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Thompson on Hollywood

Cannes Watch: Rocky Indie Terrain

There's considerable uncertainty heading toward Cannes this year. While the global theatrical market is strong, the indie sector is still fragile--and shrinking. With DVDs sinking and piracy on the rise, financeers and foreign sales agents don't know what's safe anymore. Many companies had coasted on funds they had already raised, but now reality is sinking in: new money is hard to find.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 30, 2009 6:28 AM
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SnagFilms Docs on YouTube

">YouTube has gone live with long-form feature content. One of the charter partners on the new deal is SnagFilms, which now has a YouTube channel featuring full-length feature documentary films selected from SnagFilms' online library. Their long-form feature collaboration launches April 17.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 17, 2009 7:38 AM
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Trailer Watch: The Hurt Locker

Summit picked up Kathryn Bigelow's riveting, intense Iraq thriller The Hurt Locker out of Toronto, and has posted the latest trailer here. Jeremy Renner, who stars in the new TV series The Unusuals, could break out with this movie, which is set for June 26 release.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 15, 2009 8:35 AM
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Twilight's Hardwicke Stays with Summit

There's been a good deal of speculation and spin surrounding why Catherine Hardwicke--who by any measure delivered the goods on Twilight, the first installment of Stephenie Meyer's bestselling vampire series--did not return for the sequel, New Moon. Summit hired Chris Weitz (Golden Compass) instead. The truth is, Hardwicke's reps were negotiating a deal with Summit. The deal fell apart over the return of Hardwicke's first assistant director boyfriend to the picture. Summit wasn't willing to commit to him. That, coupled with other issues having to do with time and money--Hardwicke was burned out and wanted more time to prep the script and the movie--dive-bombed her shot at directing the sequel. (Hardwicke was not available to comment on this.) Nonetheless, Summit is making nice with Hardwicke, confirming that she's directing another young femme-targeted book adaptation, Gayle Forman's If I Stay, set to be published this spring.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 20, 2009 9:05 AM
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Film Fest Musical Chairs: Tribeca, Sundance, LAFF

It's no shock that after six seasons of programming the Tribeca Film Fest, Peter Scarlet is moving on. Rumors of his exit had started to circulate at the Indie Spirit Awards. And word is Scarlet was getting antsy with Robert DeNiro and partner Jane Rosenthal's push for a smaller, event-oriented festival with less room for esoterica even before he learned that Geoff Gilmore, after 19 years running the higher-profile Sundance Film Festival, was coming in to supervise him. (When he announced the job switch, Gilmore told me that he was planning to let Scarlet run this year's Tribeca festival.) But while Scarlet could have opted to stay on board through this April's fest, which had his fingerprints on it, leaving now is an act of protest indeed.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 2, 2009 6:08 AM
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Indie Spirits Photo Gallery

On a bright Saturday afternoon at the Santa Monica Beach, I mingled with the presenters, nominees, media and guests at the Independent Spirit Awards. On the way in, I photographed waiters with free booze and Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, which won best actress (Frozen River's Melissa Leo), best foreign film (The Class) and best first feature and ensemble cast (Synecdoche, New York). On the blue carpet, I grabbed a shot of Mad Men star Jon Hamm; Dana Delany; At the Movies co-host Ben Mankiewicz; Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi; Film Independent's Dawn Hudson; and IFC's Matt Singer; and then spent a good hour hobnobbing outdoors, the highlight of the event.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • February 22, 2009 6:39 AM
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Twilight Sequel: Who's Next for New Moon?

The Catherine Hardwicke story continues. Still at issue are: why she didn't get the gig on New Moon, the Twilight sequel, and who will take her place.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 9, 2008 9:17 AM
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Trailer Preview: The Wrestler

Fox Searchlight will send out its first trailer for The Wrestler today. Their mission: to make filmgoers want to see a movie that looks very male--Mickey Rourke plays a down-on-his-luck, aging wrestler facing the end of his career who suddenly needs to reach out to his daughter, poignantly played by Evan Rachel Wood, and a stripper pal, Marisa Tomei. Communicating with women is not his strong suit.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 20, 2008 8:04 AM
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Weekend Viewing: Appaloosa, Nick and Norah, Religulous

The younger generation--even smart cinephiles--doesn't like westerns anymore. The period is just too far away for them, they don't relate. It's a genre that isn't surviving. It had its place in American history: basically, western tropes have been absorbed into other genres like action adventures and sci-fi fantasy.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 6, 2008 9:31 AM
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Toronto Winners and Losers

So far, the big winner on the fall fest circuit, based on critical, audience and exhib reaction, is Slumdog Millionaire, the pic that Warners let get away.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 14, 2008 8:11 AM
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