Sunday, December 16, 2018

News Briefs

Displaying 1 - 10 of 3324
  • Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018
Disney actor Stoney Westmoreland fired after arrest
This undated photo provided by the Disney Channel on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018 shows Stoney Westmoreland as Henry "Ham" Mack in Salt Lake City. In a statement Saturday, Disney announced that the 48-year-old Westmoreland had been dropped from the sitcom “Andi Mack." He was arrested for allegedly attempting to have a sexual relationship with an online acquaintance he believed was 13. (Craig Sjodin/Disney Channel via AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Disney Channel actor Stoney Westmoreland has been fired after he was arrested in Salt Lake City for allegedly attempting to have a sexual relationship with an online acquaintance he believed was 13 years old.

In a statement Saturday, Disney announced that the 48-year-old Westmoreland had been dropped from the sitcom "Andi Mack," on which he plays the grandfather of the teen-age title character. The show films in Utah.

Salt Lake police detective Greg Wilking told The Associated Press that Westmoreland was on his way to what he believed would be a sexual encounter when he was arrested Friday and charged with enticing a minor and sending inappropriate materials, including nude images. A message left with Westmoreland's agent, Mitchell Stubbs, was not immediately returned.

Westmoreland's other acting credits include "Scandal" and "Breaking Bad."

  • Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018
1947 best-picture Oscar sells for nearly $500,000 at auction
This undated file image provided by Profiles in History shows the best picture Academy Award for "Gentleman's Agreement." (Lou Bustamante/Profiles in History via AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

One Academy Award trophy sold for nearly $500,000 and the second for well over $200,000 in a rare auction of Oscars that ended Friday in Los Angeles.

A best-picture Oscar for "Gentleman's Agreement," the 1947 film starring Gregory Peck that took on anti-Semitism, sold for $492,000. A best picture statuette for 1935's "Mutiny on the Bounty" fetched $240,000.

Both were outpaced by an archive of papers on the origin and development of "The Wizard of Oz" that brought in $1.2 million.

Auction house Profiles in History announced the results after four days of bidding on Hollywood memorabilia that brought in more than $8 million in total.

Other items sold include a TIE fighter helmet from the original "Star Wars" that went for $240,000, a Phaser pistol from the original "Star Trek" TV series that fetched $192,000, a hover board Marty McFly rode in "Back to the Future II" that sold for $102,000, and a golden ticket from "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" that brought in $48,000.

The "Mutiny on the Bounty" Oscar price came close to auction-house projections, but the "Gentleman's Agreement" statuette brought in more than twice what was expected, for reasons that are not clear. The buyers of both Oscars and "The Wizard of Oz" document chose to remain anonymous.

Auctions of Oscar statuettes are very uncommon because winners from 1951 onward have had to agree that they or their heirs must offer it back to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for $1 before selling it elsewhere. The academy has said it firmly believes Oscars should be won, not bought.

Neither of the Oscars sold this week approached the record of $1.5 million paid by Michael Jackson to acquire David O. Selznick's "Gone With the Wind" Oscar in 1999.

  • Friday, Dec. 14, 2018
Apple strikes deal to produce new "Peanuts" content
In this Feb. 12, 2000, file photo, cartoonist Charles M. Schulz displays a sketch of his beloved character "Snoopy" in his office in Santa Rosa, Calif. Apple has struck a deal with DHX Media to produce new “Peanuts” content. The global children’s content and brands company will develop and produce original programs for Apple including new series, specials and shorts based on the beloved characters. “Peanuts” was created by Schulz in 1950. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the "Peanuts" crew will have a new home on Apple's streaming service.

Apple has struck a deal with DHX Media to produce new "Peanuts" content. The global children's content and brands company will develop and produce original programs for Apple including new series, specials and shorts based on the beloved characters.

"Peanuts" was created by Charles M. Schulz in 1950.

DHX will produce original short-form STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) content that will be exclusive to Apple, including astronaut Snoopy.

Peanuts Worldwide and NASA recently signed a Space Act Agreement, designed to inspire a passion for space exploration and STEM among the next generation of students.

  • Friday, Dec. 14, 2018
Producers Guild receives $2M grant from CBS for anti-harassment program
Lori McCreary
LOS ANGELES -- 

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) has announced that its charitable arm, the Producers Guild of America Foundation 501(c)(3), has received a grant of $2 million from CBS in support of its landmark new program, the “Independent Production Safety Initiative,” which will provide free anti-sexual harassment training and legal consultation for independent film, television, and digital productions.

A joint statement from Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher, presidents of the PGA, read, “We are grateful to CBS for supporting the Producers Guild’s efforts to combat sexual harassment in our industry. In speaking to a broad cross-section of our membership, it became evident many independent producers felt strongly that their productions would greatly benefit from professional, in-person anti-sexual harassment training.  However, most independent productions lack sufficient financial and institutional resources to gain access to such training. The PGA Foundation’s ‘Independent Production Safety Initiative’ is a groundbreaking new program created to answer that need by providing free training to independent productions. We believe it will make an immediate impact toward improving the professional lives of thousands of workers in our industry.”

Additionally, for any qualifying independent production which participates in the PGA Foundation program, there also will be access of up to two hours of free consultation with a legal expert versed in the field of harassment law. These hours may be used at any point as needed during the production process to address any issues or circumstances that arise.

“The inclusion of legal consultation hours is a critical element of the ‘Independent Production Safety Initiative,’” said Lori McCreary, PGA president emeritus and chair of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Task Force. “Unique and often complicated circumstances can arise over the course of any given production, so providing access to an attorney lets producers know they will not be left on their own if incidents of harassment occur. This expert legal counsel will reinforce producers’ knowledge and authority around workplace harassment and reporting procedures.”

The PGA Foundation’s “Independent Production Safety Initiative” will use funds from its CBS grant to pay for on set, in-person, anti-sexual harassment training as well as up to two hours of legal consultation to any qualifying independent film, television, or digital production. A qualifying production will be defined as one which includes more than 20 individuals among its cast and crew, but does not have access to a company human resources or legal department. To assist productions with 20 or fewer cast and crew members, the program will provide complimentary access to group training sessions, which will be held on a quarterly basis across a variety of production centers across the U.S.

The “Independent Production Safety Initiative” program builds on the work of the PGA’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Task Force, which was established in 2017 in response to reports of widespread misconduct in the entertainment industry. In January 2018, The PGA released its Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines, making it the first organization in the entertainment industry to provide concrete protocols to combat sexual harassment. Additional details about the PGA Foundation’s “Independent Production Safety Initiative” and its submission procedures will be available on the Producers Guild website in early 2019.

  • Friday, Dec. 14, 2018
CBS settled with Dushku over "Bull" star's comments
In this Sunday, April 22, 2018 file photo, producer Eliza Dushku attends a screening of "Mapplethorpe" at the SVA Theatre during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival in New York. CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year with actress Dushku after on-set sexual comments from Michael Weatherly, star of the network's show "Bull," made her uncomfortable. CBS confirmed the settlement Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year with actress Eliza Dushku after on-set sexual comments from Michael Weatherly, star of the network's show "Bull," made her uncomfortable when she was beginning a run as a recurring character.

CBS confirmed the settlement Thursday night in a statement to The Associated Press.

Dushku was written off the show after complaining about Weatherly's comments on her appearance and jokes involving sex and rape made in front of cast and crew in March of 2017, according to the New York Times , which first reported the settlement.

"The allegations in Ms. Dushku's claims are an example that, while we remain committed to a culture defined by a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace, our work is far from done," the CBS statement said. "The settlement of these claims reflects the projected amount that Ms. Dushku would have received for the balance of her contract as a series regular, and was determined in a mutually agreed upon mediation process at the time."

The settlement remerged during the current investigation of former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, who was ousted in September after the New Yorker published allegations from 12 women who said he subjected them to mistreatment that included forced oral sex, groping and retaliation if they resisted.

Weatherly, who appeared on the CBS series "NCIS" for 13 years before "Bull" began in 2016, said in an email to the Times that he had made jokes to Dushku during taping mocking lines in the script.

"When Eliza told me that she wasn't comfortable with my language and attempt at humor, I was mortified to have offended her and immediately apologized," the email said. "After reflecting on this further, I better understand that what I said was both not funny and not appropriate and I am sorry and regret the pain this caused Eliza."

Dushku declined comment to the Times. Her manager did not immediately reply to an AP request for comment.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018
Hungarian director Ferenc Kosa, winner in Cannes, dies at 81
This March 15, 2017 file photo portrays Hungarian film director Ferenc Kosa in Budapest. Kosa died on Dec. 12, 2018, at the age of 81. (Attila Kovacs/MTI via AP, FILE)
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) -- 

Ferenc Kosa, winner of the best director award at the 1967 Cannes film festival, has died at 81, the Hungarian Academy of Arts said Wednesday.

Kosa was recognized in Cannes for "Ten Thousand Days," about the travails of a Hungarian peasant family from the 1930s onward. The film was banned for a few years by officials in communist Hungary because of its references to the 1956 anti-Soviet revolution.

"Through his talent and commitment, (Kosa) played a defining role in the renovation of the Hungarian film artistry of the era," the Hungarian Academy of Arts said. "'Ten Thousand Days' belongs by now to the classical assets of not just Hungarian, but universal film history."

Kosa co-wrote many of his scripts with poet and author Sandor Csoori and often worked with cinematographer Sandor Sara. Among the trio's works are "Ten Thousand Days," ''Judgment" (1970) and "Snowfall" (1974).

"Kuldetes" ("Mission"), his 1977 portrait of Andras Balczo, winner of a total of three gold and two silver medals in the modern pentathlon at three Olympic Games, was a big success in Hungary but later banned for its criticism of the communist system.

Upon Hungary's return to democracy in 1990, Kosa was a founder of the Socialist Party and a parliamentary lawmaker from 1990 to 2006. He played a key role in drafting Hungary's film and media laws, since greatly amended.

Kosa was born in Nyiregyhaza, northeastern Hungary.
 

  • Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018
CBS sells Television City for $750M to LA developer
In this July 30, 2018, photo the logo for CBS Corporation is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. CBS says it has sold Television City, its Los Angeles headquarters and production facility, to a real estate developer for about $750 million. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
LOS ANGELES -- 

CBS says it has sold Television City, its Los Angeles headquarters and production facility, to a real estate developer for $750 million.

Shows on Television City sound stages include "The Late Late Show with James Corden" and "The Price is Right." They will continue to be based there for at least five more years.

CBS said Monday that the buyer is Hackman Capital Partners and that it will have the right to use the Television City name in connection with its future operations on the property.

The media giant says the sale will increase its "financial flexibility."

CBS purchased the property in 1950 when it expanded operations from New York to the West Coast.

Shows produced there include "All In The Family," ''Three's Company," and "America's Got Talent."

  • Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018
Juliette Binoche to head Berlin film festival jury
In this Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, file photo, French actress Juliette Binoche arrives on the red carpet for the opening film "Nobody Wants The Night" at the 2015 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
BERLIN (AP) -- 

Juliette Binoche will be the jury president at this winter's Berlin International Film Festival.

Organizers of the festival announced Tuesday that the French actress will lead the jury that presents the Golden Bear and other top awards at the 2019 event, which runs from Feb. 7 to Feb.17. There was no immediate word on who will join her on the jury.

Binoche ("The English Patient," ''Chocolat") said in a statement that she "will embrace my task with joy and care." This winter's event is the last "Berlinale" under longtime festival director Dieter Kosslick.

The festival will open with a premiere of Danish director Lone Scherfig's "The Kindness of Strangers."

  • Monday, Dec. 10, 2018
Google accelerates Plus closure after another privacy lapse
In this Dec. 4, 2017 file photo, people walk by Google offices in New York. Google is still having trouble protecting the personal information on its Plus service, prodding the company to accelerate its plans to shut down a little-used social network created to compete against Facebook. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- 

Google is still having trouble protecting the personal information on its Plus service, prodding the company to accelerate its plans to shut down a little-used social network created to compete against Facebook.

A privacy flaw that inadvertently exposed the names, email addresses, ages and other personal information of 52.5 million Google Plus users last month convinced Google to close the service in April instead of August, as previously announced. Google revealed the new closure date and its latest privacy lapse in a Monday blog post .

It's the second time in two months that Google has disclosed the existence of a problem that enabled unauthorized access to Plus profiles. In October, the company acknowledged finding a privacy flaw affecting 500,000 Plus users that it waited more than six months to disclose.

Google moved more quickly to own up to the most recent privacy problem on Plus. This time around, the names, email addresses, ages and other personal information of the affected Plus users were exposed for six days in November before it was fixed. No financial information or passwords were visible to intruders, according to Google. The company also said it hasn't seen evidence indicating that unauthorized users who accessed Plus through the inadvertent peephole have missed used any of the personal information.

Even if the latest privacy gaffe on Plus didn't cause any major damage, it nevertheless marks another embarrassing incident for Google. The company's business model relies on it being seen as a trustworthy guardian of the personal information it collects about the billions of people who use its search engine, Gmail, Chrome browser, maps, and Android software for smartphones.

Like Facebook, Google makes most of its money by selling ads that draw upon what the company learns about the interests, habits and locations of people while they're using its free services.

Google's privacy issues on Plus are likely to be a topic that U.S. lawmakers delve into Tuesday, when company CEO Sundar Pichai is scheduled to appear before a House committee. Pichai's appearance comes more than three months after he turned down an invitation to testify in August, to the consternation of some lawmakers. Some members of Congress are now mulling whether tougher regulations to curb the power of Google, Facebook and other technology companies are needed in addition demanding tighter controls over digital privacy.

Facebook has had even more trouble guarding the personal information that it scoops up on its social networking service, which now has more than 2.2 billion users. The most glaring breakdown emerged in March when Facebook acknowledged the personal information of as many as 87 million of its users had been shared with Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm affiliated with President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

The desire to peer into people's lives is one of the reasons that Google launched Plus in 2011. It was supposed to be a challenger to Facebook's social network, but Plus turned into a digital ghost town that Google began to de-emphasize several years ago.

  • Monday, Dec. 10, 2018
Creative Partnership expands U.S. base with Gardiner at helm
Chris Warrington (l) and Michelle Gardiner
LOS ANGELES & LONDON -- 

Film marketing agency Creative Partnership has expanded its U.S. operation and leadership team. Managing director Michelle Gardiner is relocating from London to the West Coast where she will head up the company’s existing Los Angeles operation as executive VP. Taking over at the agency’s London headquarters is film and entertainment marketing executive Chris Warrington, who joins as managing partner.

“The aim of this new leadership structure is to strengthen our client offering and reinforce the connection between our international presences on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Gardiner.

“With these two contact points we’re able to offer a more transparent chain of brand and creative custody for clients, deliver them more integrated global campaigns, protect their valuable assets and drive their businesses. This is an exciting time of change for Creative Partnership and I’m delighted to be based stateside and to continue to work closely with creative director Mia Matson, Chris and our L.A. team to deliver exceptional creative.”

Creative Partnership, which became part of the AKA Group in 2012, has nearly 40 years of experience in delivering creative campaigns for some of the biggest names in film and TV distribution and has seen significant growth under Gardiner’s direction. Recent projects include international print, digital and social campaigns for Mary Queen of Scots, Johnny English 3, and Mamma Mia 2. The agency also ran origination work and U.K. distribution campaigns for The Little Stranger and Goodbye Christopher Robin. 

Warrington brings extensive experience in film and entertainment marketing, both client- and agency-side, at companies including Twentieth Century Fox, Icon Film Distribution, and most recently Trafalgar Releasing, where he led the campaigns for Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old and this year’s record-breaking global release of The King And I: From The Palladium.

“I’ve been a great admirer of Creative Partnership for many years, ever since being awestruck by their iconic designs for Reservoir Dogs! The legacy of the agency’s work speaks for itself and with Michelle and Mia’s direction, the CP team has created campaigns that capture the essence of a story and what attracts an audience to it,” said Warrington. 

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