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

33 minutes ago

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

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

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

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


- Dave McNary

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Are Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump the Same Person?

50 minutes ago

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

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


- Owen Gleiberman

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

1 hour ago

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

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

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

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


- Dave McNary

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Hollywood’s New Creative Leaders of 2017

1 hour ago

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


- Variety Staff

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Hollywood New Leaders: Agents and Managers

1 hour ago

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


- Variety Staff

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Lifetime and NeueHouse to Launch Luminaries Screening Series With ‘Flint’

2 hours ago

Lifetime has partnered with NeueHouse Madison Square Women’s Forum on a screening and panel series that will showcase the network’s upcoming movies from “Flint” to “I Am Elizabeth Smart.” Dubbed the “Luminaries” screening series, the goal is to showcase a slate of films that celebrate women and their impact on today’s world.

“Women are powerful storytellers and the female perspective needs to be amplified,” said Jamie Singer, CEO Ussie and head of the NeueHouse Madison Square Women’s Forum. “Lifetime has brought together some of the most inspiring women in Hollywood to share their stories. I am honored that we get to support them with NeueHouse as well as learn from them privately through this partnership.”

The screening series will debut on Oct. 23 with “Flint” starring Queen Latifah, Jill Scott, Betsy Brandt and Marin Ireland, followed by “I Am Elizabeth Smart” with Skeet Ulrich, Deirdre Lovejoy and Alana Boden on Nov. 13. Other films in »


- Rebecca Rubin

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A TV Executive Sexually Assaulted Me: A Critic’s Personal Story

2 hours ago

I told a lie in 2015. A lie to save my life.

I wrote a post in May of that year telling people I was taking two months off to deal with family issues. It wasn’t entirely a falsehood. My father had died about a year earlier and my mother was dying (she passed away last fall). The last few years were a difficult, grindingly draining time that changed me enormously.

Still, my parents’ illnesses and deaths didn’t break me. The television executive who sexually assaulted me in 2014 broke me.

And that was the real reason I took that leave in 2015: I needed to heal, mentally and spiritually, and I had to think about whether I even wanted to stay in this industry.

I look around at what occurred with Harvey Weinstein (and Cosby, and Ailes, and so on), and I have agonized over whether I made the right decision.

In the summer »


- Maureen Ryan

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Women Powered Summer Box Office Successes, New Data Shows

3 hours ago

Women and millennial men were two key audience segments responsible for the summer’s most successful films, according to a new study released by marketing data analytics firm Movio.

Although the summer season overall was one of the worst in recent history — a 14.6% drop in domestic grosses from last summer — the study focused on the summer films that performed the best, rather than those that flopped. There were, after all, several major successes, including “Wonder Woman,” Christopher Nolan’s smash hit “Dunkirk,” and comedy breakout “Girls Trip.”

The Movio research examined those who go to the movies fewer than four times a year (deemed “infrequent moviegoers”) who typically make up about 14% of a movie’s audience. Many of the summer’s most successful films, it found, pulled in a larger percentage. For example, the audience for “Girls Trip” — which grossed $115 million domestic off a relatively low budget — was 25% infrequent moviegoers.

More specifically, »


- Seth Kelley

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Magnolia Nabs Worldwide Rights to Obama Documentary ‘The Final Year’ (Exclusive)

3 hours ago

Magnolia Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to “The Final Year,” a behind-the-scenes look at Barack Obama’s foreign policy team, Variety has learned. The HBO documentary was directed by Greg Barker. It unfolds during the 44th president’s last year in office, following America’s top diplomats and political advisors as they grapple with the rise of Isis, try to hammer out a nuclear deal with Iran, and attempt to bring attention to the issue of global warming. The film profiles several key members of Obama’s staff, including Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Deputy National Security Adviser and presidential confidant Ben Rhodes, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and President Obama himself.

The movie had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival before screening at the BFI London Film Festival. It will next show as the opening night selection of Doc NYC on Nov. 9. Magnolia plans to »


- Brent Lang

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Lumière Festival: Le CiNéMa Club’s CEO Marie-Louise Khondji on Financing a Free VOD Player and Online Collection Curation

10 hours ago

Lyon – In town for a panel on VOD and streaming platforms at this year’s Lumière Festival is Le CiNéMa Club, www.lecinemaclub.com, a web-based streaming-platform for classic and under-represented films.

A streaming-platform at a festival is not necessarily anything to write home about, but this site is rare , particularly when it comes to its cost – a royal $0 annually.

Le CiNéMa Club uploads one film a week each week, and takes it down the next. Each film streamed can be watched at anytime, from nearly anywhere on the planet with a WiFi signal.

The screened films feature articles with extensive background information on the film and its director. The selected films vary in genre, length and format, but frequently showcase new filmmakers or less-known works from established directors. Typically short films are showcased, but in the past the site has also streamed documentaries, features and on occasion experimental cinema.

Another feature »


- Jamie Lang

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France’s UniversCine Offers Much More Than Standard Streaming and Disc-in-a-Box DVDs

10 hours ago

Lyon — In 2015, vinyl sales went up 53% to hit a 25-year-high, whatever the low base, while this year physical book sales have overtaken digital. In the world of film, there are still plenty of people who want physical copies of their content, especially if it’s packaged the right way. France’s UniversCine has come up with a new way of satisfying that sector of the market, while continuing to cash in on digital.

In Lyon to represent the company at the Lumière Festival are UniversCine and Blaq Out CEO Jean-Yves Bloch, and head of editions Charles Hembert. The two sister-companies are looking to update the ways that French audiences access classic, arthouse, documentary, short-form and animated films.

In the digital distribution business for nearly 15 years, UniversCine has navigated the ever-changing markets facing digital distributors.

“We’ve spent the last three years renovating and updating our platforms, because we’ve seen a shift in the digital market from transactional »


- Jamie Lang

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‘Wonderstruck’ Director Todd Haynes Emphasizes Importance of Film’s Score: It’s ‘Almost a Character’

10 hours ago

Todd Haynes’ latest film “Wonderstruck” opened at the Los Angeles Theatre in Downtown L.A. Tuesday. The unusually warm October evening was graced by director Haynes, as well as stars Oakes Fegley and Jaden Michael, screenwriter Brian Selznick, executive producer and costume designer Sandy Powell, and composer Carter Burwell. Julianne Moore and newcomer Millicent Simmonds, who also star in the film, were unable to attend.

Based on the novel also written by Selznick, “Wonderstruck” flips between two narratives in separate eras — the 1920s and 1970s. Simmonds and Fegley portray Rose and Ben (respectively), two deaf children who embark on distinctive, personal journeys in New York City. The Los Angeles Theatre was decorated to reflect both eras, with ushers dressed as either flappers or ‘70s socialites. Kettle corn and old fashioned sodas were also served during the screening.

Seldom does Hollywood see screenplays adapted from a novel written by the novelist himself. However, Selznick »


- Arya Roshanian

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Lumière Festival: Bertrand Tavernier on His Lifelong Love of Classic Westerns

11 hours ago

This year’s 9th Lumière Festival includes a section dedicated to classic American Westerns, selected by French helmer Bertrand Tavernier (“The French Minister”), who is also curating a collection of books dedicated to the genre, published by Actes Sud.

The fourteen films to be screened span the period between 1943 and 1962, including titles such as William A. Wellman’s “The Ox-Bow Incident” (1943), John Ford’s “My Darling Clementine” (1946), Howard Hawks’ “Red River” (1948), Delmer Daves’ “Broken Arrow” (1950), King Vidor’s “Man Without a Star” (1955) and John Ford’s “The Man who Shot Liberty Valance” (1962).

Tavernier will personally present each film. He has been a fan of American Westerns since he was a teenager and became an avid reader of Western novels as soon as he learned how to read English, in his early twenties.

Through this section and also a book collection published by Actes Sud, Tavernier is paying his own personal tribute to this quintessentially American genre. He is »


- Martin Dale

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Elizabeth Olsen, Jane Rosenthal Demand Justice for Sexual Assault Victims at Chanel Tribeca Lunch

14 hours ago

“So I don’t know about all of you, but I’m having a Howard Beale moment,” said Tribeca EnterprisesJane Rosenthal to the women in film who gathered at Locanda Verde on Tuesday for the third annual Tribeca Chanel Through Her Lens Women’s Filmmaker Program lunch. “Like the character Peter Finch plays in ‘Network,’ I’m mad as hell.”

And, as an increasing number of women come forward with stories of sexual assault and misconduct by Harvey Weinstein and other males in the industry, Rosenthal isn’t alone in her anger.

“I was surprised and not as surprised,” Elizabeth Olsen, who’s volunteered at the Rape Treatment Center, told Variety, “because I’m around women and children who’ve been sexually assaulted every week. I think we have a really insane epidemic, and it’s amazing to hear women who feel comfortable or safe enough to speak out.” She hopes it »


- Jasmin Rosemberg

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Bill Pullman Doubles His Treasure at the Woodstock Film Festival

16 hours ago

During the Woodstock Film Festival’s Maverick Awards ceremony on Saturday night (Oct. 14), actor Bill Pullman graciously received an honorary award for Excellence In Acting and, as if on cue, allowed the trophy to fall to the floor and break in half. Holding up the pieces of his broken prize, Pullman quipped, “Oh my God, I’ve got two awards tonight!”

Maverick gestures aside, Pullman was also in Woodstock for the featured film “The Ballad of Lefty Brown,” an old-fashioned western drama, in which he stars. It screened at the Woodstock Playhouse for an enthusiastic crowd.

For the 2017 edition of the self-declared “fiercely independent” fest, currently in its 18th year and held Oct. 10 through 15, the programming was eco-friendly, class-conscious, gender-aware and racially sensitive — a fitting environment for the handful of host towns surrounding the area.

The Best Narrative Feature award went to the surreal comedy “Infinity Baby,” which was directed by Bob Byington and stars Kieran Culkin, [link »


- Mitch Myers

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Bob Weinstein Harassment Claim: The Scandal Spreads (Analysis)

16 hours ago

It was another rough day at the Weinstein Co. As Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and assault scandal continues to worsen as more and more victims come forward, his brother Bob Weinstein has become ensared with troubles of his own. With his older brother being fired from the indie company they co-founded, Bob Weinstein had hoped to retain a leadership role if the Weinstein Co. is sold to Colony Capital.

Those ambitions have been complicated after Amanda Segel, an executive producer of  the “The Mist,” revealed in an interview with Variety that Weinstein repeatedly made unwanted romantic overtures to her while she worked on the Spike TV series. The Weinstein Co. produced the show.

The story comes days after Bob Weinstein said in a Hollywood Reporter Q&A that he was surprised and unaware of the extent of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged harassment. It also raises questions about Bob Weinstein’s own future with the company given that »


- Brent Lang

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Film Academy Won’t Be ‘Inquisitorial Court,’ Oscars President Says

17 hours ago

The president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, John Bailey, sent a letter today to members of the organization titled “In the Matter of H. Weinstein…and Beyond,” condemning Harvey Weinstein’s behavior and urging the need for a safer space for women in the film industry. However, he also stressed that “The Academy cannot, and will not, be an inquisitorial court.”

Bailey began the letter with a lengthy reference to Carl Dreyer’s classic 1928 film “The Passion of Joan of Arc,” stressing the power of Maria Falconetti’s performance as the Maid of Orleans. He emphasized that beyond its status as a visual landmark of the silent movie era, the film, which he describes as “a deeply disturbing portrait of a young woman’s persecution in the face of the male judges and priests of the ruling order,” and the wrenching memory of Falconetti’s career trajectory, have haunted »


- Taryn Nobil

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Vanessa Hudgens Joins Jennifer Lopez in Romantic Comedy ‘Second Act’

18 hours ago

Vanessa Hudgens has joined the cast of “Second Act,” the upcoming romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez.

Peter Segal will direct the film, which was developed by STXfilms with Lopez from an idea conceived by Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Justin Zackham.

The movie is in the vein of “Maid in Manhattan” and “Working Girl.” Lopez will play a big-box store employee who reinvents her life and her lifestyle, and gets the chance to prove to Madison Avenue that street smarts are as valuable as a college degree.

Hudgens will play a young executive at a consumer goods company. She’s currently filming Ken Marino’s “Dog Days,” and most recently starred in the NBC series “Powerless.” Her additional credits include “Spring Breakers,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Machete Kills,” the Broadway revival of “Gigi,” and as Rizzo in “Grease: Live” in 2016.

Second Act” is written by Zackham (“Lights Out”) and Goldsmith-Thomas. Producers are Goldsmith-Thomas, Lopez, Zackham, and Benny Medina. »


- Dave McNary

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Film News Roundup: ‘Bridge of Spies’ Writer Matt Charman Producing Survival Novel ‘Ruthless River’

18 hours ago

In today’s film news roundup, Matt Charman is developing “Ruthless River,” runaway slave story “Never Caught” is in the works as a movie, Cynthia Addai-Robinson is starring in “Always & Forever,” and “Kedi” gets a one-day release.

Development

Holly FitzGerald’s Amazon survival novel “Ruthless River” is in development as a movie with “Bridge of Spies” writer Matt Charman.

The story centers on FitzGerald and her husband, setting out on a yearlong honeymoon adventure backpacking around the world. Five months into the trip, their plane crash lands in Peru at a penal colony walled in by jungle, and their blissfully romantic journey turns into a terrifying nonstop labyrinth of escape and survival. They ultimately end up on a four-log raft that separates them from the piranha-and-caiman-infested water until they finally realize that there is no way out but to swim.

Charman, who received an Academy Award nomination for his “Bridge of Spies” screenplay, is also attached »


- Dave McNary

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Tyler Perry Hopes ‘Boo 2!’ Can Help Bring Laughter to Nation’s ‘Darkness’

20 hours ago

Cast members descended upon the Regal Cinema at L.A. Live on Monday night as the theater played host to the spooky Halloween comedy “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween.”

The latest film in the franchise features the fan favorite character Madea traveling to a haunted forest full of chainsaw murderers, ghost girls, and frat boys.

Among the stars who attended the carpet were “Madea” alum Cassie Davis, former Mma fighter and star Tito Ortiz, and writer/director/star Tyler Perry.

“To all of the Academy voters in the room: you ain’t gonna like this s—,” Perry joked when introducing the film. “But to everybody who just wants to laugh at this film, there is so much darkness going on in our country and in our industry that makes you go, ‘Jesus, what is going on?’ I wanted to do a movie that is just 100 minutes of silly, non-stop laughter. »


- Matt Fernandez

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