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Breaking Film Industry News — February 16

All of this week's news for film insiders.

Friday, February 16:

Exclusive: Freestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, has acquired the U.S. rights to the New Zealand road comedy, “Pork Pie.” The film will debut on VOD and will be available to rent and own on digital HD across U.S. cable, internet, and satellite platforms through Freestyle Digital Media on March 6, 2018.

The film “tracks the escapades of a trio of misfit accidental outlaws as they travel the length of the New Zealand in a yellow Mini Cooper, protesting conformity and chasing lost love. Avoiding the law and with nothing to lose, they become folk heroes and most wanted criminals as they find themselves caught in the crosshairs of a media frenzy and an escalating police operation.” You can check out the film’s first trailer right here.

– Mahershala Ali, Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Laura Dern, Jennifer Garner, Greta Gerwig, Tiffany Haddish, Tom Holland, Kumail Nanjiani, Margot Robbie, Emma Stone, and Daniela Vega have been announced as the first slate of Oscar presenters. The Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, March 4.

Thursday, February 15:

– The Indie Memphis Film Festival today announced the creation of The Indie Memphis Black Filmmaker Residency for Screenwriting. Supported by the Remembering George Riley at MLK50 campaign, the program is a two-month residency in Memphis, Tennessee, for an emerging or established black filmmaker to work on a feature film screenplay to be produced locally in Memphis. The program will provide one screenwriter with $7,500 of unrestricted cash, plus housing and round-trip travel accommodations and, most importantly, uninterrupted time – to assist them in writing a feature film screenplay.

The Indie Memphis Black Filmmaker Residency will provide opportunity for under-represented artists in filmmaking to develop bold storytelling to ultimately be filmed in the Memphis-area. The residency will look to support one narrative feature film project each year, with priority given to the story deemed most original, daring, intelligent, emotionally resonant, and realistic to produce.

Applications must be submitted by 11:59pm CST on April 4th, 2018. For information on how to apply, please go to: http://indiememphis.com/residency.

Wednesday, February 14:

-Osgood Perkins, the writer / director of “The Blackcoat’s Daughter” and “I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House,” has set his next project as an adaptation of Paul Tremblay’s novel “A Head Full of Ghosts” for Focus Features, per Deadline.

– Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to Crystal Moselle’s “Skate Kitchen,” the filmmaker’s eagerly-awaited follow-up to 2015 Sundance U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize-winning “The Wolfpack” (also released by Magnolia). The film follows “a suburban teenager whose life changes dramatically when she befriends a group of female skateboarders in New York. Featuring a supporting turn by Jaden Smith, Moselle’s narrative feature debut recently world-premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and stars Rachelle Vinberg, Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran, Ajani Russell, and Kabrina Adams. Magnolia plans a theatrical release this summer.

Exclusive: Brits in LA are excited to announce that comedian and actress Lucie Pohl will host this year’s Toscars. Pohl is known for her outstanding work in “Red Dwarf XI,” Showtime’s “Homeland,” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” The 11th annual Toscars will be held in Hollywood at the Renberg Theatre on February 28, 2018.

– Tiffany Haddish will receive the CinemaCon  Female Star of Tomorrow Award at the annual event. CinemaCon, the official convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), will be held April 23 – 26, 2018 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Haddish will be presented with this special honor at the “CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards” ceremony, which takes place on the evening of Thursday, April 26, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, hosted by the Coca-Cola Company — the official presenting sponsor of CinemaCon.

– The Austin Film Society (AFS) has announced that filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson will accept the inaugural Jonathan Demme Award of the Texas Film Hall of Fame. Jonathan Demme, a longtime Austin Film Society Advisory Board Member, was considered a patron saint of Texas film. AFS worked with Demme’s family to select Paul Thomas Anderson for the inaugural award. Also, Steven Gaydos, Vice President and Executive Editor of Variety, will present Armie Hammer with Variety’s “ONE TO ACCLAIM” Award. This award honors actors and filmmakers who have achieved excellence early in their careers.

– Willem Dafoe will receive this year’s honorary Golden Bear for lifetime achievement at the Berlin International Film Festival. The actor, currently nominated for an Oscar for his turn in “The Florida Project,” will receive his Berlin trophy at a ceremony in the German capital February 20. The festival has also programmed a retrospective of his career, including “Platoon,” “Shadow of a Vampire,” “Antichrist,” and “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.”

Tuesday, February 13:

– Barnard College’s Athena Film Festival (AFF) announced today its opening night, centerpiece, and closing night films, a special television presentation, and additional programming for the 2018 festival. The Athena Film Festival showcases films and TV series about strong, bold women leaders in real life and the fictional world; it is a weekend dedicated to elevating female voices and stories that inspire and empower a new generation of filmmakers and individuals.

The eighth annual festival, co-founded by Barnard College’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies and Women and Hollywood, will take place February 22 – 25, 2018, at Barnard College in New York City. You can see the full lineup right here.

– The Film Society of Lincoln Center and UniFrance have announced the complete lineup for the 23rd edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, the celebrated annual series showcasing the variety and vitality of contemporary French filmmaking, March 8-18. The 24 diverse films on display, by emerging talents and established masters, raise ideas both topical and eternal, and take audiences to entirely unexpected places.

The Opening Night selection is the U.S. premiere of Mathieu Amalric’s transfixing, meta-cinematic “Barbara,” starring Jeanne Balibar as the iconic French chanteuse. The film was nominated last week for nine César Awards, including Best Film, Actor, and Actress. Amalric, who also co-wrote and co-stars, will appear in person along with Balibar at the festival. You can see the full lineup right here.

– Showcasing groundbreaking new Australian content, workshops with leading film industry mentors, and heralding exciting homegrown filmmakers, the inaugural Australian International Screen Forum was announced to take place in New York City across March 19 – 22, 2018. Hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Forum will include screenings and previews, industry-focused events, seminars, roundtables, keynote conversations, and master classes, to highlight the creative cinema, television and digital content emerging from Australia’s burgeoning entertainment industry, and foster new relationships and international growth between the film industries of Australia and the United States.

Monday, February 12:

– The Oscar-qualifying New York International Children’s Film Festival has announced its complete 2018 short film lineup. Established in 1997, the acclaimed Festival is the nation’s largest for children and teens and will present new animated, live action, documentary, and experimental shorts and features from approximately 30 countries from February 23 – March 18, 2018. You can check out the full lineup and purchase tickets right here.

– The BFI London Film Festival in Partnership with American Express has confirmed the dates for the Festival’s 62nd edition which will take place at venues across the UK capital from October 10 – 21, 2018. Submissions for the 2018 BFI London Film Festival are now open. Feature and short films can be submitted through the BFI London Film Festival website at www.bfi.org.uk/lff. The final deadline for short films and features is Monday June 15, 2018.

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