Leave it to Danish provocateur Lars Von Trier to open a four-hour sex-o-rama on Christmas Day. Zentropa Entertainments and Scandinavian distributor Nordisk Film have set the world premiere of Nymphomaniac for Copenhagen in December with the local theatrical release on December 25. As Zentropa CEO Peter Aalbæk Jensen says, “What’s more Christmassy than a film like this?” Magnolia has U.S. rights. Here’s a new image depicting part of the ensemble cast that includes Charlotte Gainsbourg, Shia LaBeouf, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe, Stellan Skarsgård, Christian Slater and Connie Nielsen:
BERLIN TOLDJA!: Magnolia Closes U.S. Deal For Lars Von Trier-Helmed Shia La Beouf Boff-A-Rama ‘Nymphomaniac’
UPDATE, 6:22 AM:: Magnolia Pictures and TrustNordisk have confirmed Deadline’s scoop that they’ve made one of the big deals at Berlin for U.S. rights to provocateur helmer Lars von Trier‘s full monty film Nymphomaniac. We heard it was around a $2 million deal. The press release runs beneath Deadline’s original break on the story.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, MONDAY PM: After a little late night deal making hanky panky in Berlin, Magnolia Pictures is the frontrunner in talks to consummate a deal for domestic rights to Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac for around $2 million, Deadline hears. The film’s about a nymphomaniac who recounts her sordid life to a stranger after he saves her from a beating. It stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Shia LaBeouf, Jamie Bell and Christian Slater.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s Drafthouse Films has acquired U.S. rights to The Ambassador, a darkly comic documentary that exposes the corrupt business of selling diplomatic titles at the expense of wartorn, third-world nations, particularly in Africa. The Mads Brugger-directed …
BREAKING: Just before the New York Film Festival closed tonight with the premiere of the Alexander Payne-directed The Descendants, the Film Society of Lincoln Center announced that its longtime program director and Selection Committee head Richard Pena will stepping down after next year’s 50th annual festival. Pena will have been involved in 25 of those fests by the time he leaves. The festival said that he will stay on to help design and organize a new educational initiative at the Film Society after he steps down.
“For the past 24 years, Richard Pena has served as the chairman of the Selection Committed for the Festival as well as the Program Director of the Film Society,” said FSLC Board of Directors president Dan Stern. “Richard has informed the Board at the end of 2012–after the Festival’s 50th anniversary and his 25th at its helm–he will step down from both posts. Richard has been with the Film Society through the opening of the Walter Reade Theater as well as the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and we are please that he has accepted our invitation to stay on to help create a new educational initiative at the Film Society.”
The choice was made by Pena, who said that “Heading into the 50th anniversary of the Festival, it seems a perfect time for a transition, both for me personally and for the organization. Working at the Film Society has been beyond a dream come true, but in the years left me would like to possibly explore other areas of interest, both within and beyond the cinema. I also feel that, like at any other cultural institution, change can be important as it will bring in fresh ideas and approaches to lead the Film Society into its next fifty years.”
Toronto: As Magnolia Turns 10, Owner Todd Wagner Says It’s Not For Sale And That VOD Strategy Is Thriving
EXCLUSIVE: Along with everything else about the 2001 Toronto Film Festival, the launch of Magnolia Pictures was quickly forgotten on September 11, as co-founder Eamonn Bowles and other indie film execs scrambled to find ways to get home. Magnolia marked its 10th anniversary at 2011 Toronto. While the company still doesn’t carry the profile of some other indie distributors, Bowles and co-owner Todd Wagner said their model — mixing traditional indie theatrical distribution with emerging digital technology — has made them distinctive and profitable. VOD revenues now often outpace theatrical for Magnolia films, and they return profit to filmmakers because of low P&A spends. Bowles and Wagner have been honing the VOD model since they were branded charlatans by theater chains in 2005 when Steven Soderbergh’s micro-budget film Bubble was released simultaneously on movie screens, VOD and DVD. Wagner and partner Mark Cuban put Magnolia and other film assets under the 2929 Entertainment banner on the selling block earlier this year, but pulled them back when they didn’t get a high price. Wagner said he’s staying.
Magnolia releases 35-40 films each year now, with upcoming releases that include the 2011 Toronto title Melancholia (which got Lars von Trier banned by Cannes for making dumb pro-Nazi comments). Some Magnolia efforts follow a theatrical release cycle, others go direct to DVD. But VOD has increasingly become the distributor’s calling card and Wagner said proof of its viability came when Harvey Weinstein poached Magnolia execs Tom Quinn and Jason Janego to start a VOD venture for The Weinstein Company.
“Harvey’s been in the industry forever, and he thought it was a good enough model to hire some of our folks away,” Wagner told me. “I’m flattered. There are other people doing this now, from IFC to John Sloss. To me, it’s validation that we’ve hit on something. But we’ve got an advantage, a unique collection of assets in the Landmark Theater chain, a home video division, and HDNet. The big theater chains still absolutely won’t play Ultra VOD titles, so having a theater chain is helpful. As is having the television network for the relationships it has made us with all the MSO’s. These synergies allow us to be freewheeling in how we license content. And producers are coming back to us with films because we are cutting them checks. That rarely happens elsewhere because of all the P&A that stands in front of them.”
In another Twilight Zone-like twist to Lars von Trier’s bizarre Cannes experience, the Iranian Vice Minister of Culture Javad Shamaqdari sent a letter slamming the festival for “fascist behavior” in declaring the Danish Melancholia director persona non grata after his attempts to be funny in declaring himself a Nazi and saying that he sympathized with Hitler. Von Trier hasn’t had many come to his defense since issuing those dopey comments, but it is odd to get a statement of support from the same government that gave harsh prison sentences and banishment from filmmaking to two of its most important directors, Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof. Both had new films added to Cannes as a show of solidarity. Of course, von Trier issued another statement, which doesn’t really clear up anything:
The late Elizabeth Taylor was fondly remembered during a tribute Thursday night at the ultra-glamorous annual amFAR Cinema Against AIDS event (now in its 18th year) at Hotel Du Cap. The event co-chaired by Kenneth Cole and Harvey Weinstein broke all records, bringing in a haul of more than $10 million after an auction that also saw record prices. In clips from movies like Cleopatra and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, along with footage from her work for the organization in which she was the founding international chairman and host of the first event in 1993 Cole saluted Taylor as someone who “spoke up when others wouldn’t and said things when others can’t. I hope this will always be part of her legacy.” Weinstein added, “It was an honor to work beside her and it was an honor to watch her movies.”
Continuing the Taylor theme of the evening, two “Elizabeth” items went for big bucks in the annual auction that is always a part of this glitzy dinner, thrown near the end of each Cannes Film Festival since ’93. A limited-edition Herb Ritts photo of Taylor taken in Malibu in 1991 fetched a whopping $150,000, while an Andy Warhol dated lithograph of Liz circa 1964 fetched $400,000.
Among the stars taking part in the evening and auction were Janet Jackson, Brooke Shields, Freida Pinto, Kanye West, Rosario Dawson, Naomi Campbell, Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, Patrick Dempsey, Milla Jovovich (who opened the proceedings with a sultry “I Wanna Be Loved By You”), Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn and Sean Penn. Penn, bringing up the rear, got big laughs demanding women abstain from sex unless their men cough up $10,000 apiece in order to break the record amount for the fundraiser. Twenty-one of them did just that. Boy George performed a couple of songs, too. Among those in the crowd were three Cannes jury members including president Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman (who also participated in the auction) and Jude Law, along with Melancholia star Kirsten Dunst, who looked happy not to have Lars von Trier as her date.
Here’s a video look at Melancholia director Lars von Trier trying to be humorous during the press conference with some of the comments that got him banned from the Cannes Film Festival this morning. Poor Kirsten Dunst looks like she wants to melt through the floorboards as von Trier …
BREAKING: The Cannes Film Festival organizers are taking very seriously the comments made yesterday by director Lars von Trier during the press conference to introduce his film Melancholia. While Deadline termed him Biggest Douchebag after he made a tepid …
I flew home today from Cannes and am playing catch-up to Lars Von Trier’s Nazi and pro-Hitler outburst at a press conference for his film Melancholia, which was capably chronicled by my colleague Pete Hammond. I’m told that a …
CANNES UPDATE: Lars Von Trier Apologizes After Saying During Press Conference That He’s A Nazi And Sympathizes With Hitler “A Bit”
UPDATE: 9:30 AM: Now director Lars von Trier has issued an apology: “If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologize. I am not anti-semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi.”
PREVIOUS, 9:05 AM: The Cannes Film Festival has just issued a press release saying it was disturbed by von Trier’s comments and asked for an explanation from the Danish director, who it said has apologized.
The Festival de Cannes was disturbed about the statements made by Lars von Trier in his press conference this morning in Cannes. Therefore the Festival asked him to provide an explanation for his comments.
The director states that he let himself be egged on by a provocation. He presents his apology.
The direction of the Festival acknowledges this and is passing on Lars von Trier’s apology. The Festival is adamant that it would never allow the event to become the forum for such pronouncements on such subjects.
PREVIOUS, 6:31 AM: As usual, you can leave it to Danish director Lars von Trier to make waves. But now enough may be enough. Participating in the Cannes Film Festival for the 11th time,
the controversial helmer set more than a few mouths agape at a press conference following the 8:30 AM press screening of his latest opus, Melancholia. Because, asked at one point about his German roots — though he was actually born in Copenhagen in 1956 — he jumped right in with the kind of “Is he putting us on or what?” abandon he is known for:
“For a long time I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew, then I met Susanne Bier [fellow Danish director and this year's Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film] and I wasn’t so happy. But then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family was German. That also gave me pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler. I sympathize with him a bit.”
Then, in the spirit of Mel Gibson, who wisely skipped The Beaver press conference yesterday, thereby dodging bullets of this type that come up from a room full of international press, von Trier kept on going:
“I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier. In fact I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israel is a pain in the ass [pause] … How can I get out of this sentence? OK, I’m a Nazi.”
Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgard, Udo Kier and Jesper Christensen star in the drama. It opens July 1 in the UK; Magnolia Pictures picked up rights to the US and Canada at the Berlin film festival.