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Thompson on Hollywood

Tribeca 2011: Opens with Crowe's The Union, Elton John and Leon Russell's Musical Collaboration

Tribeca 2011: Opens with Crowe's The Union, Elton John and Leon Russell's Musical Collaboration
The 2011 Tribeca Film Festival will open on April 20 with the world premiere of Cameron Crowe's The Union, about the musical collaboration of Leon Russell and Elton John, who will perform after the outdoor screening at the North Cove at the World Financial Plaza. The Union began shooting in 2009, following John's writing and recording of his collaborative album with Russell, the man who was his idol early in his career. T-Bone Burnett produced the film. The festival, in its tenth year, runs through May 1.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 2, 2011 7:28 AM
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Women In Film's Film Finishing Fund in its 26th Year: Now Accepting Applications

The Women in Film Foundation's Film Finishing Fund is accepting applications now through April 29 for cash grants and production services for films by, for and about women. Founded in 1985, the WIFF FFF has given more than $2 million in cash and in-kind services to some 170 films. For the third year, Netflix is sponsoring the fund and offering distribution consultation in addition to the cash prizes. According to Netflix's Content Acquisition VP Cindy Holand, "WIF is a critical force behind the success of some of Hollywood’s most innovative minds."
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • March 2, 2011 4:58 AM
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Oscars 2011: Red Carpet Videos: Directors Hooper, Ferguson, Fox, Junger, Granik, Walker

Oscars 2011: Red Carpet Videos: Directors Hooper, Ferguson, Fox, Junger, Granik, Walker
Best Picture & Director Winner: Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 1, 2011 10:34 AM
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Live at Oscars: Strangers No More Wins Doc Short, God of Love Wins Live Short, Inside Job Wins

"Three years after a horrific financial crisis, not a single financial executive has gone to jail and that is wrong," says Charles Ferguson as he accepts the Oscar for Inside Job. The front-runner won over upstart Exit Through the Gift Shop, depriving Oscar watchers of seeing who would accept the award for Banksy. This is a case of gravitas winning out over a more whimsical film about art. Gift Shop likely benefited from the Brit street artist's graffiti postings in the weeks before the Oscars, which were well-covered by the media, but probably was hurt by Banksy's interview proxy, the wacky subject of his movie, Mr. Brainwash. If anything the movie that was moving up on the outside was Lucy Walker's Waste Land, another movie about art.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 28, 2011 3:14 AM
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Mark Your Ballots: Anne Thompson Predicts Oscar Winners

Mark Your Ballots: Anne Thompson Predicts Oscar Winners
The Oscar polls closed on Tuesday at 5 PM. No more campaigning, lobbying or pitches for attention will make a difference now. It's all in the hands of the PriceWaterhousecooper counters, and will be revealed Sunday. Meanwhile the rest of us want to win our respective Oscar pools. This year, I must warn you, is tough to call. As Kris Tapley and I discuss in our latest Oscar Talk, there are plenty of sure-calls, but also several impossible-to-predict categories: documentary and foreign film, which are voted on by small groups who must prove that they've seen all the films, and supporting actress. The shorts are always a bit of a crap shoot too. Warning: I'm going out on a limb in a few categories, so when in doubt, choose the perceived frontrunner.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 25, 2011 8:17 AM
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  • 5 Comments

Oscar Docs: Lucy Walker Talks Waste Land, Rival to Front Runners

Oscar Docs: Lucy Walker Talks Waste Land, Rival to Front Runners
The field of five Oscar-nominated docs is strong this year, not a weakling in the bunch. As street artist Bansky wages a campaign for Exit Through the Gift Shop against front-runner Inside Job, another film about art, Waste Land, could pose some competition. Justin Lowe reports from a recent screening at the Landmark Theatre in West LA, where director Lucy Walker presented her film for an invitation-only audience:Facing a formidable field of competitors for the best documentary Academy Award, Walker and the film itself made a convincing case for consideration among the top three contenders. Waste Land focuses on Rio de Janeiro’s community of catadores, waste recyclers who live and work in the slum adjacent to the Jardim Gramacho landfill, following Brazilian artist Vik Muniz from his studio in Brooklyn to the garbage dump for an ambitious project. An internationally recognized photographer who frequently employs non-traditional materials, Munoz’s goal at Jardim Gramacho, the world’s largest trash disposal facility, was to work with catadores from the waste pickers’ association known as ACAMJG to create large-scale portraits composed primarily of re-purposed solid waste.
  • By Justin Lowe
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  • February 22, 2011 4:58 AM
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Depressed Holiday Weekend Box Office Taken by Unknown

Depressed Holiday Weekend Box Office Taken by Unknown
Unknown, Liam Neeson's follow-up to sleeper hit Taken, grabbed moviegoers at the Presidents Day weekend box office, which did little to pull Hollywood box office out of its ongoing depression. So far, first quarter box office is off 24 to 28 % from last year, reports Anthony D'Alessandro:
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • February 21, 2011 6:20 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Weekend Preview: Unknown, I Am Number Four, Big Mommas, Last Lions, Putty Hill

Weekend Preview: Unknown, I Am Number Four, Big Mommas, Last Lions, Putty Hill
It's no surprise that indie offerings Putty Hill and the doc The Last Lions score the best reviews of the motley crew of movies that opened for the holiday weekend. Unknown, Liam Neeson's follow-up to sleeper hit Taken is next.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 19, 2011 1:18 AM
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Is Banksy Campaigning For (Or Against) The Oscars? UPDATED

Is Banksy Campaigning For (Or Against) The Oscars? UPDATED
Wily Brit street artist and documentary filmmaker Banksy is in Los Angeles, grabbing attention for himself as only Banksy can. That doesn't mean that he does public appearances, or in-person interviews (here's a good email exchange), or shows up at the Academy luncheon. No, he's putting up art, all over the city. And that is getting media attention that mentions his Oscar-nominated doc Exit Through the Gift Shop, which some Oscar pundits think could beat Inside Job for the win. When he was nominated, Bansky put out a statement: "This is a big surprise. I don't agree with the concept of award ceremonies, but I'm prepared to make an exception for the ones I'm nominated for. The last time there was a naked man covered in gold paint in my house, it was me."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 17, 2011 9:15 AM
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  • 2 Comments

New Directors/New Films Opens with Margin Call, Features Incendies, Happy, Happy, Attenberg, Octubre

New Directors/New Films Opens with Margin Call, Features Incendies, Happy, Happy, Attenberg, Octubre
The Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center announce the 2011 New Directors/New Films Festival lineup, running March 23 - April 3. J. C. Chandor's Margin Call (here's our Sundance video interview) will open the festival and Maryam Keshavarz's Circumstance will conclude the festival's 40th edition. Programming director Richard Pena says both films are "dynamic and riveting dramas from first time feature film directors that give a unique view into the human lives at the core of two vastly different, but very immediate worlds.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • February 16, 2011 6:25 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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