King David, meet Al Capone.
eOne is developing a new drama series, “King David,” which will bring a dark new spin to the biblical figure. Billed as an “epic mafia show in biblical clothing,” the series will pull the character out of scripture and bring to life the “full, contradictory character of the greatest warrior-king and patriarch of the Bible – a man who must make monstrous choices that betray his personal ideals and turn his family against him.”
The company, which produces and distributes the AMC drama “Hell on Wheels” and internationally distributes the network’s zombie hit “The Walking Dead,” is teaming with Atmosphere Entertainment to develop and produce the project. eOne Television CEO John Morayniss and executive vice president of U.S. scripted television Michael Rosenberg are executive producing, along with Atmosphere’s Mark Canton. David Hopwood and Matthew Einstein are co-executive producing.
“We are excited to bring the layered and fascinating legend of King David to life. The series will expose the complex humanity of one of history’s greatest icons, and deliver gripping drama with colossal stakes,” Rosenberg said. “We have found great partners in Mark and his team at Atmosphere to produce a larger-than-life show with themes and stories that will captivate audiences.”
Patrick Moss and Jeremy Anderson, who recently sold the “Great Expectations” adaptation “Legacy” to ABC, are writing the project.
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Captain Cragen has hung up his badge.
Dann Florek, who’s played Cragen on the NBC procedural since 1999, announced via Twitter that he’s departed the series.
The actor added that he received a “sweet send off” on Friday, his last day.
“Friday was the last day 4 Cragen/Florek,” he tweeted. “It was a sweet send off! But he’ll live on in syndication land 4 evah!”
“SVU” showrunner Warren Leight tweeted a photo from the set, writing, “Saluting the Captain at the close of his 401st episode — all respect to @dannflorek.”
Florek’s final episode is expected to air in January. October saw the departure of Richard Belzer, who played Sgt. John Munch on the series.
Looking to cash in a slew of recent critics awards for star Cate Blanchett, Sony Pictures Classics said Tuesday that it will expand Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” into 300 theaters this weekend.
It opened on July 26 and has taken in more than $32 million since. It was screening on a peak of 1,283 theaters in late August and cracked the top ten, but has been dropping theaters and was in less than 40 last weekend.
SPC is looking to rekindle interest at the box office and build awards buzz with the move.
Blanchett over the weekend was awarded the best actress prize by the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Washington, D.C., Film Critics Association, the L.A. Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics online. She shared the L.A. honor with Adèle Exarchopoulos of “Blue Is the Warmest Color.”
The Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globes announce their nominations this week, and Blanchett is a virtual lock to be picked there, too.
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The hills will once again live with the sound of music on Saturday.
NBC will air its event program “The Sound of Music Live” on Saturday at 8 p.m., the network said Tuesday.
The special, which stars “American Idol” favorite Carrie Underwood and “True Blood” star Stephen Moyer, drew massive ratings with its initial airing on Nov. 28, amassing 18.6 million total viewers and a 4.6 rating in the key 18-49 demographic.
In Live plus 3-day numbers, the special grew to a 5.5 rating with 21.3 million total viewers.
Critically, the special wasn’t quite such a unanimous hit, with some reviewers singling out Underwood’s performance for a lashing.
“It’s a Wonderful Life,” which was initially scheduled to air Saturday night, has been moved back to Dec. 20 at 8 p.m..
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Bravo’s packed Sunday night of programming gave the network the top spot on cable in the demo advertisers most salivate over.
The network saw strong numbers across the board for the night, which included “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” a bonus “Shahs of Sunset” episode, and late-night talkers “Watch What Happens Live” and “Fashion Queens.”
At 8 p.m., Mama Joyce’s scrap with Kandi Burruss’s friend and assistant while the Atlanta castmember tried on wedding dresses, delivered “RHOA’s” highest rated episode across all key demographics this season so far. It delivered 2.15 million viewers in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demo. For Bravo’s target demo of Adults 25-54, it earned 2.4 million viewers and 3.8 million total viewers.
The fallout for Reza Farahan’s spat with a fellow gay Iranian played out on the “Shahs of Sunset” bonus episode at 9 p.m. It attracted nearly 2 million viewers, a 35 percent increase over the previous episode.
“Shahs” also topped its former season highs across all key demos. It was up 37 percent in 18-49 over the previous Tuesday’s episode with 1.1 million viewers and saw a 37 percent increase in 25-54 with 1.2 million viewers.
Additionally, “Watch What Happens Live” at 11 p.m. netted its highest rated episode of the season. Burruss appeared with “American Idol” champ and friend Fantasia Barrino and discussed their thoughts on Mama Joyce’s outburst, among other topics.
Compared to the previous Sunday’s episode, “WWHL” was up 21 percent for total viewers with 1.9 million and up an astounding 41 percent in the 18-49 demo with 1.1 million viewers.
Another new episode of “Shahs” airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. in its regular slot.
Finally, “Fashion Queens” capped off Sunday evening at 11:30 p.m. with a series-high in the 18-49 demo with 766,000 viewers and a 22 percent increase over the previous week’s total viewers with 1.4 million tuning in to the late-night style show.
Watch Mama Joyce’s shoe attack from “RHOA” again above.
And below, watch a sneak peek from Tuesday’s “Shahs”:
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Charlotte Mickie will leave Entertainment One Films International in mid-January, the company said Tuesday. The executive vice president has been with eOne since 2008, when eOne bought Maximum Films, where Mickie was managing director.
At eOne, Mickie handled the acquisition, marketing and sales of “Incendies,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Animal Kingdom.”
She has also worked at Celluloid Dreams, where she worked with Michael Haneke and Francois Ozon, and Alliance Atlantis, where she handled foreign sales for “Bowling for Columbine.”
“The contribution Charlotte has made to the independent film community is unparalleled. She has helped countless young filmmakers find their voice and realize success around the world,” Nelson Kuo-Lee, exec VP & COO of eOne’s Global Film Group, said in a statement. “We sincerely thank Charlotte and wish her the best of luck in all her future endeavors.”
Harold van Lier will take over as president of eOne Films International in January, expanding the division’s footprint. eOne will establish Sveille International, a division designed to exploit independent films from around the world.
“The Impossible” director J.A. Bayona is set to direct a sequel to “World War Z” for Paramount and Brad Pitt’s Plan B, an individual familiar with the project has told TheWrap.
Marc Forster directed the first film, which managed to survive bad pre-release buzz stemming from costly reshoots en route to grossing $540 million worldwide.
Pitt starred as a United Nations staffer tasked with stopping a zombie plague. The film was based on the novel by Max Brooks, though the storyline was significantly different from the source material.
Plan B has yet to hire writers for the sequel, though Bayona is expected to oversee the writing process.
Bayona previously directed the refreshing genre picture “The Orphanage.” He’s represented by CAA.
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Ron Burgundy takes a backseat to no man — unless that man is Robin Thicke and the project is a “Ride Like the Wind” cover for the “Anchorman 2″ soundtrack.
The newsman and the pop star teamed up for a duet of classic Christopher Cross’s single from 1980 — Burgundy’s era in the comedy sequel. On the track, Thicke (mercifully) does most of the singing, while Burgundy pretty much cracks-wise in between lyrics, plays some sweet jazz flute and adds backup vocals where appropriate. (And sometimes where not appropriate.)
The jokes are mostly literal knee-jerk reactions to Thicke’s belting out of Cross’ lyrics. At one point, Ferrell (as Burgundy) takes shots at the singer’s “Growing Pains” father, Alan Thicke, Mexico, and even Subaru cars. After all, Burgundy’s a Dodge man.
“That’s right folks, when Ron Burgundy rides, he rides like the wind,” Ferrell said during an interlude. “Not like a Subaru or golf cart — like the God-darned wind.”
As the goof wears on, which it does, the mustachioed TV journalist tries to find someone to grab a beer with, or at least give him a lift home. No takers from the studio team, it sounds like.
“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” hits theaters Wednesday, Dec. 18.
Listen to the “legendary” duet:
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Comparisons between Netflix and HBO were inevitable once Netflix began aspiring to be HBO, but Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has a simple request: stop it.
Bewkes argued Netflix was a complementary service rather than a competitor during USB’ Conference on Tuesday in New York.
“These are complimentary services. The viewing of HBO in Netflix homes is higher than your average home,” Bewkes said, adding interest in Netflix is also higher in homes that subscribe to HBO.
The instinct to compare the two companies is natural. Netflix began by aggregating a large library of movies for rent by mail before reinventing itself as a subscription streaming service for movies and TV.
It then began commissioning original series, which is how HBO separated itself from other purveyors of first-run movies. They now compete for a similar pool of intelligent filmmakers that HBO covets, whether it’s David Fincher or Mike White.
Netflix’s first crop of originals — “Arrested Development,” “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” — are all shows one could see on HBO.
Heck, at the end of Netflix’s most recent earnings release, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote this:
“We have done well but we have a long way to go to match HBO’s 114 million global member count or their well-deserved Emmy award leadership. Title by title, device by device, member by member, award by award, country by country, we are making progress.”
Bewkes would at least agree HBO is the market leader.
“We have the strongest content we’ve ever had,” he said, emphasizing HBO’s rights to studio movies past 2020, a “bigger and stronger” slate of original shows than ever before and the “superiority” of HBO Go’s VOD platform.
As for Netflix?
It “provides some good shows,” Bewkes said, but it’s mostly a library.
No competition at all.
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A24 and Demarest Films have teamed up on Kevin Smith’s modern-day monster movie “Tusk,” which A24 will release wide in the third quarter of 2014, the distributor announced Tuesday.
“Tusk,” which stars Justin Long, Michael Parks, Genesis Rodriguez and Haley Joel Osment, was born out of one of Kevin Smith’s immensely popular SModcasts. Smith also wrote the film, which is currently in production.
“Tusk” stars Long as a journalist who finds the story of a lifetime in Mr. Howe (Parks), a worldwide adventurer with amazing tales and a curious penchant for walruses.
Demarest’s Sam Englebardt and David Greathouse are producing with Shannon McIntosh.
“We had the privilege of visiting Kevin on the ‘Tusk’ set and seeing some of his early footage. We can say with certainty that this movie will blow people’s minds. Truly one you’ll have to see to believe,” said A24.
“I’m as happy as the day Miramax bought Clerks back in ’94! We’re so lucky A24 fell in love with our walrus picture and jumped in the pool with us. I was a big fan of how they released ‘The Bling Ring’ and ‘Spring Breakers,’ so I was praying ‘Tusk’ would take root there. If anyone knows how to bring this flick to the masses, it’s them!” said Smith.
“We’re thrilled that A24 has joined us in backing Kevin’s wild, deviant vision. ‘Tusk’ will be a horror movie for the ages and we couldn’t imagine a better partner in bringing it to the world,” added Englebardt.
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The furry-toed heroes of “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” are about to leave a huge footprint at the foreign box office.
The first film in Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth trilogy, “An Unexpected Journey,” ran up more than $1 billion at the global box office last year – with $700 million of that coming from international. That’s a tough act to follow, but Warner Bros. executives think this one could be even bigger overseas, and most analysts agree.
We’ll find out starting Wednesday, when “Smaug” opens in France, Sweden, Belgium and a handful of Norwegian countries. By Friday, it will have rolled out in 3,903 U.S. theaters and will be in roughly 50 foreign markets.
There are solid reasons for the optimism. The foreign market has grown significantly, even since last year, especially in China and Russia. The buzz on “Smaug” has been more positive than the first film, with critics far more keen, and the high-frame-rate film debate is much less of an issue.
As in the U.S., the pre-release tracking has been strong and steady. And while “Smaug” will be face significant competition domestically from moves like “Anchorman 2,” “Saving Mr. Banks” and “American Hustle” in the next couple of weeks, none of those films are likely to get in the Tolkien tale’s way abroad.
“We’re very pleased with the way things are setting up for us internationally,” Warner Bros. domestic distribution chief Dan Fellman told TheWrap Tuesday. He’d know, having overseen the rollouts of the “Lord of the Rings” movies and the first Hobbit saga, which have brought in nearly $5 billion at the global box for Warner Bros since 2001.
The initial “Smaug” rollout will actually be smaller than that of the first film, with six or seven fewer markets in the first-weekend mix, so apples-to-apples comparisons won’t work. The studio has delayed the release of “Smaug” until closer to the Christmas holidays in Latin America, and it won’t hit Japan until February. A date for China is still pending, but it will be in 2014.
The highest-grossing overseas markets for “Unexpected Journey” were Germany ($88 million) and the United Kingdom ($78 million). China brought in nearly $50 million and Russia roughly $44 million, and Warner Bros. is hoping “Smaug” will make significant gains in those countries, both of which have seen big jumps in the number of screens available over the past year.
The ticket premiums on 3D and the high-frame rate — about 2,500 screens will feature the format internationally — will help, too.
The film’s world premiere was held last week in Los Angeles, and its European premiere was Monday night in Berlin.
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The Sundance Film Festival has unveiled its short film lineups, and subjects include artist Marina Abramovic and painter Robert De Niro Sr.
Filmmakers whose shorts made the cut include Toby Halbrooks, Todd Rohal and Lucy Walker, while actors Rose McGowan and Danny Pudi also moonlight behind the camera.
“The Short Film program for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival features an astonishing array of new stories, viewpoints and filmmaking talent, positioning it at the core of our work to discover and share independent perspectives on our culture and world,” said Trevor Groth, director of programming for the festival.
YouTube is presenting the Short Film program, which is comprised of 66 short films selected from a record 8,161 submissions (59 more than the 2013 festival).
U.S. NARRATIVE SHORT FILMS
130919 • A Portrait of Marina Abramović / U.S.A. (Director: Matthu Placek) — This one-take, 3-D film majestically documents legendary performance artist Marina Abramovic, capturing the breadth of space in infinite detail: the life of an artist, her keen sense of transition, a space’s decay, and the ripeness of rebirth.
Afronauts / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Frances Bodomo) — On July 16th 1969, America prepares to launch Apollo 11. Thousands of miles away, the Zambia Space Academy hopes to beat America to the moon. Inspired by true events.
The Big House (Al Bayt Al Kabeer) / U.S.A., Yemen (Director and screenwriter: Musa Syeed) — When a young Yemeni boy ventures out of his cramped apartment and finds a key to the empty mansion down the street, he lets himself and his imagination run wild in the big house.
The Bravest, the Boldest / U.S.A. (Director: Moon Molson, Screenwriters: Eric Fallen, Moon Molson) — Two army casualty-notification officers arrive at the Harlem projects to deliver some news to Sayeeda Porter about her son serving in the war overseas. But whatever it is they have to say, Sayeeda ain’t willing to hear it.
Catherine / U.S.A. (Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp, Screenwriters: Dean Fleischer-Camp, Jenny Slate) —Catherine returns to work after a hiatus.
Chapel Perilous / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Matthew Lessner) — Chapel perilous is an occult term describing a psychological state where people are uncertain if they have been aided or hindered by a force outside the natural world.
Cruising Electric (1980) / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Brumby Boylston) — The marketing department green-lights a red-light tie-in: 60 lost seconds of modern movie merchandising.
Dawn (pictured above) / U.S.A. (Director: Rose McGowan, Screenwriters: M.A. Fortin, Joshua John Miller) — Dawn is a quiet young teenager who longs for something or someone to free her from her sheltered life.
Dig / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Toby Halbrooks) — A young girl watches her father dig a hole in their backyard. Mystified about his purpose, the neighborhood comes to watch.
The End of Eating Everything / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Wangechi Mutu) — The End of Eating Everything traces the journey of a flying, planetlike creature navigating a bleak skyscape. This sick soul is lost in a polluted atmosphere without grounding or roots, led by hunger toward its destruction.
Funnel / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Andre Hyland) — A man’s car breaks down and sends him on a quest across town that slowly turns into the most fantastically mundane adventure.
Gregory Go Boom / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Janicza Bravo) — A paraplegic man leaves home for the first time only to discover that life in the outside world is not the way he had imagined it.
Here Come the Girls / U.S.A., Norway (Director and screenwriter: Young Jean Lee) — An examination of the life of Joe Truman, an aspiring musician, father, and drug user. This unsettling paradocumentary investigates Joe’s private life through invasive snapshots of his environment and relationships and is a painful pleasure to watch.
I’m a Mitzvah / U.S.A. (Director: Ben Berman, Screenwriters: Ben Berman, Josh Cohen) — A young American man spends one last night with his deceased friend while stranded in rural Mexico.
The Immaculate Reception / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Charlotte Glynn) — It’s 1972 in the hardworking steel town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Sixteen-year-old Joey has the chance to prove himself when his crush ends up at his house to watch the infamous football game between the Steelers and the Raiders.
Jonathan’s Chest / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Christopher Radcliff) — Everything changes one night for Alex, a troubled teenager, when he is visited by a boy claiming to be his brother—who disappeared years earlier.
Kekasih / U.S.A., Malaysia (Director and screenwriter: Diffan Sina Norman) — While pursuing his late wife, a botanical professor encounters a divine presence that will transform him forever.
Master Muscles / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Efrén Hernández) — Veronica and Efren go on a trip.
Me + Her / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Joseph Oxford) — In a faraway world, tucked away in a small fold of land behind an enormous willow tree, exists the tiny city of Cardboard. After a tragic event, Jack Cardboard goes on a journey to mend his broken heart.
Person to Person / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Dustin Guy Defa) — Waking up the morning after hosting a party, a man discovers a stranger passed out on his floor. He spends the rest of the day trying to convince her to leave.
Rat Pack Rat / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Todd Rohal) — A Sammy Davis Jr. impersonator, hired to visit a loyal Rat Pack fan, finds himself performing the last rites at the boy’s bedside.
Verbatim / U.S.A. (Director: Brett Weiner, Screenwriter: Court Document) — A jaded lawyer wastes an afternoon trying to figure out if a dim-witted government employee has ever used a photocopier. All the dialogue in this short comes from an actual deposition filed with the Supreme Court of Ohio.
INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE SHORT FILMS
2 Girls 1 Cake / Denmark (Director and screenwriter: Jens Dahl) — Two girls reunite after a traumatic near-death experience, which occurs in 10 central minutes of 24-year-old Julie’s life. She stands face to face with unbearable injustice.
Best / United Kingdom (Director: William Oldroyd, Screenwriter: Adam Brace) — With his wedding only moments away, a man and his best friend confront their future.
Black Mulberry / Georgia, France (Director: Gabriel Razmadze, Screenwriters: Gabriel Razmadze, Tinatin Kajrishvili) — In a small, remote mining town in the Republic of Georgia, Nick and Anna, two teens from vastly different backgrounds, come together for an idyllic moment in time.
Burger / United Kingdom, Norway (Director and screenwriter: Magnus Mork) — It’s late night in a burger bar in Wales…
Butter Lamp / France, China (Director and screenwriter: Hu Wei) — A photographer weaves unique links among nomadic families.
The Cut / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Geneviève Dulude-Decelles) — The Cut tells the story of a father and a daughter, whose relationship fluctuates between proximity and detachment, at the moment of a haircut.
Exchange & Mart / United Kingdom (Directors: Cara Connolly, Martin Clark, Screenwriter: Cara Connolly) — Reg is a lonely girl at a remote Scottish boarding school where paranoia about rape is rife. Her unorthodox self-defense class provides the human touch she craves so deeply. When she is attacked in the woods, she knows what she has to do…
Here I Am…There You Are… / Israel (Director and screenwriter: Dikla Jika Elkaslassy) — Domination emerges during foreplay between a married couple. As the film evolves, the gray areas between controlling and being controlled cause confusion for both partners. When reality eclipses their imaginary game, they realize what is controlling them.
Life’s a Bitch / Canada (Director: François Jaros, Screenwriter: Guillaume Lambert) — Love. Grief. Choc. Denial. Sleeplessness. Bubble bath. Mucus. Masturbation. Pop tart. Pigeons. Toothpaste. Hospital. F__k. Bye. Hair. Sports. Chicken. Bootie. Kids. Rejection. Squirrels. Cries. Awkward—95 scenes, five minutes: life’s a bitch.
Metube: August Sings Carmen “Habanera” / Austria (Director and screenwriter: Daniel Moshel) — George Bizet`s “Habanera” from Carmen has been reinterpreted and enhanced with electronic sounds for MeTube, a homage to thousands of ambitious YouTube users and video bloggers, and gifted and less gifted self-promoters on the Internet.
Mi nina mi vida / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Yan Giroux) — Jack and his giant stuffed bear move through the bustling crowds and noisy rides at an amusement park. In this strange world he can no longer relate to, he searches for a reason to smile.
More Than Two Hours / Iran (Director: Ali Asgari, Screenwriters: Ali Asgari, Farnoosh Samadi) — It’s 3:00 a.m., and a boy and girl are wandering in the city, looking for a hospital to cure the girl, but it’s much harder to find one than they thought.
My Sense of Modesty / France (Director and screenwriter: Sébastien Bailly) — Hafsia, an art history student, must remove her hijab for an oral exam. To prepare, she goes to the Louvre to view the painting she has to comment on.
Mystery / Spain (Director and screenwriter: Chema García Ibarra) — They say that if you put your ear to the back of his neck, you can hear the Virgin talk.
Pleasure / Sweden (Director and screenwriter: Ninja Thyberg) — Behind the scenes of a porn shoot, the actors practice various positions. The rumor is that one of the girls is doing an advanced routine that requires someone extremely tough. Pleasure is a startling film about workplace intrigue.
Syndromeda / Sweden (Director and screenwriter: Patrik Eklund) — Leif wakes up on the road—naked and bloody—with no memory of what has happened. No one believes him when he claims he was abducted by aliens.
Wakening / Canada (Director: Danis Goulet, Screenwriter: Tony Elliott) — In the near future, the environment has been destroyed, and society suffocates under a brutal military occupation. A lone Cree wanderer, Weesakechak, searches an urban war zone to find the ancient and dangerous Weetigo to help fight the occupiers.
DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILMS
Choreography / U.S.A. (Directors: David Redmon, Ashley Sabin) — Donkeys gaze at those who gaze at them.
Fe26 / U.S.A. (Director: Kevin Jerome Everson) — Two gentlemen make a living hustling metal in Cleveland, Ohio.
Godka Cirka (A Hole in the Sky) / Spain, France, U.S.A. (Directors: Alex Lora, Antonio Tibaldi) — Young Alifa looks up at the Somali sky and thinks about her daily life as a shepherdess. She knows the day that will change her life forever is about to come.
Hacked Circuit / U.S.A. (Director: Deborah Stratman) — This circular study of the Foley process portrays sound artists at work constructing complex layers of fabrication and imposition.
I Think This Is the Closest to How the Footage Looked / Israel (Directors: Yuval Hameiri, Michal Vaknin) — A man with poor means recreates a lost memory of the last day with his mom. Objects come to life in a desperate struggle to produce a single moment that is gone.
The Last Days of Peter Bergmann / Ireland (Director: Ciaran Cassidy) — In 2009, a man claiming to be from Austria arrived in the town of Sligo, Ireland. During his final days, Peter Bergmann went to great lengths to ensure no one ever discovered who he was and where he came from.
The Lion’s Mouth Opens / U.S.A. (Director: Lucy Walker) — A stunningly courageous young woman takes the boldest step imaginable, supported by her mother and loving friends.
Love. Love. Love. / Russia (Director: Sandhya Daisy Sundaram) — Every year, through the endless winters, her love takes new shapes and forms.
Notes on Blindness / United Kingdom, U.S.A., Australia (Directors: Peter Middleton, James Spinney) — In 1983, writer and theologian John Hull became blind. To help make sense of his loss, he began keeping an audio diary. Encompassing dreams, memories, and his imaginative life, Notes on Blindness immerses the viewer in Hull’s experience of blindness.
Of God and Dogs / Syrian Arab Republic (Director: Abounaddara Collective) — A young, free Syrian soldier confesses to killing a man he knew was innocent. He promises to take vengeance on the God who led him to commit the murder.
One Billion Rising / U.S.A. (Directors: Eve Ensler, Tony Stroebel) — In 2013, one billion women and men rose and shook the earth through dance to end violence against women in the biggest mass action ever. The event was a radical awakening of body and consciousness. This is what it looked like.
Remembering the Artist, Robert De Niro, Sr. / U.S.A. (Directors: Perri Peltz, Geeta Gandbhir) — Robert De Niro, Sr., was a figurative painter obscured by the powerful pop art movement. His work has returned to the spotlight because of his son, who happens to be one of the world’s most famous actors.
Tim and Susan Have Matching Handguns / U.S.A. (Director: Joe Callander) — Love is swapping clips with your spouse in the middle of a three-gun problem.
Untucked / U.S.A. (Director: Danny Pudi) — This documentary explores the iconic “untucked” jersey worn in 1977 when Marquette University won its first and only national college basketball championship. It was designed by one of Marquette’s players, Bo Ellis, under the fearless leadership of Coach Al McGuire.
ANIMATED SHORT FILMS
Allergy to Originality / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Drew Christie) — A humorous, animated op doc explores the rich history of adaptation, plagiarism, and other forms of appropriation in art.
Astigmatismo / Spain (Director and screenwriter: Nicolai Troshinsky) — A boy loses his glasses and can only see one thing in focus at a time. With his sight shaped by the sounds around him, he must learn to explore a blurry world of unknown places and strange characters.
Blame It on the Seagull / Norway (Director: Julie Engaas, Screenwriters: Julie Engaas, Cecilie Bjørnaraa) — An animated documentary about Pelle Sandstrak and the way he showed the first signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette’s syndrome as a teenager.
Crime: The Animated Series (Marcus McGhee) / U.S.A., Canada (Directors: Alix Lambert, Sam Chou) — When Hartford teacher Marcus McGhee has his car stolen, the police refuse to assist him. Directors Alix Lambert and Sam Chou mix humor with stark reality in this animated documentary short.
Marilyn Myller / U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Mikey Please) — Marilyn maketh. Marilyn taketh awayeth. Marilyn is trying really hard to create something good. For once, her expectation and reality are going to align. It will be epic. It will be tear-jerkingly profound. It will be perfect. Nothing can go wrong.
The Obvious Child / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Stephen Irwin) — Somebody broke the girl’s parents. The rabbit was there when it happened. It was an awful mess.
Passer Passer / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Louis Morton) — An animated city symphony celebrates the hidden world of background noise.
Phantom Limb / United Kingdom, Australia (Director and screenwriter: Alex Grigg) — James and Martha narrowly survive a motorcycle accident. During the aftermath, however, James begins to experience Martha’s phantom pains.
Piece, Peace / South Korea (Director and screenwriter: Jae-in Park) — Psychological changes among different characters lead to a more and more extreme situation.
The Present / Taiwan (Director: Joe Hsieh, Screenwriters: Joe Hsieh, Ching-Chwang Ho) — A married man on a business trip checks into a hotel. The hotel manager’s daughter falls for him at first sight. Rejected by the man, she embarks on a journey of revenge.
Subconscious Password / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Chris Landreth) — Chris Landreth, the director of the Academy Award–winning short “Ryan,” plays Charles, a man paralyzed by his inability to remember a friend’s name. Thus begins a mind-bending romp through a game show of the unconscious—complete with animated celebrity guests.
White Morning / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Paul Barritt) — A short film about the violence of little boys and little men.
Yearbook / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Bernardo Britto) — A man is hired to compile the definitive history of human existence before the planet blows up.
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There’s no mistaking the Georgia on view in the film “In Bloom” for the idyllic one Ray Charles sings about. The country of Georgia — an independent nation of just 4.7 million — has submitted to the Oscars a fairly bleak portrait of a low point for the nation that followed the Soviet occupation and preceded any real reform, as the economic and political ennui affected … pubescent girls.
That was personal for screenwriter Nana Ekvtimishvili, who, with her co-director, Simon Gross, sat for a Q&A with Wrap editor/publisher Sharon Waxman after a screening Monday night at the Landmark. Like her two leading characters, Ekytimishvili was 14 in 1992, when the story is set, coming of age at a time in Georgia’s history when usual teenage concerns like boys, smoking in the girls’ room, and nasty schoolteachers were offset by adult matters like breadlines, intermittent electricity, and civil war.
“Everything in the film is somehow related to my life at the time or my family or friends,” said Ekvtimishvili, in introducing TheWrap’s screening. “It was very difficult time for Georgia, but we were trying to live our normal teenage lives at the same time. Sometimes we had to make some difficult decisions, and the film is about that.”
Sometimes the decisions were made for the girls of the time (potential spoiler ahead.)
Although in many ways the country’s customs seem thoroughly Western, Georgia had a long tradition of “bride-nappings,” a fate that almost casually befalls one of the two 14-year-old leads, who finds herself in a forced marriage after being kidnapped from a breadline by a suitor she’d turned down. Many of the audience questions in the post-screening Q&A focused on just how customary this was in Georgia.
“At the time, no one was thinking something unusual was happening or about women’s rights,” Ekvtimishvili said. ”Now people have started to realize it was not normal and they didn’t have a normal childhood,” largely as a result of the post-Soviet openness that had young women going to other countries for college — just as she went to film school in Berlin, where she met Gross, her directing partner.
“This may be one of the first films which takes the (bride napping) topic seriously,” said Gross, a German national. “We know from other films that at that time it was treated comedically, and had this romantic touch.” Added Ekvtimishvili, ”In ’50s and ’60s Georgian cinema, kidnapping stories were very romanticized, and so funny, and never shown from the point of view of the women and what they think about it.”
The Georgia of “In Bloom” is in flux as much as its pubescent leads. The locals have little reason to be happy about newfound independence from the Soviet Union, as strict controls have given way to further political corruption and a lack of food and power.
“‘Til this moment, we had quite a normal life under communism,” said Ekvtimishvili. ”At least we had something to eat.”
See photos: TheWrap Awards Screening Series 2013
Raging hormones and empty stomachs made for a less-than-ideal coming of age. Only last year, Gross pointed out, did Georgia enjoy its first honest, non-revolutionary change of government; thankfully, the bride-napping tradition died out, at least in the city, a few years sooner than the rampant corruption did.
Another thing that went away with the exit of the Soviets in the early ’90s, besides food: a tradition of cinema.
“Georgia has a very big film history, with great movies especially in the ’70s,” said Ekvtimishvili. ”But after the Soviet occupation, our film industry hasn’t been working properly for 20 years. But now it’s getting better. We have two funds with very little money, but with my generation, they are very motivated and they want to make films.”
Added Gross, “It’s a very interesting time for cinema in Georgia because there are so many stories that haven’t been told for the last 20 years.”
Even if, as he noted, the largely agrarian nation only has a grand total of three movie theaters.
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Julie Andrews wasn’t among the 18.5 million people who tuned in to NBC’s event program “The Sound of Music Live” last week — but it wasn’t because of any bitterness about Carrie Underwood taking over her old role.
Andrews, who starred as Maria in the 1965 movie “The Sound of Music,” told the Associated Press on Monday that she hadn’t had a chance to catch the special, which cast “American Idol” favorite Carrie Underwood in Andrews’ old role.
“Alas, I did not [watch the special],” the actress said during the U.S. premiere of “Saving Mr. Banks.” “I had a speaking engagement and I couldn’t. But my kids did record it. I’ll get around to it.”
While the live performance drew huge numbers for NBC — enough to convince the network to order a second live musical for next year — the critical response was mixed, with many reviewers opining that, as an actress, Underwood makes a pretty good singer.
Many in the Twitter community also took exception to Underwood’s portrayal. Taking issue with Underwood’s accent on the special, actress Lindsay Hollister wrote, “BECAUSE IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL MARIA HAS A SOUTHERN ACCENT IN 1940′S NAZI GERMANY.” (All caps, people; serious business.)
Underwood appeared to address the negative criticism on her Twitter account Friday, writing, “Plain and simple: Mean people need Jesus. They will be in my prayers tonight…”
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Mike Kelley, who created the ABC drama “Revenge” but left in April, has entered an overall deal with HBO.
Under the deal, Kelley and his producing partner, Melissa Loy, will create and develop projects for the premium cable channel.
“Revenge,” set in the Hamptons and starring Emily VanCamp and Madeleine Stowe, wrapped its second season May 12. Kelley announced his departure shortly before then, saying that he was leaving after arriving at a “difficult mutual decision.”
“In a difficult mutual decision between myself and ABC Studios, the end of my current contract will mark my final season as showrunner for ‘Revenge,’” Kelley said at the time.
“The Hobbit” star Ian McKellen drops in on “Sesame Street” on Thursday, and a new sneak peek reveals that he takes a poke at his “Hobbit” character Gandalf — while delivering a lesson on the power of good manners.
In a brief but charming clip, McKellen attempts to enter the store, only to be blocked by a felt version of his Gandalf character.
“You shall not pass!” McKellen’s Muppet doppelganger tells the actor.
Fortunately, McKellen knows the magic word to gain entry. You know, the same magic word that your mother taught you about when you got pushy as a kid.
The latest installment in the film franchise, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” hits theaters Dec. 13, Until then, watch McKellen take a stroll down “Sesame Street” below.
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In what journalists are calling a victory for freedom of the press, the New York State Court of Appeals decided Tuesday that FoxNews.com reporter Jana Winter does not have to reveal her sources in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting case.
“Today’s ruling is a major win for all journalists,” Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes said in a statement.
“The protection of Jana Winter’s confidential sources was necessary for the survival of journalism and democracy as a whole. We are very grateful that the highest court in New York State agreed with our position.”
Winter was subpoenaed by prosecutors in the trial of admitted gunman James Holmes to reveal who gave her access to a notebook Holmes sent to his psychiatrist, which reportedly contains graphic violent drawings and details about his intention to kill people.
Despite the fact that shield laws exist in Colorado, which are designed to protect journalists in criminal cases such as these, Winter’s subpoena was nevertheless approved and upheld by a lower New York court – which has jurisdiction over her employer – in January. Tuesday’s 4-3 ruling upholds that the reporter cannot be compelled to return to Colorado to testify.
Also Read: House Tries to Pass Media Shield Law
“New York’s Shield Law provides an absolute privilege that prevents a journalist from being compelled to identify confidential sources who provided information for a news story,” Judge Victoria Graffeo writes in the decision.
“[A]n order from a New York court directing a reporter to appear in another state where, as here, there is a substantial likelihood that she will be compelled to identify sources who have been promised confidentiality would offend our strong public policy.”
Holmes pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in June for allegedly shooting and killing 12 people and wounding 70 during a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” at a movie theater in Aurora in July 2012. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
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Comedy Central renewed internet clip comedy show “Tosh.0” for not one season, but three.
The Daniel Tosh-hosted viral video-sharing platform, chock full of jokes, slow motion replays and insulting commentary, will continue on the cable channel through 2016.
The upcoming sixth season of “Tosh.0” will have a 30-episode run, premiering on Tuesday, Feb. 18 in its regular 10 p.m. timeslot.
Currently in its fifth season, which concludes Tuesday night, “Tosh.0” has done well for Comedy Central, averaging 3.0 million total viewers and a 2.2 rating across its current season in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic. Those numbers make it the No. 2 show on the cable channel, taking a backseat only to “South Park.”
“We believe ‘Tosh.0’ has the potential to resonate with our audience, and we want to give it time to connect,” said Kent Alterman, president, Content Development and Original Programming, Comedy Central.
Added Tosh, “I am extremely fortunate and very grateful that I can continue to work with such fun and talented people on a very supportive network. Sorry for the lack of snark — I will leave that open for the comments section.”
Jennifer Lawrence is the most popular movie star of 2013 on IMDb, according to the site’s “Top 10 Stars” ranking determined purely by page views from the database’s more than 160 million monthly unique users.
Chloë Grace Moretz, the 16-year-old star of “Carrie” and “Kick-Ass 2,” came in second, beating out leading men like Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy, Johnny Depp and Chris Hemsworth.
According to IMDb managing editor Keith Simanton, Lawrence blew even the closest competition away. She had 89 percent more page views than Moretz, and led the rest of the field by an even higher margin.
“The big story this year is Jennifer Lawrence, who is literally “The Girl on Fire,’” Keith Simanton, IMDb’s managing editor, said. “In 2011 she ranked #1 on the IMDb Top 10 Emerging Stars of the Year list. In 2012 she came in at #2 on our overall Top 10 Stars of 2012 on the strength of the first ‘Hunger Games.’ This year, she’s #1 as she dominated much of the early awards season, when she won the Oscar for Best Actress for “Silver Linings Playbook.” Then she re-ignited the latter half of the year as ‘The Hunger Games’ sequel, ‘Catching Fire,’ lit up November with box office records.”
“Sons of Anarchy” star Charlie Hunnam — who dropped out of playing Christian Grey in Universal’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” adaptation — ranked 14 overall, but was the site’s number one emerging star of the year. The list consists of actors who made their debut on the IMDb Top 100 Stars of the Year ranking for the first time.
See both Top 10 lists, below:
The IMDb Top 10 Stars of 2013:
1. Jennifer Lawrence
2. Chloë Grace Moretz
3. Leonardo DiCaprio
4. Ryan Gosling
5. Tom Hardy
6. Anna Kendrick
7. Johnny Depp
8. Henry Cavill
9. Chris Hemsworth
10. Benedict Cumberbatch
The IMDb Top 10 Emerging Stars of 2013*
1. Charlie Hunnam (#14 overall)
2. Nicholas Hoult (#26 overall)
3. Paul Walker (#61 overall)
4. Shailene Woodley (#64 overall)
5. Aaron Paul (#66 overall)
6. Karl Urban (#69 overall)
7. Logan Lerman (#73 overall)
8. Rebel Wilson (#75 overall)
9. Natalie Dormer (#85 overall)
10. Dave Franco (#86 overall)
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