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Morelia: Locarno Industry Academy Ready for Third Mexican Installment

2 hours ago

Morelia — This year’s Locarno Festival, one of the oldest in the world having been founded the same year as Cannes, hosted one of its news initiatives, its fourth annual Industry Academy at its own festival. The initiative may be recent in its inception, but in reach it has grown rapidly having just this year bowed for the first time at Chile’s Valdivia while it is set to run Oct. 25-29 at São Paulo’s Mostra.

Sandwiched between the two, the Industry Academy will drop anchor in Morelia, Mexico for its third installment at the festival.

Running Oct. 21-25, the Locarno Industry Academy International Morelia-Imcine is open to young professionals from sales, distribution and festival coordination, and is an opportunity to network and learn from long-time professionals in similar fields. Tutors are brought in from international and domestic markets to educate, and be educated by, the young attendees.

There are nearly 20 specialized events for the participants »


- Jamie Lang

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Morelia: Five Projects Vie for Prizes at Pix-in-Post Program Impulso Morelia

2 hours ago

Morelia, Mexico  — Whether by mere coincidence or not, the Morelia Int’l Film Fest’s pix-in-post program Impulso Morelia (Oct. 23 – 25) features three feature-length projects that delve into issues of the indigenous communities of Mexico.

Among them is fiction feature “La Negrada” by Jorge Pérez Solano, which plays almost like a docu, and is the first local film to focus on Mexico’s Afro-Mexican population.

Docu “Ayotzinapa, the Turtle’s Pace” (“Ayotzinapa, el Paso de la Tortuga”) by Enrique García Meza, produced by Bertha Navarro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), deals with the infamous disappearance of some 40 students while on their way to a political meeting, many of whom were from indigenous rural communities.

Xavi Sala’s debut feature “Guie’dani’s Navel” (“El Ombligo de Guie’dani”) centers on the struggles of a strong-willed indigenous girl and her mother who work for an upper-class family in Mexico City.

Another feature debut, Andrés Kaiser’s “Feral” revolves around a priest »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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Film Review: ‘The Fortress’

3 hours ago

It would be unfair, but not altogether inaccurate, to say audiences will undergo an ordeal only slightly less punishing that the one suffered by the folks on screen as they watch Hwang Dong-Hyuk’s “The Fortress,” a vividly detailed but exceedingly ponderous historical epic about the 17th-century invasion of Korea by an army of China’s Qing Empire. As King Ingo of the Joseon Dynasty and his loyal subjects remain ensconced in a mountaintop fortress while besieged by Qing forces, a combination of freezing temperatures, starvation and rash miscalculations by prideful military leaders systematically increase the body count. By contrast, viewers only have to worry about being seriously brain-fogged, if not bored to death, as the often confusing narrative sluggishly progresses.

Top-billed South Korean superstar Lee Byung-hun (familiar to North American audiences for his appearances in the “Magnificent Seven” remake and the “G.I. Joe” film franchise) underplays to a fault as Choi Myung-gil, the taciturn »


- Joe Leydon

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Film Review: ‘Never Here’

3 hours ago

Though it drifts off into the ozone at the end, for most of its running time, “Never Here” is a low-key but effective psychological thriller which flirts with that looming issue of the social-media age: privacy, and the invasion thereof. But that theme is only a semi-developed starting point for a narrative that starts like a muted version of “The Eyes of Laura Mars” (i.e. an artist is seemingly stalked by a non-fan of her transgressive work) before gradually turning into a muted “Repulsion,” in which one suspects the real “perp” is the protagonist’s disintegrating sanity.

Starring Mireille Enos in an impressive lead turn, and notable for providing the late Sam Shepard a substantial final role, this first narrative feature for editor and Brit stage thesp turned writer-director Camille Thoman is accomplished enough to suggest it won’t be her last. However, the careful, confident handling doesn’t entirely make up for the fact that »


- Dennis Harvey

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Busan: Hong Sang-soo Film Trio Set for U.S. Release

5 hours ago

Specialty distributor, The Cinema Guild has acquired U.S. rights to a trio of films by South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo. It acquired “The Day After,” “Claire’s Camera,” and “On the Beach at Night Alone,” which were represented by Finecut at Busan’s Asian Film Market.

Cinema Guild aims to release them theatrically in 2018, most likely after a suitable U.S. festival platform. The films have been widely licensed in other territories.

Also selling to the U.S. was “The Poet and the Boy,” which recently received its international premiere in Toronto and will next week play at the Tokyo festival. Rights were acquired by Altered Innocence. Written and directed by Kim Yang-hee, “Poet” stars indie actor-director Yang Ik-june (“Breathless”) and veteran actress Jeon Hye-jin (“The Merciless”).

Finecut, Korea’s leading indie sales house, also did business on Lee Won-tae’s “Man of Will,” which had its market premiere in Busan. The film was »


- Sonia Kil

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Film Victoria Hires Caroline Pitcher as CEO

5 hours ago

Film Victoria, the Australian regional screen agency, has appointed Caroline Pitcher as its new CEO. She replaces Jenni Tosi who has resigned.

Pitcher was national Gm, film & television post production at Deluxe, from 2013-2016, and prior to that she was director, marketing & enterprise solutions at Omnilab Media. She has been a member of the Film Victoria board since 2012, and previously worked for the agency as Gm of the Melbourne Film Office between 2003 and 2007. Pitcher also served as a member of the Ausfilm International Board from 2009-2016 and as president of the Screen Services Association of Victoria from 2010-2012.

“(Pitcher) has made a strong contribution to the industry over more than a decade and to the Film Victoria board over the past five years. She has an intimate knowledge of the organization and the challenges and opportunities ahead for Victoria’s screen industry,” said Ian Robertson, Film Victoria board president.

“The Victorian screen industry is performing well. An »


- Patrick Frater

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Jose Alvarez’s ‘The Gaze of the Sea’ Vies for the Top Docu Prize at Morelia

5 hours ago

Executive produced by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“The Revenant”), Jose Alvarez’s poignant docu “The Gaze of the Sea” (“Los Ojos del Mar”) turns on a prostitute who makes it her mission to help the families of shipwrecked fishermen lost at sea.

“Gaze” is produced by Julio ChavezmontesPiano, the Mexican lead-producer of Emiliano Rocha Minter’s “We Are the Flesh,” a carnal allegory of modern Mexico and another movie backed by Gonzalez Inarritu, albeit in terms of endorsement and promotion, which Piano released in Mexico on Friday the 13th of October. Alvarez’s shingle Alacran con Alas and Germany’s Sutor Kolonko are co-producers of “Gaze.”

“Alejandro is an old childhood friend and we both worked in radio, too,” said Alvarez. “He has always liked my documentaries; he finds them – inexplicably – more complicated to make than fiction features,” he mused.

After its debut in Morelia’s pix-in-post program Impulso where it won a berth on roving documentary »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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Lumière Festival: Celluloid Angels to Give Anna Karina Directorial Debut “Vivre Ensemble” 4k Restoration

6 hours ago

Lyon — Hundreds of cinema restoration professionals meet in Lyon each year, as well as filmmakers, actors, and superfans, to admire and discuss cinematic gems, which might otherwise become victims of time and technology.

At this year’s festival Jean-Luc Godard’s iconic muse, Anna Karina, gave a master class and introduced the restoration of her 1973 directorial debut “Vivre Ensemble.” Also in town were the film’s original co-producers, the legendary Société Nouvelle de Cinématographie (Snc), a company with more than 80 years of production history in France. The film is in the process of a 4k update from the original Super 16mm negatives, with the restoration being handled by crowdfunding platform Celluloid Angels.

The film is set in the St Germain neighborhood of Paris’ Latin Quarter and the spirit of the late ’60s and pre-oil crisis ’70s sets the backdrop for the film’s love story. It was selected for the 1973 Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week line-up.

“[link »


- Jamie Lang

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Film Review: ‘Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’

8 hours ago

In his career as a writer, director, actor, mogul, and one-man filmmaking factory, Tyler Perry has given us shamelessly over-the-top demon-yuppie melodrama; exuberantly dirty-minded dress-up burlesque; squeaky-clean family soap opera; a rare bid for prestige with his 2010 adaptation of “For Colored Girls”; and, in last year’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween,” his message-movie version of a fright-night comedy. But with “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween,” Perry pushes into novel terrain. He has made a slasher movie, or the satire of a slasher movie, or the world’s most purposefully ineffectual slasher movie, or something. Even if you’re just looking for a Tyler Perry night out, be very afraid. (One qualification: Uncle Joe gets some tasty nasty lines.)

On her 18th birthday, Tiffany (Diamond White), the parochial-school heroine of the first “Boo!,” with her normal-girl-meets-Teen-Vogue generic Barbie-doll hauteur, is invited to another Halloween frat party thrown by the geek muscleheads of Upsilon Theta. Perry stages »


- Owen Gleiberman

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Lupita Nyong’o Details Harvey Weinstein’s Advances Toward Her in Op-Ed: ‘I Felt Unsafe’

12 hours ago

Lupita Nyong’o has come forward about her encounters with Harvey Weinstein in an op-ed in the New York Times, writing that not only did Weinstein attempt to ply her with alcohol when she met with him at a restaurant, but after they moved the meeting to his home to watch a film screening, tried to give her a massage. At a later meeting, the Oscar-winning actress wrote Weinstein propositioned her in a hotel restaurant.

According to Nyong’o, she met with Weinstein for the second time — after having initially met him in 2011 at an awards ceremony in Berlin while she was still in school at Yale — when he asked her to attend a screening at his home after sharing lunch at a restaurant. When she arrived at the restaurant in Westport, Conn., where Weinstein lived, Nyong’o described Weinstein ordering her a vodka soda and insisting that she drink it.

Harvey told me »


- Erin Nyren

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Weinstein Co. Staffers Ask to Be Released From NDAs

13 hours ago

A group of Weinstein Company staffers are asking to be released from non-disclosure agreements in the wake of a sexual harassment and abuse scandal that has engulfed the company and led to the ouster of co-founder Harvey Weinstein. In a statement to the New Yorker, the staffers insist that while they were aware of their boss’ philandering, they did not witness any direct harassment. Some 40 women have alleged that Weinstein either used his position to pressure them to have sexual relations or forced himself on them.

“We all knew that we were working for a man with an infamous temper,” the statement reads. “We did not know we were working for a serial sexual predator. We knew that our boss could be manipulative. We did not know that he used his power to systematically assault and silence women. We had an idea that he was a womanizer who had extra-marital affairs. We did not »


- Brent Lang

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Film News Roundup: Brenton Thwaites, Ben Robson to Star in Thriller ‘A Violent Separation’

14 hours ago

In today’s film news roundup, Brenton Thwaites and Ben Robson are starring in “A Violent Separation,” Chiwetel Ejiofor’s directorial debut begins production in Malawi, and Max Landis’ horror project “Decon” gets financing. 

Afm Project

Brenton Thwaites and Ben Robson have been cast as the leads in the crime thriller “A Violent Separation” along with Alycia Debnam-Carey and Claire Holt.

The film is currently in production in Louisiana with the directing team of Kevin and Michael Goetz helming from a Michael Arkof script. Double Dutch International will present “A Violent Separation” to buyers at the American Film Market, which opens Nov. 1 in Santa Monica, Calif.

Francesca Eastwood, Gerald McRaney, and Ted Levine are also starring in “Separation,” set in a quiet Midwestern town. Thwaites plays a young deputy sheriff who covers up a murder at the hands of his older brother, portrayed by Robson, with neither prepared for what’s to come — including the passionate romance »


- Dave McNary

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‘The Snowman’ Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

14 hours ago

Jo Nesbø’s 2007 novel “The Snowman” may have been a critically acclaimed best-seller, but Tomas Alfredson’s film adaptation has not impressed critics.

Stars Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson could not save “The Snowman” from critical collapse. So far, reviews have been highly unfavorable for the film about detective Harry Hole (Fassbender) and recruit Katrine Bratt (Fergsuon) who investigate the return of a serial killer when a potential victim disappears during the first snow of winter. Critics decried the film’s scattered and incomprehensible plot line and bemoaned the lack of direction for its main cast members.

The Snowman” descends upon theaters Oct. 20. Here’s what the critics are saying:

Variety‘s Guy Lodge:

“Like a game of narrative Jenga, every excised element appears to have weakened the whodunnit’s overall structure, toward a climax that may well succeed in catching viewers off-guard, but in large part because of how little sense, both practically »


- Taryn Nobil

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Quentin Tarantino on Harvey Weinstein: ‘I Knew Enough to Do More Than I Did’

14 hours ago

In an interview with the New York Times, Quentin Tarantino has opened up about his knowledge surrounding the sexual harassment and abuse allegations that have come out against his close collaborator Harvey Weinstein.

“I knew enough to do more than I did,” he said, citing several episodes involving prominent actresses. “There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things.”

“I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard,” he added. “If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”

Tarantino admitted in the interview that he had known about the allegations long before the explosive New York Times and New Yorker reports that catalyzed the producer’s fall from grace. Tarantino’s former girlfriend, Mira Sorvino, who has since gone public with her own allegations against Weinstein, told Tarantino »


- Erin Nyren

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‘Only the Brave’ Taps Trump Digital Guru Brad Parscale (Exclusive)

15 hours ago

Brad Parscale, the digital media director for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was hired by the makers of “Only the Brave” to help the action-drama appeal to red-state moviegoers, Variety has learned.

Black Label Media, the film’s financier, retained Parscale to supplement online and social media marketing efforts. Sony Pictures is distributing the $38 million production, which is on track to open to a weak $6 million when it debuts this weekend. “Only the Brave” centers on a crew of firefighters battling the Yarnell Hill Fire in June 2013. It was one of the worst wildfires in American history, having killed 19 firefighters.

“Black Label Media used several different data analytics firms and consultants to test new marketing approaches to complement Sony’s marketing efforts on the film with the goal to reach the broadest possible audience,” Black Label Media said in a statement to Variety.

Parscale advised the filmmakers to retain Marcus Luttrell, a former »


- Brent Lang

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Classics Film Fest Unspools in Colombia (Exclusive)

15 hours ago

With Sean Baker, Trey Edwards, Chris Newman, Ed Lachman, Peter Webber and Mike Hausman among its board members, a new film festival of classic films will unspool from Nov. 10 -13 in Bogota, Colombia.

Dubbed The Classics – Festival of the Films That Will Live Forever, the new film fest is founded by producer Ivonne Torres and Juan Carvajal, co-founder and artistic director of the three-year old Bogota Independent Film Festival, IndieBo.

Buoyed by sell-out crowds at IndieBo last July when the festival screened restored classics via a new pact with Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, Carvajal said: “I saw how these movie gems – rescued and restored with the support of the Film Foundation – deserved nothing better than to be enjoyed where they belong: the big screen.”

For many moviegoers in Bogota, it was the first time to see such classics as Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s “All About Eve,” Elia Kazan’s “On the Waterfront,” and [link=nm »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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Ridley Scott’s ‘All the Money in the World’ Set as Closing Night Film at AFI Fest

15 hours ago

AFI Fest has set the world premiere of Ridley Scott’s kidnapping drama “All the Money in the World” as its closing night film on Nov. 16 at the Tcl Chinese Theatre.

All the Money in the World,” the story of the 1973 kidnapping in Italy of John Paul Getty III — the rebellious teenage grandson of oil billionaire John Paul Getty, who was reluctant to pay the $17 million ransom demanded by the kidnappers. Kevin Spacey plays Getty while Michelle Williams plays the part of Gail Harris, the mother of John Paul Getty III, and Mark Wahlberg plays Getty’s adviser.

Harris and the boy’s father eventually convinced the elder Getty to pay a $2.9 million ransom, resulting in the teenager being freed after six months. Scott directed “All the Money in the World” from a David Scarpa script. Sony opens the film on Dec. 8.

Scott will be honored with a tribute prior to the screening with a moderated discussion »


- Dave McNary

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Morelia: Disney/Pixar’s ‘Coco’ Opens Wide in Mexico Before the U.S. and the World

16 hours ago

Morelia — A week after “Coco,” Disney/Pixar’s Day of the Dead-themed toon, marks its world premiere at the Morelia Int’l Film Festival on Oct. 20, it rolls out across Mexico to coincide with the country’s Day of the Dead festivities, roughly a month before it bows in the U.S., quite an unprecedented move.

“It’s quite unusual but the movie is so much a love letter to the country of Mexico,” said Dave Hollis, president, theatrical distribution, The Walt Disney Studios. “It’s a celebration of the family, of Mexico’s culture, of its music,” he said, adding: “It just felt like the right thing to do.”

Coco” opens Oct. 27 at some 795 theaters in Mexico, roughly 2,000 screens. In the U.S., it debuts Nov. 22, a day before the Thanksgiving holiday, opening day and date with some other territories while others follow suit.

Another Disney label, Marvel, opens all its »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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Lumière Festival: ’Gertie the Dinosaur,’ ‘Professor Balthazar’ Reanimated After Restorations

16 hours ago

Lyon, France — The Lumière Film Festival’s International Classic Film Market put the spotlight on conservation and restoration of classic animated films on Wednesday, offering an examination of both the challenges and opportunities for cinematheques, private companies and other rights holders.

Marco de Blois, artistic director, programmer and curator at Quebec’s Cinémathèque Québécoise, presented two high-profile shorts that had long been thought lost but whose restoration he is now overseeing: the original versions of Winsor McCay’s 1914 “Gertie the Dinosaur” and Norman McLaren’s 1942 “Hen Hop.”

A version of “Gertie the Dinosaur” released in late 1914 still exists and is known as the first animated film to not only feature a dinosaur but also a character that exhibited diverse emotions.

McCay, however, had used an earlier version of the short with additional scenes in front of a live audience as part of his vaudeville act in which he interacted with Gertie. A 1913 issue »


- Ed Meza

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‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

16 hours ago

Four years after his last solo film, the Norse god Thor returns to the big screen in “Thor: Ragnarok.” Currently sitting comfortably at 97% with 30 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, most critics agree that this lighter, less brooding take on the character and his mythos is far superior to the two previous entries in the Thor series and finally gives the character a personality.

That’s not to say the film’s perfect, however. While it’s been praised for its humor, a few critics pondered if there actually might be too many jokes in the action-packed romp.

Loosely borrowing from the Norse doomsday myth, “Thor: Ragnarok” finds the hero banished to a distant planet and forced to fight gladiator battles against his “friend from work,” the Hulk, essentially giving fans a “planet Hulk” movie despite Marvel repeatedly denying that fans would see the popular storyline in a film. At the same time, the thunder »


- Matt Fernandez

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