Tuesday, March 20, 2018

News Briefs

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  • Monday, Mar. 19, 2018
"Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon running for governor
In this Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, file photo, Actress Cynthia Nixon poses for the photographers during a photo call for the film 'A Quiet Passion' at the 2016 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

Former "Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon is running for New York governor.

After flirting with a run for months, Nixon said on Twitter Monday that she will challenge Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York's Democratic primary in September.

It sets up an intriguing race pitting an openly gay liberal activist against a two-term incumbent with a $30 million war chest and possible presidential ambitions.

Her campaign website said Nixon won't accept any corporate contributions and will limit contributions from any individual or organization to $65,100 for the election cycle.

"We want our government to work again. On health care, ending massive incarceration, fixing our broken subway," Nixon said in a video announcing her candidacy . "We are sick of politicians who care more about headlines and power than they do about us."

Nixon has her work cut out for her. A Siena College poll released Monday showed Cuomo leading her by 66 percent to 19 percent among registered Democrats, and by a similar margin among self-identified liberals. Nixon did a little better among younger and upstate Democrats, but didn't have more than a quarter of either group.

The poll of 772 registered voters was conducted March 11-16. The margin of error is plus-minus 4 percentage points.

Nixon has in recent months given speeches and interviews calling on Democrats nationally to run "bluer" in 2018 and carve out a strong, progressive liberal identity rather than being merely "the anti-Trump party."

It's a left-flank strategy that has had success against Cuomo in the past — nearly unknown liberal activist and law professor Zephyr Teachout garnered a surprising 34 percent of the vote in the 2014 Democratic primary.

"It could be a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party in some sense," said Baruch College political scientist Douglas Muzzio.

Nixon, a 51-year-old Manhattan mother of three, is a longtime advocate for fairness in public school funding and fervent supporter of Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has frequently clashed with Cuomo on a range of issues. Her video shows her with her young son Max as she talks about being a proud public school parent.

Last month, at the annual New York gala of Human Rights Campaign, which has endorsed Cuomo, she took a backhanded stab at the governor's record: "For all the pride that we take here in being such a blue state, New York has the single worst income inequality of any state in the country."

The 60-year-old Cuomo had no immediate comment on Nixon's candidacy. But recently, he mocked the celebrity status the Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner could bring to the race.

"Normally name recognition is relevant when it has some connection to the endeavor," Cuomo told reporters earlier this month. "If it was just about name recognition, then I'm hoping that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Billy Joel don't get into the race."

While Nixon has strong political connections and name recognition in the city that was the backdrop for her Emmy Award-winning role as lawyer Miranda Hobbes in the HBO comedy "Sex and the City," her star power among upstate voters is less certain.

Jefrey Pollock, pollster and political adviser to Cuomo and other prominent Democrats, said that celebrity isn't likely to trump governing experience in the voting booth.

"Over and over in our research, Democratic primary voters say they're not looking for an outsider because they look to Washington, D.C., and see what the outsider has meant to this country," Pollock said.

The first task for Nixon, Muzzio said, is to launch a listening and talking tour.

"She can't be the celebrity glamour girl," he said. "She's got to get out there and get exposure upstate."

Nixon won't be the only celebrity candidate on the New York ballot. Former "Law and Order: SVU" actress Diane Neal is running for Congress as an independent in a Hudson Valley district.

  • Sunday, Mar. 18, 2018
Ryan Murphy interviews Barbra Streisand to kick off PaleyFest LA
In this Oct. 11, 2012, file photo, singer Barbra Streisand performs at the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. During a Friday, March 16, 2018 tribute to her decades of TV music specials and other programs, Streisand said she's never suffered sexual harassment but has felt abused by the media. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Barbra Streisand said she's never suffered sexual harassment but has felt abused by the media.

During a tribute to Streisand's decades of TV music specials and other programs, producer and long-time admirer Ryan Murphy queried her about her career, the #MeToo movement and her aversion to interviews.

"Never," she replied when asked if she had been sexually mistreated. "I wasn't like those pretty girls with those nice little noses. Maybe that's why."

She acknowledged the power of protests against gender inequality sweeping through Hollywood and society.

"We're in a strange time now in terms of men and women and the pendulum swinging this way and that way, and it's going to have to come to the center," Streisand said during Friday's Paley Center for Media event held at a packed theater.

Her reluctance to talk to news outlets is based on years of what she called inaccurate reporting, including one story that claimed she has an "awards room" at home dedicated to her Oscars, Emmys and other trophies. But it was the late TV journalist Mike Wallace who came in for the sharpest criticism.

Streisand said that when she was a young star (and before Wallace joined "60 Minutes"), he asked her hurtful questions during a TV interview and she called him afterward to complain. But on a subsequent show, Wallace told viewers who'd objected to his treatment of Streisand that she "loved" the interview, according to the star.

"I thought, I don't know what date rape is, it's terrible ... but it was such a violation," she said. "Why lie?"

Streisand said she demands control in her work but only in service to her art that's included directing, acting and producing TV movies, among them 1995's "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story," about anti-gay discrimination in the military.

Murphy ("Glee," ''American Horror Story"), who admitted to being nervous as he began his one-on-one conversation with the star of "Funny Girl" and award-winning TV specials dating back to 1966's "Color Me Barbra," said he owed his career to her.

"People talk about Barbra as the greatest female star. I say, no, that's not enough," Murphy said, calling her a groundbreaker for those who don't fit the mold. "She was a touchstone, a beacon I followed my entire life.

The tribute, which kicked off the 35th annual PaleyFest LA television festival at the Dolby Theatre, was capped by the presentation to Streisand of the 2018 PaleyFest Icon award.

Streisand is a "truly magical artist," Maureen J. Reidy, Paley Center president and CEO, said of her work as a singer, actress, director and producer.

Streisand also is known for her political activism on behalf of Democratic candidates and issues including gay rights.

  • Friday, Mar. 16, 2018
New York Festivals announces 2018 Film Craft Executive Jury
Pictured (l-r): Nick Fraser, Christina Thompson, Zu Al-Kadiri, Adam Perloff and Tatiana Rudzinski

New York Festivals® International Advertising Awards® will bring together of some of the most creative, technically advanced filmmakers in the industry to participate on the Live 2018 Film Craft Executive Jury. 

This discerning panel of film professionals dedicated to the quality and aesthetics of the filmmaking process will assemble together in New York City on Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22 to review all shortlisted Film Craft submissions selected by New York Festivals Grand Jury. Together they will decide the Film Craft entries worthy of being called the World’s Best Advertising®.

“New York Festivals Film Craft competition celebrates the magic of film and the individual contributions of onscreen artistry. Each category represents production expertise that creates the mood, elevates the idea and enhances its execution, resulting in brilliant commercial films,” said Susan Glass Ruse, associate executive director of New York Festivals International Advertising Awards. “This year’s Film Craft Executive Jury is an amazing creative collective, all dedicated to the craft of filmmaking, who will recognize innovation and award exceptional creative execution. I’m looking forward to some very passionate discussion.”

The 2018 Film Craft Executive Jury to date:

  • Zu Al-Kadiri, Executive Producer, Mill+
  • Jesse Brihn, Co-Director of Film Production, Droga5
  • Ryan Chong, Executive Producer, 72andSunny
  • Nick Fraser, Senior Producer, Framestore 
  • Clint Goldman, Executive Producer/Partner, BODEGA Studios
  • Allison Kunzman, Executive Producer, SMUGGLER
  • Adam Perloff, Executive Producer, BBH New York
  • Lorenzo Ragionieri, Managing Partner/Executive Producer, Cadence Films
  • Tatiana Rudzinski, Executive Producer, Greenpoint Pictures
  • Christina Thompson, Executive Producer, Mill+  

New York Festivals will announce the 2018 award-winners at the New York Show℠ awards ceremony and gala on the evening of Thursday, May 17, 2018. The annual event takes place at the world-class performance space, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street, New York City. A celebratory after-party will be held at the Ascent Lounge, on the 4th floor of Time Warner Center, to toast all the world-wide winners of the World’s Best Advertising.

  • Thursday, Mar. 15, 2018
Ava DuVernay to direct DC superhero film "The New Gods"
In this March 13, 2018 file photo, director Ava DuVernay poses for photographers at the premiere of the film "A Wrinkle In Time," in London. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP, File)

Ava DuVernay's "A Wrinkle in Time" may have disappointed at the box office, but she's already booked another big-budget project.

Warner Bros. said Thursday that DuVernay will direct "The New Gods," a DC Comics property created by the famed comic book artist Jack Kirby. It's an elaborate science fiction work, part of Kirby's "Fourth World Saga," about two warring alien planets. It debuted in 1971.

DuVernay became the first African-American woman to direct a live-action movie with a budget of $100 million or more with "A Wrinkle in Time." The Disney release debuted last weekend with $33 million in ticket sales.

Warner Bros. recently reshuffled its DC film division after critical duds like "Justice League" and "Suicide Squad." A "Wonder Woman" sequel is in development and an "Aquaman" spinoff is due out in December.

  • Thursday, Mar. 15, 2018
Danny Boyle says he's working on script for James Bond film
Director and executive producer Danny Boyle attends a special screening of FX Networks' "Trust" at Florence Gould Hall on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Danny Boyle says he's working on the script for the next James Bond movie.

The British director has been rumored to be at the top of the list to direct the 25th film in the spy action franchise. He says he's collaborating with John Hodge, who wrote Boyle's "Trainspotting" and its 2017 sequel, "T2: Trainspotting."

Boyle says the two are "working on a script at the moment." He says he can't offer more details.

MGM, which produces James Bond films, has not confirmed who will direct the next installment.

Boyle made the comments on the red carpet Wednesday at the New York premiere of "Trust."

The 10-part television miniseries on the kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III premieres on FX at 10 p.m. Eastern on March 25.

  • Thursday, Mar. 15, 2018
Unilever to base headquarters in the Netherlands
In this Feb. 22, 2000 photo the Unilever European headquarters are seen in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods multinational whose vast stable of brands includes Dove, Knorr and Ben & Jerry's, says it is basing its headquarters in the Netherlands, ending its longstanding structure of having head offices in both Rotterdam and London. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- 

Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods multinational whose vast stable of brands includes Dove, Knorr and Ben & Jerry's, is basing its headquarters in the Netherlands, ending its longstanding structure of having head offices in both Rotterdam and London, the company announced Thursday.

While there had been speculation that Unilever could opt to base itself on mainland Europe because of Britain's departure from the European Union, the company did not mention Brexit in its announcement. It said the move is part of a raft of structural changes that will turn the company into "a simpler, more agile and more focused business."

Unilever launched a far-reaching review of its business after rival Kraft Heinz launched an ultimately unsuccessful $143 billion hostile takeover bid early last year.

The company said that its employment of 7,300 people in Britain and 3,100 people in the Netherlands would be unaffected by the changes. Worldwide, Unilever employs nearly 170,000 people. The company had sales in 2017 of more than 50 billion euros ($62 billion).

Unilever was formed in 1930 by a business merger of the Dutch Margarine Unie and Britain's Lever Brothers. That led to the company's dual identity — with Unilever PLC in Britain and Unilever NV in the Netherlands technically separate companies but operating together thanks to a raft of agreements that allow them to share everything from brands and technology to identical boards of directors.

Unilever said it will now create three divisions — Beauty and Personal Care, Home Care and Foods and Refreshment, with the first two divisions based in London The company said that decision "secures nearly 1 billion pounds (1.1 billion euros) per year of continued spend in the UK."

The chairman of Unilever's board, Marijn Dekkers, said the board, "believes the move to three divisions and the simplification of our corporate structure will create a simpler, more agile and more focused company with increased strategic flexibility for value-creating portfolio change."

Dekkers added that the changes "further strengthen Unilever's corporate governance, creating for the first time in our history a 'one share, one vote' principle for all our shareholders."

  • Thursday, Mar. 15, 2018
George Lucas breaks ground on LA's Museum of Narrative Art
"Star Wars" creator filmmaker George Lucas, right, and his wife Mellody Hobson, left, and Don Bacigalupi, founding president, center, attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the on his $1.5 billion Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles Wednesday, March 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Wielding a silver shovel instead of a lightsaber, "Star Wars" creator George Lucas joined a handful of elected officials Wednesday in breaking ground on a billion-dollar museum dedicated to the art of visual storytelling.

Construction of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, a dream of the 73-year-old writer-director for more than a decade, is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

Trucks rumbled by the museum site near downtown Los Angeles as Lucas, dressed casually in a white- and blue-checkered shirt, jeans and tennis shoes, thanked more than 100 well-wishers. Among them was his collaborator and longtime friend, director Steven Spielberg.

"I think it's important to have a museum that, as I was joking and saying, supports all the orphan arts that nobody else wants to see, but that everybody loves," Lucas said, describing the project.

His museum's mission, he added, will be to explain the myths, legends, stories and portraits of people that shape societies and bring them together as one. The art will range from paintings and digital works to comic strips and, yes, movies like "Star Wars."

"To my feeling, popular art is an insight into a society and what they aspire to, what they really want, what they really are," Lucas said before grabbing a shovel and joining several local officials in turning over some dirt.

At times, the groundbreaking resembled a movie premiere minus the red carpet, with television cameras and photographers capturing the moment. Lucas called on Spielberg to join him on the mound of dirt, directing his friend to give a thumbs-up to the cameras.

"It's a great location," Spielberg told him as they headed to a private reception. Lucas pointed out the blocks-long museum site that until recently was a parking lot behind the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum where the 1932 and 1984 Olympics took place.

It will be transformed into a multistory museum resembling Han Solo's Millennium Falcon spacecraft that appears to hover over an area surrounded by 11 acres of green space. The museum itself will contain more than 100,000 square feet of gallery space, underground parking, a restaurant, movie theaters and other amenities. Numerous programs are being planned for children from surrounding schools.

Lucas and his wife, Mellody Hobson, are picking up the cost, which museum officials expect will exceed $1 billion for construction and its operating endowment. That will make it the largest public gift ever given to a municipality, local officials say.

The museum will be in Exposition Park, across the street from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the California Science Center and the California African American Museum and on the edge of the University of Southern California, where Lucas studied in the 1960s.

Although Lucas attended college nearby, the site was the third choice for the museum. Lucas and his wife couldn't reach an agreement with the director's hometown of San Francisco or his wife's hometown of Chicago.

The museum's wide-ranging collection will include paintings by Norman Rockwell, Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, comic strips by "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz and underground artist Robert Crumb, animation from films such as "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and special effects from films such as "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial."

Classic films represented will range from 1927's futuristic masterpiece "Metropolis" and Orson Welles' groundbreaking 1941 film "Citizen Kane" to the Lucas-Spielberg collaborations on the "Indiana Jones" movies.

And, of course, The Force will be strong at the museum. People will find everything from Luke Skywalker's first lightsaber to Darth Vader's helmet. Storyboards laying out the tale that Lucas created and that lives on in new film iterations also will be on display, along with stormtrooper uniforms and other set pieces.

Lucas, who has said mythologist Joseph Campbell's "The Hero With a Thousand Faces" helped inspire his "Star Wars" stories, remarked Wednesday that he believes that without such tales, people don't come together to gain common cultural understanding.

"Whether it's a cave painting or whether it's Apollo as a statue or whether it's the Sistine Chapel, whether it's Napoleon on a horse, whatever it is, that's what we aspire to," he said.

And that's a message, he added, that he hopes museum visitors will come away with.

  • Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2018
Light Iron expands to Atlanta with new facility
Clark Cofer
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- 

Light Iron, a leading postproduction creative services provider and member of the Panavision family of companies, has opened a new facility in Atlanta to locally support the robust Georgia production community. The expansion is the fourth since Panavision acquired Light Iron in 2015, bringing Light Iron’s U.S. locations to six total, including Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans, Albuquerque and Chicago.

“Opening Light Iron Atlanta is central to Panavision’s commitment to provide end-to-end services for our customers,” said Kim Snyder, president and CEO of Panavision. “We are excited to amplify our post resources in the thriving Atlanta market.”

Peter Cioni, Light Iron’s chief financial officer, added: “Light Iron has been supporting Georgia productions for years through our mobile dailies services. Now with a team on the ground, productions can take advantage of our facility-based dailies with talent that brings the finishing perspective into the process.” The company’s Atlanta staff recently provided dailies services to season one of Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, season three of Greenleaf, and the features Uncle Drew and Superfly.

With a professionally calibrated theater, the Light Iron Atlanta facility has hosted virtual DI sessions from its LA facility for cinematographers working in Atlanta. The theater is also available for projecting camera and lens tests, as well as private screenings for up to 45 guests.

Cioni noted that the new location is led by director of business development Clark Cofer, a well-respected member of Atlanta’s production and post industry. “Clark brings years of local and state-wide relationships to Light Iron, and we are pleased to have him on our growing team.”

Cofer most recently represented Crawford Media Services, where he drove sales for their content services to companies like Lionsgate, Fox, and Marvel. He currently serves as co-president of the Georgia Production Partnership, and is on the board of directors for the DeKalb County Film and Entertainment Advisory Board.

On joining Light Iron, Cofer remarked, “The partnership of Panavision and Light Iron is one that cinematographers, producers, and studios can all appreciate. I’m excited to see its impact on the Atlanta production community.”

Light Iron is planning a reception next week to celebrate its Atlanta opening.

  • Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2018
Google to ban cryptocurrency and related advertisements
This July 19, 2016, file photo shows the Google logo at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Google says it is going to ban advertisements for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, as well as related content like trading advice and cryptocurrency wallets.

The new policies, which also ban other complex financial products, will go into effect in June.

The Mountain View, California-based company announced the change Wednesday.

The move follows a similar step by Facebook earlier this year. The social networking giant updated its ad policy in January to ban financial products often associated with deceptive practices, including those involving cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

  • Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2018
Report: Claire Foy paid less than co-star on "The Crown"
In this Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 file photo, actress Claire Foy poses for photographers on arrival at the premiere of series 'The Crown, Season 2' in central London. (Photo by Grant Pollard/Invision/AP, File)

A producer of hit royal drama "The Crown" says Claire Foy, who played the central role of Queen Elizabeth II, was paid less than her on-screen husband.

The Netflix series traces Elizabeth's journey from princess to queen, beginning in the 1950s.

Trade publication Variety quoted producer Suzanne Mackie as confirming Foy was paid less than Matt Smith, who played Prince Philip in two seasons of the series. She made the reported comment at an industry event in Jerusalem.

She said this was because Smith was better-known after starring in sci-fi series "Doctor Who." Mackie said the gap would be closed with the forthcoming third series, saying "going forward, no one gets paid more than the queen."

Foy's agent did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Neither Foy nor Smith will appear in the third series, which will star Olivia Colman as the middle-aged monarch.

The gender pay gap has become a big issue in Hollywood after revelations that many female stars were paid less than their male counterparts.