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Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard launch movie website

LOS ANGELES - Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard are calling all filmmakers to the Internet.

The two directors are launching a website called The site will feature short films and will host an Internet movie showcase called Popfest.

Visitors to the website will vote on the short films. The ones earning the best marks will be reviewed by Spielberg and his partners in Dreamworks Studios, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen, as well as Howard and his producer Brian Glazer.

Some of the winning filmmakers may even be offered production deals with Dreamworks, Imagine or

The website is accepting films up to 30 minutes in length.

Friday Jan 17, 1997

The next Ron Howard?
Former child star Fred Savage makes his directorial debut at Stanford

by Jim Harrington

Growing up is a difficult enough task, but try doing it in front of millions of people every week on a popular television show. An even tougher task for many child actors is to leave the spotlight behind and make the transition to a fairly normal adult existence. Many have gotten into serious trouble.

But that's not the story of Fred Savage. Starring as the central figure, Kevin, on the popular and critically acclaimed "The Wonder Years" from 1988 to 1993, Savage was about as well-known as a child actor can be, appearing twice on the cover of TV Guide. Yet Savage won't fill your ears with stories about stolen youth or the evils of Hollywood. Now a junior at Stanford University, Savage just doesn't see any drawbacks to being a former child star.

"I can't really think of any," he said in his still recognizable voice. "I think of myself as totally fortunate."

Savage, an English major with a creative writing emphasis at Stanford, hopes to continue his career in show biz after he graduates.

This weekend, Savage makes his directorial debut with Stanford's student-run Ram's Head Theatrical Society's Original Winter One Acts. The show features three one-act plays written and directed by students and performed each evening at The Nitery Theater on campus. Savage is directing "Connection Down" (written by Jon Goldman), a play that explores identity and how people connect in the Internet era. The play was slated to open Thursday and run again today, then run Tuesday through Saturday, Jan. 21-25.

This is not something to simply pass the time. Savage, 20, is keenly interested in a possible directing career.

"This is definitely something that I want to do," he said and then added: "This is definitely a great way to start directing. (The one-act is) nothing too complex. It's something that I thought I could handle."

So perhaps we might be looking at the next Ron Howard, who went from Opie on "The Andy Griffith Show" to directing Oscar-nominated films such as "Apollo 13."

"He's a great role model for me," Savage said of Howard. "As far as a star to reach for, (Howard is) it for me. If this (one-act) is a step toward that, I'll take it."

Savage was just 12 when he started with "The Wonder Years," which made its debut in the high-profile slot following the Super Bowl.

He played Kevin Arnold, who, as the series began, was about to start school at John F. Kennedy Junior High in suburban America, circa 1968. The show followed young Kevin to high school, along the way keeping track of his hippie older sister, his teasing older brother, his stern father, and his sometime love interest, Winnie, played by Danica McKellar. Savage still keeps in touch with McKellar, now a senior at UCLA, as well as other members of the cast.

"I stay in touch with pretty much everyone," he said.

Savage also was featured in such movies as "The Princess Bride" and "Little Monsters."

Having such a familiar face, even if it has matured and thinned, must make for some pretty interesting conversations when he meets new people at parties with his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He says sometimes people immediately recognize him from the television show and other times they don't recognize him at all--which is fine with him.

And, on the uneven playing field that is the college dating scene, has "The Wonder Years" background helped Savage meet women?

"It doesn't hurt," he said. "But it hasn't proven overwhelmingly helpful either."

Along with Savage's "Connection Down," Original Winter One Acts will also feature "Waiting for 'Waiting for Godot,'" a comedy directed by Jason Alisharan and written by Rudolph Delson that plays off the Samuel Beckett classic, and "Voluntary Inane," a darkly comic play about a poet who suspects he is going insane, directed by Arti Garg and written by Robin Moroney with Alex Sepiol.

What: Original Winter One Acts

When: 8 p.m. Jan. 17 & 21-23; 7 & 10:30 p.m. Jan. 24; 7 p.m. Jan. 25

Where: The Nitery Theater, Old Union, Stanford University

How much: $8 students; $15 general admission

Nickelodeon Movies and Imagine Entertainment Set to Produce the Celebrated Children's Book, 'How To Eat Fried-Worms'.
Issue: Oct 8, 1998

Nickelodeon Movies President Albie Hecht Teams With Imagine's Ron Howard

and Brian Grazer to Bring the Popular Children's Property to the Big Screen

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Continuing its mandate to bring extraordinary stories to contemporary life, Nickelodeon Movies is joining forces with leading production company Imagine Entertainment to bring the classic children's book, "How To Eat Fried Worms" to the big screen. The announcement was made today by Albie Hecht, President of Film and Television Entertainment at Nickelodeon and Imagine Entertainment's Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. Hecht will produce the live-action screen adaptation alongside Imagine's Howard and Grazer. Veteran director Thomas Schlamme ("So I Married an Axe Murderer," "Miss Firecracker") will helm the project and Bob Dolman ("Far & Away," "Willow") will write the screenplay.

Based on the book by Thomas Rockwell, "How To Eat Fried Worms" is a comedy about a young boy whose family moves to Duncanville -- the earthworm capital of the United States. He desperately wants to fit in at school and will do anything to prove himself, even if it means eating worms. When he is challenged to a worm eating contest, his popularity plan backfires and turmoil ensues.

"Anyone who's ever done something they didn't want to do to belong knows what it's like to eat worms, and that's why this film will appeal to audiences of all ages," said Hecht. "We are also looking forward to working with the team at Imagine Entertainment, who not only have an incredible track record, but are filmmakers with vision and passion."

Imagine Entertainment's numerous producing credits include: "Liar, Liar" starring Jim Carrey, "The Nutty Professor" starring Eddie Murphy and "Apollo 13" starring Tom Hanks. Next year, Imagine will release "Life," starring Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence, Ron Howard's "Ed TV" starring Matthew McConaughey, Jenna Elfman and Woody Harrelson and Frank Oz's "Bowfinger's Big Thing" starring Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy.

"We are looking forward to joining Nickelodeon Movies in bringing this project to the screen and are excited to be working with Thomas Schlamme, who has done such a great job on 'Sports Night,'" said Ron Howard, Co-Chairman, Imagine Entertainment.

Created in 1993, Nickelodeon Movies is the feature film development and production division of Nickelodeon that produces movies for kids and their families which are distributed by its sister Viacom company, Paramount Pictures. The goal of Nickelodeon Movies is to develop and produce both live-action and animated feature films that bring extraordinary events, characters and situations into everyday contemporary life. The company is positioned to extend the broad-based story sensibility and marketing approach that has made Nickelodeon the #1 kid brand in all of TV programming to theatrical feature films aimed at kids and their families. Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures will release the animated feature "The Rugrats Movie" nationwide on November 20, 1998.

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