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Review: ‘Amateur’ Tactfully, Intelligently Explores the Dark Side of College Athletics

One of the most successful things in Amateur, written and directed by Ryan Koo, is the casting of Michael Rainey Jr. as the lead, a young basketball star on the cusp of fame and fortune. Or at least the chance of fame and fortune. Rainey Jr., while a very capable performer, looks the part more than anything else. His character, Terron Forte, is tender. Like so many gifted young people, his talent has arrived before everything else. In every wide-eyed look he gives, every act of faux-confidence he puts on, it is clear this is a child who has been thrust into a situation bigger than him and those who surround him.

There’s his father (Brian White), a punch-drunk ex-football player who never made it, his mother (Sharon Leal), a practical parent who is worried for her boy, and finally Coach Gaines (Josh Charles), an ambitious man driven by
See full article at The Film Stage »

Netflix’s ‘Amateur’ and 5 Other Sports Movies Reveal the Dark Side of Pursuing Your Dreams

In a bit of pointed counterprogramming, Netflix released its latest original film “Amateur” — about a 14-year old basketball prodigy who gets recruited by a shady prep-school athletics program — in the middle of March Madness. The Ncaa has taken a lot of heat for its systemic exploitation of young college players, offering them academic scholarships but then forcing them to sideline their education in order to play ball full time, making the school millions in the process.

Based on his short film of the same name, Ryan Koo’s “Amateur” explores not only the corrupt business of athletic recruitment, but how those recruiters are targeting younger and younger players, forcing them to make difficult life-defining decisions before they’re even in high school — decisions that are often offered in bad faith. Given that the film is executive produced by current NBA superstar Tony Parker and former NBA All Star Michael Finley,
See full article at Indiewire »

Michael Rainey Jr. in Trailer for Basketball Film 'Amateur' from Netflix

"The whole thing's rigged against the people it should be helping the most." Netflix has released an official trailer for the indie film titled simply just Amateur, the feature debut of writer/director Ryan Koo, also known as the founder of the film website No Film School. Koo's Amateur is about a 14-year-old basketball phenom named who struggles to fit in with his new team after a video of him goes viral. He also discovers a system of corruption and greed in amateur sports. Michael Rainey Jr. (from "Orange Is the New Black", "Power", and Barbershop: The Next Cut) plays Terron, and the cast includes Josh Charles, Brian White, Corey Parker Robinson, and Sharon Leal. This looks intense, and a bit depressing (how rigged it all is). Here's the first official trailer (+ poster) for Ryan Koo's Amateur, direct from Netflix's YouTube: Talent and hard work won't matter if the game is playing the system.
See full article at FirstShowing.net »

Trailer Watch: Ryan Koo’s Amateur

Filmmaker and No Film School founder Ryan Koo — one of our 2008 25 New Faces of Independent Film — has been working on his debut feature for years. His extremely successful Kickstarter (over $140,000!) launched in 2011, and in a series of updates — and one 2013 Filmmaker interview — he’s been transparent about the long road that developing and making a first feature can become. Well, Netflix ultimately came on board to finance the film, and now there’s a first trailer, with the feature itself set to drop on April 6. You can read more about the film […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

Trailer Watch: Ryan Koo’s Amateur

Filmmaker and No Film School founder Ryan Koo — one of our 2008 25 New Faces of Independent Film — has been working on his debut feature for years. His extremely successful Kickstarter (over $140,000!) launched in 2011, and in a series of updates — and one 2013 Filmmaker interview — he’s been transparent about the long road that developing and making a first feature can become. Well, Netflix ultimately came on board to finance the film, and now there’s a first trailer, with the feature itself set to drop on April 6. You can read more about the film […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Netflix Adds Six More Original Films To Slate

After making a big splash in the original film arena with the likes of "Beasts of No Nation," "The Ridiculous 6" and "Manson Family Vacation" last year, streaming giant Netflix has used the eve of the Sundance Film Festival to announce several more films it has on the way.

The company has come on board to finance and distribute five titles, along with acquiring the worldwide streaming rights to the Iranian horror movie "Under the Shadow" which premieres at the festival tomorrow night. Set during the bloodshed of the Iran-Iraq War in 1988, Babak Anvari helms that Farsi-language story which follows a mother and daughter who start to believe their home is haunted by a djinn.

The five other films kick off with Ryan Koo's "Amateur" about a 14-year-old basketball phenom who struggles to fit in with his new team and new coach, and the sci-fi tale "Arq" which just
See full article at Dark Horizons »

Netflix Expands Global Indie Strategy With Slate Of New Features

Netflix Expands Global Indie Strategy With Slate Of New Features
Exclusive: As the film world converges on Park City on the eve of Sundance, Netflix is expanding its global indie film strategy with a slate of new features to be financed and distributed by the Svod giant. The five features are Ryan Koo’s Amateur, Tony Elliott’s Arq, Alistair Legrand’s Clinical, Osgood PerkinsI Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House and Gerard McMurray’s Underground. The move further cements Netflix’s strategy, first revealed by Deadline last…
See full article at Deadline Movie News »

Watch the Michael Cera-Starring Sundance Short Gregory Go Boom Online

With the instant gratification and popularity that can accompany a YouTube upload, filmmakers are questioning whether the internet or the traditionally prestige festival circuit is the ideal forum to premiere a short. As Ryan Koo suggested back at the Ifp/Dctv “Short Takes” panel last summer, why choose? Indeed, while some festivals rule out previously seen shorts, others welcome online buzz with open arms. One of those festivals, it so happens, is Sundance. Three shorts that will screen in Park City within the coming days were all originally available on YouTube, including Janicza Bravo’s Gregory Go Boom, a black comedy starring a […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

Watch the Michael Cera-Starring Sundance Short Gregory Go Boom Online

With the instant gratification and popularity that can accompany a YouTube upload, filmmakers are questioning whether the internet or the traditionally prestige festival circuit is the ideal forum to premiere a short. As Ryan Koo suggested back at the Ifp/Dctv “Short Takes” panel last summer, why choose? Indeed, while some festivals rule out previously seen shorts, others welcome online buzz with open arms. One of those festivals, it so happens, is Sundance. Three shorts that will screen in Park City within the coming days were all originally available on YouTube, including Janicza Bravo’s Gregory Go Boom, a black comedy starring a […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

Sundance names Screenwriters Lab projects

  • ScreenDaily
Sundance names Screenwriters Lab projects
Sundance Institute has selected 12 projects for its 2014 January Screenwriters Lab set to run from January 10-15 2014.

The projects and Fellows selected for the 2014 January Screenwriters Lab are: The Buried Life (Us) from Joan Stein Schimke and Averie Storck; The Father’s Shadow (Brazil) from Gabriela Amaral Almeida; Lynch (Us) from Nicole Riegel; and Manchild (Us) from Ryan Koo.

The list continues with Night Comes On (Us) from Jordana Spiro and Angelica Nwandu; Park (Greece) from Sofia Exarchou; Patti Cake$ (Us) from Geremy Jasper; and Stranger With A Camera (Us/Northern Ireland) from Oorlagh George.

Rounding out the selections are: Swiss Army Man (Us) from Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert; Ten Thousand Happiness (Us/China) from Johnny Ma; We The Animals (Us) from Jeremiah Zagar and Dan Kitrosser; and Weather Talk (Chile) from Marcella Said; and
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Ryan Koo, Jordana Spiro & Marcella Said Among Sundance’s 2014 Feature Screenwriters Lab

Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Film selected Ryan Koo, The Summer of Flying Fish director Marcella Said (right ont pic above) and Jordana Spiro (who we sang the praises for with her short 2013 Sundance-preemed Skin) are among the twelve plus participants for the upcoming 2014 Feature Screenwriters Lab (which takes place one week before the actual festival).

At this point, the lab have probably easily broke the one hundred project count (with a good percentage of them panning out into an eventual feature film – see Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station, Andrew Dosunmu’s Mother of George, David Lowery’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Andrew Renzi’s Franny as recent examples). The international class of January ’14 (read project descriptions and bios below) will be coached by no other than: Dustin Lance Black, Naomi Foner, John Gatins, Michael Goldenberg, Erik Jendresen, Patty Jenkins and Spaghetti Western fanboy and former lab attendee Quentin Tarantino.
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Sundance Institute Announces 12 Projects for Screenwriters Lab

This afternoon the Sundance Institute unveiled the 12 projects that will be participating next month in its Screenwriters Lab. Among the filmmakers whose scripts were chosen are documentarian Jeremiah Zagar (In a Dream), whose first narrative script We the Animals (based on a book by Justin Torres) was also in Ifp’s Emerging Storytellers, while another alum of that program (from 2011) selected here is Ryan Koo, with his project Manchild. Other notable participants this year imclude Jordana Spiro, the former TV actress whose short Skin played at Sundance 2012; uber inventive and wacky pop promo directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

Sundance Institute Announces 12 Projects for Screenwriters Lab

This afternoon the Sundance Institute unveiled the 12 projects that will be participating next month in its Screenwriters Lab. Among the filmmakers whose scripts were chosen are documentarian Jeremiah Zagar (In a Dream), whose first narrative script We the Animals (based on a book by Justin Torres) was also in Ifp’s Emerging Storytellers, while another alum of that program (from 2011) selected here is Ryan Koo, with his project Manchild. Other notable participants this year imclude Jordana Spiro, the former TV actress whose short Skin played at Sundance 2012; uber inventive and wacky pop promo directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

ScreenCraft’s Digital Discourse: Build Your Audience Now

“Distributing is easy, marketing is hard.” With that statement, moderator Ryan Koo kicked off the discussion at ScreenCraft’s recent Digital Discourse panel on the future of content creation and releasing. Nestled in the Wgae suite of a Tribeca high rise, the participating panelists included YouTube’s Amy Singer; Erica Anderson, Chief Marketing Director at Seed&Spark; Erick Opeka, Svp of Digital Distribution at Cinedigm; @radical.media’s Adam Neuhaus; and Bond 360 Founder and CEO, Marc Schiller. Chances are, you’ve heard it before: with so much of the independent film world unspooling in a viral sphere at a hair-raising pace, filmmakers must be prepared […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

ScreenCraft’s Digital Discourse: Build Your Audience Now

“Distributing is easy, marketing is hard.” With that statement, moderator Ryan Koo kicked off the discussion at ScreenCraft’s recent Digital Discourse panel on the future of content creation and releasing. Nestled in the Wgae suite of a Tribeca high rise, the participating panelists included YouTube’s Amy Singer; Erica Anderson, Chief Marketing Director at Seed&Spark; Erick Opeka, Svp of Digital Distribution at Cinedigm; @radical.media’s Adam Neuhaus; and Bond 360 Founder and CEO, Marc Schiller. Chances are, you’ve heard it before: with so much of the independent film world unspooling in a viral sphere at a hair-raising pace, filmmakers must be prepared […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

5 Daily Tech Stories that Filmmakers (and Film Fans) Must Read: The Future of Digital Distribution, Hal Hartley Crowdfunds and More

1. Digital Discourse: The greatest challenge for an independent filmmaker has historically been finding distribution. But now that distribution is as easy as uploading a video to YouTube, the new challenge is finding an audience amidst so much competition. In partnership with ScreenCraft and Hello World and NoFilmSchool.com, last night Wgae addressed these issues and more in "Digital Discourse: the Future of Media Distribution & Content Creation," a panel which covered changes in content distribution and ways that new content-creation platforms are shaping the entertainment industry. Read our takeaways from the panel, featuring insights from panelists Erica Anderson, Cmo, Seed&Spark, Adam Neuhaus, Creative Producer, @radical.media, Erick Opeka, Svp, Digital Distribution, Cinedigm, Marc Schiller, founder of Bond 360, Amy Singer, Strategic Partner Manager of YouTube and moderator, Ryan Koo, filmmaker and founder of NoFilmSchool.com. 2. Hal Hartley...
See full article at Indiewire »

7 Tips for Filmmakers On How to Get Their Project Out into the World from Wgae's 'Digital Discourse' Panel

The greatest challenge for an independent filmmaker has historically been finding distribution. But now that distribution is as easy as uploading a video to YouTube, the new challenge is finding an audience amidst so much competition. In partnership with ScreenCraft and Hello World and NoFilmSchool.com, last night Writers Guild of America, East addressed these issues and more in "Digital Discourse: the Future of Media Distribution & Content Creation," a panel which covered changes in content distribution and ways that new content-creation platforms are shaping the entertainment industry. Panelists included Erica Anderson, Cmo, Seed&Spark, Adam Neuhaus, Creative Producer, @radical.media, Erick Opeka, Svp, Digital Distribution, Cinedigm, Marc Schiller, founder of Bond 360 and Amy Singer, Strategic Partner Manager of YouTube. The panel was moderated by NoFilmSchool.com founder Ryan Koo, who is also a filmmaker. Here are 7 Tips for Filmmakers: 1. Build community. "It used to be...
See full article at Indiewire »

Short Takes: The Role of The Short in Modern Filmmaking

Why make a short film? At Short Takes, a recent panel discussion co-presented by Ifp and Dctv, the answers varied with each pass of the microphone. The participating panelists — Terence Nance, Dustin Guy Defa, Lauren Wolkstein, Ryan Koo, and Jeremiah Zagar — reflected upon prior efforts to offer a unique, holistic picture into the business and practice of short filmmaking. Koo, who recently revealed Amateur, a short prequel to his debut feature Manchild, said that he viewed the format as a calling card, a means to entice both the industry and a larger audience. Nance and Wolkstein, on the …
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

Watch 'Amateur' - A Seemingly Familiar Tale With A Twist (Short Shouts!)

A short shout from writer/director Ryan Koo, titled Amateur, which is a shortened version of Koo's forthcoming narrative feature Man-child, which follows a 13 year-old athlete through the competitive world of youth basketball. The feature project was selected in 2011 by The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Independent Filmmaker Project (Ifp), for their Emerging Visions initiative, which pairs 25 emerging directors and writers with established producers to mentor them through the current filmmaking landscape, advising them in the form of one-to-one meetings, workshops, and case studies.Like a number of feature documentaries we've profiled on...
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

Your Film Online By Ryan Bilsborrow-Koo

My name is Ryan Bilsborrow-Koo and this is my guest post for the just-concluded Independent Film Week here in New York. Along with Zachary Lieberman (co-creator of The West Side), I spoke on Monday’s panel “Your Film Online,” and I wanted to expand here on some thoughts I shared during that panel — mostly in response to the prevailing wisdom that “the sky is falling” on independent film. (This is also cross-posted on my own blog, No Film School). I’m a New Face of independent film, not an Industry Veteran, so maybe it’s naiveté that leads me to have a very different outlook on distribution than The Film Department CEO Mark Gill, whose comments in June were still on everyone’s lips at Ifw. After proclaiming, “As it relates to independent...
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Web Exclusives »

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