Sunday, July 3, 2016

Can We Talk Tributes? / Distribution: Kino Lorber's Telluride Profile / And a Thank You and a Re-Assessment

Good Independence Day America!  It's also a Monday...


I know, I know.  It's too early.  Much smarter to do this guesswork later in the summer when the Telluride lineup has been made clearer by the lineup announcements from other festivals (i.e. Toronto, Venice and New York).  Nevertheless, over the weekend, for hoots, I decided to see if recent Telluride history could tell us anything and if we could apply those lessons in terms of creating some notions of who might get the medallions over Labor Day weekend.

Start with looking at tribute recipients over the past dozen years whose selection was in accordance to a film that was going to be a part of the fall release schedule, and perceptually a possible awards contender.  Here's the list of recipient/film (and distributor):

2004-Laura Linney/Kinsey (Fox Searchlight)
2005-Charlotte Rampling/Lemming (Strand) and The Dardennes Brothers/The Child (SPC)
2006-Penelope Cruz/Volver (SPC)
2007-Daniel Day Lewis/There Will Be Blood ( Paramount Vantage)
2008-David Fincher/Benjamin Button (Paramount)
2009-Viggo Mortensen/The Road (TWC-Dimension)
2010-Peter Weir/The Way Back (Mulitple) and Colin Firth/The King's Speech (TWC)
2011-Tilda Swinton/We Need to Talk (Oscilloscope) and George Clooney/The Descendants (Fox Searchlight)
2012-Marion Cotillard/Rust and Bone (SPC) and Mads Mikkelsen/The Hunt and Royal Affair (Magnolia)
2013-Robert Redford/All is Lost (Lionsgate, Roadside) and The Coen Brothers w/ T-Bone Burnett/Inside Llewyn Davis (CBS Films)
2014-Hilary Swank/The Homesman (Roadside/Saban)
2015-Danny Boyle/Steve Jobs (Warners) and Rooney Mara/Carol (TWC)

21 people tributed:

14 men and 7 women

7 actresses
6 actors
9 directors (Redford and Clooney count here as well as the actor category)
1 musician (T-Bone)

The Weinstein Company-3
Sony Pictures Classics-3
Fox Searchlight-2
Lionsgate et al-2


A tribute recipient is more likely to be a man and slightly more likely to be a director.  Also, you're more likely to be a tribute recipient if you're in  film from one of the five distribution outlets listed above.

Now, let's apply this information to the films we think might be in play from each of these five.

The Weinstein Company: Lion.  Your best tribute bet from Lion is Nicole Kidman  I actually think that this could be a very real possibility (especially if TFF doubles up on Kidman films playing the fest.  I.E. How to Talk to Girls at Parties).  The director here is Garth Davis, who doesn't have a long enough resume to be a believable candidate and no other cast mate suggests the possibility, especially since Rooney Mara was a tributee last year.  The other outside shot is Wild Oats.  Star Shirley MacLaine was a tribute recipient in 1996 but I could see a Jessica Lange tribute as a very real possibility...if the film rises to Telluride standards.

This note, however, see the latest TWC news below [which means we might consider Matthew McConnaughey as atribute possibility]...

SPC-  They're likely to be in The SHOW with at least two films: Toni Erdmann and The Red Turtle and they could conceivably get in a couple more: Julieta and Elle.  Not a soul is terribly probable here.  Director Pedro Almodovar (Julieta) was a tribute recipient in 1988 and actress Isabelle Huppert (Elle) received one in 1986.  No one else stands out with the possible exception of director Paul Verhoeven (Elle) and I just don't see that.  Though, I do have to say, I am increasingly reassessing my insistence that the film won't play Telluride.  As of this morning, it's moved from a "nope" to a "maybe".

Fox Searchlight- Their only shots at Telluride appear to be Wilson and The Birth of a Nation. No one in BOAN seems very likely as a tribute candidate.  But Wilson is a different matter.  The film's star is Woody Harrelson and I could see that easily as a possibility for tribute.

Lionsgate/Roadside/Saban-Their best bets for Telluride are La La Land and American Pastoral.  La La seems all too young.  Certainly not director Damien Chazelle, whose career has just begun. Among the cast, I suppose Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are possible but the most probable might be character actor and recent Oscar winner J.K Simmons.

In as far as American Pastoral is concerned: Director/Actor Ewan McGregor wouldn't be a totally crazy option nor would co-star Jennifer Connelly.  By the by, if American Pastoral makes the trip to the San Juans, can we bring Philip Roth?

Paramount- Paramount's bench is deep with films that could make a T-ride lineup if they and the fest see eye to eye.  Allied, Arrival, The Lost City of Z, Silence.  Let's look at the tribute potential for each:

Allied- Director Robert Zemeckis-sure.  Star-Brad Pitt-Yup.  Marion Cotillard-already got one in 2012.

Arrival- Director Denis Villenueve-probably too early in his career.  Amy Adams-yup.  Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker-maybe.

The Lost City of Z- Director James Gray is a maybe.  The cast all seems too young-Hunnam, Pattinson, Holland.

Silence- Now, both the director, Martin Scorsese and  lead actor Liam Neeson would be a great choice for a tribute but I suspect that if Silence does a fest at all it will be NYFF or maybe AFI.  Hope I'm wrong.


Kino and/or Lorber and Kino Lorber were a hit and miss Telluride presence a decade ago.  They had Blind Mountain at TFF in 2007 and weren't back again until 2010 with La Quattro Volte and Poetry. Then after another lengthy layoff, they've become a solid presenter at Telluride over the last three years.

2013- Burning Bush, La Maison de la Radio, Manuscripts Don't Burn
2014-The Decent One
2015- Ixcanul, Sembene!, Taxi

So for 2016?  Kino Lorber has Berlin Golden Bear winner Fire at Sea in their stable and I really do think that it will make an appearance over Labor Day weekend.  Aside from Fire at Sea, however, I'm not as bullish about other films that KL has.

Slack Bay played at Cannes to middling critical response and no wins in competition.  Tower, the animated documentary about the shootings on the University of Texas campus by Charles Whitman in 1966, has played in a bunch of domestic fests, including South by Southwest so it's off the table.

So, Fire at Sea (80%) seems like the lone entry from Kino Lorber this year but also seems virtual lock to me with an outside shot at Slack Bay (35%) making the program.

Tomorrow our distribution odyssey will continue as we take a look at the newest and hottest players at Telluride from the last couple of years and the newest player that could make a splash at T-ride in 2016.


Much appreciation to Sasha Stone who mentioned me and MTFB in her Saturday story about the upcoming HHhH from The Weinstein Company.  I need to probably go back and retroactively add it to last Wednesday story about films that TWC has in its hopper.

Here's the link to her story:

Meanwhile, I stumbled across the fact that Jeff Wells has Stephen Gaghan's Gold listed among his Oscar Balloon films as one of those with "highest expectations".  The film stars Matthew McConnaughey and Edgar Ramirez.  I had been discounting the film altogether as it is also listed at IMDb as being under TWC's Dimension branch (which, to be fair, did provide The Road for Telluride in 2009).

Here's Well's latest Oscar Balloon:

Finally, add to add to the TWC pile this weekend, I heard from a friend who had heard from a friend (so, weigh that as you will) that Lion was screened privately at Cannes and the film wasn't particularly well received.

So after TWC's initial evaluation last week on Wednesday, my thinking has changed just a bit.  On Wednesday I had Lion at 60% and Wild Oats at 30% with Ballerina at 15%.

Now, with the added information add HHhH and Gold to our list and re-adjust:  New TWC chances:

Lion 50%
HHhH 30%
Gold 30%
Wild Oats 30%
Ballerina 15%

And, let me just ask rhetorically, could his be the first year  since I started tracking this stuff (I have TWC/Miramax back to 2006) that The Weinstein Company does not have a film at TFF?

Happy Fourth ya'll.  More on Tuesday...

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