INDUSTRY INSIGHTS: You Can't Just Have a Dream, You Have to Have a Plan
Lionsgate co-COO and president of its Motion Picture Group, Joe Drake, delivered the keynote speech Saturday morning at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles, kicking off the first full day of Film Independent's Filmmaker Forum. Transcript courtesy of indieWIRE.
When [Film Independent executive director] Dawn asked me to speak today, I was actually at a loss for what to talk about. As those who know me will attest, that's a very rare occasion. I love to talk. What I didn't want to do was give that same old speech about how everything is changing and how difficult the market is.
So I decided to pick up Film Independent's Find Talent Guide and called a half dozen of you to find out more about you. What movies you love? What drives you? What were you were hoping to get out of today?
And to ask you what you most wanted me to talk about. It was incredibly refreshing. Despite all of the negative chatter we're bombarded with every day, I was reminded that independent filmmakers are, unanimously, a motivated group of optimists. In my experience, it's only the optimists who ever get anything done! Despite experiencing setbacks, this group was no less determined to figure out how to get their films made. So, what movies do you love? Interesting to note that very few of you actually named any movies. However, every one of you said, "character-driven movies."
Call for Submissions: Puffin Foundation Artist Grants
The Puffin Foundation seeks to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to art organizations and artists throughout the country who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy. For the upcoming 2011 grant cycle, the Foundation will provide Artist Grants ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 to encourage emerging artists in the fields of fine arts, video, and dance. Artistic, educational, and environmental public interest projects will also be considered. The Foundation is particularly interested in supporting innovative initiatives that will advance progressive social change.
Prospective applicants must request funding guidelines and forms by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Foundation's office by December 1, 2010. Completed application packets are due December 30, 2010. Visit the Foundation's website to review the grant guidelines.
Butaca.tv Now Delivers Free Access to Spanish Language Films
Butaca.tv, a leading multiplatform Latino entertainment content delivery service launches a new website, offering instant access to a wide array of premium Spanish Language films. The advertising supported service is now offered free of charge while expanding the consumer's entertainment choices. A selection of acclaimed films is now available at www.Butaca.tv
Fittingly named after the Spanish word for "movie theater seat," Butaca.tv gives consumers access to a broad selection of films; from Mexico's Golden Age of Cinema to contemporary films, in many genres. Butaca.tv uses a "hassle free" point and click interface without the need of any downloads or user registration.
"We are excited to make these films available online and free of charge to the consumer for the first time," said Pedro Alonzo, President of Butaca.tv. "Our site provides consumers of Latino entertainment a diverse choice of content that up until now was not readily available on traditional Spanish language networks," he concluded.
The website enables premium advertisers to access a vast, highly targeted group of consumers using instream video and rich media ads and, to connect their brands with some of the greatest stars and icons from throughout Latin America.
"Butaca.tv's mission is to provide consumers premium Spanish language content, when, where and how they want it," said Randall Green, Chief Operating Officer of Butaca.tv. "We strongly believe that Butaca.tv is a big step forward in providing consumers quality Latin entertainment and along with the other online general market resources will eventually replace expensive subscription cable or satellite services."
Butaca.tv has a catalog that includes some of the most prestigious feature films made in Latin America, including landmark movies from the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, such as Nosotros los Pobres and A Toda Maquina; the films of Mexican Cinema icon Pedro Infante and contemporary offerings such as Betty Kaplan's Dona Barbara and Eva Peron, directed by Juan Carlos Desanzo. In the future additional programming will be added including sports and lifestyle programming, documentaries, television, and biographies.
Robert Rodriguez Launches Quick Draw
By Michael Speier, Deadline Hollywood
The company is a partnership between Rodriguez, OddLot Entertainment and Bold Films and will produce and finance action-oriented projects. The partnership is for multiple titles and all films will either be directed by or produced by Rodriguez. "This new venture allows us to develop, greenlight and produce films from the idea stage through delivery," the Machete writer/director said. Quick Draw will be based in Austin, Texas
Bold Films and OddLot are both currently producing Drive, starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Separately, OddLot has two upcoming films scheduled for release in Rabbit Hole and From Prada to Nada, while one of Bold's upcoming productions is Into Hell, directed by Alex Holmes.
ABC Buys Salma Hayek's Telenovela Adaptation
By Michael Schneider, Variety
"Ugly Betty" exec producer Salma Hayek is once again mining the world of telenovelas for ABC. Hayek and her producing partner Jose Tamez have sold an adaptation of the Argentinian telenovela "Los Roldan" to the network through their Ventanarosa shingle.
For this U.S. adaptation, they're turning to former "Ugly Betty" scribes Veronica Becker and Sarah Kucserka, who are on board as writers and exec producers. Hayek and Tamez will exec produce; ABC Studios is behind the project.
"Ugly Betty," of course, was a U.S. reworking of the global telenovela phenomenon "Betty La Fea." In the case of "Los Roldan," the telenovela was produced from 2004 to 2005 by Argentina broadcaster Telefe.
Like "Ugly Betty," "Roldan" is a drama with comedic undertones. The show follows a working-class man who saves the life of a woman. She then hires him to run her company -- much to the chagrin of her family.Local versions of "Los Roldan" have already been produced in Colombia, Mexico and Cyprus.
Becker and Kucserka's credits include "Mercy" and "Brothers and Sisters."
Hayek and Tamez developed a U.S. version of the Argentina telenovela "Culpables" in 2008, but that project didn't move forward.
Blonde, Blue-Eyed, Euro-Cute Latinos on Spanish TV
By Dr. Al Carlos Hernandez, LatinoLA
For second and third generation Latinos living in the USA, Spanish language TV is as foreign and disingenuous to our lifestyles as Jersey Shore. Everything portrayed on Univision, Galavision, and Telemundo reflects a "Euro-Cute" opinion of beauty; a visual that has tormented normal-looking Latinos for generations. To me, light-skinned, light-eyed, wealthy people represent the patron, not the peon.
Why, when I travel down south to the Motherland, is it always the Festival of St. Cara de Burro? I have never seen anyone even close to novella-quality walking the streets or even working the hotels.
Spanish-language TV has made a strangely twisted, anti-affirmative action effort to hire any Spanish-speaking white person on the planet who can over-act on cue. I have never seen a Benito Juarez-looking leading man or a leading lady like Frida. Brown is bad and guero is always good.
Spanish TV ambitiously perpetuates this Aryan beauty myth. People go to church with these novelas five times a week to learn the value of racial misinformation. No one says anything about it because these people happen to be speaking Spanish. Speaking Spanish doesn't make one Latino. I met several Spanis- speaking Chinese folks at Popeye's Chicken.
Cortez spoke Spanish and taught it to La Malinche - then she turned around and sold out the Aztecs. Her name is remembered when you bang your thumb with a hammer, stub your toe on a bedpost or realize that your brother-in-law won the lottery.
Is Spanish TV selling out American Latinos and indoctrinating them into a universal Anglo ideal of beauty? Of course they are. It's all about giving the advertisers what they want: our money not our cultural integrity. This, via foreign programmed Spanish TV, is for sale. I cannot relate to Spanish TV. It has even less quality than Network TV and we are excluded from that media as well.
I was amused to find that Captain Crunch, Colonel Sanders, and the Cocoa Puffs bird could speak Spanish. Advertising in Spanish media is now a multi-billion dollar-a-year industry, which seems redundant. Real numbers indicate that at least 70% of Latinos living in this country can communicate in English and prefer English as the language of commerce.
What concerns me are the visual image values that are conveyed on the novellas and the variety shows night after night. Few Latinos have light hair, light eyes, and are draped in designer labels. The irony is that those whose actual lives mirror that description would never be caught dead watching Univision. Those who do pass for Anglo avoid the sting of American racism. We should continue to reject the American notion of "Euro-Cute" beauty as it is inherently colonial and racist. Many of us would protest such caricature on Network TV. On the other hand, they hired Blair Underwood to be a Black Cuban President. Seriously? It seems like they go around the block to avoid us.
Why do we accept caricature as legitimate? Is it just because the racist message is in Spanish? Our kids should not be subjected to situational values (assumed as truth from birth) that tell them that the Anglo ideal of beauty is good and ideals of color is wrong.
I find it also true that most of Spanish TV programming is a corny, cheap knock-off of what we American Latinos call, "played out." That being said, my monolingual sons watch Spanish TV to see the babes, TV volume down, while listening to rap. I like the guy who blows the horn on the whacked singing contestants on Sabado Gigante.
We rant. We boycott about the conspicuous lack of real Latinos on Network TV, as well we should. They don't even pretend to respect us. What we don't realize is that while the viewing numbers of Spanish TV soar into the hundreds of millions of households, they dwarf network ratings worldwide. And speaking of dwarfs, I saw a Mexican midget rodeo and almost laughed my way into the emergency room. I sincerely hope that the program was a comedy. If not, I volunteer my sincerest apologies.
Spanish networks, especially the local affiliates, should be held incredibly accountable to the community. They have a sacred trust to maintain and sustain Latino cultural integrity. It was second and third generation Latino activists who rallied and demanded a bigger Latino presence in modern media. We built the house. Spanish TV foreclosed on us. Now we have no real community presence on Network TV.They pitch their commercials to the advertising agencies claiming to speak for the people. But how many Castilian-speaking, blonde-haired, green-eyed busboys have you met in the barrio?
And if you have never been to the Barrio, you are unqualified to comment.
"Pretty is something you're born with. But beautiful, that's an equal opportunity adjective."
Deadline Approaching: San Diego Latino Film Festival
The regular submission deadling is approaching for the 18th Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival (March 2011). This prestigious and internationally recognized film festival soars into its' 18th year with impressive and exhilarating new activities, special events and initiatives. The 2011 San Diego Latino Film Festival will include expanded opportunities for participating filmmakers and their films/videos to take the spotlight.
Entry deadline: November 5, 2010
Late deadline: December 3, 2010 (a $25 late fee will be charged for any late entries)
Details and submission information available online here.