The 7th Zurich Film Festival announced its award winners tonight, with Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter taking best feature film. This year’s edition also was marked by an appearance from Roman Polanski, who received the fest’s lifetime achievement award Tuesday. A list of competition winners follows:
International Feature Film Competition
Take Shelter by Jeff Nichols (U.S.)
Outstanding Performance By An Actor
Deon Lotz for Beauty
Outstanding Performance By An Actress
Corinne Masiero for Louise Wimmer
International Documentary Film Competition
Buck by Cindy Meehl (U.S.)
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While the big Cannes Film Festival awards get handed out this weekend, Take Shelter, the Jeff Nichols-directed Michael Shannon-Jessica Chastain drama, took the Grand Prix Nespresso, the top prize at Cannes Critics Week. Sony Pictures Classics bought the film before it screened at Sundance, and based on the Cannes buzz, they were smart to pounce before everybody saw the finished product. The Belgian film The Giants won the Art Cinema Award and the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers’ SACA Prize, while the Austrian film Breathing was named top European film in Directors’ Fortnight.
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. Read More »
Harvey Weinstein’s little gamble may just pay off. After this morning’s very warmly received 8:30 AM press screening of The Artist, a black-and-white silent movie from French director Michel Hazanavicius, some in the media here were starting to predict Palme d’Or. I wouldn’t get into that game, but it is true this little gem that The Weinstein Company recently announced it will be distributing this fall in the U.S. (Warner Bros has it in France) is the fest’s big charmer so far, although the big prize here usually goes to films with more weight. It won very nice applause during and after its press unveiling from normally jaded journalists who haven’t been applauding much at all so far this fest and got an impressive 10-minute-ish standing ovation after Sunday night’s gala premiere. Standing ovations aren’t uncommon at Cannes’ black-tie galas. Just about every movie gets one. The real trick to seeing how loved your movie is comes to down to how many minutes they clap for you. The whole thing is a ritual. I remember one year, after the official screening of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911, Weinstein clocked it at over 20 minutes and said it was a record.
The film went on to win the Palme d’Or. When I coincidentally ran into the tuxedo-clad Harvey at the Majestic just after Artist finished, he was keeping it low key, especially when I asked how he thought the reaction was. He clearly wants people to discover this little film … Read More »
FilmNation has taken overseas rights to Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter, which Sony Pictures Classics bought early on at the Sundance Film Festival. Michael Shannon stars opposite Jessica Chastain as a man haunted by his dreams who obsessively starts building a storm shelter in his backyard. But what he can’t tell those closest to him is what he really is afraid his dreams signify. Ad Vitam has already come on board for France. FilmNation will begin selling in earnest at Cannes.
… ARC Entertainment and XLrator Media Partnership have also taken U.S. rights to John Carpenter’s The Ward, the cult director’s first feature since the late 90s. Amber Heard (Drive Angry 3D), Mamie Gummer (Off the Map) and Danielle Panabaker (Friday the 13th) star in this shocker set in a 60s mental institution terrorised by malevolent forces. Doug Mankoff, Andrew Spaulding of Echo Lake Entertainment (Tsotsi) produce along with Peter Block of A Bigger Boat. XLrator negotiated the deal with Cinetic Media’s John Sloss and Echo Lake’s Andy Spaulding. FilmNation is handling overseas.
… And Blue Lake Entertainment Fund, an “8-figure” fund launched by Echo Lake Entertainment and Canadian financier Blue Ice Entertainment, is to finance projects on the books of Paris-based sales agent Celluloid Dreams. Blue Lake will finance projects budgeted over $10 million by proven directors with global appeal. Celluloid Dreams has a reputation of being one of the toniest sales agents in Europe, having in the past worked with directors Michael Haneke, Jacques Audiard and Francois Ozon. Celluloid Dreams CEO … Read More »
Sony Pictures Classics has made a preemptive acquisition of North American, Australian and Latin American, Australian and New Zealand rights to Take Shelter, a drama that stars Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain. It’s directed by Jeff Nichols, who previously worked with Shannon on Shotgun Stories. The film debuts in the dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival.
The drama chronicles a man’s descent into madness. He fears an apocalyptic cloud he believes will engulf his town, and builds a storm shelter in his yard. It has the paranoia and delusional elements of Black Swan, where it’s unclear what is real and imagined. Shannon’s Boardwalk Empire castmate Shea Whigham also stars, along with Katy Mixon and Kathy Baker. The film’s produced by Tyler Davidson of Strange Matter Films and Sophia Lin, and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones is executive producer along with Sarah Green, Richard Rothfeld, Chris Perot, Christos Konstantakopoulos and Hydraulx partners Greg and Colin Strause. Latter duo provided the film’s visual effects. CAA sold the film.