Lee Daniels' The Butler

A Breakout Year for Black Films
The last five months of 2013 will see a flurry of films from black directors across many genres. At least 10 new films will be released in the fall including several awards contenders. The news comes as some had criticized American distributors for a lack of African American stories. Among the titles are Lee Daniels' The Butler, David E. Talbert's Baggage Claim, Kasi Lemmons' Black Nativity, Sundance winner Fruitvale Station by Ryan Coogler and Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas. The New York Times reports on what's behind the renaissance.

Penélope Cruz Takes on James Bond
The Oscar-winner will play a Bond girl in Sam Mendes' follow-up to last year's Skyfall. Her husband, Javier Bardem, played the villain in Skyfall. She is expected to film her scenes next summer, suggesting the 24th official Bond pic will hit cinemas in late 2014 or early 2015. Cruz, who turns 40 next summer, will be the oldest Bond girl ever. Skyfall made $1.1 billion, the most successful Bond film to date, The Guardian reports.

Richard Shepard's Dom Hemingway Heads to Theaters
Jude Law stars in the black comedy crime tale as the title character, a larger-than-life safecracker with a loose fuse who is funny, profane, and dangerous. After 12 years in prison, he sets off with his partner in crime Dickie (Richard E. Grant) looking to collect what he's owed for keeping his mouth shut and protecting his boss Mr. Fontaine (Demian Bichir). After a near death experience, Dom tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Emilia Clarke), but is soon drawn back into the only world he knows, looking to settle the ultimate debt. Fox Searchlight, which acquired North American rights for the film (in addition to other territories) will open Dom Hemingway next year.

Stony Brook Film Festival Unveils Lineup
The world premiere of A New York Heartbeat is among the titles screening at the upcoming Stony Brook Film Festival in Long Island, NY. The film centers on gangsters in 1950s Brooklyn, which is among the festival's 33 films. Others include TWA Flight 800, Kristina Borjesson's investigation of the 1996 place crash. International films include Ate de Jong's The Blitz and Hiam Abbass Inheritance. Stony Brook takes place July 18 – 27, Variety reports.

The Broken Circle Breakdown Heads to Theaters
Felix van Groeningen’s bluegrass-infused drama The Broken Circle Breakdown revolves around Elise and Didier, who fall in love at first sight. She has her own tattoo shop and he plays the banjo in a bluegrass band. They bond over their shared enthusiasm for American music and culture, and dive headfirst into a sweeping romance that plays out on and off stage—but when an unexpected tragedy hits their new family, everything they know and love is tested. The film won Best Screenplay and Veerle Baetens won Best Actress at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. It also won the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. Tribeca Film, which acquired rights to the film, will open the feature later this year.