Category: Film Projects

Next Gen Talent 2018: Hollywood’s Rising Young Stars Revealed

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Meet the 20 up-and-comers — from ‘Black Panther’ star Letitia Wright and ‘Sharp Objects’ standout Eliza Scanlen — whom everyone in the industry is clamoring to work with.

From Killing Eve star Jodie Comer to Sharp Objects breakout Eliza Scalen, this year’s crop of Next Gen talent offers a snapshot of Hollywood’s most promising young actors. With seemingly more paths than ever to become the next Jennifer Lawrence (think Noah Centineo and Lana Condor’s rapid rise to fame in Netflix sensation To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and former child actor Nicholas Braun’s windy journey to critical acclaim in HBO’s Succession), these 20 rising stars are among the blockbuster breakouts and small-screen discoveries who are shaking up the industry.

READ MORE: https://apple.news/A_JmZRuCaTqSUcRr5W0Fz5w

Film Review: If Beale Street Could Talk

Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to Moonlight is an adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel. It confirms the director as one of the most talented working today, writes Caryn James.

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After Moonlight won best picture at the 2017 Academy Awards, director Barry Jenkins used his leverage to bring a long-standing dream of his to life: to adapt James Baldwin’s emotionally potent 1974 novel, If Beale Street Could Talk.

It’s easy to see why Jenkins was so drawn to the story, of a young black couple whose romantic dreams come crashing up again the powerful reality of white society. Jenkins’ approach, here as in Moonlight, mirrors Baldwin’s own, using a poetic style to reveal harsh social truths. His film is lush and ambitious, its theme of racial bias as relevant now as it was when Baldwin’s novel first appeared. The film is also too pretty for its own good at times, and more compelling in parts than as a whole. But at its best it confirms Jenkins as one of the most talented film-makers working today.\He sets up the contrasts in his story at the start. Set in the 1970s in New York’s Harlem and Greenwich Village neighbourhoods, Beale Street introduces its main characters in a lyrical scene, as an overhead shot views them walking in a park on a beautiful autumn day. Tish (KiKi Layne) is 19 and Fonny (Stephan James) is 22. Both are fresh-faced innocents who gaze into each other’s eyes and say they are ready to face the world together. From this swoony, idyllic flashback we cut to a scene of Tish looking at Fonny through the glass of a prison visiting room, telling him she is pregnant.

Tish is the narrator, her brief voiceover recurring now and then. Flashbacks reveal the earlier days of their romance, and the story moves fluidly ahead, as Tish talks to a lawyer and tries to get Fonny out of prison. James Laxton, the cinematographer who created the cool, deep blue palette for Moonlight, presents a warmer look in Beale Street, infusing the film with glowing colours against a darker background. Like those rich colours, Fonny and Tish’s relationship remains strong even as they lose their innocence.

We eventually learn why Fonny is in prison. A belligerent white policeman, whom we have seen threaten him, later arrests him for raping a white woman, although Fonny was nowhere near the attack. Historically, the accusation resonates with more than a century of such wrongful charges against black men, particularly in the US South.

At the start and again at the end of the film, Jenkins includes photos of black men being arrested, beaten and forced to their knees by white police officers. “The system has been rigged and the courts see it through,” Tish says near the end. Jenkins lets these moments land without overplaying their social purpose. The contemporary resonance and allusion to the Black Lives Matter movement are so apparent, he doesn’t need to make them explicit.

Jenkins has not created a message film, but one about love and family that also conveys a message. Tish’s mother, Sharon (Regina King), her father (Colman Domingo) and her older sister (Teyonah Parris) are unfailing in their support. King is especially poignant, her face capturing quiet strength and compassion. When Tish confides that she is pregnant – the last thing any of them needs under the circumstances – Sharon gathers the family for a toast. “We are drinking to new life,” she says, an embrace of the future that in no way denies her awareness of the difficulties her daughter will face.

All the actors are convincing, even in the close-ups that Jenkins often turns to and that require such honesty for the camera. King is the most heartbreaking, because her performance reveals complexities even beyond the layered character Jenkins’ script has given her.

Adding to the story’s contrasts, Fonny’s mother (Aunjanue Ellis) is a shrew who tells Tish, “I always knew you’d be the destruction of my son.” His father (Michael Beach) and Tish’s are old neighbourhood friends who commiserate, at times too bluntly, as if for the film’s viewers and not themselves, about how difficult it is to be a black man trying to get ahead. And with just a couple of scenes, Brian Tyree Henry adds to his list of terrific supporting roles (including one in Steve McQueen’s latest, Widows) as a friend of Fonny’s just released from prison.

Despite the close-ups and the sympathetic characters, a distant, cerebral beauty underlies the film. The camerawork and production design are so lovely they can be distracting. In the scene that introduces Tish and Fonny, the mustard yellow in Fonny’s shirt is echoed in Tish’s coat and in the turning leaves on the trees, all captured in the overhead shot. The romantic look feels a bit too calculated, just as the strings that sometimes soar on the soundtrack are a few levels over the top. Impassioned moments stand out – Fonny yelling at Tish from behind the prison glass that he is going to die there – yet overall there is an almost austere tone, unlike the emotional pull of Baldwin’s novel.

Whatever its weaknesses, If Beale Street Could Talk, only Jenkins’ third film, is a strong addition to a distinctive body of work. Anyone who became aware of him with Moonlight might want to catch up with his first film, 2008’s Medicine for Melancholy, a lyrical little gem about a night-long date in gentrifying San Francisco. It was evident from the start that Jenkins’ commanding voice and graceful style are like no other director’s.

★★★★

 

Exclusive: Watch Sparks Fly Between Omari Hardwick and Tika Sumpter In New Clip From ‘Nobody’s Fool’

Shadow and Act has an exclusive clip from the upcoming film from Tyler Perry, Nobody’s Fool.

The clip features an interaction between Frank (Omari Hardwick) and Danica (Tika Sumpter).

Here’s the film’s official description: Trying to get back on her feet, wild child Tanya (Tiffany Haddish) looks to her buttoned-up, by the book sister Danica (Sumpter) to help her get back on track. As these polar opposites collide — with hilarious and sometimes disastrous results — Tanya discovers that Danica’s picture-perfect life — including her mysterious boyfriend — may not be what it seems. 

Mehcad Brooks and Amber Riley also star.

The film is in theaters November 2.

Watch the clip below:

Updated Oscar Projections As Wave of Top Contenders Are Released

THR’s awards columnist updates his projections.

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These projections reflect Scott Feinberg’s personal impressions (from screenings), publicly available information (release dates, genres, talent rosters and teasers/trailers often offer valuable clues), historical considerations (how other films with similar pedigrees have resonated), precursor awards (some awards groups have historically correlated with the Academy more than others) and consultations with industry insiders (including fellow members of the press, awards strategists, filmmakers and awards voters).

GLOSSARY The following abbreviations denote the film festival(s) at which a film has screened and/or will be screening: SUND=Sundance, SXSW=South by Southwest, TRIB=Tribeca, CANN=Cannes, VENI=Venice, TELL=Telluride, TIFF=Toronto, NYFF=New York, LOND=London and AFIF=AFI Fest.

Best Picture

FRONTRUNNERS

Roma (Netflix) VENI, TELL, TIFF, NYFF
A Star Is Born
(Warner Bros.) VENI, TIFF
The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) VENI, TELL, NYFF
Black Panther (Disney)
Green Book (Universal) TIFF
First Man (Universal) VENI, TELL, TIFF
BlacKkKlansman (Focus Features) CANN
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight) TELL, TIFF
Eighth Grade
(A24) SUND, SXSW
A Quiet Place (Paramount) SXSW

MAJOR THREATS

Cold War (Amazon) CANN, TELL, TIFF, NYFF
If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna) TIFF, NYFF
Crazy Rich Asians (Warner Bros.)
Ben is Back (Roadside Attractions) TIFF

POSSIBILITIES

Hereditary (A24) SUND, SXSW
Leave No Trace (Bleecker Street) SUND, CANN
Widows (Fox) TIFF, LOND
22 July (Netflix) VENI, TIFF

STILL TO COME

Mary Poppins Returns (Disney)
Mary Queen of Scots (Focus Features) AFIF
The Mule (Warner Bros.)
On the Basis of Sex (Focus Features) AFIF
Vice (Annapurna)

Best Director

FRONTRUNNERS

Alfonso Cuaron (Roma)
Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)
Ryan Coogler (Black Panther)
Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)

MAJOR THREATS

Damien Chazelle (First Man) — podcast
Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War)
Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade)
Peter Farrelly (Green Book)
Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk) — podcast
Paul Greengrass (22 July)
Debra Granik (Leave No Trace)
John Krasinski (A Quiet Place)

POSSIBILITIES

Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians)
Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Ari Aster (Hereditary)
Peter Hedges (Ben is Back)
Steve McQueen (Widows)
Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You)
Julian Schnabel (At Eternity’s Gate)

STILL TO COME (alphabetical)

Clint Eastwood (The Mule)
Mimi Leder (On the Basis of Sex)
Rob Marshall (Mary Poppins Returns)
Adam McKay (Vice) — podcast
Josie Rourke (Mary Queen of Scots)

Best Actor

FRONTRUNNERS

Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book) — podcast
Lucas Hedges (Ben is Back)
Ryan Gosling (First Man)
Hugh Jackman (The Front Runner)

MAJOR THREATS

Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) — podcast
John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)
Steve Carell (Beautiful Boy)
Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) — podcast
Ethan Hawke (First Reformed) — podcast
Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate) — podcast
John C. Reilly (The Sisters Brothers)

POSSIBILITIES

Robert Redford (The Old Man & the Gun)
Ben Foster (Leave No Trace)
John Krasinski (A Quiet Place)
Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased)
Lakeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You)
Steve Coogan (Stan & Ollie)
John C. Reilly (Stan & Ollie)

STILL TO COME (alphabetical)

Christian Bale (Vice)
Clint Eastwood (The Mule)

Best Actress

FRONTRUNNERS

Glenn Close (The Wife) — podcast
Olivia Colman (The Favourite)
Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Julia Roberts (Ben is Back)
Yalitza Aparicio (Roma)

MAJOR THREATS

Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Kathryn Hahn (Private Life)
Toni Collette (Hereditary)
Viola Davis (Widows)
Nicole Kidman (Destroyer) — podcast
Joanna Kulig (Cold War)
Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade)

POSSIBILITIES

KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Charlize Theron (Tully)
Keira Knightley (Colette) — podcast
Rosamund Pike (A Private War) — podcast
Carey Mulligan (Wildlife)
Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Kindergarten Teacher)
Emma Thompson (The Children Act)
Hilary Swank (What They Had)

STILL TO COME (alphabetical)

Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns)
Felicity Jones (On the Basis of Sex)
Saoirse Ronan (Mary Queen of Scots) — podcast

Best Supporting Actor

FRONTRUNNERS

Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Mahershala Ali (Green Book) — podcast
Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy) — podcast
Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)
Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite)

MAJOR THREATS

Robert Forster (What They Had)
Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther) — podcast
Matthew McConaughey (White Boy Rick) — podcast
Paul Giamatti (Private Life)
Daniel Kaluuya (Widows)
Russell Crowe (Boy Erased)

POSSIBILITIES

Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman) — podcast
Topher Grace (BlacKkKlansman)
Brian Tyree Henry (If Beale Street Could Talk) NEW
Jake Gyllenhaal (Wildlife) — podcast
Dominic West (Colette)
Alessandro Nivola (Disobedience)

STILL TO COME (alphabetical)

Steve Carell (Vice)
Armie Hammer (On the Basis of Sex)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns) — podcast
Mike Myers (Bohemian Rhapsody)
Sam Rockwell (Vice) — podcast
Justin Theroux (On the Basis of Sex)

Best Supporting Actress

FRONTRUNNERS

Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Emma Stone (The Favourite) — podcast
Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
Claire Foy (First Man) — podcast
Marina de Tavira (Roma)

MAJOR THREATS

Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace)
Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased) — podcast
Elizabeth Debicki (Widows)
Natalie Portman (Vox Lux) — podcast
Kayli Carter (Private Life)
Rachel McAdams (Disobedience)

POSSIBILITIES

Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians)
Vera Farmiga (The Front Runner)
Ann Dowd (Hereditary)
Angela Bassett (Black Panther)
Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther)
Danai Gurira (Black Panther) — podcast

STILL TO COME (alphabetical)

Amy Adams (Vice)
Kathy Bates (On the Basis of Sex)
Emily Mortimer (Mary Poppins Returns)
Margot Robbie (Mary Queen of Scots) — podcast
Meryl Streep (Mary Poppins Returns)

Best Adapted Screenplay

FRONTRUNNERS

A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters, Eric Roth)
BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel, Kevin Willmott)
Black Panther (Joe Robert Cole, Ryan Coogler)
First Man (Josh Singer)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty)

MAJOR THREATS

If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
Crazy Rich Asians (Peter Chiarelli, Adele Lim)
Leave No Trace (Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini)
Widows (Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen)
22 July (Paul Greengrass)
The Wife (Jane Anderson)
The Sisters Brothers (Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain)

POSSIBILITIES

Wildlife (Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan)
The Front Runner (Matt Bai, Jay Carson, Jason Reitman)
Beautiful Boy (Luke Davies, Felix Van Groeningen)
The Hate U Give (Audrey Wells)
Disobedience (Sebastian Lelio, Rebecca Lenkiewicz)
Boy Erased (Joel Edgerton)
A Private War (Arash Amel)

STILL TO COME

Mary Poppins Returns (John DeLuca, David Magee, Rob Marshall)
Mary Queen of Scots (Beau Willimon)

Best Original Screenplay

FRONTRUNNERS

The Favourite (Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara)
Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)
Green Book (Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga)
Eighth Grade
(Bo Burnham)
Private Life (Tamara Jenkins)

MAJOR THREATS

Ben is Back (Peter Hedges)
A Quiet Place
(Scott Beck, John Krasinski, Bryan Woods)
Cold War
(Piotr Borkowski, Janusz Glowacki, Pawel Pawlikowski)
First Reformed (Paul Schrader)
Hereditary (Ari Aster)
Sorry to Bother You (Boots Riley)
Mid90s (Jonah Hill) NEW
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Ethan Coen, Joel Coen)
What They Had (Elizabeth Chomko)

POSSIBILITIES

Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Kunichi Nomura, Jason Schwartzman)
Capernaum (Jihad Hojeily, Michelle Keserwany, Nadine Labaki, Khaled Mouzanar)
Colette (Richard Glatzer, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Wash Westmoreland)
Destroyer (Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi)
White Boy Rick (Logan Miller, Noah Miller, Andy Weiss)
Vox Lux (Brady Corbet)
Stan & Ollie (Jeff Pope)
At Eternity’s Gate (Julian Schnabel)

STILL TO COME

On the Basis of Sex (Daniel Stiepleman)
Vice (Adam McKay)

Best Animated Feature

FRONTRUNNERS

Incredibles 2 (Disney/Pixar)
Isle of Dogs (Fox Searchlight) BERL, SXSW
Ralph Breaks the Internet (Disney)
Mirai (GKIDS)
Ruben Brandt, Collector (Sony Classics) NEW

THE REST OF THE FIELD (alphabetical)

Early Man (Lionsgate/Aardman)
The Grinch (Universal/Illumination)
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (Sony Animation)
Lu Over the Wall (GKIDS)
Next Gen (Netflix)
Night is Short, Walk On Girl (GKIDS)
Sherlock Gnomes (Paramount)
Smallfoot (Warner Bros.)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Sony)
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (Warner Bros.)

Best Documentary Feature

PROJECTED SHORTLIST

Free Solo (National Geographic) TELL, TIFF
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Focus Features) SUND, SXSW
RBG (Magnolia) SUND
Three Identical Strangers (Neon) SUND
Quincy (Netflix) TIFF
Science Fair (National Geographic) SUND, SXSW
Crime + Punishment (Hulu) SUND
Minding the Gap (Hulu/Magnolia) SUND
The Price of Everything (HBO) SUND
Filmworker (Kino Lorber) CANN [’17], NYFF [’17]
The Sentence (HBO) SUND
Studio 54 (Zeitgeist) SUND, TRIB
McQueen (Bleecker Street) TRIB
Dark Money (PBS) SUND
On Her Shoulders (Oscilloscope) SUND, SXSW

THE REST OF THE FIELD (alphabetical)

93Queen (Abramorama) NEW
306 Hollywood (El Tigre) SUND NEW
Always at the Carlyle
(Good Deed)
Believer (HBO)
BISBEE ’17 (4th Row Films) NEW
The Bleeding Edge (Netflix)
Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat (Magnolia) TIFF [’17], NYFF [’17]
Chef Flynn (Kino Lorber) SUND
Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes (Magnolia) TIFF
Eating Animals (Sundance Selects) TELL [’17]
Fahrenheit 11/9 (Briarcliff) TIFF
Far from the Tree (Sundance Selects)
Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf (Argot)
Generation Wealth (Amazon) SUND, BERL, SXSW
The Gospel According to André (Magnolia) TIFF [’17], TRIB
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (Kino Lorber) TIFF [’17]
Hal (Oscilloscope) SUND, TELL
Hale County This Morning, This Evening (Cinema Guild) SUND
The Heart of Nuba (Abramorama)
Hitler’s Hollywood (Kino Lorber) TELL [’17] NEW
In Search of Greatness (AOS)
Inventing Tomorrow (Fishbowl Films)
Itzhak (Greenwich Entertainment)
Jane Fonda in Five Acts (HBO) SUND
John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (Oscilloscope)
The Judge (self distributed) TIFF
The King (Oscilloscope) CANN [’17], SUND
King in the Wilderness (HBO) SUND
Kusama: Infinity (Magnolia) SUND NEW
Leaning Into the Wind: Andy Goldsworthy (Magnolia)
Liyana (Abramorama) NEW
Love, Cecil (Zeitgeist) TELL [’17]
Love, Gilda (Magnolia) TRIB
Maria by Callas (Sony Classics) TIFF
Monrovia, Indiana (Zipporah) VENI, TIFF, NYFF
The Oslo Diaries (HBO) SUND
Pope Francis: A Man of His Word (Focus Features) CANN
The Price of Free (YouTube) SUN
Reversing Roe (Netflix) TELL, TIFF
Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (HBO) SUND
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda (MUBI) TRIB
Say Her Name: The Life And Death Of Sandra Bland (HBO)
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (Greenwich Entertainment) TIFF [’17]
Shirkers (Netflix) SUND
They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (Netflix) VENI, TELL
United Skates (HBO) TRIB NEW
Watergate — or, How We Learned to Stop An Out-of-Control President (History) TELL
What Haunts Us NEW
Whitney (Roadside Attractions) CANN [’17]

STILL SEEKING U.S. DISTRIBUTOR (alphabetical)

American Dharma VENI, TIFF, NYFF
Angels Are Made of Light TELL, TIFF, NYFF
Aquarela VENI, LOND
Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache CANN, TELL, NYFF, LOND
The Biggest Little Farm TELL, TIFF
The Dawn Wall SXSW NEW
The Dead and the Others [Brazil] CANN
The Elephant Queen TIFF
Fail State NEW
Ghost Fleet TELL
Graves Without a Name TELL, TIFF
The Great Buster: A Celebration VENI, TELL
Meeting Gorbachev TELL, TIFF
Mountain
People’s Republic of Desire SXSW NEW
Saving Brinton
Screwball TIFF
The Silence of Others BERL
What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael TELL
Women Making Films: A New Road Movie Through Cinema VENI, TIFF

Best Foreign Language Film

PROJECTED SHORTLIST

Roma [Mexico] (Netflix) VENI, TELL, TIFF, NYFF
Cold War [Poland] (Amazon) CANN, TELL, TIFF, NYFF
Girl [Belgium] CANN, TELL, TIFF
Burning [South Korea] (Well Go USA) CANN, NYFF
Shoplifters [Japan] (Magnolia) CANN, TELL, TIFF, NYFF
Capernaum [Lebanon] (Sony Classics) CANN, TIFF
The Guilty [Denmark] (Magnolia) SUND
Birds of Passage [Colombia] (The Orchard) CANN, TELL, TIFF, LOND
Never Look Away [Germany] (Sony Classics) VENI, TIFF

OTHER OFFICIAL SUBMISSIONS (alphabetical)

10 Days Before the Wedding [Yemen] NEW
And Suddenly the Dawn [Chile]
Ayka [Kazakhstan] CANN NEW
The Angel [Argentina] CANN, TIFF
Beauty and the Dogs [Tunisia] CANN [’17], LOND [’17], AFIF [’17]
Border [Sweden] CANN, TELL, TIFF, NYFF
Buffalo Boys [Singapore]
Burnout [Morocco]
Cake [Pakistan]
The Cakemaker [Israel] LOND [’17]
Champions [Spain]
Cocote [Dominican Republic] TIFF [’17]
Crystal Swan [Belarus]
Dogman [Italy] CANN, TELL, TIFF, LOND
Donbass [Ukraine] CANN, TIFF
Eldorado [Switzerland] TELL
Eternity [Peru]
Euthanizer [Finland] TIFF [’17]
The Eighth Commissioner [Croatia]
The Family [Venezuela]
Family First [Canada] NEW
Ghost Hunting [Palestine] BERL [’17]
Graves Without a Name [Cambodia] VENI, TELL
The Great Buddha + [Taiwan] TIFF [’17]
The Great Mystical Circus [Brazil] CANN
Gutland [Luxembourg]
The Heiresses [Paraguay] BERL
Hidden Man [China] TIFF NEW
I Am Not a Witch
[United Kingdom]
I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History As Barbarians [Romania]
The Interpreter [Slovakia]
Iskra [Montenegro]
Ivan [Slovenia]
Jirga [Australia] TIFF NEW
The Journey [Iraq] TIFF [’17], LOND [’17]
Malila: The Farewell Flower [Thailand]
Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts [Indonesia] CANN [’17], TIFF [’17], AFIF [’17]
The Marriage [Kosovo]
Medea [Costa Rica]
Memoir of War [France]
Muralla [Bolivia]
Namme [Georgia]
Never Leave Me [Bosnia & Herzegovina]
Night Accident [Kyrgyzstan]
No Bed of Roses [Bangladesh]
No Date, No Signature [Iran] VENI [’17]
Offenders [Serbia]
Omnipresent [Bulgaria]
Operation Red Sea [Hong Kong]
Panchayat [Nepal]
Pilgrimage [Portugal]
Polyxeni [Greece]
The Resistance Banker [Netherlands]
The Road to Sunrise [Malawi] NEW
Rona Azim’s Mother [Afghanistan] NEW
Ruben Blades is Not My Name [Panama] SXSW
Sew the Winter to My Skin [South Africa] TIFF
Secret Ingredient [Macedonia]
Sergio and Sergei [Cuba] TIFF [’17]
Signal Rock [Philippines]
Sobibor [Russia] CANN
A Son of Man [Ecuador]
Spitak [Armenia] NEW
Sunset [Hungary] (Sony Classics) VENI, TIFF, LOND
Supa Modo
[Kenya] BERL
The Tailor [Vietnam]
Take It or Leave It [Estonia]
To Be Continued [Latvia]
A Twelve-Year Night [Uruguay] VENI
Until the End of Time [Algeria]
Village Rockstars [India] TIFF [’17]
The Waldheim Waltz [Austria] BERL, NYFF
The Wedding Ring [Niger] TIFF [’16]
What Will People Say [Norway] TIFF [’17], AFIF [’17]
The Wild Pear Tree [Turkey] CANN, TIFF
Winter Flies [Czech Republic] TIFF
Woman at War [Iceland] CANN, TIFF, LOND
Wonderful Losers: A Different World [Lithuania]
Yellow Is Forbidden [New Zealand] TRIB NEW
Yomeddine [Egypt] CANN

Oscars: Shaq Enters the Race With Basketball Doc ‘Killer Bees’ (Exclusive)

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The Lakers legend and fellow producer Larry Gagosian, the noted art dealer/gallerist, will bring the film to Hollywood for a special screening and reception on Oct. 24.

“I’ve been to the Hamptons 20 times,” Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal told me on Friday when I spoke with him exclusively about his entrance into the Oscar race as a producer of the documentary feature Killer Bees. “But I’ve been on the rich people’s side — the Leonardo DiCaprio, the Puffy, the Beyonce side, with the boats, where people are well off — so when I was told there was another side, I was like, ‘That’s impossible!'”

So, at the urging of his friend Glenn Fuhrman, O’Neal screened an early cut of Ben Cummings and Orson Cummings‘ 82-minute documentary feature about the primarily black Bridehampton High School basketball team — nicknamed the “Killer Bees” — and its coach, Carl Johnson as they defended their 2015 state title while simultaneously confronted with racism, gentrification and income inequality. “I was quite surprised by what I saw,” the 46-year-old said. “I was like, ‘This is a story that needs to be told.'”

O’Neal and art dealer/gallerist Larry Gagosian, a Hamptons local, signed on to the film as producers, with Fuhrman joining as an executive producer. The doc had an awards-qualifying run in theaters on both coasts the week of July 27 — it played at the Cinema Village in New York and Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Los Angeles — and it subsequently hit VOD on Aug. 7 before, appropriately enough, playing at the Hamptons International Film Festival on Oct. 6.

O’Neal couldn’t be at the Hamptons for the film’s premiere, but he says he had already made several trips to Bridgehampton to meet with the kids — he even shot hoops with the team. “When they saw that I was a regular person, I think that’s what shocked them the most,” he recalled with amusement. “I came in by myself, no bodyguards, no entourage, wearing the same jeans as they were, same clothes, same sneakers — and I think they realized that I was an older version of them.”

On Wednesday, O’Neal, along with Gagosian, Fuhrman and the Cummings brothers (Bridgehampton High alums), will bring their film to Hollywood, hosting a screening and reception for friends with boldfaced names and members of the Academy’s documentary branch, in the hope that the film may gain some Oscar traction ahead of voting to determine the shortlist for the best documentary feature Oscar. (O’Neal will also join me for an episode of THR‘s ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast that will cover his entire life and career, and will post soon thereafter.)

O’Neal has served as a producer on several projects since retiring from basketball in 2011 — among them, the 2016 30 for 30 episode “This Magic Moment,” the 2017 religious drama Steps and the 2018 documentary A Week in Watts. Still, I half-jokingly had to ask him if he is feeling more motivated to move into the realm of awards-caliber projects these days so that he can snag an Oscar like his former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant, with whom he always enjoyed fierce competition and who took home the statuette for best animated short in March for his autobiographical film Dear Basketball. “Oh, that’s funny,” he replied with a laugh. “That’s funny. It would be nice [to win]. But when I put these films out, I hope that they will touch people emotionally. Lives aren’t going to change otherwise. If you win awards, you win awards. But nothing I’ve done outside of basketball has been about winning awards.”

And does he intend to continue producing films after this one? “Of course,” O’Neal said emphatically. “We’ve got a lot of stuff in the works. Now that I’m retired and have much more time, yes, I want to do it much more.”