When A More-than-due Golden Globe To William Peter Blatty Outraged Hollywood

 

is memoir, Starflacker: Inside the Golden Age of Hollywood)

One question which is chatted up in Hollywood at this crucial waiting-for-the-Oscar-noms time of the year is “do the Golden Globes awarding influence, foretell or in any other way impact the names and films which will decorate the nominations list? (to be read out on January 24 this year) There are usually some overlaps and also some Hollywood Foreign Press Association winners who don’t make the Oscar countdown at all.

In 1980 one Globe awardee came in from such deep left field, an achievement not vaguely on the minds or tongues of Oscar electors, that there was instant scandal when it was announced. It drew such wrath that there was question if the award show would be telecast the following year. The recent passing of super-best-selling “Exorcist” and Oscar-winning screenwriter (for the adaptation of his book) William Peter Blatty brings that all-but-forgotten Golden Globe controversy to mind.

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In-Home Movie Releases

It seems as though we’re once again toying with the idea of in home movie releases. According to an article from variety.com earlier last month, Napster mogul, Sean Parker, is backing up a new startup that offers consumers new releases in the comfort of their homes.

The Screening Room, acts as an anti-piracy technology which streams new releases from the included “set-top box”. Screening Room would charge consumers an initial $150 for setup and charge $50 per film. Exhibitors are projected to receive as much as $20 of the fee, while distributors would get 20%.

According to variety.com, Jeff Blake, former Sony Pictures worldwide marketing and distribution chief, is involved in the project as he has both studio and exhibition connections. Variety.com has also shared that Screening Room is working on closing a deal with one of the largest exhibitors, AMC.

In home movie releases seems to be a doubled edged sword for all parties involved. While there’s appeal to studios struggling with piracy online, exhibitors worry that signing an agreement could potentially hinder and already diminishing box office. Technology has unfortunately made newly released movies available illegally online within an hour of their release, which attributes to the continuous decline in attendance at theaters.

While the concept of being able to stream a movie, the day it’s released, from the comfort of your home is appealing, we’re not sure how practical it is. Variety shared a poll on their Twitter which asked followers whether or not they’d spend $50 to rent a new movie that same day it hits theaters, the results speak for themselves. When consumers can go and see a movie for $11 dollars at virtually any movie theatre, $50 seems like a rather steep price.

In home movie releases is certainly a convenient luxury, and in a society that eagerly chases efficiency and convenience, you’d think it would be a sure-fire win. Should Screening Room offer consumers a more justified price, I think more people would be receptive to the idea. Like everything in technology, it seems to be a waiting game, only time will tell.

 

Check back for more blogs from Roy Dekel, or visit his other website at RoyDekel.net!

TWO LIKE INVESTMENTS- MOVIES AND REAL ESTATE

Investment in media is being looked up as a very viable and profitable alternative investment as compared to other traditional investments. Though film equity investors can be found but they are very rare and the competition for the investment is fierce. But as it is with any other investment, the same principle of profit and risk ratio applies- greater the profit, greater the risk. The maximum return on the investment leaves much to be desired financially. For an investment to be sound, it has to generate profits and that too, a sizeable one. A film needs to be thoroughly prepared, have an attractive script, have an excellent business plan, the right pitch and a knack of bringing out the best in its team.

Udi Droner, Director of Operations, Precise Real Estate solutions, says, ” It is imperative that the film makers and financiers analyze the movie investment as they would review any other financial investment”. He further elaborates,” investment in media is the same as investment in real estate and the benefits of the investment need to be studied well at every stage, right from the pitching of the location, budget, to the management of the development”.

Investment in cinema is treated as unpredictable or as a magic wand delivering unreasonable profits. It is essential to adopt a mature approach to the investment and reign the expectations within limits. Contrary to common belief film business does have an impressive history of stability like the real estate market. The demand for films never waivers and even when the markets face a financial crisis, film businesses have the ability to churn out profits, albeit lower ones. There are examples of films grossing in huge profits when major investments were hit by global recession. Investment in films have shown great resilience and stability.

Many venture capitalists like Roy Dekle, CEO and Partner at LAG Entertainment Group, review the investment prospects in the entertainment field and make sound investments. They have recognized the cinemas unparalleled ability to stir up cultural conversations and benefit the community at large. Though it is a profitable investment it is always advisable to pay attention and check whether:

 there are legal disclaimers attached and what they say,

 does it have a well organized business plan,

 does it give a fair idea of the paucity of investments,

 the contents of the project synopsis are clear,

 the team details are mentioned,

 does it state the hypothetical investment returns,

 does it have a substantial plan detailing the project handling.

These and other necessary details can give one a fair and clear picture of the calculated risk one is about to take. These details also should be kept in mind if one is looking for investors. It is generally the individuals with high net worth and philanthropists who are ready to invest in such projects, looking for connections and referrals through them too can be very helpful. Usually non-profit organizations or communities linked to particular causes find such projects worth investing. Roy Dekel, charity forays, identify the films with subjects and stories that can help in the community building process and betterment of the society, it is such films that are thought worthy of investment according to him.

The initial investors of the film add the credibility factor for the potential investors. It’s very few films like ‘The Slum dog millionaire’ or ‘The King’s Speech’, which prove that there’s big bucks for the private investor in the movie market. Investing with partners or other instruments available in the market can be a good option. Investing in a prestigious production company mitigates the risk without having to do any leg work or production work. This often leads to partnership for next films too, if relationship formed is strong and profitable. Another way of investing in the media is through film funds, a number of which have emerged over the past few years.

In spite of the inherent risks and steps taken by investors to avoid the worst , many films however promising pre-release may never see the light of the day failing to deliver even reasonable profits. But if a film does flop it does have the potential to break even or show some profit in the overseas market, DVD rentals, video streaming or in the form of royalties. If the silver screen holds allure for you then it is the best to apply the standard rule which applies to all investments- never invest more than you can afford.

This Year’s Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Institute has recently released the names of the 65 films selected to premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival for the U.S. Competition, World Competition and out-of-competition NEXT category. The festival, which occupies Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden Utah, is set to take place January 21-31. Founded in 1978, the Sundance Film Festival has been a platform for independent filmmakers around the world to showcase their work.

Roy Dekel | Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Institute grants more than $2.5 million to independent artists each year. The festival provides an outlet for artists across the world to reach a broad spectrum of independent filmmakers like themselves, and experienced professionals in the industry. Executive Director, Keri Putnam, reinforces their focus in  recent news release on their website, “Our mission is to amplify these voices from outside the mainstream at the Festival and, through our year-round filmmaker Labs, programs and events, to celebrate their truly independant passion and spirit.”

Some earlier successes from the Sundance Film Festival have included Blackfish, Whiplash, Precious, Boyhood, Dope, and Napolean Dynamite. Featuring both feature-length and short films, the Festival is broken down into different categories including,

U.S. Dramatic Competition – “Presenting the world premieres of 16 narrative feature films, the Dramatic Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American independent film.”

U.S. Documentary Competition – “Sixteen world-premiere American documentaries that illuminate the ideas, people, and events that shape the present day.”

World Cinema Dramatic Competition – “Twelve films from emerging filmmaking talent around the world offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles.”

World Cinema Documentary Competition – “Twelve documentaries by some of the most courageous and extraordinary international filmmakers working today.”

NEXT – “Pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling populate this program. Digital technology paired with unfettered creativity promises that the films in the section will shape a “greater” next wave in American cinema. Presented by Adobe.

The Sundance Institute is dedicated to providing creative and financial support to aspiring filmmakers, directors, screenwriters, and artists through their series of Fellowships and Labs. Their programs, including Documentary, Feature Film, Music, and Theatre, give the artists a chance to rehearse, shoot, and edit their projects with industry professionals as their mentors. The Sundance Film Festival has  given a number of films notability, some of which have even went on to receive Oscar nominations. To check out the full list of films that will premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival click here.

 

Atomic Falafel

In a world of film adaptations of popular books, multiple Spider-Man franchises, and enough prequels and sequels to keep audiences satisfied for years, it isn’t often film-goers come across a truly unique and fearless piece of work.

Enter “Atomic Falafel.” The satire is written and directed by Dror Shaul, an Israeli filmmaker known for his 1999 cult-classic comedy “Mivtza Savta” (“Operation Grandma”) and his 2006 autobiographical film “Adama Meshuga’at” (“Sweet Mud”) which took home the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema–drama at the Sundance Film Festival.

Called an “exuberant, delightfully absurd comedy” by Variety, the production of “Atomic Falafel” had huge aspirations–Shaul’s intention was for the film to be the first Israeli-Iranian co-production in history. After a five and a half year struggle to finance the film, and Iranian producers dropping out a mere two months before shooting began, it’s incredible the movie was still able to get made.

Pushing a generally pro-peace message, the wacky satire is being regarded as Shaul’s own “Dr. Strangelove.” “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” a 1964 political satire black comedy film by Stanley Kubrick that critic Roger Ebert described as “arguably the best political satire of the century.”

“Atomic Falafel” tells the story of two teenage girls living in towns housing nuclear reactors, one in Iran, the other in Israel, connecting and forming a relationship over the internet. Shaul was fascinated with the idea that while the adults in the world of “Atomic Falafel” (as well as the real world) are producing weapons of mass destruction while the younger generations are doing the exact opposite over the internet. Bonding over mutual interests in music, fashion, and ideas, Shaul told the Jerusalem Post “They [teens] all want to be popular, they all have slang, their attitude is the same.”

And while the director certainly pokes fun at the current tensions between Iran and Israel, his intentions were to simply make light of a very serious situation, but not to provoke anger. He told the Jerusalem Post he hoped his film would inspire viewers to “…look at the serious side, to look at army issues, and the pathos and the heroism we were brought up with and say, does it still work?”

32nd Jerusalem Film Festival

On Thursday, July 9th, the Israeli film scene was brought to center stage with the opening of the 32nd Jerusalem Film Festival. This year was the first since the controversial move to pull the film “Beyond the Fear”, the documentary based on Yigal Amir who killed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabain in 1995.

Roy-Dekel-FilmFestThe biggest concept this year is: mixing political and socially charged films, featuring controversial directors such as Hadar Morag, Evgeny Ruman, and Avishai Sivan. Morag’s film titled “Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me” follows the journey of Muhammad, a man with family ties to a collaborator with Israeli security services. Muhammad befriends a lone ranger who rides his motorcycle into the inner city. Ruman’s psychological drama, “The Man in the Wall”, spans over one night in a Tel Aviv Apartment. The film was recently played in Rotterdam where it was nominated for a Fipresci prize. The 2010 Cannes Golden Camera winner, Avishai Sivan, will be showing “Tikkun,” the story of a ultra-Orthodox scholar who is involved in a serious accident, which in turn makes him apathetic to his studies. His father, who brought him back to life is tormented by thinking he has crossed God’s will.

International standouts include the critically acclaimed Amy Whinehouse documentary, “Amy,” by British born Asif Kapadia, and Taiwanese director Hou Hsais-Hisen’s, “The Assassin.” The festival also will have special features, including an appearance from this years Lifetime Achievement award winner John Turturro and a screening of the drama “Mia Madre” from Italian director Nanni Moretti. Turturro will also be involved in master classes with Gitai and Seidl.

The 10th anniversary of the Jerusalem Pitch Point session will include a focus on co-producers between international cinema and Israel, and a panel on the topic of Israeli cinema in the eyes of foreign media. The festival will conclude on Sunday, July 19th with a open-air screening of “The Godfather”, and a live orchestral score conducted by John Freer.

18th Annual Shanghai Film Festival

Roy-Dekel-SIFFThis past weekend marked the kick-off the the 18th Annual Shanghai International Film Festival. The 2015 showcase is slated to run from June 13th to June 21st. Films for exhibition include Leviafan, Boyhood, The Theory of Everything, Weekend, Once Upon a Time in America, and The Last Emperor.

The Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) was established in 1993 and is currently the only International Federation of Film Producers Associations approved festival in China. The purpose of the festival is the highlight the rapidly growing Chinese film industry, while also presenting awards, panels, workshops, and markets aimed at garnering an even bigger international audience. As Chinese economy has grown, the Chinese film industry has been able to reach new heights. The SIFF is now a prosperous event for filmmakers and producers worldwide. In 2014, an astounding 447 mainstream media sources and 1,385 journalists reported on the SIFF, including local Chinese networks like the Xinhua News Agency, Shanghai Media Group, and CCTV. Foreign broadcasts like “The Wall Street Journal,” “The New York Times,” “Reuters,” and “Associated Press” were also in attendance.

The festival’s primary award is the Golden Goblet Award. Recipients are selected by a panel of highly qualified film industry professionals. Categories include: Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, and Outstanding Artistic Achievement. 2015 nominees represent 12 countries including Japan, Korea, France, USA, Iran, and of course, China. The Asian New Talent Award, celebrating emerging actors, screenwriters, and cinematographers based in the Asian continent has been revamped and is ready for the 2015 festival.

In addition to the films up for consideration, the SIFF has a running schedule of hot titles screenings including Gone Girl, The Wizard of Oz, Goodfellas, A Beautiful Mind, and Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

As the SIFF gains popularity, ticket sales and high profile celebrity appearances are expected to increase.