EXCLUSIVE: Jennifer Konawal, formerly an agent at Gersh, has joined Washington Square Films as a manager. Based out of New York, she reps actors, writers and directors and brings her clients including Ruby Sparks‘ Zoe Kazan, Martha Marcy May Marlene‘s Louisa Krause and King Kelly director Andrew Neel. “Jennifer is a perfect fit for us” said Washington Square Films president Joshua Blum. “She has great taste, she has incredible energy, and has solid relationships in the industry on both coasts.” The Washington Square Films talent stable includes Kerry Washington, Dule Hill, Jennifer Esposito, Sarita Choudhury, Victor Rasuk, Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin and Nicole Kassell. Films produced include Margin Call and Wendy And Lucy, as well as the upcoming J.C. Chandor-directed Robert Redford-starrer All Is Lost, which premieres at Cannes.
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Trance’, ‘Upstream Color’, ‘Simon Killer’, ‘Free Angela & All Political Prisoners’, ‘Lotus Eaters’, ‘The Company You Keep’, ‘The Brass Teapot’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor
This week’s Specialty newcomers include Danny Boyle’s Trance from Fox Searchlight, IFC Films’ Simon Killer and self-distributed Sundance favorite Upstream Color. Trance will likely be the juggernaut of the group with its star-power in the form of James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassel, though Upstream Color could prove a hefty presence due to strong word of mouth and a loyal following from fans of Shane Carruth’s previous film, Primer. And the folks behind 2011 hit Martha Marcy May Marlene are opening Simon Killer, a dark drama set in Paris, via IFC Films. Free Angela & All Political Prisoners is this week’s documentary newcomer, while Lotus Eaters hopes to carve itself a piece of the limited release box office pie. Also set to bow, Robert Redford’s thriller The Company You Keep. The specialty world, meanwhile, took pause today as the news of Roger Ebert’s death spread. The famed critic will be remembered for being a champion of movies big and small and will be sorely missed.
As part of its overall deal with Boyle, Searchlight has been on board Trance from the very start. “This is our sixth film we’ve done with Danny starting with 28 Days Later 10 years ago in 2003, and we’ve had a fabulous time,” Searchlight co-president Steve Gilula said in introducing the film at its New York premiere, hosted by The Cinema Society. “The one thing about Danny as a visionary filmmaker is he challenges us and challenges the audience and expects us to go with him…” Boyle introduced co-stars Dawson and Cassel before the screening in Chelsea, noting about the film: “What happens in the movie is deeply, deeply unethical,” he noted to laughs from an audience that included Patrick Stewart, Emma Watson, Kathleen Turner, Gina Gershon and Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson. “But it is clinically possible…”
Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Trance’
EXCLUSIVE: Cullen Conly, who has been Manager of the Feature Film Program of the Sundance Institute, has joined ICM Partners as a lit agent in its Motion Picture Department. At Sundance, he was involved in selection and project support for the Screenwriters Labs, Directors Labs and the New Frontier Story Labs. Among the filmmakers he helped nurture there are Beasts Of The Southern Wild‘s Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, Fruitvale‘s Ryan Coogler, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ David Lowery, Martha Marcy May Marlene‘s Sean Durkin, Compliance‘s Craig Zobel and Nobody Walks‘ Lena Dunham and Ry Russo-Young.
Before Sundance, Conly worked in development and production at Paramount Vantage. He joins ICM Partners in May.
EXCLUSIVE: Broadway actress Nina Arianda has been cast in Megan Griffiths’ Lucky Them, the Joanne Woodward-produced comedy shepherded by the late Paul Newman before his death. Arianda will play the best friend to Toni Collette‘s Ellie, a rock journalist assigned to track down her own musician ex (Thomas Haden Church). Oliver Platt, Ryan Eggold, and Ahna O’Reilly are also onboard for the pic, which began filming last weekend in Seattle. Arianda, a Tony-winner with multiple stage honors, continues to cross over into film after appearing in Win Win, Higher Ground, Midnight In Paris, and Tower Heist; she also guest-starred last year on 30 Rock. Arianda is attached to play — and sing as — Janis Joplin in the big screen biopic Joplin, from Martha Marcy May Marlene director Sean Durkin. She’s repped by ICM.
EXCLUSIVE: Julia Garner has joined the cast of Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, which is now filming in Austin at Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios. Garner, an up-and-comer whose credits include Martha Marcy May Marlene and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, will play a young stripper opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Johnny in the follow-up to 2005′s Sin City, adapted from Miller’s own graphic novel series.
The Casting Society of America tonight announced the winners of the 28th Annual Artios Awards for outstanding achievement in casting. The Big Budget Feature Drama award went to Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee for The Help. Mindy Marin and Kara Lipson (Associate) received the Big Budget Feature Comedy award for Crazy, Stupid Love. There was a tie for Television Series Drama. The honor was shared by Mark Saks and John Andrews (Associate) for The Good Wife and Judy Henderson, Craig Fincannon (Location Casting), Lisa Mae Fincannon (Location Casting) for Homeland. Nicole Sullivan hosted the ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The New York ceremony was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy. Here is the complete list of winners:
In an interesting pairing, Martha Marcy May Marlene helmer Sean Durkin will make his British TV debut with Channel 4 drama Southcliffe, based on a script by Tony Grisoni, who wrote the Red Riding trilogy for the net in 2009. Warp Films is producing the four-part Southcliffe to be aired in 2013.
Following a raft of shootings in a fictional English market town, the story is told through the eyes of a journalist and the tragedies’ victims. Grisoni calls it an “anthem to ordinary people’s ability to reinvent themselves in the face of ultimate darkness.” His similarly-themed neo-noir Red Riding crime trilogy achieved cult status in 2009. It was released theatrically by IFC in the U.S.
Durkin, who won the Best Director prize in Sundance with Martha Marcy, is also directing the feature indie, Joplin, next year. The $20M pic looks at the last 6 months in the singer’s career and has Tony-winning actress Nina Arianda lined up to star. Southcliffe‘s cast has yet to be set. Derrin Schlesinger is producing Soutchliffe with Peter Carlton exec producing for Warp Films. Sophie Gardiner exec produces for Channel 4.
BREAKING: Veteran indie film producer Ted Hope has been named executive director of the San Francisco Film Society. He will start the job September 1. It is a surprise move. But Hope will leave New York City, where he was a pillar of the indie film movement through Good Machine, This Is That and Double Hope Films, to lead the Film Society into the future.
Hope succeeds Bingham Ray, who spent 10 months as the San Francisco Film Society’s executive director for only ten weeks before his untimely death during the Sundance Film Festival last January. Ray had just started the effort to reinvigorate the Film Society, bolstering its theatrical programming at SF Film Society Cinema, streamlining its communications and exploring dynamic digital initiatives intended to expand the reach of its film festival programs and educational efforts.
Ray in turn succeeded Graham Leggat, who served as the San Francisco Film Society’s executive director from October 2005 to June 2011 before his death from cancer in August 2011. Leggat oversaw the transformation of the organization from an annual fifteen-day film festival producer into a year-round cultural institution with a national impact, significantly increasing activity in all programmatic areas. The Film Society is 55 years old this year.
EXCLUSIVE: After her Tony Award-winning turn in Venus in Fur, Nina Arianda has gotten on Hollywood’s radar. She was just set to play Janis Joplin in the biopic to be directed by Martha Marcy May Marlene‘s Sean Durkin. Now, she has signed to play Italian film star Giulietta Masina, wife of filmmaker Federico Fellini, in Fellini Black and White. The film is being helmed by Henry Bromell, the consulting producer and writer of Homeland, and it’s produced by Andrew Lazar. Bromell wrote the script and shooting begins early next year. Arianda joins William H. Macy, Terrence Howard, Peter Dinklage, and Brazilian star Wagner Moura, who’ll play the iconic director.
Fellini Black and White takes place during Fellini and Masina’s visit to Los Angeles for the 1958 Academy Awards, where their film Nights of Cabiria won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Often called his muse, Masina was married to Fellini for fifty years until his passing in 1993, and she died months after her husband.
Arianda has also recently joined the cast of The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby starring Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. She emerged from NYU’s Graduate Acting Program and won the Venus in Fur audition with a single audition. She won the Tony for Best Lead Actress in a Play. She’s repped by ICM Partners.
Janis Joplin Feature Teams ‘Venus In Fur’ Tony-Winner Nina Arianda With ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ Helmer Sean Durkin
EXCLUSIVE: After recently winning the Tony for best actress in a play for Venus In Fur, Nina Arianda will make her screen-starring debut playing 1960s rock icon Janis Joplin. Joplin, a film that looks back on the final six months of the singer’s life with flashbacks to her early career, will be directed by Sean Durkin, whose feature debut Martha Marcy May Marlene won him a slew of festival acclaim including Best Director at Sundance.
Joplin will be made for a budget under $20 million, with production to start early next year, said producer Peter Newman, who with his partners have spent the last 12 years trying to put an indie film together with rights that include exclusive use of 21 of Joplin’s best-known songs. He said Arianda will sing Joplin’s tunes in the film, and that she has the chops to do justice to Joplin’s signature gritty sound.
The first official trailer for The Dark Knight Rises snared the top prize of Best In Show at the 13th Annual Golden Trailer Awards tonight at a mansion in Bel-Air. TDKR‘s trailer also took the trophy for Best Summer 2012 Blockbuster. It was a good year for women, organizers noted, with trailers and print promotions successfully promoting female protagonists in typically male-led genres. Snow White And The Huntsman took the prize for Best Action. The Bridesmaids red-band trailer (R-rated) earned Best Comedy and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo took Best Drama. Those two as well as all the other winning trailers are available to watch here. A print promotion displayed a similar pattern. The Hunger Games nabbed five Golden Trailers: Best Teaser Poster, Action Poster, Animation/Family Poster, Best Standee for Feature Film and Most Innovative Advertising for a Brand/Product.
UPDATE: 10PM Nominees have just been announced for the 13th Annual The Golden Trailer Awards for the best trailers produced over the past year. There are a lot — theatrical trailers have alone cover more than a dozen categories (Best Action, Horror, Thriller, Animation, Comedy et al) with five nominations apiece. Comprehensive list of nominees follows below.
EXCLUSIVE: PREVIOUS, 3PM: The Golden Trailer Awards has unveiled the jury for its 13th edition: Jon Favreau, Patton Oswalt, Ivan Reitman, Fox Searchlight’s Nancy Utley, ex-CBS Film topper Amy Baer, producer Dana Brunetti, Randall Emmett and George Furla of Emmett/Furla Films, Blumhouse Prods’ Jessica Hall, Anonymous Content’s Alix Madigan, Ruby Films’ Faye Ward, and production designer Stuart Wurtzel. Nominees are being worked out now, with winners in 16 main categories to be announced May 31. Last year, Brunetti’s The Social Network took four trophies, including Best In Show.
Nominees are listed in alphabetical order by Film Title
(Film Title, Studio, Trailer House)
Theatrical Trailers Nominees
GI Joe: Retaliation, Paramount Pictures, AV Squad
The Hunger Games “Trailer 2”, LIONSGATE, Mojo LLC
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol “Trailer 1”, Paramount Pictures, AV Squad
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Warner Bros., mOcean
Snow White and the Huntsman “Forever”, Universal Pictures, Wild Card
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, Columbia/Paramount, Ignition Creative
Hugo “Imagine,” Paramount Pictures, The Ant Farm
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, Paramount Pictures, TRANSIT
Mirror Mirror, Relativity Media, Trailer Park
The Muppets “Their Movie”, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Buddha Jones
Bernie, Millennium Entertainment, Cimarron Entertainment
Bridesmaids (Red Band Trailer), Universal Pictures, Workshop Creative
Rock of Ages, Warner Bros., Mojo LLC
Ted “Trailer 2 Red Band”, Universal Pictures, Vibe Creative, Inc.
Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil, Magnet, AV Squad
New York, NY – April 16, 2012 – The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), presented by founding partner American Express, today announced its jurors – a diverse group of 39 individuals, including award-winning filmmakers, writers and producers, acclaimed actors, respected critics and global business leaders. Irwin Winkler has been named President of the Jury. The Jury will be divided among the six competitive Festival categories and will announce the winning films, filmmakers and actors in those categories at the TFF Awards Night ceremony, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg on April 26, which will stream live on TribecaFilm.com. The 2012 Festival runs from April 18 –29.
EXCLUSIVE: Brady Corbet plays the title character in Antonio Campos’ Simon Killer, which premiered in competition at Sundance Film Festival in January. IFC Films will release the film directed by Antonio Campos in the fall. Last year, Corbet appeared in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia and Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene. He’s also appeared on TV shows Greetings From Tucson, Oliver Beene, The King Of Queens and 24. He continues to be repped by manager Brian Young.
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning writer-director Stacy Sherman (God Sleeps In Rwanda) and producer Billy Ray (The Hunger Games) have cast their comedy-drama Claire’s Cambodia. Set to star in the film are Mary Kay Place (Smashed), Sarah Paulson (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Mamie Gummer (Taking Woodstock) and India Muenez (Something In The Air). Also in the cast are Bridesmaid‘s Wendi McLendon-Covey (who is also set to star in HBO’s Darren Starr vehicle Viagra Diaries) as well as Casey Wilson and Joe Lo Truglio.
EXCLUSIVE: In an unprecedented move this late in Oscar season, two-time Academy Award winning actress and director Jodie Foster, with the help of her film’s distributor Summit Entertainment, is sending DVD screeners of The Beaver (the Mel Gibson film she directed and co-starred in) to the entire membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Summit tells me they expect to start shipping Monday so the Academy members should have this in their mailboxes by Wednesday.
That’s right. The Beaver. It’s NOT nominated for a single Oscar — or any other award for that matter. It opened and closed quickly last May in the wake of Gibson’s latest scandal and grossed just under $1 million in its brief, unsuccessful U.S. run. Although reviews were mixed it did receive a 69% fresh rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes and, despite his personal woes, Gibson got some of the best personal notices of his career. But when awards season arrived Summit nixed a campaign and did not send out screeners to the Academy as they did for two other movies, 50/50 and A Better Life (the first screener sent to Academy members on September 7).
The fact that there were no screeners and no Oscar nominations has not deterred Foster who feels strongly about her movie and wants it to be seen by her peers. In a letter that will accompany the DVD (read the letter here), Foster begins by writing: “It is unusual to get a screener after the Oscar nominations have been …
Sundance has no shortage of producers and producers-to-be scurrying around Park City. So Deadline has assembled a Top 10 to keep an eye on post-fest. Some are fairly new to producing while others more established but all their careers are moving up:
Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald – Beasts Of The Southern Wild
This trio’s credits producing shorts include Benh Zeitlin’s Glory At Sea. ButZeitlin’s much lauded Beasts Of The Southern Wild went from standing ovation to Fox Searchlight acquisition this week. They are all part of a filmmaking/artist group based in Louisiana dubbed Court 13, a self-described collective of “madcap artists and animators of junk that seek to tell huge stories out of small parts.” The group professes a DIY attitude to make “films about communities as a community.”
Jason Michael Berman - LUV
After producing a series of shorts in the early 2000s, Berman co-produced his first feature The Dry Land which screened in competition at 2010 Sundance and won Best New International Feature at Edinburgh. He returned to Sundance with Jess + Moss in 2011 in addition to producing two other films. LUV about a shy 11-year-old boy who forms a bond with his troubled uncle screened in competition. Currently he is completing Brian Dannelly’s Struck By Lightning with Allison Janney, Chris Colfer, Sarah Hyland, Christina Hendricks, Dermot Mulroney, Rebel Wilson.
Marie-Therese Guirgis and Lucas Joaquin - Keep The Lights On
Her former producer credits include 2003′s cult hit Tarnation and doc Unknown White Male but Guirgis is known for her connections, passion and energy. She made an indelible mark on U.S. distribution as a principal at Wellspring Media releasing a treasure trove of indie and foreign-language films including …
The Sundance Film Festival has always helped define actors and directors or redefine those who choose to expand their resumes. As the film festival draws to a close, here are the Lucky 13 (in alphabetical order) who have caught new or renewed buzz after their films debuted in recent days:
Katie Aselton, actress/director - Black Rock
Aselton received acting buzz ahead of Sundance for her role in Black Rock and she’s getting more now as the director of this island thriller. Black Rock is Aselton’s second helmer following The Freebie which debuted at the 2010 Sundance. She broke out (along with husband Mark Duplass) at the 2005 Sundance with an acting role in The Puffy Chair.
Malik Bendjelloul, director - Searching For Sugar Man
Sony Classics picked up this first time feature filmmaker’s pic out of Sundance. The Swede previously directed a number of short documentaries about music icons including Madonna, Elton John, Bjork, Sting, Rod Stewart, and Kraftwerk. He returns to music with his latest about two South Africans who try to find their unlikely 1970s-era music hero, rock’n’ roller Rodriguez.
Antonio Campos, director – Simon Killer
Campos knows this latest film, his second feature as director, will divide audiences and that’s fine with him. He’s part of the filmmaking team Borderline Films which brought Martha Marcy May Marlene to Sundance last year. (Campos was a …
As the Sundance Film Festival wraps, two films are the prevailing standouts — The Surrogate and Beasts Of The Southern Wild. But Red Lights and Filly Brown have been the titles consistently coming up short along with Lay The Favorite. Sundance founder Robert Redford warned attendees on Day One to explore the fest’s various nooks and crannies before guessing which films would be hits or misses. Here’s my reporting:
The Surrogate, directed by Ben Lewin
This film is the obvious commercial hit and awards contender coming out of Sundance this year and it already caught a $6 million acquisition deal as Deadline reported Monday. This film proves that there are still films that arrive with little fanfare and then break out. Starring Helen Hunt (in a terrific performance) and John Hawkes and William H. Macy, pic centers on a man who is confined to an iron lung and at age 38 makes it a goal to lose his virginity. All the buzz bodes well for Lewin who proves that reinventing yourself is possible at any age. Born in 1946, Lewin has a bevy of TV writing and directing credits with a sprinkling of features like Georgiawhich received two AFI Award nominations way back in 1989.
Beasts Of The Southern Wild directed by Benh Zeitlin
This is the fest’s artistic smash to date. The filmmakers had the “dream” Sundance premiere at the Eccles Theatre complete with a standing ovation and immediate buzz at hobnobbing events. Instantly speculation began about who would snag the film populated by unknown actors. Fox Searchlight did. This is the first film by co-writer/director Benh Zeitlin and the team behind Court 13. ”Court 13 is an ethos we have on approaching a story and production,” Zeitlin told me. “The arc is made through homemade objects, actors that are non-professional, and a crew that is chosen for their courage and art rather than pure skill.”
Your Sister’s Sister directed by Lynn Shelton
This film about grief had its U.S. debut at Sundance after a Toronto fest premiere initiated buzz. Sundance’s comparatively smaller lineup is giving the film some breathing room and good word of mouth for performances by Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mark Duplass, and Mike Birbiglia. The film follows Jack who is grieving over his bother’s loss and heads to his father’s cabin unaware that a woman is already staying there with similar circumstances.