Lots of festival news this week. Next up, the Tribeca Film Festival has announced its opening night premiere for the 12th annual edition of the fest: Tom Berninger's documentary "Mistaken for Strangers," which chronicles Brooklyn-based band The National on tour.
This September I'll be off to the mountains of Colorado for my fifth trip to the Telluride Film Festival. It's been a delightful excursion to start every season over that spread, though even in that short amount of time the crunch of other outlets descending on the space for an early look at potential awards players has been felt (and even I started going at a time when that escalation was already on the rise).
Excitement will be as high as ever this year as the festival celebrates its 40th anniversary with an extra day added to the long Labor Day weekend festivities. Not only that, but a new venue has been announced bearing the name of the fest's most famous regular, director Werner Herzog.
Hey, who needs a third Best Director win? On the heels of his Oscar night disappointment, Steven Spielberg received some solace in the form of a very different, though arguably no less prestigious, cinematic honor: he's been named the the president of the Competition jury at the 66th Cannes Film Festival. (Not that it will have come as a surprise to him, of course: he provisionally accepted the job when it was offered to him two years ago.)
The engravings on Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov's Best Picture Oscars for "Argo" are still fresh and already the gears are spinning across the net on what to expect in the film awards season next year. Of course we were going to pile on.
If you've paid any attention to the film industry the last few weeks, or maybe at least noticed green icons all over Facebook and Twitter, you're well aware of the on-going state of frustration within the visual effects community. HitFix's Drew McWeeny laid out a very compelling and considered piece this week examining why the industry playing chicken with these guys is a bad, bad idea, and the reportage on the "fragile underpinnings" of all of this really stems back to a David Cohen piece in Variety two weeks ago. In so many words, we're approaching a watershed moment.
With that in mind, Visual Effects Society Executive Director Eric Roth has issued an open letter and a "call to action," imploring government and, certainly, industry attention be paid to this post-production sector. "The amazing irony," he writes, "is that while 47 of the top 50 films of all time are visual effects driven and billions of dollars of profits are generated yearly, the actual people who create the work are becoming an endangered species in California."
Read the letter in its entirety below.
You didn't think you had heard the last of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" star Quvenzhané Wallis, I hope. The youngest Best Actress nominee of all time was shrewdly announced on Oscar Sunday as the lead in the Will Smith-produced, Will Gluck-directed adaptation of the musical "Annie," and today a release date has been announced: Christmas 2014.
I'm a huge fan of Ramin Bahrani. Films like "Man Push Cart," "Chop Shop" and "Goodbye, Solo," to me, announced a vital new voice in American independent filmmaking. And when Guy caught and liked "At Any Price" at the Venice Film Festival last year, I was excited to catch it myself at the Telluride Film Festival just a few days later. There was something fetching there, but I couldn't quite saddle up to it. I've nevertheless been looking forward to giving it another look sooner or later, and the film's April 26 release date (opposite another bold American indie voice, Jeff Nichols and "Mud"), will provide a great opportunity to do just that. In the meantime, though, Collider has premiered the first poster for the Sony Pictures Classics release. Check it out below.
To call any foreign auteur attempting his first English-language feature a "fish out of water" doesn't give him (or her) a great deal of credit: a fish out of water is a pretty dead fish, after all, and it's hardly a novel observation that many artists are positively inspired by unfamiliar climes. But film history littered with enough unsuccessful crossover attempts to make us nervous whenever an esteemed world-cinema name decides to shed the subtitles (well, for us, at least).
And that, as they say, is that. The 2012-2013 film awards season was, in so many words, exhilarating, competitive, contentious, record-breaking, precedent-setting and awe-inspiring. Whether your favorites won or didn't even get an invite to the dance, the whole of it was a journey with many twists and turns. In the end, Ben Affleck's "Argo" dominated the critics awards, the industry awards and, eventually, the Oscars. And even if things soon enough settled into a bit of predictability, getting there was a blast. So if you'd like to relive all of the craziness along the way, feel free to do so via the links below, charting the ups and downs throughout the season.
What can one really say at the end of a season this contentious, this exciting, this tight every step of the way other than: "Gee, that was fun."