Two of the most prestigious independent film communities have recently each given their stamp of approval on independent cinema both past and future. Nominees for the 2006 Independent Spirit Awards were announced as was the lineup for the independent feature film and world cinema competitions for next year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Although each organization acknowledge and reward independent filmmaking, the two fetes are quite different. The Spirit Awards are more of a conventional awards show, which will be handed out March 4 in Santa Monica, California [for full coverage on the Spirit Award nominations, click here].
The Sundance Awards are the culmination of the 10-day festival (Jan. 19-29 in Park City, Utah) that showcases the films in contention for awards. Next year’s Sundance Film Festival lineup marks a return of sorts to the fest’s roots, by giving way to more fresh faces. The total number of submissions increased, resulting in a different and exciting format--the expansion of the world competition to include more international films.
Below are the films to be shown in the four competition sections:
American Dramatic Competition A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (Director, screenwriter: Dito Montiel) Come Early Morning (Director, screenwriter: Joey Lauren Adams) Flannel Pajamas (Director, screenwriter: Jeff Lipsky) Forgiven (Director, screenwriter: Paul Fitzgerald) Half Nelson (Director: Ryan Fleck; screenwriters: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck) Hawk Is Dying (Director: Julian Goldberger; screenwriters: Harry Crews (novel), Julian Goldberger) In Between Days (Director: So Yong Kim; screenwriters: So Yong Kim, Bradley Rust Gray) Puccini for Beginners (Director, screenwriter: Maria Maggenti) Quinceanera (Director/screenwriters: Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland) Right at Your Door (Director, screenwriter: Chris Gorak) Sherrybaby (Director, screenwriter: Laurie Collyer) Somebodies (Director, screenwriter: Hadjii) Stay (Director, screenwriter: Bob Goldthwait) Steel City (Director, screenwriter: Brian Jun) Stephanie Daley (Director, screenwriter: Hilary Brougher) Wristcutters: A Love Story (Director: Goran Dukic; screenwriters: Goran Dukic, Etgar Kerett)
American Documentary Competition:
A Lion in the House (Directors: Steven Bogner, Julia Reichert) American Blackout (Director: Ian Inaba) An Unreasonable Man (Directors: Henriette Mantel, Stephen Skrovan) Crossing Arizona (Director: Joseph Mathew) God Grew Tired of Us (Director: Christopher Quinn) Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends (Director: Patricia Foulkrod) Iraq in Fragments (Director: James Longley) Small Town Gay Bar (Director: Malcom Ingram) So Much So Fast (Directors: Steven Ascher, Jeanne Jordan) Thin (Director: Lauren Greenfield) 'Tis Autumn: The Search for Jackie Paris (Director: Raymond De Felitta) The Trials of Darryl Hunt (Directors: Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg) TV Junkie (Director: Michael Cain) Wide Awake (Director: Alan Berliner) Wordplay (Director: Patrick Creadon) The World According to Sesame Street (Directors: Linda Goldstein Knowlton, Linda Hawkins Costigan)
World Cinema Dramatic Competition 13 Tzameti (Director, screenwriter: Gela Babluani), France Allegro (Director: Christoffer Boe; screenwriters: Christoffer Boe, Mikael Wulff), Denmark The Aura (Director, screenwriter: Fabian Bielinsky), Argentina The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (Director: Auraeus Solito; screenwriter: Michiko Yamamoto), Philippines Eve & The Fire Horse (Director, screenwriter: Julia Kwan), Canada Grbavica (Director, screenwriter: Jasmila Zbanic), Bosnia-Herzegovina The House of Sand (Director: Andrucha Waddington; screenwriter: Elena Soarez), Brazil Kiss Me Not on the Eyes (Director, screenwriter: Jocelyne Saab), Lebanon Little Red Flowers (Director: Zhang Yuan; Screenwriters: Ning Dai, Zhang Yuan), China Madeinusa (Director, screenwriter: Claudia Llosa), Peru No. 2 (Director, screenwriter: Toa Fraser), New Zealand One Last Dance (Director, screenwriter: Max Makowski), Singapore The Peter Pan Formula (Director, screenwriter: Cho Chan-Ho), South Korea Princesas (Director, screenwriter: Fernando Leon de Aranoa), Spain Solo Dios Sabe (Director: Carlos Bolado; screenwriters: Carlos Bolado, Diane Weipert), Brazil/Mexico Son of Man (Director: Mark Dornford-May; screenwriters: Mark Dornford-May, Andiswa Kedama, Pauline Malefane), South Africa
World Cinema Documentary Competition 5 Days (Director: Yoav Shamir), Israel Angry Monk--Reflections on Tibet (Director: Luc Schaedler), Switzerland Black Gold (Director: Marc Francis, Nick Francis), U.K. By the Ways, a Journey with William Eggleston (Directors: Cedric Laty, Vincent Gerard), France Dear Pyongyang (Director: Yang Yonghi), Japan The Giant Buddhas (Director: Christian Frei), Switzerland Glastonbury (Director: Julien Temple), U.K. I is for India (Director: Sandhya Suri), England/Germany/Italy In the Pit (Director: Juan Carlos Rulfo), Mexico Into Great Silence (Director: Philip Groening), Germany Kz (Director: Rex Bloomstein), U.K. No One (Director: Tin Dirdamal), Mexico The Short Life of Jose Antonio Gutierrez (Director: Heidi Specogna), Germany Songbirds (Director: Brian Hill), U.K. Unfolding Florence: The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst (Director: Gillian Armstrong), Australia Viva Zapatero (Director: Sabina Guzzanti), Italy
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, the latest installment of George Lucas' sci-fi prequel trilogy, opens wide in U.S. theaters next week, but its creator won't be there to witness the pandemonium. The Associated Press reports that Lucas will be at the Cannes Film Festival instead, where the film will be screened using digital projectors rather than standard 35mm format.
Actress Julia Roberts took on a more serious role Thursday at a hearing of the House Appropriations subcommittee in Washington. Holding back tears, an emotional Roberts appealed for more money to research Rett Syndrome, a neurological disorder that affects about 200,000 girls and women worldwide, the AP reports.
Richard Gere's alleged stalker is being held on a $5,000 bail after being charged with stalking the actor, the AP reports. Ursula Reichert-Habbishaw of Kassell, Germany, was arraigned on charges of harassment, aggravated harassment and stalking after supposedly calling Gere as many as 1,000 times during the past year.
The new PlayStation 2 video game which features pop star Britney Spears is now available nationwide. In Britney's Dance Beat, players audition to be a backup dancer on the singer's virtual concert tour, gaining points along the way for each correct move.
Samuel L. Jackson has been cast as a Los Angeles police chief in Columbia Pictures' S.W.A.T., according to The Hollywood Reporter. In the film, Jackson leads a SWAT team that arrests a drug kingpin. Clark Johnson, who plays Detective Meldrick Lewis in the TV series Homicide: Life on the Street, is in talks to direct.
Director Barry Levinson will direct Ben Stiller and Jack Black in the DreamWorks comedy Envy, Variety reports. The film's story line centers around two best pals whose friendship is tested when one of them (Black) becomes filthy rich by selling inventions, which causes the other (Stiller) to go crazy with envy.
In the Biz
On Thursday a federal judge threw out a lawsuit by the family of late fishing boat captain Frank William "Billy" Tyne Jr., who claimed the film The Perfect Storm depicted him in a false and unflattering light, the AP reports. Judge Anne C. Conway explained that the First Amendment protects the film, and the Supreme Court has given filmmakers broad leeway in portraying people and events.
The world's most infamous houseguest, Brian "Kato" Kaelin, has shot a pilot episode for a reality TV series entitled House Guest. Kaelin described the premise of the show to Barbara Walters on ABC's 20/20 Wednesday, saying he goes across America knocking on doors of unsuspecting families and invites himself to spend a weekend with them.
The concept was fun while it lasted, but former President Clinton said it is unlikely he will host a television talk show. In a National Public Radio interview scheduled to air Friday, Clinton, who met with NBC executives in Los Angeles last week to discuss the possibilities of a show, said he didn't think it was going to happen, the AP reports.
Ozzy Osbourne is on a roll. Following the success of MTV's hit reality series about his family, The Osbournes, getting his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and signing a book deal, the self proclaimed "bleeping Prince of Darkness" scored a Prism Award Thursday in Hollywood for his accurate depiction of drug, alcohol or tobacco addiction in his new single "Junkie," Variety reports.
Veteran Mexican singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel cleaned up at the annual Billboard Latin music awards Thursday night in Miami Beach, winning four out of his five nominations. Gabriel won awards for best songwriter, Latin track and Latin pop airplay track for his single "Abrazame Muy Fuerte." He also won the Latin vocal duo track award with compatriot Nydia Rojas for "No Vale la Pena, " Reuters reports.