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Monday, February 27, 2012

Sarah Palin HBO film, Asner-Harper oppose SAG-AFTRA merger, China is not an Hollywood market, Film Piracy should not be defended, and Filmaking in Brazil and Russia

Filmmaking in Brazil and Russia

We look at the film industries in Brazil and Russia through the very different success stories of two filmmakers. John Horn speaks with José Padilha, wrote and directed Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, a sequel to his 2007 film, Elite Squad. He distributed it himself -- out of his garage -- and the film went on to make $70 million in Brazil alone. It's that country's highest grossing movie. Now he's working with MGM to reboot the Robocop franchise. He says the concepts behind the re-boot is that much of it is no longer science fiction and social reality is moving in the direction depicted in the film.

We also talk with Russian filmmaker and TV producer Valery Todorovsky. He scored an unlikely box office hit by sending up the Stalinist era with his musical, Hipsters. That film was the first Russian musical made in 70 years. The musical takes a light heated look at the violent Stalinist era, but does so on a more contemporary way so that the message will be understood, and not lost in the dark history of the period.

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is now available on DVD.

Hipsters opens at Cinema Village in New York City February 24, 2012 and in other cities after that. (See the official website for dates.)

Today's Banter Topics:
- Sarah Palin's aids accuse HBO of an unfair depiction in Game Change. Already Republicans feel that this show's Liberal Hollywood and that it is inaccurate. Those who have seen it and lived the even, including McCain staffers say it is accurate and the portrayal of Sarah is very accurate. The HBO film deals with the selection of Sarah as McCain's running mate and the politics and personalities behind it. It is billed as a work of fiction based on historic events.
- Actors threaten lawsuit to stop SAG/AFTRA merger. Over 160,000 members of SAG and AFTRA are voting this week whether to merge. The Mary Tyler Moore Show team of Ed Adner and Valarie Harper are taking the lead in opposing merger. The lawsuit, backed by those formerly known as the Performers Alliance or Membership First, is intended as a last ditch hope based on, among other things, that merger without the pension plan issue solved is illegal. Most legal experts say it is a nuisance suit a this point, with little substance
          - There is no defense for piracy, it keeps films from being made, harms the profits of those made  and stems the ability of filmmakers to say vital messages because of the increased money needed to make up for the millions to billions lost to "file sharing" and piracy. Even the studios must risk a make it break it on large budget films for fear of rapid piracy and the loss of momentum as well as funds that piracy creates. Unfortunately for Hollywood those who profit from and open Internet and on the uncompensated work of others now have almost unlimited social capital and the tools to defend what a decade ago would be held as a major violation of individual, corporate and social rights.
- China opens to more US movies. Only 14 non-Chinese movies will be allowed into China a year, bringing the total to 34. Big blockbuster movies make more money in China than in the US plus Europe, but only about 14% of the revenue is allowed to leave China. Content is important. In Mission Impossible III a scene with laundry hanging was deleted because it gave the wrong image of China, in Red Dawn the bad guys were digitally altered to be North Korean instead of the filmed Chinese, and no films that oversell individual freedoms are allowed. The dozen additional films must be available in 3D, IMAX 3D and 2D to be allowed to screen in what is now the world's largest potential movie market.

Banner image: (L-R) Seu Jorge, Director José Padilha in Elite Squad: The Enemy Within

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