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Keep up with the revolving door that is the film industry with our weekly Career Moves column that tracks all the comings and goings of the industry leaders that make Hollywood tick. Check out last week’s Career Moves to find out who went where, when and why.
– The independent production and distribution company D Street Media Group has tapped Ephraim Walker to serve as President of Production of D Street Pictures. He will oversee the company’s film projects and its production unit. Previously, Walker worked closely with “Fruitvale Station” filmmaker Ryan Coogler to develop the successful indie film based on the 2008 killing of Oscar Grant by an Oakland Bart police officer.
“We’re excited to have Ephraim join our team to oversee D Street’s exciting slate of films and work closely with the development department. His appointment comes at a time when the company continues to expand our international reach, »
- Kate Erbland
Among the world’s film festivals, Maui is unique because of its setting, scheduling and, most important, its philosophy.
Fest director and founder Barry Rivers only books films that offer positive messages and insights. “There’s enough darkness surrounding us all,” he tells Variety. “There is acrimony in the culture and among nations, and people are always being confronted with problems but no easy solutions. So we want to show the world as it might be.”
It’s not a lineup of Candyland films, he stresses; some tackle subjects that are challenging and gritty, but the endings are uplifting and transformative. He says they are films “at the intersection of smart and heart.”
This year’s fest will offer about 30 features and 20 shorts (out of 1,000 submissions), but unlike many sprocket operas, each film will screen only once in its five-day stretch.
Many of the screenings will occur at the Celestial Cinema, an outdoor venue where 2,000 guests sit on the grass. Attire during the entire festival is “resort wear,” meaning nice but not formal. There are no black-tie events in Maui.
Rivers says he has a luxury when booking films: He’s not competing with other festivals for world premieres, so he is free to book movies that he thinks the audiences will like. There is an industry presence, but no market. “For me, it’s just about assembling the best films possible.”
Every year the fest honors actors and filmmakers, with each salute including a Q&A and a presentation of the award. The recipients of the Navigator Award for distinguished work are Cranston and Davis. Michael B. Jordan, star of “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed,” will be handed the Rainmaker Award, given to “film artists who profoundly affect their projects, both on and off screen.” Kelly Rohrbach and Wyatt Russell will be honored with Rising Star Awards. Rohrbach will appear in Paramount’s bigscreen “Baywatch”; Russell stars in Richard Linklater’s “Everybody Wants Some.”
The fest will offer “Captain Fantastic,” the Matt Ross-directed drama that stars Viggo Mortensen as the unorthodox patriarch of six kids. The event will take place at the Celestial Cinema, aka the Wailea Golf Course Amphitheatre. Other screenings will be held at various sites, including the Castle Theatre in the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
June 18 offers a free community event known as the Toes-in-the-Sand screening. It’s a showcase for Hawaii filmmakers and this year spotlights four: “God Is a Dog,” “The Roots of ‘Ulu,” “Aina: That Which Feeds Us” and “Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max.” The event takes place at the Wailea Beach by the Four Seasons. “It’s our gift to Maui,” Rivers says. “Every year the quality of Hawaiian filmmaking has increased.”
There are also under-12 free screenings:
June 16 at the Celestial Cinema: “Mad Dogs” followed by “Saltwater Buddha” at 8 p.m., and “It Ain’t Pretty” followed by “One Way: A Journey to This Moment” at 10 p.m.
At 1 p.m. June 18 at the indoor Castle Theater: “Boy in the World”
June 19 at the Celestial will be New Zealand’s “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” preceded by “Live Monumental” at 8 p.m. Then at 10 p.m. are “Gerry Lopez: The More Things Change,” followed by “Chapter One” and “Kanaloa: Voyage Into the Depths.”
In addition to the screenings, there are four main social events, and all include a double feature.
From 5 to 7 p.m. June 15 is the Taste of Summer opening-night party at Molokini Gardens. The evening features samples of local specialties ranging from an oyster bar to taco station and Kona crab cakes to coconut cakes.
From 9 to 11 p.m. June 17 will be Taste of Chocolate at the Four Seasons. Offerings include savory or sweet pizzas, with toppings such as beef, short ribs, Nutella, or M&Ms. Keeping with the theme, there will be chocolate fountains, truffles, and chocolate panacotta.
From 4:30 to 7 p.m. June 18 is Taste of Wailea at the Wailea Gold & Emerald Golf Course. The event is considered the crown jewel of the festival, with about a dozen restaurants participating. They offer everything from ravioli to roasted pork belly, and novelties such as passion fruit ceviche and tomato-watermelon gazpacho.
There is also a gala, which is a VIP soiree and celebration of honorees, from 10 p.m. to midnight June 16 at Spago.
- Tim Gray
Ephraim Walker, who worked closely with Ryan Coogler in developing the powerful film Fruitvale Station, has been named president of production of independent production and distribution company D Street Media Group overseeing the company's film projects and production unit. The West Coast office will be set in Oakland where Fruitvale‘s story originated and where it was filmed. The company has chosen Oakland over Los Angeles, they said, to be in close proximity to the… »
Ephraim Walker has been named President of Production of D Street Pictures, the independent production and distribution company announced yesterday. In his new position, Walker will oversee the company’s film projects and its production unit. Walker worked closely with “Fruitvale… Continue Reading → »
- Tambay Obenson
Last month it was reported that Michael B. Jordan is set to reunite with his Fruitvale Station and Creed director Ryan Coogler with a role in Marvel’s Black Panther, and now the actor has confirmed his casting.
“I’m super excited, especially to put a different spin on it,” Jordan tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m looking forward to working with Ryan Coogler once again. It’s gonna be a good time. I can’t wait to work with Lupita Nyong’o and Chadwick Boseman.”
At this point, Jordan’s role is being kept under wraps, although the original report suggested that he could be playing the film’s villain.
Black Panther is set for release on February 2nd 2018.
- Gary Collinson
Casting over at Marvel seems to be harder and harder to hide these days. Just short of a month ago, THR reported the inside scoop that Creed and Fruitvale Station actor Michael B. Jordan would be joining Chadwick Boseman in the standalone Black Panther film from Marvel. While the rumor was pretty much accepted as fact at the time, today, we have our first actual confirmation from a party involved.
In an interview with THR while at Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic, Jordan expressed his excitement at jumping on board the flick.
“I’m super excited, especially to put a different spin on it. I’m looking forward to working with Ryan [Coogler] once again. It’s gonna be a good time.”
- Joseph Medina
The cast of Marvel’s Black Panther is shaping up to be nothing short of amazing, and while we don’t yet know who everyone is playing, it’s pretty obvious that Marvel Studios is looking to knock this one out of the park. Throw in the fact that T’Challa emerged as a clear fan-favourite after Captain America: Civil War, and anticipation for the movie is obviously at an all-time high.
However, one of the best pieces of news in regards to Black Panther was the addition of Michael B. Jordan in what’s thought to be a villainous role. The actor worked with director Ryan Coogler on both Fruitvale Station and Creed, so them teaming up for a third time makes perfect sense, and Jordan has now commented for the first time on his casting.
The actor’s remarks in regards to Black Panther were brief, but he »
- Josh Wilding
The transition of Film Independent’s Los Angeles Film Festival continues. Geographically, the fest has moved away from downtown to multiple Arclight locations. Opening night in Hollywood, Ricardo de Montreuil’s coming-of-age East L.A. drama “Lowriders,” starring Demián Bichir and Theo Rossi as father and estranged ex-con son, signaled the fest’s mission: Provide a diverse program directed by rising filmmakers: among the 42 competition films, 87% are first-and-second-timers, 43% are women and 38% are people of color, while 90% of the 58 total festival films are world premieres.
Developed by Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, “Lowriders” (written by Cheo Hodari Coker, Joshua Beirne-Golden, Elgin James, and Justin Tipping), finally got made when the budget dropped—under Universal’s low-budget producing partner, Jason Blum—from $20 million to $5 million. The grittiness helps the scruffy, colorful movie, which Laff head Stephanie Allain loved for being “so Los Angeles, so culturally rich,” she told the Arclight crowd. “Made by filmmakers of color, ‘Lowriders’ embodies our mission.” (The film will go out under a Universal label that remains to be seen, per Blum.)
Since Allain took over in 2014, the festival has lost some of its key programming talent (David Ansen, Doug Jones, Maggie McKay); the sprawling program is now commandeered by film professor Roya Rastegar (Bryn Mawr College). Very much in charge is Laff’s high-powered director, studio-trained producer Allain (“Boyz ‘n the Hood,” “Hustle & Flow”), who has pulled her friend Elvis Mitchell into a role as year-round “curator,” which basically means hosting Q & As at Film Independent-programmed events at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
As Laff becomes more local, eclectic, multi-cultural, and interactive, the Laff seeks to occupy a niche and grow its audience via a more populist, less international festival.
Truth is, only a few top-ranked film festivals a year are must-attend destinations packed with high-end world premieres and star attendees. Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Venice, New York, and Telluride top the list. So there’s some logic to opting out of that competitive arena. Increasingly, fests like Tribeca and SXSW are pushing outside the area of indie film to create alluring events for audiences, from interactive transmedia showcases and TV series premieres to high-profile panels, Q & As, and “Master Classes.” So it makes sense to brand Laff with an identifiable niche.
Giving people awards and tributes is another route pursued by awards-friendly fests like Santa Barbara and Palm Springs, hence Saturday Laff will award “Selma” director Ava DuVernay as well as her distribution company Array Releasing (her own “Middle of Nowhere” plus “Ashes and Embers,” “Mississippi Damned,” “Kinyarwanda,” and “Restless City”) with the annual Spirit of Independence Award given to members of the independent film community who “advance the cause of independent film and champion creative freedom.” Last year, Array bought La Film Festival Us Fiction award-winner “Out of My Hand” for distribution, along with “Ayanda.”
Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station”) is the 2016 Festival’s Guest Director; he’s offering a master class on sound design for “Creed.” And Nate Parker hosted a screening of Sundance Oscar contender “Birth of a Nation.” This weekend also brings a panel of women cinematographers.
The question is whether Allain’s quest for diversity will coincide with choosing the best movies, ones that create buzz for must-see titles—so far, actress Amber Tamblyn’s directing debut, “Paint It Black,” debuting Friday night at Lacma, has earned the most advance word of mouth. Established fest circuit titles such as Roger Ross Williams’ autism doc “Life, Animated,” closing night border film “Desierto” from Jonás Cuarón (“Gravity”), starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Mike Birbliglia and Ira Glass’s latest collaboration, improv comedy “Don’t Think Twice,” starring Keegan-Michael Key, are all worth seeing.
But for many of the unknown titles unspooling this week, audiences and buyers will just have to check them out and spread the word, good or bad. Otherwise, they’ll disappear into the ether.
Here are Indiewire’s Laff picks so far.
Related stories2016 Los Angeles Film Festival Awards: 'Heis (chronicles)', 'Blood Stripe' & 'Political Animals' Win BigThe TV Director's Hurdle: Why A Small-Screen Actor Is Making An Indie Feature To Get His Foot In The DoorFilm Independent Announces The 10 Projects Selected for Fast Track and Recipient Of Alfred P. Sloan Grant »
- Anne Thompson
Dailies is a round-up of essential film writing, news bits, videos, and other highlights from across the Internet. If you’d like to submit a piece for consideration, get in touch with us in the comments below or on Twitter at @TheFilmStage.
Watch a trailer for an upcoming concert in Denmark featuring the music of Lars von Trier‘s film:
The New York Asian Film Festival 2016 has unveiled its full line-up.
Slate highlights the 50 greatest movies by black directors:
Despite everything, black filmmakers have produced art on screen that is just as daring, original, influential, and essential as the heralded works of Welles, Coppola, Antonioni, Kurosawa, and other nonblack directors. »
- The Film Stage
Anghus Houvouras on Marvel’s diversity drama…
We live in a ridiculously polarizing time, and that ridiculousness is frequently on display in regards to our favorite blockbusters. Right now we’re swimming in the wake of the massive success of Captain America: Civil War; a movie that succeeded on so many levels, reinvigorating the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the movies have all been strong financial performers, there were those of us who were wondering if the creative train had derailed after the disappointing Age of Ultron.
Fans are excited again, in complete freak-out mode over Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther. Civil War was proof positive that Marvel is still capable of creating amazing, crowd pleasing blockbusters that prove there ifs growth potential in the comic book movie genre. But nobody wants to talk about that right now.
Instead, people want to talk about the controversy »
- Anghus Houvouras
It's been an exciting few weeks for fans of Marvel's Black Panther, following Chadwick Boseman' McU debut in Captain America: Civil War, along with new cast members being added to the stand alone movie. We have recently reported that Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Lupita Nyong'o is being eyed to play the romantic interest for Chadwick Boseman's T'challa, while Michael B. Jordan has also signed on to star, reuniting with his Fruitvale Station and Creed director Ryan Coogler. Last week, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige teased that 90% of the Black Panther cast would be comprised of African-American actors. And just yesterday, a new rumor surfaced that John Boyega was being eyed for an unspecified role. Unfortunately, it seems that rumor may not be true after all.
The rumor started when John Boyega posted a photo labeled "Meeting" on his Snapchat account, and shortly thereafter, the actor was »
Emily Carmichael, a filmmaker who has made several critically acclaimed shorts, has been tapped by Colin Trevorrow and Steven Spielberg to write and direct a family action pic, "Powerhouse." Both she and Elizabeth Wood, who made her feature debut at Sundance 2016 with "White Girl," are among those being mentioned to direct "Captain Marvel." To which we say, Damn straight. At this point, it shouldn’t be all that newsworthy when a studio entrusts a relatively new director with a blockbuster. Trevorrow ("Safety Not Guaranteed") proved with it "Jurassic World," as did Ryan Coogler ("Fruitvale Station") with "Creed" and James Gunn ("Super") with "Guardians of the Galaxy." It's clear: Give the newer guy a shot at the big leagues and he can do even better than his veteran counterparts. And it wouldn’t be news, except for the pronoun problem: None of these rookies were women. Of »
- Dana Harris, Kate Erbland, David Ehrlich, Liz Shannon Miller, Chris O'Falt, Steve Greene, Ben Travers and Zack Sharf
FastCompany.com recently interviewed director Ryan Coogler about his career as a filmmaker. Coogler previously directed the Sundance hit "Fruitvale Station" and last year's critically-acclaimed 'Rocky' spinoff "Creed." Both films starred actor Michael B. Jordan. Coogler talked about his next project, Marvel Studios' high-profile "Black Panther" film starring "42" actor Chadwick Boseman.
During the interview, Coogler was asked how he will make "Black Panther" his own film while fitting the character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the events of "Captain America: Civil War."
"It’s a specific challenge. What Marvel’s doing, and what you see a lot of studios doing now that Marvel has done it so successfully, is making content that exists in a particular universe, where the characters tie in and crossover, and I think that’s a great creative challenge to me—to make this movie as personal as possible. It’s going »
- J.B. Casas
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War is still currently dominating the box-office all around the globe – set to surpass $1 billion worldwide in the coming couple of days – but all eyes and focus have turned to what the future holds for the McU, most notably the solo outing for one of Civil War‘s breakout stars: T’Challa, a.k.a. Black Panther.
As we already know, Chadwick Boseman is set to reprise his Civil War role as the now Wakandan King and eponymous hero for the film and Ryan Coogler – who helmed the exceptional Rocky reboot/sequel/spin-off Creed and 2013’s brilliant Fruitvale Station – is on directing duties. Other than that though, all had been quiet on the Black Panther news front for a while. We did however hear, the other day, that Academy-award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o was rumoured to be joining the project and, now, some new »
- Awais Irfan
Captain America: Civil War is tearing it up at the box office both at home and abroad, and in a movie that brought Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it may not have been Peter Parker who had the biggest breakout. Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther has been one of the most praised and talked about aspects of the Russo brothers follow up to Captain America: Winter Soldier. And now anticipation is even higher for the character's solo film, which isn't coming until February 2018.
In addition to Boseman returning as T'Challa and Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Lupita Nyong'o being in talks for the lead female role in the film, it was recently announced that Michael B. Jordan will be re-teaming with director Ryan Coogler for a third time as the villain. Jordan's role in the film has yet to be officially revealed, but the reports have suggested »
Following a star making performance from Chadwick Boseman in Captain America: Civil War, pretty much every Marvel movie fan out there is now counting down the days until the release of Black Panther in 2018. Some very impressive recent casting additions have helped with that too, of course, while Creed helmer Ryan Coogler directing the pic is easily one of the movie’s biggest draws.
“It’s a specific challenge. What Marvel’s doing, and what you see a lot of studios doing now that Marvel has done it so successfully, is making content that exists in a particular universe, where the characters tie in and crossover, and I think that’s a great creative challenge to me—to make this movie as personal as possible. »
- Josh Wilding
This weekend's casting news around Black Panther has made it one of our most anticipated superhero movies ever.
We've already seen Chadwick Boseman in the role, as he made his debut in Captain America: Civil War and killed it. Diversity is a major problem facing Hollywood right now, and films like Black Panther are going to help solve this issue. That's only one of the reasons we are so excited for it. This weekend we learned that Lupita Nyong'o will be in the film, most likely as a love interest, while Michael B. Jordan has been cast in the film, and the rumour is that he'll be the villain.
2018 can't come soon enough. Director Ryan Coogler has blown us away with both of his films, and is one of the best emerging filmmakers out there. Between Fruitvale Station and Creed, Coogler has proven himself both with more independent features and »
- Adriana Floridia
Chadwick Boseman just made his debut as Black Panther/T'Challa, warrior king of Marvel's African nation Wakanda, in "Captain America: Civil War," and now fans are more curious than ever about his upcoming solo film.
Thankfully, it sounds like fans don't have to worry about whitewashing for "Black Panther"; Marvel boss Kevin Feige told Empire Film Podcast (via ComicBook.com) that "90 percent of the cast is either African or African-American." He added that it "will be amongst the best ensembles we've ever had."
As The Hollywood Reporter noted, this will be the third time that Jordan works with his "Creed" and "Fruitvale Station" director Ryan Coogler, who is helming the Marvel film. A source told THR that Jordan could be playing a villain in the movie, but that was not confirmed. »
- Gina Carbone
Comicbook.com (via Empire) posted an excerpt from The Empire Film Podcast where the special guest was none other than Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. During the podcast, Feige talked about the casting for Marvel's "Black Panther" solo film starring Chadwick Boseman as King T'Challa which will be directed and co-written by "Fruitvale Station" and "Creed" director Ryan Coogler.
For expectations on the cast, Feige said:
"That will be amongst the best ensembles we've ever had. And 90% of the cast is either African or African-American."
Black Panther has been an important character in the Marvel universe for 50 years. He is the king of the technologically-advanced nation of Wakanda, and Panther has served as a member of the Avengers in »
- J.B. Casas
It’s 40 years since Rocky scrapped its way into cinemas – I’d have added “believe it or not”, but when you see Sylvester Stallone’s swollen, fallen, stray pug face in Creed (Warner, 12), you definitely believe it. Still, how many film franchises have lurched along with the same actor for that long? And how many of those can claim to have peaked in their fifth decade? Fine wine analogies don’t apply here: the Rocky films have been corked since the 1980s. But Ryan Coogler’s film – not so much an extension of a franchise as a fresh graft of its mythos – is a very robust red: it’s a boxing film alive with bodily tension, social concern and, by its roaring climax, »
- Guy Lodge
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