7 items from 2015
In its second Sundance deal, newbie The Orchard is buying North American rights for about $2 million to Sundance Premiere title "Digging for Fire." (Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has international rights.) Co-written by Swanberg and his "Drinking Buddies" star Jake Johnson ("New Girl"), the 35 mm portrait of married Angelenos stars Johnson and Rosemarie DeWitt tracks the anxious couple after they come across a bone and a gun. Produced by Swanberg, Alicia Van Couvering (Lena Dunham's "Tiny Furniture," Sundance 2015 title "Cop Car") and Johnson, the film is about how marriage should be "two individuals agreeing to be in a relationship, rather than two people melting into one thing," said Swanberg at the Sundance Q&A. According to Johnson, actors love working with Swanberg because he allows them to participate in the »
- Anne Thompson
It's a paradox. Independent films -- the kind that are often dramas or comedies about everyday people, rather than superheroes -- have all but vanished from theaters, which now show mostly popcorn action blockbusters. And yet, many of the filmmakers who used to make those indie movies have found a home on TV, where that same character-driven sensibility makes their work a critical and commercial success.
Exhibit A is surely Lena Dunham. Her 2010 movie "Tiny Furniture" never played in more than 21 theaters or sold as much as $400,000 in tickets, but her HBO series "Girls," which has a similar directorial and thematic approach, has made her a star.
In recent years, a number of her fellow indie directors and writers have made the same transition, from the art-house to your living room, mostly via premium cable or streaming outlets Netflix and Amazon. Alongside Dunham at HBO, there's Cary Joji Fukunaga ("True Detective »
- Gary Susman
Yesterday at the Sundance Film Festival, four of the funniest women in Hollywood — Mindy Kaling, Lena Dunham, Kristen Wiig, and Orange is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan — got together for a panel moderated by The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum. You may have already heard about the panel, since Dunham's jab at Woody Allen made the news once more, but focusing on that brief comment would do a disservice to all the other interesting things said onstage (not to mention all the good jokes). Here are nine other things we learned when these women had the spotlight.Movie studios still don't know what to do with female writers Hollywood courted Dunham after she made her indie Tiny Furniture, though they didn't have much to offer her: "I'd sit down in meetings with guys who were like, 'We loved your movie, it was so fresh, we've never seen anything like »
- Kyle Buchanan
Comedians Lena Dunham (Girls), Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Jenji Kohan (Orange Is the New Black, Weeds) and Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids, SNL) spoke about women in television and film on Saturday (January 24) at the Serious Ladies panel.
New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum guided the panel through such topics as the rise of three-dimensional female characters, the different ways humour can eliminate stereotypes and the importance of sex within a narrative construct. The event was part of the Power Of Story series.
Female-driven series in television
After general references by the panel to the emergence of female-driven television series – Jill Soloway’s recent Golden Globe winner Transparent and Jane Campion’s Sundance 2013 selection Top Of The Lake arose as examples – Kohan turned to viewer demographics.
She cited the film industry’s catering to men aged 18-34 as a reason for the lack of strong female leads and television’s (seemingly) wider target audience for a more diverse »
Lena Dunham is getting some new neighbors. HBO launches something of an indie spirit night Sunday, Jan. 11, when “Girls” returns for a fourth season, followed by a pair of original series sprung from the same singular, low-budget film roots that led Dunham — and her $65,000 SXSW phenomenon “Tiny Furniture” — to stardom.
First up after “Girls” is “Togetherness,” a new comedy from indie veterans Jay and Mark Duplass, about four forty-somethings, one a couple, living together, starring Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey and Amanda Peet. That show is followed by a second season of “Looking,” the San Francisco-set dramedy co-created by writer Michael Lannan and director Andrew Haigh, whose romantic drama “Weekend” won an audience award for emerging visions at the 2011 SXSW fest.
- Geoff Berkshire
“Bessie,” an HBO Films production directed by Dee Rees (whose “Pariah” premiered at Sundance in 2011), “Togetherness,” a comedy series from filmmakers Mark and Jay Duplass (“The Puffy Chair,” “Baghead”) and “Sinatra,” a two-part documentary from Alex Gibney (“Taxi to the Dark Side”) are new examples, joining hit series “Girls,” from Lena Dunham (“Tiny Furniture”), about to launch its fourth season and just renewed for a fifth. Also introduced was a six-part documentary series from Andrew Jarecki (“Capturing the Friedmans” “Catfish”), called “Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” based on the incredible true-life murder cases involving Durst, scion of a family that made a fortune in New York real estate development. The network also announced that “Citizenfour,” the documentary about Edward Snowden and his revelations about the National Security Agency, considered a front-runner for the Oscar, will air exclusively on HBO beginning Feb. 23. And the lines »
- Amy Dawes
Showcase of new work by international women filmmakers to end after 10 years due to financial pressures.
The Birds Eye View Film Festival will cease from this year after nine annual editions. Over a decade of activity, the showcase of films by international women directors included the UK premieres of features from Drew Barrymore (Whip It), Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture) and Kim Longinotto (Sisters In Law) among others.
The festival, which ran in April, also provided development to more than 30 female screenwriters through three Labs and commissioned over 30 female musicians through Sound & Silents to compose and perform new live scores to silent films celebrating the contribution of pioneer women filmmakers from the beginning of cinema.
Founder Rachel Millward said financial pressures had led to the demise of the festival. “I am proud that the Birds Eye View Film Festival has been such a dynamic part of the conversation around women filmmakers over the last decade,” said Millward »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
7 items from 2015
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