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BOLLYWOOD CALLING...The latest Hollywood trend seems to be foreign fiance collaborations. Now Steven Spielberg has completed a $1.2-billion deal with Mumbai, India-based Reliance ADA Group to launch his own filmmaking company and depart from Paramount Pictures, which in 2005 purchased Dreamworks. With this latest development, Paramount has release DreamWorks co-founder Spielberg and his team of executives from their contracts. Under the new deal, Spielberg is expected to produce about six films a year, with the first at least a year away. According to Businessweek, Reliance will invest $500 million in equity for a 50% stake and has helped arrange another $700 million in debt through its longtime bankers, JPMorgan Chase. If countries such as India are wooing filmmakers like Spielberg and entering the market, could new entrants in this country from other nations without the racism roots that American-based companies have finally give light to more films of color?
HIP HOP HOLLYWOOD
THINKING OF A MASTER PLAN...Master P's big TV plans seem to be on hold for the moment. While P's Better Black Television network already has a Web presence (http://www.betterblacktv.com/ktv.com/), financial backing (his own and private investors), and shows in production (including a multicultural soap opera and children's programming), he's missing one major item--a broadcast distribution outlet for his BBTV. His reps tell us exclusively he's in talks with various cable giants, but still no deal. We'll keep you posted on this one for sure.
THE GODFATHER NOIR...It hasn't even been a month since the leaders of a multi-state cocaine trafficking ring known as the Black Mafia Family, infamously well-known on the underground Hip Hop scene, were sentenced in Detroit federal court Friday to 30 years in prison, and already there's a film deal. Beating out several bidders, DuBose Entertainment acquired all media rights to the “Black Mafia Family” story, and is now developing a scripted series with plans for a feature film and a book to be completed down the road.
RealDVDs ON HOLD--FOR NOW
Earlier this week, a federal judge upheld a temporary prohibition against the distribution of RealDVD, DVD-ripping software. Judge Marilyn Patel of the U.S. District Court of Northern California decreed that RealNetworks must not distribute its software for now. The MPAA and RealNetworks filed dueling lawsuits over the software on Sept. 30. Movie studios contend that the software will allow consumers to "rent, rip and burn" movies for personal use. RealNetworks contends that its software is legal since it does not bypass copyright encryption.
DUBOSE ENTERTAINMENT TAPS NEW PRESIDENT
Robyn Lattaker-Johnson has been named president of Dubose Entertainment. She will oversee television and feature film development. Prior to joining DuBose, Lattaker-Johnson served as SVP of Original Program Development at BET Networks. She developed the critically acclaimed series “Baldwin Hills,” “American Gangster,” “Sunday Best,” “College Hill,” “Hell Date” and “Lil’ Kim: Countdown to Lockdown.” Prior to BET Networks, Lattaker-Johnson was a creative executive at the Sci Fi Channel.
A-LIST NIGHT OUT
VH-1 RocDoc "NWA: The World's Most Dangerous Group"
The A-List caught the recent "premiere" of the VH-1 RocDoc "NWA: The World's Most Dangerous Group." Held at the Landmark Theatre on the westside of LA, the event was a nice one though sparsely attended. After a bit of mixing during a small reception at a cozy bar/lounge adjacent to the theatre, we all ascended to the reserved theater. (Note to VH-1: Receptions normally include complimentary food and drink, so it's a bit awkward to partake in the cheese, mini-pizza, grape and cookie festival while then having to saunter across the room to purchase wine at a cash bar. Complimentary soft drinks are always nice or at least one drink ticket or skip the recep all together.)
As always, with these RocDocs; they are well-produced and leave the viewer wanting more. Special treat here: Chris Rock narrates the 90-minute piece. New interview footage from Cube and Yella gives the doc a fresh vibe, and one feels that the emotional journey is pretty much complete by the time the credits roll on this thorough documentary. We can't help but wonder though, why these producers rarely tap any female writers/experts/professors for their points of view. The long-suffering wife is the only female face we see, leaving one to actually think there aren't notable and respected female figures in LA who could speak to and were close to this subject matter. Creature Films, the force behind the project, may want to take note going forward.
In addition, there is a the nagging feeling that roles in the music industry are still very much dominated by race and those with the "power" seem to remain in those power positions holding the keys to the gateway for talented young recording artists and entrepreneurs (i.e. Jerry Heller and Bryan Turner). While the Q&A afterwards held promise, we are not certain if Eazy-E's son L'il Eazy E and Yella as "panelists" offered the most compelling insight nor provoking thoughts. Writer Cheo Hodari Coker held his own as moderator of sorts. In the house were: John Singleton, Alonzo Williams (aka Lanzo) from the World Class Wrecking crew and a few other L.A. locals.
All in all, a nice way to kick off this doc and album release of N.W.A and their Family Tree, which features a variety of "18 genre-defining" tracks by N.W.A., Snoop Dogg and others. The only thing missing is a more appropriate name to this series painfully making clear the mainstream establishment just doesn't want to let go of long-silenced reign of rock and resonation of MTV Networks historic barriers to anything non-White. Given that these documentaries cover all kinds of genres (and might we add some of the most popular not covering rock) might we see the term "RocDocs" change anytime soon?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK