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The Age

Thursday November 26, 2009


Small screen talk AT THE Screen Producers Association of Australia conference Warner Bros€™ head of digital marketing, Stephanie Bohn, outlined the variety of ways distributors are getting content to the home, legally and for a fee. Various gaming consoles and video recorders are now downloading pay-per-view content to be watched on TV. Bohn also explained the release €świndow€ť between DVD and download (video on demand, or VOD) is disappearing, which is bad news for video stores. But cinema owners have reason to be fearful, too. Some distributors are releasing their fi lms via VOD at the same time as they are going into cinemas. Bohn said: €śThere€™s an opportunity for theatres in 3D, though it doesn€™t apply to every title.€ťSupply and demand WITH a new film festival sprouting every other week, a new group has formed to help individuals and organisations to stage their event. Next Monday at the Loop Bar (6-8pm), Lisa Daniel (pictured) and Malcolm Turner, directors of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival and International Animation Festival respectively, and Fiona Kelly, marketing and sponsorship manager of the Melbourne International Film Festival, will share their nuts-and-bolts experiences of running a festival.The event is Pitch money APPLICATIONS are now open for grants of up to $8000 to assist Victorian fi lmmakers in attracting overseas fi nanciers, broadcasters and distributors.The $250,000 fund is the fi rst program open for business under the new Victorian Screen Industry Strategy. The fund comes into being amid warnings that the fi nancing outlook for fi lms is €śpretty bleak€ť, to quote Screen Australia chief Dr Ruth Harley. The problem, says Screen Producers Association president Antony Ginnane, is the Federal Government€™s tax offset isn€™t working for fi lms, €śas it€™s a fi nancial model created to fi t a landscape that has irrevocably changed in the last 18 months€ť.Next stop, oscar?THE Cat Piano, a short animation by the Adelaide-based People€™s Republic of Animation, has made the shortlist for Oscar consideration. The fi lm noir-inspired animation, which features a beat poem narrated by Nick Cave (right), faces stiff competition. Among the 10 shortlisted fi lms are two by Pixar and a new Wallace & Gromit short, A Matter of Loaf and Death. The fi lm€™s writer and co-director, Eddie White, is unperturbed. €śIt marks a milestone for my studio . . .an indicator that we are on the right track and that there is an audience for what we are doing.€ťThe Cat Piano has already won a swag of awards, and can be viewed on line at catpianofi PAUL KALINA Box Office AGAIN proving the boy-movie toppling power of the chick fl ick, the Twilight sequel New Moon set a new opening weekend record with $16.1 million across a 530- screen release and registering a crammed per-screen average of $30,377. This bumped 2012 to a distant second place, where it still managed $3.6 million across 405 screens. The Coen brothers comedy A Serious Man bowed at No. 8 with a solid $243,253 on 41 screens, while Amreeka debuted modestly at No. 20 with $24,992 on 11 screens. The Boys Are Back had a strong second weekend, taking $404,101 on 163 screens for a $1.2 million total, while Mao€™s Last Dancer earned $269,983 across its eighth weekend for a tally of $14.4 million.JIM SCHEMBRI

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