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July 16, 2017

How Fantasia Film Festival Has Fostered a New Generation of Genre Filmmakers


When Philippe McKie was seven years old in 1996, his cinephile father took him to a screening of the Japanese anime “The End of Evangelian” at the very first edition of the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal. “It blew my mind,” said McKie in a recent interview. “It created this love for international cinema — and this love for Japanese cinema.”

That passion continued through his teen years, as he continued watching movies at the three-week genre festival and eventually went to film school at Montreal’s Mel-Hoppenheim School of Cinema, before leaving the city to make movies in Japan. Now he’s back in an entirely new context, as a filmmaker with two short films in competition, both made abroad. “It hasn’t even fully dawned on me that I’m part of it now,” he said.

“I know the programmers by reputation but it’s my first time being a part of the fest. I’m meeting these guys for the first time as a filmmaker, so they don’t know, but to me, it’s really special.”

McKie’s experience is a variation on a familiar story in Quebec’s growing genre scene, which Fantasia has fostered for more than two decades. Supported by the province’s cultural SODEC in addition to Telefilm Canada and Creative Europe, Fantasia hosts some 150 features and 300 short films, in addition to the growing genre market Frontières, now in its fifth year.

“There’s definitely an institutional openness to genre that we’re seeing develop,” said Lindsay Peters, the festival’s market and industry director. “It’s taken a long time, but it’s looking positive now.”

McKie’s two shorts in the lineup collectively speak to the expansive nature of Fantasia’s programming strategy: “Breaker” is a cyber-punk thriller set in dystopian Japan, while “Be My First” is an erotic drama about a young woman on an enigmatic mission to lose her virginity. He was clearly enthusiastic to be back at the festival that inspired his burgeoning career. “I think this city is really funky,” he said. “You’ve got this clash of cultures, the whole French-English clash, but it’s also a very artistic city. People are very open. I’m really thankful that I can be from here. It’s always going to be a part of my identity.”

Phillipe McKie

Phillipe McKie

Whereas many film festivals see their local talent move on, Fantasia’s specific focus on genre films has led many filmmakers like McKie to keep coming back to the festival — and, in other cases, stay put. Each of the festival’s three weekends contains a different short film section featuring work by Quebecois directors. One of these is Ariane Louis-Seize, whose wordless 19-minute short “The Wild Skin” revolves around the peculiar experiences of a young woman who discovers a python in her apartment and undergoes a strange erotic experience as a result.

Louis-Seize grew up near Ottawa idolizing Jane Campion’s films, and has found her groove producing work in Montreal. She waits tables two nights a week, but mostly lives off grant money. “I don’t need a lot to live here and feel comfortable,” she said during a happy-hour event for Quebecois filmmakers on the festival’s first weekend. “There are great talents and technicians here. It’s just easier because you have a real industry and I was able to create my own circle. It’s really nice because it’s all so casual.”

A native French speaker for whom speaking English doesn’t come easily, she has no plans to attempt working in other parts of the world. “I really like it here, but I don’t know anything else,” she said, adding that she had no major commercial ambitions. “Honestly, I don’t really think of that. My new short is really unclassifiable. It’s slow, and dark. For now — and probably for the rest of my life — I’ll work here.”

Ariane Louis-Seize filmmaker

Ariane Louis-Seize

Ariane Louis-Seize

Fantasia’s role in supporting Quebecois filmmakers shows no sign of waning, as much of the market’s activity proves. This year, Canadian producers are eligible for funding from European financing institution Eurimage, and Frontières will host a panel on the fundraising behind two recent projects, “Muse” and “Border.” Another panel finds seven Canadian projects from up-and-coming female writer-directors being pitched in front of industry experts. 

One of the participants in the panel is Elza Kephart, who runs the production company Midnight Kingdom Films out of Montreal. Unlike Louis-Seize, Kephart never landed government funding for her projects and attended film school in the U.S., at Emerson. However, Fantasia has played a crucial role in the evolution of her career: When she was looking for support on her directorial debut, 2003’s “Graveyard Alive,” programming director Mitch Davis met with Kephart’s producer early in the production and promised a slot in the lineup. It played there to a sold-out crowd. A decade later, she pitched a project at the market. “I was hooked,” she said. “I feel like the film crowd is a big circus family.”

She’s firmly entrenched in Quebec’s film scene and active in several local organizations, such as the women filmmaker collective Equitable Leaders, which “strives to attain equity for women directors in Quebec’s film industry.” At this year’s market, she’s pitching the project “Slaxxx,” which features a pair of killer pants. “I like death, blood, weirdness,” she said.

For much of Fantasia’s community, the festival provides a validation of their shared sensibilities — and the prospects of finding an audience beyond the limitations of the three-week gathering.

“There’s an opportunity for the local industry to really interact with the national scene,” Peters said. “The Quebec genre community is small, but it’s very strong.”

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Source: IndieWire film

July 16, 2017

Colin Trevorrow Explains Why He Should Still Direct ‘Star Wars’ Despite That Whole ‘Book of Henry’ Thing

Colin Trevorrow’s “The Book of Henry” was so poorly received that some have wondered whether he’ll still direct the untitled “Star Wars: Episode IX.” He wouldn’t be the first director to lose a “Star Wars” gig, as both Josh Trank and Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have been relieved of their duties in taking us to a galaxy far, far away. In a new Hollywood Reporter interview, Trevorrow appears to respond to this speculation by explaining why he’s still the right man for the job.

“Not only did I grow up on these stories, like all of us did, [but] I think that the values of ‘Star Wars’ are values that I hold very close and very dear in my life,” says Trevorrow, perhaps to all of us reading at home or perhaps to Kathleen Kennedy.

“I feel that the message of the way that the Force teaches you to treat other people and show respect for others, and the way it guides you through life, is really important to me. And I hope everybody would realize that that set of stories has affected me as deeply in my life as it has affected them.”

It isn’t quite “let the hate flow through you,” but as a plaintive statement it’s reasonable enough. Read the full interview/plea here.

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Source: IndieWire film

July 16, 2017

‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ Tops ‘Spider-Man’ Box Office But Disappoints Despite Rave Reviews

War for the Planet of the Apes” (20th Century Fox), the third entry in the third round of the science-fiction series that launched in 1968, achieved a respectable if not spectacular $56.5 million opening, notching the top slot against the second weekend of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (Sony), which dropped an unexpectedly large 61 per cent.

READ MORE How ‘Planet of the Apes” Started Hollywood’s Franchise Obsession

Remarkable and unprecedented for summertime play, three of the top five films this weekend “Apes,” “Baby Driver” (Sony) and “The Big Sick” (Lionsgate) are critically acclaimed wide releases with Metacritic scores over 80. That range of specialized titles and awards contenders is far from typical summer fare.

“Apes” received the top reviews of this well-regarded trio. The advance buzz was big enough to suggest an opening over $70 million. Instead, it is the lowest — in adjusted grosses, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” did the equivalent of $61 million, 28 per cent below “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” three years ago.

The “War for the Planet of the Apes” total still comes out ahead of several disappointing summer franchise sequels. But with a $150-million production budget before marketing, the movie will need a decent hold and stronger foreign results to make its expected profit. More importantly, the result is not enough to suggest a continuation of this series at this expense.  Again, the impact of so much repetition in the release schedule diminishes even the top franchise entries.

Baby (ANSEL ELGORT) is chased by the cops in TriStar Pictures' BABY DRIVER.

“Baby Driver”

Wilson Webb

“Baby Driver” is thriving, with a fabulous hold: only a  33 per cent drop in its third weekend. It’s at $73 million domestic, and could even stretch to reach $100 million.

The Lionsgate/Amazon family dramedy “The Big Sick” raced to $7.6 million and $16 million so far. The number is reasonable for an arthouse crossover with niche appeal (a true romance about a Muslim man whose girlfriend faces a health crisis) but the film fell short of some predictions that it could pass $10 million. Next weekend will be critical to see if it can reach its potential, although it will easily top “The Gift” and “The Zookeeper’s Wife” to become the top specialty release film of 2017.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming”

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” fell a steep 61 per cent, similar to two earlier franchise entries, but far more than its two predecessors, which initiated fresh stars and stories (those dropped 38 and 44 per cent respectively). It competed with “War for the Planet of the Apes” for an overlapping audience. But this now looks to reach $325 million domestic, which is good enough to be a nice profit maker combined with foreign and other revenues. But does it justify more expensive sequels ahead?

The marvel of the summer continues to be Warner Bros./D.C. Comics’ “Wonder Woman,” which fell only 30 per cent in its seventh weekend, just under $7 million and good enough for sixth place. Even with its pattern for strong holds, this one is incredible, and now revises expectations for its total domestic gross to over $400 million.

Wish Upon

“Wonder Woman” actually bested the other new wide release, Broad Green’s horror entry “Wish Upon” which could only manage $5.6 million in 2,250 theaters.

The Top Ten came in a $157 million, $6 million better than a year ago. That reverses a recent trend, and helps in the struggle to equal 2017 so far. It could be temporary. As much excitement as there is for Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” next week (which also brings Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” from STX and Universal’s raunchy comedy “Girls Trip”), it faces comparison to a weekend last year that saw three new films led by “Star Trek Beyond” which opened to $100 million combined.

 Top Ten

1. War for the Planet of the Apes (20th Century Fox)  NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 83; Est. budget: $150 million

$56,500,000 in 4,022 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $14,048; Cumulative: $56,500,000

2. Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$45,200,000 (-61%) in 4,348 theaters (no change); PTA: $10,396; Cumulative: $208,270,000

3. Despicable Me 3 (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #2

$18,948,000 (-44%) in 4,155 theaters (-380); PTA: $4,560; Cumulative: $187,990,000

4. Baby Driver (Sony) Week 3; Last weekend #3

$8,750,000 (-34%) in 3,043 theaters (-183); PTA: $2,875; Cumulative: $73,152,000

5. The Big Sick (Lionsgate) Week 4; Last weekend #8

$7,600,000 (+112%) in 2,597 theaters (+2,271); PTA: $2,926; Cumulative: $16,037,000

6. Wonder Woman (Warner Bros.) Week 7; Last weekend #4

$6,885,000 (-30%) in 2,744 theaters (-344); PTA: $2,509; Cumulative: $380,636,000

7. Wish Upon (Broad Green) NEW – Cinemascore: C; Metacritic: 30; Est. budget: $12 million

$5,587,000 in 2,250 theaters; PTA: $2,483; Cumulative: $5,587,000

8. Cars 3 (Disney) Week 4; Last weekend #6

$3,167,000 (-41%) in 2,049 theaters (-653); PTA: $1,546; Cumulative: $140,032,000

9. Transformers: The Last Knight (Paramount) Week 4; Last weekend #5

$2,780,000 (-56%) in 2,323 theaters (-918); PTA: $1,197; Cumulative: $124,889,000

10. The House (Warner Bros.) Week 3; Last weekend #7

$1,795,000 (-62%) in 1,633 theaters (-1,501); PTA: $1,099; Cumulative: $23,130,000

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Source: IndieWire film

July 16, 2017

Al Pacino Transforms Into Joe Paterno in First-Look Photo from Barry Levinson’s Untitled HBO Drama

If the words “Untitled Barry Levinson Project” don’t get you excited, then perhaps this first-look photo of Al Pacino as Joe Paterno in the upcoming HBO movie will. Pacino is playing the disgraced coach who was best-known as the winningest coach in college-football history before becoming part of the Jerry Sandusky scandal in late 2011.

JoePa, as he was sometimes known, served as head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions from 1966 to 2011 and racked up 409 wins during his decades-long tenure. Sandusky, the team’s defensive coordinator, was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse of young boys in June of 2012 — five months after Paterno’s death from lung cancer at 85. For his alleged role in helping cover up the years-long scandal, Paterno had 111 of his victories vacated by the NCAA.

Levinson, who won an Academy Award for directing “Rain Man” and has received five other nominations, previously worked with Pacino on “You Don’t Know Jack” and “The Humbling.” Riley Keough, Annie Parisse and Kathy Baker co-star in the untitled project, which is currently in production.

Al Pacino as Joe Paterno

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Source: IndieWire film

July 16, 2017

Steven Spielberg Directed ‘Poltergeist,’ Says the Film’s Assistant Cameraman

The question of who actually directed “Poltergeist” has been haunting curious viewers for as long as the movie itself. Tobe Hooper is officially listed as having done so, though it’s long been suspected that co-writer and -producer Steven Spielberg was the true helmer; due to a clause in his “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” contract, however, Spielberg wasn’t technically allowed to direct anything else while preparing his kid-friendly classic.

In an appearance on Blumhouse’s podcast ‘Shock Waves,’ the film’s assistant cameraman more or less confirms that Spielberg was the actual director.

“It was a very intense, very fun, very technical movie to work on. There’s a lot going on. And candidly… Steven Spielberg directed that movie. There’s no question,” says John Leonetti, whose brother Matt was the film’s cinematographer. Leonetti, who directed “Annabelle” as well as the upcoming “Wish Upon,” spares several kind words for Hooper nevertheless.

“However, Tobe Hooper – I adore. I love that man so much,” he says of the genre auteur responsible for the likes of “Lifeforce” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Here he elaborates further:

“Hooper was so nice and just happy to be there. He creatively had input. Steven developed the movie, and it was his to direct, except there was anticipation of a director’s strike, so he was ‘the producer’ but really he directed it in case there was going to be a strike and Tobe was cool with that. It wasn’t anything against Tobe. Every once in a while, he would actually leave the set and let Tobe do a few things just because. But really, Steven directed it.”

That sounds fairly definitive. Listen to the full podcast here.

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Source: IndieWire film

July 14, 2017

Tips for SXSW Film PanelPicker Entry Success – Deadline Friday, July 21

PanelPicker deadline is approaching quickly! Only a few days left until the July 21 deadline. Below you will find valuable information about how to apply for PanelPicker, film PanelPicker tips, and an overview of film tracks for the SXSW Conference.

SXSW values community input and involvement, so the two-step online process PanelPicker was developed to encourage the SXSW community to enter proposals and have a significant voice in daytime Conference programming. The SXSW community is then able to browse proposals, leave comments, and vote to help shape the March event.

Application Process

During the open application process from Monday, June 26 through Friday, July 21 at 11:59pm PT, we encourage the community to upload proposals related to interactive, film and, music industries in a variety of session formats including panels, solo presentations, workshops, and more. Read the 2018 PanelPicker FAQ for important information about SXSW, the PanelPicker submission process, and valuable tips.

All ideas received will be posted online for the community for voting from Monday, August 7 – Friday, August 25. It’s as easy as “enter, review, comment, and vote” to help shape SXSW programming.

Film PanelPicker Tips

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box – It’s fine to talk about future trends and not current ones. Film and TV is an ever-changing industry and we want to hear your thoughts no matter how obscure.

Diversity matters – All panels (3-4 person sessions) must include diversity in gender, race, location and employment of speakers, and diversity in thought and opinion. Everyone should bring something different to the table.

Subject levels – Not everyone who attends SXSW may be up to speed on all film-related topics. If your proposal delves into the specifics of a particular subject and uses advanced knowledge and terminology, please note that in the proposal. We can better guide our attendees if this session is right for them.

Proofread, proofread, proofread – Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are extremely important. PanelPicker allows you to securely edit your proposal up until you click “Enter Proposal” on the final page.

Film Tracks

Entertainment Influencers

Inspiration from thought leaders, experts, and innovators that will last beyond your time at SXSW, including conversations with high-profile speakers from the entertainment, film, and TV industries.

Film & TV Industry

Learn about the inner workings of the film and TV industry. Sessions will focus on the business side of things, with topics like distribution, financing, and the ever changing nature of the industry

Making Film & Episodics

Learn everything you need to know about developing and crafting your project, from screenwriting and working with your subject to post-production and beyond.

Be sure to also take a look at our film-related Convergence tracks such as VR/AR and Experiential Storytelling.

Enter Your Session Idea

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, August 1 when registration, housing, and press accreditation opens for the 2018 SXSW season. We hope to see you in March!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage, announcements, application tips, and updates.

Screening of The Relationtrip – Photo by Carol Watson

The post Tips for SXSW Film PanelPicker Entry Success – Deadline Friday, July 21 appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

July 14, 2017

Watch: Learn the Trick Used By Landscape Photographers to Get Deep Focus

Everything you need to know about hyperfocal distance.<p>With the advent of DSLRs, shallow focus became all the rage in photographic visuals. However, …
Source: CW’s Flipboard Feed

July 14, 2017

See What’s New for the SXSW Community Service Awards

This year we’ve revamped and consolidated our grants programs into our individual and organization focused community service awards — and we will celebrate both at a combined ceremony in March! Five individuals and five organizations will be recognized for their community service. Each honoree or organization will receive complimentary badges to SXSW, a $5,000 grant, and a chance to spread the word about their work to the SXSW community. Learn more about the SXSW 2018 Community Service Awards below.

SXSW Community Service Awards for Individuals

Five individuals will receive a $5,000 grant to an eligible 501(c)(3) or eligible charity of their choice as well as a complimentary registration to SXSW 2018. The Community Service Award is intended to honor the breadth of community service work of five individuals rather than organizations or groups. We are looking for individuals whose creative community service work bridges the digital divide, impacts the community positively and includes some degree of grassroots or hands-on organizing.

Apply Now

SXSW Community Service Awards for Organizations

Five organizations will also receive a $5,000 grant to continue or begin their work and will be honored at the SXSW Community Service Awards. To qualify, an organization must be a charitable organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) or be otherwise qualified to receive charitable contributions. The selection committee chooses organization grantees based on their connection to one of the following aspects of SXSW: Interactive, Film, Music, Edu, or Gaming.

Apply Now

All applications are free of charge and must be received no later than 11:59pm PT on July 28, 2017.

Who Should Apply?

The SXSW Community Service Awards are for everyone! Whether your interest lies in filmmaking, music, technology, education or gaming, the Community Service Awards recognize good work being done within communities. There’s also a grant for a local Austin charitable organization that does not easily fit into one of those festival categories. SXSW feels that promoting good is one of many ways of helping foster creative innovation.

The post See What’s New for the SXSW Community Service Awards appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

July 13, 2017

Tips for SXSW PanelPicker Entry Success – Deadline Friday, July 21

With so many PanelPicker proposals, how can you ensure that your amazing idea stands out? As the Friday, July 21 deadline approaches, take a dive into our helpful PanelPicker resources below, from tips for success to an overview of SXSW Conference tracks, as you construct the perfect proposal.

Tips for PanelPicker Success

Follow the instructions and read the FAQ. Reading the PanelPicker FAQ will give you important information about SXSW and some valuable tips for creating a great proposal. For a walk-through of the PanelPicker form and entry process, watch the How to Enter Your Proposal video. Once you’ve watched the video and read the FAQ, you are ready to get started!

Create a future-focused, original proposal that shows what you’re passionate about. Often SXSW previews what you’ll be talking about next year and beyond in tech, culture, music, and film. Give us your perspective on what lies ahead and why.

Depth and specificity. SXSW attendees want advanced, in-depth information, so be sure to delve into the particulars of a topic. The more specific a proposal is, the better. Drill down to what really matters.

Solo sessions and strong moderators. While panels works well as a session format across the Conference, the SXSW community tends to prefer solo presentations for Interactive and tech-focused tracks. Be sure you have a strong moderator if you are going to propose a panel.

Your title should reflect your description. Your title is going to be fighting for attention with hundreds of other titles in PanelPicker, so it’s important for your title to be direct and explanatory. The community should be able to understand what the proposal will cover without reading your description. Remember: think simple, accurate, and succinct. Pro-tip: Avoid using ALL CAPS in your title and proposal.

Diversity matters – all panels (3-4 person sessions) must include diversity in gender, race, location and employment of speakers, and diversity in thought and opinion.

Include a video with your proposal. Your speaking abilities matter and we’d like to see them. Does the video need to be a fancy production? No, the video does not have to be professionally produced and can simply be recorded on your webcam or phone.

Proofread, proofread, proofread. Did we mention to proofread? Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are extremely important. PanelPicker allows you to securely edit your proposal up until you click “Enter Proposal” on the final page.

Meet the deadline. The 2018 PanelPicker entry deadline is 11:59pm PT on Friday, July 21.

SXSW Conference Tracks

The SXSW Conference provides an opportunity for global professionals at every level to participate, learn, and network. Explore what’s next in the worlds of entertainment, culture, and technology within 24 tracks of programming plus our SXSW Eco curated Cities Summit. Learn more from our track overviews for Interactive, Film, Music, and Convergence including additional proposal tips.

While PanelPicker contributes to the majority of the 2018 SXSW Conference programming, it also helps us identify industry trends based on each season’s entries. Explore 2017 Programming Trends and follow SXSW News for the latest updates in trends that emerge from the 2018 PanelPicker.

Enter Your PanelPicker Idea

Visit PanelPicker.sxsw.com, login or create a new profile to begin. All ideas received will be posted online for Community Voting from Monday, August 7 – Friday, August 25. Review the resources and tips to get started – PanelPicker entry deadline is Friday, July 21 at 11:59pm PT. Good luck!

Enter Your Idea

Mark your calendars – registration and housing opens on Tuesday, August 1 for the 2018 SXSW Conference & Festivals in Austin, Texas from March 9-18.

2017 SXSW Conference panel, Jazz in the Digital Age – Photo by Danny Matson

The post Tips for SXSW PanelPicker Entry Success – Deadline Friday, July 21 appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

July 12, 2017

‘The North Pole’ Trailer: Oakland-Bred Climate Change Comedy Will Make You Laugh Until You Cry — Watch

As New York Magazine recently made clear in an anxiety-producing cover story, climate change is accelerating at a rate much faster than even scientists’ most alarming predictions. As fewer resources are stretched between more people, the gentrification of urban areas will continue to displace folks from their homes. Enter “The North Pole”: A smart and stylish web series that manages to find the funny amidst the worries about gentrification and climate change.

READ MORE: Jerry Seinfeld, Demetri Martin and Female Bros: The 16 Best Web Series Of 2016

Set in North Oakland, California, from which the series takes its name, “The North Pole” follows three friends as they struggle to stay afloat amidst a rapidly changing neighborhood. They fight, dream, and plot half-baked schemes to save the place they call home. They will have to combat evil landlords, crazy geoengineering plots, and ultimately each other if they want to stay grounded.

“We wanted to make ‘The North Pole’ because there’s no place on earth like Oakland,” said filmmaker Josh Healey, who created the series with Yvan Iturriaga and Darren Colston. “Until Neil de Grasse Tyson tells me otherwise, there’s no planet in the universe like earth. I call both these places home—and both are suffering through their own kind of ‘climate change.’ At a time when whole communities and environments are being displaced and disposed of, ‘The North Pole’ is our creative picket line-turned-comedy roast.”

READ MORE: ‘BKPI’ Clip: ‘Bored to Death’ Meets Gentrification In Web Series Starring 3 Women of Color — Watch

The series features guest appearances from comedian W. Kamau Bell, former Black Panther Party leader Ericka Huggins, and Oakland-based rappers Boots Riley And Mistah FAB. “The North Pole” is executive produced by ecological justice organization Movement Generation, and will launch with a special screening on Thursday, September 7 at Oakland’s historic Grand Lake Theater.

Check out the exclusive trailer below:

For more information on the series, head to the project’s website.

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Source: IndieWire Digital TV