Category Archives: Family

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.

Adam Wingard, American Filmmaker behind the acclaimed “Godzilla vs Kong” is set to direct Comic Adaptation ‘Hardcore’ at Universal Pictures

Off the back of producing the successful but controversial sci-fi/Action “Godzilla vs. Kong” movie, Adam Wingard does not look like he’s going to be resting on his laurels anytime soon.

The American filmmaker and director have landed the role of directing and adapting “Hardcore” from a comic book series into a movie. The comic book series, written by Robert Kirkman (known popularly for creating “The Walking Dead” series) and Marc Silvestri is a sci-fi/Action thriller, something Wingard is not a stranger to.

The comic book follows the journey of a soldier who wants to save the world without having to play dirty. As of the time of this writing, the script for the adaptation, tailored to specific outlines made by Kirkman is said to have been completed before announcing Wingard as the director of the movie.

Wingard will be adapting the script with up-and-coming filmmaker Will Simmons. Although Wingard, alongside his company Montauk Chair, will produce the movie, Kirkman, Sean, and Bryan Furst are just some of the other executive producers that would have to work alongside Wingard at one point or the other.

Following the success of “Godzilla vs. Kong”, especially with the kaiju showdown amassing well over $400 million despite being released simultaneously on HBO max and theatrically, there is a lot to look forward to on Wingard’s new “hardcore” project.

Gavin MacLeod, ‘Love Boat’ Captain and ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ Star, Dies at 90

Gavin MacLeod, a sitcom veteran who played seaman “Happy” Haines on “McHale’s Navy,” Murray on “Mary Tyler Moore” and the very different, vaguely patrician Captain Stubing on “The Love Boat,” has died. He was 90.

MacLeod’s nephew, Mark See, confirmed his death to Variety. MacLeod died in the early morning on May 29. No cause of death was given, but MacLeod’s health had declined in recent months.

MacLeod played a relatively minor character on ABC hit “McHale’s Navy,” starring Ernest Borgnine, but as news writer Murray Slaughter, he was certainly one of the stars of “Mary Tyler Moore,” appearing in every one of the classic comedy’s 168 episodes during its 1970-77 run on CBS. Murray was married to Marie (Joyce Bulifant) but was in love with Moore’s Mary Richards. His desk was right next to Mary’s in the WGN newsroom, so MacLeod was frequently in the shot during the sitcom, and Murray, like all the other characters, was richly developed — a hallmark of MTM shows.

MacLeod originally tried out for the part of Lou Grant, which went to Ed Asner, but claimed to be happy that he ended up playing Murray. He also auditioned for the role of Archie Bunker on “All in the Family,” but of reading the script for the first time, he wrote in his memoir, “Immediately I thought, This is not the script for me. The character is too much of a bigot. I can’t say these things.” When Norman Lear called the actor to say that Carroll O’Connor had gotten the part, MacLeod was relieved.

The “Moore” cast — MacLeod, Asner, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Betty White and Georgia Engel (Ted Knight had died in 1986) — reminisced with Moore in 2002 on CBS’ “The Mary Tyler Moore Reunion.”

Asner paid tribute to MacLeod on Twitter, writing: “My heart is broken. Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator. I will see you in a bit Gavin. Tell the gang I will see them in a bit. Betty! It’s just you and me now.”

MacLeod had the great fortune to roll right from one hit show to another in 1977, when “Moore” ended and ABC’s “The Love Boat” began. The hourlong romantic comedy set on a cruise ship ran for 10 years. The actor’s Captain Stubing was known for his signature salute. Even after the end of the voyage in 1987, the actor returned for telepic “The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage” in 1990 and for the “Reunion” episode of rebooted series “Love Boat: The Next Wave” in 1998.

MacLeod may, indeed, hold a record for consecutive long-running series: He went straight from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (168 episodes) to “The Love Boat” (249 episodes).

The New York Times said in 2010: “Perhaps no actor has embraced a signature role the way Mr. MacLeod has with Captain Stubing. Since ‘The Love Boat’ went off the air, he has been a spokesman for Princess Cruises.”

In 1997, the actor joined the rest of “The Love Boat” cast on “Oprah” in what was the first full cast appearance since the show was cancelled. Another cast reunion occurred in 2013 on “The Talk.”

MacLeod was born Allan George See in Mount Kisco, N.Y. His mother worked for Reader’s Digest, while his father was an electrician who was part Chippewa. He grew up in Pleasantville, N.Y., and went to Ithaca College, where he studied acting and graduated in 1952. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he moved to New York City and worked at Radio City Music Hall as an usher and elevator operator while seeking work as an actor. During this time he changed his name.

After a few uncredited film roles, MacLeod made his credited big screen debut in the 1958 Susan Hayward vehicle “I Want to Live,” playing a police lieutenant, then played a G.I. in Gregory Peck starrer “Pork Chop Hill” the next year. His supporting role in Blake Edwards’ WWII comedy “Operation Petticoat,” starring Cary Grant and Tony Curtis and focusing on the chaotic goings on aboard a submarine, gave the young actor a flavor of what he would be doing a few years later on “McHale’s Navy.” In the meantime he appeared in the 1960 thriller “Twelve Hours to Kill,” which starred future “I Dream of Jeannie” star Barbara Eden; Blake Edwards’ musical comedy “High Time,” starring Bing Crosby and Fabian; and the critically hailed but now forgotten Korean War film “War Hunt.” He also did a boatload of guest appearances on TV before his stint on “McHale’s Navy.”

MacLeod left “McHale’s Navy” in order to be able to appear in a supporting role in the excellent period adventure film “The Sand Pebbles,” starring Steve McQueen, and he appeared in a number of other films throughout the decade: “A Man Called Gannon” and Blake Edwards’ Peter Sellers comedy “The Party” in 1968; “The Thousand Plane Raid,” “The Comic” and “The Intruders” in 1969; and, in 1970, the World War II caper film “Kelly’s Heroes,” in which he played Moriarty, Oddball’s machine-gunner and mechanic.

In the meantime he was guesting on both dramas (“Perry Mason,” “Ben Casey,” “Ironside,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “The Big Valley”) and comedies (“The Andy Griffith Show,” “My Favorite Martian,” “Hogan’s Heroes”). In December 1961, he guested on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” in what was his first time working with Mary Tyler Moore.

After his years on “Mary Tyler Moore” and “The Love Boat,” MacLeod did not work on a steady basis — he did not have to.

He made an impression, however, in a 2000 episode of HBO prison drama “Oz” in which he played the Roman Catholic Cardinal Frances Abgott, with whom Rita Moreno’s nun Sister Pete discusses leaving the order. The actor had assumed a certain gravitas as Captain Stubing, even amid the silliness of “The Love Boat,” that made this role possible in a way that it couldn’t have been before.

In the 2000s MacLeod also guested on series including “The King of Queens,” “JAG,” “Touched by an Angel” and “That ’70s Show.”

MacLeod, who had appeared on Broadway in 1962 in “The Captains and the Kings,” also returned to stage work after “The Love Boat.” He toured with Michael Learned of “The Waltons” in A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters,” and he appeared in musicals such as “Gigi” and “Copacabana” between 1997 and 2003. At a concert in 2008, he conducted the Colorado Symphony in Denver.

MacLeod was first married, from 1955-1972, to Joan Devore, with whom he had two sons and two daughters.

He married actress Patti Kendig in 1974. They divorced in 1982 but remarried in 1985.

During the mid-1980s, MacLeod and his second wife became Evangelical Christians, and the pair credited the religion for reuniting them. He wrote about it in his 1987 book “Back on Course, the Remarkable Story of a Divorce That Ended in Remarriage.” He and Kendig appeared in the Christian big-screen time-travel epic “Time Changer,” along with Hal Linden, in 2002, and he played the title role in the 2008 Christian film “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry.”

His memoir “This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life,” was published in 2013.

He is survived by Kendig and four children by Devore.

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”.

Looking back at the Animated Classics: 101 Dalmations

101 Dalmations(1961)

Starring the voice talents of Paul Wexler, Mary Wickes, Barbara Luddey, and Lisa Daniels

This may come as a surprise, but I just saw Disney’s 101 Dalmations for the first time.    And I have to say that after watching this classic,  I was very impressed with the story.

I don’t want to assume that everyone knows the plot, so for those of you are unfamiliar with the movie’s premise, it centers on a Dalmation couple, Pongo and Perdita. The two go on a mission to rescue their puppies from the fashion-obsessed Cruella DeVille.

101 Dalmations not only had a well-paced and impressive story, but the characters’ performances were engaging and memorable. Another particular aspect of this animated feature that I admired was the vast network the canine community created to help any dog in need. For example, when the humans were unable to find the puppies, Pongo’s friend The Great Dane, helped them find their children through his contacts and vast “barking” network.

I don’t want to give away the whole movie, but if you’re an animation fan who wants a good adventure, 101 Dalmations comes highly recommended.   My Score: 8.5/10(Add this to your collection).

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.