July 2012 - Posts

Project of the Day: A Look Into Incarceration in Documentary 'A Place to Stand'

Here's your daily dose of an indie film in progress; at the end of the week, you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite. In the meantime: Is this a movie you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments. "A Place to Stand" Tweetable Logline:  A Place to Stand is the story of Jimmy Santiago Baca's transformation from illiterate convict to world renowned poet in the 1970s.     Elevator Pitch: Jimmy Santiago Baca was a petty thief and a drug dealer when he was sentenced to five years in Arizona State Prison, one of the deadliest prisons in America. Baca began his incarceration violent, angry and illiterate, yet taught himself how to read and write, discovering a passion for poetry that ultimately saved his life. A Place to Stand is inspired by Baca’s memoir of the same name, which has been called “elegant and gripping” (The Los Angeles Times) and “an astonishing narrative that...
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TIFF TRAILER: Snoop Dogg Goes Snoop Lion in Trailer for 'Reincarnated'

We all know Snoop Dogg, the rapper, but Snoop Lion? The rapper, who has a documentary, "Reincarnated" premiering September 7th at the Toronto International Film Festival, announced the name change the same day the trailer for his movie released (and we've got a sneak peek below). Directed by Andrew Capper, "Reincarnated" follows Snoop Lion (real name, Calvin Broadus), who says he was forced "to find a new path." The spiritual journey takes him to Jamaica where, amongst recording a new album with Diplo, he finds himself in Rastafarian culture, leading to the eventual name change. To see what made the former Dogg add a level of ferocity to his name, watch the trailer below. His single, "La La La" is now on iTunes.
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Amy Berg to Make Narrative Debut with Nicole Holofcener-Penned Mystery 'Secret Thing'

Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Amy Berg ("Deliver Us From Evil" and "West of Memphis") is making the move to narrative film with an upcoming feature she's attached to direct called "Secret Thing." Penned by writer-director Nicole Holofcener ("Please Give"), the film has Diane Lane attached to star. The project is an adaptation of Laura Lippman's 2004 mystery novel about two 18-year-old girls released from prison after serving time for allegedly murdering a baby when they were preteens. The original killing comes into question again when children start to go missing. Lane will play the mother of one of the girls. Anyone familiar with the West Memphis 3 story chronicled in "West of Memphis" can see the parallels between the two stories -- parallels that no doubt appealed to Berg. "West of Memphis," which had its world premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival, comes out December 28...
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Will This Filmmaker-Friendly Credit Card Save You From Debt?

A new credit card, CASHét Card LLC, has been launched jointly by Film Finances, Inc and Fintage House. The basic idea is that the companies will give one percent cash back to film and TV productions every time the card is used. Filmmakers will usually do anything to cut costs. But is CASHét Card the panacea they've been looking for? It depends. To give you a better idea of how the card works, here are five ways that CASHét pitches itself toward the budgetary needs of today's filmmakers.  Card usage is said to save production companies money in the areas of travel, lodging, transportation, construction materials and equipment rental through discounts. Let's take "Avatar 2" as an example; the first film shot in places like Hawaii and New Zealand. if James Cameron were to swipe this card, it seems he could, if we take the travel route, cut back from spending airfare to fly out cast and crew to international locales to...
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Martin Sheen to Join 'Anger Management' as Charlie Sheen's Dad

Dr. Charlie Goodson, the therapist played by Charlie Sheen in "Anger Management," is getting a onscreen father -- one played by Sheen's real-life parent Martin Sheen. Yes, the older Sheen will first appear as Charlie's dad in the ninth episode of this season, slated to air on August 16th, and will be on board as a regular cast member should the series get renewed. Appearing on stage at the TCA Summer Press Tour on behalf of the show, Charlie Sheen reportedly seemed as rueful and well-behaved as he had been wild and erratic last year following his firing from "Two and a Half Men." Of his "My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option" spring 2011 tour, he told the crowd, "Don't go on the road with a one-man show in 21 cities without an act." "Anger Management," which has gotten a mixed to negative response from critics (several of whom called out its predictability) but has gone over well with audiences...
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Watch: 'Boardwalk Empire' Trailer Assures Us 'You Can't Be Half a Gangster'

"You can't be half a gangster." This new trailer for the season three of "Boardwalk Empire," which returns to HBO on Sunday, September 16th at 9pm, is all stylish rain, stylish violence and a stylish sense of impending doom focused on Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson. The Terence Winter-created period drama, as implied by the scene below, has to deal with the aftermath of a major character death in its new season -- it seems Nucky's going to have to make some adjustments in his life.
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Miramax Cuts Deal With Amazon's LOVEFiLM in the U.K. and Germany, Sells Off Music Rights

Miramax continues its push into foreign territory. Tuesday, the company announced that it has partnered with Amazon’s LOVEFiLM to bring its catalog to audiences in the U.K. and Germany, the latest of a string of content deals for TV and digital streaming. Just three weeks prior, the former indie-film powerhouse cut a subscription VOD deal with Stream to offer films such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Being John Malkovich” to Russian audiences. The new SVOD arrangement with LOVEFiLM, one of the dominant online players in Europe, will launch this summer with titles such as “There Will Be Blood,” “The Aviator,” “Sin City” and “Kill Bill.” “This exciting deal will enable us to deliver even more high-quality content to our members and reinforce, once again, our leading position as the first choice subscription service when it comes to exceptional range and unbeatable value for money,” said...
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Will Bryan Singer's Upcoming Sci-fi Project 'H+' Offer a Look at the Future of Web Series?

If we’re all going to our computers these days to watch content we used to only be able to access on a television, why not put the efforts (and money) there in the first place, with content that's tailored for an online experience? The upcoming Warner Bros. web series "H+" -- a not-so-distant futuristic tale premiering on YouTube on August 8th --  aims to do just that. The reason, according to producer Bryan Singer, is simple: the huge audience. “Through YouTube we have a potential worldwide base far greater than any other content platform,” Singer explains. “I want anyone with an internet connection to be able to experience this world.” While web series are faced with the challenge of trying to both compete with the quality of programmed, full-length television and stand unique on their own, the heavily backed "H+" team are taking a different approach. “We set out to do something that had a large scope...
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Audiences Want Their VOD: Can Netflix Save the Home Entertainment Business?

A report by the Digital Entertainment Group released Sunday claims that subscription VOD services, led by Netflix, have buoyed Hollywood’s home entertainment sector to such a degree that revenue is actually up for the first time in five years, according to a Paid Content article by Daniel Frankel. But the question remains whether revenue from the digital models will ever fully replace the depressed VHS/DVD streams that sustained the industry for nearly 30 years. According to the data from the DEG study, U.S. home entertainment is up 1.4% through the end of June, with a ballooning $2.4 billion coming from digital businesses ($1.1 from SVOD) and electronic sell-through even as physical media continues to tank. Here’s the money graf: With Netflix reporting $1.04 billion in U.S. streaming revenue during the first two quarters, it’s easy to tie this metric to Los Gatos, Calif. Yes, it’s all true you — the company with the cratering stock...
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Chris Marker Remembered With a Secret Photo, From Telluride Film Festival's Tom Luddy

In recognizance of Chris Marker's passing today at 91, writer Steven Rosen contacted Telluride Film Festival co-director Tom Luddy for a remembrance of the notoriously press-shy filmmaker. What he got was something more. -- Indiewire Staff Dear Steven, As you probably know Chris did not make public appearances as a rule, and tried  to prevent anyone taking a picture of him too. We were friends and I had also assisted him on three films: "San Soleil," "The Owl's Legacy" and "Junktopia." I persuaded him to come to Telluride... this was l987. We showed "La Jetee" and "San Soleil." He would not appear before or after the film inside the theatre -- The Sheridan Opera House -- but I was allowed to tell the audience that he would be outside on the grass after the film and people could speak to him informally and this happened then, and throughout the weekend with people walking up to him for a chat. Even though...
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O California, Where Art Thou: Why Is the Tax Incentives Program Driving Away Indie Film?

J. Todd Harris is a film producer living in Los Angeles. His credits include “Bottle Shock,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “The Family Tree” and “Miss Nobody” — all shot in California. I just wrapped an independent movie here in Los Angeles, a musical called “Lucky Stiff” from “Jeffrey” director Christopher Ashley. It’s a pretty expensive movie by indie standards, but the experience was a joy because everything we needed was here, with the best film professionals in the world available and eager to work. Eager? Nay, thankful. If there was one overriding sentiment expressed during our just-over-five-week shoot, it was how grateful everyone on the crew was to have a movie shooting at home in Los Angeles. Like so many productions these days, it would have been incredibly easy for us not to. There were many reasons we chose Los Angeles, despite the fact that other states have a more accessible and...
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Toronto Adds Over 60 New 2012 Titles Including Documentaries, Midnight Madness and TIFF Kids

The Toronto International Film Festival has announced over sixty new titles for its 2012 edition, including its TIFF Docs, Midnight Madness, Vanguard and TIFF Kids programs. The announcement comes a week after the festival set their initial batch of titles, bringing the lineup's total to over 120 titles (check out the entire list of announced titles here). Among the incredibly diverse list of filmmakers helming films announced today are Don Coscarelli, Martin McDonagh, Barry Levinson, JT Petty and Rob Zombie (all in the Midnight Madness section). The Vanguard roster, meanwhile, features works from director Soi Cheang ("Accident"), musician Ben Drew, Canadian singer-songwriter Peaches, Hong Kong’s Johnnie To and Ben Wheatley ("Kill List"). The TIFF Docs lineup includes Alex Gibney’s "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God" — an investigation into the abuse of power in the Catholic Church; Ken Burns, David McMahon and...
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'Mansome' Director Morgan Spurlock Talks VOD Vs Theatrical and Why Christopher J. Christie Needs to Lose Some Weight

Documentary funnyman (and Academy Award nominee) Morgan Spurlock has had a tough run of late in theaters. Ever since his debut "Super Size Me" become a high-grossing indie phenomenon (it made North of $11 million domestically), Spurlock has seen his theatrical stock drop with each subsequent release. In 2008, his "Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden" grossed $148,698 from 102 screens, ending up with just $384,955 in total. Last year, his much-hyped "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" averaged $6,572 from 18 screens en route to a $638,476 gross. And this year, Spurlock released his two biggest theatrical flops to date: "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope" and "Mansome. The latter nose dived theatrically in May after premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, averaging just $920 per theater (it opened in 20) in its first week of limited release. "Comic-Con" fared a bit better by averaging $2,734 when it...
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Why 'Le Havre' Tops Indiewire's 5 DVD/Blu-ray Picks This Week

This week on DVD/Blu-ray: A warmhearted comic yarn from acclaimed Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki; a harrowing rock documentary that world premiered at SXSW; the latest from filmmaker/actor Mario Van Peebles; a History Channel mini-series on America's most famous feud; and an indie high-concept horror film sure to make your palms sweat.   #1. "Le Havre" (The Criterion Collection) A standout at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, Aki Kaurismaki's political fairy tale "Le Havre" centers on the bond between a young African refugee and a kindly old bohemian who shines shoes for a living in the French harbor city of the title. When the city officials call for the boy's deportation, the man does everything in his power with the help of his tight-knit community to keep the boy put. "With its bouncy soundtrack, deadpan humor and good-natured disposition, Kaurismaki's "Le Havre" is an endearing affair," wrote Eric Kohn...
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Wolfe Video Acquires DVD/VOD Rights to Outfest Winner 'The Wise Kids'

The award-winning coming-of-age drama "The Wise Kids," will hit VOD this Novemeber and land on DVD shelves next January via Wolfe Video. A winner at Outfest where it won the Grand Jury Award for Outstanding U.S. Narrative Feature, the film centers on three teenage friends as they deal with life post-graduation. Full release below: WOLFE ACQUIRES WORLDWIDE DVD/VOD RIGHTS TO THE CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED FESTIVAL HIT THE WISE KIDS   SAN JOSE, CALIF. (July 31, 2012) — Wolfe Video has acquired the worldwide DVD/VOD rights (except France) to the critically-acclaimed drama The Wise Kids, a character-driven coming-of-age story that Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times called “Honest, observant, and subtle” and Stephen Holden of The New York Times declared “a tenderhearted gem.”  The deal was brokered by Wolfe President Maria Lynn with Orly Ravid at The Film Collaborative. The film, which follows three teenage friends as they...
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