About Peter Bowen

Peter saw his first movie when he was just a little boy, and has never gotten over that experience.

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Editor | Peter Bowen

Gothamist talks to Fred Melamed on A Serious Man

Posted January 26, 2010


Recently the Gothamist spoke with the character Fred Melamed. In A Serious Man, Melamed plays Sy Abelman, teh overly serene widower who is having affair with Judith Gopnik. It is for him his wife is demating a get, or Jewish divorce. Melamed talks about the film, the Coen brothers, the upcoming award season, and, of course, the nature of God.

I once asked my mother, "Is God real?" and she said to me, "If you think God is real, God is real. If you don't think God is real, God isn't real." At the time I just thought she meant that God is made up, but now that I'm older I think what she meant was whether or not God is real, if you don't believe there's a God it won't matter to you. I actually think no religious training helped me believe in God because I didn't have the same dogmas to overcome. A lot of my friends who were Bar Mitzvah'd or went to Catholic school had nasty nuns and boring rabbis to overcome in their coming to believe in God.

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Africa First films at Sundance

Posted January 25, 2010


Three of last year's Africa First program––Wanuri Kahlu's dystopic sci-fi tale Pumzi, Jenna Bass' work of historical magical realism The Tunnel, and Dyana Gaye's upbeat road-trip musical Saint Louis Blues--have been programmed in a section called "New African Cinema" at this year's Sundance Film Festival.'s Brendan Seibel inteviewd Pumzi's director Wanuri Kahlu via Skype about her film and its connection to the new global Sci-Fi:

Like recent standouts District 9 and Sleep Dealer, the short film taps into Third World realities and spins them forward for dramatic effect. But to produce Pumzi, Kahiu looked to the past, as well as the future.

She researched classic 1950s films to create her movie’s futuristic sets, comparing the processes of matte painting and rear-screen projection with indigenous African artwork.

“We already have a tradition of tapestries and functional art and things like that, that loan a backdrop for films,” Kahiu said.

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James Schamus feted at Sundance

Posted January 25, 2010


Last Friday, friends of Focus CEO James Schamus gathered at Cafe Terigo to pay homage to the writer/producer/professor The Hollywood Reporter’s third annual Indie Icon of the Year award. Among those present were the newly appointed Sundance Festival director John Cooper who took a moment to reminisce about his own memories of James:

Cooper recalled Schamus inviting the then-neophyte programmer to lunch two decades ago in Berlin. “All of a sudden, everyone was looking at me,” he recalled. “Every time you’re with James, you end up looking better in his presence. [He’s] a very good person.”

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9, Coraline and A Serious Man make cut by MPSE

Posted January 22, 2010


In the latest flurry of award nominations, the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) picked films and television shows for recognition during this years awards. We are happy to see that 9 and Coraline were nominated for Best Sound Editing: Sound Effects, Foley, Music, Dialogue and ADR Animation in a Feature Film, and A Serious Man was nominated for Best Sound Editing: Dialogue and ADR in a Feature Film. The Awards will be announced at a ceremony at LA's Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites on February 20. Good luck!

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President Obama picks Away We Go

Posted January 22, 2010


In an exclusive interview that People Magazine recently did with the Obamas to celebrate his first year in office, the President and the First Lady let known their favorite movies. The following is the exchange:

Mrs. Obama: I liked An Education. And The Hurt Locker was powerful. It sticks in my head. I know what your favorite movie is — Avatar.

The President: Avatar was very good. And that movie with Maya Rudolph...

Mrs. Obama: Away We Go.

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Henry Selick is the CAS "Filmmaker of the Year"

Posted January 21, 2010


Among the many awards that Coraline’s director Henry Selick has received this year, he can add the unique honor of being selected Filmmaker of the Year by the Cinema Audio Society. CAS President Edward L. Moskowitz commented that CAS “is delighted to be honoring one of the vanguards of stop-motion animation as this year’s Filmmaker recipient and once again, we are thrilled we have synergy between our Career Achievement recipient Randy Thom and our Filmmaker Award honoree through their collaboration on Coraline.” Congratulations to both men.

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BAFTA for Serious Man and Coraline

Posted January 21, 2010


The Britiish Academy of Film and Television Arts (aka BAFTA) announced their nominataion for the BAFTAs (the British equivalent of the Oscars).  The full list can be found at the BAFTA site, but we're happy to see that both A Serious Man (for Original Screenplay) and Coraline (Animated Film) picked up nominations. The award ceremony will take place February 21.

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Hollywood Reporter Talks with James Schamus

Posted January 20, 2010


Focus CEO James Schamus is being honored this Friday at the Sundance Film Festival as Indie Icon of the Year by the Hollywood Reporter. In preparation, Hollywood Reporter's reporters Matthew Belloni and Stephen Galloway interview him for "Q&A: James Schamus," talking to him about his tenure at Focus, the state of Indie film, and what he does for fun  One of the most intriging exchanges was over how Schamus writes when he is so busy:

Schamus: It sure can, sometimes. It has more to do with how the tenor of the busyness is affecting your stress and your ability to imagine and have the space. For me, most of the work is done taking walks, or looking out the window, or sitting on the subway. Before I put finger to keyboard, you have to have that reverie and freedom. If you're too crowded, if there's too much stress, too much going on, it can have a negative impact. On the other had, there's truth to that phrase, if you want something done, ask the busiest person you know. When you get in a groove, it's actually incredibly fun to be able to literally swivel the chair around and just go, "Wow, it's happening, I can feel it!" But in general, I try to hide.

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VES cares about Coraline

Posted January 20, 2010


The Visual Effects Society (VES) has come out with the nominees for their 8th Annual VES Awards ceremony. The VES represents “the full breadth of visual effects practitioners including artists, technologists, model makers, educators, studio leaders, supervisors, PR/marketing specialists and producers in all areas of entertainment from film, television and commercials to music videos and games”––which is a lot. After Avatar, Coraline received the most nominees with 4 nods in the following categories:

Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture (Claire Jennings, Animation Producer; Henry Selick, Animation Director)

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture (Travis Knight, Lead Animator; Trey Thomas, Lead Animator)

Outstanding Effects Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture (John Allan Armstrong, VFX Animator; Richard Kent Burton, Stop Motion Effects Animator; Craig Dowsett, CG Modeler)

Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Feature Motion Picture (Deborah Cook, Lead Costume Design Fabricator; Matthew DeLeu, Miniature Lighting Technician; Paul Mack, Model Maker; Martin Meunier, Facial Animation Design)

The Awards ceremony will take place at L.A.'s Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotelon February 28. To see the complete listo of nominees, go to the VES site.


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Greenberg Goes to Berlin

Posted January 20, 2010


On the eve of the Sundance Film Festial, the Berlin International Film Festival announced the line up for its prestigious competition with Noah Baumbach's Greenberg being one of the few American films selected for the esteemed international showcase. In Greenberg, Ben Stiller plays a middle-aged slacker who moves to LA for a brief vacation, but gets a lot more than he expected when he takes up with his brother's personal assitant (played by Greta Gerwig). Brian Brooks reports on the other films going to Berlin over at indieWIRE.

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