Iceland’s Stockfish Film Festival Introduces Eva Maria Daniels Award for Vital Filmmaking – Film News in Brief

Iceland’s Stockfish Film Festival has announced a new prize, the Eva Maria Daniels Award for Vital Filmmaking, which honors the legacy of the Icelandic filmmaker who died last year. With the support of Daniels’ partner Moritz Diller and son Henry, the festival will honor one standout producer or director in the shorts categories will receive the inaugural award commemorating her achievements and continued contributions to Iceland’s next wave of filmmakers. The prize includes a $1.5 million Icelandic krona award.

Daniels’ credits include “Reality” and “Joe Bell.” The 10th edition of the festival runs April 4-14.

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“Eva’s approach to producing was to listen and support undeniable talent,” said her producing partner, Riva Marker, who will oversee the prize committee. “We will never know all the beautiful stories she would bring to audiences, but we’re honored to create an inaugural award endowed to storytellers that we believe Eva would have championed.”

Winners Unveiled for 2024 British Animation Awards

Winners of the 2024 British Animation Awards have been announced, with the hand-drawn feature “Kensuke’s Kingdom” taking home three trophies, including best feature film. The 28th BAA took place at London’s BFI Southbank on March 7, where comedian Henning Wehn was presenter.

Frank Cottrell-Boyce won the writers award for “Kensuke’s Kingdom” and composer Stuart Hancock won best original music for the same film.

“The Great British Bake Off” won the award for best animation in a commercial. The cast of “The Amazing Maurice,” including Hugh Laurie, Emilia Clarke, Hugh Bonneville and Gemma Arterton, won best voice performance.

Channel 5’s Milkshake! and Channel 4 both won two awards while BBC, ITV, Sky, Netflix and Nickelodeon each took home one. Meanwhile, the animation studio Lupus Films, based out of London, received four awards for “Kensuke’s Kingdom” and “Mog’s Christmas.”

‘Jeanne du Barry’ Starring Johnny Depp and Maïwenn Sets U.S. Theatrical Release

Fathom Events and Vertical have partnered to bring “Jeanne du Barry,” last year’s Cannes opening night film, to U.S. audiences with an exclusive theatrical engagement in over 500 theaters starting May 2.

The film stars Johnny Depp and Maïwenn — who also co-wrote, directed and produced the film — and received a seven-minute standing ovation after its opening night world premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival. The cast is rounded out by French actors Benjamin Lavernhe, Pierre Richard, Melvil Poupaud and Pascal Greggory.

Per a press release,​ “‘Jeanne du Barry’ follows Jeanne Vaubernier (Maïwenn), a working-class woman determined to climb the social ladder, using her charms to escape her impoverished life. Her lover, the Comte du Barry (Poupaud), wishes to present her to King Louis XV (Depp) and orchestrates a meeting through the influential Duke of Richelieu (Richard). The encounter goes far beyond his expectations for it was love at first sight for the King and Jeanne. Through this ravishing courtesan, the king rediscovers his appetite for life and feels he can no longer live without her. Making Jeanne his last official mistress, scandal erupts as no one at Court will accept a girl from the streets into their rarified world.”

“‘Jeanne du Barry’ was a sensation at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and we are thrilled to partner with Fathom Events for the nationwide theatrical release of Maïwenn’s stunning piece of cinematic art showcasing Johnny Depp’s return to the big screen. With Johnny’s huge appeal, we feel the Fathom/Vertical collaboration will allow moviegoers across the country the opportunity to experience the film which has already been a hit with audiences overseas,” Vertical partner Peter Jarowey said in a statement.

Teddy Lussi-Modeste and Nicolas Livecchi co-wrote the film, which was produced by Pascal Caucheteux and Grégoire Sorlat.

Horror Comedy ‘Night of Violence’ Casts Gigi Gustin, Russ Russo and Kit Lang

Gigi Gustin, Russ Russo and Kit Lang have been tapped to star in indie horror-comedy, “Night of Violence” from first-time director Illya Konstantin.

The film follows a group of employees at a company who, after winning a class action lawsuit against a small town, find themselves trapped in their building and are ruthlessly hunted down for destroying the lives of the townsfolk.

Lang (“Battle Scars”) stars as a hapless employee who finds his resolve in the course of the night and helps lead the group through peril. Russo (“Catch Hell”) plays a deliciously vile corporate creep and Gustin (“Night of the Missing”) is the plucky and endearing but dangerous company spokesperson.
Samuel Gonzalez Jr. (“ Night of The Missing”) serves as a producer on “Night of Violence” along with Opera Machina Films.

Gustin is repped by October Coast, Russo is repped by Eris Talent Agency and Samuel Gonzalez Jr. by Melanie Cook at Ziffren Law.

Writers Guild Foundation Launches Fellowship to Transform Veterans Into Writers

The Writers Guild Foundation has launched a new fellowship to help boost and transform military veterans into writers.

The eight-week-long mentorship program will provide educational resources, professional guidance and career-building opportunities for alums of the foundation’s flagship program, the Veterans Writing Project.

The inaugural class will be comprised of six veterans: Brian McDevitt, Jr., Cathy Torres, Kadyn Michaels, Nicole Schwegman, Rylan Tuohy and Tracy Thompson. Each fellow will be paired with a showrunner mentor, who will provide valuable feedback on their scripts and unique insights into the business of writing.

This year’s mentors include Bill Wrubel (“Ted Lasso”), Desmond Moran (“Tiny Beautiful Things”), Jeremy Carver (“Doom Patrol”), Joy Kecken (“Genius: MLK/X”), Linda Gase (“Dr. Death”), and Maria Ferrari (“Call Me Kat”).

Fellows will also be able to attend workshops led by core instructor — writer, and producer — Eli Edelson (“Motherland: Fort Salem”) and network with industry professionals who may hire them post-fellowship.

“This program was established in response to the increasing number of barriers preventing emerging writers from gaining a foothold in the entertainment industry,” Kira VandenBrande, WGF director of community programs, said in a statement. “We aim to better equip Veterans Writing Project alumni with the education and access to gain a foothold in the industry and, ultimately, forge sustainable careers as writers.”

Click here for more information on the WGF Veterans Fellowship.

Neurodivergent Filmmakers to be Celebrated in Museum of the Moving Image’s Marvels of Media Fest

The Museum of the Moving Image’s Marvels of Media Festival, which will return for its third edition and run from March 28-30, will celebrate neurodivergent filmmakers with autism through a slew of programming, including screenings, discussions and workshops hosted by and featuring filmmakers with autism.

The festival will serve as a “celebration of the outstanding work” created by these “media-makers” in the lead-up to April’s start of Autism Acceptance Month.

The festival will screen 17 new films and one virtual reality project, organized in programs centered around themes like romances, “queer and autistic relationships,” animated projects and experimental films, among others.

Other festival highlights include “Wilmington Escaped,” a new VR work by returning artist Carrie Hawks; the world premiere of Alba Enid Garcia’s stop-motion animated short “Dangerously Ever After,” and Exceptional Minds’ new collaboration with Reel Start, “Tree’s Blood,” which features the voices of Ayo Edebiri and Seth Rogen. Special guests, including Tony Spiridakis, Lauren Melissa Ellzey and Sydney Zarlengo (and filmmakers Dani Bowman, Tal Anderson and Alba Enid Garcia), will accompany screenings for talk-backs.

“March brings great films to watch. The work of Academy Award nominees and winners, and the work of neurodivergent media-makers in the Marvels of Media Festival, Josh Sapan, MoMI trustee and founder of Marvels of Media and Sapan Studio, said in a statement. “The dream team at the Museum of the Moving Image is known for doing one-of-a-kind work.”

The festival is part of the Museum’s year-round Marvels of Media initiative, which showcases, celebrates and supports neurodivergent media makers of all ages and skill sets. During the festival, the Museum expands its accessibility efforts for visitors with autism by creating a temporary sensory-friendly space in the Media Lab and providing complimentary sensory kits.

Admission to all Marvels of Media screenings and events is free with RSVP, and the festival will take place at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, New York.

Click here to see the full schedule and slate of programming.

Napa Valley Film Festival and Culinary Institute of America Present ‘Salute to Culinary Cinema!’ Showcase

Napa Valley Film Festival and the Culinary Institute of America are presenting “Salute to Culinary Cinema!”, a special film, food and wine fundraising showcase held at the CIA at Copia from April 5-7. Dave Karger, host of Turner Classic Movies, curated the lineup.

Screenings will include “The Taste of Things,” “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” “The Hundred-Foot Journey” and “Tampopo.”

Per the official release for the showcase, “Each film screening will be followed by a series of multi-course Culinary Tributes by the CIA to celebrate the food and wine culture evoked in each film.” Special guest chefs will include Maître Cuisiners de France Roland Passot and Joel Guillon, chef/partner of the restaurant Press in Napa, Phil Tessier, and CIA chef Annie Hongkham. Additional CIA chefs and students will be involved as well.

The showcase will also include a book signing and presentation for Dave Karger’s “50 Oscar Nights.”

Tickets for the showcase are on sale now and can be found here.

Bella Thorne Among Mammoth Film Festival 2024 Award Winners

For “Paint Her Red,” Bella Thorne received the director award for achievement in filmmaking short at the 2024 Mammoth Film Festival.

Henry Nelson’s “Asleep in My Palm” took home the top prize for best picture in the feature category, while Jordan McKittrick’s “We Have Notes” won best picture in the short category. Tim Blake Nelson won for best feature actor for “Asleep in My Palm,” with Shelley Hennig winning in the best actress category for “Fluxx.”

The grand jury award went to “The Trap” in the feature category and “Two Shovels And A Will” in the short category. “The Fall” and “We Have Notes” received audience awards for feature and short, respectively.

See the full list of winners below.

Best Picture – Feature
“Asleep in My Palm,” Henry Nelson

Best Picture – Short
“We Have Notes,” Jordan McKittrick

Best Actor – Feature
Tim Blake Nelson, “Asleep in My Palm”

Best Actor – Short
Akil Jackson, “Don’t Worry About Tomorrow”

Best Actress – Feature
Shelley Hennig, “Fluxx”

Best Actress – Short
Lauren Noll, “The Heart of Texas”

Grand Jury Award – Feature
“The Trap”

Grand Jury Award – Short
“Two Shovels And A Will,” Nicholas Cirillo

Audience Award – Feature
“The Fall”

Audience Award – Short
“We Have Notes”

Best Documentary – Feature
“Ice Cross,” DJ Kilpatrick, Brittan Morris

Best Genre Film – Feature
“Fluxx,” Brendan Gabriel Murphy

Best Genre Film – Short
“Howl At the Dead,” Greg Bishop

Best Episodic
“Puncher’s Chance,” Garland Scott, Johnny Rey Diaz

Best Action Sports
“Ice Cross,” DJ Kilpatrick, Brittan Morris

Achievement in Filmmaking Feature – Director
“Continue,” Nadine Crocker

Achievement in Filmmaking Short – Director
“Paint Her Red,” Bella Thorne

Achievement in Filmmaking Feature – Writer
“The Invisible Raptor,” Mike Capes & Johnny Wickham

Achievement in Filmmaking Short – Writer
“Children’s Book,” Nino Mancuso

Achievement in Filmmaking Feature – Cinematography
“Fluxx,” Kieran Murphy

Achievement in Filmmaking Short – Cinematography
“Ellie,” Neil Watson

Achievement in Filmmaking – Music
“In The Fire”

Achievement in Filmmaking – International
“French Girl”

Achievement in First Time Filmmaking Feature
Nadine Crocker, “Continue”

Achievement in First Time Filmmaking Short
“Lodestar,” Ryan Vincent

Sandra Oh and More API Talent to Be Honored CAPE’s Radiance Event on March 11

Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment has announced honorees and presenters for the upcoming event Radiance: A Celebration of API Women and Non-Binary Achievement in Entertainment, held at The Ebell in Los Angeles on March 11. Jenny Yang will host and the artist MILCK will perform.

Sandra Oh will receive the Luminary Award; she has recently appeared in the Hulu film “Quiz Lady” and the HBO series “The Sympathizer.” Additionally, Madeleine Yuna Voyles of “The Creator” will receive the Julia S. Gouw Next Gen Award and Megan Suri of “It Lives Inside” and “Never Have I Ever” will receive the Cindy Y. Huang Rising Star Award. Fawn Veerasunthorn, co-director of Disney’s “Wish,” will be honored with the Visionary Award.

Additional honorees are listed below.

Actor in TV
Sarayu Blue (Prime Video’s “Expats”)
Actor in Film
Ally Maki (Sony Pictures Classics’ “Shortcomings”; “Seagrass”)
Best in TV
“Black Cake” (Hulu)
Best in Film
“Joy Ride” (Lionsgate)
Melinda Hsu (showrunner/executive producer, “Nancy Drew”; co-founder of the Asian American Writers Brunch)
Decision Maker
Ramsey Naito (President, Paramount and Nickelodeon Animation)
Alok Vaid-Menon (Author, poet, comedian, and public speaker)
Drew Afualo (Content creator, women’s rights advocate, podcast host and author)

Winners Announced For Academy’s Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

Five winners have been chosen for the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, which includes a $35,000 prize and mentorship from an Academy member during the fellowship year. Additionally, winners are featured at the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Awards and Live Read on held at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater on April 25. The event will include an ensemble of actors reading selected scenes from the winners’ scripts.

During their fellowship, winners are expected to complete feature length scripts. The five fellows and the titles of their winning scripts are below.

Brent Delaney (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), “Brownie Mary”
Harris McCabe (Los Angeles, CA), “Nat Cady’s Boys”
J. Miller (Burbank, CA), “Slugger”
c. Craig Patterson (Los Angeles, CA), “Tah”
“The black sheep of the family comes back home to live with the most difficult matriarch in New Orleans.”
Kayla Sun (Los Angeles, CA), “Boy, Girl, Fig”
“Aden was born with a rare condition where he becomes invisible to people who love him.  He struggles when he falls in love with his childhood best friend.”

Visit here for more information on the fellowship, named in honor of Don Nicholl.

Bobby Cannavale, ‘Tiger Stripes’ Among 13th Annual Sun Valley Film Festival Winners

The 13th annual Sun Valley Film Festival, which took place from Feb. 28 to March 1, announced this year’s juried film awards. The festival screened 20 narrative and documentary features, 37 shorts and three episodics.

For his performance in “Ezra,” Bobby Cannavale received the inaugural best performance in a film award. The winner of an audience award, “Ezra” was met with a sold-out crowd during the festival’s opening night. The screening was followed by a Q&A with producer Jon Kilik and a live performance by Adrienne Ackerman. “Ezra” had a second screening on March 2, which was followed by a Q&A with Cannavale and director Tony Goldwyn, moderated by Variety’s Tatiana Siegel.

“Tiger Stripes” and “Maya and the Wave” won best narrative and documentary feature film, respectively. “Photographer” and “Abundance: The Farm Link Story” also received audience awards.

During the festival, Annette Bening and David O. Russell received the Vision Award. The Pioneer Award presented by Variety went to Ted Hope, while Julia Cox received the High Scribe Award. The Sun Valley Film Festival is set to return in 2025 from Feb. 26 to March 2.

See the full list of winners below.

Best Performance in a Film Award

WINNER: Bobby Cannavale for his role in “Ezra”

Audience Award Winners

FEATURE WINNER: “Ezra,” directed by Tony Goldwyn

EPISODIC WINNER: “Photographer ‘Paul Nicklen & Cristina Mittermeier: Win or Die,'” directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin

SHORT WINNER: “Abundance: The Farmlink Story,” directed by Owen Dubeck

Best Narrative Feature Film

WINNER: “Tiger Stripes,” directed by Amanda Nell Eu
HONORABLE MENTION FOR PERFORMANCE: Melissa Barrera in “Your Monster” directed by Caroline Lindy

Best Documentary Feature Film

WINNER: “Maya and the Wave,” directed by Stephanie Johnes
HONORABLE MENTION: “Maestra,” directed by Maggie Contreras

One in a Million Awards

NARRATIVE WINNER: “Long December,” directed by Thomas Torrey
DOCUMENTARY WINNER: “Invisible Nation,” directed by Vanessa Hope

The SVShorty Award

WINNER: “Shut Up & Fish,” directed by Raul Sanchez and Pasqual Gutierrez
SPECIAL MENTION: “The Sperm Bank,” directed by Margaux Susi

The Gem State Award

WINNER: “The Balloonist,” directed by Heather Parkinson Dermott and Kai Barry

SVFF Film & Screenwriting Competition Winners

High Scribe Award

WINNER: “Aman and Flor Against the Motherfucking World,” written by Emilie McDonald

SVJR Film Competition

HOT SHOT WINNER: “The Overlocks’ Dilemma,” directed by Julian Felix Aaronson
2nd PLACE: “Happiness in the Palm of Her Hand,” directed by Ella Janes
3rd PLACE: “Anna McGee’s Wild Ride,” directed by Ava Bounds

The Gem State Jr. Award

WINNER: “Kenai River King,” directed by Bentley Allen Zylstra

Hillary Cook and Karen Berch Promoted to Partners at Murtha Skouras Agency

The Murtha Skouras Agency, which represents below-the-line workers, has elevated agents Hillary Cook and Karen Berch to partners, founders and partners Ann Murtha and Spyros Skouras announced.

“Hilary and Karen, longtime agents of The Murtha Skouras Agency, have been indispensable, passionate members of our team. Both possess a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a deep commitment to promoting and celebrating the art of film,” Murtha and Skouras said in a statement. “They are also known for their honesty, integrity, unwavering dedication, exceptional work ethic, commitment to excellence, and professionalism. We are delighted to recognize their accomplishments – and future achievements – with these promotions.”

The Murtha Skouras Agency was created in 2016 following the mergers of The Murtha Agency and The Skouras Agency. Since the inception of The Murtha Skouras Agency, Cook and Berch have served in the film and television arm.

The agency represents cinematographers, production designers, editors, costume designers, first assistant directors, VFX artists, directors and producers across feature films, television and commercials. Many clients have been recognized by the AMPAS and BAFTAs, having received numerous Oscars and other awards.

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