Monday, February 18, 2019

News Briefs

Displaying 31 - 40 of 3429
  • Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019
Ettinger, Walker, Lagerhausen, McDonald team to form MADE-SF
MADE partners (clockwise from front, center) Doug Walker, Brian Lagerhausen, Jon Ettinger and Connor McDonald
SAN FRANCISCO -- 

MADE-SF, a creative studio offering editorial and other services, has launched in San Francisco. Executive producer Jon Ettinger, editor/director Doug Walker, and editors Brian Lagerhausen and Connor McDonald, all formerly of Beast Editorial, are partners in the new venture, which aims to provide agencies and brands with flexible, streamlined solutions for producing advertising and other content. Along with creative editorial, the company will provide motion graphic design, color correction and editorial finishing. Eventually, it plans to add concept development, directing and production to its mix.

MADE’s partners are drawing on their editorial expertise to build a platform that will give them the flexibility to work across many media, tailor services to individual projects, and provide the turnkey solutions that advertising clients are seeking. “Clients today are looking for creative partners who can help them across the entire production chain,” said Ettinger. “They need to tell stories and they have limited budgets available to tell them. We know how to do both, and we are gathering the resources to do so under one roof.”

MADE’s launch is also motivated by the partners’ desire to broaden their creative horizons. “It gives us a structure where we can form strategic alliances and collaborate with each other and with outside creatives,” noted Walker. “It’s a chance to apply our skills in new ways and create interesting content.”

MADE is currently set up in interim quarters while completing construction of permanent studio space. The latter will be housed in century-old structure in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood and will feature five editorial suites, two motion graphics suites, and two post-production finishing suites with room for further expansion.

The four MADE partners bring deep experience in traditional advertising and branded content, working both with agencies and directly with clients. Ettinger and Walker have worked together for more than 20 years and originally teamed up to launch FilmCore, San Francisco. Both joined Beast Editorial in 2012. Similarly, Lagerhausen and McDonald have been editing in the Bay Area for more than two decades. Collectively, their credits include work for top agencies in San Francisco and nationwide. They’ve also helped to create content directly for Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Salesforce and other corporate clients. “We have deep roots in the Bay Area and strong client relationships,” said Lagerhausen. “We look forward to, not just maintaining those relationships, but deepening them and exploring them in new directions.”

MADE is indicative of a trend where companies engaged in content development are adopting fluid business models to address a diversifying media landscapes, and where individual talent are no longer confined to a single job title. Walker, for example, has recently served as director on several projects, including a series of short films for Kelly Services, conceived by agency Erich & Kallman and produced by Caruso Co.

“People used to go to great pains to make a distinction about what they do,” Ettinger observed. “You were a director or an editor or a colorist. Today, those lines have blurred. We are taking advantage of that flattening out to offer clients a better way to create content.”

  • Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019
Peter Jackson making new documentary of Beatles in studio
In this file photo dated Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, film director Peter Jackson poses for photographers at the world premiere of the Beatles movie, in London. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, FILE)
LONDON (AP) -- 

Director Peter Jackson is making a new documentary using never-before-seen footage of the Beatles in the studio.

The acclaimed Lord of the Rings director said Wednesday the film will be based on roughly 55 hours of footage of the band working on songs in the studio in January 1969.

"It's like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together," he says.

The film is being made with the cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison.

The film was announced on the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' final performance on the roof of Apple Records in London.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019
"Fearless Girl" creator sued, accused of not making a statue
In this Dec. 11, 2018 file photo, The Fearless Girl statue stands at its new location in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Fearless Girl" statue creator Kristen Visbal is being sued by a group that says she failed to make a 9-foot (2.7-meter) bronze replica of Alexander Hamilton. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
LEWES, Del. (AP) -- 

The Delaware artist who created the "Fearless Girl" statue is being sued by a group that says she failed to make a 9-foot (2.7-meter) bronze replica of Alexander Hamilton.

The News Journal reports the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association's lawsuit says Kristen Visbal breached a $28,000 contract to create the statue.

The lawsuit says Visbal agreed in February 2017 to create a preliminary model of the Hamilton statue. That was around one month before "Fearless Girl" appeared a few blocks from the New York Stock Exchange, commissioned by an asset management firm to support greater female representation on corporate boards.

The lawsuit says Visbal never delivered. The association terminated its agreement last June, demanding a refund.

The suit seeks that refund and other fees.

Visbal didn't immediately respond to the newspaper's request for comment.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019
Actresses welcome on-set culture changes in MeToo era
Jennifer Carpenter, from left, Retta, Lorraine Toussaint and Susan Kelechi Watson participate in the Women of Drama panel during the NBCUniversal TCA Winter Press Tour on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- 

Lorraine Toussaint welcomes the idea of intimacy coaches on television and film sets, even if the actress wasn't quite sure what the job entails.

Informed that such coaches help stage scenes involving sex that are respectful to the actors, the 58-year-old star of NBC's upcoming series "The Village" told a TV critics meeting on Tuesday that she was forced to be her own advocate when no one else was around.

"I've been a bit of a Nazi about making sure that it's a closed set and that includes even sound," Toussaint said. "It is highly choreographed. It is highly rehearsed. And then everyone has to go away."

Toussaint joined Jennifer Carpenter of new series "The Enemy Within," Retta of "Good Girls" and Susan Kelechi Watson of "This Is Us" in agreeing that they're seeing changes in on-set culture since the emergence of the #MeToo movement.

"The greatest part of it is many men didn't even know that this was inappropriate or offensive. It has been so commonplace," said Toussaint, whose show debuts March 12. "So part of what's happening is the re-education of men in the workplace."

Carpenter added, "Many men have been really supportive of the movement."

Retta noticed last season's male guest stars expressed disbelief to the female stars of "Good Girls" that men thought they could get away with such demeaning behavior.

"They think it's insane," she said. "I was like, 'Yeah, it's not insane.'"

Watson said a meeting was held to discuss what is and isn't appropriate behavior on the set of the hit NBC series.

"There are some things that are so ingrained because it's been allowed to go on for so long," Watson said. "Just simple phrases of language that we use, we don't realize the possibilities of what's inherent in that. So there became a consciousness about even that, which I found really respectful."

  • Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019
"Empire" cast member alleges homophobic attack in Chicago
In this May 14, 2018 file photo, Jussie Smollett, a cast member in the TV series "Empire," attends the Fox Networks Group 2018 programming presentation afterparty in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
CHICAGO (AP) -- 

A cast member on the hit television show "Empire" alleged he was physically attacked by men in Chicago who shouted racial and homophobic slurs, police said Tuesday.

Police did not release the actor's name but a statement from Fox, which airs "Empire," identified him as Jussie Smollett, 36, who plays Jamal Lyon on the show. Authorities said they are investigating the alleged attack as a hate crime.

According to a police statement, Smollett was walking near the Chicago River downtown around 2 a.m. Tuesday when he was approached by two men who shouted at him, struck him in the face and poured an "unknown substance" on him before one of them wrapped a rope around his neck.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the two men, who were wearing masks, fled the scene. Authorities have not identified any suspects, and Guglielmi said detectives are gathering security footage from nearby buildings and trying to find witnesses.

Smollett was able to take himself to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, police said. He was last reported in good condition.

Twentieth Century Fox Television and Fox Entertainment released a statement Tuesday in support of Smollett. "The entire studio, network and production stands united in the face of any despicable act of violence," the statement read.

"Empire" co-creator Lee Daniels also voiced his support for Smollett in an Instagram video.

"You didn't deserve, nor anybody deserves, to have a noose put around your neck," Daniels said. "You are better than that, we are better than that, America is better than that."

California Sen. Kamala Harris, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, knows Smollett personally and called the attack "outrageous" and "awful."

"He is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I've ever met," Harris said Tuesday, adding that she's still learning more details about the incident.

Smollett's role as the gay son of a record company mogul in the drama propelled him to fame after it debuted four years ago. Smollett, who is gay, has been active in LBGTQ issues. He also released his debut album, "Sum of My Music," last year.

"Empire" is shot in Chicago and a Fox spokeswoman said the program is currently in production.

Associated Press writer Elana Schor contributed to this report from Washington.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019
"Brittany Runs a Marathon" gives Jillian Bell the spotlight
Lil Rel Howery, from left, Alice Lee, Micah Stock, Jillian Bell, director Paul Downs Colaizzo, Michaela Watkins and Utkarsh Ambudkar pose for a portrait to promote the film "Brittany Runs A Marathon" at the Salesforce Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- 

When Jillian Bell is offered roles that have to do with body issues, they usually fall into two buckets: They're either making fun of the character's weight, or, they're not presenting it in a way that she finds compelling or authentic.

It's why when she read the script for "Brittany Runs a Marathon," which premiered Monday at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival , she kind of couldn't believe it. The film, from writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzo, was about a woman in her 20s living a fun, but not necessarily healthy, life who turns things around when she decides to start running. It's a charming and inspirational film from the first-time director that co-stars Lil Rel Howery and Michaela Watkins. The filmmakers are currently looking for distribution.

"I have wasted so much time in my life thinking negatively or consuming my day with body image," Bell said. "I'm lucky I've had great movies come my way that had nothing to do with it. But I have had a lot of other offers that do have a lot to do with body image and what people think — and  it's a weird thing to talk about — but what they think a person like me is worth. I joke about this but, like, if you have a body that looks like mine, you're not worthy of love."

But she found that she related to Brittany. She felt real to her. Because she kind of was. The character was inspired by one of Colaizzo's college friends and former roommates.

"She was in her 20s working in theater and living her best life in maybe the wrong sense of the word. And there was a shift around the time when I moved in where she started to realize she wants something else," Colaizzo said. "She started running and by the time she was out of the apartment, she had lost 80 pounds, had a new job and was working her way out of debt."

Now the real Brittany is married and works in genocide prevention, which, he laughed is, "Too good. If you put it in a movie you wouldn't believe it."

Bell, in one of her first dramatic performances and leading film roles, experienced her own sort of transformation during production.  She realized that she did enjoy more dramatic material, as taxing as all the crying was. And she lost 40 pounds — the last 11 pounds during filming.

"I trained beforehand because I did almost zero percent exercise before this film came along," Bell said. "I actually looked up something on Pinterest that was like how to train from couch to 5K. It was intense, but I wanted to go through the whole experience of what she went through."

  • Monday, Jan. 28, 2019
Amazon picks up CIA torture investigation film "The Report"
Steven Soderbergh, left, producer of "The Report," with cast member Adam Driver attends the premiere of the film during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- 

Vice Studios has announced that Amazon Studios has acquired the worldwide rights to the CIA torture investigation film "The Report."

Vice produced the film and made the announcement Monday following an all-night bidding war for the buzzy political film.

"The Report" stars Adam Driver as senate staffer Daniel Jones, who investigates the CIA's detention and interrogation program.

Annette Bening plays Senator Dianne Feinstein in the long gestating film from writer-director Scott Z. Burns that received rave reviews at the festival. It was purchased for around $14 million.

Amazon plans to release "The Report" in theaters in the fall for an awards push.

It's the second major acquisition for the studio, which also picked up Mindy Kaling's talk show host comedy "Late Night" for $13 million.

  • Monday, Jan. 28, 2019
Carrie Bradshaw, "The Dude" to star in Super Bowl commercial
This undated image provided by Stella Artois shows a scene from the company's Super Bowl spot with Jeff Bridges. Sarah Jessica Parker will reprise her Carrie Bradshaw role from “Sex and the City” and Bridges will appear as “The Dude” in the Super Bowl commercial to raise money to combat water shortage. The 45-second ad launches Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, and will be televised during Super Bowl 53 on Feb. 3. (Stella Artois via AP)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges are bringing a couple of famed characters back to life for a charity in a new Super Bowl commercial.

Parker will reprise her "Sex and the City" Carrie Bradshaw role and Bridges will appear as "The Dude" in a Stella Artois commercial to raise money to combat water shortage. The 45-second ad launches Monday and will be televised during Super Bowl 53 on Feb. 3.

"There will be a lot of men drinking during the Super Bowl, so why not buy some beer that'll do some good for the planet and the world," Bridges said in an interview with The Associated Press before shooting the ad.

The "Pour It Forward" campaign is an initiative between the beer brand and Water.org, co-founded by actor Matt Damon. Both will donate between one to 12 months of clean water to someone in an underdeveloped country based on the amount of Stella Artois packs bought.

Bridges said there's a "tremendous need" for the initiative, while Parker called the campaign an "important and potentially impactful effort."

Parker starred as the fashionable Bradshaw on the hit television series "Sex in the City." Bridges is known as the nonchalant, knit-sweater-wearing character Jeffrey "The Dude" from the cult classic film "The Big Lebowski."

Parker said she and Bridges enjoyed having their characters meet up.

In the commercial, the two separately order the beer instead of their favorite drink and end up sitting next to each other. Bradshaw prefers a Cosmopolitan cocktail, while The Dude's usual is a White Russian cocktail.

"I really like the way they created this world," said Parker, who said she doesn't expect to play Bradshaw in "Sex and the City" anytime soon. "It's allowing this sort of a familiarity. People associate those characters without us literally playing them."

  • Monday, Jan. 28, 2019
"VH1 Trailblazer Honors" celebrates director Ava DuVernay
In this Nov. 18, 2018, file photo filmmaker Ava DuVernay addresses the audience during the 2018 Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, FIle)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

"VH1 Trailblazer Honors" will pay tribute to Academy Award-nominated director Ava DuVernay to kick off Women's History Month.

The 46-year-old's screenwriter includes the films "Selma," ''13TH" and "A Wrinkle In Time." The 2018 fantasy movie made her the highest-grossing female black director in domestic box office history.

DuVernay is a member of the board of Sundance Institute. She's working on her next project, "Central Park Five," and is overseeing production of her TV series "Queen Sugar."

"VH1 Trailblazer Honors" will air March 8 to coincide with International Women's Day.

  • Monday, Jan. 28, 2019
Sundance: A different side of Awkwafina in "The Farewell"
Writer and director Lulu Wang, left, and actress Awkwafina pose at the premiere of "The Farewell" during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP)
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) -- 

Awkwafina's dramatic turn in "The Farewell" has quickly become one of the must-sees at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. After rising to household name status last summer with breakout comedic roles in "Crazy Rich Asians" and "Ocean's 8," audiences in Park City, Utah, have been raving over the discovery that she's got the chops to make you cry, and not just from laughter.

Still, the 30-year-old New York native wasn't entirely sure she could even pull it off.

"I didn't think that I would be able to cry. I just didn't think that I would ever be able to harness that. But with this movie, I would cry like even when we were blocking a scene," she said. "I guess I discovered a whole other side of something that I never knew existed. But it all really stemmed from thinking about my grandma. That's really what it was. So it's very real. It was a very real role for me."

The title card says the film is "based on an actual lie." The lie would be writer and director Lulu Wang's who along with her family decided not to tell her grandmother that she'd been diagnosed with terminal cancer with only three months to live.

"My mother was the one who called me and said that in China, they don't tell the patient. They tell the family members," Wang said. "I said immediately, 'I have to go back. I have to see her right away.' And she's like, 'Well, slow down. Actually, because you can't tell her if you go back. If you're too emotional, that will give it away.'"

So Wang's father constructed a plan to have her only cousin get married in two weeks, which would provide a reasonable excuse for the whole family to travel to China to see her grandmother one last time. If it sounds familiar it's likely because her story was also featured on an episode of "This American Life."

"The Farewell," which is competing in the U.S. Dramatic Competition of the festival and does not yet have a distributor, follows this same structure with Awkwafina playing Billi, the stand-in for the director. It's an intimate, emotional and often quite funny portrait of family, culture-clashes as Billi and her Chinese-American family venture to mainland China to put on a real fake wedding and try to say goodbye without ever letting on that that's what they're doing.

Awkwafina said the film also captures the "struggle of going back to China."

"It's hard to describe. Because you're made to feel like you're not American in America. But you go to China and ...you're a stranger there as well," Awkwafina said. "It really hit that on the head."

AP Entertainment Reporter Ryan Pearson contributed from Park City.

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