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Festivity

Anita Hill Documentary is Already SRO at Sundance

Along with being the editor of Southland Publishing’s Arroyo Monthly magazine, Irene Lacher continues to contribute provocative weekly celebrity “Sunday Conversations” Q&As as a freelancer to the LA Times. She was once a staffer for the paper. We covered the one she famously did some time ago with actor Thomas Jane and want to also highlight her intriguing January 13 discussion with Anita Hill.

All four premiere screenings in Park City of Anita, the documentary about Hill’s landmark sexual harassment battle, are already sold out. The only downside of Lacher’s interview is that at the time of the discussion, Clarence Thomas‘ former accuser had not yet seen the film. Hill explained how Anita came about:

“I had been approached by two or three filmmakers about doing a documentary, and for two or three years I simply said no, and Freida Mock had come back a couple of times. I wanted to work to make sure that if the story was told that at least I had some positive input. So after talking with Freida, I just felt that she was the right person to tell the story. She persuaded me in this very calm, clear way that I and the story would be in good hands. And that’s all she promised me.”

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Rotten Tomatoes Radio Will Ramp It Up for Sundance

SiriusXM program Rotten Tomatoes Radio just keeps on rolling.

Launched June 7 as a weekly Thursday live call-in show, it was expanded to two nights a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays) just three months later with an eye towards also covering each week’s DVD and VOD releases. Now comes word that the one-hour program will be going daily for the first weekend of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. From today’s announcement:

Rotten Tomatoes Radio will air from the Miami Lounge on Main Street in Park City on Thursday, January 17 at 6:00 pm, Friday, January 18 at 7:00 pm, Saturday, January 19 at 4:00 pm and Sunday, January 20 at 4:00 pm (all times ET) on SiriusXM Stars Too channel 104. Senior editor Grae Drake and Rotten Tomatoes’ international editor Luke Goodsell (live from Park City) together with editor-inc-chief Matt Atchity (live from Rotten Tomatoes LA headquarters) will report on all the latest news, buzz and deals and interview notable guests.

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Coachella Hinting at Rolling Stones for 2013?

Coachella is almost around the corner (scary, huh?) and the music festival might have dropped a hint about the headliner for the 2013 festival.

The above image of what could be a stone (or beach ball … but let’s just go with stone) is via the Coachella Facebook page, leaving many to speculate this is a subtle hint the Rolling Stones will be the headline act.

Mick Jagger and the rest of the wrinkled crew were first linked to Coachella last month when their official app listed the festival as an upcoming tour date before quickly deleting it.

The two-day, two-weekend festival is scheduled for April 12-14 and April 19-21. The full lineup will be announced later this month.

AFI Fest Announces 2012 Prize Winners

AFI FEST 2012 comes to a close today, and the winners of this year’s prizes are in. Sadly, we were only able to catch two of the winning films this time around: New Auteur Grand Jury Award winner Eat Sleep Die, a subdued but brilliant look at working class immigrants struggling to survive in Sweden; and New Auteur Audience Award winner A Hijacking, a hyper-realistic portrayal of protracted hostage negotiations between a Danish shipping company and the Somali Pirates who kidnapped a crew of sailors.

Both were brilliant and well worth viewing should they see a wider release.

Full list of winners after the jump.

Photo: Eat Sleep Die

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ArcLight Doc Fest Shines a Lightsaber on Fan Films

The 2nd Annual ArcLight Documentary Film Festival wraps up tonight with a screening of Backyard Blockbusters. The 119-minute feature, scheduled for 8:15 p.m. at the ArcLight Hollywood location, surveys the fascinating history of fan films.

Writer-director John E. Hudgens comes to the subject matter the best way possible. He won Audience Awards in 2003 and 2005 at the Lucasfilm Star Wars Fan Film Awards for his parodies The Jedi Hunter and Sith Apprentice. He can also claim to have worked on the franchise through his day job as an artist-animator and is known for his Babylon 5 spoof-tribute work as well.

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West of Memphis Plays AFI Fest on Eve of Death Penalty Vote

West of Memphis, Amy Berg‘s comprehensive documentary about the wrongly accused West Memphis Three, made its  debut at AFI Fest yesterday. There weren’t a whole lot of dry eyes in the audience. With today’s vote on Proposition 34 to end the death penalty in California, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  If you didn’t make the screening, do yourself a favor and at least watch the trailer above before you vote today.

Latest Found Footage Festival Features Blast from LA’s Public Access Past

The 2012 Found Footage Festival road show kicks off tonight in Arlington, Virginia. Although the closest the event will come to LA is Chico and San Francisco in December, this year’s edition showcases a critical City of Angels component.

As event co-founder Joe Pickett tells Big Hollywood’s Christia Toto, newly discovered VHS wonders include some sequel footage he and event partner Nick Pueher have been hunting down for some time now. The video in question dates back to a few years before their event’s launch in 2004:

“My personal favorite [this year] is a public access video from Los Angeles called Dancing with Frank Pacholski. This guy, Frank, shot two episodes in 1999, and we’ve had the first episode in our possession for a while. But recently we found the legendary second episode that’s 1,000 times weirder. Without giving too much away, it involves a man dancing around in Speedos, elderly people, salad dressing and raw chicken.”

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Somali Pirates Drama Claims Top Prize at TheWrap’s Short Film Fest

Culminating with an awards ceremony Tuesday night at the Backstage Theater on the Sony Lot, TheWrap’s inaugural ShortList short film festival recognized the top vote getters from a dozen hand-picked entries.

A judges’ panel consisting of Roadside Attractions co-president Howard Cohen, producer Cassian Elwes, actor Zachary Quinto, producer Lynette Howell and Sundance Institute feature film program founding director Michelle Satter crowned Fishing Without Nets – a drama about Somali pirates told from the pirates’ point of view – as the Jury Prize winner. The audience vote, gathered via thewrap.com and MTV websites film.com and nextmovie.com, favored The Maker. From Lucas Shaw’s report:

[Fishing Without Nets] director Cutter Hodierne nets a $60,000 reward from Panavision to be used for a future filmmaking project… Hodierne and [The Maker director] Christopher Kezelos will receive a new Sony Alpha A77 DLSR Cameras, as well as a first-look deal with Cinedigm.

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For THR Awards Blogger, It’s Telluride – Take Two

A year ago at this time, Scott Feinberg (pictured) had just signed a contract with The Hollywood Reporter to join the publication as lead awards blogger and tumbled into his first-ever trip to Telluride. This weekend, he’s back in the picturesque Colorado mountains, ready to handicap 2012 Oscar hopefuls alongside a small group of LA journo regulars that includes Anne Thompson (Indiewire), Gregory Ellwood (Hit Fix), Steve Pond (TheWrap) and Pete Hammond (Deadline).

“It’s funny, the one place where we all end up is the Santa Barbara Film Festival,” Feinberg told FishbowlLA via telephone yesterday shortly after arriving in the rain. “It’s weird. Some of us can’t make it to Telluride, some of us can’t make it to Toronto. But the one that it just seems, year after year, all the usual LA Oscar beat writers end up at is Santa Barbara.”

Everything is walking distance in Telluride. It’s also a place where, with a very few exceptions, outlets pay the same hefty price for journalist passes as attendees. And because locals are used to living next to the likes of Ralph Lauren, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise, the already secluded event has a welcome, casual feel for A-list attendees. Starting with today’s traditional kick-off picnic.

“At the end of last year’s awards season, George Clooney told me Telluride had been one of the highlights of the circuit, which he was on for a whole six months,” Feinberg recalled. “He felt that he could walk around here with no bodyguards, no entourage… Of course, one or two people might still ask him for photos. But it’s nothing like LA or Toronto.”

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Coachella Hitting the Seas in December

The Coachella Festival looks to expand on their recent success by taking their music festivities out to sea.

On a cruise ship dubbed the S.S. Coachella, 20 musical artists (highlighted by Pulp, Hot Chip and Girl Talk) will headline the event that stretches over two separate weekends in December (Bahamas Dec. 16-19, Jamaica Dec. 19-23).

The Celebrity Silhouette holds just under 3,000 people. Cabins start at $500 for a room with four people (pretend you’re back in college for four days) reservations go on sale on Saturday morning.

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