November 29, 2007

November 29, 2007

In Praise of Cold Case
I know I've said this before but its worthy of a repeat -- Cold Case, the CBS detective drama (Sunday, 9pm) is turning out to be the most feminist show on TV.

The episode this past weekend took place in 1982 and was about a serial date rapist; before the term date rape existed when women were dismissed by their family, friends and the police as having asked for it.

This episode was handled so well that after it was over I thought to myself that I bet a woman wrote and directed it. I was right. Episode was written by Executive Producer Veena Sud and directed by the highly esteemed film director Agnieszka Holland (Copying Beethoven, Europa, Europa). (Women film directors are becoming regular TV directors since there are so few opportunities in film for them- that's another story)

I decided to check out the other senior staff (thanks to tivo) and was shocked and delighted to discover that of the 9 people listed under producer, consulting producer, co-exec producer and exex producer (in TV terms that means the writing team) 7 of them are women. Yes yo read it right -- 7 out of 9 writers/producers are women. I have never seen that before. We need to support this show with all our might. And it's not just because they are women, it's because they write women so well.

Put This on the List
Just got some info on a film opening next March- Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day starring Frances McDormand and Amy Adams. Set in 1939 London, McDormand plays a fired governess who finds herself befriended by an American actress and singer played by Adams.

The Sundance Film Festival unveiled its lineup yesterday.
Fest will host 51 first time filmmakers. Women in the lineup include:

Documentary Competition:
"An American Soldier," Director and Screenwriter: Edet Belzberg
Uncle Sam wants you! A compelling exploration of army recruitment in the United States told through the story of Louisiana Sergeant, First Class Clay Usie, one of the most successful recruiters in the history of the U.S. Army. World Premiere

"American Teen," Director and Screenwriter: Nanette Burstein
This irreverent cinema verite chronicles four seniors at an Indiana high school and yields a surprising snapshot of Midwestern life. World Premiere

"Flow: For Love of Water," Director: Irena Salina
Water is the very essence of life, sustaining every being on the planet. FLOW confronts the disturbing reality that our crucial resource is dwindling and greed just may be the cause. World Premiere

"The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo," Director and Screenwriter: Lisa F. Jackson
Jackson travels to remote villages in the war zones of the Congo to meet rape survivors, providing a piercing, intimate look into the struggle of their lives. World Premiere

"Nerakhoon (The Betrayal)," Director: Ellen Kuras; Co-Director: Thavisouk Phrasavath; Screenwriters: Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath
The epic story of a family forced to emigrate from Laos after the chaos of the secret air war waged by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. Kuras has spent the last 23 years chronicling the family's extraordinary journey in this deeply personal, poetic, and emotional film. World Premiere

"The Order of Myths," Director: Margaret Brown
In 2007 Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras is celebrated...and complicated. Following a cast of characters, parades, and parties across an enduring color line, we see that beneath the surface of pageantry lies something else altogether. World Premiere

"Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," Director: Marina Zenovich; Screenwriters: Marina Zenovich, Joe Bini, P.G. Morgan
This film examines the public scandal and private tragedy which led to legendary director Roman Polanski's sudden flight from the United States. World Premiere

"Slingshot Hip Hop," Director: Jackie Reem Salloum
The voice of a new generation rocks and rhymes as Palestinian rappers form alternative voices of resistance within the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. World Premiere

"Traces of the Trade: A Story From The Deep North," Director: Katrina Browne; Co-Directors: Alla Kovgan, Jude Ray; Screenwriters: Katrina Browne, Alla Kovgan
History finally gets rewritten as descendants of the largest slave-trading family in early America face their past, and present, as they explore their violent heritage across oceans and continents. World Premiere

"Trouble the Water," Directors: Tia Lessin, Carl Deal
An aspiring rap artist and her streetwise husband, armed with a video camera, show what survival is all about when they are trapped in New Orleans by deadly floodwaters, and seize a chance for a new beginning. World Premiere

Dramatic Competition:
"Downloading Nancy," Director: Johan Renck; Screenwriters: Pamela Cuming, Lee Ross
The tale of an unhappy wife whose online search for someone to put her out of her misery results in a torturous love affair. Cast: Maria Bello, Jason Patric, Rufus Sewell, Amy Brenneman. World Premiere

"Frozen River," Director and Screenwriter: Courtney Hunt
Set in rural upstate New York on a Mohawk Reservation bordering Canada, a mother left to care for her teenage son finds herself lured into the world of illegal immigrant smuggling. Cast: Melissa Leo, Misty Upham, Charlie McDermott, Michael O'Keefe, Mark Boone, Jr. World Premiere

"Good Dick," Director and Screenwriter: Marianna Palka
The tale of a lonely girl drawn from her isolated life and solitary apartment by a doting young video store clerk who strives to capture her affections. Cast: Jason Ritter, Marianna Palka, Tom Arnold, Mark Webber, Martin Starr, Eric Edelstein. World Premiere

"Phoebe in Wonderland," Director and Screenwriter: Daniel Barnz
Confounded by her clashes with the seemingly rule-obsessed world, a little girl takes her already dysfunctional family down the rabbit hole when she seeks enlightenment from her unconventional drama teacher. Cast: Elle Fanning, Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Pullman, Campbell Scott, Peter Gerety. World Premiere

"Sugar," Directors and Screenwriters: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who last teamed up for "Half Nelson," chronicle the journey of Dominican baseball star Miguel "Sugar" Santos recruited from his native country to play in the U.S. minor leagues. Cast: Algenis Perez Soto. World Premiere

"Sunshine Cleaning," Director Christine Jeffs; Screenwriter: Megan Holley
Struck by financial hardship, an ambitious mother and her unmotivated sister become entrepreneurs in the field of biohazard removal and crime scene clean-up. Cast: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Steve Zahn, Alan Arkin. World Premiere

World Cinema Documentary Competition:
"Alone in Four Walls (Allein In Vier Wanden) / Germany, Director: Alexandra Westmeier
Adolescent boys struggle to grow up in a home for delinquents in rural Russia where life behind bars may be better than the release to freedom. North American Premiere

"The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins" / New Zealand, Director and Screenwriter: Pietra Brettkelly
Vanessa Beecroft is obsessively determined to adopt Sudanese twin orphans. Her consuming passion drives her marriage to a breaking point and fuels her controversial art, raising troubling questions about exploitation, culture clash, and the imposition of the West on Africa. World Premiere

"Dinner With The President" / Pakistan, Directors and Screenwriters: Sabiha Sumar and Sachithanandam Sathananthan
From on-the-street interviews to audiences with religious leaders to dinner with the President of Pakistan, the film takes the temperature of a culture on issues from politics to women's rights. U.S. Premiere

"pUUJEE" / Japan, Director and Screenwriter: Kazuya Yamada
Against the backdrop of a magnificent but harsh natural landscape, a Japanese photojournalist encounters Puujee, a young girl who tames wild horses on the Mongolian plains.

"The Women of Brukman" (Les Femmes de la Baukma) / Canada, Director and Screenwriter: Isaac Isitan
Amidst Argentina's financial collapse, workers take over a Buenos Aires men's clothing factory and continue producing clothing on a self-management model. As the formerly poor become business managers, their lives are changed forever. U.S. Premiere

World Cinema Dramatic Competition are:
"Megane" (Glasses)/ Japan, Director and Screenwriter: Naoko Ogigami
Taeko's southern vacation becomes a life-changing experience when she discovers a unique beach community unified by surprising and perhaps odd traditions in this comedic film. Cast: Satomi Kobayashi, Mikako Ichikawa, Ryo Kase, Ken Mitsuishi, Masako Motai. North American Premiere

"Mermaid" (Rusalka) / Russia, Director and Screenwriter: Anna Melikyan
The fanciful tale of an introverted little girl who grows up believing she has the power to make wishes come true. She must reconcile this belief with reality when, as a young woman, she journeys to Moscow and grapples with love, modernity and materialism. Cast: Masha Shalaeva, Evgeniy Ciganov, Maria Sokolova, Nastya Doncova. International Premiere

"Riprendimi" (Good Morning Heartache) / Italy, Director: Anna Negri; Screenwriters: Anna Negri, Giovanna Mori
A modern young couple with a new baby are forced to deal with the almost comedic pain of breaking up while being the subject of a documentary that quickly crosses professional lines into their private lives. Cast: Alba Rohrwacher, Marco Foschi, Valentina Lodovini, Stefano Fresi, Alessandro Averone. World Premiere

"Strangers" / Israel, Directors and Screenwriters: Erez Tadmor, Guy Nattiv
An Israeli man and a Palestinian woman meet serendipitously during the carefree atmosphere of the World Cup finals in Germany, drawing them out of the stark reality of their lives and into a passionate affair. Cast: Liron Levo, Lubna Azabal, Dominique Lollia, Patrick Albenque, Abdallah el Akal, Roger Dumas. International Premiere

Interview with Laura Linney
Anything but Typical (LA Times)

Can Enchanted beat the dreaded post Thanksgiving drop off? Disney is working to make sure this doesn't happen. Some quotes from how they sold the film upon its release:

"Disney worried that focusing on the fairy-tale romance between Giselle (Amy Adams) and Robert (Patrick Dempsey) would scare off male moviegoers, leaving "Enchanted" with an audience that skewed as heavily female as "Hairspray's." Early trailers and Internet promotions also steered clear of the film's musical numbers. Instead, the marketing focused on the film's Disney pedigree, its characters and physical comedy." (They really did not advertise that it was basically a musical with songs done by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz and it looked like it was ready to open on Broadway next week.)

"Once moviegoers started to see the movie, men and boys apparently didn't mind the music and romance; the opening weekend audience was 60% female and 40% male, the studio says. "It wasn't just moms and daughters coming to the movie -- it was the whole family," Lima says." (It's not rocket science, produce a film that is good, and women as well as men will come. People have much more free time over the long Thanksgiving weekend, the pressure of having to see a film on a Friday or Saturday night is just not realistic for most people, especially women.)

And how they will try and keep it going:

"And, for the time being, Disney will promote the movie it has, not the movie it feared. "It's first and foremost a romantic comedy," Lima says. "And we shouldn't be afraid of that." DUH

Disney Angles for Another Enchanted Weekend (LA Times)