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‘Magic Ring,’ One of Two Winning Short Films From One Story Up Program Selected By Topic and Roger Ross Williams, Set to Premiere at NYFF – Film News in Brief

Magic Ring
Courtesy NYFF

Two winning short films have been selected for the “One Story Up” program, founded by Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams and Emmy-winning producer Geoff Martz. These projects, “Magic Ring” and “Through Sunless Ways,” were selected to receive the grand prize: funding for production from Topic streaming service as well as mentorship from Williams, who intends to work as executive producer on both shorts.

“Magic Ring” will premiere at the New York Film Festival Oct. 10, which will then be followed by a Q&A with the creator, Alex Ashe. The 16-minute scripted short film follows an armed pursuit in Brooklyn that leads to surreal out-of-body and near-death experiences.

A premiere date has yet to be announced for “Through Sunless Ways,” a 24-minute unscripted short created by filmmakers Kira Dane and Katelyn Rebelo, who have previously co-directed together on a documentary called “Mizuko.” The duo’s upcoming release is structured as a series of five vignettes, exploring the lives of New Yorkers as they analyze their interpersonal relationships in the context of a society largely operated by hierarchies of power.

At the onset of the “One Story Up” program, Williams whittled down the film submissions to just 12 projects from aspiring creators, which were then available for streaming on Topic in October 2020. Two years have passed, during which those same creators were invited to pitch a new short film concept in hopes of snagging the grant and one-on-one guidance from an award-winning filmmaker.

“It is our mission at ‘One Story Up’ to work with young BIPOC filmmakers and give them a chance to have their voices heard and help launch them in the film world,” Williams said. “To be able to partner with Topic to see their dreams come true is an honor, and we are looking forward to an incredible future for Alex, Kira, and Katelyn. We also look forward to mentoring many more along the way.”

Tava Sofsky Wields Dual Roles as Film Commissioner, Director of Cherokee Nation Film Office

After eight years of commitment to the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, Tava Maloy Sofsky will be stepping up her contribution to the state’s entertainment industry as the new film commissioner and film office director for the Cherokee Nation.

Sofsky’s Cherokee Nation citizenship grouped with her 23 years of production experience and film commissioner certification all served in her favor as evidence of her candidacy for the new roles. Previous major motion pictures Sofsky has worked on include “The Fast and the Furious” (2001) as a production supervisor and “The Mask of Zorro” (1998).

As Sofsky begins to learn the ropes at the Cherokee Nation Film Office (CNFO), she will be taught by predecessor Jennifer Loren, who co-created the organization and served as its director before Sofsky.

“It is an honor to be selected for this position working with Jennifer Loren, which leads me to imagine endless possibilities we can accomplish together with our expanding team,” said Sofsky. “We are living in unprecedented times when the global motion picture industry is experiencing an increased demand for leading technology and diverse content. This coupled with CNFO’s innovation and vision to create more opportunities for natives within the industry is ground-breaking.”

The primary mission of CNFO is to increase Indigenous representation both on and behind the screens while offering ample opportunities for Cherokee Nation citizens to economically prosper from the entertainment industry.

Jonás Cuarón Will Direct Bad Bunny in Sony’s ‘El Muerto,’ First Marvel Superhero Film with Latino Lead

Sony Pictures has put together its filmmaking team for “El Muerto,” the first Marvel superhero movie headlined by a Latino character. Recording superstar Bad Bunny — who recently made his film debut in Sony’s “Bullet Train” — will star in the project, with Jonás Cuarón (“Desierto”) signed up to direct and Gareth Dunnet Alcocer (“Blue Beetle”) writing the script in early development.

As is the case with all of Sony’s Marvel films, El Muerto — aka Juan Carlos Estrada Sanchez — originated in the “Spider-Man” comic universe as an adversary for the web-slinger. Like “Venom,” “Morbius” and the upcoming “Kraven the Hunter” with Aaron Taylor-Johnson, “El Muerto” will be an antihero story, focusing on the son of a luchador who stands to inherit the power of the El Muerto.

Cuarón is repped by UTA. Alcocer is repped by WME.

Philadelphia Film Festival to Open With ‘The Banshees of Inisherin,’ Close With ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’

The 31st Philadelphia Film Festival announced Tuesday this year’s line-up, with Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” set to open the festival on Oct. 19.

This year’s PFF will screen more than 130 feature length and short films from over 40 countries, including “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” “White Noise,” “Armageddon Time,” “Empire of Light,” “Till” and “The Inspection.” Other festival highlights include the North American premiere of “Rebel” and a spotlight screening of “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.”

The closing night film will be Laura Poitras’ “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed,” a documentary that follows the life of artist Nan Goldin and the downfall of the Sackler family. The Venice Film Festival golden lion winner will screen on Oct. 28.

The Philadelphia Film Festival will take place from Oct. 19 to Oct. 30. View the full line-up here.

Film Fest 919 to Open With ‘Devotion,’ Close With ‘Glass Onion’

Film Fest 919 in Chapel Hill, N.C., will open its fifth edition with the screening of action-drama “Devotion,” starring Jonathan Majors and Glen Powell, on Oct. 19. Along with the opening night screening, FF919 will also honor “Devotion” director J.D. Dillard with the New Horizon Award.

Set during the Korean War, “Devotion” follows the U.S. Navy’s first Black aviator and his wingman, both of whom confront geopolitical uncertainty and racist hostility. The screening will be followed by a moderated conversation with Dillard.

This year’s festival will close with the screening of Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” on Sunday, Oct. 23. Set at a private estate on a Greek island, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) returns to solve another murder mystery in the upcoming whodunit sequel.

Film Fest 919 will take place from Oct. 19 to Oct. 23 at Silverspot Cinema and The Lumina Theater in North Carolina. View the full line-up here.

DNEG Appoints Former Technicolor Executive Daniel Jurow as Chief Operating Officer

DNEG, a top visual effects and animation studio for feature films, television and multiplatform content, announced the appointment of former Technicolor and R/GA executive Daniel Jurow to Chief Operating Officer for the company. Jurow has more than two decades of creative industry experience and will be based out of DNEG’s London studio, reporting directly to DNEG Chairman and CEO Namit Malhotra.

“I have long admired DNEG’s focus on its people, uniting the business in support of its incredibly talented artists, creative technologists, production and support staff,” said Jurow. “As a result of this focus, DNEG has a great track record of leaping from strength to strength, delivering stunningly innovative creative work, navigating unprecedented industry shifts, and stewarding impressive global growth. I feel very privileged to join Namit and his team as we usher in the next brilliant act of the DNEG story.”

Jurow joins DNEG from Technicolor, where he was Chief Operating Officer of the company’s Film and Episodic VFX division. Prior to that role, he spent more than 15 years at global digital product and marketing agency R/GA, where he rose to the rank of EVP, Global Head of Production, leading more than 200 producers. During his time at R/GA, Jurow oversaw the launch of the Nike+ product partnership between Nike and Apple in 2006, also helping the agency grow from a staff of 200 employees to more than 2,000 across 17 global offices by the time of his departure in 2019.

Women In Film Non-Profit Announces Award Recipients for 2022 WIF Honors

Cast and crew from the upcoming biographical drama film, “She Said,” are among those being recognized at the 2022 Women In Film Honors for their ground-breaking achievements as female filmmakers. Major names from the production that will be in attendance at the benefit include producer Dede Gardner and actor Carey Mulligan.

The anticipated feature, which is expected to release Nov. 18 in the U.S., documents the brutal exposé of former film producer and convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein, as it was first discovered by two reporters from the New York Times. The two female journalists leading the investigation, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, will also be honored at this year’s WIF benefit with the Crystal Award for Advocacy.

Kantor, Twohey, Gardner and Mulligan will receive the award alongside fellow nominees like “Abbott Elementary” creator Quinta Brunson, “The Woman King” director Gina Prince-Bythewood and the writer-director team behind “Don’t Worry Darling,” Katie Silberman and Olivia Wilde.

Other award recipients include “I May Destroy You” screenwriter Michaela Coel, who will be receiving the Humanitarian Award, and “Riverdale” star Lili Reinhart, who is up for the WIF Max Mara Face of the Future Award.

The annual benefit, which is set to take place Oct. 27, will be hosted by Tony-nominated singer and actress Da’vine Joy Randolph for an evening of female empowerment.

17th Annual Tasveer South Asian Film Festival Shares Schedule, Celebrity Guest Lineup

Tasveer South Asian Film Festival (TSAFF) has announced its film sate for its 2022 edition, taking place over 18 days between November 3rd-20th. This year’s TSAFF will present 24 features and 79 short films spanning 17 countries and 15 languages, including 12 World Premieres and 24 US Premieres.

In addition to the cast and filmmaker of the Opening Night Film “Four Samosas,” also walking the red carpet this year are celebrity guests Kalki Koechlin and Deepti Naval from TSAFF’s Centerpiece film “Goldfish.” The film, directed by Pushan Kripalani, will have its North American Premiere at the festival.

Other TSAFF highlights include Shaunak Sen’s “All That Breathes,” the first film to win both Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize and Cannes’ Documentary Prize, and Abinash Bikram Shah’s “Lori: Melancholy of My Mother’s Lullabies,” a narrative short from Nepal that received Special Mention at Cannes. World Premieres include Pravesh Kumar’s arranged marriage comedy “Little English” and Amrit Kaur’s “Zindagi Dobara,” the latter which was made with the support of Tasveer Film Fund and Netflix.

The festival launches with the Opening Night Gala on Nov 3rd, followed by 10 days of in-person programming. Virtual programming runs from Nov 7th to 20th.