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1-20 of 47 items from 2016   « Prev | Next »

First look image from Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja featuring Tilda Swinton and Giancarlo Esposito

19 July 2016 7:15 PM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Netflix has released a first look image from Okja, the new film from director Bong Joon-Ho (Snowpiercer), which features Tilda Swinton (Nancy Mirando) and Giancarlo Esposito (Frank Dawson) shooting on location in New York City.

Okja stars Tilda Swinton (Hail, Caesar!, Moonrise Kingdom), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Southpaw) and Paul Dano (Love & Mercy, 12 Years a Slave) and follows Mija (Seohyun An), a young girl who must risk everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named ‘Okja’.

Okja is set to premiere on Netflix and theatrically in 2017.


- Gary Collinson

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It’s Tilda Swinton in ‘Snowpiercer’ Director’s ‘Okja’!

19 July 2016 5:01 AM, PDT | | See recent news »

Netflix shared the first image from its feature film Okja, which was filmed earlier this year in Seoul, South Korea. From director Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer, The Host, Mother), Okja is produced by Plan B, Lewis Pictures and Kate Street Picture Company, and stars Tilda Swinton ( Snowpiercer, Doctor Strange, Hail, Caesar!, Moonrise Kingdom), Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Nightcrawler, Everest) and Paul Dano (Love & Mercy, 12 Years a […] »

- MrDisgusting

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Movie Poster of the Week: “Atlantic City” and the Letter Forms of Gerard Huerta

15 July 2016 6:00 AM, PDT | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

One of my favorite contemporary designers is Jessica Hische, a lettering artist whose best known movie poster work is her typeface design for Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. Hische is a prodigiously talented and endlessly inventive artist who has brought renewed recognition to the art of lettering and whose covers for Barnes and Noble Classics and Penguin Drop Caps are gorgeous. I mention this because I recently discovered the poster work of another extraordinary letterform artist from an earlier era, via this magnificent poster for Louis Malle’s Atlantic City.Gerard Huerta is a letterform and logo designer who got his start with CBS Records in the early 70s where he created album covers and logos for Boston, Ted Nugent, Rick Derringer, Bob Dylan and many others. His greatest claim to fame might be that he forged the “look” of heavy metal typography with his logo for Blue Öyster Cult »

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Precious Cargo review: “A brave but uneventful romp…”

8 July 2016 1:10 AM, PDT | The Hollywood News | See recent The Hollywood News news »

Precious Cargo review: Zack Morris and John McClane together at last in this direct-to-dvd film that has snuck into cinemas. Precious Cargo review

Bruce Willis! How do you feel about that name? It’s one that has changed its meaning and sound throughout the years. From sitcom star to unexpected action hero, to taking on challenging prestige roles in the late 90s, Willis hasn’t exactly become stale. Recently however he has given his name to small budget action films, showed up, read his lines, and seen them go straight to DVD or streaming. This isn’t surprising however as the movie star as we know it is pretty much dead. Willis still impresses when he gets into original and challenging material such as Moonrise Kingdom, or Looper, but why not earn a buck on the side?

Precious Cargo isn’t exactly the dream outing anybody was waiting for. Mark-Paul Gosselaar, »

- Luke Ryan Baldock

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‘Quitters’ Exclusive Trailer & Poster: A Smart-Aleck Teen Escapes His Troubled Home For a New Family

16 June 2016 7:41 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »


In “Quitters,” young Clark (Ben Konigsberg) is a smart-aleck San Francisco teen who thinks he can outsmart the entire world, but his home life is a mess. His mother (Mira Sorvino) has a prescription pill addiction that lands her in rehab, and Clark doesn’t have much of a relationship with his impatient father (Gregg Germann).

So what does he do? He decides to find a new family, specifically the family of an attractive classmate Natalia (Morgan Turner) who lets Clark temporarily move in as a houseguest. When conflict inevitably arises, it’s up to Clark to face up to the reality of his situation. The film also stars Kara Hayward (“Moonrise Kingdom”), Kieran Culkin (“Margaret”), Saffron Burrows (“Mozart in the Jungle”), and Scott Lawrence (“Jag”). Watch an exclusive trailer for “Quitters” above.

Read More: Meet the 2015 SXSW Filmmakers #12: Noah Pritzker’s ‘Quitters’ Sees a Family Falling Apart

Quitters” is the debut feature from director Noah Pritzker who also co-wrote the script with Ben Tarnoff. Pritzker recently told IndieWire, “‘Quitters’ initially came out of a short I was writing while at film school. The short focused on Clark’s family, and I was eager to keep writing and see where Clark would go and show more of the San Francisco world he would travel through. At the time, Ben Tarnoff – who I wrote the movie with – was writing a book about 19th century San Francisco. We both grew up there, went to the same high school, and were both drawn to the idea of writing about the city.”

“My short film ‘Little Dad’ got into SXSW while we were finishing a draft of ‘Quitters,’ which helped us get the movie made,” he added. “One of the first people to come on board was our casting director Doug Aibel. He and his team looked far and wide for the main character, played by Ben Konigsberg, whose performance as Clark defines the film.”

The film premiered at last year’s South by Southwest Festival. Star Ben Konigsberg is best known for his role as Yusef on the Netflix original series “Orange is the New Black” as well as Hal in Tim Blake Nelson’s latest film “Anesthesia.”

Quitters” opens in select theaters and VOD on July 22. Check out a poster from the film below.

Read More: SXSW: Complete List of Winners at the 2016 Film Awards

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Related stories'Don't Think Twice' Trailer: Mike Birbiglia's Latest Film Follows the Trials & Tribulations of An Improv GroupIndie Legend Who Inspired Sundance, 'Reservoir Dogs' And More Will Have Classic Films RestoredWatch: Take a Tab of 'Orange Sunshine' in Fizzy and Bright New Trailer »

- Vikram Murthi

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Kevin Corrigan and Jayce Bartok Skewer New York Gentrification in New Web Series ‘The Holdouts’

14 June 2016 8:00 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

“The Holdouts,” a new web series raising money on Kickstarter, is an ode to what some have called vanishing New York. It’s the story of “a blue collar guy who just wants to get day-wasted for three dollars,” but every gin joint he used to haunt has turned into a Starbucks or a Duane Reade or a Bank of America. Created by Dan Menke and Stephen Girasuolo, Menke wrote the script specifically with stars Kevin Corrigan (“Goodfellas,” “The Departed”) and Jayce Bartok (“The Cake Eaters”) in mind.

“Kevin and I for a while had been sending each other the Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York thing, bitching at four in the morning about something closing,” Menke said, speaking from his rent-controlled Williamsburg studio. “Being a native New Yorker as he is, the underlying theme of people being priced out and the struggle to try to stay here was definitely something Kevin connected with.” For years after meeting Corrigan, Menke wrote possible projects. “I would periodically get up the nerve to send them to him,” the writer said, “and he liked this one.”

Menke met Bartok when the actor appeared on his monthly variety show hosted by New York’s filthiest marionette, The Arty Need Show. Originally, the show was about two down and out actors — with a running gag that Corrigan would always get recognized for his role in “Goodfellas,” while Bartok got mistaken as someone’s cousin’s ex. “With the added backdrop of gentrification, the project has deepened exponentially,” said Bartok. “It gives it that meaning, that edge, that wow, this is relevant.”

Read More: Mary Stuart Masterson Wants to Open a Movie Studio in Upstate NY

Though he may be less recognizable than Corrigan, Bartok cut his teeth with bit parts in classics like “The Fisher King,” and “School Ties.” More recently, he has written and produced two features; “The Cake Eaters,” with Kristin Stewart and Bruce Dern, which won best feature at The Stony Brook Film Festival in 2008, and “Fall to Rise,” starring Daphne Rubin-Vega.

The gentrification subject is particularly relevant to Bartok, whose artist mother moved him to Soho when he was eleven. “We moved to Soho when it was bodegas and art galleries, that kind of ‘After Hours’ Martin Scorsese Soho, and over 20 years I watched it become this kind of Euro mall.” Bartok was a Soho holdout until five years ago, when he moved to the Fort Greene neighborhood in Brooklyn. “You couldn’t leave the house on weekends,” he said. “There was no neighborhood anymore.”

The series has a bit of an “Odd Couple” feel, with Bartok playing the naïve newbie and Corrigan schooling his character on the real New York. The team is hoping the five-minute episodes will gain momentum like the hit web series “High Maintenance,” and get picked up for television.

Why are such accomplished film and television actors turning to web content? According to Bartok, “these days, just business wise, when you have major movie stars doing pilot after pilot, and you’re competing with Tony winners for one episode of ‘Elementary,’ you’re like wow, this is it, it truly is an actor’s life.”

It almost sounds as tough as say, holding out on a New York apartment.

“The Holdouts” is produced by Savin Rock Entertainment. Help get it made by contributing on Kickstarter.

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Related storiesThis Week On Home Video: Wes Anderson's 'Moonrise Kingdom' on Criterion, 'Pitch Perfect 2' on Blu-ray, and More'Results' Director Andrew Bujalski Doesn't Want You to Call His Movies 'Mumblecore'Interview: Andrew Bujalski On How 'Results' Is Like 'Persona,' Guy Pearce's Accent, And Much More »

- Judith Dry

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Ambient Noise: Exploring The Use Of Sound In Wes Anderson Films [Watch]

13 June 2016 2:25 PM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

Wes Anderson is a filmmaker obsessed with using style to to conjure up hyperrealistic locales, be it the intricate dollhouse-like construction of the brownstone in “The Royal Tenenbaums,” the enchanting New England island of “Moonrise Kingdom,” the anthropomorphic storybook world of “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” or the fully-realized world of “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” With symmetrical […]

The post Ambient Noise: Exploring The Use Of Sound In Wes Anderson Films [Watch] appeared first on The Playlist. »

- Chris Evangelista

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Bruce Willis: examining his recent straight-to-dvd movies

6 June 2016 7:22 AM, PDT | Den of Geek | See recent Den of Geek news »




Most Bruce Willis movies right now seem to head to DVD almost immediately. We've gone through them, in search of a gem...

It’s not exactly clear when Bruce Willis went from being a big star whose name filled seats and sold tickets to being a guy whose name you see on the cover of so many direct-to-dvd and VOD outings (albeit ones that sometimes get a week or two in a cinema, in essence to promote the VOD release), but I’d like to go out on a limb here and say that Kevin Smith’s mouth might be to blame.

During one of his filmed Q&A sessions that ended up winging its way to eager fanboys and girls like myself on DVD back in the late oughts, Smith talked at length about what it was like to work on the much-anticipated fourth instalment of the Die Hard franchise, »

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Monica Bellucci to Guest Star on ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ Season 3

3 June 2016 2:28 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Rome — Monica Bellucci is set to  guest star in the third season of Amazon TV series “Mozart in the Jungle.”

The Italian actress with international star power will play Alessandra, an iconic opera singer who will become the next collaborator of Rodrigo, the New York Symphony Orchestra conductor played by Gael Garcia Bernal.

Season three will see Rodrigo and many musicians take their talents on tour to Europe, an Amazon statement said.

“Alessandra is as famous for her passionate performances as she is for her erratic life off the stage,” is how the statement described her character in the show. “After years away from the spotlight, she enlists Rodrigo to conduct her grand return performance.”

Bellucci recently played a Bond girl named Lucia in “Spectre” and will be starring in Showtime’s upcoming “Twin Peaks” reboot TV series, details of which are being kept under wraps.

The third installment of “Mozart in the Jungle, »

- Nick Vivarelli

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Crowd-Pleasing Movies for Your Next Family Movie Night

1 June 2016 6:00 PM, PDT | Moviefone | See recent Moviefone news »

The Bagel Bites are still frozen in the middle. Your friend with the popcorn popper sent you the patented "I think I'm going to bail on this one" text. Your uncle just got the entire "Hee Haw" series on Blu-ray and is a little too excited about it.

These are the things that can, have, and will go wrong on family movie night. Your best defense against movie night fails? Movies so impossible not to love that some states may have laws against not liking them.

So put those Bagel Bites back in the oven; bust out the microwavable kettle corn; ask your mom if your uncle is really related to anyone -- for it's time to please the whole crowd with your brilliant taste in movies.

'The Princess Bride' (1987)

Ok, the MPAA is pretty solid -- we know "G" movies are good for kids, "R" for adults. »

- Dan Ketchum

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‘Marauders’ Trailer: Bruce Willis Is at the Center of a Bank Robbery Conspiracy

1 June 2016 10:30 AM, PDT | Slash Film | See recent Slash Film news »

In recent years, Bruce Willis has been sleepwalking his way through a lot of action thrillers. That’s truly a shame since we know he’s still capable of doing great work in movies like Looper and Moonrise Kingdom. Sadly, a new bank heist movie called Marauders doesn’t appear to be one of his better choices, even […]

The post ‘Marauders’ Trailer: Bruce Willis Is at the Center of a Bank Robbery Conspiracy appeared first on /Film. »

- Ethan Anderton

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Arthouse Audit: Openers Struggle, 'Love & Friendship' and 'The Lobster' Flourish

29 May 2016 10:46 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

The opening weekend specialized box office was grim this Memorial Day holiday—as best as we can tell.  That's because increasingly, distributors are refusing to report the box office numbers for under-performers. This weekend something unprecedented occurred: no distributors reported the estimated gross on a single new film. Some might be waiting for the full four-day estimate, but they usually report three-day as well as four-day. So all the estimated grosses listed for new films here are as close as possible, garnered from reliable sources. The outlook is not good, particularly for well-reviewed subtitled films. Memorial Day weekend has been a great launching pad in the past for top English-language films from established directors, including Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life," Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" and Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight." This year's batch included a group of recent festival-acclaimed films from »

- Tom Brueggemann

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Cannes archives: Screen's Jury Grid 2012 - winners and losers

4 May 2016 11:00 PM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

As Cannes approaches, Screen casts its eye back at the winners and losers of 2012 according to our jury of critics.

Screen International’s jury of international critics has long been a strong indicator as to what will take the top prizes at the Cannes Film Festival – and 2012 was no different.

Sharing the Jury Grid’s top spot in 2012 were Cristian Mungiu’s Romanian drama Beyond the Hills and Michael Haneke’s heart-breaking Amour.

Both films scored 3.3 out of 4 and Amour went away with the festival’s coveted Palme d’Or.

Amour was Haneke’s second film to win the Cannes top prize, after 2009’s chilling pre-war drama The White Ribbon.

Beyond the Hills also performed strongly, winning awards for best screenplay and best actress for its two leading ladies Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan. Director Mungiu has another shot at the Palme d’Or this year with Graduation (Bacalaureat).


It was a year for ties, with »

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Filming Begins on Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja, Steven Yeun Joins the Cast

22 April 2016 12:22 PM, PDT | DailyDead | See recent DailyDead news »

Those who have been eager to see another movie from Bong Joon-Ho after climbing aboard The Rattling Ark in 2013’s Snowpiercer will be happy to hear that his next film, Okja, has begun filming in South Korea with a cast that includes Tilda SwintonJake Gyllenhaal, and The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun.

Yeun, who plays Glenn on AMC’s The Walking Dead, also recently signed on to star in Joe Lynch’s new action horror film, Mayhem. Fans can see Yeun in Okja when it debuts on Netflix in 2017, with a limited theatrical release also planned in the Us. For more details about Joon-Ho’s latest film, we have the official press release:

Press Release: Seoul, South Korea (April 23, 2016) – Netflix announced that principal photography began yesterday on its feature film Okja in Seoul, South Korea. From director Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer, The Host, Mother), Okja is produced by Plan B, »

- Derek Anderson

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'Walking Dead's' Steven Yeun, Jake Gyllenhaal and More Join Bong Joon-Ho's Sci-Fi 'Okja'

22 April 2016 9:11 AM, PDT | LatinoReview | See recent LatinoReview news »

Bong Joon Ho - Snowpiercer

Netflix announced that principal photography began yesterday on its feature film Okja in Seoul, South Korea. From director Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer, The Host, Mother), Okja is produced by Plan B, Lewis Pictures and Kate Street Picture Company, and stars Tilda Swinton (Hail Caesar!, Moonrise Kingdom), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Everest) and Paul Dano (Love & Mercy, 12 Years A Slave) in a bold, global adventure.

Director Bong said:

"With Okja I want to show the beauty that can exist between man and animal, and also the horror between them."

Okja was written by Bong and Jon Ronson (Frank) and follows Mija, a young girl who must risk everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named 'Okja'. Mija will be played by Seohyun An.

Joining the cast are acclaimed actors from around the world, including Devon Bostick, Lily Collins, »

- Kellvin Chavez

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The Family Fang Welcomes You

11 April 2016 5:00 PM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

Manuel here. Nat got a look at The Family Fang in Toronto and ahead of its screening at Tribeca (and its limited release later this month), we finally got a poster and a trailer for Jason Bateman's sophomore effort. The film features the Arrested Development star and Tfe fave Nicole Kidman as the Fang siblings (Buster and Annie) who are brought together after their parents mysteriously disappear. In true indie drama mode, though, this is an excuse to unearth all sorts of dysfunctions, mostly stemming from the fact that the senior Fangs are kooky performance artists who scarred their children by incorporating them into their live art pieces (and, you know, by referring to them as child A and child B).

In a feat of perfect casting, the Fang patriarch is played in his later years by Christopher Walken who shares top billing with Kidman and Bateman in the »

- Manuel Betancourt

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Does A24's Swiss Army Man Trailer Sink Or Swim?

7 April 2016 8:31 AM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

When the raucous survival film Swiss Army Man set Sundance aflame this January – aided in no small part from some infamously inflammatory methane – the only tidbit more shocking than hearing secondhand strands from its preposterous plot was the news that indie dynamo distributer A24 picked up its check to jet ski it across cinemas nationwide. Prompting walkouts that don’t sound too dissimilar from recently announced Tribeca juror and enfant terrible Sebastian Silva’s 2015 submission Nasty Baby, Swiss Army Man was immediately accused of churlish, childish, and undeniably crass crimes against good taste – what else would one expect from a buddy film about Paul Dano enduring starvation and isolation on a desert isle thanks to the multipronged malleability of Daniel Radcliffe’s flatulent, tumescent corpse? Certainly not a Directing Award, which the film’s directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinhart scooped up nonetheless; together, they go by the monicker Daniels… »

- Daniel Crooke

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Qumra: James Schamus Discusses the Filmmaking Process in Extensive Master Class and Interview

3 April 2016 9:05 AM, PDT | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

In the Qumra Master Class 2016 where James Schamus and Richard Peña, former long-time head of Lincoln Film Society in NYC, carried on an informal and open-ended discussion, James gave a personal view of himself before going into the professional ins and outs of his film production and distribution life.

I was surprised to hear that James, who seems like a quintessential New Yorker, is not a native New Yorker but is an Angeleno and attended Hollywood High in Los Angeles.

When I spoke with him afterward, he said that he actually was from North Hollywood but had attended Jd Melton at Hollywood High.  On looking the school up for this article, I was even more pleasantly surprised to see that their branding is serendipitously, “Home of the Sheiks”.

James grew up in L.A. in the 70s and Hollywood High was equivalent to Jodie Foster’s school in “Taxi Driver” only it was in L.A.  It was a working class and poor school where only half of the student body took the SATs (College qualifying exams), and he was definitely the nerd in the herd.  He would spend his Friday nights watching a little known TV show on the local Channel 13 moderated by the L.A. Times critic Charles Champlin.  The show was of silent films and there he saw “Birth of a Nation” and the German Expressionist movies among others.  Later he wrote his PhD dissertation Carl Theodor Dreyer's ‘Gertrud’: The Moving Word, and it was published by the University of Washington Press. He moved to New York to write it after completing his Bachelors, Masters and PhD studies at Uc Berkeley.

He said he does not remember much about his high school days, but recently as he was unpacking some old boxes, he came across his high school yearbook.

 You know how people signed with little paragraphs?  One of these said ‘Thanks for persuading me to skip school with you and going on the 93 bus to see movies’ and it was signed ‘Frank’.  I had no idea who Frank was but as I tried to remember, I recalled skipping school to go to L.A.’s only film festival which was new and called ‘Filmex’. 

 (Editor’s note: Filmex was the creation of ‘The two Garys’, Gary Essert and Gary Abrahams, both of whom died of Aids during the Aids epidemic. Gary Essert was a UCLA Film School student in the 60s where he started Filmex with marathon screenings in the Quonset hut which was the film school.  The two Garys are both vividly remembered today by the American Cinematheque crews and others of us from L.A. because the Cinematheque was their creation.)

 It was at Filmex that I saw a film made by a film student from USC.  It was a sci-fi film and there was a Q&A afterward.  The film was called ‘Thx-1138’ and it was by George Lucas.  Then I remembered!  Frank was Frank Darabont!  And we were now sharing the same agent, so I gave him a call and yes, he went to Hollywood High too.

James combines his acclaimed filmmaking career with other roles within the industry: he is a revered film historian and academic.  He is also a multi award-winning screenwriter, director and leading U.S. indie producer, best known for his long creative collaboration with Taiwanese director Ang Lee. He has worked with Lee on nine films, including “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000), which won four Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography, and remains the highest-grossing non-English-language film in the U.S. He was the screenwriter for Lee's “The Ice Storm”, for which he won the award for Best Screenplay at the Festival de Cannes in 1997 and co-wrote “Eat Drink Man Woman” (1994), the first of Lee’s films to achieve both critical and commercial success.

As producers, Schamus and Ted Hope (today head of production at Amazon) co-founded the U.S. low- to no-budget production company Good Machine in the early 1990s. 

It was macho to brag about how we made films with no money.  ‘I made my movie for $5,000.’ ‘Well, I made mine for $4,000.’

Ted also loves lists and he made a list of all the short films made in the past 10 years by filmmakers who had yet to make feature films.  We got the VHS tapes and one of the films we saw was by Ang Lee when he was studying at Nyu.  It was called “Fine Line” and was Chazz Palminteri’s first film.

“Fine Line” was about an Italian guy on the run from the mob.  It takes place in New York’s Little Italy and Chinatown.  Ang Lee had an agent and we called him.  He said Ang Lee was working on three great films before hanging up on us…

To hear James tell this story, watch him speaking here with Richard Peña.

What was cut out of the above online story was that at the time of “Pushing Hands”

Ang had no idea we had just contacted his agent and he also thought we would steal all his money.  He was 38 years old, an unemployed stay-at-home parent with a working wife and two kids living in a little apartment in New York. In his spare time he had become a great cook.  He came in and pitched a comedy for one hour.  It was awful.  We were such no-money producers; our office was upstairs from a strip club and the music would blast into our offices starting at 2:00 every day. With this pounding beat, he pitched the worst pitch we ever heard.  But there was a $5,000 fee for us.  I then said that though his pitch was poor he had actually described the entire movie in his head to us scene by scene.  He was not trying to sell the film. 

So we made the film and then made his second film “Wedding Banquet” which shared a first prize in Berlin.  The third film was “Eat Drink Man Woman” from an original idea with a Taiwanese writer, very TV in the open-endedness of all the characters feeling the push and pull of letting it happen.  But in this was a Hollywood 40s style screwball comedy that could be imposed.

Again, when James and I spoke together, I challenged him on the claim that “Dim Lake” was Chazz’s first film because my own partner in life and business, Peter Belsito, claims to have produced Chazz’s first film, “Home Free All” at which time Chazz took Peter aside and said, 'I am not just a dumb guinea hoodlum, I am a real actor destined for better roles. I can act serious.' So James and I checked IMDb to see and sure enough, “Dim Lake” was his first film and “Home Free All” was his second, but it was Chazz’ first feature film.  We then looked at the rest of his 68 film credits and in every single one, he is playing the Italian.

Doing this with James gave me a momentary feel of his love for research.

“For my first time writing with Ang I needed to research food in Taiwan for ‘Pushing Hands’, the position and placement of food, families and food….The script would be translated from English to Chinese, but Ang was not satisfied with it.  I was having trouble tapping into the mentality of the Chinese family so I took all the characters’ names and changed them to Jewish names and rewrote the script totally as a Jewish family.  Then I changed the names back to their Chinese names.  Ang read the script and said ‘This is really Chinese!’  And so I got ‘the cross-cultural idea’ -- not really…I still don’t get that.

The first day in Taiwan we were shooting the film in a fast food restaurant and I as I watched the rushes, one of the character’s name was Rachel and I realized I had forgotten to change the name back. I asked if we needed to reshoot, but at that time it was a fad to change Chinese names to Anglo names and no one thought it was out of place, and so it stayed.

The most difficult part of the film was shooting the opening title sequence of the father cooking a meal.  It went over schedule because it had to be perfect.  We used the food so many times it was held together by glue by the end.

Preparing a shot list is very important for Ang and he constantly reduces the list and his vision jells as he does this.  By his third film, the process was very internalized.  Next he had to communicate it.  The plan is always the result of the overall idea.  That’s why his style always changes.

As he shoots, the relationship with the editor is very close.  He has a long-time relationship with his editor Tim Squyres.

The “Wedding Banquet” was the first film edited on Avid.  Before “Wedding Banquet”, four minutes was the full length of films edited on Avid which is now ancient technology.

Tim cuts several versions and talks them through with Ang.  They have spent more time in the dark together than most married people.  Ang is in the editing room from the beginning to the end.  Tim talks very directly, like he might say Ang should have spent more time on a scene or should have shot a scene from a different angle.  I used to watch Ang’s face tense up as he listened to Tim’s criticism and often they would fight, but they have spent 25+ years together.

On the transnational global reach of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”:

Critics said it was not an authentic chop-socky movie.  But the Hong Kong chop-socky genre itself was a regional hybrid.  The origins of chop-socky were from Shanghai and Singapore.  It was not so “Cantonese” as critics claimed.  Bruce Lee himself was U.S. based.  So the transnational aspect was already there.

From 2002 to 2014 Schamus was CEO of Focus Features, the motion picture production, financing and worldwide distribution company whose films during his tenure included Wes Anderson's “Moonrise Kingdom” (2012), Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Roman Polanski's “The Pianist “ (2002), Henry Selick's “Coraline” (2009) and Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” (2003).

On actors:

Character is secondary to the action.  You only have action and words in a script.  Working with good actors, you need images.

Actors are at such high risk, they are very vulnerable.  They need respect.  Sometimes they act out.

On casting and directors:

During the casting process, the director must direct the actor, set the tone for the part.  Most of the film’s directing can be done during the casting process. 

On storyboarding: 

Ride with the Devil” was the first film Ang Lee storyboarded.  He also storyboarded “Life of Pi”.  Storyboarding could take the life out of a movie.

On production design:

It takes lots of research.  It includes the worldview of the film and everything ties in to that.  It first starts with costumes.  Research is not done only by the department but by everyone.

On film distribution and Focus:

Where is distribution now for specialized films?  Focus was everything, attached to the studio system as its specialized film division, Focus’ model was not Fox Searchlght’s which is locked into the domestic U.S. market.  Seachlight bought global rights and produced by way of its international TV deals.  Focus didn’t have that.  It had to presell theatrical rights to independent distributors worldwide.  Driven primarily by the international marketplace, it could not be driven by U.S. Its primary focus for production was London.  It was all international but also driven by flagship releases in the U.S.

In 2014, Schamus turned his hand to directing with the short documentary “That Film About Money” (2014).

Paul Allen of Microsoft started Vulcan with a commitment to shorts. I did a doc with a crew of people I had never worked with before.  And it was about people like Paul.

In 2016 James made his feature directorial debut with an adaptation of Philip Roth's “Indignation”.  It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2016 and screened at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival in the Panorama section.

Schamus is also Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches film history and theory.

On Doha’s newest foray into Hollywood:

Doha-based beIN Media Group’s acquiring Miramax could be a great deal depending on the price paid.

Much of the 600-plus films in the Miramax library is probably locked into licensing deals already around the globe, but depending on when those deals are up for renewal and what other rights can be exploited, if the price point was right, it’s a great way to get into the game because they are sitting on top of so much intellectual property.

Just integrating into the deal structures and understanding the economics, from the end point where the money is coming from to the rights holder, is a good idea.

Miramax, under the leadership of Zanne Devine, has also co-acquired with Roadside Attractions, the 2016 Sundance premiering feature, “Southside with You”, the narrative feature of Barak Obama and Michelle’s first date.  That will bring beIN into the Roadside Attraction/ Lionsgate sphere of distribution and international sales.

On Hollywood interest in territories like China, India and the Middle East:

The less successful pattern is to find a Hollywood producer who flies in on his private jet and give him hundreds of millions (ed: Stx?) to make movies. This is a very different version, this is owning intellectual property - it’s a good first step.

On moviegoing in the Gulf:

The next step is to build a cinema culture that makes movie-going a practice in the region far more than it is now - movie exhibition and movie-going as a power lever.

On TV in the Middle East:

My intuition says new media, television in particular, is going to be a space that is very dynamic once it breaks open, here in the Gulf or elsewhere.

During this week at Qumra, James is also mentoring 10 filmmakers working on five Dfi-backed projects: Mohamed Al Ibrahim’s “Bull Shark”; Hamida Issa’s “To The Ends Of The Earth”; Sherif Elbendary’s “Ali, The Goat And Ibrahim”; Mohanad Hayal’s “Haifa Street” aka “Death Street”; and Karim Moussaoui’s “Till The Swallows Return”.

Elia Suleiman, the Artistic Advisor to Doha Film Institute, recalls how he and James “grew up together” in New York as long-time friends. James introduced him to the Chilean master filmmaker Raul Ruiz.  While at Good Machine, Schamus helped him with his short film.  He helped edit the script and was his guardian angel helping with his first contract.  They even had a code for “urgent”.  When Elia was in Jerusalem and James in London, they used the code whenever Elia was overwhelmed by the paperwork needed.  James would answer within 15 minutes.  Now James has come full circle on his own, from being one of the most important producers of the decade to directing his own film.

When asked by Qumra what was most important, he said “first time filmmakers are the most important”.  And he has always been able to spot the most talented of emerging filmmakers. »

- Sydney Levine

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Review: Sturdy, Grounded, But Not Quite Satisfying 'Standing Tall' Starring Catherine Deneuve

1 April 2016 2:02 PM, PDT | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

This is a reprint of our review from the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Last year, the Cannes Film Festival got off to the worst possible start. The opening night slot has always had ups and downs (read our feature on the best and worst of them here), and for every "Moonrise Kingdom" or "Up," there was a "Da Vinci Code" or "Blindness," but "Grace Of Monaco" was something else: a rotten, ill-conceived biopic of Grace Kelly that hasn't just skipped U.S theaters entirely, it's actually premiering on Lifetime. Festival head Thierry Fremaux clearly had some making up to do with this year's opening night film, and he's eschewed big Hollywood stars for a more modest, homegrown effort in Emmanuelle Bercot's "Standing Tall," which also marks the first time since Diane Kurys' "A Man In Love" in 1987 that a film from a female director has kicked off Cannes. The result is a sturdy, »

- Jessica Kiang

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Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: ‘The Hateful Eight,’ Chantal Akerman, ‘Bicycle Thieves,’ and More

29 March 2016 7:13 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best (or most interesting) films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica)

Hailed around the world as one of the greatest movies ever made, the Academy Award–winning Bicycle Thieves, directed by Vittorio De Sica, defined an era in cinema. In poverty-stricken postwar Rome, a man is on his first day of a new job that offers hope of salvation for his desperate family when his bicycle, which he needs for work, is stolen. With his young son in tow, he sets off to track down the thief. »

- TFS Staff

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