Monday, 30 April 2012

An unnamed woman has put down £100,000 to purchase Twickenham Film Studios out of the claws of administration.

The mysterious woman came forward after housebuilder Taylor Wimpey pulled out of its bid to purchase the film studios, The Telegraph reported. Richmond Council had rejected planning permission to convert the historic building into residential homes. Director Steven Spielberg and actor Colin Firth, amongst other celebrities, had spent months campaigning for the safety of the building.

It is believed the woman has promised to maintain the production of films at the business.

The sale is thought likely to take up to four weeks to complete, and is being managed by administrator Gerald Krasner at Begbies Traynor.

The firm entered administration in February this year, after suffering three consecutive years of losses. It was due to be wound down by June if a sale could not be secured.

Some of the more recent films made at Twickenham Film Studios include Warhorse, My Week with Marilyn and The Iron Lady.

Since the identity of the bidder has been kept secret, rumours are circulating as to who she may be.

It is thought JK Rowling was interested in the studio’s future after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was filmed there.
Disney and Pixar are teaming up again on a new movie called The Good Dinosaur. The movie is set to arrive in theaters on May 30, 2014.

The story premise works around the what if scenario of the cataclysmic asteroid that forever changed life on Earth actually missed our planet and giant dinosaurs never became extinct. One can only guess what type of hilarious situations they may come up with. Would the dinosaurs become pets to humans or would it be the other way around? The original and heartfelt tale will be directed by Bob Peterson who was also co-director/writer Up and writer Finding Nemo. John Walker from The Incredibles and The Iron Giant will be producing the film.

This is not the only the film Disney/Pixar will be working on several other projects including a project based on the Dia de los Muertos which is a Mexican celebration where family and friends gather together to remember lost loved ones. Finally an-as-yet untitled movie that been pushed back to a June 2015 release. According to a Pixar press release, the high-concept project will “take you to a place that everyone knows, but no-one has ever seen: the world inside the human mind”. What do you think of this next movie?

Source News: Disney Dreaming
In the latest question-and-answer session with the Star Wars: The Old Republiccommunity, BioWare promised some big additions to the MMORPG. For starters, they plan to roll out server transfers in a few months. 

"We will be rolling out our Character Transfer Service in early summer," said Dallas Dickinson, senior producer of live services. "First we’ll have some targeted free transfers from/to specific servers, but that will be followed with a broader system where you can either take advantage of free promotional transfers to specific servers or paid transfers to the server of your choice. We know everyone has more questions about character transfer, and we’ll reveal more details closer to the launch date." 

The population of any MMO inevitably becomes a bit lopsided so the free transfers will probably one way that BioWare tries to correct it. They'll most likely allow players on the most crowded servers to transfer to the lower population servers for no charge. If nothing else, it will help off-set the reverse traffic: the players on desolate servers paying to move their characters to more active homes. 

Old Republic's next major update will be 1.3. No release window was provided for the update, but it sounds like the wait between 1.2 and 1.3 will be shorter than the wait between 1.1 and 1.2. 

"Game Update 1.3 is being kept a bit leaner to get the Group Finder and the next stage of Legacy in the game as fast as possible," said lead game designer Daniel Erickson. "After that we’ll be returning to some bigger updates and we’re hoping [dual character specialization] makes it for the next one." 

Erickson also hinted at more long-term plans. They have "big" changes in mind for the Achievements system. Furthermore, they plan to add new playable species to the game. 

"Can’t comment on what species you might see, but you can expect the roster of playable species to expand... this year."

Universal Pictures, the Hollywood studio known for classic films such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Jaws, Out of Africa and All Quiet on the Western Front is marking its centenary by restoring and re-releasing some of its best-known titles.
Universal was founded on 30 April 1912 in the US state of New Jersey. The businessman Carl Laemmle, a German immigrant who became known as one of the founding fathers of Hollywood, led a team of entrepreneurs to set up the studio.
It was at a time when film-making was in its infancy and audiences were flocking to small cinema booths in converted storefronts, known as Nickelodeons.
Alfred HitchcockAlfred Hitchcock is just one of the legendary directors to work with Universal
"They were really taking advantage of this new phenomenon that was sweeping the country," says Jeff Pirtle, Director of Archives and Collections for NBC Universal.
Universal grew rapidly and the studio eventually moved west to settle in California - encouraged by wall-to-wall sunshine and cheap land - on the site of a former chicken farm.
The studio developed into its own city - the largest film production facility in the world. Today, Universal City, on the edge of Hollywood, is home to a vast complex that incorporates sound stages, archive vaults and a theme park.
"They didn't really set out to create the huge multi-media company that it is today," says Mr Pirtle. "I think it's grown beyond their wildest aspirations."
Over the decades, film-making legends such as Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Ron Howard, have been associated with Universal.
The studio's centennial celebration sees the culmination of a major restoration programme, with 13 of Universal's best known titles getting a digital makeover for re-release on Blu-ray and DVD.
The films being restored are: All Quiet on the Western Front, The Birds, Buck Privates, Dracula (1931), Dracula Spanish (1931), Frankenstein, Jaws, Schindler's List, Out of Africa, Pillow Talk, Bride of Frankenstein, The Sting and To Kill a Mockingbird.
'Film-maker's vision'
In windowless, high-resolution digital editing suites, deep inside the studio lot, Universal's restoration artists carry out the painstaking task of re-mastering the films, frame by frame.
The aim is to remove blemishes in the images caused by scratches and tears in the original film. The film's colours and sound are also improved.
The Sting The Sting starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman was a box office hit 1973
"Our main concern in our restoration process is to maintain the film-maker's vision," says Peter Schade, Vice President of Content Management and Technical Services, Universal Studios.
"We will try to restore and bring the film back to the way it was originally meant to be seen."
Some sections of the original footage of Jaws, one of the films being released on Blu-ray, were badly damaged.
"Obviously I don't think that a film-maker, Steve Spielberg in this case, would want to see a tear in a key frame in his film," says Mr Schade.
It takes up to four hours to work on a single frame of footage. With 24 frames per second, the process is slow. The original negatives are scanned using a very high resolution.
The digital information is then manipulated pixel-by-pixel to eliminate the damaged sections. The end result is a digital version of a classic movie that can be preserved for generations to come.
As film-making technology evolves, there are few certainties about how Hollywood will tell its stories during the next century.
Many believe the death of film is imminent, with the digital world taking over.
"No matter how much computer graphics are involved or how the distribution avenues change, of our productions, inevitably you are still going to need actors and you are still going to need props," says Mr Pirtle, who manages the studio's vast archive of artefacts and costumes.
"Our department is still going to preserve and protect the way that films are made," he adds.
The challenge for Hollywood, as it embraces new technology, is to continue to captivate audiences.
"As long as you have a group of people gathering together in a big room to experience a film together, with that sound in the speakers around you and images up on the screen, laughing or crying or sitting on the edge of your seat, I think that magic is still going to exist," says Mr Pirtle.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett will do voice work on an upcoming episode of the Fox animated series Family Guy.

She will voice Penelope, a girl who is a potential love interest for Stewie, who is voiced by series creator Seth MacFarlane. Penelope is reportedly as mischievous as Stewie, and they team up when Stewie plants an exploding wallet on Mort.

The episode is set to air Sunday.

This marks her first television work since 1995, when she played Bianca in the Australian miniseries Bordertown.

Her film roles include The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) and her Oscar-winning performance as Katherine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator (2004).


If you have been waiting for the right time to pick up Bioware’s hit MMO ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic”, now might be the best time. Origin has deeply discounted both the ‘Digital Deluxe Edition’ and the ‘Standard Edition’.

The ‘Digital Deluxe Edition’ (shown on the right) is offering the larger of the two promotions, currently marked down to $44.44 from $79.99, while the ‘Standard Edition’ is marked down to $34.44 from $59.99

Origin lets you compare both copies side-by-side to see which of the two versions fits your gaming needs best. No word on how long the promotion will last but since the game just received the largest update to date and introduced the ‘Legacy’ system, we assume this promotion will only run for a very limited time while they are promoting the updates.

You can check out both editions as well as the promotion by visitin the official Origin store below.

source | origin

Saturday, 28 April 2012

 Arnold Spielberg, father of USC Shoah Foundation Institute Founder Steven Spielberg, was honored yesterday with the Institute's inauguralInspiration Award at a private luncheon in Los Angeles. Arnold was recognized for his many years of mentorship and support of the Institute's work, especially in the area of humanity through technology.

A computer pioneer and former electrical engineer, Arnold was a volunteer and guiding light helping inspire the early team at the organization to overcome technical and logistical hurdles. Phil Rosenthal, creator of the highly acclaimed hit comedy series Everybody Loves Raymond, who is a longtime supporter of the Institute, served as the master of ceremonies for the event. He is also the son and grandson of Holocaust survivors. Olga Kern, internationally renowned concert pianist, was the special musical guest and gave a stellar performance.
The Inspiration Award, which will hereafter be known as the Arnold Spielberg Inspiration Award, was established to honor friends who have supported and inspired the Institute, including community leaders, Institute volunteers, teachers, scholars, survivors, and other unsung heroes, and to raise awareness of the Institute's goals of promoting tolerance, cultural understanding, and mutual respect through the educational use of the testimonies in its Visual History Archive.
The USC Shoah Foundation Institute has collected and maintains an archive of nearly 52,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses, from 56 countries in 32 languages–the largest visual history archive of its kind in the world.
"Arnold's contribution not only to the Institute, but also to the world, through his pioneering work in the field of technology has created a lasting legacy for current and future generations," said Stephen D. Smith, executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute. "Arnold provided mentorship and support when it was greatly needed, and his astute council helped move the organization in the right direction and frame the groundwork upon which the Institute's Visual History Archive is built."
"I am so pleased and touched to be able to recognize my father's vital contributions to the organization," saidSteven Spielberg, founder of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute. "With this Inspiration Award that will carry his name in perpetuity, my father will continue to be a beacon as we pursue our mission."
Microsoft served as presenting sponsor of the event. "It is a great privilege to be a part of this special celebration to recognize Arnold Spielberg for his contribution to the Institute by building upon the promise of transforming and promoting humanity through technology," said Don Mattrick, president of interactive entertainment business, Microsoft. "We are proud to support the important educational work of the USC Shoah Foundation Institute andSteven Spielberg's visionary purpose to transform people's attitudes, beliefs and the way we learn through eyewitness testimony."
During World War II, Arnold served with the 490th "Skull & Wings" Bomb Squadron, known as the "Burma Bridge Busters," and became communications chief. Arnold helped design and build the first business computer. He also invented and patented the first electronic library system and designed the first electronic cash register, transforming the "point of sale" retail industry.
"I am very proud that my son Steven had the foresight to record the stories of the survivors so that future generations could learn lessons from the voices of those who were subjected to intolerance and hatred, and scholars could research the archive and use the content in whatever way they could to benefit humanity," Arnold said. "Eisenhower told his commanders to take many pictures, because in the future the Holocaust would be denied, as it is even now. I believe the power of the Institute's Visual History Archive, like those photographs, remains a testament to the truth that no one can deny."
The Award Luncheon highlighted some of the organization's milestones and educational programs while allowing Arnold's friends and colleagues to share personal anecdotes about working with him at the Institute. His son, filmmaker and Institute founder, Steven Spielberg, and his three daughters, Anne, Sue, and Nancy, presented their father with the award, with his extended family in attendance.

BioWare's massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republicis not suffering subscriber defections, according to project lead designer Daniel Erickson.
Speaking to PC Gamer, Erickson claims subscriber numbers have not dipped, but concurrent users during peak play times have. This, Erickson said, is why players may have experienced "light" server populations.
The developer said BioWare is considering merging servers in response the lessened concurrent user population, but this action is not a priority. Erickson also made clear that BioWare is doing "anything and everything" to spike the concurrent user figure.
"Nothing is off the table when it comes to making sure our communities are strong and active on each server," he said.
To help encourage players to regularly return to The Old Republic, Erickson said BioWare is seeking to design quests and one-off events with greater variety and impact.
Additionally, Erickson responded to criticisms of BioWare being slow to create new end-game content. He said because The Old Republic is a fully-voiced MMORPG, creating quests takes a big longer, though he said, "We're getting sprier all the time."
Star Wars: The Old Republic--which reportedly cost $200 million to develop--was released in December to a warm critical reception after six years of development. It sold 2 million copies and gathered 1.7 million subscribers by publisher Electronic Arts' latest report.

The Hollywood Reporter has now confirmed that Sam Raimi has, indeed, boarded MGM's upcoming remake of Poltergeist, but is doing so in a producer-only capacity alongide Nathan Kahane and Roy Lee.

Raimi, who directed The Evil Dead one year before the first Poltergeist was released, is also known today for, among many other films, his Spider-Man trilogy and, most recently, for Drag Me to Hell. He's currently in post-production on Oz the Great and Powerful.

No director is currently attached to Poltergeist.

Will keep you posted.


Friday, 27 April 2012

 Barbra Streisand's 70th birthday sparkled and shined from here to Broadway!
Tuesday night, she was showered with wishes from John Travolta and Steven Spielberg in sexy Malibu!!
She describes it very well, saying:
It was a magical event with only very close friends, people I've known and loved more than 20 years. The highlight of the evening was my son's film that he made for me. People kept asking, 'Who is that singing?' And when I said it was Jason, everyone was blown away by the beauty and soulfulness of his voice. Quincy Jones wanted to sign him on the spot.
My friends made it an evening of surprises for me, flying in the remarkable Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard and gifting me with the performance of my favorite singer, Johnny Mathis, and many, many more highlights.

A grassroots effort to bring Lucas Valley's failed Lucasfilm production studio project to the Hangars at Hamilton Landing is being led by resident Marla Fields, who said it may be a longshot but she wants to roll out the red carpet for the film company.
The Lucasfilm withdrawal from the Grady Ranch has created a near feeding frenzy of Bay Area cities including Dixon, Vallejo's Mare Island, Fairfield, Lagoon Valley in Solano County, Oakland and San Francisco all vying for the economic boost and star power of the project.
Hangars & Residential Set for Production
As recently as December 2010, a Disney animation company, ImageMovers Digital had made its home in two of the former airplane hangars at Hamilton Landing. Originally a military base, Hamilton was built in the 1930s and converted to a mixed-use residential and commercial community in Novato in the late '90s.
The hangars were purchased and transformed into modern office space by Barker Pacific Group and current tenants include the Marin Community Foundation, Birkenstock, the YMCA and gaming company Take Two Interactive.
In a pitch for support to residents via the Hamilton Community Forum egroup,  Fields, who has been lobbying city officials to address vacant and blighted city-owned properties at Hamilton, said she sees a potential remedy with a Lucasfilm project.
We have a production studio recently occupied by ImageMovers Digital, an old theater that would make a wonderful screening room, city-owned vacant parcels that could be developed if more space is needed, wonderful views of the largest wetlands restoration in the country, hiking and biking trails as well as the Bay Trail, an upcoming Hamilton train station for easy access, a newly renovated gorgeous pool and soon a new gymnasium, and most importantly, a community of residents who I am confident would roll out the red carpet and welcome Mr. Lucas to our neighborhood.
Fields urged supporters to send letters to the Novato City CouncilMarin County’s Board of Supervisors and Supervisor Judy Arnold.
Hamilton Well-Known to George Lucas
Filmmaker George Lucas is no stranger to the hangars at the former Hamilton Field Air Force Base. Scenes for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom were shot on location at the hangars
The historic hangars and Spanish-revival buildings have also served as backdrop for other feature films including, The Right StuffRed Tails and Tucker: The Man and His Dream.
Lucas would be welcome to work his movie magic at Hamilton, said Brian Eisberg, a senior vice president with Cornish & Carey Commercial, the hangars leasing agency. He suggests that emails be directed to the Novato City Council and City Manager Michael Frank.
Eisberg said the company will be following up a written submission with requests for a meeting withSkywalker Properties and is looking for community support. There was a rumor that a meeting with Lucasfilm team had already been arranged for this week but Eisberg said that a meeting had not yet been scheduled.
In an email Eisberg said:
In addition to a multimillion dollar contribution from the owners of these hangars, the Walt Disney Company spent nearly $40 million of their own money creating a state of the art movie making facility in these Hangars, including the iconic Control Tower.  There is no other way to describe the space other than phenomenal. Hamilton Landing has won several green awards for reduced energy costs and employee comfort due to their advanced engineering. 
Square Footage Matches; Environment Differs
Hayden Ongaro, vice-president and managing director for Cornish & Carey, points to 240,000-square-feet of available space that includes two hangars, a build-to-suit office building and existing space in the remaining five partially-occupied hangars.
Although the Grady Ranch project was planned for a nearly comparable 269,000-square-foot digital studio, that site would have been built from scratch over a two year timeframe with Spanish mission-style buildings, two 85-foot towers, nine bridges, and a large buffer of space to shield the campus from public view, according to the precise development plan presented to the county's planning commission.
According to the Skywalker Properties website, the all-inclusive community would have held a general store, gym, day care and cafe to support an estimated 340 employees, actors and guests.

On Saturday May 5th, for one day only, Star Wars returns to Elstree Studios for Elstree Empire Day. 

Gary Kurtz, producer of the first two Star Wars films, is reuniting members of the original cast and crew for a celebration of the saga’s history at the famous UK studio. Anyone who worked on the Star Wars films at Elstree is invited to attend and should get in touch with Jason Joiner (0797 379 1339) or Graham Miles (0773 983 2229) or by e-mail via the website.

Highlights of the day’s schedule will include:

- A talk by Gary Kurtz on ‘A Day in the life of a Star Wars Producer’

- Displays of original film props, some never before seen in public

- Displays of Art Department items such as artwork, models, blue-prints etc.

- A display of rare photographs showing the work that took place at the studios

- Autographs and talks by the guests

The event is being run to aid the continuing preservation and restoration of artefacts in The Kurtz/Joiner Archive. The Archive was set up by Gary Kurtz and Star Wars historian Jason Joiner to preserve the many items relating to Gary’s career that he had collected over the years, including a vast personal photographic library detailing all aspects of the Star Wars productions alongside props, documentation and other items.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Star Wars The Old Republic will officially launch in 38 additional countries throughout Europe and the Middle East. Starting today, fans in those regions will be able to purchase the critically-acclaimed massively multiplayer online game and enjoy the story-driven experience that has captivated critics and fans since the game's historic launch in December.
Players will be able to choose from the Standard Edition and the Digital Deluxe Edition of Star Wars: The Old Republic at* and participating retailers located in Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Estonia, Gibraltar, Iceland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. For a complete list of participating retailers and for pricing by territory, please visit .

Described as the Apple co-founder's "wilderness years," the lost tapes span several years worth of interviews with veteran technology reporter Brent Schlender. In the interviews, Jobs discussed many of the underlying philosophies at the core of Apple.
"Listening to [the tapes again] with the benefit of hindsight, the ones that took place during that interregnum jump out as especially enlightening," Schlender said of the lost interviews.
Jobs compared Pixar, the animation studio he purchased from George Lucas, to a laser printer during an interview in June 1995. His argument was that although the technology behind the scenes was incredible, people were only concerned with the output.
In an October 2004 interview, Jobs compares good management to the Beatles, emphasizing the importance of a checks and balance system. Jobs compared the chemistry between the John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr to that of the Pixar team at the time: Jobs, Ed Catmull and John Lasseter.
Some of the more heart-tugging moments come when in 1995 Jobs lamented the short 10-years he spent at Apple. The interview took place about a year before Jobs returned to Apple as chief executive officer.
"I was at Apple 10 years. I would have preferred to be there the rest of my life," Jobs said. "So I'm a long-term kind of person."
In that interview, Jobs compared building a company to running a marathon, saying that it required at least five years to do "anything of magnitude."
Schlender, who has been described as the writer who knew Jobs best, had previously covered Jobs for Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. Segments of the journalist's lost interviews were recently published in Fast Company.
"Rummaging through the storage shed, I discovered some three dozen tapes holding recordings of extended interviews - some lasting as long as three hours - that I'd conducted with him periodically over the past 25 years," Schlender recounted. Several of the tapes hadn't been revisited until Jobs passed away in October 2011.
Schlender's account of his time with Jobs is sometimes poetic and tragic, which is actually quite a fitting for his subject matter. The full story can be found at Fast Company.

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