The Best Documentary Feature category at this year’s Oscars was stacked with some incredible films, and now one of the nominees is getting an adaptation of its own. ABC Studios has bought the rights to director David France’s powerful documentary How to Survive a Plague with an eye towards adapting it into a miniseries for the network. The film documents the early years of the AIDS epidemic, following a group of motivated and passionate young men with HIV whose lobbying and protest efforts through the groups ACT UP and TAG directly lead to the production of better and more affordable AIDS treatment drugs. It’s an inspiring story and most of the documentary is told through intimate archive footage from the movements, making for a highly emotional viewing experience.
Hit the jump for more on how the pic will be turned into a miniseries.
Award winning journalist and first-time filmmaker David France shows us why documentary is one of the most powerful mediums in the world in How to Survive a Plague, his intimate and visceral recreation of the darkest days of the AIDS epidemic. Told through very personal stories of some of the leading participants, his film captures the social activism and innovation of two coalitions, ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group), whose courageous push for action and epic day-by-day battles finally succeeded in turning AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition and made AIDS survival possible.
France talked to me about his journey from veteran journalist to documentary filmmaker, what drew him to this fascinating story, how he culled through hundreds of hours of never-before-seen archival footage from the 1980s and ‘90s – much of it shot by the activists themselves — and transformed it into a compelling 110-minute film, the most personally rewarding aspect of his filmmaking experience, the legacy of ACT UP today, his reaction to the film’s Academy Award nomination, and how the film is now inspiring grassroots activism in a new generation. Hit the jump to read more:
The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards have been announced, and it’s quite a whirlwind of nominees. As expected, Lincoln landed the most nominations with 12, followed with Ang Lee’s Life of Pi which nabbed 11. The big story here, though, is the Best Director category. Shockingly, only two (two!) of the DGA nominees for Best Director made the Oscar cut: Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg. The rest of the category was filled out by Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild, David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, and Michael Haneke for Amour. It was almost guaranteed that Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow would be landing nominations for Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, respectively, but shockingly neither made the cut. Apparently those films just directed themselves. Based off today’s nominations, it now looks like it’s (surprisingly) down to Lincoln vs. Silver Linings Playbook for the big win.
Hit the jump to check out the list of nominees, and click here to check them against my predictions (somehow I predicted the Best Picture and Supporting Actor categories perfectly). The 85th Academy Awards will take place on February 24th.
Director Kathryn Bigelow’s drama Zero Dark Thirty continues its dominant critics awards path, as it has picked up two more Best Picture wins from the New York Film Critics Online and Boston Society of Film Critics groups, adding to its previous wins from the New York Film Critics Circle and National Board of Review. Bigelow also won Best Director from both organizations, while Daniel Day-Lewis took home Best Actor for Lincoln. Emmanuelle Riva won Best Actress from New York and Boston, while she shared the award in a tie with Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Los Angeles broke from the mold a bit by naming director Michael Haneke‘s devastating French-language film Amour the Best Film of the year. They also awarded Paul Thomas Anderson Best Director for The Master and Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Dwight Henry the Best Supporting Actor honor in a couple of pleasant surprises. Hit the jump for the full list of winners from all three critics groups.
The New York Film Critics Circle has kicked the awards race off in earnest, and the love was spread primarily between Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln. The drama about the hunt for Osama bin Laden took home Best Picture, Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow, and Best Cinematographer, while Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln was awarded Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. The group also had a couple of left field choices with the Best Supporting Actor award going to Matthew McConaughey for Magic Mike (alright, alright, alright) and Best Actress going to Rachel Weisz for The Deep Blue Sea. McConaughey winning the trophy was a pleasant surprise, but Weisz’s win is a tad baffling.
Hit the jump to check out the full list of winners, and click here to peruse our recent Oscar Preview features.
The nominations for the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards have been announced, and Oscar hopefuls Silver Linings Playbook and Moonrise Kingdom lead the pack. Both films picked up nominations for Best Feature, Director, and Screenplay with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper landing acting noms for SLP and Bruce Willis garnering a swell Best Supporting Actor nomination for his work in Moonrise Kingdom. Beasts of the Southern Wild, Bernie, and Keep the Lights On round out the Best Feature nominees, while The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Safety Not Guaranteed were singled out for the Best First Feature award. Also, Matthew McConaughey pulled double nominations for his stellar work in this year’s Magic Mike and Killer Joe, landing a Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor nod, respectively. Notably shut out of the race entirely was Leos Carax‘s critically-lauded Holy Motors.
Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominations. The winners of the 2013 Spirit Awards will be announced on Saturday, February 23, 2013.
Awards season has begun: The Gotham Awards were handed out tonight to honor the best of the year in independent film. Wes Anderson‘s Moonrise Kingdom landed the top award, Best Feature, a choice I won’t argue with. As far as recognizable names go, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Mark Duplass won Best Ensemble Performance for Your Sister’s Sister. Although Beasts of the Southern Wild must have been a strong contender for Best Feature, Benh Zeitlin had to settle for Breakthrough Director.
You better believe that the Gotham Awards go more obscure than Beasts, including an award for Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You. So hit the jump for the full list.
New release date news including Sony and Columbia swapping one Roland Emmerich-directed film for another. Check them out in brief below:
- Roland Emmerich’s White House Down has a new release date of November 1st, 2013, supplanting the other Emmerich-directed film, Singularity. The latter film does not have a new release date at this time.
- For Fox, sequel Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters has moved up from March 27th, 2013 to March 15th, 2013.
- Rialto’s Grand Illusion re-release will open this Friday, May 11th.
- Grassroots, starring Jason Biggs, Cobie Smulders, Cedric the Entertainer and Tom Arnold, will open July 20th of this year.
- IFC releases are as follows:
- Beloved opens August 17th, 2012 with Sleepwalk with Me opening a week later on August 24th.
- Liberal Arts opens September 14th of this year with How to Survive a Plague opening a week later on September 21st.
Hit the jump for more on each film.
I had a blast at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and I can’t wait to go again next year. Today, Sundance announced their In-Competition line-ups for 2012 and already I’m trying to plan out how I’m going to see all of them (which is impossible, but it’s nice to dream). The U.S. Dramatic Competition features For Ellen, Nobody Walks, Safety Not Guaranteed, Smashed, and more. There are also some interesting-sounding films in the U.S. Documentary Competition including Finding North, The Invisible War, and The Other Dream Team.
Hit the jump to check out the full press release, which includes the in-competition line-ups for U.S. Dramatic Competition, U.S. Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, and World Cinema Documentary Competition. The 2012 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 19 – 29th.