Tag: Toronto International Film Festival

Barry Jenkins’ Production Company PASTEL Signs 1st Look TV Deal with Amazon Studios

Barry Jenkins
Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins (CREDIT: ERIK PENDZICH/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, Academy Award-winning producer/writer/director Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight“) and his PASTEL production banner have landeda first-look television deal at Amazon.

Jenkins is planning to direct the entire limited series “Underground Railroad” at Amazon, based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning novel from 2016. Under the deal, Jenkins will exclusively develop television series for Amazon Studios.

“Barry is clearly a master of groundbreaking, authentically emotional storytelling and we are so proud to have him share that gift with us,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios. “We are incredibly fortunate to have also secured his directorial vision for the entire limited series The Underground Railroad.”

“We at PASTEL are excited to continue our Amazon relationship begun on ‘Underground Railroad’ and look forward to growing that partnership on projects near and beyond,” said Jenkins.

Jenkins’ feature film debut, “Medicine for Melancholy,” was lauded as one of the best films of 2009 by The New York Times. He recently debuted his latest film, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” based on James Baldwin’s novel and starring Regina King and Brian Tyree Henry, at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. The U.S. release in theaters is scheduled for November 30 of this year.

Netflix Buys Young Barack Obama Movie ‘Barry’ at Toronto Film Festival

Devon Terrell in “Barry” (photo via variety.com)

article by Dave McNary via Variety.com

Netflix has bought worldwide rights to “Barry,” a week after the young Barack Obama movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. The movie is set in New York City with Obama as a college student faced with questions about race, culture, and identity.

“Barry” premiered in the Special Presentations section at the Ryerson Theater on Sept. 10.  Variety‘s Owen Glieberman said in his review, “Set in 1981, when Obama was a 20-year-old college student who moved to New York to transfer to Columbia University, the film is rooted in the murky, drifting, sleep-late-and-get-stoned-and-do-whatever nature of college life that the movies almost never get right. This one does, and that’s one reason it feels bracingly authentic.”

Devon Terrell and Anya Taylor-Joy were cast as the leads in “Barry” in March. Vikram Gandhi, whose “Kumare” won the 2011 audience award at SXSW, directed from a screenplay written by novelist Adam Mansbach, who wrote “Go the F**k to Sleep.”

To read more, go to: Toronto: Netflix Buys Young Barack Obama Movie ‘Barry’ | Variety

How Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” Helped Bring Julie Dash’s Groundbreaking Film “Daughters of the Dust” Back to Theaters

"Daughters of the Dust" directed by Julie Dash (poster via Cohen Media Group)
Poster for re-release of “Daughters of the Dust” directed by Julie Dash (via Cohen Media Group)

article by Yohana Desta via vanityfair.com

In 1991, Julie Dash’s sumptuous film Daughters of the Dust” broke ground as the first movie directed by a black woman to get a wide theatrical release.  Since then, the gorgeous tone poem about a Gullah family in 1902 has continued to gather accolades. It was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2004, and recently served as a heavy inspiration for Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade.

Now, the film is being re-introduced to the mainstream in a splashy new way—the Cohen Media Group has created a rich 2K restoration that will be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, then released in theaters again this November. (Watch the exclusive new trailer above to see the film restored in all its fresh, new glory, and scroll down to see the glossy new poster.)

Dash calls the new release “exciting.”“I never imagined it would be released again,” she says.  For the record, Dash is also a huge fan of Lemonade—and says that the visual album actually helped Daughters on the road to restoration. Read on to see her thoughts about Beyoncé, Hollywood, and whether she’d ever make a sequel to her classic film.

Vanity Fair: Were you paying attention at all to Lemonade, to the Beyoncé film?

Julie Dash: Yes. My phone blew up the night Lemonade came on and my Web site shut down . . . someone called me and said Daughters of the Dust is trending on Twitter. And I said, “No, it must be something else,” and they said, “No, it’s trending!” And I looked and it was, and it was so funny. It just tickled me to death. So I finally got a chance to see Lemonade and I was just very pleased. Lemonade is just—it breaks new ground. It’s a masterpiece.It’s a tone poem, a visual tone poem with various stories going on—vignettes. It’s just all visual, and it’s like yes.

To read full interview and see the “Daughters of the Dust” trailer, go to: How Beyoncé’s Lemonade Helped Bring a Groundbreaking Film Back to Thea | Vanity Fair

Check Out Trailer for Chris Rock’s Upcoming Release, “Top Five” (VIDEO)

Chris RockAs GBN reported last month, Chris Rock’s new film Top Five sparked a bidding frenzy at the Toronto International Film Festival, with Paramount Pictures emerging as the winner for distribution rights to the tune of $12.5 million. Last week, the studio dropped the first trailer.  Written, directed by, and starring Rock, Top Five tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) forces him to confront the comedy career—and the past—that he’s left behind.

Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, Cedric The Entertainer, J.B. Smoove, Sherri Shepherd, Anders Holm, Romany Malco, Leslie Jones, Michael Che, and Jay Pharoah also star.

The movie is set for a limited release on December 5, going wide a week later on December 12.

If you can’t wait to see Rock in action before then, check out him and musical guest Prince as he hosts “Saturday Night Live” this weekend.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

OPINION: Director Steve McQueen’s ’12 Years a Slave’ Seems Like A Game-Changer

Steve McQueen,  Michael Fassbender
Actor Michael Fassbender, left, and director Steve McQueen on the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival. (Nathan Denette / Associated Press / September 6, 2013)

Brad Pitt didn’t say much during the question-and-answer session that followed the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of “12 Years a Slave” on Friday night, just a short comment on why he produced and co-starred in the Steve McQueen period drama.

But, like his turn as an abolitionist-minded maverick amid a group of brutal slaveowners, Pitt spoke volumes as he stood on the stage with cast and filmmakers. “If I never get to participate in a film again,” he said, his voice trailing off as if to imply this would be enough, “this is it for me,” he finally finished.

It’s a sentiment you could imagine the lead cast members — Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and of course Chiwetel Eijiofor, standing out amid the standouts — sharing with Pitt. And it’s a sentiment you could imagine the audience feeling. Festivals come and go; movies rise and fade. But once in a great while there’s a film that feels almost instantly, in the room, like it’s going to endure, and change plenty of things along the way. And “12 Years” offers that feeling.

Most narrowly, that’s true on Oscar level. By 9 p.m. Friday night, just six days into September, the film had already become a top contender for various acting, writing and directing prizes, as well as the big prize. You could say that’s premature. But you probably wouldn’t if you sat in the room. (Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan certainly didn’t hold back.)

It’s equally true on a social level. “12 Years” tells the fact-based story of Solomon Northup (Eijiofor), a free man who in 1841 was kidnapped and sold into slavery, and his travails — at once horrifying and surprising, no matter how much you think you’re ready for them — when he is trafficked to a series of Southern plantations for more than a decade.

Continue reading “OPINION: Director Steve McQueen’s ’12 Years a Slave’ Seems Like A Game-Changer”

Jay-Z’s ‘Made in America’ Festival Documentary to Air on Showtime

jay z on real timeDirector Ron Howard will debut the “Made in America” documentary about the Jay Z-curated music festival in Philadelphia Oct. 11 on Showtime.

Close to 50,000 fans attended Jay-Z’s “Budweiser Made in America” festival on Labor Day weekend last year. The two-day event included performers such as Pearl Jam, Drake, Run DMC, Skrillex, D’Angelo and Calvin Harris.

The year’s festival kicks of this weekend with performances from Beyonce, Nine Inch Nails, Imagine Dragons, Deadmau5, Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.  Howard’s documentary serves as a backstage pass to the event, which showcases performers sharing stories of how they are “making it in America.”

It will debut Sept. 7 at the Toronto International Film Festival.

article via eurweb.com

First Official Look at Andre 3000 as Jimi Hendrix in “All Is By My Side” (PHOTO)

Andre 3000 in 'All Is By My Side'

It seems like it’s been a long time coming, but we finally have the first official look at André Benjamin (aka André 3000 from Outkast) as Jimi Hendrix in All is By My Side.  Benjamin won’t be kissing the sky in this biopic. Instead, he’ll be covering songs by other artists like Muddy Waters and the Beatles. Experience Hendrix LLC announced that the estate wouldn’t license the rock star’s music “without its full participation.”

However, producer Sean McKittrick told Rolling Stone that the movie traces Hendrix’s life before the 1967 release of the late rock star’s debut album, “Are You Experienced.” “This is the story of Jimi being discovered as a backup musician and how he went to London and became Jimi Hendrix,” McKittrick explained.  In any case, we’ll have to wait a few more months to see or hear how Benjamin’s performance goes over. The film will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, where writer/director John Ridley, who also penned the adapted screenplay for Steve McQueen’s historical drama 12 Years a Slave, will be flying high.

article via news.moviefone.com

Bill Duke’s ‘Dark Girls’ Headed to OWN; More Films in the Making

ddark girlsBill Duke’s thought-provoking film, “Dark Girls” is headed to Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network this June.

The documentary first emerged in 2011 at the Toronto International Film Festival and had great promise of becoming something bigger and better. But it never turned up as a national theater release and continued to tour across the country.

Duke announced in 2012 at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, that he was in the middle of developing two feature documentaries as follow ups to “Dark Girls.”

“Yellow Brick Road” will look at the ‘colorism’ issue from the perspective of light-skinned Black women. The other documentary, “What Is A Man?” will explore masculinity and manhood as it has transformed from the beginning of time to present day. Filming for the project has already begun and it turns out Duke has been interviewing people from all around the world.

Watch the trailer for “Dark Girls” below:

article by Brittney M. Walker via eurweb.com

Angela Davis Documentary Brings Life Of Revolutionary To Big Screen

 

Willow Smith, Jaden Smith, producer Sidra Smith, director Shola Lynch, actors Will Smith, Angela Davis and Jada Pinkett Smith attend the 'Free Angela & All Political Prisoners' premiere during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 9, 2012 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

From Ebony.com: Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, a new film by Shola Lynch, in which Angela Davis, 68, speaks openly for the first time in forty years about the tumultuous events of her twenties, debuted at this week’s Toronto International Film Festival. Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, who introduced the doc at the festival, just announced that their Overbrook Entertainment have partnered with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation as executive producers of the documentary about the scholar who came to embody Black power and Black radical feminism. Continue reading “Angela Davis Documentary Brings Life Of Revolutionary To Big Screen”

Cameron Bailey Named Artistic Director of 2012 Toronto Film Festival

Cameron Bailey

Remember this saying:  behind every great man there is a great woman? Well in similar context, behind every great festival is a great director. Cameron Bailey has been with the Toronto International Film Festival for many years, enhancing international partnerships, innovating the annual festival and developing new programs to engage local audiences. His recent title change to Artistic Director reflects his involvement with the organization and his commitment to bring great film to the city. We had a chance to sit down with the director and talk about many things, including his journey in film, his insight into TIFF 2012, his thoughts about the Indian film industry and the evolution of the TIFF brand.

Bailey began his journey in film as a journalist, writing for Toronto’s NOW magazine and various other outlets. “[It] gave me the opportunity to analyze films and express my opinion”, he said.”I have always liked to do that and communicate with an audience.” Soon after, he joined the festival and its programming team and has remained with the organization since. ” What programming adds to [being a film critic] is the ability to advocate for films, to really say ‘this is something that I love and I hope you love it too and here it is’. So much of programming is really personal. It’s about your own personal passions, your personal taste. You find something and you feel like you have discovered it. Although filmmakers have spent months, sometimes years, making it but you feel like you have discovered it because you have seen it for the first time, sometimes before the public audience has seen it. That ability to respond to your own passion about a film and to bring it, in this case, to the Toronto International Film Festival – which is such a huge public platform –  where you can present it to so many people. That’s what being a critic doesn’t give you. It’s that additional ability to present, to advocate for work that you feel is important.” Continue reading “Cameron Bailey Named Artistic Director of 2012 Toronto Film Festival”