An Industry Valentine…

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Good morning: In today’s edition of The Industry, we look at:

A gift for readers, Paramount’s layoffs, Ben Kingsley fights sharks, a new Black Swan, and a beast.

Let’s go!


AN INDUSTRY VALENTINE

It’s Valentine’s Day.

And no matter if you’re snuggling up with your sweetheart or rebelling against the constructs of capitalized love, we’d like to give everyone a Valentine.

Here is a gathering of resources for filmmakers:

  • Submit your short to the 2024 Tribeca Festival
    • Q’s? Email: entries@tribecafilmfestival.org

Deadline: 6 pm EST. Submit here.

  • Jordan Peele, TIFF, and Universal are looking for the next great genre director
    • 6x filmmakers will get $50,000 each to direct a short horror film, which will then be adapted into a feature and shopped to studios
    • Submission requirements

Deadline: Feb 29. Submit here.

  • The Black List and Tubi’s “To Be Commissioned Initiative”
    • Targeting youth audiences from diverse communities
    • Selected scripts will be bought by Tubi and developed with the Black List as an EP

Deadline: March 15th. Apply here.

  • Gotham x Cannes Producers Fellowship
    • An opportunity for producers to network at Cannes and gain insight into international production, financing, legal, and packaging
    • Must be US-based
    • Must have produced a feature film in the last 4 years
    • Questions: contact Gabriele Capolino, Director of International, at gcapolino@thegotham.org

Our reader, Carlos Zozaya (Producer: Venice’s Gasoline Rainbow, Sundance’s Tendaberry, had a great experience in the program.

Deadline: March 7th. Apply here.

To our executive readers at Paramount, please reach out if you or a colleague has been laid off. We just connected an executive at eOne, who was let go following the Lionsgate acquisition, to a job opportunity.

Email: hello@theindustry.co

For More:

Our favorite romances of all time:

And if you want to send The Industry a Valentine, write up 50 words on your favorite film (in the style of The Industry), and we’ll feature the best one in Friday’s edition.

Email: hello@theindustry.co


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

Paramount layoffs. Here’s the damage:

  • 800 employees
  • Paramount TV Studio (PTVS) is consolidating
  • Executive layoffs:
    • Cheryl Bosnak, EVP and Head of Current
    • Kate Gill, SVP Development
    • Julie Katchen, VP of Current
    • Dominic Pagone, SVP and Head of Communications
    • Geoff Stier, SVP of original programming at Showtime

Although the feature division was affected, no layoffs of senior executives have been reported.

Bob Bakish (President) memo:

“Earnings growth is a top priority in 2024. This will require us to continue to grow revenue while reducing costs. And unfortunately, part of streamlining costs means that today, we will begin the difficult process of saying goodbye to some of our very valued colleagues across Paramount.”

Paramount is struggling amidst declining ad sales and lower revenues due to last year’s dual strike.

What happens when the sacrificial virgin survives? That Greek myth-esque premise seems to be the foundation of the plot for Netflix’s Damsel.

The full trailer just dropped.

There doesn’t seem to be an opportunity for much character development after the post-sacrifice-inciting incident, but the premise is great.

Millie Bobbie Brown (Stranger Things) stars with Robin Wright, who plays the archetypal evil queen.

For an art house film that delves into similar thematics, check out Death by Hanging (1968) – Full film. What do the discarded in society have to say about life and death?

A profound film.

Damsel premieres on Netflix on March 8th, 2024


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Talia Ryder goes Black Swan. The actress has been making a name for herself ever since her feature debut in Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020). Since then, she’s been in:

  • Dumb Money (2023)
  • Little Death (2024)
    • Suicidal yet lively LA warrior hipster who goes through hell – twice over

In Joika, she stars as an American ballerina who gets accepted into Russia’s prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy. Diane Kruger (Inglourious Basterds) plays her brutal teacher. It’s like Whiplash for ballet, and Ryder is on point, flexing herself to her physical and mental limits in the pursuit of perfection. While the transformation may not be as dark as Aronofsky’s Black Swan, the dynamic between Kruger and Ryder is gut-wrenching (Trailer).

Vertical just acquired the film.

Releasing in the Spring.

Martha Marcy May Marlene established Elizabeth Olsen as a raw talent whose paralytically enigmatic search for meaning takes her to a cult that empowers and catabolizes her spirit. Trailer.

Olsen was also briefly an Avenger donning the crown of the Scarlet Witch, she saved the world a couple of times. Until she began to spiral after losing her family in the Disney+ show Wandavision to magical circumstances. Her character goes crazy and makes her debut as a villain in Sam Rami’s fun but uneven (as close as Marvel gets to B-horror) Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (2022).

Now Olsen returns to indie cinema with a juggernaut project that’s headed to EFM:

Official synopsis:

Junior, a delusional aspiring Broadway star has an inappropriate obsession with his mother Misty. After orchestrating an accident that nearly kills his abusive father, Junior encourages Easy, the handsome man living in the family’s guesthouse, to court his mother and become his new dad. But when the two fall in love, Junior becomes so jealous that he is no longer the subject of his mother’s attention that he hatches a plan to frame Easy for his father’s murder.

Olsen stated:

“I am a long-time fan of Todd’s work and to collaborate with him on this film is a true dream.”

The film is fully financed.

WME and Cinetic will represent at EFM.


FESTIVALS

EFM is off to an explosive start. Meeting books are overflowing, so it’s all good news that many great projects will be green light following strong sales at Sundance.

An exciting survival thriller came across our radar:

Synopsis:

A group of international passengers en route from Los Angeles to Shanghai are forced to make an emergency landing in shark-infested waters. Now they must work together in hopes to overcome the frenzy of sharks drawn to the wreckage.

It’ll be interesting to see if Kingsley and Eckhart will have room for character development in this life-or-death film. What often happens in these types of movies is the survivor film conceit often cannibalizes any opportunity for real introspection as it gets trumped by the larger physiological circumstances.

Production wrapped last year.

Check out some of the buzziest EFM projects here.


TECH SECTION

The sound of Oppenheimer. Richard King has won four Oscars for Sound:

  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
  • The Dark Knight (2008)
  • Inception (2010)
  • Dunkirk (2017)

King discussed the sounds of Oppenheimer, both big and small.

The atomic bomb:

“We built things from conventional explosions, we had some hard rock slams, thunder that we modified a bit, sounds of train [cars] shunting together where they make a gigantic bang.”

Link to clip.

King also paid similar attention to layering smaller sequences like Emily Blunt doing her laundry on a clothing line:

“To feel almost like an action scene, showing the power of nature with the snapping sound of clothes being whipped by the wind. We flapped sheets, we snapped them, we added little sweeteners of whip cracks to the point where it’s almost frightening, like: ‘You don’t want to get in the way of one of those sheets!’”

Link to clip.

King would certainly be a shoo-in for the Oscars, as he’s also been nominated for Maestro. But The Zone of Interest had a brilliant subtextual weave of sound that was transcendent.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

A David Attenborough take on Sasquatch. Sasquatch Sunset is a Big Foot film with no dialogue, starring Jesse Eisenberg as a Sasquatch. ​

The directors, brothers David and Nathan Zellner were inspired by a childhood filled with watching monkey sequences (e.g., Planet of the Apes series and 2001: A Space Odyssey’s The Dawn of Man.

The Zellners explained their meticulous rewriting process:

“We knew that if we wanted people to get on board with this, they needed to be really dialed into the tone, and we couldn’t have big, broad strokes about what we were going for. I think the more specific it could be, the easier it would be to get people behind it. We rewrote it several times over the years, and, until shortly before we made it, it kept evolving, but it was very specific, both structurally and also with the comedic beats, and the grunts.”​.

Without further ado, the Sasquatch Sunset trailer.

Their hypnotic portrayal of solitude seems well-honed for Sasquatch Sunset

Metrograph buys Sundance film. In last week’s issue, we discussed the rise of Metrograph from movie theater to indie studio under the stewardship of former A24 executive David Laub.

Now, they’ve made their first acquisition:

Synopsis:

During a weekend backpacking trip in the Catskills, 17-year-old Sam navigates the clash of egos between her father and his oldest friend.

Laub stated:

India Donaldson [director] has made a superb, delicate, and exquisite first feature, whose stunning emotional power stealthily sneaks up on you. This is exactly the type of project we want to support at Metrograph Pictures.”

Check out this Sundance BTS video for more.

Juliette Howell and Tessa Ross are two of the most reputable indie producers. Ross ran Film4, and Howell ran TV at Working Title.

A short list of their projects is intimidating:

  • They Shall Not Grow Old (dir: Peter Jackson, 2018)
  • The Iron Claw (2023)
  • The Zone of Interest (2023)

They’ve been so successful BBC bought a 25% stake in their company.

Howell discussed their working practices:

“That’s why we think we can do things differently, it is about the creative, it is about the author and authorship. That purity and protecting that voice in the right shape and on the right platform is why we set out House the way we did.”

They have a few great projects lined up, most interestingly Edward Berger’s (dir: All Quiet on the Western Front) latest project about three cardinals (Ralph Fiennes, Stanley Tucci, John Lithgow)…take that Two Popes.

They also are keenly focused on cultivating new talent from the theater world.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

There are a lot of upcoming projects we’re excited about, but none more so than the grounded sci-fi The Beast, starring Lea Seydoux in a triple-role.

Here’s the official synopsis:

The year is 2044: artificial intelligence controls all facets of a stoic society as humans routinely “erase” their feelings. Hoping to eliminate the pain caused by their past-life romances, Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux) continually falls in love with different incarnations of Louis (George MacKay).

Set first in Belle Époque-era Paris, Louis is a British man who woos her away from a cold husband, then in early 21st Century Los Angeles, he is a disturbed American bent on delivering violent “retribution.”

Janus Films is releasing. Check out the fractured and beautiful trailer.

Opens in select cities on April 5th.


ON THIS DAY

1963., directed by Federico Fellini and starring Marcello Mastroianni, has been released. Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film 1964.


We’re off tomorrow. See you Friday.


Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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