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Eddie Izzard Joins Australian Movie ‘The Call Back’

47 minutes ago

Eddie Izzard will star in “The Call Back,” and filming will start on the Australian movie later this month in and around Adelaide. Izzard (“Victoria & Abdul”) will play Henry, a British actor who has a relationship with an Australian restauranteur.

French actress Vanessa Guide (“The New Adventures of Aladdin”), and Australian actors Emily Taheny (“Get Krack!n”), Luke McKenzie (“Wentworth”) will also star.

The film is Marion Pilowsky’s (“Sleuth”) feature debut and follows a struggling restaraunteur (Taheny), mired in debt, and who has had a short-lived relationship with Henry. She subsequently settles with a new partner (McKenzie), but her world is turned upside down when Henry comes back into her life, along with his new French girlfriend (Guide).

Fox International Productions, Screen Australia and the South Australian Film Corporation (Safc) are the investors in the film and it will be distributed in Australia via 20th Century Fox Film Australia. London-based [link=co »

- Stewart Clarke

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Apsa to Honor Late Abbas Kiarostami, Newcomer Ilgar Najaf

1 hour ago

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards are to honor the late Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami with a special prize. It has commended Kiarostami’s final feature “24 Frames” and will give him posthumous admission to the Apsa Academy.

“’24 Frames’ is an exquisite reverie on scenes from nature. Through still, but precise frames, and aided by subtle staging or effects, he captures the haunting, haiku-like poetry of nature, its beauty, amorousness and brutality. The play with the double meaning of ‘frame’ reflects his profound mediation on the cinematic form,” said Kim Hong-joon, hair of the Apsa international nominations council.

Director of “Certified Copy,” “Taste of Cherry,” and “Through the Olive Trees,” Kiarostami died in July this year.

Director and producer, Ilgar Najaf has been awarded the Apsa Young Cinema Award in partnership with Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (Netpac) and the Griffith Film School for his second film “Pomegranate Orchard” (aka “Nar Bagi”).

The story involves a man returning »

- Patrick Frater

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Village Rockstars,’ ‘Summer 1993’ win Mumbai Film Festival

7 hours ago

Rima Das’ “Village Rockstars” won the golden gateway prize for best film in the India Gold competition, at the Mumbai Film Festival (Oct. 12-18). The festival concluded on Wednesday.

Village Rockstars” also won best film on gender equality. Bornila Chatterjee’s “The Hungry” merited a jury mention in the category.

Rahul Jain’s “Machines” took the silver gateway prize in the India Gold competition while Dipesh Jain’s “In the Shadows” won the grand jury prize. There were jury mentions for Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s “Sexy Durga” and Anushka Meenakshi and Iswar Srikumar’s “Up Down and Sideways.”

Carla Simon’s “Summer 1993” (Spain) won the best film prize in the international competition and Jonathan Olshefski’s “Quest” (U.S.) won the silver gateway prize. John Trengove’s “The Wound” (South Africa/Germany/Netherlands /France) won the grand jury prize and there was a jury mention for Ana Urushadze’s “Scary Mother” (Georgia/Estonia).

Ildiko Enyedi’s “On Body »

- Naman Ramachandran

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Vivien Leigh Biopic in Works From ‘Feud: Betty and Joan’ Writers (Exclusive)

10 hours ago

Feud: Betty and Joan” writers Michael Zam and Jaffe Cohen are making a biopic about Vivien Leigh.

The duo received an Emmy nomination with Ryan Murphy for best writing for a limited series for the FX show.

Zam and Cohen will adapt the feature from Hugo Vickers’ “Vivien Leigh: A Biography.” The film will focus on the life of the actress and her relationship with Laurence Olivier, who was her spouse from 1940 to 1960.

Leigh won best actress Academy Awards for her portrayal of  Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind” (1939) and Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951). She also won a Tony in 1963 for best actress in a musical for “Tovarich.” She suffered from bipolar disorder and tuberculosis, and died at the age of 53 in 1967. »

- Dave McNary

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Film News Roundup: Bill Nighy, Jack Lowden to Star in Comedy ‘Made in Italy’

10 hours ago

In today’s film news roundup, Bill Nighy and Jack Lowden join “Made in Italy,” a new distributor named Anerke launches with a focus on films for minorities and women, Jeffrey Tambor gets an award and the Sloan Summit announces its panelists.


Bill Nighy and “Dunkirk” star Jack Lowden have signed up for the comedy “Made in Italy,” James D’Arcy’s feature directorial debut.

Developed by London based CrossDay Productions, the film is produced by Pippa Cross and Sam Tipper-Hale with co-producer Nicola Serra for Italian production entity Palomar. HanWay’s Gabrielle Stewart and CrossDay’s Janette Day are executive producers.

D’Arcy  previously wrote and directed the  short film “Chicken/Egg,” starring Hayley Atwell and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, which screened at the 2017 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Made in Italy” is set in Tuscany with Nighy as a bohemian London artist who returns to Italy with his estranged son (played by Lowden) to make a quick »

- Dave McNary

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Busan Facetime: Director Kamila Andini on Balancing Motherhood and Filmmaking

11 hours ago

When director Kamila Andini showcased her debut feature, “The Mirror Never Lies,” in Busan in 2011, she already mentioned that her second feature would be a story about children and nature. That story, “The Seen and Unseen, which screens in Busan’s A Window on Asian Cinema, took her six years to make. The filmmaker says that many things have changed in the meantime.

What took you so long to come back with a second full-length feature?

After “The Mirror,” I got married, had two kids and have been raising them. I wish I could find a better reason, but I think every woman-mother filmmaker must know how these things take time. Meanwhile, I managed to release two short films during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It was a “practice” to handle both roles in my life: mother and filmmaker.

How do you feel about coming back to Busan with a new feature film?

Mixed feelings. Of course »

- Sonia Kil

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VidAngel Declares Bankruptcy to Put Copyright Fight on Hold

12 hours ago

VidAngel, the Utah-based streaming service that filters out offensive content, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday.

The filing is designed to put its copyright battle with three major studios on hold, as it seeks to expand its new filtering service.

“We have millions in the bank, and we’re already making millions on the new system,” said CEO Neal Harmon. “Business will continue as usual for our customers and our employees and all our team.”

VidAngel’s original service gave family audiences the power to filter out violence, sexual content, and foul language from mainstream studio releases. The company did not have a license with the content owners. Instead, it bought up copies of DVD’s, decrypted them, and then “sold” them to users who accessed them online and then “sold” them back to VidAngel. VidAngel argued this was permissible under the federal Family Movie Act, which was designed to allow filtering of offensive content.

But Warner »

- Gene Maddaus

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Morgan Freeman to Play Colin Powell in Biopic

13 hours ago

Morgan Freeman will star as Colin Powell in an independent biopic about the former U.S. Secretary of State.

The film will focus on Powell’s 2003 speech to the United Nations to seek support for the Bush administration’s plan to forcibly remove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, based on intelligence — later discredited — that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons. Powell later described the event as a low point in his career.

Reginald Hudlin is attached to direct “Powell” with Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment and Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment as the production companies. Producers are Amritraj and Lori McCreary, Freeman’s partner at Revelations.

Hudlin will direct from a script by Ed Whitworth, which was on the 2011 Black List. The project will focus on Powell’s tenure as the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position.

Executive producers »

- Dave McNary

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Channing Tatum Pulls Sexual Abuse Movie, Cutting Ties With Weinstein Company

14 hours ago

In the latest fallout from the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal, Channing Tatum is ditching his film adaptation of “Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock” at the Weinstein Company.

The actor and producer announced Wednesday in a statement with producing partner Reid Carolin that they are halting development on the adaptation of Matthew Quick’s 2013 novel — which focuses on a teenager who plans to kill his best friend and then himself following experiences of sexual abuse. The pic would have marked their co-directorial debut. Tatum also said he’s cutting ties with TWC, which has fired Weinstein and kicked him off its board in the wake of the far-reaching controversy.

Tatum posted the statement on his social media pages. He credited the women who have stepped forward since the scandal erupted on Oct. 5 following the publication of an explosive New York Times story.

“The brave women who had the courage to stand up and speak their truth about [link=nm »

- Dave McNary

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Los Angeles Feature Film Production Increases 7.6% in Third Quarter

15 hours ago

On-location feature film production in Greater Los Angeles increased by 7.6% in the third quarter to 1,172 shoot days, according to the permitting agency FilmL.A.

The agency, which released the report on Wednesday, credited the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program for the gain. It said the incentive program — which provides a 20% tax credit — contributed 133 filming days or 11.3% for the quarter with “Ad Astra,” “Backseat,” “Book Club,” and “Bright” shooting in L.A.

The gain in features was not enough to hold off a 3.5% decline in overall on-location filming in L.A. to 9,455 shoot day — thanks to a 20.4% decline in reality TV shoots to 1,068 shoot days as the category continues to be crowded out by a shift to scripted content.

Commercial production rose 7.2% to 1,335 shoot days and TV drama production increased 4.1% to 1,231 days — the first quarterly increase seen this year. Incentivized TV dramas filming in L.A. were “Code Black,” “American Horror Story: Cult,” “Heathers,” “Law »

- Dave McNary

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L.A. Film Festival Moving to September From June, Partnering With Arclight

15 hours ago

Moving into awards season, the Los Angeles Film Festival will shift from mid-June to mid-September for its 24th edition next year.

Film Independent, which operates the festival, also announced Wednesday a multi-year partnership with the ArcLight Cinemas chain. The festival has been headquartered at the Arclight Culver City for the past two years.

The move will put the L.A. Film Festival into the heart of awards season. It will follow the Venice International Film Festival, which begins in late August; the Telluride Film Festival, which runs over Labor Day; and the Toronto Intl. Film Festival, which starts three days after Labor Day. The Los Angeles festival would be ending next year just as the New York Film Festival is starting.

In its June slot, the L.A. Film Festival took place a few weeks after the Cannes Film Festival.

The L.A. Film Festival has been aiming in recent years to put an emphasis on films »

- Dave McNary

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Oscars: Netflix and Errol Morris Defy Convention With Hybrid Doc ‘Wormwood’

16 hours ago

Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris has “run afoul” of the film Academy before, he jokes. After all, his unconventional 1988 cinematic investigation “The Thin Blue Line” apparently violated unspoken dogma within the documentary community that year, yielding one of the most egregious snubs in Oscar history.

Nevertheless, he’s ready to test the organization’s boundaries once again this year, and he’s found an apt partner in a trailblazing platform that’s no stranger to upsetting industry status quo.

Netflix will release Morris’ “Wormwood” as a four-hour, six-part event on the streaming site on Dec. 15. But following the series’ world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in September, the director has prepared a non-episodic theatrical version with a single intermission, Variety has learned. Netflix plans to submit that version to the film Academy, and not only for documentary feature consideration, but for all other categories as well.

That in and of itself is not uncommon. But what makes »

- Kristopher Tapley

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Movie Ticket Prices Edge Down Slightly to $8.93 for Third Quarter

17 hours ago

Average movie ticket prices were slightly down during the third quarter to $8.93 — 2 cents below their all-time high during the second quarter — according to the National Association of Theatre Owners.

Wednesday’s release by Nato, the lobbying arm for the exhibition industry, underlines how expensive it’s become to go to the movies. The figure is 3% more than the 2016 national average of $8.65 and almost a 5% increase from $8.51 in Q3 2016.

The price of tickets in the first quarter of 2017 also set a record with an average of $8.84. The rising prices are due to the increased number of films shown in 3D, Imax, and other premium formats — which come with higher costs.

Top films during the third quarter were Sony’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” New Line’s horror blockbuster “It,” and Warner Bros.’ World War II drama “Dunkirk.” “It,” which was released on Sept. 8, grossed record earnings for the month and helped the industry recover from the worst August in more »

- Dave McNary

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Morelia: Toons Bookend the 15th Morelia Int’l Film Fest

17 hours ago

Animation pics are bookending the Morelia Int’l Film Festival for the first time in its 15-year history. Pixar Animation Studios’ latest opus, “Coco,” no less, receives its world premiere in Morelia on opening night, October 20, while Carlos Carrera’s “Ana & Bruno” marks its Latin American premiere when it wraps the fest on October 28.

Set in Mexico and against the country’s most important annual event, the Day of the Dead, “Coco” is an apt choice as Morelia and the nearby lakeside village of Patzcuaro are particularly renowned for their Day of the Dead festivities. Since the festival usually ends close to the eve of the holiday, some guests have stayed on to witness the pageantry.

Snagging the world premiere of Pixar’s latest animated feature began some two years ago when festival director Daniela Michel met Pixar Chief Creative officer John Lasseter at the Lumière Festival in Lyon where Lasseter told her that Pixar’s next »

- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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“Chappaquiddick,” “Logan’s Syndrome” Headline Carmel Film Festival

17 hours ago

The Carmel International Film Festival, running Oct. 18-22, may only be entering its 9th year of existence, but for co-founders Erin Clark and Tom Burns there are already enough stories about the event to go around. Of course, there was the time that the portable screen on the beach punctured during the middle of a movie.

“It was like the Wicked Witch in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ it just kind of went down,” says Clark. “And you have 350 people on the beach watching this. And we get a phone call telling us, ‘We have a problem.’ O.K., because, you can’t be everywhere at once, right?”

It goes without saying that while Clark and Burns realized it was fun in theory, in reality, the windy Pacific coast was best served for parties and special events as opposed to a temporary screening venue. Fast forward to 2017 and Carmel has grown to four indoor venues, including the 700-seat »

- Gregory Ellwood

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Entertainment Industry Foundation Selects Nicole Sexton as President, CEO

18 hours ago

Nicole Sexton has been tapped as the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s new president and chief executive officer.

Sexton most recently served as the chief of staff of the Central Park Conservancy in New York City. Regina Miller, a fundraiser with a background in global charities and innovative start-ups, will join Eif as a special consultant.

Sexton will oversee the organization’s key initiatives — Hunger Is, Xq, and Hollywood Unfiltered — and continue the development of enterprises, such as last weekend’s One Voice: Somos Live! — a concert for disaster relief for those impacted by the recent natural disasters in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

Sexton succeeds Lisa Paulsen, who stepped down as president in April to concentrate on critical development and talent relations efforts for the foundation.

“Nicole and Regina bring invaluable experience and expertise to our unique and multifaceted organization,” said Eif board chair Chris Silbermann. “We play a singular role in the world of philanthropy »

- Dave McNary

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Napa Valley Film Festival to Proceed as Planned in Aftermath of Fires

18 hours ago

The Napa Valley Film Festival has announced that it will proceed with next month’s festival and donate 10% of the proceeds to the Napa Valley Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund.

The region has been hit hard by aggressive wildfires that began on Oct. 8 and killed at least 41 people in Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, and Mendocino counties in the deadliest week of fires in California history. The fires have destroyed at least 5,700 homes. Firefighters have been gaining control over the blazes this week.

“Our hearts and thoughts continue to be with all of our Napa and Sonoma County families, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and partners during this difficult time,” said Nvff co-founders/directors Marc and Brenda Lhormer.

“Our intention is to put on the most memorable and meaningful film festival to date,” the duo added. “Our partners and venues are eager to share this festival with those who love and need great stories, conversation, and bonding experiences. »

- Dave McNary

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Are Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump the Same Person?

19 hours ago

The relentless downpour of the Harvey Weinstein story — the hideous saga of a sociopathic predator, and of the corrupt system that gave license to him — has unleashed an unending torrent of voices. So it’s no surprise that a number of them are coming from the raging, frothing hothouse of right-wing media. Even with what should, by all rights, be embarrassing echoes of the Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly scandals (then again, you can’t embarrass a network that has no shame), the Weinstein story feeds into the sweet spot of conservative optics, since it’s all about the hidden corruption of Hollywood, which has long been a mythological target of the right. Yet there’s a lone voice in all this that (for once) has been notably restrained: that of Donald Trump.

It’s easy to imagine the Weinstein story as a trifecta of Trump tweets. Taken on the president’s own terms, it’s about »

- Owen Gleiberman

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Box Office: ‘Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’ to Haunt Competition on Slow Weekend

19 hours ago

The opening of Tyler Perry’s horror-comedy sequel “Boo 2! A Madea Halloween” should dominate the North American box office this weekend in the $20 million to $22 million range at about 2,300 locations.

Lionsgate is looking at a result that’s down 30% from the year-ago returns of the original “Boo! A Madea Halloween,” which launched with a $28.5 million weekend on Oct. 21-23 and finished with $73 million domestically. The sequel is directed by Perry from his own script and stars Perry in his ninth iteration as the tough-talking Madea.

As with the original, “Boo 2” is a relatively low-risk project for the studio, with a combined production cost and marketing spend in the $20 million range. It’s the 20th movie Perry’s produced since 2005’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.” Both “Boo” movies were inspired by a Chris Rock joke in 2014’s “Top Five.”

Geostorm,” “The Snowman,” and “Only the Brave,” meanwhile, are expected to generate only moderate results at best »

- Dave McNary

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Hollywood’s New Creative Leaders of 2017

19 hours ago

Each year Variety’s New Leaders feature profiles the most prominent up-and-comers in the entertainment business. To determine this year’s worthies, Variety looked for go-getters across disciplines, from television, digital, music and film, to law and finance, as well as content creators. They were proposed by their bosses and peers who have worked with them and seen their rise. All are age 40 or under, and Variety has measured them by the progress of their career trajectories: do they take calculated risks? How fast have they risen in their companies? Are they innovative and employ solutions to problems that are creative? While it’s hard to pinpoint the “it” factor, these folks embody that intangible. The people on the list have helped build the brilliant careers of their clients, shepherded hit television shows and successful movies, created small-screen series, films and animated shows, launched digital platforms, fostered hit music, counseled top dealmakers and financed them, and are some »

- Variety Staff

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