Global Showbiz Briefs: Pedro Almodóvar Set For Career Honor At EFA Awards; Senator Backs Bille August’s ‘Beware Of Pity; More

Pedro Almodóvar Set For Career Honor From European Film Academy
Pedro Almodóvar will receive the European Achievement in World Cinema award at the 26th European Film Awards in December. The European Film Academy is feting the filmmaker for his body of work, including Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown – his 1988 breakout film – All About My Mother, Talk To Her and this year’s I’m So Excited. “I am very thankful for this award,” Almodóvar said in a statement. “From its creation, the European Film Academy has been very generous with me and my closest collaborators. I share with them the joy of this award.” He will receive the award December 7 at the the EFA Awards in Berlin.

Senator Film To Finance Bille August’s ‘Beware Of Pity’
Germany’s Senator Film is backing the latest feature adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s Beware Of Pity. Danish helmer Bille August will direct. August is reteaming with his Night Train To Lisbon and Goodbye Bafana screenwriter Greg Latter, who is penning the transfer. This will be the second feature based on prolific Austrian author Zweig’s Beware Of Pity. The first was in 1946, starring German actress Lilli Palmer. Published in 1938, the book tells the story of a young lieutenant who takes pity on a paralyzed girl. He cares for her and she falls in love, but he doesn’t share her strong feelings. When she learns the truth, she makes a fateful decision. There is no cast yet, but international talent is expected to join the English-language project. Shooting starts in 2014 in Bavaria, Austria and Hungary. The film will open in Germany in 2015 through Senator. Lars Sylvest and Helge Sasse are producers. French director Patrice Leconte recently adapted Zweig’s A Promise as his first English-language film. That project drew Rebecca Hall, Alan Rickman and Richard Madden. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: Almodovar’s ‘I’m So Excited’ Leads New Indies; ‘Museum Hours’ Bows OK

By | Sunday June 30, 2013 @ 10:52am PDT

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

Indie FilmsPedro Almodovar‘s boozy sex comedy I’m So Excited lead an otherwise unremarkable host of newbies in the Specialty Box Office. The feature, which opened the Los Angeles Film Festival earlier this month, bowed in 5 locations in New York and L.A., grossing over $100K for a three-day winning $20,546 average. Jem Cohen’s Museum Hours debuted two runs, grossing almost $30K for a decent $14,718, while Tribeca Films’ doc How To Make Money Selling Drugs rolled out in 5 theaters, grossing over $15K. IFC Films’ Byzantium opened with a $3K average in 6 theaters, followed by Drafthouse Films’ A Band Called Death ($2,193 PSA) and Roadside’s Redemption, which floundered with a $959 average albeit in 19 runs.

Insiders speculated over whether the latest feature from Spanish maestro Almodóvar would pass muster from his fans and the art house crowd. The speculation will still linger. Opening weekend numbers were decent although not, to take a cue from the film, orgasmic. Almodovar’s much darker last film The Skin I Live In boasted more recognizable stars and bowed with a $37,187 average in 6 theaters, a figure topped by Broken Embraces in 2009 ($53,556 PSA in 2 runs). 2006′s Volver averaged $39,540 in five theaters on its way to nearly a $12.9 million cume in the U.S. Excited has not flown the way of his most recent films, however, opening in the summer and bowing out of the usual Almodovarian Cannes debut. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘I’m So Excited’, ‘How To Make Money Selling Drugs’, ‘The Secret Disco Revolution’, ‘A Band Called Death’, ‘Some Girl(s)’

By | Thursday June 27, 2013 @ 12:39pm PDT

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

Spain’s maverick filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar returns to U.S. shores with his latest film, which is a departure from his most recent work. I’m So Excited!, which opened the recent Los Angeles Film Festival but skirted Almodovar’s usual Cannes world premiere slot this year, is a throwback to the director’s 1980s comedies, and Sony Pictures Classics begins its opening in platform release. The director called the film recently “his most gay” — perhaps fitting given yesterday’s Supreme Court decisions and the flurry of gay pride events around the country this weekend. The feature will be joined by several documentary newcomers in the specialty arena Friday including Tribeca Film’s How To Make Money Selling Drugs, which includes a host of notables including 50 Cent, Eminem, Woody Harrelson and Susan Sarandon. Screen Media’s The Secret Disco Revolution also boasts figures from the era, which combines storytelling and comic-irony to recall the disco days. A Band Called Death is also a music-focused nonfiction, spotlighting seminal “pre-punk” band Death. And self-distributed Some Girl(s) stars Adam Brody, Kristen Bell and Zoe Kazan in a new comedy-drama.

I’m So Excited
Director-writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Javier Cámara, Pepa Charro, Lola Duenas, Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, Antonio de la Torre, Hugo Silva, Miguel Ángel Silvestre
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Almodóvar fans are some of the most loyal around. His most recent film, the dark The Skin I Live In debuted in six theaters in October 2011, with a per-screen average above $37K (nearly $3.2 million cume), while Broken Embraces (2009) bowed in a pair of runs, averaging $53,556 on its way to a $5 million U.S. gross. Those films, however, were outshined at the box office by the Spanish filmmaker’s 2006 release, Volver, which cumed nearly $12.9 million ($39,540 first weekend PSA). His latest, I’m So Excited!, harkens back to early Almodóvar, so how it will be received in 2013 remains to be seen. “I wanted to return to a genre that I was very familiar with in the ’80s,” said Almodóvar at a recent preview screening at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. “It’s a light comedy and discussion… And the discussion is mixed with a lot of alcohol and sex.” The story centers on a group of passengers aboard an ill-fated flight from Spain to Mexico City who look to overcome their anxiety in the face of danger, with hefty amounts of booze, pill-popping and carnal satisfaction as the secrets of their lives are revealed. “Pedro Almodóvar has made the perfect summer movie,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker. “We’re always thrilled when he wants to switch gears. This is our 10th or 11th movie with him and his instincts are always correct.” Read More »

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LA Film Festival: Almodovar’s ‘I’m So Excited!’ Opens Fest On Lighter Note

Pete Hammond

The Los Angeles Film Festival kicked off Thursday night with the North American premiere of Pedro Almodovar’s raunchy screwball comedy I’m So Excited! at LA Live’s Regal Cinemas. And if the jaded opening-night LA crowd did not demonstrably respond (there was just small polite applause at the end) with the enthusiasm past Almodovar films have enjoyed from Cannes to New York, it did send off the 11-day fest on a fun note. In no small part that owes to the fact that the pic is about sex and Almodovar himself explained the film’s title as “like being very horny”. Sony Pictures Classics is releasing the film and was pleased to grab the prestigious opening slot of the Film Independent signature film fest. And of course LA Film Fest was thrilled to get Almodovar.

SPC co-president Michael Barker told me afterwards that this is the first of Almodovar’s films to premiere in North America outside of New York. “The time was right for this one and Pedro was totally on board with coming here with it as well”, he said. In fact an ebullient Almodovar told me he was extremely impressed with the Regal’s massive screen and bright projection even though Sony took him to dinner during the movie. “I actually wanted to stay and watch. I grew up seeing movies in big theatres like this. I love the experience.” According to the two-time Oscar-winning director (All About My Mother, Talk To Her) his latest is the #1 box office attraction this first half of the year in his native Spain. And, as he tells it, that was no easy trick due to the failing economy which has seen double-digit declines and caused a steep downturn in moviegoing. Almodovar suggested people prefer to watch downloads on the Internet rather than pay the money for a moviegoing experience and that saddens him, although he’s glad his film is surviving in Spanish multiplexes despite the hardships. For him this pic was a bit of a lark after the more serious The Skin I Live In, which played in competition in Cannes in 2011. I’m So Excited! is about a jetliner en route to Mexico which encounters technical problems and then all hell ensues — a freewheeling farce that at least one Oscar voter told me later left him with tears running down his face due to laughter. Others were not as enthusiastic. It doesn’t matter. This likely won’t be an awards contender — comedies rarely are — but it returns Almodovar to his initial wild style of humor and that’s always welcome. Read More »

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Pedro Almodovar’s ‘I’m So Excited!’ To Open LA Film Festival

By | Wednesday April 10, 2013 @ 11:16am PDT

The North American premiere of Pedro Almodóvar’s I’m So Excited! has been named the opening-night film of the 19th annual Los Angeles Film Festival on June 13. It comes ahead of the Spanish-language comedy’s U.S. platform release … Read More »

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Sony Classics Dates Linklater’s ‘Before Midnight’, Almodovar’s ‘I’m So Excited’, Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’ For Summer 2013

By | Wednesday February 6, 2013 @ 7:34pm PST

Sony Classics will debut Richard Linklater‘s Sundance hit threequel Before Midnight on May 24, 2013 in New York and Los Angeles, Exhibitor Relations announced Wednesday via Twitter. The … Read More »

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Academy Toasts Pedro Almodovar In London; Plus Teaser For ‘I’m So Excited’

Joe Utichi contributes to Deadline’s UK coverage.

Grace Jones, Kristen Scott Thomas and Miranda Richardson were amongst the guests to hear tributes to the Oscar-winning filmmaker (Original Screenplay for Talk Read More »

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Sony Classics Acquires Pedro Almodovar’s Comedy ‘I’m So Excited’

By | Tuesday June 19, 2012 @ 9:47am PDT

NEW YORK (June 19, 2012) – Sony Pictures Classics announced today that they have acquired all North American rights to Pedro Almodóvar’s new comedy currently titled I’M SO EXCITED from El Deseo. The film, an ensemble comedy written and

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As Penelope Cruz Signs ‘Counselor’ Deal, Reteam With Almodovar Looms Large

By | Monday June 11, 2012 @ 4:46pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: As expected, Penelope Cruz has joined the stellar cast of the Ridley Scott-directed The Counselor, and I’m told that she is planning to team up again this summer with director Pedro Almodovar in Los Amantes Pasajeros, the comedy he … Read More »

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Almodóvar AFI Retrospective Adds ‘Eyes Without A Face,’ ‘Le Cercle Rouge,’ ‘Nightmare Alley,’ ‘The Killers’

By | Wednesday October 26, 2011 @ 12:57am PDT

LOS ANGELES, CA, October 25, 2011 – AFI Fest presented by Audi, a showcase of the most anticipated films and performances of the year, today announced the film retrospective curated by Guest Artistic Director

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AFI Fest Announces Centerpiece Galas And Special Screenings

Pete Hammond

With just a little more than two weeks to go before its opening-night world premiere gala of Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar on November 3, the American Film Institute has just announced the long list of Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings for its 25th edition — AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. Unlike the Eastwood coup, the lineup doesn’t include any other world or North American premieres and instead is made up of films recently seen in Toronto, Venice, Telluride or New York or combinations of all of the above festivals.

The AFI Fest, which runs November 3-10, is becoming known as the festival of galas, with at least one big red-carpet event every night of the week. Slated as Centerpiece Galas this session are Luc Besson’s The Lady (November 4), which played the Mill Valley Film Festival last week in a version now several minutes shorter than its well-received Toronto Film Festival premiere; Roman Polanski’s Carnage (November 5); My Week With Marilyn (November 6); The Artist (November 8); and Steve McQueen’s controversial Shame (November 9). Also on November 7, the fest will present an evening with Pedro Almodovar, this year’s Guest Artistic Director, who will be presenting his 25-year-old classic Law of Desire and participating in a special onstage conversation. All will be presented at the Chinese theater in Hollywood. Read More »

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NYFF Selection Committee Head Richard Pena Stepping Down in 2012

Mike Fleming

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 »

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OSCARS: Foreign Shockers From Spain, Italy

By | Thursday September 29, 2011 @ 3:10am PDT
Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that Oscar’s ever-growing Foreign-Language Film lineup has received shockers from Spain and Italy. Spain didn’t select the presumed favorite, two-time Oscar winner Pedro Almodovar with his The Skin I Live In starring frequent Almodovar collaborator Antonio Banderas. Instead, Spain chose the more obscure Pa Negre (Black Read More »

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OSCARS: Controversy Emerges As Deadline For Foreign-Language Film Entries Looms

Pete Hammond

With the deadline for submitting films in the Foreign Language Oscar race looming, the competition is taking shape. Some 44 films have been entered by Deadline’s count. Last year, 65 films were entered, so expect 20 or so more to be announced. After the October 3rd cutoff, the Academy’s Foreign Language Executive Committee, led by Oscar-winning producer Mark Johnson (Rain Man) will vet the list and approve the final rundown before the 3-month screening process begins to pick 9 finalists and the eventual 5 nominees. Already, Johnson has indicated to me there is controversy. Albania has entered The Forgiveness of Blood, the hit at Telluride and Toronto directed by LA-born and -bred Joshua Marston. Apparently, other Albanian filmmakers are balking at the nationality of the movie’s helmer. It will be up to the committee to determine whether the film has enough Albanian elements to qualify despite being in the unique situation of having an American director (and co-writer). The very internationally inclined Marston had the official 2004 Colombian entry, Maria Full of Grace, before it was disqualified for not being Colombian enough. It did eventually win a Best Actress nod for Catalina Sandino Moreno.

The Russians are also squabbling over their official entry, Nikita Mikhalkov’s Burnt By the Sun 2: Citadel, the sequel to his 1995 Oscar-winning foreign language film. Even though the full Russian Oscar selection committee voted for it, Mikhalkov has been “burnt” by committee head Vladimir Menshov, who is against putting the critical and box office flop forward to the American Academy. (Despite a $45 million budget, it grossed only $1.5 million). He is awaiting Mikhalkov’s formal response to his request that he pull the film. He has until October 1, according to the Russian rule book.

China’s choice of three-time nominee  Zhang Yimou’s (Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern, Hero) period epic The Flowers of War (formerly known during production as Heroes of Nanking), starring Oscar winner Christian Bale, is China’s most expensive film ever. It’s reportedly 40% English-language and 60% Mandarin, which lets it squeak by under Academy rules. Twenty minutes of footage from the film, which opens its regular run December 16 in China, was shown to buyers and press in Toronto and was well-received. Executive producer and former Universal Pictures honcho David Linde told me in Toronto that if the film gets a domestic distribution deal in time, it is entirely possible to open in the U.S. to qualify for all categories – presumably including a Best Actor bid for Bale. (Linde was non-committal on that, so we will have to wait and see.) If it gets nominated and the film is held from American release until next year, that would make it ineligible for other categories in 2012.

Among the countries still waiting to be heard from are frequent nominees Italy, Spain and Turkey. I fully expect those countries to select films that were all in the official competition in Cannes this year: Italy’s Habemus Papam from Nanni Moretti; Turkey’s Cannes Grand Prize winner Once Upon a Time in Anatolia from director Nuri Bilge Ceylan; and Spain’s The Skin I Live In, the first “horror” effort from two-time Oscar winner Pedro Almodovar. The latter has had a spotty track record with the Spanish Academy that makes the selections, but the rift is said to have eased. If they are in their right mind, they will certainly select Skin, which I think is one of Almodovar’s best and most entertaining films.

I am a bit surprised to see Belgium select Bullhead over Cannes prizewinner The Kid With a Bike from the highly respected Dardenne Brothers and also over Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight grand prize winner, the brilliant coming-of-age story Les Geants.

France usually picks something out of the main competition in Cannes, especially because festival director Thierry Fremaux is also on France’s official Oscar selection committee. But this year the country chose the well-received film that opened the smaller Critics Week competition, Declaration of War, an emotional story of young parents trying to deal with their child’s cancer diagnosis. Perhaps after seeing the Academy ignore last year’s home-grown Cannes Grand Prize winner Of Gods and Men they decided to go in a different direction. They ignored potential candidate Polisse, which won the Jury Prize in this year’s main competition at the fest. They also passed over another French-bred competition entry, the enormously popular The Artist (which added to its laurels by winning the Audience Award today at the San Sebastian Film Festival). The black-and-white silent film set and shot in Hollywood is probably not perceived as French enough, despite the Gallic credentials of director Michel Hazanavicius and star Jean Dujardin (Best Actor in Cannes). A Weinstein Company source told me they aren’t upset as they are aiming for a Best Picture slot and don’t necessarily want the film perceived as a foreign language picture.

Highlights among other official selections so far: Read More »

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Pedro Almodovar To Be Guest Artistic Director At AFI Fest

By | Monday August 29, 2011 @ 6:04am PDT
Mike Fleming

The American Film Institute has set Pedro Almodovar to be Guest Artistic Director at AFI Fest 2011. The 25-year-old festival runs Nov. 3-10. Almodovar will present a screening of his 1986 film Law of Desire, which is also 25 years … Read More »

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FilmNation Grabs Mike Jones Spec ‘In The Event Of A Moon Disaster’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In competitive bidding, FilmNation Entertainment has acquired In the Event of a Moon Disaster, a Mike Jones spec script that re-imagines the first moon mission. In this version, disaster strikes and the astronauts find themselves up against … Read More »

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NY Film Fest Adds Galas For David Cronenberg And Pedro Almodovar Films

Mike Fleming

New York, NY, August 15, 2011 – The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced the first-time addition of two Galas to join the Opening, Centerpiece and Closing Night Galas for the upcoming 49th New York Film Festival (September 30 – October 16) with David Cronenberg’s A DANGEROUS METHOD set to screen on Wednesday, October 5 and Pedro Almodovar’s THE SKIN I LIVE IN on Wednesday, October 12.

“We’re delighted to be welcoming David Cronenberg to the festival for the first time and to be welcoming back one of the NYFF’s closest friends, Pedro Almodovar,” says Richard Peña, Selection Committee Chair & Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center. “It’s a special pleasure to introduce our audiences to exciting new work by two of contemporary cinema’s most challenging artists.”

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It’s Not MLK, But David Oyelowo Teams With Lee Daniels For ‘The Paperboy’

Mike Fleming

Director Lee Daniels had long planned for David Oyelowo to play Martin Luther King Jr in Selma, until that film suffered a series of setbacks. Daniels instead just set Oyelowo to play the role of Yardley in The Paperboy. He’ll … Read More »

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Sofia Vergara Cancels ‘The Paperboy’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sofia Vergara, who was announced to be part of the cast in the Lee Daniels-directed drama The Paperboy, has just dropped out of the film. These independent films take forever to come together, and when the start date of … Read More »

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