The Society of Camera Operators held an in memoriam tribute to assistant camerawoman Sarah Jones as part of its annual awards ceremony tonight at the Skirball Cultural Center. The tribute was the second to be held for the 27-year-old this weekend following Friday’s Sunset Boulevard candlelight walk and vigil in her honor, which counted nearly 1,000 local union members. Attending both events were Jones’ parents Richard and Elizabeth from South Carolina. Jones was killed in an on-set train accident during the production of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider on February 20 in Jesup, GA. Jones’ death has spurred an industrywide outcry for improved safety standards.
Related: Anger, Impassioned Pleas For Safety At Tribute For Sarah Jones
As part of the ceremony, her parents were presented with a plaque accepting her as an honorary member of the SOC. Former SOC president Dan Kneece, who cut together the moving tribute video of Jones as the Hall & Oates song “Sara Smile” played, said he was crying as he put together the presentation. Although he didn’t know Jones personally, he was friends with her on Facebook because of a mutual friend, Amanda Etheridge, who spoke at Friday night’s memorial about her friend and mentor. The tribute was part of the SOC’s annual awards ceremony tonight in which Gravity‘s Peter Taylor won the Camera Operator of the Year-Feature Film award and Mad Men‘s Don Devine the Camera Operator of the Year-TV award. The event took place before an audience of 500, including Society of Camera Operators and International Cinematographer Guild members. (See the full list of winners an honorees below.) Read More »
Science Channel is tapping into a science-crazed social media phenomenon for multi-format series I F-ing Love Science, to be exec produced by Craig Ferguson. The show is inspired by the popular Facebook page I F*cking Love Science, which has attracted more than 11M social media followers since it was created three years ago by British biology student Elise Andrew, who is onboard as a consulting producer. The series is produced by Green Mountain West Inc. and Karga7 Productions and will premiere in the fourth quarter, featuring a blend of live-action, animation, and re-creations showcasing the random connectivity of science with appearances by celebrities and scientists. Ferguson made the announcement via taped message Saturday at Science Channel’s SXSW Interactive event . The late-night host will exec produce alongside Green Mountain West partner Rebecca Tucker, Karga7′s Sarah Wetherbee, and Science Channel’s Debbie Adler Myers and Rocky Collins. Science Channel VP Production Bernadette McDaid is overseeing.
Fox and Nat GEO‘s reboot of Carl Sagan’s classic Cosmos series is getting some White House lift-off. President Obama will be introducing the series premiere episode this Sunday, March 9 at 9pm ET/PT. A preview of the series screened at the White House as part of their inaugural White House Film Festival on Friday, February 28. Release is below: Read More »
“We are all Sarah Jones,” “Never Forget. Never Again,” and “Safety for Sarah” were the rallying cries tonight during the first of two tributes held this weekend by local unions for the 27 year-old assistant camerawoman killed on the set of Midnight Rider two weeks ago. The tribute began at 7 PM with candlelight walk and vigil that started at the DGA building and ended at the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 offices two blocks down Sunset Blvd.
The crowd of almost 1,000 members from across several unions participated in the memorial vigil held for Jones who was killed on a train track on the set in Georgia. Seven others were injured included two seriously — the 42 year-old hairstylist Joyce Gilliard and the make-up artist.
Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Suspends Filming Following Train Death
A scholarship fund has been set up in Sarah Jones’ name and donations can be made to the BCHS Foundation in c/o Sarah Jones, 1300 State St., Cayce, SC 29034.
The evening’s tribute began with a video slide presentation of Sarah Jones set to the music of Somewhere Over the Rainbow (the Brother Iz version) as her grieving (and very courageous) parents, Elizabeth and Richard Jones from South Carolina, along with members of the Local 600 — including a very emotional Bruce Doering, National Executive Director of the International Cinematographers Guild — spoke, but none so impassioned as Mike Miller, VP of the IATSE. Read More »
CBS, Disney, Fox, and Time Warner are the easy answers — and the ones that many financial types believe are eyeing the independent programming network companies following Comcast’s $45.2B agreement to buy Time Warner Cable. But Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger takes the conversation a step further today with an intriguing report that suggests several less obvious potential buyers for AMC Networks, Scripps or Starz. Distributors including DirecTV, Dish Network, Charter, AT&T and Verizon might want to take a page from Comcast’s playbook when it bought NBCUniversal. DirecTV doesn’t offer broadband, so it has “additional motivation to take some action to future-proof the business,” possibly by offering exclusive access to certain networks, Juenger says. Charter and Dish are long shots: Charter probably could only afford AMC. And Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen seems intent on acquiring airwave spectrum, although “nobody really knows Mr. Ergen’s potential plans, and they could change.” AT&T and Verizon’s corporate cultures are “a step (or three) further removed from the content business.” Yet here, too, they might take a leap since “their historical core businesses are not exactly growing, and they could amass the financial resources.”
Related: What A Comcast-TWC Could Mean For Hollywood
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ABC’s World News With Diane Sawyer this afternoon responded to Brian Williams‘ suggestion that Sawyer might have perpetrated some rannygazoo in that viral video showing Baby Jude crying inconsolably every time he sees the NBC News anchor on the family TV screen. “Hey Brian Williams… Don’t blame Diane anymore. Baby Jude has options, you know. We talked to his parents. This seems to be working….” World News‘ statement accompanied a new video in which a guy — Baby Jude’s Presumed Dad — tried to goad him into crying whenever Sawyer appears on the TV screen. Jude did not bite. Check it out: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Genre pics are a hot commodity on the fest circuit and here’s an exclusive first look at one SXSW Midnighters title to watch this week. Alexandra Essoe stars in Starry Eyes as Sarah, a wannabe starlet in L.A. who lands a lead role in a film only to find herself undergoing a series of terrifying mental and physical transformations. Pic is written and directed by longtime collaborators Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, whose credits include 2003′s Postcards from the Future: The Chuck Palahniuk Documentary. For Starry Eyes the duo teamed up with Snowfort Pictures producer Travis Stevens (Cheap Thrills, Jodorowsky’s Dune) and turned to Kickstarter to raise funds. Amanda Fuller (Last Man Standing), Fabianne Therese (John Dies At The End), Noah Segan (Looper), Shane Coffey (Pretty Little Liars), and Pat Healy (Cheap Thrills) also star in the psychological body horror pic which will be looking to make an impression on buyers next week in Austin.
Related: SXSW: ‘The Guest,’ ‘Oculus,’ ’13 Sins’ Among Midnighters
“In today’s world, people gauge their own celebrity by the amount of followers they have on Twitter, by how many ‘Likes’ they get on Facebook,” said co-director Widmyer. “We’re living in an age where everyone wants to feel famous. So we wanted to focus on a young woman caught up in that hunger, that is given an opportunity to do something horrible to attain her dreams, and she dives in head first.” Read More »
When most leading men get preoccupied with messing with models, it usually means extracurricular activity. When it’s Kevin Spacey, it means taking bold risks to create disruptive opportunities to alter arcane platforms that have ranged from his own acting career to pioneering the first breakout multi-platform success in the J.C. Chandor-directed Margin Call and the first breakout Netflix series hit House Of Cards. Now, he has made an intriguing documentary, Now: In The Wings On A World Stage, and will test new waters by self-distributing the film.
Here’s the first trailer that was just unveiled for the docu, which he is releasing in limited theatres and simultaneously via download here on KevinSpacey.com.
Spacey, in the midst of a strong run in Hollywood and two Oscars, started this journey of self discovery back in 2003 when he left Hollywood to revive the Old Vic in London. That has limited his screen time, but Trigger Street, the company he runs with Dana Brunetti, has kept him enough in the mix with Best Picture nominee Captain Phillips, The Social Network, 21 and other films. Spacey has kept up the Old Vic’s storied traditions, starring in and producing plays year after year. Now, after quietly funding and producing and starring in Now, a documentary about the conception and the experience of performing Richard III across the world, Spacey is self-releasing a film he feels captures the exhilaration of live performances that reunited Spacey with Sam Mendes since both won Oscars in Mendes’ screen debut American Beauty. His Now passion project and its trailer debut offers a a great chance to catch up with an actor who, after winning Oscars and asserting himself as a bankable leading man, up and left town for a venture many felt was folly. But this film’s most compelling selling point also underscores that Spacey knew what he was doing. If the millions and millions of rabid House Of Cards binge viewers want to see where his Vice President Francis Underwood character came from, it turns out they can find it right in this movie.
DEADLINE: I caught bronchitis this week and the only plus was tearing through the first season and one half of House Of Cards. Just a remarkable, game-changing way to absorb great drama.
SPACEY: I can’t say that I’m much of a binge watcher myself. People stop me on the street and tell me they are treating House Of Cards like a good novel, where they decide when to put it down on the bedside table, and when to pick it up again. What I love about that mind-set is that it puts the audience in complete control. Read More »
The 66,000-square-foot Playa Vista, CA complex will serve as the new West Coast outpost for IMAX, joining corporate headquarters in Toronto, NY and Santa Monica. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Councilmember Mike Bonin and executives from IMAX and developer Lincoln Property Company attended a shovel ceremony today. The plan is to complete construction by the first half of next year, with all 120 employees in IMAX’s Santa Monica offices expected to move to the new digs that will house corporate offices, screening rooms and postproduction facilities. The three-story HQ joins fellow tech biggies in the neighborhood including Facebook, YouTube, Electronic Arts, Sony, Fox Sports and Belkin and the Hercules Studio film stage. Here’s a look at a rendering via design firm Gensler:
The man who’s widely regarded as the greatest mixed martial arts fighter of all time is looking for a second career outside the ring. Anderson Silva has signed with ICM Partners for worldwide representation as he looks into acting and producing films and TV, publishing and endorsement branding. The Brazilian is a superstar in his growing sport, reigning as the UFC middleweight championship from 2006-13 and holding the record for most consecutive wins (16) and title defenses (10). He was the subject of the documentary Like Water, which won the best director prize for Pablo Corce at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival and was picked up by Cinedigm. Silva, who boasts more than 5 million Twitter followers and 4 million Facebook fans, is managed by Hebert Mota and theatrically managed by Talize Sayegh.
2ND UPDATE, 8:45 PM: The tributes to Sarah Jones continue to pour in. Below is a photo posted at WhoSay featuring Paul Wesley and Nina Dobrev of CW’s The Vampire Diaries, the CW drama on which Jones worked. And action continues at the Facebook group Slates for Sarah, which now is past 21,500 likes. Other below-the-line workers are getting in on the act as well; among the more recent pics posted to the site are tributes to the late camera assistant adorning a walkie-talkie and a large power tool.
UPDATE, 6:00 PM: The Facebook group Slates for Sarah, which is gathering tribute photos for fallen Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones from production crews around the world, has now passed 18K “likes.” The online petition to include Jones in Sunday’s Oscar In Memoriam segment eclipsed its goal of 10,000 signatures within 12 hours Tuesday and now is approaching 13K. It will be submitted to the Academy on Friday.
PREVIOUS, 11:35 AM: A campaign to include Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones in this weekend’s Oscars In Memoriam tribute is gaining traction online, but time will tell if the Academy will acknowledge the increasingly vocal outcry within the production community to her tragic death. Jones, 27, died Thursday in a train collision on the set of director Randall Miller‘s Gregg Allman biopic that left several others injured in Jesup, GA. Her death has raised growing concerns within the industry about set safety and culpability as investigations into the accident continue.
Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew Member Killed In On-Set Train Accident
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Studios’ failed effort in 2012 to promote the Stop Online Piracy Act (or SOPA) made it clear: Big Media companies had better not mess with Silicon Valley. Too many people love the Internet, and they’ll crush anyone deemed to be a threat to the medium by its biggest service providers including Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, and Netflix. That’s why Comcast needs to make peace with tech companies as the cable giant promotes its planned $42.5B acquisition of Time Warner Cable — and suggests that the new interconnection deal with Netflix is the first of many agreements with tech world Goliaths. If they’re unhappy, then they may embolden Washington regulators reviewing the TWC acquisition to demand a long list of concessions –and under extreme circumstances could even block the deal.
While terms with Netflix weren’t disclosed, the agreement will ensure that Comcast’s broadband customers receive, as the companies put it, “a high-quality Netflix video experience for years to come.” Bernstein Research’s Carlos Kirjner says this morning that he’d be “surprised” if the Comcast-Netflix agreement “was not conditional on a tacit (if not explicit) agreement by Netflix not to lobby regulators” to demand detailed promises to protect Internet access. Others, including Stifel analyst Benjamin Mogil, are waiting to hear about additional terms with Netflix, including a promise to add the service to Comcast’s set top box so subscribers don’t have to switch to a different input when they want to watch the streaming service on their TV sets. Read More »
In this week’s podcast, Deadline’s Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom examine whether Facebook paid too much with its $19 billion purchase of messaging service WhatsApp, ponder whether anyone should pay for the maker of blockbuster mobile game Candy Crush Saga now that it’s filed for an IPO, consider the impact of the FCC’s replacement net-neutrality rules and look at the real motivations behind the clamor for Google Fiber.
The Davids also look at the possible futures of both John Malone and Time Inc. after some very interesting news this week from both.
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EXCLUSIVE: The South By Southwest Festival continues to grow in popularity and influence, and the Hollywood marketing machine has taken notice. With last year’s fest drawing an estimated 64,000 plugged-in registrants, entertainment companies again are salivating at the opportunity to mine the Austin crowd and active social media accounts. Enter Funny or Die. The humor brand is planning a March 8-10 assault that includes tie-ins with Universal Pictures and Facebook, live podcasts, panels, an event with its Fuse show Billy On The Street and culminating with a stand-up show by a comedy legend making his fest debut. The revelry kicks off with a Saturday night Delta Psi frat party, a wink at the boisterous Greeks featured in Neighbors, the Seth Rogen-Zac Efron-Rose Byrne comedy that Uni will bow May 9. There’s Neighbors-related fraternity shenanigans the next day with a Delta Psi open house. Funny or Die’s three-day party will wind down — or whip up, depending on your point of view — with a Bill Cosby concert Monday night. That is if the whippersnappers can look up from their phones long enough to appreciate an American treasure who made their parents and grandparents double over. FOD also is partnering with Facebook, which will have teams from the social network and Instrgram at the festival to help media groups and public figures … Read More »
That’s the question investors are struggling to answer this morning as they recover from the shocking news last night that Facebook agreed to pay $16B (or $19B if you include some restricted stock) for WhatsApp. Analysts like the broad appeal of the messaging service which uses the Internet, as opposed to phone networks, to easily work with different platforms at a low cost — it can take the place of Apple’s iMessage, Google Hangouts, and Blackberry BBM. An average of 450M people used WhatsApp in December, and the number is growing at a rate of 1M a day. (It’s free for the first year, and costs 99 cents a year after that.) But the service would have to generate $1B a year in cash flow to justify the price tag, and “few data-points to support such an assumption were provided by the company, as evidently few are available,” Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser says. It’s not clear how much cash it can generate: Execs said last night that they won’t sell ads on WhatsApp. As a result, “it is not hard to come up with plausible assumptions that suggest the price is 50% too high…or too low,” says Bernstein Research’s Carlos Kirjner. While he says it was strategically sound for Facebook to take the gamble, the deal also suggests a potentially worrisome degree of self-doubt — that the company didn’t think it could replicate WhatsApp’s success for less than $19B. Others who feel warmer about the acquisition say that other metrics justify the high price. Read More »
Facebook shares are down in after-hours trading after it announced the startling stock and cash deal for the mobile messaging service — the biggest acquisition it has ever made. The companies say that the combo will help them “bring more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core internet services efficiently and affordably.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says WhatsApp “is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.” Facebook plans to keep WhatsApp’s “core messaging product” and Facebook’s Messenger separate for now. “Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing,” WhatsApp says in a blog post. Facebook also will maintain WhatsApp’s brand and keep its headquarters in Mountain View, CA. Co-founder and CEO Jan Koum will join Facebook’s board. The companies expect the deal to close later this year. If it doesn’t, then Facebook will have to pay a break-up fee of $1B in cash, and give WhatsApp $1B worth of its stock. The $16B price suggests that What’sApp is just $1.5B less valuable than Sony, based on its market cap, and more than twice as valuable as Gannett or Pandora. The purchase price consists of $4B in cash and $12B in Facebook shares. In addition, Facebook has agreed to give $3B in restricted stock units to WhatsApp’s founders and employees. They will vest over four years after the deal closes. This is believed to be the biggest deal yet for a start-up backed by a venture capital firm, Sequoia Capital. It says on a blog post that “WhatsApp has tapped into our insatiable appetite for personal communication. It is part of a chain that over the past 150 years reaches from the Pony Express, Telegraph and airmail letter to the telephone and email.” The messaging firm has just 32 engineers, and has an uptime of more than 99.9% “so users can rely on WhatsApp the way they depend on a dial-tone.”
Here’s the release: Read More »