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Almost half a century after he made a documentary about director John Ford, Peter Bodganovich is back with his second look at a classic filmmaker. “The Great Buster: A Celebration,” in which the director of “The Last Picture Show” and “What’s Up, Doc?” follows the life and career of pioneering silent comic and peerless stuntman Buster Keaton, opens on Friday at the Nuart in Los Angeles.

Featuring abundant Keaton footage, from the classic boulder chase in “Seven Chances” to television commercials he made near the end of his life, “The Great Buster” also finds Bogdanovich talking about Keaton with a potpourri of fans that includes Quentin Tarantino, Mel Brooks, Werner Herzog and Johnny Knoxville.

The film is structured chronologically, with one big exception: When it gets to 1923, when Keaton began a string of 10 landmark features that included “The General” and “Steamboat Bill, Jr.,” it jumps forward six years and saves the best stuff for last.

Bogdanovich, who was also instrumental in Netflix’s recent completion of the early ’70s Orson Welles movie “The Other Side of Midnight,” spoke to TheWrap about Keaton, old movies and why he’s not worried about the demise of the video store.

You haven’t done a documentary on a filmmaker since “Directed by John Ford” in 1971, have you?
I did John Ford, that’s right. And then I didn’t do a documentary until Tom Petty [“Runnin’ Down a Dream” in 2007]. Won a Grammy for that. I’m very proud of it.

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So why do one on Buster Keaton?
Charles Cohen financed it. He owns the rights to the ’20s pictures, which is all the good stuff, and he asked me if I would be interested in doing a documentary on Keaton. I said yeah, and it was as simple as that. I loved Keaton. He was one of the two people that were alive in my lifetime that I didn’t meet, that I wanted to: Buster Keaton and Noel Coward.

Did you pass up chances to meet them?
With Keaton, I was just trying to find out where he was, and he died. We lived not that far away from each other in the Valley, and I was trying to find him. That was a near miss.

I definitely had a chance to meet Noel Coward, and it was sort of stupid of me. I was in Vevey in Switzerland, shooting “Daisy Miller,” and he was just up the mountain there. I thought, “Well, he’s not going to want to meet some young American director, why should I bother him?”

But he died about a year later, and about a year after that I met his executor, Graham Payn, because Audrey Hepburn and I were talking about doing “Private Lives” on Broadway. And Graham said, “You know, one of the last films that Noel saw was ‘Paper Moon,’ and he loved it.”

And I thought, “S—.” I would like to have heard him say that.

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Do you remember your first exposure to Keaton?
I’ve been a fan of Keaton’s since I was about 5 years old. My father, who was quite a bit older than my mother, grew up with silent pictures. Sound didn’t come in until my father was 30. So he took me to the Museum of Modern Art in New York to see a lot of silent films. The first movies I saw, really, were silent pictures: Keaton, Chaplin, Griffith, Harold Lloyd, those people.

I loved Keaton. In fact, when I made the chase sequence in “What’s Up, Doc,” I said, “This is a Buster Keaton chase.” There were only a couple of jokes we stole from Keaton, I think, but the idea was sort of Keaton-esque.

I assume you started the film with a pretty good idea of the story that you’re going to tell. Did it change much in the making?
Well, I don’t know where I got this idea, but it was the one good idea that I had, which was to end with the features. And the reason I did that was the old showbiz axiom, “Leave ‘em laughing.” With Buster Keaton, I didn’t want to leave them sad. And his life was kind of sad toward the end, although he was happily married, which I think saved his life. But he smoked a lot, didn’t take care of himself.

Luckily, the Venice Film Festival had celebrated him a year before he died, so I could use that in the plot to bring the features back.

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It’s tricky, though, when you’re going through the chronology and then you get to the great features and say, “We’ll come back to these later.”
Yeah.

You have to trust that the audience will say, “OK, you can skip the good stuff.”
Well, you know, I did it with complete authority. [Laughs] And I thought they would have to just accept it. And also, I think the fact that I was doing the narration and I made the picture sort of worked. I would usually hire somebody to do the narration, but I felt it was so personal that I could make it more personal by narrating it.

We’ve all seen the classic Keaton sequences, and you can never watch that boulder chase from “Seven Chances” enough. But were you conscious of trying to create a mixture of stuff that Keaton fans would have seen with stuff they wouldn’t have seen?
I didn’t think about it much. I just sort of followed my instincts, my gut reactions.

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But you also have things that aren’t familiar, like the TV commercials he did late in his life. Was there footage you found that surprised you?
Not surprised me. I knew of the commercials but I hadn’t seen them, and those were fun. I thought it was funny and sad that he had to do that. I was sad that he didn’t have a comeback. But that’s America.

So making this film sounds like a pretty smooth process.
It didn’t present any difficulties. The biggest challenge was the thought of putting all the features at the end. How do you get on, how do you get off? That’s show business.

We’re in an era now where if you want to see an old Buster Keaton movie, you can probably do it with a few clicks. With the rise of Netflix and Amazon and all, more old movies are available immediately than ever before. But if you can’t find it online, the video stores that would actually have stuff like that are…
Gone. Gone with the wind.

Is that troubling to you?
No, because all of it is available on DVD. I mean, most of the films you want to see, you can get them on DVD. All of Keaton is available. Everything, including the stuff that isn’t good. Older films are more available now than they’ve ever been, I think. I don’t know if there’s interest in them, but they’re around.

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Discovery and the PGA Tour have struck a massive $2 billion deal for tournament rights outside of the United States through 2030. That’s a lot of green — and we’re not just talking about the putting surfaces.

The pricey (and lengthy) alliance, which tees off next year, will result in about 2,000 hours of content annually and nearly 150 tournaments, including The Players Championship, the FedExCup Playoffs, and the Presidents Cup. It will grant Discovery the exclusive non-U.S. television and multiplatform rights to all PGA Tour golf events by 2024 — here is a timetable for implementation:

Date
Markets
2019
Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain
2020
Poland, South Korea
2021
Belgium, China, Germany, South Africa
2022
Denmark, Finland, India, Norway, Sweden, UK
2024
France

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About those multiplatform rights: Together, Discovery and the PGA Tour will develop a new PGA Tour-branded OTT video streaming service to serve 220 markets and territories.

“Today is a fantastic day for golf fans around the world as Discovery proudly partners with the PGA Tour to create something that has never been done before,” David Zaslav, president and CEO, Discovery, said. “The long-term partnership between the PGA Tour and Discovery will create the new global Home of Golf, including delivering over 2000 hours of live content year-round and this prestigious sport’s greatest moments, stories and athletes. Following our successful first Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Discovery will contribute its strong global distribution and promotional infrastructure, in-market relationships, global sports expertise with direct-to-consumer platforms and brands to create a valuable new long-term Home of Golf offering in every market outside the U.S.”

“This is an exciting next step for the PGA Tour, which presents a tremendous opportunity to accelerate and expand our media business outside the United States, better service our international broadcast partners, and drive fan growth with a deeply experienced strategic global partner,” added Jay Monahan, commissioner, PGA Tour. “This partnership aligns very well with the opening of PGA Tour offices in London, Tokyo and Beijing in recent years and will support our long-term objectives of growing the game of golf. It also will deliver more value to our sponsors as it presents a tremendous opportunity to engage new and diverse audiences around the world.”

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The partnership will be led by Discovery’s Alex Kaplan, who is president and general manager of the new Discovery and PGA Tour venture. His management team will include the PGA Tour’s Thierry Pascal as head of distribution.

Kaplan previously was an executive vice president at Eurosport Digital, where he helped grow the Eurosport D2C business to over 1 million subscribers. Prior to joining Discovery, Kaplan was a senior vice president of global media distribution for the NBA.

“I am incredibly excited to work with David Zaslav and JB Perrette to take international coverage of PGA Tour golf to the next level,” Kaplan said. “We can’t wait to get started and build a world-class global platform and long-term distribution strategy to turn the vision of this partnership into a reality. By joining forces with the outstanding PGA Tour team, led by Jay Monahan and Rick Anderson, we have a unique opportunity to build an amazing product that will serve the fans with the golf content they love on every screen.”

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With very few natural resources, the economy of Denmark relies almost entirely on human resources. The service sector makes up the vast amount of the employment and economy. Its industrialised market economy depends on imported raw materials and foreign trade. Within the European Union, Denmark advocates a liberal trade policy. Its standard of living is average among the Western European countries - and for many years the most equally distributed as shown by the Gini coefficient - in the world, and the Danes devote 0.8% of Gross National Income (GNI) to foreign aid. It is a society based on consensus (dialogue and compromise) with the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions and the Confederation of Danish Employers in 1899 in Septemberforliget (The September Settlement) recognising each others right to organise, thus, negotiate. The employer's right to hire and fire their employees whenever they find it necessary is recognised. Denmark produces oil, natural gas, wind- and bio-energy. Its principal exports are machinery, instruments and food products. The US is Denmark's largest non-European trading partner, accounting for around 5% of total Danish merchandise trade. Aircraft, computers, machinery, and instruments are among the major US exports to Denmark. There are several hundred US-owned companies in Denmark, some of them just registered for tax purposes, which is beneficial for holding companies. Among major Danish exports to the U.S. are industrial machinery, chemical products, furniture, pharmaceuticals, lego and canned ham and pork.


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