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  • Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- 

The Sundance Institute is announcing a new element to the Sundance Film Festival: A global call for short films about overcoming poverty and hunger.

The executive director of the institute made the announcement Tuesday during the festival. Keri Putnam is inviting documentary and narrative filmmakers from around the world to submit short films that tell empowering stories about individuals or communities conquering hunger and poverty.

She says the aim of the contest is to inspire ideas, discussions and solutions through films "that inform and engage audiences in ways that are as innovative and imaginative as the solutions people are putting into action every day."

Five winners will be shown at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and the filmmakers will receive $10,000 each. The Short Film Challenge is separate from the festival's regular short-film competition.

The new contest will formally More

  • Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
LOS ANGELES -- 

The Publicists of the International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600) have announced nominees for the Maxwell Weinberg Publicist Showmanship Awards, with the winners to be announced at the Publicists’ 51st Annual Awards Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Friday, February 28.

Nominees for the Maxwell Weinberg Publicist Showmanship Award for Motion Pictures are the union publicists who worked on American Hustle (Sony Pictures); Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Paramount Pictures); Despicable Me 2 (Universal Pictures); Gravity (Warner Bros.); Saving Mr. Banks (Walt Disney Studios); and The Heat (Fox).

The nominees for the Television category are American Horror Story: Coven (20th Century Fox Television); The Crazy Ones (20th Century Fox Television); Glee (20th Century Fox Television); The Good Wife ( More

  • Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
LOS ANGELES -- 

Award-winning writer-director-producer John Wells will receive the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) 2014 Board of Governors Award. Wells will be honored during the 28th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards gala here on February 1 at the Hollywood & Highland Ray Dolby Ballroom.

"John Wells is an extraordinary talent whose long career has exposed the world to superlative cinematography across a wide array of features and television," said ASC president Richard Crudo.

Wells has notched over 830 credits during his prolific career. He is the creative force behind multiple hit television series, including the Emmy-winning ER and The West Wing. He served as an executive producer on the critically acclaimed Southland (TNT), and the award-winning Mildred Pierce (HBO) and China Beach (ABC), among many others. Currently, he is the executive producer More

  • Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
LOS ANGELES -- 

The Visual Effects Society (VES) announced that actor/comedian/author Patton Oswalt will serve as host of the 12th Annual VES Awards on February 12 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.  This marks Oswalt’s third engagement as host of the annual celebration that recognizes outstanding visual effects artistry and innovation. 

“Look, no one drinks more or parties harder than visual effects artists.  They’ve promised to green screen a vat of bourbon into my stomach.  I had to say yes, “ said Oswalt on his return engagement.

Oswalt continues to find success in all areas of entertainment, from his Grammy-nominated comedy specials to his many memorable TV guest roles (including Parks and Recreation, for which he received a TV Critics Choice Award).  He is also currently featured in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, stars in Adult Swim’s The Heart, She Holler and is the narrator on ABC’s More

  • Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
A Sept. 11, 2013 file photo of actor Kurt Russell (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- 

Calling his late castmate Paul Walker "a terrific guy," Kurt Russell says he's not sure what will happen with his role in the latest "Fast & Furious" movie.

Russell joined the seventh film in the franchise and plays a father figure to Vin Diesel's character Dominic Toretto. The 62-year-old actor said he had one day left of filming when Walker died in a car crash outside Los Angeles last November.

"They're having to rewrite, they're having to do whatever they're having to do to deal with the situation. Listen, it's catastrophic. It's the worst thing that could happen to a movie, but it's not as bad as what happened to Paul," Russell said in an interview at the Sundance Film Festival, where he's promoting a documentary about his father's minor-league baseball team, "The Battered Bastards of Baseball." ''So everything is in perspective. He was a terrific guy. And life is full of curveballs."

More

  • Monday, Jan. 20, 2014
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- 

PBS documentary maker Ken Burns is examining the roots of country music and how it has changed through the present day for a multi-episode series on public broadcasting.

Country fans have a wait ahead of them, though. PBS said Monday that Burns' country music project isn't set to air until 2018.

The noted documentarian has several other projects in the works for PBS, including one on the Gettysburg Address that will air this spring, and films on the Roosevelts, Jackie Robinson and Vietnam.

The country series explores the question, "what is country music." It will track the careers of the Carter family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and others.

  • Monday, Jan. 20, 2014
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- 

A study commissioned by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles finds that female filmmakers who participate in the institute's feature and documentary development labs succeed in equal numbers to men.

The executive director of the Sundance Institute, Keri Putnam, and the president of Women in Film Los Angeles, Cathy Schulman, presented the findings Monday at a private event during the Sundance Film Festival.

The study examined participation in Sundance's film-development labs and found that gender had no impact on the likelihood of a film's completion. About 41 percent of all lab projects by male and female filmmakers are finished, and 80 percent of those go on to play at major film festivals.

"Labs level the gender playing field," said lead researcher Stacy L. Smith of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

Women More

  • Monday, Jan. 20, 2014
This photo released by the Sundance Institute shows Ariel Gulchin in the documentary film, "Fed Up." The Sundance Film Festival runs Jan. 16-26, 2014, in Park City, Utah. (AP Photo/Sundance Institute, Scott Sinkler)
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- 

Along with her soon-to-end daytime talk show, fall engagement and recent move from TV to the web as Yahoo's global anchor, Katie Couric also made a documentary feature shown at Sundance.

"Fed Up" premiered Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival.

Couric linked up with "An Inconvenient Truth" producer Laurie David to make a film that explores the epidemic of childhood obesity and its not-so-obvious causes. Couric produced and narrates the film.

The 57-year-old TV anchor said she pitched David her idea over email, "and it took her about 10 seconds to say, 'I'm in.'"

"Three seconds," David said.

Couric said documentaries "are replacing journalism in some cases" because budget cuts and a taste for quick news bites means "nobody invests the time to really investigate some of the biggest social issues." A collection of headlines doesn't illuminate can't illuminate an issue the way a More

  • Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- 

Following up on the success of "The Sound of Music" last month, NBC said Sunday that it will broadcast a live version of "Peter Pan" in December.

It will be produced by the same team, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, that made "The Sound of Music" with Carrie Underwood. The live musical reached 19 million viewers, surprising even NBC entertainment president Robert Greenblatt.

No cast members were announced on Sunday.

"I have some dream choices, but I don't want to talk about it before approaching them," Greenblatt said.

"Peter Pan," which opened on Broadway in 1954, has a strong history with NBC. The network aired a live broadcast of the show from its own studios in 1955 with Tony Award-winner Mary Martin in the title role and most of the original Broadway cast, reaching 65 million viewers. That was a record for television at the time.

NBC broadcast the show live again in 1956 and 1960 More

  • Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- 

Oscar-nominated director Alfonso Cuaron is trying television for the first time, teaming with producer J.J. Abrams on a new series.

The two have known each other for about 20 years, and Abrams was eager to work with Cuaron. Cuaron is up for a best director Oscar for "Gravity," the category he won at the Golden Globes.

Cuaron concocted the idea for "Believe," debuting March 10 on NBC, while shooting "Gravity" with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. He contacted Abrams, who came aboard as co-executive producer for the series starring Delroy Lindo, Kyle MacLachlan and Jamie Chung.

Cuaron joked Sunday to the Television Critics Association that after working in space, he wanted to do something where people weren't floating. The series revolves around a 10-year-old girl with supernatural powers who's pursued by sinister forces.

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