LOCARNO, Switzerland — Known as “King of the B’s,” U.S. director and producer Roger Corman churned out some 400 low-budget pictures starting in the 1950s, including early films by Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, James Cameron, and Martin Scorsese. He is at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland as guest of honor and mentor of its Filmmakers Academy.

Corman, 90, spoke to Variety about never actually having made a B-movie in his life; why his low-budget pictures made money; and the similarity between his 1962 drama “The Intruder,” which flopped, and Donald Trump.

You started making movies in the mid-’50s after working at Fox and not getting a credit you deserved.  The first 20 titles or so did really well. Then in 1962 you made “The Intruder,” in which William Shatner plays a rabble-rouser in a white suit who arrives in a small Southern town and tries to block integration in schools. Why was it a flop?

It was partly due to the subject matter, and partly my treatment of it. The reviews were wonderful; one of the New York newspapers called “The Intruder” a major credit to the entire American film industry. It doesn’t get much better than that! But it lost money for two reasons: I had forgotten that movies were entertainment — it was almost as though I was giving a lecture. It should have had a few lighter moments. The other reason was I think people did not want to see a picture about that subject. That’s really what happened.

There seems to an intruder around today. Is the analogy with Donald Trump, which people are making here at the festival, a bit of a stretch?

Well, to a certain extent there is a parallel between Donald Trump and Adam Cramer, the character who comes to the South to stir up racial tensions for personal and political gain. There have always been major demagogues, and Trump is a major demagogue now. But demagogues have not been unknown in American history, or in the history on the world.

The other film showing here is “The Masque of the Red Death,” one of 12 films you made all based on some 50 pages of short stories that Poe wrote. What was Poe’s magic for the screen?

First of all, they are stories of the fantastic — the fantastic, generally with some element of horror within them. But I think more importantly what sets them apart from other stories of horror and the fantastic is that Poe was working with the unconscious mind a little bit before Freud began to diagnose it seriously. And that makes the stories very complex and much more interesting than a straight horror story.

Before starting your film company, after leaving Fox, you studied literature at Oxford. Did those studies come in handy later in your movie career?

Yes, I deliberately studied English because my university degree was in engineering, and I felt I didn’t know enough about literature [to make movies].

It could seem a bit odd that you went to Oxford to learn how to make “Attack of the Crab Monsters,” “Private Duty Nurses,” or “A Bucket of Blood.”

There are various levels and interpretations in literature: There’s highbrow, lowbrow, classic, pop, whatever. What I learned, really, was the appreciation of the story, of the characterizations. Things like that apply to all types of literature, from Marvel Comics to Shakespeare, and also to all types of movies.

What is a B-movie?

Well, for one thing, I never made a B-movie. The B-movie is a product of the Depression, of the 1930’s. The majors owned their own theaters and owned distribution, and production, of course. They controlled what could be shown. As attendance started to slide during the Depression, they came up with the idea of showing two movies for the price of one. At the beginning of each year, they would have an A-list and a B-list. The A-list was the top half of the double bill, with their big stars. The B-list would be cheaper films with new young contract players, or older actors who were fading a little bit. Therefore, historically, a B-picture is the second half of a double bill.

But, coming out of the Second World War, the concept of the double bill was dropped. The country was prosperous; there was no need to send two pictures out for the price of one. You could send one picture out for the price of one. So the production of B-movies ended in the early 1950s. And that’s why I never made one.

So what would you call the movies you made? Also, aside from what they were called, did you feel they were stigmatized?

They were just lower-budget pictures, sometimes called exploitation films. There was no particular stigma. It was more that they were ignored. For instance, newspaper critics who generally had their reviews come out on Friday morning, when pictures opened — they didn’t bother to review the lower-budget movies. On the other hand, the market [for them] was extremely good. The drive-ins were booming, there were more theaters, and the major studios had just divested themselves of their theaters because of anti-trust laws, so it was a golden time for the independents.

How do you feel about the perception of vintage low-budget movies today? Many are cult items, with armies of fans. There is a whole so-called B-movie culture these days. Did you have any idea that this could happen?

No, I didn’t think in those terms at all. I just thought: ‘I’m making films with low budgets aimed at a young audience, and I’m simply making the best I can under these circumstances.’ I did not anticipate any particular longevity for the film.

As a distributor you brought movies by great European auteurs, including Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, and Francois Truffaut, to U.S. screens. How did that happen?

In 1970, I broke away from American International and started my own production and distribution company, New World Pictures. It became amazingly successful immediately. For quite a while, every film we made was profitable, and we grew to be one of the strongest independent companies. We were making primarily low-budget action-adventure, teenage, horror, science fiction, and exploitation films.

I’d always loved the work of Fellini, Bergman, Truffaut and so forth. And I felt that they really weren’t being distributed well in the U.S. They were sometimes going out through the major studios, who are great distributors for major studio films, but didn’t quite know exactly how to handle an auteur film. Other than that, they were distributed by little distribution companies who were really more aficionados than anything else, and they didn’t have the distribution strength to book the films correctly, to put them in the right theaters, get the right terms, support them and so forth. I thought we were in a position that we were small enough that we could give them the individual attention which they required, but also big enough and strong enough to bargain for the right terms and book them correctly.

The first film was Bergman’s “Cries and Whispers.” I took that for the U.S., and we got the biggest gross that Bergman had ever had. As a result, representatives of other, similar films started coming to us. Eventually we became the leading [international arthouse] distributor. There was a six- or seven-year period when our foreign films won more Academy Awards for best foreign film than all the other companies combined.

You gave a start to Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese and James Cameron, among others.  But Scorsese was the only one of these directors who didn’t have to work his way up to making a feature with you. Why?

I had made a picture called “Bloody Mama” about “Ma” Barker and the Barker gang. She was a farm woman in the Depression in the South who had been dispossessed of her farm, and together with her sons started robbing banks. The picture was a big success. American International asked me to produce a similar film, but I did not want to direct it. So I decided to do “Boxcar Bertha,” which was a similar story, but I needed a director. I looked around, and I’d seen an underground film that Marty had made in New York [“Who’s That Knocking at My Door”] that I thought was very good. I met him, I talked with him, and I just felt, here’s potentially an excellent director. That’s why Scorsese is the only one that I just took from the outside and gave him a feature to make.

What’s some advice you’ve been giving the students here at the Locarno Filmmaking Academy?

I have been talking to them, together with my wife, to a large extent about the importance of pre-production planning. It’s particularly important if you are making a low-budget film. You’ve got very little money; you’ve got a short schedule; you can’t stop during the shooting to figure out some problem that you could have figured out beforehand. I emphasized that concept from the script stage onwards, to solve all those problems as much as you can before shooting so that you can work very efficiently and just follow your plan, not having to stop to figure something out and waste the time of an entire crew. It’s what I’ve been doing my entire career.

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/global/u-s-king-of-the-bs-roger-corman-on-how-donald-trump-is-like-the-intruder-1201833369/

Circle of Confusion partner Lawrence Mattis and producer-director Hans Canosa have formed a talent incubator for bilingual and bicultural writers for the China and U.S. markets, Variety has learned exclusively.

Production-management company Circle of Confusion produces “The Walking Dead,” “Fear the Walking Dead,” “The Talking Dead,” “Powers,” “Outcast,” and “Dirk Gently.” Its recent films include “Spare Parts,” “American Ultra,” and “Mr. Right,” starring Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick.

Their year-long Resonance fellowship program will invite up to 10 emerging storytellers — who are bilingual in English and Mandarin — annually to participate in the Los Angeles salaried program with benefits. “There can never be too many programs dedicated to discovering and developing diverse writing talent,” said Canosa.

Canosa said the program grew out of Chinese producers and executives stressing the need for writing talent to keep pace with exploding demand for film and TV content. “At its heart, Resonance is an investment in the most critical asset needed for our industry’s success — storytellers,” Mattis said.

Mattis and Canosa are the founding co-chairs. Other advisory council members include producer Simone Ling; Lionsgate’s Wendy Reeds, exec VP of international sales and China/Asia production and strategy; and producer Han Sanping, chairman emeritus of China Film Group.

Canosa directed “Conversations With Other Women,” starring Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart, and helmed and produced “Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac” with Sony Music Entertainment and the Toei Company. He brokered a deal for a Japanese-language remake of the Russian TV police procedural “The Sniffer” between Ukranian production company Film.UA and Japanese network NHK.

The application period is open until Aug. 31 and the fellowship begins in November.

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/china-us-talent-incubator-resonance-circle-of-confusion-1201833497/

The 2016 New York Film Festival has filled its 25-title Main Slate with buzzmagnet favorites from other stops on the festival circuit, with organizers announcing a lineup that includes “I, Daniel Blake,” “Toni Erdmann” and “Manchester by the Sea.”

 

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Ken Loach’s “I, Daniel Blake,” about a man struggling to apply for government benefits after a heart attack, won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, while Maren Ade’s comedy “Toni Erdmann,” centering on a hippie dad and his corporate-exec daughter, scored the Critics’ Prize. Olivier Assayas’ team-up with star Kristen Stewart, “Personal Shopper,” and Cristian Mungiu’s drama “Graduation,” both also in NYFF, tied for the Cannes director prize. Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson,” starring Adam Driver, also screened at Cannes, as did Pedro Almodovar’s “Julieta.”

Sundance buzzmagnet “Manchester by the Sea” marks Kenneth Longergan’s first outing at NYFF, while Berlin titles “Fire at Sea,” Gianfranco Rosi’s Golden Bear-winning documentary, and “Things to Come,” which won Mia Hansen-Love that festival’s director award, also are featured.

Actress Isabelle Huppert stars in two NYFF films, “Things to Come” and Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle,” while Stewart appears in both “Personal Shopper” and Kelly Reichart’s “Certain Women.” The latter also stars Michelle Williams, who appears in “Manchester by the Sea.”

 

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The previously announced films in the Main Slate, screening in highest profile slots, are Ava DuVernay’s “The 13th” in the opening night spot, Mike Mills’ “20th Century Women” as centerpiece, and James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z” on tap for closing.

The 54th annual New York Film Festival, presented every year by Film Society of Lincoln Center, runs Sept. 30-Oct. 16, with further sidebar programming to be announced. The full list of the 2016 Main Slate follows.

54TH NEW YORK FILM FESTIVALMain Slate

Opening Night
“The 13th”
Directed by Ava DuVernay

Centerpiece
“20th Century Women”
Directed by Mike Mills

Closing Night
“The Lost City of Z”
Directed by James Gray

“Aquarius”
Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho

“Certain Women”
Directed by Kelly Reichardt

“Elle”
Directed by Paul Verhoeven

“Fire at Sea / Fuocoammare”
Directed by Gianfranco Rosi

“Graduation / Bacalaureat”
Directed by Cristian Mungiu

“Hermia and Helena”
Directed by Matías Piñeiro

“I, Daniel Blake”
Directed by Ken Loach

“Julieta”
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar

“Manchester by the Sea”
Directed by Kenneth Lonergan

“Moonlight”
Directed by Barry Jenkins

“My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea”
Directed by Dash Shaw

“Neruda”
Directed by Pablo Larraín

“Paterson”
Directed by Jim Jarmusch

“Personal Shopper”
Directed by Olivier Assayas

“The Rehearsal”
Directed by Alison Maclean

“Sieranevada”
Directed by Cristi Puiu

“Son of Joseph / Le fils de Joseph”
Directed by Eugène Green

“Staying Vertical / Rester vertical”
Directed by Alain Guiraudie

“Things to Come / L’Avenir”
Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve

“Toni Erdmann”
Directed by Maren Ade

“The Unknown Girl”
Directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

“Yourself and Yours”
Directed by Hong Sangsoo

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/new-york-film-festival-2016-main-slate-1201833076/

BitTorrent is launching the Discovery Fund, which will provide 25 cash grants of up to $100,000 in marketing and distribution funding.

“We are looking for artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and other creators working on uncompromised projects representing a diverse, original perspective seeking global distribution,” the file-sharing service announced.

It’s the latest move by BitTorrent to elevate its profile. It created a live TV streaming app in May and started a TV news network in July, launching BitTorrent News with coverage of the Republican National Convention.

The Discovery Fund comes two months after BitTorrent enlisted A24, Oscilloscope, and Honora as partners to refresh the service’s Bundle platform with a pilot program for ad-supported streaming releases across multiple platforms, with 70% of ad revenues going to artists.

Missy Laney, director of creative initiatives, told Variety, “We are aiming for this to be the most artist supportive platform with a simple grant program for a sustainable distribution system that allows for artists to own and retain creative control.”

Laney joined BitTorrent in April after managing the Sundance Institute’s artist services program, working with more than 250 filmmakers on crowdfunding campaigns totaling more than $13 million.

Also on Tuesday, BitTorrent released Dan Schoenbrun’s anthology “Collective: Unconscious” at no charge. “Collective: Unconscious” is the first ever omnibus film to premiere in competition at SXSW.

The film originated in 2014, when Schoenbrun asked five filmmakers to adapt each other’s dreams for the screen, including Lily Baldwin (“Sleepover LA”), Frances Bodomo (“Afronauts”), Daniel Patrick Carbone (“Hide Your Smiling Faces”), Josephine Decker (“Thou Wast Mild and Lovely”), and Lauren Wolkstein (“Social Butterfly”).

The BitTorrent release will include a deluxe pay-what-you-want download complete with bonus features, samples of the directors’ previous work, and the original recordings of the dreams they adapted.

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/bittorrent-cash-grants-discovery-fund-filmmakers-musicians-1201833625/

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired rights in North America, Benelux, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and Asia (excluding Korea) to Richard Gere’s “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New  York Fixer.”

The film is directed by Joseph Cedar (“Footnote”) from his own script. It also stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, Josh Charles, Michael Sheen, Lior Ashkenazi, Dan Stevens, Steve Buscemi, and Hank Azaria.

Gere plays an opportunist who’s unsuccessful until he buys a pair of expensive shoes for a lowly Israeli politician who becomes prime minister, and finds himself in the center of a geopolitical drama beyond anything he could have imagined. Using his small-time skills, he tries to solve a growingly complex puzzle with big-time implications.

“Norman” was developed by Tadmor, financed by Tadmor and Cold Iron Pictures, and produced by Oren Moverman, Gideon Tadmor, Eyal Rimmon, David Mandil, Miranda Bailey, and Lawrence Inglee. The film was financed in association with The Rabinovich Foundation, The Jerusalem Film Fund, and Keshet International.

“Joseph Cedar is that exceptional filmmaker who possesses a singular style and has so much to say about our character and the state of the world,” said Sony Pictures Classics. “We are so pleased to continue our adventure with Joseph, which started with ‘Footnote’ and now continues with ‘Norman.'”

Sony Classics acquired “Footnote” at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the best screenplay award and then went on to garner an Academy Award nomination for best foreign language film. The deal for “Norman” was negotiated between ICM Partners and Sony Classics.

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/richard-gere-norman-sony-classics-1201832789/

Despite the fact that the new rendition of the 1984 classic included some of the best-known female comedians in the industry — Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon — this year’s “Ghostbusters” still faced a lot of criticism. The film’s director, Paul Feig, has made up his mind on one thing after the backlash — he will absolutely not be rebooting any more classic movies.

“No, no, no. No, I will not,” he told the Huffington Post. “This one was just too tempting because I knew we could do something with it that was exciting.”

Instead, Feig will continue to work on original material like his successful “Bridesmaids” and his cult hit “Freaks and Geeks.”

 

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But despite the initial criticism that “Ghostbusters” unleashed, Feig has also said that the reaction since the film’s July 15 opening has been positive overall — especially among women and young girls.

“It’s such a validation for the years of false controversy,” Feig said. “Up until then it was me just dealing with a bunch of angry dudes. There’s a whole generation of kids and young people who didn’t have their own ‘Ghostbusters,’ who, to them, even though it’s a great movie, it’s an old movie.”

“I don’t know why all this was controversy leading up to this, because heroes are heroes,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what gender they are,” he added.

Feig wasn’t the only one to speak out about the misogynistic reactions to the female-led film, which made close to $120 million at the domestic box office. McCarthy, who stars in the film, also spoke out about the reactions to the female quartet.

“There’s a weird replacement phenomenon, a fear that if you put two women in, two men come out. I don’t know why that viscerally affects certain people. It’s not how I ever think. If I see four men, I’m not like, ‘Well, those are four jobs women didn’t get.’ Great for them. There’s room for everybody,” McCarthy said in an interview with the New York Times.

Sony Pictures head Tom Rothman also echoed McCarthy’s sentiments at the Paley International Council in New York, saying: “It’s original. You get pissing and moaning on the Internet — sexist comments – but, you know, f–k ’em.”

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/ghostbusters-director-paul-feig-wont-reboot-classic-movies-melissa-mccarthy-1201832804/

CBS Films announced has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Helen Mirren’s drama “Winchester” from Bullitt Entertainment and Diamond Pictures.

The film is being directed by brothers Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig (“Predestination”), who wrote the screenplay with Tom Vaughan. Producers are Imagination Design Works’ Brett Tomberlin and Blacklab Entertainment’s Tim McGahan.

Mirren will play firearm heiress Sarah Winchester, who was convinced that she was haunted by the souls killed at the hands of the Winchester repeating rifle. After the sudden deaths of her husband and child, she threw herself into the 24-hour a day, seven days a week construction of an enormous mansion designed to keep the evil spirits at bay. But when a skeptic is dispatched to the estate to evaluate her state of mind, he discovers that her obsession may not be so insane after all.

“We were immediately obsessed with the Spierig brothers intelligent and twisted take on a great American legend and could not be more excited to be working with the Spierig brothers and Dame Helen Mirren to bring this film to audiences,” said CBS Films exec Scott Shooman.

The film is financed by Bullitt Entertainment, Diamond Pictures and Blacklab Entertainment, with Diamond Pictures handling international sales. Bullitt’s Benedict Carver, Diamond’s Daniel Diamond and Tobin Armbrust are executive producing. Andy Trapani, Toni Lianos, Brian Gilbert, Marc Shipper and Simon Oakes also will serve as executive producers.

Production will begin in March on location in San Jose and in Australia.

Construction at the Winchester mansion in San Jose, Calif., went on continuously from 1884 to 1922 as the original farm house grew into the world’s most unusual and labyrinth-mansion (24,000 square feet built at a cost of $5 million), featuring: 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 9 kitchens, 13 bathrooms, plus 47 stairways and fireplaces.

The estate is list on the National Register of Historic Places, is a California Historic State Landmark and a San Jose City Landmark. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/cbs-films-buys-helen-mirren-winchester-movie-1201832876/

CAA’s leadership got a big pay day for their role in orchestrating private equity investment in the talent agency for stars such as Jennifer Lawrence, J.J. Abrams, and Robert Downey Jr., according to a new book by James Andrew Miller.

Titled, “Powerhouse: The Inside Story of CAA,” the book is the buzz of Hollywood, promising to reveal juicy details about the formation of the agency and its tumultuous years under the leadership of super-agent Michael Ovitz. But it’s the financial windfall enjoyed by CAA brass that may be the biggest shock and could represent Miller’s greatest reporting feat.

According to an excerpt obtained by Variety, CAA’s top brass, a group that consisted of Richard Lovett, Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, and David “Doc” O’Connor, earned more than $250 million for their role in the deal. TPG’s investment in the agency happened over a period of four years. In 2010, the investment firm bought a 35% stake. It deepened its investment four years later to more than 50% of the company.

For the first TPG transaction, O’Connor earned roughly $25 million, Lourd and Huvane received approximately $30 million, and Lovett got $30 million-plus. In 2010, the men did share proceeds from the deal with every CAA employee, sources tell Variety.

On the second transaction, the partners received “an exit benefit and net present value of salary reductions” that equaled roughly two years of compensation, according to Miller’s book. As part of that payout, each man earned about $20 million. Miller goes on to write that there was a “judo chop at the end.” The rest of the proceeds for the sale were dispensed under the discretion of a “comp committee” that reportedly consisted solely of Lovett and Lourd. They granted themselves and Huvane another $20 million each. O’Connor didn’t receive any of these funds. Miller cites unnamed sources with knowledge of the transactions.

A spokeswoman for CAA declined to comment.

Huvane, Lovett, and Lourd are still at CAA. O’Connor is president and CEO of MSG, the entertainment company behind Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden. “Powerhouse” hits store shelves on Tuesday. Miller previously co-authored “Live From New York” and “Those Guys Have All the Fun,” which looked at the history of “Saturday Night Live” and ESPN, respectively. 

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/caa-book-powerhouse-tpg-deals-richard-lovett-bryan-lourd-kevin-huvane-1201832803/

Variety’s film staff will host a live discussion today at 2:15 pm PT/5:15 pm ET talking all things “Suicide Squad.” From the movie’s critical backlash to next steps for DC and Warner Bros, no “Suicide Squad” topics are off limits!

Join us on Facebook Monday afternoon or submit your questions below.

The Live Q&A can also be seen right here beginning at 2:15pm PT (Pacific Standard Time).

Watch Live!

 

 

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/facebook-live-qa-suicide-squad-what-the-heck-happened-1201832990/

Breck Eisner is in talks to direct the latest installment in the “Friday the 13th” franchise, from Paramount and Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production banner.

“Prisoner” scribe Aaron Guzikowski penned the script. The film will likely focus on the return of legendary mass murderer Jason Voorhees, who has terrorized inhabitants of Camp Crystal Lake for three decades.

Bay will produce along with his Platinum Dunes partners Andrew Form and Brad Fuller. Paramount had no comment on the negotiations.

This will mark the 13th film in the franchise, with the most recent bowing in 2009 from New Line and Warner Bros. As part of the deal that allowed Warner Bros. to come on as a co-producer on “Interstellar,” the studio traded the rights to “Friday the 13th” to Paramount, which is where Platinum Dunes also holds a first-look deal.

This will be the second “Friday the 13th” installment produced by Platinum Dunes, which already rebooted classic slashers “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and “Nightmare on Elm Street.”

Eisner also directed “The Last Witch Hunter,” “The Crazies,” and “Sahara.” He is repped by UTA and Management 360.

Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/friday-the-13th-reboot-director-breck-eisner-1201833019/

Tom Cruise’s cartel film “Mena” is now called “American Made,” and is moving from Jan. 6, 2017, to Sept. 29, 2017, Universal Pictures announced on Monday.

“American Made” is the latest collaboration between Cruise and director Doug Liman, who helmed the A-lister in “Edge of Tomorrow.”

“American Made” is based on the real-life exploits of Barry Seal, a hustler for drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and pilot unexpectedly recruited by the CIA to run one of the biggest covert operations in U.S. history, one that almost brought down the Reagan White House through the Iran Contra scandal. Cruise, himself a trained pilot, plays Seal.

 

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Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, Cross Creek Pictures’ Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson, Quadrant Pictures’ Doug Davison and Kim Roth are producing. Cross Creek Pictures is financing the film, with Universal handling distribution.

The film generated headlines last year, when a plane carrying crew members crashed on the set in Colombia in September 2015, killing two people and seriously injuring a third person. Local authorities believe that bad weather caused the twin-engine Aerostar to crash.

Cruise was in production on the movie at the time of the incident, but was not on the plane. The two people killed were identified as American film pilot Alan David Purwin and Colombian Carlos Berl.

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/mena-tom-cruise-new-title-release-date-1201833172/

Sony Pictures Classics has set a Dec. 21 release in the U.S. for Pedro Almodovar’s “Julieta,” starring Adriana Ugarte, Emma Suárez and Rossy de Palma.

The film, which debuted in Spain in April and screened at Cannes in May, was acquired in June, 2015, by Sony Classics when its title was “Silencio.” Based on the stories of author Alice Munro, “Julieta” is about a mother’s struggle to survive uncertainty.

 

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Suárez and Ugarte play older and younger versions of the film’s protagonist, Julieta, between the years 1985 and 2015. “Silencio” is Almodóvar’s 20th feature film and the ninth movie by him handled by Sony Classics, which include “I’m So Excited,” “Bad Education,” “Volver,” “Broken Embraces,” “The Skin I Live In,” “All About My Mother,” “Talk to Her” and “The Flower of My Secret.”

Peter Debruge wrote in his review for Variety: “Almodovar has constructed an extremely unconventional mystery, one in which there is no crime or culprit. Rather, his leading lady is herself a riddle.”

Sony Classics also announced Monday that it had acquired the rest of Almodóvar’s full library of films including “Pepi, Luci, Bom,” “Labyrinth of Passion,” “Dark Habits,” “What Have I Done to Deserve This,” “High Heels” and “Kika.”

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/sony-classics-december-release-pedro-almodovars-julieta-1201833061/

With its unorthodox structure and detours into magic realism, “Haze” carves out a distinct place in the large body of contemporary Filipino films about the struggle to survive in a society wracked by poverty, broken homes and barely-functioning welfare services. Focusing on four homeless children whose criminal activities spiral into tragedy, writer-director Ralston Jover has delivered a powerful essay on social inequity and child endangerment. Winner of the Outstanding Artistic Achievement award at the Shanghai film festival, “Haze” is gathering momentum on the fest circuit and is well worth the attention of programmers. Local release details are pending.

Jover has consistently investigated the margins of Philippines society since his early credits as writer of Brillante Mendoza’s films “Foster Child” (2007) and “Slingshot” (2007). In his fifth outing as writer-director, Jover shows harsh life in Manila from the perspective of youngsters whose childhoods have been all but obliterated by the failure of adults to provide love and care.

The haze of the film’s title is literal at first. An opaque mist is applied to a wide shot of Guadalupe Bridge as voiceover recites “Ang Pagkawala Ng Hamog” (“The Loss of Fog”), a haunting poem composed for the film by local character actor Rener Concepcion. The disappearing mist reveals a concrete pipe on the banks of the Pasig River that’s home to four children.

The youngest is Moy (Bon Andrew Lentejas), a chirpy 8-year-old orphan. Rashid (Zaijian Jaranilla) is a 12-year-old Muslim who’d rather live on the streets than with his harsh father, Abdul (Lou Veloso). Addicted to inhaling chemicals is Tisoy (Sam Quintana), a boy of about 16. The female member of the gang is Jinky (Teri Malvar), a 15-year-old rejected by her mother and terrified of returning to a children’s home she describes in horrifying detail. Daily life for the quartet consists of stealing whatever they can get their hands on.

After Moy is established as the central character it comes as a jolt when he’s killed during an attempt to rob a taxi driver. In the aftermath of Moy’s death Rashid takes responsibility for arranging his friend’s burial. In a long and virtually wordless sequence that will make viewers feel heartbroken for disadvantaged children everywhere, Moy is laid to rest in a pitiful tomb inside a dilapidated cemetery.

At roughly the halfway mark, Jover’s screenplay winds back to the taxi robbery and follows Jinky, who’s been caught by intended victim Danny (OJ Mariano). The failure of institutions to protect children is starkly shown as police and welfare agencies permit Danny to assume custody of Jinky and install her as a maid in his apartment. Jinky’s tale takes on suspense-thriller shadings as details of Danny’s strange relationships with compassionate-then-cruel girlfriend Paula (Anna Luna) and flatmate Bernard (Mike Liwag) begin to emerge. The question of whether Danny is Jinky’s savior or a predatory monster remains open until deep into the proceedings.

The film’s fantasy element involves Tisoy “seeing” a costumed teenage “Supergirl,” who dashes through busy streets and sometimes becomes airborne. Though the superheroine arrives as a bright symbol of hope, her continuing role isn’t developed as richly as it might have been. Still, it’s an interesting and welcome point of difference from most Filipino features tackling similar subject matter.

A few minor lapses into sentimentality notwithstanding, Jover maintains a detached, nonjudgmental approach that allows his messages to sink in slowly but surely with viewers. His young cast deliver fine performances, with Malvar a knockout in a demanding role that earned her best actress honors at the Moscow film fest. Bryan Dumaguina’s subtle score and appropriately unfussy photography by first-time feature d.p. Pipo Domagas are standouts in a polished technical package.

Film Review: 'Haze'

Reviewed online, Adelaide, July 13, 2016. (In Shanghai, Moscow, New York Asian film festivals.) Running time: 100 MIN. (Original title: “Hamog”)

Production

(Philippines) A Cinema One Originals production, in association with Keep Me Posted, Black Maria Pictures, CMB Films, Wildsound. (International sales: Cinema One Originals, Manila.) Executive producer: Ronald Arguelles. 

Crew

Director, writer: Ralston Jover. Camera (color, HD): Pipo Domagas. Editor: Chearliebebs Gohetia.

With

Teri Malvar, Zaijian Jaranilla, Sam Quintana, Bon Andrew Lentejas, OJ Mariano, Mike Liwag, Anna Luna, Lou Veloso, Ruby Ruiz, Flor Salanga, Kylinne Alcantara, Cataleya Surio, Jun-Jun Quintana. (Tagalog, English dialogue)
Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/haze-review-hamog-1201814056/

A furious row has broken out in the Malaysian film industry with at least one film maker returning awards that he previously won.

In recent days it has emerged that the annual Filem Festival Malaysia awards will be segregated along linguistic lines. Only movies shot in the official Bahasa Malaysia (aka Bahasa Melayu) language will be eligible for the best film award.

Malaysia has a substantially mixed race population comprised of ethnic Malays, Chinese and Indians. The national government operates policies in sectors ranging from universities to the civil service that discriminate positively in favor of Malays. The privileges accorded to one group over another are widely regarded as among the root causes of Malaysia’s endemic corruption problems.

The spark for the current strife was the recent exclusion from the best picture category of two films — Chiu Keng Guan’s “Ola Bola” and Shanjhey Kumar Perumal’s “Jagat” — in nominations for this year’s 28th edition of the FFM (Sept. 1-3). Instead they are nominated in a best picture (non Bahasa Malaysia) category. The separation has existed since 2011. Though the country produces films in Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil, to qualify for best picture they must have 70% of their dialog in Bahasa Malaysia.

This year government film regulator, the National Film Development Corporation (FINAS,) and the Malaysian Film Producers’ Association (PFM) also added language based categories in the best screenplay and best director categories. The two bodies said that the new categories were being created in recognition of growing Tamil and Chinese film production. Others interpret the division as creating second class awards and protecting the top prizes for Malays.

As a protest, leading cinematographer Mohd Noor Kasim this week returned two trophies to Kamil Othman, the chairman of FINAS. The seven times nominee also asked that his nomination in this year’s event be withdrawn. Actor Afdlin Shauki said that he would also withdraw.

“I am Malay but I say, [it appears] the Malays fear competition with other races. I am ashamed as a Malay. Why do we fear healthy competition? Why differentiate with Chinese and Indian? In film, the language of film is what’s important,” Kasim told the Malay Mail Online.

Artistes association Karyawan said that it is in favor of segregation. “Many films in other languages produced locally are high in quality and have managed to rake in high film proceeds. Therefore, Karyawan fully agrees with PFM’s suggestion to divide the category into ‘Best Film’ and ‘Best Non-Bahasa Malaysia Film’ as the solution to the problem that has risen. With the division of the best film category, not only will non-Bahasa Malaysia films be given recognition but the number of films to win awards will increase,” Karyawan said in a statement.

Like Mandarin Chinese (aka Putonghua,) Bahasa Malaysia, is a linguistic standardization based on the dialect of a single region. Using a Latin alphabet, it became the official language of Malaysia from 1968.

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/asia/race-row-malaysian-film-awards-1201833249/

LOCARNO — Soft money may never have had such a decisive impact on filmmaking in Europe as this decade. On average, public-sector film funds spent an whopping average €2.29 billion ($2.5 billion) on movies every year over 2010-14.

And funds rep just one of the main public pillars – with fiscal incentives, and direct TV network investment obligations – on which Europe’s film industry rests, according to a new report, “Public Financing For Film and Television Content,” published by the European Audiovisual Observatory and presented Aug. 7 at Switzerland’s Locarno Festival.

Who grants these moneys, and how they are spent, seems crucial to the future of Europe’s tim industry. On a gloriously sunny Saturday morning, the report’s author, EAO’s Julio Talavera, drilled down on details. In some ways, the report’s findings are reassuring. But there are potential political storm clouds on a not-too-distant horizon.

10 points from Talavera’s report and presentation.

1.The good news. It is simply not true that there has been a shift from directing public funding to fiscal incentives in Europe, Talavera said. The total average yearly spend for film and audiovisual funds in Europe rose 13.4% over 2010-14. And the number of funds held steady.

2.That said, fiscal incentive finance may be growing even faster. Enrolling up-dated findings from a study commissioned by the EAO from Oldsberg SPI in 2014, Talavera suggested the number of fiscal incentive schemes operational in Europe spiked from 12 in 2005 to 26 in 2014. “Fiscal incentives … are regarded as delivering broad-based advantages, for example in terms of employment, heritage awareness, consumer interest, economic growth, exports, tourism and so-called national ‘soft power,’ the report reads.

3.Money from broadcasters obliged to invest in film has, however, taken a hit. Tabbed as a percentage of networks’ revenues, contributions by broadcasters to European funds plunged from €790 million ($876.9 million) in 2011 to €682 million ($757 million) in 2014, hammered most probably by financial crisis and the migration of advertising from traditional media to the Internet, Talavera ventured in his presentation at Locarno.

4.Euro producers will always have Paris. France accounted for a massive 42% of the incoming resources for film and audiovisual funds in Europe over 2010-14, mostly due not to direct subsidies – as is often fondly thought – but massive mandatory contributions from broadcasters to the CNC French film-TV agency.

5. In public fund spend rankings (not including fiscal incentives), France’s average annual spend (about €830 million: $921 million) more than doubled Germany’s (just under €400 million : $444 million). The U.K.’s (some €120 million : $133 million), Italy’s (€100 million : $111 million) and Spain (€85 million : $94 million) trailed far behind.

6.Public funding in Italy France and the U.K. grew over 20% during the period; Spain’s plummeted over 30%, Talavera’s EAO report noted.

7. Funds spent by far most money on theatrical film production, an average annual (€902.9 million : $1.002 million) over the period. Development (€45.4 million: $50.3 million), distribution (€123.9 million : $137.5 million) and promotion (€71.9 million : $79.8 million), arguably categories where national industries need funding most, paled in comparison. Theatrical film funding also rose in general during the first five years off the decade, most notably in Italy, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland.

8. Again, that said, most new schemes launched over the period have either been tax shelter, rebate or credit schemes, or a diversification of funding activities. “There is a trend towards concentrating the majority of new resources around straightforward automatic fiscal incentives,” the report concludes.

9. Another, and disquieting, conclusion: Given “the fragmentation of the market, which is mainly due to the launch of on-demand services,” there may come a time when it “proves unrealistic for broadcasters to continue to support the film and audiovisual industry to the same degree as they have until now.”

Obligations for on-demand services are only in place in six European territories in Europe: France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and French-speaking Belgium.

10. The number of feature films produced in Europe hiked 7.5% over the period to an enormous 1,603. Meanwhile, however, average feature film budgets showed “a remarkable decrease in most countries,” Talavera noted. “Since public funding and fiscal incentives for theatrical production has increased between 2010 and 2014, both overall as well as in most relevant countries, this may indicate that most resources are concentrating around fewer films, therefore supporting the thesis that a gap is growing between high-end and low-budget productions,” the report concludes.

Talavera did not say this in Locarno, but if this scenario proves true, Europe’s political classes may come to question the audience results of a mass of semi-disenfranchised titles produced in Europe.

The mid-term future of public film funding in Europe, as is true of so many things about Europe thee days, remains shrouded in  a certain disquieting uncertainty.

Source: http://variety.com/2016/film/festivals/10-points-about-multi-billion-dollar-soft-money-europe-1201832506/