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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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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www.thewrap.com | 12/15/18

It won’t exactly be on a par with Oscars nominations morning, but Monday will be one of the biggest December days in the history of the Academy Awards.

That’s because for the first time, the Academy isn’t systematically doling out the short lists of films that remain in contention. Instead, they’re dropping all the lists at once in a single press release that will trim the fields in Best Documentary Feature, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Original Song and six other categories.

One drop, nine categories, a total of 101 films that’ll get good news and far more that’ll be disappointed.

The strategy of dumping all the Oscars short lists at once has not been greeted with universal approval. For one thing, contenders in the different categories were used to having their individual moments in the spotlight. Music Branch voters, who are facing a pair of short lists for the first time, now have far less time to listen and decide than they used to. And pundits will need to whip up instant analysis in nine categories simultaneously.

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But that’s the new rule, and all the lists will be out on the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 17.

(By the way, we hear that the news will come out in the afternoon because the procrastinators on the Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee aren’t getting together until Monday morning to decide which three songs they’ll be adding to the six-film short list chosen by Oscars voters.)

Here’s the category-by-category breakdown of what will be coming on Monday.

Best Foreign Language Film
Number of films on the short list: 9

Three films seem guaranteed to land a spot: Mexico’s “Roma,” Poland’s “Cold War” and Lebanon’s “Capernaum.” Belgium’s “Girl” isn’t far behind, and voters reportedly adored Germany’s “Never Look Away.” Denmark’s “The Guilty” is a satisfying film that impressed voters, Sweden’s “Border” a twisted one that did the same.

The executive committee that adds three films to the shortlist may be hard-pressed not to take one or both of the two Asian standouts, South Korea’s “Burning” and Japan’s Palme d’Or winner “Shoplifters.” And watch out for the Paraguayan film, “The Heiresses,” which has strong support in both the general and executive committees.

Other possibilities include Iceland’s “Woman at War,” Norway’s “What Will People Say,” Colombia’s “Birds of Passage,” Hungary’s “Sunset” and Romania’s “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians.”

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Best Documentary Feature
Number of films on the short list: 15

The four box-office hits that made this one of the best years ever for nonfiction filmmaking should all land on the list: “Free Solo,” “RBG,” “Three Identical Strangers” and the de facto frontrunner, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (On the other hand, it’d be uncharacteristic of the Academy not to leave at least one of them off the final list of five nominees, and not entirely surprising if one of them doesn’t make the short list.)

Ever since the doc-branch rules were changed to do away with special screening committees in this category, voters have gravitated toward the films that have gotten the most buzz and received the most nominations for the IDA Awards, the Cinema Eye Honors and the like. That should mean that critical and awards favorites like “Minding the Gap,” “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” “Crime + Punishment,” “Bisbee ’17,” “Dark Money,” “Of Fathers and Sons” and “Shirkers” will all be in contention. And watch out for the Spanish film “The Silence of Others,” a potential sleeper.

We also shouldn’t rule out documentary legend Frederick Wiseman for “Monrovia, Indiana,” or other well-received docs like “On Her Shoulders,” “The Bleeding Edge” and “United Skates.” On the showbiz doc front, movies like “Hal,” “Filmworker” and “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache” have a shot, as does the released-at-last Aretha Franklin movie “Amazing Grace” and the Quincy Jones doc “Quincy,” whose subject has been highly visible on the campaign circuit lately. And I refuse to abandon hope that voters will recognize Eugene Jarecki’s sharp Elvis-and-America meditation “The King.”

Finally, Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9,” the followup to the top-grossing nonfiction film of all time, has been bypassed by nearly all the precursor awards and may well be left off of this one as well. But Moore could still find a way in — after all, he was the prime mover on the changes that led to the current method of picking the short list, and he’s still a strong voice in the doc world.

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Best Original Song
Number of songs on the short list: 15

The two music categories are introducing short lists for the first time ever, presumably in order to give all the members of the music branch to hear and consider the 15 semi-finalists before voting for nominations. But that means they have less time to consider all the contenders, which this year number more than 70 in the song category.

Yes, we know that “Shallow,” the one song entered from “A Star Is Born,” will make it. And probably at least one of the two songs entered from “Mary Poppins Returns.” The Music Branch’s taste for hip-hop might be tested by “All the Stars” from “Black Panther,” but why wouldn’t they want Kendrick Lamar at the Oscars?

They also have to consider songs from luminaries like Dolly Parton (“Girl in the Movies” from “Dumplin'”), Annie Lennox (“Requiem for a Private War” from “A Private War”), plus two competitive songs from movies about Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “I’ll Fight” from “RBG” (written by nine-time nominee Diane Warren) and “Here Comes the Change” from “On the Basis of Sex.” “Revelation” from “Boy Erased” has a real shot, as does “Gravity” from “Free Solo.” And if they want to get truly adventurous, how about the Coup’s “OYAHYTT” from “Sorry to Bother You,” or Thom Yorke’s “Suspirium” from “Suspiria”? (Would the Radiohead frontman show up at the Oscars?)

The branch is well known for taking care of its own, which can’t hurt past winner Carole Bayer Sager’s “Living in the Moment” from “Book Club.” They also tend to like songs that are performed onscreen — which, in addition to being one more reason “Shallow” will get in, could help the songs from “Hearts Beat Loud,” the quintessential but twisted Disney-princess anthem from “Ralph Breaks the Internet” or the fatalistic cowboy tune “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”

And then there are songs from Patti Smith and Robyn Hitchcock and Elton John and Arlissa and Quincy Jones and Post Malone and Kendra Smith and Aoife O’Donovan and Imagine Dragons and Sade and David Crosby … It’s a deep list, not a shallow one. (Sorry.)

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Best Original Score
Number of films on the short list: 15

As usual, more than 100 scores are in contention, with early awards singling out a group that includes “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Isle of Dogs,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” “A Quiet Place,” “Mary Queen of Scots” and “Green Book.” Most and perhaps all of those should make the list, with other contenders including “BlacKkKlansman,” “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” “On the Basis of Sex,” “The Hate U Give,” “Hereditary,” “Bad Times at the El Royale,” “Red Sparrow,” “The Predator” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Number of films on the short list: No more than 7

This is a category that’ll likely have three nominees, and one known for nominating films that won’t show up in any other category. This year, that could mean a “Suspiria” appearance on the short list. “Black Panther” and “The Avengers: Infinity War” will certainly be in play — and since makeup designed to make actors look like other people is usually a mainstay in the category, look for “Vice” and “Stan & Ollie” to show up as well. “Mary Queen of Scots” could make the cut too. And will Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury teeth from “Bohemian Rhapsody” be enough to land that film a spot?

If a foreign film gets in, as one sometimes does (“A Man Called Ove,” “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”), it could be “Border,” which turned a couple of actors into trolls.

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Best Visual Effects
Number of films on the short list: 10

A committee from the Visual Effects Branch has already narrowed the field to 20 films, so now it’s just a matter of cutting that number in half. The elaborate visions of “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Black Panther,” “Ready Player One” and perhaps “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story” are clearly contenders, with the subtler effects of “First Man” and the more retro charms of “Mary Poppins Returns” definitely in the mix as well.

Dark horses could include “Christopher Robin” and “Paddington 2” for their blend of live action and CG figures, and the stop-motion “Isle of Dogs,” which would be following in the footsteps of recent nominee “Kubo and the Two Strings.” Several late-breaking films have a shot as well, including “Aquaman,” “Bumblebee” and “Welcome to Marwen.”

Best Documentary Short
Number of films on the short list: 10

The shorts categories are hard to predict because most of the films haven’t been widely seen. But Academy volunteers have been watching them to compile the three lists, and it’s possible to pick up some buzz from festival screenings and awards campaigns.

Netflix has been a major player in doc shorts recently (it won its first Oscar for “The White Helmets”), and this year it has “Zion,” “Out of Many, One,” “End Game” and “Lessons From a School Shooting: Notes From Dunblane,” at least two of which should end up on the list. The New York Times Op-Docs series has “Dulce,” “Earthrise,” “We Became Fragments” and the wry and well-liked “My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes,” the only short nominated by both the IDA Awards and Cinema Eye Honors.

Other IDA and Cinema Eye nominees include “Black Sheep,” “Baby Brother,” “Concussion Protocol,” “Fear Us Women,” “Lifeboat,” “Los Comandos,” “Mosul,” “Sidelined,” “Skip Day,” “The Girl and the Picture,” “Volte” and “We Are Not Done Yet.” The DOC NYC short list also singled out “’63 Boycott,” “The Head & the Hand,” “RX Early Detection” and “Take Back the Harbor,” while “Lotte That Silhouette Girl” tells the story of a woman animation pioneer from the pre-Disney days and could be attractive to the Academy.

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Best Animated Short
Number of films on the short list: 10

The Annie Awards, the top prize given to animated films, singled out “Grandpa Walrus,” “Lost & Found,” “Solar Walk,” “Untravel” and “Weekends.” Pixar’s big short this year is “Bao,” and Pixar’s big short usually gets nominated. DreamWorks Animation, which has less consistent success in the category, is represented by “Bilby” and “Bird Karma.”

Other possibilities include “La Noria,” “Animal Behavior,” “Crow: The Legend” and “Age of Sail,” a Google Spotlight VR short made by John Kahrs, who won an Oscar for “Paperman.” “Raccoon and the Light,” “Daisy,” “The Green Bird” and “Re-Gifted” qualified by winning Student Academy Awards, while “The Driver Is Red” won the industry prize at theWrap’s ShortList Film Festival.

Best Live-Action Short
Number of films on the short list: 10

In a category where it’s almost impossible to get an overview of the field unless you’re a festival shorts programmer, standouts include “Fauve,” “Wren Boys,” “Skin” and “Bonbone,” as well as “Souls of Totality,” featuring Tatiana Maslany, and “Dear Chickens,” with Philip Baker Hall.

Timely films about the refugee crisis in Europe include “Bismillah” and “Magic Alps,” and Student Academy Award qualifiers are “Spring Flower,” “Lalo’s House,” “This Is Your Cuba,” “Get Ready With Me,” “Almost Everything” and “A Siege”; if history is any guide, at least one of them will make the list.

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www.thewrap.com | 12/14/18

In the category of culture-driven documentaries that focus on film history, a particularly enjoyable subset of that subset is the kind made by noteworthy artists themselves. There’s Martin Scorsese waxing luxuriously on Italian cinema (“My Voyage to Italy”), Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow fanboy-interviewing Brian DePalma for “DePalma,” and now, German filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta (“Hannah Arendt”) taking us on a personal tour of her lifelong admiration for Sweden’s hallowed grandmaster in the playfully inquisitive “Searching for Ingmar Bergman.”

Von Trotta’s connection to Bergman started when she was a young, New Wave-enamored film lover who responded deeply to his 1957 chess-with-Death masterpiece “The Seventh Seal”; she even opens her valentine of a documentary visiting its famed rocky beach setting, narrating the impact of its establishing shots.

When she blossomed as an artist herself as part of West Germany’s own exciting crush of post-war filmmaking talent alongside Rainer Werner Fassbinder (for whom she acted) and then-husband Volker Schlöndorff (they made “The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum” together), von Trotta found herself personally acquainted with Bergman after he decamped to Munich in the mid-’70s following a tax evasion charge.

Bergman even became a fan of her work, including her 1981 feature “Marianne and Juliane” in a list of his favorite movies commissioned by a film festival, the program book for which von Trotta thumbs through for the camera like a kid still in awe of being recognized by so key an influence. (Hey, you would, too, if your movie kept company in a film legend’s consciousness with “Rashomon” and “The Passion of Joan of Arc.”)

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It’s von Trotta’s onscreen enthusiasm, too, as she interviews key Bergman collaborators (notable leading ladies Liv Ullmann, Gunnel Lindblom), family (sons Daniel and Ingmar, Jr.), contemporaries (Carlos Saura, Jean-Claude Carrière), and next-generation admirers (Olivier Assayas, Ruben Ostlund, Mia Hansen-Løve), that gives “Searching” its gently thrumming cineaste heart.

Between the excerpts and analyses, the remembrances, and the honesty that swings from brutal to touching but that is nearly always illuminating, you’ll surely be dipping into the gloom-meister’s oeuvre afterward. (Or maybe shelling out for Criterion’s 39-film Bergman box set, available starting November 20 if you’re likely to be in mourning over the streaming service FilmStruck going away.)

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Bergman’s abiding gift over a career that spanned sixty years — and included successes from “Wild Strawberries” and “Winter Light” through “Scenes from a Marriage” and “Fanny & Alexander” — was a penetrative inventory of the soul as it’s plagued by doubt, loneliness, the existence of God, the vicissitudes of love, and the facing of mortality.

But to hear those closest to him tell it, Bergman was at heart a wide-eyed child in thrall to the creative process, consumed by the innocence of curiosity and experimentation that keeps all artists in a state of turmoil and evolution. It’s what Ullmann says could turn his being introduced to her, alongside actress/former flame Bibi Andersson on a beach, into the likeness-driven experimental hallmark “Persona,” a life-defining work.

But at the same time, that ever-nurtured connection to his inner child made Bergman view his own offspring (nine in all, with six women, including Ullmann) as competitors to his creativity. Daniel Bergman, who would direct his father’s screenplay “Sunday’s Children,” jovially notes how dad preferred his own childhood to his own children. In the presence of his kids, we learn, he would openly miss the company of his actors.

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Elsewhere, his longstanding script supervisor-turned-producer Katinka Farago describes the Bergman who worried he was never good enough, while Assayas succinctly captures how he was a game-changer regarding the psychological, subconscious, and female-centric.

The most amusing anecdote comes from Bergman’s grandson, who recounts a movie night of “Pearl Harbor” in the home theater in which granddad insisted the projectionist skip anything that wasn’t an action scene. It’s like backhanded proof that with any kind of film, whether an existential drama or slick Hollywood package, Bergman preferred intensity over everything else.

That von Trotta’s documentary isn’t simply hagiographic keeps it refreshing, although the emphasis on Bergman’s later years, whether lesser works like “The Serpent’s Egg” or his stage directing, also prevents it from potentially satisfying any need to see most of his undisputed classics gone over in detail.

But with so many documentaries on Bergman already in existence, that von Trotta has made her own uniquely inviting tour of his triumphs, anguishes, and longstanding themes — in essence a roomy portrait of the artist as an engaged, fallible searcher — is its own gift of sorts, from one acolyte of cinema to another.

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"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 ...

The NHL Network is allowing fans to get up close and personal with players in a way they never have before with a new four-part, all-access series “Behind the Glass: New Jersey Devils Training Camp.”

Following the franchise through the tribulations of training camp leading up to the 2018 season opener against the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 6, the reality TV-style docuseries has been compared to the HBO’s hit “Hard Knocks” for its drama and authenticity as players struggle to make the final team roster.

While “Behind the Glass” is not the NHL’s first venture into all-access TV — they capture teams during the season on “Road to the Winter Classic” and “All Access: Quest for the Stanley Cup” — it is the first time they’ve drawn back the curtain to reveal the inner workings of training camp and preseason.

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“When we look at evolutions and the next steps, we always end up coming back to training camp when the foundation for the entire year starts to be discussed,” Steve Mayer EVP, Chief Content Officer at the NHL told TheWrap.

As to why the spotlight was aimed on the Devils out of the 31 teams in the league for Season 1, “New Jersey has always been a team that wanted to do more all-access programming, they like their players to get more exposure and had always been asking us as a league to do more,” Mayer said.

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“This team has really opened up their doors, and there are a lot of compelling personalities to uncover,” he explained. “They have got the reigning Hart Memorial Trophy for most valuable player in Taylor Hall (pictured above), they have the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy recipient Brian Boyle coming back from battling leukemia. Then they’ve got a lot of young dynamic players who are passionate in the program.”

Just as the head coach is a driving force once the players hit the ice, he also has to be the star of the show in any behind-the-scenes series — and, fortunately, John Hynes is up for the role. “He is one of those characters you want the guy at the helm to be — big, boisterous and have a huge personality,” Mayer said. “You could see from day one that it was all about him establishing and showing the Devils culture to the world. Not all coaches and not all teams are as open to doing these types of shows as he is.

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A television veteran who was an executive producer at IMG for 23 years before joining the NHL, Mayer is no stranger to reality TV and what it takes for a series to work.

“There is an art to these shows … it has got to be real and feel real,” he explained. “I don’t care if you’re doing a reality show on Bravo like ‘Real Housewives’ or you’re doing an all-access program like ours on NHL Network. Your camera crew and producers have to build a rapport with the cast so much that they don’t even notice the cameras are around so that people can be themselves and they aren’t conscious of being filmed.

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“That is what New Jersey has done really early in the process, and that makes for a better television show for sure,” he added.

“We are flies on the wall, there to capture the reality of what goes on every day and be in places where our audiences can’t normally go — whether it’s the coaches’ room for meetings or walking the streets of Hoboken with Taylor Hall to get a feel for who he is.”

Like with “Hard Knocks,” which followed NFL underdogs the Cleveland Browns this summer, the climax of “Behind the Glass” is who makes the final roster for when the season begins.

“We will have roster spots that are decided on the very last episode and it is unbelievably compelling for the audience to be dragged into that decision,” Mayer said. “You learn and start to appreciate these personalities as they are all vying for the same thing. It is a great way to raise the awareness and brand of one of our teams. People are really going to like the Devils by the time this series is over,” he predicted.

The show will end with their trip to Switzerland for a preseason game and then to Sweden for the opening game vs. the Oilers as part of the NHL Global Series. “That was another really big part of why the Devils made sense this year,” Mayer said. “Nico Hischier — one of their best players and the future of their franchise — is from Switzerland so we get to go home with him and travel around his country, and to have their first game oversees in a very unique setting is a pretty cool way to end the show.”

Produced by NHL Network in association with NHL Original Productions, “Behind the Glass” airs Mondays at 7:30 p.m. ET on NHL Network.

Related stories from TheWrap:

How the NHL Has Turned the Stanley Cup Finals Into a Must-Watch Entertainment Experience

2018 NHL Winter Classic: 14 Things You Didn't See on TV

NY Rangers, Buffalo Sabres Prepare to Brave the Cold for NHL Winter Classic

www.thewrap.com | 10/1/18

Students from the University of Southern California have been named recipients of four Student Academy Awards for 2018, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Wednesday.

The four USC wins make it the only school to take more than one award. The school was recognized by one nomination in the animation category, one in the documentary category and two in the narrative category.

The other American films schools that won awards were Florida State, CalArts, Ringling College of Art and Design, NYU, the University of California at Berkeley and Chapman University.

Also Read: 'The Driver Is Red,' 'Magic Alps' Take Top Prizes at TheWrap's ShortList Film Festival 2018

In the four international categories, the winners came from schools in the U.K., France, Hungary, Switzerland and Sweden.

While the Academy announced the winners on Wednesday, it will not reveal the medal that each film has won until the Student Academy Awards ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 11 at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. While the three levels of prize — gold, siver and bronze — carry different cash awards, all winners are now qualified for the 2018 Academy Awards in the short-film categories.

Past winners of Student Academy Awards include Spike Lee, Robert Zemeckis, John Lasseter, Cary Fukunaga, Trey Parker and Pete Docter.

Also Read: How Nazis, Drunk College Kids and Stubborn Goats Shaped This Year's ShortList Finalists (Video)

The winners:

Alternative (Domestic Film Schools)
Shae Demandt, “Reanimated,” Florida State University

Animation (Domestic Film Schools)
Yu Yu, “Daisy,” University of Southern California
Hanna Kim, “Raccoon and the Light,” California Institute of the Arts
Eaza Shukla, “Re-Gifted,” Ringling College of Art and Design

Animation (International Film Schools)
Pierre Perveyrie, Maximilien Bougeois, Marine Goalard, Irina Nguyen-Duc and Quentin Dubois, “The Green Bird,” MOPA

Documentary (Domestic Film Schools)
Mathieu Faure, “An Edited Life,” New York University
Lauren Schwartzman, “Dust Rising,” University of California, Berkeley
Yiying Li, “Love & Loss,” University of Southern California

Documentary (International Film Schools)
Mart Bira, “Nomadic Doctor,” University of Hertfordshire

Narrative (Domestic Film Schools)
Brian Robau, “Esta Es Tu Cuba”/”This Is Your Cuba,” Chapman University
Kelley Kali, “Lalo’s House,” University of Southern California
Hua Tong, “Spring Flower,” University of Southern California

Narrative (International Film Schools)
István Kovács, “A Siege,” University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest
Lisa Gertsch, “Almost Everything,” Zurich University of the Arts
Jonatan Etzler, “Get Ready with Me,” Stockholm Academy of the Arts

www.thewrap.com | 9/12/18
The Sandman comics author is one of four writers up for the prize, created by Sweden's cultural figures.
www.bbc.co.uk | 8/31/18
Billy Reid believes Scottish football can learn from the “blame-free” culture he experienced while coaching in Sweden.
www.bbc.co.uk | 7/21/18

Swedish culture has been described as characterised by egalitarianism combined with openness to certain aspects of international culture. Lutheranism, trade unionism, and self-reliance are aspects that have been associated with Swedish mentality. Sweden did not formally abolish slavery until the middle of the 14th century, but did not have serfdom in the Middle Ages and peasant freeholders constituted about 40% of the population and was one of four estates (together with nobles, clergy, and burghers) in the diet.


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