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Jesse Zwick Directing ‘About Alex’ For Ed Zwick & Herskovitz’s Bedford Falls Co.

By | Wednesday July 24, 2013 @ 2:21pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Jesse Zwick is making his directorial debut with ensemble drama About Alex, with Oscar-winning father Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz exec producing for their Bedford Falls Company shingle. The Footprint Features co-production stars Aubrey Plaza (The To-Do List) and a line-up of rising TV and film thesps including Jason Ritter (Parenthood), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Nate Parker (Arbitrage), Maggie Grace (Taken), Max Minghella (The Internship), and Jane Levy (Evil Dead, Suburgatory). Story picks up with seven college friends who reunite Big Chill-style one long weekend after one of their own attempts suicide. The pals wax philosophical on past relationships, old crushes, and bad decisions and how life has changed post-college in the Facebook/Twitter age.

Zwick, who’s written for NBC’s Parenthood, scripted the film. Adam Saunders is producing About Alex for Footprint Features, which also financed the indie. Producing duo Zwick and Herskovitz (The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond, Defiance), meanwhile, are also exec producing The Boys of Abu Ghraib and produced Family Weekend with Footprint Features.

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Australian Academy Of Cinema Names First International Awards Nominees

Mike Fleming

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television, which previously honored Aussie productions, has launched five new award categories that will recognize international product in Best Film, Best Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress. In other words, the Aussies are going Hollywood. The nominees were announced tonight by Jacki Weaver, the Aussie actress who was Oscar nominated for Animal Kingdom. I am not sure how these will factor into the Oscar conversation, but here are the nominees:

INAUGURAL AACTA INTERNATIONAL AWARDS NOMINEES

BEST FILM

The Artist – Thomas Langmann (The Weinstein Company)

The Descendants - Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Hugo – Graham King, Tim Headington, Martin Scorsese, Johnny Depp (Paramount Pictures)

The Ides of March – George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Brian Oliver (Columbia Pictures)

Margin Call - Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Neal Dodson, Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Zachary Quinto (Roadside Attractions)

Melancholia – Meta Louise Foldager, Louise Vesth (Magnolia Pictures)

Midnight In Paris – Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, Jaume Roures (Sony Pictures Classics)

Moneyball - Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt (Columbia Pictures)

The Tree of Life – Bill Pohlad, Dede Gardner, Sarah Green (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

We Need to Talk About Kevin – Jennifer Fox, Luc Roeg, Bob Salerno (Oscilloscope Pictures)
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Hot Trailer: ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’

Director Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin explores the relationship between a mother (Tilda Swinton) haunted by the murderous rampage of her psychopathic son (Ezra Miller). John C. Reilly plays the father. With cinematography by Seamus McGarvey, the movie based on a novel by Lionel Shriver screened in competition this year at Cannes and recently won best picture at the London Film Festival. It opens in limited release December 9.

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‘Shame’, ‘Tinker, Tailor’ And ‘Tyrannosaur’ Lead Brit Indie Award Nominations

The three UK movies have received seven nods apiece for this year’s Moët British Independent Film Awards, due to take place in London on December 4. Each of them is battling for Best British Film Award, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor/Actress. The nominations were announced in London this morning. We Need To Talk About Kevin and Kill List each received six nominations, with Submarine following closely with five. Rebecca Hall (The Awakening), Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre), MyAnna Buring (Kill List), Olivia Colman (Tyrannosaur) and Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin) are vying for Best Actress. Leading men competing for Best Actor include Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor), Michael Fassbender (Shame) and Brendan Gleeson (The Guard).

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BFI London Film Fest Names ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ Best Picture

We Need to Talk About Kevin won best picture at the BFI London Film Festival on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Scottish director Lynne Ramsay’s movie starring Tilda Swinton as the mother of a troubled boy who went on a killing spree premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May. “In the end, we were simply bowled over by one film, a sublime, uncompromising tale of the torment that can stand in the place of love,” said John Madden, chair of the judging panel. Candese Reid took the British newcomer award for Junkhearts, her first professional acting gig. The Sutherland Award for most original and imaginative feature debut went to Argentinean director Pablo Giorgelli for Las Acacias. Werner Herzog’s death-row examination Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life was chosen best documentary. David Cronenberg and Ralph Fiennes were the previously announced winners of the prestigious BFI Fellowship. Fest closes Thursday with a gala screening of Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea, adapted from Terence Rattigan’s play and starring Rachel Weisz.

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London Film Festival Sets Program As George Clooney Global Tour Continues

Mike Fleming

The 55th BFI London Film Festival has set its slate for the 16-day festival that runs Oct. 12-27. It’s composed mostly of the high-profile films that will have made their debuts at the Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York film festivals. The festival previously announced Fernando Meirelles’ 360 as its opener, and other highlights include George Clooney’s The Ides of March as well as The Descendants, the Alexander Payne film that stars Clooney. Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna, Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous, Madona’s W.E., Steve McQueen’s Shame, David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method and Michel Hazanavicius’ celebrated silent film The Artist are all on the docket for the Gala Premiere section.

The Film on the Square program includes the Roman Polanski-directed Carnage, Gus Van Sant’s Restless, the Paolo Sorrentino-directed Sean Penn-starrer This Must Be the Place, Oren Moverman’s Rampart, Dee Rees’ Pariah and Sean Durkin’s Martha Marcy May Marlene.

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CANNES: Oscilloscope Acquires ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’

Mike Fleming

Oscilloscope Laboratories has acquired North American distribution rights to We Need to Talk About Kevin, the Lynne Ramsay-directed pic that was a competition film at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. Oscilloscope will release the film in the winter, with an awards campaign.

The acquisition was made from Luc Roeg’s Independent Film Company. The film got mixed reaction at the festival, not surprising considering its subject matter. Basically, it is a thriller revolving around parents (John C. Reilly and Tilda Swinton) who have to grapple the with ramifications of a heinous act committed by their evil 15-year-old son (Ezra Miller). Oscilloscope head Adam Yauch called the film “the most intense thriller I’ve seen since Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby.” Deal was brokered by Cinetic’s Bart Walker and John Sloss. Ramsay wrote the script with Rory Stewart Kinnear from the Lionel Shriver novel.

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CANNES: Competition Underway With Double Bill Of Tilda Swinton & Gus Van Sant

Pete Hammond

After a fun opening night living vicariously through Woody Allen’s Paris, the Cannes official competition and sales market really got down to business Thursday. And how’s this for a good time? The fest started the competitive entries with a double bill of downer flicks directed by two very smart women. Unfortunately, only one of them worked.

First up was the dreadful Sleeping Beauty, an Australian drama revolving around a girl, played by Emily Browning, who subjects herself to such degrading inhuman sexual acts we can’t even go into it here. As she is induced into a coma-like state a number of eighty-something men have their way with her. Fun, huh? The really stunning thing is that rare Palme D’Or winning woman, Jane Campion (The Piano), is lending her name to this dreary exercise from first-timer Julia Leigh.

It could only go up from there and it did — waaaaay up — at the 8:30 AM Thursday morning press screening for Lynne Ramsey’s extraordinary We Need To Talk About Kevin, starring the ever-remarkable Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly as parents dealing with tragic circumstances caused by their out-of-control son. It is a most impressive acting and directorial feat that gives the festival its first genuine awards contender, and if it can secure domestic distribution (may distribs such as Sony Pictures Classics and Lionsgate were seen entering the early AM screening), the Oscar-winning Swinton could once again find herself in the Academy race next year and definitely for a prize here on May 22. Read More »

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