Why does the French cinema need protection and how can it be adapted to this brave new world?
The chronologie des médias is a french system of releasing films. It sets a rigid timescale from when a film comes out in the cinema to when it is available on other platforms.
Why did the French do this?
As more and more people bought televisions in the 1960s there was a worry that fewer people would go to the cinema. This was compounded when VHS videos came out in the 1980s.
The cinema felt threatened and demanded protection. So France decided it would act and the result was “the chronologie”.
When TV channels such as Canal Plus entered the ring and started mixing things up, the deal was tweaked in 2009. In exchange for pre-financing films, TV channels would get exclusivity rights.
So what are the timescales?
Four months: They are available to buy on DVD and pay-per-view VoD services
Ten months: Films can be released on pay-tv movie channels that have an agreement with film organisations, such as OCS
12 months: All pay-TV film channels, such as Sky Movies, have the right to air the product
22 months: Movies can be aired on pay-tv channels or free-to-air channels that have an agreement or took part in the production
30 months: They are available to all other subscription tv services
36 months: Online services, such as Netflix can now stream
48 months: Available, finally, to free-to-air tv services
But this could all change soon. Some filmmakers are not happy with the present system. They say films take too long to come out. While others, such as the Society of Authors and Dramatic Composers (SACD), refused to sign the 2009 agreement. And how doNetflix and Youtube fit into this straightjacket?
A version three is due to come out soon, which, it is hoped, will take into account new players and old concerns.
You can upload your project directly to Boostyourfilm. But what did people do before?
Attending networking events could put you in the way of movers and shakers
Getting a job in the industry will bring you closer to the action
Sending scripts to competitions can be a great way to open doors
You are going to need patience because success will not happen overnight
It’s the dream of thousands to have the next big silver screen hit. Writing the next blockbuster could be worth millions if you have the right script.
There is a well trodden path taken by those who have tried to get their scripts developed. And there is plenty of advice on the web on how to write your script.
So once you have your finished product after having had loads of constructive feedback from your network of trusted readers, what next?
How can you make sure that your project does not add to the mountain of unsold, unread and unopened scripts floating around Hollywood?
Networking The project is not going to sell itself so getting to know people in the industry is crucial. Attending networking events can be helpful. In this way you will be putting yourself in the way of movers and shakers in the industry.
Backroom boy, or girl Some people move to Hollywood. But Stephen Davis of The Guardian says it is not necessary to have a backroom job within the industry. But if you do, it could help you know the ins and outs of the system. He says it’s better to have a job that pays enough and gives you plenty of time to write.
Ready or not Don’t tout your script before it is ready. If you are working in a car wash and an internationally-renowned producer pops in you must be prepared. Be ready for that moment to thrust your script his way. They don’t want to be waiting six months for you to complete it.
Be patient Very few people can expect to make that break straight away. One advice often given is to give yourself three to five years to break into the industry. During this period you may not make a lot of money or have great prospects and will need to “have self-belief verging on delusional”.
Send your scripts In the UK, the BBC is a good starting point for scripts. It welcomes unsolicited scripts and if your work shows promise, it’ll give good feedback. You could send them to the British Film Institute but it is more geared to writer-producer teams. Make use of regional screen agencies to find local producers. Another idea is to send it off to a screenplay competition. But not all competitions are equal. The Nichols Fellowship,the Sundance Screenwriters Lab,or the HBO Access Writing Fellowship are well regarded events.
If that does not work, simply upload your screenplay to Boostyourfilm.
The event was a game changer, said Broomfield. “It was unusual when it started,” he says, “because it was a festival just for documentaries. Before that, most festivals had documentaries as a sort of an appendage to the feature films.”
But he added: “I guess what we’ve seen is a big change – the independent feature film is really almost extinct, and documentaries have become very commercial.”
Broomfield said documentaries are no longer the poor relations and an afterthought.
“With documentaries now, if you’re doing a Netflix or a HBO film, the budgets are pretty healthy and there’s a big audience for them too.”
But Daniel Anton, the chief executive of BoostyourFilm, disagrees and says reports of the death of independent feature films have been greatly exaggerated.
“Independent film are only dead if indy filmmakers don’t use the digital shortcuts to get directly to the audience,” said Anton.
“With the advent of social networks there are so many possibilities to get films out there.
Boostyourfilm is the first social network dedicated to independent films and film projects
Variety: IDFA at 30: Nick Broomfield Says, ‘The Independent Feature Film Is Really Almost Extinct’, and Docs Are Filling that Space. Full article
Claire turns off the engine and bends towards the glove box. She opens it and grasps a gun. She holds it in both hands and stares at it for a long while, before slipping it in her briefcase. She gets out the car and closes the door. Behind the windscreen we see her walking towards the high school.
A heart wrenching inter racial love story between a young white Australian girl and an Indian orphan.
The drama unfolds in Fiji in a Catholic Orphanage which is run on an austere, strictly religious basis by authoritarian nuns. The pupils are brainwashed into believing that the only way to redemption is to become a nun or priest. Hungry pupils rob the church of wine and communion wafers; some steal a few shillings from collection plates to satisfy their hunger and complement their meager food rations. Confessions to the priest are dispersed with lies in fear of reprisals and beatings from frustrated nuns.
Pupils are constantly reminded never to think about girls, as this will only lead them into temptation and committing the sins of the flesh. Regular checks of bed linens are made for signs of semen stains, and severe punishments are authorized should any stains be found. During evening showers boys are secretly watched by nuns, and if caught masturbating, they are severely beaten.
A tender love affair develops between Susan and Christopher, but it is forcefully ended by the nuns and Chris is forced to flee the orphanage, the only home he has ever known, to make a life for himself in the outside world. Susan is punished for kissing and helping Chris to escape. She is dragged into the wash house, pinned down on the floor by two nuns before soap is rubbed on her tongue by the head nun. Her beautiful blond hair is cropped and shaved by an old fashion razor.
In the meantime Chris is lured into the boxing ring to earn his fare to London fast to start a new life with Susan but that never happens, the nuns have planned a totally different life for Susan to keep her apart from Chris forever.
Unknown to Chris and after being brainwashed by the nuns, Susan is sent to Ireland to become a nun and return to Fiji, caring for the sick in Fiji’s leper colony of Makogai. On her journey to the colony she accidentally meets with her young lover Chris on the quayside during a terrible rainstorm. Her nun’s habit is covered by her long raincoat and a hood — Chris still has no idea that she is a nun. He is confused and upset when he learns of her decision to work with the lepers, being fully aware of the dangers she is exposing herself to. With mixed emotions, she is forced to choose between her love of God and the Indian boy and now must stand by her vows.
The rainstorm worsens and the voyage is cancelled. Susan is persuaded to go back to Chris’s hotel room until it is safe to sail. She enters his hotel room still dressed in the raincoat and hood. Chris demands an explanation as to why she did not keep in touch with him. Eventually she reveals her nun’s habit and Chris is devastated to find out the truth. Unable to change her mind, she leaves only to face a tragic end.
Chris eventually makes it to London alone and after earning enough cash he heads back to Fiji and the island of Mokagai to find Susan but discovers that after working with lepers for 16 years Susan had severely suffered by catching leprosy herself and has died a gruesome death. Chris is seen weeping on her grave.
Creative notes: This screenplay has been adapted from my book titled RETURNED TO DEVIL’S ISLAND. This the basic story that needs a professional screenwriter to tweak dialogue and enhance drama to suit. It is also a prizefighter’s first love lost and found and lost again and also his struggle to reach England, the mother country.
An award-winning Indian director/cinematographer and an English producer have short-listed the script to be filmed on location in either Fiji or Mauritius when funding is in place.
When does paying homage become plagiarism? Boostyourfilm looks at five famous films that are closely associated with others.
Imitation is said to be the best form of flattery. But when does this cross the line and become theft?
Quentin Tarantino famously told Empire magazine: “I steal from every single movie ever made. If my work has anything, it’s that I’m taking this from this and that from that and mixing them together.”
His critics might call this homage as, at least, he accepts that the sources of inspiration are often not his own.
The estate of the Pulitzer-winning playwright Paul Zindel might not agree. It has accused The Shape of Water director, Guillermo del Toro, of basing his Oscar-nominated film on a film called Let Me Hear You Whisper.
The Shape of Water and Let Me Hear You Whisper
The Plot: In The Shape of Water, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity at a top-secret research facility.
While in Let Me Hear You Whisper, Helen is a newly engaged cleaning lady in a laboratory. She is particularly drawn to a creature and is shocked when she learns that, having failed to “talk” as hoped for, it is slated for dissection. She makes a desperate attempt to rescue the creature.
The website HollywoodNerd.com helpfully came up with a few similarities between the two pieces of work.
The main character is a quiet, introverted female custodian who works the graveyard shift in a laboratory.
Set in the 1960s during the Cold War, at a laboratory where experiments for military use are taking place
The custodian discovers a tank with an aquatic creature who is being experimented on
The custodian and the aquatic creature fall in love, a transformative love which enables both of them to be heard
She wins his trust by sneaking food into the lab and feeding him.
She dances to music on a record with her mop while the creature looks on and their bond grows deeper
She is treated in a dehumanizing way by her superiors at the laboratory.
She discovers that the scientists who run the lab want to use the creature as a military weapon if they can get him to cooperate but if not, he is to be vivisected for research purposes.
She decides to rescue the creature and release him to the sea by sneaking him out of the facility in a laundry cart.
Del Toro is not the first director to have his ideas questioned. Here are five well-known examples of films that were so similar they were too close to call:
The Terminator and Soldier
James Cameron’s Terminator is a blockbuster that came out in 1984. Made with a budget of $6.4m it took a whopping $78m at the box office. But the director has been dogged by allegations that he stole the idea for his movie.
Plot In TheTerminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a cyborg assassin disguised as a human. He travels from 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). Kyle Reese is also sent back in time to protect Sarah. She is targeted because an artificial intelligence system that will spark a nuclear holocaust knows that her unborn son will lead the fight against them.
Soldier: This episode of The Outer Limits aired in 1964. It’s the story of two soldiers who, in the midst of a battle, are transported back in time. One of the time travelers risks his life defending a family from earth from a killer who does not understand remorse, pity or reason. His only raison d’etre is to kill. Sound familiar?
“I can say there is absolutely no inspiration from ‘Kimba,” the film’s animator Tom Sito said. While co-director Rob Minkoff said he was “not familiar with [the TV series]” in reference to the controversy.
But that not what critics thought after they saw Disney’s Lion King. Many remarked that there were many similarities in the character and events between the two films. There appeared to be scenes that were a direct copy from Kimba. Two hundred Japanese cartoonists and artists wrote a letter to Disney expressing their regret that the animation studio had not credited the Kimba author.
Both stories feature orphaned lion princes who lose their crown to an evil adult lion but eventually reclaim their title. The good lions are aided by a wise old baboon and a talkative bird. The evil lions get help from hyenas. Kimba’s enemy was a one-eyed lion called Claw, while Simba’s was named Scar. Coincidence?
Lockout and Escape from New York
Luc Besson was forced to pay €500,000 to John Carpenter after a court ruled that the French director’s film Lockout had too many similarities with Escape from New York to be a coincidence.
The Plot: Escape from New York: The entire island of Manhattan has been converted into a giant maximum security prison. When Air Force One is hijacked and crashes into the island, the president is taken hostage by a group of inmates. Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), a former Special Forces soldier turned criminal, is recruited to retrieve the president in exchange for his own freedom.
Lockout: A man wrongly convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage against the U.S. is offered his freedom if he can rescue the president’s daughter from an outer space prison taken over by violent inmates.
The similarities included the fact that each of the main characters “got into the prison by flying in a glider/space shuttle, had to confront inmates led by a chief with a strange right arm, found hugely important briefcases and meet a former sidekick who then dies.” Plus, at the end of both movies, our heroes each “keep secret documents recovered during their mission”.
Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars
Yojimbo:Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo is the story of a crafty ronin who comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.
Fistful of Dollars: Sergio Leone’s Fistful of Dollars is about a wandering gunfighter who plays two rival families against each other in a town torn apart by greed, pride, and revenge. Ring any bells?
Kurosawa is said to have said that Leone made a fine movie but he made my movie. Leone was sued and made an out-of-court settlement for 15 percent of worldwide receipts and $100,000.
The Secret of the Incas and Raiders of The Lost Ark
Plot The Secret of the Incas: Harry Steele, played by Charlton Heston is a tourist guide in Peru. He plans to make his fortune by finding the Sunburst, an Inca treasure. He possesses an ancient carved stone which gives the location of the Sunburst but has no means to travel there. He is also menaced by his dubious associate Ed Morgan who wants the treasure for himself and tries to have Harry killed.
In Raiders of the Lost Ark, an archeology professor named Indiana Jones is venturing into the jungles of South America searching for a golden statue. Unfortunately, he sets off a deadly trap but miraculously escapes. Then, Jones hears from a museum curator named Marcus Brody about a biblical artifact called The Ark of the Covenant. Jones has to venture to places such as Nepal and Egypt to find this artifact. However, he will have to fight his enemy Rene Belloq and a band of Nazis in order to reach it.
Marvin ou la belle éducation is Anne Fontaine’s failed adaptation of Edouard Louis’ brilliant novel
A great starting point for a good film is having a good story to tell. Edouard Louis had a fantastic story to tell. He wrote a social novel called En Finir Avec Eddy Belleguele based on his upbringing in a town in Picardie, northern France. It portrayed a vicious cycle of life where unemployment, abuse, alcoholism and poverty reign. It was an international bestseller.
Anne Fontaine adapted this novel in Marvin ou la Belle Education. Eddy Belleguele is now Marvin Bijou, a little boy from the provinces who is bullied at school and picked on by his family. He’s different. Eventually he runs away from his town to do theatre. The story picks up from where the book left off.
Fontaine uses artistic license to imagine his future but she missed the target so badly that it is a tragedy. It’s no wonder that Louis refused to have anything to do with the project.
Pour info : je n’ai rien à voir avec le film d’Anne Fontaine, “Marvin”. Ni mon nom ni le titre de mon livre n’apparaissent au générique.
Netflix poll finds that users miss bus stops, stream at work and catch up on their favourite programmes while on the bog
Netflix has released some of the murky secrets of its subscribers. It seems that many like to watch films in public toilets.
To get a closer look at the behaviour of its users, the streaming service took a snapshot poll of 37,000 subscribers around the world. And it found that “netflixing” in public places has become a new norm.
Sixty seven per cent of respondents look at content in public. The most common places are airports and on public transport. Twenty-six per cent admitted to viewing content at work, even during working time. The study found that it was mainly Americans who stream during their working time, in other countries, breaks and travel times were preferred.
Respondents were not shy. Seven percent of users around the world say they watch content in public toilets. Seventeen per cent admit to missing bus stops while being absorbed in a programme while one-in-ten encountered a spoiler after watching another person’s screen.
Le matin : “Selon un sondage en ligne de Netflix auquel 37 000 personnes ont répondu, ses abonnés consomment du film et de la série majoritairement dans des lieux publics.” – Article complet
Wired : “‘Netflixing in Public’—the act of watching Netflix out in the world, not to be confused with ‘Netflix and chill’—is officially a thing.” – Full article