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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Cameron To Direct Avatar 2 & 3; Who Will Direct Cleopatra?

    James Cameron has made up his mind. He can't get Avatar out of his head. And he's doing the right thing, shooting two sequels to Avatar (possibly back to back), because he's going to give audiences more of what they want. (Reminder: Avatar grossed $ $2.8 billion worldwide, bolstered by premium 3-D prices, and tops Blu-ray sales records.) And he'll plow some of the huge R & D that went into the cost of Avatar back into the sequels (presumably making them less expensive--although you know he'll want to up the VFX ante). And he will remind us of what top-of-the-line 3-D can be. Immersive. Engrossing. Welcoming us into another world, in this case, Pandora. Don't you want to go back there? Holiday 2014 and 2015 seem very far away. But now Cameron knows what he is going to do next.

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  • The Playlist
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    Rival Princess Diana Biopics In The Works With Charlize Theron & Keira Knightley As Leads?

    Ewan McGregor, Helen Mirren And Scarlett Johansson Also LinkedIf British tabloid The Daily Mail is to be believed, two biopics on the controversial life of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, are reportedly in the works with high-profile actresses linked to the lead roles.

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  • The Playlist
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    Tim Blake Nelson Still Signed On For More 'Hulk' Films & Would Love To Return As The Leader

    Actor Says He's Game If Marvel Will Have Him; If More 'Hulk' Films Are Made With Mark RuffaloWe recently had a chat with writer/director/actor/cool dude Tim Blake Nelson on the occasion of his latest, "Leaves of Grass," hitting DVD (full interview coming soon). One of the questions we were most curious to ask revolved around the ongoing Marvel universe, and if we'd see him there again after appearing in Louis Leterrier's "The Incredible Hulk" as scientist Samuel Sterns, last seen beginning a curious mutation into a character comic fans know as the Leader.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    Animal Kingdom Dominates Australian Film Awards

    Animal Kingdom Dominates Australian Film Awards

    The Australian Film Institute Awards put David Michod's Animal Kingdom at the top of its list with eighteen nominations, including Best Film. In that category the film will compete with Jeremy Sims' Beneath Hill 60, Jane Campion's Bright Star (eleven nominations), Rachel Perkins' Bran Nue Dae, Julie Bertuccelli's The Tree and Stuart Beattie's Tomorrow, When the War Began.

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  • The Playlist
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    FNC '10 Reviews: 'Another Year' Another Delight From Mike Leigh; Vinterberg's 'Submarino' Sinks

    Following 2008's somewhat broad and farcical "Happy-Go-Lucky," director Mike Leigh returns to his strong suit, with a gentle snapshot of the tides that rock the lives of an ensemble of ordinary folk from spring through winter.

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  • REVERSEBLOG: the reverse shot blog
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    The Killing Floor: Lisandro Alonso's "Los Muertos"

    What do we know about Vargas, the main character of Argentinean filmmaker Lisandro Alonso’s second feature, Los Muertos? About as much as we know about the protagonists of Alonso’s two other features—2001’s La Libertad and 2008’s Liverpool (Fantasma, an hour-long 2006 film set in a Buenos Aires movie house, rounds out the director’s body of work)—which is not a lot: that he is from a remote part of Argentina, that he is a man of very few words, and that he has grown accustomed to an all-consuming daily routine, in the graying Vargas’s case a long incarceration for the murder of his two brothers. In all of Alonso’s films—which look at the lives of the rural poor, often observing non-actors in long, contemplative takes as they approximate for the camera their everyday labor against scenic but vaguely threatening natural backdrops—the director takes a quietly defiant stance against cinematic conventions. The only label the thirty-five-year-old filmmaker doesn’t apparently shirk is that of “Argentinean”; the director’s committing to film of some of the country’s most remote and forbidding locations, for the most part far from bustling Buenos Aires and its most basic amenities, practically constitutes a national project at this point. Otherwise, Alonso’s films are meditative but thoroughly unsettled: his films refuse the documentary classification by insisting on including fictional elements, and reject the narrative categorization by dropping hints concerning character and story only obliquely. Read Benjamin Mercer's entry in Reverse Shot's American All-Stars symposium.

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  • The Lost Boys
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    Weekly Oscar Prediction Update: 27/10/10

    Here's yet another weekly update of the Oscar prediction charts to supplement Wednesday's awards column on indieWIRE (which this week discusses the idea of a documentary best picture nomination). The main adjustments this week - and there are few - come care of:

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  • SydneysBuzz
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    Eurimages - The Council of Europe - Roberto Olla Part I

    Roberto Olla, Executive Director, EurimagesIt has been stated that co-productions are driving world production these days, and I have been urging U.S. producers to look at the opportunities that international coproductions offer them. While it is not their salvation, nor is it the right path for all indie producers; it is creating a new and exciting vitality in world cinema. Given the major studios’ current investing in international productions and their film acquisitions to supply a pipeline for their off shore operations; given the German and French financial encouragement for English language coproductions, over the last couple of years a broad range of film types and budgets in the world of co-production has developed.Now I have corroboration on this repetitious liturgy of mine: Per Deadline Hollywood: Jeremy Thomas gave the keynote interview at Wednesday’s Film London Production Finance Market as part of the BFI London Film Festival which is where I interviewed him.As the former chairman of the British Film institute, he urged the British government to reconsider rejoining European super fund Eurimages to boost co-productions and had harsh words for U.K. leaders: ‘The problem with these politicians is that they’ve never made a film. They’re planning the war but they’ve never been in the trenches and had their faces splattered with blood. But when it comes to movies everybody thinks they’re an expert. It wouldn’t happen in any other business.’ Thomas unlike most producers owns the rights to his films and believes that should be the endgame of any independent moviemaker. (He even owns the freehold on his office building.) He launched his own sales agency Hanway Films in 1998, which has become one of the biggest in the market. 'Raising the money, shooting the film, distributing it – it’s all a nightmare', the 61-year-old said. 'But it’s better than working'. He is also quoted as saying, 'My advice to American filmmakers is to marry a European. I’m not kidding'. Eurimages’ Executive Director, Roberto Olla, is seen frequently on “The Circuit”. I met him at the Thessaloniki (Agora) Film Market a couple of years ago, at the Moscow Film Market last year and again this year in San Sebastian. When he spoke in Moscow about Eurimages, the media financing arm of Council of Europe, I was impressed not only by him but by the ease with which he could explain what I had always seen as yet another European bureaucratic film fund. BTW, Eurimages and the Council of Europe is not the same as another film funding body called MEDIA of the European Commission. The Council of Europe goes beyond the European Community to include what is known as “Greater Europe” including such countries as Switzerland and soon Russia.Roberto is far from a bureaucrat. He is the one who prepares new candidate countries’ entrance into Eurimages, from beginning up to the point where the Board OKs it. My guess is, he does the same with the film projects that Eurimages backs financially. In fact, my guess is, the Eurimages we see today is his creation. Trained as a lawyer in his home country Italy, PhD in entertainment law in Florence and then trained as creative producer, , he started in MEDIA right after graduating where he worked for nearly seven years until he came to Eurimages. Eurimages began operations in 1989 and now, 21 years later, it has proven its value. He revamped the rules governing Eurimages and changed it from a simple film fund to an instrument to furnish producers with vision to create films that can actually circulate among those 34 countries which now comprise Eurimages’ constituency. (It started with 12 countries.)Eurimages is one of the engines behind today’s prize winning co-productions. Their 23 million Euros per year is a very small amount for quality films and yet they help more than 55 films per year with average budgets of 4 to 6 million Euros. Eurimages comes in at the very end for the projects when finishing funds are so hard to find. Producers must have joined forces with other producers sharing the same vision of the sort of film they want to make. Eurimages likes the money to be an instrument to make producers see Europe as an international entity, not as a conglomeration of various nationalities. That is why they exist as part of the Council of Europe. In unity there is diversity.Other funds exist to create national cinema, which is good for guarding the local culture, but the film’s story then usually stays within its national borders. Roberto sees that as a huge and long-standing weakness of Europe. European films, as co-productions with a particular identity but accessible and interesting to other nationalities are important culturally and often financially as well, though this is not Eurimages’ prime focus. Still, should the film make money, there is a provision for reimbursing the production loan which goes back into the filmmaking fund.Roberto has tried to simplify the rules of the game to create co-productions which circulate beyond their national boundaries. Success is defined as quality films as measured by selection in A festivals and awards.In 2009 Eurimages had 12 films in Cannes. 6 were in Competition including the Palme d’or winner and 6 were in Quinzaine, Un Certain Regard, and La Semaine de la Critique. In 2010 a Eurimages supported film, Honey, won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale.Eurimages films are not top box office winners. The idea of Eurimages is not to supplant the big commercial successes but to support films that could not be made because they’re controversial or they express another point of view (i.e., they allow a wider choice for the viewer, you can call this “pluralism” or “freedom of choice”), be they niche or cutting edge -- in other words, films that are too risky for market money. They foster not just creativity but “duality and diversity”.BUT, public money is the same as private money and so it is treated in the same way. If a film generates revenues, the loan should be paid back, though, as said, whether a film will make the money back is not part of the decision making criterion. Pay back is pari pasu and pro rata, and the money is put back into the fund and used to make movies.This ends part one of this article. It will continue in another installment to define what makes a Eurimages co-production, how it is organized and how it has continued to operate in the most optimistic way possible during this two year financial crisis, backing up its ideals with working capital. Isn’t this the dream of all filmmakers?Read below for actual films which have received the last round of support October 4.

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  • The Playlist
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    Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' To Be Turned Into Feature Length Film

    Biopic On His Younger Years Also In The WorksEven though he's since passed on, that hasn't stopped Michael Jackson from being a moonwalking money making machine. The pop singer earned a staggering $275 million last year from beyond the grave, topping the Top Earning Dead Celebrity list (yes, someone actually keeps track of this). But the gravy train won't stop there as plans are afoot to turn "Thriller" into a feature length movie.

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  • Thompson on Hollywood
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    European Film Academy Nominates Three Documentaries for Prix Arte Award

    The European Film Academy nominates three documentary films for its Prix Arte award. The selection was made by EFA Board Members Despina Mouzaki (Greece), Pierre-Henri Deleau (France) and Francine Brücher (Switzerland), along with experts Claas Danielsen (International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film), Ally Derks (director IDFA, the Netherlands), and Jacques Laurent (producer, Belgium). The 2,300 members of the EFA will now watch and vote on the winner, to be awarded on December 4.

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