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ENTERTAINMENT
January 24, 2014 | By Oliver Gettell
Dinesh D'Souza, the conservative author and filmmaker behind the critical documentary "2016: Obama's America," has been indicted in New York on charges he violated campaign finance laws, according to the Associated Press and other news outlets. Federal prosecutors charged D'Souza with directing $20,000 in illegal contributions to be made to Republican U.S. Senate candidate from New York Wendy Long, who lost to Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand in last year's election. D'Souza pleaded not guilty and was released on $500,000 bond Friday.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 23, 2014 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"Like Father, Like Son" is a deceptively simple title for a film of considerable emotional complexity. Its children-switched-at-birth story sounds schematic, but what we see on screen is both meaningful and deeply moving. If you are familiar with the work of writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda, none of this will come as a surprise. As one of Japan's most respected filmmakers (his earlier films include "After Life," "Nobody Knows" and "Still Walking"), there is a gentleness and delicacy of touch about his work that almost defies belief.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 18, 2014 | By Steve Appleford
Inside a small TV studio in Los Angeles, Ondi Timoner is absorbed again in the making of documentaries. She's on the phone discussing editing options for one project, then planning for the fundraising event of another. Standing nearby is director Patrick Creadon, her guest this afternoon on "B.Y.O.D. " (for "Bring Your Own Documentary"), Timoner's weekly online chat show for TheLip.tv. They have much to talk about. Timoner, 41, twice won the Grand Jury Prize for documentary feature at Sundance: for her explosive 2004 rock doc "Dig!"
ENTERTAINMENT
January 17, 2014 | By Mark Olsen
When people talk of "main street" in their coverage of the Sundance Film Festival, it's not a metaphor, as the small ski-resort town really does have a main thoroughfare that is central to much of the action. It's also the most obvious example of the tension between the growing glitz and the small-town quaintness that is part of the fabric of the event. As the film festival celebrates its 30th anniversary, these photos are a reminder of how truly intimate the event once was - and also how exciting the meetings it creates can be, bringing together critic Roger Ebert with provocateur Michael Moore, or maverick filmmakers such as John Sayles and Robert Altman.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 17, 2014 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski
Online video site Vimeo is offering budding filmmakers help in promoting their films, in exchange for the opportunity to offer the content through its on-demand service. The announcement, timed to coincide with the start of the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, seeks to support filmmakers who raised at least $10,000 to finance their projects on such crowdfunding sites as Indiegogo, Kickstarter and Seed&Spark. The New York video company will offer free one-year Vimeo Pro accounts, providing video storage and and streaming and download services, to filmmakers whose projects are ready for distribution.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 15, 2014 | By Kenneth Turan
If you like to plan a bit ahead and are in the mood for a film that is truly iconoclastic, mark Jan. 27 for a rare screening of the documentary "Red Hollywood. " As directed by Thom Andersen (who will appear in person) and Noël Burch, "Red Hollywood" takes dead aim at the conventional wisdom that says the filmmakers who were blacklisted for Communist Party affiliations were not especially talented and unable to get much political content into their work. Dealing with a wealth of obscure material by writers and directors who were either party members or sympathizers, "Red Hollywood" includes clips from more than 50 films, many of them close to unknown today.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 15, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
The teenage girl Sepideh only wants to look at the stars. A student of astronomy and worshipful devotee of Albert Einstein, she dreams of joining the young men who trek out nightly in the desert south of Tehran to gaze at constellations. But such ambitions worry Sepideh's traditionalist Iranian family members, who issue her ominous warnings -- which, of course, only further fuels her desire. “We use the sky," Sepideh says in a new Farsi-language documentary, also named “Sepideh,” that premieres Friday at the Sundance Film Festival, “to vent the frustration that society has given us.” Sundance, which kicks off its 30th edition Thursday in the mountains of Utah, is largely known for unearthing new domestic voices.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 11, 2014 | By Deborah Vankin
It might be a little early in the year to hear the phrase “…and the winners are…” But those words rung throughout BOA Steakhouse in West Hollywood on Saturday -- a happy day for a handful of fimmakers. Film Independent, which produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, held a brunch at which it announced the three winners of its Spirit Awards filmmaker grants. For “creativity, tenacity, and vision required to produce quality, independent films” amid challenging circumstances with limited resources, Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston received a $25,000 unrestricted grant for the Piaget Producers Award.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2014 | By Sheri Linden
Breaking up is hard to do - especially in the U.S., where the family courts can exacerbate the emotional ordeal by throwing highway robbery and gross miscarriage of justice into the bargain. That's the argument driving "Divorce Corp.," an advocacy documentary that presents its case with less thoroughness than clarity. If first-timer Joe Sorge's filmmaking has a boilerplate feel and an unfortunate reliance on reenactments, beneath the infomercial surface is a cry for reform fueled by keen observations about contemporary American capitalism.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2014 | By Gary Goldstein
Movies based on a filmmaker's own life story can be a slippery slope. Events may not always seem as interesting to outsiders as they were - and obviously still are - to the actual participants, while more dramatic license than what was taken is often needed to craft a stronger filmic narrative. Such is the case of "Free Ride," a family drama written and directed by Shana Betz about a period in the late-1970s when Betz's single mother became a drug runner. The result, while sincere and nicely evoked, feels choppy, familiar and, despite the script's heavily stacked deck - and a few harrowing episodes - lacks sufficient momentum.
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