Hollywood or Not Hollywood
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So many comments have come and gone with the Genevieve Turning Point Pictures Saga. One thing that stood out, I guess I am just noticing it, are the comments made by all parties involved as to whether Tulips is a Hollywood film or not.
My article today is to inspect what is a Hollywood movie and what is not. My facts are backed by interviews and media articles with people who work in the industry including my professors at the California State University Northridge Film Department.
Hollywood is the general name used to describe the American film industry. This was where the filmmakers fled to in the 30s when taxes and catholic or puritan laws prohibited free expression of film language. When the film industry boomed, the city boomed and expanded. The name of the initial city stuck…Hollywood.
What movie can be termed a Hollywood movie?
Bottom line, any movie made under the laws that govern the American Film industry qualifies to be called a Hollywood movie. There are 3 types of film industries in America, the studio films, which we call “Hollywood film” the independent films and the home movies.
The studio films and the independent films are one and the same except for the difference in budget and union classification. Example, a $200,000 independent film qualifies under the Ultra Low Budget Agreement. Certain stringent rules that govern high budget films are lax where an ultra low budget film is concerned. Thus, the difference is the budget. You will be surprised to know that Lionsgate is an independent film studio, with the IFTA (independent film alliance) other big studios have followed suit, Fox has fox searchlight, Warner has Warner Independent among some smaller names they hold, Paramount has Paramount Vantage, they used to own Plan B, Brad Pitts Company but they split.
The home movies are the fun run and gun films made by students, lay-workers, regular individuals who do NOT report or pay taxes to any guilds or unions under the AFTRA or AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers). These are usually called non-union movies and the others are called union movies.
The AMPTP is the regulating body of Hollywood; they negotiate all the contracts of all the guilds, editors, cinematographers, actors, writers, below the line workers. Thus, if your production company pays allegiance to the AMPTP, your movie is under their umbrella and thus is a Hollywood movie. There is no way a producer can high a member of these guilds without signing the AMPTP unified agreements.
Thus, if Tunde Kelani's thunderbolt is bought by the Weinstein company, thunderbolt becomes a Hollywood film because the rights to the film have been bought under the unified or codified AMPTP agreement. Most South African movies are thus termed Hollywood movies because they receive Hollywood distribution, thanks to Distant Horizon. Distant horizon is a South African owned film production company with a satellite office in America; they license movies under the unified agreements and thus their movies are Hollywood movies. Tsosti is a South African movie bought by Miramax, which makes it a Hollywood movie. Miramax bought the rights
In conclusion therefore, any production company, whether headed by an African in the Diaspora or by a rancher in Texas or by a Whiteman in Hollywood qualifies to be a Hollywood company as long as they are under the codified agreement of the AMPTP whereby they are a signatory to any of the guilds or unions represented by the AMPTP
Indeed it is not every movie made in American that is a Hollywood movie, so how do we know if a movie is under the unified agreements? If we really care? Well, you call the easiest place to call AMPTP, ACE or SAG. Screen Actors guild is the most common signatory company with the largest number of members. A movie then that employs a SAG artiste is most commonly termed a Hollywood movie. Another way is to know that the movie has been licensed or bought by a production company (studio) that has signed the unified agreement. Mind you, no member of SAG can act in a movie that has not signed the AMPTP agreement. Signing the agreement guarantees that when a producer hires you, he pays your 41K, health insurance, social security, Medicaid etc to your guild for your future and security.
From this, we can now judge what movie is a Hollywood movie and which is not. Is tulips then a Hollywood movie? It is.
No I am not taking sides, I am not happy at the level of our ignorance although we love movies, this is to educate us so that we can make adequate and sensible judgments.
Knowledge is power