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Tag: Venice Film Festival (1-10 of 12)

James Franco hijacks his own Venice Film Festival awards ceremony

Leave it to James Franco to take a ceremony honoring him at the Venice Film Festival and turn it into a film shoot for an upcoming movie.

Franco was set to receive the festival’s Glory to the Filmmaker award, but the ceremony took a detour when it actually served as the set piece for (one of) his new movie(s), Zeroville. Before Franco accepted his award as, well, Franco, he took the stage in character as the bald, mustachioed film fanatic named Ike “Vikar” Jerome, who has a tattoo of Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift on the back of his head. (Franco documented the shaving process on Instagram.)


Venice unveils festival lineup

The 71st Venice Film Festival announced its lineup this morning, highlighted by films from American directors, including David Gordon Green, Barry Levinson, Peter Bogdanovich, Lisa Cholodenko, Andrew Niccol, and James Franco. As had been previously announced, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman, starring Michael Keaton and many others, will be the opening film when the festival begins on Aug. 27.

Click below for the entire list of 55 films playing in Venice. READ FULL STORY

Inarritu's 'Birdman,' starring Michael Keaton, will open Venice Film Fest

Birdman, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, will open this year’s Venice Film Festival. The movie stars Michael Keaton as a washed-up actor famous for having played an iconic superhero as he tries a Broadway play and restore his reputation. The movie also stars Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Andrea Riseborough, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Ryan.

Birdman‘s Venice premiere dovetails nicely with last year’s opening movie, Gravity—which Alfonso Cuaron, a good friend of Iñárritu’s, directed. And both Gravity and Birdman were shot by Emmanuel Lubezki. However, while Gravity did not compete in the festival’s competition, Birdman will.

This is Iñárritu’s second movie at Venice. In 2003, Sean Penn in Iñárritu’s 21 Grams won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the festival. Three of Iñárritu’s other features have premiered at Cannes, where he won the Best Director prize in 2006 for Babel.

The Venice Film Festival begins on August 27th. Birdman will be released in U.S. theaters by Fox Searchlight on October 17th.

'Argo' composer Alexandre Desplat will lead the jury at the Venice Film Festival

French film composer Alexandre Desplat, most famous for scoring The King’s Speech, Argo, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, will preside over the jury at this year’s Venice Film Festival. He becomes the first musician to serve in that capacity.

“It is a great honour and an arduous responsibility to be the president of the jury of such a prestigious festival,” said Desplat, in a statement. “Italian cinema has influenced both my taste and my music more than any other, and I am proud to be coming to the Venice Film Festival the year after Mr. Bernardo Bertolucci.”

The 71st Venice Film Festival runs Aug. 27 through Sept. 6. Last year, Gravity and Philomena—which Desplat scored—premiered at the Venice festival. This year’s slate of films has yet to be announced.


Italian documentary takes top prize in Venice

Sacro GRA, a documentary about the people who live and work around Rome’s ring road, took home the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival Saturday.

Sacro GRA, directed by Gianfranco Rossi, is the first documentary to ever win the prize, and is the first Italian film to be recognized at the highest level since 1998 when Gianni Amelio’s The Way We Laughed won. Founded in 1932, the Venice Film Festival has historically excluded non-fiction films from the competition. This was the first year they were eligible for consideration.

Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-Liang’s family drama Stray Dogs won the Grand Jury Prize, and Alexandros Avranas took Best Director for his domestic abuse film Miss Violence. Among the other winners were Tye Sheridan (The Tree of Life) for his performance in David Gordon Green’s Joe, and Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, who took away Best Screenplay for Philomena.

Check out the full list of winners below.


Terry Gilliam details a scene from his upcoming film 'The Zero Theorem' -- EXCLUSIVE


Terry Gilliam’s new film The Zero Theorem is a futuristic dive into a near-future crammed with advertising — a world not too far off from our own. The film, starring Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon, and Tilda Swinton, debuts at the Venice Film Festival Sept. 2 and echoes the tone of earlier films by the absurdist director, like 12 Monkeys and Brazil. 

The story follows Waltz’s character, a computer programmer who is assigned to work on a special formula that his boss, known only as “Management” (Damon), believes holds the meaning to our existence. On the street, advertising and technology bombard the senses in every available nook and cranny.

“I think it paints a stark picture of where we are right now,” Gilliam tells EW. “The future has come and met us, we actually don’t live in the present anymore, we live in the future because it’s happening so quickly. It’s really about the world we’re living in and being connected. When, as an individual, can we be alone in a connected world like this? Those are the things that intrigue me.”

Below, Gilliam details the making of a scene at the beginning of the film that introduces us to Waltz’s character, Qohen Leth (pronounced Cohen), and the world around him. The film was shot on location in Bucharest, Romania, and Gilliam discusses how he used elements of the city to dictate the futuristic landscape. He also delves into the unique costumes created by designer Carlo Puggioli for the film, featured in the exclusive photos above.

Ti West and Eli Roth join forces for 'The Sacrament' -- EXCLUSIVE POSTER

Ti West is part of a cult of sorts. The director of chilling horror movies like The Innkeepers and The House of the Devil frequently collaborates with a close-knit bunch of similar-minded artists, including Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, and AJ Bowen, most recently in You’re Next. In The Sacrament, which debuts at next week’s Venice Film Festival before having its North American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, West and his “mumblegore” crew take the harrowing journey into a Jonestown-style cult. Three magazine journalists (Swanberg, Bowen, and Kentucker Audley) visit a relative (Seimetz) at a religious commune, where the mysterious Father (Gene Jones) is the unchallenged leader. Like all infamous cult tales, it doesn’t end well.

“Jonestown is something that I’ve always been really fascinated by, because I don’t think a lot of people understand it,” says West, who wrote, directed, edited, and produced the movie. “The people who killed themselves were not mindless cult people in robes acting like brainwashed monsters. I wanted to depict a cult that wasn’t full of psychos. They are people that you’re like, ‘Well, I don’t want to live there, but I understand why they do. And let them do whatever they want.’ Of course, things go wrong, but I think that that understanding of the mentality is very important and I think it’s overlooked in most movies, especially horror movies, because everyone wants to get to the crazy sh-t.”

Still, expect plenty of crazy sh-t. The movie is also produced by Eli Roth, the madman behind Cabin Fever and Hostel. But West says Roth was the perfect collaborator and benefactor. “He wasn’t trying to make an Eli Roth movie through me,” he says. “He let me do my thing and he was very protective of, ‘This is Ti’s movie and let it be like that.’ It’s a very confrontational movie and it’s very horrific and it’s very dark. It’s different from what people might expect from me and something different from what people expect from Eli as well.”


Venice Film Festival loaded with American movies


Terry Gilliam, James Franco, and Errol Morris are among the filmmakers who will premiere their new movies in competition at the 70th Venice Film Festival in late August, it was announced today. Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem (pictured above), which stars Christolph Waltz as a computer hacker close to cracking the code that explains humanity, is his first film since The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus in 2009. Franco directs himself in Child of God, an adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel, and The Unknown Known, Morris’ study of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield, is the first documentary to ever compete in the main category at Venice.

Overall, there is a strong contingent of American filmmakers showcasing their movies, including David Gordon Green’s Joe, starring Nicolas Cage and Mud‘s Tye Sheridan, and Peter Landesman’s Parkland, the story of the colliding lives at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital in the days around the Kennedy assassination in 1963. Seven of the 20 films in competition are American or co-American productions. “The richness of American cinema at the moment is really extraordinary,” said Alberto Barbera, artistic director of the Venice Film Festival, “both from the indies and from Hollywood.”

Also in the main competition are Stephen Frears’ Philomena, starring Judi Dench, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, with Scarlett Johansson, and Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves, with Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard. Click here for the entire list. READ FULL STORY

Bernardo Bertolucci to head international jury at Venice Film Festival

Bernardo Bertolucci, the Oscar-winning director of The Last Emperor, Last Tango In Paris, and many other films, has been selected to chair the international jury at the 70th Venice Film Festival, the festival announced today.

“I cheerfully accept to chair the jury of the 70th Venice International Film Festival,” said Bertolucci in a release. “Over a handful of days, I am being given the opportunity to see the most interesting work being done in filmmaking around the world. My friend and film buff Alberto Barbera has the knack of discovering the most mysterious niches of filmmaking in the most mysterious countries in the world. This is my second time. In 1983 the Venice Film Festival was celebrating its 40th edition. My jury, composed almost entirely of directors, could not help but award the Golden Lion to Jean-Luc Godard, to whom we all owed so much and who had never won an important prize in his life. At the time what I wanted from films was surprise and enjoyment. I haven’t changed much since then.” READ FULL STORY

How 'The Master' almost won everything (but didn't) at the Venice Film Festival

Last night Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest, The Master, screened in front of eager crowds at the Toronto Film Festival. But it’s the awards given out at the Venice Film Festival–the oldest international festival in the world–Saturday night that have people chattering.

According to reports, sources close to jury head Michael Mann say that Paul Thomas Anderson’s film--about a haunted alcoholic (Joaquin Phoenix) who returns home from fighting World War II but feels lost until he’s taken under the wing of a charismatic spiritual leader played by Philip Seymour Hoffman (who really, really, really doesn’t want to talk about Scientology)–was to be awarded the top prize, the Golden Lion. It was also due to win awards for directing and for acting.

But the Venice Film Festival has a rule that doesn’t allow any one movie to win more than two awards, so reportedly the jury re-deliberated and decided to award the film to Pieta, a mother and son drama from Korean director Kim Ki-duk instead. Anderson (after a bit of confusion during presenting) won best director and Hoffman and Phoenix split the prize for acting.

This isn’t the first time that a Paul Thomas Anderson movie has gotten excluded due to rules: remember back in 2007 when Jonny Greenwood’s score for There Will Be Blood was disqualified for an Oscar due to a technicality?

UPDATED: An earlier version of this article mistakenly said Paul Thomas Anderson won a special jury award. Anderson was, in fact, awarded the Silver Lion for directing. The special jury prize went to Paradise: Faith, from Austrian director Ulrich Seidl. 

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