13 items from 2017
Content Media Corporation has acquired the international distribution rights to the documentary “Legion of Brothers,” which premieres Saturday, January 21 in the Sundance Film Festival’s Documentary Premiers section. Directed by Greg Barker (“Manhunt”) and produced by CNN Films and Passion Pictures, the doc’s domestic theatrical and streaming rights are still available. CNN retains U.S. broadcast rights.
PBS Expands Theatrical Distribution Team In Time For Sundance 2017 — Exclusive
“Legion of Brothers” centers on the fewer than one hundred Special Forces troops deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11 for a secret war initiated by the U.S. government. The troops fought against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, driving both out of power before the end of 2001, with few casualties despite not having conventional, large-scale military operations. Barker tells the little-known story by drawing »
- Graham Winfrey
Last year’s Sundance Film Festival will long be remembered as a bidding battle zone. Streaming giants Netflix and Amazon Studios flooded the marketplace for the very first time, each picking up more festival titles than any theatrical distributor. The latter threw down $10 million for “Manchester By The Sea,” a risk that is paying off in spades this awards season. But the same fate did not meet “The Birth of A Nation,” which has the honor of being the biggest Sundance buy in history. Fox Searchlight paid $17.5 million for the drama, but director Nate Parker’s resurfaced rape trial derailed the movie at the box office.
Read More: The 2017 IndieWire Sundance Bible: Every Review, Interview and News Item Posted During the Festival
Will the fall from grace of “The Birth of A Nation” leave buyers second guessing themselves at this year’s Sundance? Probably not, and it seems that deals »
- Zack Sharf
Filmmakers around the world harbor the same fantasy: I’m going to make a film so good that it will play the Sundance Film Festival, score rave reviews, sell in an overnight bidding war for a multi-million-dollar minimum guarantee to a major theatrical buyer, open in packed theaters around the country, and launch my career.
Truth is, this hardly ever happens. We checked in with a group of lauded Sundance filmmakers, all who are returning to the festival this year with new films, to glean what they learned the hard way from their Sundance experiences.
1. Manage expectations.
Alex Ross Perry (“Golden Exits”): My first time was with “Listen Up Philip” , which was a huge step forward from my last movie, “The Color Wheel,” which I made for $25,000 with all my friends. This was a sizable, produced movie with a cast of well-known people [Jason Schwartzman, Elizabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce]. The first days was all »
- Anne Thompson
Sundance 2016 will always be remembered for the record-breaking $17.5 million sale of Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” to Fox Searchlight, on the heels of the #oscarsowhite backlash — and for the massive marketing fallout that followed in light of Parker’s rape-trial acquittal. With a domestic gross under $16 million, it led to one of the bigger failures among Sundance sales relative to expense.
Netflix outbid Searchlight for “The Birth of a Nation,” but the producers favored the theatrical route (including that company’s proven awards expertise and commercial success) and accepted less money. One wonders if it had been a high-profile Netflix film if the post-Sundance controversy about Nate Parker’s college days would have had the same impact or effect. It will be curious to see if any producer this year is as quick to turn down a high offer from Netflix or similar non-theatrical buyer.
Those memories could temper bidding wars, »
- Tom Brueggemann
Amazon has announced a special distribution deal exclusively for Sundance filmmakers, but weighing the pros and cons can be tricky. As a new feature of Amazon Video Direct, the video distribution service launched last May, Amazon is offering all official Sundance selections a one-time cash bonus and increased royalty rates for filmmakers who hand over worldwide streaming VOD rights to their films for 24 months, with the first 12 months exclusive to Amazon.
Under the program, which is called Film Festival Stars, Sundance’s U.S. Premieres and U.S. Dramatic Competition films are eligible to receive $100,000 for their rights, while U.S. Documentary Premieres and U.S. Documentary Competition films will receive $75,000. Films in the World Dramatic, World Documentaries, Next, Spotlight, Kids, Midnight, and New Frontier sections would receive $25,000. The royalty rates offer 30 cents per hour for movies viewed in the U.S. and 12 cents per hour for movies viewed internationally, »
- Graham Winfrey
Film historian B. Ruby Rich credits the 1992 Sundance Film Festival as the cradle of New Queer Cinema, and a quick survey of this year’s festival lineup confirms that Lgbt films stand an excellent chance of attracting audiences. Lesbian filmmaker Dee Rees’ “Mudbound” is one of the most talked about films of the year, trans director Yance Ford’s deeply personal “Strong Island” has been years in the making, and we may have the British “Brokeback Mountain” (but better) with Francis Lee’s “God’s Own Country.”
Perusing the slate of queer films, filmmakers, and performers at Sundance this year, 2017 is set to be the best year queer cinema has seen in a long time. Here’s 10 reasons why:
Read More: 10 Surprises and Hidden Gems from the 2017 Sundance Lineup
Dee Rees is About to Become the Most Successful Black Lesbian Director in Hollywood
Queer audiences have known Dee Rees since »
- Jude Dry
Vowing to eat more vegetarian dishes in 2017? Now you can and enjoy a good Taco Tuesday.
Dirt Candy owner-chef, Amanda Cohen has planted her second vegetarian restaurant, Thyme, this month and even carnivores will crave her creations. In time for the opening, the chef shared her Ancho Mushroom Tacos so you can stick to your resolutions without suffering.
Cohen — who once famously turned away Leonardo DiCaprio from her tiny eatery because she did not want to displace regulars — has partnered with Otg to open the all-vegetarian restaurant with vegan options in Newark Liberty International’s United Terminal C, making healthy eating while traveling a breeze. »
- Katherine Richter
Stop the presses. PBS’ “Masterpiece” will co-produce “Press,” a drama about the current state of the newspaper industry.
“Masterpiece” executive producer Rebecca Eaton announced the project at the Television Critics Association press tour on Sunday. “Press” will focus on two rival publications and examine the uncertain media landscape. Today’s newspaper industry is a different beast from what it was, and the hacking scandals, 24-hour news cycle, digital innovations, and competitive natures are just part of the drama.
Read More: The 24 Most Anticipated New TV Shows of 2017
Mike Bartlett, who has written two episodes of the show so far, will executive produce. “Journalists are under threat in different places,” Bartlett told reporters at TCA. “I’m telling a story and I don’t know how it ends.”
He cited attempts to limit press in England, Trump’s takedown of a reporter at his most recent press conference and the lack »
- Hanh Nguyen
Having already made longform documentaries about the Civil War and World War II, Ken Burns will next release a docuseries about a more recent conflict: “The Vietnam War,” which is coming to PBS later this year. Watch a clip of the 10-part, 18-hour doc co-directed by Lynn Novick below.
“On December 18,” begins the narrator, “Nixon unleashed round-the-clock airstrikes that flattened targets around Hanoi and Haiphong. It would be remembered as the Christmas bombing.” Officially known as Operation Linebacker II, the 1972 campaign lasted until December 29 and resulted in more than 1,600 civilian casualties. An American prisoner of war and a Vietnamese man are both interviewed in the segment, the latter lamenting the loss of life in his village — including a pregnant woman.
- Michael Nordine
On May 31, 2014, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, both 12, allegedly lured their friend Payton Leutner into the woods in Wisconsin and stabbed her 19 times, police say.
They later told investigators they had no choice: Kill for “Slenderman” or he would harm them and their families.
Anissa and Morgan were charged as adults with first-degree intentional homicide. Their fascination with Slenderman, a fictional Internet character, and its impact on the girls is the focus of the HBO documentary Beware the Slenderman, which debuts at 10 p.m. Et on Jan. 23.
Anissa’s parents were as shocked as everyone else to learn about their »
“I was just bowled over. I mean she was just so instantly ingratiating and funny and outspoken,” he said of his first impression. “She had a way of just being so brutally candid. I’d just met her but it was like talking to a person you’d known for 10 years.”
The star, who famously portrays Luke Skywalker in the franchise, went on to reference the new resurgence of Star Wars films in the past two years, saying, “I’m grateful »
Joely, 49, is the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Connie Stevens, and shares details about her childhood and growing up near her half-siblings, Carrie and Todd, in Malibu, California, in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter.
“We spent the better part of our childhoods as neighbors, our two families right next door,” Joely writes. “I adored Mama Debbie — she was such a character. And I got another sister and a brother in the deal, »
- Alexia Fernandez
Updated with more info: Fox previewed its new comedy series The Mick behind an NFL doubleheader on the first night of 2017. For maximum impact, the comedy aired Sunday directly after postgame coverage on both coasts. In time-zone adjusted ratings released by Fox, The Mick starring Kaitlin Olson posted a solid 2.8 in adults 18-49, matching This Is Us as the highest-rated new series premiere in Live+Same Day this season, and 8.6 million total viewers. That was higher than… »
13 items from 2017
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