One of our favorite film festivals here at MADE, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), is kicking off its 2017 festivities this week. Known for its wide range of genres, independent films, and documentaries, TIFF is the unofficial audition for the annual film-awards season that wraps with the Academy Awards celebrations every February. This years entries are no exception. Some of the more anticipated showings are documentaries surrounding Grace Jones (Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami), Barack Obama (The Final Year), and Lady Gaga (Gaga: Five Foot Two), as well as an under-the-radar entry from comedian Louis CK (I Love You, Daddy) that will appear in black and white. As always there is a plethora of noteworthy entries, so many, in fact, that it seems impossible to filter out a ‘most anticipated’ list.
The 70th Cannes Film Festival wrapped up this year with several big surprises. The Killing of a Sacred Deer and You Were Never Really Here both tied for the best screenplay award. Sofia Coppola became the first female director to win the Best Director award at Cannes in 56 years for The Beguiled, an adaptation of Thomas Cullinan’s Civil War novel about a wounded soldier who takes refuge among the inhabitants of a girls’ school in Virginia. Joaquin Phoenix and Diane Kruger were awarded best actor awards for their respective roles in You Were Never Really Here and In The Fade, the latter of which featured Kruger speaking in her native German. Additionally, Nicole Kidman received a special award for her appearances in four of this year’s festival entries, including The Beguiled, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, and Top of the Lake. Other noteworthy entries include BPM (Beats Per Minute), a drama focused around the French gay-rights movement in the early 90s that earned this year’s Grand Prix, and Ruben Östlund’s The Square, about a high-class museum curator who is forced to mingle with lower class members when he is pick-pocketed on the street. A full list of this year’s winners is provided below…. Continue reading →
Today kicks off the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival in France. A number of anticipated entries are included in this year’s competition. Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled with Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, and Kirsten Dunst is her first indie film since 2013’s The Bling Ring. Andrey Zvyagintsev’s new drama Loveless has high expectations after the director’s last film, Leviathan, earned he and his co-writer Oleg Negin the Best Screenplay award in 2014. Director Hong Sang-soo has two films premiering at this year’s festival, The Day After and Clair’s Camera, but both have been kept well under the radar until their upcoming debut.
Director Lynne Ramsay is also looking to impress with her latest project You Were Never Really Here, a drama about a veteran who attempts to help a young girl involved in a sex trafficking ring. Other anticipated projects being tossed around the web are Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Michael Haneke’s Happy End. The festival will open tonight with director Arnaud Desplechin’s Les fantômes d’Ismaël (Ismael’s Ghosts). Another big event at this year’s festival will be a Virtual Reality (VR) film called Carne Y Arena from acclaimed writer/director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant). The film runs a full hour and twenty minutes and is the first Virtual Reality film to ever appear at Cannes. The festival will run from the 17th to the 28th in Cannes, France. You can see a full list of this year’s entries below. Continue reading →
After six years of production, research, and documentation, filmmaker Laura Poitras‘s personal look at the minds behind Wikileaks, a documentary called Risk, is now playing in theaters. Risk is not so much an investigation into Wikileaks, itself. Rather, Poitras walks the audience through a series of character studies surrounding the organizations’ founders and chief players, specifically Julian Assange and Jacob Applebaum. Early on in her investigation, the filmmaker views the acts of Assange and Applebaum as courageous and heroic. Over the course of her six-year endeavor, however, her work and personal life became irreversibly interlaced with Wikileaks. She went to Applebaum (whom she has had a personal relationship with) for advice on how to handle information provided by a top secret informant, who we now know was former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. She also co-founded the Freedom of the Press Foundation to raise money for Wikileaks, an organization that she goes back and forth with in terms of legal journalism and moralistic integrity, which she explores in the new documentary. Continue reading →
This year’s Tribeca Film Festival will not only be remembered for its impressive array of films, but also for a number of controversial firsts. An airline commercial was pulled from showing, reporters were infuriated to find James Franco and Shai LaBeouf absent from a red carpet premiere, and the new Immersive Storyscapes feature allowed audiences to experience virtual reality in an all new way. As if all that wasn’t enough, the 2017 celebration wrapped with special showings and cast reunions for two of the biggest films in history: Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. Continue reading →
The 16th annual Tribeca Film Festival is once again underway in New York City. Entries in this year’s festival include films from 28 countries, which are being shown from April 19th to April 30th. The festival has already seen a fair share of controversy this year. Photographers and reporters were incensed to find some lesser known actors walking on the red carpet wearing masks of James Franco, Shia LaBeouf, and Greta Gerwig instead of the actors themselves for the premiere of the film Flames. In addition, a commercial for United Airlines, which was originally scheduled to appear at the festival, was pulled from the line up after the controversy surrounding Dr. David Dao being violently dragged off one of their flights. Despite a fair share of controversy, which has always been typical of the Hollywood scene, there have been some impressive displays at this year’s festivities. Continue reading →
Those of you not dying of nostalgia over the release of Power Rangers this weekend should check out a new indie drama titled The Levelling, which is also opening in select theaters. The film is the first feature-length presentation from writer/director Hope Dickson Leach (Ladies in Waiting, Morning Echo), following a woman named Clover who returns home after her brother’s death by suicide to find the family farm devastated by a recent flood and her father hardly recognizable to the man she left behind all those years ago. As she becomes reacquainted with her home town and learns of the goings on in the years of her absence, she and her father begin to develop a mutual understanding as they come to terms with her brother Charlie’s death and the events that drove him to take his own life. The film first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, and received award nominations at both the British Independent Film Awards and the London Film Festival. Ellie Kendrick (An Education, Game of Thrones) and David Troughton (Sharpe’s Rifles, Dance with a Stranger) lead the cast as Clover and her father Aubrey.
In addition, the new comedy with Woody Harrelson (Zombieland, True Detective) and Laura Dern (Jurassic Park, Wild) titled Wilson, about an estranged husband and wife who set out to find and connect with their long lost daughter, is also opening in select theaters this weekend. Be sure to check your local listings for showings near you. Enjoy the weekend!
There are few interesting indie releases opening in local theaters this weekend, alongside Jordan Peele’s directorial horror debut Get Out. The first is a war-drama titled Bitter Harvest, starring Max Irons (The Host, Woman in Gold) and Samantha Barks (Les Miserables, The Christmas Candle) as lovers facing the oncoming Ukraine Genocide of 1932-1933 under Joseph Stalin. The film comes from director George Mendeluk and follows a young artists (Irons) as he works to save his love, Natalka (Barks), from being rounded up and executed as part of the death-by-starvation camps that would be made all the more famous during Hitler’s time in Nazi Germany during World War II. The script comes from writer Richard Bachynsky Hoover and co-stars Terence Stamp (Superman, Young Guns) and Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile). Continue reading →
The 67th Berlin Film Festival, better known as Berlinale, kicks off each year shortly after the Sundance Film Festival ends, and continues with an impressive line-up of independent films, ranging from comedy to drama and even science fiction. This year the festival closed with the premiere of James Mangold‘s R-rated comic entry Logan, which will see the last outing of Hugh Jackman as the immortal and tormented Wolverine, opposite Patrick Stewart reprising the role of Professor Charles Xavier. In addition, director Danny Boyle‘s long-anticipated follow-up to Trainspotting also debuted at the festival, and saw the original cast return for a look at how the characters are dealing with the realities of life 20-years after the drug-induced original. The festival also played host to a solid line-up of independent films. Unfortunately we’re not able to afford the trip (or take the time off) to make it to Berlin for the 10-day celebration, so this all based on reviews and speculation, but here are just a few noteworthy entries we figured were worth mentioning… Continue reading →
Director Amma Asante’s latest project, A United Kingdom, is seeing a limited theatrical release this weekend after premiering at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Starring David Oyelowo (A Most Violent Year, Selma) and Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day, Gone Girl), the film tells the story of Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana, who caused an international controversy when he married a white Englishwoman in the late 1940s. Their marriage was met with criticism and persecution in both South Africa, which borders Botswana, and Seretse’s family and local Bamangwato chieftaincy elders. At the time, interracial marriage was illegal in South Africa. To complicate things further, Botswana (then Bechuanaland) was a British protectorate, and England was still recovering from World War II, and so relied heavily on supplies imported from South Africa. As a result, the British government declared Seretse unfit to serve as chieftain and exiled him and his wife, Ruth Williams, from Botswana in 1951. Continue reading →