Amazon Studios Greenlights Two New Original Kids Series 'Pete The Cat' And 'Costume Quest'


Amazon today announced it has ordered two new Amazon Original Kids Series, Pete the Cat, based on the award-winning book series, and Costume Quest, from the popular video games. Amazon's new children's series come from talented creators, including Jeff "Swampy" Marsh (Phineas and Ferb), Will McRobb (The Adventures of Pete & Pete) and Frederator Studios' Fred Seibert (The Fairly OddParents). Both series will be available exclusively for Prime members and will debut next year.

"The creative talent behind Pete the Cat and Costume Quest have a sensibility and pedigree that will resonate well with our customers," said Tara Sorensen, Head of Kids Programming at Amazon Studios. "We are thrilled to be working with such innovative and visionary thinkers in the business."

Based on the award-winning book series by illustrator/creator and consulting producer James Dean, Pete the Cat is an animated kids series that has been ordered straight-to-series for 14 episodes. The show follows Pete the Cat, the coolest cat ever and his groovy guide to life--from rockin' out with his guitar to riding a skateboard. The series is a co-production with Alcon Television Group and will be developed by Jeff "Swampy" Marsh (Phineas and Ferb) and Appian Way production company. Harper Collins has published more than 34 Pete the Cat books, which have been translated into 13 languages and received 18 literacy awards, including the Theodore Geisel Seuss Award. Slated to voice as Pete's parents are musical luminaries Elvis Costello and Diana Krall. Marsh is slated to executive produce along with Alcon's Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, and Laura Lancaster, as well as Appian Way's Jennifer Davisson. Alcon's Ben Roberts is slated to produce, with Appian Way's Nathaniel Posey slated to co-produce.

Based on the smash video game series by Double Fine Productions (Psychonauts, Broken Age) and the world originally created by Tasha Sounart, Costume Quest is a funny and mysterious animated series aimed at six to 11-year-olds. The show stars four kids facing off against the dark forces lurking in the shadows of their sleepy town of Auburn Pines. To overcome obstacles and achieve their goals, they must learn to unlock and master the magical powers of supernormal costumes--with each costume comes a new set of transformations and powers. The series is executive produced by Will McRobb (The Adventures of Pete & Pete) who also serves as story editor, as well as Frederator Studios' Fred Seibert (The Fairly OddParents), Kevin Kolde (Adventure Time) and Eric Homan (Adventure Time). Costume Quest is produced at Frederator Studios, a WOW! Unlimited Media company.

 

SOURCE: Amazon Studios

 

Amazon Acquires Grateful Dead Doc 'Long Strange Trip'


Amazon Studios today announced it has acquired Long Strange Trip, an unprecedented four hour documentary about the Grateful Dead from director Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story) and executive producer Martin Scorsese (Silence). Set to debut May 26 on Amazon Prime Video in the US and UK as a six part documentary, with additional territories to be announced, Long Strange Trip probes the creative forces, subversive ambitions, and interpersonal dynamics that drove the Grateful Dead in their 30-year quest for moments of collective inspiration. By inventing a unique fusion of folk, jazz, R&B, avant-garde experimentation, world music and rock and roll, they earned the devotion of the most committed fan base in the music business, while gleefully disdaining every cliché of pop success.

The world premiere of Long Strange Trip will take place at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. Band members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Bob Weir, as well as Trixie Garcia will be in attendance.

Long Strange Trip is produced by Eric Eisner(Hamlet 2), Nick Koskoff (Bad Hurt), and Alex Blavatnik (For the Love of Spock) who also financed the project. Additional producers include Ken Dornstein (My Brother's Bomber) and Justin Kreutzmann (The Who: Fragments). Executive producers in addition to Scorsese are Emma Tillinger Koskoff (Silence), Rick Yorn(Wolf of Wall Street), Andrew Heller, Sanford Heller, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Thomas J. Mangan IV (Somewhere Tonight), and Alicia Sams (By The People: The Election of Barack Obama).

"I first reached out to the Grateful Dead about this film back in 2003," said Bar-Lev. "Since then, everyone who has come aboard has treated this project with a renegade spirit of cooperation and ingenuity worthy of the subject matter. I recognized immediately that Amazon was the perfect distributor when I met their team, and I can't wait to see how many brains they can infect with the Dead's contagious brand of anti-establishment fun."

"I've always admired the spirit and creativity of the Grateful Dead," said Scorsese. "They are revolutionary artists who forever changed the world of touring and recording live music. They were a cultural force--a lifestyle, that continue to influence new generations of fans. This film will entertain and educate audiences about one of the most innovative and groundbreaking American bands of the 20th century."

"The story of the Grateful Dead is that of music and culture of the 20th Century," said Joe Lewis, Head of Comedy and Drama, Amazon Studios. "Told with vast scope and an unprecedented cast of real life characters, Amir has taken advantage of this larger than life canvas to make an era-defining musical portrait that we can't wait to bring to audiences everywhere."

Bob Weir commented: "Over several decades a group of guys hung together making music in a group that was way tighter and lasted much longer than most marriages. Here's the movie..."

Mickey Hart commented: "Stranger than fiction - a user's guide for an impossible journey."

On behalf of the producers, Eisner and Blavatnik commented: "We're honored to be involved in this historic, ambitious and passionate undertaking. The Grateful Dead have played and continue to play an integral role not only in our lives, but in the very development of contemporary American society. Amir's encompassing and engrossing look truly captures the story of this unique band."

The 30-year odyssey of the Grateful Dead was the most unlikely success story in rock and roll history. Famously averse to publicity, seemingly incapable of recording radio-friendly hits, they flouted music-industry convention by giving their live music away to a global network of tape traders, becoming the highest-grossing concert act in America on word of mouth alone. Executive produced by Scorsese (Silence), Long Strange Trip is the first full-length documentary to explore the fiercely independent vision, insistence on continuous innovation, and uncompromising commitment to their audience that propelled the original jam band from a Bay Area pizza parlor to the ranks of the most enduringly influential musicians of their generation. By assembling candid interviews with the band, road crew, family members, and notable Deadheads, director Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story) unearths the untold history of the Dead and the freewheeling psychedelic subculture that sprouted up around it, while providing poignant insight into the psyche of late lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, who disdained leadership of the increasingly sprawling collective organization that kept the show on the road. With a soundtrack that captures some of the band's most dynamic live performances as well as unguarded moments offstage and never before seen footage and photos, Long Strange Trip is an epic exploration into a uniquely American experiment in radically eclectic music-making that continues to earn the passionate loyalty of generations of fans worldwide.

The deal was negotiated by WME Global on behalf of the filmmakers.

SOURCE: Amazon


VidAngel Responds To 9th Circuit Decision



VidAngel, the market-leading entertainment platform empowering users to filter language, nudity, violence, and other content from movies and TV shows, is engaged in a high-profile legal battle with Disney, Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, and Lucasfilm. These Hollywood studios have taken legal action in an effort to eviscerate the 2005 Family Movie Act and prevent VidAngel from lawfully empowering parents and families to filter content on modern devices.

Today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied VidAngel’s request for an emergency stay of a preliminary injunction order recently issued against the service by a Los Angeles federal court.

CEO Neal Harmon has issued the following statement:

“Congress passed the Family Movie Act in 2005 because Hollywood had sued every company that offered content filtering for private, in-home viewing. Today, a small group of Hollywood studios, led by Disney, is using the legal process to try to render that law meaningless.
 
“We are asking our supporters to call their members of Congress and urge them to update to the Family Movie Act with new language that cannot be misconstrued in court, making it even clearer that filtering is absolutely legal in the streaming age.

“We are disappointed by today’s decision, but remain optimistic about our long-term prospects on appeal. Until our appeal is decided, we regret that VidAngel will not be able to offer filtered content. We continue to be grateful for the massive outpouring of support from across the country.”

SOURCE: VidAngel







Amy Schumer Comedy Special Launches On Netflix In March



Netflix, the world's leading Internet TV network, is bringing its members an all-new stand-up special from one of the leading forces in entertainment and comedy today, Amy Schumer. The special, taped Saturday, November 5 at Denver, Colorado’s Bellco Theater, will launch globally on Netflix Tuesday, March 7th, 2017.

“As a comedian, actress, writer, director, producer and best-selling author, Amy Schumer is a boundless threat and a one-of-a-kind talent. We couldn’t be more excited that she’s making Netflix her home for her next stand-up comedy special,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix.

"Very happy to be a part of the Netflix family for this special,” said Schumer. “Maybe now they will look at my "Stranger Things" audition tape to play the demogorgon for Season 2."

"Totally fearless and always hilarious, Amy Schumer's bold and singular voice in comedy is a brilliant match for Netflix and our global comedy fans," said Lisa Nishimura, VP of Original Documentary and Comedy.

SOURCE: Netflix



Netflix Acquires Kitty Green's 'Casting JonBenet'


Netflix announced today that it has acquired worldwide rights to Kitty Green’s groundbreaking documentary Casting JonBenet, which will have its world premiere in the US Documentary Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival; the first time a nonfiction work from the company will compete. The film will launch on Netflix and in limited theatrical release in Spring of 2017.

Casting JonBenet is a sly and stylized exploration of the world’s most sensational child-murder case, the still unsolved death of six-year-old American beauty queen, JonBenet Ramsey. After years of media speculation and public fascination, audiences are presented with a documentary hybrid examining the macabre legacy of this tiny starlet. Over 15 months, the filmmakers traveled to the Ramseys’ Colorado hometown to elicit responses, reflections and even performances from the local community. In doing so, Casting JonBenet examines how this crime and its resulting mythologies have shaped the attitudes and behavior of successive generations of parents and children.

Produced by Green (Ukraine is Not a Brothel; and The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul, which premiered at Sundance in 2015 where it was awarded the short film non-fiction jury prize), Scott Macaulay (Raising Victor Vargas; Gummo) and James Schamus (Brokeback Mountain; The Ice Storm), the film was financed by Meridian Entertainment through its production deal with Schamus’s Symbolic Exchange, with additional support from Screen Australia, Film Victoria, the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, Cinereach, Rooftop Films and Garbo NYC. Casting JonBenet is a Forensic Films/Matricide Pictures/Symbolic Exchange production.

“For Scott and me, working with Kitty, a visionary filmmaker whose originality is matched by her empathy, has been one of the great privileges of our careers,” said James Schamus. Said Scott Macaulay: “We couldn’t be more excited to now have Netflix on her team, continuing their bold non-fiction roster.”

“Kitty boldly embraces the tradition of innovative risk-taking within the documentary filmmaking mode with her remarkable work on Casting JonBenet,” Netflix VP of Original Documentary Programming Lisa Nishimura added. “Netflix is the ideal home for showcasing Kitty’s sharply-rendered vision of a mythic American tragedy to a global audience, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the crime.”

SOURCE: Netflix