News for the ‘Movies’ Category

MARY J. BLIGE TO RECEIVE BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE AWARD AT 29th ANNUAL PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FILM AWARDS GALA

Friday, December 8th, 2017

The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Mary J. Blige with the Breakthrough Performance Award for her performance in Mudbound at its annual Film Awards Gala. Blige joins previously announced 2018 honorees Timothée Chalamet, Gal Gadot, Holly Hunter, Allison Janney, Gary Oldman, Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan and The Shape of Water. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2nd at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2–15, 2018.

“Mary J. Blige is a global superstar in the world of music who continues to make her mark as an actress in both television and film,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In her current film Mudbound, Blige gives a quiet yet fantastic performance as Florence Jackson, a strong woman supporting her sharecropper family in rural Mississippi. It is our honor to present the 2018 Breakthrough Performance Award to Mary J. Blige.”

Past recipients of the Breakthrough Performance Award include Mahershala Ali, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Hudson, Felicity Huffman, Brie Larson, Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike and Jeremy Renner. In the years they were honored, Ali, Cotillard, Hudson, Larson and Nyong’o went on to receive Academy Awards®, while Huffman, Pike and Renner received nominations.

Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees’ Mudbound is an epic story of two families pitted against one another by a ruthless social hierarchy, yet bound together by the shared farmland of the Mississippi Delta. Mudbound follows the McAllan family, newly transplanted from the quiet civility of Memphis and unprepared for the harsh demands of farming. Despite the grandiose dreams of Henry (Jason Clarke), his wife Laura (Carey Mulligan) struggles to keep the faith in her husband’s losing venture. Meanwhile, Hap and Florence Jackson (Rob Morgan and Mary J. Blige), sharecroppers who have worked the land for generations, struggle bravely to build a small dream of their own despite the rigidly enforced social barriers they face. The war upends both families’ plans as their returning loved ones, Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) and Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell), forge a fast but uneasy friendship that challenges the brutal realities of the Jim Crow South in which they live.

Mary J. Blige is a Grammy® Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and philanthropist, with a track record of eight multi-platinum albums, nine Grammy Awards (plus a staggering 32 nominations), a 2012 Golden Globe® nomination, and five American Music Awards. She has appeared in Tyler Perry’s dramatic comedy I Can Do Bad All By Myself and starred in Rock of Ages. Her other credits include the TV movie Betty & Coretta, the holiday musical drama Black Nativity and guest spots on Black-ish, Empire, The Wiz Live! and How To Get Away With Murder.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TAPS ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE WILL SMITH AS HOST OF ONE STRANGE ROCK

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

National Geographic announces Academy Award-nominated actor Will Smith (“Ali,” “Pursuit of Happyness,” “Men in Black I, II, III”) as host of its new 10-episode global event series ONE STRANGE ROCK (#OSR), from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (“mother!,” “Black Swan,” “Requiem for a Dream”) and award-winning producer Jane Root (“America The Story of Us,” “The 80s: The Decade That Made Us”). Smith made the official announcement on his Facebook page with a short teaser video. With Smith guiding viewers on an epic journey across the globe and into outer space, ONE STRANGE ROCK promises to be a thrilling, mind-bending trip within and beyond planet Earth, affirming that there really is no place like home. The Nutopia and Protozoa Pictures series is slated to premiere globally on National Geographic in March 2018 in 172 countries and 43 languages.

ONE STRANGE ROCK is the extraordinary story of Earth — our curiously calibrated, interconnected planet — and why it is special and uniquely brimming with life among a largely unknown but harsh cosmic arena. Anchoring the series is an elite group of astronauts who see Earth’s bigger picture; they provide unique perspectives and relate personal memoirs of our planet seen from space.

With ONE STRANGE ROCK, Aronofsky is excited to collaborate with one of his favorite talents. “I am thrilled to have Will Smith on board to guide our series. His charisma, intelligence and humanity will add greatly to the project, helping welcome viewers into this unique narrative about the mind-blowing wonders that make life on Earth possible,” he said.

“By pairing the incomparable, out-of-this-world, global appeal of Will Smith with our rock-star astronauts, who literally went out of this world, we tell the incredible story of the complexities of our planet,” says Tim Pastore, president, original programming and production, National Geographic. “With the distinctive storytelling from Aronofsky and Root, ONE STRANGE ROCK will be an incredible visual treat, taking audiences from the microscopic to the cosmic, leaving viewers to see and appreciate our planet as never before.”

“Our goal here is to reimagine factual programming and give viewers a cinematic spectacle like they have never seen before,” says Root. “We’ll unpack the science behind our marvelous planet, and provide stories that are entertaining and provocative; and who better to do that with than the visionary Darren Aronofsky and his partners at Protozoa Pictures, the incomparable Will Smith and our team of legendary astronauts?”

Adding to Smith’s appeal, ONE STRANGE ROCK’s astronauts bring singular insight and emotion to the narrative, weaving dramatic, inspiring sequences and science to reveal the magical twists of fate that allowed life on Earth to emerge, thrive and survive. Their personal experiences are portals to vital themes explored throughout the series, including the genesis of life, death, breath, cosmic violence, human intelligence, sacrifice, terraforming and more.

  • Chris Hadfield – The first Canadian astronaut to command the International Space Station and the only Canadian to have ever boarded the Russian Space Station Mir while in orbit, Hadfield has left Earth three times and spent a total of 166 days in space.
  • Jeff Hoffman – Logging 21.5 million miles in space, Brooklyn-born astronomer and former astronaut Hoffman has flown to space five times, one of which was the first mission to reach the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Mae Jemison – Former astronaut Jemison just celebrated the 25th anniversary of her mission to space aboard the Endeavour, making history as the first African-American woman to go to space.
  • Jerry Linenger – Former astronaut Linenger, who survived the most severe fire ever aboard an orbiting spacecraft, spent nearly five months on the Russian space station Mir and logged 50 million miles on that mission alone.
  • Mike Massimino – The first person to send a tweet from space, former astronaut Massimino flew on two space shuttle missions to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Leland Melvin – The only person drafted into the NFL to have flown to space, former astronaut Melvin blasted off to space twice and logged more than 565 hours there.
  • Nicole Stott – Known as the “Artistic Astronaut,” former astronaut and aquanaut Stott, who became the first astronaut to paint in space, logged 104 days in space and nearly three weeks on Aquarius undersea habitat.
  • Peggy Whitson – Astronaut Whitson just completed her third journey to space, setting a NASA record for the most days in space — 665.
  • JESSSICA CHASTAIN TO RECEIVE CHAIRMAN’S AWARD FOR MOLLY’S GAME AT 29th ANNUAL PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FILM AWARDS GALA

    Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

    The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Jessica Chastain with the Chairman’s Award for STXfilms and The Mark Gordon Company’s Molly’s Game at its annual Film Awards Gala. She will join previously announced 2018 honorees Timothée Chalamet, Gal Gadot, Holly Hunter, Allison Janney, Gary Oldman, Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan and The Shape of Water. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2-15, 2018.

    “Jessica Chastain is an incredible actress who has continuously challenged herself with complex roles throughout her career,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In her latest film, Molly’s Game, Chastain brings to life Molly Bloom’s story of a determined woman who goes from being an Olympic skier to making millions running an exclusive high-stakes poker game. It is our honor to present the Chairman’s Award to Jessica Chastain.”

    Chastain received the PSIFF Spotlight Award in 2012, going on to receive an Academy Award® nomination for The Help. Past recipients of the Chairman’s Award include Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Richard Gere, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.

    Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game is based on the true story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), an Olympic-class skier who ran one of the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans, and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba), who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe. The film also stars Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Bill Camp, Chris O’Dowd and Brian d’Arcy James. Mark Gordon, Amy Pascal and Matt Jackson produced. STXfilms and the Mark Gordon Company’s Molly’s Game will open in select theaters nationwide December 25, 2017, and everywhere January 5, 2018.

    Two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain has received numerous nominations and accolades for her work from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, LA Film Critics, British Academy of Film and TV, Broadcast Film Critics, HFPA, National Board of Review, Screen Actors Guild and Film Independent, to name a few. Her film credits include Crimson’s Peak, The Debt, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, The Help, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Interstellar, Mama, The Martian, Miss Julie, Miss Sloane, A Most Violent Year, Tree of Life, Zero Dark 30 and The Zookeeper’s Wife. She recently finished production for Susanna White’s period drama Woman Walks Ahead opposite Sam Rockwell and Xavier Dolan’s The Death and Life of John F. Donovan with Natalie Portman, Kit Harington and Nicholas Hoult.

    GKIDS RECEIVES 16 ANNIE AWARDS® NOMINATIONS

    Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

    GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, continues its awards streak with a total of 16 Annie Award® nominations for four of its titles: THE BIG BAD FOX & OTHER TALES, THE BREADWINNER, MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER and NAPPING PRINCESS. THE BREADWINNER also garnered a win from Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) and a nomination from the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society (LAOFCS) for “Best Animated Feature.”

    Below, please find a comprehensive list of all 16 of GKIDS’ 2017 Annie Award nominations:

    THE BIG BAD FOX & OTHER TALES (QUALIFIED FOR ACADEMY AWARDS®)

  • “Best Animated Feature – Independent”
  • “Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production”
  • “Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated Feature Production”
  • THE BREADWINNER (QUALIFIED FOR ACADEMY AWARDS®)

  • “Best Animated Feature – Independent”
  • “Outstanding Achievement, Character Design in an Animated Feature Production”
  • “Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated Feature Production”
  • “Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated Feature Production”
  • “Outstanding Achievement, Production Design in an Animated Feature Production”
  • “Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production”
  • “Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production, Saara Chaudry as Parvana”
  • “Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production, Laara Sadiq as Fattema”
  • “Outstanding Achievement, Writing in an Animated Feature Production”
  • “Outstanding Achievement, Editorial in an Animated Feature Production”
  • MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER (QUALIFIED FOR ACADEMY AWARDS®)

  • “Outstanding Achievement, Production Design in an Animated Feature Production”
  • “Outstanding Achievement, Writing in an Animated Feature Production”
  • NAPPING PRINCESS (QUALIFIED FOR ACADEMY AWARDS®)

  • “Best Animated Feature – Independent”
  • SAOIRSE RONAN TO RECEIVE DESERT PALM ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, ACTRESS AT 29th ANNUAL PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL FILM AWARDS GALA

    Monday, December 4th, 2017

    The 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Saoirse Ronan with the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress for her performance in Lady Bird at its annual Film Awards Gala. Ronan joins previously announced 2018 honorees Timothée Chalamet, Gal Gadot, Holly Hunter, Allison Janney, Gary Oldman, Sam Rockwell and The Shape of Water. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Tuesday, January 2nd at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 2–15, 2018.

    “Saoirse Ronan delivers one of the most outstanding performances of this year as an outspoken high school student growing up in Sacramento in the critically acclaimed film Lady Bird,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “Following her exceptional performances in Atonement and Brooklyn, Ronan is sure to receive her third Academy Award nomination. It is our honor to present the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress to Saoirse Ronan.”

    Ronan received the PSIFF International Star Award in 2016 for her performance in Brooklyn, going on to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for the same role. Additional past recipients of the Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress include Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry, Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway, Charlize Theron, and Naomi Watts.

    In Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig proves herself a bold new cinematic voice with her directorial debut, excavating the humor and pathos in the turbulent bond between a mother and her teenage daughter. Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) fights against but is exactly like her wildly loving, deeply opinionated, strong-willed mom (Laurie Metcalf), a nurse working to keep her family afloat after Lady Bird’s father (Tracy Letts) loses his job. Set in Sacramento, California in 2002, amid a rapidly shifting American economic landscape, Lady Bird is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.

    For her role in the film, Ronan has already received Best Actress from the Gotham Independent Film Awards and is nominated for Best Female Lead from the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

    Ronan began her career at just 13 years old with her critically acclaimed performance as Briony Tallis in Atonement, opposite Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. The role garnered her Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations for Best Supporting Actress. She starred as Eilis in Fox Searchlight’s Academy Award-nominated film Brooklyn, written by Nick Hornby and directed by John Crowley. Her portrayal earned her Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Her other film credits include The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hanna, The Lovely Bones, and The Way Back. She recently wrapped production on Dominic Cooke’s On Chesil Beach and is currently in production on Focus Features’ Mary Queen of Scots, playing the title character.

    GWYNETH PALTROW TO BE HONORED WITH VISION AWARD AT 2018 SUN VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL

    Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

    The 2018 Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF), presented by Zions Bank, will honor Gwyneth Paltrow with its Vision Award. The festival runs March 14-18, 2018.

    The SVFF Vision Award pays tribute to an individual who has provided the keen insight, influence and initiative to fulfill a creative vision. Past recipients of the award include Geena Davis, Clint Eastwood and Oliver Stone. Paltrow will be presented with the award on Saturday, March 17 at Sun Valley Resort’s historic Roundhouse on Bald Mountain. She will also be a part of the Coffee Talks series, which is a free and informal gathering, where Paltrow will discuss her career and answer questions from the audience.

    “We couldn’t be happier to honor Gwyneth, who is not only a cinema icon, but a health and wellness guru who has revolutionized the online presence of lifestyle brands,” said Executive Director Teddy Grennan. “We’re thrilled to celebrate her achievements both on and off the screen with SVFF’s Vision Award.”

    Oscar®-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow, whose 1998 turn in Shakespeare in Love garnered her Best Actress honors at the Golden Globes®, Screen Actors Guild Awards®, and Academy Awards®, is also a decorated author, singer and entrepreneur. In 2011, she won an Emmy® for Guest Actress in a Comedy series for playing substitute teacher Holly Holiday on Glee, and her song, “Coming Home,” from the soundtrack for Country Strong, was nominated for an Oscar® (the album went gold). In addition, Paltrow has authored three New York Times Best Selling cookbooks, My Father’s Daughter (2011), It’s All Good (2013), and It’s All Easy (2016)—the latter two hit #1. She also co-wrote Spain, A Culinary Road Trip with acclaimed chef Mario Batali after their PBS documentary, “Spain…on the Road Again,” which was about Spanish food and culture, aired. In 2008, Paltrow launched goop, a lifestyle brand devoted to making every choice count, where food, shopping, and mindfulness collide: In particular, goop has gained acclaim for its focus on health, wellness, and clean eating, as well as its city guides, an insider’s perspective on the very best places to eat, shop, and stay in the world’s most compelling destinations. Goop’s recent ventures include goop magazine in collaboration with Condé Nast, goop Lab, its first permanent store located in Brentwood, CA. In addition, goop has a tightly edited digital shop, a book imprint and its own product lines, including skincare, fragrances, apparel, and supplements. Other notable film credits include Proof (for which she received a Golden Globe® nomination), Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums, Anthony Mighella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, David Fincher’s Seven, the Farrelly brothers’ Shallow Hal, Alfonso Cuarón’s Great Expectations, Douglas McGrath’s Emma, Sliding Doors and Marvel’s Iron Man franchise.

    HOLLYWOOD’S FIRST SUPER TEAM ASSEMBLED AS STAR PRO ATHLETES DREW BREES, TONY PARKER, DERRICK BROOKS AND MICHAEL FINLEY JOIN ARGENT PICTURES

    Friday, December 1st, 2017

    A Hollywood super team rivaling any in the sports world has officially been assembled as star NFL quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, NBA all-star guard Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, retired NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, and retired NBA all-star Michael Finley have become partners in Argent Pictures, the Los Angeles based film production and financing outfit founded by Jill Ahrens, Ryan Ahrens and Ben Renzo.

    Brees, Parker, Brooks and Finley have all quietly built up impressive credits as movie producers over the last few years and are now active partners in Argent Pictures after collaborating with the company, independently, on single picture projects.

    Together, the Argent team has been involved with some of the most acclaimed independent films of the last 18 months including the recently released “American Made” starring Tom Cruise (Paramount); Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” (Fox Searchlight); Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” (Lionsgate), for which Argent funded the P&A, and the Sundance Audience Award winning documentary “Chasing Coral” (Netflix).

    Additional film collaborations have included the critically acclaimed “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”; the hit comedy/horror “Meet the Blacks”; the drama “The Benefactor” starring Richard Gere; the crime/drama “LUV” starring Common; “Gleason” – the moving and inspirational documentary on NFL player Steve Gleason and his battle with ALS; and Universal Pictures adventure/thriller “Sanctum.”

    Upcoming movie collaborations include the action/thriller “Nomis” starring Alexandra Daddario, Henry Cavill and Ben Kingsley; Rob Reiner’s drama “Shock & Awe” starring Jessica Biel and Woody Harrelson; the next two installments of Sylvester Stallone’s “Escape Plan” franchise (“Escape Plan 2 and 3”) and “First to do it” – a documentary about the first African American professional Basketball player, Earl Lloyd.

    Argent Pictures most recently optioned the remake rights to “The Good Time Girls,” and has committed to financing and producing the feature adaptation of Courtney Hoffman’s blood-soaked western revenge short film.

    The all-star quartet (Brees, Parker, Finley, Brooks) have come onboard as active producers to film projects currently on Argent Pictures’ development slate. Argent will continue to develop/finance/produce anywhere from three to six projects a year, with a mandate to serve as a top-tier supplier of mainstream projects for both the studios and major independent distributors worldwide.

    Budget ranges of the films on the Argent slate will vary depending on the size and scope of the individual projects, but the company remains highly flexible. Above the financing of material, the company will be devoted to fostering an artist-friendly environment for top filmmakers and talent and willing to explore powerful stories featuring inter-cultural concepts.

    Argent CEO Ben Renzo said, “Having worked with Mike, Drew, Tony and Derrick for many years on their entertainment endeavors, not only have they become good friends but our collective experience in the entertainment industry has been very rewarding and successful. As a group, we have supported filmmakers of all statures, by getting behind their vision in the most collaborative sense possible. We felt strongly that uniting as a formalized team under Argent would provide us greater reach to source and attract the best stories and storytellers, and enhance our ability to efficiently develop, finance and produce more films than ever before. We are truly grateful and humbled to grow the Argent family with such quality individuals who are dedicated to using their experience, influence and resources to help Argent become an elite film finance and production company.”

    “What attracted me to Argent is that it is a company that puts material first and will develop and explore original and unique themes and subject matters that can be fully exploited,” said Brooks. “We have collectively developed a solid business strategy encompassing a diverse portfolio of projects, which I am very excited to help get off the ground and shepherd.”

    “For me, being in the film business is about being able to tell stories and having a viable vehicle to do so,” said Brees. “We are all inspired by stories with motivating messages yet are highly entertaining. Within Argent, we have by design, an expansive and efficient network through which we can identify and pursue the best projects and material and collaborate with any filmmakers around the globe to build a diverse slate. I am thrilled to be a part of the Argent family.”

    Said Parker, “I’ve known Ben for a while and have tremendous respect for the approach and dedication to the business that he, Jill and Ryan exhibit. I am excited to be aligned with great like-minded partners who will aggressively pursue development material that we’re excited to finance and produce.”

    Said Finley, “Ben, Jill and Ryan are incredibly savvy producers and I have a great deal of admiration and respect for their track record of finding tremendous material and shepherding it through to the big screen. Beyond the impressive credits and history of success, what makes this attractive is that we share a common vision – not just on taste and preferences of films, but on the execution of a partnership that will bring high quality, very entertaining films to the marketplace.”

    BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF AMERICA PARTNERS WITH THE HOME ENTERTAINMENT RELEASE OF ILLUMINATION’S DESPICABLE ME 3 FOR HOLIDAY FUN AND SURPRISES WITH THE “MERRY MINIONS” HOLIDAY PROGRAM

    Monday, November 27th, 2017

    Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America are teaming up for a “Merry Minions” Holiday Program, a joint venture designed to celebrate the season with help from the home entertainment release of Despicable Me 3– the biggest animated film of the year presented by Illumination and UPHE — and the iconic Minions. Despicable Me 3 has grossed over $1 billion at the global box office and is available now on Digital and on Blu-ray™, DVD, On Demand and 4K Ultra HD on December 5, 2017.

    In keeping with the holiday spirit, the “Merry Minions” Holiday Program is intended to engage Boys & Girls Club members through fun Minion-themed activities that encourage friendship, teamwork, leadership and creativity. Participating Clubs in select markets— including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Seattle, and others —will receive unique “Merry Minions” holiday kits containing a variety of Despicable Me 3 party, baking and craft items to help spread the holiday cheer.

    During the month of December, Boys & Girls Club kids will work together to create holiday ornaments or gift items, decorate baked goods, design artwork inspired by the Minions, hold Minion-themed screening parties, and more. Group activities using the “Merry Minions” holiday kit elements are intended to foster the BGCA’s mission of teaching youths to be productive, caring and cooperative, themes also reflected in Despicable Me 3 and ideal for the holiday season. Clubs will have the opportunity to turn activities into fundraising events, community service projects, opportunities for volunteer support functions, gift-giving and mentoring/teaching lessons for youths.

    Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Illumination, and ​Universal Pictures Home Entertainment are committed to helping America’s youth shape their futures and celebrate the holiday season through the spirit of giving.

    Rachel Brosnahan to Receive Second Annual Stonestreet Studios Granite Award

    Monday, November 27th, 2017

    Rachel Brosnahan will be presented with the second annual Stonestreet Granite Award, to be held on November 30th at TAJ in Chelsea. Last year, the inaugural Granite award went to Miles Teller.

    The Granite is awarded to an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, or hyphenate who has emerged from Stonestreet Studios’ unique in-house conservatory and who has gone on to create provocative, meaningful, and relevant film and television projects. Brosnahan worked and trained within the walls of Stonestreet before moving on to a recurring role on The Blacklist and then to acclaimed Netflix series House of Cards, where she played Rachel Posner for three seasons. Her Amazon show, in which she stars as the title character, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, begins streaming on November 29th and has been picked up for a second season ahead of its premiere.

    “Rachel is an incredibly hard working and adventurous actress in all the right ways; she looks at each role as an opportunity to create layered depths. While she isn’t afraid to explore something dark or difficult, she never leaves out the compassion or humanity in the characters she plays. She makes her work look seamless and delightful, a skill that comes from her sense of integrity, thoughtfulness, and elegance, both on set and off. We are incredibly proud of her as an example of the emerging Stonestreet talent that both Gary and I hope to continue to nurture and create content for,” says director/producer Alyssa Rallo Bennett.

    Stonestreet Studios, founded in 1991 in New York City by creative team Alyssa Rallo Bennett and Gary O. Bennett, is an independent film studio and the exclusive screen acting & production conservatory partner of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Drama program. Stonestreet’s mission is to create innovative content that often features their best emerging actors through a variety of projects across genres and formats. Work ethic, focus, creativity and the creation of a safe set that inspires risks, honesty and emotionally moving work are among the studio and conservatory’s goals.

    “In the past, actors had always been taught their craft on the theater stage; acting for film was considered a lesser medium or one not to be studied at all. Alyssa and I recognized the lack of serious training for film and established Stonestreet Studios to provide a home for screen training to be taken seriously. We are incredibly proud of the work we have produced and the growing community of Stonestreeters who become our colleagues within the industry,” says writer/producer Gary O. Bennett.

    Stonestreet has trained over 5,000 young actors and hyphenates, including Miles Teller (Whiplash, Thank You For Your Service), Camila Mendes (Riverdale), Beanie Feldstein (Ladybird), Jack Falahee (How To Get Away With Murder), Idina Menzel (Rent, Frozen), Renee Felice Smith (NCIS: Los Angeles), Selma Blair (People vs. O.J. Simpson, Legally Blonde), Xosha Roquemore (The Mindy Project), Michaela Conlin (Bones), Ashley Skidmore (Younger), and Gil Zabarsky (Teacher of the Year, Tenured).

    Stonestreet Studios has many exciting projects on the horizon. Their latest feature, ReRUN, which stars Christopher Lloyd alongside many rising stars who trained at Stonestreet, just wrapped post-production. DOT, an anthology series which centers around women’s rights, will go into production this winter. And finally, their limited series, Leading Story, a four-part series about mainstream broadcast news, had its world premiere at the fourth annual NYC Web-Festival on November 9th 2017.

    MISTER ROGERS’ DOCUMENTARY WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? FROM ACADEMY AWARD WINNER MORGAN NEVILLE ACQUIRED BY FOCUS FEATURES

    Monday, November 27th, 2017

    Focus Features has acquired the worldwide rights to Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the new documentary about the life and work of Mister Fred Rogers. From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom), the documentary is a Focus Features presentation of a Tremolo Production, in association with Impact Partners and Independent Lens/PBS. It is set to be released on June 8, 2018. Focus chairman Peter Kujawski made the announcement today.

    Won’t You Be My Neighbor? takes an intimate look at America’s favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers. A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this documentary is an emotional and moving film that takes you beyond zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius, who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.

    “Morgan once again avoids making a traditional biodoc and instead takes us behind the curtain to see how Fred Rogers navigated the cultural and social issues of the second half of the twentieth century with his own brand of forward-thinking, compassionate wisdom far beyond his time,” commented Focus chairman Peter Kujawski. “Mister Rogers makes us all want to be better people, and we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of telling his story today.”

    “The Fred Rogers I discovered making this film is at once comfortably familiar and completely surprising. I believe Mister Rogers is the kind of voice we need to hear right now,” said director Morgan Neville. “I am thrilled to work with Focus Features on taking this film out into the world, along with my collaborators at Impact Partners and Independent Lens.”

    “This is Morgan’s fourth film with Independent Lens, following our Emmy Award-winning collaboration on Best of Enemies,” said Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Executive Producer. “His beautiful new film shows us just how cool Mister Rogers was and how relevant and vital his voice is right now.”

    Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is produced by Morgan Neville, Caryn Capotosto and Nicholas Ma and is a production of Tremolo Productions in association with Impact Partners and Independent Lens / PBS. The deal was negotiated by Endeavor Content and Judith Karfiol on behalf of the filmmakers.