8 items from 2016
Maybe he thrilled you as the brilliant Henry Lowe in 2007's The Great Debaters, or commanded your attention as Jimmy Grant, the emotional center of 2012's Arbitrage. Or, you might've lusted after him as Kaz, the police officer steaming up the screen with Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Beyond the Lights. Chances are, you know Nate Parker for his incredible onscreen presence. Wait till you hear what he's been doing behind the scenes. Parker, 36, just added a few ambitious new skills to his résumé as the star, writer and director of The Birth of a Nation, winner of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival's audience and jury top prizes. »
- Alynda Wheat, @AlyndaWheat
During the American Film Festival in Wroclaw Poland in November, I met someone at a party. The Polish parties, at least at the American Film Festival, are always very friendly. The American Film Festival and U.S. in Progress late night party is held in the same venue every night with free drinks. Later in the night all those still standing go to a Soviet-style diner and eat the best pierogis I have ever had in my life.
After attending this festival every year since 2008, you would think I knew everyone, but in fact, I often stay by those I know or don’t go to such late high energy parties. However, one night I did go and at the bar, I met a woman named Anna Różalska who looked so familiar that I was sure she was an American I knew from home.
And as we talked, as if we had known each other for all our lives, I realized that even though she was not American, she would fit perfectly among my colleagues in “Hollywood” should she ever decide to give it a try.
Anna was heading the production and development department at Alvernia Studios where she coproduced the Golden Globe nominated “Arbitrage” directed by Nick Jarecki (USA, 2012) starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon, the film that Roadside Attractions did so well with on VoD as well as theatrically. She coproduced “Vamps” by Amy Heckerling (USA, 2012) starring Sigourney Weaver. Later Anna exec produced “Sweet Home” (Spain, 2014) produced by Filmax and a short movie “ Ambition” directed by Oscar Nominee Tomek Baginski and starring Aidan Gillen from the “Game of Thrones” for Platige Image and I Exec.
Over the years Anna has built strong relationshops with major Polish producers, TV stations and filmmakers both in Poland and internationally. In 2015 she co-founded Match&Spark Management, a talent management company representing and promoting directors, DOPs and music composers in Poland and outside of the country. The idea is to match filmmakers who have been working in commercials, television and film to broader relationships in the areas they want to develop.
M&S aims to help find Polish talent representation in other markets such as U.S., U.K., France, etc. and to manage them by building long term relationships with other international agents and managers.
M&S also represents Polish talents based outside of Poland in the local markets. Lucas Zal (Oscar-nominee for cinematography on “Ida” by director Pawel Pawlikowski) is one of the most notable clients of M&S.
M&S aims to package the projects in Poland and in the European market using the models of the largest agencies and management companies in Hollywood.
Currently M&S is in post-production on its first U.S. coproduction, a documentary with RatPac, “In The Name Of Honor”, directed by Pawel Gula. More local and international projects, both films and television series are in the pipeline.
Anna graduated from Warsaw Business School, went on to the Polish National Film, Theatre and TV School in Lodz and received her Cems Masters Degree in International Management (Esade / Barcelona). She also had a scholarship to attend Haute Ecole de Commerce in Montreal.
She speaks English, Spanish, French and Polish.
Poland is very U.S.-friendly and has liberal film laws favoring coproductions. We have recently seen two of their films at Sundance, Anne Fontaine's "Agnus Dei" in the Premieres section, a French-Polish coproduction being sold internationally by Films Distribution and the 100% original Polish mermaid vampire lesbian musical, "The Lure" directed by Agnieszka Smoczynska in the World Cinema Section.
Annashe is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Polish and is in a perfect position to bridge future developments between the two countries and other countries as well. »
- Sydney Levine
Birth Of A Nation Sundance debut draws bid of up to $20 million. Birth Of A Nation Sundance debut attracts huge bids.
The Birth Of A Nation Sundance debut is quite something as Oscar is already being whispers for a year’s time.
Nate Parker‘s slavery drama The Birth of a Nation has been acquired at the Sundance Film Festival for a record $17.5 million. Fox Searchlight paid the huge amount for the film, which easily beats the previous record which was set by Little Miss Sunshine, which sold for $10.5 million ten years ago.
Comparisons to 12 Years A Slave are being made for the film which The Verge are reporting that Netflix apparently made an offer of $20 million for. The budget of the film is a reported $10 million – so effectively investors are already into profit.
- Paul Heath
"When Nate Parker appeared before Monday’s world premiere of The Birth of a Nation," reports Flavorwire's Jason Bailey, "he introduced it as 'a film I’ve been carrying for seven years.' The gifted actor, familiar from Beyond the Lights, Red Tails, and Arbitrage, put everything on the line to make this dramatization of the 1831 slave revolt led by Nat Turner; he not only plays Turner, but wrote, directed, and produced the film as well. You can feel his blood pulsing through every frame." Now the film has set off the fiercest bidding war in Sundance history. And we're collecting reviews as they come in. » - David Hudson »
It speaks to his ambition that the writer, director, producer and actor Nate Parker chose to title his slavery drama “The Birth of a Nation,” though the film would be a significant achievement by any name. Arriving more than a century after D.W. Griffith’s epic lit up the screen with racist images forever destined to rankle and provoke, this powerfully confrontational account of Nat Turner’s life and the slave rebellion he led in 1831 seeks to purify and reclaim a motion-picture medium that has only just begun to treat America’s “peculiar institution” with anything like the honesty it deserves. If “12 Years a Slave” felt like a breakthrough on that score, then Parker’s more conventionally told but still searingly impressive debut feature pushes the conversation further still: A biographical drama steeped equally in grace and horror, it builds to a brutal finale that will stir deep emotion and inevitable unease. »
- Justin Chang
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit the interwebs. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
Seeking out substantial leading characters of complexity within independent dramas in recent years, Richard Gere has delivered accomplished performances in Arbitrage and Time Out of Mind. He’s now found another with the directorial debut of Andrew Renzi, which follows Gere as the title character, a profoundly rich philanthropist who enjoys helping out those close to him while he struggles with his own demons of addiction. »
- TFS Staff
All of us at Icons of Fright are definitely fans of poster artist Jay Shaw (interview) , so this brand new collaboration between Drafthouse Films and Mondo for Shaw’s The Keeping Room print is quite awesome. Limited to a run of 75 prints, Mondo’s release of the poster is going on now (order here) and only runs a small price of $35. The film itself, The Keeping Room, is available now on digital download and comes to DVD and Blu-ray on February 2nd.
It’s an intense ride, led by more than a couple of eye opening performances from Brit Marling (Arbitrage, The East), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Pitch Perfect 2), Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans) and newcomer Muna Otaru. We’ve got glimpses of both the Mondo poster and the Bluray/DVD cover as well after the synopsis, so scroll down!
In this radically reimagined American Western set »
- Jerry Smith
Once you’ve caught up with our 50 favorite films of last year, it’s time to look towards 2016. While our comprehensive previews will be arriving shortly, today we’ll take a look at the month of January. This is usually a dumping ground for Hollywood, and although there are a few bigger titles that have our curiosity, it’s mostly festival hold-overs from 2015 that are the essential watches.
It should be noted that many of the best films of 2015 — including Carol, Anomalisa, 45 Years, Arabian Nights, Mustang, and Son of Saul — will be expanding throughout the month, so check your local theater listings. A restoration of Orson Welles’ Chimes at Midnight will also be touring the country, and there’s a limited NYC run of Studio Ghibli’s Only Yesterday; both should certainly take priority over anything below.
- Jordan Raup
8 items from 2016
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