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October 18, 2011 | By Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times
A few days before filmmakers for the hit Fox TV series "House" were set to shoot a prison scene at a former boys correctional facility, the show's location manager, Nancy Haecker, got a phone call that made her stomach churn. Deputy State Fire Marshal Al Adams informed her that he could not clear the way for the July shoot because the vacant Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility in Whittier was overgrown and posed too much of a fire hazard. Determined not to disappoint her director, Haecker and her crew sprang into action.
March 28, 2014 | By Howard Blume
David Koff, a filmmaker and union activist whose investigation of a campus construction project profoundly changed the Los Angeles school system, has died. He was 74. He committed suicide March 6 in Hastings, N.Y., his family said. Koff was the indefatigable researcher who, in the 1990s, took on the Belmont Learning Complex, turning it into a symbol of civic dysfunction as it became the nation's most expensive high school. Outside Los Angeles, Koff was best known as a talented documentary filmmaker who took uncompromising stands.
June 27, 2013 | By Ryan Faughnder
This post has been corrected. See below for updates.  Script-writing isn't for everyone, so Inc.'s movie and TV production arm is now encouraging filmmakers to submit "concept videos" that could be developed into features. Amazon, which is in a race with more established players like Netflix to develop original content, launched Amazon Studios in 2010 and has been accepting script submissions for movies. It has received 1,400 movie scripts to date. But now, people have the option to upload a two- to 15-minute video instead.
March 21, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Although it is an unapologetic celebration of its subject's remarkable life, Showtime's new documentary about Geraldine Ferraro is rimmed with sadness. Some of this is understandable enough. Ferraro died two years ago, after battling blood cancer for more than a decade. "Geraldine Ferraro: Paving the Way," which premieres Friday, is clearly a labor of love by her daughter, filmmaker Donna Zaccaro. But more than that is the "lest we forget" tone that infuses the documentary. In 1984, former vice president and Democratic nominee Walter Mondale's decision to name then Congresswoman Ferraro as his running mate was nothing short of revolutionary.
June 8, 2013 | By Dana Ferguson
Sixteen young filmmakers took home prizes Saturday night at the 2013 Student Academy Awards at a ceremony at the Motion Picture Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Comedian and former Student Academy Award winner Bob Saget served as emcee for the evening. Writer-director Kimberly Peirce and actors Clark Gregg, Jason Schwartzman and Quvenzhané Wallis presented the awards. The academy established the awards in 1972  “to support and encourage excellence in filmmaking at the collegiate level.”  Past Student Academy Award winners include filmmakers John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Robert Zemeckis, Trey Parker and Spike Lee. Winners have gone on to receive 46 Oscar nominations and have won eight awards.  Thirteen student filmmakers from the U.S. and three international student filmmakers were named winners in the alternative, animation, documentary, narrative and foreign film categories.
January 1, 2008 | By Rachel Abramowitz, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Dan Katzir was a thirtysomething Israeli filmmaker on vacation in New York City when he was accosted by 84-year-old Zypora Spaisman on the subway. The bird-weight octogenarian had been a star and director of New York City's Folksbiene, the oldest-running Yiddish theater in America, but when she met Katzir, she was in the midst of her last show, a production of 1916's "Green Fields," for the Yiddish Public Theater, which she founded in 2000. The play was slated to close in eight days -- on New Year's Eve -- and Spaisman, desperate to prevent that from happening, was not above soliciting help from attractive young strangers on the R train.
July 4, 2010 | By Mark Olsen, Special to the Los Angeles Times
With their 2007 low-budget documentary-style horror movie "[REC]," Spanish filmmakers Paco Plaza and Jaume Balagueró harnessed the manic spirit of first-person shooter video games to find a fresh take on the blood-soaked zombie genre. But recapturing that same kind of frenzied energy for their follow-up, "[REC] 2," which opens Friday and is also currently available on video on demand, proved challenging. Audiences had seen the creatures terrorizing the inhabitants of a Barcelona apartment block in the first film, so the element of surprise was gone.
December 21, 2012 | By John Horn
In Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock," director Alfred Hitchcock begins the production of "Psycho" by having his cast and crew swear an oath not to divulge any of the film's secrets. The first day of filming of "Hitchcock" itself followed a different route, with Gervasi, who was making his narrative feature debut on the film, feeling both "wonderful" and "panic. " In this excerpt from the fourth annual Envelope Directors Roundtable, our panel of six filmmakers-- Tom Hooper ( "Les Miserables" )
December 18, 2012 | By Ken Dilanian
WASHINGTON -- There is no evidence that Mike Vickers, the Pentagon's undersecretary for intelligence, disclosed classified information when he spoke to the makers of the film "Zero Dark Thirty," the Pentagon's chief spokesman said Tuesday. “There is a pending inspector general investigation on the question of whether Mr. Vickers provided classified information in an interview with the filmmakers of 'Zero Dark Thirty,' ” Pentagon spokesman George Little said. When the Department of Defense reviewed a transcript of Vickers' conversation with the filmmakers after it was requested under the Freedom of Information Act, Little said, none of the material was deemed to be classified.
December 21, 2012 | By Steven Zeitchik
When it comes to “Zero Dark Thirty,” there's been a lot written about the CIA and torture - whether it looked in real life the way it does on screen, whether it was effective, whether it was ethical. As we've been reporting this week, John McCain and other lawmakers don't agree it went down that way . The film, they say, misrepresents how the CIA found Osama bin Laden. Filmmakers say they've created an accurate depiction. Now that the movie has opened, we thought we'd ask you what you thought of the scenes.
March 13, 2014 | By Susan King
Director Roger Michell and writer Hanif Kureishi were on a worldwide promotional tour for "Venus," the 2006 film that earned Peter O'Toole his last Oscar nomination, when the two collaborators' seemingly nonstop travel schedule hatched the concept for a new film. "We had lots of airplane flights and came up with this idea of a couple going to Paris for 48 hours as a very easy and beautiful structure," Michell said. He and Kureishi decided to take their own 48-hour trip to Paris to outline the characters and the plot.
March 7, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
American filmmakers have tried some neat formal tricks lately - think J.C. Chandor and the frantic silence of "All Is Lost" - but few have the brio Godfrey Reggio displays in his new work "Visitors. " The black-and-white film, which is just wrapping a three-week theatrical run in Los Angeles before heading to VOD this spring, continues the director's pattern of experimental documentary. Focusing on faces, largely though not strictly human, as well as assorted other images, “Visitors” is essentially a montage set to music (a Philip Glass score)
March 7, 2014 | By Meredith Blake
Robert Rodriguez helped ignite an independent film movement in the 1990s with his film "El Mariachi," shot for a mere $7,000, before moving on to blockbuster fare such as "Sin City" and the "Spy Kids" franchise. Now the restless filmmaker, 45, is trying to revolutionize the small screen with the recently launched cable network El Rey, targeted at a young, English-speaking Latino audience. It's available on Time Warner and DirecTV, among other outlets. You've had a lot of success in films.
March 6, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
Damien Chazelle's “Whiplash” was the toast of this year's Sundance Film Festival, sweeping top prizes that set it up for a potentially nifty commercial and awards run when it hits theaters later this year. Now its writer-director, first-timer Damian Chazelle, is looking to capitalize on the heat with a new project, titled “La La Land,” according to a person familiar with the project who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about it publicly. Described as a romantic musical set in L.A., the script centers on an aspiring actress and jazz musician who fall in love but see their relationship tested by the high-stress environment of the city's arts and entertainment community.
March 5, 2014 | By Julie Makinen
BEIJING - In the mid-1980s, Wu Tianming's star was on the rise. With China opening up to the world after the Cultural Revolution and Mao Tse-tung's death, he had found success as director of movies including "Life" and "The Old Well" and as the head of the Xi'an Film Studio. Under his guidance, daring and innovative filmmakers like Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige were bursting onto the international scene with pictures like "Red Sorghum" and "King of Children. " Wu was making a name for himself for his willingness to shake up an ossified state-run studio - and was raising eyebrows for calling out Communist Party bureaucrats who meddled in the arts.
March 2, 2014 | Times staff and wire services
Alain Resnais, the French filmmaker whose intellectual experiments with time, memory and imagination yielded such celebrated films as "Last Year at Marienbad," has died. He was 91. Resnais was editing drafts of his next project even from his hospital bed, his longtime producer, Jean-Louis Livi, told the Associated Press. Resnais, who died Saturday, was renowned for reinventing himself during each of his full-length films, which included the acclaimed "Hiroshima Mon Amour" in 1959 and most recently "Life of Riley," which was honored at the Berlin Film Festival just weeks ago. In France, he won two Césars, the French equivalent of the Oscars, and, in 2009, received a lifetime achievement award at the Cannes International Film Festival.
August 10, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli
The White House on Wednesday defended its decision to grant filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow and others access to top officials to discuss the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and called claims from a senior Republican lawmaker that classified information was being compromised for political ends "ridiculous. " New York Rep. Peter T. King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to officials at the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency on Tuesday expressing concern about "ongoing leaks of classified information regarding sensitive military operations.
December 18, 2012 | By Julie Makinen
The Pentagon is stepping up its rhetorical support for Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers amid media reports that he is under investigation for improperly disclosing classified information to the filmmakers of "Zero Dark Thirty," a new film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. "There is a pending inspector general investigation involving Undersecretary Vickers, and the IG will and should reach her own conclusions," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement released late Tuesday.
February 28, 2014 | By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
Though he's an award-winning director in his own right in Russia, Fedor Bondarchuk had a challenge emerging from the shadow of his famous father, the late Soviet filmmaker and actor Sergei Bondarchuk, who starred in and directed the seven-hour version of "War and Peace," which won the 1969 foreign-language Oscar. Bondarchuk, an actor and TV host, said that the Russian media are always looking for similarities between him and his father, who directed him in the 1986 film "Boris Godunov.
February 24, 2014 | By Deborah Vankin
What can we expect when the "Pope of Trash" meets the "King of Kitsch"? John Waters, iconoclastic filmmaker, actor, artist and, yes, Pope of Trash, takes the stage at downtown Los Angeles' Orpheum Theater on Monday night to interview contemporary artist Jeff Koons. "The Un-Private Collection," the art-focused lecture series organized by the Broad museum under construction in downtown Los Angeles, on Monday will stage its largest event to date: a conversation between Waters and Koons, who will discuss his work in the Broad collection.
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