SELECTED NEWS October 2020


October 2020



VICE TV

The company that started as an investigative documentaries producer named "Vice Media" had created its own channel "Viceland" under the suggestion of A&E networks (part owner) in 2015. It has now further expanded its activities into the content distribution business since July 2020.

Their first deal is a productive one, Streaming platform HULU has just bought 100 hours of shows and documentaries from Vice TV.


Vice TV is very popular with young generations in search of unusual investigative reports on subjects often not treated by others. Provocation, politically incorrect are words that would qualify the style of Vice TV. Creative Director Spike Jonze has driven programming with a target on the millennials offering content with a strong point of view. It is therefore not surprising that with a growing demand for such content, HULU has decided to buy some.


THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE

Fall is knocking on the door and everyone in the United States is wondering how are we going to celebrate the most popular holiday, launching a season that will be different this year.

The New York parade is a staple of Thanksgiving. Broadcast in all major networks, the festival of balloons and dances that starts from Central Park to end in Herald Square is in jeopardy.

New York City Mayor announced that the parade will be virtual this year. Large gathering are still unwanted and the traditional celebration will not take place live. So what to expect in replacement of the parade?

Macy's had already envisioned major changes to its century old tradition with plans to redesign it and keep on celebrating this American tradition. While the parade has been cancelled, activities and shows will take place online and on the small screen.



LA MOSTRA

"The Disciple", Indian movie from Director Chaitanya Tamhane wins the prestigious "FIPRESCI" award at the Venice Film Festival.

It has been 30 years since the last Indian production to win the Fipresci. (international federation of film critics)

Chaitanya expressed gratitude and honor to be recognized, understanding the importance of such prize for the commercial success of the film worldwide.

The Disciple is the story of an Indian music vocalist, wondering if he will ever reach the level of excellence he is working so hard to achieve.

It is for "Zoo Entertainment" the production company a nice push, rewarding their investment in the story.


EMMY AWARDS

The organization of the Emmys this year required a totally different mind set to re-invent the popular show and turn it into a success without a live audience.

In spite of lots of creativity from the producers with over 100 cameras set at the home of the nominees, and Jimmy Kimmel as the host for the 3rd time, ABC recorded the lowest viewership, down 14% from last year's broadcast.


Last year was already a disappointment, without a host, trying to follow the footsteps of the Oscars, viewership had gone below 7 million for the first time. Bringing Jimmy Kimmel back did not help. Clearly, without major technical glitches, the format imposed by covid 19 restrictions is largely responsible however, the competition for primetime was fierce with Sunday Night Football on NBC and the NBA playoff where the Los Angeles Lakers were facing the Denver Nuggets on TNT.

Once again, HBO was the big winner with drama such as "Succession" and "Watchmen" but in the comedy category, "Schitt's Creek" was recognized for its final season. Netflix had probably contributed to present this "off the beaten path" comedy to a larger audience.


MATRIX #4

The fourth installment of the very successful franchise which is scheduled to be released in Spring 2022, has resumed its production after a five months pause due to the pandemic. Director/Producer Lana Wachowski is returning as well as stars Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Daniel Bernhardt and Jada Pinkett Smith. Among the new cast members are Neil Patrick Harris and Priyanka Chopra.

Producers are hoping the 4th Matrix to have similar results than for the Matrix reloaded, the number two of the franchise which Box Office brought over $738 million. With the Matrix Revolutions while profitable, brought only $427 million.


TURMOIL AT THE FRENCH FILM ACADEMY

Roman Polanski the Polish/French film Director who fled the US in 1977 to avoid a conviction of statutory rape had been a controversial member of the film industry ever since. Not so much for the content of his movies as for reported incidents underscoring his behavior with women on and off the set. Feminist associations had been active with actions to boycott Polanski's films since, yet, Polanski kept on working, Directing successful movies such as "Frantic" or "The Pianist".


The new controversy about him came when his latest film "An Officer and a Spy" was rewarded with 12 nominations at the French Film Academy Awards: (Les Cesars) earlier this year. At the time, Alain Terzian, President of the academy, justified the choice on pure artistic ground refusing to be a referee on moral issues. Bur the controversy snowballed to such size that Alain Terzian resigned in February from his position of President.

Margaret Menegoz took over as interim president and the board just voted a new President: Veronique Cayla formerly Arte France and vice President: Eric Toledano Director of "The Intouchables"

Polanski's film won eventually 3 out of 12 Cesars.

For close to 45 years, Roman Polanski had been a polarizing figure of the movie industry.


NATIONTIME - GARY

The documentary Directed by William Greaves, covering the 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary Indiana, ahead of the Republican and Democratic convention, had been considered too radical for TV. The convention gathered the black leaders of the time to discuss the historically difficult relationship of black and white communities of the time.

A 60 minutes highly edited version had been circulating but the public at large never had a chance to see the full 90 minutes uncensored version.

The original documentary was found in a Pittsburgh warehouse 2 years ago and was restored with the support of Jane Fonda and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Trust. Sidney Poitier is the narrator.

The distribution rights of the documentary have been bought for North America by Kino Lorber who will play the documentary at the end of October on its virtual KINO cinemas.


HONG KONG FILM INDUSTRY

The once bustling film industry in Hong Kong has been suffering and not only because of the pandemic.

The political unrest that began in 2019 between the central Chinese government and the people of Hong Kong had scared away film investors.

Local actors of this industry last summer decided to act and revive filming in the peninsula, starting with Director Wong Kar-wai who laid down a plan worth $34 million to help the industry. Wong Kar-Wai is followed by Derek Yee and Peter Chan Ho-sun.

Many in Hong Kong have supported the idea of government involvement, contributing to the "rebirth" of HK film industry.

The pandemic had slowed down the protest, but not stopped it, the closing of theaters is not helping the plan laid by Kar-Wai, nor are the plans of China to reduce substantially the freedom of speech.


ACTRESS OR PRODUCER?

There was a time where the production of entertainment was well compartimented.

At the exception of few such as Charlie Chaplin, a Producer was only producing, an Actor only acting, a Director only directing, an Editor only editing, etc.

The second part of the twentieth century, saw a growing number of Actors, in search of more control of the production process, creating their own production structures.

With the new millenium, the multitasking Actor has been confirmed and amplified. As soon as Actors gain a certain success, they are investing into their own production company.

The trend keeps on going with a lot more women actresses starting their own organization. In the #metoo era and the fallout from the "Harvey Weinstein" sexual misconduct, many actresses have been seeking independence to work within their own rules. Sandra Bullock, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon or Queen Latifah are part of that club and so are Margot Robbie, Natalie Portman, Salma Hayek or Kerry Washington.

Even young actresses like Alicia Vikander or "Game of Thrones" Maisie Williams have decided to be in front and behind the camera.


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