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15 finalists are up for San Francisco Film Society/Kenneth Rainin Foundation grants. Up to $300,000 will be awarded to one or more narrative feature films now in various stages of production. These grants are given out twice annually, and the spring 2015 recipients will be announced in May. These are promising projects to watch for. Past films have enjoyed indie success on the festival circuit and theatrically, including Ira Sachs' "Love Is Strange," Destin Cretton's "Short Term 12," Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station," which went all the way to win a Cannes prize, and Benh Zeitlin's Best Picture-nominated "Beasts of the Southern Wild." There are a few familiar names on this list with their next projects, like documentary filmmaker Jesse Moss ("The Overnighters"), Ian Olds ("The Fixer," starring James Franco), Travis Mathews, who co-directed "Interior Leather Bar" with Franco, and Boots Riley, the frontman of hip »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Last fall, we learned filmmaker Ben Wheatley (Kill List, Sightseers) would make his first film in the United States with a thriller called Free Fire, and he had an impressive cast that included Olivia Wilde (Rush), Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6), Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins) and also Armie Hammer (The Social Network). However, the line-up has changed slightly as Variety reports Brie Larson (21 Jump Street, Short Term 12) has taken a role, replacing Wilde, who is departing due to scheduling issues, which may be because she was just confirmed to return as Quorra in Tron 3, which starts shooting this fall in Vancouver. For those just joining us, Free Fire is a thriller set in 1978 with Larson playing a woman in Boston who brokers a meeting between two men, Murphy and Michael Smiley (a regular in Wheatley's films), and a gang led by Hammer and Evans. But the meeting turns deadly when a shootout breaks out, »
- Ethan Anderton
Wheatley's next film is Free Fire, a 70s-set crime thriller about two gangs clashing in a secluded Boston warehouse.
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions is handling distribution. Wheatley will write and direct.
“Free Fire” is set in 1978 in a deserted warehouse where a meeting between two gangs turns into a deadly shootout and all-out survival. Sources describe it in the vein of “Reservoir Dogs” with a new twist.
Protagonist Pictures will produce.
Following her breakout role in “21 Jump Street,” Larson has focused on more serious adult dramas rather than big budget tentpoles. She received rave reviews for her performance in “Short Term 12″ and appeared opposite Mark Wahlberg in “The Gambler.”
She can also be seen in A24 drama “Room, »
- Justin Kroll
The SXSW Film Festival has always been a launching pad for women in Hollywood — it’s where Lena Dunham premiered “Tiny Furniture” in 2010, and “Girls” in 2012; where 2011’s “Bridesmaids” debuted; and where Brie Larson became a star in 2013’s “Short Term 12.”
But this year’s SXSW had more girl power than ever before, from the female-driven comedies “Trainwreck” and “Spy,” to the work of breakout directors like Hannah Fidell (“6 Years”) and Shannon Sun-Higginson (“Gtfo: A Documentary About Women in Gaming”). As Hollywood still has a weak track record of putting women in front of and behind the camera — last year, women directors made only 4.6% of studio films — it’s still a question if emerging talent at festivals like SXSW and Sundance can cross over into the mainstream. “Since the industry is run by men, men have a tendency to want to make stories about themselves,” Sally Field told Variety. »
- Ramin Setoodeh, Justin Chang, Joe Leydon and Dennis Harvey
With 145 total films on tap, including 100 world premieres drawn from a record 2,385 feature-length submissions, SXSW Film is offering a massive slate in 2015, with selections ranging from big studio comedies to microbudget indies, music docs, political docs and episodic TV.
It’s almost too bad that wasn’t the plan.
“We were not intending to increase the number of films,” says SXSW Film head Janet Pierson. “We were literally trying to do the opposite.”
Arriving midway between SXSW Interactive and SXSW Music, the Austin, Texas, film fest has always been both enriched and complicated by the frenzied atmosphere surrounding it.
The fest has served as a launchpad for a plethora of films ranging from “Short Term 12” to “Chef,” “Tiny Furniture,” “Bridesmaids,” “Monsters” and Oscar-winning docu “Undefeated.” But with nearly infinite distractions around town — including the countless peripheral events unaffiliated with SXSW proper — simply making sure that the films on display »
- Andrew Barker
This story first appeared in the March 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. 1. A Legit Marketplace Universal acquisitions exec Lakshmi Iyengar, who spearheaded the purchase of The Witch at Sundance this year, says buyers now view the Austin festival as a viable platform. Past sales have included 2013's Short Term 12, which went to Cinedigm, and Lena Dunham's career-launching Tiny Furniture, which IFC acquired in 2010. With 150 films screening — many without distribution — the odds of sales are better than ever. 2. You Need a Laugh, Studios Need a Hit SXSW's rowdy audience responses have
- Seth Abramovitch
The South by Southwest Film Festival is starting up this Friday, and I could not be more excited. This is my fourth year of attending the fest, and each year brings about a couple of films I love. What is also great about SXSW is, unlike Toronto or Cannes, there is plenty of room for discovery. Many films are making their world premieres here from lesser known filmmakers. SXSW also brings together an eclectic assortment of genres for the program, from indie dramas to horror films to science-fiction to you name it. I think going to those aforementioned festivals and just seeing "prestige pictures" continuously could get a bit boring. Sure, SXSW has a higher risk for a terrible movie, but the risk is exciting. Consequently, making a most anticipated list for a festival offering a lot of discoveries seems like a contradiction. But, of course, if you look through the program, »
- Mike Shutt
Pre-order Via Amazon UK And Amazon Us
Set for release on June 1st in the UK, the film is also getting the exclusive limited-edition steelbook treatment at Zavvi, with a limited run of 1,500 copies available for collectors and fans. No special features or technical specifications have been announced as of yet.
Produced by Wahlberg, The Gambler co-stars Jessica Lange (King Kong), Brie Larson (Short Term 12), Michael Kenneth Williams (Boardwalk Empire) and John Goodman (Flight), and is directed by Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). You can read our review of the film here.
- Scott J. Davis
We’re not even a year removed from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and already Sony and Marvel are exploring new options on who could be the next webslinger. And we already have some insight that the next Spider-Man is going back to high school, and Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner) and Logan Lerman (Fury) are on Sony’s short list.
That said, whoever they cast will make an exciting addition to Captain America: Civil War, and we have some thoughts whether or not Sony decides to go the way of yet another reboot.
Perhaps better known by his fans as either Troy Barnes, from his four and a (almost) half season role on the hit show Community, or as rapper Childish Gambino, Donald Glover is a definite contender for the role of Marvel’s Spider-Man. With the inception of Miles Morales, following the death of Peter Parker in the Ultimate comic series, »
Here's the trailer for Amy Schumer's new movie "Trainwreck." She wrote it and stars in it. I cannot effing wait. Let's rank all the memorable players in this flawless trailer. 7. Brie Larson: Ever since "United States of Tara," we've been waiting for the proper Brie Larson showcase. "Short Term 12" wasn't my thing. This will be my thing. #JusticeForBrieLarson 6. Colin Quinn: Inspired casting! I like Colin as a philandering dad who levels with his kids (rather dubiously) about the hardships of romance. He's throwing down some Danny Aiello grit here. Next stop: a cameo as Madonna's disapproving father in a music video about abortion. 5. Vanessa Bayer: Always love V-Bay's "Sound Advice" web series, and I'm glad she gets to employ her kooky version of intelligence and charm here. 4. LeBron James: I interviewed Bill Hader for "The Skeleton Twins" last summer, and he talked about »
- Louis Virtel
I don't know which is worse, superhero casting rumors or Star Wars speculation, but neither are going away any time soon and it seems Sony and Marvel are moving quite quickly when it comes to their new Spider-Man now that the two companies have joined forces. Spider-Man will first appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (McU) on April 6, 2016 in Captain America: Civil War. In what capacity no one really knows, but from there the character will have his own film on July 28, 2017. Now we've also learned the character will be going back to Midtown High School and perhaps in the form of Miles Morales, the character that took up the Spider-Man mantle following the death of Peter Parker in the comics. Of course, this also means bringing audiences a Spider-Man of African American and Puerto Rican descent. Oddly enough, the first two names rumored for the role are a pair »
- Brad Brevet
In what's probably the single biggest piece of comic book movie news since the announcement of Batman v Superman, it was confirmed this morning that Spider-Man is finally allowed to return to his own universe on the big screen.
The widespread excitement at this news was dampened somewhat by the absence of Andrew Garfield's name from Marvel's announcement, which seems to implicitly confirm reports that the actor will not be reprising his role as Peter Parker.
So while Spider-Man is confirmed for an appearance in an upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, before getting his own new standalone film on July 28, 2017, it'll be a different actor behind the mask - and potentially a different character, since Peter Parker's name isn't mentioned in this announcement either.
Garfield's performance was one of the few elements in the Amazing Spider-Man reboots that was pretty universally praised, so following his admittedly brief tenure is a tall order. »
[Editor's Note: This post is presented in partnership with Movies On Demand. Catch up on this year’s Awards Season contenders and past winners On Demand. Today's selection is "Short Term 12" This article originally ran during the 2013 awards season.] This awards season Brie Larson did the unthinkable – she beat Cate Blanchett. Blanchett, considered by nearly every pundit as the frontrunner for every Best Actress award under the sun for her performance in "Blue Jasmine," lost to "Short Term 12"'s Larson at this year’s Gothams Award. If there was anyone more shocked than everyone in attendance, it was Larson herself who appeared most surprised. "I was not expecting this," she said in breathlessly accepting the award. The win cemented a fact that anyone familiar with the actress has known full well for months know: that this has been a banner year for the actress. Prior to "Short Term 12," Larson mined an impressive career as a stellar »
South by Southwest will host gala premieres next month of Melissa McCarthy’s “Spy,” Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart starrer “Get Hard,” Brian Wilson biopic “Love and Mercy” and Alex Gibney’s documentary “Steve Jobs: Man in the Machine.”
SXSW, now in its 22nd year in Austin, Texas, unveiled its features lineup Tuesday with 145 films to be shown between March 13 and 21, including 100 world premieres, 13 North American premieres and 11 U.S. premieres. The festival announced last month that the Russell Brand documentary “Brand: A Second Coming” would be the opening night title.
Other notable titles include Jamie Babbit’s “Fresno,” Shannon Sun-Higginson’s “Gtfo: Get The F% Out,” Larry Charles’ documentary “The Comedians,” Alex Winter’s “Deep Web,” Ryan Gosling’s “Lost River, »
- Dave McNary
"A sober-living safe house is neither safe nor sober in Stinking Heaven, the fifth feature (and fourth in 3 years) from director Nathan Silver," writes Jesse Knight at Movie Mezzanine. "In New Jersey circa 1990, a young married couple, Jim (Keith Poulson, Listen Up Philip) and Lucy (Deragh Campbell, I Used to Be Darker) run a commune providing refuge for recovering drug addicts of any age who pass the time making and selling bathtub kombucha ('fermented healthy drink')…. It’s Short Term 12 by way of the Marquis de Sade." We're collecting a first round of strong reviews for the film that also features Eleonore Hendricks, Henri Douvry and Hannah Gross. » - David Hudson »
Keith Stanfield was last at Sundance in 2013 with the indie drama "Short Term 12," his first feature film and a breakout role that led to a slew of other projects, including F. Gary Gray's Nwa biopic "Straight Outta Compton," Ava DuVernay's "Selma," and this year's buzzy Sundance feature "Dope." We caught up with Stanfield in the midst of a busy awards season on his way to an event, to chat about his burgeoning career and recent projects. Jai Tiggett: Within a couple years of "Short Term 12" it seems like we're seeing you everywhere. What's it been like to break through and gain exposure so quickly? Keith Stanfield: »
- Jai Tiggett
The buzziest title out of the Sundance Film Festival so far seems to be Dope from writer/director Rick Famuyiwa (Brown Sugar, The Wood) with a cast that includes Shameik Moore (pictured above), Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Kiersey Clemons, Blake Anderson, Zoe Kravitz (Divergent), A$AP Rocky, Keith Stanfield (Short Term 12) and Forest Whitaker who narrates and also serves as producer. Open Road picked up the film for distribution after this weekend's first screening with stellar reviews. Here's the synopsis: Malcolm (Moore) is a high school geek with a high-top fade, carefully navigating life in The Bottoms, one of the toughest neighborhoods in Inglewood, California. He and his fellow outcasts share a voracious appreciation for all things '90s hip-hop, opting to sport Cross-Colours and Z. Cavariccis at the risk of being clowned at school. He dreams of attending Harvard, but first he has to make it home every day. »
- Brad Brevet
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are currently working on bringing the brilliantly bonkers Preacher to our TV screens for AMC, and the former has posted the following image to his Twitter account. Some inspiration for #Preacher: pic.twitter.com/KhncgxSDkK — Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) January 15, 2015 Anyone who's read Garth Ennis' series should be happy with the movies that will evidently be influencing this adaptation. Obviously the comic takes many queues from the western genre so it's great to see the Dollars Trilogy there, and the bloody Ott action/violence is well represented by the likes of Kill Bill and The Raid. The Tree Of Life is likely there for the more thought provoking aspects of the story (creation, why are we here, where are we going etc), and it's possible Short Term 12 was added as a joke, but I don't think so. The themes of lost, neglected youth are also evident in Preacher, »
Revenge of the Nerds meets Boyz N the Hood in the first trailer for Dope. This comedic hood thriller mash-up is set to make it's World Premiere in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Giving it a leg above the competition are appearances by rapper A$AP Rocky and Workaholics star Blake Anderson.
In Dope, Malcolm is an anomaly, a "geek living in the Bottoms," the drug-infested, gang-run ghetto part of Inglewood. A victim of circumstance, but with admirable ambition, Malcolm gets caught in the crossfires of a drug buy gone bad. Using his wits and considerable smarts, he manages to take a dicey situation and make it work in his favor.
Dope features an amazing ensemble of stars including Shameik Moore (Cartoon Network's Incredible Crew), Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Kiersey Clemons (Amazon's Transparent, MTV's Eye Candy), Kimberly Elise (VH1's Hit the Floor, »
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