NALIP Announces 2011 Latino Writers Lab Fellows!
Presented by HBO, NALIP began our 2011 Latino Writers Lab this week in New Mexico with twelve Fellows selected to participate in the 5-month professional development program. Through the sponsorship of the Hard Rock Hotel in Albuquerque, all the writers plus mentors will spend five days in New Mexico this spring. After rewriting their screenplays, the Fellows then travel to Santa Monica for a second five days of skills training, professional lunches, and project mentoring. NALIP created the program eight years ago to help writers advance a project for sale, a script towards production, and their skills towards a career in the industry.
Speakers and mentors include USC MFA professor Ted Braun, NM Filmmakers Program Director Trish Lopez writer/producer/story analyst Harrison Reiner, producer Effie Brown and writer/WGA mentor Marie Weiss. Writers applied from around the country, and about 25% of applicants were accepted by a professional panel of readers.
The full list of participating writers is:
Gustavo Avila - Los Angeles, CA- Los Perdidos
William Brown - Hernandez- Los Angeles, CA- La Calma del Estero
Ricardo Cisneros - Los Angeles, CA- El Paso
Adrien W. Colon - Albuquerque, NM - The Voltures
Natacha Feola - Lexington, KY- The Shades of Night
Gloria LaMorte - Union City, NJ- Soledad
Adam Martinez - Los Angeles, CA - The Silk Road
Miguel Orozco -Oxnard, CA- Chicharito
Lizbett Perez - New York, NY- Act Your Age
Jesse Quinones - Albuquerque, NM/London, England- Callused Hands
Debby Wolfe - Los Angeles, CA- Gordita
Jose A. Zarate - Meza, AZ- Smugglers
Telemundo, Mun2 Amp Up Series
By Sam Thielman, Variety
NBCUniversal is kicking its Hispanic-focused properties into gear in more ways than one: Telemundo and cabler Mun2 are at the center of NBCU topper Steve Burke's growth strategy, and the latter net has renewed its bilingual drag racing drama "RPM Miami" for a second season (entitled "RPM 2") barely two weeks after its May 1 preem.
Mun2 has also greenlit singing competish skein "El Mas Ching*n," which will mount a talent search.
Like other media congloms, NBCU is targeting the Latino market on the heels of Census data pointing to the rapid population growth among Hispanic Americans.
"Hispanics make up 16% of the population, but we receive 4% of the (TV advertising) revenue," said outgoing Telemundo topper Don Browne at Tuesday morning's press conference. "That's frankly unacceptable."
NBCU Entertainment & Digital Networks division topper Lauren Zalaznick, who now oversees Telemundo and Mun2, opened the presentation with a few words about the newfound importance of Hispanic media. "The place where my boss, Steve Burke, looks to find growth, more and more, is the Telemundo group," she said. "That's exciting to me as a businessperson."
Telemundo unveiled plans for four new novelas, including one co-produced by Sony Pictures that will be based on the 2002 Jennifer Lopez comedy "Maid in Manhattan." It also touted its push into news and sports programming.
But much of the focus was on Mun2. It has gotten ad traction ad sales success with "RPM," which has a "Fast and the Furious" kind of feel. Chevy and Valvoline are major sponsors on a show that offers plenty of integration opportunities for automotive advertisers. Mun2 programming head Flavio Morales said the decision to renew "RPM" so quickly was an easy one.
Morales also said that "I Love Jenni," Mun2's reality skein featuring Latin music star Jenni Rivera, will have a second airing on its sibling cabler Style. The hope is the cross-pollination among fashionistas and Spanish-lingo viewers will bring more eyeballs to both Mun2 and Style.Mun2 topper Diana Mogollon said the cabler's long-term goal is to move out of the Spanish-lingo channel tiers on cable and satellite operators and into lifestyle and music cable tiers.
"It's not about the language," Mogollon said. "A lot of our programming is in English, if you want to talk about that, but it's about lifestyle," Mogollon said.
WGAW Issues 2011 Hollywood Writers Report Executive Summary
Latest Industry Stats Show Gap Widens for Minority and Women Film and Television Writers
The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) has released the Executive Summary of the 2011 Hollywood Writers Report: Recession and Regression. The study examines writers' employment and earnings by ethnicity, gender, and age from 2008 through 2009 in the motion picture and television industry. As in previous years, diverse writers face significant obstacles to employment in Hollywood.
According to the report's author Darnell Hunt, Ph.D., director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies and professor of sociology at UCLA, "From the initial project pitch to project completion, each phase of the production pipeline has the potential to serve as a barrier to or facilitator of increased diversity among industry writers. The WGAW is committed to working with the rest of the industry to ensure that the production pipeline is shaped less by the former and more by the latter. Diversity is not a luxury, not even in tough times. The Hollywood industry, in the final analysis, depends on increasingly diverse audiences and on the stories to which they can relate."
The full report will be available in late summer. Some of the key findings in the summary include:
- Women writers' overall employment share declined, driven by a one-point loss in the film sector, where women writers' share dipped from 18% in 2007 to 17% in 2009.
- Although the employment share for women television writers remained stable (still a very low 28%), the earnings gap in television between male and female writers widened again - an 84% increase from the previous report, issued in 2009.
- While the minority share of television employment rebounded to 2005 levels (still a very low 10% up from 9%), the minority share of film employment declined to the lowest level in a decade (down from 6% to 5%).
- Despite the gain in television employment, the television earnings gap for minorities widened to the largest level in a decade. The television earnings gap for minorities more than doubled since the 2009 report.
- The employment rate remained flat for the largest group of older writers (age 41-50) at 61%; however the employment group for the youngest group of writers (under age 31), declined by four percentage points. TV writers age 51-60 had a decline of 1%, whereas writers age 61-70 actually had an increase of 1%.
To view the 2011 Hollywood Writers Report's Executive Summary, click here.
As part of its continuing proactive efforts to enhance employment opportunities and open doors for diverse writers, the WGAW recently announced more than a dozen 2011 Writer Access Project honorees in drama and comedy TV categories. Now in its third year, the Guild's innovative program, coordinated by the WGAW's Diversity Department, identifies writers with television staffing experience and makes samples of their work available to entertainment industry decision makers, including showrunners, producers, network and studio executives, agents and managers. More info on the Guild's WAP program and this year's honorees can be found at: http://www.wga.org/wap
How a New Generation of Filmmakers, Tax Incentives Are Buoying the Latin American Film Sector
By Liza Foreman, The Hollywood Reporter
From the New Argentine Cinema to Brazil's steady supply of low-budget festival hits and Mexico's new foreign filming incentives, there are elements that differentiate each of the Latin American film industries, but the region has never been more united.
"All Latin American countries have different strengths and weaknesses," explains Hugo Villa, director of film production at the Mexican Film Institute. "Some have a larger and more experienced local industry, others have an emerging generation of financiers, or a huge base of college students on film related majors."
To those not so well acquainted with this region, the trends that tie together these colorful territories can be harder to pin-down.
They include the growth of local content production, and its uptake in different markets; a cross-pollination process between larger and smaller Latin American film and audiovisual industries, as well as non-Latin American partners.
"Latin American cinema is building a solid network of production services and co production partners for all kinds of production and content," explains Villa.
Across the continent, initiatives to boost local film industries and attract foreign productions are on the rise:
- Colombia is working on a proposal for a new tax incentive plan specifically designed for international productions, and is now attracting studio projects.
- Mexico has a new 17.5 percent rebate scheme, introduced last March, which has attracted several large productions.
- Buenos Aires is working on a foreign financing scheme.
- In Uruguay, there is an incentive for production services and co-productions, that gives a VAT exemption of 22 percent and helps the export of audio-visual content with up to 75 percent.
-Brazil offers a plethora of filming incentives and has become hot all round, thanks to hit local films, the export of its directors to Hollywood, and the increasing relevance of its box-office returns.
In 2010, the Brazilian theatrical market saw 135 million admissions, which surpassed the 110 million admissions seen in 2009, giving the country its strongest performance in a decade. And local films are on the rise: The approximately 80 Brazilian films (including international co-productions) released in 2009 accounted for 15 percent of the market, a 50 percent increase compared to 2008.
In 2010, a Brazilian film, Jose Padilha's Elite Squad: The Enemy Within was the highest-grossing film in Brazil, out grossing even Avatar, with a box office take in excess of $70 million. By selling 11 million tickets it also became the most watched Brazilian film of all time, surpassing the record set by Bruno Barreto's Dona Flor way back in 1976.
"Brazil aggressively stimulates international co-productions," explains Andre Sturm, chairman of the film promotion and export agency, Cinema do Brasil. "The country has valid co-production agreements with Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Venezuela and is signatory to multilateral treaties such as the Ibero-American Film Integration and the Latin American Film Co-Production agreements."
Indeed, film incentives abound in Brazil for both foreign and local productions. Brazil's annual federal public support for film production, distribution and exhibition amounts to approximately $78 million alone.
Brazilian directors are in demand both at home and abroad. The highest grossing film this year at the international box office, Rio, was directed by a Brazilian, Carlos Saldanha, who was also responsible for Fox's Ice Age trilogy. Padilha, meanwhile, will direct the reboot of RoboCop for MGM and Walter Salles [Central Station, Motorcycle Diaries] is putting the finishing touches to On the Road, based on the Jack Kerouac novel.
Meanwhile Fernando Meirelles [City of God, Constant Gardener] is currently filming 360 in Europe, an adaptation of La Ronde starring Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law and Rachel Weisz. It is reported that Meirelles will follow that with an Aristotle Onassis bio pic.
In Mexico, an incentive called PRO AV, which was introduced last year, gives up to 17.5 percent of the production spend in Mexico back to foreign films. So far, four large-scale films have taken advantage of the scheme, including Colombiana, a Europacorp production written and produced by Luc Besson and starring Zoe Saldana.
Other high-profile movies shot partially in Mexico last year include Relativity Media's Limitless, which lensed in Puerto Vallarta, directed by Neil Burger and starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. Salles' On the Road, also shot in the Mexican states of Coahuila and Puebla.
The PRO Av incentive has been a huge hit in Mexico, and in Argentina an effort is underway to draft similar legislation. "At the moment, we don't have national incentives for the cinema productions, but in the city of Buenos Aires we are working on the implementation of an Audiovisual Law, which declares the audiovisual sector as an industry and therefore provides a series of tax reductions to the local companies," explains the Argentine film commissioner, Ana Aizenberg. "This, of course, will also benefit international productions, by lowering the costs of producing in Buenos Aires."
Columbia, meanwhile, is now on the radar of the Hollywood studios and has been progressively building its own industry in the last decade.
Fox has become the first studio to produce there -- its upcoming release Bunker is a co-production with Spain.
"It's a mark of the growth and the potential of the Colombian film business that a major studio decided to co-produce and invest in a Colombian film," says Jason Resnick, a consultant to the Colombian Film Commission and a former executive at Universal and Focus Features who is now a consultant-producer. "It is the first time a studio has invested in a Colombian film. To me this sets a high water mark for the Colombian market."
Public funding is available for Colombian productions and co-productions. The Colombian Cinema Law, which was issued in 2003, created the Film Development Fund, which provides financial incentives to festival competition winners and supports film-related processes (script development, production, post-production and distribution). It also provides automatic incentives for festival promotion and participation.
"Colombian productions and co-productions are entitled to these non-repayable incentives and grants," says Silvia Echeverri, the Colombian Film Commissioner. "The greatest challenge for the Colombian film industry is to attract a bigger audience not only nationally but internationally by coproducing more films and incorporating international talent to local films in order to get audience from other countries in Latin America, and the Latin audience in the United States."
Meanwhile, in Uruguay, film commissioner Lucila Bortagaray says the industry is celebrating a substantial growth in film releases in the last few years. "This year, there will not only be feature film releases, but also documentary and animated feature," she says.
In 2001, Uruguay was exporting 15 percent of its audio-visual production. Today, this amounts to 90 percent.
That is thanks in part to the growth of several funds designed to promote the industry, including the ICAU, Instituto del Cine y Audiovisual del Uruguay which offers $1 million per year to contribute to the development, production, and the release of feature films.
Uruguay's has also benifited from a number of versatile locations. Places as different as the Old Havana, Paris, London, Germany, the Caribbean, Italy or Ireland have been re-created in Uruguay, which is currently preparing to receive a new Serbian production.