Friday, Jan. 29

David Oyelowo Boards Philippe Lacôte’s Ivory Coast Oscar Submission “Night of the Kings”

Actor and producer David Oyelowo will serve as an Executive Producer on Philippe Lacôte’s sophomore feature, “Night of the Kings,” the Ivory Coast submission for this year’s Academy Awards.

“Night of the Kings” premiered as an Official Selection at the Venice, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, was also recognized by the National Board of Review in its Top 5 Foreign Language Films, and was also nominated for a Spirit Award for Best International Film.

It will also have its Sundance premiere later this week.

Oyelowo said “‘Night of the Kings’ is a magnificent showcase of African cinema, artistry, culture, folklore and myth. Philippe Lacôte and his talented cast have forged a tale that defies definition by telling us a story within a story within Ivorian history. To be a part of bringing this film to its audience is a profound honor for me.”

“Night of the Kings” distributed by NEON, follows a young man on his first night in the infamous Ivorian prison, “La Maca.” Upon arriving, he is christened the “Roman,” or “Storyteller,” and must entertain his audience until morning, risking death should he fail. Under a blood-red moon, he crafts a tale weaving together the country’s mythological past and recent history, while around him, prison politics threaten to boil over.

Lacôte wrote and directed the film which stars Koné Bakary, Steve Tientcheu, Rasmane Ouedraogo, Issaka Sawadogo, Digbeu Jean Cyrille, Abdoul Karim Konate, Anzian Marcel, Laetitia Ky and Denis Lavant. It’s produced by Delphine Jaquet, Yanick Letourneau, Ernest Konan, Yoro Mbaye and Banshee Films, Wassakara Productions, Peripheria, and Yennenga Productions.

“Night of the King”s marks the third Oscar submission by the Ivory Coast.

Wed. Jan 27

Sacha Baron Cohen Honored With Outstanding Performer Of The Year Award At 2021 Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Sacha Baron Cohen will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award at the 36th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Baron Cohen will be honored on Wednesday, April 7 for his critically acclaimed work in both Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Borat: Subsequent Movie Film.”

“In 2020, Mr. Cohen twice was able to capture our interest, our imagination as well as the zeitgeist. His work in both films is timely, urgent and nuanced,” noted SBIFF’s Executive Director Roger Durling.

“It’s an honor to be recognized and to stand in the company of such incredible past recipients,” said Baron Cohen. “I’m very grateful to Roger, SBIFF and everyone who believes that cinema, whether drama or satire, can shine a light on injustice and bigotry and even provide a laugh or two along the way.”

Most recently, Baron Cohen starred in two politically driven and emotionally resonate films. Among a brilliant ensemble of actors in Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of Chicago 7,” Baron Cohen shines as real-life yippie activist Abbie Hoffman. Critics hailed his performance noting he is “savvy and soulfully aware of his urgency” and that he “brought deep resonance” with his performance as Hoffman. Similarly, Baron Cohen returned as his iconic character, “Borat,” in the global hit satire ”Borat Subsequent Movie Film.” Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime For Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, which he produced and co-wrote, and according to The New York Times’ AO Scott was “the best film of the year.” Additional critics declared Baron Cohen is “a brave comic genius, a new-age Peter Sellers” and “a master.”

The Outstanding Performers of the Year Award recognizes select individuals who have distinguished themselves with exceptional performances in film this past year. Past recipients of the award include Adam Driver, Rami Malek, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan, Steve Carell, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Viola Davis, James Franco, Colin Firth, Penelope Cruz, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Heath Ledger, Kate Winslet and Charlize Theron.

Veteran Producer Khaliah Neal Joins Melina Matsoukas And Her De La Revolución Films As Head Of Film & TV 

Melina Matsoukas announced today veteran producer Khaliah Neal is joining her production company De La Revolución Films as Head of Film & TV. The appointment comes following Matsoukas signing a first-look feature film deal with MGM.

Said Matsoukas, “Khaliah is the future. With an incredible eye for talented, diverse and artful voices, she has been able to develop and produce stories that push the culture forward. I am thrilled to have found a partner that is as dedicated to creating change within the industry, and I look forward to developing provocative and inspiring work together.”

“Melina is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today and I’m so incredibly thrilled about this collaboration,” said Neal. “We have a shared passion for telling stories that provoke thought and add meaningful commentary about the world we live in, and I’m very excited to begin the journey of building a bold, inclusive slate of voices and projects.”

Neal has worked on a wide array of projects across the film and tv spectrum, including both non-fiction and fiction storytelling, most recently serving as a film and tv executive at Michael B Jordan’s production company Outlier Society.

In her role as a film producer, she produced Joe Talbot’s critically acclaimed and Sundance-winning first feature “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” alongside Plan B and distributed by A24.

In the television space, Neal is a co-executive producer of Katori Hall’s “P-Valley”, the critically acclaimed and Gotham Awards nominated television series.

Matthew Mungle And Terry Baliel to Receive Lifetime Achievement Awards at 2021 Make-up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards

Matthew Mungle will receive the Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 8th Annual Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards, (MUAHS, IATSE Local 706) honoring an extraordinary spectrum of acclaimed work, exceptional contributions to the motion picture arts and sciences, and outstanding service to their union or the entertainment industry. They will be honored at the virtual gala on Saturday, April 3, 2021.

Oscar-winning makeup artist Matthew Mungle’s work can currently be seen in “Hillybilly Elegy” and his work on Glenn Close’s Mamaw.

Mungle earned recognition as a top master of the elite, make-up effects illusion with over 250 film and television projects to his credit. His first major success was on Edward Scissorhands working with award-winning make-up artist Ve Neill. Matthew has accumulated an impressive list of credits and an equally impressive genre of box office successes including Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” earning him his first Oscar in 1992. Oscar nominations for “Schindler’s List,” aging James Woods for “Ghosts of Mississippi” and his transformation of Glenn Close and Janet McTeer in “Albert Nobbs,” his fourth Oscar nomination.

One of Matthew’s biggest challenges, which started in 2003, is creating the various character prosthetics and masks for the hit Broadway show “Wicked”. Balancing his film and TV projects, Matthew & his lab W.M. Creations, Inc. continues his work for the show’s Broadway, U.S. tours and worldwide productions. After 42 years as a master of make-up effects, the artist moved to Texas and set up a studio for his loyal clients, including stars Robert DeNiro, Glenn Close and Tracey Ullman.

Terry Baliel is the recipient of three Emmys and four Guild Awards for period hairstyling in a career that spans theatrical productions, television and film. In 1986, he was fortunate to work on his first film, “Tucker.”

For the next 13 years, he continued to work in both film and theater until 1999 when he was asked to come to Los Angeles to work on “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

Baliel has also got extensive TV credits including, “Deadwood.”


Previous recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Make-Up Artists are Thomas Burman, Sue Cabral-Ebert, Greg Cannon, Leonard Engelman, Ve Neill, Rick Baker, Montague “Monty”

Tues. Jan. 26

Disney Releases New Poster and Trailer for “Raya and the Last Dragon”

Disney has released a new poster and trailer for its upcoming animated feature, “Raya and the Last Dragon.” Set to be released on March 5, the new trailer gives audiences a more in-depth look at Raya (voiced by Kelly-Marie Tran) as she rallies her warrior crew and con artists on her quest to find the mythical “last dragon.”

Awkwafina, Sandra Oh and Gemma Chan are also featured in the voice cast.

Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada are directing, with Paul Briggs and John Ripa co-directing. Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho are producers, and Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim (“Crazy Rich Asians”) are writers on the project.

Disney announced “Raya and the Last Dragon’’ will be available on Disney Plus with Premier Access in most markets, at the same time as it is releases in theaters on March 5. Premier Access for the title will be priced at $29.99.

Screen Media Acquires “Senior Moment” Starring William Shatner, Jean Smart and Christopher Lloyd

The deal was negotiated by Seth Needle, SVP of Global Acquisitions and Co-Productions, on behalf of Screen Media with Endeavor Content on behalf of Goff Productions.

Screen Media will release the film in theaters and on-demand in March. Clay Epstein and Film Mode Entertainment will handle foreign sales of the title immediately and will present the film to buyers at the 2021 European Film Market.

“Giorgio and I are thrilled to be working with Screen Media and bringing this feel-good story to audiences looking for a fun movie,” stated Goff.

“We’re excited to share this hilarious and heartwarming title with audiences everywhere,” said Screen Media in a statement. “William Shatner and Jean Smart’s characters will make you laugh out loud, renew your sense of hope, and serve as a reminder that it’s never too late to find love.”

“Senior Moment” was directed by Giorgio Serafini; written by Kurt Brungardt and Christopher Momenee and produced by Gina G. Goff of Goff Productions.

It tells the story of Victor Martin (Shatner) who is a retired NASA test pilot often seen speeding around Palm Springs in his vintage Porsche convertible with his best friend Sal (Lloyd) in tow. His life changes when his license is revoked for drag racing and his car is impounded. Forced to take public transportation for the first time, he meets his polar opposite Caroline (Smart) and learns to navigate love and life again as he goes up against the state’s new DA to get back his license and car.

Aaron Sorkin to Be Honored by Caucus For Producers

The Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors has announced its list of honorees for 2021, which includes writer, producer and director Aaron Sorkin. He will be presented with the Writers Award by Caucus Co-Chair Robert Papazian.

“The Undoing” director Susanne Bier will receive the Directors Award, presented by Nicole Kidman. “Black-ish” actress and executive producer and star of “Little,” Marsai Martin will receive the Rising Star Award. Executive producer Vin Di Bona will be presented with the prestigious Caucus Legend Award presented by “America’s Funniest Home Videos” host Alfonso Ribeiro.

The event will take place at 6:30 pm PT on Thursday, March 4.