Category Archives: television


Posted by Larry Gleeson

NEW Trailer and Poster Released!


For Freedom. For Family. For the Planet.

In the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise starring Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel.
Release: July 14, 2017
Director: Matt Reeves
Written by: Mark Bomback & Matt Reeves
Producers: Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver
Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer & Terry Notary
(Press materials provided by 20th Century Fox)

Club TCM @TCMFilmFest

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Exclusively for passholders*, Club TCM is a private locale in the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel where movie fans can gather to relax, meet new friends, and attend special presentations and events with many of our celebrity guests . Recreating the flavor of bygone Hollywood hotspots, Club TCM embodies true Hollywood glamour and is located in the Blossom Room—the site of the very first Academy Awards banquet.

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*Select events limited by pass level.


3:00pm – 4:00pm – SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW MOVIES
Bruce Goldstein, repertory program director of New York’s Film Forum, returns as host of his popular annual quiz, now a TCM Classic Film Festival tradition. Everyone – from casual movie buffs to fanatical film fans – are welcome to take part in this fun, often astounding team challenge, and you can join a team on the spot (minimum 2 team members, maximum 8).

5:00pm – 7:00pm – WELCOME PARTY
Join your fellow passholders as we kick off the 8th annual TCM Classic Film Festival.  Please refer to the back of your pass for entrance eligibility.


Think of the great comedy teams of movie history and the names Abbott & Costello, Burns & Allen, or Martin & Lewis spring to mind. But some of the most enduring two-person comedy teams were never actually billed as such. Historian and author Kliph Nesteroff (The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Soundrels and the History of American Comedy) presents great moments from the mid-century “comedy teams” of Milton Berle & Arnold Stang, Jack Benny & Eddie Anderson, Lucille Ball & Gale Gordon, Kathleen Freeman & Jerry Lewis, Mary Wickes & Arthur Lake, and more. Nesteroff explores the story of these unofficial comedy duos with an in-depth presentation, followed by a Q&A.

Legendary director/author Peter Bogdanovich will discuss his prolific career in this one-hour conversation. Beginning his career in the 1960s under the wing of director Roger Corman, Bogdanovich made his directorial film debut with Targets (1968). After making two more films, he co-wrote and directed The Last Picture Show (1971), making stars out of its newcomers and cementing himself as a forerunner of the American New Wave.  He followed the film with a series of cult classics and Oscar-winning pictures with Hollywood’s finest, and today continues to make films and write books about the history of cinema.

Classic films are often rescued from obscurity by tireless champions of movie history. Although challenges abound in assembling these films for new and existing audiences alike, persistence, patience, and hours of detective work, sometimes with partner archives, result in renewed recognition for many of these movies. Hear from these unsung heroes on the front lines of film restoration, the art and skill of bringing movies back from oblivion.  Panelists:  Amy Heller, co-founder Milestone Films; Jeff Masino, President, Flicker Alley; and Bret Wood, VP and Producer of Special Projects Kino Lorber.  Moderated by Eddie Muller.


12:30pm – 1:30pm – THE ART OF SUBTITLING
An important part of film restoration today is the one most overlooked: the subtitles.  First used in the early 1930s, superimposed titles were first added sparsely to foreign films, with the belief being that people didn’t want to read at the movies. In recent years, new technology has helped make them sharper than ever. The best subtitles, though, are those the audience doesn’t notice. Bruce Goldstein, who has written and edited subtitles for over 30 classics released by his company, Rialto Pictures, presents this entertaining history of the process, and will give an insider’s look at creating subtitles for movies like Panique (1946), Grand Illusion (1937) and Godzilla (1954).

The multi-talented actress and director Lee Grant will discuss her fascinating life and career in this one-hour conversation. Grant made her film debut opposite Kirk Douglas in Detective Story (1951), which earned her an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress, but her promising film career was cut short when she was blacklisted for not testifying against her then husband, Arnold Manoff.  Grant continued acting on television throughout the 1950s and returned to films in the late 1960s, appearing in such works as In the Heat of the Night (1967) and The Landlord (1970). During the 1970s, Grant transitioned into directing, creating an impressive body of work, most recently the Kirk and Michael Douglas documentary …A Father…A Son…Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2005).

5:00pm – 6:00pm – HOLLYWOOD HOME MOVIES
The Academy Film Archive shares gems from its collection with specially-selected home movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age including a homemade comedy by the Alfred Hitchcock family; making The Adventures of Robin Hood; a live broadcast of Al Jolson’s radio show; the 1938 Leading Men vs. Comedians baseball game; behind the scenes with Gypsy Rose Lee, Billie Burke, Oliver Hardy, Loretta Young, Celeste Holm, Betty Grable, James Stewart and more. Enjoy unique, rarely-screened footage with special guests and musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla. Presented by Randy Haberkamp, Managing Director of Preservation and Foundation Programs for AMPAS, and Lynne Kirste, Special Collections Curator at the Archive.


12:30pm – 1:30pm – ASK LEONARD MALTIN
Don’t miss your chance to get to know one of the most recognized film critics and historians, Leonard Maltin. In this one-hour Q&A, Maltin will answer audience questions about his 50 year career as a writer, television host and interviewer. He’s met everyone from Buster Keaton to Katharine Hepburn, and looks forward to sharing his stories with TCM fans.

Don’t miss this one-hour conversation with iconic interviewer Dick Cavett. Cavett made a name for himself in the 1960s and 70s as the host of his own groundbreaking television show, The Dick Cavett Show.  As a talk show host and personality, Cavett interviewed the likes of Bette Davis, Groucho Marx, Katharine Hepburn, Ingmar Bergman, Danny Kaye, Marlon Brando and many more during the various incarnations of his broadcast. Cavett’s likable persona, erudite conversational skills and wit has made him a staple in popular culture for generations, and he has garnered seven Emmy nominations and two wins throughout his career. Cavett has managed to draw intelligent anecdotes and tales from some of the greatest stars he has conversed with, while also bringing his own charm and humor into the homes of many.  Book signing is immediately after the event.

Join Ben, TCM and your fellow passholders as we celebrate new friends, new memories and our shared love of classic movies.  Please refer to the back of your pass for entrance eligibility.


(Source: TCM Classic Film Festival)

TCM Classic Film Festival Passes On Sale!

Well it’s that time of year again TCM is ready to roll with its 8th TCM Classic Film Festival. Held over four days in the heart of Hollywood, the TCM Classic Film Festival is a place where movie lovers from around the world can gather to experience classic movies as they were meant to be experienced: on the big screen, in some of the world’s most iconic venues, with the people who made them. Moreover, the TCM Classic Film Festival strives to be a place where a community of movie fans of all ages can share their love of classic movies with each other, make new friends and see films as they are seldom seen today.


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The ideal way to experience the TCM Classic Film Festival is with a Festival pass. There are four levels of passes: The Palace, The Classic, The Essential, and The Spotlight. Whichever pass you choose, you’re sure to have the classic cinema experience of a lifetime at the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival.

Need help deciding which pass is right for you? Click here to compare pass levels and benefits.

For some helpful tips on how to more easily purchase your Festival passes click here.

Read the Festival pass Terms & Conditions by clicking here.



The Palace Pass is the perfect pass for those seeking a weekend filled with watching classic movies at three of the most iconic venues in Hollywood. It gives three-day (Friday-Sunday) access to all screenings at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX (does not include the Opening Night screening), the Egyptian Theatre and poolside at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Friday, April 7- Sunday, April 9, 2017. Note: This pass does not grant entry to the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres multiplex, Club TCM events or official parties and receptions. LEARN MORE



The Classic Pass opens the door to four days (Thursday-Sunday) of movie heaven – including access to film screenings, panels, Club TCM and official passholder receptions at all of the Festival venues (does not include admittance to the Opening Night screening at TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX or the Opening Night Red Carpet Gala Party). LEARN MORE



The Essential Pass is your chance to walk in the footsteps of Hollywood legends down the red carpet and into the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX for the official Opening Night screening plus all the benefits of the Classic Pass and TCM Classic Film Festival collectibles. LEARN MORE



The Spotlight Pass is your entry to the glamorous Opening Night Gala Party following the official Opening Night screening. Plus you’ll enjoy priority entry into screenings throughout the Festival including exclusive “meet and greet” events with special guests in addition to all the benefits of the Essential Pass. LEARN MORE


(Source: TCM Film Festival)

About @TCMFilmFest

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Held over four days in the heart of Hollywood, the TCM Classic Film Festival is a place where movie lovers from around the world can gather to experience classic movies as they were meant to be experienced: on the big screen, in some of the world’s most iconic venues, with the people who made them. Moreover, the TCM Classic Film Festival strives to be a place where a community of movie fans of all ages can share their love of classic movies with each other, make new friends and see films as they are seldom seen today.

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“A day without laughter is a day wasted,” said Charles Chaplin, and the staff at TCM concur. Join us for the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival, exploring COMEDY IN THE MOVIES. From lowbrow to high, slapstick to sophisticated comedies of manners—as we experience a showcase of the greatest cinematic achievements of lone clowns, comedic duos and madcap ensembles. You’ll be glad you did! 

TCM has announced the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival schedule.




AFI Conservatory Alumni Receive Nine College Television Award Nominations

Posted by Larry Gleeson

A total of 13 AFI Conservatory alumni from the Class of 2016 have been recognized with nine College Television Award nominations — more than any other film school. Now in their 38th year, the 2017 College Television Awards will be held on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, at the Saban Media Center in North Hollywood, CA.

The nominees and projects from the AFI Class of 2016 are:

Trevor Smith (AFI Class of 2016), Producer
Comedy (Nominee)
David Brent (AFI Class of 2016), Writer
Writing for Comedy (Nominee)

Daisygreen Stenhouse (AFI Class of 2016), Writer
Writing for Drama (Nominee)

Andrew Pollins (AFI Class of 2016), Director
Jane Hollon (AFI Class of 2016), Producer
Caleb Heller (AFI Class of 2016), Cinematographer
Commercial (Nominee)

Michael Kongshaug (AFI Class of 2016), Director/Writer
Eileen Shim (AFI Class of 2016), Writer
Writing for Drama (Nominee)

Daniel Abatan (AFI Class of 2016), Director
Directing for Drama (Nominee)

Andrew Pollins (AFI Class of 2016), Director
Yoni Klein (AFI Class of 2016), Cinematographer
Commercial (Nominee)

Joshua Valle (AFI Class of 2016), Producer
Drama (Nominee)
Mia Niebruegge (AFI Class of 2016), Director/Writer
Christopher Greenslate (AFI Class of 2016), Writer
Writing for Drama (Nominee)

*Featured photo from The Other Side of Life



Remembering Robert @TCMFilmFest

Posted by Larry Gleeson

This year the TCM Classic Film Festival celebrates Robert Osborne by dedicating the Festival in his honor. There will be special programming on Thursday, April 6: TCM will host “REMEMBERING ROBERT,” a panel featuring TCM staff members, and actress Diane Baker, who will be on hand to share their stories about Robert. All passholders and pass levels are invited to attend. All screenings on Thursday will feature a tribute video to Robert before every film. TCM staff members and friends will share memories and stories about Robert Osborne, celebrating his life and love of classic films.  All passholders and pass levels are invited to attend.



12:30PM-2:00PM – Remembering Robert

Chinese Multiplex House 1

TCM staff members and friends will share memories and stories about Robert Osborne, celebrating his life and love of classic films.  All passholders and pass levels are invited to attend.

The 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival will be held April 6-9 in Hollywood and will bear the theme “Make ‘Em Laugh: Comedy in the Movies.” The gathering of filmmakers, performers and fans for screenings and panels will represent the eighth TCM film fest.


Francois Ozon’s new film FRANTZ debuts in Los Angeles on March 24

Posted by Larry Gleeson

A haunting tale of love and reconciliation begins in a small town in Germany in the immediate aftermath of World War I when a young woman mourning the death of her fiancé encounters a mysterious Frenchman laying flowers on her beloved’s grave.

Jean-Claude Moireau - Foz/Courtesy of Music Box Films
Paula Beer in Frantz. (Photo Credit: Jean-Claude Moireau – Foz/Courtesy of Music Box Films)

Set in Germany and France in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, (1914-1918), FRANTZ recalls the mourning period that follows great national tragedies as seen through the eyes of the war’s “lost generation”: Anna (21 year-old Paula Beer in a breakthrough performance), a bereft young German woman whose fiancé, Frantz, was killed during trench warfare, and Adrien (Pierre Niney), a French veteran of the war who shows up mysteriously in her town, placing flowers on Frantz’s grave. Adrien’s presence is met with resistance by the small community still reeling from Germany’s defeat, yet Anna gradually gets closer to the handsome and melancholy young man, as she learns of his deep friendship with Frantz, conjured up in evocative flashbacks.

Jean-Claude Moireau - Foz/Courtesy of Music Box Films
Pierre Niney and Paula Beer in Frantz. (Photo credit: Jean-Claude Moireau – Foz/Courtesy of Music Box Films)

What follows is a surprising exploration of how Ozon’s characters’ wrestle with their conflicting feelings – survivor’s guilt, anger at one’s losses, the overriding desire for happiness despite everything that has come before, and the longing for sexual, romantic and familial attachments. Ozon drew his inspiration from Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 drama Broken Lullaby, with stunning visual references to painter Caspar David Friedrich.



“Intellectually stimulating and emotionally satisfying.” 

– Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

“Astonishingly beautiful and inquisitive. it’s impossible to deny the sheer narrative sophistication. Elevated by a quartet of stunning performances 

– Eric Kohn, IndieWire 

“A richly imagined and superbly assembled period piece.”

Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter 


 Landmark Nuart Theatre

11272 Santa Monica Blvd.

West Los Angeles, CA 90025

Regal Edwards Westpark 8

3735 Alton Pkwy,

Irvine, CA 92606

Regency Directors Cut Cinema at Rancho Niguel

25471 Rancho Niguel Rd,

Laguna Niguel, CA 92677


Outstanding Film and Television Performances Honored at the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®

Posted by Larry Gleeson

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 29, 2017) —The Screen Actors Guild Awards® presented its coveted Actor® statuettes for the outstanding motion picture and primetime television performances of 2016 at the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® held Sunday, Jan. 29 at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center. In a ceremony attended by film and television’s leading actors, the 23rd Annual SAG Awards® was simulcast live coast-to-coast by TNT and TBS at 8 p.m. (ET). A primetime encore presentation immediately followed on TNT. In addition, TBS and TNT subscribers were able to watch the SAG Awards live through the networks’ websites and mobile apps.

Honored with individual awards were Denzel Washington, Emma Stone, Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis for performances in motion pictures, and Bryan Cranston, Sarah Paulson, John Lithgow, Claire Foy, William H. Macy and Julia Louis-Dreyfus for performances in television. The Screen Actors Guild Awards originated awards for the outstanding performances by a motion picture cast and by television drama and comedy ensembles. The Actor® for a motion picture cast performance went this year to “Hidden Figures,” while the Actors® for television drama and comedy ensemble performances went this year to “Stranger Things” and “Orange is the New Black.”

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Show
Actor Lily Tomlin (l) accepts the 2016 SAG Life Achievement Award from actor/singer Dolly Parton during the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Dolly Parton presented Lily Tomlin with the 53nd Life Achievement Award, following a filmed salute to the actor, comedian, writer, producer and all-round entertainment maverick.  Carteris introduced a filmed “In Memoriam” tribute to the SAG-AFTRA members lost during 2016, an honor roll that sadly included three past presidents of our union:  Ken Howard, Patty Duke and William Schallert; as well as two beloved Life Achievement Award recipients: Mary Tyler Moore and Debbie Reynolds.

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards presented by SAG-AFTRAwith Screen Actors Guild Awards®, LLC was produced by Avalon Harbor Productions. For more information about the SAG Awards, SAG-AFTRA, TNT and TBS, visit,

The complete list of recipients for the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®follows:



Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

DENZEL WASHINGTON / Troy Maxson – “FENCES” (Paramount Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

EMMA STONE / Mia – “LA LA LAND” (Lionsgate)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

VIOLA DAVIS / Rose Maxson – “FENCES” (Paramount Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

HIDDEN FIGURES (20th Century Fox)

MAHERSHALA ALI / Col. Jim Johnson


KIRSTEN DUNST / Vivian Mitchell

TARAJI P. HENSON / Katherine G. Johnson

ALDIS HODGE / Levi Jackson

JANELLE MONÁE / Mary Jackson

JIM PARSONS / Paul Stafford

GLEN POWELL / John Glenn

OCTAVIA SPENCER / Dorothy Vaughan


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series

BRYAN CRANSTON / President Lyndon B. Johnson – “ALL THE WAY” (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

JOHN LITHGOW / Winston Churchill – “THE CROWN” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

CLAIRE FOY / Queen Elizabeth II – “THE CROWN” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

WILLIAM H. MACY / Frank Gallagher – “SHAMELESS” (Showtime)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / President Selina Meyer – “VEEP” (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series



CARA BUONO / Karen Wheeler

JOE CHREST / Ted Wheeler

NATALIA DYER / Nancy Wheeler


CHARLIE HEATON / Jonathan Byers

JOE KEERY / Steve Harrington

GATEN MATARAZZO / Dustin Henderson

CALEB McLAUGHLIN / Lucas Sinclair

MATTHEW MODINE / Dr. Martin Brenner

ROB MORGAN / Officer Powell

JOHN PAUL REYNOLDS / Officer Callahan

WINONA RYDER / Joyce Byers


MARK STEGER / The Monster

FINN WOLFHARD / Mike Wheeler

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series


UZO ADUBA / Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren

ALAN AISENBERG / Baxter “Gerber” Bayley

DANIELLE BROOKS / Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson


JACKIE CRUZ / Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales


BETH DOVER / Linda Ferguson


ANNIE GOLDEN / Norma Romano

LAURA GOMEZ / Blanca Flores

DIANE GUERRERO / Maritza Ramos


BRAD WILLIAM HENKE / Desi Piscatella

VICKY JEUDY / Janae Watson

JULIE LAKE / Angie Rice

SELENIS LEYVA / Gloria Mendoza

NATASHA LYONNE / Nicky Nichols

TARYN MANNING / Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett

JAMES McMENAMIN / Charlie “Donuts” Coates

ADRIENNE C. MOORE / Cindy “Black Cindy” Hayes

KATE MULGREW / Galina “Red” Reznikov

EMMA MYLES / Leanne Taylor

MATT PETERS / Joel Luschek

LORI PETTY / Lolly Whitehill


DASCHA POLANCO / Dayanara “Daya” Diaz


JOLENE PURDY / Stephanie Hapakuka


NICK SANDOW / Joe Caputo



CONSTANCE SHULMAN / Erica “Yoga” Jones

DALE SOULES / Frieda Berlin

YAEL STONE / Lorna Morello

LIN TUCCI / Anita DeMarco

SAMIRA WILEY / Poussey Washington


Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

“HACKSAW RIDGE” (Lionsgate)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series



53rd Annual SAG Life Achievement Award



About the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®

One of the awards season’s premier events, the SAG Awards® annually celebrates the outstanding motion picture and television performances from the previous calendar year. Of the top industry honors presented to actors, only the SAG Awards are selected entirely by performers’ peers in SAG-AFTRA, which this year number 121,546. The SAG Awards was the first televised awards show to acknowledge the work of union members and the first to present awards to motion picture casts and television ensembles. For more information about the SAG Awards®, SAG-AFTRA, TNT and TBS, visit


Making An Effective Brand Film

Posted by Larry Gleeson
By Chris Daniels

Chris Daniels talks to the people behind brand films such as BMW’s The Escape and Samsung’s Fighting Chance and identifies the secret sauce that engaged viewers and persuaded them to watch.

BMW’s 5 Series Sedan looks gleaming and gorgeous in the automaker’s new brand film, The Escape, but by the end of the action-packed 11 minutes the vehicle has been dented, cracked and shot at. As the film’s co-creative director Bruce Bildsten tells PRWeek, “We went out of our way to avoid any shots that looked like a car commercial. We made sure the car got pretty banged up and dirty.”

“In fact, to prepare for the final shot we had a stuntman jump off a ladder onto the hood because it wasn’t dented enough,” Bildsten recalls. “And the client was there saying, ‘Go for it!’”

The Escape arrives 15 years after The Hire, the first BMW film that raced to more than 100 million views back before high-speed Internet was widespread. The success was fueled by a great story, word of mouth, and earned media impressions. Many experts consider the action film (starring movie actor Clive Owen, who reprised his role for the latest iteration) a seminal moment for brand film as a viral content play.


Although it has taken time for more brands to experiment with the media, industry watchers note advertisers of all categories have gotten into the filmmaking business. Some, such as Nike and Chipotle Mexican Grill, have commissioned animated shorts; others, including Prada-owned fashion house Miu Miu and Häagen-Dazs, have done documentaries; and the likes of BMW and H&M have opted for cinematic fiction.

Its growing popularity is also reflected in the hundreds of entries to PRWeek and Campaign’s inaugural Brand Film Festival last year.

Experts attribute its rise to several factors, paramount among them being the democratization of content and the fact consumers are choosing what to watch and how to watch it.

Since its launch in late October last year, The Escape has been watched on YouTube more than 5.1 million times. Bildsten reunited with former Fallon colleagues David Carter and Brian DiLorenzo and created Geisel Productions to produce it. They worked on the first film for BMW USA while they were all at ad agency Fallon and hope to make more brand films under Geisel.

“The lesson we learned from BMW was that we could integrate the car into the story, but it could never be heavy handed,” he explains. “That’s the mistake often made with brand films. They’re selling; they turn the viewer off; and no one seeks it out.”

Experts agree a brand film is no longer a film if it’s selling (that’s just an extended ad), or telling a story strictly about the company (that’s an infomercial). They say it follows a different set of parameters and best practices that seem counter to almost everything else they do in marcomms.

Understand your brand first

Spectrecom Films & Spectrecom Studios in London, with corporate clients including American Express, Skittles, and Guinness, has increasingly been approached by newer brands looking to put themselves on the map, says Christiaan Harden, client services director.

However, he says companies can’t look to a film for helping define their brand; it has to instead evangelize and emote what your brand is about. “You can’t do that if you don’t have a good understanding of your own brand,” says Harden. “We’ve had to say to some clients, in particular for new brands, ‘Don’t even think of allocating a budget until you know who you are yourself.’”

A clear understanding of your brand also keeps you focused on the storytelling that would resonate and engage on an emotional level with your particular target, he adds.

“Sometimes a client already has an idea that may be imaginative and slightly different, but it is not communicated with the brand in mind – it’s just an idea for its own sake,” says Harden. “That’s why the branding stage and understanding your audience is so important.”

Also understand – audiences aren’t clamoring for your film.

“There are very few brands people genuinely care about. You could probably count them on the fingers of one hand,” says Matthew Gidley, SVP, MD, experiential and live events group, Momentum Worldwide and an award-winning writer who has worked on films for brands including Nokia and Meridien Hotels.

“You should assume nobody wants to see your brand film other than the client, a handful of your colleagues, and perhaps some close members of your family,” says Gidley. “It’s the number one golden rule and as an industry it’s the first rule we choose to ignore: Never be boring, and don’t kid yourself you’re being interesting.”

Choose your collaborators

Brands can work with production companies, ad agencies, and PR firms, which have boosted their production capabilities with hires of former executive producers in TV and film.

A field producer for Rachel Ray and The Martha Stewart Show before joining Weber Shandwick in 2011, Ian Cohen is now the firm’s global executive producer and president, content creation and innovation. He oversees over 100 employees globally, from directors and editors to photographers and animators.

Collaborating with a PR agency in helping to identify and craft a story for film offers distinct advantages, Cohen says.

“The advantage of coming at it from the PR angle is we ask ‘what type of film can we create that would get into the news cycle?’, because non-paid media is what we’re really after,” he says. “When we do a film and someone does an online search of the client, we want them to find coverage of the film – because it will be embedded in the coverage.”

“That unpaid media becomes the film’s rocket fuel. It signals this is something you can’t miss,” he adds.

As an example, he points to the 90-second mini-documentary Weber produced for Fisher-Price called “Wishes for baby,” which features new moms in hospitals around the world sharing their wishes for their babies. The footage – shot in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2016 – has been viewed on YouTube more than 1.8 million times and was picked up by the likes of USA Today.

Regardless of your collaborators, remember films are written by writers, not copywriters, says Gidley.

“The most sacred object in this whole enterprise is the script, and you’d better make sure whoever wrote it is a voracious reader of everything from history to politics to fiction to poetry to metaphysics – because they’re going to have to apply the rules of rhetoric to a subject that may not on the face of it be terrifically exciting (a brand),” he points out. “I once won an award for a brand film about a hotel chain, and the spark of inspiration came to me whilst reading a passage in a Jane Austen novel that reminded me of something I had once seen in a PBS documentary about the history of the Spanish guitar.”

“That’s what writers do. They find connections and turn them into ideas that move people,” Gidley notes.

He also notes that many of his most-awarded films were written while he was a planner at a large events agency. As a result, he advises clients make an effort to know who’s who in their agency roster and actively identify the people they want thinking and writing about their brand. “I have a chip on my shoulder, but I’ll say it anyway – the best people probably aren’t inside the ad agency,” notes Gidley.

Think about distribution upfront

Before joining Ketchum Sports & Entertainment in October, Michelle Carney was at Tribeca Enterprises where she produced films for clients, including a series of small business documentaries for American Express, an Olympics feature for United Airlines, and numerous projects for Dick’s Sporting Goods. Now she leads Ketchum’s branded film, video, and VR/AR offering Ketchum Films.

“A film can live forever and have multiple phases within its distribution window,” Carney points out. “It is imperative to think about distribution as you’re conceiving the idea for the film, whether it’s a documentary, narrative, or short. You want to make sure distribution aligns with those important times in a brand calendar.”

She also says while most brands look to an earned media strategy for their film using owned channels, they should also consider seeking a distribution deal with the likes of Amazon or Netflix. She says having a top-shelf director on a brand film gives it instant credibility.

Carney cites the short documentary Fighting Chance that Ketchum produced for Samsung leading up to the Rio 2016 Olympics, directed by Oscar-winner Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom).


Samsung’s film highlights the reality that of the one million athletes who train for the Olympics, only 1% qualify.

“If you have a great film, a platform is going to want to distribute it. They’re probably not going to pay a premium for it, but you never know when you have people like Morgan and Ron Howard making brand content,” says Carney. “That changes the game. Also, remember the distribution landscape changes every day and is constantly evolving.”

Cohen agrees as much attention should be paid to distribution as creative. “Often a piece of content is made and then handed off to distribution, but that’s the wrong approach,” he says. “The distribution team, whether for paid or earned media, needs to be engaged in the brand story upfront, because I’ve seen where they’ve said, ‘Hey, if we move this soundbite up or engage this particular cast of characters, we’ll get picked up by these different media trades.’”

“That is what you’re after: you’re not paying for 10,000 views and getting 10,000 views. You’re guaranteeing yourself 10,000 views [with paid distribution] and hoping for 100,000 more through earned media,” summarizes Cohen.

Go here to learn more about PRWeek and Campaign’s Brand Film Festival New York, or to submit your film for consideration for their second annual gala screening.

The deadline for submissions, which are open to work from the Americas and Asia-Pacific, is February 6.


Warner Bros. Entertainment to Acquire Machinima

Warner Bros. has signed an agreement to acquire Machinima, the global programming service focused on fandom and gamer culture, and it will become part of the recently founded Warner Bros. Digital Networks. The announcement was made today by Craig Hunegs, President, Business and Strategy, Warner Bros. Television Group and President, Warner Bros. Digital Networks.


“Machinima is a strong gamer and fandom content and social brand with enormous reach and high engagement with audiences that play our games and are big fans of DC films and television shows,” said Hunegs. “Machinima also produces great, high quality content for their community, and together we can create an even more compelling experience and do some really exciting things involving our key franchises. This acquisition is another meaningful move forward as Warner Bros. develops more direct relationships with our consumers.”

“Since making their first investment in Machinima in 2014, Warner Bros. has been an active business partner in our transformation, so we already have proof points as to how the companies can work together to accelerate Machinima’s growth plans,” said Chad Gutstein, CEO, Machinima. “We’ll now be able to take full advantage of Warner Bros.’ intellectual property, sales and distribution, while still creating content for social and premium digital platforms that gamers and geeks love. Plus, we’ll be fully embedded and can help Warner Bros. continue their incredible digital marketing successes. It’s honestly a win-win.”

In the past two years, Machinima has transitioned from a YouTube MCN to a global programming service and production company delivering popular programming to millions. Since joining Machinima in 2014, Gutstein revamped the executive team, brand, programming and business strategy. As part of that strategy, the company opened a full-service production studio and executed first-of-its-kind premium content partnerships with platforms, including Playstation Vue, Amazon Prime, Verizon’s go90, China’s Sohu and The CW Network. According to comScore, Machinima is the 10th largest digital video entertainment media company in the U.S. ranked by total unique viewers.

Machinima will operate as a wholly owned part of Warner Bros. Digital Networks, a division founded in June 2016 to grow the Studio’s digital and OTT offerings. As part of Time Warner’s overall strategy to reach audiences directly through company-owned current and yet-be-launched OTT services, WBDN works closely with Time Warner’s divisions Turner and HBO.

About Warner Bros.:
Warner Bros. is a leader in all forms of entertainment and their related businesses across all current and emerging media and platforms. The Studio stands at the forefront of every aspect of the industry, from feature film, television and home entertainment production, animation, comic books and video games. Warner Bros. manages one of the most successful collections of brands and franchises in the world, and has a library of more than 79,000 hours of programming, including nearly 7,500 feature films and 4,500 television programs comprised of tens of thousands of individual episodes.

About Machinima:
Machinima is the most notorious purveyor and cultivator of fandom and gamer culture. The FIRST! Many2Many programing service (M2M), we create, curate and celebrate the best fandom and gamer content across multiple video platforms. As one of the largest online video platforms in the world, Machinima programs to a community passionate about video games, animation, movies, TV, and the other endless forms of pop culture. With a focus on scripted, topical and gaming programing, and a talent network of thousands of programmers, Machinima reaches nearly 150 million viewers each month.