The Inbox (Jul. 27-Aug. 2, 2013)

Every week, I get several press releases, screening invitations and other notifications from a handful of studio contacts. While I won’t be sharing any information regarding my screening invites, some of the press releases might be of interest to my readers, so I thought I’d start sharing them in toto with all of you. These could include new image galleries for various films or important updates to upcoming releases from various smaller studios and art house production companies.


Press Release: StudioSeven7 Announces Kickstarter Campaign for “Books: A Documentary”

StudioSeven7 Films announces Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to complete BOOKS: A DOCUMENTARY

Film chronicles Academy Award winning screenwriter and acclaimed author Larry McMurtry’s sale of over 300,000 books as part of an auction entitled “The Last Book Sale”

The campaign will run until August 18th 2013

New York, NY (July 29, 2013) – This past August over 300,000 antiquarian books from Larry McMurtry’s legendary Booked Up storefront were sold at auction. This is the story of those books.

The auction inventory was shelved within Booked Up’s four large buildings in the small oil patch town of Archer City, Texas. Named “The Last Book Sale”, this vast collection of American bookshops past, personally curated by Mr. McMurtry over the past forty years, held the acquisitions of some 26 bookshops and over 200 personal libraries.

Larry McMurtry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Academy Award winning screenwriter with a rich and timeless legacy of 32 novels and 15 non-fiction books to his credit, but it is his avocation as a rare book scout, dealer and connoisseur that “Books: A Documentary” reveals. By recounting Mr. McMurtry’s self-proclaimed love affair with books, we tell the story of the American antiquarian book trade: its past, present and future.

Despite the sweltering Texas heat, several hundreds of dealers, collectors, teachers, local residents, working-class folks and lookers-on from across the country, queued up outside of Booked Up’s Building Four with the hopes of being a part of this historic event.

Directors and Producers Mathew Provost & Sara Ossana met working on the set of Brokeback Mountain in the summer of 2004. Mathew has worked in the film industry for the past 15 years across Canada and the United States. Sara graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2005 and started StudioSeven7 Films with Mathew in 2011.

The Kickstarter campaign will run until August 18th, 2013:
Kickstarter

Press Release: AFI Conservatory Boosts Scholarships

AFI CONSERVATORY BOOSTS SCHOLARSHIPS

100% of Funds Raised Goes Directly to Fellows Training

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 31, 2013, Los Angeles, CA – The American Film Institute announced today a dramatic increase in scholarship funding at the AFI Conservatory (AFIC) – its immersive two-year graduate program in the art and discipline of filmmaking. Further differentiating the prestigious MFA program in an ever-growing field of film school options, the boost in funding for current and incoming Fellows represents nearly three times that of previous years – 100% of which goes directly to Fellows.

Leading this effort is AFI Board of Directors Chair Robert Daly, whose gift of $1 million was made in 2012 as a challenge grant for the AFI Board of Trustees. The board exceeded this goal by raising $2.3 million, which includes major gifts by Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman of the AFI Board of Trustees and Lawrence Herbert. Adding to this effort, an additional $3.5 million was donated from esteemed entertainment community leaders like David Geffen, Alan Horn, Terry Semel and the Time Warner Foundation. The funds raised for scholarships to the Conservatory total more than $6.2 million. For AFI’s intimate graduate program of about 200 Fellows, the impact of this funding is expansive.

Reflected in this new funding are two opportunities that deepen the hands-on filmmaking experience while encouraging diversity in storytelling. Several more will be announced later this year.

Gary Winick Scholarship
The Gary Winick Foundation has established an endowed scholarship in Winick’s memory. Winick was an AFI Directing alumnus (Class of 1986), innovator in independent filmmaking and noted mentor to young talent. The first Gary Winick Scholarship has been awarded to AFI Directing Fellow Henry Hughes, a U.S. military veteran, whose tuition is covered in small part by the G.I. bill. Hughes is participating in ABC’s STANDING UP FOR HEROES – and through the program has had the opportunity to screen his cycle film for filmmaker George Lucas, who is now mentoring Hughes’ progress.

Latino Donor Collaborative
Through the introduction of AFI Trustee Moctesuma Esparza, the AFI Conservatory has partnered with the Latino Donor Collaborative (LDC) to promote talented filmmakers from the Latino community by offering scholarship funds to be distributed in varying amounts to eight Fellows (including both First and Second Year) in the 2013-2014 academic year.

About the AFI Conservatory
AFI is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. The AFI Conservatory offers a two-year Master of Fine Arts degree in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. Aspiring artists learn from the masters in a collaborative, hands-on production environment with an emphasis on storytelling. AFI Conservatory’s alumni are consistently recognized with all of the major industry awards – Academy® Awards, Emmy® Awards, Guild Awards – and even the Tony Award. Esteemed director, producer and screenwriter James L. Brooks was recently appointed as Artistic Director to the AFI Conservatory where he will provide creative leadership of the elite film program. Sony is a proud supporter of the AFI Conservatory.

Press Release: Submarine Deluxe Picks Up Rights to “GMO OMG”

SUBMARINE DELUXE EATS UP U.S. DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS TO “GMO OMG”

Controversial Foodie Doc From Jeremy Seifert To Hit Theaters September 13, 2013 Submarine’s Follow Up To Academy Award Nominated “CHASING ICE”

(New York, NY) August 1, 2013 — Submarine Deluxe announced today that it has acquired the U.S. distribution rights to Jeremy Seifert’s documentary GMO OMG, an entertaining yet hard-hitting investigation of how laboratory-assisted genetic modification of food affects the world around us.

The film is Submarine’s follow-up to the Academy Award nominated film CHASING ICE.

GMO OMG made its world premiere at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival. Screen Daily called the film “powerfully provocative” and “a subject that needs to be focused on.”

Today in the United States, by the simple acts of feeding ourselves, we are unwittingly participating in the largest experiment ever conducted on human beings. Each of us unknowingly consumes genetically engineered food on a daily basis. The risks and effects to our health and the environment are largely unknown. Yet more and more studies are being conducted around the world, which only provide even more reason for concern. We are the oblivious guinea pigs for wide-scale experimentation of modern biotechnology.

GMO OMG follows one family’s struggle to live and eat without participating in an unhealthy, unjust, and destructive food system. Has the global food system been irrevocably hijacked or is there still time to heal the planet, feed the world, and save ourselves?

GMO OMG also takes a critical look at the corporations who control what we eat. Last year, Monsanto and other food industry leaders spent $45 million to defeat a ballot in California that would require GMO labeling. And more recently, in an effort to combat labeling on food packaging, a conglomerate of biotech companies put up an informational website to disseminate their point of view on GMOs and try to make people feel safe about what they are eating.

Jeremy Seifert said: “This film has been a long and incredible journey, and I’m excited to be partnering with Submarine to share it with the world. My hope is that it will help awaken people to the new reality of the world that we all somehow missed….chemical companies are feeding us! And I hope this awakening will inspire people to take back our food from giant corporations and invest in small farms, good seed and soil, and our local communities. If nothing else motivates us to change for the better, maybe our children will. Mine sure did, and that’s ultimately why I made this film.”

“We are excited to be working with the GMO OMG team to help get this important film out to the world,” stated Submarine Deluxe Co-President Dan Braun, “they have created a highly entertaining film about a frightening subject which is never easy. If there are people across the country not familiar with GMO’s, that is about to change.”

Producer Josh Kunau said: “If you are concerned about what you and your family eat, want more information on the subject, or just want to see what Monsanto and the biotech industry isn’t telling you about their products, then this the film you have been waiting for in order to get the truth about GMOs.”

GMO OMG was produced by Josh Kunau and executive produced by Elizabeth Kucinich, Jill Latiano Howerton, and Josh Kunau. Cinematography by Rod Hassler and edited by Terry Yates.

GMO OMG is Jeremy Seifert’s follow up to DIVE! Living Off America’s Waste.

Submarine Deluxe will release the film theatrically across the country beginning September 13th in NYC, with a nationwide rollout to follow.

***

About Submarine Entertainment
Submarine Entertainment, founded and run by twin brothers Josh and Dan Braun, is a hybrid sales and production company, consulting and strategizing on the sale and distribution of feature films and documentaries and producing unique and high quality feature films, documentaries and television properties. Submarine Deluxe is the company’s distribution label, which releases features films and documentaries including Being Elmo, Love Marilyn and the Academy Award nominated Chasing Ice.

Press Release: Brigade’s 2013 Fall Preview

2013 FALL MOVIE PREVIEW

Lynn Shelton’s TOUCHY FEELY

(September 6th, 2013)

Screenwriter: Lynn Shelton


Starring Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, Scoot McNairy,
Ellen Page, Josh Pais, Tomo Nakayama

A massage therapist is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion 
to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother’s foundering dental practice receives new 
life when clients seek out his “healing touch.”

Hannah Fidell’s A TEACHER

(September 6th, 2013)

Screenwriter: Hannah Fidell


Starring: Lindsay Burdge and Will Brittain

A popular young teacher in a wealthy suburban Texas high school has an affair with one of her students. 
Her life begins to unravel as the relationship comes to an end.

Alexandre Moors’ BLUE CAPRICE

(September 13th, 2013)

Screenwriter: R. F. I. Porto & Alexandre Moors


Starring: Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond, Joey Lauren Adams, Tim Blake Nelson

An abandoned boy is lured to America and drawn into the shadow of a dangerous father 
figure in this film inspired by the real life events that led to the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks.

Jeremy Seifert’s GMO OMG

(September 13th, 2013)

One family’s struggle to live and eat without participating in an unhealthy, unjust, and destructive food system. Has the global food system been irrevocably hijacked or is there still time to heal the planet, feed the world, and save ourselves?

Jamie Meltzer’s INFORMANT

(September 13th, 2013)

A fascinating portrait of Brandon Darby, a radical left-wing activist turned FBI informant.

Jim Mickle’s WE ARE WHAT WE ARE

(September 27th, 2013)

Screenwriters: Nick Damici & Jim Mickle

Starring Bill Sage, Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner, Michael Parks, Wyatt Russell, Nick Damici, Kelly McGillis

A devastating storm washes up clues that lead authorities closer to uncovering the macabre secret 
the Parker family has held for many years.

Jacob Vaughan’s BAD MILO

(October 4th, 2013)

Screenwriters: Benjamin Hayes & Jacob Vaughan

Starring Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Peter Stormare, Patrick Warburton, Stephen Root, Mary Kay Place, Kumail Nanjiani

A man discovers that his chronic stomach problems are due to the fact that he has a demon baby living in his colon.

Nick Ryan’s THE SUMMIT

(October 4th, 2013)

A feature-length documentary about the deadliest day in modern mountain climbing history – 11 climbers were killed or simply vanished atop K2.

***

TOUCHY FEELY

Written and Directed by: Lynn Shelton
Starring: Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, Josh Pais, Ron Livingston, Scoot McNairy,
Ellen Page, Tomo Nakayama
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: September 6, 2013
Genre: Drama
Festivals: Sundance 2013

TOUCHY FEELY is a closely observed examination of a family whose delicate psychic balance suddenly unravels. Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt), is a sought after massage therapist and a free spirit, while her brother Paul (Josh Pais) thrives on routine and convention, running a flagging dental practice and co-dependently enlisting the assistance of his emotionally stunted daughter Jenny (Ellen Page). Suddenly, transformation touches everyone. Abby develops an uncontrollable aversion to bodily contact, which not only makes her occupation impossible but severely hinders the passionate love life between her and her boyfriend (Scoot McNairy.) Meanwhile, rumors of Paul’s “healing touch” begin to miraculously invigorate his practice as well as his life outside the office. As Abby navigates her way through a soul-searching identity crisis, her formerly skeptical brother discovers a whole new side of himself. TOUCHY FEELY is about the experience of living in one’s own skin, both literally and figuratively. The film, written and directed by Shelton, and co-starring Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, and newcomer Tomo Nakayama (of the indie rock band Grand Hallway), is filmed on location in Shelton’s hometown and urban muse of Seattle.

TRT: 90 minutes

***

A TEACHER

Written and Directed by: Hannah Fidell
Starring: Lindsay Burdge and Will Brittan
Studio: Oscillioscope Laboratories
Release Date: September 6, 2013
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Festivals: Sundance 2013, SXSW 2013

Diana (Lindsay Burdge), a young, attractive teacher at a suburban Texas high school, is well-liked by her students and colleagues. Her life seems to be following the status quo, but in reality she’s having a secret affair with her student Eric (Will Brittain). She confides in no one but him, reveling in the teenage terrain of sexting and backseat quickies. Even when the risk of discovery looms over their relationship, her investment in the fantasy remains stronger than reality. Unable to control herself, she heads down a reckless path of self-destruction.

The subject of a teacher-student affair may be tabloid fodder, but writer/director Hannah Fidell resists sensationalism or the temptation to pathologize her protagonist. With bold vision, Fidell uses highly controlled pacing, silky camera movements, and a tense percussive sound aesthetic to free its narrative from the confines of convention, while a fascinating performance by Lindsay Burdge transports us into Diana’s head space, where her unabated obsession lives.

TRT: 76 minutes

***

BLUE CAPRICE

Directed and Written by: Alexandre Moors
Starring: Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond, Joey Lauren Adams and Tim Blake Nelson
Studio: IFC Films
Release Date: September 13, 2013
Genre: Thriller
Festivals: Sundance 2013, New Directors/New Films

The striking feature film debut of writer-director Alexandre Moors, BLUE CAPRICE is a harrowing yet restrained psychological thriller about an abandoned boy lured to America into the shadows of a dangerous father figure. Inspired by true events, BLUE CAPRICE investigates the notorious and horrific Beltway sniper attacks from the point of view of the two shooters, whose distorted father-son relationship facilitated their long and bloody journey across America. Marked by captivating performances by Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond, lyrical camerawork, and a unique and bold structure, BLUE CAPRICE documents the mechanisms that lead its subjects to embrace physical violence. BLUE CAPRICE paints a riveting portrait of 21st-century America and a haunting depiction of two cold-blooded killers that will endure long after the lights come up. 



TRT: 95 minutes

***

GMO OMG

Written and Directed by: Jeremy Seifert
Studio: Submarine Deluxe
Release Date: September 13, 2013
Genre: Documentary
Festivals: Berlin 2013

Today in the United States, by the simple acts of feeding ourselves, we are unwittingly participating in the largest experiment ever conducted on human beings. Each of us unknowingly consumes genetically engineered food on a daily basis. The risks and effects to our health and the environment are largely unknown. Yet more and more studies are being conducted around the world, which only provide even more reason for concern. We are the oblivious guinea pigs for wide-scale experimentation of modern biotechnology.

GMO OMG follows one family’s struggle to live and eat without participating in an unhealthy, unjust, and destructive food system. Has the global food system been irrevocably hijacked or is there still time to heal the planet, feed the world, and save ourselves?

TRT: 90 minutes

***

INFORMANT

Directed and Written by: Jamie Meltzer
Studio: Music Box Films
Release Date: September 13, 2013
Genre: Documentary
Festivals: DOC NYC 2012

INFORMANT is a fascinating portrait of Brandon Darby, a radical left-wing activist turned FBI informant. In 2005, Darby became an overnight hero when he traveled to Katrina-devastated New Orleans and braved toxic floodwaters to rescue a stranded friend. But over the next few years, he began hiding a shocking secret: after two young protestors were arrested at the 2008 Republican National Convention, Darby revealed he had been instrumental in their indictment as an FBI informant. Today, having renounced his left-wing past, he is a tea-party darling who writes regularly for the right-leaning web site Breitbart.com.

The only film with access to Darby since his public confession, INFORMANT, winner of the DOC NYC 2012 Grand Jury Prize, meticulously constructs a picture of Brandon’s life. In addition to trying to unlock the mystery of Darby, INFORMANT offers a powerful insider look at the hidden use of informants in contemporary America.

TRT: 81 minutes

***

WE ARE WHAT WE ARE

Directed by: Jim Mickle
Written by: Jim Mickle & Nick Damici
Starring: Bill Sage, Julia Garner, Ambyr Childers, Wyatt Russell, Kelly McGillis, Michael Parks, Nick Damici & Jack Gore
Studio: eOne
Release Date: September 27, 2013
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Festivals: Sundance 2013, Cannes Film Festival 2013: Directors’ Fortnight

In WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, a re-imagining of the 2010 Mexican film of the same name, Jim Mickle paints a gripping and gruesome portrait of an introverted family struggling to keep their macabre traditions alive.

A seemingly wholesome and benevolent family, the Parkers have always kept to themselves, and for good reason. Behind closed doors, patriarch Frank (Bill Sage, “Boardwalk Empire”) rules his family with a rigorous ferver, determined to keep his ancestral customs intact at any cost. As a torrential rainstorm moves into the area, tragedy strikes and his daughters Iris (Ambyr Childers, THE MASTER) and Rose (Julia Garner, MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR) are forced to assume responsibilities that extend beyond those of a typical family. As the unrelenting downpour continues to flood their small town, the local authorities begin to uncover clues that bring them closer to the secret that the Parkers have held closely for so many years.

WE ARE WHAT WE ARE also stars Michael Parks (DJANGO UNCHAINED), Kelly McGillis (STAKELAND), Nick Damici (STAKELAND), Wyatt Russell (THIS IS 40) and newcomer Jack Gore who will soon be seen this fall on NBC’s “The Michael J. Fox Show.”

TRT: 100 minutes

***

BAD MILO

Directed by: Jacob Vaughan
Written by: Benjamin Hayes & Jacob Vaughan
Starring: Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Peter Stormare, Patrick Warburton, Stephen Root, Mary Kay Place & Kumail Nanjiani
Studio: Magnet Releasing
Release Date: October 4, 2013
Genre: Comedy Horror
Festivals: SXSW 2013

Duncan’s (Ken Marino) life is a real pain in the ass. Tormented by manipulative, crooked boss (Patrick Warburton), a nagging mother (Mary Kay Place), a deadbeat new age dad (Stephen Root), and a sweet, yet pressuring, wife (Gillian Jacobs), his mounting stress starts to trigger an insufferable gastrointestinal reaction. Out of ideas and at the end of his rope, Duncan seeks the help of a hypnotherapist (Peter Stormare), who helps him discover the root of his unusual stomach pain: a pintsized demon living in his intestine that, triggered by excessive anxiety, forces its way out and slaughters the people who have angered him. Out of fear that his intestinal gremlin may target its wrath on the wrong person, Duncan attempts to befriend it, naming it Milo and indulging it to keep its seemingly insatiable appetite at bay.

BAD MILO features notable puppetry by Frank Langley and Bob Mano. Blending the gory elements of a classic critter film (à la GREMLINS) with the lighthearted comedy of an unlikely friendship (reminiscent of TED), BAD MILO was one of the most talked about and unique films of SXSW 2013.

TRT: 90 minutes

***

THE SUMMIT

Directed by: Nick Ryan
Written by: Mark Monroe
Studio: IFC Films
Release Date: October 4th, 2013
Genre: Documentary
Festivals: Sundance 2013

K2 is commonly known as “Savage Mountain” and with good reason. With an unprecedented fatality rate of one in four climbers, it has rightfully earned the as the title of the second most murderous mountain in the world. THE SUMMIT tells a frightening story of K2 earning its name – in August 2008 when 22 climbers from several international expeditions converged on High Camp of K2. 48 hours later, 11 were killed or simply vanished into thin air. Like a horror movie come to life, it was as if the mountain began stealing lives, one climber at a time.

A seamless pastiche of the climbers’ firsthand footage, and after-the-fact interviews and reenactments, THE SUMMIT almost plays like a narrative film as it focuses on the mystery behind one extraordinary man, Ger McDonnell, who was left behind in the death zone as his best friend searched in vain to find him, rescuing several others. As the legend surrounding McDonnell and the 10 others grows, fearless new climbers are drawn to test themselves against the deadliest mountain on Earth.

TRT: 99 minutes

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