The 2012 Independent Spirit Awards were announced tonight and—you’re not gonna believe this—the voters were smitten with The Artist. The film won Best Feature, Michel Hazanavicius was awarded Best Director, Jean Dujardin was named Best Male Lead, and they threw in Best Cinematography to Guillaume Schiffman for good measure. Some of the other winners have a good shot at repeating tomorrow night at the Oscars, like Christopher Plummer for Beginners (Best Supporting Male), Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn (Best Female Lead), or the script for The Descendants by Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash (Best Screenplay). The “independent spirit” was seemingly saved for the unique categories: see Will Reiser’s 50/50 script as Best First Screenplay, Pariah for the John Cassavetes Award, Take Shelter for the Piaget Producers Award. Hit the jump for the full list of winners.
In the indie drama Pariah, opening in limited release on December 28th, Alike (Adepero Oduye) is a 17-year-old African-American woman, who lives with her parents and younger sister in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. Quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian, she has the support of her best friend, out lesbian Laura (Pernell Walker), but her parents already strained marriage becomes even more tense, at any mention of the topic at home. Regardless of the fact that she feels like she can’t confide in her own family, Alike’s humor and tenacity proves to be a great asset, as she struggles through adolescence to achieve her dreams.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, first-time feature writer/director Dee Rees talked about the development of the semi-autobiographical story, her decision to make it first as a short and then as a full-length feature later on, how discovering one’s identity is something that anyone and everyone can relate to, assembling such a talented cast, and what she learned about filmmaking from Spike Lee (who served as an executive producer on the film). She also talked about having already finished writing two more features, Bolo and Large Print, and that she’s developing an HBO series with Viola Davis. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
The nominations for the 27th Annual Independent Spirit Awards were announced this morning with The Artist and Take Shelter each nabbing five nominations. In addition to The Artist and Take Shelter, Drive, 50/50, The Descendants, and Beginners will duke it out for the top prize. Absent from the Best Feature list is Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, though the film was recognized in Best Supporting Male (Corey Stoll) and Best Cinematography. Also of note, Elizabeth Olsen and John Hawkes landed nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Male for Martha Marcy May Marlene, and Ryan Gosling and Woody Harrelson were both singled out in Best Actor for Drive and Rampart respectively.
Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominations. Recognizing the best in independent film, the awards will be handed out on February 25th, the day before the Oscars.
It’s not even December, but awards season has officially with the handing out of awards. Last night, the Gotham Independent Film Awards had a tie for Best Feature Film with Mike Mills‘ Beginners and Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life taking the top prize. Other winners last night included Breakthrough Director for Dee Rees (Pariah), Breakthrough Actor for Felicity Jones (Like Crazy), Best Documentary for Better This World and Best Ensemble for Beginners.
While the Gotham isn’t a bellwether of how the Oscar race will shake out, it can give an indie picture a welcome boost. Best Feature winners from the past several years include Frozen River, Winter’s Bone, and eventual Best Picture Oscar-winner The Hurt Locker. Hopefully, the Gothams have given Beginners and Pariah some awards season momentum (I think The Tree of Life is already on everyone’s radar in terms of awareness). Hit the jump for the full press release.
Focus Features has released the fan-approved poster for Dee Rees’ Pariah. Apparently unable to decide how to market a film about a black teenager trying to find love and hiding her lesbianism from her family, Focus allowed the Internet to be a free focus group. Now the people have chosen and they’ve chosen pretty well. It in no way conveys what the movie is about and but it’s got a good color scheme and the definition on the poster is how the film opens.
Hit the jump to check out the poster. I liked the film when I caught it at Sundance because it felt honest and managed to avoid most of the genre’s cliches and the unrelenting angst we normally see when a character tries to come to terms with their homosexuality. Plus, Adepero Oduye’s performance is tremendous and I’m curious to see if Focus Features gives her an awards season push. Pariah will play at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and will open in limited release on December 25th
Time to catch up with the release dates the studios have announced over the last couple weeks. Via Box Office Mojo:
- Lionsgate pushed the Jason Statham actioner Safe from October 28 to March 2, 2012. The move explains why we haven’t seen a trailer yet.
- Focus Features scheduled Sundance darling Pariah for December 25
- The Weinstein Company pushed Ralph Fiennes’ Shakespeare adaptation Coriolanus from December 2 to January 13, 2012. I imagine they may sneak a limited release in before the end of the year to qualify for the Oscars, but the move suggests TWC will focus on My Week With Marilyn, The Artist, W.E., and The Iron Lady for the Oscar push.
- Warner Bros. will release the Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Lucky One, led by Zac Efron, on August 24, 2012
- Fox Searchlight booked The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Bill Nighy on March 9, 2012
More on each movie after the jump.
One of the more popular films to come out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Dee Rees’ Pariah. The movie centers on Alike (Adepero Oduye in a must-see performance), a black teenage lesbian trying to hide her sexuality from her parents and struggling to find a loving homosexual relationship. While I thought the film fumbled the ending, overall it’s a strong drama that mostly manages to transcend the cliches of African American- and homosexual-centric narrative features. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is another Precious and I think this new trailer does an admirable job of trying to avoid that facile comparison.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. Pariah also stars Pernell Walker, Aasha Davis, Charles Parnell, Sahra Mellesse, and Kim Wayans. No release date has been announced, but it’s safe to assume we can expect in the second half of 2011.
The Sundance Film Festival Juries have selected the winners of the 2011 awards. The big winner is Like Crazy, which won both the Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic) and a Special Jury Prize for actress Felicity Jones. Naturally, Like Crazy already has a distribution deal in place with Paramount. Circumstance, Martha Marcy May Marlene, and Pariah are a few of the other winners in the dramatic competition.Notable documentary winners include How to Die in Oregon, Buck, and Project Nim.
Click here for all of our coverage of Sundance, including reviews and distribution reports for these films and more. Hit the jump for the full list of winners and the juries who handed out the awards.
I cannot personally speak to the experience of hiding my sexuality from my loved ones. Since I’m heterosexual, people have had to work a little harder to find reasons to irrationally hate me. It’s difficult to outright dismiss films which explore the difficulties homosexuals, especially homosexual teens, face when they live in environments which are opposed and sometimes openly hostile to their sexuality. However, we’ve seen this story so many times, not just in film, but in other art forms as well, that it has made the gay experience seem like one of agony, as if this is the only story gays and lesbians have to tell. Dee Rees’ Pariah approaches the story of a black teenage lesbian with enough heart, honesty, and tremendous performances, especially from lead actress Adepero Oduye, but it never completely manages to break free or redefine its sub-genre.
by Jason Barr Posted: January 28th, 2011 at 3:17 pm
With the 2011 Sundance Film Festival entering its second and final weekend, we have a few bits of new to bring you out of Park City, Utah. First up, Mike Cahill’s sci-fi film Another Earth has been awarded the festival’s Alfred P. Sloan Award for its status as an “outstanding feature film focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character.” The award carries with it a $20,000 cash award for Cahill and Co. Briefly, Another Earth stars William Mapother and Brit Marling and centers on two strangers who strike up an unlikely love affair against the backdrop of the discovery of a duplicate Earth.
Next up are a couple of Sundance acquisitions and we begin with the annoucement that Focus Features has snatched up the rights to Dee Rees’ Pariah. Starring Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, and Kim Wayans, the drama tells the story of a Bronx teenager who is charged with the difficult task of choosing between losing her best friend or destroying her family. Lastly, New Video has acquired the David Sington documentary The Flaw. Briefly, the economically-concerned project attempts to explain the underlying causes of current U.S. financial woes. New Video will release The Flaw under its Docurama Films moniker via multiple platforms including a limited theatrical run, cable VOD, and DVD.
Hit the jump to check out the press releases. Click here to catch up on all of our previous Sundance 2011 coverage.
Continuing our coverage of films that will be featured at the Sundance Film Festival in January, today we’re bringing you two films that will premiere in-competition at the festival: Another Earth and Pariah. Another Earth stars William Mapother, Brit Marling, Jordan Baker, Robin Lord Taylor, and Flint Beverage. The film tells the story of two strangers who meet on the eve of when a duplicate Earth has been discovered, and the two strike up an unlikely love affair.
Pariah stars Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Kim Wayans, Charles Parnell, and Aasha Davis. The film focuses on a Bronx teenager who is forced to choose between losing her best friend or destroying her family. Hit the jump to check out images and a brief synopsis for each film. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 20 – 30th.
The films playing in-competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival have been announced. Some of this year’s competitors include Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut Higher Ground, Paddy Considine’s feature directorial debut Tyrannosaur, Matthew Chapman’s thriller The Ledge, Michael Rapaport’s documentary Beats, Rhymes and Life (which is about the hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest), and a documentary about lovable Sesame Street resident Elmo (or rather, his puppeteer).
However, the movies playing in-competition at Sundance are only a fraction of the total number of films that play at the festival. This will be my first year attending the festival and I’m super-excited about going. Hit the jump for a full list of the in-competition films. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 20 – 30th.