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Toronto: Michael Pitt Joins Mary Pickford Pic ‘The First’

By | Thursday August 30, 2012 @ 11:39am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve watched the first five hours of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, and it took that many hours for me to get past the unequivocal exit of Michael Pitt’s Jimmy Darmody character. Pitt has committed to star in The First, a new feature film about the life of Hollywood legend Mary Pickford that will begin production in 2013. He will play Owen Moore, Pickford’s first husband. Ryan Simpkins has been cast to play a young Pickford. Lily Rabe was already set to play Mary Pickford in her salad years.

Rabe and Pitt will join filmmakers Julie Pacino and Jennifer DeLia and their partner Said Zaharoui in Toronto next week. They will co-host an opening night party September 6th at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The party is meant to fete the memory of the Toronto-born Pickford and create awareness for the film, which will be produced by Pacino and DeLia’s Poverty Row Entertainment, and directed by DeLia. The event will also be hosted by Poverty Row partners Paramax Films and Monde Ouest from Paris, as well as Toronto’s Windsor Arms Hotel, which was built in 1927 and is often associated with Pickford’s heyday. Rare footage of the esteemed actress from the Pickford Foundation archives will be on display during the celebration.

“I got to know Julie and Jennifer while they … Read More »

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Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Opens Film Vaults, Says They Are ‘Not Just About Oscars’

By | Wednesday August 29, 2012 @ 3:01am PDT
Pete Hammond

Determined to show it is more than just a one trick – or is that one night - pony the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences opened up its extensive, and impressive, film vaults for the press on Tuesday and provided clear proof they are also running a world class archival and preservation program for film and digital and other  materials. As the Academy’s Managing Director of Programming, Education and Preservation Randy Haberkamp said, “this is what we do the other 364 days of the year”  in a demonstation that the organization is about much more than just Oscar night. As a preview of what film fans will get a chance to see on September 10th (for invited guests) and 11th (the public)  and in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Academy’s Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study located on Vine St. in Hollywood, Academy officials led by Haberkamp  showed off the impressive space that used to be an ABC television studio and is now housing three floors of vaults and storage areas for the approximately 400 restoration projects and other programs the Academy sponsors each year. The 10th anniversary event called Inside The Vaults will also feature the Los Angeles premiere of the Archive’s newly restored print of the 1920 The Mark Of Zorro as well as the rare Mary Pickford short The New York Hat (1912).  In relation to the latter, the Academy and the Mary Pickford Foundation are partnering on a multi-year initiative to promote the “legacy of Pickford and the silent film era”. Pickford was one of the founders of the Academy. Artifacts from her career including letters and photos will be displayed, including a 1959  letter in which she discussed her plans and support for a Hollywood museum. Haberkamp said at long last the Academy is trying to make her dream come true with the creation (in association with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) of a permanent Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The museum project is currently in the midst of a major fundraising drive and expects to reach the next leg of its goal with Board approval on October 16. Bob Iger, along with Governors Tom Hanks and Annette Bening are leading that financial effort.

During Tuesday’s tour the Academy showed off some of the potential pieces the museum will contain including the earliest wood motion picture cameras used by Pickford and Charlie Chaplin as well as the latest acquisition donated to the Academy: A coat, hat, wig and props trunk that belonged to Harpo Marx and given to the Acad by his son Bill Marx who once served as the comedian’s prop master. Read More »

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Lily Rabe To Play Mary Pickford

By | Thursday May 17, 2012 @ 3:24am PDT

Julie Pacino and Jennifer DeLia’s Poverty Row Entertainment and producer Said Zahraoui have set Lily Rabe to  play Mary Pickford in their untitled upcoming movie based on Eileen Whitfield’s biography “Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood.” Josh Fagin is writing the script and production will begin in early 2013. Pacino and DeLia are currently at Cannes to take meetings about financing and casting considerations for these five key people in Pickford’s life:

Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, her mother and manager Charlotte Hennessy, her friend and collaborator Frances Marion, and D.W. Griffith. Chaplin, Fairbanks and Griffith founded United Artists with Pickford.

“Julie and I noticed an intriguing quality in Lily when watching her perform on stage – something that felt so authentic and pitch-perfect,” DeLia said. “And like Lily, Mary Pickford’s inner-fabric was made up in big part by her experiences with live performance in the theatre. Eventually though Pickford figured out, all on her own, the difference between acting in front of a live audience versus acting in front of the camera. For the role, we knew that we wanted someone who embodied those same qualities and who has truly experienced that seamless crossover as an actress. Mary became known for those instincts and those same instincts were what drew us to Lily, knowing how difficult that range is to achieve. Meeting Lily really sealed the deal as not only did she already know a lot about Pickford but also, we were … Read More »

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Julie Pacino To Make Mary Pickford Biopic

By | Thursday May 3, 2012 @ 11:36am PDT

Mary Pickford MovieJulie Pacino and Jennifer DeLia’s Poverty Row Entertainment and producer Said Zahraoui have acquired rights to Eileen Whitfield’s Mary Pickford biography Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood. The producers are developing a feature (untitled for the moment) about Pickford’s life with a script from Josh Fagin. DeLia will direct. An early 2013 production start is being eyed. Silent star Pickford was known as “America’s Sweetheart” and was one of the 36 co-founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In a legendary move in 1919, Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and DW Griffith together created United Artists. Recently, a battle has erupted over the right to use Pickford’s name, work and trademark between the Mary Pickford Institute of Film Education and the Mary Pickford Foundation.

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Battle Over Mary Pickford Legacy Heats Up

By | Thursday April 12, 2012 @ 7:58pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Is a fight over the right to use the name and work and trademark of America’s Sweetheart heading to court? An announcement posted April 2nd by the 10-year-old Mary Pickford Institute of Film Education claims its yearly funding of $500,000 was “yanked by its long time supporter the Mary Pickford Foundation”. Now a petition protesting the move has made the matter very public. And both sides have lawyers in place: Terry Mazura of the Mazura Law Firm in Santa Ana representing the Foundation and Jennifer Hughes of Hughes Media Law in Beverly Hills representing the Institute. Established by the silent film star in 1958, the Foundation created the Institute as an independent non-profit in 2002. The Foundation says it put over $4.2 million into the Institute over the years. But the relationship ended on March 1st when their latest five-year contract expired. “There was nothing sudden about this. I’d been telling them since September 2011 we were going in a new direction,” Pickford Foundation chair Henry Stotsenberg tells Deadline. “I wish them well but they never became self-sufficient.”

Here’s the problem: the Foundation contends it owns the trademark to the late United Artists co-founder’s name and work. The Institute says it owns the domain name and the right to use the silent film star’s name, image and films in its youth filmmaking programs and fundraising. The domain name is registered to Timeline Films, whose offices are the same … Read More »

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