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Not So Jolie

March 18th, 2009

Angelina Jolie Wanted PosterAds for new comic book based movie ‘Wanted’, starring Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy have been banned by the ASA, the

Advertising Standards Authority, for glamourising violence. Showing Jolie and McAvoy kissing during a high speed car chase stunt, with guns blazing, the ASA said it gave the impression, “that using guns was sexy and glamorous”. Universal Pictures returned fire saying, it believed people objected because they, “did not like to see a woman

James McAvoy Wanted Poster

in a strong lead role, rather than because they had concerns about violence”. There was only one complaint but the ASA said it breached advertising codes.

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Tessa Ross at The Lords

March 18th, 2009

Slumdog MillionaireFears of Film4 fading-out were brought to the attention of the House Of Lords by Controller of Film and Drama Tessa Ross. Film4, which contributed £1.5m to the budget of Slumdog Millionaire, could be a victim of Channel Four’s financial problems and Ross said they should be protected by re-writing the remit of the channel’s public service broadcasting role, so the production arm could be included.

The House of Lords Communication Committee was set-up in February 2009 to examine the contribution the UK’s TV and film industries to the British economy and how it might be increased.

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Pink euro holds up Germany’s new gay channel

March 16th, 2009

Germany’s first gay channel, Timm, is gaining momentum after a slow start in November.  Transmitting digitally on cable and satellite, it’s grown from a schedule of six hours a day to 24 hours continual programming.  And they’re attracting big advertisers like, BMW Mini, Ford and Nivea, as, “The industry is well aware that gay men generally have more disposable income due to their familial situations. The quality of our target audience is a real asset in these times,” says MD Frank Lukas.

 

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Eurovision scandal

March 16th, 2009

With only two months until this years’ kitsch extranvaganza that is the Eurovision Song Contest, anastasia-prikhodkopolitics are already starting to enter the competition as the Russian jury choose their entry.  Eurovision is taken very seriously there and there was outrage as the singer chosen to represent them, Anastasia Prikhodko is Ukranian and sings the song in Ukranian. “A song performed in Ukrainian can’t have anything to do with Russia,” screamed Yusif Prigozhin, the angry producer for the act placed second by the Moscow jury. “Why don’t we then invite Dynamo Kiev to play for Russia,” he raged.  The jury maintain, the message is “Look! We’re nice and gentle and politically correct.”

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3D saves Hollywood?

March 16th, 2009

With 3D becoming the next big thing, theatre owners want to rush conversions after the success of ‘Coraline’ and the Hannah Montana concert pic. But conversions don’t come cheap and theatre owners are looking for a hard-to-get $1.4 billion in credit.  Currently around 1500 theatres are 3D equipped and studios like Dreamworks and Disney are eager to have their 3D product making them money, while investors are holding-off for the moment in case it turns out to be a one eyed pony.

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Hollywood running dry?

March 16th, 2009

Hollywood is worried it’s running out of movies!  Cutbacks on recent year’s productions because of the writer’s strike, fear of the actor’s strike and fear of the economy may have been a cutback too far. It won’t start to show – or not show, until late 2010, but already, wide releases for 2009 have dropped 16% from last year’s 140 to 118.  This could not only mean less choice, but less revenue for studios.

But Disney topper Bob Iger has persuasively argued on behalf of a leaner and meaner distribution slate, “It’s the best thing that could happen to the business”.

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Red noses and red faces

March 16th, 2009

So I’ve been wearing my Red Nose all week, the one with the teeth, (Ouch!) celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal of course, has been wearing his red face somewhat longer. 

Heston Blumenthal's new series, Victorian FeastsChef/owner of the three Michelin starred, Fat Duck in Bray, Heston Blumenthal is the new celebrity chef on the butcher’s block.   Somewhat posher than Jamie Oliver, and in the league of Gordon Ramsay, but charming with it, his style of cooking might be described as, extreme molecular gastronomy.  His excellent series, ‘Big Chef, Little Chef’, saw him trying to beef-up the fortunes of one restaurant in the service area chain,  followed rapidly by the current curiosity, Heston’s Victorian Feast – Channel 4 – where he tries to recreate Victorian dishes with some of the most gross ingredients and secretly watches the surprise on his guests’ faces as they tuck-in.

Now when you watch cooking shows, do you really think the chef is really rustling-up a delish dish in just half an hour?  Sorry to disappoint but….take a look at this video. There’s not only a camera crew in his kitchen filming his every move, in fact it’s not even a kitchen but a set,  and getting food to look that good, needs a lot of people. Food stylists, home economics people, set dressers, prop people, other chefs, researchers, the list goes on.

But are cooking programmes still popular, computer says yes. We lap it up, from Come Dine With Me,  to the rumoured, Cooking With Coolio, they’re queuing at the broadcaster’s checkouts.  Production companies too have discovered rich and piquant pickings in the genre with Optomen leading the way as discoverer of Jamie Oliver, and producer of shows featuring Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and others. They are the cream.  And of course Fresh One, Jamie Oliver’s own production company.

red-noseI was watching the nine celebrities climb Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief and I was thinking, how did they do that? A couple of self-shooting directors with Z7’s, probably a lot of radio mics so maybe a sound recordist and assistant?  Well, I found out.  There were over 100 people on that mountain, including the celebrities.  33 climbers, two doctors, two runners, 100 porters and half a ton of broadcasting equipment,  Planned over seven months, a series of camps including medical facilities, were set-up to allow crews to leapfrog and follow the ascent of the celebs. Every day a runner had to run down the mountain with tapes for the two editing suites to cut in to the documentary. A production to rival Harry Potter’s 2nd unit in scale, Z7’s what was I thinking?!

Feed the world, feed the ITV 600.

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