The Terrence Malick-produced film about a boy who would grow up to be the man widely considered America’s greatest presidents was first seen by the world at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Today Amplify announced it has acquired all U.S. rights to…
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.
EXCLUSIVE: Writer-director Mike Flanagan and Intrepid Pictures’ Trevor Macy are reteaming on the supernatural thriller Diver, setting a summer production start. Flanagan will direct a script by Diane Ademu-John and Carter Blanchard with revisions by Flanagan and writing partner Jeff Howard. Macy will produce the film, with Marc D. Evans, Asha Kurian, and Julie Wilke also serving in various producing capacities.
Diver revolves around a secret project based in New Orleans that involves a team sent to enter the minds of the recently dead to experience their final memories in order to solve the most heinous crimes. When the Divers breach the barrier between the living and the dead, they must contend with the supernatural force they unleash.
The documentary about the notorious Mexican drug lord is particularly timely now that Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has been captured after more than a decade on the run. The Legend Of Shorty chronicles the hunt for the near mythical figure who is alternately described as a brilliant business visionary, …
EXCLUSIVE: Genre pics are a hot commodity on the fest circuit and here’s an exclusive first look at one SXSW Midnighters title to watch this week. Alexandra Essoe stars in Starry Eyes as Sarah, a wannabe starlet in L.A. who lands a lead role in a film only to find herself undergoing a series of terrifying mental and physical transformations. Pic is written and directed by longtime collaborators Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, whose credits include 2003′s Postcards from the Future: The Chuck Palahniuk Documentary. For Starry Eyes the duo teamed up with Snowfort Pictures producer Travis Stevens (Cheap Thrills, Jodorowsky’s Dune) and turned to Kickstarter to raise funds. Amanda Fuller (Last Man Standing), Fabianne Therese (John Dies At The End), Noah Segan (Looper), Shane Coffey (Pretty Little Liars), and Pat Healy (Cheap Thrills) also star in the psychological body horror pic which will be looking to make an impression on buyers next week in Austin.
“In today’s world, people gauge their own celebrity by the amount of followers they have on Twitter, by how many ‘Likes’ they get on Facebook,” said co-director Widmyer. “We’re living in an age where everyone wants to feel famous. So we wanted to focus on a young woman caught up in that hunger, that is given an opportunity to do something horrible to attain her dreams, and she dives in head first.”