Tag Archives: film distribution

Amazon’s Success With ‘Manchester’ Points to Changes in Movie Business

Posted by Larry Gleeson.

By Leon Lazaroff

After Amazon showed it can make a film that wins over critics and the public, the movie industry may need to compromise on when films become available for streaming.

The way people watch video has changed dramatically over the past 10 years — even the past two — as streaming services such as Amazon (AMZN) , Netflix (NFLX) and Hulu have made subscription video on demand and binge-watching as customary as Sunday viewing of the NFL.

Yet as TV viewing has been transformed by technology, the film industry has mostly stayed the same.

In winning two Oscars on Sunday for its Manchester by the Sea, Amazon followed Hollywood’s conventional rules for film distribution, opening the family drama starring Casey Affleck in theaters while keeping it away from streaming services, including its own.

But movie theater attendance was flat in 2016, and video-on-demand and DVD sales have fallen by 50% over the past 10 years. Further highlighting the disconnect between consumer demand for mobile video and a movie industry huddled in Los Angeles, the audience for Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony on Disney‘s (DIS) ABC was the lowest in nine years for the industry’s marquee event, according to Nielsen.

To reverse worrisome trends, Hollywood is being forced to consider making some films available at home near or when they open in theaters, a practice known in the industry as a day-and-date release.

Amazon’s impressive wins on Sunday for best actor and best original screenplay could accelerate a demand for streaming first-run films, said Jason Krikorian, a co-founder of Sling Media and a general partner at early-stage venture capita firm DCM Ventures.

“As companies like Amazon and others remain quite focused on delivering top-notch content to devices in your home, then consumers will also get used to consuming top-notch two-hour-type content, movies, just as they have very good television,” Krikorian said from Menlo Park, Calif. “Once more new films are available in a home setting, that will create a consumer expectation, a level of enjoyment that will further add to that momentum.”

In recent months, the heads of Hollywood’s major studios have been meeting with theater owners to talk about making some films available for streaming near or on the same day they open at the local cinema. Thus far, nothing definitive has emerged from these conversations, though conversations are ongoing, said Stacey Snider, chairman and CEO of 21st Century Fox (FOXA) unit 20th Century Fox Film, earlier this month at Recode’s Code Media conference.

“Most films, even the blockbusters, have done 90% to 95% of their business within three or four weeks [of opening],” Snider said. “So who is this helping to not offer much earlier, and who is it hurting?”

Snider herself was circumspect, proclaiming that there are pluses and minuses to narrowing or shutting the window between the day that a film debuts in a theater to the day when it is available for streaming.

“Sooner seems to make sense,” she said. “But if whatever corner of the market that we have is creating a huge, global, big and beautiful cinematic experience, then the last thing we want to do is commoditize it, make it so that it’s interchangeable with the home entertainment center.”

The solution, Snider added, isn’t to be found in “smashing the window but in tightening it.”

So far, theater owners have resisted such moves, declaring that so-called day-and-date releases are ultimately bad for the studios. Theater owners often site the disappointing numbers for the films Margin Call (2011) and Arbitrage (2012), both released by Roadside Attractions, the independent distribution company that’s 43% owned by Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF.A) .

“They got out of that business because it doesn’t work,” said Patrick Corcoran, a Los Angeles-based spokesman for the National Association of Theatre Owners. “Customers have a sense that it’s maybe not worth the same thing because it’s simultaneously available in the home.”

Offering first-run films in the home, Corcoran said, is a race to the bottom. The proliferation of high-quality television serials has produced a glut in the home market. Adding new films to the mix would undercut pricing for the studios and the theaters.

Nonetheless, Corcoran acknowledged that studios are eager to offset declines in VOD and DVD sales and that the industry is willing to work with them to accomplish that goal.

A compromise may be in order.

One popular option is that some films would be available for a given period of time at a higher price, $50 for example, and that theater owners would share in a portion of the digital revenue. While the studios and theater owners aren’t likely to make their blockbuster films immediately available online, it’s possible smaller-budget films such as Fences, the drama starring Denzel Washington and Oscar-winner Viola Davis and produced by Viacom‘s (VIAB) Paramount Pictures, might be. Finding a price point to entice customers and keep studios and theater owners happy, though, will be tricky.

Still, as Amazon seeks to be a bigger player in Hollywood, at least for small-to-medium-budget films that play well with adult audiences, it’s increasingly likely that the world’s largest retailer with a burgeoning Prime membership business will push for a shorter release window.

And when it does, it’s possible that more people will want to stay up late to watch the Academy Awards. Especially if Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway make a return

 

 (Source: thestreet.com)

 

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Netflix Takes Over Distribution for Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Rachel Lutack

The world of film distribution is truly changing with the news that the streaming service Netflix will be taking worldwide rights to Martin Scorceses’s gangster film The Irishman. Typically a studio big-hitter, the Scorsese-Robert De Niro $100 million re-team was under the umbrella of Paramount Picture – the company has an overall feature deal with the director running through 2019. Indiewire reports that the studio was not prepared to take the huge risk that this film would require, however.

The Irishman will star De Niro as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a hitman for the mob who was rumored to be involved in the death of Jimmy Hoffa. The screenplay was adapted by Steve Zaillian from Charles Brandt’s book I Heard You Paint Houses. Part of the risk of Scorsese’s film (aside from the $100 million budget) is that he plans to use special effects to turn De Niro back into a 30-year-old man. Al Pacino may also be going through the treatment for the film, although his involvement is still in negotiations.

Paramount was originally handling North American distribution with STX Entertainment with taking over foreign rights after a $50 million deal at Cannes last year. Despite the great ambition of the project, Scorsese is known for turning out massive numbers at the box office, with The Wolf of Wall Street bringing in $392 million globally.

Now that Netflix has taken over, that will likely mean STX is out as well. The newly minted distributors plan to release the film in 2019, with a limited theatrical release prior to that for an Oscar push. When all is said and done, the freedom of a platform like Netflix may be just what Scorsese needs to make his vision a reality.

(Source: mxdwn.com)

GLOBALGATE EXPANDS ITS WORLDWIDE REACH

Posted by Larry Gleeson

News provided by Lionsgate

Brazil’s Paris Filmes and Colombia’s Cine Colombia Join the Consortium

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Feb. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Globalgate Entertainment, the local-language film production and financing venture aligned with Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF.A, LGF.B), has added Brazil’s Paris Filmes and Colombia’s Cine Colombia to its now 11-strong, worldwide consortium of production and distribution partners, the company announced today. The consortium already includes Televisa, Gaumont, Nordisk, Kadokawa, Lotte, Tobis, TME and Belga.

Paris Filmes, founded 57 years ago, is the number-one Brazilian distributor of local-language films with an 81% market share, and it is also a leading Brazilian distributor of English-language films including those of Lionsgate. In addition, the company is a strong home entertainment distributor of premium content in DVD, blu-ray and digital platforms. Paris Filmes’ recent Brazilian hits include Os Dez Mandamentos, Loucas pra Casar, Minha Mae e uma Peca and Meu Passado me Condena 1 & 2.  

Cine Colombia is the number-one distributor in Colombia with a 46% market share, where it distributes major-studio, independent and local-language films.  Joining Cine Colombia in its Globalgate partnership is Colombia’s top production company, Dynamo Productions, producers of Netflix’s super-hit Narcos, the audience-pleasing The Hidden Face, and Sundance award-winning Undertow.

Said Paris Filmes’ Partner Sandi Adamiu and CEO Marcio Fraccaroli, “Clifford has been active in Brazilian cinema production for many years, and this partnership with Globalgate and our strong positioning alongside Globalgate’s partners around the world is certain to enhance Paris Filmes’ dominance in Brazil.”

“Cine Colombia will further leverage our industry-leading position as both a distributor and exhibitor in Colombia, by joining Globalgate’s assembly of best-in-class production and distribution companies,” said Cine Colombia President and CEO Munir Falah.

“Dynamo’s partnership with Globalgate complements our global strategies, and we look forward to working with Paul, William, Clifford, Lionsgate and all our other consortium partners,” said Dynamo CEO Andres Calderon.

Globalgate Co-Founders Paul Presburger, William Pfeiffer and Clifford Werber added, “Paris Filmes, Cine Colombia and Dynamo Productions are world-class film distribution and production companies and a perfect fit for Globalgate’s consortium.  We’re delighted they’ve joined us and look forward to producing many great Brazilian and Colombian films together as well as augmenting Globalgate’s formidable inventory of commercial intellectual property emanating from our consortium partners’ vibrant territories.”

Globalgate management has recently been involved with several major local-language box office successes, including Pantelion Films’ recent Mexican hit  No Manches Frida, based on the German box office sensation Fack ju Gohte and Pantelion’s mega-hit, Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.

Remakes of Instructions Not Included are being produced and distributed in territories around the world, including Demain tout commence, starring Omar Sy, which has garnered nearly 3 million admissions in France and almost 800,000 admissions in its first four weeks in Germany, and Sen Benim HerSeyimsin in Turkey. The company has several upcoming local-language films in the pipeline with its consortium partners.

ABOUT GLOBALGATE ENTERTAINMENT

Globalgate Entertainment is a producer and financier of mainstream, local-language motion pictures with a proprietary, global consortium of tier-1 production and distribution partners in key and emerging territories. Globalgate’s consortium partners include Lionsgate, Televisa (Latin America), Gaumont (France), Nordisk (Scandinavia), Kadokawa (Japan), Lotte (Korea), Tobis (Germany), TME (Turkey), Belga Filmes (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) and Paris Filmes (Brazil). Globalgate, aligned with its consortium partners, has access to over 20,000 titles and, from its offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Beijing, curates additional commercial intellectual property from third-party rightsholders worldwide.

ABOUT PARIS FILMES

Paris Filmes is a Brazilian film company that was founded in 1960.  Led by Marcio Fraccaroli and Sandi Adamiu, the company specializes in high-quality film distribution and production.  Paris Filmes is the leading producer of Brazilian films and, in 2016, had an 81% market share of local-language films.  Produced by Paris Entretenimento, “Um Marido Para Minha Mulher” was a success with audiences and critics alike in 2016, as was “Carrossel 2 – O Sumiço de Maria Joaquina.”  Paris Filmes also had great success in distribution with popular Brazilian films such as “De Pernas Pro Ar” which was directed by Roberto Santucci and “Até Que a Sorte Nos Separe” which starred Camila Morgardo and Leandro Hassum. In 2017, the company released record-tying Academy Award nominee “La La Land” in Brazil and will distribute the much anticipated “Power Rangers”.  International releases by the company in Brazil include: “Inside Llewyn Davis”, the Coen brothers movie; the acclaimed “The Wolf of Wall Street” by Martin Scorsese; “Maps to the Stars” by David Cronenberg (Julianne Moore was the winner of the Best Actress award in Cannes); the first animated adaptation of the masterpiece of Antoine de Saint-Exupery “The Little Prince”; the Divergent film series; “Mockingjay Part 2” from the global blockbuster Hunger Games franchise; “Now You See Me 2”; and successes of Argentine cinema such as “Kóblic” which starred Ricardo Darín, and the movie based on the life of Brazilian MMA fighting champion José Aldo, “Mais Forte que O Mundo”, which was directed by Afonso Poyart. In 2016 Paris Filmes also distributed multiple Academy Award nominees such as “Brooklyn” and “The Desert Wolf”.  Other major achievements were the distribution of the Golden Globe-winning film “Silver Linings Playbook” in which American actress Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in 2013 and “Midnight in Paris“, the highestgrossing Woody Allen film in Brazil.

ABOUT CINE COLOMBIA

Cine Colombia, founded in 1927, is the first circuit in Colombia to install digital projection in 2007, evidencing its architectural and technological industry prominence.  Munir Falah, President and CEO since 1990, currently oversees roughly 2,000 employees. Cine Colombia has 290 screens, at 43 locations, in 12 Colombian cities and is investing $100 million on 110 new screens opening over the next three years. Cine Colombia has several large format screens called Mega Sala Cineco, boosting a 40% bigger screen than traditional screens. The circuit also has 7 MediaMation Mx4D theatres, branded as Dinamix 4D.

In addition, Cine Colombia is the leading distributor in Colombia, with a 46% market share, representing Fox, many Latin American Consortiums and independent production companies. In 2016, the company released 88 of the 320 films released in Colombia and, on average, co-finances 5 Colombian films each year. Cine Colombia also has a very strong Alternative Content division, representing the NY MET Opera, the Bolshoi Ballet, the London National Theatre, and many other cultural events.

 ABOUT DYNAMO PRODUCTIONS

DYNAMO was founded in Bogotá on 2006 by Andrés Calderón and Diego Ramírez, who today lead the Company along with their creative and executive partners Cristian Conti, Andi Baiz and Michel Ruben from their offices in Bogotá, New York, Mexico, and Madrid.

DYNAMO has consolidated itself as one of Latin America’s most important audiovisual production companies. Among their most relevant productions since their first feature film ‘Satanás’, are ‘Malcriados’, ‘Out of the Dark’, ‘Contracorriente’ and ‘The Hidden Face’. Dynamo has also produced ‘Los 33’ with Antonio Banderas, the first feature film under the Rebate Law of 2012 as well as their alliance with Netflix for the widely successful series ‘Narcos’. They also have stellar productions under the Rebate Law such as ‘American Made’ with Tom Cruise and ‘Escobar’ with Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz.

For further information and inquiries, please contact:

Peter D. Wilkes
Lionsgate
pwilkes@lionsgate.com
310-255-3726

(Source: prnewswire.com)

Hyun Bin film ‘Confidential Assignment’

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Riddhiman Mukhopadhyay

South Korean star Hyun Bin’s latest action movie called ‘Confidential Assignment’ is expected to be distributed to an impressive 42 countries. This is indeed great news for fans of the ‘Secret Garden’ actor.

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As reported by website Soompi, on January 27, CJ Entertainment, the company that is in charge of distributing the film, announced that ‘Confidential Assignment,’ also known as ‘Cooperation,’ would be released in many countries across the globe. Currently, the distribution company has set its eyes on the United States, Australia, and New Zealand on February 9, Hong Kong and Macau on February 16, Taiwan on February 17, and Vietnam on March 3.

As per a statement released by CJ Entertainment, they have already sold the film to several countries, including India, countries in the Middle East, Mongolia and Philippines. They also mentioned that Hyun Bin is quite popular in countries apart from South Korea, which is what drawing the crowd to the movie.

“Hyun Bin is highly popular overseas due to his drama roles,” CJ Entertainment said.

However, the movie has a topical element as well: tensions between North and South Korea. But to what extent this political and social issue is addressed in the film remains to be seen. The movie seems to be mostly a Die Hard-esque action thriller with Hyun Bin as the titular handsome but tough good guy, playing a North Korean special investigator. His comic sidekick is played by Yoo Hae-jin, who is a South Korean detective.

The trailer for the film looks good, and promises two hours of escapist fun at the least. The movie also features popular actors Kim Joo-hyuk and Girls’ Generation‘s Im Yoona in supporting roles.

Hyun Bin has often been in the limelight for his relationship and marriage plans with girlfriend Kang So-ra. He recently said he is busy with his work and will think about going out on a date with her later. During an interview for ‘Cooperation‘ Hyun Bin also gave his two cents regarding the responsibility of an actor towards society.

“An actor isn’t someone who is voted in by the people, but just someone who is famous. I don’t think we need to be perfect and take responsibility for our actions, but since there are young people who look at us and follow us, I don’t think we can just say that we have no responsibilities, either,” Hyun Bin said, as quoted by Soompi.

(Source: ibtimes.sg)

Berlin Panorama 2017 Program Complete

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Powerful European Auteur Cinema / Three Surprising Indie Gems from China and Hong Kong / Brazil Well-Represented with Five Films

With the invitation of 24 further feature films, the selection for the Panorama 2017 program has been completed. 51 works from 43 countries have been chosen for screening in the section, including 21 in Panorama Dokumente and 29 feature films in the main program and Panorama Special. 36 of these films will be celebrating their world premieres at the Berlinale, while the program also features six international and nine European premieres

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The German production Tiger Girl by Jakob Lass will open this year’s edition of Panorama Special at Berlin’s Zoo Palast cinema, along with the previously announced Brazilian production Vazante.

In Tiger Girl’s fast-paced narrative, a strong friendship develops between two women, one in which conventional value systems begin to unravel, in what amounts to a veritable moral portrait of the underbelly of today’s German republic. Daniela Thomas’ Vazante represents for its part the programme focus “Black Worlds”, which is also reinforced by the freshly confirmed inclusion of the South African production Vaya by Akin Omotoso, which offers an immersion in the urbanity of Johannesburg.

The fourth film from Brazil is Como Nossos Pais (Just Like Our Parents) by Laís Bodanzky, who depicts the everyday lives of three generations in Sao Paulo as a pyrotechnic display of individual passions and existential delusions staged with a sublime naturalness. The short animated film Vênus – Filó a fadinha lésbica (Venus – Filly the Lesbian Little Fairy) by Sávio Leite rounds off Brazil’s strong presence at this year’s edition of Panorama.

With Discreet, US indie director Travis Mathews, a chronographer of a gay Western modernity, is showing his second film in Panorama. An eerie soundscape floats atop his often elliptically edited story, which revolves around a man approaching middle age who gets caught up in the darker depths of his past.

The original style of Moroccan filmmaker Hicham Lasri was already apparent at Panorama 2015 in The Sea is Behind and on display again last year in Starve Your Dog. Now he returns for the third time with Headbang Lullaby, a visually stunning psychedelic fairy tale swimming in vibrant color and full of absurd situations, which also takes a long socially critical look at the history of Lasri’s native Morocco.

Naoko Ogigami already enchanted audiences in Berlin with Megane in 2008 and Rentaneko in 2012. In her most recent film Karera ga Honki de Amu toki wa (Close-Knit), the Japanese director employs contemplative, focused imagery to honor a potential matter-of-factness for non-normative sexuality and the value of families that are defined by love and care and not by conventions.

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Three modern arthouse films from China and Hong Kong shed some fresh light on the complex upheavals afoot throughout the vast country. Establishing alternatives for one’s self within authoritarian systems is a great step towards individual freedom: In Bing Lang Xue (The Taste of Betel Nut), we experience the whirlwind of young love on a resort island, while in Ghost in the Mountains and Ciao Ciao, a French co-production, we bask in the breath-taking landscapes of the Chinese highlands through the power of adept cinematography.

In his New Zealand film One Thousand Ropes, Samoan director Tusi Tamasese creates mythic images full of tension and concentration to relate the story of Maea, the baker and male midwife with the healing hands, whose personal demons play an integral role in his everyday life.

Today whole hordes of young cosmopolitans are drawn to Berlin by the promise of happiness that the city has come to represent – three films that pay tribute to this vision in extremely different manners are gathered at Panorama: the psycho thriller Berlin Syndrome by Australian director Cate Shortland, featuring Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt and Matthias Habich; the feminist fairy tale The Misandrists by Berlinale regular Bruce LaBruce; and the para-pornographic work of underground science fiction Fluidø, by Taiwanese-American artist Shu Lea Cheang.

Europe

Thirteen more films have been confirmed for the final selection from Europe alone. These include works like the Spanish debut feature Pieles (Skins) by Eduardo Casanova, Rekvijem za gospodju J. (Requiem for Mrs. J.) by Serbia’s Bojan Vuletić, Ferenc Török’s 1945 from Hungary and God’s Own Country, Francis Lee’s feature-film debut from United Kingdom. Teona Mitevska returns with a bitter depiction of Macedonian adolescents trying to get their bearings in When the Day Had no Name. Also returning to Panorama are Norwegians Ole Giæver, with the emancipatory and philosophical self-examination Fra balkongen (From the Balcony), and Erik Poppe with Kongens Nei (The King’s Choice), which deals with the Norwegian king’s resistance to the German armed forces in World War II.

Luca Guadagnino will show his French-Italian account of summer love, Call Me by Your Name, featuring Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg and Amira Casar, a screen adaptation of André Aciman’s novel of the same name, co-written with James Ivory.

The Belgian-French-Lebanese co-production Insyriated by Philippe Van Leeuw is an intense chamber drama featuring Hiam Abbass as a woman trapped in the family’s apartment while a war rages on outside. Kaygı (Inflame) by Ceylan Özgün Özçelik tells the story of the incremental roll-out of wide-spread censorship of the press in Turkey and its effect on the work of a young female journalist. And finally there is Georgian director Rezo Gigineishvili’s Hostages, in which a longing for freedom and independence escalates into a readiness to use violence for young Soviet citizens during an airplane hijacking set in 1983.

The Panorama Audience Awards for Best Feature Film and Best Documentary will be presented for the 19th time together with radioeins and for the first time in co-operation with rbb television. In 2016, over 30,000 audience members cast their votes. On the Berlinale Publikumstag, February 19, the winning films will be presented in CinemaxX7 following the awards ceremony.

For the fifth time, the Heiner Carow Prize will be awarded to a documentary, fiction feature or essay film in Panorama in co-operation with the DEFA Foundation for the Promotion of German Film Culture. Following the presentation of the award on February 16 in Kino International, the Heiner Carow film Bis dass der Tod euch scheidet (Until Death Do Us Part, GDR 1979) will be shown.

Panorama main programme and Panorama Special

1945 – Hungary
By Ferenc Török
With Péter Rudolf, Bence Tasnádi, Tamás Szabó Kimmel, Dóra Sztarenki, Eszter Nagy-Kálózy
European premiere

Berlin Syndrome – Australia
By Cate Shortland
With Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt
European premiere

Bing Lang Xue (The Taste of Betel Nut) – Hong Kong, China
By Hu Jia
With Zhao Bing Rui, Yue Ye, Shen Shi Yu
World premiere

Call Me by Your Name – Italy / France
By Luca Guadagnino
With Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, Victoire Du Bois
European premiere

Ciao Ciao – France / People’s Republic of China
By Song Chuan
With Liang Xueqin, Zhang Yu
World premiere

Como Nossos Pais (Just Like Our Parents) – Brazil
By Laís Bodanzky
With Maria Ribeiro, Clarisse Abujamra, Paulo Vilhena, Felipe Rocha, Jorge Mautner, Herson Capri, Sophia Valverde, Annalara Prates
World premiere

Discreet – USA
By Travis Mathews
With Jonny Mars, Atsuko Okatsuko, Joy Cunningham, Bob Swaffar
World premiere

Fluidø – Germany
By Shu Lea Cheang
World premiere

Fra balkongen (From the Balcony) – Norway
By Ole Giaever
World premiere

Ghost in the Mountains – People’s Republic of China
By Yang Heng
With Tang Shenggang, Liang Yu, Shang Meitong, Xiang Peng, Zhang Yun
World premiere

God’s Own Country – United Kingdom
By Francis Lee
With Josh O’Connor, Alec Secăreanu, Gemma Jones, Ian Hart
European premiere

Headbang Lullaby – Morocco / France / Qatar / Lebanon
By Hicham Lasri
With Aziz Hattab, Latefa Ahrrare, Zoubir Abou el Fadl, El Jirari Benaissa, Salma Eddlimi, Adil Abatorab
World premiere

Hostages – Russian Federation / Georgia / Poland
By Rezo Gigineishvili
With Merab Ninidze, Darejan Kharshiladze, Tina Dalakishvili, Irakli Kvirikadze
World premiere

Insyriated – Belgium / France / Lebanon
By Philippe Van Leeuw
With Hiam Abbass, Diamand Abou Abboud, Juliette Navis, Mohsen Abbas, Moustapha Al Kar
World premiere

Karera ga Honki de Amu toki wa (Close-Knit) – Japan
By Naoko Ogigami
With Toma Ikuta, Rinka Kakihara, Kenta Kiritani
World premiere

Kaygı (Inflame) – Turkey
By Ceylan Özgün Özçelik
With Algı Eke, Özgür Çevik
World premiere– Debut film

Kongens Nei (The King’s Choice) – Norway / Sweden / Denmark / Ireland
By Erik Poppe
With Jesper Christensen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Karl Markovics, Tuva Novotny, Katharina Schüttler, Juliane Köhler
European premiere

The Misandrists – Germany
By Bruce LaBruce
With Susanne Sachsse, Kembra Pfahler
World premiere

One Thousand Ropes – New Zealand
By Tusi Tamasese
With Uelese Petaia, Frankie Adams, Væle Sima Urale, Ene Petaia, Beulah Koale, Anapela Polataivao
World premiere

Pieles (Skins) – Spain
By Eduardo Casanova
with Ana Polvorosa, Candela Peña, Carmen Machi, Macarena Gómez, Secun de la Rosa, Jon Kortajarena, Antonio Duran “Morris”, Eloi Costa
World premiere – Debut film

Rekvijem za gospodju J. (Requiem for Mrs. J.) – Serbia / Bulgaria / Macedonia / Russian Federation / France
By Bojan Vuletić
With Mirjana Karanović, Jovana Gavrilović, Danica Nedeljković, Vučić Perović
World premiere

Tiger Girl – Germany
By Jakob Lass
With Ella Rumpf, Maria Dragus
World premiere

Vaya – South Africa
By Akin Omotoso
With Mncedisi Shabangu, Zimkhitha Nyoka, Nomonde Mbusi, Sihle Xaba, Warren Masemola, Zimkhitha Nyoka, Nomonde Mbusi, Azwile Chamane
European premiere

When the Day Had no Name – Macedonia / Belgium / Slovenia
By Teona Mitevska
With Leon Ristov, Hanis Bagashov, Dragan Mishevski, Stefan Kitanovic, Igorco Postolov, Ivan Vrtev Soptrajanov
World premiere

Supporting Film

Vênus – Filó a fadinha lésbica (Venus – Filly the Lesbian Little Fairy) – Brazil
By Sávio Leite

Already Announced Titles

Centaur – Kyrgyzstan / France / Germany / The Netherlands, by Aktan Arym Kubat
Honeygiver Among the Dogs – Bhutan, by Dechen Roder
Pendular – Brazil / Argentinia / France, by Julia Murat
The Wound – South Africa / Germany / The Netherlands / France, by John Trengove
Vazante – Brazil / Portugal, by Daniela Thomas

Logo-Berlinale-Facebook

(Source: Berlinale Press Office)

More distribution deals struck at Sundance ’17

Posted by Larry Gleeson

From the Salt Lake Tribune Staff

Another space of distribution deals have been made this week at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival:

• Fox Searchlight bought worldwide distribution rights to “Patti Cake$,” director Geremy Jasper’s crowd-pleasing tale of a white New Jersey girl (Danielle McDonald) who pursues his dreams of being a rap star. It played in the U.S. Dramatic competition.

• Fox Searchlight also picked up worldwide distribution rights to Amanda Lipitz’s documentary “Step,” which follows the progress of a step team at an inner-city Baltimore school. Fox Searchlight also acquired the remake rights. The movie played in the U.S. Documentary competition.

• Sony Pictures Classics has bought worldwide rights to the comedy “Brigsby Bear,” which played in the U.S. Dramatic competition. Directed by Dave McCary and filmed in Utah, the movie stars Kyle Mooney (who co-wrote the screenplay) as a young man whose life is upended, and he discovers the children’s TV show he watched his entire life was made for an audience of one.

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Roadside Attractions and FilmNation teamed up to secure North American rights to “Beatriz at Dinner,” starring Salma Hayek as a holistic therapist who encounters a businessman (John Lithgow) at a dinner party. The movie, which played in the Premieres section, was directed by Miguel Arteta and written by Mike White.

• Amazon picked up the true-life drama “Crown Heights,” starring Lakeith Stansfield as a Brooklyn man wrongfully imprisoned for a murder he didn’t commit. The movie was directed by Matt Ruskin.

• Amazon also has picked up worldwide theatrical rights to “City of Ghosts,” Matthew Heineman’s documentary (in the U.S. Documentary competition) about a citizen-journalist group risking life and limb to get out information about the Islamic State’s atrocities in Syria. The movie was produced by A&E Indie Films, and A&E will retain the TV rights.

• IFC Midnight has acquired U.S. rights to “78/52,” director Alexandre O. Phillippe’s documentary (which played in the Midnight section) that dissects the shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”

• RLJ Entertainment landed U.S. rights to the Midnight title “Bushwick.” The movie, directed by Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott and starring Brittany Snow and Dave Bautista, is set in a near-future in which a secessionist Texas militia invades Brooklyn.

(Source: stltrib.com)

Annapurna launches marketing, distribution operation

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Jeremy Kay

The timely development comes as industry sources predict Megan Ellison’s team is in Sundance looking to make a statement buy as the festival wraps up its first weekend.

The full-service distribution and marketing operation will kick off with the inaugural release of Kathryn Bigelow’s Untitled Detroit Project in theatres on August 4.

Marc Weinstock, who recently joined the company as president, will oversee the new division alongside president of marketing David Kaminow and president of distribution Erik Lomis.

The addition of a deep-pocketed buyer adds to speculation over who will make the big acquisition plays in Park City.

Prior to the festival there was talk that YouTube Red, Facebook and Apple could be the ones to watch besides Netflix and Amazon Studios. While those first three companies are making inroads into feature content and have the money to step up, the focus now turns to Annapurna.

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Marc Weinstock (Photo via HollywoodReporter.com)

“Kathryn’s Untitled Detroit Project is exemplary of the type of films we will be distributing,” said Weinstock. “I couldn’t be more confident in the team we are establishing to distribute and market the film in a way that is as creative and masterful as her film is.”

 

Bigelow’s film takes place against the backdrop of Detroit’s 1967 riots. Bigelow is producing with Ellison and Matthew Budman. Mark Boal, who wrote the script, and Colin Wilson are also producers with Greg Shapiro serving as executive producer.

The release date will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the riots and stars an ensemble cast that includes John Boyega, John Krasinski, Anthony Mackie, Jason Mitchell, Will Poulter, Jack Reynor and Jeremy Strong.

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Megan Ellison, producer and founder of Annapurna Pictures (Photo via Screendaily.com)

“Kathryn took a chance on me six years ago and I’m honored that she has put her faith in me and my team once again,” said Ellison, referring to Zero Dark Thirty. “I could not be more excited to be launching this new part of our company with such a groundbreaking filmmaker, tremendous collaborator, and dear friend.”

Bigelow added: “Megan has been such a huge supporter of filmmakers as a producer and the fact that she is now offering a full-fledged distribution and marketing home run by such innovative and creative executives is great news to all of us. I am thrilled to be working with them.”

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Pictured above, Kathryn Bigelow’s latest film, Untitled Detroit Project, is slated to be Annapurna Pictures’ inaugural combined marketing and distribution operation. (Photo via The  AV Club)

 

(Source: screendaily.com)

 

 

Sundance: Exploring the Implications of Amazon’s New Distribution Play

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Dan Shoenbrun

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Earlier this week, Amazon Video Direct (AVD, a department within Amazon focused on self-publishing distribution tools for filmmakers) announced an intriguing new opportunity available to Sundance 2017 feature filmmakers. Dubbed the “Film Festival Stars” program, AVD is offering, in exchange for a two-year worldwide SVOD (subscription VOD) contract (with one-year exclusive) an up-front “cash bonus” to Sundance titles on a sliding scale based on section ($100,000 for US Narrative Competition titles, $75,000 for US Documentary Competition Titles, and $25,000 for titles in the NEXT, Midnight, Kids, World, New Frontiers, and Spotlight sections). The deal also offers a preferential rate on Amazon’s standard payouts per stream.

Though AVD framed this announcement as a “self-distribution opportunity,” it was greeted with debate from a subset of influential independent producers on Facebook, who pointed out that it sounded less like “self-distribution” and more like a traditional, albeit standardized SVOD distribution deal. The point was raised that the initial exclusivity clause would all but rule out other distribution opportunities (as SVOD is the most lucrative revenue stream on most independent films in 2017), and that what was here being referred to as a “cash bonus” was simply a rebranded version of what other distributors referred to as an MG (or “minimum guarantee”). Further concern was raised over the fact that this standardized “cash bonus” publicly assigned an across-the-board standard price point to all Sundance films premiering in a given category. Would this devalue the market overall? $100k or $25k, after all, would hardly be considered “recouping” for most films premiering at Sundance.

This is a depressing fact, but to my eyes Amazon’s numbers are actually quite generous when you consider the fact that this is a deal aimed not at the major, star-driven films premiering at the festival, but rather at those films that won’t land a big sale. There are certainly plenty of Sundance films that will not be offered worldwide MGs for nearly as high an amount as those offered here.

So is there a downside to filmmakers and producers having this additional opportunity available to them?

Probably not, at least not in the immediate future. But in my opinion this announcement should worry one subsection of the industry: niche and micro-budget distributors. By naming a standardized price that many distributors can’t hope to match, Amazon wagers that there are filmmakers out there willing to choose upfront money over the less quantifiable benefits that a smaller distributor will offer in lieu of an MG (marketing, PR, P&A, theatrical bookings).

I queried AVD about their Film Festival Stars program via email, and tried to ask questions that I’d want to know more about if I was a filmmaker or producer considering this deal, or a distributor fretting about the future of my business. They replied with these responses attributed collectively to the AVD team.

Filmmaker: Can you clarify how Amazon Video Direct differs from Amazon Studios? Are the films participating in Amazon Video Direct also available to stream for free to all Amazon Prime members?

AVD: Amazon Original Movies is interested in films for acquisition purposes — they are looking to purchase, co-finance, pre-buy and invest in premium original content that will be theatrically released and can be viewed exclusively by Prime members. Amazon Video Direct is a service offered by Amazon Video that enables filmmakers and other content creators to make their titles available to Amazon customers worldwide, including millions of Amazon Prime customers, through a self-service publishing interface without the need for complex negotiations or contracts. The Film Festival Stars program, from Amazon Video Direct, is a program focused on filmmakers, beyond those targeted for direct acquisition by AOM and Prime Video teams at Sundance, who want to self-distribute their films by providing additional opportunities to make their films available to Amazon Prime members. The opt-in nature of Amazon Video Direct and Film Festival Stars is what makes it unique.

Filmmaker: Will similar offers (with upfront “publishing bonuses”) be made to filmmakers premiering at other US festivals like SXSW and Tribeca? Or is this deal unique to Sundance?

AVD: At this time, the Film Festival Stars program is only open to films chosen as official selections at Sundance 2017.

Filmmaker: Can you speak a bit about how you determined the pricing tiers offered in this deal? The numbers imply that you have generally determined that US Dramatic Competition films are 25% more valuable than US Documentaries, and four-times more valuable than films in the Foreign and Midnight sections. How did you arrive at these estimates?

AVD: As an opt-in program, we are not placing value on individual or classes of films. The non-recoupable up front bonus for filmmakers who opt-in to the program is intended to pay for a portion of the marketing and theatrical costs typically associated with films in these categories. Every title that is published in the program will earn double the per-hour royalty rate we pay with our standard terms.

Filmmaker: Why is exclusivity important to AVD’s business plan?

AVD: We require exclusivity to justify the substantial up-front cash bonus (non-recoupable) and elevated per-hour royalty rate. AVD is investing in the film with an up-front bonus (marketing dollars), and in exchange ask it to be exclusive to Prime members through SVOD for the first 12 months (starting after a 6-month window).

Filmmaker: Some producers have criticized the windowing of this deal (which requires films start streaming by September), arguing that smaller films considering self-distribution need more time to exhaust all distribution options, and to realistically plan and execute a theatrical release. How did you arrive at this deadline, and what is your response to those who say its in a filmmaker’s best interest to wait longer before choosing a VOD partner?

AVD: There are many high-quality films screened at major film festivals that are ultimately not acquired for full service distribution. The Film Festival Stars program is designed to provide a new distribution pathway alternative for a broader set of films screened during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Each film is unique and we believe expanding distribution options for filmmakers will result in more great films reaching a bigger audience. We also feel it is important to ensure filmmakers retain the flexibility to pursue additional distribution options outside of our SVOD exclusivity terms.

Filmmaker: I imagine many filmmakers will find themselves torn between this AVD offer and offers from smaller, niche distributors who are making lower monetary bids but with a more tailored, hands-on approach to things like P&A and theatrical. Taking into account that smaller distributors are still able to place films on major streaming platforms (including Amazon), and that self-distribution can be quite a time-consuming and costly endeavor, what would your argument be to a filmmaker to go with AVD outside of the money offered?

AVD: The “opt-in” nature of Film Festival Stars is what makes it unique.  Filmmakers who do not choose to participate in the Film Festival Stars program are free to choose whether they want to license their SVOD rights on the standard program terms. With the Film Festival Stars program we are creating another option for filmmakers as they craft a holistic distribution strategy, which may include self-distribution or working with other distribution partners. The filmmaker is making the choice and in control.

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(Source: filmmakermagazine.com)

Ericsson’s Nuvu to distribute 20th Century Fox TV’s DreamWorks animated features across Africa

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Nuvu, Ericsson’s SVOD platform will distribute 20th Century Fox TV’s DreamWorks Animation-produced titles along with an extensive selection of global film franchises for territories across sub-Saharan Africa in multiple language.

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In a statement, Thorsten Sauer, head of Broadcast and Media Services, Ericsson said:

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Thorsten Sauer, head of Ericsson’s Broadcast and Media Services (Photo via digitalveurope.com)

“This feature film content deal through 20th Century Fox Television Distribution is another major milestone for Ericsson as we look to expand our new SVOD service, Nuvu. Through this partnership, Nuvu subscribers will have access to some of Hollywood’s hottest films as part of their package, localized on a market-by-market basis.”

Developed for mobile operators in Africa, Nuvu leverages the company’s extensive over-the top capabilities based on Ericsson Managed Player and components of Ericsson MediaFirst TV Platform, Ericsson’s highly scalable modular technology platforms used by broadcasters and telco service providers to distribute video content efficiently to connected devices.

For a monthly fee, subscribers have unlimited access to an initial 3 000 local and international premium titles across a wide variety of genres including Hollywood and Nollywood movies, TV series, kids, music, gospel and education.

To take on competitors – ShowMax, Amazon and Netflix – Nuvu has built-in ability to distribute content to consumers during off-peak periods minimising data costs for both operator and consumer. The platform also integrates fully into the operator’s customer relationship management and payment systems.

(Source: screenafrica.com, TechMoran)

Nationally-Distributed Film Produced By Chattanooga’s Mama Bear Studios To Show In Chattanooga Beginning Friday

Posted by Larry Gleeson

A film produced by a Chattanooga-based production company will hit local big screens Friday as part of a national release to over 50 theaters.

 

The movie, “Hunter Gatherer,” produced by Chattanooga’s Mama Bear Studios, landed a national distribution deal in November. It has since received critical acclaim from national outlets like the New York Times and L.A. Times, which called the film a “warmly eccentric little indie that’s amusing, authentic and works against expectation.” It currently has a 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But January 13 will mark the first time the film is shown in Chattanooga. It is scheduled to run at Carmike East Ridge for one week.

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-12-14-05-am“It’s fun to play the film for audiences all over the country, but the thought of showing it to our people is much more exciting,” said Isaiah Smallman, CEO of Mama Bear Studios, who added that Chattanoogans have been asking to see the film since it premiered and won an award at SXSW Film Festival in the spring of 2016. “Now there’s finally an opportunity to for local audiences to see it on the big screen — which is always the best way to see a movie.”

The movie, “Hunter Gatherer,” traces the journey of a man (Andre Royo of “The Wire” and “Empire”) trying to regain his footing after a three-year stint in prison. It was written and directed by Josh Locy, a Bryan College alumnus, and was shot on location in Los Angeles in August of 2015.

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Of the thousands of independent feature films produced each year, only a few hundred secure theatrical release, Smallman explained.

“Considering that this is the first film we produced from start to finish, it’s a massive win for Mama Bear,” said Mr. Smallman. “Carmike actually booked the film the same way they would if it was The Avengers.”

Mama Bear Studios was founded out of local ad agency Fancy Rhino with the help of The Lamp Post Group. Mr. Smallman produced the film and Drew Belz, Ted Alling, Barry Large and Allan Davis executive produced.

In addition to expanding audience reach, the theatrical release for “Hunter Gatherer” has made it eligible for important indie film awards and will increase its cache with digital platforms like Netflix and Amazon.

“We’re really hoping that the community shows up to support the film so that we can continue this partnership with Carmike,” Mr. Smallman added. “It’s our goal to continue to bring locally produced films to audiences here in town, but for that to happen we have to sell tickets.”

The movie will be released digitally on iTunes and other platforms on Feb. 7.

(Source: chattanoogan.com)