Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Show Case Your Work to the World

September 24, 2010
Future Artists

(We have decided to share our secret weapon with the rest of the world –!) About the workshop (2hrs)

Need a cost effective way of promoting yourself? How about a brand new FREE platform that is a virtual book, Create a portfolio, with pages that turn, a digital book that contains all your photos, videos, audio clips, and writings. All you need to know, is how to use the platform!

By the end of this workshop, you will be a whizz, and can sack the web designer! and save cash!!!!!!

No hostings fees, update it anytime and in real time!

Link it into all of your social media, from facebook to twitter, myspace or Linked in!

Now imagine the book contained all your work to date, laid out, designed to promote you and your business as a creative.

Using the simple easy myebook interface we expect all attendees to be able to create ebooks to the standard of this example.

For more information and to book your place click here.


See what Mark Ashmore, the workshop leader created with his team at future artists so they could self distributed the short film ‘Broken Britain’ via – a world first!

Have a look at the example below.



Filmonik folks are at it again, will they never learn!

July 19, 2010
Filmonik Open Screening #49, featuring The “Gorilla” Micro Kabaret!

Micro Kabaret: Saturday 7th - Sunday 8th August.

Screening: Sunday August 8th, 7.30pm till Late, Deaf Institute,
Grosvenor Street, Manchester

Filmonik is the North West’s premier “open screening” night for
filmmakers, offering a warm welcome and a censure-free public platform
to all filmmakers, be they Industry Professionals, self-styled Media
Guerrillas, or relative novices still finding their creative voice.
Films are not pre-selected, but simply booked in, and screened, sight
unseen. Anyone is free to submit. Anyone is welcome to attend. This is
a place to try out new ideas, and unlikely creative collaborations, to
network and discover like-minded talent. This is your chance to have
fun with film and not get arrested for it.

For the next screening, we’re planning something special - the
“Gorilla Kabaret”!

The concept is simple. We will be arranging a “pitching session” at
10am on Saturday 7th of August at an informal meeting place (Location
TBC). Here introductions will be made, weapons revealed (skills,
cameras, computers, lighting, props, ideas etc), and collaborations
forged. Participants will then have from the end of the meeting until
show time to make a film for Sunday’s screening. That’s just 34

Every film must arrive at the screening by 8pm, and must contain the
credit "Gorilla Kabaret #1, Filmonik screening #49".

NOTE: We will of course still be accepting films in the usual fashion
from those who have not been part of the Gorilla Kabaret. If you’ve
something to show, all you need to is contact us and book a slot, or
just bring it along on the night. If you’re simply keen to see what’s
happening in the world of low budget independent short film, then come
on down. We want full houses and enthusiastic audiences!

For more information, visit or join the facebook
group for instant updates at!/event.php?eid=103135489739820&ref=mf

or email

Fans of the big screen are being invited to take part in an action packed day to celebrate Manchester’s film industry.

July 4, 2010

Fans of the big screen are being invited to take part in an action packed day to celebrate Manchester’s film industry.

A series of events is being held at venues across the city to bring together actors, writers, directors and film fans, on Saturday, July 17.

We wanted to bring the people of Salford and Manchester together to celebrate our thriving creative media and film industry,” said Mark Ashmore, of Salford-based film and media production studio Future Artists, which is organising the event to mark its first birthday.

We have some amazingly talented people in the City, who adapt to change as if it where in their blood, media is changing, social media has changed everything, and the way we make film is changing, these are changing times don’t you know, so this event states this and our future artists intentions”

The Picnic in the Park event will start at noon with a conference at the Zion Arts Centre, in Hume, to give people the chance to discuss press issues in the local and global film industry.

This will be follow at 1pm by a giant picnic to be held at Hume Park with the whole of Manchester invited.

People can come to our conference and get the chance to talk about whatever they want,” said Jenny Inchbald, who is also from Future Artists.

It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting interested in film, or you’ve been in the industry for years. It’s a great chance to meet people in the industry and share your views.

Then we want to move the conference over to the park. We’ll have live music and entertainment.”

At 5pm Future Artists will be showing a double-bill of films back at the Zion Arts Centre, including the award winning comedy Beyond the Pole, produced by Helana Baxendale, of Friends and Cold Feet fame, with tickets just £6.

Finally, a party is being planned at the FAC251 club starting at 10pm to end the day.

Mark added: “We’re hoping for a great turnout throughout the day. We have some great films on show and hope people will be able to share our passion for this City’s thriving film industry, and meet others who are interested in cinema.”

For more information, or advanced tickets to the screening, go to

Tickets for the film will also be available on the door.

Mark and Jenny Future Artists Out Side of Zion (c) Alex Walker 2010

Mark and Jenny Future Artists at Zion (c) Alex Walker 2010


for more information or to arrange an interview please contact Jenny Inchbald on 07500 256 968 or email

The Things We Found This Week – Future Artists

June 25, 2010

Future Artists New Letter!

1) North West New Wave film ‘Diary of a Bad Lad’ gets full theatrical distribution deal, see it next week!

2) Future Artists celebrate their first birthday with a thought provoking 1 day event ‘In Exile’

3) THE BENCH – By Joe O’byrne returns to Salford Arts centre next week

4) ‘Just do it‘ – Director Emily James explains ‘Just get off your arse and save the world’

In Full

1) Diary of a Bad lad Premieres at Art Deco cinema in Stockport, UK,

Future Artists are proud to support the first film from what is being called ‘the north west new wave‘ of film making, by southern media types

‘Diary of a Badlad’ produced by pleesed sheep films, and is now being tipped as one of the top films of 2010. We like to think of producer Jon Williams as the ‘Godfather’ of the new wave, and so invite you all to the opening night screening on Tuesday 29th June 2010, in Stockport. They’ve bagged one of the last original Art Deco cinemas to do it in too, so well worth it on two levels!

More info and tickets here at the film’s official website

2) Future Artists in Exile

Its our First Birthday Party on the 17th of July and so to celebrate we are having an unconference, a Picnic in the Park in Hume Park, with live music, followed by a screening of yet to be released Beyond the Pole, multi awarding winning film staring Stephen Mangan (Green Wing, Confetti); Rhys Thomas (Bellamy’s People, Fast Show); Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) and Helen Baxendale (Friends, Cold Feet) who also exec produces.

Supporting the main feature is Bogstandard, a short film. All this takes place at the Zion Arts centre in Hulme as the final part of future artists respond residency… tickets and full info here and on facebook here

3) THE BENCH – by Joe O’byrne

Following successful runs at Salford, Didsbury and Manchester, Joe O’Byrne’s hit play The Bench returns to the region later this month.

The play follows the lives of an eclectic group of Paradise Heights residents as intersect around a bench in the local park, over a 12 month period.

Thematically the play is about life, death and rebirth. Many of the characters find themselves at transitional points in their lives. They are either nervously eyeing an uncertain future and change, or coming to terms with the often painful process of moving on, or letting go.

Whilst some are desperately holding onto the past, others are are even more desperate to escape it and the unbearable pain that has made them who they are.

Tickets and more info 0161 925 0111

4) ‘Just do it’ – Director Emily James explains ‘Just get off your arse and save the world’

Mark Ashmore of Future Artists met Emily James at last years Sheffield Doc fest, both where filming the climate camp movement, both for the same reasons, and so over a beer, they embarked on an filming assignment – to Copenhagen, Denmark, to follow activists who where getting off their arse’s and trying to DO something about climate change,

The project is funded by the crowd, by those that care, so take 5 minutes to check out the trailer and website here, and get involved…. its your planet too, after all,

Trailer here

Hope you enjoy and to see you soon!

Jenny Inchbald and Mark Ashmore

Future Artists HQ

Comedy Surpasses News as Most Popular Online Videos

June 9, 2010

Article from

WASHINGTON: More than half of U.S. adults have watched video online, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, with comedy clips having replaced news as the most popular Internet videos.

Pew’s Internet & American Life Project found that 69 percent of adult Internet users—52 percent of all U.S. adults—have gone online to watch or download video. And more adults are putting their own content online; 14 percent said they’ve uploaded a video to the web, 52 percent say they’ve shared their video on MySpace or Facebook and 49 percent on YouTube.

Fifty percent of all adult Internet users say they have viewed comedy videos online, up from 31 percent in 2007. Forty-three percent say they’ve watched news video, up from 37 percent. Thirty-two percent say they’ve watched movies or TV shows, twice as many as three years ago.

However, the number of web-users ready to pay for video online remains small. Only 1 in 10, or 7 percent of all Internet users, say they have paid to watch or download a video.

Leading the pack in online viewing are the 18-to-29 set, according to the poll.

“We are seeing a surge in online video watching,” said Kristen Purcell, a Pew associate director for research.

She said the increase was being “driven by a combination of broadband access, the increasing use of social networking sites and the popularity of video-sharing sites.”

“Untold numbers of websites now showcase online video as part of their content,” she added.

Free TV’s found money

March 3, 2010

Big Four eye possible windfall in near future



Fox, CBS and other broadcasters have long maintained that they deserve real money from cablers and satcasters because Big Four stations remain among the most-watched channels on the dial, no matter how many channels viewers have to choose from.

There’s a gold rush afoot that promises to reach into every corner of the television biz, from local broadcasters, cable and satellite TV operators to the Big Four networks and Hollywood’s creative community.

At a time when the nets and their local affiliate stations are facing rising costs, declining viewership and plummeting ad rates, they’re suddenly eyeing a possible $1 billion-$2 billion windfall over the next few years.

This is not due to a new business plan, or technological changes. It’s found money. For nearly 20 years, the networks and their affils have been negotiating deals with cable operators under the Federal Communications Commission rules known as “retransmission consent.” That wonkish term causes many in the TV biz to tune out on the details, but it certainly got people’s attention over the New Year’s holiday when News Corp. went to the mat in its highly publicized contract wrangling with Time Warner Cable for the retrans rights to Fox O&O stations in nine major markets.

Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second-largest cable operator, wound up agreeing to pay significantly more cash than it ever has before to carry the Fox-owned stations, and this deal has single-handedly raised the bar on negotiations for broadcasters and cable operators throughout the country. (Retrans pacts typically run three to six years, and many Big Four affil deals are up for renewal in the next two years.)

Biz research firm SNL Kagan estimates that TV stations generated $739 million from retrans fees in 2009. SNL Kagan analyst Robin Flynn had projected that retrans coin would reach about $1.39 billion by 2013, but in the wake of the Fox-Time Warner pact, Flynn has revised her projections to about $1.6 billion in 2012 and nearly $2 billion by 2013.

This influx will huge have a big ripple effect in Hollywood’s creative community, where the new money will help pay for high-priced programming and star salaries such as Simon Cowell’s $50 million payday for “American Idol.” The big money in retrans will flow primarily to Big Four affiliate stations — those with must-have sports and programming franchises. Univision also has logged big retrans deals in heavily Latino markets, thanks to its massive market share of the Spanish-lingo TV aud.

“It’s a transforming event,” News Corp. prexy and chief operating officer Chase Carey told investors during the company’s second-quarter earnings conference call on Feb. 2. “It certainly puts (Fox) in a competitive place where it has the dual revenue stream like a successful cable network.”

After a marathon 36-hour negotiation session on Dec. 31-Jan. 1, Fox and Time Warner cut a five-year deal that will generate about 80¢ per month per Time Warner subscriber for the stations by the final year of the deal. That’s in the ballpark of the carriage fees commanded by top-rated basic cablers USA Network and TNT. The deal will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to News Corp.’s bottom line, and it sets an important industry-standard benchmark for broadcasters.

It’s no wonder TV station managers who gathered last month in Las Vegas for the annual NATPE syndie sales confab spoke of Rupert Murdoch, Carey, Fox Networks Group topper Tony Vinciquerra in reverential terms.

“There’s no question that the Fox negotiation certainly got people thinking about where the next (retrans) benchmark is,” said Paul Karpowicz, prexy of Meredith Local Media Group. Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith owns 12 stations, most of them CBS and Fox affiliates in mid-sized markets including Atlanta, Nashville, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore.

But it took the recession and the wallop of a nearly 20% plunge in local ad sales — even steeper in some big markets like Los Angeles — last year to forced broadcasters to focus on drawing on untapped riches from their cable competitors.

“This is a long overdue development,” said Dave Lougee, prexy of Gannett Broadcasting, which owns 23 stations, most of them CBS and NBC affils. “Broadcasters are finally on track toward getting the marketplace value of their products.”

But there are strings attached to all of this new money for affils. The Big Four networks plan to lay claim to some of the wealth. Net execs note that the vast majority of the programming that makes affil stations a must-have channel for operators is provided by the network, particularly in the area of pricey sports rights.

There are other potential obstacles to broadcasters collecting the retrans cash. As station owners get more aggressive in seeking cash compensation from cablers, satellite TV operators and telco providers, the public sparring and threats of station blackouts are on the rise, which has prompted the FCC and some lawmakers to take a hard look at the 18-year-old regulatory framework of retransmission consent (see separate story).

On the other end of the cable spectrum, the boom times in retrans is coming as Comcast Corp., the largest domestic cable operator, is poised to take control of NBC Universal. That has NBC affiliates concerned that the enlarged company would have enough clout to dictate terms for non-NBC O&O affils.

It’s expected that a range of affiliate-centric protections will be included in any mandates that the feds put on the deal as a condition of granting regulatory approval for the $30 billion transaction between Comcast and General Electric.

Michael Fiorile, chairman of the NBC affiliates board and CEO of Columbus, Ohio-based Dispatch Broadcast Group, told a House subcommittee at the Feb. 4 hearing on the Comcast-NBC U deal that affils will insist that the new NBC U “keep negotiations on affiliation and retransmission consent deals separate between NBC and Comcast.”

Fiorile said NBC affiliate station owners had been meeting with Comcast execs to hammer out a written agreement of commitments that would secure their support for the merger.

But Comcast CEO Brian Roberts acknowledged in a hearing before a Senate subcommittee, also on Feb. 4, that the company’s position as both a cable operator and a broadcaster might allow Comcast to play a “constructive” role in the process.. “By being a cable company and a broadcaster we think we can play a unique role in trying to find constructive models to help the broadcasting business grow in the future,” he said.

Surprisingly, there has been little squawking from affiliate station owners about the networks’ intent to snag some of that retrans cash. After a brutal decade of grappling with new technologies, new competitors and an erosion of broadcasting’s old ad-supported business models, there’s an understanding that the Big Four networks need to do something dramatic to shore up their futures.

“This will help the networks afford high-quality programming,” says Rich Greenfield, managing director of Pali Research and a Wall Street analyst who has closely followed retrans developments. “It’s great for networks and producers. Anybody who’s a big producer of programming should benefit from this. Just when you thought everything was going to reality (on the nets), here comes this incremental revenue stream.”

But the devil is in the details. Station owners say there’s no clear plan from any of the Big Four on how revenue-sharing will be structured. Affiliate and network reps are in the early stages of discussing the issues and gathering feedback from various constituencies.

Nets and affiliates have worked out similar deals to help pay for big-ticket items, such as NFL packages and CBS’ rights to the NCAA basketball tourney. But the retrans handoff would be on a much larger scale. And it marks a 180-degree turn from the original Big Three business model in which networks paid affiliates “comp” money for carrying their shows. (ABC, CBS and NBC have phased out most affiliate comp payments, which once ran as high as about $200 million per net, during the past decade.)

“Rather than the networks trying to do an outright grab on retrans money, we’d all be better served if we could figure out a way to approach this issue together,” Meredith’s Karpowicz says. “If they can help me get a larger retrans fee, then I’m very comfortable sharing some of that with them. It would be nice if we’re working together rather than them having expectations about ‘You guys are going to do this and we’re going to take it.’?”

There’s been some talk of each network serving as the negotiating entity on behalf of affils that elect to hand the task over to their larger partners. But net execs say privately that such an effort would be unwieldy and labor-intensive, and might not yield that much more than a strong affil station could command on its own. Gannett, for example, estimates it will bring in more than $60 million in fees for its 23 stations this year, up from $19 million in 2008.

Fox has language in its existing affiliation contracts with stations giving the network the right to share in retrans coin. ABC is understood to be in the midst of renewing a number of affiliation agreements with key station groups, and undoubtedly retrans and revenue sharing are the primary topics of conversation in those talks.

CBS has in recent weeks has closed at least one new affiliation agreement with a station owner that calls for the payment of a pre-set annual fee to the network. Diana Wilkin, prez of CBS’ affiliate relations department, characterized the agreement as involving a “cash value exchange” but would not elaborate or specify the station group.

Insiders note that the nets will likely be cautious about entering into a deal that specified the handover of a set percentage of retrans coin, because some stations still may wind up with compensation other than cash, such as carriage of digital channels.

CBS’ approach has been to tailor its new deals around “what we determine the value of the affiliation to be to that particularly station or group, which is an individual conversation,” Wilkin says. “There’s not a one-size-fits-all” template, she added.

The dramatic shifts in the structure of the network-affiliate relationship are a far cry from how the Big Four first approached retrans when it became law after the 1992 regulatory overhaul of the cable biz. Back then, three of the Big Four focused on horse-trading retrans rights for their O&Os with operators for carriage of their new cable channels — think Fox’s FX, NBC’s MSNBC, ABC’s ESPN Classic, and more recently, the dawn of the Fox Business Network. In May 2000, Disney and Time Warner Cable waged a public war over retrans rights that led to ABC O&O stations being yanked from the cabler for two days, but Disney’s focus at that time was not on getting cash but leveraging retrans for expanded carriage of its Mouse-owned cable channels including SoapNet and Toon Disney.

Because the O&O groups, traditionally the strongest stations in the largest markets, weren’t pushing for cash paydays from the biggest operators, it was nearly impossible for other station owners to demand such fees. More often, cable operators would commit to buying a certain amount of advertising time from the local station. More recently, cablers have agreed to carry a broadcaster’s digital channels in addition to the main signal, or make some of a station’s local programming available on a VOD platform, in an effort to sweeten retrans deals.

But after a brutal few years of declining local ad sales, Fox, CBS and other strong broadcast groups began declaring their intent to hold the line for cash commensurate with the fees drawn by top cable channels. According to SNL Kagan research, the ad market for local TV stations fell to less than $19 billion last year, compared to nearly $25 billion in 2006. By 2013, Kagan’s Flynn predicts it will reach just under $22 billion.

Carey has said he believes Fox stations are worth more than even the roughly $4 per sub that cable operators pay for ESPN. At the height of the Fox-Time Warner scuffle in December, Disney took the unusual step of offering a lengthy statement of support for Fox’s position. The Mouse is facing a Sept. 1 contract expiration deadline on its mammoth O&O retrans and cable carriage pact with Time Warner.

Satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network have been paying stations cash for the past 11 years (since satcasters have been legally allowed to retransmit stations on a local-market basis), which has also helped put pressure on cable operators to cough up coin. In the wake of the Fox-Time Warner deal, DirecTV and Dish are sure to face higher fee demands down the road. Time Warner Cable and others have sounded the alarm that they have no choice but to pass on at least some portion of their higher programming costs to consumers.

“Just like people pay more for gas when the price of a barrel of oil rises, the price we charge is directly affected by what we pay for programming,” says Time Warner Cable spokeswoman Maureen Huff. “That is why we are trying so hard to control these increasing programming costs.”

But at the same time, industry insiders say the largest cable operators have been resigned to that fact that a big hike retrans fees was inevitable, and they’ve been prepping for this higher cost structure in their budgeting and long-term business planning.

Pali Research’s Greenfield warns that broadcasters cannot count on retrans as being the panacea for all of local TV’s woes, especially as networks are set to grab so much of the revenue. The biggest issue facing local stations, in Greenfield’s view, is how to transform their local news production — traditionally the single-biggest driver of profits — for a younger generation of viewers who are absorbing news and info from a myriad of instantaneous sources these days. They don’t wait to get headlines from the 4 o’clock report as their parents once did.

Retrans coin “helps mitigate the immediate pressure on the broadcast business,” Greenfield says. “But it helps the network business more than it helps the local TV stations … And if they’re not going to get most of the additional dollars from retrans, what are they going to do?”

In the short term, broadcasters say they’re happy for the breathing room offered by the promise of a secondary revenue stream. Advertising sales, even in a depressed market, will still dwarf retrans revenues, but it still provides a cushion that stations desperately need right now.

Meredith’s Karpowicz notes that 2009 “was a very difficult year. That line item of retrans really saved a lot of people this year.”

Gannett’s Lougee says the retrans conversations of the next few years are an important milestone for TV’s old guard — which is a big part of the reason why affiliates are amenable to sharing the wealth with their network partners at a transformative moment for the broadcasting biz.

“The good part about all of this is that it becomes a tipping point for broadcast networks,” Lougee says. “It now feels like we’re beginning to be on a positive trend that can reverse that negative trend for the (network) business model. We’ll all benefit together. It’s important that affiliates help them on that path.”

see original article

Who’d pay for content? That depends on who you ask …

December 15, 2009

Studies on who would pay for web content show vastly differing results – but no one seems to have conjured up a majority


After our PCUK/Harris poll in September, there’s been no shortage of research on people’s willingness to pay for online content.

But while one thing is consistent (only a minority say they want to pay), research agencies can’t agree on how big that minority percentage really is. Our analysis shows wide disparities between the leading studies on the year’s most pressing topic

Pick your survey and take your chances. Research methods, of course, can vary subtly, making all the difference, so here’s a link summary to all those methodologies, where available…

• PCUK/Harris Poll (5% of 1,888 UK adults said they would pay if their favourite online newspaper began charging).

• Gfk (total 18% of UK adults in international survey of 16,800 said they didn’t want to pay for “content”, ie. “news, entertainment and information sites such as Wikipedia”).

• Continental (total 37% of 500 UK adults said they would pay micropayment, larger fee or monthly/annual sub for online newspaper/mag).

• Olswang/YouGov (total 19% of 1,013 UK adults and 536 teens said they would make micropayments frequently, a subscription or otherwise pay for news articles online, on mobile or ereaders if there was no free alternative).

• Oliver and Ohlbaum (“15 to 20% of respondents [survey of 2,600 UK consumers] said they would pay £2 a month for their favourite news website if it was the only one that charged”).

• Forrester (total 19% of 4,711 US consumers said they would make micropayment, pay a sub or buy a bundled print/web/mobile package for online newspaper).

• Boston Consulting Group (48% of 5,083 regular internet users in nine countries, including 506 in UK, said they would pay for online news).

• KPMG (11% of 1,037 people aged 16 and over “currently spend anything on online media” – findings vary for different media types).

Let’s try a new number. Taking all eight studies in to account, the meanproportion of consumers who would pay for online content is 21.8%. Any advances … ?

original article

Twitter and Facebook outrage over Jan Moir’s Stephen Gately article

October 19, 2009

originally from

Social media users including Stephen Fry and Derren Brown angry over ‘homophobic’ Daily Mail article on Stephen column
Charlie Brooker: Why there was nothing ‘human’ about Jan Moir’s column on the death of Stephen Gately

Jan Moir and Stephen Gately compositeJan Moir described Stephen Gately’s death as ‘strange and lonely’. Photographs: Daily Telegraph/PA

Web users on sites such as Twitter and Facebook have reacted angrily to Jan Moir‘s attack on the late Stephen Gately in today’s Daily Mail.

Moir linked Gately’s “strange and lonely death” to the fact that he was gay.

Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one. Let us be absolutely clear about this. All that has been established so far is that Stephen Gately was not murdered.

She concluded:

As a gay rights champion, I am sure he would want to set an example to any impressionable young men who may want to emulate what they might see as his glamorous routine.
For once again, under the carapace of glittering, hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see.

By 3pm the article itself had attracted more than 500 comments on the Mail website.

On Twitter janmoir – which appears to be a spoof account created today – and #janmoir are busy with activity. Here is a sample of the tweets:

fionamlryan: #JanMoir I don’t like Boyzone, and had no opinion on Stephen Gately, but this is a truly despicable piece of journalism

TaraFlynn: The nuns always told us that sex was bad. I’m still a little surprised that it’s punishable by death. #janmoir

jontypryor: is about to have a bath. I may drown. Y’know, cos I’m gay… (kudos to @kevpeel) #janmoir

grabcocque: It’s the kind of article that makes you want a shower after reading it. If you happen to know #JanMoir, do your duty by giving her a slap.

Moir’s name charted over Britain on real-time Twitter mapping tool Trendsmap and a Facebook page has been set up asking the Daily Mail to “retract Jan Moir’s hateful, homophobic article”.

In addition it provides phone numbers to contact brands with ads appearing alongside Moir’s piece on the Mail website.

Celebrities are also weighing in. On Twitter, Derren Brown has urged people to “complain where it matters”, with a link to the Press Complaints Commission website; while Stephen Fry tweeted: “I gather a repulsive nobody writing in a paper no one of any decency would be seen dead with has written something loathsome and inhumane.”

Twitter and Facebook outrage over Jan Moir’s Stephen Gately article

Don’t waste time looking for a US pre-buy

October 12, 2009

Jeremy Thomas tells film-makers


By Jeremy Kay

Independent international film-makers who come to the US in search of financing are making “a wasted trip”, the Oscar-winning producer Jeremy Thomas said over the weekend.

Speaking at the launch of the FIND Filmmaker Forum in Los Angeles, Thomas told an audience that the stricken economy and the demise of numerous US distributors had left the US independent sector “screwed up”, although he fully expected the market to bounce back.

In a wide-ranging on-stage conversation with Los Angeles Film Festival director Rebecca Yeldham, Thomas mused on the possibility of setting up his own US distribution network and expressed enthusiasm for the digital revolution.

Thomas, the 1988 best picture Academy Award winner for The Last Emperor, also revealed that his recent Toronto opener Creation had already been illegally downloaded “40,000 times” from the internet.

“It’s an incredible thievery, an incredible banditry,” Thomas said, adding that the online piracy had taken place on something like 20 websites. Newmarket plans to release Creation in US theatres in December and HanWay Films holds international rights.

Returning to the challenges of the US independent sector, the veteran producer said: “It’s an unnatural moment but [other distributors] will come up. Lots of people are seeing that gap in the market and it’s going to come back.

“You must all feel confident about that and work with an optimism. There’s always a wall – on every movie there’s a wall,” Thomas said. “But you continue and continue and continue and that’s what independent film-making is about.”

Until then he urged young film-makers to broaden their horizons in the gut-wrenching search for funds and to look as far afield as Russia for a pre-sale.

He cited Sexy Beast, the hit UK-Spain gangster film he produced that came out in 2000, as an example of a financing paradigm from a bygone age, explaining that the film secured 40% of the budget when Fox Searchlight pre-bought North American rights. “That will not happen again.”

Government funding for cinema in Europe and other parts of the world, he said, had been “crucial” for his career. “Unfortunately in America there’s very little of that because it’s seen as a market-driven vehicle… there’s no development money.”

see original article

Studios collapsing VOD windows Goal is to combat sagging DVD sales

October 12, 2009

Studios collapsing VOD windows Goal is to combat sagging DVD sales



Studios are collapsing video-on-demand windows in an effort to combat sagging DVD sales and cheap Redbox rentals.

Sony, which tested its first simultaneous DVD and VOD release in August, will test four more during the fourth quarter, including “Angels and Demons” (Nov. 24) and “Julie and Julia” (Dec. 8), and Universal will also do so with “Bruno” on Nov. 17. Warners, the leading studio proponent of simultaneous DVD and VOD releases, will bow “Orphan” (Oct. 27), “Four Christmases” (Nov. 24) and “Terminator: Salvation” (Dec. 1) that way.

However, the studio will hold back VOD of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” and “The Hangover” for one week after their December DVD bows to protect holiday disc sales and keep major retailers like Wal-Mart happy. Fox, which released “Bride Wars” simultaneously on both platforms earlier this year, kept a short window for the VOD launch of “Night at the Museum 2” (10 days).

The rest of the slated big holidays releases will debut on VOD two to four weeks after their DVD arrival. According to Rentrak, the average VOD window is 21 days after DVD release.

The stakes are high for studios: They don’t want to hurt sales, but they also want to make VOD an enticing rental prospect at a time movie rentals are making a resurgence. Studios vastly prefer VOD to disc rentals because they get a bigger cut of each transaction, regardless whether it occurs online or through a cable box.

They’d much rather consumers watch movies on VOD than pay $1 for a Redbox rental; part of the reason several studios tried to impose revenue-sharing deals with the kiosk company was to ensure they got a bigger piece of each transaction.

This fourth quarter will be a crucial period for studios. The sour economy could exact a toll on DVD and Blu-ray disc purchases, with more consumers potentially opting to rent rather than own. By shortening VOD windows, studios are trying to get make sure they get a nice slice of these transactions.

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