In today’s film news roundup, Juno Films buys “Cielo,” Sally Kirkland comes out against a new tipping policy, and Film Independent selects its Directors Lab participants.


Juno Films has acquired all U.S. rights for Cielo, the night-sky feature documentary directed and produced by Canadian filmmaker Alison McAlpine through Second Sight Pictures.

“Cielo,” co-produced with Paola Castillo of Errante Producciones, premiered at the New York Film Festival. “Cielo” will be shown at other film festivals, leading to a summer theatrical release. The documentary explores the beauty of the night sky, as experienced in the Atacama Desert in Chile — regarded as one of the best places on the planet to study the sky.

“‘Cielo’ caught my eye and then my breath,” Juno Films founder Elizabeth Sheldon said. “It is a cinematic mediation on the stars for anyone who has gazed at the night sky and contemplated the heavens.”

Sheldon negotiated the U.S. deal with Toronto-based Sean Farnel of SeaFar North representing the producing team.


Actors Sally Kirkland, Lourdes Reynolds, Derrick Redford, and Neil Brown Jr. and filmmakers Jeffrey Reddick and Michael Matteo Rossi have lent their voices to Reem Kadem’s new short documentary, “Self Serve.”

The film addresses a controversial new proposal proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor, which would give control of gratuities to restaurant owners rather than servers and other restaurant workers. Kirkland and others describe how waiting tables is often the main way aspiring showbiz talent makes money, and how devastating it would be for servers to potentially lose their chances at making a living wage.

Kadem’s film is available for viewing free-of-charge via YouTube.


Film Independent has selected six directors selected for its 18th annual Directing Lab, an eight-week program designed to support emerging independent film directors on their feature films.

Daniel Barnz, Nicole Holofcener, and James Ponsoldt are the 2018 Directing Lab Creative advisers. Additional advisers and guest speakers include Ruth Atkinson, Rodrigo García, Catherine Hardwicke, Alex O’Flinn, Lisa Robertson, Nancy Schreiber, Emily Schweber, and Chloé Zhao.

The projects and directors are “DOHA – The Rising Sun,” Eimi Imanishi; “Followers,” Tim Marshall; “Girl with Child,” Maria Abraham; “The Hiding House,” Ally Pankiw; “Toughest MoFo in Portland, Oregon,” Ryan Velásquez; and ” Valley of Exile,” Anna Fahr.