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SMPTE-Logo2-300x191The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), in partnership with the Stanford Center for Image Systems Engineering, will host the Entertainment Technology in the Internet Age (ETIA) Conference at Stanford University on June 18 and 19. The event will focus on the technical, creative and business requirements for delivering compelling, high-quality, profitable entertainment experiences over the Internet, covering four aspects of the digital ecosystem.

chinaMovies are bigger than ever.At least, they are in China. The nation of 1.35 billion became the second largest filmgoing market on the planet last year, its box office receipts of $2.7 billion muscling out Japan from that spot. That was a whopping 36 percent higher than the 2011 ticket sales in the People's Republic, and China is expected to take the top attendance position from North America by 2020.

Theaters are expanding in the world's most populous nation at an astonishing rate. China Film Group, the government-owned entity responsible for most things cinematic there, estimates that some 10 screens are added each day to the nearly 15,000 already in operation.

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New York State is on the fast track to claim a record-breaking year in television and film production. Known as a location that can handle just about any entertainment shoot, New York has already seen 19 pilots and five TV series this season, while two additional pilots gear up to film in the state, making for a record number television shows in the course of one year. “New York is now the place to go for the film and television industry,” says Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “We have the resources, the talented workforce, and the venues to offer the industry unmatched opportunities. Our newly expanded and enhanced film and television program will only continue to spur tourism, attract more investments to New York, and create more jobs for New Yorkers.”

dictator 2-1_smWhen you think of the southeastern tip of Long Island, N.Y., you may picture seaside mansions along pristine beaches and top-down convertibles with bopping preppy teens. But the Suffolk County Film Commission wants you to know that there’s more to southeast Long Island than the Hamptons. “We’ve got architecture from the 1700s through the late 1800s,” says Michelle Isabelle-Stark, director of the Suffolk County Office of Film and Cultural Affairs. “We’ve got maritime assets, of course, but we’ve also got the only decommissioned nuclear power plant that has never been powered up, so it can be used for filming; The Dictator shot there (pictured left). [And] we don’t just offer the ocean and beautiful beaches, but we have lakes, ponds and rivers.” Long Island also boast parks, courthouses, jails, municipal buildings and an airport, which are all available at a much lower cost than in New York City. And with state tax incentives, Suffolk County gives a finishing grant of $6,000 when a production’s principal photography is completed there.

supernannyWhile reality television has been dominating the airwaves for more than a decade getting a "makeover" has become a staple of the genre. The message is simply "your life is a disaster and our experts can make it better." While this reality plays out across America, no state has undergone more television style improvement than New Jersey.


tribeca-ffThe 2013 Tribeca Film Festival recently screened Tricked, the latest film by Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct). The screening was followed by a Q&A with the producer/director, who readily shared with Film Critic Scott Foundas that Hollywood frowns upon filmmakers that foster their own creativity. “Don’t try to do your own stuff in the U.S.,” Verhoeven said with a smirk. “You have to go with the flow here. Those big films I did, I didn’t invent them. They were handed to me. The more I would get involved, the worse it would get.”

 

 
pad-yatra-6_smDedicated filmmakers will stop at nothing to tell their story, especially if it brings attention to topics that are of significant importance. Such is the case for Los Angeles-based Writer/Director/Producer Wendy J.N. Lee, who shines a spotlight on the environmental issues that have plagued the Himalayas. Lee has an MFA in Film Production from USC School of Cinematic Arts, and she has volunteered to assist non-profit organizations in the Himalayas, where she became aware of the rise in plastic waste. With no viable recycling or trash disposal system in the area, there was a sudden peak in polluted and poisoned water sources along the glacial melting routes, which provides fresh water for half of the world’s population.

payrollIf you’re still cutting checks from your personal bank account to pay the cast and crew of your production, it’s probably time to think about hiring a payroll company like Entertainment Partners (EP). Currently an industry leader, the company boasts a significant majority of the market share in production management services for television, feature films and commercials. In addition to payroll processing, EP provides residuals and talent payments, production incentive financing, consulting and administration, as well as accounting system and productivity software.

pre_newyork_production shooting on the streets of nyc - photo courtesy of the office of film theatre and broadcastingGovernor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development announced that a record 24 productions have selected New York State for their post-production work as a result of new legislation the Governor signed into law, this July. With this new law in effect, New York will be on an even playing field with Los Angeles and Canada in best incentives available for post production work including visual effects, color correction, sound editing and mixing, along with thousands of other jobs the industry touches, from engineers and messengers to creative and support staff.

peter jacksonWELLINGTON, New Zealand — Standing by his desk in New Zealand’s distinctive round Parliament building, known locally as the Beehive, Prime Minister John Key proudly brandished an ornately engraved sword. It was used, he said, by Frodo Baggins, the protagonist of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and in the films it possesses magical powers that cause it to glow blue in the presence of goblins.

“This was given to me by the president of the United States,” said Mr. Key, marveling that President Obama’s official gift to New Zealand was, after all, a New Zealand product.

In Mr. Key’s spare blond-wood office — with no goblins in sight — the sword looked decidedly unmagical. But it served as a reminder that in New Zealand, the business of running a country goes hand in hand with the business of making movies.

For better or worse, Mr. Key’s government has taken extreme measures that have linked its fortunes to some of Hollywood’s biggest pictures, making this country of 4.4 million people, slightly more than the city of Los Angeles, a grand experiment in the fusion of film and government.

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