In the wake of announced staff reductions at DreamWorks Animation, Rhythm & Hues and LucasArts, Hollywood workers are facing stiff competition for jobs from overseas competitors. The mayor of London just announced that Film London, the capital's movie agency, will get a $3 million infusion to compete for high-end TV production and animation talent.
Mayor Boris Johnson said Thursday that his goal is to bring in $302 million worth of additional expenditure to the city and create 1,000 industry jobs in the United Kingdom. London is currently the third busiest city in the world for film production after Los Angeles and New York City, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
With the new investment, Film London will pursue production opportunities not only from the U.S., but from India, China and South America as well. The agency has helped generate $1.2 billion in film investment over the past four years, according to the report, and hopes to expand into high-end TV dramas, mini-series, franchise programs and animation.
"We have an unprecedented opportunity to grow this exciting sector to deliver jobs, produce more world class British drama and, above all, make London the city of choice for TV and animation production," said Johnson. "Let’s make sure that all future 'Downtons' are filmed on our turf."
Paul Bernon and Sam Slater aren’t dabbling in the film industry. They’re just not the dabbling type.
Bernon, 35, is a principal at Wellesley-based Rubicon Real Estate, which owns and manages about a million square feet of industrial and retail property in New England. Slater, 28, of Boston, oversees real estate holdings, agricultural properties, and his family’s foundation.
These men make money. So when the two developers last year decided to launch a local movie company, Burn Later Productions, they took the venture quite seriously. Now they’ve got the film industry taking them seriously, as well.
Their indie comedy “Drinking Buddies,” starring A-listers Olivia Wilde and Anna Kendrick, premiered at Austin’s SXSW film festival last month and within days was picked up for US distribution by Magnolia Pictures. On Sunday, it won the Vail International Film Festival’s award for Best Film. Next up is their film “Pasadena,” a family drama starring Cheryl Hines and Peter Bogdanovich, which will have its debut at the Sarasota Film Festival next Saturday.
More than that, they want the films they make to be good. “We’re not doing it to be able to hang out with the actors,” Bernon said. “The storytelling is really paramount to me.”
Ever since the state enacted the film tax credit in 2006, Massachusetts has drawn filmmakers, from hometowners like Ben Affleck, who returned to tell Boston stories like “The Town” and “Gone Baby Gone,” to Hollywood heavy hitters like David O. Russell who, three years after making “The Fighter” around Lowell, is now back in Boston shooting a political drama starring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Christian Bale.
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As an entrepreneur, 32-year-old chemistry graduate Jason Njoku achieved success in a most unlikely way: he is Africa's largest distributor of Nigerian movies, and has raked in over $8 million since 2010, when he founded the company Iroko Partners.
In December 2012 he captivated an audience at a conference in Texas, United States, as he narrated the story of his success after failures in some other business ventures.
Mr. Njoku currently has 71 employees in Lagos, London and New York, and often boasts that "these people are working for us in a country with 50% unemployment." He was recently listed by Forbes, an American business magazine, as one of the top 10 young African millionaires to watch.
The Nigerian film industry is undoubtedly helping create jobs in a country with an economy that relies mainly on oil and agriculture. Over a million people are currently employed in the industry, making it the country's largest employer after agriculture.
Although Nigeria's economy will grow by 7% this year, according to the African Development Bank, insufficient jobs for a growing youth population continue to be a huge concern.
The Nigerian film industry, also known as Nollywood, produces about 50 movies per week, second only to India's Bollywood—more than Hollywood in the United States. Although its revenues are not on par with Bollywood's and Hollywood's, Nollywood still generates an impressive $590 million annually.
Australia is paying its biggest Hollywood inducement ever to bring “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” Down Under.
The Walt Disney Studios will film a new version of the science fiction classic in Australia, which will pay the studio 21.6 million Australia dollars ($22.6 million) to film there, the government said Tuesday.
David Fincher of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” and “The Social Network” will direct, said Disney Asia-Pacific spokeswoman Alannah Hall-Smith.
“No casting decisions have been made,” she said, so the filming schedule and locations haven’t been set.
The Australian newspaper reported the movie was offered to Brad Pitt, who starred in Fincher’s “Fight Club,” and to Channing Tatum, though nothing has been set.
The story centers on Capt. Nemo and the undersea adventures encountered on his submarine the Nautilus. Jules Verne’s book was made into an Academy Award-winning movie in 1954 with Kirk Douglas starring as sailor Ned Land and James Mason as Nemo.
The announcement comes after “The Wolverine,” starring Australian actor Hugh Jackman, recently wrapped filming in Sydney. The government paid Fox Studios AU$12.8 million to film in Australia.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the “The Wolverine” created more than 1,750 jobs, contracted more than 1,027 Australian companies and generated AU$80 million in investment.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has signed legislation to increase the state’s incentives for film and television production.
The provisions, included as part of a tax reform bill dubbed the New Mexico Jobs Package, increases the state’s rebate for series TV production to 30% from 25% of a producer’s total qualified spend in New Mexico. Feature films will also be eligible for a 30% rebate on resident labor if they use a qualified production facility and for a 25% rebate on other expenses.
Martinez and New Mexico legislators worked out a deal last month for a package of tax cuts after Martinez said she could not give tax cuts to only the film industry.
The bill has been dubbed the “Breaking Bad Bill” since the series has been filmed since 2007 in Albuquerque, where its final episodes are being shot. It also provides for the roll-over of up to $10 million in unused funds in each fiscal year.
“The phone started ringing right after the legislature passed the bill, even before the governor signed it,” said Wayne Rauschenberger of Albuquerque Studios. “We’re hearing from a lot of folks that we haven’t heard from in a while, hoping to reserve the stages for summer and fall. Now that it’s official, I’m expected the floodgates will really open up and we’re going to very busy.”
Reel Dreams: Behind the Student Filmmaker follows two sets of students at various stages of their college careers. We introduce our cast as they are followed through their semester of projects and filming. We follow their ups-and-downs as they learn what it takes to be in the film industry and put their skills to use. Enjoy episode one of this series!
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