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12.06.09

We congratulate Niki Caro on her great honor of  being asked to give public thanks to the Dalai Lama after his talk at The Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand.

Check back for updates and audience reactions to “The Vintner’s Luck” screening and Panel Discussion with high Buddhist Lama Za Choeje Rinpoche,  that took place following the Dalai Lama Talk,  at the Rialto Theatre, Auckland on 12-5-09.

Check out the blog for “The Vintner’s Luck” here.


12.03.09

The Vintner’s Luck Strikes a Balance on Saturday 5 December @ 6pm – Rialto Cinema, Newmarket, Auckland

The latest film from acclaimed New Zealand director Niki Caro (Whale Rider, North Country), The Vintner's Luck is a story about balance, questions, struggles, ambition and life. A story that has hit a chord with the Dalai Lama Visit Trust New Zealand.

This is a powerful, meditative tale of Sobran Jodeau, an ambitious young peasant winemaker and the three loves of his life – his earthy wife Celeste, the proudly intellectual baroness Aurora de Valday and Xas, a plain spoken  angel who strikes up an unlikely but enduring friendship. Under his guidance Sobran must wrestle with the constant duality of life; from success to failure, love to hate, betrayal to belief – all in pursuit of the perfect vintage. 

Following the public talk by his Holiness the Dalai Lama on Saturday at Vector Arena, a special event will be taking place at 6pm at the Rialto Newmarket. A screening of the film will be followed by a panel discussion: Unity and Duality, When Angel and Demon are One with with Niki Caro (Director), Joan Scheckel (Screenwriter) and  Za Choeje Rinpoche, an emminent Buddhist scholar recognised by the Dalai Lama as the sixth reincarnation of one of the highest Buddhist Lamas of Eastern Tibet. The panel will be exploring themes skilfully woven through Niki Caro's adaptation of Elizabeth Knox's acclaimed book. 
 
After seeing the initial screening of The Vintner's Luck the Dalai Lama Visit Trust New Zealand invited director Niki Caro to be a part of the public event with His Holiness and have worked with her and Za Choeje Rinpoche to create this post-screening dialogue. Za Choeje Rinpoche stated;

“I loved it very much. I think the story in the film is a great metaphor about life. It teaches some lessons on life about the hope, acceptance and balance.”

This is a provocative film that has inspired polarized responses. This is an opportunity for a deeper discussion about the themes of the film and how they are received. It is for a broad audience who would like to contribute to the conversation.  It is for anybody who would like to speak truthfully from their hearts, but fear attack.

09.14.09

Toronto Film Festival: The Vintner's Luck premiered Saturday, September 14 at the Winter Garden Theatre!  Did you see the film at the festival?  It's a special and unique movie, and we'd love to hear your thoughts, questions, support!  Share some love.  Meet us on The Vintner's Luck/Facebook.  Thanks for taking the time to check in!

Here's TIFF's description of the film:

"Niki Caro's audacious and visually luscious new film will both delight and surprise audiences familiar with her previous work. Delving deeper into her past themes of love and identity, she explores ideas and emotions even more visceral in nature. While the film takes place in an earlier era, the complex spiritual struggles of the central character give the story a strong contemporary allure.

The nineteenth century has barely dawned in France when we meet Sobran Jodeau (Jérémie Renier, best known for his work with Belgian filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne). Sobran is a young peasant who hungers for two things in life: to win the hand of the beautiful Celeste (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and to create wine in his own vineyard. While marriage to the fiery Celeste soon follows, his wine-making ambition is considered above his station, and the patron he serves fails to put his innate skills to use. One night, however, he encounters the angel Xas (Gaspard Ulliel), who sees Sobran's passions as evidence of his profound humanity. Xas proposes that Sobran plant some vines the angel carries, and further, that they meet each year at the same time and place.

Unsettled and yet self-interested, Sobran agrees without being able to answer his own questions about who or what Xas actually is. The vines, however, are very real, and they grow and thrive. Soon Sobran encounters the next influence in his life, the proud, educated and vulnerable Baroness Aurora de Valday (Vera Farmiga). Before long, he is as deeply entangled in Aurora's emotional complexities as he is in her vineyard, leading to both spiritual and corporeal crises for everyone.

The Vintner's Luck is much more than the story of a peasant's desire to fulfill his destiny: it wrestles with the most basic questions of life, using a vineyard in Burgundy as the best possible metaphor. Caro asks us to consider earth, love, appetite, wine, sensation, God and sex through the eyes of a man driven to experience all of these things in different ways with three other beings who assist, impede and ultimately share his lust for all that life has to offer."

Review:

Dark Horizons Toronto Review: "The Vintner’s Luck"
By Paul Fischer

Sex, lust, wine and angels are mere facets of Niki Caro’s lush and sensuous period drama "The Vintner’s Luck". Set in early 19th century France at the height of the Napoleonic Wars, the pic centres around Sobran Jodeau (Jérémie Renier). Sobran is a young peasant who hungers for two things in life: to win the hand of the beautiful Celeste (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and to create wine in his own vineyard.

While marriage to the fiery Celeste soon follows, his wine-making ambition is considered above his station, and the patron he serves fails to put his innate skills to use. One night, however, he encounters the angel Xas (Gaspard Ulliel), who sees Sobran's passions as evidence of his profound humanity. Xas proposes that Sobran plant some vines the angel carries, and further, that they meet each year at the same time and place.

Unsettled and yet self-interested, Sobran agrees without being able to answer his own questions about who or what Xas actually is. The vines, however, are very real, and they grow and thrive. Soon Sobran encounters the next influence in his life, the proud, educated and vulnerable Baroness Aurora de Valday (Vera Farmiga). Before long, he is as deeply entangled in Aurora's emotional complexities as he is in her vineyard, leading to both spiritual and physical crises for everyone.

Though a New Zealand film, this lush, erotic and passionate film is more European with its frank exploration of sexuality and eroticism, yet the film’s lyrical beauty and intelligence makes it something quite unexpected. A film about humanity and spirituality, Caro directs this film with an exquisite sense of detail. Gorgeous in all facets of visual detail, "The Vintner’s Luck" is also a fascinating romantic melodrama, and at its core, comprises a cast that is spot on.

Jérémie Renier is the perfect peasant who transforms into a self-educated winemaker. It’s a beautiful, complex and richly layered performance. The women in his life are spectacularly good, from the wonderful all grown up Castle Hughes, who embodies the earthy sexuality of her character and the luminous Vera Farmiga, who is clearly a versatile and complex actress and is magnificent, beautiful and passionate as the Baroness.

"The Vintner’s Luck" is a spellbinding, sexy and hypnotic tale, thematically dense and original in its tale of God, angels and sexuality. It’s a movie that deserves international distribution.

8.20.09

FESTIVAL UPDATE:  Niki Caro’s: The Vintner’s Luck written by Niki Caro and Joan Scheckel World Premieres at Toronto Film Festival September 2009.  It shot on location in France and New Zealand and stars Keisha Castle-Hughes, Vera Farmiga, Gaspard Ulliel and Jeremie Renier. Check out the trailer on the Films page!

IMG_1159.jpg(on set in France, April 2008)

08.04.09

LAB NEWS:  LADL70 wraps in LA.  Thanks to everyone for the amazing, inspirational, sweaty work!  Thankyou Sheva Carr, Rachel Singer, Miles Melendez, Keith David, Michael Bentt, Adam Tomei, Sacha Gervasi, Pat Healy, Kai Lennox, Gail Gilchriest, Rachel Harrel, Charlie Mason, Justin Moore - Lewy, Peter Odiorne, Caitlin Mulvey, Don O. Knowlton, Daniela Sea, Erin Way, Sam Hennings, Sam Weitzner, Seth Gabel, Islean Kirker, Marina Zenovich, Stephen Macht and Monique Curnen. Inviting all Participants to Log - In to the forum for videos, pix and post Lab chat!  See you there!IMG_4250.jpg

(the first table read : )

KUDOS: Marina Zenovich picked up 5 Emmy nods for her doc Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired!

7.19.09

SHOOTING: Lisa Leone and Marisa Tomei on location in Ethiopia co-directing their short film “Woineset”. Based on the soon to be released book: Half the Sky. Look for more news in the New York Times Magazine and on Oprah. Film coming to PBS in 2010!

7.4.09

RELEASED: Don’t miss Sacha Gervasi’s: Anvil! The Story of Anvil, in theaters now!  A great doc starring Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner, both humorous and incredibly touching. (Sacha on drums with Anvil, Japan)

Bryce Dallas Howard’s playing Kate Connor opposite Christian Bale in Terminator Salvation!

Zooey Deschanel stars opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Marc Webb’s: (500) Days of Summer. 
Alden Ehrenreich’s in Francis Ford Coppola’s new movie Tetro. Catch his debut performance!

Russell Brown’s: The Blue Tooth Virgin is slated for a September 2009 debut through Regent Releasing!

Check out Films for more films out now or coming soon!

7.1.09

PRE-PRODUCTION: Justin Moore-Lewy is in preproduction with Destination: Home, written by Gail Gilchriest and directed by Peter Odiorne!
Daniela Sea is in pre-production with: Heterophobia!
Miranda July is in pre-production with Satisfaction produced by Gina Kwon and Peter Carlton. Written, directed and starring Miranda July!
Jason Lew’s: Of Winter and Waterbirds will be helmed by Gus Van Sant!
Catherine Jarvis has begun pre-production on her film Maestro!
Sarah Lambert’s film Red Dress has begun pre-production!

Check out Films for more films out now or coming soon!

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