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Sony Executive Richard Berger Joins Motion Picture Laboratories as CEO

52 minutes ago

Motion Picture Laboratories, backed by studios as a research and development venture, has tapped industry veteran Richard Berger as president and chief executive officer.

He replaces Steve Weinstein, who was serving as interim CEO and will leave to spend more time on his entrepreneurship and teaching activities at Stanford and Uc Berkeley. Motion Picture Laboratories is also known as MovieLabs.

Berger will lead MovieLabs’ cross-industry initiatives focused on next-generation content platforms and products, automated digital workflows, content security, and digital analytics. He has over 20 years of experience in digital innovation, with more than a decade of experience leading new media and technology efforts at Sony Pictures Entertainment, most recently as senior VP of worldwide digital strategy and advanced platforms. He has worked on emerging digital platforms and formats such as UltraViolet and Uhd (4K).

“Rich brings that most unusual blend of qualities — deep technical knowledge coupled with an instinctive commercial understanding of how technology can disrupt and »


- Dave McNary

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Jonas Carpignano’s ‘A Ciambra’ Is Italy’s Oscar Contender

1 hour ago

Italy has selected Jonas Carpignano’s slice-of-life drama “A Ciambra,” set in a Romani community in southern Italy, as its candidate for the foreign-language Oscar.

Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, “A Ciambra” stars Pio Amato as a 14-year-old growing up in a Romani community in Calabria. The coming-of-age drama has been described as a companion piece to “Mediterranea,” Carpignano’s debut feature which played at Cannes Critics’ Week in 2015. Amato played a secondary character in “Mediterranea.”

A Ciambra,” which harks back to Italy’s neo-realist cinematic heritage, launched from this year’s Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight, where it won the  Europa Cinemas Label Award. It will be released in North America by Sundance Selects.

The film was produced by Stayblack Productions, Rt Features, Sikelia Productions, Rai Cinema, in association with Dcm, Haut et Court, Film i Vast and Filmgate Films.

Italy last won a foreign-language Academy Award in 2014 with Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty,” which »


- Nick Vivarelli

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Philippines Lands on ‘Birdshot’ as Academy Awards Selection

2 hours ago

Birdshot,” a coming-of-age drama by 24-year-old director Mikhail Red, has been selected by The Philippines as its contender for the foreign-language section of the Academy Awards. The film is the story of a girl who accidentally shoots a rare eagle.

The choice was made by a specially-formed committee within Film Academy of the Philippines, which announced its decision Tuesday. Initially the committee was evenly split between “Birdshot” and “Sunday Beauty Queen.” That required Jose N. Carreon as chairman to cast a deciding vote.

Other titles in contention had been “Die Beautiful” by Jun Lana; “1st Sem,” by Dexter Hernandez and Allan Ibanez; “Ang Araw sa Likod Mo,” by Dominic Nuesa; “Kita Kita,” by Sigfrid Bernardo; “Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B,” by Prime Cruz; “Patay na si Hesus,” by Victor Villanueva; “Triptiko,” by Miguel Franco Micelena; and “Sunday Beauty Queen,” by Baby Ruth Villarama.

Birdshot” has its premiere last year at the Tokyo International Film Festival, where »


- Patrick Frater

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Third ‘Blade Runner 2049’ Short Prequel to Be Unveiled in Japan on Tuesday

4 hours ago

Ahead of the release of “Blade Runner 2049,” an official short-film prequel by Japanese director Shinichiro Watanabe (“Cowboy Bebop”) is to be unveiled Tuesday.

Blade Runner Black Out 2022” is the last of three short prequels commissioned by Alcon Entertainment to help bridge the gap between the end of the original “Blade Runner,” whose events wrapped up in 2019, and the highly anticipated sequel set 30 years later. The first prequel, “2036: Nexus Dawn,” was released Aug. 30, and the second, “2048: Nowhere to Run,” dropped Sept. 15. Both were directed by Luke Scott, the son of original “Blade Runner” director Ridley Scott.

Unlike the first two prequels, “Blade Runner Black Out 2022” is an animated short. It is scheduled to premiere Tuesday in Japan, following which it will be released worldwide.

Watanabe says in a trailer shown in Japan that “Blade Runner” was the biggest inspiration for him to work in the animation industry. Watanabe also says that he was eager to »


- Variety Japan

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San Sebastián: Director Ivana Mladenovic on ‘Soldiers. A Story from Ferentari’

5 hours ago

San Sebastian — “Boy or girl?” jokes Adi (Adrian Schiop), poking the vast dome of a belly of boyfriend Alberto (Pavel Vasile-Digudai), who lies on his sofa, on which he takes up frequent residence, in the mid-stretch of “Soldiers. A Story from Ferentari.”

Even in physical terms, the love story of Adi, a wiry thin-rim-glassed intellectual and Alberto, an young ox of a man who has gone to fat, seems a near surreal conjunction. And sex is one of the best things the couple’s got going for them.

Adi and Alberto meet when Adi moves into a dreary flat in the Ferentari Roma neighborhood of Bucharest, to research a doctorate on menele, Roma urban folk music. But homosexuality is frowned upon in Ferentari. The lovers can frolic together in a park in the rich part of Bucharest, but not even hold hands in the neighborhood. Adi comes from Romania’s middle-class, a »


- John Hopewell

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Tommy Lee Jones to Head Tokyo Festival Jury

5 hours ago

Veteran American actor, Tommy Lee Jones will head the competition jury at next month’s Tokyo International Film Festival.

The 30th edition of the festival will run Oct. 25 – Nov. 3 in venues across Tokyo. It will open with Japanese fantasy film “Fullmetal Alchemist” and close with Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”

Jones will be joined on the jury by Belgian director Martin Provost (“Serafine”,) Iranian writer-director and producer Reza Mirkarimi, Japanese actor Masatoshi Nagase, and Chinese actress, director and investor Vicky Zhao Wei.

The jury will decide a Grand Prix, a jury prize, best director, screenplay, actor, actress and artistic contribution prizes.

The 15 films in competition, mostly hailing from Asia, Central Asia and Europe, include: erotic crime thriller “Gutland”; “The Lowlife,” adapted from a novelist by a Japanese porn starlet; Vanessa Paradis in another female-focused drama “Maryline”; and Jean-Marc Barr in “Grain,” a Turkish sci-fi film with strong environmental themes.

“Our »


- Patrick Frater

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Koch Media Nabs Italian Distribution Rights to Horror Film ‘Nest’

6 hours ago

San Sebastian  — Indie distributor Koch Media has taken Italian theatrical rights to film project “Nest,” a Italian-Argentine co-production set up at Rosanna Seregni’s Alba Produzioni.

It also teams Argentine producer Juan Crespo at Buenos Aires’ 3C Film Group and partner Marcelo Altmark. In development, psychological horror movie “Nest” will shoot in a studio in Italy with only two thesps, an Italian actress and Argentine actor, under director Mattia Temponi. Argentina will host the film’s post-production stage. 80% of co-production will be Italian; 20% Argentine, Seregni said at San Sebastián.

“Nest” was unveiled Monday during a panel that celebrated the entry of Italy as a country member of the Ibermedia film fund, joining Latin America, Spain and Portugal.

“Italy’s arrival alleviates the deficit from the respective crises of members such as Brazil, Venezuela and Spain,” said Ibermedia co-production and distribution co-ordinator Victor Sánchez.

Chiara Fortuna, at Italy’s Mibact government funding entity, gave »


- Emiliano De Pablos

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San Sebastian Film Review: ‘Mademoiselle Paradis’

6 hours ago

It’s the kind of teasing what-if with which we begin torturing ourselves as children: If you had to choose one, would you rather be deaf or blind? Would you rather have the gift of sight for a brief time only to have it taken away, or never know exactly what you’re missing? And if regaining your vision meant losing your most unique talent, would you take that trade? For blind Austrian pianist Maria Theresia “Resi” Paradis, the latter wasn’t a hypothesis or a choice, but a perverse quandary into which her body threw her — not that the draconian patriarchy of the late 18th century would have permitted her much say either way. A fresh, inquisitive portrait of her pivotal teenage years from director Barbara Albert, “Mademoiselle Paradis” is less interested in its subject’s potted biography than in how her era’s vicious politics of class and gender affected her plight. The »


- Guy Lodge

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San Sebastián: 5 Directions Public Film Funding is Heading in Europe

6 hours ago

San Sebastian — A new public film funding mindset is emerging in Europe. Moderated with brio by SampoMedia/Michael Gubbins, himself head of Wales Film Cymru, one of the U.K.’s biggest regional funds, a San Sebastian panel – The Bigger Picture: A Fresh Approach to Public Film Funding – set out some of its evolving priorities. The presence on the table of Eurimages’ Enrico Vannucci and Creative Europe’s Media Program head Lucía Recalde led a pan-European weight to discussion. Here are five major takeaways from a largely consensus debate:

1.’De-siloing”

A phrase first used by Recalde, suggesting room for collaboration between the E.U’s Media Program and Eurimages.

The concept of “de-siloing,” whether across national boundaries or sectors, was, however, approved by many of the panelists who also took in producers – Czech Artemio Benki, analysts – Ilse Schooneknaep at Smit/Brussels Vrij U; – and, among other policy makers: Gubbins, the »


- John Hopewell

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‘The Lego Ninjago Movie’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

8 hours ago

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Warner Bros. Animations claims the top spot in spending with “The Lego Ninjago Movie.”

Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $4.38 million through Sunday for 1,227 national ad airings across 48 networks. (Spend figures are based on estimates generated from Sept. 18-24. Estimates may be updated after the chart is posted as new information becomes available.) Warner Bros. prioritized budget across networks including ABC, Comedy Central and NBC, and targeted a sports-fan crowd with airings during NFL Football and College Football games. It also prioritized spend during shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants, The Big Bang Theory and South Park.

Just behind “The Lego Ninjago Movie” in second place: Universal Pictures’ “American Made,” which saw 883 national ad airings across 41 networks, with an estimated media value of $4.31 million. Notably, »


- iSpot.tv

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Film Review: Chadwick Boseman in ‘Marshall’

8 hours ago

If comic-book superheroes get origin stories, why shouldn’t Supreme Court justices? With its punchy, one-word title, “Marshall” sounds like it might be our introduction to some kind of pulp enforcer, but is in fact the story of ambitious young civil rights attorney Thurgood Marshall — who would go on to become the first African-American associate justice named to the highest court in the land — and one of his early cases, reminiscent of the one Atticus Finch tries in “To Kill a Mockinbird,” in which a terrified black chauffeur stands accused of the rape and attempted murder of his white employer.

How appropriate then that the title role should go to Chadwick Boseman, the handsome, fast-rising star who has played heroes both real (Jackie Robinson in “42”) and imaginary (Black Panther in the upcoming Marvel film), and who balances the two in this performance, offsetting Marshall’s mythic stature as the chief counsel for the NAACP with those qualities »


- Peter Debruge

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Film News Roundup: David Oyelowo Starring in ‘Cyrano the Moor’ for Disney

12 hours ago

In today’s film news roundup, Disney has hired David Oyelowo to star in “Cyrano the Moor,” “Michelin Stars” gets North American distribution and the comedy “Holly Slept Over” will include Josh Lawson and Britt Lower.

Project Development

Walt Disney Pictures has tapped David Oyelowo to star in the movie “Cyrano the Moor” with “Moonlight” writer Tarell Alvin McCraney on board.

The idea, which is in early development, would combine elements of Edmond Rostand’s play “Cyrano de Bergerac” and William Shakespeare’s “Othello,” set in the Bristol region of England during the 19th century.

The idea was conceived by Oyelowo’s development team and sold to Disney, which hired McCraney to write a script. The producers will be Yoruba Saxon, David Oyelowo and Jessica Oyelowo. Tendo Nagenda and Chaz Salembier are overseeing for Disney.

McCraney is repped by CAA and Manage-ment. Oyelowo is repped by CAA and Inphenate. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood »


- Dave McNary

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‘Breadwinner,’ ‘Olaf’s Frozen Adventure’ Presentations Slated for View Conference

12 hours ago

Special presentations on the upcoming animated film “The Breadwinner” and Disney’s new animated featurette “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” will be featured at the View Conference 2017 in Turin, Italy.

Technical director Mark Mullery will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the production of “The Breadwinner,” an adaptation of Deborah Ellis’ acclaimed novel, directed by Cartoon Saloon’s Nora Twomey and executive produced by Angelina Jolie. Mullery will discuss how animators combined the latest technology with traditional hand-drawn techniques to tell the tale of a young Afghan girl who pretends to be a boy in order to provide for her family.

Disney’s Alessandro Jacomini will talk to View Conference attendees about lighting “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure,” a featurette featuring the lovable snowman from Disney’s 2013 hit “Frozen,” that will play ahead of Disney-Pixar’s November release “Coco.” Jacomini served a director of cinematography-lighting on the short.

Jacomini is looking forward to presenting at the View Conference. “Industry »


- Terry Flores

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Film Review: ‘Gerald’s Game’

13 hours ago

The Year of Stephen King continues apace with the arrival of “Gerald’s Game,” one of two Netflix-produced King adaptations (along with “1922”) unveiled last weekend at Austin’s genre-skewing Fantastic Fest. But here’s the rub: It’s entirely possible that this particular adaptation may be best appreciated — or, to paraphrase the late George Michael, viewed without prejudice — by people who have never read King’s 1992 bestseller of the same title.

Writer-director Mike Flanagan (“Ouija: Origin of Evil”) and co-writer Jeff Howard have proficiently streamlined and simplified a novel that, according to the production notes, even Flanagan once considered “unfilmable.” But the end result of their reimagining might very well produce more complaints than usual from disapproving King fans that, really, the book was a lot better.

To be fair, the movie tends to adhere quite effectively to the bare bones of King’s original plot. At a secluded lake house — the kind of place where no »


- Joe Leydon

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Steve Carell’s Range Gets a Showcase With ‘Battle of the Sexes,’ ‘Last Flag Flying’

13 hours ago

The film awards season is barely a few weeks old and it already has a candidate for Mvp: “Battle of the Sexes” and “Last Flag Flying” star Steve Carell.

When Carell first saddled up to prestige projects 11 years ago in Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ “Little Miss Sunshine,” you could swim in the number of stories noting the comedian’s shift into “serious” territory. It was pretty much what you’d expect for someone who had gone from sketch comedy and stealing scenes from Jim Carrey in “Bruce Almighty,” to dominating air waves with a broadcast sitcom and fronting a major Judd Apatow release, to headlining a high-profile Sundance selection.

A double-dip for indie cred followed soon after with Peter Hedges’ “Dan in Real Life,” but Carell maintained an unpredictable profile. There were humble dramedies (“Crazy Stupid Love,” “The Way Way Back”) mixed in with glossy studio comedies (“Get Smart,” “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone »


- Kristopher Tapley

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Owen Vaccaro to Star Opposite Cate Blanchett in ‘House With a Clock in Its Walls’ (Exclusive)

13 hours ago

Owen Vaccaro is set to star Cate Blanchett and Jack Black in Amblin Entertainment’s “The House With a Clock in Its Walls,” an adaptation of the 1973 John Bellairs book illustrated by Edward Gorey.

Twin Peaks” star Kyle MacLachlan also recently joined the cast. Eli Roth is directing with Eric Kripke penning the script.

The novel tells the tale of a recently orphaned 10-year-old boy, played by Vaccaro, who discovers a world of hidden passageways, magic, and danger in his uncle’s old house.

Production begins next month with no release date set at this time.

Mythology Entertainment’s Brad Fischer and James Vanderbilt will produce along with Kripke. Executive producers include William Sherak, Tracey Nyberg and Laeta Kalogridis.

Vaccaro broke out in the Paramount comedy “Daddy’s Home” as Will Ferrell’s stepson and Mark Wahlberg’s biological son and can be seen reprising the role in “Daddy’s Home 2” opening November 10, with Mel Gibson and »


- Justin Kroll

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Chevy Chase, Richard Dreyfuss, Lewis Black to Star in Netflix’s ‘Last Laugh’

13 hours ago

Chevy Chase, Richard Dreyfuss, Lewis Black, Andie MacDowell, Kate Micucci, and Chris Parnell have boarded the Netflix original comedy “The Last Laugh.”

Written and directed by Greg Pritikin, the Netflix original project is produced by Rob Paris of Paris Film Inc. Shooting began Monday in New Orleans.

The story centers on a talent manager and widower reuniting with a former client, who gave up a promising career as a stand-up comedian and instead settled down to have a family. Once on tour at classic stand-up venues across the U.S., the comedian gets a last taste of the life he could have had with a rollercoaster ride of two men rekindling friendships, careers, and ideas of the past. Chase will play the manager and Dreyfuss will portray the comedian.

Related

‘Netflix Is a Joke’ Ad Unveiled During Emmys

“It’s not surprising a script as poignant and funny as this attracted such award-winning talent,” said »


- Dave McNary

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‘It’ Sequel Sets September 2019 Release Date

14 hours ago

Pennywise the evil clown is due back in theaters in less than two years. New Line and Warner Bros. have set the “It” sequel for release on Sept. 6, 2019.

The studio, which announced the date on Monday, had revealed earlier this month that Gary Dauberman was working on the script.

Related

Box Office: ‘It’ Becomes Highest-Grossing Horror Film of All Time

Andy Muschietti, who directed “It,” is expected to return for the second installment. Producers Barbara Muschietti, Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith, and David Katzenberg are believed to be back as well.

Stephen King’s 1986 novel focuses on a group of friends in a fictional Maine community that battles the small town’s demon as kids, and then again as adults. The blockbuster movie, which opened Sept. 8, centers on the children, while the upcoming film will follow them into adulthood

Since its debut earlier this month, “It” has shattered numerous records, earning »


- Dave McNary

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Lumumba Mosquera to Leave Sony, Join Paramount as Evp, Business Affairs (Exclusive)

15 hours ago

Paramount has hired Lumumba Mosquera away from Sony to become executive vice president, business affairs with primary responsibility for Paramount Players, the newly created film division headed by Brian Robbins.

Mosquera will report to Steve Plum, senior executive vice president and head of motion picture business and legal affairs. He joined Sony in 2009 from Ventanazul, the film production company created by Salma Hayek. At Sony, Mosquera negotiated rights, talent, and other deals on behalf of the studio. Mosquera has previously worked with Paramount COO Andrew Gumpert at Sony and at Miramax.

Before Sony, Mosquera worked as vice president for business and legal affairs at the Weinstein Company and Dimension/Miramax films.

Related

Wyck Godfrey Tapped for Top Executive Role at Paramount Pictures (Exclusive)

Paramount Players is a new division within the studio that will focus on making theatrical releases that draw on existing Viacom brands like MTV and Nickelodeon. The films are aimed at serving youth and »


- Ricardo Lopez

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Chile Offers 30% Cash Rebates to Int’l Films, TV and Digital Location Shoots

15 hours ago

Chile has kicked off a 30% cash rebate incentive to attract more international productions to its shores. In order to qualify, foreign producers of feature films, TV series or digital platform series are required to ink a co-production pact with a local producer and spend a minimum of $2 million in the country. The incentive will not exceed 30% of qualified expenses, with a cap of $3 million.

For Cristian Diaz, investments chief of Chile’s Strategic Creative Program (Corfo), “the development generated by audiovisual investments goes beyond the economic activity associated with the investment itself.” “Countries like New Zealand, or cities like New York, to name just two, are strong examples of the impact on the tourist development of those territories,” he noted.

Chilean film commissioner Joyce Zylberberg pointed out that the influx of foreign productions would bring a good measure of knowhow and expertise to Chile’s local audiovisual industry, which remains small despite the multiple accolades its films »


- Anna Marie de la Fuente

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