Diana Vreeland?

Liv: I am married to her grandson, Alexander Vreeland. (I'm also proud of my name Immordino) I never met Diana but hearing so many family stories about her made me start to wonder about all the talk about her. I worked in fashion and lived in New York like she did.

Sl: In one of your interviews you said that Peggy was not only ahead of her time but she helped to define it. Can you tell me how?

Liv: Peggy grew up in a very traditional family of German Bavarian Jews who had moved to New York City in the 19th century. Already at a young age Peggy felt like there were too many rules around her and she wanted to break out. That alone was something attractive to me — the notion that she knew that she didn't fit in to her family or her times. She lived on her own terms, a very modern approach to life. She decided to abandon her family in New York. Though she always stayed connected to them, she rarely visited New York. Instead she lived in a world without borders. She did not live by "the rules". She believed in creating art and created herself, living on her own terms and not on those of her family.

Sl: Is there a link between her and your previous doc on Diana Vreeland?

Liv: The link between Vreeland and Guggenheim is their mutual sense of reinvention and transformation. That made something click inside of me as I too reinvented myself when I began writing the book on Diana Vreeland .

Can you talk about the process of putting this one together and how it differed from its predecessor?

Liv: The most challenging thing about this one was the vast amount of material we had at our disposal. We had a lot of media to go through — instead of fashion spreads, which informed The Eye Has To Travel, we had art, which was fantastic. I was spoiled by the access we had to these incredible archives and footage. I'm still new to this, but it's the storytelling aspect that I loved in both projects. One thing about Peggy that Mrs. Vreeland didn't have was a very tragic personal life. There was so much that happened in Peggy's life before you even got to what she actually accomplished. And so we had to tell a very dense story about her childhood, her father dying on the Titanic, her beloved sister dying — the tragic events that fundamentally shaped her in a way. It was about making sure we had enough of the personal story to go along with her later accomplishments.

World War II alone was such a huge part of her story, opening an important art gallery in London, where she showed Kandinsky and other important artists for the first time. The amount of material to distill was a tremendous challenge and I hope we made the right choices.

Sl: How did you learn make a documentary?

Liv: I learned how to make a documentary by having a good team around me. My editors (and co-writers)Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt and Frédéric Tcheng were very helpful.

Research is fundamental; finding as much as you can and never giving up. I love the research. It is my "precise time". Not just for interviews but of footage, photographs never seen before. It is a painstaking process that satisfies me. The research never ends. I was still researching while I was promoting the Diana Vreeland book. I love reading books and going to original sources.

The archives in film museums in the last ten years has changed and given museums a new role. I found unique footage at Moma with the Elizabeth Chapman Films. Chapman went to Paris in the 30s and 40s with a handheld camera and took moving pictures of Brancusi and Duchamps joking around in a studio, Gertrude Stein, Leger walking down the street. This footage is owned by Robert Storr, Dean of Yale School of Art. In fact he is taking a sabbatical this year to go through the boxes and boxes of Chapman's films. We also used " Entre'acte" by René Clair cowritten with Dadaist Francis Picabia, "Le Sang du poet" of Cocteau, Hans Richter "8x8","Gagascope" and " Dreams That Money Can Buy" produced by Peggy Guggenheim, written by Man Ray in 1947.

Sl: How long did it take to research and make the film?

Liv: It took three years for both the Vreeland and the Guggenheim documentary.

It was more difficult with the Guggenheim story because there was so much material and so much to tell of her life. And she was not so giving of her own self. Diana could inspire you about a bandaid; she was so giving. But Peggy didn't talk much about why she loved an artist or a painting. She acted more. And using historical material could become "over-teaching" though it was fascinating.

So much had to be eliminated. It was hard to eliminate the Degenerate Art Show, a subject which is newly discussed. Stephanie Barron of Lacma is an expert on Degenerate Art and was so generous.

Once we decided upon which aspects to focus on, then we could give focus to the interviews.

There were so many of her important shows we could not include. For instance there was a show on collages featuring William Baziotes , Jackson Pollack and Robert Motherwell which started a more modern collage trend in art. The 31 Women Art Show which we did include pushed forward another message which I think is important.

And so many different things have been written about Peggy — there were hundreds of articles written about her during her lifetime. She also kept beautiful scrapbooks of articles written about her, which are now in the archives of the Guggenheim Museum.

The Guggenheim foundation did not commission this documentary but they were very supportive and the film premiered there in New York in a wonderful celebration. They wanted to represent Peggy and her paintings properly. The paintings were secondary characters and all were carefully placed historically in a correct fashion.

Sl: You said in one interview Guggenheim became a central figure in the modern art movement?

Liv: Yes and she did it without ego. Sharing was always her purpose in collecting art. She was not out for herself. Before Peggy, the art world was very different. And today it is part of wealth management.

Other collectors had a different way with art. Isabelle Stewart Gardner bought art for her own personal consumption. The Gardner Museum came later. Gertrude Stein was sharing the vision of her brother when she began collecting art. The Coen sisters were not sharing.

Her benevolence ranged from giving Berenice Abbott the money to buy her first camera to keeping Pollock afloat during lean times.

Djuana Barnes, who had a 'Love Love Love Hate Hate Hate' relationship with Peggy wrote Nightwood in Peggy's country house in England.

She was in Paris to the last minute. She planned how to safeguard artwork from the Nazis during World War II. She was storing gasoline so she could escape. She lived on the Ile St. Louis with her art and moved the paintings out first to a children's boarding school and then to Marseilles where it was shipped out to New York City.

Her role in art was not taken seriously because of her very public love life which was described in very derogatory terms. There was more talk about her love life than about her collection of art.

Her autobiography, Out of This Century: Confessions of an Art Addict (1960) , was scandalous when it came out — and she didn't even use real names, she used pseudonyms for her numerous partners. Only after publication did she reveal the names of the men she slept with.

The fact that she spoke about her sexual life at all was the most outrageous aspect. She was opening herself up to ridicule, but she didn't care. Peggy was her own person and she felt good in her own skin. But it was definitely unconventional behavior. I think her sexual appetites revealed a lot about finding her own identity.

A lot of it was tied to the loss of her father, I think, in addition to her wanting to feel accepted. She was also very adventurous — look at the men she slept with. I mean, come on, they are amazing! Samuel Beckett, Yves Tanguy, Marcel Duchamp, and she married Max Ernst. I think it was really ballsy of her to have been so open about her sexuality; this was not something people did back then. So many people are bound by conventional rules but Peggy said no. She grabbed hold of life and she lived it on her own terms.

Sl: You also give Peggy credit for changing the way art was exhibited. Can you explain that?

Liv: One of her greatest achievements was her gallery space in New York City, Art of This Century, which was unlike anything the art world has seen before or since in the way that it shattered the boundaries of the gallery space that we've come to know today — the sterile white cube. She came to be a genius at displaying her collections...

She was smart with Art of the Century because she hired Frederick Kiesler as a designer of the gallery and once again surrounded herself with the right people, including Howard Putzler, who was already involved with her at Guggenheim Jeune in London. And she was hanging out with all the exiled Surrealists who were living in New York at the time, including her future husband, Max Ernst, who was the real star of that group of artists. With the help of these people, she started showing art in a completely different way that was both informal and approachable. In conventional museums and galleries, art was untouchable on the wall and inside frames. In Peggy's gallery, art stuck out from the walls; works weren't confined to frames. Kiesler designed special chairs you could sit in and browse canvases as you would texts in a library. Nothing like this had ever existed in New York before — even today there is nothing like it.

She made the gallery into an exciting place where the whole concept of space was transformed. In Venice, the gallery space was also her home. Today, for a variety of reasons, the home aspect of the collection is less emphasized, though you still get a strong sense of Peggy's home life there. She was bringing art to the public in a bold new way, which I think is a great idea. It's art for everybody, which is very much a part of today's dialogue except that fewer people can afford the outlandish museum entry fees.

Sl: What do you think made her so prescient and attuned ?

Liv: She was smart enough to ask Marcel Duchamp to be her advisor — so she was in tune, and very well connected. She was on the cutting edge of what was going on and I think a lot of this had to do with Peggy being open to the idea of what was new and outrageous. You have to have a certain personality for this; what her childhood had dictated was totally opposite from what she became in life, and being in the right place at the right time helped her maintain a cutting edge throughout her life.

Sl: The movie is framed around a lost interview with Peggy conducted late in her life. How did you acquire these tapes?

Liv: We optioned Jacqueline Bogard Weld’s book, Peggy : The Wayward Guggenheim, the only authorized biography of Peggy, which was published after she died. Jackie had spent two summers interviewing Peggy but at a certain point lost the tapes somewhere in her Park Avenue apartment. Jackie had so much access to Peggy, which was incredible, but it was also the access that she had to other people who had known Peggy — she interviewed over 200 people for her book. Jackie was incredibly generous, letting me go through all her original research except for the lost tapes.

We'd walk into different rooms in her apartment and I'd suggestively open a closet door and ask “Where do you think those tapes might be?" Then one day I asked if she had a basement, and she did. So I went through all these boxes down there, organizing her affairs. Then bingo, the tapes showed up in this shoebox.

It was the longest interview Peggy had ever done and it became the framework for our movie. There's nothing more powerful than when you have someone's real voice telling the story, and Jackie was especially good at asking provoking questions. You can tell it was hard for Peggy to answer a lot of them, because she wasn't someone who was especially expressive; she didn't have a lot of emotion. And this comes across in the movie, in the tone of her voice.

Sl: Larry Gagosian has one of the best descriptions of Peggy in the movie — "she was her own creation." Would you agree, and if so why?

Liv: She was very much her own creation. When he said that in the interview I had a huge smile on my face. In Peggy's case it stemmed from a real need to identify and understand herself. I'm not sure she achieved it but she completely recreated herself — she knew that she did not want to be what she was brought up to be. She tried being a mother, but that was not one of her strengths, so art became that place where she could find herself, and then transform herself.

Nobody believed in the artists she cultivated and supported — they were outsiders and she was an outsider in the world she was brought up in. So it's in this way that she became her own great invention. I hope that her humor comes across in the film because she was extremely amusing — this aspect really comes across in her autobiography.

Sl: Finally, what do you think is Peggy Guggenheim's most lasting legacy, beyond her incredible art collection?

Liv: Her courage, and the way she used it to find herself. She had this ballsiness that not many people had, especially women. In her own way she was a feminist and it's good for women and young girls today to see women who stepped outside the confines of a very traditional family and made something of her life. Peggy's life did not seem that dreamy until she attached herself to these artists. It was her ability to redefine herself in the end that truly summed her up.

About the Filmmakers

Stanley Buchtal is a producer and entrepreneur. His movies credits include "Hairspray", "Spanking the Monkey", "Up at the Villa", "Lou Reed Berlin", "Love Marilyn", "LennoNYC", "Bobby Fischer Against the World", "Herb & Dorothy", "Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present"," Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child", "Sketches of Frank Gehry", "Black White + Gray: a Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe", among numerous others.

David Koh is an independent producer, distributor, sales agent, programmer and curator. He has been involved in the distribution, sale, production, and financing of over 200 films. He is currently a partner in the boutique label Submarine Entertainment with Josh and Dan Braun and is also partners with Stanley Buchthal and his Dakota Group Ltd where he co-manages a portfolio of over 50 projects a year (75% docs and 25% fiction). Previously he was a partner and founder of Arthouse Films a boutique distribution imprint and ran Chris Blackwell's (founder of Island Records & Island Pictures) film label, Palm Pictures. He has worked as a Producer for artist Nam June Paik and worked in the curatorial departments of Anthology Film Archives, MoMA, Mfa Boston, and the Guggenheim Museum. David has recently served as a Curator for Microsoft and has curated an ongoing film series and salon with Andre Balazs Properties and serves as a Curator for the exclusive Core Club in NYC.

David recently launched with his partners Submarine Deluxe, a distribution imprint; Torpedo Pictures, a low budget high concept label; and Nfp Submarine Doks, a German distribution imprint with Nfp Films. Recently and upcoming projects include "Yayoi Kusama: a Life in Polka Dots", "Burden: a Portrait of Artist Chris Burden", "Dior and I", "20 Feet From Stardom", "Muscle Shoals", "Marina Abramovic the Artist is Present", "Rats NYC", "Nas: Time Is Illmatic", "Blackfish", "Love Marilyn", "Chasing Ice", "Searching for Sugar Man", "Cutie and the Boxer"," Jean-Michel Basquiat: the Radiant Child", "Finding Vivian Maier", "The Wolfpack, "Meru", and "Station to Station".

Dan Braun is a producer, writer, art director and musician/composer based in NYC. He is the Co-President of and Co-Founder of Submarine, a NYC film sales and production company specializing in independent feature and documentary films. Titles include "Blackfish", "Finding Vivian Maier", "Muscle Shoals", "The Case Against 8", "Keep On Keepin’ On", "Winter’s Bone", "Nas: Time is Illmatic", "Dior and I" and Oscar winning docs "Man on Wire", "Searching for Sugarman", "20 Ft From Stardom" and "Citizenfour". He was Executive Producer on documentaries "Kill Your Idols", (which won Best NY Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival 2004), "Blank City", "Sunshine Superman", the upcoming feature adaptations of "Batkid Begins" and "The Battered Bastards of Baseball" and the upcoming horror TV anthology "Creepy" to be directed by Chris Columbus.

He is a producer of the free jazz documentary "Fire Music", and the upcoming documentaries, "Burden" on artist Chris Burden and "Kusama: a Life in Polka Dots" on artist Yayoi Kusama. He is also a writer and consulting editor on Dark Horse Comic’s "Creepy" and "Eerie 9" comic book and archival series for which he won an Eisner Award for best archival comic book series in 2009.

He is a musician/composer whose compositions were featured in the films "I Melt With You" and "Jean-Michel Basquiat, The Radiant Child and is an award winning art director/creative director when he worked at Tbwa/Chiat/Day on the famous Absolut Vodka campaign.

John Northrup (Co-Producer) began his career in documentaries as a French translator for National Geographic: Explorer. He quickly moved into editing and producing, serving as the Associate Producer on "Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel" (2012), and editing and co-producing "Wilson In Situ" (2014), which tells the story of theatre legend Robert Wilson and his Watermill Center. Most recently, he oversaw the post-production of Jim Chambers’ "Onward Christian Soldier", a documentary about Olympic Bomber Eric Rudolph, and is shooting on Susanne Rostock’s "Another Night in the Free World", the follow-up to her award-winning "Sing Your Song" (2011).

Submarine Entertainment (Production Company) Submarine Entertainment is a hybrid sales, production, and distribution company based in N.Y. Recent and upcoming titles include "Citizenfour", "Finding Vivian Maier", "The Dog", "Visitors", "20 Feet from Stardom", "Searching for Sugar Man", "Muscle Shoals", "Blackfish", "Cutie and the Boxer", "The Summit", "The Unknown Known", "Love Marilyn", "Marina Abramovic the Artist is Present", "Chasing Ice", "Downtown 81 30th Anniversary Remastered", "Wild Style 30th Anniversary Remastered", "Good Ol Freda", "Some Velvet Morning", among numerous others. Submarine principals also represent Creepy and Eerie comic book library and are developing properties across film & TV platforms.

Submarine has also recently launched a domestic distribution imprint and label called Submarine Deluxe; a genre label called Torpedo Pictures; and a German imprint and label called Nfp Submarine Doks.

Bernadine Colish has edited a number of award-winning documentaries. "Herb and Dorothy" (2008), won Audience Awards at Silverdocs, Philadelphia and Hamptons Film Festivals, and "Body of War" (2007), was named Best Documentary by the National Board of Review. "A Touch of Greatness" (2004) aired on PBS Independent Lens and was nominated for an Emmy Award. Her career began at Maysles Films, where she worked with Charlotte Zwerin on such projects as "Thelonious Monk: Straight No Chaser", "Toru Takemitsu: Music for the Movies" and the PBS American Masters documentary, "Ella Fitzgerald: Something To Live For". Additional credits include "Bringing Tibet Home", "Band of Sisters", "Rise and Dream", "The Tiger Next Door", "The Buffalo War" and "Absolute Wilson".

Jed Parker (Editor) Jed Parker began his career in feature films before moving into documentaries through his work with the award-winning American Masters series. Credits include "Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart", "Annie Liebovitz: Life Through a Lens", and most recently "Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides".

Other work includes two episodes of the PBS series "Make ‘Em Laugh", hosted by Billy Crystal, as well as a documentary on Met Curator Henry Geldzahler entitled "Who Gets to Call it Art"?

Credits

Director, Writer, Producer: Lisa Immordino Vreeland

Produced by Stanley Buchthal, David Koh and Dan Braun Stanley Buchthal (producer)

Maja Hoffmann (executive producer)

Josh Braun (executive producer)

Bob Benton (executive producer)

John Northrup (co-producer)

Bernadine Colish (editor)

Jed Parker (editor)

Peter Trilling (director of photography)

Bonnie Greenberg (executive music producer)

Music by J. Ralph

Original Song "Once Again" Written and Performed By J. Ralph

Interviews Featuring Artist Marina Abramović Jean Arp Dore Ashton Samuel Beckett Stephanie Barron Constantin Brâncuși Diego Cortez Alexander Calder Susan Davidson Joseph Cornell Robert De Niro Salvador Dalí Simon de Pury Willem de Kooning Jeffrey Deitch Marcel Duchamp Polly Devlin Max Ernst Larry Gagosian Alberto Giacometti Arne Glimcher Vasily Kandinsky Michael Govan Fernand Léger Nicky Haslam Joan Miró Pepe Karmel Piet Mondrian Donald Kuspit Robert Motherwell Dominique Lévy Jackson Pollock Carlo McCormick Mark Rothko Hans Ulrich Obrist Yves Tanguy Lisa Phillips Lindsay Pollock Francine Prose John Richardson Sandy Rower Mercedes Ruehl Jane Rylands Philip Rylands Calvin Tomkins Karole Vail Jacqueline Bograd Weld Edmund White

Running time: 97 minutes

U.S. distribution by Submarine Deluxe

International sales by Hanway
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

The Inaugural Champs Elysees Film Festival has a Packed Line Up and a Full Program Showing in Renown Paris Arthouses

Festival initiative “U.S. in Progress” introduces four U.S. productions in post-production to European buyers.

American Independent films, French Independent Films and Oscar Nominated Foreign Language Films will be showcased.

The Weinstein Company’s Harvey Weinstein wil receive a tribute and will host a retrospective of his films.

Donald Sutherland will host a screening of Klute and will receive a Medal of Arts and Letters bestowed by Frederic Mitterrand.

The Champs Elysees Film Festival’s U.S. President is Michael Madsen

The French Festival President is Lambert Wilson

The discussions held so often about the sustainability of arthouse theaters, about the joining of forces between them and festivals and the ownership of festivals themselves, and sometimes of theaters as well, by distributors as a way to sustain the three key players of this precious triangle of culture, continue as the first Champs Elysees Film Festival presents a jam-packed line up and full program of events at its inaugural edition.

The seven day festival, June 6-12, has been formed and is owned by the independent distributor Sophie Dulac. It is exciting for me to go to see the arthouses we have already written about in the area of the Champs Elysees - the Balzac, its rival the Lincoln, the Publicis, and the two major chains, Gaumont Champs Elysees and Ugc George V. Another interesting aspect of this upcoming event is the festival's ownership by a French distributor, Sophie Dulac. This is one of two similarities between Gutek and Dulac. The New Horizons and the American Film Festivals are owned by Roman Gutek whose distribution company Gutek is the largest arthouse distributor in Poland. Similarly Sophie Dulac seems to "own" this festival. Somewhat analagous to this is the "owning" of distribution company Tribeca Films by the Tribeca Film Festival or the Sundance Select Distribution arm owned by the Sundance Film Festival. The New York Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festivals have yet to declare themselves distributors but do own the arthouses in which to show "their" films year round in festival settings.

Dulac explains the impetus to launch the Champs Elysees Film Festival, “As Paris’ first truly international film festival, our mission is to create a bridge between the independent American and French film industries. In the most beautiful city in the world and one with a worldwide association to cinema, the Champs Elysées Film Festival will be a celebration of film promoting the work of young filmmakers and honoring the work of established directors.” She adds, “We want to throw a spotlight on independent film from France and the U.S. We will welcome famous names, offer new films, open up discussions between members of the film industry, give short films a special showcase and invite audiences to gala previews.”

I personally hope the tourists of Champs Elysees see this as a special opportunity to share inside festival experiences with international professionals and that it brings in more business than ordinary theatrical fare brings to the same theaters, thus proving that festivals serve as a new branch of film distribution and that the joining of forces between distributor, exhibitor and festival point toward a new mode of profitability for all parties.

U.S. in Progress was first presented at the American Film Festival in Wroclaw Poland in November. This is the second similarity between Dulac and Gutek. U.S. in Progress will now be here as well. U.S. in Progress is in fact a joint initiative between the American Film Festival in Wroclaw, the Champs Elysees Film Festival in Paris and Black Rabbit Film, a company of Adeline Monzier who also created the association of European indie distributors called EuropaDistribution. It is the first and only industry event devoted to U.S. indies in Europe. Its aim is to present U.S. indie films in post-production to European buyers in order to foster the circulation and distribution of American indie films in Europe. This presentation of American independent films in post-production to European buyers to promote the distribution of American independent films in Europe is uniquely one of the top new developments in the industry. The program works to forge inroads between the generation of talented American filmmakers emerging today and European buyers. I am so proud to be serving on its jury as I did on the first edition as well.

The other sections are: Official Selection of American Independent Films, French Galas, American Galas, Oscar Nominated Foreign Language Films and Shorts. A tribute to Harvey Weinstein will be presented on June 6 at an event to celebrate his career. Weinstein will participate in a roundtable conversation to discuss French/American co-productions and a Retrospective of 11 of his films will be shown throughout the week.

The American independent films selected as part of the inaugural program include Richard Linklater’s Bernie (Isa: Hyde Park, U.S.: Millennium) with Jack Black, Shirley Maclaine and Matthew McConaughey; Jesus Henry Christ (Isa: Im Global, U.S. E1) with Toni Collette and Michael Sheen; Bruce Beresford’s Peace, Love & Misunderstanding (Isa: Voltage, U.S. IFC) starring Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener and Elizabeth Olsen and Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (Isa: Submarine, U.S. Music Box). An Audience Award will be given out to the most popular American Independent. American Galas include Jennifer Westfeldt’s Friends with Kids (Isa: Red Granite, U.S. Roadside Attractions/ Lionsgate) and Wes Craven’s My Soul to Take (2010) in 3D.

French films include Comme Un Homme (Isa: Memento) directed by Safy Nebbou; Journal de France (Isa: Wild Bunch) directed by Claudine Nougaret and Raymond Depardon; Vous n'avez encore rien vu (Isa: Studiocanal) directed by Alain Resnais and Wrong (Isa: Kinology) helmed by Quentin Dupieux.

The Champs Elysees Film Festival has selected esteemed French Actor Lambert Wilson for the role of French President and Michael Madsen has accepted the role of the Festival’s U.S. President.

The festival will pay tribute to the actor Donald Sutherland who will be at the Festival to host a screening of the masterpiece Klute directed by Alan J. Pakula followed by a “Hollywood Conversation” with the iconic actor. Frederic Mitterrand will bestow Sutherland with the medal of Commander of Arts and Letters that evening.

Official Selection of American Independent Films

Blank City, a documentary directed by Celine Danhier’s

Bernie directed by Richard Linklater starring Jack Black, Shirley Maclaine and Matthew McConaughey

Jesus Henry Christ with Toni Colette, Jason Spevack and Michael Sheen

Keep The Lights On directed by Ira Sachs

Luv directed by Sheldon Candis

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, Matthew Akers acclaimed documentary

Not Waving But Drowning directed by Devyn Waitt, winner of U.S. in Progress Prize, Wroclaw, Poland.

Peace, Love & Misunderstanding directed by Bruce Beresford starring Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener and Elizabeth Olsen

Tabloid, Errol Morris fascinating documentary

The Perfect Family, directed by Anne Renton and starring Kathleen Turner, Emily Deschanel and Jason Ritter

French Galas

Adieu Berthe directed by Bruno Podalydès

Comme Un Homme directed by Safy Nebbou

Du Vent Dans Mes Mollets directed by Carine Tardieu

Journal De France directed by Claudine Nougaret and Raymond Depardon

La Clinique De L’Amour directed by Artus de Penguern

L’Air De Rien directed by Grégory Magne and Stéphane Viard

Mains Armees directed by Pierre Jolivet

Quand Je Serai Petit directed by Jean-Paul Rouve

Vous N’Avez Encore Rien Vu directed by Alain Resnais

Wrong helmed by Quentin Dupieux.

American Galas

After Life directed by Agnieszka Wojtow

Brake directed by Gabe Torres

Bitch Slap directed by Rick Jacobson

Friends With Kids directed by Jennifer Westfeldt

My Soul To Take (3D) directed by Wes Craven

Perfect Host directed by Nick Tomnay

Terri, directed by Azazel Jacobs

Summertime directed by Matthew Gordon.

The Champs Elysees Film Festival intends to reflect the diversity of international production by offering the public a selection of the 2012 Oscar nominated foreign language films, some never before seen in France:

Bullhead directed by Michael R.Roskam (Belgium)

Dans Ses Veux directed by Juan José Campanella (Spain/Argentina)(2010)

Monsieur Lazhar directed by Philippe Falardeau (Canada)

Une Separation directed by Asghar Farhadi (Iran)

72 Days directed by Danilo Serbedzija (Croatia)

Letters To Angel directed by Sulev Keedus (Estonia)

Volcano directed by Runar Runarsson (Iceland)

Films being screened as part of Harvey Weinstein’s retrospective include The Aviator, Chicago, Gangs Of New York, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill 1&2, The English Patient, Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare In Love, Good Will Hunting and The Yards.

More than thirty short films comprise the Champs Elysees Film Festival’s Official Selection of Short Films which were selected by a French industry team as well as four major film school programs: University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Columbia University’s Columbia University Film Festival for the United States and Paris-based film school La Femis for France:

French Shorts Selection

Hurlement D’Un Poisson directed by Sébastien Carfora

It’S A Miracul’House directed by Stéphane Freiss

Les Meutes directed by Manuel Schapira

Mon Canard directed by Emmanuelle Michelet & Vincent Fouquet

Les Grossesses De Charlemagne directed by Nicolas Slomka and Matthieu Rumani,

Plume directed by Barry Purves

Personne(S) directed by Marc Fouchard

La Fille De L’Homme directed by Manuel Schapira

Kiss & Kill directed by Alain Ross

USC School of Cinematic Arts Shorts Selection

Little Spoon directed by Lauren Fash

Ellen directed by Kyle Hausmann-Stokes

Efrain directed by Matthew Breault

Fig directed by Ryan Coogler

The Nature Of Fall directed by Tomer Stolz

New York University Tisch School of the Arts Shorts Selection

Little Horse directed by Levi Abrino

Border Land directed by Alexander Smolowe

Premature directed by Rashaad Ernesto Green

Down In Number 5 directed by Kim Spurlock

Columbia University Film Festival Shorts Selection

Rolling On The Floor Laughing directed by Rusel Harbaugh

Motherland directed by Shario Siddiqui

Hatch directed by Christoph Kusching

Crossing directed by Gina Atwater

Off Season directed by Jonathan Van Tulleken

The Hirosaki Players directed by Jeff Sousa

La Femis Shorts Selection

Goose directed by Morgan Simon

Demain Ce Sera Bien directed by Pauline Gay

On Traks directed by Laurent Navarri

Bye Bye Wild Boy directed by Julie Lena
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Contest: Win A 'Blank City' Poster Signed By Steve Buscemi, Thurston Moore, Jim Jarmusch & More Plus DVD/BluRay Prizes

While always a city bursting with creative and artistic talent, there was probably no time more fertile in New York City than than '70s and '80s. Avant-garde art, hip hop, punk, no-wave, disco and more all clashed and mingled, leaving a lasting impression on pop culture, politics and the city itself. Among that noise and ruckus, independent filmmakers were also making a big wave, capturing New York's vibrancy in stories that inspired a new generation of directors. And that time has been captured in the documentary "Blank City."

Directed by Celine Danhier, the film explores the artists of the "No Wave Cinema" and "Cinema of Transgression" movements who shattered existing notions of Diy and underground art, and paved the way for today's independent film scene. Through interviews with Steve Buscemi, Debbie Harry, Jim Jarmusch, Fab 5 Freddy and John Waters and many more, the film presents a revealing
See full article at The Playlist »

This week's new films

Michael (18)

(Markus Schleinzer) Michael Fuith, David Rauchenberger, Gisella Salcher. 96 mins

The daily routine of an Austrian paedophile who keeps a young boy locked in his cellar was hardly something anyone was queuing up to see, but this challenges us, and itself, to take a look. At the same time, it thankfully averts its gaze from scenes of actual abuse. There are keen observations on parenting, privacy, power relations and more, but the flat, factual approach verges on dull, and the absence of empathy ultimately just leaves you feeling grubby. So get in line for the grimmest movie of the year!

This Means War (12A)

(McG, 2012, Us) Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon. 98 mins

Two suspiciously close CIA buddies fall out when they discover they're dating the same woman – cue the misuse of government equipment and their own combat skills for one-upmanship. The romcom high concept is novel for a good reason: it's completely ridiculous.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Filmmaker Launches Curated Kickstarter Page

With thanks to the good folks at Kickstarter, today we debut our curated page on the crowdfunding platform. At Filmmaker Magazine on Kickstarter you’ll always find a half dozen or so projects that we believe deserve your support. These will be projects by filmmakers we support through the magazine or site (like, for example, those from our annual “25 New Faces” list), those whose work has impressed us in the past, or perhaps just those whose project descriptions are particularly compelling. And while film and video projects will, naturally, comprise the bulk of our recommendations, I hope to sprinkle in projects in other areas like technology, music and publishing. There will always be a short blurb explaining why we’ve made the pick.

We’ve launched the page with the following projects:

* Fourplay. Kyle Henry made our 25 New Faces list following his eerie, assured independent feature, Room. For the last
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Blu-ray, DVD Release: Blank City

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Feb. 21, 2012

Price: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray $34.95

Studio: Kino Lorber

The colorful "No Wave" cinema movement is explored in Blank City.

The 2010 documentary Blank City chronicles the “No Wave” and “Cinema of Transgression” film movements that emerged in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a time of cheap rent, excessive drug use and unbridled ambition.

In the movie, first-time director Celine Danhier examines the rise of the D.I.Y. independent filmmaking trend and its roots in the punk music, avant-garde art and cult cinema of the era.

In addition to a slew of archival footage, the film features new and vintage interviews with such filmmakers as Jim Jarmusch (Stranger Than Paradise), Nick Zedd (Geek Maggot Bingo), Lizzie Borden (Born in Flames), Amos Poe (Alphabet City) and John Waters (Desperate Living), performance artists Ann Magnusum and Lydia Lunch, actor Steve Buscemi (TV’s Boardwalk Empire
See full article at Disc Dish »

Blank City Movie Review

Blank City Movie Review
Title: Blank City Director: Celine Danhier Featuring: Steve Buscemi, Fab 5 Freddy, Jim Jarmusch, Deborah Harry, John Lurie, Thurston Moore, John Waters, Susan Seidelman, Amos Poe, Eric Mitchell, Ann Magnuson and more The angry, dirty and unforgiving streets of New York City have over the course of several generations taken on an almost mythical role in American independent cinema, fueling some artists, creatively bankrupting many more, and driving others into the arms of more lucrative, mainstream projects. An exhaustively comprehensive oral history of outsider cinema from the late 1970s and into the mid ’80s, Celine Danhier’s Blank City unfolds in all the hazy, erudite specificity of some breezy, memories-laden conversation between your parents...
See full article at ShockYa »

Documentary Blank City Chronicles NYC’s Gritty “No Wave” Film Movement of the ‘70s

  • CinemaRetro
By David Savage

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The generation of subversive filmmakers who emerged out of the rubble of Manhattan’s Lower East Side in the 1970s, who wrote, cast, produced and directed their own punk riffs on narrative feature films long before the digital revolution made it easy, has long gone without a proper documentary that chronicles their fascinating emergence during this era. Well, no more. Blank City, directed by French newcomer Celine Danhier, was one of the most talked about docs at festivals worldwide in 2010, and recently started its theatrical engagement at the IFC Center in Manhattan and across the USA at major indie-cinema venues.

Packed with film clips, period footage and insightful interviews with key players from the scene, such as Debbie Harry, John Waters, Ann Magnuson, Amos Poe, Eric Mitchell, Patti Astor and Jim Jarmusch, Blank City is a fascinating and inspiring documentary
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Women at the Box Office: April 29 - May 1, 2011

Women Centric Currently Playing The Arbor Prom Hanna Soul Surfer Potiche Miral Sucker Punch Jane Eyre – written by Moira Buffini Red Riding Hood – directed by Catherine Hardwicke I Will Follow - written and directed by Ava Duvernay Women Directed Films Currently Playing Blank City - directed by Celine Danhier Meek’s Cutoff – directed by Kelly Reichardt In a Better World – directed by Susanne Bier Queen to Play - directed by Caroline Bottaro My Perestroika - directed by Robin Hessman Wasteland - directed by Lucy Walker Even the Rain - directed by Iciar Bollian Women Written Films Currently…
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Blank City | Review

Director: Céline Danhier To be perfectly honest, I could probably just recycle my review of Downtown Calling and re-title it Blank City. Both documentaries adeptly cover almost the exact same timeline of Lower East Side history and they share a similar balance of talking head interviews (with some of the exact same heads, in fact) and archival footage. The only difference is that Downtown Calling focuses on the art and music scenes, while Blank City focuses on the underground film community. The only real striking difference is the lack of narration in Blank City (Deborah Harry narrates Downtown Calling). And just as the art and music scenes of the L.E.S. were incredibly diverse -- with only vague overarching commonalities that could possibly define them as cohesive communities -- so too was the film community. The filmmakers all shot on Super 8 film, repeatedly “go[ing] over the boundaries of millimeters
See full article at SmellsLikeScreenSpirit »

Women at the Box Office: April 22-24, 2011

Women Centric Currently Playing Hanna Soul Surfer Potiche Miral Sucker Punch Jane Eyre – written by Moira Buffini Red Riding Hood – directed by Catherine Hardwicke I Will Follow - written and directed by Ava Duvernay The Roommate From Prada to Nada Women Directed Films Currently Playing Blank City - directed by Celine Danhier Meek’s Cutoff – directed by Kelly Reichardt In a Better World – directed by Susanne Bier Queen to Play - directed by Caroline Bottaro My Perestroika - directed by Robin Hessman Wasteland - directed by Lucy Walker Even the Rain - directed by Iciar Bollian Women…
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Women at the Box Office: April 8-10, 2011

Women Centric Currently Playing Hanna Soul Surfer Potiche Miral Sucker Punch Desert Flower – written and directed by Sherry Hormann Cracks - directed by Jordan Scott Jane Eyre – written by Moira Buffini Red Riding Hood – directed by Catherine Hardwicke I Will Follow - written and directed by Ava Duvernay Orgasm Inc. - directed by Liz Canner (doc) The Roommate From Prada to Nada True Grit Black Swan Tangled Winter's Bone - directed and co-written by Debra Granik, co-written by Anne Rosellini Made in Dagenham The Woodmans Women Directed Films Currently Playing Blank City - directed by Celine Danhier
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

"Blank City," Reviewed

  • IFC
Although it's an unfortunate turn of phrase given the era, the best way to describe the documentary "Blank City" is still as something of a gateway drug when it comes to the late '70s, early '80s underground film scene in New York. It's easy to tell this since it's obvious French director Celine Danhier recreates her own experience of discovering the no-budget avant garde movement known as "No Wave" cinema in her documentary, presenting one snippet of rare footage after another, teasing the audience with clips of Michael Holman's self-descriptive "Vincent Gallo as Flying Christ" and Charlie Ahearn's groundbreaking hip-hop flick "Wild Style" and having such personalities as Deborah Harry and Steve Buscemi talk about what a wild and crazy time it was.

It's the shortcoming of "Blank City" that it isn't as adventurous in mirroring the era the film documents, settling into a style where
See full article at IFC »

Film: Movie Review: Blank City

Life in New York City from the ’60s to the ’80s has been documented more or less from stem to stern. The multiple modern-art movements, the wanton sexuality, the rise of punk and hip-hop, and the preoccupation with debt, blackouts, serial killers, and the ongoing soap opera of the New York Yankees have all been charted, analyzed, and in some cases even fictionalized. Celine Danhier’s documentary Blank City inevitably overlaps some of what’s gone before. While covering the ’70s and ’80s underground film and music scenes that came to be known as “No Wave,” Blank City hits all ...
See full article at The AV Club »

Review: Blank City Overexplains NYC's Late-'70s Diy Scene, with Great Footage

Review: Blank City Overexplains NYC's Late-'70s Diy Scene, with Great Footage
In Blank City, a discursive oral history of New York's Diy film scene in the late 1970s and 1980s, Lydia Lunch says she doesn't the mind the "No Wave" moniker coined to describe the work she and her friends were doing. "We need to have a category in which to define movements, I guess," she says. "I have no problem with 'No Wave,' because it says No Wave. So again, it's defined by what it isn't. What is it? I don't fucking know."
See full article at Movieline »

Tribeca Takes: Celine Danhier on Blank City

Blank City screened as a 'work-in-progress' at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2009 - it was both my first film and my first experience at any film festival. Blank City is a feature documentary that tells the story of the underground film movement in New York from the late 70s to the early 80s, and explores its ties to the East Village art and music scene of the period. So the Tribeca Film Festival was really the perfect place to showcase it for the very first time. We interviewed so many amazing people - Steve Buscemi, Jim Jarmusch, Debbie Harry, Sara Driver, Amos Poe, Eric Mitchell, James Nares, Fab 5 Freddy - and we had a lot of them join us for the Tribeca screening, which was great. Steve Buscemi had another premiere that night [Bette Gordon's Handsome Harry], but he took the time out to walk the red carpet with us and support the film,
See full article at Tribeca Film »

filmswelike Acquires Four Documentaries For Canadian Distribution

filmswelike Acquires Four Documentaries For Canadian Distribution
Ron Mann's filmswelike distribution label picked up four documentary films from Submarine Entertainment to release in Canada. The deal was put together for Submarine Entertainment by David Koh, Josh Braun and Dan Braun, with the help of Ron Mann. The four purchased films include Richard Press' "Bill Cunningham New York," Celine Dahnier's "Blank City," Bill Haney's "The Last Mountain" and Jon Foy's "Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles." ...
See full article at Indiewire »

Filling in the “Blank City”

  • Fangoria
Filling in the “Blank City”
Compared to today, you wouldn’t recognize New York City in the ’70s. Back then, drugs, poverty and urban decay ruled the streets, especially in the economically depressed Lower East Side. This gritty environment gave birth to an underground group of experimental filmmakers, including Jim Jarmusch, Richard Kern, Charlie Ahearn and Nick Zed, whose bizarre Geek Maggot Bingo (top) featured former Fango editor Bob Martin. These transgressive films, dubbed No Wave, took no prisoners just from some of their titles alone (Go To Hell, Submit To Me Now, They Eat Scum, etc.) and soon began gathering a cult following in grungy dive theaters and through VHS bootlegs. This Cinema of Transgression is celebrated in filmmaker Celine Danhier’s exhaustive and fascinating documentary Blank City (opening April 6 at NYC’s IFC Center from Insurgent Media), which offers revealing interviews with Jarmusch, Kern, Zedd, actor Steve Buscemi (who made his acting debut
See full article at Fangoria »
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