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

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Spirit Award Nominations for The Kids Are All Right and Greenberg

Posted November 30, 2010

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This morning in Los Angeles, Eva Mendes and Jeremy Renner announced the nominees for this year’s Spirit Awards. And we are thrilled to see that two Focus Films––The Kids Are All Right and Greenberg––got a lot of air play.

The Kids Are All Right, Lisa Cholodenko’s comedy about two moms, their teenage kids and thier out-of-the-blue sperm donor dad, got five nominations: Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay (Stuart Blumberg andLisa Cholodenko), Best Female Lead (Annette Bening), and Best Supporting Male (Mark Ruffalo). Cholodenko's many nominations, along with those for another female-directed film, Debra Granik's Winter's Bone, make this a great year for women in film.

Greenberg, writer/director Noah Baumbach’s poignant tale of a man finding his way in LA, received four nods: Best Feature, Best Female Lead (Greta Gerwig), Best Male Lead (Ben Stiller), and Best Cinematography (Harris Savides). Congratulations to everyone.

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New York Times Magazine profile of James Schamus

Posted November 29, 2010

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This weekend’s New York Times Magazine profiled James Schamus––professor of cinema studies at Columbia University, screenwriter, film producer, lover of Chinese poet Su Tung-p’o, and, of course, the CEO of Focus Features. Carlo Rotella’s article “The Professor of Micropopularity” covers the many worlds through which the head of Focus passes.

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New York Times Talks with Julianne Moore, Sofia Coppola and Stephen Dorff

Posted November 22, 2010

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If you are in New York this December, two events hosted by the New York Times Talks series might prove interesting. On Monday, December 12, actress Julianne Moore will talk about her work, including her most recent film, Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right. Then two days later Sofia Coppola and Stephen Dorff join New York Times Magazine writer Frank Bruni for a conversation on working together on Somewhere.

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Sofia Coppola and Joel Coen go Somewhere

Posted November 22, 2010

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As Keith Staskiewicz reported in his EW.com post “Sofia Coppola and a Coen Brother talk 'Somewhere' at DGA screening,” the two original voices of Independent film spoke to each other this weekend. It was a truly entertaining conversation about Sofia’s work, filmmaking, and the difficulty of shooting in cars. No doubt this was because, as anyone there could testify, the true admiration that Joel Coen has for Sofia’s work. But the afternoon was filled with laughter as well as when Sofia found herself searching for the right word:

The Lost in Translation director drew a big laugh when talking about the role her father plays in her own filmmaking saying, “I feel like he’s sort of a… well, I don’t want to say ‘godfather.’ But I can go to him for questions and advice along the way.”

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Oscar Buzz for The Kids Are All Right

Posted November 17, 2010

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On Yahoo news, Reuters writer Christine Kearney looks at the buzz surrounding Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right, especially in the wake of its recent DVD release.  Kearney writes: "The Kids Are All Right, a modern take on the comic family drama starring Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, has sparked a lot of talk heading into Hollywood's awards season and is widely being mentioned as an Oscar contender."

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Want to Direct like The Kids Are All Right’s Lisa Cholodenko?

Posted November 09, 2010

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If you want to direct like someone as talented as Lisa Cholodenko, whose comedy The Kids Are All Right (with Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo) got raves when it opened last summer––and is all set to get a lot more attention as we move into award season––then take a master class. While in London for the screening of the The Kids Are All Right at the London Film Festival, Ms. Cholodenko took some time to join Briony Hanson from The Script Factory to give a master class for the British Film Institute. The one-hour conversation/class can be viewed here. Study hard. This material WILL be on the final exam.

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Jane Eyre's Poster Unfurled to Much Fanfare

Posted November 09, 2010

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The poster for Cary Funkunaga's adaptation of Jane Eyre (with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender) was pasted up on on the web yesterday to much acclaim. Alex Billington of FirstShowing picked up the poster yesterday with the comment: "Now this is how you create a great poster! Focus Features has just unveiled a teaser poster on Facebook (via The Playlist) for Sin Nombre director Cary Fukunaga's new take on the Charlotte Brontë classic Jane Eyre. The Playlist remarks on the "beautiful poster" and their anticipation: "A film we have right at the top of our must-see list for next year is Cary Fukunaga's adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.

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Africa First Screens in NYC

Posted November 08, 2010

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As the five new filmmakers for the Africa First program met up in New York City this weekend to meet advisors, speak to Focus execs, and share stories with fellow filmmakers, three of the films from last year got a premiere on Saturday November 6 at Joe's Pub in New City. The 3 films were Daouda Coulibaly's Tinye So, an experimental drama about lost cultural roots in Mali; Matthew Jankes's Umkhungo, a sci-fi adventure about a boy from the rough-and-tumble Hillbrow township learning he has supernatural talents; and Rungano Nyoni's delightful fantasy The Adventures of Mwansa the Great, about a young Zambian boy's talent for living in his imagination.

The evening was hosted by the David Schwartz (chief curator at the Museum of the Moving Image), who was later joined by Kisha Cameron-Dingle (Program Director, Africa First) and Matthew Plouffe (Director of Production, Focus Features), as well as several from the Africa Advisory Panel:  Jihn El-Tahiri (documentary filmmaker), June Givanni (London-based programmer), Sharifa Johka (producer and programmer), and Keith Shiri (Africa at the Pictures Film Festival, London), and Clarence Hamilton (National Film and Video Foundation, Canada). The discussion ranged from the amazing amount of cinematic talent in Africa to talking down one filmmaker from using real lions in her production.

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LA Times: Sofia Coppola, Somewhere & Chateau Marmont

Posted November 01, 2010

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This weekend, the Los Angeles Times's Mark Olsen ran a piece, "The Directors: Sofia Coppola takes a floor at the Chateau Marmont," on Coppola's unique history with the Chateau, the location of her most recent film Somewhere. Coppola always saw her story of Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) and his budding relationship with his daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) taking place there. For Dorff's character, the Chateau, according to Coppola, summed up where he is: "It's sort of a rite of passage for an actor to live at the Chateau Marmont. It means you've made it, but you're still 'down-to-earth'." But just because you want to shoot at the famed West Hollywood hotel, doesn't mean you can. In Olsen's article, Philip Pavel, general manager of the hotel, explains:

People ask all the time...It was specific to Sofia's relationship with the hotel. She's been a member of the Chateau family as long as I've been here. When she approached André Balazs, the owner, there was an innate sense of trust that her project would have integrity and reflect the true nature of the hotel.

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