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Sean Penn has made a name for himself as a director with a series of edgy features. With Into the Wild, Penn has graduated even further. Based on the wildly successful bestseller by John Krakauer, this true story follows young Christopher McCandless, a discontent college-grad who donates his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and resolves to hike to Alaska in pursuit of adventure. McCandless is played by huge-star-in-the-making Emile Hirsh, who delivers the goods. The supporting cast can be described as nothing short of stellar: Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, and Hal Holbrook. Penn spent an obsessive eight months sharpening this film from 5 hours to 2 ½, and the final product is a testament to his unwavering dedication.

Antonia is the fictional story of four young Brazilian girls and their struggle to overcome the oppression of their society through music. The girls form their own hip-hop group, and the film follows their story through the grimy streets of Sao Paulo to their rise in a business dominated by males. The film has already won awards at several film festivals, and it also carries the prestigious stamp of approval from Fernando Meirelles, the director of City of God, who acts as a producer on the film. Antonia opens September 21 in New York and Los Angeles.


John Sayles and his producer (and wife, and actress) Maggie Renzie decided that the Conversation With them at the IFP Conference would be called "So, You've Got Four Weeks." They got a whole five weeks to shoot their new film Honeydripper ( clips of which have been appearing on this blog for months). Starting with a lesson on scheduling, the pair laid out how they've been able to keep going for almost thirty years making movies on the cheap; "carving sculptures out of gravel," as Renzie put it. They remember showing up at the IFP Market twenty-seven years ago with The Return of the Secaucus 7 and hoping someone would tell them what to do next.


Having listened to several panels yesterday, I decided to start my day viewing some WIP (works-in-progress) documentaries in the viewing library and am hoping to catch some more screenings at the Angelika, as well. Today's focus at the market is international in scope with the thought that forming co-productions to finance, produce and distribute your film might benefit you greatly in all kinds of ways.



I left Toronto Thursday for a gig in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, I planned that last day around a mid-day screening of Claude Chabrol 's uber-bourgeois A Girl Cut in Two . In this geriatric male fantasy, young ,weak-willed weathergirl Ludivine Sagnier services both her lovers: a much older celebrity novelist and a handsome sociopathic heir cum mama's boy. For the former, she also dons submissive fantasy outfits. Benoit Magimel as the junior dandy borrows way too freely from Robert Walker 's murder swapper in Hitchcock 's Strangers on a Train , then shamelessly chews the scenery. The portrayal is as overdone as the film itself, and Chabrol is responsible.


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For those of you who haven’t been able to check out the FILMMAKER CONFERENCE going on this week, IFP has been uploading video interviews with some of the panelists to the IFP MYSPACE PAGE.

They’ve got interviews with JOHN SAYLES and MAGGIE RENZI, producers GILL HOLLAND and PETER SARAF, and everyone from Sunday’s MUSIC MAKES THE MOVIE PANEL, including MOBY, TOM DiCILLO and music supervisor TRACY McKNIGHT. They’ll be uploading more videos throughout the week, so keep checking back!

To see the Conference panel lineup for Thursday and Friday, go to


Jeff Garlin may be best known as Larry David’s right hand man on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm , but there’s more to this Second City alum than his deadpan humor. Along with doing stand up and developing new TV shows when Curb isn’t taping, he’s also been trying to get his feature films made. His first is I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With , which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews and then suddenly lost its momentum and collected dust for over a year until finding distribution through IFC Film’s First Take banner and The Weinstein Company. The film begins its limited run this week.

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