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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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24 Mar, 2010

Sony Pictures Nabs Rights to ‘Red Hill’


Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Berlin International Film Festival pick Red Hill.

The neo-western thriller stars Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse on “True Blood,” hubba hubba), as well as Steve Bisley (Mad Max) and Tom E. Lewis (The Proposition). The film was produced by Al Clark (Priscilla Queen of the Desert) and was written, produced and directed by Patrick Hughes, making his directorial debut. A release date hasn’t been set.
 
“Hughes has contemporized the revenge western with such style and adrenaline that we jumped at the opportunity to distribute such a badass movie,” said Scott Shooman, VP of acquisitions and productions for the group.
 
The film follows a young police office (Kwanten) who relocates to a small town with his expectant wife, only to face a nightmarish prison break. The film takes place over the course of one day and night. Sounds fun!

By: Billy Gil

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17 Mar, 2010

SXSW Film Festival Winners Announced


The big winners at the South by Southwest Film Festival were Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture, which won the narrative jury prize, and Jeff Malmberg’s Marwencol, which won the documentary jury prize, according to indieWIRE.

“… This is amazing to win just one week after Kathryn Bigelow winning the Oscar,” Dunham said while accepting the award.

Tiny Furniture, according to indieWIRE, is about a 22-year-old girl who comes home from college with a film degree and little direction. Marwencol follows a man seeking recovery after a fight in his backyard, which doubles as a fabricated World War II era town.

The rest of the winners are as follows:

Best Documentary Runner-up: War Don Don
Special Jury Award – Best Ensemble: Myth of the American Sleepover
Special Jury Award – Best Individual Performance: Brian Hasenfus in Phillip The Fossil

Feature Film Audience Awards

Documentary Feature: For Once in My Life
Narrative Feature: Brotherhood

Short Film Jury Awards

Narrative Shorts: Cigarette Candy
Runner Up: Teleglobal Dreamin’

Documentary Shorts: Quadrangle
Runner Up: White Lines and The Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug

Animated Shorts
Winner: The Orange
Runner Up: One Square Mile of Earth

Experimental Shorts
Winner: Night Mayor
Runner Up: Kids Might Fly

Music Videos
Winner: Cinnamon Chasers, “Luv Deluxe”
Runner Up: Grizzly Bear, “Forest”

Texas Shorts
Winner: Petting Sharks
Runner Up: The Big Bends

Time Warner Cable & Ovation Young Filmmaker Scholarship for Texas High School Short
Winner: Give the Dog a Bone
Runner Up: The Sleep Project

SXSW Special Awards

SXSW Wholphin Award
Winner: Quadrangle

SXSW Chicken & Egg Emergent Narrative Woman Director Award: Lena Dunham for Tiny Furniture

Special Award - The Chicken & Egg Pictures “We Believe in You” Award: Martha Stephens for Passenger Pigeons

For a full list of winners and more coverage, check indieWire.

And check out the Los Angeles Times’ coverage of the event, including reviews of some of the films that screened.

By: Billy Gil

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10 Mar, 2010

Indie Bits: Gravitas Inks Doc Deal, Film Movement Nabs ‘Jaffa,’ White Stripes Doc Screens

A platter of red and white cupcakes greeted viewers of <I>Under Great White Northern Lights</i>
A platter of red and white cupcakes greeted viewers of <I>Under Great White Northern Lights</i>

Lots going on in the indie film world today:

•    Gravitas Ventures has signed a deal with Lux Digital Pictures to bring two documentaries to video-on-demand providers. American Grindhouse, about the history of exploitation films, premieres March 13 at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival, then will debut on VOD thorugh Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. And, likely this summer, Nightmares in Red White and Blue, about evolution and history of the American horror film, will hit VOD as well.
•    Film Movement has acquired the Cannes and Toronto Official Selection Jaffa, a Hebrew-language film from Israel about families and prejudice.  The film will se a limited theatrical run and will premiere on VOD in the late summer of 2010.
•    Last night I had the distinct pleasure of seeing the new White Stripes documentary film about their tour of Canada, Under Great White Northern Lights. Filmmaker Emmet Malloy was on deck after the screening at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., to discuss the film, which celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the best rock band of the new millennium. The film features astonishing performances from their 2007 Canadian tour of standouts such as “Little Ghost,” “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself” and “Seven Nation Army,” as well as rare early footage of the band and footage from “side shows” the band did in remote towns of Canada. The absorbing film ends with an emotional moment with hyperactive Jack White and reticent Meg White coming to terms with the end of their tour and 10 years moving from husband and wife, to “brother and sister,” to friends and bandmates. The film hits DVD ($19.98), Blu-ray ($24.98) and in audio form, on CD, LP and boxed set, March 16 from WEA/Reprise.

By: Billy Gil

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9 Mar, 2010

Terry Gilliam Talks 'Imaginarium,' 3D

Terry Gilliam on the set
Terry Gilliam on the set

Genre: Fantasy
Studio: Sony Pictures
Street date: 4/27
Prebook date: 3/25
Price/Format: $28.95 DVD, $34.95 Blu-ray

Reserve on Netflix
Reserve for purchase (DVD or Blu-ray)

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a delirious dream ride, with Terry Gilliam (Brazil, 12 Monkeys) at the helm. Gilliam spoke with me and other journalists about, among other things, where he comes up with his ideas ("little elves," he says), how he brings them to life without a mammoth budget and what he thinks about 3D.

“I don’t think technology changes or saves anything,” Gilliam said. “3D is interesting, but you’re going to need more money to make a film. And if you need more money to make your film, you’re going to be limiting what you can say and do because that’s just the way it works. The more money, the more you’re constricted in what you say. You’re not out there to disturb people when you’re playing with $200 million dollars, you’re there to reassure them, stroke them, ‘ahhh, come back to my world, it’s going to be like you’ve seen before.’”

Take that, Avatar!

Read the whole story here.

 

 

By: Billy Gil

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8 Mar, 2010

Oscars Represent Big Win for Indies

kathryn bigelow hurt locker
kathryn bigelow hurt locker

And the best picture goes to …  The Hurt Locker? Yes, in an upset too delicious for Hollywood to stand, Kathryn Bigelow’s $14.7 million box office indie trumped ex-hubby James Cameron’s $700 million plus Avatar for best picture, and made Bigelow the first-ever female recipient of the best director Oscar.

All kidding aside, this is a great thing for independent film. Summit Entertainment’s Hurt Locker is the 18th independent film to win best picture in the past 30 years, according to the Independent Film & Television Alliance. IFTA also said indies (excluding short films) took home 12 Academy Awards last night, compared with nine for the major studios.

“Tonight’s Academy Awards, capped by the triumph of The Hurt Locker, celebrate the diversity, quality and creativity of independent films, and are visible evidence that those films matter to our industry and our audiences,” said IFTA President-CEO Jean Prewitt. “We congratulate the artists, risk takers and entrepreneurs of the independent film community and our IFTA members for their extraordinary success this season.”

Besides the aforementioned, other indie winners were:

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds (The Weinstein Co., on DVD/Blu-ray from Universal)
 
Best Supporting Actress
Mo'Nique - Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire (on DVD/Blu-ray March 9 from Lionsgate)
 
Best Original Screenplay
The Hurt Locker - Mark Boal (Voltage Pictures, on DVD/Blu-ray from Summit Entertainment)
 
Best Adapted Screenplay
Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire - Geoffrey Fletcher
 
Best Foreign Language Film
El Secreto De Sus Ojos (from Argentina, not yet announced for DVD/Blu-ray in the United States)
 
Best Documentary Feature
The Cove (The Works, on DVD from Lionsgate)
 
Best Costume Design
The Young Victoria (GK Films, on DVD/Blu-ray April 20 from Sony Pictures)
 
Best Sound Editing

The Hurt Locker

Best Sound Mixing
The Hurt Locker
 
Best Film Editing
The Hurt Locker

By: Billy Gil

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4 Mar, 2010

IFC Bows 3 SXSW Films On Demand, Including White Stripes Film


IFC Films has announced the three films it will release on demand day-and-date with their premieres at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival.

White Stripes fans, rejoice! March 12 will see the U.S. premiere and VOD debut of Emmett Malloy’s The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights, a document of their 2007 Canadian tour, culminating at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, for the band’s 10th anniversary show. March 15 comes Lovers of Hate, a dark comedy about sibling rivalry that IFC films bought at Sundance, from director Bryan Poyser (Independent Spirit Award nominee Dear Pillow). March 16 comes Le Donk & Scor-Zay-Zee, a rock mockumentary from British director Shane Meadows (This Is England) in the Spinal Tap vein about a roadie and failed musician who try to make rapper Scor-Zay-Zee a star with the help of the Arctic Monkeys.

The films will be available on the movies-on-demand platform of many major cable operators, such as Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner and Bright House, which together hit about 40 million homes.

By: Billy Gil

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4 Mar, 2010

Lionsgate Bows Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Tetro’


Genre: Drama
Studio: Lionsgate
Street date: 5/4
Prebook date: 4/7
Price/Format: $27.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray

Reserve on Netflix

Lionsgate is rolling out Francis Ford Coppola’s latest film, Tetro, a personal film about estranged brothers that is said to be partially inspired by some of his early experiences. In the film, Bennie (Alden Ehrenreich) travels to Buenos Aires to find his brother (Vincent Gallo), who was once a promising writer, and in the process family secrets and sibling rivaly are explored. I haven’t seen the film, which received mixed reviews, but with Coppola at the helm and an excellent cast, also including Pedro Almodóvar muse Carmen Maura and Pan’s Labyrinth’s Maribel Verdú, film buffs shouldn’t miss it.


 

By: Billy Gil

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3 Mar, 2010

Tribeca Launches New Platform and Virtual Film Festival

tribeca
tribeca

What did I tell you about the indie world going digital? Today, the Tribeca Film Festival not only has announced the launch of Tribeca Film, a new distribution and marketing platform for independent film, it also has announced Tribeca Film Festival Virtual, an online way for people to experience Tribeca, at www.tribecafilm.com/virtual, supported by American Express. Let me see if I can say “Tribeca” five more times in one sentence.

Tribeca Film will acquire and release films all year, through various distribution partners, and aim to capitalize on marketing by compressing traditional distribution windows. Seems like a good idea to me, after speaking with a with a filmmaker, Joe Swanberg, who said that despite his sweet deal with IFC to release his film through cable video-on-demand (VOD) at the same time as it premiered at South by Southwest (SXSW), he lamented the fact that it would hit DVD much later than its premiere, thus missing that crucial period when a film is first buzzed about. Tribeca Film will start with the VOD, day-and-date with the film-festival premiere (April 21 – May 2), and then release the films it acquires theatrically, through home entertainment, on airlines, at hotels, in public bathrooms (j/k!), via subscription and through ad-supported digital platforms. 

Tribeca Film will start with 10 features, seven of them screening day-and-date with their festival premiere. That means more than 40 million households will have access to the films, through partnerships with cable, satellite and telecom providers such as Comcast, Cablevision and Verizon FiOS. They’ll be featured on a Tribeca-branded menu for at least 60 days.

And if that wasn’t enough, the virtual film festival venture will enable viewers online to view full-length 2010 Tribeca Film Festival features and shorts, engage with filmmakers and audience members online and at the festival, and see panel discussions, filmmaker interviews and red-carpet stuff. The virtual fest runs from April 23-30, accompanying the world premiere of Edward Burns’ Nice Guy Johnny. Premium passes for the virtual festival will be limited, available to U.S. residents for $45 each, and they go on sale March 8 on the Tribeca site for American Express Cardmembers and March 15 for everyone else.

Virtual film festival titles include: Birth of Big Air; Climate of Change; Road, Movie; sex & drugs & rock & roll; TiMER; and Nice Guy Johnny. The rest of the Tribeca Film titles will be announced later this month.

By: Billy Gil

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3 Mar, 2010

Icarus Catches ‘Rabbit’


Icarus Films has acquired North American theatrical, non-theatrical, television and home video distribution rights for Oscar-nominated documentary short Rabbit à la Berlin.

Filmmakers Bartek Konopka, Piotr Rosolowski, and Anna Wydra tell the story of thousands of wild rabbits that lived between the two sections of the Berlin Wall, in the No Man’s Land. The area was full of grass and was hidden from predators for 28 years, until the fall of the Wall.

The film will open theatrically in October at Film Forum in New York City. The DVD is slated for release in 2011.

By: Billy Gil

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1 Mar, 2010

Wolfe Celebrates 25 Years With $25,000 Giveaway

Lily Tomlin
Lily Tomlin

Wolfe Releasing, the largest distributor of gay and lesbian films, with more than 300 films, is celebrating its 25th anniversary by giving away $25,000 in DVDs.

Every month in 2010, Wolfe will give two entrants to its “$25,000 Wolfe DVD Giveaway Contest” a Wolfe Gay DVD Library and a Wolfe Lesbian DVD Library, each valued at more than $1,000. Entry is limited to once per month, at www.wolfevideo.com.

As well, 25 U.S. cities will honor Wolfe this year for its commitment to gay and lesbian film with commendations at various galas.

“After 25 years, Wolfe is still acquiring, promoting and cultivating the next generation of gay and lesbian filmmakers and films from all over the globe,” said actress Lily Tomlin, who starred in The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, one of Wolfe’s first mainstream crossover films.

Congratulations, Wolfe!

By: Billy Gil

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