September 19, 2015
        “Inside Out”: Looking at potential Best Animated Feature Contenders                "Black Mass" could get Johnny Depp back in the Oscar game                J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015                Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in "Sicario"                "The Martian" launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival                "Steve Jobs": Oscar predictions for September                "Sleeping with Other People" is one of the most charming films of 2015                Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for "Our Brand is Crisis"                Sam Smith will sing the theme song for the upcoming 007 film "Spectre"                Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for "Time Out of Mind"                Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race                “The Hateful Eight”: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay Contenders                David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?                Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup - Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette                “Sicario”: Ten Films to see in September        

Tag Archives: sundance film festival

Movies to look forward to at the Sundance Film Festival

This week, the Sundance Film Festival gets underway, seeking to highlight the best in independent film. I won’t be in Park City this year, sadly, though I have been in the past and can vouch for it as a really unique and enjoyable (if exhausting) festival to attend. In honor of its 2015 start, I wanted to run down some of the higher profile titles that could make a dent on the awards season later on this year. If not Oscar players, these could at least become the indie darlings of the season, or perhaps just crossover successes. Had I been in attendance at Sundance, there’s almost two dozen movies that I’d be hoping to catch, but I whittled a list down to just ten of the ones I want to highlight most. Take a look…
Here are ten films to look forward to once they leave Sundance:
10. Digging For Fire – In the last few years, Joe Swanberg has really upped his game, not only in terms of casting bigger names, but also coming up with compelling plots that still fit his unique filmmaking personality. Hopefully he continues the trend with this latest venture, which features a great cast, including Rosemarie DeWit, Jake Johnson (who co-wrote the script), Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Ron Livingston, Chris Messina, Sam Rockwell, and Jenny Slate, along with many others. Swanberg is on a high, so fingers crossed here.
9. I Smile Back – I was impressed by Sarah Silverman’s partly dramatic turn a couple years ago in Take This Waltz, so a full on serious role has me very intrigued. Silverman co-stars with Josh Charles and Thomas Sodoski in the story of an unhappy married woman lashing out with numerous vices. Silverman deserves this sort of a role, so I’ll be eager to see if she aces it.
8. A Walk in the Woods – Festival godfather Robert Redford stars here with Nick Nolte in a movie about old men talking, essentially. Doesn’t immediately sound too amazing, but I have to say, the chance to witness them going back and forth is rather appealing. It’ll likely be a mellow film, but I’m down to check it out.
7. Brooklyn – The latest script from novelist turned screenwriter Nick Hornby is a period piece set in 1950’s Ireland. Saoirse Ronan is the star, along with supporting players Jim Broadbent, Emory Cohen, and Domhnall Gleeson. This one seems to […]

Could Richard Linklater have a masterpiece on his hands with Boyhood?

Ever since it debuted to a near rapturous reception at the most recent Sundance Film Festival, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has been at the top of almost everyone’s “must see” lists, including mine. Not only does it look like a beautiful coming of age story, but the way it was actually made only makes you want to embrace Linklater’s work even more. I’ll be doing a more thorough look at its awards chances when the release gets closer, but since the trailer hit today (which I’ll embed below), I wanted to discuss the film a bit. At the very least, it looks like one movie that everyone really should be aware of. The flick could be something very special.
For those of you who aren’t aware, Linklater took an unprecedented route in making this movie. Basically, in 2002 he started filming a story about a young boy and his family. He cast six year old Ellar Coltrane in the lead role, along with Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as his parents, and would film scenes for a few days each year with them. Here now, he’s got a completed flick that depicts Coltrane growing up literally onscreen into an 18 year old. He transforms from a boy into a young man, coming of age in all the ways a kid normally will. It’s amazing that nothing went wrong and Linklater was able to achieve what he set out to do. What’s more, apparently he’s made something that a few of my colleagues at Sundance called his masterpiece.
It clearly remains to be seen if the Academy will embrace the work, but the initial reviews suggest that it’s worthy. A near three hour character study in which part of the power of the tale comes in knowing its backstory isn’t usually an easy sell to Oscar voters, but my fellow critics have already begun to rally behind it. At the very least, it should be in contention early for a number of categories, though a lot will depend on how the rest of the year goes. At the very least, currently it’s impossible not to be really excited to see the final product when it comes out this summer.
Below you can see the trailer for Boyhood, which should make you pretty much obsessed with seeing it as soon as possible. I know that’s how I responded. Anyway, take a look at it now:

Stay tuned […]

Jon Fitzgerald is the new Executive Director of the Hollywood Film Festival

The Hollywood Film Festival announces the appointment of Fest veteran Jon Fitzgerald as Executive Director of the 17th Annual Hollywood Film Festival.
“Jon’s experience in the online, film festival, and worldwide film communities will be a great asset to the growth and new direction of our Festival,” said Carlos de Abreu, founder of the Hollywood Film Festival.
As a co-founder and former executive director of Slamdance, AFI Fest, Santa Barbara and Abu Dhabi film festivals among others. In addition, in 2012 he launched CineCause, a philanthropic platform, connecting socially relevant films to related causes.
Fitzgerald will be working closely with festival founder Carlos de Abreu, and will be in charge of development, artistic direction, programming, marketing and overall Festival management, as well as the Hollywood Gives Back® Project.


The Festival is excited about the integration of several new components for the 2013 edition, led by Fitzgerald. One of the core missions has always been to “bridge the gap” between Hollywood and the global creative community. The Festival will take this concept to the next level with the new Hollywood Network® program. With film presentations taking place in the heart of Hollywood, the Festival presents a valuable screening platform for independent filmmakers, while providing for access to the studios and industry at large. The event will initiate a series of meetings between independent filmmakers and Hollywood industry professionals.
In addition, the Festival will combine sister organization Hollywood Gives Back® with CineCause, showcasing the other side of Hollywood, celebrating the Industry’s creative artists who have supported causes around the world. These efforts will be presented through the CineCause Spotlight section of the Festival, connecting social impact films with related causes.
The third new element will take place online. With filmmakers always looking for broad exposure, this year the Festival is pleased to be offering a select number of short films to Internet audiences, providing streaming opportunities to industry professionals and the online community.
“I’m very excited to have the chance to build on the success of the Hollywood Film Festival, and look forward to incorporating these new elements. Filmmakers will have opportunities to expand their connections, leverage entertainment to recognize important causes and broaden their reach to the online community, here in the film capital of the world,” says Fitzgerald.
The 17th Annual Hollywood Film Festival is now open for submissions in the follow genres: Features (all genres […]

Hot Docs Announces 28 Films in Special Presentations Program

Hot Docs is pleased to announce 28 documentary features that will be part of the Special Presentations program at the 2013 Hot Docs Festival, April 25 to May 5.
The program will include three world premieres: AJ Schnack’s CAUCUS, a behind-the-scenes look at the Republican candidates of the Iowa caucus; Barry Avrich’s PREPARE FOR THE WORST, a portrait of comedy icon David Steinberg; and Gus Holwerda’s THE UNBELIEVERS, which follows Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss as they spread the word about the importance of science and reason.
Award-winners from the recent international festival circuit include BLOOD BROTHER (Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, and Audience Choice Award: Documentary, Sundance 2013), GIDEON’S ARMY (Documentary Editing Award, Sundance 2013), PUSSY RIOT-A PUNK PRAYER (World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Prize, Sundance 2013), THE MACHINE WHICH MAKES EVERYTHING DISAPPEAR (World Cinema Directing Award: Dramatic, Sundance 2013), and WHO IS DAYANI CRISTAL? (World Cinema Cinematography Award: Documentary, Sundance 2013).
The program will also present a special 20th anniversary screening of THE WAR ROOM, with filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus in attendance.
The full selection of films to screen at Hot Docs 2013 will be announced on March 19, including the 2013 opening night film.
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Drumroll… Sundance Film Festival Awards Announced

Sundance Film Festival announces the 2013 awards. Congratulations award winners!
U. S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic – Fruitvale
U. S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary – Blood Brother
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic – Jiseul
World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary – A River Changes Course
Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic – Metro Manila
Audience Award: World Cinema: Documentary – The Square
Audience Award: U. S. Dramatic presented by Acura – Fruitvale
Audience Award: U.S. Documentary presented by Acura – Blood Brother
Audience Award: Best of NEXT – This is Martin Bonner
Directing Award: U. S. Dramatic – Afternoon Delight
Directing Award: U. S. Documentary – Cutie and the Boxer
Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic – Crystal Fairy
Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary – The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear
Cinematography Award: World Cinema Dramatic – Lasting
Cinematography Award: U. S. Documentary – Dirty Wars
Cinematography Award: U. S. Dramatic – Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Cinematography Award: U. S. Dramatic – Mother of George
Cinematography Award: World Cinema Documentary – Who Is Dayani Cristal?
U. S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking – Inequality for All
U. S. Documentary Special Jury award for Achievement in Filmmaking – American Promise
U. S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting – Miles Teller & Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now
U. S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Sound Design – Shane Carruth & Johnny Marshall, Upstream Color
World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award – Circles
World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Punk Spirit – Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer
Editing Award: World Cinema Documentary – The Summit
Editing Award: U. S. Documentary – Gideon’s Army
Screenwriting Award: World Cinema Dramatic – Wajma (An Afghan Love Story)
Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic – In A World…
Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize – Computer Chess
Short Film Grand Jury Prize – The Whistle
Short Film Jury Award: US Fiction – Whiplash
Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction – The Date
Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction – Skinningrove
Short Film Jury Award: Animation – Irish Folk Furniture
Short Film Special Jury Award for Acting – Joel Nagle, Palimpsest
Short Film Special Jury Award – Kahlil Joseph, Until the Quiet Comes
Short Film Audience Award, Presented by YouTube – Catnip: Egress to Oblivion
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Robert Redford on Sundance Film Festival, Awards Live Stream and More

Day Nine of the Festival was dominated by a film that garnered significant conjecture even prior to its Friday night premiere at Eccles.
Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad offered a pair of thoughtful and idiosyncratic performances portraying Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in Joshua Michael Stern’s poignant biopic, jOBS.
Also featured on the eve of closing night coverage is the first-ever adaptation of a David Sedaris story in Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s slick drama C.O.G…
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Sundance Film Festival: Toy’s House, Meet Brie Larson, Live Streams, Photos, and More – Day 8

Isaiah Washington Thrills in Blue Caprice, Toy’s House Teems with Nostalgia
Day Eight of our 2013 Sundance Film Festival coverage examines an incongruent slate of films in terms of both style and story. Alexandre Moors’ taut sniper thriller Blue Caprice manages a slick recreation of the Beltway sniper rampage, while Jordan Vogt-Roberts crafts a thoughtful coming-of-age comedy with Toy’s House.
Also featured is first-timer Randy Moore’s enigmatic and provocative drama Escape From Tomorrow …
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Sundance Film Festival: The Morning After ‘The East,’ ‘We Steal Secrets,’ ‘Volunteer Love,’ Photos, and More… – Day 7

Exploring Film Music and the Phenomenon of Julian Assange. Also known as Volunteer Appreciation Day in deference to the 1,800+ charitable men and women who are the oil to the Festival machine—featured a pair of discussions about music’s vital role in film and the premiere of We Steal Secrets, a shocking exploration into the phenomenon that is Julian Assange.
A whopping 27 panelists participated in a panel titled “Music and Film: The Creative Process,” which gathered directors and composers for a dialogue about the chemistry of their crafts…
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Sundance Film Festival: Shorts Awards Ceremony, Cutie and the Boxer, and In a World – Day 6

The closing days of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival are imminent, indicated by a flurry of awards ceremonies on Day Six. Our annual favorite, the always irreverent Shorts Awards were held last night at Jupiter Bowl, where 7 awards were distributed on the merits of animation, acting, and more.
Zachary Heinzerling?s Cutie and The Boxer, an intimate portrait of famous boxing painter Ushio Shinohara, and In a World…, Lake Bell?s charming depiction of the voice-over industry, also both screened for Park City audiences
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Upstream Color, Narco Cultura, Women at Sundance, and Digi Distribution Tips

Shane Carruth’s pleasantly incomprehensible Dramatic Competition entry Upstream Color—his highly-anticipated follow up to the 2004 Grand Jury Prize winner Primer—delivered yet again and on an even more enigmatic level on Monday.
Also featured in our Day Five coverage is Shaul Schwarz’s jarring and disturbing depiction of Mexican drug cartels and the appalling glamorization of their work in local culture. Revisit all of the highlights from Day Five of the Sundance Film Festival.
To
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