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The Sundance Experience: Jan. 20

20 January 2013 8:45 AM, PST

Sundance, like most of life, is all about who you know. If you don’t know people—and, more to the point, the right people—it can be a maddening experience. Luckily, we know some of the right people, so our snowglobe bubble isn’t as lonely as it might otherwise be. Jan. 20 involved screenings of “Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes” (look for our interview with star Kaya Scodelario soon) and the Daniel-Radcliffe-having-gay-sex movie “Kill Your Darlings,” which is much more interesting, jazzy, and smart than that joke logline would indicate. But screenings and interviews are only part of the working journalist’s job—there are also parties to attend. And, you know, things like picking up press credentials, trying not to get lost, and eating. In the interest of total disclosure, we have so far only succeeded at one of those three things. We did manage to snag »

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'Immigration Consultant' Boryski Gets One Year in Jail

18 January 2013 6:18 PM, PST

A Canadian man authorities accused of running an immigration consulting scam they say conned foreign actors out of thousands of dollars pled no contest Friday to six counts. Andrew Boryski was sentenced to one year in prison, but 185 days were stayed because he agreed to pay $37,000 in immediate restitution to nine victims. He was also ordered the shut down his company, Entertainment Immigration Consulting, and must pay restitution to any other victims that come forward by Feb. 21. Deputy City Attorney Mark Lambert, who prosecuted the case, asked any other potential victims to contact his office.  Boryski, a Saskatchewan native, was originally charged with 32 misdemeanor counts, including three counts of grand theft, one count of practicing law without a license, and 28 counts of violating provisions of the Immigration Consultant Act. He pled no contest to three counts of grand theft and three counts of violating provisions of the Immigration Consultant Act. »

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'Silver Linings Playbook' Featurette

18 January 2013 1:10 PM, PST

"Silver Linings Playbook," up for eight Academy Awards and four SAG Awards, features what many are calling one of the best ensemble casts in recent memory. “It was an exciting movie to make," says Bradley Cooper, who plays the title Character, Pat, in the film. "I got to work with not only Robert De Niro, but John Ortiz and Dash Mihawk and Julia Stiles, Paulie Herman and Shea Whigham and Jackie Weaver, and Chris Tucker is incredible in the movie. And of course, Jennifer Lawrence. It was really quite an assembly of actors that David O. Russell got together to tell the story.” Check out exclusive interviews below from the award-winning cast and crew. »

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Bam Names New Director of BAMcinématek

18 January 2013 11:18 AM, PST

The Brooklyn Academy of Music has promoted Gabriele Caroti to the newly-created position of director of BAMcinématek, Bam announced Jan. 17.BAMcinématek presents classic films, premieres, festivals, and retrospectives that feature appearances by filmmakers, actors, and critics.In his new role as director, Caroti will oversee the BAMcinématek team and “will provide strategic leadership to the department as well as manage the team’s continued growth and ensure the future success of the program,” according to Bam.He will report to Soo Park, Bam’s VP of marketing and communications, and will work closely with both the BAMcinématek and Bam Rose Cinemas staff. Caroti has also been BAMcinématek’s publicity manager since 2009 and will continue to lead the publicity department in his new role. Founding curator Florence Almozini will remain the artistic director.“In the three years since Gabriele has joined our staff, he has made significant contributions to the success »

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Hollywood Payroll Provider Cast & Crew Purchased by ZelnickMedia

18 January 2013 9:19 AM, PST

Hollywood payroll company Cast & Crew Entertainment Services has been acquired by an investor group led by Zm Capital, a private equity investment fund of ZelnickMedia.The company, which bills itself as a "leading provider" of payroll services to the film, television, and commercial industries, announced the deal Thursday, Jan. 17.‬‬‬‬Cast & Crew’s management team will remain in place, said the company, which was previously owned by Abry Partners. Terms of the deal, which closed Christmas Eve, were not disclosed. Cast & Crew provides payroll services, workers’ compensation insurance, and consulting on production incentives.“The ZelnickMedia team values and supports Cast & Crew’s mission to provide the market-leading service and best-in-class products that have defined us for the last 37 years,” Eric Belcher, Cast & Crew’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have a partner who will continue to champion our aggressive investments in technology, personnel, and workflow »

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How To Survive the Sundance Film Festival

18 January 2013 8:32 AM, PST

Annika Marks went to Sundance for the first time as a cast member of “The Sessions” last year, making plenty of rookie mistakes that she doesn’t want to see anyone else repeat. Here is her advice for festival newbies. Drive The drive from Los Angeles to Park City is not only beautiful; it’s also practical. Having a car at Sundance gives you the flexibility to stay off-site (a good money saver as long as someone is staying sober enough to drive), the chance to avoid the shuttle (though the shuttle is free and easy to use), and a place to store your swag during the day. Note: The last place you want to figure out how to outfit your car with snow chains is in the middle of a blizzard in a McDonald’s parking lot at 3 a.m., so learn from my mistake and get chains in L. »

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How Sundance Affected the Oscar Race

18 January 2013 8:27 AM, PST

More so than in recent years, 2012 was shaping up to be the year studio films took back the Oscars. Front-runners such as “Argo,” “Les Misérables,” “Lincoln,” and “Zero Dark Thirty” seemed to dominate the race—and still may. But the Oscar nominations include some strong independent showings, none more so than last year’s Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner, “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” The scrappy indie starring a then-7-year-old newcomer with an unpronounceable name not only earned a nomination for best picture but bumped sure things Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow out of the director race. “Beasts” had a budget that was probably smaller than the catering bill for “Argo,” yet the story of a girl named Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), who lives in a part of the Louisiana bayou called the Bathtub and encounters mythical prehistoric beasts, resonated with voters. Director Benh Zeitlin not only sneaked »

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5 Traveling Tips For Sundance Attendees

18 January 2013 7:00 AM, PST

A major festival can be a great place to do some networking. But be warned—travel to Sundance is not for the weak of heart. Here are some tips. Find a roommate or three Already high hotel prices inflate by 25–50 percent during the festival. Solve this problem by bunking up. Given that Park City is a ski town, there are plenty of condos and houses capable of holding unreasonable numbers of people. Check sites such as Airbnb.com.Learn the bus routes The city bus system and festival routes make getting around free and easy. When looking for lodging, stake out a place in walking distance of a bus stop.Commute Park City is a 30- to 45-minute drive from Salt Lake City, which is a way more affordable place to hang your hat. But don’t even try this without an all-wheel-drive vehicle. Weather can make the route impassable for less muscular autos. »

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3 Cable Drama Pilots Hire CDs

18 January 2013 6:00 AM, PST

Three new cable drama pilots now have casting directors attached, Backstage has learned."Tyrant," from Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff, the producers of Showtime's acclaimed series “Homeland,” will be cast by Junie Lowry-Johnson and Libby Goldstein. The shoot date and location are still being determined for the Middle East-set FX drama, which revolves around an American family that gets drawn into the political web of a volatile nation in the oil-rich region. A&E's period drama “Turn” will be cast by Laura Schiff (pictured) and Carrie Audino of Schiff/Audino Casting (“Mad Men”). Based on Alexander Rose’s book “Washington’s Spies,” “Turn” is about a group of childhood friends who form the famed Culper Ring to spy on the British during the Revolutionary War. The pilot is set to start shooting in April in Virginia.And the Bravo drama “Rita,” one of the first scripted pilots in the cable net's history, »

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Window Opens for Directors Lab West Applications

17 January 2013 11:09 AM, PST

Cultivating diversity will be on the agenda at this year’s Directors Lab West, an eight-day workshop for theater professionals hosted by the Pasadena Playhouse. Growing the ranks of women and minorities in theater has been an ongoing concern in Los Angeles, where critics have said Asian-American, African-American, and Latino actors and dramatists have limited opportunities despite the area’s diversity. Last October, East West Players (Ewp), an Asian-American theater organization based in L.A., held a forum on race politics that brought out some of the top artistic directors in Southern California. Now, said Kappy Kilburn, a member of the Directors Lab West steering committee, “we’ll try to continue that conversation, but we’ll also talk about gender diversity, age diversity—we’ll be doing a lot of exploring along those lines.” Directors Lab West, which began in 2000 as an offshoot of Lincoln Center Theater’s Directors Lab, »

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Equity Council Ratifies New Set Agreement

17 January 2013 11:06 AM, PST

Actors and stage managers working on certain union touring productions will be getting a raise this year, according to the terms of the Actors’ Equity Association and the Broadway League’s new collective bargaining agreement for short engagement tours. The Equity Council ratified a new four-year Short Engagement Touring Agreement, or Seta, at its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 15.“I am pleased to report that the negotiating team and Equity staff negotiated a strong financial package and improvements in quality of life issues,” said Equity Executive Director Mary McColl, who served as chief negotiator. “These are two areas that are very important to our members.”Highlights of the revised agreement include annual increases to the minimum salary, totaling 10.4 percent over the life of the agreement; a 12 percent increase for the single-occupancy per diem rate and 25 percent increase for the double-room occupancy rate, with additional increases built in annually; and the option for »

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SAG Foundation Prepares Actors For Pilot Season

17 January 2013 9:29 AM, PST

A group of actors aiming to land work this pilot season found themselves in a room with five top associate casting directors last week. While it wasn’t an audition, it may have been the next best thing. As performers scramble to prepare for the crush of auditions that start each January, the SAG Foundation, in partnership with the Virtual Channel Network, is offering a series of workshops with casting directors and their associates. The events are being held in Los Angeles and streamed online. SAG Foundation is offering them gratis to union members; non-members who can’t attend can watch the online feed.“The SAG Foundation builds an annual curriculum based on the ebb and flow of the business,” Rochelle Rose, national director of actors programs for SAG Foundation, told Backstage. “This is the perfect time to try to draw great tips from the people whose rooms you’ll »

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What It Means When Your Role Is Cut During Previews

17 January 2013 9:11 AM, PST

When Jordan Dean lost his job, columnist Michael Riedel responded with characteristic reserve. From his perch at the New York Post, Riedel had campaigned to have Dean’s character Skipper excised from the new Broadway production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” starring Scarlett Johansson as Maggie the Cat and Benjamin Walker as Brick. Why the fuss? Because Skipper, an old football buddy of Brick’s, isn’t present in Tennessee Williams’ original work. He and his suicide are referenced often in the play, but he never showed up onstage until previews of this newest incarnation began Dec. 18. In multiple columns, Riedel howled that the character’s unprecedented presence as a singing ghost who haunts critical scenes was an outrage invented by director Rob Ashford and not welcome by Johansson and Walker. When reports surfaced last week that Skipper had been removed from the production, Backstage reached out to »

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L.A.’s Next Great Stage Star Competition Gets Hot

17 January 2013 8:48 AM, PST

Los Angeles is playing host to a high-stakes singing competition, but its contestants aren’t belting out the latest pop hits. Instead, L.A.’s Next Great Stage Star’s 20 contenders apply their vocals to Broadway show tunes and the American songbook every Sunday for the next month at North Hollywood supper club Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal. “We took ‘American Idol’ as the foundation for this but centered it in a different direction,” said Michael Sterling, a jack-of-all-trades theater professional who’s been the executive producer of the show since it began seven years ago. Instead of weekly eliminations, all of the contestants remain in the running until the final round, Feb. 10, when the group is whittled down to five finalists and, eventually, one winner. That winner will go home with a $1,000 cash prize, a paid headlining concert, and representation—but for everyone, the weekly feedback from the »

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'Silver Linings Playbook' Q&A Highlights (Video)

17 January 2013 8:43 AM, PST

The outstanding ensemble behind the SAG and Academy Award-nominated "Silver Linings Playbook" participated in a Q&A to discuss working on the film, and we've put together highlights from the session, featuring David O. Russell, nominated for an Oscar for Best Director; SAG Award and Oscar nominees Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro; Jackie Weaver, Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actress; and Bradley Cooper, SAG Award and Oscar nominee for Best Actor. The star-studded ensemble discussed how they worked together and related to their characters. De Niro, when asked about how he prepared for a particularly powerful scene, explained how he doesn't get caught up in extensive prepartion and said, "Let go, forget about it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't." »

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CBS' 'Mom' Pilot with Anna Faris, CW's 'Vampire Diaries' Spinoff, Get Casting Directors

16 January 2013 6:15 PM, PST

Casting director attachments are starting to trickle out for the networks' early pilot orders. Backstage has learned that CBS comedy pilot "Mom" will be cast by Nikki Valko and Ken Miller. "Mom" has already cast Anna Faris in its lead role as a single mother, newly sober, who struggles to stay on the straight and narrow. The pilot hails from Warner Bros. Television and Chuck Lorre Productions. Valko/Miller currents casts all three of Chuck Lorre's CBS series — "Mike & Molly," "Two and a Half Men," and "The Big Bang Theory." The series is set in California's Napa Valley, but at this time a shoot location — as well as a production start date — is still to be determined. Lesli Gelles-Raymond and Greg Orson of Go Casting, who cast the CW's hit drama "The Vampire Diaries," will also cast the possible spinoff "The Originals." The backdoor pilot, which is set to »

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NBC Promotes Exec Doug Vaughan, Adds ‘Tonight Show’ to Portfolio

16 January 2013 1:56 PM, PST

NBC has promoted veteran program executive Doug Vaughan to a position where he’ll be overseeing the broadcast net’s venerable “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Vaughan, who has been overseeing specials at the network since 2005, will now have the title of executive vice president, special programs and late night programming. “Leno” joins the New York-based Vaughan’s already large portfolio, which includes overseeing ”Saturday Night Live,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” and “Last Call with Carson Daly.” Vaughan will also now serve as a liaison between the News and Entertainment divisions. “Doug is in a league of his own when it comes to putting together and nurturing NBC’s entertaining and successful brand of specials,” Paul Telegdy, the network’s president of alternative and late night programming, said in a statement. ”With his experience, versatility in programming and keen eye for worthy projects, he has been a vital »

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Watch a Live Q&A With Jessica Chastain From 'Zero Dark Thirty' Today (Video)

16 January 2013 1:42 PM, PST

Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain sits down with the SAG Foundation on Thursday to discuss her career and her performance in "Zero Dark Thirty." The film, which is directed by Kathryn Bigelow, follows the hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Chastain is earning raves for her performance in the film, directed by Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow, and is one of the front runners for the Academy Award. Check out the live screening at 4 p.m. Est on Thursday! »

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GLAAD Announces Nominees for 2013 Media Awards

16 January 2013 1:41 PM, PST

NBC’s “Smash” and Ryan Murphy’s “Glee,” “American Horror Story: Asylum,” and “The New Normal” are among the television nominees for the 24th annual GLAAD Media Awards, recognizing “outstanding representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and our allies on TV, in film, and in the news,” the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation announced Jan. 16. Other TV nominees include the comedy series “Go On,” “Happy Endings,” and past winner “Modern Family,” and drama series “Degrassi,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The L.A. Complex,” and “True Blood.” USA’s “Political Animals” and DirecTV’s “Hit and Miss” are nominated with “American Horror Story” in the TV movie or mini-series category. “Days of Our Lives” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” are the only two nominated daytime dramas. “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Cloud Atlas,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “Your Sister’s Sister,” and Oscar-nominated animated feature »

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SAG-aftra Invites Members to Learn More About GSAs

16 January 2013 10:55 AM, PST

When actors sign with a talent agency that is not franchised by SAG-AFTRA, they are often asked to sign a general services agreement, or Gsa, instead of the union’s standard franchised contract. To educate its members about the differences and potential pitfalls of these agreements, SAG-AFTRA is hosting another bi-coastal seminar Wednesday, Jan. 23, for members in Los Angeles and New York.The seminar is intended to help “any member having trouble making sense of the complicated legal language contained in the GSAs that their agents have provided them,” SAG-AFTRA states.According to the union, “These Gsa contracts are signed outside of SAG-AFTRA’s protection, and it is imperative that members have a working knowledge of what these contracts say before signing them—your professional future and your income may depend on it.”The meeting will be held concurrently in L.A. and New York, from noon–2:30 p. »

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