Students at the American Film Institute lead the way for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s annual Student Academy Awards.
The Academy named 16 students as winners on Thursday, including three in the narrative category from AFI. The competition received 1,615 entrants from 255 domestic and 105 international colleges and universities, the Academy said.
AFI was the only school to take more than one award. AFI students Asher Jelinsky (“Miller & Son”), Hao Zheng (“The Chef”) and Omer Ben-Shachar (“Tree #3,”) took home awards in the narrative category. Last year, the University of Southern California was the only school to take home more than one award, with four.
Winners of the Student Academy Awards are eligible to compete for Oscars in the Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film or Documentary Short Subject category. Past winners have gone on to nab 62 Oscar nominations and have won or shared 12 awards.
The 2019 winners join the ranks of such past Student Academy Award winners as Patricia Cardoso, Pete Docter, Cary Fukunaga, Spike Lee, Trey Parker, Patricia Riggen and Robert Zemeckis.
Here’s the full list of winners:
Alternative/Experimental (Domestic and International Film Schools)
Animation (Domestic Film Schools)
Animation (International Film Schools)
Documentary (Domestic Film Schools)
Documentary (International Film Schools)
Narrative (Domestic Film Schools)
Narrative (International Film Schools)
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www.thewrap.com | 9/12/19
Director Roman Polanski doesn’t believe he’ll get fair treatment in a Los Angeles court, and has requested to disqualify the L.A. Superior Court in his lawsuit against the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. He has instead requested that the case against the Academy’s decision to expel him be assigned to a judge from outside Los Angeles County.
In his latest lawsuit, Polanski seeks reinstatement into the Academy because he claims “its decision was made without due process based on an ancient conviction and a fugitive status lawful under California law.”
The unusual request from the international fugitive (he fled the U.S. in 1978 after being convicted of raping a young woman) was made on Monday. In it, Polanski’s attorneys state “the history of Polanski litigation means that any judgment of this court would raise an issue of impartiality.”
The filing continues to state that Polanski claims that “several Los Angeles judges have acted either dishonestly, or denied him due process, adding that those claims have been “reinforced via the added authority” of courts in Poland and Switzerland, where Polanski has been residing.
“Mr. Polanski has no reason to believe that the Honorable Mary H. Strobel is personally biased, but believes the history of the Polanski litigation means that any judgment of this Court would raise an issue of impartiality,” the filing stated.
“Mr. Polanski recognizes the extraordinary nature of his suggestion, but hopes the Court understands the documented history of his dispute with the Court justifies this request,” it continued.
The rest of the 245-page filing includes a summary of the Polanski proceedings, a Polish judge’s opinion supporting Polanski, and his brief filed in a Krakow Regional Court. The filing then outlines the depths of injustices Polanski has faced at the hands of L.A. judges for the rape trial, being placed on Interpol’s red notice (criminal alert) list in 2005, his 2009 arrest in Switzerland at the behest of U.S. authorities, his consequent house arrest, and other extradition attempts. The lengthy document also references the infamous 1969 murder of his pregnant wife Sharon Tate at the hands of the Manson Family.
The filing even includes a photo of Polish judge Dariusz Mazur — the same judge who denied a request by the United States to extradite Polanski back in 2015 — as an examplar of justice. His portrait is captioned with a quote, “The justice system in Los Angeles, possibly fearing excessive media criticism and influenced by the mistaken pursuit to protect its good name, has lost the ability to self-correct its own past mistakes.”
Earlier this year, the Academy said it “stands behind its decision as appropriate” to expel Roman Polanski from its ranks.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.
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www.thewrap.com | 8/21/19
(Spoiler warning: The following contains a very minor plot details about “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,” and several facts about real people portrayed in the film, including Sharon Tate, Bruce Lee, and Roman Polanski.)
During a sweet moment in “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,” Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate watches her own movie in Los Angeles’ Bruin Theater — and briefly flashes back to Bruce Lee training her for the fight scene she sees on-screen.
It’s a lovely moment that shows us how hard Tate works at her craft, and the pride she takes in it. It’s also a sympathetic nod to Lee (Mike Moh), because by this point in “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,” we’ve previously seen him mixing it up with stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) after an argument over Muhammad Ali. So did Lee really train Tate?
Yes, he absolutely did. And that was only the beginning of his connection with the beloved actress and her husband, Roman Polanski.
Lee first entered their circle through celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring (portrayed in the film by Emile Hirsch.) According to Matthew Polly’s biography “Bruce Lee: A Life,” Sebring was a karate student who had attended the 1964 Long Beach International Karate Championships. Lee had appeared at the event, and as the Long Beach Press-Telegram wrote in 2014: “Lee dazzled the thousands in attendance with unimaginable feats of speed and power.”
Sebring was among the dazzled. As Polly recounts, one day in 1965, TV producer William Dozier sat down in Sebring’s chair for a haircut and mentioned that he was trying to find an Asian leading man for a spinoff of the “Charlie Chan” films, which had featured a Swedish actor playing fictional Hawaiian detective Charlie Chan. Dozier told Sebring he needed “an Oriental who speaks English and can handle action.”
“I have your guy,” Sebring responded.
And so Lee gained entry into Hollywood.
During a screen test with Dozier, Lee delivered an early version of his oft-quoted “Be water, my friend” monologue. The “Charlie Chan” project didn’t happen, but did lead eventually to Lee’s big U.S. break, his casting as Kato on “The Green Hornet.” (The fight between Lee and Cliff Booth in “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” tales place on the “Green Hornet” set. Dozier was the show’s narrator.)
When Lee and Sebring first became friends, Sebring was dating Tate. (Very minor spoiler alert: The Steve McQueen sequence in “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” explains the dynamic between Sebring, Tate and Polanski, while subtly foreshadowing Roman Polanski’s future statutory rape scandal.)
Through his new Hollywood connections, Lee became a “sifu to the stars” who trained celebrities like McQueen (Damian Lewis in the film) and Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha) in martial arts.
As Polly writes, Lee’s teaching led to his first Hollywood movie job as a “karate adviser” for “The Wrecking Crew,” which starred Dean Martin and featured a trio of deadly women, played by Elke Sommer, Tate and Nancy Kwan. The fight scene we watch Tate watching in “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” features Tate and Kwan, and was indeed coordinated by Lee, who taught Tate and Kwan how to fight.
“Sharon and Nancy were pretty good students,” Polly quotes Lee as saying. “They were doing side kicks with just a minimum of teaching.”
Lee said Martin wasn’t as good — “he was too lazy and too clumsy.”
Polly says Tate got along so well with Lee that she invited him to have dinner at her and Polanski’s home, telling Polanski, “The two of you will get along like a house on fire.”
They did. Polanski even brought Lee on a ski trip to Gstaad, Switzerland, and bought him the yellow jumpsuit that Lee later wore in “Game of Death.” (Tarantino paid homage to Lee by having Uma Thurman wear a very similar outfit in “Kill Bill, Vol. 1.)
The friendship between Lee and Polanski hit a snag after Tate’s murder by the Manson family: At one point, Polanski blamed Lee for Tate’s murder. But that is another story.
Finally, while we don’t own the rights to any photos of Lee training Tate, we have seen some wonderful shots online.
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www.thewrap.com | 7/26/19
Two wonderful things – being in bed and watching movies – are joining forces at a movie theater in Switzerland. Cinema Pathé has set up a “VIP bedroom” theater, replacing boring old movie theater chairs with big comfy beds. And don’t worry: they change the sheets after each screening. But is this a good idea? Or […]
The post This Swiss Theater Replaced Its Seats With Beds, Changes Sheets After Every Screening appeared first on /Film.
www.slashfilm.com | 6/7/19
After Cannes’ opening night film “The Dead Don’t Die” got the festival off to a somewhat slow start with mixed reviews, Wednesday’s two debuts, “Les Misérables” and “Bacurau,” proved that this year’s lineup will have some life in it.
Ladj Ly’s “Les Misérables” isn’t based on Victor Hugo’s classic story, but it’s set in the same region in France and has the spirit of the original. Ly (picture above) originally directed an acclaimed short in 2017 of the same name that set the stage for this larger feature focused on police brutality and crime. The Guardian critic said Ly’s feature debut had a dose of “humor, cynicism, energy and savvy” and was worthy of some comparisons to previous Palme d’Or winner Jacques Audiard’s “Dheepan.”
Another reviewer even predicted we might already have a prize winner on our hands. “‘Les Miserables,’ Cannes’s first prize-worthy film of this still young-edition,” Screen Comment said in a tweet. “Edge-of-your-seat realism that echoes the 2005 riots in France, this film is winning #Cannes19.”
The industry took notice as well, with Anne Thompson reporting that Ly was already signed by CAA and that his film has become a hot title on the market.
The same could be said about “Bacurau,” a Brazilian film from the directors of “Aquarius.” David Ehrlich at IndieWire called it a “delirious Western” that amazingly features Udo Kier “fighting ghosts with a sniper.” He added that it is part “Hostel” and part “Seven Samurai.”John Carpenter takes a bow
Cult horror master John Carpenter, the director of “The Thing” and “Halloween,” among many others, graciously accepted the Golden Coach award from the French directors guild at the festival’s opening ceremony as part of the Director’s Fortnight. According to Reuters, Carpenter said he had been fascinated by cinema since he saw “The African Queen” at age three.
“It’s that transportation of an audience through the world of light and the shadows around it that I’m proud to be a part of,” he said.
Film Twitter also had fun spotting him with other horror luminaries like Dario Argento, and his presence felt even more significant in part because some critics felt “Bacurau” gave off vibes of early Carpenter classics.A surprise from Todd Haynes
There’s always a handful of films each year that make their way to the festival marketplace under the radar, and this year’s biggest title was the documentary on the Velvet Underground from director Todd Haynes. THR reported that footage from the movie would screen Thursday at the Cinema Olympia and would be presented to buyers by Cinetic and Submarine.
First reported in January, the documentary would be Haynes’ first, but the musically inclined director behind “I’m Not There” and “Velvet Goldmine” is in good standing to handle the story of Lou Reed and one of the most influential rock bands of all time.“Moonfall” has a Big Landing
Roland Emmerich’s $150 million sci-fi space epic “Moonfall” sold for a reported low-eight figures in both Germany and Switzerland, according to Deadline. An unnamed German indie conglomerate that handles distributors TMG and Universum purchased the film, which Emmerich is writing and directing, and Stuart Ford’s AGC Studios and CAA Media Finance are handling worldwide sales.
“Moonfall” tells the story of a ragtag team of astronauts who are forced to land on the moon’s surface when the moon is knocked out of Earth’s orbit, sending it hurtling on a collision course with Earth and threatening all of mankind.
Among some of the other buzzy deals taking place on Wednesday and overnight, SP Media Group acquired a majority stake in Atlas Comics library, and Paramount has come aboard for a first look deal, according to Deadline. Atlas company is run by Jason Goodman, the grandson of Marvel Comics co-founder and publisher Martin Goodman. And a project is already set to be produced with an eye on a 2021 release.
“Avatar” star Sam Worthington has joined the Australian thriller “Gold,” which Anthony Hayes will co-write, direct and co-star in. Saboteur Media has come aboard the film to handle sales at Cannes, according to THR.
A Michael Caine movie has also hit the market at Cannes, this one called “Best Sellers,” which stars Caine as a washed-up, alcoholic of an author who goes out on a book tour with a young editor in order to help save a publishing house, according to THR. Anthony Grieco wrote the original screenplay, and Foresight Unlimited is handling international sales.
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” star Noomi Rapace is set to star in an action movie from Vicky Jewson called “Sylvia” in which she’ll star as a Mossad agent, according to Variety. WestEnd is handling sales at Cannes.
And finally, Epic Pictures acquired the U.S. rights to the horror comedy “Harpoon” from director Rob Grant, according to Variety. The film stars Munro Chambers, Emily Tyra and Christopher Gray in a black comedy about three friends who get stranded out at sea on a yacht.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/16/19
Members of the Academy’s documentary branch received a generous gift from AMPAS on Friday: 77 new films that had qualified in this year’s Best Documentary Feature category.
And it turned what had been a modest year for docs — with a total of 83 films included in June, July, August and September groups — into one in which the number of eligible films that voters would need to watch nearly doubled.
The Academy also promised voters in the branch to expect a final batch of films in early November — which, if it hits double digits, will set a new record in the category.
The previous high, set last year, was 170 films. With 160 already on the Oscar eligibility list and one additional (though likely small) batch yet to come, this year’s crop will give voters a lot of work to do before they vote in early December to narrow the field to a 15-film short list.
This year’s films are also coming later than usual; in the past, the largest group of films typically came in September, with the field being topped off by a smaller batch in October.
For years, doc-branch voters received periodic shipments of DVD screeners, which would start after new members were invited in June and would typically end in October. These days, though, the qualifying films are made available not on physical screeners, but for streaming on the Academy’s secure member website.
Each month beginning in June, branch members are sent an email detailing which films have been added to the site — and to ensure that every eligible film is seen, members are also randomly assigned certain films to watch.
(Each member is free to see any films not on his or her assigned list as well.)
June’s batch of films, which included “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and “RBG,” consisted of only 13 docs. July’s, including “Seeing Allred” and “Three Identical Strangers,” was made up of 19. August’s 18 included “The Bleeding Edge,” “Dark Money,” “Eating Animals” and “Generation Wealth.” September’s total jumped to 33, including “Crime + Punishment,” “Free Solo,” “Hal” and “The King.”
But with 77 films on a list members received near the end of the month, October dwarfed all of those. It brought in such significant Oscars contenders as “Fahrenheit 11/9,” “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” “Hillbilly,” “Jane Fonda in Five Acts,” “Maria by Callas,” “Monrovia, Indiana,” “On Her Shoulders,” “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” and “Tea With the Dames.”
It also included several films that have qualified in the doc-feature category by being submitted by their home country in the Oscars foreign-language race: Switzerland’s “Eldorado,” Palestine’s “Ghost Hunting,” Panama’s “Ruben Blades Is Not My Name,” Austria’s “The Waldheim Waltz,” Lithuania’s “Wonderful Losers: A Different World” and Ecuador’s doc/narrative hybrid, “A Son of Man.”
Along with the features, Oscars doc-branch voters are also given access to a group of short documentaries each month — and again, October’s group was the largest. A total of 124 short films have qualified so far, with 24 made accessible to voters in July, 18 in August, 18 in September and 44 in October.
Here is the complete list of films that have qualified and have been made available to Oscar doc voters so far. This is not the final list of eligible films, which the Academy will announce once the final group of films goes to members in early November.
“Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow”
“Bali: Beats of Paradise”
“Call Her Ganda”
“Daughters of the Sexual Revolution: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders”
“Garry Winograd: All Things Are Photographable”
“In the Land of Pomegranates”
“Jane Fonda in Five Acts”
“Kangaroo: A Love Hate Story”
“The Last Race”
“Making the Five Heartbeats”
“Of Fathers and Sons”
“The Panama Papers”
“The Rachel Divide”
“Tea With the Dames”
“Under the Wire”
“The Waldheim Waltz”
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www.thewrap.com | 10/27/18
The NHL Network is allowing fans to get up close and personal with players in a way they never have before with a new four-part, all-access series “Behind the Glass: New Jersey Devils Training Camp.”
Following the franchise through the tribulations of training camp leading up to the 2018 season opener against the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 6, the reality TV-style docuseries has been compared to the HBO’s hit “Hard Knocks” for its drama and authenticity as players struggle to make the final team roster.
While “Behind the Glass” is not the NHL’s first venture into all-access TV — they capture teams during the season on “Road to the Winter Classic” and “All Access: Quest for the Stanley Cup” — it is the first time they’ve drawn back the curtain to reveal the inner workings of training camp and preseason.
“When we look at evolutions and the next steps, we always end up coming back to training camp when the foundation for the entire year starts to be discussed,” Steve Mayer EVP, Chief Content Officer at the NHL told TheWrap.
As to why the spotlight was aimed on the Devils out of the 31 teams in the league for Season 1, “New Jersey has always been a team that wanted to do more all-access programming, they like their players to get more exposure and had always been asking us as a league to do more,” Mayer said.
“This team has really opened up their doors, and there are a lot of compelling personalities to uncover,” he explained. “They have got the reigning Hart Memorial Trophy for most valuable player in Taylor Hall (pictured above), they have the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy recipient Brian Boyle coming back from battling leukemia. Then they’ve got a lot of young dynamic players who are passionate in the program.”
Just as the head coach is a driving force once the players hit the ice, he also has to be the star of the show in any behind-the-scenes series — and, fortunately, John Hynes is up for the role. “He is one of those characters you want the guy at the helm to be — big, boisterous and have a huge personality,” Mayer said. “You could see from day one that it was all about him establishing and showing the Devils culture to the world. Not all coaches and not all teams are as open to doing these types of shows as he is.
A television veteran who was an executive producer at IMG for 23 years before joining the NHL, Mayer is no stranger to reality TV and what it takes for a series to work.
“There is an art to these shows … it has got to be real and feel real,” he explained. “I don’t care if you’re doing a reality show on Bravo like ‘Real Housewives’ or you’re doing an all-access program like ours on NHL Network. Your camera crew and producers have to build a rapport with the cast so much that they don’t even notice the cameras are around so that people can be themselves and they aren’t conscious of being filmed.
“That is what New Jersey has done really early in the process, and that makes for a better television show for sure,” he added.
“We are flies on the wall, there to capture the reality of what goes on every day and be in places where our audiences can’t normally go — whether it’s the coaches’ room for meetings or walking the streets of Hoboken with Taylor Hall to get a feel for who he is.”
Like with “Hard Knocks,” which followed NFL underdogs the Cleveland Browns this summer, the climax of “Behind the Glass” is who makes the final roster for when the season begins.
“We will have roster spots that are decided on the very last episode and it is unbelievably compelling for the audience to be dragged into that decision,” Mayer said. “You learn and start to appreciate these personalities as they are all vying for the same thing. It is a great way to raise the awareness and brand of one of our teams. People are really going to like the Devils by the time this series is over,” he predicted.
The show will end with their trip to Switzerland for a preseason game and then to Sweden for the opening game vs. the Oilers as part of the NHL Global Series. “That was another really big part of why the Devils made sense this year,” Mayer said. “Nico Hischier — one of their best players and the future of their franchise — is from Switzerland so we get to go home with him and travel around his country, and to have their first game oversees in a very unique setting is a pretty cool way to end the show.”
Produced by NHL Network in association with NHL Original Productions, “Behind the Glass” airs Mondays at 7:30 p.m. ET on NHL Network.
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www.thewrap.com | 10/1/18
Charles Aznavour, one of France’s greatest singers, composers and film stars, has died. He was 94.
According to multiple media reports, the French Culture Ministry announced his death on Monday. A representative for the Culture Ministry has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
According to the BBC, Aznavour died at one of his homes in the south east of France.
Aznavour was perhaps best known for his 1974 hit, “She,” and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017. He was also named entertainer of the century by CNN in 1998. In a career spanning over 80 years, he released more than 1,200 songs and wrote or co-wrote over 1,000. According to The Guardian, he was regularly referred to as France’s Frank Sinatra. He sang for presidents and royal families at numerous charitable and humanitarian events.
He often sang about taboo subjects. His 1955 song “Apres l’Amour” was banned in France because it depicted a couple in post-coital happiness, while 1972’s “What Makes a Man” was about a gay transvestite. His singing partners included Sinatra, Elton John, Celine Dion, Sting and Liza Minnelli.
Apart from selling more than 180 million records, Aznavour also starred in 80 films and TV movies, including 1974’s “And Then There Were None,” as well as 1979’s “The Tin Drum,” which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1980.
Aznavour was born on May 22, 1924 in France to Armenian parents who had fled Armenia’s genocide to start a new life in Paris. The Guardian reported that he left school at the age of nine to become a child actor, appearing in Francois Truffaut’s “Shoot the Piano Player.” During the occupation of Paris during World War II, he forged his singing career performing in cabarets as his family hid Jews and communists in their apartment while fighting with the resistance.
Aznavour was also an activist for the Armenian people. After the 1988 Armenian earthquake, he founded an organization with his friend Levon Sayan, and in 2009, he was appointed the ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland, as well as Armenia’s permanent delegate to the United Nations at Geneva.
According to the BBC, the singer was set to embark on a seven-date tour across France and Switzerland starting in November this year.
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www.thewrap.com | 10/1/18
Strong regionalism in Switzerland makes it difficult to speak of a homogeneous Swiss culture. The influence of German, French and Italian culture on their neighbouring parts cannot be denied. The Rhaeto-Romanic culture in the eastern mountains of Switzerland is robust.