September 2013 - Posts

Project of the Day: Roller Skating Across America in 'United Skates'

Here's your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite. In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments. "United Skates" Tweetable Logline: In the darkest hours of the night, while most of us lay sleeping, there's a movement taking place in the shadows of our nation. Elevator Pitch: All across the nation from small country towns to big metropolitan cities, a collective of thousands are gathering-- completely off the radar. United Skates documents the underground world of roller skating in America from Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Baltimore to LA, and more. This isn't derby or disco but a fusion of hip-hop, breaking, animating and a new style all its own. Production Team:Director - Dyana Winkler Producer - Tina Brown (Dear Mandela) DP - Matt Peterson (Multi-Emmy Award Winning cinematographer in sports tv) Katie Flint -...
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NBC's Hillary Clinton Mini-Series Axed Following CNN's Cancellation

NBC has cancelled plans for a miniseries about Hillary Clinton, the network announced, according to Deadline. The report comes on the same day that CNN axed plans for a Charles Ferguson-directed documentary on Hillary Clinton. "After reviewing and prioritizing our slate of movie/mini-series development, we've decided that we will no longer continue developing the Hillary Clinton mini-series," the network said in a statement. While NBC's decision appears somewhat obscure thus far, CNN Films' inability to move forward with the film has been made entirely transparent through Ferguson's Huffington Post blog announcement, which can be found here. While noting CNN's considerable support for the project, Ferguson explains in his article that a Democrat-Republican media firefight threatened the integrity and feasibility of the prospective film as a whole. After CNN and NBC announced their initial plans to air programs about the former Secretary of State, the Republican National...
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The Top 8 Things We Learned About Tom Hanks from His Reddit_AMA: Everything from 'Bosom Bodies' to 'Captain Phillips'

Sure, everyone from Barack Obama to Cher have participated in a Reddit_AMA, but we were still excited to see that Tom Hanks was doing a Reddit_AMA today. Although he didn't actively promote his upcoming "Captain Phillips" (which just premiered to positive reviews at The New York Film Festival and will open on October 11), clearly that was his main motivation for doing the "Ask Me Anything" on Monday afternoon. Not surprisingly, fans posted thousands of questions and Hanks, ever the gentlemen, did his best to answer as many of them as possible. Here are the top 8 things we learned from Hanks in his Reddit_AMA: 1. His favorite movies: His favorite movies that he didn't act in are "Looper" and the Director's Cut of "Das Boot." 2. Why we don't see reruns of "Bosom Buddies" on TV: "It wasn't shot on HD and looks terrible now." 3. His thoughts about historical accuracy in film: "Accuracy is not just uniforms being right or the tactics being correct -- the human behavior -- and the...
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How This Year's New York Film Festival Depicts a Greedy World

Pity the film festival programmers forced to pretend they have master plans. When forced by journalists to formulate themes that unite their selections, they usually make them up on the fly. However, a significant portion of the program at the 2013 New York Film Festival, currently underway for another two weeks, echoes one dark idea so well it requires no tricky embellishment. Again and again, movies in this year's NYFF lineup engage with the pratfalls of a greedy world that cherishes the prospects of making money to the detriment of everything else.  Perhaps it was appropriate that this idea was first stated loudly and bluntly on opening night, with Friday's world premiere of "Captain Phillips," in which Tom Hanks speaks for a clueless Western world when he frantically attempts to convince his Somali captor that there must be more jobs available in his country than fisherman and kidnapper. "Maybe in America," comes the reply. Indeed, that same assertion could apply to Jia...
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5 Daily Tech Stories that Filmmakers (and Film Fans) Must Read: Illegal 'Breaking Bad' Downloads, DirecTV Goes Indie, Free 'Homeland' and More

1. Breaking Bad: The season finale of "Breaking Bad" last night got record ratings for the drama (with 10.3 million viewers overall), but the show also had a record number of illegal downloads, according to TorrentFreak.com. "Data gathered by TorrentFreak shows that 12 hours after the first copy of the episode appeared online, more than half a million people has grabbed a copy through one of many torrent sites. Never before have so many people downloaded a Breaking Bad episode, making it a strong contender for a top spot in our most-pirated TV-shows of the year chart," wrote Ernesto at TorrentFreak.  2. Homeland: In case you were too busy watching the "Breaking Bad" finale that you missed the third season premiere of "Homeland," Showtime has made the episode available for free online. Watch it here. 3. DirecTV: There's a new player in the independent film business, DirecTV. The satellite operator has partnered with independent film studio A24 to acquire films, which...
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IFC FIlms Acquires North American Rights to Zach Clark's 'White Reindeer'

IFC Films announced today that the company is acquiring North American rights to Zach Clark's "White Reindeer."  "White Reindeer" follows a "shell-shocked real estate agent who grapples with personal tragedy while fumbling to let loose among strip clubs, department stores, and swinging new neighbors during one sad, strange December in suburban Virginia." The film's acquisitions deal was negotiated between Senior Vice President of Acquisitons & Productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films Arianna Bocco and Cinetic Media. The film will set a theatrical release date and will premiered digitally on December 6, 2013. 
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The European Film Academy Announces Animated Feature Film 2013 Nominations

The European Film Academy has announced its three nominations in the European Animated Feature Film 2013 category: Ari Folman's "The Congress," Alain Ughetto's "Jasmine," and Enzo d' Alo's "Pinocchio."  The nominees have graced the competition with a distinct thematic diversity. "The Congress" tells the futuristic story of Hollywood actress Robin Wright's struggle with an elaborate technological exploitation of her craft and image. "Jasmine," on the other hand, follows cartoonist filmmaker Alain through a late 70s tale of love and revolution with a young Iranian student named Jasmine. Finally, "Pinocchio" is a retelling of the timeless moment when woodcarver Geppetto breathed life into a puppet.  The European Film Academy committee consists of board members Bruno Chatelin(France), Marek Rozenbaum(Israel) and Manuel Cristobal(Spain), all three of which are producers as well as representatives of CARTOON, the European Association of Animation Film. The nominated films will...
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CNN Renews 'Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown' For A Third Season

CNN has renewed "Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown" for a six episode third season. The travel documentary series features Bourdain (chef, author, and recent Emmy winner for Outstanding Reality Competition Host) as he ventures beyond the common tourist destinations to explore culturally unique cuisine. The new third season will premiere in the spring of 2014 according to the Hollywood Reporter. "We had high expectations for this series when it launched back in April," CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker said in a statement. "Yet (Bourdain and Zero Point Zero Productions) keep raising the bar -- first with the spectacular series premiere in Myanmar, later in the season with the groundbreaking Libya episode and then at the start of season two with a sensitive and incredibly informative tour of Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank." Here is a clip from the award winning series:
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Watch The Hilarious 'SNL' Spoof of 'Girls,' With Tina Fey Playing The New 'Girl'

There's a new girl on "Girls." Her name is Blerta and she's from Romania. She's actually played by Tina Fey in a hilarious parody of "Girls" on "SNL." As an outsider and newcomer to the "Girls" group, Blerta has keen insight into the quirky group of friends and their relatively petty problems. “You are unpaid prostitute? You are lower than dog" she tells Jessa (Kate McKinnon), who takes it as a compliment. "Thank you! I love your outfit." Then she tells Hannah (Noel Wells), "you are weak and soft and dressed like a baby." When Hannah is down, Blerta consoles her by saying, "It's okay; you are only 15." But when Hannah tells Blerta her real age, Blerta says, "24? What the -bleep - is wrong with you?" This is only the latest in a long line of "Girls' parodies, which our TV editor Alison Willmore has rated here. Meanwhile, Lena Dunham wasn't offended by the 'SNL' spoof at all. She tweeted, "The SNL parody of Girls was a true honor." Watch it for yourself below:
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'Out of the Furnace,' 'Walter Mitty' and 'Nebraska' Head To AFI FEST

A week after they lost the world premiere of "Foxcatcher" due to delays in the film's release, the 2013 edition of AFI FEST has landed another world premiere, Scott Cooper's "Out of the Furnace." The film will screen as a centerpiece at the festival alongside Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" and Ben Stiller's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." Full press release below. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Los Angeles, CA, September 30, 2013 – The American Film Institute (AFI) announced today additional red carpet Centerpiece Galas at AFI FEST presented by Audi, including the World Premiere of Scott Cooper’s OUT OF THE FURNACE; Alexander Payne’s NEBRASKA, accompanied by a Tribute to Bruce Dern; and THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, directed by and starring Ben Stiller and produced by AFI Conservatory alumnus Stuart Cornfeld, recipient of the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal at the AFI Life Achievement Award ceremony held last June. All galas will be presented in the historic TCL Theatre.As...
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Watch the Season Premiere of 'Homeland' Online for Free

After a wild second season that strained the bounds of believability for some viewers, "Homeland" is refocusing on its characters at the beginning of its third season, which picks up with the CIA and the country as a whole reeling after the bombing that ended season two. Showtime has put last night's season premiere, "Tin Man Is Down," online in full -- you can watch the episode, which focuses on a fragile Carrie (Claire Danes) and a weary Saul (Mandy Patinkin), at Showtime's website.
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John Greyson and Tarek Loubani's Situation In Egypt Worsens: Here's How You Can Help Them

It's been 45 days since Canadian director and activist John Greyson and emergency room doctor Tarek Loubani were detained by Egyptian police and placed in Cairo's Tora prison, and unfortunately new fears have been raised.  It was reported yesterday that their detention has been extended 45 days amidst a hunger strike that Greyson and Loubani began two weeks ago. There were also recent indications that the pair have been targeted by authorities seeking to lay serious charges against them (at this point no charges have been made). The Toronto Star is reporting that the charges include “terrorizing citizens,” weapons possession and attempting to burn down a police station. READ MORE: Filmmakers and Artists Gather in Support of John Greyson and Tarek Loubani Under current Egyptian law they can be held for six months without charges. If they are indeed charged, Greyson and Loubani could be imprisoned for two more years before trial. They are currently held “pending investigation,”...
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Mystery-Thriller Zombie Series 'The Returned' in Development, A&E Network Announces

A&E Network has announced that the A+E Studios and FremantleMedia drama series co-production "The Returned," is in development. "The Returned" is based on Fabrice Gobert's popular French series "Les Revenants" adapted from the 2004 film of the same name. The series focuses on a small town turned upside down by the sudden reappearance of people long presumed dead. Unaware of their supposed deaths, the new locals readjust to their lives post-mortem in a town steadily unraveling in a wave of mystery and murder. A&E Network General Manager and Executive Vice President David McKillop described the show as "part mystery, part thriller," and its creative direction as signaling, "an incredibly unique approach, filled with suspense and twists and turns, to the subject of the living dead." FremantleMedia North America CEO Thom Beers imparted his confidence in the show's success, noting for one that "The Returned" is "a fascinating series with a unique premise," and that "having seen...
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CNN Films Cancels Hillary Clinton Documentary Amid Controversy

CNN Films has cancelled its planned Hillary Clinton documentary. The director Charles Ferguson ("No End in Sight" and "Inside Job"), who had been hired to direct a documentary for the network about the former Secretary of State, said in a blog post today on The Huffington Post that he is stepping away from the documentary about Hillary Clinton and that CNN is no longer proceeding with the film. Though he said that he received tremendous support from CNN, Ferguson explained that the political pressure from both sides of the aisle made it so that he could not make a film of which he would be proud of. Almost immediately after the documentary was announced in August, the Republican National Committee resolved to not partner with CNN for any of the 2016 presidential primary debates. In that same resolution the RNC reasoned that due to Hillary Clinton's likely run for President in 2016, the documentary would be little more than extended commercials promoting Clinton. Ferguson wrote: ...
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DirecTV Goes Indie with new A24 Deal: Satellite Operator Will Co-Finance and Market Independent Films

There's a new player in the independent film business, DirecTV. The satellite operator has partnered with independent film studio A24 to acquire films, which A24 will release theatrically. DirecTV will get the rights to offer the films on-demand 30 days before their theatrical release, the Wall Street Journal reported. DirecTV has committed $40 million to the partnership, a relatively small portion of the satellite operator's total revenue ($7.7 billion in the second quarter of 2013), according to Variety."Enemy," starring Jake Gyllenhaal, directed by Denis Villeneuve and based on Javier Gulon's adaptation of Jose Saramago's novel "The Double," was the first film the two companies jointly acquired (at the Toronto Film Festival). DirecTV has plans to debut "Enemy" in early 2014. A24 also acquired North American rights to Steven Knight's Tom Hardy-starring thriller "Locke" and Jonathan Glazer's moody sci-fi thriller "Under the Skin," starring Scarlett Johansson, out of the Toronto...
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