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Ben Lewin to direct Grainger biopic

The Sessions writer-director Ben Lewin is attached to helm Blue Rose, a biopic about the self-described .sex crazed. Australian composer and pianist Percy Grainger.

La-based Jeffrey Walker will return to Oz a to direct Dance Academy: The Comeback., a spin-off of Werner Film Productions. popular TV series, which will follow a young ballerina who dreams of being a star.

Following Ruin and Hail, Amiel Courtin-Wilson is to write, produce and direct Hawkwood, a thriller set in the backwaters of Africa which tells of ageing mercenary.s journey from chaos to grace.

These are among 16 feature projects which are receiving more than $620,000 in development funding from Screen Australia.

Lewin will write Blue Rose with Wain Fimeri for producers Chryssy Tintner, Jan Eymann, Judi Levine and Arclight.s Mark Lazarus and Gary Hamilton. His next film is Us indie romantic drama Purple Hearts, which will star Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez
See full article at IF.com.au »

Aussies, Kiwis connect via global showbiz networking site

  • IF.com.au
Stage 32, a free social media and education networking site which links film, television and theatre creatives from around the world, is increasingly popular in Australia and New Zealand.

Australians are consistently among the top 5 active entertainment communities on the Los Angeles-based site, according to spokeswoman Tracey La Monica.

Launched by screenwriter, producer and former magazine publisher Richard Botto in February 2012, Stage 32 has members in more than 186 countries and is used by more than 200,000 professionals each day.

The Stage 32 Lounge enables member to pitch online and to interact and there are job postings, blogs and webinars taught by industry veterans. The organisers say thousands of people have found work, launched projects and made career changing connections on the site, and dozens of writers have been signed or are in development as a result of the pitching sessions.

Among the special members and guest bloggers have been Terence Stamp, Brad Carpenter (Boardwalk
See full article at IF.com.au »

Ben Lewin talks how desperation and luck helped him make The Sessions

  • IF.com.au
The Adg Conference session 'The Entrepreneurial Director' should have been titled 'The Desperate Director,' according to Ben Lewin, who rounded out the first day of Directing in the Digital Age yesterday. Speaking candidly to a room full of peers, Lewin spoke of how it was hitting (almost) rock-bottom in his field that opened the doors which would lead to his successful and critically acclaimed film The Sessions. Speaking of how ABC TV in Australia wouldn't return his calls, Lewin said "It was, at the time,the hardest pill to swallow... In retrospect, I am grateful for the rejection. It gave me the desperation I needed to move forward. Thus, the theme of this talk. Except for 'entrepreneurial', read 'desperate.' And for the other part of the formula - add in sheer, dumb, luck." Lewin is being modest here. Sheer dumb luck didn't grant the film a Golden Globe or Oscar nod,
See full article at IF.com.au »

SAG Award nominations feature Jackman, Kidman, Watts, Crowe, Weaver

  • IF.com.au
Australians have featured strongly in the 2012 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, which included Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe and Jacki Weaver.

Hugh Jackman's performance as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables was recognised with a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role and Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (which also included Russell Crowe). It is the first time that the Screen Actors Guild has recognised Jackman's performances which have included films such as X-Men, Australia, Deception and The Prestige.

Also up for best male lead are Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), John Hawkes (The Sessions), Denzel Washington (Flight). The other outstanding cast nominations were for Argo,.The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook.

Les Misérables, directed by Tom Hooper (The King's Speech), received.the equal highest number of nominations in.total (four
See full article at IF.com.au »

SAG Award nominations feature Jackman, Kidman, Watts, Crowe

  • IF.com.au
Australians have featured strongly in the 2012 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, which included Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts and Russell Crowe.

Hugh Jackman's performance as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables was recognised with a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role and Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (which also included Russell Crowe). It is the first time that the Screen Actors Guild has recognised Jackman's performances which have included films such as X-Men, Australia, Deception and The Prestige.

Also up for best male lead are Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), John Hawkes (The Sessions), Denzel Washington (Flight). The other outstanding cast nominations were for Argo,.The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook.

Les Misérables, directed by Tom Hooper (The King's Speech), received.the equal highest number of nominations in.total (four) alongside Lincoln and.Silver Linings Playbook.
See full article at IF.com.au »

Producer Judi Levine on her Sundance winner The Sessions

With The Sessions getting positive reviews at the box office, Australian producer Judi Levine tells Georgina Pearson about working with her husband, director Ben Lewin on the film that tells the true story of Mark O’Brien, a man who lives in an iron lung and wants to lose his virginity.

How did you get involved in this project?

Ben came across an essay by Mark O’Brien while researching another project and said to me, “I’ve just read something extraordinary. Read it”. I thought it was fantastic so we went from there.

Making The Sessions was very much a family affair. Tell us about the experience.

It was an entire family production. Our two daughters and son also worked with us on it – our youngest daughter played a small role in the flashback scene and our son, who is studying classical music, helped out with the soundtrack. Our
See full article at Encore Magazine »

Ben Lewin’s sex surrogate film The Sessions opens with $267,000 at box office as Housos breaks through $1m

William H Macy and John Hawkes in The Sessions

The Sessions, a film by an Australian film-maker husband and wife duo, has taken $267,000 at the box office in its opening weekend.

Written and directed by Ben Lewin and produced by his wife Judi Levine, The Sessions is inspired by a true story and and follows man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity to a professional sex surrogate.

The Fox-distributed film was awarded winner of the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

Starring John Hawkes, William H Macy and Helen Hunt, the film opened on 57 screens for a $4,680 screen average, taking the film’s total Australian box office to $278,000, following a screening at Melbourne International Film Festival.

Elsewhere, action-comedy Seven Psychopaths opened with $671,000 across 186 screens for an average of $3,608. The film which is distributed by Hopscotch was second on the box office chart, but along way behind Argo,
See full article at Encore Magazine »

Win A Pass To The Advance Screening Of The Sessions In St. Louis

Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California.based journalist and poet Mark O.Brien, The Sessions tells the story of a man who lived most of his life in an iron lung who is determined – at age 38 – to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapist and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality.

Fox Searchlight Pictures presents, in association with Such Much Films and Rhino Films, The Sessions with a cast including John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy. The film also stars Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks, Rhea Perlman, W. Earl Brown, Robin Weigert, Blake Lindsley, Ming Lo, Jennifer Kumiyama, Rusty Schwimmer, James Martinez with Adam Arkin. The film is written for the screen and directed by Ben Lewin. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it took home the coveted Audience Award and the Jury Prize for ensemble cast.
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

The X Factor wins Monday as Scandal drops for Seven

The X Factor

Seven’s singing competition show The X Factor won Monday’s ratings race, finishing with more than 400,000 viewers ahead of Nine rival Big Brother.

While The X Factor’s performance episode rated 1.462m, Big Brother’s live nominations rated 1.019m in sixth for total viewers, according to preliminary ratings from OzTam.

The X Factor won across all three key advertising demographics of 16-39, 18-49 and 25-54, followed by Big Brother’s live nominations in second place, and Big Brother’s daily show in third.

Big Brother’s daily show rated 906,000 and was ninth for the night in total viewers.

Seven’s new Us political thriller Scandal, which follows The X Factor at 9pm, struggled to benefit from the singing show’s win.

In its second episode the show dropped to 543,000, exactly 200,000 viewers off its preliminary ratings from last week’s debut of 743,000.

The show placed 22nd in total viewers,
See full article at Encore Magazine »

The Sessions movie clip asked Shall We Get Undressed?

Watch a new clip from The Sessions called Shall We Get Undressed. The drama stars Helen Hunt, John Hawkes and William H. Macy and opens in theaters via Fox Searchlight Pictures on October 26th, 2012. Scripted and helmed by Ben Lewin, who produces alongside Stephen Nemeth and Judi Levine, The Sessions is based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California–based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien and tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined - at age 38 - to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality.
See full article at Upcoming-Movies.com »

The Sessions movie clip asked Shall We Get Undressed?

Watch a new clip from The Sessions called Shall We Get Undressed. The drama stars Helen Hunt, John Hawkes and William H. Macy and opens in theaters via Fox Searchlight Pictures on October 26th, 2012. Scripted and helmed by Ben Lewin, who produces alongside Stephen Nemeth and Judi Levine, The Sessions is based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California–based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien and tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined - at age 38 - to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality.
See full article at Upcoming-Movies.com »

The Sessions drama starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt adds a new clip

Ben Lewin's John Hawkes and Helen Hunt starrer The Sessions from Fox Searchlight, has a new clip called Oh God! Scripted and helmed by Lewin, the film which was seen at this year's Sundance Film Festival, opens October 26th in limited areas, with a talented cast including Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks, W. Earl Brown, Blake Lindsley, Adam, Arkin, Ming Lo, Jennifer Kumiyama and Robin Weigert. Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California–based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, The Sessions tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined - at age 38 - to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality. Judi Levine, Ben Lewin and Stephen Nemeth produce.
See full article at Upcoming-Movies.com »

The Sessions drama starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt adds a new clip

Ben Lewin's John Hawkes and Helen Hunt starrer The Sessions from Fox Searchlight, has a new clip called Oh God! Scripted and helmed by Lewin, the film which was seen at this year's Sundance Film Festival, opens October 26th in limited areas, with a talented cast including Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks, W. Earl Brown, Blake Lindsley, Adam, Arkin, Ming Lo, Jennifer Kumiyama and Robin Weigert. Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California–based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, The Sessions tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined - at age 38 - to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality. Judi Levine, Ben Lewin and Stephen Nemeth produce.
See full article at Upcoming-Movies.com »

The Sessions starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt gets new images

See new images from The Sessions. The drama stars John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy. Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California–based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, The Sessions tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined - at age 38 - to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality. Also in the cast of the touching film are Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks, W. Earl Brown, Blake Lindsley, Adam, Arkin, Ming Lo, Jennifer Kumiyama and Robin Weigert. Ben Lewin directs and writes the film produced by Judi Levine, Ben Lewin and Stephen Nemeth.
See full article at Upcoming-Movies.com »

The Sessions starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt gets new images

See new images from The Sessions. The drama stars John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy. Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California–based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, The Sessions tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined - at age 38 - to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality. Also in the cast of the touching film are Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks, W. Earl Brown, Blake Lindsley, Adam, Arkin, Ming Lo, Jennifer Kumiyama and Robin Weigert. Ben Lewin directs and writes the film produced by Judi Levine, Ben Lewin and Stephen Nemeth.
See full article at Upcoming-Movies.com »

Sundance Film Festival Awards: 'Beasts of the Southern Wild,' 'The Surrogate' honored

Sundance Film Festival Awards: 'Beasts of the Southern Wild,' 'The Surrogate' honored
Beasts of the Southern Wild, director Benh Zeitlin’s surreal tale of a six-year old girl living with her father in the flooded basins near the southern delta, was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic film. The House I Live In, Eugene Jarecki’s documentary about the impact of America’s War on Drugs on poor communities, won for best documentary. The Surrogate, a movie about a man in an iron lung (John Hawkes) who decides to lose his virginity with the assistance of professional sex surrogate (Helen Hunt), was honored with an Audience Award and a prize for Best Ensemble.
See full article at EW.com - Inside Movies »

Fox Searchlight Pictures Buys “The Surrogate”

By Josh Abraham

Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to the inspirational true story The Surrogate. Directed and written by Ben Lewin, The Surrogate stars John Hawkes as Mark O’Brien, Helen Hunt as Cheryl Cohen Greene and William H. Macy as Father Brendan. The film was produced by Judi Levine of Suchmuch Films and Stephen Nemeth of Rhino Films and is scheduled to be released in 2012.

Click to read more…
See full article at Scott Feinberg »

Sundance 2012: The Surrogate and Celeste & Jesse Forever Get Picked Up

Two of the latest films to be picked up at Sundance are The Surrogate and Celeste & Jesse Forever. Fox Searchlight Pictures announced today at the Sundance Film Festival that the studio has acquired Ben Lewin's The Surrogate for distribution:

Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to the inspirational true story The Surrogate. Directed and written by Ben Lewin, The Surrogate stars John Hawkes as Mark O’Brien, Helen Hunt as Cheryl Cohen Greene and William H. Macy as Father Brendan. The film was produced by Judi Levine of Suchmuch Films and Stephen Nemeth of Rhino Films and is scheduled to be released in 2012.

Ben Lewin has created a touching, uplifting look at one man’s desire to experience life to the fullest. The brave and indelible performances by John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy left us floored,
See full article at GeekTyrant »

Fox Searchlight Pictures Buys “The Surrogate”

HollywoodNews.com: Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to the inspirational true story The Surrogate. Directed and written by Ben Lewin, The Surrogate stars John Hawkes as Mark O’Brien, Helen Hunt as Cheryl Cohen Greene and William H. Macy as Father Brendan. The film was produced by Judi Levine of Suchmuch Films and Stephen Nemeth of Rhino Films and is scheduled to be released in 2012.

?Ben Lewin has created a touching, uplifting look at one man?s desire to experience life to the fullest. The brave and indelible performances by John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy left us floored,? said Gilula and Utley.

?We’re very happy to have found a home at Fox Searchlight for this film,? said director Ben Lewin. ?We have worked hard to evoke the spirit of Mark O’Brien and his writing,
See full article at Hollywoodnews.com »

The Surrogate Finds a Home at Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Surrogate Finds a Home at Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to the inspirational true story The Surrogate. Directed and written by Ben Lewin, The Surrogate stars John Hawkes as Mark O'Brien, Helen Hunt as Cheryl Cohen Greene and William H. Macy as Father Brendan. The film was produced by Judi Levine of Suchmuch Films and Stephen Nemeth of Rhino Films and is scheduled to be released in 2012.

"Ben Lewin has created a touching, uplifting look at one man's desire to experience life to the fullest. The brave and indelible performances by John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy left us floored," said Utley and Gilula.

"We're very happy to have found a home at Fox Searchlight for this film," said director Ben Lewin. "We have worked hard to evoke the spirit of Mark O'Brien and his writing, and feel that the
See full article at MovieWeb »
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