Nichols' 'Mud' to open festival of American films

PARIS

Oliver Stone’s “Savages,” “The Bourne Legacy” and Kirsten Dunst starrer “Bachelorette” are among high-profile titles set to receive their Gallic premiere at the Deauville American Film Festival, which runs Aug. 31-Sept. 9.

The Premiere section also includes Seth MacFarlane’s “Ted,” Valerie Faris’ “Ruby Sparks,” Pascal Laugier’s “The Tall Man” and Sarah Polley’s “Take This Waltz,” with Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen.

Jeff Nichols, whose feature debut “Take Shelter” nabbed last year’s Deauville Grand Prize, will open the fest with “Mud,” starring Matthew McConaughey, who also appears in William Friedkin’s “Killer Joe.”

Deauville will step up its star power with a flurry of high-profile guests, including “Bourne Legacy” star Jeremy Renner, Frank Langella, Rachel Weisz, Luc Besson, Harvey Keitel, Salma Hayek, Liam Neeson and Paula Wagner. Also on hand will be Friedkin, who is being feted with a career tribute and will participate in a master class.

Langella starrer “Robot and Frank,” Craig Zobel’s “Compliance” and Michel Gondry’s “The We and the I” are among 14 features in competition.

“We’ve always wanted Deauville to be a celebration of the breadth and diversity of American cinema that reflects the facets of American society — we’re not just showing independent cinema or studio movies,” said fest topper Bruno Barde, who took the helm at Deauville 17 years ago.

“It’s important for us to cultivate relationships with talented filmmakers and follow them,” he added, pointing out that Deauville had screened the feature debuts of a number of well-known directors.

Other competition contenders include Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Adam Leon’s “Gimme the Loot,” Matt Ruskin’s feature debut “Booster,” Marshall Lewy’s “California Solo,” Rebecca Thomas’ “Electrick Children,” So Yong Kim’s “For Ellen,” Bobcat Goldthwait’s “God Bless America,” James Ponsoldt’s “Smashed,” Lucy Molloy’s debut “Una noche” and Melissa Leo starrer “Francine,” directed by Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky.

Rodney Ascher’s “Room 237,” Amy Berg’s “West of Memphis” and Rory Kennedy’s “Ethel” are among documentaries that will play in the Uncle Sam’s Docs section.

Gallic thesp Sandrine Bonnaire will preside over the jury, which comprises thesps Sami Bouajila, Clothilde Courau, Anais Demoustier and Alice Taglioni, helmers Christophe Honore, Joann Sfar and Florent Emilio Siri and dancer-choreographer Philippe Decoufle.

Fest, which will premiere the Besson-produced “Taken 2,” will pay homage to Neeson with screenings of “Schindler’s List,” “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” “Love Actually” and “Batman Begins.” Melvin Van Peebles, director of the 1971 cult film “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss,” is also being honored.

Following in the footsteps of Ryan Gosling, Paul Dano (“For Ellen”) will receive Deauville’s Young Hollywood award.

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