Two HFPA representatives, Yenny Nun-Katz and Meher Tatna, hosted a reception for Chilean filmmakers, festival delegates and executives at the Santiago International Film Festival headquarters in the Grand Hyatt Hotel. President of the Board Catalina Saieh introduced the HFPA members to the attendees at Duke’s Bar.
SANFIC, the Santiago International Film Festival has been in existence since 2004, and is one of the most important film festivals in Latin America and this year screened more than 100 movies in five venues. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to French director Laurent Cantet, and Colombian actress Catalina Sandino received a special recognition. Willem Dafoe, Abel Ferrera and Diego Luna have attended in previous years. and Chilean films like The Nanny and Violeta were first screened in SANFIC, and went on to become world renowned.
Golden Globe winner Sandra Bullock and her Heat co-star Melissa McCarthy have broken through the glass ceiling with the success of their female cop-buddy comedy and cleared the way for more female-driven blockbusters.
Originally Fox’s expectations for Heat were so low that it was planned for a quiet release early in the year. Only after seeing the enthusiastic reactions from test screenings did executives decide to push its opening to the summer to compete
with the major blockbusters.
The box office figures proved them right. The Heat beat a male-buddy actioner White House Down convincingly. Nonetheless, the road to making The Heat was not without challenges, director Paul Feig and his two stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy told the HFPA when they met at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York.
When Bullock was asked by her producer friend a couple of years ago about the kind of film she wanted to be in, she answered “A two-hander female comedy.” The producer’s reply was “Ok, that doesn’t exist.”
“Well, then let’s get the scripts that have been written for men and haven’t been made, and let’s see if there is a premise that we love, where we can change the names,” she said.
Indeed, in the past such films have been exclusively reserved for male characters in Hollywood, which has invariably eschewed making female-driven blockbuster movies. Every summer, male-led movies, such as The Hangover, Iron Man, Batman, Spider-Man and Superman, fill the big screens of multiplexes around the world. The female characters are usually relegated to the superficial roles of the lead’s love interest, or assistant, or even just an object of desire.
But in 2011, the phenomenal success of the female-led ensemble comedy, Golden Globe winner Bridesmaids, which was also directed by Paul Feig, stunned Hollywood and injected a new hope for more female-driven movies. But despite Golden Globe awards, it didn’t
yield a plethora of female movies. In fact, a recent study by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism has revealed that 2012 was the worst year for representation of women, both onscreen and behind the camera.
Nonetheless, Bullock, who had almost given up on producing due to the lack of projects with strong women -and preoccupation with producing a baby- is upbeat.
“It’s exciting now what you’re able to do,” she enthuses. “You don’t have to fight as much to find material.”
Feig concurs, blaming the term “chick flick” on perpetuating the notion that female movies have only one focus: a woman finding a man or falling in a love.
“We’ve been fed such a steady stream of romantic comedies starring women, which is fine, but I want to see other aspects. I want to see them getting to be tough.”
He gets his wish in Bullock’s latest movie, director Alfonso Cuaron’s space action tale Gravity in which she is on screen much of the time on her own, battling and overcoming all challenges after her space shuttle is destroyed on her first mission and she spirals out into the blackness of space.
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Veteran filmmaker Woody Allen is to receive this year’s Cecil B. De Mille Award for his outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.
“There is no one more worthy of this award than Woody Allen,” said HFPA president Theo Kingma. “His contributions to filmmaking have been phenomenal and he is an international treasure.”
The 77-year-old actor-writer-director-producer-composer-musician is at an age when most filmmakers have long retired but he shows no signs of slowing down.
After a more than 60-year career he is, after 55 films, two Golden Globes wins and 11 nominations, more famous now than ever before, although the benefits of fame are something he confesses he has his doubts about.
“Fame has many drawbacks and many advantages and it’s close, but the advantages just outweigh the drawbacks,” he told HFPA members when he met them recently. “Believe it or not, there are many terrible things about being famous and many wonderful things, too.
“In the end, the good things are better than the bad, so if you have the chance, it’s better to be famous.”
Woody Allen was born on December 1, 1935, as Allen Konigsberg, in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of 15, he started selling one-liners to gossip columns. After working as a stand-up comedian, he was hired to write What’s New Pussycat in 1965. He directed his first film, What’s Up, Tiger Lily? a year later. That, along with the James Bond spoof Casino Royale in 1967, which he co-wrote and acted in, launched one of the most successful and unusual careers in American filmmaking history.
His subsequent movies included Bananas, Sleeper, Love and Death, Zelig, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Stardust Memories, Broadway Danny Rose, Mighty Aphrodite, Match Point and, more recently, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Midnight in Paris and his latest, Blue Jasmine—all of which, along with others too numerous to name, sprung from his fertile imagination and his filmmaking technique of few takes and short working days.
As the latest recipient of the Cecil B. De Mille Award, Woody Allen is following in illustrious footsteps. The first award went to the man it was named after, in 1952, the year his penultimate film, The Greatest Show on Earth, had its premiere.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association will honor Woody Allen with a tribute during the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards, to be held on Sunday, January 12, 2013.
Screaming fans were standing three deep along the barriers outside the elegant Windsor Arms Hotel as fleets of limousines pulled up with their famous passengers.
The celebrity guests, who were greeted by HFPA president Theo Kingma, included two-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, Mark Wahlberg,who has just opened a burger restaurant in the city’s Soho Metropolitan Hotel, Keanu Reeves, who grew up in Toronto, Mads Mikkelsen, who is Toronto filming Hannibal, Daniel Bruhl, who is co-starring in both The Fifth Estate and Rush,Game of Thrones’ Emily Clarke, Juliette Lewis and the Australian trio Melissa George, Jai Courtney and Joel Edgerton.
The pictures tell the story of a lively, happy and highly successful party which went on until the early hours of the morning.
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With the Venice Film Festival behind them, HFPA members are heading for Toronto where almost 400 films will be crammed into 11 days. By far the biggest of the fall festivals, it has shown the last six Best Picture winners and five of last year’s Best Foreign Film nominees.
The festival opens with the world premiere of The Fifth Estate, director Bill Condon‘s dramatic thriller about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, which HFPA members will be attending. During the next six days they will see another 14 movies, visit the set of the TV series Hannibal and interview 36 actors, actresses and filmmakers.
This year the festival is showcasing an unusually wide variety of films, including Ron Howard‘s race car movie Rush; Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years as a Slave; Labor Day, starring Kate Winslet; The Railway Man with Colin Firth, The Dallas Buyers Club, which stars Matthew McConaughey and two upscale science fiction movies, starring Sandra Bullock (Gravity) and Scarlett Johansson (Under the Skin).
The Toronto festival has always served as a critical early stop for movies that will embark on significant awards campaigns in the fall. Last year Silver Linings Playbook and Argo both established themselves as potential hits and Golden Globe front-runners.Read More »
Marking the 70th anniversary of the Venice Film Festival a delegation of Hollywood Foreign Press Association members, traveled to Lido Island across the lagoon from Venice, to attend the historic festival’s opening ceremony, meet with filmmakers and look at films for Golden Globe consideration.
First up was a luncheon with George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, director Alfonso Cuaron and his co-writer son, Jonas, whose space thriller ‘Gravity’ was the opening night premiere. “It just it’s not about a father and son collaboration,” said Cuaron of working with his son. “He came to all these fresh ideas and ways of doing things. He said, look, ‘I like your movies. They’re okay but you can do the same thing being more fun and less rhetoric.’”
In keeping with a long held tradition, the HFPA once again hosted a cocktail reception for filmmakers and actors, this year held poolside in the new Maserati Lounge at the Excelsior Hotel overlooking the Adriatic Sea. HFPA vice-president Lorenzo Soria introduced the festival’s artistic director Alberto Barbera who took over leadership of the festival last year. Others attending included Harvey Weinstein, director Samantha Fuller (A Fuller Life), Mia Wasikowska (Tracks), James Deen and Nolan Gerard Funk (The Canyons) and Tye Sheridan and director David Gordon Green (Joe).
Pictures: Alex Tuma and Armando Gallo
Members also met with famous fashion photographer Bruce Weber in the gardens of the exclusive Cipriani Hotel. A kind and warm old bear of a man, Bruce Weber, 67, was in Venice presenting his beloved project Nice Girls Don’t Stay For Breakfast, a film that he had been working on and off for the past 15 years focusing on the talented skills and tough behaviors of Hollywood icon Robert Mitchum.
“Bob had what I needed, sort of like a tough guy with a big heart, and that’s a quality I really find attractive in anyone,” he said. “I had a kind of crazy childhood and my mom would pick me up early at school and we would go to these bars and I would sit there and see her boyfriend and I would do my homework. And so I saw a lot of men like Bob, who would help me with my homework and just hang out with me and befriend me, and I was like a frail, skinny kid then, I didn’t have a lot of friends and big fantasy life, and so it sort of happened that I got to really like that kind of male image in my head, very protecting, father like or big brother, and so I always wanted to make a film about an actor and when I was making Let’s Get Lost, we always talked about Bob Mitchum and we really shared a lot of stories about Bob and what movies we loved with him.
“When Tina Brown was at Vanity Fair she wanted to do a piece on tough guys so she sent me and my team to Santa Barbara to do a photo shoot with Bob Mitchum by the pool side. That was 1989 and we became friends, a very strong relationship. And I hope this translates in the film.”
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Just hours before performing at a sold-out Gibson Amphitheater, tenors Piero Barone and Ignazio Boschetto and baritone Gianluca Ginoble spoke about the challenges of their growing popularity in the United States.
After winning the Golden Globe for directing Argo, Ben Affleck is spending at least two hours a day in the gym getting in shape for his next role as Batman in the Man of Steel sequel, Batman vs. Superman, which will also star Henry Cavill.
The casting of the 41-year-old father of three has come in for criticism from some Batman fans who have organized anti-Affleck petitions, but Warner Bros. president Greg Silverman said in a statement: “We knew we needed an extraordinary actor to take on one of D.C. Comics’ most enduringly popular super heroes, and Ben Affleck certain fits that bill and then some.”
Affleck follows Christian Bale in the role and becomes the eighth actor to portray the Caped Crusader. The movie is expected to spawn several sequels so Affleck may well have to put his directorial talents to one side for a while to concentrate on his acting, which may well suit him following his comments to HFPA members when he talked with them about differences between acting and directing.
“Directing is an extremely lonely occupation,” he said. “When I talk to other directors they often say it’s the loneliest job in the world.
“I find it interesting to change things up a bit.Not so much that I’m way out on a limb but enough that I’m challenging myself and doing something different.”Read More »
The release of Diana, the movie about the last two years of Princess Diana’s life, coincides with the dramatic news that British police have received fresh information about the August 1997 car crash deaths of the Princess and Dodi Fayed.
The announcement that detectives are looking into whether the deaths were ” a criminal act” is sure to boost interest in the movie, which stars Naomi Watts as the Princess and Naveen Andrews as her secret lover, Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnet Khan.
The allegation was passed to detectives through the parents-in-law of a former soldier who claims Diana and Dodi were killed by a member of the British SAS.
Although the movie concentrates on the Princess’s romance with Hasnet Khan, it also depicts her affair with Dodi Fayed and shows them leaving the Ritz hotel in Paris just before the black Mercedes in which they were passengers crashed in the Pont de l’alma Tunnel.
Dodi’s father, Mohammed Al-Fayed, has always claimed that they were murdered by the British establishment.
Naomi Watts, who talked with HFPA members about the movie and the difficulties in portraying somebody as well-known as the late Princess, said of Diana’s brief romance with Fayed: “It was very sad that it just ended up in such tragedy. My heart goes out to the Fayed family as well. From the research I did, although they knew each other and met in the early ’80s, their relationship—and it was definitely a romance—was very short-lived.”
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The HFPA gave away a record $1.6 million in charitable grants during a light-hearted, star-studded luncheon of laughter and goodwill. The annual Grants and Installation lunch was a huge hit with everyone—–the audience in the Beverly Hilton Ballroom, the organizations on the receiving end of the donations and those who watched the live streaming of the event on the HFPA website.
The audience applauded a four-minute video which opened the proceedings showing the work of some of the organizations benefiting from the HFPA’s grants and a “thank you” from Martin Scorsese.
A host of stars were on hand to present the donations, led by Nicole Kidman who presented a check for $350,000 to the Film Foundation for the restoration of classic films.
She said that over the past 17 years the HFPA had contributed almost four million dollars to save more than 80 feature films from disappearing forever. This year’s donation will go towards restoring Salvatore Giuliano, Francesco Rosi’s masterpiece based on the story of the Sicilian bandit, and Stanton Kaye’s work of cinema verite, Brandy in the Wilderness.
“The HFPA has been a true friend and champion of the Foundation’s efforts to save our cinematic heritage,” she said.
Said HFPA president Theo Kingma: “While scholarships support future filmmakers, some of the best lessons can be learned from our past. The HFPA cares deeply about preserving our history.”
Eva Longoria, who acted as host for the event, introduced the many stars who helped hand out the checks. They included Colin Farrell, Diane Kruger, Demian Bechir, David O. Russell, Amber Heard, Liam Hemsworth, Vin Diesel, Tab Hunter, Marsha Hunt, Julie Delpy, Blair Underwood, Dermot Mulroney, Piper Perabo, Jonah Hill, Olivia Wilde and Jason Bateman
New father Vince Vaughn, whose wife gave birth to a baby boy three days earlier, was on the receiving end of a surprise gift when Olivia Wilde presented him with a video camera and Kingma telling him: “Once you come home you can start documenting the most important film of your life……..without Owen Wilson.”
Vin Diesel, pointing out that today was his son’s birthday, gave the audience an impromptu story of his beginnings in showbusiness and how his first feature fijm, Strays, which he wrote and directed, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997. He accepted a check for $100,000 for Sundance.
Jonah Hill drew laughs when, referring to difficulties some of the presenters had with the teleprompter, commented: “It makes me realize that some of Hollywood can’t read.”
Kingma thanked the studio representatives, publicists and agents in the room for their support, adding: “Though the Golden Globe awards are known as the ultimate party of the year our daily focus is on journalistic work.
“It is because of you we are able to cover Hollywood for millions of readers around the globe and it is because of you we view exceptional television or leave a movie theater in awe.”
Then he added, to laughter: “Or we look at our watch thinking, ‘How much longer?’
On a more serious note, he pointed out: “While today is not about the Golden Globes, in a way we are here because of them. Because of the success of the Golden Globes we are able today to donate a record $1.6 million in grants and scholarships, bringing the total to over $18 million, including 925 scholarships and 82 restored classic films.
“Today we proudly continue that tradition.”
The Film Foundation will receive the largest amount—$350,000—for the preservation of historically important films while the Sundance Institute will receive $100,000.
Other recipients include FilmAid International, which is to receive $50,000 for screenings and filmmaker training in Kenyan refugee camps; American Cinematheque ($40,000), L.A.C.M.A ( $75,000) and UCLA ($90,000).
Kingma introduced the HFPA’s new officers and board members: Vice President, Lorenzo Soria; Treasurer, Meher Tatna; Executive Secretary, Lily Lui; Board: Yoram Kahana, Vera Anderson, Luca, Celada, Helen Hoehne, Aida Takla-O’Reilly and Jack Tewksbury.
The afternoon ended with a surprise as Kingma announced that instead of the usual gift bag, a donation was being made to Jeff Bridges‘s No Kid Hungry charity.Read More »