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Showing posts from October, 2013

Savannah Director's Choice: "About Time"

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Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy star in “About Time” Tonight’s mystery Director’s Choice screening at the Savannah Film Festival was truly something no one had guessed—Richard Curtis’ “About Time.” The film stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lydia Wilson, Lindsay Duncan and Tom Hollander. It’s as sweet as can be, but I sort of loved it. Look for a review to come soon!

Savannah Film Festival kicks off with Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" (***½)

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SCAD brought quite the party to Broughton Street for the opening night of the 16th annual Savannah Film Festival. Celebrating its Sweet Sixteen this year, Georgia’s oldest city hosts the second oldest film festival in the state—younger only than the 37-year-old Atlanta Film Festival. Right from the start, the Savannah Film Festival knew what type of event it wanted to be. SCAD’s illustrious 8-day event has built and maintained the type of reputation it often takes festivals decades to achieve, offering up a mix of fall prestige fare, strong independent filmmaking and a showcase of student work. Honoring star actors, producers, writers and directors every year raises the level of awareness and excitement around town.  Alexander Payne, Jeremy Irons, Natalie Dormer and Abigail Breslin are this year’s honorees. Terence Stamp was originally slated to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award but had to cancel due to filming commitments in Romania. This year’s Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Aw

What is your guess for the mystery Savannah Film Festival Director's Choice screening?

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An annual tradition here at the Savannah Film Festival  is a mid-week mystery screening, the Director’s Choice. No announcement is made, no clues given; we have to wait until the projector beams the chosen selection onto the screen at the Trustees Theatre. Last year, “Hyde Park on Hudson” was the selection. In previous years, the world premiere of “The Muppets,” the Savannah-filmed “The Conspirator,” “Up in the Air,” “Persepolis,” “Volver” and “Match Point” all held the distinction. What could this year’s film be? Considering the festival’s past relationship with Focus Features, my guess is “Dallas Buyers Club,” which opens in select cities this Friday. Other rumors making their way around town and around the Internet include “Ender’s Game,” “Out of the Furnace,” “Saving Mr. Banks” and “Thor: The Dark World.” Some have suggested Georgia’s own “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” but let’s face it—that ain’t happening three weeks before its highly anticipated release. What are some of yo

Pinewood Atlanta to Transform Georgia Film Industry

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Pinewood Atlanta Studios as of October 2013. Photo: Pinewood Atlanta Studios In April 2013, The Pinewood Group announced plans to break ground on a brand new film, television, and music studio in Fayetteville , just fifteen miles south of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. The Pinewood Group, which manages film studios worldwide, is responsible for the James Bond franchise and numerous blockbusters; most notable recent titles include “Pacific Rim,” “World War Z,” “Captain Phillips,” and “Gravity.” Fayetteville’s location will be Pinewood’s first in the United States. A campus this influential promises huge strides for the Georgia film industry, and Pinewood seems as excited about their arrival as we are. Pinewood Group’s CEO, Ivan Dunleavy: “[April 26th’s] agreement is another step forward for the Pinewood brand internationally. This new studio will target US productions. Georgia has excellent fiscal incentives and a great crew base. With River’s Rock we have a well-resourced partner that is

Ben Affleck's "Live By Night" to film in Savannah, Brunswick (Casting call)

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Ben Affleck to film his next project in Georgia Although Ben Affleck’s first followups to his Best Picture Oscar-winner “Argo” have been acting projects like “Runner Runner” and the forthcoming films “Gone Girl” and “Batman vs. Superman,” he is set to return to his previously acclaimed roles as writer and director. Affleck’s next project is a screen adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Prohibition novel, “Live By Night.” Affleck’s directorial debut—and still his best, in my opinion—”Gone Baby Gone,” was also adapted from a novel by Lehane. Affleck will adapt the screenplay, direct, produce and star in the film—obviously a project he feels pretty strongly about. Leonardo DiCaprio is also on board as a producer. Affleck and his wife, Jennifer Garner, often vacation at their home on Hampton Island near Riceboro, about forty-five minutes south of Savannah. Affleck bought the home nearly a decade ago and has been clear about his love for coastal Georgia since filming the 1999 film “Forces of Natur

Exclusive photos from "Dumb and Dumber To" Marietta set

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Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels filming “Dumb and Dumber To” at Glover Park in the Marietta Square The Farrelly Brothers’ “Dumb and Dumber To,” along with “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1,” is setting Atlanta ablaze with all the excitement it is generating as it films all over the metro area. Already shooting in Atlanta, Grantville and Monroe; yesterday, the film moved to Marietta Square and continued filming there through today. Hundreds of fans and curious passers-by gathered at street corners to get a glimpse of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as Lloyd and Harry. While Laurie Holden and Kathleen Turner co-star and Jennifer Lawrence will make a cameo appearance, Carrey and Daniels were the film’s only big stars I caught today. However, it seems that comedic icon Steve Martin was in town and made a set visit. I can’t confirm that the man pictured below is actually Steve Martin ( AJC Buzz reporter Jennifer Brett says it is , but an on-set PA said it wasn’t). As evidenced by the Texas fl

What to see at the 2013 Savannah Film Festival

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Now in its 16th year, the Savannah Film Festival is a distinguished, star-studded jewel on Georgia’s film festival crown. Over the last several years, the festival has built up a reputation for its varied selection of honorees as well as its thought-provoking programming—displayed through both highly-buzzed prestige projects and smaller independent fare alike. This is my third SAVFF, and my second time attending for the entire 8-day event. Last year, “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Amour,” “Flight,” “Rust & Bone,” “The Sapphires” and “Rise of the Guardians” were some of the fest’s big hits. Business as usual, plenty of Oscar buzz exists in this year’s lineup as well. From the opening night film, “Nebraska,” to the closing night film, “August: Osage County,” and to all of the “Philomena”s and “Mandela”s in between—this is your Georgia destination for the fall’s most anticipated releases. So what is worth seeing this year? Just about everything! We’ve highlighted the special gala present

Signs and Sets: "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay," "Dumb and Dumber To," "Fast & Furious 7"

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“THE ODDS ARE NEVER IN OUR FAVOR,” a remnant from the set of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” in Southwest Atlanta It is pretty easy to find pictures of all the celebrities that are spending time filming projects in Georgia, but sometimes you might stumble upon a nondescript film set and not know what and who you are looking at. In a new column called “Signs and Sets,” we’ll share pictures of the coded signs and miscellaneous set pictures that might not contain the glamorous faces of stars, but will give you an idea of what to look for when set-hunting. Currently, “Fast & Furious 7,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” and “Dumb and Dumber To” are all speeding through production in the Metro Atlanta area. Fast & Furious 7 Director:   James Wan Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, Lucas Black, Dwayne Johnson, Elsa Pataky, Tony Jaa, Jason Statham, Djimon Hounsou and Kurt Russell Filming has mostly

Jeremy Irons to receive Lifetime Achievement Award at Savannah Film Festival

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Jeremy Irons will be a featured guest at this year’s Savannah Film Festival Jeremy Irons has been announced as a special guest and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient at this year’s Savannah Film Festival. Three-quarters of his way to EGOT, Irons has already won an Emmy, an Oscar and a Tony—still waiting on that Grammy. Irons’ career has spanned decades, with memorable films roles in “The French Lieutenant’s Woman,” “The Mission,” “Dead Ringers,” “Reversal of Fortune,” “The Lion King,” “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” “The Time Machine,” “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Margin Call.” Irons’ television credits include “Brideshead Revisited,” “Elizabeth I” and “The Borgias.” Recently, Irons produced and narrated the global waste documentary “Trashed,” which screened at the Rome International Film Festival earlier this year. Irons will be presented with his award on Monday, October 28th before the 7:00 PM screening of “Seduced and Abandoned,” with Alec Baldwin and James Toback in attendance. Earlier

Alexander Payne, Natalie Dormer, Terence Stamp among honorees at 2013 Savannah Film Festival

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The 2013 Savannah Film Festival honorees (from left): Alexander Payne, Natalie Dormer, Terence Stamp Later this month, the Savannah Film Festival will continue the star parade it began 16 years ago. Last year, the festival celebrated the careers of Matt Dillon, Geoffrey Fletcher, John Gatins, John Goodman, Diane Lane, Michelle Monaghan and Stan Lee; so it is no surprise to hear a solid mix of revered filmmakers, acting legends and promising newcomers lined up for this year’s honors. Alexander Payne, Natalie Dormer and Terence Stamp are the first honorees announced for this year’s events. The festival kicks off on Saturday, October 26th and runs through Saturday, November 2nd. As the writer-director behind “Citizen Ruth,” “Election,” “About Schmidt,” “Sideways” and “The Descendants,” Alexander Payne brings his latest film, “Nebraska,” to Savannah as the opening night presentation . Bruce Dern, the films lead and a past SAVFF honoree himself, will be on hand to present Payne with the awa

Star spotting 10/5: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Paul Walker, Jason Momoa

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Jennifer Lawrence, Jason Momoa and Jim Carrey are all hard at work on Georgia sets. Leading up to next month’s release of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,”  the mega-franchise is in full-swing filming mode yet again. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”  is back in Atlanta, stars and all. Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Julianne Moore in particular have been spotted all over the city, with more of the sprawling cast expected in town over the next several weeks. So far, filming has taken place at Screen Gems Studios, Downtown at the Georgia World Congress Center, at Sweetwater Creek State Park in Lithia Springs, at Amicalola Falls State Park in Dawsonville with the film currently set up at Pullman Yard in Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood. When Lionsgate decided to split the final book in the series into two films, it was rumored that “Mockingjay – Part 2”  would film together with “Part 1.” While no official word on this has been issued, it would make sense if there is any trut

Review: "Prisoners" (****)

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Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman star in “Prisoners” If 2012 was a banner year for film production in Georgia, 2013 has been what dreams are made of. The Atlanta Film Festival showcased more Georgia indies than ever before, including some of the best I’ve ever seen—”Congratulations!” and “euphonia.” However, we mustn’t neglect the films that were shot here but conceived outside of the state’s boundaries. Hollywood studio productions that shoot here for the tax credits often use Georgia to double as locations that fit their story better, but the films still use plenty of local talent in terms of both cast and crew. Offering not only our talented actors and craftsmen, Georgia’s geographic diversity also speaks for itself—allowing easy access to pretty much any type of setting the filmmakers need. We’ve already seen plenty of Georgia-shot films released in cinemas and VOD this year, including “42,” “The Internship,” “Jayne Mansfield’s Car,” “Killing Season,” “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”