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It's been a busy week for Film Society of Lincoln Center, lining up the program for the 50th annual New York Film Festival. Announcements of "Life of Pi" and "Flight" as bookends to the fest already stood out as a major step forward where nabbing exclusive bows was concerned, and today, it's been revealed that "Not Fade Away" will see its world premiere as a centerpiece presentation.
David Chase's much-anticipated directorial debut tells the coming-of-age tale of a group of friends inspired to form their own rock band fronted by a gifted singer-songwriter. But talking with a publicist this week who's working on the film, it's also apparently very much about that moment in time when Chase and his friends moved to New York and realized there was a way of life as artists. And with a killer soundtrack to boot.
Chase, of course, made his name on the small screen with series like "Northern Exposure" and, most especially, "The Sopranos." It's nice that his first stab at the big screen will be an intimate portrait along these lines. "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini has a role in the film, which also stars Brad Garrett, Christopher McDonald and Bella Heathcote, among others.
Via press release, Chase said "'Not Fade Away' is a personal film with a backdrop very important to me, a period in American music that was one of the best. To have the film debut at the NYFF exceeds my wildest dreams and the dreams of everyone associated with the movie. So many of my favorite films have been revealed to the public at the NYFF. I'm honored and thrilled."
I've been hearing the film could be something to watch this season, particularly for performances. It will now be released on December 21, which puts it right in the thick of things. And Paramount, with really just this and "Flight" on its hands (nice job nailing down NYFF with these two), has a unique year ahead of itself. After the large-scale "Hugo" and big pushes for "The Fighter" and "Up in the Air," among others, I imagine it's going to be refreshing to have a pair like this. They present their own challenges, but they're also unassuming dramas. The spotlight will be elsewhere, putting the heat on other contenders.
With that, the 50th annual NYFF has a very exciting structure to build around. I imagine we'll see plenty of Sundance, Cannes, Toronto and Venice carry-overs, but these three represent a stellar string of (official) exclusivity.
The New York Film Festival runs September 28 - October 14.
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