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French Filmmaker Agnès Varda To Receive WGA West’s 2019 Jean Renoir Award

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Influential French filmmaker Agnès Varda, whose innovative, unconventional films La Pointe Courte, Cleo from 5 to 7, and Le Bonheur helped define France’s New Wave cinema, has been named the recipient of the Writers Guild of America West’s 2019 Jean Renoir Award for International Screenwriting Achievement, which recognizes an international writer who has advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of screenwriter.

 

Varda will be honored at the WGAW’s 2019 Writers Guild Awards L.A. show on Sunday, February 17.

“The Jean Renoir Award was made for Agnès Varda. She is one of our industry’s pioneers, a revolutionary artist who paved the roads of filmmaking. Her films are relentlessly curious, complex and challenging, and her body of work continues to influence modern filmmakers and resonate with modern audiences. The Board of Directors is thrilled to give her this honor,” said WGAW President David A. Goodman.

Varda’s prolific, groundbreaking body of work has been defined by a documentary realism, a feminist sensibility, and a focus on social commentary, all charged by her own signature experimental style, including her then-innovative use of on-location shooting, non-professional actors, and other techniques.

Born in 1928 in Belgium, Varda changed her named from Arlette to Agnès at age 18. She initially studied art history before making the transition to photography. After embarking on a career as a photographer, shooting typical subjects such as families and weddings, she soon emerged as one of the leading voices of Left Bank cinema and the French New Wave, or Nouvelle Vague, while maintaining a life-long, symbiotic interrelationship between photo and cinematic forms. As she once remarked, “I take photographs or I make films, or I put the films in the photos, or photos in the films,” as one medium informed the other and vice versa.

After Jean Vilar hired her as the official photographer of France’s Théâtre National Populaire, where she worked for a decade from 1951-61, she traveled throughout Europe earning a reputation as an in-demand photo-journalist with a sharp eye.

In fact, her early photography would inspire her subsequent narrative films and documentaries she wrote and directed, beginning with her seminal debut, 1955’s La Pointe Courte. Without filmmaking experience or even attending film school, Varda prepped her creative vision by photographing every element that she intended to film, carefully framed photos which served as models for shots in the film in terms of content and composition, tone and meaning. Describing her filmmaking style as cinécriture (i.e., cinematic writing or writing on film), Varda wielded her camera like a pen, as her newly created term merged “cinema” and “writing” in French.

While the French New Wave was divided into two subgroups – the Cahiers du Cinema and Left Bank cinema – due to her literary influences and because her work predates the movement, Varda’s films belong to Rive Gauche (Left Bank) cinema, viewed as the more experimental of the two schools. Varda and other Left Bank filmmakers developed a style of filmmaking that integrated documentary techniques with the avant-garde, often collaborating with each other.

Her first film, 1955’s La Pointe Courte, intertwining two stories – one macro, with sequences focusing on daily life in a small French fishing village, and the other micro, centering on couple working through their relationship – is widely considered the first film of the Nouvelle Vague movement, and one of the many she would create that focused on ordinary people, their issues, their lives, their faces. Fellow French filmmaker Francois Truffaut hailed it as “an experimental work, ambitious, honest, and intelligent.”

After La Pointe Courte, she shot a series of documentary shorts before following-up with her next feature film, 1962’s Cleo from 5 to 7, once again employing a mix of documentary and narrative techniques, this time tracking a popular singer during two real-time hours as she waits for the results of a recent biopsy. Rejecting the typical objectification of women seen in most movies of the era, Varda imbues Cleo with her own singular vision, unable to be constructed through the gaze of others around her. This challenging film was followed by 1965’s slightly more traditionally structured drama Le Bonheur, which lyrically depicts ordinary life as simultaneously mundane and poetic, and subsequently 1966’s The Creatures.

While living and working in Paris, Varda met her husband, French director-screenwriter Jacques Demy, known for his own sumptuous musicals The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort. The couple married in 1960 and remained together until Demy’s untimely death in 1990 at age 59.

Varda has been considered a feminist filmmaker due to her frequent inclusion of female protagonists, as well as her development of a distinct female cinematic voice – as French film critic Delphine Benezet calls Varda “au feminin singulier,” a woman of singularity and of the utmost importance in film history, all the while embracing her own femininity on her own terms. In 1975 she founded her own production company, Cine-Tamaris.

In 1984, Varda delivered one of her mid-career masterpieces, the bleak, uncompromising Vagabond, a docu-style drama exploring the mysterious, if inevitable death of a young female drifter. Employing non-linear techniques, interviews and flashbacks, the film is divided into 47 episodes, each told from a different person’s point of view, and earned her the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion.

Shortly after her husband’s death, Varda created the film Jacquot de Nantes (1991), a loving tribute to her late husband which recreates his early life – a portrait of the artist as a young man, if you will – incorporating documentary elements by including poignant footage of the real-life dying Demy. In 1995, she also created another tribute to her late husband, The World of Jacques Demy.

Notable for its decidedly fragmentary, free-form approach, 2000’s The Gleaners and I is a documentary chronicling all types of “gleaners,” whether harvesters who live in the French countryside or artists who scour the dumpsters in Paris to create art utilizing recycled materials.

In 2009, Varda created her own kind of cinematic memoir with the acclaimed documentary feature, The Beaches Agnès, which explores her colorful past via memories, photographs, film clips, reenactments, home movies, contemporary interviews, and her own commentary as she narrates the story of her life, or at least how she remembers it. The masterful, layered film earned her a Cesar Award, France’s national film award.

Most recently, Varda co-directed the acclaimed documentary, Faces Places (2017), with artist JR, traveling through rural France and creating portraits of those people they come across along the way. The film earned the pair a 2018 Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature, making Varda the oldest person ever to be nominated for a competitive Oscar (only a few days older than fellow Oscar nominee, Call Me By Your Name screenwriter James  Ivory), as well as garnered France’s Lumiere Award.

Beyond her numerous, acclaimed documentary short films she continued to create throughout her career, Varda’s additional notable films include 1976’s Daguerréotypes, featuring portraits of locals who occupy the small shops along Paris’ Rue Daguerre, where the filmmaker lived for many years, 1977’s One Sings, the Other Doesn’t, involving the intertwined lives of two women in 1970’s France set against the progress of the women’s movement, a key personal interest to Varda, 1981’s Documenteur, 1988’s Le petit amour (starring Jane Birkin, Varda’s son Mathieu Demy, and Charlotte Gainsbourg) and its thematic companion piece, Jane B. for Agnès B., an “imagined biopic” of singer-actress and fashion icon Birkin, 1995’s cinema-centric comedy One Hundred and One Nights, and 2004’s Cinevardaphoto, a triptych of short films exploring the power and vitality of the photograph. On the small screen, 2011’s Agnès Varda: From Here to There is an absorbing, five-part doc miniseries which chronicles the filmmaker’s travels around the world, meeting friends, artists, and filmmakers along the way to create an expansive view of the global contemporary art scene.

Even at age 90, Varda is not yet done creating: her upcoming documentary film, Varda to Agnès, selected to premiere at the Berlinale Festival and due out later in 2019, explores her experience as writer-director, illuminating personal insight into her form of “cine-writing,” as she travels from Paris to Los Angeles to Beijing.

In spite of her rather unorthodox style, or more likely because of it, Varda has earned numerous accolades over the course of her decades-long career: In 2001, she received an honorary César Award. In 2002, she received the French Academy’s René Clair Award. In 2007, she was appointed a Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit of France – and later promoted to Grand Cross in 2013. In 2009, she was made Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur – and was promoted to Grand Officer in 2017. In 2013, she received a FIFA Award for her work in film preservation and restoration. In 2014, she received the European Film Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award – and in 2015, she was the first woman to receive an honorary Palme d’or (Golden Palm), the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2017, Varda received an Academy Honorary Award for her contributions to cinema, making her the first female filmmaker to receive AMPAS’ special award.

In 2003, Varda launched her third career as a visual artist. Her installations have been shown at the Venice Art Biennale and Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art, SMAK in Ghent, Art 41 Basel, the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paul Valéry Museum in Sète, CAFA in Beijing, and Nathalie Obadia Gallery in Paris. In 2013, LACMA hosted Varda’s first U.S. art exhibition, entitled Agnès Varda in Californialand, featuring sculptural installations, photos, and short films, all inspired by the time she spent in Los Angeles during the ’60s, as well as the Blum & Poe gallery in 2017 in New York.

Varda has two children: a daughter, Rosalie Varda-Demy, who manages the family company and produced Faces Places, and a son, actor-writer-director Mathieu Demy (Americano), who has appeared in several of his mother’s films.

Named after the influential French filmmaker, the WGAW’s Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement honors international screenwriters working outside the U.S. and in other languages. Previous Jean Renoir Award honorees include Italian screenwriters Suso D’Amico (2009) and Tonino Guerra (2011), Japanese filmmakers Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, Ryûzô Kikushima, and Hideo Oguni (2013), Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar (2015), and Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (2017).

Photo credit: ciné-tamaris

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The HISTORY Channel’s “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch” To Make Panel Debut at San Diego Comic-Con

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“The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch,” a hit nonfiction series on the HISTORY Channel, is making its debut at San Diego Comic-Con with an exclusive panel. The panel will feature aerospace engineer, astrophysicist, and lead scientist Dr. Travis Taylor; Defense Intelligence Senior Executive (Retired) Jay Stratton; and others. The series follows current ranch owner Brandon Fugal and an accredited team of scientists, researchers, and experts as they conduct carefully curated scientific experiments, daring drilling and drone exercises, and more to uncover what’s taking place on the anomalous 512-acre hotspot of high strangeness and UAP-related activity. New episodes currently air on Tuesdays at 9/8c, with the two-hour season five finale airing on Tuesday, July 23 at 9/8c.

HISTORY’s “THE SECRET OF SKINWALKER RANCH” PANEL – Thursday, July 25 from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Hilton San Diego Bayfront (Indigo Ballroom)

Can You Keep A Secret? Unveiling the Secrets of Skinwalker Ranch – Ever seen a UAP? Or witnessed something strange and unusual that you couldn’t explain? Join the experts from The HISTORY® Channel’s hit series The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch, including astrophysicist and lead scientist Dr. Travis Taylor and others, for a dynamic panel discussing the motivations, inclinations and secret findings currently taking place at one of the most infamous UAP and paranormal hotspots to ever exist. The moderator will be Matt Zoller Seitz (New York Magazine/Vulture). Cast subject to change.

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ADULT SWIM TO HOST FOUR-DAY “PIRATE PARRRTY” AT SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON 2024 ALONGSIDE EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEKS, SERIES PANELS AND LAUNCH OF THE “RICK AND MORTY: THE ANIME” ANIME-RICAN TOUR

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Adult Swim, the global leader in adult animation, unveiled plans today for San Diego Comic-Con which includes an ongoing Pirate-themed fan “parrrty” featuring a series of special evening events, exclusive panels diving into key Adult Swim programs, and the kick-off of a cross-country mobile tour to celebrate “Rick and Morty: The Anime.”

“For reasons too long to get into, we at Adult Swim have always used a pirate ship (and, owls, but maybe we’ll do that at a later con) as a metaphor for how we operate,” said Michael Ouweleen, president, Adult Swim. “We thought since we like to think of us, fans and network, as all one thing, that we should bring the pirate ship to the harbor of San Diego this year and let everyone join us on the – erm – poop deck.”

ADULT SWIM PIRATE PARRRTY

Adult Swim will crash onto the shores of San Diego with a shipwreck adventure on the network’s Adult Swim on the Green space outside the San Diego Convention Center (5th Avenue Landing and Convention Way). The “Adult Swim Pirate Parrrty” will include custom games, exclusive first looks, giveaways, and evening entertainment including DJ laser sets – no badge required!

The space will also host a series of special evening events including:

  • AEW x Adult Swim “Battle for the Booty” Wrestling Tournament – Join a collection of AEW wrestlers who will face off in a tag team tournament against famous Adult Swim faces for a no-holds-barred event as each competitor vies for the chance to win the “Battle for the Booty” title. Thursday (7/25) at 7:30pm
  • Adult Swim’s Night of New – Comic-Con attendees will be the first to experience a collection of brand-new Adult Swim series at this special screening event featuring the full-length premiere episodes of “Common Side Effects,” “Rick and Morty: The Anime,” “Invincible Fight Girl,” and “Women Wearing Shoulder Pads” alongside more never-before-seen Adult Swim content.  The screening will also be livestreamed in real-time on Adult Swim’s YouTube Channel. Don’t miss your chance! Friday (7/26) at 7:30pm
  • Fun with Zach and Michael – Fresh off the finale of the hit series’ second season, join “SMILING FRIENDS” co-creators Michael Cusack and Zach Hadel for a special live-draw and fan Q&A event. Saturday (7/27) at 7:30pm

The first 1,000 attendees to join the “Adult Swim Pirate Parrrty” at 1pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday will receive an exclusive giveaway! For more details on the “Adult Swim Pirate Parrrty” visit here.

RICKMOBILE TOUR KICK-OFF

This summer marks the return of the famed Rickmobile and Mortymobile for Adult Swim’s “Anime-rican” tour in support of the new series “Rick and Morty: The Anime,” and San Diego Comic-Con is its first stop! Fans attending the “Adult Swim Pirate Parrrty” will have a chance for a photo-op with the Mortymobile, while the Rickmobile will roam San Diego’s Gaslamp District with special giveaways. After Comic-Con, both the Rickmobile and the Mortymobile will cross the country for a nine-city tour that will conclude in Adult Swim’s hometown of Atlanta.

PANEL EVENTS

The fun continues inside with a series of can’t-miss panels featuring advanced looks, breaking news and insightful discussion from series creators and voice talent:

  • Adult Swim’s “Common Side Effects” Series First Look – Come experience the side effects of an incredible panel discussion about Adult Swim’s highly anticipated new series.  “Common Side Effects.”  From executive producers Mike Judge and Greg Daniels, and creators Joe Bennett and Steve Hely, this comedic thriller follows two former high school lab partners who take on big pharma and government agencies as they try to bring a medicine that cures everything to the whole world. Co-creator Steve Hely and writer/director Sean Buckelew will join the series voice cast including Martha KellyEmily PendergastJoseph Lee Anderson and Dave King to discuss the new series. Friday (7/26) at 11am, Indigo Ballroom
  • Adult Swim’s “Rick And Morty: The Anime” Series First Look – Go further into the multiverse of Rick and Morty with the new series “Rick and Morty: The Anime” as it lands at San Diego Comic-Con.  Writer/director Takashi Sano, producers Joseph Chou and Takenari Maeda, and Adult Swim’s head of action and anime Jason DeMarco will share details about the intergalactic adventure and show you the inner workings of the new series on Adult Swim. Friday (7/26) at 12pm, Indigo Ballroom
  • “My Adventures with Superman” Screening Presentation and Panel – Join executive producers Jake WyattJosie CampbellBrendan Clogher, and voice cast members Jack QuaidAlice LeeIshmel Sahid, and Kiana Madeira as they answer your burning questions from season two. Plus get the early scoop on all the action, comedy, and romance that awaits Clark, Lois, and Jimmy in season three. Airing on Adult Swim, “My Adventures with Superman” is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Saturday (7/27) at 10am, Indigo Ballroom 
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BMI AND WHITE BEAR PR PRESENT“THE CHARACTER OF MUSIC: THE ART OF SCORING FOR ANIMATION” AT COMIC-CON 2024

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BMI® and White Bear PR are excited to present “The Character of Music: The Art of Scoring for Animation,” at Comic-Con 2024. The panelists include BMI composers Sherri Chung, Deana Kiner, Kevin Kiner, Sean Kiner, Joy Ngiaw, along with composers The Newton Brothers and songwriter Alex Seaver. The panel will be moderated by White Bear PR’s Chandler Poling and introduced by BMI’s Director, Film, TV & Visual Media, Louie Stephens.

Step into the mesmerizing world where sound meets artistry at this year’s “The Character of Music: The Art of Scoring for Animation” panel. Discover how composers work hand in hand with animators and directors to weave a seamless tapestry of sound and imagery. The panelists include Deana, Kevin and Sean Kiner (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Star Wars: Rebels), Sherri Chung (Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, Based On A True Story), Joy Ngiaw (Blush, Barbie Mysteries), The Newton Brothers (X-MEN ’97), and songwriter Alex Seaver aka MAKO (Arcane: League of Legends). 

WHERE: 
San Diego Convention Center Room 6BCF
111 W. Harbor Dr.
San Diego, CA 92101 

WHEN: 
Sunday, July 28, 2024 

TIME:

2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. PST

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