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Producers Guild Sets February Awards Date — Film News in Brief

A general view of atmosphere at
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The Producers Guild of America has announced that the 34th Producers Guild Awards will take place at the Beverly Hilton on Feb. 25.

Nominations for documentary motion pictures will be announced Dec. 12; for sports, children’s and short form on Dec. 8, and for theatrical motion pictures, animated motion picture, TV series/specials, streamed or televised motion pictures on Jan. 12.

The Producers Guild recognized films including “CODA,” “Encanto,” “Summer of Soul,” “Ted Lasso,” “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” at the 2022 ceremony. Also at this year’s event, George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy were honored with the Milestone Award; Rita Moreno with the Stanley Kramer Award; Mary Parent with the David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures; Greg Berlanti with the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television; and Issa Rae with the Visionary Award.

The Guild will also host East and West Coast Celebrations of the nominees and producing teams the week of Feb. 20.

Prentice Penny Launches Program for Writers of Color at USC

Producer, writer and director Prentice Penny and his a Penny For Your Thoughts company have launched the First Up program for writers of color at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

The First Up program will kick off this summer, selecting three SCA writers in their final year of undergraduate or graduate studies to participate in the year-long program.

Penny, who graduated from USC in 1995, was SCA’s Mary Pickford Award recipient at this year’s commencement ceremony. He created the program with the goal of giving BIPOC writers real-world experience and the opportunity to have their work seen.

“One of the aspects that has always set our school apart is the way our alumni use their unique platforms to actively support students and help them launch careers in our industry. Prentice Penny is one of our most esteemed alumni, and has dedicated his production company to creating hit content that centers upon people of color, but finds fans in everyone. For him to provide this level of guidance to students with similar goals is extraordinary,” said Dean Elizabeth Daley.

Penny will also create a database for students’ work to allow industry members to access the projects.

“The Civil Dead,” “Tel Aviv” Take Home Top Prizes at Mammoth Lakes Film Festival

“The Civil Dead,” “Tel Aviv,” “A Woman on the Outside” and “Eternal Spring” received the top honors at the 8th annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival.

The news was announced at the closing night awards ceremony of the California-based film festival on May 29. The festival, held from May 25-29, screened over 90 feature and short films, and over $45,000 dollars were provided to the various winners.

In the juried awards, “The Civil Dead” won best North American narrative feature, while “Tel Aviv” won best international feature. “A Woman on the Outside” won best North American documentary feature, while “Eternal Spring” won best international documentary feature. Other winners of the juried awards included “Little Palestine (Diary of a Siege),” “Saw the Forest,” “Birds,” “Be Somebody,” “Ali and His Miracle Sheep,” “The Fourth Wall” and “Point and Kill.”

In the audience awards, “Tel Aviv” and “Eternal Spring” again triumphed in international narrative feature and documentary feature categories. The audience award for North American narrative feature went to “Kickin Knowledge,” while “The Pez Outlaw” won best North American documentary feature.

Mary Coleman Named Chief Creative Officer at Locksmith Animation

Mary Coleman has been named as chief creative officer at Locksmith Animation.

Coleman joins the company from Pixar Animation where she was head of creative development.

Coleman worked closely with Pixar’s directors from original concept through final draft, supporting their vision. During her tenure, Pixar created a legacy of modern classics including “Monsters, Inc” and  “Finding Nemo.”

“Having someone of Mary Coleman’s professional stature come on board Locksmith as Chief Creative Officer is a milestone in our company’s journey,” said Locksmith CEO Fischer. “Her keen eye for material and her strong relationships with filmmakers were top of mind as we searched for the perfect CCO. We feel honored for her to join Locksmith Animation as we bolster our development slate, widen our artistic vision and expand our appetite for success in the animation space.”

“Ultimately, what drew me most to Locksmith is that between Julie Lockhart’s two decades working with Aardman and Natalie Fischer having helped launch and then worked with Illumination for a decade and my two decades at Pixar, the three of us have helped to build wildly successful studios. Locksmith’s vision is ambitious and its slate is already full of potential. I’m thrilled that they have asked me to help them deliver on their promise of creating compelling entertainment for families around the world.”

Locksmith recently announced it has awarded the digital production of its second animated movie “That Christmas” to DNEG Animation. The film is based on the successful series of children’s books by British filmmaker Richard Curtis (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”).

National Board of Review Awards Set Awards Date for 2023

The National Board of Review has announced its annual awards gala will take place on Jan. 10, 2023, in New York City.

As always, there are expected to be a plethora of potential awards contenders for the group to consider, which include films from Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”), Florian Zeller (“The Son”), Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Bardo”), Damien Chazelle (“Babylon”), Todd Field (“Tár”), Maria Schrader (“She Said”), Sarah Polley (“Women Talking”) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Woman King”).

The group has yet to announce when the winners will be selected, which has typically been one of the first to kick off the awards season.

Last year, due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, they postponed their gala, moving it from January to March 15.

Over the last 30 years, the winner of best film has gone on to receive an Oscar nomination for best picture, with exceptions once every decade — 2014’s “A Most Violent Year,” 2000’s “Quills” and 1998’s “Gods and Monsters.”

NBR’s most recent best film selections were Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” and George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Last year, the group went heavy on Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza,” awarding it best film, director and breakthrough performance, shared between Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman. The film was nominated for three Oscars for picture, director and original screenplay.

The NBR honors are voted on by film enthusiasts, professionals, academics, filmmakers and students.

Academy Partners with LALIFF for Film Accelerator Program

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a partnership with the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF), in launching the 2022 Academy Film Accelerator.

A five-week program that will provide filmmakers from Latino communities with education, resources and mentorship focused on the business of filmmaking.

The program is part of Aperture 2025, the Academy’s ongoing commitment to inclusion, representation and equity, and is supported by TelevisaUnivision’s new global streaming service, ViX.

“This partnership with the Academy marks another important step in ensuring that Hollywood truly represents the diversity and richness that the Latino community has to offer,” said Edward James Olmos, co-founder of LALIFF.

The participants will be acknowledged at this year’s LALIFF. They are: Miguel Angel Caballero, Lorena Durá, Michael Flores, Justin Floyd, Gabriela Garcia Medina, Monica Moore-Suriyage, Gabriela Ortega, Kase Peña, Tamara Shogaolu and Maite Zubiaurre.