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Insights from home entertainment industry experts. Home Media blogs give you the inside scoop on entertainment news, DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases, and the happenings at key studios and entertainment retailers. “TK's Take” analyzes and comments on home entertainment news and trends, “Agent DVD Insider” talks fanboy entertainment, “IndieFile” delivers independent film news, “Steph Sums It Up” offers pithy opinions on the state of the industry, and “Mike’s Picks” offers bite-sized recommendations of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases.

April 05, 2010
Tribeca’s On Demand Channel Gets a New York-Style Ad

Marketing company Ogilvy & Mather New York is helping promote the Tribeca Film Festival’s new on-demand channel with a new ad on various broadcast and video outlets.

Beginning in April, the channel will appear to an expected 40 million households via cable, satellite and telecom providers such as Comcast, Cablevision and Verizon FiOS. Ads for the channel proclaim “Here Comes the Neighborhood,” to tout spreading New York flavor through bringing Tribeca to the television set.

“The ad shows movers packing up the downtown Tribeca neighborhood — a taxi cab, pigeons, and other various icons like a traffic cop, even Robert De Niro — to demonstrate that with the new VOD service, Tribeca Film is bringing the feeling of Tribeca to homes all over the country,” said Terry Finley, group creative director at Ogilvy & Mather New York.  “In working with The Tribeca Film for many years, we have helped create a brand that has an ‘only in New York,’ attitude.  So it makes sense to bring that sensibility to their expanding properties.”

More than 10 titles will come to VOD through the Tribeca Film channel, beginning April 21, several of them day-and-date with their 2010 festival premieres. Films premiering day-and-date on VOD include environmental documentary Climate of Change, narrated by Tilda Swinton; ESPN documentary Birth of Big Air, produced by Spike Jonze and Johnny Knoxville, about extreme sports athlete Mat Hoffman; and sex & drugs & rock & roll, the story of punk icon Ian Dury.

By: Billy Gil

March 03, 2010
Tribeca Launches New Platform and Virtual Film Festival


What did I tell you about the indie world going digital? Today, the Tribeca Film Festival not only has announced the launch of Tribeca Film, a new distribution and marketing platform for independent film, it also has announced Tribeca Film Festival Virtual, an online way for people to experience Tribeca, at www.tribecafilm.com/virtual, supported by American Express. Let me see if I can say “Tribeca” five more times in one sentence.

Tribeca Film will acquire and release films all year, through various distribution partners, and aim to capitalize on marketing by compressing traditional distribution windows. Seems like a good idea to me, after speaking with a with a filmmaker, Joe Swanberg, who said that despite his sweet deal with IFC to release his film through cable video-on-demand (VOD) at the same time as it premiered at South by Southwest (SXSW), he lamented the fact that it would hit DVD much later than its premiere, thus missing that crucial period when a film is first buzzed about. Tribeca Film will start with the VOD, day-and-date with the film-festival premiere (April 21 – May 2), and then release the films it acquires theatrically, through home entertainment, on airlines, at hotels, in public bathrooms (j/k!), via subscription and through ad-supported digital platforms. 

Tribeca Film will start with 10 features, seven of them screening day-and-date with their festival premiere. That means more than 40 million households will have access to the films, through partnerships with cable, satellite and telecom providers such as Comcast, Cablevision and Verizon FiOS. They’ll be featured on a Tribeca-branded menu for at least 60 days.

And if that wasn’t enough, the virtual film festival venture will enable viewers online to view full-length 2010 Tribeca Film Festival features and shorts, engage with filmmakers and audience members online and at the festival, and see panel discussions, filmmaker interviews and red-carpet stuff. The virtual fest runs from April 23-30, accompanying the world premiere of Edward Burns’ Nice Guy Johnny. Premium passes for the virtual festival will be limited, available to U.S. residents for $45 each, and they go on sale March 8 on the Tribeca site for American Express Cardmembers and March 15 for everyone else.

Virtual film festival titles include: Birth of Big Air; Climate of Change; Road, Movie; sex & drugs & rock & roll; TiMER; and Nice Guy Johnny. The rest of the Tribeca Film titles will be announced later this month.

By: Billy Gil

February 09, 2010
Film Movement Gets Brazilian Dance Doc

Film Movement has acquired the rights to Only When I Dance, a Portuguese-language documentary from British director Beadie Finzi. The film follows two ballet hopefuls, both poor, from the favelas on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

There’s a happy ending to this story — Irlan Silva, one of the kids in the film, is now touring with the junior company of American Ballet Theater. 

The Tribeca official selection will see a limited theatrical run and premiere through Video on Demand in the summer.
“This inspirational film has been charming festival audiences around the world, and now it is time for its infectious joie de vivre to hit North American theaters and homes,” said Film Movement president Adley Gartenstein. “We are thrilled to be its distributor and make this happen.”

By: Billy Gil

December 07, 2009
Michelle Monaghan Becomes ‘Trucker’

Michelle Monaghan
Michelle Monaghan in Trucker

Michelle Monaghan’s performance in Trucker as Diane Ford, a boyish lout of a woman who bears little resemblance to the glamorous Monaghan of Made of Honor and Mission: Impossible III, should change the way people see this fine actress. The Tribeca Film Festival selection has been picking up wins at other festivals, and Monaghan’s performance has generated Oscar buzz from the likes of Roger Ebert.

“It’s incredibly gratifying,” Monaghan says of the attention. “I love this movie so much. I loved it from the first time that I read it.”

Monterey Media is releasing Trucker on DVD Jan. 5 at $26.95. The DVD includes a special feature on Monaghan preparing for her role, a process that involved learning how to drive a big rig.

“I went to truck driving school,” Monaghan explains. “It was just really an opportunity for me to be able to portray the character as honestly as it had been written. It’s her livelihood. I just knew it would inform me immensely.”

Director/writer James Mottern picked Monaghan to be in the film after seeing her in another drama involving women in stereotypically male roles — North Country, starring Charlize Theron as a miner who wins a sexual harassment case. Monaghan says that although the character demands a lot of the actress — from running across the street in her underwear to beat up some boys that mess with her son, to being involved in unflattering sexual situations — the research she did into the trucking industry was her biggest challenge.

“I had a lot of fun doing it. It was very scary and really challenging but incredibly fulfilling at the end of the day,” she says. “I can’t imagine having played that character without having the knowledge of driving a truck or trucking culture.”

She says the research erased many misconceptions she, and likely others, have had about truckers, such as that people become truck drivers out of lack of anything else to do.

“People are truck drivers because they choose to be truck drivers,” she explains. “The majority of them are very much free sprits. They love the open road.

“I spent a lot of time with female truckers. They’re fierce women, they’re feminine. There are a lot of sacrifices and a lot of risks that namely female truckers take when they’re on the road.”

Monaghan’s tomboy manners in the film can’t all be attributed to good research.

“There’s something to be said for putting on a pair of boots that make you walk a certain way and brings out a certain physicality in you,” she says.

Trucker co-stars Nathan Fillion, Benjamin Bratt and Joey Lauren Adams. The next projects Monaghan is attached to are Somewhere, the next film from director Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation), and Due Date, from Todd Phillips (The Hangover).

By: Billy Gil

August 17, 2009
Spike Lee Joint Sets Off ‘Sundance Selects’

Thank you, Robert Redford. Rainbow Media, which bought Sundance Channel last year, is starting Sundance Selects Aug. 26 to offer Sundance favorites on demand, bowing with Spike Lee’s Passing Strange The Movie, which is based on a musical developed through Sundance and premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Comcast, Cox and Cablevision are among the cable companies offering Sundance Selects, which is offering one film a month at first, and two films a month later on.

Future films offered that premiered at Sundance will include Alexis Dos Santos’s Unmade Beds (Sept. 9); Academy Award-winner Adam Elliot’s animated Mary and Max, which opened the festival (Oct. 14); and Chris Wiatt’s documentary A Complete History of My Sexual Failures (January 2010). Other films include two more documentaries: Kief Davidson’s Kassim the Dream, which premiered at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival (Nov. 4), and Tom Thurman’s Nick Nolte: No Exit (Dec. 16).

“The hallmark of the Sundance brand is creating an environment of discovery, for both artists and for audiences,” Redford said. “Sundance nurtures new, independent voices in the creative realm, and is committed to bringing their work to larger audiences in new ways. Sundance Selects is a perfect complement to this mission and I am really energized about working with Sundance Channel and Rainbow Media on this new venture.” 

Lee had this to say: “It makes sense that Passing Strange The Movie will launch Sundance Selects, as Stew and Heidi Rodewald, the original musical’s co-creators, developed the project at the Sundance Theater Lab and Director Lab.  I’m pleased to work once again with Robert Redford, and with the Sundance Channel, on the launch of this new service.”

Folk like me without the funds to fork over for premium cable are lovin’ it like McDonald’s. This is probably the coolest thing Robert Redford has done since Indecent Proposal.

By: Billy Gil


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