Norway Narrows List Of Foreign Language Oscar Contenders
The Norwegian Oscar committee has shortlisted three films as possible submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar: Arild Østin Ommundsen’s It’s Only Make Believe, Iram Haq’s I Am Yours and Erik Skjoldbjærg’s Pioneer. The latter film is getting a special presentation in Toronto. Set during the oil rush, it tells the story of a professional deep-sea diver who begins to investigate the oil companies and their relationship with the government after a colleague dies. Magnolia Pictures has U.S. distribution. It’s Only Make Believe follows the return of a young woman who has spent 10 years in prison for murder. I Am Yours also bows in Toronto and tells the story of a young, single mother looking for love. Last year, Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning’s Kon-Tiki was the Norwegian representative and scored an Oscar nomination. The final decision on which film to send to the Academy for consideration will be made on September 20.
Canadian Filmmaker Jailed In Cairo Has Hearing Thursday
Canadian filmmaker John Greyson, who was arrested in Egypt on August 16, will have a court hearing Thursday in Cairo. Greyson was traveling to Gaza with Dr. Tarek Loubani when the pair was detained. According to reports, they were accused of being part of a group of people carrying explosives and ammunition in a plot to attack a police station. Canada’s Foreign Affairs minister John Baird has demanded their release. Neither man is understood to have been charged. Greyson is known for such films as Fig Trees and Zero Patience.
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On the heels of getting renewals for its first two series, series Hannibal on NBC and Hemlock Grove on Netflix, Gaumont International Television, the U.S.-based TV production arm of European film studio Gaumont, has hired three new executives: Carol Trussell as Head of Production; Adam Fishbach as SVP of Creative Affairs; and Mary Carol Bulger as Director of Production Administration. All three will be based in Los Angeles, working under GIT CEO Katie O’Connell. Trussell recently produced GIT’s series Hannibal for NBC. As Head of Production, Trussell will oversee both Hannibal and Hemlock Grove. She also will be responsible for production of the upcoming Gaumont series Barbarella that is set to start filming in early 2014. Trussell previously served as a producer on Roswell, What About Brian and True Blood. Fishbach, who will be responsible for new series development, joins GIT from Chris Morgan Prods. where he served as VP and helped develop and sell four projects last season, including Gang Related, which went to series at Fox, and Big Thunder, which was picked up to pilot at ABC. Before that, Adam served as an executive at Morgan Creek Prods. Bulger, who will coordinate information and documents between GIT’s productions, previously worked at Lux Pictures, WOW Entertainment, Shooting Star Pictures and Screen Capital International. She most recently served as Production/Distribution Administrator at Exclusive Media Group. GIT recently received a 2-for-1 straight-to-series commitment from Fox.
2013-14 NBC New Series
About A Boy – Based on the best-selling Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity,” “An Education”) novel, writer Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood”) and director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man,” “Revolution”) present a different kind of coming-of-age story. Will Freeman (David Walton, “Bent,” “Perfect Couples”) lives a charmed existence as the ultimate man-child. After writing a hit song, he was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. He’s single, unemployed and loving it. So imagine his surprise when Fiona (Minnie Driver, “Good Will Hunting,” “Barney’s Version”), a needy single mom and her oddly charming 11-year-old son, Marcus (Benjamin Stockham, “1600 Penn”), move in next door and disrupt his perfect world. When Marcus begins dropping by his home unannounced, Will’s not so sure about being a kid’s new best friend, until, of course, Will discovers that women find single dads irresistible. That changes everything and a deal is struck: Marcus will pretend to be Will’s son and, in return, Marcus is allowed to chill at Will’s house. Before he realizes it, Will starts to enjoy the visits and even finds himself looking out for the kid. In fact, this newfound friendship may very well teach him a thing or two that he never imagined possible — about himself and caring for others. Writer Jason Katims, director Jon Favreau, Tim Bevan (“Les Misérables,” “About a Boy”), Eric Fellner (“Les Misérables,” “About a Boy”), Liza Chasin (“Les Misérables,” “About … Read More »
Family comedies and action dramas dominate NBC‘s new series additions for next season. NBC is introducing six series in the fall — comedies Welcome to the Family, Sean Saves the World, and The Michael J. Fox Show; and dramas The Blacklist, Ironside and Dracula; with five more set for midseason– comedies The Family Guide and About A Boy, and dramas Believe, Crisis and Crossbones. (Dracula and Crossbones were carried over from last upfront/off-season). Not scheduled yet are newly picked up dramas Chicago PD and The Night Shift and comedy Undateable as well as last-minute renewal Community. On the returning series side, missing from the announcement are long-time reality staple Celebrity Apprentice and well reviewed freshman drama Hannibal as NBC is yet to make a pickup decision on both. Here is NBC’s fall and midseason schedules with analysis and new series descriptions underneath. As expected, the network is spreading its launches between the fall and spring, tied to its Winter Olympics coverage:
NBC FALL 2013-14 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET)
8-10 p.m. – “The Voice”
10-11 p.m. – “THE BLACKLIST”
8-9 p.m. – “The Biggest Loser” (New Day and Time)
9-10 p.m. – “The Voice” (New time)
10-11 p.m. – “Chicago Fire” (New Day and Time)
8-9 p.m. – “Revolution” (New Day and Time)
9-10 p.m. – ”Law & Order: SVU”
10-11 p.m. – “IRONSIDE”
8-8:30 p.m. – “Parks and Recreation” (New time)
8:30-9 p.m. – “WELCOME TO THE FAMILY”
9-9:30 p.m. – “SEAN SAVES THE WORLD”
9:30-10 p.m. – “THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW”
10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood” (New Day and Time)
8-9 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”
9-10 p.m. – “Grimm”
10-11 p.m. – “DRACULA”
7:00-8:15 p.m. – “Football Night in America”
8:15-11:30 p.m. – “NBC Sunday Night Football” Read More »
After a couple of days of intense and complex negotiations between NBC and Sony TV, all four projects that were part of the talks received orders by NBC. That includes The Blacklist, the highest testing NBC drama pilots in 10 years, blended family comedy pilot Welcome To The Family and off-cycle medical drama pilot The Night Shift, all picked up to series. (Sony’s fifth pilot at NBC this year, comedy Brenda Forever, remains in contention.) And of course, Community. A day after the cult comedy ended its fourth season, it got a fifth. The renewal is for 13 episodes. Here are descriptions of NBC’s newly picked up Sony series:
For decades, ex-government agent Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader, “The Office,” “Boston Legal”) has been one of the FBI’s Most Wanted fugitives. Brokering shadowy deals for criminals across the globe, Red was known by many as “The Concierge of Crime.” Now, he’s mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an explosive offer: He will help catch a long-thought-dead terrorist, Ranko Zamani, under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone, “Law & Order: Los Angeles”), an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico. For Liz, it’s going to be one hell of a first day on the job. What follows is a twisting series of events as the race to stop … Read More »
Starz has put in development a drama project from feature producer Lawrence Bender (Inglourious Basterds) and Breaking Bad co-executive producer Moira Walley-Beckett. Written by Walley-Beckett, the untitled project is described as a dark and gritty series that unflinchingly explores the dysfunctional underbelly of the ballet world. It follows a young female ballet dancer, Claire, who has a distinctly troubled past as she joins a prestigious ballet company in New York.
Bender is executive producing with Kevin Brown (Roswell) through their Bender-Brown Prods, as well as Walley-Beckett. All three have strong connections to the ballet world. Bender and Walley-Beckett are former ballet dancers, and Brown’s family is made up entirely of former ballet dancers and was the basis for the 1977 feature The Turning Point, which earned 11 Oscar nominations. Walley-Beckett is repped by UTA, Bender-Brown by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: Starz has closed a deal to develop Outlander, a drama series based on Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling fantasy/romance/adventure series of books. Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer Ron Moore will write the series adaptation, with Jim Kohlberg’s Story Mining and Supply Co producing. Sony Pictures TV is behind the project after acquiring rights to the books in the summer and attaching Moore, who is under an overall deal at the studio, to develop and write a series targeted for cable networks.
Outlander spans the genres of romance, science fiction, history, and adventure. It follows Claire, a married WWII combat nurse, who mistakenly steps back in time to year 1743 where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world of adventure that sends her on the run and threatens her life. When Claire is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, it ignites a passionate affair that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
Outlander is the latest Starz drama project set centuries in the past, along with hit Spartacus and the upcoming Da Vinci’s Demons, Black Sails, Marco Polo and The White Queen. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Producers Lawrence Bender (Inglorious Basterds) and Kevin Brown (Roswell) have signed a development deal with Universal Cable Prods. for their Bender Brown banner. Under the pact, the duo will shepherd projects for cable as well as broadcast for UCP, which has evolved from a production arm of USA Network and SyFy to a studio that supplies all cable and broadcast nets. For the past few years Bender Brown had been independent after a stint at Warner Bros. TV where the company produced CBS drama Dr. Vegas among other projects. It has done pilots for TNT, the CW and Lifetime and enjoyed its independence but “having a single studio partner is very exciting,” Brown said. “We have done everything from fantastical drama to multi-camera comedy, so the idea that there is a one studio like UCP that does all kinds of programming and sells all over town was very appealing”.
Added Bender, “USA Network is now starting to get into comedy, and that’s a real priority for us”. Brown’s long-time relationship with UCP SVP Richard Rothstein played an important role in making the deal, which started with a call by Rothstein to Bender and Brown’s WME agent. Five years ago, as an executive at UCP corporate sibling Universal Media Studios Rothstein developed a project with Bender and Brown. The duo also have a strong relationship with UCP sibling Syfy where they produced the 2004 miniseries Earthsea. Bender and Brown will work with UCP’s development team – SVPs Rothstein, Chris Sanagustin and Maira Suro – who oversee the studio’s development for USA, Syfy and external networks, respectively. “Lawrence and Kevin have the creative DNA – great ideas, a wide variety of genres and strong talent relationships – that goes perfectly with our diverse slate of projects and the type of production company we’re building at UCP”, Rothstein said. Read More »
Shiri Appleby has been tapped for an arc on the second season of HBO’s Emmy-nominated comedy Girls. She will play Natalie, a new love interest for Hannah’s (Lena Dunham) lover Adam Driver (Adam Sackler), who broke up with Hannah in the first-season finale. Natalie is a beautiful and charming New Yorker who adores Adam despite his wild sexual tendencies. Roswell alumna Appleby, repped by Gersh and John Carrabino, recently starred on CW’s Life Unexpected.
Melanie Griffith has closed a deal to do an arc on another single-camera comedy, Fox’s Raising Hope, which is heading into Season 3. She will play the mother of Sabrina (Shannon Woodward). Griffith will be joined by her mother, The Birds star Tippi Hedren, who will play her mother and Sabrina’s grandmother on the show. “As a fan of Melanie Griffith, the actress, I was excited about the possibility of having her on the show, and now that I’ve had the chance to meet Melanie Griffith, the person, I can’t wait to get the chance to work with her,” said Raising Hope creator Greg Garcia. “And then Tippi Hedren agrees to play Melanie’s mother on the show? Are you kidding? Just two weeks ago, I showed my kids The Birds for the first time. This is a very exciting way for us to start off … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures TV has closed a deal for the rights to Outlander, Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling fantasy/romance/adventure series of books. Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer Ron Moore will write the series adaptation, with Jim Kohlberg’s Story Mining and Supply Co producing. The project will be taken to cable networks this week.
The book series starts off in 1945 and follows Claire, a married WWII combat nurse who accidentally steps back in time to the Scottish Highlands of 1743. Catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that send her on the run and threaten her life she is forced to marry Jamie, a gallant and passionate young Scots warrior, igniting a passionate love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire… and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. The seven-book series has sold over 20 million copies. An eighth novel is slated to come out next year. The books have developed passionate fan following, with multiple companies running “Jamie and Claire” tours of Scotland, where they visit locations from the books. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jason Katims, the Emmy-winning writer-executive producer behind Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, has extended his relationship with the studio behind both series, Universal Television, in a new overall deal. Under the two-year pact, Katims will continue as executive producer on NBC’s Parenthood, in addition to developing new projects through his banner which he plans to build up into a full-fledged production company. As a key initial step, Katims has hired his first executive. Michelle Lee, VP at Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci K/O Paper Products, will join Katims’ company as head of development. “Jason Katims’ gift of writing deep, rich, complicated characters and relationships is a rare quality,” Universal TV EVP Bela Bajaria said. “We are excited to develop new shows with him this year and to continue to go on a journey with his characters on the new season of Parenthood.”
Katims said his great experience collaborating with other writers over the years, most recently with FNL‘s David Hudgins this past season, was key in his decision to take the next step and launch a production company. In the company’s first cycle, Katims plans to develop something for himself to write as well as supervise a couple of projects from other writers. “Michelle and will focus on quality as opposed to quantity and will start with a small slate of projects that we are passionate … Read More »
Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl is getting behind the camera. Grohl will direct Sound City, a documentary about the famous Van Nuys studio where Nirvana, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Cheap Trick, Guns and Roses and others have recorded. The film will feature interviews with musicians and producers who recorded at Sound City over the decades as well as history of the studio. Grohl recorded at Sound City for the first time in 1991 when he and Nirvana bandmates Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic made their multi-platinum album, Nevermind there. “Documenting a personal journey beginning 20 years ago that culminates in a full circle musical reunion,” said Grohl. “Sound City is film about the truth, the craft and the integrity of rock and roll.” In addition to Sound City, Grohl, as Deadline previously reported, is also working on a comedy with Dana Gould for FX. Mark Monroe, who wrote The Cove and The Tillman Story, is writing Sound City. Roswell Films is producing the film in conjunction with Jim Rota, John Ramsay, and Therapy studios.
The fourth annual Produced By Conference runs June 8-10 on the Sony lot in Culver City and last month set its speakers for the event sponsored by the Producers Guild in association with the International CES. The workshops and panels confirmed today include producer-centric topics from new media and global finance to distribution, marketing and brand identity. Here’s the program: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After seven seasons on House, series’ executive producers Garrett Lerner and Russel Friend are moving on with an overall deal at 20th Century Fox TV. Under the two-year pact, the duo, which fielded interest from multiple studios before signing with 20th TV, will develop new projects while also working on existing studio shows.
This marks Lerner and Friend’s return to 20th TV where they worked on three series, FreakyLinks, Roswell and Boston Public, before moving to NBC Universal, which produces House. “We’ve been fans of Garrett and Russel for a long time,” said 20th TV chairman Dana Walden who noted that she and fellow chairman Gary Newman also pursued Lerner and Friend the previous time their NBC Universal deal was up but the two ended up re-upping because of their ties to House. “They’re very versatile, strong writers who spent a great deal of time focusing on writing and producing one of the best shows on television,” Walden added. “We think they can make meaningful contributions to our current series, and we are excited about their development.” Lerner and Friend have been among the key writer-producers alongside creator/executive producer David Shore on Fox’s medical drama House, which will end its eight-season run in May, carving a niche for themselves as the moral voices of the show. The two joined the series at the beginning of season 2 as co-executive producers and were upped to executive producers at the end of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ron Moore has signed a new two-year overall deal with Sony Pictures TV. Under his current pact with the studio, the Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer sold several projects, one of which, magical cop drama 17th Precinct, went to pilot at NBC last season. Moore will continue to develop series projects through his production company Tall Ship Prods. with producing partner Maril Davis. Before joining Sony TV in 2010, Moore had three consecutive overall deals at NBC Uni’s Universal Media Studios that were tied to Moore’s services on Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica. Star Trek veteran Moore, repped by CAA, started his writing career on Next Generation and also spent five years on Deep Space Nine. He then served as co-executive producer/co-showrunner on the WB’s Roswell and as executive producer/showrunner on HBO’s Carnivale before segueing to Battlestar Galactica.
EXCLUSIVE: A major shake up is taking place at Arnon Milchan’s New Regency. Co-chairmen Bob Harper and Hutch Parker will not renew their contracts when they expire in December. I’ve confirmed with Harper that he and Parker are negotiating their exits. There had recently been a ripple of rumors about this, and there will be the inevitable speculation over whether the duo are jumping before being pushed. Harper didn’t get into that, but said that he was confirming because he and Parker were aware of the rumors and were most concerned with reassuring filmmakers with Regency projects that the duo would continue to be closely involved and see those films through to release. Harper also said the decision came after months of conversations with Milchan over whether or not to renew. Recently, they came to the conclusion that this was the best course. Milchan could conceivably name a replacement quickly, but Harper told me that he and Parker will continue to see through the completed films as well as some of the projects that are gearing up for production starts, regardless of how quickly the succession takes place.
Harper had been in the job for four years (he moved from the post of vice chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment and has worked for Fox since 1986), and Parker had been in the post for more than three years (he moved over from the post of 20th Century Fox vice chairman, and had been with the studio 13 years when he took the job). They have been involved in every facet of New Regency films, including production, marketing, distribution and administering the library. Harper said it is unclear what will happen next year, and that he and Harper haven’t solidified their plans. I wouldn’t be surprised if they remain on the Fox lot as producers or in some other capacity. Read More »
Canadian Indie Shaftesbury Films To Launch U.S. Branch & Tap Tom Mazza To Run It
TORONTO, August 30, 2011 – Shaftesbury, one of Canada’s leading creators and producers of original programming for television and multiple platforms, today announced the launch of Shaftesbury U.S., a new division focused on development for the U.S. market located in Los Angeles, California. Effective September 1, former Columbia TriStar Network Television President Tom Mazza and senior development executive Maggie Murphy have been appointed to jointly oversee the division as co-heads, reporting directly to Christina Jennings, Chairman and CEO, Shaftesbury.
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