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Showbiz In Scotland: Films To Hit Toronto As ‘Outlander’ Goes To Glasgow

By | Sunday August 25, 2013 @ 4:33pm PDT

Here’s the latest in Deadline’s series of reports touching on the people, projects and polemics buzzing around the globe. This week, Scotland follows looks at Japan, Italy, India and France.

Last summer, Scotland got its own Disney heroine in the form of Brave‘s Merida. This summer, Scotland is hot again, and it’s not just a late-breaking heatwave that has the mercury rising. Every August, the capital city of Edinburgh becomes a hub of festival activity from the Edinburgh International Festival to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh International Television Festival, but this year there’s more reason to consider England’s neighbor to the north (especially as it readies a 2014 referendum on independence from the UK). Attention turned to Edinburgh last week as Kevin Spacey spoke at the TV fest to deliver a timely take on issues facing the business. Meanwhile, four movies partly funded by Scotland are on their way to Toronto, and next month sees the Starz series Outlander settle in for 38 weeks of shooting from a base near Glasgow.

Back in the late 90s when Trainspotting and Braveheart “made Scotland hip” there was “an opportunity to capitalize and lure people” to the territory, Trainspotting producer Andrew Macdonald tells me. But now might really “be the moment,” he says. Macdonald produced Sunshine On Leith, the Toronto-bound Dexter Fletcher-directed movie based on the stage musical that was inspired by the music of cult Scottish pop-folk band The Proclaimers. (Their 1988 song ‘I’m On My Way’ was featured on the soundtrack of DreamWorks’ Shrek.) The film follows the stories of Davy and Ally after their return home from serving in Afghanistan. Peter Mullan and Jane Horrocks star in the DNA Films production. Shooting took place in Edinburgh and the movie received £300,000 in funding from Scotland’s arts body Creative Scotland. Just this month, Focus Features International boarded for worldwide sales. Macdonald is a Scotsman (he’s also the brother of helmer Kevin Macdonald), but director Fletcher is English. This didn’t stop Creative Scotland, which is coming off of a bumpy 2012 that saw a management shake-up, from investing. The org’s Caroline Parkinson, head of creative development, tells me that there is a cultural test to access the £4M pot from which the outfit draws, but the idea is to be “flexible” and not rule out what can be “fantastic films for Scotland.” Read More »

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Kevin Spacey Cautions TV Biz On Laziness, Stumps For Multi-Platform Movie Releases

Following Kevin Spacey’s MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Thursday evening (check out a clip below), the House Of Cards star sat down for a Q&A this morning. Spacey said he viewed his speech the previous evening as “a good opportunity to look at where the industry is now… and an opportunity to talk about some of the warning signs that Hollywood and the industry aren’t hearing.” He expanded on some of those Thursday talking points, notably the problems with pilots and the industry’s responsibility to support new talent.

This morning he said, “People are too lazy” to seek talent in unconventional places. “I’ll hear people are doing a show in a pub or a basement and it’s incredible and they can’t get anyone to come see it. No agent or manager or exec will go. You have to get off your ass and go look,” he said. He then warned, “If executives and people in the talent business don’t participate… they’re going to miss it.” More people, he suggested, will self-produce and distribute via the likes of YouTube “and the networks are going to miss it.”

Related: Kevin Spacey Laments Lack Of Ballsy TV Execs In MacTaggart Lecture
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BAFTA To Showcase Rising Comedy Writers At Edinburgh & New York TV Festivals

BAFTA and industry training group Rocliffe have selected eight TV comedy writers they deem to be the UK’s most promising, and they’re taking them on the road. Three of the scripters will head to the Edinburgh TV Festival in August and the other five will go to the New York TV Festival in October where their works will be performed by professional actors. The BBC will also pay for a full script commission from one of the writers selected for Edinburgh. The initiative hails from the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum, now in its third year of bringing talent to New York. It’s adding Edinburgh for the first time. The writers were chosen from a pool of about 500 candidates by a jury that included Jessica Hynes (Twenty Twelve), Caryn Mandabach (Nurse Jackie), Tom Anderson (Cheers), and reps from the major UK broadcasters. Click over for a round-up of the scripters and their projects: Read More »

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Google TV Launching In Europe Early 2012: Transcript Of Eric Schmidt’s UK Lecture

By | Saturday August 27, 2011 @ 11:17am PDT

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt was the keynote speaker at the Edinburgh International TV Festival as he substituted for Shine Group founder Elisabeth Murdoch. During Friday’s MacTaggart Lecture (transcript below), given for the first time by a television industry outsider, Schmidt said Google  TV plans to launch in Europe early next year, with the UK a top priority. Many more partners are expected to join the fledgling TV service soon, Schmidt said, and the company is ”absolutely committed” to its fledgling small tube business which allows viewers to mix web and television content on TV screens via a browser. He said U.S. networks who balked at Google TV earlier this year still aren’t on board, and he hopes the service won’t face a similar problem in Europe. In his keynote, Schmidt also named three trends to watch: mobile, local, and social — a nod to Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility as well as a desire to personalize TV content and services. “Soon, your typical Internet users won’t be indoors with a PC; they’ll be out and about on their cell phone,” Schmidt said. “Reflecting this, new genres of online content and services are emerging. If content is king, context is its crown. … And if you think all this is exciting, or frightening, remember, this is only the beginning. In technological terms, we’re scarcely at the end of the first act of the Internet age.” Below is the transcript of Schmidt’s speech:

I understand this is the first time the MacTaggart has been given by someone not employed in Television broadcasting or production. I’m not sure whether that means the bar has been raised or lowered, but I’ll do my best!

It’s a huge honour to be invited to speak on such a prestigious occasion, especially as an industry outsider. When he spoke here two years ago, James Murdoch described himself as the crazy relative everyone is embarrassed by. I wonder what he’d call himself now. If James is the family outcast, I’m not sure what that makes me. The geek in the corner?… the alien species?… the Android? Don’t worry though, I promise I’m not a croak-voiced dalek.

Charles Allen called the MacTaggart ‘the longest job application in the industry’. It’s very kind of you to think of me, but I’m still fully committed to Google. All that’s changed is that Larry now has the keys to the Google Tardis. I promise I’ll stop the Dr Who quips soon – although in this case it is pretty apt. We have a private joke at Google that Larry is actually from the future.

I’m especially indebted to Mark Thompson – who gave last year’s lecture – for his tips on what makes a classic MacTaggart. The recipe boils down to anger and arch-villains, impossible proposals and insults. I’m not sure about anger, but I’ll do my best to come up with the rest.

Mark even identified candidates for demonising – usually a choice between the BBC and Murdoch. I must say how refreshing it is that Google isn’t on that list!

But I don’t kid myself – I know some of you have suspicions about Google. Some of you blame us for the havoc wreaked on your business by the Internet. Some accuse us of being irresponsible, uncaring, and worse.

Today I’ll aim to set the record straight on those points, and demonstrate why we can and should be optimistic about Television’s future, if we work together. But first, a little about my industry.

Peter Fincham said this lecture is the closest most TV people get to going to church. Well, I am a tech evangelist from way back, so I’ll take any excuse to preach about the Internet.

Why the Internet matters

In less than 30 years, the Internet has grown from almost nothing to more than 2 billion users. It’s available on Mount Everest, and on the South Pole. Half of adults in the EU use it every day. It has become such a profound part of life that 4 in 5 adults worldwide now regard Internet access as a fundamental human right.

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Ricky Gervais Says NBC Has Invited Him Back To Host The Golden Globes, And He Was Approached About The Oscars, Too

By | Friday August 26, 2011 @ 2:55pm PDT

UPDATE, 2:55 PM: ABC says there is no truth to ricky Gervais’ claim today that he has been approached to host the Oscars.

PREVIOUS: 2:12 PM: Ricky Gervais had Hollywood buzzing in January with his no-holds-barred hosting stint on NBC’s Golden Globes telecast. He ripped enough folks — from Charlie Sheen to Robert Downey to Johnny Depp to God — that few thought the host Hollywood Foreign Press Association would want him back for a third stint (see Deadline’s take on the night: Live-Snarking The Meanest Golden Globes). Apparently, though, NBC has other ideas about it: The British comedian said at the Edinburgh International Television Festival today that the network has asked him to host again, saying he is considering it “but I shouldn’t do it.” NBC declined to comment on the matter. “I love NBC, I love the fact they stuck by me through it,” Gervais said, adding, “I don’t think I should do it. What am I going back as?” Gervais wasn’t done yet at the annual TV confab. He also revealed that he was approached about hosting the Oscars, though it’s unclear whether that was before or after the Academy announced Brett Ratner and Don Mischer would produce the Oscarcast — normally the producers make the call on the host. Regardless, Gervais said he’d never take the gig.

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Elisabeth Murdoch Out Of Edinburgh Fest; Google’s Schmidt To Give Keynote Speech

Elisabeth Murdoch has backed out on a planned talk at this weekend’s Edinburgh International TV Festival. The Shine Group founder became convinced questions about phone hacking at Shine parent News Corp would dominate any appearance, a spokesman said Monday. Shine was purchased earlier this year by her father Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for $680M. Her planned ascension to the News Corp board was put on hold in the wake of the phone hacking scandal and a shareholder lawsuit over the inside nature of the sale which sent a whopping $212M her way.

The Edinburgh International TV Festival is the UK industry’s most prestigious gathering. That’s why Google chairman Eric Schmidt is giving the keynote MacTaggart lecture Friday. He’s the first person outside the broadcasting arena to do so. News reports say he’s expected to offer an olive branch after years of fighting lawsuits from broadcasters and film studios over copyright infringement. Though his speech is still secret, he’s expected to tell content-providers, “Google needs you”.

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