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  • Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014

With the tightest three-way Oscar race in years, the 66th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards could give "Gravity," ''American Hustle" or "12 Years a Slave" the edge in the home stretch to the Oscars.

The DGA hands out awards for best director in TV and movie categories in Los Angeles on tonight in what customarily is a final calling for the film that wins the best picture and director Oscars.

Coming out of the recent flurry of Hollywood honors, Alfonso Cuaron's space saga "Gravity," David O. Russell's con caper "American Hustle" and Steve McQueen's historical epic "12 Years a Slave" all remain in competitive positions as they head for the March 2 Academy Awards.

Yet the DGA could further complicate the race by choosing still-viable nominees Paul Greengrass ("Captain Phillips") or Martin Scorsese ("The Wolf of Wall Street") for its top honor — outstanding directorial achievement in a More

  • Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014
BURBANK, Calif. -- 

Cast & Crew Entertainment Services, a provider of payroll services serving the entertainment industry for nearly four decades, has expanded its services by establishing Cast & Crew Financial Services, LLC, it was announced by company president and CEO Eric Belcher. Cast & Crew Financial Services will provide production incentive financing and administration services for film and television productions.

Deirdre Owens, who has 14 years experience in finance and media, has joined the company as VP, production incentive financing. In her position she facilitates loans for film and television productions collateralized by production incentives, such as grants, rebates and transferable tax credits. Owens comes to Cast & Crew from Grosvenor Park Media, where she was sr. VP, finance, specializing in underwriting senior, gap and tax loans to production companies. 

Owens teams up with Joe More

  • Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014
Spencer Hall

Editorial and post studio Hudson Edit has unveiled its new audio mixing and recording suite while bringing Spencer Hall aboard as sr. audio mixer and sound designer.

A native Midwesterner, Hall joins from Ron Rose Milagro Post. He’s adept at mixing both short-form work and long-form entertainment projects, handling re-recording and mixing for commercials, theatrical features and DVD and BluRay releases. His entertainment chops include Foley editing, ADR editing, sound design and completing the final 5.1 mix. 

Hall’s hire was announced by Kristin Redman, Hudson Edit’s executive producer, and owners Audrey Pask and Larry August. They also own sister company Avalon Films, where Pask is executive producer/partner and August is director/partner.

Hudson Edit’s audio room also serves as the base for the company’s new affiliation with The Lodge, the New York and L.A.-based original music and sound More

  • Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014
(L-r) Paul Riggio, Mike Boris and Al Risi

Groove Guild, a NY-based independent music department which counts agencies and brands among its clients, has named Paul Riggio as its creative director/partner. He joins the shop from his own original music and sound design studio, So Loud Music. Groove Guild was founded in July of 2013 by Mike Boris, who holds the title creative head of production, and Al Risi, head of music supervision & licensing.

While Riggio will be concentrating his time as creative director at Groove Guild, So Loud Music will continue to operate as an independent music studio. So Loud has created music for American Express, BMW, Verizon, LG, MasterCard and Smirnoff, among other brands.

Since its launch, Groove Guild has collaborated with DAVID (the Ogilvy spinoff agency with offices in South America) on a global project for Coca-Cola, as well as with Johannes Leonardo on spots for Google and Sprite. Other projects include Jamaica Tourism for Draft FCB and work More

  • Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014
Frame from M&M teaser ad.

Is Yellow ready for its close-up?

M&M's will feature its yellow peanut M&M "spokescandy" in its Super Bowl ad this year. The Mars Inc. brand has released a pre-Super Bowl teaser ad online that shows the character dancing in a headband before being shot by a tranquilizer dart and dragged off camera.

"Find out what happens to Yellow," a hand-written card reads.

The teaser is part of a Super Bowl ad trend: More content is being released ahead of time online in the hope that it goes viral. Advertisers are seeking to drum up excitement for their spots running during the big game, when more than 108 million people are expected to watching Feb. 2.

They're also hoping to get more bang for their buck: A 30-second Super Bowl ad costs about $4 million.

M&M's says the online teaser ad is a first for the company. (Kirk Kelly of Laika/House directed for BBDO New York.)

"We More

  • Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014
In this image released by GoDaddy.com on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, center, wearing a muscle suit, appears with bodybuilders in an upcoming Super Bowl commercial shot on location in Long Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/GoDaddy.com)

Danica Patrick has ditched sexy strip downs for bulked up bodybuilders in her latest GoDaddy Super Bowl spot.

Patrick made her mark with GoDaddy in a series of risque ads that capitalized on her sex appeal. Her 13th Super Bowl commercial for the website domain provider is her tamest one yet. Patrick is as ripped as a Hollywood action star as she leads a pack of bronzed bodybuilders to a spray-tan business.

Don't expect to Patrick take her clothes off or kiss a girl in spots for the Feb. 2 game. Patrick was stuffed into a muscle suit made by a company that created special effects for movies like "Iron Man 3."

GoDaddy has purchased two 30-second spots, one for each half of the championship game between Seattle and Denver.

Patrick's latest ads are a makeover for GoDaddy. Since Blake Irving took over as CEO last January, he's tried to shift GoDaddy's advertising focus toward its actual More

  • Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014

Facebook says it is testing out its own ad network that would deliver advertisements to mobile applications outside of its own.

The social networking company said in a blog post Wednesday that while it has run similar tests in the past, the current program is more like a mobile ad network. The company says it is working directly with a small number of advertisers and publishers rather than an outside ad-serving platform.

Facebook Inc. is not saying which advertisers or app developers it is working with. It says it will extend its ad-targeting capabilities to show app users more relevant ads, help developers make more money and provide Facebook advertisers with greater reach.

Mobile ads accounted for nearly half of Facebook's $1.8 billion advertising revenue in the third quarter.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014
Jack Epsteen
AUSTIN, Tex. -- 

GSD&M has hired Jack Epsteen as  sr. VP/director of integrated production. In this role, he will guide the agency’s 40-person department with capabilities spanning digital, sound and motion and print. In addition, Epsteen will oversee day-to-day operations and work closely with creative and media to develop new opportunities for clients.

“It’s more important than ever that we continue to adapt to the ever-changing media landscape and provide value to our clients and their needs,” said Duff Stewart, CEO of GSD&M. “Jack’s experience and approach to production make him a great fit to build upon the success of the department and to develop smart solutions to create great work for our clients.”

Epsteen comes to GSD&M with a track record of leadership experience within the production industry. Most recently, he expanded his agency portfolio while working as a freelance executive producer. Prior More

  • Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- 

An international documentary in competition at the Sundance Film Festival can already be seen throughout the United States and Canada.

Apple's iTunes made "Sepideh: Reaching for the Stars" available for rent or purchase on Tuesday, marking the first time the company has distributed a film while it is still playing at the independent film showcase. The Sundance Film Festival continues through Sunday in Park City, Utah.

"Sepideh" tells the story of an Iranian girl who dreams of being an astronaut, despite the limitations of her culture and gender. The film is the first feature documentary from Danish director Berit Madsen.

Most films playing at Sundance can only be seen at the festival — at least until distributors decide to pick them up and make them available to wider audiences.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- 

Federal authorities say they questioned an Ohio man they suspected of recording a movie in a theater with his Google Glass computer-in-eyeglass device.

The government says no action was taken after the man confirmed the Google Glass was also a pair of prescription glasses with the recording function inactive.

The man was watching "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" at an AMC theater in Columbus on Saturday. Authorities did not identify him.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Khaalid Walls says the man voluntarily answered questions from officers with ICE Homeland Security Investigations.

AMC says it contacted authorities after identifying someone wearing a recording device. Spokesman Ryan Noonan says the company takes movie theft seriously.

Both ICE, which investigates piracy and counterfeiting, and the Motion Picture Association of America, were involved.


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