The very first 3-D film festival in the United States is being held in Florida and it's expected to help boost the fortunes of Real D, a Beverly Hills company that is a leading provider of 3-D projection systems.

Real D is sponsoring and providing technical assistance to the fest, which was scheduled to kick off Oct. 10 in Orlando, and then will move to Coco Beach on Oct. 17-19.

Unlike most film festivals that are designed to promote and get distribution deals for movies, this event is geared toward promoting the art and science of 3-D filmmaking.

Besides major Hollywood studios such as Walt Disney Co., a slew of independent companies such as CGI Studios, DzignLight, In-Three and 3ality Digital are participating

All films and 3-D content will be screened in Real D 3-D, which is a hardware and software system that can be added to existing digital projectors. The system, according to industry sources, costs about $70,000, including installation.

Earlier this year, movie exhibitors Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark USA Inc. signed deals to outfit 1,500 screens with Real D systems at movie theaters across North America. Real D also has similar deals with several smaller independent theater chains throughout North America and Europe.

Real D was instrumental in helping cobble together a $1.4 billion deal among movie exhibitors and five of Hollywood's major studios for a plan to help finance the rollout of digital cinema equipment in U.S. theaters.

As part of the agreement, the studios will help defray the cost to install the digital projectors, spreading to nearly 20,000 screens during the next several years. Those costs are expected to be offset by money saved from not having to manufacture and ship film prints.

The 3-D Film & Interactive Festival is premiering "3ology," a feature-length movie comprising various 3-D feature clips, short films and music videos from around the world.

Also being screened is the trailer for Walt Disney's upcoming 3-D film "Bolt," directed by Byron Howard and Chris Williams.

Foreign Import

Look out Madonna, South Korean music and dance sensation BoA is about to tour the United States with the Oct. 21 release of her new single, "Eat You Up."

SM Entertainment U.S.A., a Santa Monica unit of Seoul, South Korea, music management company SM Entertainment International, for years has been positioning the English-speaking pop star for a breakthrough in America.

BoA, whose sensuous dance moves and catchy lyrics have sent her to the top of the charts in South Korea and Japan, however, may not to translate to the American market, according to some industry analysts.

Japanese pop diva Seiko Matsuda in 1990 was one of the first Asian singing acts to venture into the North American market, but never really caught on. In 2001, Singer Coco Lee became the first Chinese person to perform at the Oscars, but her two English-language albums received only moderate responses.

James Kang, marketing director of Warner Music, which distributes BoA's music in Asia, recently told reporters that the stigma of Asian acts in America has to be removed for BoA to succeed here. However, SM Entertainment views BoA as the first of many Asian performers it intends to break into the lucrative U.S. market.

Attorney Peter Rho, who has negotiated many of SM Entertainment's agreements, said that the BoA album and concert tour are a sign of things to come.

"With this deal, SM Entertainment is not only launching the career of Korea's hottest pop star, but paving the way for future
strategic ventures in the United States," said Rho, senior associate at Santa Monica-based Dreier Stein Kahan Browne Woods George LLP.

Top Mice

Alan N. Braverman, senior executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of Walt Disney Co., has entered into a multiyear agreement for $1.1 million in annual salary, plus annual bonuses, according to the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Disney's compensation committee will set a target bonus each year of not less than $2.2 million. The actual amount of his bonus will be based on performance objectives, which were not disclosed. This is his first multiyear contract with Disney.

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Judi Cordray has joined Disney's ESPN unit as the vice president in charge of its new Los Angeles Production Center, which will open in early April. Cordray comes to ESPN from the Disney ABC Media Networks Group, where she was a vice president overseeing the engineering and IT staff, daytime studio, master control and media center operations. Cordray will oversee all the day-to-day operations of the new L.A. facility, support all programming produced in or remote traffic routed through it, and will be ESPN's most senior Los Angeles production executive.

Staff reporter Brett Sporich can be reached at bsporich@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 226.

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