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Posts Tagged ‘Brent Lang’

Esquire Names Fashion Manager, Variety Adds Film and Media Reporter

A couple moves to note this morning, involving Esquire and Variety. Details are below.

  • Esquire has promoted John Wattiker to international fashion manager. He most recently served as account manager of beauty, grooming and financial services. Wattiker has been with Hearst since April of last year.
  • Brent Lang is joining Variety as a film and media reporter, based in New York. Lang comes to Variety from TheWrap, where he had been for the past four years.
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Shout! Factory Extends Roger Corman, Judd Apatow Shelf Life

Any Hollywood company that can claim a 25-30% annual profit jump for the past five years and gross annual revenue growth of five to 10% deserves a media shout-out. This morning, Shout! Factory gets just that from TheWrap senior writer Brent Lang.

Two key assets in Shout! Factory’s retro-DVD arsenal are Judd Apatow‘s short-lived Freaks and Geeks series and the films of B movie maestro Roger Corman. For the former, company execs nimbly worked around some music licensing issues while, for the latter, they beefed things up with old-school DVD Extras featuring interviews with the likes of Jonathan Demme and Ron Howard:

“The DVD market was slipping when we made the deal, but, on the other hand, the slippage of DVD sales isn’t a cliff, it’s sort of a slope,” Corman said. “The hill is sloping downward, but it’s not dead. There’s still money to be made and Shout! has done just that.”

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TheWrap Hires Joseph Kapsch as Deputy Managing Editor

We just wrapped up (pun intended) a brief conference call with Sharon Waxman and Joseph Kapsch. They were kind enough to ring FishbowlLA this morning to let us know that Kapsch, formerly with Celebuzz, The Hollywood Reporter and the LA Times, will be relocating back to the west coast to start as deputy managing editor of TheWrap on March 25.

“I just think that when it comes to the entertainment industry, you have to go where the opportunities are,” Kapsch said. “And this was a really great opportunity for me.” Added Waxman: “I’ve been a fan of Kapsch for a long time and admired what he’s accomplished at other sites.”

Kapsch will be tasked with growing the breadth, depth and audience for content created by the TheWrap’s roster of staff reporters. The site also has a network of several hundred unpaid bloggers, but that side of things will remain the purview of managing editor Lew Harris.

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When Mike Wallace Blew Off Michael Mann

Interesting tidbit from TheWrap film writer Brent Lang.

Lowell Bergman, a producer with 60 Minutes from 1983 through 1997, told Lang that prior to the making of Michael Mann‘s 1999 drama The Insider, he arranged for Wallace to meet with the director at the Beverly Regent Wilshire hotel. Why? Because Mann at the time hoped to convince Wallace to play himself in the film (the correspondent was, of course, famously channeled in the end by Christopher Plummer). From Lang’s piece:

The movie depicted Wallace caving to CBS’ corporate leadership after the network refused to air the Jeffrey Wigand interview over concerns about a potential lawsuit from tobacco company Brown & Williamson. Wallace claimed that he never agreed that the story should be killed.

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Harvey Weinstein Leads the Movie Mogul Charge

1003_mockup.gif Any Michael’s regular worth his or her weight in Cobb salad knows that on any given Wednesday you can find the who’s who of media in the dining room. Today we spotted a talking head (Andrew Ross Sorkin) and bestselling authors (Linda Fairstein, Karin Slaughter) but were really struck by the Hollywood on the Hudson feel of today’s lunch. Everywhere you looked there were movie moguls (Who’s hotter than Harvey Weinstein at this moment?) and studio suits breaking bread with money men (read: possible investors), we’re sure, in hopes of cooking up some big deal. We’ve noticed that there is an increasing number of movie moguls (both real and the wannabe variety) making the scene on Wednesday lately, which may account for the marked uptick in glad handing and air kissing.

I was just about to sit down with my lunch date, producer Thierry Daher to talk about his new film, God Save My Shoes and the film’s publicist Miriam Driot when producer Beverly Camhe came over to introduce me to Shawn Bercuson who, she noted, “was the talk of Sundance.” It turns out that Shawn, one of the original members of the team that started Groupon, launched a new site last year  perfect for the new ways we watch movies. Prescreen.com is a curated video on demand platform designed to promote and showcase premium content. Shawn tells me the site is the first to provide long form premium content through Facebook Open Graph intergration in the U.S. When he was at Sundance, he discovered there was no platform for aggregating the festival’s trailers and viola! Now there is. When I introduced him to Thierry, they had plenty to talk about, and by the time the group adjourned to our respective tables everyone had each other’s business cards. Who needs Los Angeles?

I was eager to hear the story behind Thierry’s latest documentary which explores the fascinating relationship between women and their shoes. His previous release, Just for Kicks, explored the sneaker phenomena and the origins of Nike Air Force One and Air Jordans. “It’s not the athletes that make these shoes so popular,” Thierry told me of his discovery. “It’s the hip hop and rap stars.” To wit: Just For Kicks featured Reverend Run, Missy Elliot and Grandmaster Caz. In light of the fact that this was his second documentary on footwear, I just had to ask him  if he had some kind of a foot fetish. Nope, he said. “I’m very curious about other people’s obsessions.” As a recovering Manolo Blahnik addict, I was more than intrigued. Its turns out the idea for God Save My Shoes came to Thierry while he was making Just For Kicks. When he learned that Damon Dash owned hundreds of pairs of sneakers, the thought occurred to him: If this is what the guys have in their closets, God only knows what their wives own. Clearly, he was on to something.

Diane Clehane, Thierry Daher and Miriam DroIt
Diane Clehane, Thierry Daher and Miriam Driot

Thierry told me he spent a year writing the film’s treatment during which time he unearthed just about anything ever written on the subject and sought out women to bare their soles. The film features interviews with Kelly Rowland, Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas and Dita Von Teese who bare all about their devotion to shoes. Celebrated poker player Beth Shak, who owns over 1,000 pairs, opened up her extraordinary closet.  He also features another ‘star’ who was literally born to wear high heels: Barbie. (I won’t spoil it for you, but you’ve just got to watch). Designers Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik weigh in on their cult following and the curious bond between women and shoes.

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TheWrap’s Daniel Frankel Segues to PaidContent.org

It took some time, but PaidContent.org has finally found someone to step into the slot previously occupied by Andrew Wallenstein. Starting January 9, Daniel Frankel—formerly of TheWrap and Variety (pictured)—will take over as west coast based senior editor. His last day at TheWrap was December 30.

“PaidContent has been trying to establish a west coast operation for a while,” Frankel tells FishbowlLA via telephone. “We had some talks last spring and then continued talking. PaidContent also lost David Kaplan, so I will be doing some coverage of New York advertising and publishing as well.”

Frankel, who will be home-based, is familiar with that territory from his days with Adweek. He comes to PaidContent after a long stint at TheWrap as news editor and senior writer. After being laid off at Variety the same day as Mike Speier, Frankel began freelancing for the latter at TheWrap in May of 2009 and joined the website’s staff in October of that same year.

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UCLA Prof Comments on Pauline Kael’s Research Theft

If UCLA professor emeritus Howard Suber one day finds himself sitting in a chair in his dying old age, muttering about a traumatic, formative turning point, his golden whispered word could well be “research.”

As detailed in Brian Kellow‘s October 27 biography of revered film critic Pauline Kael, the famed journalist was guilty of stealing Suber’s groundbreaking Orson Welles research for a two-part 1971 New Yorker article “Raising Kane.” Suber cooperated with the author and is now commenting in the media for the first time about this resurrected scandal, via a Brent Lang bylined article today on TheWrap:

“I take no satisfaction in the story coming out,” Suber said. “I was depressed over the weekend, despite getting included in the New York Times and New Yorker reviews, because it did stir up a lot of painful memories…”

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Report: Michael Ovitz Maneuvering Triggers IMG Board Battle

It’s rare these days to see the name Michael Ovitz headlining an entertainment news “Exclusive,” especially one that has nothing to do with a valuable painting or expansive piece of property. But there he is today, in a firecracker piece on TheWrap co-authored by Sharon Waxman and Brent Lang.

According to the article, IMG Worldwide board member Ovitz has been aiming to take over the company while chairman and CEO Ted Forstmann (pictured) battled brain cancer. The firm represents Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and many other sports world A-listers. An IMG board conference call reportedly scheduled for today was set to address the idea of “ousting” Ovitz:

According to another insider, board members Jerry Perenchio and Irving Azoffrespectively the ex-CEO of Telemundo and executive chairman of LiveNation –are leading the charge to get Ovitz booted…

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Disgruntled Freelance Photographer Sues LA Times

Earlier this week, TheWrap’s Brent Lang had an item that was a bit of a stretch. Using vague, unattributed sources, he insinuated that LA Times columnist Tim Rutten might have been recently laid off because of mistakes made on the job (a charge Rutten gently denied).

This time around on the LA Times beat, Lang is on much more solid exclusive footing. He has the skinny on an ugly bit of litigation filed against the newspaper in May by entertainment biz photographer David Strick, who freelanced for the paper up until 2010 and now works with the Hollywood Reporter. The artist is not buying the LA Times argument that he surrendered ownership of his work by uploading it to the company’s content management system (CMS):

Strick does not set a figure for the damages he believes he’s owed, but he alleges that the Tribune Company and its television stations and various papers have published at least 174 of his photos illegally. He cites at least 510 violations of his copyrights.

Ed Greenberg, an attorney for the photographer, told TheWrap that each infringement could come with an award for as much as $150,000.

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Tim Rutten Interviews Rile LA Times

The most outspoken victims of the latest round of LA Times layoffs have been book reviewer Susan Salter Reynolds and award-winning columnist Tim Rutten (pictured). Today, Rutten has shared a couple of interesting new observations with TheWrap’s Brent Lang.

Rutten says he was puzzled by his removal from book review assignments after he made a mistake in a February 2, 2011 Op Ed piece. He also reveals that his former employer was unhappy with the comments he made on KPCC and KCRW in the immediate aftermath of his dismissal:

“I know they were upset with those interviews–which I did not seek–because one of my editors was instructed to call me and tell me that they were upset by it,” Rutten said. “I think that if people were upset, then the burden is on them to say what part of what I said about the state of the Times is either factually incorrect or substantially unfair. If they can point to those things, I think they have a legitimate beef.”

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