Latest Entries »

Varenya Softech Services 1

#SaaS “We are excited to see the great progress that the Varenya Softech team has made in India and the CLMVT region is really emerging as a powerful and largely untapped marketplace where ‘Software-as-a-Service’ is poised to boom. SaaS is not just an add-on for any business in every industry sector, it is essential for business growth, success and survival.” James With, CEO of On Your Services Co., Ltd.

Varenya Softech Powerful and Clean

To Inform is to Influence

AT THE BLACK HAT cybersecurity conference in 2014, industry luminary Dan Geer, fed up with the prevalence of vulnerabilities in digital code, made a modest proposal: Software companies should either make their products open source so buyers can see what they’re getting and tweak what they don’t like, or suffer the consequences if their software failed. He likened it to the ancient Code of Hammurabi, which says that if a builder poorly constructs a house and the house collapses and kills its owner, the builder should be put to death.

No one is suggesting putting sloppy programmers to death, but holding software companies liable for defective programs, and nullifying licensing clauses that have effectively disclaimed such liability, may make sense, given the increasing prevalence of online breaches.

The only problem with Geer’s scheme is that no formal metrics existed in 2014 for assessing the security of software or distinguishing between code…

View original post 463 more words

Advertisements

“Submarines in the desert” (as my deepest gratitude to you) … reproduced ~ WITHLOVE ~

Submarine in the desert 1
Foreword

I have been thinking about writing this post for several months now.  But in a world were everything coming from the heart is misconstrued as some form of posturing, I was frankly afraid to do so.  Also, writing that kind of stuff is not what bloggers do, much less so those who try to run a halfway credible blog.  And yet, every time I got a kind email, a letter or even a gift, I felt that I have to write this.  God knows I am opening myself up for even more misrepresentations as usual, but I think it is well worth it.  My spiritual father always used to say “one soul is more precious then the entire universe“.

So I dedicate this post to that one soul.

Introduction

My life has been one of ups and downs.  Early on, after a pretty nasty childhood, it went up, rather rapidly.  Then came the “fall from (pseudo-) grace” and I lost my career.  It is still too early to go into all the details, but let’s just say that I used to be associated with a “three letter outfit” whose existence was not well-known by the general public and which has since been disbanded.  In my field, I got to the proverbial ‘top’ pretty early on, but soon the war in Bosnia began to open my eyes to many things I had never suspected before.  Then I found out about two things which got me blacklisted in my own, putatively democratic, country: I found out that a group of people had uselessly been murdered as a result of the criminal incompetence of their superiors and I found out that one guy had taken a long jail sentence while all this superiors had managed to walk away from a crime they all had committed.  And even though I never went public, or even told my closest friends about it (to protect them), I was blacklisted and prevented from ever working again.

In those dark days my wonderful wife was always trying to tell me that it was not my fault, that I had never done anything wrong, that I was paying the price for being a person of integrity and that I had proven many times over how good I was in my field.  I always used to bitterly reply to her that I was like a “submarine in a desert”: maybe very good at “something somewhere”, but useless in my current environment (I always used to visualize a Akula-class SSN stranded smack in the middle of the Sahara desert – what a sight that would be!  I wish somebody would use a Photoshop-like software to create that pic).  What I have found out since, is that our planet is covered with deserts and that there are many, many submarines in them, all yearning for the vastness of an ocean.

Modest beginnings at first

I came to the USA in 2002 with only one desire: to leave my past on the other side of the ocean and to disappear, to become an anonymous ‘nobody’ who would be left alone.  More than anything else, I needed time to recover, to lick my wounds and to spend time with the only people who had stood by my without every doubting me: my wife and my kids.

The French have a very good saying:”chassez le naturel et il revient au galop” which can roughly be translated as “try to suppress your nature, and it will come back with a vengeance”.  This is what happened to me.  While in 2002 I had promised myself to never analyze anything more complicated that a fiction book, by 2007 I suddenly decided to start a blog.  This blog.  My goal?  Very, very primitive: to write whatever the hell I wanted.  I had spent so many years writing for “big people” who had very narrow limits of what they were willing to read that I decided to indulge in the joy of writing whatever I wanted with no concern or regard for anybody’s opinion.  I had an  itch to scratch I decided to scratch it.

You can still parse the archives of 2007 or 2008 and you will see that I really was making no efforts to reach anybody, make a difference or become popular.  A short and ill-fated contact with Antiwar.com (which ended up in disaster), gave me a few more readers but my readership was still tiny.

My choice of topics did not help.  Years before, I had literally “bumped” into the topic of Hezbollah and, my curiosity picked, I spent a decade studying this movement and its amazing leader.  By 2007 I was an unrepentant Hezbollah-groupie and Nasrallah fanboy and most of the blog dealt with the Middle-East.  The other topic was Russia, simply because this was the country my family came from and which I had professionally analyzed for years.  As for the Ukraine, I don’t think that I ever mentioned it at all.  While I was disgusted with the ignorance and hatefulness of Ukrainian nationalists, I did not care about the Ukraine: “let them soak in their own ‘independent’ and yet pathetic and clearly sinking statelet if they want – I have more inspiring things to look at” was my philosophy at the time.  Sure, I kept an eye on events there, but to me this reminded me of Russia in 1993 – I was disgusted with all the actors and with the entire situation.  Besides, what could happen there which would be worthy of interest?

And sure enough, life proved me wrong (-: again 🙂
Submarine in the desert 3
The big wars of 2013

First, there was Syria and the Russian role in stopping Uncle Sam.  Oh yes, there were the political efforts of the Russian diplomats, and they were ‘bad’ enough.  But less noticed what the fact that Russia sent a hastily assembled but capable naval task force to the Syrian coast.  Not a task force big enough to fight the US Navy, but a task force capable of providing a full view of the skies over and beyond Syria to the Syrian military.  In other words, for the first time the US could not achieve a surprise attack on Syria, not with cruise missiles, not with airpower.  Worse, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah embarked on a covert and overt program of material and technical assistance for Syria which ended up defeating the Wahabi insurgency.  The AngloZionist were absolutely *livid*.  So to teach Putin and those damn Russkies a good lesson, they blew up the Ukraine and, again, Putin did two things they had never expected and which they could never forgive: he did sent forces Crimea but he did not do so in Novorussia: there he helped covertly.  There was no doubt possible: Russia had committed the “Crime of Crimes” of openly defying the will of our planetary overlords.  The Empire’s response was predictable: a full-spectrum ‘war’ on Russia and Putin, albeit not an overtly military one (yet).

For me and my blog, the consequence of this mega-crisis was immediate: the readership literally exploded and, at the suggestion of other (it was not even my idea!), more Saker blogs suddenly began popping up.  From a unknown one man anonymous blog the Saker blog morphed into a global community, and that over less than one year.

[Sidebar: if often fell like a war profiteer.  The worse the situation in the Ukraine, the more readers I get, the calmer, the less.  On a really quiet day I get as little as 20’000 hits, on a really bad day, up to 69’000.  I estimate my more or less regular readership at no more than 30’000]

I am outlining all this to truthfully explain to you that this was never the plan for me.  Not only was this completely unplanned, it even took me by surprise.  In fact, I was so surprised that I could not honestly make sense of it.  Think of it.

Here is a one-man blog, written by some anonymous dude with a silly alias, who repeatedly engages in all sorts of crimethink (like the day when I wrote – to a mainly Arab readership – that I believed that Hamas ought to unconditionally release Gilad Shalit, LOL!) who is neither from the Left, nor from the Right, whose writing is chock full of typos and, frankly, very poorly written sentences and yet this blog suddenly takes off like a rocket.  And you can tell by my writing style that I don’t even take myself too seriously.  But so what in the world has happened here?

Sure, I am a decent analyst, I know Russian and a few other languages, I have studied Russia for all my life and the Middle-East for, well, a little over a decade.  This is not bad, but hardly a reason for such a success.

Then I understood:

It was never about me, but always about you

Along with more daily visitors, I began receiving more and more emails and letters.  And presents.  Often very touching ones.  Just look at the absolutely beautiful drawing of a Saker Falcon I got yesterday (thanks SO MUCH “S.T.”! I will  frame and posted it on my wall)

People who had never met me and who really knew nothing about me were literally pouring kindness over me.  Most emails and letter centered on political issues, but a big minority were expressing much deeper feelings such as gratitude and a desire to morally support.  I was amazed, really.  Then my readers began suggesting that I should place a donation button on the blog.  Many may not believe me here, but that idea had never even crossed my mind.  Eventually, I did (God knows I needed the money) and to my absolute amazement people began donating.  Why?  Why would anybody in our cynical word filled with crooks donate some hard earned and always scarce money to a guy he/she has never met?  Was that just because I was posting materials about Syria or the Ukraine?  Or my oh-so-good analyses?  Hardly.

And then there was also the rage.  Many, many letters were literally oozing with rage.  Rage against the government, its media, the Empire, the lies and the dishonesty.  Rage at having been lied to.  Rage at the humiliation of being treated like a serf or a slave.  Rage at our dysfunctional and self-destructive society.  Before that, I had no idea that so many people were so mad.

The most gut-wrenching letters were often from US servicemen.  They often began with “I consider myself a patriotic American and I love my country which I served for many years in the military but….” and here it inevitably turned into a painful admission that this country was lead by evil crooks, occupied by parasites, owned by a 1% of SOB whom everybody else despises.  And you would simply not believe the kind of stuff these correspondents, including former servicemen, would write about Putin.  It was amazing – I regularly joke that if given a chance to run, Putin might be elected as President of the US of A.

[Sidebar: By the way, I will not post these letters here.  Not even excepts.  First, I want to protect the trust of those who wrote to me.  Second, some of these letters are so amazing and moving that I will inevitably be accused of making them up.  So I will simply forgo presenting any ‘proof’ for my statements.  Believe me or not – makes no difference to me.  And if you don’t – then I guess that yours is not the soul I dedicate this post to anyway]

So there I was trying to figure out – why such an outpouring of kindness for a total stranger (and an anonymous one at that!) and such an outpouring of rage against the society we live in.  And then, I think that I figured it out.
The deserts are filled with submarines (but they are breaking free!)

The Way Out
That’s it.  I had mistakenly believed that I was the only one feeling like a submarine in a desert, but in reality the deserts of our society were filled with people who felt completely alienated.  Several times in the past I posted here the beautiful song by David Rovics “We are everywhere” because with each passing month I began to realize that he was literally right – we are, indeed, everywhere.

What society had done to me – made me completely powerless – it has also done to you.  And just the way it had made me feel like a single lonely nutcase, it made you feel like you were the only one.  I most sincerely believe that the real reason for the success of this blog, its global community, its vibrant discussions and the amazing outpouring of kindness towards me is in the following simple fact: I inadvertently made it possible for many thousands of people to realize they they were not alone, not crazy, not wrong but that quite literally “we are everywhere”!

The second thing that I did, again quite inadvertently, is to empower those who felt powerless to do something, to make a change, to really have an impact.

Our societies are designed to make us feel like prison inmates, serfs or slaves.  We all know that voting is a useless joke, that our rulers don’t give a damn about us, that political dissent is frowned on when it is real, that revolts are crushed in violence, that pluralism is viciously repressed by the prevailing ideology, that our schools brainwash and stupidify our kids and turn them against us, that the home brainwashing appliances like the Idiot-Tube, the radio or the papers are here to do only three things: entertain us, get our money and zombify us.  We know that, but we feel powerless to do anything about it.

By asking for help in my work on the blog and, especially, by allowing for what I call “spontaneous self-organization” (something which I had directly taken from how the Debian community functions) I had given those who shared my goals a readily available means to take action.  And I have to say that the result exceeded my expectations by many order of magnitude (and made me realize that some “amateurs” are at least as good as, or better, then “pros”).  Treat people with respect, give them a chance, and they will do miracles for you!

[Sidebar: if you are interested in how big complex projects can self-organize, please read – online – chapter 2.4 “The Debian Community” pp 46-57 in this book.  Of course, I did not deliberately try to copy the Debian model, but I did apply the “just do it” principle and I let each Saker Blog self-organize in a completely independent manner.  I also see my own role in the Saker community as one of a “benevolent dictator“, another free software phenomenon, though, so far, I have only had to act in this capacity once].

Thanks to my inadvertently stumbling into the fantastic and yet untapped potential of so many good people our community began to grow almost spontaneously (several Saker Blog Team Leaders have also expressed to me the same amazement I was feeling).

Suddenly many “submarines” had found their oceans to show what they were really capable off!

Do you know about the Asch conformity experiment? [If not, take a quick look here before reading on].  Well, I think that my oppositional-defiant personality inadvertently crashed at least part of the gigantic Asch conformity experiment our society has become.  I was calling it as I was seeing it and to hell with the consequences (I had so few readers anyways…).  Then, in 2010 I decided to really give a good kick into the sandcastle of our delusions and posted an article entitled “Why am I not hearing the endless rumble of jaws dropping to the floor?”.  In this post I basically repeated something which anybody could verify and which was undeniable: NIST had, by direct implication, admitted that WTC7 had been brought down by controlled demolition.  Furthermore, and contrary to popular belief, NIST has simply no explanation at all for how the WTC1 and WTC2 had fallen.  And yet, this amazing fact was completely obfuscated by the collective Asch experiment being imposed on us.  But the reality is that the 911 issue is just a tip of an iceberg.  Our entire society is one big, long and neverending Asch experiment and most of us, at least on some level, know about it.  We all feel what the Matrix series calls the feeling like a “splinter in our mind”.

I suppose that for types like myself (disrespectful of social dogmas and norms, oppositional and defiant towards authority, rebellious and aggressive by nature, deeply contrarian on an almost knee-jerk level, libertarian in outlook) the outcome of the tension between what I feel and what I am told to feel results in a long battle against the established order and dominant ideology (no wonder another two of my favorite songs of David Rovics are “Burn it down” and “We will shut them down“).  But once a bad guy like myself decided to yank the splinter out of my mind – others decided to give it a try too and that is how it all began.

My gratitude to you

And here is what I wanted to say through all of the above: I know that I personally do not deserve such kindness and gratitude. In reality, the very fact that you have shown me so much kindness also shows that you are truly the one deserving gratitude and praise.  I am just the very very lucky one – you are the kind and generous one.  And, please believe me, this has nothing to do with me engaging in some kind of false modesty – I truly believe it, this is the conclusion I have come to from your letter and your emails.

In conclusion, I want to share a special song with all those of your who have “poured out their souls to me” (Russian expression).  It is from the Russian bard Vladimir Vyssotskii and it is called “Song of the Earth”:

Here are the lyrics (translated by George Tokarev)

Is the earth, as they say, burnt and dried?
Will a seed, as they say, never sprout?
Has the earth, as they say, really died?
No! It’s taken a lengthy time-out!

Mother Earth will forever give birth,
Its maternity isn’t a fiction!
Don’t believe that they burnt down the earth,
No! It’s blackened from grief and affliction.

Trenches, running like scars back and forth...
Bleeding guts black shell-craters expose...
They are open nerves of the earth,
Which unearthly unhappiness knows.

It will stand wars and grief - any thing!
It’s not crippled, though booted and looted...
Don’t believe that the earth doesn’t sing,
That it’s quieted down, diluted!

No, it’s singing as loud as it can
From a trench, from a wound, from a hole!
Since the earth is the soul of Man,
Boots cannot trample down the soul!

This last sentence, “boot cannot trample down the soul!”, speaks, I believe, not only of physical boots, though these are also meant, but also about psychological, ideological, social boots who, no less than the real thing, try hard to trample down on our souls.

Remember the last sentence of Orwell’s 1984? “He loved Big Brother”.  I always absolutely hated that sentence.  Yes, for the purpose of the book, this was the correct ending being, as it was, a warning.  But I always though “hell, no I will always hate Big Brother”, “boots cannot trample down souls”.

What you all, my friends, have proven to me is that there are many of us who will not love Big Brother and that Big Brother has not trampled down our souls.  20 years ago I used to feel like the most lonely man on the planet.  Now, thanks to you, I feel like we are everywhere and I have friend, free fellow humans, all over the planet.

And for that you have my eternal and most heartfelt gratitude,

The Saker
Submarine in the desert 2
PS: note to the Saker-haters: I am fully aware of how easy it is to distort and “rephrase in other words” what I wrote above, and how many ugly and nasty conclusions you can come up with.  At the very least, you will call me either a hypocrite or delusional.  Fine.  You have shown me over and over again that this is a price to pay for honesty.  I did not try to make this text slander-proof and if you want to use that to trash me further – fine.  I just want you to know that I accept that and that I don’t fear you one bit :-p

December 2015 addendum from the Saker:

I consider that the “Submarine in the desert” text above really says everything relevant about me. I also believe that you can tell a tree by its fruits – so my blog is really what people ought to judge me by. However, since others apparently want to know a little more about my past life, I can add the following:

I was born in Zurich, Switzerland, from a Dutch father and Russian mother. My father left us when I was 5, so my mother and my Russian family raised me and this is why I took my mother’s last name. I lived most of my life in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1984 I did my military service in electronic warfare and I was later transferred to the military intelligence service (UNA) as a language specialist where did some work with the Swiss Air Force. I then traveled to the USA where I got a BA in International Relations from the School of International Service (SIS) at the American University and a MA in Strategic Studies from the Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at the Johns Hopkins University. Upon my return to Switzerland, I worked as a civilian consultant for the Swiss Strategic Intelligence Service (SND) writing strategic analyses, primarily about the Soviet/Russian military.  In the military, I was given the Major-equivalent rank of “Technical Officer”, which is a fancy way of saying that I was an analyst. I also worked as an “enemy operations” (“Red Team” in US parlance) specialist for the operational-level training of the General Staff of Swiss armed forces. I then accepted a position for the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) where I specialized in peacekeeping tactics and operations. This gave me the opportunity to co-author a book on Russian peacekeeping operations with the Major-General I. N. Vorob’ev, of the Russian General Staff Academy. My last work at UNIDIR was about psychological operations and intelligence in peacekeeping which can be downloaded here. At the same time, I also wrote an evaluation of the performance of the Russian military during the first Chechen war for the Journal of Slavic Military Studies which somebody has since uploaded here. The wars in Bosnia and Chechnia really opened my eyes to the real nature of the Empire. Since I thought that I was living in a democracy, I did voice my opinion on these topics and I soon ended up being viewed with suspicion by my former bosses. I quit the UN and took up a position at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which was probably the worst mistake of my life and which I shall never discuss publicly. By the time I got out of that job, I was basically blacklisted as a “dangerous element” (meaning “disloyal”) by my former bosses (my regular contacts with Russian diplomats and my efforts at providing aid to the Bosnian Serbs probably did not help).  In total disgust, I abandoned my career as a military specialist and re-trained as a software engineer. When 9/11 crashed the IT sector I was unemployed again and I left Switzerland for the USA where I homeschooled our 3 children while doing odd jobs, mostly as a translator (I am fluent in Russian, French, English, Spanish and German) while my wife worked as a veterinarian (now, that our kids have grown up, my wife and I work together). In 2007 I decided to start an anonymous blog, mainly as a psychotherapy for myself, and I called it “Vineyard Saker” – a simple machine-generated anagram of my full name 🙂

Finally, and just for the record, a few points: I never did any intelligence gathering for anybody, though I was approached by the Americans, the Russians and the Swiss do to exactly that, but I turned them all down (just not my cup of tea at all). While my maternal family are all from the Russian nobility, my Dutch DNA is 100% proletarian, and I am quite happy with that mix. To my great regret, I get no help from Russia at all – not money, not information (I would *love* to be a paid “Putin agent” but VVP has not made any offers yet).  All my info is 100% “open source”. My past experience with classified data tells me that it is either highly technical or time-critical but not otherwise better than open source information: 80% of all the good info is out there, in the open, it is just a matter of putting it together correctly. I get a regular trickle of donations from the blog, but nothing major, and only 2 private donors (thanks guys!!) provide most of it anyway. If making money was my big goal, then I assure you that I had plenty of much better opportunities.  My main objective in the immediate future is to (finally) write my thesis for the graduate degree in patristic theology I am working on now, and to set some money aside to visit Russia again (which I have not done since 1996!). Oh, and if you still wonder, no, I am not a Muslim nor am I on any Muslim (or other) payroll.

I am a “proud card carrying member” of the FSFEFF and NRA (yes, I like my freedoms).  Political Compass (https://www.politicalcompass.org/) scores me as a “Left Libertarian”:

The Saker is a Left-Libertarian0Personally, I reject the Left-Right reference system and consider myself an Orthodox “People’s Monarchist” (народный монархист) in the tradition of Lev Tikhomirov, Feodor Dostoevsky, Ivan Solonevich and Ivan Ilyin. Just like the Russian philosopher Berdaev, rather than looking left or right, I rather look *up*!

I also recognize myself in the notion of “Left of labor, Right of values” (Gauche du travail, droite des valeurs) of Alain Soral.  My economics are: laissez-faire capitalism for the family and small business level, socialism for the corporation level and communism for strategic/national level sectors of the economy.

My favorite authors are Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Sergei Lukiianenko.

I play acoustic jazz guitar and my favorite guitarist are Philip CatherineJohn McLaughlinVicente Amigo and Angelo Debarre.  My favorite composers are J.S. Bach, Astor Piazzolla and Roger Waters.

I have over 40 years of freediving experience (which I began long before the Big Blue movie made that lifestyle popular), but now, at 52, I mostly kayak and hike the Florida wilderness.

Now that I wrote all of the above, I still think that it is largely irrelevant.  Judge me not by what I say about myself, but by my blog or, better, my book.  All of the above is true, but these are my *external life circumstances* and they do not say much about who I really *am*.  My writings do.  Study them (if so inclined) and you will know who I am.

The Saker

Varenya Softech PRESS RELEASE HeaderVARENYA SOFTECH FOCUSES ON CLMVT REGIONAL EXPANSION

JOINT VENTURE OPENS UP ASEAN BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

BANGKOK, THAILAND, July 18, 2016 – India’s Varenya Softech Private Limited is excited to announce the merging of operations with On Your Services Co., Ltd. The Thailand registered company established in 2014 has been providing consultancy services to Varenya Softech across the CLMVT region.

Varenya Softech Twitter  - 2“We are excited to see the great progress that the Varenya Softech team has made in India and the CLMVT region is really emerging as a powerful and largely untapped marketplace where ‘Software-as-a-Service’ is poised to boom. SaaS is not just an add-on for any business in every industry sector, it is essential for business growth, success and survival.” James With, CEO of On Your Services Co., Ltd.

The private joint venture partnership arrangement involves an undisclosed exchange of shares and combines the staff and resources of the two companies to further expansion. Varenya Softech’s proprietary software products are suitable for companies of all sizes, being used by leading companies including Siemens, HSBC, Nestlē, Hallmark and other clients. Multiple award-winning Varenya Softech Pvt. Ltd. has been recognized for successes, receiving praise from clients and industry specialists.

Varenya Softech Effective CRM“On Your Services gives Varenya Softech a fast track process opportunity to apply to Thailand’s Board of Investment. The BOI in Thailand views software development as a highly attractive industry sector and expanding the development of our products in Thailand will give us much greater scope to deliver more customized solutions for our clients worldwide.” Mayank Maitreya, Founding Partner, Varenya Softech Pvt. Ltd.

Varenya Softech 3Varenya Softech provides business technology solutions and managed services; more than simply delivering technology or providing outsourcing based on Varenya Softech’s winning combination of insight, innovation, and deep knowledge of cutting edge technologies. Varenya Softech offers an optimum blend of personal and technical skills backed by tools, methodologies, and best practices that reduce the cost and risk of deployments.

Varenya Softech 2# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact James With in India by phone at +91-80-66186074 or email at sales@varenyasoftech.com or James With in Thailand at james@varenyasoftech.com

 

 

 

#Brexit – How does it affect the UK Film Industry ?- Conjecture and Opinions

Well, after reading the article by Stephen Follows copied in its entirety below, I’m certainly not in agreement and have been prompted to provide my own views on this historic and groundbreaking referendum held on 23rd June 2016 in the UK now commonly called the “Brexit” vote.

Britain is well-prepared and will triumph gloriously as the panic subsides. I am most probably going to be critiqued on my statements here and wildly criticised for being contrarian or called worse? Let me start by stating that the film industry generally and globally is going through a dynamic disruptive metamorphosis; changes are inevitable as strong growth in media continues, and as new business relationships are consummated in a rapidly changing economic landscape. The models have changed. Funding productions and distributing content is no longer utilising film funding mechanics that were developed and put in place decades ago, and before the Internet changed everything.

L2L Brexit Opportunity

Countries and their governments throughout the world are adopting film incentives processes building on local strengths as they have researched and found how important attracting filmmaking in their jurisdictions is to other industry sectors within their borders. Film incentives emanated from Hollywood and were initiated by “Runaway Production“. In the late 1990’s Hollywood film industry guilds, backed by US studios and media companies retained a company that produced the Monitor Report to conduct an investigation into phenomenon. The global success of production incentives and the migration of feature film production from the U.S.A. to the world spurred further in-depth research and data collection.

 

The outcome of the Brexit vote in the UK has rippled rapidly through the financial services industry, banks and global markets and will continue for some time yet; all are experiencing very high levels of volatility and this has sent shock waves around the world.

Brexit Pound Drops

Record drops in Pound Sterling currency trading

 

The British Pound has plummeted to record lows with the media networks harping on in sound bites, excited sensationalism about trading drops not seen in 45 years of market analytics et al. Well, what most people seemingly don’t realise or understand about
film industry dynamics is that the film necessarily thrives during times of uncertainty. This can be seen throughout history, across countries and around the world. Do some deep research into what I am writing here and you will likely be surprised to find correlations that support my words! The British film industry has evolved and will continue to capture global market shares in the media industry, and I see this time as stimulating greater growth, as opposed to what the pundits and commentators are bleating along with those who see things differently.

Brexit Britain On Film BFI

Britain On Film Our Lives Our Stories www.bfi.org.uk

Here’s some background worth reciting to put current views in context. “The UK was not a signatory to the Treaty of Rome which created the EEC in 1957. The country subsequently applied to join the organization in 1963 and again in 1967, but both applications were vetoed by the then President of FranceCharles de Gaulle, ostensibly because “a number of aspects of Britain’s economy, from working practices to agriculture had made Britain incompatible with Europe and that Britain harbored a “deep-seated hostility” to any pan-European project. Once de Gaulle had relinquished the French presidency, the UK made a third application for membership, which was successful. On 1 January 1973 the United Kingdom joined the EEC, then often referred to in the UK as the “Common Market”. This was done under the Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath. The opposition Labour Party, led by Harold Wilson, contested the October 1974 general election with a commitment to renegotiate Britain’s terms of membership of the EEC and then hold a referendum on whether to remain in the EEC on the new terms.”

Brexit British Film Soldiers On - Barry Lyndon 1975 Stanley Kubrick

A scene from “Barry Lyndon” 1975, directed by Stanley Kubrick

Now more than four decades on in 2016 the people of the UK have voted and the majority have chosen to leave the fold.

The EU and EEA (formerly known as EEC) have been weighed, measured and left wanting.

Brexit Wins Overall

British “Brexit” Referendum Final Results

The globalists,  corporate interests, banks and politicians that are are all screaming and moaning at the top of their lungs that the UK has absconded are behaving like chicks hatching out of cracked and spoiled boiled eggs. Many of those who have been gambling on this huge European casino economy are locked into the Euro currency; Britain is not.

In retrospect keeping the British Pound was a very smart move and whilst obviously it will be spinning fast and furiously on the roulette wheel of global currency markets for a while, the wheel will begin to slow and when it settles, the strength and growth prospects inherent in the British economy will begin to shine. Now that the UK has left the table, after having been previously drawn to the allure of bright lights and European delights at a time in British history when things looked a damn sight more appealing across the channel than the dire conditions in England that occurred in the aftermath of World War II.Brexit BFI Facebook on Billy Wilder

Britain was enticed down the old golden gilt garden path and as things became boggy and more recently progressively stagnant a modern economic quagmire of dissent and distrust emerged and flowed in the under currents of populations and opinions. The British people have decided to take their remaining chips, cash in at the borders and leave the building. If you’ve ever been into a casino, you will have noticed that they like to keep the light constant, day and night, to trick people and punters into staying on and gambling for longer; the EU bureaucratic empire operates as aqueously within its vast corridors of power, ever flowing, ever changing and most haven’t even noticed where the leakages are occurring.

Brexit The Movie is a full length British documentary film that provides some very interesting factual details, and well worth watching more than once.

The United Kingdom now stands to benefit immensely.

 

Building on new trends and timing with markets

Evidence suggests that the trends of US and EU companies pursuing strategic partnerships in Asia is increasing in 2016.

Brexit Pole - Interest Rates

Fiscal imbalances and floundering interest rates

Such trends are not exclusive to strategic decisions being made by corporations in the entertainment, media, and Hollywood talent agencies. The British Film Institute research provides great insights into how UK Film industry has been positioning for a more dynamic growth into new markets. A renewed focus on private equity and Family Office funding coupled with recent increased volatility in financial markets has spurred a swathe of mergers and acquisitions activity across the divide between East and West. Britain stands to benefit in this changing dynamic global shift we are in the midst of witnessing.

OTT and Streaming revenues growth accelerators

Activity and accelerated knowledge growth amongst Asian countries in the OTT and Premium OTT services sectors is driving increased competition for market share in four principle market angles:

  • Market enablers: the underlying market conditions for premium OTT offerings (e.g. population, broadband, devices, penetration, payment gateways)
  • OTT building blocks: the assets, capabilities, technologies and services required to develop and launch subscription OTT offerings (e.g. government regulation, censorship, languages, cultural specialties)
  • Consumer demand: awareness, interest, willingness to pay, serviceability to pay, payment options
  • The competitive environment between OTT services, pay-tv offerings (Netflix, iflix, et al)

Britain is poised strategically and the smart money and smart ideas are disruptive. I see Brexit as a smart move, contrary to the inference by general mass media reports that most of the voters were low income classes lacking in understanding. Smart companies are banking on future technologies that will change the way we do business around the world. Furthermore, Britain can now create new relationships more efficiently and operate without needing EU approvals, that are more complex and time consuming to get approved across the channel. Providing scalability as well as flexibility to explore expansion opportunities and build business relationships in ASEAN and India at an exciting time when these Asian regions are experiencing extraordinary changes is an opportunity for the taking.

Brexit BFI Into Film

BFI Into Film education programme

The British Film Industry stands to benefit immensely as it is well supported within the country by the BFI coupled with educational programmes such as Into Film and these can quickly and easily become interesting areas of growth for British film professionals showing their wares to countries with less established film industry mechanisms. Growth in the global media industry is vibrant and expanding. As Asia creates new forums, established British technology and experience in teaching and learning programs can be exported and provide assistance and services for Startups in countries experiencing strong growth. Focusing on new business avenues and matching these efficiently with cost effectively implementation of entertainment and media growth strategies is the key to sustainability; remaining adaptable to future changes is vital for survival.

Innovations and Cultural Specifics

Innovations in technology and rapid growth utilising enterprise software to enhance business efficiency coupled to growing mobile penetration is prevalent across ASEAN.

Brexit Mobile penetration demographics SE Asia

Mobile Communications Demographics in South East Asia

With large populations utilizing high-speed data services and ever-increasing access to mobile communications coupled with the proliferation of marketing and advertising censorship controls are the subject of Governments and populations wishing to monitor and filter content delivered over the Internet.

India’s super angel investors are predominantly focused on the media technology and innovation spaces and are keenly interested in developing strategic partnerships with growth stories that focus on expansion in Asia.

The UK film industry is not only going to benefit from what I see as being relatively short-term weakness in the British Pound currency, Britain will thrive as the English people build upon their long history and experiences of seeking out and discovering new lands, building and expanding. With Brexit Britain has begun a new era of British conquest but not of conquer; this time the prospects are for the country to prosper on new relationships with new partners, rather than empire building as it was during the days of the East India Company “formed to pursue trade with the East Indies but ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and Qing China.” The company rose to account for half of the world’s trade, particularly in basic commodities including cotton, silk, indigo dye, salt, saltpetre, tea and opium. The company also ruled the beginnings of the British Empire in India. This time Britain will be bringing AI, nano-technology and British Startups Technology to the world.

Thank you for taking the time to read my conjecture and opinions here. I look forward with positivism and optimism as the world begins to dance rather than march to a new tune.

This article is created and written by James With, spurred after reading the article by Stephen Follows dated June 26, 2016 copied here below.

***************************************************************

The full article by Stephen Follows is reprinted here for ease and efficiency with respect to views expressed by many film industry heavyweights and further juxtaposition.

How will Brexit affect the UK film industry?

How will Brexit affect the UK film industry?Last Thursday, 52% of the UK population voted for the UK to leave the European Union (EU).  I am going to avoid the political side of this conversation as it’s been covered well elsewhere.  I will also avoid sharing my own opinion on the matter as there are no shortage of people shouting off on one side or another.However, I thought I can add to the conversation by looking at the numbers for how the British and European film industries interact and how Brexit will affect the UK film industry.

How will Brexit affect the UK film industry?

It’s worth noting that a large part of the whole Brexit debate was taken up with discussing unknowns.  Neither side has a magic crystal ball and so it’s impossible to say for certain exactly what will happen in a post-EU UK.  However, some outcomes are almost automatic, in that if the UK stops paying into the EU then it can expect to stop receiving money out of the EU.  So, here is a rundown of the negative effects of Brexit to the UK film industry…

  1. MEDIA logoAn end to MEDIA / Creative Europe funding (certain).  Between 2007-13, the MEDIA scheme provided over €100 million towards various aspects of the UK film industry. The loss of this money is the biggest, clearest effect of Brexit and so I’ve addressed it in the section below.
  2. In the short-term, British / European co-productions will be harder (very likely). Official co-productions allow international film producers to work together to create a film which can gain state protections and tax benefits from multiple countries at the same time. In the immediate future, co-productions between British and European countries will become harder, due to the fall in the value of the Pound and the growing uncertainty.
  3. In the long-term, British / European co-productions may need new legislation (unclear).  Official co-productions are only possible between countries which have signed a treaty defining co-production rules. The UK currently has active treaties with Australia, Canada, China, India, Israel, Jamaica, Morocco, New Zealand, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, South Africa and the EU.  The EU treaty is called the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production and was signed in October 1992 in Strasbourg.  This European treaty is not exclusively for just EU members as it refers to its signatories as “member States and the other States Parties to the European Cultural Convention”.  The UK signed the original treaty as a member of the EU so conceivably it would need to sign up again as a “European non-member State”.  Interestingly, the UK already has a separate co-production agreement with France, signed in 1994, so British / French co-productions may not be affected by Brexit in the same way co-productions with other EU member states are.
  4. British content will be much less attractive to European broadcasters (almost certain). Some European countries have quotas on the amount of European content their exhibitors and broadcasters must show.  For example, the majority (i.e. minimum of 51%) of French entertainment broadcast transmission time must be taken up with programs of European origin.  Not only did this increase demand for native UK films and television shows but it also made UK / US co-productions more attractive.  For example, ‘The Night Manager’ was a £30 million co-production between the BBC and AMC, which also qualified as an EU production.  In a post-Brexit world, it is very unlikely that such products will be classed as ‘European’ and will therefore lose a large part of their value to European countries with such quotas.
  5. Increased complexities for international cast and crew (possible but unclear).  One of the features of a unified Europe is the free movement of people, goods and services.  New visa requirements and work permits could affect both British people filming in Europe and European people filming in the UK.  That said, the issue is a little more complicated than just ‘in or out’ of the EU. This passport and border controls are covered not by the EU but instead by the Schengen Agreement, and only 22 of the EU’s 28 member states are currently signed up (also, the UK and Ireland have certain opt-outs),  In addition, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are members of the Schengen Area but not of the EU.  The basics of the free movement of people and services is also not simply an EU issue, but was instead established in the Treaty of Rome. So it’s not clear what would happen post-Brexit as new agreements will need to be reached in order to keep the free movement protections the film industry has enjoyed until now.
  6. Fewer UK films will be distributed in Europe (certain). EU funding has supported the export of UK film to Europe to a massive degree. In fact, between 2007-13, almost €45 million was spent to bring UK films to European cinema audiences.  Details of which films were supported follow in the next section.
  7. Blue is the warmest colourFewer international films will be distributed in the UK (certain, although the extent is unknown).  Between 2007-13, UK-based businesses received over €20 million in EU funding to support the release of European films in the UK.  In addition, if Brexit continues to cause a weak Pound then it becomes more expensive for UK distributors to acquire new content.  However, this will affect all UK distributors equally, so may only reduce the amount UK distributors can pay upfront (known as the Minumum Guarantee, or MG) rather than prevent distribution entirely.
  8. UK independent cinemas will lose income.  (certain, although the extent is unknown).  56 UK independent cinemas receive funding from the EU as part of the Europa Cinema scheme, which supports cinemas which commit an average of 67% of their programming to European films.  Between 2007-13, this averaged out to over €103,000 per cinema.
  9. The negative effect of uncertainty (very likely). The film industry is highly fickle and responds negatively towards uncertainty.  This is partly due to the large amounts of money at stake and the desire to reduce risks wherever possible.  Right now no-one is sure what effect Brexit will have on the UK film industry, and so it may seem a safer bet to wait this period of change out before investing in UK film productions.
  10. Loss of influence on European rules affecting UK content (certain but effects unknown). By leaving the EU, the UK will forfeit its right to influence EU policy towards film and television content.  This will most acutely be felt in the discussions around the proposed Single Digital Market, which aims to force distributors to treat the EU as one territory, rather than distributing films country-by-country as happens today.

Despite these negative effects, Brexit could be positive for the UK film industry in the following ways…

  1. several-pound-bills-new-british-20-pounds-moneyIt becomes cheaper to shoot in the UK (uncertain).  If the Pound continues to lose value (as it has since the Brexit voted was announced) then the UK becomes ever-cheaper for foreign productions to set up shop in the UK. This will have the biggest effect on Hollywood studios, who spend vast sums of money and whose green-screen epics can be shot almost anywhere in the world.   Between 2006-15, UK / USA studios films spent £7.7 billion in the UK, accounting for 68% of the money spent on UK films.
  2. The UK is free to change its tax rules (certain).  The current Film Tax Relief (FTR) scheme is very generous and offers producers a refund worth around a fifth of the money they spend on UK films in the UK.  As a member of the EU, the UK is bound by rules on State Aid and does not have a free hand to change government incentives and subsidies without EU approval. When the FTR first came in, it gave points for various elements being British, such as the cast, crew, languages used, etc.  However, EU rules have forced the UK to widen the criteria to favour all Europeans equally.  This means that it is now possible to have a film that qualifies as fully “Brtish” with an all-Italian crew, based on a Spanish story, told in German. Leaving the EU will remove these restrictions on UK film tax policy. This freedom will mostly benefit the unseen civil servants who draw up the actual tax laws, but this increased flexibility means that in theory our film incentives can be changed more often and be better tailored to the needs of the UK film industry.
  3. Avoid proposed new European rules on release patterns (certain freedom from a possible event). As discussed above, the Single Digital Market could mean that films need to be released in Europe as one territory all at once.  It’s not certain how the new rules will eventually be written, but if we’re out of the EU then we’re certainly not going to be part of it.  This will still affect British films exported to Europe but not films released in the UK.
  4. The UK can spend that saved money directly on UK film (extremely unclear).  In theory, the UK can use the money saved by not paying into the EU to directly replace the money and support that was lost by the lack of MEDIA funding.  It remains unclear if the government wishes to do this.

How much has the MEDIA budget benefitted the UK film industry?

MEDIA currently provides money to the UK film sector for training, development, co-productions, festivals and theatrical distribution.  Over a seven year period (2007-13), the EU provided over €100,000,000 towards various aspects of UK film industry.  This breaks down as follows…

  • MEDIA - Brexit affect the UK film industry€44,561,008 – Awards to European distributors to release UK films
  • €10,478,771 – Investment in UK TV broadcasting
  • €8,898,821 – Distribution of European films in the UK
  • €7,830,252 – Development – UK Slate funding
  • €6,939,604 – Development – UK Single projects
  • €5,810,965 – UK cinemas part of the Europa network
  • €4,910,314 – UK-based training
  • €2,975,703 – UK VoD platforms
  • €2,775,444 – UK-based film courses and schools
  • €2,013,688 – Development – UK Interactive works
  • €890,530 – Grants to UK sales agents who represent non-UK European films
  • €85,0718 – UK pilot release programs
  • €695,500 – European Day-and-Date pilots
  • €539,766 – i2i Audiovisual (plugging finance gaps in UK / European co-productions)
  • €100,171,084 – Total

As mentioned above, UK films have received a huge amount of EU funding for their releases around Europe.  These include…

  • Kings Speech in FrenchThe Iron Lady – €1,531,922 – 31 European territories
  • Slumdog Millionaire – €1,339,104 – 24 European territories
  • Quartet – €1,339,009 – 23 European territories
  • Looking For Eric – €1,297,031 – 26 European territories
  • Tamara Drewe – €1,239,843 – 22 European territories
  • The King’s Speech – €1,025,717 – 26 European territories
  • The Last Legion – €1,025,551 – 3 European territories
  • The Duchess – €954,012 – 19 European territories
  • Shame – €951,814 – 27 European territories
  • Another Year – €914,330 – 21 European territories
  • I Give It a Year – €892,867 – 29 European territories
  • Streetdance 3D – €891,644 – 17 European territories
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – €882,124 – 27 European territories
  • The Secret of Moonacre – €814,964 – 5 European territories
  • Song for Marion – €787,987 – 15 European territories
  • Happy-Go-Lucky – €750,173 – 24 European territories
  • Hysteria – €748,066 – 25 European territories
  • Fish Tank – €737,813 – 29 European territories
  • Nowhere Boy – €708,871 – 8 European territories
  • The Angels’ Share – €699,286 – 27 European territories
  • A further €25,028,880 awarded to other UK films

Finally, it’s worth mentioning some of the European films that have reached UK cinema audiences in part because of EU funding. These include A Prophet, The Great Beauty, Gomorrah, I Am Love, Persepolis, Love is All You Need, The Class, Amour, Potiche, Waltz with Bashir, Heartbreaker, Of Gods and Men, Blue is the Warmest Colour, Pina, Two Days In Paris, The Counterfeiters, The White Ribbon, Melancholia, Antichrist and Molière.

What is the UK film industry’s opinion on Brexit?

It’s fair to say that the vast majority of people working in the UK film industry are firmly against the UK leaving the EU.  UK arts pressure group the Creative Industries Federation say that 96% of its members supported the Remain campaign and 84% said that EU membership was important to the future of their organisation.   A poll by Media Business Insight found that 66% of people working in the UK film industry felt that Brexit would have a negative impact on the sector.  A further 18.5% were uncertain on the outcome of Brexit, with only 11.5% believing that Brexit would be positive for the UK’s film industry.

So why are so many UK film professionals against Brexit?  This could be for a number of reasons…

  • Political values. The film industry is traditional a fairly liberal-minded industry and the liberal cause is largely pro-EU.
  • Geographical location.  The majority of UK film jobs are located in London and London was a hotbed of anti-Brexit sentiment (60% of London voters opted to Remain).
  • Age. The film industry has much lower age profile than the UK population, and polls have shown how the majority of those under 50 supported Remain while a majority of those over 50 supported Leave.
  • Fear of uncertainty.  The UK film industry is in a period of stable growth, thanks in large part to a stable government approach to film incentives.  Uncertainties in the future could scare off investors and studios from making investments in UK films.
  • The majority of predictable outcomes to the UK film industry are negative.  The list at the top of this article shows how the vast majority of expected Brexit outcomes are negative for UK film.

Here is a summary of press coverage on the issue…

  • Brexit game of ThronesScreen Daily says that the UK film and TV sectors are in “limbo” and that “the two sectors had recently expressed strong sentiment in favour of remaining in the European Union, which is the major trade partner of the UK and which provides millions of pounds in subsidies to the UK market as well as a number of frameworks for coproduction. That structure is now in serious doubt“.
  • Variety collected views from a number of major voices in UK film, summing them up by saying “British voters’ stunning decision to turn their backs on the European Union has left many of the country’s leading TV and film players reeling“.
  • The Guardian summed up the situation by saying that there would be “less cash, fewer movies” and also that “we could witness a 70s-style British film meltdown”.
  • The Hollywood Reporter led with “U.K. Producers Oppose Brexit”, pointing out that “James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, veteran David Puttnam, Matthew Vaughn, The King’s Speech producer Iain Canning, Slumdog Millionaire’s Christian Colson and Aardman Animations are among those who outlined their reasons for why staying in the EU is the right call for those who want “to support our current, thriving creative industries.”“.
  • Broadcast magazine noted that shares in ITV dropped 19% within a day of the vote being announced, and the Sky share price also fell 8%.  Further drops were felt by eOne and Vivendi.
  • The Verge discussed the possible effect of Brexit on ‘Game of Thrones’, saying “US productions might feel the effect, too. Much of HBO’s Game of Thrones is filmed in Northern Ireland, for instance, partly supported by the European Regional Development Fund. HBO, however, says it doesn’t anticipate any financial impact on GoT, since the network took no money from the ERDF for the last few seasons, according to Entertainment Weekly“.
  • And the Radio Times pointed out one aspect of Brexit too many experts have overlooked by noting “The shock Brexit result will have massive ramifications – not least the fact that we may see less of beautiful French actress Clémence Poésy on TV“.

A number of top UK film voices have shared their views and I could fill an entire article with them.  However, for the sake of brevity, here are five which seem to sum up the mood…

  • Harvey WeisteinHarvey Weinstein said “I’m shocked… These guys who voted, voted out of fear. It’s a huge mistake… It could be very costly in the movie and TV industry in terms of content branding. European branding is very important. It’s a big deal for these young British filmmakers”.
  • Michael Ryan, Chairman of the Independent Film & Television Alliancesaid The decision to exit the European Union is a major blow to the UK film and TV industry. Producing films and television programs is a very expensive and very risky business and certainty about the rules affecting the business is a must. This decision has just blown up our foundation — as of today, we no longer know how our relationships with co-producers, financiers and distributors will work, whether new taxes will be dropped on our activities in the rest of Europe or how production financing is going to be raised without any input from European funding agencies. The UK creative sector has been a strong and vibrant contributor to the economy — this is likely to be devastating for us”.
  • Danny Perkinshead of Studiocanal UK said “Short term it’s bad news for the currency and terrible news for film acquisitions, which are normally done in dollars or euros. UK companies will suffer in the short term“.
  • Rebecca O’Brien of Sixteen Films said “It has blown us out of the water. We are very dependent on our relations with Europe. All of our films for the last 20 or 25 years have been co-productions with Europe. It (Brexit) doesn’t mean they will stop immediately but it means that trade, and access and all those things are much more difficult. It just means we have to re-invent the wheel again“.
  • Jeremy Thomas of the Recorded Picture Company quoted Charles Bukowski by saying that “the problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence“.  Mr Thomas added “For the film industry, it is a disaster“.

So what now?

BrexitSo many of the effects of Brexit are unknown.  Right now, the only thing that has happened is that a non-binding referendum was marginally won by the pro-Brexit movement.  There’s no doubt that the majority of the UK film industry hopes that Brexit doesn’t happen.  Failing that, the film industry is likely to seek the following outcomes from the government…

  • A deal to retain co-production advantages with EU countries.  Most likely this means ensuring that the UK remains signed up to European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production.
  • An agreement to classify UK content as “European” in relation to production and distribution quotas.  This is a harder task than the co-production deal, although it should be noted that Switzerland has already achieved this for their content.
  • Replacement funding be provided for current MEDIA-funded activities.  A major claim of the Leave campaign was that the UK would save £350 million a week by leaving the EU.  It turns out that once you take into account the UK’s rebate the real saving is far lower, but even taking that into account, the money saved by leaving the EU could be used to replace the funding currently provided by MEDIA.
  • Action to be taken swiftly and confidently.  A protracted and messy exit will create a large amount of uncertainty and stifle investment in UK film.

Epilogue

Sorry if you were expecting to be able to read my final article in my series on film locations today.  I have had a number of people ask me about how Brexit will affect the film industry so I bumped the film locations article to next week.  Stay tuned…

 

As rapid response teams search to find answers in the Mediterranean, and governments swing immediately into action with ships and aircraft from a number of countries scanning the waters in Greek and Egyptian airspace, questions and analysis begin to emerge.

Something sinister has happened to #EgyptAir #MS804, and at this early stage of the investigations it’s difficult to say what exactly has caused this plane to suddenly disappear? The disappearance of Malaysian Airlines MH370 is still very much on the minds and in the hearts of so many affected, and who are still asking questions there too.

EgyptAir flight MS804: Mystery of missing plane as US intelligence says ‘no indication of explosion’ and wreckage still not found.

Being intrigued when this news broke, a little radar and flight path research unveiled an even more mysterious set of recorded data that so far seems to have gone unnoticed. On planefinderdata there’s a flight listed as being a Boeing 737-86J (TC-TJL)— Corendon Airlines plane that was recorded as departing from Prague, Czech Republic (PRG) on it’s way to Hurghada International Airport, Egypt (HRG) on the same day. There is no listed flight number and just after crossing the flightpath of EgyptAir MS804 this plane also appeared to drop off radar, estimated roughly as being about 20 minutes or a little bit more before #EgyptAir #MS804 disappeared. The aircraft dropped off radar shortly before is was due to enter Egyptian airspace. It is intriguing to watch on the flight radar recording how the plane listed as being a Smartwings TC-TJL aircraft appeared to track EgyptAir MS804 for quite some time at an almost identical speed before disappearing off radar screens at 35,000 feet. EgyptAir MS804 was simultaneously recorded as flying at 37,000 feet.

Here are a number of snapshots of the two planes flight paths as can be researched on various flight tracking sites. Of further interest is the TC-TJL aircraft not being listed on Flightware’s site, despite the flight appearing to have been made. The plane continues to be in service after the disappearance though.

Being a creative writer and film producer it might just make a good premise for a movie plot, but then again, there might be something in this data too?

Well, perhaps just my creative mind getting the better of me? I am not an expert in aviation and I really do hope we learn the true fate of Egypt Air MS804 and the fate of the passengers and crew. If the inevitable comes to bear and as things currently appear to point at  terrorism being the reason, let us pray for all and for us in a world that seems to be becoming more mysterious as each day passes.

About the author: James With first published Friday, 20th May 2016

Updates after wreckage confirmed.

The evidence of smoke being detected inside the aircraft at multiple points appears to indicate that EgyptAir MS804 suffered when fire bloke out, causing catastrophe. What caused the smoke and fire? In theory, if the aircraft was attacked and shot down then there will be evidence that can be determined from the black boxes (once found) and bullet holes, or other such punctures into the aircraft. Was the sharp 90 degree turn before the aircraft plunged suddenly made to avoid another aircraft or something else that was posing a threat to the plane, passengers and crew? Or had the pilots already been incapacitated at that point?

If EgyptAir MS804 was attacked, the two main questions to ask will be by whom and why?

Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EgyptAir_Flight_804

Reference: The Aviation Herald

Further coincidences?

According to planespotter.net the plane charter company Travel Service Airline leased the aircraft mentioned above from Corendon Airlines on 27th April 2016, just 3 weeks before the Egypt Air MS804 tragedy. The TC-TJL aircraft is listed as being in the Smartwings livery and on the same day Egypt Air MS804 disappeared someone amended the Wikipedia page for Travel Service by deleting reference links to the current fleet listed by links to planespotters.net. Isn’t this just a bit too coincidental and odd? The page was subsequently corrected and the reference links reinserted.

To reiterate, perhaps my creative imagination is getting the better of me, but it is keeping me up at night and I have dreams of some covert operation that could have been carried out. The possibility of a mysterious group planning an attack, charting a plane, which then crept up in stealth mode (transponders off) underneath Egypt Air MS804, fired some kind of grenade weapon into the avionics area, which penetrated the plane and exploded, causing the catastrophe. And then the mystery group and aircraft fly off into the night, eventually landing at some airport, and the aircraft resumes other operations. Reports in the media of smoke detected and other messages via the ACARS system point to an on board internal explosion, however this doesn’t mean that a bomb was planted before Egypt Air MS804 took off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris on its fateful flight to Cairo, Egypt.

As written earlier, this all makes for a gripping movie plot, something that might suit the Jason Bourne franchise?

JW Blog Thailand Production Incentives

#‎Thailand‬’s government has approved a ‪#‎Film‬ ‪#‎Production‬ ‪#‎rebate‬ for international ‪#‎productions‬ that spend at least $1.5m in the Kingdom. Thailand has finally secured government approval for production incentives in the form of a 15-20% cash rebate on qualifying local spend.

Expected to kick in from January 2017, the incentive offers a 15% rebate on international productions that spend at least $1.5m in the country, with a yet-to-be determined upper limit to prevent a single big-budget production from emptying the pot. An additional 3% is available for films that use key Thai cast or crew when shooting in the country and a further 2% for films that have particular value in promoting Thailand.

Reference: http://www.screendaily.com/festivals/cannes/thailand-launches-20-production-incentive/5103910.article

20160514 Thailand Launches 20 percent production rebate - ScreenDaily

Discussions for Thailand to introduce a film production incentive have been heard for over two decades and local film industry professionals see this as a great positive for the film industry in Thailand and ASEAN as a whole. With the more business opportunities and activities focused on trading partnership across the AEC, Thailand’s production hub status will be further strengthened by the implementation of this vital entertainment industry support at a time when Asian appetites for entrepreneurship, fintech, startup technology and OTT are heating up.

When one compares jurisdictions the Thailand film production industry incentives set to take effect in 2017 will weigh in heavily on other countries offering similar production incentives to attract filmmakers, not only in ASEAN, but also throughout the world. This is largely because the costs of production are significantly lower in Thailand than other countries and with rebates being offered in the range of 15%-20% being available, Thailand will rank high on the list of destinations for producers.

EP Financial Solutions

EP Financial Solutions

The development of movie production incentives stems from the perceived economic benefits of filmmaking and television production in the US. In 2010 revenues from television production in the US were estimated at $30.8 billion[1] while revenues from movie and video production in the US were estimated at $29.7 billion in the same year.[2]

As the TV and film industries around the world grew through the 1990s, so did concern over runaway productionsTV shows and films that are intended for a US audience but are filmed in other countries in order to reduce production costs. The issue of runaway productions gained further traction after Canada adopted a movie production incentive program in 1997.

In the 21st century Asia has emerged as a leading growth area for film financing with Asia, China and India increasingly being used by Hollywood producers and major studios as a necessary part of their global strategies.

Building on new trends and timing with markets

Evidence suggests that the trends of US and EU companies pursuing strategic partnerships in Asia is increasing in 2016. Such trends are not exclusive to strategic decisions being made by corporations in the entertainment, media, and Hollywood talent agencies. A renewed focus on private equity and Family Office funding coupled with recent increased volatility in financial markets has spurred a swathe of mergers and acquisitions activity across the divide between East and West.

Innovations and Cultural Specifics

Innovations in technology and rapid growth in the utilisation of enterprise software to enhance business efficiency are coupled to growing mobile penetration prevalent across ASEAN. With large populations utilising high-speed data services and ever-increasing access to mobile communications, the proliferation of marketing and advertising censorship controls under scrutiny, Governments and populations wishing to monitor and filter content delivered over the Internet are all key indicators to watch.

Mobile penetration demographics SE Asia - South Korea

India’s super angel investors are predominantly focused on the media technology and innovation spaces and are keenly interested in developing strategic partnerships with growth stories that focus on expansion in Asia.

For more information on filming in Thailand information is available from the Thailand Film Office. 
Telephone: + 66 2612 4149 +66 2219 4010 Ext. 634 or 463
Email: film@thailandfilmoffice.org URL: Thailandfilmoffice.org

About the author: James With
First published on Monday, 16th May 2016

Dogs howl in the alley, crazy women scream…” ~ Pete Townsend

Darkness will always be fractured by light… The dawn rooster cocks sideways and crows before sunrise and spews. Have you noticed that parrots come in all shapes and sizes? Similar to lawyers they make excruciating squawking noises often leaving trails of crumby scraps whilst waddling blithely across rusty bars and polished floor boards. Parrots never really seem to care when and where they leave a trial, dropping excrement hither and thither. Guess what else is peculiar and similar between parrots and lawyers? A simple check of the Wikipedia page for “Parrot” gives further insights.

Monty Python's Gumby instep banner http://www.montypython.com

Monty Python’s Gumby instep banner http://www.montypython.com

Quite titillating really, fancy fed, a feigned meek squint and chortling at the thought of it all… conjures images of Monty Python‘s Dead Parrot hanging upside down with London Bridge as a theatrical backdrop… sketchy … the meaning of life… always look on the bright side of life… now there’s a great symbolic reunion highlighting 50 years of creative brilliance.

Parrots, also known as psittacines /ˈsɪtəsnz/ are birds of the roughly 393 species in 92 genera that make up the order Psittaciformes found in most tropical and subtropical regions. The order is subdivided into three superfamilies: the Psittacoidea (“true” parrots), the Cacatuoidea (cockatoos), and the Strigopoidea (New Zealand parrots). Parrots have a generally pantropical distribution with several species inhabiting temperate regions in the Southern Hemisphere, as well. The greatest diversity of parrots is in South America and Australasia.

Mmm… gets one thinking creatively, right? And, there in lies the rub to spontaneously launch into banging out another blog article whilst listening to an old LP recording of Pete Townsend‘s solo album “All the Best Coyboys have Chinese Eyes” on my Technics Direct Drive Automatic Player System rotating at 33 1/3 rpm … there’s a timeless quality inherent in the vinyl… there’s an eternal raw beauty in The Who too … Who Are You?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Flames impassioned in a moments anger… love conquers… without question … “There have always been times like these. The multi-coloured spheres clash and collide, the triangle expands and explodes: eventually there is nothing.” … times gift of perfect humility.

I am very excited the producers of “All the Tired Horses” aka “Dead Parrots Down Under” have decided to produce a new multi-episode season in the Explore TV series following on from season one produced in 2009. Rumour has it that there’ll be multiple seasons and episodes covering the many trials and tribulations incurred by cast and crews in Australia, India and Thailand and around the world.

Excited chatter in social media circles have variously described this as an “epic battle”, a former marine writes “In the face of adversity, with brick walls put in the way….., through strength, determination and perseverance – truth and justice shone through in the end.”  and another says “James, We are with you on this. You have won already!” Wow, wow, wow! The support from friends, fans and others providing encouragement has been humbling and I get all emotional… it makes me strive to greater perfection in my craft and to create ever lasting films that excite and ignite imaginations, insight intrigue and inform with interest driven by telling content.

ATTH DPDU Press Release 8th January 2016

ATTH “All the Tired Horses” aka DPDU “Dead Parrots Down Under” Press Release 8th January 2016

Somebody saved me … it happened again… I thank you my friend… all I know about staying alive… all I know I’ve been making it! Pete Townsend, you’re a genius and I thank you my friend. I never could queue to collect my lunch while I was pursuing the truth … and as they say the truth will set you free.

Experience is priceless and helping people, advising, and learning more provides me with a burning desire to produce more … I was just 34 years old … I was wondering why everyone I met seemed like they were in a haze… it’s sympathy not tears people need when they’re the front page newsand I know when she thinks of me … recriminations fester… and it’s she who has to beg.

Filming "All the Tired Horses' aka "Dead Parrots Down" Under Behind-the-scenes

Filming “All the Tired Horses’ aka “Dead Parrots Down Under” Gus, a warrior, battle hardened and ready.

Dawn beckons and the lights begin to fade as a new day begins in the City of Angels… I love the smell of toast in the morning… it helps to wash the smell of parrot shit away…

Francis Ford Copolla's "Apocalypse Now" Movie starring Marlon Brando Motion Picture Sound Recording Album cover; a parrot shitting on Marlon's shaved scalp.

Francis Ford Copolla’s “Apocalypse Now” Movie starring Marlon Brando Motion Picture Sound Recording Album cover; a parrot shitting on Marlon’s shaved scalp.

China and India are rapidly evolving and there are big moves afoot in media and entertainment across the divide. Having lived and worked throughout Asia, China and India for most of my life I feel that the winds of change are upon use, usefulness and us, of course … the sails are unfurled and filling smoothly… Ah, a vast frontier of possibilities beckons me hearties!

#ATTH #DPDU A snapshot of script setting and dialogue from "Dead Parrots Down Under" original screenplay by James With

#ATTH #DPDU A snapshot of script setting and dialogue from “Dead Parrots Down Under” original screenplay by James With

Characteristic features of parrots include a strong, curved bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed zygodactyl feet. Many parrots are vividly coloured, and some are multi-coloured. Most parrots exhibit little or no sexual dimorphism. They form the most variably sized bird order in terms of length… but enough about parrots for now…

Bait your hooks, keep the music playing, wait with baited breathe and be prepared for the journey ahead…

I Am What I Am” by Gloria Gaynor
I am what I am
I am my own special creation
So come take a look
Give me the hook or the ovation

It’s my world that I want to have a little pride in
My world and it’s not a place I have to hide in
Life’s not worth a dam
Till you can say, hey world, I am what I am

I am what I am
I don’t want praise, I don’t want pity
I bang my own drum
Some think it’s noise, I think it’s pretty

And so what if I love each feather and each bangle
Why not try to see things from a different angle
Your life is a sham
Till you can shout out loud, I am what I am

I am what I am
And what I am needs no excuses
I deal my own deck
Sometimes the ace, sometimes the deuces

There’s one life and there’s no return and no deposit
One life so it’s time to open up your closet
Life’s not worth a dam
Till you can say, hey world, I am what I am

I am James With … ~ WITH LOVE ~ …
I am James Wearing-Smith V … I am James W. Gunn … I am a man walking this Great Earth and I am making my way in this great world …

James With - Actor, Director, Filmmaker, Producer, Writer IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0999139/

James With – Actor, Director, Filmmaker, Producer, Writer http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0999139/

Blessings and well-wishes,
James With
“Partnering With the World”

 

 

 

Inglourious Bar Studs

Inglourious Bar Studs

Alternative Investment Finance for Film and Entertainment Projects

There’s no need to rely on scarce and periodic Government grants and/or applying and waiting an indeterminate time for State film commissions to assess and possibly if you’re in luck approving your project in order to funds these days. The opportunities and scope for securing money, services and marketing resources are immense. Film and Entertainment Financing has a huge new arena to tap into; crowdfunding is exploding and now that the SEC in the United States of America has passed regulations for equity crowdfunding the playing field just got a whole lot wider.


Inglourious Bar Studs

Inglourious Bar Studs

Inglourious Bar Studs” (http://www.sittinganddrinking.com) is the first film project that I am financing partially from crowdfunding and it’s been a great learning experience. There’s a lot to know and the alternative finance sphere is not a spectre to be shunned. I have created an online paper called The INglourious News Daily that provides everyone with a wide selection of relevant source materials and articles to widen your horizons. You can get a variety of cutting edge insights and stay up to date on the emerging and evolving funding sources available today.

According to Raghavendra Rau, the Research Director of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and the Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Professor of Finance at the Cambridge Judge Business School: “The Asia Pacific region includes many of the most populous and fastest growing developing countries in the world – China, India and Indonesia and many more. The rapid uptake of mobile technologies and the permeation of social media is enabling these countries to leapfrog traditional banking infrastructure, which suggests that the potential growth of innovative alternative finance markets in the Asia-Pacific may be higher than other regions.”

Alternative finance encompasses innovative financial instruments and distributive channels that have emerged outside of the traditional financial system. The alternative finance industry is experiencing rapid growth in the Asia-Pacific region. The University of Cambridge, Tsinghua University & the University of Sydney have joined forces to launch the 2015 Asia-Pacific Alternative Finance Benchmarking Survey supported by KPMG, CME Group Foundation, the ACCA and 20 leading industry and academic research partners. The study will assess the activities of equity- and reward-based crowdfunding, peer-to-peer consumer and business lending (i.e. Marketplace Lending) and invoice trading, which are directly connecting lenders to borrowers, raising venture capital for start-ups, funding the creative industries and creating new ways for individuals and institutions to control how and to whom money is distributed, lent and invested.

Inglourious Bar Studs

Inglourious Bar Studs

University of Sydney Business School Dean and Professor Greg Whitwell said: “An interesting trend in alternative finance in Australia and emerging East Asian countries is the emergence of social-cause based alternative financing activities. There is also an urgent policy need to study the Asia Pacific alternative finance industry, which is unregulated in most jurisdictions. Many countries in the Asia-Pacific such as Australia are debating regulations, yet they are doing so in the absence of reliable data on the scale and type of such financing activities.’

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School, the Tsinghua University, Graduate School of Shenzhen and the University of Sydney Business School are jointly launching the 2015 Asia-Pacific Alternative Finance Benchmarking Survey. This survey will be the first-ever comprehensive study of crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and other forms of alternative finance across the Asia-Pacific region – including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Australia and New Zealand.

The survey is supported by KPMGCME Group Foundation, the ACCA and 20 leading alternative finance industry and academic research partners across the Asia-Pacific and beyond, including the Crowdfunding Institute of Australia, LendIt, Crowdfund China Society, Hong Kong Crowdfunding Association, Wangdaizhijia, New Zealand Crowdfunding Society, Japan Crowdfunding Council, Crowdfund Asia Association, Korean FinTech Forum, ShengZhen Crowdfunding Association, Change Fusion Thailand, World Crowdfunding Conference, Crowdsourcing Week, Crowdfund Vibe, FinTech Hong Kong, the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), Nagoya University, the University of Amsterdam, Ahmedabad University with CrowdfundInsider as the industry media partner.

There really is so much more to discuss and write about on this topic and positive thoughts on this subject are welcome and appreciated.

Best wishes,

James With
Chairman
TRI-US Entertainment
“Partnering With the World to Create a Positive Difference”

Crowdfunding is expanding with changes to investment laws…

Women Invest

This past Friday, just a day shy of Halloween, the SEC finally voted on Title III of the JOBs Act, the “Crowdfunding” provision enabling individuals who do not meet the definition of “accredited investor” to participate as investors in online portals investing in the start-up space. This “democratization” of capital formation will be done through funding portals that will need to register with the SEC and become a member of a national securities association.

Under the rules:

  • A company would be limited to raising a maximum of $1 million in any 12-month period through crowdfunding platforms and would also be required to provide certain financial and business information to the SEC.
  • Individual investors would have annual investment caps based upon their income/net worth.
  • Funding portals would provide the communications channel regarding the company and the investment opportunity as well as handle the transfer of funds.

Although these new rules will not…

View original post 559 more words

And right around the corner from the wonderful Barrandov Studios …

The Extinction Protocol

Bunker O
November 2015CZECH REPUBLICIt stands alone in a quiet valley in the Czech Republic, bordered by a magnificent countryside. The estate is surrounded by high walls, and is not visible at ground level. From the air, the compound appears to be a large administration center. This is The Oppidum, a massive 323,000 square foot property with plans for a spectacular estate. What lies hidden beneath, carved deep in the mountain is the largest residential doomsday shelter in the world.
The Oppidum will be more than an underground bunker for dangerous times. It provides an above-ground residential estate in which the owners can maintain a high standard of living in a secluded area above ground during times of potential danger. The compound is protected by multiple high-security systems (from high walls and detection sensors to automated defense technology) and strong communications with the outside world. The residents can…

View original post 187 more words