Movie City Indie Archive for December, 2009

[PR] Inaugurating Sundance Film Festival USA

Eight Filmmakers Dispatched from Park City to Bring their Films to Eight Cities
PARK CITY, UTAH – Sundance Institute today announced eight films from the 2010 Sundance Film Festival scheduled to screen in eight different cities nationwide on the night of Thursday, January 28, 2010. The screenings are part of the inaugural Sundance Film Festival USA, a ground-breaking initiative designed to highlight the ability of art, specifically film, to introduce new concepts, challenge ideals and spur debate. The Sundance Film Festival opens January 21 and runs through January 31, 2010.sundanceusa-4444.jpgCourtesy of Official Airline Sponsor Southwest Airlines, filmmakers will be dispatched from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City to cities across America, where they will introduce and screen their original films and engage in Q&As with local audiences. In addition to premiering their work at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, most of these artists have a previous connection to the non-profit Sundance Institute, whether as advisors to the Institute’s directors’ or screenwriters’ labs, or as participants in past Festivals. In each city an introduction video featuring Robert Redford and highlights from the Festival will precede the screenings. Tickets for the January 28 screenings are available through each individual theater’s box office.
Films screening as part of Sundance Film Festival USA are:
Cyrus — Ann Arbor, MI — Michigan Theater
Directors and screenwriters: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass –A recently divorced guy meets a new lady. Then he meets her son who is, well…interesting. Cast: John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener. World Premiere
The Company Men — Brookline, MA — Coolidge Corner Theatre
Director and screenwriter John Wells will screen his drama — filmed on location in North Boston — about three company men attempting to survive a round of corporate downsizing while trying to fend off its effects on their families and their identities. Cast: Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Rosemarie DeWitt. World Premiere
Daddy Longlegs — Brooklyn, NY — BAM
Directors, screenwriters, brothers and Native New Yorkers Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie will bring to New York their latest film–A swan song to excuses and responsibilities, to fatherhood and self-created experiences, and to what it’s like to be truly torn between being a child and being an adult. Cast: Ronald Bronstein, Sage Ranaldo, Frey Ranaldo. North American Premiere
Jack Goes Boating — Chicago, IL — Music Box Theatre
Director: Philip Seymour Hoffman; Screenwriter: Bob Glaudini, both well know to Chicago film and theatre lovers. – A limo driver’s blind date sparks a tale of love, betrayal, friendship, and grace centered around two working-class New York City couples. Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Tom McCarthy.
Teenage Paparazzo — Los Angeles, CA — Downtown Independent
Where better than Los Angeles to explore the effects of celebrity on culture? Director Adrian Grenier’s documentary does exactly that. A 13-year-old paparazzi boy snaps a photo of Grenier, leading the actor/director to explore the effects of celebrity on culture.
The Runaways — Madison, WI — Sundance Cinemas Madison
Director and screenwriter: Floria Sigismondi–In 1970s LA, a tough teenager named Joan Jett connects with an eccentric producer to form an all-girl band that would launch her career and make rock history. Cast: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Scout Taylor-Compton, Michael Shannon, Alia Shawkat, Tatum O’Neal.
The Extra Man — Nashville, TN — The Belcourt Theatre
Directors: Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini; Screenwriters: Robert Pulcini, Jonathan Ames and Shari Springer Berman — A down-and-out playwright who escorts wealthy widows in Manhattan’s Upper East Side takes a young aspiring writer under his wing. Cast: Kevin Kline, Paul Dano, John C. Reilly, and Katie Holmes.
Howl — San Francisco, CA — Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
Directors and screenwriters Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, both local San Franciscans, will be on hand to screen their nonfiction drama about the young Allen Ginsberg finding his voice, the creation of his groundbreaking poem HOWL, and the landmark obscenity trial that followed. Cast: James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Daniels.

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Inglourious paycheque, Tarantino-san

[PR] Sundance Twentyten's got shorts

70 Short Films Chosen from Record 6,092 Submissions
Program of Four Short Films by Spike Jonze, Rory Kennedy, Patrik Eklund;
and François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy, and Ludovic Houplain to Help Kick Off Festival Thursday, January 21 at the Egyptian Theatre
Park City, UT- Sundance Institute announced today the program of short films selected to screen at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. This year the Festival’s Short sfftwentyten.jpg Film Program comprises 70 short films from U.S. and international filmmakers selected from 6,092 submissions up 8% over 2009. The 2010 Sundance Film Festival runs January 21-31 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The complete list of films is available at
As previously announced, the Festival will break tradition by foregoing the conventions of one opening night film and instead focus on launching the total program: one narrative film, one documentary, and one shorts program. The short films I’m Here directed by Spike Jonze; The Fence directed by Rory Kennedy; Logorama directed by François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy, and Ludovic Houplain; and Seeds of the Fall directed Patrik Eklund, will premiere the first Thursday (January 21), beginning the roll out of the competitions. This program showcases a range of short filmmaking with a U.S dramatic short, U.S. documentary short, international dramatic short, and an animated short film. “Sundance has a long legacy of supporting short filmmaking. Short films are at the core of what independent filmmaking is about — these films are made out of pure passion without commerce in mind. This year, we’re especially excited to screen a short film program as part of the opening of the Festival,” said Trevor Groth, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming. “We are also continuing the tradition of holding the Short Film Awards mid-week during the Festival. It’s proven to be a great way to bring attention to these artists and their films.” … Short films screen in Festival theatres prior to select feature films or as part of one of the Festival’s seven short film programs. During the Festival, a Short Film Jury awards prizes based on outstanding achievement and merit in U.S. and International Short Filmmaking. This year’s Short Film Jury consists of Sterlin Harjo (Barking Water, Four Sheets to the Wind, Goodnight Irene), Christine Vachon (I Shot Andy Warhol, Boys Don’t Cry, Hedwig and the Angry Inch), and Brent Hoff (Wholphin DVD). The 2010 Short Film Program Awards Ceremony will be held Tuesday, January 26th.

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Panic Attack: birth of the Montevideo directorial star

An article about Fede Alvarez and his five-minute short, Ataque de Pánico! that got him a million-dollar deal for a film to be produced by Sam Raimi.

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[PR] Sundance Twentyten announces Preems, Midnight, Spotlight, New Fronter and…

PARK CITY, UT – Sundance Institute announced today the lineup of films selected to screen in the out-of-competition sections of Premieres, Spotlight, New Frontier and Park City at Midnight at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. As previously announced, the Festival this year will also feature, NEXT (< =>), a new section composed of eight American films selected for their innovative and original work in low- and no-budget filmmaking. The 2010 Sundance Film Festival runs January 21-31 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. “For decades now Sundance Institute has played an integral role in discovering cutting-edge sfftwentyten.jpgtalent working outside of conventions and in doing so we have expanded the audience for the unexpected,” said John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival. “With rapidly advancing technologies to make and distribute films, this is a golden age for film lovers who desire choice and respond to innovation. For us, it is vital to use our position to continue to carve out a space for artists, regardless of where or how they work.”
Added Trevor Groth, “Our NEXT section returns us to the days when independent was synonymous with low-budget and acknowledges that these voices have not gone away but in fact resound with the freshness that made our Festival what it is today. Our Spotlight section consists of films that we love, encompassing the best films that we have seen in our travels as well as brand new films that play out of competition but pack no less of a punch. And now with Sundance Film Festival USA we are making the festival experience more accessible by taking it beyond the snowy mountains of Park City and into theaters around the US for one key night.”
Preems include Abel directed by Diego Luna, who’s already made docs; Mark Lewis’ follow-up to Cane Toads… in 3-D; writer-producer John Wells’ The Company Men; Berman and Springer’s adaptation of Jonathan Ames’ The Extra Man; Philip Seymour Hoffman’s feature directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating, Michael Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me, which boasted an intriguing product reel; Sam Taylor Wood’s WeinsteinCo release, Nowhere Boy; the latest Nicole Holofcener; Floria Sigismondi’s feature debut, The Runaways, with Kristen Stewart rocking that Joan Jett haircut; Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross’ adaptation of Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, and an as-yet-untitled Duplass brothers entry.
NEXT (< =>) is eight lo-fi no-budget entries. Spotlight includes Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void (no word on if it’s the same lengthy edit shown elsewhere); Louis C. K.: Hilarious; Lourdes, starring a luminous Sylvie Testud; shorts from Africa; Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet; and Shirin Neshat’s co-directed Women Without Men. More features and a complete list of sponsors after the jump.

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[PR] Music Box Films launches video label

Chicago, IL (December 3, 2009)– Chicago-based Music Box Films has announced the launch of their newly-formed home video arm, Music Box Films Home Entertainment. The announcement was made today by principals, Ed Arentz and William Schopf. Music Box Films_logo_6667.jpegBest known for the release of TELL NO ONE, the top grossing foreign film of 2008 and the best-selling foreign language DVD in 2009, Music Box Films Home Entertainment plans to self-distribute 10-12 releases in the U.S. throughout the next year. The first releases are the critically acclaimed French films SHALL WE KISS and SERAPHINE, set for February 23 and March 23 street dates.
“Music Box Films has become a true force in independent cinema,” said Ed Arentz, Managing Director of Music Box Films. “We are thrilled to be in a position to take the next step and have our home entertainment division bring these incredible films directly to the retail marketplace.” The label has also appointed industry veteran Brian Brown to head sales operations. According to Brown, “joining Music Box Films as Director of Sales is a great opportunity to continue a legacy started with New Yorker Films to bring critically acclaimed international films to the marketplace.

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Screenplays of the season, including Nine and A Single Man

Afadein_art_slug_3.jpgwards sites in Oscar season allow downloads without passwords. On the Weinstein Company awards site, screenplays are available for download (PDFs): Tom Ford‘s A Single Man; Anthony Minghella and Michael Tolkin‘s Nine, as well as Joe Penhall‘s adaptation of The Road and a spiffed-up copy of Inglourious Basterds. Sony Pictures Classics: Almodovar‘s Broken Embraces; Duncan JonesMoon; Sugar; Nick Hornby‘s adaptation of An Education; The Last Station; The White Ribbon; The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus; and The Damned United. Focus Features: The CoensA Serious Man; Sin Nombre; Henry Selick‘s adaptation of Coraline; and 9. Warner: The Informant! and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Universal: Funny People and Public Enemies. Lionsgate: Precious. Overture: Sunshine Cleaning. The Men Who Stare At Goats. The ultimate spoilers, need we add.

Gimme Providence: Gimme Shelter out on Blu-Ray Today

Criterion’s releasing their Blu-Ray edition of Gimme Shelter today. Here’s a piece from 2000, drawn from an interview with Albert Maysles that I conducted along with Amy Cargill.
YOU CAN’T ALWAYS SEE WHAT YOU GOT. Thirty years after its coming—as a kind of bookend to both the optimism of the 1960s and the school of American cinema verite—David Maysles, Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin’s 1970 Gimme Shelter has been restored and reissued, both on screen, and, as a Criterion Collection DVD that, among other features, includes five unheard, unseen songs from the Rolling Stones’ 1969 tour, audio commentary by Albert Maysles and Zwerin and a high-def digital transfer from the original camera negative.
Gimme Shelter. Gee, whiz. What can be said about this movie? The Stones are on tour, and a free concert in the San Francisco area is gimmeshelterdvd.jpgshifted to the Altamont Speedway at the last hour; crowds crowd, Hells Angels cause and prevent as much ruckus, a man dies before the camera’s lens. The Stones, notably a taciturn Mick Jagger, observe the footage at some point in the future/present. We return to the past/present: figures scurry into the night, across smoky backlit hillsides as if escaping the primitive past. “Gimme Shelter” is an exemplar of documentary opening its eyes to life, succinctly and tellingly ordered, as the stuff of drama. But it does not tell you what you should think, pronouncing what the material you are regarding means. It’s all a matter of letting the mix of music, Jagger charisma and terrible menace speak quietly, yet stereophonically, for itself. Godard called Maysles the best American cameraman, and there are moments in this brilliantly edited masterpiece that take the breath away: an amoral eye, greedy only for a picture of life.
This is rock; this is dread; this is sex and longing; and Gimme Shelter is an exquisite microcosm of ambiguity in an observer’s art. I dare you to put half a dozen people in a room and get them to agree on any aspect of Gimme Shelter but its essential excellence. Here are a few words from surviving Maysles brother, Albert. At [83 this month], he has multiple projects in play, including a portrait of contemporary filmmakers for the Independent Film Channel. We talked to him over dinner, then a formal interview the day after the he revisited the picture at the Chicago International Film Festival.
“Did I tell you the story of my experience with Fidel?” the generous, avuncular raconteur begins. Yes, but tell us again. “In 1960, I spent a lot of time with Fidel and with Che, also. I was making a film that ended up being called, ‘Yanqui, No.’ One day, Fidel mentioned that he was going to the Chinese Embassy for a party, did I want to come along? I said, ‘Sure.’ So I’m with him at the Chinese Embassy, standing shoulder to shoulder, I don’t have my camera because I couldn’t just walk in with it on my shoulder, I would need someone to do sound. A messenger comes rushing in, hands a telegram. He opens it. As he’s opening it, reading it, knowing that I don’t speak or read Spanish, he turns to me, and says, ‘Shall I translate it for you.’ I say, ‘Please do.’ Just inches away from me, he tells me, ‘The State Department has just broken off relations with Cuba!'”
Maysles smiles. “I have some plans to go back to Cuba. This time, I’ll have my little video camera.” He holds up his palm to show the camera’s scale. “If I’m at the Chinese Embassy, the Romanian embassy, wherever it is, I’ll have that little camera ready when he reads the telegram which he’ll translate, saying, ‘The American State Department has restored relations with Cuba’! I missed the first one because of the movie camera. I’ll get the second one because of my video camera!”
As with the myriad details of the Altamont Speedway crowd in Gimme Shelter, Maysles loves discerning details afterward in the miles of footage video allows you to burn through. “There are things you noticed at the time, but later, things you didn’t think were that important then, are on tape, you can use it.” Maysles says video’s affordability as a recording medium leaves the documentary maker no excuse not to shoot, and to shoot promiscuously, with today’s equipment. “The tape for an hour runs only ten dollars. A little cassette. For a day’s shooting, you can carry the tapes in your pocket.”
So you can find the authentic moment accidentally? Let God offer you the world? “Y’know, actually, in the case of the documentary filmmaker, God is reality,” he says. “Or, as the word that was used most often a couple hundred years ago, Providence. Reality is the great provider of subjects, of events, of drama, of insight. If it’s a brief moment that’s very telling, you’ve got it on tape. I joke with my kids, when we have a dinner party, I make a toast to Providence and they roll their eyes. ‘Oh, Providence again!'” A pause. A big smile.

International Documentary Association announces some winners five days early

Anvil! The Story of Anvil is the highlight of the seven categories announced before the 2009 International Documentary Association winners; the top gongs are saved for Friday’s event.
LOS ANGELES, November 30, 2009 — Winners for the International Documentary Association’s 2009 IDA Documentary Awards competition were announced today in several major categories, including Limited Series, Continuing Series, Music, and Student, leaving Feature and Short for the night of the program, to be held December 4th at the Directors Guild Theater in Los Angeles. This year’s Continuing Series Award recognizes the long-running PBS series POV. Produced by American Documentary Inc., and beginning its 22nd season on PBS this year, the award-winning POV series is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers. In the Limited Series category, the prize goes to the Sundance Channel’s ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL, a six-part series from creators Awards2009_header.jpgMichael Selditch and Stan Bertheaud following a group of students at Tulane University’s prestigious School of Architecture as they submit competing designs for an affordable home in Katrina-battered New Orleans.
The IDA Music Documentary Award honors Sacha Gervasi’s ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL, which also competes against AFGHAN STAR, DIARY OF A TIMES SQUARE THIEF, FOOD, INC. and MUGABE AND THE WHITE AFRICAN for IDA’s top feature prize. Director Gervasi as well as Anvil’s Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner will be accepting the Music Award. The IDA/Humanitas Award, a new prize established this year and recognizing a film that strives to unify the human family, goes to Mai Iskander’s GARBAGE DREAMS, which follows three teenage boys born into the trash trade and growing up in the world’s largest garbage village, on the outskirts of Cairo. Here, the Zaballeen, Arabic for ‘garbage people,’ are suddenly faced with the globalization of its trade.
The IDA/Pare Lorentz Award, in homage to the pioneering filmmaker’s legacy, goes to Irene Taylor Brodsky’s Oscar nominated short THE FINAL INCH, about a vast army of health workers who go door-to-door in some of India’s poorest neighborhoods, ensuring every child is vaccinated for polio. The IDA/ABCNEWS VideoSource Award, for best use of archival news footage, goes to WOUNDED KNEE, an episode in the “We Shall Remain” series produced by WGBH with Native American Public Television, and produced and directed by Stanley Nelson.

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Movie City Indie

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon