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Thompson on Hollywood

Sundance Watch: Vachon, Koffler and Iwashina's Killer Digital and Digital Artists Launch Series

Killer Films goes digital with a new partnership among producers Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler of Killer Films (Boys Don’t Cry, Far From Heaven) and their former CAA agent, Kevin Iwashina. The trio are jumping into the promising but as yet not remunerative digital content and distribution arena that poses a challenge for independents: How best to use social media to reach a large untapped indie fanbase? Finding an economic model for digital distribution is the indie Holy Grail. Killer Digital will start by producing short and long form video.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 17, 2010 6:38 AM
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TRON: Legacy’s 3-D VFX Stretch Current Movie Tech to its Limits

In the current issue of Popular Mechanics, I dig into the edge of the visual effects frontier represented by TRON: Legacy, which Disney opens wide December 17. The sumptuously visual movie will wow moviegoers with its 3-D VFX, if not its compelling storyline. Here's a snatch of the feature:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 9, 2010 7:08 AM
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Amazon Launches New Movie Studio Run by Roy Price, Son of Frank

Tuesday at 5 pm Pacific, Amazon.com launched Amazon Studios, a radical online approach to finding new screenwriters and filmmakers and developing movies. Inspired by the open source philosophy that has yielded rich results for Silicon Valley innovators, Amazon Studios director Roy Price (son of ex-studio chief Frank Price) will run this new operation, which plans to reward winning filmmakers and screenwriters with $2.7 million toward developing movies under a first-look deal with Warner Bros. "Our commissary is in your kitchen," says Price. "We're the first studio without gate guards."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 16, 2010 10:40 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Academy Watch: Star Trek VFX Show-and-Tell

Visual effects wonks (like me) who are lucky enough to live in L.A. may want to show up on Thursday, November 18 for the Academy's Science and Technology Council program “Visualize This: Previs in the Making of Star Trek." Using clips and behind-the-scenes footage, a panel led by Star Trek writer-producer Damon Lindelof (Lost, Cowboys & Aliens) will explore the challenges and opportunities of the previsualization (previs) process at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 10, 2010 9:31 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Three Critics Debate Future of 3-D

I invited indieWIRE critics Leonard Maltin and Eric Kohn to join me in a debate about the present and future of 3-D for Moviefone Movies. Here's a sample (read the full piece here):Maltin kicked off the conversation with his take on 'Jackass 3D' opening with $50 million a few weeks back. "I felt they ought to have a huge asterisk next to that saying, 'And we built most of that out of overages in the admission price,'" he argued.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 5, 2010 7:46 AM
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Paley Center and SnagFilms Stream Live Doc Debut

In a groundbreaking digital media event, Wednesday the Paley Center for Media, Big Live and SnagFilms are mounting the synchronous American premiere of Truth in Numbers? Everything, According to Wikipedia. It marks the first time a film has premiered with a post-screening panel simultaneously to a theater audience and free online.  
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 20, 2010 9:40 AM
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Freeman To Get AFI Life Achievement Award; Fincher's Rendezvous with Rama in Works

Morgan Freeman, 73, is having quite a year. He started off 2010 with his fifth Oscar nomination, for playing Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood's Invictus; his latest movie, the well-reviewed comedy thriller Red opens on Friday; and he may actually land David Fincher as the director of his 15 years-in-development outer-space epic Rendezvous with Rama. (See MTV video below.) The reason this is now close to being possible: Fincher and James Cameron's advances with performance capture and 3-D.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 12, 2010 8:53 AM
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Media Watch: New Yorker Profiles Gawker's Denton, Not Interested in Noble Failures

The always fascinating Gawker Media czar Nick Denton has yielded a colorful New Yorker portrait by Ben McGrath. Denton gets the new journalism, and I love that he paints himself as a better alternative than the truly frightening new new journalism, the rising tide of content farms: “I think of us as being a little like the friendly barbarians...You know, like, when the Roman Empire fell, there were the tribes that had come out of Mongolia, and each one that came was fleeing some other yet more barbarian group of barbarians. We’re the barbarians who can actually—probably—be hired to defend your gates."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 11, 2010 10:02 AM
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Warners Cancels 3-D on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

In a welcome sign that the studios are recognizing the hazards of retrofit 3-D--even if done well--Warner Bros. is dumping the idea of releasing Deathly Hallows Part I, the penultimate film in the Harry Potter series, in 3-D on November 19. (An IMAX release will proceed.) Smart move--although the studio blames a lack of time for the change in conversion plans. With time to spare, they say they'll still release Part II in 3-D on July 15. I'll believe it when I see it.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 9, 2010 4:19 AM
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  • 7 Comments

Movie Monsters and Screenwriting Perspectives at Academy

Heading toward Halloween, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will celebrate the evolution of creature technology on October 21 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. "Monsters in the Movies" will include an on-stage discussion with industry technical experts plus film clips tracing technological progress from 1933's King Kong to 1993's Jurassic Park and beyond. A display of monster movie artifacts will welcome guests in the lobby. Click here for tickets and info.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 7, 2010 6:04 AM
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