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indieWIRE This Week: ND/NF, Festival Lineups and Acquisitions

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire March 27, 2010 at 1:27AM

THIS WEEK IN NEWS: The New Directors/New Films series got underway in New York, a slew of upcoming festivals announced their lineups, and several films were released following successful festival runs.
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THIS WEEK IN NEWS: The New Directors/New Films series got underway in New York, a slew of upcoming festivals announced their lineups, and several films were released following successful festival runs.

ND/NF: The 39th edition of New Directors/New Films, a co-production of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and The Film Society of Lincoln Center, kicked off with a screening of Richard Press' documentary "Bill Cunningham New York" at MoMA. Similar to the interviews iW conducted with directors at this year's SXSW and Sundance festivals, iW sat down with ND/NF's emerging directors to learn about how they got around to directing their first features. Apart from Richard Press, interviewees include Radu Jude ("The Happiest Girl in the World"), Laura Poitras ("The Oath"), Lixin Fan ("Last Train Home"), Ben Wheatley ("Down Terrace"), Mads Brugger ("The Red Chapel"), and Jeremiah Newton, producer of "Beautiful Darling."

In Singing the Praises (and a few laments) at New Directors/New Films, Howard Feinstein offered his take on this year's lineup, with the overall consensus that this year's edition is "quite good."

In addition to the feature films, ND/NF is screening eleven short films, the majority of which clock in at over 20 minutes, unusual for most shorts. Kim Adelman offered her uniformly positive take on the films in ND/NF Shorts: Longer Is Better.

FESTIVAL LINEUPS: With SXSW having just wrapped up last week, upcoming festivals were quick to announce their various lineups in quick succession. This year's Nashville Film Festival (April 15 - 22) will open with the acclaimed John Lennon biopic "Nowhere Boy" from director Sam Taylor-Wood. Thomas Balmes' anticipated documentary "Babies" meanwhile will screen on the opening night of Canada's Hot Docs International Documentary Festival (April 29 - May 9).

The 12th Annual Sarasota Film Festival (April 9 - 18) is favoring laughs over melodrama with their announced opening and closing night selections. Shari Springer Berman’s comedy “The Extra Man” starring Kevin Kline, Paul Dano, John C. Reilly and Katie Holmes will get the festival off to raucous start, while James Franco's behind the scenes look at "Saturday Night Live," "Saturday Night," will wrap the fest. Mirroring Sarasota, the 2010 RiverRun International Film Festival will also kick off with "The Extra Man." The Russian musical feature “Hipsters" from director Valery Todorovsky will serve as the closing night film, echoing the fact that this year's lineup is their most internationally diverse yet.

Though Cannes has yet to release their full list of competing films, the festival announced that Ridley Scott's retelling of "Robin Hood" will open the 63rd edition of the prestigious fest.

ACQUISITIONS: Oliver Stone's Latin American documentary "South of the Border," which had its world premiere at last year's Venice Film Festival, was picked up for North American distribution by Cinema Libre Studio, it was announced earlier this week.

DVD rights to Sebastian Silva’s Sundance winner and Golden Globe-nominated “The Maid" meanwhile went to Oscilloscope Laboratories, even though Elephant Eye Films dealt with the theatrical distribution. This move doesn't mark the first time Oscilloscope have done so. To date they've acquired DVD rights for Aaron Rose and Joshua Leonard’s art doc “Beautiful Losers,” Spike Jonze’s “Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak,” and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s doc “Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love.”

For more of this week's news be sure to check out the links below...

NEWS:

GLAAD Asks Tribeca to Remove “Trannies”; Fest & Director Counter Criticism
“The film, its title and its marketing misrepresent the lives of transgender women and use grotesque, exploitative depictions of violence against transgender women in ways that make light of the horrific brutality they all too often face,” GLAAD said in a statement released Thursday by its Director of Public Relations, Richard Ferraro.

SF Asian-American FF Names “Lemon Lima” and “Mommy” Best Films
After a run that saw more than half of its 97 screenings sell out, the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival named its jury and audience award winners earlier this week. Twenty-five thousand people, including over 200 filmmakers, actors, and industry guests attended this year’s festival.

Oscars Head Back To February In 2011
This year, the ceremony moved to March 7th so it wouldn’t conflict with the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Despite the move to February, many in the industry complained of “awards fatigue” although awards season is considerably shorter than it was in its pre-2004 incarnation.

Filmmakers Get Cash: Cinereach Grants Fifteen Projects $250K
“The projects we selected vary widely in subject matter and in cinematic style,” commented Cinereach Grants Manager Adella Ladjevardi in a statement. “They’re set all over the globe: Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Burma, the US/Mexico border, New York City, New Orleans, Alaska, and beyond.”

“Mission,” “When You’re Strange” Lead Additional SXSW Audience Winners
The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival announced additional Audience Award-winners today from the Spotlight Premieres, Emerging Visions, Lone Star States, 24 Beats Per Second, and Midnighters categories.

Box Office: Baumbach’s “Greenberg” Tops “Tattoo” and “Runaways” In Crowded Frame
Fresh from stirring a considerable feud between critics Armond White and J. Hoberman, the Focus Features released film grossed a whopping $120,432 from just 3 screens. That amounted to a $40,144 per-theater-average, the second highest of the year behind “The Ghost Writer” and almost identical to the $40,517 Baumbach’s last film, 2007’s “Margot at the Wedding” averaged in its debut.

FEATURES:

Chuck Norris Kicks Down the Door of NC’s First ActionFest
“It’s not every day you get to put together a lineup of nothing but great action movies, and I relished the opportunity,” ActionFest head of programming Tom Quinn said in a statement. “These films are such a blast, and I’m pleased to say we’ve received nothing but support from all of the filmmakers and distributors we’ve approached. There is no question that ActionFest is going to tear the house up this year.”

Tribeca All Access Sets 24 Projects For Seventh Edition
Tribeca All Access will present the projects throughout a six-day program taking place during the annual Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), held from April 21 - May 2, 2010.

REVIEWS:

criticWIRE This Week: “Weather” Leads SXSW; “Chloe” Lowest Ranked Opener

REVIEW | Egoyan’s Accidental Black Comedy “Chloe” Succeeds as Guilty Pleasure