Gun Hill Road (2011) - News Poster



‘Premature’ Film Review: Summer Romance Captures Beauty, Heartbreak of First Love

  • The Wrap
‘Premature’ Film Review: Summer Romance Captures Beauty, Heartbreak of First Love
There’s a moment that encapsulates the essence of “Premature,” director and co-writer Rashaad Ernesto Green’s eagerly awaited sophomore feature following 2011’s criminally underrated “Gun Hill Road.”

It’s when 17-year-old Ayanna (co-writer Zora Howard) and her friends are on the subway in Harlem, looking cute with their braids and sneakers, when they spot a group of guys across the car who they think are hot. The train stops and they all get off. Ayanna, in a bold move, stops one of the guys walking in front of them on the platform and asks for his number for her friend who’s been eyeballing him. He gives it to her with a smile, and the two groups walk their separate ways.

It’s because this moment is about being young and just graduating high school and thinking you’re cool enough to approach a guy you like on the
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“We Viewed Simply Telling a Young Black Love Story as a Radical Act”: Five Questions for Premature Director Rashaad Ernesto Green

“Possessor of a sneaky sort of charm that hides his utter tenaciousness, Rashaad Ernesto Green, a promising directorial talent from the Bronx, makes movies that get under your skin with what, upon reflection, seems like relative ease.” That’s Brandon Harris from Filmmaker‘s 25 New Faces of 2010 writing about writer/director Green in the months before the premiere of his debut feature, Gun Hill Road. That Sundance 2011 pic — a tough and empathetic drama about an ex-con grappling with his son’s transition — more than attested to all the promise we spotted in Green’s early shorts, one of which, 2008’s […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

“We Viewed Simply Telling a Young Black Love Story as a Radical Act”: Five Questions for Premature Director Rashaad Ernesto Green

“Possessor of a sneaky sort of charm that hides his utter tenaciousness, Rashaad Ernesto Green, a promising directorial talent from the Bronx, makes movies that get under your skin with what, upon reflection, seems like relative ease.” That’s Brandon Harris from Filmmaker‘s 25 New Faces of 2010 writing about writer/director Green in the months before the premiere of his debut feature, Gun Hill Road. That Sundance 2011 pic — a tough and empathetic drama about an ex-con grappling with his son’s transition — more than attested to all the promise we spotted in Green’s early shorts, one of which, 2008’s […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

Film Constellation boards Sundance-bound 'Premature' (exclusive)

Film Constellation boards Sundance-bound 'Premature' (exclusive)
Film is second feature from director Rashaad Ernesto Green.

London-based sales and financing house Film Constellation has picked up international rights to Rashaad Ernesto Green’s second feature, Premature.

The film will premiere in the Next strand of the upcoming Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, Jan 26.

Director Green’s debut was Gun Hill Road, which was at Sundance in 2011.

Premature follows Ayanna - played by Zora Howard, who also co-wrote the script - who is making the most of her last summer in Harlem, New York, before heading to college. When she meets the slightly older Isaiah (Joshua Boone), she
See full article at ScreenDaily »

12 Transgender Actors Who Played Transgender Roles, From ‘A Fantastic Woman’ to ‘Queen Sugar’

12 Transgender Actors Who Played Transgender Roles, From ‘A Fantastic Woman’ to ‘Queen Sugar’
So far, the big breakthroughs have all been on the younger end of the spectrum: the first transgender winner of an Indie Spirit award for acting arrived in 2015, the first transgender person to be nominated for an acting-centric Primetime Emmy dates back to 2014, and there’s still never been a transgender actor nominated for an Oscars. For many of them, getting any kind of role in Hollywood is worth celebrating, but it’s rarer still for them to lock down a seemingly obvious next step: getting cast as a transgender person.

Few trans-centric stories have made it to the screen over the years, and the vast majority of them have seen pivotal roles go to cisgender actors, from Elle Fanning to Matt Bomer, Eddie Redmayne to Hilary Swank. The tide, however, is starting to turn. Here are a dozen talented transgender actors who have also played transgender roles on the screen,
See full article at Indiewire »

Drag Wars: Viva Awakens

"Why is everyone on this fucking island addicted to drama?" the all-knowing Mama (a superb Luis Alberto Garcia) moans.

Mama is the owner of a Havana gay bar featuring chintzy drag performers who gesticulate to emotional diva tunes and who, when the show's over, whore a little on the side. That's part of the setting for Viva, Ireland's Spanish-language submission for this year's Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Having strutted its way onto a list of nine finalists -- which will eventually be whittled down to a mere five -- Viva showcases nothing a bit Irish onscreen, not even a high kick filched from Michael Flatley. And although some of the shooting was done on the Emerald shores, possibly interior shots, all the Erin-Go-Bragh action is off screen: Paddy Breathnach, director; Mark O'Halloran, screenwriter, and so forth and so on. (There's also a dash of Mexican for added excitement:
See full article at CultureCatch »

Fantasia 2015: ‘Tangerine’ may just be the most important film of 2015


Directed by Sean Baker

Written by Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch

USA, 2015

Director Sean Baker (Starlet, Prince of Broadway, Take Out) was reportedly inspired to make Tangerine, after observing the customers of a donut shop in Hollywood’s red-light district. Tangerine’s stars are a pair of first-time actresses, Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor. They play two trans sex workers – Sin-Dee, who’s just been released from a 28-day stint in prison for drug possession – and her best friend Alexandra who prepares for a gig singing at a local nightclub. The film follows the duo over the course of a day – opening on a donut shop which serves as one of the key locations the two transitioning male-to-female call girls hang out. It’s the morning of Christmas Eve at the sketchy intersection of Santa Monica and Highland in Los Angeles and Alexandra and Sin-Dee are sharing a red-and-green sprinkled donut.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

The First Trailer Is Here For Zac Efron’s We Are Your Friends

From writer/director Max Joseph, here’s a first look at the trailer for We Are Your Friends starring Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski and Wes Bentley.

The film marks Max Joseph’s (MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show”) feature film directorial debut.

We Are Your Friends is about what it takes to find your voice. Set in the world of electronic music and Hollywood nightlife, an aspiring 23-year-old DJ named Cole (Efron) spends his days scheming with his childhood friends and his nights working on the one track that will set the world on fire. All of this changes when he meets a charismatic but damaged older DJ named James (Bentley), who takes him under his wing. Things get complicated, however, when Cole starts falling for James’ much younger girlfriend, Sophie (Ratajkowski). With Cole’s forbidden relationship intensifying and his friendships unraveling, he must choose between love, loyalty, and the future he is destined for.
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Round-Up: Sharknado 3 Title & Release Date Revealed, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series Casting Update, New Friday the 13th T-Shirt

David Hasselhoff and Bo Derek are braving the storm with Ian Ziering and Tara Reid in The Asylum and Syfy's Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! Featured in our latest round-up, the third installment in the tongue-in-cheek franchise has received a summer release date. We also have a casting update for the second season of Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, as well as a Friday the 13th 35th Anniversary T-shirt from Fright Rags.

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!: The third Sharknado film will splash onto the Syfy channel on Wednesday, July 22nd at 9:00pm Est:

Press Release (via TV by the Numbers) - New York – March 18, 2015 – Syfy and The Asylum today announced that the official title of the latest installment in the global pop culture sensation is Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! The two-hour original movie will devour the planet on Wednesday,
See full article at DailyDead »

Ifp Announces Project Forum Slate for Independent Film Week September 14-18, 2014

Ifp announced its 2014 slate of 133 new films in development and works in progress selected for its esteemed Project Forum at Independent Film Week. This one-of-a-kind event brings the international film and media community to New York City to advance new projects by nurturing the work of both emerging and established independent artists and filmmakers. Through the Project Forum, creatives connect with financiers, executives, influencers and decision-makers in film, television, new media and cross-platform storytelling that can help them complete their latest works and connect with audiences. Under the curatorial leadership of Deputy Director/Head of Programming Amy Dotson & Senior Director of Programming Milton Tabbot, this one-of-a-kind event takes place September 14-18, 2014 at Lincoln Center supporting bold new content from a wide variety of domestic and international artists.

“As we set to embark on our 36th Independent Film Week, we are impressed by the outstanding slate of both U.S. and international projects selected for this year’s Project Forum,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of Ifp. “We know that the industry will be as excited as we are with the accomplished storytellers and their diverse and boundary pushing films.”

Featured works at the 2014 Independent Film Week include filmmakers and content creators from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. From documentarians Tony Gerber ("Full Battle Rattle"), Pamela Yates ("Granito: How To Nail A Dictator"), and Penny Lane ("Our Nixon") to Michelangelo Frammartino ("Quattro Volte") and Alexis Dos Santos ("Unmade Beds"), as well as new work from critically acclaimed artists and directors Aurora Guerrero ("Mosquita y Mari"), Barry Jenkins ("Medicine for Melancholy"), Travis Matthews ("Interior. Leather. Bar") and Yen Tan ("Pit Stop").

Independent Film Week brings the international film and media community to New York City to advance new documentary and narrative works-in-progress and support the future of storytelling. The program nurtures the work of both emerging and established independent artists and filmmakers through the facilitation of over 3,500+ custom, one-to-one meetings with the financiers, executives, influencers and decision-makers in film, television, new media and cross-platform storytelling that can help them complete their latest works and connect with audiences. In recent years, it has also played a vital role in launching the first films of many of today’s rising stars on the independent scene including Rama Burshtein ("Fill The Void"), Derek Cianfrance ("Blue Valentine"), Marshall Curry ("If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth LIberation Front"), Laura Poitras ("The Oath"), Denis Villeneuve ("Incendies") and Benh Zeitlin ("Beasts of the Southern Wild").

For the full 2014 Project Forum slate visit Here

New For 2014

Evenly split between documentary and narrative features, selected projects hail from throughout the U.S., Europe and Canada, as well Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. New this year, Ifp will be including web series in it programming, as well as spotlighting Latin & Central American artists and content with 15 projects featured across all programs in the Forum.

In a joint effort to recognize the importance of career and creative sustainability, Ifp and Durga Entertainment have partnered on a new $20,000 filmmaker grant for an alumnus of Ifp. The grant is intended for active, working filmmakers who are also balancing a filmmaking career with parenting. The grant provides a $20,000 unrestricted prize to encourage the recipient to continue on her or his career path of making quality independent films. American directors or screenwriters working in narrative film who have participated in the Ifp Filmmaker Labs or Ifp Independent Film Week's Emerging Storytellers or No-Borders International Co-Production market are encouraged to apply by the deadline of August 8, 2014.

Narrative Feature Highlights

Narrative features and webseries in Rbc’s Emerging Storytellers and No Borders International Co-Production Market sections highlight new work from top emerging and established creative visionaries on the U.S. and international independent scene.

This year’s slate includes new feature scripts featuring directors Dev Benegal ("Road, Movie"), Alexis Dos Santos ("Unmade Beds"), Jason Cortlund and Julia Halperin ("Now, Forager"), Michelangelo Frammartino ("Le Quattro Volte"),Terry George ("Hotel Rwanda"), Rashaad Ernesto Green ("Gun Hill Road"), Aurora Guerrero ("Mosquita Y Mari"), Barry Jenkins ("Medicine for Melancholy"),Alison Klayman ("Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry"), Travis Mathews ("Interior. Leather Bar"), Stacie Passon ("Concussion"), Yen Tan ("Pit Stop"), as well as up-an-coming actor/directors Karrie Crouse ("Land Ho!") and Peter Vack ("Fort Tilden""I Believe in Unicorns").

Producers and executive producers of note attached to participating projects include Jennifer Dubin and Cora Olson ("Good Dick"), Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams ("Hellion"),Laura Heberton ("Gayby"), Dan Janvey ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"), Kishori Rajan ("Gimme the Loot"), Adele Romanski ("The Myth of the American Sleepover"), Kim Sherman ("A Teacher"), Susan Stover ("High Art"), and Alicia Van Couvering ("Tiny Furniture").

Web Storytellers Highlights

For the first time this year, Ifp presents a dedicated spotlight within the Rbc’s Emerging Storytellers program for creators developing episodic content for digital platforms. The inaugural slate for the Web Storytellers spotlight includes new works from filmmakers Desiree Akhavan ("Appropriate Behavior", HBO’s Girls), Calvin Reeder ("The Rambler"), and Gregory Bayne ("Person of Interest"), as well as producers Elisabeth Holm ("Obvious Child"), Susan Leber ( "Down to the Bone"), and Amanda Warman ("The Outs,"Whatever This Is"). Two of the series participating are currently in post-production, and will be making their online debut in the coming months – Rachel Morgan’s Middle Americans, starring Scott Thompson, Carlen Altman, and Alex Rennie, and Daniel Zimbler and Elisabeth Gray’s Understudies, starring Richard Kind and David Rasche. [p Spotlight On Documentaries Highlights

The documentary selection includes new work from seasoned non-fiction directors such as Emmy winners Robert Bahar andAlmudena Carracedo ("Made in La"), Pamela Yates ("Granito: How to Nail a Dictator"),Ramona Diaz ("Imelda," "Don’t Stop Believin’") Gini Reticker ("Pray the Devil Back to Hell") Tony Gerber ("Full Battle Rattle"); from producers such as Court 13’s Benh Zeitlin and Dan Janvey ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"), Liran Atzmor ("The Law in These Parts"), Tim Williams ("Once In A Lifetime") and Hilla Medalia ("Web Junkie"), and follow-up second features from recent doc world “breakouts”Steve Hoover ("Blood Brother") Penny Lane ("Our Nixon"), Michael Collins ("Give Up Tomorrow"), and Michael Nichols and Christopher Walker ("Flex is Kings").

Exciting new work from debut documentary directors previously known for fiction films include Alex Sichel ("All over Me") with her personal doc The Movie about Anna, Lisa Cortés (producer, "Precious") with "Mothership: The Untold Story of Women and Hip Hop," and Daniel Patrick Carbone ("Hide Your Smiling Faces") with Phantom Cowboys.


Independent Film Week’s Premier sponsors are Royal Bank of Canada (Rbc) and HBO. Gold sponsors are A&E IndieFilms and SAGIndie. Silver sponsors are Durga Entertainment, Eastman Kodak Company, National Film & Video Foundation of South Africa and Telefilm Canada. Official Independent Film Week Partner is Film Society of Lincoln Center. Independent Film Week is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Ford Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council for the Arts and Time Warner Foundation.

About Ifp

The Independent Filmmaker Project (Ifp) champions the future of storytelling by connecting artists with essential resources at all stages of development and distribution. The organization fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community through its year-round programs, which include Independent Film Week, Filmmaker Magazine, the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the Made in NY Media Center by Ifp, a new incubator space developed with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Ifp represents a growing network of 10,000 storytellers around the world, and plays a key role in developing 350 new feature and documentary works each year. During its 35-year history, Ifp has supported over 8,000 projects and offered resources to more than 20,000 filmmakers, including Debra Granik, Miranda July, Michael Moore, Dee Rees, and Benh Zeitlin. More info at
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Watch: A Chicana Mother Confronts Grief on Dia de los Muertos in 'You're Dead to Me' (Short Shouts)

Starring Harmony Santana ("Gun Hill Road") and Laura Patalano, "You're Dead to Me" centers on a Chicana mother's eerie experience with love and loss as she prepares for her Dia de los Muertos celebration.  From the film's website: As she prepares to receive family members on an important anniversary a mother cooks, cleans, and fights with her daughter over the way she dresses, often too "boyish." The argument reveals some rifts in their relationship and resolves itself in an unexpected and touching climax. Written by Adelina Anthony, directed by Wu Tsang and produced by Melissa Haizlip, the short film was produced in Film Independent's Project Involve and has been touring film...
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

Reinaldo Marcus Green's 'Stone Cars' Is A 2014 Cannes Film Festival Selection

Ahead of the Official Selection of feature films for the 67th Festival de Cannes, which will be revealed tomorrow, Thursday April 17, the list of short films (including its Cinéfondation selections) has been unveiled in advance. Congratulations are in order for Reinaldo Marcus Green (brother of Rashaad Ernesto Green, director of the critically-lauded 2011 drama Gun Hill Road), whose 14-minute short film, Stone Cars, was selected for the Cinéfondation section, which picks 15 to 20 short and medium-length films each year, presented by film schools from all over the world. The coming-of-age love story set in the shacks of Khayelitsha township, in...
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

10 Trans Actors Who Could Have Played Jared Leto's Role in 'Dallas Buyers Club'

  • SydneysBuzz
I was going to start this article by saying that I don't want to take anything away from Jared Leto's performance in "Dallas Buyers Club". But in a sense, I do. The performance certainly holds up as a piece of art, but as a part of our culture, I believe it needs contextualizing.

I am not the first person to suggest this. Chelsea Hawkins wrote in PolicyMic that "Dallas Buyers Club" fails trans actors while Paris Lees in the Independent was perhaps more equivocal but still asked "Why can't we cast trans people in trans roles?". Of course, nobody wants to limit trans actors to trans roles, but in the context of the status quo and general acceptability of handing the role to an actor such as Leto, it would be an undeniably liberating move.

But wait, you say - Leto was playing a pre-op trans woman. Surely it would be appropriate for the character to be played by a biological male? This doesn't strike me as exquisite logic. Laverne Cox famously spoke out against the objectifying focus on the status of trans people's genitalia, while Janet Mock talks about the obsession with "passing", pointing out that in her mind she is not passing as anything, but simply being herself.

The concept of "passing" betrays a corrosive misunderstanding that being transgender is in some sense a performance as opposed to a reality. By casting a well-known cis actor in a trans role, it makes it all about the performance. Anyone who has watched "Orange is the New Black" will know that watching a real trans actor in a trans role has an entirely different, utterly compelling and humanizing effect.

With that in mind, I thought it worth highlighting ten actors who could have played the role of Rayon. This is not because they meet the specifics that Leto brought to the character. The role was a fictional one, not based on a real-life person like Matthew McConaughey's Ron Woodroof, a fact which would seem to afford a great deal of freedom and possibility. In this case, the filmmakers chose not to pursue that route. But that doesn't stop us from imagining.

1. Harmony Santana

Santana's role in "Gun Hill Road" led to a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards, the first trans actor nominated for a major acting award and a hugely significant milestone.

2. Laverne Cox

Breakout star of "Orange is the New Black", passionate trans advocate and exceedingly eloquent educator of Katie Couric, Laverne Cox's star is rising fast and is a delight to witness.

3. Jamie Clayton

Clayton hosted VH1's TRANSform Me alongside Laverne Cox, but she is also an actress of note, with perhaps her most high profile gig to date being her appearance in two episodes of HBO's "Hung".

4. Stephanie Michelini

Fellow Francophone director Sebastian Lifshitz showed "Dallas Buyers Club" director John-Paul Vallee how it's done by casting a trans actor in his feature film "Wild Side". The film won the Teddy at the Berlinale and a clutch of other festival awards, including a Best Actress trophy for Michelini.

5. Alexandra Billings

With roles on "E.R." and "Grey's Anatomy" among her credits, Billings made history as the first trans actor to appear in a transgender role on American television.

6. Elizabeth Coffey

Ok, so she hasn't done any screen acting for a while, but let's pay our dues regardless. Known as a "Dreamlander" as one of John Waters' regular cast of actors, Coffey played a transgender role in the iconic "Pink Flamingoes". Two years later, she returned to play a non-trans role for Waters in 1974's "Female Trouble".

7. Calpernia Addams

Addams first made the news for tragic reasons when her soldier boyfriend was murdered by his colleagues on discovery of their relationship. A subsequent fiction film of events led to her meeting Jane Fonda at Sundance and conceiving the idea for an all-transgender production of "The Vagina Monologues". Addams was later invited to perform in the 10th anniversary edition of the play alongside Fonda, Glenn Close and Salma Hayek.

7. Eva Robin's

Robin's considers herself androgynous rather than transgender, having been born male and then developed feminine features naturally. Her most famous role was in Dario Argento's horror film "Tenebrae". While the film's politics are certainly thorny, a non-cisgendered actor playing a female role for a celebrated director is a shamefully uncommon occurrence.

9. Bibi Andersen

Competition for a place in Almodovar's stable of actresses is fierce, but Bibi Andersen clocked up no less than four credits in Almodovar feature films in the late eighties and early nineties. It is also rumoured that it was Almodovar's desire to attend the 1988 Oscars with Andersen as opposed to his leading lady Carmen Maura that caused the 18-year professional rift between Maura and the director.

10. Candis Cayne

Following a role on "Nip / Tuck", Cayne went one further by becoming the first ever transgender actress to play a recurring transgender role on primetime as Carmelita in ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money".

Want more /bent? Follow us on Twitter.
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Sundance: Putting the T in Lgbt Cinema

From the Sundance Film Festival here is Glenn on three great new editions to Lgbt cinema.

One of my goals for my first trip to Sundance was to see as much Lgbt cinema as possible. This year has proven to be particularly strong in this arena with films like Ira Sachs’ recently acquired Love is Strange and Desiree Akhavan’s ought-to-be acquired Appropriate Behaviour covering the “l”, the "g" and the “b” of that acronym and are soon to be reviewed by Nathaniel. I, however, found myself catching three very strong titles that deal with transgender men and women, which took me especially by surprise. Like Gun Hill Road, Xavier Dolan’s Laurence Anyways, Orange is the New Black and, yes, even Dallas Buyers Club, cinema visibility of trans issues are becoming more and more common and, in the case all three films below, feature actual transgender or gender neutral personalities.
See full article at FilmExperience »

Tiff: My Own Private Toronto Film Festival

Late as usual. People are attending Mipcom in Cannes and in November Afm in Santa Monica, and I’m only now getting around to writing about my own private Toronto. I chose films I would not be able to see soon in a theater near me and I chose films because my schedule permitted me to see them. Occasionally I chose films my friends were going to and that happened when my time was not demanding other things be done.

I wish I could have seen 100 other films too but for some reason or another I could not fit them in.

I moderated a wonderful panel (and we did blog on that!) on international film financing with Sffs’ Ted Hope, UTA’s Rena Ronson, Revolution’s Andrew Eaton, and Hollywood-based Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver, and Paul Miller, Head of Film Financing, from the Doha Film Institute, Qatar's first international organization dedicated to film financing, production, education and two film festivals.

I also spoke with Toronto Talent Lab filmmakers and then I filled my days with films – I did get an interview with Gloria’s director Sebastian Lelio and Berlin Best Actress winner Paulina Garcia and with Marcela Said, director of The Summer of Flying Fish but mostly I watched film after film after film – up to five a day, just like in the old days when I had to do it for my acquisitions jobs. This was pure pleasure. Friends would meet before the film, we would watch and disperse. And we would meet again at the cocktail hour or the dinner hour and then disperse again.

My partner Peter had lots of meetings with the Talent of Toronto from the Not Short on Shorts and the Talent Lab Mentoring Programs.

Parties like the Rotterdam-Screen International party gave us the chance to catch up with our Dutch friends whom we have not seen for the last two years. Ontario Media Development Corporation’s presenting the International Financing Forum luncheon gave us the chance to talk to lots of upcoming filmmakers and old friends again who were mentoring them. The panel Forty Years On: Women’s Film Festivals Today, moderated by Kay Armatage, former Tiff programmer, Professor Emeritus University of Toronto, and featuring Debra Zimmerman, Executive Director of Women Make Movies, NYC, Melissa Silverstein, Do-Fojnder an dArtistic Director of the Athena Film Festival in NYC and blogger of Women in Hollywood, So-In Hong, Director of Programming of the International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul had a rapport and didn’t hesitate to challenge each other. It felt like a party even though the subject was quite serious. The SXSW party was crowded as always, filled with everyone we could possibly know. It is always a great party we all want to attend.

One of the great dinners was that of The Creative Coalition Spotlight Awards Dinner honoring Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave), Hill Harper (1982, CSI: NY), Sharon Leal (1982), Matt Letscher (Scandal, The Carrie Diaries), Brenton Thwaites (Oculus, Maleficient), Tommy Oliver (1982, Kinyarwanda – I am a great fan of Tommy’s!), Tom Ortenberg (CEO, Open Road Films which has a coventure with Regal Theaters and AMC Theaters recently acquired by the richest man in China), and David Arquette (The Scream series). Our hostess, Robin Bronk is so welcoming and so dedicated to furthering the cause of universal education as a human right, education in the arts as a must. I admire her presence and her good work.

Here is a list of the great (and not so great, but never bad) films I got to see. I also list those I continue to hear about even now. I do not list all the films which were picked up during the festival and later. For that, you can go to and buy the Fall Rights Roundup 2013 and see all films whose rights were acquired (and announced) and by whom with links to all companies and Cinando for further research. For buyers it will, by deduction, show what is still available for Afm and for programmers, it will show who is in charge of the film for specific territories. The second edition will be issued two weeks after Afm.

One of the first films I saw and still retaining its place as one of my favorites was the documentary Finding Vivian Maier which begins with the discovery of photographs by an unknown woman named Vivian Maier by filmmaker John Maloof. As the mystery of this woman is uncovered, the audience is treated to her stunning work and the story of who she was.

One of my favorite films was by one of my favorite directors, Lucas Moodyson. We Are The Best (Isa: Trust Nordisk) was a great surprise, the story of three teeny-bopper punk-influenced girls who loved getting into unusual situations. It was loving and fun, darling and funny. I would take my children to see it and would delight in seeing it again. It was the biggest surprise for me. I can see why Magnolia snapped it up for the U.S. I thank programmer Steve Gravenstock for giving me the ticket for this film which I would have missed otherwise.

I had missed Jodorowsky’s Dune in Cannes. I am a great fan of El Topo and was eager to see this film. I was surprised at the elegance and skill of Jodorowsky in explaining his vision. Afterward, Gary Springer, our favorite publicist, arranged a wonderful reception at a classic comic book store where we loaded up on some fascinating graphic novels and Gary showed us his depiction on an old issue of Mad Magazine discussing the making of Jaws which he was in. picture here.

A totally unique and unexpected film about the African Diaspora, Belle, written and directed by Amma Asante was not talked about much to my surprise, perhaps because Fox Searchlight acquired all rights worldwide from Bankside before the festival. It is a stunningly beautiful British period piece of the 18th century about a mixed race aristocratic beauty.

My favorite film, on a par with The Patience Stone last year was Bobo (Isa: Wide) by Ines Oliveira starring Paula Garcia Aissato Indjai, produced by my friend Fernando Vendrell who gave me a ticket when I could not get one myself. This story of a woman who does nothing except go to work is forced to accept a claning woman and her young sister from Guinea-Bissau. Together they face down their demons. I love the cross-cultural understanding which results in their shared situations. I recently saw Mother of George and found the same warm connection across great cultural divides, though this one was of generations.

I wish I could have seen Pays Barbare/ Barbaric Land, the Italian/ French doc in Wavelengths about Mussolini’s attempted subjugation of Ethiopia (the only country in Africa never colonized). It sounds like great political poetry.

1982 which had previously won the prize of the jury I served on for Us Works in Progress held in July at the Champs Elysees Film Festival in Paris. It was deeply moving and disturbing film which depicts the shattering and the healing of a family. It also helps feed the pipeline begun with Lee Daniels producing Monster’s Ball who went on to direct to such films as Precious and The Butler. If the African American experience can continue to be expressed so eloquently by such filmmakers as Tommy Oliver, Rashaad Ernesto Green (Sundance 2012’s Gun Hill Road), Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere), then a film literate audience will foster greater growth of even more talent in the coming generation. While I didn’t see All Is By My Side by U.K.’s John Ridley which is about Jimi Hendrix nor (yet!) the most highly acclaimed film of the festival, 12 Years a Slave by U.K.’s Steve McQueen, but I would include them in this discussion of the African American Experience.

On the subject of Africa, where last Sundance God Loves Uganda shocked and upset me, this year Mission Congo (Cinephil) revealed much of the same cultural divide only these two films show the negative impact of the Christian right upon already besieged Africans. What is done in the name of a righteous G-d is cause for dialogue and oversight.

Israel and the Middle East

No major turmoil or denunciations this year (Thank G-d, Allah, or whoever She may be). Katriel Schory, head of the Israeli Film Fund told me that if I could only see one film, then it should be Bethlehem which is the country’s submission for Academy Award Consideration for the Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. It was a sad and clear eyed microcosmic view of the issues of trust and betrayals played out among every level of the society. People compared it to Omar by Hany Abu-Assad,the filmmaker of a favorite of mine, Paradise Now, but I did not see Omar.

Rags and Tatters at first seemed like a documentary, and does have doc footage, but it is a circular story that ends where it began but with much more understanding of the chaotic events in Cairo. Really worth watching.


Of the Latino films two Chilean films, Gloria (Chile) and The Summer of Flying Fish (Review), were accompanied by interviews which you can read on my previous blogs here and here. El Mudo from Peru by the Vega brothers was in the odd vien of their previous film, October. Not sure at the end just what the film was saying…

Toronto Film Fest Programmer Diana Sanchez’s official count of Latino films in the festival is 16. Of these, 5 are by women; 30% is a strong number. Venezuela and Chile are strong with year with two films each. Two other films might have been chosen except they went to San Sebastian for their world premieres. Especially hot this year was Mexico. 4 films are here but she might have chosen 10 if she could have. Costa Rica is making a showing with All About the Feathers and Central America is making more movies. There is lots of industry buzz coming from the good pictures from Brazil like A Wolf at the Door from Sao Paolo production

She is not counting Gravity by Alfonso Cuaron as as Latino film but as a U.S. film.

And Our White Society

The Dinner (Isa: Media Luna) by Menno Meyjes ♀ (Isa: Media Luna), a Dutch film deals with the personal and political as two families disintegrate when the affluent sons kill a homeless woman. Deeply disturbing social issues on the other side of the spectrum from those of 1982 and yet very much the same. How a society can foster such dissonance in class structure today which results in the disintegration of family and even a nation’s political life is, as I said, deeply disturbing. Based on the N.Y. Times best selling book which sold over 650,000 in The Netherlands, and is published in 22 countries, it stars four of Holland’s most renowned actors, Jacob Derwig, Thekla Reuten, Daan Schuurmans, and Kim van Kooten. This is a story that could be remade in America and still maintain its strength. The writer-director Menno Meyjes wrote the Academy Award nominee The Color Purple and collaborated with director Steven Speilberg on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In 2008 he directed Manolete with Penelope Cruz and Adrien Brody.

The Last of Robin Hood was a romp which thrilled us because Peter Belsito, my own dear husband, had a moment on screen (as the director of Errol Flynn’s last film Cuban Rebel Girls). He got the part because he had had an equally small role in the original Cuban Rebel Girls when it filmed in Cuba in 1959, four months after the Revolution. He happened to be there on vacation with his family including his 18 year old sister and his crazy aunt because Puerto Rico was full that year and Cuba had plenty of room. Directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland invited him to play in their film. The film actually had more meaning than merely a romp as it revealed what lays below the June-September love affair between Errol Flynn and 15 year old Beverly Aadland, the nature of fame (“a religion in this godless country” to quote Flynn himself) and ambition. Kevin Kline, Susan Sarandan and Dakota Fanning were all great in the repertoire piece.

Can a Song Save Your Life? garnered great praise as the film that followed the simple pure Once. I found it a bit flat though it kept my interest enough that I was not contemplating leaving. But it lacked the simplicity of Once.

Fading Gigolo proves that a Woody Allen Film is a Genre. John Turturro makes a Woody Allen middle-aged man fantasy of a wished for love affair with a Hasidic woman. Turturro is always lovable on screen, but his directing has something inauthentic about it…the only authentic thing was the twice-stated thought that somewhere in his heritage he was really Jewish. When I saw his previous film Passione, about Italians and passion, the opening song, being one of the first Cuban songs I ever heard, turned me off because again, it was inauthentic. It was Cuban, not Italian. I think he is not comfortable in his Italian guise.

Other films at Tiff I have seen previously:

Only Lovers Left Alive by Jim Jarmusch (Isa: HanWay, U.S. Spc). If you can see it as a dream of night, then the vampires dreaminess might appeal to you. I personally was ready to fall into my own stupor after watching this 123 minute movie of Vampires who have seen it all. Zzzzzz.

Don Jon is sexy and sweet. Scarlett Johansson is a superb comedienne, equal to Claudette Colbert in this film about two totally media mesmerized young lovers. ___ and his father are also great straight men. I loved this film, so funny and sweet and all about sex. Loved it!

Borgman Darkest humor, or is it humor? Creepy and definitely engrossing. Dutch filmmaker Alex van Warmerdam at his best. This is the Netherlands' Official Academy Awards Submission.

What I hear was good:

Aside from the ones that got snapped up for lots of money and are covered in all the trades already, there are films which I keep hearing about even now and will see:

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon

12 Years a Slave (Isa: Summit, U.S. Fox Searchlight)

The Lunchbox (Isa: The Match Factory)

Prisoners (Isa: Summit/ Lionsgate, U.S.: Warner Bros)

Dallas Buyers Clubs (Isa: Voltage, U.S. Focus Features)

Life of Crime (Isa: Hyde Park, U.S.: )

A Touch of Sin (Isa: MK2, U.S. Kino Lorber)

Gravity (Isa: Warner Bros. U.S. Warner Bros.)

Enough Said (Isa: Fox Searchlight, U.S. Fox Searchlight)

La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty) (Isa: Pathe, U.S. Criterion) Italy’s submission for Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film

Violette (Isa: Doc & Film, U.S.: ?)

Omar (Isa: The Match Factory, U.S.: ?)

Le Passe (The Past) (Isa: Memento, U.S. Spc) Iran’s submission for Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

To the Wolf (Isa: Pascale Ramonda)

The Selfish Giant (Isa: Protagonist, U.S. IFC)

At Berkeley by Frederick Wiseman (Isa: Doc & Film, U.S. Zipporah)

The Unknown Known (Isa: Entertainment One, U.S. Radius-twc)

Ain’t Misbehavin (Un Voyager) by Marcel Ophuls (Isa: Wide House)

Faith Connections by Pan Nalin (Isa: Cite Films). This Indian French film, produced by Raphael Berduo among others is written about here.

Civil Rights (?)

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

12 Years a Slave (Isa: Summit, U.S. Fox Searchlight)

Belle (Isa: Bankside, all rights sold to Fox Searchlight)


Kill Your Darlings: The youthful finding of himself by Alan Ginsburg as he enters Colombia University and meets Lucien Carr, Jack Kerouac and Alan Bourroughs revolves around a murder which actually happened. The period veracity and Daniel Radcliffe’s acting carry the film into a fascinating character study. (U.S. Spc)

Dallas Buyers Club (Isa: Voltage, U.S. Focus Features)

Tom a la ferme / Tom at the Farm by Xavier Dolan Isa: MK2, U.S.:)

L’Armee du salut/ Salvation Army by Abdellah Taia (Isa: - U.S.:-)

Eastern Boys (Isa: Films Distribution)

Pelo Malo/ Bad Hair (FiGa Films)

The Dog (Producer Rep: Submarine)

Ignasi M. (Isa: Latido)

Gerontophilia (Isa: MK2, U.S. Producer Rep: Filmoption)
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SimonSays Entertainment - You Know Their Work; Now Discover The Enterprising Artists Behind The Brand

The name SimonSays Entertainment may not immediately register with you, but I'm sure film titles like Night Catches Us, Gun Hill Road, Blue Caprice, and Mother Of George, most certainly will - at least one of them, especially if you've been a reader of this blog over the last 2 years, as we've celebrated every single one of those titles. It's quite an impressive resume, and one that I think most independent production houses would envy - well-directed dramas, telling well-written stories about a diverse body of interesting characters, brought to life by a selection of strong actors. A critically-acclaimed library of positively challenging projects, with the icing on the cake being that...
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SimonSays Entertainment ('Blue Caprice,' 'Mother Of George') Announces Call For Screenplays

SimonSays Entertainment, the blossoming production house behind critical hits like Night Catches UsGun Hill Road, and the upcoming Blue Caprice, and Mother Of George, has announced a summer call for screenplays. As an aside, I interviewed the company's principals - Ron Simons (founder and president of the company) and Producing Associate, April Yvette Thompson - in February, and you're encouraged to read that interview Here if you missed it. It was an extensive piece profiling the company. Here are the details of their call for summer script submissions: SimonSays Entertainment only considers scripts that have been submitted via our...
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

Former WWE Star John Morrison and American Horror Story Star Azura Skye Enter The Factory

No, we're not talking about the recently released John Cusack flick of the same name, though it couldn't possibly be worse, that's for sure. On tap for you cats right now is the first word on the latest spooker coming our way called The Factory.

From the Press Release

Rumpus Room Productions begins lensing on The Factory, the Golan Ramras (Snuff) script, with story by Isak Borg and Dena Hysell, in New York starting April 2, 2013.

Starring Azura Skye (Bandits), Bill Sage (Mysterious Skin), and John Hennigan (pictured; John Morrison/Johnny Nitro – WWE), The Factory will be directed by Dena Hysell (The Paladins) and produced by Hysell and Sirad Balducci (Gun Hill Road).

The Factory, inspired by true events, chronicles a group of people considering buying an old factory who get trapped inside trying to escape the demons from the factory's past.

“How is it possible that a century ago we
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Guadalajara's Maguey Award

Maguey, pronounced Ma Gay -- the plant from which Tequila is distilled here in the State of Jalisco and the City of Guadalajara -- is the perfect name for the Gay Prize of the Festival International de Cine de Guadalajara (Ficg).

Ficg The Maguey Awards

(Aka: Premios Maguey: Pasiones intimas del cine queer or Intimate Passions of Queer Cinema)The jury -- comprised of Colombian Juan Carlos Arcienegas of CNN Latino, journalist and film critic; Kevin Murphy, Germany, Talent Campus; Darryl MacDonald, Director of Palm Springs Iff, Swedish filmmaker Ingrid Ryborg and Alexander Mello,Brazil, Director at Diversity in Animation. International Festival of Lgbt Animation--made a quick and easy decision after one hour of deliberation, but it took 2 1Ž2 hours to write the statement.

The line-up

Included some films I had seen including the Chilean (again!!) film by Esteban Lorrain The Passion of Michelangelo which I quite liked when I saw it at Berlin’s Efm; Gun Hill Road, Sundance 2012’s debut feature and Masters Film (from Nyu Graduate Film School) Gun Hill Road by New Yorker Rashaad Ernesto Green, Graduate of Dartmouth College, recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation Award and Spike Lee Fellowship which most unfortunately has been caught in the bankruptcy of its U.S. distributor Motion Picture Film Group (See Indiewire: What Happens You’re your Distributor Goes Bankrupt – Why Gun Hill Road is now Finally on DVD), Sundance 2012 lesbian Chicana film Mosquito y Mari, Any Day Now, starring Alan Cummings which I saw at the Napa Valley Film Festival where it won the Audience Award and the 2013 Sundance film Joshua Tree 1951: A Portrait of James Dean.

And the winner is: Quebranto (Disrupted), from Mexico, the memorial and testimony of trail blazers Fernando García, known as Pinolito, who was a child actor in the seventies and Doña Lilia Ortega, his mother, an actress. Fernando came out as a transvestite some years ago, and now calls himself Coral Bonelli. They live together in Garibaldi, Mexico yearning for their past in the movies, while Coral bravely comes to terms with her gender identity. They both still perform.

Honorable Mention went to the Israeli film Out in the Dark

The announcement and celebration party at the Black Cherry was great fun. I was honored to meet the great and beautiful Mexican actress Laura Zapata. I hung out with my new-found friends Lydia Genchi from Nomad Film Distribution in Italy and Catalina Arango of Zancudo Films from Argentina, and old friends Darryl, Jc and Kevin up until midnight when the prize should have been announced, but instead, the disco dancing with two great dancers a la “Rage” in West Hollywood went on another half an hour… Someone saw the poor exhausted dancers in their open window dressing room above the club afterward, self absorbed in private activities as they tried to rest their beautiful bodies. Personally I wish they would add a Latin beat to the monotony of one-one-one-one-one-one-one beat which really exacerbated my tinnitus.

So I went home, sharing a car with Swedish Staermose Soren of Yellow Bird Productions and Greek Patrice Vivancos, spokesman for Media Mundus which is Media’s international film fund and whom I had seen earlier moderating the roundtable on funds and funding strategies for Latin America.
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Exclusive: What Happens When Your Distributor Goes Bankrupt? Why 'Gun Hill Road' is Now Finally on DVD

  • Indiewire
Exclusive: What Happens When Your Distributor Goes Bankrupt? Why 'Gun Hill Road' is Now Finally on DVD
In the past few years, the indie community has seen the effects of distributors going under.  Most notably, there was Regent Releasing, whose library of more than 100 films recently became tied up in courts owing to the company going out of business.  Some of Regent's films were older titles whose home video distribution was up in the air; others, like Xavier Dolan's "I Killed My Mother" had not even done a theatrical run before the case came up. (This month, Dolan's film, which was recently acquired by Kino Lorber, will do a week long run at the MoMA.) After Indomina announced that it would stop distributing films, the future of Sundance film "Filly Brown" is uncertain. This week, though, another film whose distributor filed for bankruptcy, will be released on DVD and VOD for the first time to U.S. audiences. Rashaad Ernesto Green's "Gun Hill Road" tells
See full article at Indiewire »
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