‘Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom’ and ‘Gay Chorus Deep South’ Win Palm Springs International Film Festival Audience Awards
“Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” — the story about a young displaced teacher who travels to Bhutan and is taught his own life lessons from the happy and kind locals (including a yak) — won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), it was announced Sunday.
“Gay Chorus Deep South” — a documentary following the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus as the group embarks upon a high-risk tour of the Deep South to spread a message of tolerance — won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature.
“Parasite” screenwriters Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won won the FIPRESCI Prize for International Screenplay for their tale about two Korean families — one wealthy and one poor — whose live intersect in the most unexpected way.
Among the acting awards, Bartosz Bielenia from “Corpus Christi” and Helena Zengel from “System Crasher” took top honors.
The jury award categories included the FIPRESCI Prize for films in the International Feature Film Oscar Submissions program; New Voices New Visions Award for unique viewpoints from first- and second-time directors; Best Documentary Award for compelling non-fiction filmmaking; Ibero-American Award for the best film from Latin America, Spain or Portugal; Local Jury Award for the film that promoted understanding and acceptance between people; and the Young Cineastes Award for the film chosen by the Youth Jury. Finally, the GoEnergistics (GoE) Bridging the Borders Award, presented by Cinema Without Borders, honors the film that is most successful in bringing the people of our world closer together.
See the complete list of winners below:
Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
FIPRESCI Prize for Best International Feature Film of the Year
FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor in an International Feature Film
FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress in an International Feature Film
FIPRESCI Prize for International Screenplay
New Voices/New Visions Award
The Documentary Award
Local Jury Award
Young Cineastes Award
GoEnergistics (GoE) Bridging the Borders Award
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 136,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, which honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.
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www.thewrap.com | 1/13/20
"The main solution is so simple, that even a small child can understand it." An official trailer has debuted online for a documentary filmed titled The Forum, the latest by acclaimed German doc filmmaker Marcus Vetter (of Cinema Jenin, The International Criminal Court, The Forecaster, and Killing for Love). This is premiering at the IDFA Film Festival and at DOK Leipzig this fall, with this new trailer being released to promote it and help the film find international distribution. Vetter is the very first filmmaker allowed to film behind-the-scenes at the annual, top secret, wealthy-people-only World Economic Forum in Switzerland. It gets really exciting when Greta Thunberg shows up, rattling the cages of this elite squad of leaders who just want more money. In all seriousness, this doc looks like an extremely fascinating, enlightening, and thrilling look behind-closed-doors at how the world works. And perhaps how it might be possible to shake things up. Here's the first official trailer for Marcus ...
www.firstshowing.net | 11/19/19
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
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.