Wednesday, October 17, 2018

News Briefs

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  • Friday, Sep. 7, 2018
Director Ramaa Mosley's "Lost Child" opens in theaters on Sept. 14
Ramaa Mosley
LOS ANGELES -- 

Director Ramaa Mosley’s Lost Child, a feature she wrote along with producer Tim Macy, is slated to open in theaters on Sept. 14, distributed by Breaking Glass Pictures.

Lost Child stars Leven Rambin (Hunger Games, True Detective), Taylor John Smith (Sharp Objects) and Jim Parrack (Suicide Squad, True Blood). Mosley’s film follows an army vet, Fern, who returns home in order to look for her brother--only to discover an abandoned boy lurking in the woods behind her childhood home. After taking in the boy, she searches for clues to his identity, and discovers the local folklore about a malevolent, life-draining spirit that comes in the form of a child.

The thriller recently won Best Narrative Feature distinction at the 2018 Kansas City Film Festival, and the Best Actress honor for Rambin at the Taormina Film Festival. Lost Child was also an official selection at the Bentonville Film Festival, the Heartland Film Fest, and the Sarasota Film Festival.

Director/writer Mosley made her first film at the age of 16, winning the prestigious United Nations’ Global 500 Award in the process. Over the past 20 years, Mosley has directed feature films and hundreds of award -winning  commercials. Mosley  directed  her  debut  feature  film--based  on  the  original  comic  book she  co-wrote--titled The Brass Teapot starring Juno Temple. The Brass Teapot premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was distributed by Magnolia Pictures in 2013. It was nominated for the International Critics’ Award (FIPRESCI) and a Saturn Award.  

Mosley was recently named as part of NBC’s inaugural class for its new “Female Forward” directors initiative which will provide female directors a pipeline into scripted television. She has been paired with the hit show Blindspot.

Mosley also serves as founder/CEO/executive creative director of Adolescent Content, a commercialmaking and branded entertainment production house. Adolescent Content represents and develops prodigious Gen Z and Millennial directors working in youth advertising, entertainment, and marketing.

  • Thursday, Sep. 6, 2018
Report: CBS CEO in exit talks amid misconduct probe
In this Sept. 19, 2017 file photo, Les Moonves, chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation, poses at the premiere of the new television series "Star Trek: Discovery" in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that CBS chief Les Moonves is negotiating with independent directors of CBS' board for a possible exit.

CBS has appointed two law firms to investigate Moonves for sexual misconduct allegations stemming from a July New Yorker article. CBS didn't return a request for comment. The report cites unnamed people familiar with the talks.

The Journal and CNBC both say Chief Operating Officer Joe Ianniello would be CBS' interim CEO if Moonves leaves.

The Journal also reports that the independent directors are seeking an assurance that CBS parent National Amusements won't seek to combine CBS with sibling company Viacom, something Moonves has long resisted. CBS and National Amusements, run by media mogul Shari Redstone, are reportedly in talks to settle a court battle over control.

  • Thursday, Sep. 6, 2018
Report: CBS, National Amusements in talks to settle case
In this March 29, 2017, file photo, Shari Redstone attends the premiere of "Ghost in the Shell" at AMC Loews Lincoln Square in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that CBS and its parent company National Amusements are in talks to settle pending litigation over who controls the broadcaster.

CBS and National Amusements, run by media mogul Shari Redstone, have been duking it out in court since May when CBS attempted to issue a special dividend that would strip National Amusements of its controlling stake in the media company.

According to the Journal, the settlement talks include CBS dropping the dividend. In exchange, National Amusements would agree not to push for a merger between CBS and Viacom, which it also controls. The trial had been set for early October.

The report cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter. National Amusements and CBS both declined to comment.

  • Wednesday, Sep. 5, 2018
Kennedy, Levy, Marshall, Schifrin, Tyson To Be Honored At Academy’s Governors Awards
Kathleen Kennedy
LOS ANGELES -- 

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted Tuesday night (September 4) to present Honorary Awards to publicist Marvin Levy, composer Lalo Schifrin and actress Cicely Tyson, and the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall. The three Oscar® statuettes and Thalberg Award will be presented at the Academy’s 10th Annual Governors Awards on Sunday, November 18, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center®.

“Choosing the honorees for its awards each year is the happiest of all the Board of Governors’ work. And this year, its selection of five iconic artists was made with universal acclaim by the Academy’s 54 spirited governors,” said Academy president John Bailey.

Levy began his career in publicity working for MGM in New York City before joining Columbia Pictures in Hollywood, where he guided the advertising for films including “The Deep” and “Kramer vs. Kramer.” His work for the 1977 film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” marked the beginning of a four-decade-long partnership with Steven Spielberg. Levy has held positions at Amblin Entertainment, DreamWorks Studios and Amblin Partners, and has worked on publicity campaigns for such films as “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial,” “Back to the Future,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “American Beauty,” “Gladiator” and “Lincoln.” Levy is the first publicist to receive an honorary Oscar.

Born and raised in Argentina, Schifrin studied classical music and jazz in France before beginning to compose for film in Buenos Aires in the mid-1950s. He has written scores for more than 100 films, including “The Cincinnati Kid,” “Bullitt,” “Dirty Harry,” “Enter the Dragon” and “Rush Hour.” His memorable theme for the television series “Mission: Impossible” has been a hallmark of the recent film series. He has received six Oscar® nominations, for the original scores for “Cool Hand Luke” (1967), “The Fox” (1968), “Voyage of the Damned” (1976) and “The Amityville Horror” (1979), the original song “People Alone” from “The Competition” (1980) and the adaptation score for “The Sting II” (1983).

Raised in Harlem, Tyson began her career as a model and a theater actress, appearing both on Broadway and Off-Broadway. After playing small roles in feature films and television, she was cast as Portia in “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” in 1968. Four years later, she received an Academy Award® nomination for her leading performance in “Sounder.” Her other notable film credits include “The River Niger,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” “The Help,” “Alex Cross” and “Last Flag Flying.”

The Kennedy/Marshall producing partnership, formed in 1991, has generated Best Picture nominations for “The Sixth Sense” (1999), “Seabiscuit” (2003), “Munich” (2005) and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008). Kennedy/Marshall Company productions also include “Congo,” all five “Bourne” films, and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” Prior to forming Kennedy/Marshall, the duo co-founded Amblin Productions with Steven Spielberg, sharing a Best Picture nomination for “The Color Purple” (1985). Additionally, Marshall received a Best Picture nomination for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), while Kennedy was nominated in the same category for “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982), “War Horse” (2011) and “Lincoln” (2012). Kennedy is the first woman to receive the Thalberg Award.

The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.” The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, a bust of the motion picture executive, is presented to creative producers “whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”

  • Wednesday, Sep. 5, 2018
KODAK bestows 2018 Student Scholarships upon promising global talent
A scene from the Gold Award-winning student film “Nice Talking to You” (photo courtesy of UFVA)
ROCHESTER, NY -- 

Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE: KODK) announced the winners of its 27th annual KODAK Student Scholarship Program, last month, at the 72nd annual University Film & Video Association (UFVA) Conference, hosted by New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This international competition is part of Kodak’s long-held commitment to encourage and foster the next generation of filmmakers and honors students who demonstrate exemplary skills and creativity in the art of motion pictures.

Held in conjunction with the University Film & Video Foundation (UFVF), the 501c(3) arm of the UFVA, which promotes worldwide education, research, innovation and charitable activities in the arts and sciences of moving images and aural communication, this competition is open to collegiate students at the undergraduate and graduate levels of accredited film programs. 

“Kodak is committed to helping up-and-coming motion picture artists tell stories, create art and work with real film,” said Steve Bellamy, president of Motion Picture and Entertainment at Kodak.  “While high definition and 4K video cameras have come a long way, there is absolutely nothing like shooting film!  ‘The magic of film’ is real, with its deep colors, unmistakable resolution, happy accidents and an unparalleled focus from actors and crew.  Much like other analog mediums artists are flocking to, the organic and emotive nature of film is a gift we want to expose as many young motion picture artists to as possible.  There is not a better place to work with up and coming artists than the UFVA.”

Simon Tarr, president, University Film and Video Foundation/Association, added, “Congratulations to all of the finalists of the UFVA/Kodak Scholarship program. The UFVA’s mission is the advancement of the teaching of the art and craft of the cinematic arts. The high quality of these works shows just how valuable the mentorship provided in film schools continues to be, even in this DIY world. I am proud that Kodak has been our long-time partner in this mission and am thrilled to work with them to award these scholarships. Kodak’s dedication to the art of motion pictures is well known. It is also important to acknowledge the company’s commitment to the scholarship and teaching of the art.”

Selected from entries from across the country and around the world, the 2018 winners are:

KODAK Student Cinematography Scholarship Awards
KODAK Vision Award — $3,000 Tuition Scholarship Award & $5,000 KODAK Motion Picture Product Grant. To qualify for this award, a minimum of 50 percent of the submission was required to be shot on film. Alfonso Herrera Salcedo, a student at New York University Tisch School of the Arts, was selected for his film Lefty/Righty, shot on 16mm film, about a divorced cowboy who tries to connect with his six-year-old daughter at the sickbed of the family patriarch.
 
First Place — $3,000 Tuition Scholarship Award & $5,000 KODAK Motion Picture Product Grant. Lucus Williams, a student at San Diego State University, was chosen for his picture, Sense of an Ending, a story about Thomas, an elderly man who, in an effort to understand his wife’s decisions, moves through the events of their life together.
 
KODAK Vision Award, Honorable Mention — $1,000 Tuition Scholarship Award & $500 KODAK Motion Picture Product Grant. Alejandro Chavez Perez, from Centro de Capacitacion Cinematograficia, A.C., received an honorable mention for the film Encarnación (Incarnation), shot on 35mm film. After massacring the people of the town of Encarnación, a group of undercover soldiers return to destroy the evidence. Soldier Ezequiel Gallardo drifts away from his platoon and ends up in the town alone, face to face with his own demons.
 

KODAK Student Scholarship Awards
Gold Award — $5,000 Tuition Scholarship Award & $5,000 KODAK Motion Picture Product Grant. Saim Sadiq from Columbia University received this award for the picture, Nice Talking to You, which tells the story of how two strangers form a silent bond in the world’s loudest city. At an American Sign Language party, a Lebanese girl on her last day in the city, meets a NYC photographer. What sparks is an unlikely romance until the spell is broken by words.

Silver Award — $3,000 Tuition Scholarship Award & $3,000 KODAK Motion Picture Product Grant. Federico Spiazzi from Columbia University received this award for the picture Refuge, a story about a crossroads in Athens, where people of different nationalities, including locals, refugees and tourists come together. Only for a moment.

Bronze Award — $2,000 Tuition Scholarship Award & $3,000 KODAK Motion Picture Product Grant. Benjamin Buxton from Northwestern University received this award for the picture, “on the rink”. The Rink in Southside Chicago has been the home to a vibrant community of roller skating enthusiasts for over 40 years. This portrait of the skaters who make up a unique Chicago staple exhibits the energy of a day on the rink.
 

  • Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2018
NBC's "Law & Order" franchise adding new hate-crimes drama
In this Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, file photo, producer Dick Wolf attends TV Guide Magazine's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" 400th episode celebration, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

NBC's "Law & Order" franchise is adding what the network calls a "relevant" new series about hate crimes.

The network said Tuesday that it's ordered 13 episodes of "Law & Order: Hate Crimes." The drama from "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf is based on New York state's Hate Crimes Task Force.

The fictional version of the task force will be introduced in the upcoming 20th season of sister program "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

Wolf said in a statement that he wants to shine a light on the wide range of crime victims in big U.S. cities and show that justice can prevail.

A debut date hasn't been announced for "Law & Order: Hate Crimes," created and produced by Wolf and Warren Leight.

  • Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2018
Prosecutors reject sex abuse cases involving Spacey, Seagal
This combination photo shows Kevin Spacey at the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Oct. 27, 2017, left, and Steven Seagal at a news conference of the U.S. Congressional delegation to Russia in Moscow, Russia, on June 2, 2013. (AP Photo)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Los Angeles prosecutors have cited the statute of limitations while saying they won't file sexual assault cases against actors Kevin Spacey and Steven Seagal involving incidents in the early 1990s.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office made no comments Tuesday on the merits of the accusations.

The cases were reviewed by a task force established to evaluate sex abuse allegations in the entertainment industry in the wake of dozens of women accusing disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein and others of abuse.

Representatives for Spacey and Seagal did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

  • Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2018
SAG-AFTRA Foundation to honor Harrison Ford, Lady Gaga
This combination photo shows Harrison Ford at a hand and footprint ceremony for director Ridley Scott in Los Angeles on May 17, 2017, left, and Lady Gaga at a press conference for "Gaga: Five Foot Two" on day 2 of the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 8, 2017, in Toronto. (AP Photo)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Harrison Ford and Lady Gaga are being honored by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation with the Artists Inspiration Award for their contributions to humanitarian and philanthropic causes.

The non-profit organization says Tuesday that the awards will be presented at its third annual Patron of the Artists Awards on Nov. 8 in Beverly Hills.

Both Gaga and Ford are actively involved in a number of philanthropic and advocacy organizations. For over 25 years, Ford has been an advocate for the environmental non-profit Conservation International where he serves as the vice chairman of the board of directors. Gaga started the Born This Way Foundation which focuses on empowering youth and mental health research.

Previous honorees include Leonardo DiCaprio and Lionel Ritchie.

  • Friday, Aug. 31, 2018
Armstrong sons, filmmaker defend moon landing in "First Man"
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Ryan Gosling in a scene from "First Man." (Daniel McFadden/Universal Pictures via AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The sons of Neil Armstrong are defending Damien Chazelle's docudrama about the moon landing after conservative pundits decried the film's lack of emphasis on the American flag's planting on the lunar surface.

In a joint statement Friday, Rick and Mark Armstrong, along with "First Man" author James R. Hansen, denied that Chazelle's film is "anti-American in the slightest." ''Quite the opposite," they said.

"This story is human and it is universal. Of course, it celebrates an America achievement. It also celebrates an achievement 'for all mankind,'" said the Armstrongs and Hansen. "The filmmakers chose to focus on Neil looking back at the earth, his walk to Little West Crater, his unique, personal experience of completing this journey, a journey that has seen so many incredible highs and devastating lows."

Though "First Man" includes several shots showing the American flag on the moon, it does not depict the flag planting. After the film premiered earlier this week at the Venice Film Festival, some commentators on social media who hadn't seen the movie criticized the film. They were reacting largely to Ryan Gosling, who stars as Neil Armstrong, telling reporters in Venice that the astronaut's accomplishments "transcend countries and borders."

Columnist Bill Kristol claimed the film was "a foolish and pernicious falsification of history."

But Chazelle said the decision around the flag planting wasn't political but aesthetic. The "La La Land" filmmaker was motivated to portray the risks and challenges of the moon mission through the eyes of Armstrong.

"The flag being physically planted into the surface is one of several moments of the Apollo 11 lunar EVA that I chose not to focus upon," said Chazelle. "To address the question of whether this was a political statement, the answer is no. My goal with this movie was to share with audiences the unseen, unknown aspects of America's mission to the moon — particularly Neil Armstrong's personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours."

Film critics enthusiastically responded to the film, rocketing "First Man" to early lists of possible Oscar favorites. Universal Pictures will release it October 12.

  • Friday, Aug. 31, 2018
Actress in "ER," "Stand and Deliver" fatally shot by police
This undated self-portrait posted on Instagram shows actress Vanessa Marquez. The actress, who appeared on the TV medical drama "ER" and starred in the film "Stand and Deliver," was fatally shot by police officers in Southern California after they say she pointed a replica handgun at them. The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department said Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, that Marquez, 49, died at a hospital following the shooting at her South Pasadena, Calif., apartment Thursday. (Vanessa Marquez via AP)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

An actress who appeared on the TV medical drama "ER" and starred in the film "Stand and Deliver" was fatally shot by police officers in Southern California after they say she pointed a replica handgun at them.

Vanessa Marquez, who gained attention last year when she said George Clooney helped blacklist her from Hollywood, died at a hospital following Thursday's shooting at her apartment in South Pasadena, just outside Los Angeles.

South Pasadena police officers responded to a call from Marquez's landlord that she needed medical help. When they arrived she was having a seizure, Lt. Joe Mendoza with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Friday.

Paramedics treated Marquez, 49, who improved and began talking with three officers and a mental health clinician who spent an hour-and-a-half trying to talk her into getting medical help, Mendoza said.

Marquez became uncooperative, appeared unable to care for herself and seemed to have mental health issues, he said.

At some point, Mendoza said Marquez got what turned out to be a BB gun and pointed it at the officers, prompting two of them to shoot.

"It looked like a real gun," he said, adding that it's unclear where the gun was during her lengthy interaction with police.

The officers were wearing body cameras but footage won't be released for at least six months pending the investigation, Mendoza said.

Terence Towles Canote, a close friend of Marquez's, said the actress was having health and financial problems but that she showed no signs of depression or other mental troubles. She still talked about her dream of winning an Oscar one day and was hopeful for a career comeback, he said.

"She was looking forward to life," Canote said. "This is not a woman who wanted to die."

Marquez posted extensively on Facebook and elsewhere about her health problems, saying she was terminally ill and had seizures and celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that can damage the small intestine if gluten is ingested.

In 2014, she said in an online post that she had spent her life savings on doctors and hospitals who didn't properly treat her and that she couldn't work or "do most basic everyday functions."

Marquez had a recurring role during the first several years of "ER," which ran from 1994 to 2009. She also appeared on episodes of "Seinfeld," ''Melrose Place" and "Malcolm & Eddie" but her career largely fizzled after "ER."

Marquez gained attention last year after tweeting that Clooney helped blacklist her from Hollywood when she complained about sexual harassment and racist comments among their "ER" co-stars. Clooney said in a statement to "US Weekly" at the time that he was just an actor on the show and was unaware of any effort to blacklist her.

"If she was told I was involved in any decision about her career then she was lied to," he said. "The fact that I couldn't affect her career is only surpassed by the fact that I wouldn't."

In one of her social media posts, Marquez talked about being grateful to be a part of "Stand and Deliver," a 1988 film about a math teacher who motivated struggling students at a tough East Los Angeles high school.

"If you're truly fortunate, you get to live your dream and do the work you were put on this Earth to do," she wrote. "If you're really, really fortunate you do a film that makes history and affects the lives of millions of people ... It will live on long after we're gone."

Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report from New York City.

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