BEST OF THE WEEK
I started looking studio by studio, distributor by distributor this week at those film firms that are often the source for films that play at Telluride. This first week focused on 4 specifically: Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, Sony Pictures Classics and The Weinstein Company. Here's what I had to say:
FOCUS ON FOCUS
Today I begin the breakdown of some of the "usual suspects" in as far as film companies that produce and/or distribute and are, at least sometimes, players at the Telluride Film Festival. This week I'll be focusing on domestic companies and specifically today on Focus Features.
Focus has had what I would term a "modest" Telluride relationship in the recent past. It has been represented there previously and in some years has been fairly prevalent. There have also been some years where Focus has been absent altogether.
Here's the recent Focus films that have been in Telluride's lineup:
2007: Into the Wild
2006: Catch a Fire
2005: Brokeback Mountain
2004: The Motorcycle Diaries, House of Flying Daggers
2003: Lost in Translation
As production company:
2010: Bitiful, Another Year
As you can see. Focus doesn't play every year at T-ride and doesn't play "big" (I define "big" as 3 or more films).
So what does Focus have in store for this year that might tempt the Telluride programmers?
They're distributing Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina" and Roger Michell's "Hyde Park on Hudson". They're producing and distributing the Gus Van Sant directed Matt Damon and John Krasinski authored and starrer "Promised Land" which IMDb lists in post-production but which at least film news outlet thinks might be ready for fall festivals and Oscar consideration.
Of the three "Hyde Park on Hudson" is almost a lock I think. It's directed by Roger Michell (TFF's in 1995 for "Persuasion", 2004 for "Enduring Love" and 2006 with "Venus") and stars Laura Linney (tributed at TFF in 2004 (Kinsey and P.S.) and returning to Telluride with films or as a part of their guest list in 2006 (Jindabayne), 2007 (The Savages), 2008, 2009 and 2010).
In all likelihood "Hyde Park" is the lone representative from Focus Features at Telluride this year.
If there is a second, it's probably more likely to be "Promised Land" if it's ready. Director Gus Van Sant has had some Telluride experience in the past...but it's been a good while (1995 To Die For, 2003 Elephant).
"Anna Karenina" is the least likely, though not completely impossible. Joe Wright's career is young enough not to have a long track record of films to have even been considered for Telluride. In AK's favor, I suppose, is the fact that TFF programmers have enjoyed programming films that star Keira Knightley as of late: 2011: "A Dangerous Method" and in 2010: "Never Let Me Go".
I'm continuing my look at the "independent" type production/distribution firms that have had a significant presence at the Teluuride Film Festival over the past few years in order to look at their possible offerings for this year's fest. Today's company is Fox Searchlight.
FS has had a number of high profile films over the past several years at T-ride including:
As distributor and/or production company:
2011: Shame, The Descendants
2010: 127 Hours, Never Let Me Go, Black Swan
2008: Slumdog Millionaire
2007: Juno, The Savages
2006: The Namesake, The Last King of Scotland
Take note of three things:
1) FS plays most years (especially since 2006)
2) FS averages 2 films per year when they play
3) FS does NOT always play...ex. 2009
4) When they do have offerings, they're almost always a part of the year end awards conversation.
So what's the takeaway?
Fox Searchlight's slate this year is not particularly large nor Telluride friendly.
Chan-wook Park's "Stoker" has been getting a lot of buzz, but doesn't seem particularly Telluride-like.
Ben Lewin's "Sessions" premiered at Sundance...
Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" opened today in New York and L.A.
Jonathan Dayton and Valeire Faris' "Ruby Sparks" opens July 25.
Nothing else listed at the FS page on IMDb seems likely in terms of content or time frame.
Now, there is "The East" from director Zal Batmanglij that is NOT currently listed with Fox Searchlight on IMDb but is reported as an FS project in the media. "The East" has no announced release date and is listed as being post-production. It was written by (and also stars) indie rising star Batmanglij and Brit Marling who also co-wrote "Sound of My Voice". Marling also penned and starred in 2011 Sundance sensation "Another Earth".
"The East" co-writer/star Brit Marling
"The East" also stars Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page, Patricia Clarkson and Julia Ormand
So, ultimately, "The East" becomes Fox Searchlight's best Telluride option by default. That's why I have it listed on this week's (and the summer's first) "Ten Bets" list posted Monday.
I'm still hoping (and nagging) that "Sessions" gets on the Telluride program despite having had its premiere at Sundance.
Fox Searchlight's IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/company/co0028932/
"The East's" IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1869716/
SONY PICTURES CLASSICS
I am continuing my summer march through film distribution and production companies and their recent past relationship in terms of the Telluride Film Festival as a way of looking at possibilities for what we might see come Labor Day weekend.
Today's focus is on a major player at Telluride: Sony Pictures Classics...what is essentially Sony Pictures Entertainment's indy/foreign wing.
Here's what SPC has shown in Telluride recently:
2011: A Dangerous Method, In Darkness, Footnote, A Separation
2010: Incendies, Of Gods and Men, Tamara Drewe, Another Year, The Illusionist, Inside Job
2009: The Last Station, The White Ribbon, Coco Before Chanel, A Prophet, An Education
2008: Waltz with Bashir, I've Loved You So Long
2007: O'Horten, Brick Lane, When Did You Last See Your Father, Persepolis, The Band's Visit, The Counterfeiters
2006: Jindabyne, The Lives of Others, Volver,
2005: Breakfast on Pluto, Capote
2004: Being Julia, House of Flying Daggers, Bad Education
So you can see, SPC averages about 4 films per TFF over the last 8 years, tending toward more rather than less as you look at the most recent years.
SPC's IMDb page appears to list 4 films that haven't or will not have been released prior to TFF and which did not bow at Sundance making them all prime possibilities:
Susanne Bier's "Love is All You Need" starring Pierce Brosnan.
Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone" with Marion Cotillard
Pablo Larrain's "No" with Gael Garcia Bernal
and Michael Haneke's Cannes Palme D'Or Winner "Amour"
My bet right now is that "Rust", "No" and "Amour" are all going to make the Telluride cut (see Monday's Ten Bets list) and I'd put the odds at 50% for "Love is All You Need".
One final note: should SPC pick up the North American distribution for other films in the next 6 weeks or so (or if they have them already and they just haven't been announced) then depending on strategy, those late acquisitions could stop in Telluride as well.
THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
Today marks the fourth day to continue our examination of production/distribution film firms that have or may have a Telluride connection in the past and one for 2012. Today's company du jour is The Weinstein Company.
TWC usually plays Telluride, but it often does so with two characteristics being true. First, they don't normally have many films there and second, the films they do have are almost always serious awards contenders by the end of the year and it's very clear that the Weinstein people (meaning head guy Harvey Weinstein) carefully calibrates choices in terms of what they wish to unveil during the Labor Day festival.
Here's the TWC Telluride history as a distributor/producer:
2011: The Artist (Best Pic winner), Butter
2010: The King's Speech (Best Pic winner)
2009: The Road
2007: I'm Not There, My Enemy's Enemy
So, as you can see, one or two films per year with the last two years being part of the path that TWC used on the way to winning the Best Picture Oscar.
So what does TWC bring to Telluride in 2012? Their shelves are stocked full...so many potential Telluride releases. I have a feeling that this is the year that there are more than two TWC films on the TFF #39 program...
Here are the most likely/intriguing possibilities that TWC has slated for a 2012 release that fit Telluride's window:
Dustin Hoffman's "Quartet"
Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained"
Kar Wai Wong's "The Grandmasters"
Regis Roinsard's "Populaire"
David O. Russell's "The Silver Linings Playbook" (see trailer below)
Paul Andrew Williams "Song for Marion"
Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master"
Andrew Dominick's "Killing Them Softly"
Wayne Blair's "The Sapphires"
John Hillcoat's "Lawless" is set for an Aug. 29th release date...so no Telluride for what was once called "The Wettest County in the World".
Currently I only have "Song for Marion" listed on this week's "Ten Bets" list but I think ANY of the films listed above are possible T-ride choices.
If forced to handicap the field I'd suggest that the most likely are "The Sapphires", "The Silver Linings
Playbook" and, yes, I'm going to say it..."The Master".
Mid-level possibilities: "Killing Them Softly" and "Populaire"
Least Likely: "The Grandmasters", "Quartet" and "Django Unchained".
TWC's IMDb page: http://www.imdb.com/company/co0150452/
Keep your eyes open and your fingers crossed!
ALL DJANGO ALL THE TIME
If you're breathlessly awaiting the arrival of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" then you need to go to this website now:
Links to pictures, logo, trailer and a ton of other stuff on this "Webmasters Toolkit".
There is a lot of stuff here...
And, finally, the year's first "Ten Bets" list was up on Monday. I'll have an new list up in 2 days... Here's this week's:
2) Rust and Bone
3) Beyond the Hills
4) Hyde Park on Hudson
5) Song for Marion
7) Midnight's Children
8) The East
9) Something in the Air
10) On the Road
More later...Have a great weekend!
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