Olga Lyubimova knows about film and TV production, but once apparently admitted loathing many art forms.
www.bbc.co.uk | 1/23/20
‘Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom’ and ‘Gay Chorus Deep South’ Win Palm Springs International Film Festival Audience Awards
“Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” — the story about a young displaced teacher who travels to Bhutan and is taught his own life lessons from the happy and kind locals (including a yak) — won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), it was announced Sunday.
“Gay Chorus Deep South” — a documentary following the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus as the group embarks upon a high-risk tour of the Deep South to spread a message of tolerance — won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature.
“Parasite” screenwriters Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won won the FIPRESCI Prize for International Screenplay for their tale about two Korean families — one wealthy and one poor — whose live intersect in the most unexpected way.
Among the acting awards, Bartosz Bielenia from “Corpus Christi” and Helena Zengel from “System Crasher” took top honors.
The jury award categories included the FIPRESCI Prize for films in the International Feature Film Oscar Submissions program; New Voices New Visions Award for unique viewpoints from first- and second-time directors; Best Documentary Award for compelling non-fiction filmmaking; Ibero-American Award for the best film from Latin America, Spain or Portugal; Local Jury Award for the film that promoted understanding and acceptance between people; and the Young Cineastes Award for the film chosen by the Youth Jury. Finally, the GoEnergistics (GoE) Bridging the Borders Award, presented by Cinema Without Borders, honors the film that is most successful in bringing the people of our world closer together.
See the complete list of winners below:
Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
FIPRESCI Prize for Best International Feature Film of the Year
FIPRESCI Prize for the Best Actor in an International Feature Film
FIPRESCI Prize for Best Actress in an International Feature Film
FIPRESCI Prize for International Screenplay
New Voices/New Visions Award
The Documentary Award
Local Jury Award
Young Cineastes Award
GoEnergistics (GoE) Bridging the Borders Award
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 136,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Film Awards Gala, which honors the year’s best achievements in cinema in front of and behind the camera.
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www.thewrap.com | 1/13/20
At 3 p.m. on any given weekday, a flurry of parents can be seen rushing in and out of an old building in Verdun. Children, weighed down by backpacks and violin cases lag behind.
www.dailystar.com.lb | 1/3/20
Chiwetel Ejiofor didn’t set out to make “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” his feature film directorial debut. Instead the decision came about gradually as he started to visualize how the story should look. But directing the film, Ejiofor says, changed how he approaches acting.
“Directing, and moving into that I think changes me as an actor, which I’ve started to notice — that I’m evolving as an actor in a slightly different way,” Ejiofor told TheWrap editor in chief Sharon Waxman following TheWrap’s Awards Screening Series.
“The sort of microscopic nature of looking at this film making all of these choices and really examining a film and breaking a film down and creating the film does inform the way that I look at character and the way that I look at physical production now and the idea of giving an editor choices and, or limiting choices if you want, but certainly thinking about that process much more whilst acting,” he continued.
Ejiofor adapted the screenplay for “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” from the bestselling book by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer and based on Kamkwamba’s real-life story. Now streaming on Netflix, the film follows 13-year-old William Kamkwamba (played by newcomer Maxwell Simba), who is thrown out of the school he loves when his family can no longer afford tuition. After sneaking back into the school library, he finds a way, using the bones of the bicycle belonging to his father Trywell (Ejiofor), to build a windmill in order to save his Malawian village from famine.
Ejiofor, who is of Nigerian descent, said that one of the reasons he was drawn to write and then direct the film was in order to show audiences an authentic representation of African life.
“When I was reading William Kamkwamba’s book, one of the things I really felt was just that real sense of the authentic representation of village life and African village life,” Ejiofor said. “There’s not a generic Africa, so Nigerian villages are different to Malawian villages, though, there are certain similarities. But I felt that actually trying to tell the story of William Kamkwamba and represent that village life on the screen as authentically as I could was something that was quite powerful because it was something that I hadn’t really seen represented in cinema quite as accurately as I would like.”
For that reason the “12 Years a Slave” actor said it was important to him not to just shoot the film in Malawi, but in the actual village where Kamkwamba, who after the events depicted in the film would go on to attend Dartmouth and become an engineer, built the windmill.
The film delves into the social and political life of Malawi and Kamkwamba’s village, and while the film is somewhat critical of the Malawi government, Ejiofor said they were actually OK with the film and there weren’t really any issues during production.
Though some of Ejiofor’s more prominent roles have been in films that explore some aspect of African and, or African-American life, as well as the trauma — “12 Years a Slave” and “Amistad” — and that’s important, it doesn’t dictate the kinds of stories he’ll look to direct or star in in the future. Though he is glad for the opportunity to tell these stories.
“I don’t have a oeuvre, really… I feel like films can be serious and they can be meaningful, and they can also be entertaining and they can be frivolous, and they can be all sorts of things,” he said. “[I enjoyed] having the opportunity to tell a story like this, to feel that there was some way of engaging an audience and engaging an audience, hopefully, in different countries and people who didn’t have any relationship to this place, and relating a sense of what I feel about the continent generally really.”
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www.thewrap.com | 12/5/19
Issa Rae to Write, Star and Produce Feature Comedy ‘Perfect Strangers’ for Spyglass and Eagle Pictures
Spyglass Media and Eagle Pictures have teamed up to produce an English-language adaptation of Paolo Genovese’s Italian film “Perfetti Sconosciuti,” with “Insecure” star and co-creator Issa Rae attached to write, produce and star in the comedy.
The film, “Perfect Strangers,” centers around a dinner party in which a group of friends decide to play a risky game where they place their phones face-up on the table and agree to make all texts and phone calls public in an attempt to prove they have nothing to hide. The film takes a comedic approach to dealing with the friendship, love and betrayal that forces the friends to confront the fact that they may actually be “perfect strangers.”
“I’m really looking forward to bringing this funny and compelling story to a new demographic and could not be happier about partnering with the Spyglass team to make it happen,” Rae said in a statement. “I loved the original film and think the story will resonate with audiences here as well.”
The original Italian version, “Perfetti Sconosciuti,” was released in 2016. A number of local-language remakes followed the film’s initial release, including in China, Spain, Russia, France, and Korea. The Italian film won two David di Donatello Awards for best film and best screenplay as well as the best screenplay for an International Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Spyglass is banking that Rae, who has become one of Hollywood’s premiere creators, will bring her signature style to the adaptation. Rae has received critical praise, including Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her HBO series, “Insecure,” which is set to return in 2020.
“Issa is the perfect choice to adapt Paolo Genovese’s brilliant film given her bold and comedic authenticity,” Spyglass’s vice president of development and production Chris Stone said in a statement. “As one of the most sought-after creative talents, we are excited to see Issa’s vision come to life.”
Rae will next star in Universal’s romantic drama, “The Photograph,” which is set to hit theaters in February 2020. She’ll also star in the 2020 romantic comedy “Lovebirds” with Kumail Nanjiani.
Principal photography on “Perfect Strangers” is expected to start in the early part of next year. The film is being produced by Spyglass and Eagle Pictures, as well as 3 Marys Entertainment, alongside Rae.
Issa Rae Productions’ Montrel McKay will executive produce. Chris Stone will oversee production on behalf of Spyglass and Tarak Ben Ammar, chairman and owner of Eagle Pictures, will oversee the film on behalf of Eagle.
“I am proud to be working alongside our partners at Spyglass and the immensely talented Issa Rae on this socially resonant and provocative comedy that not only became a success in Europe, but went on to capture the attention of audiences around the globe,” Ben Ammar said in a statement.
Spyglass was launched earlier this year by former MGM CEO Gary Barber, in partnership with Lantern Entertainment co-presidents Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic. Lantern recently bought the assets of The Weinstein Co. out of bankruptcy, making Spyglass now the home to more than 250 film library titles, scripted and unscripted TV series, such as “Project Runway,” as well as Academy Award winners “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist,” and box office hits “Inglourious Basterds,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Hateful Eight” and “Django Unchained.”
Spyglass has strategic investment backing from Warner Bros, Eagle Pictures; the largest independent distributor in Italy, and Cineworld Group.
Rae is represented by UTA, 3 Arts Entertainment and attorney John Meigs.
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www.thewrap.com | 12/4/19
The 2019 UN IGF is right now being held in Berlin and entering the last day. There has been a wide range of exciting discussions. It is a huge step forward that this year's IGF has been able to bring a plethora of topics together under a framework of thinking after the efforts done by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres' High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (The Age of Digital Interdependence) and by German scholars' engagement with all the stakeholders (Towards a Global Framework for Cyber Peace and Digital Cooperation: An Agenda for the 2020s).
A central underlying topic of this year's IGF is about the conceptions about digital sovereignty. It is totally predictable that Chancellor Merkel would use Berlin Wall metaphor to enshrine the value of free speech. It is rare, however, to hear that she emphasizes digital sovereignty, which is said to be neither censorship nor protectionism, but a way through which individuals are capable of determining their own digital development.
Sovereignty in cyberspace has long been labeled by Western mainstream literature as a "monopoly" by China. But this is no longer the case, perhaps has never been. This column piece wants to share a different narrative: Washington DC is, in reality, the strongest supporter of the notion of cyber sovereignty in the military domain; China pays more attention to the content category; EU is more concerned about big tech giants.
Or, an easier way to put it might be this. All nations and every individual like nice words and they all support freedom and free flow. The important thing is how they make exceptions. China has social stability exceptions. U.S. has national security exceptions. Germany has privacy exceptions. All the three nations, however, attach great importance to political stability, who is the core for a society to function.
I shared my ideas in the IGF 2019 Digital Sovereignty & Internet Fragmentation session. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p55_LZmJ-2o&t=3795s). Below is a rewriting of what I said about how national sovereignty has made its extensions into cyberspace — with different degrees, in different categories, by different stakeholders — which shapes the complexities and contradictions in the articulation of digital sovereignty by different nations and stakeholders. There are five contexts.
Category No. 1 Military or legitimacy of cyberspace as military domain and the rules for it if it is legitimate. We see in this category the most hardcore extension of traditional national sovereignty into cyberspace by some nation-states. You will be given a Nobel Peace prize if you can find a multi-stakeholder solution to this unilateral or multilateral issue. If we can reduce the tensions in this category, all the rest of the challenges will become irrelevant and evaporate. China remains reluctant to admit that cyberspace has become a military zone but still eagerly promotes national sovereignty for defensive purpose against the possibility that the same two words — national sovereignty — might be used for offensive purposes by some other countries. That is a rather paradoxical situation.
Category No. 2 Crime or cybercrime governance. This is also a sovereignty story, but there are some transnational initiatives and mechanisms installed. EU has the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. Russia has submitted a UN Convention on the Fight against Information Crimes. U.S. and UK have signed the first bilateral data-sharing agreement under CLOUD. China follows a practical approach and is busy taking back suspects committing telecommunication fraud from abroad. Cybercrime is now No.1 type of crime in China, which is also good news because the crimes in the streets have significantly reduced.
Category No. 3 Trade or digital economy and digital trade rules. The most recent update is Osaka Track. It is another challenging field that brings together a lot of elements that call for multi-ministry and multi-stakeholder coordination. This is where free flow is upheld and may lead to the removal of many practices of data localization. The word trust in the principle of "data free flow with trust" is problematic and subjective. A plain use of free flow is much clearer.
Category No. 4 Code or technical communities and management of core Internet resources. This is where institutional innovation really happens and should be more widely exported to inform other categories. China is happy about the current situation. Multi-stakeholder is firmly supported. The words have been spread and repeated by Chinese President for quite some years at the World Internet Conference WuZhen Summit. All the WuZhen gatherings have carried a theme of "Digital Commons." The values nurtured by the technical communities are highly appreciated and resonate with some universal values deeply rooted in Chinese culture. The Chinese philosopher Zhao Ting-yang captures this Chinese worldview in his books about global governance. He concluded his dialogue with his French counterpart Régis Debray that the Internet changed the world more than revolutionaries like Marx, Lenin, and Mao Zedong.
Category No. 5 Content or social media governance. China so far prefers a sovereignty approach in this category. But domestically, It is important to pay attention to the diversity of media ownerships in China. There are state media like People's Daily. There are commercial media such as Tick-Tok. There are grassroots media like half a billion users' Microblog or WeChat accounts. The rise of private media ownership is quite reassuring.
Therefore, there are different extensions and projections of national sovereignty in different cyber contexts. A U.S. military version of hardcore cyber sovereignty assumes certain enemies, bases itself basically purely on imaginations, and makes China and perhaps many other developing parts of the world feel extremely uneasy. However, the Chinese way of protecting cyber sovereignty in the content domain makes the U.S. cry foul over human rights principles.
German Chancellor Merkel and her more outspoken French counterpart President Macron share the same U.S. worries about Chinese domestic practices in the content domain, but are more urgently concerned about the big U.S. Internet platforms, and this is perhaps the direction of a European version of digital sovereignty is pointing to. All of these are further enhanced by the uncertainties and competition for huge opportunities brought by emerging technologies.
Solution: return to the insights and values of the Founding Fathers of the Internet and flexibly combine multistakeholderism and multilateralism in global digital policy-making.
Written by Peixi (Patrick) Xu, Professor, Communication University of China
www.circleid.com | 12/1/19
The second week of public hearings in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry begins Tuesday morning at 6:00 a.m. PT/9:00 a.m. ET with testimony from two people who listened in on the July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky: Jennifer Williams, a State Department aide to Vice President Mike Pence, and Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman.
After a short break, the proceedings will resume at 11:30 a.m. PT/2:30 p.m. ET with testimony from former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, and former White House Russia adviser Tim Morrison, both of whom are on the list of witnesses requested to appear by Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee.
In addition to broadcasts from the major television networks, C-SPAN will once again air the full uninterrupted hearings. Watch the testimony from Williams and Vindman at the top of this page starting at 6:00 a.m. PT/9:00 a.m. ET; watch Volker and Morrison’s testimony in the video below, beginning at 11:30 a.m. PT/2:30 p.m. ET:
Then on Wednesday at 6 a.m. PT/9 a.m. PT, all eyes will be on Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union who said he personally told Zelensky’s top aide that U.S. aid to Ukraine was linked to the Biden investigations. The afternoon session will include testimony from Laura Cooper and David Hale.
Fiona Hill, a top Russian specialist on the National Security Council, and David Holmes, the aide who heard the conversation between Sondland and Trump, will testify on Thursday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in September that the House of Representatives would begin a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump.
The decision came in light of a whistleblower complaint that the president sought to use foreign power from Ukraine for his own political gain. During a phone call with Ukraine’s president, Trump reportedly pressured Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the son of former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden; earlier that week, Trump admitted that he had brought up Biden’s family during the call but told reporters that he did so because “we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.” The president also confirmed that his administration withheld nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine but denied that it was done for leverage.
Week one of the impeachment saw testimony three career public servants: William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine; George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs; and Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
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www.thewrap.com | 11/19/19
“Joker” has exceeded even the wildest of expectations doing what no R-Rated film has done before: gross $1 billion at the global box office.
The film is set to surpass the worldwide mark on Friday, currently sitting at $999 million and change, including $317 million domestically. This makes it the seventh Warner Bros. film to do cross that mark
“Joker” joins last year’s “Aquaman” ($1.14 billion) and the two Christopher Nolan Batman sequels, “The Dark Knight” ($1 billion) and “The Dark Knight Rises” ($1.08 billion) to cross the $1 billion. The other movies are “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2,” ($1.34 billion), “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” ($1.12 billion) and “The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey” ($1.01 billion).
Right now “Joker” sits just behind “The Dark Knight” on the all-time box office earners at no. 44.
Todd Phillips directed the film that starred Joaquin Phoenix in an origin story about the iconic Batman villain, and it has had a remarkable run since it won the top prize at the Venice International Film Festival.
Domestically, “Joker” opened to a strong but not record-breaking $96 million, but it held on strong and for weeks did not have a weekend-to-weekend drop above 50%. Though it still falls just short of the domestic total set by Warner Bros. and New Line’s horror film “It,” which is also rated R.
Internationally it’s held on even stronger after opening to $152.2 million, despite lacking the action-heavy appeal that would usually aid it overseas. “Joker” even broke all-time Warner Bros. records across 14 countries, including Russia and Mexico, over $100 million grossed in Latin America, and DC movie records in 34 countries, including Japan, Italy and Argentina.
Before even its fourth weekend in theaters, “Joker” surpassed “Deadpool 2” as the highest-grossing R-rated film ever, which only managed $785 million worldwide. And the achievement even earned a cheeky response from “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds when he tweeted a “Joker” poster with the caption, “You Mother F—er.”
The next goalpost in “Joker’s” sight is the Oscars, where Joaquin Phoenix is considered a strong contender for the Best Actor prize.
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www.thewrap.com | 11/15/19
Last May, SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted "6 more launches of 60 sats needed for minor coverage, 12 for moderate" and SpaceX President and CEO Gwynne Shotwell recently said they planned to be offering service in parts of the US in mid-2020, which would require six to eight 60-satellite launches. The first of those launches will be in the middle of this month on a thrice-flown Falcon 9 booster. (They will also need customer terminals and Elon Musk has used a prototype to post a tweet from his home).
Six to eight launches would bring them up to Musk's "minor" coverage by mid-2020 and, if they maintain the same launch rate, they will achieve "moderate" coverage around the end of the year. But, what is meant by "minor" and "moderate" coverage? A simulation by Mark Handley, a professor at University College London, provides an approximation of the answer.
The first Starlink "shell" will have 24 orbital planes. Each orbital plane will have 66 satellites at an inclination of 53 degrees and an altitude of 550 km. Handley ran simulations of the first six and first twelve orbital planes — corresponding roughly to the SpaceX plan for 2020. Snapshots of the coverage area "footprints" from the two simulations are shown below:
The blue areas — around 50 degrees north and south latitude — are regions with continuous 24-hour coverage by at least one satellite. With six orbital planes, there will be continuous connectivity in the northern US and Canada and much of western Europe and Russia, but only southern Patagonia and the South Island of New Zealand in the sparsely populated south. Note that the financial centers of London and (just barely) New York will have continuous coverage, but, since these early satellites will not have inter-satellite laser links (ISLLs), SpaceX would have to route traffic between them through an undersea cable.
(At this point, you should stop reading and watch the video (6m 36s) of the simulation which shows the footprints moving across the surface of the planet as it rotates).
With 12 orbital planes, all of the continental US and most of Europe, the Middle East, China, Japan, and Korea will be covered. Shotwell says that once they have 1,200 satellites in orbit, they will have global coverage (with the exception of the polar regions) and capacity will be added as they complete the 550 km shell with 1,584 satellites. That should occur well before the end of 2021 since she expects to achieve a launch cadence of 60 satellites every other week.
Shotwell also said they planned to include ISLLs by late 2020, implying that around half of the satellites in this first shell will have them. Those ISSLs will give SpaceX an advantage over terrestrial carriers for low-latency long-distance links, a market Musk hopes to dominate. ISLLs will also reduce the need for ground stations. (Maybe they can lease ground-station service from SpaceX competitor Amazon in the interim)
All of this is cool, but what will it cost the user?
It sounds like SpaceX is serious about pursuing the consumer market from the start. When asked about price recently, Shotwell said millions of people in the U. S. pay $80 per month to get "crappy service." She did not commit to a price, but homes, schools, community centers, etc. with crappy service would pay that for good service, not to mention those with no service. Some customers may pay around $80 per month, but the price at a given location will be a function of SpaceX capacity, the price/demand curve for Intenet service, and competition from terrestrial and other satellite service providers — so prices will vary within the U. S. and globally. In nations where Starlink service is sold by partner Internet service providers, they will share in pricing decisions.
Since the marginal cost of serving a customer is near zero as long as there is sufficient capacity, we can expect lower prices in a poor, sparsely-populated region than in an affluent, densely-populated region. Dynamic pricing is also a possibility since SpaceX will have real-time demand data for every location. "Dynamic pricing of a zero marginal cost, variable-demand service" sounds like a good thesis topic. It will be interesting to see their pricing policy.
National governments will also have a say on pricing and service. While the U. S. will allow SpaceX to serve customers directly, other nations may require that they sell through Internet service providers and some — maybe Russia — may ban Starlink service altogether.
The price and quality of service also impact long-run usage patterns and applications. Today, the majority of users in developing nations access the Internet using mobile phones, which limits the power and range of applications they can use. Affordable satellite broadband would lead to more computers in homes, schools, and businesses and reduce the cost of offering new Internet services, impacting the economy and culture and leading to more content and application creation, as opposed to content consumption.
Looking further into the future, SpaceX has FCC approval for around 12,000 satellites and they recently requested spectrum for an additional 30,000 from the International Telecommunication Union. Their next-generation reusable Starship will be capable of launching 400 satellites at a time, and they will have to run a regular shuttle service to launch 42,000 satellites as well as replacements since the satellites are only expected to have a five-year lifespan. (One can imagine Starships dropping off new satellites then picking up obsolete satellites and returning them to Earth).
This sounds rosy. As we said in the NSFNet days, what could possibly go wrong? SpaceX seems to have a commanding lead over its would-be competitors. Might they one day become a dominant Internet service provider in a nation or region and abuse that position? Also, before they launch 42,000 satellites — or even 12,000 — SpaceX better come up with a foolproof plan for debris avoidance and mitigation. I hope they have a vice-president in charge of unanticipated side-effects.
Update Nov 5, 2019
Speaking at an investment conference, Shotwell said that a single Starship-Super Heavy launch should be able to place at least 400 Starlink satellites in orbit. Doing so would reduce the per-satellite cost to 20% of today's 60-satellite launches.
Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University
www.circleid.com | 11/6/19
The NHL is officially in the podcast game.
“Puck Culture” is a new weekly NHL podcast series premiering on Wednesday, Oct. 30, that will focus on what’s happening in hockey both on and off the ice, the league announced on Tuesday.
Host Jackie Redmond will be joined by a rotation of co-hosts from the NHL Network for the 30-40 minute episodes.
“We have found great success with original content that combines hockey with pop culture,” NHL chief content officer and executive vice president Steve Mayer, tells TheWrap. “The positive response from avid and casual hockey fans to ‘Celebrity Wrap,’ our red carpet series, inspired us to double-down with the ‘Puck Culture’ podcasts.
“We have discovered so many from the worlds of music, television and film who love the NHL. Puck culture will allow our fans to hear from these passionate celebrities.”
Rather than simply breaking down the Xs and Os, the series will talk to NHL players and alumni, super hockey fans and celebrities. It is one of six podcasts the NHL has launched in the past year with additional podcasts expected later this season.
“Puck Culture” will also compliment the NHL’s “Celebrity Wrap” series that launched last year, which has featured Hollywood stars such as Keanu Reeves, Sophie Turner, Chloe Grace Moretz, Seth Rogen and Mike Tyson talking about their love of hockey. To date, the video series has generated more than 12.8M views across the NHL’s YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and IG channels.
The NHL recently announced a two-year, cross-platform marketing and promotional partnership with five-time Grammy Award-winning band Green Day, with their song “Fire, Ready, Aim” serving as the opening theme song for NBCSN’s “Wednesday Night Hockey” game broadcasts.
Songs from the band’s upcoming album will be featured across the NHL’s multimedia platforms, in-arena during games and at various NHL marquee events. The band will also perform at the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis, Missouri.
“Puck Culture” will be available at NHL.com/Podcasts as well as multiple iOS and Android podcast Apps, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts and TuneIn Radio.
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www.thewrap.com | 10/29/19
A month after Showtime revived the weekly “Vice” docuseries that HBO canceled, the digital media company has landed a second docuseries with Hulu called “Vice Investigates.”
Each of the 10 “Vice Investigates” episodes will provide audiences with an in-depth experience exploring timely topics and questions, such as the complex geopolitical divide between Iran and Saudi Arabia; a deep dive into the seldom seen human side of K-Pop rockstars; and a first-hand look at the experiences of intersex and transgender athletes attempting to redefine the gender lines of competition in a non-binary world.
The series will debut its first three episodes on Nov. 1, with the rest rolling out monthly beginning in December.
Subrata De is the Executive Producer and Showrunner for VICE Investigates. Beverly Chase is Co-Executive Producer. Jesse Angelo is President, Global News and Entertainment, Vice Media.
Here are the descriptions for the first three episodes that will debut on Nov. 1:
Amazon On Fire: Emmy award-winning VICE News correspondent Seb Walker will take audiences to the front lines of the fires blazing throughout the Amazon where politics are rolling back decades of work to save the forest and potentially the planet. As Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is confronted with an unprecedented ecological disaster conservationists are placing blame squarely at his feet. Key interviews include French President Emmanuel Macron, an outspoken critic of the government’s response, as well as indigenous people and ranchers who have been living on the land for generations but are in bitter opposition over its value, legacy and stewardship.
Russia’s War on Hip-Hop: Hip-hop has taken Russia by storm, quickly becoming one of the most popular genres among young people. But the Kremlin claims Hip-hop artists are encouraging drug use, violence, and other social ills, and now their concerts are being cancelled. Emmy award-winning VICE News correspondent Alzo Slade embeds with Russia’s most controversial musicians to explore artistic freedom under Putin’s governance and examines the intersection of culture and politics though this new cultural phenomena.
A Middle East Divided: After almost two years of reporting around the globe, VICE Founder Shane Smith provides a definitive look at the escalating tensions in the world’s most volatile region. With authoritarianism on the rise, record-breaking military spending, and ever increasing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, VICE travels to Yemen, Israel, Bahrain, and Lebanon to better understand the Middle East’s ever-changing geopolitical landscape. The episode will feature on-the-ground reporting and new in-depth interviews with world leaders including Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner and the architect behind Trump’s Iran policy, Brian Hook.
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www.thewrap.com | 10/24/19
The nominees for this year’s Streamy Awards were announced Wednesday by Dick Clark Productions, Tubefilter and YouTube. David Dobrik leads the way with 11 nominations and murder-mystery reality web series “Escape the Night: Season 4” follows with five nominations.
Lil Nas X and Lizzo are both nominated for the first time.
The awards specifically celebrate the best in online video. This year’s ceremony, the ninth one, will be held Dec. 13 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. It will stream live globally on YouTube.
“Creators are the heart and soul of YouTube, so we’re excited to celebrate and honor their creativity, diversity and hard work,” Jamie Byrne, director of creator partnerships at YouTube, said in a statement. “Together with the Streamys, we’ve expanded our award categories to even more regions around the world to bring fans some of the biggest and most unforgettable moments from the past year, all from the creators they love.”
See the full list of nominees below:
Show of the Year
Action or Sci-Fi
First Person presented by GoPro HERO8 Black
International: Asia Pacific
International: Europe, Middle East, and Africa
International: Latin America
Health and Wellness
Kids and Family
Science and Education
Visual and Special Effects
Company or Brand
Nonprofit or NGO
Branded Content: Series
Branded Content: Video
Social Good Campaign
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www.thewrap.com | 10/16/19
"About his discussions with a frog..." Stage Russia has debuted an official trailer for a documentary titled Rezo, a film about the famous Georgian writer, artist and puppeteer Rezo Gabriadze. Rezo is best known as the screenwriter of the iconic Soviet movies Mimino and Kin-dza-dza. He has been awarded the title of Commander of the Order of Arts and Literature in France, and New Yorker recognized his Stalingrad as one the best theatrical performances of 2010. His sculptures adorn the streets of Saint Petersburg and Odessa. Timur Bekmambetov also produced the film, and says about it: "Rezo has become family for me. This movie is my homage to a senior colleague and a sign of the deepest recognition of his identity, talent and incredible charm. There is no room for indifference in his stories. They cut directly to the heart." Half of this film is drawn by Rezo himself, a mix of classic doc storytelling & animation. I will say ...
www.firstshowing.net | 10/13/19
Head over the hump with these sexy links including Rihanna naked, Cynda McElvana flashing, and the best movies released on this day in movie nudity history!
On This Day in Movie Nudity History: October 9 (header image)
egotastic.com | 10/9/19
The world premieres of James Mangold’s “Ford v Ferrari,” the Safdie brothers’ “Uncut Gems,” Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn,” Tom Harper’s “The Aeronauts,” Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow” and Rupert Goold’s “Judy” will highlight the lineup of the 2019 Telluride Film Festival. The festival announced its slate of films on Thursday, one day before the three-day event will kick off in the Colorado mountain town.
Stars headed to the Colorado mountain town should include Matt Damon and Christian Bale for the auto-racing drama “Ford v Ferrari,” Adam Sandler for “Uncut Gems,” Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones for the period piece “The Aeronauts” and Renee Zellweger for the Judy Garland story “Judy.”
Special tributes and Silver Medallion Awards will be presented to Zellweger, Adam Driver and director Philip Kaufman.
Portions of Ken Burns’ upcoming documentary series, “Country Music,” will also be screened in Telluride, as will Agnes Varda’s final film, “Agnes by Varda,” Davis Guggenheim’s Bill Gates documentary “Inside Bill’s Brain” and Trey Edward Shults’ “Waves.”
The three short films will include “Lost and Found” and “Into the Fire,” both by Orlando von Einsiedel, the Oscar-winning director of the short “The White Helmets.”
The festival, which selects a carefully-curated group of about two dozen films, has also opted to showcase a number of films from this year’s Cannes Film Festival, including Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory,” Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” Kantemir Balagov’s “Beanpole” and Bong Joon Ho’s Palme d’Or winner, “Parasite.”
Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” Fernando Meirelles’ “The Two Popes” and Lauren Greenfield’s “The Kingmaker” are among the films that will go to Telluride after premiering at the Venice Film Festival. “Marriage Story” is the only film to be playing all four of the fall festivals – Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York – while “The Kingmaker” is the only documentary to be screening at Venice, Telluride and Toronto.
Telluride typically showcases a group of films that include many Oscar nominees-to-be, though its eight-year streak of screening the eventual Best Picture winner came to an end last year when “Green Book” skipped Telluride, premiered in Toronto and went on to win the top prize. Of last year’s Telluride selections, only two, “Roma” and “The Favourite,” would receive best-pic nominations, though the 2018 selection also included Oscar winners “Free Solo” (documentary feature) and “First Man” (visual effects) and nominees “Cold War,” “Shoplifters” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Telluride screenings begin on Friday and end on Monday.
· THE AERONAUTS (d. Tom Harper, U.S. – U.K., 2019)
Selections from guest director Pico Iyer:
Additional film revivals:
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www.thewrap.com | 8/29/19
Elton John accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of “hypocrisy” when it comes to his stance on LGBT rights and policies, citing the censorship of the Elton John biopic “Rocketman” as a reason for why he doesn’t take Putin at his word.
In an interview with The Financial Times on Thursday, Putin said he’s willing to “let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that,” but criticized certain lifestyle choices for fear that it could “overshadow” other “traditional family values.”
“I find duplicity in your comment that you want LGBT people to ‘be happy’ and that ‘we have no problem in that,'” John said in a statement obtained by TheWrap. “Yet Russian distributors chose to heavily censor my film ‘Rocketman’ by removing all references to my finding true happiness through my 25 year relationship with David and the raising of my two beautiful sons. This feels like hypocrisy to me.”
John previously issued a statement condemning the censorship of “Rocketman,” in which The Guardian reported that a Russian distributor had cut all scenes in the film featuring gay sex or men kissing due to laws banning “homosexual propaganda,” an estimated five minutes in all of total footage.
Further, the caption ahead of the film’s credits says that John now lives happily with his husband and that they are raising their children together. The Guardian quoted a Russian film critic who said that in Russian version of the film, the credits read that John has established an AIDS foundation and continues to work with his musical partner.
John and the filmmakers at the time said they were unaware that the changes to the film would be made.
“I am proud to live in a part of the world where our governments have evolved to recognise the universal human right to love whoever we want,” John continued in his letter to President Putin. “And I’m truly grateful for the advancement in government policies that have legally supported and allowed my marriage to David. This has brought us both tremendous comfort and happiness.”
Speaking to the Financial Times, Putin said that the ideals of “liberalism” had become “obsolete” and further threw water on the idea that Russia’s policies are homophobic.
“I am not trying to insult anyone because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia. But we have no problem with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish,” Putin said Thursday. “But some things do appear excessive to us. They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles.”
Putin continued: “But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.”
“Rocketman” is a biopic and jukebox musical about John’s life starring Taron Egerton and directed by Dexter Fletcher. The film is in theaters now.
Read John’s full letter to President Putin below:
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www.thewrap.com | 6/28/19
CBS has renewed the summer drama “Blood & Treasure” for a second season, the network announced on Wednesday.
Described as a “globe-trotting action-adventure drama,” the series stars Matt Barr as a former FBI agent who teams up with a resourceful art thief, played by Sofia Pernas, to catch a ruthless terrorist who funds his attacks through stolen arts and antiquities.
“‘Blood & Treasure’ is a fun, escapist adventure with comedic elements filmed in multiple locales around the world that has been a great performer and a wonderful addition to our summer schedule,” Amy Reisenbach, executive vice president, Current Programs, CBS Entertainment, said. “We’ve heard the story pitch for season two and look forward to seeing all-new exploits from Russia to Southeast Asia next year.”
In the weeks since its debut late last month, “Blood & Treasure” has performed well for CBS on Tuesday nights, averaging 5.71 million viewers as the summer’s most-watched new scripted series.
In addition to Barr and Pernas, Oded Fehr, Michael James Shaw, Katia Winter, James Callis, Alicia Coppola, and Mark Gagliardi also star.
The series is produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Propagate Content. Matthew Federman, Stephen Scaia, Taylor Elmore, Ben Silverman, Marc Webb, Mark Vlasic and Howard T. Owens are executive producers.
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www.thewrap.com | 6/26/19
"Fiddler captures those big moments in our lives, moments of transition..." Roadside Attr. has unveiled an official trailer for a doc film titled Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles, from filmmaker Max Lewkowicz. The documentary tells the origin story behind one of Broadway's most beloved musicals, Fiddler on The Roof, and its creative roots in early 1960s New York, when "tradition" was on the wane as gender roles, sexuality, race relations and religion were evolving. Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, set in the Pale of Settlement of Imperial Russia in 1905. It first premiered on Broadway in 1964, and was the first musical at the time to surpass 3,000 performances during its original run. This looks like a very fascinating, lively look back at Broadway (and cinema) history. Here's the first trailer for Max Lewkowicz's doc Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles, direct from YouTube: The origin story ...
www.firstshowing.net | 6/12/19
Donald Trump’s rants against the media — and in particular, his use of the phrase “enemy of the people” — has increased the danger journalists face across the world, New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger said Tuesday at Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“What I’m really concerned about is the broader affect [Trump’s criticism is] having on this sort of culture in the United States, a country where freedom of the press and freedom of expression has always been among our most essential rights,” Sulzberger said. “And then, in particular, the incredibly dangerous climate that has been created abroad, where this has basically been read by dictators and tyrants around the world, legitimizing their own efforts to crackdown on the press. We’ve seen unprecedented numbers of attacks on journalists, harassment on journalists.”
Moderator Peter Kafka asked Sulzberger if he draws a direct connection between the president’s comments and the threat journalists face outside the U.S. “I do,” Sulzberger replied, noting what he says is a measurable increase in foreign politicians using the phrase “fake news” to denigrate the media.
According to a 2018 report by British human rights organization Article 19, 78 journalists were killed and more than 300 were imprisoned in 2017, a 10-year global high. The report also cites a sharp rise in restrictions on media in countries like Russia, Turkey and Hungary in recent years.
Sulzberger, who drew laughs from the conference audience when he said the president was “obviously” a “loyal reader,” said he was especially unsettled by his use of the phrase “enemy of the people,” something he said harkens back to Stalinist Russia.
Sulzberger also pointed to a disparity between President Trump’s public and “private posture” towards the media. He recalled a meeting with Trump where his secretary told him he had several important calls to return. Trump, according to Sulzberger, responded “what could be more important than The New York Times?”
Kafka then asked which side truly reflects the president’s stance.
“What’s his real view? When you’re the president of the United States, we need to take you at your word,” Sulzberger said.
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www.thewrap.com | 6/11/19
Dan Harris is stepping down from his post as anchor of ABC’s “Nightline” to focus on growing 10% Happier, a business based on his 2014 book of the same name.
“It is a high class problem: I simply have too many awesome things on my plate, between weekend ‘GMA,’ ‘Nightline,’ and the expanding 10% juggernaut (which, by the way, never would have come into being without an astounding level of support from ABC News),” Harris said in a memo to staff Tuesday. “So why, given all the options, did I decide to drop the ‘Nightline’ anchor gig? Because, frankly, you deserve an anchor who gives it his or her all. This team of amazing producers – who work all hours and travel all over the world – has the right to expect an on-air representative who is in the trenches with you day after day. And the circumstances of my life simply will not allow that right now.”
Harris, who has been with ABC News since 2000 and co-anchored “Nightline” since 2013, will remain as a co-anchor of the weekend of “GMA” and host ABC News’ “10% Happier” podcast.
“I’m happy to tell you that he’ll continue to report his trademark powerful and important, deeply reported stories for ‘Nightline’ and across ABC News,” Goldstone wrote in his own memo to the news division.
“Dan has traveled the world fearlessly for an up close look at some of the most dangerous places on the planet, from Rio de Janeiro’s war on drugs and Vladimir Putin’s Russia to the inner workings of the Sinaloa cartel’s drug operations in Mexico and notorious gang violence in El Salvador,” he continued. “At the same time, it’s been incredibly exciting to witness how Dan’s thriving 10% Happier franchise has grown from a best-selling book to an award-winning podcast, highly-rated app and second best-selling book, drawing millions of fans. It’s a testament to his hard work and a reflection of how vital meditation and mindfulness have become in our modern culture. I can’t wait to see where it goes next.”
See Harris’ full memo to staff below.
And here’s Goldston’s note.
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www.thewrap.com | 6/11/19
This weekend, a European phenomenon is back — though Americans may have to hunt for clips on YouTube or seek out a VPN and watch via another country’s home broadcaster.
The Eurovision Song Contest, a cross between “The X Factor” and the Miss Universe pageant that offers Yanks a glimpse of what it’s like to be in a culture that doesn’t have jazz and blues as the foundation of its pop music.
For those who’ve never seen — or even heard of Eurovision — before, here’s a quick primer to get you caught up.
What exactly is this contest?
That sounds like a pretty noble goal.
Then there are the artists themselves. As Eurovision has evolved, more and more ridiculous acts have come out of the woodwork. Finnish monster-rock bands, Russian grandmas and Latvian pirates are among the acts that have performed for a TV audience of hundreds of millions in recent Eurovisions. And that Finnish monster rock band actually won.
Jeez! So is this just some musical freak show?
There’s also a small handful of top stars on the winners’ list you might recognize. ABBA used Eurovision as a launch pad to stardom in 1974 with their song “Waterloo,” and French-Canadian Celine Dion’s win in 1988 was her biggest claim to fame before “Titanic” came out. Quality — or at least creativity — does tend to win out at Eurovision.
OK, so how does this contest work?
Then the show transitions to a long procession of national “ambassadors” reading out who each country gave their votes to. The top 10 performers in each country’s vote get points, with 12 points going to the top vote-getter, followed by 10 and then eight down to one for the rest of the order. The same goes with the juries, but with 10 points going to the performer in first place.
And what does the performer with the most points win?
What? No prize money? No contract? No vague promises of superstardom?
Even now, a good chunk of the acts are homogenous power ballads that can blur together when performed in succession. Still, Eurovision is worth watching just for the spectacle of it all. The Disneyland-esque sweetness of the proceedings is charming, and the lack of stakes for the performers keeps it feeling light and fun rather than a battle for wealth, glory, and continental supremacy.
It has also made headlines in recent years that have allowed it to take steps beyond the realm of annual oddities like the Running of the Bulls. The winner in 2014 was gay Austrian singer Thomas Neuwirth, who performed as drag queen superstar Conchita Wurst. The victory transformed Conchita into an LGBT icon in Europe, even as Russian conservatives raged in fury and used the singer as an example of why Russia shouldn’t be a part of the EU. For all of Eurovision’s platitudes about tolerance and peace, this was a moment where those ideals were actually acted upon, even if it meant breaking the general tone of inoffensiveness.
If it’s supposed to be European, why is Australia a competitor?
So…if all these countries that aren’t strictly European are competing, does this mean we may be seeing the USA compete in Eurovision soon?
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www.thewrap.com | 5/18/19
Country X is occupied by Country Y, so how do citizens of these two very different nations cope, relate, converse and otherwise interact with each other? That’s the subject of Christopher Chen’s provocative new play, “Passage,” which opened Sunday at Off Broadway’s Soho Rep.
The playwright’s use of letters extends beyond these two undefined countries. The many characters have names that range from B to S, with one actor (Howard W. Overshown, wisely underplaying each role) multicast as characters named D, J, S, the Gecko and the Mosquito. All these letters sounds confusing, but shortly after you’ve figured out that Country Y isn’t Country Why, it begins to make sense.
“Passage” could be about China and Tibet, or Russia and Crimea, or maybe even the United States and Guam. Chen’s use of the letters X and Y gives him enormous freedom, and he uses it to powerful effect. That’s also true of the dozen lettered characters on stage that costume designer Toni-Leslie James has color-coded (per the instructions in Chen’s script) so that the citizens of X and Y, not to mention the Gecko and the Mosquito, are easily distinguished.
Saheem Ali’s fluid direction and use of Arnulfo Maldonado’s unique turntable set also help to clarify. In a stunning coup d’teatre, the actors sometimes perform as stagehands to spin Maldonado’s set as their actor colleagues stand or walk on the moving platform. Amith Chandrashaker’s lighting adds to the movement and often charges the space with dramatic foreboding.
The first half of “Passages” moves briskly through a number of brief confrontations set in Country X: An X woman (Purva Bedi) believes that one of her X friends (David Ryan Smith) is too complicit with the Y government; a new Y émigré (Andrea Abello) soon discovers that her Y fiancé (Yair Ben-Dor), a longtime resident of Country X, has changed and not for the better; a well-known X doctor (K.K. Moggie) deals effectively but warily with various Y citizens (Howard W. Overshown and Linda Powell) living and working in her own country; and so on.
It’s a credit to Chen’s powers as a writer that each of these encounters immediately engages, and in under an hour, he establishes a wide panorama of a society under siege but still functioning. Except for the occasional protest, civility reigns.
This meandering but captivating plot quickly comes together in the second half of “Passage.” It involves an explosive incident at a holy site in Country X when the X doctor takes the Y émigré on a tour of some caves. The actor Lizan Mitchell has been the play’s host and narrator, a.k.a. G, and she tells us that this episode may recall “A Passage to India,” by E.M. Forster, but adds, “This isn’t his story but our story.”
Indeed, Chen has lifted from Forster — not only the caves but the title “Passage” — but goes to a very different place.
Too often in today’s theater, playwrights promote a culture of victimization, with everybody racing to claim his or her group as the most persecuted. The first half of “Passage” leads us to believe that Chen’s play will be another one of those. The second half completely turns those expectations upside down.
Much credit here goes to the very understated but immensely empathetic performances delivered by Powell and Moggie. Equally wonderful is the work of Mitchell. She begins as our host and narrator. By play’s end, she has become the evening’s shaman.
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www.thewrap.com | 5/6/19
After a weekend that saw the Marvel Cinematic Universe once again assert its dominance over the pop culture landscape, Marvel Studios will now see its lifetime box office grosses cross the $20 billion mark after “Avengers: Endgame” entered the top 10 all-time box office list on Monday.
The superhero crossover’s first weekday in theaters was also the opening day for the final market to receive the film — Russia. There, the film made $7.8 million and set a new record for the highest opening day in that country, 59% ahead of the previous record set by “Avengers: Infinity War,” which opened on a Thursday.
On the domestic side, “Endgame” grossed $36.7 million, the second highest total ever recorded on a Monday behind the $40 million made by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015. That total is also down 60 percent from the $90.3 million opening “Endgame” made on Sunday. By comparison, “Infinity War” made $24.7 million for a 64% day-to-day drop.
This is an early sign that the second weekend of “Endgame” is going to be one of the largest in industry history, and will likely mean that the film will hit the $2 billion mark in the same time that it took “Infinity War” to hit $1 billion. Already after six days in theaters, “Endgame” has reached a global total of $1.34 billion, leapfrogging films like “Frozen,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” to enter the top 10 highest grossing films of all time.
For Marvel Studios, this is a capstone moment in its rise to box office dominance since it first released “Iron Man” 11 years ago. As of today, Marvel Studios has produced half of the top 10 highest grossing films of all time before inflation adjustment, those five films being “Black Panther” and all four “Avengers” films.
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www.thewrap.com | 4/30/19
The internet started to take on momentum in the 1990s. At that time many analysts, myself included, marveled at the opportunity of creating a platform that would boost grassroot democracy. There was no need for a middleman and there were few barriers to ordinary people becoming involved. This included organizing groups, discussions and events, sharing knowledge, insights and information, publishing opinions — just some of the potential attached to the internet. And for the first two decades, this basically was what happened, in a very positive and constructive way. It did disrupt several business, social and political models but that that was seen as 'a new broom sweeping clean.'
All of that is still happening — and as a matter of fact, it has only increased. However, at the same time, the ugly side of humanity has moved into this area as well. They all jumped on the bandwagon — cheats, plain criminals, misogynists, racists and bullies. This was very unfortunate, but it became serious when more organized misuse of the internet began to take place. This is undermining democracy and democratic processes; many people began to say enough is enough.
Most of the misuse is aimed at generating fake traffic that leads to extra advertising income or click income on YouTube for instance. In proportion to overall internet activity the other, serious political misuse is significantly less. It has, however, far deeper negative consequences. It is using manipulation to set people against each other. It interferes with democratic processes such as elections and undermines democratic institutions.
This criminal internet activity happens more or less in parallel with broader traditional forms of manipulations and is not limited to the internet. The fake news activities and the undermining of democratic institutions are for example carried out by President Trump without the internet. The same is happening in countries such as Britain, Turkey, Hungary, Poland and Italy, to name just a few.
There is no doubt that the internet has become an important tool to create division, hatred and conflict. This has more to do with human behaviour than with technology. Addressing only the technology element of this problem will not solve the much more serious underlying issues.
Division, lies, hatred, fake news, racism and conflict are being used by our leaders in public. It is then not difficult to understand that people perceive this as a license to do the same, with or without technology.
It is important to state that it is not the internet that is causing all of this. So far the internet has created far more positive than negative outcomes, and we need to preserve what's best about it. Most importantly, this includes the freedom for people to express themselves. Equally important is that entrepreneurs can innovate and build new business models. At the same time, we need to ensure that we protect society from broader harm.
We can look at what we have done with other tools that we use — tools like guns, cars, chemicals and drugs. All these products and services can have negatives associated with them. What we have done over the years to address this is to build elements into these products and services to limit the risk and increase safety.
This has been done through the hard work of everyone involved: the government and industry, as well as the users/consumers. As an example, look at cars in the 1970s. They killed 3 to 4 times more people than they do now, and our population has nearly doubled over that period. How did this change happen? Partly through regulation, partly through better products, and partly through human behaviour.
Have we, as a result, eliminated all the harmful elements of motor cars? No, of course not. But the risks have been reduced considerably over those years. This to such a level that the negative (e.g., death by car accidents) seems to be acceptable to most of us. Is that enough? No, it isn't. And so we are still trying to improve, through the combined efforts of government, industry and us, the people.
We will also have to begin to develop similar processes in relation to the internet. However, before we know what we need to do, we will first have to drill down to where the problems are and work out who can do what in addressing the issues.
Starting with the government, Mark Zuckerberg mentioned the need for a more active role for governments and regulators. He suggested the need for an update of the rules for the internet. In particularly in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.
In relation to the industry, he recommends starting with data manipulation aimed at defrauding the internet companies. Here the social media companies have a vested interest in tackling that problem themselves as fraud cost them money. The tools that they develop to minimize this can also be used to address other data manipulation issues — for example, interferences in elections and fake news. As Zuckerburg indicated, the government will also have to play a key role in setting up the rules for this. This will also need to be done at international levels.
It will remain a cat and mouse situation. New — more sophisticated — technologies to combat this will be developed, and they will be circumvented by criminals, and this process will continue. In the end, criminal interferences will be greatly reduced. The reason being that it simply becomes too costly for many of the groups to come up with their own tools to crack the ones developed by industry. The best hope here is for a managed situation, similar to those that have been created to manage other potentially dangerous tools, as in the motor car example.
A challenging issue here is the fact that what is harmful to one society, culture or religion is not necessarily the same for another group. A real threat — or even perhaps a reality — is that this would lead to a further regionalization of the internet. Countries such as China, Iran and North Korea have already created their own walls around the internet, and Russia is also trying to build its wall.
Another issue in relation to the industry is whether some of these companies are becoming too dominant and are showing monopolistic tendencies. A very human reaction to this is that we don't tolerate monopolies. We, therefore, need to start looking at industry legislation, be it anti-trust remedies, breaking up companies or other solutions.
Lastly, we also need to drill down on the people's side. We need to identify and address what causes the problematic behaviour of those misusing the internet before we can address these issues. Education and information at schools and elsewhere will be important. They will deliver longer-term positive outcomes.
Full-blown criminal behavior, racism, hate speech and the like are already punishable under existing laws. Our enforcement agencies, however, are still not well-equipped to address Internet-based crimes as effectively as they address similar crimes conducted in more traditional ways.
I am sometimes alerted by people who read my analyses to information or activities that are of an illegal or criminal nature. I report them to the appropriate authorities, but I have never received an answer from them. And if one goes to a police station to report internet abuse that will still too often elicit a blank look from the officer at the desk.
In order to get the people on board here, they need to be supported by well-functioning institutions. They should be able to take effective action against individuals that are crossing the line online. At the moment there is a feeling among the public that they are losing control over some of the central mechanisms of their lives. In the case of the internet, the lives of most people have been improved, and it has created lots of new economic activity. At the same time, it is also clear that the negatives of technology are such that people are not comfortable with the risks and safety issues. Comparing this with the example of motor cars, it is obvious that more work is needed. And whether we like it or not, people want action now.
So far this is resulting in some countries introducing broad and vague sweeping laws. Laws which are not implemented effectively, because it is impossible to do so while they are still being written. We clearly need to improve on that.
This will become increasingly apparent as time goes on. My colleagues in America say that the problems with the hastily introduced social media legislation will soon become evident in Australia. Other countries will learn from these mistakes and will adopt more realistic legislation to safeguard innovation, economic growth and freedom of speech. These core democratic elements seem to become the casualties of bad legislation. With a lack of effective self-regulation from the digital media giants, there is however no doubt that major changes to these negative elements in the use of the of the Internet will increasingly be regulated and legislated.
Written by Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication
www.circleid.com | 4/24/19
‘Chernobyl’ Trailer Dramatizes 1986 Nuclear Disaster: ‘Every Atom of Uranium Is Like a Bullet’ (Video)
HBO has released the first full-length trailer for its upcoming five-part miniseries about the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
Jared Harris, Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, Paul Ritter, Jessie Buckley, Adrian Rawlins and Con O’Neill star in “Chernobyl,” which dramatizes the story of the 1986 nuclear accident.
The accident, which took place in April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine, occurred following a massive explosion that released radioactive material across Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, reaching as far as Scandinavia and Western Europe. It is considered one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history.
HBO’s miniseries tells the story of the men and women who sacrificed to save Europe from unimaginable disaster, all the while battling a culture of disinformation.
“Chernobyl” was written by Craig Mazin and directed by Johan Renck. Executive producers are Carolyn Strauss, Jane Featherstone and Mazin, with Chris Fry and Johan Renck serving as co-executive producers. Produced by Sister Pictures and the Mighty Mint as an HBO/Sky Co-Production. The series was filmed on location in Lithuania.
Watch the video above.
“Chernobyl” will premiere Monday, May 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
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www.thewrap.com | 3/28/19
By Emanuel Pietrobon What if Russia never sold Alaska to the United States? History would have been completely different, this is why the study of the Alaska purchase is a must-to-do for every want-to-be geopolitician and strategist Between 1835 and 1840 the French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville published "Democracy in America", a two-volume essay focused on the explanation of the reasons behind the firmly establishment of democratic culture in the United States.
www.pravdareport.com | 3/27/19
Video game giant Electronic Arts is laying off 350 people, the company said on Tuesday, marking the latest round of job cuts to hit the gaming industry in recent months.
The layoffs represent about 4 percent of EA’s global workforce. The Redwood City, California-based company is behind popular sports franchises like the “Madden” football and “FIFA” soccer series, as well as the “Battlefield” shooter series.
“These are important but very hard decisions, and we do not take them lightly,” EA chief Andrew Wilson said in a blog post. “We are friends and colleagues at EA, we appreciate and value everyone’s contributions, and we are doing everything we can to ensure we are looking after our people to help them through this period to find their next opportunity. This is our top priority.”
The layoffs will primarily impact EA’s marketing, publishing and operations teams. EA will also be “ramping down” its teams in Russia and Japan, Wilson said.
The cuts come only a month after Activision Blizzard, the Santa Monica-based company behind several of the world’s top video games, including “World of Warcraft” and “Call of Duty,” let go of 800 employees. And last September, Telltale Games laid off 250 employees, effectively shuttering the company.
Shares of EA stock increased half a percent on Tuesday, closing at $102.32 per share.
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www.thewrap.com | 3/26/19
Electronic Arts has issued a statement on a sizable round of layoffs that aim to ramp "down our current presence in Japan and Russia" and refocus on "increasing quality in our games and services." ...
www.gamasutra.com | 3/26/19