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Gotham Awards: ‘12 Years A Slave’, ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’, ‘Before Midnight’, Inside Llewyn Davis’ & ‘Upstream Color’ Win Best Picture Noms

Mike Fleming

The 2013 Gotham Independent Film Awards nominations  have been announced. The trophies will be handed out December 2 at Cipriani Wall Street. This is the first of the many upcoming awards shows, and because of the Gotham’s indie bent, the awards rarely reflect how the Oscars turn out. I always found that to be the most charming thing about them. Here are the nominees:

Best Feature

12 Years A Slave. Steve McQueen, director; Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Bill Pohlad, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Anthony Katagas, producers. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, David Lowery, director; Tony Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Amy Kaufman, Cassian Elwes, producers (IFC Films)

Before Midnight, Richard Linklater, director; Richard Linklater, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Sara Woodhatch, producers (Sony Pictures Classics)

Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, directors; Scott Rudin, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, producers (CBS Films)

Upstream Color, Shane Carruth, director; Shane Carruth, Casey Gooden, Ben LeClair, producers. (erbp) Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Austenland’ Beats Fellow Sundancers ‘Saints,’ ‘Cutie’

By | Sunday August 18, 2013 @ 10:01am PDT

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

Indie FilmsSome crowds headed to see Sundance debut Austenland this weekend, opening in 4 theaters and grossing just over $42K. The film got TV ad treatment and hilariously even had its trailer show twice at NYC’s Chelsea Clearview before a showing of another SPC title, Blue Jasmine yesterday, much to the groans of the crowd. But with all that awareness the feature only managed a so-so opening weekend, besting fellow Sundancer Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which had a mellow debut in three theaters grossing $28,800. And another Sundance pic, Cutie And The Boxer, headed out to theaters grossing $21K for a $7K-plus PSA. But the weekend PSA bragging rights go to Cohen Media Group’s You Will Be My Son, which opened with $15,469 at the Paris Theatre in NYC. The weekend’s other newcomers, Inch’Allah, The Patience Stone and Spark: A Burning Man Story opened with fair results in limited releases. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’, ‘Austenland’, ‘The Patience Stone’, ‘Spark: A Burning Man Story’, ‘You Will Be My Son’

By | Thursday August 15, 2013 @ 5:30pm PDT

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

Filmmaker David Lowery moved up the filmmaker food chain with his latest feature, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, opting to ditch a micro-budget plan for one that included stars and more resources. Still, the film is hardly a big budget production though the production team has created a latish summer release that IFC Films hopes will lure audiences hungry for story-driven drama. Women are the main audience target for Sony Classics’ two weekend releases, Austenland and The Patience Stone, titles it picked up out of Sundance and Toronto respectively after witnessing reaction by females audiences following their premieres. A SXSW Interactive participant discovered the allure of filmmaking and took on a documentary about the annual Burning Man event, deciding on a DIY-esque release strategy. And French filmmaker Gilles Legrand used his fascination of wine and the peculiarities of France’s inheritance laws into a father-son drama also set for limited roll out Friday.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Director-writer: David Lowery
Cast: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Keith Carradine, Kennadie Smith
Distributor: IFC Films

Producer Jay Van Hoy of Parts and Labor served as a shorts juror at the SXSW Film Festival in 2011, the same year filmmaker David Lowery’s short Pioneer, took home the Narrative Short prize. Perhaps even better, Van Hoy got to know the film’s producers Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston as well as Lowery. Cut forward to the Sundance Producers Lab, where Van Hoy served as an adviser where Halbrooks and Johnston were attending with a project that would become Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. “Even at SXSW I told them if they need any help to let me know,” said Van Hoy. “We all clicked. The film was ambitious, even at a lower budget, but it’s a great script so we decided to come on board…It all came together pretty quickly considering independent film schedules.” “I had made [my previous film] St. Nick for $12K and had an inkling I could do Saints for something like $25K,” said Lowery. “But the advisers [at Sundance] told them that doing the micro-budget thing is a great plan B and you know you can do it, but why not spend a little bit of time formulating a plan A and see if you can make it just a little bit bigger.” Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’

By | Friday May 24, 2013 @ 1:29pm PDT

The first trailer has come out for the David Lowery-directed drama Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. The film, which IFC picked up at Sundance this year, stars Casey Affleck as a man who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met. Rooney Mara, Ben Foster, Nate Parker and Keith Carradine fill out the top flight cast.  IFC Films have set the movie to come out on August 16. Check out the trailer here now. 

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After Gritty Sundance Debut On ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’, David Lowery To Reinvent ‘Pete’s Dragon’ For Disney

By | Tuesday March 19, 2013 @ 4:39pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I didn’t see this one coming. After directing one of the most talked-about films at Sundance Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, David Lowery has hired on with writing partner Toby Halbrooks to script Pete’s Dragon for Disney and producer Jim Whitaker. I’m told they will reinvent the core story of a venerable Disney family film. It will not be a musical and at this point Lowery is just engaged as writer. The original 1977 Pete’s Dragon mixed an animated fire-breather with a live-action cast of actors that included Mickey Rooney, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters, Helen Reddy and Jim Dale, with Sean Marshall playing the orphan boy who comes to a town with his magical dragon, his abusive adoptive parents in hot pursuit.

It is certainly a departure for Lowery, who made the jump from editor to director on Saints, a gritty drama he wrote and directed that stars Rooney Mara, Rami Malek, Casey Affleck and Ben Foster. It’s the tale of an outlaw who escapes prison and sets across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met. The film was acquired by IFC, which will release the pic August 16. He made a small feature called St. Nick, about runaway children who have to fend for themselves in the wild, so he has explored themes of innocence and magical realism. And he and Halbrooks made the Sundance short Pioneer, … Read More »

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Sundance: IFC Closes Big Deal For ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’

Mike Fleming

2ND UPDATE: IFC has finally confirmed this deal. Here’s the release, at the bottom of Deadline’s break on the deal.

UPDATE, 3:35 AM: It was easier for Deadline to splash an exclusive about the Ain’t Them Bodies Saints deal last night than it was for Sundance dealmakers to paper it. But Cassian Elwes and WME Global’s Graham Taylor and Alexis Garcia finally closed with IFC FilmsArianna Bocco at 3 AM Los Angeles time, for a bit more than $1 million for U.S. rights. That means the reps will hold a mini-auction for Canadian rights — after they take a nap. I heard this morning from Elwes, who said Saints will benefit from a multi-platform strategy that the dealmaker/producer road-tested with Margin Call, and which he feels is a major reason the indie market is reinvigorated.

On this deal, Elwes had his original flight canceled and had to take another back to L.A. They negotiated until he had to shut off his cell phone, and then continued when he landed. Plane rides factored into the festival more than once, as Wednesday (at 3:36 AM West Coast time), WME Global closed a deal with eOne for the cannibal tale We Are What We Are. I’d heard that the agents were on the same flight with the eOne team, and they were going back and forth — and getting testy at times but not enough where they had to be duct-taped to their seats — on the way back to LA from Park City. By the time they landed, they were all smiling, and probably papered the deal with a Delta cocktail napkin for a platform theatrical release. When I asked Elwes why, like vampires, Sundance sellers and buyers only seem to get anything done between nightfall and dawn, he said: “Unfortunately, you watch the movies during the day and the only time to make a deal is when most people are asleep.” A few more deals and then these agents and buyers all deserve a long winter’s nap when this festival ends, as do the insomniac journalists who stalk them into the wee hours. Read More »

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Sundance: ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’ Wins Indian Paintbrush Grant

Indian Paintbrush has chosen Sundance contender Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and producers Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston and their company Sailor Bear as recipients of the 2013 Indian Paintbrush Producer’s Award and accompanying $10,000 grant. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints was written and directed by David Lowery. The award was announced today at the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Producers Lunch. Mark Roybal of Indian Paintbrush made the announcement. Indian Paintbrush’s latest production, Breathe In directed by Drake Doremus, just debuted at the festival.

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Fest Films With Highest Wanna-See From Buyers: Mike Fleming On 2013 Sundance

Mike Fleming

Related: Part I: Sundance Forecast: Small Deals Galore, And More Chances For Filmmakers

Foot traffic on Main Street is building, and the deals are starting to go down. In the second part of my 2013 Sundance Film Festival opener, here are the films that have been mentioned most often by the buyers who’ll determine whether or not this will be a good festival for the filmmakers. There are some good-sounding films with strong casts, the kind that ring up decent numbers.

DON JON’S ADDICTION:  Writer-director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Cast: Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly. Gordon-Levitt plays a porn addict who becomes torn between two women. This one premieres tonight, 6:30 PM at Eccles, and it will likely be the fest’s first real auction.

AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS: Writer-director: David Lowery. Cast: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Nate Parker, Keith Carradine. The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met. Killer title and good cast. 1st Screening – Sunday, January 20th, 12:15pm – Eccles

Related: Sundance: Five Actors & Actresses To Watch

THE WAY, WAY BACK: Writer-director: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash. Cast: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph. An introverted 14-year-old comes into his own over the course of a comedic summer when he forms unlikely friendships with the gregarious manager of a rundown water park and the misfits who work there. Carell’s last festival film like this was Little Miss Sunshine. 1st Screening – Monday, January 21st, 3:30pm – Eccles

BREATHE IN: Writer-director: Drake Doremus. Cast: Guy Pearce, Amy Ryan, Felicity Jones, Mackenzie Davis. A teacher falls for one of his students, the one who just transferred from London. Doremus and Jones reteam from Like Crazy. 1st Screening – Saturday, January 19th, 3:00pm – Eccles

Related: Sundance: Five Directors To Watch

BEFORE MIDNIGHT: Writer-director: Richard Linklater (written with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke). Sure it might be the lowest-grossing film franchise in film history, but buyers are sparked for the third installment which picks up Jesse and Celine nine years later in Greece, some two decades after they first met on a train bound for Vienna. 1st Screening – Sunday, January 20th, 9:45pm – Eccles

THE LIFEGUARD: Writer-director: Liz W. Garcia. Cast: Kristen Bell, Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr, Amy Madigan. Bell plays an ex-valedictorian who bails on her journo job in Gotham to return to her last happy place. That’s the family home in Connecticut, and she gets a lifeguard job and falls into a dangerous relationship with a troubled teen. 1st Screening – Saturday, January 19th, 5:30pm – Library

THE NECESSARY DEATH OF CHARLIE COUNTRYMAN: Director: Fredrik Bond. Writer, Matt Drake. Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint, Til Schweiger. Countryman is a young man who’s traveling abroad. When he falls for a beauty he becomes determined to find his way into her heart. That means  taking brutal punishment from her violent ex. 1st Screening – Monday, January 21st, 6:30pm – Eccles

PRINCE AVALANCHE: Writer-director: David Gordon Green. Cast: Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch. Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind. 1st Screening – Sunday, January 20th, 2:30pm – Library

Related: Sundance: Five Producers To Watch Read More »

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Financing Team In Place For Indie Thriller ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’

By | Monday July 23, 2012 @ 10:40am PDT

Evolution Independent is joined by Lagniappe and Paradox Entertainment aboard David Lowery’s dramatic thriller Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which stars Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck as a pair of outlaws who are brought down by the law in Texas. Ben Foster also stars, and Keith Carradine has just been added to the cast of the pic, which began shooting this month in Shreveport, La. Evolution, Lagniappe and Paradox are splitting financing equally; Evolution’s Mark Burg and Mike Menchel, Paradox’s Daniel Wagner and Fredrik Malmberg, and Lagniappe’s Logan Levy and Jesse Kennedy are executive producing. James Johnston and Toby Halbrook of Sailor Bear are producing with Jay Van Hoy and Lars Knudsen for Parts & Labor, Amy Kaufman for Primary Productions, and Cassian Elwes for Evolution Independent. The Weinstein Company is handling international territories for the film.

Related: ‘Red Tails’ Nate Parker Cast In Indie ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’

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‘Red Tails’ Nate Parker Cast In Indie ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’

By | Thursday July 12, 2012 @ 1:16pm PDT

Actor Nate Parker (Red Tails, The Secret Life Of Bees, The Great Debaters, Pride) is joining Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, and Ben Foster in the cast for Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. The indie film is written and directed by David Lowery (who was accepted to the Sundance Screenwriters Lab for the film) from the indieprod Parts And Labor. Producers are Amy Kaufman, James Johnston, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Toby Halbrooks.

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