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
Students from the University of Southern California have been named recipients of four Student Academy Awards for 2018, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Wednesday.
The four USC wins make it the only school to take more than one award. The school was recognized by one nomination in the animation category, one in the documentary category and two in the narrative category.
The other American films schools that won awards were Florida State, CalArts, Ringling College of Art and Design, NYU, the University of California at Berkeley and Chapman University.
In the four international categories, the winners came from schools in the U.K., France, Hungary, Switzerland and Sweden.
While the Academy announced the winners on Wednesday, it will not reveal the medal that each film has won until the Student Academy Awards ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 11 at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. While the three levels of prize — gold, siver and bronze — carry different cash awards, all winners are now qualified for the 2018 Academy Awards in the short-film categories.
Past winners of Student Academy Awards include Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis, John Lasseter, Cary Fukunaga, Trey Parker and Pete Docter.
Alternative (Domestic 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)
www.thewrap.com | 9/12/18
Quentin Tarantino has found his Bruce Lee for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” TheWrap has learned. Mike Moh, who has repeatedly paid tribute to Lee online, will play the kung-fu master in Tarantino’s film set in the era of the Manson murders.
Moh was named as a member of the cast last month, but his role was not officially released. Individuals with knowledge of the project told to TheWrap this week that Moh will play Lee. That’s fitting, because Moh has honored Lee in YouTube videos (see below) and a tweet last month on the 45th anniversary of Lee’s death.
“It’s been 45 years since this man passed,” tweeted Moh, who is best known for playing Triton on Marvel’s “The Inhumans.” “#brucelee has inspired me in so many ways… Martial arts, acting, his philosophies on life. But look at the loving way he looked at his children. I know the exact feeling he felt RIP Bruce. Walk on”
The question of who would play Lee has interested his fans since news broke that Lee would appear in the film — though his appearance is likely to be brief.
For a brief time after the murders of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, and some of their closest friends, director Roman Polanski very wrongly believed that Bruce Lee may have killed them.
It’s a strange chapter in the dark saga of the Manson murders, and Matthew Polly, the author of “Bruce Lee: A Life,” explained it in a recent episode of our “Shoot This Now” podcast. You can listen on iTunes or right here:
Moh’s hiring also adds racial diversity to a film packed with white actors. The story of the Manson murders is largely one of white killers and white victims — though the film will not focus strictly on the Manson family crimes. Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, who will play the neighbors of Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), are fictional characters.
Tarantino and Moh will likely have a lot of Lee love to discuss, as Lee’s influence on the filmmaker can’t be overstated.
For example, the yellow suit he wore to battle Kareem Abdul Jabbar in “Game of Death” inspired the one Uma Thurman’s Beatrix Kiddo (aka The Bride) wore as she took out the Crazy 88, Gogo Yubari and O-Ren in “Kill Bill Vol. 1.” As Polly told us on the podcast, Lee picked up the yellow suit during a trip with Polanski to Gstaad, Switzerland.
Here are two videos in which Moh plays homage to Lee:
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www.thewrap.com | 8/15/18
LOCARNO, Switzerland — Two doc features framing mordant alternative visions of war and soccer – Tiago Hespanha’s “Campo” and Pedro Filipe Marques “Viveiro” (Breeding Ground) – shared the top prizes at the 8th Locarno First Look showcase, the Festival announced Sunday evening. A pix-in-post focus on six-or-so titles from a national cinema, or region, First […]
variety.com | 8/5/18
On Thursday, July 26, many Russians could see the phantom of the good old iron curtain falling between Russia and the West. The news came from the press secretary of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, Irina Tyurina. Last week, United Russia MPs proposed amending the federal law about the procedure to leave and enter the territory of the Russian Federation. In accordance with these amendments, the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs should hold mandatory accreditation of all companies rendering intermediary visa registration services to Russian citizens. In order to obtain accreditation, a visa issuance company is supposed to have representative offices in at least 20 regions of the Russian Federation, whereas the share of foreign participation in the authorized capital of the company should not exceed 20 percent. In addition, applicants should have certified technical means to process confidential information (including biometric personal data). The amendments also require at least three years of experience in collecting and processing documents for obtaining visas on behalf of diplomatic missions and consular missions.According to the press secretary of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, Irina Tyurina, none of existing operators can meet the criteria proposed in the draft law. For example, it is unclear how they should comply with the requirement of foreign participation. Presently, there are six companies that run visa service centers in Russia: VFS Global, GVCW - Greece, VMS - Italy, BLS - Spain, India, TLS - Great Britain, Switzerland, Belgium and Pony Express. The information on each of these companies is available to the public in the state register of legal entities.It is unlikely that these companies can be replaced with Russian ones: even if they meet all other requirements, Russian companies will not have three years of experience in rendering visa services. Needless to say that the adoption of amendments will trigger a mirror response from other countries. In this case, big plans to attract foreign tourists to Russia, especially after the World Cup, may not materialize.To make matters worse, residents of Russians regions will have to come to Moscow to get a visa to a foreign country. They will also have to spend many hours standing in long lines to visa departments of foreign embassies, as it was practiced during the 2000s. In a nutshell, all this is nothing but bad news that, if it becomes real, will complicate the lives of all Russian travelers. The news triggered countless "iron curtain" discussions in social media in Russia. The "iron curtain" has many holes in it as Russia has visa-free regime with many countries. Yet, the curtain would be very strong when it comes to a trip to Europe or to the States. Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Physical Culture, Sport, Tourism and Youth Affairs, Sergei Krivonosov, (United Russia) said that the Russian authorities, on the contrary, seek to minimize visa restrictions."At the initiative of the president, we are currently preparing proposals to simplify visa procedures. There are a number of countries that have already simplified the procedure to issue visas for Russian citizens. I haven't heard of the initiative that you're talking about. The State Duma's Subcommittee on Tourism (Sergei Krivonosov heads it - ed.) works to simplify visa procedures," the MP told Pravda.Ru. "We do want to make the procedure simpler, because we've had problems with bankruptcies of tour operators. We believe that an electronic visa can help. I am sure that there is no iron curtain of any type involved," Sergei Krivonosov added. Oleg ArtyukovPravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
www.pravdareport.com | 7/26/18
Radu Jude’s “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” won the Grand Prix Crystal Globe, the top jury prize at the 2018 Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
The international competition winner tells of an artist who reenacts a real-life ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Romanian army in 1941, this time as an artistic installation.
The movie is a coproduction of six countries, led by Romania. In 2015, Jude won Berlin’s Silver Bear for best director for his film “Aferim!”
The festival at Karlovy Vary, nestled in a spa town outside Prague, Czech Republic, also awarded a special jury prize to Ana Katz’s “Sueño Florianópolis,” and awarded a best director prize to Olmo Omerzu for “Winter Flies.” Mercedes Morán (“Sueño Florianópolis”) and Moshe Folkenflik (“Redemption”) won best actress and best actor, respectively.
Vitaly Mansky’s “Putin’s Witnesses,” which featured a trove of unaired, potentially damning footage from the early days of the Russian president’s rule, took best documentary. The jury also gave special mention to Ivan I. Tverdovskiy’s “Jumpman,” about a peculiar orphan who can’t feel physical pain until his estranged mother resurfaces.
Actor and director Tim Robbins joined a long line of American stars like Robert De Niro and Casey Affleck in receiving a special prize for his contributions to world cinema, TheWrap previously reported.
“Good Time” star Robert Pattinson was also handed this year’ President’s Award.
Read the complete list of winners:
GRAND PRIX – CRYSTAL GLOBE (25 000 USD)
“I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians”
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (15 000 USD)
BEST DIRECTOR AWARD
Olmo Omerzu for the film “Winter Flies”
BEST ACTRESS AWARD
Mercedes Morán for her role in the film “Sueño Florianópolis”
BEST ACTOR AWARD
Moshe Folkenflik for his role in the film “Redemption”
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
“History of Love”
EAST OF THE WEST – COMPETITION
EAST OF THE WEST GRAND PRIX (15 000 USD)
EAST OF THE WEST SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (10 000 USD)
DOCUMENTARY FILMS – COMPETITION
DOCUMENTARY FILMS JURY
GRAND PRIX FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM (5 000 USD)
DOCUMENTARY SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
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www.thewrap.com | 7/7/18
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.