What’s Actually Happening – March 3
I feel bad. I feel guilty. Because I started this blog about a year ago at Justina’s (my wife) urging and I was into it and writing fun stuff that was behind the scenes and naming some names and taking some artistic licenses and people were starting to follow it and pay attention to what was actually going on in my life with the stuff that I do.
Then I kept getting busier and busier. Which you would think would make it more and more interesting except that I stopped the actual blogging stuff and just posted press releases and interviews and movie reviews. Which I want everyone to see but that isn’t the point, is it? If I’m asking you to check into this damn thing then I should make it worth your while.
So, I’m taking another stab at it. Because there is A LOT happening and a lot happening with me wearing various different hats. So I’m going to try and stop being a perfectionist with the prose and just start delivering some goods – rough on the edit edges or not.
So, here’s some stuff to look forward to:
DALLAS International Film Festival. I’m into it BIG TIME. We’re like five weeks out or something and there’s great, exciting stuff and there’s “what the hell?!” stuff and there’s a lot of praying – to uhmmm…no one in particular. Because that’s how it works in film festival land. AND, this is the first year with no AFI involvement. Training wheels are off, baby! And I just might throw in some thoughts later as to why I believe that was a HUGE mistake on their part. I’ll give you a hint: It’s the “vision” thing. Or lack of it.
SXSW (or South by Southwest Film Festival for those of you that need this shit spelled out – literally). I’ll be covering the film festival for Movie City News, like I just did for the Sundance Film Festival. And once again, I’ll try to write about every damn thing that happens to me so you’ll have an idea of what the experience is like. Of course, you’ll have to go to Movie City News to read it, since Dave Poland promotes the fact that I’m reporting/writing/reviewing for him, so he’s kind of like you to read it on his pages instead of mine. And since I would kind of like him to pay me for doing that…it works for me.
FESTWORKS. At Sundance, Rose Kuo (Artistic Director), Robert Koehler (Director of Programming and film critic extraordinaire, David Rogers (Festival Producer) and myself joined forces to form our own version of a film festival super group. Hopefully, less like Asia and more like Derek and the Dominoes. But with less heroin and more staying power. Anyway, we all left AFI after beating the odds and the house with AFI FEST last year (if you know what I mean and if you don’t….well, I’ll talk about that at some point too, I’m sure) because we love film festivals in a way that we want them all to be the best damn things ever. And we think we can help various ones do that. Sometimes, it will be just some simple consulting, some times it will be us recommending some kick-ass person we know would be great for the job and a great fit and sometimes will swarm the place, roll up the sleeves and bust our asses side-by-side with the teams in place to make something work. Anyway, I’ll be announcing the first “official” project soon and it will be very, very cool.
STRIPPED. The movie. My first feature film as a director. And the first feature film for Justina and myself as producers. It’s a post-feminist horror film. Three guys on a birthday outing talk their way into the wrong house with the wrong women inside. Think TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE or THE DEVIL’S REJECTS with a “family” of women orchestrating the proceedings…
We are scheduled to shoot this thing at the end of May going into June and as much experience as I have doing various jobs in front of and behind the camera and watching as many films as I do and working with as many filmmakers at the film festivals as I do – well, there is a HUGE learning curve with this thing every single day. Producers on the film include one of the guys responsible for THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remake and the other producer has cool-ass films like David Lowery wonderful ST. NICK and current SXSWers EARTHLING and AUDREY THE TRAINWRECK under his belt. We already have the horror dynamo known as Tiffany Shepis on board as well as Samrat Chakrabarti, an Indian actor that despite an amazing international filmography we’re getting on the ground floor with because various dumbasses haven’t cast the guy in some weird-ass network sci-fi series where a strange incident has tied a group of random hot people together in a world where truth is false and pretend is sexy….or something like that.
Anyway, Justina and I actually bought the house we’re shooting this thing in. Which I’m living in right now. I’m sleeping in the room that will be inhabited by ‘Crystal’ a hot little sociopath that like the color pink, scrapbooking and uhmmm…cutting things. Our friend Marc Lee is staying in “the killing room.” Fun! So, I’ll clue you into the process as we hurtle along toward the shoot not too unlike one of those test rockets they show in stock footage that would freak you out if you were standing anywhere in the vicinity while it blasts off the blocks and careens not entirely toward its destination.
Here are some fun things about the house: It’s in South Dallas. Which is not a “great” area. But it is a cool two-story four-bedroom place with close to two acres of land and a freeloading horse named “Money” that is taken care of by an old black rodeo guy named “Peewee”. Oh, and we are surrounded by Baptist churches. And a train. One final thing, when we cut the chains that had kept the garage closed since we bought the place we found an old cabinet that had in it (among other things) a bee keepers outfit and smoker, random mason jars with weird stuff in them and two chainsaws! Made to order for Justina and John, the couple that gets romantic when they’re watching OLDBOY.
After that, new stuff that has just come up include doing some stuff with the Texas Frightmare Weekend screenings at the end of April, working with the Las Colinas Studios on a couple projects, possibly the Vision Awards benefit and definitely the Feel Good Film Festival.
I’m sure there is – and will be – more. Because that’s how things have been since January 1st. A very strange year and a very cool year so far.
So stay tuned….
ROSE KUO AND DAVID ROGERS
ANNOUNCE DEPARTURE FROM AFI FEST
LOS ANGELES (January 11, 2010)—On the heels of the successful 2009 edition of AFI FEST including the unprecedented offer of free screenings to all films for the public, Artistic Director Rose Kuo and Festival Producer David Rogers have announced their departure from AFI.
Head of Press and Public Relations John Wildman has also exited AFI.
Kuo joined AFI FEST as the Artistic Director in 2007 and presided over a rebirth of the venerable film festival that featured a distinctive programming philosophy and personality. The result was immediate critical praise regarding the new direction. The addition of former Daily Variety film critic Robert Koehler as AFI FEST Director of Programming in 2009 inspired a new round of enthusiasm within the film festival community. Kuo also was the architect of the free screenings initiative for 2009 despite a challenging economic year for all non-profit arts organizations.
Rogers successfully navigated the festival production and logistics of new venues in Hollywood and the festival’s move to Santa Monica during AFM. Under his stewardship, AFI FEST enjoyed record crowds with remarkably smooth production details despite extremely challenging economic circumstances.
Regarding her departure, Kuo said, “It has been a privilege to lead AFI FEST and work with the exceptional members of the festival team. We have succeeded in reshaping the festival and, I hope, reaffirming its place among leading festivals. Now it is time for me to go in a new direction.
“AFI FEST 2009 was the culmination of some really innovative ideas regarding what a film festival could and should be and of course, a lot of hard work. Given the hurdles presented us, it was also something that could not have been achieved without our core group. It was great to work with each of them,” said Rogers.
Wildman added, “While I am very proud of the work I was able to do press-wise on behalf of AFI FEST and several AFI programs, including the AFI Life Achievement Award (working with a wonderful team at TV LAND) and the Directing Workshop for Women, I am very passionate about promoting and assisting filmmakers through film festivals. This move will open up that landscape.”
Todd Luoto’s short film OIL CHANGE is one of those precise and finite works that remind me why I love film festivals.
Because without film festivals, you don’t get the acerbic bordering on acrid social interplay that happens in Luoto’s version of a date from hell. You don’t get it because things called “studio notes” and “lowest common denominator” thwart this kind of film, which keeps pushing the boundaries on of common decency in a social setting – literally. And joyfully, in my mind. You also don’t get it in this case, because Luoto’s “day job” is being a programmer for the Sundance Film Festival. So – thank you film festivals for Todd Luoto and the shudder while you giggle nervously brilliance of OIL CHANGE.
The obvious question – can you and have you changed the oil in your car before? I really want to lie and say ‘yes’ here. Make a point that the only reason I go to Jiffy Lube to get one done is for the complimentary vacuum and free coffee. Unfortunately, that’s dishonest and my father raised me better than that. Sure, he didn’t teach me much about mechanics, and one look at my scruff will assure you I’m not the shaving type, but the man instilled lessons/values in me that go far beyond grease and razors…like Jefferson Airplane for one. Not that that should be a feather in anyone’s cap by any means, but oddly that’s the first thing that comes to mind.
In your mind, what would be a worse “bad date” scenario: Having to quell the desire to point out bad behavior on your date’s part to avoid confrontation or resist the urge to put their offensive friends in their place in deference to that person?
Both seem like pretty miserable options, but I think it’d be a lot more difficult to bite my tongue if my date wasn’t too cool. Then again, if she had my Playstation at her apartment, or perhaps my favorite pair of sneaks, I’d have an easier time holding my breath until I found a reasonable escape plan for them. The woman with the bad attitude, I could bear losing…Chuck Taylors or Grand Theft Auto, not so much.
How has the experience of making OIL CHANGE and then attending other festivals with the film colored the way you look at and approach programming now?
I think programming gives me a better idea of what works in terms of storytelling, and this film in particular had me really understand how difficult it can be to deliver your vision in abbreviated form. There’s now an added appreciation for films I see that do and especially don’t work, and this project also probably left me a little more impressed by bigger budget fare. We got lucky by making this on the cheap with limited resources, and I can’t imagine pulling off something much more elaborate. Like the rapper/prophet/guy on my fav t-shirt, Biggie Smalls, said, ‘Mo’ Money, Mo problems,’ and I don’t think we could afford any more setbacks.
You made the film for very little money. Where did the bulk of it go? Camera rental, generic soda and licorice for the craft service table, and of course, the space battle sequence.
What is your favorite “ride”: Swing Set, See Saw or Slide?
Swing set – one of these days I’m gonna finally make it over the top and transport into another dimension. One in which Crystal Pepsi and Franken Berry cereal is still found in your local grocery store.
What will happen in the feature-length sequel to OIL CHANGE? Well, I’m thinking the two (ex-)lovers eventually get back together, find God, raise four wonderful children, and live happily ever after. I don’t think anyone, anywhere would actually ever program that version, but I’d finally feel comfortable letting my Mom watch something I made.
OIL CHANGE screens as part of the SHORTS PROGRAM 4:00PM November 2 @ Chinese Mann 6
Todd Luoto will attend the screening and participate in a Q&A afterwards.
AFI FEST 2009 PRESENTED BY AUDI
ANNOUNCES THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY’S “A SINGLE MAN”
AS CLOSING NIGHT GALA PRESENTATION
SONY PICTURES CLASSICS’
“THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS”
IS CENTERPIECE SCREENING GALA PRESENTATION
PROGRAMMING INCLUDES TRIBUTES TO
VIGGO MORTENSEN AND CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER
COMPLETE FESTIVAL LINEUP ANNOUNCED
TICKETS AVAILABLE STARTING FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16
LOS ANGELES (October 14, 2009)—AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi today announced the complete lineup of films for the 23rd edition of the Festival, including the Closing Night Gala, Centerpiece Screening, Tributes and Special Presentations.
The Weinstein Company’s A SINGLE MAN has been selected as the AFI FEST Closing Night Gala presentation. A SINGLE MAN will make its US Premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Thursday, November 5, 2009.
Sony Pictures Classics’ THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS has been selected as AFI FEST’s Centerpiece Screening Gala presentation. THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS will make its US Premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Monday, November 2, 2009.
The Closing Night Gala presentation of A SINGLE MAN features the directorial debut of fashion designer Tom Ford from his script adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s acclaimed novel. The film follows a day in the life of a gay British college professor in Los Angeles as he attempts to cope with the death of his partner. Ford’s work helming the project and Colin Firth’s lead performance in the film have received critical acclaim following screenings at the Venice and Toronto film festivals. Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode and Ginnifer Goodwin also star in the film. The Weinstein Company release is due in theaters on December 11.
Ford, Firth and Moore are scheduled to attend.
“It is exciting to champion a talented artist like Tom Ford as he moves beyond the boundaries of one medium into another. In A SINGLE MAN, he delivers an elegant and beautiful personal story that will resonate with all audience members“ said AFI FEST Artistic Director Rose Kuo.
The Centerpiece Screening Gala presentation features the latest work by director Terry Gilliam. THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS follows the leader of a traveling theater troupe who, having made a deal with the devil, takes audience members through a magical mirror to explore their imaginations. The film stars Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell and Heath Ledger in his final role. The Sony Pictures Classics release is due in theaters stateside on December 25.
Gilliam and Plummer are scheduled to attend.
“The mind-altering, looking-glass world that Terry Gilliam creates in THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS,” notes Director of Programming Robert Koehler, “is like a model for his ideal cinema, in which anything can happen and all rules are broken. If audiences thought that THE DARK KNIGHT was their last glimpse of Heath Ledger, then what Ledger brings to Gilliam’s fantasy-adventure will surprise them.”
AFI FEST has selected actors Christopher Plummer and Viggo Mortensen to receive tributes at this year’s Festival. Sponsored by the Skirball Cultural Center, Plummer’s tribute event will precede the screening of his film THE LAST STATION on Tuesday, November 3. Mortensen’s tribute will precede the US Premiere of the film THE ROAD on Wednesday, November 4. Both Tributes will take place at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
One of the world’s most respected actors, Plummer has won two Tony Awards (for CYRANO and BARRYMORE), three Drama Desk Awards, the National Arts Club Medal and two Emmys. He was a leading member of Laurence Olivier’s Royal National Theatre and Peter Hall’s Royal Shakespeare Company. Since appearing in Sidney Lumet’s STAGE STRUCK (1958), his more than 100 films have included WIND ACROSS THE EVERGLADES (1958), THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965), WATERLOO (1970) and TWELVE MONKEYS (1995), THE INSIDER (1999), A BEAUTIFUL MIND (2001), SYRIANA (2005) and INSIDE MAN (2006). He stars as Leo Tolstoy in THE LAST STATION and plays the title role in THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS.
John Hillcoat THE ROAD is adapted from the acclaimed novel by Cormac McCarthy, THE ROAD stars Mortensen as a father making his way with his young son across the scorched landscape of a post-apocalyptic world. Directed by Hillcoat from a script by Joe Penhall, the film also stars Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Molly Parker. The Weinstein Company release is due in theaters November 25.
Mortensen, Hillcoat and Theron are scheduled to attend.
From his debut in Peter Weir’s WITNESS (1985) to his signature role of Aragorn in Peter Jackson’s LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, Mortensen’s career has been highlighted by intensely stunning portrayals of men of strict and uncompromising character dealing with a shifting moral universe. Notable films include Sean Penn’s INDIAN RUNNER (1991), Gregory Widen’s THE PROPHECY (1995), Ridley Scott’s G.I. JANE, Tony Goldwyn’s A WALK ON THE MOON (1999), David Cronenberg’s A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE (2005) and EASTERN PROMISES (2007)—for which he received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations—and Ed Harris’ APPALOOSA (2008).
“Viggo Mortensen and Christopher Plummer are two actors and film artists of the highest order,” said Kuo. “They share that rare trait of being looked up to by audiences and film fans around the world as well as being greatly respected by their peers.”
Other highlights among the complete film schedule announced today include Jonathan Demme’s music documentary NEIL YOUNG TRUNK SHOW (with Demme and Young confirmed to attend) and the screening of two films connected by legendary art director and longtime AFI Conservatory Distinguished Lecturer Robert Boyle, who turned 100 on October 10. Those films are AFI Conservatory Alumnus Daniel Raim’s (Production Design ’99) documentary SOMETHING’S GONNA LIVE and Alfred Hitchcock’s classic NORTH BY NORTHWEST, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
A follow-up to Raim’s Oscar-nominated documentary, THE MAN ON LINCOLN’S NOSE, SOMETHING’S GONNA LIVE profiles Boyle (THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, THE BIRDS) and renowned art directors Henry Bumstead (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE STING), Harold Michelson (STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, CATCH-22) and Albert Nozaki (THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS), as well as master cinematographers Conrad Hall (IN COLD BLOOD, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID) and Haskell Wexler (WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT). From snapshots, sketches and vintage footage interwoven with interviews and new scenes of these octogenarian artists at work, we get a behind-the-scenes look at master moviemaking.
Boyle and Wexler will attend the World Premiere screening.
On Monday, November 2, AFI FEST, in conjunction with Warner Home Video will present a special screening of Hitchcock’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST. The first Hitchcock film to be released on Blu-ray, the film has been restored and remastered for its 50th anniversary. As part of the Gala event, director William Friedkin will attend to moderate a Q&A with Boyle and the film’s stars Eva Marie Saint and Martin Landau.
Koehler noted, “In our 23rd year, our programming seeks to shine a light on an international cinema landscape filled with brilliant young filmmakers forging fresh, unexpected pathways, documentarians on a quest for truth, and a fascinating survey of stop-motion animation (FANTASTIC MR. FOX, IN THE ATTIC, A TOWN CALLED PANIC), while delivering what AFI FEST has done from the beginning—offering audiences a view of the vastness of cinema across the world.”
AFI FEST continues its unique and successful association with the American Film Market with 23 of the features in official selection at AFI FEST represented by distributors at AFM, unfolding concurrently with AFI FEST from November 4–November 11. The following films are among those that will participate in the market and screen at the festival: AFTER.LIFE; THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL, NEW ORLEANS; BELLAMY; CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH; EVERYONE ELSE; FIRST OF ALL, FELICIA; FISH TANK; THE HOLE; THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS; KANIKOSEN; THE LAST STATION; THE LOVED ONES; THE MESSENGER; THE MILK OF SORROW; MOTHER; NEIL YOUNG TRUNK SHOW; PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE; THE ROAD; THE SILENT ARMY; A SINGLE MAN; THE TWO HORSES OF GENGHIS KHAN; WOMAN WITHOUT PIANO; YOUTH IN REVOLT.
Enhancing the AFI FEST/American Film Market alliance, the final two days of AF FEST (November 6-7) will screen at the Laemmle’s Monica 4-plex, 1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica, in close proximity to AFM headquartered activity.
AFI FEST 2009’s overall lineup will showcase 67 features (54 narrative, 13 documentary) and 26 shorts for a total of 93 films from 32 countries.
The breakdown by section is Galas/Tributes (7), New Lights Competition (11), Special Presentations (3), Documentary (13), World Cinema (27), Alt_Cinema (6) and Shorts (26).
The Festival is headquartered at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. All screenings from October 30–November 5 will take place at the Grauman’s Chinese and Mann Chinese 6 theaters in Hollywood with the final two days of the Festival (November 6-7) screening at the Laemmle’s Monica 4-plex in Santa Monica.
Free tickets to all Festival screenings are available online at AFI.com/AFIFEST or by phone at 866-AFI-FEST beginning October 16, at the Mann Chinese 6 Theatre (6925 Hollywood Blvd.) in the Hollywood and Highland Center) beginning October 26, and on the day of scheduled screenings via Rush Lines. Early entry to all screenings can be secured by becoming a patron of the Festival and purchasing an AFI FEST Patron Pass. For more details, visit AFI.com.
The complete program line-up for AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi is as follows:
Opening Night Gala—FANTASTIC MR. FOX (North American Premiere) Cast: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Wally Wolodarsky, Eric Anderson, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Jarvis Cocker DIR: Wes Anderson PROD: Allison Abbate, Scott Rudin, Wes Anderson and Jeremy Dawson USA
Centerpiece Gala—THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSUS (US Premiere) Cast: Christopher Plummer, Tom Waits, Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell DIR: Terry Gilliam PROD: Amy Gilliam, Terry Gilliam, Samuel Hadida, William Vince EXEC PROD: Patrice Theroux, David Valleau USA
Gala—EVERYBODY’S FINE (World Premiere) Cast: Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Melissa Leo DIR: Kirk Jones PROD: Vittorio Cecchi Gori, Ted Field, Glynis Murray, Gianni Nunnari EXEC PROD: Craig J. Flores, Callum Greene USA
Tribute—THE LAST STATION Cast: Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, Paul Giamatti, James McAvoy DIR: Michael Hoffman PROD: Bonnie Arnold, Chris Curling EXEC PROD: Andrei Konchalovsky, Robert Little, Phil Robertson, Judy Tossell UK/Germany
Gala—PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE Cast: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sheri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz DIR: Lee Daniels PROD: Lee Daniels, Gary Magness, Sarah Siegel-Magness EXEC PROD: Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Lisa Cortes, Tom Heller USA
Tribute—THE ROAD (US Premiere) Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Molly Parker DIR: John Hillcoat PROD: Paula Mae Schwartz, Steve Schwartz, Nick Wechsler EXEC PROD: Marc Butan, Mark Cuban, Rudd Simmons, Todd Wagner USA
Closing Night Gala—A SINGLE MAN (US Premeiere) Cast: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode, Ginnifer Goodwin DIR: Tom Ford PROD: Tom Ford, Andrew Miano, Robert Salerno, Chris Weitz USA
A showcase honoring film history and its filmmakers.
NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) Cast: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll, Martin Landau DIR: Alfred Hitchcock PROD: Herbert Coleman, Alfred Hitchcock USA
SOMETHING’S GONNA LIVE (World Premiere) Subjects: Robert “Bob” Boyle, Haskell Wexler, Henry Bumstead, Harold Michelson, Albert Nozaki DIR: Daniel Raim PROD: Daniel Raim USA
WAKE IN FRIGHT Cast: Gary Bond, Donald Pleasence, Chips Rafferty, Sylvia Kay, Jack Thompson DIR: Ted Kotcheff PROD: George Willoughby, EXEC PROD: Bill Harmon, Howard G. Barnes Australia
NEW LIGHT COMPETITION
This section features and honors vital, groundbreaking films by first- and second-time feature filmmakers from around the world.
AJAMI Cast: Fouad Habash, Nisrine Rihan, Elias Saba, Youssef Sahwani DIR: Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani PROD: Moshe Danon, Thanassis Karathanos EXEC PROD: James Richardson Israel/Germany
EASIER WITH PRACTICE Cast: Brian Geraghty, Marguerite Moreau, Jeanette Brox, Jenna Gavigan, Katie Aselton DIR: Kyle Patrick Alvarez PROD: Cookie Carosella USA
EVERYONE ELSE (ALLE ANDEREN) Cast: Birgit Minichmayr, Lars Eidinger, Hans-Jochen Wagner, Nicole Marischka DIR: Maren Ade PROD: Maren Ade, Dirk G. Engelhardt, Janine Jackowski Germany
FIRST OF ALL, FELICIA (FELICIA INAINTE DE TOATE) Cast: Ozana Oancea, Vasile Mentzel, Ileana Cernat, Adina Andrei DIR: Razvan Radulescu, Melissa de Raaf PROD: Ada Solomon Romania/France/Belgium/Croatia
FISH TANK Cast: Michael Fassbender, Harry Treadaway, Katie Jarvis, Kierston Wareing DIR: Andrea Arnold PROD: Kees Kasander EXEC PROD: Christine Langan, David M. Thompson, Paul Trijbits UK
I KILLED MY MOTHER Cast: Anne Dorval, Xavier Dolan, François Arnaud, Suzanne Clément DIR: Xavier Dolan PROD: Xavier Dolan EXEC PROD: Carole Mondello Canada
THE MESSENGER Cast: Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, Ben Foster, Jena Malone DIR: Oren Moverman PROD: Benjamin Goldhirsh, Mark Gordon, Lawrence Inglee, Zach Miller EXEC PROD: Steffen Aumueller, Nathaniel Bolotin, Christopher Mapp, Shaun Redick, Glenn M. Stewart, Matthew Street, David Whealy, Bryan Zuriff USA
THE MILK OF SORROW (LA TETA ASUSTADA) Cast: Magaly Solier, Susi Sánchez, Efrain Solis, Marino Ballón DIR: Claudia Llosa PROD: Antonio Chavarrías, Claudia Llosa, José María Morales Spain/Peru
NORTHLESS (NORTEADO) Cast: Harold Torres, Alicia Laguna, Sonia Couoh, Luis Cárdenas DIR: Rigoberto Perezcano PROD: Edgar San Juan EXEC PROD: Sergio Castro, Hector Hernandez-Pons, Alejandro Martinez-Gallardo Mexico/Spain
POLICE, ADJECTIVE Cast: Dragos Bucur, Vlad Ivanov, Irina Saulescu, Ion Stoica DIR: Corneliu Porumboiu PROD: Corneliu Porumboiu Romania
WOMAN WITHOUT PIANO (LA MUJER SIN PIANO) Cast: Jan Budar, Esperanza De la Vega, Tomás del Estal, Nadia de Santiago DIR: Javier Rebello EXEC PROD: Damián Paris, Stefan Schmitz, María Zamora Spain/France
This section presents a selection of new works by many of the world’s most renowned filmmakers.
ABOUT ELLY Cast: Taraneh Alidoosti, Golshifteh Farahani, Shahab Hosseini, Mani Haghighi, Merila Zarei, Peyman Moadi, Ahmad Mehranfar, Rana Azadivar, Saber Abar DIR: Asghar Farhadi PROD: Asghar Farhadi Iran
AFTER.LIFE Cast: Liam Neeson, Christina Ricci, Justin Long DIR: Agnieska Wojtowicz-Vosloo PROD: Brad Michael Gilbert, Bill Perkins, Celine Rattray EXEC PROD: Pamela Hirsch, Edwin L. Marshall, Galt Niederhoffer, James Swisher USA
THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL, NEW ORLEANS Cast: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendez, Val Kilmer DIR: Werner Herzog PROD: Edward Pressman, John Thompson, Alan Polsky, Gabe Polsky, Stephen Belafonte EXEC PROD: Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, Elliot Rosenblatt USA
BELLAMY Cast: Gerard Depardieu DIR: Claude Chabrol PROD: Edward Pressman, John Thompson, Alan Polsky, Gabe Polsky, Stephen Belafonte EXEC PROD: Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short, Boaz Davidson, Elliot Rosenblatt France
CASTRO Cast: Edgardo Castro, Julia Martínez Rubio, Alberto Suárez, Carla Crespo, Esteban Lamothe DIR: Alejo Moguillansky PROD: Mariano Llinás, Laura Citarella EXEC PROD: Eduardo Costantini Argentina
CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH Cast: Liu Ye, Gao Yuanyuan, Hideo Nakaizumi, Fan Wei, Jiang Yiyan DIR: Lu Chuan PROD: Han Sanping, Steffen Wild China/Hong Kong
THE HOLE Cast: Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett, Nathan Gamble, Teri Polo, Bruce Dern DIR: Joe Dante PROD: Robert Skotak EXEC PROD: Gary Michael Waters, Chris Bender, J.C. Spink USA
IN THE ATTIC Cast: Barbora Hrzánová, Boris Hybner, Vladimír Javorsky DIR: Jiri Barta PROD: Milos Smídmajer Czech Republic/Slovakia/Japan
KANIKOSEN Cast: Matsuda Ryuhei, Nishijima Hidetoshi, Kora Kongo, Arai Hirfumi, Emoto Tokio, Kinoshita Takayuki, Kimoto Takehiro DIR: Sabu PROD: Utagawa Yasushi, Mameoka Ryosuke, Tanabe Keigo EXEC PROD Takahito Kashino Japan
A LAKE (North American Premiere) Cast: Dmitry Kubasov, Natalie Rehorova, Alexei Solonchev, Simona Hülsemann, Vitaly Kishchenko, Arthur Semay DIR: Philippe Grandrieux PROD: Catherine Jacques France
LONDON RIVER Cast: Brenda Blethyn, Sotigui Kouyate DIR: Rachid Bouchareb PROD: Rachid Bouchareb, Jean Bréhat, Mattieu de Braconier, Bertrand Faivre Algeria/France/UK
LOOKING FOR ERIC Cast: Steve Evets, Eric Cantona, John Henshaw, Stephanie Bishop DIR: Ken Loach PROD: Tim Cole EXEC PROD: Rebecca O’Brien UK
MOTHER Cast: Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin, Park Eun-kyo DIR: Bong Joon-ho PROD: Choi Jae-won, Seo Woo-sik EXEC PROD: Miky Lee, Katharine Kim, Yang-kwon Moon South Korea
NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS Cast: Negar Shaghaghi, Askan Koshanejad, Hamed Behdad DIR: Bahman Ghobadi PROD: Bahman Ghobadi EXEC PROD: Roxana Saberi Iran
PERPETUUM MOBILE Cast: Gabino Rodríguez, Teresa Sánchez, Francisco Barreiro DIR: Nicolás Pereda PROD: Nicolás Pereda, Catarina Coyoacan Mexico/Canada
A PROPHET Cast: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Reda Kateb, Hichem Yacoub DIR: Jacques Audiard PROD: Martine Cassinelli, Antonin Dedet France/Italy
RED RIDING TRILOGY (1974, 1980, 1983) Cast: Sean Bean, Andrew Garfield, David Morrissey, John Henshaw, Anthony Flanagan, Rebecca Hall, Peter Mullan DIR: Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker PROD: Andrew Eaton, Anita Overland, Wendy Brazington EXEC PROD: Liza Marshall, Hugo Heppell, Norman Merry UK
ROOM AND A HALF Cast: Alisa Freindlich, Sergei Yursky, Grigory Dityatkovsky, Artem Smola DIR: Andrey Khrzhanovsky PROD: Artem Vassiliev, Andrey Khrzhanovsky Russia
THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES Cast: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago, Javier Godino, Guillermo Francella DIR: Juan José Campanella PROD: Gerardo Herrero, Mariela Besuievsky, Juan José Campanella Argentina/Spain
THE SILENT ARMY Cast: Marco Borsato, Andrew Kintu, Abby Mukiibi Nkaaga, Thekla Reuten DIR: Jean van de Velde PROD: Chris Brouwer, Richard Claus, Paul Brinks The Netherlands/France
SWEET RUSH Cast: Krystyna Janda, Pawel Szajda, Jadwiga Jankowska-Cieslak, Julia Pietrucha, Jan Englert DIR: Andrzej Wajda PROD: Waldemar Dabrowski, Slawomir Jozwik, Michal Kwiecinski, Dorota Rakowska-Kosmicka, EXEC PROD: Katarzyna Fukacz-Cebula Poland
TO DIE LIKE A MAN Cast: Fernando Santos, Alexander David, Goncalo Ferreira de Almeida, Chandra Malatitch, Jenny Larrue DIR: Joao Pedro Rodrigues PROD: Maria João Sigalho, Judith Nora Portugal/France
A TOWN CALLED PANIC Cast: Stéphane Aubier, Jeanne Balibar, Veronique Dumont, Bruce Ellison, Frederic Jannin DIR: Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar PROD: Philippe Kauffmann, Vincent Tavier Belgium/France/Luxembourg
VINCERE Cast: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Filippo Timi, Fausto Russo Alesi, Michela Cescon, Piergiorgio Bellocchio DIR: Marco Bellocchio PROD: Mario Gianani EXEC PROD: Olivia Sleiter Italy/France
YOUTH IN REVOLT Cast: Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Long, Steve Buscemi, Jean Smart, Fred Willard, Mary Kay Place DIR: Miguel Arleta PROD: David Permut EXEC PROD: Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Nan Morales USA
The best and brightest of challenging, thrilling documentary filmmaking from around the world, as chosen by the AFI FEST Programming Staff.
THE ART OF THE STEAL; DIR: Don Argott PROD: Sheena M. Joyce EXEC PROD: Lenny Feinberg USA
BEETLE QUEEN CONQUERS TOKYO; DIR: Jessica Oreck PROD: Jessica Oreck USA/Japan
LOS HEREDEROS; DIR: Eugenio Polgovsky PROD: Camille Tauss Mexico
ICONS AMONG US; Subjects: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Olu Dara, Ravi Coltrane, Medeski Martin and Wood DIR: Michael Rivoira/Lars Larson/Peter J. Vogt PROD: John W. Comerford, Theo N. Ianuly USA
LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET; DIR: Frederick Wiseman PROD: Pierre-Oliver Bardet, Frederick Wiseman, Francoise Gazio France/USA
MOSCOW; DIR: Eduardo Coutinho PROD: Beth Pessoa EXEC PROD: João Moreira Salles, Mauricio Andrade Ramos, Guilherme Cezar Coelho Brazil
NE CHANGE RIEN; With: Jeanne Balibar DIR: Pedro Costa PROD: Francisco Villa-Lobos Portugal/France
NEIL YOUNG TRUNK SHOW Subject: Neil Young DIR: Jonathan Demme PROD: Jonathan Demme, Elizabeth Hayes, Mark Kamine EXEC PROD: L.A. Johnson USA
PETITION; DIR: Zhao Liang PROD: Sylvie Blum France/China
REPORTER; With: Nicholas D. Kristof DIR: Eric Daniel Metzgar PROD: Mikaela Beardsley, Steven Cantor EXEC PROD: Ben Affleck USA
SWEETGRASS; DIR: Lucien Castaing-Taylor/Ilisa Barbash PROD: Ilisa Barbash USA
TRANSCENDENT MAN; DIR: Robert Barry Ptolemy PROD: Barry Ptolemy, Felicia Ptolemy EXEC PROD: Joe DiSanto, John Ramsay, Wren Waters, Doobie White, Drew Dowdle, John Erick Dowdle USA
THE TWO HORSES OF GENGHIS KHAN; DIR: Byambasuren Davaa PROD: Byambasuren Davaa, Beatrix Wesle Germany/Mongolia
Home to alternative filmmaking, this section provides a platform for filmmakers who push the boundaries of culture and cinema.
THE ANCHORAGE Cast: Ulla Edström, Marcus Harrling, Elin Hamren, Bengt Ohlsson DIR: C.W. Winter/Anders Edström PROD: C.W. Winter, Anders Edström USA/Sweden
BEST WORST MOVIE; DIR: Michael Paul Stephenson PROD: Lindsay Rowles Stephenson, Michael Paul Stephenson, Brad Klopman, Jim McKeon, Mary Francis Groom, Ace Goerig EXEC PROD: Alan Hunter, Hugh Hunter USA
GUY AND MADELINE ON A PARK BENCH Cast: Bernard Chazelle, Desiree Garcia, Jason Palmer, Frank Garvin, Sandha Khin DIR: Damien Chazelle PROD: Jasmine McGlade EXEC PROD: W.A.W. Parker USA
THE LOVED ONES Cast: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, John Brumpton, Victoria Thaine, Jessica McNamee DIR: Sean Byrne PROD: Mark Lazarus, Michael Boughen EXEC PROD: Christopher Mapp, Matthew Street, David Whealy, Bryce Menzies Australia
MODUS OPERANDI Cast: Randy Russell, Danny Trejo, Mark Borchardt, Michael Sottile, Barry Poltermann DIR: Frankie Latina PROD: Shalyse Dominique, Laurie Foote, Mark Foote, Jon Krill, Zebedee LeTendre, Andrew Swant EXEC PROD: Bobby Ciraldo USA
TRASH HUMPERS Cast: Rachel Korine, Brian Kotzue, Travis Nicholson, Harmony Korine DIR: Harmony Korine PROD: Charles-Marie Anthonioz, Amina Dasmal, Robin Fox EXEC PROD: Amina Dasmal, Robin Fox, agnès b USA/UK
A wide-ranging selection of shorts by some of the world’s leading film artists, including a fresh serving from the ongoing Lunchfilms series (from programmer and Cinemad founder, Mike Plante, in which Plante takes a cash-strapped filmmaker out to lunch, and they pay him back what they owe with a film).
ALL DAY ALL NIGHT DIR: Sarah Soquel Morhaim USA
THE CALL DIR: David Fenster/David Nordstrom USA
CHINESE BOX DIR: Nick McCarthy USA
CLEAR GLASSES DIR: Sam Green USA
FRIENDS DIR: James Graham USA
GOLDTHWAIT FAMILY HOME MOVIES (ANNIVERSARY EDITION) DIR: Bobcat Goldthwait USA
HOME MOVIE DIR: Braden King USA
JEAN DIR: Kelly Sears USA
LETTERS REAL/NAMES NOT DIR: Azazel Jacobs USA
OFFSHORE BANK DIR: Tom Barndt USA
TIN WOODMAN’S HOME MOVIE #2 DIR: Naomi Uman/Lee Lynch USA
WEIRD CAROLERS DIR: Brent Green USA
WHISKEYPRIEST DIR: Randy Walker/Jennifer Shainin USA
THE CITIZENS/LEAD/THE SIMPLE ANTENNAE DIR: Kevin Everson USA
DICK CHENEY IN A COLD, DARK CELL DIR: Jim Finn USA
THE HISTORY OF AVIATION DIR: Balint Kenyeres Hungary/France
I AM SO PROUD OF YOU DIR: Don Hertzfeldt USA
JOHN WAYNE HATED HORSES DIR: Andrew T. Betzer USA
OIL CHANGE DIR: Todd Luoto USA
SEND ME TO THE ´LECTRIC CHAIR DIR: Guy Maddin, Isabella Rossellini Canada
SHORT TERM 12 DIR: Destin Daniel Cretton USA
S/T DIR: Lisandro Alonso Argentina
AFI FEST 2009 PRESENTED BY AUDI
ANNOUNCES WORLD PREMIERE OF
MIRAMAX FILM’S “EVERYBODY’S FINE”
ROBERT DE NIRO AND KATE BECKINSALE
ALSO ANNOUNCED ARE FILMS SELECTED FOR FESTIVAL’S
DEBUT OF NEW LIGHTS COMPETITION
Los Angeles, CA, October 5, 2009—AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi today announced that Kirk Jones’ EVERYBODY’S FINE will have its world premiere at a Gala Screening presentation on Tuesday, November 3, 2009, at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. AFI FEST also announced the debut of the New Lights Competition, which will feature a selection of groundbreaking films by first and second time filmmakers from around the world.
EVERYBODY’S FINE, a remake of Giuseppe Tornatore’s STANNO TUTTI BENE, stars Robert De Niro as a widower who, upon realizing his only connection to his family was through his wife, sets off on an impromptu road trip to reunite and reconnect with each of his grown children. What follows is a series of eye-opening experiences for the working-class man as he learns the truth about each of their lives. Written and directed by Jones, the film also stars Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell. Jones, as well as De Niro and Beckinsale, will attend the world premiere of the film. The Miramax Films release is due in theaters December 4.
The New Lights Competition was created to feature and honor vital, groundbreaking films by first- and second-time feature filmmakers from around the world. Films selected this year include Israel’s Ophir (Best Picture) winner and the country’s Official Selection to the Academy Award foreign-language competition, AJAMI, directed by the Israeli/Palestinian tandem of Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti; Andrea Arnold’s UK coming-of-age story FISH TANK; Oren Moverman’s wartime drama, THE MESSENGER, starring Woody Harrelson and Samantha Morton; NORTHLESS, Rigoberto Perezcano’s debut from Mexico; the previously announced German drama, EVERYONE ELSE (directed by Maren Ade); and POLICE, ADJECTIVE (directed by Corneliu Porumboiu), the winner of Cannes’ Un Certain Regard jury prize and Romania’s Official Selection to the Academy Award foreign-language competition.
“The establishment of the AFI FEST New Lights Competition is another highlight this year,” said AFI FEST Artistic Director Rose Kuo. “These films represent a selection of the year’s most essential work from the international film festival circuit.”
AFI FEST Director of Programming Robert Koehler added, “This competition is a great example of what we hoped to achieve with the programming for this year’s festival. To a film, they are accomplished and challenging works that strive to be memorably cinematic.”
New Lights competition selections (with descriptions by Koehler) are:
Directors: Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani
The film follows the interconnected stories of people of different faiths living side by side in a crime-ridden neighborhood. Israel’s foreign-language Academy Award submission, the film won a special mention Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, where it played in Directors’ Fortnight.
EASIER WITH PRACTICE (USA)
Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
A young author sets out on a book promotion road trip with his younger brother. However, a random phone call from a mysterious woman begins a funny and intimate long-distance relationship that leads the man on another path to discover not only the truth about their relationship but also about himself.
EVERYONE ELSE (ALLE ANDEREN)
Director: Maren Ade
A couple’s psychological and emotional ties as they are put to the test during an increasingly volatile holiday in Sardinia.
FIRST OF ALL, FELICIA (FELICIA INAINTE DE TOATE)
Directors: Razvan Radulescu, Melissa de Raaf
A grown daughter experiences an extremely frustrating day as she attempts to return home from a family visit in Bucharest.
FISH TANK (UK)
Director: Andrea Arnold
Winner of Cannes’ Grand Jury Prize, this explosively realistic coming-of-age tale reveals the power dynamics beneath a girl’s dangerous friendship with an older man.
I KILLED MY MOTHER (Canada)
Director: Xavier Dolan
Directed by a 20-year-old wunderkind and winner of three Cannes awards, this miraculous debut follows a teenager as he wrestles with his sexuality, his talent and his mom.
THE MESSENGER (USA)
Director: Oren Moverman
Winner of two awards at the Berlin Film Festival, this unforgettable, potent debut feature by acclaimed screenwriter Moverman follows soldiers on a tough assignment: informing the families of the dead. The cast includes Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, Jena Malone and Ben Foster.
THE MILK OF SORROW (LA TETA ASUSTADA)
Director: Claudia Llosa
Winner of Berlin’s Golden Bear, this landmark work transmutes Peru’s brutal civil war into an allegorical tale: a young woman determined to turn the fear she inherited into hope.
Director: Rigoberto Perezcano
A touching drama follows a would-be migrant from Oaxaca who finds friendship at a Tijuana market as he attempts to cross the border into the United States. The film explores what is left behind when a Mexican crosses the border into El Norte.
POLICE, ADJECTIVE (Romania)
Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
Articulate and brilliantly constructed, this Cannes winner tracks a weary officer who resists busting a hash-smoking teen: Will he ruin a kid’s life because of youthful indiscretions? This drama follows the impact on a young policeman’s life after following his actions.
WOMAN WITHOUT PIANO (LA MUJER SIN PIANO)
Director: Javier Rebello
The second feature from one of Spain’s most exciting talents follows the nocturnal adventures of a homemaker in Madrid as she attempts to escape her mundane family life only to wind up caring for an escaped Polish immigrant.
Free tickets are available beginning October 16 to all Festival screenings at AFI.com/AFI FEST, at the Mann Chinese 6 Theatre (6925 Hollywood Blvd.) beginning October 26, or on the day of scheduled screenings via Rush Lines. Priority seating to all screenings can be secured by becoming a patron of the Festival and purchasing an AFI FEST Patron Pass. For more details, visit AFI.com.
AFI FEST 2009 PRESENTED BY AUDI
ANNOUNCES HALLOWEEN PROGRAMMING
“THE HOLE” IN 3-D, “THE LOVED ONES,”
“WAKE IN FRIGHT,” “BEST WORST MOVIE”
Los Angeles, CA, September 29, 2009—AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi today announced films scheduled for Halloween, all of which celebrate the horror genre. Joe Dante’s THE HOLE, Sean Byrne’s THE LOVED ONES, Ted Kotcheff’s WAKE IN FRIGHT and Michael Stephenson’s BEST WORST MOVIE will screen on Saturday, October 31 at the Mann Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood.
Presented in 3-D, Joe Dante’s family friendly thriller THE HOLE marks an auspicious return to the big screen by the celebrated genre director after 11 years. In the film, two young brothers stumble upon a mysterious hole in their basement that houses an evil force that can create a physical manifestation of their deep-seated fears. After unwittingly unleashing the force, the brothers must team with the teenage girl next door to find a way to defend themselves against the darkness. The film stars Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett, Nathan Gamble, Bruce Dern and Teri Polo.
THE HOLE will mark the first time a feature film has been presented in 3-D at AFI FEST or it’s precursor, Filmex since Paul Morrissey’s FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN screened in 1977. Michael Medaglia’s short film THE RATSNITCH ANGEL was presented in 3-D in 2006.
The Midnight Madness Audience Award winner of this year’s Toronto Film Festival, Sean Byrne’s THE LOVED ONES is an Australian thriller about a troubled high school senior who finds himself trapped in a bizarre “prom” and fighting for his life after he is abducted by a psychotic father-and-daughter pair. The film stars Xavier Samuel (who will star in ECLIPSE, the third installment of the TWILIGHT film saga), Robin McLeavy, John Brumpton and Victoria Thaine. THE LOVED ONES screening will be sponsored by Fangoria Entertainment.
Also hailing from Australia is Ted Kotcheff’s underground classic WAKE IN FRIGHT. Originally released in 1971, the film was nominated for the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival and has developed a reputation as one of Australia’s great, lost films. Recently recovered and restored, the film is a brutal and uncompromising thriller about a young teacher who arrives in a rough outback mining town planning to stay overnight before catching a plane to Sydney. However, his dealings with the hard-drinking, violent locals and a harrowing kangaroo hunt plunge the man headlong toward his own destruction. The film stars Donald Pleasence and Gary Bond.
Michael Stephenson’s documentary BEST WORST MOVIE looks at both the behind-the-scenes origins of TROLL 2 and the film’s journey to become a cult classic years after its initial release. Two decades later, Stephenson, the legendarily inept film’s child star, unravels the improbable, heartfelt story of an Alabama dentist turned cult movie icon and an Italian filmmaker as they try to come to terms with this genuine, internationally revered cinematic failure.
Also screening on Halloween will be the previously announced South Korean Academy Award pick, Bong Joon-ho’s MOTHER and the acclaimed RED RIDING TRILOGY of films.
“These are films that are targeted specifically to AFI FEST audiences looking for excitement on Halloween,” said AFI FEST Director of Programming Robert Koehler. “They run the gamut from the family friendly scares of THE HOLE, to the incredible Australian duo of THE LOVED ONES and WAKE IN FRIGHT, to the intense crime dramas of the RED RIDING TRILOGY.”
“Rollicking cult movie worship and Ozploitation lead the way in our celebration of Halloween at AFI FEST this year,” added AFI FEST Senior Programmer Lane Kneedler. “We are thrilled to be embracing fringe filmmaking and alternative cinema once again as core components of our festival. When audiences come to Hollywood and Highland on Saturday night, we will deliver an unforgettable Halloween experience.”
Complimentary tickets are available beginning on October 16 to all Festival screenings at AFI.com/AFI FEST, at the Mann Chinese 6 Theatres (6925 Hollywood Blvd.) beginning October 26, or on the day of scheduled screenings via Rush Lines. Priority seating to all screenings can be secured by becoming a patron of the Festival and purchasing an AFI FEST Patron Pass. For more details, visit AFI.com.
AFI FEST 2009 PRESENTED BY AUDI ANNOUNCES
20TH CENTURY FOX’S “FANTASTIC MR. FOX”
OPENING NIGHT FILM
Los Angeles, CA, September 23, 2008—AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi announces that 20th Century Fox’s FANTASTIC MR. FOX has been selected as the Festival’s Opening Night Gala presentation. FANTASTIC MR. FOX will have its North American Premiere when it opens AFI FEST on Friday, October 30, 2009 at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. The Opening Night Gala is presented by Audi of America.
Heralded as “A movie that deserves to be called groundbreaking” by Peter Travers of Rolling Stone Magazine, FANTASTIC MR. FOX is visionary director Wes Anderson’s first animated film, utilizing classic handmade stop-motion techniques to tell the story of the best-selling children’s book by Roald Dahl (author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach). The film features the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Wally Wolodarsky, Eric Anderson, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, and Jarvis Cocker. The screenplay is by Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, music composed and conducted by Alexadre Desplat. The film is produced by Allison Abbate, Scott Rudin, Wes Anderson and Jeremy Dawson.
Mr. and Mrs. Fox (Clooney and Streep) live an idyllic home life with their son Ash (Schwartzman) and visiting young nephew Kristofferson (Eric Anderson). But after twelve years of quiet domesticity, the bucolic existence proves too much for Mr. Fox’s wild animal instincts. Soon he slips back into his old ways as a sneaky chicken thief and in doing so, endangers not only his beloved family, but the whole animal community. Trapped underground without enough food to go around, the animals band together to fight against the evil Farmers – Boggis, Bunce and Bean – who are determined to capture the audacious, fantastic Mr. Fox at any cost. The film will be in theaters on November 13 in limited release and will open wide on November 25th for Thanksgiving weekend.
“Wes Anderson is an American original,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President & CEO. “It is a distinct honor for the American Film Institute to shine a proper light on his extraordinary talents by premiering his latest gift to the nation and to the world.”
“We are delighted to present this uniquely creative work that will launch the film festival with absolute fun and style. The combination of Anderson’s signature take on Roald Dahl’s world with the note perfect voice performances make it destined to be one of the key films of the year, said Rose Kuo, AFI FEST Artistic Director.
Free tickets are available to all Festival screenings in advance at AFI.com, at the Mann Theatres (6925 Hollywood Blvd.) beginning October 26, or on the day of scheduled screenings via rush lines. Reserved seating to all screenings can be secured by becoming a patron of the Festival and purchasing an AFI FEST Patron Pass. For more details, visit AFI.com.
AFI FEST 2009 PRESENTED BY AUDI ANNOUNCES
FIRST TWELVE TITLES IN OFFICIAL SELECTIONS
LIONGATE’S “PRECIOUS” IS FIRST ANNOUNCED
FILMS BY HERZOG AND BONG
MARK A RETURN TO AFI FEST
Los Angeles, CA, September 16, 2009—AFI FEST 2009 presented by Audi announces 12 films that will screen at this year’s Festival (October 30-November 7) including Lee Daniels’ PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE, Werner Herzog’s THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS and Bong Joon-ho’s MOTHER.
The film festival, which will debut it’s groundbreaking “See a Film on Us” initiative featuring complimentary tickets to all films including a limited number of seats at each Gala Presentation, will be headquartered at the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel between October 30 and November 5. AFI FEST will then move to Santa Monica for the final two days of screenings presented in association with the American Film Market (AFM).
Lee Daniels’ PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE is the first announced Gala Presentation at this year’s AFI FEST. Set in 1980’s Harlem, the film tells a story of salvation through education against all odds as it follows the hopeful trajectory of ‘Claireece Precious Jones (played by newcomer Gabourey Sidibe), an overweight and illiterate teen pregnant with her second child and abused by her poisonously angry mother. The film also stars Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sheri Shepherd and Lenny Kravitz. PRECIOUS will be released by Lionsgate on November 6.
AFI FEST 2009 will also mark the return of Werner Herzog to the Festival after Herzog’s celebrated panel appearance two years ago. Herzog’s THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS is a loosely interpreted re-imagining of Abel Ferrara’s gritty classic starring Nicolas Cage as a rogue detective who is as devoted to his job as he is to scoring drugs. Complicating his tumultuous life is the prostitute he loves (played by Eva Mendes). The film also stars Val Kilmer.
The Festival also welcomes back Bong Joon-ho (following the screening of THE HOST in 2006). The South Korean entry for the Academy Awards, Bong’s MOTHER is an inventive thriller that follows a woman’s personal investigation into a murder in order to clear the name of the accused – her son.
Two French/Italian co-productions, A PROPHET and VINCERE will also be presented to Los Angeles audiences for the first time. Jacques Audiard’s A PROPHET traces the journey of a young Arab man, who becomes a mafia kingpin after he is sent to a French prison. Marco Bellocchio’s VINCERE is a biographical drama that tells the story of Mussolini’s secret lover, Ida Dalser and their son Albino.
Also included in the list of film titles announced today are the latest work by such noted auteurs as acclaimed French New Wave director Claude Chabrol (BELLAMY), Ken Loach (LOOKING FOR ERIC) and Harmony Korine (TRASH HUMPERS).
“These first dozen titles offer a wonderful preview to our lineup which is a survey of the year’s significant films. They represent a diversity of voices and we take great pride in being able to bring them to Los Angeles audiences for the first time,” said Rose Kuo, AFI FEST Artistic Director.
The twelve official selections include:
THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL, NEW ORLEANS (USA)
Director: Werner Herzog
Set in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Nicolas Cage plays a rogue detective who is as devoted to his job as he is to scoring drugs — while playing fast and loose with the law. With the prostitute he loves, the couple descends into a world marked by desire, compulsion and conscience. The film also stars Eva Mendes and Val Kilmer.
Director: Claude Chabrol
A famous French detective (played by Gerard Depardieu) on vacation in Languedoc investigates a mystery man who approaches him claiming to have killed someone. The film also stars Clovis Cornillac and Jacques Gamblin.
EVERYONE ELSE (Germany)
Director: Maren Ade
Drama follows the volatile relationship resulting from the psychological and emotional ties between two young lovers.
THE LAST STATION (UK/Germany)
Director: Michael Hoffman
A historical drama that illustrates Russian author Leo Tolstoy’s struggle to balance fame and wealth with his commitment to a life devoid of material things. The film stars Helen Mirren, James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer and Paul Giamatti.
LOOKING FOR ERIC (UK)
Director: Ken Loach
Eric, a football fanatic postman whose life is descending into crisis, receives some life-coaching from a poster of the famously philosophical footballer, Eric Cantona.
MOTHER (Madeo) (South Korea)
Director: Bong Joon-ho
This thriller follows the investigation of a murder by a mother desperate to find the killer who framed her son for the crime.
POLICE, ADJECTIVE (Romania)
Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
This drama follows the impact on a young policeman’s life after he refuses to arrest another man for offering drugs to his friends.
PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE (USA)
Director: Lee Daniels
In Harlem, an overweight and illiterate teen pregnant with her second child and abused by her domineering mother is invited to enroll in an alternative school with the dream to move her life in a new direction. The film stars Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz, and introducing Gabourey Sidibe.
A PROPHET (France/Italy)
Director: Jacques Audiard
A young Arab man is sent to a French prison where he becomes a mafia kingpin.
RED RIDING (UK)
Directors: Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker
Three inter-connected films set in the years 1974, 1980 and 1983 trace the crime and corruption in West Yorkshire, England. The films star Mark Addy, Sean Bean, Paddy Considine, Andrew Garfield and Rebecca Hall.
TRASH HUMPERS (USA)
Director: Harmony Korine
A cinema verite look at a fringe cult-freak collective with a penchant for anti-social behavior and activities.
Director: Marco Bellocchio
This drama tells the story of Mussolini’s secret lover, Ida Dalser and their son, Albino.
Free tickets are available to all festival screenings – in advance at AFI.com, at the Mann Theatres (6925 Hollywood Blvd.) on October 26, or on the day of scheduled screenings via rush lines. Reserved seating can be secured by becoming a patron of the film festival and purchasing an AFI FEST Patron Pass. For more details, visit AFI.com.
“Receive with simplicity, everything that happens to you.”
That’s the quote that the Coen brothers use to introduce you to A SERIOUS MAN. But by the end of the film, I wanted to amend it to say, “Receive with appreciation everything you’re about to see and hear,” because it is A LOT. Not in a sprawling, “Dear God, will this ever end so I can try to figure out what has just uncorked itself in front of me kind of way (see SOUTHLAND TALES), but in a compact but detailed to a fault examination and exploration into a very particular time (the late 60s, suburban-style), culture (Jewish), and man (the central character played by Theatre veteran Michael Stuhlbarg).
Stuhlbarg plays ‘Larry Gopnik”, a physics professor at a small Midwestern school that almost immediately faces a shit-storm of unbelievable, if intimate proportions: A Korean student unhappy with a grade tries to bribe him, his potentially violent neighbor is encroaching on his yard, and his own house is filled with strife thanks to a bickering son (facing his own demons from a school bully/dealer) and daughter, his inept brother torn between his obsession with a possible genius mathematical “map of probability” he has discovered and the daily draining of a cyst that terrorizes him, and best yet – a wife that wants to leave him for an overbearing (and I can’t begin to describe how much that word doesn’t begin to do justice to this guy) family friend.
Gopnik’s life as he knows it is turned upside down from the get-go, and as he says during a lesson plan, “Even though you can’t figure anything out, you’ll be responsible for it on the midterm.” He goes to a succession of rabbis for advice, one more practically inept and unhelpful than the last, as he stumbles through a period of discovery and re-awakening in his life that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. But this isn’t simply a comic Job story, because the Coens would be bored with that. No, this is a comic storm that is both messy and sometimes indiscriminate in who and what it targets. But in the end, regardless of how it all plays out – they’ll be responsible for it. And if you’ve been hoping for the Coens particular brand of humor to return after NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, you’ll be happy for it.
Nice start for a film festival, huh. After that I ran into Spout.com’s always delightfully acerbic film writer and critic Karina Longworth. Love her. In a film world video game, you could pit Karina against George Sanders’ classic character in ALL ABOUT EVE and play for hours. Anyway, she gave me the inside scoop on what she had seen. Which is, of course, the “sport” of a film festival. Compare notes and dish out the thumbs up and thumbs down on everything you’ve seen up to that point.
Next up was Diablo Cody’s JENNIFER’S BODY. “Wait,” you say. “Isn’t that directed by Karyn Kusama?” “Yes,” I reply. Pause. Anyway, it’s Diablo Cody’s JENNIFER’S BODY. Which means depending on your predilection with JUNO–style dialogue and verbal toss-offs, it’s either clever and instantly quotable or irritating and quickly wearing out its welcome. Oh, wait. It also stars Megan Fox. Hmm…my last bid was from wearing out its welcome. Do I have another bid…?
“Hell is a teenage girl.” And “Sandbox love never dies” Those are the watch-quotes to go by for the film. The idea is simple: Megan Fox plays the hottest girl in school, who – after inadvertently being turned into a demon by a small beer indie band looking for a shortcut to fame via a sacrifice to the devil, runs gorily roughshod through the boys in school while her nerdy best friend (Amanda Seyfried) tries to figure it all out.
And it’s not scary. Which doesn’t mean it doesn’t succeed in what it’s aiming for. No, my guess is if you’re putting your money down to see this film, then it’s all about Megan Fox. And wisely, Cody and Kusama know that. In fact, it’s so transparent that the boys get a reward practically after every kill. Megan Fox demon eviscerates a boy, Megan Fox hottie is filmed slow-mo skinny dipping. Megan Fox demon has seconds, Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried have a hot girl-on girl make out session. So, it’s like, “one for you and…one for you.”
The fact is, that while I understand the Megan Fox porn star hotness appeal, I am still fascinated over the ability of the hype and marketing machine’s ability to keep that T&A train operating at full speed. And while JENNIFER’S BODY does have some smarts to go with its smart-ass, ultimately it plays a minor key. And not just in horror-land.
Next up was Joe Dante’s THE HOLE. In 3D. That’s right. A film festival movie in 3D! That’s just all kinds a good, right? Here’s the deal about the 3D thing. Either those 3D glasses are the most expensive things ever to produce or there is technology involved that could bring down a nation. Because, I swear there was so much paranoia involved in giving those things back to the people running the screening that it made me long for the comparative lack of concern the airport security displayed as I flew in to Canada in the first place. “You need to leave the theater to go to the bathroom? Fine, hold on to the box cutter, but give me the 3D glasses.”
Anyway, THE HOLE is a story about two brothers that relocate to a new home with their single mom. Upon arriving at the new home, they discover a cute girl living next door and…wait for it….in the basement under their house…wait for it…under an ominously padlocked plank in the floor… A hole.
I’m betting the title gave it a way.
And, of course, the boys, not knowing any better, unlock the padlocks and free the evil force residing inside the seemingly bottomless hole. And since it’s their mess, they – along with that cute girl next door will have to clean it up. Or something bad will happen to them. Which is the appropriate way to describe the stakes because this is a horror film for the kids. A gateway drug, if you will. So scary stuff happens and there are various threats to people. But in a “safe”, un-gory, limited exposure to evil kinda way. The film is so completely aimed at a specific age demographic that Teri Polo (the go-to actress for sexy but safe) is cast as the mom.
And the movie IS amusement park ride fun. The scares come from things like malevolent clown dolls (your kids homework will be a follow up viewing of POLTERGEIST) and those stop-motion walking a crawling spirits (okay, do an assignment on THE RING too), courtesy of your not-so friendly basement dwelling hole.
And then there is the 3-D thing. Which is cool. I’ll just give myself up to that willingly. However, is it just me or – like the perfunctory tricks that gymnasts have to accomplish in their Olympic routines – does every 3D movie have to throw a baseball at you? Or they get 3D points deducted from their overall movie score? Just curious.
So, take the kids to this thing so you can speed along their horror-film development and you can also enjoy yourself as well – as opposed to just napping, like so many of my friends who are parents did during G-FORCE.
That was it for the films. The next order of business was something new for me. The red carpet. Or specifically: being a journalist on a red carpet. This is ironic in that I practically live on red carpets – or to be more direct – running them. I am frequently that guy managing the traffic at the beginning of the filmmakers and movie stars entrances: welcoming them, assigning escorts to them to walk them down the thing, introducing them to the photographers, etc. That is frequently my little show.
And I take care to not just manage the placement of the press on my red carpets but to also pay attention and ensure, as best I can, that everyone gets the photos or interviews they need and want and no one goes home empty handed.
This was different. A first come, first serve policy combined with the fact that I was “print” and didn’t have a video camera joined at my hip meant that I was destined to not only be at the end of the line – I was also going to be relatively inconspicuous.
The entrances were for Steven Soderbergh’s THE INFORMANT! And the potential interview targets on hand would be Soderbergh, Matt Damon, Scott Bakula and Melanie Lynsky. Not a bad group at all. So, I am standing next to a guy writing for a national tabloid that like me has not seen the film yet. However, unlike this guy, I had read reviews and stories and did some background on the film. In addition, I also had a decent knowledge of popular culture pre-Jonas Brothers. Because, for the life of him, he could not think of a question to ask anyone not named Matt Damon. After spying Lynsky at the front of the carpet, he asked me, “Does she kiss Matt Damon in the movie?” To which I replied, “Well, I haven’t see it but she does play his wife. So I’ll hazard a guess – yes.” Next question, “Do their characters have kids together?” Desired response: “I don’t have that much insight into their pretend home life.” Out loud: “I don’t know.”
But now I was feeling the pressure to come up with good questions myself for everyone. Something that wouldn’t have been asked twenty times immediately before me or at the very least, phrased in a creative, yet concise way that would send each of them off to the races with clever, funny, witty and insightful sound bites for the readers. So thinking quickly, I put together my winning question for each of them – knowing that this far down the line I would get one and only one question. Because, by this point in the line, they just want to get in the house and be done with it.
Well, I needn’t have worried, Because each one of them – Soderbergh, Damon, Bakula and Lynsky – passed us by. Didn’t give us a shot at the question or even acknowledge us. Publicists rushed Damon through – typical – that’s routine. “He’s got to get in now. Quick! The movie’s gonna start in a half hour, so he needs to be inside RIGHT NOW! Soderbergh literally stood in front of me – with his back to me – for ten minutes but would not turn around to answer a question. And Bakula and Lynsky even brushed us off. Melanie Lynsky!
But to be fair, this is all on the publicists. The film’s reps and the Toronto Film Festival publicists. It’s their job to regulate the traffic flow and make sure that everyone gets some love. It’s something that I work my ass of to achieve at AFI FEST, DALLAS and each of my other film festivals and agonize as it is happening to ensure that fairness and equal play. And it was great to see first hand, exactly why it’s so important that I do that. Because the personal publicists DON’T WANT TO – bottom line. You should have seen the look Bakula’s sawed-off little guy gave us before he shielded us with his back from being able to get to Scott. (Honest Disclaimer – I have a long ago and far away Hollywood history with that little wiener dude and it’s possible he recognized me. Regardless…) If the film festival’s publicists aren’t on point (at best) or just don’t care (at worst), then the end of the line is exactly that for a journalist at those red carpets.
To paraphrase Diablo from JENNIFER’S BODY, “That’s not just high school evil. That’s actual evil.”
AFI FEST presented by Audi
ANNOUNCES FINAL CALL FOR ENTRIES
THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE’S
FLAGSHIP EXHIBITION EVENT CELEBRATES 23RD YEAR
LOS ANGELES, CA, July 20, 2009—AFI FEST presented by Audi announced its final call for entries today, and the dates for the 23rd annual event. AFI FEST will be held October 30 – November 5, 2009 in Hollywood, California. The American Film Market (AFM), the Festival’s market partner, will be held from November 4 – 11, 2009.
The final deadline for short film (under 30 minutes) is July 25, 2009. The final deadline for features (over 30 minutes) is July 31, 2009. Acceptance decisions will be announced no later than October 1, 2009. Submissions can be made at AFI.com/AFIFEST or by calling 1.866.AFI.FEST for more information.
AFI FEST spans 7 days and features international films from emerging filmmakers, global showcases of the latest work from the great film masters, nightly special screenings and red-carpet gala premieres. Each year, AFI FEST presents international competitions of features, documentaries and shorts, as well as regional showcases as part of its broader World Cinema section.
AFI FEST 2008 rolled out the red carpet with the highly anticipated World Premiere of John Patrick Shanley’s DOUBT on October 30. Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, the event featured a surprise appearance by Streep as she joined Shanley and fellow co-star, Adams.
Other highlights of the Festival included Centerpiece screenings of Steven Soderbergh’s epic CHE and Darren Aronofsky’s THE WRESTLER at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with Benecio Del Toro and Mickey Rourke among other stars in attendance, and the Centerpiece Screening of Joel Hopkins’s LAST CHANCE HARVEY at the ArcLight Hollywood Cinerama Dome with stars Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson present. Tributes to Tilda Swinton and Danny Boyle, Talk/Show film panels including a command performance by legendary animator Bill Plympton, DigiFest celebrating the AFI Digital Content Lab’s 10th Anniversary, the first teaming of AFI FEST with LACMA on a Arnaud Desplechin retrospective as well as the joining of efforts with American Cinematheque for the two tributes, and screenings attended by everyone from Joaquin Phoenix and Michelle Williams, Jeff Goldblum, Vinessa Shaw, Sally Hawkins, Julia Ormond, Lou Diamond Phillips, Michelle Trachtenberg, Billy and Lisa Zane, Jacqueline Bisset, Seymour Cassel, Elijah Wood, Zack Galifianakis, Mark Ruffalo, Joanna Cassidy, Bai Ling, Russell Wong, Julia Nickson, Steph Song, Kathleen Quinlan, Jay O. Sanders, Kate Del Castillo, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Jason Stratham, Jesse Spencer, Kelly Lynch, Jason Priestly, Amil Kapoor, Matthew Modine, Charlie Day, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Kevin McKidd, Sendhil Ramamurthy made for a exceptionally successful film festival by all accounts.
AFI FEST 2008 concluded with the Closing Night Gala, DEFIANCE, directed by Edward Zwick and starring Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell. Overall, AFI FEST 2008 showcased 106 features (85 narrative, 21 documentary) and 48 shorts (39 narrative, 9 documentary) for a total of 154 films representing 38 countries.
AFI FEST is the only film festival in the United States to hold the prestigious FIAPF accreditation (www.FIAPF.org), assuring a high standard of quality and reliability for the international film community. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes AFI FEST as a qualifying festival for the Short Films category of the annual Academy Awards.
The American Film Market (AFM), November 4 – 11, 2009 is the market partner of AFI FEST. Since its formation in 2004, this strategic partnership has grown into the largest gathering of film professionals in North America. The association between the two events connects art and commerce, broadening the opportunities for all participants. A total of 37 films selected for last year’s AFI FEST were also represented at the 2008 AFM.