Wednesday, November 14, 2018

News Briefs

Displaying 21 - 30 of 3271
  • Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018
Actress-writer Waithe: Films fall short of ethnic equality
This combination photo shows Lena Waithe (left) at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Grants Banquet in Beverly Hills on Aug. 9, 2018, and Hannah Gadsby at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 17, 2018. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Hollywood is falling short of ethnic equality despite black-led films including "Black Panther," actress and award-winning writer Lena Waithe said.

There are "a million 'La La Lands' every year. How often do we get a 'Moonlight'? How often do we get 'Black Panther'?" she said. "What to me will be true equality is when 'Black Panther' comes out and it's just like 'Captain America.'"

Waithe, an actress and Emmy-winning screenwriter with the streaming comedy "Master of None" who was in the film "Ready Player One," joined in conversation with comedian Hannah Gadsby at an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences lunch.

The event marked the launch of an academy initiative aimed at creating opportunities for female filmmakers to network and celebrate inclusiveness. It included presentation of a newly established Academy Gold Fellowship to young filmmaker Geeta Malik, writer-director of the award-winning online short "Aunty Gs" and films including "Beast" and "Troublemaker."

Music legend and activist Annie Lennox also spoke at the event, making a case for "global feminism" to support women and girls in crisis worldwide.

Gadsby, the Australian comic who made a splash with her standup special "Nanette," said her autism has made her acutely aware of screen characters who are relegated to the "periphery" of the action.

She said television has become a "Trojan horse" that brings such sidelined characters into the forefront of stories.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018
Ava DuVernay to make Prince documentary for Netflix
In this Nov. 22, 2015 file photo, Prince presents the award for favorite album - soul/R&B at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Ava DuVernay is making a multi-part documentary on Prince for Netflix with the support of the late musician’s estate. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

Ava DuVernay is making a multipart documentary on Prince for Netflix with the support of the late musician's estate.

The director on Tuesday confirmed Twitter reports late Monday that she's working on the film. The documentary will be made with extensive use of Prince's archives and will span the artist's entire life.

It will be the "Selma" filmmaker's second documentary for Netflix. Her 2016 film, "The 13th," explored mass incarceration as a form of continued slavery for African-Americans. It was nominated for best documentary by the Academy Awards and won an Emmy Award for outstanding documentary.

DuVernay, who earlier this year directed Disney's "A Wrinkle in Time," is currently filming the Netflix miniseries "Central Park Five."


  • Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018
Editorial/VFX company Nomad opens Tokyo office
Nomad Tokyo's Yoshinori Fujisawa (l) and Masato Midorikawa

Creative editorial/VFX company Nomad has opened its new space in Tokyo, adding to a network that also includes offices in New York, Los Angeles and London. Nomad Tokyo is led by managing director Yoshinori Fujisawa and executive producer Masato Midorikawa, a duo who bring years of agency experience from their previous work with TBWA.

“We work with many creatives who regularly travel between LA and Tokyo, and we have been interested in Tokyo for several years,” Nomad partner/editor Glenn Martin explained. “We are very excited to establish a creative presence in Japan, and we are looking forward to working in our new space. We have a fantastic Tokyo-based group and will be supporting their talents with editors and VFX artists from our other offices whenever larger teams are needed.”

In a joint statement, Fujisawa and Midorikawa shared, “The role of a postproduction house is also quite different between the U.S. and Japan. Although people in Japan are starting to see the value of the Western style postproduction model, it has not been properly established here yet. We are able to give our Japanese directors and creatives the ability to collaborate with Nomad’s talented editors and VFX artists, who have great skills in storytelling and satisfying brand’s needs. Having been well-established in the industry for more than 20 years, Nomad has a comprehensive postproduction workflow that enables the company to execute global projects for the biggest brands in the world. It’s now time for Japan to experience this great process.”

  • Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018
Sony quarterly profit rises on games, financial services
This June 14, 2018, file photo, shows a Sony logo at its showroom in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama, File)
TOKYO (AP) -- 

Japanese electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp.'s net profit rose 32 percent in the last quarter, helped by healthy video game sales and its financial services business, the company said Tuesday.

Tokyo-based Sony's profit totaled 173 billion yen ($1.5 billion) in July-September, up from 131 billion yen the year before.

Quarterly sales totaled 2.18 trillion yen ($19.3 billion), up from 2.06 trillion yen.

Sony's popular mobile-game application "Fate Grand Order" and favorable revenue in Sony's insurance business helped boost profits, the maker of PlayStation video game machines said.

Robust image sensor sales of image sensors also helped offset restructuring costs in its movies division, the studio behind the Spider-Man films, and falling smartphone sales in Europe and Latin America.

In recent quarters, Sony's PlayStation 4 video game operations, especially software sales, have been doing well.

Sony raised its full year profit forecast through March to 705 billion yen ($6.3 billion) from an earlier 500 billion yen ($4.4 billion).

  • Monday, Oct. 29, 2018
IBM's $34B Red Hat deal is risky bid to boost cloud business
This undated photo provided by IBM shows IBM chairman and CEO Virginia Rometty, right, and Red Hat president and CEO Jim Whitehurst. Shares of Red Hat skyrocketed at the opening bell Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, after IBM, in the biggest acquisition of its 100-year history, acquired the software company. (IBM via AP)

IBM's plan to buy Red Hat is both the biggest acquisition in IBM's century-long history and a risky effort to position itself as a major player in cloud computing.

The $34 billion stock deal translates to $190 per Red Hat share — a 63 percent premium to the closing price Friday for the Raleigh, North Carolina, company. Red Hat Inc.'s stock soared about 45 percent in trading Monday.

The path for revitalization for IBM may be found in cloud technology, a driving force behind the blockbuster deal for Red Hat over the weekend.

"It's a big bet but ultimately they're in a situation where they needed to make a significant acquisition to move them potentially forward," Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said.

Cloud computing, in which services are delivered over the internet from remote computers, accounted for nearly a quarter of IBM's total revenue over the past year. But the company has been overshadowed by top cloud rivals Amazon, Microsoft and Google in competing to sell its internet-based computing services to businesses.

"This is about resetting the cloud landscape," IBM Chairman and CEO Virginia Rometty said Monday in a conference call.

The hybrid cloud — when companies use a mix of on-site, private and third-party public services — is an emerging $1 trillion opportunity that the companies want to be prepared for, Rometty said.

Ives said there's still plenty of room for growth as financial services, retailers and industrial firms increasingly migrate their workloads into the cloud.

IBM's Red Hat acquisition follows Microsoft's recently completed $7.5 billion purchase of computer coding hangout GitHub. Both deals will allow the larger companies to tap into a broader community of open-source software developers.

Red Hat, founded in 1993, has built a software platform using the open-source Linux operating system that's become "one of the key paths for enterprises in their moves to the cloud," Ives said.

The deal requires the approval of Red Hat shareholders as well as U.S. regulators. It is targeted to close in the second half of 2019, but Stifel's Brad Reback said others may wish to make a counterbid given Red Hat's strengths in data centers.

That prospect sent shares up $52.88 to $169.56, close to an all-time high. The stock of IBM, which is headquartered in Armonk, New York, slipped nearly 5 percent.

  • Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018
The Community opens office in San Francisco
Pictured (l-r) are José Mollá, Luis Montero, Julie Liss, and Joaquín Mollá of the community

Global creative agency the community has opened its first office on the West Coast, setting up shop in San Francisco. The new office is being led by managing director Julie Liss and chief creative officer Mark Sweeney. Owned by Publicis Groupe, the community is headquartered in Miami, also maintaining offices in Buenos Aires, New York and London.

“A West Coast operation has always been part of our vision. It’s such a great market and I’m excited about all the great work we’ll be able to do from there” said José Mollá, co-founder (with Joaquin Mollá) and chief creative officer at the community.

This development comes on the heels of four consecutive years of 20%+ growth for the community, which has expanded with new offices in New York and London in the last year alone.

“I couldn’t be more pleased about opening our doors in San Francisco, a city which sets the standard for innovation” adds Luis Montero, president of the community. “This new location will help us deepen the value we provide to our Bay Area clients, as well as open up new opportunities on the West Coast.”

  • Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018
U.K. watchdog fines Facebook over Cambridge Analytica scandal
In this March 29, 2018, file photo, the logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

British regulators on Thursday slapped Facebook with a fine of 500,000 pounds ($644,000) — the maximum possible — for failing to protect the privacy of its users in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The Information Commissioner Office found that between 2007 and 2014, Facebook processed the personal information of users unfairly by giving app developers access to their information without informed consent. The failings meant the data of some 87 million people was used without their knowledge.

"Facebook failed to sufficiently protect the privacy of its users before, during and after the unlawful processing of this data," said Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner. "A company of its size and expertise should have known better and it should have done better."

The ICO said a subset of the data was later shared with other organizations, including SCL Group, the parent company of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. News that the consultancy had used data from tens of millions of Facebook accounts to profile voters and help U.S. President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign ignited a global scandal on data rights.

The fine is the maximum allowed under the law at the time the breach occurred. Had the scandal taken place after new EU data protection rules went into effect this year, the amount would have been far higher — including maximum fines of 17 million pounds or 4 percent of global turnover, whichever is higher.

"We are currently reviewing the ICO's decision," Facebook said in a statement. "While we respectfully disagree with some of their findings, we have said before that we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and taken action in 2015. We are grateful that the ICO has acknowledged our full cooperation throughout their investigation."

Facebook also took solace in the fact that the ICO did not definitively assert that U.K. users had their data shared for campaigning. But the commissioner noted in her statement that "even if Facebook's assertion is correct," U.S. residents would have used the site while visiting the U.K.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018
Food/tabletop duet: Delicious Contents joins forces with SCHROM
Jonathan Cohen

Food marketing specialist Delicious Contents has joined forces with tabletop production company SCHROM to help satisfy food advertisers’ need for a steady stream of fresh content, smartly, affordably and without sacrificing production value.

Under the terms of the partnership, Delicious Contents is combining its food marketing expertise with SCHROM’s production chops and ability to scale. Together they’ll share SCHROM’s 25,000 square foot studio, equipment and expansive prop room among other resources. The two companies will cut costs for clients by leveraging the existing infrastructure to shoot with very little prep and rentals in most cases. Not to mention, they require smaller crews.

When Delicious Contents launched in 2013, its competitive advantage was based on its expertise in food and ability to make culinarily relevant content. Jonathan Cohen, founder and CMO said, “Obviously we still do that but these days it’s become a lot more about cost and speed to market. With SCHROM on board, we can do better, faster and kinder to the bottom line. Because that’s the only way to stay in business.”

Also, Delicious Contents is offering monthly subscription packages for clients with ongoing needs for content. “Everyone needs 52 weeks of stuff, so what we give up in profit, we make up in volume,” Cohen said. 

Delicious Contents has established similar alliances with Friendshop! (editorial) and We Are Walker (music) to deliver premium one­-stop creative and production services. “One­-stop or in­house usually carries a lot of baggage so rather than building additional capabilities, we have teamed up with best-in-class partners who have great reputations on their own,” said Cohen.

Cohen, who began his career in agency roles with Ogilvy, Grey and BBH, founded Delicious Contents to pioneer a new approach toward food content. The company has worked with most of the big names in food and QSRs including Chobani, McCormick, Diageo and Nestle. SCHROM has more than 30 years of experience and has produced over 1,500 commercials and associated content.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018
Veteran NBC producer Jim Bell joins Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight"
In this Aug. 3, 2017 file photo, Jim Bell, participates in "The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics" panel during the NBC Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. NBC announced Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, that Bell will serve as showrunner for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

Veteran NBC sports and news producer Jim Bell is the new producer in charge of "The Tonight Show."

NBC said Wednesday that Bell is starting immediately with the late-night show hosted by Jimmy Fallon.

Bell's wide-ranging career at NBC includes producing the "Today" morning show and creating its fourth hour.

He worked on 12 Olympic Games and last year was promoted to president of NBC Olympics Production & Programming.

Bell's addition to "Tonight" follows the exit of longtime Fallon producer Mike DiCenzo, who tweeted Monday he was leaving after a "dream" decade in late-night.

Katie Hockmeyer and Gerard Bradford will retain their producing duties on "Tonight," NBC said.

NBC said Bell will be the showrunner, a term used for the producer overseeing a program, as well as executive in charge.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018
Forest Road Company, Technicolor PostWorks enter into partnership
Carol Jazwinski

The Forest Road Company, an indie film financing company, and Technicolor PostWorks, a leading equipment and postproduction facility, have entered into a strategic partnership.

The purpose of the partnership is to provide independent filmmakers with state-of-the-art production equipment and postproduction services. As a production and post provider committed to turning filmmakers’ footage into effective, moving narratives, Technicolor PostWorks will be able to ensure Forest Road projects are completed in a cost-effective and efficient way. Forest Road offers low-cost financing options for tax-related collateral, and this partnership will help filmmakers through another crucial step of the production process. Filmmakers who use Forest Road’s lending platform will now have direct and priority access to Technicolor PostWorks facilities and services.

The partnership will be co-managed by Eric Boshart and Carol Jazwinski, who has officially joined the Forest Road team. The teams have offices in both New York and Los Angeles.

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Carol to our team and partner with such a fantastic group that has decades of experience. Adding their services to our lending platform will make us more competitive and will further our offering as a one-stop shop solution for our clients. I am confident that with their presence in the independent film space and our access to capital, we will accomplish a lot together,” said Zachary Tarica, founder of The Forest Road Company.

Rob DeMartin, president/COO of Technicolor PostWorks, added, “We immediately recognized Forest Road Company’s unique approach to supporting filmmakers both economically and through powerful partnerships and we were eager to bring picture and sound finishing to the mix.  Leveraging FRC’s innovation and pipeline along with our creative talent and years of film finishing experience affords filmmakers new and powerful opportunities.”

Technicolor PostWorks has most recently provided finishing services to Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9, and Disney Studio’s Mary Poppins Returns, directed by Rob Marshall.

Forest Road most recently provided financing for Skin starring Jamie Bell, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Driveways, directed by Andrew Ahn.

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