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MHS grad’s film wins at Cannes

By The Mercury

A film whose executive producer grew up in Manhattan won a top prize at the 67th Cannes Film Festival in France this weekend.

“Foxcatcher” won the best director prize for Bennett Miller, who also directed “Moneyball.”

The film is the brainchild of Manhattan native Mike Coleman, who grew up here and graduated from Manhattan High School in 1989, came up with the idea for the movie in 2002.

Each film gets only one prize at Cannes, Coleman said in an email, and that’s the one the jury gave this one.

“Foxcatcher,” which doesn’t open until Nov. 14, chronicles the events preceding the real-life murder by eccentric millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) of wrestling coach Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo), who was working on Du Pont’s Pennsylvania property, and the charged relationship that Du Pont had with Schultz’s younger brother Mark (Channing Tatum), also a championship wrestler.

Mark Schultz was a wrestling coach at Brigham Young University where Coleman attended college and his brothers had wrestled.

That’s how Coleman came across the story. He knew that books had been written about the killing of Dave Schultz, but none had ever focused on the character of Mark Schultz.

Coleman found the financial help for his idea to become a reality with Megan Ellison, whose Annapurna Films was “Foxcatcher’s” key backer.

Miller thanked Ellison for her support Saturday.

“It’s really something to be supported like that,” he said, “and to come out the other side.”

Here are the other films that received top awards at the festival:

The longest film in the Festival de Cannes walked off with the biggest prize Saturday night as Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s three-hour and 16-minute “Winter Sleep” took home the Palme d’Or.

Turkish director Ceylan was visibly moved despite having won three previous honors at Cannes as he accepted the award for this thoughtful, discursive film about a former actor and his relationship with his wife, his sister, and his world.

“I dedicate this award to the young people of Turkey who lost their lives during the last year,” Ceylan said.

The best actor award went to Timothy Spall, who starred as the brilliant but difficult 19th century English painter J.M.W. Turner in Mike Leigh’s immersive and beautifully created “Mr. Turner.”

Spall gave the evening’s longest and most moving speech, starting with the revelation that “he was in North Holland on my boat with my arm up a pipe and covered in grease when I got the call to come back.”

Winning the best actress award was Julianne Moore, who was part of the ensemble in “Maps To The Stars,” which was directed by David Cronenberg and written by Bruce Wagner. Moore took on the role of a fading actress desperate for a part her mother made famous.

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