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Film Festival News and Reviews: Sundance, Cannes and more

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    Strand Takes US Rights to Bosnia Herzegovina Oscar Entry "Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams"

    US rights to Jasmila Zbanic's "Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams" have been picked up by Strand Releasing from Match Factory Films, the Los Angeles-based distributor announced Monday. The film, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale in February, is Bosnia and Herzegovina's official entry for the 2006 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. The deal was negotiated by Strand's Jon Gerrans and Match Factory's Michael Weber at the American Film Market (AFM), currently underway in Santa Monica, CA. The film screens Tuesday night at AFI Fest, also underway in Los Angeles. Set in a contemporary Sarajevo still reeling from the aftermath of war, t...

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    Regent Releasing Takes Worldwide Rights to "Freshman Orientation"

    Regent Releasing has acquired the worldwide rights to Ryan Shiraki's comedy "Freshman Orientation," with Regent Worldwide Sales handling international sales at this year's American Film Market (AFM). The film, produced by Element Films, will be released in Spring 2007. The film centers on a typical Midwestern 18-year-old freshman (Sam Huntington) at a large state university eager to begin his wild college party life, but he instead discovers that school is not the beer-driven, sexual fantasy of his imagination. Determined to do anything to win over a beautiful sorority girl, he decides to pose as gay in order to entrench himself in her life. ...

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    DISPATCH FROM LOS ANGELES: Penelope Cruz in Spotlight at AFI Fest Tribute

    After nearly six months of critical attention and acclaim for her lead performance in Pedro Almodovar's "Volver," actress Penelope Cruz stepped into Hollywood's spotlight on Thursday night, accepting this year's AFI Fest tribute on the second night of the festival. A veteran of some 40 films in just over 15 years, Cruz was joined by close friends and family at the AFI Fest event, thanking them for allowing her to pursue her acting dreams at the age of 17. Singling out her father in the audience, Cruz praised her parents who were, "so generous for letting me fly so young. I really appreciate, now that I am older, that it was hard for them -- t...

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    DISPATCH FROM LOS ANGELES: Famous Faces and FILMEX in Spotlight as AFI Opens 20th Fest

    A long line of men in tuxedos and women in cocktail dresses gathered outside the Kodak Theater on Hollywood Blvd. last night in Los Angeles, but while it wasn't Oscar night, a nearby red carpet was filled with name Hollywood actors and rows of screaming fans. The big crowd of formally dressed guests were waiting to check-in for the opening night of AFI Fest at Hollywood's legendary Grauman's Chinese Theater down the street. The festival, celebrating its 20th Anniversary, opened with the U.S. premiere of Emilio Estevez' "Bobby" and evoked the November 1971 kick-off of FILMEX, the venerable Los Angeles film festival that preceded the American F...

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    AFI Fest Set for '06 Event

    AFI Fest 2006, the Los Angeles International Film Festival from the American Film Institute, kicks off tonight (Wednesday) in Los Angeles. As Christy Lemire wrote in the Associated Press earlier today, "In a city where people leave to see movies -- and see and be seen -- at film festivals around the...

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    Maya Gets First Film, Carla Garapedian's "Screamers"

    Maya Releasing, Moctesuma Esparza's new distribution company, has announced its first acquisition. The company has nabbed Carla Garapedian's modern-day genocide documentary "Screamers," featuring music from System of a Down. The film will have its world premiere at the upcoming AFI Fest in Los Angeles next month. A December opening in Los Angeles is on tap for the film, followed by a national launch in January. In other company news, co-chairman Esparza named Jeff Valdez, the former CEO and Chairman of Si TV, as his co-chairman at Maya Entertainemnt. Michael Harpster and Kevin Benson are on board as Maya Releasing's COO and President, respect...

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    "The Fountain" and "Inland Empire" Added as AFI Fest Unveils Complete '06 Lineup

    Darren Aronofsky's "The Fountain" and David Lynch's "Inland Empire" have been added as Centerpiece Galas at the 2006 AFI Fest in Los Angeles, joining Pedro Almodovar's "Volver" as centerpiece films at the festival, running November 1 - 12, 2006. The announcement was made as organizers unveiled the complete lineup for the festival, set to kick off with Emilio Estevez' "Bobby" (the closing film is still to be announced). Aronofsky's "The Fountain" stars Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, while Lynch's latest film stars Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons and Justin Theroux. Also added is a special evening with Ed Zwick. Aronofsky, Lynch and Zwick are all alum...

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    Sundance and Open Society Institute Launch NYC Showcase

    Nineteen films will screen at Film Forum in New York City next month as part of a retrospective presented by the Open Society Institute and Sundance Institute. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Soros/Sundance Documentary Fund, the film will open on October 26th with Mandy Jacobsen and Karmen Jelincic's "Calling The Ghosts: A Story About Rape, War and Women," an early film backed by the fund. Other films set to screen, through October 29th, include Elizabeth Barret's "Stranger With a Camera" (2000), Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffman's "Long Night's Journey Into Day" (1999), Jasmila Zbanic's "Red Rubber Boots" (2000), Michael Hammon and Ja...

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    American Film Institute Launches AFI Project 20/20

    The American Film Institute has announced a new international cultural exchange program aimed at marking the 20 year anniversary of AFI FEST and connecting filmmakers around the world. AFI Project 20/20 will include up to 20 filmmakers with movies playing at this year's festival (November 1-12 in Ho...

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    AFI FEST Sets "Bobby" for Opening Night and Unveils 13 World Premieres

    Emilio Estevez's "Bobby," the story of the night Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1968, will open the 2006 AFI FEST, the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival, much of the large ensemble cast from the film are expected to attend the opening night at the festival. Also announced were 13 of the films that will have their world premieres at the 2006 AFI FEST, including David Cunningham's "After," J.B. Rutagarama's "Back Home," Chad Lowe's "Beautiful Ohio," David Boyle's "Big Dreams, Little Tokyo," Alan White's "Broken," Daniel Jones & Dann Sytsma's "Comic Evangelists," Alante Kavaite's "Fissures ...

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