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Why ‘Mudbound’ Filmmaker Dee Rees Said No to Studio Films and Kept Her Creative Independence

As the filmmaker prepares for a packed awards season, she gears up for an honor that's all about pushing forward — her way.

Dee Rees - director of "Mudbound"

Dee Rees

Daniel Bergeron

Date Announcements

– The Tribeca Film Festival has announced its dates for its 17th year, with plans to return to New York City for the annual event, slated to run April 18 – 29, 2018.

As part of a new multi-year collaboration, creators will be able to submit their feature and short films to the 2018 festival through Withoutabox, the online festival submission system favored by filmmakers for its ease of use and streamlined process. This new relationship with Withoutabox continues Tribeca’s ongoing mission to empower storytellers with the opportunities and tools to bring their stories to life.

– This year’s Margaret Mead Film Festival will run October 19 – 22 at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History. This year’s edition will feature more than 40 ground-breaking, international nonfiction films. and media present fresh cross-cultural perspectives. Honoring the legendary anthropologist Margaret Mead, the festival reinforces our search for deeper understanding of the limitless diversity and complex texture that is human experience.

Michelle Williams, Todd Haynes, Julianne Moore, Jaden Michael and Millicent Simmonds'Wonderstruck' photocall, 70th Cannes Film Festival, France - 18 May 2017

Cannes 2017: Michelle Williams, Todd Haynes, Julianne Moore, Jaden Michael, and Millicent Simmonds

David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock


– The BlackStar Film Festival has announced the winners of its 2017 awards. This year’s event, with the theme of Resistance, featured over 60 films from around the world. Juried awards were presented at the BlackStar Awards Ceremony at World Café Live. Audience favorite awards are determined by audience member ballots. You can check out the full list of winners right here.

– The  2nd annual Memphis Film Prize went to “We Go On,” directed by Matteo Servente. The prize comes with $10,000 in cash, and the top three films are automatically selected to screen at the Indie Memphis Film Festival in November.

– The Woods Hole Film Festival, the oldest film festival on Cape Cod and the Islands, announced its winners this past weekend. Although the festival has historically focused on filmmakers from and films set in New England, the festival has recently expanded its international focus, and all but one of the Jury Award winners this year is from or set outside the U.S. You can check out the full list of winners right here.

Honors and Tributes

– The Mill Valley Film Festival will honor acclaimed director Todd Haynes this year with a Tribute, featuring an onstage conversation and presentation of the MVFF Award in recognition of a career that exemplifies the art of great directing. Haynes was last at the festival for MVFF30 in 2007 and returns for MVFF’s 40th anniversary in 2017 with the California premiere of his latest film, “Wonderstruck.” The annual event runs October 5 – 15.

– The Raindance Film Festival has announced that Guy Ritchie will receive the festival’s annual Auteur Award, recognizing Ritchie’s achievements in filmmaking and ongoing contribution to the film industry. The award will be presented by Raindance Festival Founder, Elliot Grove, on August 15. Ritchie replaces Ken Loach, who was the 2016 recipient of the Auteur Award. The Raindance Film Festival, the UK’s leading independent film festival, is taking place September 20 – October 1.

The Wife - Production & Publicity Stills 10.11.16 sc 5 pt 1/2 - CASTLEMAN HOME- LIVING ROOM Friends and family are gathered at the house PRODUCTION OFFICE Suite 6, 1st Floor, Alexander Stephen House, 91 Holmfauld Rd, Glasgow, G51 4RY Tel: 0141 428 3776 credit Graeme Hunter Pictures, Sunnybank Cottages. 117 Waterside Rd, Carmunnock, Glasgow. U.K. G76 9DU. t. 01416444564 m. 07811946280 e. graemehunter@mac.com"

“The Wife”

Graeme Hunter Pictures

– The Zurich Film Festival has announced that Glenn Close will receive their Golden Icon Award at this year’s festival, the event’s most prestigious symbol of recognition, in appreciation of the lifetime achievements of an actor or actress. Close will be honored on October 1, and she will also attend the festival to present her newest film, “The Wife,” alongside co-stars Jonathan Pryce and Annie Starke and director Björn Runge. The festival takes place September 28 – October 8.

Other Announcements

– The Nordic International Film Festival has partnered with Gunpowder and Sky to co-present the New York theatrical premiere of “The Oath.” Icelandic auteur Baltasar Kormákur directs and stars in the psychological thriller. He “plays the part of a father who sets off on a mission to try to pull his daughter away from the world of drugs and petty crime, only to discover that danger can be found in unexpected places.”

The Nordic International Film Festival (NIFF) celebrates Nordic and international films. They discover new and upcoming independent films as well as honoring great work from already established filmmakers. NIFF’s programmers focus on finding diverse independent films with strong characters and storylines and encourage all filmmakers, regardless of ethnicity or religion. The festival was founded by Johan Matton and Linnea Larsdotter.

This year, the Nordic International Film Festival (NIFF) will be held from October 12 – 14 at Scandinavia House in New York. “The Oath” plays at the Village East Cinema in New York on September 8.

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