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Film Festival News and Reviews: Sundance, Cannes and more

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    Sundance at 25: Celebrating the Institute and Examining its Future

    While Paul Newman, 81, carried around a bucket full of beers, collecting tips amounting to $450, other actors, from Parker Posey to Uma Thurman to Stanley Tucci, served wine to attendees. It was their way of saying thanks to the Sundance Institute, which celebrated its 25th anniversary at a fundraiser Monday night. At the gala benefit at New York's Metropolitan Pavilion, with tables costing upwards of $25,000 a pop, Sundance co-founder Robert Redford suggested modestly that he had no idea what Sundance would become 25 years ago. "I didn't know where it was headed," he said. "Now I'm interested in the future and more opportunities," he continu...

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    LA Weekly: Film Critics' Picks at AFI Fest

    "Directed by John Ford," "Family Law," "Full Grown Men," "The Host," "Inland Empire," "Ten Canoes," "12:08 East of Bucharest," and "Who Loves the Sun" among the critics' picks at the LA Weekly. The films are currently screening at the AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival, which continues thro...

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    DISPATCH FROM LOS ANGELES: The Lure of Hollywood: Art and Commerce at AFM & AFI

    An actor from a successful indie film is paying the bills working in the restaurant at Hollywood's upscale ArcLight Cinemas complex, while upstairs an AFI Fest filmmaker is taking a few days off of work as an underpaid set P.A. to double as a "real filmmaker" while his latest film screens at the festival. Meanwhile out in Santa Monica, would-be producers trade business cards and buzz inside the crowded lobby of the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel at the American Film Market. Here in Los Angeles, more than in any other American city, the dream of making it in the movies seems to be on display everywhere you turn. Sit by the pool at your hotel a...

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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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