by Screenmancer Staff Want some film news? Okay. This lazy heat of summer meets Summerstorm Entertainment (Germany) with an announcement about the Henry James adapt THE ASPERN PAPERS now shooting in Venice, Italy. They’ve added Jonathan Rhys Meyers to a cast that already includes some marquee names, notably Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, and Poppy Delevingne, as […]
by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent You could say it’s a sweaty little secret, but in ninety-nine percent of all enduring Hollywood blockbuster smash hits, inevitably some man will break into a sprint to save his life. Consider Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow as a running man, from himself and various Admirals, Captains, Dead Men, and […]
by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent
We could run down the Marvel list of past Spider-Men: impish Tobey Maguire, troubled Andrew Garfield, and they were great. But why bother, Spidey fans, because Tom Holland owns the new web-slinger entry SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, which opens July 7.
Owns it along with his co-stars, that is. Those being Robert Downey, Jr., back as his Iron Man/Tony Stark mentor; Michael Keaton as not super-normal, real-world villain Vulture; and Marisa Tomei as a surprisingly bitchin’ Aunt May. There’s what Robert Downey Jr. calls “the kids,” all the subplot superheros. Plus this has old and new Hollywood folks, such as Tyne Daly, Danny Glover, even Zendaya. For insiders, Amy Pascal, who got burned in the SONY email hack, comes roaring back as her Pascal Pictures pushed this one through to the finish line. Even Pascal gets her superhero cape back.
Producer Kevin Feige sets the scene here on how they thought about the new Spider-Man.
“We introduced Spider-Man in Civil War and you got to see the banter and the fun and contrast between he and the other heroes there,” says Feige. “And now, after the greatest vacation of all time, in which he got to spend this time with these rock stars, he’s got to go back to high school. So, it exacerbates his problem – a problem that I certainly had and I think most people who go to high school have – ‘Is there something more for me out there?’ But Peter knows there is because he just did it. He thinks he’s ready, and of course when you’re fifteen years old you often think you’re ready for something before you really are. That’s the fun of this movie, that’s the relatability of Peter Parker, and that’s why we wanted to do this and reintroduce Spider-Man to audiences through the lens of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
Yeah, okay, but Tom Holland says it in a much more fun way.
Wired for maximum energy, Tom Holland is so kick-ass even in talking about this movie, like how he heard that he was cast as The One. “Well I didn’t actually hear I was going to be Spider-Man, I read about it on Instragram,” the newly minted web-spinner admits. “I didn’t get ‘the call.’ But no, it was an amazing experience.”
“I’d worked my ass off getting this job. And when all that hard work paid off and I could finally say I was Spider-Man, it was a pretty crazy experience.” Plus he loves it when people bitch on the internet about the new onscreen reboot of Marvel’s “crown jewel” and “most successful comic book in the world,” according to Marvel Studio’s internal production notes, the hallowed “Spider-Man” created Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Holland scoffs a little at the doubters, in a good way.
“I love reading on the internet people complaining that there is so much in the trailers because you haven’t seen anything yet, there is so much more to come, the big twists and turns. My whole family watched it the other day, and my family are not ‘superhero fans,’ and they loved it. They loved it. They are my toughest critics and it was amazing to see them enjoy it, which is fun.”
Not to mention working with Robert Downey, Jr, again after almost flying off a building when they met up in the last big bang box office movie, Civil War. Let’s just say, Tom really digs working with the Suave Marvel Franchise Statesman.
“When Robert showed up on set, he was so excited to be there,” Downey’s film protege shares. “He saw the concept art, some of the footage and he thought it looked great. To me it was the perfect indicator that we’ve got something special here.”
A veteran of Hollywood and real life, being a franchise frontier is kind of second nature to Downey now. He talks about Peter Parker in such a cool way. “He is not part of the Military Industrial Complex” like Tony Stark is, Downey points out, adding Tom Holland plays it really new, for a re-sprung franchise. “Lest we forget,” Tony Stark’s counterpart says, “[Iron Man] pulled Peter Parker into life and death situations shortly after meeting him just a year or so ago.” But “he develops this belief in Mr. Parker.”
About the other teen superheroes, Downey is equally impressed. “You know what, speaking of homecoming, these kids are pretty damn good,” and then he switches gears to the reconfigured Aunt May character, played by Marisa Tomei.
“I’ve known Marisa for a long time, she’s just perfect,” he adds. “What a fresh start this franchise is getting.”
When thinking about New Spider-Man, Marisa starts laughing, “I feel like a newcomer next to him, because [Tom Holland] was born a pro. He is so capable. [Tom] is adept at everything he does.”
Then she really takes a moment to say “it’s a gift to act in a ‘franchise’ film, to know you have a job coming. And to be part of something that is so beloved. That the fans really cherish and are really excited about. There’s a fever to it, to be part of something that is so anticipated.”
But is it too big, or too anticipated, you may wonder?
“It’s big, big movie — with independent spirit at heart. The movie is as much about ‘finding your place in the world,’ as much as it is a giant superhero movie.”
As far as Aunt May Upgraded, “I wanted to try to keep some of the — not just the function, to look after [Peter], to be curious and deduced things and make a strong home for him — I wanted to make her [mine].”
This Aunt May “works, she has a publishing company. She has a past… [But], she’s trying to make these pies. I wanted her to make these apple pies like the original Aunt May, and the original granny glasses, and the apron and the bun in her hair. It helps transition into this new iteration.”
Plus if it’s Marisa (CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE), you get that this will be the first sexy Aunt May, just saying.
“I felt like I was in summer camp when I was working with them [Tom and the younger superhero cast members]. It was like ‘okay, not only are you not your age, but i’m not my age, we’re all 13 right now’ — I loved being with them.”
So you’re getting the idea how off-the-hook special this movie is, even with a kind of human villain, Michael Keaton. He’s a Hollywood insider who’s been around forever, but Keaton as “Vulture” plays a new flavor of heavy here.
Birdman’s Oscar nominee tries to break it down to the essence of his Spider-Man bad guy with “there is, you know, an underlying intelligence to it. It isn’t that simple. He has resentment.”
Vulture “may have been vulnerable.” He started out ethically okay, maybe but “my character [failed] doing things on the up-and-up, maybe — but he is put in a position to say, ‘I’m going to look after my family.’ I also like that he had a crew. I like these guys. These are all working class people. They all have legitimate gripes.”
When asked about the scope of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Keaton nails it for most of us. “These movies are always just so huge, how they put it together it beyond me. You can tell, the director, he really saw it.” Then he stops short, summing up the little details that apparently make this movie The One for diehard Marvel franchise fans.
Michael Keaton wants to talk The Suit.
“The suit was so intricate and artfully made — I don’t think those people (Costumers) get enough credit. You know, special wrenches to put the boots in a certain (position), I was knocked out by that.” Which leads into a whole discussion about Cosplay, but never mind.
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is right around the corner as this summer’s huge blockbuster entry and swings into the box office July 7, so get ready for it. See the official site here, with all the relevant hashtags and hoo-hah for such a massive fan movie.
JUST IN CASE YOU FORGOT THE SMALL PRINT
Columbia Pictures presents a Marvel Studios / Pascal Pictures production, Spider-Man™: Homecoming. Starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. Directed by Jon Watts. Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley and Jon Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers. Screen Story by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley. Based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal. Executive Producers are Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Jeremy Latcham, Stan Lee, Avi Arad, and Matt Tolmach. Mitch Bell, Eric Hauserman Carroll, and Rachel O’Connor serve as Co-Producers. Director of Photography is Salvatore Totino ASC, AIC. Production Designer is Oliver Scholl. Editors are Dan Lebental ACE and Debbie Berman. Visual Effects Supervisor is Janek Sirrs. Costume Designer is Louise Frogley. Music by Michael Giacchino. Music Supervision by Dave Jordan.
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Curated by Screenmancer Staff
LOS ANGELES –– Periscope Entertainment announced yesterday that Charlie Hofheimer (“24: Legacy,” Black Hawk Down), Aleksa Palladino (“Boardwalk Empire,” “Halt and Catch Fire”), Robin Lord Taylor (“Gotham,” “The Walking Dead”), and Clarke Peters (“The Wire,” John Wick) have signed on to star in David Guy Levy’s psychological sci-fi thriller The Mandela Effect, written by Steffen Schlachtenhaufen and Levy. The film marks their second creative collaboration following Would You Rather. Joshua Fruehling, Levy and Schlachtenhaufen are producing under the Periscope banner.
The Mandela Effect follows a man who becomes obsessed with facts and events that have been collectively misremembered by thousands of people. Believing the phenomena to be the symptom of something much larger, his obsession eventually leads him to question reality itself. Principal photography is currently underway in Los Angeles.
HAVEN’T HEARD OF THE REAL MANDELA EFFECT?
You may ask what is a “Mandela Effect”?
According to Buzzfeed: “The Mandela effect” is what the internet is calling those curious instances in which many of us are certain we remember something a particular way, but it turns out we’re incorrect. The name of the theory comes from many people feeling certain they could remember Nelson Mandela dying while he was still in prison back in the ’80s. Contrary to what many thought, Mandela’s actual death was on Dec. 5, 2013, despite some people claiming to remember seeing clips of his funeral on TV. These false memories have some people thinking their memory sucks, but some wonder if they’ve gone to a parallel universe, or if time travelers have gone to the past and slightly affected our present, or if they’re simply losing their freakin’ minds. Whichever it is, what’s most interesting about the Mandela effect is that so many individuals share the same false memories.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT IT
Director and Periscope Entertainment’s David Guy Levy said: “I’m grateful to have such a talented group of actors come together to tell this story; Steffen and I could not have asked for a better group to bring these characters to life, and we look forward to sharing this film with audiences everywhere.”
WHO IS IN IT
Hofheimer most recently starred in the FOX revival “24: Legacy,” and recently appeared in Easy Living, which made its world premiere at this year’s SXSW film festival. Previous credits include: “Mad Men,” Would You Rather, Black Hawk Down, “TURN,” and more.
Palladino most recently starred as Sara Wheeler in the AMC series “Halt and Catch Fire,” and has previously won two Screen Actors Guild Awards for her role in the ensemble drama series “Boardwalk Empire,” alongside Steve Buscemi. She has also appeared in films including The Veil, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, and many more.
Taylor currently stars in Fox’s Emmy® nominated series “Gotham,” as “Oswald Cobblepot” AKA “The Penguin.” He has appeared in several acclaimed television series, such as “The Walking Dead,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Good Wife” and “Person of Interest,” as well as film roles including Cold Comes the Night, Another Earth, and Accepted.
Peters has a long and impressive career, with credits including “The Wire,” Notting Hill, Legacy: Black Ops, John Wick, Division 19 and more.
WHO REPS THE TALENT
Hofheimer is represented by Paradigm Talent Agency and Forward Entertainment; Palladino is represented by The Gersh Agency; Taylor is represented by Abrams Artists Agency and Untitled Entertainment; and Peters is represented by Stone Manners Salners Agency.
Founded in 2004 by David Guy Levy, Periscope Entertainment is a Los Angeles based company that develops and produces a diverse slate of fresh and visionary theatrical film and entertainment properties. With unique, non-genre specific projects in development and set for release, Periscope Entertainment is dedicated to discovering innovative and original material and developing it into a compelling and unprecedented cinematic experience.
CHARLIE HOFHEIMER, ALEKSA PALLADINO, ROBIN LORD TAYLOR, AND CLARKE PETERS SIGN ON TO STAR IN DAVID GUY LEVY’S THE MANDELA EFFECT.
We’re excited about this project, how about you? Add your comments below. Or just wait till they release it.
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by Screenmancer Staff It doesn’t entirely ruin the mystique around Stephen King’s eight-novel series “The Dark Tower” to know that the name of the main character, played by Idris Elba in the upcoming Columbia Pictures release of the same name, is from a Robert Browning poem. In fact it kind of arts it up. Browning’s […]
by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent
There was a time when Sofia Coppola could be at an awards show and overlooked as a famous daughter; not anymore, not for years now since LOST IN TRANSLATION. But in her new film, THE BEGUILED, which is a retool of a 1971 Clint Eastwood starrer, she really comes of age as a visionary writer/director. Even in what is considered a remake of a movie based on a novel by Thomas Cullinan, it has a distinctive feel that’s all hers. The film opens Friday, June 23 in New York and Los Angeles, with wider release on June 30.With an all-star cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning, you get a sense of why this movie won Best Director at the 2017 Cannes International Film Festival.
Picture a Southern all-girls boarding school during the battle-weary Civil War era, and a wounded enemy soldier appears. John McBurney (Colin Farrell) adds testosterone to a very delicate and well-mannered yet highly complex microcosm of women led by a formidable Headmistress named Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman).
“This is my dream cast,” Sofia Coppola admits. “When I was writing it, I was picturing Nicole as Miss Martha. She always surprises me. Watching her, I’ve never seen anyone like that, she does so many different things at once.” She adds that the whole cast is on a par with Kidman.
You want to use a word like confection for the ethereal feel, but that description doesn’t do justice to the depth of rich multi-layered images that float on the screen like Spanish moss.
“This is very much a Sofia film,” Colin Farrell explains. “It’s very much aesthetically beautiful. She wrote every word of this. Her way feels maybe more right than some [as far as directing], there’s an immense lack of tension on the set, very playful. She’s incredibly easygoing and generous to her core it seems.”
Farrell is underscoring the fact that a remake can often feel like a re-do of someone else’s vision.
But if you look at the 1971 version, two minutes into the film, Eastwood is literally hitting on a twelve year old, with “not too young for kisses.” And even though the fabulous Geraldine Page stars as his Miss Martha, there’s a creepy feel to their interplay, down the line. So that’s essentially the breaking point for the 2017 Beguiled. It takes a left turn at the way the heightened sexual tension is framed.
“I didn’t know the movie and I watched it, and it really stayed in my mind. I watched it. It was so weird, and I thought ‘how would I do my version?’” I thought it would be interesting to do the same story but from the female characters’ point of view.”
Elle Fanning, who plays Alicia, describes her character as kind of an empowered seductress, but still innocent in a real way. “Anything Sofia does I think is incredible, it was also like, ‘yeah.’ Because it was all these girls and women — and Colin of course— they hold the power.”
“The original film had been made from a guy’s point of view, so I went back to the book. Because I just liked the premise,” Coppola adds. “It’s such a crazy, extreme premise about power between men and women in such an extreme situation. The idea of looking at wartime from the point of view of the women left behind.”
“You try to make it personal. Try to relate to the characters because it’s such a different time. And yet I loved that it had elements that were familiar to me, this feminine beautiful world. A beautiful feminine world with violence and very gothic.”
“My tendency is to be on the subtle side. Colin was teasing me: ‘Oh, this is an action movie to you, there’s guns… there’s blood.’ It’s been fun to have this mix of beautiful dresses and a little gore. We had smoke machines everyday, and candlelight… a really ethereal look that is specific to this story.”
“Colin is a good sport about being our sex object in the movie, but he has to be dangerous and threatening, and romantic in the movie.” Farrell plays a mercenary soldier paid $300 off the boat from Ireland to fight as a Yankee, so he’s neither North nor South, but emblematic of the unspoken ever-present struggle for control between the sexes.
When the crushing attractions flare up between Farrell’s character and the many flavors of female in this strange closed world hunkered down under siege of musket fire in a distance, Beguiled really poses some interesting questions about how women express their sexuality. Yet there’s a brutality to their mannered world that Farrell’s soldier-on-the-mend only begins to realize when it’s too late.
Not that every movie needs a memorable line, but when his John McBurney yells out “You Vengeful Bitches,” in a thick Irish accent, it’s an instant classic. Probably because Nicole Kidman’s Miss Martha is so poised and possibly inherently evil at the same time, in a nice way.
Kirsten Dunst, who plays wronged love interest Edwina, sums up Sofia Coppola’s deft directing hand best, as “she doesn’t second guess herself. I’ve known her for so long, I’m working with my friend, you can’t really beat that.”
Since he is outnumbered in this eerie thriller, Colin Farrell gets the last word. “I’m surrounded by extraordinary talent. Watching these extraordinary women do extraordinary work. There’s an amazing sense of camaraderie. It’s been a joy.”
Don’t miss what the women have in store for their wounded houseguest, it’s a very rewarding fight to the finish.
Focus Features awards-buzzworthy film THE BEGUILED rolls out in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, June 23, with wider release on June 30.
Directed by Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation,” “Somewhere”)
Written by Sofia Coppola, based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan and the screenplay by Albert Maltz and Grimes Grice
Starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard.
Watch This Making-of With Director & Cast
93 Minutes I Rated R
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by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent
Who doesn’t love The Hollywood Reporter, a trade paper of record since 1930 at the dawn of American Cinema? So what do you do when THR lukewarmly reviews a film that is a fantastically written exploration of the interplay between fans and films, between human superpowers and caped crusaders? You write a counter-review, and here it is: this is about co-director Liz Graham and Matt Jacobs’ freshly screened FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE. It’s playing on a weeklong run at Laemmle Music Hall that began last Friday, June 16, so you still have time to catch it.
Starring Eve Annenberg (writer-director of Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish) in a tacky bridal gown on an LA Metro Bus odyssey after a near-miss at matrimony, her veiled crusader of personal discovery teams up with Bradley J. Herman, Maxx Maulion, stage actress Nija Okoro, local standup Isadora O’Boto, MMA champion Krzysztof Soszynski (Logan), Linda Bisesti and Chia Chen. It’s not exactly The Justice League, but they all have pop cultural references that thread together the multicultural experience that is Los Angeles. And it works wonders for Wedding Woman.
Just to cheat the system for you, and give film fans fair access to the movie, here are actual press notes on the film, with a synopsis so you get a gist of where this film is headed.
“In the city of Angels, everyone is on a quest. A disheveled, middle-aged woman in a bridal gown boards a Metro bus on Hollywood Blvd in the middle of the night. As the bus heads further west, she meets an assortment of eccentrics and social outcasts who make her question where she’s been and where she’s going. Each person she meets is at their own personal crossroads, who in turn shape the course of her bizarre journey.”
Ironically, coming from the film’s publicity folks, this is lacking in hyperbole and the extra “tulle dimension” that FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE offers diehard film buffs. ‘Tangerine Meets Canterbury Tales Set in Glitterati LaLaLand,’ is a more fitting tagline, but they got the quest part right.
Here’s something very insider fanboy and fangirl already: if you Google the title it will return results for the trip from Hollywood to Rose Avenue in Venice, which is awesome in itself. Not to mention the iconic Ballerina Clown is shown for its weirdly unpredictable staying power as a local icon despite the place going from Muscle Beach to Silicon Beach these days, with nosebleed rents and attitudes you used to only see on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, ps. So the movie also shines a spot on a place that once was cool and is now so overpriced you want to pitch a tent in protest.
Taking on the Marvel Universe, Willow, Blade Runner, Bruce Lee, even that reptilians-live-inside-the-hollow-earth yadda, FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE does a mind-meld for film fans that is of epic proportions. It taps into the inner stat and Easter Egg zone in those movie people who show up at Comic-Cons in full regalia, know what cosplay is, and collect lobby cards.
Plus there’s a gummy bear fight with the near-miss sister-in-law and crazy people we see on the street every day take on a mythic significance as the canaries in this coal mine we are all currently living in. Let’s face it, the remake of Blade Runner with Ryan Gosling has most of us a little nervous, but hopeful that the 1982 Blade Runner is celebrated even more for its cult replicant allegories to our plastic surgery dystopian now.
Embedded in this so-called Woman-in-a-Wedding-Dress saga is a full display of the power of great movies to make great memories and bring out the best in people. (No, I’m not kidding. Ever wonder why movies are America’s number one lifestyle export? Because they are magical when done correctly.)
You’ve got exceptional writing here from Matt Jacobs and a standout threading of stories from the debut team of Liz Graham and Jacobs. There is not one moment of dead air, and the film treats people’s obsessions and adoration of pop culture rabbit holes with reverence.
FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE points out that we all wear costumes is real life, not just in DC Comics, as a Bus Driver disrobes and frees himself. It also pokes hard at the emotional reactions to a simple white gown, a piece of clothing so imbued with primal subtext, it can literally freak people out. Not to mention the “fish lamp,” which is just as powerful as any Orb or Seeing Stone in how it moves the plot along.
The themes touched on here are the kind of uniting cross-generational, cross-cultural conversations that the Meaningful Movies inspire. Yes, including how important Batman is to some kids growing up, or Lord of the Rings to others, even seemingly hokey 80’s quest movies — all those adventure tales that somehow add you into the picture just by watching.
So embedded in this so-called Woman-in-a-Wedding-Dress tale about “a group of interconnected eccentric strangers over the course of one long night on the LA Metro system,” is a full display of the power of great movies to make great memories and bring out the best in people. With all due respect to The Hollywood Reporter, you’ll love this film because it’s about us, in front of the screen, fitting our lives into a darkened room with a bunch of crazy strangers waiting for us outside in real life.
Liz Graham’s and Matt Jacobs’ From Hollywood to Rose premiered at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, where it took the prize for Best Comedy Film and went on to screen at the Manhattan Film Festival, winning Best Comedic Screenplay. From Hollywood to Rose opened in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Music Hall last Friday, June 16th for a weeklong run.
Get tickets and info here for The Laemmle in Los Angeles.
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by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent
Well, how many times have we heard it? “Ladies and Gentlemen,” even that phrase grates because it’s loaded from a, take a guess? Male perspective. And this is where Leslie-Ann Coles founder of The Female Eye Festival comes into sharp focus. For the festival’s 15th anniversary, which opened yesterday in Toronto and runs through June 25, Coles may just be telling us what we need to hear right now. Listen up, since no one else seems to be championing story, sans capes, and what women are doing in film right now. What about Patty Jenkins and her big bang box office Wonder Woman, you ask?
“I think it is fantastic and great for all women directors. I just find it interesting that the Bigelow won for The Hurt Locker – which is a film that dealt with war — from a more personal perspective, and now we have a wonderful director with a superhero flick — again it’s an action movie,” Coles explains. “I always think about all the great films that the world has seen over the years that have often fallen under the radar of public and critical acclaim.”
Leslie-Ann Coles, in front of last year’s mural.
“I was always kind of interested in the (mostly male superhero) genre,” how women behind the lens see things differently, Female Eye’s tireless champion adds. “Part of the hoopla is that a women directed this,” Wonder Woman. It’s in the genre “of bastion the old boys club.”
“I was thinking also about public and industry. The general public, I don’t know how much they pay attention to who directed a film. Do they look at the poster and wonder who the director is? I don’t think the general public thinks [for example] ‘it stars Charlize Theron, wow, who is the director?’”
If you ask ‘what about women driving the box office behind a Billion Dollar Beauty & The Beast?’ “I think women buy tickets and they make a lot of decisions — maybe I’m wrong about that. This is all great… There is a film we are showing this year that we are all floored by — we don’t often see a 74 year-old actor out of New York — the title is ‘Can Hilter Happen Here.’”
As far as the full slate for the 15th Female Eye Festival, “there are some other films, documentaries, where I’ve been astonished how the women who create these films survive the front lines to get the story. You’ll be taken aback by their work and their stories.”
The only requirement for participating films is obvious, Coles notes. Films are curated “very much with the caveat that they have to be directed by a woman.”
“There are many film festivals in the world. We have been around for 15 years, but we stand firmly behind the women in the director’s chair. I think it’s important to stand behind that.”
“Somebody asked me the other day, ‘do you think it’s important still?,’” and Coles points to the dismal stats on women at the helm of bigger budget films not just in Hollywood, but around the world.
What women have to say, it turns out, is a very different statement about the age-old entanglement of perpetual seat-filler plot-devices: Sex and Violence, she notes.
A film came out of New York one year that blew the viewer panels away, “Virgin” (2003). “That film was co-executive produced by Robin Wright Penn and starred Elizabeth Moss.” There was a real possibility that no one would distribute this project, so, Female Eye made sure to give it screen time. That director, Deborah Kampmeier, is out of New York.
“There was a rape of lead actress — perpetrator rapes her,” then Moss has to deal with “the man who impregnated her.”
“What struck me is that women tend to treat sex and violence very differently. Nothing is gratuitous. It’s often what [audiences] don’t see with explicit violence or sex.” The director “has come back to us with Split, Houndog — I’m a big fan of her work. She’s really underrated as a director, she is an important director, she created some, creates some great films, there have been so many.”
Karen Black is a past honoree.
“Nancy Savoca (Dogfight, If These Walls Could Talk) is another one; she shot a film in one apartment, one location on a micro budget,” Coles recalls.
As for her personal journey from dancer to actor to filmmaker to Festival Director? (See her bio on http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0171320/)
“I have a documentary; it has taken me eight years to finish it. Documentary about early music journalism from 1965 to 1975 from a classic black and white archive. The photographer shot for Melody Maker magazine the forerunner to Rolling Stone.
“It’s a great story when there were no rock’n’roll photographers.” This doc includes the photo “that redefined Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd) great photograph… he’d locked himself in the bathroom. They went into the bathroom and spent time locked in the bathroom with Syd Barrett — there’s this photograph half in shadow and half in light — a session with Jimi Hendrix two weeks before he died in his manager’s office. Keith Moon (The Who) — stunts that went awry — these guys had incredible access. in the mid 1970’s punk came in and didn’t respect the old guard. The World changed then.”
Now the world has changed again, from mass public shootings, war-mongering around the globe like never before to psychotic drum-banging in world politics, and maybe that’s why movies told from a female perspective are an important counterbalance. In any case, the 15th Female Eye Festival takes place this week. Visit the filmmakers and their bios on display, as well as slate and schedule, at 15th Annual Female Eye Film Festival, June 20th – 25th, 2017 #FeFF2017
SNAPSHOT from FeFF
The FeFF celebrates the 15th Anniversary edition June 2017!
At our milestone 15th anniversary in 2017, FeFF will present an eclectic variety shorts and features in all genres from across North American including a curated shorts program from Ireland entitled, “Irish Women’s Stories” along with a selection of independent films from France, Israel, Germany, Finland, Poland, Russia, Australia, UK and Asia… just to name a few foreign delegations. We are delighted to announce in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 the Female Eye ranked one of the world’s “Top 50 Film Festivals Worthy of the Entry Fee” by the renowned Movie Maker Magazine (Santa Monica, California).
Founder / Artistic and Executive Director Leslie – Ann Coles conceived the Female Eye Film Festival in 2001 having observing that women directors were a minority among filmmakers at the international film festivals she attended with her debut film, “In The Refrigerator.” In 2001, the Female Eye Film Festival (FeFF) was established and incorporated as a provincial not-for-profit organization in Toronto, Canada. In 2002, the Female Eye presented 42 films in its inaugural year; 70% of the participants were local Toronto directors. (Read more here...)
[Coles new documentary is MELODY MAKERS
“Always Honest, Not Always Pretty” www.FemaleEyeFilmFestival.com
2017, The Female Eye voted worlds “Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” for five consecutive years (2013-2017) by Movie Maker Magazine
“The lack of gender equity in filmmaking [and in other arts] is perhaps a self-sustaining cycle. Movies shape the way that people see the world and by extension, the way that people see women.” – Odessa Kelebay
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by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent
When most of us caught the Presidential Tweet in late May that included a fake word, #covfefe, that has become the American Typo Heard Around the World, it really mattered that this misspelled rant was aimed at the media. The 45th President of the United States was, as they say in street fights, ripping all newsrooms a new one. And Mr. Trump has literally gone to town on what he, @realdonaldtrump, and his Trump Administration call their enemy a/k/a the Media. He doesn’t see it as an Us and Them, he sees it as a USA and Them, as if being a journalist is de facto unpatriotic. Well, look no further than a great documentary to realign the universe of writers, writing, journalism, and The Pulitzer Prize. Even Martin Scorsese weighs in on stories we tell as journalists, scribes, and poets in Oscar-winning director Kirk Simon’s “The Pulitzer at 100,” which opens July 21 at Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York City.
Ironically, one could say that the Leader of The Free World paying attention to the printed word and its creators is high praise — if you approach it from the ‘any publicity is good publicity’ angle. But unfortunately, this is not the case. President Trump has really blown a hole in the Fourth Estate, as if he’d been given a gold-plated wrecking ball with a Presidential Seal on it. It’s not just that he misunderstands journalism as a form of public relations; it’s not just that he singles out individual reporters like criminals in a briefing; it’s that we let him get away with it.
Why We Can’t Let The Press Get Beaten Up Anymore…
“The Pulitzer at 100” features hot button stories like an insider look into the lid-lifting Secret Service prostitution exposé, and the woman who was the little girl in that iconic Vietnam era napalm photo, but it also includes John Lithgow reciting Robert Frost. If Tracy K. Smith, the 2012 Pulitzer prize recipient for Poetry, doesn’t cut you to your knees just in one verse, check your pulse. “A poem invites conflation” between the writer and the reader, she tell us; and there’s Helen Mirren, Liev Schreiber reading some literary winners of the prize, breathtaking.
But back to journalism. Do we and our President even know why it is called The Fourth Estate and what it means? Quoting Stanford University’s “Journalism in the Digital Age” here:
“Journalism has long been regarded as an important force in government, so vital to the functioning of a democracy that it has been portrayed as an integral component of democracy itself. In 1841, Thomas Carlyle wrote, “Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all” (On Heroes and Hero Worship). Four years earlier, Carlyle had used the phrase in his French Revolution: “A Fourth Estate, of Able Editors, springs up, increases and multiplies; irrepressible, incalculable.” Carlyle saw the press as instrumental to the birth and growth of democracy, spreading facts and opinions and sparking revolution against tyranny.”
You don’t need to know this to watch “The Pulitzer at 100,” but it helps. From the press notes, “There are more than a thousand recipients of this prestigious award including journalists, novelists, poets, musicians and photographers and this film has been made from the most valuable of resources, the artists themselves, many of whom are featured in The Pulitzer at 100.”
A short list includes:
Carl Bernstein, The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, 1973
Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize International Reporting & Affairs,1983,1988 & 2002
Martin Baron, Editor of The Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, National Reporting and Explanatory Journalism, 2014, 2015 & 2016
Robert Caro, Pulitzer Prize for Biography, 1975 & 2003
David Remnick, Editor-in-Chief The New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, 1994
Sheri Fink, Pulitzer Winner for Investigative Reporting, 2010 & 2015
Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize, International Reporting and Commentary, 1990 & 2006
Carol Leonnig, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and National Reporting, 2014 & 2015
Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 2012
Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1999
Paula Vogel, writer of How I Learned To Drive, Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 1998
Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2008
Wynton Marsalis, Pulitzer Prize for Music, 1997
John Adams, Pulitzer Prize for Music, 2003
Nick Ut, Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography, 1973
Who Was This Immigrant Named Pulitzer?
“At the end of the Civil War,” this documentary tells us, Joseph Pulitzer a penniless Hungarian vagrant, sleeps on benches in New York, then moves to St. Louis, and the rest is history in broken English, shall we say. Typos matter, words matter, our Democracy matters. We matter as reader-citizens, writer-citizens, audience and actors in this American Experiment.
So the next time you watch a Presidential Press Briefing where journalists take a beating for protecting your right to ask questions as a citizen, remember who Joseph Pulitzer was, and why he matters.
Quoting “Journalism in the Digital Age” from Stanford again, which is not part of the documentary, for reference, just read along to see why this film and your opinion about the “media” matters:
“The fact of the matter is that democracy requires informed citizens. No governing body can be expected to operate well without knowledge of the issues on which it is to rule, and rule by the people entails that the people should be informed. In a representative democracy, the role of the press is twofold: it both informs citizens and sets up a feedback loop between the government and voters. The press makes the actions of the government known to the public, and voters who disapprove of current trends in policy can take corrective action in the next election. Without the press, the feedback loop is broken and the government is no longer accountable to the people. The press is therefore of the utmost importance in a representative democracy.”
Plus there’s Natalie Portman reading the work of Jorie Graham, 1996 Pulitzer winner, such “nimble armor” language.
THE PULITZER AT 100 – First Run Features Notes
Kirk Simon is an Oscar and Emmy-winning producer and director of documentary films for more than 30 years. In addition to winning an Academy Award for the HBO short documentary Strangers No More, he has also been nominated three other times, and won the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton. His films have had national broadcasts on PBS, HBO and MTV.
Highlights in his oeuvre include the Emmy-winning Masterclass, an HBO series in which great artists mentor high school students; also for HBO, he was responsible for numerous programs including the 14-part series Kindergarten, which continues to be broadcast each morning on HBO Family. Mr. Simon’s first film for HBO was Chimps: So Like Us with Dr. Jane Goodall, which required Mr. Simon to sleep in a tent on the shore of Lake Tanganyika for three weeks to make this Oscar nominated and Emmy-winning program. He was also responsible for the award-winning series Coming Out Stories on MTV’s LOGO that portrayed the emotional process of coming out in the LGBT community. Entertainment Weekly wrote, “this touching series marks a high point for the network.”
For PBS, Simon has produced and/or directed programs for American Masters, American Playhouse, American Experience, Masterpiece Theater and The National Geographic. For American Masters, Mr. Simon produced the Emmy-nominated Buckminster Fuller: Thinking Out Loud in 1996 and the Oscar-nominated biography of Isaac Bashevis Singer in 1986. For National Geographic, shows produced and directed by Mr. Simon include both Cairo Unveiled and Incredible Human Body. Simon is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Writer’s Guild of America, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Producer’s Guild of America.
Produced and Directed by Kirk Simon
Co-Produced by Ron Simon
Executive Producers: Nikkos J. Frangos and George T. Lemos
Edited by Emily Williams
Director of Photography: Buddy Squires, ASC
Music by Wendy Blackstone
Run Time – 91 min
Language – English
Format – Digital
Year – 2017
Genre – Documentary
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