How Just Saying “NO” Changed Chile

by Melanie Gilarsky 03/27/2013 14:04 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The MPAA, together with the Inter-American Dialogue, National Democratic Institute, Participant Media and Sony Pictures Classics hosted a screening of “NO”, the 2013 Oscar® Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film on Tuesday evening. “NO” is a historical feature that tells the story of Rene Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal), a fictional young advertising executive, who was given the charge of creating the opposition campaign for the 1988 plebiscite.  As a result of the “NO” campaign, the Chilean people took back their nation by voting out military dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. 

Leading strategists from the “NO” campaign took part in a panel discussion to provide viewers with an insider perspectives on the landmark Chilean referendum of 1988 and how the lessons of the “NO” campaign continue to remain valuable to others working for freedom and democracy around the world. The panelists were:  Genaro Arriagada (Former National Director of the “NO” campaign, Former Ambassador from Chile to the U.S., Former Minister of the Presidency of Chile), Ken Wollack (President, National Democratic Institute), Sergio Bitar (President of the Foundation for Democracy (Chile), Former Chilean Senator, Cabinet Member and President of the Party for Democracy (PPD)), and Frank Greer (Partner, GMMB).

Wollack, Bitar, Arriagada, and Greer took the audience back to Chile in the late 1980s and discussed the emotions, challenges, and decision process that culminated in the groundbreaking “NO” vote. Wollack said, “We look back at that democratic struggle 25 years ago as though its success was inevitable, although in fact at the time it was improbable.” Sergio Bitar added that “the main obstacle was fear and you cannot vanquish fear with fear or with despair, you have to be optimistic.” Arriagada discussed how he and the Chilean opposition came to creating the “No” campaign. “If we want [ed] to have a country for everyone it was necessary to have a program, a product of society that would be in place for everyone.”

Greer spoke from the American perspective, and how our “duty [was] to make up for the mistakes of foreign policy of the past. We were there because we believed.”


From Left to Right: Ken Wollack, Honorable Sergio Bitar, Honorable Genaro Arriagada, Frank Greer

Photo Credit: Joy Asico

A Snapshot of Some State Specific 2012 Box Office Data

by Julia Jenks 03/21/2013 14:31 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Earlier today the MPAA released its 2012 Theatrical Market Statistics Report, presenting a global snapshot of the box office, attendance, and film release trends for the film industry in 2012. As Senator Dodd pointed out in today’s release, both global and domestic box office are up compared to last year, driven by increased attendance. 2012 was a great year for moviegoing. For a deeper dive and access to the full report, click here.

This year, for the first time, we offer some additional analysis that sheds light on which states have the most eager moviegoing audiences. We analyzed the behavior of those who saw one or more movie(s) in 2012, referred to as “moviegoers”, in the 10 most populous states in the country.  We looked at the 10 most populous states in order to ensure that the sample is large enough to provide reliable data.

We found that among those 10 states, Illinois has the highest percentage of moviegoers, at 74% of their population, well above the national average of 68%. In second place is California, with 73% of their population earning moviegoer status and closely following, is Texas with 72% of the Lone Star state population going to the movies at least once last year.

Among the 10 most populous states, these particular three states have the highest percentage of frequent moviegoers, as well. Frequent moviegoers are defined as moviegoers who attend one or more movie(s) per month. The California population in this case ranks the highest, with 22% of Californians qualifying as frequent moviegoers, followed by Illinois at 21% and Texas at 18%. All three are well above the national average, which is 13% of the population.

Finally, we analyzed which states have the highest total number of moviegoers overall. California, by a significant margin, tops this category with 26.8 million moviegoers in 2012. Texas is second at 17.9 million and New York is third at 12.6 million. The graphs below detail all of the information we have just described and more, providing valuable context for these figures.

This year’s additional state information serves as an important reminder that the film and television industry has far reaching economic and cultural implications. Hundreds of thousands of people from across the globe contribute to creating the finished produced seen by billions, and as today’s report confirms, a wide variety of people in different places across the country love going to the movies.  

The Untold Story of “The Invisible Men”

by TJ Ducklo 03/20/2013 15:52 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The MPAA, together with The Embassy of Israel to the US, The Human Rights Campaign, and A Wider Bridge hosted a screening Tuesday night of “The Invisible Men”, a documentary that sheds light on the largely unknown population of gay Palestinian refugees hiding in Tel Aviv. Winner of several international film festival awards, it has been called a darker “Huck Finn” of the Middle East for its social importance, exposing and personalizing an unpleasant but very real issue of persecution based on sexuality in the region.

The film’s writer, director, and producer Yariv Mozer was on hand Tuesday evening and answered questions following the screening. Mozer has produced more the 15 documentaries, including the award winning “My First War”, a first-person account of the Second Lebanese War, and is currently working on his first feature film “Snails in the Rain”. Mozer said many from his homeland have reacted positively since watching his film: 

“I have received numerous phone calls, texts, and Facebooks telling me thank you, saying that I opened their eyes and showed them something happening among them that they did not know.”

The Honorable Dan Baer, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the Department of State and Noam Katz, Minister of Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Israel were also present at last night’s screening. Das Baer, in his opening remarks, commented:

“If you look at the Human Rights Reports, the Middle East is a tough place to be gay.” He added “We look forward to continuing to think creatively on how to engage on this issue.”

Katz, in his introduction of Mozer, said that his film has “opened an important dialog within Israeli society and ensures that we are always moving forward.”

“The Invisible Men” has completed a North American tour and is available to buy or rent online at 

Filmmaker Yariv Moze


The Honorable Dan Baer

A Step Closer to an Internet that Values Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Information and the Freedom to Protect the Things We Create and Own

by Chris Marcich 03/18/2013 05:08 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

This past Thursday's decision by the European Court of Human Rights to reject the application of The Pirate Bay founders Frederik Neij and Peter Sunde clearly draws a line in the sand and demonstrates that criminal conduct should result in appropriate and proportionate punishment.  Last year, Mr. Sunde and Mr. Neij filed a complaint with the EU Court of Human Rights on the basis that their criminal conviction (for operating TPB) violated their rights of freedom of expression under the Article 10 of the Convention.  The EU Court of Human Rights did not see it that way and concluded that the application was “manifestly ill-founded”.
What we have seen in the past is that the term “freedom of expression” has been hijacked by those who operate and provide Internet access to illegal sites under the pretext of doing so for the greater good of society.  And the entertainment industry has too often been accused of oppressing freedom of speech because it is trying to protect the artists and creators who have invested time, their creative talent and money in developing films and shows.
It is gratifying to see that the EU Court of Human Rights was not receptive to such an argument and rather focused on the fact that the activity both Sunde and Neij had been convicted for – the distribution of materials most of which protected by copyright – could actually not be equaled to “political expression and debate”.
The concept of “freedom of expression” and what it stands for is far too important to be bantered around and used as a smoke-screen for irresponsible and sometimes even illegal activity on the Internet.  And it is certainly not the case that the entertainment industry is seeking to censor the Internet or to stifle free speech.  Free expression is the cornerstone of our industry and we would not exist without it.
The Internet is a central part of our lives.  Citizens across the world, particularly young people, care about it passionately.  So do we.  We just want to ensure the Internet works for everyone.  We want an Internet where the creative property of artists and creators is protected along with the privacy and security of all users.  An Internet where the values society holds dear in the offline world, shape how we interact online.  And yes, these include freedom of expression, freedom of information and the freedom to protect the things we create and own.
Today, we are one step closer to achieving such an Internet.

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2" Bringing Jobs and Revenue to New York State

by MPAA 03/13/2013 15:33 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Earlier today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” will be filmed entirely in New York. With scenes shot both upstate and downstate, it is expected to result in 3,500 jobs and the casting of 11,000 extras and will be the largest production filmed in New York to date. Major projects like this with a large economic footprint are the result of a strong production incentive program, which makes New York an attractive place to shoot.  In the words of Governor Cuomo, “This production will also help generate new jobs and economic activity both upstate and downstate which is great news for our local communities and fans of the franchise.”

The economic boon to the state is not just limited to the set itself.  According to the Governor’s office, the production will require 6,000 hotel room nights in New York State, and will use a number of Long Island-based businesses to supply food and equipment. The estimates on spending range from approximately $279,000 in container rentals to $130,000 in crane rentals to $19,000 for auto parts and more. Put simply, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” will mean money for local communities in New York.

Started in 2004, the production tax incentive program has meant estimated $12.1 billion worth of direct spending for New York and become a significant job generator. In 2012 alone, 134 productions have applied for New York’s production incentive. Gov. Cuomo has now proposed a 5-year extension of the program in this year’s budget.

Gov. Cuomo’s release can be read in its entirety here.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk: "If we give away our work product, we just don't have a future"

by Greg Frazier 03/13/2013 12:27 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

In his final meeting of the President’s Export Council as the United States Trade Representative yesterday, Ambassador Ron Kirk made a very compelling argument that protecting intellectual property rights both at home and abroad is essential to the continued economic success of our country.

Speaking briefly at the beginning of the meeting, Ambassador Kirk stated that here in the United States “we have a knowledge-based economy and we have to be able to protect that.”  As the U.S. Trade Representative the past four years, Ambassador Kirk has been a strong advocate for enforcing the protection of intellectual property rights with our nation’s trading partners. Throughout negotiations on international and trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Kirk and the Obama Administration have been adamant about ensuring “the strongest intellectual property protection that we can possibly seek in these agreements.”

Pointing out that all of the members of the President’s Export Council seated around the table yesterday “as different as [their] businesses are, are all linked by the ability to protect [their] work product,” Amb. Kirk asked for the thoughts and help of the other members of the council to help convey the crucial message to the American public that “if we give away our work product, we just don’t have a future.”

As representatives of an American industry that thrives on innovation and the distribution of content to audiences around the globe, we couldn’t agree more with Ambassador Kirk’s assessment.  You can watch the full video of the meeting, including Ambassador Kirk’s remarks, HERE.

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