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Dan Cox

Russia’s Version of ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ In Development

russiasign.jpgRussia, in its best-footed attempt at taking after Warner Bros., will finance its own version of a patriotic flag-waving film with “The Brest Fortress,” an $8 million project about Russia’s stronghold defense against Nazi Germany in 1941, Variety reports.

It will mark the first fully-financed film since Soviet times according to Ruben Dishdishian, head of Central Partnership, Russia’s leading production company.

We guess, From Russia with Love will now be something to which the Hollywood film community will aspire.

Lance Loud , First U.S. Reality Star, Died 7 Years Ago Today

lanceloud.jpgLance Loud, whose family became famous in the early 1970s as the first reality TV family before there was reality TV, appeared in a non-sexual role in gay film, the film’s director Paul Barresi confided to FBLA on the seventh anniversary of Loud’s death.

Loud played a gay masked hero, Mr. Blue, who used magical powers to help lovers fix their troubled relationships.

According to the Advocate, Lance never regretted coming out. He knew he was never forgiven by a society that wanted homosexuals at best to be closeted. Lance Loud preferred to be seen as an outsider, a rebel, someone always living. On society’s edge, Lance’s life was a comic tragedy that spoke volumes about pop culture, sexuality, fame and family life.

Barresi, who wrote, directed and produced “Mr. Blue,” wanted to note that Showtime’s new series about gay men coming out of the closet was territory Loud had covered on PBS years earlier.

According to Extra producer Rob Sheiffele, the Showtime show announced recently that billed itself as the first show to feature men coming out of the closet was also using Loud’s original premise.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network has ordered a pilot presentation from Bryan Freedman, a former journalist and executive producer of A&E’s Intervention. In each episode of “Way Out” a closeted person reveals his or her homosexuality during a group meeting and is then followed while telling others.

The show is one of several Showtime has ordered to beef up its reality programming.

No Company, No Party, Freelancers Throw Their Own X-mas Bash

marjoriekase.jpgWhile in this dire economy most of Hollywood was busy canceling Christmas parties and spreading bad cheer, a few out-of-work freelancers decided to throw their own par-teeee. Though the party was last Thursday (and FBLA was in attendance), details weren’t released until today. Maybe big brother is watching.

Marjorie Kase, a local blogger and founder of MarKyr Media, had this to report:

“I mentioned to my business partner right before Thanksgiving that it was too bad our office wasn’t big enough for a Christmas party. I thought about all the others in our situation – contractors, freelancers, people in small offices who couldn’t afford their own parties (especially in this economy). Thus, the Freelancers Ball was born. I partnered up with my good friend Tracy Fleischman, Political Communication and Strategy consultant for Balcony Films. We called the HMS Bounty, created a Facebook profile, and word spread on a few blogs and on the LA Freelance Meet Up Group.

The party was a great success. The crowd was an eclectic mix of writers, filmmakers, web video folk, tech folk, consultants, and artists. Despite competition from four other similar events that night, we estimate that at least 50 people were there, many who came as a result of word of mouth. Everyone had a blast meeting each other, doing Secret Santa, and making Christmas cards. We plan having more events in the future. All on the cheap of course — Average drink price at the Bounty is less than $4.”

Marjorie Kase
Co-Founder, MarKyr Media –
CEO, Blogger Reps –

Tracy Fleischman
Political Communication and Strategy Consultant, Balcony Films –
Former Director of Communications, Brave New Films –

NY Times Banned In China — On The Internet

nytimes.jpgIf you happen to be in China and are looking for the New York Times on the Internet, think again.

The grey lady has been banned on the Chinese Internet just a few days after the Chinese government gave itself the right to censor content it deems illegal, Variety Asia reported today.

Attempts by a Variety reporter to log on to the New York Times website yesterday failed, producing the message that comes up whenever one tries to access a banned site in China.

A Times spokesman claimed there were no problems with the Times site in Beijing.

Beijing eased up on Internet content bans to comply with the International Olympic Committee during the Olympics. But those rules have lately become more restrictive.

Bleiberg Is Thinking Oscar For Goldblum; He’s Also Self-Distributing

bleiberg.jpgEhud Bleiberg, a producer and sales guy on the AFM-style indie circuit, is taking the risky road by launching a self-distributed film called “Adam Resurrected” with Jeff Goldblum in the lead role.

The film, directed by “Taxi Driver” writer Paul Schrader, has been on the screening circuit of late and is in mini-Oscar-qualifying runs at theaters like the Sunset Laemmle 5.

“It’s not only a phenomenal film, but it’s the best film out this year,” bragged Bleiberg to FBLA. “It should win awards and Jeff should be nominated.”

Though it was shut out by the Golden Globes, Bleiberg is still very hopeful on the Oscars nods. He’s on the hook for a good chunk of the film’s $10 millon budget. His Bleiberg Entertainment is keen on maintaining control.

Goldblum plays a former circus entertainer who was spared from the gas chamber and became the ringleader at an asylum for Holocaust survivors.

Bleiberg is self-distributing the piece, largely because he wasn’t being flooded with offers from the indie big boys, though it did well at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day. But he’s convinced it will be noticed simply because he’s so good in the role.

Finke And Her Scurrilous Rumors Are Denied

mikaeric.jpgNikki Finke, blogging on, has gotten it wrong again.

She proclaimed like a wild banshee that Hollywood Reporter publisher Eric Mika was out.

And that head of advertising Rose Einstein was in.

As seems to be par for the course for Finke, her ducks weren’t all in a row.

An insider at Nielsen, which owns the Reporter, told FBLA: “I can tell you there are no current plans for leadership changes at THR.”

KNBC Just Says No To MLK Parade

parade.jpgKNBC-TV apparently isn’t aware that the U.S. just elected its first black president.

The local NBC affiliate decided today it was no longer providing coverage for the Martin Luther King Day Parade today, KNBC confirmed to LA Weekly.

A weak-willed excuse was soon provided: “NBC4 has been proud to present live broadcast coverage of the Kingdom Day Parade since 2001. This year, the station plans to cover this important community celebration honoring Dr. King within our newscasts, on our website and on ‘News Raw,’ our news service airing on NBC4′s Digital Channel 4.2 (Time Warner Channel 225 – Cox Channel 804 – Charter Cable 304).”

Way to get off to a good start with the national administration in this brave new world.

Page 6 Isn’t Exactly Right — But Then What Else Is New?

guider.jpgPage 6 was piling on the Hollywood Reporter today because the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post thought it could get away with it. The Post tried to say the Reporter is so dead broke the paper isn’t even sending anyone to the Sundance Film Festival next month.

But HP Editor Elizabeth Guider said the Post couldn’t be further from the truth. What a surprise!

“As The Hollywood Reporter does every year, we are sending two of our full-time film reporters to cover the news at Sundance as well as our chief film reviewer Kirk Honeycutt and three of our regular, longtime film critic outside contributors. In addition THR will field a small, 3-to-5-person video and digital team as we are increasingly interested in boosting our online offerings at important events like key film festivals.

Like most publishers these days we are having to be leaner and meaner, but also hopefully smarter in our coverage. That said, we have every intention of covering key industry gatherings of importance to our readership, and Sundance is certainly one of them.

And yes you can quote me.”

The Reporter doesn’t deserve to deal with that kind of nonsense.

Fox 11 Says They Love Setting Up Dates

foxlog.jpgA Fox 11 spokesman took umbrage at FishbowlLA because we didn’t explain that its dating program has seen rampant success in Chicago, Detroit, Orlando and Boston.

More than 25,000 people sent resumes and photos into the Phoenix outlet. Maybe they’ll have the same response from L.A.

Will Smith A Scientologist? He Says No, But His Wallet Says Yes

twofaceswillsmith.jpgTwo-faced star Will Smith has long denied that he has any connection to those loony Scientologists, but apart from constantly hanging out with chief Scientologist Tom Cruise and his wife Katie Holmes, Smith has also donated buckets of money to Scientology entities.

He doesn’t have any comment on it, but tax forms don’t lie.