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Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Acquires ‘Salt Of The Earth; Distrib’s 10th Fest Film

Mike Fleming

saltEXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures Classics just completed a U.S. rights deal for Salt of the Earth, re-teaming them with Le Pacte, with whom SPC last partnered on The Patience Stone. The film played in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival, where it earned the Un Certain Regard Special Jury Honor. It is directed by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado.

Said partners Michael Barker and Tom Bernard: “Sony Pictures Classics is overjoyed to be back in business with the master, Wim Wenders, and to discover the work of Juliano Ribeiro Salgado.” Said Salgado: “Sony Pictures Classics has the legacy of releasing some of the most compelling films of our times. I’m very excited for “The Salt of the Earth” it couldn’t have found a better home in the US.”

“I’m very happy that my long-lasting relation with Sony Pictures Classics can continue now with The Salt of the Earth,” adds Co-Director Wim Wenders.

SPC quietly had an unbelievably prolific festival and has lined its 2014 slate with quality fare. They came to Cannes with the Sundance smash Whiplash, the Bennett Miller-helmed Foxcatcher (which so far seems like the Oscar film to beat), the Mike Leigh-directed Mr. Turner, the Zhang Yimou-directed Coming Home, and the well liked hockey documentary Red Army. While at the festival, SPC acquired Wild Tales, Jimmy’s Hall, Saint Laurent and Leviathan.

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Cannes: Un Certain Regard Gives Top Prize To ‘White God’; Winners Include ‘Turist’, Wenders’ ‘Salt Of The Earth’ & More

Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)The prizes are starting to come fast and furious here in Cannes. The Un Certain Regard jury has just given its top prize to Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s White God, a buzzed about cautionary tale that features a gang of stray dogs who seize an opportunity to escape from a pound and revolt against mankind. The Jury Prize went to Swedish film Turist from director Ruben Oestlund with a Special Prize reserved for Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado’s documentary The Salt Of The Earth. Party Girl, the French debut feature that opened the section, was awarded the Ensemble Prize. It hails from writer/directors Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis. David Gulpilil was named Best Actor for his role in Rolf de Heer’s Charlie’s Country. Earlier today, Jauja by Lisandro Alonso was honored by international critics group FIPRESCI with its UCR prize. Pablo Trapero was president of the jury which said the section testified to the diversity and vitality of filmmaking in the world today.

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Cannes Briefs: Mundial Boards ‘Libertador’; Hyde Park Tells ‘Legends Of Oz’; ‘Scribbler’ Has Imagination; + ‘Tom Jones’; XYZ Films; Maggie Smith; James Franco & More

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Mundial Selling Simón Bolivar Epic ‘Libertador’
IM Global and Canana joint venture, Mundial, has boarded international sales for Libertador starring Carlos‘ Edgar Ramirez and Danny Huston. The Alberto Arvelo-directed film is scripted by Timothy Sexton and tells the life story of Simón Bolívar who was instrumental in Latin America’s struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire. María Valverde, Imanol Arias and Gary Lewis also star. The film is produced by Winfried Hammacher, Ana Loehnert and Arvelo, and co-produced by Jose Luis Escolar. Ramírez and Maria A. Guerrero Rocca are exec producers. Libertador is South America’s largest independent production and was shot in 13 different locations between South America and Europe. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Jonathan Ross Show’, Wim Wenders Foundation

By | Tuesday December 18, 2012 @ 10:16pm PST

‘Jonathan Ross Show’ To Hit U.S.
UK talk show host Jonathan Ross’ The Jonathan Ross Show will begin airing Stateside on Christmas Eve on DirecTV’s Cinémoi. The show will air at 8 PM with guests Michael McIntyre, Sienna Miller, Jamie Oliver, Sheridan Smith, Ellie Simmons, Jonnie Peacock and Charlotte Church. In January, it will take up a regular time slot on Saturday nights, running day-and-date with its UK version. Ross, who is perhaps the best known current day UK talk show personality, said, “Brace yourself America, I’m about to take you on a ride. With superstar guests, the world’s top comedians and the greatest bands on the planet today, what’s not to love? All the way from London right to your couch. Let’s roll!” Read More »

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OSCARS: ‘Pina’ — Wim Wenders

By | Saturday February 18, 2012 @ 3:17pm PST

Tim Adler is a contributor to AwardsLine

Watching Pina, Wim Wenders’ 3D documentary about the abrasive-tender, jaunty-tormented work of choreographer Pina Bausch, it is ironic that the Oscars has only ever recognized this master German filmmaker for his documentaries. Buena Vista Social Club was nominated for an Oscar in 2000. And now Pina is up for the Documentary Feature Academy Award on February 26. Of course, there has been a non-fiction line throughout Wenders’ career. He started taking documentary photographs at age 7 Read More »

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‘Melancholia’ Tops European Film Awards, Susanne Bier Named Best Director, Tilda Swinton & Colin Firth Get Acting Honors

The European Film Awards just wrapped in Berlin where Lars von Trier’s Melancholia was honored with the top prize. However, it was Susanne Bier who took the best director honors for her Oscar-winning In A Better World. Cannes-watchers may recall that during von Trier’s press conference at the festival last May, the Danish bad-boy not so kindly singled out his compatriot during the now-infamous rant that made him persona non grata on the Riviera. “For a long time I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew, then I met Susanne Bier and I wasn’t so happy,” von Trier said back then. “But then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family was German. That also gave me pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler. I sympathize with him a bit.”

Melancholia tonight also took prizes for cinematography and production design. Other winners include Tilda Swinton, best actress for We Need To Talk About Kevin, Oscar winner Colin Firth, best actor for The King’s Speech, the Dardenne brothers for writing The Kid With A Bike, Wim Wenders’ Pina for best documentary and Ludovic Bource for his score of Oscar hopeful The Artist. A full list of winners can be found here.

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OSCAR: ‘Hugo’ Helmer Martin Scorsese Ponders 3D Future And How ‘Taxi Driver’ Would Have Benefited

Mike Fleming

Martin Scorsese long ago established himself as one of the pillars of contemporary films, an auteur steeped in the history and culture of cinema who makes movies that are usually brutal, visceral and, quite often, Oscar-nominated too. His 2006 release, The Departed, finally brought him his best director Oscar, after five previous nominations left him just short, and the film also won best picture and two more awards that night. But anyone who thinks they have Scorsese pegged will be in for a shock with his latest, Hugo. It’s a children’s story, based on the best-selling novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” and it’s the filmmaker’s first foray into 3D. Less surprising is that Hugo revolves around the early days of cinema, with pioneering French filmmaker Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley) playing a prominent role. And it’s figuring regularly in Oscar buzz. So, Hugo isn’t entirely out of character for Scorsese.  The director took a few minutes recently to talk to me about the influence of his young daughter on his latest film, his new-found embrace of 3-D technology, and what his Oscar wins in 2007 meant for his family.

AWARDSLINE: What were you looking for that made Hugo fit so well as your first family film?
MARTIN SCORSESE: The book by Brian Selznick is so compelling and beautifully done, particularly the illustrations. But the story, the mystery of it, really became interesting and I felt an affinity with the 12-year old boy, his isolation and ultimately his trying to find a reason for his life and its tragedies. Ultimately all of that gets resolved through the invention of cinema.

AWARDSLINE: You’d found a personal frame of reference? There are also themes of film preservation, a passion of yours, and the origins of cinema.
SCORSESE: That seemed to be like a natural. But really, it was mainly the young children that first got me involved with it. And the fact that it resolves itself with Melies and early cinema was something that kept drawing me back. Well, apparently it must have been that but I didn’t quite realize it until I was shooting and  friends in my life would say ‘This is very much you.’ [Laughs] While I didn’t think of that, all my close friends felt it was totally natural.

AWARDSLINE: How long had you wanted to work in 3D?
SCORSESE: Since I saw my first 3D film back in 1953, House of Wax.

AWARDSLINE: As you watched 3D develop through the years, it’s gone from something that jumps out at you to an immersive feel. How have you felt about the evolution?
SCORSESE: I have always been fascinated by it. Even before I saw 3D films, I remember getting a packet of 10 postcards that were stereoscopic from the late 19th century and looking at them through a little device. Then there’s the wonderful View-Master which had beautiful stereo images. Not only did it immerse you in the picture, but was like a story.  I was fascinated by depth and I placed such moments carefully in Hugo. There are a number of things that do pop out at you, but we tried to have our cake and eat it too. Ideally you don’t realize the effect occurred. By the time it’s over, you’re onto something else. It was about placing you inside this boy’s world; the memory of a child. If you think back at your childhood, you think about where you grew up and if you ever go back there, it’s different. It has a different feel to it from what a child sees and perceives. I thought that would be amazing in 3D plus the fact that he lives in the walls of a train station with the mechanisms of the clocks – which always fascinated me.  I remember a little glass ball of a clock that my grandfather had. He gave it to me. I was always fascinated because on the back of it, you can actually see magnified; the workings of a clock and since I was a child I was fascinated by that.

AWARDSLINE: The technology certainly allowed you to see the inner workings of the clocks that are prevalent in the film.
SCORSESE: I go back to that old clock my grandfather had and I still have in the house now and I was fascinated by that. I’m not mechanically inclined but I’m fascinated by the mechanisms, and what they suggest. The stories that come out of them. The measurement of time itself. Movies being the illusion of motion, and then it is seen and it is an experience that disappears–into time. And in many cases, it has strong, profound, powerful reactions that can change your life. It certainly did mine.

AWARDSLINE: There’s a wonderful moment where an audience watching a moving picture for the first time scatters as a train rushes through the camera. In your life and career, what film innovation compares to that?
SCORSESE: Well, two things really. It was the use of 3D back in ’53. Obviously, there are two or three films better than all the others – House of Wax, Phantom of the Rue Morgue and Hitchcock’s use of it in Dial M for Murder.

AWARDSLINE: What was the other?
SCORSESE: I’m going back to theatrical experiences for this one. It was the first use of wide screen Read More »

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