The Los Angeles Film Festival ended Thursday night on a high note (a really high note, in fact) at LA Live with the premiere of Clint Eastwood‘s movie version of the smash Broadway jukebox musical, Jersey Boys which has been running nearly a decade — and with no end in sight. The film, which I thought was terrific but very different from what I saw on stage, will almost certainly goose the sales of the play. The conventional wisdom used to be that when a movie came out, the live show was toast. But in recent years Chicago, The Phantom Of The Opera, Mamma Mia!, and even Rock Of Ages have flourished on Broadway long after their film counterparts have come and gone. I expect no different from Jersey Boys; in this case there might even be more interest since both are really different animals telling the same story. And what a story it is. So far, critical reaction has been divided down the middle, but I guess it all depends on your life experience. Eastwood isn’t exactly known for doing musicals (and let’s not remember his acting role in 1970′s flop Broadway transfer Paint Your Wagon, where he sang “to the trees”). But he has a strong musical sense (having directed the Charlie Parker biopic, Bird and scored many of his own films as well as being a well-known jazz aficionado). This story of the rise to stardom of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons from the tough neighborhoods of Jersey has been given grit and …
Radius-TWC Promises “Surprising” Launch Against ‘Transformers’ For LA Film Fest Opener ‘Snowpiercer’
Radius-TWC co-president Tom Quinn told me Wednesday night’s Los Angeles Film Festival opener Snowpiercer is going to have a unique rollout when it launches against formidable competition, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, on June 27. Although that sounds like a suicide mission for another action-oriented picture, Quinn, speaking at the after-party, calls his film from Korean director Bong Joon-ho an “intelligent tentpole” made for a thinking audience who likes its thrills delivered with smarts. He says they will open in 10 markets and follow up the next week on about 150 screens. That’s chump change for the opening Paramount plans for Transformers, but Quinn and co-president Jason Janego were pumped by the LA Fest response and hope to gain attention with a series of premieres, including train trips (for a film that’s set on the ultimate train trip) to Seattle, San Francisco and Austin, plus four separate premieres across New York state. “And when this film, which only could have been made by Bong Joon-ho, opens on the 27th, the only place you will be able to see it in America is on a theater screen,” he said, emphasizing that the company — an offshoot of The Weinstein Company, which opens most of its films day-and-date with VOD — will not be making it instantly available for home viewing. “We are plotting a surprising and different way of opening this film,” he said while not committing to any specific date as to when it actually will be available on VOD.
I would guess the VOD date won’t lag too far behind, but Quinn clearly wants to get the word out first that this is a big-screen experience. You might recall that Radius released its Oscar-winning documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom theatrically first and that worked out, as it became the top docu at the 2013 box office before hitting home screens.
After seeing the film, which also played the Berlin Film Festival, and which Harvey Weinstein pre-bought and later turned over to his Radius team (Quinn had worked with the director on The Host and Mother), I can say if ever there was a big-screen must-see, it’s this riveting story of the last humans alive after Earth is completely frozen-over and humanity wiped out — except for a few riding aboard a train that never stops and has every conceivable level of class, from its tail section to its super engine, as it continuously circles what’s left of the world. Although it is dark, grimy and claustrophobic, the director clearly knows how to make a classic train picture and his superb cast includes a hilarious Tilda Swinton, chewing the scenery like no one’s business, and Ed Harris in an extended cameo as the Master of this particular world. Both turned up for what was billed as the pic’s U.S. premiere.
LOS ANGELES (June 24, 2012) – Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Spirit Awards, announced the jury and audience award winners for the 2012 Festival The LA Film Fest ran from Thursday, June 14 to Sunday, June 24 in downtown Los Angeles. The two top juried awards are the Narrative Award and Documentary Award, each carrying an unrestricted $15,000 cash prize funded by Film Independent, for the winning film’s director. The Narrative Award recognizes the finest narrative film in competition at the Festival and went to Pocas Pascoal for the North American Premiere of All is Well, with an Honorable Mention going to Dominga Sotomayor’s Thursday Till Sunday. The Documentary Award recognizes the finest documentary film in competition at the Festival and went to Everardo González for the U.S. Premiere of Drought. The award for Best Performance in the Narrative Competition went to Wendell Pierce, Emory Cohen, E.J. Bonilla and Aja Naomi King for their performances in the World Premiere of Joshua Sanchez’s Four. The LA Film Fest also awarded an unrestricted $5,000 cash prize to each short film category.
The award for Best Narrative Short Film went to The Chair, directed by Grainger David. The award for Best Documentary Short Film went to Josh Gibson for Kudzu Vine. Joseph Pierce’s The Pub won for Best Animated or Experimental Short Film.
The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature went to Beasts of the Southern Wild, directed by Benh Zeitlin and the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature went to Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and The Farm Midwives, directed by Sara Lamm and Mary Wigmore. Searching for Sugar Man, directed by Malik Bendjelloul won the Audience Award for Best International Feature.
The Audience Award for Best Short Film went to Asad, directed by Bryan Buckley. Piranhas Club, directed by Lex Halaby won the Audience Award for Best Music Video.
Awards were given out in the following categories:
Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love will be the opening-night presentation for the Los Angeles Film Festival, Film Independent announced this morning. Written and directed by Woody Allen, To Rome With Love observes a number of characters in Italy — some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors — and their romances and predicaments. The movie stars Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. It’s produced by Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum will open June 22 via Sony Pictures Classics on June 22. Headquartered again at downtown’s L.A. Live, this year’s L.A. Film Festival runs June 14-24 and will present more than 200 feature films, shorts and music videos, representing more than 30 countries, along with signature programs such as the Filmmaker Retreat, Ford Amphitheater Outdoor Screenings, Poolside Chats, Coffee Talks, Music Events and more. Additional information at LAFilmFest.com.