15 articles

Sundance: Neon Buys ‘Ingrid Goes West’ (Exclusive)

10 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Neon has bought North American distribution rights to “Ingrid Goes West” out of the Sundance Film Festival, Variety has learned.

To nab the indie comedy-drama it beat out the likes of A24 and Netflix, both of whom were in the hunt. The film is a satire of the social media age, chronicling the exploits of an unstable woman (Aubrey Plaza) with an obsessive streak.

In addition to Plaza, “Ingrid Goes West” stars Elizabeth Olsen, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Wyatt Russell, and Billy Magnussen. It marks the feature film directorial debut of Matt Spicer.

CAA negotiated the deal.

More to come…

Related storiesSundance Film Review: 'To the Bone''Saturday Night Live' Host Aziz Ansari to Donald Trump: 'Don't Tweet About Me Being Lame' (Watch)Sundance Cancels Three Screenings Over Power Outage »

- Brent Lang and Ramin Setoodeh

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Sundance: Amazon Lands ‘The Big Sick’ in Blockbuster Deal (Exclusive)

21 January 2017 11:29 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

In one of the biggest deals in the history of Sundance, Amazon Studios has landed distribution rights to “The Big Sick” for about $12 million, Variety has learned.

The pact comes on the heels of the romantic comedy’s rousing premiere on Friday night. The film is about a Pakistani-American comedian (Kumail Nanjiani) whose relationship with his girlfriend (Zoe Kazan) is nearly derailed over cultural differences and a health crisis. Nanjiani co-wrote the heavily autobiographical script with his wife Emily V. Gordon.

The negotiations for North American rights and other foreign territories stretched into midnight on Saturday. Nanjiani told Variety earlier this week that he wanted the film to get a theatrical release. Unlike Netflix, its rival streaming service, Amazon is a big proponent of the theatrical experience, with all of its films getting at least some kind of theatrical run.

The Big Sick” sparked interest from a number of distributors, »

- Ramin Setoodeh and Brent Lang

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Sundance Cancels Three Screenings Over Power Outage

12 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

It’s already been an eventful couple of days at the Sundance Film Festival.

The festival suffered a power outage at the Redstone theater on Sunday, causing screenings of “Mars Generation,” “Dolores,” and the buzzy “Landline” to be canceled, according to a Sundance Twitter account.

Update: Power outage at Redstone. Mars Generation + Landline + Dolores screenings cancelled, attempting to reschedule. More info to come.

— Sundance Fest Now (@sundancefestnow) January 22, 2017

The power outage comes one day after a cyberattack forced the closure of Sundance’s box office. The hack occurred shortly after Chelsea Handler led a Women’s March in Park City, Utah, to protest the election of Donald Trump.

More to come…

Related storiesWith 'Split,' Horror and M. Night Shyamalan Remain Box Office DrawsLondon Critics' Awards: 'La La Land' Comes Out on Top, Isabelle Huppert Doubles UpSundance Film Review: Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara in 'A Ghost Story »

- Alex Stedman

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Bleecker Street Nabs ‘Nostalgia’ With Jon Hamm, Ellen Burstyn

14 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Bleecker Street has nabbed North American distribution rights to “Nostalgia,” a drama about the memories that certain artifacts evoke. Mark Pellington (“Arlington Road”) directs the film with a cast that includes Jon Hamm, Ellen Burstyn, Catherine Keener, Bruce Dern, Nick Offerman, Amber Tamblyn, John Ortiz, and James LeGros. Alex Ross Perry (“Listen Up Philip”) wrote the screenplay.

Bleecker Street already has a relationship with Pellington. The indie label is distributing “The Last Word,” a drama with Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried that premieres at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film makes its way to theaters in March. Bleecker Street’s films include “Denial,” “Captain Fantastic,” and “Eye in the Sky.”


Sundance: Amazon Lands ‘The Big Sick’ in Blockbuster Deal (Exclusive)

“Mark has assembled an incredible cast to share this story of family, memories and loss,” said Bleecker Street CEO Andrew Karpen in a statement. “‘Nostalgia’ is one »

- Brent Lang

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Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Catholic Nun Drama ‘Novitiate’ — Sundance 2017

14 hours ago | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Sony Pictures Classics is finalizing a deal to acquire the worldwide rights to the drama “Novitiate,” which premiered Friday in the Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Dramatic Competition section. The deal was somewhere in the seven figures, Deadline reports.

Read More: Amazon Wins ‘The Big Sick’ Bidding War With $12 Million Buy — Sundance 2017

Directed by Margaret Betts and set primarily in 1964 and 1965, the film centers on a young woman training to become a nun named Cathleen (Margaret Qualley). The teen struggles with faith, sexuality, and her relationship with the domineering Reverend Mother (Melissa Leo). The movie co-stars Julianne Nicholson, Dianna Agron, and Morgan Saylor.

“Both introspective and entertaining, Betts never forgets that her young nuns are still teenage girls, and ‘Novitiate’ rings as true as any other film about coming of age,” IndieWire’s Kate Erbland wrote in her review of the film. Carole Peterman, Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler served as producers, »

- Graham Winfrey

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Sundance: Sony Pictures Classics Nabs Religious Drama ‘Novitiate’

14 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Sony Pictures Classics has nabbed worldwide rights to “Novitiate,” a religious drama that is set against the backdrop of Vatican II. The pact is in the mid-seven figure range.

For readers who didn’t grow up taking communion, Vatican II was a council that introduced a series of reforms meant to modernize the Catholic Church. It remains controversial.

Novitiate” marks the narrative feature directorial debut of Maggie Betts. Melissa Leo stars as a mother superior with Margaret Qualley as a young woman who is called to a life in the seminary. Reviews for the film have been strong. Variety critic Guy Lodge praised “Novitiate” as an “…intelligent, ambiguous nunnery drama.” Leo’s performance has been singled out for particular praise.

Before the festival had even started, Sony Pictures Classics picked up rights to “Call Me By Your Name,” a gay love story with Armie Hammer. It premieres Sunday.

There’s »

- Brent Lang

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Sundance Announces Diversity-Focused Partnership With the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation

16 hours ago | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

On Sunday morning at their annual Festival Foundations Brunch, the Sundance Institute announced a new partnership with The Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation, designed to support diverse independent artists.

As part of a two-year commitment, the Foundation will now support the Institute’s Screenwriters Intensive and their year-round work with diverse independent filmmakers and artists.

The Screenwriters Intensive, which part of the Institute’s Feature Film Program, provides the opportunity for 10 emerging screenwriters from underrepresented communities to hone their craft in a two-day workshop focused on the creative process.

Read More: The 2017 IndieWire Sundance Bible: Every Review, Interview and News Item Posted During the Festival

The Intensive works in partnership with the Institute’s Diversity Initiative, which emphasizes diversity as a longstanding and core value of all Institute programs. The Initiative encompasses efforts to reach new communities of storytellers and artists across regions, genres, ethnicities, genders and orientations.

In her opening remarks, »

- Kate Erbland

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‘Quest’ Review: A North Philadelphia Family Perseveres in Slow-Burning Verité — Sundance 2017

4 hours ago | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

“You don’t know how we live,” mutters Christine’a Rainey (aka “Ma Quest”). She’s talking at the television, where a then-campaigning Donald Trump is blustering out his “What do you have to lose?” speech. Certainly no one is more deserving of her ire, but there are many people in this country, including those who consider themselves sympathetic to the working poor, who also have no idea how the Rainey family lives.

Enter “Quest,” a sweeping and intimate documentary about the struggles of an average American family. Not that the Raineys are average, but with 14.5 percent of Americans living below the poverty line, they represent a large swath of this country that goes largely unseen. For his debut feature, Jonathan Olshefski spent nine years befriending and filming the Raineys, taking his time to produce a meditative portrait of what everyday life is like for so many people.

Read More: ‘Whose Streets? »

- Jude Dry

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“Hiring All Women Isn’t a Gimmick; It’s Progress”: Director Jovanka Vuckovic | Xx

5 hours ago | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? Bela Lugosi once famously said, “It is women who love horror. Gloat over it. Feed on it. Are nourished by it. Shudder and cling and cry out — and come back for more.” He was as right then as he is now. Women love horror. And yet here we are in 2017, and even though more than half of all horror film ticket buyers are women, people […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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‘A Ghost Story’ Starring Rooney Mara & Casey Affleck Weaves A Mesmerizing, Fascinating Tale [Sundance Review]

6 hours ago | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

The Ghost in writer-director David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story” is an honest-to-goodness old-school ghost: white sheet, eye-holes, the whole bit. The first time he appears, it’s a great visual gag. An unnamed man (played by Casey Affleck) has recently died, and is laying under a sheet on a slab at the morgue, where his unnamed wife (Rooney Mara) has just identified his corpse.

Continue reading ‘A Ghost Story’ Starring Rooney Mara & Casey Affleck Weaves A Mesmerizing, Fascinating Tale [Sundance Review] at The Playlist. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Sundance Dispatch 2: Dina, Quest, My Happy Family

7 hours ago | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ Dina is incredibly hard to write about without exposing my underlying biases. Shot by Dp Adam Uhl in almost entirely rigorously locked-down static 1.66 (!), Dina tracks the uneasily evolving relationship between its title subject and fiance Scott in the months up to and after their wedding. (She’s the main subject, he the supporting player: the end credits cutely add his name to the title.) Both are, by their own admission and diagnosis, somewhere on the spectrum — where precisely is unclear, as it so often is — and in something like love. The major issue, which becomes increasingly […] »

- Vadim Rizov

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“Basically What You’re Asking for Is Faith”: Director Michelle Morgan | L.A. Times

7 hours ago | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? For me, the greatest communication challenge that I encountered while working on my film happened during the prep phase, where I was still scrambling to raise funds and cast my leads. This was my first feature and a lot of people just weren’t sure of me yet. And short of surgically implanting someone into my head, it was nearly impossible to convey to them how the film […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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‘The Young Pope’: Paolo Sorrentino Explains That Stellar Opening Sequence, Kangaroos and More

7 hours ago | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

The Young Pope’s” opening title sequence made its debut Sunday night and, true to form, it was both a confounding and delightful experience to watch. Viewers had to wait until the series’ third episode aired to see the official sequence for creative reasons.

“In the first two episodes we don’t see that because they were longer,” creator and director Paolo Sorrentino told IndieWire. “Rather than sacrifice a scene, I preferred to cut the initial sequence.”

Read More: ‘The Young Pope’ Review: Jude Law Rules With Old Testament Authority in HBO Series That Is Set to Surprise

Rich with subtext, art history, nifty computer graphics and cheeky irreverence, the opening gives viewers a lot to take in and ponder. We see the titular Pope Pius Xiii, aka Lenny Belardo (Jude Law), stride across the screen passing famous works of art depicting religious scenes ranging from the birth of Jesus to the Crusades. »

- Hanh Nguyen

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‘Homeland’ Review: Carrie’s Secret New Life Is Revealed as ‘The Man in the Basement’ Starts to Make Noise

7 hours ago | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

[Editor’s Note: The following review of “Homeland” Season 6, Episode 2, “The Man in the Basement,” contains spoilers.]

Immediate Reaction

Hold on, we have to wipe the tears from our eyes. Give us a second. […] Ok, I think we can put some words together now. Carrie and Quinn watching the video of his near-death from Sarin gas exposure was…well, it was heartbreaking. Not only do we never need to see that video again — “Homeland’s” insistence on showing it, over and over, is getting to be a bit much — but Quinn’s reaction to it shows just how much damage was inflicted.

After saying he’d never seen the video, he told Carrie he now wanted to see it. She told him what happened, filling in the narrative around the video before and after showing it, and they watched as Quinn convulsed, foamed at the mouth, and pissed himself. But the true pain hit after the video ended, when Carrie explained how she found him. “You saved me? »

- Ben Travers

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‘Wilson’ Review: Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern Are Cruel, and Kind of Funny, in Daniel Clowes Adaptation

7 hours ago | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Wilson” is pitched somewhere between “Bad Santa” and Rick Alverson’s “The Comedy,” inhabiting a familiar strain of American movies about profoundly unlikable people. It’s based on the 2010 graphic novel of the same name by Daniel Clowes, who excels at examining the lives of somber characters trapped in drab, isolating worlds. But even as the screenplay (which Clowes adapted) contains much of the source material’s pitch-black humor, it also falls short of realizing its subtle vision of an angry recluse learning to make peace with his surroundings.

A crazy-eyed Woody Harrelson portrays Wilson, a loudmouthed, middle-aged creep, and his performance captures the character’s fundamental appeal. Tackling this material was a tricky proposition, but the movie pulls off some endearing qualities thanks to director Craig Johnson, who last achieved a balance of gloomy comedy and a dark backdrop with “Skeleton Twins.” With “Wilson,” he appropriates the graphic novel »

- Eric Kohn

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Five Questions with Crown Heights Director Matt Ruskin

8 hours ago | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

Colin Warner spent 20 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. In 1980, police arrested Warner for the killing of a 16-year-old boy in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights. His imprisonment, based solely on a mistaken eye witness, robbed him of his freedom from the years of Jimmy Carter all the way to George W. Bush.  Warner’s story is the subject of Crown Heights, the second feature film from writer/director Matt Ruskin. The film stars Lakeith Stanfield (Short Term 12) as Warner and Nnamdi Asomugha (Hello, My Name Is Doris) as Carl King, Warner’s best friend who devotes years of his life […] »

- Soheil Rezayazdi

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‘Ingrid Goes West’: How a First-Time Filmmaker Cracked the Sundance Code

8 hours ago | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Warning: What you’re about to read is something of a Cinderella story.

Matt Spicer had only a couple of shorts under his belt, but when he sent his “Ingrid Goes West” screenplay to his agent, he got a call saying Aubrey Plaza wanted to play the lead — and then, Plaza was such a fan that she helped wrangle co-stars Elizabeth Olsen and O’Shea Jackson Jr. Things went so smoothly, production began just eight months after Spicer sent his agent the script.

And that’s when the trouble started.

The filmmakers lost a full day of shooting after a Santa Clarita wildfire destroyed one of their sets, while a plumbing problem at another location turned a house into a biohazard. Spicer also accidentally walked through a glass door, miraculously escaping with just a single two-inch gash on his arm.

This story has a happy ending: Neon acquired “Ingrid Goes West »

- Graham Winfrey

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‘Landline’: How the ‘Obvious Child’ Trio Reunited for Another Film About Women Who Don’t Make Apologies — Sundance 2017

9 hours ago | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Landline” reunites the team who made Gillian Robespierre’s 2014 Sundance smash hit “Obvious Child,” but the films’ star and muse, Jenny Slate, bristles at the idea of the new film representing any kind of sequel.

“It’s not similar,” Slate said from the Sundance Film Festival. “‘Landline’ is not the same as ‘Obvious Child,’ except that Gil has a real knack for crafting characters that truly seem that they’re plucked out of our world, whether or not it’s a period piece or it’s taking place six months ago.”

Read More: ‘Landline’ Review: ‘Obvious Child’ Duo Reunites For A Bigger, Better, Messier Comedy That’s Totally Off The Hook

Landline,” as it happens, is a period piece, one that reunites Robespierre with her “Obvious Child” star and that film’s screenwriter and producer, Elisabeth Holm. “We all collided in this great way,” Robespierre said. “And it was all familial and wonderful, »

- Kate Erbland

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“A Prerequisite for Good Filmmaking in China”: Director Jun Geng | Free and Easy

9 hours ago | Filmmaker Magazine - Blog | See recent Filmmaker Magazine news »

During its development, production or eventual distribution, what specific challenge of communication did, or will your film, face? How did you deal with it, or how are you planning to deal with it? Oftentimes, indie filmmaking in China is something that invites suspicion. You will need to persuade potential collaborators and investors with convincing arguments. For the rest of the process, it could also be true. Chinese indie filmmakers would run into these problems on a regular basis, which is why communicating becomes a craftsmanship. It is of vital importance both in terms of the efficiency and the final result […] »

- Filmmaker Staff

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Focus Features Acquires ‘Thoroughbred’ — Sundance 2017

9 hours ago | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Focus Features is finalizing a deal to acquire “Thoroughbred,” the Cory Finley-directed drama that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival Sunday. The purchase price is expected to be around $5 million, Deadline reports.

Neon Acquires ‘Ingrid Goes West’ Starring Aubrey Plaza and Elizabeth Olsen — Sundance 2017

Thoroughbred” attracted significant buzz among buyers thanks to its leading cast of Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Witch”) and Olivia Cooke (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”). The movie also stars the late Anton Yelchin in a supporting role. “Thoroughbred” centers on suburban Connecticut teens Amanda (Cooke) and Lily (Taylor-Joy), recently united childhood friends who hatch a sinister plan to kill Lily’s stepfather.

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Catholic Nun Drama ‘Novitiate’ — Sundance 2017

Thoroughbred” was produced by B-Story, one of the companies behind “Manchester by the Sea,” which sold to Amazon for around $10 million at last year’s festival.

Wme and ICM handled the sale.

Related »

- Graham Winfrey

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