I just completed a great Toronto International Film Festival and have lots of images and some stories to share. Also, I networked with some awesome people who talked to me about wanting to see my scripts.
Being especially propelled by my excellent placement in this year’s Academy Nicholl’s Fellowship (besting my previous placement by a HUGE percentage), I feel I need to take a break from blogging for awhile and concentrate a little more on my screenwriting.
I might come back to blogging in a couple of weeks or a few months or a year. But until I do, I just want to Thank you for reading my indie blog and letting me write about things big and small and somewhere in between. I have much gratitude to those of you who reached out and commented on my blogs or advanced their reading via Social Media.
by Shannonn Kelly 06:45AM, EST, September 04, 2014
While Cannes, Sundance, Telluride and TIFF fight over policy and premiere status, the good news is for audiences is that around 30 films from Telluride this past weekend and Cannes festival in May and Sundance, will premiere to Toronto audiences at the 39th Annual Toronto International Film Festival starting today.
What TIFF doesn’t really get is that most cinephiles don’t travel all over the world to see films at other film festivals. This is mainly what film festival programmers do. So no matter where a film has premiered outside of the country of Canada before, it’s still a premiere to Toronto audiences.
According to the TorontoStar.com:
TIFF’s new policy states that all films playing during the fest’s first four days, from Thursday through Sunday inclusive, must be either be a World or North American premiere. Films failing to meet these criteria will screen in the last week of the 11-day event.
Cannes Winners coming to TIFF that I highly suggest are:
MR. TURNER (UK) director (the incredible) Mike Leigh cast (the incredible) UK character actor staple, Timothy Spall in the ultimate “Art film” where Spall shines brilliantly in this biopic period piece that starts in 1826 about J.M.W. Turner, one of the greatest English landscape painters of all time. Timothy Spall won the Best Actor prize at Cannes for his outstanding performance.
LEVIATHAN (Russia) director Andrey Zvyagintsev Won Best Screenplay at Cannes and is the story about a proud patriarch fighting to protect his family home from a corrupt local official in post Soviet Russia.
FOXCATCHER (USA) director Bennett Miller won for Best Director at Cannes in May. He also directed “Capote” (2005) and “Moneyball” (2011). It stars Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo as brothers in the true life story of Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, whose relationship with sponsor John du Pont and brother Dave Schultz would lead to unlikely circumstances. It also stars Anthony Michael Hall, Steve Carell and Sienna Miller.
MOMMY (Quebec, Canada) director Xavier Dolan won the Jury Prize, and an extended standing ovation, at Cannes for his latest feature.
Other films on my list include:
AN EYE FOR BEAUTY / Le règne de la beauté (Quebec, Canada) According to TIFF: Romantic drama becomes a means for a sharply observant societal critique in the new film from Academy Award winner Denys Arcand (The Barbarian Invasions), about a married Québécois architect who embarks upon a torrid love affair with a young Toronto woman. While many critics say the story doesn’t live up to the usual ‘Arcand’ standards, the film should still be heads above a bad ‘Canadian’ film.
A LITTLE CHAOS, (UK) director Alan Rickman also stars as King Louis XIV in this historical drama of the female landscape-gardener of Versailles played by Kate Winslet. This is Rickman’s 2nd feature that he directed. His first was 17 years ago, “The Winter Guest” starring Emma Thompson.
A SECOND CHANCE / En chance til (Denmark) director Susanne Bier. This is the 2nd film from Denmark on my list this year. Bier directs this story that asks how far would decent human beings be willing to go, when tragedy blurs the line between just and unjust?
BOYCHOIR (Quebec, Canada) director François Girard who directed “Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould” and “The Red Violin”. Two of my favorites. This family friendly film stars Dustin Hoffman who had his directorial debut last year at the age of 76 with “Quartet”. Hoffman also stars in the highly anticipated “The Cobbler”.
CAKE (USA) director Daniel Barnz gives Jennifer Aniston her “Blind Side” role as the acerbic, hilarious Claire Simmons who becomes fascinated by the suicide of a woman in her chronic pain support group. While I am NOT and never will be an Aniston fan, I’m as curious as the next person to see her in this film which didn’t have the best start in pre-production. The film also stars Anna Kendrick, Sam Worthington, William H. Macy and his lovely talented wife, Felicity Huffman.
COMING HOME (China) Director Yimou Zhang who helmed the excellent “House of Flying Daggers” (2004), directs this script from novel turned screenplay about a Chinese man who is forced into marriage and flees to America, but when he returns home, he is sent to a labor camp. It stars the lovely Li Gong, and the dashing Daoming Chen.
EDEN (France) director Mia Hansen-Løve. Felix de Givry, Greta Gerwig, Pauline Etienne star in this underground dance music film which traces the rise of the French electronic-music boom in the 1990s and the DJ who’s credited with inventing “French house” music. Music in the film includes Daft Punk, Joe Smooth and Frankie Knuckles.
FOREIGN BODY / OBCI CIALO (Poland) Director Krysztof Zanussi – According to TIFF: A dashing young Italian in Poland finds himself caught between two women — a novitiate nun and a ruthless corporate ladder-climber — in this lacerating vision of contemporary Poland.
GETT, THE TRIAL OF VIVIANE AMSALEM / GETT, LE PROCÈS DE VIVANE AMSALEM (Israel) directors Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz bring you a riveting and timely courtroom drama where in Israel there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce. Only rabbis can legitimate a marriage or its dissolution. But this dissolution is only possible with full consent from the husband, who in the end has more power that the judges. Viviane Amsalem has been applying for divorce for three years. But her husband Elisha will not agree. His cold intransigence, Viviane’s determination to fight for her freedom, and the ambiguous role of the judges shape a procedure in which tragedy vies with absurdity, and everything is brought out for judgment, apart from the initial request.
ITSI BITSI (Denmark) director Ole Christian Madsen (Flame & Citron) directs this 1962 countercultural romance based on events where Peace activist Eik Skaløe meets Iben and falls head over heels in love, but when Iben refuses to commit herself to one man, Eik tries to win her over by transforming from poet to writer, nomad, junkie and eventually lead singer in the destined-to-become-legendary band STEPPEULVENE.
LIFE IN A FISHBOWL / VONARSTRÆTI (Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic) director Baldvin Zophoníasson presides over an intriguing, According to TIFF: multiple-narrative drama that follows three people — a struggling single mother, a former athlete trying to scale the corporate ladder, and a once-acclaimed author turned full-time drunk — whose lives intersect in surprising ways.
MAGICAL GIRL (Spain) director Carlos Vermut conducts a stylish noir thriller about the father of an ill girl who tries to obtain his daughter last wish, the dress of the main character of a Japanese TV series.
MAY ALLAH BLESS FRANCE ! (France) director Abd Al Malik is a French rapper, author, and spoken word artist. This is his directorial debut with this adaptation of his 2004 autobiography, chronicling his upbringing in the crime-and drug-ridden streets of Strasbourg and his life-changing encounters with hip hop and religion.
NIGHTCRAWLER (USA) director Dan Gilroy. Two words. Jake Gyllenhaal. He’s a down and outer who stumbles upon the underground world of L.A. freelance crime journalism. This film also brings back Rene Russo who we haven’t seen in quite awhile
OVER YOUR DEAD BODY / KUIME (Japan) director Takashi Miike A theatre troupe rehearsing a classic play of murder, betrayal and vengeance find life bloodily imitating art backstage at a Kabuki performance.
SHELTER (United Kingdom) the directorial debut of actor Paul Bettany. I’m recommending this as a study more than a powerhouse outing. Bettany was born into a ‘theatre family‘. His maternal grandmother, Olga Gwynne was a successful actress, his maternal grandfather, Lesley Kettle, was a musician. Bettany’s father, Thane Bettany, is still an actor, his mother, Anne Kettle, now retired, was an actress. Bettany’s older sister is a writer. I want to see what he can do first hand… besides being almost transparent eye candy. Bettany has also (of course) cast his wife, actress Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie who I think does some pretty good work.
SPRING (USA) directors, co-editors Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead serve up a love story, horror, romance with a supernatural twist when an American backpacker (Lou Taylor Pucci, “Evil Dead”) while in Italy, falls in love with a beautiful young woman harboring a dark “primordial” secret, played by the stunning German actress Nadia Hilker. Well, I know Italy doesn’t have moors, so there goes that guess.
TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER (USA) directed by Nick Broomfield this documentary delves into a cold case about a notorious serial killer known as the “Grim Sleeper,” who terrorized South Central Los Angeles over a span of twenty-five years. The man thought to be the suspect was incarcerated in 2010, but the ongoing investigation has stalled because as the premise surmises, the suspect is black…
THE LITTLE DEATH (Australia) director Josh Lawson. I’ve had an on-going love affair with Australian films. There’s a quirk and a darkness that’s similar to films from Denmark, Iceland, Norway, but still a very distinct and different voice. This dark, sex comedy is another multi-story narrative: A woman with a dangerous fantasy and her partners struggle to please her. A man who begins an affair with his own wife without her knowing anything about it. A couple struggling to keep things together after a sexual experiment spins out of control. A woman who can only find pleasure in her husband’s pain. A call centre operator caught in the middle of a dirty and chaotic phone call. And the distractingly charming new neighbour who connects them all.
THE ELEPHANT SONG / La chanson de l’éléphant(Quebec, Canada) director Charles Binamé has a goldmine on his hands with actor, filmmaker Xavier Dolan who plays Michael, a troubled psychiatric patient.
THE GOLDEN ERA / HUANG JIN SHI DAI (China) director Ann Hui. According to TIFF: The prodigious output of Chinese essayist and novelist Xiao Hong, long overshadowed by the careers of more established male writers in her literary circle, has only recently been discovered. Directed with both authority and grace by Ann Hui, The Golden Era bridges the gaps and tells the story of an exceptional life marked with tragedy and the signs of genius, Hui’s film is a wondrous reflection of China’s turbulent 1930s.
TOKYO TRIBE (Japan) According to TIFF: Midnight Madness favorite Shion Sono (Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, winner of the 2013 People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award) (which I absolutely loved) ventures even further into uncharted cinematic territory with this yakuza-street gang-hip hop-musical epic. Avoiding the usual fresh young faces of Japanese films, Sono chose to cast real rappers, tattoo artists and stunt performers in many of the main acting roles, a rebellious move that brings vibrancy and freshness to his outlandish street-fighting epic.
WETBUM (USA) director Lindsay Mackay in her directorial debut is getting a lot of buzz on her first outing of a story about Sam is a self-conscious yet stubborn 14-year-old girl who, like many teenagers, is searching for a place to belong. After landing herself into trouble, she is forced to work as a cleaner in the retirement home run by her mother. In between shifts at the home, she tries to find solace in the only place she can, the pool, but it becomes the place where deepest insecurities collide with her raging hormones.
WHIPLASH (USA) director Damien Chazelle has had my attention since Sundance where he won both the Audience Award and Grand Jury prizes on this film about A young musician played by Miles Teller who struggles to make it as a top jazz drummer under the almost masochistic tutor J.K. Simmons (Law & Order, Oz)
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (New Zealand) director Taika Waititi (Boy, Eagle vs Shark) and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) co-direct and star in this hilarious mockumentary about a trio of vampires living in a New Zealand suburb who struggle to adapt to life in the 21st century.
WINTER SLEEP / KIS UYKUSU (Turkey) director Nuri Bilge Ceylan who won the Palme D’Or and the FIPRESCI prize at Cannes, brings us a drama set in central Anatolia about a small-town innkeeper whose cultural pretensions and smug self-satisfaction are fatefully undermined over the course of an eventful winter.
You know every year since I’ve been doing this list I always promote world cinema and steer clear of Hollywood films that have distribution and are going to hit theaters in the next 3-4 months. But sometimes you have to break that rule. Here’s why in 2014:
INFINITELY POLAR BEAR (USA) director Maya Forbes cut her writing teeth on The Larry Sanders Show and as a co-writer on Monsters vs. Aliens (09), and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (12). A little surprised this is a Gala event. Given this is based on her family growing up and a writer should always write what they know, this may be a good choice. But a Gala…? Mark Ruffalo plays a loving husband and father struggling with manic depression, who is forced to raise his two young daughters on his own. Mark Ruffalo, J.J. Abrams also serve as executive producers. Did I mention it stars Mark Ruffalo…?
THE JUDGE (USA) director David Dobkin. Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall respectively play a defense attorney father and a judge in this tight legal drama, where they also play father and son. This is a film loaded with ‘acting chops’ when you also figure in co-starts, Billy Bod Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vera Farmiga, and Jeremy Strong.
MAPS TO THE STARS (Canada / USA) director David Cronenberg with a satirical drama about a Hollywood family chasing fame and and trying to come to grips with ghosts from the past. While the film itself may not be great, the performance of Julianne Moore is. Moore won the Best Actress Award after its Cannes premiere. The film got its theatrical release in France on May 21 right after Cannes. It also stars Robert Pattinson(yes he can act) and John Cusack. Right now the buzz is Moore may lose a shot at an Oscar nod, because Focus World, who acquired the United States distribution rights will not be giving it a theatrical release until 2015. All Oscar contenders have to screen before the end of November.
THE COBBLER (USA) director Thomas McCarthy is an actor turned director, with some pretty impressive outings helming, The Station Agent (2003) and “The Visitor” (2007) both exceptional films with an indie feel that garnered tons of award nominations, including Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Richard Jenkins. McCarthy himself won the BAFTA (UK equivalent of the Oscar) for The Station Agent and nominated for and Oscar for “Up” in 2010. The Cobbler which opens in USA theaters September 11th, stars Adam Sandler as the Cobbler, Dan Stevens, Dustin Hoffman, Steve Buscemi, Ellen Barkin and the incredible Marlon Brando meets Billy Bob Thornton-esque actor Glenn Fleshler who played the villain Errol Childress in “True Detective”.
The 39th Annual Toronto International Film Festival runs September 04-14. For Programs and Tickets, please Click HERE.
By Shannonn Kelly 06:30AM, EST, January 16, 2014 Updated: 08:56AM, EST, January 16, 2014
I’ll be updating my blog later this morning to give you the breakdown of all the Oscar Nominees for the 86th Annual Academy Awards. As you can see, I’m waiting to fill in the blanks below.
The nominees will announced in 2 hours at 8:30AM on CBS. I’ll be watching from home in my PJs with a Mimosa and some decadent baked goods 🙂
In the meantime, enjoy the video below with 250 dancers and Academy Award® Host Ellen DeGeneres dressed in matching tuxedos dancing to “The Walker” by the Los Angeles soul/indie pop band Fitz and the Tantrums.
Sticking with the theme of celebrating “Heroes”, real-life Thor, actor Chris Hemsworth announced the Nominees this morning along with the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.
When I calculate below, it looks like “Gravity” and “American Hustle” both come out on top with 10 Oscar nominations each. Somebody, please check my math 😉
Twenty-two year-old Eden Sher who plays Sue Heck in ABC’s “The Middle“, wrote a great article about that lack of female directors in Hollywood called, “I’ve Spent 12 Years Surrounded by Hollywood Peen. Where Are the Women Directors?” In part she wrote:
“Having women steer the ship makes all the difference in the world.
For example, I worked on a show in 2006 (another sitcom for ABC) that was created and run by men. There were only two female staff writers. All the producers were male. Every director, too. But despite the bro-heavy environment, these guys were not bad or misogynistic — in fact, they were awesome, progressive and kind. And yet nary a woman in sight.
So what was the problem? Why did this show reek of peen? It wasn’t because of some deep-seated aversion to women in the workplace. Rather, the problem was that these guys seemed to only hire people who were exactly like them: guys. And while working with what’s comfortable and familiar is all well and good, if your goal is to create an honest story about men and women interacting with one another — as was the aim of this particular show — you’re definitely going to miss the mark if you don’t have any input from a real, live female.
The show was canceled after twelve episodes”.
Well, now there’s some hard data to back her position and many more under employed women in the film industry.
A new study by Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D. has been published that maintains the “Celluloid Ceiling” still exists for women working behind the scenes in Hollywood and it’s gotten worse.
In 2011, women comprised 18% of all directors, executive producers,producers, writers, cinematographers,and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films. This represents an increase of 2 percentage points from 2010 and an increase of 1 percentage point from 1998 (see Figure 1).
Women accounted for 5% of directors, a decrease of 2 percentage points from 2010 and approximately half the percentage of women directors working in 1998.
The following summary provides employment figures for 2011 and compares the most recent statistics with those from previous years.
Findings This study analyzed behind the scenes employment of 2,636 individuals working on the top 250 domestic grossing films (foreign films omitted) of 2011.
38% of films employed 0 or 1 woman in the *Scene roles considered
23% employed 2 women,
30% employed 3 to 5 women,
07% employed 6 to 9 women.
Scenes Roles* includes directors, writers, executive producers editors, and cinematographers.
Women comprised 5% of all directors working on the top 250 films of 2011. Ninety four percent (94%) of the films had no female directors.
“What needs to happen is to continue to forge the new paradigm, as evidenced by Kathryn Bigelow’s masterful direction, and allow women to express themselves beyond the female-centric and family fare. On an executive level, I think we are doing that, as for years we have been seeing high-powered women that are killing it. Sherry Lansing, for example, ran Paramount Studios for years and has forged the way for many others.”
It’s no surprise to any of us women in other non-Hollywood markets that this is the case. Even in filmmaking communities where I live, even though, they say they are an ‘equal opportunity employer’. If the job is in the film industry and it’s not in Craft Services, you can bet they are not….
What’s your feeling…? Film industry Men or Women…I’d love to know your thoughts.
For the complete and very excellent article by Eden Sher, please click Here.
To read the executive summary from the Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D study, please click Here.
To read a like minded article by Rebecca Pahle, please click Here.
Co-Hosts Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler will have a star studded line-up of presenters to join in the fun for the 71st Annual Golden Globes tonight. With a special shout-out to Deadline.com – Here is the full list of presenters:
Just Confirmed: Ben Affleck (2013 and 1998 Golden Globe Award winner; 2007 Golden Globe Award nominee), Drew Barrymore (2010 Golden Globe Award winner; 1993 and 1985 Golden Globe Award nominee), Kate Beckinsale, Orlando Bloom, Sandra Bullock (2014 Golden Globe Award nominee for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama; 2010 Golden Globe Award winner; 2001 and 1996 Golden Globe Award nominee), Jim Carrey (2000 and 1999 Golden Globe Award winner; 2005, 2001, 1998 and 1995 Golden Globe Award nominee), Jessica Chastain (2013 Golden Globe Award winner; 2012 Golden Globe Award nominee), Emilia Clarke, Sean Combs, Matt Damon (2014 Golden Globe Award nominee for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television; 1998 Golden Globe Award winner; 2010 and 2000 Golden Globe Award nominee), Leonardo DiCaprio (2014 Golden Globe Award nominee for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical; 2005 Golden Globe Award winner; 2013, 2012, 2009, 2007, 2005, 2003, 1998, 1994 Golden Globe Award nominee), Aaron Eckhart (2007 Golden Globe Award nominee), Chris Evans, Amber Heard, Jonah Hill (2012 Golden Globe Award nominee), Taylor Kinney, Niki Lauda, Paula Patton, Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Jesse Spencer, Emma Stone (2011 Golden Globe Award nominee), Emma Thompson (2014 Golden Globe Award nominee for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama; 1996 and 1993 Golden Globe Award winner; 2009, 2002, 1995 and 1994 Golden Globe Award nominee), Usher, and Christoph Waltz (2013 and 1910 Golden Globe Award winner) are the final round of presenters announced by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards.
Previously Announced: Kevin Bacon (2010 Golden Globe Award winner; 1995,1997 Golden Globe Award nominee), Julie Bowen, Laura Dern (2012, 2009, 1993 Golden Globe Award winner; 1999, 1992 Golden Globe Award nominee; 1982 Miss. Golden Globe), Robert Downey Jr. (2010, 2001, 1994 Golden Globe winner; 2009, 1993 Golden Globe Award nominee), Jimmy Fallon, Colin Farrell (2009 Golden Globe Award winner), Tom Hanks (2014 Golden Globe Award nominee for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama; 2001, 1995, 1994, 1989 Golden Globe Award winner; 2008, 1999 Golden Globe Award nominee), Chris Hemsworth, Mila Kunis (2011 Golden Globe Award nominee), Jennifer Lawrence (2014 Golden Globe Award nominee for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture; 2013 Golden Globe Award winner; 2011 Golden Globe Award nominee), Melissa McCarthy, Seth Meyers, Liam Neeson (2005, 1997, 1994 Golden Globe Award nominee), Chris O’Donnell (1992 Golden Globe Award nominee), Margot Robbie, Mark Ruffalo, Kyra Sedgwick (2007 Golden Globe winner; 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 1996, 1993 Golden Globe nominee), Channing Tatum, Uma Thurman (2003 Golden Globe Award winner; 2005, 2004, 1995 Golden Globe Award nominee), Emma Watson, Naomi Watts (2013 Golden Globe Award nominee), Olivia Wilde, and Reese Witherspoon (2006 Golden Globe Award winner; 2002, 2000 Golden Globe Award nominee).
by Shannonn Kelly 00:25AM, EST, Sunday September 15, 2013
Today is the last day the 38th Annual Toronto International Film Festival. I can barely see straight with all the long hours I put in. But all for a worthy cause. Seeing film and informing my readers about the best film picks and the fun moments at TIFF 2013.
Winners will be awarded in three main categories today: BlackBerry® People’s Choice Award; BlackBerry® Documentary Award; and BlackBerry® Midnight Madness Award. Other awards will be announced as well from Canadian Shorts and Feature Juries when announce their picks starting at 12 Noon today.
TIFF2013 Tip: Get in line at The Ryerson Theater (44 Gerrard Street East) early because at 6:00PM, the Blackberry People’s Choice Award Winner will be screened and it is *free* to the public. Many people start lining up well before 12 Noon today at Ryerson, where tickets will be handed out to audience members waiting in line. Once the number of tickets needed to fill the house are given out, there is NO getting into the screening.
My picks for the BlackBerry® People’s Choice Award is “Gravity” starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney or “12 Years a Slave” starring Chiwetel Ejiofore. Bullock and Ejiofore are among my 2 picks for Best Actress and Best Actor nods for the Academy Award® 2014
By Shannonn Kelly 05:47AM, EST, September 10, 2013
I didn’t see as many films as I wished today. Sometimes that just happens. I had planned to sleep in a little but boom, 5:00AM, I was up and couldn’t go back to sleep even though dog-tired so here is this morning’s blog.
Yesterday (Monday) I saw:
Rhymes For The Young Ghouls
“The Double” written and directed by Richard Ayoade (Submarine) is based on a Fyodor Dostoevsky novel about a man driven insane. Ayoade creates a dark and peculiar world somewhere between Erasurehead meets Dark City in which there seems to be no natural light and people work and function in a weird ‘industrialized’ way. Jesse Eisenberg plays milquetoast ‘Simon’ in an ill-fiting suit a’la David Byrne from ‘Talking Heads.
When his doppleganger ‘James’ shows up in the same suit but slightly better fitting, no one notices the resemblance because no one has ever really noticed Simon before because he’s doesn’t make any impact on people as is sort of a non- person. The subtle difference between James and Simon all have to do with projecting a positive image and standing your ground, which Simon has to learn the hard way. The film also stars Mia Wasikowska and Wallace Shawn. Continue reading “TIFF 2013 :: Day 6 :: What To See at TIFF Today”