In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom catch up the latest news from the just-opened Cannes Film Festival, where Pete and the rest of the Deadline team are busy covering the first days of the annual glam fest and the deals and parties behind the glitz. Grace of Monaco had a noisy and controversial opening, but Mike Leigh’s biopic of the great British painter Mr. Turner promises awards glory for the film and its star, Timothy Spall (perhaps best known as Peter Pettigrew/Wormtail in several of the Harry Potter films) following its Croisette debut. Pete and David also circle back to early in the week for Pete’s annual visit to Broadway, where he saw six Tony contenders in four days. He also gives his take on the week’s new movies, led by the monster mash of Godzilla and Jon Hamm’s Million Dollar Arm.
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 74 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 74 (.M4A version)
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Timothy Spall is attached to star in the next film from Mike Leigh. Focus Features International will begin worldwide sales in Cannes in May, on the film about British landscape watercolorist J.M.W. Turner. Turner was a pioneering and controversial figure in his day, but is now considered one of the most celebrated artists in British history. FFI, which worked with Leigh on Another Year, will co-finance with BFI and Film4. Leigh said, “Turner as a character is compelling. I want to explore the man, his working life, his relationships and how he lived. But what fascinates me most is the drama that lies in the tension between this driven eccentric and the epic, timeless world he evoked in his masterpieces.” Georgina Lowe is producing through Thin Man Films with Xofa Productions. Gail Egan, Tessa Ross and Norman Merry are exec producing. Co-producers are Michel Saint Jean of Diaphana Films and Malte Grunert of Amusement Park Films.
Armed thugs spread violence Friday in Mexico’s second largest city, causing minor disruptions at the Guadalajara International Film Festival, which closes out Saturday. Gangs commandeered 11 vehicles in the Guadalajara metropolitan zone as well as more in surrounding areas, according to Guadalajara Reporter. One man died in one of the incidents, but it was unclear if he belonged to one of the armed groups.
An attendee at the festival told Deadline that despite the “disruptive and unfortunately deadly incidents” in Guadalajara, all of the festival’s guests were fine and the festival is proceeding with its scheduled events. “Celebrating the arts and showing no fear is the best way to manifest against the non-sense violence,” our source told Deadline. It is believed the violence were reprisals for several recent arrests of a drug cartel leader and his second in command. British director Mike Leigh and actor Andy Garcia were among the high profile guests at the 27th Guadalajara International Film Festival. Leigh’s All A Life screened opening night last Saturday. The 27th Guadalajara International Film Festival screened 117 features and shorts.
Mike Leigh has been named president of the jury for the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival. The British director’s films have been invited to Berlin in various sections in the past including 1984′s Meantime, 1998’s short The Short And Curlies, 1991’s Life Is Sweet and 2008’s Happy-Go-Lucky for which Sally Hawkins took the Silver Bear for Best Actress. Leigh’s latest film, Another Year, ran in competition in Cannes in 2010 and was nominated for an original screenplay Oscar. Berlin runs from Feb 9-19, 2012.
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.” Read More »