Thursday, 30 October 2014

Curzon's Jason Wood is HOME's first director of film

Jason Wood
Jason Wood has been named artistic director: film at HOME, Manchester’s new purpose-built centre for contemporary visual art, film and theatre. Wood has spent the past five years as director of programming at Curzon.

HOME has been formed from the merger of two of Manchester’s best-loved cultural organisations, Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company. Wood joins Walter Meierjohann and Sarah Perks, in charge of theatre and visual art respectively, in the artistic directorate for the £25m multi-arts venue that will open to the public in spring 2015. Besides programming films into HOME’s cinrma, Wood will commission, curate and encourage cross-art form collaboration in conjunction with his co-artistic directors.

Cornerhouse is one of nine leading BFI Film Audience Network Hubs, a position which will transfer to HOME. As a BFI Film Hub, HOME will work with the BFI and regional partners, to bring diverse, specialised and independent British and international film to audiences.

As a joint appointment with Manchester Metropolitan University, supported by the BFI, Wood also takes the position of Research Professor of Film at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University. 

Wood said: “HOME will offer a recognition of cinema’s rich heritage, historical importance and ability to inspire, provoke and challenge. Film at HOME will act as a space for learning and engagement and a home for curiosity seekers. It has been an immense pleasure to have worked at Curzon and I wish the company the very best for the future at what is an extremely exciting time for the group.

Chair of trustees of HOME, Jim Forrester, said: “To have someone of Jason’s experience, passion and reputation join our artistic team is fantastic. The reputation for excellence in film that has been built over the years at Cornerhouse will continue to grow and develop at HOME under his direction.”

Curzon praised Wood's service to the company, his passionate commitment to cinema, immaculate taste and wealth of expertise and thanked Jason for his contribution to all aspects of the group. CEO of Curzon, Philip Knatchbull, said: “We are immensely sad to see Jason leave Curzon. Jason embodies everything we stand for as a company - with his passion for cinema and his standing in the industry.  Jason has been at the forefront of our development as a company and he has been a constant and loyal supporter of our vision for the future.

“In the past week alone, new Curzon venues were launched at Canterbury and The Mondrian Hotel on the Southbank, our film Leviathan won the Best Film Award at London Film Festival, our distribution team won Best Independent UK Distributor at the Screen Awards and Curzon Home Cinema launched on Amazon Fire TV.”

HOME will form the cultural heart of the First Street North development and was formed from the merger of two the Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company. The new building, designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo and built by Wates Construction, will feature five purpose-built cinema screens as well as digital production and broadcast facilities, a 500-seat theatre; a 150-seat flexible theatre; a 500m2, 4m high gallery space; five cinema screens and a café bar and restaurant.

Manchester City Council has committed £19m to fund the creation of HOME. The overall budget for the project is £25m, with £5m being met by Arts Council England Lottery funding and the remainder by fundraising. £250,000 has already been contributed by the Garfield Weston Foundation and £150,000 by The Granada Foundation. 

Cineworld promises no redundancies for Ritzy staff following calls for boycott

Ritzy staff have long campaigned for the London Living Wage
Cineworld, the owner of Picturehouse, has called off plans to make third of the staff at Brixton’s Ritzy cinema redundant. On Tuesday Picturehouse, Cineworld’s arthouse brand, had warned the south London’s staff up to 34 jobs were at risk due to higher costs resulting from a staff campaign to increase their pay to £8.80, bringing it in line with the current London Living Wage.

Staff were told management posts had be due to be axed along with eight supervisors, three technical staff and other front-of-house ushers, putting 34 of the cinema’s 93 staff at risk.

The author Will Self launched a call for a public boycott in The Evening Standard. “The truth is that the bean-counters are trying to cut costs and boost profits by attacking their own employees, employees who often take this part-time employment precisely because they themselves are aspirant purveyors of cultural capital – wannabe musicians, writers, actors and filmmakers,” he wrote. “Enough is enough: until the Picturehouse management resile from these redundancies I shan’t be darkening their darkness. I suggest that any Standard readers who really care about London’s cinematic culture do the same.

The revelation led to accusations that the cinema operator was seeking ‘revenge’.  The author Owen Jones wrote in The Guardian: “Workers at Picturehouse cinemas in Clapham and Brighton – inspired by the example of the Ritzy – had been organising to gain union recognition. But cinema bosses want to make an example of the Ritzy. The message appears transparent: if you fight for a living wage and workers’ rights, then you face the sack. Or we will crush you if you dare to stand up for yourselves.

Football and actor Eric Cantona joined the Ritzy staff protest this year
However, today Cineworld’s chief executive Mooky Greidinger told the Evening Standard: “Group management was not aware of plans to enter consultations for redundancies at The Ritzy, which is managed by Picturehouse. I am now making this a group matter and I have decided together with Picturehouse management to put an end to the consultation process.”

Cineworld’s finance director Philip Bowcock added: “There will be no redundancies at this time. You can never say anything is indefinite. We operate Picturehouse as an independent, standalone business. Communications can get mixed up, and unfortunately this played out in the public domain.”

Willy Donaghy of media union Bectu said: “We welcome this development but the union will not drop plans for a strike ballot until we get guarantees about our members’ long-term job security. We want to thanks our tens of thousands of supporters who have brought about this change through social media and campaigning.”

Rival independent circuit Curzon Cinemas has announced that it will link its staff's salaries to the Living Wage.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy feature in Marvel's 11-film slate

The Avengers
Marvel’s expanding cinematic universe has grown to become one of the most complex and profitable movie studios. The Disney-owned comic book publisher has confirmed its release schedule until 2019.

In an event held at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, last night. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed there will be 11 movies scheduled between 2015 and 2019.

Feige announced a new two-part Avengers sequel in 2018-2019, on top of one already scheduled for next year. A Guardians of the Galaxy sequel was also confirmed.

Marvel also named Chadwick Boseman as the lead actor in 2017’s Black Panther. Boseman will actually make his debut in Captain America: Civil War alongside Chris Evans as Captain America and Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man. Civil War is set to come out on 6 May 2016.

November 2016 will also see the release of Doctor Strange, which will be directed by horror writer Scott Derrickson. There has been speculation that Benedict Cumberbatch star, but Marvel did not confirm casting.

The third instalment of the Thor franchise, Thor: Ragnarok, which will again star Chris Hemsworth has taken the film's place in the July 2017 slot.

Marvel has also revealed its first female-led Marvel film, with the character Carol Danvers making her big screen debut in Captain Marvel in 6 July 2018.

Feige also revealed that that Inhumans will hit screens later in 2018.

Marvel Studios: 2015 to 2019

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron – 1 May 2015

  • Ant-Man – 17 July 2015

  • Captain America: Civil War – 6 May 2016

  • Doctor Strange – 4 November 2016

  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – 5 May 2017

  • Thor: Ragnarok - 28 July 2017

  • Black Panther – 3 November 2017
  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – 4 May 2018

  • Captain Marvel – 6 July 2018

  • Inhumans – 2 November 2018

  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – 3 May 2019