Honorary Academy Award recipient asks for female Oscar named “Anna”

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In a video tribute, Jodie Foster said Lina Wertmüller taught her women could be directors, too. (Image Courtesy: WTHR).

While accepting her honorary Oscar at the Academy’s Eleventh Annual Governors Awards, ninety-one-year-old Anna Wertmüller, the first female Best Director nominee for her Pasqualino Settebellezze (1975), called for a female Oscar named “Anna,” according to WTHR. Only five women have been up for Best Director in the history of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and two of them, Jane Campion as well as Greta Gerwig, were in attendance at the untelevised dinner event. Cherokee actor Wes Studi also became the first Native American actor to receive an Oscar last night, alongside the prolific David Lynch and Geena Davis.

“Knives Out” and “Marriage Story” to bookend this year’s Denver Film Festival

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The Denver Film Society says the 2018 festival sold $442,701 worth of tickets, compared to $401,000 in 2017; however, attendance dropped to 42,415 in 2018 from 46,912 in 2017. (Image Courtesy: The Know).

From October 30 to November 11, the Forty-Second Denver Film Festival will screen more than two hundred fifty features, documentaries, and shorts at the Sie FilmCenter, UA Pavilions, and the Ellie in between virtual-reality specials at the McNichols Building, according to The Know. Colorado native Rian Johnson, the filmmaker behind Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), will open the red carpet series with his ensemble murder mystery Knives Out (2019) on Halloween at the Ellie, and Noah Baumbach will close it with his Marriage Story (2019).  Denver Film Society anticipates the same turnout of young people as well as new residents as 2018, which was as successful as the year before that, when Emma Stone and director Damien Chazelle came to town with La La Land (2016).

Jane Fonda accepts award during arrest in D.C. protest

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Jane Fonda and Ted Danson were taken into custody together Friday afternoon, and the week before, she was arrested alongside Sam Waterston, her costar on Netflix’s Grace and Frankie (2015-). (Image Courtesy: The New York Daily News).

As Jane Fonda was being handcuffed Friday in Washington for the third time in fourteen days as part of her demonstration of civil disobedience against climate change by getting arrested every week, she gave an acceptance speech to a nearby camera, according to the New York Daily News. She was due to receive the honorary Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in Los Angeles later that night, the fifth actor to win it after Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, Matt Damon, as well as Cate Blanchett. Fonda is a two-time BAFTA Best Actress, for Fred Zimmerman’s Julia (1977) and James Bridges’s The China Syndrome (1979), in addition to a two-time Academy-Award honoree (out of seven nominations), for Alan J. Pakula’s Klute (1971) and Hal Ashby’s Coming Home (1978).

Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley movie has found its Priscilla

Australian actress Olivia DeJonge has been cast in the role of Elvis’s wife, Priscilla Presley, for the upcoming biopic from Baz Luhrmann about the King of Rock and Roll’s complicated twenty-year relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, according to Deadline. Austin Butler and Tom Hanks will play Presley and Parker, respectively, and DeJonge’s notable screen credits include M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit (2015), as well as Netflix’s The Society (2019-). Born in Brooklyn, Priscilla Ann Wagner was fourteen when she met a twenty-four-year-old Presley in 1959, before moving into Graceland in 1963, marrying him in 1967, and divorcing in 1973; she was the chairwoman of Elvis Presley Enterprises, and they had a daughter together.

Short film series about immigration makes its way to Texas

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Executive Director of the Waco Immigrants Alliance Hope Mustakim says babies are being born prematurely to immigrant families due to the worry caused by federal and state policies; parents are less engaged with schools, and churches with Spanish-speaking congregants are seeing lower attendance.  (Image Courtesy: KWTX).

Stories Beyond Borders, a series of five short movies about immigrant families distributed through the national nonprofit Working Films, screened Tuesday night at the Hippodrome Theatre in Waco, Texas, with two hundred people signing up to attend, according to KWTX. Executive Director of the Waco Immigrants Alliance Hope Mustakim says the turnout was one of their all-time highest, as Texas’s SB4, which bans sanctuary cities, has stigmatized undocumented immigrants in the local community. The Pew Research Center estimates that more than ten million undocumented immigrants live in the United States, and two-thirds of the adults have been here for at least ten years.

Final trailer launched for J.J. Abrams’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (2019)

After a string of teasers since filming began last year, the final trailer dropped Monday night for J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019), with tickets going on sale ahead of its December 20 release, according to The Guardian. The finale to the saga which began with George Lucas’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) promises lightsaber battles atop sinking ships, characters jumping across jungle canyons, as well as plenty of tearful closeups. Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Mark Hamill, Ian McDiarmid, and Anthony Daniels all star, and the filmmaking team confirmed back in May that old footage of the late Carrie Fisher would be repurposed into the new movie.

Francis Ford Coppola calls Marvel movies “despicable”

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Francis Ford Coppola says Marvel fails to enlighten, teach, or inspire. (Image Courtesy: Japan Today).

Francis Ford Coppola was awarded the Prix Lumiere in Lyon, France (joining the likes of Martin Scorsese, Pedro Almodovar, and Milos Forman as a recipient of the prestigious honor), and he spoke to local journalists about his thoughts on Marvel films, according to Japan Today. Expanding upon Scorsese’s now infamous remarks that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is “not cinema,” going so far as to call their output “theme park rides,” Coppola says the MCU is “despicable.” The Italian American auteur’s next project is Megalopolis, a utopian picture he has been nursing for two decades, which he promises will be even more ambitious than Apocalypse Now (1979).

HBO Max acquires Studio Ghibli library

Warner Media announced Thursday its acquisition of all twenty-one Studio Ghibli films for their streaming service, HBO Max, which will mark the first time the Japanese animation house’s filmography has been licensed to a streaming platform, according to The New York Times. Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (2001), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Princess Mononoke (1997), Castle in the Sky (1986), as well as The Wind Rises (2014), to name a few, will be available to stream next fall. Along with NET, PBS, and HBO’s Sesame Street (1969-), HBO Max hopes to compete against Disney Plus and Netflix in the children’s market because family subscriptions are the most consistent.

Chicago theater revives “Sunset Boulevard” musical

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Hollis Resnik stars as Norma Desmond alongside Billy Rude as Joe Gillis. (Image Courtesy: The Chicago Tribune).

Beginning Tuesday night, Porchlight Music Theatre artistic director Michael Weber is reviving the stage adaptation of Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950) at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts through December 8, according to the Chicago Tribune. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber as well as lyrics and book by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, the two-and-a-half-hour play first opened in 1993 London after leading lady Gloria Swanson spent much of the 1950s fighting to create a musical interpretation. Patti LuPone played Norma Desmond during the production’s London run, while Glenn Close, Petula Clark, Diahann Carroll, and Kim Zimmer were cast in the role stateside.

The fight to make the film industry more green

Emile O’Brien, who founded the environmentalist film and television consultancy service Earth Angel, was inspired to do so after studying production at New York University and seeing how much waste there was on sets, according to Vice. As an example, BAFTA says a single hour of fiction or nonfiction television produced in the UK generates thirteen metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is almost as much CO2 as an American produces on average in a year. To encourage a business which prides itself on its progressivism to put its money where its mouth is environmentally, O’Brien suggests that crews departmentalize “Eco Production Assistants,” and that activist groups host awards ceremonies for sustainability.