Source: http://variety.com/video/zoey-deutch-before-i-fall-ry-russo-young-sundance/

In a pre-Berlin Film Festival move, Michael Pena has come board to star in the science-fiction thriller “Extinction” with Ben Young directing.

Producers are Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman of Mandeville. Executive producers are Alexander Young of Mandeville along with Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake of Good Universe. Good Universe will launch international sales on “Extinction” at the Berlin Film Festival next month.

Young, who directed 2016’s “Hounds Of Love, ” will direct the title from a script by Spenser Cohen, Brad Caleb Kane and “Arrival” writer Eric Heisserer. The “Arrival” screenplay received an Oscar nomination in the adapted screenplay category last week.

Pena will portray a man beset with a recurring dream of losing his family, followed by a brutal alien invasion of Earth. As he fights for his life, he discovers the strength to protect his family.

Pena will be seen opposite Dax Shepard in the upcoming action-comedy “Chips.” Recent credits include “The Martian,” “Ant-Man,” “American Hustle” and “End of Watch.”

“Hounds Of Love” premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September with Ashleigh Cummings winning the Best Actress in a debut film award.

Good Universe’s Dan Freedman negotiated the deal on behalf of the producers. Peña is repped by CAA, Management 360 and attorney Rick Genow. Young is repped by UTA and Josh Kesselman.

The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

Source: http://variety.com/2017/film/news/berlin-michael-pena-sci-fi-thriller-extinction-1201974913/

The race is officially on. As we near the Oscars on Feb. 26, we’ll be breaking down who has the best shot at awards glory, but we want to hear from you.

At the SAG Awards on Sunday, Denzel Washington was a relative surprise when he took home the trophy for best lead actor for “Fences.” Will he repeat the victory at the Oscars?

Then again, “Manchester by the Sea” star Casey Affleck is largely the favorite. That doesn’t mean that Ryan Gosling, whose “La La Land” has been sweeping awards season, can’t take the prize. And don’t count out dark horses Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”) and Viggo Mortensen (“Captain Fantastic”).

Who do you think will win? Weigh in below!

Who Will Win Best Actor at the Oscars?





 

Source: http://variety.com/2017/film/news/best-actor-oscars-poll-1201974984/

Gender transition processes are, understandably, of intense interest to those going through them. But at a time when the subject has been portrayed in so many nonfiction and narrative forms, the question arises: Lacking a compelling central narrative, are they inherently compelling to everyone else? Maybe not.

Directed by esteemed documentarian Barbara Kopple, “This Is Everything” profiles changes, bodily and otherwise, in the still-young life of a YouTube star who began attracting a following in that medium a decade ago, when she was Gregory. Now, Gigi Gorgeous is a celebrity and an LGBTQ role model — albeit one very much for the age of selfies, reality TV, and “branding”; in that she appears to be all shiny surface, with no ideas or message more complicated than “Be yourself.” There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a beauty in the ultra-conventional mold of Pamela Anderson (or even Angelyne), but there’s nothing all that fascinating about it, either. This glossy doc uncovers very little conflict or depth in a personality more colorful than it is interesting, at least as presented here.

This is an odd detour for an Oscar-winning filmmaker still associated primarily with heavyweight political and social-justice themes, though in recent years her subjects have been lighter. (Kopple’s closest antecedent to “This Is Everything” is 2013’s “Running From Crazy,” an earnest profile of Mariel Hemingway that felt like a Lifetime “Intimate Portrait.”) Certainly transgender rights are a major social-justice issue (and political football) of our times. But Gigi Gorgeous is not a particularly articulate spokesperson, nor does she seem to have experienced any real hardship beyond the usual snipes from internet trolls. She’s a transgender celebrity in the mode of Caitlyn Jenner (whom she admires), a self-made princess primarily interested in being glamorous, and with the means to get there first-class. It’s easy to see why people in more challenging circumstances might see that image as encouraging, something to aspire to — but such individuals would make (and indeed have made) for more engrossing documentary protagonists than Gigi.

A middle child born in 1992 Toronto, Greg Lazzarato was an extrovert at an early age — a contrast to his amiably low-key, accepting brothers and father, though not necessarily to his effervescent mother, who died of leukemia in 2012. His perfectionist interests in performance and appearance led to his becoming, for several years, a competitive high-diver, which might have led to the Olympics had he stuck with it. But identity issues were already taking precedence, particularly as expressed in makeup tutorials he began posting on YouTube at age 14. Despite the inevitably crass homophobic insults they also provoked, these videos won a fast-growing following; soon, “Gregory Gorgeous” had attracted a manager and was making considerable cash via product endorsements. His online coming-out as gay (oddly, not excerpted here), then later as transgender, was a source of inspiration for some fans, many of whom we see Gigi hugging in tearful in-store appearances.

The gender transition did not officially begin until an announcement in late 2013, with various surgical and other procedures following. Gigi, and the film, try to eke some drama out of her supposedly “very conservative” father David’s discomfort with this. But by any normal standard, David is as supportive as can be, committing no insensitivity crimes worse than occasionally using the wrong pronoun and admitting, “I’m glad you’re doing what you want to do; it’s just hard for an old guy to understand.”

Was Lazzarato bullied at school? Did he have real, off-line friends growing up? With interviews beyond immediate family limited to promoters, surgeons, and fashion professionals, such basic insights are neglected. Even when Gigi gets a hunky first-ever boyfriend, he’s seen but not heard, and their breakup is described in the generically emotional yet unrevealing terms that a starlet might use in the pages of “People.”

At the end of the doc, Gigi is doing some modeling, but mostly is just being a professional celebrity, duly living in Los Angeles and shrieking with glee over lingerie purchases. The film’s title comes not from any soulful self-examination over realizing her true gender identity, but from a moment when she practically plotzes over the success of a breast augmentation. By then we’ve grown to expect no more than stock homilies and utterances like, “Oh my god oh my god oh my god!!!” — even at life-changing junctures — from a subject who genuinely aspires to be a mainstream commodity, and isn’t about to complicate her glam image with an articulateness she seemingly doesn’t possess anyway.

Much of “This Is Everything” consists of YouTube, home-movie, broadcast, and other preexisting footage, testifying to a not-yet-25-year-old life lived largely in public. If Kopple’s original footage somewhat surprisingly fails to probe any deeper into the personality at hand, one has to assume it’s because there isn’t much there.

There’s a smidgen of newsworthiness under the closing credits, as we see reports of Gigi being briefly detained at the airport and refused entry to Dubai last August because the United Arab Emirates classifies transgender persons as an illegal “imitation” of gender. Of course, why she was visiting a blatantly anti-LGBTQ nation in the first place is a question left unaddressed. In any case, this slick, pacey feature fails to render Gigi Gorgeous as much more convincing a human-rights spokeswoman than a Kardashian would be an effective champion of feminism or economic equality.

Sundance Film Review: 'This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous'

Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Premieres), Jan. 25, 2017. Running time: 91 MIN.

Production

(Documentary) A YouTube Red release of a YouTube Red, SelectNext and Cabin Creek Films production. Producers: Barbara Kopple, David Cassidy. Executive producers: Adam Wescott, Scott Fisher, Ian Sander, Kim Moses.

Crew

Director: Barbara Kopple. Camera (color, HD): Gary Griffin. Editors: Michael Culyba, Anne Fratto, Hemal Trivedi.

With

Gigi Lazzarato, David Lazzarato, Adam Lazzarato, Cory Lazzarato, Adam Wescott, Scott Fisher, Tiffany Namtu, Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel, Stuart A. Linder, August Getty.
Source: http://variety.com/2017/film/markets-festivals/this-is-everything-gigi-gorgeous-sundance-film-festival-1201974741/

Johnny Knoxville has come on board to star in and produce a theme park comedy for Paramount, tentatively titled “Action Park.”

The studio has set a March production start in South Africa. Tim Kirkby will direct the script by John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky, and Knoxville, in which Knoxville and his friends have designed and will operate a theme park.

Billy Gerber, Knoxville, and Derek Freda are producing. Knoxville is producing through his Paramount-based Hello Junior production company.

“Action Park” will be the fifth feature film collaboration between Knoxville and Paramount. The most recent was 2013’s “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa,” which was directed by Jeff Tremaine and starred Knoxville. “Bad Grandpa” grossed more than $150 million worldwide on a $15 million budget.

The first “Jackass” movie debuted in 2002, based on the MTV reality show highlighting dangerous stunts and pranks. The movie grossed $79 million worldwide on a $5 million budget.

“Jackass No. 2” grossed $84 million worldwide in 2006 and 2010’s “Jackass 3-D” took in $171 million worldwide.

Knoxville is repped by CAA and 3 Arts. The news about “Action Park” was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

Source: http://variety.com/2017/film/news/johnny-knoxville-theme-park-movie-paramount-1201975019/

In highly developed nations, the birth process is usually one dominated by medical science — perhaps overly so — with the mother in virtual quarantine conditions. But there’s something to be said for a more communal approach, like the one colorfully portrayed in “Motherland.” U.S. documentarian Ramona S. Diaz’s latest is a lively and engaging glimpse at a Manila maternity ward where overcrowding and limited technological resources have forced some solutions that may not be ideal, but are admirable nonetheless. The docu won a Sundance Special Jury Award for “commanding vision,” a rather odd phrase for a film whose primary impression is one of charm and humor amid challenging circumstances.

The Jose Fabella Hospital boasts what is purportedly the world’s single busiest maternity unit, with as many as 100 births a day. Its patients are a microcosm of the Philippines in general: Mostly poor, Catholic, and already burdened with several children. (No doubt religion is a major factor in many women’s reluctance to use birth control.) Even in the delivery rooms themselves, mothers are often crammed two or more apiece onto beds. Before and after giving birth, they stay in a ward that at first glance seems wildly noisy, cluttered, even chaotic by First World standards.

Yet there’s a compensating sense of community, one that likely echoes these women’s home environments, in which neighbors rely on each other to get along under economic duress. (Many live without electricity or direct water.) Some of the mothers are alarmingly young, while others have already had numerous offspring before reaching their mid-20s. Hospital staff members (which include one flamboyantly larger-than-life transgender doctor) try to encourage good habits for the babies’ sakes, though sometimes their advice falls on deaf ears, as the women are accustomed to deprivation.

The film follows several principal subjects during their overlapping hospital stays, including one young woman who briefly can’t find her baby on the ward (its ID tag is found on the floor, which is no laughing matter); the husband of another woman seldom visits because he can’t raise bus fare on a weekly income of about $10. The most memorable figure is Lerma, a salty-tongued older woman who finally consents to a tubal ligation after seven children. But the sudden sense of responsibility that suggests is undone when she insists on leaving the hospital despite doctors’ advice, her new baby still suffering from pneumonia.

Indeed, there seem to be frequent health complications for the newborns. Because Fabella Hospital lacks funding for incubators, women are encouraged to “incubate” babies themselves via Kangaroo Mother Care, in which they (and sometimes their husbands) use tube tops to press infants against their own bodies for heat — ideally 24/7 until the baby’s weight, temperature, and other vitals have stabilized.

If all this sounds rather bleak, that does a disservice to “Motherland,” which overall is perhaps surprisingly sweet and upbeat — closer to Thomas Balmès’ 2010 “Babies” than a grim report on Third World privation. Rather, the emphasis here is on institutional success at coping with adversity; protagonists’ positive attitudes are not always well-informed, but they’re nonetheless preferable to miserable defeatism. The women certainly leave better-informed than they came in, and you can’t accuse the medical professionals (who often deliver slightly haranguing messages over the hospital loudspeaker) for a lack of valiant effort. There’s also a tangible parental camaraderie that may not extend past the discharging of patients, but is so pervasive that when one new father hands his baby off to a total stranger while searching for a taxi home, you accept his casual trust rather than suspiciously expecting the worst, as one might elsewhere.

There’s an ease of intimacy to Diaz’s observations that suggests her crew was embedded for some time in the ward. The camerawork is crisp and bright, the editorial assembly likewise effortlessly engaging, capturing a sense of lives revealed in the everyday workings of the hospital.

Sundance Film Review: 'Motherland'

Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 27, 2017. Running time: 94 MIN. (Original title: "Bayang Ina Mo.")

Production

(Documentary -- U.S.-Philippines) A Cinediaz production in association with Kidlat Entertainment. (International sales: Dogwoof, London.) Producers: Ramona S. Diaz, Rey Cuerdo. Executive producer: Brillante Mendoza. Co-producer: Leah Marino.

Crew

Director/writer Ramona S. Diaz. Camera (color, HD): Nadia Hallgren, Clarissa De Los Reyes. Editors, Leah Marino, Diaz.

With

Lea Lumanog, Lerma Coronel, Aira Joy Jubilo, Dr. Ruben Flores, Dr. Esmeralda T. Illem, Jhon Brayan Busalpa, Myriam Pelareja, Josephine Leybag, Elmer Bongo, Angel Jouy Carandang. (Tagalog, English dialogue)
Source: http://variety.com/2017/film/markets-festivals/motherland-sundance-film-review-1201974910/

The Directors Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA have denounced President Donald Trump’s executive order barring people hailing from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from entering the country.

The guilds issued the statements Tuesday in reaction to the Jan. 27 order to suspend entry of refugees to the U.S. for 120 days and impose an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria. A 90-day ban was also placed on citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

The DGA, which has 16,000 members, said: “The DGA strongly believes that artists — regardless of their national origin, faith, or gender — should be able to come to the United States to showcase their work. Policies that prevent this, without due consideration, should be of concern to all who care about art and cinema.”

“The open exchange of art is core to who we are, it’s what motion pictures and television are increasingly about — drawing humanity together, transcending borders and cultures. The DGA will continue to support the ability of artists to work and share their art in the United States.”

SAG-AFTRA, which reps more than 160,000 performers, said: “SAG-AFTRA’s membership includes creative professionals from all over the world. This union values equality of opportunity regardless of race, gender, creed, disability, sexual orientation or country of birth. Any public policy that enacts discrimination based on religious or national background runs absolutely counter to those values and will be vigorously resisted. This immigration policy is misguided and we will support our fellow artists every step of the way.”

 

Related

SAG Awards: Lily Tomlin Likens Donald Trump’s Tactics to Those of Nazis

 

The presidents of the Writers Guild of America issued a statement Sunday blasting Trump. “It is both unconstitutional and deeply wrong to say that you cannot enter our country because of where you were born or what religion you were born into,” said WGA West president Howard Rodman and WGA East president Michael Winship.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus referred to the WGA statement at the SAG Awards on Jan. 29 after receiving a trophy for best actress in a comedy series for her work on “Veep.”

Louis-Dreyfus said, “Our sister guild, the Writers Guild made a statement today that I would like to read because I am in complete agreeance with it. Our guilds are unions of storytellers who have always welcomed those from the nations and of varying beliefs who wish to share their creativity with America. We are grateful for them. We stand with them, and we will fight for them.”

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi has already announced that he won’t attend the Academy Awards due to the order, which would likely have banned him from entering the U.S. unless he was given special consideration. Farhadi’s film “The Salesman” is nominated for the foreign-language film Oscar.

 

Source: http://variety.com/2017/film/news/directors-guild-sag-aftra-denounce-trump-immigration-policy-1201975054/

The screenwriters’ guild in New Zealand has joined the growing film industry chorus denouncing U.S. President Donald Trump’s recently introduced travel restrictions, colloquially known as the Muslim Ban.

“The New Zealand Writers Guild is troubled by recent moves by the U.S. government to discriminate on the basis of birthplace and the religious beliefs of the community people were born into. The NZWG supports our colleagues in the Writers Guilds of America who have vowed to oppose such measures,” said New Zealand Writers Guild acting president Allan Baddock. “We stand united with our U.S. counterparts and Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi and others unfairly affected. New Zealand has a centuries long tradition of welcoming those from other lands, of varying beliefs, and New Zealand writers have always recognized and welcomed differing views for the vitality, depth, and richness they bring to our own views of the world and to our creative lives.”

Earlier Tuesday the Directors Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA railed against Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order barring people hailing from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from entering the U.S. The ban suspended entry of refugees to the U.S. for 120 days and imposes an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria. A 90-day ban was also placed on citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Local reports in Asia suggest that the order is having an effect in countries and on citizens from outside the seven named in the executive order. Asian media are reporting that two sportsmen—Abid Hussain Khan and Tanvir Hussain – from Indian-controlled Kashmir have been denied visas to travel to the U.S. to compete in a winter sports event in New York state. The two were told by the U.S. Consulate in New Delhi that their applications had been denied due to current policy. Their plight was highlighted on Facebook by Clyde Robideau, mayor of Saranac Lake, where the games are scheduled to take place.

Earlier on Tuesday, the upcoming Berlin film festival announced that it would expand its support for refugees. “In 2017 the Berlin International Film Festival will again work towards furthering the integration of refugees. The festival has always made a point of fostering understanding, tolerance, and acceptance, as well as responding to current events in society – not only with its film programme, but also with many other activities,” it said in a statement.

The Berlinale’s practical measures include: cooperation with the Uberleben Center; a movie mentoring project for refugees; and the employment of 20 former refugees as guest trainees at the festival. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has made her country one of the most welcoming of refugees flowing to Europe from the trouble spots in Africa and the Middle East. But she has faced a political backlash as a result.

Source: http://variety.com/2017/film/asia/new-zealand-guild-condemnation-of-trumps-muslim-ban-1201975083/

Hong Kong’s Edko Films and France’s Memento have picked up international sales rights to Berlin competition film “Have a Nice Day.” The film is the first animation feature from China to be selected for a Berlinale competition slot.

Edko will represent the film for the key Asian territories. Memento will handle it in the rest of the world.

The drama features a driver who steals $1 million from his boss in order to fix his girlfriend’s failed plastic surgery. But the theft puts a hit man, a gangster and a robber after him and the money. Chinese sources describe the film as boasting black humor and being an inspiring tale of dreams and the essence of life.

“Have a Nice Day” is directed by Liu Jian who previously made “Piercing I,” another animated title. It played at the Annecy animation festival in 2010 before embarking on a festival career.

Production is by Nezha Bros. Pictures and Le-Joy Animation Studio, which was previously responsible for Liu’s “Piercing I.”

The film has its gala and press screenings towards the end of the festival on Feb. 17. Before that it will enjoy two private market screenings on Feb. 11 and 12.

Source: http://variety.com/2017/film/asia/berlin-competition-film-have-a-nice-dayedko-memento-1201975104/

Marvel’s “Black Panther” will use South Korea’s port city, Busan as the backdrop for a huge chase scene. The city, known for hosting Asia’s biggest film festival, will see its landmarks including the Gwangalli beach, Gwangan Bridge, and the Jagalchi fish market near Nampodong, used in the movie.

“The shoot, which will involve some 150 cars and more than 700 people, is a car chase scene with the protagonist and the villain,” said local production service company Mr. Romance Film. “It will also involve helicopter(s) and guns (firing blanks) and may cause noise as well as traffic restrictions.”

“Last November, the city invited Darrin Prescott, the film’s second unit director, to pitch Busan as the film’s potential shooting location,” said the Busan Film Commission in a statement.

Directed by Ryan Coogler, “Black Panther” features a king who takes over the African nation of Wakanda after the murder of his father. The film is using the working title “Motherland” for its Korean shoot, and is set for worldwide release from February next year.

One local resident posted local notices on his Facebook account on Tuesday, which the Busan city also shared on its official page. The city deleted the post a few hours later, saying that the information had been unintentionally disclosed before the studio and the city had finalized their deal.

When Marvel filmed part of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” in Seoul in 2015, the studio gave up on shooting at some locations which had been leaked in advance. Mr. Romance handled Korean production of “Ultron” and Netflix’s “Sense 8.”

Source: http://variety.com/2017/film/asia/marvel-black-panther-to-shoot-chase-scene-in-korea-1201975120/

PARIS — Continuing its select acquisition of sometimes strikingly singular Latin American films, Films Boutique has acquired international sales rights to Daniela Thomas’ “Vazante,” which world premieres at the Berlinale next week, opening its Panorama Specials section.

The first solo feature from Thomas, co-director of the TV broadcast of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and who directed three movies with Walter Salles, “Vazante” is set in a Brazilian backland in 1821, its making marking an act of compassion for the solitude and suffering of the people there as it charts, in a thought-through manner, the makings of modern Brazil.

Long in its crafting, “Vazante” is produced by Sara Silveira at Dezenove Som e Imagem, a producer of edgier established names and multiple first features, and Beto Amaral, at (Cisma Produções, in co-production with Ukbar Filmes in Portugal.

Written by Thomas and Amaral, who also produced the Thomas co-directed “Sunstroke,” “Vazante” unspools at an imposing but crumbling farmhouse in Brazil’s imposing north-east Diamantina Mountains. Its owner, Antonio, returns to discover his wife has died in childbirth, and marries her niece, a child of 12. Restless, he departs once more, to trade slaves and cattle, leaving his child wife behind with the slaves. The loneliness of the house in the rugged landscape mirrors hat of its inhabitants.

“The undercurrents of violence and prejudice fuel the impending tragedy which, in turn, is an ambiguous announcement of the winds of change,” the synopsis reads.

Inspired by family lore, “Vazante” “unfolds around the difficulty of culture to contain the force of desire,” Thomas stated.

She added: “It shows miscegenation, the driving force in the development of society in Brazil, sprouting on one side from the usual spurious relationships and on the other from true emotion, with tragic results.”

At “Vazante’s” core, Thomas said, lies “Brazil’s shameful violent sins: “Slavery,” and “forced marriages, which have for centuries destroyed the childhood of girls.”

Lensed in black and white and an attempt to capture what Thomas termed  an “anthropological map” of modern-day Brazilians; origins, “Vazante” was shot in the original locations, with actors and non-actors, including descendants of the original slaves, or “quilombolas,” as the runaways are known. “Quilombolas” built the slave huts the same way their great-grandfathers did, and helped create their Candombe music, a mix of ancient chanting and drumming. Dresses were made as at the historical time; cinematographer Into Briones shot by real candlelight.

“‘Vazante’ is an epic film which tells the story of the first farmers and their African slaves in the Brazilian jungle in the nineteenth century,” said Jean-Christophe Simon, at Films Boutique.

“But the film is in first place a very touching character-driven drama telling the first love stories that will later lead to the creation of what is now Brazil,” he added.

For Films Boutique, “Vazante” acquisition follows-on its representation of another black-and-white film set in the wilds of Latin America: Colombian Ciro Guerra’s Oscar-nominated “Embrace of the Serpent.”

Thomas directed with Salles “Foreign Land” (1995), “Midnight (1998) and “Linha de Passe,” (2008) which won Sandra Corveloni, a “Vazante” co-star, a best actress award at Cannes.

Dezenove produced Marcelo Gomes’ 2012 “Once Upon A Time Veronica,” a pioneering take on Brazil’s middle classes, and Cannes Un Certain Regard screening “Hard Labor,” an early Brazilian arthouse genre movie, directed by Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas.

Source: http://variety.com/2017/film/news/films-boutique-daniela-thomas-vazante-european-film-market-1201975119/