EXCLUSIVE: Panorama Media, the production, finance and sales entity backed by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, has boarded road trip drama Mississippi Grind. Half Nelson duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck are directing from their own script with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ben Mendelsohn starring. The pair play unlikely gamblers on a winning streak who head to New Orleans and along the way encounter old flames, loan sharks and some bad bets, but ultimately discover what’s really important in their lives. I understand Emmett/Furla are financing the roughly $10M pic which Gyllenhaal is producing along with Jamie Patricof and Lynette Howell of Electric Entertainment and John Lesher of Le Grisbi Productions. Randall Emmett and George Furla will also be involved in a producing capacity. Shooting starts in the spring and Panorama will kick off sales at the EFM in Berlin next week.
The BBC has picked up the gauntlet that News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch threw down this week when his company charged that the broadcaster used manipulated emails in a critical documentary broadcast on Monday. A BBC1 show, Panorama, said that News Corp and a video software and content security provider it has controlled, NDS, illegally helped to sabotage Murdoch’s pay TV rivals. ”We stand by the Panorama investigation,” the BBC says in a statement. The emails cited in the program “were not manipulated, as NDS claims” and nothing in the company’s letter to the BBC demanding a retraction “undermines the evidence presented in the program.” Panorama and a separate report by the Australian Financial Review revived this week long-simmering allegations that NDS helped to crack encryption codes used by satellite and pay TV companies that competed with Murdoch-controlled services including UK’s Sky. The data found its way to the Internet, enabling consumers to easily pirate the TV services — and undermine the businesses. For example, the BBC show reported that security codes for ITV’s ONdigital TV smart cards were hacked as far back as 1998 contributing to its demise in 2002.
News Corp is fighting to disprove fresh charges that a video software and content security provider it has controlled, NDS, illegally helped to undermine Rupert Murdoch’s business rivals. News Corp COO Chase Carey said tonight that a BBC1 show that revived the allegations in a report on Monday “presented manipulated and mischaracterized emails to produce unfair and baseless accusations.” NDS chief Abe Peled demanded a retraction saying that the investigation that ran on the program Panorama showed “flagrant disregard to the BBC’s broadcasting code, misleading viewers and inciting widespread misreporting.” The allegations come at a sensitive time: They feed into the investigations into phone hacking and bribery at News Corp’s UK tabloids. Also, this month Cisco agreed to pay $4B for NDS. News Corp currently owns 49% of the firm.
The Berlin Film Festival has announced the first 20 out of a total 50 titles for its Panorama section. Included are works by Volker Schlöndorff, Tony Gatlif, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang and Hou Hsiao-hsien. Gatlif’s Indignados, which touches on the Occupy movement and is inspired by Stéphane Hessel’s book Time For Outrage!, is one of two opening films for the Panorama Special series. The other is Malgoska Szumowska’s Elles starring Juliette Binoche. The remainder of the lineup will be announced throughout January. Below is a list of titles thus far:
10+10 by Hou Hsiao-hsien, Wang Toon, Wu Nien-Jen, Sylvia Chang, Chen Guo-Fu, Wei Te-Sheng, Chung Meng-Hung, Chang Tso-Chi, Arvin Chen, Yang Ya-Che and others, Taiwan
Death For Sale by Faouzi Bensaïdi, France
With Fehd Benchemsi, Fouad Labiad, Mouhcine Malzi, Imane Elmechrafi, Faouzi Bensaïdi
Die Wand (The Wall) by Julian Roman Pölsler, Austria/Germany
With Martina Gedeck
Dollhouse by Kirsten Sheridan, Ireland
With Seana Kerslake, Jonny Ward, Ciaran McCabe, Kate Brennan, Shane Curry