The 64th Berlin Film Festival will pay tribute to British director Ken Loach with an honorary Golden Bear at a presentation ceremony that will feature a screening of his 1993 Cannes Jury Prize winner Raining Stones. Berlin Fest chief Dieter Kosslick calls Loach, “one of Europe’s great directors… His profound interest in people and their individual fates, as well as his critical commitment to society have found expression in a variety of cinematic approaches.” One of Loach’s early successes, Cathy Come Home, aired on the BBC in 1966, drawing 12 million viewers. The docudrama about a young working-class family that slides into homelessness and is subsequently separated, received such an influx of support at the time that it crashed the BBC switchboard. Among other highlights of the director’s oeuvre are Land And Freedom (1995), My Name Is Joe (1998), Bread And Roses (2000), The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006), Looking For Eric (2009) and 2012 comedy The Angel’s Share. He has appeared in Berlin several times, most recently with 2013′s The Spirit Of ’45. The Berlinale will run a retrospective of 10 of Loach’s films to commemorate the award.
The Berlin Film Festival has added George Clooney‘s The Monuments Men to its official program. This is the second film announced by the fest which kicks off on February 6th. Both Monuments Men and the recently-set Berlin opener The Grand Budapest Hotel were shot in Germany. This will be the international premiere of Monuments Men, which is based on a true story and focuses on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by the Allies with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. The subject is especially timely given that just this week, about 1,500 works of art were discovered in a Munich apartment, allegedly including pieces by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Paul Klee, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Edvard Munch and Emil Nolde. “Over five million cultural assets stolen by the Nazis were returned to their countries of origin in the years following World War II. As the recent discovery in Munich demonstrates, the art theft of that time is as current as ever. The Monuments Men finally gives this little-known subject a worldwide audience,” said festival director Dieter Kosslick. This is Clooney’s second directorial appearance in the official program after 2003′s Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind. Clooney also co-wrote, produced and stars in Monuments Men with Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John …
Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel will debut as the opening night film of the Berlin Film Festival on February 6, 2014. Anderson returns to the festival with this world premiere after his The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou and The Royal Tennenbaums ran there in competition in 2005 and 2002, respectively. Anderson shot Budapest Hotel, a UK-German co-production, in Gorlitz, Germany and other parts of Saxony, as well as at Studio Babelsberg in Potsdam. Berlin chief Dieter Kosslick said today, “We are very delighted… With unmistakeable Wes Anderson charm, this comedy promises to kick things off in a big way.” The film recounts the adventures of a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune. Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori star with F Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Tom Wilkinson and Owen Wilson. Fox Searchlight releases in the U.S. on March 7th.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Jean-Philippe Tirel’s Selective Films, Berlin Film Festival Honors, Nine Entertainment Recapitalization
Wild Bunch’s Jean-Philippe Tirel To Hang Acquisitions Shingle
After eight years running Wild Bunch Distribution, Jean-Philippe Tirel is setting out on his own. The exec, who worked at Studiocanal before joining Wild Bunch, helped to launch the company’s successful French distribution arm. He’ll now launch his own acquisitions boutique, Selective Films, backed by private investors and looking to acquire three to four non-French films per year for the French market. Selective will also soon announce a non-exclusive first-look deal with a major French distributor. Tirel’s strong track record includes getting an early jump on and shepherding such local hits as Paranormal Activity, The King’s Speech and Piranha. He also led Wild Bunch Distribution in its release of Little Nicolas which was 2009’s top-grossing French film. Tirel says he’ll acquire a majority of American films and start the buying in Cannes.
The Berlin Film Festival has rounded out the panel of judges who will hand out Golden and Silver Bears next month. Wong Kar Wai is jury president this year and his The Grandmaster officially opens the festival out of competition on February 7. Joining him on the jury are actor/director Tim Robbins whose Dead Man Walking was a Berlin contender in 1996; Danish director Susanne Bier; German director Andreas Dresen, a Silver Bear winner for Grill Point in 2002; American director and cinematographer Ellen Kuras; Iranian-born director and artist Shirin Neshat and Greek director and producer Athina Rachel Tsangari. Among the titles vying for prizes in Berlin are Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain, Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects, David Gordon Green’s Prince Avalanche and Bruno Dumont’s Camille Claudel 1915. Coincidentally, Dumont also had a film in the running in Cannes in 2006 when Wong was jury president there, and that picture, Flandres, won the Grand Prize that year. The Berlin fest runs from February 7-17.
The Berlin Film Festival has rounded out the official lineup, with 24 films in the program. Of those, 19 will compete for Golden and Silver Bears. Titles added to the previously announced films include the late River Phoenix’s last film, Dark Blood, and Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, both screening out of competition, and David Gordon Greene’s Prince Avalanche in competition. Prince Avalanche and Before Midnight are premiering in Sundance. Berlin runs from February 7-17. The full list of additions is below:
By Richard Linklater
With Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
International Premiere / out of competition
By George Sluizer
With River Phoenix († 1993), Judy Davis, Jonathan Pryce, Karen Black
International Premiere / out of competition
Berlin Unveils Special Gala Screenings
The Berlin Film Festival has lined up its special gala screenings of recently released works followed by discussions with some of the filmmakers. Among the films to be shown are Ken Loach’s documentary The Spirit Of ’45, Jane Campion’s TV miniseries Top Of The Lake, Giuseppe Tornatore’s The Best Offer, Michael Winterbottom’s The Look Of Love, Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables and Raoul Peck documentary Fatal Assistance.
The Berlin Film Festival has completed the lineup for its Panorama and Panorama Special program. Thirty-one features from 23 countries will make up the sections which organizers say “bring back memories of the early 1980s to the mid 1990s when U.S. independent cinema was a trademark” of the sidebar. Among the U.S. entries are Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, Travis Mathews and James Franco‘s Interior. Leather Bar. and Maladies starring Franco, Catherine Keener and David Strathairn. The main Panorama section will open with Georgian director Zaza Rusadze’s debut, A Fold In My Blanket and the Panorama Special will open with Nanouk Leopold’s Dutch-German co-production It’s All So Quiet, starring the recently deceased Jeroen Willems. Previously announced titles in the section include Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, Don Jon’s Addiction. The fest runs February 7-17. Click over for the full list of new additions.
The Grandmaster is an epic martial arts drama set against the tumultuous backdrop of 1930’s China and inspired by the life and times of the legendary IP Man (Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai), mentor to Bruce LEE. The plot encompasses themes of war, family, revenge, desire, love, and memory. The all-star cast headed by Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai (Days of Being Wild – Berlinale Forum 1991, Chungking Express, Happy Together, In The Mood for Love, 2046, all directed by WONG Kar Wai), also includes Ziyi ZHANG (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, D: Ang Lee), who was a guest at the 2009 Berlinale Competition with Forever Enthralled (D: CHEN Kaige), CHANG Chen (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon; Eros, D: WONG Kar Wai), ZHAO Benshan (Happy Times, D: ZHANG Yimou), XIAO Shengyang (A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop, D: ZHANG Yimou – Berlinale Competition 2010) and SONG Hye Kyo (A Reason to Live, D: LEE Jeong-hyang), as well as hundreds of Asia’s top martial artists.
Berlin Film Festival Unveils First Competition Titles; DreamWorks Animation’s ‘The Croods’ Gets Out-Of-Competition World Premiere
The Berlin Film Festival has named the first titles slotted to compete at the 63rd running of the event in February. They include the world premiere of the latest film in Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise series and the international premiere of Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land with, and written by, Matt Damon and John Krasinski. DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods will also get a world premiere, out of competition. This year’s fest runs February 7-17. The full list is below and includes the first Berlinale Special selection:
By Sebastián Lelio
With Paulina García, Sergio Hernández
Nugu-ui Ttal-do Anin (Nobody’s Daughter Haewon)
Republic of Korea
By Hong Sangsoo
With Eunchae Jung, Sunkyun Lee
Paradies: Hoffnung (Paradise: Hope)
By Ulrich Seidl
With Melanie Lenz, Vivian Bartsch, Joseph Lorenz, Michael Thomas
Global Showbiz Briefs: Nat Geo Channel Picks Up ‘Highway Thru Hell’, Al Clark Honored, Jackie Chan, Berlin Film Festival
‘Highway Thru Hell’ Lands At Nat Geo US
Beyond Distribution has sold Highway Thru Hell, a documentary series examining the treacherous trucking route, the Coquihalla Highway in British Columbia, to National Geographic Channel U.S., where it will premiere next February. Produced by Vancouver’s Great Pacific Media, the docu was commissioned by Discovery Canada where it posted the highest series debut in the channel’s history in September. The eight-part series follows the heavy rescue team as it attends the scenes of numerous wrecks, removing often dangerous cargo, cleaning up twisted metal and clearing the roads.- Don Groves
The Berlin Film Festival has completed the roster for its Panorama program, adding 11 features including Stephen Elliot’s Cherry with James Franco, Lili Taylor and Heather Graham. In total, there are 53 features in the sidebar. Of the 53, 34 productions from 37 countries are screening as world premieres. The festival has also announced that on February 17, director Ulrike Ottinger and Andy Warhol fixture Mario Montez will receive Special Teddy awards as part of the Queer Film Award ceremony. New additions to the Panorama section follow:
Bugis Street Redux
By Yonfan, Hong Kong
With Hiep Thi Le, Michael Lam, Greg-O, Ernest Seah
By Stephen Elliott, USA
With Ashley Hinshaw, James Franco, Heather Graham, Dev Patel, Lili Taylor
By Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza, Columbia
With Karent Hinestroza, Esteban Copete, Fabio García, Daniela Mosquera, Jesús Benavides
The 62nd Berlin International Film Festival will open at the Berlinale Palast on February 9, 2012 with the world premiere of the period drama Les Adieux à la reine (Farewell My Queen) that features such international stars as Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds), Léa Seydoux (Midnight in Paris) and Virginie Ledoyen (Army of Crime).
In a screen adaptation of Chantal Thomas’ prize-winning novel of the same name, French Director Benoît Jacquot (Tosca, Villa Amalia, Deep in the Woods, among others) portrays the first days of the French Revolution from the perspective of the servants at Versailles. With ironic overtones, a historical drama unfolds that also draws parallels to the present.
Versailles in July 1789. Unrest is growing in the court of King Louis the XVI. The people are rebelling – a revolution is imminent. Behind the facades of the royal palaces, everyone is thinking of fleeing, including Queen Marie Antoinette (Diane Kruger) and her entourage. Among her ladies-in-waiting is Sidonie Laborde (Léa Seydoux) who as the Queen’s reader has become quite intimate with her. With great amazement, Sidonie experiences the first hours of the French Revolution.
The French-Spanish co-production Les Adieux à la reine will participate in the competition of the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival.
The Berlin Film Festival has announced the first 20 out of a total 50 titles for its Panorama section. Included are works by Volker Schlöndorff, Tony Gatlif, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang and Hou Hsiao-hsien. Gatlif’s Indignados, which touches on the Occupy movement and is inspired by Stéphane Hessel’s book Time For Outrage!, is one of two opening films for the Panorama Special series. The other is Malgoska Szumowska’s Elles starring Juliette Binoche. The remainder of the lineup will be announced throughout January. Below is a list of titles thus far:
10+10 by Hou Hsiao-hsien, Wang Toon, Wu Nien-Jen, Sylvia Chang, Chen Guo-Fu, Wei Te-Sheng, Chung Meng-Hung, Chang Tso-Chi, Arvin Chen, Yang Ya-Che and others, Taiwan
Death For Sale by Faouzi Bensaïdi, France
With Fehd Benchemsi, Fouad Labiad, Mouhcine Malzi, Imane Elmechrafi, Faouzi Bensaïdi
Die Wand (The Wall) by Julian Roman Pölsler, Austria/Germany
With Martina Gedeck
Dollhouse by Kirsten Sheridan, Ireland
With Seana Kerslake, Jonny Ward, Ciaran McCabe, Kate Brennan, Shane Curry
Producers Jeff Sackman and Michael Baker today announced that they will remake the horror classic Shivers, David Cronenberg’s first feature film. That film, highlighted with a special screening at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, broke ground with its boundary-pushing sexuality and violence in its original release, nearly 40 years ago.
Shivers will be directed by award-winning Danish filmmaker Rie Rasmussen from a screenplay written by Ian Driscoll. Sackman and Baker will produce through their respective companies, TAJJ Media and Bunk 11 Pictures. Working with them as executive producer is the film’s original executive producer, André Link. Shivers will begin shooting in February 2014, with casting currently underway.
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘X Factor’ Musical; Hugh Jackman Honored In Zurich; Beijing Fest In Venice & More
London’s ‘X Factor’ Musical Finds Its Simon Cowell
Nigel Harman, the former Eastenders star who has a role in Season 4 of Downton Abbey, has been tapped to play a character based on Simon Cowell in I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical. The show will be directed by Olivier Award-winner and Tony Award-nominee, Sean Foley. It’s set to premiere at the London Palladium on March 26, 2014. Cowell and Sony Music’s joint venture Syco Entertainment is partnering with Stage Entertainment UK to launch the show that’s written by British comedian Harry Hill.
Hugh Jackman Honored At Zurich Film Festival
Hugh Jackman will receive the Golden Icon Award at the Zurich Film Festival which runs September 26 – October 6. The fest’s most prestigious symbol of recognition is awarded “in appreciation of the lifetime achievements of an actor or actress.” Jackman’s latest film, Prisoners, will be screened at the fest. “Hugh Jackman is in a class by himself as a multi-talented entertainer with a global following,” said fest co-director Karl Spoerri. “There is nothing he can’t do and he proves this time and time again with every project he’s involved in. We’re honored to recognize his brilliant career at the Zurich Film Festival.”
Toronto-based documentary filmmaker and activist John Greyson has been detained in Cairo along with his traveling partner Dr. Tarek Loubani. A mutual friend of the pair, Justin Podur, told media this weekend that Loubani called him at 10PM local time on Friday to say he and Greyson were being arrested by Egyptian police. The timing reportedly means they were out after a curfew imposed on the city amid the upheaval there. Their whereabouts are currently unconfirmed. Greyson won a Teddy at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival for his documentary Fig Trees and received a special jury citation at the Toronto Film Festival for his 1993 feature Zero Patience. In 2009, he caused a stir when he pulled his short, Covered, from Toronto in protest over a planned spotlight on films from Tel Aviv. Greyson and Loubani were headed to Gaza where Loubani was to carry out medical relief work. Greyson was joining him to do some exploratory work, Podur told The Toronto Star, but the border was closed. A spokeswoman for Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs said the embassy in Cairo “is in contact with local authorities and we are prepared to provide consular assistance.”
EXCLUSIVE: Martin Scorsese is lending his support to the upcoming Weinstein Company release of The Grandmaster, the film directed by Wong Kar Wai. Scorsese will lend his name in presentation of the kung fu film, and above the line it will read Martin Scorsese Presents The Grandmaster when TWC releases the film theatrically in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto on August 23 and nationwide on August 30. Wong has directed such films as Chungking Express, 2046 and My Blueberry Nights, and The Grandmaster stars Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, and Chang Chen and is executive produced by Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison. The film opened the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. “Wong Kar Wai has turned martial arts into a modern dance,” Scorsese said.
Global Showbiz Briefs: IMAX In Israel, BSkyB Scores, FIFA Reviews World Cup In 3D, ‘Summer In February’ Lines Up International & More
IMAX president Richard Gelfond told the Israeli Presidential Conference today that the experience of going to the movies will always appeal despite the proliferation of mobile devices. “People are social animals and I don’t think they want to be chained to their couches, mobile devices and tablets. They want to go out,” Gelfond said, according to Reuters. “They recognize the fact that Steven Spielberg and James Cameron may be better at telling a story than a 16-year-old over the Internet. I think they can exist side by side.” Also on Thursday, IMAX and Germany’s largest exhibitor CineStar Cinemas said they would partner to put an IMAX theater at the CineStar Sony Centre in Berlin. The giant Potzdamer Platz multiplex hosts big film premiers and is familiar to Berlin Film Festival regulars. The new theater will eventually transition to IMAX’s next-generation laser digital projection system which boasts greater brightness and clarity, a wider color gamut and deeper blacks. IMAX EMEA president Andrew Cripps noted that Germany is an under-penetrated market for the company where it is looking to expand.