International Press Academy Home of the Satellite Awards Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:50:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 BURSTING THE HOLLYWOOD BUBBLE Wed, 04 Feb 2015 19:43:05 +0000 more...]]> by Victoria Larimore

Offering big name-studded speakers, including the legendary Norman Lear, media mogul Russell Simmons, the irrepressible Jay Leno, actor/producer dynamo Eva Longoria and “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan, NATPE 2015 Miami kicked off with a huge celebrity bang.

The conference theme of “content without borders” took on new meaning, as those “borders” now refer not only to national but technological ones as well. The Internet really has revolutionized the way we consume content, whether that be music or books or yes, even TV. And now it is revolutionizing the way we make and distribute it.

It’s all about coming to terms with the new dynamics. Or as NATPE President Rod Perth recounted, “Hollywood really lived in a bubble. It used to be that execs would say to me, ‘Rod, why should I travel to another city just to meet people that I can have lunch with around the corner?” Well, it just ain’t so anymore. At this year’s NATPE, 67 countries were officially represented as buyers, exhibitors, attendees and press; it really is a Global Village.

The traditional gatekeepers in the former power epicenters of LA and NYC are now put on notice – the marketplace has also decreed that it become more of a dialogue. Or as Perth quipped, “People are starting to realize that it’s not just about securing a deal anymore, it’s about having a conversation.” Perhaps Bonnie Pan of Maker Studios put it most clearly: “The future is that curation is in the audience’s hands.”

Her observation was echoed across panelsfrom Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos to “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan to Mitch Hurwitz of Arrested Development.

According to Ted, “42% of Americans have a subscription service like Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu Plus. Netflix plans to launch 20 original scripted shows a year. We’re set up to make shows that people love around the world. The distribution of TV has never been better.”

Vince Gilligan underscored the power of the audience’s voice to be heard and Netflix’s part in helping his show keep and then expand its core audience: “I wouldn’t be sitting here today without Netflix and the streaming that allowed people to catch up on “Breaking Bad” by binge viewing.” When the show’s numbers dipped in the second season on AMC, it was touch-and-go. But the new “watch when you want” model kicked in, proving the show’s staying power.

Group M Entertainment’s Peter Tortorici reminded the audience that “We’re all watching on demand – this is not just about young people, it’s about changing technology. People want to watch what they want when they want it.”

Gilligan went on to add, “But storytelling is always going to be storytelling….write characters that are rich, conflicted. It’s a great time to be original.”

Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development) concurredNetflix greenlights projects on a pass/fail basis – it’s my chance to say “here’s my vision” and they either like it or not.” In other words, there’s a lot more creative autonomy going on because there are more outlets to serve an increasingly diverse, global audience.

Indigenous Media’s Jon Avnet stated: “We’re filmmakers first.” They’re bringing their indy mentality into the digital space by Web series such as “Blue,” starring Julia Stiles. There is no traditional time-lag anymore. “We get immediate feedback from our audience.” Partner Jake Avnet concurs. “It’s a two-way street with audiences.”

All well and good. But content-creators – whether writers, directors, actors or producers – like to eat, so how does their work get monetized? Tortorici admitted that this feat is sometimes easier said than done. “We are committed to cracking the code of making it work economically.”

Sarah Harden reminded us that “YouTube gives more tangible metrics than conventional TV – it provides the actual number of views.” Ezra Cooperstein of Fullscreen countered, “Now, it’s about revenue per user rather than just the number of viewers. It is about making more money from those viewers.”

So, sponsors, anyone?

All true, but Tortorici admonished, “The quality of the experience is the most important thing to a sponsor. Brands are looking to stay engaged with their audience.”

However the audience watches, streaming or live or recorded, “First and foremost, the show is gotta be worth people’s time. Just make the best show you can,” said Gilligan. Who would argue with that (or him)? Whether content-creator, exec or viewer, everyone agrees: make sure that whatever you’re developing is authentic, not cynically just throwing money at influencers to attract a surge in numbers for a flash in time.

Truth is, “We’re living in a “yes and” world, where there is a place for both regular TV and digital,” the Netflix CEO admitted. There is innovation everywhere you look: Case in point, Chad Faltz of Cross MediaWorks led a session called Airtime Alternatives to Traditional Syndication that had attendees lined up for hours afterward, awaiting private consultations in the NATPE “Hub Room” next door.

Michael Wayne of Kin Community also spoke about the work he was spearheading at a session he gave called Women Content Creators. Now, everyone in traditional TV knows that women are often the targeted consumer of TV programming, its main demographic. Women control half the wealth in the United States and influence 64% of all purchases. Yet only 26% of creative jobs in TV are held by women. So, Kin Community is all about recognizing these changing dynamics, working in tandem with content-creators and “capturing” viewers. As Michael reminded listeners, “YouTube is a social network of more than 1 billion people. And some are making money.”

Jon Avnet, a veteran filmmaker, likens the current digital landscape to that of cable TV in 1985 – no one knew where it was headed. Yes, it is an exciting time to be making content!

As Maria Kyriacou of ITV Studios aptly put it: “At the end of the day, it’s just screens and it’s just great content! There’s a lot of shift going on – it’s all about being flexible.”

It’s the death toll of the entertainment business model as usual, and whether the power brokers like it or not, a relationship with the audience is now part of the creative – and economic – process. The Hollywood bubble has burst, and only the flexible will survive.


Victoria Larimore is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker and content-creator whose work has appeared in theatres, and on network and cable TV in the US and more than 20 countries. Her Web series KARMA premieres later this year.

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Press Academy offers kudos to George Clooney Tue, 23 Dec 2014 22:47:34 +0000 more...]]> The International Press Academy issued a press release Tuesday (Dec. 23) that congratulates Sony Pictures and Studio City resident George Clooney for their fight for the First Amendment. The IPA is an international organization of entertainment journalists that is based in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

The IPA president Mirjana Van Blaricom pointed out that she was not endorsing the comedy satire “The Interview,” but she applauds the fact that Sony Pictures is now releasing the movie on Christmas Day even on a limited basis. The nominations for the press academy came out for films, but “The Interview” didn’t receive any nominations.

“I saw the movie, I saw it earlier this month in a screening, and well, we are not honoring the movie per se, but we are honoring their statement of free speech,” says Van Blaricom, who sees more than 250 movies a year in order to come up with the nominations with her academy. “I think George Clooney was being very brave, too.”

The Executive Board of the IPA thanked Clooney for spearheading the fight for free press among the Hollywood community. In 2005, the Press Academy honored Clooney in its first-ever Auteur Award which recognizes individual voices of filmmakers and their impact on the industry. Other honorees include Paul Williams, Peter Bogdanovich, Baz Luhrmann, Julian Schnabel, Alex Gibney and Robert Altman. The Press Academy also gave Clooney the Best Original Screenplay Award for “Good Night, And Good Luck,” which charts the era of McCarthyism through the eyes of TV news great Edward R. Murrow.

“We think it is wonderful that Sony is brave enough to stand up for Free Speech, and that they are going to let the public see this movie,” says Van Blaricom, who lives in Sherman Oaks. “We are not judging the merits of the movie, but we are congratulating James Franco, Seth Rogen and the filmmakers, as well as Sony Pictures, for standing up for the release of their movie.”

Clooney in the past was nominated by the IPA for Best Actor for “The Descendents” and Best Actor for “Up in the Air.” The International Press Academy is one of the largest coalitions of domestic and international journalists writing about the entertainment industry that gives its Satellite Awards in all categories of entertainment—cinema, television and new media.

“We are always in support of George Clooney, and his continuing support of free expression and innovation in the entertainment industry,” Van Blaricom says.

Nominees have already been announced for television and motion pictures, and other nominations will be announced next month. The 19th annual Satellite Awards will be presented on Feb. 15, 2015.

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18th Annual Satellite Awards Submission Deadlines / Entry Forms Available Mon, 02 Sep 2013 23:51:55 +0000 more...]]> 18th Annual Satellite Awards Submission Deadlines / Entry Forms Available

September 2, 2013 

  • Original Internet Programming Eligible for Satellite Award

November 15, 2013: 

  • Deadline for Television Entry Forms

November 18, 2013: 

  • Deadline for Blu-ray DVD & Video Game Entry Forms 

November 22, 2013:

  • Deadline for Motion Picture Entry Forms

December 2, 2013:

  • Nominations Announcement

February 3, 2014:

  • Deadline for Press Media Accreditation

Sunday, February 23, 2014:

  • Presentation of the 18th Annual Satellite Awards in Los Angeles, California

Beginning this year, original internet programming is eligible to compete in all broadcast and cable categories, plus an additional short-format category, provided it meets the following requirements:

  1. All entries must be original programming that is fictional.  Original programs from the reality genre are not eligible.
  2. All entries must be Live-Action.  Animated original programming is not eligible at this time.
  3. All entries must have originated as web content.
  4. Entries are eligible to compete in all broadcast and cable categories provided that they have a regular series episode running time of20 minutes or more, they are a mini-series, or a made for television movie.
  5. Entries are eligible to compete in the Original Short-Format category provided they are at least 5 episodes with a regular series episode running time less than 20 minutes.

*Original internet programming submissions must use the Television Entry Form.

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IPA’s 17th Satellite Awards Energized by Torrent of New Takes Wed, 10 Oct 2012 23:14:54 +0000 more...]]> Los Angeles, CA, Oct. 10, 2012 – The International Press Academy’s 17th Annual Satellite Awards™ presentation will return to its familiar spot as the lead-off event of awards season with a mid-December date for 2012. The show had been announced for early 2013.

“We rescheduled the show for Dec. 16,” said Mirjana Van Blaricom, IPA President. “We will include FEDEORA, the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. This will have a big impact on our choices as far as new takes on international films.”

“Due to the rise of bloggers, people who never read reviews are now part of the audience for commentary on the industry. This is not only local but global, and we are making adjustments in our membership to realign the parameters of what a press association means in the world today. It’s including a lot of new voices and views.

Van Blaricom added, “nobody has a monopoly on covering entertainment anymore.”

The 17th Satellite Awards will take place on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City. The Intercontinental Hotel is located at 2151 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, Calif., 90067.

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EURASIA IFF, Then and Now, with Mirjana Van Blaricom Wed, 03 Oct 2012 06:25:43 +0000 more...]]>

Mirjana Van Blaricom and renowned Russian Director Pytor Todorovski, a previous honoree at Eurasia.

As the 8th Eurasia International Film Festival wrapped in September,  IPA President Mirjana Van Blaricom said “the people who discovered Eurasia in 2012, the many distinguished guests, have seen how instrumental the festival is to the region as we have built up the moment since its inception.”

Founded first in 1998, a mere seven years after the region emerged as an independent republic, Eurasia IFF was established to highlight the locations and filmmaking resources available in country – resources that date back to Sergei Eisenstein’s two-part opus “Ivan the Terrible” (1944-1958), which was shot in Kazakhstan.  By 2005, the second festival was held, reinvigorated with Kim Ki-duk and Emir Kosturica bridging East and West. Making the trek to the Central Asian Republic since then, the eclectic mix of honorees include Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Costner, Catherine Deneuve, Eric Roberts, John Cusack, David Carradine, Gerard  Depardieu, Christopher Lambert, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Natassja Kinski, Steven Seagal, and Armand Assante, who filmed a documentary chronicling the area’s rise as an independent nation.

Actor John Savage lands a Steppe Eagle at Eurasia IFF (courtesy EIFF)

Van Blaricom has served as a presenter at the film festival in Almaty, Kazakhstan, has served on the Jury, and been actively involved since the early years of The Eurasia International Film Festival. For the 8th festival in 2012, she invited Dennis Haysbert.  “Dennis delighted the crowds and represented the best of everything American film actors can offer to an international audience. It was a runaway success.”

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Looking Back at Tesla Honoree Jerry Lewis Tue, 04 Sep 2012 22:25:42 +0000 more...]]>

On Sept. 13 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will present “Both Sides of the Camera: the Innovative Genius of Jerry Lewis” to highlight the technical prowess of the legendary entertainer in a conversational setting with VFX supervisor Craig Barron and sound designer Ben Burtt. Widely known as a stand-up comic who later hit it big in cinematic pairings with Dean Martin, and then as an iconic comedian in a solo career, the real Jerry Lewis (born Joseph Levitch) is a man of hidden talents.Worldwide audiences know him as one of the first pro-active humanitarian fundraisers for children’s charities, but his mechanical and scientific explorations went unnoticed by the general public. But in 2005 Lewis received the International Press Academy’s Nikola Tesla Award for his pioneering achievement in creating the now industry-standard “video assist” technology.

At the time, his long-time manager Rick Saphire deftly described the legendary performers’ behind-the-camera skills. “As a motion picture producer, director, and actor, Jerry Lewis’ passion was to utilize every bit of new technology in the creation of his product. In some cases, if something didn’t exist, he would develop it himself. His marriage of the motion picture camera, the closed circuit TV camera, plus the introduction of video tape changed the way movies were made.” Saphire, who met Jerry Lewis through a family friend in 1953, said “in my opinion, Jerry Lewis was not thinking about becoming heralded as an inventor or innovator. He just wanted to come up with a way of doing his job better and providing the best in entertainment for his fans. On the other hand, I know he is bursting with pride for being recognized by the International Press Academy for his development of the ‘Video Assist.’”

In his acceptance speech, the “King of Comedy” said “I really can’t tell you what this award means to me, and I’ve got a lot of them.”

Even at age 86, Jerry Lewis continues to share his talent and expertise in all facets of the industry as a dynamic mentor with a new generation of filmmakers, friends, and fans.


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Stars Lined Up to Follow Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Costner to EURASIA 2012 Wed, 15 Aug 2012 06:13:00 +0000 more...]]> LOS ANGELES, Aug. 14, 2012 – With the 8th Annual Eurasia International Film Festival slated to open the week of Sept. 17 to 22 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, stars like Dennis Haysbert will fly into the Central Asian Republic to discover first-hand  the filmmaking opportunities in the area’s  largest emerging economy.

Oscar-nominated producer Wolfgang Petersen, who helmed the classic DAS BOOT and brought TROY and PERFECT STORM to the screen among other films, will chair the jury board of Eurasia-2012. Petersen will be part of the team that makes final decisions on films from 33 countries entered this year.

Appearing on the Steppes last year, Sigourney Weaver pointed out that “the name says it ‘Eurasia.’ Film is global. It is international. To combine all the different energies of Asia, Europe, and really the world, at this festival and to look at their themes – it’s really exciting.”

Eurasia’s program will feature an International Competition (mainly from Europe and Asia), a Central Asian Panorama, Dynamic Kazakh Cinema, as well as “Cinematic Bridge: East” (films from Turkey) and “Cinematic Bridge: West” (films from Greece). Out of competition, “Gold of Berlinale” will showcase top films from Berlin.  Prize money will be presented to the winners at the Closing Ceremony.

Kevin Costner, who once brought his rock band Modern West to Eurasia with him to “bring some America right onto the stage,” shared a bit of wisdom at the festival.

“I learned a long time ago, as a young (actor) filmmaker that movies weren’t just from my country, but they travel the world,” Costner told the audience. “When I began to understand that, it changed the way I thought.”

Dubbed “the Bridge Between East and West,” the festival’s goal is to strengthen relations among filmmakers and to bring substantive projects to worldwide attention. For example, while Greece may be in economic crisis, the rise of art-house films is undeniable.

Past attendees include Catherine Deneuve, Eric Roberts, John Cusack, Gerard  Depardieu, Christopher Lambert, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Natassja Kinski, Steven Seagal, and Armand Assante, who made a documentary about the region.

The 8th Eurasia International Film Festival is accredited and presented under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Kazakhstan, JSC “Kazakhfilm” named after Shaken Aimanov jointly with Union of Cinematographers of Kazakhstan.  For more information, please visit

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IPA Honoree Dale Olson’s Legacy Continues Fri, 10 Aug 2012 19:50:45 +0000 more...]]>

Dale Olson and Shirley MacLaine

With the passing of legendary press agent Dale Olson, “we would like to express our heartfelt appreciation for his uplifting approach to life and the industry,” said Mirjana Van Blaricom, IPA President. “He was my mentor at the beginning and throughout my career. Dale always said ‘let’s look at the good things.’ He always had something good to say, which is very rare in this business.”

While many in the industry will forever remember Olson as the tactful spokesman who stage-managed the historic AIDS announcement of his client Rock Hudson, the veteran publicist who died yesterday at age 78 was first and foremost a revered personal friend to his clients and a formidable strategist who deftly handled over 150 Oscar campaigns.

His career took off with the campaign for “In the Heat of the Night” in 1967, which won five Oscars and followed this brilliant trajectory through blockbusters like the “Superman” franchise to nuanced films like “American Beauty” where Olson masterminded a sophisticated publicity strategy to reach Academy voters on a personal level.

Clint Eastwood, Shirley MacLaine Gene Kelly, Steve McQueen, Lynn Redgrave, and Walter Matthau were among his high-profile clients, that once included British screen legend Laurence Olivier, funnyman Peter Ustinov, and Diana Rigg. Olson was also on the vanguard of changes in communication and was wary of the invasions of privacy.

“Dale never lost sight of the future,” Van Blaricom said. “At the end of each year, instead of a holiday card, he would send a letter that addressed everything relevant going on in the business and the world around us.”

“In the last letter I received, he wrote a great quote that everyone should think about: ‘So blog away, twitter all you want, make a thousand ‘friends’ on Facebook, but think about the consequences of what you have to say. If we truly believe in the First Amendment, isn’t it our responsibility to properly follow the guidance our forefathers so wisely provided?’”

“He championed a lot of causes and wouldn’t give up. Less than a month ago, we spent more than an hour in his hospital room laughing and talking – that is how I will remember him.”

In 2000, The International Press Academy honored Dale Olson as the first publicist to receive an honorary Satellite Award. Shirley MacLaine presented the award.

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Snapshot: Nikola Tesla’s Legacy & IPA’s Tribute Award to the Inventor Mon, 14 Nov 2011 22:23:36 +0000 more...]]> Los Angeles, CA: IPA’s Tesla Award is named for Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), in honor of the man whose many discoveries and inventions continue to have a ripple effect on modern technology. As an inventor, physicist, mechanical and electrical engineer, Tesla credited with more than 700 inventions and 100 patents in the US and Europe.

When Tesla discovered the rotating magnetic field in 1882 during his research years in Budapest, Hungary, a whole new era in modern scientific research and medical technology was born. All Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines are calibrated in “Tesla” units, which are the international standard unit of magnetic flux density adopted in 1956. The invention of MRI machines is only part of Nikola Tesla’s legend and legacy.

Son of a Serbian Orthodox clergyman, Nikola Tesla was born into Smiljan Lika, a territory of the former Yugoslavia then occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Much of his schooling took place in Graz, Austria, and the University of Prague. While conducting his research work in the United States of America, Tesla became a naturalized American citizen in 1891.

As a revolutionary thinker, Tesla is recognized among the most innovative engineers of the late 19th century and early 20th century. His patents and theoretical work form the basis of modern alternating current electric power (AC) systems, including the polyphase power distribution system and AC motor.

In America, Tesla’s name became a byword for futuristic innovation coupled with practical achievement. The public and the media deemed him a “magician” who conjured up spectacular technical feats. After his demonstration of wireless communication in the late 1800’s and after being declared the victor in the “War of Currents”, Tesla was widely respected as America’s greatest electrical engineer.

Under the sponsorship of George Westinghouse, Nikola Tesla lit up the World Columbia Expo in Chicago in 1893 with a glittering light and electrical energy display, validating Tesla’s status as the originator of technologies which helped usher in the Second Industrial Revolution.

Tesla’s legacy can be seen across modern civilization wherever electricity is used. Tesla envisioned the earth’s ionosphere as a rarified environment for communication and has been validated by the wireless industry. His unparalleled showmanship and penchant for innovative theories and ingenious methods live on in his namesake Tesla Award presented each year during the International Press Academy’s Satellite Awards.

IPA’s first Tesla Award recipient was George Lucas in 2003. Other honorees include James Cameron, Jerry Lewis, Stan Winston, Richard Donner, Dennis Muren, Rick Baker, Robert A. Harris, Douglas Trumbull and Walter Murch.

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2011 Satellite Award Film Categories Streamlined & New Website to Debut Fri, 11 Nov 2011 05:43:25 +0000 more...]]> Los Angeles, CA: Satellite Nominations in the Motion Picture categories will be pared down from 22 to 19 classifications; the change reflects the merger of Drama and Comedy under a general Best Picture heading.

The categories eliminated include “Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical,” “Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical,” and “Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical.”

“Best Actor” and “Best Actress” categories will no longer specify genre, but reflect a broad spectrum of performances with up to 10 Nominees. Supporting actor categories already reflect this guideline, but may also include up to 10 Nominees.

“When UP IN THE AIR came out listed as a comedy by some critics and a drama by others, it became clear to us that we needed a new system,” said Mirjana Van Blaricom, President.

“Expanding to 10 Nominees in Best Picture and most other film-related award categories is a realistic way to handle the volume of projects released nowadays.”

“Motion Picture, Foreign Language Film” will also be renamed as “Motion Picture, Foreign Film” to allow entries from English-speaking countries to be considered as official foreign entrants for consideration.

Additionally, IPA’s new website will debut mid-November. The upgraded site will include easier navigation and faster access to popular features.

A complete archive of past shows will be built throughout the year, but the site will be up and running throughout the construction period. The website’s designer is Jon Stout of E A Media.

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