Aubrey Plaza, Jamie Lee Curtis and Danielle Deadwyler Join Presenters at Film Independent Spirit Awards – Film News in Brief

Aubrey Plaza, Danielle Deadwyler and Jamie Lee Curtis are among the final group of presenters announced for this year’s Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Other newly-revealed presenters include Adam Brody, Daniel Dae Kim, Jeremy Pope, Jodie Turner-Smith, Joel Kim Booster, Kevin Bacon, Lily Tomlin, Molly Shannon, Nicholas Braun, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Simona Tabasco, Stephanie Hsu, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and W. Kamau Bell. Newcomers to the lineup will join host Hasan Minhaj on-stage along with previously announced presenters such as Austin Butler, Beatrice Grannò and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez.

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The 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards will be held March 4 at 2 p.m. PT on the Santa Monica beach. The ceremony will be streamed live on IMDb’s YouTube channel and Film Independent’s Youtube and Twitter accounts.

Sony Dates Jeymes Samuel’s “The Book of Clarence”

“The Harder They Fall” filmmaker Jeymes Samuel’s latest film “The Book of Clarence,” starring Lakeith Stanfield, has a release date. Sony announced Thursday that the Legendary Pictures film will hit theaters on September 22, 2023.

Stanfield stars in the film, which is inspired by classic Hollywood epics set in biblical times, playing Clarence, a “down on his luck denizen of Jerusalem embarking on a misguided attempt to capitalize on the rise of celebrity and influence of the Messiah for his own personal gain.” According to its official description, the film follows Clarence along “a journey that leads him on an exploration of the idea of faith and to a highly unexpected path of his own.”

Acting opposite Stanfield is a massive all-star ensemble, including Omar Sy, RJ Cyler, BAFTA-winner and Oscar-nominee Benedict Cumberbatch, BAFTA-winner James McAvoy, Anna Diop, Teyana Taylor, BAFTA-nominee David Oyelowo, Oscar and BAFTA-nominee Alfre Woodard and Oscar-nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste. The film also features Caleb McLaughlin, Babs Olusanmokun, Eric Kofi-Abrefa, Nicholas Pinnock, BAFTA-winner Micheal Ward, Chase Dillon, Tom Glynn-Carney and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor.

“The Book of Clarence” is produced by BAFTA-winner Samuels, James Lassite, Tendo Nagenda and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. Garrett Grant is serving as executive producer.

ColorCreative Announces Find Your People Program to Support Diverse Creators

Management and production company ColorCreative announced its Find Your People program with partners American Express, Canva, Pop Culture Collaborative and United Talent Agency (UTA). The event follows ColorCreative’s networking event the Find Your People Party, which launched in 2020.

“ColorCreative’s goal is to support historically underrepresented creators because they are our future,” said ColorCreative president Talitha Watkins in a statement. “The Find Your People Program furthers our legacy as we establish the next generation of creators who will tell impactful stories that represent their communities.”

The program provides up-and-coming filmmakers with resources, mentorship and training along with the help of skilled professionals. The program focuses on seven disciplines including writing, directing, producing, cinematography, editing, production design and costume design. The programs will cater to each discipline with industry-specific training and form a production team, and the participants will pitch to a committee for short film funding. In collaboration with the program’s partners, participants will also receive mentorship from execs at UTA, a CanvaPro subscription, design workshops and business consultation services with American Express.

Applications for the Find Your People program are open until March 28, with the program beginning in spring.

Cartoni Acquires Ste-Man Inc/Manios Digital & Film

Rome-based designer and camera support product manufacturer Cartona has acquired North Hollywood-based camera equipment supplier Ste-Man Inc/Manios Digital & Film. The acquisition allows Cartoni to personally serve its United States client base after Manios has repped Cartoni products in the U.S. since 1989.

“In acquiring our US distributor, we will be more directly involved with our number one market and improve our response to the industry’s evolving needs,” said Elisabetta Cartoni, Cartoni president and CEO in a statement. “The close cooperation we’ve had with Steve Manios, and his great team will continue for many more years. This merger will also allow us to further expand and better serve the rest of the Americas with a dedicated warehouse and service center.”

With the acquisition, Steve Manios will become the VP of sales and marketing, with other senior staff members continuing their current positions. “This is the natural step in a wonderful relationship spanning more than three decades,” Manios said. “I’m looking forward to working closely with the Cartoni team in Italy and growing markets for their unique products.”

Hayao Miyazaki’s Full Film Catalog to Screen at Studio Ghibli Fest

All 10 of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated features will return to U.S. theaters in 2023 with the continuation of Studio Ghibli Fest, hosted by GKIDS and Fathom Events.

The programming slate includes the first-ever North American screening of “Spirited Away: Live On Stage,” which features two performances of the Miyazaki-inspired stage production. Beloved classics like “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service” will also have brief theatrical runs.

This year holds significant anniversary milestones for the films “My Neighbor Totoro,” “The Wind Rises” and “Ponyo.” “My Neighbor Totoro” is celebrating its 35th anniversary, while “The Wind Rises” and “Ponyo” are passing the 10-year and 15-year marks, respectively.

“We’re excited to partner with GKIDS and honor Hayao Miyazaki this year by bringing his collective body of work to the big screen,” said Fathom Events CEO Ray Nutt. “He has always been a leader, visionary and inspiration to fans and critics alike.”

Japanese and English dubbed versions of each of the films will be available for viewing. Attendees will get an exclusive look at never-before-seen content from the docuseries “10 Years With Hayao Miyazaki.”

Tickets can be purchased at, or participating box offices. The full 2023 Studio Ghibli Fest schedule can be found here.

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Producers to be Honored with ICG Publicists Awards

“Top Gun: Maverick” producer Jerry Bruckheimer is due to accept the Motion Picture Showpersons Award on behalf of fellow producers Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie and David Ellison at this year’s ICG Publicists Awards. Danny Ramirez, who stars in the film as Lt. Mickey “Fanboy” Garcia, will present the honor.

The “Top Gun” sequel grossed over $1.4 billion worldwide and is currently up for six Academy Awards, including best picture and adapted screenplay.

Reflecting on the milestone, ICG National President Baird Steptoe says: “The producers of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ have brought together an incredible team to create a legendary blockbuster. The film is credited with saving cinema, having brought movie-loving audiences back to the theaters post-Covid. From conception to production, through multiple pandemic delays, to a record-breaking award-winning theatrical release, the Maverick journey has been a feat of spectacular showmanship.”

The Motion Picture Showperson of the Year Award annually recognizes individual filmmakers and companies who demonstrate showmanship from development to distribution. Past recipients include Denzel Washington, James Cameron, Frank Marshall and more.

The 60th annual awards luncheon will be held Mar. 10 at The Beverly Hilton.

Sonoma Film Festival Lineup Includes Paul Mescal Musical ‘Carmen’

Director Benjamin Millepied’s “Carmen,” a feature starring Paul Mescal, will have its West Coast premiere March 25 at the 2023 Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF).

Another debut set to take place during the five-day festival is the world premiere of “Jules,” with director Marc Turtletaub and star Ben Kingsley planning to make an appearance for the occasion. The screening will kick off the opening night of the festival on March 22.

Capping off the event are closing night films “The Eight Mountains,” which received a grand jury prize after its Cannes premiere, and Stephen Williams’ “Chevalier.”

This year’s lineup features 110 films representative of 32 countries. In total, 38 narrative features, 20 documentary features and 52 short films were selected by the festival curators.

“For my first edition at the Sonoma International Film Festival, with a new curatorial team in place, we aimed to find films from around the world that excite us and that we love,” said Carl Spence, SIFF’s new artistic director. “In our search, we found both the awe-inspiring and sublime, as well as entertaining box office hits from other countries; including eight extraordinary films that also happen to be making their premieres in Sonoma.”

Academy members confirmed to attend the festival include Christine Vachon, John Cooper, Laura Kim, Marcus Hu, Fred Tsui and Steven Raphael. More guests will be announced in the coming month.

Outside of film programming, SIFF 2023 will host two culinary events with chefs Martin Yan and Joanne Weir, along with two panels for filmmakers and attendees alike. A conversation with industry guests titled “Film Veterans Tell All” is scheduled for March 24, while “A Conversation About Food and Cinema” with culinary filmmakers will be held March 25.

The 2023 Sonoma International Film Festival will be held in the heart of Sonoma from March 22-26.

Poppy Jasper International Film Festival Reveals Upcoming Lineup

The Poppy Jasper International Film Festival (PJIFF) has announced the lineup for the 2023 festival, which is set to run from April 12-19.

The upcoming festival will include feature films, documentaries and short films from around the globe, including Brazil, Iran, Germany, Mexico and the U.K. The selected feature films that have been announced include “Antarctica,” “Bolan’s Shoes” and “Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game,” while the announced documentaries include “The Creative High,” “Roots of Fire” and “Jack Has a Plan.” The selected international shorts include “The Outing” from the U.K.; two animated shorts from Iran, “Fobi” and “The Sprayer”; as well as the short “Chipper.”

‘Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie’ Moves Debut to September

Paramount Pictures has announced that the “Paw Patrol” sequel, “Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie,” will now premiere on Sept. 29. It was originally scheduled for Oct. 13.

Directed by Cal Brunker, “Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie” stars Taraji P. Henson, Kristen Bell, Christian Convery, McKenna Grace, Brice Gonzalez, Lil Rel Howery, Alan Kim, Finn Lee-Epp, James Marsden, Serena Williams, Kim Kardashian, Marsai Martin, Ron Pardo, Callum Shoniker, Luxton Handspiker, Christian Corrao, Nylan Parthipan, North West and Saint West.

The film is produced by Spin Master Entertainment, Nickelodeon Movies, Paramount Pictures, Jennifer Dodge, Laura Clunie and Toni Stevens. Bob Barlen serves as associate producer, with Ronnen Harary, Adam Beder and Peter Schlessel as executive producers.

The New York Film Critics Circle Announces Date for 2024 Gala Awards

The New York Film Critics Circle has announced its annual Gala Awards dinner will be held at TAO Downtown on Jan. 3, 2024. The upcoming ceremony will return with Matt Singer as NYFCC chairperson and Stephen Garrett as general manager.

The previous ceremony included presenters Stephen Colbert, Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan, Jordan Peele, Kerry Condon as well as winners Cate Blanchett, Ke Huy Quan and Keke Palmer.

The NYFCC and member Keith Uhlich will continue awarding cash prizes and gala tickets to graduate and undergraduate students pursuing film criticism and journalism from schools in the surrounding New York metropolitan area.

Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s Latest Project Examines the History of the Academy Awards

Inspired by the 2015 #OscarsSoWhite movement, the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Dr. Stacy L. Smith and Adobe, have conducted their latest research project for “The Inclusion List” initiative.

The latest research initiative examines inclusion across the full history of the Academy Awards and provides an overall view of previous nominees and winners. The latest project traces how many women and people of color were nominated in the 19 categories from the initial ceremony, in 1929, to the present-day 95th ceremony.

Following the research initiative, the site has provided overall findings in which women and people of color were not nominated — including, 17% of all Academy Award nominees from 1929 to 2023 were women, 6% were people of color, less than 2% of nominees were women of color, 16% of all Academy Award winners were women, 6% were people of color, and a mere 2% were women of color.

The team also narrowed its focus to the eight years before and eight years following the 2015 #OscarsSoWhite movement, identifying that 8% of nominees were from an underrepresented racial/ethnic group between 2008 and 2015, but between 2016 and 2023, the number increased to 17%, and during the same time frame, the percentage increased from 21% to 27% for female nominees.

In addition to providing research for the public, the project has also arranged for public users to vote for who they think should win at the 2023 ceremony, ahead of its March 12 telecast.

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