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British Film Institute Withdraws Harvey Weinstein’s Fellowship

3 hours ago

The British Film Institute has withdrawn Harvey Weinstein’s BFI Fellowship, its highest honor.

The organization said: “The serious and widespread allegations about Harvey Weinstein’s appalling conduct are in direct opposition to the BFI’s values. The BFI Board has met and decided to withdraw the BFI Fellowship awarded to Harvey Weinstein in 2002.” The Fellowship was awarded to Weinstein for his contribution to film.

The BFI had previously said that the Weinstein situation would not have taken as long to surface had there been more women in the industry. It said today it is bringing together industry partners to jointly develop a new set of principles to address bullying and harassment and help people in the industry to be better supported.

“We wholeheartedly support those brave enough to come forward and speak out. The film industry needs more women represented on every level, on and off screen,” the BFI said.

Numerous industry »


- Stewart Clarke

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Vivien Leigh Biopic in Works From ‘Feud: Betty and Joan’ Writers (Exclusive)

17 hours ago

Feud: Betty and Joan” writers Michael Zam and Jaffe Cohen are making a biopic about Vivien Leigh.

The duo received an Emmy nomination with Ryan Murphy for best writing for a limited series for the FX show.

Zam and Cohen will adapt the feature from Hugo Vickers’ “Vivien Leigh: A Biography.” The film will focus on the life of the actress and her relationship with Laurence Olivier, who was her spouse from 1940 to 1960.

Leigh won best actress Academy Awards for her portrayal of  Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind” (1939) and Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951). She also won a Tony in 1963 for best actress in a musical for “Tovarich.” She suffered from bipolar disorder and tuberculosis, and died at the age of 53 in 1967. »


- Dave McNary

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‘I, Tonya’ Teaser: Margot Robbie Transforms Into Disgraced Figure Skater

26 minutes ago

The first teaser for Margot Robbie’s “I, Tonya” proves that the actress took a no-nonsense approach to her portrayal of disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding.

The footage shows her smoking a cigarette under the arena hallway prior to competition, stubbing it out with her skate, then coming out to the ice with a dazzling smile. In a voiceover, Harding asserts that the American people want someone to love and someone to hate.

“The haters always say ‘Tonya, tell the truth.’ There’s no such thing as truth,” the voiceover continues. “I mean, it’s bulls—.”

The dark comedy centers on Harding’s attack on rival figure skater Nancy Kerrigan — aimed at breaking Kerrigan’s leg so she couldn’t compete in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. Harding’s involvement would eventually lead to her being stripped of her 1994 national title and a lifetime ban from the figure skating world.

“I, Tonya »


- Dave McNary

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Gotham Awards Once Again Remind of the Oscar Season Possibilities

1 hour ago

It’s rather wonderful that the New York-based Independent Filmmaker Project is always the one to get the awards season ball rolling with its nominations for the annual Gotham Awards. The organization’s process, recognizing a narrow field of categories decided by separate, tight-knit juries, is unusual, and certainly nowhere near the film Academy’s methodology. So the result is often a breath of fresh air before the inevitable avalanche of traditional fall Oscar fare begins dominating the conversation.

Movies like “Good Time” and “I, Tonya” aren’t likely to bask in the glory of best picture status, for example, but here they’re right at home. Nominations leader “Get Out” can grab more headlines before diving headlong into a season where it’s still an Oscar question mark (and perhaps the most exciting one in a year that promises to be filled with them). These and other critically acclaimed indie dramas like “Call Me by Your Name” and “The Florida Project »


- Kristopher Tapley

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Nascent Middleburg Film Festival Banks on Rural Charm, Awards Hopefuls

1 hour ago

The fifth annual Middleburg Film Festival will run from Oct. 19-22 in the picturesque community of Middleburg, Va. Festival directors Sheila Johnson and Susan Koch boast of their setting, an hour from Washington, D.C., and 30 minutes from Dulles Intl. Airport, as well as a starry slate of Oscar contenders and provocative indie gems.

“We’re situated in horse and wine country, which makes for a very intimate setting,” says Johnson, who founded the festival in 2012. Since when it has grown considerably.

“We’re attracting roughly 4,000 visitors, and we’re a completely walkable festival,” Koch says. “We’ll be screening 25 films at various venues all across town, and even if we don’t have a traditional theater in Middleburg, that hasn’t stopped us from putting on a terrific event.  Everything from the town’s community center to the library to the performing arts school is retrofitted with Dcp technology for the screenings. When [link=nm »


- Nick Clement

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Makeup-Hair Designer Specializes in Bruising Looks for ‘Blade Runner 2049,’ ‘Stronger’

1 hour ago

This is a busy year for makeup and hair designer Donald Mowat, who worked on two major releases: “Blade Runner 2049” and “Stronger.”

Mowat was a big fan of Ridley Scott’s original “Blade Runner,” released in 1982, so he was psyched when helmer Denis Villeneuve asked him to lead the makeup department for the sequel — a revisiting of the L.A.-based futuristic tale set 30 years later. Mowat overcame initial anxiety over the epic scope of the project and was happy to reteam with the director and cinematographer Roger Deakins, with whom he had worked on “Sicario” and “Prisoners” as well.

Blade Runner 2049” required every type of makeup application: character, aging, beauty and fantasy. Mowat and Villeneuve met to discuss initial concepts. The designs found inspiration in many sources, including Alexander McQueen’s fashions, Jack Nicholson’s torn nose in “Chinatown” and Rutger Hauer’s bloodied face in the original “Blade Runner.”

Some design »


- Marj Galas

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Directors Guild of America Leaders to Address Sexual Harassment in Industry

1 hour ago

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Directors Guild of America leaders have announced that they will address the issue of sexual assault.

A DGA spokesperson made a brief announcement on Thursday: “The DGA’s National Board of Directors has a long-scheduled quarterly board meeting this Saturday, October 21 in New York City and will be addressing the very serious issue of sexual harassment in the industry.”

SAG-aftra, the Writers Guild of America West, and the Writers Guild of America East have already condemned Weinstein following explosive allegations of harassment and assault. The Producers Guild of America moved this week to start the process of expelling Weinstein as a PGA member. All four organizations promised to step up efforts to deal with the issue of sexual harassment and assault.

The DGA has about 17,000 members and represents directors and members of the directorial team, including assistant directors, unit production managers, stage managers, associate directors, »


- Dave McNary

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Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park, Justin Chon Among 16th Annual Unforgettable Gala Honorees (Exclusive)

2 hours ago

The 16th Annual Unforgettable Gala, the longest-running celebration of Asian American trailblazers in the entertainment industry, has selected Leonardo Nam, Ross Butler, Awkwafina, Justin Chon, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park and Dr. Mike Hong as its honorees, Variety has learned exclusively.

Nam, who currently stars in HBO’s sci-fi western drama “Westworld” is being named “Actor of the Year,” while Butler will be honored with the male breakout award for his work on Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” and the CW’s “Riverdale” and rapper and comedian Awkwafina will receive the female breakout award.

Chon, who is perhaps best known for his role in “Gook” but has also appeared this year in “Dr. Ken” and can be seen next year in “Deception,” is being honored with the Vanguard Award. Former “Hawaii Five-0” stars Kim and Park will be recognized for exemplifying the “devotion and the spirit of ‘The Ultimate Drive’ in their careers” with presenting sponsor BMW’s Ultimate »


- Danielle Turchiano

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Film Review: ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

2 hours ago

Hey, comicbook fans, it’s another Thor movie, and that can only mean one thing: It’s almost time for another Avengers movie! While you wait, Disney and Marvel Studios hope to loot another half-billion dollars or so from the world’s wallets with this outlandish amuse bouche featuring the God of Thunder and his Abs of Steel, with yet another confusing plot crudely bastardized from Norse mythology in which most of the action takes place on a parallel world you care nothing about.

Like Thor’s two previous solo outings, this one is pretty much skippable, although it’s not without its pleasures — most notably, the fact that Thor’s not so solo this time around, with cameos/co-starring opportunities for the Hulk, Doctor Strange and a few leftover bits of Tony Stark’s wardrobe (including a retro Duran Duran T-shirt that’s good for a laugh). And while it’s not saying much, “Thor: Ragnarok” is easily »


- Peter Debruge

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Playback: Andy Serkis on ‘Breathe,’ ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Mourning’ for Caesar

2 hours ago

Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.

Whether you see his face in films like “The Prestige” or “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” or you don’t in franchises like “The Lord of the Rings” and “Planet of the Apes,” where his passion for performance-capture is on full display, Andy Serkis continues to blaze a trail through the industry. This year he’s somewhat ubiquitous, starring in the third “Apes” installment as well as jumping behind the camera for his directorial debut “Breathe.” He’ll also show up later this year as the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and again early next year in Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther.”

Listen to this week’s episode of “Playback” below. New episodes air every Thursday.

Click here for more episodes of “Playback.”

Breathe” came to Serkis through Jonathan Cavendish, his partner »


- Kristopher Tapley

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Danielle Darrieux, French Star of ‘La Ronde,’ Dies at 100

2 hours ago

Danielle Darrieux, one of the great French movie stars, died Wednesday in Bois-le-Roi, France. She was 100.

The star of director Max Ophuls’ classic early ’50s films “La Ronde” and “The Earrings of Madame de…” and Anatole Litvak’s 1936 “Mayerling” also made some films in Hollywood and, late in life, starred, with an all-star cast of fellow French female movie stars, in Francois Ozon’s “8 Femmes.”

In Ozon’s 2002 delightful musical mystery-comedy “8 Femmes,” the actress played Deneuve’s mother again, starring along with Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Beart, Fanny Ardant, Virginie Ledoyen and Ludivine Sagnier. The entire cast received a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for outstanding artistic achievement as well as the European Film Award for best actress.

Born in Bordeaux, Darrieux was raised in Paris. At the Paris Conservatory she studied the cello and piano.

Darrieux auditioned for a secondary role as a willful teenager in the 1931 musical “Le Bal” when she was only 14, and »


- Carmel Dagan

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Film Review: ‘Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold’

3 hours ago

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold” is a documentary that’s incisive and haunting, like Didion’s best writing. It includes interviews with Joan Didion culled from over the decades, but it’s centered on one conducted by the film’s director, Griffin Dunne (who’s her nephew), in which Didion, in her early 80s, appears before us as a kind of wizened elfin patrician soothsayer. The skin on her hands is like parchment, with purplish veins bursting through, and her face — still beautiful, now timeless — is so creased with experience that even in repose, she looks as if she’s laughing and crying at the same time. Yet with just a few words, Didion’s diamond clarity of mind can cut the air.

The writers who became the celebrated literary sensations of the 1960s look, if anything, even more glamorous today than they did then; one now gazes back with a touch of awe on »


- Owen Gleiberman

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‘Get Out’ Leads 2017 Gotham Awards Nominations

3 hours ago

Get Out,” writer-director Jordan Peele’s surprise smash of a scary movie, led the pack of nominations for the 2017 Gotham Awards, Independent Filmmaker Project’s annual ceremony honoring indie film.

Get Out” scored a nod for best feature, along with nominations for breakthrough director, best screenplay and best actor (Daniel Kaluuya). Other nominees for the top feature award were Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name,” Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project,” Josh and Benny Safdie’s “Good Time” and Craig Gillespie’s “I, Tonya.”

Nominated titles to score three nods apiece included  Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” (breakthrough director and best screenplay for Gerwig, plus an acting nom for Saoirse Ronan);”Call Me By Your Name” (feature, screenplay and breakthrough actor for Timothee Chalomet; Kogonada’s “Columbus” (director, screenplay and actress Haley Lu Richardson) and “The Florida Project” (feature, actor for Willem Dafoe and breakthrough actor for Brooklynn Prince).

Dee Rees’ “Mudbound” earned a breakthrough »


- Gordon Cox

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Sidse Babett Knudsen on Her Conversion to TV Drama

6 hours ago

Cannes — Compared to the composed frosted figure of Denmark’s prime minister which her character Birgitte Nyborg occasionally achieves when in “Borgen,” at least when signing papers behind a sober desk, Sidse Babett Knudsen, probably Denmark’s most famous actress, comes across in person, sitting on a sofa at a Cannes beachside restaurant, as younger, livelier, enthusiastic — “Yes!” “Yes!,” she exclaims, leaning forward in the seat, in hearty agreement at the interviewer’s flailing questions — and with a far larger sense of humor.

She also seemed thrilled to have just been announced as the official patron of the first CanneSeries TV festival, which will unspool next April 4-11.

In serving as its patron, it could be argued that she is giving back to TV something of what TV has given to her.

“I’m a film person,” Babett Nielsen says of career that takes in Susanne Bier’s 2006 Oscar-nominated “After the Wedding” and Peter Strickland’s “[link »


- John Hopewell

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Eddie Izzard Joins Australian Movie ‘The Call Back’

8 hours ago

Eddie Izzard will star in “The Call Back,” and filming will start on the Australian movie later this month in and around Adelaide. Izzard (“Victoria & Abdul”) will play Henry, a British actor who has a relationship with an Australian restauranteur.

French actress Vanessa Guide (“The New Adventures of Aladdin”), and Australian actors Emily Taheny (“Get Krack!n”), Luke McKenzie (“Wentworth”) will also star.

The film is Marion Pilowsky’s (“Sleuth”) feature debut and follows a struggling restaraunteur (Taheny), mired in debt, and who has had a short-lived relationship with Henry. She subsequently settles with a new partner (McKenzie), but her world is turned upside down when Henry comes back into her life, along with his new French girlfriend (Guide).

Fox International Productions, Screen Australia and the South Australian Film Corporation (Safc) are the investors in the film and it will be distributed in Australia via 20th Century Fox Film Australia. London-based [link=co »


- Stewart Clarke

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Apsa to Honor Late Abbas Kiarostami, Newcomer Ilgar Najaf

9 hours ago

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards are to honor the late Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami with a special prize. It has commended Kiarostami’s final feature “24 Frames” and will give him posthumous admission to the Apsa Academy.

“’24 Frames’ is an exquisite reverie on scenes from nature. Through still, but precise frames, and aided by subtle staging or effects, he captures the haunting, haiku-like poetry of nature, its beauty, amorousness and brutality. The play with the double meaning of ‘frame’ reflects his profound mediation on the cinematic form,” said Kim Hong-joon, hair of the Apsa international nominations council.

Director of “Certified Copy,” “Taste of Cherry,” and “Through the Olive Trees,” Kiarostami died in July this year.

Director and producer, Ilgar Najaf has been awarded the Apsa Young Cinema Award in partnership with Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (Netpac) and the Griffith Film School for his second film “Pomegranate Orchard” (aka “Nar Bagi”).

The story involves a man returning »


- Patrick Frater

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‘Village Rockstars,’ ‘Summer 1993’ Win Mumbai Film Festival

15 hours ago

Rima Das’ “Village Rockstars” won the golden gateway prize for best film in the India Gold competition, at the Mumbai Film Festival (Oct. 12-18). The festival concluded on Wednesday.

Village Rockstars” also won best film on gender equality. Bornila Chatterjee’s “The Hungry” merited a jury mention in the category.

Rahul Jain’s “Machines” took the silver gateway prize in the India Gold competition while Dipesh Jain’s “In the Shadows” won the grand jury prize. There were jury mentions for Sanal Kumar Sasidharan’s “Sexy Durga” and Anushka Meenakshi and Iswar Srikumar’s “Up Down and Sideways.”

Carla Simon’s “Summer 1993” (Spain) won the best film prize in the international competition and Jonathan Olshefski’s “Quest” (U.S.) won the silver gateway prize. John Trengove’s “The Wound” (South Africa/Germany/Netherlands /France) won the grand jury prize and there was a jury mention for Ana Urushadze’s “Scary Mother” (Georgia/Estonia).

Ildiko Enyedi’s “On Body »


- Naman Ramachandran

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Film News Roundup: Bill Nighy, Jack Lowden to Star in Comedy ‘Made in Italy’

18 hours ago

In today’s film news roundup, Bill Nighy and Jack Lowden join “Made in Italy,” a new distributor named Anerke launches with a focus on films for minorities and women, Jeffrey Tambor gets an award and the Sloan Summit announces its panelists.

Castings

Bill Nighy and “Dunkirk” star Jack Lowden have signed up for the comedy “Made in Italy,” James D’Arcy’s feature directorial debut.

Developed by London based CrossDay Productions, the film is produced by Pippa Cross and Sam Tipper-Hale with co-producer Nicola Serra for Italian production entity Palomar. HanWay’s Gabrielle Stewart and CrossDay’s Janette Day are executive producers.

D’Arcy  previously wrote and directed the  short film “Chicken/Egg,” starring Hayley Atwell and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, which screened at the 2017 Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Made in Italy” is set in Tuscany with Nighy as a bohemian London artist who returns to Italy with his estranged son (played by Lowden) to make a quick »


- Dave McNary

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Busan Facetime: Director Kamila Andini on Balancing Motherhood and Filmmaking

19 hours ago

When director Kamila Andini showcased her debut feature, “The Mirror Never Lies,” in Busan in 2011, she already mentioned that her second feature would be a story about children and nature. That story, “The Seen and Unseen, which screens in Busan’s A Window on Asian Cinema, took her six years to make. The filmmaker says that many things have changed in the meantime.

What took you so long to come back with a second full-length feature?

After “The Mirror,” I got married, had two kids and have been raising them. I wish I could find a better reason, but I think every woman-mother filmmaker must know how these things take time. Meanwhile, I managed to release two short films during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It was a “practice” to handle both roles in my life: mother and filmmaker.

How do you feel about coming back to Busan with a new feature film?

Mixed feelings. Of course »


- Sonia Kil

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VidAngel Declares Bankruptcy to Put Copyright Fight on Hold

19 hours ago

VidAngel, the Utah-based streaming service that filters out offensive content, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday.

The filing is designed to put its copyright battle with three major studios on hold, as it seeks to expand its new filtering service.

“We have millions in the bank, and we’re already making millions on the new system,” said CEO Neal Harmon. “Business will continue as usual for our customers and our employees and all our team.”

VidAngel’s original service gave family audiences the power to filter out violence, sexual content, and foul language from mainstream studio releases. The company did not have a license with the content owners. Instead, it bought up copies of DVD’s, decrypted them, and then “sold” them to users who accessed them online and then “sold” them back to VidAngel. VidAngel argued this was permissible under the federal Family Movie Act, which was designed to allow filtering of offensive content.

But Warner »


- Gene Maddaus

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