Stranger By The Lake won Alain Guiraudie a best director trophy in Cannes‘ Un Certain Regard section in May. In June, the French film met with controversy when its posters were pulled in two Paris suburbs after locals complained they were too shocking. Now, the movie has been banned in Lebanon. The gay-themed pic was to screen at the Beirut Film Festival this coming Saturday, but a security official said the Interior Ministry’s censorship board has deemed it does “not meet its criteria.” A final decision is pending from the minister, but I’m told by sales rep and French distributor, Les Films du Losange, that “A priori, there won’t be a screening. It changes every hour.” The lauded thriller is a sexually explicit tale of summer love and murder. Lebanon bans artistic works believed to incite sectarian strife or undermine morals or state authority; Lebanese law opposes homosexuality. Stranger just played the Toronto and New York festivals and Strand Releasing will put it out later this year in the U.S. Lebanon also bans anything which furthers “Israeli propaganda,” AFP notes. That was evidenced earlier this year when censors banned Lebanese-born director Ziad Doueiri’s acclaimed drama, The Attack, because it fell afoul of 1955 law which bans all contact with Israel and Israelis. The film was partly shot in Tel Aviv with Israeli actors.
Specialty Box Office: ‘Cowgirls N’ Angels,’ ‘The Intouchables,’ ‘Moonrise Kingdom,’ ‘Oslo, August 31st’
This weekend’s specialty openers in the U.S. include a pair of Cannes Film Festival offerings. Just over a week since its world premiere as the fest’s opening-night film, Wes Anderson’s romantic-comedy Moonrise Kingdom will bow Stateside. The film has been an initial success since opening in theaters in France on the heels of its premiere there. Cannes 2011 title Oslo, August 31st also joins the specialty fray, hoping to repeat its success overseas in the U.S., as is The Weinstein Company‘s The Intouchables. That film has become one of the largest box office draws in French history and has taken big sums overall abroad. Also this weekend, Samuel Goldwyn Films will forgo the traditional L.A. and New York approach for its theatrical opening of Cowgirls N’ Angels, opting for playdates in the Midwest and South.
Culver City, CA (April 17, 2012) – Strand Releasing has acquired select US rights to baseball documentary BALLPLAYER: PELOTERO that is directed by Ross Finkel, Trevor Martin and Jon Paley. The documentary focuses on two young baseball players, or peloteros as they are called in the Dominican Republic, as they strive to get signed by a professional club on their 16th birthday – the age they become eligible. The film, which is narrated by actor John Leguizamo and executive produced by Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, is set for a July 13th release in theaters and video-on-demand.
California Solo stars Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting) as a former Britpop rocker-turned-farm worker who is charged with DUI, leading to possible deportation after living in Los Angeles for two decades. Marshall Lewy wrote and directed the film, which played at Sundance this year. Alexia Rasmussen, Kathleen Wilhoite, A Martinez, Michael Des Barres, and Danny Masterson also star. Strand co-president Jon Gerrans negotiated the deal with Ryan Kampe of Visit Films. The Culver City-based distributor plans a fall theatrical release. Strand’s 2012 slate includes Athina Tsangari’s Attenberg, Braden King’s Here, Joachim Trier’s New Directors/New Films feature Oslo August 31st and Andre Techine’s Unforgivable.
Starring Lukas Haas and Madeline Zima, Crazy Eyes will have its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival next week. The contemporary noir drama directed by Adam Sherman follows the story of Zach (Haas), whose obsession for a girl he calls Crazy Eyes (Zima) drives him to the brink — as his hard-partying lifestyle conflicts with his familial responsibilities. Strand Releasing’s Jon Gerrans negotiated the deal with attorney Irwin Rappaport for the feature and plans an early summer release. Strand distributed Sherman’s Happiness Runs in 2009. Hagai Shaham, whose latest credits include The Details starring Tobey Maguire, produced Crazy Eyes with Hulu’s Battleground.