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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 02:22

Sad to share the news that documentary filmmaker Danny Anker died Monday morning of lymphoma, at the age of 50.  He was an Oscar-nominated director (Best Documentary Feature) for "Scottsboro: An American Tragedy" (2000), which was a selection of the Sundance Film Festival and won a Primetime Emmy in 2001.  

Many of his other productions were Emmy nominated and/or screened at prestigious film festivals, such as "Icebound" (2012).  He is perhaps best known for "Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust," which won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2004 Hamptons Film Festival. Narrated by Gene Hackman, it featured interviews with directors including Steven Spielberg.  

Anker was in post-production on "Sidney Lumet: The Moral Lens," and had directed nine other documentaries, including "Voices Unbound: The Story of the Freedom Writers" (winner at the 2010 Valladolid Film Festival), "Through My Eyes: The Charlie Kelman Story" (2010), as well as "Music from the Inside Out," nominated for the IDA Feature Documentary Award. 

The funeral will be held on Thursday, April 24, at noon at Manhattan's Parkside Chapel, Amsterdam Avenue at 91 Street. He is survived by his wife Donna Santman, daughters Adi Leah (10) and Eliza Bess (8).

For more info about Danny Anker, please click onto his website,

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Author: "Annette Insdorf"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 23:49

Just last week, I reported on a new cable TV documentary series, Hard Earned, being produced by Al Jazeera America and the Chicago-based Kartemquin Films, about the struggles of low income families (HERE).

But that’s not the only documentary that Kartmequin Films has on its slate - a company responsible for some of the most important and acclaimed documentaries made during the last 20 years such as Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali, and the soon-to-be released documentary on the late film critic, Roger Ebert, Life Itself,.

They also have currently in the works, Raising Bertie, produced by Kartemquin co founder Gordon Quinn and Justine Nagan, and directed and produced by Margaret Byrne, which deals with "three young men as they grow into adulthood in a community where expectations are low and fighting is a way of life. In rural Bertie County, an African American led community in North Carolina, their leaders have the opportunity to improve the futures of their youth… and one women’s attempt to elevate Bertie’s underprivileged youth and raise their expectations for their future."

Now, Raising Bertie, along with Hard Earned, and two other works-in-progress - In the Game, about “how race, gender and class impact, the life of  a soccer coach and the young women he is committed to helping, and Generation Food, about how a worldwide broken down food distribution system enables billions of people to be overweight, while at the same time billions go hungry - will be sneak-previewed at the Gene Siskel Film Center in downtown Chicago, on Friday May 2nd, starting at 8:30PM.

Tickets are now currently on sale; to get yours and to find out more info about the screening program, go HERE.

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Author: "Sergio"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 22:58

Finally! A trailer for WEtv’s first original scripted series The Divide - one that we've been tracking since it was first announced in 2012, which, as you might recall, was previously set to air on AMC, but got bumped to WEtv last year - both channels owned by AMC Networks.

The Richard LaGravenese/Tony Goldwyn drama, stars Damon Gupton as Adam Powell - a district attorney who uncovers new evidence that prompts the re-investigation of a sensational racially-motivated murder case. 

Marin Ireland (Homeland, Mildred Pierce) stars opposite Gupton as a caseworker who challenges Powell's convictions.

Nia Long took over the role that Aunjanue Ellis was initially cast to play - the district attorney's wife, Billie Powell, who's described as a hard-charging successful partner in a private equity firm.

Also, Clarke Peters (also of The WireTreme, and more) play supporting roles as Adam’s younger brother, a novice, naive cop, and Adam's (Damon's) father, Isaiah Page, a retired cop and the former Philadelphia police commissioner.

The project has always read like a stellar drama to me, on paper, given those involved, the premise, and the fact that it was initially set to run on AMC (known for its strong, award-winning dramatic programming slate). When I learned that it would instead air on WEtv, as I noted in a previous post, I wondered whether the series would be the right fit for WEtv, and if it is, what that tell us about it, given WEtv's past and current lineup of shows, which includes a reality TV-heavy slate like Braxton Family ValuesBridezillas, and its spin-off called Marriage Boot Camp: Bridezillas.

Not exactly weighty, dramatic, suspenseful, dark scripted material. So I wondered if this move would actually hurt the show. Although I haven't seen any of it (except for the below trailer), so I could be in for a surprise, if we discover that it's actually closer in style to a series like Scandal, than it is to Homeland, or Breaking Bad, for example; and would fit very well into WEtv's programming lineup, given the channel's demographic.

It could also be that AMC Networks (the parent company) wants to rebrand WEtv, moving away from cheap reality TV to scripted programming.

By the way, speaking of Scandal, Tony Goldwyn, one of the creators of the series, plays President Fitzgerald Grant on Shonda RhimesScandal; he's a director in his own right, helming episodes of Grey's AnatomyDamagesPrivate PracticeDexterJustified, and others.

But it's a done deal, and it's coming to WEtv (8 episodes) in July.

Here's an official synopsis:

"The Divide" is a thought-provoking and suspenseful drama that explores the personal cost of morality, ambition, ethics, politics, and race in today's justice system through the eyes of Christine Rosa played by Marin Ireland, an impassioned caseworker with The Innocence Initiative, and Adam Page played by Damon Gupton, an equally passionate district attorney and political rising star.  Eleven years ago, the Butler family was attacked in their Philadelphia home and all but the youngest daughter were brutally murdered. The senseless deaths of this affluent African American family, seemingly at the hands of two white construction workers, Terry Kucik (Joe Anderson) and Jared Bankowski (Chris Bauer), threatened to ignite a racial firestorm in the City of Brotherly Love. Adam Page (Gupton), himself an affluent black man and the city's District Attorney as well as a political rising star, made a name for himself by securing convictions for both men, leading to the death penalty ruling for Bankowski. Now, Christine Rosa (Ireland), a caseworker with the Innocence Initiative, believes Bankowski was wrongly convicted of the heinous murders and struggles to stop his impending execution, while tirelessly working to exonerate Kucik.In her search for the truth, Christine uncovers evidence that puts her at odds with Adam who will do everything in his power to uphold the verdict and keep his reputation intact. His actions put a strain on his marriage to Billie, played by Nia Long, a powerhouse corporate attorney at a crossroads in her personal and professional life. Throughout the journey, all three of their pasts resurface as they are faced with the question of one man's guilt or innocence intertwined with their own personal histories.

The Divide also stars Paul Schneider as Clarke Rylance, an old law school buddy of Adam and Billie's who chooses a different path when he signs on with The Innocence Initiative.

LaGravenese writes and executive produces alongside Tony Goldwyn (President Fitzgerald Grant on Shonda RhimesScandal), who also directed.

Watch the first trailer below:

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Author: "Tambay A. Obenson"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 22:16

Well, that didn't take long. Just one week after word came out that David Fincher won't be directing the Steve Jobs biopic for Sony (and let's be clear, he was never really attached; the negotiations just never worked out), another big name is now being lined up.

THR reports that Danny Boyle is in talks to direct, and even more, the filmmaker has already approached his "The Beach" star Leonardo DiCaprio to take the lead role. But "approached" hardly means "attached," and depending on when the studio wants to get this moving, the actor could be unavailable, as he's already slated to shoot Alejandro González Iñárritu's "The Revenant" this fall, for a 2015 release. That said, the structure of Aaron Sorkin's script doesn't indicate it will be a cradle-to-grave look at the tech innovator's life.

Instead, the script utilizes three 30-minute scenes to capture the Mac, NeXT, and iPod product launches, based in 1984, 1997, and 2001 respectively. So, it will require some physical transformation for the actor taking on the role, but it seems we're looking at some pretty self-contained sequences. It's an interesting approach and one that certainly finds Jobs at some very crucial milestones in this career.

So, can Danny Boyle be the one to finally get this off the ground? And will we really see DiCaprio in the lead? We're guessing at least one of these things will be confirmed at the end of the day.

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Author: "Kevin Jagernauth"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 21:46
1. Joss Whedon's "In Your Eyes" Released Online - Now - Even though he's now a big budget film director ("The Avengers"), Joss Whedon isn't afraid to break outside of Hollywood channels. Whedon is releasing his latest project, "In Your Eyes," the supernatural romance which he wrote and executive produced, as a $5 digital rental via Vimeo On Demand and the film's website. Read more about the news here.

2. Jason Silva Talks Movies and What Happens To Our Brains - Host of NatGeo's "Brain Games" and explorer of the science of human imagination Jason Silva talked to Indiewire about people, stories, brains and tech. "Film is the only technology that allows us to share subjectivity with someone else," he said, after calling himself an "immersion junkie." He also mentioned that "Inception" was possibly a metaphor for cinema. Read more. 

3. Netflix Prices: We knew it was too good to be true. Netflix said it will be increasing prices -- at least for new customers. "We have greatly improved our content selection (in the U.S.) since we introduced our streaming plan in 2010 at $7.99 per month, Our current view is to do a one or two dollar increase, depending on the country, later this quarter for new members only," the company said in a letter to shareholders. Company stock jumped at the news that Netflix gained 2.25 million streaming customers to its U.S. service.

4. SnagFilms Exclusives: Beginning this April through the end of the year, Webby Award nominee and Indiewire parent company SnagFilms will premiere a new film for free each week, according to Thomson on Hollywood, which is part of the Indiewire blog network. SnagFilms viewers will have the chance to watch 40 acclaimed indies and documentaries exclusively on the website -- for free. How can you go wrong? Read more here.

5. Robert De Niro Stars in his First Vine Video - Is it candid camera or an acting actor? Robert De Niro seems to have caught himself in a six-second film while playing with a friend's Vine account -- or is it all a publicity stunt? Either way, it's worth checking out. Read more about it here.

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Author: "Paula Bernstein and Taylor Lindsay"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 21:05

NBC and Don Mischer Productions announced today that Bill Cosby will be honored with the Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence at the "American Comedy Awards," which airs May 8 (9-11 p.m. ET/PT) on NBC.

The Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence is presented to an individual who, over the course of their lifetime, has made an extraordinary contribution to comedy and whose impact and innovations have changed the landscape and inspired future generations of entertainers.

"This is where I started: NBC and Johnny Carson," said Bill Cosby.

"Bill Cosby is an iconic figure at the forefront of the American comedy landscape," said Paul Telegdy, President, Alternative and Late Night Programming, NBC Entertainment. "His work in television, film, stand-up comedy and literature has shaped the national sense of humor and has had an enduring impact on comedians and fans of all ages. We are delighted to honor him with the Johnny Carson Award during NBC's inaugural broadcast of the 'American Comedy Awards.'"

Cosby is one of America's most beloved comedians and has captivated generations of fans with his comedy routines, iconic albums and best-selling books. His comedy transcends age, gender and cultural barriers.

Cosby broke television's racial barrier with I Spy, becoming the first African American to co-star on a television drama series while winning three consecutive Emmys. He created and produced the Emmy-winning cartoon Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, which began airing in the 1970s and was made into a film in 2004.

Perhaps Cosby's greatest contribution to American entertainment and culture is the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984-92 on NBC. 

Cosby has received the Kennedy Center Honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and the Marian Anderson Award.

In addition to the Cosby tribute, the "American Comedy Awards" will honor those who have achieved new heights during the past year in both film and television, as well as pay tribute to some of comedy's most enduring personalities. The telecast will acknowledge the work of stand-ups, those who specialize in movies and the actors and actresses who are seen by millions on TV every week.

The "American Comedy Awards" are produced by Don Mischer Productions. Emmy winner Don Mischer, Charlie Haykel and Juliane Hare serve as executive producers.

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Author: "Tambay A. Obenson"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 20:38
Here's the premiere episode of a new web series created and directed by Katherine Murray-Satchell, titled The New Adult.

I typically would summarize new series that are emailed to me, in my own words; but I think hearing directly from the creators themselves, may have more of an immediate impact on potential viewers, since doing so would mean a much more personal experience. 

So here's what Katherine Murray-Satchell sent to me:

I am an independent filmmaker and have recently completed a web series pilot that will be launching on Thursday.  I have a great deal of respect for Indiewire's Shadow and Act page, and would love your feedback on the show. Of course, the obstacle of putting anything online is getting people to watch it, so if you like what you see, I would be honored if the show could be mentioned on your publication. Of course, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to do anything, or write a scathing review since bad press is better than none. However, I think you’ll find it a good conversation starter and here’s why:

"The New Adult" is about a 30-something year old woman who's recently been kicked out of her parents' house. The show chronicles her struggle to adjusting to this new life as a grown-up.

The lead is an African American, and she's the type that's not commonly seen in the media today. The biggest significance is that she's big into alt rock, and is not afraid to speak her mind. She’s not the “powerful black woman” or the "awkward black girl" or even Olivia Pope. She’s a rebel, a screw-up, and a bit of an asshole. But a charming one.

Having been one of those black girls who loves the rock lifestyle, finding someone who looks like me with those similar interests was extremely hard to come by growing up. Even now, it's like spotting a unicorn if you find a character like that on TV. I know there are women out there looking for this voice, and "The New Adult" delivers. But the show's not about race. It's about accepting (or not accepting) the responsibilities of adulthood. It will explore the many definitions of the word "adult," as our generation and surely the ones to come will be a new kind of adult. See what I did there?

As the saying goes, if you don't see what you want to see on screen (or if you don't see yourself), then create what you do want to see, instead of waiting for someone else to do so - because it may never happen..

The series is now live, and can be followed here: www.thenewadultseries.com.

Episode one is embedded below.

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Author: "Tambay A. Obenson"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 19:38

As we noted in our feature, Critical Reassessment: 11 Films That Have Been Reconsidered Over Time, Michael Cimino's "Heaven's Gate" has gone from cautionary tale of budgetary excess and directorial hubris to something closing in on masterpiece status in the eyes of some critics. Indeed, a restoration, festival screenings and a Criterion Collection edition have restored the status of Cimino's film, but before all of that happened, Steven Soderbergh put his own imprint on the infamous film.

Over at this Extension 365 site, the director has posted what he calls the "Butcher's Cut" of the movie that runs less than 2 hours, severely shearing away the 216 minute runtime of the movie. But we'll let the filmmaker explain his approach: 

As a dedicated cinema fan, I was obsessed with HEAVEN'S GATE from the moment it was announced in early 1979, and unfortunately history has shown that on occasion a fan can become so obsessed they turn violent toward the object of their obsession, which is what happened to me during the holiday break of 2006. This is the result. 

Soderbergh does not believe in embeds, so you'll have to jump over here to watch it in full. This should hopefully keep you busy until "The Knick" arrives this summer.

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Author: "Kevin Jagernauth"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 19:17

A couple of years ago, it was announced that Seth Rogen and Kevin Hart were teaming up for a buddy comedy at Paramount. There was nothing particularly Earth shattering about the announcement, and it seems like a logical pairing of two big comedy stars and not much was heard of it since. But "Neighbors" director Nicholas Stoller has just put this one back on our radar in a big way, with a logline that truly sounds fantastically bonkers.

Chatting with Slashfilm, Stoller made it clear what movie he wants to direct next, and it sounds kinda amazing. "The next thing I want to direct is this thing for Seth [Rogen] and Kevin Hart. It’s basically about the first white cop/black cop pairing in history," he explained, "that takes place in the late ’40s and they have to bust jazz musicians for weed. It’s kind of a Baz Luhrmann world mixed with Tarantino shit. It’s a lot of things."

And yeah, that sounds pretty damn inspired. Rodney Rothman ("22 Jump Street," "Grudge Match," "Undeclared") pitched the idea way back when but there's no word on if the script was given another pass by someone else or if he wrote it. Either way, this we would like to see this thing, so here's hoping that Stoller getting the word out helps the project gain some momentum.

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Author: "Kevin Jagernauth"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 18:47

Yeah, we know. If you're a diehard "Star Wars" fan, this is not really news at all, but confirmation of what you already know. But for the more casual viewer, or those who were perhaps hoping that the upcoming sequels would roll the dice with the established worlds and timelines laid out in George Lucas' six "Star Wars" movies, this bit of info is probably worth knowing.

While plot details around J.J. Abrams' "Star Wars: Episode 7" remain firmly under wraps, Simon Kinbergtapped with writing the spinoff(s)—did reveal what won't be in the movies. When IGN asked if any of the story threads from the countless books, video games, etc. might serve as inspiration for the narrative, he had a very clear answer. “You know, it’s not off-limits, and it’s certainly inspiring—I’m working on an animated show for [Lucasfilm] as well, 'Star Wars: Rebels,' that will take inspiration from everywhere, but—I know for the movies, the canon is the canon, and the canon is the six films that exist,” he stated.

“I’m definitely not allowed to talk about the content of the 'Star Wars' stuff,” he continued. “I can say that I’m a ridiculously huge fan, I love Boba Fett and I love, obviously, all of the characters in that world. For me—and I know it was true for J.J [Abrams], and Larry Kasdan and Kathy Kennedy and Michael Arndt—it was all about honoring the original movies, and yet wanting to take a step forward, too, and tell a new story.”

The shout out to Boba Fett is interesting, considering there's already a rumored spin-off focusing on the character. So that should be some good message board fodder for the next couple days.

Thoughts? Do you think the franchise could use help from the expanded worlds, or is the six film strong "Star Wars" series already too locked into the current story? Let us know below. [via THR]

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Author: "Kevin Jagernauth"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 18:43

Beginning this April through the end of the year, Webby Award nominee and Indiewire parent company SnagFilms will roll premiere a new film for free each week. SnagFilms viewers will have the chance to watch 40 acclaimed indies and documentaries for the very first time exclusively on the website -- and at no cost!

The monthly premieres, which you can stream online and through mobile devices and set-tops, will complement holidays as well as current and special events. The first of April's premieres is Alrick Brown's powerful Sundance Audience Award winner "Kinyarwanda" (available now), commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Also available now, in the spirit of Tribeca and Coachella, is "Let Fury Have the Hour," a portrait of 2012 counter-culture.

Additional films making their April and May debuts include the following (select trailers below):

"Rabbit Fever" (4/21) -- You've heard of dog and horse shows, but are you familiar with rabbit shows?  "Rabbit Fever," director Amy Do's hare-raising documentary, is a coming-of-age story that follows six competitors as they strive to win the top title at the National American Rabbit Convention - an event that draws more than 20,000 rabbits in one building, the largest mass of rabbits in the world. While adult members of the rabbit habit compete for "Best in Show" the teenage enthusiasts quest for an even more coveted honor in the rabbit community -- Rabbit King and Queen!

"Remember Where You Are" (4/28) -- Echoing the passion of "Once," "Remember Where You Are" is a documentary of music, determination and human connection.  After achieving what many aspiring musicians dream of and signing to a major record label, Catherine Feeny and Sebastian Rogers discovered the harsh realities that come with success and stardom. After they're abruptly dropped from their labels and their dreams shattered, these two singer-songwriters redefine themselves and their art by taking off on a two-month long, 15,000 mile journey across the United States playing their music in the living rooms of fans, friends and strangers they met along the way.

"Magic Camp" (5/5) -- Welcome to the real Hogwarts: to escape the pressures of growing up, magic-obsessed kids congregate at the one place they can be themselves; Tannen's Magic Camp, the oldest and most prestigious training ground for young magicians. They want to prove their worth on the same stage where superstars like Blaine + Copperfield once performed. But to get there, they need to learn more than sleight of hand and tricks of the trade. They have to find the magic inside in this award-winning documentary from two-time Emmy-nominated director Judd Ehrlich.

"RasTa: A Soul's Journey" (5/12) -- Commemorate the May 11 "deathiversary" of reggae legend Bob Marley with this enlightening doc which follows one of his granddaughters, Donisha Prendergast, to eight countries -- the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, India, Israel, Canada and Jamaica -- to explore the roots, evolution and impact of Rastafari.  Acting as an irrepressible and charming guide, she educates viewers about a way of life that many know little about beyond the dreadlocks, ganja, and the red, gold, and green. And, along the way she encounters Rastafarian elders, musicians, poets, professors and individuals who share personal stories of the influence of Donisha’s iconic grandfather, Bob Marley.

"The Carrier, Until They Are Home and Return from Tarawa" (5/19) -- Three films tied to Memorial Day make their free VOD debuts leading up to the national day of remembrance.  The Carrier is Steven C. Barber’s behind-the-scenes documentary following the machinations in setting up the first college basketball game abroad the USS Carl Vinson in honor of the military's dedication.; Until They Are Home, narrated by Kelsey Grammer, which chronicles the efforts of JPAC in searching for the remains of missing marines killed in The Battle of Tarawa in 1943; and, Return to Tarawa, narrated by Ed Harris, follows Tarawa battle vet Leon Cooper back to “Red Beach”in a powerful story of redemption and passion.

"Spilt Milk" (5/27) -- In Blake Calhoun's blackly funny film, Todd Wells (Jake Johnson, "New Girl") is the disenchanted, disgruntled and disheveled assistant manager at the local grocery store. Once a popular high school standout, an accident changed his life and he now finds himself awkwardly stuck in a dead-end routine, unable to move forward. However, his future is about to change: after arriving late to his night-shift, Todd encounters a robber who takes him and everyone in the store hostage, forcing the motley group to wait-out the timelock on the manager's safe.  And, as personalities are revealed and the past explored, there’s a chuckle at every twist in this accidental comedy.

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Author: "Ryan Lattanzio"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 18:24

Welcome to the new era of movie marketing, where studios aren't just content to show you a couple of trailers and hope you'll show up. Nope, they will pour on the clips, TV spots and in this case, serve up an opening chunk of the movie, all in the hopes that through sheer advertising exhaustion (or genuine interest) you will show up and fork over some cash for tickets and popcorn. So it goes for "How To Train Your Dragon 2."

DreamWorks has thrown the first five minutes of the film online, with Jay Baruchel's distinctly voiced Hiccup introducing viewers to the sequel and cluing them in on what has happened since 2010. Picking up five years after the first movie, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Cate Blanchett, Kit Harington and Djimon Hounsou are among those joining in this latest adventure that finds Hiccup and Toothless now racing through the sky, until everything changes when they find ice cave in uncharted territory.

Basically, you'll be there on June 13th (probably with kids in tow) if you liked the first movie. Watch below along with a batch of new images from the movie.


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Author: "Kevin Jagernauth"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 18:23

Indiana University’s Black Film Center/Archive, which was founded in 1981 by Phyllis Klotman, is without question the greatest research and collection repository of anything and everything by and about African Americans and films.

As the Center states, its mission is to :1) Expand the film collection of historic and current films by and about Blacks, 2) To encourage the continuation of creative film activity by independent black filmmakers, 3) To undertake and encourage research in the history, meaning, and aesthetics of black film and 4) To guide and support students and researchers in Black Film Studies.”

It’s definitely worth a trip to Bloomington, Indiana to see this remarkable and important institution for yourself.

And now the Center has announced that Mary Perry Smith, the co-founder of the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, has donated her vast and expensive collection of Black film memorabilia and artifacts, which includes over 300 linear feet of records, audiovisual materials, publications and memorabilia from the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.

According to the Center’s archivist Brian Graney: “The Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame collection is a treasure. It illuminates the black presence in film history and adds to our historical understanding of the growth of black filmmaking -- both Hollywood and independent -- over the late 20th century.”

Among the many valuable objects in the Smith collection are the original grave maker of Oscar Micheaux, an oil painting of Madame Sul-Te-Wan AKA Nellie Crawford (pictured above - a film actress in the early 20th century and the daughter of freed slaves, whose career started in 1915, and continued until 1958), costumes, including items worn by the dancing team the Nicholas Brothers and Ruby Dee, and the original Hollywood musical scores and arrangements by musician Phil Moore, who became the first African American composer on staff at a major studio when he joined MGM Studios in 1942.

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Author: "Sergio"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 18:19

Currently on tour promoting his new book, "Dirty Daddy: The Chronicles of a Family Man Turned Filthy Comedian," Bob Saget sat down with author Kelly Oxford on April 17th as a part of Live Talks LA to discuss how the book came together. At its core, Saget says, the book is about how over the years, comedy has helped his family cope with death -- particularly the passing of four of his siblings. Although filthy at times, Saget was forthcoming and humble with his responses throughout the evening -- perhaps because Oxford set up a comfortable atmosphere, shifting seamlessly between interviewing and improv-ing with him.

Here are 12 of the most interesting and funny bits delivered by Saget:

On getting fired from CBS:

"I got fired from a show on CBS because 'I was too hot for morning television.' Mariette Hartley was the host and she said, 'Are you a type A person?' And I said, 'Yes, but I’m working on my A-nus.' I said that, I wasn’t thinking and she said, 'Go to your room, Bob.' They sent me to – it was a 12-minute commercial break. I had to wait behind the set for 12 minutes. The following week I was just on the steps going, 'It’s five minutes after the hour.'"

How Danny Tanner helped Saget get "America's Funniest Home Videos":

"That helped me get that show because they did believe that that was Danny Tanner as he really is – which is a smarmy guy doing bad puns at 7 o'clock on a Sunday night when people got hit in the nuts because there are only so many ways to host a blooper show. So I got to double down on that two-dimensional image of myself. It was stupid to say no to – it was a sensation."

On doing comedy as a kid:

"I think half the people liked me – it's kind of like now – and half the people hated me."

On sitting down with Matt Lauer to talk about the book:

"We sat down and Matt goes, 'Ok this book is about comedy, death and your testicles. Explain.' Run with that."

On his mother reading his book:

"The end of her life kind of was interesting because I was doing this book and I was talking about all the people that – she had lost a lot more than I had, she lived to 89. She lost four kids. A lot of hard times. She was clear and very happy, not in pain at the end of her life. And then she started to read this book. She got 111 pages in…and then she goes, 'I'm sorry Bobby I had to stop reading it.' And she got [to] right before the chapter of things I shouldn’t have done, which is about me drinking and driving and doing things I shouldn’t have done – lighting fires under the bed when my grandmother was asleep in the bed. Things that a lot of people do if something is wrong with them. By her not completing the book, I do think it lengthened her life by about two weeks. If she had read two more chapters we would’ve lost her."

Saget’s mother on the afterlife: 

"She said that she would give me a sign. So I said, 'So you’re going to give me a…I don’t want anything creepy mom, don’t weird me out mom.' She said, 'Just if you see' – I don’t know how she thought of it, just amazing improv – 'if you see a dove…because Dove soap, if you see a dove.' And I went, 'So if I see a dove that’s you?' 'It’s a sign,' [she said]."

On whether he has seen the dove yet (a.k.a. his mother):

"I have not seen the dove yet. I need to go to the Magic Castle. I’ll probably see a few there. What if one flew in here right now? I’d kill it. Swat it down and then we’d cook it. We’d get the projector and let the ball just burn it and roast it. And that’s the story of how I ate my mother."

On how long it took to write the book:

"I would say six months of the year and a half were solid writing, probably six months were nothing, if you added up all the time. And then six months, I guess mostly masturbation and eating badly."

Don Rickles on Saget’s HBO special:

"Don Rickles, who is a friend of mine and he’s alive. You should see Don Rickles anywhere if he's going to perform – he's going to perform near here not too long from now. You have to see him he’s so cute. He saw that HBO special that I did right after I did it and he came up to me and he said, 'I saw your special last night Bob. It was very good.' And then he slapped me and he said, "You left out two fucks."

John Stamos is actually the reason Saget knows Don Rickles:

BS: John takes a friendship to old comedy guys. He's very close with Garry Marshall. He's just very, very close with all these guys. We ran into Bob Evans and he's like, 'I can't really get out a lot but I'll take you two guys to lunch.' John's like, I don't know what it is, it's just, he's got some like old showbiz [in him].

KO: It's the hair.

BS: He’s got the hair. He's got that skin. He weighs like a pound.

Why Stamos resented Comet the dog at one point:

"Stamos was pissed because Comet got the movie ‘Air Bud.’ So this is resentful actor talk. 'The dog got a movie. Why are we not in the movies?'"

Bob Saget's two favorite fart jokes:

"This is terrible. This is a dirty, dirty joke. Oh crap. Well there's one, I'll do it real fast. One that, it's just a guy -- his wife brings him in the house, blindfolds him, sits him down and says just sit there I've got a surprise for you. It's not even a joke, it's just terrible. She leaves and he just starts farting because he ate all this stuff. And the reveal at the end of the joke is that she takes off his blindfold and it's surprise party and a hundred people are there. That's the clean one. The other one is really not good. It's bad. I was fourteen when I heard this. Okay. A couple -- they're not married, they're strangers, they're seedy people, they're not good, they've been around, say they met at a truck stop. And she says to him -- this is terrible -- do you want to do 69? And he goes, sure. So they go to the hotel and they're doing it and then...she accidentally farts in his face and he goes, 'That's it. I can't do 68 more of those.'"

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Author: "Shipra Gupta"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 18:14
LisaGay Hamilton and Lily Rabe star in this "contemporary western" from Dire Wolf Productions, written and directed by Britta Sjogren.

Titled Redemption Trail, the film follows 2 strong, yet deeply troubled women, who have experienced either political ot personal trauma, and who are both fleeing pasts that haunt them. One is the daughter of a murdered Black Panther revolutionary - Tess, played by LisaGay Hamilton - who lives off the grid on a Sonoma vineyard, fiercely detached from the rest of world. Her hermetic life cracks when she gives reluctant shelter to a desperate young woman, Anna (played by Lily Rabe) who has attempted suicide in a nearby forest. An unlikely alliance forms between the two, where other close relationships have failed, as their differences open them up to new visions of themselves.

Jake Weber and Hamish Linklater co-star as Tess' employer and Anna's husband.

The drama is currently traveling the film festival circuit. It last screened at the Mill Valley Film Festival.

To find out more and follow the film's festival trip, visit its website HERE.

Check out the trailer below:

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Author: "Tambay A. Obenson"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 18:13

A rare excerpt has surfaced from Andy Warhol's chat with director Alfred Hitchcock in a September 1974 issue of Interview Magazine. While this unusual meeting of the minds doesn't offer explicit insights into Hitchcock's filmmaking process, the conversation feels more like a portrait of these artists' warped minds. Read below as they talk about death, murder, corpse-disposal and psychosis. In other words, you know, just a little light banter.

The interview was published two years after Hitchcock's violent serial killer thriller "Frenzy," and two years before Hitch's final film "Family Plot." He died in 1980, while Warhol died in 1987. Both had their start, interestingly enough, as illustrators.

Andy Warhol: Since you know all these cases, did you ever figure out why people really murder? It's always bothered me. Why.

Alfred Hitchcock: Well I'll tell you. Years ago, it was economic, really. Especially in England. First of all, divorce was very hard to get, and it cost a lot of money.

Andy Warhol: But what kind of person really murders? I mean, why.

Alfred Hitchcock: In desperation. They do it in desperation.

Andy Warhol: Really?

Alfred Hitchcock: Absolute desperation. They have nowhere to go, there were no motels in those days, and they'd have to go behind the bushes in the park. And in desperation they would murder.

Andy Warhol: But what about a mass murderer.

Alfred Hitchcock: Well, they are psychotics, you see. They're absolutely psychotic. They're very often impotent. As I showed in "Frenzy." The man was completely impotent until he murdered and that’s how he got his kicks. But today of course, with the Age of the Revolver, as one might call it, I think there is more use of guns in the home than there is in the streets. You know? And men lose their heads?

Andy Warhol: Well I was shot by a gun, and it just seems like a movie. I can't see it as being anything real. The whole thing is still like a movie to me. It happened to me, but it’s like watching TV. If you're watching TV, it’s the same thing as having it done to yourself.

Alfred Hitchcock: Yes. Yes.

Andy Warhol: So I always think that people who do it must feel the same way.

Alfred Hitchcock: Well a lot of it’s done on the spur of the moment. You know.

Andy Warhol: Well if you do it once, then you can do it again, and if you keep doing it, I guess it's just something to do.

Alfred Hitchcock: Well it depends whether you've disposed of the first body. That is a slight problem. After you've committed your first murder.

Andy Warhol: Yes, so if you do that well, then you’re on your way. See, I always thought that butchers could do it very easily. I always thought that butchers could be the best murderers.

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Author: "Ryan Lattanzio"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 17:59

We previously announced some of the films that will be showing at the 13th Annual Tribeca Film Festival. The remaining films that will premiere in the Spotlight, Midnight and Special Screenings sections have also just been announced. Selections for Tribeca's Storyscape program were also revealed. The Festival will take place from April 16th to April 27th in New York City.

31 films will show as part of the Spotlight section, nine of them documentaries and 20 will make their world premieres. Narrative highlights include Ira Sachs's Sundance hit "Love is Strange," "Every Secret Thing," penned by Nicole Holofcener, Jon Favreau's "Chef," Courtney Cox's directorial debut, Roman Polanski's "Venus in Fur," and "In Your Eyes," written by Joss Whedon.

The Midnight section, which opens with the feature "Preservation," also includes seven very different films. "6," an unfinished documentary film by Louie Psihoyos ("The Cove"), will premiere in the Special Screenings category. 

"Spotlight and Special screenings are an especially dynamic aspect of this year’s program, both in range of styles and stories," said Genna Terranova, Director of Programming. "Many films feature real-life personalities who’ve accomplished extraordinary feats, while in other films we see personal relationships at pivotal moments of transition. We look forward to sharing these engaging stories with audiences."

For the second time, Tribeca will also be hosting the Storyscape program, an event hosted with Bombay Sapphire that celebrates the collaboration between technology and filmmaking. 

The following films are the remaining features announced by Tribeca Film Festival (Descriptions courtesy of the Tribeca Film Festival):

SPOTLIGHT

"5 to 7", directed and written by Victor Levin. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. 
Young aspiring novelist Brian (Anton Yelchin) meets Arielle (Bérénice Marlohe), the sophisticated wife of a French Diplomat. They soon embark on a “cinq-a-sept” affair that challenges Brian’s traditional American ideas of love and relationships. A cosmopolitan comedy of manners told with surprising warmth and lightness, "5 to 7" marks writer and producer Levin’s ("Mad Men") directorial debut, and welcomes actress Marlohe ("Skyfall") as a glamorous, ebullient screen presence. With Glenn Close and Frank Langella.

"About Alex", directed and written by Jesse Zwick. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. 
A circle of twenty-something friends reunite for a weekend away to console a suicidal member of their group. Yet, despite their best efforts to enjoy themselves, a tinderbox of old jealousies, unrequited love, and widening political differences leads to an explosion of drama that, coupled with the flammable combination of drugs, wine, and risotto, cannot be contained. A "Big Chill" for our current social media moment, "About Alex" is a lighthearted look at the struggles of a generation that has it all—and wants more.  Starring Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Max Minghella, Jason Ritter, Nate Parker, and Maggie Grace.

"Alex of Venice", directed by Chris Messina, written by Jessica Goldberg and Katie Nehra & Justin Shilton. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. 

Workaholic environmental attorney Alex (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has always relied on her husband George (Chris Messina) to take the reins at home. But when he unexpectedly asks for a break, his departure forces Alex to reevaluate her life as she juggles the care of her son and needs of an aspiring-actor father (Don Johnson), all amid the most important case of her life. Actor Chris Messina steps behind the camera for his directorial debut about a woman pushed to the edge who finds the strength to press on.

"All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State", directed by Keith Patterson and Phillip Schopper. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. An unmissable documentary for any political junkie, "All About Ann" celebrates the achievements of larger-than-life Ann Richards, who became the first elected female governor of Texas. Her cool demeanor, acid wit, and passion for social inclusivity made her one of the most powerful and progressive governors in U.S. history, a liberal democrat intent on building “the new Texas.” But, when the 1994 election begins, Richards is faced with her toughest challenge yet, as an increasingly conservative majority turn towards a new, pro-business candidate: George W. Bush.  An HBO Documentary Film.

"Boulevard", directed by Dito Montiel, written by Douglas Soesbe. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. 
Nolan Mack, a soft-spoken bank employee, undoubtedly loves his wife Joy, though their cavernous empty house only underscores how disconnected they’ve always been from each other. Nolan finds himself drifting from his familiar present-day life in pursuit of lost time after meeting a troubled young man named Leo on his drive home. What begins as an aimless drive down an unfamiliar street turns into a life-altering series of events. Robin Williams and Kathy Baker deliver quietly stirring performances in this touching film about finding the strength to be true to yourself at any age.

"Bright Days Ahead" ("Les beaux jours"), directed by Marion Vernoux, written by Fanny Chesnel. (France) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. 
In this sophisticated and sexy drama, a newly retired woman in her 60s (French cinema icon Fanny Ardant, "8 Women" and "Confidentially Yours") finds herself tumbling into an affair with a much younger man (Laurent Lafitte, "Little White Lies"), her computer teacher at the local seniors’ club. As she finds herself courting danger—taking her young lover to places they could easily be discovered by her husband (Patrick Chesnais, "The Diving Bell" and "the Butterfly")—she must decide if her retirement will mark the end for her marriage, or a new beginning. In French with English Subtitles. A Tribeca Film Release.

"Chef", directed and written by Jon Favreau. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative.
After talented and dynamic chef Carl Casper’s (Favreau) social media-fueled meltdown against his nemesis food critic lands him without any job prospects, Chef Casper hits the road with his son and his sous chef (John Leguizamo) to launch a brand new food truck business. Complete with lavish food imagery and a star-studded cast including Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, and Amy Sedaris, Favreau’s fresh take on food and chef culture has poignant messages about the media-driven world in which we live and the real meaning of success. An Open Road Release.

"Every Secret Thing", directed by Amy Berg, written by Nicole Holofcener. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.
One clear summer day in a Baltimore suburb, a baby goes missing from her front porch. Two young girls serve seven years for the crime and are released into a town that hasn’t fully forgiven or forgotten. Soon, another child is missing, and two detectives are called in to investigate the mystery in a community where everyone seems to have a secret. An ensemble cast, including Elizabeth Banks, Diane Lane, Dakota Fanning, and Nate Parker, brings to life Laura Lippman’s acclaimed novel of love, loss, and murder.

"In Order of Disappearance" ("Kraftidioten"), directed by Hans Petter Moland, written by Kim Fupz Aakeson. (Norway) – North American Premiere, Narrative.
Upstanding community leader Nils (Stellan Skarsgård) has just won an award for ‘Citizen of the Year’ when he learns the news that his son has died of a heroin overdose. Suspecting foul play, Nils begins to investigate, and soon finds himself at the center of an escalating underworld gang war between Serbian drug dealers and a sociopathic criminal mastermind known only as “The Count.” Hans Petter Moland’s action-thriller is an entertaining and intelligent black comedy set in the dead of frozen Norwegian winter. In English, Norwegian, and Swedish with English subtitles.

"In Your Eyes", directed by Brin Hill, written by Joss Whedon. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.
East Coast housewife Rebecca (Zoe Kazan) lives a comfortable, sheltered life, but she always knew there was something special about herself. Charismatic ex-con Dylan (Michael Stahl-David) has paid his debt to society and is ready for a fresh start in New Mexico, including a burgeoning flirtation with local good-time-gal Donna (Nikki Reed). When the two polar opposites realize they are strangely connected, an utterly unique metaphysical romance begins in TFF alum Brin Hill’s sweet and smart film, which star Zoe Kazan aptly described as “Joss Whedon does Nicholas Sparks.”

"Just Before I Go", directed by Courteney Cox, written by David Flebotte. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. 
Seann William Scott plays Ted Morgan, a down-on-his-luck everyman who has decided he’s had enough of the hard knocks life has thrown his way. But before saying his final adieu, Ted returns to his hometown to right a few wrongs. Enter a zany cast of characters, including Rob Riggle, Olivia Thirlby, and Garret Dillahunt, who, whilst royally messing up his scheme, manage to teach him a few clumsy, but ultimately valuable lessons.

"Keep On Keepin’ On", directed and written by Alan Hicks, co-written by Davis Coombe. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. 
Eighty-nine year old trumpeting legend Clark Terry has mentored jazz wonders like Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, but Terry’s most unlikely friendship is with Justin Kauflin, a 23-year-old blind piano player with uncanny talent, but debilitating nerves. As Justin prepares for the most pivotal moment in his budding career, Terry’s ailing health threatens to end his own. Charming and nostalgic, Alan Hicks’ melodic debut celebrates an iconic musician while introducing an emerging star of equal vibrancy.

"Life Partners", directed and written by Susanna Fogel, co-written by Joni Lefkowitz. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. 
Nearing 30, Sasha and Paige realize their codependent friendship is preventing either of them from settling down. But when Paige meets the dorky yet lovable Tim, Sasha fears that she’s being replaced. Leighton Meester, Gillian Jacobs, Gabourey Sidibe, and Adam Brody star in a comedy revolving around two friends and the guy that strikes discord in their harmoniously laid-back resistance to growing up. Directed by Susanna Fogel, "Life Partners" affectionately tackles the intimacy and complexity of female friendship.

"Love is Strange", directed and written by Ira Sachs, co-written by Mauricio Zacharias. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. Ira Sachs returns to the indie scene following 2012’s acclaimed "Keep the Lights On" with another new take on modern love. Acting veterans John Lithgow and Alfred Molina star as Ben and George, a Manhattan couple who are finally given the opportunity to make their union official. But when Ben loses his teaching job as a result, the relationship is tested in unconventional ways—leaving them to lean more heavily than ever on their love to hold things together. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.

"Lucky Them", directed by Megan Griffiths, written by Huck Botko and Emily Wachtel. (USA) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. 
More interested in partying and flirting with young musicians than work, veteran rock journalist Ellie Klug (Toni Collette) has one last chance to prove her value to her magazine’s editor: a no-stone-unturned search to discover what really happened to long lost rock god, Matt Smith, who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend.  Teaming up with an eccentric amateur documentary filmmaker (Thomas Haden Church in a delightful performance), Ellie hits the road in search of answers in this charming dramedy set against the vibrant Seattle indie music scene. An IFC Films Release.

"Manos Sucias", directed and written by Josef Wladyka, co-written by Alan Blanco. (Colombia, USA) – International Premiere, Narrative. Towing a submerged torpedo in the wake of their battered fishing boat, a desperate fisherman and a naive kid embark on a journey trafficking millions of dollars worth of cocaine. Shot entirely on location along the Pacific coast of Colombia—in areas that bear the indelible scars of the drug trade—"Manos Sucias" refuses to glamorize the drug trade but rather seeks to offer a rare glimpse of its devastating effects. Executive Produced by Spike Lee.

"Match", directed and written by Stephen Belber. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. 
A Seattle couple (Matthew Lillard and Carla Gugino) travel to New York to interview colorful former dancer Tobi (played with remarkable dexterity by Patrick Stewart) for research on a dissertation about dance. But soon, common niceties and social graces erode when the questions turn personal and the true nature of the interview is called into question. Based on the Tony Award-winning play of the same name, "Match" moves effortlessly between riotous wit and delicate poignancy in this story of responsibility, artistic commitment, and love.

"Miss Meadows", directed and written by Karen Leigh Hopkins (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. 
Prim schoolteacher Miss Meadows (Katie Holmes) is not entirely what she appears. Well-mannered, sweet, and caring, yes, but underneath the candy-sweet exterior hides the soul of a vigilante, taking it upon herself to right the wrongs in this cruel world by whatever means necessary. Things get complicated, however, when Miss Meadows gets romantically entangled with the town sheriff (James Badge Dale) and her steadfast moral compass is thrown off, begging the question: “Who is the real Miss Meadows and what is she hiding?”

"The Newburgh Sting", directed by David Heilbroner and Kate Davis, written by David Heilbroner. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. 
Just 60 miles north of New York City sits the poverty-stricken town of Newburgh, where, in 2009, four men were arrested for a plan to bomb two Jewish centers in the Bronx. But their leader, a suspicious Pakistani businessman planted by the government as an informant, led these men straight into the hands of the authorities. With endless footage gathered from hidden cameras, directors David Heilbroner and Kate Davis investigate just what homegrown terrorism truly means in this shocking and galvanizing exposé.

"Night Moves", directed and written by Kelly Reichardt, co-written by Jon Raymond. (USA) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative
Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard star as radical activists surreptitiously plotting to blow up Oregon’s Green Peter Dam in an act of environmental sabotage. As their plan marches inexorably towards fruition, they soon discover that small steps have enormous consequences. "Old Joy" and "Wendy and Lucydirector Kelly Reichardt crafts another graceful and absorbing film about outsiders searching for a meaningful place on the edges of the system in this atmospheric environmental thriller. A Cinedigm Release.

"The One I Love", directed by Charlie McDowell, written by Justin Lader. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. 
In Charlie McDowell’s refreshing and inventive twist on the love story, Ethan and Sophie escape to a country retreat in a last ditch attempt to save their ailing marriage. But what begins as a quiet opportunity to reconnect soon morphs into an unexplainable head trip that forces the couple to confront their relationship in an impossibly unique way. Starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss in heartfelt performances, "The One I Love" turns the romantic comedy upside down with an altogether original take on monogamy, relationships, and how much you ever really know your partner. A Radius-TWC Release.

"The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir", directed by Mike Fleiss. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. 
Drop out of school to ride with the Merry Pranksters. Form America’s most enduring jam band. Become a family man and father. Never stop chasing the muse. Bob Weir took his own path to and through superstardom as rhythm guitarist for The Grateful Dead. Mike Fleiss re-imagines the whole wild journey in this magnetic rock doc and concert film, with memorable input from bandmates, contemporaries, followers, family, and, of course, the inimitable Bob Weir himself.

"Palo Alto", directed and written by Gia Coppola, adapted from Palo Alto: Stories by James Franco. (USA) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. 
Popular but shy soccer player April (Emma Roberts) frequently babysits for her single-dad coach, Mr. B. (James Franco), while Teddy (Jack Kilmer) is an introspective artist whose best friend and sidekick, Fred (Nat Wolff), is an unpredictable live wire with few filters or boundaries. One party bleeds into another as April and Teddy finally acknowledge their mutual affection, and Fred’s escalating recklessness spirals into chaos. "Palo Alto" is a vibrant cinematic immersion into the overlapping stories and emotions that make up the high school experience. A Tribeca Film Release.

"The Search for General Tso", directed by Ian Cheney. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary
From New York City to the farmlands of the Midwest, there are 50,000 Chinese restaurants in the U.S., yet one dish in particular has conquered the American culinary landscape with a force befitting its military moniker—“General Tso’s Chicken.” But who was General Tso and how did this dish become so ubiquitous? Ian Cheney’s delightfully insightful documentary charts the history of Chinese Americans through the surprising origins of this sticky, sweet, just-spicy-enough dish that we’ve adopted as our own.

"Silenced", directed by James Spione. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. 
Only 11 Americans have ever been charged under the Espionage Act of 1917; eight of them since President Obama took office. Academy Award®-nominated documentarian James Spione returns to TFF with the incredible personal journeys of two members of that octet, Thomas Drake and John Kiriakou, along with accountability advocate, Jesselyn Radack, who helped bring their cases to light. With resonance in the post-Snowden era, Silenced catalogs the lengths to which the government has gone to keep its most damning secrets quiet, in an impassioned and thought-provoking defense of whistleblowers everywhere. Executive produced by Susan Sarandon.

"Sister", directed and written by David Lascher, co-written by Todd Camhe. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.
When unstable Connie (Barbara Hershey) is tragically widowed, she finds it impossible to care for her delinquent adolescent daughter, Nicki, forcing her son, Bill (Reid Scott), to take his sister in. As the two begin to forge a healthy bond, well-meaning Bill implements his own method of treatment for Nicki’s mental troubles, but, when turmoil persists, he must reconcile his beliefs with what actually may be best for his sister. "Sister" addresses the polemic issue of youth psychotropic drug prescription with restraint and sensitivity.

"Slaying the Badger", directed and written by John Dower. (UK) – World Premiere, Documentary. 
Before Lance Armstrong, there was Greg LeMond, who is now the first and only American to win the Tour de France. In this engrossing documentary, LeMond looks back at the pivotal 1986 Tour, and his increasingly vicious rivalry with friend, teammate, and mentor Bernard Hinault. The reigning Tour champion and brutal competitor known as “The Badger,” Hinault ‘promised’ to help LeMond to his first victory, in return for LeMond supporting him in the previous year. But in a sport that purports to reward teamwork, it’s really every man for himself. An ESPN Films Production.

"Super Duper Alice Cooper", directed and written by Reginald Harkema, Scot McFadyen, and Sam Dunn. (Canada) – World Premiere, Documentary. 
Emerging from the Detroit music scene of the 1970s in a flurry of long hair and sequins, Alice Cooper restored hard rock with a sense of showmanship, while simultaneously striking fear into the hearts of Middle America with the chicken-slaughtering, dead-baby-eating theatrics that would cement his identity as a glam metal icon. Meticulously crafted from rare archival footage, "Super Duper Alice Cooper" tells the story of the man behind the makeup, Vincent Furnier, the son of a preacher, who got caught in the grip of his own monster. 

"Third Person", directed and written by Paul Haggis. (Belgium) – U.S. Premiere, Narrative. 
Veteran screenwriter and director Paul Haggis ("Crash") brings to the screen a calculated vision of the drama of love. Three stories set in cities known for romance—New York, Rome, and Paris—take raw and personal twists as characters grapple with the difficulties of modern relationships. With a heavyweight cast including James Franco, Mila Kunis, Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, and Maria Bello, Haggis once again weaves an intricate narrative out of seemingly separate worlds. A Sony Pictures Classics Release.

"Untitled Daniel Junge and Kief Davidson Documentary", (USA, Denmark) - World Premiere, Documentary.
Stay tuned for more information on this new documentary exploring the fans of a beloved childhood toy.

"Venus in Fur" ("La Vénus à la fourrure"), directed and written by Roman Polanski, co-written by David Ives. (France, Poland) – North American Premiere, Narrative. 
Thomas (Matthieu Almaric) is a theater director staging an adaptation of an obscure 19th century Austrian novel. Frustrated by the quality of actresses he has auditioned, Thomas is about to give up when mysterious Vanda (Emmanuelle Seigner, Polanski’s wife) arrives in his theater unannounced, knowing every line by heart. As the two begin a fevered, intense, and at times aggressive collaboration, the lines between passion and obsession (and theater and reality) begin to blur in auteur Roman Polanski’s latest New York stage adaptation. In French and German with English subtitles. A Sundance Selects Release.

MIDNIGHT

"The Canal", directed and written by Ivan Kavanagh. (Ireland) – World Premiere, Narrative.
Film archivist David and his wife are perfectly happy—or so he believes. When a looming secret shatters their marriage at the same time as a turn-of-the-century film reel he is studying reveals their house to be the site of a 1902 multiple-murder, David begins to unravel, and the house’s eerie history threatens to repeat itself. Dripping with tension and chilling to the core, this visceral Irish ghost story is a visually arresting and genuinely shocking journey into the darkness within.

"Der Samurai", directed and written by Till Kleinert. (Germany) – International Premiere, Narrative. 
A samurai-wielding figure wearing a white dress lurks menacingly in the forest, waiting to descend upon an unsuspecting village in the muddy backwaters of rural East Germany. As heads roll with each stroke of his sword, dutiful, straight-laced cop Jakob becomes increasingly 
powerless to resist the draw of the Samurai’s feral otherness. The two enter into a bizarre folie à deux as Jakob is forced to confront his own carnal impulses that he has long sought to repress.

"Extraterrestrial", directed by Colin Minihan, written by The Vicious Brothers. (Canada) – World Premiere, Narrative. 
The Vicious Brothers ("Grave Encounters") return to Tribeca with their latest heart-pumping thriller. Five friends set out to a cabin in the woods for a fun weekend getaway—that is, until extraterrestrial visitors turn it into a fight for their lives. The group is pulled from their reverie when a flickering object crashes deep in the woods. As they investigate, the friends stumble across an alien spacecraft, and its inhabitants have not arrived in peace.

"Indigenous", directed by Alastair Orr, written by Max Roberts. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. 
A group of five American friends on the cusp of adulthood travel to Panama to relax and reconnect. They befriend a local woman in their hotel bar—and despite some ominous whispers—she goes against the specific instructions of her brother and brings the Americans on a daytrip into the pristine falls at the nearby jungle. What begins as an innocent outing to a picturesque waterfall quickly turns terrifying after she suddenly goes missing. As night closes in, the friends realize too late the truth behind the rumors—the legendary, blood-sucking Chupacabra is now stalking them. In English and Spanish with subtitles.

"Intramural", directed by Andrew Disney, written by Bradley Jackson. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.
There comes a time in every fifth-year senior’s life where they must either accept the impending ‘real world’ of jobs, marriage, and payment plans or shirk that responsibility in favor of playing the most glorious intramural football game your school probably doesn’t really care to see. In this full throttle and hilarious send-up of inspirational sports movies, director Andrew Disney harnesses every cliché and overused trope to tell the greatest (and only) intramural sports movie of all time. Featuring an ensemble cast including Kate MacKinnon, Jay Pharoah, Beck Bennett, and Nikki Reed.

"Preservation", directed and written by Christopher Denham, (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative.
Three family members head deep into the woods for a hunting trip that doubles as a distraction from their troubles at home. When all of their gear is stolen, they turn on each other, but soon realize there are much more treacherous forces at work. Actor Christopher Denham takes his second turn in the director’s chair with this finely crafted horror-thriller starring Pablo Schreiber ("The Wire", "Orange is the New Black"), Aaron Staton ("Mad Men"), and Wrenn Schmidt ("Boardwalk Empire").

"Zombeavers", directed and written by Jordan Rubin, co-written by Al Kaplan and Jon Kaplan. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. 
You know the story: sexy teens head to a secluded lakeside cabin for a weekend of debauched fun, only to be menaced by a mysterious force picking them off one by one. But here, the culprit proves to be a horde of rabid zombie beavers! The B-movie creature feature is making a comeback, and with 2 million views of its trailer in its first two weeks alone, "Zombeavers" is a veritable phenomenon. And it’s finally here. Special midnight screening.

STORYSCAPES

"Choose Your Own Documentary," Project Creators: Nathan Penlington, Fernando R. Gutierrez De Jesus, Nick Watson, and Sam Smaïl. Inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventure books of the 1980s, Choose Your Own Documentary tells the story of Nathan Penlington’s discovery of a diary tucked away in one of these books and his attempts to unravel its many mysteries. Part comedy stand-up, part documentary, this is a unique live interactive experience in which the audience plays a vital role. With over 1,566 possible versions, and multiple endings, every performance is different and the audience votes on the path the documentary takes. Where will the story lead? How will the story end? You decide.

"Circa 1948," Project Creator: Stan Douglas with the NFB Digital Studio. Circa 1948 is a new project from internationally renowned artist Stan Douglas. Together with NFB Interactive, he has recreated areas from Vancouver’s history that no longer exist. The locations have been meticulously researched and are recreated in historically accurate 3D detail, where they become the site of the disembodied voices of the people who once inhabited them. Eavesdrop on the past and explore a seminal turning point in the history of Vancouver through the voices of homeless veterans, gamblers, prostitutes, and police officers. Hearing—but not seeing—the inhabitants, you can navigate the different environments and be immersed in a plot peopled with characters from a disappeared world.

"Clouds," Project Creators: Jonathan Minard, James George. A new generation of artists and hackers are emerging and creating tools for poetic and socially engaged experiments in art, storytelling, and technology. 3D-scanned conversations from this community form a network of ideas explored in a non-linear documentary that is assembled from code, bringing form and content together in a truly exciting way. Clouds will be presented as an interactive installation that you can navigate yourself.

"On a Human Scale," Project Creator: Matthew Carey. On a Human Scale reimagines the people of New York City as a fully playable and immersive video instrument controlled by a piano. Each key triggers a different video of a different person, from a different walk of life, singing a different note. When played together they fuse into a joyful choir that is totally under the control of whoever is at the keyboard. Playing the piano brings to life an audiovisual installation that fuses music, film, people, and technology into a living, singing tapestry of humanity.

"Use of Force," Project Creator: Nonny de la Peña. Use of Force is a fully immersive documentary experience that puts you on scene when migrant Anastasio Hernandez Rojas was killed by border patrol on the U.S.–Mexico border in 2010. Using custom built virtual reality, participants stand alongside witnesses who were trying to stop the events unfolding, offering a profound and visceral experience. Nonny de la Peña is a pioneer of immersive journalism and this is an experience that really puts you in someone else’s shoes.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS

"6", directed by Louie Psihoyos. (USA) – Work In Progress, Documentary. From the Academy Award®- winning filmmaking team that revealed oceanic atrocities in The Cove comes a bigger and bolder mission. Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, director Louie Psihoyos assembles a team of activists intent on showing the world never-before-seen images that will change the way we understand issues of endangered species and mass extinction. Whether infiltrating notorious black markets with guerilla-style tactics, or working with artists to create beautiful imagery with unexpected animal subjects, 6 will literally change the way you see the world.

"A Brony Tale," directed by Brent Hodge, written by Ashleigh Ball and Hodge. (USA) - World Premiere, Documentary. Born of internet mecca 4chan, the "Brony" phenomenon is a flourishing community of adult, mostly male, fans of the children's cartoon "My Little Pony:  Friendship is Magic," a group drawn together by their mutual love of the show's positive, teamwork-oriented moral.  Brent Hodge's funny and illuminating documentary surveys the members of this surprising subculture, framed by the journey of Ashleigh Bell, one of the show's voice actors, to embrace her unexpected fan base.

"Journey to the West (Xi You)," directed and written by Tsai Ming Liang. (France, Taiwan R.O.C.) – North American Premiere, Narrative. A meditation loosely based on the classical Chinese story by Wu Cheng’en. This groundbreaking new interpretation brings the legendary pilgrimage of a Buddhist Monk into the present tense. Director Tsai Ming Liang bids us to look and listen, providing a timeless take on the spiritual journey of an individual whose main battle is the constant negotiation between the self and the substrate in which he finds himself. Journey to the West proposes that true enlightenment awaits those who endure.

"This Time Next Year," directed by Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy swept along the East Coast, devastating countless communities in its wake. This is one community’s story of what it takes to rebuild. TFF alum Jeff Reichert (Gerrymandering) teams up with co-director/producer Farihah Zaman to follow the residents of Long Beach Island, NJ, during the first full year after the storm. Funded by Tribeca Film Institute with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, this documentary is more than just a film; it is a call to action.

"True Son," directed by Kevin Gordon. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative Stockton, California is considered one of the worst cities in the United States, riddled with financial crisis and crime rates rivaling Afghanistan. But where everyone else saw hopelessness, 22-year-old Michael Tubbs saw possibility. In 2012, Tubbs decided to run for City Council to reinvent his hometown, building his campaign from the ground up. In Kevin Gordon’s passionate and inspirational documentary he sets out to beat a politician twice his age and bring his community back from bankruptcy.

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Author: "Eric Eidelstein"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 17:50

Strand Releasing and Catherine Breillat have already coupled twice before to deliver Breillat's two features "Bluebeard" and "Sleeping Beauty" to the world. Her latest dramatic feature, "Abuse of Weakness," has also been acquired by Strand, with plans for a fall release.

Following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, the drama about a film director debilitated by a stroke saw success on the festival circuit, and will show at the San Francisco Film Festival and the City of Lights, City of Angels Festival this month. The drama is inspired by Breillat's personal experience and stars Isabelle Huppert as the vulnerable recovering stroke victim, and Kool Shen as the male hustler on a path of seduction.

"We're thrilled to be working on another film from Catherine" said Marcus Hu, Co-President of Strand Releasing. "She's definitely one of the strongest female directorial voices in the world today."

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Author: "Taylor Lindsay"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 17:38

In a recent New York Times Magazine piece, Riff writer Alexander Huls yearns for the time when death in a Hollywood movie actually meant something:

The problem is that death at the movies has died. The movie industry has corrupted one of cinema's -- if not all of fiction's -- most emotionally taxing moments into hollow formula, the kind of thing that passes in the blink of a plot point leading to a literal, if not figurative, explosive finale that takes up half the budget.

Of course action films have saccharine subplots that exist only to lend meaning to their staggering body counts. But in recent years, killing a major character in your average blockbuster has become inert thanks to the increasing use of formulas to create stakes.

These days, deaths in Hollywood movies are, quite literally, dime-a-dozen, and we're left with a feeling once articulated, unfortunately, by Stalin: "One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic." Well, website Movie Body Counts has evinced this feeling to a T. The folks behind the site have dedicated an inordinate amount of time to tallying the exact number of deaths in some of Hollywood's biggest movies. 

The data is note-perfectly precise. Per the site's FAQ, "We count only physically visible, 'on screen' kills/bodies in a film.  Nothing that is hypothetical or off-screen is counted in the final tallies.  A body/kill MUST be shown on screen in some form to be included as a 'body count' on this site." The site's comprehensive A-Z database breaks down deaths by character name, method of execution and number of kills at the hands of a specific character.

Thanks to NY Times' The 6th Floor, take a look at this infographic sample below. The many epic death scenes in "The Lord of the Rings" were the first of their kind, done digitally and on a huge scale with individuated soldiers rather than thousands of extras. In "300," it's all about the abs and the blood-spurting.

Watch clips of our favorite movie death scenes after the jump. What are your favorites?


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Author: "Ryan Lattanzio"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 17:23
If this is the first time you’re hearing about Black Movie Trivia, click here to get caught up.
 
Last Friday’s trivia game ended in a 3-way tie for the highest score.  Christina M. of College Park, GA, Lyndon J. of Evergreen Park, IL and Mykwain G. of the Bronx, NY, all past winners, will split the $500 cash prize equally.  For the game’s bonus question, which penalizes you if you answer it incorrectly, we gave the following story synopsis and asked the players to name the film: the Younger family quarrels over the use of their late father’s inheritance. Our winners correctly answered this question and successfully made it through 3 subsequent tie-breaking rounds.
 
The next trivia game is this Friday April 25, 2014 at 8 pm EST. The cash prize is $500.  If you’re not registered, sign up now so you can play. Begin accumulating reward points that will qualify you to play for cash prizes of $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000.  We already have a number of players that are well on their way to competing for these big dollar prizes.
 
Check out the Official Rules for more information and watch these 2 short videos on how to play.
 
Post any questions you have below or email them to info@cei-media-partners.com.
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Author: "Rodney C. Parnther"
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