Earlier today, the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) released its year-end awards. Up in the Air, the acclaimed comedy adapted from the Walter Kirn novel, received three nods, including best picture, best actor (George Clooney) and best adapted screenplay (Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner).
Other top awards: Meryl Streep took best actress honors for her turn as Julia Child in Julie & Julia, Christoph Waltz received best supporting actor for his sensational turn as a Nazi officer in Inglourious Basterds and Mo'Nique claimed best supporting actress for her role as an abusive mother in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.
Taking the Wyatt Award for best Southern film was That Evening Sun, with Hal Holbrook. Ramin Bahrani's Goodbye Solo, which was shot in North Carolina and played in the Triangle last summer, was the runner-up.
The complete press release is below. Indy freelancer Neil Morris is a member of SEFCA and participated in the voting.
And, by the way, be sure to visit the Indy Web site and vote for your favorite films of the year and the decade. The Indy's year in movies issue will be out Jan. 6.
It’s easy enough to say that Gaspard&Dancers posted the strongest opening bid of any regional dance company in recent years in their Sunday, December 6 company premiere at Reynolds Theater. In a region where dance in general and modern dance in particular has waned over this decade, there’s been precious little competition for such a superlative. Still, if a Durham audience gave their opening work, Anemone, a somewhat subdued response, by evening’s end the crowd was on its feet in support of choreographer and dancer Gaspard Louis and his new modern dance group.
And yet, for a dance critic—and, I strongly suspect, for Mr. Louis himself—such accolades seem, in retrospect, a bit beside the point: If standing ovations in Durham are better than the proverbial sharp stick in the eye, they still don’t always indicate if dance creators have truly achieved their artistic goals.
More after the jump.
In the "oh, no, not again" category of pop culture news, Kate Gosselin of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" fame was spotted by WRAL "working" for a day in a Raleigh eatery this week, probably for some new reality show.
The hush-hush location shoot is not the only North Carolina showbiz connection for the octo-mom with the Flock of Seagulls hairdo. Her recently-canceled reality series on TLC was shot for three years by Figure 8 Films in Carrboro, which created the series. (Figure 8 did not respond to repeated requests by The Independent Weekly for an interview this year, when revelations of dad Jon Gosselin's infidelity derailed the marriage, and, soon after, the series.)
UPDATE 12/4/09: Still no news of Main Street. Sundance announces out-of-competition premieres. Main Street not included. We'll have to wait for a different occasion for this film's emergence.
In the category of "the news is that there's no news...."
We looked up the Sundance competition lineup, which was announced yesterday, with the eager hope of seeing MAIN STREET, the Horton Foote-scripted drama that was filmed last summer in Durham. There are some good looking films in the competition, but no Main Street. We don’t know if it was submitted to Sundance or not, but it would be unusual for a film of this profile—with a literary pedigree, a respected, well-known cast, a modest budget and no distributor—to not be entered into Sundance.
Main Street, which stars Colin Firth, Orlando Bloom, Patricia Clarkson and Ellen Burstyn, was put out for inspection at last month's American Film Market—with a poster included—but we're not aware of anyone who's seen the film writing about it.
This year’s Sundance is under the leadership of John Cooper, after 19 years of stewardship by Geoff Gilmore. Cooper told The New York Times that he, naturally, wanted to put his own stamp on the festival.
"We really tried to hunker down and make some hard decisions," Mr. Cooper said. "We tried not to be wishy-washy about what is independent, which I know has been a criticism in the past. We weren't going to be swayed by the marketability of a film."
This seems to mean that he wants the festival's programming to be about the quality of the filmmaking, not the Q-rating of the casts (we’ll see what the sponsors say about that!).
On the documentary side (which is where the best films ALWAYS are), we see new work by filmmakers who've been fixtures at Full Frame and elsewhere in the doc world these last few years, including Laura Poitras (Flag Wars, My Country My Country and now THE OATH; Annie Sundberg & Ricki Stern (The Trials of Darryl Hunt, The Devil Came on Horseback and now JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK); Amir Bar-Lev (New Orleans Furlough, My Kid Could Paint That and now I'M PAT _______ TILLMAN); Jeffrey Blitz (Spellbound and now LUCKY) and Davis Guggenheim (The First Year, It Might Get Loud, An Inconvenient Truth and now WAITING FOR SUPERMAN).
Let's hope Full Frame can land most or all of these films next April.
And let's hope to see MAIN STREET emerge somewhere. All is not lost for Sundance, by the way: The festival has yet to announce its out-of-competition special premieres. These films tend to star-driven titles that already have distributors.