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Rick Stein visits Greece in From Venice to Istanbul, big bands pay tribute to swing masters in Friday Night at the Proms: The Story of Swing, and Kirsty Wark highlights the best of Edinburgh Nights. Plus: the machines have the last laugh in Bad Robots, and there’s magical realism in the Deep South in Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild
A night of sax education at the Royal Albert Hall, exploring the roots of the swing era with two big bands led by old hands Guy Barker and Winston Rollins. The legacies of masters such as Glenn Miller, Count Basie and Benny Goodman are celebrated with the help of guest singers Clare Teal, Elaine Delmar and Jamie Davis. There’s also a rousing Cab Calloway turn by Clarke Peters, who was burning up West End stages long before he played The Wire’s fastidious Freamon. Graeme Virtue
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- Graeme Virtue, Julia Raeside, Jack Seale, Ali Catterall, Mark Gibbings-Jones, Paul Howlett
Boasting an eye-catching performance from Quvenzhané Wallis – one which propelled her Hushpuppy smack bang onto Hollywood’s radar – and a beautiful yet mystical aesthetic, Benh Zeitlin’s Beast of the Southern Wild proved to be one of the delightful sleeper hits of 2012, snagging the youngest ever Oscar nomination for Wallis in the process.
Three years later and now the director is primed to step back behind the camera for the tentatively titled Wendy, with Antigua Observer noting that a casting call has been issued in the search of a young girl, one who will presumably play the protagonist of his next creative venture.
While we would love nothing more than to see Zeitlin reunite with Quvenzhané Wallis for Wendy, the filmmaker’s next outing is decidedly different from Beasts, following the story of a young, curious girl who is kidnapped into the throes of a tribal war. Part adventure film, »
- Michael Briers
Italian filmmaker Gabriele Muccino may not be a household name in Hollywood, but his two most prominent western films – Seven Pounds and The Pursuit of Happyness – have underlined the director’s ability to capture raw, profoundly human emotions on camera. Now, Muccino is back with a star-studded cast for Fathers and Daughters, which has today debuted its heart-wrenching international trailer.
Starring Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Aaron Paul, Fathers and Daughters is a tragic tale about one family ripped apart by a car crash. It’s Crowe’s Pulitzer-winning novelist who shoulders the most pain, though, blaming himself for the loss of his wife. Left to raise a 5-year-old daughter on his lonesome, the narrative will jump between Katie’s troubled childhood and the present day, where she will be portrayed by Seyfried.
While the first look doesn’t appear to be too remarkable, Fathers and Daughters earns the benefit »
- Michael Briers
Danny Boyle's "Steve Jobs" biopic starring Michael Fassbender will close the 59th BFI London Film Festival on October 18th. Boyle, Fassbender and Kate Winslet will attend the closing night gala screening, which marks the film's European premiere.
Spanning a period of 14 years between 1984 and 1998, the story is built around three seminal product launches of the Macintosh in 1984, the NeXT 'Cube' in 1988 and the iMac in 1998. [Source: Variety]
In the Middle of the Middle East
Bryan Singer and Guy Shalem are developing a documentary exploring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the vantage point of a dynamic Arab-Israeli activist. Singer could possibly direct the film and make his documentary directorial debut.
The story follows a young man as he navigates personal and political minefields, determined to advance a workable solution for coexistence in the Middle East, while searching for true peace within himself. [Source: Variety]
Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot
- Garth Franklin
Benh Zeitlin...now there's a name we haven't heard in a while. Ever since breaking out in 2012 with "Beasts Of The Southern Wild," the filmmaker has kept a low profile, and while most would use the kind of buzz he earned on that picture to make studio deals or work in television, Zeitlin seems to be forging his own creative path. In late fall 2013, he described the wild premise of his next picture. "The new film is about a young girl who gets kidnapped onto a hidden ecosystem where a tribal war is raging over a form of pollen that breaks the relationship between aging and time," Zeitlin said at the time. "It follows a friendship-love story-adventure of her and a joyous, reckless, pleasure-mongering young boy as they swirl in and out of youth and as the ecosystem around them spirals toward destruction. We’re working on it all day every day, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Zeitlin was the star indie director of 2012, picking up scads of prizes along the festival circuit for "Beasts of the Southern Wild," beginning with Sundance and including Cannes, which went all the way to the Oscars. He plucked his Best Actress-nominated starlet, the young Quvenzhané Wallis, out of over 4,000 auditions for that film. And now, he's said to be looking for the next budding young talent for his tentatively titled "Wendy," a fantasy adventure about a tribe of children on a remote island, who never age. Read More: Benh Zeitlin on "Beasts of the Southern Wild" This production will reportedly take place on the island of Antigua. “It’s not a hundred million-dollar movie coming in with airplanes and giant everything. It’ll be a small group of people building out of scrap metal and things we find, and the interesting thing is that even though we’re such a »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Abduction thriller voted to UK market by Melbourne’s 37º South Market.
Sales agents from across the world yesterday voted David Ngo and Rabbit as the producer and project at the Melbourne International Film Festival’s 37º South Market to attend the UK’s Production Finance Market (Pfm) in October.
It is written by and will be the feature directorial debut of Luke Shanahan, who met Ngo in 2009 when both had films competing at Australian short film festival Tropfest.
The popularity of the projects Cargo and Achtung Road, also »
- Sandy.George@me.com (Sandy George)
'Pixels' movie with Adam Sandler. 'Pixels' movie weekend box office: Adam Sandler vs. 'Ant-Man' Despite its underwhelming domestic box office debut last weekend, Marvel's Ant-Man may turn out to be the winner in North America this weekend (July 24–26, '15) thanks to another underwhelming debut: that of the Adam Sandler Pixels movie. According to weekend box office projections found at Variety, the Chris Columbus-directed Pixels is expected to open with $25 million from 3,723 locations – following a $10 million Friday take (including $1.5M from Thursday previews). If so, that'll place Adam Sandler's latest lowbrow comedy – now in 3D – on a par with Sandler domestic disappointments like Jack and Jill and Funny People. Deadline.com, for its part, is expecting $27-$28 million by Sunday evening. Sat., July 25, update: According to studio box office estimates, Pixels underperformed on Friday, taking in $9.2 million. That's below figures for Jack and Jill and, adjusted for »
- Zac Gille
Time Inc. is set to unveil “New Orleans, Here & Now” as its first major video initiative since partnering with Emiliano Calemzuk’s Rampante banner to ramp up production across its many print brands.
“New Orleans” is a series of six short films about the Crescent City, directed by filmmakers with ties to the region. The launch next month across Time Inc. digital properties and other platforms will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the devastation caused in the Gulf Coast region by Hurricane Katrina.
The shorts have been produced for Rampante and Time Inc. by Killer Films and New Orleans-based Film Office Films, an offshoot of Court 13, the banner behind 2012’s indie sensation “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Actress Patricia Clarkson, a native of New Orleans, and Scott Bakula, star of CBS’ “NCIS: New Orleans,” are exec producers with Killer’s Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler.
The six helmers on the project are John Maringouin, »
- Cynthia Littleton
Shuffle Festival | The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson + Q&A | Summer Of French Cinema | London Indian Film Festival
There’s a lot of film and even more festival at this vibrant east London event, whose attractions include an experimental woodland restaurant and a “migration pavilion”, as well as talks, music, comedy and outdoor screenings. The theme is “movement, migration and place”, which translates in the film programme into immigrant-centric titles like Brick Lane (29 Jul) and Four Lions (Fri), and far-flung meditations on displacement such as Beasts Of The Southern Wild (31 Jul) and Star Trek IV (1 Aug).
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- Steve Rose
From July 27 to August 3 at the Sundance Resort in Utah, the Institute holds its Creative Film Producing Initiative including its latest series of Labs and a special Summit that brings together over 50 industry leaders. The focus is on nurturing the next generation of indie producers. Participants of the Feature Film Creative Producing Lab (July 27 – July 31) work under Creative Advisors including producers Lindsay Doran ("Sense and Sensibility"), Lynette Howell Taylor ("The Place Beyond the Pines"), Gina Kwon ("Me and You and Everyone We Know"), Paul Mezey ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"), Jay Van Hoy ("Beginners") and director Matthew Ross ("28 Hotel Rooms"). The Documentary Film Creative Producing Lab (July 27 – August 1) brings together documentarians under Creative Advisors include producers Julie Goldman ("Best of Enemies"), Bonni Cohen ("3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets"), Ryan Werner (of Cinetic »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Next-generation production and distribution company Rampante, on behalf of Time Inc., is bringing together Christine Vachon’s Killer Films (Still Alice) and newly formed New Orleans-based production company Field Office Films (led by the producers of Beasts Of The Southern Wild) , as well as Patricia Clarkson and Scott Bakula as exec producers, on New Orleans, Here & Now. The six part docuseries will focus on life in the city post-Katrina, looking at stories such as… »
Read More: 5 Tips for Grassroots Film Distribution from Producers of 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' "Adventureland" (Greg Mottola, 2009) Greg Mottola's "Adventureland" is a superb followup to his hilarious and much-beloved "Superbad." The film follows James (Jesse Eisenberg), a recent college grad in the late 1980s who works at a theme park the summer before he's supposed to go to grad school. While there, he meets a series of interesting characters, including "Em," a troubled girl and eventual love interest played by Kristen Stewart. In the "Adventureland" fireworks scene, the two take a break from exploring their awkward, inevitable relationship and get a nice view of the Fourth of July treat. "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Benh Zeitlin, 2012)In Benh Zeitlin's Oscar-nominated drama, six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) sees the beauty in the world -- even as she confronts her father's ailing health and an »
When "Argo" won Best Picture at the Oscars two years ago, producer/director Ben Affleck gave an emotional, yet slightly awkward acceptance speech that many believed hinted at troubles with his marriage to Jennifer Garner. What do You think? Watch the Oscars flashback video below. -Break- Watch dozens of video chats with 2015 Emmy contenders "I want to thank you for working on our marriage for 10 Christmases," Affleck said at the podium. "It's good. It is work, but it's the best kind of work. And there's no one I'd rather work with!" Fast forward to this week, when Affleck and Garner broke the news of their split, telling People, "After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce." By winning Best Picture, "Argo" took down co-nominees "Amour," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Django Unchained," "Les Miserables,&quo..." »
Beasts of the Southern Wild: Minervini Continues Fascination with American Rural Dysfunction
One can’t help but recall the refreshing yet uncomfortably toxic memories of Harmony Korine’s 1997 directorial debut Gummo while wading through America’s southern hinterlands with Roberto Minervini in his latest slice of visual poetry, The Other Side. Abandoning the safety of fiction for documentary, the Italian director seems committed to his fascination with the travails of rural Americans existing in forgotten pockets of the country.
Previously helming a trio of films referred to as his “Texas Trilogy,” ending with 2013’s Stop the Pounding Heart, this latest portrait focuses on a group of swamp denizens in their daily routine. The extreme dysfunction and indefatigable ignorance of the subjects makes Minervini’s motivation suspect. Like Jean-Charles Hue’s narrative hybrids concerning a specific gypsy community in Northern France (Eat Your Bones, 2014), Minervini presumably wishes to explore an oft neglected population. »
- Nicholas Bell
Inarritu will be honored with the Vanguard Leadership Award for the originality and independent spirit of his films.
Inarritu’s films include “Amores Perros” (2000), “21 Grams” (2003), “Babel” (2006), “Biutiful” (2010) and “Birdman,” which won him three Oscars for best picture, director and original screenplay. He has produced three films that appeared at the Sundance Film Festival: “Nine Lives” (2005), “Mother and Child” (2010) and “Rudo y Cursi” (2009).
Inarritu will be the fourth recipient of the Vanguard Leadership Award, joining philanthropist and former institute trustee George Gund, journalist and film critic Roger Ebert, and actress and arts advocate Glenn Close.
- Dave McNary
The Cannes Film Festival used to be a rather exclusive place. While that rarified air is still very much in place, in the last few years the festival has opened up itself to taking in titles that have screened at Sundance earlier in the year. It’s usually one or two pictures at best, and recent Sundance-to-Cannes indies include “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” “Fruitvale Station,” “Whiplash,” and “Beasts of The Southern Wild” (the latter two were also nominated the Best Picture Oscar). This year, there was only one movie from Sundance selected to play during Cannes: “Dope,” the layered hip-hop crime comedy which is part of the Directors' Fortnight sidebar. Written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa (“Brown Sugar,” “Our Family Wedding”), “Dope” is jam packed with of-the-moment pop culture, social media, culturally relevant conversations about race, socio-economic circumstance, and zeitgeist-capturing flavor. The comedy, which we »
- Edward Davis
Hailing from Africa, their eyes set on Europe, they come with empty hands and infinite dreams, drawn across deserts and oceans by the promise of a better life. Occasionally, they make the news, when a boat sinks en route or police crack down on the other side, but by and large, these immigrants remain invisible, despite the fact their personal struggles would make for incredible stories. In “Mediterranea,” director Jonas Carpignano recognizes that potential and yet resists many of the filmmaking choices that would make the trek from Burkina Faso to Italy easily relatable to a mainstream audience, opting instead for a more rarified art-film format. Though it allows us to share in their ordeal, the film doesn’t presume to “know” its protagonists by the end, yielding a more complex and challenging portrait, one whose greatest impact will occur on the festival circuit, from which Carpignano should emerge a breakout. »
- Peter Debruge
Cannes — In a first sale that speaks well of the title’s sales potential, France’s Haut et Court, producer of Cannes Palme d’Or winner “The Class,” has closed French distribution rights on Jonas Carpignano’s buzzed-up Cannes Critics’ Week player “Mediterranea.”
“Mediterranea’s” German producer, Dcm, will distribute in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Sold by Paris and Mexico City-based Ndm, “Mediterranea” is the feature debut of Carpignano, a filmmaker based out of Rome and New York who won Cannes Critics’ Week main prize with his short “A Ciambra.” The film is produced, among many others, by U.S. director-producer Chris Columbus. After Carpignano worked on Benh Zeitlin’s Sundance sensation “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Mediterranea” was developed out of Zeitlin’s company Court 12, and Zeitlin came on board to compose the film’s music with Dan Romer.
- John Hopewell
Read More: Cannes Film Festival Announces Un Certain Regard, Cinéfondacion and Short Film Juries "Mediterranea," a U.S. production written and directed by Jonas Carpignano and featuring music from "Beasts of the Southern Wild's" Ben Zeitlin and Dan Romer, will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival during Critics' Week, and Indiewire has the exclusive poster. The film's official synopsis reads: "Two best friends journey across desert and sea from Burkina Faso to Southern Italy in search of a better life, economically and otherwise. But when they arrive in Rosarno, the glittering snapshots they saw on Facebook detailing the immigrant's life abroad do not match with the tough challenges they are met with in their new lives. One friend begins to assimilate through hard work and a sympathetic employer, who welcomes him into his family, while the other friend grows increasingly disillusioned with his hardscrabble reality. A vicious attack on the migrant. »
- Casey Cipriani
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