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Billy Gil graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and has worked for People and Daily Variety. He is the editor of the Pipeline section and IndieFile, both of which highlight independent films on DVD. For IndieFile tips and inquiries, email bgil@questex.com. For inclusion on IndieFile's Feedroom channel, contact Renee Rosado (rrosado@questex.com). Follow IndieFile on Twitter, at Twitter.com/IndieFile.


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1 Mar, 2010

Sundance Selects Premieres ‘Enemy’s Enemy,’ ‘Against the Current’


Sundance Selects, which is available on the main on-demand platform of such cable operators as Comcast, Cox, Cablevision and Time Warner, has two new films coming in March.

March 10 comes My Enemy’s Enemy, a documentary from Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) shown at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals that tells of Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie a.k.a. the Butcher of Lyon. His story is said to be full of intrigue and suspense, along the lines of such films as The Odessa File and The Boys From Brazil.

Also, coming March 24 is Against the Current, a drama based on a true story of a man who aims to swim the Hudson River. The film premiered at Sundance and stars Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk (“Weeds”), Elizabeth Reaser (The Twilight Saga: New Moon), Michelle Trachtenberg (awesomely bitchy Georgina Sparks in “Gossip Girl”) and none other than Mary Tyler Moore. 

The films will be available for two to three months.

Also, if you haven’t yet checked out my story on independent film and VOD, read it here.

By: Billy Gil


22 Feb, 2010

Reprise to Release New Young BD/DVD


Reprise Records will release concert film Neil Young Trunk Show on Blu-ray and DVD later this year.

Trunk Show is the second film in a trilogy about Neil Young by filmmaker Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs). The first was 2006’s Heart of Gold.

Trunk Show, which premiered at the 2009 South By Southwest Film Festival, was shot on hand-held HDCam, HDV and Super-8mm cameras, and culls from two shows Young performed at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Penn., in 2007. Songs include “Cinnamon Girl,” “Cowgirl in the Sand” and “After the Gold Rush,” as well as more rare cuts.

The film will screen theatrically in select cities for one-week engagements beginning March 19.

Also, I love Neil Young and he is the best ever.

By: Billy Gil


18 Feb, 2010

Anchor Bay Gets Rights to Cult Film ‘I Spit on Your Grave’


Whatever you think of I Spit on Your Grave, a remake coming to DVD and Blu-ray in the first quarter of 2011, from Anchor Bay Entertainment, following a Halloween theatrical release in 2010.

CineTel Films is remaking the cult film, which has been reviled and reexamined since its release in 1978. The reasons for its controversial nature aren’t hard to grasp — the film features an extended gang rape scene, which is then followed by the victim exacting revenge upon her attackers over the course of the film. Detractors include Roger Ebert. But it’s easy to see echoes of the film’s themes of feminist revenge (Meir Zarchi’s original title for the film was Day of the Woman), in celebrated films such as Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill (I have no clue what Mr. Tarantino thinks of I Spit on Your Grave, but my guess is the “Grindhouse” director doesn’t agree with the thumbs-down guy).

According to bloody-disgusting.com, the film will be directed by Steven R. Monroe and stars new face Sarah Butler.

By: Billy Gil


17 Feb, 2010

SXSW Comedy ‘Overbrook Brothers’ Comes to VOD


I’m loving all the film festival love through on-demand carriers. The YouTube experiment with screening Sundance films may have been decried as a “dud,” but offering film festival movies through alternate means (other than DVD) seems to be the best way to get these films out there, given the shrinking shelf space for independent DVD and Blu-ray at the retail level. If Netflix can get on the film festival train (never mind the closing of its independently minded Red Envelope Entertainment) through its Watch Instantly service, who knows how much more exposure these films could get?

The latest film festival offering through on-demand (VOD) is the South by Southwest IFC comedy The Overbrook Brothers, which is available starting today through Bright House, Cablevision, Cox and Comcast.

The SXSW film concerns two rival brothers who both discover they’re adopted, prompting a road trip to find their biological parents. The film from Austin-based director/co-writer/producer John Bryant has received positive reviews from Ain’t It Cool News, Seattle Weekly and Cinematical. There’s no word yet on a DVD release.

By: Billy Gil


9 Feb, 2010

Film Movement Gets Brazilian Dance Doc


Film Movement has acquired the rights to Only When I Dance, a Portuguese-language documentary from British director Beadie Finzi. The film follows two ballet hopefuls, both poor, from the favelas on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

There’s a happy ending to this story — Irlan Silva, one of the kids in the film, is now touring with the junior company of American Ballet Theater. 

The Tribeca official selection will see a limited theatrical run and premiere through Video on Demand in the summer.
 
“This inspirational film has been charming festival audiences around the world, and now it is time for its infectious joie de vivre to hit North American theaters and homes,” said Film Movement president Adley Gartenstein. “We are thrilled to be its distributor and make this happen.”

By: Billy Gil


9 Feb, 2010

New Video Bows Henri Cartier-Bresson Set


Genre: Documentary
Studio: New Video
Street date: 3/30
Prebook Date: 2/23
Price/Format: $49.95 two-DVD set
Reserve for purchase


Photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson shot several documentaries between the 1930s and 1970s that are being released together with documentaries on Cartier-Bresson in a two-DVD set, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Collector’s Edition, from New Video’s Arthouse Films label. The set is timed to street just before a retrospective of Cartier-Bresson’s work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Disc one of the set includes five films by Cartier-Bresson: Victory of Life (1937), Spain Will Live (1938), The Return (1945), California Impressions (1970) and Southern Exposures (1971). Disc two includes features on or related to the subject himself, with Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye (2003), Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Adventure (1962), Contacts: Henri Cartier-Bresson (1994), Flagrants délits (1967), A Day in the Studio of Henri Cartier-Bresson (2005) and Lest We Forget: Letter to Mamadou Bâ (1991), the latter of which he made with Martine Franck.

The set also includes a 24-page book with criticism of Cartier-Bresson’s work as well as reproductions of his photographs.

By: Billy Gil


4 Feb, 2010

Wolfe Gets Rights to ‘Contracorriente’ at Sundance


Wolfe Releasing has acquired the rights to Contracorriente (The Undertow), winner of the Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Audience Award for Dramatic Feature at this year’s festival. The film comes from writer/director Javier Fuentes-Leõn, about a married fisherman in a small Peruvian village hiding his love for another man.
 
“We are thrilled to represent this touching story,” said Wolfe Releasing president Maria Lynn. “We are confident that all audiences will love this haunting and beautifully crafted film about forbidden love within the traditions of a small town.”

The film stars Cristian Mercado, Tatiana Astengo and Manolo Cardona as the lover. Cardono stars in the awesomely titled Telemundo series “Sin Tetas No Hay Paraíso” (Without Breasts There Is No Paradise) and also was in Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
 
Wolfe will screen the film at both mainstream and gay venues, including at film festivals, and on DVD, VOD and television, with a possible theatrical release

Props to Wolfe for continuing to release quality gay and lesbian films.

By: Billy Gil


4 Feb, 2010

SXSW Film Festival Announces Screening Lineup


The South By Southwest Film Festival, taking place in Austin March 12-20 as part of South By Southwest 2010 (SXSW), has announced its screening schedule.

This year’s festival will see 119 feature-film screenings, 55 of which will be world premieres. The lineup includes Rogue’s MacGruber, from director Jorma Taccone; Jay and Mark Duplass’ Cyrus; Bernard Rose’s Mr. Nice; Tim Blake Nelson’s Leaves of Grass; Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Micmacs; Michel Gondry’s The Thorn in the Heart; Alexandre O. Philippe’s The People vs. George Lucas; Shane Meadows’ Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee; Steven Soderbergh’s And Everything Is Going Fine; Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas’ American: The Bill Hicks Story; Mike Woolf’s Man on A Mission; Jacob Hatley’s Ain’t In It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm; Mark Landsman’s Thunder Soul; Daniel Stamm’s Cotton; Chris D’Arienzo’s Barry Munday; and, last but certainly not least, Floria Sigismondi’s The Runaways, starring Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie. Previously announced screenings include opening night film Kick-Ass, as well as Cold Weather, Elektra Luxx and documentaries Hubble 3D, Lemmy, Saturday Night and The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights.

“It was an incredibly competitive year with record submission numbers, and although we had to make really tough decisions, we are extremely excited about this lineup. I’m in awe of the talent on display throughout all the sections,” says film conference and festival producer Janet Pierson. “We feel we’ve achieved a great balance that continues our tradition of screening films across all budget lines and styles, and we take particular pride in witnessing the evolution of SXSW alumni as well as the vitality of fresh voices.”

See the whole schedule here. Check back at IndieFile (or follow us on Twitter) to find out more SXSW news.

By: Billy Gil


1 Feb, 2010

Sundance Winners Announced

sundance
sundance

The 2010 Sundance Film Festival has come to a close, with the winners of its annual awards announced. Check back at IndieFile for Sundance DVD and acquisition announcements.

Some of the 2010 winners are:

Grand Jury Prize, Dramatic: Winter’s Bone, directed by Debra Granik
Grand Jury Prize, Documentary: Restrepo, directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington
World Cinema Jury Prize, Dramatic: Animal Kingdom, written and directed by David Michôd
World Cinema Jury Prize, Documentary: The Red Chapel (Det Røde Kapel), directed by Mads Brügger
Dramatic Audience Award: happythankyoumoreplease, written and directed by Josh Radnor
Documentary Audience Award: Waiting for Superman, directed by Davis Guggenheim
World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award: Contracorriente (Undertow), written and directed by Javier Fuentes-Leõn
World Cinema Documentary Audience Award: Wasteland, directed by Lucy Walker
The Best of NEXT: Homewrecker, directed by Todd Barnes and Brad Barnes
Directing Award, Dramatic: 3 Backyards, directed and written by Eric Mendelsohn
Directing Award, Documentary: Smash His Camera, directed by Leon Gast
World Cinema Directing Award, Dramatic: Southern District, directed and written by Juan Carlos Valdivia
World Cinema Directing Award, Documentary: Space Tourists, directed by Christian Frei
Special Jury Prize: Dramatic: Sympathy for Delicious, directed by Mark Ruffalo
Special Jury Prize: Documentary: Gasland, directed by Josh Fox

For a full list of winners and coverage, check out indieWIRE.

By: Billy Gil


28 Jan, 2010

Howard Zinn Honored on DVD

Howard Zinn
Howard Zinn

Many were saddened to hear of historian, professor and activist Howard Zinn’s death Jan. 27. The anti-war activist wrote about conflicts all the way through the Iraq War. His life can be celebrated on several DVDs that bear interviews with Zinn or are inspired by his work.

First up is The People Speak, coming out Feb. 23 at $19.95 from A&E Home Video (reserve). The film is based on Zinn’s influential 1980 book A People’s History of the United States as well as its companion book, co-edited by Zinn and Anthony Arnove, Voices of a People’s History. The History Channel release was co-produced by Zinn and features the words of dissenters throughout history, from Frederick Douglass to Bob Dylan, as read by the likes of actors Matt Damon, Viggo Mortensen, Josh Brolin, Marisa Tomei, Danny Glover, Morgan Freeman, Sandra Oh, Sean Penn, Rosario Dawson and Don Cheadle, as well as through musical performances by Dylan, John Legend, Jackson Browne, Eddie Vedder and and Bruce Springsteen, among others.

First Run Features also has several films available — The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (trailer, purchase) is releasing in theaters and is available for preorder. Zinn served as an expert witness in Ellsberg’s trial over the publication of the Pentagon Papers, a top secret government document that leaked to the press detailing U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Also available from First Run are Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train (trailer, purchase), about Zinn, as well as documentaries Sacco and Vanzetti (trailer, purchase), about the bigotry two Italian immigrant anarchists faced while accused of a murder; The Camden 28 (trailer, purchase), about 28 dissenters who tried to destroy draft records during the Vietnam War; and One Bright Shining Moment (trailer, purchase), about the grassroots movement for presidential candidate George McGovern, all of which include interviews with Zinn.

By: Billy Gil