Starz announced today its first original unscripted series, “The Chair,” created by Chris Moore, the Executive Producer of Oscar®-winning Good Will Hunting and Emmy®-nominated “Project Greenlight.” “The Chair” is a competition documentary series that follows two directors through the process of bringing their first feature to the screen. The up-and-coming directors, who have unique backgrounds and skill sets, will be provided with an identical screenplay which they must craft as their own film.
“The Chair” will document the creation, marketing and theatrical release of both adaptations, which will also air on STARZ. Both directors will be given the same budget, and both versions will use locations in the same city. Through multiplatform voting, the audience will determine which director will be awarded $250,000.
Filmmakers Shane Dawson and Anna Martemucci will adapt “How Soon is Now,” a coming-of-age feature length comedy that chronicles the first homecoming on Thanksgiving weekend by a handful of college freshman who are fumbling towards adulthood, written by Dan Schoffer and produced by Josh Shader.
While they are both first-time feature film directors, Dawson is an internet superstar whose YouTube comedy channels boast more than 10 million subscribers and over a billion views. Martemucci is a writer, actor and filmmaker who most recently received critical recognition for her independent film Breakup at a Wedding, which she starred in and wrote. Both directors will have creative leeway to develop their film using their own ingenuity and distinct experience. Screenplay rewrites, the casting of actors, hiring of crewmembers – even the name of the film – will be up to the directors and documented in the series.
Actor Zachary Quinto (“American Horror Story,” “Star Trek,” “Heroes”) and his producing partners Corey Moosa, Neal Dodson and Sean Akers will be featured in “The Chair” as they join Chris Moore and the script’s original producer, Josh Shader, to serve as mentors to Dawson and Martemucci in their quest to develop the winning adaptation.
“We are thrilled to be teaming up with Chris Moore on ‘The Chair,’ a truly unique and compelling project that gives viewers an inside look at the filmmaking process and allows them to weigh in on the final product and see how creative minds can interpret the same material in different ways,” says Carmi Zlotnik, Managing Director of Starz. “With the addition of ‘The Chair’ to our existing roster of originals, Starz is excited to offer its subscribers an excess of fifty hours of original programming in 2014.”
“In the past decade, the internet has changed so many aspects of the creative filmmaking process, and ‘The Chair’ will give viewers the opportunity to see if the skills that enable a director to thrive in the fast-paced online video world can translate into a compelling feature-length experience,” says Chris Moore. “It’s also going to be fascinating to watch as a more traditional artist finds ways to challenge an undisputed master of online promotion for attention (and votes) for her project.”
“The Chair is a great opportunity to support new voices in filmmaking,” explains Quinto. “Before the Door’s first three films, including the award-winning Margin Call, were made with first-time directors and we have become keenly aware of the challenges of being a new talent in the business. Helping to nurture these talents, these voices, is incredibly rewarding and a big part of why we chose to begin producing ourselves.”
“The Chair” is Executive Produced by Chris Moore and Anthony B. Sacco, in partnership with Starz, and in association with Steel Town Entertainment Project and Point Park University in Pittsburgh; and Quinto’s production company, Before the Door Pictures. The project is also supported by Animal, Inc. and Allegheny County.
The 10-part series just wrapped principal photography in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and will premiere in fall 2014 on STARZ. Starz will retain all domestic multiplatform pay TV rights to the original series.
Shane Dawson Bio
Shane Dawson is one of the biggest comedians on YouTube with over 10 million subscribers across his three channels and over a billion views. Dawson made his first YouTube video on his own in 2006 and has been producing daily videos ever since. In 2012, he began self-releasing original music and all four of his singles have reached the top 20 on iTunes. He has won both Streamy and Teen Choice Awards, and has been featured in the NY Times, LA Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal. In 2010, Forbes magazine named Dawson their 25th most famous web celebrity. In June of 2013, he launched his podcast “Shane and Friends” which hit #1 on iTunes in 24 hours. In October 2013, he sold a half-hour sitcom to NBC with Olive Bridge Entertainment and Sony TV.
Anna Martemucci Bio
Anna Martemucci is a writer, actor, and filmmaker. She co-wrote, produced, and plays the role of “Lenka Jones” in the feature film Breakup at a Wedding from Anonymous Content and Before the Door Pictures and distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories. In 2010 she founded Periods. Films with her partner Victor Quinaz. Martemucci’s short film collaborations with Victor and the Periods. film team have been featured on The Huffington Post, EW.com, New York Magazine’s Vulture.com, Refinery 29, and Indiewire, and was given a retrospective at Grauman’s Chinese Theater as the opening night event of the Hollyshorts Film Festival. Film Independent, the producers of The Independent Spirit Awards, featured Anna, Victor, and the films of Periods. on their website, and the series was named the #15 Funniest Web Series of all time by Time Out NY.
Chris Moore Bio
Chris Moore has been working as a producer in Hollywood since 1989. He was co-producer on Gus Van Sant’s Good Will Hunting, which was nominated for nine Academy Awards® including Best Picture and Best Director, and won for Best Supporting Actor (Robin Williams) and Best Original Screenplay (Ben Affleck & Matt Damon).
He has produced all four of the American Pie theatrical features, including the 2012 worldwide hit American Reunion, written and directed by Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg. Another recent success produced by Mr. Moore was The Adjustment Bureau, adapted and directed by George Nolfi and starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.
Among his other features as producer are John Dahl’s Joy Ride, starring Paul Walker; Mike Barker’s Best Laid Plans, starring Reese Witherspoon; and John Frankenheimer’s Reindeer Games, starring Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron; his most recent theatrical release was “Promised Land,” which starred Matt Damon and John Krasinski. Movies that he has executive-produced include two cult favorites: Rob McKittrick’s “Waiting…” starring Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris, and John Gulager’s “Feast”.
Mr. Moore was a co-creator and executive producer of the groundbreaking television series about filmmaking, “Project Greenlight.” He was one of the executive producers and directors of the acclaimed documentary “The People Speak,” broadcast domestically on the History Channel and based on Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.”
In 2011, Mr. Moore established The Media Farm, which is focused on investing in and managing a portfolio of entertainment brands for exploitation in multiple media. His projects include “Survivor’s Remorse,” “Think Tank,” the continuation of “The People Speak” and “The Can,” a comedic online series. Moore is represented by Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller in Los Angeles.
Starz (NASDAQ: STRZA, STRZB) is a leading integrated global media and entertainment company with operating units that provide premium subscription video programming on domestic U.S. pay television channels (Starz Networks), global content distribution (Starz Distribution) and animated television and movie production (Starz Animation), www.starz.com.
Starz Networks is a leading provider of premium subscription video programming through the flagship STARZ® and ENCORE® pay TV networks which showcase premium original programming and movies to U.S. multichannel video distributors, including cable operators, satellite television providers, and telecommunications companies. As of December 31, 2013, STARZ and ENCORE serve a combined 57.1 million subscribers, including 22.2 million at STARZ, and 34.9 million at ENCORE, making them the largest pair of premium flagship channels in the U.S. STARZ® and ENCORE®, along with Starz Networks’ third network MOVIEPLEX®, air over 1,000 movies monthly across 17 linear networks, complemented by On Demand and authenticated online offerings through STARZ PLAY, ENCORE PLAY, and MOVIEPLEX PLAY. Starz Distribution develops, produces and acquires entertainment content, distributing it to consumers globally on DVD, digital formats and traditional television. Starz Distribution’s home video, digital media and worldwide distribution business units distribute original programming content produced by Starz, as well as entertainment content for itself and third parties. Starz Animation produces animated TV and movie content for studios, networks, distributors and audiences worldwide.