12 YEARS A SLAVE and NEBRASKA Top 2014 Independent Spirit Awards Nominations

by     Posted 339 days ago

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The 2014 Independent Spirit Awards nominations have been announced, and director Steve McQueen’s excellent drama 12 Years a Slave tops the nominees with seven nods, including Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Actor.  Nebraska is not far behind with six nominations, and the Robert Redford drama All Is Lost also did well with four nods.  The much-beloved Short Term 12 failed to land a Best Feature nomination, but Primer director Shane Carruth’s twisty second feature Upstream Color landed nods for Best Director and Best Editing.  The Best Actor category is a strong mirror of the very tight Oscar race in the same category, and the wonderful Shailene Woodley and Brie Larson nabbed Best Actress nominations for The Spectacular Now and Short Term 12, respectively.

Hit the jump for the full list of nominations and additional commentary.  The Independent Spirit Awards will be hosted on March 1, 2014.

Melonie Diaz Talks FRUITVALE STATION, Working with a Young Cast and Crew in the Bay Area, Her Experience at Cannes and Her Role in an Episode of HBO’s GIRLS

by     Posted 1 year, 109 days ago

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Fruitvale Station, inspired by the true-life story of Bay Area native Oscar Grant, is now playing in limited release.  Starring in debut feature writer-director Ryan Coogler’s film as Oscar’s girlfriend is Melonie Diaz (Be Kind Rewind).  Diaz recently sat down to talk with us about the film, including comments on how familiar she was with Oscar’s story from the news, working with such a young cast and crew, her process behind playing Sophina, and what message she wants audiences to take away.  She also talked a bit about her experience at Cannes and filming an episode of HBO’s Girls.

Fruitvale Station also stars Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Durand and Chad Michael Murray.  Hit the jump for the interview.

FRUITVALE STATION Review

by     Posted 1 year, 111 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  It has been slightly altered to reflect the new title.  Fruitvale Station opens in limited release today.]

Here’s one of the most morbid thoughts you can ever put in your head: will I die today? This thought isn’t to spur you to live each day like it’s your last. It’s a simple observation. Where has life led you to this point, where would you like your life to go, and how does one affect the other? In his debut feature Fruitvale Station, writer-director Ryan Coogler goes into the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, who was infamously shot by BART police officers in Oakland, California on New Year’s Day, 2009. Coogler’s solemn, no-frills direction lets us walk into Oscar’s life, and become absolutely devastated as it heads to its inevitable conclusion. The film’s emotional impact is only lessened by Coogler’s bizarre decision to push a message that doesn’t coincide with his movie’s theme.

Sundance 2013: FRUITVALE Review

by     Posted 1 year, 278 days ago

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Here’s one of the most morbid thoughts you can ever put in your head: will I die today?  This thought isn’t to spur you to live each day like it’s your last.  It’s a simple observation.  Where has life led you to this point, where would you like your life to go, and how does one affect the other?  In his debut feature Fruitvale, writer-director Ryan Coogler goes into the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, who was infamously shot by BART police officers in Oakland, California on New Year’s Day, 2009.  Coogler’s solemn, no-frills direction lets us walk into Oscar’s life, and become absolutely devastated as it heads to its inevitable conclusion.  The film’s emotional impact is only lessened by Coogler’s bizarre decision to push a message that doesn’t coincide with his movie’s theme.

Shailene Woodley in James Ponsoldt’s SPECTACULAR NOW; Rebekah Brandes for NOTHING TO FEAR; Tristan Wilds and Melonie Diaz Join FRUITVALE

by     Posted 2 years, 195 days ago

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We’ve got some casting additions for you today.  Here they are at a glance:

  • Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) will headline Smashed-director James Ponsoldt’s Spectacular Now.
  • Rebekah Brandes (Bellflower) to join  indie horror-thriller pic, Nothing to Fear for producer Slash, the former guitarist from Guns N’ Roses.
  • Tristan Wilds (Red Tails) and Melonie Diaz (Be Kind Rewind) will join Fruitvale, an indie drama about a real-life, controversial police shooting, to be produced by Forest Whitaker.

Hit the jump for more on each project.

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