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Breaking Film and TV Industry News — September 27

More of this month's news for industry insiders.

September 27

– The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles (BAFTA Los Angeles) is pleased to announce that British actor and producer Damian Lewis will receive the Britannia Award for Excellence in Television at the 2018 British Academy Britannia Awards.

He joins previously announced honorees Steve McQueen, who will receive the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing, Cate Blanchett, who will receive the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film, and Kevin Feige, who will receive the Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment.

The British Academy Britannia Awards is BAFTA’s biggest event outside of the U.K. This year’s ceremony will take place on Friday, October 26, 2018 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and will be presented by American Airlines and Jaguar Land Rover North America.

September 26

– The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) will honor three-time Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-nominated actor Willem Dafoe with the Actor Tribute and Paul Greengrass with the Director Tribute at the 2018 IFP Gotham Awards. The first awards show of the season, the IFP Gotham Awards is one of the leading honors for independent film and media, providing critical early recognition to groundbreaking independent films and their writers, directors, producers, and actors with ten competitive awards categories. The IFP Gotham Awards also honors selected film industry icons as tributes each year. The ceremony will be held on Monday, November 26, 2018, at Cipriani Wall Street, New York City.

– Variety has announced the honorees for their upcoming Power of Women: Los Angeles luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons on Friday, October 12, 2018. The event, in partnership with Lifetime Television, gathers an intimate group of philanthropic women who have been selected as Variety’s honorees. Through their humanitarian efforts, these women have made a significant difference in their chosen causes.

Tiffany Haddish

This year’s honorees include activist and gun reform advocate Emma Gonzalez; Emmy Award-winning actress Tiffany Haddish; three time Emmy Award-winning actress Regina King; Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman; and Emmy Award-winning writer, producer, actor and creator of Showtime’s “The Chi,” Lena Waithe.

– EXCLUSIVE: The Indie Memphis Film Festival has released its full slate of films for its 2018 incarnation, running November 1- 5. This year’s festival features five World Premiere screenings and one U.S. Premiere screening, as well as Special Presentations (with many of the filmmakers in attendance), such as “Cabin Boy” with Chris Elliott in attendance and Barbara Loden’s feminist masterpiece “Wanda” presented by Amy Seimetz (Showtime’s “The Girlfriend Experience”), as well as a retrospective of the recent films of filmmaker Hong Sang-soo.

The Opening Night film is Melissa Haizlip and Samuel D. Pollard’s “Mr. Soul!,” a documentary chronicling the first African American-hosted talk show, Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” is its Centerpiece Presentation, and Andrew Bujaski’s “Support the Girls” is its Closing Night selection, followed by Bujalski presenting the “Indie Memphis Actor of the Year” award for an unforgettable role by a promising new performer to one of the film’s stars, Shayna McHayle (aka Junglepussy). As previously announced, “Sorry to Bother You” filmmaker Boots Riley will be the festival’s keynote speaker for the Black Creatives Forum as well as presenting “Brazil” (1985, Terry Gilliam).

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover UsageMandatory Credit: Photo by Burn Later Productions/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (9838587h)Haley Lu Richardson as Maci, Regina Hall as Lisa'Support the Girls' Film - 2018

“Support the Girls”

Burn Later Productions/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

“The 21st edition of Indie Memphis Film Festival marks considerable growth for our organization, as we continue to build programs that support the development of filmmakers,” said Indie Memphis Executive Director Ryan Watt. “Miriam Bale and Brighid Wheeler have formed arguably the richest festival slate in our history. I’m so excited to talk with the audiences and artists during this year’s Indie Memphis experience.”

Fifty percent of the films in the Narrative Competition are directed by female-identifying filmmakers and fifty percent are directed by people of color; in the Documentary Competition, forty-three percent are directed by women and seventy-one percent by people of color. In addition to films from the United States, the festival also boasts titles from Spain, France, South Korea, Israel, Austria, Australia, Zambia, United Kingdom, Portugal, Canada, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The 2018 slate was unveiled publicly on the evening of September 25 at the venue Rec Room in Memphis, TN. You can see the full lineup right here.

– EXCLUSIVE: FilmRise has acquired exclusive North American distribution rights to Alex O. Eaton’s award-winning directorial debut “Mountain Rest.” The film, written and directed by Eaton, stars Natalia Dyer of “Stranger Things” in the lead role, and co-stars industry veterans Frances Conroy, Shawn Hatosy, and Kate Lyn Sheil. The film had its world premiere at the 2018 Nashville International Film Festival to critical and audience acclaim. FilmRise plans to release the film in late 2018.

September 25

– The Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference (AFF) has released the full schedule of films and panels for the 25th Anniversary festival, this October 25 – November 1. AFF’s feature film slate includes 23 World, North American, and US Premieres, a robust retrospective series, and highly anticipated marquee titles. The full Film and Conference schedule can be found right here.

– The SAG-AFTRA Foundation will present its Patron of the Artists Awards to entertainment industry leader, WndrCo Co-founder and NewTV (working title) Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and trailblazing Director/Producer/Writer Spike Lee whose most recent film “BlacKkKlansman” opened earlier this year. The award honors industry leaders who are champions of the arts and whose history of fostering creativity and creating opportunities for actors has made a positive impact on the acting profession and the performing arts. The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s 3rd annual Patron of the Artists Awards benefit takes place Thursday, November 8 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.

September 24

– DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, running November 8 – 15, announced the honorees for the fifth annual Visionaries Tribute, taking place on November 8 at Manhattan’s Edison Ballroom. Veteran filmmakers Wim Wenders and Orlando Bagwell will receive Lifetime Achievement recognition. The Robert and Anne Drew Award for Documentary Excellence will go to Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin and the Leading Light Award will go to Tabitha Jackson, Director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program.

– Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures (ESMP), the theatrical distribution division of Byron Allen’s global media and technology company Entertainment Studios has announced the launch of its new international sales and distribution division: Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures International (ESMPI). ESMPI has launched in an alliance with FilmNation Entertainment, which will now handle international distribution of wide-release theatrical titles where ESMP has worldwide rights. ESMP/ESMPI are subsidiaries of Allen Media, which recently announced it has secured $500 million in credit facilities.

The first title ESMP/ESMPI will finance and distribute worldwide is “47 Meters Down: The Next Chapter,” which just started pre-production. The shark thriller sequel will be released domestically on approximately 3,500 screens on June 28, 2019.

47 Meters Down The Next Chapter

“47 Meters Down: The Next Chapter”

Entertainment Studios/screenshot from YouTube

– Montclair Film, New Jersey’s leading film non-profit, has announced that Stephen Colbert will host an evening with three-time Academy Award® winner Meryl Streep, on stage at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in downtown Newark, NJ on Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 8:00 PM.

“Meryl Streep is one of the greatest film artists of our time and to have her join Stephen Colbert onstage is an extraordinary gift,” said Montclair Film Executive Director Tom Hall in an official statement. “This event provides our non-profit organization with vital support that allows us to deliver world class film, media literacy, and education programs to our patrons and students. We’re so grateful to Stephen, Meryl, and our friends at NJPAC and NorthJersey.com for their generosity in making this event possible. It is going to be an unforgettable evening.”

September 21

– The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced today its 2018 date and initial programming for the fifth edition of Produced By: New York. In addition to speaker Gail Berman, PGA President and Chairman and CEO of The Jackal Group, the popular session series, “Producing Masterclass: The Creative Collaborations,” returns for the fifth year in an expanded format that will encompass a total of 12 productions, featuring producers and their collaborators from some of the year’s most critically-acclaimed films. Produced By: New York 2018 is set for Saturday, November 10 with One Time Warner Center in New York serving as the venue for the fifth consecutive year.

– The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s premier member organization of independent filmmakers and storytellers, honored Sandra Schulberg, founder of the IFP and of the IFP Market, with its first-ever Honorary Gotham Award yesterday at the PUBLIC Hotel. The inaugural award was presented to Ms. Schulberg at the conclusion of the 40th Anniversary of IFP Week, a weeklong event connecting emerging and established filmmakers with financiers, festival programmers, and distributors, amongst other industry executives.

September 20

– The Nordic International Film Festival will open with “The Holiday” on October 31. Directed by Swedish Isabella Eklöf, the film follows “the trophy girlfriend of a Danish drug lord [who] sets a dangerous game in motion when she seeks the attention of another man, while on vacation with her boyfriend on the Turkish Riviera.” The film world premiered in the World Dramatic Cinema competition at the Sundance Film Festival.

Victoria Carmen Sonne in Holiday movie Isabella Eklöf's Holiday


Breaking Glass Pictures

– EXCLUSIVE: The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (HSDFF), presented by Mountain Valley Spring Water, had today announced the official selections for this year’s short and feature documentary lineups. This year’s festival will include additional categories including U.S., International, Southern Stories, Sports, as well as a spotlight on films Made in Arkansas. Now approaching its 27th year, HSDFF is the longest running all-documentary festival in North America and is Academy Award-Qualifying in the Documentary Short Subject Category.

HSDFF’s mission is to inspire, nurture, and celebrate nonfiction storytellers while strengthening the Arkansas community through innovative and impactful documentary films.

“It has been an outstanding year for documentaries and we are honored to showcase films that have received noteworthy buzz from festivals such as Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, and the Toronto International Film Festival,” said Executive Director Jennifer Gerber in an official statement. “Our lineup is packed with films that light up the screen with cinematic adventures, inspirational characters, and pop culture icons, while bringing into focus vital stories of our time that remind us that the fight for race and gender equality is not over. I can’t wait to share these unforgettable stories with the Arkansas community as well as the film lovers visiting from across the country.”

Check out the full lineup below.

U.S. Films

Dir. Paula Eiselt 90 mins
Set in the Hasidic enclave of Borough Park, Brooklyn, 93Queen follows a group of tenacious Hasidic women who are smashing the patriarchy in their community by creating the first
all-female volunteer ambulance corps in New York City.

Behind the Curve Dir. Daniel J. Clark 96 mins
Meet real Flat Earthers, a small but growing contingent of people who firmly believe that there is a centuries’ long conspiracy to suppress the truth that the Earth is flat.

Big Time
Dir. Kaspar Astrup Shröder 92 mins
This philosophical portrait follows the “starchitect,” Bjarke Ingles over a six-year period as he opens a New York office and starts to redesign the iconic Manhattan skyline through his biggest projects yet: the W57 skyscraper and Two World Trade Center.

Blowin’ Up
Dir. Stephanie Wang-Brea 94 mins
Working within a broken criminal justice system, a team of rebel heroines work to change the the way women arrested and prosecuted for prostitution.

Chef Flynn
Dir. Cameron Yates 82 mins
Ten-year-old Flynn transforms his living room into a supper club using his classmates as line cooks. With sudden fame, Flynn outgrows his bedroom kitchen, and sets out to challenge the hierarchy of the culinary world.

The Devil We Know Dir. Stephanie Soechtig 88 mins
A group of citizens in West Virginia challenges a powerful corporation to be more environmentally responsible.

Dons of Disco
Dir. Jonathan Sutak 85 mins
A character-driven documentary about a 1980s lip-syncing scandal that escalates into a bitter war between an American singer and an Italian male model.

Eating Animals
Dir. Christopher Quinn 94 mins
Based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s best-selling memoir and narrated by Natalie Portman, this eye-opening film eulogizes the billions of animals that lead lives of misery and mourns a world changed for the worse by factory farming.

Dir. Shaena Mallett 60 mins
A love story, a farm story, and a story of contemporary rural America. Set in the verdant foothills of Ohio, this intimate portrait about a young family and their independent dairy farm is as much
a study of place as it is a study of persistence.

Far From the Tree Dir. Rachel Dretzin 93 mins
Based on the NY Times bestselling book by Andrew Solomon, Far from the Tree examines the experiences of families in which parents and children are profoundly different from one another in a variety of ways.

Freaks and Geeks: A Documentary
Dir. Brent Hodge 64 mins
The creators and stars of the TV show Freaks and Geeks share their untold stories and pivotal moments from the making of the series that only aired for one season.

General Magic
Dir. Sarah Kerruish & Matt Maude 90 mins
A documentary about a business that Forbes described as the “greatest dead company in Silicon Valley.” It is a tale of how great vision and epic failure changed the world as we know it.

The Gospel According to André
Dir. Kate Novack
93 mins
From the segregated American South to the fashion capitals of the world, operatic fashion editor André Leon Talley’s life and career are on full display.

Dir. Amy Scott 90 mins
Director of the cult hits Harold and Maude, Shampoo, and The Last Detail, Hal Ashby was New Hollywood’s most countercultural and socially-oriented creative mind. This new documentary treats us to a treasure trove of archival footage and A-list recollections exploring Ashby’s tenure.

The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution
Dir. Maya Gallus 75 mins
A look at the women currently at the head of some of the world’s top restaurants, and the next generation unwilling to submit to the brutal, macho conditions of the kitchen that were once considered the norm.

Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People
Dir. Oren Rudavsky 84 mins
Joseph J. Pulitzer came to America as a penniless immigrant but he became a wealthy and influential publisher who fought for the freedom of the press and whose newspaper The World became known as “The Friend of the People.”

The Last Race
Dir. Michael Dweck 74 mins
A portrait of a small-town stock car racetrack and the tribe of blue-collar drivers that call it home, struggling to hold onto an American racing tradition as the world around them is transformed by globalization and commercialization.

A Murder in Mansfield
Dir. Barbara Kopple 87 mins
In her latest documentary, Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple takes on the “true crime” genre to explore the after-effects of tragedy when a convicted murderer is confronted by his son 26 years later.

No Greater Law Dir. Tom Dumican 89 mins
The state of Idaho takes freedom of religion to extremes with a law that protects the rights of a Christian sect to withhold medical treatment for their children in lieu of prayer and faith-healing.

Our New President
Dir. Maxim Pozdorovkin 77 mins
When it comes to fake news on steroids, Russia wins the Gold Medal. This nightmarishly distorted take on the 2016 Presidential campaign is told entirely through clips of Russian government-controlled news footage and the YouTube videos from mind-controlled Russian citizens.

Personal Statement Dir. Juliane Dressner 87 mins
Three Brooklyn high school seniors pull double duty as they attempt to get themselves, as well as their peers, into college. Karoline, Christine, and Enoch struggle to break the barriers that prevent so many low-income students from attending and graduating from college.

Pick of the Litter
Dir. Don Hardy Jr. & Dana Nachman 81 mins
This adorable documentary follows a litter of puppies from the moment they’re born and begin their quest to become Guide Dogs for the Blind, the ultimate canine career.

Quiet Heroes
Dir. Jenny Mackenzie, Jared Ruga, Amanda Stoddard 68 mins
Receiving care for HIV/AIDS in 1980s Salt Lake City was staggeringly difficult due to the Mormon Church’s political and social influence. Kristin Ries and Maggie Snyder were two crusading healthcare professionals who served as the area’s only means of medical support.

Dir. Julie Cohen & Betsy West 98 mins
A portrait of the exceptional life and career of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
who has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon.

Roll Red Roll
Dir. Nancy Schwartzman 80 mins
When social media, “boys will be boys.” and vigilante justice collide, Steubenville, Ohio will never be the same.

Science Fair
Dir. Cristina Costantini & Darren Foster 90 mins
Nine high school students from around the globe navigate rivalries, setbacks and, of course, hormones, on their journey to compete at The International Science and Engineering Fair.

Studio 54
Dir. Matt Tyrnauer 98 mins
Studio 54 was the epicenter of 70s hedonism — a place that not only redefined the nightclub, but also came to symbolize an entire era. A tantalizing glimpse into the real story behind the velvet ropes.

This Changes Everything
Dir. Tom Donahue 90 mins
An investigative look and analysis of gender disparity in Hollywood, featuring accounts from well-known actors, executives, and artists in the Industry.

This Is Home
Dir. Alexandra Shiva 91 mins
Four Syrian refugee families attempt to resettle in Baltimore during the eight months before they become ineligible for financial assistance.

Time for Ilhan
Dir. Norah Shapiro 89 mins
This inspiring and suspenseful political documentary follows the campaign of Ilhan Omar, a young Somalian Muslim immigrant woman who attempts to unseat a 43-year incumbent and other challengers.

United Skates
Dir. Dyana Winkler & Tina Brown 89 mins
When America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battle in a racially charged environment to save an underground subculture — one that has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talent.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Dir. Morgan Neville 94 mins
An exploration of the life, lessons, and legacy of iconic children’s television host, Fred Rogers, and a plea for more civility in this world.

The World Before Your Feet
Dir. Jeremy Workman 96 mins
A sublime journey inside authentic New York City as seen through the eyes and adventures of “walker” Matt Green, who has taken on the personal project of walking every street and path in NYC.

International Films

Dir. Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside
76 mins
Mexican brothers Rodriguez, Bruno, and Diego are unexpectedly tasked with caring for their 93-year-old grandmother despite growing familial tensions and disagreements.

Ask the Sexpert Dir. Vaishali Sinha 80 mins
Ninety-three-year old Dr. Watsa is a popular sex advice columnist in India despite sex being a taboo topic there and political activists trying to censor him.

Call Her Ganda
Dir. PJ Raval 98 mins
When Jennifer Laude, a Filipina trans woman, is brutally murdered by a U.S. Marine, three women intimately invested in the case — an activist attorney, a transgender journalist, and Jennifer’s mother — galvanize a political uprising, pursuing justice, and taking on hardened histories of US imperialism.

Facing the Dragon Dir. Sedika Mojadidi 80 mins
Afghan-American filmmaker Sedika Mojadidi follows two extraordinary Afghan women, a politician and a journalist, to examine what is happening to women as American troops and international aid pull out of Afghanistan.

From All Corners Dir. Ryusuke Okajima 93 mins
Artist Fuyuki Shimazu will redefine your idea of what “precious” means with his meticulously crafted wallets, upcycled from discarded cardboard boxes.

The Interpreters
Dir. Andres Caballero & Sofian Khan 76 mins
Local interpreters were key to the US war effort in the Middle East, but now these unsung heroes face danger in their countries because of their affiliation.

Letter From Masanjia
Dir. Leon Lee 75 mins
After a woman in Oregon opens up a package of Halloween decorations to discover a note inside written by a political prisoner from a Chinese labor camp, she publishes the story which gets worldwide media attention resulting in labor reform in China.

The Next Guardian
Dir. Arun Bhattarai & Dorottya Zurbó 74 mins
The contrasting dreams of two generations clash within the microcosm of an ancient Buddhist monastery in Bhutan, when Gyembo an ordinary teenager is chosen as the next guardian of the family monastery.

Dir. Lisa F. Jackson & Sarah Teal 83 mins
Located on the coast of Baja, California, the small Mexican town of Todos Santos is threatened by a multinational corporation that is building a gigantic hotel and condo complex that will deplete the water supply and force the fishermen off the beach.

The Silence of Others
Dir. Almudena Carracedo & Robert Baha 96 mins
The victims of Spain’s 40 year dictatorship under General Franco continue to seek justice and and try to prosecute the criminals of the Franco regime in a country that forbids it.

Whispering Truth to Power
Dir. Shameela Seedat 86 mins
Filmmaker and human rights lawyer Shameela Seedat tracks Thuli Madonsela, South Africa’s first female Public Protector, as she builds her second case against the country’s President, Jacob Zuma.

A Woman Captured
Dir. Bernadett Tuza-Ritter 89 mins
A European woman has been kept by a family as a domestic slave for 10 years. Drawing courage from the filmmaker’s presence, she decides to escape the unbearable oppression and become a free person.

Southern Stories

Daughters of the Sexual Revolution: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
**Closing Night Film** Dir. Dana Adam Shapiro 80 mins
Seen by many as regressive and exploitative, this diverse sisterhood of small-town “girls next door” became a controversial pop culture phenomenon at the height of the Sexual Revolution.

The Gospel of Eureka
**Centerpiece Film**
Dir. Donal Mosher & Michael Palmieri 75 mins
Love, faith, and civil rights collide in the south as evangelical Christians and drag queens step into the spotlight to explore the meaning of belief.

Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Dir. RaMell Ross 76 mins
Composed of intimate and unencumbered moments of people in a community, this film is constructed in a form that allows the viewer an emotive impression of the Historic South — trumpeting the beauty of life and consequences of the social construction of race, while simultaneously a testament to dreaming.

**Opening Night Film**
Dir. Sally Rubin & Ashley York 77 mins
An examination of the iconic hillbilly image in media and culture throughout the years, offering an urgent exploration of how we see and think about rural America in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election.

Dir. Morrisa Maltz 51 mins
An intimate look at a woman who left her life as a successful fashion designer in Dallas, Texas, to become a reclusive hermit in the Ouachita Mountains, immersed in nature, focused solely on creating art.

Make Room for Pie
Dir. Larry Foley 44 mins
Food writer Kat Robinson hosts this tour across Arkansas, from the Delta to the Ozark hills, where colorful characters create sweet masterpieces with just the right amount of love and creative soul.

Man on Fire
Dir. Joel Fendelman 54 mins
Grand Saline, Texas was a sleepy, unremarkable town — until a white preacher lit himself on fire to protest the town’s racism in 2014.

Rodents of Unusual Size
Dir. Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler, Jeff Springer 61 mins
The residents of Louisiana never know what will attack them next: floods, hurricanes, even monstrous swamp rats. Gigantic orange-toothed nutria are eating up the coastal wetlands, destroying the landscape, and threatening the very existence of the human population

While I Breathe, I Hope
Dir. Emily Harrold 75 mins
What does it mean to be young, Black, and Democrat in the American South? While I Breathe, I Hope follows South Carolina Politician Bakari Sellers as he runs to become the first African American elected statewide in over a century.

Sports Films

Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable
Dir. Aaron Lieber 98 mins
At age 13, Bethany Hamilton survived a shark attack that severed her right arm yet she was back on the competitive circuit in just a year. Now more than a decade later, Hamilton is a mother undertaking her most daunting challenge — chasing a toddler as well as the biggest wave of her career.

Free Solo
Dir. Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi 97 mins
Follow Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite’s 3,000ft high El Capitan Wall. With no ropes or safety gear, he’s completed arguably the greatest feat in rock climbing history.

Jacks & Jills Adam Harbottle 55 mins
The Lumberjack World Championships is beautifully captured on film by local Arkansas filmmaker Adam Harbottle, in all of its log-rolling, tree-climbing glory. It’s like the rural, nature version of American Ninja Warrior.

Momentum Generation
Dir. Jeff Zimbalist & Michael Zimbalist 103 mins
A group of teenagers in Hawaii enter the world of professional competitive surfing in the 1990s and rise to superstardom.

This Mountain Life Dir. Grant Baldwin 77 mins
Undefined by age, gender, profession or background, a group of adventurous people sacrifice comfort and personal safety for a life of recreation in the peaks of British Columbia, Canada.

Too Beautiful: Our Right To Fight
Dir. Maceo Frost 75 mins
The film captures the tireless battle of Namibia Flores Rodriguez, the only known female boxer in Cuba who aspires to represent the Caribbean Nation in the Olympics despite the country’s ban on women’s competitive boxing.

Dir. Michael Del Monte 78 mins
Matt Kroc was the ultimate alpha-male, a football player in high school, and a former marine who set a world record for combined powerlifting. But in 2015 he transitioned to become Janae Marie Kroczaleski, a trans-woman who continues life as a competitive weightlifter.

Dir. Suzannah Herbert 96 mins
An intimate and nuanced documentary that follows the wrestling team at JO Johnson High School in Huntsville, Alabama. As they fight their way towards the State Championship and the doors they hope it will open, wrestlers Jailen, Jamario, Teague, and Jaquan each face injustices and challenges on and off the mat.

September 19

– The New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) announced its Opening Night Film, Centerpiece Film, and one new title from its Spotlight Films lineup for the 29th annual New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF), which will take place October 17 – October 25 in venues across New Orleans.

Peter Farrelly’s latest film, “Green Book,” which won the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, will open the festival on Wednesday, October 17. For its Centerpiece Film, the festival has selected “Widows,” the new film from Steve McQueen. Additionally, Paul Dano’s directorial debut, “Wildlife,” starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal is announced to be screened under the Spotlight Films section of the festival.

L to R: Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali in GREEN BOOK

“Green Book”

Universal Pictures

September 18

– Three individuals and one writing team have been selected as winners of the 2018 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition. The fellows will each receive a $35,000 prize, the first installment of which will be distributed at the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Awards Presentation & Live Read on Thursday, November 8, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. For the sixth consecutive year, an ensemble of actors will read selected scenes from the winning scripts.

The 2018 winners are (listed alphabetically by author):

Allison Buckmelter and Nicolas Buckmelter, “American Refugee”
Joey Clarke, Jr., “Miles”
Grace Sherman, “Numbers and Words”
Wenonah Wilms, “Horsehead Girls”

A total of 6,895 scripts were submitted for this year’s competition. Nine individual screenwriters and one writing team were selected as finalists. Their scripts were then read and judged by the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Committee, who ultimately voted the winners.

The 2018 finalists are (listed alphabetically by author):

Avi Glick, “A Yacht in the Apache Junction”
Ernestina Juárez, “Labyrinth of Destiny”
Neal McLaughlin, “The Sunshine Ward”
Daniel Miska, “The Soldier That Wagged Her Tail”
Gabriel Mizrahi, “Beside Ourselves”
Jordan Trippeer, “Air”

– A24 has acquired North American rights to “In Fabric,” Peter Strickland’s new horror film “about a woman who buys a cursed gown from a strangely sinister department store outside of London.” The film, which premiered in the Midnight Madness section at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, stars Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Hayley Squires, Leo Bill, Julian Barrett, Steve Oram, and Gwendoline Christie. Strickland also wrote the screenplay.

It will be released domestically by A24 in 2019. The film will continue its festival run with screenings in competition at the San Sebastian International Film Festival next week and the BFI London Film Festival in October.

– Strand Releasing has acquired all North American rights for A.B. Shawky’s “Yomeddine,” which has been announced as the Official Egyptian entry for Best Foreign Language Film. The film, which had its world premiere in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, “involves Beshay (Rady Gamal) as a man cured of leprosy who travels across Egypt to search for long lost relatives. Accompanying Behshay is (Ahmed Abdelhafiz) playing an orphaned adolescent Obama. Together, the pair embark on a touching and sometimes comedic road movie.”



Desert Highway Pictures

The film won the Francois Chalais Prize in Cannes, which is dedicated to life affirmation. Strand plans for an early 2019 release.

– Jed Dietz, Founding Director of the Maryland Film Festival (MdFF), will retire this fall, MdFF announced today. Dietz will continue as a consultant to the organization, a board member, and will coordinate MdFF’s Maryland Filmmakers Fellowship. Sandra L. Gibson, a nationally recognized leader in arts management and administration and a current consultant with MdFF, will become Interim Director on November 1. The board will launch a national search for an Executive Director this fall.

September 17

– The Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) has announced the winners of the 2018 Festival, which took place September 13 – 16 in Camden, Rockport and Rockland, Maine.

The documentary film industry once again converged in mid-coast Maine for the 14th edition of the Camden International Film Festival. CIFF presented 37 features, 43 short films, 1 episodic series and 20 virtual reality and immersive experiences from over 30 countries. Recognized as one of the top documentary film festivals in the world, CIFF saw a 20% rise in submissions from 2017, while attendance of filmmakers, industry and passholders was at a record high for the 2018 Festival.

This year’s winners included: Sierra Urich’s work-in-progress feature documentary “Joonam” (Points North Pitch Award), Jayisha Patel’s “Circle” (Camden Cartel Award for Best Short), Ramell Ross’s “Hale County This Morning” (John Marshall Award for Contemporary Ethnographic Media), Vadym Ilkov’s” My Father Is My Mother’s Brother” (Cinematic Vision Award), Alexandria Bombach’s “On Her Shoulders” (Harrell Award for Best Documentary Feature), the Harrell Jury awarded two Special Mentions: one each to Vitaly Mansky’s Putin’s Witnesses and James Longley’s Angels Are Made of Light, and the Camden International Film Festival Audience Award went to Assia Boundaoui’s “The Feeling of Being Watched.”

– The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) announced today the full slate of films for the 2018 edition, including selections for the Competition section, Spotlight section, World Cinema Narrative, and World Cinema Documentary sections, and Shorts Programs, as well as the signature programs including Views From Long Island; Air, Land & Sea; Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights; and Conflict & Resolution.

In addition, the festival revealed the anticipated films, Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favorite” and Marielle Heller’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” will screen as the Friday Centerpiece and Sunday Centerpiece, respectively. The festival also added two films to the Spotlight section: Academy Award-winning director Steve McQueen’s “Widows” and the East Coast Premiere of Felix Van Groeningen’s (HIFF 2009 & 2013 alum) “Beautiful Boy.”

The annual festival runs October 4 – 8, and you can see the full lineup right here.


– Next week at Getting Real ‘18, the International Documentary Association (IDA) premiere field-building gathering, the IDA will introduce a cohort of 12 films receiving the IDA’s Enterprise Production Fund. With major support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Enterprise Fund supports feature-length documentary films telling urgent, revelatory stories characterized by a strong journalistic foundation.

The films have been selected to receive a total of $850,000. In addition to funds, grantees will receive additional resources and expertise through IDA and its partners Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the UCLA Documentary Film Legal Clinic, and Freelance Investigative Reporters and Editors. IDA’s Enterprise Fund was launched in 2017 and has now provided $1,900,000 in funding to 35 documentary projects in both production and development.

The selections were made by veteran journalists, filmmakers, and industry professionals across the country through a rigorous review process from 275 submissions. See the full list right here.

– Beyond Fest, the highest-attended genre film festival in the US, has announced its complete slate of 2018 programming featuring 46 features and 24 West Coast premieres of cinematic excess. Co-presented by Hulu and Shudder, Beyond Fest returns to Hollywood’s famed Egyptian Theatre for 14 days of cinematic splendor spanning September 26 – October 9 to generate funds for the nonprofit 501c3 American Cinematheque. You can see the full lineup right here, complete with showtimes.

DF-06712_KF_R – Chris Hemsworth stars in Twentieth Century Fox’s BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYAL. Photo Credit: Kimberley French.

“Bad Times at the El Royale”

Kimberley French

– The 33rd Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLiFF), announced today the film lineup for the  annual event held from November 2 – 18, with more than 150 films from 30 countries and over 66 feature and documentary film premieres including: 2 World, 15 U.S., 19 Southeast, 7 East Coast and 15 Florida premieres. The “vacation from ordinary film” brings together the South Florida community and visitors to experience top new films, special guests and over-the-top parties that imbues the tropical lifestyle of the area. You can see the full lineup right here.

September 14

– The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s premier member organization of independent filmmakers and storytellers, announced today that Academy Award- and Golden Globe-winning actress Rachel Weisz will receive the Actress Tribute and Jon Kamen, Founder of the Academy Award-winning company, RadicalMedia, will receive the Industry Tribute at the 2018 IFP Gotham Awards.

The first awards show of the season, the IFP Gotham Awards is one of the leading honors for independent film and media, providing critical early recognition to groundbreaking independent films and their writers, directors, producers, and actors with ten competitive awards categories. The IFP Gotham Awards also honors selected film industry icons as tributes each year.

The ceremony will be held on Monday, November 26, 2018, at Cipriani Wall Street, New York City.

September 5

– Orion Classics has acquired the North American and Latin American rights for Suzi Yoonessi’s “Unlovable,” a dramedy based on co-writer and lead actress Charlene deGuzman’s real-life experiences with sex and love addiction.



Yoonessi directed from a script penned collaboratively by deGuzman, Sarah Adina Smith, and Mark Duplass. The film world premiered at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival where it went on to receive the Gamechanger Special Jury Recognition Award. Orion Classics will release the dramedy in U.S. theaters on November 1 and on VOD and Digital HD on November 2.

September 4

– The Points North Institute has unveiled the lineup for its 10th annual Points North Forum, as well as the 30 documentary filmmakers selected for its 2018 Artist Programs. Industry delegates include Maxyne Franklin (Doc Society), Ryan Harrington (Pulse Films), Hayley Pappas (RYOT Films), Chi-hui Yang (Ford Foundation / JustFilms), and many more.

The Points North Forumruns concurrently with the Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) from September 14 – 16 at the historic Camden Opera House and High Mountain Hall in Camden, Maine. Workshops, masterclasses and panel discussions are presented in tandem with CIFF screenings, parties and receptions, presenting attendees with numerous opportunities to connect – both formally and informally – with an impressive roster of the documentary film industry’s most accomplished storytellers and influential decision makers.

A full conference schedule and list of industry delegates is available online right here.

– The mission-driven, artist-led production company and studio MAJORITY has announced its full roster, featuring women directors from the independent film worlds of documentary and fiction narrative. Collectively, MAJORITY’s directors have received six Emmy nominations and one Emmy Award, four Sundance Jury Prize awards, three Peabody Awards, the James Beard Award, and an impressive number of other awards and fellowships. The full roster can be found at: www.majorityfilm.com.

Lady Gaga, "A Star Is Born"

Lady Gaga in “A Star Is Born”

Warner Bros./YouTube

The auteur-driven roster — led by Managing Director and award-winning filmmaker Senain Kheshgi — marks an unprecedented approach to branded content by leveraging independent cinema’s most exciting women directors to create commercial content for agencies and brands. “I’m invigorated by the opportunity to lead MAJORITY and propel indie women directors to the forefront of storytelling in the commercial and branded space,” said Kheshgi in an official statement. “The very nature of independent film requires its directors to work closely with partners to develop and execute concepts all the way through from production to engaging audiences. We’re excited by these talented storytellers and the unique skillsets they bring to the world of brands and agencies.”

– The SAG-AFTRA Foundation announced today it will bestow this year’s Artists Inspiration Awards to legendary actor Harrison Ford and superstar performer and actor Lady Gaga at the Foundation’s 3rd Annual Patron of the Artists Awards to be held on Thursday, November 8, at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. The SAG-AFTRA Foundation annually honors two artists who have used their platform to advance humanitarian and philanthropic causes with Artists Inspiration Awards. Previous SAG-AFTRA Foundation Artists Inspiration Award honorees include Leonardo DiCaprio, Lionel Ritchie, and Kate Winslet.

September 1

– Berlin-based sales company PTI has acquired international sales rights to Carolina Hellsgård’s postapocalyptic horror “Endzeit – Ever After,” which will have its world premiere at Toronto IFF in the Discovery program. “Endzeit” is Hellsgård’s second feature as director after her debut “Wanja” played in Berlinale in 2015.

Per its official synopsis, “Two years after zombies have overrun the earth, the German towns of Weimar and Jena are possibly the last hold-outs of human civilization. When two young women, Vivi and Eva, are stranded in the wild and treacherous landscape between the towns, they have to rely on each other and nature itself in order to survive. But fighting the undead has also unleashed demons from their past.”

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