News

Art House Theater Day

9/18/2019 12:00:00 AM

Celebrate Art House Theater Day on Wednesday, September 18, 2019. Join fans, filmmakers, and hundreds of mission-driven, community-based theaters for a day of truly exceptional screenings and cinematic experiences.

Are you a theater who wants to participate? Visit our enrollment page.

Are you a film fan who wants to attend? Read about our participating theaters.

The Films

In Fabric (2018)

A24
Dir. Peter Strickland

A lonely woman (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), recently separated from her husband, visits a bewitching London department store in search of a dress that will transform her life. She’s fitted with a perfectly flattering, artery-red gown—which, in time, will come to unleash a malevolent curse and unstoppable evil, threatening everyone who comes into its path.

From acclaimed horror director Peter Strickland (the singular auteur behind the sumptuous sadomasochistic romance The Duke of Burgundy and auditory gaillo-homage Berberian Sound Studio) comes a truly nightmarish film, at turns frightening, seductive, and darkly humorous. Channeling voyeuristic fantasies of high fashion and bloodshed, In Fabric is Strickland’s most twisted and brilliantly original vision yet. (118 mins)

Pre-show: TBD

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Booking contact: Nicole Weis, nicole(AT)a24films.com and Sean McDonnell, sean(AT)a24films.com

Putney Swope (1969)

American Genre Film Archive
Dir. Robert Downey Sr.

“Funny, sophomoric, brilliant, obscene, disjointed, marvelous, unintelligible and relevant. If anybody tries to improve it, they should be sentenced.” — Vincent Canby, New York Times

“I just think [Downey’s] one of our great American directors.” — Paul Thomas Anderson

New 50th Anniversary restoration by The Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation! An unforgettable late-’60s counterculture masterpiece, Robert Downey Sr.’s Putney Swope remains a vital provocation on race, pop culture and America. Putney Swope, the only African-American exec at his ad firm, is unexpectedly elected its president and turns the industry on its ear through a series of outrageous, taboo-busting TV commercials (strewn throughout the film like comedic landmines.) As Swope becomes the Generalissimo of Madison Avenue, Downey takes no prisoners and skewers the entire political spectrum. Essential viewing. (84 mins)

Pre-show: Recorded introduction from director Robert Downey Sr.

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Booking contact: Bret Berg, bret.berg(AT)drafthouse.com

The Hottest August (2019)

Grasshopper Film
Dir. Brett Story

A complex portrait of a city and its inhabitants, The Hottest August gives us a window into the collective consciousness of the present. The film’s point of departure is one city over one month: New York City, including its outer boroughs, during August 2017. It’s a month heavy with the tension of a new President, growing anxiety over everything from rising rents to marching white nationalists, and unrelenting news of either wildfires or hurricanes on every coast. The film pivots on the question of futurity: what does the future look like from where we are standing? And what if we are not all standing in the same place? The Hottest August offers a mirror onto a society on the verge of catastrophe, registering the anxieties, distractions, and survival strategies that preoccupy ordinary lives. (94 mins)

Pre-show: Recorded introduction from director Brett Story.

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Booking contact: Nick Newman, nick(AT)grasshopperfilm.com

My Twentieth Century (1989)

Kino Lorber Repertory
Dir: Ildikó Enyedi

“It’s a bracing combination of wit, invention, common sense and lunacy. It’s a gravely comic meditation on civilization at the turn of this century.” —The New York Times, Vincent Canby March 17, 1990

30th Anniversary. New 4k Restoration by the Hungarian National Film Archive. Ildikó Enyedi’s fairytale-like, unconventional ironic film luminaire was awarded the Golden Camera at Cannes in 1989. On the eve of the 20th century, two twin girls, Lili the anarchist and Dóra a luxurious woman of loose morals, along with Mr. Z. who loves them as an entity, all reach the Hungarian border at the same time on board the Orient Express. Their story, rushing under the spell of Edison’s inventions, is a special ‘research of happiness’, reclaiming the ‘mass murdering century’ from the restlessly changing world and the miracle of existence. Tarkovsky’s fabulous actor, Oleg Yankovsky, performs an unforgettable double with the young Polish actress Dorotha Segda. The complete 4K digital restoration of the film was carried out at the Hungarian Filmlab, supervised by the Hungarian Film Fund – Hungarian National Film Archive in 2017. (89 mins)

Pre-show: TBD.

Press KitWebsite

Booking contact: Jonathan Hertzberg, jhertzberg(AT)kinolorber.com

Vever (For Barbara) (2019)

Video Data Bank
Dir. Deborah Stratman

A cross-generational binding of three filmmakers seeking alternative possibilities to the power structures they are inherently part of. Each woman extends her reach to a subject she is outside of. Vever grew out of the abandoned film projects of Maya Deren and Barbara Hammer. Shot at the furthest point of a motorcycle trip Hammer took to Guatemala in 1975, and laced through with Deren’s reflections of failure, encounter and initiation in 1950s Haiti.

A vever is a symbolic drawing used in Haitian Voodoo to invoke Loa, or god. (12 mins)

Website

Booking contact: Zachary Vanes, info(AT)vdb.org

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Paramount Releases Martin Scorsese-Curated Republic Pictures Slate for Digital Purchase

Natalie Jarvey

9/9/2019 12:00:00 AM

'That Brennan Girl,' 'Johnny Guitar' and other classics are now available to rent or buy via the Apple TV app.

Martin Scorsese is helping introduce a rare collection of films to the modern world. 

The director of Netflix's forthcoming The Irishman has curated a selection of newly restored Republic Pictures films for release on the Apple TV app, where they are now available to rent or buy.

The films all come from a two-decade period during which Republic churned out what were then considered B movies that gave the filmmakers incredible freedom as long as they stuck to their budgets. Paramount, which owns the library, has remastered and restored many of the titles, including Alfred Santell's That Brennan Girl and Nicholas Ray's Johnny Guitar.

"From the '30s through the '50s, the different studio logos at the head of every picture carried their own associations and expectations, and for me, the name Republic over the eagle on the mountain peak meant something special," Scorsese, who also curated a selection of the films for a 2018 screening series at New York's Museum of Modern Art, said in a statement. "There are so many titles that have been overlooked or forgotten; waiting for decades to be seen again. I can promise you that you have some discoveries in store."

Paramount chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos added in a statement, "We are thrilled that these movies can be experienced once again in the way their filmmakers intended.”

Republic operated for just over three decades as one of the so-called poverty row studios known for their low-budget projects. Because of the creative freedoms it provided, it attracted up-and-comers, helping launched the careers of Western film stars, including John Wayne and Roy Rogers. Paramount parent Viacom acquired the library in the mid-1990s and around a decade ago began an expansive effort to restore the films, many of which experimented with color processing techniques. 

Republic, says Paramount senior vp archives Andrea Kalas, attracted young creatives who "knew how to cut corners but keep the story, great cinematography and great performances going. That challenge comes out on the screen in really wonderful ways." She has been working to rerelease between 75 and 100 titles each year.

After Scorsese's The Film Foundation became interested in Kalas' preservation work, it teamed with MoMA for a screening series. Kalas says that Scorsese and The Film Foundation then selected the 24 titles — also including City That Never Sleeps from director John Auer and The Quiet Man from John Ford — in the collection from around 700 restored Republic works.

Dave Kehr, director of the museum's department of film, says That Brennan Girl, which tells the story of a young woman's rough upbringing and was chosen to open the series, was a particular favorite of Scorsese's. "There's a lot of interesting work in there and it just hasn't been around in any kind of versions that give justice to the actual quality of the production," explains Kehr, adding that he hopes the streaming release of the titles "make these available to a much wider public." 

The 24-film collection, dubbed Republic Rediscovered, can be rented or purchased on Apple's TV app, which is taking the place of iTunes as a marketplace for video content. Each title will be available to rent for $4 or, for a limited promotional period, to buy for $5. After Sept. 16, the price to purchase one of the titles will revert to the standard $13. 

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Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan Among Directors Launching "Filmmaker Mode" TV Setting

Carolyn Giardina

8/27/2019 12:00:00 AM

Leading directors including Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Ryan Coogler, Patty Jenkins and Rian Johnson have teamed up with the UHD Alliance — a coalition whose members include Hollywood studios and consumer electronics manufacturers — to introduce a new UHD TV setting aimed at preserving the filmmakers' creative intent on consumer displays.

There has been a growing concern in the production community that with the many settings available on consumer TVs, the filmmaker’s creative decisions that are made during production and postproduction are not always what is displayed. This new "Filmmaker Mode" for supported TV models is aimed at giving viewers a consistent, cinematic representation of images as the filmmakers intended, in terms of color, contrast, aspect ratio and frame rates.

As part of the specification development process, the UHDA sought input from more than 400 filmmakers, including 140 directors and cinematographers. The Alliance also reached out to the Directors Guild of America, American Society of Cinematographers, American Cinema Editors and Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation.

Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the upcoming Knives Outwas on hand for the announcement and explained Filmmaker Mode with an analogy for sci-fi fans: “Your Skynet is motion smoothing. … Luckily our John Connor has arrived.”

Johnson noted that home theater technology is currently in a "Golden Age," but warned that “many TVs ship with motion smoothing (and other post-processing settings) as a default."

He highlighted that Filmmaker Mode offers “a single button that lines up the settings so it works for the benefit of the movie and not against it.” He got a laugh as he added, “If you love movies, Filmmaker Mode will make your movies not look like poo-poo.”

Johnson introduced a video explaining and urging viewers to use Filmmaker Mode, featuring testimonials from Scorsese, Nolan, Coogler, Jenkins, Paul Thomas Anderson, James Cameron, J.J. Abrams, Ava DuVernay, Judd Apatow, Ang Lee, Reed Morano and the Duffer Brothers, as well as himself.

LG, Panasonic and Vizio announced a commitment to implement Filmmaker Mode in future TVs, though they didn't say when it would be available.

On the origin of the initiative, UHDA chair Michael Zink, vp technology at Warner Bros., said, "Paul Thomas Anderson, Ryan Coogler, Patty Jenkins, Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan reached out to the UHDA about extending the cinematic experience into the living room. We were eager and ideally situated to engage in the conversation."

A “Netflix Mode,” similarly developed to maintain creative intent on the streamer's series, was introduced in 2018 on select TV models, including several from Sony and Panasonic. Netflix, however, is not a member of the UHDA and was not involved in Tuesday’s announcement.

Numerous directors released statements as part of the announcement. Among them, Scorsese said, “I started The Film Foundation in 1990 with the goal to preserve film and protect the filmmaker’s original vision so that the audience can experience these films as they were intended to be seen. Most people today are watching these classic films at home rather than in movie theaters, making Filmmaker Mode of particular importance when presenting these films which have specifications unique to being shot on film.”

Said Coogler, “I care deeply about how cinema is experienced at home because that's where it lives the longest. That's where cinema is watched and re-watched and experienced by families. By allowing the artists in the tent to help consult and give feedback to the electronics companies on Filmmaker Mode, we can collectively help make the consumer’s experience even more like it is in the cinema.”

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TO RESTORE AND PRESERVE THE CLASSICS

Sangeetha Devi Dundoo

8/19/2019 12:00:00 AM

Film Heritage Foundation and Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation to conduct the fifth Film Preservation and Restoration Workshop India in Hyderabad

Imagine being able to watch Telugu classics such as Pathala Bhairavi, Devadasu or Sankarabharanam on digital streaming platforms, in high quality. This is possible only if the original (film negatives in the case of old films) have been preserved well.

However, anyone who has had the chance to visit a film lab will disclose how the old negatives and prints lie in neglect. But, what if there’s a chance to train film enthusiasts to restore and preserve archival material?

This December, the Film Heritage Foundation (FHF) and the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) will be conducting ‘Saving India’s Cinema Heritage’, the fifth Film Preservation and Restoration Workshop India, in Hyderabad, at Annapurna Studios, in partnership with Viacom18.

The week-long workshop will have hands-on training sessions in film and photography preservation and restoration, conducted by experts from around the world. The workshop will be held with the support of Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation (TFF) and is open to anyone keen to learn to preserve film and allied materials. The application will up on filmheritagefoundation.co.in from August 25. FHF will be announcing this workshop through an event in Hyderabad, in the presence of actor Nagarjuna and director K Viswanath, among other dignitaries, on August 20.

 

The beginning

While making the film Celluloid Man (on film archivist PK Nair), Shivendra discovered the magnitude of the loss of Indian film heritage. Film Heritage Foundation (FHF) was formed in 2014, to help archive old and new films. Amitabh Bachchan came on board as the foundation’s brand ambassador. Members of the advisory board include Jaya Bachchan, Shyam Benegal, Gulzar, Kamal Haasan, Kumar Shahani and Girish Kasaravalli. Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Film Foundation’ began supporting restoration workshops of FHF since 2015.

Says Shivendra, “When we started FHF in 2014, saving India’s film heritage was an obscure cause with most people asking us ‘what is film heritage?’ and ‘do films really need to be preserved?’ We began with a focus to preserve what remained of our film heritage and to create awareness among the film fraternity about the urgency of the situation as well as change attitudes in India that treated films as commerce, and not as art.”

 

Film handling and preparation

Film handling and preparation   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

 

What FHF does

Since 2015, FHF has conducted four workshops on film preservation and restoration (in Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata) and published two books on film preservation and restoration the subject and also reached out to different film industries in India to urge the importance of preservation.

The FHF has a collection of nearly 300 films on 35 mm, 16 mm and 8 mm formats, preserved in a temperature-controlled storage facility. “We maintain the films of leading film personalities like Amitabh Bachchan, Shyam Benegal, N N Sippy, Mani Ratnam, Vishal Bhardwaj, Kumar Shahani, Farhan and Zoya Akhtar, Govind Nihalani, Chitra Palekar, Onir, Shaad Ali, Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar,” reveals Shivendra. The films are periodically checked, cleaned and repaired.

Shivendra hopes to build a world-class centre for the moving image which will incorporate a conservation centre, a library, training and research facilities, a museum, exhibition spaces and screening rooms.

Telugu classics FHF hopes to restore

  • Malapilla (1938), Raithu Bidda (1939), Sumangali (1940), Swarga Seema (1945), Pathala Bhairavi (1951), Malliswari (1951), Devadasu (1953), Rojulu Marayi (1955), Missamma (1955), Mayabazar (1957), Dr Chakravarty (1963), Nartanasala (1963), and Sankarabharanam (1979).

 

The Hyderabad focus

In summer 2019, Shivendra did a recce in Hyderabad. Shivendra is aware of the work done by pioneers such as Raghupati Venkaiah Naidu, H M Reddy, B N Reddy, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, L V Prasad, D Ramanaidu, Ramoji Rao and N T Rama Rao, among others. He met the core team of Annapurna Studios and Ramanaidu Studios, apart from veteran directors who showed an interest in restoring old films.

Shivendra recalls an incident from 2014 that made him realise the dearth of film preservation in Telugu cinema, “George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY, requested my help to acquire a 35 mm print of Magadheera (2009) for archival purposes. I got in touch with S S Rajamouli and Allu Aravind, but we were not able to locate a Telugu print and finally had to ship a dubbed Tamil version to the museum. This got me thinking about the state of preservation of Telugu films. If we could not find a 35 mm original Telugu language print of a blockbuster like Magadheera, what could be the fate of the earlier classics?”

Shivendra observes that like the other film industries in India, Telugu cinema also has a poor record of film preservation, “Original camera negatives have either disappeared or are in terrible condition due to poor storage; the same applies to the prints.”

He asserts that it’s important to preserve the original camera negative since even in the digital age, one needs to go back to the original celluloid source to get scans of the best resolution and quality. “Many people discarded the original celluloid material after scanning it at 2K not realising that if they need digital copies of a higher resolution, they will need to go back to the original celluloid. Celluloid is still considered the best archival medium with a proven longevity of over a 100 years,” he explains.

 

What to expect?

 

From the previous film restoration and preservation workshop

From the previous film restoration and preservation workshop   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

The intensive week-long workshop to be conducted in Hyderabad, certified by FIAF, will cover both lectures and practical classes in the preservation and restoration of both films and film-related paper and photographic material. Participants can opt for one of four streams of specialisation — film, digital, cataloguing, photo and paper conservation.

The past workshops have helped to train and build a resource of local film preservers. A faculty of expert trainers from institutions like the British Film Institute, Imperial War Museums, Cinematheque Francaise, Academy of Motion Picture, Arts & Sciences, George Eastman Museum, Cineteca di Bologna, L’Immagine Ritrovata, Austrian Film Museum, EYE Filmmuseum, Museum of Modern Art, Bundesarchiv, ARRI, Indiana University Library of Moving Images Archive, the Criterion Collection, conduct the sessions. Classes are followed by daily screenings of restored films.

In 2017, Tata Trusts came on board with a grant that has enabled a majority of the participants to do the course free of cost since then.

Apart from creating awareness about preserving film heritage, the workshops have promoted the idea of film preservation as a viable career opportunity, says Shivendra.

(For details, check www.filmheritagefoundation.co.in)

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