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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 11:49
Where’s Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar” on the festival circuit? Well, $200 million dollar films usually don’t need to or won’t risk a festival bow. Rumors that the sci-fi film would appear at the New York Film Fest turned out to be wrong – the committee wasn’t even screened the film, apparently not complete at the time. So we’ll just have to wait for November like the rest of the world.

Nolan’s latest sci-fi epic centers on a group of explorers who have to travel (to what appears like) the future through a wormhole to save mankind— or to “surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage” as some synopsis’ have suggested. As ever, Nolan’s got a terrific cast for this one that includes Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie Foy, Topher Grace and David Gyasi.

“Interstellar” opens in theaters and IMAX on November 7th. Check out the new poster below [via Empire]
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Author: "Edward Davis"
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 02:54
POV, American television’s longest‐running showcase for independent nonfiction films, has launched six new interactive shorts. Delving into topics about contemporary social issues, these web‐native documentaries allow audiences to engage with documentaries using new technologies and new paradigms in storytelling while showcasing innovative non-fiction subjects around the world.

"Documentaries are no longer confined by conventional linear narratives," said Adnaan Wasey, executive producer of POV Digital. "By leveraging digital technology, we are able to elevate nonfiction content into a creative art form to connect with more audiences and tell stories on an entirely new level. And the short interactive documentary format gives creators more room for experimentation as this nascent field develops."

In addition to premiering the projects online, POV will also present three of the projects at the New York Film Festival's Convergence program (Sept. 27-28, 2014).
The projects are as follows:

“89 Steps: A Chapter of Living Los Sures”

In the late 1950s, Marta's mother found refuge for her family in Williamsburg after leaving her village in Puerto Rico and enduring homelessness and hunger elsewhere in New York. When Marta became a single mother, she fought hard to stay in Los Sures. Now struggling to afford the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, Marta must decide whether to stay or go. "89 Steps" is an interactive experience that visits Los Sures. As the viewer explores, Marta's voiceover reacts, providing guidance, descriptions and anecdotes. The project offers a deeper understanding of the pressures and incentives that force individuals to give up their homes and longstanding communities.

"Empire"


Eline Jongsma and Kel O'Neill's acclaimed documentary project "Empire" is an investigation into the aftershocks of the first global capitalist endeavor. In the 17th century, the colonists and mercenaries of the Dutch East and West India Companies laid claim to lands stretching from the Cape of Good Hope to the Indonesian archipelago, and from New York to South America's Wild Coast. The impact of their actions can still be seen in the cultures—and bloodlines—of people and communities in Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. "Empire" tells the stories of individuals and communities whose lives are still in some way defined by Dutch colonialism. It is now available online as a series of four interactive experiences: Cradle, Legacy, Migrants and Periphery. 

READ MORE: The Empire Project Makes Its World Premiere at the NYFF Convergence

"Fukushima: The Eternal Season"


Set three years after the calamitous meltdown, "Fukushima: The Eternal Season" creates an impassioned portrait of a resident as she strives to hold on to her identity and ancestral heritage while the specter of nuclear fallout looms over her. By showing the beauty and loss in Fukushima, the short film brings into focus the potentially destructive power of nuclear energy and the choices people are forced to make. "Fukushima: The Eternal Season" is one chapter in a four‐part feature‐length documentary project with the working title "Unknown Spring Year 3."

"Imigrant Nation"

"Immigrant Nation" is a new interactive storytelling project designed to document the United States' diverse immigrant narratives and experiences and share them with the world. Through short documentary films, live events and an online Story Hub, the project aspires to shift and deepen the way that Americans understand themselves -  and one another -  one story at a time.

"The Most Northern Place"

"The Most Northern Place" tells of a clash of cultures and a conflict about territory during the run‐up to the Cold War, which led to the forced relocation of the Inuit population native to the town of Thule by the U.S. Army, circa 1953. Visitors to the website take small steps to explore an empty village and its surrounding landscape; it is a place that is devoid of people, a beautiful but unforgiving environment. The viewer discovers what happened in Thule step‐by‐step through the memories of the people who lived there, all those years ago. 


"Whiteness Project: Inside the Caucasian Box" (View on 9/29)

We take for granted that there is a "white" race in America, but rarely is the concept of whiteness itself investigated. What does it mean to be white? Can it be genetically defined? Is it a cultural construct? A state of mind? What privileges are exclusive to Caucasians? This last question is the subject of "Whiteness Project: Inside the White Caucasian Box," an interactive look at how white people process their perceived advantages or disadvantages. The project is created from interviews shot in Buffalo, N.Y. that represent a cross‐section of the city's white population. An interactive graphic component uses demographic information to reveal how participants' perceptions line up with the realities of their community.

Find out more about the projects here.
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Author: "Kat Delby"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 23:46
Well, the writing has been on the wall for this one for a while. Latino Review reported a few months back that Matt Damon was circling a return to the ‘Bourne’ series. After all, the movie was suddenly delayed an entire year just a few months ago. Before the piece could get much traction, longtime ‘Bourne’ producer Frank Marshall poured water over the whole rumor. But there were reasons for that.

For one, Jeremy Renner’s agents were blindsided by the news and nothing was signed or confirmed; Damon at the time was just open to the conversation. Marshall had to deny everything or upset a lot of people. Frankly, we’ve been hearing the same thing for months now (our ‘Bourne’ sources were the ones that helped us break the fact that Paul Greengrass was leaving the series way back when).

Part of the delay was that Damon needed script approval and he wasn’t about to sign on to just any old ‘Bourne’ story. Which is why the film was delayed an entire year. The first script commissioned was ok, but when Damon was open to returning, he’d need something better if he was going to agree to sign on. So to buy themselves times ‘Bourne’ producers delayed the film a year with the hopes that once the script came together, Damon would like it and agree to starring.

We’ve also heard that Damon had directorial approval and that Lin may not have stayed in the mix, but it’s possible they’ve come eye to eye with the story. Damon’s also a gentleman and stand-up guy, so expect “Bourne 5” to not just dismiss the story of Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross aside. Knowing Damon and his sensitivity to the current star of the film, ‘Bourne 5’ will continue the Aaron Cross story, but will weave a way that lets Jason Bourne reenter the movie.

The untitled ‘Bourne 5’ movie is set to land in theaters with July 15, 2016. We definitely buy Latino Review’s story and we’ll assume it will be confirmed soon enough. Update: Deadline has confirmed the story. Damon is back, and holy crap, Paul Greengrass is rejoining the series. The trade also says the Damon/Greengrass version will be different from the Lin/Renner iteration that is apparently still in the works, but it will be delayed and will have to wait for the original team to go first. By the sounds of it Marshall had to keep Lin and that camp in the dark this whole time so as not to upset the cart.
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Author: "Rodrigo Perez"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 22:56
Reginald Hudlin will produce the 6th Annual Governors Awards for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced today. The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award will be presented to Harry Belafonte, and Honorary Awards will be presented to Jean-Claude Carrière, Hayao Miyazaki and Maureen O’Hara, on Saturday, November 8, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center®.

“With Reggie’s experience, unique vision and immense creativity, the evening celebrating those who have given so much to our industry is certain to be a memorable one,” said Boone Isaacs.

"I’m honored to be working with the Academy again,” said Hudlin. “The collective impact of this year’s Governors Awards recipients on the evolution of cinema is immeasurable. I’m a fan of all four of these legends, so producing a celebration of Ms. O’Hara’s performances, Mr. Carrière’s storytelling, Mr. Belafonte’s dedication and Mr. Miyazaki’s magic is a pleasure."

A writer, director, producer and pioneering entertainment executive, Hudlin received a Best Picture Oscar® nomination as a producer of “Django Unchained.” His feature directing credits include “The Great White Hype,” “Boomerang,” and “House Party,” which he also wrote; he also has directed episodes of such popular television series as “Psych,” “Modern Family,” “The Office” and “The Bernie Mac Show.” Hudlin recently produced “The Academy Celebrates the Black Movie Soundtrack” concert at the Hollywood Bowl and has executive produced the NAACP Image Awards show for the past two years. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild, and serves on the executive board of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.
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Author: "Press Release"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 22:18
Try as I might, I just couldn’t get into this summer’s series sci-fi series, "Extant," starring Halle Berry, and executive produced by Steven Spielberg .

Maybe it was just me, but I found it too slow-moving and uninvolving, and was forced to give it up after a while. Yet, I’m willing to bet that it’ll will play much better as one of those “binge watching” shows, which is why I’m more than interested that it’s coming out on blu-ray DVD on December 16.

The Paramount/CBS Home Entertainment release of the complete 12 episode series will include a whole host of extras, such as, "Extant: Filming Season One," "The Story of Extant," "Extant: The Cast," "The Offspring," "The Future World of Extant," "The VFX of Extant" and lots more as well.

Did anybody out there like the show?

Here's a clip from the series.

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Author: "Sergio"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 21:43
"White Water" is the story of a 7 year-old black kid in segregated 1963 Opelika, Alabama who becomes obsessed with the desire to taste the water from the white's only drinking fountain and sets out on a quest to do the unthinkable:  drink from it.

Based on a children's book by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein, which was itself based on their childhood experiences, the story is now being produced as a feature film to be shot this fall in Opelika. The film is described as a "whimsical tale in the tone of 'Forest Gump.'"

Rusty Cundieff ("Fear of a Black Hat," "Tales From The Hood") will direct from a script written by Bandy and Stein, with Cundieff and Dwayne Johnson-Cochran ("Be Known") producing. The team got connected when Bandy and Stein attended the Cosby Screenwriting Program at USC where Cundieff and Johnson-Cochran were instructors. 

The film is planned for a limited theatrical run, followed by broadcast on TV One in February 2015. 

See the original children's book trailer, which gives more on the story, below: 

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Author: "Jai Tiggett"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 21:30
During this recently-produced documentary about the making of “Rosemary’s Baby," legendary producer, and proud wearer of oversized glasses, Robert Evans describes this seminal horror masterpiece as, “Not a horror film, but was." This assertion is key in fully appreciating "Rosemary’s Baby" during our current period of ADHD-addled horror cinema, where the target audience checks out if there isn’t a cheap jump scare at least twice a minute.

"Rosemary’s Baby" relies on an ever-escalating atmosphere of fear and unease as director Roman Polanski pulls the audience into the world of the film and the collapsing mind of its protagonist so patiently and assuredly that by the time we reach the insane climax, it all feels oddly familiar, which is where its true terror derives from.

Before its release in 1968, audiences could build a mental wall between the obviously fantastical locations and schlocky characters of a horror film and their own lives. "Rosemary’s Baby" shattered that wall by presenting what appeared to be a family drama about a couple the audiences could easily identify with and carefully introducing a sinister element of supernatural evil. Suddenly, the terror wasn’t only in a gaudy gothic mansion somewhere far away, but was right there at our front door.

For those familiar with the eventful production process of "Rosemary’s Baby," this 47-minute documentary full of candid interviews with Evans, Polanski and star Mia Farrow, won’t divulge much new information. Everything from B-movie schlockmaster William Castle’s spearheading of the production to Mia Farrow’s divorce from Frank Sinatrawhich led to Farrow’s glee when "Rosemary’s Baby" crushed the Sinatra vehicle “The Detective” at the box-office after both films opened on the same day—are all mentioned here after popping up in pretty much every making-of documentary about the film released during the last four decades.

Regardless, this documentary, which is included on The Criterion Collection release of the film, combines all of this information into a neat package and should provide a fascinating insight into this bona fide American classic for newcomers, as well as a refresher course for die-hard fans. For those without the funds to shell out $40 for the Criterion release, which also sports an excellent transfer of the film, the good people at Vice have provided us with the documentary in its entirety. Enjoy, and remember, this is no dream, this is really happening.

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Author: "Oktay Ege Kozak"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 21:21
One year after "Scream" picked apart horror movie conventions in 1996, audiences were treated to "I Know What You Did Last Summer," a more straight ahead, but still self-aware, genre entry that was probably better than it had any right to be. It had beautiful young people (Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr.—oh, the '90s),  a goofy premise and was executed with just the right amount cheese. Moreover, it spawned two sequels, so yes, it has franchise appeal, and so here we are with a reboot.

Sony will once again uncover deep dark secrets with terror-filled consequences, as they've hired "Oculus" co-writer and director Mike Flanagan to takes audiences to 'Last 'Summer' once again. Deadline says Flanagan and co-writer Jeff Howard will adapt from the source material, the 1973 book by Lois Duncan, but let's not pretend that matters a whole bunch. This about four teens who accidentally kill someone, dump the body and make a pact to keep it amongst themselves, only to later be terrorized by someone claiming to know—wait for it—"what they did last summer." 

Until there are more details about this one, take a trip down memory lane with the vintage trailer.
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Author: "Kevin Jagernauth"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 21:14
Danny Glover and Alec Baldwin have booked starring roles in "Andron  - The Black Labyrinth," a sci-fi/action film from writer/director Franceso Cinquemani, who will direct from his screenplay.

Centered on a group of people who are plunged into a dark, claustrophobic maze, where they must fight to survive, as the outside world watches, Glover and Baldwin are joined by Michelle Ryan, Skunk Anansie lead singer Skin, Jon Kortajarena, Gale Harold and Leo Howard). 

Principal photography is set to kick off this month in Malta.

“The story of Andron is enough to excite sci-fi fans worldwide but when you add actors like Alec Baldwin and Danny Glover, the meter rises even higher and audiences expect something very special, which is what we plan to deliver,” said producer AMBI Pictures Group’s Andrea Iervolino, adding, "We’re very excited to add this film to our production slate and eager to get to work on a film we believe has great breakout potential.”
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Author: "Tambay A. Obenson"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 20:48
Beyonce and Jay Z have released the first of what will be a Bonnie and Clyde-themed short film trilogy, which will be released in full, ahead of their HBO concert special, which airs this Saturday, September 20. 

The first short, titled "Bang Bang," was shown throughout the On the Run tour, and has now premiered online on the Nowness website. 

The synopsis reads: "Two American outlaws speed through the Californian desert in a dusty 1960s Pontiac GTO, with a manifest poise and stylish swagger."

Directed by the Dikayl Rimmasch, with a soundtrack reminiscent of an Ennio Morricone spaghetti westerns classic, the first short is just about 3 minutes long, and is embedded below: 

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Author: "Tambay A. Obenson"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 20:41
Fans of Paul Thomas Anderson, easily one of the most important contemporary American directors, have a lot to be excited about this fall. Those with a New York zip code might be able to check out his new psychedelic-noir project “Inherent Vice," based on Thomas Pynchon’s novel and starring recent Anderson favorite Joaquin Phoenix as a drug-fueled private eye, when it premieres as the centerpiece during the New York Film Festival. The rest of us will have to wait a couple months in excruciating anticipation until Warner Bros. releases it in select theaters on December 12th, before it goes wide from there on January 9, 2015.

Until fans get their brand spanking new Anderson fix (or even the whisper of a trailer), here's an eight-minute tribute to his oeuvre by Vimeo user Daniel Silva to perhaps remind everyone just how much he developed as a versatile filmmaker over the course of only six features. Although containing a certain flow, the editing itself feels a bit too random and doesn’t provide much of a thematic through line.

Regardless of what one might think of the tribute’s technical prowess, it will more than likely inspire Anderson’s fans to dive into their DVD and Blu-ray collections in order to conduct a personal PTA retrospective in the comfort of their own homes, which might have been Silva’s goal in the first place. Check it out below. [35MM]

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Author: "Oktay Ege Kozak"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 20:37
Art House Convergence is proud to announce Indiewire's own Anne Thompson as its Keynote Speaker for the 2015 conference, running January 19-22 in Midway, Utah.

Every year, Art House Convergence invites independent cinemas from across the country to attend the conference in order to connect and engage with executive directors, theater managers, fellow programmers and more. With an expanded 2015 program that includes more breakout sessions, the goal of the annual conference is to conduct productive discussions about programming, marketing, fundraising, technology and industry trends to help improve the quality and effectiveness of community-based, mission-driven art house cinemas.

Thompson, a New York City native and graduate of the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University, has had a celebrated career contributing to various publications such as The New York Times, Film Comment Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and LA Weekly. After leaving Variety at the beginning of 2009, she set up her own blog, Thompson on Hollywood, at Indiewire. Thompson continues to host the fall semester of "Sneak Previews" for UCLA Extension, and she recently published her first book, "The $11 Billion Year: From Sundance to the Oscars, an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System," earlier this year. 

Head over to the Art House Convergence website for more information on the 2015 conference. 
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Author: "Zack Sharf"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 20:37
Indiewire and Film Comment have announced the finalists for the third annual New York Film Festival Critics Academy, a workshop for aspiring film critics that takes place during the 52nd edition of the festival, which begins next week.

Writers will participate in workshops and mentor sessions with noted critics, working journalists, filmmakers, and members of the film industry, including writers and editors from Indiewire and Film Comment magazine, with their coverage to be published on Indiewire's Criticwire blog and FilmComment.com. As with previous years, the workshop aims to both demystify the role of film criticism in contemporary film culture and allow participants the opportunity to produce new work.

Eight finalists were selected from over 100 applicants. Their names are listed below:

Jackson Marshall Arn
Michael Blum
Freja Dam
Eric Fuchs
Bruno C Guarana
Tanner Jordan Tafelski
Tim Wainwright
Amanda Yam

First launched as an initiative during the 2012 Locarno Film Festival, with a local version produced during the 2012 New York Film Festival, the combination of candid discussions with working critics and other members of the industry—paired with experience covering cinema in a deadline-driven environment—has proven to be the right kind of fuel for the professionally minded critic to begin sketching out a career plan. Since its inception, 40 aspiring critics have participated in the Critics Academy, and many of them continue to pursue the career path with results that speak for themselves.
 
The Critics Academy is one of two educational initiatives set to take place during NYFF, the other being the Artists Academy for young filmmakers. Just as that program guides filmmakers who show tremendous promise, the Critics Academy aims to provide context and pointers for critics who are already showing great potential in their writing, sensibilities, and professional motivation.

Stay tuned to the Criticwire blog in the coming weeks for more details about this year’s participants.
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Author: "Indiewire Staff"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 20:30
Fans of Caitlin Moran, stories about sisters, economic diversity on TV, and humor in general now have cause to rejoice. 

Raised by Wolves, written by the author of the best-selling laugh-out-loud manifesto How to Be a Woman and her sister Caroline Moran, has been picked up for a series order based on the popularity of its pilot, which was released late last year. The show will air on channel 4 in the UK.

The show focuses on the sisters' home-schooled childhood during the 1980s in the impoverished Midlands. Helen Monks and Alex Davies play the two oldest sisters in a rowdy, overcrowded home. 

“We think this is a tale worth telling and we hope it resonates with people," said a Channel 4 spokesman. "There is a sense of [Moran's] character being quite precious, but also isolated as well. She sees children coming back from school and feels a bit lonely."

He added, “Caitlin’s so busy and she’s got to write it. We are expecting the scripts to arrive at the end of this year and it will probably air next year."

You can see the Raised by Wolves pilot here:
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Author: "Inkoo Kang"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 20:15
Philip is talented, successful, arrogant and kind of an asshole. However, when played by Jason Schwartzman, you'll still want to hang out with guy even if he drives you nuts. And that's the beauty of Alex Ross Perry's "Listen Up Philip," an acerbic, acidic look at creative types and their selfish obsessions.

Joining Schwartzman is a great ensemble cast, including Elisabeth Moss as his slowly-losing-patience girlfriend, Jonathan Pryce as his Gore Vidal-like mentor, and Krysten Ritter, Eric Bogosian, Jess Weixler and Dree Hemingway, in a movie that we've loved to pieces. Our own review out of Sundance called it "riotously funny," while we logged the movie on our Best Films Of 2014 So Far and Best Films Of The 2014 Sundance Film Festival lists respectively. This new trailer highlights that, for all sourness of the main character, there is also a light, Woody Allen-esque tone as well.

"Listen Up Philip" arrives on October 17th and will play the New York Film Festival.
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Author: "Kevin Jagernauth"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 20:15
Three Golden Globes aren't enough for George Clooney.

So declared the HFPA Board of Directors Monday afternoon, when it announced the three-time winner and 12-time nominee would again be honored, this time with the Cecil B. DeMille award.

The Globes' version of a career achievement award -- only given out fairly early in the life of the honoree, comparatively -- is a "special, prestigious award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment."  Last year, Woody Allen was given the award and Jodie Foster earned it in 2013. 

George Clooney will only be 53 years old when he accepts the trophy in January 2015, but he's not the youngest recipient. Foster was 50 when she won, and Judy Garland was the youngest to be honored when she was 39 in 1962. Robin Williams also was honored at 53 when he won in 2005. 

While not a frontrunner for any awards in 2014, Clooney will have one eligible film for the 2015 Globes: February's WWII dramedy "The Monuments Men." It would be a surprise to see Clooney's fifth feature as a director honored considering its so-so reviews, but the HFPA has a tendency to surprise with some of their picks, especially when well-liked stars are attached. (Johnny Depp's "The Tourist" racked up three nods despite being widely berated.)

Clooney has done extensive work in both film and television, earning three of his 12 nods as an actor on "E.R." He's won two Academy Awards, as well, one for producing "Argo" in 2012 and the other as a Supporting Actor for "Syriana" in 2005.

The 72nd annual Golden Globe awards will be given out January 11, 2015 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Hollywood, CA. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host the ceremony, making it a must-see event for film and TV lovers everywhere. 
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Author: "Ben Travers"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 20:13
On Sept. 21, 2013, Al-Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group from Somalia, attacked Westgate Mall in neighboring Kenya. The siege lasted 49 hours, leaving 71 dead and hundreds wounded.

Told from the vantage point of more than 100 security cameras revealing hours of previously unseen mall surveillance video, and drawing on extensive photos taken during the attack and testimony from survivors and rescuers depicted in the footage and photos, TERROR AT THE MALL recalls the horror of the attack, as well as the courage and resilience of ordinary citizens in the face of mass murder. The harrowing documentary debuts MONDAY, SEPT. 15 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, marking the first anniversary of the attack. Dan Reed (HBO's Emmy(R)-nominated "Terror in Mumbai") directs.

Other HBO playdates: Sept. 15 (3:40 a.m.), 18 (1:30 p.m.), 21 (3:45 p.m.), 23 (10:30 a.m., 6:00 p.m.) and 27 (12:30 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Sept. 17 (9:00 p.m.), 25 (3:50 p.m., 11:00 p.m.) and 30 (noon), and Oct. 5 (10:30 a.m.), 8 (4:15 a.m.), 21 (12:20 p.m.) and 30 (4:00 p.m.)

"Westgate was one place where you meet people of different cultures, different tribes, different religions, different everything. I think that was the most special thing," says survivor Jasmine Postwalla. Housing many restaurants and stores, including Nakumatt, a giant two-floor supermarket, Westgate attracted a wide range of customers. "It was the best mall in Nairobi," notes one shopper. "It was the place where prominent people come."

"That Saturday was really a normal Saturday, like any other Saturday," recalls survivor Amber Prior, who was shopping at the mall with her six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. Margie Brand and her eight-month-old baby shopped for groceries in Nakumatt, while Valentine Kadzo was setting up a computer display table by the front entrance.

At 12:30 p.m., shopper Andrew Munyua had just passed through the security check to enter the mall when he heard a loud explosion, and the guard who had been searching him fell to the ground. Witnesses recall that gunfire quickly followed the grenade explosion. Security footage shows restaurant patrons falling from their seats, some diving for cover, while others had been knocked to the ground. Niall Saville and his wife, Moon Hee, were eating lunch in Westgate's burger restaurant when the attack began. "I realized that my wife wasn't actually behind me," recalls Saville. "I saw her crawling on the ground, clearly in a lot of pain."

Chaos reigned in the early moments of the siege, with frightened shoppers running for their lives, unsure of the origin of the attack. "People are confused, they don't know where to go, stepping on each other," recalls Valentine. As the security footage shows, when she spotted Katherine Walton and her three young daughters running in different directions, she picked up one of the girls, and all five dove behind the computer display table. Many hid within the mall, while hundreds of shoppers fled to the back of the supermarket.

As two of the gunmen made their way toward Nakumatt, two others headed for the mall's upper entrance and rooftop, where a children's cooking competition was taking place. Harveen Sihra, a 15-year-old girl who was shot in the thigh, stomach and foot, recalls the gunman's words, noting, "The only thing he said was that we are here to kill. You killed our people in Somalia. We normally don't kill women and children but you kill ours in Somalia and so we are here to take revenge."

Inside Nakumatt, 20 people had taken refuge behind the meat counter when the gunmen appeared and starting shooting them. Amber, who was protecting her young son and daughter, was shot through the pelvis. Also hit was 15-year-old Makena Kinyua. When the terrorists later asked if there were any children left alive, Amber convinced them to release her children along with Makena and another young boy who had been injured. Ignoring the fact that the gunmen told her she had to stay, Amber and the four children staggered out of the mall to safety.

Outside the mall, 45 minutes after the attack began, there still was no sign of a rescue. While the Kenyan security forces remained outside trying to decide how to proceed, time was running out for the wounded. "We laid there for a very long time," recalls Jasmine Postwalla, who was trapped on the upper level. "You would expect to see a lot of armed soldiers and all coming up the ramp. Maybe that was what we were expecting, but that didn't happen."

Instead, a handful of plainclothes police and civilians decided to act, with veteran combat photographer Goran Tomasevic in tow. "I was not thinking that I could die, that I could get shot. I felt invincible," says Cpl. Nura Ali, one of the policemen. The victims they encountered on the rooftop had been bleeding for hours, and many clung to their lives during the rescue. "What angered me the most was the fact that [the terrorists] were Muslims, and they were purporting to do whatever they were doing in the name of Islam," says civilian Abdul Haji, who joined the rescue effort with only a registered handgun. The terrorists released a few hostages who professed the Islamic faith, but many Muslims, like popular Kenyan radio host Ruhila Adatia-Sood, who was seven months pregnant, were killed.

Within the mall, a shootout began between the terrorists and the small group of civilian rescuers and plainclothes policemen. The display table hiding Valentine, Katherine and her daughters, as well as two other women, was caught in the crossfire. "It was instantaneous fear and just dread," says Katherine. By engaging the terrorists at Nakumatt's front entrance, the band of rescuers helped more than a hundred trapped civilians escape. Using tear gas, the policemen and civilians were able to divert the terrorists, giving many hidden shoppers the chance to run to safety "Everybody's close to each other. We don't know each other, we all come from different communities. But at that time, we were one," recalls Valentine.

Three and a half hours after the terrorists first struck, the police SWAT team finally entered the mall, but by then the massacre was over and many of the wounded had succumbed to their injuries. Confused and lacking a comprehensive plan, the Kenyan army forces and the SWAT team mistakenly fired at each other, leaving one police officer dead. As a result, both groups left the mall just 90 minutes after they'd arrived. Meanwhile, the terrorists relaxed at the back of Nakumatt's furniture storeroom, praying and waiting to be attacked by Kenyan forces.

The last group of civilians was rescued more than eight hours after the attack began. The standoff between the terrorists and the Kenyan army lasted 40 more hours, during which five soldiers were killed. Two days after the terrorists struck, the army launched a high explosive shell into Nakumatt. All four terrorists were incinerated, and parts of Westgate Mall burned to the ground.

"I am satisfied that our disciplined forces have responded in a professional and effective manner," declared Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta. "We have ashamed and defeated our attackers." Yet Al-Shabaab had a victorious message of its own, proclaiming in a video, "We want to send a message to unbelievers. We entered Westgate and wreaked havoc. God willing, there will be more Westgates. We have hundreds more volunteers." Westgate mall remains closed, with no plans to reopen.

Dan Reed is a UK-born documentary producer and director whose HBO credits include 2009's Emmy(R)-nominated "Terror in Mumbai," which won the BAFTA TV Award in the Best Current Affairs category, and 2003's BAFTA-nominated "Terror in Moscow." His other credits include the Peabody Award winner and BAFTA nominee "The Valley" (1998).

TERROR AT THE MALL was produced and directed by Dan Reed; film editor, Mark Towns; director of photography, Mrinal Desai; executive producer, George Carey; head of production, Rachel Naughton; assistant producer, Sasha Achilli; executive producer for BBC, Sam Bagnall. For HBO: senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 19:45
Last year, not long after Spike Lee's "Oldboy" redo was released to a critical skewering, while being roundly ignored by audiences, it was announced that Kim Jee-woon's brutal, bleak "I Saw The Devil" was the next South Korean film to head through Hollywood's remake grinder. We weren't exactly pleased by the news, but now we have a little more faith that his might have a chance of making the difficult international crossover, thanks to the man being chosen guide it.

The Wrap reports that "The Guest" duo—writer Simon Barrett and director Adam Wingard—will reteam to take on the bloody chiller. The original film follows a special agent who seeks revenge after his pregnant fiancé is murdered by a vicious, monstrous serial killer (played by "Oldboy" star Choi Min-Sik). When the legal system can't contain the killer, the agent seeks out vigilante justice, and the pair begin a cat-and-mouse game where the line between cop and killer gets very blurry. It's terrific stuff from Kim, brutally violent, wrenching and terrifically entertaining too. Can a U.S. remake work?

Well, with Wingard's "The Guest" building some steady buzz before its theaters this weekend following its Sundance premiere and recent Midnight Madness screening at TIFF, he could be the guy to pull it off. He's definitely got his own vision, and he's one of the freshest voices in the horror/thriller genre at the moment. Still, we had equal excitement when Spike Lee took on "Oldboy" and look what happened there. Anyway, here's a video of emo poster boy/producer Adi Shankar announcing/hyping up the remake.
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Author: "Kevin Jagernauth"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 19:37
The 39th Annual Toronto International Film Festival has come to a close, announcing its 2014 festival winners.

Of interest to this site, French rapper Abd Al Malik's autobiographical "May Allah Bless France" and Hajooj Kuka's Sudanese documentary 'Beats of the Antonov' both received honors. 

Find the full list of winners via the press release below: 

The short film awards below were selected by a jury comprised of Franklin Leonard, founder of The Black List; Beth Sá Freire, deputy- director of the São Paulo International Short Film Festival; and visual artist Floria Sigismondi.

VIMEO AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN SHORT FILM
The winner of the Vimeo Award for Best Canadian Short Film goes to Randall Okita for The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer. The jury remarked, “For its bold blend of live action and digital animation to produce a striking meditation on the nature of memory and its legacy, the jury awards the Vimeo Award for Best Canadian Short Film to Randall Okita’s The Weatherman and the Shadowboxer.” The award offers a $10,000 cash prize.

The jury gave an honourable mention, “For its entirely unexpected development of a science fiction high concept into something alternately heartbreaking and humorous, the jury gives an honourable mention to Rob Grant’s What Doesn’t Kill You.”

VIMEO AWARD FOR BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM
The winner of the Vimeo Award for Best International Short Film goes to Sotiris Dounoukos’s A Single Body (Un seul corps). The jury remarked, “For its extraordinary exploration of the value of friendship, hope, and aspiration in an unusually brutal and austere environment… and world — made especially heartbreaking by striking performances by Doudou Masta and Mexianu Medenou — the jury awards the Vimeo Award for Best International Short Film to Sotiris Dounoukos for A Single Body.” The award offers a $10,000 cash prize.

The jury gave an honourable mention, “For its charming absurdist comedy about loneliness, identity, and the art of finding yourself, the jury gives an honourable mention to Atsuko Hirayanagi for Oh Lucy!.”

The Canadian awards below were selected by a jury comprised of filmmaker Michael Dowse (The F Word); director, writer and producer Ingrid Veninger (The Animal Project); producer Jennifer Jonas (Gerontophilia); and film critic Jason Anderson.

CANADA GOOSE AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM
The Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film goes to Maxime Giroux’sFelix and Meira (Félix et Meira). The jury remarked, “For its immense sophistication and craftsmanship in telling a brave story bridging two disparate worlds, its generosity of spirit, masterful use of music, and exquisite performances that fuel the film’s power as both an intimate love story and a profound statement on the value of passion, family and community, the Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film goes to Maxime Giroux’s Felix and Meira.” This award is made possible thanks to Canada Goose and comes with a cash prize of $30,000.

CITY OF TORONTO AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FIRST FEATURE FILM
The City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film goes to Jeffrey St. Jules for Bang Bang Baby. The jury remarked, “For its ingenious mixing of genres, sophisticated blend of tones and ability to create its own strange, tragicomic and original world without sacrificing any richness in regards to story, character and emotion, the jury recognizes as Best Canadian First Feature Film Bang Bang Baby by Jeffrey St. Jules.” The award carries a cash prize of $15,000.

THE PRIZES OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRITICS (FIPRESCI PRIZES)

The Festival welcomed an international FIPRESCI jury for the 23rd year. The jury members consist of jury president Dana Linssen (Netherlands), Marco Lombardi (Italy), Ola Salwa (Poland), Télesphore Mba Bizo (Cameroun), Jorge Gutman (Canada) and Thom Ernst (Canada).

Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI) for Special Presentations is awarded to Oren Moverman’s Time Out of Mind. The jury remarked, “For Oren Moverman’s sensitive and human depiction of homelessness, and Richard Gere’s remarkable performance, the FIPRESCI jury is pleased to grant the Special Presentations prize toTime Out of Mind.”

Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI) for the Discovery programme is awarded to Abd Al Malik for May Allah Bless France! (Qu’Allah bénisse la France!)The jury remarked, “The FIPRESCI jury is pleased to grant the Discovery prize for a story of a youth displaced in their own country, struggling to find the balance between chaos and serenity, on the strength of art, music and human spirit. While the startling cinematography is purely black and white, the director Abd Al Malik managed to show the different shades of grey in his daring debut May Allah Bless France!. Félicitations.”

NETPAC AWARD
As selected by a jury from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema, the NETPAC Award for World or International Asian Film Premiere goes to Shonali Bose for Margarita, with a Straw. Jury members include Lekha Shankar (India), Hannah Fisher (China) and Anderson Le (Hawaii). The jury remarked, “Margarita, with a Straw is both universal and groundbreaking. Director Shonali Bose and actress Kalki Koechlin have jointly created a character and a world that embody a love letter to life, with all its highs and lows, in spite of overwhelming physical limitations.”

GROSLCH PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS
This year marked the 37th year that Toronto audiences were able to cast a ballot for their favourite Festival film, with the Grolsch People’s Choice Award. This year’s award goes to Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, the genius British mathematician, logician, cryptologist and computer scientist who led the charge to crack the German Enigma Code that helped the Allies win WWII. Turing went on to assist with the development of computers at the University of Manchester after the war, but was prosecuted by the UK government in 1952 for homosexual acts which the country deemed illegal. The award offers a $15,000 cash prize and custom award, sponsored by Grolsch. The first runner up is Isabel Coixet’s Learning to Drive. The second runner up is Theodore Melfi’s St. Vincent.

The Festival presents a free screening of the award-winning film The Imitation Gametonight. The screening takes place at 6 p.m. at the Ryerson Theatre. Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 4 p.m. at Ryerson Theatre.

The Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award goes to Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement for What We Do in the Shadows. The film follows three flatmates who are just trying to get by and overcome life’s obstacles — like being immortal vampires who must feast on human blood. First runner up is Kevin Smith for Tuskand the second runner up is Jalmari Helander for Big Game.

The Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award goes to Hajooj Kuka for Beats of the Antonov. Beats of the Antonov follows refugees from the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains in Sudan as they survive displacement and the trauma of civil war. Music, a cornerstone of their traditions and identity, becomes itself a vehicle for survival. First runner up is David Thorpe’s Do I Sound Gay? and the second runner up is Ethan Hawke’s Seymour: An Introduction.

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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 19:17
"MisSpelled" tells the tale of "five very different young women who must learn to work together after they mysteriously acquire magical powers." Gabriela Banus, Carina Perez, Chelsea Jones, Vyvy Nguyen star as the witches along with Lindsey McDowell, who also wrote and created the new web series. 

On her inspiration to tell the story of five young women of color who are witches, McDowell says:

"For one, I wanted an opportunity to work with some of my friends who are all so talented but we never get the chance to play the ‘series’ leads or even audition for parts that are outside of what the industry has already tried to ‘typecast’ us as. Second, I have always loved the idea of magic and witches. Starting with my grandmother who was filled with the most magnificent witchy/spooky/and spiritual stories. She was born in 1919 and grew up in the deep south as a sharecropper. She was very religious and even more so…enchanting! She was fascinated herself with sci-fi, spirituality and witchcraft and that definitely rubbed off on my cousins and I."

We've covered "MisSpelled" previously when it launched this summer, and now after its first four episodes the production team has launched a Kickstarter campaign to continue the series. They're seeking to raise $75,000, with about two weeks left in the campaign. 

Find the series trailer below, followed by the Kickstarter pitch: 



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Author: "Jai Tiggett"
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