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Austria Education

The Academy said that it will announce an opening date for its long-awaited, much-delayed, very expensive Academy Museum of Motion Pictures “very, very soon.” (During the Oscars show, perhaps?) In the meantime, it invited the press to tour the building on Friday, where we saw a lot of almost-finished spaces that will eventually contain exhibits relating to film history. Here’s what it looks like now, along with some plans and renderings of what it will look like then.

A plan for the museum shows two theaters, three floors of exhibition space and a special events space on the top floor.

The cylinder that fronts the 1939 Streamline Moderne building that formerly housed the May Co. department story is covered with 350,000 one-inch-square gold tiles. Two-thirds of them have been restored, and the other one-third replaced by new tiles from the original manufacturer.

The lobby, shown in an artist’s rendering, will open onto a gift shop, a restaurant and the Spielberg Family Gallery.

The current state of the lobby, whose interior will retain an industrial feel, is undergoing lighting and color tests.

The right-hand side of the lobby, as seen from a second floor landing, will house a restaurant.

One floor below the lobby will be the Ted Mann Theater, which will seat 280 people. The Shirley Temple Education Studio will also be in this area.

The second floor will contain part of the core collection of exhibits, which will change about once a year.

The third floor, with exhibition spaces that are not yet visible (they’re behind the wall on the left), will contain more of the core collection as well as exhibits co-curated by filmmakers.

The David Geffen Theater, seen in this artist’s rendering, will seat 1,000 people and is envisioned to hold movie premieres, screenings and events.

Currently, most of the seats have been installed in the theater, though some were removed for the special needs of the Jan. 13 Oscar nominations announcement, which took place in the building.

Projection facilities in the theater can accommodate everything from the newest digital technology to old nitrate prints.

An “events room” on the top floor currently sports a large plastic-wrapped Oscar statue.

The dome over the terrace consists of 1,500 panes of glass from Austria, held in place by steel from the Czech Republic.

One item guaranteed to be on display in the museum: the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz,” which was released the same year the May Co. building opened.

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www.thewrap.com | 2/7/20

This story first appeared in the International Film Issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine.

Only a few days before Mounia Meddour’s film “Papicha” was due to debut in Algeria, the government canceled all screenings of the movie, which deals with a group of young women in the early 1990s living through the country’s civil war and the rise of fundamentalist Islam.

The move could have disqualified “Papicha” from the Oscar race even though it was Algeria’s official submission in the Best International Feature Film category, but the Academy granted the film a waiver because its filmmakers had no control over the government’s action. (Oscar entries are chosen by independent bodies of film professionals in each country, not by politicians.)

Meddour addressed the controversy — and the challenges of making his film.

Did the government ever give you a reason why your film cannot be shown in Algeria?
No. But there is an election coming up, and I think they are worried. The film is set in 1991, during the Civil War — that was a very bad time, and I think they do not want us to be telling stories about it. Also, when we went to Cannes, the actresses and I wore buttons on our dresses that said we stood with the Algerian people. Why would we not stand with the people of Algeria? But I think the government noticed that and did not like it.

And it is a film about how women were treated, which is a subject I am sure they do not like.

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Why was it important to you to make a film about that time and that subject?
It was very personal to me. I grew up in Algeria, and I lived at the university like the girls in the film. And there was one year when we could not go to school because the situation was bad. I stayed home and made clothes like Nedjma, the girl in the movie, and sold them at a very small shop near me. It was a small town, and I could walk down the street and think, “She is wearing my clothes. And she is wearing them. And she is wearing them.”

What were the particular challenges of this film?
We had to shoot it in only five weeks. We only had €1 million. That is very, very, very small, and not enough money for a longer shooting schedule. I sometimes said, “We don’t have time to shoot coverage or wide shots. We’ll shoot close-ups only.”

It was also hard because we shot during Ramadan, and the Algerian actors and crew could not eat from sunrise to sunset. We had two different areas, one for the French and Belgian crew, where we could serve lunch, and one for Algerians, who could only take naps during the lunch break. But a lot of the Algerians forgot about religion and came to the French and Belgian side to eat.

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www.thewrap.com | 11/18/19

Alvaro Delgado-Aparicio wasn’t sure for a long time how the people of Peru would embrace his film, “Retablo,” which tells the story of a teenage boy in a small town who discovers that his beloved father is secretly gay. But to his very pleasant surprise, he found out that upon release it drew sellout crowds across the country.

“This is a tale about the conflict between tradition and modernity,” the director said at TheWrap’s Awards Screening Series. “If you go beyond the capital, you go to towns that are very cut off from the rest of the world and are very set in their ways. There are a lot of paradigm shifts that have to be shifted.”

“Retablo” has been shown around the world over the last couple of years, starting with a premiere at the 2017 Festival de Cine De Lima and later going on festival tour that included stops in Berlin and New York. Now, it is Peru’s pick for the 2020 Best International Film Oscar.

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Peru is a country with no same-sex marriage laws, and outside of Lima, there’s almost no public discussion of homosexuality whatsoever. This led Aparicio to create a film that would tackle such taboos through the framing of a coming-of-age tale.

On top of the usual questions of identity that come with such a story, there is a unique cultural angle in that the boy, Segundo, is training to take his father’s job as a maker of retablos, which translates literally as “altar piece” but in Peruvian culture can be household or church miniature altars that honor God and/or family. Segundo’s family makes retablos of the household kind, placing delicately crafted figurines into colorful boxes.

“If you want to become a retablo maker, you have to have it handed down from your family,” Aparicio said. “The transmission of art through family legacy was something that I found so beautiful.”

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Aparicio wrote the script of the film through the Sundance Film Lab and then went out into the Andes for a year to prep and shoot the film. One of the biggest tasks, of course, was to find the boy who would play Segundo. After searching in dozens of schools and hundreds of kids, he found his star in Junior Bejar Roca, who impressed Aparicio with his discipline.

But when he read through the “Retablo” script with Roca’s parents, they were shocked to see how the film discussed homosexuality so openly. Despite this, they told Aparicio that they would leave it up to their son to decide if he wanted to take part in the movie.

“He told me, ‘You need to help me, I’ve never acted in my life…but I want to do it,” Aparicio said. “I think this is a really important character and it could help a lot of people in our country.”

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Though it first began its festival run two years ago, “Retablo” wasn’t selected as an Oscar hopeful until this year because it only got a theatrical release in Peru this past May. Aparicio said that many cinemas weren’t initially interested in the film because it wasn’t commercial enough, especially since it is filmed in the indigenous language Quechua rather than Spanish.

“The forecast was that we were only going to be in cinemas for three days since no one would go…but then something magical happened,” he said. “It ended up selling out for nine weeks. Not just in Lima but everywhere.”

“To me, it was a sign that something is happening. We have received letters from parents talking about how they are trying to understand their kids in a different way. Families are seeing this film together. It shows to me that with love, anything is possible.”

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www.thewrap.com | 11/15/19

Eric Pleskow, a long-time Hollywood executive who served as the head of Orion Pictures and United Artists and oversaw the production of 14 different Oscar winners for Best Pictures, has died. He was 95.

Pleskow’s death was announced Tuesday by the Vienna Film Festival; the Austrian-born executive and film producer had served as the festival’s president since 1998.

“His death is a great loss for all of us. Eric had a fulfilled and long life and we appreciated him as a longtime friend and companion of our festival. As president and patron of the Viennale, he has always carried us with his humor and foresight,” the Viennale said in a statement. He will be missed deeply. We express our sincere condolences and heartfelt sympathy to his family.

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As president of United Artists between 1973 to 1978 Pleskow — the first European to lead the company since co-founder Charlie Chaplin — oversaw a three-year span in which the films “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Rocky” and “Annie Hall” all won Best Picture at the Oscars.

Pleskow then formed Orion Pictures following the takeover of United Artists by Transamerica, leading the company until 1992 and developing other classics such as “Amadeus,” “Dances With Wolves” and “The Silence of the Lambs.”

Born in Vienna in April 1924, Pleskow’s family emigrated to the United States after the Nazi Germany takeover of Austria. He was drafted by the U.S. army in 1943 and after the war served as a translator for interrogations during the denazification of Germany and Austria. Having received a brief education in film editing, he became a film officer for the U.S. war department and was assigned the task of rebuilding Munich’s Bavaria Film Studios. Shortly thereafter he joined United Artists as a European sales manager and would work his way up to president.

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In 2007, he was made an honorary citizen Vienna and had a cinema hall in the Metro Kinokulturhaus named after him.

“Turning 95 doesn’t leave me cold! That sounds really old. In any case much older than I feel,” Pleskow said earlier this year at a ceremony commemorating his birthday.

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www.thewrap.com | 10/1/19

There are no zombies on the red carpet of the Croisette, a reporter told Bill Murray after the world premiere of his latest film “The Dead Don’t Die,” which opened the Cannes Film Festival Tuesday.

“Says you,” Murray (un)dead-pans in response.

During the press conference following Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy, Murray said he finds Cannes “frightening,” and it’s hard not to come away with that assessment when “The Dead Don’t Die” managed to bring together an unusual assemblage of art-house darlings and global pop stars for the occasion.

Jarmusch donned his trademark sunglasses on the red carpet and received a (expected) standing ovation as the screening was began, and he was joined by the film’s diverse crop of stars, including Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Sevigny and even Selena Gomez, who were all in attendance.

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And the film itself is a nonchalant, hipster commentary on people sleepwalking through the modern age as well as the Trump era. A red hat worn by Steve Buscemi’s character in the film that read “Make America White Again” was a popular talking point among critics after the first screenings in the Grand Theatre Lumiere and the Sally Debussy theater next door. And it’s not unusual for this generally tough Cannes crowd to be fairly mixed on the splashy opening night film, even for someone as respected as Jarmsuch.

“It’s the self-awareness that really hurts it,” TheWrap’s critic Ben Croll wrote in his review. “Jarmusch knows that his audience wants to see Murray and Driver riff in deadpan and that the image of Swinton strutting down the street wielding a katana will set the internet ablaze, so he offers them as much, without ever feeling the imperative to go a step beyond.”

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Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Cannes Jury Press Conference Touches on Diversity, Netflix and the Border Wall

Elle Fanning, filmmakers Kelly Reichardt and Alice Rohrwacher, and Senegalese actress Maimouna N’Diaye are among the women serving on this year’s Cannes main competition jury led by Alejandro González Iñárritu. The group represents one of the most diverse juries the festival has ever had, with 21-year-old Fanning the youngest jury member the festival has ever had.

And while the festival has been committed to striving toward 50/50 gender parity, the women on the jury would very much like to move past the same questions about being a “woman” filmmaker.

“I look forward to a time that will come when we don’t have to say ‘women directors’ or ‘as a woman,'” Reichardt said at the press conference Tuesday.

“But it’s odd when we’re asked this question,” Rohrwacher added. “It’s sort of like asking someone who survived a shipwreck why he’s still alive. Everyone is on the beach — ‘Why are you still alive?’ Why are you asking us? Well, ask the person who built the boat, who sold the tickets, the schools. People have said there haven’t been enough women, but it’s not enough to talk about at the end [of the chain]. We have to look at the beginning of the chain.”

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Splashy International Deals

The Cannes marketplace is also just kicking off at the festival, but select international deals are already in place for some of the competition films.

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions nabbed select territories to Sally Hawkins’s “Eternal Beauty,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, excluding the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the U.K., China, Japan, South Korea and the Middle East. And Focus Features acquired the international rights to Robert Eggers’s film “The Lighthouse,” which A24 already has domestic rights to distribute.

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www.thewrap.com | 5/15/19

The Republic of Austria has a free and public school system, and nine years of education are mandatory. Schools offer a series of vocational-technical and university preparatory tracks involving one to four additional years of education beyond the minimum mandatory level. The legal basis for primary and secondary education in Austria is the School Act of 1962. The federal Ministry of Education is responsible for funding and supervising primary, secondary, and, since 2000, also tertiary education. Primary and secondary education is administered on the state level by the authorities of the respective states. Federal legislation played a prominent role in the education system, and laws dealing with education effectively have a de facto constitutional status because, like Austrian constitutional law, they can only be passed or amended by a two-thirds majority in parliament.


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