Lionsgate released the first trailer for “Moonfall,” which premieres in theaters on Feb. 4, 2022.
In the sci-fi action film, an unknown force disrupts the orbit of the moon, sending it on a new path to crash into the Earth. Halle Berry stars as Jo Fowler, a NASA executive and former astronaut who takes it upon herself to save the world, but only an astronaut from her past named Brian Harper (Patrick Wilson) and a conspiracy theorist named K.C. Houseman (John Bradley) believe in her. The trio travels into space to stop the collision, but find that the moon is not what they thought.
Michael Peña, Charlie Plummer, Kelly Yu, Eme Ikwuakor, Carolina Bartczak and Donald Sutherland also star. Roland Emmerich directs, and produces alongside Harald Kloser. Emmerich, Kloser and Spenser Cohen serve as screenwriters. Watch the trailer below.
Exceptional Minds and Netflix Animation Launch Animation Foundations Mentorship Program
Exceptional Minds, an L.A.-based nonprofit professional training academy and studio that prepares autistic young adults for careers in animation, announced a partnership with Netflix to launch the Animation Foundations Program, a new mentorship program. Netflix Animation will provide students with a mentor to support them through Exceptional Minds’ full-time, three-year programs designed as a bridge between high school graduation and entertainment industry employment.
‘A La Calle’ and More Short Films To Screen At InFocus: Latinx & Hispanic Cinema Festival
“A La Calle,” an award-winning documentary hitting HBO Max in September, will kick off the short films presented at the annual InFocus: Latinx & Hispanic Cinema Festival on behalf of NewFilmmakers Los Angeles and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Sept. 17-18.
The weekend will feature a lineup of independent films with filmmakers and stories from the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Argentina, El Salvador, Colombia, Perú, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Spain and the Cuban diaspora.
Directed by Maxx Caicedo and Nelson G. Navarrete, “A La Calle” shows a multi-perspective outlook on Venezuela’s recent political history clandestinely shot over three years — delving into the larger political factors involved, as well as the ordinary Venezuelan citizens’ grassroots struggle for freedom.
The program continues on Sept. 18 with Cinema Shorts I — A Day at Work, featuring a selection of films that explore work and labor as a source of identity, survival and pride. Short films presented include a story of a rising pop star and a bathroom attendant connecting during the course of both of their work nights and discovering their ability to help each other.
Cinema Programs II — Generational Echoes explores stories centering the relationships between generations and the effects they have on one another personally and societally. Short films presented include a 5-year-old grappling with her father’s absence from her upcoming birthday party, and an artist seeking her mother’s help from beyond the grave to deal with two generations of harmful men.
The evening concludes with Cinema Shorts III — In Search of Self and Place, a compilation of narratives that revolve around the pursuit of a sense of personal strength. Stories include the journey of a teenager taking her power back after her nude photos are nonconsensually shared.
All filmmakers are welcome and encouraged to submit their projects for consideration for upcoming NFMLA Festivals, regardless of the schedule for InFocus programming.
Diane Warren to Be Honored With Spotlight Award at Film Fest 919
Diane Warren will be honored with the Spotlight Award at the 4th Annual Film Fest 919 taking place Oct. 18-24 at the Silverspot Cinema and Drive-in at Carraway Village in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The evening will include a moderated conversation and presentation of Warren’s catalogue of hit songs.
“We are all anxious to get back to the movies and we look forward to continuing our tradition of introducing audiences to bold and remarkable works from celebrated filmmakers,” said Film Fest 919 founders Randi Emerman and Carol Marshall. “We are delighted to honor the profoundly talented, multi-award-winning, 12-time Oscar nominated queen of power ballad mega hit songwriter, musician and record producer Diane Warren with the Spotlight award.”
Previous honorees at Film Fest 919 include Oscar nominees Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira from “Roma” and Nick Vallelonga for “Green Book.”
Film Fest 919 established the Distinguished Screenwriter award in 2019, with the first one presented to Anthony McCarten for “The Two Popes” and the second one presented to director, writer, producer and multi-Academy Award-winner Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland.”
A limited number of passes are available and go on sale Sept. 3. The full program lineup will be announced by early October. Pass-holders will have the opportunity to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the public.
FuseFX Promotes Key Staffers
Visual effect studio FuseFX announced the promotions of key staffers John Miller to head of studio-NY and senior VFX supervisor, Lauren Montuori as executive producer along with Ariel Altman as senior VFX supervisor and head of creative.
Miller’s 20 years of experience in TV and feature film production led to successful editorial departments in New York such as Princzco Productions and Flicker, among others. His credits with FuseFX include “Mr. Robot,” “When They See Us,” “Iron Fist,” “Castle Rock,” “Tell Me A Story” and “Sneaky Pete.” Miller has also worked on Marvel films, including “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”
Montuori, as executive producer, brings over a decade’s worth of experience in visual effects and animation. Her credits with FuseFX include “Prodigal Son,” “Black Lightning,” “Iron Fist,” “The Dangerous Book for Boys,” “The Get Down,” “The Blacklist” and “Mr. Robot.”
Altman has been part of the New York team since 2014 with recent credits including HBO’s “I Know This Much Is True,” “The Blacklist,” “Kevin Can Wait,” “Bull,” “American Made,” “Luke Cage” and “Mr. Robot.”
CEO and founder of FuseFX, Dave Altenau said, “John, Lauren and Ariel have been key members of our team and leading projects for FuseFX in New York for many years now. Having the three of them take the helm in New York is going to be a seamless transition, and I am confident they will continue the tradition of quality VFX work for all the projects done in the New York studio.”
BFFoundation Announces New Production Company Bentonville Way Entertainment
The BFFoundation, the non-profit arm of the Bentonville Film Festival, announced the formation of its new production company, Bentonville Way Entertainment. The company’s inaugural slate of films highlights work from past BFF alumni and participants.
“Buddy,” written by Luke Thomas and directed by BFF alumnus Amber McGinnis, follows an elderly father who accidentally contributes to a man’s death and covers it up in an effort to maintain custody of his adult son with Down syndrome. The film will be produced in partnership with Sanjay M. Sharma and Milan Chakraborty of Marginal MediaWorks.
“Has Been Beauty Queen,” written by Samuel Brett Williams and Jennifer Gerber, who also directs, is a semi-autobiographical film about Gerber’s upbringing in Hot Springs, Arkansas as a teenage beauty queen with a mother that is bipolar. The film will be produced in partnership with independent producer Summer Shelton, and will be filmed in Arkansas.
“Dealing With Dad,” from writer-director and BFF alumnus Tom Huang, is a dramedy about an Asian American family coming together to handle their elderly father’s depression. The script was selected for Film Independent’s Screenwriting Lab as well as Film Independent’s Fast Track program, and will be produced by Tanner Kling, Alan Pao, and Brian Yang with Effie Brown executive producing. Production has begun in Los Angeles.
“We are excited that we can further the outcome of our mission by not only amplifying these voices through the festival each year, but also by supporting the production and distribution of inclusive content”, said Geena Davis, chair of Bentonville Film Festival. “This will help create pathways for change in the industry for our alumni.”
For more information about Bentonville Way Entertainment, visit www.bentonvillewayent.com.
Anna Behlmer Will Bring Sound Mixing Expertise To Formosa Group
Formosa Group, known for producing post-production sound, announced that Re-Recording sound mixer Anna Behlmer will be bringing her expertise to the company’s features team.
Behlmer is a 10 time Oscar-nominee, and was the first woman ever to be nominated for an Academy award in the sound mixing category. Other accolades include 3 BAFTA awards where she received 6 nominations, along with 12 CAS award nominations — and was the recipient of the CAS career achievement award in 2018.
“Anna’s distinguished standing within our industry is unquestioned and her career achievements to date reflect a combination of hard work, resilience, sustained excellence and tremendous passion,” said Formosa Group’s CEO Bob Rosenthal. “I know her to be talented, generous and collaborative; all valuable professional attributes that will further enhance our company.”
Behlmer said she’s excited about working with Formosa Group. “I’ve always thought of mixing films as a team sport; people working together for a common goal and I’m excited to be joining a winning team.”
HollyShorts Film Festival Announces Dates and Lineup
Short films starring Taika Waititi, Jessica Chastain, Tiffany Haddish and those produced by Octavia Spencer and Leonardo DiCaprio are among highlights of the Oscar-qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival, running Sept. 23-Oct. 1 at the TCL Chinese Theatres and online.
Selections include Spencer Susser’s “Save Ralph,” starring Zac Efron, Waititi and George Lopez; Aneil Karia’s “The Long Goodbye” starring Riz Ahmed; Orlando von Einsiedel’s “Into Dust” produced by DiCaprio; Aidan Tanner’s “The Sands Between” starring Chastain; Minsun Park and Teddy Tenenbaum’s “Koreatown Ghost Story,” starring Margaret Cho; Zeberiah Newman’s “Right to Try,” produced by Spencer.
Other films on the slate are: Geoff Dunbar’s “When Winter Comes”; Lindiwe Suttle Müller-Westernhagen’s “Desmond’s Not Here Anymore;” Guy Nattiv and Jaime Ray Newman’s “Life Unexpected,” Julien Joslin’s “No Longer Suitable for Use,” Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe’s Oscar-Winning “Two Distant Strangers,” starring Joey Badass; Saul Abraham’s “Enjoy”; Rami Kodeih’s “Alina”; and Chris Wood’s “Snowshoe.”
The awards gala will take place on Oct. 1 at the Harmony Gold. Panels will be located at Japan House Los Angeles. Streaming options for the event will air via its proprietary platform Bitpix.
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures To Honor Sidney Poitier With New Lobby
The lobby of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will be named the Sidney Poitier Grand Lobby, in honor of Poitier, with the museum opening Sept. 30.
Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry were among those who supported the campaign in naming the lobby after Poitier, in addition to ambassador Nicole Avant, Co-CEO of Netflix and chair of the Academy Museum board of trustees Ted Sarandos and the Perenchio Foundation.
“It is an incredible honor to name our grand lobby — the nucleus of the Academy Museum — in celebration of Sir Sidney Poitier, whose legacy of humanitarian efforts and groundbreaking artistry continues to inspire us all,” said Academy chief Bill Kramer said. “We are deeply thankful to everyone who supported this campaign, and to Sidney, his wife, Joanna Shimkus Poitier, and their entire family for allowing us this great privilege.”
Poitier, who made his screen debut in 1950’s “No Way Out,” went on to star in “The Defiant Ones,” which earned him his first Oscar nomination, “Porgy and Bess,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” “A Patch of Blue,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “To Sir, With Love” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”
He became the first Black winner of a lead actor Oscar for his work in “Lilies of the Field.” Other honors include an Academy Honorary award, Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama, and a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the Poitier Lobby occupies the entire first floor of the restored and revitalized landmark Saban Building — formerly known as the May Company building.