SELECTED NEWS September 2020

Updated: Oct 1, 2020


September 2020


SUMNER REDSTONE

Media mogul Sumner Redstone died; he was 97.

Architect of the group “Viacom CBS”, Sumner Redstone life story is simply fascinating.

Born in 1923 Massachusetts, Redstone was brought up in an upper middle-class environment.

He attended the Boston Latin School and graduated first of his class. Harvard College then Harvard Law School, Redstone had been an intelligence officer in the US Army.

He practiced law in Washington DC then joined his father’s business: National Amusements, Inc in 1954 to become its CEO in 1967.

NAI was a regional movie theater network that became one of the largest in the US under Sumner Redstone leadership. Creator of the “Multiplex” mainly in shopping malls, Redstone fought the studios owned movie theaters to obtain first exclusivities of their productions.

Redstone understood that producing movies was more lucrative than distributing them. He started acquiring shares of big studios such as 20th Century Fox after viewing Star Wars in 1977. Ten years later, with the success of NAI, Redstone acquired a controlling interest in Viacom cable network and became its head at age 63.

The Viacom holding grew aggressively over the next 15 years with multiple media acquisitions: Paramount Network, Simon & Schuster, BET, Comedy Central, Paramount Pictures and eventually CBS network, which was at the time, the largest entertainment merger. After trying different names for the group, Viacom and CBS kept their own name and separate organization to become the group we know. Redstone was the Chairman for both entities until 4 years ago when he was forced to step down amid concerns about his mental health.

Redstone never missed ambition, becoming a magnate of the media world at an age where most are looking to retire is quite fascinating.


OUR OBSESSION WITH REALITY TV

Is there some pernicious effect in watching reality shows?


We need to admit it, most of us have a certain pleasure indulging in some sort of voyeurism. Ever since the first Survivor show which over the seasons has become a social laboratory on how to survive relationships more than the adversity contestant are facing with nature and its elements.

Turns out, there is a scientific reason explaining our obsession.

Most psychologist will have a different view but would agree that watching reality shows allow people to escape their own problems while watching others dealing with theirs.

It seems, the more disconnected you feel with your surroundings, the more attracted to reality shows you are.

Scientists want to be reassuring and say that there is not much danger in being attracted to reality shows mostly however, do not forget to live your own life, reality TV is scripted to a certain extent, the entertainment value needs to be surprising, sometimes shocking, and if it is not developing naturally, or if the show becomes so predictable, Producers may intervene.

Do you imagine the Bachelor falling in love at the first sight with one contestant on the first day of the season…?

Where is the drama?

Popularity of reality shows has never decreased. All landmark shows have been renewed for next season and will be produced pandemic allowing.


GERMANS FAVORITE MOVIE SCORES

A recent survey in Germany, was asking movies fans to establish a top 10 of their favorite soundtracks.

Not surprisingly, "Schindler's List" was voted number one. Its lingering violin solo has perfectly rendered the emotional value of the images.


The film produced and directed by Steven Spielberg is scored by Spielberg long time partner John Williams, who won an Oscar for his composition.

The story says, John Williams who saw for the first time the rough cuts, went to Spielberg and told him he needed a better composer than he was for the film.

To which Spielberg answered : " I know but they are all dead". The rest is history, Williams has composed an amazing music to support this extraordinary story, soundtrack that would be considered number one by movie fans around the world.

Here is the top 10 (source: EIN Presswire)

1. Schindler’s List – John Williams

2. The Lord Of The Rings – Howard Shore

3. Gladiator – Hans Zimmer

4. Out Of Africa – John Barry

5. Dances With Wolves – John Barry

6. The Mission – Ennio Morricone

7. Star Wars – John Williams

8. Chariots Of Fire – Vangelis

9. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – Ennio Morricone

10. Jurassic Park – John Williams


CHADWICK BOSEMAN

The passing of Chadwick Boseman on August 28, hit the entertainment industry and fans like a ton of bricks.

Some will remember him for his convincing interpretation of Jackie Robinson in "42" or James Brown in "Get on Up" or again, Thurgood Marshall in "Marshall".

Others will praise his role in "Black Panther" giving new generations with African roots their own superhero.



I personally liked him as Vontae Mack in "Draft Day", opposite Kevin Costner.

Born in 1976 North Carolina, Chadwick went to Howard University and graduated with a BFA in Directing. One of his teachers was Phylicia Rashad who became a mentor and helped raise funds so he could attend classes at the British American Drama Academy in London.

Chadwick first ambition was to write and direct. He studied acting as a way to better relate to actors. That says it all about a man whose humility and simplicity were as high as his talent.

Gone way too soon but has done so much while he was with us.


VENICE FILM FESTIVAL

In the COVID era, with imposed restrictions to all manifestations since early March, The Venice Film Festival is the first gathering of its kind to physically take place.

After all, a festival is more than just about the movies. The Cannes Film Festival understood it and after consideration to hold the festival in a different format, simply cancelled it.


The maintained schedule of this Italian festival is giving hope to an industry that cannot operate within too drastic constraints yet, protocol of mask and temperature check will be respected.

Founded in 1932, "La Mostra" as it is known, is the oldest film festival and member of the top five: Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Toronto and Sundance.

Members of the jury will count: Ludivine Sagnier and president Cate Blanchett.


DRIVE-IN THEATRE

The pandemic has resurrected a quintessential North American activity: The Drive-In.

Social distancing forcing traditional movie theatres to close, new generations of Americans are discovering how their grandparents entertained themselves in the 1950s.

To be totally honest, not all drive-in theatres had disappeared but we were very far from the more than 4,000 of them across America in the late 1950s. Few reasons contributed to the decline of drive-ins: The quality improvements of the television with the apparition of color TVs, cable and VCR allowing for film renting you could watch on your own time. The energy crisis of the 1970's leading to the adoption of the daylight saving time pushing projection to start later, but also the real estate, land owners could use their properties for more profitable purposes.


Traditionally, drive-ins were playing family oriented movies, in an attempt to revive them, some operators began playing "R" rated movies in the late 1970's but it never came back to what it was in the 50's. It is however refreshing to live an important part of one of Americana's tradition.


ALTAVOD

Robert Schwartzman who is holding multiple hats in the entertainment industry, has developed a Video on Demand platform named Altavod, aiming to give independent filmmakers the tools to distribute and monetize their creations, shortcutting the corporate distribution giants, and saving a few headaches along the way.

It all began When Schwartzman wrote his first script and turned it in the movie "Dreamland". He was fortunate to have his movie selected for the Tribeca Film Festival, but realized the uphill challenge of selling his story.

As technology has revolutionized the music industry, with artists being able to market their music directly to consumers, Schwartzman thinks the film industry is now poised to do the same.

Schwartzman describes himself as a problem solver. He learnt so much trying to market "Dreamland" and became obsessed with the process. Filmmakers are passionate people with dreams, no matter how much a production cost, it is born from passion and Schwartzman recognized it.

The Altavod website offers a palette of tools for indie filmmakers to market their creations. www.altavod.com




TV SERIES

Fall is approaching and a number of TV series resumed production, following strict protocol amid the pandemic.

ABC network in co-production with Sony TV has resumed filming the popular "Good Doctor" in Vancouver BC.

Netflix "Midnight Mass" and the CW/Warner Bros. TV’s "Supernatural" were among the first productions to resume in Vancouver but local productions in the United State are starting as well. The need for content from all vehicles is pushing producers to find solutions. Members of the entertainment industry could not go back to work soon enough.

These are the "trees hiding the forest", many more were let go or furloughed, putting them in a precarious situation.


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