All posts by Michelle B. Kaplan

Christopher Levy Launches CINEFLIK a new streaming service that cares


The film industry is ruled by companies that value corporate gain over artistry and films that tell real stories. These companies don’t give independent filmmakers a chance. In a time where it is so important that voices are heard through the imaginative minds of the creatives out there with a dream. 
 

I have been in the film industry for two decades. I have seen how they operate with a tunnel vision focus on numbers and sales. Large studios and others are taking advantage of independent filmmakers. They are not given a fair chance to showcase their talents, and they are not being adequately paid for their art. I have been a producer for several studios and I have seen how they turn everything into numbers. There is no creativity, there is no freedom. Everything turned into a walking barcode that depicted your worth. All you look for is the next “big hit”. The old saying that you are as good as your last movie constantly in playback in your head. 

I quit everything in 2019 and set to reinvent myself and what I stand for. I started my own production company to seek out true talent with beautiful stories, now adding to the distribution side, having a presence in Cannes, Berlin, and L.A’s AFM. It is not enough that these films are being made, but they deserve the opportunity to be seen.

CINEFLIK is a streaming service built for people who want exposure, a platform to showcase creativity and talent. Whilst we are not as established as Amazon, HBO max, and others, what sets us apart is that we care. We care about the integrity of filmmaking and the efforts that you have put in, as an artist to create these films. You are not just a number to us, we will also put in our all to make sure your story has the opportunity for maximum exposure. That is why I have also partnered with INFILMS Magazine to promote filmmakers. 

A streaming service that cares about art and also the filmmakers 

With CINEFLIK, the film owners decide on the price of rental and receive a cut of 80%. We will give you a fair price because we understand how other larger companies will try and take advantage. We will not compromise the opportunity for distribution with fair compensation. For example, Amazon pays only 6 cents per hour, for up to 99,999 hours streamed in a period of 365 days, tied in with an exclusive rights clause. Not only are they taking advantage, but they are making sure that you are legally unable to sell or share your stories with others. If you rent your film for $1.99, you will get $1.59 with CINEFLIK as opposed to $0.06 you would get from Amazon, with 100 downloads is a difference between $159 and $6 with Amazon.
We only keep 20% to maintain the site.

Unlike other services we also don’t follow a set of rules and requirements that may restrict distribution. For instance, Redbox has a list of preferred titles and requests, like; Action genre with a recognizable cast, supernatural horror, and family films that are animated standalone features. They only accept “new” titles that have been produced in a rolling two-year time span, they don’t consider films that have previously been available on DVD or via SVOD streaming services, NC-17 ratings and features under 80 minutes are out of the questions and don’t even think about direct television in the Comedy or Drama genre or Foreign Language films or Documentaries. With all these restrictions, they are not accepting of a variety of content, effectively closing doors to many filmmakers. On top of that, they set the price and pay around $2.75 to $3.50 per disc, this is largely dependent on the cast, genre, and a fit for their customers. A factor that is completely determined by themselves, which doesn’t sound fair at all. The film owners would have to pay for the DVDs and they would have complete control of how many times your movie is rented. We do not want to go down this path, CINEFLIK is fair, we set the pricing together with the film owner, we respect that they deserve to have their films and shows distributed at a fair price. We respect and accept all submissions of genres, the audience is always evolving and we want to anticipate what they want by providing a range of films and shows. 

This marks a new chapter to promote independent filmmakers in a way that does not involve bias or pure judgment of how much money they can generate. CINEFLIK carries everything, including, Classic Movies, Independent Films, short and full-length Features, as well as all genres of Television shows. We embrace creativity and have a thirst for real stories and originality. We want your trust in your films. Let us take you onboard and together we can discover a whole new audience for you. I am excited about the future, we can challenge the underlying issues of the film industry together and pave the way for real stories and talent that is often overlooked by Hollywood executives. 

Let’s take this challenge on together, no more waiting, no more negotiations, no more banging on the wrong door. We are here to make it happen.

You can access CINEFLIK here http://www.cineflik.com
Membership is always free.

Studios Keep Delaying Movies. What’s the Cost? 

Above the past few months, it has become a thing of the past: studios announce plans to release a new film in theaters, epidemics have boosted those plans, and the studio Delayed again. Rinse, wash, repeat. We’ve seen this playout with high profile movies like Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet”, which has moved twice in the last month, and Disney’s “Milan”, which has been postponed three times since March. 

There is a good chance that if coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country and state force theaters to close, the trend will continue.
 

In a pre-coronary virus world, this would be impossible for premiere dates to follow. But when the Coronavirus epidemic began closing in cinemas for the first time in March, studios began releasing films in the middle of the year or 2021 or later. Cinema reopening time.  

When the cinema reopening begins, “Tenet”, “Mulan” and other films that welcome moviegoers are expected to be among the first to join, as the release Calendars are open. However, if the films that have already been moved several times continue to circulate, the studios eventually risk burning through the marketing dollars. 

“Everyone is playing a wait-and-see game,” said Eric Handler, an analyst at MKM Partners. “With blockbuster movies, budgets are significant. To recover these budgets, they need theater. But there’s no point in going to reopen them, so it’s like a chicken and an egg. “ 

Will “Tenet” and “Milan” be able to hold their latest schedule debut – August 12 and August 21, respectively? Executives and analysts say there will be no greater economic loss. Marketing funds can be leveraged to accommodate the extra weeks here and there, but not all of them will be stressful. But this equation changes if there are delays. At some point, the studios will have to decide whether to expand beyond marketing expectations or to stop and resume them as the release date approaches.
 

Impact on marketing fees 

Film executives privately estimate that pushing “Mulan” or “Tenet” at once in a few weeks could reduce marketing fees by 000 200,000 to ، 400,000 – the cover of a new film. Expenses that are not necessarily the same for a major studio in the Great Depression scheme. Depending on various factors, this number could rise to $5 million if they delay again without adequate notice. This is because most of the promotion and advertising efforts of a film take place in the first two weeks before its release. So far, changes to the release date have fallen out of this window. 

Tentpole movie 

Tentpole movie marketing, which often takes between 100 million and 200 million production budgets, is an expensive proposition in any climate. From 30-second TV commercials and billboards too fast, stardom premieres that shut down Hollywood Boulevard as usual. Studios begin implementing these efforts six weeks before the release of a film – sometimes during a competitive time, such as the movie Giving Season, in the summer before that.
 

Since multiplexes are closed and most personal projects are still on hold, studios have taken advantage of traditional methods such as playing trailers in theaters or arranging press tours with personalities. Live events, such as the NBA Championship or the regular MLB season games, are one of the most reliable ways to ensure eyeballs on modern movie commercials. But with so many games being held right now, this option isn’t even available. 

Tiktok marketing 

Despite the deviation from the strategy, marketing budgets aren’t getting smaller – they’re just recovering. There is a strong emphasis on digital media to target viewers at home, such as TikTok trends and releasing new trailers on Fortnite. At least one of the benefits of this weird time where everyone gets stuck indoors is that addictive apps and popular video games are getting more attention than ever before. 

Handler said, “You see the studios trying to do something different – the new trailer for ‘Tenet’, which aired on Fortnite.” It’s worrying that old adults will soon return to theaters. , So you have to celebrate a huge market for thousands of years. “
 

Major marketing resources 

Because “Tenet” wasn’t ready to hit theaters until early July, Warner Bruce recently began to commit to large marketing resources. With or without the epidemic, there is another challenge to having a real IP in the film. Marketers not only have to work overdrive to introduce themselves, but also to stop the audience from the brainstorming that exists in the world of global spying. 

The adaptation of Disney’s classic animated story to live-action is not a concern for Mulan. Most moviegoers are already familiar with the fearless Chinese fighters. But “Mulan” needs to be more concerned with the Northern invaders. Since its theatrical release was canceled two weeks before its targeted US launch, Disney has already shelled around eight and a half million for the premiere of Gleason Los Angeles in March. It’s not just studios that have money on the table. Theaters cannot be successfully reopened until a new product arrives on the big screen. 

As history delays, so do the rising virus level, causing exhibitors to edit their plans. China AMC, the country’s largest theater, has abandoned its plans to resume business for two weeks. The exhibitor, and its rival circuits, now plan to resume business by the end of July and expect to be fully operational by August. Handler said, “We’re in a big holding right now.” The industry is at the mercy of municipalities in America’s largest markets. This is causing the municipalities to pump the brakes. Hopefully, in these markets, we will look at things from a higher level and this will give some relief to the government. It’s time-consuming.
 

“Who wants to go first and set fire to $200 million?” 

If the movie only earns a few million, you get a massive written download. It’s a risk, “Greenfield said.” It’s a race where winning is losing. Winning is riskier than losing.

SAG Awards 2021 

 

Coronavirus pandemic has postponed the 2021 SAG Awards six weeks before the Oscars – until March 14. The 27th Annual Awards Show, which honors film and television performances, was originally scheduled for January 24, 2021. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on June 15 that the 93rd Academy Awards telecast had been postponed for two months until April 25, 2021. 

It was first reported in mid-May when the academy was considering delaying the big night in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 SAG Awards ceremony was held in January at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The cast of “Parasite” won the Feature Film Pair Award, with Joaquin Phoenix winning the Male Actor Award for “Joker” and Renee Zellweger winning the Female Actor Trophy for “Judy”. 

The eligibility requirements for the event have been modified with a two-month extension in the eligibility window. From January 1, 2020, to February 28, 2021, motion pictures, prime time television, and cable and new media programs may be shown or broadcast earlier.  

The submission period starts on September 21 and ends on November 20. Nominations will be announced on February 4, 2021. The final voting will take place between SAG-AFTRA members between February 10 and March 10. 

The SAG Awards are among the Oscars, Golden Globes, and BAFTA Film Awards for advancing their dates and qualifying periods for feature films due to the pandenic. 

Many CAA offices to remain closed through January 2021 due to coronavirus pandemic (exclusive) 

We have learned that the Creative Artist Agency is closing several home locations until early 2021. The internal memo, alerted agents and others that the CAA headquarters in Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York offices, would remain closed as epidemics spread.
 

“After carefully studying many factors as a top priority for employee health and safety, we have concluded that we will not return until at least January 2021. There is still a long way to go before a specific date can be set. , “
 

The company will also look into the re-entry protocol for its London office. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the CAA, affectionately known as the “Death Star”, sits in Century City, and it’s a wonderful illustration of the power of Hollywood rooms. “In reviewing today’s decision, in addition to a large group of internal executives, external consultants have focused on several criteria, including health options guidelines, Local laws, and infection rates; Availability, or lack thereof, testing, vaccines, and treatment. Limit the personal circumstances of our employees, availability, and cost of supply, mask, and modification facility; the senior leadership wrote, and, of course, we can better support our capabilities and work together.
  

‘Taken’ Director Pierre Morel Promises Nick Jonas will feature as Modern MacGyver in “The Blacksmith”


Pierre Morel who is known for his impressive work directing “Taken” has started work on another action thriller movie, “The Blacksmith”. He is working alongside AGC Studios to create the actioner and the movie is set to feature actor/singer Nick Jonas as the lead character. In Morel’s words, Nick Jonas will feature as a “Very modern and updated” MacGyver.

The film which is scheduled to start production in September will see Jonas portray Wes Loomis in the movie. Wes Loomis is a weapons expert and is the go-to man for the intelligence community. However, a series of bad events forces him to go into hiding. Acquiring the help of Noelle Hazlitt, a young CIA analyst, Wes then seeks out his mentor, Mather, who is a retired blacksmith in the hopes of finding answers to the bad events that happened to him. 

On why he is excited about directing the film, Morel explained, “I’m a James Bond fan and my big question as a kid was, what would it be like if Q had to do the mission himself? Since our hero in ‘The Blacksmith’ is a modern Q, I was blown away. This (is a) guy who can invent stuff and make up every device you can imagine…but is not a hero and isn’t supposed to be in the field. All of a sudden, he is thrown into mayhem and has to deal with the situation, [but] with all this knowledge and not with his muscles. That was key to my interest.” He also said “The Blacksmith” will rely more on CGI effects than his previous feature films saying, “It is in today’s world, but using devices that don’t exist. The idea is to make the scope bigger than I usually do, which will allow for bigger effects, destruction and devastation.”

Morel has directed some impressive action thrillers which gave him the required power to land the job. He has to his directing credits “Taken” which featured Liam Neeson, “The Gunman” with Idris Elba starring as the leads character and Jennifer Garner’s Peppermint to mention but a few.

“The Blacksmith” which will be financed and produced by AGC studios will have its production in Toronto. While some of the roles are yet to be cast, Mather is set to be played by Laurence Fishburne. 

 

Winona Ryder Accuses Mel Gibson of Making Anti-Semitic and Homophobic Remarks

Actress and Producer, Winona Ryder, in an interview with The Sunday Times, accused Braveheart star, Mel Gibson, of making anti-gay and anti-Semitic comments. The actress who is known for her role in “Stranger Things” said this after she was asked, during the interview, if she had experienced any antisemitism in the industry.

In the interview, she recounted how the Oscar winner made statements that were homophobic to her at a party. She said, “We were at a crowded party with one of my good friends,” she said. “And Mel Gibson was smoking a cigar, and we’re all talking and he said to my friend, who’s gay, ‘Oh wait, am I gonna get Aids?’ And then something came up about Jews, and he said, ‘You’re not an oven dodger, are you?’”. She even went on to say Gibson tried to apologize for his comments.

However, Ryder’s claims of Gibson making the comments were refuted by Gibson’s representatives. A statement provided by the representatives to Variety read, “This is 100 per cent untrue. She lied about it over a decade ago, when she talked to the press, and she’s lying about it now.” The representative also went further to say Gibson did not try to apologize as he did not make any homophobic or anti-Semitic comments.

Replying to the denial, Winona Ryder released a statement saying, “I believe in redemption and forgiveness and hope that Mr. Gibson has found a healthy way to deal with his demons, but I am not one of them. Around 1996, my friend Kevyn Aucoin and I were on the receiving end of his hateful words. It is a painful and vivid memory for me. Only by accepting responsibility for our behavior in this life can we make amends and truly respect each other, and I wish him well on this lifelong journey.”

This is not the first time Gibson has been accused of anti-Semitic and homophobic behavior. He has been reported to have made derogatory comments throughout his career his outbursts have been exposed publicly on several occasions. 

The most popular anti-Semitic comment Gibson made was in 2006 where he said, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world” while being arrested. He later addressed the incident in 2016 and told Variety “It was an unfortunate incident. I was loaded and angry and arrested. I was recorded illegally by an unscrupulous police officer who was never prosecuted for that crime. And then it was made public by him for profit, and by members of — we’ll call it the press. So, not fair. I guess as who I am, I’m not allowed to have a nervous breakdown, ever.”

European Producers Contend with the Growing Power of U.S. Streamers following production restart since the pandemic lockdown


With European producers looking to restart shoots post lockdown in the coming weeks, many have developed mixed feelings towards the powers Netflix and other streaming services have garnered during the lockdown. 

As a result of the worldwide lockdown, movie theaters were shut down, and movies that were scheduled for theatrical release have had to be pushed back or release via Video on Demand (VOD) services. In truth, the biggest winners of the coronavirus crises are the streaming platforms – Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Primes as the demand for these streaming services skyrocketed. These streaming services all pushed out many original movies and series for people to watch while staying at home.

The stats the streaming services recorded showed just how much people missed going to cinemas to see movies. Netflix now has over 180 million subscribers in 190 countries.

Alongside the giant streaming services, ARTE, Apple, BBC, RAI, and France Televisions all contributed to being the drivers of broadband traffic and massive internet usage during the lockdown. 

While streaming services were able to fill in during the lockdown, there is no doubt that the model with which these streaming platforms create their original movies is changing the movie and TV industry. This is because the business model of these streaming platforms is to fully finance the production of a movie in exchange for the full rights of the movie. This could pose a serious threat to the European industry which is already endangered. 

Speaking about the issue, Norwegian Producer, Gudny Hummelvoll stated that independent producers are in danger when production restarts. She noted that European independent producers have already seen “the predominance of a financing model based on the one the streamers use, where producers don’t have any rights or [get] revenues back” during the lockdown. She also stated that streaming platforms mostly use algorithms to determine which projects they want.

She did agree that the global exposure the platforms provide is a massive opportunity for Euro-producers. However, she believes the cost also needs to be considered since the platforms will not only keep the rights to the film but also decide the content they want the producer to make.

Simone Gattoni, another Italian Producer, also said “These days more than before, directors and producers in Europe are able to seek a wide range of partnerships; there is much more pan-European cross-pollination,”

Italian producers and Head of Cross Productions, Rosario Rinaldo also made suggestions similar to Gattoni’s. He said, “The (streaming) platforms are giving us a truly fantastic opportunity. My only worry is that so far I can’t see a business model that gratifies me, that can work for me the same way as the business model I have with [pubcaster] RAI. That is the damn problem!” He went on to explain that RAI, in his words, “has a culture of real productive exchange.”

He added, “We are co-producers. I invest, taking a risk. But I know that in the end I have the possibility of being able to monetize my rights. Rights that I hold on to.” Rinaldo cites the case of his weed-smoking cop show “Rocco Schiavone,” which plays on Starz in the U.S. and, “besides a minimum guarantee brought in a 90% profit margin in international sales.”

From the thoughts of the many concerned European producers, it is obvious they see streaming platforms and services as a good way to get their works to an even greater audience. However, they do not like the current terms they might have to agree to work with them.

These concerns are quite understandable considering European producers are having a difficult time trying to find insurance coverage before they can start filming again while production financed by Netflix and other streaming services have in-house insurance. 

Due to these concerns, the EPC has started a discussion on setting measures to reduce the power of streaming platforms. The main aim of this discussion is to find a way to ensure global streamers participate in the recovery efforts of the European film and TV industry rather than pump money only into the movies playing on their platforms

Margot Robbie and Bird of Prey Writer Christina Hodson’s Production companies team up to launch female-driven script writing program

The production companies of actress Margot Robbie and Birds of Prey writer Christina Hodson have both partnered to launch Lucky Exports Pitch Program (LEPP).

The companies, LuckyChap Entertainment, and Hodson Exports launched the program and has selected six female writers to participate in the initiative. The female writers will then focus on developing and writing scripts for an original action film. 

The Lucky Exports Pitch Program (LEPP) will be run by representatives from both production companies. Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley, and Josey McNamara would represent LuckyChap Entertainment while Hodson Exports’ Morgan Howell and Christiana Hodson will co-run the program.

Both production companies would produce and fund the original action feature movies developed by the writers under the program. Both companies have attached a $30 million budget for the production of each original action movie written by the selected writers. The program is set to take place from Nov. 4 to Dec. 6 which is about four weeks. In other words, the selected female writers have to develop and pitch their ideas with the four weeks. 

The ambition and goal of setting up the program are to help new writers gain experience and the exposure that would make them the go-to scriptwriters for popular studios.

The selection of the participants in the program was carried out through a multi-step process. Writers interested in the initiative were asked to send samples and the samples were then read blindly. A few of those writers were then invited to apply to the program via a written questionnaire. The writers were then interviewed in-person by representatives of Hodson Exports and LuckyChap Entertainment. 

During the program, about a dozen speakers consisting of actors, writers, producers, and directors are expected to join informal Q&As sessions and workshops with the selected female writers. Some of the speakers expected in the program include Lindsey Beer, Courtenay Valenti, Chad Stahelski, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Bek Smith, Zak Penn, Sue Kroll, Chantal Nong, Oren Uziel, Chris Morgan, and Max Borenstein among others. 

The six female writers selected to the LEPP are Eileen Jones, Sue Chung, Dagny Looper, Charmaine DeGrate, Maria Sten, and Faith Liu.

In a statement, LuckyChap Entertainment said, “We feel it is both a responsibility and a great honor to help create opportunities for the voices in our industry who are not yet being heard in the big-budget action space. We couldn’t be more excited to join these six incredible writers on this journey!”

“It is no secret that there are more men than women getting hired to write big-budget studio movies, and yet there are a huge number of talented female voices looking to break into this space. I have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on a number of franchise movies, alongside great male and female writers. Feature writing has traditionally been a solitary exercise but it doesn’t need to be. I wanted to create a program that was as much about peer to peer collaboration and community as it is about changing the statistics. Margot and I share a passion for championing female voices and feel that one way to do that is to connect these writers with a wide-array of experts in big-budget filmmaking –men and women alike.” Christiana Hodson said in a statement addressing the reason for launching the initiative.

Micheal Keaton in Early Talks to Return as Batman in ‘The Flash’ Movie

Micheal Keaton is not a stranger to the role as he played Gotham’s rich caped crusader in the 1990s Batman movies which were directed by Tim Burton. He starred in Burton’s Batman released in 1989 as well as Batman Returns which was released in 1992. Although the role made Keaton famous, his acting in the movies was top-notch. Both of these reasons must be why Warner Bros. has decided to offer the veteran actor a deal to reprise the character.

The Flash movie is theatrical release on June 3, 2022, and will feature Ezra Miller reprising his role as Barry Allen, AKA Flash. Ezra Miller has previously played the character in three other DC Movie – Justice League, Suicide Squad, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Directing the movie is Andy Muschietti while Christina Hodson who wrote Birds of Prey is on board to write the script of the movie. The movie will be produced by Michael Disco and Barbara Muschietti.

The Flash character was created in the 1950s comics when a scientist, Barry Allen, working for the city police, gained the ability to move as fast as light after he was struck by lightning whilst working on some chemicals.

Micheal Keaton’s role as Batman in “The Flash” movie does not affect the upcoming “The Batman” movie directed by Matt Reeves and starring Robert Pattinson as the caped crusader. Robert Pattinson’s The Batman is scheduled for theatrical release on Oct. 1, 2021, but might change if movie theaters remain closed in some part of the world.

How much Keaton features in the “The Flash” movie is not quite certain as production for the movie is yet to start.

Asides playing the caped crusader, Michael Keaton has played several other roles in popular epic movies in recent years. Some of them include playing Vulture in “Marvel’s Spiderman: Homecoming”, starring Ray Kroc in “John Lee Hannock’s The Founder”. He is also set to play Ramsey Clark in the upcoming movie “The Trial of the Chicago 7” which is set for release later this year.

Golden Globes 2021 Postponed Nearly Two Months

The annual 2021 Golden Globes ceremony is set to take place a little later than scheduled. The change which came a week after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science announced the 93rd telecast of its annual Academy Awards has been pushed back by two months to April 25, 2021, means the 2021 Golden Globes ceremony is now set for Feb. 28.

The new date for the Golden Globes 2021 awards means it will take place two months before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts’ 93rd Academy Awards telecast. The new date was initially the original date of the 2021 Oscars Award, a date set back in 2017. 

After making the announcement, the organization said, “To accommodate both domestic and intentional film and television productions, the HFPA (Hollywood Foreign Press Association) will provide further guidance around eligibility, voting period and revised nominations announcement timing in the coming weeks.”

Previous Golden Globes awards were usually held on the first Sunday of a new year to signal the start of the Hollywood Awards season of every production and movie that was done the year before. However, the pandemic this year means the usual way the awards have always been held has to be adjusted. 

The HFPA also announced that the 2021 Golden Globes awards will be hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. There is no other information about the 2021 ceremony except that it will broadcast live on NBC.

In other news, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts has announced a change it the date of its EE Film Awards to April 11th meaning the BAFTA Film awards will come two weeks before the 2021 Oscars ceremony.