News & Updates
Since Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s most recent escape nearly one year ago, there’s been a veritable Hollywood gold rush to capitalize on global fascination with the Sinaloa kingpin. As the protracted prison-break drama (or absurdist comedy) unfolded over the summer and into the fall we eventually learned that none other than Kate del Castillo had obtained Guzmán’s exclusive life rights for feature film, closing doors for El Chapo’s many tinseltown suitors but still leaving television wide open. So who would be the first network to break the Guzmán saga for millions of potential viewers across the world? Netflix? HBO? The History Channel?
You guessed it: The History Channel has officially announced development on their “El Chapo” Guzmán-themed series #Cartel, written and produced by none other than Narcos co-creator and showrunner Chris Brancato. Yes, we know there’s a whole lot of metaphorical question marks popping up around your heads right now, mostly because History is the WWII documentary channel, right? And El Chapo’s escape happened last year, which means it does’t have a whole lot to do with history, right? And what’s with the #hashtag?
Well, it seems the nation’s beloved WWII documentary channel is changing gears under a new CEO and jumping into the original content game with a renewed focus on “the recent past,” which means any time up to yesterday. According the Fox News Latino, The History Channel ordered a pilot script from writer-producer Brancato earlier this week. So with Brancato at the helm, who’s to say that this won’t just be another version of Narcos with a slightly lower budget and less Brazilian accents? That’s where the hashtag comes in. According to the seasoned showrunner, the series will explore the relationship between cartels, social media, and global fame while maintaining a firm rooting in the (recent) historical record.
If the #Cartel pilot gets greenlit as a series, we can certainly expect a clever hashtag campaign from their PR department in the weeks before it hits the small screen.
Check this out on remezcla.com
Hollywood films remained static in their inclusiveness of LGBT characters in 2015, but the racial diversity of those characters fell dramatically, according to the findings of GLAAD's annual study.
In a survey released Monday by the advocacy group, 17.5 percent of last year's films from the seven major studios contained characters who were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Though unchanged in total percentage from last year, the racial diversity of the LGBT characters has plummeted. Last year, 32.1 percent of the LGBT characters portrayed in the 126 films were people of color. This year, it's down to 25.5 percent.
The revelation comes at a time of increased scrutiny around the inclusion of people of color in Hollywood films, following a second year of all-white Oscar nominees in the acting categories and a damning USC report about the "whitewashed" industry.
Many times, too, the LGBT characters are used solely as a punchline targets, said GLAAD's President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
"Hollywood's films lag far behind any other form of media when it comes to portrayals of LGBT characters," Ellis said. "The film industry must embrace new and inclusive stories if it wants to remain competitive and relevant."
While television continues to make strides with shows like "Orange is the New Black" and "Transparent," films are also missing the mark in their representation of transgendered characters.
Only one major studio film featured a transgender character — the critically derided Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara buddy comedy "Hot Pursuit." Even worse, it's an increase from last year.
For the four years that the study has been done, each of the seven major studios are given a grade of "good" ''adequate" or "failing" for their slates. Lionsgate Entertainment, which had the most films with LGBT characters out of the seven, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, and Universal Pictures were all deemed adequate. Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Studios, however, were given a failing grade because none of their 2015 films included LGBT characters.
The report provides LGBT-focused synopses on many of the films counted, and many which were not, giving explanations as to why portrayals were positive or negative, or lambasting films for "gay panic" jokes.
Going forward, an "adequate" grade will no longer be acceptable, according to the report. Next year GLAAD will hold the studios to a higher standard with the use of a five-star scale.
The studios' art house divisions, like Focus Features and Fox Searchlight, fared better overall. Of the 46 films surveyed, 22 percent were LGBT-inclusive, up from 10.6 percent last year with releases like "The Danish Girl," ''Grandma" and "Chi-Raq."
Notable 2015 films like the lesbian romance "Carol" and the transgender sex worker drama "Tangerine" were acknowledge in the report, but not included in overall percentages because they were from specialty and independent distributors and studios.
Check this out on abcnews.go.com
You’ve obviously been following the whole production saga of the upcoming Roberto Durán biopic, Hands of Stone. Whether your a boxing fan, a Panameño, or none of the above, any living human being should be excited by the prospect of two heavyweight actors like Robert De Niro and Edgar Ramírez teaming up for a classic sports drama. Unfortunately the whole ordeal has been dragged out over several years, and since the film was picked up for distribution at Cannes nearly a year ago we’ve only recently gotten anything like an official release date. Not to mention that up until now we’ve been seeing the same old press stills over and over, with no sense of what the movie actually looks like.
But that was up till now, because the Weinstein Company has finally released an official trailer for Hands of Stone. That’s right: moving images. Over 56 seconds we are immersed in a stylishly shot cinematic universe featuring marquee names from De Niro and Ramírez down to Usher, Rubén Blades, and even John Turturro. Hands of Stone dramatizes the humble origins and standout career of the former world title-holder from his upbringing in the slums of Panama City to his well documented rivalry with “Sugar” Ray Leonard. Consistently ranked as one of the greatest boxers of all time, Durán finally ended his 34-year professional professional career back in 2002, at the ripe age of 50.
Check out the rest on remezcla.com
You’re Invited! Email [email protected] by May 8 to attend the premiere for free and meet the cast and filmmakers!
When: Wednesday May 11, 2016
Where: Arclight Cinemas Hollywood
6360 W. Sunset Boulevard
High school seniors Logan and Blake prepare for an epic Spring Break as they travel to the beautiful and exotic Mexican beach resort of Puerto Vallarta hoping to hook up with their high school crushes. Surrounded by hot girls in teeny bikinis, the guys are truly in heaven. After meeting at a club, Logan falls for a mysterious local beauty named Gaby but then realizes the next morning, when his grandfather's Rolex watch is missing, that she was after more than just his heart. Things go from bad to worse when the guys discover that the valuable family heirloom is now in the hands of a gangster who demands to be paid triple the watch's value before returning it. And that's just the beginning...
by Mark Olsen
The LA Film Festival, produced by the arts organization Film Independent, unveiled its competition lineup on Tuesday, announcing 42 world premiere titles to play in the sections of U.S. fiction, documentary, world fiction, nightfall and LA muse. The festival runs from June 1 through 9 at ArcLight Cinemas, headquartered at ArcLight Culver City.
Following the festival’s push last year for diversity, across the five feature competition categories this year, 43% of the films are directed by women and 38% are directed by people of color. Those numbers are up from last year.
“The competition lineup of 42 world premieres echoes Film Independent’s mission to celebrate diversity and showcases a multitude of innovative, fresh voices. We can’t wait to share these films with audiences and industry alike,” the festival's director, Stephanie Allain, said in a statement.
“We invest a great deal to learn about filmmaking communities across the globe,” said director of programming Roya Rastegar, also in a statement. “We look for films with conviction in perspective, style and voice.”
The U.S. competition section includes 12 films, all world premieres. The films are “11:55,” directed by Ari Issler and Ben Snyder; “72 Hours,” directed by Raafi Rivero; “Blood Stripe, directed by Remy Auberjonois; “Chee and T,” directed by Tanuj Chopra; “Destined,” directed by Qasim Basir; “Dreamstates,” directed by Anisia Uzeyman; “GREEN / is / GOLD,” directed by Ryon Baxter; “My First Kiss and the People Involved,” directed by Luigi Campi; “Paint it Black,” directed by Amber Tamblyn; “Tracktown,” directed by Jeremy Teicher and Alexi Pappas; “The View from Tall,” directed by Erica Weiss and Caitlin Parrish; and “Woven,” directed by Salome Mulugeta and Nagwa Ibrahim.
The 12 world premieres in the documentary competition are “Company Town,” directed by Natalie Kottke and Erica Sardarian; “Denial,” directed by Derek Hallquist; “Dr. Feelgood,” directed by Eve Marson; “Dying Laughing,” directed by Lloyd Stanton and Paul Toogood; “The House on Coco Road,” directed by Damani Baker; “Jackson,” directed by Maisie Crow; “The Last Gold,” directed by Brian T. Brown; “Looking at the Stars,” directed by Alexandre Peralta; “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice,” directed by Deborah Riley Draper; “Out of Iraq,” directed by Eva Orner and Chris McKim; “Political Animals,” directed by Jonah Markowitz and Tracy Wares; and “They Call us Monsters,” directed by Ben Lear.
The world fiction competition selection is “Heis (chronicles),” directed by Anaïs Volpé; “Like Cotton Twines,” directed by Leila Djansi; “London Town,” directed by Derrick Borte; “Lupe Under the Sun,” directed by Rodrigo Reyes; “A Moving Image,” directed by Shola Amoo; and “Play the Devil,” directed by Maria Govan.
The muse section, spotlighting films that “capture the spirit of L.A.,” is made up of “Actors of Sound,” directed by Lalo Molina; “Girl Flu,” directed by Dorie Barton; “Manchild: The Schea Cotton Story,” directed by Eric "Ptah" Herbert; “Namour,” directed by Heidi Saman; “No Light and No Land Anywhere,” directed by Amber Sealey; and “Sensitivity Training,” directed by Melissa Finell.
The six films of the nightfall section are “Abattoir,” directed by Darren Lynn Bousman; “Beyond the Gates,” directed by Jackson Stewart; “Don’t Hang Up,” directed by Alexis Wajsbrot and Damien Macé; “Mercy,” directed by Chris Sparling; “Officer Downe,” directed by M. Shawn Crahan; and “Villisca,” directed by Tony Valenzuela.
A selection of 58 short films will also be shown as part of the festival, representing 15 countries; 64% of these are directed by women. There will also be a section of 13 independent Web episodes.
With previously announced selections, including the opening night world premiere of Ricardo De Montreuil’s “Lowriders,” starring Eva Longoria and Demián Bichir, the festival has announced 56 feature films for its 2016 edition.
Last week the festival also announced its noncompetitive buzz and limelight sections, including Mike Birbiglia's "Don't Think Twice"; Stella Meghie's "Jean of the Joneses"; Justin Tipping's "Kicks"; Roger Ross Williams' "Life, Animated"; David F. Sandberg's "Lights Out"; Isaac Rentz's "Opening Night"; and Stephen Gyllenhaal's "So B. It."
"It's with true film lovers in mind that we program: From political theater to musical theater, we're highlighting storytelling in all its forms," Jennifer Cochis, creative director, said in a statement.
Passes for the festival are on sale to Film Independent members and the general public. For more information visit lafilmfestival.com.
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DWA has been on the block for more than three years, drawing overtures but no suitors that went all the way to a deal. Comcast could be a good fit for the indie animation studio that has a deep well of content, from its library of film and TV production to classic toon characters to the millennial-friendly content engine in Brian Robbins’ AwesomenessTV digital hub.
Comcast could make use of DreamWorks’ IP-rich vault in its theme parks as well as to feed its global film and TV pipelines. It’s understood that the deal on the table envisions bringing DWA into the Universal Pictures fold.
Sources cautioned that the negotiations are still in the early stage and that a deal may not come to fruition. A source familiar with the situation said Comcast and NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke are determined not to overpay for the company, but they also see strong potential in exploiting DWA’s various assets through multiple divisions. As of Tuesday, DWA had a market cap of $2.35 billion, with shares closing at $27.12.
A spokesman for DreamWorks Animation declined to comment. Reps for Philadelphia-based Comcast could not be reached for comment late Tuesday. Comcast’s pursuit of DWA will surely be a topic of questioning on Wednesday morning after the cable giant reports its first-quarter earnings.
DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg was skedded to be the keynote speaker at the APOS media conference in Bali, Indonesia that kicked off Tuesday. But earlier Tuesday organizers got word that he had cancelled his trip abruptly after already arriving at the airport, citing “personal matters.” The conference chairman wondered aloud onstage whether the lucrative potential deal could also be a factor.
The company Hasbro had been in talks to acquire the company in a deal worth at least $2.3 billion, but the deal fell apart in November 2014. Japanese conglom Softbank also kicked the animation company’s tires in 2014 but talks cooled.
Pressure from Disney, which accounts for about 30% of Hasbro’s business, helped derail the deal with the “Transformers” toymaker.
The Comcast marriage would put DWA, makers of “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and “How to Train Your Dragon,” together with Universal and its Illumination animation subsidiary headed by Chris Meledandri, producer of “Despicable Me” and the upcoming “The Secret Life of Pets.”
DWA’s fortunes have been defined in the public eye by the fate of its film releases, but the company has significantly bolstered its operations by expanding into TV series production. Its 2013 purchase of AwesomenessTV has yielded a steady stream of digital content, TV series and now film projects.
DWA set a wide-ranging global content licensing pact in January with Netflix. At present the studio has seven active series on Netflix, which has a strong demand for animated fare to feed its children’s section. Two more high-profile entries are expected by the end of this year: “Trollhunters,” helmed by Guillermo del Toro, and a reboot of the classic cartoon “Voltron.”
The Netflix deal ensures DWA a steady stream of cash flow that is far less susceptible to the pendulum swings of box office returns. DWA previously produced series for Nickelodeon derived from its “Kung Fu Panda” and “Penguins of Madagascar” film franchises — properties that have an evergreen library value for NBCUniversal and its many channels around the world.
“It is our most profitable asset,” Katzenberg recently said of the three-year old TV division which has generated considerable profits.
DWA also controls vintage animation properties including Casper the Friendly Ghost, Rocky and Bullwinkle and Mr. Peabody and Sherman. The studio acquired those titles through its 2012 purchase of Classic Media.
AwesomenessTV has taken DWA into the teen live-action content arena. Hulu earlier this month acquired the company’s “Freakish” horror series. Awesomeness Films is revving up a big slate of day-and-date theatrical and VOD releases following its first efforts that included “Snervous,” a documentary from YouTube and social-media star Tyler Oakley, and “Janoskians: Untold and Untrue,” a mockumentary and concert special from the Australian comedy group.
DreamWorks Animation, through its distribution pact with Fox that runs through 2017, will release its next film, “Trolls,” in November. For 2017, it has “Boss Baby,” “Captain Underpants” and “The Croods 2” on the schedule, with “How to Train Your Dragon 3” and “Larrikins” in 2018.
DreamWorks’ film studio is still recovering from the downward drag of a series of failed films that began in 2012. DWA took an $87 million loss on “Rise of the Guardians,” a $13.5 million hit on “Turbo” and a $57 million writedown on “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.” “The Penguins of Madagascar” also underperformed.
The failures forced 500 layoffs in early 2015 and the closure of DWA’s Northern California studio. The company also sold and leased back its Glendale headquarters and shuffled its top film executives – parting with creative chief Bill Damaschke and promoting Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria to the co-presidency of the studio’s feature division.
“The last eight months have been the worst in the company’s 20-year history,” Katzenberg told Wall Street analysts in February 2015.
A slight uptick came with “Home,” in 2015, which grossed $386 million globally and a bigger boost this January with the release of “Kung Fu Panda 3,” which took in more than $504 million, though still falling short of blockbuster status. Next up, in November, is “Trolls” – which the company hopes will create a merchandising bonanza with sales of the rubbery, shock-haired dolls.
News of Comcast’s interest in DWA was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
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Deadline: Monday, June 6, 2016 at 5 PM
All applications must be submitted online at www.pmcf.submittable.com/submit.
For the Public Media Content Fund Guidelines, please visit: http://lpbp.org/2014-public-media-content-fund-guidelines/.
For Public Media Content Fund Guidelines FAQ’s, please visit: http://lpbp.org/funding-faq/.
The Public Media Content Fund is an open invitation to independent producers to submit proposals for a program, limited series or short web-based digital video (no longer than 20 minutes, for distribution on PBS.org or another public media web platform) on any subject that relates to or is representative of Latino Americans that is appropriate for public television and/or one of its platforms. LPB funding will average between $5,000 and $100,000 for programs of most genres, including documentary, narrative, performance, mixed genre or new media. LPB will give priority consideration to funding projects at the production and post-production stage.
Programs should bring new audiences to public media and have national relevance presenting a range of subjects, issues and viewpoints that complement and challenge existing public media offerings. These programs should also aim to meet the current content priorities of PBS that include but are not limited to: History, Arts, Drama, Science, News and Public Affairs and/or programs that support CPB's American Graduate by raising awareness of all facets of the high school dropout crisis.
Programs should provide strong storytelling techniques that give voice to the diverse Latino community on public media. While proposals can take creative risks, selected projects must ultimately appeal to a wide variety of television and public media audiences. Projects that reflect personal or individual experience should have universal appeal and provide a lens to Latino history, culture and issues.