May 2020 Digest

By Rebecca Green

I’ve been going back and forth in my head about whether or not a monthly Digest is needed or wanted right now, or if any Dear Producer articles are worth publishing in this moment. The Black Lives Matter movement is so much more vital to discuss and promote than any Hollywood news.  

While I often say “we” when referring to Dear Producer, the truth is, I am the only person responsible for what is published. I use “we” because of the producers who contribute by sharing their stories and experiences with all of you and because of those who have volunteered their time creating resources that I could not do on my own. But at the end of the day, what is published is my decision. I do not have a PR team telling me how to proceed during this time or a social media consultant crafting messages for me to post. You haven’t heard much from me the last two weeks because I am listening and watching and reading and learning and figuring out how I can be most useful.  

After deep consideration, what has surfaced for me is that storytelling is a form of protest. While some people march in the streets, others march with their words, their music, their paintings, their photographs, and their films. Art is power. Because of this, I have chosen to continue publishing resources while the movement marches on in support of the filmmakers who are telling daring, bold, provocative, and essential stories. For the artists who are using filmmaking as their form of protest.    

Dear Producer is committed to showcasing diverse points of views by including producers of varying race, gender, age, geography, economic backgrounds, and experience levels — both as the focus of content as well as generators of content. I am someone who challenges our industry to do better and I welcome all of you to challenge me if you feel I am not upholding this commitment.

For those who do not follow Dear Producer on Instagram or Twitter, I’ve included the statement I posted on #BlackOutTuesday. 

Keep Going, 

** Early May news was covered in the What Day Is It? Digest.


The Great Film Production Renaissance: Are You Ready?
During times of struggle, the inevitable is often accelerated. Companies that were dying go bust, new ways of working, that were once seen as too disruptive to the established norm, or simply too expensive, are fully embraced in order to survive. Companies that innovate thrive and new voices find their place.

Peter Bart: Reopening Hollywood Means Traumatic Adjustments, Higher Costs, Longer Shoots … In 1933
The idea of re-opening seemed like a distant vision but now, suddenly, the shutdown is almost over and a resurgence is at hand. But on whose terms? Is this the moment for stars and working crews alike to demand new rules governing everything from working hours to rehearsals to meals to dressing rooms — to personal encounters in general?

The Case for Letting the Restaurant Industry Die
Tunde Wey, the New Orleans-based activist-artist and cook, has a radical vision of a more equitable culinary world.


Hollywood Submits COVID-19 Reopening Plan From Studios, Unions & Producers To NY & CA Governors
Lots of testing, protective gear, social distancing and coronavirus safety officers are at the heart of recommendations from Disney, Netflix, CBS and other top studios, Hollywood’s leading guilds and producers to get the industry restarted from the pandemic that shut down production in March.

Industry Infighting, Union Turf Battles Slow Development of Back-to-Work Plan
The entertainment industry’s efforts to develop safety protocols for restarting production is predictably becoming a brawl among the major studios and Hollywood unions that has delayed the presentation of the industry’s back-to-work plan to state and local officials.

NY Rep To Introduce Production-Friendly Insurance Bill Tuesday As Insurers Propose FEMA-Run Solution
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y) has set a Tuesday press conference to introduce a bill that proposes a government backstop for 95% of claims. It’s legislation that has evolved over the past few weeks and now specifically includes film and TV production under event cancellation, a form of business interruption.

Entertainment Industry’s Coronavirus Hit Estimated at $160 Billion Over 5 Years
Advertising revenue growth will be affected most in absolute dollar terms, but theatrical will see the biggest relative hit at 11 percent, with Ampere Analysis forecasting a $24.4 billion growth loss.

French Film, TV, Labor Unions Agree COVID-19 Production Guidelines
Following weeks of heated debate and clashes, France’s film and audiovisual guilds as well as labor unions have finally agreed a set of production guidelines for filming during the pandemic.

India’s Producers Guild Outlines Safety Protocols For Filming Post-COVID
The Producers Guild of India has released a lengthy set of risk protection guidelines to be implemented when filming resumes in the market. Though an official production start date has yet to be fixed, the “Back To Action” report outlines safety measures for the world’s biggest maker of films whose audience leans heavily towards local fare.

Australia Sets Comprehensive COVID-Safe Guidelines For Film & TV Production
While the Hollywood unions and studios are still deliberating over protocols for safe return to production amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Australian film and TV industry has released its COVID-Safe Guidelines to help get their industry back to work. Spanning 41 pages, this is the most comprehensive set of official country or state recommendations to date, addressing in detail every aspect of production.


Netflix’s Approach for Oscars 2021: Skip the Festival Circuit
As awards groups adjust to the evolving post-pandemic reality, so will the studios. And the first up is everyone’s favorite Oscar insurgent, Netflix: While it will provide sponsorship for some major festivals in 2020, it’s not planning to send any of their films or talent to attend them.

10 Questions Every FIlmmaker Should Ask When a Festival Opts to Go Online
We are well into the new era (which really is better described as the Wild West) of the independent film festival. In reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, many film festivals are exploring moving their programming online this year. 

Venice Film Festival Set to Proceed With 2020 Edition Despite Coronavirus Pandemic
The president of parent group the Venice Biennale told Italian news agency ANSA on Monday there were currently no plans to collaborate with the Cannes Film Festival on a joint event this year. The Venice Film Festival has confirmed it will go ahead as planned this year, holding its 77th edition Sept. 2-12.

Karlovy Vary Film Festival to Screen 16 Films in 96 Movie Theaters
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic on Monday said that its expanded “KVIFF at Your Cinema” series, which it previously unveiled as its answer to the novel coronavirus pandemic that led to the cancellation of this year’s fest, will present 16 films in 96 cinemas in the country over the course of nine days this summer.

Telluride Film Festival Announces It Will Go On With The Show; Plans Continue To Hold 
Important Oscar-Precursor Event On Schedule

The Venice Film Festival has said they are bound and determined to do their event this year, even in light of the continuing Coronavirus pandemic. Now, the second wheel in the traditional Fall Festival Trifecta that launches awards season, Telluride, has sent an email to all, indicating that they intend to move ahead and hold their annual Labor Day weekend festival.


We Want Our VOD: Survey Shows Wide Entertainment Industry Support for Shorter Theatrical Windows
A new survey of 363 people working across the film industry shows wide support for shortening — and to a lesser degree, even eliminating — the exclusive 90-day theatrical window.

Inside the Marketing Campaign to Bring Audiences Back to Movie Theaters
The major studios are partnering with members of creative and the exhibition communities to come up with ways to help the beleaguered movie theater business reopen from widespread closures brought on by coronavirus.

Netflix Closes Deal to Buy Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre
Netflix has finalized a deal to buy Hollywood’s historic Egyptian Theatre for an undisclosed price, closing a transaction that had been in the works for more than a year.

For the Disabled, VOD Means Finally Seeing First-Run Movies When Everyone Does
If you’re a movie fan, you might wonder when theaters will open, or how they will keep patrons safe. If you’re a disabled movie fan, your question may be very different — namely: Now that I finally can see first-run movies with everyone else, am I going to lose that privilege?

Why the Future of Livestreaming Isn’t About Size or Popularity
Laura Marling’s exclusive livestreams — which have sold to capacity — suggest that scarcity could be the key to more-lucrative online performances for artists. “It’s about establishing the fact that this is a proper show,” says Marling’s co-manager


Tribeca Film Institute Suspends Operations, Enacts Small Round of Layoffs
The Tribeca Film Institute has suspended operations and enacted a small wave of layoffs amid ongoing coronavirus havoc, insiders familiar with the decision told Variety.

Ted Hope Exiting Amazon Studios Co-Head Of Movies Post For First-Look Producing Deal
Big move over at Amazon Studios. Ted Hope has decided to exit as Co-Head of Movies to go back to his origins as a producer. Next week, he will enter a multi-year, first-look deal with Amazon Studios.

Time’s Up releases guide to prioritizing diversity during COVID-19
With this practical guide, Time’s Up wants to help business leaders double down on their commitments to equity and inclusion—even during a pandemic.

Randall Miller, Director of Deadly ‘Midnight Rider’ Shoot, Found a Way to Make Another Film
Miller’s attorney said his new film, “Higher Grounds,” did not violate his probation. The DA’s office disagrees and is seeking Miller’s arrest.