Award-Winning Animation Studio LAIKA Expands Into Live Action

Oregon Studio Acquires Rights to Screenwriter John Brownlow’s Debut Action Thriller Novel Seventeen

aiphotoimaging laika studio animationLAIKA, known for the Academy Award®-nominated animated films Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings and Missing Link, is expanding into live action. The studio has optioned Seventeen, the upcoming first novel by acclaimed screenwriter John Brownlow (The Minaturist, Sylvia). Currently in production on its sixth animated feature film, LAIKA secured the rights in an intense bidding war and plans to adapt it as a live action project. The announcement was made today by Travis Knight, President & CEO.

“For the past 15 years, LAIKA has been committed to making movies that matter,” says Knight. “Across mediums and genres, our studio has fused art, craft, and technology in service of bold, distinctive, and enduring stories. With Seventeen, LAIKA is taking that philosophy in an exciting new direction.”

“Seventeen is a stiff cocktail of wicked wit, exhilarating action, and raw emotion,” Knight continues. “John has such a wonderfully unique voice. He’s crafted a brilliant universe with its own powerful identity. Seventeen is a thriller with soul, a sinuous adrenaline-fueled actioner with a sincere heart beating underneath its rippling pectorals.”

Author and screenwriter John Brownlow is well known for his film and television credits. He is the screenwriter of the feature film Sylvia starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig and wrote and executive produced the three-part BBC limited series The Minaturist, which starred Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit). He also wrote the four-episode limited series Fleming, which starred Dominic Cooper as James Bond author Ian Fleming.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be developing Seventeen for the screen with LAIKA,” says Brownlow. “As a long-time fan of LAIKA’s movies for their vision, heart, craft, intelligence and ambition, I couldn’t have hoped for the novel or the universe it inhabits to have found a better or more exciting home. I’m beyond honored to be part of their plans for the future.”

UK publisher Hodder & Stoughton has preemptively acquired worldwide publishing rights to Seventeen. Hanover Square will publish the book in the US in 2022. LAIKA was represented in the deal by CAA. John Brownlow is represented by George Davis at Nelson Davis LLP, Jessica Sykes at Independent Talent Group and CAA.

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Quarantined Illustrated Series, The Little Broomstick Rider

ai photo studioCreated by Matteo Bernardini, the illustrated short series is set to have its world premiere at 2021 Slamdance Film Festival.

When a nine-year-old boy in 1620s Bavaria goes on trial for witchcraft, a flabbergasted court must decide the child’s fate.

Based on Ludwig Bechstein’s The Little Pitchfork Rider, THE LITTLE BROOMSTICK RIDER was born out of the objective creative impediment filmmaker Matteo Bernardini had to face during the lockdown generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Being aware he could not rely on casts and crews as he was used to and being confined to his own house, Bernardini decided to let his illustrations do all the acting and his hands do the rest of the work: the final result is a unique product, more of an “illustrations-coming-to-life experience” than a traditional animated series.

Armed exclusively with paper, pens, scissors and glue, Bernardini has brought his personal interpretation of 17th century Germany to life. Half fairy-tale, half-perhaps-a-bit-too-historically-accurate (and spiced with a hint of macabre humour), Bernardini’s maverick series takes DIY to the next level.

THE LITTLE BROOMSTICK RIDER will have its world premiere in the Episodes section at the 2021 Slamdance Film Festival.
Episode 1: The trial for witchcraft begins and the identity of the defendant is revealed.
Episode 2 : The court gets very peculiar information and perspective about the Satanic Arts.
Episode 3: The existence of a Dark Lord is discovered.
Episode 4: Vision of a Witches’ Sabbath.
Episode 5: Further evidence about the Dark Arts is provided, including singing demons and a great lemon cake.
Episode 6: Little Linhard learns about the court’s verdict: he will burn at the stake. Or so they think.

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Eventive Announces Advanced Anti-Piracy Technology For Virtual Cinema

“Power to the filmmakers. Not to the pirates.”

Eventive, the leading platform for virtual cinema, hosting over 35,000 films for more than 700 festivals and year-round exhibitors in 2020, announced today that starting February 1, 2021, every stream on the platform will be secured with a NAGRA NexGuard forensic watermark. By using this invisible mark to identify each individual user and session, Eventive will be able to track any unauthorized use and trace it right back to the source.

Forensic watermarking is the most advanced form of content protection available and was previously only available at significant expense to a limited number of films. Eventive Advanced Antipiracy brings this level of security to everyone, at no additional cost.

In 2020 the independent film exhibition landscape shifted entirely to virtual cinema screenings, which allowed viewers to enjoy these films at home – however, the threat of piracy also increased dramatically. As pirates continue to improve their techniques, artists need the tools to protect their work, and Eventive’s latest advancement – along with existing multi-DRM, enhanced bitstream, burn-in, and overlay watermarking – grants filmmakers, distributors, exhibitors and film festivals the assurance that content is being streamed safely.

“Eventive Advanced Antipiracy moves content security to an entirely new level,” says Carly-Rose Moser, Director of Production & Operations at the American Film Institute. She adds, “It’s going to help all filmmakers and distributors feel more comfortable showing their work virtually.”

Iddo Patt, Eventive Co-founder and CEO, also added, “Our primary goal with Eventive Virtual has always been to create a sustainable virtual exhibition ecosystem that preserves premium and theatrical release windows, to support all filmmakers and new voices in reaching ever wider audiences while protecting their creative rights. We are delighted to be able to offer this level of security to all filmmakers.” Learn more about the Eventive Advanced Antipiracy suite of features at AdvancedAntipiracy.org.

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Chris Hemsworth Is Officially Hulk Hogan-Level Jacked in New Photo

Like plenty of other leading men, Chis Hemsworth likes to post his workouts on social media, and has even got a side hustle going with his own fitness and wellbeing app, Centr, where he and his team share the workouts and meal plans that have helped him get into godlike shape to play Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

But in his latest progress pic on Instagram, in which he is captured flipping a tire (or “cheat day donut” as his tongue-in-cheek caption reads), the Australian actor is looking even more jacked than he did on the set of the Thor and Avengers movies. It’s in preparation for his next big project, where he will play ’80s and ’90s wrestling star Hulk Hogan.

Hemsworth has previously stated in interviews that his role in the upcoming Hogan biopic will require him to bulk up and physically transform more than any of his previous gigs. “I will have to put on more size than I ever have before, even more than I put on for Thor,” he said. “There is the accent as well as the physicality and the attitude… I will also have to do a deep dive into the rabbit hole of the wrestling world, which I’m really looking forward to doing.”

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Sam Mendes Wins 2020 DGA Award for “1917”

By Creative Media Times

Universal Pictures

The Directors Guild of America has weighed in on the race for best director, and giving 1917’s Sam Mendes the top honor for best feature film.

“I was fortunate enough to win this award two decades ago,” Mendes recalling his DGA Awards win for “American Beauty” in 2000. “And I think if I’m honest with myself, I didn’t feel ultimately like I really knew what I was doing. I feel a little bit more like I do now.”

The win is Mendes’ second major guild win of the awards season, making him a solid frontrunner for best director at next month’s Academy Awards. The DGA Awards are often a strong bellwether for the Academy Awards: since DGA started handing out trophies in 1949, the winner has only lost seven times at the Oscars. Additionally, Mendes won best director at the Golden Globes earlier this month.

Other nominees for feature film were Bong Joon Ho for Parasite, Martin Scorsese for The Irishman, Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Taika Waititi for Jojo Rabbit.

See below for the full list of winners:

Film

Feature Film
Sam Mendes – 1917

Documentaries
Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert – American Factory

First-Time Feature Film
Alma Har’el – Honey Boy
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Billie Eilish To Perform New James Bond Theme

By Creative Media Times

Billie Eilish, 18, becomes youngest person to record a Bond theme. The singer and songwriter is recording the title track for No Time To Die, which she has written and produced with her brother Finneas O’Connell. Eilish recently just turned 18 in December.

“It feels crazy to be a part of this in every way. To be able to score the theme song to a film that is part of such a legendary series is a huge honor. James Bond is the coolest film franchise ever to exist. I’m still in shock,” Eilish said in a statement.

Needless to say, expectations are pretty high. Recent James Bond themes have won an Academy Award for Best Original Song: Adele’s “Skyfall”, the theme song of the James Bond film of the same name, as well as Sam Smith’s Writing’s On The Wall, from Spectre.

No Time to Die is the twenty-fifth installment in the James Bond film franchise, and is expected to be Daniel Craig’s last appearance as Bond.

The film is set for release on April 10 in the United States.

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Miss South Africa Is 2019 Miss Universe

By Armando

Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi, was crowned Miss Universe.
Photo: Armando (aiphotoimaging.com

Zozibini Tunzi was crowned as the new Miss Universe after impressing the judges on her final question and answer portion, as well as her beauty and grace during the swimsuit and evening gown competitions. Miss Mexico and Miss Puerto Rico were the two runners-up.

“I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me, with my color skin, and my kind of hair is not considered beautiful,” Tunzi said on Sunday. “I think it is time that stops today. I want children to look at my face and I want them to see their face reflected in mine.”

Tunzi is an activist against gender violence. According to the Miss Universe organization, she is a “proud advocate for natural beauty and encourages women to love themselves the way they are.”

During final question and answer portion, Zozibini was asked about what we should teach today’s young girls, to which she replied: “I think the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is leadership. It’s something that has been lacking in young girls and women for a very long time, not because we don’t want to, but because of what society has labelled women to be,” she said.

“I think we are the most powerful beings on the world, and that we should be given every opportunity. And that is what we should be teaching these young girls, to take up space, Tunzi added”

The event was held on Sunday at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. During the press conference, Tunzi added that it was “very special” to win the crown at the major studio complex owned by an African-American.

Miss Universe 2019 Pre-Show Arrivals
Photos: Armando (aiphotoimaging.com)

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Miss Universe 2019 Press Junket

By Armando

Miss Iceland at 2019 Miss Universe press junket
Photo: AI PHOTO IMAGING
aiphotoimaging.com

Miss Universe 2019 contestants took time out early morning on Thursday to meet with the press at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ahead of this Sunday’s pageant finals, the contestants answered questions from the media during the early morning event.

Although almost everyone made a great impression, some of the standouts (from talking to the press in attendance) include Miss Iceland, Miss South Africa, Miss Puerto Rico and Miss Vietnam. Towards the end of the event, reining Miss Universe Catriona Gray arrived and fielded questions from the press.

Photo: Armando (aiphotoimaging.com)

The day also featured the unveiling of a new Miss Universe crown by luxury jeweler and new crown sponsor Mouawad. The crown was unveiled by Mouawad co-guardian Pascal Mouawad, Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart, along with current pageant titleholder Catriona Elis Gray.

Delegates from 90 countries and territories is set to compete for this year’s Miss Universe beauty pageant. Up next for the candidates will be the preliminary competition that’s set to be held on Friday, December 6. Miss Universe Catriona Gray is also set to appear in the Atlanta Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Miss Universe 2019 will be held this Sunday December 8, 2019 at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia and will air live at 7/6c on FOX. Steve Harvey is set to return as host.

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Scarlett Johansson and Dwayne Johnson Tops Forbest Highest Paid

By Creative Media Times

Forbes has recently published its annual rankings of highest paid actors and actresses, with Dwayne Johnson and Scarlett Johansson, somewhat unsurprisingly topping the lists respectively.

During the 12-month period, Johnson earned 89.4 million, between June 1, 2018, and June 1, 2019. “The Rock” has recently appeared in the Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw, last year’s Skyscraper, and Fighting with My Family, produced this year’s Shazam!, and has endorsed sportswear Under Armour. He is set to appear in this year’s Jumanji: The Next Level with co-stars Kevin Hart and Jack Black.

Though Johansson earned $56 million during the same period, that amount ranks 7th overall, behind her Marvel co-stars Christ Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, and Bradley Cooper. Johansson’s earnings is bolstered by “Avengers: Endgame” which recently became the highest grossing film of all time. She’s set to reprise her Avengers role in next year’s Black Widow.

Highest-Paid Actresses Of 2019

10. Ellen Pompeo – Earnings: $22 million
9. Charlize Theron –Earnings: $23 million
8. Margot Robbie – Earnings: $23 million
7. Elisabeth Moss – Earnings: $24 million
6. Kaley Cuoco – Earnings: $25 million
5. Jennifer Aniston –E arnings: $28 million
4. Nicole Kidman – Earnings: $34 million
3. Reese Witherspoon – Earnings: $35 million
2. Sofia Vergara – Earnings: $44.1 million
1. Scarlett Johansson – Earnings: $56 million

Highest-Paid Actors Of 2019
10. Will Smith – Earnings: $35 million
9. Paul Rudd – Earnings: $41 million
8. Chris Evans – Earnings: $43.5 million
6. Adam Sandler (tie) – Earnings: $57 million
6. Bradley Cooper (tie) – Earnings: $57 million
5. Jackie Chan – Earnings: $58 million
4. Akshay Kumar – Earnings: $65 million
3. Robert Downey Jr. – Earnings: $66 million
2. Chris Hemsworth – Earnings: $76.4 million
1. Dwayne Johnson – Earnings: $89.4 million

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Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande Lead VMA Nominations

By Creative Media Times

Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande leads this year’s nominations for the MTV Video Music Awards (VMA), with each artist receiving 10 nominations which was announced on Tuesday.

Newcomers and first-time VMA nominees Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X also received multiple nominations. Both had a big year this year with “Bad Guy” and “Old Town Road” respectively, and will face off in the Best New Artist category.

There are also two new categories this year: Best K-Pop and Video for Good.

The event is set to be hosted by comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, and will air live from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Monday, Aug. 26 at 8/7c.

See the full list of nominees below:

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

21 Savage ft. J. Cole — “a lot” — Epic Records
Billie Eilish — “Bad Guy” — Darkroom/Interscope Records
Ariana Grande — “thank u, next” — Republic Records
Jonas Brothers — “Sucker” — Republic Records
Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus — “Old Town Road (Remix)” — Columbia Records
Taylor Swift — “You Need to Calm Down” — Republic Records

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Cardi B — Atlantic Records
Billie Eilish — Darkroom/Interscope Records
Ariana Grande — Republic Records
Halsey — Astralwerks/Capitol Records
Jonas Brothers — Republic Records
Shawn Mendes– Island Records

SONG OF THE YEAR

Drake — “In My Feelings” — Young Money/Cash Money/Republic Records
Ariana Grande — “thank u, next” — Republic Records
Jonas Brothers — “Sucker” — Republic Records
Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper — “Shallow” — Interscope Records
Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus — “Old Town Road (Remix)” — Columbia Records
Taylor Swift — “You Need to Calm Down” — Republic Records

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