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Big Screen | From Berlin to Bieber: The Top Five Film Events This Week

Big Screen | From Berlin to Bieber: The Top Five Film Events This Week

Each week indieWIRE offers five recommendations for theatrical viewing, tackling new releases, film festivals, curated series and events. This week, the Berlinale, Oscar’s shorts on screen and the theatrical rising of Mr. Justin Bieber.

1. The 61st Berlin International Film Festival
One of Europe’s most prestigious film festivals kicks off Thursday in the German capital and runs through February 20. Films screening in the official selection include Wim Wenders’s “Pina,” Joshua Marston’s “The Forgiveness of Blood,” Ralph Fiennes’ “Coriolanus,” Victoria Mahoney’s “Yelling To The Sky,” Jaume Collet-Serra’s “Unknown,” Ulrich Köhler’s “Schlafkrankheit,” Lee Yoon-ki’s “Saranghanda, Saranghaji Anneunda,” Michel Ocelot’s “Les contes de la nuit,” as well as Sundance titles like JC Chandor’s “Margin Call” and Miranda July’s “The Future.” For a complete list of titles, click here, and be sure to check out indieWIRE‘s full coverage from Berlin later this week.

2. Oscar Shorts Comes To Theaters
This Friday Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures will co-present their annual theatrical release of the Oscar-nominated short films. Set for over 100 theatres across the United States and Canada, three theatrical programs will give audiences an opportunity to watch the nominated shorts in the animation, live action and documentary categories. Last year, the release exceeded the million-dollar mark at the US box office, charting a notable 289% growth in attendance since its inception in 2005. The nominated films are:

Best animated short film
“Day & Night” (Walt Disney), A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Teddy Newton
“The Gruffalo”, A Magic Light Pictures Production, Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
“Let’s Pollute”, A Geefwee Boedoe Production, Geefwee Boedoe
“The Lost Thing”, (Nick Batzias for Madman Entertainment), A Passion Pictures Australia Production, Ouat Media, Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
“Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)”, A Sacrebleu Production, Ouat Media, Bastien Dubois

Best live action short film
“The Confession” (National Film and Television School), A National Film and Television School Production, Tanel Toom
“The Crush” (Network Ireland Television), A Purdy Pictures Production, Michael Creagh
“God of Love”, A Luke Matheny Production, Ouat Media, Luke Matheny
“Na Wewe” (Premium Films), A CUT! Production, Ivan Goldschmidt
“Wish 143”, A Swing and Shift Films/Union Pictures Production, Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

Best documentary short subject
“Killing in the Name”, A Moxie Firecracker Films Production, Nominees to be determined
“Poster Girl”, A Portrayal Films Production, Nominees to be determined
“Strangers No More”, A Simon & Goodman Picture Company Production, Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon
“Sun Come Up”, A Sun Come Up Production, Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger
“The Warriors of Qiugang”, A Thomas Lennon Films Production, Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon

3. “Cedar Rapids” (criticWIRE page)
The first theatrical release of a 2011 Sundance Film Festival debut, Miguel Arteta’s “Cedar Rapids” is out in theaters this Friday. A showcase for Ed Helms, “Rapids” finds the “Office” star portraying a small-town underachiever who travels to “major metropolis” Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to save his company at a do-or-die insurance conference. Good, if standard Fox Searchlight fun, the film is aided by Helms’ stellar supporting cast that includes John C. Reilly, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Root, Alia Shawkat and Anne Heche. Check out the trailer below:

4. “Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project” Premieres In Canada
It won’t hit the United States until April, but Barry Avrich’s doc “Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project” will have its world premiere at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto this Friday. This portrait of Harvey Weinstein follows him from his humble beginnings as concert promoter on the streets of Buffalo to the creation of his scrappy independent distribution company Miramax Films to its — and his — evolution into a major Hollywood player. It features interviews with numerous industry insiders and members of the Hollywood creative community, including directors Martin Scorsese, James Ivory and George Hickenlooper, Variety editor Peter Bart and author John Irving. Just in time for Weinstein’s potential return to the best-picture podium with “The King’s Speech,” the film is sure to ruffle a few feathers.

5. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never
Speaking of Canada, the country’s most profitable export since maple syrup gets his own rags-to-riches “documentary,” except it’s likely to be a bit less controversial than Weinstein’s. A hybrid concert film/self-congratulatory doc, “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” is also in 3-D, and will likely be a significant cash grab for distributor Paramount. Its inclusion here is clearly a wee bit ironic, but it seemed like a respectable public service to inform those unaware of its pending explosion why screaming girls in movie theaters across North America will be lining up in droves while you buy that ticket for “Cedar Rapids” (and then secretly sneak into “Never Say Never”). The trailer:

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