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Last May, Cuba's Ministry of Communication (MINCOM) announced resolutions 98 and 99 limiting wireless transmission power and outdoor cables that made community networks like Havana's SNET, illegal. Since SNET was the world's largest community network that did not have Internet access, implementation of the resolutions was postponed for 60 days for negotiations between SNET administrators and MINCOM. The negotiations have ended with a decision to transfer SNET's services and content to ETECSA, Cuba's government-monopoly ISP, and to provide access through Cuba's nationwide chain of 611 Youth Computer Clubs (YCCs), as illustrated by the diagram shown here.

The new regulations authorize people to install WiFi equipment in their homes and businesses in order to access the YCCs, represented by the blue building, and public WiFi hotspots, represented by the sunny outdoor location. The diagram also shows cables running from the YCCs to larger buildings that may represent ETECSA data centers, wireless Internet points of presence, and homes with DSL connectivity.

The government says SNET "will grow with the increased infrastructure" of the YCCs and ETECSA and claims that the intent of Resolutions 98 and 99 is to expand Internet access, but many in the SNET community fear losing access to and control of the assets they have created. You can see their point of view by searching Twitter for the hashtags #YoSoySnet and #FuerzaSnet. The protesters (and I) have many questions about the takeover, like:

  • While some testing has begun, this conversion will take time and resources — why not allow parallel operation of SNET during the cutover to ETECSA/YCC?
  • How many homes are close enough to connect to current WiFi hotspots and YCCs?
  • Given the current planned infrastructure expansion, how long will it take to re-connect all current SNET users?
  • How many of the 611 YCCs have fiber links and what is the schedule for connecting the others?
  • Are rooftop and other outside antennas legal (MINCOM FAQ 18)?
  • Will wireless network installer be added to the list of self-employment occupations (MINCOM FAQ 19)?
  • What provisions are being made to extend connectivity to community network members in smaller cities, outside of Havana?
  • SNET offers many services in addition to gaming — social networking (similar to Facebook), FTP (file transfer) for content sharing, live music streaming, software for download, and forums for developers and engineers, poetry, literature, comics, and sports. Will all of the current SNET services and content be supported?
  • Was the ETECSA/YCC migration anticipated and planned for during the drafting of resolutions 98 and 99?
  • Were SNET and YCC representatives consulted or involved in the drafting of resolutions 98 and 99?
  • There has been some dissension among SNET administrators in the past — was this agreement approved unanimously?
  • In Spain, the UK, Argentina, and other nations, the decision was made to cooperate with and support community networks — to treat them as cooperatively-owned Internet service providers. Did MINCOM consider that alternative and, if so, why was it rejected?
  • Some SNET members have been detained and threatened for voicing opposition to the takeover of the network — are those reports accurate?
  • What will ETECSA/YCC charge for access to former SNET services?
  • Did MINCOM do a cost/benefit analysis of the conversion?
  • Will former SNET members be compensated in any way for their investment in equipment or time in creating intellectual capital in the form of content, software or communication infrastructure?

SNET was a Cuban success story — a user-owned and operated cooperative that developed infrastructure, applications, and content. SNET and the other Cuban community networks may have connected as many homes as ETECSA's home DSL service, Nauta Hogar. Cuba's community networks also developed human capital — experienced users and technicians who, in the long run, benefit both ETECSA and society.

Skeptics see this takeover as confiscation of community assets rather than an effort to better serve the public. Transparent answers to these and related questions could ease their concerns, and I hope ETECSA and the JCCs can deliver on their promises quickly.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

www.circleid.com | 8/22/19

Directors Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”) and Patricia Rozema (“I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing”) and producer Cassian Elwes will serve as mentors at the Toronto International Film Festival’s 2019 TIFF Filmmaker Lab, TIFF organizers announced on Wednesday.

The festival also unveiled its lineup of Canadian films, which will include new work directed by Atom Egoyan, Louise Archambault, Ellen Page and Amy Jo Johnson, and starring Felicity Huffman, Imogen Poots and David Cronenberg, among others. And it announced participants in industry programs and the Canadian honorees in its annual TIFF Rising Stars showcase.

The films were spread across eight different sections of the Toronto Film Festival, some of which have yet to announce their non-Canadian programming.

Also Read: Mister Rogers, the Joker and Judy Garland Are All Headed to Toronto Film Festival

The Canadian galas, all previously announced, are the opening-night documentary “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band,” Semi Chellas’ “American Woman” and Francois Girard’s “The Song of Names.” In the Special Presentations section, Albert Shin’s “Clifton Hill,” starring celebrated Canadian director David Cronenberg, joins Atom Egoyan’s previously announced “Guest of Honor.”

Canadian documentaries include Alan Zweig’s “Coppers,” Yung Chang’s “This Is Not a Movie” and Ellen Page and Ian Daniel’s “There’s Something in the Water.”

Other Canadian films in the lineup include “Gabrielle” director Louise Archambault’s “And the Birds Rained Down,” “Castle in the Ground,” a film by Joey Klein about the opioid crisis starring Imogen Poots; Amy Jo Johnson’s “Tammy’s Always Dying,” a black comedy starring Felicity Huffman; and four films by indigenous filmmakers: Alanis Obomsawin’s “Jordan River Anderson, the Messenger,” Jeff Barnaby’s “Blood Quantum,” Myriam Verreault’s “Kuessipan,” Elle-Maija Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn’s “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open” and Zacharias Kunuk’s “One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk.”

Also Read: Robbie Robertson Documentary 'Once Were Brothers' to Open 2019 Toronto Film Festival

Governors of the 2019 TIFF Filmmaker Lab will be producer Elwes, writer-director Rozema, acting coach Miranda Harcourt and director Wang. Twenty directors, 10 from Canadian and 10 from around the world, will participate in the four-day program and will interact with a variety of artists and film professionals. The festival is also announcing the first TIFF Talent Accelerator, a year-long program for six Canadian female creators – two directors, two producers and two writers.

Canadian TIFF Rising Stars will be Kacey Rohl, Mikhaïl Ahooja, Nahéma Ricci and Shamier Anderson.

The festival also announced a slate of Canadian short films, as well as the finalists in Telefilm Canada’s annual Pitch This! Competition, in which six filmmaking teams have six minutes to present their ideas to a live audience and jury, with the winning team receiving $15,000.

The festival will run from Sept. 5 through Sept. 15.

Also Read: Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood': How the Stars Compare to Real-Life Characters (Photos)

Additional information can be found at the TIFF website.

The Canadian films:

GALAS
“Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band,” Daniel Roher *
“American Woman,” Semi Chellas *
“The Song of Names,” Francois Girard *

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
“Clifton Hill,” Albert Shin
“Guest of Honor,” Atom Egoyan *

SPECIAL EVENTS
“David Foster: Off the Record,” Barry Avrich *
“One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk,” Zacharias Kunuk

MASTERS
“Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger,” Alanis Obomsawin

TIFF DOCS
“Coppers,” Alan Zweig
“This Is Not a Movie,” Yung Chang
“There’s Something in the Water,” Ellen Page, Ian Daniel

DISCOVERY
“Black Conflux,” Nicole Dorsey
“Easy Land,” Sanja Zivkovic
“Kuessipan,” Myriam Verreault
“Murmur,” Heather Young
“Raf,” Harry Cepka
“The Rest of Us,” Aisling Chin-Yee

CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA
“And the Birds Rained Down” (“Il pleuvait des oiseaux”), Louise Archambault
“Antigone,” Sophie Deraspe
“The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open,” Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, Kathleen Hepburn
“Castle in the Ground,” Joey Klein
“The Last Porno Show,” Kire Paputts
“Tammy’s Always Dying,” Amy Jo Johnson
“White Lie,” Calvin Thomas, Yonah Lewis

MIDNIGHT MADNESS
“Blood Quantum,” Jeff Barnaby
“The Twentieth Century,” Matthew Rankin

TIFF Filmmaker Lab participants:
Canada: Joseph Amenta, Sofia Bohdanowicz, Karen Chapman, Aisling Chin-Yee, Nicole Dorsey, Martin Edralin, Drew Lint, Samantha Pineda Sierra, Geoff Redknap, Charlie Tyrell
International: Abbesi Akhamie (USA), Cyril Aris (Lebanon), Andreas Bøggild Monies (Denmark), Chema García Ibarra (Spain), Beza Hailu Lemma (Ethiopia), Jennifer Peedom (Australia), Johanna Pyykkö (Norway), Silvina Schnicer (Argentina), Maya Vitkova-Kosev (Bulgaria), Charles Williams (Australia)

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www.thewrap.com | 7/31/19

Gina Gershon and other members of the cast of Woody Allen’s new film defended working with the director, calling the opportunity “a dream come true.”

“It’s a beautiful script; a dream come true,” Gershon said in a press conference Tuesday. “These are crazy times; one has to analyze the situation and decide how you feel; I’m delighted to be part of this team.”

Filming on Allen’s film, under the working title of “Rifkin’s Festival,” begins Wednesday and is scheduled to wrap by Aug. 20. The project stars the previously announced Christoph Waltz, Wallace Shawn, Elena Anaya, Louis Garrel, Gershon and Sergi López.

Woody Allen is set to begin production on his 51st film in San Sebastian, Spain.

Also Read: Woody Allen Releases 'A Rainy Day in New York' Trailer Despite US Distribution Limbo (Video)

Allen was also on hand for the press conference, and he described “Rifkin’s Festival” as “a romantic comedy about some folks from the United States who arrive at the San Sebastian Film Festival, and what happens has a comical resonance to what takes place here.” He added that the city in the Gipuzkoa region of Spain is like a character in the film.

Allen was asked at the press conference whether he would one day consider retiring.

“I’ve always focused on my work and that absorbs my brain,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what’s happened to my wife, my children and politics. I’ll probably drop dead in the middle of setting up a sequence.”

Also Read: Woody Allen's 'A Rainy Day in New York' to Get Fall Release in Italy

Like Gershon, Anaya similarly referred to the script as “the most beautiful story” she had ever read and praised working with Allen.

“It’s a day-dream, because Woody is a genius, he’s endearing and a legend; It has been a huge pleasure to be directed by him,” Anaya said.

“He discovered me and there’s a special magic about filming with him once again,” Wallace Shawn, who has collaborated with Allen in the past, said of working with the director. “It’s something very beautiful; because it’s his dream and we walk through that dream.”

Also Read: Amazon Fires Back at Woody Allen Over Breach of Contract Lawsuit

Allen describes “Rifkin’s Festival” as a “tribute to cinema” and follows a couple during the San Sebastian film festival in which the woman has an affair with a brilliant French director and the man falls in love with a Spanish woman living in the city.

The MediaPro Studio, an offshoot of the MediaPro Group, will co-produce the film. They previously collaborated with Allen on his globe trotting films “Midnight in Paris,” “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”

Allen’s 50th film “A Rainy Day in New York,” starring Elle Fanning and Timotheé Chalamet, is reportedly being released in several international territories despite being caught in distribution limbo in the U.S. after Amazon nixed its distribution deal with Allen.

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www.thewrap.com | 7/9/19
PAMPLONA, Spain   — Conecta Fiction will see  producers bring the strongest lineup of Chilean drama series in history. Following, just some of the highlights of projects which will be presented or are moving forward in Chile: ‘AZTEC GANGSTA WARRIOR’ Prod: Zona Cinema, Epika Content Penned by Diego Niño with Francisca Fuenzalida Moure on board […]
variety.com | 6/18/19

Woody Allen will shoot his 51st film in Spain beginning in July with a cast that includes Oscar winner Christoph Waltz and long-time collaborator Wallace Shawn.

MediaPro, the Spanish financing conglomerate, announced the news Tuesday that the untitled project, with the production title WASP2019, will take place in San Sebastian, Spain, from July 10 to Aug. 23.

Elena Anaya, Louis Garrel, Gina Gershon and Sergi López will also co-star. The MediaPro Studio, an offshoot of the MediaPro Group, will co-produce the film.

Also Read: Woody Allen Releases 'A Rainy Day in New York' Trailer Despite US Distribution Limbo (Video)

The film tells the story of a married American couple who go to the San Sebastian Film Festival. They get caught up in the magic of the festival, the beauty and charm of Spain and the fantasy of movies. She has an affair with a brilliant French movie director, and he falls in love with a beautiful Spanish woman who lives there. The film is a comedy-romance that resolves itself in a funny, but romantic way.

“At MediaPro, we’ve been working with Woody Allen for 14 years. His films, like every project the group produces, have a unique personality. This latest movie has all the ingredients to be right up there along with what we’ve become accustomed to from a director of Woody Allen’s talent: an intelligent script and a first-rate international cast. In addition, we’re delighted to be able to shoot the movie in a city such as San Sebastian, which has such strong ties to cinema,” Jaume Roures, founding partner of MediaPro said in a statement.

MediaPro previously worked with Allen on “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “Midnight in Paris” and “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.” ?This will also be the fourth collaboration between Allen and award-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.

Also Read: Woody Allen Memoir Proposal Rejected by 4 Publishers (Report)

Allen’s film “A Rainy Day in New York,” starring Elle Fanning and Timothee Chalamet, is reportedly being released in several international territories despite being caught in distribution limbo in the U.S. after Amazon nixed its distribution deal with Allen.

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www.thewrap.com | 6/4/19

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.

Also Read: Taylor Swift on 'Taylor Swift Award' Win: 'I'm Really Super Relieved' (Video)

What exactly is this contest?
Eurovision began as an idea back in the mid-1950s as a way for Europe to come together after World War II had ripped it apart. It was a pretty revolutionary effort for its time. Television was still the Wild West of communications and the Olympics hadn’t yet become an international broadcasting event. Eurovision was one of the first major attempts to hold an event that people from a wide range of countries could watch. With that in mind, the organizers wanted each country to showcase a song that was indicative of their culture.

That sounds like a pretty noble goal.
Yes … but it was also very out of touch with what was happening with music at the time. Rock ‘n’ roll was beginning to take root and The Beatles would take the world by storm just a few years after Eurovision’s inception. This meant that Eurovision’s lineup of ballads and cultural pieces quickly felt antiquated compared to the rock revolution that was going on in the charts. And that was six decades ago … the entries would only get weirder from there.

How weird?
For starters, there was once a rule implemented on and off over the years stating that participants could only enter songs that were in their country’s main language. When that rule was in effect, some countries found a loophole: give the song a hook that involves complete gibberish. Songs with titles like “Boom Boom” and “Diggi-loo Diggi-ley” poured out while the home-language rule was in effect.

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.

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Jeez! So is this just some musical freak show?
Well … let’s be fair. While there’s always been some silly novelty acts, there’s also some solid bits of Europop on hand every year from genuinely talented folks. Sweden won in 2012 with “Euphoria,” a soaring dance track by “Idol” contestant Loreen that went multi-platinum in her country after her victory.

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?
First, all the countries have a national contest where they vote on which song will represent at Eurovision. The participants are divided up into two semifinals, with the exception of the host nation and the “Big Five” countries — France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the U.K. — who automatically qualify for the final.  They are joined by the 10 countries that get the most votes in each semifinal. In the final, all 26 countries get three minutes to make a good impression, and then the whole continent votes “Idol”-style (not for their home country, of course), as do professional juries for each country.

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?
This trophy. Oh, and their country gets to host the competition next year.

What? No prize money? No contract? No vague promises of superstardom?
Nope. The winners do get their 15 minutes of fame and some success on the charts, but beyond ABBA and Celine, Eurovision winners almost never have long-term success. Again, Eurovision long ago moved away from the sort of music that leaves a lasting cultural impact.

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.

Also Read: 'Can't Stop the Feeling': Justin Timberlake Drops Catchy New Single (Video)

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?
It turns out that Eurovision has a major cult following in Australia, and they were invited to compete several years ago as a thanks for all the support down under. The expansion of the European Union means countries like Azerbaijan and Israel get to compete too.

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?
Eh…don’t count on it.

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www.thewrap.com | 5/18/19

Art imitates life in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” which screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday evening. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that the iconic Spanish director reimagines life — his life — as a fantasia borne out of the cinematic vocabulary he’s created over the last four decades.

“Pain and Glory” suggests that Almodóvar’s films were based on the preoccupations that developed when he was a child, but then refracts the life that formed his art through the style of that art. If there’s a house-of-mirrors aspect to this, the trickiness is one of the least important aspects of this lovely, gentle reverie, which has already opened to largely positive reception in Spain.

Antonio Banderas plays a film director named Salvador Mallo, who happens to dress like Almodóvar and live in a house that looks just like Almodóvar’s house. He also has a little bit of Almodóvar’s trademark spiky hair, though it’s not as white or as poofy.

Also Read: How Antonio Banderas Learned to Relax and Play His Old Friend (and Director) Pedro Almodóvar

Banderas, who began his career in the early 1980s in a film by Almodóvar and has now appeared in eight of the director’s movies, told TheWrap that at times he found it difficult to wrap his head around what his old friend asked him to do in “Pain and Glory.”

“It’s very complicated,” Banderas said. “Even if he said, ‘It’s not me, it’s my alter ego’ — OK, but it’s in you. It’s not self-biography, but it’s self-fiction.”

Banderas said he never did an imitation, instead drawing from things about Almodóvar that he knew as a friend, notably the writer-director’s solitude. And Salvador Mallo is indeed a solitary figure – a man we first see submerged in a swimming pool, and a man lost in the pain that wracks his body and in the memories that flow through him.

Those memories, the subject of numerous flashbacks, include growing up Catholic with a strong mother (played by Penélope Cruz) and fainting at his sudden sexual awakening when the young Salvador (Asier Flores) sees a workman bathing nude. You can look at them as a CliffsNotes version of what formed Almodóvar — sorry, Mallo — as a director, but they are more essential than that.

Also Read: 16 of Cannes' Hottest Directors, From Pedro Almodóvar to Céline Sciamma (Exclusive Photos)

Back in the present day, Mallo seeks out an actor, Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia), with whom he had a falling out 32 years earlier — he wrote a role for a character he envisioned as a cocaine addict, the actor played him as a heroin addict instead and only now, on the eve of a cinematheque restoration of the film, does Mallo appreciate the performance. The reconnection leads to a theater piece written by Mallo and performed by Crespo, and also to Mallo’s flirtation with smoking heroin, still a regular ritual for Crespo.

The performance also leads to a reunion between Mallo and Federico (Leonardo Sbaraglia), old lovers who share the tenderest reconciliation in a film built around a series of reconciliations.

Almodóvar has called “Pain and Glory” the third part of a trilogy that also includes 1987’s “Law of Desire” and 2004’s “Bad Education,” but devotees of the director’s work can find call-outs to much of the director’s filmography. And as always, the film’s look is impeccable; Almodóvar’s fascination with scarlet continues, but he finds a way to make even a doctor’s waiting room look vibrant and alive.

Also Read: 'Rocketman' Film Review: Elton John Gets a Musical Fantasy That Sometimes Achieves Liftoff

But you wouldn’t use those words to describe the main character. Banderas’ Mallo is weary and subdued, a man looking for peace and too tired to fight. It might be the quietest performance the actor has ever given, and quite possibly the most affecting; as a lion in winter, he makes every sigh matter.

And “Pain and Glory” is, clearly, a film of sighs. Just as the character seeks physical and mental healing, the film is one of the most meditative of Almodóvar’s career. He may have made his reputation with a string of transgressive, jarring and provocative films that helped upend Spanish cinema in the 1980s and ’90s, but with this film passion has given way to mature introspection.

It makes for less energetic and, yes, less exciting filmmaking. But “Pain and Glory” is a beautiful meditation on past and present, a memory piece that will nourish rather than provoke.

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www.thewrap.com | 5/17/19

Plastics are in the air. Not only literally. Everyone's talking about plastic pollution and the need to take action.

You don’t need to be conducting a scientific research to see that plastic waste is invading our environment, specially our oceans. With up to 12 million tons of plastic entering the oceans every year it is not surprising that we find plastic everywhere, not only polluting the water and severely impacting marine species, but also accumulating in the food chain.

Plastic-Spitting Dragon Protests at Our Oceans Conference in Malta. 5 Oct. 2017.

And so people all over the world are building up a movement to transition to a society free of single-use plastic and the throw-away culture it entails. Whether it be by individual action and changing everyday habits, by signing petitions or by creating change in their communities and local businesses. 

The movement to #BreakFreeFromPlastic is on the rise and there’s no stopping it!

But where are we on policy? This week, the European Commission has released the European Plastics Strategy. A document that reflects the vision and the objectives of the Commission on this issue and that will be translated into measures and actions.

The European Union (together with countries in the North American Free Trade Agreement) is the second largest producer of plastic after China.

  • In the EU, 25.8 million tons of plastic waste are generated each year, 70% of which is incinerated or dumped in landfill. 
  • In the EU, 150,000 - 500,000 tons of plastic waste enter the oceans every year.
  • It is estimated that between 75,000 and 300,000 tons of microplastics are released to the environment each year from EU countries. 

We need to change these numbers. It seems like this new EU strategy echoes this urgency and is certainly something worth praising. But once we get to the details, it seems to go down the usual path.

There’s certainly some good ideas, like treating microplastic ingredients (including cosmetic microbeads) as toxic pollution using the EU chemical regulation.  

And it sets a target that by 2030, 100% of plastic packaging in the EU market will be reusable or recyclable, with a first legislative proposal in 2018 to tackle some single use items. Promising!

But again we find a text too focused on recycling. It’s all over the place. While reduction and reuse is hardly mentioned. Their target won’t be achieved without reducing the production and consumption of plastic packaging and single-use items, much of which are unnecessary in the first place and have already existing alternatives waiting to be scaled up.

Deposit return schemes are increasingly being implemented. Bulk stores are blooming in many places, water fountains are coming back to cities and public places, and reusable items are coming into fashion. But alternatives need to be backed up by bold and ambitious political measures.

So if you are a European citizen, watch out for changes in our legislations and be ready to ask your national government to ensure single-use plastic item bans are fast tracked as the crisis is urgent and the EU process can take years. It’s a real opportunity for change and we mustn’t let it slip!

And even if you’re not in Europe, we still need your support. In a globalised world, whatever happens in the European region will have impact in other regions, through companies headquartered in the EU, trade or by simply, and most importantly, setting an example for others to follow that ambitious measures can be taken to phase-out single-use plastic.

While we wait for the next political move, you can still do your part. Whether it be refusing straws, bags, using refillable bottles or taking community action. Every step counts, no matter how big or small. Pick yours and start today to join the movement! We can all #BreakFreeFromPlastic!

Elvira Jiménez is EU Plastics Project leader with Greenpeace Spain

Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Cold War” has been named the best European film of 2018 at the European Film Awards, which were handed out on Saturday in Seville, Spain.

The decade-spanning drama, which was inspired by the stormy relationship between Pawlikowski’s parents, also won awards for its director, screenplay, lead actress (Joanna Kulig) and editor.

Marcello Fonte won the best-actor award for “Dogman,” which also took awards for its costume design and hair and makeup.

Also Read: 'Cold War' Film Review: Romance in Postwar Europe Is Ravishing and Haunted

Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin” was named the best European comedy, while “Bergman – A Year in a Life” won for documentary, and “Another Day of Life” won for animated film.

Four of the Best European Film Award nominees — “Border,” “Cold War,” “Dogman” and “Girl” — are the foreign-language Oscar entries from Sweden, Poland, Italy and Belgium, respectively. The fifth, “Happy as Lazzaro,” played in Cannes but was bypassed as Italy’s Oscar selection in favor of “Dogman.”

No film that has won the European Film Award for best film has ever won the Best Picture Oscar, though three (“The Full Monty,” “Life Is Beautiful” and “Amour”) have been nominated. Six EFA winners — “Life Is Beautiful,” “All About My Mother,” “The Lives of Others,” “Amour,” “The Great Beauty” and “Ida” — have won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Also Read: 'The Favourite' Dominates the British Independent Film Awards

The 2018 European Film Award winners:

Best European Film: “Cold War”
European Director: Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
European Comedy: “The Death of Stalin”
European Actor: Marcello Fonte, “Dogman”
European Actress: Joanna Kulig, “Cold War”

European Screenwriter: Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
European Documentary: “Bergman –A Year in a Life”
European Animated Film: “Another Day of Life”
European Short Film: “The Years”
European Discovery/Prix Fipresci: “Girl”

European Cinematographer: Martin Otterbeck “U-July 22”
European Editor: Jaroslaw Kaminski, “Cold War”
European Production Designer: Andrey Ponkratov, “The Summer”
European Costume Designer: Massimo Cantini Parrini, “Dogman”
European Hair and Make-Up Artist: Dalia Colli, Lorenzo Tamburini & Daniela Tartari, “Dogman”
European Composer
: Christoph M. Kaiser and Julian Maas, “3 Days in Quiberon”
European Sound Designer: Andre Bendocci-Alves and Martin Steyer, “The Captain”
European Visual Effects Supervisor: Peter Hjorth, “Border”

EFA People’s Choice Award: “Call Me by Your Name”
European Achievement in World Cinema: Ralph Fiennes
EFA Lifetime Achievement Award: Carmen Maura
Honorary Award: Costa-Gavras

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Golden Globes Nominations Analysis: 'Vice' and 'Green Book' Emerge as Curious Front Runners

www.thewrap.com | 12/15/18
Mexico’s Cinema226, run by Marco Antonio Salgado and Sam Guillén, is driving into a raft of Mexico, Argentina and Spain co-productions, playing off the current vibrancy of Mexican film production funding and distribution outlets. Among the projects are titles which have been standouts at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, the next film by Mexico-based Argentine filmmaker […]
variety.com | 12/15/18
This week in El Espace: tension at the Mexican border, why Latino Jews are moving to Spain and more.
www.nytimes.com | 11/29/18
MADRID — Making good on the largely overlooked achievement of debut feature “The Demons,” Québécois Philippe Lesage’s “Genesis” swept the 63rd Valladolid Intl. Film Festival, winning its top Golden Spike, director and actor on Saturday. One of Spain’s top three or four festivals, and a bastion of auteur cinema, Valladolid closed its official section Friday […]
variety.com | 10/28/18
There are film festivals and then there are genre film festivals. They both show great films from all over the world, and they both highlight cinema as one of the finest forms of modern art. What makes the Sitges Film Festival stand out in particular is the audience. Celebrating its 51st year, Sitges has been around for a while. It has a strong reputation and its known around Europe as the top genre festival. Horror fans from Spain and other nearby countries travel in to catch the latest, greatest offerings from talented directors, and catch up over drinks and pintxos (and tapas). This year was my second year back to Sitges, and I decided to stay the entire time to relax and catch a bunch of films over the full 10 days it runs. After my unforgettable experience last year (attending for my first time), I had to return, I couldn't stay away. And as usual, I'm very glad I ...
"Isn't art always, to a certain extent, therapy for the artist?" Oscilloscope Labs has debuted an official US trailer for the cinema documentary Searching for Ingmar Bergman, which first premiered as a Cannes Classic at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The documentary celebrates Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman's 100th birthday, by taking an extensive and fascinating look at his life and creative inspiration. The doc presents key scenes and recurring themes in his films and his life, and journeys to the places at the center of Bergman's creative achievement and the focal points of his life such as the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, locations and landscapes from his masterpieces, and his stations in Sweden, Germany, Spain, and France. This looks like a profound, entrancing, wonderful look at the life of a true master filmmaker. US trailer (+ posters) for Margarethe von Trotta's doc Searching for Ingmar Bergman, from YouTube: On the 100th anniversary of his birth, internationally renowned director Margarethe ...
One of the most-coveted awards in German literature has gone to the author of Archipel. The novel tells the story of three families on the Canary Island of Tenerife from different social classes in Franco-era Spain.
www.dw.com | 10/8/18

Who was at the meeting, who wasn't at the meeting and who else should the Cubans meet with?

While Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel was in New York to address the United Nations, he met with members of Congress and executives from the agriculture, travel and information and communication technology (ICT) industries. The ICT meeting was at Google's New York office and ten other companies attended. In addition to Díaz-Canel the Cuban ministers of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment and Communications were at the meeting.

Since the only report I have seen of the meeting was a short article in Granma (Spanish), I don't know what was discussed or decided — I can only guess.

The following is a list of the companies at the meeting with a little speculation.

Google: Perhaps they talked about their latest, rumored, unspecified deal to expand Internet access in Cuba. Another possibility would be bringing their African broadband infrastructure company CSquared (begun as Google Project Link) to Cuba.

VaynerMedia: I'd not heard of them, but they seem to be an Internet-savvy PR agency that has done work for many companies, including Google. Perhaps they would like to promote Cuban tourism, ICT or biotech companies or Cuban offshore development services. Or, they might be interested in a Cuban production facility. (Google has production spaces in ten cities — how about Havana)?

Connectify: They are already in Cuba — their software is widely used by Cubans who share connections at WiFi hotspots.

Mapbox: I bet this map of Cuba uses their geographic information system tools. Perhaps they will develop something for the Cuban tourism industry?

McKinsey and Company: They might be looking for a strategic ICT planning engagement. (Others will work for less — see below).

Virgin Group: This is a capital investment company with experience in travel, telecommunication, media and other areas where Cuba has both needs and assets — might they invest in Cuba, S. A.?

AirBnB: They are already doing a robust business in Cuba by providing a good deal for both Cuban renters and tourists. (I wonder whether Trump's clamp-down on tourism has hurt them).

Revolution: I assume this is Revolution Ventures. If so, they may be interested in investing in Cuban startups.

Twitter: Cubans already use Twitter — what more can they be thinking of?

Microsoft: Pirated Microsoft software is common in Cuba — might they be talking about some sort of licensing or royalty agreement in return for support? (I recall long ago visiting a government-run storefront where you could bring floppy disks and order copies of all major US software, including Microsoft's). Microsoft might also be looking for tech employees, offshoring or opening a Cuban development center.

Bloomberg: Did they attend as financially-oriented journalists?

Cresta AI: might they be looking for developers or to build intelligent applications?

Those were the attendees. Who not there?

I was relieved to notice that none of the large US wireless or wireline ISPs were at the meeting. I would not want to wish my experience with Verizon and Spectrum on Cubans.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel meets in New York with executives of the U.S. technology companies on Sept. 24, 2018

I was surprised that Cisco did not participate. Cisco supplied Cuban networking infrastructure in the early days of the Internet, but Huawei has replaced them today. Still, Cisco is the only US ICT company I can think of besides Google that has made the effort to build relationships in today's Cuba, enabling them to begin offering their Cisco Networking Academy training at the Universidad de Ciencias Informáticas. Cisco-trained students may be willing to purchase their equipment once in the workforce.

I was also surprised that no one from ETECSA was there, although there may have been ETECSA representatives seated in the periphery of the room behind the conference table as is often the case in such meetings.

Finally, who was not there that I would advise Díaz-Canel and Cuban ICT decision makers meet with?

I would urge the Cubans to consider a broad set of advisers and collaborators as they plan the future of their Internet, for example:

  • Organizations like the International Telecommunications Union, the United Nations Development Program and the Internet Society, which have expertise in networking in developing nations, national broadband planning, regulation, and policy. Cuba needs to consider next-generation infrastructure ownership and regulatory alternatives as well as next-generation technology.
  • ICT ministries of nations like Singapore's Ministry of Communications and Information, which has been an ICT planning leader for many years.
  • Municipal networking experts like The Baller Group and a representative of Stockholm's successful municipal network AB Stokab.
  • Representatives of citizen networks like Havana's SNET and Spain's Guifi.net. Cubans are well educated and have a culture and tradition of innovation and self-sufficiency (thanks in part to the US embargo). SNET (and El Paquete Semanal) are providing much of what people use the Internet for. Might ETECSA look upon these organizations as collaborators (or customers) rather than extra-legal competitors?
  • Consultants and consulting firms with deep expertise in networking in developing nations like the Network Startup Resource Center, the Association for Progressive Communication (which provided UUCP connectivity to Cuba in the pre-Internet days) or Steve Song in Africa.
  • People from companies working on future technologies which will not be available for a number of years, for example, representatives of low-Earth satellite companies like OneWeb and SpaceX or engineers working on Ericsson's long-run 5G mobile products.
  • To keep the technology and policy experts honest, I would also include some people concerned with the social impact of the Internet, for example, Yuval Noah Harari, Zeynep Tufekci and Elon Musk.

Don't get me wrong — I think meeting and establishing relationships with companies from the US and other nations is a positive step for the Cubans, but I hope they broaden their contacts and meet with an eclectic group of people and organizations thinking about long-range planning for leapfrogging to future technologies as well as stopgap interim measures like WiFi hotspots, home DSL and 3 and 4G mobile connectivity. One can imagine a most interesting Cuban Internet-advisory committee.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

www.circleid.com | 10/5/18

The world’s top female athletes, leaders in sports media and industry influencers gathered this week not only to talk about their love of the game, but also issues central to the current cultural environment.

The ninth annual espnW: Women + Sports Summit held at the Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach, California, and hosted by “SportsCenter” co-anchor Sage Steele featured keynote speakers including Danica Patrick, Candace Parker, Michael Ian Black and the gold medal-winning U.S. national ice hockey team.

With the #MeToo movement having launched shortly after the 2017 Summit and the Kavanaugh hearing still dominating headlines — gender equality, sexual assault, workplace harassment and female empowerment steered the discussion more than ever.

Also Read: ESPN+ Passes 1 Million Paid Subscriber Mark in Less Than 6 Months

Despite tackling serious issues impacting all women, ESPN talent such as Sarah Spain, Julie Foudy, Hannah Storm, Cari Champion and Mina Kimes also added some light-hearted fun into the mix when they took to the stage.

From an intimate performance of Andra Day’s empowerment anthem “Rise Up” and the brave stories of sexual assault survivors, to LeBron James’ manager/best friend Maverick Carter telling everyone to “be selfish” and ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro dropping “Top Gun 2” casting news, here are some of the top thought-provoking and conversation-sparking quotes:

Maverick Carter with Cari Champion

Maverick Carter, CEO of SpringHill Entertainment and “UNINTERRUPTED” with co-creator LeBron James
[On breaking into the entertainment industry]: “It is all about telling the story. We thought that if we stuck with the most authentic version of ourselves and LeBron kept doing his main thing (basketball) then we could build something lasting. If you build something on bulls–t then you’re screwed.

“The key to making any deal is to be very clear on what you want — that is the easy part — but also understanding what the other side actually needs. Everyone has to leave the room feeling good and not like they’ve been taken advantage of. The fact of the matter is people are very selfish, but there’s nothing wrong with that and selfish gets a bad rap.”

[On if LeBron will ever run for president: “Right now, he is focused on being a great basketball player … I don’t see him focusing on it [politics] right now. But who knows what’s in the future. He’ll be 34 in December, so who knows how much longer he’s going to play basketball. You never know what’s next with that guy.”

Also Read: Alex Rodriguez, Maria Menounos Take the Wheel for 'Jeep Wrangler Celebrity Customs' Web Series (Video)

Danica Patrick and Hannah Storm/ Dan Stark for ESPN

Danica Patrick, former IndyCar and NASCAR driver
“I was never conscious of being the fastest girl out there, it was about being the fastest driver. There was no gender attached to it.”

[On retiring from pro racing]: “I came to the realization that what made me happy wasn’t really racing. It was wasn’t like I’d wake up thinking about about it every single day. Would I go to a race track for fun? Heck no! Last year, having my winery launch, my clothing line launch and then my book came out — all these things were happening at the same time.” [One being asked to host the 2018 ESPYs]: “I think I said ‘me?!? You get Justin Timberlake to do that, not me.’ Saying yes was the scariest part. If something is equally as exciting as it is scary then go for it. You will never have growth unless you have pain. One part of the growth was having confidence in myself, so I said yes. We’re not scared of change, what we’re scared of is leaving something behind. You have to shift your mindset and ask, ‘but what if it’s better?'”

Also Read: How Alex Gibney's ESPN Docuseries 'Enhanced' Tackles Moral Dilemmas of Modern Technology

Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Kendall Coyne Schofield/Robby Klein for ESPN

U.S. national ice hockey team gold medalists Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Kendall Coyne Schofield
[On threatening to boycott the 2017 world championships]: “Our sport needed major change in many areas … most importantly how they [USA Hockey] treated women in our sport. It was the culmination of many years of mistreatment, we did it to help the next generation coming up through the rinks … we had to dig down and come together to stand up for what we’re fighting for.

“We’re trying to change a culture. We’re trying to change behaviors that have been around for many years. There’s accountability on both sides. For us, it’s continuing to push the envelope, and for them, it’s being receptive to what we’re trying to accomplish together moving forward.”

“Stand up for what is right and what you know. Stick together and create the change.”

Sarah Klein, Jordyn Wieber and Mina Kime/Rob Klein for ESPN

Sarah Klein and Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber, survivors of sexual abuse from Dr. Larry Nassar
[Wieber on being abused from eight years old]: “Most of us don’t know childhood sexual abuse is happening while it is happening. A lot of us would have said then he was a good guy. At first I didn’t want to think about it, I’d block it out. I remember saying ‘he did that treatment to me but I wasn’t sexually abused.’ I didn’t want to go through the shame that I was sexually abused and let it happen.

“Everybody protected him and that makes me so angry — my motivation is to make sure no one goes through this again. That culture has to change. Coaches need to care about kids more and not about winning. The point of sports is not just to win.”

[Klein on testifying against Nassar]: “He was my loved one, my friend, my trusted advisor. I was 38 when the Indy Star article came out, and it took me time to realize … he had told me it was OK, that was all I ever knew. The article was the ‘aha moment’ of all aha moments. One in four women are sexually abused, most of us don’t get the chance to look at our abusers in the eye. I had to walk my eight-year-old self to that podium in court. It was a redefining moment for my identity … I was able to walk away as a woman.”

Jimmy Pitaro, Sage Steele and Rachel Epstein/ Dan Stark for ESPN

Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN president
[On the future growth of ESPN]: “We have to appeal to a younger audience, and if we don’t all of us will be in trouble. And I am speaking to all of us as an industry. We have to first and foremost protect the core audience, but also be creating products and services for the younger generation, and a very important component of that is girls. One of my biggest priorities is the brand, making it more relevant and for the younger generation.”

Also Read: ESPN Lands Knockout 7-Year Rights Deal With Top Rank Boxing

[On workplace equality]: “We have done a good job in terms of diversity but not always a good job at inclusion. I heard it and we’re doing something about it. Women cannot feel like they’re on the team and not in the game.”

“One of the things that I love about ESPN is it’s heart. So much that we do is about heart … telling those stories that get you emotional and gives you goosebumps. Sports is the great unifier. You forget about all the nonsense and the divisiveness that is out there right now.”

[On his wife, actress Jean Louisa Kelly’s career success]: “My wife is doing ‘Top Gun 2.'”
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www.thewrap.com | 10/4/18
SAN SEBASTIAN — Spain’s San Sebastian Festival signed a pledge on gender parity Sunday, following in the footsteps of other major festivals in Europe such as Cannes, Locarno, Sarajevo and Venice. San Sebastian Festival director José Luis Rebordinos made the commitment in the presence of Spanish deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo; the minister of culture […]
variety.com | 9/24/18
MADRID — Following on from the festivals of Cannes, Locarno, Sarajevo and Venice, of European events,  Spain’s San Sebastian Festival will  sign a pledge on gender parity Sunday. Signing the Charter for Parity and Inclusion of Women in Cinema, San Sebastián Festival director José Luis Rebordinos will be accompanied by Spain’s deputy prime minister Carmen […]
variety.com | 9/18/18
MADRID — Spain’s biggest national box office hit of the year, “Campeones” (Champions), has been selected by the Spain’s Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as the country’s submission for a foreign-language Academy Award. Grossing €18.5 million ($$21.4 million) in Spain for Universal Pictures Intl. Spain, “Campeones” beat out two other contenders in a […]
variety.com | 9/6/18

With his Vidal-Buckley documentary “Best of Enemies” and this year’s smash hit about Fred Rogers, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” filmmaker Morgan Neville has proven himself a keenly sensitive, artful showman when surveying a career through archival footage and fresh interviews. He knows how to re-light the flame of a life, and that’s quickly apparent in his deeply entertaining and illuminating Orson Welles documentary “They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead.”

With impish respect, it chronicles the tortuous journey of Welles’ most notoriously unfinished-in-his-lifetime last movie, “The Other Side of the Wind.”

For cinephiles, it’s a high-calorie, clip-and-interview-laden feast of biography, insight, and gossip. Add to that the bonus that — unlike the dashed promise felt after absorbing “Jorodorwsky’s Dune” that the cinema gods were robbed — in this case there’s a finally completed “Wind,” assembled in recent years, also going out through Netflix. to go with Neville’s exhaustive behind-the-scenes appreciation. (Having watched “They’ll Love Me” prior to “Wind,” it’s safe to say they can be enjoyed in either order, since repeat viewings are likely for movie lovers, anyway.)

Watch Video: Watch the Trailer for Orson Welles' Lost Film 'The Other Side of the Wind'

Using an elegantly shot (in black-and-white) Alan Cumming at a reel-stacked edit bay as a Wellesian narrating device, Neville wastes no time setting the scene: how by the late 1960s, strapped for funding, still living in the shadow of “Citizen Kane,” and ready to be embraced by the younger, edgier Hollywood after years in European exile, Welles in 1970 launched headlong into filming an idea that had been percolating for years, even though he had no complete script, no full cast, and no outside funding.

The autobiographical (though Welles rarely admitted it) concept involved a mythic, exiled filmmaker’s 70th birthday, around which the faithful and sycophantic would gather, while the fate of the director’s attempted comeback project lay in the balance. Naturally, this also described the shooting of “The Other Side of the Wind” as it carried on piecemeal for six years with a cast that included John Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, and Welles’s lover-collaborator Oja Kodar.

Watch Video: 'Won't You Be My Neighbor?' Director Says Mister Rogers Is 'Empty From Our Culture'

Using a skeleton crew led by a young new cinematographer named Gary Graver, who cold-called Welles himself and whose own story as a dedicated worker bee shadows the film’s, Welles directed lush, vibrant scenes aping European art movies with Kodar (the film-within-the-film sequences). Alternatively, at a house in Arizona, one address over from the spread Antonioni blew up in “Zabriskie Point,” he shot the party sequences in a jagged documentary style.

Real-life details undergirded Welles’s narrative, in intensely psychological ways, never more so than that the director, through Huston’s character, played out onscreen his power-shifting relationship with acolyte and friend Bogdanovich, who wasn’t spared Welles’ ridicule. (Originally casting impersonator Rich Little in the role — an imitator as an imitator — was one such jab.)

Also Read: Netflix CEO Disses Cannes Film Fest After Streamer Pulls Out: There Are 'a Lot of Other Festivals'

Bogdanovich always helped his pal, though – his remembrances especially are tinged with the melancholy of loving a complex person. But at the point when money woes strained, Welles once more found himself the ever-loved cinema master — perpetual talk show guest, AFI honoree — but never to the tune of cash needed to realize a vision.

As Neville breezily relates an odyssey of chaos, inspiration, and impasses, he also makes expertly amusing, thematically-edited use of all manner of Welles footage (from movies, outtakes, television shows) so that the man himself becomes a chorus in his own story. The interviewee list of witnesses and collaborators is numerous, from the well-known to the unseen, their recollections and analyses sometimes differing, but nearly always intuitive.

The prime takeaway is of an irascibly charming, wounded and forceful genius both having the time of his life and sensing the gathering dusk. As the story eases into Welles’ final year, the most tantalizing question posed is whether he even wanted to finish catch-as-catch-can projects like “Wind”; was directing always about the exploration, the quest for “happy accidents,” and rarely the completion?

Eventually, Neville carries off his own winking director’s trick, with the help of Welles himself. Returning to footage used earlier, filmed by the Maysles brothers in Spain in the ’60s, of an energized Welles regaling a captive audience in a hotel lobby with his vision for what sounds like what eventually became “Wind,” the pitch turns enchantingly meta — that the future movie just might have to include them, in that moment, talking about it.

After the rollercoaster journey “They’ll Love Me” details, it’s enough to make one contemplate: Could Neville’s documentary be, in a sense, what Welles wanted “The Other Side of the Wind” to be all along? Someone else’s movie about Orson Welles’s movie about a fictional director’s movie which is inside another movie that’s ultimately about all movies?

Cheekily, Neville reveals he knows you’re thinking this, and it’s the perfect capper for his engaging hat-tip to a legend for whom the movies were always worth imagining, celebrating, and forever trying to get made.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Venice Film Festival 2018: Coen Brothers, Alfonso Cuaron, Julian Schnabel to Unveil New Work

Alfonso Cuarón's 'Roma' to Screen as New York Film Festival Centerpiece

Netflix Lands Cannes Award Winners 'Happy as Lazzaro' and 'Girl'

Kathryn Trosper Popper, 'Citizen Kane' Actress and Orson Welles' Assistant, Dies at 100

www.thewrap.com | 9/1/18

The culture of Spain is a European culture based on a variety of influences. These include the pre-Roman cultures, mainly the celts and the Iberians cultures; but mainly in the period of Roman influences. In the areas of language and religion, the Ancient Romans left a lasting legacy. The subsequent course of Spanish history also added elements to the country's cultural development. The Visigothic Kingdom left a sense of a united Christian Hispania that was going to be welded in the Reconquista. Muslim influences were strong during the period of 711 AD to the 15th century, especially with loan words. The Spanish language, derives directly from Vulgar Latin, and has minor influences from pre-roman languages like barro -mud-, gothic guerra -war-, Arabic and basque Other minorities includes the Jewish population in some cities, but after the defeat of the Muslims during the Christian "Reconquista" (Reconquest) period between 1000 and 1492, Spain became an almost entirely Roman Catholic country. In addition, the history of the nation and its Mediterranean and Atlantic environment have played a significant role in shaping its culture. By the end of the 19th and 20th, the Spaniards made expressions of cultural diversity easier than it had been for the last seven centuries. This occurred at the same period that Spain became increasingly drawn into a diverse international culture. Spain has the second highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, with a total of 42.


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