Box office repercussions of Hurricane Sandy likely will continue this weekend in the Specialty market. Two releases, A Late Quartet and This Must Be The Place were set for launches at the Sunshine Theater in Manhattan’s Lower East Side which is still without electricity. Con Edison notified customers in the area today that power is estimated to return Saturday at 11PM. Magnolia Pictures will roll out Jack And Diane whose director Bradley Rust Gray lured a nice cache of talent. And Roadside takes on theatrical distribution for Barry Levinson‘s sci-fi thriller The Bay, which centers on an ecological disaster.
Director: Barry Levinson
Writer: Michael Wallach
Cast: Kristen Connolly, Jane McNeill, Christoph Denham, Michael Beasley
Distributor: Roadside Attractions, Lionsgate
Lionsgate initially picked up Barry Levinson’s sci-fi thriller The Bay after viewing a promotion reel. Oddly apropos to the Hurricane Sandy disaster, the story unfolds in a small Maryland town. “We’re positioning it as a horror movie for film lovers,” said Roadside Attractions co-president Howard Cohen. “Barry Levinson is loved and we’re hoping for a more sophisticated audience as opposed to the regular horror audience.” READ MORE »
The Toronto Film Festival dates of September 5-15 next year overlap with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kuppur. Artistic director Cameron Bailey said in the announcement today that the festival’s place in the calendar is fixed (it always kicks off … Read More »
Writer-director Leos Carax’s Holy Motorsopened this week in New York City. The Indomina release stars Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue. The unusual movie about a man (Lavant) who dons a variety of disguises as he travels via limo will make its way to the … Read More »
Jacques Audiard’s Cannes competition film Rust And Bone took the top prize at the 56th BFI London Film Festival this evening. This makes it two in a row for Audiard whose A Prophet was also named best film at the … Read More »
Jane Fonda, Kylie Minogue, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy and more have debuts in the specialty realm this weekend. Fox Searchlight hosted a series of word-of-mouthers for The Sessions, which it nabbed at Sundance. NYC distributor Kino Lorber is teaming with Tribeca Film for its first title going out via theatrical day and date with French-language All Together. Cannes favorite Holy Motors will head out in theaters via Indomina, opening in New York this weekend, followed by releases in various U.S. cities following a string of festival premieres. And niche Asian film company Well Go USA is releasing the first movie in its Chinese-language “franchise,” Tai Chi Zero.
Director-writer: Ben Lewin
Cast: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Fox Searchlight snagged Ben Lewin’s The Sessions at Sundance, where it won an Audience Award in January under its original title The Surrogate. Searchlight SVP Distribution Frank Rodriguez said the film will attract a core of cinephiles and an “over-40 audience” though it won’t be limited to those. “The film has John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy, so I think some younger audiences will be drawn to it,” Rodriguez said. Read More »
Just as founder Adam Yauch wanted it to when he knew he was dying of cancer, Oscilloscope Laboratories is still kicking even after the Beastie Boy and art film lover passed away in May. The distribution company just acquired U.S. rights to Rowan Athale’s Wasteland, which created a buzz when it premiered at Toronto. Oscilloscope will release next year. Athale made his directing debut on the heist film (resulting in a chase by agencies before WME signed him). A young Englishman recently released from prison recruits his three best friends and devises a complex scheme to rob the local drug kingpin who is responsible for the ex-con’s incarceration. Can he get revenge and win back his fed-up girlfriend? Attack The Block’s Luke Treadaway stars. Read More »
Gersh has signed three directors who premiered films as last month’s Toronto Film Festival. The agency inked Irish writer-director Kieron Walsh, whose film Jump also recently won best picture at the Irish Film New York Festival. He is … Read More »
Smashed is a surprising story with an impressive cast including Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Will & Grace‘s Megan Mullally. Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Gayby began its life as a short but progressed to an outright feature after producers Anne Hubbell and Amy Hobby gave their a go-ahead last year at the Sarasota Film Festival. The complicated WWII coming-of-age story Simon And The Oaks stalled when the director dropped out, but the project came back to life when a former European Film Commissioner took over. Excuse Me For Living filmmaker Ric Klass, not only produced and directed his project, he wrote the screenplay and the novel. He also used his business acumen to figure out financing: DIY. And Ava DuVernay’s Middle Of Nowhere took some time to come together, but the publicity-maven-turned-director convinced investors her second feature would find an audience.
Middle Of Nowhere
Director-writer: Ava DuVernay
Cast: Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, Lorraine Toussaint, Sharon Lawrence, Omari Hardwick
Writer-director DuVernay segued into filmmaking after running a successful publicity agency for years. She “stumbled” upon what she thinks may be her true calling while working on Collateral (DreamWorks) in 1999. “I was standing on a street in Compton and that’s where the idea of Middle of Nowhere came about,” said DuVernay. “I worked on the script weekends and evenings beginning in 2003. I didn’t know how to produce a film.” The film concerns a medical student who drops out of school after her husband is sentenced to prison. Middle Of Nowhere continued to gestate in subsequent years as DuVernay focused on publicity, repping Dreamgirls and later The Help through her DuVernay Agency. She also focused on making some music docs such as This Is The Life and feature I Will Follow.
“I Will Follow was my first film which was self-financed from $50K out my own savings,” DuVernay said. “It was a good model to show investors. I made eight times that [amount] back.” She convinced investors the same could be done for Middle Of Nowhere, eventually raising $200K, with Participant Media among the companies on board. The project shot for 19 days in LA although DuVernay noted that they were “not among the lucky ones” to get a California tax credit. The film played in competition this year at Sundance, winning DuVernay the Best Director prize. “It caused excitement in the African American community and the film has had a wonderful life since then.” Read More »
The American Film Institute’s annual festival announced its Centerpiece Galas today, with Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi, Walter Salles’ On The Road, DreamWorks Animation’s Rise Of The Guardians and Jacques Audiard’s Rust And Bone starring Marion Cotillard landing the prime spots. AFI Fest‘s Special Screenings lineup includesSilver Linings Playbook and Amy Berg’s West Of Memphis. They join the already announced opening-night film Hitchcock and the closing film Lincoln at the festival, which runs November 1-8 in Hollywood and just tapped Bernardo Bertolucci as guest director. The full lineup comes Monday. Here’s the official list of films from the festival:
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s another writer/director who came out of the Toronto Film Festival with a major agency pushing his career. WME has signed writer/director Rowan Athale, whose directorial debut heist film Wasteland got him chased by all the agencies. The film … Read More »
East Hampton, NY (October 7th, 2012) – The Hamptons International Film Festival announced tonight their audience, jury and special prizes at their awards ceremony from Guild Hall in East Hampton. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK and NO PLACE ON EARTH were honored with the Baume & Mercier Audience Awards for Narrative and Documentary, respectively.
Umat Dag’s KUMA and Cate Shortland’s LORE tied for The Golden Starfish Narrative Feature Award. The Golden Starfish Award for Best Documentary went to COLOMBIANOS, directed by Tora Mårtens.
EXCLUSIVE: Last month’s Toronto Film Festival resulted in a lot of distribution deals, and also a lot of agency signings of new talent with films there. After the Paradigm Motion Picture Finance Group handled the James Cromwell/Genevieve Bujold-starrer Still and made a deal with Samuel Goldwyn Films, the agency has … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: ICM Partners has signed Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schémbori, whose thriller 7 Boxes premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. The Paraguayan duo made their directing debut on the film. Before they, they created numerous telepics, miniseries and short films. Here is a look at the film’s trailer:
EXCLUSIVE: When I was covering Toronto, the big talk was all about deals for completed films. But the one script buyers were talking up was The Imitation Game, Graham Moore’s heralded screenplay about Alan Turing, the English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist who single-handedly helped crack the German “Enigma Code” during World War II that helped the Allies stave off defeat. In a competitive situation, Teddy Schwarzman’s Black Bear Pictures has come aboard to finance production of the film, with Schwarzman producing with Ampersand Pictures’ Nora Grossman and Ido Ostrowsky, with Moore exec producing.
Turing’s story, which topped the 2011 Black List, is hardly a happy hero tale. Not long after Turing made his contribution to toppling the Nazis in WWII, Britain criminally prosecuted him in the early 1950s for being homosexual. He chose chemical castration over prison and was so demoralized that he eventually committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple (legend has it that Turing’s advancements for what became the computer so inspired Steve Jobs that he named the company Apple).
After nearly four years of work, Ang Lee tonight unveils his much-anticipated film version of Yann Martel’s Life Of Pi,a book that sold 7 million copies worldwide but was thought to be “unfilmable” until technology finally caught up with it the past five years. Having its world premiere as the opening movie of the New York Film Festival, 20th Century Fox is launching what looks like a box office hit and definite Oscar contender — and this despite the fact it features no name stars or obvious hooks. Chalk it up as another contender in the emerging season along with other fall-festival titles like Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, The Master, The Impossible and Anna Karenina among others. Certainly there is no other film like Pi out there this season which ought to give it some distinction in the race.
The studio has been touting the visually stunning film since debuting 15 minutes of footage at the Las Vegas CinemaCon exhibitors convention in April, when it became clear this November 21st release could become a major awards player. Right after that presentation one pundit told me, “Well this is one of the Best Picture nominees for sure”. Now the wraps are off the completed film, although there is still some minor mixing, color correction and polishing of some 100 effects shots to be done. The studio had a very small initial screening for literally a handful of journalists in Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon at their Zanuck Theatre (where I caught it), and this morning for press covering NYFF in New York. Early reaction on Twitter has been strong. Read More »