Lily Gladstone’s heart, Jeffrey Wright’s gut

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

Oscars milestones, Netflix’s game, Jeffrey Wright’s comedy, a Sundance triple-hitter, and a Sugarman.

Let’s go!


THE INDUSTRY NEWS

The Oscars nominations marked a number of milestones, both anchoring film legends and celebrating new voices in all categories.

Here they are by the numbers:

  • 3rd Actor to have directed themselves twice in a Best Actor nominated performance
    • Bradley Cooper, Maestro
  • 10th Best director nomination = most nominated living director
    • Martin Scorsese – Killers of the Flower Moon
  • 30 Years of producing culminates in their first Oscars nomination

Hoping to get the requisite 11% post-nomination theatrical box-office bump, Barbie, Oppenheimer, and Killers of the Flower Moon are all going back to theaters on Friday.

American Fiction ($8.1M domestic), The Zone of Interest ($1.5 M domestic), and Poor Things ($34 M worldwide) are still in theaters and will also capitalize.

Netflix beats projections and adds 13M subs in Q4, bringing their total to 260 M.

Here’s a breakdown by region:

  • US/Canada +2.81 M (80 M)
  • EMEA +5 M (88 M)
  • LATAM +2.3 M (46 M)
  • APAC +2.9 M (45 M)

Netflix will phase out its basic non-ad tier to drive more ad revenue as it continues to make improvements in targeting.

Here’s the stand-out quote from Netflix’s earnings call:

“We’re not interested in acquiring linear assets nor do we believe that further M&A among traditional entertainment companies [e.g. a Paramount acquisition] will materially change the competitive environment given all the consolidation that has already happened over the last decade.”

Squid Game. Set. Match.


THE ACTOR SPOTLIGHT

Jeffrey Wright has always had a gift for comedy. In Broken Flowers (2005), he plays a goofy amateur sleuth. Even his character Felix Lighter, James Bond’s American counterpart, is quick-witted with his one-liners [No Time to Die spoiler].

With the first Oscars nomination of his career, he discussed his monumental nomination:

“We have a strange detachment from the audience when we work on films, and it’s not until they receive it that the story is really brought home.”

His performance in American Fiction brilliantly oscillates between repressed professor and garish gangster.

He explained:

“The absurdity of Monk’s dual life is tied to the ordinary humanness of his family life, because it is to some degree born of the necessity of the responsibilities to family.”

In American Fiction, Jeffrey Wright delivers his finest comedic performance. He plays a down-on-his-luck author with a PhD perturbed by the increasing success of books about stereotypical “black stuff.” He pens a novel in that voice as a farce, but to his utter surprise, it takes off.

It’s hysterical and nuanced. If you haven’t seen it, check out the trailer.

Before Lily Gladstone was nominated for best actress, her gravitas and quiet intensity could be seen in:

Her portrayal of Mollie in Killers of the Flower Moon is arresting.

Upon winning the nomination, she discussed meeting the real-life granddaughter of her character:

“At our first meeting, her body language, her intonation and the way I could see thoughts turning over in her head went into how I shaped Mollie. Her observational wry humor, the intelligence, the ability to read what’s going on in the room, the warmth all stood out.”

We’re excited to see what Gladstone does next in Fancy Dance.


FESTIVALS AND RESOURCES

NYU Tisch is offering their first online Master of the Arts Media Producing program.

The 15-month program will feature the following courses:

  • Producing Essentials
  • Script Analysis
  • Production Management
  • Entertainment Business Law
  • Deal Making and Business Development in Media / Creative Fundraising
  • Post Production / Marketing and Distribution
  • Electives
    • Media Mavericks
    • Festivals and Marketing
    • New Technologies
    • Internship

The thesis is a research paper or producing a short film, or a prospectus including:

  • Story outline
  • Production outline
  • Set safety outline
  • Days in production
  • Post-production plan
  • Budget

All courses for this master’s degree will be taken remotely and are fully online.

Coursework is asynchronous and follows a weekly schedule, allowing students to watch the pre-recorded lessons and participate in crew-based and individual assessment activities.

In each class, there will be weekly 75-minute synchronous sessions.

Students have the opportunity to participate in a curated experience at The Sundance Film Festival.

Producing is more than just a profession; it’s an art form that demands a global, forward-thinking approach to bring new, compelling stories to the silver screen.

Learn more about the instructors.

Check out a more detailed description of the program here.

The application deadline is February 1, 2024. Apply here.


INDIE FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT

Shivani Rawat is the producer of three features at Sundance. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Rawat spoke about what sets this film, apart from the hyper-tense and claustrophobic Sydney Sweeney film Reality (HBO), based on the same women, Reality Winner:

“I feel like Susanna’s humor and the way we’ve shown Reality as a high school student, how she grows and what happens in her life later in life. So it’s like literally her growing. And I think both Emilia Jones (CODA) [the actress playing Reality] and Susanna’s direction is just impeccable. And you have to see this film. It’s not a dry political drama. It’s humor. It’s got the funny moments.”

Rawat spoke about the first-time directors, Sam & Andy Zuchero‘s excitement:

“Just talking to our directors, they were so passionate, and they had a vision. And it just makes my life as a producer easier because I’m believing in the project, but if my directors are equally intrigued and they intrigue me and they’re compelling, it makes my job easier.”

It’s clear Rawat’s propulsive energy is a cornerstone to her producing.

The Masterpiece wins the Sundance Grand Jury Prize for best short film.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Leo and Diana, a rich couple, bring a broken TV to a recycle point. They meet Salif and his son, two scrap dealers. Diana asks them to come to their house to get more objects. Once there, Leo looks at them collecting objects with mistrust, until they see the scrap dealers have something they want.

Watch the haunting, enigmatic teaser trailer – half Parasite and half David Lynch.

The director Àlex Lora’s previous work was a feature film, Unicorns. Watch the non-English NSFW trailer.

Soderbergh’s Sundance POV-thriller Presence, as detailed in yesterday’s edition, sells to Neon.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

HanWay Films (Carol, Shame) is one of the preeminent international sales agents and production companies.

They have two big upcoming projects:

HanWay pre-sold the film to Lionsgate UK as well as other territories.

Here’s the official synopsis:

A young Japanese girl finds herself in a dangerous situation when she and her father’s puppet show cross paths with a gang of criminals led by Sugarman (Roth) and his ambitious son, Little Sugar.

Their other project is:

  • La Cocina (International Sales)
    • Starring Rooney Mara
    • Kinetic and cinematic love story

Here’s the official synopsis:

Follows the life in the kitchen of a NYC restaurant where cultures from all over the world blend during the lunchtime rush.

Gabrielle Stewart HanWay, CEO, spoke about the film:

“The entire HanWay team flipped when we screened La Cocina. [The director] Alonso is a huge talent, his cast are incredible, and we all back this film to have real impact in Berlin. It is a must see.”

The film is set to premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.


READER SPOTLIGHT

Bobby Siegworth is a film producer representing the disabled community through Akula Literary Partners (co-founded by Cuba Gooding Jr.).

He has a horror film releasing this year. Check out a teaser trailer.

If you’d like to be featured in our “readers spotlight,” click here for more information.


ON THIS DAY

1940. The Grapes of Wrath, directed by John Ford and based on John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name, starring Henry Fonda is released.


See you Thursday.


Written by Gabriel Miller. Research by Spencer Carter.

Editor: Gabriel Miller.

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