Wednesday, January 24, 2018

News Briefs

Displaying 1 - 10 of 2817
  • Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018
Disney offering staff $1,000 bonuses, new education funding
In this Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, file photo, The Walt Disney Co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

The Walt Disney Co. will give more than 125,000 eligible employees a one-time $1,000 cash bonus and invest $50 million in an education funding program.

The media company said Tuesday the bonuses will go to all full and part-time non-executive employees, either hourly or salaried, who have been with the company since January 1, 2018, and are based in the U.S.

Nearly 88,000 hourly employees will be eligible for the education program which will cover tuition costs. Along with the initial $50 million investment, the Burbank, California company will provide up to $25 million annually for the program.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018
Twitter operating chief Anthony Noto resigns
This Dec. 16, 2014, file photo shows Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Twitter's chief operating officer is leaving the social media giant to lead another company.

Anthony Noto joined Twitter in July 2014 after a stint at Goldman Sachs. He has also served as chief financial officer at Twitter.

Noto is considered a key part of the company's leadership team. Shares of Twitter Inc. slid almost 3 percent at the opening bell Tuesday.

The San Francisco company said other Twitter executives will take over Noto's duties overseeing business operations and advertising sales.

Noto is joining Social Finance Inc., an online lender, as chief executive and a director.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018
Rupert Murdoch says Facebook should pay for news
In this Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, file photo, Fox News chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch attends the WSJ. Magazine 2017 Innovator Awards at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch says Facebook should pay fees to "trusted" news producers for their content.

Facebook said last week that it will boost news sources that its users rank as most trustworthy , while shrinking the percentage of news posts overall in users' news feeds.

Murdoch, whose companies own The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, the New York Post and other media properties, said Monday that publishers are "enhancing the value and integrity of Facebook through their news and content but are not being adequately rewarded for those services."

Murdoch has previously criticized Google for the "theft" of news stories without payment.

The news industry has struggled as print advertising erodes. Online, meanwhile, Facebook and Google dominate, together taking nearly half of global digital ad revenue, according to eMarketer.

  • Monday, Jan. 22, 2018
Carl Icahn makes push to remove Xerox CEO as company reportedly discusses Fujifilm deal
In this Oct. 11, 2007, file photo, activist investor Carl Icahn speaks at the World Business Forum in New York. Icahn is calling for the removal of Xerox CEO Jeffrey Jacobson as the copier company reportedly seeks a deal with camera company Fujifilm. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn is calling for the removal of Xerox CEO Jeffrey Jacobson as the copier company reportedly seeks a deal with camera company Fujifilm.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the two companies are in talks for a potential deal. Icahn, along with shareholder Darwin Deason, said Monday they don't trust Jacobson to lead the potential negotiations.

"He is neither qualified nor capable of successfully running this company, let alone negotiating a major strategic transaction that will do more than save his own job," Icahn and Darwin wrote in a letter to Xerox's board of directors.

The investors, who hold a combined 15 percent stake in Xerox, are looking to put four new members on the company's board.

"The Xerox board of directors and management are confident with the strategic direction in which the company is heading, and we will continue to take action to achieve our common goal of creating value for all Xerox shareholders," Xerox said in a statement.

In morning trading, shares of the Norwalk, Connecticut-based company added 62 cents to $32.42. The stock is up about 17 percent in the past year.

  • Monday, Jan. 22, 2018
"Hobbit" director Peter Jackson making WWI documentary
In this file photo dated Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, director Peter Jackson poses for photos at the screening of his film The Hobbit. It is announced Monday Jan. 22, 2018, that Jackson is transforming grainy black-and-white archive film from the London Imperial War Museum using cutting-edge digital technology and hand coloring to transform World War I film into 3-D color, to mark the centenary of the 1914-18 conflict. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, FILE)

"The Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson is going from Middle Earth to the Western Front, transforming grainy black-and-white footage of World War I into 3-D color for a new documentary film.

Jackson's movie, announced Monday, is among dozens of artworks commissioned by British cultural bodies to commemorate 100 years since the final year of the 1914-18 war.

The New Zealand-based director of "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" series has restored film from the Imperial War Museum using cutting-edge digital technology and hand coloring, pairing it with archive audio recollections from veterans of the conflict.

He said the aim is to close the 100-year time gap and show "what it was like to fight in the war."

"We all know what First World War footage looks like," Jackson said in comments broadcast Monday. "It's sped-up, it's fast, like Charlie Chaplin, grainy, jumpy, scratchy, and it immediately blocks you from actually connecting with the events on screen.

"But the results we have got are absolutely unbelievable. They are way beyond what I expected.

"This footage looks like it was shot in the last week or two, with high definition cameras."

The film will have its premiere during the London Film Festival in October before being broadcast on BBC television. Every school in the U.K. will also receive a copy.

The film is part of the government-backed 14-18 Now project, which has presented works by more than 200 artists over four years to remember a conflict in which 20 million people died.

Other works premiering this year include a large-scale performance piece by South African artist William Kentridge about African porters who served in the war; processions to mark the 100th anniversary of some British women winning the right to vote; and a performance celebrating wartime homing pigeons that includes birds fitted with LED lights.

"Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle — who helmed the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony — will create a mass-participation work to be performed on the anniversary of the Nov. 11, 1918, armistice that ended the war.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018
Humans will review video from most popular YouTube creators
This Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, file photo shows Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Google says humans will now review video from its most popular YouTube creators after recent complaints. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Google says humans will now review video from its most popular YouTube creators after recent complaints.

The videos being targeted are ones Google packages to advertisers as "preferred" content. While Google has had human reviewers before, it relies heavily on software to flag potential problems. YouTube was criticized for moving too slowly after one of its stars, Logan Paul, posted video of what appears to be a suicide victim.

Google said Tuesday evening that it will impose tougher requirements on which video creators can make money from ads.

Advertisers don't want their ads — YouTube's lifeblood — running next to troubling videos. Last year, Google promised to be more vigilant about stopping terrorist propaganda and extremist content, including using human reviewers. Weird videos aimed at children have also worried advertisers.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018
Gina Rodriguez to host Costume Designers Guild Awards; recipients of special honors named
Gina Rodriguez

The Costume Designers Guild announced that Golden Globe award-winning actress Gina Rodriguez will host the 20th CDGA (Costume Designers Guild Awards) taking place February 20, 2018 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The Guild also announced that critically acclaimed costume designer Joanna Johnston will be honored with the Career Achievement Award, renowned film director and producer Guillermo del Toro will receive the Distinguished Collaborator Award, and preeminent jeweler and metalworker Maggie Schpak will receive the Distinguished Service Award at the gala.

Rodriguez shared, “I am thrilled the Costume Designers Guild asked me to host the platinum anniversary of the CDGA ceremony. Working with my Jane the Virgin Costume Designer, the marvelous Rachel Sage Kunin, has been one of the most fulfilling collaborative relationships of my career. I cannot wait to celebrate with Rachel, and her peers, on this milestone evening.”

Salvador Perez, president of the Costume Designers Guild, stated, “Joanna Johnston, Guillermo del Toro, and Maggie Schpak have each made their unique mark in our industry and on the world of storytelling. As we commemorate 20 years of applauding the best in Costume Design, we couldn’t be more excited about honoring their work and thanking them for their contributions.”

The Career Achievement Award, presented to Joanna Johnston this year by THE OUTNET.COM, recognizes leaders who have made a lasting impact on costume design. Past recipients include designers Jeffrey Kurland, Ellen Mirojnick, Julie Weiss, April Ferry, Eduardo Castro, Judianna Makovsky, Colleen Atwood, Sandy Powell and Ann Roth.

The Distinguished Collaborator Award honors individuals who demonstrate unwavering support of costume design and creative partnerships with costume designers. Past recipients include Meryl Streep, Quentin Tarantino, Richard Linklater, Helen Mirren, Judd Apatow, Clint Eastwood, Rob Marshall, Jim Burrows, and Lorne Michaels, among others.

The Distinguished Service Award honors individuals whose specialties and talents contribute to the craft and art of Costume Design. Past recipients include Sharon Day, Lois DeArmond, Edwina Pellikka, and Mary Rose.

Produced by JumpLine, the annual CDGA gala celebrates excellence in film, television, and short form costume design as voted on by the Guild’s membership, which includes more than 1,000 costume designers and illustrators working in motion pictures, television, commercials, music videos, and new media programs throughout the world. 

Career Achievement Award
Johnston is a critically acclaimed costume designer and one of the most talented and sought after in her craft. She has collaborated frequently with Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis, and has also worked with M. Night Shyamalan and Richard Curtis on more than one occasion. Johnston began her career assisting Academy Award-winning costume designer Anthony Powell on such films as Evil Under the Sun, Death on the Nile, and Roman Polanski’s Tess. She served as assistant designer to Milena Canonero on Out of Africa, for which Canonero was nominated for an Oscar. As a costume designer, her collaborations with Spielberg include Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Saving Private Ryan, War of the Worlds, Munich, War Horse, and THE BFG. Her work with Spielberg on Lincoln earned Johnston her first Oscar nomination. Johnston’s collaborations with Robert Zemeckis include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III, Death Becomes Her, Contact, Cast Away, The Polar Express, and the Academy Award-winning film Forrest Gump. Her work with Zemeckis on Allied earned Johnston her second Oscar nomination in 2017. She most recently collaborated with Zemeckis on The Women of Marwen, set for release in November 2018.

Distinguished Collaborator Award
Filmmaker del Toro is among the most creative and visionary artists of his generation whose distinctive style is showcased through his work as a director, screenwriter, producer, and author. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, del Toro first gained worldwide recognition for the 1993 Mexican-American co-production Cronos, a supernatural horror film, which he directed from his own screenplay after beginning his career working as a special effects makeup artist. His subsequent films include Mimic, The Devil’s Backbone, Blade 2, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Pacific Rim, and Crimson Peak. Del Toro earned international acclaim as the director, writer and producer of the 2006 fantasy drama Pan’s Labyrinth. He was honored with an Oscar nomination for his original screenplay for the film, which won Academy Awards for art direction, cinematography, and makeup. In all, the film garnered more than 40 international awards and appeared on more than 35 critics’ lists of the year’s best films. His 2017 film, The Shape of Water, won two Golden Globe Awards, four Critic’s Choice Awards, and the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and has already received 65 additional awards and 190 nominations since its release, including a CDGA and BAFTA nomination for his frequent colleague, costume designer Luis Sequeira.

Distinguished Service Award
Schpak was born and spent her early years in New York. Her father was film actor, Millard Mitchell. Her Dad sewed, knitted, and taught her to tie good bows. Maggie attended Pasadena Playhouse in the early ‘60s as an acting major, but found she was spending more and more time with the tech students in the costume shop. After college, she acted in a lot of little theatre and often designed and made the costumes. One director pointed out that she could actually earn money with her skills and gave her the name of Al Nickel at Western Costume Company, who gave her a real job. She gravitated to designers who liked to do hand-made items for their films, Dorothy Jeakins’ Little Big Man, Lewis Brown on numerous Music Center Productions, and Robert Fletcher. She was married at the time to Tom Browne, a metal sculptor and artist, who came to work at Western Costume Company in the prop department.  There was a metal shop on the 6th floor owned by Bill Reyhill, and when he retired, Maggie and Tom bought the shop. They were lucky to have great mentors like Bob Fletcher who just assumed they could make anything he could dream up, and Jack Bear and Sal Anthony, who would come in with amazing ideas. Maggie and Tom separated in 1973, but remained creative partners and friends until his retirement in 2008. When Western Costume Company changed hands in 1996, they moved the shop to Glendale, where it is today. As time passed, the projects became bigger and more labor intensive—they were up to 11 employees by the time they were doing The Last Starfighter for Bob Fletcher, and Masters of the Universe for Julie Weiss. Though they would still do the armor for principals on Chronicles of Riddick for Ellen Mirojnick and other projects, jewelry and insignia became their specialty. Crowns and tiaras of all types and periods are great fun and fulfilling. Her greatest source of enjoyment is when she can see and understand what the designer is visualizing, and bring it to life at the Metal Arts Studio.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018
Angelina Jolie to receive Board of Governors Award from American Society of Cinematographers
Angelina Jolie

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has named Oscar®-winner Angelina Jolie as the recipient of the 2018 ASC Board of Governors Award. The presentation will be made at the organization’s 32nd Annual ASC Awards for Outstanding Achievement on Feb. 17 at Hollywood & Highland’s Ray Dolby Ballroom.

The ASC Board of Governors Award is given to individuals in the industry whose body of work has made significant and indelible contributions to cinema. It is the only ASC Award not given to a cinematographer, and is reserved for filmmakers who have been champions for directors of photography and the visual art form.

“Angelina Jolie sets a high standard,” said ASC president Kees van Oostrum. “She is a true artist, with a strong vision and collaborative spirit. She has also entertained us through her work, but more importantly has brought significant social issues to our attention. For her wide-ranging accomplishments, we are honored to present her with our Board of Governors Award.”

As an actress, Jolie’s career kicked into high gear when she won Golden Globe Awards for her roles in George Wallace (1997) and Gia (1998). The latter also earned her a SAG Award, and both garnered Emmy® nominations for Jolie.

Those award-winning performances were followed in 1999 with an Academy Award®, a Golden Globe Award, a Broadcast Film Critics’ Award, and a SAG Award for Best Supporting Actress, among other honors, for Jolie’s performance in James Mangold’s Girl, Interrupted. Jolie’s numerous film credits include Walt Disney Pictures’ Maleficent, Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, Michael Winterbottom’s A Mighty Heart, the action-adventure Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Martin Campbell’s Beyond Borders, in which she played a United Nations relief worker.

In 2011, Jolie made her feature-film directorial debut with In the Land of Blood and Honey, and in 2014 directed and produced the Oscar-nominated Unbroken. She also directed, produced and wrote By the Sea, and is executive producer on the animated feature film set in Afghanistan, The Breadwinner.

For her fourth feature as a director, Jolie took on First They Killed My Father, currently streaming on Netflix. The film has earned BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations, and Oscar-winning cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, ASC, BSC, DFF took home the Bronze Frog at the 2017 Camerimage International Film Festival.

In addition to her work as a filmmaker, Jolie is special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, co-founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, and a visiting professor in practice at the Centre for Women, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Previous recipients of the ASC Board of Governors Award include Ridley Scott, Barbra Streisand, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Christopher Nolan, Warren Beatty, Francis Ford Coppola, Sally Field, Morgan Freeman, Ron Howard, Sydney Pollack, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018
Lebanon reverses move to ban Spielberg's '"The Post"
People walking in front of the Cinema City complex in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Lebanese authorities have reversed a decision to ban Steven Spielberg's newspaper drama "The Post" ahead of its opening in theaters across the country, a local cinema manager said Wednesday.

Lebanese censorship authorities had recommended the ban because the director is blacklisted by the Arab League over his support for Israel. After two months of marketing the film, theaters had taken the posters down and rolled back plans for a premiere.

Isaac Fahed, sales and distribution manager of the Grand Cinemas chain, one of Lebanon's largest, said the film will open in theaters on Thursday after "mediation" between the distributor and the Interior Ministry. He declined to elaborate.

Lebanese officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Censorship authorities had recommended the ban, which required the interior minister's approval. The reversal of the ban is unusual. Lebanon is technically at war with Israel, and the movement to boycott Israel enjoys wide support in the country.

Fahed said the reversal was good news for the cultural scene in Lebanon as well as the boycott movement.

"It is not a commercial film and not an action film," Fahed said, adding that they were not expecting it to be a box office hit. "It is (good) for freedom of cinema and culture and for being fair and just in our defense against Israel and Zionism. There is an efficient way, not a stone age way.

"We are at war with the Israeli government, not with Jewish people or their ideology," he said.

Lebanon officially follows an Arab League blacklist against supporters of Israel and organizations and companies seen as promoting or doing business with the country. A leaked U.S. State Department memo from 2007 revealed that Spielberg was blacklisted by the League for donating $1 million to Israel for reconstruction during its 2006 war with Lebanon.

"The Post" is being shown in other Arab countries, where there have been no calls to boycott it.

The film, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, tells the story of the Washington Post's efforts to publish the Pentagon Papers, classified documents that revealed the failures of the U.S. war in Vietnam.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018
Kara Wai ecstatic over Excellence in Asian Cinema Award
In this Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, photo, Hong Kong actress, Kara Wai smiles during an interview in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Hong Kong actress Kara Wai says she is ecstatic over receiving this year's Asian Film Awards' Excellence in Asian Cinema Award.

"This is not an acting award, it's an achievement award, so I'm thrilled and feel as if I'm walking on clouds," the star of "Wu Xia" said in a recent interview.

With a career that spans more than 40 years and success in both television and film, the 57-year-old actress was named Best Actress for the second time at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards in November for the role of a manipulative madame in "The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful."

Wai began her career in the 1970s in Hong Kong as a Kung Fu star in the Shaw Brothers films. In 1982, she received a Best Supporting Actress Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards for her role in the action movie "My Young Auntie."

Wai thrilled audiences and impressed critics with her performance as a desperate mother in 2009's "At the End of the Daybreak" and an Alzheimer's patient in "Happiness" in 2017. Last November's Golden Horse Award was icing on the cake.

As she approaches her 58th birthday, Wai said she knows it was a mixture of luck and preparedness that got her career to where it is today.

"The lifespan of an actress is short. It started happening when I was 50 and now I'm 58. This rarely happens for actresses, and it's happening to me. I think you can say that I've had help from a lot of good friends," she said.

"Was there hardship? Yes, I worked very hard, and only I know what I have encountered. So it has been bitter and sweet."

Wai is to receive the Excellence in Asian Cinema Award at the Asian Film Awards ceremony in Hong Kong on March 17.