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The Best Undistributed Films of 2016

28 December 2016 6:58 AM, PST | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

In some ways, 2016 looked good on the distribution front. Netflix and Amazon finally made a big splash, snatching up titles at major film festivals and causing bidding wars that resulted in things like Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation getting acquired for $17.5 million — and we all know the rest of the story. On the smaller side of things, Grasshopper Film launched this year with an impressive slate of titles that keeps growing, and we saw at least three films with 5-hour-plus runtimes get a theatrical run of some sort. And I haven’t even mentioned how Mubi is entering the distribution game, giving short-, medium-, and feature-length titles from the festival circuit a new life via their streaming platform.

But distribution is still in a transitional phase, and the influx of new buyers and options to get a film seen doesn’t guarantee that everything will be available outside of a festival screening. »

- The Film Stage

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Sandra Oh To Guest On ‘American Crime’; Samuel Hunt Recurs On ‘Empire’

29 September 2016 4:48 PM, PDT | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) is returning to ABC with a guest role on Season 3 of John Ridley’s American Crime, which explores labor issues, economic divides and individual rights in North Carolina. She will play social worker Abby Tanaka, who runs a shelter for victims of domestic abuse in Alamance County. Along with her 10-season stint on Grey’s Anatomy, Oh’s recent credits include the features Catfight and Tammy and voice roles on Peg + Cat, Phineas and Ferb and American… »

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Tiff 2016: Winners & Review Index

18 September 2016 4:03 PM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

Tiff just ended crowning La La Land with the coveted People's Choice Award (runners up: Lion & Queen of Katwe) and Jackie with their new juried prize. We haven't totally closed up shop - we've left the door ajar because there are a few articles left to come. It takes time processing all of this art that's rushing over us! Films give us so many feelings! The Toronto International Film Festival is my personal favorite film festival in the world:  easy to attend, friendly, well organized, less prohibitively expensive than other festivals. I saw and enjoyed 27 movies and would have seen a few more but for getting sick in the rain and rush. But the festival experience is such that even mediocre or bad movies can be remembered with positive associations.

Here are all the reviews and articles (thus far) in one place in case you missed any or would like a handy index. »

- NATHANIEL R

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Tiff 2016: 'Catfight' - The Gloves Come Off in No Holds Barred Satire

15 September 2016 11:17 PM, PDT | firstshowing.net | See recent FirstShowing.net news »

It has often been said, "With friends like these, who needs enemies?" It is true that our friends can be are harshest critics; and sometimes you have to wonder why they were your friends in the first place. Catfight is what would happen if you confronted that friend and decided to smack them like a WWE Diva instead of talking it out like grown adults. Catfight, starring Anne Heche and Sandra Oh, written and directed by Onur Tukel – which just premiered at the Toronto Film Festival – is a strange story about a karmic cycle that not only escalates to violent physical altercations, but shows the repercussions of the aftermath. The film introduces Veronica (Oh), who is married to a successful man, has a talented son, lives the life of luxury, and drinks ample amounts of wine. Her old college friend Ashley (Heche), on the other hand, is a struggling artist »

- Erica Mann

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IFC Films acquires 'The Bleeder'

13 September 2016 10:54 PM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Philippe Falardeau’s drama starring Liev Schreiber, Elisabeth Moss and Naomi Watts has gone to IFC Films in a Us deal in Toronto.

EuropaCorp sources confirmed they had acquired Us rights from CAA to Lone Scherfig’s rom-com Their Finest, which stars Gemma Arterton, Sam Clafin and Bill Nighy and premiered as a Gala Presentation.

Meanwhile Netflix continued to pursue Us and select international rights to Fabrice Du Welz’s Message From The King starring Chadwick Boseman, the Vanguard selection it has been stalking since the weekend.

Buyers were understood to be circling Onur Tukel’s black comedy Catfight starring Sandra Oh and Anne Heche and interest was coalescing around George Nolfi’s Birth Of The Dragon following its world premiere on Tuesday.

Earlier on Wednesday Music Box announced it had acquired Terence DaviesA Quiet Passion.

Returning to The Bleeder, IFC Films brokered the deal with UTA Independent Film Group in the wake of last weekend »

- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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IFC acquires 'The Bleeder'

13 September 2016 10:54 PM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Philippe Falardeau’s drama starring Liev Schreiber, Elisabeth Moss and Naomi Watts has gone to IFC Films in a Us deal in Toronto.

EuropaCorp sources confirmed they had acquired Us rights from CAA to Lone Scherfig’s rom-com Their Finest, which stars Gemma Arterton, Sam Clafin and Bill Nighy and premiered as a Gala Presentation.

Meanwhile Netflix continued to pursue Us and select international rights to Fabrice Du Welz’s Message From The King starring Chadwick Boseman, the Vanguard selection it has been stalking since the weekend.

Buyers were understood to be circling Onur Tukel’s black comedy Catfight starring Sandra Oh and Anne Heche and interest was coalescing around George Nolfi’s Birth Of The Dragon following its world premiere on Tuesday.

Earlier on Wednesday Music Box announced it had acquired Terence DaviesA Quiet Passion.

Returning to The Bleeder, IFC Films brokered the deal with UTA Independent Film Group in the wake of last weekend »

- jeremykay67@gmail.com (Jeremy Kay)

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'Catfight': Film Review | Tiff 2016

13 September 2016 4:41 PM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

There was a great gag in an episode of 30 Rock in which Liz Lemon traced the contentment of a group of wealthy women acquaintances to them having their own fight club. That outlet for aggression was a Tupperware party compared to the knock-down-drag-out pounding that Sandra Oh and Anne Heche exchange not once but three times in Catfight, indie writer-director Onur Tukel's razor-toothed takedown of obscene privilege in a world indifferent to real pain. While the broad political commentary is beyond obvious, the satire of ugly entitlement draws blood, thanks to balls-to-the-

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- David Rooney

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‘Catfight’ Review: Sandra Oh and Anne Heche Beat the Sh*t Out of Each In Onur Tukel’s Nutty Satire — Toronto

11 September 2016 3:50 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Catfight” is a great example of truth in advertising: In writer-director Onur Tukel’s nutty satire, Anne Heche and Sandra Oh beat the shit out of each other. That much should be obvious from a passing familiarity with the premise, but it’s less the plot of the movie than its motif. Heche and Oh don’t just beat the shit out of each other; they do it on three separate occasions, for minutes on end, and each  blow lands with an alarming crunch.

Although the filmmaking has a ragged quality that doesn’t always hit its mark, the two brawling women certainly do. No matter its flaws, Tukel’s witty inversion of the buddy movie formula — set in an embellished world riddled by wartime dysfunction — has some legitimate ideas about the way feuds can last so long that neither side remembers what they’re fighting over. Imagine “Trading Places »

- Eric Kohn

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‘Queen of Katwe’ Review: David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o Shine in Mira Nair’s Straightforward Drama — Toronto

11 September 2016 10:54 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

There’s nothing surprising or adventurous about Mira Nair’s “Queen of Katwe,” a sincere and sensitive dramatization of a 10-year-old Ugandan girl who became a world-renowned chess champion. Despite some of the harsher elements of the impoverished backdrop where Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga) grows up, Nair has made exactly the kind of feel-good tale of triumphant spirit entailed by the material. As Mutesi, Nalwanga delivers a serious, credible performance in which her intelligence outweighs the limited resources of her immediate surroundings; she’s complimented by a jubilant David Oyelowo as passionate coach Robert Katende and a ferocious Lupia Nyong’o as Phiona’s conflicted mother Nakku Harriet. Their perseverance unites the underprivileged community and sets the stage for a celebratory finale.

So why does “Queen of Katwe,” written by William Wheeler from journalist Tim Crothers’ book, feel so unsatisfying? The Disney-produced story simply lacks any genuine sense of urgency. »

- Eric Kohn

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Toronto Film Review: ‘Catfight’

11 September 2016 10:51 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The scene opens on a ritzy New York dinner party, as a crowd of defense contractors toast to the lucrative new deals they’re about to sign now that a recently-elected American president has declared a new war on “the Middle East.” Veronica (Sandra Oh), the bored, borderline-alcoholic trophy wife of one of the contractors, moseys over to the wine bar despite having promised her husband she would stay sober for the party. Behind the bar is Ashley (Anne Heche), a starving artist moonlighting as a caterer for the night. The two recognize each other — they were friends in college, yet fell out years ago after some unidentified incident. They dance around the obvious class disparity between them, though each manage to get in a few cutting comments, and part ways. The next scene takes place in a stairwell, as the two women bash each others’ faces into bloody pulp. »

- Andrew Barker

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How ‘In the Radiant City’ Filmmaker Rachel Lambert Turned True Tragedy Into a Stunning Debut – Tiff Springboard

11 September 2016 9:00 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

IndieWire’s Springboard column profiles up-and-comers in the film industry worthy of your attention.

Rachel Lambert started with the truth. For her narrative feature directorial debut — she’s previously helmed a short film and a feature-length documentary — Lambert and her writing partner Nathan Gregorski dove into true stories of families marked by tragedy, though not in the way people typically expect. Initially inspired by a New York Times article that chronicled the fallout of publicized tragedies on the families of the perpetrators (think: David Kaczynski, who helped bring his brother Ted, the so-called Unabomber, to justice), the pair started working on a feature that would tell that kind of story, built as a sensitive family drama with secrets to spare.

Read More: Tiff 2016: 9 Breakthrough Names To Look Out For At The Festival

The result is “In the Radiant City,” which features a stellar cast of actor’s actors, including Celia Weston, »

- Kate Erbland

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‘Barry’ Review: The Best Obama Biopic Yet, But Not the Whole Story — Toronto Review

11 September 2016 8:53 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

There are so many reasons for the movies’ recent fascination with Barack Obama’s formative years — this summer saw the release of “Southside With You,” a chintzy rom-com that chronicled Obama’s idyllic first date with his future wife — but chief among them is the feeling that he’s the first modern President who feels like a real person. Which is not to say that Bill Clinton is an android or that George W. Bush is (necessarily) a stack of hay that’s been stuffed into a business suit and enchanted by a vengeful wizard, but that Obama came to lead America in large part because he is America, a one-man melting pot whose vagabond life was driven towards a singular destiny. He knows what it means to be an outsider in this country, to be rejected for attempting to make good on the promise of his homeland. He did drugs. »

- David Ehrlich

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‘American Pastoral’ Critical Roundup: Reviewers Are Not Impressed By Ewan McGregor’s Directorial Debut

11 September 2016 7:57 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut “American Pastoral,” an adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-wining 1997 novel, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival yesterday to mostly negative reviews. The film follows Seymour “Swede” Levov (played by McGregor), a former high school athlete and successful businessman whose family falls apart amidst the turmoil of the 1960s. Critics have described the film as yet another ill-advised Roth adaptation and more proof that the writer’s work doesn’t translate well to the screen, save for James Schamus’ “Indignation” released earlier this year.

Read More: Tiff Reveals First Slate of 2016 Titles, Including ‘Magnificent Seven,’ ‘American Honey,’ ‘La La Land’ and ‘Birth of A Nation’

IndieWire’s own David Ehrlich describes “American Pastoral” as a “disaster,” calling McGregor’s direction “competent but uncreative,” and his fidelity to Roth’s text “asphyxiating:”

“As it stumbles towards its hero’s decline… ‘American Pastoral’ increasingly feels like »

- Vikram Murthi

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‘The Rehearsal’ Review: Alison Maclean Brings Eleanor Catton’s Novel to the Screen With Verve

11 September 2016 6:51 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

“Based on the novel by Eleanor Catton” has become a much more marketable phrase in the three years since the New Zealand author won the Man Booker prize for “The Luminaries,” a marvel of an 848-page tome currently being adapted as a miniseries for BBC. Her first novel, “The Rehearsal,” has beaten her second to the screen courtesy of filmmaker Alison Maclean. Set at a prestigious drama school and frequently engrossing, the film unfolds like an experimental acting workshop that occasionally falters when the plot intrudes on the performances.

Both Catton and a hardcover copy of “The Luminaries” make brief cameos here, but the real star is James Rolleston. Familiar to anyone who’s seen “Boy” or “The Dark Horse,” he plays Stanley, a shy but talented thespian in the process of finding himself as both a person and a performer — making him the perfect candidate for the baptism-by-fire approach »

- Michael Nordine

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[Tiff Review] Catfight

11 September 2016 6:49 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

With a title like Catfight and the only available image showing a bloodied and battered chokehold between Anne Heche and Sandra Oh, our expectations are forced into conjuring hope for a wild, frenzied ride. Well, writer/director Onur Tukel doesn’t disappoint with this broad satire of American politics and wealth disparity. It only takes Craig Bierko’s rendition of a late night television host doing his smarmy best to poke fun at our broken system before introducing a fat, shirtless man as the “fart machine” to understand the tongue-in-cheek tone targeted. The working class as represented by maid Donna (Myra Lucretia Taylor) laughs hysterically at the flatulence while aristocratic housewife lush (and her employer) Veronica (Oh) remains unfazed in more Botox ambivalence than high-brow disgust.

Veronica just cannot understand such humor’s appeal. She can’t comprehend the appeal of anything that doesn’t result in making money. She »

- Jared Mobarak

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Anne Heche And Sandra Oh Talk ‘Catfight’: ‘We Were Definitely Bruised’

10 September 2016 4:17 PM, PDT | ET Canada | See recent ET Canada news »

Anne Heche and Sandrah Oh are now pros when it comes to throwing a punch. The two actresses star alongside Alicia Silverstone in the dark comedy “Catfight”, which follows the rivalry between two former college friends. Heche plays Ashley Miller, a struggling outsider, while Oh is Veronica Salt, a wealthy housewife, and the two find themselves in […] »

- Cat Williams

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Sandra Oh: ‘I’ve Never Had a Relationship With Big Hollywood’

9 September 2016 2:45 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

It’s hard to believe that “Grey’s Anatomy” alum Sandra Oh has never starred in a big-budget Hollywood film.

“Honestly, I’ve never had a relationship with Big Hollywood and if that never happens, then f— you,” she said, flipping the bird, during an interview at the Variety Studio at the Toronto Film Festival, presented by Airbnb. “I’ve always felt much more of a heart because I felt accepted and appreciated and that there’s a place for what I have to give in independent film.”

"I've never had a relationship with big Hollywood." @IamSandraOh gets real at #TIFF16 (Watch video) pic.twitter.com/wpbSyBkLSU

— Variety (@Variety) September 9, 2016

When asked about the roles available for women, the “Sideways” actress noted the distinction between the three different Hollywood worlds: Television, independent film, and big Hollywood film.

Oh was in Toronto to promote her new movie “Catfight,” costarring Anne Heche. »

- Maane Khatchatourian

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Toronto Fest Facetime: Sandra Oh

8 September 2016 10:57 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Korean-Canadian actress Sandra Oh, acclaimed for her work on the hit TV series “Grey’s Anatomy,” for which she won a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild awards, and the feature film “Sideways,” scores her first executive producer credit with the Tiff Special Presentation title “Window Horses (The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming),” in which she also voices the title character. The film is directed by Vancouver-based animator Ann Marie Fleming. The film screens Friday.

Why did you decide to expand your portfolio into producing?

Simple — I wanted to help Ann Marie get her film made because I believe in it so much. I was sitting on my couch reading the screenplay in tears at the end and I knew I had to do whatever I could to help. And that meant helping her get cast, helping her raise money and awareness and promotion for the film.

What »

- Alissa Simon

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Beyond the Buzz: Why Tiff’s Hidden Gems Resonate Loudest With Film Buffs

8 September 2016 9:00 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Attending the Toronto International Film Festival is like eating at one of the world’s greatest restaurants, buffet-style. More than 300 movies will screen during the festival’s 11 days, which is more than many professional critics see in a year. That’s not to say anyone will see that many, or even could. Once, when I was on a jury, I got to 50 films, after which I wanted to remove my eyes and place them in a glass of water for a week.

The fall offers more compact and tightly curated festivals: Telluride, which is stretched over the long weekend before Tiff, and the New York Film Festival, which happens over a positively leisurely two and a half weeks. But Tiff’s onslaught of riches feels like the more appropriate kickoff to the season, which invariably produces more “must-see” movies than anyone can actually see.

That doesn’t stop the mounting »

- Sam Adams

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Tiff 2016: 13 Movies We Can’t Wait To See At The Festival

6 September 2016 12:00 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

The Toronto International Film Festival kicks off this week, and with it, the rest of a very busy fall festival season. In preparation for the Canadian festival, we’ll be rolling out a series of previews to point you in the direction of all the movies you have to see (or at least, all the movies you have to start anticipating right now). Next up, a batch of new features we’ve yet to see…and can’t wait to check out in the coming days.

The Promise

Oscar-winning director Terry George has been Mia from the big screen since 2011’s “Stand Off” (a little-seen Brendan Fraser vehicle that’s hardly worth mentioning) and the awards conversation since 2004’s “Hotel Rwanda” (though his subsequent film, the 2007 Mark Ruffalo-starring “Reservation Road” got a little love), but he seems poised to be back in a big way, thanks to a sweeping »

- Kate Erbland, Eric Kohn, Anne Thompson, David Ehrlich, Chris O'Falt, Graham Winfrey and Steve Greene

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