William Friedkin (far right) with Gina Gershon, Matthew McConaughey, and writer Tracy Letts at the Film Society screening of Killer Joe

Venice to give Friedkin Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement
The 70th Venice International Film Festival will honor director William Friedkin (The Exorcist, Killer Joe) by presenting him with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, according to Indiewire.

A restored version of Friedkin’s 1977 Sorcerer will be screened at the Venice Film Festival. Friedkin has said Sorcerer is his most personal film, which features four outcasts (Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, and Amidou) transporting dynamite through South America for a remote drilling operation. Friedkin is also known for his masculine characters who toe the line between what is right and what is easy in films such as The French Connection, Rules of Engagement, To Live and Die in L.A., and Killer Joe.

“Venice, especially during the Film Festival, is a spiritual home to me,” said Friedkin. “The Golden Lion is something I never expected but am proud to accept with gratitude and love.”

Deanna Durbin. Photo: Hollywood Reporter

Deanna Durbin, 1930s, 40s Hollywood icon, dies at 91; Shamshad Begum, Indian film singer, dies at 94
Deanna Durbin, whose on-screen debut with Judy Garland in Every Sunday (and subsequent contract with Universal) was said to have saved the studio from bankruptcy, died at 91. Durbin starred in Three Smart Girls (1936), One Hundred Men And A Girl (1937), Mad About Music (1938), Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939), First Love (1939), and It’s A Date (1940). In 1939 Durbin shared an Academy Award with Mickey Rooney for “significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth.”

Like many child stars, Durbin never really made it out of her childhood personification into adult roles. As an adult she starred in The Amazing Mrs. Holiday (1943) and Christmas Holiday (1944), but is most known for her childhood spunkiness. In 1947 she became the highest paid woman in America (beating out Bette Davis), and her fans included Anne Frank and Satyajit Ray. Durbin was married to producer Charles David for 48 years until his death in 1999.

Indian cinema singer, Shamshad Begum, recently passed away at 94. Begum was one of the first playback singers in Hindi cinema: heard, but not seen. Born in 1919 in the northern state of Punjab, Begum did not sing on film until 1941’s Khazanchi, but soon after enjoyed a lot of film success singing in Aar Paar (1954) and C.I.D. (1956).

Adam Brody and Kristen Bell in Neil Labute's Some Girls to be released on Vimeo On Demand.

Some Girls to be first Vimeo On Demand narrative feature film
Neil Labute's Some Girls will be the first narrative feature film to be released exclusively on Vimeo On Demand, according to Indiewire. The entertainment group Leeden Media turned down distribution offers. Some Girls follows a writer who travels the country making amends with his past lovers before his wedding. Starring Adam Brody and co-starring Kristen Bell, Mia Maestro, Emily Watson, Jennifer Morrison and Zoe Kazan.

“The opportunity to go straight from artist to audience is the future and Vimeo is offering a fantastic new platform,” Leeden Media's Patty West said. “We were inspired by Amanda Palmer and Shane Carruth, as well as, of course, one of the stars of our film, Kristen Bell, with her $5.7M Kickstarter campaign. These artists are doing it themselves and going directly to their audience. That’s really exciting for filmmakers.”

David Gordon Green.

Latest Gordon Green project, Manglehorn, looks to Pacino for lead
After Prince Avalanche and Joe, director David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express) has begun work on Manglehorn. According to Gordon Green Manglehorn “is the story of (A.J. Manglehorn) who gave up the love of his life for a life of crime and now he regrets it as the world crumbles in front of him.” Gordon Green and co-writer Paul Logan want Pacino to play the title character, according to Empire.

Worldview Entertainment will finance Manglehorn. Worldview previously worked with Gordon Green on Joe, which has yet to be released.

Prince Avalanche, a Sundance premiere, will be released August 9.  

Olivier Assayas' Something in the Air

Indiewire picks 10 Indies to watch on VOD in May
During the inevitable May showers, sit back, relax, and check out Indiewire's 10 Independent films picks with Video On Demand:

Aftershock, May 10 (a horror film co-written by Eli Roth)

Happy New Year, May 14 (a powerful PTSD drama)

Honor Flight, May 14 (a sort-of road movie following veterans who visit memorials in D.C.)

David Zellner's Kid Thing

Kid Thing, May 21 (If Harmony Korine and David Gordon Green collaborated on a children-centered film, according to Film Society).

Mosquita y Mari, May 14 (NewFest ’12)

Pieta, May 17 (Golden Lion winner)

Sightseers, May 13 (Ben Wheatley’s highly anticipated new film)

Something in the Air, May 3 (NYFF50, need we say more?)

Syrup, May 2 (a satire on the ad world)

Upstream Color, May 7 (A Sundance premiere that is tough to define and, yet, polished. See it to figure it out for yourself, or not).

For more information on where to see these films and to check out the trailers go to Indiewire.