“Kuchar” to open 16th Chicago Underground Film Festival
The Midwest debut of Jennifer Kroot’s “It Came from Kuchar” with John Waters, Buck Henry, Atom Egoyan and George and Mike Kuchar will open the Chicago Underground Film Festival, taking place September 10 – 17. The film profiles the Kuchars – icons of the 1960’s New York underground film scene whose “no budget” films have been cited as inspirations by Waters, Henry and Egoyan. Other festival highlights include the world premiere of “American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein by David Ridgen and Nicolas Rossier, which will screen as the fest’s Centerpiece as well as the Midwest premieres of Lucy Raven’s “China Town,” Jennifer Oreck’s “Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo” and the world debut of Steve Stasso’s “Cellar” about three outsiders working in Hell’s Kitchen. Using both trained
and untrained actors, many of whom are foreign born, and mixing factual and fictional elements,
the film depicts the lives of multi-ethnic immigrants as they clash with mainstream society. The film festival is produced in association with IFP/Chicago. For more information and a full list of films, visit their website.
Inglourious Basterds benefits from the Twitter factor
It may have received decidedly mixed reviews from better-known critics, but Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds looks to have benefited from a previously unheralded box office phenomenon: the Twitter factor…Analytics provider Crimson Hexagon, however, says 78% of those who commented on Inglourious Basterds on Twitter gave positive responses, and that may have helped encourage people to see it. Ben Child reports for The Guardian.
“Immaculate” takes best feature at Downtown Film Festival – L.A.
Over the 11-day festival, more than 200 films were screened at the Downtown Film Festival – Los Angeles, with David Russo’s “The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle” winning the best feature prize, while Jeffrey J. Orgill won best feature director for “Boppin’ at the Glue Factory.” Also taking prizes were Mickey Blaine (“Commit”) for best feature screenplay, while “Storm Tiger Mountain” by Scott Cummings won best short. The festival concluded on Saturday with the West Coast Premiere of “Jackson 5 In Africa,” a 1974 music documentary film featuring rare footage of Michael Jackson at 16 years old, along with his brothers during their first-ever visit to Africa. the festival’s site for more information and a full list of winners.
Beineix to head Pusan jury in October
Director Jean-Jacques Beineix (“Diva,” “Betty Blue”) will head the jury for the Pusan International Film Festival’s New Currents section. Joining him are Turkish director Yesim Ustaoglu (“Pandoras Box”), Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang (“Invisible Waves”), Taiwan actress Terri Kwan (“Prince of Tears”), and Korean cinematographer Kim Hyungkoo (“The Host”). The jurors for the PIFF Mecenat Award (Wide Angle section) for documentaries include Ko Youngjae, producer of “Old Partner,” Dorothee Wenner, programmer for the International Forum of Berlin and Jane Yu, program director of the Taiwan International Documentary Festival and film critic.
SAG, scribes gird for fall elections
The campaigning among those who hope to chart the course for the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America West is kicking into high gear today as ballots are mailed for the guilds’ fall officer and board elections. Results from both elections will offer insight into the next round of guild negotiations with the majors. Dave McNary reports for Variety.
Young Iranian to show vote protest film at Venice festival
“Green Days,” using a mix of raw footage from the protests and fictional sequences about the position of women in Iran, will show outside of competition at the 66th Venice Film Festival, which runs from September 2 to 12. AFP reports.
Disney taking a page from Comic-Con
Will the success formula of Comic-Con International work for a Mickey Mouse operation? The leadership at Walt Disney Co. hopes so as it moves forward with the D23 Expo, a four-day event next month in Anaheim that will celebrate — and sell — all things Disney with celebrity appearances and slick sneak previews of upcoming films, television shows and theme park attractions. Geoff Boucher and Dawn Chmielewski report for the Los Angeles Times.
Jet Li returns to Chinese film after 3 US movies
Li is due to start shooting the movie — tentatively called “Ocean Paradise” in Chinese — Edko Film publicist Zhang Hongyan told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday. The film, due to be released next year, will be directed by a newcomer, Zhang said, declining to give further detail before the official announcement at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday. Min Lee reports.
Japan’s first lady hopeful filmmaker
The woman who may soon be Japan’s first lady, Miyuki Hatoyama, is a former actress turned lifestyle guru with an interest in spirituality who could liven up the staid role of a premier’s wife…She said she had never had a dream that was not fulfilled and was now “burning” with desire to make a film in Hollywood…She playfully went on to say that the lead actor would be Tom Cruise, “because I know he was a Japanese in a previous life.” AFP profiles the unorthodox wife of Japan’s next likely prime minister.