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As the Los Angeles Film Festival Struggles for Relevancy, a New Director Has Big Ideas For Change

As the Los Angeles Film Festival Struggles for Relevancy, a New Director Has Big Ideas For Change
The Los Angeles Film Festival starts June 14 with Colin Trevorrow’s “The Book of Henry” as its opening-night film, but in its 23rd year the festival still hasn’t found its proper place on the film calendar.

Produced by Film Independent, Laff has always been something of a feathered fish. Some of this stems from its summer timeframe: It arrives at mid-year, more than two months before new awards contenders reveal themselves at Telluride and long after acquisitions festivals like Toronto and Sundance have done their work (with support from SXSW and Tribeca that follow) .

Laff has tried to make lemons into organic lemonade: Under the direction of recently departed Stephanie Allain, the Laff moved away from the quality international fare favored by former programmer David Ansen to embrace its indie roots and chase world premieres from under-represented demographics.

It’s a worthy-minded strategy, but the result was a lineup
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

As the Los Angeles Film Festival Struggles for Relevancy, a New Director Has Big Ideas For Change

As the Los Angeles Film Festival Struggles for Relevancy, a New Director Has Big Ideas For Change
The Los Angeles Film Festival starts June 14 with Colin Trevorrow’s “The Book of Henry” as its opening-night film, but in its 23rd year the festival still hasn’t found its proper place on the film calendar.

Produced by Film Independent, Laff has always been something of a feathered fish. Some of this stems from its summer timeframe: It arrives at mid-year, more than two months before new awards contenders reveal themselves at Telluride and long after acquisitions festivals like Toronto and Sundance have done their work (with support from SXSW and Tribeca that follow) .

Laff has tried to make lemons into organic lemonade: Under the direction of recently departed Stephanie Allain, the Laff moved away from the quality international fare favored by former programmer David Ansen to embrace its indie roots and chase world premieres from under-represented demographics.

It’s a worthy-minded strategy, but the result was a lineup
See full article at Indiewire »

Sundance 2017: Newness Film Review

Author: Ty Cooper

In the age of social media apps such as Tinder, the way we view and define relationships is ever changing. As a society we are moving towards a dangerous code of ethics that holds instant gratification above all else. When love and sex can be found at the speed of your finger swiping across a screen, what are the consequences? How does this constant bombardment of eligible suitors affect us in this day and age? How are the concepts of truth and privacy going to be defined going forward? With Newness, Director Drake Doremus tackles these questions and more.

Director Drake Doremus and Screenwriter Ben York Jones have a working friendship that dates back to their 2010 Sundance collaborative debut Douchebag. Since then, they have collaborated on a string of runaway Sundance successes that has helped pull them out from shadows, and propelled them into powerhouse status. With Newness,
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Sundance Film Review: ‘Newness’

Sundance Film Review: ‘Newness’
Newness,” Drake Doremus’ drama about love in the age of the endless sex-shopping-mall hookup app, is a movie that wants to look and feel like “life.” It’s shot with a handheld camera, and with a lot of quick cuts and natural light — though this translates into every room being cast in slate-gray shadow, as if life were the ultimate designer beer commercial. (One of the film’s producers is Ridley Scott, who along with his brother Tony pioneered this sort of thing making British TV commercials in the 1980s; it’s nice to know that some traditions live on.) Gliding through the murk of existential images are a lot of very pretty millennials, notably the two leads: Nicholas Hoult as the world’s sexiest pharmacist, and Laia Costa as an expatriate from Barcelona who’s working as a physical therapist. Tale, pale, and lightly bearded, Hoult looks like Ethan Hawke
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Sundance Past & Present: Seven Hair-Raising Lessons from Returning Filmmakers

Sundance Past & Present: Seven Hair-Raising Lessons from Returning Filmmakers
Filmmakers around the world harbor the same fantasy: I’m going to make a film so good that it will play the Sundance Film Festival, score rave reviews, sell in an overnight bidding war for a multi-million-dollar minimum guarantee to a major theatrical buyer, open in packed theaters around the country, and launch my career.

Right.

Truth is, this hardly ever happens. We checked in with a group of lauded Sundance filmmakers, all who are returning to the festival this year with new films, to glean what they learned the hard way from their Sundance experiences.

1. Manage expectations.

Alex Ross Perry (“Golden Exits”): My first time was with “Listen Up Philip” [2014], which was a huge step forward from my last movie, “The Color Wheel,” which I made for $25,000 with all my friends. This was a sizable, produced movie with a cast of well-known people [Jason Schwartzman, Elizabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce]. The first days was all
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Sundance Past & Present: Seven Hair-Raising Lessons from Returning Filmmakers

Sundance Past & Present: Seven Hair-Raising Lessons from Returning Filmmakers
Filmmakers around the world harbor the same fantasy: I’m going to make a film so good that it will play the Sundance Film Festival, score rave reviews, sell in an overnight bidding war for a multi-million-dollar minimum guarantee to a major theatrical buyer, open in packed theaters around the country, and launch my career.

Right.

Truth is, this hardly ever happens. We checked in with a group of lauded Sundance filmmakers, all who are returning to the festival this year with new films, to glean what they learned the hard way from their Sundance experiences.

1. Manage expectations.

Alex Ross Perry (“Golden Exits”): My first time was with “Listen Up Philip” [2014], which was a huge step forward from my last movie, “The Color Wheel,” which I made for $25,000 with all my friends. This was a sizable, produced movie with a cast of well-known people [Jason Schwartzman, Elizabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce]. The first days was all
See full article at Indiewire »

Bring On the Bidding Wars: 14 Movies That Could Sell Big at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival

  • Indiewire
Bidding wars have already begun for the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Buyers snapped up six titles in the days leading up to the fest, including one that A24 purchased sight unseen: David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story,” starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. Other movies acquired in the past two weeks are “Berlin Syndrome” (Netflix), “Call Me By Your Name” (Sony Pictures Classics), “Casting JonBenet” (Netflix), “Cries From Syria” (HBO for television rights) and “Long Strange Trip” (Amazon).

Read More: Sundance 2017: Netflix, Vertical Acquire ‘Berlin Syndrome’

With 120 features playing at Sundance, there are plenty of hot titles remaining for acquisition executive, though it will be tough for any film to exceed last year’s $17.5 million purchase of “The Birth of a Nation” by Fox Searchlight, the biggest deal in the festival’s history.

Which movies are likely to have buyers lining up in the cold this year? Here are 14 hot
See full article at Indiewire »

Sundance 2017: Inside Drake Doremus’ Secretive Online Dating Film ‘Newness’

  • Indiewire
Sundance 2017: Inside Drake Doremus’ Secretive Online Dating Film ‘Newness’
The new Drake Doremus movie “Newness” is the rare film that was kept a secret almost by accident. A last-minute addition to the Sundance Film Festival, the movie was financed and produced so quickly that the filmmaking team skipped the usual casting announcements and other publicity efforts that accompany most Hollywood movies. It’s not that the producers tried to fly under the radar – they were just too busy making the actual movie.

Read More: Sundance 2017: ‘Newness’ and ‘Trumped: Inside the Greatest Political Upset of All Time’ Added to Lineup

Doremus’ fourth film to premiere in Park City after “Douchebag,” “Like Crazy” and “Breathe In,” the movie stars Nicholas Hoult and Laia Costa as a couple in contemporary Los Angeles navigating the world of online dating and social media–driven hookup culture. The film co-stars Matthew Gray Gubler, Courtney Eaton, Danny Huston and Courtney Eaton.

Newness” writer Ben York Jones (“Like Crazy,
See full article at Indiewire »

Sundance 2017: ‘Newness’ and ‘Trumped: Inside the Greatest Political Upset of All Time’ Added to Lineup

  • Indiewire
Sundance 2017: ‘Newness’ and ‘Trumped: Inside the Greatest Political Upset of All Time’ Added to Lineup
Two new films have just been added to this year’s Sundance Film Festival: Drake Doremus’ “Newness” and Banks Tarver, Ted Bourne and Mary Robertson’s “Trumped: Inside the Greatest Political Upset of All Time.” The former marks Doremus’ fourth film to premiere in Park City after “Douchebag,” “Like Crazy” and “Breathe In,” while the latter continues Sundance’s tradition of ultra-timely political documentaries.

Read More: ‘A Ghost Story’: David Lowery’s Sundance Drama Starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara Acquired by A24

Nicholas Hoult, Laia Costa, Danny Huston and Courtney Eaton star in “Newness,” which the program notes describe thusly: “In contemporary Los Angeles, two millennials navigating a social media–driven hookup culture begin a relationship that pushes both emotional and physical boundaries.” Mark Halperin, John Heilemann and Mark McKinnon feature in “Trumped,” meanwhile, which follows its subject’s unlikely election last November.

Read More: Sundance 2017: Sony Pictures Classics
See full article at Indiewire »

Los Angeles Film Festival Faces New Era As Director Stephanie Allain Moves On

The Stephanie Allain era of Film Independent’s Los Angeles Film Festival is over.

The prolific producer (“Beyond the Lights”) is leaving her role of five years as director of the summer festival to spend more time on her first avocation. She will be replaced by another independent producer, Jennifer Cochis (“Smashed”), who for the past two years worked closely as Creative Director with Allain on all aspects of the festival.

Allain is currently in production on Justin Simien’s Netflix series “Dear White People,” in post-production on Gerard McMurray’s “Burning Sands” and prepping Clark Johnson’s “Juanita,” set to star Alfre Woodard.

Film Independent President Josh Welsh has watched Cochis move up from Senior Programmer to Creative Director, he said in a statement. Working with Allain, she was instrumental in “turning the Festival into a powerful platform for discovering new and diverse talent.”

Promoting Allain’s protege suggests
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

Los Angeles Film Festival Faces New Era As Director Stephanie Allain Moves On

The Stephanie Allain era of Film Independent’s Los Angeles Film Festival is over.

The prolific producer (“Beyond the Lights”) is leaving her role of five years as director of the summer festival to spend more time on her first avocation. She will be replaced by another independent producer, Jennifer Cochis (“Smashed”), who for the past two years worked closely as Creative Director with Allain on all aspects of the festival.

Allain is currently in production on Justin Simien’s Netflix series “Dear White People,” in post-production on Gerard McMurray’s “Burning Sands” and prepping Clark Johnson’s “Juanita,” set to star Alfre Woodard.

Film Independent President Josh Welsh has watched Cochis move up from Senior Programmer to Creative Director, he said in a statement. Working with Allain, she was instrumental in “turning the Festival into a powerful platform for discovering new and diverse talent.”

Promoting Allain’s protege suggests
See full article at Indiewire »

Jennifer Cochis Replaces Stephanie Allain as L.A. Film Festival Director

Stephanie Allain has stepped down as the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival and been replaced by Jennifer Cochis, who has been the festival’s creative director.

Allain, whose credits include “Hustle & Flow” and “Beyond the Lights,” said she want to focus on producing. She’s in production on Justin Simien’s Netflix series “Dear White People” and in post production on Gerard McMurray’s “Burning Sands.” She’s also prepping “Juanita,” an Alfre Woodard vehicle to be directed by Clark Johnson.

Jennifer Cochis is a brilliant new force on the Festival scene and I am extremely happy to have her step into this new role,” said Film Independent president Josh Welsh. “She brings so much experience, intelligence and passion to everything she does. She’s worked closely with the mighty Stephanie Allain on the Festival for the past two years, first as Senior Programmer and then as Creative Director,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

‘Equals’ Rights: Plagiarism Accusation Ignites Behind-the-Scenes Battle Over Costume Design

‘Equals’ Rights: Plagiarism Accusation Ignites Behind-the-Scenes Battle Over Costume Design
Credit wars are a fact of Hollywood life that’s rarely laid bare. Those involved are often intimidated by the possible consequences, and the backstories aren’t simple; there’s the question of whether they’ll be believed, or if anyone really has the patience to hear them out.

The battle over costume design credits on “Equals” is different.

Read More: ‘Equals’ Review – Kristen Stewart Is The Only Bright Spot In This Dull Dystopian Romance

Directed by the Sundance-winning Drake Doremus, “Equals” stars Kristen Stewart and Nicolas Hoult. Two costume designers are officially credited to the production: In first position is Abby O’Sullivan, a veteran whose credits included “Frozen River,” “Sinister,” and “Mississippi Grind.” In second position, Alana Morshead, who was an actress and stylist when she started collaborating with Doremus on the film.

However, according to O’Sullivan and others who worked on the film’s costumes, Morshead
See full article at Indiewire »

Short Film: "I Could Tell You, But I'd Really Have To Kill You"

Here's an entertaining short film from director Max Sherman titled "But I'd Really Have To Kill You" that pokes fun at the inane small talk that happens all the time in office environments. This hit Vimeo a few months ago, but I'm just catching it now thanks to GeeksAreSexy. It made me laugh, so I figured I'd pass it along in case you haven't seen it yet. Any of you who have worked in a place like this will almost certainly find that it rings true. Ben York Jones (Douchebag, Like Crazy) and Tim Baltz (Drunk History) star.
See full article at GeekTyrant »

Watch: Kristen Stewart & Nicholas Hoult Begin To Show Love In The First Clip From Drake Doremus’ ‘Equals’

One of the earliest “mumblecore” directors to leave that tag behind and never look back, Drake Doremus' post-“Spooner” and “Douchebag” career has been spent exploring heartache in many different flavors. “Like Crazy” looked at the difficulties of long-distance relationships in young love, and “Breathe In” explored a May/December relationship between a married man and his young musical pupil. Doremus is not done with love and emotion, but for his next film he’s examining the heart through the lens of science-fiction. Read More: Venice Review: Drake Doremus' 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, Nicholas Hoult, Guy Pearce & Jacki Weaver His latest is the sci-fi romance “Equals,” and it's set in a futuristic, utopian society where where inhabitants have been bred to be peaceful and emotionless. Complications arise when a man and woman fall in love in a civilization that has eradicated such notions. "Equals" stars Nicholas Hoult,
See full article at The Playlist »

2015 Sundance Film Festival Predictions List: An Introduction

Whether you are a filmmaker, or one of the Sundance programmers whose task it is to identify the films that make up a line-up, it is indeed the most wonderful, panic-filled and nerve racking time of the year. The 31st edition of the Sundance Film Festival kicks off on January 22nd with Park City and Salt Lake City playing host to some of the more innovative, thought-provoking narrative and non-fiction films of 2015. Last year, a Jenga tall order of 4,057 features and 8,161 shorts were submitted. Now let’s think about those numbers for a second.

Twenty years ago, Terry Zwigoff’s Crumb claimed the Grand Jury Prize Documentary award, Living in Oblivion‘s Tom Dicillo was honored with the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, and Edward Burns’ micro-budgeted The Brothers McMullen (there is a read-worthy, lively, eleventh hour account on how it was submitted to the fest in Ted Hope’s “Hope
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

First Look: Kristen Stewart & Nicholas Hoult In Drake Doremus’ Sci-Fi Film ‘Equals’

It’s always fascinating to see a filmmaker progress and grow. Drake Doremus’ early indie films like “Spooner” and “Douchebag” were lumped in with the lo-fi mumblecore movement, but he quickly expanded beyond that realm with the touching long-distance romance “Like Crazy,” a film that introduced many to Felicity Jones and even featured an early role by Jennifer Lawrence. While maintaining his free-form style—a lot of improvisation built around loosely visualized scenes—his approach is a method, not a madness, and each film grows with confidence. His last picture, “Breathe In,” illustrated how heavyweights like Guy Pearce and Amy Ryan effortlessly fit into this exploratory form. He even discovered another new stand-out in Mackenzie Davis. For his next trick, Doremus is attempting something very different, a traditionally scripted sci-fi film, and one with a terrific cast. Starring Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult, plus Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver Kate Lyn Sheil and Toby.
See full article at The Playlist »

Tracking Shot: Van Sant, Doremus, Guadagnino & Reed Morano Shooting This August

“Tracking Shot” is a monthly featurette here on Ioncinema.com that looks at a dozen or so projects that are moments away from lensing (or in a couple of titles below have been shooting since July). This August we’ve got a good number of projects that will start surfacing as early as next year’s Sundance, Rotterdam and Berlin Film Fests. With Dakota Johnson having been just announced, we’ve got Luca Guadagnino’s long awaited (remake) A Bigger Splash, getting ready for a poolside shoot. Gus Van Sant comes out of the woodworks to move into the woods for Sea of Trees. Sundance alumni Rick Alverson is wrapping up Entertainment, Reed Morano is set to make her directorial debut this mid-August with Meadowland, while Douchebag, Like Crazy, Breathe In‘s Drake Doremus is stationed in Japan for a weighty cast and futuristic tale in Equals. Here are some
See full article at IONCINEMA.com »

Breathe In

As a fan of Drake Doremus’ earlier films, Douchebag and Like Crazy, I must admit to being disappointed with Breathe In. Doremus and his writing partner Ben York Jones’ working method is unorthodox: they call upon their actors to flesh out a blueprint-style script and improvise almost all of their dialogue. With hours of material resulting from every shooting day, the final draft is crafted during months of editing. This process has paid off nicely in the past, and once again they have hired good actors for their leading roles: Guy Pearce (playing American), Felicity Jones (from Like Crazy), Amy Ryan, and newcomer Mackenzie Davis. But the set-up this time around is painfully...

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See full article at Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy »

Interview: Drake Doremus Talks Improvised Slow Boil Of 'Breathe In' & What's Coming In 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart

At the ripe old age of (almost) 31, writer/director Drake Doremus already has an enviable filmography, including festival favorites “Douchebag” and “Like Crazy,” the latter of which introduced American audiences to the charms of one Felicity Jones. If that’s not enough to give aspiring filmmakers apoplexy, his latest film, “Breathe In”—which premiered at Sundance in 2013—opens this week, and his next feature, “Equals,” is already brewing, starring Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult in a futuristic setting (though Doremus is not quite ready to talk about it yet). “Breathe In” once again stars Jones, this time as a British foreign exchange student named Sophie, who disrupts the lives of her host family in upstate New York. Keith (a simmering Guy Pearce) and Megan (the always-rock-solid Amy Ryan) have become complacent—and sometimes bitter—in their marriage, and they don’t quite know how to handle their teenage daughter Lauren (relative newcomer Mackenzie Davis,
See full article at The Playlist »
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