Category Archives: Family

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.

Jason Momoa in Talks to Voice ‘Frosty the Snowman’ in Warner Bros. Movie 

Aquaman” himself, Jason Momoa, is in talks to play Frosty the Snowman in a movie to be made for Warner BrosMomoa will also perform with Geoff Johns, and Stampede’s Greg Silverman and June Berg. David Berenbaum, who collaborated with Berg on “Elf”, is ready to script the film. “We know Jason is a real man, full of love, compassion, and a deep connection to Ohana; he’s the living spirit of Xmas and Frosty,” Silverman said. 

Momoa’s “Aquaman was a huge hit for Warner Bros, grossing $ 1.14 billion at the worldwide box office. The studio is preparing a sequel. Berg, executive producer of “Aquaman“, said: “We all won from ‘Aquaman‘ as far as his marine success as a land of ice and fire, this time it was just right to feel Jason in the snow. “Berg, who was an executive producer at Aquaman. “ 

The character comes from the famous Christmas song written by Walter Rollins and Steve Nelson, and was first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950 after the success of Atri’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Momoa will be seen as Duncan Idaho in the next Warner Bruce sci-fi saga “Dune“. The news about the Frosty project was first announced through the deadline

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.

‘Mulan’ Release Date Postponed Yet Again

Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan has yet again seen a change in its theatrical release date. The studio’s change in its highly expected movie is the third time the movie’s release date has changed. This is not much of a surprise considering China, where the movie is expected to be a box office hit, is yet to set a date for the reopening of its movie theaters.

Mulan, slated to hit the big screen on July 24th will instead debut in theaters on Aug 21. This comes after the studio decided a new date was the best way to adjust to the changes the pandemic has caused Hollywood and the entire world. 

Following the change, Disney’s co-chairman Alan Bergman and co-chairman Alan Horn (also the studio’s chief creative officer) said, “While the pandemic has changed out release plans for ‘Mulan’ and we will continue to be flexible as conditions require, it has not changed our belief in the power of this film and its message of hope and perseverance. Director Niki Caro and our cast and  crew have created a beautiful, epic and moving film that is everything the cinematic experience should be, and that’s where we believe it belongs – on the world stage and the big screen for audiences around the globe to enjoy together.”

This change was announced after Warner Bros. announced “Tenet,” its sci-fi epic movie directed by Christopher Nolan, would no longer debut on its initial scheduled date but will now make its theatrical debut on August 12.

Both Mulan and Tenet were expected to herald the reopening of movie theaters as well as the start of the summer movie season given their initial July release dates. However, both studios have pushed back their movie’s release due to the lingering effects the pandemic still has in some parts of the world.

2021 Oscars Postponed by two months due to Coronavirus Pandemic

With the world adjusting to the Coronavirus pandemic with various events being canceled and the deployment of several health guidelines, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced its 93rd Academy Awards event has been postponed.

The announcement came last week the 2021 Oscars which was scheduled for Feb. 28 will be delayed by two months and the new date being April 25, 2021. This announcement is in line with Variety’s report in May in which the report said the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was planning on delaying the upcoming event due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement released by Dawn Hudson (CEO) and David Rubin (Academy President), they said: “For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times. They certainly have this year. Our hope, in extending the eligibility period and our Awards date, is to provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control. This coming Oscars and the opening of our new museum will mark a historic moment, gathering movie fans around the world to unite through cinema”.

Also, the academy announced that the annual Governors Awards gala scheduled to take place in November has been postponed with a date later to be announced. Also, the opening of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures building in  Los Angeles, California has been pushed back to April next year.

Alongside postponing the date of their major events, the organization also updated its eligibility rules for the 2021 Oscars Academy Awards. In the new rules, feature films that want to be nominated for an award must have a release date between Jan. 1, 2020, and Feb 28. 2021. The new submission deadline for specialty categories has been pushed to Dec. 30, 2020, while submission deadline for general categories (such as Best Picture, Original song, Best Actor and Actress, etc.) is now Jan. 15, 2021.

The novel Coronavirus outbreak has caused a lot of changes in the entertainment industry. Many studios have turned to digital distribution platforms for the release of some of their movies due to the shutdown of movie theaters. Some other studios however decided to postponed their upcoming blockbuster movies with dates to be announced when movie cinemas reopen.

There is still no certainty what the future holds for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Awards telecast but we will definitely keep you updated. 

Los Angeles Sets Strict Rules for TV and Film Production Restart

With many countries now switching from total lockdown to partial lockdown, many activities have now been allowed to resume albeit under strict and extensive regulations.

Film and TV Productions is one such activity set to resume again in some states as early as Friday although with extensive regulations issued by Los Angeles Country. This new extensive regulation is not much of a surprise considering professional football has also restarted behind closed doors.

While productions are allowed to restart Friday, 19th of July, many producers would probably only start filming around July or August.

As would be expected, the first major rule is for cast and crew to maintain social distancing while on sets. The county also sets the use of face masks and coverings as an important detail not to be overlooked by cast and crew members as actors and musicians who cannot perform with face-covering on are expected to be eight feet apart. Furthermore, it mandates that only essential cast crew be present on set at any given time with the directive that actors must wash their hands before shooting any scene.

Also, it discourages all prolonged physical contact that arises from sex and fight scenes and mandates that all actors and crew keep information about any film shooting from the public. The country also directs that all crowd scenes are discouraged.

The rules also direct that makeup artist are only allowed on set when the actors cannot apply makeup to fit the scene. Also, Craft service buffets are temporarily forbidden on all sets.

Talk Shows and Sitcoms also looking to film new scenes in Los Angeles that must follow new rules. The rules now mandate that audience members must sit six feet apart and must not occupy more than 25% of the available space. It also allows paid staff and crew to serve as audience members. And capping it all, the rules set that only the same group of the audience present at the restart of filming are allowed for subsequent productions.

Although the entertainment industry released some rules for crews and cast to follow when production restarts, the rules released by the county are more strict. This is because the entertainment industry task force didn’t mandate many of their rules like the county did.

Following the release of the entertainment industry’s rules and guidelines, Donna Langley – Chairman Universal Film, stated in a statement that the rules, in his words, are “a significant step in getting our industry back to work in Los Angeles County”.

In his statement, the chairman expressed gratitude to the County Board of Supervisors as well as the county’s mayor for their commitment to the region’s economic recovery. He also expressed gratitude to the County’s Public Health Department for their efforts to keep their region safe. He then went ahead to say “Teams across the Studios, production companies, guilds, and unions in every facet of our business have shown and will continue to show innovation and creativity in bringing film, TV and digital production safely back to Los Angeles”.

Though production restart is imminent, there are still several things that will come into play which might delay restart to mid or late August. One of the obstacles production restart faces includes the detailed protocols all guilds and unions are yet to agree to.

Another major obstacle many productions will face pending the restart is whether or not they will be able to obtain insurance. Bob Jellen, the managing director for entertainment at HUB international believes many productions that were underway before the lockdown would be spared from “additional costs that are required to make filming safer for the actors and crew”. In other words, this obstacle is only for new productions that have not yet started filming before COVID-19 lockdown that caused productions to stop. Obtaining insurance is even going to be more difficult for independent filmmakers.

Many in the film making industry have expressed concerns about the difficulty many new productions will face when trying to secure insurance. To this end, Congress has introduced a bill that gives insurance companies the power to sell policies covering the coronavirus shutdown. The bill, however, is yet to pass.

DISNEY DEBUTS LIVE-ACTION ‘LION KING,’ ‘DUMBO,’ ‘ALADDIN’ FOOTAGE AT CINEMACON

Disney Debuts Live-Action ‘Lion King,’ ‘Dumbo,’ ‘Aladdin’ Footage at CinemaCon

Disney dazzled CinemaCon attendees Tuesday with footage from its upcoming live-action The Lion King, Dumbo and Aladdin  movies, all opening in 2019.

The studio closed its 90-minute presentation at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with “The Circle of Life” opening sequence to Jon Favreau’s The Lion King  which opens July 19, 2019 — 25 years and a month after the original.

The footage appears to mirror the opening minutes of the 1994 animated blockbuster in which King Mufasa’s newborn son, Simba, is presented to the animal kingdom at Pride Rock by Rafiki the baboon, the shaman and adviser to Mufasa. Rafiki, who has the same colorful facial markings as in the animated film, rubs Simba’s face with red dust before presenting him.

Exhibitors were also impressed by the early footage from Dumbo directed by Tim Burton and loosely inspired by the 1941 animated film. The period movie includes Danny DeVito as the circus ringmaster and Michael Keaton as the owner. The footage included image of the CGI pachyderm with massive ears, but did not include any actual flying by the elephant.

“We had to hold something back,” said newly named distribution head Catherine Taff, who presided over the presentation.

Attendees also gave a positive response to footage from the live-action Aladdin, starring Will Smith as the Genie.  The film — a remake of the 1992 animated hit — also stars Mena Massoud with Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad, Billy Magnussen, and Numan Acar. It is scheduled to be released on May 24, 2019.

“Disney knows how to do it,” Smith said in a clip. “This is going to be beautiful.”

Disney has continued to exert its box office dominance in recent years with an array of live-action remakes of its animated films, including “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Jungle Book,” and last year’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which grossed $1.25 billion worldwide.

STEVEN SPIELBERG’S ‘READY PLAYER ONE’ CROSSES $500 MILLION WORLDWIDE

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ Crosses $500 Million Worldwide

Steven Spielberg’s latest film, Ready Player One has earned more than $500 million for Warner Bros. around the globe, with a large portion emanating from China.

Ready Player One is also now the 10th-largest Chinese grosser for Warner Bros, earning more than $200 million from the country. The action-sci fi’s opening marked Warner Bros.’ largest ever in the nation with $61 million. On top of the earnings from China, the film has taken in another $179 million from foreign markets. It opened in Japan this weekend, completing its international rollout.

Domestically, “Ready Player One” has brought in more than $120 million.

Tye Sheridan stars in the film alongside Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe and T.J. Miller. Zak Penn and Ernest Cline wrote the script, based on Cline’s bestselling novel of the same name. Sheridan plays a young man living in 2045 Ohio who also leads a dual life in the virtual reality game Oasis, where many find respite from a difficult reality in a second life.

The film was produced by Donald De Line, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Spielberg and Dan Farah. Adam Somner, Daniel Lupi, Chris deFaria and Bruce Berman served as executive producers.

Spielberg became the first director whose films’ grosses topped more than $10 billion earlier this week, with “Ready Player One” marking the director’s highest-grossing film of the last 10 years. Not adjusted for inflation, Spielberg’s biggest earner was 1993’s “Jurassic Park” with $983.8 million globally.

NETFLIX Q1 PREVIEW: ANOTHER BLOCKBUSTER QUARTER DESPITE PRICE HIKES?

Netflix Q1 Preview: Another Blockbuster Quarter Despite Price Hikes?

When Netflix reports first-quarter 2018 earnings Monday after market close, investors again will laser in not on revenue or profits — but on the number of net adds, a key indicator of the subscription streamer’s momentum.For Q1, Wall Street analyst consensus estimates are for 1.48 million net streaming U.S. subscriber adds, and 4.84 million internationally. That’s roughly in line with what Netflix’s forecast in January (1.45 million domestically and 4.90 million internationally).

The expected strong showing comes after Netflix raised the price of its streaming plans in the fourth quarter of 2017 for customers in multiple territories, a demonstration of its relative pricing power. In the U.S., for example, the standard two-stream HD plan rose from $9.99 to $10.99 per month,  still a great value, analysts observed.

“A steady stream of new content introduced throughout Q1 likely mitigated churn associated with higher pricing on standard and premium plans,” Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter wrote in a note issued last week.

Analyst consensus estimates for Netflix Q1 see revenue of $3.89 billion and earnings per share of 64 cents. Investors remain upbeat on the company, even as it doubles down on its heavy content-spending strategy (with content expenditures of up to $8 billion this year, vs. $6 billion in 2017).

Netflix’s cash burn (negative free cash flow) is expected to increase from $2 billion in 2017 to $3 billion for the full year 2018, Goldman Sachs’ Heath Terry wrote in a note last week. Terry raised his price target on the stock, from $315 to $360 per share, citing a strong originals slate, new distribution partners  and returns from increased marketing spending.

Over the past eight quarters, Netflix has on average topped its total net subscriber addition guidance by around 950,000, mostly on stronger-than-expected international additions, Pachter noted. However, a year ago, Netflix turned in subscriber metrics slightly below forecasts, delivering 4.95 million inQ1 2017

Is Netflix poised for a Q1 2018 beat? Thanks to its continued growth — and bullish analyst forecasts — Netflix’s stock is up 62% year to date, besting nearly every other company on the S&P 500 and outperforming the other stocks in the FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Alphabet/Google) cohort tracked by Wall Street.

Netflix has “an increasingly robust content slate,” Cowen & Co.’s John Blackledge wrote in a Q1 earnings preview. He estimated Netflix released some 483 hours of U.S. original programming in the first quarter, up 85% from a year earlier.

In the first quarter, Netflix debuted 18 new original series, including 11 returning series, and 14 new original movies. Those included season 2 of “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” and sci-fi series “Altered Carbon.”

But Netflix currently has a weaker originals lineup going into Q1, with nine original series (five returning and four new series), including “Lost in Space” and second seasons of “Dope,” “3%,” and “Marvel’s Luke Cage.”

Wall Street expects 5.2 million net streaming adds in Q2 2018, but that “may be on the high side,” RBC Capital Market’s Mark Mahaney wrote in a note. He cited “what doesn’t clearly appear to be a rock-star spectacular Q2 new content slate” as well as typically weak Q2 seasonality and “tough comps” with Netflix’s huge beat in the second quarter of 2017.

Two wildcards on Netflix’s Q2 content performance remain, according to UBS’s Eric Sheridan: When season 2 of popular teen drama “13 Reasons Why” will be released and whether Netflix “is enjoying success in its local-language content initiatives outside of North America,” he wrote in an April 11 note.

In addition, Netflix’s newly expanded deal with Comcast — under which the cable operator will bundle Netflix service with new and existing TV packages — could give Netflix a boost in Q2, which is historically weak for subscriber additions.

Meanwhile, Wedbush’s Pachter pointed to Netflix’s potential longer-term risk from losing content-licensing deals. It’s worth noting that the bulk of the viewing on the platform remains generated by licensed TV shows and movies — with licensed content estimated to account for 80% of Netflix’s U.S. streams for the 12 months ended September 2017, per a study by 7Park Data.

“[T]he combination of less content from Disney (pulling the majority of its newer content at the end of 2018) and a steady migration of Comcast, Time Warner, and 21st Century Fox content towards exclusive deals with Hulu will ultimately lead to lower subscriber satisfaction,” he wrote.

VITTORIO TAVIANI, AWARD-WINNING ITALIAN DIRECTOR, DIES AT 88

Vittorio Taviani, Award-Winning Italian Director, Dies at 88

Mandatory Credit: Photo by AGF s.r.l./REX/Shutterstock (4443677r)
Directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
‘Maraviglioso Boccaccio’ film photocall, Rome, Italy – 20 Feb 2015

Italian director Vittorio Taviani, of the multiple award-winning Taviani brothers, has died at 88.

His daughter Giovanna told media he died in Rome after a long illness.

Vittorio was the older of the prolific Taviani brothers who emerged in the 1970’s as the revered filmmaking duo whose works blended neo-realism with more modern storytelling in works such as Padre Padrone which won the 1977 Cannes Palme d’Or, World War II drama “The Night of the Shooting Stars” (1982) and “Kaos” (1984) which is based on Pirandello.

Born in the Tuscan town of San Miniato, Vittorio and Paolo Taviani soon moved to nearby Pisa where as high-school students they became aspiring directors. “We walked into a movie theater called Cinema Italia, which no longer exists, and there was a film playing called ‘Paisà’ that we had never heard of”. That experience “really blew our minds,” they said.  “We had experienced the war as kids, and very deeply. But what we were seeing on screen made that reality so much clearer for us. This movie was telling us things about ourselves that we did not know. So we said to ourselves: ‘If cinema has this strength, this power to reveal to ourselves our own truths, then we will make movies!’

Years later, when they went to Cannes with “Padre Padrone,” the thought that they had started making movies thanks to Rossellini and that he was awarding them the Palme d’Or was for them “like the closure of a splendid luminous circle.”

More recently the Taviani brothers won the Berlin Golden Bear, in 2012, with “Caesar Must Die,” which is about high-security inmates acting Shakespeare, followed by “Wondrous Boccaccio,” (2014) an adaptation of “The Decameron” and “Una Questione Privata” in 2017, based on a novella by Italian author Beppe Fenoglio.

Italian president Sergio Mattarella in a statement said the country is in mourning and called Vittorio Taviani “a beloved protagonist of Italian cinema and culture.”

“Yesterday Milos Forman, today Vittorio Taviani,” tweeted Venice Film Festival chief Alberto Barbara. “We owe them a great deal of our cinematic formation…and will remember them always with gratitude.”

The Tavianis received a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement from Venice in 1986.

Giovanna Taviani said her father’s body would be cremated and there will be no public funeral.