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Tony Zierra to Follow up ‘Filmworker’ with New Stanley Kubrick Doc about ‘Eyes Wide Shut’
21 October 2017 4:19 AM, PDT
Lyon — Tony Zierra, the director of this year’s critically acclaimed Cannes screener “Filmworker” – about Leon Vitali, who served for decades as Stanley Kubrick’s right-hand man – is working on a followup Kubrick documentary about the making of the 1999 drama “Eyes Wide Shut,” starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
Zierra was in Lyon this week for a screening of “Filmworker” at the Lumière Film Festival, where the documentary has generated massive buzz.
Speaking to Variety about his next project, “SK13,” (“Eyes Wide Shut” being Kubrick’s 13th film), Zierra explained that he was originally working on that documentary when he met Vitali and decided to put it aside and do “Filmworker” first.
Zierra is now returning to his initial project, which promises an inside look at what is arguably Kubrick’s most controversial work, due in part to the director’s death during post-production.
“The one movie that I feel is the wrinkle in Kubrick’s filmography »
- Ed Meza
William Friedkin on the Power of Film, Capital Punishment and his Recklessness on ‘The French Connection’
21 October 2017 3:30 AM, PDT
Lyon — Director William Friedkin, maker of “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist,” in Lyon for a showcase of his work, proved his storytelling prowess at a master class on Thursday as he captivated the audience with anecdotes of his illustrious career.
Particularly moving was the account of his first work, the 1962 documentary “The People vs. Paul Crump.”
After meeting the chaplain of the Cook County jail and learning about a young black man on death row named Paul Crump that both the pastor and the warden believed to be innocent, Friedkin visited the inmate and likewise became convinced of his innocence. He set out to make a documentary about the case in the hope of saving his life.
“A confession was beaten out of him by the Chicago police, which was done routinely in those days. If there was an African American accused of a crime they would go into the African American community and round up the »
- Ed Meza
Wong Kar-wai Honored in Lyon, Talks Early Influences, Bruce Lee, Hong Kong Handover and Bigger Canvas for ‘Grandmaster’
21 October 2017 12:24 AM, PDT
Lyon The Lumière Festival honored Wong Kar-wai with the Lumière Award on Friday following a wide-ranging discussion between the Chinese filmmaker and the festival director Thierry Frémaux about his life and career.
Asked about his early influences during the master class, held in front of a packed house at the majestic Théâtre des Célestins ahead of the evening’s award ceremony, Wong said he moved with his family from Shanghai to Hong Kong as a child in 1962 before the onset of the Cultural Revolution. Since the family had no friends or relatives in Hong Kong and did not speak Cantonese, Wong regularly went to the movies with his mother.
“It’s all because of my mother. My mother is a big film buff – she enjoyed watching movies. The fact that we didn’t have any friends and relatives in this new city, the only thing she liked to do was take me to the cinema. We spent almost »
- Ed Meza
Film Review: ‘Same Kind of Different as Me’
20 October 2017 11:56 PM, PDT
In 1998, millionaire art dealer Ron Hall, a Fort Worth father of two and an adulterer, promised he’d do anything to win back his wife Debbie, a “girl with a heart so big that all of Texas couldn’t hold it.” Debbie gave him a challenge: help her feed the homeless at Fort Worth’s Union Gospel Mission and befriend the scariest man on the block, an ex-felon and murderer named Denver “Suicide” Moore.
He did, and the two men’s unusual friendship is the foundation of Michael Carney’s empathetic faith-based drama “Same Kind of Different as Me,” starring Greg Kinnear and Renée Zellweger as the wealthy white couple, and Djimon Hounsou as the traumatized sharecropper welcomed into their 15,000-square-foot home. The three leads have six Academy Award nominations between them. However, the film’s key draw is the nonfiction bestseller that inspired it, co-written by Hall, Moore and “Heaven is For Real’s” Lynn Vincent, who saw »
- Amy Nicholson
Busan: Korea’s ‘After My Death,’ Iran’s ‘Blockage’ Win Competition
20 October 2017 10:40 PM, PDT
Films from South Korea and Iran were announced Saturday as joint winners of the Busan Film Festival’s main competition section.
Kim Ui-seok’s “After My Death” and Mohsen Gharaei’s “Blockage” won the New Currents competition which focuses on first and second features by filmmakers from Asia.
“My Death” is critique of the world where reason and tolerance have no sway and is the story of a girl who is suspected of having goaded another schoolgirl into killing herself. “Blockage” reflects the current economic condition of Iran by depicting the overwhelming chaos that happens to a vicious, despicable temporary worker.
The jury was headed by American filmmaker Oliver Stone, and included Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi, French cinematographer Agnes Godard, Philippines’ Lav Diaz and South Korea’s Jang Sun-woo. The jury said that “both films are tightly scripted, and display vivid detail and excellent craftsmanship.”
The first Kim Ji-seok Award, a newly prize »
- Sonia Kil
Film Review: Pixar’s ‘Coco’
20 October 2017 8:00 PM, PDT
Conceived as a vibrant celebration of Mexican culture, writer-director Lee Unkrich’s “Coco” is the 19th feature from Pixar Animation Studios and the first to seriously deal with the deficit of nonwhite characters in its films — so far limited to super-sidekick Frozone in “The Incredibles,” tagalong Russell in “Up” and Mindy Kaling’s green-skinned Disgust in “Inside Out.” It’s a point worth making from the outset, not so much for political reasons (although they matter) but to indicate how this effective yet hardly exceptional addition to the Pixar oeuvre finds at least one significant front on which to innovate, even while coloring comfortably within the lines on practically everything else.
Like Remy, the rodent hero of “Ratatouille” who dreamed of working in a French restaurant, 12-year-old Miguel Rivera (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) has just one passion in life: He wants to play the guitar. Unfortunately for him, Miguel belongs to a family of humble shoemakers where music »
- Peter Debruge
Film News Roundup: Paul Allen’s Vulcan Productions Backs Oliver Sacks Documentary
20 October 2017 6:31 PM, PDT
In today’s film news roundup, Paul Allen comes on board an Oliver Sacks documentary, the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival unveils its lineup, and animation veteran Teresa Cheng gets a USC post.
Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions is backing the documentary “Oliver Sacks: His Own Life” in partnership with Steeplechase Films, American Masters Pictures, Motto Pictures, Passion Pictures, and Tangled Bank Studios.
Directed by filmmaker Ric Burns (“New York,” “Andy Warhol”), the film attempts to provide an exploration of human consciousness and the intimate relationship between art and science. Burns shot footage in the months before Sacks died in 2015, including more than 80 hours with the physician himself, his partner, and his closest family, friends, and colleagues.
Allen and Carole Tomko, general manager of Vulcan Productions, are executive producers of “Oliver Sacks: His Own Life,” along with Julie Goldman of Motto Pictures and Michael Kantor of American Masters Pictures. Vulcan said Friday »
- Dave McNary
AFI Fest Adds Galas for ‘Call Me by Your Name,’ ‘Disaster Artist,’ ‘Hostiles’
20 October 2017 3:03 PM, PDT
The American Film Institute has added a trio of awards season contenders as centerpiece galas for next month’s AFI Fest — “Call Me by Your Name,” James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist,” and Christian Bale’s “Hostiles.”
The AFI Fest will also hold a tribute to documentary filmmaker Errol Morris and a screening of “Wormwood” on Nov. 11 at the Egyptian Theatre. The festival opens on Nov. 9 with “Mudbound” and closes on Nov. 16 with the world premiere of “All the Money in the World.” All the galas will be held at the Tcl Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
“Call Me by Your Name” will screen on Nov. 10. The film, directed by Luca Guadagnino from a James Ivory adaptation of André Aciman’s novel, is a coming-of-age story centered on a 17-year-old who spends the summer holidays at a villa with his parents. The movie, which debuted at Sundance, stars Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, and [link=nm »
- Dave McNary
Colony Capital Has Three-Week Window to Avert Weinstein Co. Bankruptcy (Exclusive)
20 October 2017 2:44 PM, PDT
Colony Capital has been granted a three-week window to negotiate a deal for some or all of the Weinstein Company’s assets, as the company seeks to avoid a bankruptcy filing.
Sources tell Variety that the Weinstein Co.’s financial situation, and particularly its debt load, are more dire than was previously known. Nevertheless, Colony Capital, under the leadership of Tom Barrack, is still working toward some sort of purchase. Insiders say that Colony has reached out to other potential partners to help close the deal.
There has also been a shift in the human resources department, which has come under harsh criticism for failing to stand up to Weinstein’s abuses. Frank Gil, the head of the department, has been let go. He’s been replaced by David Anderson, an industry veteran who has worked with companies who are trying to dig out from troubling financial situations.
The Weinstein Co. was not in »
- Gene Maddaus and Brent Lang
Box Office: ‘Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’ to Blow Away ‘Geostorm’ in Slow Weekend
20 October 2017 2:05 PM, PDT
Tyler Perry’s horror-comedy sequel “Boo 2! A Madea Halloween” is providing the only bright spot on a downbeat weekend with about $23 million at 2,388 North American locations, early estimates showed Friday.
Four other new films are showing little traction among moviegoers. The most prominent is costly weather disaster drama “Geostorm,” which is heading for a financial disaster with an opening weekend of $13 million at 3,246 venues for Warner Bros. The studio — which had forecasted a finish in the $10 million to $12 million range — took the unusual step of not holding Thursday night previews, as it had not held screenings for critics.
Sony’s opening of firefighting drama “Only the Brave” is heading for about $6 million at 2,575 locations — a disappointing result, given its $38 million budget. Universal’s murder mystery “The Snowman” is faring even worse with about $5 million at 1,813 North American theaters, well below muted estimates in the $8 million to $12 million range. And Pure Flix’s faith-based “Same Kind of Different as Me” is underperforming »
- Dave McNary
Lionsgate Unveils World’s First ‘Hunger Games’ Theme Park
20 October 2017 1:42 PM, PDT
“Hunger Games” now has its own theme park.
Lionsgate and Dubai Parks and Resorts have partnered to celebrate the opening of the world’s first “Hunger Games” theme park, based on the popular series of young adult novels and films. “The World of the Hunger Games” had its first full day of operations in the Lionsgate zone at Motiongate Dubai, the Middle East’s largest Hollywood-inspired theme park.
“The World of the Hunger Games” features newly designed marquee attractions, never-before-seen content showcasing talent from the film, iconic walk-around characters and entertainment, dining, and retail experiences that include:
Panem Aerial Tour: A hovercraft simulator experience with an exciting twist, featuring custom content created exclusively for Motiongate Dubai.
Capitol Bullet Train: A half-pipe roller coaster that transports guests to the Capitol, featuring a forward and backward launch and multiple inversions.
Peeta’s Bakery: A food and beverage station serving over 20 themed delicacies and local favorites.
Panem Supply »
- Matt Fernandez
Lawyer: Weinstein Rape Accuser’s ‘Biggest Regret Is Opening That Door’
20 October 2017 1:32 PM, PDT
The attorney for the Italian actress and model who has accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her in 2013 says that she is relieved to finally tell her story.
“What happened to her is horrible and she is relieved to come forward now, but she’s also extremely scared, and rightfully so,” said attorney Dave Ring, in a press conference outside the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown L.A.
The accuser, who has not been identified, was interviewed Thursday by detectives from the Lapd Robbery-Homicide division. The 38-year-old woman alleges that Weinstein raped her in her hotel room at Mr. C Beverly Hills in February 2013. She had met him once before, in Rome, and was in Los Angeles for the Los Angeles, Italia Film, Fashion and Art Fest.
Ring gave few additional details of the case, saying he did not want to jeopardize the investigation.
“He bullied his way into her room,” he said. “She »
- Gene Maddaus
‘Blade Runner’ Breakout Sylvia Hoeks Joins ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Sequel (Exclusive)
20 October 2017 1:20 PM, PDT
After breaking out in “Blade Runner 2049,” Sylvia Hoeks is looking to move on to another franchise revamp.
Foy, who stars in the Netflix series “The Crown,” is on board to play Lisbeth Salander. The new installment of Sony Pictures’ Millennium franchise will commence production in January in Berlin and Stockholm. The film hits theaters on Oct. 19, 2018.
The studio had no comment on the casting. »
- Justin Kroll
Former Actress Heather Kerr Accuses Harvey Weinstein of Forcing Himself on Her
20 October 2017 12:18 PM, PDT
Kerr, in a news conference with high-profile attorney Gloria Allred, asserted Friday that Weinstein had exposed himself to her and forced himself on her sexually in a private meeting in 1989.
“He asked me if I was good,” Kerr said. “I started to tell him about my training and acting experience and he said, ‘No. I need to know if you’re good.’ He said if he was going to introduce me around town, he needed to know if I was ‘good.’ He kept repeating that word.”
Kerr, who appeared on the shows “The Facts of Life” and “Mama’s Family,” said, while she was sitting on a couch with Weinstein, he unzipped his pants, pulled out his penis, grabbed her hand, forced it onto his organ, and held it there.
“He said this is how things work in Hollywood »
- Dave McNary
Female Animators Call for End of Culture of Sexual Harassment in Open Letter
20 October 2017 12:03 PM, PDT
In the midst of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement, 217 women and gender non-conforming people working in the field of animation signed an open letter to a dozen studios calling for the end of a culture of sexism and sexual harassment in the industry
The letter, which was signed by high-profile figures like “Steven Universe” creator Rebecca Sugar and Shadi Petosky of “Danger and Eggs,” was addressed to executives at Disney, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks Animation, Bento Box, OddBot, Paramount, Shadowmachine, Sony Pictures Animation, Stoopid Buddy, Titmouse, and Warner Bros. The letter draws attention to the lack of women in the industry and summarizes their grievances with three demands: that sexual harassment policies are made clear and seriously enforced, that the Animation Guild add language to its constitution and create an anti-harassment committee, and that male colleagues take the initiative to prevent further instances of harassment. »
- Matt Fernandez
Actress Sean Young Alleges Harvey Weinstein Exposed Himself to Her
20 October 2017 11:25 AM, PDT
Sean Young has come forward with sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein. The actress alleges Weinstein exposed himself to her while working on 1992 film “Love Crimes,” which was produced by Weinstein’s former company Miramax.
Young recounted the experience on the Dudley and Bob with Matt Show podcast in Austin, Texas. She said on set, she “personally experienced him pulling his you-know-what out of his pants in order to shock me.”
“My basic response was, ‘You know, Harvey, I don’t really think you should be pulling that thing out, it’s not very pretty,'” Young recalled. “And then leaving, and then never having another meeting with that guy again, because it was like, ‘What on earth?'”
She said she got a bad reputation for saying no. “The minute you actually stand up for yourself in Hollywood, you’re the crazy one,” she said.
Young also claimed she was harassed by Warren Beatty and was »
- Rebecca Rubin
Jessica Chastain’s ‘Woman Walks Ahead’ Lands at A24, DirecTV
20 October 2017 11:22 AM, PDT
The movie had its world premiere last month at the Toronto International Film Festival. The drama, also starring Sam Rockwell, Michael Greyeyes, Ciaran Hinds, and Bill Camp, is directed by Susanna White from a screenplay by Stephen Knight.
Producers are Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Erika Olde, Richard Solomon, and Andrea Calderwood. The production companies are Bedford Falls and Black Bicycle Entertainment in association with Im Global, Potboiler Productions, and LipSync.
A24 and DirecTV are planning a 2018 release, in which A24 will give the film a national theatrical rollout in all major markets.
Chastain portrays Catherine Weldon, a widowed artist from New York in the 1880s, who travelled to North Dakota to paint a portrait of chief Sitting Bull, who is portrayed by Greyeyes. The duo strikes up an improbable friendship, joining forces to take on the U.S. government »
- Dave McNary
Canal Plus, Telecom Italia Launch Joint Venture
20 October 2017 10:03 AM, PDT
Canal Plus and Telecom Italia have joined forces to launch a joint venture focusing on acquisitions and production of films and TV series.
The joint venture aims at bolstering the pay TV offer of Telecom Italia across linear and non-linear (Svod, VOD and catch-up) and allow the company to thrive amid a highly competitive landscape.
Under the partnership, the two companies will produce together Italian and international content as well as board co-productions. Telecom Italia and Canal Plus will also co-acquire sports rights, among others.
Telecom Italia will detain 60% of the joint venture, Canal Plus will have 40%.
Jacques du Puy, Canal Plus International president, said Italy was a major market.
“We delighted to be developing premium content with Telecom Italia and leverage our expertise »
- Elsa Keslassy
Animation Is Film Festival Readies Its L.A. Debut
20 October 2017 10:00 AM, PDT
Back in the 1990s, Eric Beckman started the New York Intl. Children’s Film Festival, which gradually grew a reputation for screening the types of independent and international animation that too often went missing next to the macrobudget cartoon hegemony of Disney and DreamWorks.
The fest eventually blossomed into an Oscar-qualifying institution. Yet Beckman was often peppered with questions from festgoers: Where can I see this film again? Where can I find it online? Sensing a vacuum, he and partner David Jesteadt hatched their own distribution company, Gkids, which looked to find homes and craft carefully tailored release strategies for idiosyncratic animated features.
Founded in 2008, Gkids has become a serious name in animation remarkably quickly. It’s gone on to secure nine Oscar nominations for the likes of “Chico and Rita,” “My Life as a Zucchini” and “The Secret of Kells,” and it became the U.S. distributor for Japan’s venerable Studio Ghibli.
Now, Beckman »
- Andrew Barker
Film Review: ‘Geostorm’
20 October 2017 9:57 AM, PDT
When it comes to the issue of global warming, the world divides into two camps: those who believe in science, and those who adopt an actively skeptical position toward other human beings’ ability to interpret and in any way impact what nature has in store. An inanely spectacular disaster movie — though perhaps “spectacularly inane” would be more apt — from the producer of “Godzilla” and “Independence Day,” Dean Devlin’s “Geostorm” attempts to have it both ways, treating a gang of scientists who’ve “solved” the problem of global warming as its heroes while exploiting how little its target audience knows about the subject to supply an extreme-weather clip reel with contributions of variable quality from a dozen different visual effects houses.
If you’ve ever wanted to see a tidal wave sweep over the horizon of a waterless desert or eggs frying on a superheated city street, “Geostorm” is the movie for you! And if you »
- Peter Debruge