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September 19, 2018

SNAP Matters: Stories Recorded with Support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

In summer 2018, StoryCorps recorded 49 conversations as part of a project focused on changing the the narrative about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the program formerly known as food stamps. We recorded conversations between close to 100 participants, most of whom were SNAP beneficiaries, in partnership with 15 community-based organizations in Alabama, Texas, Michigan, and Kansas. Made possible with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the project also aimed to emphasize the critical support SNAP provides for children and families across the country.

In Alabama, Texas, Michigan, and Kansas, StoryCorps’ participants talked about what compelled them to apply for SNAP and how the program has improved their lives. In the stories we share below, you’ll hear from participants who received SNAP benefits when they lost a job, required emergency surgery, or needed to purchase expensive, allergy-friendly food. SNAP enabled these folks to cover gaps in income and buy affordable, nutritious food at local markets, grocery stores, and farmers’ markets.

Individuals with whom we recorded asserted that SNAP had inspired them to become food justice activists. SNAP beneficiaries described going on to earn multiple degrees and passing forward the benefit as mentors in their own communities. Farmers who accept SNAP spoke about finding fulfillment in serving communities in health crises and food deserts, areas in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. SNAP allies described changing their minds about the value of the program when they connected with customers who lived plate to plate.

Below, you’ll also hear from participants who shared stories of confrontations — at the grocery store and at the Health department — in which members of their own communities questioned their motives in accessing these benefits. These folks’ experiences demonstrate that negative stereotypes long associated with food stamps persist with SNAP. Participants described the difficulty of accepting what is still perceived as a handout rather than a “hand-up.”

You can listen to some of the stories we recorded below, and learn more here at the home of the project, the State of Obesity.

Jeremy Huffman and Adam Ingrao


“It’s not just about access to food; it’s about access to hope.”

Fellow veterans and friends talk about transitioning from the military to their roles as farmers and healthy food advocates supporting families who participate in SNAP.


Emily and Tim Brown


“One thing I feel I’ve learned in life over the long run is that you never know what a day may bring.”

Husband and wife Tim and Emily Brown recall how SNAP helped their family get through a difficult time after Tim lost his job.


Jennifer Wells-Marshall and Helen Jones


“I worked every single day of the week, but it wasn’t enough.”

Dr. Jennifer Wells-Marshall tells her friend and colleague, Helen Jones, about when she received SNAP benefits for a period of time when her daughter was young before going on to get her Ph.D.


Max Gage and Catherine Gage


“It’s been huge to actually see firsthand what food does to us and our health, to see how it can turn your life around.”

Catherine and her 16-year-old son Max talk about the importance of having access to food and how SNAP helps their family get the nutrition they need.


Kolia Souza and Brian Johnson


“Having those benefits was my way out and my way to make a better life for myself and my daughters.”

Kolia Souza reflects on how SNAP enabled her to get back on her feet after leaving an abusive relationship.


Andrika Harmon and Kristi Gay


“I had to turn around to her and explain, look, this is what is going on in my life.”

Andrika Harmon talks with Kristi Gay, her nurse home visitor, about how SNAP helps her buy healthy food to support her young family while she is working and finishing college.

Source: SNPR Story Corps

September 16, 2018

‘Museo’ Leads Crowded Field of Specialty Box Office Openers as ‘The Wife’ Continues to Soar

Museo” (Vitagraph) led a slew of new specialized releases this week. The Mexican heist film starring Gael Garcia Bernal topped all other fresh titles. The fall season is already taking off with an astonishing 40 films opening theatrically this weekend, including at least six Sundance 2018 titles, two of which just played the Toronto International Film Festival.

And to confuse audiences even more, even more movies were available on home-viewing platforms as well as theaters, from the Nicolas Cage cult film “Mandy” to three films directed by established female directors. Netflix opened Nicole Holofcener’s suburban drama “The Land of Steady Habits” and Ricki Sundberg and Anne Sundberg’s timely documentary “Reversing Roe” on Friday after their TIFF premieres; and Amma Asante  followed two Fox Searchlight releases (“Belle,” “A United Kingdom”) with controversial Nazi Germany romance thriller “Where Hands Touch” (Vertical), which played in over 100 theaters with an estimated gross of under $70,000 while also streaming.

Dwarfing any release in recent weeks is “The Wife” (Sony Pictures Classics). The Glenn Close-starring film is doing very well with its targeted adult audience. The strategy of getting out ahead of this year’s festival hits is working very well, aided by strong word of mouth.

Kristen Stewart and Chloë Sevigny appear in <i>Lizzie</i> by Craig William Macneill, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

Kristen Stewart and Chloë Sevigny in “Lizzie

Courtesy of Sundance Institute


Museo (Vitagraph) – Metacritic: 87; Festivals include: Berlin, Toronto 2018

$17,500 in 1 theater; PTA (per theater allowance): $17,500

Gael Garcia Bernal heads the cast of this Mexico City museum heist thriller, which scored rave reviews to boost its initial exclusive opening at New York’s Angelika Theater, marking a considerably above average gross for a specialized subtitled film. This is a YouTube Original film with a simultanenous theatrical release.

What comes next: South Florida, Washington, and Los Angeles open over the next two weeks.

Lizzie (Roadside Attractions) – Metacritic: 61; Festivals include: Sundance 2018

$49,895 in 4 theaters; PTA: $12,473

Developed by Chloe Sevigne as a starring vehicle for herself, this indie also lured Kristen Stewart in a gender fluid co-starring role in this retelling of the Lizzie Borden legend. The low-budget movie found some interest in four initial New York/Los Angeles theaters with mixed reviews.

What comes next: This has a quick national expansion to around 250 theaters this Friday.

"Science Fair" documentary Nat Geo

“Science Fair”

Nat Geo/Screenshot

Science Fair (National Geographic) – Metacritic: 71; Festivals include: Sundance, South by Southwest 2018

$12,250 in 1 theater; PTA: $12,250

This Sundance documentary about students from around the world showing their discoveries won the Audience Award. It debuted exclusively in Manhattan with a decent initial result.

What comes next: Los Angeles opens this Friday ahead of further nationwide dates ahead.

The Dawn Wall (The Orchard) – Metacritic: 81; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2018

$21,658 in 2 theaters; PTA: $10,829

In advance of its one night Fathom Event showing on Tuesday, this documentary about an attempt to scale a 3,000 foot sheer wall at Yosemite opened in New York and Los Angeles for reviews and awards qualification. As often happens, the rock climbing audience responded initially with decent results for these week-long dates.

What comes next: The Tuesday shows are the main event.



Mandy (RLJ) – Metacritic: 81; Festivals include: Sundance, Cannes 2018; also available on home platforms

$(est.) 175,000 in 89 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 1,966

Parallel to its home venue release, this critically hailed revenge thriller features perhaps the ultimate Nicolas Cage over-the-top performance. Considering its limited release and streaming availability, these numbers are not bad.

What comes next: Mostly home viewing.

"Bel Canto"

“Bel Canto”

Screen Media

Bel Canto (Screen Media) – Metacritic: 52

$14,036 in 2 theaters; PTA: $7,018

Given star Julianne Moore and name-brand director Paul Weisz (“About a Boy,” “Little Fockers”) this adaptation of Ann Patchett’s bestseller would seem to be a higher profile movie, but met negative reviews. Recreating a South American embassy hostage crisis (Moore plays a singer hired for a private concert), this eschewed festival showings and opened at two New York and Los Angeles theaters. Its distributor usually handles day and date video on demand releases, which suggests this is headed for a limited theatrical life.

What comes next: ITunes lists this as available next Friday.

Hale County, This Morning, This Evening (Cinema Guild) – Metacritic: 81; Festivals include: Sundance, New Directors/New Films 2018

$9,914 in 2 theaters; PTA: $4,457

This documentary, shot in the same part of black Alabama covered by Walker Evans’ photos and James Agee’s later writing, opened in two New York theaters to strong reviews and some modest initial interest.

What comes next: Los Angeles opens this Friday.

"The Children Act"

“The Children Act”

courtesy of TiFF

The Children Act (A24) – Metacritic: 62; Festivals include: Toronto 2017, Seattle 2018; also available on Video on Demand

$20,362 in 3 theaters; PTA: $6,787

A year after its Toronto premiere, this British drama comes with significant pedigree. Based on an Ian McEwan novel and directed by Richard Eyre (“Notes on a Scandal”), the story centers on Emma Thompson as a complacent English judge who is surprised by complications in her marriage to Stanley Tucci. This opened in four U.S. theaters plus additional screens in Canada (estimated $80,000). The U.S. gross comes parallel to domestic Video on Demand availability.

What comes next: This could have some niche theatrical interest ahead, but home viewing will be its main venue.

The Public Image Is Rotten (Abramorama) – Metacritic: 66; Festivals include: Tribeca 2017

$8,485 in 1 theater; PTA: $8,485

John Lydon (better know from his Sex Pistols name John Rotten) has had a major presence after his best known band. This documentary about him opened to decent initial results in New York.

What comes next:  This will open in big cities, including some calendar and similar event dates this week.

American Chaos (Sony Pictures Classics) – Metacritic: 53; Festivals include: Montclair 2018

$7,963 in 26 theaters; PTA: $306

A documentary filmed in the states won by Donald Trump in the weeks leading up to the election opened nationally to an average of only around ten customers per theater.

What comes next: Not likely to go much further.

Week Two

Kusama – Infinity (Magnolia)   2-49

$(est.) 45,000 in 10 theaters (+8); PTA: $(est.) 4,500; Cumulative: $(est.) 94,000

The second-week expansion for this documentary on a legendary Japanese artist showed continued interest in her work after its strong initial week.

“Bisbee ’17”

Bisbee ’17 (Fourth Row)

$25,150 in 8 theaters (+7); PTA: $3,144; Cumulative: $35,718

This documentary about labor strife a century ago in Arizona mining country added theaters across that state this week after its New York opening to respectable results for this unusual early release. Other top cities start opening this week.

Hal (Oscilloscope)   1-8

$12,150 in 1 (no change) theater; PTA: $12,150; Cumulative: $20,369

A Los Angeles exclusive at Landmark’s Nuart had a strong result after its one week initial Manhattan date. Director Hal Ashby’s legacy clearly resonates among cinephiles. This will expand to other top markets in upcoming weeks.

Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)

The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5

$1,228,000 in 541 theaters (+388); Cumulative: $3,536,000

This marital drama starring Oscar contender Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce as her Nobel Prize-winner husband continues its expansion. So far the movie is pulling ahead of nearly all of SPC’s recent films. This looks to have significant further business ahead.

Ethan Hawke, Rose Byrne, and Chris O'Dowd appear in <i>Juliet, Naked</i> by Jesse Peretz, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Alex Bailey. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

“Juliet, Naked”

Courtesy of Sundance Institute, photo by Alex Bailey.

Juliet, Naked (Roadside Attractions) Week 5

$288,483 in 265 theaters (-202); Cumulative: $3,020,000

This adaptation of Nick Hornsby’s music world romantic triangle is winding down after a wide national break that achieved modest results.

The Bookshop (Greenwich) Week 4

$185,361 in 131 theaters (+7); Cumulative: $1,121,000

Isabel Coixet’s English seacoast-set period piece, the fifth release from new distributor Greenwich Entertainment, has become their first to pass the $1 million mark.

Three Identical Strangers (Neon) Week 12

$106,886 in 95 theaters (-37); Cumulative: $12,090,000

There’s continued interest for this breakout documentary about separated triplets nearly three months after its release.

Eighth Grade (A24) Week 10

$88,000 in 101 theaters (-75); Cumulative: $13,428,000

Late in its run, Bo Burnham’s acclaimed middle school drama is still finding additional viewers.

“Pick of the Litter”

Pick of the Litter (IFC) Week 3; also available on Video on Demand

$85,473 in 33 theaters (+23); Cumulative: $172,823

The training of service dogs is clearly an appealing topic. This documentary, while also on home viewing platforms, is doing decent business as it expands in theaters.

Blaze (IFC) Week 5

$73,381 in 34 theaters (-2); Cumulative: $349,508

Ethan Hawke’s biopic of a cult Austin-based performer added Los Angeles to its circuitous release pattern (initially mostly in Texas) with continued positive reviews.

Also noted:

Puzzle (Sony Pictures Classics)  – $39,205 in 60 theaters; Cumulative: $1,889,000

Leave No Trace (Bleecker Street)  – $34,467 in 76 theaters; Cumulative: $6,046,000

We the Animals (The Orchard)  – $28,805 in 48 theaters; Cumulative: $339,012

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (FilmRise) – $16,750 in 20 theaters; Cumulative: $881,849

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Source: IndieWire film

September 16, 2018

TIFF 2018 Awards: ‘Green Book’ Wins the People’s Choice Award, Upsetting ‘A Star Is Born’

Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” has triumphed at TIFF, winning the coveted Grolsch People’s Choice Award over films like “A Star Is Born” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Often considered an Oscar bellwether — “La La Land,” “The King’s Speech,” and “12 Years a Slave” are all previous honorees — the prize helps awards season take shape a week after Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” took home the Golden Lion from Venice.

Last year’s prize went to “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which won Best Actress (Frances McDormand) and Best Supporting Actor (Sam Rockwell) and was nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

It wasn’t the only People’s Choice Award, as Vasan Bala’s “The Man Who Feels No Pain” won in the Midnight Madness category and “Free Solo,” directed by E. Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin, took home the Documentary prize. Other honorees include Wi Ding Ho’s “City of Last Things,” which was awarded the Platform Prize; Prize for the Discovery Programme winner “Float Like a Butterfly,” directed by Carmel Winters; and Sébastien Pilote’s “The Fireflies Are Gone,” which was named Best Canadian Feature Film.

This year’s edition of the festival ran from September 6–16 and included more than 300 features and shorts. Among the other high-profile selections were Venice premieres “Roma,” “First Man,” and “Vox Lux,” as well as Telluride debuts “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and “The Old Man and the Gun.”

Source: IndieWire film

September 16, 2018

The 12 Best Movies of the Fall Festivals, From ‘Roma’ to ‘High Life’

The fall movie season is far from over, but its first chapter has come to a dramatic conclusion. The Telluride, Venice, and Toronto film festivals unleashed dozens of highly anticipated new movies into the conversation, and many of them did not disappoint. There are still a few high-profile titles around the corner, from “Bohemian Rhapsody” to the still-untitled Dick Cheney movie starring Christian Bale — but with no major world premieres at the New York Film Festival, the premieres of the past month have provided us with the bulk of 2018 fall movies worthy of discussion. Here are the highlights from those festivals.

“At Eternity’s Gate”

At Eternity's Gate Willem Dafoe Julian Schnabel

Julian Schnabel’s radical, you-are-there approach to his Vincent van Gogh biopic, though sure to alienate some, is in keeping with its subject. “Maybe God made me a painter for people who aren’t here yet,” the penniless artist played by an inspired Willem Dafoe says during one of several stints in a sanitarium; Schnabel seems intent on honoring Van Gogh by eschewing convention even if it means his film is similarly misunderstood. He’s hardly the first to make a movie about the one-eared painter, but none of his predecessors were this daring. The “Diving Bell and the Butterfly” director fuses form and content in a way that’s rarely attempted and even more rarely achieved; in risking the same derision with which Van Gogh was sometimes met, he transcends the limitations of the conventional biopic and creates something that feels genuinely new. —MN

“The Favourite”

"The Favourite"

“The Favourite”

Fox Searchlight

A cross between a court jester and a mad king, Yorgos Lanthimos has been on his way toward reigning over world cinema since “Dogtooth” introduced new meaning to words like “sea” and “excursion.” Apropos of its subject, “The Favourite” feels like a crowning achievement: a royal period piece led by the majestic triumvirate of Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz. Unlike the three women’s self-interested schemes, this 18th century drama isn’t a zero-sum game. Its palace intrigue is at once seductive and repellant, and there’s a kind of catharsis in seeing it reach its natural conclusion; as is often the case with Lanthimos, there’s a deep well of sadness beneath the humorous surface. —MN

“Green Book”

L to R: Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali in GREEN BOOK

“Green Book”

Universal Pictures

This crowdpleaser (November 21) was the surprise TIFF hit, bringing multiple theaters to their feet. Comedy director Peter Farrelly (“Something About Mary”) jumped on the true story of erudite jazz musician Don Shirley and the beefy New Yawk bouncer who drove and protected him on a 60s concert tour of the Deep South and co-wrote a terrific screenplay brought to vivid life by two great actors with chemistry, Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen. It’s like jazz. This funny and serious charmer about two very different men learning to appreciate each other is hard to capture in a trailer, so Universal plans to screen the hell out of it. —AT

“The Hate U Give”

Amanda Stenberg in “The Hate U Give”

In George Tillman, Jr.’s “The Hate U Give,” adapted by Audrey Wells from Angie Thomas’ National Book Award winner of the same name, star Amandla Stenberg easily embodies both sides of her complex and engaging character, continuing to prove why she is one of the most exciting young actresses working today. Part coming-of-age story, part ripped-from-the-headlines drama, the story was initially inspired by the police shooting death of Oscar Grant. Tillman and Wells ably weave together a story with massive commercial appeal that also carries a timely message. Stenberg’s Starr is consumed by her seemingly disparate existences as a whipsmart teen in a mostly white high school and as a longtime resident of a fraught community. Those identities collide after a horrific tragedy. As Starr cycles through a “normal” teenage experience, from prepping for prom to fighting with her boyfriend, she must also grapple with emotional trauma and her growing awareness of the movements taking shape outside her door, getting hip to #BlackLivesMatter just as her own classmates are using the same revolution as a way to act hip. For all of its weighty subject matter, “The Hate U Give” is consistently entertaining and unabashedly designed for a wide audience. —KE

“Her Smell”

"Her Smell"

“Her Smell”


Alex Ross Perry’s work has always had the courage to be profoundly unpleasant, but none of his previous stuff can prepare you for the incredible sourness of “Her Smell,” which is one of the most noxious movies ever made before it hits bottom and tunnels out through the other side. Not coincidentally, it’s also Perry’s best.

Imagine if Danny Boyle’s “Steve Jobs” was about Courtney Love in the mid-’90s, and you’ll have a pretty good sense of how this raw punk epic has been structured. Chronicling the reckless fall and tentative rise of punk rocker Becky Something — lead singer of the band Something She — “Her Smell” is told across five long scenes that stretch over 10 years, each of the vignettes unfolding in real time, and most of them set in the snaking bowels of a concert venue’s backstage area. Anchored by a bravely loathsome and unhinged Elisabeth Moss in the lead role, Perry’s film boasts one of the year’s very best supporting casts (including Eric Stoltz, Agyness Deyn, and Amber Heard), and it puts them all to great use in the service of a difficult but extremely rewarding story about the strength we get from the people in our lives. —DE

High Life

“High Life”

In many respects, the mesmerizing “High Life” is a first for writer-director Claire Denis: the first of her films to be shot in English, the first of her films to be set in space, and the first of her films to follow Juliette Binoche inside a metal chamber that’s referred to as “The Fuckbox,” where the world’s finest actress — playing a mad scientist aboard an intergalactic prison ship on a one-way trip to Earth’s nearest black hole — straddles a giant dildo chair and violently masturbates. Needless to say, “High Life” isn’t your average science-fiction movie. Co-starring Robert Pattinson as a death row inmate who’s sentenced to a lifetime of space exploration, this perseverant meditation on the end of human existence is a hypnotic voyage straight into the heart of the void, as Denis goes to the ends of the known universe to reaffirm that she’s one of the most exciting filmmakers on the planet. —DE

“If Beale Street Could Talk”

"If Beale Street Could Talk"

“If Beale Street Could Talk”


James Baldwin’s 1974 novel “If Beale Street Could Talk” depicts the experiences of a pregnant black teen in Harlem with a cinematic quality that practically reads like a screenplay. It’s no wonder that writer-director Barry Jenkins takes his cues from the source, transforming Baldwin’s evocative vision of young lovers grappling with race and class into a masterful poetic romance as Baldwin envisioned it. Yet Jenkins’ follow-up to “Moonlight” also maintains his own profound, expressionistic aesthetic, with its lush colors and entrancing faces that speak volumes in few words, resulting in a fascinating hybrid experience — a seminal voice of the past merging with one of the present in a mesmerizing burst of creative passion. —EK





Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” (December 14, Netflix) is the movie movie the Academy is most afraid of: an art film so extraordinary that it could vie for both the Best Foreign Language and Best Picture Oscar. More than one director who saw the film at fall festivals recognized the high-dive difficulty of Cuarón elaborately detailed long-shot sequences that pull the viewer into an immersive experience enhanced by rich, dense atmospheric sound. Participant’s David Linde helped him finance his most ambitious, personal, and autobiographical film, an upstairs/downstairs family drama which he shot himself in black-and-white with the Arri Alexa 65 camera and layered Dolby Atmos sound in the Mexico City neighborhood where he was raised. The “Gravity” Best Director Oscar-winner deploys all the tricks of digital technology to tell a deeply personal 1971 story from the point of view of his household nanny, Cleo (pre-school teacher Yalitza Aparicio). Over a series of stunning set pieces, we follow Cleo and the extended family through everyday challenges like the parents’ breakup and Cleo’s sexy romance with a man who first abandons her and then turns up unexpectedly during a violent student uprising. Before he returns to big-scale filmmaking, Cuarón joins his Best-Picture winner amigos Alejandro Gonzales Iñárritu (“Birdman”) and Guillermo del Toro (“The Shape of Water”) in showing us how to merge the personal and the political with art.

“A Star Is Born”

Lady Gaga, "A Star Is Born"

Lady Gaga in “A Star Is Born”

Warner Bros./YouTube

Believe the hype. Bradley Cooper’s long-gestating take on a Hollywood premise so classic that it’s already spawned three previous films is fresh, smart, and surprisingly emotional. It’s difficult to pinpoint its very best part, from Cooper managing to craft a screenplay and a performance that makes his male lead (in this one, country rocker Jackson Maine) to Lady Gaga utterly transforming into a believably worn-down wannabe singer-turned-major star to the songs (oh, the songs!) to Sam Elliott breaking hearts with just a glance, and that’s only the showiest stuff in a film that’s also gently wise to the demands of fame, the price of addiction, and what it means to give your very best to a world perhaps not good enough to deserve it. At its heart, it’s a big, bruising love story that seems destined to blow up the box office, but there’s deeper, darker stuff here worth the price of admission. —KE




Mátyás Erdély / Laookon Filmgroup

Béla Tarr may have retired, but Hungarian cinema has found a worthy standard-bearer in László Nemes. “Sunset” confirms the Oscar-winning “Son of Saul” director as a major talent, one whose sophomore feature is both astonishingly beautiful and profoundly sorrowful: It unfolds like a cross between a memory of pre-war Budapest and a dream, the kind so vivid you’ll swear it was real as you hang on to every half-remembered detail. Nemes displays flashes of his mentor’s formal mastery even as he emerges as a unique cinematic voice in his own right, one that may only grow louder and more prominent in the years to come. There’s sadness and beauty in every frame, as though the writer/director is nostalgic for this era despite not being born until many decades after the sun had indeed set on the Austro-Hungarian Empire. —MN

“Vox Lux”

"Vox Lux"

“Vox Lux”

Venice Film Festival

As the coarse, moody pop singer Celeste, Natalie Portman deliver a stormy interpretation of an icon saddled with a culture that projects its sentiments onto her. Beginning with a traumatic high-school shooting and culminating in a performance that feels like a very different sensory assault, “Vox Lux” is a jarring deconstruction of the industry that “A Star is Born” explores in more familiar terms. brings a near-cartoonish intensity to her monstrous singer that elevates the movie to surreal heights. Writer-director Brady Corbet’s fascinating narrative unfolds across two time periods: In the first, set in the years leading up to 9/11, the teenage Celeste (breakout Raffey Cassidy, terrifically subdued) survives a near-death experience that leaves many of her classmates dead; when she sings a gentle ballad at a memorial service, it goes viral, instantly propelling her to national attention. Years later, she’s transformed into Portman’s angry caricature — a seething monstrosity whose entire existence embodies the national mood. Her climactic performance is a spectacular explosion of narcissism and rage that’s unique to modern times. —EK




A visual artist whose movies have dealt with starvation, sex addiction, and slavery, Steve McQueen has never been considered a safe commercial bet. That just makes “Widows,” his bracing, moody heist thriller about women who finish the robbery their husbands started, all the more satisfying: McQueen has made a first-rate genre exercise — led by a defiant Viola Davis in one of her very best roles — that doubles as a treatise on race and gender, juggling dramatic payoff with heavier themes. “Widows” embraces its trashy, melodramatic twists while deepening their potential. If all escapism looked like this, America would get smart again. —EK

Source: IndieWire film

September 15, 2018

Nicolas Cage Calls Ethan Hawke’s ‘First Reformed’ Performance ‘Extraordinary,’ Making This the Bromance of Our Dreams

Ethan Hawke recently won a Lifetime Achievement award at the Locarno Film Festival, but his fans aren’t confined to Switzerland. One of them is Nicolas Cage, who responded to praise from Hawke with kind words of his own: “Ethan is someone I have admired for a very long time, not only because he’s the compelling thespian that he is but also because he’s a multiple published novelist and a great filmmaker in his own right,” Cage tells Rolling Stone in a new interview. “For him to say that, I’m very touched.”

Cage continues, “especially at a time when actors can be very negative about each other in the press. That usually comes from insecurity. But because Ethan is a confident man and he has nothing to compete with, he’s someone I think we all look up to. He was very graceful about that, and I’m deeply moved by it.”

The Oscar winner then turns his attention to Hawke’s rightly acclaimed performance in “First Reformed.” “And, by the way, ‘First Reformed,’ well, it certainly has my vote for both Best Actor and Best Director. I thought what Paul [Schrader] and Ethan got up to in that movie was a collision of topical, relevant events in terms of the environment, fractured spirituality, and a tragic character that was very compelling to watch.”

“I’ve always been a fan, I’ve always thought he was extraordinary, but I’ve never seen Ethan go there in that way, and it was shocking and very powerful,” he adds. “I think they’re gonna have a great year.” One can only hope.

Source: IndieWire film

September 15, 2018

Anna Kendrick Tells Stephen Colbert About the Time She Called Obama an ‘A—hole’ to His Face — Watch

Anna Kendrick counts herself among President Barack Obama’s many fans, but that didn’t stop her from calling him an asshole the first time they met. The “Up in the Air” and “Pitch Perfect” star recalled the incident during an appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” explaining how it began innocently enough: “I got an email saying, ‘Hey, do you want to meet the president?’” Kendrick said. “Naturally, I said, ‘Of what?’ and they were like, ‘The country, you idiot.’”

During the group meeting, Obama used a discussion of the economy as a segue to bring up “Up in the Air.” Later, when they met one-on-one, he told her, “I hope I didn’t embarrass you earlier.” Her response: “Yeah, you’re such an asshole.” Kendrick was clearly mortified, but appears to have recovered gracefully.

“Thinking about my conversation with the Secret Service agent, I said, ‘Yes, and actually I was the first person here,’” she went on to explain, referring to an earlier moment when she met a fellow Mainer. “And I start to talk about his Secret Service agent and he goes, ‘Are people from Maine really punctual?’ And I was like, ‘You didn’t know that? You’re the president.’” Watch the full exchange below, with the relevant portion beginning at 2:48:

Instagram Photo

Source: IndieWire film

September 14, 2018

Register Now for SXSW 2019 & Save: Early Deadline Extended Through September 17

Photo by Judy Won

This week marks the reveal of the first round of 2019 Keynotes and Featured Speakers. Register today to gain access to our exciting lineup of programming and great hotel options at the lowest rates of the season! Take advantage of the early registration deadline extension through Monday, September 17 at 11:59pm PT and save.

Join us for the 2019 SXSW Conference & Festivals from March 8-17 for an event packed full of showcases, screenings, conference sessions, exhibitions, tacos (so many tacos), workshops, networking events, mentor sessions, and so much more.

Read on for more information on programming, badge access, booking your hotel, and other participation opportunities.

Programming Overview

SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. As an essential destination for global professionals, SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.

SXSW Conference (March 8-16)
The conference program provides an opportunity for global professionals at every level to participate, network, and advance their careers. With one unified conference that spans 25 tracks of programming, experience compelling Keynotes, Featured Speakers, panels, sessions, workshops, book readings, podcasts, and more.

SXSW Interactive Festival (March 8-12)
Playing host to a variety of evening networking events, the Interactive Festival also holds numerous esteemed competitions and award ceremonies honoring some of the tech industry’s most important innovators and cutting-edge companies. Have a game-changing tech startup? Learn more about SXSW application categories.

SXSW Film Festival (March 8-16)
Celebrating raw innovation and emerging talent, the Film Festival has become known for the high caliber and diversity of films presented alongside its smart, enthusiastic audiences during its nine-day event footprint. Ready to premiere your own film? Film submissions are open through October 18.

SXSW Music Festival (March 11-17)
Featuring a variety of new, developing, and established Showcasing Artists, the Music Festival brings together 2,000+ artists across all genres. Dive into a curated mix of performances across Austin with artists, industry professionals and fans from around the globe. Want to take the stage? Showcasing Artist applications are open through October 25.

SXSW Comedy Festival (March 8-16)
Running simultaneously with the Interactive, Film, and Music Festivals, the Comedy Festival presents uniquely diverse programming of comedic performers, showcases, and events. Catch rising stars, established greats, and surprise guests all SXSWeek® long.

Exhibitions (March 8-16)
Beyond the festival scope, SXSW hosts many different world-class exhibitions that connect creatives across all industries. Applications for all SXSW Exhibitions are now open – explore all the available exhibition opportunities to position your forward-thinking company in front of thousands of creative professionals this March.

Coming later in the season, a suite of event resources will be released to help registrants prepare for the adventure ahead including the online SXSW Schedule, official mobile app, and more event navigation tools. In the meantime, view the 2019 SXSWeek® Timeline for a general breakdown of our daily programming schedule.

Badge Access

All attendees will receive primary entry to programming associated with their badge type, in addition to enjoying secondary access to most other SXSW events. There are four SXSW Badge types: Platinum, Interactive, Film, and Music. Badges are tied to three access types:

  • Primary: admitted first
  • Secondary: admitted second, after primary line
  • Convergence: one line where all badges have equal access

The Platinum Badge remains your best bet with primary access to all of SXSW. If you have an Interactive, Film, or Music Badge, you have primary access to the respective Conference tracks and events of your badge type, plus secondary access to other tracks and events outside your badge type, giving you the chance to experience more of what SXSW has to offer. All SXSW registrants also receive complimentary access to SXSW Gaming.

Explore 2019 registration rates and deadlines at sxsw.com/attend and use the Badge Comparison Chart to find out what each badge gets access to.

Click to View the Badge Comparison Chart

Secondary Access
Interactive Tracks, Keynotes & Featured Speakers
Interactive Mentor Sessions & Workshops No Secondary Access
Interactive Festival Events
Interactive Festival Opening Party No Secondary Access
Film Tracks, Keynotes & Featured Speakers
Film Mentor Sessions, Round Tables, Workshops & Parties No Secondary Access
Film Festival Screenings & Events
Film Festival Exclusive Premieres No Secondary Access
Music Tracks, Keynotes & Featured Speakers
Music Mentor Sessions, Workshops & Parties No Secondary Access
Music Festival Showcases & Events
Music Festival Exclusive Showcases No Secondary Access
Convergence Tracks, Keynotes & Featured Speakers
Comedy Festival Showcases & Events
Trade Shows & Exhibitions
Networking Meet Ups
Film Festival SXXpress Passes No Secondary Access
Music Festival SXXpress Passes No Secondary Access
Closing BBQ & Softball Tournament No Secondary Access
Hotel Priority Booking & Assistance
Access to SXSW Social Online Registrant Networking
SXSW Festival Shuttles

To help you get started, we’ve created the 2019 SXSW Badge Quiz. Based on the interests you select, the quiz will suggest the badge that will help you get the most out of your SXSW experience. Take our quiz to find out which badge best suits your needs.

Take the Badge Quiz

Book Your Hotel

After you register, make hotel reservations through SXSW Housing & Travel. In 2018, the typical SXSW attendee using SXSW Housing’s contracted hotel rates saved between 35%-50% compared to online travel agencies and direct bookings.

Rooms during March go quickly, so be sure to check the Hotel Availability page and enter your dates to see all available hotels, room types, rates, and amenities. Read our Tips to Book Your Hotel including booking for an individual, large groups, and payment policies.

Hotel Availability Page

Join Us for SXSW 2019

Register to attend and book your hotel to begin your SXSW adventure! Get ready to help us write the next chapter of SXSW during March 8-17, 2019.

Currently enrolled students and accompanying faculty may apply for a special discounted rate – more details here. And groups of 10 or more can save big with Group Registration rates.

Learn how to participate in one of the many prestigious SXSW categories including Film Festival submissions, Music Festival Showcasing Artist applications, Interactive Innovation Awards, SXSW Pitch (formerly Accelerator) and more.

To stay in the SX know, sign up for SXSW Event Updates and read SXSW News for announcements, deadline reminders, programming features, and beyond throughout the 2019 season.

Follow us in all the usual social spots for daily updates – Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Register Now

Photo by Judy Won

The post Register Now for SXSW 2019 & Save: Early Deadline Extended Through September 17 appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

September 14, 2018

Your Guide to SXSW 2019 Convergence Tracks: Food, VR/AR/MR & More

Swim with a Shark: Rise and Grind to Maximize Your Day - Photo by Debra Reyes

At the core of the SXSW Conference, Convergence Tracks blend technology and culture into innovative and cross-disciplinary programming that inspires new levels of creative collaboration.

Among many other topics, 2019 SXSW Convergence programming will explore the connection between tech, journalism, activism, and politics. Look forward to sessions about the eruption of new sectors like cannabis-focused enterprise, and the emergence of new technology like VR/AR/MR and its applications. Learn how previously separate industries have combined in unique ways to affect change and get inspired to disrupt and build something new of your own!

Convergence programming brings new industries and new ideas to the forefront of the event. Explore the full list of Convergence Tracks for SXSW 2019 below.

2019 Convergence Tracks


March 14-16 | Navigate the technological, cultural, and political ecosystem surrounding the future of cannabis-focused enterprise. As cannabis becomes more widely legalized, there is immense opportunity for entrepreneurs to seek funding and grow their businesses within a rapidly evolving industry.

Cities, Government, & Politics

March 8-11 | The Cities, Government & Politics Track focuses on innovative city development, privacy issues, and how politics plays a role in shaping policy on all levels of government.


March 14-16 | Designed for US-based attorneys, entrepreneurs, and beyond – the Continuing Legal Education Track will include up to 12 hours of accredited sessions available at no extra cost to SXSW registrants. Delve into sessions covering hot-button legal issues across the music, film and emerging technologies industries.

Experiential Storytelling

March 8-10 | Investigate how experimental strategies are redefining the ways in which audiences experience their world.


March 11-13 | Chefs, entrepreneurs, activists, farmers, scientists, and enthusiasts come together in the Food Track to explore ways in which technology and innovation can be leveraged to change the way we grow, cook and consume food to create a more sustainable and healthier world.

Media & Journalism

March 8-14 | Explore how journalism, analysis, and content distribution are being impacted by technology and culture. This track will examine the fast-changing media landscape, as older institutions and newer organizations battle for consumer attention.

Social & Global Impact

March 8-13 | The Social & Global Impact Track highlights innovations and initiatives that are contributing to a better and more equitable world.


March 8-10 | Dive into topics such as diversity and equality in sports, the implications of legal gambling, and athlete entrepreneurship. The Sports Track explores the future of sport from a cultural, philosophical, and technological perspective.


March 11-13 | Virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality are pioneering new ways to dramatically enhance how we experience the world around us. Learn about our current capabilities with these interfaces as well as where these systems are heading in the next few years.

Join Us in March 2019

Look out for programming announcements this fall! Register to attend and book your stay in Austin to join us for another exciting event from March 8–17, 2019.

If you’re unsure about which SXSW badge is right for you, take our badge quiz to find out. Whether you’re leaning towards a Film, Music, or Interactive badge, you can still explore as much Convergence programming as you’d like. All badge types receive primary access to Convergence Tracks, Keynotes & Featured Speakers.

Stay tuned to SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage and be sure to follow us on social – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Swim with a Shark: Rise and Grind to Maximize Your Day – Photo by Debra Reyes

The post Your Guide to SXSW 2019 Convergence Tracks: Food, VR/AR/MR & More appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

September 14, 2018

2019 Film Tracks Take a Look at Career Evolutions, Distribution, Production & More

There are three Film Tracks within the SXSW Conference programming: Entertainment Influencers, Film & TV Industry, and Making Film & Episodics. Recently we announced a Film Keynote and Featured Speakers for SXSW 2019. With hundreds of hours of television under her belt, Marti Noxon is one of the most prolific writer-producers in television today, and we are thrilled to have her keynote. Additionally, two-time Academy Award-nominated and two-time Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer Jason Blum will be in conversation with indie guru John Pierson, discussing Blum’s journey and evolution as a filmmaker.

Get a taste as to what more can be expected for SXSW 2019 – take a look back at past speakers from these Film Tracks including Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins; the cast of the NBC hit drama This Is Us; Darren Arronofsky; Lena Waithe and Common; the Westworld cast with Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy,; and Lena Dunham, to name a few.

Film Conference Tracks

Entertainment Influencers

March 9-12 | The Entertainment Influencers Track features Inspirational talks from thought leaders, experts, and innovators, including conversations with high-profile speakers from around the entertainment, film, and TV industries. A common theme within these talks: how can independent artists lead creative lives?

Film & TV Industry

March 9-12 | The current and future states of film and television, through the independent lens. Sessions in the Film & TV Industry Track cover topics such as distribution, financing, representation, technological advancements and the ever-changing nature of film and television.

Making Film & Episodics

March 9-12 | Do you have questions about how to develop and craft your project? Topics in the Making Film & Episodics Track include casting, sound design, and post production just to name a few.

Join Us For SXSW 2019

The early bird gets the best SX savings! Register and book your hotel now and save.

The Film Badge gets you primary access to all SXSW Film events including Film Keynotes and Featured Sessions, world premieres, round tables, workshops, parties, and more. Over the course of nine days, the SXSW Film Festival hosts over 450 screenings! Film registrants also have primary access to Convergence events, including the Comedy Festival and nine unique conference tracks, as well as secondary access to most Interactive and Music events.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and SXSW News for the latest SXSW coverage.

See you in March!

CherryPicks: Why Does a Critic’s Gender Matter?

The post 2019 Film Tracks Take a Look at Career Evolutions, Distribution, Production & More appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

September 14, 2018

Assemble Your 2019 SXSW Squad & Save With Group Registration Rates

Photo by Jordan Hefler

Bring your team to the 2019 SXSW Conference & Festivals from March 8-17 in Austin, TX to make amazing new connections while saving big with Group Registration rates.

Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for global professionals and discovery. People from across the globe and every corner of the interactive, film, and music industries come to SXSW each March looking for new ideas and new collaborators amid endless networking opportunities. We want to help you take your company to the next level while saving big on registration rates for groups of 10 or more.

Experience 10 days of sessions, festivals, exhibitions, startup competitions, one-on-one mentor sessions, awards ceremonies, networking and industry meetups, and much more. Register your group today for big savings by filling out the Group Registration Form below.

If you haven’t decided who will be attending yet, you can still purchase registrations using placeholder names. Once your group is registered, book hotel accommodations through SXSW Housing & Travel. Our local team of travel professionals is available to help you with your large group housing needs throughout the season. It is always a good idea to get an early start if you’re considering bringing a large group, as rooms are available on a first come, first served basis.

Join us March 8-17, 2019 to be a part of one of the most diverse, collaborative, and inventive communities in the world. Assemble your SXSW squad, fill out the Group Registration form below, and start planning your team’s SXSW experience! Stay tuned to SXSW News as more programming announcements are released throughout the SXSW season.

Group Registration Form

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Join Us in March

Flying solo? Early registrants benefit from great discounted rates and selections on available Austin hotels. Explore the SXSW registration rates and deadlines chart and take the Badge Quiz to see which credential is right for you.

Are you a currently enrolled student planning to join us in March? Students and accompanying faculty may apply for a special discounted rate. More discount details and the application form can be found here.

Photo by Jordan Hefler

The post Assemble Your 2019 SXSW Squad & Save With Group Registration Rates appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film