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QuickShots | Creek Pictures Launch, EPIX ties with Roadside, “Touchback” Wins, Critics Murdered

QuickShots | Creek Pictures Launch, EPIX ties with Roadside, "Touchback" Wins, Critics Murdered

Cross Creek Pictures Launches New Equity Fund and Motion Picture Production Company

Producer Brian Oliver, former principle of Arthaus Pictures, has partnered with new production company, Cross Creek Pictures, formed by the Thompson family, private business investors from Louisiana. The company, with offices in Los Angeles, Memphis, Houston and New Orleans, will fully finance and produce three to five motion pictures per year, with budgets ranging from $5 million to $100 million. For production budgets greater than $15 million, the company will secure a domestic theatrical distribution agreement with a studio. The company is currently in pre-production on its first feature, the crime thriller “Delivering Gen,” which begins filming in January 2010 with Kurt Sutter (“The Shield”) set to direct. “There are fewer foreign tax financing schemes and bank gap financing is harder to get,” commented Oliver in a statement. “Producers faced with putting together a jigsaw puzzle of local tax incentives and one-off equity sources often find there’s a piece missing when the deal is ready to close. Our equity fund will serve as the glue holding the financing together and keeping the talent in place until the bank deal is finalized.”

EPIX and Roadside Attractions Sign Exclusive Output Agreement for up to 22 Films

EPIX, a joint venture between Viacom and its Paramount unit, MGM and Lionsgagte, will carry up to 22 Roadside Attractions films slated for theatrical release in 2009, 2010 and 2011 across its linear channel, subscription on demand and www.epixhd.com services as part of an exclusive output agreement, the company’s president and CEO Mark Greenberg and Roadside’s co-president Howard Cohen unveiled Wednesday. EPIX will carry at least three 2009 Roadside tiltes including boxing drama “From Mexico with Love,” eco-thriller “The Cove” and animated outer space adventure, “Battle for Terra.” “Roadside is an ideal partner for EPIX, with a reputation as a leading independent film distributor delivering award-winning movies,” commented Greenberg in a statement. “Roadside’s films add depth to what is already one of the most robust movie libraries in the premium movie service, with titles from Paramount, MGM, Lionsgate and Samuel Goldwyn Films.”

Flores’ “Touchback” wins $350K production prize via Netflix and Film Independent

Following a nine month competition, aspiring filmmaker Philip G. Flores of Hemet, Calif. was named winner of the “Netflix FIND Your Voice” filmmaking competition, the project’s presenting partners, Netflix, Inc. unveiled Wednesday. Judged by a jury of film industry veterans, including actor/director Josh Brolin, Mr. Flores’ winning film project, “Touchback,” will now be produced as a feature-length, narrative film and is scheduled to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2010 and concurrently be available for streaming instantly from Netflix. The prize includes a package valued at $350,000, with $150,000 cash funded by Netflix. “We’re so excited to be working with Philip and eagerly await the opportunity to introduce ‘Touchback’ to an international audience at next year’s festival,” commented Dawn Hudson, executive director for FIND, which produces the annual LAFF and the Spirit Awards. “Through the generosity of Netflix and our sponsors, we’re able to dramatically expand the level of support given to filmmakers. We also hope that the added visibility this contest brought to the other finalists and semi-finalists will help them move their films closer to production.”

Messina and Jones explore “Monogamy” in Shapiro’s follow-up to “Murderball”

Principal photography has wrapped on “Monogamy,” the debut narrative feature from Oscar-nominated director Dana Adam Shapiro. Shapiro shot the film, which stars Chris Messina and Rashida Jones, this summer in New York City. Described as a “timely, cautionary tale about sex, photography, and fear of marriage, “Monogamy” stars Chris Messina (“Julie and Julia”) and Rashida Jones (“I Love You, Man”). A TBD Production in association with Renart Films, “Monogamy” is currently in post-production and the filmmakers expect to debut the film in early 2010.

AFP: “Operation Nakam”: true story behind Tarantino’s film

Quentin Tarantino’s new film “Inglourious Basterds” about a Jewish militia that killed and scalped Nazis in World War II is not as far-fetched as it might sound. In fact, there was a real-life squadron of Jewish soldiers who hunted down SS officers in Austria immediately after the war in an operation called “Nakam” (vengeance in Hebrew), according to one of the troop’s last survivors, 88-year-old Chaim Miller. “We operated in the south of Austria in the days just after the war ended,” the Vienna-born Israeli told AFP via telephone from a Kibbutz near Jerusalem.

NYT: Filmmakers Barred From Chinese Festival

When the American filmmakers Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill traveled around Sichuan Province last year to document the anger of parents whose children had died in school collapses during the earthquake in May, they ran into a chilly reception from officials. Now, the Chinese government has denied both of them visas, blocking them from presenting their documentary, “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province,” at the Beijing Independent Film Festival this week. The two men, who made the film for HBO with the co-producer Peter Kwong, said their visa applications were rejected late last week. Edward Wong reports.

AFP: Venice Film Festival kicks off with Italian epic

The Venice film festival kicked off on Wednesday with Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Baaria,” a sentimental journey to his Sicilian hometown in an epic covering three generations… Describing the film as “allegorical,” the director said: “All those who were born in a small town will find similarities…. We should recover our sense of duty, the ability to teach our children how important it is to forge a relationship with the rest of the community.” Gina Doggett reports.

HR: Film critics murdered in Manila

Local reports say that Filipino-Canadian critic Alexis Tioseco and his partner Nika Bohinc (pictured), a Slovenian freelance writer, were shot dead by one of three gunmen who burst into their home in Quezon City, Manila after the door was opened by a maid. After taking valuables and a laptop computer, the assailants made a getaway in the couple’s car. Patrick Frater reports.

Reuters: Documentary explores Hefner’s “serious” side

Hugh Hefner is bringing his Playboy party to the Toronto International Film Festival. Hefner said he’ll be in Toronto with his “girlfriends” as part of the promotional push and party parade for the world premiere of “Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel,” by Oscar-winning documentary maker Brigitte Berman. Etan Vlessing reports.

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