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Maker Studios Takes Center Stage With Advertisers As It Prepares To Join Disney

By | Tuesday May 6, 2014 @ 3:30pm PDT

makerstudios__140311194353-275x177This is a big day for the online short form video company that Disney’s spending nearly $1B to acquire – Hollywood’s biggest bet so far on the new production platform. Maker Studios stages its first NewFront presentation in NYC today. And Disney CEO Bob Iger talked it up in his earnings call with analysts. “We bought a lot of different capabilities, but mostly distribution” on the YouTube focused business, Iger says. “They also have access to great data and algorithms.” Although the purchase will shave a few cents from Disney earnings for a few years, “there’s a huge marketing opportunity for this company,” he says.
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Morgan Spurlock And His Warrior Poets Banner Strike Development Deal With The Associated Press

By | Tuesday April 29, 2014 @ 7:00am PDT

Morgan Spurlock APEXCLUSIVE: Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Spurlock has struck a landmark development deal with The Associated Press, which will grant the Super Size Me documentarian and his NY-based Warrior Poets production banner unlimited access to adapt the AP’s library of broadcast, digital, and mobile content. The deal makes AP’s extensive archive of global news and media available for development into scripted and unscripted multiplatform projects – a huge wealth of potential source material spanning the global news network’s content from coverage in 110 countries worldwide. Spurlock and Co. are already scouring AP’s library for their first projects, most likely starting with content aimed at U.S. audience before adding potential international partners on stories of local interest. “The goal at the end of the day is to move forward with projects for TV, film, digital, and theatrical,” said Spurlock. “The scope of what we have access to is unheralded.”

For now it’ll be Spurlock, producing partner Jeremy Chilnick, and head of development Ethan Goldman sifting through potential source material, but at the busy shingle “everyone who’s in here, from the head of production to people on other shows, brings ideas they like into the fold,” Spurlock says. Earlier this month The Weinstein Co. made a similar first-look programming deal with Gannett but the vast AP archives give Warrior Poets a much larger bank of content to draw from. Read More »

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Showtime Picks Up Morgan Spurlock Documentary Series On Seven Deadly Sins

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 9:58am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Morgan SpurlockShowtime will air Seven Deadly Sins, a new documentary from Super Size Me writer-director Morgan Spurlock. Hosted by Spurlock, the series will explore each of the seven deadly sins — one per episode — taking an in-depth look at the weird and darkly comic world of sin. The project had been in development and production at Showtime, which is showtime_logo__121211185844__130120002910__130730210613__131210182749now announcing the series, along with a June 19 premiere date. Seven Deadly Sins comes from Warrior Poets, Spurlock’s production banner with partner Jeremy Chilnick. “For years, I’ve wanted to do an Alfred Hitchcock Presents-style show comprised completely of non-fiction stories,” said Spurlock. “A series just as dark and twisted as anything fiction could imagine, and now I’m thrilled to have that dream come true with Seven Deadly Sins. With Showtime as a partner, we’re going to make this as depraved as any scripted program as we dive head first into Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy & Pride. You won’t believe it until you see it … and even then, you may not believe it.”

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Morgan Spurlock’s Warrior Poets Promotes Matthew Galkin To Partner

By | Wednesday March 5, 2014 @ 7:16am PST
Nellie Andreeva

galkinWarrior Poets, the New York-based production company founded in 2004 by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock and his producing partner Jeremy Chilnick, has promoted Matthew Galkin to partner. Galkin will continue to executive produce, direct and develop original content. Since joining Warrior Poets more than four years ago, Galkin has worked closely with Spurlock and Chilnick to grow the company and has worked om such documentary films, TV and Web series as One Direction: This Is Us, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, ESPN Films’ 30 For 30 warriordocumentary The Dotted Line, CNN series Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man and Web series A Day In The Life for Hulu and Failure Club for Yahoo! “During his tenure at Warrior Poets, Matthew has brought his unique energy, creative experience and storytelling mastery to projects in both the top-tier documentary film world as a director and producer and in the reality/non-fiction TV world as a show runner, producer and director,” Spurlock said. Galkin’s previous credits include HBO’s Kevorkian and Family Bonds and Style’s Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane.

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NATPE Chief Promises More Digital, Buyers, Exhibitors, Station Groups, And Advertisers — Plus Phil Rosenthal Quizzing James L. Brooks — At January Confab

Registration for both domestic and international buyers attending January’s 2014 NATPE conference in Miami Beach is pacing well ahead of andy-cohenlast year, with double digit growth, NATPE president and CEO Rod Perth said this morning,  citing more exhibitors, more buyers, advertisers, more stations groups, and a more prominent digital presence. Forty-four percent of the registered buyers are international, representing 46 different countries, and 28 station groups are participating this time, Perth said on a conference call with the press. At last count, there were 225 exhibitors — 34 of them attending NATPE for the first time, and five returning in January after years of absence, said Perth, who is in his second year at NATPE. For the second year in a row, each of the major studios will be at NATPE.  Exhibitors, meanwhile, come from 23 different countries, including increased participation from the UK, France, Spain and Germany, he said.

Oscar and Emmy-winning director/producer James L. Brooks will chat with Everybody Loves Phil-RosenthalRaymond creator Phil Rosenthal in a session at NATPE, joining Bravo’s Andy Cohen, Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman, documentarian Morgan Spurlock, and Boardwalk Empire exec producer Terence Winter in sessions staged during the confab’s The Storytellers Who Have Shaped Pop Culture track. Brooks is among those receiving the 11th annual Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award at the NATPE conference, held again at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach. New to NATPE, there will be a presentation of findings from a two-part independent research study commissioned by NATPE and the Consumer Electronics Association, in re how how and why consumers use second-screen devices to engage with video content. The first part of the findings will be presented at the 2014 International CES, where the focus will be primarily on technology, devices and the user experience. The second part, which will be presented at NATPE, will consist of qualitative research based on interviews with TV program producers and showrunners, examining how second screen affects the way they develop content and incorporate it into their programs.

From today’s NATPE announcement: Read More »

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‘The Square’ Nabs Best Feature At IDA Documentary Awards; ‘Inside Man’ Best Limited Series

By | Friday December 6, 2013 @ 10:30pm PST

The Square 3Not a bad week for Jehane Noujaim’s film about Egyptian activists battling the establishment. The Square scored the Best Feature trophy tonight at the 29th annual IDA Documentary Awards, three days after it made the Oscar shortlist. The film, which also is up for a Spirit Award, is the first documentary picked up by Netflix. Other winners announced at the ceremony hosted by Paul Provenza at DGA headquarters in Los Angeles included Slomo for Best Short, PBS’ Independent Lens for Best Continuing Series and CNN’s Morgan Spurlock-hosted Inside Man for Best Limited Series. Alex Gibney, who won an Oscar for Taxi To The Dark Side and was nominated for Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room, received a Career Achievement Award. Here is the full list of winners at the 2013 IDA Documentary Awards, presented by the International Documentary Association:
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CNN’s ‘Unguarded’ Debuts Weak, Network Renews Morgan Spurlock ‘Inside Man’

By | Monday October 28, 2013 @ 11:23am PDT

The roller coater ride of CNN’s Jeff Zucker regime continued this weekend with the rickety premiere of Unguarded on the cable news network. Hosted by longtime ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols, the 10:30 PM sport show failed to score with viewers on Friday night. At least Unguarded didn’t have to face off against a World Series game on Friday as the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals had a night off. However, up against slot winner Fox News’ special on contributor Charles Krauthammer as well as MSNBC’s newish Up Late With Alec Baldwin and sister station HLN, the 30 minute Unguarded pulled in 288,000 total viewers and a mere 92,000 in the adults 25-54 demo. Compared to year-to-date results, that’s 50% fall in the demo and a 45% drop in total viewers, according to Nielsen. It’s also down almost 30% in both viewers and the 25-54s from what CNN has been doing in the slot in Q3 2013 so far. Over the entire 10 PM – 11 PM hour, CNN had 405,000 viewers and with 135,000 in the demo. That’s a last place finish overall for the new show and a last place finish in the demo for the cable news network. FNC had 2.55 million viewers with 357,000 in the key demo while MSNBC had 553,000 viewers and 142,000 in the demo and HLN had 360,000 total viewers and Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘One Direction: This Is Us’

By | Tuesday June 25, 2013 @ 9:22am PDT

A full-length trailer has dropped for 3D boy band documentary One Direction: This Is Us. Tri Star Pictures bows it on August 30 in the U.S. after Sony Pictures Releasing rolls out the film worldwide with the UK debut the day before. Morgan Spurlock directed the pic about the teen idols who were discovered on Simon Cowell‘s UK X Factor in 2010. Since then, the band has sold over 29 million records. Cowell, Spurlock, Adam Milano and Ben Winston produce.

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Morgan Spurlock’s CNN Documentary Series Will Premiere On June 23

By | Tuesday May 28, 2013 @ 7:35am PDT

The CNN Original series Inside Man, hosted and produced by Oscar®-nominated documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, premieres Sunday, June 23 at 10:00 p.m. ET.

The one-hour weekly series will provide an intimate look into diverse sectors of American life and offer a deep-dive into pressing issues facing the U.S. that include migrant farm workers, the elder care industry, union workers, gun owners, education, bankruptcy and the drought. The premiere episode of Inside Man features Spurlock as a worker in a medial marijuana dispensary in California.

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Sony Sets 3D Concert Movie With Boy Band One Direction Directed By Morgan Spurlock

By | Tuesday November 13, 2012 @ 12:05pm PST

Los Angeles November 13, 2012 – Sony Pictures announced today that it’s making a 3D film showcasing London-based global music sensation One Direction. Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) will direct the film, which TriStar Pictures will release on August 30, 2013 (Labor Day weekend).

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Ethan Goldman Joins Morgan Spurlock’s Production Company As EVP Development

By | Tuesday October 2, 2012 @ 12:15pm PDT

Ethan Goldman has joined Warrior Poets as EVP Development. “As our production company continues to grow, it is important to bring on an executive like Goldman who not only has a great resume of previous work, but also possesses a vision of what the future may hold,” company founder Morgan Spurlock said. Goldman, who has worked at MTV Networks and Original Media, was recently SVP Series and Development at Ish Entertainment. Read More »

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CNN Adds Morgan Spurlock In Hopes To Supersize Weekends

By | Thursday August 23, 2012 @ 7:01am PDT

Take one acerbic chef, now add an Oscar-nominated filmmaker and CNN hopes it has gotten itself a weekend. Fighting against 20-year low ratings, the news network today announced that Super Size Me director Morgan Spurlock’s Inside Man series will debut in April 2013 on CNN. No stranger to either side of the camera since his 2004 feature debut, the documentary filmmaker will both host and produce the new show. “Like Anthony Bourdain’s new CNN series, Inside Man will carry the distinctive stamp of its host while taking viewers on colorful and informative journeys into fascinating corners of American society,” said Mark Whitaker, CNN Worldwide EVP and managing editor today. In late May, the network said that Bourdain, the long time host of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations, would be joining CNN to host a weekend travel and food series. There is no indication if the new Spurlock/Bourdain block will run on Saturdays or Sundays. However, a source tells Deadline that these new shows are not expected to affect the network’s current Sunday programming of State Of The Union With Candy Crowley, Howard Kurtz’s Reliable Sources and the recently reinstated Fareed Zakaria GPS. They are intended to bring some change and some younger viewers to the broadcaster. Read More »

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Morgan Spurlock And Keith Calder Launch Commercials Company Warpaint

By | Monday May 7, 2012 @ 7:42am PDT
Mike Fleming

After teaming on the sponsored docu The Greatest Story Ever Sold, Morgan Spurlock’s Warrior Poets has teamed with Keith Calder’s Snoot Entertainment to go with a full-blown commercials production operation.

NEW YORK, NY (May 7, 2012) – Morgan Spurlock’s New York based production company Warrior Poets has teamed with Keith Calder’s Los Angeles based Snoot Entertainment and 16 year commercial production veteran Shannon Lords to create Warpaint, a commercial production company that will serve as a home for innovative directors who are looking to expand their craft into more diverse and lucrative opportunities. The company will represent a diverse array of both established and emerging directors from a variety of production backgrounds. Warpaint will maintain offices in New York, Los Angeles and London.

Warpaint completed its first project in January 2012 with acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky, who directed the upcoming campaign for Revlon featuring Emma Stone and Halle Berry. The company’s initial roster consists of nine ground-breaking directors including Spurlock (The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, JetBlue, Hunt’s, Ally); Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes); Gary Hustwit (Helvetica, Objectified, Apple): Adam Wingard (You’re Next); Liz Garbus (Bobby Fischer Against the World); Adam Lisegar (LonelySandwich.com); Michael Tucker (Fightville, Gunner Palace,Mastercard); Maggie Choo (Nike) and Damien Toogood (Olympus, Target, Pepsi).

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Hulu Upfronts Present Shows By Morgan Spurlock, Richard Linklater, Seth Meyers

By | Thursday April 19, 2012 @ 2:51pm PDT

Hulu kicked off the so-called digital upfronts today with presentations for its expanding stable of originals. Documentarian Morgan Spurlock, Saturday Night Live‘s Seth Meyers and Entourage‘s Adrian Grenier were on hand to schmooze with advertisers. Producers hope to lure away some of the billions of dollars that go to cable and TV networks; Vevo, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo and Disney Interactive are expected to pitch their shows to advertisers next week. In addition to Spurlock, Meyers and Grenier, talent on hand to boost Hulu included Megan Hilty from Smash, Speed Levitch of Up To Speed, JD Walsh and Jay Hayden from Battleground, Michael “Dooma” Wendschuh from Flow and Mayer Hawthorne with Live From The Artist’s Den. Hulu says paid subscribers for Hulu Plus surpassed 2 million during first-quarter 2012 and claims that Hulu represents 20% of the overall online video market and 40% of the premium online market. Here are the site’s upcoming projects: Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Bully’, ‘Damsels In Distress’ Solid; ‘Comic-Con’ Not So Much

Damsels In Distress and We Have A Pope lead a new crop of specialty releases for the holiday weekend: Sony Pictures Classics’ Damsels averaging a robust $16,050 in four theaters and a total of $64,200 while Sundance Selects’ Pope averaged a solid $10,133 at three locations and total of $31,500. Director Whit Stillman’s first feature since Last Days Of Disco (1998), Damsels had originally been intended for release by the now long defunct Warner Independent when the director first approached Castle Rock with the concept, but was eventually picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. Disco opened back in May of ’98 at 22 theaters, averaging $12,618 and eventually taking in just over $3 million. SPC will continue to expand the film slowly with additional cities in the coming weeks.

Fairing more modestly in its opening weekend is Wrekin Hill’s documentary Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, which launched at one theater each in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. Director Morgan Spurlock, who lead the multi-camera collaboration that captured the scene at last year’s annual mammoth comic book extravaganza Comic-Con, attended one screening in each city participating in post-screening Q&As. “The film opened [in these cities] so Morgan could be in each city,” a spokesperson for Wrekin Hill told Deadline. “The numbers were generally skewed by … Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Comic-Con Episode IV,’ ‘Damsels In Distress,’ ‘The Hunter,’ ‘We Have A Pope’

By | Friday April 6, 2012 @ 9:00am PDT

Among the upcoming Easter weekend’s new specialty releases is a feature about a fictional election of a reluctant pope, a fan’s view of a uber popular summer festival, a Willem Dafoe starrer set in one of earth’s most remote corners and a long awaited return of Metropolitan director Whit Stillman. Morgan Spurlock explains why he firmly remained behind the camera in Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope. IFC Films is playing up the humor factor in its latest Cannes release We Have A Pope. A producer from The Hunter explains how the harsh elements in one of Australia’s most remote areas posed both a challenge and a reward for their production and Damsels In Distress producer Martin Shafer offers insight on the slow but evolving process to bring Stillman’s latest to the screen.

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope
Director Morgan Spurlock
Writers: Joss Whedon, Morgan Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick
Subjects: Seth Rogen, Kevin Smith, Eli Roth, San Lee and more
Distributor: Wrekin Hill
A veteran both in front of the camera and behind for his previous documentaries including Super Size Me and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Morgan Spurlock pitched the idea for Comic-Con Episode IV to potential investors as one in which he would firmly stay behind the limelight. “As much as I’m a fan of Comic-Con, I didn’t want it to be about me going in,” Spurlock told Deadline. … Read More »

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Hulu Signs International Distribution Pact With FremantleMedia Enterprises

By | Sunday March 11, 2012 @ 5:31pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Hulu Morgan SpurlockHulu’s original series are hitting the international marketplace. FremantleMedia Enterprises has signed a first-look deal with Hulu for international distribution rights to the online video service’s original programming, the first such pact for an online video company. Under the deal, FME has the right to distribute Hulu original series globally across all platforms, including traditional media. The first Hulu title FME will take out is Morgan Spurlock’s documentary series A Day In The Life, whose second season premieres tomorrow on Hulu and Hulu Plus. A Day In The Life, which chronicles a complete day in the life of famous people, marked Hulu’s foray into long-form original content. “This is a ground-breaking deal, which sets a new precedent for acquiring content that can live on both digital and linear platforms, while identifying opportunities outside of the traditional distribution models,” said David Ellender, Global CEO of FremantleMedia Enterprises.

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Tribeca Film Festival Reveals Non-Competition Selections

By | Thursday March 8, 2012 @ 10:06am PST

Tribeca Film FestivalMore titles slated for the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival were revealed Thursday. The 11th-annual event unveiled films screening in its Spotlight and genre-centered Cinemania section as well as Special Screenings and its Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival lineup. Spotlight includes 34 films, 22 narratives and 12 documentaries, with 19 films having their world premieres. Seven narratives make up the international group of Tribeca’s Cinemania titles. Earlier this week, the festival released its competition slate. The 2012 festival is April 18-29 in New York. Here are the latest titles:

SPOTLIGHT

2 Days in New York, directed and written by Julie Delpy. (France) – New York Premiere, Narrative. This deliriously witty follow-up to 2 Days in Paris finds Marion (writer/director Julie Delpy) living a comfortable life in New York with her latest hipster boyfriend, Mingus (Chris Rock, brilliantly playing it straight), and their two young kids from prior relationships. A riotous comedy of cultural errors ensues when Marion’s totally unhinged, gleefully unfiltered family arrives from Paris to meet Mingus for the first time. In English, French with subtitles. A Magnolia Pictures release.

Any Day Now, directed by Travis Fine, written by Travis Fine and George Arthur Bloom. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. In the late 1970s, when a mentally handicapped teenager is abandoned, a gay couple takes him in and becomes the family he’s never had. But once the unconventional living arrangement is discovered by authorities, the men must fight a biased legal system to adopt the child they have come to love as their own. Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt star in TFF alum Travis Fine’s (The Space Between) touching and occasionally incendiary drama.

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Cinetic Rights Management Teams With Cinelan For Digital Distribution Partnership

By | Wednesday February 15, 2012 @ 10:11am PST

CRM and video publisher Cinelan are working to bring original content from award-winning filmmakers to audiences via digital distribution. Launched last year with a group of veteran documentary filmmakers including Joe Berlinger, Liz Garbus, Alex Gibney, Morgan Spurlock and Barbara Kopple, Cinelan’s “Focus Forward” is an ongoing series of three-minute nonfiction films created by these filmmakers and others to create shorts reflecting their concept of “the incredible human power of ideas and invention.” Cinelan conceived of the “Focus Forward – Short Film, Big Ideas” project in cooperation with festivals around the world including Berlin, Tribeca, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and Sundance which will premiere batches of films during their events followed by release through other partners including Vimeo. Digital distributor Cinetic Rights Management (CRM) will leverage its relationships with digital platforms including Comcast, Time Warner, iTunes, Xbox and Amazon to extend Focus Forward’s content to online audiences and beyond.

Thirty docs will gradually premiere as curated collections at partner festivals over the next year. The first five films debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last month. Founded in 2007, CRM strategically exploits content across paid, free and subscription business models. Its FilmBuff component is a digital entertainment curation service. Focus Forward is a program spearheaded by Cinelan co-founders Morgan Spurlock and Karol Martesko-Fenster.

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