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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Movies

Academy invites record number of new members in bid to diversify. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent out a record 928 invitations to new members on Monday as part of an effort to diversify its ranks. Despite the serious mission, the list was packed with comics and comedic actors including Tiffany Haddish, Mindy Kaling, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, George Lopez, Rashida Jones, Hannibal Buress, Dave Chappelle, Isla Fisher, Damon Wayans and Harry Shearer. Reportedly Kobe Bryant, who won an Oscar this year for best animated short film, was shot down as a new member for not having enough experience. Last year, 774 invitations were sent out. (PageSix)

Sigourney Weaver Joins Rome Film Fest Sessions Lineup. Paolo Virzi will present his new film 'Notti Magiche' about the 1990 Rome World Cup. The lineup for the 13th Rome Film Fest is already taking shape. Sigourney Weaver will travel to Italy to take part in a Close Encounter session, the festival's name for its public discussions with big industry names. The actress, known for some of the biggest box-office hits in history from Alien and Ghostbusters to Avatar, will discuss her long career and the versatile acting skills that made her famous. As previously announced, Martin Scorsese is set to receive the lifetime achievement award at the event. The director will also take part in a Close Encounter session. He is set to talk about his fifty-year long career, as well as the Italian films that have influenced his own body of work. In addition, organizers unveiled Tuesday that director Paolo Virzi will present his latest film, Notti Magiche, which is set in Rome during the 1990 World Cup. The film is produced by Marco Belardi for Lotus Production with Rai Cinema. Academy Award-winning director Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso) will also take part in a Close Encounter event to discuss his influences, including the noir genre, literature and other cinema. And Paolo Sorrentino's longtime collaborator cinematographer, Luca Bigazzi, will discuss the craft with another Italian heavyweight cinematographer, Arnaldo Catinari. Meanwhile, editors Giogio Franchini and Esmeralda Calabria will host a talk about the theory behind their work. And artist and Academy Award-winning co-writer of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Pierre Bismuth will also discuss his work with the public at the festival. Two retrospectives are already planned, one for English comedy giant Peter Sellers, and one for French filmmaker Maurice Pialat. Additionally, between October and January, the Museum of Ara Pacis will host an exhibition dedicated to Italian icon Marcello Mastroianni. The Rome Film Fest takes place Oct. 18-Oct. 28. (Hollywood Reporter)

Billie Piper, Penelope Wilton Join Sally Hawkins in 'Eternal Beauty'. The film, now in production, marks rising star Craig Roberts' second turn as director. Rising multi-hyphenate Craig Roberts has beefed up the British cast for his upcoming second feature, Eternal Beauty, now in production in Wales. Alongside the already announced and new Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water, Paddington), Billie Piper (Yerma, Doctor Who), Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey), Alice Lowe (Prevenge, Sightseers) and David Thewlis (Fargo, Wonder Woman) have also joined the film. Other cast members include Bob Pugh (Master and Commander), Rob Aramayo (Game of Thrones), Morfydd Clark (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) and Paul Hilton (Lady Macbeth). Roberts' second directorial feature after 2015's BAFTA-nominated Just Jim, Eternal Beauty will tell the story of Jane (Hawkins) who, after being dumped at the altar, has a breakdown and spirals into a chaotic world, where love (both real and imagined) and family relationships collide with both touching and humorous consequences. Written and directed by Roberts and produced by Adrian Bate of Cliff Edge Pictures, the executive producers are Mary Burke (BFI), Adam Partridge (Ffilm Cymru Wales), Pip Broughton (Cliff Edge), Mero Candy (Wellcome), Paul Higgins (Dragon). The film is financed by; the BFI (awarding funds from the National Lottery), Ffilm Cymru Wales, Welsh Government and Wellcome. The director of photography is Kit Fraser (Under The Shadow), with the shoot set to take five weeks in and around Cardiff, Newport and Port Talbot. Bankside Films reps foreign sales rights for the film, while Endeavour Content and Bankside Films co-represent domestic sales rights. Alongside his second stint as director, Roberts is also set to star in the upcoming J.R.R. Tolkien biopic Tolkien. (Hollywood Reporter)

Ischia Global Festival to Open With 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado'. The 'Gomorrah' director makes his international debut with 'Soldado.' The Ischia Global Film and Musical Festival will open on July 15 with the Italian premiere of Sicario: Day of the Soldado, starring Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin. The film will screen in the festival's outdoor cinema overlooking the Lacco Ameno Bay at sunset. The film opens June 29 in the U.S., but not until Oct. 18 in Italy. Soldado is the heavily-anticipated sequel to the 2015 film Sicario. In the middle of the drug war the CIA sends Matt Graver (Brolin) to team up with former undercover operative Alejandro Gilick (del Toro) to kidnap the daughter of a drug lord, a false flag operation designed to incite rival cartels. The mission soon turns south when it's uncovered by the Mexican government and Gilick goes rogue in order to protect the young girl. The film also stars Matthew Modine, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener and Shea Whigham. Soldado marks the first international studio picture from director Stefano Sollima. Known for his gritty crime-drama films, including ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards) and Suburra, as well as such TV series as Romanzo Criminale and Gomorrah, Sollima has helped put new Italian productions on the map recently, especially amid the recent wave of peak TV series. He recently co-created ZeroZeroZero, which follows a shipment of cocaine from South America to Europe. The series, like Gomorrah, is based on a book by journalist Roberto Saviano. The 16th annual Ischia Global Festival takes place July 15-July 22. Honor guests announced for this year include Quincy Jones and TV Academy chairman Hayma Washington. (Hollywood Reporter)

Carlo Chatrian on Hopes and Challenges in Taking Over Berlin Film Festival. The head of Switzerland's Locarno festival is ready to take on the German giant. Back in 2012, when Italian journalist and author Carlo Chatrian was appointed artistic director of Switzerland's Locarno Film Festival, he said he hoped the festival wouldn't change him. And indeed, six years later, it's he who has left his mark on the fest. If there was something that tied together Chatrian's Locano lineups, it was the element of surprise. Every year, he offered up something entirely new, introducing festival audiences to often unknown directors, presenting career retrospectives full of long-buried films, and bringing in American talent with no significant European fan base. But obvious through it all was his delight in cinematic discovery, rooted in his formative years as a cinephile, audience goer and sharp-eyed intellectual. So the best advice for those speculating about what Chatrian will mean for the Berlin International Film Festival -- last Friday, he was confirmed as Berlin's new artistic director, taking over, with Mariette Rissenbeek serving as managing director, from outgoing Berlinale boss Dieter Kosslick, after the 2019 fest -- is to expect the unexpected. Chatrian is loath to talk much about Berlin, being heads-down focused on rolling out his last edition of Locarno, which takes place Aug. 1-Aug. 11. But, naturally, he's already thinking about what he'll miss about the historic Swiss festival, which has taken place every summer since 1946 in the sleepy resort town on Lake Maggiore. In the intimate setting, Chatrian can be seen at nearly every main screening, including in front of the 8,000 strong audience at the open-air galas on the Piazza Grande, introducing each film and guest with a few kind words. "I don't know whether I'll be able to do this in Berlin," he tells THR by phone from Locarno. "It's a different setting, and usually the festival director is not introducing films. This is something I'm going to miss, where I can give a brief hint into the emotion of the film without spoiling anything." But Chatrian plans to stick to his curatorial instincts when it comes to picking films for Berlin. He still lives for the thrill of surprising audiences and discovering new talent, and he is steadfast in his belief that festivals exist to advocate for films that might otherwise be ignored. "Every film festival director wants to surprise their audiences in their own way," he says. "I hope I won't change myself. I said it when I was appointed in Locarno and I'm saying it again: I hope I will still be able to put myself in the shoes of a viewer. I think this is very important when we select films to think about the people who will watch the films. So I hope that my outlook upon films won't change much." But he does acknowledge that the shift to Berlin -- a festival some 300 times larger in terms of the number of screenings and the size of the audience -- will mean changes in approach. "Of course, when you are working in another festival, it's also the setting of the festival that interferes in a way with your work, which is normal," he says. "But the struggle is always to convey something of yourself and also the group you're working with." Chatrian will also be walking into a battle he didn't start. Kosslick, who has run the Berlinale since 2001, came under heavy fire of late from members of the German film industry, who accused him of lacking a clear curatorial vision for the festival and of neglecting Berlin's tradition of intellectual art-house cinema, particularly new German films. On the other side, there is a call for Berlin to become more commercial and attract bigger Hollywood or Oscar-favored titles. Many look to the success of Venice in recent years, which has improved its international profile by shrinking its competition lineup and focusing on high-profile films with awards buzz. Asked how he'll respond to the different demands between art-house and Hollywood in Berlin, Chatrain acknowledges it will be difficult. "Of course it's impossible to please everyone. (But) the solution is not to give a little bit of everything to everyone." "I need some time to understand better in a practical way what the challenges are," he adds. "At the same time, I think that Berlin has an identity that is very much related to the city, very much related to the history of the festival, and my job will also be to adapt myself or rather to find how can I be part of the history of this festival. I don't believe that someone can arrive and change everything all of a sudden. It's a process." While Chatrian says he's immensely honored and excited to take on his new position, he does acknowledge the leap from Locarno to Berlin is a big one. "It is really on the other extreme of the festival spectrum, not only because Locarno takes place in a small village and Berlin is a metropolis, but the perception of the festival and the audience is very different." "Also the weather is the opposite," he jokes, hinting at Locarno's summer climate, which is very different from Berlin's notoriously cold winters. "The challenge is to be able to handle a festival that is a huge machine with so many sections, so many people involved," he says. "I need time to be acquainted with this new dimension." Chatrian has attended the festival for the last 15 years as a professional and knows the main venues, but realizes this is only scratching the surface of the immense event. "I have to understand very well what it means to screen a film in one venue or in another one," he says. Chatrian, who speaks Italian, English, French, and Spanish, but not German, says he is also looking forward to learning the language and to moving part-time to Berlin. "It's a city full of opportunity, not only with cinema," he says. "Doing a festival in such a big city, this is such an important element in understanding the cultural scene, and to see whether there is some kind of cultural connection. This is the moment to me where everything seems possible." One thing that will be on his mind with the Berlinale is discovering a new generation of German filmmakers. "This is part of the scouting work that I will try to do. I think there is this need for finding new voices in German cinema." He gives the example of Cannes' small showing of German film this year, with only Ulrich Kohler's In My Room in the official selection. "I know there are new directors, new voices, everything. The matter is to really give them space," Chatrian says. "I really believe that filmmakers form themselves by watching films and discussing with other filmmakers. This is part of the job that I hope I will be able to do," he adds. "My contract is for five years, so I hope that from the first one until the last one there will be a renewal of the German director, and simply of new cinema voices in general." (Hollywood Reporter)

World Cup: Baltasar Kormakur Screens 'Adrift' for Iceland Team Ahead of Crucial Croatia Game. "I'll take the credit if they win, not if they fail!" laughs the Icelandic director. The Icelandic soccer team has been given an inspirational cinematic boost ahead of its crucial World Cup game against Croatia on Thursday, a match it must win (and see other results go its way) in order to progress to the next round. Adrift, the Shailene Woodley-starring disaster epic from arguably Iceland's most famous filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur, was screened to the squad in Russia on the eve of the game. "They need inspiration" Kormakur tells The Hollywood Reporter, adding that the film's real-life story of one woman's survival against all odds while near-shipwrecked and alone on the Pacific Ocean could give them the suitable drive to succeed. "I said to them, if you think you have your backs against the wall, have a look at this girl." Kormakur did a similar thing for the Icelandic team the smallest nation by population to ever attend the World Cup with his previous Hollywood title (and another real-life disaster epic), Everest, in 2015. "I think they were in Holland playing the final game of the European Championship qualifiers." Iceland stunned the soccer world with a 1-0 victory on Dutch home soil, helping secure it a place at the 2016 European Championships (again, the smallest nation to do so). "So hopefully we'll have that again," says Kormakur. "I'll take the credit if they win, not if they fail!" Speaking to THR in London ahead of Adrift's U.K. release on Friday, Kormakur admits that Iceland, despite managing to pull off a shock 1-1 draw against Argentina in its opening World Cup game, now has a "very narrow window" to continue to the final 16, having lost its second match against Nigeria and with Argentina looking determined to make up for its poor start to the competition. "But they have great spirit and big hearts," says the director. A near-perfect 99.6 percent of TV-watching Icelanders tuned in to see the Argentina match, making it the country's most-viewed sporting event. But Kormakur says that this figure was topped by the his record-breaking show Trapped, currently in post on season two. "The ratings of the final episode was higher than the Argentina game," he says, while acknowledging that this was aided by the match being aired earlier in the day. "But if we could been the final of the World Cup or even get to the last 16 I'm sure it would beat us." (Hollywood Reporter)

IMAX CEO says people are over 3-D movies. Remember those old 3-D glasses to see IMAX? Now they're gone. Richard Gelfond: "We don't like that anymore. They lost their popularity. Now the preference is for 2-D. China and Russia still see it in 3-D and still use glasses." Not knowing whatthehell he's talking about, I first asked who he is. "I'm IMAX's CEO. Once I was a sportswriter, banker, lawyer, ran small companies, did lots of things. Then I heard about this. Thinking it's a dream, a new way to watch movies, I bought the company and took it public in '94." The theater at 68th & Broadway previewed "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" with an IMAX option. In the crowd, Hillary's fund-raiser Alan Patricof and Patrick McMullan, who even photographed the original Tyrannosaurus. Gelfond, who was at this thing with his wife, Peggy Bonapace: "Our new image size is intense. You feel you're in the actual movie. Your eye can shop where to look. A regular movie's within peripheral vision. Here, with five dinosaurs you actually see all five. "It's like flying first class or coach. Coach you see only inches ahead of you. First class you see all around. IMAX shows you more. The white's whiter, red's redder. And you see what you want to see -- not just the lead character whom the director's focusing on. You see all around. More stuff's happening on the screen -- the bottom, the sides, you're not constrained. "And we're now doing it with content from top filmmakers -- J.J. Abrams, Spielberg, Damien Chazelle, Tom Cruise's 'Mission: Impossible -- Fallout,' 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'Avengers,' 'Avatar.' We're rolling this out worldwide. The 'Star Wars' opening in London. Blockbuster events that want to be on IMAX. We're doing the Eiffel Tower in July. "Listen, it's 1,500 theaters, 80 countries a $1 billion-a-year operation." Mr. Gelfond, a New Yorker, is obviously very smart. He did not eat the theater's really crappy popcorn. (PageSix)

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