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Thompson on Hollywood

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Experiments with Grease Sing-Along and Indie Labels Insurge, Vantage, Famous

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Experiments with Grease Sing-Along and Indie Labels Insurge, Vantage, Famous
Whatever happened to Insurge, that new micro-budget Paramount division that sought to take an alternative approach to standard studio filmmaking? “We want to find and distribute crazy, unpredictable, and hopefully awesome movies - movies that make you want to line up to see at your local theater with all your friends (and us)," stated the Beta Insurge website. "Movies that a big studio would never release because they’re too risky, too silly, and they don’t star Sandra Bullock.”
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 6, 2010 3:24 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Ortenberg Consults for Apparition, Which Slashes Staff by Half

Ever since Bob Berney abruptly left fledgling distribution company Apparition pre-Cannes, CEO Bill Pohlad has been trying to figure out how to go forward. He gave Berney's Sundance acquisition Welcome to the Rileys back to Sony Worldwide Acquisitions Group, which pacted with Goldwyn to release. Wednesday Pohlad confirmed that he is shutting down the New York office and cutting staff by more than half, from 27 to 15. Individual severance meetings are ongoing today. The company is proceeding on "an immediate needs basis," said spokesperson Mara Buxbaum, who didn't rule out future hires.  As previously reported, Pohlad has also brought in ex-Lionsgate president Tom Ortenberg to consult on how Apparition should proceed as a distrib; the indie vet will take immediate charge of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. Outstanding movies still in theaters include The Runaways and The Square. The Tree of Life is the only mission for Apparition going forward. (River Road's upcoming thriller Fair Game will be released by Summit.)
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 30, 2010 4:49 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Apparition Fate Up in Air; Graham King Flirts with Berney

Post-Cannes, the fate of Bill Pohlad's distribution start-up Apparition remains murky in the aftermath of indie distribution vet Bob Berney's unexpected departure. Now the LAT reports that producer Graham King, who founded GK Films in 2007, is talking to Berney about yet another new distrib venture, GK Distribution. At Cannes, Berney launched discussions with several possible distribution partners; at this point Berney has no news to report.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 14, 2010 9:55 AM
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  • 0 Comments

Cold Weather Acquired by IFC

IFC has picked SXSW fave Cold Weather for North America and select foreign territories.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 7, 2010 4:49 AM
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  • 0 Comments

IFC Nabs SXSW Prize-Winner Tiny Furniture

IFC Nabs SXSW Prize-Winner Tiny Furniture
IFC Films has acquired North American and multiple foreign rights to the critical hit of SXSW, writer-director-actress Lena Denham's Tiny Furniture, which marks the emergence of a fresh new voice in American indie film. Dunham not only won the narrative feature jury prize but also took home the festival’s breakout award for emerging narrative woman director. She stars in the semi-autobiographical DIY film, which she shot after graduating from Oberlin College, in familiar Manhattan locations on a miniscule budget.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 23, 2010 2:59 AM
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Breaking Upwards: Wein and Lister Jones Give DIY Primer

Breaking Upwards: Wein and Lister Jones Give DIY Primer
"Nothing is better than five weeks of word of mouth in a movie theater."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • April 12, 2010 9:15 AM
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Age of Stupid Self-Release Spawns Good Screenings Site

Indie filmmakers take note.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 26, 2010 10:12 AM
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  • 1 Comment

Cop Out's Kevin Smith Calls Out Critics and Gets Slammed

Cop Out's Kevin Smith Calls Out Critics and Gets Slammed
Kevin Smith may be remembered not as a gifted screenwriter and not-so-great director and occasional comic relief player but as the guy who pioneered self-marketing on the internet. He was an early adopter, with movie-poop-shoot.com and other sites; his Twitter account @ThatKevinSmith logs over 1 million followers. He loves hanging out on Twitter, engaging directly with his fans. And they loyally show up to his movies. But there are only so many of them.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 24, 2010 8:18 AM
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  • 9 Comments

Weinsteins Acquire Company Men, Return to Indie Basics

Weinsteins Acquire Company Men, Return to Indie Basics
Signaling that they are still in the acquisition game, The Weinstein Co. closed its pick-up of U.S. rights to writer-director John Wells' directorial debut The Company Men, a timely film about corporate downsizing starring Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones. The movie played well at Sundance (trailer on jump).
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 24, 2010 4:25 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Sony Worldwide Acquisitions Group Closes Welcome to the Rileys Deal with Apparition

Finally, the ink has dried on the pact with Sony Worldwide Acquisitions Group and distributor Apparition (as reported here) to release Sundance Kristen Stewart-starrer Welcome to the Rileys. They're planning a fall release. Directed by Ridley Scott sprig Jake, the movie was executive produced by Steve Zaillian and boasts a strong script by Ken Hixon.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • March 15, 2010 6:22 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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