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AMPAS: Jennifer Davidson Named Chief Communications Officer

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The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has promoted Jennifer Davidson to Chief Communications Officer, who will be reporting to Academy CEO Dawn Hudson.

In her new role, Davidson will continue to oversee publicity and corporate communications campaigns, including the Oscars and internal membership communications. Davidson will also oversee the press outreach for the organization’s year-round programming, education, preservation and inclusion efforts. Additionally, Davidson will continue to work in close collaboration with the Academy as a strategic advisor on communications policy.

“Jennifer is a strategic, no-nonsense communications executive with exceptional instincts,” said Hudson. “Her passion for our mission, her knowledge of the media and film community and her years of experience have made her an invaluable part of our senior leadership team and the entire Academy.”

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Davidson’s previous roles include serving as the executive vice president of communications since joining the Academy staff in March 2020. Before the Academy, Davidson served as executive vice president for Babygrande PR, creating and implementing strategic positioning and branding objectives for companies including ITV America and Wheelhouse Entertainment. Davidson also served as vice president of media relations at Sony Pictures Television, where she oversaw the studio’s domestic publicity for primetime and daytime series, pilots and award campaigns. Davidson’s career began at NBC in talent relations and publicity.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is a global community of artists, filmmakers and executives working in film.

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Rory Kennedy Makes Persuasive ‘Case Against Boeing’ With Sundance Doc

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Downfall The Case Against Boeing 00 31 17 14

In “Downfall: The Case Against Boeing,” director Rory Kennedy investigates two Boeing 737 MAX crashes that occurred within five months of each other in 2018 and 2019 that killed a combined 346 people. Guided by aviation experts, news journalists, former Boeing employees, the U.S. Congress and the families of victims, Kennedy’s Netflix doc reveals a culture of reckless cost-cutting and corporate concealment driven by Wall Street greed. This is Kennedy’s sixth time attending Sundance with a film.

You teamed with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s production house Imagine Entertainment on this project. Did they bring this project to you or was this film your idea?

It was my idea. I had been following the story and was I interested in it for a whole range of reasons, so just before the pandemic I decided to make it.

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What interested you about the topic?

Well, we all fly, right? When we book our plane tickets, when we walk down the tarmac to get on the plane and when we are on that plane, we are trusting that these corporations, airlines, manufacturers, Congress and the regulatory agencies are looking out for us. This film really shows us that that doesn’t always happen and that we have to make those demands.

You used CGI to re-create the two Boeing flight crash sequences. Is this the first time you used CGI in a doc and if so, did it prove challenging?

Yes. This is the first film I’ve used it in. It was an interesting challenge ensuring that you’re getting everything right in terms of the angle of the plane and where the sun was [at the time of the crash]. I wanted it to feel realistic, but of course, make it clear to the audience if this isn’t real. That it’s being manufactured.

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In September Frontline released “Boeing’s Fatal Flaw,” a documentary about the same topic. Was that a setback in any way?

The subject is so important that it lends itself to different kinds of storytelling and ways to approach it. For me, it was important to tell the story through the perspective of the people who were really on the front lines. So we didn’t really focus on historians or even journalists who weren’t directly involved with the story. Having those firsthand accounts and using the firsthand source documents to tell the story, without a narrator, was the way that I felt the audience could best access it and be pulled into it.

The project was originally intended to be a series. What made you want to make it a one-off instead?

Honestly, I think it does lend itself to a series as well, because there’s so much history and depth to this story but ultimately, I felt that the best way to tell this story was through a 90-minute structure where you could really condense the timeline and pull people in and keep them with you.

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What are you hoping audiences take away after watching this film?

For me this film is about corporate malfeasance. It’s about focusing on finances over public safety. Frankly, it’s not just about Boeing. I think there needs to be an appropriate balance between corporate and financial interest and the public interest. We have lost that balance in many instances, and I think it’s imperative that we regain that.

 

 

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Netflix, Sky Team on Natural History Series ‘Predators’

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Predators

Netflix and Sky are co-producing for the first time on natural history series “Predators,” a six-parter that will follow six predators across changing landscapes. The series will premiere on Sky Nature in the U.K., Germany and Italy in winter 2022.

Other Sky factual commissions include “Gabon” (working title) that explores the story of a scientist from Manchester who became the Environment Minister of Central African country Gabon after forming an unlikely friendship with President Ali Bongo, which will bow on Sky Documentaries later this year, while “Death on The Beach,” which examines young travellers who have died under mysterious circumstances on the remote backpacking Thai island Koh Tao, will be on Sky Crime in March.

Elsewhere, following the Nov. 2021 launches in the U.K. and Ireland, Sky and NBCUniversal are continuing the rollout of Peacock internationally on Sky across Germany and Austria. From Jan. 25, at no additional cost, Sky Q and Sky Ticket customers in Germany and Sky X customers in Austria, will get access to Peacock programming, including current originals series “Saved by the Bell,” “Rutherford Falls” and “Girls5eva” and upcoming series “The Girl in the Woods,” “MacGruber,” “Bel-Air,” “Joe vs Carole” and “The Resort.”

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Peacock will continue to roll out across Sky platforms in Switzerland and Italy in the coming months.

Meanwhile, soccer anti-discrimination organization Kick It Out will be partnering with the England and Wales Cricket Board to identify and address issues of equality, diversity and inclusion within cricket. The partnership supported by £100,000 ($134,895) donation from Sky, alongside an additional £100,000 which has been match funded by the cricket board. English cricket has been plagued with recent racism allegations and is implementing a 12-point action plan to address the issue.

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