By Cameron Sinz | Indiewire July 27, 2013 at 11:29AM
It was a week full of festival news, as both the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival released their first batch of films for their 2013 installments, bringing along all of the suspected surprises ("The Zero Theorem," "The Wind Rises") and omissions ("Nymphomaniac," "Her") that often accompany them. In theaters "Fruitvale Station" continued to do well in its just heavily expanded run, making a potential case for its appearance over the upcoming awards season, while we also considered how this week's major release "The Wolverine," works as an analogy for the current film climate. Meanwhile, we looked at the 10 most exciting female directors standing out in the industry today, got tease of Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac," and remembered veteran actor Dennis Farina, who sadly passed away over the week at the age of 69.
Take a look at all of these stories and more below as we go back over the ten most viewed news, interviews and features from this week at Indiewire:
Veteran character actor Dennis Farina, who is best known for his many supporting turns as weathered tough guys in films like "Out of Sight" and "Get Shorty," tragically passed away earlier this week. Farina got one of his first leading roles in his 2011 breakthrough "The Last Rites of Joy May," and has spent the last couple years making celebrated appearances on Michael Mann's cancelled HBO series "Luck" and Fox's "The New Girl." Read our 2011 interview with the actor on his career here.
In the first of the week's two major festival announcements, TIFF released its mammoth list of the first 75 films of its 2013 lineup, which is expected to only make up around a fourth of the overall lineup. Showcasing world premieres from Ron Howard, Steve McQueen, Kelly Reichardt, Jason Reitman and many others, the list managed to surprise by snatching up many titles expected to premiere in Venice along with numerous festival highlights from throughout the year, once again asserting its place as one of the premiere world festivals.
How's this for a depressing statistic: of the 178 films directed in the UK last year, 14 of them were directed by women. Along with the general lack of a female presence among recent festival lineups, it's clear that women filmmakers continue to face many prejudices throughout the industry. But in spite of this, many female directors have broken through without compromising their content, 10 of which we have singled out as the most exciting forces facing the industry today including Lena Dunham, Sally El-Hosaini, and Sarah Polley.
Despite its surprising omission on both the Venice and Toronto lineups this week, Lars von Trier has continued to appropriately tease the release of his two-part sexual epic "Nymphomaniac," through alternative image, poster, and website debuts. This week's pic showcases Shia LaBeouf, who notably made it just over a year without appearing naked in theaters or online, and the young heroine's early illicit encounter, giving us our most explicit look yet at the film. Check out the full NSFW pic at the link above.
This week's release of "The Wolverine," the latest entry in the increasingly expanding and confusing X-Men film franchise, comes into theaters just after numerous big-budget studio films have landed with a thud, and looking at the film's bloated, brooding nature, IW's Eric Kohn asserts that it may be a perfect analogy for the current state of the film industry. With a story that once again fails to live up to the promise of its lead, it continues Hollywood's blind aspirations as box-office success with a marketable concept and has little hopes of beating the industry's recent losing streak.
Another week, another shake up of our early predictions for the 2014 Oscars. "Gravity" and "Twelve Years A Slave" continue to impress with both film's stark and harsh clips and recent spots in Venice and Toronto, while "Fruitvale Station" and"Mud" steadily build more and more steam amongst a barren lineup of summer releases. Go to the link above to read our full predictions for the award show's eight major categories.
While most of its heft was likely taken away from Toronto's lineup release the day before, Venice still managed to impress with its varied 2013 lineup, including some unexpected world premieres from the likes of Terry Gilliam, Hayao Miyazaki, and Errol Morris. As expected "Gravity" will open the festival in an out-of-competition slot, but some other titles, particularly Ridley Scott's "The Counselor," Lars von Trier's previously mentioned "Nymphomaniac," and Terrence Malick's "Knight of Cups" surprised with their absences from the list, even though they may still appear in the weeks leading up to the festival's August opening.
His lost-in-space epic "Gravity" may be taking most of the spotlight, but long MIA director Alfonso Cuarón has another project lineup up this television season in the form of his NBC drama "Believe," which premiered its first footage at Comic Con earlier this week. The show itself will not premiere until partway through the season in early 2014, but early footage makes a convincing case for it being on of the most surprising premieres of the year's slate with the all the visual and thematic trademarks that have made Cuarón's films so beloved over the years.
After adding his name to the list of high-profile celebrities attempting to gain funding through Kickstarter early in the week, Spike Lee received his first major contribution from an unlikely source, "retired" filmmaker Steven Soderbergh. The director pledged $10,000 to the as-yet untitled "Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint," an amount that secures a dinner and court-side seats to a Knicks Game with Lee, and while Soderbergh has yet to comment on his contribution, Spike took to twitter to thank the director first hand.
After the knockout success of last week's horror film "The Conjuring," Vice commissioned four filmmakers to make four different short films inspired by the devil's hour. Following in the tradition of recent horror anthologies like "V/H/S" and "The ABC's of Death," the results are a mixed bag, but Jason Eisener's "One Last Dive" stands out as a particularly effective 1-minute horror short. Watch the full short at the above link.