KWFF 2019 Announces Opening and Closing Night Films

The Key West Film Festival announced today that its Opening Night film will be Martin Scorcese’s critically acclaimed “The Irishman” (Netflix) and that it will close with Trey Edward Shults “Waves” (A24), which takes place in nearby Hollywood, FL. Orlando-based director Shults will appear for a Q&A.

As part of its ongoing tradition – now in its 5th year – of having Opening and Closing Night films curated by top critics, the films were selected by K. Austin Collins of Vanity Fair and Jen Yamato of The Los Angeles Times. Collins will be joined by Yamato for a pre-screening discussion about “The Irishman” on Wednesday, November 20, and both critics will conduct a Q&A with Mr. Shults following the screening of “Waves” on Saturday night, November 23.

KWFF began its Critic’s Choice program in 2015, in which two of the nations top critics curate the opening and closing night films. Past curating critics have included Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times, Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post, Eric Kohn of indiewire, Emily Yoshida of New York Magazine, David Fear of Rolling Stone, Joshua Rothkopf of Time Out New York and Amy Nicholson of MTV News.
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Disney Releases First “Jungle Cruise” Trailer

By Creative Media Times

Disney has just dropped the first trailer for its upcoming adventure film, Jungle Cruise, and it looks like another fun summer blockbuster winner.

Loosely based on the Disney theme park attraction of the same name, the film stars Emily Blunt stars as explorer-scientist Lily and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a riverboat tour guide captain Frank.

There’s plenty of action and charm packed within 2 minutes of the trailer, which gives off mixed vibes of adventures such as Pirates of the Caribbean and The Mummy, with a little bit of Romancing the Stone and The African Queen.

Directed by Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, House of Wax, The Commuter), the film also stars Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti.

Jungle Cruise is set for release in theaters July 24, 2020.

The Screenwriters Network Launches 1st Annual “Killer Shorts” Horror Short Screenplay Competition

Award-winning screenwriter and contest director Alison Parker announced today the launch of the first annual “Killer Shorts Horror Short Screenplay Competition”.

In the past few years, horror shorts have become a goldmine for Hollywood. Feature films such as The Babadook, Lights Out, Mama, and Saw originated as proof-of-concept shorts. Shorts like Whisper, The Burden, Behind, Sweet Tooth, and Milk, were discovered by producers like James Wan and Sam Raimi and are now in development as features.

It all starts with the script.

“Our goal is to motivate, inspire, and guide screenwriters to write horror shorts with feature adaptation potential.” said Alison Parker, Contest Director. “We’re looking for big ideas. The best horror shorts rely heavily on visual scares and unique world building. Putting this kind of terror on the page isn’t for the faint of heart. For the few who succeed, this could be the break that launches their career.”
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Birds of Prey Trailer Unveil’s Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn

By Creative Media Times

Warner Bros. and DC Comics has finally released the first official full-length trailer for its Margot Robbie led ensemble film “Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.”

Directed by Cathy Yan from a screenplay by Christina Hodson, the trailer debuts Robbie as antihero Harley Quinn, a former crazed criminal turned vigilante, a character she debuted in David Ayer’s 2016 Suicide Squad.

“The Joker and I broke up,” Harley says at the beginning of the trailer. “But it turns I wasn’t the only dame in Gotham looking for emancipation.”

The trailer sees Harley (who also narrates the trailer) joining up with Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), all on an effort to save Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), a young girl who is threatened by Black Mask (Ewan McGregor).

Birds of Prey will be released on February 7, 2020.

New Feature Documentary “The Portal” Returns to Los Angeles

Tom Cronin and Jacqui Fifer’s, groundbreaking documentary THE PORTALhas been chosen as an official selection at the 2019 Awareness Film Festival. The film will play on Saturday, October 12that 5pm at the Regal LA Live, 1000 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015 followed by a Q&A with cast and crew. The film will be released in theaters across North America starting November 1, 2019.

“We are thrilled to be screening for audiences and working with the amazing team at the 2019 Awareness Film Festival,” stated writer/producer Tom Cronin. “The timing and setting is perfect as we work to launch THE PORTAL into theatres across the US starting this November, with Los Angeles.”

Directed and written by first-time Australian director, Jacqui Fifer, and written and produced by international meditation expert, Tom Cronin(The Stillness Project)the captivating film has inspired crowds throughout the world and audiences across North America will get their chance to experience THE PORTALthis fall.

“The film facilitates a collective shift on the planet that takes us into a new era of united living; it had to be groundbreaking, unique, and go viral.” “THE PORTALis truly a film for everyone. Its commercially viability raises the genre bar while remaining true to its core message,”Cronin continued. Click here to see the trailer.
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Venice Film Fest Hot Title The Painted Bird Acquired By IFC Films

IFC Films announced today that it is acquiring U.S. rights to THE PAINTED BIRD directed, written, and produced by Václav Marhoul (TOBRUK, SMART PHILIP). Based on the acclaimed novel by Jerzy Kosinski, the movie was a singular achievement by Marhoul, almost 11 years in the making from the decision to acquire the rights, to the writing of the screenplay, to the casting and production lock. It is also notably, the first ever film made in the invented Interslavic language. THE PAINTED BIRD stars Petr Kotlár, Udo Kier (BLADE, MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO) Lech Dyblik, Jitka Čvančarová, Stellan Skarsgard (DANCER IN THE DARK, NYMPHOMANIAC) Harvey Keitel (BAD LIEUTENANT, RESERVOIR DOGS), Julian Sands (A ROOM WITH A VIEW, NAKED LUNCH), Aleksey Kravchenko (COME AND SEE), and Barry Pepper (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, THE GREEN MILE).

It is a Silver Screen production in co-production with Czech Television, Directory Films, Radio and Television Slovakia, Certicon Group, Innogy, PubRes, Monte Rosso Production, with producer Václav Marhoul and co-producers, Eduard Kučera, Milada Kučera, Igor Savychenko, Vladimír Mařík, Karel Kraus, Zuzana Mistríková, Ľubica Orechovská, and Richard Kaucký. The film was supported by the Czech Film Fund, Slovak Audiovisual Fund, Ukrainian State Film Agency, and Creative Europe – MEDIA.

THE PAINTED BIRD had its world premiere at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival then went on to screen at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival in the Special Presentations section to much acclaim and will be the Czech Oscar® entry for the Foreign-Language category at the 92nd Academy Awards®. IFC Films will be releasing THE PAINTED BIRD theatrically in 2020.

THE PAINTED BIRD is a meticulous 35mm black and white evocation of wild, primitive Eastern Europe at the bloody close of World War II. The film follows the journey of The Boy, entrusted by his persecuted parents to an elderly foster mother. The old woman soon dies, and the Boy is on his own, wandering through the countryside, from village to village, farmhouse to farmhouse. As he struggles for survival, The Boy suffers through extraordinary brutality meted out by the ignorant, superstitious peasants and he witnesses the terrifying violence of the efficient, ruthless soldiers, both Russian and German.

Arianna Bocco EVP of Acquisitions and Productions of IFC Films said, “THE PAINTED BIRD is a brilliant cinematic achievement with a fiercely accomplished cast to match. We’re incredibly proud to bring such a monumental film to audiences across the country.”

Lisa Schwartz, Co-President of IFC Films added, “IFC Films is committed to providing thought-provoking and challenging films, and this is a prime example of maintaining this core mission and continuing our legacy for nearly 20 years now.”

Hengameh Panahi, President of Celluloid Dreams and Vice-President, Charlotte Mickie added, “We are delighted to be working with IFC again. Their curation is extremely astute, and they have unparalleled expertise with important, provocative movies. We look forward to this new adventure and to American audiences responding to a 21st century masterpiece. We are also grateful to Federica Sainte-Rose at CAA for her support throughout the festival and sales circuit this fall.”

Director Václav Marhoul added, “I am extremely gratified that IFC has acquired THE PAINTED BIRD. They have demonstrated a deep, sensitive understanding of the message of the movie, which is so important in today’s volatile world. I deeply believe the movie’s advocacy of tolerance, fellow-feeling and community must reach American audiences. IFC will make that happen.”

The deal for the film was negotiated by Arianna Bocco of IFC Films with CAA Media Finance and Celluloid Dreams on behalf of the filmmakers.

Tom Hanks To Receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at Golden Globes

By Creative Media Times

Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Sony Pictures Releasing

Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is set to receive a lifetime achievement award at next year’s Golden Globe awards, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) announced on Tuesday.

The Golden Globes ceremony is set to air on NBC on Jan. 5, 2020.

“The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is proud to bestow the 2020 Cecil B. DeMille Award to Tom Hanks,” the Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Lorenzo Soria said in a statement.

“For more than three decades, he’s captivated audiences with rich and playful characters that we’ve grown to love and admire. As compelling as he is on the silver screen, he’s equally so behind the camera as a writer, producer and director,” Soria continued.

Hanks has received 15 Golden Globe nominations throughout his film career, including for “Big” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” before winning best actor awards in back to back years for “Philadelphia” (1993) and Forrest Gump (1994). He won a third time in 2000 for “Cast Award”. His most recent nomination is for “The Post” in 2018.

He will next be seen in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” this November, where he portrays beloved TV personality Fred Rogers. His upcoming films include the WWII drama “Greyhound,” the post-apocalyptic “BIOS”, and the post-Civil War drama “News of the World.”

Martin Scorsese To Be Honored By Visual Effects Society

By Creative Media Times

The Irishman
Netflix

Award winning veteran director Martin Scorsese is set to receive Visual Effects Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 18th annual VES Awards on Jan. 29, 2020 at the Beverly Hilton, VES announced on Thursday.

“Martin Scorsese is one of the most influential filmmakers in modern history and has made an indelible mark on filmed entertainment,” said Mike Chambers, VES Board Chair. “His work is a master class in storytelling, which has brought us some of the most memorable films of all time. His intuitive vision and fiercely innovative direction has given rise to a new era of storytelling and has made a profound impact
on future generations of filmmakers. Martin has given us a rich body of groundbreaking work to aspire to, and for this, we are honored to award him with the Visual Effects Society Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Widely considered one of the most important and influential directors of all time, Scorsese won the Academy Award Best Director for The Departed, which also won Best Picture in 2006. He’s also directed classic films such as Mean Street, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas.

In 2011, Scorsese directed Hugo, which won five Oscars including Best Achievement in Visual Effects. The His upcoming film, “The Irishman”, showcases ILM’s (Industrial Light & Magic) work in de-aging actors and usual collaborators Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. “The Irishman” will be distributed for a limited theatrical run November 1, before hitting Netflix on November 27.

The VES Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizes an outstanding body of work that has significantly contributed to the art and/or science of the visual effects industry. VES will honor Scorsese for his consummate artistry, expansive storytelling and profound gift for blending iconic imagery and unforgettable narrative on an epic scale. Scorsese’s steadfast ability to harness craft and technology to bring his unique visions to life has resulted in exceptional narratives that have transfixed audiences and captivated millions. And as a champion of film history, his work to preserve the rich legacy of motion pictures is unparalleled.

Previous recipients of the VES Lifetime Achievement Award include George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Stan Lee and Ray Harryhausen.

Ruairi Robinson’s “Corporate Monster” Debuts Free Online

Director Ruairi Robinson (Fifty Percent Grey, Silent City, BlinkyTM & Leviathan), Academy Award-nominated Irish filmmaker dropped his latest film, Corporate Monster, a proof of concept short, free to view online.

Written by Robinson & Eoin Rogers, the sci-fi horror film, with VFX by Robinson’s The Kaiju Meat Company, stars Kett Turton and Jenna Coleman as a couple confronted with the reality that either he is just dangerously unstable, or there are in fact monsters all around us.

“There’s a growing sense of unease and distrust of authority that’s not really being reflected in popular culture today the way films of the 1970s did in a post-Watergate era. I really miss those movies, and nobody is making them, so I felt compelled to go make one myself,” said Robinson.

In Corporate Monster, after being phased out of his job, a dangerously unstable man’s life spirals out of control when the prescription pills he takes start to have a side effect: they allow him to see the parasitic beings that have long been puppeteering our world from the shadows. The rich and powerful are not even human, and they are feeding on us. He sets about trying to save his girlfriend from them, but it’s just as possible they are just a side effect of the pills, a hallucination. Is he a savior or a monster himself?

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Trailer This Week: IFC Midnight’s “Greener Grass”

By Creative Media Times

Written and directed by Jocelyn DeBoer & Dawn Luebbe, the comedy film is set to open on October 18th in New York and Los Angeles, and also available on demand.

The film had its world premiere on January 26, 2019 at the Sundance Film Festival. Variety’s Peter Debruge calls the film as the most pleasant surprise of this year’s Sundance, describing it as “weird and wonderful; the best ‘Saturday Night Live’ movie that ‘Saturday Night Live’ never made.”

The dark comedy based on their 2016 SXSW award-winning short film by the same name. Following its premiere at the Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival in France, the “Greener Grass” short received a distribution deal with Canal + in Europe and Africa. Jocelyn and Dawn recently directed two episodes of TruTV’s “Adam Ruins Everything”.

In addition to DeBoer and Luebbe, the film also stars Beck Bennett (“SNL”), Neil Casey (“Ghostbusters”), Mary Holland (“Veep”), and D’Arcy Carden (“The Good Place”).

Here is the film’s official synopsis:

In a day-glo-colored, bizarro version of suburbia where adults wear braces on their already-straight teeth, everyone drives golf carts, and children magically turn into golden retrievers, soccer moms and best friends Jill (Jocelyn DeBoer) and Lisa (Dawn Luebbe) are locked in a passive aggressive battle-of-the-wills that takes a turn into the sinister when Lisa begins systematically taking over every aspect of Jill’s life—starting with her newborn daughter. Meanwhile, a psycho yoga teacher killer is on the loose, Jill’s husband (Beck Bennett) has developed a curious taste for pool water, and Lisa is pregnant with a soccer ball. That’s just the tip of the gloriously weird iceberg that is the feature debut from writers-directors Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe, a hilariously demented, Stepford Wives-on-acid satire destined to be an instant cult classic.

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