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Film News Roundup: Christopher Nolan to Discuss Film Preservation at Library of Congress

In today’s film news roundup, Christopher Nolan will hold a public discussion about film preservation with the Librarian of Congress, Grasshopper Film buys Sadaf Foroughi’s “Ava,” and Orion Pictures hires distribution vet Kevin Wilson.

FILM PRESERVATION

The Library of Congress is hosting filmmaker Christopher Nolan in a rare public conversation next month with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to discuss film preservation.

“Throughout its history, film has been a powerful force in the human experience,” Nolan said. “Protecting our film heritage goes far beyond the scope of a single institution. Our collective challenge is to safeguard our cinematic legacy for the study and enjoyment of future generations.”

The event will take place on Nov. 2 at the Coolidge Auditorium and include discussion of Nolan’s experiences shooting “Dunkirk” and his other films; the importance of film preservation; the influence of film on history and culture; the concept of physical film as a medium and artifact; the value of continuing to shoot film in a post-digital age; and the theatrical experience of film.

“As a member of our National Film Preservation Board, Christopher Nolan is a strong advocate for the preservation of this important part of our cultural history,” Hayden said. “We’re proud to work with him and the entire film community — including writers, directors, actors, studio executives, theater owners, and archivists — to make a lasting contribution to film preservation.”

Several Library of Congress studies have painted a dire picture of the nation’s audiovisual heritage, with about 70% of feature-length silent films made in America completely lost. The Library’s National Film Preservation Board and National Film Registry were established in 1988 to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America’s film heritage.

ACQUISITIONS

Grasshopper Film has acquired all U.S. distribution rights to Sadaf Foroughi’s debut feature film, “Ava,” Variety has learned exclusively.

“Ava” won the Fipresci Discovery Award at the Toronto Film Festival last month. The movie centers on an Iranian teenage girl who, after an act of betrayal by her mother, feels increasingly compelled to push against the strictures imposed by her society.

The deal was negotiated by Ryan Krivoshey, founder and president of Grasshopper Film, with Caroline Habib of Mongrel International. “Ava” will hit theaters next year followed by a VOD and home video release.

“At times recalling the work of Asghar Farhadi, other times evoking the tension-filled filmmaking of a Michael Haneke, Sadaf Foroughi’s stunning achievement is however entirely her own,” Krivoshey said. “‘Ava’ is a breakthrough debut; a film that captivates audiences and boldly announces the arrival of a major new filmmaker.”

HIRES 

Orion Pictures, recently relaunched by MGM as a standalone U.S. theatrical marketing and distribution company, has hired industry veteran Kevin Wilson as executive vice president of distribution.

The announcement was made by Orion Pictures president John Hegeman on Monday. Wilson will report to Hegeman and will oversee all aspects of theatrical distribution on behalf of Orion’s slate and acquisitions.

Orion’s first release is the romance “Every Day,” based on David Levithan’s novel of the same name, set for a Feb. 2 release date on Super Bowl weekend. Michael Sucsy directed the script by Jesse Andrews and produced by Likely Story and Film Wave. The film stars Angourie Rice, Maria Bello, and Debby Ryan.

Wilson has more than 10 years of distribution experience and most recently served as senior VP of sales at Open Road Films. Prior to joining Open Road, Wilson was director of theatrical sales at Summit Entertainment, where he helped launch the “Twilight” franchise. He previously held posts at Deluxe Film Services and Twentieth Century Fox.

ACTRESS HONORED

Dutch actress Famke Janssen has been selected to receive the 2017 Dutch-American Heritage Award by the Netherland-America Foundation (NAF), Southern California Chapter.

The award will be presented Nov. 16 at the California Club in downtown Los Angeles. Her roles include Jean Grey/Phoenix in the “X-Men” films, Lenore Mills in the “Taken” film trilogy along with roles in “Nip/Tuck,” “The Blacklist” and “The Blacklist: Redemption.”

Janssen is also being recognized for her charitable work. In 2008, she was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.  She has worked for Gorbachev’s Green Cross International on water related issues and recently she worked with the UN to raise awareness around animal poaching.

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