Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 National Film Registry entries announced

2011 National Film Registry More Than a Box of Chocolates
“Forrest Gump,” “Bambi,” “Stand and Deliver” Among Registry Picks

"My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.’" That line was immortalized by Tom Hanks in the award-winning movie "Forest Gump" in 1994. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today selected that film and 24 others to be preserved as cultural, artistic and historical treasures in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

Spanning the period 1912-1994, the films named to the registry include Hollywood classics, documentaries, animation, home movies, avant-garde shorts and experimental motion pictures. Representing the rich creative and cultural diversity of the American cinematic experience, the selections range from Walt Disney’s timeless classic "Bambi" and Billy Wilder’s "The Lost Weekend," a landmark film about the devastating effects of alcoholism, to a real-life drama between a U.S. president and a governor over the desegregation of the University of Alabama. The selections also include home movies of the famous Nicholas Brothers dancing team and such avant-garde films as George Kuchar’s hilarious short "I, an Actress." This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 575.

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 Online Film Critics Society Awards - nominations

The Online Film Critics Society has announced its nominations for the 15th Annual OFCS Awards.

Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life led the field with seven nominations. It received nods for Best Picture, Best Director (Malick), Best Supporting Actor (Brad Pitt), Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain), Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Cinematography. Jessica Chastain was also singled out for a Special Award as the breakout performer of the year.

Next was Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive with six nominations. Its nominations were for Best Picture and Director, Best Supporting Actor (Albert Brooks), Best Adapted Screenplay, Editing and Cinematography.

The other nominees for Best Picture were Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist, Alexander Payne's The Descendants and Martin Scorsese's Hugo. Hazanavicius and Scorsese were also nominated for Best Director, while Payne was omitted in favour of Melancholia director Lars von Trier.

2011 Ghana Movie Awards - winners

On Christmas, Ghana's film industry gathered at the Accra International Conference Centre to hold their Second Annual Ghana Movie Awards.

The night's main winner was Leila Djansi's Ties That Bind. It won nine awards including Best Picture, Best Directing - English Language and Best Actress (American actress Kimberly Elise). It had led the nominees with an overwhelming total of 21 nominations

The Adams Apple series of films by Shirley Frimpong-Manso picked up five awards. It's wins included Best Story and Best Writing Adapted Or Original Screenplay.

Somewhere In Africa picked up three awards. They were all for acting -- Best Actor In A Leading Role [English Language] for Madji Michel, Best Actor In A Supporting Role [English Language] for Majid Michel, and Best Cameo Actor going to Kofi Adjorlolo.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Alliance of Women Film Journalists' 2011 EDA Awards - nominees

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists has announced the nominees for the 2011 AWFJ EDA Awards.

Yet again, the leader going in is the silent film homage from France, The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius. It received nine nominations including Best Film, Director, Original Screenplay and Actor (Jean Dujardin).

Following well behind with six nominations each were Alexander Payne's The Descendants and Martin Scorsese's Hugo. Both were nominated for Best Film, Director and Adapted Screenplay.

Also nominated for Best Film were Lars von Trier's Melancholia and Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. Von Trier, however, missed out on a Director nomination with Terrence Malick taking the fifth spot.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oscar's 97 eligible Original Scores

97 Original Scores in 2011 Oscar® Race

Beverly Hills, CA (December 22, 2011) – Ninety-seven scores from eligible feature-length motion pictures are in contention for nominations in the Original Score category for the 84th Academy Awards®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.

The eligible scores along with the composer are listed below in alphabetical order by film title:

  • The Adjustment Bureau, Thomas Newman, composer

  • The Adventures of Tintin, John Williams, composer

  • Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    2011 Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC) Awards - winners

    The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC) announced the winners of their 2nd annual BFCC awards.

    The main winner was The Help which won five films including Best Film, Best Actress (Viola Davis) and Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), Best Screenplay and Best Ensemble. This is a surprise since The Help is a problematic and actually racist film. Yet there wasn't a surfeit of alternatives that portrayed the black experience, so this result may have been inevitable.

    Pariah fared well also with wins for Best Director (Dee Rees), Best Independent Film and Best Original Screenplay. It was number three on their list of top films for 2009.

    The Best Actor award went to Olivier Litondo for The First Grader. Albert Brooks won for Best Supporting Actor with Drive.

    17th Prix Lumière - nominations

    The nominations have been announced for the 17th Prix Lumière for French Films.

    Leading with six nominations each were Bertrand Bonello's L’Apollonide, souvenirs de la maison close (House of Tolerance) and Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist. Each was nominated for Best Film and Best Director.

    Rounding out the field for Best Film were L’exercice de l’Etat (The Minister), Le Havre and Intouchables. Each was also nominated for Best Director except Intouchables whose spot went instead to Maïwenn for Polisse.

    Two Canadian films are in contention for Best Foreign Film in French. They are Curling by Denis Cote and Incendies by Denis Villeneuve. Incendies was a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards.

    London Critics’ Circle Film Awards - nominations

    The London Critics' Circle has announced the nominations for their 32nd annual film awards. Two Scandinavian filmmakers led with six nominations each. They were Tomas Alfredson for his Cold War spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Nicolas Winding Refn for his sleek Spaghetti Western-style drama Drive.

    Both were nominated for Film of the Year, where they will be competing against Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist, Asghar Farhadi's A Separation and Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life.

    A Separation and We Need to Talk About Kevin each picked up five nominations. The Artist and Steve McQueen's Shame followed with four nominations.

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    2011 Women Film Critics Circle Awards - winners

    The Women Film Critics Circle has announced their 2011 Awards last night.

    The top winner was The Help. It won for Best Movie About Women, Best Actress (Viola Davis), Best Female Ensemble and the Josephine Baker Award "for best expressing the woman of color experience in America." I have issues with how it expresses the "women of color experience" and it isn't actually that good, but it is a fine acting ensemble.

    The other top award Best Movie By A Woman was a tie between The Iron Lady and We Need To Talk About Kevin. The Iron Lady also picked up the Best Storyteller Award for its screenwriter Abi Morgan.

    The Descendants was a double winner, for Actor George Clooney and Young Actress Shailene Woodley. Albert Nobbs also picked up a pair of prizes for Courage In Acting (Glenn Close) and the Karen Morley Awards "for best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity."

    2012 Österreichischen Filmpreis (Austrian Film Award) - nominations

    The Akademie des Östereichischen Films (Academy of Austrian Film) has announced the nominations for their second annual Österreichischen Filmpreis (Austrian Film Awards).

    Leading with six nominations in the thirteen categories was Atmen (Breathing) by Karl Markovics (who is Co-President with Barbara Albert of the Akademie des Östereichischen Films). Its nominations were for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Thomas Schubert), Screenplay, Music and Editing.

    Markus Schleinzer's Michael followed closely with five nominations. In addition to Best Picture and Director, it was nominated for Screenplay, Cinematography and Sound. Vielleicht in einem anderen Leben (In Another Lifetime) also picked up five nominations but missed on Best Picture. It was recognizes for Actress (Ursula Strauss), Costume Design, Makeup, Art Direction and Sound.

    The third Best Picture nominee was Barbara Eder's Inside America. It picked up additional nominations for Cinematography and Editing.

    Oscar's 265 eligible films for Best Picture

    265 Feature Films in Contention for 2011 Best Picture Oscar®

    Beverly Hills, CA (December 19, 2011) – Two hundred sixty-five feature films are eligible for the 2011 Academy Awards®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.

    To be eligible for 84th Academy Awards® consideration, feature films must open in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County by midnight, December 31, and begin a minimum run of seven consecutive days.

    Under Academy rules, a feature-length motion picture must have a running time of more than 40 minutes and must have been exhibited theatrically on 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital format.

    Feature films that receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release are not eligible for Academy Awards in any category.

    2010-11 Montreal English Critics Circle Awards - winners

    Montreal's English Theatre critics gathered today to present the 2010-11 MECCAs (Montreal English Critics Circle Awards) at Theatre Ste-Catherine in the Quartier des spectacles.

    Scapegoat Carnivale Theatre's Medea was named Best Production. Its star France Rolland was named Best Actress.

    Best Director went to Tableau d’Hote Theatre's Liz Valdez for Humans. The production also won Best Lighting (Jody Burkholder).

    Chip Chuipka was named Best Actor for Gordon. The Only Bar by Le Nouveau International and Robin Henderson Productions was declared Best Ensemble.

    Oscar's 39 titles eligible for Best Original Song

    39 Original Songs Vie for Oscar's 2011 Playlist

    Beverly Hills, CA (December 19, 2011) – Thirty-nine songs from eligible feature-length motion pictures are in contention for nominations in the Original Song category for the 84th Academy Awards®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.

    The original songs, along with the motion picture in which each song is featured, are listed below in alphabetical order by film and song title:

  • "The World I Knew" from "African Cats"

  • "Lay Your Head Down" from "Albert Nobbs"
  • 2011 Chicago Film Critics Awards - winners

    The Chicago Film Critics Association met to determine their 2011 Award winners and the dominant winner was Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. It won Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain) and Cinematography.

    Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive picked up two awards for Supporting Actor Albert Brooks and for the score by Cliff Martinez. The only other multiple prize-winner was Martha Marcy May Marlene, which won Most Promising Performer for Elizabeth Olsen and Most Promising Filmmaker for writer-director Sean Durkin.

    The Best Actor Award went to Chicago actor Michael Shannon for Take Shelter. Michelle Williams was named Best Actress for playing Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn.

    The Artist won for Best Original Screenplay. For Adapted Screenplay, the winner was the baseball film Moneyball.

    Sunday, December 18, 2011

    2011 IPA Satellite Awards - winners

    The International Press Academy today held their ceremony for the 16th annual Satellite Awards (formerly the Golden Satellite Awards) in Beverly Hills, California.

    The top prize of Best Picture went to Alexander Payne's delicate dramedy The Descendants. It also won for Best Adapted Screenplay.

    Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, however, came away with more prizes. It won Best Director, Actor (Ryan Gosling), Supporting Actor (Albert Brooks) and Sound. Drive and Steven Spielberg's War Horse each led with eight nominations. The only award for War Horse though was for Cinematography.

    The Tree of Life picked up two awards. Jessica Chastain was recognized as Supporting Actress, while Terrence Malick won for Original Screenplay.

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Roman Polanski retrospective at TIFF Lightbox

    In anticipation of the new film Carnage, TIFF Bell Lightbox kicks off a retrospective series on the film of director Roman Polanski tonight with a screening at 9pm of Nóz w wodzie (Knife in the Water). It was his debut film which made a strong impression and won the FIPRESCI award at the Venice Film Festival.

    The other films screening during at Lightbox are Chinatown, Cul-de-sac, Repulsion, The Tenant, Rosemary's Baby, and The Ghost Writer. Each of the films is excellent and well worth catching on the big screen. Of course he has directed 30 titles, so many fine works have unfortunately been omitted. The missing works include The Tragedy of Macbeth, Tess, Frantic, and his Oscar-winning The Pianist.

    Polanski remains a controversial and misunderstood figure in the general public. His inexcusable acts with a minor that led to him fleeing the United States never to return have nonetheless been misrepresented and distorted. Those who wish to learn more about his situation would be well advised to watch Marina Zenovich's documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired.

    Call for submissions: student films and video games


    TIFF invites college and university film and game design students to submit works and join us in discovering Canada’s top emerging creative talents.

    Future Frames and Games, one of our most popular and well-attended programmes, is a presentation of the latest and greatest film or videogame works created at post-secondary schools across Canada. The screenings and demonstrations occur at the TIFF Next Wave Festival from May 10-12th 2012, and selected entrants will also receive complimentary guest and Industry accreditation for TIFF Kids International Film Festival (April 10-22nd) where there are significant opportunities for networking, industry exposure, industry-specific panels as well as access to hospitality services and international buyers.

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Film Comment's Best Films of 2011

    Film Comment surveyed over 120 film writers and critics to come up with their year-end list of best films. They produced two lists, one for released films and another for films that haven't yet been released, at least not in the United States.

    Topping the list of released films is the mildly surprising choice of The Tree of Life, as it can be a polarizing film and the group surveyed was rather large. Rounding out the top ten in order Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past LivesMelancholiaA SeparationA Dangerous MethodMysteries of LisbonCertified CopyMeek's CutoffHugo, and Poetry. Apart from Hugo by Martin Scorsese, none of these selections is a mainstream film.

    The list of top unreleased film is headed by Jafar Panahi's This Is Not a Film. It is followed by The Turin HorseOnce Upon A Time in Anatolia, The Kid with a Bike, The Loneliest Planet, Miss Bala, Footnote, Kill List, Sleeping Sickness and Play.

    Call for submissions: Polar Film Festival

    Canadian Film Institute and International Polar Year
    Seek Films that Focus on Arctic and Antarctic Regions

    The Canadian Film Institute (CFI), in partnership with the International Polar Year (IPY) 2012 Conference Secretariat, is officially seeking entries for the Polar Film Festival. The two-day moving image event is a featured presentation of the IPY 2012 Conference: From Knowledge to Action, held April 22-27, 2012, in Montréal, Quebec, Canada.

    The Polar Film Festival will celebrate the rich diversity of the Polar Regions, as well as examine the many challenges and world-wide implications they face in the 21st Century and onward. As a follow-up to the IPY Film Festival presented by the CFI in 2009, this event highlights the efforts of filmmakers from around the world who approach the Polar Regions from many different industries, research interests, artistic sensibilities, and political perspectives.

    2011 Prix Louis-Delluc - winners

    The jury for the Prix Louis-Delluc announced their winners for their 69th edition of the awards at a ceremony held at Fouquet's in Paris.

    The main Prix Louis-Delluc was given to Le Havre by Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismäki. It is Finland's submission to the Academy for consideration for the Best Foreign Language Film category. Le Havre won out over competitors such as Valérie Donzelli's La Guerre est déclarée (Declaration of War), Bertrand Bonello's L'Apollonide (Souvenirs de maison close) (House of Tolerance), Pierre Schoeller's L'Exercice de l'Etat (The Minister), and current awards-season favourite The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius.

    The Prix Louis-Delluc for Debut Film went to Djinn Carrenard's Donoma. The film was reportedly made for a mere €150 ($200).

    The Prix Louis-Delluc is named after filmmaker and writer Louis Delluc and is awarded by a jury of 20 film critics and cultural personalities to their choice of the best French film of the year. The jury president is Gilles Jacob, also the president of Festival de Cannes.

    2011 Angel Film Awards - winners

    The Monaco International Film Festival held their 9th annual Angel Film Awards 2011 recently at the Art Novo Theatre in the Novotel, Monte Carlo. The Angel Film Awards are given to films that promote peace, love, harmony, positive energy and non-violence.

    The British film My Angel by Steve Cookson led the field with seven wins including Best Feature Film, Director, Male Actor (Timothy Spall) and Female Actor (Brenda Blethyn). The film is a story of a 15-year-old boy and his brother who must look after themselves following their mother's car accident.

    The American production In the Key of Eli won four awards including the award for Ensemble Cast and the two supporting categories.

    The winner for Best Documentary was Get Real! Wise Woman Speak. It also took the Feature Documentary Cinematographer award and the Angel Peace Award. The Canadian production How to Boil a Frog was the winner of four awards including Best Feature Documentary Director.

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Call for submissions: Toronto Animation Arts Festival International

    The Toronto Animation Arts Festival International has put out a call for submissions for their inaugural festival.

    They will accept short or feature-length animation works from Canada and around the world. The deadline for free submissions is February 29, 2012. Late Submissions may be submitted up until March 30, 2012 for $10. Very Late Submissions have until April 15th 2012 for $25.

    Submit your Animation via Withoutabox

    The 1st edition of the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International will take place on June 22-24, 2012 at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

    Complete Golden Globe Awards nominations announced

    The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) have announced their nominations for the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards this morning.

    Leading the field with six nominations, The Artist made a strong showing yet again. It's nominations included Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius), Best Actor - Musical or Comedy (Jean Dujardin) and Best Screenplay.

    The Descendants and The Help followed closely with five nominations each. Moneyball, Ides of March and Midnight in Paris each received four nominations. Hugo, My Week with Marilyn and 50/50 all took three nominations. Each of the aforementioned received a Best Picture nomination, either for drama or musical/comedy. Rounding out the Best Picture nominees were War Horse and Bridesmaids.

    George Clooney was the recipient of three nominations. He received a Best Actor nomination for his starring role in The Descendants, and surprise nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay for the political thriller The Ides of March.

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Shortlist of 10 films for Live Action Short Film Oscar

    10 Live Action Shorts Advance in Oscar® Race

    Beverly Hills, CA (December 14, 2011) – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 live action short films will advance in the voting process for the 84th Academy Awards®. One hundred seven pictures had originally qualified in the category.

    The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company:

    Je Pourrais Être Votre Grand-Mère (I Could Be Your Grandmother), Bernard Tanguy, director-producer (Rézina Productions)

    CFC's The Reel Challenge, Take 3

    The Canadian Film Centre has announced the third edition of its filmmaker contest, The Reel Challenge. This time the theme is: Celebrating the Movie and Television Industry at Work.

    Filmmakers across Canada (except Quebec for some reason) are invited to submit a short film or Public Service Announcement up to 60 seconds in length about the topic in question. The winning film will receive a prize of $10,000. Second prize is $3,000 while third prize is $2,000.

    The deadline for submissions is January 13, 2012.

    2011 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards - nominations

    The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announced their full slate of nominations this morning for the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. The Help led the film section with four nominations, followed by The Artist with three. Both were nominated for the Ensemble category Outstanding Performance by a Cast, the SAG equivalent of a Best Picture award.

    The other Best Ensemble nominees were Midnight in Paris, The Descendants and surprise inclusion Bridesmaids.

    Another surprise inclusion was the Mexican actor Demián Bichir for his starring role in the little seen A Better Life. He was joined in the Lead Actor category by George Clooney (The Descendants), Leonardo Dicaprio (J. Edgar), Jean Dujardin (The Artist) and Brad Pitt (Moneyball). On the Actress side, the nominees were Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin), and Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn).

    Toronto Film Critics Association’s 2011 awards - winners

    The Toronto Film Critics Association has announced the winners for their 2011 awards. They had voted this weekend when many other critics' groups made their choices, but wisely held off on revealing their voting results until today.

    Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life was the favourite and won Best Picture, while Malick was named Best Director. It was also a runner-up for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain).

    Jessica Chastain did win Best Supporting Actress for Take Shelter as did Michael Shannon for Best Actor. Best Actress went to Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn, while Best Supporting Actor went to Canadian stage legend Christopher Plummer for Beginners.

    Two Chilean movies received recognition as well. The late Raul Ruiz' Mysteries of Lisbon was named Best Foreign-Language Film. Best Documentary Feature was Nostalgia for the Light by Patricio Guzmán.

    2011 Premios Sur (Argentina) - winners

    The Academia de las Artes y Ciencias Cinematograficas de la Argentina (Argentine Film Arts and Sciences Academy) held their 6th Annual Premios Sur on Monday night. The top prize for Best Film went to Sebastián Borensztein's buddy comedy Un Cuento Chino (Chinese Takeaway). It also won Best Actor (Ricardo Darín) and Supporting Actress (Muriel Santa Ana). It had led with 14 nominations.

    But the biggest haul of the night was for Fernando Spiner's Aballay, el hombre sin miedo (Aballay, the Man without Fear). It took eight awards from its thirteen nominations, including Best Director, Actress (Moro Anghileri), Supporting Actor (Claudio Rissi) and Adapted Screenplay. Aballay, el hombre sin miedo is Argentina's official submission to the Academy for Best Foreign Language Film consideration.

    Santiago Mitre's El Estudiante (The Student) also scooped multiple awards. It won for Debut Film, Original Screenplay, Breakthrough Actress (Romina Paula) and Breakthrough Actor (Esteban Lamothe).

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    2011 BFCA Critics Choice Awards - nominations

    This morning, the Broadcast Film Critics Association announced their nominations for the 17th annual Critics Choice Awards. Leading with 11 nominations each were the two homages to early cinema The Artist and Hugo. Both were nominated for Best Picture, Director, Art Direction and Cinematography. The stars of each film received a nomination - Best Actor for Jean Dujardin of The Artist, and Best Young Actor/Actress for Hugo's Asa Butterfield.

    Drive and The Help followed with 8 nominations each. The Descendants and War Horse each received 7 nominations. Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life came away with 5 nominations. Each of the aforementioned films was a Best Picture nominee. The remaining films in the Best Picture category were Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, and Moneyball.

    Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was one of several pictures that took 4 nominations. The others were My Week With Marilyn, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and The Muppets. Three of the nominations for The Muppets were for Best Song.

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    2011 Black List - the top unproduced screenplays

    The Black List was compiled from the suggestions of over 300 film executives, each of whom contributed the names of up to ten of their favorite scripts that were written in, or are somehow uniquely associated with, 2011 and will not have begun principal photography during this calendar year.

    This year, scripts had to receive at least six mentions to be included on the The Black List.

    All reasonable effort has been made to confirm the information contained herein. The Black List apologizes for all misspellings, misattributions, incorrect representation identification, and questionable 2011 affiliations.

    It has been said many times, but it’s worth repeating:

    The Black List is not a “best of “ list. It is, at best, a “most liked” list.

    2011 African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Awards - winners

    The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) announced the recipients of their 2011 film awards. Topping the list was Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, named Best Picture of the year. The other films in their top ten included Pariah, Shame and A Better Life.

    Best Director was Shame's British director Steve McQueen (who is black).

    Woody Harrelson was named Best Actor for Rampart. Albert Brooks received Best Supporting Actor for Drive. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer for The Help. I've written how that is a problematic film in that it is both anti-racist yet racist. Perhaps the AAFCA shared those reservations since although it made their top ten list, it came in last place.

    Sunday, December 11, 2011

    American Film Institute (AFI) top ten of 2011

    The American Film Institute announced their top ten films and television shows of the year for 2011.

    For film, the top ten were BridesmaidsThe DescendantsThe Girl With the Dragon TattooThe Help, Hugo, J. Edgar, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life and War Horse.

    They give their awards to American films and so they named two special honorees - The Artist and the recently completed series of films based on the Harry Potter books. The Artist is a French-American film and is being considered for the Independent Spirit Awards as an American production.

    J. Edgar was a surprise inclusion as its reviews haven't been strong. The Descendants and Midnight in Paris are smallish films but there aren't any true low-budget indie films included on the list this time.

    2011 New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) Awards - winners

    The New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) made their selections this afternoon for their year-end film awards.

    Their top prize-winner was Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist. It won Best Picture, Director, and Film Music or Score. It was also the top prize-winner with the New York Film Critics Circle two weeks ago.

    Michael Shannon was the winner for Best Actor (Take Shelter) while the Best Actress was Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady. Supporting acting awards went to Albert Brooks (Drive) and Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids). Jessica Chastain was named the Breakthrough Performer for her many standout roles this year.

    The Best Foreign Language Film was Asghar Farhadi's A Separation from Iran. The Best Documentary was Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin was named Best Animated Film.

    Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 2011 - winners

    The Los Angeles Film Critics Association held their vote today to determine their selections for the best of film in 2011.

    Alexander Payne's The Descendants was named Best Picture. It was also a runner-up for Best Screenplay.

    Terrance Malick took Best Director for The Tree of Life, edging out Martin Scorsese for Hugo. It also won for Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki) and Supporting Actress (one of Jessica Chastain's many roles this year) as well as a runner-up prize for Best Picture.

    The Best Actor was Michael Fassbender. Like Jessica Chastain, he has had major roles in a large number of films this year, including Shame. Their interesting selection for Best Actress was the Korean star Yun Jung-Hee for Poetry.

    2011 Boston Society of Film Critics Awards - winners

    The Boston Society of Film Critics selected their choices for their 2011 BSFC Awards. They were split between the two "love letters to cinema," The Artist and Hugo.

    The Artist
     took Best Picture with Hugo being a runner-up, while Martin Scorsese won Best Director for Hugo, with Michel Hazanavicius a runner-up for The ArtistThe Artist also was a shared winner with Drive of Best Use of Music in a Film, while Hugo was a runner-up for Best Cinematography and Best Editing.

    Moneyball was winner for Best Actor (Brad Pitt) and Best Screenplay (Steve Zallian and Aaron Sorkin). Best Actress went to Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn. Supporting acting awards went to Albert Brooks (Drive) and Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids).

    The Best Foreign film was Canada's Incendies by Denis Villeneuve. It was a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars early this year.

    Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Awards - winners

    The 59th Filipino Academy of Arts & Sciences (FAMAS) award ceremony was held at the National Commission for Culture & Arts (NCCA) Auditorium in Intramuros, Manila on Saturday, December 10, 2011. The list of nominees had been revealed just two days prior.

    Wenn V. Deramas' Ang Tanging Ina Mo came away with the top prize of Best Picture. It also took Best Actress for Ai-Ai Delas Alas and Best Child Actress for Xyriel Manabat.

    Si Agimat At Si Enteng Kabisote, however, won more awards with a total of four. It won for Sound, Musical Score, Special Effects and Visual Effects.

    Other triple winners were Albert Martinez' Rosario, Joel Lamangan's Sigwa, and Cathy Garcia-Molina's Miss You Like Crazy.

    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    Video Game Awards 2011 - winners

    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim came away with the top prize at Saturday night's 9th anual Spike TV Video Game Awards 2011. It won Game of the Year and Best Role-Playing Game, as well as  Studio of the Year for its developer Bethesda Softworks.

    Portal 2 won the most with a total of five awards. It won Best Performance by a Human Female (Ellen Mclain), Best Performance by a Human Male (Stephen Merchant), Best PC game, Best DLC and Best Multiplayer.

    Batman: Arkham City won four awards. It took Best Xbox 360 Game, Best Adapted Video Game, Best Action-Adventure Game, and Character of the Year (The Joker).

    Other multiple prize-winners included BastionUncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

    Reading of Judith Thompson’s Big Girl

    Event: Reading of Judith Thompson’s Big Girl
, Nightwood Theatre
    From the multi-award-winning grand dame of Canadian playwriting comes the new play, Big Girl/The F Word (Working Title) which decodes the communication gap between second wave feminists and young women.Q and A to follow.
    Date/Time: Saturday, December 10th at 4:30pm
    Location: Nightwood Studio
    PWYC (suggested donation $5)

    AVN Awards 2012 - nominees

    This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    Oscar's shortlist of 15 films for Visual Effects

    15 Features in Line for VFX Oscar®

    Beverly Hills, CA (December 9, 2011) – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 15 films have been selected for consideration for Achievement in Visual Effects for the 84th Academy Awards®.

    The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

    Captain America: The First Avenger

    Cowboys & Aliens

    2011 BAFTA screenwriting lectures - all the complete videos

    The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) held the second edition of their Screenwriters on Screenwriting lecture series in late September. Now they've made all seven of the lectures available for viewing. I've posted them below and included the links for the accompanying pdf files of the transcripts.

    The featured screenwriters were William Nicholson (Shadowlands, Gladiator), Moira Buffini (Tamara Drewe, Jane Eyre), John Logan (The Aviator, Rango), Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros, Babel), Frank Cottrell Boyce (Hilary & Jackie, 24 Hour Party People), Paul Laverty (My Name Is Joe, The Wind That Shakes The Barley), and Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

    Interestingly, both Nicholson and Logan were involved with Gladiator and both speak about that experience.

    Each lecture is followed up by a Q&A with the audience. For a transcript of the lectures and discussions, click on the link after the video.

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    TIFF Nexus Women in Film, Games and New Media Day

    TIFF presented the first ever TIFF Nexus conference on October 28 that explored locative media. Now they're back with their second conference that focuses on the women's market.

    Presented in partnership with Women in Film & Television – Toronto (WIFT-T), Women in Film, Games and New Media is a one-day conference that explores gaming, digital media and film with an emphasis on creative opportunities and analysis of sectoral gaps.

    The event will be hosted by Nora Young. She is the host and creator of Spark, a show about technology and culture that airs nationally on CBC Radio.

    The featured speakers Leigh Alexander, game culture journalist and editor at large for Gamasutra; Kate Hartman, Assistant Professor at OCAD University; Mare Sheppard, President of Metanet Software; Kirsten Forbes, COO of Silicon Sisters Interactive; Heather Webb, Executive Director of WIFT-T; Caitlin Fisher, Associate Professor and Director of York University’s Augmented Reality Lab; Pearl Chen, Research & Technology Manager of the CFC Media Lab; Alex Leitch, Co-founder of Site3 coLaboratory; and Emma Westecott, Assistant Professor of Games Studies at OCAD.

    Second Look: The Help

    Imagine that a movie was to made about the struggle for women's rights and equality. Now imagine that it was to be made completely by men - the director, writer and producer are all male. That's not so terrible, perhaps. There are many talented men who demonstrate a keen understanding and awareness of a woman's point of view and who could do a fine job.

    But now imagine that the characters in that movie were overwhelmingly men. That would really raise some eyebrows. Yet you could still defend it as a side of the story that needed to be told. Surely there were men who helped out in the women's cause, right? It wouldn't be an altogether convincing defence but one you could make nonetheless.

    Alright then. Now imagine that this movie wasn't just one side of the story but was the only perspective given to the exclusion of all others. Year after year, for decades, the only time a woman has her story told it's from the standpoint of a man who saves her and helps her gain dignity. Isn't that just a lovely message after all, that women should be given equality?

    Free Japanese Film Screenings, Dec 8-10

    The Japan Foundation and the Consulate-General of Japan are hosting a free screening series of Japanese films in Toronto.

    The films being screened will be Shindo (Genius)Linda Linda LindaThe Summit: A Chronicle of Stones, and Always Sunset on 3rd St. 2.

    All screenings will take place at the the Royal Cinema, 608 College Street.

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Call for submissions: 2012 Don Haig Award

    2012 Don Haig Award
    Presented by documentary

    Throughout his life, Don Haig gave generously to filmmakers he believed in. He contributed his time, knowledge and resources to helping filmmakers nurture their talents.

    The Don Haig Award is presented annually to a Canadian documentary filmmaker whose past work shows a unique voice and talent and who can demonstrate the impact that the prize money would have on their current projects and career. The winner will receive a $20,000 cash prize generously sponsored by documentary.

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Canada's Top Ten - TIFF's list of best 2011 films

    The Toronto International Film Festival announced their annual selection of Canada's Top Ten films, for both feature films and short films at a special event at the Roxton in Toronto.

    As with last year's selection, there was a strong representation of Quebec films. The ten films selected by jury were Café de floreA Dangerous MethodEdwin BoydHobo With a ShotgunKeyholeMarécagesMonsieur LazharStarbuckTake This Waltz and Le Vendeur.

    These features and the top ten short films will be screened at a special program in January at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Most will be attended by filmmakers or guests from the films, and there will be a panel discussion on gangster/crime films. The schedule is at

    Philippe Falardeau's Monsieur Lazhar will be playing at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. It won the award for Best Canadian Feature at this year's TIFF, was selected as Canada's submission for Best Foreign Language Film consideration at the Academy Awards.

    Call for submissions: Hothouse 8 for emerging animators

    The National Film Board of Canada has put out a call for submissions to the latest edition of their Hothouse animation apprenticeship program.

    The program is a paid apprenticeship where animators get to train under NFB's outstanding animators and experts. This edition’s Mentoring Director will be Theodore Ushev. Hothouse takes place over 12 consecutive weeks in the NFB’s Montreal Animation Studio. This is not a funding or schooling program, but rather a 3-month apprenticeship in real-world animation filmmaking.

    The theme for the upcoming Hothouse 8 will be: Sheep Dreams.

    Hothouse 8 will take place from March 5 – 25, 2012. Deadline for applications is 5pm on Tuesday January 24, 2012.

    Sundance announces short film program for 2012 festival

    2012 Sundance Film Festival Announces Short Film Program

    Park City, UT  — Sundance Institute announced today the program of short films selected to screen at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. This year's Short Film program is comprised of 64 short films selected from a record 7,675 submissions, up 16% over submissions for the 2011 Festival. The Festival will be January 19 through 29 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

    Trevor Groth, Director of Programming for the Sundance Film Festival, said, “As technology allows greater access to short films as well as filmmaking tools, an increasing number of people are turning to short filmmaking as a form of expression and an opportunity to explore creative freedom. The fact that we received 1,200 more submissions in this category than last year speaks to that. Within them we saw a wave of truly original and outrageously distinctive films united by their uncompromised spirit.”

    The Short Film program at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival is presented by Yahoo!, the premiere digital media company. As part of its sponsorship, a special selection of short films from the Festival will be featured on Yahoo! Screen, Yahoo's premium video destination, where an audience of millions will be able to vote for their favorite. The winning filmmaker will be presented with the Yahoo! Audience Award at the end of the Festival.

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    2012 Sundance Film Festival's Premieres and Documentary Premieres

    2012 Sundance Film Festival Announces Films in Premieres and Documentary Premieres Sections

    Park City, UT — Sundance Institute announced today the films selected to screen in the out-of-competition Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The Festival will be held January 19 through 29 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The complete list of films is available at

    John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, “The fact that most of the Premieres have been produced completely independently further underscores the resourcefulness and tenacity of filmmakers in this climate. That drive and entrepreneurial spirit has pushed narrative and documentary filmmakers alike to create rich stories which will entertain and inspire audiences at the festival and in the year to come.”

    2011 Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) Awards - winners

    The Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) announced their 10th anniversary WAFCA Awards today. They gave The Artist another Best Film win, after the New York critics did so last week. The film also picked up an additional award for Best Score (Ludovic Bource).

    Two other films were double winners. Martin Scorsese's Hugo picked up Best Director and Best Art Direction (Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo). Both The Artist and Hugo share a similar quality of skilful, heartfelt nostalgia. The Descendants won for Best Actor (George Clooney) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash).

    The rest of the awards were generously spread around. The Best Actress was Michelle Williams for My Week with Marilyn. The Best Supporting Actor and Actress were Albert Brooks (Drive) and Octavia Spencer (The Help) respectively. The surprise winner for Best Acting Ensemble was Bridesmaids.

    Rango was named Best Animated Feature. Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams took Best Documentary. Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In won for Best Foreign Language Film.