‘High Flying Bird,’ Colin Kaepernick and ‘The Revolt of the Black Athlete’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Stephen Soderbergh’s “High Flying Bird” imagines black pro athletes bypassing mostly white team owners to finally reap the profits of their own athleticism. Is it just a dream, or could Colin Kaepernick’s fight with the NFL be the start of something like the nascent revolt in the film? We talk it out on the latest “Low Key” podcast, which you can check out on Apple or right here:

On every episode of “Low Key,” co-host Keith Dennie, Aaron Lanton and me talk about aspects of pop culture we think others are missing. This week, Aaron finally gets to use his boundless sports knowledge to explain what was going on in “High Flying Bird,” and whether it could happen in real life.

Also Read: Is ‘Black Panther’ About Survivor’s Remorse? (Podcast)

The film imagines what would happen if the mostly black athletes in the NBA discovered a way to profit from their own hard work without white team owners taking a massive cut of the profits. Andre Holland plays super agent Ray Burke, who uses social media to circumvent the league and TV networks, and gives his rookie client Erick (Melvin Gregg) a potential map toward a future in which athletes, not owners, control their destinies.

If you don’t follow sports, don’t worry: Neither do Keith and me. And the movie features barely any actual basketball.

Soderbergh is almost certainly using the story of basketball players bypassing the NBA to parallel his own efforts to make great movies without the studio system. It feels very intentional that his film namechecks Netflix (which streams “High Flying Bird”) and features social-media star Gregg. The film is written by “Moonlight” writer Tarell Alvin McCraney.

Our talk soon turns into a fresh discussion of Colin Kaepernick that’s probably different than any you’ve heard before. Kaepernick settled his collusion lawsuit with the NFL last week, and we use that as a news peg to explore whether his protest against police brutality… made sense. It gets provocative and passionate.

Finally, we discuss “The Revolt of the Black Athlete,” the book Zazie Beetz’s character starts reading at the end of “High Flying Bird.” It’s written by Harry Edwards, the man ultimately behind the famous “Black Power Salute” by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

Zazie Beetz is right: You should read the book.

This week’s “Low Key” bounces not just from “High Flying Bird” to Colin Kaepernick to “The Revolt of the Black Athlete,” but also to Muhammad Ali, O.J. Simpson, and finally, what’s really going on with the Los Angeles Lakers.

All that, and we talk about how amazing the iPhone photography is on “High Flying Bird,” and shout out Sean Baker’s iPhone-shot masterpiece, “Tangerine.”

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11 Movies Shot on Smart Phones, from ‘Tangerine’ to ‘High Flying Bird’ (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Steven Soderbergh wasn’t the first filmmaker to shoot an entire movie on an iPhone, but with his latest film “High Flying Bird” he’s proved yet again that it’s totally possible to have a professional, beautiful looking mov…

12 Movies That Were Shot on an iPhone

Read on: Variety.

As each new iPhone offers increasingly complex photography capabilities, filmmakers are beginning to recognize the Apple device as a legitimate medium. From the Steven Soderbergh drama, “Unsane,” starring Claire Foy, to the Oscar-winning documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” here is a list of feature films and shorts shot either partially or entirely with iPhones. “Unsane” […]

Independent Spirit Awards: The Complete Winners List (Updating Live)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Get Out” emerged as the big winner of the 2018 Independent Spirit Awards, held Saturday on the beach in Santa Monica, Ca.

Jordan Peele’s racially charged thriller — which captivated the country and became an unlikely indie blockbuster — took Best Feature at the annual show put up by Film Independent. Peele also took Best Director.

Top acting prizes went to Frances McDormand for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and Timothee Chalamet for “Call Me by Your Name.” Best Supporting Male went to Sam Rockwell for “Three Billboards,” and Best Supporting Female went to Allison Janney of “I, Tonya.” That makes it a virtual clean sweep for the latter two actors on the eve of the Academy Awards.

Also Read: Kroll and Mulaney Roast Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK, Kevin Spacey in Spirit Awards Monologue

Greta Gerwig won Best Screenplay for her coming-of-age darling “Lady Bird,” while Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani took Best First Screenplay for their autobiographical comedy “The Big Sick.”

Notable below-the-line prizes went to Tatiana S. Riegel, who took Best Editing for
“I, Tonya.”  Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, director of photography on “Call Me by Your Name,” won Best Cinematography.

Comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney (“Big Mouth,” “Oh, Hello”) returned to host the ceremony, an annual splashy gathering of Hollywood stars and indie film luminaries willing to brave the natural lighting of  a rare daytime awards show.

Also Read: Independent Spirit Awards: In a Stormy Year, It’s Up to Jordan Peele to Keep the Streak Alive

The complete winners list:

BEST FEATURE
“Call Me by Your Name”
“The Florida Project”
“Get Out” *WINNER
“Lady Bird”
“The Rider”

BEST FIRST FEATURE
“Columbus”
“Ingrid Goes West,” Director Matt Spicer *WINNER 
“Menashe”
“Oh Lucy!”
“Patti Cake$”

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. (Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)
“Dayveon”
“A Ghost Story”
“Life and nothing more” *WINNER
“Most Beautiful Island”
“The Transfiguration”

BEST DIRECTOR
Sean Baker, “The Florida Project”
Jonas Carpignano, “A Ciambra”
Luca Guadagnino, “Call Me by Your Name”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out” *WINNER
Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, “Good Time”
Chloé Zhao, “The Rider”

BEST SCREENPLAY
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird” *WINNER
Azazel Jacobs, “The Lovers”
Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Mike White, “Beatriz at Dinner”

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Kris Avedisian, Kyle Espeleta, Jesse Wakeman, “Donald Cried”
Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani, “The Big Sick” *WINNER
Ingrid Jungermann, “Women Who Kill”
Kogonada, “Columbus”
David Branson Smith, Matt Spicer, “Ingrid Goes West”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Thimios Bakatakis, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Elisha Christian, “Columbus”
Hélène Louvart, “Beach Rats”
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, “Call Me by Your Name” *WINNER
Joshua James Richards, “The Rider”

BEST EDITING
Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie, “Good Time”
Walter Fasano, “Call Me by Your Name”
Alex O’Flinn, “The Rider”
Gregory Plotkin, “Get Out”
Tatiana S. Riegel, “I, Tonya” *WINNER

BEST FEMALE LEAD
Salma Hayek, “Beatriz at Dinner”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *WINNER
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Shinobu Terajima, “Oh Lucy!”
Regina Williams, “Life and nothing more”

BEST MALE LEAD
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name” *WINNER
Harris Dickinson, “Beach Rats”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Robert Pattinson, “Good Time”

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya” *WINNER
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Lois Smith, “Marjorie Prime”
Taliah Lennice Webster, “Good Time”

BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Nnamdi Asomugha, “Crown Heights”
Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”
Barry Keoghan, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *WINNER
Benny Safdie, “Good Time”

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast

“Mudbound”
Director: Dee Rees
Casting Directors: Billy Hopkins, Ashley Ingram
Ensemble Cast: Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Rob Morgan, Carey Mulligan

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“The Departure”
“Faces Places” *WINNER
“Last Men in Aleppo”
“Motherland”
“Quest”

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
“BPM (Beats Per Minute)”
“A Fantastic Woman” *WINNER
“I Am Not a Witch”
“Lady Macbeth”
“Loveless”

BONNIE AWARD
Chloé Zhao *WINNER

 

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Film Independent Spirit Awards Gives Out $150,000 in 2018 Filmmaker Grants

A24 Donating Some ‘Florida Project’ Proceeds To Charity Helping Families Like Those Depicted In Film

Read on: Deadline.

A24 said today it will donate 5% of proceeds from the first week of digital sales of The Florida Project to a charity that assists families that are either homeless or living in motels along Osceola County’s Highway 192 corridor, just like the ones depicted in Sean Baker’s film.
The distributor said the donation to the Community Hope Center will come from sales between today and February 5 from the film on iTunes, Amazon, Google, Xbox, Playstation, Vudu, Fandango…

‘Three Billboards’ Leads London Critics’ Awards

Read on: Variety.

It may be proving the most critically divisive of this year’s top Oscar contenders, but Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” united enough opinion to emerge victorious in this year’s London Film Critics’ Circle awards. The dark revenge comedy was named Film of the Year, in addition to two other major wins: Frances McDormand […]

That Time Willem Dafoe Found Out About His Oscar Nomination From the Babysitter

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Willem Dafoe, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “The Florida Project” on Tuesday, has been down this road before.

He was nominated in the same category for “Platoon” in 1986, and then in the Best Actor category for “Shadow of the Vampire” in 2000.

But awards season in those days was dramatically different, Dafoe told TheWrap on Tuesday. “It’s changed so much,” he said. “There are more expectations, more events – it’s more refined, more developed.”

Also Read: Oscars 2018 Analysis: Voters Send Clear Message on Diversity in Race and Gender

He laughed. “When I first got nominated for ‘Platoon,’ I didn’t even know when the Oscar nominations were being announced. My son’s babysitter called me up to tell me I was nominated.

“That’s way different from now. Last night I was so aware of the nominations that I couldn’t sleep.”

Dafoe said he knew that “The Florida Project” could be something special as soon as he started prepping for his role as the manager in a rundown motel that caters to down-on-their-luck, short-term tenants near Disney World in Florida. “It was a very good script and a very strong director who’s also a real filmmaker,” he said of director Sean Baker. “I felt like we were making contact with a very human story – it was joyous on one hand, and on the other hand it was grim because it wasn’t romanticized.”

Also Read: Oscars Nominate First Female Cinematographer: Rachel Morrison for ‘Mudbound’

His was the only Oscar recognition for “The Florida Project,” which at one point seemed to be in the running for Best Picture and Best Director nominations. Does that make the experience bittersweet for him?

“It does,” he said. “I’m happy to be nominated, but what can I say? I’m very proud of the film, and I think it really resonated with people. I just wish it would have gotten a little more love [from the Academy].”

And since he seems to be on an Oscar-nomination-every-15-years-or-so schedule, is Dafoe ready to gear up for awards season 2033?

“That’s OK with me,” said the 62-year-old actor. “I just hope I live long enough.”

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Royal Wedding Chatter at BAFTA: Hollywood-Royal Merger ‘Is Great News’ (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

About 24 hours before Golden Globe nominees would begin strolling down the carpet at the Beverly Hilton, many of the contenders gathered for British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Los Angeles’ annual Awards Season Tea Party. And one of the hottest topics at the Saturday afternoon event — the Royal Wedding.

This annual event, presented by BBC America and the Great Britain campaign, represented the first major social gathering of the Brits in Hollywood since the announcement of the Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and former “Suits” actress Meghan Markle.

“This is great news,” British Consul General Michael Howells told the room. “We are particularly excited that this is going to unite our two cities, bringing the royal highness Prince Harry of Windsor and Meghan Markle of, I believe, Pasadena together.”

Jordan Peele and BAFTA LA CEO Chantal Rickards, who stood by the door to the ballroom graciously greeting all guests. (Getty Images)

Armie Hammer, Elisabeth Chambers, Emily Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani, and James Franco at the Four Seasons enjoying BAFTA LA’s Awards Season Tea Party on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 6, 2017. (Getty Images)

Also Read: Golden Globes Weekend Party Scene: A-Listers, ‘Times Up’ T-Shirts Hit the Red Carpet (Photos)

The heavyweight division of actors: Sam Rockwell, Diane Kruger, and Joseph Fiennes. (Getty Images)

The moment of separation between winners and losers was not lost on Consul General Howells.

He owned the brief “speeches” interlude with quips (calling the U.S. the “British states”) and self-deprecatingly introducing himself as the moment nobody has been waiting for: “The speech from the Government official.”

British Consul General Michael Howell addresses the crowd. (Getty Images)

“For those of you in contention tomorrow, good luck,” Howells said, followed by timely political humor relating to Michael Wolff’s book on President Trump to put things in perspective for all of the Golden Globe losers to come.

Also Read: A Wolff in the West Wing – How ‘Fire and Fury’ Was Reported

“Regrettably, some of you must face disappointment,” he said. “I would just point you to the fact that a book has come out in the last twenty-four hours that has immediately reached the top of the best sellers lists (and reminds us that) winning isn’t everything.”

Consul General Howells, you may now come up to accept your award for “Joke of the Weekend” (so far).

“Get Out” breakout Daniley Kaluuya. (Getty Images)

Over open faced coronation chicken sandwiches, Welsh rarebi, and actual steaming tea cups, there was also fictional White House politics to gawk at.

A “West Wing” reunion popped up, as creator Aaron Sorkin huddled with Allison Janney and Bradley Whitford, who were all on the scene for different projects. Sorkin penned and directed “Molly’s Game,” Janney has gotten raves for “I, Tonya,” and Whitford stars in both “The Post” and “Get Out.”

Remember the good old days of White House drama? These three do. (Getty Images)

Also Read: Golden Globes Film Predictions: From ‘Get Out’ to ‘Lady Bird’ (Photos)

“The Florida Project” trio, including director Sean Baker (right). (Getty Images)

Beyond the glitz of royal weddings and Beverly Hills tea parties with James Franco, the afternoon also made a direct appeal to BAFTA LA’s “Access for All Campaign” that aims to “open eyes to opportunities and potential careers in our industry, on screen and off screen, regardless of background, demographics, or circumstances.”

“Insecure’s” Issa Rae (center). (Getty Images)

Carter Burwell (nominated for scoring “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Diane Warren, and Nick Jonas. (Getty Images)

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‘Florida Project’s Sean Baker Checks The Little Rascals Into Transient Motels Near Magic Kingdom: Q&A

Read on: Deadline.

Sean Baker’s The Florida Project focuses on the misadventures of latchkey kids housed in seedy motels outside the Magic Kingdom in Orlando. It continues Baker’s obsession of telling stories on groups most people ignore, from immigrants to street hustlers and transgender people, with indigenous actors playing the starring roles. From its low seven-figure budget to Baker’s use of film instead of an iPhone, The Florida Project is a decided step up for Baker. Here this New…

‘The Florida Project’ Production Designer On Tracking Down Dreamy Pastel-Colored Locations For Dark Fairy Tale

Read on: Deadline.

While The Florida Project director Sean Baker tends to keep many of his collaborators close,  there is one artist in particular who knows him better than anybody—his sister, production designer Stephonik Youth.
Growing up making films with Baker, Youth has risen through the ranks alongside her brother, finding her greatest test to date in his A24 social drama, which provided new opportunities and stressors at a new budget level. “It was a lot of letting go and a lot of…

‘The Florida Project’ Cinematographer Alexis Zabe On Gorgeously-Realized ‘Little Rascals’ For The 21st Century

Read on: Deadline.

First collaborating with celebrated indie director Sean Baker on Snowbird—a 2016 short starring Mad Max: Fury Road‘s Abbey Lee—cinematographer Alexis Zabe had no idea at the time that Baker was putting together a trial run with the artists he would bring on to his next feature.
That film was The Florida Project, a “Little Rascals of the 21st century” centered on children growing up in poverty near Walt Disney World. With The Florida Project, the idea was to keep one foot…

Director Sean Baker On Building ‘The Florida Project’ – The Contenders Video

Read on: Deadline.

There are few movies this year that leave moviegoers in tears, and you can count A24’s The Florida Project as one of them. Having been tipped about the families living in squalor in run-down Kissimmee, FL hotels by his screenwriter Chris Bergoch, filmmaker Sean Baker turned his camera on the emotional realities of the setting — specifically through the eyes of children who run freely begging for money, swimming, eating ice cream cones, and enjoying the heat of their…