A producer has filed a criminal complaint alleging that The Weinstein Co. defrauded a German regional government out of nearly $2 million in connection with the financing of The Reader, the 2008 drama that starred Kate Winslet in an Oscar-winning role.Producer Michael Simon de Normier told THR that he signed a non-disclosure agreement with TWC during the making of the Stephen Daldry film but has now chosen to break it following the tsunami of sexual harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, who was fired from TWC’s board last month.De Normier filed the complaint this week with the economic crimes and corruption division of the state police in the western German region of North-Rhein Westphalia. It alleges that TWC did not pay back loans it received from the government-backed film subsidy group Film und Medien Stiftung NRW to finance The Reader.In 2007, the tax-funded film subsidy body loaned TWC 1.5 million euros (about $2 million at the time) to produce the … [Read more...] about ‘The Reader’ Producer Says Weinsteins Failed to Repay Millions in German Loan
Small business start up loans
Even for those already well aware of Kickstarter and the general idea of crowdfunding, there are still things to learn in Timon Birkhofer and Jørg M. Kundinger’s cheerleading documentary Capital C. You probably didn’t think, for example, that there was a consumer demand for knitted beverage insulators with snarky-cute Etsy-ish designs. You probably also didn’t know that they are being made right now in North Carolina and have turned out to be popular enough that a major retailer already tried to knock them off. The company, Freaker USA, is a small outfit run by Zach Crain, a guy who comes across as less entrepreneur than the goat-cheese vendor from your local farmers’ market who spends his off-hours as a unicycling fire juggler. It seems fair to say that prior to the Internet, he would not be the most likely guy to be starting up a small business.Crain is one of three creators profiled by Birkhofer and Kundinger who used online crowdfunding platforms to … [Read more...] about Film Review: Capital C
The last we saw Renton (Ewan McGregor) in Trainspotting, that verve-and-nerve 1990s midpoint between Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie, he was absconding with several thousand pounds that he and his junkie mates had scored in a heroin deal. The first we see of him in the sequel, two decades on, he’s still running. But unlike the first film’s now-iconic dashes through the streets of Edinburgh, now Renton, the onetime rail-thin hedonist and Iggy Pop enthusiast, is on a treadmill. In a gym. It all seems to have gone intensely wrong for him even before he has a good percussive pratfall to start this pell-mell sequel.Things haven’t much changed in old Edinburgh when Renton comes back to town, save for the kilted lasses greeting people at the airport; when he asks one where she’s from, she says, “Slovenia.” Unlike their eagerly striving hometown, the lads aren’t exactly choosing life. Simon, aka Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), is still a scam artist … [Read more...] about Film Review: T2 Trainspotting
With just days to go before the Aug. 2 “hard deadline” to raise the debt ceiling, President Obama addressed the nation Monday night, after earlier throwing his support behind the latest compromise plan from Sen. Harry Reid. A much cooler-headed President once again framed the issue of debt and deficit reduction in terms of shared sacrifice, quoted Ronald Reagan‘s call for a fair approach, and called on Americans to contact their representatives and demand compromise.Tonight’s speech follows months of talks over the debt ceiling, talks which have intensified in recent weeks. The President has become a fixture in the White House briefing room, where his image as the “adult in the room” has been burnished by multiple walkouts by Republican leaders. He set the table for tonight’s address with a late Friday press conference in which he spoke forcefully about his frustration with the process, and told reporters that we “have run out of … [Read more...] about President Obama Plays The Reagan Card, Calls On Americans To Demand Compromise In Debt Ceiling Speech
It’s finally here! President Obama’s much-anticipated, much wrangled-over speech before a joint session of Congress, in which he will deliver a plan to create jobs (a plan that was demanded by some of the same people who are skipping the speech) and jump-start the economy, kicks off tonight at 7:15pm EDT. Here is the President’s speech as prepared for delivery. We’ll see if they should have added a note to (pause for Republican heckling). (via email from The White House)Remarks of President Barack Obama in an Address to a Joint Session of CongressMr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and fellow Americans:Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that has made things worse.This past week, reporters have been asking “What will this speech mean for the President? What will it mean for Congress? How will it affect their … [Read more...] about Read Obama’s Speech Before A Joint Session Of Congress As Prepared For Delivery
Former Massachusetts governor and likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney appeared on Fox & Friends on Thursday, where he levied significant criticism at President Barack Obama. Romney said that Americans are “worse off” after four years of Obama’s presidency, “the record is terrible” and that he “likes to attack fellow Americans.” Romney concluded that, if he becomes president, he would “stop the attack on people and start attacking the problems that have been looming over this country.”Co-host Steve Doocy introduced Romney by noting the higher-than-expected first-time unemployment claims that were announced on Thursday morning and asked the former Massachusetts governor what his jobs creation plan was. “Well, it’s pretty straight forward,” Romney began. “You want to make America the most attractive place in the world for entrepreneurs, for innovators and for job creators. What the president … [Read more...] about Mitt Romney: ‘If I Become President, I Will Stop The Attack On Americans’
Starting Point Tuesday morning, panelist Will Cain entered into a spirited back-and-forth with Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz over taxes and budget issues.“I think that’s an interesting quote you put up also recognizing the amount of work that you guys have to do over the next six months,” Cain said, addressing the Congresswoman. “You have what is equivalent of all of the Bush tax cuts expiring, you have the budget resolution, you have to come together on those forced cuts. I think the total package is over $4 trillion. Larger than any stimulus passed and any tax cut that’s ever passed. Why aren’t you working on it yet? Why are you waiting until supposedly after the November election to address these issues?”“You guys?” Schultz asked.“I’m not in Congress,” countered Cain.“But Speaker Boehner is the leader of Congress and controls the agenda with Eric Cantor…” … [Read more...] about Will Cain Tangles With Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Why Are ‘You Guys’ Waiting To Address Budget Issues?
As Robert Gordon reminds us in Respect Yourself: Stax Records And The Soul Explosion, his terrific account of the rise and fall of the great Memphis soul imprint, the Stax story is more than a record-label history. “It is an American story,” Gordon writes,” where the shoe-shine boy becomes a star, the country hayseed an international magnate. It’s the story of individuals against society, of small business competing with large, of the disenfranchised seeking their own tile in the American mosaic.”The success of Stax in its heyday was astonishing. Between 1960 and 1975, it released 800 singles and 300 albums, a huge proportion of them major hits on both the R&B and pop charts, the label making international stars of Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam and Dave, Booker T & The MG’s, Wilson Pickett and The Staple Singers, the label growing from homespun beginnings to a major money-making conglomerate with breath taking velocity. For Gordon, who grew … [Read more...] about Reviewed: Respect Yourself: Stax Records And The Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon
It’s been a wild summer for the film industry — and for anyone who has fucked with females. At IFP Week, I was happy to see Filmmaker contributor Taylor Hess touch, ever so delicately, on some of the issues around discrimination and mistreatment that have been plaguing us all. She hosted a panel version of her Persona Project column, which celebrates up-and-coming women in film. On the panel were Sara Kiener, head of distribution strategies at Cinereach; Taylor Shung, co-producer, A Woman, a Part; Aijah Keith, manager of acquisitions & production at IFC; and Dana Vladimir, head of communications and special events at Metrograph. The choice of who to include on the panel was refreshing. We get to see directors, writers and actors discuss filmmaking all the time, but rarely producers, or the people who handle the before and after phases of filmmaking. In some ways, the business side of cinema is a whole different ball game — albeit one that requires the same amount … [Read more...] about Challenging Five Untruths about Women in the Film Business at IFP Week’s Persona Project Panel
Here’s something I’ve always wondered: why are film investments always focused on the film, not the filmmaker? In other words, why don’t investors taking a chance on a first-time filmmaker get more than just the usually non-existent returns from that debut feature? Often what hits after the debut of a first feature is not the film but the filmmaker. The movie gets bought for a modest amount and usually underperforms, often leaving the investors with some degree of loss. But, after that film, the filmmaker is, well, a filmmaker, and in a position to move on to bigger and more profitable works. Why don’t those investors, the ones who jumpstarted that career, have a piece of those more profitable works?Okay, maybe I’m being a bit disingenuous here, because I have seen investors try to get more than a single picture. When it happens, a phalanx of lawyers descends, beating down the investor request to something like right of first refusal on a single project … [Read more...] about What if You Could Crowdfund a Filmmaker, Not a Film?