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Aussie full-dome documentary headed for China

23 June 2014 11:06 PM, PDT

Australian media artist Lynette Wallworth.s Coral: Rekindling Venus will premiere in China in September during the World Economic Forum in Tianjin.

An immersive film experience that takes viewers through fluorescent coral reefs in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, it will screen in a full-dome cinema airfreighted from Berlin in the Forum.s New Champions section.

.Coral will be presented as a cultural event under the umbrella of Wef's Climate and Sustainability portfolio with screenings to environmental scientists to connect with the bigger environmental story of our oceans,. producer John Maynard tells If.

.Wef has also scheduled screenings each day for environmental policy makers, special communities, private and public screenings and for the media,. added Maynard.

Wallworth will present many of the screenings over the three days of New Champions and serve as a juror on ClimateSHAPE, which will be part of the Global Shapers Community at the event. »

- Don Groves

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Ten, Foxtel take new Fox series

23 June 2014 9:17 PM, PDT

New Us medical drama Complications, crime procedural Backstrom and hip-hop empire-set drama Empire are headed to Network Ten while Foxtel will get sitcoms Cristela and Fresh Off The Boat and another medical show, Rush.

All these new series are produced by 21st Century Fox for Us networks. In Australia Ten and Foxtel have an arrangement where Ten gets the first two picks of each new crop of shows and thereafter the choices alternate between the two broadcasters.

Still up for grabs are some new projects from CBS, apart from NCIS: New Orleans, which automatically goes to Tem, and NBC. The Seven Network has a deal for some shows from Sony while other series from that studio are on the open market.

Warner Bros.. long-standing output deal with the Nine Network expires at the end of this year. Nine has flagged it wants to reduce the terms of the expensive deal, »

- Don Groves

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VOD experiment works for Oz drama

23 June 2014 6:13 PM, PDT

The innovative strategy of streaming Kasimir Burgess. Fell on VOD platforms concurrent with its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival has paid off, according to producer-distributor John Maynard.

Maynard is now working on the second stage of the release plan for the drama which stars Matt Nable as guy who is grief stricken when his daughter is killed in a hit and run accident and vows revenge against the driver (Daniel Henshall).

Having the film available to rent online for $9.99 for 50 hours in Nsw, Queensland, South Australia, the Act and Northern Territory was part of Maynard.s plan to make the festival screenings special events.

He partnered with the Sff and the Adelaide Film Festival to stream the Natasha Pincus-scripted film and is convinced attendances at the two screenings in Sydney were not affected by the VOD release.

.It was a great way to cut through a lot of noise at the festival, »

- Don Groves

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Challenging outlook for Fta broadcasters

23 June 2014 4:52 PM, PDT

Australia.s free-to-air broadcasters collectively face years of declining revenues and profits as audiences continue to switch to pay-v and online media.

That.s according to IBISWorld.s Fta Broadcasting in Australia report, which forecasts industry-wide revenues will fall at an annual rate of 0.2% in the next five years to $5.6 billion in 2018-19.

The market researcher estimates 2013-2014 revenues at $5.7 billion, with profits at $540.7 million (a profit margin of 9.5%) and a wages bill of $607 million.

By its reckoning industry revenues fell by an average of 0.7% in the past five years although there was a slight uptick of 0.1% in the current fiscal year.

.The audience of free-to-air TV is projected to decline despite further developments in commercial and digital TV,. it says. .Advertising will continue to be diverted away from costly mainstream media in favour of direct promotional activities. Although pay-tv services have reached saturation, demand for free-to-air TV programs will »

- Don Groves

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Oz, international deals for The Reckoning

23 June 2014 2:42 PM, PDT

Writer-director John V. Soto.s crime thriller The Reckoning will be launched in Australia on September 4 by Selina Chong.s Sc Movies.

A six-screen release- three in Perth and one each in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane- is planned for the film which stars Jonathan Lapaglia as a troubled detective who hunts two runaway teenagers who hold video footage that identifies a cop killer.

Luke Hemsworth, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence, Viva Bianca and Alex Williams round out the cast.

.We had offers from a couple of other Aussie distributors but Selina was definitely the most passionate and committed,. said Filmscope Entertainment.s Soto, who in May was named best director at the British Independent Film Festival, where The Reckoning had its world premiere.

Backed by ScreenWest and Lottery West, the film was produced by Filmscope Entertainment.s Deidre Kitcher, with Robert Lundberg, Roger and Kim Savill and Malcolm and Kate Rudd as executive producers. »

- Don Groves

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Aussie audiences jump for buddy cop comedy

22 June 2014 10:26 PM, PDT

The antics of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in 22 Jump Street proved irresistible for Australian cinemagoers last weekend.

The sequel to 21 Jump Street easily topped the box-office, pulling in $6.8 million from Thursday to Sunday, and $7 million with previews. Pro-rata, that.s even stronger than the bumbling cop comedy.s $US57.1 million debut in the Us the previous weekend, which was the second-biggest opening ever for an R-rated comedy behind The Hangover Part II.

In second spot DreamWorks Animation.s How to Train Your Dragon 2 conjured up $3.5 million. With previews, the 3D action-fantasy voiced by Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Kristin Wiig and Jonah Hill has raked in $8.7 million.

All told, nationwide takings surged by 25% to $16.7 million, according to Rentrak.s weekend estimates. It wasn.t a memorable weekend for Australian cinema as The Rover plunged by 44% to $81,000 after an inauspicious debut, bringing the 11-day total to $344,000.

One film »

- Don Groves

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Sbs beats free-to-air rivals to HbbTV

22 June 2014 8:33 PM, PDT

Sbs today launched a beta version of its catch-up service Sbs on Demand on the latest model smart TVs to capitalise on the surge of viewers for the FIFA World Cup.

The platform offers free and unlimited access to programs and clips including documentaries, feature films, food shows, dramas, and news and current affairs.

Trevor Long, Sbs manager, technology strategy and innovation, tells If the broadcaster decided to launch a test version of the service on HbbTV-enabled TVs after Panasonic began selling the sets, which enable consumers to watch online content on large screens. Other manufacturers including Sony, LG and Samsung will enter that market in the coming weeks.

He estimates that between 500 and 800 hours of content are available on Sbs on Demand at any one time. The other free-to-air broadcasters are yet to launch HbbTV services.

Long says the service is already accessible on more platforms than any of its rivals, »

- Don Groves

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Sbs gets a jump on free-to-air rivals

22 June 2014 8:33 PM, PDT

Sbs today launched a beta version of its catch-up service Sbs on Demand on the latest model smart TVs to capitalise on the surge of viewers for the FIFA World Cup.

The platform offers free and unlimited access to programs and clips including documentaries, feature films, food shows, dramas, and news and current affairs.

Trevor Long, Sbs manager, technology strategy and innovation, tells If the broadcaster decided to launch a test version of the service on HbbTV-enabled TVs after Panasonic began selling the sets, which enable consumers to watch online content on large screens. Other manufacturers including Sony, LG and Samsung will enter that market in the coming weeks.

He estimates that between 500 and 800 hours of content are available on Sbs on Demand at any one time. The other free-to-air broadcasters are yet to launch HbbTV services.

Long says the service is already accessible on more platforms than any of its rivals, »

- Don Groves

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Cautious welcome for Archive consultation process

22 June 2014 6:34 PM, PDT

The organiser of a petition which called on the National Film and Sound Archive to be more transparent in its restructure has welcomed the Archive.s .feedback. sessions in capital cities next month.

But Geoff Gardner has criticised the decision to make redundant 28 staff members before a new three-year strategic plan is completed and the limiting of each information session to 90 minutes, from 9am-10.30am in most cities.

.Allocating a mere 90 minutes to this presentation is very foolish,. said Gardner, a former Melbourne Film Festival director who blogs at Film Alert.

.Putting any sort of time limit on the discussions sends the wrong signal and makes you wonder if this process is to be handled in the same way as the previous Business Review where it was claimed consultations with key parties had taken place which simply had not occurred..

Indicating the depth of industry unrest over the Archive.s future, »

- Don Groves

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Hoyts VoD service shelved

22 June 2014 5:41 PM, PDT

Crispin Tristram, chief marketing and digital officer of Hoyts, will leave the company following the decision to shelve the Video-on-Demand service which he had been developing for more than two years.

Hoyts Stream, was originally due to launch in the first quarter of 2013, would have offered new release films to rent or buy, concurrent with the DVD window, plus library product and TV content.

The launch was postponed several times, mostly due to technological issues, but the project has now been put on ice, despite a deal with digital delivery service provider Viocorp to run the VoD platform.

When Damian Keogh was named CEO of the Hoyts Group in February, succeeding Delfin Fernandez who retired after nearly nine years in the post, he said Hoyts Stream would start in the coming months, describing it "as a natural extension of our kiosk business."

But Keogh today told If the service will not launch this calendar year. »

- Don Groves

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