Festivals || ||

'Lil Bub & Friendz' Is Cat's Meow At Tribeca Film Festival Awards

Unless you count the viral video cat named Lil Bub, the winners of the Tribeca Film Festival's annual awards ceremony are not a glitzy lot, despite the event's reputation as a celebrity-studded affair.   more »

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Sofia Coppola To Join Darren Aronofsky, Nancy Savoca & Christine Vachon At First Time Fest In NYC

Sofia Coppola has joined the list of filmmakers who will be attending the inaugural First Time Fest fllm festival in New York.  The writer-director daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, whose latest film, The Bling Ring, is expected to be released this year, will screen and discuss her dreamy 1999 directorial debut, The Virgin Suicides. more »

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SXSW Film Festival Unveils 2013 Competitions, Premieres And More

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival unveiled its lineup of 109 features including 69 world premieres Thursday. The festival, which overlaps with SXSW's music and interactive programs, also includes 14 North American and five U.S. premieres. SXSW will screen eight films each in its Narrative Feature and Documentary Competitions.
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Miami International Film Festival Sets 30th Anniversary Lineup

Oscar-nominated feature No by director Pablo Larraín starring Gael García Bernal are among the ten Galas that will screen at the 30th Miami International Film Festival. The ten-day fest will host 117 features and 12 shorts from 41 countries with an emphasis on films from Latin America.
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'Upstream Color,' 'Stories We Tell' Join Initial New Directors/New Films Lineup

Shane Carruth's Upstream Color and Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell are among the initial selections unveiled Wednesday for the 2013 New Directors/New Films series. Both films are playing at the Sundance Film Festival which begins Thursday. The seven announced today hail from seven countries.
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'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone' To Open The SXSW Film Festival

The world premiere of comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone will open the 2013 South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival. The festival, which launches its 20th anniversary event March 8th, also unveiled a number of other films and highlights Tuesday.
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James Franco, Michael Winterbottom, Jane Campion & More Head To Berlin International Film Festival

The Berlin International Film Festival continues to roll-out its program for its February event, adding new titles to its Panorama and other sections. Many of the titles will debut as world and international premieres, with some titles headed to the festival post-Sundance. New work from the U.S. include Travis Mathews and James Franco's Interior. Leather Bar, Stacie Passon's Concussion, Shane Carruth's Upstream Color as well as new work from Ken Loach and Jane Campion.
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Palm Springs International Film Festival Unveils 2013 Winners

The 24th Palm Springs International Film Festival capped off its 12-day event Sunday at a local restaurant naming this year's winners. The occasion celebrated some of the fest's 182 films in a setting that contrasts from its glittering awards show that the festival bills as a launching point to Awards Season. That event saw the likes of Ben Affleck, Sally Field, Jessica Chastain, Richard Gere, Naomi Watts, Bradley Cooper, Helen Mirren and more being honored by some of the festival's well-heeled members.
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Steven Soderbergh's 'Side Effects' Heads To Berlin International Film Festival

The Berlin International Film Festival added nine titles to its 2013 competition lineup, including Steven Soderbergh's latest, Side Effects, starring Jude Law and Channing Tatum, which will have its International Premiere at the February event.
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'Les Misérables''s Tom Hooper Talks Anne Hathaway's 'Dark Place' In Palm Springs

Les Misérables director Tom Hooper may have been bypassed with a nomination Wednesday by the British Film Academy for Best Director (though the film itself received nine nominations), but at the Palm Springs International Film Festival this week, he received the event's Sonny Bono Visionary Award at a celeb-filled event that included Naomi Watts, Bradley Cooper, Helen Mirren, Sally Field and Ben Affleck. At the festival, Hooper talked about the creation of Les Misérables, why the story made him cry and the "dark box" Anne Hathaway traveled to as she took on the role of Fantine.
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Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Directorial Debut 'Don Jon's Addiction' Heads To Berlin International Film Festival

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut Don Jon's Addiction will be among the headliners at the Berlin International Film Festival's Panorama program. Starring Gordon-Levitt along with Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Tony Danza, the feature revolves around a modern-day Don Juan who attempts to change his ways. The film will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next month.
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Matt Damon's 'Promised Land' Among Early Berlin Film Festival Titles

Matt Damon and Frances McDormand starrer Promised Land by Gus Van Sant is one of six films that will screen in competition at the Berlin International Film Festival. Also starring John Krasinski and Rosemarie DeWitt, the film is one of two American titles the festival announced Thursday. Also joining the group is animated feature The Croods, playing out of competition. The title includes voices from Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds.

Promised Land centers on Steve Butler (Damon) a former farm boy turned big city business guy who teams up with Sue (Frances McDormand) to sell financial prosperity to a struggling Pennsylvania town that has rich deposits of natural gas deep underground. The sales execs offer up easy cash in return for drilling rights on their property, but the process of extraction - known as fracking - divides the town.

[Related: Gus Van Sant On 'Promised Land' & His Desire 'To Always Work' With Matt Damon]

Other titles included in the initial lineup of six films hail from Austria, Chile, France, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Romania and Spain. The 63rd Berlinale takes place February 7 - 17.

The first six Berlinale '13 titles follow with information provided by the festival.

Gloria, Chile/Spain
By Sebastián Lelio (La Sagrada Familia, Navidad, El año del tigre)
With Paulina García, Sergio Hernández
World premiere
Nugu-ui Ttal-do Anin (Nobody's Daughter Haewon), Republic of Korea
By Hong Sangsoo (Night and Day, Hahaha, In Another Country)
With Eunchae Jung, Sunkyun Lee
World premiere
Paradies: Hoffnung (Paradise: Hope), Austria/France/Germany
By Ulrich Seidl (Dog Days, Import Export, Paradise: Love)
With Melanie Lenz, Vivian Bartsch, Joseph Lorenz, Michael Thomas
World premiere
Poziţia Copilului (Child's Pose), Romania
By Călin Peter Netzer (Maria, Medal of Honor, Zapada mieilor)
With Luminiţa Gheorghiu, Bogdan Dumitrache, Florin Zamfirescu
World premiere
Promised Land, USA
By Gus Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho, Good Will Hunting, Milk)
With Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, John Krasinski, Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook
International premiere
The Croods - animated film in 3D, USA
By Kirk De Micco (Space Chimps) Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon)
With the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds
World premiere / out of competition
Berlinale Special
Unter Menschen (Redemption Impossible) - Documentary, Germany
By Christian Rost, Claus Strigel
World premiere

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Mimes, Monkeys, And The Ghost Of 'Fitzcarraldo': Inside Brazil's Amazonas Film Festival

There are no movie stars in Brazil. When a local comedy show asked people to list the most famous Brazilians, the top three were Gisele Bundchen, Pele, and Blanka — the green ogre from Street Fighter 2 who got his powers from the bite of an Amazonian electric eel. So far in 2012, not a single Brazilian-made movie has cracked the top ten in the country's own box office — in fact, to find a domestic hit, you have to go all the way down to the romantic comedy E Ai...Comeu?, which to date has made about half of as many reals as Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. [Ed. correction: The production Até que a Sorte nos Separe does rank as Brazil's #10 box office performer of 2012.] But Brazil does have soap stars. And at the Amazonas Film Festival in Manaus, Brazil — the heart of the Amazon — soap stars, dozens and dozens of them, all handsome and cheerful and thrilled by their own fame, were the main event.
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Slamdance Film Festival Sets 2013 Competition

Slamdance set its competition lineup Wednesday with 12 Narrative titles and 10 documentaries joining the film festival's roster at the 19th annual event which coincides with the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT. This year, 13 World Premieres and seven U.S. debuts will screen in competition, chosen out of 5,000 submissions.

"Our goal is to showcase exhilarating filmmaking with a revolutionary take on our world," commented Slamdance president and co-founder Peter Baxter on the festival website. "These filmmakers have a tremendous ability to innovate, explore and revitalize the independent filmmaking landscape."

The 2013 Slamdance Film Festival will take place January 18 - 24.

The festival's competition lineup follows with descriptions and credits provided by Slamdance.

The Narrative Competition is comprised of American and International productions. All 12 films are feature debuts with budgets of less than $1 million, and were programmed entirely from blind submissions.

Best Friends Forever/ Director: Brea Grant, Screenwriters: Brea Grant, Vera Miao (USA) World Premiere
Harriet and Reba hit the road in this darkly comedic apocalypse tale that explores the boundaries of friendship, the danger of hipsters, and nuclear fallout. Cast: Brea Grant, Vera Miao, Sean Maher, Glen Powell, Kit Williamson, Alex Berg, Alex Fernie, Stacey Storey

Big Words/Director and Screenwriter: Neil Drumming (USA) World Premiere
A lively drama that captures members of a once-promising hip-hop group, now in their late 30's, as they struggle with regret, disappointment, and change on Election Night 2008. Cast: Darien Sills-Evans, Dorian Missick, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Yaya Alafia, Zachary Booth, Amir Arison, Jean Grae

The Court of Shards/ Director and Screenwriter: Jan Eilhardt (Germany) World Premiere
In this experimental narrative, two disabled women fight in their own way to maintain their independent loves and lives against an overpoweringly caring family. Cast: Caroline Fricke, Silvia Giehle, Natalia Bondar, Frank Hoffmann, Doris Egbring-Kahn

The Dirties/ Director: Matt Johnson, Screenwriters: Matt Johnson, Evan Morgan, Josh Boles (Canada) World Premiere
Two best friends think it would be funny to make a movie about getting revenge on the bullies at their school. One of them isn't joking. Cast: Matt Johnson, Owen Williams, Krista Madison, David Matheson, Brandon Wickens, Josh Boles, Alen Delaine, Jay McCarrol

Fynbos/ Director: Harry Patramanis, Screenwriters: Harry Patramanis, Jonathan Glatzer (South Africa) US Premiere
On a lavish and remote property, within the walls of a glass house, six lives intersect and lay bare their secrets and psyches in this twisting drama. Cast: Jessica Haines, Warrick Grier, Cara Roberts, Chad Philips, Susan Danford, Sthandiwe Kgoroge, John Herbert

Billy Chen Presents: Ghost Team One/ Directors: Ben Peyser, Scott Rutherford, Screenwriters: Andrew Knauer, Arthur Pielli, Scott Rutherford, Ben Peyser (USA) World Premiere
A subversive, comedic take on the found footage genre, where two roommates deathly afraid of ghosts both fall in love with a girl who believes their home is haunted. Cast: Carlos Santos, Fernanda Romero, J.R. Villarreal, Meghan Folcone, Tony Cavalero, James Babson, Scott MacArthur, Craig Stott

Hank and Asha/ Director: James E. Duff, Screenwriters: James E. Duff, Julia Morrison (USA) World Premiere
In this voyeuristic love story, an Indian student in Prague and a lonely New Yorker correspond online through video letters – two strangers aching for human connection in a hyper-connected world. Cast: Andrew Pastides, Mahira Kakkar

He's Way More Famous Than You/ Director: Michael Urie, Screenwriters: Halley Feiffer, Ryan Spahn (USA) World Premiere
A struggling actress will stop at nothing to get her movie made in this sharp comedy, bolstered by absurdist touches and a bravura lead performance. Cast: Halley Feiffer, Ryan Spahn, Tracee Chimo, Jesse Eisenberg, Mammie Gummer, Michael Urie, Ralph Macchio , Natasha Lyonne, Ben Stiller

Joy De V./ Director and Screenwriter: Nadia Szold (USA) World Premiere
An expressionistic, gritty look at the intersection of madness and love that follows a young con-artist who wakes up to discover his pregnant wife is missing. Cast: Evan Louison, Claudia Cardinale, Josephine de La Baume, Iva Gocheva, Victoria Imperioli

Kohlhaas/ Director and Screenwriter: Aron Lehmann (Germany) US Premiere
An obsessed director and his cast seek to adapt the true story of a 16th-century revolutionary when their actions behind the scenes begin to mimic the book’s subject. Cast: Robert Gwisdek, Jan Messutat, Thorsten Merten, Rosalie Thomass, Michael Fuith, Heiko Pinkowski

Visitors/ Director: Constanze Knoche, Screenwriters: Leis Bagdach, Constanze Knoche (Germany) US Premiere
Three adult siblings are surprised by their parents’ announcement that they are cutting off finances in this commanding and evocative look at the oppressive results of stasis. Cast: Uwe Kockisch, Corinna Kirchhoff, Irina Potapenko, Jakob Diehl, Anne Muller, Anjorka Strechel, Bernhard Schütz, Andreas Leupold, Janusz Kocaj, Mehdi Nebbou

What Isn't There/ Director: Marie Jamora, Screenwriters: Marie Jamora, Ramon De Veyra (Philippines) US Premiere
In this lyrical exploration of love, music and expression, a self-imposed mute returns home for Christmas and the anniversary of his twin brother’s accidental death. Cast: Dominic Roco, Annicka Dolonius, Boboy Garrovillo, Dawn Zulueta, Felix Roco, Alchris Galura, Mercedes Cabral, Marc Abaya

The Documentary Competition is comprised of American and International productions. All 10 films are directorial debuts with budgets of less than $1 million, and were programmed entirely from blind submissions.

Battery Man/ Directors and Screenwriters: Dusan Saponja, Dusan Cavic (Serbia) US Premiere
Thanks to the powers he discovered by accident, Biba Struja has spent his entire life experimenting with electricity and proving to himself and others that it cannot harm him. Cast: Slavisa Pajkic

Bible Quiz/ Director: Nicole Teeny (USA) World Premiere
Seventeen-year-old Mikayla memorizes books of the Bible on her quest to win the National Bible Quiz Championship and the heart of JP, her quiz team captain. The film explores coming of age in the face of faith, doubt, fierce competition and teen love. Cast: Mikayla Irle, JP O'Connor, Christopher Teeny, Brandon Duffy, Rich Nelson, Rachel Dawson, Rachel Holley, Gary Irle

The Bitter Buddha/ Director: Steven Feinartz (USA)
Cult-Comic Eddie Pepitone’s life is on display in this unhinged portrait of creativity, enlightenment and rage. Cast: Eddie Pepitone, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, Sean Conroy, Paul Provenza, Dana Gould, Marc Maron

The Brotherhood of the Traveling Rants/ Directors: Gavin McInnes, Steve Durand, Bryan Gaynor (USA/Canada) World Premiere
'Godfather of hipsterdom' Gavin McInnes goes on a stand-up comedy tour with his best friend from high school and things go from bad to worse to downright catastrophic. Cast: Gavin McInnes, Steve Durand, Bryan Gaynor

The Institute/ Director: Spencer McCall, Screenwriters: Uriah Findley, Spencer McCall (USA)
Is it a cult? Is it a game? Or is it a life-changing adventure? Cast: Daniel Shoup, Arye Michael Bender, Carolee Gilligan Wheeler, Garland Glessner, Michael Wertz, Kiyomi Tanouye, Geordie Aiken, Jeff Hull

The Last Shepherd/ Director and Screenwriter: Marco Bonfanti (Italy) US Premiere
Renato, the last traveling shepherd left in Milan, has a dream – get to the inaccessible center of the city to meet the children who have never seen a flock of sheep. Cast: Renato Zucchelli, Piero Lombardi, Lucia Zucchelli, Patrizia Frisoli, Hedy Krissane, Barbara Sorrentini (voice)

My Name is Faith/ Directors: Jason Banker, Jorge Torres-Torres, Tiffany Sudela-Junker (USA) US Premiere
Faith, a 13-year-old girl who suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder, attempts to heal from the trauma inflicted by her birthmother's lifestyle.

Running Wild: The Life of Dayton O. Hyde/ Director: Suzanne Mitchell (USA) World Premiere
The inspiring journey of a remarkable cowboy who triumphs in his quest to protect wild horses and the American West. Cast: Dayton O. Hyde

Where I Am/ Director and Screenwriter: Pamela Drynan (Ireland) World Premiere
The courageous story of Gay American writer Robert Drake and his struggle to recover and return to the scene of a crime in Ireland, where, he was left for dead more than 10 years ago. Cast: Robert Drake

Without Shepherds/ Director: Cary McClelland (Pakistan/USA) World Premiere
Six bold individuals struggle to find their role in the turbulent waters of Pakistan and build a better tomorrow. Cast: Vaneeza Ahmad, Arieb Azhar, Abdullah Khan, Imran Khan, Ibrahim Waheed, Laiba Yousafzai

AFI Fest || ||

AFI Fest Unveils World Cinema & Midnight Selections

AFI Fest rounded out its 2012 program with films screening in its World Cinema, Breakthrough, Midnight and Shorts sections. Festival favorites The Angels' Share, Greatest Hits, Laurence Anyways, Nairobi Half Life, Pieta, White Elephant and Zaytoun are among the titles set to screen at the L.A. festival, taking place November 1 - 8. As previously announced, the festival will kick off with the world premiere of Hitchcock and will close with the the world premiere of Lincoln.
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