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
She set an extra-terrestrial free, set some houses on fire and set a new trend in Cinderellas. But who knew Drew Barrymore could make people laugh?
The National Association of Theater Owners, apparently. The 24-year-old actress, who starred in last spring's hit comedy "Never Been Kissed," has been named ShoWest 2000 Comedy Star of the Year, the first actress to receive the award.
The actress, who will be honored at the ShoWest convention March 9, is currently working on the oft-discussed, big-screen adaptation of "Charlie's Angels," co-starring Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu. Now that Drew's a branded funnywoman, does that mean she's taking the Kate Jackson role?
MICHAEL-CATHERINE WEDDING WATCH: After tabloids reported about a possible wedding at the Spanish resort island of Majorca, now comes word that Couple of the Millennium (so far) Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones will likely marry in her native Wales, according to the British weekly magazine Now.
We already know the date: Sept. 25 of this year, when the couple will celebrate their birthday (her 31st, his 56th). The magazine reports the couple will wed at the 200-seat Clyne chapel near Zeta-Jones' hometown of Swansea. Michael's younger brother Eric is quoted as saying, "Catherine wants to please everyone, but it sounds like she's leaning toward a cozy wedding in the town she grew up in."
One concern, he says, is that Zeta-Jones' 84-year-old Granny Zeta would be able to make the trip. But the striking actress doesn't want to insult anyone on Douglas' side, either.
Adds Eric, "Catherine's changed her mind about every 30 minutes since Michael proposed, it's driving her mad trying to decide." And us.
BANNED NO MORE: Chinese director Zhang Yuan, whose work has been acclaimed but long banned by the government, was finally allowed to show his award-winning new movie, "Seventeen Years" in Beijing today.
The film, reportedly based on a true case, is about a 16-year-old who kills her stepsister in a moment of rage, spends 17 years in prison and finally is allowed a brief Lunar New Year visit home, where she confronts the churning but suppressed emotions of her parents. It won the directors' award at the Venice Film Festival.
"It's rather hard to see my films in Beijing. I mean, you can't do it. They didn't pass, so you can only see this one," the director said, adding that he was happy that Chinese audiences could finally see one of his films.
MORE 'BEAUTY': The Las Vegas Film Critics Society named "American Beauty" as best film, but "Boys Don't Cry" grabbed five awards.
The latter film took honors for director Kimberly Peirce, adapted screenplay by Peirce and Andy Bienen, actress Hilary Swank, supporting actress Chloè' Sevigny and most promising actress for Swank.
Kevin Spacey was named best actor for "Beauty," while Haley Joel Osment scored another supporting award for "The Sixth Sense." France's "Autumn Tale" won for best foreign film, "Snow Falling on Cedars" won best cinematography, and "Being John Malkovich" director Spike Jonze won the best newcomer award.
QUICK TAKES: Newsmakers and their friends took time backstage at the American Music Awards to give their two cents. First, Carmen Electra revealed that she and bad-boy ex-hubby Dennis Rodman, to whom she was married for like, two minutes, are considering remarriage. "But right now, I'm taking time off for myself," she said. You might recall that the two were arrested and charged with simple battery after a physical argument.
... Teen pop princess Britney Spears, wearing a jumpsuit with plunging neckline, addressed rampant rumors of a romance between her and Prince William, particularly the bit about their Valentine's date. "I will say we're not meeting on Valentine's Day," Spears said. But have they met? Are they close? She replied, "I don't like to talk about it."
... Rapper/actress/talk-show host Queen Latifah ("The Bone Collector") gave her support for Whitney Houston after the singer's marijuana bust in Hawaii. "Who knows if it was even hers?" Latifah said. "Plus, they've got good stuff in Hawaii!" And she's not talking about the sugar cane, either.