Blog

Mammoth Lakes Film Festival Reveals 2024 Lineup

The Mammoth Lakes Film Festival revealed its lineup for this year’s festival, taking place from May 22 – 26 at venues across Mammoth Lakes.

The festival will open with the California premiere of director Lucy Lawless’ “Never Look Away,” which follows a CNN combat camerawoman who gets injured and must find the strength to carry on. The closing night features “Black Box Diaries,” directed by Shiori Ito, who investigates her own sexual assault through the film.

A Short Films Program will also be featured at the festival, consisting of 38 narrative shorts, 20 documentary shorts, 10 animation shorts and a program of music videos and a screenplay competition.

All I’ve Got and Then SomeTehben Dean and Rasheed Stephens | United States

The Other ProfileArmel Hostiou | France, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Gold House Launches ‘Gold Lights’ Initiative, Releases A100 List and Honors Lucy Liu and Padma Lakshmi

Gold House’s “Gold Lights” initiative is set to launch on Wednesday, May 1 in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, as well as the 2024 A100 List, which honors 100 Asian Pacific leaders who made a significant impact on society over the past year.

Several landmarks and sites including California State Capitol, L.A. City Hall, Paramount Pictures Water Tower, Honolulu City Hall and Willis Tower in Chicago will light up gold to commemorate the first documented arrival of Asians in the U.S. The Empire State Building and One World Trade Center will also light up for the first time for APAHM.

“Gold Lights aim to unify the global Asian Pacific community that may not have a shared history but withholds an undeniable shared destiny: we are collectively committed to reshaping excellence in industries equitably,” said Bing Chen, CEO and co-founder of Gold House.

Lucy Liu and Padma Lakshmi will both be honored at the third annual Gold House Gala on May 1, along with the announcement of the A100 honorees.

Frameline Voices Reveals 2024 Program, Including Collection of Shorts Celebrating Queer Kinship

Frameline, the arts nonprofit that hosts San Francisco’s International LGBTQ+ Film Festival has announced four new projects for their annual Frameline Voices short film distribution program. A new film will stream each Friday starting May 3 and will be accessible through the month of May on Frameline’s website, YouTube channel and Instagram.

Frameline Voices is a curated program of short films and episodic content representing experiences unique to LGBTQ+ people and communities. This year’s collection celebrates Queer Kinship, with each film exploring the ways that LGBTQ+ people create connections through romantic relationships, chosen and biological family and community.

This year’s program also includes three Colin Higgins Youth Filmmaker Grant recipients: Daisy Friedman’s “As You Are” (2023), Dandashi’s “Cousins” (2023) and Emilio Subía’s “Ñaños” (2023). Each filmmaker received $15,000 of financial support to continue their work.

The list of selections includes the three grant recipients’ films along with Sarah Taborga and Aïma Paule’s “Femme Rage” (2023).

The jury and audience winners of the 67th San Francisco International Film Festival have been announced, with the audience award for narrative feature going to “A Teacher.” The audience documentary award went to “Agent of Happiness.”

Global Visions award-winner was “Great Absence,” while the documentary award went to “Sugarcane,” and the Bay Area documentary award went to “Seeking Mavis Beacon.”

Short film awards included “Bogota Story” for narrative short and “The Medallion” for documentary short, “A Film Is a Goodbye That Never Ends” for Bay Area Shorts and “La Perra” for animated short.

The Family Film Award went to “Dynasty and Destiny,” while the Youth Works winner was “Sil-tteu-gi.”

Slamdance announced that its annual film festival would move to Los Angeles starting in February, 2025.

The festival will run Feb. 20-26 at the Landmark Theatres and DGA in Hollywood, with more locations to be announced.

“Slamdance is coming to Los Angeles! Building upon our success in Utah, we will grow the festival with greater accessibility in Los Angeles and continue our work in launching new films, new careers, and new ideas in filmmaking,” said Slamdance President and Founder Peter Baxter. “With new and existing collaborators, our mission is to increase the global value of independent film and digital media and serve the Los Angeles arts community.”

DNEG Launches New Division DNEG 360 in Collaboration with Dimension Studio

DNEG, the visual effects studio behind “Dune” and “Oppenheimer,” has launched a new division, DNEG 360, operated by real-time production company Dimension Studio.

DNEG and Dimension first announced their collaboration in February 2021, and the launch of DNEG 360 expands their partnership to include visualization, virtual production, content creation and development services.

“DNEG 360 is the only end-to-end, real-time powered service provider operating at this kind of scale anywhere in the world,” said Steve Griffith, managing director of DNEG 360 and Dimension Studio. “We have taken the promise of the technology and made it work at scale, mapping out and defining the creative journey through the digital production process, from development through to delivery.”

The New York Film Critics Circle announced it will hold its annual Gala Awards dinner on Jan. 8, 2025 at TAO Downtown in New York City, marking the 90th anniversary of the Circle.

This year’s awards ceremony saw Martin Scorsese and his cast members accepting the award for Best Picture for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Lily Gladstone accepting the award for Best Actress, Christopher Nolan accepting the award for Best Director for “Oppenheimer,” Paul Dano presenting the award to Justine Triet for Best International Film for “Anatomy of a Fall,” Steve Buscemi presenting the award for Best First Film to Celine Song for “Past Lives,” and Richard Jenkins presenting the award for Best Supporting Actress to Da’Vine Joy Randolph for “The Holdovers.”

The NYFCC will continue awarding cash prizes and gala tickets to graduate and undergraduate students pursuing film criticism and journalism from schools in the surrounding New York metropolitan area, with member Keith Uhlich spearheading the effort. David Sims will serve as the 2024 chair of the organization and Stephen Garrett will continue as the group’s general manager.

Russell Crowe, Rami Malek and Michael Shannon Nazi Historical Thriller ‘Nuremberg’ to Launch Sales Through WME Independent in Cannes

“Nuremberg,” a historical thriller set in post-war Germany, will launch its sales through WME Independent at the Cannes Film Festival next month. The film stars Russell Crowe, Rami Malek and Michael Shannon. Richard E. Grant, Leo Woodall, John Slattery, Mark O’Brien, Colin Hanks, Lydia Peckham, Wrenn Schmidt, Lotte Verbeek and Andreas Pietschmann round out the cast.

The official logline reads: “‘Nuremberg’ chronicles the eponymous trials held by the Allies against the defeated Nazi regime. The film will center on American psychiatrist Douglas Kelley (Malek), who is tasked with determining whether Nazi prisoners are fit to stand trial for their war crimes, and finds himself in a complex battle of wits with Hermann Göring (Crowe), Hitler’s right-hand man. Shannon will play Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, the chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials.”

James Vanderbilt is directing from the script he adapted from the book “The Nazi and the Psychiatrist” by Jack El-Hai. Richard Saperstein, William Sherak, Brad Fischer, James Vanderbilt, Istvan Major and Paul Neinstein are producing, along with Walden Medias’s Frank Smith, Benjamin Tappan and Cher Hawrysh. Executive producers include Annie Saperstein, Brooke Saperstein, Beau Turpin, W. Porter Payne, Jr., Géza Deme and Tamás Hajnal.

American Black Film Festival and Walmart’s Black & Unlimited Announce “Black & Unlimited Fatherhood Project” Competition Winners

ABFF and Walmart teamed up for the second annual content creators’ competition which spotlights emerging directors and champions independent filmmaking while providing a platform to showcase a wide range of stories about Black men as fathers.

Three short films have been chosen to screen at the festival, which takes place in Miami Beach, Fla. from June 12-16. Last week, Variety exclusively announced the festival’s competition lineup of narrative and documentary features, including Jussie Smollett’s return to acting in “The Lost Holliday.”

The winning films for this year’s Black & Unlimited Fatherhood Project are:

After These Messages (World Premiere)A single father struggling with university politics as a professor must choose between his job and his daughter whose desire to be authentically herself threatens their livelihood.USA | 26 minDirector: Khalid AbdulqaadirWriter: Khalid AbdulqaadirProducers: Corey McCartney, Kevin Willmott, Talib Kweli, Khalid AbdulqaadirCast: Petey McGee, Sanaa Salaam

Black SantaEvery year Henry looks forward to his job working as a mall Santa alongside his son Otis. But as Otis grows older, this may prove to be their last holiday season as a duo.USA | 10:06 minDirector: Travis WoodWriters: Travis Wood, Weston AuburnProducers: Gabriela Díaz Arp, Kiah ClingmanCast: Theo Haddon, Andrew Tull, Michael Silverblatt

It Takes A Village (World Premiere)In 1960s Georgia, Lawrence Cooke prepares his son, Isaiah, for his ascension to manhood.USA | 13:37 minDirector: Joshua KissiWriters: Joshua Kissi, Keyla McNeelyProducer: Kagan SantCast: Jackson Abram, Michael Ealy, Nadine Ellis, Mccolm Cephas, Antonio Shamori Washington, Zakai Biagas-Bey, Jamald Gardner, Myron Primes, Newton N Mayenge

The three winning directors will be selected to each receive industry mentorship, a $10,000 cash award and the opportunity to attend and screen their films at the festival, during a program that also includes an onstage panel with an artist and their child to discuss fatherhood and their relationship. Each film will also be featured on the festival’s online global platform, ABFF PLAY, and Walmart’s Black & Unlimited YouTube page from June 17-24.

Gravitas Ventures Acquires ‘Istikhara, New York’ for North American Distribution

Film distribution company Gravitas Ventures has acquired the North American rights to Invention Studios’ “Istikhara, New York.” Written and directed by Yasir Masood, the film is set to release May 14 on Apple TV+ and other providers for a limited time. Additionally, Bryn Mooser and Mohannad Malas have signed on as executive producers.

Shot originally with a budget of $15,000 in Brooklyn, New York, the film follows Reza, a 25-year-old aspiring Broadway actor who is hustling as a food delivery courier to make ends meet. “Istikhara, New York” won the Emerging Filmmaker Award at the Los Angeles Asian American Film Festival in 2022.