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Weekly indieWIRE Clicks: The Best News, Reviews & Features

Weekly indieWIRE Clicks: The Best News, Reviews & Features

This week on indieWIRE “The Beaver” finally dropped, Tribeca wrapped, Hot Docs launched and much more.

Festivals: Tribeca & Hot Docs

“This year, Tribeca showed improvement,” wrote Eric Kohn in his wrap up of the 10th Tribeca Film Festival. “While continuing to cope with many of the same issues, the festival had enough positive buzz to suggest a shift in the conversation surrounding its purpose. There were some better choices than the 2010 edition and a few solid distribution deals.”

Last week a group of high-profile players came together to discuss issues pertaining to the digital frontier at Tribeca’s Digital by Design panel, held at the School of Visual Arts Theatre. indieWIRE was on the scene to report on the highlights from the conversation.

Click here for a guide to indieWIRE’s coverage of the festival.

indieWIRE’s Basil Tsiokos was in Toronto catching the documentaries in the 18th annual Hot Docs lineup. Click here to see his top 8 picks.

Among the many Canadian docs making their debuts at Hot Docs this week is “The National Parks Project.” With an assembly of 13 filmmakers and 39 musicians, project creators Joel McConvey, Geoff Morrison and Ryan J. Noth put together something distinctively epic. The film previewed parts of the collection in Berlin and SXSW, but is debuting its full canvas at Hot Docs.

Need another reason to hate Donald Trump? Welcome to the documentary “You’ve Been Trumped,” which screened Thursday afternoon at Toronto’s Hot Docs. Click here to read the full report on the world premiere of the film that exposes what Trump did in order to build a hotel and golf course in rural Scotland.

Part performative theatre, part practical one-stop shop to connect with the primary decision makers of the non-fiction landscape, the Hot Docs Forum in Toronto serves an important function for both sides of the pitching table, as well as the hundreds of observers in attendance both days. Of the 23 pitches made, eight stood out to indieWIRE.

Features

In a weak week for criticWIRE, Koji Wakamatsu’s Japanese drama “Caterpillar” narrowly topped Jodie Foster’s PR nightmare of a film, “The Beaver.” But none can hold a candle to “Passion Play,” which boasts the distinction of being one of the worst received films in criticWIRE’s three year history, with a D+ from 12 critics.

In conjunction with the kickoff to the 10th Cinema Tropical at MoMA this week, indieWIRE looked back at how New York became the capital of Latin American film in the past decade.

In this week’s in-production column, we tracked the new Focus Features release from Paul Weitz (“American Pie”), which stars Paul Dano and Robert De Niro as father and son who are estranged but must confront each other in Boston homeless shelters. From Kickstarter, we profiled projects looking for funding from our friends at Rooftop FIlms, and films about a legendary arcade in New York’s Chinatown, a doc about queer music in the South, and an ultra low budget feature starring a guy who cuts fruit at a Whole Foods.

“Hobo with a Shotgun,” the splattefest grindhouse homage with a title that keeps on giving, took a strange route to make it to cinemas. indieWIRE caught up with the film’s Canadian director Jason Eisener to get all the dirty details.

“The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye” director Marie Losier is this week’s FUTURES pick. Her documentary, which debuted at Berlinale earlier this year (where it won a Teddy Award) is currently making a stop at Hot Docs in Toronto.

In an investigative report, Anthony Kaufman delved into what makes a successful arthouse theater.

Some high-profile indies hit theaters this month, including Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” and Jodie Foster’s “The Beaver.” Click here to see the other thee picks to make indieWIRE’s monthly must see list.

Ahead of “Poetry”‘s opening at Los Angeles’ Royal theater on May 6th, TOH!’s Sophia Savage caught up with the film’s director Lee Chang-dong to discuss his Cannes award-winning film.

Adrien Brody has been busy lately. He starred in a “Predator” movie, sued to prevent the release of a low-budget Italian horror B-picture he was in, and played the protagonist in a movie about a guy who gets trapped in a car. To top it all off there’s his performance as a substitute teacher in “Detachment,” Tony Kaye’s new film that recently premiered at Tribeca. In case you still aren’t satisfied with Brody’s post-Oscar ascension to replace Nicolas Cage as the world’s most versatile actor who will pretty much take any role offered to him, check out “A Matador’s Mistress.” Apart from the obvious draw of being a film titled “A Matador’s Mistress,” (miraculously, it’s not an adaptation of a Harlequin romance novel), you get to see Brody play, dress, and do his best to speak like legendary bullfighter Manolete. See the trailer on Small Screens, indieWIRE’s weekly DVD/VOD column.

Late-night comedians have had a lot of material to go around this week. Caryn James offered clips of Stephen Colbert’s Osama-is-dead celebration and his stern warning of the “Summer of Osama Fin Laden.” James also featured Will Ferrell’s manic dedication to shave Conan O’Brien’s beard off on television (spoiler alert: he succeeds).

Chrisoper Campbell added to Monday’s celebration of Sidney Poitier at the Film Society of Lincoln Center by placing it into the context of Teacher Appreciation Week in the U.S

A candid Jodie Foster dished on making “The Beaver” and on her future directorial outings.

Go to page 2 for this week’s News and Reviews.

News

Danfung Dennis’ Sundance Film Festival award-winning war doc “Hell and Back Again,” was acquired by New Video for North American distribution. The feature debut from Dennis chronicles the life of an injured Marine returning home from Afghanistan to his wife and everyday life. The company plans to launch the film theatrically this October, followed by a VOD and DVD release.

Thirty-three from 22 colleges and universities have been named as finalists for the 38th annual Student Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said earlier this week.

A number of stills from Rod Lurie’s remake of Sam Peckinpah’s “Straw Dogs” hit the web on Tuesday. Check out The Playlist’s report to see how the film’s shaping up.

Indomina went wide with an international sales division.

TLA Releasing was sold to a group led by Derek Curl.

In conjunction with his first-ever New York museum exhibition, “Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Primitive,” the New Museum has invited Weerasethakul to remain in town for a monthlong residency. Throughout the month of May, Weerasethakul will participate in a series of public conversations and screenings.

The Cannes Film Festival has added Michel Hazanavicius’s “The Artist” to its official competition, bringing the fest’s main slate to 20 films. “OSS 117” director Hazanavicius’s latest film – a French production but in the English language – stars John Goodman, Missi Pyle and James Cromwell.

“Marking another major studio move into the digital entertainment space, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group has acquired movie discovery and recommendation site Flixster, which owns film review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes,” reported Thompson on Hollywood. “Warners insists—repeatedly, given that a studio is owning a review site—that the company will continue to operate independently, and will serve as a “consumer-facing platform for Warner Bros. initiatives to drive digital content ownership.””

The Playlist posted the new trailer for the Sundance breakout “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” which may very well make a star out of the other Olsen sister, Elizabeth Olsen.

Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway’s documentary “Better This World” topped the 54th annual San Francisco International Film Festival Awards Thursday night. The film won two of the three Golden Gate Awards for documentary features, taking a $20,000 cash prize for Best Documentary Feature, and a $15,000 cash prize plus $2,000 in EFILM Digital Laboratories services, for best Bay Area Documentary Feature.

7th Art Releasing bought North American distribution rights and world television rights to Britta Wauer’s “In Heaven, Underground: The Jewish Cemetery in Berlin-Weissensee.” It’s currently playing as part of the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival in Toronto.

Magnolia Pictures snatched up the distribution rights to Bradley Rust Gray’s “Jack and Diane,” featuring Juno Temple, Riley Keough and Kylie Minogue. Thompson on Hollywood reported on this promising development for the teen lesbian romance.

Wes Bentley, best known for “American Beauty,” snagged a role in the destined-to-be-successful “Hunger Games” films. The Playlist posted more information on Bently’s role, Seneca Crane, as well a clip commemorating his performance as the pensive stoner Ricky Fitts in “Beauty.”

According to The Playlist, “The Trip” has the potential to out-funny all the other comedies hitting theaters this summer. Click here to check out the trailer for the British road movie, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, and assess its laugh potential.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment announced the launch of Fox World Cinema, a new line of worldwide films, available on DVD, VOD and Digital Download later this year in the U.S.

Shorts winners of the 41st USA Film Festival were unveiled this week with Michelle Steffes “The Interview” winning in the fiction category, while Joanna Priestly’s “Eyeliner” taking the prize in the experimental category. “Enrique Wrecks the World” by David Chai receivd first place in animation, while “The A Word” by Lindsay Ellis won first place in both the non-fiction and student award categories. All winners received $1,000 with the student nod also carrying $250.

Ian Gamazon’s “Living in Seduced Circumstances” and Iris K. Shim’s documentary “The House of Suh” both topped the 27th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival awards on Thursday night. “Living in Seduced Circumstances” won the Grand Jury Prize for Outstanding Fiction Film, while “The House of Suh” won the same prize in the documentary category.

Reviews

“Cinematically speaking, ‘The Beaver’ is fundamentally simplistic; it only works because the cast deliver the goods in a few understated scenes,” wrote Eric Kohn in his review of Jodie Foster’s Mel Gibson starring drama. “Whenever Killen’s script aims higher—such as the uneven hints of media satire when Black conducts interviews as the beaver with Matt Lauer and Jon Stewart—its philosophical core starts to become thin.”

He wasn’t so kind to “Passion Play,” the new film that star Mickey Rourke publicly labeled “a terrible movie” last month, “The reality is that ‘Passion Play’ has a few good ideas that simply don’t hold together. More of a miscalculation than an outright dud, it takes the form of a wildly surreal western fantasy, something that Chilean madman Alejandro Jodorowsky (‘El Topo’) could have executed with more rigorous invention.”

Kohn also caught three other films: the Japanese wartime drama “Caterpillar” (which topped this week’s Critical Consensus), the documentary “Beautiful Darling,” which tracks the life of Candy Darling, the transsexual Andy Warhol muse, and the Canadian exploitation homage, “Hobo with a Shotgun.”

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