<p>Steven&nbsp;Spielberg arriving at the Oscars in February</p>

Steven Spielberg arriving at the Oscars in February

Credit: AP Photo

From 'Lincoln' to Cannes to 'Napoleon,' Steven Spielberg is everywhere lately

The celebrated filmmaker is putting the pedal to the metal post-Oscars

Barely a week after his film "Lincoln" only managed two Oscars from 12 nominations and deferred to "Argo" on Best Picture honors, Steven Spielberg seems as ubiquitous as ever. Fresh off the Academy Awards he was announced as head of the jury for this year's Cannes Film Festival and he received a nice love letter in the New York Times last week pitting him as a sort of Godfather to Hollywood filmmakers.

"I think, for Steven, sometimes it’s the most fun to weigh in on someone else’s work when there are no consequences," "Jurassic Park" screenwriter and "Premium Rush" director David Koepp said in the piece. "He is free to just talk about the creative part."

But it doesn't end there. Recently Spielberg revealed that he is developing Stanley Kubrick's long-gestating and eventually abandoned Napoleon project as a mini-series. It was 12 years ago that Spielberg's vision of another long-gestating Kubrick project, "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence," landed to mixed reaction in 2001. I've written before about my own initial complex reaction that then grew to adoration, respect and, eventually, reverence over the years. I now consider it one of Spielberg's best films. There are those, however, who didn't quite get there, and so this news might be unsettling for them.

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<p>A scene from Chad Hartigan's &quot;This is Martin&nbsp;Bonner&quot;</p>

A scene from Chad Hartigan's "This is Martin Bonner"

Credit: Monterey Media

Sundance announces NEXT WEEKEND film fest to showcase bold newcomer talent

Event is an extension of the NEXT section of the annual Sundance Film Festival

We were very proud around these parts back during the Sundance Film Festival as In Contention friend (and former contributor) Chad Hartigan won an award in the NEXT section over some stiff competition for his film "This is Martin Bonner." The film was picked up for distribution last week by Monterey Media, but while you'll have a chance to catch his work as a result of that deal, you might also have another opportunity at the Sundance Institute's Next Weekend Film Festival, should it be a part of the programming (and indeed, it ought to).

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<p>&quot;Viva Cuba Libre: Rap is War&quot;</p>

"Viva Cuba Libre: Rap is War"

Credit: Ouat Media

Miami Diary: 'Viva Cuba Libre,' 'The Boy Who Smells Like Fish' and meeting Darlene Love

First full day of the festival yields a genuine documentary discovery

MIAMI - Due respect to the Miami International Film Festival, which I'm confident has many delights in store over the next few days, but I think my festival experience may have peaked yesterday afternoon. Because, honestly, once you've had a hug from Darlene Love, it'd be unreasonable to expect much more from life -- much less a film festival.

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<p>The view from the official festival headquarters, The Standard Hotel.</p>

The view from the official festival headquarters, The Standard Hotel.

Credit: Guy Lodge

Checking in at the Miami International Film Festival

The fest kicked off last night with Sundance hit 'Twenty Feet from Stardom'

MIAMI - As thrilling as it is to be in the thick of the action at such superfests as Cannes or Sundance, I may well enjoy the smaller, less flashy film festival circuit even more --  as well as affording you a chance to catch up on previous festival hits you may have missed, the more off-the-beaten-track, locally-flavored programming often yields gems you'd never find otherwise. (And I won't lie: with less stress around covering this or that major auteur premiere comes more time to take in some local color. Hey, even cinephiles like seeing the off-screen world on occasion.) 

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<p>Pedro Almod&oacute;var on the set of &quot;I'm&nbsp;So Excited&quot;</p>

Pedro Almodóvar on the set of "I'm So Excited"

Credit: Sony Classics

Seatbacks and tray tables up as the trailer for Pedro Almodóvar's 'I'm So Excited' hits

Film is set for June 28 arrival, with a potential layover in Cannes

We mentioned a few weeks ago that Sony Classics has lined up release dates for its summer slate, consisting of Richard Linklater's Sundance hit "Before Midnight," Woody Allen's latest, "Blue Jasmine," and Pedro Almodóvar's "I'm So Excited." The latter in particular looks to be a wild romp akin to the director's earlier work.

We might expect to see the film, which hits theaters on June 28, at the Cannes Film Festival. Almodóvar's last film, "The Skin I Live In," premiered on the Croisette and news of his latest emanated from the fest in 2012.

A new trailer has been released, courtesy of Total Film. Take a look below.

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<p>Empire readers love &quot;The Avengers.&quot; Don't look so surprised, fellas.</p>

Empire readers love "The Avengers." Don't look so surprised, fellas.

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

'Skyfall,' 'The Avengers,' 'The Hobbit' lead nominations for Jameson Empire Awards

But what films were Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway nominated for?

While two-thirds of this year's Best Picture Oscar nominees grossed over $100 million, there are still those who think blockbuster cinema is shortchanged by the Academy -- franchise films, in particular, struggle to get much respect beyond the technical categories, however well-executed. We can argue back and forth about the rights and wrongs of that, but for more populist-minded viewers, the Jameson Empire Awards should come as a relief.

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<p>Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller in &quot;The Spectacular Now.&quot;</p>

Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller in "The Spectacular Now."

Credit: A24

A24 sets summer releases for 'Spectacular Now' and 'The Bling Ring'

The new distributor is building a youthful slate

Independent distributor A24 may be less than a year old, but they're already building a clear brand image -- if it's stylish, name-heavy and young-skewing, they're interested.

Though they've been making their presence felt with high-profile festival purchases since last fall, but they're only just beginning to venture out into the real world. Roman Coppola's critically panned "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III," starring Charlie Sheen and Bill Murray, was their first theatrical release three weeks ago -- it's left them much room for improvement.

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<p>The&nbsp;National frontman Matt&nbsp;Berninger</p>

The National frontman Matt Berninger

Credit: AP Photo

The National documentary 'Mistaken for Strangers' to open Tribeca fest

The 12th annual festival runs April 17-28

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.

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<p>Telluride, Colorado</p>

Telluride, Colorado

Credit: AP Photo

Telluride announces 40th anniversary festival celebration and creation of new venue

650-seat Werner Herzog Theatre pays tribute to fest's most famous regular

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.

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<p>Steven Spielberg</p>

Steven Spielberg

Credit: AP Photo

Steven Spielberg named president of this year's Cannes Film Festival jury

The festival runs from 15 to 25 May

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.) 

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