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Thompson on Hollywood

Film Independent Names Producers Lab Participants, Sloan Award Winners

After their weekend-long Film Independent Forum (where Werner Herzog gave the keynote Q & A), FIND announced eleven filmmakers and nine projects for their 11th annual Producers Lab, and named Brent Hoff and Malcom Pullinger the winners of the 5th annual $25,000 Sloan Producers Grant. Hoff and Pullinger will participate in the Lab with their film, El Diablo Rojo, the story of a marine biologist and his team, who risk their lives to prevent ecological disaster after discovering a super swarm of El Diablo Rojo squid. FIND's director of Artist Development, Josh Welsh, says; “Two of the films we’ve awarded this grant to in the past, Future Weather and Valley of Saints, are in post-production now. I look forward to seeing El Diablo Rojo follow the same path.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 24, 2011 4:53 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Industry Rallies in Support of Jailed Iranian Filmmakers

The Hollywood Guilds, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the International Documentary Association have rallied to protest the Iran government's imprisonment of six indie filmmakers, along with the house arrest of Jafar Panahi (pictured). See the release and statements below.ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY ORGANIZATIONS UNITE IN SUPPORT OF IMPRISONED IRANIAN FILMMAKERS In September 2011, the Iranian government arrested six independent filmmakers for allegedly working with the BBC, on charges including espionage and treason. Along with the ongoing house arrest of director Jafar Panahi and the prior arrest of actress Marzieh Vafamehr, who was later sentenced to one year in prison and 90 lashes, the arrests sparked outrage from filmmaking communities within Iran and around the world. Prior to the release of two of the filmmakers, all six were denied access to their lawyers and families, who were forced to remain silent.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 19, 2011 10:17 AM
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Sarah Polley's Take This Waltz Goes to Magnolia for Summer 2012 Distribution; Williams & Rogen Star

Sarah Polley's sophomore feature, Take This Waltz, has gone to Magnolia Pictures for U.S. distribution, planned for Summer 2012. Starring Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen, the film received mostly strong reviews at its Toronto premiere, as did Polley's 2006 Away from Her. Here is Meredith Brody's review from TIFF:
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 17, 2011 6:56 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Exclusive: Tran Anh Hung's Norwegian Wood Lands U.S. Release

UK's Soda Pictures and Red Flag Releasing will team on the U.S. Release of 60s Tokyo drama Norwegian Wood, which was well-received at the 2010 Venice Film Festival and in the UK, Ireland and Japan. The film is adapted by Tran Anh Hung (winner of the Golden Lion for Cyclo and Oscar-nominated for The Scent of the Green Papaya) from Haruki Murakami's 1987 nostalgic bestseller about college sexuality. Rising Japanese star Kenichi Matsuyama (Detroit Metal City) and Oscar-nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) co-star with newcomer Kiko Mizuhara. Nonesuch Records (Warner Music) will release the soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood (There Will Be Blood).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 14, 2011 4:33 AM
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Sundance Institute Announces Recipients of Indian Paintbrush Fellowship; New Frontier Story Lab

The Sundance Institute is partnering with Indian Paintbrush on a new fellowship program that offers grants to filmmakers supported by the Institute’s Feature Film Program. The first recipients of the fellowships--including Natural Selection and a project co-written by Lena Dunham--are listed below. In addition to the grants, one filmmaker will be given a Producer's Award and $10,000, as well as have their film premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The winner will be named at the fest's Producers Lunch.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 7, 2011 7:27 AM
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Focus Features' Africa First Program Announces Winners of $10,000 Grants

Focus Features' Africa First short film program announces fourth set of winners. Each filmmaker--of African nationality and residence--will receive $10,000 and will be networked with and mentored by leaders of the African film community.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 6, 2011 7:12 AM
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Lars Von Trier Will NEVER Give Another Interview; Retires from Public Speaking

Lars Von Trier Will NEVER Give Another Interview; Retires from Public Speaking
Lars von Trier has had it, finally. After being declared "persona non grata" by the Cannes Film festival after statements he made at the Melancholia press conference, calling himself a Nazi, the Danish filmmaker has released a statement. He's done speaking in public, period.Today at 2 pm I was questioned by the Police of North Zealand in connection with charges made by the prosecution of Grasse in France from August 2011 regarding a possible violation of prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes. The investigation covers comments made during the press conference in Cannes in May 2011. Due to these serious accusations I have realized that I do not possess the skills to express myself unequivocally and I have therefore decided from this day forth to refrain from all public statements and interviews.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 5, 2011 4:46 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Tribeca Film Institute Names Non-Fiction Recipients of New Media Fund: Interrupters, Tillman Story

The Tribeca Film Institute announces the first-ever grant recipients of the new Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund. Six projects have each been awarded between $50-$100,000, and will participate in a three-day workshop run by Crossover Labs, to help their projects find their audiences. Recipients include The Interrupters' web campaign and The Tillman Story Interactive Edition.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 4, 2011 6:08 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Review Round-Up: Roger Ebert's Life Itself: "The best thing Mr. Ebert has ever written"

Roger Ebert, the owner of arguably the most powerful thumbs in America, has published a memoir documenting his 69 years. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the only film critic to garner a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Ebert writes in Life Itself how he helped to change the way movies were reviewed. Especially in light of his recent struggles with cancer, film and book critics alike are lauding Ebert's introspective portrayal of his past, with some saying that Life Itself is the best writing the Ebert has ever penned. Read the reviews below.
  • By Maggie Lange
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  • September 23, 2011 8:27 AM
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Visual Effects Society Issues Bill of Rights to Combat Downward Spiral

Despite the fact that VFX and animated films rule the box office every year, the Visual Effects Society, representing 2,400 members in 23 countries, wants to foster change related to deteriorating quality of life issues for individuals, while leveling the playing field for facilities.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • September 22, 2011 5:11 AM
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