Monday, July 1, 2013

Coming This Week/Roadside and Magnolia/Foxcatcher at SPC?/Oscar at the Half Way Mark

Good Monday Everybody...


Last week I began to take a look at the relationships between Telluride and some of the film world's institutions.  Last week focused on five U.S. distribution outfits that have had, over the last decade. strong ties to the festival.  They were: Sony Pictures Classics, The Weinstein Company, Fox Searchlight, IFC Films and Sundance Selects.

This week I'm going to look at distribution firms that haven't had quite as much history with TFF, but enough so that any serious analysis of what may be in store for us on Labor Day weekend must include them.  Today through Wednesday I'll be assessing: Roadside Attractions, Magnolia, Focus Features, Strand, A24 and LD Entertainment.

There are other firms that have played with some consistency at Telluride but these six have material in the pipeline that could show at TFF #40.

On Thursday thru Saturday I'll take a look at what I refer to as "The Usual Suspects".  Individuals who have and continue to have a strong connection to the festival and what that could mean for TFF 2013.


Today I'm looking at Roadside Attractions and Magnolia.

Roadside Attractions:  This entity has just become a player at Telluride in the last four years.  Prior to 2010 they didn't have a presence in the previous decade.  Even then, they've been limited to one film in each of the past three years but they've been fairly impressive films:

2010: Biutiful
2011: Albert Nobbs
2012: Stories We Tell

Between them, Biutiful and Albert Nobbs were nominated for 5 Oscars.  "Stories We Tell" is almost certainly headed to an Oscar nomination this year for documentary and there is some scuttlebutt that we could see it break into the Best Picture, Director categories as well.

So what does Roadside Attractions have in its quiver.  3 possibilities, it seems:

"All is Lost"
"Blood Ties"

"All is Lost" is J.C. Chandor's follow up to his well received, Oscar nominated (Original Screenplay) 2011 film "Margin Call".  It stars Robert Redford in a performance with minimal dialogue that played phenomenally well out-of-competition at Cannes.  Actually, there was some commentary that it SHOULD have been in the competition and that Redford might well have been named Best Actor.  Certainly the film is on a lot of radars for potential year end recognition.

I'll be interested to see if it shows at Telluride especially in light of the films Sundance Film Fest connections: Redford, of course, and "Margin Call" got its start there.

Still, if you want to keep attention on Redford's performance, Telluride would be a cool move.

"Gloria"  made a big splash at the Berlin Film Fest in February winning 3 awards including Best Actress for Paulina Garcia.  TFF often includes a title or two from the Berlin fest and this seems like a real possibility.

"Blood Ties"  This film from French actor/director/writer Guillaume Canet was pretty high on my list of Cannes films to consider for Telluride but its cool critical reception at Cannes has made me back off my bullishness about it.  Still, James Gray co-wrote and executive produced and it seems that he will likely have a presence at this year's fest.

This could also be the year that Roadside Attractions has more than one film in the lineup.

"Gloria" 50%
"All is Lost" 50%
"Blood Ties" 50%

Today's other exploration of domestic distributors is Magnolia Pictures.  Their Telluride history for the past decade looks like this:

2004: Keane
2005: The Lost City
2006: Severance
2007: Redacted, The Princess of Nebraska, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, Terror's Advocate
2012: The Hunt, A Royal Affair

As you can see, Magnolia had a four year dry spell between 2008-11 but came back last year with two films.  Magnolia's only possible player is Lars Von Trier's "Nymphomaniac".  Von Trier has had some presence at TFF in the past, but it's been a good long time.

My expectation is that Von Trier and Magnolia aren't represented at this year's TFF.

Chances of "Nymphomaniac": 5%

Tomorrow a look at Focus Features and Film Movement.


Over the weekend Kristopher Tapley at InContention/HitFix posted a story about Bennet Miller's "Foxcatcher" and where it might end up distribution-wise.

The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell and Channing Tatum and is based on the true story of John DuPont and  the murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz.

I've had it on the edge of the SHOW's 2013 radar but haven't been particularly bullish on it.  Miller's directing debut "Capote" was a big hit out of TFF in 2005.  It earned Philip Seymour Hoffman the Oscar for Best Actor and 4 other nominations including Picture, Direction and Adapted Screenplay.  But Miller's sophomore effort, "Moneyball" didn't play Telluride in 2011 and that has really colored my thinking about "Foxcatcher"

Now comes Tapley's story in which he speculates that the film may be put into the hands of Sony's specialty shop Sony Pictures Classics...which is where "Capote" was distributed in '05.  That makes me re-think the situation.  It certainly increases our chances of seeing it Labor Day weekend.

Tapley writes:

"Multiple sources have told me the film could be distributed through Sony Pictures Classics, no stranger to juggling numerous films during an awards season. However, it's also possible the film, which hasn't been dated yet, doesn't make it out for 2013 at all."

He also adds:

"Sony Classics wouldn't confirm a move and Sony Pictures did not respond to a request for comment, so treat all this as (awful, terrible, rumor-mongering) speculation for now, but it seems to me it would be a good fit. "Foxcatcher" would give SPC a latter year release with real meat on its bones, and Miller is hot, coming off of 2011's "Moneyball," which went out through Sony."

Here's the link to Tapley's complete story:

So, "Foxcatcher" may be a possibility after all.


It seemed like every Oscar blogger in the world posted an Oscar analysis for the first half of 2013 last week so I've linked to some of them today and will add some more tomorrow:

Scott Feinberg at The Hollywood Reporter:

Scott's high on: "Fruitvale Station", "The Way Way Back", "Before Midnight" and "Mud".  From Cannes he points at: "All is Lost", "Inside Llewyn Davis", "The Past", "Nebraska" and "Blue is the Warmest Color".

Others he likes: (from last year's TFF) "The Sapphires", "The Iceman" and "Frances Ha" as well as "An Unfinished Song", "The Place Beyond the Pines" and "42".

Steve Pond at The Wrap:

Pond says that only "Before Midnight" is a serious contender in major categories.  He does mention several films that have appeared at Fests (notably Cannes) but haven't been released yet: "Inside Llewyn Davis", "Nebraska", "All is Lost", "Fruitvale Station", "Mud" and "Frances Ha".

Pete Hammond/Awards Line

Hammond's thoughts are that "Place Beyond the Pines", "42" "Before Midnight", "All is Lost" and "The Way Way Back" are the best bets at this point.

I'll link some more of these 2013 Oscar "half way" speculations tomorrow.

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