The Indies Came Out to Play

Written by Fernando Andrade

In a year with so many great independent films, it was rewarding to see so many different movies get love with this year’s Film Independent Spirit Award nominations. While it seems like bigger studio films will get the push for the Golden Globes and Oscar’s, a lot of these films will be relegated to just these independent awards, but maybe, these nominations will lead to some much-needed momentum come later in the awards season.

Just like last year, A24 dominated with a total of 12 nominations. Bo Burnham’s ‘Eighth Grade’ received nominations for best female lead in Elsie Fisher, best supporting male actor in Josh Hamilton, best first screenplay, and best feature. Surprisingly enough it did not get nominated for best first feature, but maybe that came down to the members wanting to spread the love since Ari Aster’s ‘Hereditary’ gave A24 a nominee in that category, as well as best female lead with Toni Collette. Paul Schrader’s ‘First Reformed’ also helped A24 with nominations in best feature, best director, best male lead, and best screenplay. While Jonah Hill’s directorial debut ‘Mid90’s’ only managed to get a best editing nomination.

Amazon, Netflix, and The Orchard, while nowhere near A24, performed well, with 6 nominations each. The Orchard does get bragging rights over A24 as ‘We the Animals’ picked up the single most nominations for a film with 5. Amazon was lead by Lynne Ramsay’s ‘You were never Really Here’ with 4 nominations, and Suspiria picked up a nomination for best cinematography and was awarded the prestigious Robert Altman Award. Netflix surprised many with its Indie hit ‘Private Life’ getting 3 nominations including best director, best supporting female actor, and best screenplay. They also received two best international film nominations with ‘Roma’ and‘Happy as Lazzaro’ both which were not eligible for other award consideration.

Annapurna also managed to snag an impressive 5 nominees thanks to Barry Jenkins’ ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ and Boots Riley’s ‘Sorry to Bother You’. Jenkins, who’s last film ‘Moonlight’ won best feature in 2016, once again sees his film receive a nomination for best feature along with himself for best director.

Other notable stand outs we want to highlight are Helena Howard and Ashley Connor who received nominations for best female lead and best cinematography respectively for there work on ‘Madelines Madeline’. Benjamin Loeb was nominated for cinematography for his work on Mandy. Daveed Diggs was nominated for his performance in ‘Blindspotting’ as well as John Cho for his performance in ‘Searching’. In a year with exceptional documentaries, two which are loved here at Jumpcut which got nominations are ‘Minding the Gap’ and ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’. Jim Cummings film ‘Thunder Road’ also was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award for films budgeted at less than $500,000.

Some of the bigger studios this year seemed to be overshadowed, as Focus Features, Sony Picture Classics, and Fox Searchlight all had trouble breaking into the fold. Focus only managed 3 nominees with ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor’, Adam Driver for his supporting role in ‘BlackKklansman’, and best screenplay for ‘Thoroughbreds’. Fox Searchlight only saw 2 nominations for ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ and one wasn’t even Melissa McCarthy, but instead Richard E. Grant and a best screenplay nomination. There third came in the form of Yorgos Lanthimos’ ‘The Favourite’ for best international film. Sony Picture Classics, which last year performed exceptionally well thanks to ‘Call Me By Your Name’ only managed a single nominations this year with Glenn Close for best female lead in ‘The Wife’.

Also, worth noting is the amount of inclusion from this year’s nominees. Whether its three female directors being nominated for best director, to three of the five best male leads being people of color, and a lot more spread throughout the nominations in every category, it is always great seeing diversity.

This year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards will take place on Saturday, February 23rd, 2019.

FULL LIST OF NOMINEES:

Best Feature

EIGHTH GRADE

FIRST REFORMED

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK

LEAVE NO TRACE

YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE

Best Director

Debra Granik, LEAVE NO TRACE

Barry Jenkins, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK

Tamara Jenkins, PRIVATE LIFE

Lynne Ramsay, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE

Paul Schrader, FIRST REFORMED

Best First Feature

HEREDITARY

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU

THE TALE

WE THE ANIMALS

WILDLIFE

Best Male Lead

John Cho, SEARCHING

Daveed Diggs, BLINDSPOTTING

Ethan Hawke, FIRST REFORMED

Christian Malheiros, SÓCRATES

Joaquin Phoenix, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE

Best Female Lead

Glenn Close, THE WIFE

Toni Collette, HEREDITARY

Elsie Fisher, EIGHTH GRADE

Regina Hall, SUPPORT THE GIRLS

Helena Howard, MADELINE’S MADELINE

Carey Mulligan, WILDLIFE

Best Supporting Female Actor

Kayli Carter, PRIVATE LIFE

Tyne Daly, A BREAD FACTORY

Regina King, IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK

Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, LEAVE NO TRACE

J. Smith-Cameron, NANCY

Best Supporting Male Actor

Raúl Castillo, WE THE ANIMALS

Adam Driver, BLACKKKLANSMAN

Richard E. Grant, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?

Josh Hamilton, EIGHTH GRADE

John David Washington, MONSTERS AND MEN

Best Cinematography

Ashley Connor, MADELINE’S MADELINE

Diego Garcia, WILDLIFE

Benjamin Loeb, MANDY

Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, SUSPIRIA

Zak Mulligan, WE THE ANIMALS

Best Screenplay

Richard Glatzer (Writer/Story By), Rebecca Lenkiewicz & Wash Westmoreland, COLETTE

Nicole Holofcener & Jeff Whitty, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?

Tamara Jenkins, PRIVATE LIFE

Boots Riley, SORRY TO BOTHER YOU

Paul Schrader FIRST REFORMED

Best First Screenplay

Bo Burnham, EIGHTH GRADE

Christina Choe, NANCY

Cory Finley, THOROUGHBREDS

Jennifer Fox, THE TALE

Quinn Shephard (Writer/Story By) and Laurie Shephard (Story By), BLAME

Best Editing

Joe Bini, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE

Keiko Deguchi, Brian A. Kates & Jeremiah Zagar, WE THE ANIMALS

Luke Dunkley, Nick Fenton, Chris Gill & Julian Hart, AMERICAN ANIMALS

Anne Fabini, Alex Hall and Gary Levy, THE TALE

Nick Houy, MID90S

Best Documentary

HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING

MINDING THE GAP

OF FATHERS AND SONS

ON HER SHOULDERS

SHIRKERS

WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

Best International Film

BURNING (South Korea)

THE FAVOURITE (United Kingdom)

HAPPY AS LAZZARO (Italy)

ROMA (Mexico)

SHOPLIFTERS (Japan)

The Truer Than Fiction Award

Alexandria Bombach, ON HER SHOULDERS

Bing Liu, MINDING THE GAP

RaMell Ross, HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING

Producers Award

Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams

Gabrielle Nadig

Shrihari Sathe

The Someone to Watch Award

Alex Moratto, SÓCRATES

Ioana Uricaru, LEMONADE

Jeremiah Zagar, WE THE ANIMALS

The Bonnie Award

Debra Granik

Tamara Jenkins

Karyn Kusama

Robert Altman Award

SUSPIRIA

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Casting Directors: Avy Kaufman, Stella Savino

Ensemble Cast: Malgosia Bela, Ingrid Caven, Lutz Ebersdorf, Elena Fokina, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper, Dakota Johnson, Gala Moody, Chloë Grace Moretz, Renée Soutendijk, Tilda Swinton, Sylvie Testud, Angela Winkler

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Reel Women: November UK Releases

Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights the films being released in the UK that are written and/or directed by women. The clocks have gone back, it’s dark and cold outside, so what better way to spend the dark evenings than in the cinema?! This month there’s dramas, rom-coms and the start of the Christmas-themed releases. Oh, and there’s a little film about wizards and another small animated film featuring well-known Disney characters.

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2 November

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston
Written by Ashleigh Powell and Tom McCarthy

When Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is transported to a magical world of her mother’s making, she’ll do anything to protect it.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is Ashleigh Powell’s first produced screenplay. She’s attached to adapt the books The Paper Magician and The Hazel Wood into screenplays.

 

Juliet, Naked

Directed by Jesse Peretz
Written by Evgenia Peretz, Jim Taylor and Tamara Jenkins

After Annie (Rose Byne) breaks up with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd), she embarks on an unlikely romance with a famous singer-songwriter who happened to be Duncan’s favourite musician.

Tamara Jenkins is a writer-director who was Oscar nominated for her original screenplay The Savages (2007). Her latest film, Private Life, is a new Netflix Original. Evgenia Peretz is a writer and producer, Juliet, Naked is her second produced screenplay.

 

King of Crime

Directed by Matt Gambell
Written by Linda Dunscombe

The biggest player in British cyber-crime goes head to head against some Islamic extremists by playing the biggest scam of his life.

As well as writing King of Crime, Linda Dunscombe was also a producer on the film, and the films casting director.

 

 

6 November

Widows

Directed by Steve McQueen
Written by Gillian Flynn and Steve McQueen

Four women whose dead husbands’ criminal actives leave them in trouble, conspire to come together to survive the forces that are out to get them.

Gillian Flynn is an author and screenwriter who adapted her own novel, Gone Girl (2014) to critical acclaim earning her a Golden Globe nomination.

 

 

9 November

Wildlife

Directed by Paul Dano
Written by Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan

A boy witnesses his parents’ (Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal) marriage fall apart.

Zoe Kazan is an actress and screenwriter whose acting credits include What If (2013), Meek’s Cutoff (2010) and The Big Sick (2017). Her previous screenplay was Ruby Sparks (2012) in which she played the titular role.

Our review

 

Outlaw King

Directed by David Mackenzie
Written by Mark Bomback, Bathsheba Doran, David Harrower, James MacInnes and David Mackenzie

The story of how Scottish Robert The Bruce (Chris Pine) fought to defeat and repel the much larger occupying English army.

Outlaw King is Bathsheba Doran’s first feature film, but she’s written episodes of multiple TV shows including Broadwalk Empire and Masters of Sex.

Our review

 

The Other Side of Everything

Directed by Mila Turajlic

A documentary about Serbian filmmaker Mila Turajlic, who learns more about her family history and her country’s tumultuous political inheritance after opening a locked door in her mother’s apartment in Belgrade.

Mila Turajlic is a producer and director who was also the cinematographer for The Other Side of Everything.

 

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16 November

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Directed by David Yates
Written by J.K. Rowling

Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) tasks Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to take down Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) who believes wizards are better than muggles.

J.K. Rowling needs no introduction. After writing the Harry Potter book series that turned into a global phenomenon, Rowling is now the writing the screenplays for the Fantastic Beasts series.

 

The Princess Switch

Directed by Mike Rohl
Written by Robin Bernheim and Megan Metzger

Netflix’s first Christmas themed film of the year, The Princess Switch is about how one week before Christmas, Margaret, the gorgeous Duchess of Montenaro, switches places with Stacy, a “commoner” from Chicago, who looks exactly like her.

Robin Bernheim is a writer and producer of films and TV shows including Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Voyager. The Princess Switch is Megan Mertzger is first produced screenplay.

 

Hell Fest

Directed by Gregory Plotkin
Written by Seth M. Sherwood, Blair Butler and Akela Cooper

A masked serial killer turns a horror-themed amusement park into his own personal hunting ground.

Blair Butler is a writer, director and producer. Hell Fest is her first feature film. Hell Fest is Akela Cooper’s first feature film screenplay as well but she has written multiple episodes of the TV shows Grimm, Luke Cage and The 100.

 

 

23 November

Back to Berlin

Directed by Catherine Lurie-Alt

Documentary about eleven motor bikers have a mission to take the Maccabiah torch from Israel to the site of the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics, for the first Jewish Olympic Games on German soil.

This is Catherine Lurie-Alt’s first film.

Nativity Rocks!

Written & Directed by Debbie Isitt

The fourth film about St Bernadette’s Primary School in Coventry and the staff and students there who audition for a coveted place in a spectacular Christmas rock musical competition.

Debbie Isitt has written and directed all four Nativity films – the first two films, starring Martin Freeman and David Tennant, are on Netflix if you fancy getting into the Christmas spirit early.

The Judge

Directed by Erika Cohn

Documentary about Judge Kholoud Al-Faqih, the first woman appointed to a Shari’a court in the Middle East.

Erika Cohn is a producer and writer and The Judge is her second feature-length documentary.

 

 

30 November

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Directed by Phil Johnston and Rich Moore
Written by Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribon

Ralph and Penelope discover the internet and go on a whole new adventure.

Pamela Ribon is an actress, producer and writer whose previous screenwriting credits include Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017).

 

Disobedience

Directed by Sebastián Lelio
Written by Sebastián Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz

Ronit (Rachel Weisz) returns home to her Jewish community after being shunned by them years before for her attraction to a female friend. When Ronit and Esti (Rachel McAdams) meet again their passions reignite.

Disobedience is Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s second feature film. Her previous film was Oscar winner Ida (2013) and her next film is Colette starring Keira Knightley which is released in the UK early next year.

 

The Wild Pear Tree

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Written by Akin Aksu, Ebru Ceylan and Nuri Bilge Ceylan

An aspiring writer returns to his native village, where his father’s debts catch up to him.

Ebru Ceylan is a writer and director whose debut short film Kiyida (1998) was nominated for the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at Cannes Film Festival. The Wild Pear Tree is her third feature-length screenplay.


And that’s it for this month’s Reel Women. That’s 16 films from a wide range of genres that are released in the UK that are made by women in November. Do let us know what you think of any of these films if you get a chance to see them – some might be easier to find than others!

LFF 2018: Wildlife

Year: 2018
Directed by: Paul Dano
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Bill Camp, Ed Oxenbould

Written by Sarah Buddery

Arguably one of the most underrated actors out there, Paul Dano brings his directorial debut to LFF, also competing in the First Feature category. Known for choosing diverse and interesting roles, Dano equally brings a unique perspective to the family drama in the exceptionally beautiful Wildlife.

Initially painting the picture of idyllic family life, Wildlife is a slow burning film that gradually and carefully peels back the layers as the cracks begin to show, and the initial muted pastel colour palette eventually giving way to something richer and darker alongside this.

We view the story through the eyes of teenager Joe (exceptionally played by relative newcomer Ed Oxenbould), as his mother Jeanette (Mulligan) and Jerry (Gyllenhaal) start to drift apart from each other. This is a bold and deliberate move on Dano’s part to tell the story in this way, and indeed it is the innocence of Joe that helps make this story so captivating. Both Jeanette and Jerry visibly change throughout the course of the film, and when viewed through Joe’s eyes, we see his subtle change as well as he grows and becomes self-sufficient.

Wildlife is a devastating portrait of a fractured family unit, and the exquisitely crafted characters are written and played with such a richness. Mulligan, in particular, is absolutely sensational. There is a wonderful subtlety to her reactions, and indeed across all of the performances in this film, it is perhaps the silence and the moments of lingering pause that speak louder than anything else. It is so much a film about the things left unsaid, and there is a beautiful quietness to the writing of Dano and Zoe Kazan, and Dano’s tender direction.

This is an accomplished debut from Dano, and it takes great boldness and courage to keep things this paired back and simple, whilst still showing a great eye and visual flair. Wildlife is quietly devastating, tonally melancholic and truly beautiful in its depiction of brokenness. The directorial career of Paul Dano will undoubtedly be watched with as much interest as his acting career following this.

SARAH’S VERDICT:

4

The First Trailer For Paul Dano’s Directorial Debut ‘Wildlife’ Has Arrived

“IFC Films presents WILDLIFE, the directorial debut of Paul Dano (THERE WILL BE BLOOD, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE), co-written along with Zoe Kazan (THE BIG SICK). Elegantly adapted from Richard Ford’s novel of the same name, Carey Mulligan (MUDBOUND, AN EDUCATION) delivers one of her finest performances to date as Jeanette, a complex woman whose self-determination and self-involvement disrupts the values and expectations of a 1960s nuclear family. Fourteen-year-old Joe played by newcomer Ed Oxenbould, is the only child of Jeanette (Mulligan) and Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal)—a housewife and a golf pro—in a small town in 1960s Montana. Nearby, an uncontrolled forest fire rages close to the Canadian border, and when Jerry loses his job—and his sense of purpose—he decides to join the cause of fighting the fire, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Suddenly forced into the role of an adult, Joe witnesses his mother’s struggle as she tries to keep her head above water. With precise details and textures of its specific time and place, WILDLIFE commits to the viewpoint of a teenage boy observing the gradual dissolution of his parents’ marriage. 

Directed by: Paul Dano

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Bill Camp, Ex Oxenbould & Zoe Margaret Colletti

Release Date: October 19th, 2018