Wednesday, February 21, 2018

News Briefs

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  • Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018
"Black Panther" scores highest Monday ever with $40.2M
This image released by Disney shows Chadwick Boseman in a scene from Marvel Studios' "Black Panther." (Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios-Disney via AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

With a massive $40.2 million in ticket sales Monday, "Black Panther" has set another box-office record: biggest Monday ever.

The Walt Disney Co. again raised its box-office estimates for the Marvel sensation on Tuesday. The film's updated Monday performance — $7 million higher than Disney earlier forecast — narrowly topped the previous record, set by "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in 2015 with $40.1 million.

The higher Monday figure gives "Black Panther" the second biggest four-day weekend, behind only the $288.1 million of "The Force Awakens." With $242 million over the Presidents' Day weekend, "Black Panther" moves ahead of December's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" in the ranks of four-day starts.

Ryan Coogler's film, starring Chadwick Boseman, is the first big-budget tent pole release featuring a nearly all-black cast. The movie's three-day gross of $201.8 million ranks fifth highest of all time, not accounting for inflation.

Internationally, "Black Panther," which cost $200 million to make, is also outperforming earlier estimates. It has made $184.6 million overseas thus far, giving it a worldwide total of $426.6 million.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018
Stars, educators lead effort for kids to see "Black Panther"
In this Feb. 16, 2018, photo, University Prep Academy High School students react in Detroit to an announcement that all 600 students will see the film "Black Panther." (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- 

For years, Zavier Thompson has followed of Marvel superhero movies. But the 16-year-old student in Albuquerque has always wanted to see a popular film with a black superhero and black themes.

Thanks to an Albuquerque educator, the aspiring hip-hop and spoken word artist finally got his wish Thursday when he was given tickets to a private screening of "Black Panther."

"It was amazing. The music, the action...everything," said Thompson, who is black. "It made me proud to see out culture depicted like that."

"Black Panther" is about the mythical and highly advanced African nation of Wakanda, where T'Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, inherits the throne but is challenged by a Wakandan exile named Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan.  It's the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and based on 50-year-old material created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

The movie set a record with its $235 million debut at the top of the U.S. box office over the holiday weekend, becoming a blockbuster but also a cultural phenomenon. It's why some educators, philanthropists, celebrities, and business owners are pulling together their resources to bring children of color to see it.

Elementary school students in Detroit, middle school students in Atlanta and students living Los Angeles public housing all have been surprised in recent days with free tickets and transportation to experience a movie that is captivating black communities nationwide.

While black leads in TV and film have grown over the years, there is still a lack of positive minority images coming from Hollywood, which is why many are stressing the importance of having young black kids see the movie.

"Something very special is happening here," said Joycelyn Jackson, director of the Black Student Union for Albuquerque Public Schools, the educator who helped Thompson get into the Albuquerque screening.

"Congrats to the entire #blackpanther team! Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen," said former first lady Michelle Obama in a tweet Monday. "I loved this movie and I know it will inspire people of all backgrounds to dig deep and find the courage to be heroes of their own stories."

The movement began in January after former ESPN "SportsCenter" host Jemele Hill called out prominent Detroiters to help young children in the city get seats to see "Black Panther."

"I wish I had time to do it myself but if there is anyone in Detroit trying to take kids in underserved communities to see 'Black Panther,' holla at me," the Detroit native wrote on Twitter.

In response to Hill's tweet, two Twitter groups announced plans to send the entire student body at University Prep Academy High School in Detroit to see it. Twitter's black employee group known as the Blackbirds and Twitter Detroit took on the costs of tickets and transportation.

Also, students of the acclaimed Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta were told in a video that went viral they were going to see "Black Panther." In the footage, the 5th-grade students are shown cheering and dancing upon hearing the news.

Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment, the label of Kendrick Lamar, announced that he would pay for around 1,000 South Central Los Angeles children living in public housing to see the movie (Lamar did the film's soundtrack). Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer announced plans to host a screening in Mississippi "to ensure all our brown children can see themselves as a superhero."  Over the weekend, Serena Williams surprised girls in the club Black Girls Code with a private screening, which she attended. "Empire" star Jussie Smollett took to Instagram to announce he bought out two screenings in Chicago for elementary students and high school students.

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs in various cities to see the movie.

"Black Panther is more than a movie, it's a movement," Wade said on Instagram.

In Detroit, a surprise announcement to students was made Friday during an awards presentation in the gym of University Prep Academy High School whose sports teams, consequently, are called "The Panthers." About 520 students will board buses this week as part of a field trip to a Detroit-area theater, school officials said.

 

  • Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018
New York Festivals AME Awards unveils shortlist
Michael Demetriades, president and executive director of the New York Festivals AME Awards
NEW YORK -- 

New York Festivals® AME Awards®, for the World’s Best Advertising and Marketing Effectiveness™, announced the shortlist for the 2018 competition.

“Since 1994, the AME Awards has honored campaigns from around that globe that are not only creative, but successfully demonstrate innovative solutions to challenging marketing problems. This year’s standout shortlisted entries represent ground-breaking creative work that has achieved measurable results on behalf of the brand,” said Michael Demetriades, president and executive director of the AME Awards. 

2018’s shortlisted entries submitted from creative agencies around the globe boosted brand awareness and achieved exemplary results utilizing a robust number of strategies including guerilla marketing, branded entertainment, social marketing, sponsorships and promotions and cause marketing. 

Innovative ideas placed brands out front and helped achieve measurable market share including such cutting-edge tactics as a talking store, snow tweets in the Alps, and tattoo ink created from motorcycle burn-out carbon. Brave New World Communications Pvt. Ltd. India’s Shortlisted campaign’s “THE HEART OF THE HIGHWAY--The World’s First Talking Store” for client The Roadster Life Co. featured a talking store, with a unique first-person voice, that reached out to shoppers creating the effect of personal interaction delivered by interactive in-store tech including custom software, digital façade, interactive and multiTaction touch screens, augmented reality green-screen, immersive VR and virtual shopping screens. Results included a 70% revenue spike in high-value apparel categories.

Heimat Werbeagentur GmHB’s “Snowdrawings” for Swisscom, sponsor of the Swiss Ski team, wanted to be more than a logo and create a benefit for ski fans and showcase their extensive network. The telecommunications provider utilized a remote cheering app that allowed fans to send supporting tweets to the ski team and have them written next to the race track in the snowy slopes of the Alps. The tweets were visible for 2 miles and were created using automated snow blower-bots. Results—26 million impressions, 4 million video views and over 20 km of written messages in the snow.

Team One Los Angeles’ “Inking Our Mark on Motorcycle Culture” regained market share for Indian Motorcycles by leveraging a brand-first lifestyle media partnership and the world’s-first tattoo production technique formulated from the burn-out carbon from Motocross legend Carey Hart’s Indian Motorcycle. The process of making the ink and tattooing Carey were presented in a video along with a six-page custom print advertorial for Inked and offering a limited-edition run of Indian Motorcycle Ink™ in select biker-focused tattoo parlors nationwide resulted in the ink being sold out in a week. With zero paid traffic to Indian’s website, the results include 82% new visitors who spent an average 59% more time and visited 7% more pages than other visitors in the same period reinforcing success in generating qualified conquest leads. Indian went from 7th to 2nd most purchased motorcycle brand in the U.S.

Branded Entertainment repositioned brands and increased brand affinity, Shortlisted entries include Zulu Alpha Kilo Canada’s campaign “Common Ground” for their docu-series that followed riders from around the globe on a trip across Canada for Harley-Davidson Canada. Discovery Channel picked up the series as a primetime special, increasing Harley’s market share. PHD China’s “Panamera O2O Brand Repositioning” for client Porsche re-launched the Panamera through an integrated sponsorship with the immensely popular series “Ode to Joy” making it better aligned government and cultural climate and consumer needs and wants. Starcom Saudi Arabia’s “ALJ Toyota After Sales” for client ALJ Toyota created an animated web series for YouTube portraying the day-to-day life of a Saudi citizen. The film showcased ALJ after sale and maintenance services resulting in 94% change in brand perception with 49% increase in service appointments.

HBO Multicultural Marketing’s “The HeLa Project” was launched as a lead up to the premiere of HBO’s film, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” The multi-day, multi-city, multi-media, traveling art installation consisted of a unique, impactful collective of artisans and thought-leaders from the African-American community. Touring activation resulted in 182 million media impressions. Oprah, the film’s star, promoted the film through promotional channels, including her social media accounts, a promotional press tour that included the cover of an Essence cover and hosting a junket for black female journalists (#blackgirlmagic), and show appearances. Over 6,500 guests attended, 77% of guests were more likely to watch “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”.

Campaigns created to raise awareness for causes, or social and civic issues advanced. Shortlisted campaigns include: Dentsu Jayme Syfu Philippines guerilla campaign “Dead Whale” for client Greenpeace. The agency mounted a 73-foot decomposing “Dead Whale” installation on the shores of one of the most polluted cities in the Philippines during the 2017 ASEAN Summit. When examined closer, the whale was made entirely of plastic wastes collected from the ocean. The results—over 100 million impressions internationally and it caught the attention of ASEAN leaders, which put Coastal and Marine Protection in the proposal for the next Summit. Heimat Werbeagentur GmHB Germany’s shortlisted campaign “A New Way of Thinking” for Free Democrats created a game-changing election campaign to reach and activate young voters and bridging the gap between the Liberal party and the voters. The digital campaign resulted in a comeback for the Liberal party.

Entries utilizing sponsorships raised awareness for brands and connected them with target audiences. Shortlisted entries include: QIYI China’s “Rising! Chinese Hip-hop” for client McDonald’s China connected McDonald’s with millennials via food and music creating The Rap of China, the first internet-based hip-hop contest. Havas San Francisco’s “Citrix & Red Bull Racing: This Is How the Future Works” repositioned Citrix as a thought leader in the future of work, leveraging their high-profile partnership with the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team and showcasing what Citrix can bring to any IT customer relationship. GMR Marketing’s “Lincoln Financial Group Presents: The Game Plan” for client Lincoln Financial leveraged their Philadelphia Eagles partnership to showcase best practices for financial planning by following a day in the life of players and illustrating that Lincoln Financial is a partner who will help them take charge of their financial future.

Social platforms created buzz for brands resulting in measurable gains in market share along with shortlist status. Grabarz & Partner Werbeagentur GmbH Germany’s “Laughing Horses” Volkswagen showcased the product benefits of the Trailer Assist, illustrating the stress of parking while someone is watching. This funny social video featuring laughing horses mocking a frustrated driver trying to park his trailer became the best performing German Volkswagen video with 40 million views. Other shortlisted entries include: Team One USA’s “Platforms of Expression for a Shareworthy Life” for Lexus IS; TBWA\ Singapore’s “Justice Bao and The Missing Travel Insurance” for Singapore Tourism Board; Saudi Ministry of Health’s “Diabetes Monster”; McCann New York’s “The Sound of Priceless” for Mastercard; Al Jazeera Qatar’s “#DemandPressFreedom by Al Jazeera” for www.aljazeera.com; Brave New World Communications Pvt. Ltd. India’s “Once Upon a Highway” for The Roadster Life Co.; and Mediacorp PTE Ltd.’s “Letter to My Son” for Mediacorp.

Campaigns for automotive brands drove consumer engagement and gained traction for the brand.  Agencies shortlisted include:  Grabarz & Partner Werbeagentur GmbH’s “Laughing Horse” for Volkswagen; Socialize United Arab Emirates’ “Meet Kamal: The World’s Best Auto Salesman” for Mercedes-Benz; Mirrored Media’s “Road to Coachella” for BMW.

The medal round is underway and AME’s Grand Jury awards Gold, Silver, and Bronze to the highest scoring entries through two rounds of regional judging to ensure scoring accounts for cultural and economic relevance. Gold-winning work from all regions is judged by the full international Grand Jury to determine a Platinum Award for each of the five regions (North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East & Africa and Asia Pacific) and the International Grand AME Award.

To view the complete 2018 AME Awards Shortlist, click here.

 

  • Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018
SIGGRAPH launches Themed Entertainment Contest with FlyOver Canada
CHICAGO -- 

SIGGRAPH 2018, the world’s leading annual interdisciplinary educational event showcasing the latest in computer graphics and interactive techniques, has announced a one-of-a-kind Themed Entertainment Contest in partnership with Vancouver-based FlyOver Canada. The contest includes a $10,000 cash prize. The 45th SIGGRAPH conference will take place August 12-16, 2018, at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, B.C.

SIGGRAPH 2018 Conference chair Roy C. Anthony said of the contest, “We invite content creators from around the world to let their minds run free, as they develop visuals their SIGGRAPH peers will never forget.”

Contest entrants are invited to develop content that delivers a rich storytelling experience exploring one of four themes: Halloween/Nightmare; Flight; Chinese New Year; or Generations, the SIGGRAPH 2018 conference theme. Content must be suitable for all age groups.

FlyOver Canada utilizes state-of-the-art technology in a next-generation attraction that simulates the sensation of flight. Riders hang suspended, feet dangling, before a 20-meter spherical screen while a large format film whisks them away on an exhilarating journey. For one of its attractions, the FlyOver Canada film crew spent more than a year travelling from coast to coast to capture Canada’s most spectacular and iconic locations. The FlyOver Canada Theatre System supports special effects--such as motion, spray mist, and wind--for a truly unique ride.

SIGGRAPH subject matter experts and FlyOver Canada executives will review all entries and select four finalists--one winner will ultimately be chosen. The winning prize package includes complimentary Full Conference registration to SIGGRAPH 2018, and a $10,000 cash prize. In addition, airfare to and hotel accommodations in Vancouver for up to three nights (not to exceed $5,000), and the opportunity to experience his/her exciting content in-person during a special on-site conference event.

Notable deadlines for the contest include:

  • March 7 – Contest Registration and Intent to Submit Due
  • May 24 – Content Materials Due
  • July 10 – Finalists and Winner Announced
  • August 13 – Cocktail Event and Winning Content Premiere

FlyOver Canada general manager Lisa Adams said, “We know that the attendees who enjoy SIGGRAPH every year come from around the world, bringing with them next-generation talent across every area of digital arts and new technologies.  We cannot wait to see what exhilarating creative content the winner of this SIGGRAPH contest will bring to our FlyOver Canada screen!”

To learn more about and participate in this unprecedented contest, click here.

  • Monday, Feb. 19, 2018
Religious protests against gay films show divide in Romania
In this Saturday, May 20, 2017 file photo, a child holds a sign that reads "No to homosexual marriages and adoptions" during a counter march before of a gay pride parade in Bucharest, Romania. Religious protesters in Romania have disrupted the screening of two movies in Bucharest in Feb. 2018, saying they violate traditional values. The recent protests illustrate divided views about homosexuality, a provocative and difficult topic in the European Union member. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, file)
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) -- 

Religious protesters in Romania have disrupted the screenings of two movies featuring gay themes, saying they violate traditional values. In response, a new screening of the Cannes award-winning movie "120 Beats Per Minute" is going to be held Tuesday in Bucharest.

The dispute illustrates Romania's divided views about homosexuality, which remains a difficult topic in the eastern European Union member where more than 85 percent of its people belong to Christian Orthodox churches. Homosexuality was only decriminalized when Romania prepared to join the EU in 2002.

Protesters calling themselves Christian Orthodox burst into a movie theater on Feb. 4 during the French AIDS drama "120 Beats Per Minute" by French director Robin Campillo.

Days later, protesters disrupted another movie featuring a relationship with a Romanian man and an ex-convict from the nation's oppressed Roma, or Gypsy, minority titled "Soldiers: A Story from Ferentari."

"(There's a) conflict between conservatives and liberals in Romania," Cristian Parvulescu, dean of the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, told The Associated Press. "

Parvulescu says what's happening in Romania is similar to developments in other former communist countries.

"We are influenced by Hungary and Poland," he said

Protesters objected to "120 Beats" being shown at the Romanian Peasant Museum because "the Romanian peasant is a Christian Orthodox."

They sang the national anthem and religious songs while others held religious icons and banners saying: "Romania isn't Sodom" and "Hey Soros, leave them kids alone," referring to Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros.

The film, set in Paris in the 1990s, explores homosexuality and the AIDS epidemic. It won the Grand Prize from the jury at Cannes in 2017.

At the protest for the second film, protesters played Gypsy rock music to drown out the movie. Police were called in to break up the protest.

Dan Grajdeanu, who heads the Orthodox Brotherhood, believes the movies should not have been screened at the museum, which he says is "not the place to air low morality movies, that show homosexuality, pedophilia, pornography."

Filmmaker Cristian Mungiu, the distributor of "120 Beats Per Minute" in Romania, has urged the culture minister and Bucharest mayor to publicly support the movie but so far they have remained silent. It will be reshown Tuesday at the same museum.

Parvulescu says politicians are "very circumspect" on gay issues due to the influential Romanian Orthodox Church.

Last year, 3 million people signed a petition backing a referendum to amend the Romanian Constitution so it explicitly states that marriage only can be a union between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriages do not legally exist and are not recognized even when couples legally marry elsewhere.

The gay rights group MozaiQ condemned "the extreme gestures of some ultra-Orthodox and conservative groups ... who propagate hate against the LGBT community." It has urged Romanian politicians to "send a more decisive signal to society that discrimination is not acceptable."

MozaiQ chairman Vlad Viski said the movies were about "freedom of expression."

"In a democracy, sexual minorities must be protected," he said. "Extremist, radical speech has no place in a European democracy."

  • Monday, Feb. 19, 2018
Facebook to verify ads with postcards after Russian meddling
In this June 4, 2012 file photo, a girl looks at Facebook on her computer in Palo Alto, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) -- 

Facebook will soon rely on centuries-old technology to try to prevent foreign meddling in U.S. elections: the post office.

Baffled in 2016 by Russian agents who bought ads to sway the U.S. presidential campaign, Facebook's global politics and government outreach director, Katie Harbath, told a meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State in Washington on Saturday that the company would send postcards to potential buyers of political ads to confirm they reside in the U.S.

The recipient would then have to enter a code in Facebook to continue buying the ad. The method will first apply to ads that name candidates ahead of the midterm elections in November, said Facebook spokesman Andy Stone.

The plan was unveiled a day after special counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians with interfering in the presidential election. Mueller's indictment described how Russian agents stole social security numbers and other information from real Americans and used them to create bank and PayPal accounts in order to buy online ads. Agents also recruited Americans to do things such as hold up signs at rallies organized to create content for Russian-created social media posts.

Facebook uncovered some 3,000 Russian-linked ads on Facebook and Instagram bought before and after the November 2016 election that it says may have been seen by as many as 150 million users. But ads were only part of the problem, as the Mueller indictments say that Russian agents also set up fake pages with names such as "Secured Borders," ''Blacktivist" and "United Muslims of America" that had hundreds of thousands of followers.

Facebook did not say how the new postcard method of verification would prevent foreign agents from setting up local mailing addresses and hiring people in the U.S. to check them. But Stone said the method was "one piece of a much larger effort to address foreign electoral influence on our platform."

Facebook's efforts largely center around verifying people on the platform are who they say they are. To catch duplicitous ad-buyers, for instance, it is now testing out in Canada a system that allows people to see which ads are being bought by a Facebook page — say, a candidate's — even if the person checking the ad is not in the group to whom the ad was intended to be shown.

Stone said Facebook was also able to detect and remove "tens of thousands" of fake Facebook pages in advance of French, German and British elections last year using improved machine learning techniques.

The company has said it would double the number of people working on its safety and security team to 20,000 this year and add 1,000 people to review advertising content.

  • Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018
Stanley Nelson's documentary showcases historically black colleges and universities
In this March 2, 1965 file photo, The Rev. Martin Luther King speaks at a Charter Day ceremony at Howard University in Washington. King discussed his civil rights movement theme, "We shall overcome." According the federal government a historically black college or university is an accredited learning institution started before 1964 that had a primary mission of educating black people. There are about 100 of them in 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Filmmaker Stanley Nelson knew he wanted to tell a story about the nation's historically black colleges and universities — not just about individual HBCUs, many of which have their own celebrated histories, but about what they collectively have meant to black people.

And in making the documentary "Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities," Nelson said, something quickly became clear: HBCUs never were just about learning what was in books. From their beginnings in the years after the Civil War, the nation's HBCUs have been driving forces for African-American economic and political advancement.

"As we were making the film, it became for us a look at American history, and African-American history, through this lens of HBCUs. They were involved in so many central events," said Nelson, who wrote, directed and produced the film, which made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival last year and is getting its national broadcast debut through the PBS series "Independent Lens" on Monday (2/19).

Before the Civil War, schooling for enslaved black people was largely outlawed in many Southern states. After the war, newly freed black people were allowed to learn but were far from welcome at institutions of higher education serving white people, leading to the creation of colleges and universities to cater to them, predominantly in the South.

According to the federal government, an HBCU is an accredited learning institution started before 1964 that had a primary mission of educating black people, and there are about 100 of them today. Though HBCUs were started for blacks, today they accept students of all races and their student populations are 78 percent black.

Nelson's film explores those HBCU origins and how their campuses became safe spaces for African-American intellectualism to flourish and places where larger societal issues also were felt.

In part of the film, viewers are introduced to how college educations became a front in the ideological conflict between two prominent African-Americans, Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du Bois.

Washington, a graduate of Hampton University, became president of another HBCU, Tuskeegee Institute, and emphasized self-sufficiency for African-Americans, focusing on acquiring industrial trades and skills and earning the respect of whites through labor and hard work.

But Du Bois, who attended another HBCU, Fisk University, before going to Harvard University, had a different view for HBCUs and society at large. For him, colleges and universities were places to educate African-American leaders and thinkers, to be in the forefront of political and civil rights efforts pursuing equality.

Another part of the documentary shows how one of the most fundamental aspects of the civil rights movement, the case-by-case legal dismantling of the separate-but-equal system of segregation, came from the efforts of Thurgood Marshall and his mentor Charles Hamilton Houston, who taught him and other black students at Howard University's School of Law, another HBCU.

Other efforts that were fundamental to the civil rights movement, like the lunch counter sit-ins that started in Greensboro, North Carolina, also were connected to HBCUs — the first four men who asked for lunch service at a Woolworth's counter in February 1960 were students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Nelson, who's black, also has made movies about the Black Panther Party and the Freedom Summer. He attended an HBCU, Morris Brown College, for a term, and said it's "no accident" that so much civil rights effort and energy came out of HBCUs.

"It almost is not going to come from anywhere else," he said. "These are safe black intellectual spaces."

The film closes with a look at HBCUs today, their students and some of their challenges, like the plight of Morris Brown, which lost its accreditation in 2003 but still has some students. It doesn't delve deeply into those challenges, which Nelson described as a "complicated question" that could be its own movie.

Overall, the film is meant to give people a grounding, said Nelson, whose parents attended HBCUs.

"I think that there are just a few institutions that have sustained the African-American community," he said. "Black colleges and universities are certainly one of them."

  • Friday, Feb. 16, 2018
First Slate of Presenters Set For 90th Oscars
This image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows Daniela Vega in a scene from, "A Fantastic Woman." Vega plays a transgender woman whose partner dies and is subjected to harsh treatment by the family of her deceased lover and by police investing the death. (Sony Pictures Classics via AP)
LOS ANGELES -- 

Producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd announced the first slate of presenters for the 90th Oscars® telecast.  Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the Oscars will air live Sunday, March 4, on the ABC Television Network.

The presenters, including past Oscar® winners and nominees, are Mahershala Ali, Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Laura Dern, Jennifer Garner, Greta Gerwig, Tiffany Haddish, Tom Holland, Kumail Nanjiani, Margot Robbie, Emma Stone and Daniela Vega.

“Whether returning to the Oscars stage, or gracing it for the first time, each of these artists bring their own distinguishing and energetic appeal,” said De Luca and Todd. “Their contributions will make for an unforgettable evening.”

Ali won an Oscar for Actor in a Supporting Role for “Moonlight” (2016). His credits also include the Oscar-nominated film “Hidden Figures” (2016), “Free State of Jones” (2016), “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” (2015) and “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” (2014).  Ali will next appear in “Alita: Battle Angel,” “Green Book” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

Boseman starred in the Oscar-nominated film “Marshall” (2017) and currently stars as the title character in “Black Panther” (2018). His credits also include “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), “Message from the King” (2016), “Get on Up” (2014) and “42” (2013). Boseman will next appear in “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Davis won an Oscar for Actress in a Supporting Role for “Fences” (2016).  Additionally, she garnered an Actress in a Leading Role nomination for “The Help” (2011) and an Actress in a Supporting Role nomination for “Doubt” (2008). Her other credits include the Oscar-winning films “Suicide Squad” (2016), “Syriana” (2005) and “Traffic” (2000) as well as the Oscar-nominated “Prisoners” (2013), “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” (2011) and “Far from Heaven” (2002). Davis will next appear in “Widows.”

Dern was Oscar-nominated for Actress in a Supporting Role for “Wild” (2014) and Actress in a Leading Role for “Rambling Rose” (1991). Currently, she appears in the Oscar-nominated “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi” (2017). Additionally, Dern’s credits include “Downsizing” (2017), “Wilson” (2017), “The Founder” (2016), “99 Homes” (2014), “The Fault in Our Stars” (2014) and “The Master” (2012).

Garner’s credits include the Oscar-winning films “Dallas Buyers Club” (2013) and “Juno” (2007) as well as the Oscar-nominated “Catch Me If You Can” (2002). Her feature credits also include “Miracles from Heaven” (2016), “Men, Women & Children” (2014) and “13 Going on 30” (2004). She will next appear in “Love, Simon” and “Peppermint.”

Gerwig is Oscar-nominated for Achievement in Directing and Original Screenplay for “Lady Bird” (2017). As an actor, she appeared in the Oscar-nominated films “20th Century Women” (2016) and “Jackie” (2016).

Haddish currently stars in “Girls Trip” (2017). Recent film credits also include “Keanu” (2016).  She will next appear in “Night School” and “The Oath.”

Holland’s recent credits include the title role in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017). Additionally, he appeared in “The Current War” (2017), “Captain America: Civil War” (2016) and “The Lost City of Z” (2016). Holland will next appear in “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Chaos Walking.”

Nanjiani is Oscar-nominated for Original Screenplay (shared with Emily V. Gordon) for “The Big Sick” (2017). Nanjiani also starred in the film. His additional feature acting credits include “Fist Fight” (2017), “The Late Bloomer” (2016) and “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” (2016) as well as lending his voice to “The Lego Ninjago Movie” (2017).

Robbie is Oscar-nominated for Actress in a Leading Role for “I, Tonya” (2017), for which she also served as a producer. Additionally, she appeared in the Oscar-winning film “Suicide Squad” (2016) and the Oscar-nominated “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013). Robbie’s credits also include “The Legend of Tarzan” (2016) and “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” (2016). She will next appear in “Mary Queen of Scots.”

Stone won an Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role for “La La Land” (2016).  Additionally, she garnered an Actress in a Supporting Role nomination for “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” (2014).  Stone’s credits also include the Oscar-winning film “The Help” (2011) and the Oscar-nominated animated feature “The Croods” (2013).  She has also appeared in “Battle of the Sexes” (2017), “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (2014), “Gangster Squad” (2013), “The Amazing Spider-Man” (2012), “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” (2011), “Easy A” (2010) and “Zombieland” (2009). She will next appear in “The Favourite.”

Vega stars in the Oscar-nominated film “A Fantastic Woman” (2017). She is an opera singer and stage actress in Chile.

The 90th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be broadcast live on the ABC Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. 

The Oscars, produced by De Luca and Todd and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, also will be televised in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

  • Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018
Integrated studio Brickyard Filmworks launches in Santa Monica, Boston
Brickyard Filmworks' Andrew Bell (l) and Steve Michaels
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- 

Integrated content creation studio Brickyard Filmworks has launched in Santa Monica and Boston. Brickyard Filmworks is comprised of directors, creative directors, designers, animators, and technologists, offering clients a streamlined approach to content creation that strips away nonessential layers and curates the right team for projects of any scope, on any platform.

“Over the years we’ve seen the industry evolve so we created a resource for clients and projects that demand a more flexible and efficient approach,” said Steve Michaels, managing director/partner, Brickyard Filmworks. “Brickyard Filmworks is a natural progression as our client landscape continued to shift. We’ve taken the time to build an incredible roster of diverse talents than can handle everything from creative concepting to directing to shooting to VFX/animation to VR/AR.”

“Coming from an agency background, I know firsthand how many different companies need to be hired to finish one commercial or online video. It’s a much more efficient process when you can go from start to finish with one trusted team. This cultivates a collaborative experience and more importantly a better end product for our clients,” said David Register of directorial duo TruthBullet.

Brickyard Filmworks is led by Michaels in Santa Monica and managing director Andrew Bell in Boston. Its roster includes: Alice Gu, Anton Thallner, Benji Davidson, Billy Rainey, DarkMatter, David Blumenfeld, Laura Lanktree, Nick Sawyer, Sean McLean, TruthBullet, and White Rabbit.

  • Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018
Amazon: "Transparent" star Jeffrey Tambor out of series
In this Sept. 16, 2017 file photo, Jeffrey Tambor attends the BAFTA Los Angeles TV Tea Party in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Amazon Studios says "Transparent" star Jeffrey Tambor won't be on the series when it returns for its fifth season, prompting the Emmy winner to denounce what he called false accusations and the studio's handling of the matter.

The decision, confirmed Thursday by an Amazon spokeswoman, followed the conclusion of an internal investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

"I am profoundly disappointed in Amazon's handling of these false accusations against me," Tambor said in a statement. "I am even more disappointed in Jill Soloway's unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to any of my fellow cast mates. In our four-year history of working together on this incredible show, these accusations have NEVER been revealed or discussed directly with me or anyone at Amazon."

Tambor said he is left to surmise that the investigation was flawed and biased by a "toxic politicized atmosphere that afflicted our set."

"As I have consistently stated, I deeply regret if any action of mine was ever misinterpreted by anyone and I will continue to vehemently defend myself," he said.

The claims against the actor were made late last year by Tambor's former assistant and an actress on "Transparent," which is about a transgender woman and her family.

Tambor denied the accusations at that time but said that in light of them he didn't see how he could return to the show.

Series creator Jill Soloway said in a statement that action was being taken to ensure the series' workplace "respects the safety and dignity of every individual."

Tambor, 73, won two Emmy Awards for his role as a retired professor who is transgender and transitions late in life, and the impact that has on her grown children.