Colcoa: Oscar Winner Claude LeLouch Opens Biggest French Film Festival Outside Of Cannes

Pete Hammond

Cannes? Who needs Cannes? 

Last night in Hollywood, COLCOA, the “biggest” French film festival got underway with the North American premiere ofColCoa_logo legendary director Claude LeLouch‘s 44th film, We Love You, You Bastard to an overflow audience at the Directors Guild Theatre. Actually it should be noted organizers call this the “biggest”  French film fest held outside of France. No, it’s not bigger than that one that happens in May that we keep talking about but with a record 61 French films of all shapes and sizes it’s a nice alternative until we can get to the South of France in 3 weeks.

18th Annual City Of Lights, City Of Angels Film Festival - ReceptionThis is the 18th year for Colcoa, which stands for City Of Lights, City Of Angels and is produced by the Franco-American Cultural Fund which is a partnership of the DGA, WGAW, MPA  and French Society for Authors, Composers and Music Publishers. 20,000 French film fans are expected to hit the DGA all week through closing night next Monday with the North American Premieres of a new Catherine Deneuve film In The Yard, which doesn’t even open in France until this week, and a thriller, Mea Culpa. That announcement was held until last night’s opening. According  to Francois Truffart (not to be confused with Truffaut, the great French director who died 30 years ago and has a theatre named in his honor during the fest) there are 37 U.S., North American and International Premieres this week, many of them without U.S. distribution so this could be a rare chance to see what he calls a real “cocktail” of French cinema. Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Believe’ & ‘Cosmos’ Rise, ‘Once Upon A Time’ & CBS Lineup Slip

By | Monday April 21, 2014 @ 9:54am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

believeThe ABC series that shares a title with the Easter holiday, Resurrection, was off last night, but two other shows dealing with spiritual and cosmic themes, NBC’s Believe and Fox’s Cosmos, got ratings bumps. Coincidentally, both air in Resurrection‘s 9 PM time slot and benefited from the benching of the midseason for a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. Believe (1.2 in 18-49, up 20% from last week to match a regular-slot high since the premiere) also was helped from a stronger lead-in from Dateline (0.9, up 13%) as NBC moved in to swap underperformed reality series American Dream Builders and the newsmagazine. In its first airing at 7 PM, Dream Builders (0.6) was down 14% from last week’s 8 PM episode to a new low. (NBC was pre-empted for an NBA game in Portland from 7-9 PM, so ratings for Dream Builders and Dateline may undergo adjustments.) At 10 PM Crisis (0.9) retreated 18% after a 10% bump the previous Sunday to a new low. Both midseason dramas have been considered very long shots for renewal. UPDATE: The Portland NBA game went into overtime, spilling beyond 9 PM to also pre-empt Believe and part of Crisis in the market, NBC just said in a note. That could explain the .2 rise for Believe, which will likely be adjusted down in the finals tomorrow.

CosmosDespite following American Dad, The Read More »

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Keke Palmer To Host BET Daily Talk Show From Telepictures & Judge Greg Mathis

By | Monday April 21, 2014 @ 9:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Keke PalmerEXCLUSIVE: BET Networks is targeting millenials with a new daily talk show hosted by actress-singer Keke Palmer. The Keke Palmer Project (working title), which has been picked up for an initial four-week run, will premiere in July, airing Mondays-Fridays. Telepictures is producing. Judge Greg Mathis, whose long-time Bet Networkssyndicated court show Judge Mathis is produced by Telepictures, is executive producing after being instrumental in bringing together the Warner Bros TV syndication division and Palmer.

At age 20, Palmer will become the youngest talk show host in TV history. Her show will cover such topics as fashion, pop culture, social issues, seJudge Greg Mathisx, and will feature celebrity interviews, “on the street” bits and undercover segments. It stems from Palmer’s interaction with fans on social media. “I like to read quotes that touch on how I am feeling,” she said. “If I am dealing with confusion, I will read quotes about clarity and peace of mind. I started posting these quotes on my Twitter page, and the fans responded so positively! I realized that many of them were dealing with similar issues, and the quotes helped to open up a genuine dialogue between us.” Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Fading Gigolo’ Seduces In Limited Opening; ‘Under The Skin’ Passes $1M

Indie FilmsFading Gigolo cashed in at the box office this Easter weekend, catapulting itself to the second-highest theater average of 2014 among specialty releases. The feature directed by John Turturro and starring Turturro, Woody Allen and Sharon Stone opened in five locations in New York and LA on Friday, grossing an estimated $198,399 through Sunday for a solid $39,680 average. That outranks A24′s strong debut for Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson, which opened at the beginning of this month. That film, incidentally, passed the $1M cume mark this weekend, with the Jonathan Glazer-directed experimental sci-fi pic grossing $140K in four theaters for a $35K average. The top opener by far of course is Fox Searchlight’s sizzling The Grand Budapest Hotel, which bowed to a record $202K per-theater average March 9.

Related: Box Office: ‘Heaven Is For Real’ Rises, ‘Transcendence’ Descends Into Hell

FadingGigoloThe opening for Fading Gigolo portends a good run for the comedy, which centers on Fioravante (Turturro), who decides to become a Don Juan as a way of making money for his cash-strapped friend Murray (Allen). Turturro told me last week the film had sold to “top notch” distributors worldwide with strong opens in some international territories ahead of its U.S. launch. “It’s a date movie and even people in their 20s like the movie,” he said. “If they like the movie, then anyone will like the movie.” Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee said this morning that Fading Gigolo is performing better than even hoped. “We saw a spectacular jump from Friday to Saturday, which goes to show that audiences were craving a funny and heartfelt film,” he said. Millennium will hold in NY and LA next week expanding the film to 25 runs in both metropolitan areas. It will head to San Francisco, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Miami on May 2, then to additional markets May 9.

Related: INTL BO: ‘Spider-Man 2′ Spins $47M Global Web For Biggest Opening Of 2014

Under The Skin saw a sizable expansion and grossed more than $467K in 176 theaters, averaging $2,656. Last week, the film grossed over $309K from 54 runs ($5,727 PTA). Its cume now stands at $1,086,241.

Related: Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Fading Gigolo’, ‘The Final Member’, More Read More »

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Campaign Calls For Crew Boycott As ‘Midnight Rider’ Heads To L.A. For Pre-Prod

By and | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 5:12pm PDT

Sarah Jones death Midnight RiderCrew around Los Angeles are getting word that pre-production on Midnight Rider is starting up in a few weeks back in L.A. with Randall Miller at the helm. Deadline broke the news earlier this week that Miller and his Unclaimed Freight banner were trying to resume filming on the Gregg Allman biopic following the tragic death of camera assistant Sarah Jones in Georgia. The decision to continue with the film has prompted a flurry of tweets to Allman and has given rise to a new Facebook page called “I REFUSE to work on Midnight Rider” which the daughter of director John Frankenheimer said everyone should join.

Midnight Rider Facebook Boycott

Jones, 27, was killed February 20 in Wayne County, GA in a train collision during filming on the pic. Seven other crew members were injured and multiple investigations are underway to determine the responsible parties.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

“Morally how can he continue, knowing that his decision cost Sarah Jones her life? He had the ability to say no,” said Frankenheimer, who works as a location manager. “As the daughter of a director and I know that the director is the final voice. And if the director and producer allow it to happen, they have to accept responsibility.” She added: “It infuriates me. I find it an affront to all of us. “He doesn’t deserve a crew of any kind. No one should agree to work on this film. I find it shameful. I cannot believe that this man has the chutzpah to do this. If you don’t speak up then that’s just as bad.”

Read More »

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The ABCs Of Aereo: Streaming Service Wants “Something For Nothing”, Former Top Federal Lawyer Says

By and | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 12:31pm EDT

Editors Note: This is the second of three Deadline posts that lay out the issues in the Aereo case, which Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten will cover from the Supreme Court next week. Today: An interview with former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who is serving as an adviser to the broadcasters in their case against the streaming service. 

Related: The ABCs Of Aereo: What Is Aereo And Why Are Broadcasters Taking It To The Supreme Court?

On April 22, Aereo and major broadcastersAereo case will have their day in the Supreme Court. Broadcasters will say Aereo is stealing their copyrighted material, end of story. The Barry Diller-backed streaming service that launched in early 2012 will say it merely rents antennas to consumers so they can watch TV that’s already available for free over the public airwaves. Both sides will be represented by lawyers who know the Supreme Court well. David Frederick of D.C. firm Kellog Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel LLP has more than 40 SCOTUS appearances notched on his belt and will handle defendant Aereo’s arguments. Former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who has argued more 70 cases before the high court, will represent Disney, CBS, NBCUniversal, Fox and the other plaintiffs. He will have a half hour to make his points, unless the Justices give 10 minutes to the current Solicitor General’s office to argue on behalf of the plaintiffs.

Here’s the broadcasters’ argument from Neal Katyal, now a partner at international firm Hogan Lovells, who was picked by President Obama to serve as Acting Solicitor General from May 2010-June 9, 2011.

Senate Armed Services Committee Holds Hearing On Enemy CombatantsDEADLINE: So, let’s cut to the chase — what is this case really about?
KATYAL: I certainly think that streaming of the broadcasters’ signals is retransmission and blatantly violates the Copyright Law. Our case is can a company come along and yank broadcast signals out of the air and then package them and sell them to individual subscribers for a fee when the producers of that content aren’t compensated for it? The networks each year spend billions of dollars creating, producing, acquiring and distributing and marketing their content. Aereo is yanking the signals out of the air and selling them to people. So that’s what the case is about.

Related: Aereo Slammed One Last Time By Broadcasters Before SCOTUS Hearing

DEADLINE: Aereo would say that it complies with the Copyright Act and that broadcasters are trying to stem the use of innovative technology and stop the future from happening.
KATYAL: I think this idea that Aereo has some innovative new technology is an absolute red herring. The only thing innovative about Aereo is its legal strategy. It’s not people capturing the signal, its Aereo capturing the signal through antenna and then selling it to the entire American public and it’s Aereo who’s violating the Copyright Law by doing that. What Aereo is doing is grabbing the broadcasters’ signal from the air and then they’re retransmitting it. In 1976 Congress expressly said any device or process that retransmits a broadcast signal without the copyright holder’s permission is unlawful. So to me this is one of the easiest cases the Supreme Court is going to decide this year because it’s something that Congress settled. There maybe a number of interesting policy arguments about how we should have a different Copyright Law, but with respect to the Copyright Law we do have, it’s a very hard argument for Aereo. Read More »

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The ABCs Of Aereo: What Is Aereo And Why Are Broadcasters Taking It To The Supreme Court?

By and | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 1:01pm EDT

Editors Note: The first of three Deadline posts that lay out the issues in the Aereo case, which Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten will cover from the Supreme Court next week. Today: A primer about Aereo and what’s at stake in the dispute with broadcasters.

U.S. Supreme Court justices are so mistrustful of technology that they bar TV cameras from their proceedings and require visitors to check their smartphones at the door.What Is Aereo But on April 22 they will take an hour to hear arguments in a case that could re-shape television and the Internet. All of the major broadcast companies are challenging the legality of an upstart streaming service: Aereo, a company backed by IAC chief Barry Diller that began to sign up subscribers in New York City in February 2012. The issues both sides will raise are complicated. But the controversy boils down to an important question: What rights do broadcasters and citizens have to content on the publicly owned airwaves?

Related: It’s On! – Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Aereo Case

Q: How does Aereo work?
A: Subscribers in the cities Aereo serves pay a minimum of $8 a month. That gives them exclusive access to one of its thousands of dime-sized antennas that pick up free, local, over-the-air broadcasts. The company then streams the live programming in the same local market to subscribers’ Web-connected TVs, computers, or mobile devices.

Aereo info graphic

Q: Does it just stream live TV?
A: Aereo also offers a remote storage DVR. Just like with a home DVR, each customer can choose programs to record, and then watch later with the same fast-forward and rewind capabilities. The difference is that the digital files are kept on Aereo’s servers, not on a hard drive in the home. Those who pay $8 per month get 20 hours of DVR storage each month and access to one antenna, while those paying $12 get 60 hours and access to two antennas.

Aereo mapQ: Where can people subscribe?
A: Aereo began in New York, and now also is available in Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Miami, and San Antonio. It plans to launch in cities including Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Kansas City.

Q: Why does that bother broadcasters?
A: Aereo doesn’t pay local TV stations when it streams their programming. Broadcasters say that infringes on their copyrights. Read More »

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Pivot Picks Up Sky Series ‘Fortitude’, Sets Development Slate, Revamps ‘TakePart Live’

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 9:02am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

pivotParticipant Media‘s network Pivot today announced the pickup of Sky Atlantic’s 12-episode drama series Fortitude starring Stanley Tucci and Michael Gambon. The series became available in the U.S. in December when Starz, which originally had committed to the project, pulled out. Pivot is designed as a younger skewing network than Starz, with its target demo being 18-34. As part of its upfront presentation, Pivot also announced an overhaul of its nightly topical series, TakePart Live. Beginning Monday, May 12, the hour-long late-night program will move to primetime (10 PM) with a new producer, Michael Davies’ Embassy Row, which is behind Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live and AMC’s Talking Dead/Bad. Also undergoing makeover is the hosting team of Jacob Soboroff and Cara Santa Maria, with only Soboroff coming back, joined by Sen. John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain and comedian Eddie Huang.

Pivot also unveiled a development slate that includes eleven projects from production companies including IAC’s Electus, Universal Cable Prods., FremantleMedia North America/Pukeko Pictures, Funny or Die, and Eyeworks, and revealed premiere 2014-15 dates, including an August 8 debut for the sophomore season of coming-of-age comedy, Please Like Me, and the comedy Human Resources. “Our second slate demonstrates our significant investment in, and commitment to, groundbreaking content for the thought-leading segment of Generation Y we call ‘Upstanders,’” said Pivot president Evan Shapiro. Here is Pivot’s full slate: Read More »

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Cannes: Short Film & Cinéfondation Rosters Unveiled

By | Wednesday, 16 April 2014 15:04 UK

22x30_Cannes2014With less than 24 hours until the Official Selection lineup is announced, the Cannes Film Festival has today unveiled the titles in the Short Film and Cinéfondation sections. The selection committee received 3,450 shorts this year from 128 countries. Those were whittled down to 10 which will compete for the Short Film Palme d’Or. The Cinéfondation section includes 16 movies out of 1,631 submissions from film school students. The festival says this year marks a “very significant” broadening of scope, with 38% of the schools making the cut for the first time. This is also the first time a film from Egypt has been included, and more than half of the 16 competitors are by women. Following are the full lists for each category:

Related: Cannes: Official Selection Buzz Sharpens (& Sprawls) Ahead Of Thursday’s Reveal

CINEFONDATION
Our Blood, dir: Max Chan, (Hampshire College, U.S.)
Home Sweet Home, dirs: Pierre Clenet, Alejandro Diaz, Romain Mazevet, Stéphane Paccolat (Supinfocom Arles, France)
The Aftermath of the Inauguration Of The Public Toilet At Kilometer 375, dir: Omar El Zohairy (High Cinema Institute, Academy of Arts, Egypt)
Stone Cars, dir: Reinaldo Marcus Green (NYU Tisch School of the Arts, U.S.)
Last Trip Home, dir: Han Fengyu (Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore)
A Radiant Life, dir: Meryll Hardy (Le Fresnoy, France)
Niagara, dir: Chie Hayakawa (ENBU Seminar, Japan)
Oh Lucy!, dir: Atsuko Hirayanagi (NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia, Singapore)
The Visit, dir: Inbar Horesh (Minshar for Art, School and Center, Israel)
Moonless Summer, … Read More »

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TV Land Picks Up Darren Star’s Comedy ‘Younger’ To Series

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 2:05pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: TV Land has given a 12-episode series order to Younger, the single-camera comedy pilot written and executive produced by Sex And the City creator Darren Star. The show, starring Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar and Miriam Shor, will premiere in the fall. It will be the first TV Land series to be produced in New York where Star’s signature HBO series also was set and filmed. “There’s nothing better than making a single-camera film comedy in New York – and I’m thrilled to be doing this one with TV Land,” Star said.

Based on the novel by Pamela ReYoungerdmond Satran, Younger follows 40-year old Liza (Foster), a suddenly single mother who tries to get back into the working world, only to find it’s nearly impossible to start at the bottom at her age. When a chance encounter with a young guy at a bar convinces her she looks younger than she is, Liza tries to pass herself off as 26 – with the help of a makeover, courtesy of her best friend Maggie (Mazar). Armed with new confidence, she lands a job as an assistant to the temperamental Diana (Shor) and teams up with her new co-worker and twentysomething Kelsey (Duff) to make it in the career of her dreams. Now she just has to make sure no one finds out the secret only … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Cosmos’, ‘Once Upon A Time’ & ‘Dateline’ Fall, ‘Crisis’ Up, ‘Resurrection’ Dips

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 9:23am PDT

There was a lot of competition from cable last night with the return of AMC‘s Mad Men, Showtime’s Californication and Nurse Jackie and Week 2 of the latest season of Game Of Thronesplus Silicon Valley and Veep on HBO. However the networks weren’t letting down their game with a slate of originals from everyone. Still, lmost everyone was down in adults 18-49 from last week.

COSMOS APRIL 13Fox started the night with its usual animation block of Bob’s Burgers (0.8/3) and American Dad (1.1/4). The two ‘toons were down 11% and 8%, respectively, from their April 6 airings. They were followed by The Simpsons (1.6/5) and Family Guy (2.1/6), which fell 16% and 9% respectively. However, the latter was the highest-rated show on primetime last night. The biggest blow of the night for Fox was for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (1.2/3). Up against GoT and more, the sixth episode of the Neil deGrasse Tyson-hosted series took a 20% dive from last week in the key demo. That’s a low for the rebooted science show. Read More »

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Joey King Joins Lifetime’s ‘Outlaw Prophet’; Steven Cree In Starz’s ‘Outlander

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 11:45am PDT

Joey King (The Conjuring, Oz The Great And Powerful) joeyking1has been cast in Lifetime’s original movie Outlaw Prophet from Sony Pictures Television. It focuses on the true story of Warren Jeffs, the leader of a Fundamentalist Mormon polygamist sect who spent more than a year on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List, eluded authorities and was ultimately caught by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper. Based on Stephen Singular’s book When Men Become Gods, the movie chronicles Jeffs’ rise to power after the death of his father, Rulon Jeffs (Martin Landau). King will play Elissa Wall, the battered young woman who brings Jeffs (Tony Goldwyn) to justice. King, repped by Dan Spilo at Industry Entertainment and Meredith Fine at Coast to Coast Talent Group, will next be seen in FX’s Fargo and Zach Braff’s indie Wish I Was Here.
Read More »

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On The Bubble: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 2:25pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

networklogosIt is very difficult for showrunners to wrap production on a season without knowing if their series would get another season. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the network business, and about two dozen shows go though that every year. Here is a look at each network’s comedy and drama series in peril and their odds for survival.

With all the drama carnage at ABC this season (Lucky 7, Betrayal, Killer Women, Mind Games, The Assets), the network is pretty lean on the hourlong side, and all shows currently on the air have a good shot at coming back. agents of shieldThat includes two freshman series, fall drama Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., despite slipping in the ratings, and midseason entry Resurrection. Of returning dramas, there is no doubt about renewals for Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy, especially with stars Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey signed on, and Scandal, as well as Castle and Once Upon A Time. While it was heavily on the bubble last season, country music drama Nashville appears in a stronger position this spring and looks likely to continue. And, despite its ratings erosion, Revenge remains a signature, upscale drama for ABC that the network also owns. Because of its heavy mythology with a revenge storyline that has been central to the show since the pilot, it is unlikely that ABC would abruptly end the series without giving it a final chapter to wrap things up.

Things are far murkier on the comedy side where there are three shoe-ins, anchors Modern Family and The Middle and freshman The Goldbergs. None of these hail from ABC’s sister studio, and building a steady comedy pipeline at ABC Studios has been important for the overall health of the company. There are three ABC Studios-produced comedy series on ABC at the moment, all on the bubble: freshmen Trophy Wife and Mixology and sophomore The Neighbors. The network will likely renew at least one comedy from its own studio. (Last year, it picked The Neighbors vs. 20th TV’s How To Live With Your Parents.) Of the three, Trophy Wife seems to have the biggest support and is the most promotable, with KATE SIMSES, ADAM CAMPBELLa star cast led by Malin Akerman and Bradley Whitford. But the name cast also makes Trophy Wife the most expensive, and its ratings are pretty soft. The Neighbors, which comes from prominent Disney writer Dan Fogelman, costs way less, and, while only doing so-so on Fridays, it could deliver something ABC Studios has not seen in a while: a third-year comedy. (Fogelman also has comedy pilot Galavant in the running at ABC.) Then there is Mixology, which has not done well behind Modern Family. It stands out with its unusual structure — set in a bar over the course of one night — it has quickly built a core fan base and has supporters at ABC. But relaunching a heavily serialized comedy in the fall four months after a brief midseason run would be a challenge and growing ratings for such a show with a continues storyline would be very difficult. ABC has a recent history of sticking with narrow, quirky relationship comedies like Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—- but all were eventually cancelled. 20th TV’s Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen is quietly wrapping its third season. It has done a decent job as a Friday 8 PM anchor and is ABC’s only multi-camera series. With several high-proile multi-camera pilots, the network could use Last Man Standing as a building block. (How about Allen paired with another comedy vet, Henry Winkler of The Winklers?). Read More »

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MIPTV: Is Turkey As Hot As It’s Cracked Up To Be? Can Formats Really Go West?

By | Wednesday, 9 April 2014 18:37 UK

mip tv logo 2For about six months, the industry has been buzzing about Turkey and its potential as a fresh source of adaptable formats. That’s been spurred on by recent deals with the U.S., a successful export track record in neighboring regions, and a growing need for unique formats on the part of Western buyers. But, in the half-year since 2013’s Mipcom, people are wondering whether Turkey can really emerge as a new proving ground to be cultivated by the West, or if executives have been prematurely excited by some groundbreaking in-roads.

turkish flagTurkey, which straddles Europe and Asia, has historically traded in series and soaps with largely local and historical themes. And its production industry is growing. According to data released at last month’s Discop market, it has surpassed Latin America to be the most prolific drama-producing nation outside the U.S. Other recent data says that a majority of Turkish channels air more than 100 new shows a year. Those are for the most part exported to the rest of the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, bringing in about $150M in 2013.

the end turkeyBut outside those territories there wasn’t much action until October last year. During the Mipcom market, Turkey made a big entrance into the U.S. with the first scripted format set up at a network by American producers when Ghost Whisperer alums Ian Sander and Kim Moses sold the Eccho Rights-repped The End to Fox. Unlike much Turkish output, the story is contemporary and has a universal feel. It centers on a woman who must navigate a web of lies and intrigue as she searches for her husband whom she presumed dead following a plane crash — but it turns out, he never boarded the plane. Produced by local powerhouse Ay Yapim, it aired in the first half of 2012. In the past six months, The End (or Son in Turkish) has been sold into Germany and Russia for local versions, while Shine France took an option and Netflix signed a non-exclusive agreement for the original in Sweden and the UK. The End has also aired on SVT in Sweden, the first time a Turkish drama had been shown in primetime on a national channel — it doubled the slot average. Read More »

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Amazon Studios Confirms Pilots ‘Cosmopolitans’ & ‘Hand Of God’

By | Wednesday April 9, 2014 @ 6:55am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

adam brodyronperlmanAmazon Studios traditionally doesn’t announce its pilots until they’re fully cast and starting production. That is why it this morning confirmed the first two pilots from its third pilot season — half-hour dramatic comedy The Cosmopolitans, from Whit Stillman, and one-hour drama Hand Of God, from executive producers Marc Forster, Ben Watkins, Ron Perlman, Brian Wilkins and Jeff King. Both were greenlighted in January. The Cosmopolitans, about young American expatriates in Paris searching for love and friendship, stars Adam Brody and Chloë Sevigny.  Hand Of God stars Ron Perlman as a hard-living powerful judge-turned vigilante and co-stars Dana Delany and Garret Dillahunt. Yet to be confirmed are three other Amazon pilots ordered this year, single-camera comedy Red Oaks, executive produced by Steven Soderbergh and executive produced and directed by David Gordon Green,  Shaun Cassidy’s drama Hysteria and Samuel Baum’s dramedy Cocked. Here are detailed descriptions and credits for The Cosmopolitans and Hand Of God: Read More »

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Disney Parks Refutes Lawsuit Claiming Discrimination Against Autistic Kids

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 1:22pm PDT

DJP LEGAL BADGEWalt Disney Parks and Resorts today denied allegations in a lawsuit filed by families of children with developmental disorders that the company has caused them suffering and violated the American With Disabilities Act. The 57-count complaint (read it here), filed last week, seeks damages, injunctive relief, and declaratory relief for disney parks & resorts logoviolations of the ADA and the Unruh Civil Rights Act. ”Disney Parks have an unwavering commitment to providing an inclusive and accessible environment for all our guests,” a Disney Parks and Resorts spokesperson said today. “We fully comply with all ADA requirements and believe that the legal claims are without merit.” The scathing legal action filed by 16 children and young adults with autism and other developmental disorders and their guardians and parents contends that Disney’s recently implemented Disability Access Service violates federal and state law and is completely unsuited to the needs of individuals with such special needs. Disney disagrees. “Our Disability Access Service is designed for guests who, due to certain disabilities, cannot tolerate extended wait times at attractions. In circumstances where the service might not meet guests needs, we work individually with guests to ensure we are able to accommodate them,” said the company in a statement.

The 176-page complaint also alleges that, at the same time Disney moved to the DAS system last October, the Parks and Resorts division created a secret ”Magic List” program that could actually help solve a lot of … Read More »

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Safety On Set: Three Workers Speak Out

By and | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 9:57am PDT

David Robb contributed to this story. Second in a series.

Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia

There seems to be a fear among crew members in the industry about refusing to take part when they feel something is unsafe on a set, or speaking out after an accident lest they will be seen as a problem and lose future work, ostracized from the industry they love. But that is not always the case. It has been done in the past and a few courageous individuals are doing it today in hopes of getting the conversation started in the film and TV industries for the sake of all of their brethren. Legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler, longtime location manager/scout Billy Fox and assistant location manager Brianne Brozey (in Local 399) who was injured on a set in March 2011 are willing to shine a light now on a very real problem in the industry.

NoahsArkIn 1928, motion picture pioneer Hal Mohr set the standard for safety in Hollywood when he refused to take part in a stunt he deemed too dangerous. Mohr, who would go on to win two Oscars, was the head cameraman on Noah’s Ark that day, and when shown how the flood scene would be shot, he objected on grounds that hundreds of extras’ lives would be put at risk. When he was overruled by studio executives, he walked off the picture in protest. As he had feared, when 15,000 tons of water were released on the specially built set, three extras were drowned and dozens more were seriously injured. One of the extras who survived that day would go on to become a Hollywood legend: John Wayne.

152_Hal-MohrThe accident Mohr had warned about — at the time the worst in the history of the young movie business — would lead to the implementation of the industry’s first stunt safety regulations, according to the book Stunt: The Story Of The Great Movie Stunt Men by John O. Baxter. Incidentally, Mohr is noteworthy as well for being the only person to win an Oscar despite never being nominated in a competitive category; he won by write-in vote for A Midsummer’s Night Dream in 1936. He was the first cinematographer to win an Oscar for both black-and-white and color photography.

Billy FoxLocation manager Billy Fox, who has worked in the business for 31 years, has witnessed numerous close calls in dangerous situations that have arisen from eager filmmakers and producers pushing the boundaries of safety to get a shot. He says sometimes even the location manager raising safety concerns on a shoot is seen as an enemy in the production’s ranks. “It’s ‘Whose team are you on?’ ” said Fox. On one feature in 1990, a planned train explosion that made Fox wary was beefed up for a bigger effect, resulting in downed power lines that blacked out a nearby town and cost the film millions in insurance costs. On another indie, he battled with the film’s director, unit production manager, and 1st assistant director over a car stunt he felt was unsafe and pulled his name from the film’s permit the morning of the shoot. “At 10:38 AM my pager went crazy. The second unit camera crew had been driven over, sustaining broken bones and a crushed pelvis,” he said. Read More »

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Comcast Sets Stage For Testy Senate Hearing, Telling FCC That Time Warner Cable Acquisition Serves Public

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 11:09am EDT

Comcast Time Warner Cable logos

UPDATE, 10:06 AM: Comcast EVP David Cohen just fleshed out in a press call some of his company’s arguments for the Time Warner Cable deal. To those who say the combined company would be too big he says that “in this particular case we think big is good” — it would be better able to offer new and improved services. And if Comcast is wrong “it doesn’t make any difference really because, as a customer, you’ll have the exact number of choices as you had before the transaction.” The only change: With Comcast instead of TWC as a broadband or video provider consumers’ “choice will be better.” He adds that Comcast is focused “like a laser” on improving the customer experience. (Sound familiar?)

PREVIOUS, 8:09 AM: This is the kind of thing you’d expect the cable giant to assert in a regulatory filing — and that will be roundly contested, including tomorrow at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the $45.2B deal. Content companies that might oppose the deal “have strong relationships” with the committee, which oversees copyright matters, Guggenheim Securities’ Paul Gallant says. What’s more, the committee includes two strong critics of media consolidation: Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

SenateJudiciaryCommitteeComcast detailed its public interest arguments in a 175-page document delivered to the FCC this morning. It “lays out in considerable detail how Comcast and TWC are better together for millions of customers and businesses, describing the exciting enhanced services and other concrete consumer benefits that will be available because of the transaction,” Comcast EVP David Cohen says in a blog post. In addition to cable and Internet services, Comcast owns NBCUniversal.

The company indirectly takes issue with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ claim that Comcast imposed an “indirect tax” on the streaming video company in a recent deal: Netflix agreed to pay Comcast directly to access its broadband lines in a way that will deliver the best possible transmissions to its customers. Comcast says it has “no economic incentive” to hit up so-called edge providers because its customers “place a high premium on being able to access any Internet content they want.” Comcast would have about 30M broadband customers after acquiring TWC. Read More »

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Debbie DeMontreux Joins Embassy Row As SVP Developing & Programming

By | Monday April 7, 2014 @ 12:51pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

demontreuxFormer IFC head of original programming Debbie DeMontreux has joined Michael Davies’ Sony TV-owned production company Embassy Row as SVP of Development & Programming. DeMontreux, who is starting this month, will oversee development of new projects as well as all programming currently in production. DeMonreux spent 25 years at AMC Networks, most recently as SVP of Original Programming at IFC for the last 7 years, until resigning at the end of last year. Under her watch, IFC launched its flagship comedy series, Portlandia, as well as Comedy Bang! Bang!, Maron, sketch comedy The Birthday Boys, executive produced by Bob Odenkirk and Ben Stiller; and Will Ferrell’s miniseries The Spoils of Babylon. Read More »

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