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France’s Cesar Awards Nominations Spotlight Women and Ethnic Minorities

27 January 2016 8:38 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Paris — While this year’s Academy Awards have been heavily criticized over the lack of diversity in nominees, back in France, a record number of women and ethnic minorities will be competing in major categories at the Cesar Awards.

Making up half of the directors nominated at the Cesar Awards, “Mustang’s” Deniz Gamze Ergüven, “Standing Tall’s” Emmanuelle Bercot and “Mon Roi’s” Maïwenn will compete for best helmer.

Looking back, only one woman, Céline Sciamma (“Girlhood”), competed for a best director Cesar last year. In 2014, there were none; in 2013, there was just Noemie Lvovsky with “Camille Rewinds”; and in 2012 (a stellar year for French movies), Maiwenn and Valerie Donzelli competed with “Polisse” and “Declaration of War,” respectively.

In terms of representing ethnic minorities and including foreign-language movies into its mix, the Cesar Awards have also come a long way. Both “Dheepan” and “Mustang,” nominated for nine Cesar Awards each, »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Maiwenn on the rocky road of romance by Richard Mowe

20 January 2016 8:23 AM, PST | eyeforfilm.co.uk | See recent eyeforfilm.co.uk news »

Director in action: Maiwenn (right) with Emmanuelle Bercot and Vincent Cassel during the shoot of Mon Roi Photo: Unifrance

French actress, writer and director Maiwenn has been in the business from an early age appearing as a child in several films including One Deadly Summer with Isabelle Adjani. She was only 16 when she was involved in a relationship with producer and director Luc Besson with whom she had a daughter, Shanna. She spent time living in Hollywood and appearing in Besson’s Léon and The Fifth Element. Her break-up with Besson at 21 marked a return to living and working in France where she has become known simply by her Christian name (surname Lo Besco which her sister Isild, also an actress and director, uses). Maiwenn had a second child, Diego, with property developer Jean-Yves Le Fur before they split up. In 2006 she directed her semi-autobiographical first feature Pardon Me followed in 2011 by Polisse, »

- Richard Mowe

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WTFilms Boasts Sales On Terrorism-Themed ‘Inside The Cell’ (Exclusive)

14 January 2016 5:31 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Nicolas Boukhrief’s “Inside The Cell,” the gripping Paris-based terrorism thriller whose theatrical release was pulled in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 attacks in the French capital, is set to travel to a flurry of territories.

After hosting a market premiere at the Afm, WTFilms – the Parisian sales company headed by Dimitri Stephanides and Gregory Chambet — has sold “Inside The Cell” (“Made in France”) to China (Quik E), Belgium (Cineart), Latin America (California), Turkey (Mars) and Greece (Odeon), among other territories.

The company is showing the film on Jan. 15 at the UniFrance Rendez-Vous in Paris which kicks off today.

Lensed before the Charlie Hebdo attacks a year ago, the thriller follows a journalist who infiltrates a terrorists cell in Paris and befriends four aspiring Jihads who plot a deadly assault in the French city.

The release of the film, whose posters displayed a large Kalashnikov against a picture of the Eiffel Tower, »

- Elsa Keslassy

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On the Reserved and Refined Crafts of ‘Spotlight’

8 January 2016 12:59 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight” shot out of the Venice and Telluride film festival circuit like a cannon, a satisfying drama expertly paced on the page and acted with precision by an organically in-tune ensemble. Below the line, however, it has faltered in the awards race, perhaps owed to its lack of frills and manner in the face of the ornate and more overtly wrought stylings of other films this year.

But that was the intention. “For ‘Spotlight,’ the marching order was really to be true to what happened, the reality of it,” says cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi, who transitioned from the more baroque framing and lighting of Scott Cooper’s “Black Mass” to the much more casual visual style of McCarthy’s journalism drama, which was designed to put the viewer right there on the beat with reporters breaking a landmark story.

“There was nothing I had to impose,” he continues. »

- Kristopher Tapley

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