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indieWIRE This Week: Awards Season Wraps Up and SXSW Kicks Off

indieWIRE This Week: Awards Season Wraps Up and SXSW Kicks Off

THIS WEEK IN NEWS: History was made at Oscar night. “Precious” predictably swept the Spirit Awards. Meanwhile indieWIRE readies itself for SXSW.

OSCAR: “The Hurt Locker” swept the 82nd Academy Awards on Sunday night, raking in a hefty six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow. Bigelow made history as the first woman ever awarded the prize. Another milestone was set by Geoffrey Fletcher, who upset Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner’s predicted win for “Up in the Air”‘s screenplay, by becoming the first African American screenwriter to win the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for “Precious.” James Cameron’s “Avatar” meanwhile won three awards, all in the technical categories.

indieWIRE covered the ceremony from a tent stationed near the Kodak Theater in Malibu. “The Hurt Locker”‘s producer Nicolas Chartier, who was shut out of the ceremony following his “Avatar” bashing email to Academy voters, watched on from the same tent. Upon learning of “The Hurt Locker”‘s win for Best Picture, Chartier gave an passionate Oscar acceptance speech, where he was afforded a lot more time than the televised ceremony would ever allow. Following the ceremony, the night’s nominees and winners attended the annual Governor’s Ball. To get a peak at what went on at the Ball, be sure to check out the beautiful photo gallery Oscar Night in Black & White. Lastly, for those who cried at the end of the ceremony, sad that awards season has officially come to a close, suffer not. Peter Knegt’s early 2011 Oscar Predictions can tide you for the coming months.

SPIRITS: At the Spirit Awards’ new home in downtown Los Angeles, the indieWIRE team reported live from ceremony last Friday night. It was a “Precious” night, with the film receiving awards for Best Feature, Best Director (Lee Daniels), Best Actress (Gabourey Sidibe), Best Supporting Actress (Mo’Nique), and Best First Screenplay (Geoffrey Fletcher). “Crazy Heart” was second in the awards tally with two wins for Best First Feature and Best Actor (Jeff Bridges). Brian Brooks was on hand to capture some great shots from the night.

SXSW: The 2010 SXSW Film Conference & Festival has kicked off on Friday with indieWIRE in Austin to report back from the event. Opening day featured screenings of some hotly anticipated films including Neils Arden Oplev’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo” and Matthew Vaughn’s superhero yarn “Kick-Ass.” In anticipation of the fest, indieWIRE conducted interviews with directors whose works are screening at SXSW. For those attending the fest who want to get the most out of their Texan experience, indieWIRE has compiled a list of the best restaurants, bars and shops Austin has to offer.

For more of this week’s stories be sure to check out the links below…


Hollywood Studio to Back Micro-Budget Movies
“Aren’t you tired of being fed the same movies wrapped in different paper?” asks the Insurge website, “We want to find and distribute crazy, unpredictable, and hopefully awesome movies – movies that make you want to line up to see at your local theater with all your friends (and us). Movies that a big studio would never release because they’re too risky, too silly, and they don’t star Sandra Bullock.”

“Riders,” “Ending” Bookend 2010 Atlanta Fest
The 2010 Atlanta Film Festival has announced its programming lineup, with the fest opening on April 15, 2010 with Stanley Nelson’s “Freedom Riders” and closing on Friday April 23, 2010 with the Southeastern premiere of Barr Weissman’s “The Secret to a Happy Ending.”

Fest Fave “Guy and Madeline” Lands at Variance
“I cannot express how delightful it is to see a film like ‘Guy and Madeline’,” said Marchetti in a statement. “One minute it’s Godard and Cassavetes at the peak of their powers, the next it’s tap dancing and jazz from the best of the 1940’s musicals- but then, Damien blends them together so artfully that he makes you forget the influences and realize what a singular, innovative talent is on display here.”

85 Features for 9th Tribeca Fest; Competition Rosters Revealed
Planners are touting a full roster that showcases work from 38 different countries. They reiterated that the lineup include 45 world premieres this year, selected from a record total of 5,055 submissions.

Hot Docs Selects 28 Toronto Documentary Forum Projects
A showcase forum for over 500 leading industry professionals, the TDF is focused around a schedule of 25 pre-selected international project presentations made to a roundtable of key international commissioning editors and an observers gallery composed of fellow producers, distributors, sales agents, funders and other buyers.

Kino Drives “Winnebago” To U.S. Release
The film was listed as one of indieWIRE‘s annual critics poll listed as one the best undistributed films of 2009, and had its world premiere at last year’s SXSW Film Festival.

Film Forum Sets Summer Schedule
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, New York’s Film Forum has announced its summer 2010 slate, which includes Dover Kosashvili’s “Anton Chekov’s The Duel,” Jessica Oreck’s “Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo,” Emmanuel Laurent’s “Two In The Wave,” Johan Grimonprez’s “Double Take,” Kate Davis & David Heilbroner’s “Stonewall Uprising,” Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio’s “Alamar,” Vikram Jayanti’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector,” Tamra Davis’s “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child,” Marco Amenta’s “The Sicilian Girl,” and Yael Hersonski’s “A Film Unfinished.”

Gravitas Ventures Takes SXSW’s “Grindhouse” To VOD
“For those who can’t make it to Austin, we are excited that ‘American Grindhouse’ can be made available in over 50 million homes this summer through our distribution agreement with Warner Bros. Digital Distribution,” said Nolan Gallagher CEO and founder of Gravitas Ventures, in a statement.

“The Oath” and “Last Train Home” Embark to Zeitgeist
“Both ‘The Oath’ and ‘Last Train Home’ give an insiders’ perspective on two of today’s most complicated journalistic preoccupations,” Zeitgeist’s co-president Nancy Gerstman said in a statement. “We are extremely proud to be distributing these stunning and complex works, two of the best documentaries audiences are likely to see this year.”

Boston Fest Honors Schmeer, Kline
In memory of late editor Karen Schmeer, a longtime collaborator of Errol Morris (“The Fog of War”) who was killed in a hit-and-run incident on the Upper West side of Manhattan on January 29 of this year, the Independent Film Festival of Boston will introduce the Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Documentary Editing at its 2010 festival.

IFC Has “Mercy” This Spring
“Mercy” will open Friday, April 30th at the IFC Center in NYC and Friday, May 7th at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in Los Angeles and be available nationwide on video on demand on Wednesday, April 28th.

“happythankyoumoreplease” & “Mercy” Bookend 15th Gen Art Film Fest
“Our programming process uncovered perhaps the most promising batch of new films in years. In celebration of our 15th year, we have curated a slate that is perfect for our core Gen Art audience of young, thoughtful tastemakers who seek to satiate their hunger for culture through support of new talent,” commented Film Division Senior Vice President, Jeffrey Abramson in a statement.

Box Office 2.0: The Specialty Box Office Winners of Awards Season
In fact, few of the prominently nominated films really benefited from Oscar this year when it came to box office. “Avatar” and “The Blind Side,” for example, were already massive hits pre-nominations, and it’s doubtful they really received much of a pre-awards related boost. Ditto “Inglourious Basterds” and “Up,“both of which had already arrived on DVD.

Under New Leadership, Full Frame Doc Fest Sets 2010 Slate
Kicking off the festival will be the U.S. premiere of “Kings of Pastry” from directing team D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. The film follows Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of the French Pasty School in Chicago, during the intense Meilleur Ouvrier de France competition that pits French pastry chefs against one another over a three-day period.


This Year’s Rendez-Vous Topical, But Uneven
First, the good news. Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2010 offers a handful of works that are marvels of craft, among them “Mademoiselle Chambon” by Stephane Brize and “Les Regrets” by Cedric Kahn, two wildly different takes on love.

So & Brad Incorporated: More Than A Moviemaking Marriage
A couple who met at the Chicago Art Institute fifteen years ago, Kim and Gray are in Berlin with two of the four films they’ve made together.

Texas Toast: Saluting Quentin Tarantino
Last night at Austin Studios, the former airport that has been converted to film and TV production soundstages by Linklater’s Austin Film Society, the group welcomed Tarantino as an honorary Texan.

At Home This Week: “Precious,” “Up In The Air,” “Capitalism” and More
Likely the most anticipated are the aforementioned friends of Oscar – Jason Reitman’s “Up In The Air” and Lee Daniels’ “Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” both attempting to cash in on the exposure Sunday night’s telecast gave them (though for “Air” things didn’t exactly turn out as planned).

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