Convergent Media

Convergent Media International film and television development, financing, production and sales.
Convergent Media was conceived by two companies deeply embedded in the film and television industry, a media production company and an entertainment law firm, and is driven by a mission to explore socially relevant and meaningful themes, and to bring engaging, entertaining stories to audiences worldwide. By leveraging the combined skills of its team, Convergent Media aims to engage in projects that elevate audience awareness while simultaneously providing commercial success for independent filmmakers and investors alike. Our films include BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB: ADIOS (“New York Times Critics Pick”), GUANTÁNAMO DIARY (with Benedict Cumberbatch as a producer), SAY HER NAME, and several other projects.

SmithDehn LLP, the innovative legal architects behind path-breaking content like DA ALI G SHOW and BORAT, and acclaimed features such as SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN (Oscar-winner) and THE IMPOSTER (BAFTA-winner), has combined resources with visionary, award-winning Social Construct Films, to form Convergent Media (formerly Social Construct Media), a dynamic new force in international film and television development, financing, production and sales. SmithDehn LLP (dubbed “legal heavies” by The Wall Street Journal) features a roster of clients ranging from studios like Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, and Media Rights Capital, to television companies like HBO, Channel 4, BBC America, and Raw TV. Sundance award-winning production company Social Construct Films, with a diverse slate of completed feature films (including titles acquired by IFC, HBO, Lionsgate, and Tribeca), has established a growing presence in development, packaging and international sales. By marshaling SmithDehn’s international connections, financing abilities, and industry knowledge, together with the development, production and sales experience of Social Construct Films, the two companies have embarked on an exciting new venture as Convergent Media. Driven by a mission to explore socially relevant and meaningful themes, and to bring engaging, entertaining stories to audiences worldwide, Convergent Media will leverage the combined skills of its team to elevate audience awareness while simultaneously providing commercial success for independent filmmakers and investors alike. With a number of outstanding new projects for film and television already in development, and with an established presence in the US, UK and India, Convergent Media is poised to quickly emerge as one of the leading providers of excellent media content internationally. PEOPLE RUSSELL SMITH, Founder and CEO: Co-founder of SmithDehn LLP, and a pathbreaker in the world of film and television law. Russell has facilitated deals for Oscar-and-Emmy-Award-winning projects, and has been retained by most of the major Hollywood studios, several major television networks, and countless production companies. ZAK KILBERG, Founder and Creative Director: Founder and Producer of Social Construct Films, the Sundance award-winning company behind a variety of successful media projects. Zak has significant experience in creative development, packaging, production and worldwide sales. MICHAEL CLEAVER, Managing Director: Partner of SmithDehn LLP and co-founder of Convergent Media, Mike has been production counsel for hundreds of hours of television programming and several award-winning major motion pictures and feature documentaries. IZ WEB, Head of Development: Oversees all acquisitions and development activity for Social Construct Films. Iz is also the Director of the Asheville Story Collective, the company’s “original content generation project,” that generates up to 300 unique, riveting and relevant story ideas per year.

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB: ADIOS, produced by Convergent Media and opening this Friday, is a New York Times "Critic's Pick...
05/25/2017
Review: ‘Buena Vista Social Club: Adios,’ Analytical but Still Loving

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB: ADIOS, produced by Convergent Media and opening this Friday, is a New York Times "Critic's Pick." In the Trump era of confusion and lies, we'll take "tough and analytical" as a high compliment. From today's NYT review:

“Buena Vista Social Club: Adios,” directed by Lucy Walker (and of which Wim Wenders, among others, is an executive producer) is both an exemplary sequel and a vital, informative companion piece [to the first Wim Wenders film on the subject, over a decade ago]. It not only chronicles the late-life careers of the “Buena Vista” stars, many of whom have since died. But it also tells some painful and fascinating back stories, too, and insists on putting the music in its social and historical contexts.

Mr. Wenders’s film didn’t do much of that; it was content to be a kind of hangout movie, capturing musicians playing dominoes while awaiting their turns at the microphone. “Adios” shows furious arguments at sound checks and reveals the ambivalence with which some of the musicians viewed newfound fame. It’s not as poetic or immediately enjoyable as the first film. But it is tougher and more analytical, with real challenges embedded in its pleasures.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/24/movies/buena-vista-social-club-adios-review.html?smid=fb-share

This vital, informative companion piece to Wim Wenders’s 1999 documentary chronicles the late-life careers, and deaths, of the “Buena Vista” stars.

Check out the trailer released today for our film, BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB: ADIOS, by two-time Oscar nominee Lucy Walker...
05/11/2017
'Buena Vista Social Club' Sequel Gets Vibrant First Trailer

Check out the trailer released today for our film, BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB: ADIOS, by two-time Oscar nominee Lucy Walker. The film is scheduled for opening release in over 50 U.S. cities on May 26, and worldwide soon after. From the Rolling Stone article: "'The music and the culture of Cuba are very much intertwined. So as these artists share their music, they are also sharing their incredible history. We are able to experience the last hundred years of the country’s history through their eyes,' producer Zak Kilberg said in a statement.'"

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/premieres/buena-vista-social-club-sequel-gets-vibrant-first-trailer-w481635

Two decades after the music of Cuba was introduced to the world in 'Buena Vista Social Club,' a sequel to the acclaimed film will arrive this month.

IMDb
04/28/2017

IMDb

Get an #exclusive look at the new poster for Buena Vista Social Club: Adios.

Convergent Media is pleased to report that our first film, about the Cuban musicians known as Buena Vista Social Club, h...
12/06/2016
Sundance Film Festival 2017 announces Premieres, Documentary Premieres, Midnight and more

Convergent Media is pleased to report that our first film, about the Cuban musicians known as Buena Vista Social Club, has been invited to make its world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. The film is directed by two-time Oscar Nominee Lucy Walker and is being financed and distributed by Broad Green Pictures. From the official Sundance announcement: "The musicians of the Buena Vista Social Club exposed the world to Cuba’s vibrant culture with their landmark 1997 album. Now, against the backdrop of Cuba’s captivating musical history, hear the band’s story as they reflect on their remarkable careers and the extraordinary circumstances that brought them together."

Next up for Convergent: GUANTÁNAMO DIARY, based on the extraordinary New York Times best-selling book by Mahamadou Slahi. The author, innocent but falsely accused of terrorism, was a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay prison for 14 years, before being released this year. Benedict Cumberbatch is on board in his first producing role. Also on board are script writer Michael Bronner (CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, nominated for six Oscars in 2014, including Best Picture), Michael and Christine Holder of Zero Gravity (BEASTS OF NO NATION), and Lloyd Levin (GREEN ZONE, UNITED 93).

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-sundance-film-festival-premieres-20161205-story.html

The Sundance Film Festival brought the continued rollout of its 2017 program into sharper focus Monday with the announcement of multiple sections, including Premieres, Documentary Premieres, Midnight, Spotlight and Special Events.

Together with Benedict Cumberbatch (THE IMITATION GAME, nominated for an Oscar), Michael Bronner (CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, nomi...
04/19/2016

Together with Benedict Cumberbatch (THE IMITATION GAME, nominated for an Oscar), Michael Bronner (CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, nominated for six Oscars in 2014, including Best Picture), Michael and Christine Holder of Zero Gravity (BEASTS OF NO NATION), and Lloyd Levin (GREEN ZONE, UNITED 93), Convergent Media is executive producing GUANTÁNAMO DIARY, the feature film version of the NYT Best Seller, by current Guantánamo prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi. Slahi was a suspected terrorist and has been incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay for 14 years without ever being charged with a crime, without any evidence against him, and without having the opportunity to defend himself in court. The two US prosecutors in his case resigned in protest, and a US federal judge ordered Slahi's release, yet he is still in prison, due to the government's appeal. The New York Times calls his book "the most profound account yet written of what it is like to be collateral damage" in the "War on Terror."

10/23/2015

CONVERGENT MEDIA ORGANIZES AND FILMS HISTORIC PERFORMANCE OF ORQUESTA BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB AT THE WHITE HOUSE

“We’re thrilled to have them here,” President Obama said. “For nearly two decades, this group has been a symbol of the strong bonds between the American and Cuban people – bonds of friendship and culture and, of course, music.” As The New York Times reported about the performance, this "was the latest sign of the thaw that Mr. Obama and President Raùl Castro of Cuba set in motion in December when they agreed to normalize relations between Washington and Havana and restore diplomatic ties severed in 1961."

Convergent Media arranged this historic performance of Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club at The White House, and President Obama's introduction to the band, on October 15. This was part of our production of BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB - ADIOS, directed by two-time Oscar Nominee Lucy Walker, also produced by Blink TV, and financed and distributed by Broad Green Pictures.

The White House aptly noted that "Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club is the first Cuba-based band to perform at the White House in over 50 years."

As Billboard magazine commented, "[t]here could not be a more perfect end of an era for the orchestra members, who... did what it would take President Obama two more decades to achieve. It broke through the Cuban embargo, through music, reaching out and creating a relationship with the American people on a massive level."

With the band on their final and hugely ambitious world tour, the five original band members will take our film's audiences on an intimate journey, revealing the band's personal and professional highs and lows since their world-wide success in 1999, while remembering the beloved band members no longer with us. The tour will culminate in a series of spectacular homecoming concerts in Havana.

Set against the unique and unprecedented political, social and cultural backdrop of this rapidly evolving time in Cuban history, our film will cement the enduring legacy of the band, the musicians and the music at the end of an era.

Convergent Media's cover photo
10/09/2015

Convergent Media's cover photo

What an honor it is to have one of the most acclaimed filmmakers alive join our team to exec produce our first film. The...
09/18/2015
Wim Wenders to Executive Produce Doc 'Buena Vista Social Club: Adios'

What an honor it is to have one of the most acclaimed filmmakers alive join our team to exec produce our first film. The filming is underway. Looking forward to gearing up this production in Havana!

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/wim-wenders-executive-produce-doc-823413

Wim Wenders, who co-wrote and directed Oscar-nominated doc Buena Vista Social Club, has signed on to executive produce the follow-up film, Buena Vista Social Club: Adios.

Convergent Media is pleased to announce that we are producing "Buena Vista Social Club - Adios" -- going into production...
05/01/2015

Convergent Media is pleased to announce that we are producing "Buena Vista Social Club - Adios" -- going into production starting next month!

Two-time Oscar nominee Lucy Walker will direct. Our feature film has been green-lit with full financing and U.S. distribution from leading independent film studio Broad Green Pictures. Mister Smith Entertainment is handling international sales. Our partner Blink TV is co-producing.

For more info about the project, check out the article below, and see more articles in the comments to this post.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/cannes-broad-green-bring-buena-792750

Convergent Media's cover photo
04/30/2015

Convergent Media's cover photo

04/30/2015

Social Construct Media has changed its name to Convergent Media. More exciting news to follow!

Social Construct Media has changed its name to Convergent Media.  More exciting news to follow!
04/30/2015

Social Construct Media has changed its name to Convergent Media. More exciting news to follow!

02/12/2015
Screen Story Development Masterclass - Events - Honeycomb - Creative Works

Do you reside in Northern Ireland* or one of the 6 border counties of Ireland? Are you interested in honing your story development skills?

In April, Social Construct Media, in cooperation with Honeycomb Creative Works, is pleased to present a master class in Screen Story Development, taught by SCM Creative Director Zak Kilberg and Head of Development Iz Web.

Thursday evenings in April at Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

*(excepting Greater Belfast)

http://thehoneycomb.net/events/screen-story-development-masterclass

**Applications are being sought for a screen story development workshop in April 2015 in Letterkenny. Please Note: This is a four week masterclass being delivered on the evenings of 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th of April 2015 from 6.30pm - 9.30pm at Letterkenny Institute. As places are limited to 20, applic…

12/03/2014
Media Law Course

"A star is born." :) SmithDehn's own Tony Doherty explains our Ulster University course in "The Law and Business of Film and Television." In other news, top-ranking counsel at the BBC also has joined our faculty. Other confirmed course professors include the worldwide head of claims for 20th Century Fox, high-ranking counsel at CNN, Chief Counsel at HBO, the General Counsel at Channel 4, the former head of claims and risk at Discovery, a former senior counsel at ITV, and Chad Milton, known as "the Dean of media insurance." Not too shabby!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRCGJPt9HYk

Yes, we love this film/TV course so much, we're flogging it! http://adl.ulster.ac.uk/shortcourses/prospectus/course/view...
11/21/2014

Yes, we love this film/TV course so much, we're flogging it! http://adl.ulster.ac.uk/shortcourses/prospectus/course/view/id/227 In the photo are previous course grads and our latest SmithDehn Northern Ireland recruits Dermot Desmond (who repped us at MIP in Cannes), Tony Doherty (who just got back from the American Film Market in LA), and Patricia Sweeney MacBride (who's booking her trip to the Berlin Film Festival and the European Film Market). Yes, they're kicking butt, all over the film and TV world.

20TH CENTURY FOX & CNN JOIN HBO & CHANNEL 4 ON FACULTY FOR FILM/TV COURSE AT UNIVERSITY OF ULSTERApplications now being ...
11/20/2014
Access Digital and Distributed Learning - University of Ulster

20TH CENTURY FOX & CNN JOIN HBO & CHANNEL 4 ON FACULTY FOR FILM/TV COURSE AT UNIVERSITY OF ULSTER

Applications now being accepted for "The Law and Business of Film and Television," which has got to be the best media law course anywhere. At Ireland's largest university and co-sponsored by Social Construct Media, "visiting Professors will include Bonnie Bogin, SVP and head of worldwide claims and litigation at 20th Century Fox; Viviane Eisenberg, Chief Counsel at HBO; Prash Naik, General Counsel at Channel 4; David Karnes, Senior Counsel at Turner Broadcasting (CNN, TBS, TNT, TCM, truTV); Laura Farina, former head of legal at Discovery, now a member of SmithDehn LLP; Andrew Baker, former SVP at ITV, now a member of SmithDehn LLP" and me! Law degrees are not required for admission.

http://addl.ulster.ac.uk/news/view/20th-century-fox-cnn-hbo-and-channel-4-to-join-school-of-law-to-teach-media/addl

By: [email protected] | Posted on: 20 Nov 2014 Patricia Sweeney McBride, Dermot Desmond and Tony Doherty who completed the course last year and now work internationally for SmithDehn NI from their Derry base The School of Law is inviting applications for its innovative industry-collaborative short…

Feeling some satisfaction that Social Construct joint venturer SmithDehn LLP was among the counsel for Citzenfour, the H...
10/11/2014
CitizenFour review – Poitras' victorious film shows Snowden vindicated

Feeling some satisfaction that Social Construct joint venturer SmithDehn LLP was among the counsel for Citzenfour, the HBO/Participant documentary that rocked the New York Film Festival last night, where it got a rare standing ovation. The film was directed by Edward Snowden's first contact, Laura Poitras, and exec-produced by Steven Soderbergh. The film tells the Snowden story and also references a "second leaker" who revealed information showing there are 1.2 million people on the US government's "watchlist" of supposed potential security threats and suspects. Whatever your view of Snowden, this is an important film.

Laura Poitras’ documentary disentangles NSA surveillance and plots the story of Edward Snowden in Hong Kong and Moscow

10/01/2014
Dracula Untold - Official Trailer (HD)

Universal Pictures blockbuster premiering this weekend, shot entirely in Northern Ireland, including Derry/Londonderry. Dracula author Bram Stoker was Irish, and the Dracula myth originated with an old County Derry legend. Historians also point to the similarity of the name, "Dracula," to the Irish phrase, "droch fhola," which translates as "bad blood."

http://draculauntold.com/ Dracula Untold - In Theaters And IMAX this October Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6, Immortals) stars in Dracula Untold, the origin sto...

Malik Bendjelloul and Rodriguez are like beacons of light. Ironically, neither were interested in fame, fortune or glory...
05/14/2014
Sugar Man director Bendjelloul dies

Malik Bendjelloul and Rodriguez are like beacons of light. Ironically, neither were interested in fame, fortune or glory. They did their work, and it made the world a better place. From another article today: "Bendjelloul escaped the Hollywood hype around him after the Oscar award to go on a safari and has been working on a film about a man who could communicate with elephants."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-27402611

Oscar-winning Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul - best known for the documentary Searching for Sugar Man - dies at the age of 36.

05/03/2014
Good Vibrations - Trailer

If you missed the BAFTA-nominated "Good Vibrations" in the theaters last year, you can catch it online. The rave reviews were right. It's not a feel good film. It's a feel great film. "Thanks [in part] to a great lead performance from Richard Dormer (Game of Thrones), it’s inspiring stuff, showing the community-building power of music in an environment of fear and ever-present violence." "At the height of Northern Ireland's troubles and sectarianism, [and with 'One Love' as his declaration], Terri Hooley set up the record shop Good Vibrations and discovered, among others, The Undertones, releasing their classic hit 'Teenage Kicks', which DJ John Peel described as his favourite song." Peel said that hearing the Undertones single "gave me the best two minutes and 28 seconds of my life."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSVbTRkjk1I

Terri Hooley is a radical, rebel and music-lover in 1970s Belfast, when the bloody conflict known as the Troubles shuts down his city. As all his friends tak...

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