Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker, 2021







SOURCE: MovieMaker | January 26, 2021

This year’s list of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker is different than any we’ve done before, because never have so many moviemakers seriously considered changing their lives dramatically — starting with where they live.

Best Places Hall of Famers Los Angeles and New York City will always be our greatest movie cities, and the strong lockdowns they’ve instituted over the last year will make them stronger in the long run. But in the short term, they’re losing people to other great film cities, as many who have spent months inside insist on more space, lower housing costs, and more great outdoors.



‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ producer Charles D. King on the ‘divine’ timing of telling this story amid the BLM movement [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

SOURCE: Gold Derby | Daniel Montgomery
January 26, 2021

For producer Charles D. King, it’s “truly divine” to bring “Judas and the Black Messiah” to the screen at a time when its story is so relevant in contextualizing the current Black Lives Matter movement, especially when it comes to America’s reckoning with policing and the justice system. Watch our exclusive video interview with King above.

“Judas” tells the true story of Fred Hampton (played by Daniel Kaluuya), the chairman of the Chicago Black Panther Party who was plotted against and ultimately assassinated by the FBI in 1969 when he was just 21-years-old. King only had “peripheral” knowledge of Hampton before making the film, which highlights “how he was building together and galvanizing a coalition of oppressed communities from all backgrounds in Chicago” and “how he still resonates even to this day.”



MovieMaker Magazine ranks Cleveland as 14th best place for filmmakers to live and work

Cleveland came in 14th place in the magazine’s annual ranking. (Photo by Rich Exner, Exner,









SOURCE: | Anne Nickoloff
January 26, 2021

CLEVELAND, Ohio — MovieMaker Magazine has recognized Cleveland in its 2021 rankings of the best cities to live and work as a moviemaker. The publication put Cleveland in 14th place out of 25 cities.

The rankings put Albuquerque, New Mexico in first place, followed by Atlanta, Austin and Chicago. Cleveland and Cincinnati were the only two Ohio cities listed in the rankings; Cincinnati was ranked just ahead of Cleveland, in 13th place.



‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ production designer Sam Lisenco: Staying true to history with the excitement of an action thriller [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

SOURCE: Gold Derby | Daniel Montgomery
January 25, 2021

For “Judas and the Black Messiah” production designer Sam Lisenco and director Shaka King, “a big factor … in the development of the look of the movie was, how can we make this as truthful as possible, but keep in mind the kinds of action movies that make the medicine go down a little easy?” Watch our exclusive video interview with Lisenco above.

“Judas” tells the true story of Chicago Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton(played by Daniel Kaluuya), who was assassinated by the FBI in 1969. But Lisenco and King wanted to create a look reminiscent not just of the history of Chicago in the 1960s, but of thrillers from the period like “The Hot Rocks” and “The Seven-Ups.” “If we started to explore those kinds of genre-normative cues, even subconsciously, we would be able to come up with a language that was much more entertaining while being as historically accurate as possible.”



How the Russo Family Switched From Superheroes to America’s Opioid Crisis With ‘Cherry’

The Hollywood Reporter Illustration







SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter | Mia Galuppo
January 25, 2020

For their adaptation of Nico Walker’s semi-autobiographical novel — their gritty follow-up to the ground- and record-breaking ‘Avengers:  Endgame’ — directors Joe  and  Anthony Russo homed in on addiction and PTSD, tapping their younger sister, Angela  Russo-Otstot, to co-write the script in this family affair: “You have to submit the ego to the collective.”

After wrapping the biggest film franchise of all time with Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, Anthony and Joe Russo wanted to go back home. Set in their native Ohio, Cherry, out Feb. 26 via Apple TV+, is their first non-superpowered project in more than a half-decade. Tom Holland stars as a young Iraq veteran, known in the movie as Cherry, whose battle with opioid addiction leads him to become a serial bank robber. For the personal project, the Russo brothers teamed with their sister, Angela Russo-Otstot, who co-scripted the adaptation of the semi-autobiographical novel by Nico Walker, who wrote the book while serving a prison sentence for bank robbery.

The siblings talked to The Hollywood Reporter about how social media — for better and worse — influenced the movie and their hopes of appealing to Gen Z audiences.



AFI AWARDS 2020 Honorees Announced







SOURCE: American Film Institute
January 25, 2021

Today, AFI announced the recipients of the 2020 AFI AWARDS. AFI’s global Movie Club program will showcase the official selections beginning in February, with new and exclusive content released daily, including special guests from the honored works introducing the titles and AFI “Behind the Scene” conversations with filmmakers and actors. Sign up to be the first to receive exclusive AFI AWARDS content here.



Politician turned actor Peter Lawson Jones lands guest-starring gig on ‘Chicago Fire,’ eyes bigger roles in movies, TV

Former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones spent several days on the set of “Chicago Fire,” appearing a guest star on the hit NBC drama.






SOURCE: | Joey Morona
January 24, 2021

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Reagan. Schwarzenegger. Franken. The list of actors that became politicians is a familiar one. But Peter Lawson Jones is doing it the other way. A decade after leaving public service, the former state legislator from Shaker Heights and Cuyahoga County Commissioner is now busy reading scripts, not resolutions, auditioning instead of campaigning.

“Ginger Rogers used to do everything backwards and in high heels, so I’m doing it backwards too without the high heels,” he said.


‘The Marksman’ Stays On Target As No. 1 In Pandemic As Major Studios Pull Product From Q1

Open Road






SOURCE: | Anthony D’Alessandro
January 24, 2021

It didn’t take long for history to repeat itself.

We’re not just talking about the second-weekend No. 1 hold for a Liam Neeson Open Road release during the pandemic — specifically The Marksman, which earned $2.03M, -35% for a running total of $6.09M. But also how the major studios ran for the hills again, just like they did after the release of Tenet, pushing their Q1 titles after seeing the blue Christmas results of Wonder Woman 1984 and News of the World.

‘Judas And The Black Messiah’ Cast And Director Say The Story Of Black Panther Party Icon Fred Hampton Is “Right On Time” – Deadline Contenders








SOURCE: | Dino-Ray Ramos
January 24, 2021

In Judas and the Black Messiah filmmaker Shaka King dives deep into the story of Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, and William O’Neal, who served as an FBI informant to help silence Hampton and the BPP. King, who co-wrote the movie with Will Berson, tells the overlooked story of the iconic revolutionary, the conflicted man who brought him down and how it reflects the current landscape when it comes to the country’s treatment of the Black community and activism. Not only that, it also makes people realize that there is a part of Hampton and O’Neal in all of us.

Producer Roundtable: Andy Samberg, Dede Gardner, Charles D. King and More on the Streaming Rise Amid COVID and Their Awards Contenders







SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter | Tatiana Siegel
January 22, 2021

Ashley Levinson, Marc Platt and Eric Roth also discuss adapting to a year of seismic changes in the film industry: “We started rethinking everything.”

Shepherding a film from a nebulous idea to a locked print is fraught with interruptions and surprises. As such, no profession in Hollywood requires greater dexterity than that of a producer. And unlike any other time in cinematic history, 2020 was a year of overnight transformation amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, leaving producers with no choice but to adapt fast.

Two producers from this year’s roundtable — Judas and the Black Messiah‘s Charles D. King and The Trial of the Chicago 7‘s Marc Platt — saw their theater-bound films take a detour to a streaming platform (HBO Max and Netflix, respectively). Although Eric Roth, who produced David Fincher’s Mank, was always poised for a streamer release via Netflix for that film, he also experienced the great sweep to HBO Max with the upcoming tentpole Dune, which he wrote. Ashley Levinson, whose Pieces of a Woman and Malcolm & Marie are both in the awards season conversation, oversaw the writing and production of the latter during the COVID-19 lockdown. Minari‘s Dede Gardner, the only female producer with two best picture Oscar wins (for 12 Years a Slave and Moonlight), and Palm Springs‘ Andy Samberg were the lone two of the group lucky enough to see their films premiere in a packed, mask-less theater (both films made their debuts at Sundance in January 2020).