Prolific German filmmaker Helma Sanders-Brahms passed away in Berlin on Tuesday following a long illness. She was 73. The director, screenwriter and producer was born in 1940, and began her career as a model and TV presenter. In 1969, she met Italian giant Pier Paolo Pasolini on a movie set where he told her, “You are going to make films!” She stuck around the set and later said it helped her discover her love of the craft. She ultimately became a key representative of German post-war film, directing both narrative features and documentaries. Eight of her works screened at the Berlin Film Festival including 1980′s Deutschland, Bleiche Mutter (Germany, Pale Mother) which premiered in competition. Just this year, the now classic film, narrated by a German woman who tells the story of her parents before, during and after World War II, was screened in a digitally restored version as part of the Berlinale Classics section. Her other credits include 2008′s Geliebte Clara; 1997′s My Heart Is Mine Alone; 1975′s Under The Beach’s Cobbles; and 1976 TV drama Shirin’s Wedding. Sanders-Brahms was known for exploring political and social issues in her films including topics like feminism, immigrant workers and German history. “Helma Sanders-Brahms was a radical and committed filmmaker who had a lasting impact on German cinema,” said Berlin Film Fest director Dieter Kosslick. She was “a tremendous director.” Under former Festival Director Moritz de Hadeln, she was …
Just as the festival winds down ahead of tonight’s awards ceremony, Cohen Media Group has acquired U.S. rights for Timbuktu, the Competition title directed by Abderrahmane Sissako. The French-Mauritanian film tells the story of the brief occupation of Timbuktu by militant Islamic rebels and has received strong buzz here on the ground. Co-written by Sissako and Kessen Tall, Timbuktu illustrates the fate of a previously free people at the hands of the rebels who attempted to impose religious law on the formerly freewheeling city. Sissako was last in Cannes with the out of competition Bamako in 2006. He won the FIPRESCI prize in 2002 with Un Certain Regard title Waiting For Happiness. The U.S. distribution deal was negotiated by CMG Executive Vice President John Kochman and Camille Néel, head of International Sales for Le Pacte.
Media Shocked – Shocked! – To Learn CNN’s ‘Chicagoland’ Cajoled/Coordinated With Rahm Emanuel’s Office
Another day, another media story on the fudging of “reality” and “documentary” for the TV camera – this time it’s CNN’s eight-part series Chicagoland, which never got so much media interest as it did this morning when the Chicago Tribune posted a report on emails between the office of that city’s mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the producers. The emails show Emanuel’s office closely controlled access to their guy, that the producers cajoled his office to get shots they wanted, and a good time was had by all. In the world of politics, and the world of television, this is known as “how it works.”
“If it seems as though some scenes of CNN’s documentary series Chicagoland were coordinated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Hall and the show’s producers, that’s because they were,” the Trib scolded in the report, timed to coincide with the series’ final-episode premiere last night. “City Hall’s frequent correspondence with the producers illustrates how senior aides to a mayor known for shaping his media image managed how their boss would be portrayed on CNN to a prime time national audience,” the Trib marveled.
More than 700 emails reviewed by the Tribune reveal that the production team “worked hand in hand with the mayor’s advisers to develop storylines, arrange specific camera shots and review news releases officially announcing the show.” Among its findings, producers asked the mayor’s office to help them set up key interactions for what CNN has billed as a non-scripted series. Those interactions included Emanuel’s visits with the school principal “who emerged as a star of the show, emails show,” according to the Trib.
The paper seemed most exercised over the emails in which the production team told Emanuel’s staff that particular scenes “would present the mayor in a positive light” including one in which one of the producers said the project would showcase Emanuel “as the star that he really is.”
Canadian, French and European helmers dominate the Competition roster for the 67th Cannes Film Festival. And, in what could be a record, there are 15 female directors across the entire Official Selection which was unveiled this morning in Paris. In total, 50 movies out of 1,800 submissions make up the Official Selection that encompasses the Competition, Un Certain Regard and the special screenings sections. Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week are announced next week. Many of the titles revealed today had been tipped, and there were no major surprises. But, as is Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux‘s habit, more films may be added before Grace Of Monaco kicks off the Riviera proceedings May 14.
Two movies that were highly anticipated from U.S. directors are in the mix: Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman and Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. Occupying the big Hollywood slot, DreamWorks Animation, as expected, will premiere How To Train Your Dragon 2 Out Of Competition. Frémaux, who first programmed DWA’s Shrek in Competition in 2001, said having the Dragon sequel in town was a way to “celebrate 20 years of DreamWorks” and a way “for us to thank them for the films they’ve given us over the years.”
Some movies that looked like long-shot possibilities coming in were indeed left out. There was no mention of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice today, despite what we’ve heard was a full-court press by Frémaux. He noted that neither Terrence Malick (with Knight Of Cups) nor Emir Kusturica (with On The Milky Road) were ready. When asked what had become of Abel Ferrara’s Welcome To New York, the controversial film inspired by the Dominique Strauss-Khan scandal and starring Gérard Depardieu, he said tradition held that we “only talk about the films that we’re showing, so I’m not going to talk about Ferrara’s film.” However, scuttlebutt in the UGC Normandie theater this morning was that the film may be a late addition to the Out Of Competition lineup.
Cannes Lineup: ‘Foxcatcher’, ‘Mr Turner’, ‘The Homesman’, ‘Maps To The Stars’ In Competition; Ryan Gosling, Wim Wenders In UCR; ‘The Rover’, ‘The Salvation’ At Midnight
Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Frémaux is about to unveil the Official Selection lineup for the 67th running of the event which kicks off May 14 with Nicole Kidman in Grace Of Monaco. Folks are settled in at the UGC Normandie movie theater on the Champs-Elysées to get some clarity on the rampant speculation that annually precedes the daddy of all international festivals. Will Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice be in the mix? Which of the myriad French movies made the cut? Has Cannes pinned down the Foxcatcher premiere? I’ll be updating the titles as they are revealed, so keep refreshing for the latest.
Winter Sleep, dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Clouds Of Sils Maria, dir: Olivier Assayas
Saint Laurent, dir: Bertrand Bonello
Maps To The Stars, dir: David Cronenberg
Two Days, One Night, dirs: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Mommy, dir: Xavier Dolan
The Captive, dir: Atom Egoyan
Goodbye To Language, dir: Jean-Luc Godard
The Search, dir: Michel Hazanavicius
Jimmy’s Hall, dir: Ken Loach
The Homesman, dir: Tommy Lee Jones
Futatsume No Mado, dir: Naomi Kawase
Mr Turner, dir: Mike Leigh
Foxcatcher, dir: Bennett Miller
Leviathan, dir: Andrey Zvyaginstev
Wild Tales, dir: Damian Szifron
Le Meraviglie, dir: Alice Rohrwacher
Timbuktu, Abderrahmane Sissako
Although Disney devoted a good chunk of its CinemaCon presentation today to talk of Star Wars and The Avengers and clips of upcoming movies including first looks at the live-action re-telling of Cinderella and Pixar’s Inside Out, theater owners left the near three-hour session really singing the praises of one of the lesser-known films on the slate: the May 16 release Million Dollar Arm. It stars Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, who received the convention’s Excellence In Acting award from studio Chairman Alan Horn just before a full screening of the movie, which Horn told the crowd has scored higher than any movie he has ever tested at Disney, or Warner Bros before that. “And that includes the first Harry Potter, which was so highly anticipated,” he said. Judging from the reaction in the Caesars Palace Colosseum theater and comments afterward, those test scores would seem to be justified. This is the kind of increasingly rare non-animated family film that should play across the board. “It’s comical, it’s emotional, it has great music” was what one exhibitor was heard saying as he walked out. That music, by the way, is from two-time Oscar winner A.R. Rahman, who scored Slumdog Millionaire.
Friday Night Lights alum Kim Dickens has been tapped to star in CBS‘ drama pilot Red Zone opposite Anthony LaPaglia. Also cast in the pilot, written by Nikki Toscano and directed by James Foley, are Kevin Rahm (Mad Men) and Samantha Mathis (Under The Dome). The Universal TV drama centers on Holden Weller (LaPaglia), a retired CIA operative and intense high school football coach/athletic director who is pulled back into action when a terrorist event rocks Washington, DC, forced to investigate closer to home where the next generation of terrorists is being bred. Dickens will play Helen Weller, Holden’s confident and strong wife, a former CIA shrink who teaches psychology at the same high school as her husband. Rahm and Mathis play husband and wife Paul and Olivia Jordan, and the parents of Jake (Graham Rogers), the second-string QB on Holden’s team and a friend of the Wellers’ daughter Laney.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
UPDATE, 4:30 PM: Unlike entertainment programming, the world of cable news is not one where Live + 3 numbers often have any relevance. You don’t often think of DVRs as how audiences watch CNN, Fox News or MSNBC but with some of the non-breaking news programming that Jeff Zucker has instituted since taking over CNN last year that may be changing. For instance, if its debut is any indication, CNN’s new Chicagoland docu series has a digital afterlife looks almost as far reaching as Lake Michigan on a clear day. In Live + 3 numbers the Robert Redford produced series saw its March 6 debut rise 23% in the adults 25-54 demo to 280,000 viewers. That moves the CNN show up to No. #1 in the news demo for its 10 PM time slot. Previously, Chicagoland had been in second place with 227,000 viewers among the 25-54s behind Fox News’ Hannity (247,000) and ahead of MSNBC’s Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell (207,000) Overall, Chicagoland still stayed in third place among total viewers with 782,000. Up a bit from its Live + Same Day results, FNC’s Hannity easily held on to the top spot with 1.457 million total viewers and Last Word had 830,000.
PREVIOUS, MARCH 7 PM: The premiere of CNN’s new Chicagoland didn’t get totally whacked last night but it certainly didn’t make a ratings killing either – in fact it came a distant third in terms of total viewership …
Andrea Savage (Dinner for Schmucks) is set to co-star opposite Rob Lowe and Rob Riggle in NBC’s single-camera comedy pilot The Pro, from ABC Studios and Uni TV. Written by Pete Huyck and Alex Gregory, The Pro centers on former tennis doubles champion “Big Ben” Bertrahm (Lowe), whose career flame-out and misguided investments have left him working as the pro at a tennis and golf club. Savage, repped by UTA and Mosaic, will play Paula, the Club manager, who is in way over her head and has a wee little crush on Big Ben. She will next be seen on the Hulu series Hotwives of Orlando.
Related: 2014 NBC Pilots
Lindsay Price is set to co-star opposite Christian Borle and Jonathan Ryland in NBC’s multi-camera comedy pilot Lifesaver, from writer Wil Calhoun, Uni TV and TBD Entertainment. The odd couple comedy centers on the uptight, controlling and a bit neurotic Dr. Graham Permenter (Borle) and loose cannon Leon (Ryland), who become inextricably linked after Leon saves Graham’s life by giving him a kidney. Price plays Jennifer, Graham’s girlfriend and a doctor at the hospital with him and doesn’t mind Leon in the way that Graham does.
Actor-writer Colton Dunn (Key & Peele) has been cast opposite Rob Lowe and Rob Riggle in NBC’s single-camera comedy pilot The Pro. Written by Pete Huyck and Alex Gregory, The Pro centers on former tennis doubles champion “Big Ben” Bertrahm (Lowe), whose career flame-out and misguided investments have left him working as the pro at a tennis and golf club. Dunn will play Lewis, the head engineer and club bookie who fears a change in the status quo when successful and wealthy Bobby Welch (Riggle) arrives as the new tennis pro. Dunn, repped by Paradigm and Prinicpato-Young, has recurred on Parks And Recreation, The League and Burning Love.
Rob Riggle, hot off the strong buzz for his Ford Fusion Hybrid Super Bowl commercials, has closed a deal to star opposite Rob Lowe in NBC’s single-camera comedy pilot The Pro. Written by Pete Huyck and Alex Gregory, The Pro centers on former tennis doubles champion “Big Ben” Bertrahm (Lowe), whose career flame-out and misguided investments have left him working as the pro at a tennis and golf club, where he tries to hustle and charm his way back into America’s 1%. Riggle plays Ben’s former tennis doubles partner who comes to the shop as the new head pro — much to the chagrin of Ben who hasn’t spoken to him in years. Riggle, repped by WME, Principato-Young Entertainment and attorney Warren Dern, recurs on ABC’s Modern Family and just wrapped the Farrelly Brothers/Universal film Dumb & Dumber To opposite Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. He will also next be seen in Fox’s Lets Be Cops and Sony’s 22 Jump Street.
UPDATE: NBC also gave a pilot order to single-camera comedy The Pro, starring and executive produced by Rob Lowe. Comedy veterans Pete Huyck and Alex Gregory wrote write the script and serve as showrunners, with Todd Holland set to direct. The project, which had a production commitment, stems from a development deal NBC inked with Lowe in the summer when he was finalizing his upcoming exit from Parks And Recreation. It is co-produced by ABC Studios, which has a deal with Huyck and Gregory, and Universal TV, with ABC Studios taking lead. The Pro stars Lowe as former tennis doubles champion “Big Ben” Bertrahm, whose career flame-out and misguided investments have left him working as the pro at a tennis and golf club, where he tries to hustle and charm his way back into America’s 1%. Huyck and Gregory are executive producing with Holland and Karey Burke through their Uni TV-based Dark Toy banner, and Brillstein Entertainment’s Marc Gurvitz.
“Storytellers, welcome,” said AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale as he opened the AFI Awards 2013 luncheon today. “We open each AFI gathering with a single word: ‘Relax’. You have won. Each of you, and more importantly, all of you, because here you are one community of artists gathered in this room for what we hope to be a bit of respite from your job, but not from your work. Gone from this moment are the ratings, and red carpets and box office and all that you have to endure to sell art. Our goal is nothing short of epiphany, that you feel proud when you consider the compendium and see your place in it”. Gazzale’s welcome came before what appeared to be all of the heavy hitters currently running Hollywood as well as 20 tables full of artists repping AFI’s choices for the year’s Top Ten movies (12 Years A Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Fruitvale Station, Gravity, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks, The Wolf Of Wall Street) and Top Ten TV programs (The Americans, Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones, The Good Wife, House Of Cards, Mad Men, Masters Of Sex, Orange Is The New Black, Scandal, Veep).
For my money , this is the most relaxing and fun awards event of the year. There are no losers, no acceptance speeches, only good vibes. And if you want to network, this is the A-list networking opportunity of the season. Where else are you going to find just about every studio head in the same room including Sony’s Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton, Warner Bros’ Kevin Tsujihara, Fox’s Jim Gianopulos, Disney’s Alan Horn, Paramount’s Brad Grey, and Fox Searchlight’s Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula? They were mixing it it up with the TV side including CBS’ Les Moonves (who also was there for CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis), Fox’s Peter Rice and FX’s John Landgraf, and AMC’s Charlie Collier among many others including new kid on the block Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, who had two shows among the Top Ten, House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black. It was his first time to this party and he was impressed. Oh, and did I mention both directing icons Martin Scorsese (with Wolf Of Wall Street) and Steven Spielberg (repping FX’s The Americans) were there, but quite frankly just about everyone in this room at the Four Seasons Hotel was someone. Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs was also taking it all in and told me how she’s suddenly getting lots of calls after it was announced earlier today she would be delivering news of Oscar nominations next Thursday with Thor aka Chris Hemsworth. She’s excited to say the least.
WME is wrapping up its third day of its annual retreat at La Costa Resort & Spa and the roster of speakers the agency has put together is looking more and more each year like a mini-Herb Allen Sun Valley Conference. The mini, however, is major with 450 WME agents gathered to listen to such prominent names as former CIA director and four-star Gen. Michael Hayden who once headed the National Security Administration and returned again this year. He headlines a roster that includes former and current Google and Facebook executives and even more political heavies. Also, one of the highlights, agents say, was Anne Wojciciki, one of the co-founders of 23andMe, a biotech and genomics company which her husband’s company Google invested heavily into (along with Genetech). It produces direct-to-consumer personal genome test kits that can determine inherited traits and genetic risk factors. Another speaker said to have one of the strongest presentations was Regina Dugan, the former head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the first first female director to run the intelligence group before leaving for Google. She spoke about ingenuity and how you can be successful if you use the tools presented before you. She has previously done a series of TED talks. “It’s been really quite remarkable this year,” said one agent in attendance. “It like a bunch of really cool TED talks. I have learned so much.”
Each year WME executives Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell gather their agents for three days to listen to talks from some of the most influential people in America. This year’s lineup is said to include Deputy NSA Advisor Thomas Donilon, who stepped down in June 2013 and has worked with the Obama administration in various capacities; and Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer for Facebook and author of the book Lean-In about how to motivate women to take their place in the executive ranks. She is on the board of the Walt Disney Co. and used to work at Google in sales and helped launch Google’s philanthrophic endeavors. She was also the chief of staff for the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Joining them are Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom (who previously worked at Google where he helped implement Gmail and other offerings); Mixed in with this prestigious group of political and tech speakers will be Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation, which owns and operates some of the country’s largest amphitheaters and and concert venues such as the House of Blues, Hollywood Palladium, and Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Guests also include WME’s rapper-musician-composer-producer Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg.
A TO Z (single camera)
PICKED UP TO SERIES
STUDIO: Warner Bros TV
TEAM: Ben Queen (w, ep), Rashida Jones (ep), Will McCormack (ep), Michael Patrick Jann (d)
LOGLINE: Whimsical romantic comedy set in the world of an online dating company that details the “A to Z’s” of a relationship, from meeting to breakup. The ensemble navigates the complicated world of modern dating and poses the question: Is there such a thing as destiny?
CAST: Cristin Milioti, Ben Feldman, Henry Zebrowski, Leonora Crichlow, Christina Kirk
BAD JUDGE (single camera)
PICKED UP TO SERIES; 13-EPISODE ORDER
STUDIO: Universal TV
TEAM: Liz Brixious (ep), Kate Walsh (ep), Chad Kultgen (w, ep), Anne Heche (ep), Jill Messick (ep), Will Ferrell (ep), Adam McKay (ep)
LOGLINE: It centers on a hard-living, sexually unapologetic woman who plays with the law and whose life on the edge is constantly in balance because she also happens to be a judge in the criminal court system.
CAST: Kate Walsh, John Ducey, Tone Bell, Theodore Barnes, Miguel Sandoval
ELLEN MORE OR LESS (single camera)
STUDIO: Universal TV
TEAM: JJ Philbin (w, ep), Jason Katims (ep), Michelle Lee (ep)
LOGLINE: An average-size woman who, after losing 100 pounds, begins reinventing herself in life and love.
CAST: Stacey McGunnigle, Chris Diamantopoulos, Joshua Gomez, Tate Ellington, Jama Williamson, Michael Liu
FEED ME (single camera)
STUDIO: Universal TV
TEAM: Paul Junger Witt (ep), Tony Thomas (ep), Sally Robinson (w, ep), Marisa Tomei (ep), Michael Trim (d)
LOGLINE: An exploration of adult intimacy and desire that centers on a dysfunctional family bound by love and …
STUDIO: Sony TV/CBS TV Studios
TEAM: David Caspe (ep), Erik Sommers (ep), Jamie Tarses (ep), Pam Fryman (d)
LOGLINE: A successful, suave ladies man’s perfect life gets turned upside down when his mess of a cousin needs a place to stay.
CAST: Geoff Stults, Parker Scott, Debra Jo Rupp, Andrea Anders
GOOD SESSION (single camera)
STUDIO: Warner Bros TV
TEAM: John Hamburg (w, d, ep), Matt Miller (w, ep)
LOGLINE: A happy couple that goes to a therapist to help them decide if they should have a baby but quickly discover they have more to discuss.
CAST: James Roday, Mandy Moore, Rich Sommer, Tracey Ullman, Ana Nogueira, Danielle Nicolet
HOW I MET YOUR DAD (multi-camera)
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox TV
TEAM: Carter Bays (w, ep), Craig Thomas (w, ep), Emily Spivey (w, ep), Rob Greenberg (d)
LOGLINE: Spinoff from How I Met Your Mother, this time told from a dad’s point of view, features a new group of New York friends who hang out at MacLaren’s Pub.
CAST: Greta Gerwig, Drew Tarver, Tiya Sircar, Nick D’Agosto, Andrew Santino
THE McCARTHYS (multi-camera)
PICKED UP TO SERIES
STUDIO: Sony TV
TEAM: Brian Gallivan (w, co-ep), Will Gluck (ep), Richie Schwartz (co-ep), Mike Sikowitz (ep)
LOGLINE: Story about a big Irish Catholic, sports-crazed Boston clan and the gay son whose greatest sin is not his sexuality but his desire to spend less time with his family.
CAST: Jack McGee, Joey McIntyre, Laurie Metcalf, Jimmy Dunn, Kelen Coleman
THE MISTAKE (multi-camera)
STUDIO: Warner Bros TV
TEAM: Shana Goldberg-Meehan (w, ep), Scott Silveri (w, ep), David Mandel (w, ep), Andy Ackerman …
Fresh off Golden Globe and SAG nominations for his lead turn in Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips, Tom Hanks can add the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s Chairman’s Award to his cache of kudos this year. Hanks is receiving the honor in recognition of both Captain Phillips and Saving Mr Banks, his other awards season contender in which he plays Walt Disney opposite Emma Thompson. Here’s the release from the festival:
Palm Springs, CA (December 16, 2013) – The 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Academy Award® winning actor Tom Hanks with the Chairman’s Award for Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks at its annual Awards Gala. The Gala will also present awards to previously announced honorees Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Matthew McConaughey, Steve McQueen, Thomas Newman, Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts and the cast of American Hustle. Presented by Cartier and hosted by Mary Hart, the Awards Gala will be held Saturday, January 4 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 3-13, 2014.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA — One hundred fourteen scores from eligible feature-length motion pictures released in 2013 are in contention for nominations in the Original Score category for the 86th Oscars®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.
The eligible scores along with their composers are listed below, in alphabetical order by film title: