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Emmy-Winning TV Director Peter Baldwin Dies at 86

2 hours ago

Peter Baldwin, who started as an actor and went on to become a prolific TV director throughout the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, died Nov. 19 in Pebble Beach, Calif. He was 86.

Baldwin won a Primetime Emmy Award for directing “The Wonder Years” and a Cable Ace Award for “Dream On.”

Born in Winnetka, Ill., he was discovered by a Hollywood talent scout in his senior year at Stanford. He became one of Paramount’s “Golden Circle of Newcomers” and appeared in films including “Stalag 17,” “Little Boy Lost” and Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments.”

He served three years in the Navy and returned to Paramount, where he appeared in “The Tin Star” and “Teacher’s Pet” with Clark Gable and Doris Day.

After touring with Julie Harris in “The Warm Peninsula” play, Baldwin moved to Italy, where he appeared in films by Robert Rossellini, Dino Risi and Francesco Rosi. There he started »


- Pat Saperstein

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‘Coco’ Edges ‘Justice League’ at Thanksgiving Day Box Office

9 hours ago

Disney-Pixar’s “Coco” topped Warner Bros.-DC Entertainment’s “Justice League” at the Thanksgiving Day box office by $400,000 with $8.9 million at 3,987 North American sites.

The animated musical has taken in $22.2 million in its first two days, while the superhero mashup grossed $18.9 million during the same period. Projections have shown that “Coco” will wind up the five-day Thanksgiving holiday with about $70 million during the Wednesday-Sunday period, beating  “Justice League” by about $10 million.

Coco” is performing significantly above pre-release forecasts, which had been in the $55 million to $60 million range. It received an A+ CinemaScore from moviegoers, indicating that the film could be lifted by strong word of mouth during the rest of the holidays.

On the same holiday weekend a year ago, Disney’s “Moana” scored $25.4 million on its first two days and went on to earn $82 million over the five days. That was the second-highest opening for the period, trailing only Disney’s “Frozen” at $93 million in 2013.

Directed »


- Dave McNary

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Uma Thurman Promises ‘More to Come’ in Fierce #MeToo Instagram

7 hours ago

Uma Thurman posted a Happy Thanksgiving message on Instagram in which she had some strong words for Harvey Weinstein and promised that she would have more to say about sexual harassment.

Using a still of herself from Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill,” she said “I said I was angry recently, and I have a few reasons, #metoo, in which you couldn’t tell by the look on my face.

“Happy Thanksgiving Everyone (except you Harvey, and all your wicked conspirators – I’m glad it’s going slowly – you don’t deserve a bullet.)

She said she feels it’s important to “take your time, be fair, be exact,” and then wrote “Stay tuned.”

In an interview from October, she appeared to be holding back barely suppressed rage.

“I don’t have a tidy sound bite for you,” she told the Access Hollywood interviewer. “So I’ve been waiting to feel less angry… and when I »


- Pat Saperstein

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Peddling Pictures Launches With Discovery’s ‘Prison Food’ (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

Award-winning filmmaker Aditya Thayi has teamed with former Endemol Shine head of line production Kavitha Wijeyaratne to start Singapore production outfit Peddling Pictures.

The company has a paid-up capital of Us$500,000 with a further Us$2 million being raised from investors in Singapore, Hong Kong and India.

First up for Peddling Pictures is “Prison Food,” a non-fiction original series for Discovery Networks that is currently in production. Filming begins in December on Mediacorp’s feature documentary “Singapore After Dark” to be released on Singapore’s National Day in 2018. It is expected to use breakthrough night-time photography technology.

After directing and producing more than 150 hours of international content for Sony Entertainment Television, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Networks and Aetn, Thayi and Wijeyaratne are now diversifying into fiction.

Peddling Pictures is in development on six-part fiction series “Nightwatch” set in the dark, seedy world of extra-judicial killings in the barangays (small districts) of Manila. Also in development »


- Naman Ramachandran

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Sgiff: Controversial ‘Sexy Durga’ set for Singapore Debut

3 hours ago

Singapore audiences will get a chance to view controversial Indian film “Sexy Durga.” The award-winning Malayalam-language film directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan is set to play at the Singapore International Film Festival on Saturday.

Set over one night, the film follows a young couple on the run in Kerala as they are harassed by a cross-section of society. The film is a comment on the poor situation of women’s safety in India.

The film won the Hivos Tiger award in Rotterdam where it premiered earlier this year. It has been on the global festival circuit since then, picking up accolades and awards along the way.

Matters are not so rosy in India. Durga is the name of a Hindu goddess and a common Indian female name. India’s Central Board of Film Certification ordered the title to be changed from “Sexy Durga” to “S Durga” and the muting of 21 swear words. But it did »


- Naman Ramachandran

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Taiwan’s ‘Cock Robin’ Heads for North America With Cheng Cheng

3 hours ago

New York-based Cheng Cheng Films has picked up North American rights to Taiwanese psychological crime thriller “Who Killed Cock Robin?”. The film is a front runner in the Golden Horse Awards which will be presented later today in Taipei. It is nominated in five categories, including best picture.

The film is directed by Cheng Wei-hao, who previously made hit “The Tag-Along.” It follows an ambitious journalist’s probe into a hit and run accident he witnessed years earlier.

It stars Mason Lee (“The Hangover Part II,” “Lucy”,) the Taiwanese-American actor who is the son of two-time Oscar-winning director Ang Lee. Lee senior will be on hand to present awards at the Golden Horse ceremony.

Cheng Cheng plans a theatrical release for the film in Spring 2018. The company, which specializes in Chinese-language cinema, has previously handled “One Night Only,” Absurd Accident,” and “Soulmate.”

International rights are handled by Tapei-based Mandarinvision. The company »


- Patrick Frater

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Michael Pena-Lizzy Caplan Movie ‘Extinction’ Disappears From Universal Schedule

3 hours ago

Universal has pulled science-fiction thriller  “Extinction” from its Jan. 26 release date just two months before its release date. The change will let the studio “explore other options,” sources said.

The film stars  Michael Pena (“Ant-Man”) and Lizzy Caplan (“Now You See Me 2,” “Allied”) as a husband and wife. His character has a recurring nightmare of losing his family and that bad dream becomes a reality when the planet is invaded by a force bent on destruction. “Luke Cage” star Mike ColterLilly Aspell, Emma Booth, Israel Broussard and Lex Shrapnel also star.

Ben Young directed from a script by Eric Heisserer, Spenser Cohen and Bradley Caleb Kane and shot the film in Serbia during the spring. Young also directed “Hounds of Love.” Heisserer was  nominated for an Academy Award for his “Arrival” screenplay.

Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman of Mandeville, who backed “Beauty and the Beast,” are producing. Mandeville’s Alexander Young is an executive producer »


- Dave McNary

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Orange Poaches EuropaCorp’s Sales Exec Andreï Kamarowsky to Run Sales for New Film/TV Division

6 hours ago

Orange Studio has appointed Andreï Kamarowsky, former senior VP of international sales at EuropaCorp, to run sales for the French telco group’s new film/TV division.

The exec joins Orange Studio from EuropaCorp where he worked as senior VP of international sales since 2011.

He will report to David Kessler and Pascal Delarue, the co-managing directors of Orange Studio.

Kamarowsky is boarding Orange Studio at a pivotal moment. Under Kessler’s leadership, the company is getting ready to play a much bigger role in the film and TV landscapes in France and abroad.

The vertically-integrated banner, whose parent company Orange also operates pay TV channels Orange Cinema Series, signed a distribution deal a year ago with Ugc Images (a subsidiary of Europe’s second biggest cinema circuit) to kick off direct distribution in France under the label Orange Cinema Distribution. Meanwhile, Orange will also be distributing Ugc films starting in January.

As previously announced, »


- Elsa Keslassy

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‘Logan’ Director James Mangold Discusses His Early Career, Mentor Alexander Mackendrick

7 hours ago

James Mangold was first mentioned in Variety on June 30, 1982, when he won a $1,000 student prize for the sound on his film “Future View.” At California Institute of the Arts, he found a mentor in director Alexander Mackendrick (“The Ladykillers,” “Sweet Smell of Success”), who stressed the importance of character and story rather than “fine-art” film-school fanciness. It’s a lesson Mangold has used on all his films, including “Cop Land” (1997) “Walk the Line” (2005), “3:10 to Yuma” (2007) and his latest, “Logan,” a spinoff of the “X-Men” franchise. Still, Mangold convinced Fox to make “Logan” a film about real people, rather than a VFX green-screen extravaganza.

“Every tentpole seems to be about the end of the world. I felt the formula was tired,” he says. “I think even audiences are exhausted and certain aspects of storytelling have gotten monotonous.” Instead, he wanted to focus on a makeshift family and its members’ very human concerns.

The gamble »


- Tim Gray

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‘Cuba and the Cameraman’ Documentary Captures Castro Era, Evolution of Video

8 hours ago

Participants in the personal video revolution of the 1970s will be thrilled as they watch the credits roll at the end of Jon Alpert’s documentary “Cuba and the Cameraman,” which debuts on Netflix and in theaters on Nov. 24.

Alpert, the pioneering journalist and filmmaker, has through the years reported from places like Vietnam, Cambodia, Iran, China and Afghanistan and has made films for broadcast networks PBS and HBO.

His latest project for Netflix encapsulates his travels to Cuba over five decades, during which he shot life on the island under Fidel Castro. He used portable technology that was in its infancy when he began and became more sophisticated over the years.

“This documentary is basically a museum of the entire evolution of electronic image-gathering.”

Jon Alpert

“The pot has been boiling for a long time, so to speak,” says Alpert. “We knew we wanted to make this film. I felt that it was an important mission »


- Valentina I. Valentini

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Mar del Plata: Argentina on the Rise – Gustavo Biazzi

9 hours ago

Mar Del Plata, Argentina — Lensed with a continuous verve from the first shot of the protagonist, Ernesto, running to catch his girlfriend at a viva at university, there’s hardly a shot in the first three-quarters of Gustavo Biazzi’s “Los Vagos” (“The Bums”) where Ernesto or the camera is not on the move, sometimes making highly technical demanding shots look easy. That of course is to be expected from one of Argentina’s most reputed young cinematographers, whose credits take in Santiago Mitre’s “The Student” and Cannes Critics’ Week winner “Paulina.” It also reflects the movie’s subject. On holiday in Misiones, Ernesto leaving behind his girlfriend from childhood, the high-achiever Paula, for a riverside holiday with his laddish friends back home. Together, they hit parties, chase girls, booze themselves into stupor, as Ernesto searches for he’s not sure what as an alternative to Paula. Produced by Santiago Carabante and La Union de los »


- John Hopewell

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‘Aladdin’ Turns 25: Creators on the Real Beginning of the Disney Renaissance

10 hours ago

Before Disney’s animated blockbuster “Aladdin” had its premiere in Japan, directors Ron Clements and John Musker were told not to worry if the audience didn’t laugh.

And it wasn’t because the Japanese performer who dubbed Robin Williams’ shape-shifting Genie didn’t capture the actor’s brilliant off-the-wall comedic performance.

“They tell you ahead of time, ‘don’t worry because the audience won’t laugh, because a Japanese audience doesn’t laugh,”’ noted Clements. “They just sit respectfully.”

But they did laugh at Genie, who turns into everybody from Ed Sullivan to William F. Buckley to former talk show host Arsenio Hall.

“Probably the biggest laugh in the whole screening was when he turned into Arsenio Hall and did his ‘Woof, woof, woof’ with his arm,” said Clements. “I was asking somebody afterward about that and why it got  such a big laugh. They said ‘Oh, we loved it when the Genie turned into Julia Roberts »


- Susan King

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Directors Call for Overhaul of Berlin Film Festival After Dieter Kosslick Departs

10 hours ago

A group of 79 German filmmakers including Maren Ade (“Tony Erdmann”), Fatih Akin (“In the Fade”) and Robert Schwentke (“The Captain”) has called for “a new start” for the Berlin Film Festival after longtime festival director Dieter Kosslick’s contract expires in 2019.

In an open letter published by Spiegel Online, the filmmakers recommend the formation of a gender-balanced international selection committee charged with finding Kosslick’s successor and weighing fundamental changes to the event.

“The goal must be to find an outstanding curatorial personality who is passionate about cinema, well-connected internationally and capable of leading the festival into the future on an equal footing with Cannes and Venice,” the letter read. “We want a transparent procedure and a new start.”

The letter, whose signatories also include Andreas Dresen, Sebastian Schipper, Volker Schlöndorff, Dominik Graf, Christian Petzold, Doris Dörrie, Maria Schrader, Hans-Christian Schmid and Rosa von Praunheim, is seen as a public rebuke of the Kosslick era, during which the »


- Ed Meza

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Songs For Screens: Active Child Offers Woke Spiritualism; Sonos Hosts A Deee-Lite-ful Dance Party

11 hours ago

“Songs for Screens” (formerly known as “Synch This”) is a Variety column written by Andrew Hampp, a VP at New York-based music sponsorship and experiential agency Mac Presents and former branding correspondent for Billboard. Each week, the column will highlight noteworthy use of music in advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as new and catalog songs that we deem ripe for synch use.

Remember slow news days? Me neither. Where the latest news cycles have become relentlessly negative as the world does some serious soul-searching, pop music has become either deliberately escapist (witness Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” the entirety of Taylor Swift’s “Reputation”), innocuous (the back-to-back Hot 100 No. 1s of Cardi B and Post Malone) or downright nihilistic (hardcore rap).

As ad agencies and TV showrunners alike wrestle with how to incorporate the current political climate into their latest commercials and prime-time hits (some more successfully than others), a new niche is being carved »


- Andrew Hampp

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Sgiff: Movie Legend Waheeda Rehman Lauds Contemporary Indian Cinema

11 hours ago

Waheeda Rehman, the 79-year-old grande dame of Indian cinema who has worked with most of the legendary filmmakers of her country during her 62-year career is very complimentary about the kind of films being made today.

“All kinds of stories are being today,” Rehman said. “Back in the day, films used to be formulaic. There was a hero, heroine and a villain, and there would be a cabaret number thrown in for good measure. I got very bored and began looking for different roles.”

Rehman was speaking at an In Conversation event for “The Song of Scorpions” that showed as a special presentation at the Singapore International Film Festival on Friday. Other speakers included director Anup Singh and producers Shahaf Peled and Saskia Vischer.

The roles Rehman chose were in films that are considered classics in the annals of Indian cinema. She worked with Guru Dutt in “Pyaasa” (1957) and “Kaagaz Ke Phool” (1959), Satyajit Ray in “Abhijaan” (1962), Basu Bhattacharya »


- Naman Ramachandran

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ITV Studios Global Ent. To Handle Movistar+ Original ‘Felix’

13 hours ago

Confirming the large interest of Europe’s foremost TV sales houses in handling original series produced by Telefonica’s Movistar+, ITV Studios Global Ent. has acquired international distribution rights to Cesc Gay’s drama “Felix.”

Starring Argentina’s Leonardo Sbaraglia, “Felix” forms part of Movistar+’s ambitious original production plans, which sees an annual investment of €70 million ($83 million) in TV fiction productions.

This bet is allowing Movistar+, Spain’s leading paybox, to launch its first four original series -“The Zone,” “The Plague,” “Velvet Collection” and “Vergüenza”- by 2017, and release some 10 further new titles by the end of next year.

“Felix” is an instance of close creative collaboration between audience-friendly auteur Gay (“Truman,” “Krampack,” “In the City”) and thesp Sbaraglia (“Wild Tales”).

An eight-episode romantic thriller with doses of humor and mystery, “Felix” filmed on location in Andorra, Madrid and Barcelona for 19 weeks, enough time for a director and an actor “to construct a role and »


- Emiliano De Pablos

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Ventana Sur: Media Luna Picks Up Puenzo’s ‘The Unseen,’ Quintero’s ‘Angela’ (Exclusive)

20 hours ago

In the run up to Buenos Aires’ Ventana Sur, Cologne-based Media Luna New Films has picked up international sales rights to two features by up- and-coming directors: Nicolás Puenzo’s “Los últimos” (The Unseen) and Agamenon Quintero’s “Angela.”

Social issue thriller “The Unseen” tells the story of a couple, a pregnant Quechua girl and her creole partner, trekking in a desperate state across the Bolivian Highlands, now a post-apocalyptic wasteland devoid of natural resources and ruled by a bloody militia, in an attempt to reach the Pacific Ocean, where they hope a safe haven awaits them.

The film marks the helming feature debut of Nicolás Puenzo, son of veteran Argentine filmmaker Luis Puenzo, after many years working as a cinematographer or producer on projects such as “Cromo” and “The German Doctor”, both collaborations with his sister, the director Lucía Puenzo. In “Cromo,” a 12-episode TV drama currently streaming in Netflix, Nicolás Puenzo also co-directed. »


- Emiliano De Pablos

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Virtual Reality Conference Promises to Ignite Singapore Media Festival

23 November 2017 3:00 PM, PST

Virtual Reality is the buzz phrase these days at film festivals, big and small. They are keen to explore alternate means of entertainment that might just possibly the future. The Singapore Media Festival is no different and has set up a one-day event – the Vr X Smf Ignite Conference – that will unspool Nov. 29 with a packed line-up.

Kicking off proceedings will be the keynote presentation by Mohen Leo, creative director and visual effects supervisor at ILMxLAB, an immersive entertainment and Vr laboratory belonging to Lucasfilm, Industrial Light and Magic, and Skywalker Sound. While Leo is expected to share insights about storytelling for immersive entertainment, “Star Wars” fans in Singapore will be hoping that he provides a sneak peek into “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire,” a Vr joint venture between ILMxLAB and The Void, that is designed to transport users to a galaxy far, far away.

The conference continues with Allen Foo, founder and chief »


- Naman Ramachandran

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Singapore: ‘Scorpions’ Director Readies Third Film With Irrfan Khan (Exclusive)

23 November 2017 2:58 PM, PST

Top Indian director, Anup Singh is poised to reunite with star Irrfan Khan on “Lasya – The Gentle Dance.”

Singh’s “The Song of Scorpions,”, starring Khan, Golshifteh Farahani and Indian cinema legend Waheeda Rehman, is playing as a special presentation at the Singapore International Film Festival, part of the Singapore Media Festival. Singh’s previous film “Qissa: The Tale of a Lonely Ghost” also starred Khan.

“As with all film directors, I suppose, I have a few film scripts juggling in my head. I await the one that keeps flying in my imagination while the others steadily fall away,” Singh told Variety. “At the moment, that one seems to be my next film with Irrfan Khan. It will be my third film with him, a kind of conclusive trilogy bringing to some resolution, I hope, the themes that have been haunting me since “Qissa” and have continued to pursue me with “The Song of Scorpions.”

The film is »


- Naman Ramachandran

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Canal Plus Orders Thomas Lilti’s ‘Hippocrate’ Medical Series

23 November 2017 10:37 AM, PST

French helmer Thomas Lilti will be making his TV debut with “Hippocrate,” a medical drama series inspired by his 2014 film, which world premiered at Cannes’ Critics’ Week.

The contemporary series, comprising eight one-hour episodes, has been commissioned by French TV channel Canal Plus.

Lilti created the series with Anais Carpita (“Call My Agent!”), Claude Le Pape (“Love at First Fight”) and Julien Lilti. “Hippocrate” is being produced by Lilti’s regular partners, Agnes Vallée and Emmanuel Barraux at 31 Juin Films.

The plot will revolve around a public hospital located in suburb of a major city where doctors have being quarantined due to a health hazard. The series follows three interns lacking experience and a forensic medical expert who don’t know each other and must join forces to handle the entire hospital and patients alone while the quarantine gets unexpectedly extended.

Hippocrate” the film was sold by Le Pacte in major territories and turned out to be a »


- Elsa Keslassy

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