Media Rights Capital

Among counsel to MRC, the industry’s largest independent film, TV and digital studio.

UNTOUCHABLE

We are US production counsel for the BBC/Lightbox film, UNTOUCHABLE, about the rise and fall of Harvey Weinstein, premiering at Sundance 2019.

MURDER MOUNTAIN

We're counsel for this acclaimed and popular documentary series.

WHITNEY

We are production counsel for this definitive biopic of Whitney Houston, directed by Oscar-winner Kevin MacDonald and produced by double-Oscar winner Simon Chinn.

AMERICAN ANIMALS

We were production counsel for this "wildly entertaining" (Variety) scripted feature film that captivated the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

PARTICIPANT MEDIA

We are among the outside counsel to Participant Media, whose projects have one multiple Academy Awards and have been nominated for over 50.

SELMA

Honored to be representing the director and producers of this important, Academy-Award-winning film.

Virunga

We are production counsel for this Oscar-Nominated 2014 documentary about the fight to save Virunga National Park, the last refuge of moutain gorillas.

OCTOBER FILMS

We are US and UK counsel to October Films, one of the world's most respected and longest established factual television production companies. They have won over 100 international awards.

THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS

We are production counsel to this most successful documentary film since Fahrenheit 9/11.

The Imposter

Production counsel for "The Imposter," an astonishingly true story about a French man who fools everyone into believing he is a missing Texas boy, including the boy's family.

ITV

US counsel to the largest and most popular commercial television network in the United Kingdom.

IS O.J. INNOCENT? THE MISSING EVIDENCE

We are production counsel for this investigatory series by All3Media America, narrated by Martin Sheen for Investigation Discovery

LEAVING NEVERLAND

We are counsel for this explosive two-part film about Michael Jackson, by Dan Reed for HBO Documentary Films.

Bruno

Production and litigation counsel to Sacha Baron Cohen's award-winning film "Bruno."

PLAN B ENTERTAINMENT

Among the counsel for Brad Pitt's production company, acclaimed for SELMA, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, THE BIG SHORT, THE DEPARTED, and other important films.

THE BBC

We have been among the outside counsel for the BBC, where SmithDehn's Philip Wheeler was a senior in-house solicitor for 11 years.

STARZ

Owned by Lionsgate, our client Starz is a leading global media and entertainment distributor/producer, with over 5,000 TV episodes and feature films each year on its several channels.

BAFTA

Handling contract drafting and negotiations for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts

LISTEN TO ME MARLON

We are production counsel to this 2015 Sundance-selected, 2016 Oscar-Short-Listed, Marlon Brando biopic released by Universal Studios and Showtime.

Dirty Wars

We served as production counsel for this award-winning, widely acclaimed investigative documentary about U.S. covert operations across the globe.

ALL THREE MEDIA AMERICA

We're among the US and UK counsel for All3Media America, the LA-based, multi studio production hub for one of the world's leading creators of high-quality content.

SACHA BARON COHEN

We are production and claims counsel for Sacha Baron Cohen. We have been his counsel on DA ALI G SHOW, BORAT, BRUNO, THE DICTATOR, THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY, and his new Showtime series, WHO IS AMERICA?.

ENDEMOL SHINE GROUP

We are among the outside counsel for Endemol Shine Group, a global production powerhouse. Endemol Shine has 120 companies across all the world’s major markets.

NATIONAL BIRD

We are honored to be production counsel for this scathing, "bird's eye" documentary, directed by Sonia Kennebeck and exec produced by Wim Wenders and Errol Morris, about the US military drone program.

GUANTÁNAMO DIARY

Together with Benedict Cumberbatch and others, our film/TV joint venture is executive producing the film version of the NY Times best-selling book by released Guantánamo prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi.

Fear Thy Neighbor

Production counsel to this Investigation Discovery series about what happens when a homeowner unwittingly takes up residence next to psycho or when evil minds decide to lay down roots right next door.

SHOWTIME NETWORKS, INC.

We are among the outside counsel to Showtime Networks, Inc. At the moment, we are production and claims counsel for their hardhitting, controversial new Sacha Baron Cohen series, WHO IS AMERICA?.

Channel 4

U.S. counsel to Channel 4, Britain's second largest broadcast network and one of the world's most challenging and creative producers of television programs and films.

Borat

Production and claims counsel for the multi-Oscar nominated comedy, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."

Raw TV

US production counsel for Raw TV, a multi-award winning production company with a reputation for gripping narrative, visual innovation and journalistic vigour.

LIGHTBOX ENTERTAINMENT

We are US and UK counsel for this LA-and-London based production company founded by multiple Oscar and Emmy Award winning Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn, and funded by Channel 4.

UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA

We are production counsel for this Primetime Emmy-Award-wining hit CNN series that follows comedian and political provocateur W. Kamau Bell as he explores communities and challenges across America.

FREMANTLE MEDIA

We are among the outside counsel to one of the world's largest and most successful creators, producers and distributors of outstanding entertainment brands.

KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE

We are counsel for KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE, the acclaimed documentary by Rachel Lears, which was purchased by Netflix at Sundance for a record $10 million.

Gold Rush - Raw Television

Production counsel for all nine seasons of Discovery's popular observational documentary television series, "Gold Rush."

THE FINAL YEAR

An insiders' account of President Barack Obama's foreign policy team during their final year, as they set out to define their legacy, promote diplomacy - and react to the rise of Donald Trump.

FORMULA 1: DRIVE TO SURVIVE

We're counsel for this Netflix documentary series.

KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE

We are counsel for KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE, the acclaimed documentary by Rachel Lears, which was purchased by Netflix at Sundance for a record $10 million.

WHO IS AMERICA?

We are production and claims counsel for Showtime, Sacha Baron Cohen, and their hardhitting, controversial new series, WHO IS AMERICA?, a reincarnation of DA ALI G SHOW in the Trump era.

Web of Lies

We are production counsel for this compelling Discovery series that reveals stories of deception and homicide triggered by online interactions.

PASSION PICTURES

We are US and UK counsel to this multiple Oscar winning film and television company behind Searching for Sugar Man, The Imposter, and Project Nim, to name a few.

HBO

Our attorneys have been among the production and claims counsel to Home Box Office, Inc.

TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY FOX

We have been among the outside counsel to Twenty-First Century Fox.

Da Ali G Show

Production and litigation counsel to Sacha Baron Cohen's multiple-Emmy-nominated, path-breaking television series, "Da Ali G Show."

Sony

Among counsel for Sony Pictures and Sony Pictures Television, producers and/or distributors of some of the most successful motion pictures and programs in the world.

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN

Production counsel for the late Malik Bendjelloul's sensational, Oscar-winning "Searching for Sugar Man," released by Sony Pictures Classics.

Paramount Pictures

We are among the outside counsel for Paramount Pictures.

CBS CORPORATION

We are among the outside counsel for the CBS television network.

LAST CHANCE U

We're counsel for this award-winning, very popular Netflix series that goes behind the scenes at the top junior college football programs in the US.

CITIZENFOUR

We're among the counsel for this Oscar-winning (Best Feature Documentary) about Edward Snowden and national security in post 9/11 America.

PHILIP GLASS

One of our partners, Russell Smith, has provided legal advice and related services for Philip Glass, the world's most successful living music composer.

News Round-Up: Hbo Chief Counsel Joins SmithDehn in Teaching Media Law Course; Oscar Nod and Ratings Coup for SmithDehn Clients; SmithDehn Lawyers on Google Film Panel

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The burgeoning television and film production industry in Northern Ireland soon will get a further boost, as international media and entertainment lawyers, led by SmithDehn LLP and joined by top attorneys at HBO, arrive in February 2014 to teach law students and graduates and train recruits for a possible new office of SmithDehn in Derry. In that connection, the Law School at the University of Ulster is now accepting applications from students and graduates throughout Northern Ireland, Ireland, and Great Britain for an innovative, industry-collaborative, media law course that will be taught by some of the best professionals in the field.

The teaching team will include two of the leading in-house lawyers at HBO, namely, Viviane Eisenberg, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel for Programming and Marketing, and Peter Rienecker, Vice President for Legal Affairs. Leading the team will be New York-based Russell Smith, co-founder of SmithDehn, which is now seeking to establish a second foothold in Europe through a Derry-based operation. Also teaching the UU module in the city will be Laura Farina, now a member of SmithDehn, but until recently Vice President for Legal Affairs at Discovery, in charge of all claims and litigation for Discovery's dozens of television networks worldwide. Other "Visiting Professors" tentatively planning to assist are legendary media insurance expert Chad Milton, as well as SmithDehn attorneys Frank Dehn, Michael Delehanty, Andrew Baker, Michael Cleaver, and Abhinav Chandan.

Overseeing and helping to design the course is Dr. Eugene McNamee, Head of the Law School. Says Dr. McNamee: "Partners from SmithDehn already have made multiple trips to the campus, and they've interacted with dozens of law students here. The American lawyers told me they were very impressed with the energy, intelligence, and enthusiasm of the potential recruits available. I understand that SmithDehn can hardly wait to educate, train, and hire participants in the module." Derry/Londonderry Chamber of Commerce President Philip Gilliland reacted to the news as follows: "This breakthrough for Derry is further proof of how our city is fast becoming an exciting, go-to place for globally-literate, world-class, tech-savvy talent to live, teach, work, study, and expand or start a business."

The principal goal of the course is to create student employability to service the growing media and entertainment sector. The teaching will be problem-based and practical, with an aim to create a "work-ready" group of graduates for legal services in the film, television, and sports industries. The attorneys at SmithDehn, who are spearheading the course, already have been retained by hundreds of film and television studios, production companies, and broadcast networks. Their client list stretches from HBO to Ali G/Borat; from Sony Pictures to Graham Norton; to Paramount Pictures, ITV and Channel 4, to mention just a few out of many.

The target applicants for the course are law students and graduates (not necessarily professionally qualified) seeking to enhance their employability or upgrade their skills in relation to media law practice. Potential employers might include specialist media law firms such as SmithDehn, law firms seeking to develop an expertise in this area, and media/entertainment companies looking to bolster their in-house legal team.

The course module will run on the Magee (Derry/Londonderry) campus over one semester on six alternate Saturdays, starting February 8th, 2014; with class-times from 10am to 5pm (two 3 hour sessions with 1 hour lunch break). Interest in this module is expected to be high, and places will be restricted to 25. Applications for a place should come in the form of a CV with a one-page covering letter explaining interest and motivation. Applications will be accepted by email toe.carlin@ulster.ac.uk, with the message subject line, "Media Law Module." Thedeadline for applications is January 10th 2014.

RATINGS COUPS AND OSCAR NODS FOR SMITHDEHN TV AND FILM CLIENTS:

In other news, "Gold Rush," the RawTV/Discovery hit television series legally shepherded by production counsel Mike Cleaver of SmithDehn, is currently (a) the most popular show on cable television among all demographics, and (b) the most popular show among men, across all TV platforms.

We are also happy to report that one of the television series we've been working on for All3Media America, "The People's Couch," this week was picked up by Bravo/NBC for a full season, after a trial run of three episodes in October. The People's Couch "turns the cameras on households in America as they laugh, cry, talk, gasp and scream at their TVs. Whether it's a group of sorority sisters doing their nails or grandparents watching with their technology-obsessed grandchildren, each group will bring their hilarious, unique commentary about TV's hottest moments to the small screen." According to Lara Spotts, Vice President of Development at Bravo: "The People's Couch is a funny, unfiltered comment on America's current TV viewing habits."

Last but not least, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences just announcedthat "Dirty Wars," the hard-hitting feature documentary film on which SmithDehn co-founder Frank Dehn has been production counsel, has moved into the list of top 15 contenders for an Oscar for 2013.

SMITHDEHN ATTORNEYS TO LEAD GOOGLE+ FILM LAW PANEL:

In other news, SmithDehn attorneys Russell Smith and Abhinav Chandan will join Lathrop & Gage partner Lincoln Bandlow on the law panel for the Unofficial Google+ Film Festival this Saturday December 14. These three legal professionals will talk about many of the legal issues involving content and filming. With "war stories" from movies such as Borat, Muscle Shoals, Big Boys Gone Bananas, and Searching For Sugar Man, the panelists will explode the myths about what contributor agreements should look like, what constitutes fair use in film, and various "do's" and "don'ts" when shooting and editing a film.