Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Terminator & Christian Bale in NM

Months of rumors, and now it's confirmed. After the success of No Country for Old Men at the Oscars, Transformers at the Box Office, and with movies like Indiana Jones 4, Game and Terminator Salvation coming soon, we'll be seeing New Mexico in screens everywhere for years to come.

From the Albuquerque Journal: He'll Be Back— And In N.M.
By Dan Mayfield
Journal Staff Writer
Finally. After months of rumors it's official.
The latest installment of the "Terminator" film franchise will carry the Made-in-New Mexico label.
The film, called "Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins," will be the first of a new trilogy of "Terminator" films.
Filming begins in May and continues through August in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and across the state, according to the Governor's Office.
Production will be based at Albuquerque Studios, which is undergoing a large expansion.
"Terminator" is expected to employ more people and shoot in more locations than any film previously made in the state, said Lisa Strout, director of the New Mexico Film Office.
Warner Bros. Pictures plans its release on May 22, 2009.
The film will be directed by Joseph McGinty Nichol, who usually just goes by McG. He directed "Charlie's Angels" and "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle." Both relied on complex, almost unbelievable action sequences.
In a news release, McG said, "New Mexico represents an arid western United States which has a look and feel conductive to creating an American Gothic picture."
In other words, New Mexico can play a post-nuclear dead world well.
Jeremy Hariton, senior vice president of Albuquerque Studios, said he contacted the producers last year:
"McG called asking about the studio and asked to talk further, what we can do, what the state can do and how the incentives worked. I was in L.A. one day and I met the producers and McG, and the rest is history."
He sold McG on New Mexico, but he had to convince the producers that New Mexico was better than the original location: Budapest, Hungary.
"We did everything we could to bring them here."
...
The "Terminator" saga also was used in the television show "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," whose pilot was shot in Albuquerque.
"Chronicles" takes place sometime between T-2 and T-3 as John Connor is growing up. The series is a hit on Fox.
Read the full article here:
He'll Be Back— And In N.M.

From the Governor's Office:
Governor Bill Richardson Announces Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins to be filmed in New Mexico
Salvation: The Future Begins will be shot in New Mexico. Production is scheduled to begin in New Mexico in spring 2008. Christian Bale (3:10 to Yuma, Batman) will star as John Connor.

Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins will be the first film in a new Terminator trilogy and will mark the latest installment of the multi-billion dollar Terminator franchise. Moritz Borman, Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek will produce. McG will direct the film from a script by John Brancato and Michael Ferris (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines).

“Terminator Salvation is the largest picture shot in New Mexico to date and will continue to showcase our status as a leader in quality locations, quality crews and talent, and quality productions,” said Governor Richardson. “This is huge for the state’s film industry – the fact that such a big film with a blockbuster reputation has chosen New Mexico speaks volumes.”

"New Mexico represents an arid Western United States which has a look and feel conducive to creating an American Gothic picture,” said Director McG. “This Terminator is set in a credible post-apocalyptic future and will redefine the language of its predecessors. This is the story of a man's search for belief in himself and his fellow man. It's a long journey and the landscape plays a critical role. Governor Richardson’s office and the New Mexico Film Office have been extremely supportive and we're looking forward to an incredible production experience."

The film will be shot from May through August in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and other New Mexico locations. Production offices will be based at Albuquerque Studios, where all of the stage work will take place, representing a large portion of the film.
...
And here's more background from Variety:

Bale Takes on 'Terminator'

Christian Bale, cyborg foe.

Thesp is closing in on the role of John Connor in Warner Bros.' reboot of the "Terminator" franchise.

Project puts Bale in two consecutive summer tentpoles for the studio: He will reprise his role as the Caped Crusader in "The Dark Knight" next summer, followed by "Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins" in summer 2009.

Bale will play Connor, now in his 30s, in the fourth installment of the "Terminator" franchise, to be set in the future. McG is directing the project, skedded for an April start in Budapest.

Bale has been rumored to be involved in the project for weeks, but there had been conflicting reports about his role...

More Variety news on the project at: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117973741.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Albuquerque Studios Expands, Works with Albuquerque Railyard Development

Albuquerque Studios Expanding and Will Manage The Rail Yard with UDC

Albuquerque Studios is expanding with the booming New Mexico Film Business.

Albuquerque, NM (Vocus/PRWEB ) February 20, 2008 -- In an effort to meet the demand for stages and production support space, Albuquerque Studios is expanding the campus. According to COO Nick Smerigan, construction has begun on two new stages and a 50,000 square foot Flex Building. Each stage will be 18,000 square feet, 35 feet high to the grid, 2400 amps of three phase power and a capability of 150 tons of chilled air. The pair of stages will be separated by a stationary sound wall and will feature 18 X 18 foot elephant doors for equipment access. The Flex Building will consist of 30,000 square feet of additional mill space and 20,000 square feet of new office space. Senior VP, Jeremy Hariton, who markets the facility said, “We are seeing a tremendous amount of interest in stage and production support space in Albuquerque. As an alternative to turning away clients, this new space will enable us to meet the increased demand and provide a home for more production activity on campus.” This next phase of construction is set to be completed by June 1, 2008.

News Image

In other studio related news, Albuquerque Studios has entered into an exclusive agreement with Union Development Corporation to manage The Rail Yard, located in Albuquerque’s Barelas neighborhood. The Studio will manage all production and entertainment related activities. This comes on the heels of UDC’s exclusive overall arrangement with the City of Albuquerque to manage the storied property. Union Development Corporation’s President, Jim Trump said “The entire organization is extremely excited to be involved in bringing this property back to life and seeing future development come to fruition.”

Leba Freed, President of The Wheels Museum Inc., an anchor tenant on the site, had this to say about the new arrangement for the property “We look forward to working with UDC and Albuquerque Studios on the initial management of the rail site. This is a very positive step in revitalizing this important and historic property.” City Councilor Isaac Benton added, "While the City works to develop a long-range redevelopment plan for the Rail Yards, it is important to ensure that the site is being properly maintained and put to good use. Albuquerque Studios and Build New Mexico are well equipped to assist the City in this effort by providing interim management and bringing in a source of revenue that will help improve and highlight this important, historic site."

Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez had this to say about the new developments for Albuquerque Studios, “This is fabulous news! For Albuquerque, it's like winning the World Series and Super Bowl all at one time. It's difficult to put into words how many doors the Q Studios will be opening for New Mexicans. Congratulations!”

For further information please contact:
Gail Smerigan
VP Communications
Albuquerque Studios
505-227-2000
media @ abqstudios.com
www.abqstudios.com

# # #

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Disney Shareholders Meeting Here?

From one of the many Disney fans out there comes news that the next Disney shareholders meeting will be in Albuquerque on March 6th. Disney's "High School Musical" franchise is set in an Albuquerque school, though filmed in Utah which passed incentives for that -- and to have Disney produce more video games there.

And that's one of the fiscal impacts of incentive programs that's tough to quantify -- the follow on business generated when we get a customer in the door in the first place.

Of course we want Disney to have a good experience here -- and to build on local interests such as the National Hispanic Cultural Center, but if you'd like to be in the room at the meeting, and perhaps see or meet John Lasseter, it's not too difficult. Check out the info below...

From O Meon: Meet up? Take a left at Albuquerque

Last week I was having an e-mail conversation with a friend and colleague of mine from one of the other Disney fan sites—yes, some of us really do talk to one another. He’s from a different part of the country, and we don’t get to see each other very often.

We met while each of us was covering the Walt Disney Company’s 2004 annual meeting of shareholders in Philadelphia. Since then, Disney’s annual meetings have been about the only opportunity we have to get together and dish about other websites, uh…rather, to discuss the relevant issues of the day.

I wanted to know if my friend would be attending Disney’s 2008 shareholders’ meeting, which is due to take place March 6, 2008, at 10 a.m. in the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

After covering four consecutive Disney annual meetings, I was rather surprised to learn his attendance at this year’s gathering of the investment faithful was in doubt.

“If it looks like they're actually going to do something big there,” wrote my friend, “it might be worth the cost of traveling to Albuquerque. But since—as far as we can tell—there's nothing apparently brewing at the moment that would result in a big announcement, it's kind of hard to justify traveling all the way across the country for two or three hours of a meeting that won't result in much of a story.”

My friend even went so far as to e-mail our online corporate communications representative at the Disney Company and ask if any announcements were in the offing for the meeting. So far, the Mouse is being as circumspect as ever.

......It has been reported that the Mouse is holding this year’s meeting in New Mexico to keep the buzz going about its teenage heartthrob, money-making machine, High School Musical.

High School Musical 3: Senior Year, now in production, like the first two films, takes place at East High School in Albuquerque, although the East High School used for filming is in Salt Lake City, where the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development board (GOED) recently approved a $2 million dollar production incentive to ensure HSM 3 continues the tradition of having Salt Lake play the part of Albuquerque.

...

Meet Me in Albuquerque

If you want to attend the Disney Company’s 2008 Annual Meeting of shareholders, it’s relatively easy. All you need is one share of stock in the company, or know someone with at least one share of Disney stock. That includes all those framed single shares bought by thousands of Disney fans.

If you plan on voting, you must have purchased your stock on or before January 7, 2008.

To attend the meeting, you must request a ticket in advance, or the shareholder whose guest you will be must request them for both of you.

Registered shareholders can request tickets at the company’s website:
www.disney.com/annualmeeting2008.

Or by sending an email to the Shareholder Services department at:
Corp.Shareholder.Services@Disney.com

Or by sending a FAX to:
818-553-7210

Or by calling Shareholder Services at:
818-553-7200

If you hold your shares in “street name” (that is, through a broker or other nominee), you will need to send a written request for a ticket either by regular mail, fax, or e-mail, along with proof of share ownership, such as a copy of the portion of your voting instruction form showing your name and address, a bank or brokerage firm account statement, or a letter from the broker, trustee, bank, or nominee holding your shares, confirming ownership.

Requests for admission tickets are processed in the order in which they are received and must be requested no later than February 29, 2008. Please note that seating is limited and requests for tickets will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

However, for the past three years, more than ample seating has been available.

On the day of the meeting, each shareholder will be required to present a valid picture identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, with the admission ticket. Seating will begin at 9:00 a.m., and the meeting will begin at 10:00 a.m. Cameras (including cell phones with photographic capabilities), recording devices, and other electronic devices will not be permitted at the meeting

C’ya real soon! (Maybe in Albuquerque!)

Legion to film in NM

Governor Bill Richardson Announces Legion to be Filmed in New Mexico

Company expects to hire 134 NM crew members and 433 actors

Contact: New Mexico Film Office (505) 476-5600

February 15, 2008, SANTA FE- Governor Bill Richardson announced today that Legion, a supernatural action thriller starring Paul Bettany (The DaVinci Code), will be filmed in New Mexico.

Legion marks the feature directorial debut of Scott Stewart. David Lancaster and Michel Litvak of Bold Films will produce, with Gary Michael Walters executive producing. Sony’s Screen Gems will distribute domestically with Sony Pictures International worldwide.

In Legion, God loses faith in mankind and sends his Legion of Angels to wipe out the human race for the second time. Man’s only hope lies in a group of strangers holed-up in a desert diner.

The film will be shot in and around Santa Fe from March 31 through early May and expects to hire approximately 134 New Mexico crew members and 433 actors, including background talent.

Since Richardson took office, over 90 major feature film and television projects have shot in the state, adding close to $1.5 billion dollars to New Mexico’s economy.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Utah Incentives for Disney Game Studio

Will Utah Enchant Disney?

A state board is hoping Disney is enchanted enough with a Utah financial incentive that it grows its video-game development operations here.

The Governor's Office of Economic Development Board on Friday approved a $5.25 million tax-rebate for Disney Interactive Studios Inc. if the company adds more than 500 jobs in Utah over the next 10 years to develop video games based on intellectual property that Disney has developed.

Avalanche Software was founded in Utah in 1996 and was acquired by Disney in May 2005. Since then, the Utah operationhas produced games based on "Chicken Little," "Meet the Robinsons" and "Hannah Montana."

Disney created a sister studio, Fall Line Studio, in Salt Lake City in 2006 to focus on games for the Nintendo Wii and DS market. Both Avalanche and Fall Line are wholly owned subsidiaries of Disney Interactive Studios, the interactive entertainment affiliate of The Walt Disney Co.

"Their goal is to develop these two companies together here in Utah," said Jerry Oldroyd, chairman of the state board's incentives committee.

But he noted that Disney has other options, both in the U.S. and overseas. Board documents indicate Utah's competition includes Vancouver and Quebec in Canada and Shanghai, China.

"The real goal, for us anyway, is to make sure that as much of that as possible is developed here in Utah," Oldroyd said.

The company wants to expand its presence in Utah, spokeswoman Angela Emery said from Glendale, Calif.

"We're very pleased with the success that both studios have had so far," she said. "We'd like to grow our base of talent there."

Emery said Disney Interactive has 150 to 200 employees working in Utah. Those jobs can't be counted toward the financial incentives, but the company would receive partial rebates each year as it continues to grow.

Emery said the company is confident it can meet the job target.

If Utah does land the expansion, the new jobs are expected to pay an average of $75,000 per year, which is more than twice the Salt Lake County median annual salary of $32,828. New state revenue is projected at more than $15 million over a decade, and new state wages are expected to top $330 million during the same period. The capital investment is projected at $15.1 million.

Oldroyd said state officials also will be talking with Salt Lake City about its Disney Interactive Studio incentive, which currently is in the form of a low-interest loan of up to $1 million.

Computer animation is part of the software and information technology economic cluster that the state wants to see grow, and the state board has approved incentives in the past for Disney-related film productions — including the "High School Musical" movies and shows that aired at the Disney Channel.

"These are high-paying jobs," Oldroyd said, "and in an area we have designated as a cluster and a company we're familiar with and...have supported in the past."

In the past couple of years, video-game companies — as well as programming and artistic jobs — have been growing along the Wasatch Front.

In addition to Disney's presence, Headgate, which designed a Tiger Woods Golf series of games, was bought by Electronic Arts and is now programming games for the Nintendo Wii as EA Salt Lake. And Incognito Entertainment, which played a major role in the development of the hugely popular "Twisted Metal" series, has created an off-shoot studio called Eat Sleep Play to complement their current contract work with Sony.

The state also has a strong contingent of independent developers who work on games on their own or for larger studios.


Contributing: Associated Press.
E-mail: bwallace@desnews.com

Local Incentives Bill Dies

From KOAT-7 News:

Film Investment Bill Dies In Legislature

SANTA FE, N.M. -- The Legislature has failed to pass a measure that supporters said would have allowed local filmmakers to take part in New Mexico's film production bonanza.

The legislation would have allowed the State Investment Council to invest up to one-half of 1 percent of the market value of the Severance Tax Permanent Fund in local independent or minority filmmakers.

No investment could have been more than $5 million. The legislation would have allowed the state investment officer to make no-interest loans to independent or minority filmmakers who met certain criteria.

Opponents had said the bill still would have left locals in the lurch because out-of-state filmmakers would find ways to hold themselves out as residents.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Alamo Navajo Reservation ON SCREEN this Monday

PBS Show Filmed In Alamo Airs Monday


SOCORRO, New Mexico (STPNS) -- Residents of the Alamo Navajo Reservation will get the opportunity to see themselves on national television when the PBS series “The American Experience” airs its documentary on the life of Kit Carson this month.

Kit Carson on The American Experience will air nationally at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, on KNME-TV.

Up to 30 extras from Alamo dressed in period clothing and wrapped in blankets took part in the filming of the program in late September on Jim Nance’s Field Ranch north of Alamo.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

NM Filmmakers Heading to Cinequest

From the Duke City Shootout website...

Local Filmmakers Make Mark Nationally

Two of the movies made at last year’s 48 Hour Film Project competition in Albuquerque are getting noticed. “Sweetie,” the chilling little piece about a girl in an icebox, directed by Shootout alumnus Scotty Milder and starring our own Chad Brummett, was chosen one of the top ten films produced by 48 Hours last year around the world. It will be on a DVD, and is still in the running for Best Film. The winner and runners-up will be announced at Cinequest, held Feb. 27-March 9. “Sweetie” was chosen as best film in the Albuquerque competition and screened in competition at the Shootout premiere.
Isaac Kappy’s “Time Cougars,” a time-travel comedy revolving around a failed driver’s test, won the National Film Challenge. It will be screened at Cinequest. Congratulations to both.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Local Film Investment Bill Passes NM House

How can New Mexico as a State encourage more locally generated production -- that's been a question in play since the early development of the state's Media Industries Strategy. One plan, HB634, has now cleared a few major hurdles, and is now heading to the NM Senate with only a few days left in this legislative session. Please take a look at the bill (link below) and give what support you can.

From The Associated Press

SANTA FE—A measure that supporters say would allow local filmmakers to take part in New Mexico's film production bonanza passed a divided House on Sunday.

The bill, which went to the Senate, allows the State Investment Council to invest up to one-half of 1 percent of the market value of the Severance Tax Permanent Fund in local independent or minority filmmakers.

No investment could be more than $5 million.

The state investment officer could make no-interest loans to independent or minority filmmakers who met certain criteria.

They could be required, for example, to do 80 percent of the principal photography in New Mexico, to have a payroll that is 60 percent New Mexican, and to have some of the principal participants—the director or producer or leading cast member, for example—be New Mexicans or minorities.

The bill's sponsor, House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Santa Fe, and other backers said the State Investment Council's existing film loan program has too many hurdles for local filmmakers, such as the requirement for a producer to have distribution agreements.

"Quite frankly, the current program has been targeted toward California and Hollywood," said Rep. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe.

Opponents said the legislation wouldn't accomplish the purpose, because out-of-state filmmakers would figure out ways to hold themselves out as residents, and locals would still be left in the lurch.

The bill passed the House on a vote of 42-25 and went to the Senate, with four days left in the legislative session.

———

The film bill is HB634.

To learn more about this and other bills this legislative session, visit: http://www.legis.state.nm.us

Sunday, February 10, 2008

WGA & Producers Reach Tentative Deal

WRITERS, PRODUCERS REACH TENTATIVE DEAL

Deal points revealed

(48 Hour Vote to be Held: Details HERE)
From Variety
The WGA has finalized its tentative agreement with the majors and will present details of the pact to members today in meetings in Los Angeles and New York.

Those meetings — set for the Crowne Plaza in Gotham and the Shrine in Los Angeles — are expected to serve as a barometer for WGA leaders to determine whether the deal’s acceptable to the 10,500 striking writers.

The WGA West board of directors and the WGA East Council will meet Sunday to formally endorse the contract. And writers could be back at work as early Monday, depending on whether the WGA’s ruling bodies decide whether to end the three-month strike at those Sunday meetings.

If approved, the deal will run through May 1, 2011.

Leaders of the WGA made the announcement of the finalized deal early Saturday after spending much of Friday meeting with lawyers over the contract language. WGA West president Patric Verrone and WGA East prexy Michael Winship sent a message to members that stressed the gains made in the new-media sector.

“It is an agreement that protects a future in which the Internet becomes the primary means of both content creation and delivery,” they said. “It creates formulas for revenue-based residuals in new media, provides access to deals and financial data to help us evaluate and enforce those formulas, and establishes the principle that, ‘When they get paid, we get paid.’ “

Verrone and Winship said in the message that the time has come to end the strike and cited the “enormous personal toll on our members and countless others.”

“As such, we believe that continuing to strike now will not bring sufficient gains to outweigh the potential risks and that the time has come to accept this contract and settle the strike,” they said. “Much has been achieved, and while this agreement is neither perfect nor perhaps all that we deserve for the countless hours of hard work and sacrifice, our strike has been a success.”

The finalized deal came a week after the Feb. 1 breakthrough in informal talks between WGA leaders — Verrone, negotiating committee chief John Bowman and WGA West exec director David Young — with News Corp. president Peter Chernin and Disney topper Robert Iger.

The resolution of the strike will enable TV networks to salvage the remaining TV season and pilot season along with permitting scribes to begin working again on film scripts. The end to the strike would also permit the Academy Awards telecast on Feb. 24 to proceed without disruption.

Members have remained strongly supportive of Verrone throughout the strike so it would be a surprise if the pact isn’t approved. Several of the board’s members are hardliners who were openly critical of the compensation terms to which the DGA agreed last month but Verrone will be able to tout gains in compensation for shows and films streamed on the Internet.

Verrone and Winship’s message singled out WGA jurisdiction and separated rights in new media, residuals for Internet reuse, enforcement and auditing tools, expansion of fair market value and distributor’s gross language.

The WGA leaders have been under pressure to be able to claim a victory in the talks that would justify the strike. But there is also widespread sentiment in the industry that the WGA strike helped pave the way for the DGA to achieve the gains made in its contract.

The WGA’s streaming deal still included a combination of a flat fee for the first year (excluding a two- to three-week window of free usage for promotional purposes) followed by a percentage of distributor’s gross. The WGA’s proposed pact on downloads is identical to the DGA deal, which more than doubles the residual payments from the old homevid formula for titles that sell more than 100,000 units.

The WGA’s terms also mirror the DGA agreement on new media jurisdiction, giving the guilds jurisdiction over projects with budgets of more than $15,000 per minute, $300,000 per program or $500,000 per series, whichever is lowest.

Most of the details of the pact were presented Friday at a strike captains meeting with WGA leaders stressing to the captains that the membership needs to view the deal as a pragmatic way to end the strike under the best terms available.

The most significant opposition is coming on the issue of the promotional window on ad-supported streaming. The objections center on concerns that TV viewing will be quickly migrating to the Intenet before the end of the contract, given current viewing trends.

Speculation had been going around since the Feb. 1 breakthrough in negotiations that the length of the window would be shorter than terms in the DGA deal — 17 days for continuing shows, 24 for new shows. But the window matches the DGA’s.

To some WGA members familiar with the current workings of streaming, that’s unnacceptable due to current data showing that the lion’s share of streaming views takes place within the first three to five days with the majority often in the first 24 hours.

Indeed, reaction to the deal points in the blogosphere on Saturday morning has been decidedly mixed, with much of the criticism pointed at the length of the promotional window. “How can this be a good deal when everyone was yelling (that) the DGA deal was bad?,” read one comment on the United Hollywood blog. “There’s still that 17 day/24 day window which is SO SO BAD.”

“Family Guy” scribe Patrick Meighan described himself as “nominally on the fence on this deal” but said in a United Hollywood post that he felt the shift to distributor’s gross in the third year of the pact “should end up being a much better deal for writers than the DGA deal.”

The wide range of opinions on the merits of the pact could complicate WGA leaders’ efforts to gauge at Saturday’s meetings whether the pact would pass a ratification vote. The lukewarm responses from some vocal members have raised the possibility of the guild staying on strike during the 10-day ratification process. WGA boards could also opt at Sunday’s meetings to trigger a special 48-hour ratification process, though that may not be as attractive if there’s significant dissent expressed at Saturday’s meetings.

From the New York Times...

Writers Reach Tentative Deal With Producers

LOS ANGELES — An end to Hollywood’s long and bitter writers’ strike appeared close on Saturday, as union leaders representing 12,000 movie and television writers said they had reached a tentative three-year deal with production companies.

The strike, which began Nov. 5, remains in effect until the governing boards of the two writers’ guilds gauge the sense of their membership in mass meetings on both coasts this weekend and decide whether to end the walkout. The mood at the New York meeting on Saturday afternoon was one of supportive optimism, with a touch of wariness, and the Los Angeles gathering was set to take place late in the evening. The boards are expected to meet as early as Sunday, and the strike could be over by Monday morning.

A resolution would be good news for the producers. The strike, Hollywood’s longest since 1988 and one that has thrown tens of thousands of people out of work, has shut down production on dozens of television shows (including viewer favorites like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “CSI”), forcing the networks to patch together prime-time schedules with reruns and increased doses of reality shows. Movie studios have been forced to delay some of their feature film plans, including prospective blockbusters like “Angels and Demons,” the sequel to “The Da Vinci Code.”

An end to the strike would also bring relief to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which was nervously making plans for an Oscar night on Feb. 24 without writers or stars. And late-night talk shows that have operated without writers would benefit immediately. Shows like NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” are already inviting writers back to work on Monday, assuming the strike ends. Dramas and comedies like Fox’s “24” and “Back to You” are likely to take weeks to get back in production. Weaker shows might not return at all, and shake-ups in network planning might delay the return of others.

The agreement would let writers claim to have bettered a similar deal achieved last month between the production companies and the Directors Guild of America. In the third year of the Writers Guild deal, writers will be paid a percentage of the distributor’s revenue rather than the flat fee for Web-streamed television shows granted to the directors. The writers had insisted on this issue to ensure they not lose out on any new-media windfall the studios and networks may get from Web video. The producers yielded on this point — and the directors did not push it —arguing that Internet distribution is unlikely to become a significant business during the length of these contracts.

Read the full article here: Writers Reach Tentative Deal With Producers

Friday, February 8, 2008

Local Filmmakers win National Film Challenge


The 48 Hour Film Project's sister competition, the National Film Challenge, took place on October 19th through the 22nd.

Teams from around the world wrote, shot, and edited short films in three days. They each received a character, prop, line of dialogue, and a genre on a secure website at 7pm local time on October 19th and mailed their film in on October 22nd.

Over 180 teams from around the world competed in the competition and The National Film Challenge announced last week the Albuquerque team, Rattlesnake Wash Productions as the 2007 Grand Prize Winner, with their film “Time Cougars”. The film also won the award for “Best Acting Ensemble”.

The film will be screened at The Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, CA in association with The 48 Hour Film Projects end-of-year screening and awards ceremony, Filmapalooza. The Festival takes place February 29th – March 2nd.

Visit the National Film Challenge webpage for more information.

Or the 48 Hour Film Project @

http://www.48hourfilm.com

Rattlesnake Wash Productions was founded by local, actor, writer and producer Isaac Kappy in late 2007.

The collective of local talents that make up Rattlesnake Wash Productions, along with Isaac Kappy, are Mark Chavez and Shenoah Allen, creators of the critically acclaimed comedy duo, The Pajama Men, actor, writer and director Ross Kelly, actor, editor and director Reuben Finkelstein. Cinematographer Nolan Rudi, writer Josh Klein and actor/artist David Kappy to name a few.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Texas Game Incentives Update

In Austin, they're ramping up for Screenburn Fest...

Deep in the Heart: Developers Call Texas Home


It might come as a surprise to some that Texas has a thriving video/online game industry, with at least 70 video game development companies calling the Lone Star State home. Based mostly around Austin and Dallas, giants such as Blizzard Entertainment, Sony Online Entertainment, BioWare Corp., Amaze Entertainment and Ncsoft (as well as a host of smaller, independent development companies) all have offices in Texas. “Austin was already what I would describe as well-primed for this industry,” says Richard Garriott, co-founder of the now defunct Origin Systems and current head of Destination Games, “Prior to gaming we already had high-tech companies like IBM, 3M, Texas Instruments, National Instruments, Samsung, Advance Micro Devices and Dell. And Austin has always had a thriving music and arts community… we had programmers, artists and developers beating down our door wanting to join what they immediately recognized as a big part of the future.” So serious is Texas about it’s gaming industry, that when the state legislature passed a set of film production incentives last spring, it included incentives for in-state video or computer game projects. While the program, intended to give Texas a competitive edge over New Mexico and Louisiana, does come with some restrictions over violent and ‘obscene’ content, many developers see it as a positive move for the Texas market. Rodney Gibbs, an exec with Austin-based Amaze Entertainment, says that the incentive program “is helping to overcome that stigma we still suffer from: ‘Oh, games; that’s shooting people.’ That’s just like saying all films are Quentin Tarantino films.”