Henry Gibson, “Laugh-In” Regular, Loses Fight with Cancer
Gibson, whose career kicked off with his stint on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.” The actor was also frequently cast in the films of Robert Altman including “The Long Goodbye” and “Nashville.” In late life, Gibson had supporting roles on “Boston Legal” and “King of the Hill.” Gibson was 73. Read an obituary from The Hollywood Reporter here.
Focus Features Joins with Oprah and Mendes for “Neverland”
Variety reported yesterday that Focus Features has developed a deal with Oprah Winfrey’s and Sam Mendes’s production companies to produce an adaptation of the Joseph O’Neill novel “Netherland,” which won the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Christopher Hampton will adapt the novel into script. Read the article here.
San Sebastian Festival Kicks Off Friday
With 65,000 tickets sold for its film program, Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival will begin tomorrow with an opening night gala for Atom Egoyan’s “Chloe.” Sir Ian McKellen is set to receive the festival’s Donostia Award, an award given to deserving film actors in recognition of their lives’ achievements. The festival’s Official Jury is chaired by the director Laurent Cantet, who is joined by the actors Daniel Gimenez-Cacho, Pilar Lopez de Ayala and Leonor Silveira, and the directors Bong Joon-ho, John Madden and Samira Makhmalbaf.
Women Make Movies Picks Up “My Toxic Baby”
Min-Sook Lee’s film about her quest to reduce her baby daughter’s exposure to toxic chemicals has been picked up by Women Make Movies. The film will run on Global Television’s “Currents.” WMM says “‘My Toxic Baby’ is a startling look at the numerous toxins found in a baby’s food, bedding, clothing, toys, and home. Lee shares her anxieties as she struggles to protect her daughter from hazardous chemicals and introduces other mothers making alternative choices and broadening the parenting options available in today’s chemically laced world.”
Doorpost Film Project to Award Three Big Prizes for Shorts
For the second year, Doorpost Film Project is endowing the top 3 prizes to the tune of $100,000, $35,000, and $25,000 with an additional $15,000 as a special filmmakers trophy, voted by the directors themselves. Between January and March, a cross section of movie professionals (Line Producers, DP’s, Makeup Artists, Best Boys, etc.) winnowed down several hundred short entries to 10 finalists, who were all given checks for $30,000 to each make a 15 to 20 minute work. On Saturday, Sept 19th, a new committee of 12 will deliver their choices for the 3 cash prizes or the 10 films, all addressing the theme of Hope. But this esteemed jury will only dictate 70% of the final decision of the big winners. The remaining 30% of the voting body will be anyone who chooses to watch and cast a ballot online by Wednesday September 16th on the Doorstep website. All 10 films will be screened together for one night only, Thursday, September 17th starting at 7pm at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, Tenn. The awards ceremony will also be at the Belcourt Theatre on September 19.
Cinereach Funds Twelve “Artfully Told” Film Stories
Earlier this week, Cinereach announced $250,000 in grants to twelve deserving film projects. The awards from the young not-for-profit go to works-in-progress that “show promise.” Though the organization does not make a commitment to any area of filmmaking, founder and executive director Philipp Engelhorn said in a prepared statement, “connecting the dots between the films we’ve funded is starting to form a very interesting web free of national, cultural and creative boundaries.” The films funded by the grant are Maryam Keshavarz’s “Circumstance,” Andrew Berends’s “Delta Boys,” Arielle Javitch’s “Look, Stranger,” Marlo Poras & Yu Ying Wu Chou’s “The Mosou Sisters,” David Redmon & Ashley Sabin’s “Noah’s Arc,” Annie Waldman & Daniel Carbone’s “Phantom Cowboys,” Yance Ford’s “Strong Island,” Laurie Collyer’s “Sunlight Jr.,” PJ Raval’s “Untitled Gay Retiree Documentary,” Jennifer Arnold’s “Untitled Small Act Documentary,” Erica Scharf’s “Up Heartbreak Hill,” and Tanaz Eshaghian’s “The World in a Room.”
Outfest Announces 2009 Legacy Award Recipients
Outfest, LA’s LGBT film festival, has announced that “Six Feet Under” producer/director Alan Poul and Clear Channel Los Angeles will receive Legacy Awards for their work encouraging LGBT media. The awards will be handed out in a ceremony hosted by Bruce Vilanch on Wednesday, September 30, 2009. Laura Linney will present Poul’s award. The awards ceremony serve as a fundraiser for the Outfest Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation, a collaboration between Outfest and UCLA’s Film & Television Archive.
Middle East International Film Fest Names World Cinema Showcase
MEIFF, which will run from October 8-17 in Abu Dhabi, has announced its World Cinema Showcase of out-of-competition international films. Included in the mix is “About Elly,” “Burma VJ,” “The September Issue,” Resnais’s “Wild Grass,” Romanian multi-director “Tales from the Golden Age,” and “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.” For a complete line up of films, head to the festival’s website at www.meiff.com.
Austin Film Festival & Conference Announces Director and Writer Panels
The 16th Annual Austin Film Festival & Conference has announced the participants in its conference panels. The film festival’s panels will focus on teaching the practice of screenwriting and filmmaking. Panelists include “Lost” producer Damon Lindelof, “Mad Men”‘s Matthew Weiner, “Twilight” writer Melissa Rosenberg, “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” writer/director Shane Black, “Freaks and Geeks” creator Paul Feig, and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” scribe Peter Hedges. The Austin Film Festival & Conference will run from October 22-29, 2009. For a complete schedule of panels, visit the fest’s website at
Chicago Film Festival Grows
In a year in which many festivals are becoming more compact, the 45th Chicago International Film Festival is adding a day to its festival, growing from fourteen to fifteen days in an effort to “commemorate and celebrate the festival’s importance on Chicago’s cultural landscape.” Film festival passes for the 45th Chicago International Film Festival are now on sale at www.chicagofilmfestival.com.
Film Circuit Celebrates Fifteen Years with TIFF
Film Circuit, the program of the Toronto International Film Festival that brings Canadian films into underserved communities has just completed its fifteenth year with TIFF. “Film Circuit has become an integral part of the Canadian film industry, as it has created new markets for homegrown films. The celebration of the programme’s 15th anniversary indicates that it has been wholeheartedly embraced by communities across the country,” said Karen Black, Director of Canadian Initiatives at TIFF. “Film Circuit’s growth can be attributed to the loyalty of audiences who love watching quality films that they cannot access at the local multiplex. We look forward to seeing the programme continue to thrive in the coming years.”