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March 31, 2019

‘Dumbo’ Leads the Weekend Box Office, But Flies Below Expectations

Dumbo” is the third of the three highly anticipated March releases that gave hope for a 2019 box-office rebound. It debuted at $45 million, falling below expectations (unlike the earlier “Captain Marvel” and Jordan Peele’s “Us”), though hardly a dud.

That doesn’t make it a dud, but it does reaffirm how hard it will be for the theaters to recover from the early-year disappointments. This month was expected to put a significant dent in the shortfall, and it did — at the end of March, the year-to-date revenue decline is 17%, compared to 27% at the end of February.

However, this week’s performance doesn’t get much of the credit. The total gross for all films will be very close to the same weekend last year. And as we approach what is considered “summer” (aka the release of the top Marvel film, which this year is the last weekend in April), it will become harder to make up the difference.

DREAMING BIG -- In Tim Burton’s all-new, live-action reimagining of “Dumbo,” persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton) decides that a young elephant from a struggling circus belongs in his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Directed by Burton and produced by Katterli Frauenfelder, Derek Frey, Ehren Kruger and Justin Springer, “Dumbo” flies into theaters on March 29, 2019. © 2018 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“Dumbo”

Disney Enterprises, Inc.

“Dumbo” is one of the multiple tentpole franchises that makes Disney, even before its takeover of 20th Century Fox, the dominant force in studios. Tim Burton was crucial in launching this onslaught with his “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010. That title opened to ticket sales nearly triple that of the $170 million “Dumbo,” which also fell far short of the five earlier March/April releases.

“Dumbo” is an older and trickier classic to redo, with loss and tragedy as key parts of its story. The 1941 original animated film was only 64 minutes, with few human characters that are vital to many of Disney’s top projects.

With a talent like Burton involved for the first time since “Alice” as director, perhaps expectations were  too high. Reviews were less than favorable, but it scored a decent A- Cinemascore. That’s below the A of “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Jungle Book,”  but even with a B+ “Oz The Great and Powerful” managed to triple its opening (Increased weekday matinees in some locations help.)

Still, an ultimate $135 million (three times opening) total would be a disappointment for this. Foreign scored a $73 million start. Given its initial cost, that’s also below would might have been expected. This could struggle to make its costs back, even with short-term home viewing revenues ahead.

"Us"

“Us”

Universal

Jordan Peele’s first film, “Get Out,” dropped only 15% its second weekend. But “Us,” despite a horror-genre normal drop of 53%, still made more in its second weekend — at $33 million, almost $5 million more. At $122 million, it’s positioned to equal the total “Get Out” amassed (nearly $180 million). That’s huge for two first films, even more so since their combined cost is under $30 million.

“Captain Marvel” in its fourth weekend dropped 40%, with $353 million domestic in. It looks on track to reach around $425 million-$450 million, ahead of “Wonder Woman” two years ago. That would put it ahead of most of the Marvel character subsets, including Thor, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, and X-Men. Rarefied territory indeed.

NEON

Two just over 1,000theater debuting titles, with minimal overlap in their audiences, met different initial fates. “Unplanned” (Pure Flix), with a no-holds-barred anti-reproductive freedom message and aimed at conservative religious groups, came out best with a better-than-expected $6.1 million. That comes even with an R rating, resistance from some media outlets in accepting advertising, and a mostly grassroots marketing strategy that included presales.

It led to a fifth place showing overall, and more impressively a second-day uptick of 36% (similar films sometimes fall their initial Saturday). It’s not a record among similar films; “God’s Not Dead,” the breakout release in this genre, had double the per-theater average five years ago. The convergence of abortion issues and faith among some believers has never been more apparent.

“The Beach Bum,” the latest film from indie notable Harmony Korine, seemed poised to recapture some of the success his earlier “Spring Breakers” had as an early A24 release in 2013. Starring Matthew McConaughey, it’s a raunchy comedy that benefited from attention at its premiere at South by Southwest a couple weeks ago, where it had a strong initial response.

“Spring Breakers” had a top-end limited release for a week before widening to about the same theater count seen for “Beach Bum.” However, the new film sold a third as many tickets. That’s disappointing. But if there is positive news, it is that its second day dropped only 7%. And a higher level of awareness could encourage post-theatrical interest.

The best of the holdovers remains CBS Films’ “Five Feet Apart,” which held on tp fourth place with a drop of only 27%. It is nearing $36 million, and over $50 million now seems possible. It is exactly the kind of film CBS Films has meant to nurture, and its upcoming transition to non-theatrical efforts is a loss for theaters.

Also in the top 10 in its second weekend is “Hotel Mumbai.” The terror-attack recreation placed eighth in under 1,000 theaters with over $3.1 million, with a chance to find an even wider audience ahead.

The Top Ten

1. Dumbo (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 52; Est. budget: $170 million

$45,000,000 in 4,259 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $10,566; Cumulative: $45,000,000

2. Us (Universal) Week 2; Last weekend #1

$33,605,000 (-53%) in 3,743 theaters (+2); PTA: $8,978; Cumulative: $128,220,000

3. Captain Marvel (Disney) Week 4; Last weekend #2

$20,500,000 (-40%) in 3,985 theaters (-293); PTA: $5,144; Cumulative: $353,806,000

4. Unplanned (Pure Flix) NEW – Metacritic: XXXXXX; Est. budget: $6 million

$6,100,000 in 1,059 theaters; PTA: $5,770; Cumulative: $6,100,000

5. Five Feet Apart (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #4

$6,250,000 (-%) in 2,845 theaters (-21); PTA: $; Cumulative: $35,876,000

6. Wonder Park (Paramount) Week 3; Last weekend #3

$4,940,000 (-44%) in 3,304 theaters (-534); PTA: $1,495; Cumulative: $37,882,000

7. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #5

$4,232,000 (-35%) in 2,785 theaters (-562); PTA: $1,520; Cumulative: $152,966,000

8. Hotel Mumbai (Bleecker Street) Week 2; Last weekend #38

$3,163,000 (+3,492%) in 924 theaters (+920); PTA: $3,424; Cumulative: $3,279,000

9. A Madea Family Funeral (Lionsgate) Week 5; Last weekend #6

$2,700,000 (-39%) in 1,923 theaters (-264); PTA: $3,424; Cumulative: $70,039,000

10. The Beach Bum (Neon) NEW – Metacritic: 56; Est. budget: $5 million

$1,800,000 in 1,015 theaters; PTA: $1,100; Cumulative: $1,800,000

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Source: IndieWire film

March 31, 2019

Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer Near Deal on Netflix Superhero Film

Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer are about to kick some serious box office ass — not that we’ll ever know. Deadline reports that the dream duo are nearing a deal with Netflix on superhero comedy “Thunder Force,” from “Tammy” scribe and McCarthy’s husband, Ben Falcone. Falcone is set to write and direct. Details are still thin, but the story will center on the two women getting superpowers and is set for a fall launch.

Both McCarthy and Spencer are coming off Oscar successes. McCarthy nabbed her first Best Actress nomination for her work in Marielle Heller’s black comedy “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” and Spencer took home the statue as a producer on “Green Book” when the period comedy won Best Picture. With such wins fresh in the minds of executives, it’s a no-brainer to pair up these two beloved talents.

An actor himself, Falcone has written and directed three McCarthy vehicles; “Tammy” (2014), “The Boss” (2016), and “Life of the Party” (2018). McCarthy’s firm grip on audiences helped usher the broad comedies to success, though with diminishing returns. “Tammy” grossed $84 million for Warner Bros., “The Boss” made $63 million for Universal, and “Life of the Party” trailed behind with $53 million again at Warners. All three were critically panned.

Netflix offers an entirely different model from the studio system, which industry insiders have been watching nervously over the last few years. The streaming giant notoriously does not share its viewing numbers and offers big budgets with less creative oversight than a traditional studio.

Spencer has been outspoken about her fight for pay equity with white actresses, brokering a groundbreaking “favored nations” deal with Jessica Chastain on a still-untitled holiday comedy. Spencer has had success with Netflix, though not without pushback. She recently revealed that executive producer LeBron James had to step in and advocate for her during salary negotiations for her forthcoming Netflix series, “Madam C.J. Walker.”

Spencer will next appear in the Blumhouse-backed psychological horror “Ma,” which reunites her with “The Help” director Tate Taylor. Universal Pictures will release “Ma” in theaters nationwide May 31.

Source: IndieWire film

March 31, 2019

Box Office: ‘Diane’ Takes Alternative Route in Challenging Specialty Market

Specialty film distributors are playing around with different ways to maximize their films. This weekend, IFC chose to open the year’s best-reviewed opener so far, Kent Jones’ ensemble drama “Diane,” parallel to its Video on Demand release. This film boasts reviews and performances that would ordinarily sustain conventional exclusive theatrical play. “Diane” will still get top arthouse play, and might be a title, like “Roma,” that finds traction despite alternative showings.

Neon, on the other hand, met a disappointing response to taking Harmony Korine’s Matthew McConaughey-starrer “The Beach Bum” to over 1,000 theaters, riding a surge of SXSW media attention, as opposed to taking the limited initial release strategy that A24 used for Korine’s earlier SXSW hit “Spring Breakers,” which in 2013 opened to nearly $300,000 in only three theaters.

“Hotel Mumbai” (Bleecker Street), which showed strength as it expanded on its second weekend, joins “Gloria Bell” (A24) as a recent limited release that is finding some level of crossover interest, at least among older viewers.

Opening

Diane (IFC) – Metacritic: 86; Festivals include: Tribeca 2018, Locarno 2018; also on Video on Demand

$27,043 in 3 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $9,014

Opening limited in New York and Los Angeles, the debut narrative film from past New York Film Festival programmer and film scholar Kent Jones (“Hitchcock/Truffaut”) is a strong ensemble drama about the struggles of a woman immersed in others’ lives in a small Northeastern town. Dominated by Mary Kay Place’s acclaimed performance, the movie nabbed a Metascore that marks the best critical response for any American narrative film released so far in 2019.  Opening “Diane” day and date with more theatrical play ahead makes this a non-Netflix example of a dual platform release from the start. In that context, the initial grosses notch a respectable opening. But don’t expect Netflix-level Oscar support for Place when award season rolls around.

What comes next: As with other top IFC films that have a dual release, this will get a strong specialized theater push, which starts with moving to up to 30 key theaters this weekend.

the brink sundance

The Brink

The Brink (Magnolia) – Metacritic: 68; Festivals include: Sundance 2019

$18,730 in 4 theaters; PTA: $4,593

The first of two documentaries about provocateur Steve Bannon (the second from Errol Morris still seeks a distributor), this Sundance-premiered documentary opened in three cities (D.C. as well as New York and Los Angeles) to modest initial response.

What comes next: The expansion begins this Friday.

Slut in a Good Way (Comedy Dynamics) – Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: Tribeca 2018

$22,000 in 7 theaters; PTA: $3,143

The attention-grabbing title–the original French title is “Charlotte a du fun” (“Charlotte Has Fun”)– gives a sense of this black-and-white Canadian comedy. This low-level festival title with some positive reviews opened in multiple markets to enough response to give it, should it build good worth of mouth, a chance to grow. It’s the initial release for this distributor.

What comes next: Alamo Drafthouse has committed to supporting this, which will be a key part of its expansion.

“The Chaperone”

Masterpiece Studios

The Chaperone (PBS) – Metacritic: 42; Festivals include: Los Angeles 2018

$12,150 in 2 theaters; PTA: $6,075

PBS Films launched this retelling of a woman who accompanied rowdy screen icon Louise Brooks as she rose to stardom in theaters. The film, written by Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey”) and directed by one of that program’s helmers opened in two New York theaters. Less than favorable reviews impacted this muted result.

What comes next: New York expands, and Los Angeles opens this Friday before wider national specialized play.

Screwball (Greenwich) – Metacritic: 73; Festivals include: Toronto 2018

$12,020 in 13 theaters; PTA: $925

This baseball-centered story (about performance enhancement drugs) opened parallel to the start of the MLB season to minor results.

What comes next: VOD starts this Friday.

“Hotel Mumbai”

Week Two

Hotel Mumbai (Bleecker Street)

$3,164,000 in 924 theaters (+920); PTA: $3,425; Cumulative: $3,280,000

The quick second-weekend national expansion for this retelling of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack starring Dev Patel placed #8 overall even with a more limited break. The response is better than many recent expansions, with the gross about two thirds of “Green Book” in similar theaters on its second weekend, which had the benefit of holiday play. With not much depth among new releases at the moment, this film has a chance to grow.

Sunset (Sony Pictures Classics)

$14,769 in 10 theaters (+7); PTA: $1,477; Cumulative: $36,419

Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes’ first film since his Oscar winning “Son of Saul” is not getting much interest in its second weekend. While SPC will push this pre-World War I Budapest drama into further national play, it’s unlikely to earn lengthy runs.

“Gloria Bell”

A24

Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)

Gloria Bell (A24) Week 4

$1,100,000 in 1,127 theaters (+473); Cumulative: $4,177,000

Julianne Moore as a grandmother committed to enjoying herself in contemporary Los Angeles saw a further expansion. The PTA is under $1,000, which suggests limited interest. But the gross has passed $4 million, higher than most initially limited specialized releases this year, and will rise higher.

The Mustang (Focus) Week 3

$585,000 in 181 theaters (+143); Cumulative: $989,179

This Nevada prison story about a prisoner finding redemption via horse training is expanding slowly. Though it doesn’t look like a significant breakout title, the response is positive enough to expect an ongoing run and further growth.

Apollo 11 (Neon) Week 5

$402,990 in 354 theaters (-232); Cumulative: $7,654,000

This well-received documentary could end up around $10 million. That’s impressive for a film that covers a well-documented event that has been previously presented on screen.

“The Aftermath”

The Aftermath (Fox Searchlight) Week 3

$310,000 in 161 theaters (+135); Cumulative: $556,753

Keira Knightley as part of a family of British expats in post-war Germany had a expanded wider. It continues to have a modest run.

Green Book (Universal) Week 20; also on Video on Demand

$259,000 in 447 theaters (-394); Cumulative: $84,479,000

The Oscar winner will end up with a gross just over $85 million. For context, that will be less than “Us” did its first five days.

Fighting With My Family (MGM) Week 7

$(est.) 250,000 in 503 theaters (-400); Cumulative: $(est.) 22,510,000

Late in its run this British wrestling-world set biopic adds to its decent totals.

Transit (Music Box) Week 5

$71,128 in 62 theaters (-10); Cumulative: $508,989

Christian Petzold’s German romantic thriller is likely to be remembered at the end of the year. But without concurrent awards traction, it is falling short of top recent foreign language titles, despite its acclaim.

Woman at War (Magnolia) Week 5

$(est.) 70,000 in 51 theaters (+3); Cumulative: $(est.) 314,000

Another well-received subtitled film (this one from Iceland) continues to play in multiple cities nationally.

“Ash Is Purest White”

Ash Is Purest White (Cohen) Week 3

$56,642 in 47 theaters (+10); Cumulative: $221,814

Jia Zhang-ke’s acclaimed but limited-appeal Chinese drama expanded further as it gets a wider release than his previous films.

Also noted:

Never Look Away (Sony Pictures Classics) – $33,063 in 26 theaters; Cumulative: $1,135,000

Free Solo (Greenwich) – $19,200 in 30 theaters; Cumulative: $17,485,000

The Weekend Guest (IFC) – $17,571 in 45 theaters; Cumulative: $373,719

Climax (Neon) – $14,910 in 21 theaters; Cumulative: $794,861

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Source: IndieWire film

March 31, 2019

Zoe Saldana on James Gunn’s ‘Guardians’ Re-Hiring: ‘Redemption Is Important’

Zoe Saldana reacted positively to news Disney had re-instated James Gunn as director of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” after firing him for controversial past tweets. The actress has starred in the previous two films in the blockbuster Marvel offshoot and is attached to the third. Saldana plays Gamora, a righteous assassin trained by supervillain Thanos in the action-comedy franchise.

“I’m proud of him. I’m happy that he’s coming back,” Saldana said, speaking to ET about Gunn’s re-hiring. “I’m so proud of Disney, actually, that all the leaders right now behind that big corporation decided to lead by example, and spreading the word and the message of redemption is important.”

Disney and Marvel announced Gunn had been re-hired to write and direct “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3″ earlier this month.

In July 2018, a number of tweets dating back to 2009 in which Gunn joked about pedophilia, homophobia, rape, and September 11 resurfaced and Disney quickly severed ties with him. “As I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor,” he said in a statement at the time. “I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.”

The “Guardians” cast supported Gunn throughout, including Saldana, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and more, who expressed their support in an open letter asking that he be reinstated as director. Wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista went so far as to threaten to quit the franchise if Disney didn’t rehire Gunn.

Saldana showered more praise on the studio that employs her, expressing her love for Brie Larson’s successful outing in “Captain Marvel.” “I loved it so much. I’m so proud of her, I’m so proud of Marvel Studios,” she said. “I’m also so happy that the public received it and they really supported it, because that was the main part of this whole equation. We need to go and support these movies with female leads in order for our corporations to understand that there is business in investing in female narratives.”

Source: IndieWire film

March 31, 2019

Mark Hamill Is the New Voice of Chucky in ‘Child’s Play’ Remake

The force is indeed strong with this one. Orion Pictures announced today that Mark Hamill has been cast as the voice of Chucky in the forthcoming “Child’s Play” reboot. The legendary actor stars alongside Aubrey Plaza, Gabriel Bateman, and Brian Tyree Henry in a contemporary re-imagining of the 1988 horror classic that follows Karen (Plaza), a single mother who gifts her son Andy (Bateman) a Buddi doll, unaware of its more sinister nature.

“We feel incredibly lucky to have an icon creating a new take on an iconic character,” said executive producer David Katzenberg. “Mark is a gifted actor and celebrated vocal performer, and he’s approached this challenge with incredible energy and commitment.”

Norwegian filmmaker Lars Klevberg (“Polaroid”) will helm the adaptation, from a script by Tyler Burton Smith (“Quantum Break”).

The original “Child’s Play” grossed over $44 million worldwide on a $9 million budget and created one of the most recognizable and successful horror characters of all time with its psychotic killer doll, Chucky. It was so successful that it spawned a seven-movie franchise, in the days before every movie spawned a franchise, each from the sick mind of screenwriter Don Mancini. MGM is handling the remake, as it did with the original “Child’s Play.” The six intervening films are Universal properties.

Hamill is of course best known for playing Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars,” the most legendary franchise property of all time. Following the success of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, he struggled to find meaningful acting work until recently. Throughout the mid-1980s and ’90s, he mainly took on a string of TV roles and voiceover work. Perhaps his best known voice role is as The Joker in Warner Bros.’ “Batman: The Animated Series,” which ran for four years from 1992-1995 and was adapted into a critically hailed film version, “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.”

Apparently, once you’ve voiced one sadistic, lunatic, joke-cracking psychopath with a crazy face, you’ve voiced ’em all.

Source: IndieWire film

March 29, 2019

SXSW Alumni Film Releases – March and April 2019

Discover some of the SXSW Film Festival alumni films and shows on release this month, such as Body at Brighton Rock, Pet Sematary, and Wild Nights With Emily. Continue on for a complete list with trailers and more info.

Apollo 11   

Documentary Feature, 2019

Extraordinary, unseen and pristine archival footage make up this thrilling time capsule, as epic as any summer blockbuster.

Now in theaters

Amazing Grace   

Documentary Feature, 2019

Long unseen, Amazing Grace is a thrilling documentary account of Aretha Franklin‘s magnificent performance of gospel songs at LA’s New Temple Missionary Baptist Church.

In Theaters April 5

Body at Brighton Rock   

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, 2019

Roxanne Benjamin‘s directorial debut is a murderous tale of a part-time State Park employee forced to endure a night of fear and suspense, deep in the wilderness.

In Theaters April 26

The Beach Bum   

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, 2019

Harmony Korine assembles an insane cast including Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Martin Lawrence and, yes, Jimmy Buffett, for this instant stoner classic.

In Theaters March 29

Carmine Street Guitars   

Documentary Feature, 2019

A delightful portrait of an artisanal guitar shop in Greenwich Village, featuring visits from the likes of Jim Jarmusch, Eszter Balint and Marc Ribot.

In Theaters April 24

Chef Flynn   

Documentary Feature, 2018

A culinary prodigy gets the documentary treatment, from supper club to international phenomenon.

Now on DVD

The Curse of La Llorona   

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, 2019

A classic folk legend is brought to a weeping, horrific life in this terrifying horror film starring Linda Cardellini.

In Theaters April 19

The Dawn Wall   

World Premiere, Documentary Feature, 2019

Terrifying, gripping, and at once intimate and epic in scope, The Dawn Wall is utterly compelling and a testament to human endurance and — perhaps — folly.

Now Available

Fast Color   

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, 2018

Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars in Julia Hart‘s nuanced sci-fi portrait of a woman forced to flee when she discovers she possesses superhuman powers.

In Theaters April 19

A Field Guide to Evil   

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, 2018

Eight acclaimed international filmmakers conspire to create this compendium of folkloric grotesqueries and horrific shenanigans..

Now in theaters

Her Smell   

Narrative Feature, 2019

This atmospheric rock fable stars Elisabeth Moss, who delivers a tour de force performance as a charismatic rock star descending into chaos.

In Theaters April 5

The Highwaymen   

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, 2019

A tough, old school take on Bonnie and Clyde, from the perspective of the Texas Rangers on their trail, beautifully portrayed by Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson.

Available March 29

I Am Richard Pryor   

Documentary Feature, 2019

This long awaited portrait of a complex comedy legend is as nuanced and unpredictable as Pryor himself.

Available Now

The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley   

Documentary Feature, 2019

Alex Gibney’s latest is a gripping, forensic look at a medtech scandal with a truly memorable character at its heart.

Available Now

Love, Death and Robots   

World Premiere, Episodic, 2019

Tim Miller and David Fincher have teamed up to fling this monstrous compilation of twisted animated shorts at your screen.

Now Available

May it Last: A Portrait of The Avett Brothers   

World Premiere, Documentary Feature, 2019

Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio direct this intimate portrait of the beloved band, as they record their acclaimed album True Sadness.

Now Available on Blu-Ray/DVD

Pet Sematary   

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, 2019

A terrifying new version of Stephen King‘s seminal horror novel, starring Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz and John Lithgow, and approved by King himself for inducing sleepless nights everywhere.

In Theaters April 5

Ramy   

World Premiere, Episodics, 2019

Executive produced by Jerrod Carmichael, Ramy is a pointed, hilarious comedy offering a new perspective on Muslim life in 2019.

Available April 19

Shrill   

World Premiere, Episodic, 2019

Lindy West‘s bestselling book is adapted for TV and stars Aidy Bryant, in this painfully real comedy.

Now Available

Teen Spirit   

U.S. Premiere, Narrative Feature, 2019

A directorial debut from actor Max Minghella, starring Elle Fanning as an aspiring singer forced to choose between fame and family.

In Theaters April 5

Us   

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, 2019

The latest from Jordan Peele, starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Elisabeth Moss. Enough said….

Now in Theaters

What We Do in the Shadows

World Premiere, Episodic, 2019

Everyone’s favorite comedy vampires finally make the move to the small screen in this hilarious, inventive adaptation of Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi‘s brilliant film from 2014.

Broadcast March 27

Wild Nights With Emily   

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, 2018

Molly Shannon is a delight as poet Emily Dickinson in Madeleine Olnek‘s hilarious, unusual biography of one of English literature’s great untold stories.

In Theaters April 12

Dive into SXSW 2019 Photo Galleries from March 8-17 including sessions, screenings, showcases, and more. And as always, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News to stay current with all things SXSW.

The post SXSW Alumni Film Releases – March and April 2019 appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

March 28, 2019

Film Keynote PJ Raval at SXSW 2019 [Video]

“No one is ever going to ask me to make something as a director. No one is ever going to ask me to produce something as a filmmaker. I kind of have to ask myself to do that.”

Named one of Out Magazine’s “Out 100”, PJ Raval’s documentary film credits include Trinidad (Showtime, LOGO) and Before You Know It (PBS). His recent film Call Her Ganda is an intimate investigation into Jennifer Laude, a trans woman in the Philippines who was murdered by a US Marine. Theatrically released fall of 2018, Call Her Ganda is slated for US broadcast summer of 2019 and is currently nominated for a 2019 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. On Sunday, March 10, Raval delivered a Film Keynote during the 2019 SXSW Conference.

Raval is the son of immigrant parents from the Philippines. He spoke in great detail about his thoughts and feelings about being an outsider in more ways than one. From growing up in his community in a small town in California to the film industry itself. Raval remarks on how people that grew up in the eighties commonly reflect on watching and identifying with E.T. – but this was not his experience.

“I did not grow up thinking I was going to be a filmmaker. I didn’t have the intention to make films. In fact, thinking of a movie like E.T., filmmakers that I have spoken to really identified with the teenagers and the nostalgia for that kind of suburban neighborhood…if anything I identified more with E.T. as an alien.”

The second half of Raval’s Keynote dealt with his diverse breadth of work, particularly in the world of documentary film. He told the audience what lead him to the small town of Trinidad, Colorado. He met a new friend named Jay and they came to discover that the small town of Trinidad was unofficially coined the “sex change capitol of the world.” The pair did extensive research and decided to make a documentary film on this subject. The project gained a lot of momentum through labs, a lot of meetings were set up, but they soon hit a road block. Raval reflects on the “wakeup call” moment, “I remember having these meetings where people were saying: well, I don’t know if our audiences want to see something like this or I don’t know if our audiences will understand something like this.” Eventually, their feature screened at the LA Film Festival and found a home on Showtime.

Raval ended his Film Keynote with a question, “Why do you make films? I would love to think now, whatever I am creating is not just for me, but it’s for other people, too.”

To explore more about Raval’s storied career, watch his full 2019 Film Keynote and more videos on our YouTube channel.

Watch Now

Dive into SXSW 2019 Photo Galleries from March 8-17 including sessions, screenings, showcases, and more. And as always, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News to stay current with all things SXSW.

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Film Keynote: PJ Raval – Photo by Dave Pedley

The post Film Keynote PJ Raval at SXSW 2019 [Video] appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

March 28, 2019

Spotify, Gimlet Media & Anchor Discuss the Future of Podcasting at SXSW 2019 [Video]

“If you come into our offices, what you’ll be walking into is a building full of storytellers.” – Matt Lieber

Cheddar Senior Reporter Alex Heath sat down with Spotify Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff, Gimlet Media Managing Director & Co-Founder Matt Lieber, and Anchor Co-founder/CEO Michael Mignano for a SXSW Keynote Conversation to discuss the future of the rapidly developing podcasting industry.

The recent acquisition of Lieber’s Gimlet and Mignano’s Anchor by Spotify, which signaled a big push from the digital media platform into the podcasting industry, served as the starting point for the conversation. While Gimlet and Anchor function within the podcasting ecosystem in different ways – with Gimlet being a premiere production house for premium podcasting content and Anchor being an app that streamlines the logistical side of podcast production for users to lower the barrier of entry – they both have been highly successful and have driven increased interest in developing the booming storytelling medium.

Much of the conversation centers on how these companies will function under the ownership of Spotify, as Heath keenly acknowledges concerns from the podcasting community through his questioning. Ostroff is reassuring that Spotify does not intend to “rock the boat” with businesses that have already proven themselves to be very successful, but is intent on leveraging the newly conglomerated businesses to grow both the audience and the range of content offered across all platforms.

“Podcasting is not one thing, in the same way that radio and video are not one thing.” – Matt Lieber

Watch the full Convergence Keynote, The Second Golden Age of Audio: Podcasting, to hear about how the podcasting industry has developed in recent years, and to learn about future plans from some of the main players in the industry as they discuss their perspectives and opportunities to collaborate.

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Dive into our SXSW Photo Galleries to see what the event is all about including sessions, screenings, showcases, and more. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News to keep up with all things SXSW.

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Convergence Keynote: The Second Golden Age of Audio: Podcasting – Photo by Miguel Esparza

The post Spotify, Gimlet Media & Anchor Discuss the Future of Podcasting at SXSW 2019 [Video] appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

March 27, 2019

Sink Your Teeth into the Red Carpet and Q&A of What We Do in the Shadows Premiere at SXSW 2019 [Video]

The source material is so great and I remember having seen the movie in theaters and being such a big fan of Taika [Waititi] and Jemaine [Clement]. It’s a dream job, actually.” – Stefani Robinson, Writer

Based on the wildly popular film of the same name, What We Do in the Shadows is set in Staten Island and follows four vampires who have been roommates for hundreds and hundreds of years. Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement serve as the directors and executive producers of the series that made its debut at SXSW 2019 in the Episodic Premieres screening section. The series stars Matt Berry, Kayvan Novak, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén, Mark Proksch, and Beanie Feldstein.

The show features a lot of changes, in addition to a new setting. When bringing up some of the challenges of making the series, moderator Ben Travers (TV Critic, IndieWIRE) asked about some of the aspects the crew was excited about.

“I had a little trepidation about doing this without the original cast of the movie but once we started talking about who we wanted on the show and watching auditions and found the cast that we have, it’s very exciting and funny.” – Paul Simms, Producer

Watch coverage from the red carpet and Q&A at SXSW 2019 and don’t forget to catch What We Do in the Shadows on FX Network at 9pm CST/10pm EST on March 27! Check out more videos from SXSW 2019 on our YouTube channel.

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Dive into SXSW 2019 Photo Galleries from March 8-17 including sessions, screenings, showcases, and more. And as always, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News to stay current with all things SXSW.

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World Premiere of What We Do in the Shadows – Photo by Travis P Ball

The post Sink Your Teeth into the Red Carpet and Q&A of What We Do in the Shadows Premiere at SXSW 2019 [Video] appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

March 27, 2019

Trevor Noah and The Daily Show News Team on Changing Media at SXSW 2019 [Video]

CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper sat down with The Daily Show host Trevor Noah and correspondents Ronny Chieng, Michael Kosta, Desi Lydic, Dulcé Sloan, Roy Wood Jr., and Jaboukie Young-White to panel harder than anyone has ever paneled before at SXSW 2019.

In today’s erratic and rapid media cycle, the comedy landscape is continually altered, particularly for late-night. Coined the “5:30pm curse,” Noah delves into the challenges their show faces with late-breaking news. He explains how they embrace the challenge rather than run away from it: “We create the show for the day and know full well there’s a good chance at 5pm we’ll have to throw out most of the show and then create something that speaks to what’s happening on that day…I think we’ve acclimatized to the chaos.”

Each of the correspondents take a deeper dive into their favorite and most meaningful field pieces including the process of turning difficult issues into segments. Even as the self-proclaimed “World’s Fakest News Team,” this group shows how to masterfully “weave in irrefutable points and push the line between comedy and the heavy truths,” as Noah puts it.

“To go in and do jokes on an issue without disrespecting the issue or the people involved…that’s a very difficult needle to thread and to be able to do that is amazing.” – Roy Wood Jr.

Beyond the The Daily Show, the team looks at how the Emmy Award-winning series Between the Scenes breaks the pace of the regular show and lends a fresh perspective to the larger conversation that happens with their audience. Plus, they talk about the SXSW debut of The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library by Comedy Central, which showcased curated tweets displayed in an installation that led participants through a museum-like experience with interactivity and humor. This event won a 2019 SXSW Creative Experience “Arrow” Award for the Spirit of SXSW.

“It’s affected versus offended…a lot of the time it’s easy to get caught up in the things that offend people but not the things that affect people.” – Trevor Noah

Watch the entire Featured Session, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, for an inside look at how they tackle politics, race, social issues, and what their journey looks like as they head into the 2020 U.S. election.

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Dive into our SXSW Photo Galleries to see what the event is all about including sessions, screenings, showcases, and more. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News to keep up with all things SXSW.

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Featured Session: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Jake Tapper, Trevor Noah, and Desi Lydic – Photo by Travis P Ball/Getty Images for SXSW

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Source: SxSW Film