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Six Aussie films snag $4.2 million in philanthropic funding

17 September 2015 3:16 PM, PDT

Six Australian films have secured $4.2 million in philanthropic funding through Good Pitch 2 Australia at the Sydney Opera House.

The films forged more than 60 new strategic partnerships across both the not-for-profit and business communities. ..

Along with funds committed, these partnerships, will support production, build audiences and ensure the lasting positive impact of the films.

The power of Good Pitch has been demonstrated following last year.s inaugural event, with three films so far presented in 2014 . That Sugar Film, Gayby Baby and Frackman . garnering large audiences and influencing policy and social change..

That Sugar Film has become the highest grossing Australian film of all time at the Australian cinema box office.

Good Pitch, an international forum for documentary filmmaking, brings together filmmakers with foundations, not-for-profits, campaigners, philanthropists, policymakers, broadcasters and key players in the film industry, around leading social and environmental issues, to forge coalitions and campaigns that are good for all these partners, »

- Brian Karlovsky

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ABC Arts channel launched on iview

17 September 2015 12:44 AM, PDT

The ABC Arts channel has launched on iview, featuring original, hand-picked, high quality arts content.

This month ABC Arts will showcase more than 70 titles and 35 hours of arts programming with new content added regularly.

Rebecca Heap, head of ABC TV strategy and digital products said: .The most exciting aspect is the opportunity to commission new, unique content specifically for the channel, adding to the overall conversation and making arts programming more accessible, exploring new stories and shorter form content..

Original Australian video series for ABC Arts includes:

.#OnAssignment hosted by Australian photographer James Simmons; .The Imitation Game: Marina Abramovic, inside an art-world experiment with the matriarch of performance art; .Thrill and the Fury, an antidote to the effusive celebration of street art; .Fashpack Freetown, celebrating the irrepressible forces of creativity in a town known more as a civil war battleground than a fashion hotspot; and .The Critics with Zan Rowe, »

- Staff writer

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Screen Music Awards return to Melbourne

16 September 2015 6:36 PM, PDT

The Screen Music Awards are set to return to Melbourne for the first time since 2012.

This year.s celebration of the union between screen and music will be held on November 12 at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

Apra Amcos chief executive, Brett Cottle said he was delighted to bring the event back to Melbourne.

"The Screen Music Awards have a long and rich history of acknowledging outstanding screen composition in this country," he said..

"We look forward to providing the opportunity for our members to not only recognise their peers but renew acquaintances and spark future creative endeavours to be awarded at next year.s event..

The event will be hosted for the second time by actor and writer Rob Carlton and will feature music direction by Emmy Award winning composer Ashley Irwin.

Staged jointly by Apra Amcos and the Agsc, the awards showcase the outstanding achievements of Australia.s film »

- Inside Film Correspondent

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Mad Max: Fury Road tops Us Movies on Demand rankings

16 September 2015 5:45 PM, PDT

George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road has debuted in number one spot in the Us Movies on Demand chart after a stellar performance at the box office.

The result was recorded in the Rentrak cross-platform weekly rankings.

This moved director Cameron Crowe.s comedy, Aloha, starring Bradley Cooper to the second spot after taking first last week.

Lionsgate.s well-reviewed .The Age of Adaline. starring Blake Lively landed in third..

Mad Max: Fury Road also topped the DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales chart.

In other results, Tom Cruise continued to thrill audiences around the world as Paramount's summer hit, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation.

It added another Us$91.3 million this weekend with its debut in China, powering the movie to more than $600 million at the global box office..

Notably, one week ahead of its North American debut, Fox's Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is off to a great start »

- Inside Film Correspondent

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Battle of Sevastopol headlines Russian Resurrection Film Festival

16 September 2015 5:30 PM, PDT

Eighteen new Russian films will premiere at the 12th Russian Resurrection Film Festival.

The films will play at venues in Australia and New Zealand during October and November.

International guests at the festival include director, Sergei Mokritsky, whose 2015 war epic Battle for Sevastopol, will open the festival in Canberra, Brisbane and Auckland.

Battle of Sevastopol tells the true story of a young Soviet woman who joins the Red Army in 1941 to fight the Nazi invasion..

Lyudmila builds a reputation as one of the deadliest Soviet snipers. When tragedy hits, she is pulled out of combat to join a diplomatic delegation to the USA, where she develops an unlikely friendship.

Another war epic based on a true story, Battalion, will open the festival in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. A huge box office hit in Russia, this is the story of the First Russian Women.s Battalion, led by the peasant Maria Bochkareva. »

- Staff Writer

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Foxtel deploys Media Room to store and share content

16 September 2015 4:37 PM, PDT

Foxtel Australia has deployed a new smart media asset management system which is helping it to store and share the burgeoning weight of digital content easily and quickly.

The subscription television operator now uses Media Room from Silver Trak for its production portal and publicity portal.

Media Room is also used by Transmission Films and Entertainment One. .

Foxtel Networks Australia head of content operations, Rachel Thorley, said Media Room served two purposes, the production portal and the publicity Portal.

.The purpose of the production portal is to enable Foxtel.s production department to store and archive production content, production houses to share content with Foxtel.s production department and Foxtel.s production department to deliver commissioned content to other parties,. she said.

.The purpose of the publicity portal is to replace the DVD delivery service where previously Foxtel publicity made DVD copies of key programs and posted them to journalists for review. »

- Inside Film Correspondent

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ITV Studios poaches Motty

16 September 2015 2:24 PM, PDT

Nine Network Perth MD and network programming executive David Mott has been named CEO of ITV Studios (Itvs) Australia, succeeding Anita Jacoby, who departed in August after two years in the job.

Mott will start in November, reporting to Maria Kyriacou, MD of ITV Studios Global Entertainment. Ray Wardrop, a former Gm of the Seven. Network's Perth channel, will succeed Mott on November 2.

ITV.s slate includes I.m A Celebrity. Get Me Out of Here, which has been renewed for 2016, The Chase and Shaun Micallef.s Mad as Hell.

Augustus Dulgaro, who had been acting CEO, has been given the newly created role of COO, ITV Studios Australia. He will continue as executive vice president, distribution for Asia Pacific for ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

Mott was chief programming officer at Network Ten from 1997 until 2012 where he commissioned hits such as Big Brother, Australian Idol and MasterChef. He quit after »

- Don Groves

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Matchbox Pictures hires Higgs

16 September 2015 12:02 AM, PDT

Amanda Higgs has joined Matchbox Pictures as creative producer as she prepares to start production on the ABC TV drama Barracuda.

Higgs, who was script editor on Matchbox Pictures/ABC's The Slap, most recently produced two series of The Time of Our Lives for the public broadcaster.

Before that she served as acting head of drama and commissioning editor at the ABC, where she also executive produced dramas and comedies. She was also consultant Ep for Fox8 on SLiDE.

At Southern Star she co-created and produced Network 10.s The Secret Life of Us, the most watched Oz. drama in the 16-39 year old demographic.

Based on the book of the same name by Christos Tsiolkas, Barracuda follows young Olympic hopeful Danny Kelly as he deals with the pressure of obsession. Rob Connolly is directing with scripts by Belinda Chayko and Blake Ayshford.

Matchbox MD Chris Oliver-Taylor said: .Amanda.s track record is formidable, »

- Staff writer

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Media shake-up tipped

15 September 2015 10:21 PM, PDT

Malcom Turnbull.s ascension to Prime Minister makes long-awaited media reforms more likely, even without a consensus among the major players, according to one analyst.

Credit Suisse believes a a reduction in the commercial broadcasters. licence fees and the abolition of the rule preventing any media proprietor from reaching more than 75 per cent of the population have bipartisan support and won.t require complex negotiations with the Senate.

Removing the reach restriction would trigger a wave of mergers between the metropolitan networks and regional affiliates, with Nine Entertainment best positioned to merge with either Southern Cross or Win Corp.

Alternatively the broker sees a Southern Cross/Ten Network merger as a possibility, which could prompt Seven West Media to buy Prime TV.

.Malcolm Turnbull has been an advocate for media reform and we expect he will be willing to push ahead with reform even without media proprietor consensus,. Credit Suisse »

- Don Groves

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New format for Aacta event

15 September 2015 6:52 PM, PDT

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (Aacta) is switching the awards luncheon which precedes the awards ceremony to a night-time event.

The aim is to provide a better and bigger platform for the first batch of awards presented, according to Aacta CEO Damian Trewhella.

Actor/presenter Rob Carlton will host the industry dinner at the The Star Event Centre in Sydney on Monday November 30.

Carlton quipped, .I've trained all my life to host a room full of intelligent, slightly drunk but getting drunker, left leaning, creative types... It'll be like Sydney University's Manning Bar in the 90's, or the Judgement Bar of a time that's difficult to pinpoint but I'm sure existed. We should be fine but if it does get out of hand I can always use my shouty/sweary Kerry Packer voice..

The awards ceremony will take place at the same venue on December 9, telecast on »

- Don Groves

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7 Wonder wins BBC commission

15 September 2015 5:25 PM, PDT

BBC has commissioned London-based 7 Wonder to produce a new interactive history format on five decades of British rock and pop music.

The People.s History of Pop consists of an online archive of music memorabilia crowdsourced from the public and will

culminate in four hour-long episodies of television for BBC Four, which will air across 2016 . one epidosde per quarter.

Fronted by a different presenter, each film will cover a different decade of music and feature the best of what.s been captured in the virtual archive..

It will start with the sixtieth anniversary year: 1956 . the year of skiffle and rock .n. roll, when the love affair with British pop music began.

It will end at 1996, with a raft of optimistic pop and the hope that .things can only get better..

7 Wonder is working with not-for-profit Historypin, which runs projects with communities, to crowdsource photos and audio and video content of »

- Inside Film Correspondent

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IMAX Melbourne unveils laser projection technology

15 September 2015 4:44 PM, PDT

IMAX Melbourne has unveiled the first Australian installation of laser projection technology.

A preview screening will be held today.

It is the first Laser projection installation outside North America, making IMAX Melbourne the most advanced cinema experience in the country.

IMAX has undertaken the largest research and development investment in the company.s history to bring the technology to Australia..

Designed specifically for the world.s largest screens, IMAX Laser.s dual 4K laser projection system represents an unparalleled viewing experience.

With laser you will see the whitest whites and the blackest blacks, and audiences will experience colours that exist in the real world, but have never before been seen onscreen. »

- Inside Film Correspondent

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Netflix buys Melbourne-made series Small Time Gangster

15 September 2015 4:06 PM, PDT

Netflix has bought Melbourne-made series Small Time Gangster for UK, Australia and New Zealand, with more territories to be announced shortly.

Directed by Jeffrey Walker, with a cast including Steve Le Marquand, Gia Carides, Sacha Horler, Geoff Morrell and Gary Sweet, the series follows the misadventures of Tony Piccolo.

Piccolo is outwardly a devoted family man who earns his living cleaning carpets.

But he is also the toughest underworld enforcer in Melbourne. .When Tony suddenly develops a conscience and his two worlds threaten to collide, he.s going to need more than just cleaning fluid to clear up the mess.

Gareth Calverley and Joss King created and wrote the show.s eight episodes.

Producer Gareth Calverley said: .We.re delighted that some of the 63 million people who subscribe to Netflix the world over will now have the opportunity to see the show..

Distributed globally by Drg UK, the show was »

- Brian Karlovsky

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Vrp refinances Hollywood film slate

15 September 2015 3:51 PM, PDT

Village Roadshow Pictures has renewed its $US750 million film production facility, which finances films co-produced with Warner Bros., Sony Pictures and other major distributors. Its 2016 release slate includes Grimsby, which stars Sasha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong, directed by Louis Leterrier; David Yates. Tarzan, with Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie and Samuel L. Jackson; Paul Feig.s Ghostbusters starring Melissa McCarthy and Kristin Wiig;. and Guy Ritchie.s King Arthur, featuring Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law.

Also set for next year are Antoine Fuqua.s The Magnificent Seven, starring Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, and Morten Tyldum.s Passengers, with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.

The first titles confirmed for 2017 are The Equalizer 2, which will star Denzel Washington and has no director attached yet, and Steven Spielberg.s Ready Player One, adapted from the Ernie Cline novel set in a virtual world called Oasis, in which a teenager »

- Staff writer

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Australian films to hit 14-year peak

14 September 2015 10:22 PM, PDT

Australian films are poised to record their highest share of the national box-office for 14 years, which goes a long way towards regaining the faith of audiences after a long lean spell.

Through last Sunday, the feature films and docs released in 2015 plus holdovers had racked up $52.9 million. With Jeremy Sims. Last Cab to Darwin and Neil Armfield.s Holding the Man earning tidy sums and Stuart McDonald.s Oddball and Deane Taylor.s Blinky Bill the Movie opening on Thursday, the total will soon surpass 2009.s $54.7 million.

It might be a stretch but 2015 could come close to the all-time record of $63.4 million in 2001, the year of Moulin Rouge!, Lantana, The Man Who Sued God and Crocodile Dundee in La. After a strong start to the year from Mad Max: Fury Road, The Water Diviner, Paper Planes and That Sugar Film, Aussie films already have eclipsed 2014.s lowly $26.1 million (a market »

- Don Groves

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Australian films to hit 10-year peak

14 September 2015 10:22 PM, PDT

Australian films are poised to record their highest share of the national box-office for 10 years, which goes a long way towards regaining the faith of audiences after a long lean spell.

Through last Sunday, the feature films and docs released in 2015 plus holdovers had racked up $52.9 million. With Jeremy Sims. Last Cab to Darwin and Neil Armfield.s Holding the Man earning tidy sums and Stuart McDonald.s Oddball and Deane Taylor.s Blinky Bill the Movie opening on Thursday, the total will soon surpass 2009.s $54.7 million, the best result in the past 10 years. After a strong start to the year from Mad Max: Fury Road, The Water Diviner, Paper Planes and That Sugar Film, Aussie films already have eclipsed 2014.s lowly $26.1 million (a market share of 2.43 per cent) and 2013's $38.5 million. Despite some critical acclaim, Ruben Guthrie, Women He.s Undressed and Partisan did not resonate strongly and Manny Lewis tanked. »

- Don Groves

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Critical acclaim for festival premieres

14 September 2015 4:26 PM, PDT

The launches of Matt Saville.s A Month of Sundays and Simon Stone.s The Daughter at international film festivals are paying off with critical acclaim for both.

Saville.s dramedy, which stars Anthony Lapaglia as a real estate agent whose life takes an unexpected turn when he receives a call from his dead mother, sending him on a journey of redemption, premiered in the contemporary world cinema section of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Stone.s re-imagining of Ibsen.s The Wild Duck, which features Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, Ewen Leslie, Paul Schneider, Anna Torv, Miranda Otto and newcomer Odessa Young, which had its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival,. screened at the Venice Film Festival.s Venice Days followed by its North American premiere at Tiff.s special presentations sidebar.

The Hollywood Reporter.s Jordan Mintzer hailed A Month of Sundays as a .modest, warm hearted character »

- Don Groves

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Chinese star cast in sci-fi thriller

14 September 2015 3:37 PM, PDT

Li Bingbing will play the lead in Nest, writer-director Kimble Rendall.s 3D sci-fi thriller which will start production in Queensland next month.

Li will also serve as one of the producers on the Chinese/Australian co-production, which centres on a group of scientists who discover a well-preserved mummified Emperor from 200 BC China.

The plot follows the scientists as they encounter a swarm of man-eating funnel web spiders in an ancient labyrinth and strive to discover the secret behind the insects. power and intelligence.

The actress. credits include Transformers: Age of Extinction, Resident Evil: Retribution and Zhongkui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal, which grossed $80 million in China this year.

Darclight, the genre label of Gary Hamilton.s Arclight Films, is co-producing Nest with Beijing-based Loongs United Investment Company Ltd., which distributed Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and the Jason Statham starrer Redemption in China.

Hamilton tells If that Li will play a scientist named Jia. »

- Don Groves

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More players confirmed for International Partnership Market

13 September 2015 11:54 PM, PDT

International sales agents, distributors, financiers, commissioners and producers from the Us, UK and China will participate in the Screen Forever International Partnership Market.

They include. Material Pictures Development Executive Paddy Murphy (Us); Division Manager, Entertainment Division, Adrian Ward of California.s Pacific Mercantile Bank; Natalie Chaidez (Us), Executive Producer / Showrunner, Matchbox Ucp Productions; Holly Hines (Us), Svp, Content, Dynamic Television; and Josh Black (Hk), CEO Apac, GroupM Content, GroupM.

Previously announced guests include UK broadcaster Channel 4.s Head of International Drama, Simon Maxwell; Voltage Pictures Vice President, Acquisitions & Development, Babacar Diene (Us); A24.s Chief Operating Officer Matthew Bires (Us); UK.s All3 Media Head of Acquisitions, Maartje Horchner; and Acquisitions Agent Emily Gotto from UK international sales company Protagonist.

An invitation-only event matching Australian producers with international businesses interested in co-venture and coproduction opportunities, the International Partnership Market (Ipm) will take place during Screen Forever, the Australian screen »

- Staff writer

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Maze Runner sequel burns up the B.O.

13 September 2015 9:01 PM, PDT

Young adults turned out for the Maze Runner sequel while teenagers and families embraced Pixels at Australian cinemas last weekend.

In another buoyant frame for Australian films, Last Cab to Darwin and Holding the Man continued to earn tidy sums but See-Saw Films. James Dean pic Life opened weakly.

Overall, nationwide takings tallied $11.1 million, on par with the previous weekend, according to Rentrak's estimate, and the B.O. for the year to date is around 12 per cent up on 2014.

Fox.s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, which sees the Gladers searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organisation known as Wckd, rang up $3.5 million and $3.7 million with previews. The 4-day tally is similar to the debut of the original a year ago, which wound up with $16.2 million.

Universal.s Straight Outta Compton dropped by 50 per cent in its second weekend but the Nwa biopic directed by F. Gary Gray »

- Don Groves

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