Saturday, September 03, 2011

It Isn't Fall Yet, But Festivals Don't Know It

I tried to stretch my hiatus out a little longer, but when the Venice International Film Festival started Wednesday, I knew it was time to start paying attention to what was happening on the movie scene. Thus, a break from the cookout today for this post.

Venice IFF's Golden Lion Award

Two major Film Festivals are underway this weekend. For starters, the granddaddy of the film festivals, the 68th Venice International Film Festival - La Biennale di Venezia - opened Wednesday, 31 August, with the well-received world premiere screening of The Ides of March, the highly anticipated new film written, directed, and starring George Clooney, in the Palazzo del Cinema, following the opening ceremony.  Co-starring with Clooney are:  Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood and Marisa Tomei.

The Ides of March is the only U.S. film screening in competition. However, David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, Germany/Canada, is worth noting. It stars
Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud, Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung, and Keira Knightley as a troubled young woman seeking treatment. There are no films of note from the USA screening out of competition.
The complete list of films in competition Here.


George Clooney
The other festival is the 38th Telluride Film Festival (2-5 September), to which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded a $50,000 grant to underwrite this year's  Festival’s Guest Director program, featuring musician Caetano Veloso, who is described as ". . . a musician who loves movies." For more on the Academy's grant to Telluride, click the title of this post.

George Clooney’s The Ides Of March may have been well-received in Venice, but it did not make the Telluride roster.  None-the-less, Clooney headed from Venice to the Colorado San Juan mountain festival to support the other movie in which he stars this year, The Descendants. It is the new film from director Alexander Payne, his first since his Oscar-winner Sideways (2007). Telluride will host tributes for Clooney, and actress Tilda Swinton, who won a best supporting actress Oscar in 2008 as Clooney's co-star in Michael Clayton.

Besides Venice, Telluride is also a stop in the film festival circuit between Cannes and New York. There's The Artist, a black and white silent film directed by Michel Hazanavicius, and Martin Scorsese’s new documentary about the late member of The Beatles - George Harrison: Living in the Material World, plus the Irish drama Albert Nobbs, co-written by Glenn Close, which has the actress playing a shy butler who is hiding the fact that he/she is a woman.

At Telluride, there are the "to be announced" slots, which keep festival goers guessing. In the past, some films shown in these TBA slots, including last year's The King's Speech, received Oscars. Therefore, there is big buzz of speculation about this year's TBA films. One that has been revealed is Butter, a comedy starring Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde and Hugh Jackman. Telluride Festival.

Coming up, the San Sebastian Festival in Spain (16-24 September), has set it's jury members.  Serving as part of the official selection jury will be Babel screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, director Álex de la Iglesia (The Last Circus) and actresses Bai Ling (The Crow), Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) and Frances McDormand (Fargo). American writer and film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum will chair the New Directors competition at the festival. This from Nikki Fink's Deadline/Hollywood blog.

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