The Entertainment Merchants Association is producing OTT_X@Pipeline at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles Sept. 25.
It’s the 12th year for the conferences, formerly titled Digital Media Pipeline. The event is a one-day business-to-business conference bringing together the OTT community for research presentations, knowledge sharing and networking.
OTT_X@Pipeline kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with a breakfast followed by panels, spotlight chats, research presentations and a keynote speaker to be announced. It ends with a cocktail party 5:15-6:15 p.m.
Panels include “What’s the Future of OTT?” and “Efficiencies Toward Profits.” There will be a Movies Anywhere update at 4:45 p.m.
Research presentations include “To License or Not to License,” about the question of whether to invest in more original content or rely on licensed acquisitions, presented by Alejandro Rojas of Parrot Analytics; “International Development of Premium Digital Video Markets,” a review of the latest trends in international markets for SVOD and transactional digital video, presented by David Sidebottom of Futuresource; and “Navigating the Fragmented TV Landscape,” in which Samba TV will share the latest viewership trends.
The Jim Henson Company, in partnership with Premiere Digital Services, has launched several of its children’s series on iTunes and Google Play for download in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
Content includes seasons one and two of the language acquisition series “Word Party,” (U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia); season one of the animated series “Dot.,” created by Randi Zuckerberg (U.S. and U.K.); and the puppet series “Pajanimals,” “Jim Henson’s Mother Goose Stories” and “The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss” (U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia). The classic Henson fantasy series “The Storyteller” and “The Storyteller: Greek Myths” are available for download in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia.
“Partnering with Premiere Digital Services has allowed more beloved Jim Henson Company titles to be available to our fans than ever before,” said Jim Henson VP of global distribution Anna Moorefield. “Consumers can expect additional favorites as we continue to make our productions available to established and new audiences wherever and whenever they want to watch.”
“We are thrilled to partner with The Jim Henson Company and expand the reach of their timeless and iconic catalog in the transactional VOD space,” said head of Premiere business development Jeff Goldman. “Working together with The Jim Henson Company and our platform partners, we have the experience and relationships to bring these amazing shows starring some of the best-loved characters to fans of all ages around the world.”
The sun-soaked horror film Midsommar, from director Ari Aster (Hereditary), is coming on digital and on demand Sept. 24 from A24, and on Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital) and DVD Oct. 8 from Lionsgate.
The film stars Florence Pugh as a young woman who, after a family tragedy, reluctantly joins her boyfriend on a summer trip to a remote Swedish village for a midsummer festival, which becomes more and more sinister as the days pass. What begins as a carefree summer holiday takes a turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that grow increasingly unnerving and viscerally disturbing.
Netflix will produce its second Danish original series, “The Chestnut Man,” based on the debut novel by writer Søren Sveistrup (“The Killing”).
The series will debut exclusively on Netflix worldwide. Production is slated to begin in Denmark in 2020 with the executive production team SAM Productions, which is also behind the coming Norwegian Netflix original series “Ragnarok.”
Netflix made the announcement at the Copenhagen TV Festival.
“The Chestnut Man” is set in the quiet suburb of Copenhagen, where the police make a terrible discovery one October morning. A young woman is found brutally murdered in a playground and one of her hands is missing. Above her hangs a small man made of chestnuts. The ambitious young detective Naia Thulin is assigned to the case, along with her new partner, Mark Hess. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man — evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and was presumed dead — the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung.
“Netflix has shown a strong, genuine interest in my book and I’m excited about the deal and confident that Netflix will be the perfect place for ‘The Chestnut Man,’” said Sveistrup in a statement.
“We are looking very much forward to bringing Søren’s amazing international bestseller to the screen, and we are very excited and proud to announce the continuation of our good collaboration with Netflix,” said Meta Louise Foldager Sørensen, executive producer at SAM Productions, in a statement. “The novel has been translated into 28 languages and it’s being published in more than 50 countries, we are therefore thrilled to be able to release this original Danish story, in the Danish language, worldwide with Netflix as our partner.”
“After the success of ‘The Rain,’ we are excited to announce our next Danish Original which will be building on the great tradition of Nordic Noir,” said Tesha Crawford, director Netflix international originals Northern Europe. “We were instantly compelled by the strong story and Søren’s voice. We are happy to continue the collaboration with SAM Productions and are looking forward to bringing ‘The Chestnut Man’ to our global audience.”
“The Chestnut Man” is a character-driven thriller drama and has its roots in the Nordic noir genre. The series is composed of six, 50-minute episodes. The launch date is yet to be announced.
The docu-film Horror Movie: A Low Budget Nightmare will come out on DVD, on demand and digital Sept. 10 from Random Media.
Directed by Gary Doust, the film is a comic fly-on-the-wall-style documentary that follows a filmmaker’s attempt to live out a childhood dream by making a super-low-budget horror feature, about an aborted fetus that seeks revenge on its family. Tired of playing roles like the diabetes patient or the weird friend on Australian TV, actor/filmmaker Craig Anderson sets his sights on a career upgrade. With his and his brother’s life savings on the line, he manages to sign up Hollywood “scream queen” Dee Wallace (E.T., Cujo) to star in the film, but it is not long before things go wildly off the rails and his dream turns into a nightmare. With the budget spiraling out of control, union issues and even a circumcision to overcome, viewers follow the moviemaking rollercoaster journey from pre-production to the very end.
Filmed in Australia, Horror Movie: A Low Budget Nightmare aired on ABC TV (Australia) and was listed in The Guardian as one of their top 10 Australian TV programs of the year (2017). The docu-film went on to win Best Feature Film at the 2018 Hollywood Horror Fest and was nominated Best Documentary at the Adelaide Film Festival.
The acclaimed Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now has been a saga in more ways than one, plagued by a change of lead actors from Harvey Keitel to Martin Sheen, a typhoon in the Philippines and Sheen’s heart attack during filming, critical and skeptical press, and multiple edits.
But this month for its 40th anniversary director Francis Ford Coppola releases what he considers his “final cut.”
Apocalypse Now Final Cut will be released in select Imax theaters Aug. 15 and 18, followed by regional theaters Aug. 23 from NAGRA myCinema, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (two 4K discs, four Blu-ray discs and a digital copy) and digital 4K Ultra HD (for the first time ever) Aug. 27 featuring new special features from Lionsgate. The release includes Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio. In addition, the film has been enhanced with Meyer Sound Laboratories’ newly developed Sensual Sound, a technology engineered to output audio below the limits of human hearing. It’s all to realize the best version of the film. “A lot of the things that we did to truncate the movie I put back in this version,” said Coppola in a Q&A shot at the Tribeca Film Festival in April with director Steven Soderbergh that is part of the extras.
As for the problems that beset the production, documented in the award-winning Hearts of Darkness (also included in the extras with footage shot during filming by Coppola’s wife, Eleanor), Coppola told Soderbergh, “In filmmaking and in life, extraordinary things happen to you, and it’s up to you to make them be positive.”
Restored from the original negative for the first time ever, Apocalypse Now Final Cut is Coppola’s most realized version of the film, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, won three Golden Globes and is one of AFI’s top 100 films. Starring Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne and Harrison Ford, the war epic, inspired by Joseph Conrad’s story Heart of Darkness, follows Army Capt. Willard (Sheen), a troubled man sent on a dangerous odyssey into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade American colonel named Kurtz (Brando), who has succumbed to the horrors of war and barricaded himself in a remote outpost.
“I had this idea to do it like The Guns of Navarone, some extraordinary, big World War II movie,” Coppola told Soderbergh. “The irony is that the movie took on its own life, became stranger and more surreal, and in a sense, I think it went in a direction correct for that issue — because the Vietnam War was very strange.”
The very innovative nature of the film made Coppola cautious and worried. He decided to release a “work in progress” of the film at the Cannes Film Festival to allay critics who were calling it a disaster. It ended up winning the Palme d’Or triumph at the festival in 1979 (shared with The Tin Drum).
His caution resulted in a truncated cut of the film that he later expanded in the 2001 release Apocalypse Now Redux. But this is his ultimate cut.
“I realized that I wanted to make a version that I like,” Coppola said in the introduction to Final Cut included in the extras. “It was longer than the 1979 version but shorter than Apocalypse Now Redux, and it’s the one that I recommend to you and it’s the one that is my favorite.”
The 40th anniversary release features multiple archival and new special features, including the film’s theatrical cut and extended cut (Redux), as well as the acclaimed Hearts of Darkness documentary:
4K UHD SPECIAL FEATURES
NEW: Introduction to Final Cut by Francis Ford Coppola
Audio Commentary by Director Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now Redux)
An Interview with screenwriter John Milius
A Conversation with Martin Sheen and Francis Ford Coppola
“Fred Roos: Casting Apocalypse” Featurette
The Mercury Theatre on the Air: Heart of Darkness – November 6, 1938
“The Hollow Men” Featurette
Monkey Sampan “Lost Scene”
“Destruction of the Kurtz Compound” End Credits (with Non-Optional Audio Commentary by Francis Ford Coppola)
The female empowerment buddy film Miss Arizona will come out on DVD and digital Aug. 27 from Cinedigm.
The story follows Rose Raynes (Johanna Braddy), a woman who was crowned Miss Arizona 15 years ago. Now a bored housewife trapped in a less-than-ideal marriage, she accepts an invitation to teach a life skills class at a women’s shelter. Digging out the relics of her pageant queen past, Rose attempts to share her platform speech with a room of four disinterested women dodging abusive exes. When trouble shows up at the shelter, what the women really need is for Rose’s shiny SUV to keep them out of harm’s way, so they embark on a wild, all-night adventure through the streets of Los Angeles.
Inspired by the Women’s March in fall 2016, writer/director Autumn McAlpin (Waffle Street, Shadow) and producer DeAnna Cooper worked together to assemble a cast and crew that were over 70% women and/or people of color, as well as putting together an all-female soundtrack with hits by musicians including P!nk, Lorde, Shania Twain, Donna Summer, MILCK, Kacey Musgraves and more, all of whom loved the pro-women message of the film, according to the studio.
The film also stars Robyn Lively (The Karate Kid Part III, Teen Witch), Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (“Nashville,” Fletch), Otmara Marrero (Crackle’s “Startup”), Shoniqua Shandai (“I am the Night,” “People Just Do Nothing”), Steve Guttenberg (3 Men and a Baby, Short Circuit), Missi Pyle (Ma, Nobody’s Fool), and Willam and Ginger Minj of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
The family drama The Parting Glass will come out on digital Sept. 10 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
In his feature film directorial debut, Stephen Moyer helms an emotional drama about an estranged family coming back together when the youngest sibling, Colleen (Anna Paquin), mysteriously dies. Left to sort through her belongings, Colleen’s father (Ed Asner), three siblings (Melissa Leo, Cynthia Nixon and Denis O’Hare), and ex-husband (Rhys Ifans) revisit their memories and make peace together.
The Virgil Films documentary Clarence Clemons: Who Do I Think I Am?, about one of the most famous saxophone players in the world, is coming on Digital HD Aug. 13 and on DVD through MVD Entertainment Group Aug. 27 following a limited theatrical run in July.
A TV/ SVOD release is planned for first quarter 2020.
After Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s marathon “Rising Tour” came to an end in 2003, Clemons felt like he needed a break. Though the world knew him as The Big Man and a lifetime member of the E Street Band, there was also a deeply spiritual side to Clemons, so he packed up his saxophone and journeyed to China, where he could be more or less a nameless traveler in a foreign land. Following him was director, friend and photographer Nick Mead, who documented the musician’s transcendent awakening overseas. Once Clemons returned to the States, Mead decided to keep the cameras rolling, which is when tragedy struck. While in Florida, Clemons suffered a stroke and passed away.
With the help of producer Joe Amodei, the film became more than just a document of the musician’s spiritual journey, it became a biography of his life and a love letter and farewell from those who knew him best.
“It was an honor and a privilege to work with Nick Mead on this project. Clarence was a true Big Man! His spirituality rose to the top of every interview we conducted.” said producer Amodei in a statement.
Featuring interviews with President Bill Clinton, Joe Walsh, Nils Lofgren, Jake Clemons, and former band mates, friends and close family members, Who Do I Think I Am? documents Clemons’s life as a musician and member of the E Street band while also presenting another side of the man not many knew offstage.
Country Music, a documentary series by director and producer Ken Burns, will bow on DVD, Blu-ray and digital Sept. 17 from PBS Distribution coinciding with its national broadcast on PBS.
In the series, Burns chronicles the history of the uniquely American art form, country music. Starting from its early days in the 1920s and following it through the mid-1990s, Burns takes viewers on a journey chronicling “America’s music” in 16 hours on eight discs.
The series focuses on the personal stories of the characters who created and shaped the genre — from the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe and Bob Wills to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many more — as well as the times and places in which they lived. Much like the music itself, the film tells stories of hardships and joys shared by everyday people. Country Music uncovers the roots of the music, including ballads, minstrel music, hymns and the blues and its early years in the 1920s when it was first recorded and called “hillbilly music.” It then shows how the music sprouted many new branches during the 20th century: Western swing and singing cowboys, bluegrass and honky tonk, rockabilly and the “outlaws,” the smooth Nashville Sound and harder-edged Bakersfield Sound, and many others — showing that country music never was just one style but a broad American mixture that became a major cultural force.
The DVD and Blu-ray include more than three hours of extra bonus footage that will not be airing, including a behind-the-scenes, making-of featurette and additional material gleaned from hours of interviews.