The past week on indieWIRE: Looking back at highlights from the international film scene over the past seven days.
1. Festival Lineups
No doubt the biggest news that hit the independent film industry this week was Toronto and Venice’s 2010 lineup announcements. Toronto’s International Film Festival (TIFF) was the first out of the gate, announcing on Tuesday more than 50 titles that will screen at the September festival. Venice was next, releasing the competition program on Thursday for their 67th edition. Before either festival hit the press with their big announcements, indieWIRE made their own predictions for the films that would make the cut. Not to pat ourselves on the back, but we were pretty spot on for the most part. Anticipated films like John Madden’s latest, “The Debt,” and French critical darling Guillaume Canet’s follow up to “Tell No One,” “Little White Lies,” will each receive gala screenings at TIFF. Of the films to overlap both TIFF and Venice, the most notable is Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan,” which will serve as Venice’s opening night film, prior to its gala screening at TIFF. Many more Toronto titles are still to be announced and over this weekend, the NYFF weighed in, choosing Venice closer “The Tempest” as its Centerpiece screening.
The annual movie geek-athon that is Comic-Con came to a close last weekend, and though indieWIRE isn’t one to normally report on the event (“The Avengers” doesn’t rank high on the list of the team’s anticipated films), iW bit its lip and offered readers two wrap-ups of the event that was held in San Diego. Our very own Anne Thompson was on hand at the event to offer daily musings on her blog, Thompson on Hollywood. Of the films to get excited for, judging by early word of mouth: “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” Glad to have you back Edgar Wright.
This week saw the re-launch of iW’s In Their Own Words column, featuring an exclusive video clip from an upcoming independent release, along with the director’s take on a scene from the film. “The Dry Land”‘s director Ryan Piers Williams was generous enough to take part and offered an intimate behind-the-scenes account of what it was like shooting one of the film’s most harrowing moments. Expect to see many more clips, exclusive to iW, in the near future. If a mere 3-minutes of footage isn’t enough to satiate your appetite, check out Jaak Kilmi’s documentary “Disco and the Atomic War” in its entirety on our site, as part of SnagFilms’ 2nd annual SummerFest, a free online festival showcasing new docs.
4. Who Doesn’t Love Kevin Smith?
Though not breaking news, Eugene Hernandez’ Kevin Smith interview from Provincetown ranked high on the most read pieces this week by our iW readers. The reason? It’s hard to hate on Kevin Smith. The ‘auteur’ of such cult faves as “Clerks,” “Chasing Amy,” and “Dogma” is by all accounts one of the more successful directors to emerge out of the mid-90’s independent film boom. Plus, he’s funny. Hernandez sat down to catch up with Smith for an informal discussion where nothing was off topic, including his recent “Cop Out.”
5. New York Embraces Todd Solondz
Todd Solondz’s work is divisive to say the least. It isn’t every day that a filmmaker features a pedophile as one his/her main players, only to make you sympathize with the criminal – as was the case with Solondz’s darkly comic masterpiece “Happiness.” Well, Solondz has done it again, even going so far as to resurrect that very character in his quasi-sequel to the aforementioned film, entitled “Life During Wartime.” The gamble might have paid off for Solondz, if its early box-office reception is anything to go by. In a sole engagement debut at New York’s IFC Center, the comedy took in the highest per-theater average all week, with a healthy $30, 750 over last weekend. How the film will play once it expands in the coming weeks remains to be seen.