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Slow Sundance Sales Bring the Festival Back to Its Roots, As Filmmakers Contemplate the Future

Stop the presses! The latest Sundance Film Festival contained few late-night, seven-figure sales for potentially commercial movies. Clearly, something disastrous has happened to the movie industry when major companies avoided making huge business decisions within the confines of a hectic and snowy 10-day window. At least, that’s the popular narrative that a slow Sundance market tends to invite, and it’s an industry perception as a whole. As consumer habits and delivery methods continue to evolve, and the culture undergoes radical shifts in the stories it tells, both the market and the movies are moving in a million directions at once.

See More:Sundance 2018: A Slow Marketplace For Commercial Movies is Good News for a Festival Overwhelmed By Hype

There are countless reasons why only a handful of big sales happened at Sundance this year. Netflix, which closed out the 2017 edition by spending a jarring $12.5 million on “Mudbound,” faces
See full article at Indiewire »

Sundance: Oscilloscope Buys Elvis Presley Documentary ‘The King’

In one of the first deals at the Sundance Film Festival, Oscilloscope has acquired North American rights to Eugene Jarecki’s “The King” ahead of its festival screening on Jan. 25.

Oscilloscope announced the deal Wednesday, a day before the opening of the festival. Executive producer Steven Soderbergh will join Jarecki in Park City, Utah, to discuss the film at the showing.

Oscilloscope will release “The King” later this year. An early version of the film premiered as an official selection at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival with the title “Promised Land.”

Jarecki’s film is a road tour of America in a 1963 Rolls Royce that was originally owned by Elvis Presley with stops in cities that played major roles in Presley’s life including Tupelo, Memphis, New York, and Las Vegas. The footage includes interviews with Alec Baldwin, Rosanne Cash, Chuck D, Emmylou Harris, Ethan Hawke, Van Jones, Mike Myers, Dan Rather, John Hiatt, [link
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Cannes Film Review: ‘Promised Land’

Cannes Film Review: ‘Promised Land’
Documentaries about the current state of America, as good as some of them are, often have the effect of news headlines: They come and go, leaving a slight blur. But “Promised Land” isn’t like other politically and socially inflamed documentaries. Written and directed by Eugene Jarecki (“The House I Live In,” “Why We Fight”), it’s a meditation on the current American crisis (and if you don’t think we’re in one, you should probably stop reading now) that’s built around a revisionist portrait of Elvis Presley. The two elements — America and Elvis — come together in ticklish, surprising ways that expand and delight your perceptions.

IfPromised Land” has a thesis, the short version of it — it’s declared in the opening 15 minutes — is that America has entered its Fat Elvis period. We’re bloated, addicted, going through the motions, coasting on our legend, courting self-destruction. Yet
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Eugene Jarecki On His Journey Through The ‘Promised Land’ – Cannes Studio

Eugene Jarecki On His Journey Through The ‘Promised Land’ – Cannes Studio
When it comes to making a documentary about a road trip, it helps to already be on one. That’s what happened to Sundance Film Festival award-winning filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, who while touring America with his criminal justice doc, The House I Live In, was moved by those he spoke with about “how the American Dream lost its luster.” Jarecki drove on, and it just so happened the path he cut was when the 2016 presidential election was going on. He learned that those in…
See full article at Deadline »

Cannes Review: ‘Promised Land’ Links the Death of the American Dream with Elvis Presley

A title like Promised Land can be appreciated for its duality: primarily meaning a land of promise but also, in another sense, a land that was promised. We’re talking about the United States of course, or rather filmmaker Eugene Jarecki is in his latest documentary. It’s an abstract road movie, fueled on disillusionment and rock and roll, and one that attempts the quite ambitious task of sketching out a narrative line to link the rise and decline of the nation with the rise and decline of Elvis Presley. If Jarecki struggles a little with this alchemy at times it is because Promised Land is essentially three movies in one: a detailed account of the King’s career; a loose account of the last 80 years of American politics; and a musical performance film. It can be a little jarring to shift between those gears but the director has form
See full article at The Film Stage »

'Promised Land': Film Review | Cannes 2017

'Promised Land': Film Review | Cannes 2017
Director Eugene Jarecki has built a well-deserved reputation for impeccably crafted, scrupulous researched and, above all, concisely argued and structured left-leaning documentaries, among them The Trials of Henry Kissinger, Why We Fight and The House I Live In. Sadly, although his latest, Promised Land, may be his most broadly appealing film so far, it’s arguably his messiest and least intellectually satisfying work. A road trip across America in a 1963 silver Rolls Royce that belonged to Elvis Presley, this admittedly often entertaining ramble round Elvis' life and career unfolds during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election campaign, prompting musings from Jarecki...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

UTA Signs Peabody-Winning Director Eugene Jarecki (Exclusive)

UTA Signs Peabody-Winning Director Eugene Jarecki (Exclusive)
Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki has signed with UTA, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively learned. He previously was with CAA.

Both of his documentaries — Why We Fight, about the rise of the military-industrial complex, and The House I Live In, about the war on drugs — won Sundance Grand Jury Prizes and Peabody Awards. His other credits include the Emmy-winning HBO documentary Reagan and The Trials of Henry Kissinger, which won an award from Amnesty International and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.

Jarecki, the brother of fellow filmmakers Andrew Jarecki (The Jinx) and Nicholas Jarecki (Arbitrage), will...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

17 Shocks and Surprises from the 2017 Cannes Lineup, From ‘Twin Peaks’ to Netflix and Vr

For such a highly anticipated event, the Cannes Film Festival tends to contain a fairly predictable lineup: The Official Selection focuses on established auteurs whose work lands a coveted slot at the flashy gathering on autopilot. That was certainly the case last year, when the 2016 edition opened with a Woody Allen movie and featured new work from the likes of Pedro Almodovar, Nicolas Winding Refn, the Dardennes brothers and Olivier Assayas.

But we live in unpredictable times, and judging by today’s announcement of the Official Selection for Cannes 2017, even the world’s most powerful festival isn’t impervious to change. This year’s Cannes is filled with surprises: television and virtual reality, some intriguing non-fiction selections, and a whole lot of unknown quantities that push the festival in fresh directions.

That’s not to say that there aren’t a few familiar names that stand out. Todd Haynes is
See full article at Indiewire »

Lena Dunham Among Directors Set For The Orchard’s Election-Day Documentary ’11/8/16′

With less than a week to go until America picks a new president, The Orchard said today that it is teaming with producer Jeff Deutchman on Election Day documentary 11/8/16, with Girls’ creator Lena Dunham among the names tapped to direct. Others attached to the project include Oscar winner Daniel Junge (Saving Face), Emmy winner Eugene Jarecki (The House I Live In), Martha Shane and Lana Wilson (After Tiller), Peter Gilbert (At the Death House Door), Peabody winner…
See full article at Deadline »

Gunpowder & Sky acquires FilmBuff

  • ScreenDaily
The recently launched Los Angeles-based content creator said on Tuesday it has bought FilmBuff, the pioneering New York-based sales and distribution company.

FilmBuff is rebranded as Gunpowder & Sky Distribution and will operate from Los Angeles and New York under executive vice-president of distribution Janet Brown, former FilmBuff CEO.

The deal adds a distribution element to the in-house development, production and financing capabilities of Gunpowder & Sky, founded by former CEO of Viacom’s music group Van Toffler, former global head of corporate development and strategy at Endemol, Floris Bauer, and Otter Media, a joint venture between At&T and The Chernin Group.

“Janet and her team have a great track record as a collaborative, transparent and forward-looking distributor,” said Gunpowder & Sky president Floris Bauer.

“With the acquisition of FilmBuff we have now realised our early ambition of operating a soup-to-nuts studio, helping to bring to life the vision of our creative partners, and distribute
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Gunpowder & Sky Acquires FilmBuff Indie Film Distributor

Gunpowder & Sky, the digital content studio launched by Van Toffler and backed by At&T and Chernin Group, has acquired independent content sales and distribution company FilmBuff.

Financial terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. New York-based FilmBuff, founded in 2008, has been an early mover in digital distribution and has expanded into digital-first content in recent years. FilmBuff will be rebranded as Gunpowder & Sky Distribution, and will be led by FilmBuff CEO Janet Brown in her new role as executive VP of distribution.

“Now we have development, production, marketing and distribution – it’s a full panoply of services for independent creators,” said G&S chief Toffler, formerly CEO of Viacom Media Networks Music Group and a longtime MTV exec. “Now we have an arm that will let us sell stuff around the world, and not only our own stuff, but also for to the Fullscreens, Vices and Mashables.”

According to Toffler,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Six emerging filmmakers selected for Aidc mentor program

  • IF.com.au
Pulse Films manager of non-scripted television, Roy Ackerman.

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The Australian International Documentary Conference has selected six candidates to take part in the 2016 Access@Aidc Early Career Mentorship Program..

The filmmakers were selected by Pulse Films.(UK) manager of non-scripted television, Roy Ackerman..

The six 2016 participants are: Ben Croker (Wa), Andrea Distefano (Vic), Brietta Hague (Nsw), Mark Harris (Vic), Nicole Miller (Sa), and Joao Dujon Pereira (Vic).

The program is run in collaboration with Pulse films..

The filmmakers will now have the chance to learn directly from established Australian and international industry professionals in exclusive mentorship sessions during Aidc 2016..

One Access participant will also be selected for a four-week paid internship with Pulse Films in London, including return economy airfare and accommodation, with the winner to be announced at Aidc 2016.s Closing Drinks on Wednesday March 2..

Ackerman said Pulse Films was very proud to offer an internship..

"I've been coming to
See full article at IF.com.au »

What to Watch After ‘Making a Murderer’

What to Watch After ‘Making a Murderer’
Making a Murderer,” the Netflix true-crime series that debuted in December, is a phenomenon not just because it spins a fascinating, enraging and almost unbelievable yarn. People can’t stop talking about the story of crime and punishment in small-town Wisconsin in part because it exposes not just individual mistakes and acts of misconduct, but inconvenient truths about a disturbing array of blind spots that lurk within the overall criminal justice system.

As a lifetime resident of one of Wisconsin’s neighboring states, I’m used to Hollywood portraying residents of flyover country more or less as Hobbits: Midwestern characters are often salt of the earth, well-intentioned, stubborn and a little dumb. Some of the details of the case at the heart of “Making a Murderer” are almost hopelessly muddled by this point, but whatever your position on defendant Steven Avery’s guilt or innocence, the series makes it clear
See full article at Variety - TV News »

Reel Red Films and Breaking Glass Acquire Ellen Burstyn-Starring 'About Scout'

Reel Red Films and Breaking Glass Acquire Ellen Burstyn-Starring 'About Scout'
Reel Red Films and Breaking Glass Pictures have announced their partnership for the U.S. release of the star-studded coming-of-age film "About Scout."  Read More: Ellen Burstyn Looks Back on Her Career and Ahead to the Future of Indie Film Starring India Ennenga as the titular star, "About Scout" also stars Danny Glover, Nikki Reed, Jane Seymour and Ellen Burstyn. The film premiered earlier this year at the Newport Beach Film Festival under the original title "Scout," and it tells the story of a rebellious young girl who convinces a suicidal young man to accompany her on a road trip across Texas in search of her kidnapped younger sister.  Reel Red and Breaking Glass have slated the film for a theatrical and VOD release in March 2016.  Read More: Danny Glover on 'The House I Live In' and Documentary as a Tool for Social Impact
See full article at Indiewire »

Pulse Films and BritDoc Launch the Genesis Film Fund

Pulse Films and BritDoc Launch the Genesis Film Fund
Read More: 'Blackfish,' 'American Promise,' 'The House I Live In" Among Winners of 2014 Britdoc Impact Awards Pulse Films and BritDoc have announced they have launched The Genesis Film Fund in order to help put original documentary films on the map. The fund will give out up to ten £5,000 awards per year to help filmmakers experiment with form and approach, and Pulse Films and BritDoc don't even require seeing any footage. The first director to benefit from the £5,000 boost is Khalik Allah for his upcoming project "Jamaica. "Receiving the Genesis Fund marks a huge milestone in my emerging career as a filmmaker," said Allah. "Above all else, it lets me know that BritDoc and Pulse are very serious about supporting directors who are not afraid to take risks." The formal requirements for applying are: - Filmmakers don’t need to be already working with Pulse Films or BritDoc,
See full article at Indiewire »

Review: Deeply Intimate And Remarkable Documentary '(T)error'

In the opening moments of the chilling documentary “(T)error,” a federal judge is heard referring to informants as “sociopaths” by the very nature of their work. They are paid to engage with and earn the trust of suspects then sell them out in the next breath without remorse, before they move on to the next gig. This telling quote sets the stage for the complex and thorny moral dynamics of “(T)error,” a taut and engrossing look at stool pigeons in a post 9/11 era of fear and suspicion. Since September 11th, approximately 500 suspects have been arrested for terrorist activity within the United States. 60% of these arrests have been predicated upon the use of FBI informants. Directed by Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe (“Adama”), and executive produced by Eugene Jarecki (“The House I Live In”), the stark and aptly named doc explores the shady ethical world of federal agency employed informants,
See full article at The Playlist »

Wonderful Cloud for FilmBuff

Wonderful Cloud for FilmBuff
Improvised romantic comedy A Wonderful Cloud, from multi-hyphenate Eugene Kotlyarenko, has been licensed to FilmBuff for the Us.

Digital distributor FilmBuff has licensed Us rights to A Wonderful Cloud, writer-director-star Eugene Kotlyarenko’s feature-length improv comedy.

The film, which screened in March at the SXSW festival and is inspired by the real life relationship between Kotlyarenko and co-star Kate Sheil, will open in select Us cinemas and on all major on demand platforms on Oct 23.

Produced by Dirty Pictures and Btw co-production, the Los Angeles-set film also stars Lauren Avery, John Ennis, Rachel Lord, and Niko Karamyan. Brande Bytheway produced and Christian Rosa executive produced.

“I’m super pumped to be getting A Wonderful Cloud out there through FilmBuff,” said Kotlyarenko in a statement. “This movie is extremely personal for me and has turned out to be a lot of fun for audiences so far. I’m really curious to see how people will react to something
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Interview: Denis Villeneuve Talks ‘Sicario,’ Strong Female Leads, 'Blade Runner’ Sequel & More

The war on drugs has been covered countless times on film. You’ve seen it in Steven Soderbergh’s award-winning “Traffic” and in recent documentaries like “The House I Live In,” “Narco Cultura,” and “Cartel Land.” While on the surface, French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s latest drama, “Sicario," is about the Mexican drug trade and the ruthless cartels that run it, but like all his films, underneath lurks something much shadowy. "Sicario" is a morally-bruising, unsettling and multi-layered heart-of-darkness drama that raises more questions than it answers while examining the cyclical echo of violence, powerlessness, and the lack of control in the fight. It's all seen through the eyes of a up-and-coming and idealistic FBI agent (played by Emily Blunt) who is enlisted by an elite government task force official (Josh Brolin) for a clandestine mission. However, the job becomes ethically dubious when an enigmatic outside consultant (Benicio Del Toro) turns out to be.
See full article at The Playlist »

Hot Docs Review: FBI Informant Tale ‘(T)error’ Is One Of The Most Riveting Documentaries Of The Year

In the opening moments of the chilling documentary “(T)error,” a federal judge is heard referring to informants as “sociopaths” by the very nature of their work. They are paid to engage with and earn the trust of suspects then sell them out in the next breath without remorse, before they move on to the next gig. This telling quote sets the stage for the complex and thorny moral dynamics of “(T)error,” a taut and engrossing look at stool pigeons in a post 9/11 era of fear and suspicion. Since September 11th, approximately 500 suspects have been arrested for terrorist activity within the United States. 60% of these arrests have been predicated upon the use of FBI informants. Directed by Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe (“Adama”), and executive produced by Eugene Jarecki (“The House I Live In”), the stark and aptly named doc explores the shady ethical world of federal agency employed informants,
See full article at The Playlist »

Round-Up: Marvel Mysterio Zombie Mini Bust, An Irish Exorcism Trailer, Release Date for The Boy, Starring The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan

Mysterio spills his guts out in Gentle Giant's Marvel Zombie Mysterio Mini Bust. Also featured in our latest round-up are release details and a trailer for An Irish Exorcism and the release date for The Boy, a horror film starring The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan.

Mysterio Zombie Mini Bust: Set for release in early 2016, Gentle Giant's Marvel Zombie Mysterio Mini Bust is now available to pre-order for $99.00. We have details and images of the bust below (photos via Figures.com):

"Several characters have donned the Mysterio costume to plague Spider-Man in the character’s long history. None, however, have been as grotesque as the Mysterio that appeared in the Marvel Zombies Universe! In the Marvel Zombies series, the world has been infected by a virus that turns the living, into rotting corpses, who retain their intelligence and abilities.

This incarnation of Mysterio has been digitally sculpted by the
See full article at DailyDead »
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