OWN continues to expand it scripted slate, acquiring the rights to Darlene Love’s memoir My Name Is Love: The Darlene Love Story, to adapt into the network’s first original TV movie. Pic will be executive produced by Oprah Winfrey and Oscar-nommed filmmaker Morgan Neville. Love also will exec produce.
Love was recently featured in the Oscar nominated docu film Twenty Feet From Stardom directed by Neville, which puts a spotlight on backup singers for some of music’s biggest acts. OWN also has licensed the first broadcast window to air Twenty Feet From Stardom beginning in 2015. Read More »
Call it 20 feet from the 50-yard line. In a coup for the Radius/TWC’s Oscar campaign for the shortlisted documentary finalist Twenty Feet From Stardom, which chronicles the lives and career of a group of veteran rock-era background singers, four of them — Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Judith Hill and Lisa Fischer — performed the National Anthem at the 100th Rose Bowl game today in Pasadena.
An estimated 17 million were expected to watch the sold-out game where #4 Michigan State beat #5 Stanford 24-20. The figure that studio executives behind the film were probably most hoping for was much smaller: 6,028. That’s the number of Academy voters who will be eligible to vote for Best Documentary Feature should this moving and high-stepping pic from director Morgan Neville make the final five when nominations are announced on January 16. If a good number of those voters happened to be watching the game that certainly can’t hurt the critically acclaimed film’s chances.
Related: OSCARS: Documentary Shortlist – A Profile Of Tragedy, Triumph And Stories That Might Have Gone Untold
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The longest-running theatrical release of 2013 and will more than triple its screen count Friday — two weeks before Oscar nom balloting begins. Twenty Feet From Stardom, which puts a spotlight on backup singers for some of music’s biggest acts, will expand from 10 to 32 theaters for its 28th week of release. The Oscar-shortlisted documentary, which Radius-TWC picked up at Sundance, is directed by Morgan Neville and stars Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill and Darlene Love.
‘Twenty Feet’ Singers Set For Rose Bowl National Anthem
OSCARS: Radius-TWC Duo Hopeful To Garner Documentary Noms
Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill and Darlene Love, the backup singers who get the spotlight in RADiUS-TWC‘s Oscar documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, will sing the National Anthem at the 100th Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day 2014. The special performance during the Stanford-Michigan State game marks the first time in a century that one of the Rose Bowl participants’ band is not performing the “Star-Spangled Banner.” That’s about the flashiest PR stunt conceivable for this year’s heated Oscar docu race, and shrewd timing – nominations voting ends just a week later on January 8.
Related: OSCARS: Radius-TWC Duo Hopeful To Garner Documentary Nominations With Full Plate Of Contenders
Radius-TWC, the specialty division of The Weinstein Company devoted to multi-platform strategies, has only been in business now a couple of years. But it is clearly setting out to make its mark in the Oscar race in a big way this year with four documentaries, all with a strong chance of making the Academy’s short list if industry buzz is any factor at all. Cutie And The Boxer, Inequality For All, Twenty Feet From Stardom and The Unknown Known are the titles Radius co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego highlighted when we met for coffee to discuss their awards strategy.
Oddly, though the company is known for day-and date VOD and theatrical releases — like the recent Ryan Gosling film Only God Forgives, Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut Man Of Tai Chi and Lovelace to name a few — all four of its docu contenders are traveling the more traditional route by hitting theatres before rolling out to other platforms. The pair have a definite strategy, not only for financial success but also hopefully at the Oscars. “We have I think approached this in a pretty transparent way. And we have put together our blueprint for what we think puts us into the race for each film — and the good news is they are all different”, Quinn said. “I feel like they each fit a very different mold in what could be a possible doc nominee. None of these have been released day and date.” He added that they don’t currently believe there is an audience for these movies on VOD, but there will be one day. “In order to build bigger value for these films in ancillary platforms we need to build them theatrically first,” he said.
And they look at all of these contenders as movies first. They pointed out that their first “traditional release” — the highly successful Twenty Feet From Stardom, the Morgan Neville-directed music docu about background singers — has grossed nearly $5 million (the year’s best for a docu) after successfully taking on non-docus in the specialty realm during its summer release including Frances Ha and Much Ado About Nothing. It’s also brought renewed heat in the music business to the careers of the veteran singers it chronicles. Music- and showbiz-centric documentaries have a tougher time with the Academy committee, which seems to gravitate toward heavier subject matter, but Quinn and Janego are hopeful about Twenty Feet, which I think transcends the genre in the same way as last year’s docu feature winner Searching For Sugar Man. Read More »
After landing a domestic deal from Radius-TWC on Friday, Twenty Feet From Stardom has been acquired for foreign rights by Elle Driver/Wild Bunch at the Sundance Film Festival. Here’s the announcement.
Park City, UTAH January 20, 2012 – Gil Friesen Productions and director Morgan Neville/Tremelo Productions announced today that they have sold all foreign rights to TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM to Elle Driver/Wild Bunch. Produced by legendary record executive, Gil Friesen, whose dream was to tell this story about the unheralded back up singers, TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM is directed by Grammy nominated Morgan Neville.
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