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Thompson on Hollywood

#SXSW: Tiny Furniture, Brotherhood Win Dramatic Jury and Audience Awards

#SXSW: Tiny Furniture, Brotherhood Win Dramatic Jury and Audience Awards
At the SXSW closing awards ceremony Tuesday night, Lena Dunham's offbeat autobiographical drama Tiny Furniture won the narrative feature jury prize. Shot in November and edited in December, the filmmakers finished the micro-budget drama last Monday, and flew into Austin with a tape in hand. Dunham also won the Emergent Narrative Woman Director Award.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 17, 2010 1:20 AM
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Oscar Backstage: Short Subjects

The three short films, animated, live action and doc, did not go the way I expected. I thought Logorama--a must-see clever short made up entirely of commercial logos-- would be too hip for the Academy, which would go for Nick Park for the second time, but they must have gotten tired of Wallace & Gromit being nominated five times before. The live action short The New Tenants was my favorite and I shouldn't have listened to the people telling me why it couldn't win! So much for winning any Oscar pools. The five films vying for doc short were all strong, but I admit that HBO's Music by Prudence, about a disabled South African singer, haunted me for days.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 8, 2010 2:28 AM
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Indie Spirits: Precious Sweeps, Izzard and LA Live Fizzle

Indie Spirits: Precious Sweeps, Izzard and LA Live Fizzle
Take the Independent Spirits back to the beach!
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 6, 2010 5:24 AM
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Berlinale 60 Day Nine: En Familie, The Killer Inside Me, Rock Hudson, Making the Boys

Berlinale 60 Day Nine: En Familie, The Killer Inside Me, Rock Hudson, Making the Boys
Our Berlin correspondent Meredith Brody experiences highs and lows as the festival winds down, from the skillfully-made documentary Making the Boys to the huge yet hugely disappointing Nine:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 23, 2010 8:13 AM
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#Sundance: Mark Lewis Gets Down with 3-D Cane Toads

#Sundance: Mark Lewis Gets Down with 3-D Cane Toads
With 1988's Cane Toads: An Unnatural History, Australian documentary filmmaker Mark Lewis (The Natural History of the Chicken) introduced Sundance audiences to the cane toad--an amphibian imported Down Under in 1935 to control sugar cane larvae. Of course, the cane toad did nothing of the kind, and turned out to be a remarkably adaptable--and toxic-- creature, capable of killing dogs and pets with its poison glands. This time with Cane Toads: The Conquest, Lewis celebrates the toad as he tries to restore the balance by suggesting it's not all the toad's fault. He takes us from the toad 16 million years ago, through Puerto Rico and Hawaii to Australia and the evolution of the new and improved 3- D "Ava-Toad."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 30, 2010 8:05 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Hetherington and Junger Talk Afghan War Doc Restrepo

Hetherington and Junger Talk Afghan War Doc Restrepo
Restrepo doesn't resemble your standard documentary, in any way. It's not like other embedded war docs, or voice-over narration films, or movies with a strong personality or clear narrative spine. It's another animal. UPDATE: The movie is one of the final five Oscar nominees for best documentary, winning out over a crowded and competitive field.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 26, 2010 1:42 AM
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  • 4 Comments

#Sundance: Davis Guggenheim Talks Waiting for Superman

#Sundance: Davis Guggenheim Talks Waiting for Superman
Ex-Variety.com staffer David Lewis reports on Paramount Vantage pick-up Waiting for Superman and the Q & A:
  • By David Lewis
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  • January 23, 2010 6:45 AM
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Sundance Exclusive Video: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

Sundance Exclusive Video: Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
After the dark places that Darfur documentary The Devil Came on Horseback took filmmakers Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg, they decided to lighten things up on their next movie. "We wanted to do something on women and comedy," says Stern. "It was still for the most part an all-boys club. Joan was a window into that."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 20, 2010 2:38 AM
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Oscar Watch: Kenner Talks Food Inc.

Oscar Watch: Kenner Talks Food Inc.
Can a documentary change the world? Sundance entry An Inconvenient Truth, which won the 2006 documentary Oscar, certainly did. So did Super-Size Me. And so has Food Inc., Robert Kenner's probe of America's food industry. Initially inspired by Eric Schlosser's bestselling expose Fast Food Nation, Food Inc. has grossed $4.4 million, won the Gotham award for best documentary, is nominated for an Indie Spirit Award, and is considered a front-runner for this year's documentary Oscar. It's a must-see, and it's not a spinach-movie. Kenner makes it a fun, compelling watch, even as he shows us more than we may want to know. The movie is available on DVD and on Amazon, iTunes and Netflix and will air on POV April 21st at 9 pm.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 14, 2010 3:33 AM
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  • 3 Comments

Chinese Pull Two Films from Palm Springs Fest

Chinese Pull Two Films from Palm Springs Fest
According to the Palm Springs International Film festival, the reason why the China Film Group has pulled two films from the fest (which got under way Tuesday) is to protest the showing of Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam's pro-Tibet doc The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet's Struggle for Freedom (trailer on jump). So China pulled the horrific Nanking film The City of Life and Death, which scored with audiences and critics at September's Toronto Film Fest; National Geographic Films is set to release it in March. The film's director, Lu Chuan, told the Hollywood Reporter that China is protesting the fest's inclusion of a film about the Dalai Lama.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • January 6, 2010 6:16 AM
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  • 1 Comment

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