American Film Institute Sets Date for AFI Awards — Film News in Brief

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Courtesy of AFI

The American Film Institute’s annual AFI Award event will take place on Jan. 13, 2023, the organization announced on Monday.

The annual awards ceremony honors the best in filmmaking of the past year, with each award honoring the entire creative team of a film or television project. The honorees, which are selected by a jury consisting of AFI Trustees, critics, industry professionals and film scholars, will be announced in December, with submission deadline information being announced in the coming weeks. The ceremony will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles in Beverly Hills, Calif.

American Film Institute Announces Call For DWW+ Applicants

The American Film Institute announced a call for applicants for its DWW+ program, a year-long directing workshop that educates traditionally underrepresented narrative filmmakers through the production cycle of a short film, providing hands-on instruction led by industry experts. The Directing Workshop for Women program seeks to educate participants with the knowledge and tools necessary to best leverage their creative talents and achieve their career goals as directors. The application period opened August 12 and closes on September 25.

“DWW+ powerfully illustrates AFI’s commitment to providing opportunities for a diverse range of artists and those who have been historically underrepresented to pursue a professional career in directing film and television,” said Susan Ruskin, Dean of the AFI Conservatory and EVP of the American Film Institute. “We look forward to hosting an inclusive creative community and to championing a new cohort of directors dedicated to their progress as leaders in their craft.”

The AFI DWW+ was launched in 1974 as the Directing Workshop for Women and stands as one of the longest-running and preeminent film and television workshops nationwide. DWW+ has trained more than 350 filmmakers who give voice to historically underrepresented perspectives.

BAFTA Announces 2023 Tea Party Date

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts announced that the BAFTA Tea Party will return for the first time in two years on Saturday, January 14, 2023 from 2-5 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles.

The Party, presented by Jaguar, is an awards season fixture that welcomes nominees, members and guests for an elegant gathering. The party has a long tradition of recognizing top talent and is typically popular with nominees. The event also supports BAFTA’s Learning, Inclusion and Talent programs in North America, creating opportunity and career pathways for individuals from all backgrounds.

Ahead of the 2023 Tea Party, BAFTA will host the BAFTA TV Tea Party, the Academy’s largest televised event in the United States, on September 10, 2022 at The Maybourne Beverly Hills.

Danny Elfman to Score Noah Baumbach’s ‘White Noise’

Composer Danny Elfman is on board to score Noah Baumbach’s “White Noise.”  He confirmed the news in an interview with iNews, a U.K site.

The film which is expected to make the Fall festival circuit is based on the 1985 novel by Don DeLillo and is a black comedy horror starring Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver.

Elfman is also on board to score “Wednesday,” the upcoming Addams Family television series starring the famous clan’s daughter. The series will reunite him with frequent collaborator Tim Burton.

Michelle Yeoh To Receive SBIFF Kirk Douglas Award For Excellence In Film

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced actress Michelle Yeoh will be receiving the 15th annual Kirk Douglas Award For Excellence In Film. This is the first time since Douglas died in 2020 that the honor will be awarded. The award, which benefits SBIFF’s year-round educational programs, will be presented on Friday, December 9 at a black tie dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara.

Yeoh is a Malaysian-born actress who rose to fame in 1990s Hong Kong action films before going on to star in many globally-acclaimed blockbusters. In March, she starred in Daniels’ and A24’s “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” which has since become the independent production company’s highest grossing film worldwide.

“A well-deserved honor for the legendary and multi-talented Michelle Yeoh. She has been entertaining and thrilling us in films since the 1980s… and she does her own stunts! Bravo Michelle!” Michael Douglas said of the award.

She has appeared in more than 70 features and television series, including Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and its sequel, Roger Spottiswoode’s James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies” and Jon Chu’s “Crazy Rich Asians,” the highest grossing romantic comedy in the U.S. in the past 10 years.

The 38th Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place February 8-18, 2023. The film lineup and schedule for the festival will be announced in January.

IDA Announces Keynote Speakers for Getting Real ’22 Conference

The International Documentary Association (IDS) has announced that the Getting Real ’22 conference will take place from Sept. 27-29, with Erika Dilday, Anand Patwardhan and Nanfu Wang as the keynote speakers.

“We are thrilled to have three documentary luminaries as Getting Real keynote speakers to help us flip the frame on the foundational quandaries of documentary film. They truly understand the urgency and complexity of crafting a film out of reality.” said Abby Sun, IDA’s director of artist programs and Getting Real lead programmer.

The biennial convening for documentary practitioners will be held both in-person in Los Angeles and with a virtual audience. National Geographic’s Carolyn Bernstein, the executive vice president of scripted and feature documentaries, will also join the conference for an intimate conversation about her unconventional path to documentary.

The complete Getting Real ’22 conference program will be announced on Monday, Aug. 15.

BlackStar Film Festival Announces 2022 Winners

BlackStar Projects has announced the award-winning films from this year’s BlackStar Film Festival, which concluded Sunday in Philadelphia and online.

The winners include Gabriel Martins’ “Mars One” for best feature narrative film and “Conspiracy,” which was co-directed by Simone Leigh and Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, for best experimental film. The first-ever Love+Grit Philadelphia Filmmaker Award was awarded to “Quarantine Kids,” directed by Bilal Motley and Bria Motley.

The 2022 BlackStar Film Festival presented 16 world, eight North America, 12 East Coast and eight U.S. premieres, including 25 Philadelphia premieres. See the winners below.

Best Experimental 

“Conspiracy,” dirs. Simone Leigh and Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich

Best Documentary Feature 

“One Take Grace,” dir. Lindiwe Matshikiza

Best Feature Narrative 

“Mars One / Marte Um,” dir. Gabriel Martins

Best Short Documentary 

“The Game God(S),” dir. Adrian L. Burrell

Best Short Narrative 

“Sunday Morning / Manhã de Domingo,” dir. Bruno Ribeiro


Special Prizes:

Love+Grit Philadelphia Filmmaker Award

“Quarantine Kids,” dirs. Bilal Motley and Bria Motley

Lionsgate/Starz Speculative Fiction Award 

“Clones,” dir. Letia Solomon

BlackStar Pitch 

“Postcolonial Piñata,” dir. Daniel Larios


Audience Awards:

Best Experimental 

“Foreign in a Domestic Sense,” dir. Sofía Gallisá Muriente and Natalia Lassalle Morillo

Best Feature Documentary 

“Wisdom Gone Wild,” dir. Rea Tajiri

Best Feature Narrative 

“Lingui, the Sacred Bonds,” dir. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Best Short Documentary 

“Still Waters,” dir. Aurora Brachman

Best Short Narrative 

“Glitter Ain’t Gold,” dir. Christian Nolan Jones

Shine Award 

“Storming Caesars Palace,” dir. Hazel Gurland-Pooler

BAFTA-winner and Oscar-nominated Visual Effects Artist Alec Gillis Establishes His Solo Creature Character and Practical Effects House Studio Gillis

Alec Gillis has launched his new solo company, Studio Gillis. Gillis will also continue to create the innovative Creature, Make Up and Practical Effects for which he is renowned.

Says Gillis, “I’m fortunate to have been part of some of the most iconic genre films of the last four decades, largely through my work as Co-founder of ADI. My new company, Studio Gillis, will build on that success and through innovation will continue to create Practical Makeup and Animatronic characters for all mediums. Studio Gillis will be a hub of artists practicing traditional and cutting-edge techniques. We will cater to established and new filmmakers as well as studios and independents alike.”

Studio Gillis’s upcoming projects have not yet been announced. Gillis’s last two feature films as Co-Creative Director of StudioADI required reimagining the classic Predator for Dan Trachtenberg’s “Prey” and creating a pack of vicious werewolves for Steven Miller’s “Year Two.”


Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Melissa Leo Join Action-Comedy ‘Clean-Up Crew’

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Melissa Leo and Antonio Banderas have joined the cast of “Clean-Up Crew,” an action-comedy from Yale Entertainment.

Directed by Jon Keeyes, “Clean-Up Crew” focuses on a crime scene clean-up team that discovers a cash-filled briefcase at a crime sight. The discovery pits them into battle with a crime boss, hitman and corrupt government agents searching for the cash. Meyers and Leo play the heads of the clean-up crew, while Banderas plays the crime boss looking for the briefcase.

The film shot in Ireland, and recently wrapped production. Matthew Rogers wrote the script for the film, which is produced by Jordan Yale Levine, Jordan Beckerman and Michael Rothstein for Yale, Richard Bolger and Conor Barry from Hail Mary Pictures and Richard Clabaugh, Stephen Braun and Kurt Ebner. Yale’s sales banner Great Escape will handle international rights for the project, which is aiming to be sold at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

Rhys Meyers is represented by APA, Artist International Group and Jackoway, Austen, Tyerman, Wertheimer, Mandelbaum, Morris, Bernstein, Trattner and Klein. Leo is represented by APA and The Initiative Group. Banderas is represented by NuCo Media Group and Hirsch, Wallerstein, Hayum, Matlof and Fishman.

Hollywood Foreign Press Association Appoints Two New Board Members

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has elected Vera Anderson and Earl Gibson III to its board of directors, the organization announced Monday.

Both are longstanding members of the organization, which is best known for producing the annual Golden Globes awards. Anderson has been a member since 1996, and works as a journalist and photographer, including as the chief correspondent for Mexican magazine Cine Premiere. Gibson is a photojournalist who contributes to ShutterStock, Associated Press and Getty Images, and serves as the lead photographer for the NAACP Image Awards and United Negro College Fund’s “An Evening of Stars.” In addition to Anderson and Gibson, current board members Barbara Gasser and Tina Jøhnk Christensen were re-elected to their positions.

“At this important time of transition, we welcome the contributions of our newest directors Vera Anderson and Earl Gibson III,” Helen Hoehne, president of the HFPA, said in a statement. “Their voices will be added as we continue the important work of supporting diversity, preserving our philanthropy efforts and boosting journalistic opportunities in this challenging economic climate.”

Warhol-Inspired 1972 Film “Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers” to Make DCP World Premiere at Les Femmes Underground Festival

The rare, Andy Warhol-inspired film “Scarecrow in a Garden of Cucumbers” will make its DCP World Premiere during the sixth annual Les Femmes Underground International Film Festival on Aug. 13 at the Aero Theatre. Robert J. Kaplan directed the 1972 film which follows Eve, an aspiring actress from Kansas played by Puerto Rican transgender actress Holly Woodlawn, who navigates New York City and comes across an ensemble cast of zany characters along the way.

The non-profit film festival showcases exclusively feminist experimental art and alternative films, with programming highlights featuring fourth wave feminist cinema and other works. Advance tickets for the showing are available now or at the door.