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I'm not even a horror fan and I'm excited!

I know, I know, it seems like every other post on this blog has something to do with Ellen Page. Well, she is one of the hottest young actors out there, and Chlotrudis did kind of discover her south of the border, and she is a frickin' amazing actor. Well this news from Cinematical is just too cool for words. The headline of their blog post reads, "Sam Raimi to Direct Ellen Page in 'Drag Me to Hell'" Doesn't that just rock your world? I'm sure if you are a horror fan it does. And if you're not (I'm not) there's something about that headline that just thrills me a little bit.

Cheryl Hines to Direct next Adrienne Shelly Project

Cinematical reports that WAITRESS wasn't Adrienne Shelly's last project after her tragic and untimely death just over one year ago in November 2006. Shelly had a finished script that is now heading into production. SERIOUS MOONLIGHT is a dark comedy about a "high-powered female attorney who learns that her husband is about to leave her for another woman, then prevents him from doing so by binding him to the toilet with duct tape." Okay, it sounds a little like an episode of "Desperate Housewives," but with Shelley's quirky sensibilities, it's bound to be something more.

Cheryl Hines, who co-starred with Keri Russell and Shelley in WAITRESS is attached to direct SERIOUS MOONLIGHT. It will be her directorial debut. Shelly's husband, Andy Ostroy, will co-produce along with Michael Roiff. Casting is currently underway, and Ostroy has expressed his desire to put together the team that was part of the WAITRESS family for this film, so expect Keri Russell to get involved as well.

A couple more words (and you know they're not the last) on BLINDNESS

So filming on Fernando Meirelles' BLINDNESS continues in Uruguay and Brazil next week. We got the inside scoop from Don McKellar (who adapted the screenplay) last week in Toronto. As you probably know from reading this earlier blog post (or this one), I'm very excited about BLINDNESS, having read the book, and loving the terrific international (and fairly heavily Canadian) cast. BLINDNESS became even more of a can't wait for me last week when I found out from Tracy Wright (pictured left) that she is scheduled scheduled to appear in the film as originally reported, despite not appearing on the Internet Movie Database's cast list. What's more (and I hope this isn't a trade secret) but Tracy is going to appear as a blonde! That's right... she decided she wants to bleach her hair for the role! I. Can't. Wait.

So anyway, Fernando Meirelles has a blog and he's talking about the shooting of BLINDNESS. Unfortunatley, it's all in Portuguese. Fortunately, Twitch has posted Fernando's latest post translated into English! Fernando talks about how Sandra Oh (yep, another great Canadian) got involved in the production. Go read it!

And could someone please add Tracy Wright to the cast list on imdb?

Trailer for the Latest by Fessenden

Remember the ultra-cool film WENDIGO, an ecological horror film by Larry Fessenden starring Patricia Clarkson? It tied with WAYDOWNTOWN for the Buried Treasure Award at the 9th Annual Chlotrudis Award. Last year in Toronto Fessenden's latest film, THE LAST WINTER debuted and got rave review from Ivy, who was fortunate enough to see it. Now we get a trailer for THE LAST WINTER, which stars Ron Perlman, James LeGros, and Kevin Corrigan, and it looks pretty darn cool. THE LAST WINTER will open in New York City on September 19 followed by a national roll-up. What do you think, Brattle Theatre, sounds like a winner to me!

Egoyan Tackles ADORATION

Telefilm Canada has announced the financing of Atom Egoyan's seventh feature film, to be titled ADORATION. Billed as a teen drama that "will examine how kids redefine themselves through the Internet," ADORATION actually sounds a good deal more complex than that. Add to the teen drama, a newsstory about a man and his pregnant girlfriend who try to get a bomb on a plane to Israel, and the way in which Simon, a 17-year-old high school student retells the same story on the web using his own family as a backdrop. The ramifications of Simon's actions are much more widespread and intense than he could have imagined.

For ADORATION, Egoyan has reteamed with Robert Lantos, who co-produced six of his previous films including WHERE THE TRUTH LIES and ARARAT. No word on casting, ADORATION is set to begin filming immediately following the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Kurt Cobain Doc Clip Available Online

I'm sure you all remember that Chlotrudis Advisory Board member, A.J. Schnack, has a new movie out called KURT COBAIN: ABOUT A SON. The film has been on the festival circuit, most recently, and closest to home at the Newport International Film Festival. For those Chlotrudis members who haven't had the opportunity to see the film yet, you can see a clip on YouTube. Hopefully we'll get to see the film on the big screen here in Boston sometime in the future. I had been hoping for a screening at the Provincetown International Film Festival, which I leave for tomorrow, but no such luck.

Father of African Film Dies

Ousmane Sembène, Senegalese director of the Chlotrudis Awards-nominated MOOLAADÉ died at age 84 at his home in Dakar, Senegal. Dubbed the "Father of African Film," Sembène's work often focused on women, and their societal role in Africa. In addition to the widely-acclaimed MOOLAADÉ, his films include BLACK GIRL (1966) and FAAT KINE (2000). The cinema of the world has lost a talented and important filmmaker. AO Scott writes about the director in the New York Times.

Firth, Keener, Davis and Winterbottom in Boston?

Indiewire reports that Michael Winterbottom's next project, GENOVA, will star Colin Firth, Hope Davis and Catherine Keener. Shooting begins at the end of June in Genova, Itlay, and... wait for it... Boston! Maybe I'll get to ask Catherine personally to come to the 14th Annual Chlotrudis Awards!

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Petition to Change Thai Law

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Apicatpong "Joe" Weeasethakul's new film SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY. Apparently there's quite a story brewing around this film by the director of Buried Treasure nominee TROPICAL MALADY. After Thailand's Censorship Board demanded Joe cut four "sensitive scenes" from his film, he decided not to release the film in his home country unless the laws were changed to allow it to be screened in its intended form. Joe has started a petition of have those laws changed called the "Free Thai Cinema Movement" where he says, ""We're petitioning not only for a just decision for Syndromes and a Century, but also for a long-needed modernization of Thai legislation concerning movie censorship." GreenCine Daily reports that the movement is receiving some serious backing from political and cultural heavyweights. Chlotrudis members, especially those that voted for this year's Best Documentary winner THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED, should take a look at the petition and consider signing it. I did.

Incidentally, according to Limitless Cinema, the four "sensitive scenes" that the Thai Censorship Board demanded cut showed:

  1. a young monk playing a guitar
  2. a group of doctors drinking whisky in a hospital basement
  3. a doctor kissing his girlfriend in a hospital locker room
  4. two monks playing with a radio-controlled flying saucer

Now don't you really want to sign the petition?

Andrea Arnold's RED ROAD Leads the Advance Party

Those Danes and their rules. Most film enthusiasts are familiar with the Dogme95 collective, which has spawned some remarkable films such as Thomas Vinterberg's THE CELEBRATION; Lars Von Trier's THE IDIOTS; Søren Kragh-Jacobsen's MIFUNE; Lone Scherfig's ITALIAN FOR BEGINNERS; and Susanne Bier's OPEN HEARTS. Now after a conversation with Lars Von Trier, directors Lone Scherfig and Anders Thomas Jensen (whose film ADAM'S APPLES we are going to see Monday night) have come up with a new concept called The Advance Party. The Advance Party is the banner for films incorporating the characters originated by Scherfig and Jensen after Lars von Trier had set the challenge of putting the same actors playing the same characters into different films authored by different directors. It was originated in 2002 by the Glasgow Film Office who suggested to Scottish Production Company Sigma Films that they persuade theirs partners at Zentropa (the Danish Production Company responsible for many Dogme95 films) to collaborate on a series of films by emerging directors.

The rules are as follows:

  • The scripts can take their starting point in one or more characters or they may be subjected to an external drama. The characters can also participate in a form that is governed primarily by neither characters nor plot.
  • The films take place in Scotland but apart from that the writers are free to place them anywhere according to geography, social setting or ethnic background. Their back-stories can be expanded, family relations can be created between them, they can be given habits good or bad, and secondary characters can be added if it is proper for the individual film.
  • The interpersonal relationships of the characters differ from film to film and they may be weighted differently as major or minor characters.
  • The development of the characters in each story or genre does not affect the other scripts.
  • All of the characters must appear in all of the films.
  • The various parts will be cast with the same actors in the same parts in all of the films.

Less technical and more character-driven than Dogme95, but still a spur to creativity by its limitations, The Advance Party first brings to mind the self-imposed structure of Chlotrudis Award multiple winner THE TRILOGY by Belgian director Lucas Belvaux, where three films, in different genres, about the same characters were filmed and released at the same time. THE TRILOGY won four Chlotrudis Awards in 1995 including Best Cast, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Movie (for which it tied with SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER... AND SPRING.)

The first of the Advance Party's films is Andrea Arnold's RED ROAD, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes last year. In RED ROAD, Jackie (Kate Dickie) works as a CCTV operator. Each day she watches over a small part of the world, protecting the people living their lives under her gaze. One day a man appears on her monitor, a man she thought she would never see again, a man she never wanted to see again. Now she has no choice, she is compelled to confront him. RED ROAD has already drawn comparisons to REAR WINDOW and Michael Haneke's Chlotrudis Awards winning CACHE.

In an interview with Filmmaker Magazine earlier this week, writer/director Arnold discusses The Advance Party, and the making of RED ROAD. Chlotrudis Board Member Bruce Kingsley caught RED ROAD earlier this year at the Miami International Film Festival, where it won Best Film. RED ROAD also features as one of its stars, Natalie Press, who was nominated for a Best Actress Chlotrudis Award for MY SUMMER OF LOVE. All of this is just to say that I'm very intrigued and getting excited about RED ROAD'S release, and it will be interesting to see where the other two participating directors (Morag Mckinnon and Mikkel Norsgaard) take these characters. It's the first time in several months that I have been intrigued and excited by an upcoming release that I'd never heard of before.