EXCLUSIVE: Domestic rights to Home, the thriller from writer-director Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact), have been acquired by IFC Midnight following the pic’s premiere last month at SXSW. The Midnight selection stars Naya Rivera (Glee), …
UPDATE, 1:25 PM: A fourth person has died following from injuries he suffered when a car crashed through a barricade and into a crowd of SXSW concertgoers earlier this month. The Austin-American Statesman reports 18-year-old DeAndre Tatum of Fort Worth died this morning at a hospital. The alleged driver, 21-year-old Rashad Owens, is charged with capital murder and remains held on $3 million bail.
PREVIOUS, 3RD UPDATE, MARCH 17 AM: A third victim has died as a result of injuries suffered early Thursday morning when a car slammed through a barricade and ran into a crowd of SXSW concertgoers. The local Austin American Statesman reported that 26-year-old Sandy Le of Mississippi died this morning local time. She had been one of 21 victims taken to the hospital immediately after a man Austin police believe to be 21-year-old Rashad Owens plowed his Honda into the crowd while trying to evade police; the arrest warrant released Friday says Owens had a .114 blood alcohol content, above the .08 legal limit, and he is in jail facing capital murder charges and $3 million in bail. Two people, Jamie West, who was on a moped, and Steven Craenmehr, a Dutch national who was on his bicycle, were pronounced dead on site Thursday. The Statesman says six people remain in the hospital as of today, with one of them still in critical condition.
Q&A: Jason Blum & Mark Duplass Team On Horror Pic ‘Creep’ As Blumhouse Hit Machine, Indie Model Converge
Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum and filmmaker Mark Duplass aren’t the likeliest pair to join forces, but the microbudget horror maven and the indie veteran found common ground when they linked up just over a year ago on a found-footage pic Duplass was hammering out with director pal Patrick Brice. Creep follows the unfolding tale of a videographer (Brice) who answers a Craigslist ad to shoot video of a stranger (Duplass). The two filmed the pic on the fly shaping the story as they went. When Creep began looking like a horror pic, Duplass rang Blum, who then came aboard as producer. The film premiered last week at SXSW.
Blum, who made his fortune and his name on 2009′s game-changer Paranormal Activity, has seen his reputation as a hitmaker climb as audiences keep buying tickets for his insta-franchises including Insidious, Sinister, and The Purge. In a SXSW keynote speech, he lined out the secret to Blumhouse’s success: low budgets of $1M-$3M, directors with something to prove (and, often, bad studio experiences under their belts), no CG, no rebate-state shoots outside of L.A., and scale pay for cast and crew with a cut of the profits if the movie is a hit.
However Creep‘s future shakes out, Duplass is ready to embrace alternative channels of distribution. The actor-writer-director-producer got his start with his and brother Jay Duplass’ indie drama The Puffy Chair, one of Netflix’s early streaming success stories. He’s now produced and distributed nine more features using his own Blum-like formula developed over the past decade working in indie film. Creep is the first of their two features together, with Universal and Blumhouse’s Stephen King adaptation Mercy also on the way. Blum and Duplass explained their simpatico methods during SXSW:
DIY distribution platform VHX made a big move at SXSW this week when it opened its digital doors to the public, allowing any content creator to sell direct to fans at low cost. The start-up founded in 2011 by Jamie Wilkinson and Casey Pugh had been in private beta for two years building a library of over 300 select titles from indie filmmakers and film companies including Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me, and Oscar nominated docu The Act of Killing. Unlike video distribution storefronts like Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes, VHX offers technology that allows makers to sell content direct to fans via high quality streaming or DRM-free download at price points of their choosing, on their own websites. That means flinging the gates wide open to any and all content. “The goal is to close the gap between interest and availability,” VHX co-founder Wilkinson told me in Austin. Most digital distributors are selective in their content deals but VHX is a facilitator, not a gatekeeper of content.
VHX is one of a handful of rising DIY distribution companies offering content creators an alternative to aggregators by cutting out the middleman, dramatically changing traditional distribution models, territorial rights, and release windows – not just the means of delivery. “Traditional distribution thinking is that the world is chunked up into borders and information does not cross these borders, but the internet has changed all that,” said Wilkinson. VHX allows users to geofilter content by region but recommends they offer worldwide releases for maximum exposure. More than half of VHX sales come from outside the U.S. from consumers who don’t want to wait for a film to expand to their region or hit home video. “When you’re marketing or at a premiere in the U.S., people hear about it and there’s demand all over the world. We see tons of successful pre-orders because of that – there’s demand and people are Googling the film and they want to take some kind of action. You might as well offer it for purchase.”
SXSW: Audience Award Winners Are Announced With ‘Cesar Chavez’, ‘Before I Disappear’ & HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ Among The Faves
The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival announced their Audience Award-winners today including wins for Diego Luna‘s biopic Cesar Chavez in the narrative spotlight and the Emmy Rossum-starring drama Before I Disappear in the narrative feature spotlight. Also getting a crowd-pleasing boost before its April 6 HBO premiere is Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley which took the Episodic award. Last year’s winner in the narrative feature competition was Short Term 12 which was released by Cinedigm and had some awards buzz this past fall. The SXSW Jury Awards were announced on Tuesday with the Grand Jury Prize going to Fort Tilden and the The Great Invisible, Margaret Brown’s look at the oil industry’s secretive world in the wake of the Gulf Coast disaster, earning the top documentary prize. Below are a list of the SXSW Film Festival Audience Award winners:
A comedy about two young women having a really difficult time getting to the beach won the Grand Jury prize for features tonight at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin. Fort Tilden is directed and written by Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers and stars Bridey Elliott and Clare McNulty. The Great Invisible, director Margaret Brown’s look at the oil industry’s secretive world in the wake of the Gulf Coast disaster, took the top prize for documentary features. The awards were hosted for the second year by comedian Jerrod Carmichael at the Paramount Theatre in Austin. The Audience Awards will be announced Saturday, and the festival wraps Sunday.
Here is the complete list of 2014 SXSW Film Festival award winners:
EXCLUSIVE: Big In Japan is a documentary-style feature about a Seattle band that makes one last stab at making it by going on tour you know where. It’s a good example of how music and film converge at …
If you want better privacy and security, you’d better pay for it instead of relying on ad-financed search, social media and other online companies most of us use, said a SXSW Interactive Conference panel featuring Edward Snowden, the former intelligence analyst making his first public video appearance since he blew the whistle on massive U.S. government surveillance. Snowden, still living in an undisclosed Russian location while he seeks asylum, took part in the panel long distance by way of a Google+ Hangout chat room. The irony of using such a free service while criticizing Google’s data security was not lost on Snowden or the ACLU specialists who joined him on the panel. The event has been criticized by politicians including Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He wrote a letter to SXSW last week urging the fest to uninvite Snowden, saying his inclusion rewarded him and “undermines the very fairness and freedom that SXSW and the ACLU purport to foster.” The appearance went off without a hitch.
Snowden — perhaps predictably for a long-time computer specialist — focused his remarks today on the technical and legal tools that could protect an average user from mass surveillance. Snowden said putting those protections in place, both in how government oversight works and in how we use our favorite online services, is essential to the Internet’s long-term viability. ”This is a global issue,” Snowden said. “(The U.S. mass-surveillance efforts are) setting fire to the future of the Internet. And the people in this room now, you’re all the firefighters. Changes in technical standards can make mass surveillance more expensive and less practical.”
SXSW: Vimeo Expands On Demand, Partners With Oscilloscope, Patagonia Selects, Slamdance & SXSW On Curated Film Collections
A year after introducing its direct distribution platform at SXSW, Vimeo today announced upgrades to its Vimeo On Demand experience as the service continues to expand into a digital storefront destination for video. Vimeo has also added themed collections to its offerings, launching with four curated partnerships with Oscilloscope Laboratories, Patagonia Selects, the Slamdance Film Festival, and the SXSW Film Festival. Vimeo users can now browse themed film bundles and titles by genre from the content uploaded and distributed by Vimeo creators. Among the new improvements to the user experience are a My Library function that allows viewers to access rented, purchased, and previously watched titles and the ability to browse title cards with posters, descriptions, and trailers. Last week Vimeo announced a $10 million investment providing direct financial support and online marketing assistance to Vimeo content creators. Here’s the lineup of premium Vimeo partner titles included in the new film collections:
Oscilloscope Laboratories: Oscilloscope Laboratories is a film distribution company founded by Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. Oscilloscope’s eclectic, acclaimed slate has garnered six Academy nominations in as many years. The collection for Vimeo On Demand includes 12 O’Clock Boys; A Teacher; After Tiller; Dark Days; It’s a Disaster; Our Day Will Come; The Messenger; These Birds Walk; and We Need to Talk About Kevin.
Patagonia Selects: Vimeo On Demand will feature a selection of social impact films curated by Patagonia, including the upcoming DamNation; Fall and Winter; Groundswell; North of the Sun; Snows of the Nile; Slow is Fast; The Fruit Hunters; Trashed; and Village at the End of the World. Today, the Vimeo Theater at SXSW will host the world premiere of Patagonia Film’s new feature, DamNation.
Literary and cinematic roots run deep in Showtime’s new psychosexual horror series Penny Dreadful, which debuts in May with an episode helmed by The Orphanage director Juan Antonio Bayona. Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, and Harry Treadaway star in the show created by Oscar-nominated scribe John Logan and exec produced by Sam Mendes which crosses the mythologies of iconic horror figures from Frankenstein, Dracula, and Dorian Gray lore in a Victorian England setting. “We wanted to pay respects to the mythology but bring them to a new level,” said Bayona of the show’s twisty take on well-known stories and characters.
Coincidentally, another thread connects the Penny Dreadful gang in front of and behind the camera. “There’s a lot of James Bond on this show: John wrote Skyfall, Sam directed it, Eva was in Casino Royale – I said to someone, I think I’m being groomed for the next Bond movie,” said Hartnett at a Q&A following the premiere of Penny Dreadful’s first episode Sunday at SXSW. Hartnett plays American gunslinger Ethan Chandler, who is recruited by Sir Malcolm (Dalton, a former 007 himself) and the enigmatic Vanessa Ives (Green) for a supernatural mission in London. The gothic series is one of a handful of television projects highlighted this year in SXSW’s new programming slate devoted to episodic /TV content.
Connectivity was the theme in Austin on Saturday: Kevin Bacon made his first trip to the SXSW Film Festival to chat about his career, including the 20th anniversary of the “six degrees” game that links him to every other actor in Hollywood. The star of Footloose has gone from being “horrified” by the pop phenomenon to embracing it for his charity network: SixDegrees.org. Film veteran Bacon is now starring in the second season of his first TV show, Fox’s The Following, which was just renewed for a third season despite this year’s ratings slip. Bacon reflected on his career with Deadline as SXSW’s 2014 edition kicked off:
DEADLINE: Your first role was in Animal House, which the recent passing of Harold Ramis brought back into mind. And that role couldn’t be farther from the “Kevin Bacon” audiences have come to know.
KEVIN BACON: Between me and Neidermeyer, he’s the one you want the worst fate to befall. And that’s fun to do. I was so grateful to [John] Landis and Harold Ramis and all those guys for giving me that part. They came to my acting school and I didn’t have an agent, I didn’t have a pot to piss in. When the movie came out I was still a waiter — I had to ask for the night off in order to go to the premiere. So that was a huge movie in my life, but it didn’t change my life, really, other than I thought, “OK, now I’ve actually worked and got paid to be an actor.” But it certainly didn’t put me on the map. It was still a struggle to try and get an agent. It was still a struggle to make ends meet; I ended up waiting tables for quite a few years after the movie came out.
DEADLINE: Why did it take you so long time to come to television with The Following?
BACON: TV has undergone a renaissance, but when I started that just was not the perception. So it was a very difficult decision. Most of it was clouded by my own snobbery. There was a directive amongst my representation to never, ever come to me with a television show because I would perceive that as a vote of no confidence, and it would anger me. And then my focus started to shift. I started to think about all the shows that I was watching and consuming over an entire weekend – The Sopranos, The Wire, Dexter, Six Feet Under. I was seeing iconic performances, not the least of which with [his wife] Kyra [Sedgwick] and seeing her life in the seven years she was on [The Closer]. I went, “Why am I being such an asshole? Why not? What I really love to do is act. Why not put yourself in a situation where you have a greater chance and more time in front of the camera, over the course of months — years, if you’re lucky?” I threw my hat into the ring and said, “OK, I’m open to the idea now.” In the next two weeks I read three or four of the best scripts I’d ever read. Pilots. And I thought, I really have been missing out.
EXCLUSIVE: In the grand tradition of Borat and recent Paramount hit Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, prank comedy hybrid May The Best Man Win combines narrative storytelling with hidden camera stunts pulled on real folks, starring Drew Tarver of the upcoming …
First deal out of SXSW today is Lionsgate‘s purchase of the North American rights for Eduardo Sanchez‘s Bigfoot feature Exists. Sanchez co-directed the 1999 microbudget title The Blair Witch Project for $60K, which then-distributor Artisan morphed into a worldwide phenom with close to $250 million at the box office. Below is Lionsgate’s release for the Jamie Nash-scripted Exists:
(Austin, TX & Santa Monica, CA, March 8, 2014) — Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) has acquired North American distribution rights to EXISTS, a new horror film from THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT director Eduardo Sánchez. The film played last night to a sold-out midnight screening at SXSW in Austin.
In Bigfoot’s bold return to the big screen, five friends on a camping weekend in the remote woods of East Texas struggle to survive against a legendary predator that is stronger, smarter, and more terrifying than anything they would have ever believed exists.