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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.
The filmmaker discusses being let into Taylor Swift's private world, filming the 'extraordinary-ordinary contradictions' and why she hired male production assistants for her all-female crew.
Taylor Swift doesn't care about your approval. Not anymore.
That's the narrative that takes shape in the new Netflix documentary Miss Americana, in which director Lana Wilson follows Swift over the course of the pop star's personal and professional redefinition of her own career. As Swift,who broke out as a country singer at the age of 15, headed towards the milestone of turning 30, the singer-songwriter encounters and endures a series of events that forces her to reassess her own voice and platform.
Months before the film's release, Wilson, Swift and Netflix hit a snag after the singer parted ways with Scott Borchetta's Big Machine Label group and saw her entire catalog of music sold to Scooter Braun, a move she voiced her unhappiness with and added that Borchetta and Braun were refusing to allow the use of her music in the documentary.
'The film was quite close to done at that point, and I wasn't really involved with all that but we got the approval, full clearance for everything, which was awesome,' Wilson tells The Hollywood Reporter while at the Sundance Film Festival, where the documentary debuted on opening night. And while the Borchetta-Braun drama marks another chapter of Swift's challenges in a male-dominated music industry, Wilson decided to not include the incident in the film because 'I just feel like Taylor had put it out there in her own words already and it's been so extensively covered by the press that I was really interested in focusing on the story that people hadn't heard before.'
But to tell the story of Swift right, Wilson decided to begin the narrative on one fateful night in New York in 2009. It is the eve of the MTV Video Music Awards and Swift is about to hit a career high and low in one simultaneous — and now, infamous — moment on stage. The 19-year-old singer, who had arrived at the show in a glittering gown in a horse-drawn carriage, won best female video for 'You Belong With Me' and within moments of accepting the award, was interrupted on stage by Kanye West declaring, 'Yo Taylor, I'm really happy for you, Imma let you finish, but Beyonce had the one of the best videos of all time.'
'She just had this incredible meteoric rise when she got to the VMAs and had this experience, which I understood in a new way when I interviewed her about it,' Wilson says. 'When Kanye West comes on stage and takes the microphone away and then the audience starts booing, that experience of an entire room and people booing you on what was this incredibly exciting big night for your career would be devastating to anyone, but especially to a young performing artist who thrives on this gratifying response from the crowd.'
It was this moment that shaped part of a catalyst for Swift to...
Everything is delayed, canceled, or on hold at the moment due to the coronavirus COVID-19, which means that film festivals are having to make some tough choices. Cannes is postponed. SXSW was canceled, but they recently announced they would try to put together an online film festival with Amazon Prime Video. TIFF has yet to make a decision one way or another, but festival runners Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey mentioned last week that they were considering a potential digital festival. Digital film festivals are a distinct possibility in several locations, but there’s one fest that has flat-out refused to go digital: the Venice Film Festival.
With the coronavirus continuing to upend film festivals across the globe, some are wondering if virtual, online film festivals might be the solution for the time being. And while some fests – SXSW, TIFF – are open to this idea, the Venice Film Festival isn’t having it. Speaking with Variety, a Venice spokesperson said: “The Venice Film Festival cannot be replaced by an online event,” adding that “there is obviously the possibility that we use technology for some initiatives, [but] it’s too early for this to be decided.”
The Venice Film Festival is supposed to run in September, and as of now, everyone involved with the fest is still operating under the assumption that the festival is still on. Organizers have put out a call for “projects for its Final Cut in Venice co-production workshop dedicated to supporting works from the Middle East and Africa, currently scheduled to be held during the fest.”
Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera was quoted as saying he and his team “are working just the same as in past years” and that they “cannot provide specifics about the future.” The only thing they can confirm is that no matter what happens, the festival will not go digital. While some are more than happy to accept the idea of a digital festival – no travel fees! – not everyone is okay with the idea. For one thing, if a film without distribution were to debut digitally and then immediately be pirated, it would hurt its chances at eventual purchase. Plus, many filmmakers and producers long for that festival buzz that can only be achieved by screening titles for a live audience.
But we remain in uncharted territory for the moment, and it’s unclear just when the coronavirus situation will end. As of now, Italy remains in strict lockdown, and if that continues into the fall, there’s very little chance the Venice Film Festival will go off as planned....
Music is a growing presence at film's biggest night, and this year seems to have a larger piece of the broadcast than ever before.
Beyond the Academy Awards’ traditional Best Original Song presentations, this year's Oscars have a few “special” performances, highlighted by Billie Eilish, fresh off her Grammy majors sweep. What she'll sing is hush-hush, but there's speculation that it may be the title song from the upcoming James Bond film, No Time To Die.
The awards air at 8 PM ET/PT on ABC.
This week in music:
OSCARS SO MUSICAL: Eilish is just one music highlight at the Oscars. Idina Menzel will perform Into The Unknown, joined by nine women around the world who played Frozen's Elsa in various translated versions. Also on tap is Elton John, who will do I'm Gonna Love Me Again from Rocketman in the program, although sans Taron Egerton. Cynthia Erivo has a double shot at the audience. She'll perform Stand Up from her film Harriet during the broadcast, and appear in a NatGeo trailer preview featuring her forthcoming performance in Genius: Aretha, a series bowing in May that spotlight’s the Detroit great.
Also doing an unknown song is Janelle Monae, who has been involved in such Oscar-nominated films as Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Harriet.Randy Newman will do his Best Original Song nomination, I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away from Toy Story 4. Another surprise is This Is Us actress Chrissy Metz, who will perform the Breakthrough ballad I'm Standing With You.
The nominations for Best Song include Diane Warren's I'm Standing With You, Newman's I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away, Cynthia Erivo and Joshuah Campbell's Stand Up, Elton John and Bernie Taupin's I'm Gonna Love Me Again, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez's Into the Unknown.
The Best Score nominees include Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, 1917, Joker, Little Women, and Marriage Story.
WARNER MUSIC GROUP IPO: Len Blavatnik's $3.3. billion bet on WMG is looking better and better. Now, WMG plans to go public. It said in a regulatory filing unveiled this week that it will hold an initial public offering, although no date has been set. The most recent quarterly results saw the company set a new quarterly record for revenues as a standalone company. In the final quarter of 2019 WMG's fiscal Q1 its total revenues grew by 4.4% year-on-year to $1.26bn, including a 12.6% increase in digital revenue to $706m. WMG's net profit jumped from $86m a year ago to $122m last quarter.
TAYLOR SWIFT PUB DEAL: Her recorded music with former label Big Machine may be a sore spot, but Taylor Swift has her publishing locked. She has announced an exclusive global publishing agreement...