An Evening With Adrian Grenier and Peter Glatzer

by TJ Ducklo 11/13/2012 17:39 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Actor Adrian Grenier and film producer Peter Glatzer joined Senator Dodd at the MPAA this evening to discuss their joint venture SHFT. Co-founded by the two artists, SHFT is a multimedia platform aimed at conveying a more sustainable approach to the way we live through film, design, art, and culture.

Tonight’s event is the latest installment of the MPAA’s “Evening With” series, which invites leaders from the entertainment industry to Washington to share their interests, their experiences, and their craft. Grenier and Glatzer sat with Senator Dodd to discuss the various elements of their project and why they do what they do:

Grenier: “We wanted to do something we believe in, but not just in our spare time. We wanted it to build momentum, to make it our job and to give back in meaningful ways. (We did this) in the only way we know how which is by storytelling and filmmaking. And it’s been our pleasure- we are fulfilled by it”.

Glatzer added: “We wanted these (short films) to be sharable pieces of content rather than something your mother thinks you should watch.”

Grenier is best known for his role on HBO’s ENTOURAGE and has appeared in many films including THE ADVENTURES OF SABASTIAN COLE, DRIVE ME CRAZY, and THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. Glatzer is an independent film producer whose works include the Sundance hit THE GRAVE, the former Executive Director of the Hampton Film Festival and the creator of the IFP Gotham Awards. He and Grenier co-founded SHFT in 2009 after they collaborated on ALTER ECO, a TV series for Discovery.

photos by Joy Asico

Categories: Evening With


MPAA Welcomes Mike Medavoy

by TJ Ducklo 10/09/2012 18:24 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The MPAA welcomed film industry great Mike Medavoy to our DC office this evening in the latest installment of our “Evening With” event series. These events feature leaders in the entertainment community sharing their experiences and wisdom, which in Medavoy’s case, spans 50 years in the industry. MPAA Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd and American Film Institute Founder and entertainment industry leader George Stevens, Jr. moderated what was a fascinating and incredibly timely discussion.

Medavoy's talent for recognizing talent is a main contributor to his success, as he explains "There's no science to it. It's instinctive. That's just what I did." He went on to share stories about working with iconic figures in film, among them Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Kevin Costner, and Terrence Malick. His profound reflections on the industry's role in a globalized society struck a chord with the audience, stating "Movies are markers. You remember where you were, what effect they had on you (when you saw them). And that's true everywhere, around the world."

From working in the Universal Studios mailroom to having his hand in over 300 feature films, seven of which won the Oscar for Best Picture, Medavoy has quite a story to tell. Working as both an agent at Creative Management Agency and studio executive at several studios, Medavoy developed an eye for talent that has translated to success after success on the silver screen. Early in his career, he helped produce One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Rocky, Annie Hall, The Terminator, Dances with Wolves, Silence of the Lambs, and Sleepless in Seattle. In 1995, Medavoy co-founded Phoenix Pictures and currently serves as its Chairman and CEO. During Medavoy’s tenure, Phoenix has released numerous award winning films, including The People vs Larry Flynt, The Thin Red Line, All The Kings Men, Shutter Island, and Black Swan.
We look forward to continuing to host these captivating discussions, celebrating those who make the film and television industry such an important part of our nation’s culture.

MPAA Launches "Evening With" Event Series with Director Michael Apted

by TJ Ducklo 07/12/2012 18:32 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

The MPAA welcomed critically acclaimed director Michael Apted to our Washington office Thursday night for the inaugural “Evening With”- a new event series that will bring leaders from the entertainment community to DC to discuss their work, their passions, and their experiences in the creative industries.

Apted’s work includes both television and film, most notably feature films Coal Miner’s Daughter, Amazing Grace, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The World Is Not Enough, and Gorillas in the Mist. He is also renowned for his work on HBO’s Rome series, and his multi-award winning UP documentary series, which Roger Ebert characterized as, “… an inspired, almost noble use of the film medium.”

Apted sat with MPAA Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd and provided fascinating insight on the creative process, a perspective that could only come from a passionate storyteller. He covered a wide range of topics, a reflection of the wide variety of his many works. Apted emphasized the importance of using local actors when filming on location to achieve the right authenticity; he described the “fantastic” pressure associated with directing a James Bond film; and he revealed the unique challenges in capturing real truth from his subjects while filming over several decades for his UP documentary series.

We look forward to hosting more creators, makers, innovators, and other celebrated members of our industry as we move forward with this exciting event series. Stay tuned!

Hollywood Created By Pirates?

by TJ Ducklo 05/09/2012 10:20 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

How did Hollywood become Hollywood? If you ask the operators of The Pirate Bay and their apologists, they’ll say Hollywood was built by a band of pirates, fleeing stringent East Coast patent protections to a free and open land to create at will. This theory conveniently parallels their own existence, as they seek to justify profiting from digital theft.  Spoiler alert: their story is fiction.  Copyhype’s Terry Hart chronicles the origins of the heart of showbiz in a recent piece, debunking the theory that filmmakers’ migration west was to flee enforcement of intellectual property laws.

As Hart points out, the patents at issue were held by the Motion Picture Patents Company, which, through restrictive tie-in agreements and licensing practices, severely impeded independent filmmakers from entering the market.  But the status quo was challenged, and shortly afterwards, the Supreme Court determined that MPPC’s licensing practices give it “a potential power for evil over” movie producers which “would be gravely injurious to th[e] public interest.” This 1917 ruling severely undermined MPPC’s unfair business practices.

So why did so many filmmaker make the trek cross-country to the Golden State? Geography is one good reason, says Hart.

The landscape of Southern California provides a multitude of options for filmmakers when choosing their films’ setting. Weather is another good reason, he adds. The transition from harsh East Coast winters to 70 degrees and sunny was certainly a welcome one for the film community.  Not to mention land was cheaper and labor more available. It seems landscape, climate, and business were all an improvement for creators looking to relocate.

Thus, while the “Hollywood was created by pirates” schtick may be cute, it is a false narrative pressed primarily by copyright opponents as a way to validate online content theft.

Attention Film-Lovers: We Got Your Content Right Here

by TJ Ducklo 05/04/2012 10:49 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Julianna Strickland has a movie buff’s dream job. Her title: Content Curator for MOVIECLIPS.COM. Her duties: decide which clips from virtually every movie out there make it online, available to viewers FOR FREE. Julianna’s employer MOVIECLIPS.Com was the subject of a recent NPR piece that explored their services which features trailers, short scenes, promotional video, and other footage online. 

Founded in 2009, MOVIECLIPS combines the worlds of content, technology, and social media to create an interactive forum for movie lovers to do what they do: celebrate film. In addition to the thousands of free clips made available by all six major studios and many independents, the site allows users to add a film to their Netflix queue, purchase the film on Amazon, Itunes, or another legal site, or share the clip through various social media. Best of all, the video is searchable through various web-based platforms.

Last week at CinemaCon, MPAA Chairman Senator Chris Dodd called for a stronger, more cooperative relationship between the content and tech communities. "Content needs technology, technology needs content, and the idea that somehow there is a loser in all of this, it's beyond my imagination why people are insisting on that," Dodd said during the annual gathering of theater owners. One need look no further than MOVIECLIPS.COM to see this sentiment in action. As technology continues to evolve, creating newer, more dynamic ways for consumers to access content is the way of the future.

Property Rights and Privacy on the Internet

by TJ Ducklo 12/20/2011 08:01 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Yesterday, Senators Herb Kohl and Mike Lee wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about concerns arising from a Judiciary Committee hearing in September on the antitrust practices of Google.  The letter urges a thorough FTC investigation to determine if Google is using the overwhelming market power of its search engine to steer Internet users to its own products while discriminating against other companies.  It also asks the commission to determine if Google has violated antitrust law, harmed consumers or impeded access to open competition.  

In a post on the conservative blog Red State, Saul Anuzis defended Senator Lee for taking “justified and principled action” in examining if Google undermines the property rights and privacy of Americans.   While not everyone at Red State has agreed on supporting the Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R.3261), perhaps a look at the abuse of property rights and privacy on the Internet will serve as evidence of the need for action now on this important legislation to target those who profit from stolen American property.

He wrote:

“For conservatives, the regulatory direction of antitrust enforcement strikes right at the heart of what defines a company: its property. Google has seemingly built and branded the most highly prized real estate on the Internet through innovation, investment and competitiveness. At first glance, Google could be a poster child for free enterprise. Is Sen. Lee simply encouraging big government to intervene once again in the marketplace and essentially seize and redistribute property?
“But digital property ownership—of content, intellectual property and personal data—is exactly the issue that Google wants to sweep under the rug. To evaluate the need for antitrust enforcement against Google, we need to understand the extent to which Google has built its business through the abuse of the property rights of others.”


“In the September’s [Senate] hearing, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) drew attention to Google’s embarrassing non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and forfeiture of $500 million in ill-gotten gains from the promotion of illegal and counterfeit pharmaceutical ads. In this instance, Google aided other property thieves—thieves of drug patents and trademarks—in a way that put the health of consumers at risk.”

Categories: Content Protection, Copyright, Policy


Columbia Law Professor: SOPA Not Censorship

by TJ Ducklo 11/24/2011 11:03 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Since its introduction a few weeks ago, SOPA opponents have flooded the blogosphere with mischaracterized and often incorrect depictions of what the bill will actually do if passed. The most common piece of misguided rhetoric and the rallying cry for many opponents is the culturally resonant label: censorship. But as New York Lawyer and Columbia University Law Professor Hillel I. Parness points out yesterday, the Stop Online Piracy Act does not provide the government the pretense or the tools to “censor” any website based on a content evaluation alone, as reported by ReadWrite Enterprise.

Parness describes SOPA as “clarifying the Copyright Act” and says the nature of the bill is nothing different than other pieces of legislation that have regulated internet usage in the past:

“I don't view the approach here as anything that is groundbreaking in the macro sense. We have seen statutes, we have gotten used to statutes addressing the Internet, and the uniqueness of the Internet, that allow for various remedies, such as notice and takedown under the DMCA, which was new when it was implemented.”

He continued, “Therefore, if there was a risk of abuse, that risk has always been there. And I have confidence in the structure of our court system, that the prosecutors and the courts are held to certain standards that should not allow a statute such as this to be manipulated in that way."

Parness also explains that any site targeted by the bill must meet existing U.S. classifications for criminal conduct. The key word there is criminal. Legislation that targets rogue websites, such as SOPA or its Senate companion the PROTECT IP Act, is intended to halt illegal behavior that takes money out of the pockets of Americans. The film and television industry supports 2.2 million jobs across the country and Chairman Smith with his 24 co-sponsors in the House, as well as Chairman Leahy and his 39 co-sponsors in the Senate aim to protect those jobs.

But these bills do not just protect job in television and film. They also protect consumers against counterfeit drugs sold on foreign rogue sites, a problem outlined by Pzifer Executive John Clark at the recent House Judiciary Hearing, and protect all Americans from phony equipment used by first responders, which is why the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Fire Fighters have both endorsed the legislation.

Foreign-based rogue websites are a problem that isn’t going away, and on this Thanksgiving as we all reflect on what we have to be thankful for, we should give thanks we live in a country that protects us against real censorship and that won’t stand for online criminals using the internet to facilitate their crime.


Senators Vitter and Risch Join Growing List Who Support Rogue Sites Legislation

by TJ Ducklo 11/08/2011 09:39 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

Since its introduction this past May, the PROTECT IP Act has garnered support from across the country, across industries and possibly most impressively, across the political spectrum. That bi-partisan support continues today as Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and James Risch (R-ID) have become the 39th and 40th co-sponsors to this important piece of legislation. They join the recent additions of Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-AL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) as momentum for this bill continues to build.

The PROTECT IP Act aims to eliminate the threat that foreign-based rogue websites pose to the American creative community. When these sites steal creative content, it puts the 2.2 million jobs supported by the film and television industry in jeopardy. We sincerely appreciate Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy and the 39 other co-sponsors of this legislation for recognizing the value of our industry and taking the necessary measures to protect those jobs and prevent the theft of our product.

For a comprehensive look at the problems caused by rogue websites and a complete list of the businesses, labor unions, guilds, law enforcement, and other stakeholders who support taking action, visit the MPAA’s newly launched Rogue Sites Webpage.

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