News & Updates
by Geoff Weiss
In partnership with movie theater advertising company Spotlight Cinema Networks, Vimeo is slated to bring short-form content to theater audiences nationwide.
Spotlight, which is owned by Mark Cuban and vends ads within 200 upscale indie film venues nationwide, including the Angelika and Landmark theaters, will feature one to three Vimeo videos during the 20 minute preview period before screenings are scheduled to start. In addition to curated content from notable Vimeo creators on its storied Staff Picks channel, preshow clips will also include content from the Vimeo Brand Studio — the platform’s native ad network — in a bid to give marketers some cross-platform play.
Spotlight is also partnering with the Vimeo Brand Studio to create content that will live on Vimeo. Vimeo’s Brand Studio has already collaborated with brands like Charles Schwab, Samsung, and Lincoln.
“Spotlight’s educated, affluent audience and theaters specializing in the best of independent films and luxury cinema, are very much in line with the Vimeo audience and make them the perfect theatrical partner,” Vimeo’s VP of global business development & brand partnerships, Richard Bloom, said in a statement.
Check this out on tubefilter.com
by Iain Blair
Pablo Vigo for Variety
With Cinemacon beginning this week, there will be much talk of summer blockbusters. But don’t count out the smaller films.
Talk about mismatched opponents. In one corner you have box office monsters (“Batman v Superman,” “Deadpool,” the latest “Star Wars” entry) and in the other, acclaimed indies (“Room,” “Brooklyn,” “45 Years”) that, by comparison, barely make a dent in the charts. So will independent cinema survive in theaters when the world is becoming an increasingly blockbuster-centric experience?
“Absolutely, as the world doesn’t live by blockbusters alone — and it never has,” says Tom Bernard, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics. “There’s a big audience for intelligent cinema that isn’t going away.” He cites the “specialized marketing departments” run by AMC, Cinemark and Regal. “They’re the big blockbuster players, yet every week they make room for indies and intelligent cinema. The theater owners, who are the front line, know there’s an audience.”
Bernard also notes that older audiences have “a lot of disposable income, while the teenage audience doesn’t have $15 or $20 to drop every week on the latest blockbuster. So variety seems to be the spice of life, and the only way indie cinema won’t survive is if they stop making movies.”
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain founder and CEO Tim League describes his Texas-based 23-theater/170-screen operation as “a specialized chain that features a wide variety of content — from first-run movies and big blockbusters to small indies, foreign releases and classic movies — so we’re uniquely qualified to evaluate the indie/blockbuster debate.”
“Indie releasing has never been easy, but we’re dedicated to it, and there’s definitely room for both,” he says, citing the chain’s current programming. “We’re screening ‘Batman v Superman’ like everyone else, but we’re also showing indie drama ‘Too Late,’ shot and projected on 35mm, and horror films ‘Hush’ and ‘The Witch,’ so we’re very easily able to find a balance between the two.”
League reports that such recent indies as “The Lady in the Van,” “Brooklyn,” “Room” and “Ex Machina” have “all done very well, and if an indie release can find the screens and partner with theaters on marketing and promotion, they also find the audiences. I’m still very bullish on the theater experience, and indie audiences will show up if you offer a great product. And no mater how many movies Netflix decides to buy, they’re not going to buy them all, and there’ll always be great, quirky content to enjoy at the cinema.”
Movio CEO Will Palmer reports that there are four key areas where independent films could “greatly benefit” from a focused strategy: “First, the filmmakers and exhibitors really need to target their market — and more specifically,” he notes. “And right now they’re losing the battle. Second, they need to focus release dating so it coincides with their audience’s attendance patterns. There are very avid indie films fans out there — just as avid as the blockbuster fanboys — but we’ve studied the data in detail, and it’s very evident that release frequency is also key. Too many a month, and it saturates the market. But too long a gap between releases and it’s just as bad.”
Palmer goes on to stress that indie audiences “are very different” from blockbuster audiences, “so exhibitors need to look at the best times to cater to these audiences, as they go at very different times. And our data shows that indie audiences take twice as long to go to see a new film as a blockbuster audience, as they tend to wait for reviews. So indies don’t need to be screened at premium times, but they do need to be screened for far longer runs.
“Finally, the indie filmmakers really need to understand their audience profile and look at all the data — and that data is far more important for the indie market to know than it is for the blockbusters, and it can be surprising.” As an example, he cites “the big audience overlap” between people who flocked to see “Philomena” and those who watched “Whiplash.” “You need to cater to that broad range of taste and think holistically.”
Looking to the future, Palmer says if the indie business follows these pointers, “they’ll be just fine.”
For acclaimed indie auteur Jeff Nichols (“Take Shelter,” “Mud”), whose latest film, “Midnight Special,” was just released by Warners, “Indie cinema will survive because they tell the sort of stories that audiences want to see in theaters,” he notes. “And whether you see films in a theater or at home, I think you can have the same emotional connection if the story elements are there. But it’s the job of the distributors to make sure they’re viewed in such a way that they represent the filmmaker’s vision, and that isn’t the case with the harsh HD look of TV and tiny screens on phones and so on. I still believe in that shared theater experience.”
Check this out on variety.com
We are thrilled to announce that NALIPster Chelo Alvarez-Stehle’s film Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage has won First Prize and Biznaga de Plata (Silver Biznaga) at Spain's Festival de Málaga - Asserting Women's Rights section.
The award ceremony will take place on April 27th, when Sands of Silence will have its world premiere!
The film is a personal documentary about a filmmaker who, inspired by the transformation of the sex-trafficking survivors whose lives she is documenting, finds the courage to break the silence about sexual abuse in her own life.
Go to sandsofsilence.org for more info! Congratulations Chelo!
HBO has been a committed sponsor of NALIP for well over a decade. As Presenting Sponsor of NALIP’s annual Media Summit, HBO provides more than just financial support; they bring along industry leaders, executives, and experts to fully engage and inspire content creators.
HBO is home to the most talked about programs on television - from groundbreaking series, films, documentaries and sports to the biggest blockbuster movies available anywhere. And it's never been easier to watch HBO programs - when you want, where you want.
Check them out on hbo.com
A Special Thank You to all of our Sponsors
Thank you to all of our generous sponsors for their continual support. Because of their financial involvement, our organization continues to be very successful in helping content creators further advance projects and matching industry leaders with talent. We have exciting plans for our upcoming NALIP Media Summit, which would not be possible without the support of our sponsors.
If you have questions regarding your sponsorship or would like to know how you can support NALIP, please email Karla, NALIP’s Outreach Coordinator, at [email protected]
By Kevin Jagernauth
As if their rocky start to their DC Films universe with "Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice" wasn't enough, Warner Bros. now has another problem, though they are trying to spin it in the best light possible. They are currently sitting on "Jungle Book: Origins," a live action/CGI movie directed by Andy Serkis, that now has the unfortunate task of following Disney's smash hit live action/CGI "The Jungle Book," which they've already commissioned a sequel for. They've already pushed back 'Origins' a full year, from 2017 to 2018, and now they're bringing out the big guns.
Alfonso Cuaron has been hired to "give notes" on the movie, which might indicate trouble, although the studio is insisting everything is fine, there's nothing to see here, and that the director's work will go "uncredited." WB is pitching it as making sure 'Origins' can be the best movie possible, and that Cuaron isn't taking over the project. However, you generally don't bring in a name as big as Cuaron if everything is hunky dory, or if you don't have any doubts or second guesses about your film.
The picture — which stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Matthew Rhys — has already wrapped, and Serkis claims the special effects will enable "truly next generation storytelling." That may well be, but audiences already seem to be reacting just fine to what Disney has done, so WB, Serkis and Cuaron are really going to have to bring it.
Check this out on indiewire.com
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By Mark Kennedy
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Composer and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda has accepted one of the largest prizes given for the stage by celebrating immigrants, saying that his creation of the Broadway smash "Hamilton" was sparked by learning about Alexander Hamilton's overseas roots.
Miranda, who on Thursday was awarded The Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, told of reading a biography of the first U.S. treasury secretary by Ron Chernow and learning that he was born and raised in what was then the West Indies.
"I grew up in an immigrant neighborhood. We just knew the rule was you're going to have to work twice as hard," Miranda, whose family came from Puerto Rico to New York City, said in his acceptance speech.
"When I found that out about Hamilton, I said, 'I know this guy. I know this guy and he's not going to let me go.' And he didn't let me go for seven years.
The prize, bestowed by Columbia University, was created to honor a new play or musical that explores the United States' past and deals with "great issues of our day." It comes with $100,000. This is the fourth year the prize has been given and the first time a musical has won.
"We are all in awe," Edward M. Kennedy Jr., the son of the late senator, told Miranda. "You've made history come alive. And 'Hamilton' makes us all want to learn more about history.
Before the ceremony, Miranda got a chance to see some of Columbia's Hamilton memorabilia, including his wedding band, enrollment papers and his final letter to his wife, Eliza, written on the morning of his fateful duel. He was also serenaded by the Young People's Chorus of New York City, performing songs from "West Side Story," a musical that inspired him to songwriting.
The prize was established by Kennedy's sister, Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, in consultation with playwright Tony Kushner. The year's recipient is announced every Feb. 22, the anniversary of the late senator's birth.
"Hamilton" explores Hamilton's life and is told by a young African-American, Asian and Latino cast and with music that blends musical theater, rap and pop.
The show has won a Grammy Award and awards from the Outer Critics Circle, the New York Drama Critics' Circle and the Drama Desk, and it is a likely candidate for Tony Awards this summer. The show's album became the highest-debuting cast recording on the Billboard Top 200 in over 50 years.
Miranda said he hoped his work would inspire more: "History is so subjective. The teller of it determines it," said Miranda. "I'm excited to see what stories come out of this and what comes next."
Check this out on nbcnewyork.com
Starz has joined HBO and Showtime in going over the top with the launch today of a standalone streaming app that also allows users to download most of the available programs.
Starz is offering the app in partnership with Apple and Google. The service costs $8.99 a month, $2 less than Showtime’s $10.99 offering and six dollars below HBO’s monthly pricetag of $14.99.
Starz emphasized that users have the option to download programs for viewing without the need of a Wi-Fi or broadband connection, a function Starz touted as viewer-friendly and unique to its service.
The app will be available to consumers on a standalone basis while existing customers who receive Starz through an MVPD subscription will receive free authenticated access to the app. At the same time, Starz will not offer live real-time streaming.
Starz CEO Chris Albrecht had hinted in recent months that the company was pouring resources into the development of a cutting-edge streaming service. Starz’s first move to reach consumers outside of the traditional pay TV world came late last year when it pacted with Amazon to allow Starz to be offered as a paid add-on to existing Prime memberships.
The app will be distributed via Apple’s App Store and Google Play, supported on a range of iOS and Android devices.
“Starz has entered the market today with an enormous value proposition for consumers,” Albrecht said. “Our programing will now be more widely available to the 20 million broadband only homes of cord nevers, cord cutters and cord shavers, including millennials and other underserved consumers who need other viable subscription service options.”
Starz aims to whet viewer appetite for the service by streaming the first episode of the fantasy drama “Outlander’s” second season as of April 7, two days before its linear premiere. The costume vehicle has emerged as a buzzy hit with a worldwide fan base for Starz and producer Sony Pictures TV.
Starz plans to make all of its original series available via the app, along with a slew of movies including later this year Disney’s blockbuster “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Starz’s move follows HBO’s launch of HBONow a year ago this month and Showtime’s dive into the broadband-only world last July.
Check this out on variety.com