December 2014 - Posts

Watch: Ava DuVernay In Action Behind the Scenes of 'Selma'

Indie film director Ava DuVernay has become more well known in recent months, considering the fact that she made history by becoming the first black woman to be nominated for a Best Director Golden Globe for her work on "Selma." Fans of the film and her work eagerly await the announcement of the Academy Awards nominations to see if she'll made history there as well. "Selma," DuVernay's third feature, details a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-led protest march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Paramount Pictures has given Indiewire this exclusive featurette, which takes a look behind the scenes at DuVernay's directing style (which looks incredibly fun) and some of her on-set action, which includes directing huge groups of extras. Star David Oyelowo and the queen of television herself, Oprah Winfrey, also speak of their experiences. "I've never seen anyone with such intense, passionate, willful and clear direction, and yet, be such a calming force as...
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Our 2015 New Year's Resolutions for Television

"True Detective": Be Legit Better For the Ladies While some of the character descriptions for Season 2 of HBO's powerhouse not-exactly-a-miniseries-anymore crime drama aren't super-encouraging (Lolita Davidovich as "a former showgirl continually sucking on cigarettes and margaritas as she mourns the loss of male sexual attention"?), there's no denying that this next iteration of the show, set to launch in summer 2015, is more than a two-man acting showcase -- especially with Rachel McAdams in a role that sounds equal to that of Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn. If she, as well as the other supporting female cast, are given real opportunities to stretch beyond wife/mistress/stripper/victim roles, it'll prove the show's ability to evolve and grow, and guarantee a real chance at keeping a good thing going. (Also, while I'm at it -- please let Season 2 be the showcase for Taylor Kitsch that he deserves. Ben Travers will be heartbroken otherwise.)  ...
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The Year in Gifs: Indiewire's Favorite Stories from 2014

And the year was born... Review: How the Bleak Drama 'Ida' Channels Ingmar Bergman Movies Sundance kicked things off (as always). Review: Richard Linklater's 12-Year Production 'Boyhood' Then came Berlinale and Cannes... Summer shook things up with "Snowpiercer"...READ MORE: 'Snowpiercer' is Coming to VOD Early. Here's Why. ... and then brought blockbusters and Indiewire's 18th birthday! Then came the Emmys, which proved unfriendly for "True Detective"... READ MORE: 'True Detective' Emmys Loss: Why the TV Academy Got It Wrong Fall found some indie box office breakouts... Box Office: 'Birdman' & 'Dear White People' Soar Year's Best Indie Weekends ...some mindblowing visuals... ...and some thrilling TV. Now here we are: awards season. Watch: Indiewire Awards Spotlight And now we've got to do it all over again? Come at us bro.We're already looking forward to 2015. A healthy and happy New Year to you all, from your friends at at Indiewire. 
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The Best Films of 2014 According to the Indie Film Community

Every year, Indiewire turns to its faithful community in the independent film world to share their top 10 lists (and in some cases, top 11 lists), giving them the freedom to offer up not only great films but also TV, music and anything else that stood out to them about the year. We also invite them to share their resolutions and what they're anticipating for the next 12 months. As usual, we've cast as wide a net as possible, and the results reflect a whole lot of different perspectives on 2014 from many of the influencers who keep the medium alive throughout the year. Enjoy. Michael BarkerCo-President, Sony Pictures Classics 11 Best in 2014 (Sony Pictures Classics releases exempt as usual) 1) Kara Walker at the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn The subject is racism. A mind-blowing exhibit. Words cannot do justice to the experience. 2) "Inherent Vice" PTA continues to hold his spot as our finest American director (although Bennett Miller, Wes Anderson,...
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Project of the Day: 'SEMBENE!' is Headed to Sundance

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. SEMBENE! Tweetable Longline: Ousmane Sembene: The African freedom fighter who used stories as his weapon Elevator Pitch: In 1952, an uneducated Senegalese dockworker began dreaming an impossible dream: to become the storyteller for a new Africa. "SEMBENE!" tells the unbelievable true story of the "father of African cinema," who fought a monumental, 50-year-long battle to give African stories to Africans. Told through the experiences of his friend and biographer Samba Gadjigo, "SEMBENE!" draws from rare archival footage and 100 hours of exclusive materials, following an ordinary man who transforms himself into a fearless spokesperson for the marginalized and a hero to millions. After a startling fall from grace, can Ousmane Sembene...
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Here Are All the VOD Numbers We Have So Far

Sony announced December 28 that "The Interview" has generated $15 million in online sales since it first became available on December 24, making it the largest ever day-and-date release and Sony's biggest online release of all time. We put that number in some perspective yesterday, but below we break down what we know about other VOD releases. To be clear, none of them followed exactly the same distribution patterns with some of them being released day-and-date (hitting theaters and VOD the same day), some released ultra-VOD (meaning released on VOD before hitting theatrical) and some hitting VOD following a theatrical run (of varying lengths). Since companies generally only release VOD numbers when they're good, the below figures (the latest ones released, but not necessarily the most up-to-date) provide a skewed but still informative sampling: READ MORE: As "Snowpiercer" Hits VOD, The Industry's Divided on Distribution's Future 2014:...
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'The Wire' Changed His Life and 'Treme' Defined An Era: Wendell Pierce on Creating Great Art on TV

Wendell Pierce -- Julliard trained actor, business entrepreneur, film actor, television icon. His baritone voice and infectious charisma made his pivotal role on David Simon's "The Wire" one of the more cherished in small screen history. His turn at Antoine Batiste was the first cast for Simon's "Treme," a show that this writer somewhat controversially thinks the best show in the history of American Television, a poetic look at music, film and culture that surpassed even the unabashed magnificence of the much lauded, Baltimore-set drama "The Wire." As part of a larger conversation that included talk of his latest film project, the remarkable "Selma" (which documents the events surrounding the March to Birmingham in 1965), we pivoted to talk about his two most prominent roles on the small screen. What began as a simple, general question resulted in an answer of rare depth and complexity, an intensely introspective and philosophical...
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Watch: The Beginner's Guide to 'Friends' — 12 Tips for the Netflix Generation

"Could we be making a bigger deal out of this?" That, my friends, is a riff on the classic Chandler Bing catchphrase from "Friends." If you didn't already know that, this guide is for you. As disheartening as it is to report as it was to personally accept, the best relationship sitcom of all time ended more than 10 years ago. On May 6, 2014, Chandler, Joey, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe and Monica left our lives forever with a last episode for the ages, marking a 10-year run never lacking in heart or humor. Yet for as widely relatable as the show's focus remains, there are plenty of elements possibly fatal for new fans. Let's face it: most of the nation's youth grew up without a new episode of "Friends" airing every Thursday night on NBC. Even someone born on the day "Friends" began would have spent most of his or her TV-watching life without easy access to the wildly-popular sitcom -- what 14-to-20-year-old do you know who watches DVDs, TBS, or...
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7 Dark Horse Oscar Contenders Not To Ignore

Oscar voters got their ballots yesterday, and should be rummaging through screeners right about now as they race to get their acts together before the January 8 deadline. We already seem to have a fairly clear picture as to how their choices might pan out, but let's be honest: We hope we're wrong. Awards season has become increasingly predictable in the past few years, with groups like the Golden Globes and SAGs and Critics' Choice getting better and better at giving us a major heads up as to what Oscar voters might end up picking (or worse, telling Oscar voters what to pick). So we're offering seven suggestions for outside contenders that deserve to shake things up. They've all received a few mentions here and there, but none are among consensus predictions. Start 2015 off right by giving them a solid chance, Oscar voters: Josh Brolin for "Inherent Vice"Category: Best Supporting Actor Recognition So Far: A win from the Chicago, Detroit, Online and St. Louis critics'...
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The Best DPs of 2014 on Their Biggest Shooting Challenges

Yves Bélanger, "Wild" My biggest challenge was to get in shape because this movie's very physical. I'm not a sportsman, I'm not an outdoorsman, and I'm 54 so I had to get in shape. So my biggest challenge was not to pass out during the take. [laughs] Jeff Cronenweth, "Gone Girl" One [challenging shot] is when the detectives go to the vacant mall to find clues. It wasn't actually an abandoned mall, and the scale of it was absolutely enormous. It was this three-story mall, about 300-400 feet in each direction, and economically and time-wise there was restrictions, but it was super important to feel how cavernous the place really was. We went around it in a different way, and we chose to use a lot of small, incandescent light sources in order to preserve the scale. It just was a monumental, huge location. The notion was that there was drug dealing and a few camp fires and one pharmacy that had one working flickering light, so it was an interesting opportunity...
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Why a 32-Year-Old Film Festival is Struggling to Honor its Past

Film festivals often cultivate a contradictory relationship with the cities where they take place. Cannes, for instance, serves as merely a flashy backdrop to a festival that is by design aimed at professionals and not the general public. But Berlin — despite hosting the second biggest film market after Cannes — is very well attended by the residents of the German capital who do not see the festival as an intrusion but as a palatable treat in their cultural diet. Locarno, a rather unexciting Swiss town, hosts one of Europe most daring and exploratory film festivals. But the story and artistic identity of the Turin Film Festival, which wrapped its 32nd edition last month, is inextricably linked to that of its hosting city. Once the heartland of the manufacturing and car industry, Turin is a sort of Italian Detroit: During the late 70’s and early 80’s, the city saw its vast factory plants closing down or downsizing with drastic results. What had once been the backdrop of immigration...
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Project of the Day: 'The Toll'

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. Tweetable Longline: In the final days of WWII, a bereft army corporal stumbles upon a top secret S.S. technology and is transported to an alternate 1945. Elevator Pitch: The entire film takes place on VE day, May 8th, 1945, in San Francisco. U.S. Signal Corps radio operator Wesley Morris, mourning the loss of his wife at sea, confronts a mysterious stranger filming the Golden Gate Bridge. This chance encounter leads Wes face to face with "Die Glocke" (The Bell), a secret S.S. weapon with dimension altering capabilities, and the potential to reunite Wes with his lost love, but at the cost of countless lives. Production Team: Director/Producer/Writer - Liz Anderson (Trauma (NBC), The Etymology of Zero (winer of the Netflix/Women in Film Foundation...
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2015 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Score

Indiewire will provide updates of our predictions for the 87th Academy Award nominations through January 2015, when the nominations are announced. Here are our predictions for Best Original Score, which seems to us to currently be a battle of the music tied to British genius biopics: Johann Johannsson's for "The Theory of Everything" and Alexandre Desplat's for "The Imitation Game."  Their main competition seems to be Hans Zimmer, whose "Interstellar" score is winning raves even from the film's mixed reviews, and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, whose work on "Gone Girl" is traditional score that typically thrives here, but neither was "The Social Network" -- and they won for that. And notably, Desplat could be looking at two nods if his work in "Unbroken" or "The Grand Budapest Hotel" sneaks in too (what a year for him). Notably, Zimmer, Prize, Reznor and Ross have all won. Johannsson has never even been...
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Is the Day-and-Date Release of 'The Interview' a Success? That Depends.

Sony boasted yesterday that the R-rated comedy has generated $15 million in online sales since it first became available on December 24. The impressive number, the largest ever for a day-and-date release, dwarfed the estimated $2.8 million the film grossed from the 331 indie theaters that showed the film over the four-day weekend. The Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy has been rented or purchased over 2 million times, making it the studio's biggest online release of all time. Perhaps more significantly, it also marks the first time a studio has released VOD numbers. Though Sony obviously released the numbers in order to calm critics and assuage stockholders after the release of company information by hackers, they've also set an accidental precedent. Unlike theatrical box office reporting, film distributors, cable companies and other video viewing platforms don't report viewership in a uniform and transparent way, leaving filmmakers and the industry...
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Watch: Lana Del Rey Reveals the Beginnings of 'Big Eyes'

"With your big eyes and your big lies." Lana Del Rey's original compositions for Tim Burton's "Big Eyes" have been getting just as much, if not more, publicity than Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz's performances in the film. READ MORE: Watch: Lana Del Rey's Words Float Through New 'Big Eyes' Music Video Following the film's Christmas Day debut, The Weinstein Company released a video featuring excerpts from a recent interview with Del Rey where she discusses the origins of the lyrics as well as her self-described cinematic approach to music. Burton's "Big Eyes" is up for three Golden Globes, including Best Original Song. Check out the video below: READ MORE: Stream Lana Del Rey's Two Original Songs from 'Big Eyes'
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