Tag Archives: Technology

SBIFF Announces New App

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced its long-awaited festival app. The app had been in beta for several months leading up to the announcement, is fully functional and can be updated easily to reflect last-minute additions to the festival’s programming.

sbiff_app_menu“With the app, not only can you view the schedule and info on all films and events, you can add reminders to your device’s calendar and join in discussions about each film through a Facebook login,” according to the festival.

Utilizing an extensive drop-down menu, the new app’s design packs a powerful punch of information to keep festival goers up-to-date on films and events. Included is an interactive map for routes to the various venues, a complete schedule of films with an option to set reminders, a link for passes and tickets and detailed information on each event under the Discover tab.

Other tabs available are the Information & Social, My Profile and My Favorites. These tabs require some engagement. The payoff is a one-stop-shop for social media and up-to-date festival information. All-in-all, the SBIFF app is a comprehensive app and a most welcomed addition to the festival experience. Highly recommended!

The app is available for download on iOS and Android platforms.

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La La Land leads 2017 Oscar Noms with a record-tying 14

Posted by Larry Gleeson

La La Land continues its strong showing on the awards circuit with a whopping 14 Oscar nominations tying the all-time nominations record 0f 14 set by All About Eve (1950) and tied first by Titanic (1997).

 

With over 336 feature films in contention for best picture, the list is now nine;  Arrival,  Fences, Hell or Highwater, Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge,  La La Land, Lion,  Manchester By The Sea, and Moonlight. In addition,

 

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Meryl Streep receives a record-breaking 2oth Oscar nmination for her role in Florence Foster Jenkins (Photo via imdb)

Legendary Hollywood actress, Meryl Streep, received a record-breaking 20th Oscar nomination for her role as a deluded singer in Florence Foster Jenkins. Ms. Streep breaks her own record of 19 nominations.

 

O.J.: Made in America, a Documentary Feature nominee, is the longest film ever nominated for an Academy Award with a run time of 7 hours and 47 minutes.
La La Land is the first musical with original music and story to receive a Best Picture nomination since All That Jazz (1979) and the second since Anchors Aweigh (1945).
Denzel Washington is the seventh individual to receive Acting and Best Picture nominations for the same film, joining Warren Beatty, Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper.
With his Best Picture nomination for Manchester by the Sea, Matt Damon becomes only the third individual to be nominated in the Acting, Writing and Best Picture categories. The others are Warren Beatty and George Clooney.
With their Best Picture nominations for Moonlight, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner become the first individual producers to have nominations in the Best Picture category in four consecutive years.

In the acting categories, seven individuals are first-time nominees (Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Lucas Hedges, Dev Patel, Isabelle Huppert, Ruth Negga and Naomie Harris). Six of the nominees are previous acting winners (Denzel Washington, Jeff Bridges,Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Octavia Spencer).

A comprehensive 89th Oscars fact sheet is available, in addition to the brief history of the Oscars previously posted.

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The 89th Academy Awards will be announced in the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center, Sunday, February 26, 2017. Jimmy Kimmel is scheduled to host and the program will air on ABC at 7PM EST. Without further ado,

The Nominees are:

Actor in a Leading Role

Nominees

Casey Affleck

Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield

Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling

La La Land

Viggo Mortensen

Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington

Fences

Actor in a Supporting Role

Nominees

Mahershala Ali

Moonlight

Jeff Bridges

Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges

Manchester by the Sea

Dev Patel

Lion

Michael Shannon

Nocturnal Animals

Actress in a Leading Role

Nominees

Isabelle Huppert

Elle

Ruth Negga

Loving

Natalie Portman

Jackie

Emma Stone

La La Land

Meryl Streep

Florence Foster Jenkins

Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominees

Viola Davis

Fences

Naomie Harris

Moonlight

Nicole Kidman

Lion

Octavia Spencer

Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams

Manchester by the Sea

Animated Feature Film

Nominees

Kubo and the Two Strings

Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner

Moana

John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer

My Life as a Zucchini

Claude Barras and Max Karli

The Red Turtle

Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki

Zootopia

Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer

Cinematography

Nominees

Arrival

Bradford Young

La La Land

Linus Sandgren

Lion

Greig Fraser

Moonlight

James Laxton

Silence

Rodrigo Prieto

Costume Design

Nominees

Allied

Joanna Johnston

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Colleen Atwood

Florence Foster Jenkins

Consolata Boyle

Jackie

Madeline Fontaine

La La Land

Mary Zophres

Directing

Nominees

Arrival

Denis Villeneuve

Hacksaw Ridge

Mel Gibson

La La Land

Damien Chazelle

Manchester by the Sea

Kenneth Lonergan

Moonlight

Barry Jenkins

Documentary (Feature)

Nominees

Fire at Sea

Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo

I Am Not Your Negro

Raoul Peck, Rémi Grellety and Hébert Peck

Life, Animated

Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman

O.J.: Made in America

Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow

13th

Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish

Documentary (Short Subject)

Nominees

Extremis

Dan Krauss

4.1 Miles

Daphne Matziaraki

Joe’s Violin

Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen

Watani: My Homeland

Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis

The White Helmets

Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Film Editing

Nominees

Arrival

Joe Walker

Hacksaw Ridge

John Gilbert

Hell or High Water

Jake Roberts

La La Land

Tom Cross

Moonlight

Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Foreign Language Film

Nominees

Land of Mine

Denmark

A Man Called Ove

Sweden

The Salesman

Iran

Tanna

Australia

Toni Erdmann

Germany

Makeup and Hairstyling

Nominees

A Man Called Ove

Eva von Bahr and Love Larson

Star Trek Beyond

Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo

Suicide Squad

Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson

Music (Original Score)

Nominees

Jackie

Mica Levi

La La Land

Justin Hurwitz

Lion

Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka

Moonlight

Nicholas Britell

Passengers

Thomas Newman

Music (Original Song)

Nominees

Audition (The Fools Who Dream)

from La La Land; Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Can’t Stop The Feeling

from Trolls; Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster

City of Stars

from La La Land; Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

The Empty Chair

from Jim: The James Foley Story; Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting

How Far I’ll Go

from Moana; Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Best Picture

Nominees

Arrival

Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Aaron Ryder and David Linde, Producers

Fences

Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington and Todd Black, Producers

Hacksaw Ridge

Bill Mechanic and David Permut, Producers

Hell or High Water

Carla Hacken and Julie Yorn, Producers

Hidden Figures

Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams and Theodore Melfi, Producers

La La Land

Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt, Producers

Lion

Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder, Producers

Manchester by the Sea

Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck and Kevin J. Walsh, Producers

Moonlight

Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers

Production Design

Nominees

Arrival

Production Design: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Paul Hotte

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

Hail, Caesar!

Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

La La Land

Production Design: David Wasco; Set Decoration: Sandy Reynolds-Wasco

Passengers

Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena

Short Film (Animated)

Nominees

Blind Vaysha

Theodore Ushev

Borrowed Time

Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj

Pear Cider and Cigarettes

Robert Valley and Cara Speller

Pearl

Patrick Osborne

Piper

Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer

Short Film (Live Action)

Nominees

Ennemis Intérieurs

Sélim Azzazi

La Femme et le TGV

Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff

Silent Nights

Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson

Sing

Kristof Deák and Anna Udvardy

Timecode

Juanjo Giménez

Sound Editing

Nominees

Arrival

Sylvain Bellemare

Deepwater Horizon

Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli

Hacksaw Ridge

Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright

La La Land

Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan

Sully

Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Sound Mixing

Nominees

Arrival

Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye

Hacksaw Ridge

Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace

La La Land

Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth

Visual Effects

Nominees

Deepwater Horizon

Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton

Doctor Strange

Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould

The Jungle Book

Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon

Kubo and the Two Strings

Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Nominees

Arrival

Screenplay by Eric Heisserer

Fences

Screenplay by August Wilson

Hidden Figures

Screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi

Lion

Screenplay by Luke Davies

Moonlight

Screenplay by Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Nominees

Hell or High Water

Written by Taylor Sheridan

La La Land

Written by Damien Chazelle

The Lobster

Written by Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou

Manchester by the Sea

Written by Kenneth Lonergan

20th Century Women

Written by Mike Mills
Thank you to Oscars Producers Jennifer Todd and Mike DeLuca!
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Pictured left to right, Oscars Producers Jennifer Todd and Mike DeLuca. (Photo courtesy of Oscars.org)
(Source: oscars.org)

The Film Industry of the Future: EFM Horizon

Posted by Larry Gleeson

“EFM Horizon presented by Audi”: Virtual Reality, Computer Games, Startups, New Technologies and Innovations at the European Film Market

The film industry of the future, with the newest technological developments, trends that provide a glimpse of things to come and evolving business models, is the focus of a total of five innovative events united under the newly created label “EFM Horizon” and made possible with the support of Audi. The platform, which encompasses the formats “Propellor | Speednic”, “EFM Startups”, “VR NOW Con Business Mixer”, “Game & Cinema” and “The Next Level of Cinema”, simultaneously aims to offer EFM trade visitors opportunities for networking with members of adjacent sectors of the audio-visual industry, such as tech, virtual reality and games.

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“Game & Cinema”
Friday, February 10, 2017, 7:30pm to 9:30pm
MGB Kino (Niederkirchnerstr. 7, 10963 Berlin)

The local multiplayer event “Game & Cinema” combines cinema and computer games in a shared gaming experience that plays out on the big screen. The event format is produced by Booster Space and was presented for the first time at the International Games Week in Berlin. Trade guests from the film market can experience the world of gaming together with an audience of gaming fans within the cinema context and discover potential new uses for cinemas in the process.

 

EFM Startups”
Monday, February 13, 10am to 12:30pm
Berliner Freiheit (Berliner Freiheit 2, 10785 Berlin)

The successful “EFM Startups” initiative, which brings the film industry together with thought leaders and mavericks from the tech scene, is continuing under the umbrella of “EFM Horizon presented by Audi”. Ten select startups from Germany, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Spain will present new technologies for production, distribution and marketing to EFM trade visitors. Pre-arranged one-on-one meetings with potential partners are intended to serve to pave the way for possible co-operations. “EFM PopUp Offices” in the atrium of the Martin-Gropius-Bau will be made available for use by the attending startups.logo_medienboard_berlin-brandenburg_1_

 

EFM Startups” is made possible with the support of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

The participants at “EFM Startups” 2017:

  • AIVA (Luxembourg)
  • CtrlMovie (Switzerland)
  • DIVE (Spain)
  • Illusion-Walk (Germany)
  • Mobisol Group (Germany)
  • Native Studios Creace (Germany)
  • PICL (The Netherlands)
  • SPHERIE by SpiceVR (Germany)
  • Viorama (Germany)
  • Virtelio by realab (Luxembourg)

 

“VR NOW Con Business Mixer”
Monday, February 13, 4pm to 7pm
Berliner Freiheit (Berliner Freiheit 2, 10785 Berlin)

Everyone is talking about virtual reality – and the film industry is no exception. At the same time, there is a lot of uncertainty about how these new technologies of VR, AR, MR, and 360° can be used in the film business, which technologies make sense, what costs they bring with them, etc. In talks, presentations and discussions, the “VR NOW Con Business Mixer” – a conference and networking event – addresses the most current impulses and trends in the sector and brings virtual reality pioneers and experts together with members of the film industry. At the same time, participants also have the opportunity to test diverse VR technologies.

The event is organized in co-operation with Virtual Reality e.V. Berlin-Brandenburg and made possible with the support of Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

 

“The Next Level of Cinema”
Tuesday, February 14, 11am to 1pm
Audi Berlinale Lounge (Marlene-Dietrich-Platz 1, 10785 Berlin)

Leading companies and creatives provide interested distributors, sales agents, producers, exhibitors and cinema operators with insight into the challenges facing the film industry of the future. Special emphasis is placed here on the topics of digitization and innovation. After taking a look at brief case studies, there will be opportunities for discussion with and among participants.

Included among the guests expected to attend are representatives from Audi, IBM (Watson), Dolby (Atmos) and filmmakers such as David O’Reilly and Thomas Wallner.

 

“Propellor | Speednic”
Tuesday, February 14, 2:30pm to 4:30pm
Rooftop Café (Potsdamer Platz 1, 10785 Berlin)

The question of the film industry of the future and how the branch can best work to actively shape its own development by employing forward-thinking concepts and innovations is at the centre of the first “Propellor | Speednic”, a closed networking and workshop event in Berlin. 24 select participants – twelve of them from the film industry and twelve from the technology sector – will discuss how we can develop and implement new sales, distribution and marketing models together as well as how we can learn from success stories from other branches.

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The incubator programme “Propellor Film Tech Hub” is a joint initiative of EFM, the International Film Festival Rotterda

m (IFFR), the international documentary film festival CPH:DOX and the Berlin-based i

nnovation studio Cinemathon.

Further information on the events as well as details regarding possibilities for attending “EFM Horizon presented by Audi” can be found at the „EFM Horizon” website.

Logo-Berlinale-Facebook

(Source: Berlinale Press Office)

18 SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENTS TO BE HONORED WITH ACADEMY AWARDS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced 18 scientific and technical achievements represented by 34 individual award recipients, as well as five organizations, will be honored at its annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.

“This year we are particularly pleased to be able to honor not only a wide range of new technologies, but also the pioneering digital cinema cameras that helped facilitate the widespread conversion to electronic image capture for motion picture production,” said Ray Feeney, Academy Award® recipient and chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee. “With their outstanding, innovative work, these technologists, engineers and inventors have significantly expanded filmmakers’ creative choices for moving image storytelling.”

Unlike other Academy Awards to be presented this year, achievements receiving Scientific and Technical Awards need not have been developed and introduced during 2016. Rather, the achievements must demonstrate a proven record of contributing significant value to the process of making motion pictures.

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The Academy Awards for scientific and technical achievements are:

TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS (ACADEMY CERTIFICATES)

To Thomson Grass Valley for the design and engineering of the pioneering Viper FilmStream digital camera system.

The Viper camera enabled frame-based logarithmic encoding, which provided uncompressed camera output suitable for importing into existing digital intermediate workflows.

To Larry Gritz for the design, implementation and dissemination of Open Shading Language (OSL).

OSL is a highly optimized runtime architecture and language for programmable shading and texturing that has become a de facto industry standard. It enables artists at all levels of technical proficiency to create physically plausible materials for efficient production rendering.

To Carl Ludwig, Eugene Troubetzkoy and Maurice van Swaaij for the pioneering development of the CGI Studio renderer at Blue Sky Studios.

CGI Studio’s groundbreaking ray-tracing and adaptive sampling techniques, coupled with streamlined artist controls, demonstrated the feasibility of ray-traced rendering for feature film production.

To Brian Whited for the design and development of the Meander drawing system at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Meander’s innovative curve-rendering method faithfully captures the artist’s intent, resulting in a significant improvement in creative communication throughout the production pipeline.

To Mark Rappaport for the concept, design and development, to Scott Oshita for the motion analysis and CAD design, to Jeff Cruts for the development of the faux-hair finish techniques, and to Todd Minobe for the character articulation and drive-train mechanisms, of the Creature Effects Animatronic Horse Puppet.

The Animatronic Horse Puppet provides increased actor safety, close integration with live action, and improved realism for filmmakers.

To Glenn Sanders and Howard Stark for the design and engineering of the Zaxcom Digital Wireless Microphone System.

The Zaxcom system has advanced the state of wireless microphone technology by creating a fully digital modulation system with a rich feature set, which includes local recording capability within the belt pack and a wireless control scheme providing real-time transmitter control and time-code distribution.

To David Thomas, Lawrence E. Fisher and David Bundy for the design, development and engineering of the Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless Microphone System.

The Lectrosonics system has advanced the state of wireless microphone technology by developing a method to digitally transmit full-range audio over a conventional analog FM radio link, reducing transmitter size, and increasing power efficiency.

To Parag Havaldar for the development of expression-based facial performance-capture technology at Sony Pictures Imageworks.

This pioneering system enabled large-scale use of animation rig-based facial performance-capture for motion pictures, combining solutions for tracking, stabilization, solving and animator-controllable curve editing.

To Nicholas Apostoloff and Geoff Wedig for the design and development of animation rig-based facial performance-capture systems at ImageMovers Digital and Digital Domain.

These systems evolved through independent, then combined, efforts at two different studios, resulting in an artist-controllable, editable, scalable solution for the high-fidelity transfer of facial performances to convincing digital characters.

To Kiran Bhat, Michael Koperwas, Brian Cantwell and Paige Warner for the design and development of the ILM facial performance-capture solving system.

This system enables high-fidelity facial performance transfer from actors to digital characters in large-scale productions while retaining full artistic control, and integrates stable rig-based solving and the resolution of secondary detail in a controllable pipeline.

SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING AWARDS (ACADEMY PLAQUES)

To ARRI for the pioneering design and engineering of the Super 35 format Alexa digital camera system.

With an intuitive design and appealing image reproduction, achieved through close collaboration with filmmakers, ARRI’s Alexa cameras were among the first digital cameras widely adopted by cinematographers.

To RED Digital Cinema for the pioneering design and evolution of the RED Epic digital cinema cameras with upgradeable full-frame image sensors.

RED’s revolutionary design and innovative manufacturing process have helped facilitate the wide adoption of digital image capture in the motion picture industry.

To Sony for the development of the F65 CineAlta camera with its pioneering high-resolution imaging sensor, excellent dynamic range, and full 4K output.

Sony’s unique photosite orientation and true RAW recording deliver exceptional image quality.

To Panavision and Sony for the conception and development of the groundbreaking Genesis digital motion picture camera.

Using a familiar form factor and accessories, the design features of the Genesis allowed it to become one of the first digital cameras to be adopted by cinematographers.

To Marcos Fajardo for the creative vision and original implementation of the Arnold Renderer, and to Chris Kulla, Alan King, Thiago Ize and Clifford Stein for their highly optimized geometry engine and novel ray-tracing algorithms which unify the rendering of curves, surfaces, volumetrics and subsurface scattering as developed at Sony Pictures Imageworks and Solid Angle SL.

Arnold’s scalable and memory-efficient single-pass architecture for path tracing, its authors’ publication of the underlying techniques, and its broad industry acceptance were instrumental in leading a widespread adoption of fully ray-traced rendering for motion pictures.

To Vladimir Koylazov for the original concept, design and implementation of V-Ray from Chaos Group.

V-Ray’s efficient production-ready approach to ray-tracing and global illumination, its support for a wide variety of workflows, and its broad industry acceptance were instrumental in the widespread adoption of fully ray-traced rendering for motion pictures.

To Luca Fascione, J.P. Lewis and Iain Matthews for the design, engineering, and development of the FACETS facial performance capture and solving system at Weta Digital.

FACETS was one of the first reliable systems to demonstrate accurate facial tracking from an actor-mounted camera, combined with rig-based solving, in large-scale productions. This system enables animators to bring the nuance of the original live performances to a new level of fidelity for animated characters.

To Steven Rosenbluth, Joshua Barratt, Robert Nolty and Archie Te for the engineering and development of the Concept Overdrive motion control system.

This user-friendly hardware and software system creates and controls complex interactions of real and virtual motion in hard real-time, while safely adapting to the needs of on-set filmmakers.

Portions of the Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation will be included in the Oscar® telecast.

The 89th Oscars® will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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(Source: oscars.org)

Largest Croatian Film Distributor Moves Headquarters to Malta

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Vedran Pavlik

Rivals are accusing Blitz of profiting from state aid.

Blitz, the leading Croatian distributor and exhibitor of films, has moved its headquarters to Malta and has become a part of the Hero Holdings Limited offshore company, reports Večernji List on January 2, 2017.

The holding includes, in addition to Blitz, companies Duplicato Media and Vox Communications. According to the Blitz-Cinestar, a company whose headquarters have remained in Croatia, the reason for the creation of “the holding is company’s internal reorganization of the group in order to facilitate expansion to other European markets; the owner of the holding company remains Hrvoje Krstulović.”

They add that Malta had been selected since it is a member of the European Union and has developed financial and other services related to the film industry, with English as the official language and acceptable costs of doing business.

This fact is not irrelevant because Blitz, which dominates with Croatian film distribution market, last year had revenues in the amount of 126 million kuna and profits of 45 million kuna, making it the most profitable of all of Krstulović’s companies. Vox Communications had a profit of 1.3 million kuna, Duplicato Media about 22 million kuna, while Blitz-Cinestar last year brought about 18 million kuna.

The new corporate structure, according to Blitz-Cinestar, will combine the shares in all of members of the group, which will improve management and operations on different markets and facilitate access to the international capital markets.

While Blitz-Cinestar claims that the move to Malta is not taxable and that all of their operating companies with 269 employees regularly pay all taxes (just since 2010, they have paid more than 59.5 million kuna of corporate taxes in Croatia), its competitors, small film exhibition companies which wished to remain anonymous, claim that Krstulović’s companies generate huge profits due to substantial state aid which is not available to any other economic sector in Croatia.

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“Until 2014, there was no VAT for cinema tickets, and he sells 90 percent of all cinema tickets and distributes 90 percent of all films”, claim Krstulović’s opponents, claiming that Blitz-Cinestar stood behind the campaign against tax reform which called for an increase in the VAT rate for cinema tickets from 5 to 13 percent. The plans were ultimately abandoned.

Blitz-Cinestar denies the charges and claims that companies in the group are not entitled to state aid, with the exception to those programmes which are available to other companies as well. “In addition, it should be in common interest of all film exhibitors that the VAT on cinema tickets is not increased, since higher tax rate would have a negative impact on everybody,” says the company.

According to business data, Blitz-Cinestar did not pay any corporate taxes starting from 2012. “Blitz-Cinestar did not have to pay the tax for a limited period based on the applicable tax regulations. We have qualified for the tax break due to investments in the amount of 157 million kuna. We have created a total of 140 new jobs and saved all the existing ones,” concludes the company.

(Source: total-croatia-news.com)

“Banking on Bitcoin” Film to Hit Theatres on January 6, 2017 Accompanied by VOD Release

Posted by Larry Gleeson

December 28, 2016, California, USA – “Banking on Bitcoin” a feature film on Bitcoin, its history and future is set to be released on January 6, 2017. Produced by Gravitas Ventures, the film will be launched at select theatres and will also be made available on VOD.

The “Banking on Bitcoin” film covers the most disruptive digital invention since the Internet. It follows the ideological battle underway between fringe utopists and mainstream capitalism. An in-depth coverage of key players in the space including Charlie Shrem, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Barry Silbert, Erik Voorhees, Nathanial Popper, Alex Winter and more gives an insight into how they think this revolutionary cryptocurrency technology will shape our lives.

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Writer/Director David Guy Levy (Photo via LinkedIn)

“Our production has excelled in more ways than we could ever have anticipated,” Said David Guy Levy. He added, “With the material we’ve managed to produce, and the interviews we’ve procured, we hope that the audience will find the final piece as engaging and thought-provoking as we do,”

Bitcoin is one of the controversial creations of technology that is set to change the world. Its early pioneers sought to blur the lines of sovereignty and the financial status quo that has been around for ages. After years of underground development, Bitcoin grabbed the attention of curious public — as well as the ire of the regulators the technology had subverted. Yet after landmark arrests of prominent cybercriminals. Bitcoin, which surged on election night and recently peaked at over $900 per BTC, still faces its most severe adversary; the very banks it was built to destroy.

Considering the subject of film and the personalities featured in it, the film’s director is available for an interview by media houses and publications to clarify the vision and purpose behind the making of “Banking on Bitcoin”. The production team is also willing to entertain requests for an interview with the Winklevoss twins. The “Banking on Bitcoin” film’s trailers can be watched on Gravitas Ventures’ YouTube channel and the film us already available to pre-order on iTunes.

gravitasventures

About Gravitas Ventures

Gravitas Ventures is a leading all rights distributor of independent cinema. Founded in 2006, Gravitas connects independent filmmakers and producers with distribution opportunities across the globe. Working with more than 500 content partners, Gravitas Ventures has distributed thousands of films into over 100 million homes. Their most recent releases include Jonathan Hock’s “Fastball,” Colin Hanks’ “All Things Must Pass,” “Being Evel” from Academy Award® winning director Daniel Junge and producer Johnny Knoxville, “Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of,” director Adam Nimoy’s documentary, “For The Love of Spock,” Richard Branson’s harrowing tale, “Don’t Look Down,” and Katie Holmes’s feature directorial debut, “All We Had.”

For more information, please visit gravitasventures.com, follow @GravitasVOD on Twitter and @gravitasventures on Instagram.

Learn more about Banking on Bitcoin at https://www.facebook.com/bankingonbitcoin/

Learn more about Gravitas Ventures at – http://gravitasventures.com/

Watch the Banking on Bitcoin trailer at – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmxqlSevtkQ&feature=youtu.be

Pre-order Banking on Bitcoin on iTunes – http://apple.co/2flUlDz

Media Contact

Contact Name: Melissa Perez

Contact Email: melissa@gravitasventures.com

Contact Phone: 3102662872

Location: California, USA

Gravitas Ventures is the source of this content. Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. This press release is for informational purposes only. The information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest.

FORUM EXPANDED – THE STARS DOWN TO EARTH

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The selection process for the 12th Forum Expanded is currently being finalised. This year’s theme is “The Stars Down to Earth”.

The search for ways to enable art to deal with an increasingly intangible reality forms an essential similarity between the selected works. Bringing one’s gaze back down to earth now seems more necessary than ever before. Yet how can one use film to take hold of something real when that very concept is ever harder to grasp?

The films and installations in the programme approach this question by attempting to both look and listen as closely as possible. In the video installation Twelve, for example, Jeamin Cha examines the pragmatic process underpinning the annual secret wage negotiations held between Korean employer and employee associations. Berlin artist Sandra Schäfer’s video installation Constructed Futures: Haret Hreik investigates city planning and redevelopment in Beirut and the political and religious ideologies they contain.

In her film Studies on the Ecology of Drama, Eija-Liisa Ahtila explores ways of finding film images that move beyond cinematographic anthropocentrism by shifting her gaze away from people and onto their environment.

The Karrabing Film Collective from Australia, whose work Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams is being presented in the group exhibition, shows three different variants of one and the same story, demonstrating how different approaches to a problem don’t just bring forth contradictory solutions but also mutually complimentary ones.

For his part, Joe Namy does away with pictorial representation almost entirely. His installation Purple, Bodies in Translation – Part II of “A Yellow Memory from the Yellow Age” merely shows a purple-colour surface, while the soundtrack explores the question of which details are lost in translation and what additional elements and contradictions are created by the differences between subtitles and image.

 

Studies on the Ecology of Drama by Eija-Liisa Ahtila

The central event location is once again the Akademie der Künste at Hanseatenweg. A group exhibition of work by 14 artists takes place here together with screenings of numerous films. The artists already invited include Haig Aivazian, James Benning, Duncan Campbell, Anja Dornieden and Juan David González Monroy, Noam Enbar, Mohamed A. Gawad and Lina Attalah, Eva Heldmann, Laura Horelli, Oliver Hussain, Ken Jacobs, Mahmoud Lotfy, Bernd Lützeler, Peter Miller, Rawane Nassif, Tomonari Nishikawa, Marouan Omara and Islam Kamal, Lukasz Ronduda, Ginan Seidl, Philip Scheffner, Merle Kröger and Izadora Nistor, Fern Silva, and Mohanad Yaqubi.

Forum Expanded will also be presenting different film archives and archive projects as part of a symposium to be held at the Kuppelhalle at the silent green Kulturquartier in Wedding, including ones from Nigeria, Indonesia, and the Palestinian Territories. SAVVY Contemporary are presenting an installation by Israeli filmmaker and artist Amos Gitai in their own exhibition space at the same location.

The Marshall McLuhan Salon at the Embassy of Canada at Leipziger Platz and the Arsenal Cinema at the Filmhaus at Potsdamer Platz form the other festival locations once again.

The full list of participating artists will be announced in the next press release in mid-January.

The works for this edition of Forum Expanded were selected by Stefanie Schulte Strathaus (head curator), Anselm Franke (Haus der Kulturen der Welt), Nanna Heidenreich (ifs internationale filmschule köln), Khaled Abdulwahed (filmmaker and artist) and Ulrich Ziemons (Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art), with Bettina Steinbrügge (Hamburger Kunstverein) acting as a consultant.

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(Source: Berlinale Press Office)

Film fests charting new course for Asian talents

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Film festivals in Asia are proving to be a boom for local filmmakers who not only find a platform to screen their works but, on most occasions, the much-needed funding for their projects.

There is also the growing trend of collaborations that ensure a wider global audience. “White Sun,” a Nepalese feature film funded by the US, Qatar and the Netherlands, is a good example. It won the Best Asian Feature Film award at the recent Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF).

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The festival attracted 161 films from 52 countries and regions, among which more than one-fifth were international collaborative works.

Film festivals in Asia allow “talents to meet each other on a more social basis,” says Yuni Hadi, executive director of SGIFF. “Some great ideas emerge from these festivals.”

With more focus on Asian films, film festivals tend to hold diverse programs, workshops and forums to promote local films, facilitate cooperation, encourage mutual communication and contribute to the funding of independent films.

 

For many filmmakers in Asia, it’s the platform that film festivals provide, such as project market and film forum, where they can learn about the latest industrial trends and technologies like VR and AR used in films, meet up with like-minded people (producers, actors, musicians), and reach out to investors to get funding for their upcoming projects.

Singapore Media Festival has hosted the Southeast Asian Film Financing Project Market since last year to nurture the young generation of filmmakers. This year, there were 15 spots available for feature film projects to pitch for funding, either fiction or non-fiction, up from 10 in 2015.

In fact, with more film festivals setting up specific sections for short films, Asian short films have started to attract public attention for its unique stories. Daren Aronofsky, director of 2010 thriller “Black Swan,” encouraged Asian filmmakers “to be passionate of telling your own stories.”

India has many dedicated short film festivals such as Filmsaaz and Beta Movement: International Students Short Film Festival. This year, India initiated two new festivals, namely, Golden Frames International Short Film Festival and Sign In Media Short Film Festival.

Support from the local community is more accessible to independent filmmakers in Asia. A range of local, cultural and art venues serve as a dedicated partner for independent filmmakers. In Singapore, two main venues, Objectifs and the Projector, have screenings dedicated to promote independent, short and artistic films. More studios and venues have started to follow the path, not only in Singapore but also in other Asian countries.

Technologies matter

From 3D, 4K to frame rate, we have witnessed changes taking place in the film industry in an effort to wow a wider global audience. Many critics have argued that technologies deployed in films should not be a selling point. Nevertheless, the technological development actually “helps to bring the story alive,” according to Hadi. “Technology is important as it supports the story … but it (film) is about stories, which is always the priority.”

To some extent, technology makes it possible for filmmakers to present an imaginary world in front of the audience. Sometimes, technologies benefit many independent filmmakers as well for its affordability.

The wide introduction of handy cams in the early 2000s allowed many Southeast Asian filmmakers to make their own films with very limited budget. Today, the young generation, or actually anybody on earth, shoot and make their own videos or micro-films and share online. As long as you have a story to tell or an idea to share, you can make your film.

Professional video production facilities and visual effects software have become more accessible to people in the region as well.

For example, PIXEL, a newly launched government-back organization in Singapore, provides comprehensive yet free services to literally anyone in the country to use its facilities as long as the story or idea is favored by the management panel. The facilities range from filming, editing, production equipment to game developing.

In China, special industrial parks have been built to encourage more creative projects, such as Shanghai Cangcheng Film and Television Cultural Industrial Park which features two major filming sets.

Diversified film distribution

As technology develops, filmmakers have more options regarding film distribution. “Previously, the only film distributor was cinema. But when television arrived, it has so many hours to fill,” says Angeline Poh, assistant CEO of Content & Innovation Group with Infocomm Media Development Authority.

Now it’s a normal practice for independent and short films to be premiered online. However, “it’s a decision of the filmmaker if it is an art film and has been fully commissioned. If it’s a commercial film, it is down to the business model,” says Poh.

In the future, the audience may be able to see some more films that will be premiered online. Such portals allow people to access different types of films, which give Asian films an opportunity to reach and nurture a global audience. But “it is limited by the quality,” Hadi says. For instance, streaming video providers like Netflix feature top titles as recommended on homepage. To Asian filmmakers, it really matters how to make high-quality films that tell their own stories.

There are other barriers for Asian filmmakers. “The challenge to these online platforms is subtitling. The Asian market has so many different languages as translation seems very costly in the sector, generally. The business side needs to catch up,” according to Hadi.

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Fostering the next generation

Across Asia, not only film schools but also production studios and film festivals have organized a series of programs and workshops to nurture the next generation of filmmakers. mm2 Asia, Singapore-based film production studio, offers short-film competitions, screenwriting labs and even apprentice programs to local students.

SGIFF holds youth jury and critics program that provides a series of workshops to a batch of college students. Its Southeast Asian Film Lab is similar to a mentorship program on story development for first-time feature filmmakers.

With focus on providing inspiring mentorship programs and workshops, the young generation is expected to present better quality Asian films and reach a wider global audience, who are more aware of Asian films and filmmakers.

(Source: http://china.org.cn)

Berlinale Talents turns 15 and shows “Courage: Against All Odds”

With its focus on “Courage: Against All Odds”, the 15th edition of Berlinale Talents takes on the significance of everyday bravery and fearlessness for today’s film professionals. 250 exceptional Talents and over 100 international experts and mentors will be invited to the six-day programme, held once again at the three venues of HAU Hebbel am Ufer from February 11 to 16, 2017.

Talents and experts will jointly explore moments of courage in the filmmaking process, from making daring choices at personal risk to pushing artistic, political or financial boundaries and venturing into unknown narrative worlds.

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“Every time a filmmaker acts with courage, their step takes the true measure of a challenge. For the anniversary edition, Berlinale Talents will focus on these crucial points while celebrating a new generation busy making film with unshakeable optimism and against all odds,” programme manager Florian Weghorn explains the theme.

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The Berlinale Talents 2017 key visual showcases quotes that will sound familiar to many filmmakers from their day-to-day lives. With a little wink, the poster series calls on Talents, guests and Berliners to find the courage to interact with these messages during the festival.

New structures for more interaction

With the level of Talent experience continuously on the rise, Berlinale Talents has redesigned integral parts of the programme to strengthen the networking effects. Four major slots traditionally reserved for master classes have been replaced by a new series of interactive sessions and smaller encounters to better deepen the Talents’ knowledge and harness their expertise.

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Berlinale Talents is also intensifying its ties with the European Film Market and the other industry activities of the festival. The re-branded “Talents Market Studio” offers emerging sales and distribution professionals a better framework to discuss unconventional and collective marketing strategies and to test them directly on location at the “Talents Market Hub” of the EFM.

More information at www.berlinale-talents.de

Press contact Berlinale Talents:
Malte Mau

Tel. +49 30 259 20-518
Fax +49 30 259 20-534

Berlinale Talents is an initiative of the Berlin International Film Festival, a business division of the Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin GmbH, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, in cooperation with Creative Europe MEDIA, a programme of the European Union, Robert Bosch Stiftung and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the German Federal Foreign Office and the German Federal Film Board.

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(Source: Berlinale Press Office Press Release)

#SBIFF The Showcase – Daughters of the Dust

25TH ANNIVERSAY RESTORATION OF JULIE DASH’S LANDMARK FILM!

daughtersAt the dawn of the 20th century, a multi-generational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina – former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors’ Yoruba traditions – struggle to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to the mainland, even further from their roots.

Cohen Media Group is proud to present the 25th anniversary restoration of director Julie Dash’s landmark film “Daughters of the Dust.” The first wide release by a black female filmmaker, “Daughters of the Dust” was met with wild critical acclaim and rapturous audience response when it initially opened in 1991. Casting a long legacy, “Daughters of the Dust” still resonates today, most recently as a major in influence on Beyonce’s video album “Lemonade.” Restored (in conjunction with UCLA) for the first time with proper color grading overseen by cinematographer AJ Jafa, audiences will finally see the film exactly as Julie Dash intended.

DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST
Written and Directed by Julie Dash
Starring Alva Rogers, Bahni Turpin, Barbara-O, Cheryl Lynn Bruce,
Cora Lee Day, Tony King, Trula Hoosier
Country of Origin: USA, UK
Running Time: 112 min

Get Tickets Here

Screening:
Sunday, December 18 @ 2:00pm
Monday, December 19 @ 7:30pm
Tuesday, December 20 @ 5:00pm
Wednesday, December 21 @ 7:30pm
at the Riviera Theatre – 2044 Alameda Padre Serra

“A film of spellbinding visual beauty.”
Stephen Holden – NY Times

“Dash’s boldly imaginative, ecstatically visionary drama … is one of the best of all American independent films; she turns one family’s experience of the Great Migration into a vast mythopoetic adventure.”
Richard Brody – New Yorker

“It is an astonishing, vivid portrait not only of a time and place, but of an era’s spirit.”
Rita Kempley – Washington Post

(Source:sbiff.org)