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WGA Wins Arbitration That Will Allow More Writers To Reacquire Their Unproduced Screenplays

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The Writers Guild is on a roll, prevailing in yet another significant arbitration on behalf of its members – this time winning a dispute involving a feature film writer’s right to reacquire their original, unproduced script that the guild says “paves the way for more similar rulings.”

The arbitrator’s ruling in that case follows a recent landmark “self-dealing” arbitration against Netflix that the guild says will result in hundreds of writers on more than 100 Netflix theatrical films receiving an additional $42 million in underpaid residuals, and the settlement of a similar arbitration against Amazon in which the WGA has collected more than $4 million in underpaid residuals and interest on dozens of films produced or acquired by the studio.

RELATED: WGA Collects Moer Than $4 Million In Settlement With Amazon Over Unpaid Residuals

In its latest win, in the case of a writer reacquiring his unproduced original script, the WGA West says in its current newsletter – WGAW Connect – that “not only is the award a win for the screenwriter, but the ruling is helpful to all screenwriters seeking to reacquire an unproduced script by clarifying that certain actions by the company simply aren’t enough to put a script in ‘active development’ in order to avoid the reacquisition process.”

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Procedures for reacquisition contained in the guild’s Minimum Basic Agreement state that “at any time during the two-year period immediately following expiration of the Company’s five- year period within which to actively develop the material, the writer may notify the Company in writing of the writer’s intent to reacquire the material.”

“As the creators of valuable intellectual property,” the guild notes, “screenwriters can often find a new buyer for a script that the original studio has failed to produce” – but only if they can reacquire it.

RELATED: Landmark “Self-Dealing” Arbitration Found Netflix In “Violation” Of WGA Contracts

The arbitration stems from screenwriter Eric Warren Singer trying to reacquire his screenplay, God Bless the Damned, from Indian Paintbrush Productions. He contacted the guild in April 2020, and the guild says that when it served the reacquisition notice, the company “claimed the material was in ‘active development’ and therefore couldn’t be reacquired.”

According to the guild:

“The company claimed the script was in ‘active development’ because it had hired another writer to rewrite the material more than two years earlier – but without any real timeline for delivery, and with no indication that the company was taking other significant steps to develop the script. In addition to the drawn-out rewrite, the company said the material was being actively developed because of periodic ‘creative meetings’ and ‘lunches with agents.’

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“None of this met the standard for active development under the MBA, which contemplates the company expending substantial resources in order to move the project along toward production. Therefore, the guild took the case to arbitration.

“The arbitrator agreed with the guild’s position that in order for a script to be in ‘active development,’ there must be a significant and ongoing financial commitment made by the company to develop the project, and ordered that the writer be provided the opportunity to reacquire his script.”

Singer says in the guild’s newsletter that he now is seeking to set the project up with a new company. “There are maybe a handful of scripts that you just love, like old buddies,” he wrote. “This is one of those scripts for me. I love the story, the script, the characters; I have been so close to getting it made so many times. I hope the movie gets made, but even if it doesn’t, I’m still proud that we have the clarity of this decision to challenge the games companies play when trying to deny us of our rights under the MBA.”

Deadline reached out to Indian Paintbrush and will include its comment if the company responds.

The WGA West says it will hold an educational webinar about reacquisition later this fall.

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Netflix & Paramount+ To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’ ; TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome With Toon Series; ‘One Piece Film Red’ London Takeover — Global Briefs

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Netflix & Paramount+ UK To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’

Netflix and Paramount+ have struck a first of its kind-of-deal over a true crime documentary telling the story of the strip search caller in the U.S. Paramount+ has taken UK rights to Pervert: The Hunt for the Strip Search Caller and Netflix has rest of world on the doc, which it will be calling Don’t Pick Up the Phone. The deal is believed to be the first time two streamers have worked in such a way in the UK and rest of world. The doc tells the shocking story of a hoax caller who targeted fast food restaurants across the U.S. – posing as a police officer investigating a theft, the caller instructed managers to strip-search the young female employees he said were suspects. For many victims, what began as a humiliating strip search escalated into sexual abuse.

Canada’s TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome In Animated Series ‘Griffin And Turner’

EXCLUSIVE: Ontario, Canada’s TVOkids and Big Jump Entertainment are working on 2D-animated series Griffin and Turner. Based on real Canadian brothers who a significant online following, the show follows the supportive pair as they, their friends and family undertake personal challenges but focus on the journey rather than winning. Turner has Down syndrome, and TVOKids executive producer Kirsten Hurd noted the series has been developed in consultation with the Down syndrome community. Producer Big Jump is behind shows such as Shutterbug and Big Words, Small Stories.

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London Gets ‘One Piece Film Red’ Takeover After Record Haul

To celebrate the record-breaking haul of One Piece Film Red in the UK, the Straw Hat Pirates are set for a takeover of iconic London locations on November 26. Via local distributor Anime Limited and Toei Animation, the cast and memorable scenes from the series will be projected onto the County Hall of London, opposite the London Eye as well as other key locations. One Piece Film: Red has grossed over £800,000 in the UK and Ireland since it released earlier this month, making it the biggest of the long-running franchise. A phenomenon in Japan, One Piece Film Red has grossed $162M to date worldwide 



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‘All Quiet On The Western Front’, ‘Belfast’ Top 2022 EFA Arts & Crafts Awards

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Edward Berger’s All Quiet On The Western Front and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast top the European Film Academy’s Excellence Awards honoring achievement in the arts and crafts categories, the winners of which were announced on Wednesday.

Belfast won best European Production Design for Jim Clay, whose credits include Children Of Men, for which he won a Bafta in 2006, and Murder On The Orient Express.

The drama, set against the backdrop of the beginnings of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland in 1969, also won best European Costume Design for Charlotte Walter (Blithe Spirit, Misbehaviour)

Netflix-backed German WWI drama All Quiet On The Western Front won best European Make-up & Hair for Heike Merker, and Best European Special Effects for Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller and Markus Frank.

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 In other categories, best European Cinematography was won by Kate McCullough for her work on Colm Bairéad’s Irish-language drama The Quiet Girl.

Best European Editing went to Özcan Vardar and Eytan İpeker for Turkish director Emin Alper’s drama Burning Days.

Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn won best European Original Score went for Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO.

Best European Sound went to Simone Paolo Olivero, Paolo Benvenuti, Benni Atria, Marco Saitta, Ansgar Frerich & Florian Holzner for Michelangelo Frammartino’s cave exploration drama The Hole.

The winners, which are decided by a special expert jury, will receive their awards at the European Film Awards ceremony on 10 December in Reykjavík.

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Jennifer Lopez’s Social Media Mysteriously Goes Dark

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EXCLUSIVE: The actress, producer and top-selling performing artist’s social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter have suddenly gone dark in their featured/cover images.

Reps for Jennifer Lopez were unavailable for comment, but we hear from others that The Hustlers and Marry Me actress is on the verge of announcing a new project.

Here’s a look at her Instagram tonight:

While Lopez’s Instagram had erased all posts, a trail of her previous postings remained on Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. Across all four social media portals, Lopez counts close to 347M followers, the majority of that coming from her Instagram.

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Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions in June 2021 signed a multi-year first-look deal with Netflix spanning feature films, TV series and unscripted content, with an emphasis on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers. Lopez co-runs Nuyorican Productions with her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

Lopez scored her best opening for a live-action movie at the domestic box office with STX’s 2019 stripper caper Hustlers which debuted to $33.1 million, and grossed $105M stateside, $157.6M worldwide.  As a recording artist, Lopez has sold over 70 million albums, with J.Lo became her bestselling album with 3.8M copies sold in the U.S. and 12M global. Her Netflix thriller The Mother from director Niki Caro is set to debut in May. Her romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding with Josh Duhamel will hit Prime Video on Jan. 27.

On Facebook, one of her followers, Steffany Merino wrote, “What’s happened? Hope you and your wonderful family are ok. I’ll pray for your health and safety.”

Again, we hear something special is in the works in the next few days.



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