SARAJEVO (Reuters) – “Cold War”, by Oscar-winning Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, will open the 24th Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF) on Friday, the largest film competition and industry platform in a region stretching from Vienna to Istanbul.
Workers prepare the red carpet for 24th Sarajevo Film Festival in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina August 9, 2018. Picture is taken August 9, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
Launched in 1995 as an act of defiance towards the end of the 43-month siege of Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces, the festival has become a beacon of the Bosnian capital’s cultural survival, drawing thousands each year.
“For an independent film fan like me the festival is a fantastic opportunity to see the best productions from the region and beyond,” Biljana Savic, the Sarajevo-born Director of The Academy of Urbanism in London told Reuters.
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The SFF’s focus on the promotion of authors mainly from eastern and southeastern Europe has boosted cooperation between the Balkan countries that fought each others during the wars in the 1990s, creating a platform for reconciliation through art.
This year, a record 266 films from 56 countries will be shown, of which 52 will have their world premiers, SFF Director Mirsad Purivatra said.
Pawlikowski, who won best director at the Cannes Film Festival for the love story ‘Cold War’, is not the only Oscar winner in attendance, with Iranian film-maker and screenwriter Asghar Farhadit, twice an Academy Award winner, chairing the international jury.
The annual festival attracts thousands of visitors each year and has a significant impact on the local economy.
An independent study by British consultancy Olsberg SPI said that SFF generated $ 30.8 million for the Sarajevo economy last year.
Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Patrick Johnston
ROME (Reuters) – From westerns to the space race and the latest offerings from Oscar-winning directors, this year’s Venice Film Festival will present a rich line-up of premieres, including a host of Netflix movies and an unfinished Orson Welles work, the organizers said.
FILE PHOTO: Venice Film Festival Director Alberto Barbera poses a day before the opening of the 74th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
The 75th edition of the world’s oldest film festival kicks off in late August, with some 20 movies competing for the Golden Lion Award.
Unlike May’s Cannes Film Festival, which Netflix Inc pulled out of after organizers banned its films from competition for its refusal to release them in cinemas, the Venice event will show several movies by the streaming platform.
“There are many Netflix films this year, five or six,” festival director Alberto Barbera told a news conference on Wednesday, adding that lots of filmmakers were now turning to new platforms to produce and distribute movies.
Among the Netflix distributed films in competition are the Coen brothers’ western “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and black and white family drama “Roma” by Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron.
“Jason Bourne” director Paul Greengrass will present his Netflix-distributed work “22 July” – about the aftermath of the 2011 massacre of 77 people in Norway by far-right militant Anders Breivik.
The organizers of the 11-day festival, which usually offers a first peak at Oscar contenders, have already announced space drama “First Man”, chronicling Neil Armstrong’s mission to become the first man to walk on the moon, as the opening film.
Highly anticipated western dark comedy “The Sisters Brothers” by Jacques Audiard, and Yorgos Lanthimos’ period piece “The Favourite” with Oscar winner Emma Stone and new “The Crown” actress Olivia Colman are also in competition.
Other contenders include “Peterloo” about the 1819 massacre in Manchester by Mike Leigh, “Napszallta” (Sunset) by Laszlo Nemes, who directed the Oscar winning “Son of Saul” and “Werk Ohne Autor” by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.
A film about Vincent van Gogh, “At Eternity’s Gate”, and “What You Gonna Do When The World’s On fire?” about a black community in the southern United States last summer will also vie for the top prize.
Out of competition, a remake of romantic musical drama “A Star is Born” starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga as well as crime film “Dragged Across Concrete”, starring Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn will screen.
Netflix is also bringing Orson Welles’ unfinished “The Other Side of the Wind” to the festival out of competition. The film about movie director making a comeback was first shot in the 1970s and recently completed.
Organizers have also said veteran British actress Vanessa Redgrave will be presented with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement honor.
Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Hugh Lawson
Frasassi caves in Italy: the start of an unusual documentary
By Leah Crane
The Most Unknown, directed by Ian Cheney, will be available on Netflix next month
“SO, YOU’RE a nerd too!” That’s the flash of recognition between an astrophysicist researching dark matter and a psychologist studying human consciousness. “One hundred per cent,” is the response.
This exchange comes fromThe Most Unknown, US-Canadian platform Motherboard’s first documentary. The 85-minute film sets up an unusual “relay race” for nine researchers studying the biggest questions in their fields: it has them trek around the world to visit each other in their “natural habitats” – their …
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese videogames maker Nintendo Co Ltd said on Thursday it would team with U.S. film studio Illumination Entertainment to produce an animation film using its Super Mario Bros characters.
The film would be distributed by Universal Pictures, President Tatsumi Kimishima said at a meeting with analysts on son Thursday. The launch date has not been decided.
It is part of Nintendo’s efforts to diversify revenue sources as the firm’s earnings are heavily reliant on the gaming console business.
On Wednesday, the company reported its biggest third-quarter operating profit in eight years, driven by smashing demand for its new Switch games console, and said it expected annual earnings to outstrip its previous estimate.
Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Himani Sarkar
A British arts critic reviewing forthcoming movie releases has discovered that there is just one new film that he cannot claim is an artistic comment on Brexit and Britain’s place in the world.
Peter Connelly of The Observer had effortlessly explained the context of Aardman’s ‘Early Man’ as a prehistoric Brexit parable, or the Churchill epic ‘Darkest Hour’ as the origin of the ‘Britain alone’ narrative that resulted in the Leave vote in 2016. He had even managed to pigeon-hole Paddington 2 as the positive case for immigration made against the ‘reactionary noise of UKIP and Brexit.’
‘But Phantom Thread starring Daniel Day Lewis has just got him defeated’, explained his editor. He tried saying the 1950s fashion design story harked back to a golden age of Britishness that UKIP knew never really existed, but he knew in his heart this was a bit of a stretch. Then he tried writing that the story of the Belgian princess having her wedding dress designed in London was the director’s comment on the value of European trade and co-operation. ‘But Peter knew he still hadn’t found the Brexit metaphor and he just broke down in tears and threw his laptop out of the window.’
Apparently the Leavers made a documentary called ‘Brexit, the Movie’, so we’re just going to give him that to review next as part of his on-going therapy. He’ll be busy on his DVD player for ages, trying to find if it comes with French subtitles.
Patty Hearst’s FamilyOutraged TV and Film Projects Trivialize Her Rape
1/10/2018 12:40 AM PST
Patty Hearst was a rape victim and it’s deplorable to run a movie or television show viciously attacking her … this according to her family.
Hearst family sources tell TMZ … Patty’s relatives are beside themselves over the upcoming film and TV docuseries based on the book, ‘American Heiress’ by Jeffrey Toobin. The film and TV series paint Patty as a woman who embraced her captors and then tried to manipulate the system during her trial.
The family says Toobin’s sources for the book are sketchy … notably Bill Harris, one of Patty’s captors, and Steve Weed, her former fiance who himself was disgraced.
Our sources say the best evidence that these projects are hit pieces is how they downplay Patty Hearst’s rape … which set the stage for a harrowing 19 months of captivity. To minimize rape, they say, is appalling but not surprising in a project driven by men. According to family sources, “When you strip it away in the midst of all this #TimesUp, #MeToo and ‘listen to the victim’ they are essentially saying she loved it. She was asking for it.”
We’re told the family’s stance is this — “They are making a victim who suffered, and still suffers, culpable for her trauma while showing a blatant disregard for the victim and the human aspect of the story. This is another example of men trivializing women.”
Walt Disney Studios say they have unearthed what is believed to be the very first animated cartoon film ever produced by the company. The nitrate print reel was recently discovered by a cleaner at the back of a cupboard at Disney Studios and is thought to date from 1925. The cartoon – featuring a lazy work-shy Prince who is heir to a vast family fortune – is believed to pre-date the more famous Mickey Mouse character by several years. The cartoon – titled ‘Work Shy Willie’ was produced in black and white and is also the first Disney film to feature a synchronised soundtrack. However the self-entitled character portrayed in the film was abandoned after just one episode as studio executives thought the idea of a young Prince, funded by the tax payer to live the life of Riley and do next to nothing in return, was too preposterous for modern day audiences to believe in. It was, after all, the 1920’s. The film’s main character – Work Shy Willie – a young father of three who is second in line to the family throne is scolded by critics who accuse him of doing little work to justify his existence having only worked for 171 days of the calendar year. But the Royal household defended the Prince pointing out that he had actually been very busy throughout the year and had attended numerous high profile functions – from film premieres to the FA Cup final, the BAFTAS to Formula 1 events, Wimbledon finals to Six Nations rugby matches and the Star Wars premiere to skiing in the Alps. In the film Work Shy Willie did briefly have a proper job to justify his lavish lifestyle but had to give up his role as an Air Ambulance pilot so that he could spend more time doing nothing. The 7 min 42 sec film is being restored at the studios and will have its premiere later in the year…which coincidentally is about the same amount of time the Prince has managed to work this year
(Reuters) – Walt Disney Co has struck a deal to buy film, television and international businesses from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc for $ 52.4 billion in stock, giving the world’s largest entertainment company an arsenal of shows and movies to combat growing digital rivals Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc.
The deal brings to a close more than half a century of expansion by Murdoch, 86, who turned a single Australian newspaper he inherited from his father at the age of 21 into one of the world’s most important global news and film conglomerates. The new, slimmed down Fox will focus on TV news and sport.
Early indications are that the deal will not face strong resistance from antitrust regulators as AT&T Corp’s bid to acquire Time Warner Inc has done. U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to Murdoch on Thursday and congratulated him on the deal, according to the White House.
Shares of Fox, which have surged more than 30 percent since talk of the deal surfaced in early November, climbed more than 5 percent. Disney shares rose more than 3 percent after the company said it expects to buy up to $ 20 billion of its own shares to offset dilution from the all-stock deal. Disney will also assume about $ 13.7 billion of Fox debt in the deal.
Fox stockholders will receive 0.2745 Disney shares for each share held and will end up owning about a quarter of Disney.
Under the deal, expected to close in 12 to 18 months, Disney acquires 21st Century Fox’s film and television studios, its cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses.
That brings marquee franchises like “Avatar” and “The Simpsons” inside the Mouse House, on top of Iger’s previous purchases, including Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Entertainment and “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm.
The deal also includes 22 of Fox’s regional sports networks that have the rights to televise live games of U.S. professional baseball, basketball and hockey teams as well as popular college and high school games.
Disney’s global footprint expands with the acquisition of Fox’s international satellite assets, including Star TV network in India and a stake in European pay-TV provider Sky Plc and sports rights in several countries.
The new pipeline of shows and movies will help Disney battle technology companies spending billions of dollars on programming shown online that is siphoning audiences away from traditional TV networks.
“The deal illustrates the huge strategic challenge traditional media companies face and how they need to reinvent their business models to compete with digital, online competitors such as Netflix, Google and Amazon,” said Nick Jones, partner and head of technology at Cavendish Corporate Finance. “(It) helps Disney dramatically reduce its reliance on traditional television, a business that has declined over the last two decades.”
Immediately before the acquisition, Fox will separate the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, its sports channels FS1, FS2 and the Big Ten Network, into a newly listed company that it will spin off to its shareholders.
Traders work at the post where Walt Disney Co. stock is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
“This will be a growth company, centered on live news and sports brands and the strength of the Fox network,” 21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Murdoch told investors. He said Fox was not retreating, rather “pivoting at a pivotal moment.”
Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger, 66, will extend his tenure through the end of 2021 to oversee the integration of the Fox businesses. He has already postponed his retirement from Disney three times, saying in March he was committed to leaving the company in July 2019.
If Iger sees out his new term, that would rule out a presidential bid in 2020, which had been the subject of some speculation.
“This acquisition reflects a changing media landscape, increasingly defined by transforming technology and evolving consumer expectations,” Iger told investors on a conference call.
He said new technology would be necessary to meet the demands of viewers who want to access content anytime. Fox’s regional sports networks and cable network puts Disney in a better position to sell more shows directly to more consumers, he added.
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Disney has been struggling to bolster its TV business as cancellation of cable subscriptions is pressuring its biggest network, sports channel ESPN.
The company plans to launch its own streaming service in 2019, a calculated gamble that it can generate more profit in the long run from its own subscription service rather than renting out movies to services like Netflix.
It is not clear who will head the new Fox. Iger said current Fox CEO James Murdoch, Rupert’s younger son, will help with the transition and that the two will discuss whether he will have a longer-term role at Disney.
Through Fox’s stake in the Hulu video streaming service, Disney will assume majority control of one of Netflix’s main competitors. Hulu is also partially owned by Comcast Corp and Time Warner Inc.
A majority of antitrust experts contacted by Reuters said the deal would likely win approval from U.S. antitrust authorities, although the U.S. Department of Justice may require asset sales or conditions, they said.
Fox said it remained committed to buying the 61 percent of Sky it does not already own and expects to win regulatory approval from Britain and to close the deal by the end of June, 2018.
Britain’s Takeover Panel said Disney had informed the watchdog that should it only buy 39 percent of the company – if Murdoch fails to buy the rest of Sky – it did not think it should be forced to make a full bid for the company. The statement prompted Sky’s stock to fall by 1 percent.
In Britain, any investor acquiring 30 percent of a listed company is automatically forced to make a bid for the rest of the stock. The Takeover Panel said it would seek the opinions of Sky’s independent directors before making a decision.
Additional reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington, Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles, Diane Bartz in Washington and Kate Holton in London; Editing by Patrick Graham and Bill Rigby
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Carrie Fisher’s final performance as the beloved Leia in “Star Wars” puts the character on the front lines in a dark new chapter that reaches theaters this month, leaving a galactic hole to fill after the sudden death of the actress a year ago.
Fisher had filmed all of her scenes for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the eighth installment of the blockbuster space saga, before she died of a heart attack in December 2016.
“She’s irreplaceable,” Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, told Reuters. “‘Star Wars’ is about great triumphs and great tragedies, and I can’t think of a bigger tragedy than missing our Leia,” Hamill told Reuters.
Writer and director Rian Johnson said he did not change Leia’s story in “Last Jedi” after her death. The film debuts in theaters December 14.
It will be up to the makers of 2019 film “Episode IX” to decide the ultimate fate of the character first seen as a spunky princess in the original 1977 “Star Wars” film, Johnson added.
In “The Last Jedi,” “we didn’t tailor it to be a farewell to her,” Johnson said. “But, that having been said, I think there’s some moments that I think will really mean a lot to fans. You will see more from Leia that you haven’t seen before.”
Fisher’s final film appearance is expected to boost already feverish interest in the franchise, now owned by Walt Disney Co. Boxoffice.com projects “Last Jedi” will haul in $ 185 million to $ 215 million at U.S. and Canadian ticket windows its first weekend, which would rank as one of the biggest film debuts in history.
FILE PHOTO: Carrie Fisher poses for cameras as she arrives at the European Premiere of Star Wars, The Force Awakens in Leicester Square, London, on December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Paul Hackett/File Photo
The cast and director provided few details about the film’s plot. John Boyega, who portrays former Stormtrooper Finn, said the movie finds Leia, now a general, leading the Resistance against the evil First Order during a tense time in the raging battle to protect the galaxy far, far away.
“There is a lot of pressure on the Resistance, and General Leia is on the front lines having to make big decisions,” Boyega said. “It’s a performance that requires a heartfelt approach, and she definitely had that.”
FILE PHOTO: Carrie Fisher poses for cameras as she arrives at the European Premiere of “Star Wars, The Force Awakens” in Leicester Square, London, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Paul Hackett/File Photo
Oscar Isaac, who plays Resistance pilot Poe Dameron, said the time in Leia’s life mirrored Fisher’s in some ways.
Leia understands “she’s not going to be around forever, and there is a passing of the torch that needs to happen,” Isaac said. “She wants to give over as much of her wisdom as she can before this moment happens.”
Fisher, however, would not want fans to get too sentimental, Hamill said.
“I do know her well enough to say that she would want us to be laughing and even mocking her,” Hamill said.
“She was irreverent, she was cynical, and she was bitterly funny and caustic and all these things. But she was always fun to be around,” he added.
Reporting by Rollo Ross and Lisa Richwine; Editing by Michael Perry