Beginning on Dec. 1, the Lord of the Rings prequel of sorts Born of Hope will make its exclusive debut on Dailymotion.
Directed by Kate Madison, and written by Alex K. Aldridge with the assistance of Christopher Dane, who also stars as Arathorn, Born of Hope is an original prequel based on the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy and, as per the film's press release, featuring “a host of characters never before seen on screen.”
Also, Born of Hope is no short film. It's a 70-minute made-for-the-web feature that tells the story of Aragorn's parents, Arathorn and Gilraen, along with the characters who sacrificed it all to keep Aragorn safe. Aragorn, of course, was played by Viggo Mortensen in Peter Jackson's blockbuster trilogy, the last of which, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won the 2003 best picture Oscar.
Born of Hope follows the launch of The Hunt for Gollum, another Lord of the Rings fan film that was first made available in May 2009.
Also in the Born of Hope cast: Robert Harvey, Beth Aynsley, Jonah McLafferty, and Luke Johnston.
Via Zeitgeist Films, Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar's stop-motion animated feature A Town Called Panic will open in New York City on Dec. 16 (at Film Forum) and in Los Angeles (at the Nuart in West LA) on Jan. 29. Other US markets will follow. (The film will have a Los Angeles Oscar qualifying run in Dec., but the “official” opening date is Jan. 29, 2010.)
Based on the Belgian animated cult TV series Panique au village, released by Wallace & Gromit's Aardman Studios, the French-language (with English subtitles) A Town Called Panic features three plastic toys – Cowboy (voice by Stéphane Aubier), Indian (voice by Bruce Ellison) and Horse (voice by Vincent Patar) – who live together in a rambling house in a rural town where weird stuff keeps happening all the time.
For instance, Cowboy and Indian's plan to give Horse a homemade barbeque goes up in smoke when they accidentally buy 50 million bricks. This heavy mistake sets off a chain of bizarre events, forcing the trio to travel to the center of the earth, trek across frozen tundra, and discover a parallel underwater universe of scheming, pointy-headed creatures.
But the big question is: will Horse and his paramour – flame-tressed music teacher Madame Longray (voice by Jeanne Balibar) – ever find a quiet moment alone?
A Town Called Panic also features the voices of Benoît Poelvoorde, Franco Piscopo, Véronique Dumont, and Nicolas Buysse.
Curiously, all characters are both voiced and animated as if they've been filled with laughing gas.
A Town Called Panic images: Zeitgeist Films.
Directed by Scott Teems, who also adapted William Gay's short story “I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down,” That Evening Sun stars Hal Holbrook as Abner Meecham, an elderly Tennessee farmer who, after fleeing from his nursing home, returns to his homestead only to discover that his son (Walton Goggins) has leased the farm to a no-good neighbor (Ray McKinnon).
Reviews have been highly positive. In Variety, Joe Leydon calls That Evening Sun “an exceptionally fine example of regional indie filmmaking,” while in the New York Times Stephen Holden praises Holbrook's “fierce, contained performance.”
If the 84-year-old Hal Holbrook is remembered by year-end film critics – and that seems quite likely, considering the notices he's been getting and the fact that That Evening Sun has just opened – he'll probably land a Best Actor Oscar nomination come next February. Who knows, he may even pull a Richard Farnsworth and land a Best Actor - Drama Golden Globe nod as well. In early 2008, Holbrook was nominated in the best supporting actor category for his work in Sean Penn's Into the Wild.
Also in the That Evening Sun cast: Barlow Jacobs, Mia Wasikowska, Carrie Preston, Barry Corbin, and Dixie Carter.
Noel Clarke's Adulthood, which was screened at this year's Karlovy Vary Film Festival, opens this week on IFC Festival Direct, a distribution outlet presenting “a collection of the best and most innovative cinema” from film festivals around the world, exclusively on demand.
Adulthood is a follow-up to Kidulthood (2005), which Menhaj Huda directed from Clarke's screenplay about a group of teenagers doing some quick growing up in west London's seamy streets: Following the release of Sam (played by Clarke himself), who'd been in prison for killing Trife (Aml Ameen in Kidulthood), several of the original film's characters must confront the consequences of that violent night in their past.
Also in the Adulthood cast: Ben Drew, Danny Dyer, Scarlett Alice Johnson, Jacob Anderson, and Adam Deacon.
Academy's Science and Technology Council Gets New Members
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that Thad Beier, Elizabeth Cohen, Don Hall and Jim Houston have accepted invitations to join the Academy's Science and Technology Council.
From the Academy's press release:
Beier, the head of CG at Digital Domain, was awarded an Academy Technical Achievement Award (shared) in 1998 for the design and implementation of the ras_track tracking software, a device which allows the user to determine the position and location of the camera and objects in a scene by tracking points in scanned sequence. Beier has been a member of the Academy's Visual Effects Branch since 1999.
Founder of Cohen Acoustical Inc. in 1982, Cohen's work is focused on high-quality media over photonic networks. She has been an associate member of the Academy since 1996.
Hall, a sound editor on more than 90 motion pictures spanning five decades, was the recipient of the Academy's John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation in 2005 for his outstanding service and dedication in upholding the high standards of the Academy. He currently serves on the Academy's Board of Governors, representing the Sound Branch; this is his 14th year as a governor. Hall has been a member since 1964.
Chair of the Council's Image Interchange Framework project committee, Houston is a two-time recipient of the Academy's Scientific and Engineering Award (shared) - in 1991 for the design and development of the “CAPS” production system for feature film animation, and in 2006 for the design and development of the Rosetta process for creating digital YCM masters for digital film restoration. Houston has been an Academy member since 2008.
The Council's other 19 members are: Academy Governors Richard Edlund and Bill Kroyer, Peter W. Anderson, Clay M. Davis Jr., Jonathan Erland, Phillip J. Feiner, Richard B. Glickman, David W. Gray, Douglas Greenfield, Rob Hummel, Brad Hunt, David Inglish, George Joblove, Tad Marburg, Takuo Miyagishima, Daryn Okada, Rick Sayre, Garrett Smith and Barry S. Weiss.
Established in 2003 by the Academy's Board of Governors, the Science and Technology Council provides a forum for the exchange of information, promotes cooperation among diverse technological interests within the industry, sponsors publications, fosters educational activities and preserves the history of science and technology of motion pictures.