Friday, April 19, 2013

Sam Milby's indie film to screen in Cannes

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) “Death March,” director Adolfo Alix Jr.’s film about one of the worst atrocities in World War II, has been included in the lineup for next month’s Cannes Film Festival -- but not as part of the main competition. “Death March,” which stars Kapamilya actors Sam Milby and Zanjoe Marudo, will instead compete in the smaller Un Certain Regard section of the eagerly awaited annual film festival, along with another Filipino film, “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” by acclaimed filmmaker Lav Diaz, and 13 other movies from around the world, organizers announced on Thursday. Although the two Filipino films won’t be competing for the prestigious Palm D’Or prize, the Un Certain Regard section is also seen as “prestigious,” according to the Los Angeles Times. In fact, the section will be opened on May 16 by director Sofia Coppola’s latest movie, “The Bling Ring,” starring Emma Watson, about real-life teenagers who broke into celebrities homes several years ago. Oscar-nominated actor James Franco’s directorial effort, “As I Lay Dying,” will also compete in this section. Presiding over the jury deciding the Un Certain Regard prize will be Danish director Thomas Vinterberg whose film "The Hunt" competed at Cannes last year. “Death March” was among the films vying for a slot in last year’s Metro Manila Film Festival but failed to make the cut. Taking inspiration from films in the 1920s, “Death March” was entirely shot in a studio against a backdrop, according to Alix, who started working on the movie last August. Apart from Milby and Marudo, "Death March" also stars Sid Lucero and Kapamilya actors Ejay Falcon and Carlo Aquino, among others. Lucero also stars in the other Philippine entry, Diaz's "Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan," which also features Angeli Bayani, Soliman Cruz and Archie Alemania. Festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux said 1,858 films were submitted and the lineup would be "full of discovery, surprises and stars" at the May 15-26 event held each year on the glamorous French Riviera. The field was narrowed to 19 films to compete for the coveted Palme d'Or award, the top prize at the world's biggest film festival which can significantly boost a picture's box office and awards potential. Films in the main competition include Roman Polanski's French-language adaptation of the play "Venus in Fur" in which he cast his wife Emmanuelle Seigner. Steven Soderbergh's HBO movie "Behind the Candelabra," starring Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his lover, and Joel and Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis," were also given slots in the main competition. As previously announced, the festival will open on May 15 with Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" starring Leonardo DiCaprio who will return to Cannes for the first time since 2007. DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby in the 3D movie of F. Scott Fitzgerald's book with Carey Mulligan playing Daisy Buchanan and Tobey Maguire as the narrator, Nick Carraway. The closing film on May 26 will be the thriller "Zulu," shot on location in South Africa by Jerome Salle and starring Orlando Bloom and Forest Whitaker. This year's jury deciding the awards in the main competition will be led by U.S. director Steven Spielberg who has won the Academy Award for Best Director twice. -- With report from Reuters

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