Category Archives: Drama

Arri’s expansion of the Franz Wieser Grant Program gives new filmmakers more reason to work harder

One of the biggest camera and imaging giants based in Munich, Arri, has today expanded its grant program, the Franz Wieser Grant program, to accommodate for creativity from aspiring filmmakers and directors.

The Franz Wieser Grant program is in charge of providing aspiring filmmakers access to all Arri products and resources so that can practice and gain experience through shooting documentaries and short videos without compromising their portfolio.

The expansion of this already fantastic program means aspiring filmmakers can now do much more than create short videos, or feature videos or music videos, they can now try their hands at some real filmmaking.

Previously named as Amira Grant Program and Launched nine (9) years ago, the grant program has since been renamed after one of Arri’s hardworking executives, Franz Wieser – a man who never tires of empowering small filmmakers. Franz died in 2019 after which the grant was named after him.

Many rising star filmmakers have been beneficiaries of this grant program and are more often than not being nominated for awards in the filmmaking industry.

Speaking about the expansion, the chairman of the grant program, Ksenia Lappo said, “Our goal is to challenge and inspire filmmakers to create the best projects they possibly can.”

This statement in itself shows there’s still a lot the grant program has for its aspiring talents.

Applying for the Franz Wieser Grant program is open all year round although beneficiaries are chosen by how interesting the grant committee sees their proposal. Once someone is selected to join the program, he or she automatically qualifies for the technical support and equipment package offered by the grants.

Tale of Tails: An Original Series Not to be Missed


Tails is not a white-collar gentlemen’s club. It’s a borderline-legal bar with topless dancers and a back room where anything goes for the right price. Nick, the owner, keeps Tails afloat by taking advantage of the desperate women who dance for money and the desperate men who pay for female attention. When a dead body shows up in the bathroom, Nick’s control begins to unravel. Hunted by an ambitious, relentless cop, Nick’s enemies begin to surround him. He must decide how many friends to sacrifice in order to save himself.
Tevis Marcum (Stone) who had the original idea for the show approached Harley Wallen (Abstruse) in late 2019 to play the lead role of Nick in the pilot .  Wallen immediately saw the potential but had some input and alongside Steve Kopera (Boyne Falls) the three then revamped with new ideas wrote not only the pilot but the whole season and it came pretty easily.  They added a strong female element with Kaiti Wallen (Agramon’s Gate) and built a terrific ensemble around them including season guest stars such as Richard Tyson (Kindergarten Cop), Yan Birch (The People Under the Stairs), Blanca Blanco (Betrayed), Michael Emery (BlueBloods), Daron Cruickshank (The Ultimate Fighter) and, Jesi Jensen (Devils Night) and regulars such as Jerry Hayes (Moving Parts), Grover McCants (Solomon) and Dominique Alexander (Black Petunia) and Jessika Johnson (Playboy After Dark).
Getting Michael Hamilton and Courtney Vanloo Hamilton onboard moved them into pre-production in a month.
Production started in early February 2020 but grounded in late March due to the pandemic, but after a few months off they went back and completed season one over the summer 2020.
“It was funny but every day I left set I felt we had something truly special so the expectations became higher and higher” said Wallen.  When they wrapped the Labor Day weekend Kopera had already been editing and Wallen decided to bring on the music of Randy Lynch and Allen Lynch because of how music heavy the series is.
With season 1 completed the festival run started the accolades started coming.  “We’ve had strong festival runs before but nothing like this, it confirmed what we had been thinking… It started feeling like we had a hit in our hands!” Said Wallen.
when it came to distributors they didn’t have a shortage of interest but decided on Homestead Entertainment who really believed in the series.  Tale of Tails will be available 6/12/21 exclusively on Tubi, a season 2 is already in the works.

Amazon Purchases the Iconic Film Studio MGM for $8.45 Billion

Amazon announces the purchase of the studio Behind the James Bond Franchise, MGM for $8.45 Billion

Amazon and MGM earlier today announced that an agreement, that will see Amazon acquire the studio and rights to all its works, has been reached between the two companies.

Founded in 1924, MGM has gone from being just a movie-making studio to a giant entertainment company with a rich catalog of films under its name. Alongside the announcement of the merger, the two companies added that all the movies and TV shows owned by MGM would be even more easily accessible now that the two companies are together.

While we cannot say which company is benefitting more from the merger, there is one thing we do know for sure,  Amazon Prime Video subscriptions are about to be worth every single dollar subscribers pay for it. What with the addition of over 4,000 movies and 17,000 TV shows owned by MGM, it is a good time to be a Prime Video subscriber! Furthermore, Amazon Studios would be looking to revive popular old franchises from the studio such as the incredible 007 series among other classic titles.

Speaking while announcing the deal officially to the public, Senior VP of Amazon Studios and Prime Video, Mike Hopkins, said that “The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of (intellectual property) in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team. It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.” During the announcement, Hopkins also briefly mentioned that MGM studios have over 800 global employees, all of whom will be joining the studio to Amazon.

This is not the first time Amazon would be pulling off incredibly expensive acquisitions but the $8.45 Billion deal sure puts it second on the list of Amazon’s expensive company acquisitions.

Although there is no confirmed date on when the merger deal would be approved by a regulatory body governing the whole industry, Variety quoted insiders believe the deal should be done by the end of the year (2021). One of the interesting terms and conditions of the deal is that Amazon will take responsibility for MGM’s debt while the studio will be working as a branch under the Amazon Brand.

In a statement released by MGM’s executive chairman, Kevin Ulrich, he expressed his happiness about the deal saying “I am very proud that MGM’s Lion, which has long evoked the Golden Age of Hollywood, will continue its storied history, and the idea born from the creation of United Artists lives on in a way the founders originally intended, driven by the talent and their vision. The opportunity to align MGM’s storied history with Amazon is an inspiring combination.”

While it is yet to be seen as to whether the next title in the Bond franchise would debut on the Amazon Prime streaming service, there is no denying that the merger can open a whole world of possibilities not only for both companies but also for fans of the various classics mentioned by Hopkins during the deal announcement. Some of the popular titles include Creed; Rocky;  Tomb Raider;  Robocop; Raging Bull; Poltergeist; The James Bond series; The Pink Panther;  Moonstruck;  Fargo (TV Show);  Vikings (TV Show);  The Handmaid’s Tale (TV Show); among others, all of which have generated not just huge revenue for the MGM studio and other marketing companies that own rights to them but also amassed jaw-dropping audience all over the world.

Considering Amazon studio has recently adopted an aggressive commercial fare type of production, it would be really interesting to see how MGM and Amazon handle how to run the new “film division”.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is Finally Here..

Zack Snyder’s Justice League(2021)

Directed by Zack Snyder

Starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Jason Mamoa, and Ezra Miller

It has been quite a journey, but Zack Snyder’s vision of Justice League is finally here. I believe we’re all aware of the circumstances that brought this version to fruition, so I will not recount it in this review.

So I saw it and I have to say that Zack Snyder’s Justice League has one of the most compelling stories in the superhero film genre. I would suggest watching the theatrical version first before watching this one to get a sort of “Masterclass in Comparative Filmmaking.” You will literally see how two directors interpret the same movie.

The plot is still the same, but with this film’s run-time, you get a more detailed story, and character development that is top-notch. Every character’s story is told and keeps you more engaged.

There’s a lot to say about this movie, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. However, I will say the slow-motion in some scenes and the score enhanced the dramatic impact of Snyder’s vision. And the way this movie was told, it concluded in an open-ended way. I would say that the ending is basically a beginning to a more vast universe. Who knows? Maybe Zack’s “Snyderverse” will be revived.

If you’re into superhero films, you owe it to yourself to watch this version of Justice League. If you want an engaging story, detailed character development, and an intriguing score, this movie is for you.

My score: 9.5/10(Purchase worthy when it comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray)

A Tale of Revenge: The Rhythm Section

The Rhythm Section(2020)       Directed by Reed Morano

Starring Blake Lively, Jude Law, and Sterling K. Brown

Usually revenge movies have the same type of plot: A character’s friend or loved one is murdered, and he or she surprisingly has all of the skills necessary to get rid of every person responsible. The Rhythm Section has the same type of synopsis. However, it explores the idea of your average person, named Stephanie, who tries to take revenge on those responsible for killing her family.

The Rhythm Section is a very slow-paced thriller, just to warn you. The plot is straightforward and it doesn’t get interrupted with a lot of subplots, which is a plus. The viewer is invited to see how a regular person with no skills is trained to be an assassin in order to avenge the death of her loved ones. However, this film has very little action, and in my opinion, I wish it had more.

All in all, if you’re in the mood for a  different take on the revenge thriller, The Rhythm Section is an intriguing film to check out. I will recommend renting this before you decide to add it to your collection. My score-7/10. (Weekend rental, then make a decision to buy).

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.

Amma Asante to Start Principal Photography on ‘Billion Dollar Spy’ in 12 Months 

American filmmaker Amma Asante has revealed that she plans to start principal photography in 12 months on the long-awaited project “The Billion Dollar Spy”. Production is currently halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Adapted from David E. Hoffman’s best-selling book of the same name, Benjamin August (“Remember”), the production of Walden Media and Wade Road Pictures will tell the true story of one of the most influential people in the Pentagon’s last years. He had become a valuable spy cold War. Akiva Goldsman is ready to go. 

“You know that the aesthetic that I wanted was to cover the snow and cover as much real snow as possible and that would limit the time of year,” Asante said. “I think that will happen in the next 12 months.” 

Asante was talking to Scottish radio DJ and TV presenter Edith Bowman, who discussed her award-winning career as part of the Virtual BAFTA Master class, which included the London Film Festival and San Francisco. Sebastian includes two BAFTA as well as Gong. 

Asante’s film credits include “A Way of Life,” “Belle,” “The United Kingdom” and “Wherever hands touch“. Television credits include episodes of “A handmade tale” and “Mrs. America.” 

A way of life 

Asante spoke openly about the obstacles facing the industry, despite winning the Carl Foreman Award in 2005 for highly specialized newcomers to BAFTAs for their first feature “A Way of Life”. “I want to say that when I won my BAFTA, I talked about 10 years before making another film, and there are directors who are not black and there are not women who are the same. BAFTA won – for a debut, producer, or writer – and when I started making another film, I made more films than I did. 

“You get into a situation where the industry says, ‘We need experienced people.’ Well, of course, people will be more experienced if they have more opportunities, and you have fewer opportunities. “So we’re in the Catch 22 situation in the industry setup. It’s designed to limit the many of us who look like us while gaining experience like me while giving those who are more diligent, clean, More than us, but those who manage to make the most award-winning films and work with big actors and big names only because they have been able to present their art. “ 

“We have to be tough and keep changing, and I have a way of doing that, although it frustrates me. Is it that for every film I’m in control of, I make sure I have less There is at least one emerging film. Women filmmakers are casting me over this film, “said Asante.” In my last film, as most people know, I had four films.
 

‘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.