Thursday, June 20, 2019

News Briefs

Displaying 21 - 30 of 3624
  • Thursday, Jun. 6, 2019
Obamas to produce exclusive podcasts for Spotify
In this Oct. 31, 2017 file photo, former President Barack Obama, right, and former first lady Michelle Obama appear at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Barack and Michelle Obama's production company is teaming up with Spotify to produce exclusive podcasts for the platform.

Under the Higher Ground partnership announced Thursday, the former president and first lady will develop and lend their voices to select podcasts.

The Obamas launched Higher Ground in 2018 with an initial partnership with Netflix. The idea was to raise new, diverse voices in the entertainment industry. The Spotify partnership seeks to expand the conversation.

In a statement, the former president says podcasts offer an opportunity to "foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think."

Michelle Obama says she hopes they can help people connect emotionally and open their hearts and minds.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2019
Lesli Linka Glatter, Paul Schrader to receive AFI Conservatory honorary degrees
Lesli Linka Glatter

The American Film Institute (AFI) will confer Doctorate of Fine Arts degrees honoris causa upon Academy Award®-nominated director/producer Lesli Linka Glatter (alumna, AFI Directing Workshop for Women) and Academy Award®-nominated writer/director Paul Schrader (AFI Conservatory Class of 1969). They will be recognized for their contributions to the art of the moving image during the AFI Conservatory’s commencement ceremony on June 10, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.

“AFI Commencement inspires us each year as we send a new class of talented artists out to share their stories with the world,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI president and CEO. “As the 50th anniversary of the AFI Conservatory, this year is a landmark, and we are honored to celebrate two master storytellers who once walked AFI’s halls and whose singular visions have helped to shape the global landscape of storytelling.”
Glatter and Schrader join an esteemed group of distinguished past recipients, including Robert Altman, Maya Angelou, Saul Bass, Kathryn Bigelow, Mel Brooks, Carol Burnett, Anne V. Coates, Clint Eastwood, Roger Ebert, Nora Ephron, Jodie Foster, James Earl Jones, Lawrence Kasdan, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Angela Lansbury, Spike Lee, David Lynch, Helen Mirren, Rita Moreno, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Towne, Cicely Tyson, Haskell Wexler and John Williams. 

The AFI Commencement will also recognize producing faculty member Robert Kaplan, who retires this year after 42 years of service, and cinematography sr. lecturer Bill Dill, ASC, who in 2019 marks his 25th year at AFI. During his tenure, Dill trained such accomplished AFI Conservatory Cinematography graduates as Rachel Morrison (Black Panther), Masanobu Takayanagi (Spotlight) and hundreds more.

The AFI Conservatory is a world-class film training program that offers Fellows with a passion for storytelling an MFA in six disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. This year, the Conservatory celebrates its 50th anniversary, having opened its doors in 1969 to an elite class of filmmakers including 2019 honorary degree recipient Paul Schrader.
Glatter’s vision has shaped the current golden age of television.  After her AFI Directing Workshop for Women thesis film, Tales of Meeting and Parting, earned an Academy Award® nomination in 1985, Glatter received her first assignment as a director on Steven Spielberg’s anthology series Amazing Stories.

Over the past three decades, Glatter has brought her deft directorial hand to influential comedies and dramas, including Twin Peaks, ER, Freaks and Geeks, The West Wing, Mad Men, Weeds, Homeland, The Newsroom, The Walking Dead, Justified, Ray Donovan and The Leftovers. Glatter has also been instrumental as an executive producer on TV series, including Homeland and The Leftovers. She made her feature directorial debut with Now and Then, followed by The Proposition in 1998.

Glatter helped develop the NBC Female Forward program, aimed at forging a path for women directors. She also serves as the fifth Vice President of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and is a member of the DGA Western Directors Council, a former member of the Executive Committee of the Directors Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and a mentor to promising new filmmakers at the prestigious Sundance Directors Lab. 

Glatter’s honors include seven Emmy® nominations, a Producers Guild of America Award nomination and seven DGA Award nominations, with two DGA Award wins for her work on Homeland and Mad Men. In 2016, she received the BMW Dorothy Arzner Directors Award presented by Women in Film, and the Franklin J. Schaffner Award from AFI.

Schrader (AFI Class of 1969) is an award-winning screenwriter and film director with an indelible influence on modern cinema. Schrader wrote or co-wrote the iconic screenplays for four Martin Scorsese films: Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Bringing Out The Dead (1999). Schrader has also directed 20 feature films, including his 1982 remake of the horror classic Cat People, the crime drama American Gigolo (1980), the Cannes prize-winning biographical drama Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters (1985), true-story thriller Patty Hearst (1988), the cult film Light Sleeper (1992), the drama Affliction (1997), the biographical film Auto Focus (2002) and the erotic thriller The Canyons (2013). Most recently, Schrader wrote and directed the otherworldly tale of spiritual crisis, First Reformed (2018), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay.

Schrader began his career at UCLA film school before attending the AFI Conservatory as a member of the very first class. He was a film critic who in 1972 published “Transcendental Style in Film,” a study of Bresson, Ozu and Dreyer. He continues to teach at Columbia University and contribute to Film Comment in New York.
In 1999, Schrader received the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement from the Writers Guild of America. In 2009, Schrader was awarded the inaugural Lifetime Achievement in Screenwriting award at the ScreenLit Festival in Nottingham, England. He has received lifetime achievement awards from various festivals, including Gent, Manila, Valladolid, Stockholm, SXSW, Istanbul, Haifa, Goriza, Istanbul, Cabo San Lucas, Mill Valley, San Francisco and Guanajuato.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2019
Man charged with abusing Stan Lee pleads not guilty
In this April 23, 2018, file photo, Stan Lee, left, and Keya Morgan arrive at the world premiere of "Avengers: Infinity War," in Los Angeles. Morgan, a former business manager to Stan Lee, has pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of abusing the Marvel Comics legend. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

A former business manager to Stan Lee has pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he abused the Marvel Comics legend.

Keya Morgan, 43, entered the plea Wednesday in Los Angeles after authorities transported him from Arizona, where he was arrested last month.

Morgan was charged in May with five counts of elder abuse involving the late Marvel Comics mastermind including theft, embezzlement, forgery or fraud against an elder adult, and false imprisonment of an elder adult.

The charges date to June 2018, when Morgan was working closely with Lee. The comics legend, who co-created Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk and Black Panther, died in November at age 95.

Alex Kessel, an attorney for Morgan, has said his client has never abused or taken advantage of Lee.

Los Angeles County prosecutors say Morgan sought to capitalize on Lee's wealth and exert influence over him even though he had no authority to act on his behalf.

Prosecutors say Morgan pocketed more than $262,000 from autograph-signing sessions Lee did in May 2018.

Morgan at one point also took Lee from his Hollywood Hills home to a Beverly Hills condominium "where Morgan had more control over Lee," according to California authorities.

Lee's daughter, Joan, said in a request for a restraining order last year that Morgan was manipulating the mentally declining Lee, preventing him from seeing family and friends, and trying to take control of his money and business affairs. A restraining order was granted last June that barred Morgan from contact with Lee and revealed a police elder abuse investigation.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Francis Bennett set a hearing for Thursday morning to determine the source of money offered to secure Morgan's release. His bail is set at $300,000. Kessel said Morgan's mother would be providing the bail money.

Lee was the public face of Marvel Comics and beloved for his appearances at comic book conventions and his cameos in Marvel movies, including a posthumous one in April's "Avengers: Endgame."

  • Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2019
AMC to rethink Georgia filming if abortion law takes effect
In this July 8, 2014 photo, actors and extras work during filming of the "The Walking Dead," in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)

The network behind a show that's become synonymous with Georgia says it will "reevaluate" its activity in the state if a new abortion law goes into effect.

"The Walking Dead" is an economic powerhouse and brings streams of tourists to the Georgia towns where it has been filmed.

A statement from AMC Networks calls the abortion legislation "highly restrictive" and says it will be closely watching what's likely to be "a long and complicated fight" over the law. Georgia's ban on virtually all abortions will take effect next year if it's not blocked in the courts.

AMC is joining several other TV and film companies expressing concerns over the legislation, though no major studio has actually pulled out of the state. Georgia has become known as the "Hollywood of the South" due to its tax incentives for filming.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2019
Explosion on "Bond 25" set causes injury, damage to studio
In this April 25, 2019, file photo, actor Daniel Craig poses for photographers during the photo call of the latest installment of the James Bond film franchise, currently known as "Bond 25," in Oracabessa, Jamaica. An explosion Tuesday, June 4, 2019, on the set of the new James Bond movie has injured one crew member and damaged a stage at Pinewood Studios outside London. (AP Photo/Leo Hudson, File)

An explosion on the set of the new James Bond movie has injured one crew member and damaged a stage at Pinewood Studios.

The film's official Twitter account said the accident Tuesday came from a "controlled explosion."  No one was injured on set but a crew member outside the stage sustained a minor injury. The exterior of a stage was also damaged at the studio facilities outside London.

This is the second production incident on the untitled 25th installment in the 007 franchise. Shooting was set back in late May after Daniel Craig hurt his foot while performing a stunt in Jamaica. He underwent minor ankle surgery that required two weeks of rehabilitation.

Representatives for the film did not immediately respond to messages on the explosion Tuesday.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2019
Spike Lee to present Denzel Washington with AFI Award
In this May 19, 2009 file photo, director Spike Lee, left, and Denzel Washington talk during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets in Los Angeles. Lee will honor Washington’s illustrious career by presenting his friend and collaborator the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award. AFI says Tuesday, June 4, 2019, that Lee will present the actor and director with the honor at a gala Thursday, June 6 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. (AP Photo/Mark Avery, File)

Spike Lee will honor Denzel Washington's career by presenting his friend and collaborator with the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award.

AFI said Tuesday that Lee will present the actor and director with the honor at a gala Thursday at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Lee has directed Washington in four films, including "Malcolm X" and "Inside Man." He also worked with Washington's son, John David, on the 2019 Oscar best-picture nominee "BlacKkKlansman."

It's a role reversal for Washington, who has helped present Lee with an honorary Oscar in 2015 and an NAACP Hall of Fame Award in 2003.

Mahershala Ali will join a star-studded list of presenters including Morgan Freeman, Chadwick Boseman and Julia Roberts.

The tribute will air on TNT on June 20 at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

The 64-year-old Washington joins the ranks of Mel Brooks, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep and Alfred Hitchcock. Last year's AFI honoree was George Clooney.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2019
Barry Jenkins to direct film about choreographer Alvin Ailey
In a Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 file photo, Barry Jenkins accepts the award for best director for "If Beale Street Could Talk" at the 34th Film Independent Spirit Awards, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Barry Jenkins will direct a film based on the life of choreographer Alvin Ailey.

A spokesperson for Fox Searchlight on Monday confirmed that the studio is developing the project, with the "Moonlight" filmmaker directing. Jenkins last helmed the Oscar-nominated James Baldwin adaptation "If Beale Street Could Talk."

Raised in segregated rural Texas, Ailey became a pioneering choreographer, dancer and director who helped popularize modern dance. He died in 1989 at the age of 58 from AIDS-related complications. In 2014, President Barack Obama awarded him a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The film will be partly based on Jennifer Dunning's biography "Alvin Ailey: A Life in Dance." Searchlight last year began developing the film after securing the rights to Ailey's choreography from the Ailey Organization.

  • Friday, May. 31, 2019
Antonio Banderas grateful for a later-in-life Cannes award
In this Wednesday, May 29, 2019 photo, actor Antonio Banderas poses for a photo during an interview, in Miami, Fla. Banderas is the winner of the Cannes Best Actor award for his most recent film, "Pain and Glory, an autobiographical film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
MIAMI (AP) -- 

Antonio Banderas waited 40 years to receive one of the most prestigious awards an actor can obtain: the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival. And he says he prefers it that way.

"When awards come at an early age, they make you make many mistakes, but I haven't made any mistakes," said Banderas, 58, in an interview this week with The Associated Press in Miami.

Banderas, whose credits in Hollywood include "The Mask of Zorro", was honored for his role as Salvador Mallo in Pedro Almodóvar's latest drama, "Pain and Glory."

It is their eighth film together, but the first in which Banderas portrays a version of his friend-director. In "Pain and Glory," Mallo is a famous filmmaker reflecting on his life and his career that is based on Almodóvar, including a recreation of the director's Madrid apartment.

"Pedro Almodóvar is a very private person and I understood him", Banderas said. He took a step to "show a part of himself that he had never revealed before."

The film was a favorite for the Palme d'Or at Cannes, but Banderas was the one honored.

"It's a bittersweet feeling," said Banderas, who was in Florida for Miami Fashion Week.

When he took the stage to receive the award, he did it in his name and in the name of his character, or Almodóvar himself.

"I played him and because of that it is an award that I share with him," said Banderas, whose credits with the director include "Labyrinth of Passion," ''Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" and "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown."

"I am extremely grateful and I have incredible respect and love for this person that has given me so much," he said.



  • Thursday, May. 30, 2019
Producers Guild unveils new speakers, sessions and Mashup participants for Produced By Conference

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) has announced a new batch of marquee speakers and influential producers for the 11th annual Produced By Conference on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9 at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles. These additional speakers will participate in panel sessions and workshops throughout the weekend, including “The Future of Producing,” featuring the producers behind critically-acclaimed shows including Russian Doll, Shrill, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Cobra Kai and David Makes Man, “360 Profile: When They See Us,” featuring Ava DuVernay, and “The New Age of Producing Horror.” The PGA also announced participants for the Guild’s signature program, “Producers Mashup.” Now in its third year, this popular event offers attendees the opportunity to learn from and network with seasoned producers and executives across film, television and digital media.

In alphabetical order, the new additions for Produced By speaking sessions include:

  • Alexander LoVerde, Co-Founder & CEO, SyncOnSet Technologies
  • Alexandra Rushfield; Shrill, Love
  • Amy Israel, EVP, Scripted Programming, Showtime Networks
  • Andrew Nusca, Digital Editor, FORTUNE
  • Barry Jossen, Head of A+E Studios
  • Brandon Trost, Cinematographer, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • Chris Giliberti, Head of Gimlet Pictures, Gimlet Media
  • Dan Goor; Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation
  • Daniel Sasaki, SVP of Optical Engineering, Panavision
  • Dee Harris-Lawrence, David Makes Man, Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G
  • Franklin Leonard, Founder and CEO, The Black List
  • Guillaume Aubuchon, Production Manager and Post-Producer, VP Product, Cast & Crew
  • Hayden Schlossberg, Counterbalance Entertainment; Cobra Kai, Blockers
  • Jade McQueen, Managing Director, Media & Entertainment, Box
  • Jim Hemphill, Director/Writer; The Trouble with the Truth
  • Joel Sloss, Sr. Program Manager, Microsoft Azure Media & Entertainment
  • John D. Canning, VP, New Media and Chairman, New Media Council, Producers Guild
  • K.J. Matthews, Entertainment Journalist & TV Producer
  • Leslye Headland; Russian Doll, Sleeping with Other People
  • Lori McCreary, CEO & Co-Founder, Revelations Entertainment; Madam Secretary, Story of God
  • Matthew Clark, Cinematographer, Late Night
  • Melissa Lintinger, Senior Vice President, Production Finance, NBCUniversal Television Studios
  • Pete Hammond, Chief Film Critic, Deadline Hollywood
  • Philip Lieberman, Cybersecurity Expert, In Stealth Mode
  • Sanjay Sharma, Founder & CEO, Marginal Mediaworks
  • Scott Silveri, Creator & Executive Producer; Speechless
  • Sean Dunckley, Senior Colorist, Late Night
  • Stephanie Allain, Principal, Homegrown Pictures; Dear White People, Hustle & Flow
  • Ted Gagliano, President of Feature Post Production, 20th Century Fox

Additionally, a high-caliber group of seasoned producers and production company executives will participate in the Producers Mashup on Sunday afternoon. The Producers Mashup is sponsored by Honolulu Film Office and PRG VER.

  • Betsy Ockerlund; Big Rig Bounty Hunters, American Guns
  • Brad Lewis; How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Ratatouille
  • Carl Rogers; Head of Film Development, Alcon Entertainment
  • Chris Bender; Under the Silver Lake, We're the Millers
  • Chris Hanada, Partner/Producer, Retrofit Films
  • Chris Moore; Manchester by the Sea, Project Greenlight
  • Christina Lee Storm, VP of Business Operations, Strategy and Emerging Technology, DreamWorks Animation
  • Christopher Mack, SVP, Head of Scripted Development, Stage 13 / Warner Bros. Digital Networks
  • David Glasser, CEO, 101 Studios
  • Erik Feig, Founder, PICTURESTART
  • Gary Goetzman; Mamma Mia!, Olive Kitteridge
  • Janet Han Vissering, SVP of Development and Production, Nat Geo WILD
  • Jay Roewe, SVP of Production, HBO
  • Jo Sharon, CCO, Magical Elves
  • John Ziffren, VP of Production, ABC Studios
  • Josh Berman; Drop Dead Diva, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
  • Josh Silberman; Double Dare, Fear Factor
  • Justin Falvey, Co-President, Amblin Television
  • Kristine Pregot, Executive Producer of Post Production, A+E Networks
  • Mark Gordon, President and CCO, Film and Television, Entertainment One
  • Matthew Weiner; The Romanoffs, Mad Men
  • Michael Seitzman; Code Black, Quantico
  • Rosemary Lombard; At Home with Amy Sedaris, Mapplethorpe
  • Sasha Silver, Senior Manager of Content Development, Hulu
  • Scott Aversano, EVP of Production, 20th Century Fox
  • Ted Mundorff, President and CEO, Landmark Theatres
  • Timothy Marx; Young Sheldon, Baby Daddy
  • Yolanda T. Cochran, VP of Production, Disney ABC Television Group

To accommodate the wealth of producing disciplines among Produced By attendees, the Producers Mashup features five distinct tracks from which attendees can choose: feature film, scripted television, unscripted television, digital media and Ground-Up, which will offer candid advice from representatives of the Guild’s AP Council. Within each track, a small group of attendees is matched with a with mentoring producer or executive who will offer candid advice on the practice of producing, from the pitching process all the way to delivery. After 15 minutes, the mentors shift to a new group and the conversations continue.

In addition to marquee programming featuring established Hollywood studios and award-winning producers, Produced By will introduce new areas of conversation that reflect emerging creatives, new platforms and technological innovations in storytelling. Sessions offered will include “The Streamers: Meet the Buyers,” “The Integrated Data-Driven Production: Efficiency, Economy and Quality in the Cloud,” “Representation For Everyone: Why It Makes Sense Now More Than Ever,” and more. Additionally, “The Art and Craft of Pitching” session, which gives select attendees the opportunity to pitch to the most seasoned pros in the business and refine their pitching skills, received a record number of submissions this year. 

In addition to Warner Bros. Studios, conference sponsors to-date are: Delta Air Lines, the Official Airline Partner; A+E Studios; Blackmagic Design; Box; Branded Entertainment Network (BEN); CallPlease; Cast & Crew; Cherry Picks; Coca-Cola; Don Francisco's Coffee; Endcrawl; Fetzer; Film in Illinois; Film Sakartvelo; Film US Virgin Islands; Final Draft; Florida Office of Film & Entertainment; Freeform; GreenSlate; Heineken; Honolulu Film Office; Imagecraft, Equipment Rentals; KIND; Light Iron; Marriott Bonvoy; Massachusetts Film Office; Microsoft; Netflix; Panavision; PRG VER; Produce Iowa; The Royal Film Commission - Jordan; SAG-AFTRA; SAGindie; The Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television; SmartSource; SunTrust Robinson Humphrey; The Switch; TiM Digital Onboarding; and William Grant & Sons.

The 2019 Produced By Conference is chaired by PGA members Betsy Beers, Ian Bryce, Tracey Edmonds, Mike Farah and Gene Stein. The Produced By Conference 2019 team is Supervising Producer, Barry Kaplan (EKG, Inc.), Program Directors, Madelyn Hammond and Javier Infante (Madelyn Hammond & Associates), Sponsorship Director, Diane Salerno (Six Degrees Global) and Marketing Consultant, Julie Giles (greenHAT digital).

  • Thursday, May. 30, 2019
"The Chi" actor loses MTV awards bid amid misconduct claims
This April 10, 2019 file photo shows Jason Mitchell at "The Chi" FYC Event in Los Angeles.(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

MTV on Wednesday cut Jason Mitchell from contention at next month's MTV Movie & TV Awards following reports of alleged misconduct by "The Chi" actor.

MTV said in a statement Mitchell was removed as a nominee for best performance in a show in light of recent developments. 
The channel did not expand on the statement.

According to The Hollywood Reporter , Mitchell has been dropped from Showtime's "The Chi" after he was fired in late April from the upcoming Netflix movie "Desperado."

The trade paper reported that Mitchell's agent, manager and lawyer cut ties with him after he was dropped from "The Chi." 
There was no immediate reply Wednesday to a request for comment from an attorney listed as Mitchell's representative.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, "The Chi" showrunner Ayanna Floyd said there were multiple human resources complaints against Mitchell, including one she filed against the actor, after she became what she described as "a target of his rage and inappropriateness."

Mitchell drew critical acclaim for his work in the 2015 film "Straight Outta Compton" and in 2017's "Mudbound." He played Brandon Johnson in "The Chi's" first and second seasons, the latter airing now.

He would have competed at the gender-neutral MTV awards airing on June 17 with Emilia Clarke of "Game of Thrones," Elisabeth Moss of "The Handmaid's Tale," Gina Rodriguez of "Jane the Virgin" and Kiernan Shipka of "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina."

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