|JOAQUIN PHOENIXRENEE ZELLWEGERTHE WINNERSLAURA DERNBRAD PITTZELLWEGEROSCAR|
As a four-year-old boy, filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky fell in love with a piglet when he spent some time in a remote Russian village. “He became my closest friend and was killed by Christmastime,” Kossakovsky told me at the Berlinale after-party for his nonfiction film “Gunda,” which debuted Sunday in the “Encounters” section. “I became probably the first vegetarian in the Soviet Union. I always wanted to make a movie about pigs.
The movie is fascinating and immersive, and critics are raving, even if it took IndieWire’s Eric Kohn three viewings to figure out what he thought of it. “Gunda” couldn’t be more unlike the entertaining 2019 doc “The Biggest Little Farm,” with its colorful anthropomorphic animal characters and voiceover narration and perky, manipulative soundtrack.
“Gunda” is a documentary with no dialogue that follows around a bunch of farm animals in natural light, with long takes, and no music score. But while market expectations for this black-and-white follow-up to Kossakovsky’s dangerous water epic “Aquarela” were low, his producers were all smiles Sunday. Reviews are strong. And the movie is popping, partly because it’s not like anything else you’ve ever seen, but it also carries a powerful political message: humans should not eat animals.
Kossakovsky eschews emotional manipulation. He wants to earn audience empathy for his animals. He picked out his lead character, sow Gunda, on sight on the first visit to a farm in Norway. “It was easy to film,” he said. “It looks sophisticated. We only filmed with a 1 to 4 ratio for a 90 minute film, like back to old cinema. We found Gunda in the first minute of research. It was open the door, we see Gunda. ‘We have Meryl Streep. This is the one, she is so powerful in her face. We found it.'”
In order to intimately film his ingénue, the director built a round barn with places to set the Arri mini-cameras so they could see inside 360 degrees, and also set up exterior tracking shots. He visited Gunda just after she gave birth to about a dozen little suckling pigs squirming to attach to her engorged nipples. The filmmakers returned three more times over the next three months as the soft white piglets matured and followed their mother around the yard.
While the camera setups were fairly straightforward — this shoot was a cinch compared to watery “Aquarela” — the sound was as fake as any Hollywood shoot, as foley artists and other sound magic recreated what the recordists caught on location, but cleaner and more distinctly, from buzzing and grunting and sucking to birds and trees rustling in the wind. That soundtrack also pulls the viewer closer to nature. “I wanted eliminate voiceover, any slaughtering, any blood,” he said, “because a lot of films are made about this, and people are still not getting it. Now we will just look at them and look how they are and maybe people will get it. I decided to eliminate music. I can make emotional film and people will cry, without manipulating them.”
Kossakovsky also filmed cows grazing in the fields with a SteadiCam as well as following a bunch of chickens who were set free from their coop for the first time in their short lives, tentatively setting their feet outside for the first time, stepping on grass and slowly gaining courage to explore the fields and woods nearby. “People don’t want to watch chickens, pigs and cows,” said...
Josh Brolin is set to star in the Amazon series Outer Range, which he’ll also executive produce with Brad Pitt‘s Plan B Entertainment and Amazon Studios. Written and created by playwright Brian Watkins, the series follows a rancher who discovers “an unfathomable mystery” on his land. That sounds downright Lovecraftian, but that might just be wishful thinking on my part.
Deadline and others are reporting the news about Outer Range. It’s being described as a “mystery show”, and the synopsis is pretty darn mysterious in its own right:
Outer Range centers on Royal Abbott Brolin, a Wyoming rancher struggling to hold on to his family and way of life, who must grapple with the unknown after discovering an unfathomable mystery on his land.
Just what is this “unfathomable mystery” on Royal Abbott’s land!? The horror fan in me thinks this sounds like the perfect recipe for some sort of weird, cosmic horror. But I’m guessing that’s not the case, or else they’d be calling this a horror series. Other than that slim bit of info above there’s next to nothing out there about Outer Range, so feel free to use your imagination and make up an entire show in your mind.
This will mark Brolin’s first TV role since the 2003 NBC legal drama series Mister Sterling, which I have never, ever heard of. Brolin is executive producing Open Range along with creator Brian Watkins, Zev Borow, Heather Rae, and Plan B Entertainment – the company owned by Brad Pitt, which means we get to put Brad Pitt’s name in the headline, even though he probably won’t have much involvement in the series. That’s how the game works, folks.
Next up for Brolin, big-screen-wise, is Dune, Denis Villeneuve’s huge, star-studded sci-fi adaptation. He’s also just finished working on Sean Penn’s Flag Day, in which “a father lives a double life as a counterfeiter, bank robber and con man in order to provide for his daughter.” And Flag Day – celebrated on June 14 – is, presumably, involved in some way.Source: Slashfilm.com
EXCLUSIVE: WME has inked filmmaker Heidi Ewing who recently directed, wrote and produced I Carry You With Me, which won this year’s Audience Award and Innovator Award in the NEXT! category at the Sundance Film Festival and was sold to Sony Pictures Classics and Stage 6 Films days into the festival.
Ewing was also nominated for an Oscar in the 2007 Feature Documentary category for Magnolia Pictures’ Jesus Camp. That doc followed the children who attend a Charismatic Christian summer camp outside Devils Lake, North Dakota, wishing that they’ll become the next Billy Graham.Christian Vásquez and Armando Espitia appear I Carry You With Me by Heidi Ewing. Sundance
Based on a true story, Ewing’s recent I Carry You With Me is an epic romance that follows two gay men from provincial Mexico as they chase the promise of social and economic freedoms in New York City. SPC will release the film theatrically in June.
Ewing also directed Roco films’ 2012 doc Detropia which followed the collapse of the U.S. manufacturing base in the city of Detroit, as well as the Netflix 2017 doc One of Us which penetrates the insular world of New York’s Hasidic community, focusing on three individuals who were driven to break away despite threats of retaliation. Ewing is also directing the upcoming limited docu-series Love Fraud at Showtime with her longtime directing collaborator and co-Oscar nominee Rachel Grady. The four-part series follows the search of Richard Scott Smith, who used the internet and his dubious charms to prey upon women looking for love. The story unravels in real time as Smith’s victims band together to seek sweet revenge.
WME has signed Ewing for representation in all areas. She continues to be represented by Victoria Cook at Frankfurt Kurnit.
Macaulay Culkin auditioned for Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and it was a 'disaster.' Culkin doesn't do a whole lot of acting these days. The Home Alone star worked a lot when he was a child actor, which isn't exactly what he always wanted to do. His father pushed him into roles when he wanted to go back to school and live somewhat of a normal life. However, Culkin does want to continue acting these days, but just on his own terms.
In a new lengthy interview, Macaulay Culkin touches on a number of different subjects. One of those subjects was a chance at auditioning for Quentin Tarantino on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The movie is critically acclaimed and earned several Academy Award nominations. It would have been a great place to see Culkin, but it was not to be. He explains.'It was a disaster. I wouldn't have hired me. I'm terrible at auditioning anyway, and this was my first audition in like eight years.'
Macaulay Culkin does not go into details as to why he was not given the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood role. Calling the audition a 'disaster' seems to sum it up pretty well though. The actor hasn't done a ton of work over the last 20 years. He has slowly started to appear in more movies and TV shows over the last few years. He appeared in an episode of Hulu's Dollface series opposite his girlfriend Brenda Song last year. He also starred in Changeland, which was made by his buddy Seth Green. He enjoyed not having to go out and promote either project.
Macaulay Culkin even got back into his Home Alone days with an ad for Google Assistant. For Culkin, not doing things in the public eye started to get dark. People automatically assumed the worst about him, just judging by his appearance or a weird joke that he would tell a reporter on the street. Culkin was well aware of this. He had this to say.'People assume that I'm crazy, or a kook, or damaged. Weird. Cracked. And up until the last year or two, I haven't really put myself out there at all. So I can understand that. It's also like, 'Okay, everybody, stop acting so freaking shocked that I'm relatively well-adjusted.''
As for doing interviews and a little bit more acting work now, Macaulay Culkin says, 'No matter how much I act like a curmudgeonly old man, it's still fun to get back in the saddle once in a while and play around.' While it's fun to get back in the saddle, that also means he has to talk about his father and Michael Jackson. In the same interview, Culkin talks about an awkward conversation he had with actor James Franco about Michael Jackson being a predator. While some of his life has been pretty dark, Culkin is able to see some light in it all. You can read the rest of the interview with Macaulay Culkin over at Esquire.