Sunday, May 31, 2020

Cannes Film Festival Postponed But Diverse Filmmakers Find Silver Lining

On the day we were to witness the 73rd Festival de Cannes' opening ceremonies, Yolonda Brinkley of Diversity in Cannes, the intiative promoting inclusion at the Cannes Film Festival, announced official selections of the 2020 Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase and its Cannes Conversations, a twelve day virtual series highlighting Festival Alums. With the goal of lifting filmmaker spirits, she hopes the announcement will inspire creativity and encourage the continued pursuit of dreams, amidst global uncertainty.

"As COVID-19 wreaks havoc on millions, causing the postponement of the Festival de Cannes and Diversity Day programming, I was reluctant to announce the Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase official selections. While we battle this global pandemic, I remain uncertain about the timeliness of our news without new date confirmation,"comments Yolonda Brinkley, Diversity in Cannes. "However, despite its appearance, these diverse filmmakers, giving voice to marginalized populations through stories, deserve recognition. I wholeheartedly believe there's power in celebrating in the midst of the storm and am delighted to share this exciting news, as a silver lining for our global film family."

Created to celebrate underrepresented filmmakers at the Cannes Film Festival, the Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase is presented by American Publicist, Yolonda Brinkley, with support from Academy Award Winner Viola Davis and Julius Tennon's JuVee Productions.

Selected by a screening committee of entertainment professionals, from 324 submissions representing 31 countries, the films will be screened at an event concurrent with the 73rd Festival de Cannes, assuming confirmation of future 2020 date. Final winners will be selected onsite by an esteemed jury and announced at an awards reception following the screening. Prizes include mentor meetings with industry executives Elon Johnson, Tyler Perry Studios, CBS Entertainment Diversity's Tiffany Smith Anoa'i and Talent Agents Tracy Christian and Clair Best.

1. "Wash Day" Jaida Salmon, Canada
2. "Welcome Back" Tiffany Guillen, Ecuador/USA
3. "Beads" Rachel Byrd, USA
4. "Fisherman" Zoey Martinson, Ghana
5. "Yellow Girl and Me" Isabella Issa, Jamaica
6. "Down" Rzn Torbey, Switzerland
7. "CODA" Erika Davis-Marsh, USA
8. "The House of LeKeitio" Jasone Urgoitia Urrutia, Spain
9. "Black Boy Joy" Martina Lee, USA
10. "Strangers Reunion" Liz Sargent, United Kingdom
11. "Cupcake" Courtney Grace, USA
12. "Catch A Girl" LeRon Lee, USA
13. "We Meet on the Roof" Nicholas Sun, China
14. "Honeymoon" Amy Aniobi, Mexico/USA
15. "The Mandarin Tree" Cengiz Akaygun, Germany
16. "Freeze" Maya Albanese, USA
17. "Paese Che Vai - When in Rome" Luca Padrini, Italy

Given the fluidity of the global pandemic, the organization's plan is to stay home in hopes of flattening the corona curve and to align with the execution strategy of the Cannes Film Festival, monitoring the crisis and providing updates as appropriate.

In closing, Brinkley adds, "As a woman of faith, I'm believing God for supernatural healing and restoration of our emotional, financial and physical health. I am cautiously optimistic we will safely convene on the Croisette in Cannes in celebration of life and marginalized voices globally. In the interim, on the day we were to witness the 73rd Festival de Cannes' opening ceremonies, I am delighted to announce official selections of the 2020 Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase, with the goal of lifting filmmaker spirits during these unprecedented times.

To learn more about their inclusion efforts at the Festival de Cannes follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Lux/Eon Records' to Release Ronen Landa's "Yinz" Film Score

Ronen Landa's original score to the thriller, Yinz is getting a digital release on May 7, 2020 by Lux/Eon Records. Jeremy Michael Cohen helmed the project, both writing and directing. The film was released by Gravitas Ventures and stars Samuel H. Levine (CBS's Elementary), Hailey Hansard (Universal Pictures' Miami Vice) and Teo Rapp-Olsson (HBO's Crashing). Some of Landa's other credits include Dark Sky Films' recently released 1BRA Rising TideCavemenMad as Hell and IFC Films' The Pact, which originally premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The score consists of 33 tracks and will be available on all major digital sites including iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, Amazon and Apple Music.

When discussing the Yinz score Landa says, "Writing the orchestral score for Yinz was a dream come true. When I first read Jeremy's script I knew it would be a special film, and he delivered in droves. The movie is a delicate dance of comedy, drama and suspense, and we had a blast working together to cover all that ground in the music. Hearing it come to life when we recorded was unforgettable; the orchestra was superb and having soloists like Dan Tepfer on piano really elevated the score. Jeremy is a one-of-a-kind writer/director and I can't wait to see what he does next!"

The film's synopsis reads: The aftermath of a prank gone awry tests the bond of three high school best friends as an illicit relationship with an older woman is revealed.

ABOUT RONEN LANDA

Driven by the endless possibility of sound, composer Ronen Landa creates music that is stirring, inventive, and bold. The press has hailed his work as "an astounding auditory journey" (Cinema Without Borders) and a "multi-layered feast for the ears" (Review Graveyard).

Feature films Landa has scored include Nicholas McCarthy's horror hits THE PACT (Sundance) and AT THE DEVIL'S DOOR (SXSW), Ben Hickernell's romantic drama A RISING TIDE (Showtime) and Rob Legato's psychological thriller ELOISE  (Starz).

Documentaries include Andrew Napier's MAD AS HELL (Hot Docs Conscious Media Award Winner), Cambria Matlow and Morgan Robinson's BURNING IN THE SUN (PBS, Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award Winner), Haydar Daffar's landmark Iraq War film THE DREAMS OF SPARROWS (SXSW) and Nadav Kurtz's PARAÌSO (NYTimes Op-Doc; Sundance; Tribeca Film Festival Best Short Documentary Award Winner).

Currently, Landa resides in Los Angeles. In addition to his work, he serves as Associates Board Chair for Education Through Music – Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization that ensures children attending inner-city schools can receive a high quality music education.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

FuseFX and Montréal-based Folks VFX Join Forces

FuseFX, a full service, award-winning visual effects company with studios in Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver and Atlanta, is pleased to announce its union with Folks VFX, a high-end, independent visual effects studio headquartered in Montréal with additional studio locations in Toronto and Bogotá, Colombia.

Together the combined companies have nearly 600 artists at seven locations across North and South America. Folks VFX founders Sébastien Bergeron, Philippe Thibault and Matt Belbin, along with executive producer Amélie Poitras, will continue to lead the Folks VFX studios and operate under the Folks brand.

"Folks VFX is the perfect complement to the current makeup of FuseFX and vice versa," says Dave Altenau, founder and CEO of FuseFX. "Sébastien, Amélie, Philippe and Matt have established a great culture and company, and are very aligned with our philosophies at FuseFX. We are so excited to partner with the team at Folks and be able to offer a broader range of skill sets, locations, rebates and service to our studio clients. Folks has been doing high-quality work for years and has a great reputation in the market. With recent work on such high-profile projects as The Umbrella AcademySeeZombieland IISiren, and The Boys, they have established themselves as an elite provider of visual effects in the market."

"As demand for VFX services grows worldwide, this partnership serves as a key step in FuseFX's strategy to offer our services across more locations, and take on more tentpole projects.  We've already been expanding our capabilities to do more CG characters and digital environment work.  Folks has a CG pipeline geared toward complex CG characters, 3D environments and FX simulations that complements and adds to our expertise very well.  This is exemplified by a recent completion the first episode of a CG animated series developed in house at Folks," adds Altenau.

"We're very pleased to be joining together with FuseFX. Not only do we share common DNA with our approach to visual effects work, but also our combined goal is to offer VFX services wherever clients want services offered. We know this partnership is the right next step for us in achieving that shared vision," says Bergeron, who is also president of Folks VFX.

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About FuseFX:

FuseFX was founded in 2006 in Los Angeles by David Altenau and co-founders Tim Jacobsen and Jason Fotter. Establishing itself as an award-winning studio, FuseFX provides full service visual effects for episodic television, feature films, commercials, ride films and VR productions with a talented roster of creative and production personnel across locations in Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver and Atlanta. FuseFX is a portfolio company of EagleTree Capital.

https://fusefx.com/

About Folks VFX:

Folks VFX was founded in 2012 by Sébastien Bergeron, Philippe Thibault and Matt Belbin, and is a full-service visual effects studio based in Montréal with additional locations in Toronto and Bogotá. With a strong track record of delivering photo-real CG and Compositing for both film and episodic content, Folks is recognized for consistently and professionally delivering the highest quality in VFX. Folks has provided work on such notable projects as The Umbrella AcademySeeZombieland IISirenMessiahMotherlandThe BoysGrand Army (upcoming), Jupiter's Legacy (upcoming), Mrs. America (upcoming).

https://folksvfx.com/

About EagleTree Capital:

EagleTree Capital is a leading independent private equity and investment firm. EagleTree manages capital on behalf of institutional and individual investors. The firm focuses on investments in the media and business services, consumer, and water and specialty industrial sectors. EagleTree is located in New York, New York. For more information, visit www.eagletree.com.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Global Tensions Form Backdrop For New Action Thriller

 "I had no idea global conditions would be so tense when I began Dragon Head more than ten years ago," says bestselling author James Houston Turner. "Do America's greatest enemies lie abroad, or do they walk the corridors of power in Washington, DC?"

This is the backdrop of Turner's latest thriller, Dragon Head, although the story itself becomes much more personal for series hero, Talanov. "What is the life of a person worth?" asks Turner. "This is the question Talanov must answer when his godchild is kidnapped by a crime boss known as 'Dragon Head.' The reason? To force Talanov's compliance with his demands. But Talanov is ordered by the Director of National Intelligence to stand down from attempting a rescue. Why? Because doing so would threaten national security. One life versus many lives. It's a no-brainer, right? Not if such an order is flawed by a deeper, more sinister agenda."

But there is not just one godchild whose life is at risk. There are two others - teenagers - who are volatile, impulsive, and reckless. And they know how to push Talanov's buttons. "Generation gaps can create a lot of fun moments in a book," says Turner, "especially among family members. But they can also create serious danger, which of course is what happens here."

Turner says he lingered on the theme of family (and who constitutes "family") because of what he himself has experienced over the last decade. "One reason was the loss of some of my own family members," he explains, "which can change us in ways we don't comprehend for months and sometimes years. In Dragon Head, Talanov experiences similar losses, and while he's already been through this before, in Dragon Head his loss amplifies the triumph of what happens as a result."

Set in Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Hong Kong, Dragon Head is the chronological sequel to Greco's Game, which has been optioned for film by b3 Media Group, in Los Angeles.

"Turner has created a world that is so rich and unique that I was immediately drawn to Talanov," says b3 Media Group producer, Bret Saxon. "Talanov is an amazing character, and the impossible choices that drove him in Greco's Game have been taken to a new level in Dragon Head. I absolutely love Turner's storytelling and the colorful cast of characters that fill the Talanov world. We are excited for audiences to see the soon-to-be-filmed Greco's Game, and look forward to producing Dragon Head soon afterwards."

Dragon Head launches officially on May 1 with a virtual book tour hosted by Partners in Crime Tours.

For more information on James Houston Turner, visit him on IMDb or his global website.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Explore Creates New Comedy Content For Go Rving

Explore, a commercial production company creating award-winning commercials & digital content for advertisers, was awarded and recently completed the production of a nationally distributed digital content advertisement for Go RVing.

"The Stubborn Camper" is a comedic take on the differences between camping in a tent vs. an RV. Explore worked directly with the marketing team at Go RVing, who provided a loose idea of the concept. Explore produced from beginning to end, collaborating with their LA-based partner Brendan Beachman to write and direct the commercial. Shot in December in the Santa Monica foothills, the commercial follows two couples who take vastly different approaches to how they camp in the great outdoors. One couple chooses to bring an RV, while the other couple struggles to setup a tent before nature's elements arrive in an onset of progressive plagues. Rain, fire, and wind effects were all needed to hilarious results, and everything was successfully captured practically during production. The crescendo of the spot includes an infestation of mosquitoes, which along with some filled in elements, were added as visual effects in post.

Casting was done through RMB Casting in Venice, California and acting talent were all from the Los Angeles area. Post-production was produced and completed at Explore's editing suites in Chicago. Finish was achieved using Nice Shoes for color, Dan Bewick for mix/sound design, and then back to Explore for VFX / final finish.

"Let's face it: being outside is wonderful, but you can only tent-camp so long without running into trouble, just like our characters" says Explore's Executive Producer, Jeremy Pinckert. "It's nice to have a roof over your head when you sleep. We're so excited to once again partner with Go RVing to create digital content which has a nationwide reach. The marketing team led by Courtney Bias and overseen by Karen Redfern are extremely collaborative, and we are honored they trusted our team to create this digital :60 ad, and  stay-tuned there's a :30 version as well."

The ad is being placed through digital channels, and can be viewed on Go RVing's YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu0yARS_LwM



ABOUT EXPLORE
Explore is a production company creating award-winning practical commercials & digital content for advertisers.  Founded in 2003, they have grown into a multi-city company with directors and representation in major advertising markets. They've won over 70 professional awards for their productions, including 52 Telly Awards and 15 ADDYs. They have also twice been Emmy-nominated for commercial campaigns. In addition to production, they are also experienced post producers, editing projects from national broadcast commercials to OLVs, digital content, and motion graphic pieces. For more information or to discuss production needs with a sales rep or producer, visit: http://www.explore-media.com/contact

ABOUT BRENDAN BEACHMAN
Brendan is a Colorado native but calls Los Angeles home. Specializing in performance heavy, cinematic, stylized comedy, he has directed over 70 commercials for clients like Budweiser, Experian, AllState, Quaker Oats, Johnson and Johnson, and many more.