| August 9, 2011

The 17th Annual Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video is in full swing and will run through September 1 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, downtown Chicago. It is the Midwest’s largest festival of the Black experience on film and will feature filmmakers in person for special question and answer sessions, as well as special events.
In all, there will be a presentation of 16 feature films and 30 shorts, 40 percent of which were made in the Chicago area or involve artists or subjects particular to the Chicagoland area, affirming the city’s role as a vital center for independent filmmaking. All screenings and events are at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, located at 164 N. State St. Visit for more information.
In celebration of The Big Lebowski Limited Edition Blu-ray™ debuting on Aug 16, join Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore + T Bone Burnett for a very special evening celebrating all things Lebowski. The date will also mark the launch of Jeff Bridges’ self-titled album.
The evening will include a special Q & A with Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore + T Bone Burnett as well as a screening of the film and other festivities.
2011 marks 10 years of beautiful tradition with Lebowski Fest and Universal Studios Home Entertainment has teamed up to bring the Achievers the pop-culture event of the century! This limited seating event at the historic Hammerstein Ballroom will be the ultimate celebration of all things Lebowski.
From the Academy Award®-winning Coen brothers, The Big Lebowski is a hilariously quirky comedy about bowling, a severed toe, White Russians and a guy named…The Dude. Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski doesn’t want any drama in his life…heck, he can’t even be bothered with a job. But, he must embark on a quest with his bowling buddies after his rug is destroyed in a twisted case of mistaken identity. Starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Turturro, experience the cultural phenomenon of The Dude in the “#1 cult film of all time!” (The Boston Globe)
Tickets are very limited and will go on sale very soon. Mark it 10!
8/15 – Bowling Party @ 300 New York at Chelsea Piers – $30
8/16 – Blu-ray™ Launch, Cast Reunion, Q&A, Movie Screening @ Hammerstein Ballroom – $42
Information at
Estevez and Elixir Films Partner with Producers Distribution Agency and ARC Entertainment on Release
Film will launch in AMC Theatres as part of strategic marketing partnership with the theatre chain
Emilio Estevez and Elixir Films’ David Alexanian have partnered with John Sloss and Bart Walker’s Producers Distribution Agency (PDA) and Trevor Drinkwater’s ARC Entertainment to release THE WAY, written and directed by Estevez and starring Martin Sheen, on Friday, October 7. The film which had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival where it played to standing ovations and critical acclaim, was produced by David Alexanian and partly based on the Jack Hitt book, Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain. It was filmed in Spain and France along the famed Camino de Santiago.
The film will open in 15 markets in the first week exclusively in AMC Theatres as part of a strategic marketing alliance with the theatre chain. It will expand to another 15 markets on October 14 and then will expand to 500 screens in theatres across the country on October 21. Elixir, PDA and ARC have assembled a strong team of experienced film veterans to release the film including Dennis Rice, Richard Abramowitz, Cynthia Swartz of 42West, Marc Schiller of Electric Artists, Tierney Kelly , Terry Hines and for digital distribution, FilmBuff. The film’s release will be supported by an aggressive marketing plan that includes advertising, publicity, and promotion, in addition to an extensive grassroots effort directed at bringing the movie and its stars to the heartland of America.
“I applaud Emilio and David for seeking out an independent distribution system which will leverage the assembled resources throughout the film’s life cycle and across revenue streams to maximize its commercial value,” commented Drinkwater “I am honored to be a part of this endeavor.”
“We are proud to be the first leg of getting THE WAY onto movie screens around the country,” said Nikkole Denson-Randolph, Vice President of Specialty and Alternative Content, AMC Theatres. “The film’s independent spirit and immense appeal to many different audiences make it a perfect fit for AMC.”
THE WAY is a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends, and the challenges we face while navigating this ever changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an irascible American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son (played by Emilio Estevez), killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking The Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. Rather than return home, Tom decides embark on the historical pilgrimage to honor his son’s desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn’t plan on, is the profound impact the journey will have on him and his “California Bubble Life”.
Academy Award nominees Bill Murray and Laura Linney star in the historical tale Hyde Park on Hudson, which began filming in the U.K. for co-producers and co-financiers Focus Features and Film4. BAFTA Award winner Roger Michell (Film4’s Venus) is directing from a screenplay by Richard Nelson. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.
Focus will release Hyde Park on Hudson in the second half of 2012. Focus holds worldwide rights – excluding U.K. free-TV rights, which are held by Film4 – to the movie. Filming is taking place in the U.K. on the Free Range Films/Daybreak Pictures production. Kevin Loader (In the Loop) and David Aukin (Endgame) are producing the feature with Mr. Michell. Focus executive vice president, European production Teresa Moneo is supervising Hyde Park on Hudson.
In June 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (played by Mr. Murray) and his wife Eleanor (Olivia Williams of Focus’ Hanna) host the King and Queen of England (Samuel West of Mr. Michell’s Persuasion and Olivia Colman of Film4’s The Iron Lady) for a weekend at the Roosevelt home at Hyde Park on Hudson, in upstate New York – the first-ever visit of a reigning English monarch to America. With Britain facing imminent war with Germany, the Royals are desperately looking to FDR for support. But international affairs must be juggled with the complexities of FDR’s domestic establishment, as wife, mother, and mistresses all conspire to make the royal weekend an unforgettable one. Seen through the eyes of Daisy (Ms. Linney), Franklin’s distant cousin, neighbor, and intimate, the weekend will produce not only a special relationship between two great nations, but, for Daisy – and through her, for us all – a deeper understanding of the mysteries of love and friendship.
The cast of Hyde Park on Hudson also includes Elizabeth Wilson (The Birds), Elizabeth Marvel (True Grit), and Eleanor Bron (Help!). Simon Bowles (Centurion) is the film’s production designer; Dinah Collin (The Ghost Writer) is the costume designer. The cinematographer is Lol Crawley (Film4’s Four Lions).
Focus Features and Focus Features International ( comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world. Visit
Dennis Farina anchors powerful character portrait made in association with Chicago’s Steppenwolf Films, founded by the creators of the Theatre Company
“Farina recalls Burt Lancaster in Atlantic City … there is an emotional payoff that feels solid and right.”- Variety
Tribeca Film announced that it has acquired all distribution rights in the US and Canada to The Last Rites of Joe May, an emotionally powerful drama centering on a hustler (Dennis Farina, Get Shorty, Midnight Run, Snatch) traveling a winding road to redemption. Joe May, written and directed by Joe Maggio and produced by Stephanie Striegel and Bill Straus in association with Chicago’s Steppenwolf Films, had its world premiere in competition at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. The title will be released in October on VOD and theatrically by Tribeca Film, which is supported by Founding Partner American Express, and brings films to consumers across a range of platforms, including nationwide VOD, theatrical, DVD, pay-TV and digital. The deal was negotiated by Nick Savva, Director of Acquisitions for Tribeca Film with Nate Bolotin of XYZ Films on behalf of the producers.
In the spirit of classic 1970’s filmmaking, Joe May is the story of a sixty-something Chicagoan named Joe May, a short-money hustler of Rolex knockoffs and bootleg DVDs. Joe returns home from a lengthy hospital stay only to find that his landlord thought he was dead and rented out his apartment to Jenny (Jamie Anne Allman, AMC’s The Killing), a single mom with a young daughter. Begrudgingly, Joe accepts Jenny’s offer to share the apartment. Joe attempts to plot his comeback scheme with help from an old contact (Gary Cole), but instead a domino effect gets everything going against him. With his health failing and resources dwindling, Joe is presented with one last shot at redemption in the eyes of a community that’s all but left him for dead. Farina’s Joe May “is designed in the classic tough-guy mold, but the veteran character-actor’s performance also serves to disassemble it,” observed indie WIRE when the film played TFF.
“I’m thrilled to have Tribeca handling the release of The Last Rites of Joe May,” said Maggio. “It’s a really personal film and Tribeca was so passionate about it, right from the beginning. I couldn’t have asked for a better fit.”
“Joe Maggio has imagined a character that resonates with subtlety and truth in addressing the realities of the final denouement of one’s life in The Last Rites of Joe May,” said Geoffrey Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises. “Dennis Farina delivers the performance of his lifetime with a realism and vulnerability that we haven’t seen before.”
Get ready to roll with Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson when FAST FIVE arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on October 4, 2011.
As well as an extended edition of the film with even more explosive action and exclusive bonus features, the Fast Five Blu-ray™ will also debut Universal’s Second Screen, an all-new app for tablets and computers that provides an innovative and interactive viewing experience.
Including Never-Before-Seen Extended Edition and Universal’s All-New Second Screen Feature Available Exclusively on Blu-ray™ On Blu-ray™ and DVD Combo Packs, DVD and Digital Download from Universal Studios Home Entertainment October 4, 2011
Spectacular street chases and pulse-pounding physical action are set against the mesmerizing beauty of Rio de Janeiro’s exotic thoroughfares in Fast Five, the most successful installment of the Fast & Furious franchise. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker lead a reunion of returning all-stars from every chapter of the phenomenally successful franchise built on speed plus action superstar Dwayne Johnson (Faster) in the all-new action caper available October 4, 2011 on Blu-ray™ and DVD Combo Packs, DVD, Digital Download and On Demand.
Available for a limited time only, the Blu-ray™ and DVD Combo Packs bring the full-throttle excitement of the ultimate Fast Five experience to the screen with perfect picture and the purest digital sound available on Blu-ray™, as well as an extended edition of the film with even more explosive action, exclusive bonus features, a DVD to enjoy in the car or on the go, and a Digital Copy of the film that can be downloaded and viewed on an array of electronic and portable devices anytime, anywhere including laptops, tablets, and smartphones as well as Internet-connected TVs and Blu-ray™ set top boxes. Debuting on the Fast Five Blu-ray™ is Universal’s Second Screen, an all-new app for tablets and computers that provides an innovative and interactive viewing experience. To preview Universal’s all-new Second Screen for Fast Five visit
Vin Diesel and Paul Walker head up an all-star reunion of the explosive Fast franchise set in sultry Rio de Janeiro. Former cop Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker, Fast & Furious, Takers) and his girlfriend Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster, Fast & Furious, “Dallas”) bust Mia’s brother Dom (Vin Diesel, Fast & Furious, The Chronicles of Riddick) out of prison, blasting across South America to elude the authorities. Finding themselves backed into a corner in Brazil, they assemble an elite team of top racers to help pull off the one last job that could mean freedom for them all. But hard-nosed federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, Faster, The Other Guys) is hot on their trail, and so is a corrupt and powerful businessman who wants them dead. When Hobbs and his strike force launch an all-out assault to capture the Torettos and their team, he can’t separate the good guys from the bad. Instead, he must rely on his instincts to corner his prey…before someone else runs them down first.
A BIRD OF THE AIR– in limited release on September 23rd!
Official Site:
A sassy parrot and a free-spirited librarian upend the well-ordered life of a solitary man.
Lyman (Jackson Hurst) is a loner, working the graveyard shift for the Courtesy Patrol. When a green parrot flies into his trailer, he becomes obsessed with finding its owner, which leads him to Fiona (Rachel Nichols). She has been eyeing Lyman from a distance and decides to help with his parrot search, whether he wants her to or not. Along with her basset hound, they set out on a quest to find the bird’s previous owners and Fiona begins to unravel the mysteries of Lyman’s past. But when Fiona joins Lyman on his nightly rounds, she witnesses a reality more intense than the romantic version she had envisioned.
Also featured are Linda Emond (Julie & Julia), Buck Henry (Grumpy Old Men), two-time Tony-winner Judith Ivey (Hurlyburly, CBS’s Designing Women), Erik Jensen, Matte Osian (ABC’s Ugly Betty, NBC’s Law & Order), Rocco Sisto (Donnie Brasco, HBO’s The Sopranos) Phyllis Somerville (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and Louis Zorich (NBC’s Mad About You). Producers are Steven Tabakin, Margaret Whitton, and Warren Spector of Tashtego Films. Filmed in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico, A Bird of the Air was shot by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Philippe Rousselot (A River Runs Through It) with costumes by Joseph G. Aulisi (The Pink Panther, Shaft) and production design by Mark Alan Duran (To Live and Die). Sabine Hoffman (The Private Lives of Pippa Lee) is editor. Music is composed by David Majzlin. Susan Jacobs is Music Supervisor.
Presented by NCM Fathom and Universal Studios Home Entertainment in more than 475 select movie theaters nationwide on August 31
Special event includes the debut of exclusive featurette showcasing the pop culture phenomenon that redefined the gangster genre
Blasting onto the silver screen with the intensity of its original release nearly 30 years ago, the pop culture phenomenon Scarface, starring Al Pacino and directed by Brian De Palma, returns to movie theaters in a one-night Fathom event on Wednesday, August 31 at 7:30 p.m. local time. Presented by NCM Fathom and Universal Studios Home Entertainment, audiences nationwide will get the opportunity to experience one of the most influential gangster classics ever made like never before — with all-new restored high-definition picture and enhanced audio. Fans who attend this special event will also get an exclusive look at a 20-minute special feature that showcases interviews with popular filmmakers and talent expressing how this epic feature redefined the gangster genre, leaving an enduring influence on cinema.
Tickets for the Scarface Special Event (
“Almost 30 years after its initial release, Scarface remains iconic and stirs passionate responses from audiences around the world,” said Dan Diamond, vice president of NCM Fathom. “Now, fans can experience Scarface like never before in theaters with spectacularly updated visual and sound quality, and never-before-seen elements in an historic, one-night event.”
Scarface is a 1983 American crime drama and masterful collaboration between acclaimed director Brian DePalma and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Oliver Stone. Produced by Martin Bregman, Academy Award® winner Al Pacino stars as Tony Montana, a Cuban immigrant who finds wealth, power and passion beyond his wildest dreams…at a price he never imagined. Scarface was nominated for three Golden Globe® Awards (including Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Score), and was named one of the Top 10 Gangster Films of All Time by the American Film Institute.
This one-night, in-theater event celebrates the first-ever Blu-rayTM release of Scarface on September 6 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Fans of Scarface will enjoy the restored high-definition picture and 7.1 audio plus see exclusive new bonus content that reveals the film’s iconic legacy as one of the greatest crime sagas of all time. For a limited time only, the Scarface Special Limited Edition Blu-rayTM comes with collectible SteelBookTM packaging, 10 exclusive art cards, a digital copy of the film and a DVD of the original 1932Scarface, making it a must-own addition to every film fan’s library. And, for the ultimate collector and cigar enthusiast, an elegantly hand-crafted Scarface-themed humidor will also be made available in an exclusive, never-before-available, limited edition.
For more information, visit or or
Alex Gibney’s CLIENT 9: THE RISE AND FALL OF ELIOT SPITZER was nominated for 3 News and Documentary Emmys!: Outstanding Investigative Journalism – Long Form; Best Documentary and Outstanding Individual Achievement In A Craft: Editing
The 32nd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards will be presented on September 26, 2011 at RoseHall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC.
This documentary feature takes an in-depth look at the rapid rise and dramatic fall of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. Nicknamed “The Sheriff of Wall Street,” when he was NY’s Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer prosecuted crimes by America’s largest financial institutions and some of the most powerful executives in the country. After his election as Governor, with the largest margin in the state’s history, many believed Spitzer was on his way to becoming the nation’s first Jewish President. Then, shockingly, Spitzer’s meteoric rise turned into a precipitous fall when the New York Times revealed that Spitzer – the paragon of rectitude – had been caught seeing prostitutes. As his powerful enemies gloated, his supporters questioned the timing of it all: as the Sheriff fell, so did the financial markets, in a cataclysm that threatened to unravel the global economy. With unique access to the escort world and well as friends, colleagues and enemies of the ex-Governor (many of whom have come forward for the first time) the film explores the hidden contours of this tale of hubris, sex, and power.

About the Author:

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago. She is the author of "Old School Adventures from Englewood--South Side of Chicago" and the proud parent of "the smart rapper"--chemist-turned-rapper, turned humanitarian...Psalm One!
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