Listen to (and share) episode 13 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch With Nancy Tartaglione. Deadline’s international editor talks from Jerusalem with host David Bloom about Israeli powerhouse Keshet’s big Innovative TV conference and what Bob Greenblatt had to say about the future of NBC; Slow TV hits the fast lane in Norway and maybe beyond; and a look ahead at this week’s American Film Market and what seems like Asia Week in Los Angeles, as both the Chinese and Thai governments sponsor a variety of events to build business relationships with Hollywood entertainment companies.
Francois Girard (The Red Violin) directs the Informant Media feature which Dustin Hoffman has signed on to topline. Pic tells the story of troubled 11-year-old Stet, a kid from the wrong side of the tracks who ends up in a school choir butting heads with Choir Master Carvelle (Hoffman), who pushes the boy to find his creative heart and soul in music. Young members of the renowned American Boychoir School will appear in the film, with Alfred Molina set to play fellow teacher Drake and Kathy Bates cast as the school’s headmistress. Source Code‘s Ben Ripley penned the script and Judy Cairo, Carol Baum and Jane Goldenring will produce. Informant’s Michael A. Simpson and Eric Brenner are exec producing with Ripley. John Papsidera is co-producing and casting the picture in a worldwide search for a musically and dramatically gifted young thesp to play Stet.
God’s Slave (Esclavo De Dios) was just acquired for sales by Continental Media, which will hawk it at AFM. It’s by first-time Venezuelan helmer Joel Novoa, who has signed with Original Artists and just signed on to direct ID2: Mad Mohammad. God’s Slave premieres next month at the Mar De Plata Film Festival. The premise seems timely.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Christopher Lee To Receive BFI Fellowship; FremantleMedia Int’l Inks Digital Deal With China’s Youku; More
Christopher Lee To Receive 2013 BFI Fellowship
Sir Christopher Lee will be this year’s recipient of the BFI Fellowship. The organization’s highest honor will be presented October 19during the awards ceremony for the BFI London Film Festival. The Fellowship is in recognition of outstanding contribution to film or television. Last year there was a double recipient in the form of Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter. Lee, who was knighted in 2009, has more than 250 acting credits — from his feature debut in 1948 with Corridor Of Mirrors to Hammer Films’ Dracula and The Lord Of The Rings‘ trilogy. The BFI will screen several of Lee’s most iconic performances during its upcoming Gothic season. The BFI today also announced juries for the London Film Festival. The nascent competitive section will be judged by film critic and journalist Phillip French, director Lone Scherfig, visual artist Stan Douglas, actress Miranda Richardson, author Deborah Moggach, and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto.
FremantleMedia International Inks With China’s Youku
FremantleMedia International announced Monday a multiyear digital deal with the China-headquartered portal Youku. The agreement will see a variety of FremantleMedia’s premium entertainment and drama content available to online audiences averaging 14 million unique users a day. More than 200 hours of programming will be available on Youku in the first year including recent seasons of American Idol ,The X Factor USA, America’s Got Talent, Project Runway and The Celebrity Apprentice and season 13.
CineTel Films’ Paul Hertzberg has been re-elected to a second term as Chairperson of the Independent Film & Television Alliance‘s Executive Committee. Voting took place during the annual member meeting of the IFTA, the indie trade organization that runs the annual American Film Market in Santa Monica. This year’s AFM runs November 6-13. General Vice Chairperson Kirk D’Amico (Myriad Pictures) and Vice Chairperson/Secretary Lise Romanoff (Vision Films, Inc.), who both also ran unopposed, also remain on the Exec Committee. They join four members already a year into their two-year terms: Clay Epstein (Arclight Films), Chairperson, IFTA Export Alliance; Nicolas Chartier (Voltage Pictures), Vice Chairperson; Brian O’Shea (The Exchange), Vice Chairperson/Finance; and Michael Ryan (GFM Films), Vice Chairperson. Newly elected to the IFTA’s Board of Directors are Glen Basner (FilmNation Entertainment), Shaked Berenson (Epic Pictures Group), Roger Corman (New Horizons Picture Corp), Pierre David (Reel One Entertainment), Ennis Hensley (The Weinstein Company), Andrew Kramer (Lionsgate), Albert Lee (Emperor Motion Pictures), Avi Lerner (Nu Image/Millenium Films), Charlotte Mickie (Entertainment One), and Thorsten Schumacher (Hanway Films).
The American Film Market will launch its first AFM Producers Forum during the confab held November 6-13 in Santa Monica. Experienced producers can take part in the forum’s 16 educational sessions on a variety of topics held daily followed by private networking receptions. Concurrently the AFM Conference Series running November 8-12 will cover topics including finance, pitch, production, and marketing and distribution with focus on crowd-funding, crowd-sourcing audiences, film festivals, video on demand and more. AFM also announced today the creation of a 2,000 square foot Japan Pavilion by Japan External Trade Organization and UniJapan.
Here’s the rundown of AFM 2013 Conferences:
Los Angeles, CA – October 11, 2012 – The 2012 American Film Market (AFM), set for October 31-November 7 in Santa Monica will screen more than 420 motion pictures, including 77 world premieres and 306 market premieres, for thousands of film buyers and industry professionals from more than 70 countries. Jonathan Wolf, AFM Managing Director and Executive Vice President of the Independent Film & Television Alliance, made the announcement today.
Films making their World Premieres include: A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, from writer/director Roman Coppola and starring Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman and Charlie Sheen (Independent); Cottage Country, starring Malin Akerman and Lucy Punch (VMI Worldwide); The Frozen Ground, starring Nicolas Cage, John Cusack and Vanessa Hudgens (Voltage Pictures); Nous York, starring Leila Bekhti and Géraldine Nakache (Pathé International); The Numbers Station, starring John Cusack and Malin Akerman (Content); and Pawn, starring Nikki Reed and Ray Liotta (Red Sea Media) and Summer In February, starring Dominic Cooper and Emily Browning (Speranza13 Media).
The Independent Film & Television Alliance, which runs the American Film Market, had been flirting with moving the annual market downtown to the L.A. Live complex, and only reluctantly confirmed in September that it was staying in Santa Monica through 2012. But now it has gotten the upgrades it wanted from the city and has inked a deal that will keep the confab at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel — its home since 1991 — through 2017. Events also will be held at Le Merigot Beach Hotel and the Fairmont Miramar.
AFM officials cited an upcoming AMC cinema complex with 12 screens; a renovated and expanded Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, which will provide a venue for red-carpet premieres; additional hotel rooms in the downtown area; a light-rail stop at Fourth Street and Colorado Boulevard set to open in 2015; and a seven-acre park on Ocean Avenue opposite the Loews scheduled to be completed in 2013, along with a mixed-use complex featuring restaurants and retail. “Our stated goal from the start of this process has been to provide the best environment, resources and value for the world’s buyers and sellers and, after long and careful deliberations, we believe remaining in Santa Monica will achieve all of those goals,” IFTA president and CEO Jean Prewitt said. Santa Monica officials say that AFM will contribute more than $100 …
Universal Pictures International Entertainment has picked up rights to Content Film’s Hard Boiled Sweets for the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Benelux and Scandinavia, the companies announced Friday. Written and directed by David L. G. Hughes, Sweets is a crime thriller starring Scot Williams (The Crew), Paul Freeman (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Long Good Friday, Hot Fuzz), Peter Wight (Another Year, Hot Fuzz), Ian Hart (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Finding Neverland, Michael Collins), Elizabeth Berrington (In Bruges, Secrets and Lies), Laura Greenwood (The Brothers Grimm) andPhilip Barantini (Band of Brothers, Ned Kelly). Inspired by Hughes’ short story A Girl With a Gun, the movie centers on an ex-con named Johnny is coerced into taking part in a heist that he wants no part of. What he doesn’t know is that a bunch of other hoods also have designs on the million in cash stashed at a mobster’s home. The deal was negotiated by Harry White, head of sales at Content, and Jasper van Hecke, international acquisitions manager at UPIE.
The American Film Market has released the schedule for its new Industry Conversations program, which will spotlight prominent biz players, is free to attendees and runs November 2-8. AFM begins Wednesday and runs through November 9. Here’s the lineup:
Thursday, 3 November, 2011
“Columbus Circle” – A Conversation with Actor Kevin Pollak (co-writer & producer), Actress Selma Blair, director and co-writer George Gallo; TBD executive from Lightning Entertainment or another Producer.
“Columbus Circle” is a stylish and riveting thriller about a reclusive young heiress, Abigail, who lives a guarded and sheltered life in a luxurious New York penthouse. But when she is befriended by Lillian and Charlie, the glamorous new owners of the apartment next door, Abigail’s safe and secure existence is suddenly threatened. The film stars Selma Blair, Amy Smart, Giovanni Ribisi, Jason Lee and Kevin Pollak. (Lightning Entertainment; American Film Market World Premiere).
Flights. Camera. Action. How to make it all happen – A Conversation with Bertram von Munster, Co-creator and Executive Producer, “The Amazing Race.” Hosted by Jack Gonzales, Former Travel Director, Sony Pictures.
Los Angeles, CA, Oct. 27, 2011 – The 2011 American Film Market today released its expanded Conference schedule with speakers encompassing a broad cross-section of key Hollywood and global players converging for the 32nd Market Nov. 2-9. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Entertainment Partners will serve as the presenting sponsors of the AFM Conference Series, which will showcase panels on film financing, production, marketing, distribution and pitching. The five-day series will include prominent filmmakers, financiers and industry executives, covering all aspects of filmmaking from treatment to screen:
Friday, 4 November, 2011: 9:00am – 1:00pm
Leading CEOs, filmmakers, financiers and studio executives converge to explore the current state of independent film financing: emerging trends, where the money is, new opportunities and incentives, and what the future holds.
Current Issues in the Production, Financing and Distribution of Independent Film
Moderator: P. John Burke, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Panelists: Ashok Amritraj, CEO, Hyde Park Entertainment; Doug Hansen, President, Endgame Entertainment; Robert Hayward, Chief Operating Officer, Summit Entertainment, L.P.; Patrick Russo, Principal, The Salter Group; Jared Underwood, Senior Vice President, Group Manager Entertainment, Comerica Bank Entertainment Group
With the American Film Market kicking off next week in Santa Monica, sellers already are positioning the projects they will put in front of the more than 8,000 attendees from more than 70 countries. Here are a few projects already ramping up:
Stockwell To Direct Code Name Geronimo
John Stockwell (Dark Tide, Turistas, Into The Blue) has come aboard to direct the upcoming Code Name Geronimo, the latest among a slew of films centered on the Navy SEALs’ mission to find and kill Osama bin Laden. Voltage Pictures is selling rights at AFM on this film, which was written by Kendall Lampkin and is set to begin principle photography in January. ICM negotiated the deal and represents Stockwell. Geronimo is based on the actual incursion into bin Laden’s compound from the perspective of a small unit of SEALs. Of course, the most high-profile of the bin Laden film bunch is the Sony Pictures one from The Hurt Locker team of director Kathryn Bigelow and scribe Mark Boal, which focuses on the SEAL unit’s hunt for the al-Qaeda leader and is looking like it might not be released until after the 2012 presidential election. There’s also Relativity’s Act Of Valor, which features a half-dozen leads played by actual SEALs and was backed by the military. It is due out Presidents Day weekend 2012. That one was scripted by Kurt Johnstad (300) and directed by the ICM-repped Bandito Brothers’ Mike “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh.
After the frighteningly high opening gross of Paranormal Activity 3, the appetite for “found footage” horror films clearly hasn’t been sated. Here’s a teaser trailer for Amber Alert, a film that will be shopped at next week’s AFM by WME Global, which is repping worldwide rights. The logline: When a group of friends decides to follow a car they’ve seen posted on an Amber Alert, things start to go very wrong. Amber Alert was directed by Kerry Bellessa and is a co-production between Underground Films and Bluefield Entertainment.
Los Angeles, CA, Oct. 12, 2011 – The 32nd American Film Market (AFM) will screen 395 motion pictures, including 65 world premieres and 295 market premieres, for thousands of buyers and industry professionals from 70 plus countries. Jonathan Wolf, AFM Managing Director and Executive Vice President of the Independent Film & Television Alliance, made the announcement today. The 2011 AFM will take place Nov. 2-9 in Santa Monica, CA.
Films making their World Premieres include A Gang Story, starring Gérard Lanvin and Tchéky Karyo (Gaumont); Bad Karma, starring Ray Liotta, Dominic Purcell and Rhona Mitra (Screen Media); Columbus Circle, starring Selma Blair, Amy Smart, Giovanni Ribisi and Kevin Pollak (Lightning Entertainment); Nobel’s Last Will, starring Malin Crépin, Björn Kjellman and Leif Andrée (Zodiak Rights); Snowflake, the White Gorilla, starring Elsa Pataky and Pere Ponce (Filmax International); Special Forces, starring Diane Kruger, Djimon Hounsou and Benoit Magimel (StudioCanal); and The Expatriate, starring Aaron Eckhart and Olga Kurylenko (Essential Entertainment).
Paul Hertzberg, the president and CEO of CineTel Films, has been elected chairman of the Independent Film & Television Alliance, the group that puts on the annual American Film Market each fall in Santa Monica. Imagination Worldwide chairman and CEO Pierre David was elected vice chairperson and Summit Entertainment EVP International Distribution Brad Kembel was made vice chairperson/secretary in the voting; all three ran unopposed. Hertzberg takes over the top spot from Troma Entertainment boss Lloyd Kaufman, who was among a group elected to a two-year term on the board of directors. This year’s AFM runs Nov. 2-9.
The Independent Film & Television Alliance, which puts on the American Film Market, put out an odd statement today reluctantly confirming that the annual film-sales confab will remain based at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel — at least for 2011 and 2012. The statement, which won’t be one they’ll save down at the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, comes after word leaked out recently that the IFTA was talking with the Anschutz Entertainment Group about moving the convention to AEG’s L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles. The IFTA said there is no deal yet and it is continuing discussions with Loews, but then it goes on to give a laundry list of reasons why L.A. Live is the better place for the event, saying relocating would provide:
The American Film Market will launch a new five-day program, the AFM Conference Series, when the annual global film sales confab convenes Nov. 2-9 in Santa Monica. AFM organizers also will introduce Industry Conversations, daily discussions led by visionaries, trendsetters and experts free to attendees. Here’s the Conference Series schedule:
EXCLUSIVE: Capping off a weekend where it surprisingly emerged as one of the hottest title at AFM with huge foreign territory asks, Walking with Dinosaurs is at the center of a big deal with 20th Century Fox. I’m hearing Fox is acquiring U.S. distribution rights and several international territories. The film is directed by Neil Nightengale and Pierre De Lespinois and the script is being written by John Collee, whose credits include the Peter Weir-directed Fox pic Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World as well Happy Feet and Creation. The $65 million budget CG/live-action family film is a co-production between BBC Earth and Reliance Big Pictures, and based on BBC Worldwide’s franchise. BBC Earth and Evergreen Films produced and Reliance Big Pictures financed it. The film will use live-action footage of scenery and CGI creatures. In addition to U.S. distribution rights, Fox picked up rights in a number of key international markets, including the UK, France, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Italy and Latin America.
Maya Entertainment and Open Window Films have acquired The Jesuit, an action drama written and to be directed by Paul Schrader. Production is set to begin in early March 2011. Michelle Rodriguez, Willem Dafoe and Paz Vega star in the film, about a man who exits prison in south Texas and returns to a violent life. The Jesuit will be produced by John Morrissey, Santiago Garcia Galvan and Alex Garcia.