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The March 19, 2020, guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) declared what global citizens appreciate more each day as the COVID-19 pandemic crisis unfolds: "Functioning critical infrastructure is imperative during the response to the COVID-19 emergency for both public health and safety as well as community well-being."

CISA's guidance to "state, local, tribal and territorial jurisdictions and the private sector" details the importance of "essential critical infrastructure workers" having a special responsibility in these trying times to continue operations.

  • CISA specifically includes "data center operators" within the core definition of "essential critical infrastructure workers."
  • As state and local governments consider and issue stay-at-home orders or other restrictions to limit operations to workers involved in essential businesses, officials must ensure that their orders align with the CISA guidance and include data center operators in essential business exemptions.
  • Alignment of CISA guidance and state and local directives is fundamental to smooth, efficient maintenance of the essential Internet networking and communications key to supporting public health, safety, and economic continuity and recovery as our nation and the world weather the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

When some people think of essential critical infrastructure and services, the medical sector, electric, gas, and water utilities, police, and other emergency responders might immediately come to mind. But who keeps these vital sectors and all of the rest of us in communication?

It is the skilled workers who keep the Internet's infrastructure operating.

Many consider the Internet as a primarily virtual space, but a major part of the Internet's core operating infrastructure includes sophisticated physical equipment installed inside globally-connected data centers that must be properly manned and maintained, most especially during a time of crisis. These complex, high-security operations depend upon the skills of multitudes of technical specialists managing climate-controlled physical facilities that house the servers and other equipment that keep websites, data and applications running. Among their many responsibilities, data center staff oversee electrical and cooling systems, monitor capacity and workloads, add new equipment when needed, and repair or replace malfunctioning hardware as quickly as possible — all to protect network reliability and security.

Data center operators support the entire global digital economy in myriad ways. In the U.S. as COVID-19 was breaking, many local medical communities quickly pivoted to offer much broader telehealth services to diagnose and support non-critically ill patients, helping to preserve limited physical resources such as hospitals for those who are most ill and vulnerable. Data centers are facilitating the operation of online economic lifelines, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses.

Similarly, in Europe, Internet infrastructure has been largely deemed "essential." Europe's data centers and other Internet infrastructure providers are stepping up to meet their nations' extraordinary COVID-19 challenges. For example, DE-CIX Frankfurt — a major Internet exchange — reached an all-time traffic peak of more than 9 Terabits per second without going down. This networking feat underscores the ever-greater reach, power, and essential nature of the Internet's role worldwide.

Keeping the Internet's infrastructure reliable, secure, and operational for the benefit of all by ensuring that data center operators are included in essential business exemptions of state and local COVID-19 orders is imperative to achieving CISA's immediate "community resilience and continuity of essential functions" goals. Consistent and clear standards among CISA and state and local governments in support of critical Internet operations are the best way to keep communities and citizens safe and informed as we respond together to the COVID-19 crisis.

Written by Christian Dawson, Executive Director, i2Coalition | 4/5/20
The offices of the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University sit 10 floors above Bostons Back Bay. Wraparound windows offer a floating panorama of the city, from Boston Common to Fenway Park, as a half-dozen young analysts toil quietly at computers.

At 10 a.m. on a recent morning, with the early calls to the World Health Organization and European doctors complete and the check-in with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scheduled for later, Alessandro Vespignani, the institute’s director, had some time to work the room. In a black blazer and jeans, he moved from cubicle to cubicle, giving each member of his team the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.

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James (Jon) Castle - 7 December 1950 to 12 January 2018

Over four decades Captain Jon Castle navigated Greenpeace ships by the twin stars of ‘right and wrong’, defending the environment and promoting peace. Greenpeace chronicler, Rex Weyler, recounts a few of the stories that made up an extraordinary life.

Captain Jon Castle onboard the MV Sirius, 1 May 1996

James (Jon) Castle first opened his eyes virtually at sea. He was born 7 December 1950 in Cobo Bay on the Channel Island of Guernsey, UK. He grew up in a house known locally as Casa del Mare, the closest house on the island to the sea, the second son of Robert Breedlove Castle and Mary Constance Castle. 

Young Jon Castle loved the sea and boats. He worked on De Ile de Serk, a cargo boat that supplied nearby Sark island, and he studied at the University of Southampton to become an officer in the Merchant Navy. 

Jon became a beloved skipper of Greenpeace ships. He sailed on many campaigns and famously skippered two ships during Greenpeace’s action against Shell’s North Sea oil platform, Brent Spar. During his activist career, Jon spelt his name as "Castel" to avoid unwanted attention on his family.

Right and wrong

Jon had two personal obsessions: he loved books and world knowledge and was extremely well-read.  He also loved sacred sites and spent personal holidays walking to stone circles, standing stones, and holy wells.  

As a young man, Jon became acquainted with the Quaker tradition, drawn by their dedication to peace, civil rights, and direct social action. In 1977, when Greenpeace purchased their first ship - the Aberdeen trawler renamed, the Rainbow Warrior - Jon signed on as first mate, working with skipper Peter Bouquet and activists Susi Newborn, Denise Bell and Pete Wilkinson.

In 1978, Wilkinson and Castle learned of the British government dumping radioactive waste at sea in the deep ocean trench off the coast of Spain in the Sea of Biscay. In July, the Rainbow Warrior followed the British ship, Gem, south from the English coast, carrying a load of toxic, radioactive waste barrels. The now-famous confrontation during which the Gem crew dropped barrels onto a Greenpeace inflatable boat, ultimately changed maritime law and initiated a ban on toxic dumping at sea.

After being arrested by Spanish authorities, Castle and Bouquet staged a dramatic escape from La Coru?a harbour at night, without running lights, and returned the Greenpeace ship to action. Crew member Simone Hollander recalls, as the ship entered Dublin harbour in 1978, Jon cheerfully insisting that the entire crew help clean the ship's bilges before going ashore, an action that not only built camaraderie among the crew, but showed a mariner's respect for the ship itself. In 1979, they brought the ship to Amsterdam and participated in the first Greenpeace International meeting.

In 1980 Castle and the Rainbow Warrior crew confronted Norwegian and Spanish whaling ships, were again arrested by Spanish authorities, and brought into custody in the El Ferrol naval base.

The Rainbow Warrior remained in custody for five months, as the Spanish government demanded 10 million pesetas to compensate the whaling company. On the night of November 8, 1980, the Rainbow Warrior, with Castle at the helm, quietly escaped the naval base, through the North Atlantic, and into port in Jersey.

In 1995, Castle skippered the MV Greenpeace during the campaign against French nuclear testing in the Pacific and led a flotilla into New Zealand to replace the original Rainbow Warrior that French agents bombed in Auckland in 1985.

Over the years, Castle became legendary for his maritime skills, courage, compassion, commitment, and for his incorruptible integrity. "Environmentalism: That does not mean a lot to me," he once said, "I am here because of what is right and wrong. Those words are good enough for me."

Brent Spar   Action at Brent Spar Oil Rig in the North Sea, 16 June 1995

One of the most successful Greenpeace campaigns of all time began in the summer of 1995 when Shell Oil announced a plan to dump a floating oil storage tank, containing toxic petroleum residue, into the North Atlantic. Castle signed on as skipper of the Greenpeace vessel Moby Dick, out of Lerwick, Scotland. A month later, on 30 April 1995, Castle and other activists occupied the Brent Spar and called for a boycott of Shell service stations.

When Shell security and British police sprayed the protesters with water cannons, images flooded across world media, demonstrations broke out across Europe, and on May 15, at the G7 summit, German chancellor Helmut Kohl publicly protested to British Prime Minister John Major. In June, 11 nations, at the Oslo and Paris Commission meetings, called for a moratorium on sea disposal of offshore installations.

After three weeks, British police managed to evict Castle and the other occupiers and held them briefly in an Aberdeen jail. When Shell and the British government defied public sentiment and began towing the Spar to the disposal site, consumers boycotted Shell stations across Europe. Once released, Castle took charge of the chartered Greenpeace vessel Altair and continued to pursue the Brent Spar towards the dumping ground. Castle called on the master of another Greenpeace ship, fitted with a helideck, to alter course and rendezvous with him. Using a helicopter, protesters re-occupied the Spar and cut the wires to the detonators of scuppering charges.

One of the occupiers, young recruit Eric Heijselaar, recalls: "One of the first people I met as I climbed on board was a red-haired giant of a man grinning broadly at us. My first thought was that he was a deckhand, or maybe the bosun. So I asked if he knew whether a cabin had been assigned to me yet. He gave me a lovely warm smile, and reassured me that, yes, a cabin had been arranged. At dinner I found out that he was Jon Castle, not a deckhand, not the bosun, but the captain. And what a captain!"

With activists occupying the Spar once again, Castle and the crew kept up their pursuit when suddenly the Spar altered course, heading towards Norway. Shell had given up. The company announced that Brent Spar would be cleaned out and used as a foundation for a new ferry terminal. Three years later, in 1998, the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) passed a ban on dumping oil installations into the North Sea.

"There was no question among the crew who had made this possible, who had caused this to happen," Heijselaar recalls. "It was Jon Castle. His quiet enthusiasm and the trust he put into people made this crew one of the best I ever saw. He always knew exactly what he wanted out of a campaign, how to gain momentum, and he always found the right words to explain his philosophies. He was that rare combination, both a mechanic and a mystic. And above all he was a very loving, kind human being."


After the Brent Spar campaign, Castle returned to the South Pacific on the Rainbow Warrior II, to obstruct a proposed French nuclear test in the Moruroa atoll. Expecting the French to occupy their ship, Castle and engineer, Luis Manuel Pinto da Costa, rigged the steering mechanism to be controlled from the crow's-nest. When French commandos boarded the ship, Castle stationed himself in the crow's-nest, cut away the access ladder and greased the mast so that the raiders would have difficulty arresting him.

Eventually, the commandos cut a hole into the engine-room and severed cables controlling the engine, radio, and steering mechanism, making Castle's remote control system worthless. They towed the Rainbow Warrior II to the island of Hao, as three other protest vessels arrived. 

Three thousand demonstrators gathered in the French port of Papeete, demanding that France abandon the tests. Oscar Temaru - leader of Tavini Huiraatira, an anti-nuclear, pro-independence party - who had been aboard the Rainbow Warrior II when it was raided, welcomed anti-testing supporters from Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Philippines, and American Samoa. Eventually, France ended their tests, and atmospheric nuclear testing in the world's oceans stopped once and for all.

“Moral courage”

Through these extraordinary missions, Jon Castle advocated "self-reflection" not only for individual activists, but for the organisation that he loved. Activists, Castle maintained, required "moral courage." He cautioned, "Don't seek approval. Someone has to be way out in front... illuminating territory in advance of the main body of thought."

He opposed "corporatism" in activist organisations and urged Greenpeace to avoid becoming "over-centralised or compartmentalised."  He felt that activist decisions should emerge from the actions themselves, not in an office. We can't fight industrialism with "money, numbers, and high-tech alone," he once wrote in a personal manifesto. Organisations have to avoid traps of "self-perpetuation" and focus on the job "upsetting powerful forces, taking on multinationals and the military-industrial complex."

He recalled that Greenpeace had become popular "because a gut message came through to the thirsty hearts of poor suffering people ... feeling the destruction around them."  Activists, Castle felt, required "freedom of expression, spontaneity [and] an integrated lifestyle."  An activist organisation should foster a "feeling of community" and exhibit "moral courage." Castle felt that social change activists had to "question the materialistic, consumerist lifestyle that drives energy overuse, the increasingly inequitable world economic tyranny that creates poverty and drives environmental degradation," and must maintain "honour, courage and the creative edge."

Well loved hero

Susi Newborn, who was there to welcome Jon aboard the Rainbow Warrior way back in 1977, and who gave the ship its name, wrote about her friend with whom she felt "welded at the heart: He was a Buddhist and a vegetarian and had an earring in his ear. He liked poetry and classical music and could be very dark, but also very funny. Once, I cut his hair as he downed a bottle or two of rum reciting The Second Coming by Yeats."

Newborn recalls Castle insisting that women steer the ships in and out of port because, "they got it right, were naturals." She recalls a night at sea, Castle "lashed to the wheel facing one of the biggest storms of last century head on. I was flung about my cabin like a rag doll until I passed out. We never talked about the storm, as if too scared to summon up the behemoth we had encountered. A small handwritten note pinned somewhere in the mess, the sole acknowledgment of a skipper to his six-person crew: ‘Thank You.’” Others remember Castle as the Greenpeace captain that could regularly be found in the galley doing kitchen duty.

In 2008, with the small yacht Musichana, Castle and Pete Bouquet staged a two-man invasion of Diego Garcia island to protest the American bomber base there and the UK's refusal to allow evicted Chagos Islanders to return to their homes. They anchored in the lagoon and radioed the British Indian Ocean Territories officials on the island to tell them they and the US Air Force were acting in breach of international law and United Nations resolutions. When arrested, Castle politely lectured his captors on their immoral and illegal conduct.

In one of his final actions, as he battled with his failing health, Castle helped friends in Scotland operate a soup kitchen, quietly prepping food and washing up behind the scenes.  

Upon hearing of his passing, Greenpeace ships around the world - the Arctic Sunrise, the Esperanza, and the Rainbow Warrior - flew their flags at half mast.

Jon is fondly remembered by his brother David, ex-wife Caroline, their son, Morgan Castle, born in 1982, and their daughter, Eowyn Castle, born in 1984. Morgan has a daughter of eight months Flora, and and Eowyn has a daughter, Rose, who is 2.   

The 2020 Cannes Film Festival has extended deadlines and is still hoping to reschedule the May event for late June or early July — but in a Q&A posted on the official festival site on Thursday, Cannes organizers also conceded that this year’s festival could be canceled altogether.

“A postponement might be, we repeat, ‘might be,’ possible,” read the first answer in the nine-question Q&A. The festival, it added, “plays an essential role in the economy of world cinema. When the decision to cancel the event in May was considered, every stakeholder in the sector asked us not to give up on holding it this year.”

But at the same time, the festival admitted that it “one way of looking at the situation” to think that a rescheduling is unrealistic given the ongoing effects of the coronavirus in Europe and around the world. “We are working towards a deferred event, if at all possible,” it said. “And if it is not possible, we will accept that.”

Also Read: 2020 Cannes Film Festival Postponed Over Coronavirus Concerns

The Q&A also noted that festival staffers are currently working from home, including programmers who are screening films that have been submitted. The deadline for registering films will be extended by one month or more, until at least the end of May, while accreditation deadlines have been extended for about a month and a half.

The lineup of films, which was originally scheduled to be announced at a Paris press conference on April 16, will not take place on that date. If the festival is rescheduled, the lineup will be announced about one month prior to that date.

And the festival also admitted, “It would be absurd to fixate on the dates of a cultural event when the whole world is living through such a painful time.”

Also Read: Golden Globes Suspend Eligibility Rules Because of Coronavirus Theater Closings

Read the full Q&A here:


Because a postponement might be, we repeat, “might be”, possible. Although Cannes is mainly famous for its arts and media side, it also plays an essential role in the economy of world cinema. When the decision to cancel the event in May was considered, every stakeholder in the sector asked us not to give up on holding it this year.

We therefore decided, after a rapid, broad, national and international consultation, that it was necessary to investigate all routes which would allow a postponement rather than a simple cancellation. This applies to the whole Festival, including the Marché du Film, which is due to take place as part of the Festival, over the same dates.

No one knows what will happen in the near future, but Cannes must work towards solutions with the sector stakeholders who wish the event to take place. The Festival will therefore be acting in line with this perspective, while closely monitoring the changes in the global health situation. Ultimately, it is the public authorities (The Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Interior, the Alpes-Maritimes regional authority, and the Cannes City Council) who will give the green light, just as they authorised us to announce a possible deferrment.


We made this announcement two months before the Festival. If you take the example of sport, the Monaco Grand Prix, which takes place during the Festival dates, was postponed on the same day. The spring cycling races in Belgium and France were postponed less than three weeks before they were due to begin. The European football championships were cancelled while already in progress.

The physical preparation (setting up, construction, etc.) of the Festival de Cannes begins one month before the event and had not begun in mid-March. We had until April 15th to evaluate the situation and we did so one month before that, although there were many who called on us to “stand firm”. It is not a matter of standing firm, but of analysing the situation with clarity and responsibility.

According to the professionals, for whom the festival is essential, the calendar used for May and the announcement of the deferral, three months in advance, was the most suitable one. In addition, on the subject of sport, our “athletes” are the artists and most of them are working. Our raw material is films, which we receive electronically. “Technically” (please take note the use of quotation marks), the selection process is taking place as usual.


Yes. It is above all important to remember the imperative nature of the measures in place: “stay at home”, “infection prevention measures” and “social distancing”. The Festival team is not contravening the rules. Our offices are closed and no one is to go out for work purposes.

Since the lockdown measures were announced, the Festival staff have worked remotely and continue to prepare for Cannes via written messages, telephone conversations and group chats.

As for screenings, the films now come via an internet link and are viewed by members of the selection committee in the context of the usual discussion which takes place at this time of year with artists and rights holders. Many remarks from professionals from all over the world are also coming to the fore through this exchange.


No. The traditional press conference announcing the selection will not take place on April 16th. If the Festival is confirmed for the end of June or beginning of July, it will take place around one month beforehand, in Paris, at a date which is yet to be arranged. The Festival will issue more information when circumstances permit.


Yes, accreditation applications will remain open. The various dates for registration have been extended by one-and-a-half months. The details will be updated on the website very soon.

All approved accreditations will remain valid in the case of any postponement.

Accreditations for the two sessions of “3 Days in Cannes” will also remain valid. The new dates of the sessions will be automatically sent out with the new dates of the Festival and people who are already accredited will simply need to confirm their registration for the new dates.


Yes, the Films Department has decided to extend the registration deadline by one month. The new cut-off date will be specified in due course. it will certainly be extended until the end of May. At the moment everything is open. And for any further information, contact:


That is one way of looking at the situation, but we will not take that view until the evidence compels us to abandon this year’s event. At the time of writing, the 2nd round of the Municipal Elections has been announced for June 21st and the Tour de France sets off on June 27th.

It is obviously not possible to give precise dates yet. We have decided to opt for the end of June because we cannot plan further ahead than that. The lockdown which France, as well as many other countries, is under is only in its second week and we will need time, patience, calm and goodwill before we know when we will come out of it. We will also need to show solidarity. It would be absurd to fixate on the dates of a cultural event when the whole world is living through such a painful time.

People count on us: from Japanese film distributors to Cannes café owners. When the moment comes for us to all get ourselves back on our feet,to welcome festival goers, show films, open the theatres to the entire world, meet the artists, the journalists, the professionals and welcome those for whom seeing the creation, distribution and production coming back to life is important, the Festival must be ready. The Festival staff have a duty and a mission to commit themselves to that, in the name of the entire international sector.

We are working towards a deferred event, if at all possible. And if it is not possible, we will accept that. Because we are acting with humility and discretion, without ever losing sight of the national and international health priorities caused by the crisis, nor of the difficulty and pain of the days in hospitals for patients and health professionals. We want to express our solidarity and our admiration for the health workers and for all those who, where ever they are, are giving their time, their energy and their empathy.

And our thoughts are in particular with three great filmmaking countries: Italy, Spain and Iran, who have been particularly hard hit by the epidemic.

We will provide further information as soon as possible.

We will be in touch very soon,

The Festival de Cannes Team

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As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the hospital workers, law enforcement and food providers workingto stop the spread of COVID-19 are in desperate need of critical supplies, and vulnerable workers out of jobs because of the crisis need help.

Many in Hollywood, music, tech, fashion and media have contributed in ways big and small to efforts supporting people affected by — and fighting against — coronavirus, from fundraisers for first responders and charities for furloughed artists and freelancers, to pro bono online concerts or storytime for kids stuck at home.

Below, see our list — which we’ll be updating — of what people across the entertainment industry are doing to help deal with the pandemic:

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CAA Foundation, Harvard, Thrive Global

The CAA Foundation partnered with Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global to start an initiative called #FirstRespondersFirst. The initiative will specifically raise funds for first responders ranging from minimum-wage hourly workers in home-care settings to social workers, nurses and physicians. CAA Foundation made a financial donation to kick off the initiative and will leverage its social influencers in order to get the word out and raise charitable donations.

Christian Siriano, Dov Charney, Brandon Maxwell

Fashion designer Christian Siriano and Dov Charney, a manufacturer and former head of American Apparel, each dedicated their resources to help sew and produce more hospital masks for healthcare providers, of which there are a grave shortage in the country. Siriano shared photos to Twitter of some of the prototypes he was developing, dedicating his 10 seamstresses to produce thousands a week, while Charney aims to use his factories to produce 300,000 masks and 50,000 gowns in a week, according to figures in the New York Times. Similarly, designer Brandon Maxwell is working on creating gowns for medical workers, doing so all while everyone is working from home.

TV Medical Dramas

TV medical dramas like Fox’s “The Resident,” NBC’s “New Amsterdam” and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Good Doctor” and “Station 19” donated N95 masks and other supplies that they use for their respective productions to hospitals and fire stations in need. Several of the shows were forced to delay or suspend production due to the coronavirus and gave their unused props and supplies directly to the hospitals where the shows often film.

Also Read: China Reopens Over 500 Movie Theaters as New Coronavirus Cases Near Zero


Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Twitter that the tech giant would be donating two million industrial, N95 respirator masks to health professionals both in the U.S. and Europe. And the company also allocated an additional $15 million to “help treat those who are sick and to help lessen the economic and community impacts of the pandemic.” “To every one of the heroes on the front lines, we thank you,” Cook said.

Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos

People reported that husband and wife Mark Consuelos and Kelly Ripa donated $1 million to both the New York governor’s office in order to purchase desperately needed ventilators and to WIN, a New York-based organization that provides shelters to homeless women and children.


TMZ reported that Rihanna’s charitable organization Clara Lionel Foundation made a commitment of $5 million that will go to U.S. food banks as well as to helping advance testing in at-risk communities both in the U.S. and in Haiti and Malawi.

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Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively

Husband and wife Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively donated $1 million together to Feeding America and Food Banks Canada that help provide meals to older adults or low income families. Others who have since donated to Feeding America or other regional food banks have included Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake and Vanessa Hudgens.

Bethenny Frankel

“The Real Housewives of New York City” star Bethenny Frankel offered to donate more than 1 million face masks to U.S. hospitals and clinics through her B Strong non-profit organization. The group is working directly with local governments to avoid other middle men that are marking up the price of protective masks, and it has also developed Corona Kits for people in need complete with hand sanitizer, a hydration kit, gloves and even a cash card for emergencies.

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Fashion designer Christian Siriano has stepped up to aid healthcare workers who are facing a shortage of masks during the coronavirus crisis by volunteering his team to help fill the void.

“If @NYGovCuomo says we need masks my team will help make some. I have a full sewing team still on staff working from home that can help,” the “Project Runway” alum tweeted Friday night.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo accepted Siriano’s pledge and called for others to follow suit. “We’re in contact with @CSiriano. Appreciate his help so much. Who’s next? Let’s do this together, NY!” he replied.

Also Read: Stars Who Have Tested Positive for Coronavirus (Photos)

By Friday night, the designer was tweeting videos of prototypes, seen below.

We will be making a few versions of this in order to help as many people as we can. Here is the process so we can get a perfect fit. More to come thank you everyone we hope to get these to the right people ASAP

— Christian Siriano (@CSiriano) March 20, 2020

“Prototypes are happening,” Siriano tweeted along with another photo before adding there will be “more updates by next week.”

And Siriano made good on his promise. But late Saturday afternoon, he gave an update to his Twitter followers, writing, “Thanks everyone for all the support. We are making waves and working on getting approvals before we start anything. It’s very important before anyone does anything to help, please make sure what you are making is safe and hopefully FDA approved. We must be smart.”

Friday, Cuomo mandated all non-essential workers stay home, as the city and country at large fight the pandemic.

As of mid-day Saturday, the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in New York State has passed 10,000, with more than 40 fatalities. Most cases in the state are found in New York City, at over 6,000, according to ABC7NY.

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There is no historical precedent for the financial drain that the coronavirus is about to do to the movie business, but multiple box office and financial analysts told TheWrap that the growing wave of theater closures and postponed film releases may sink 2020 domestic grosses to levels not seen since the turn of the 21st century.

Domestic grosses for 2020 may well sink below $8 billion for the first time since 2000, analysts said, while admissions may fall below 1 billion tickets sold for the first time since 1976.

This past weekend, overall grosses dropped 45% from the previous weekend, to $55.3 million, lower than even the box office weekends following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. To find a total that low, we have to go back all the way to Halloween weekend of 1998, when overall ticket sales fell to $50.8 million before inflation adjustment. With the postponement of “A Quiet Place Part II” and “Mulan,” two films that were expected to drive springtime moviegoing, those numbers are going to sink even lower even if some theaters manage to stay open.

Others, however, said that trying to put any sort of estimates on how big the drop will be is a fool’s errand at this point.

“We are still at the earliest stages of this slump, and we still don’t know just how long theaters will have to remain closed, how many films this will affect, or what studios will do whenever this all ends,” Exhibitor Relations analyst Jeff Bock said. “How could anyone try to make a prediction when the situation changes almost on an hourly basis?”

Also Read: Trump Issues New Coronavirus Guidelines, Urges Americans to Avoid Gatherings of 10 or More

The American movie theater industry tried longer than other countries to maintain a “business as usual” mantra. As recently as last Wednesday, theater owners and regional trade organizations were assuring the public that theaters would remain open. But as millions have been encouraged to stay home and local officials in major cities have begun forcing closures, their hand has been forced.

On Sunday night, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered that all bars, nightclubs, and yes, movie theaters be closed for at least the remainder of March while restaurants will only be open for delivery and takeout.

Then, after the Trump Administration recommended at a White House press conference on Monday that the public avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, Cineworld announced that all 543 Regal Cinemas locations in the U.S. would close indefinitely, joining countries across Europe and major Asian markets like China, where over 70,000 cinemas have remained dark since late January.

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For the theaters that haven’t received orders to close, seating capacity has been severely curtailed. After first reducing screening capacity by 50%, AMC Theaters announced early Monday that it would cap the number of tickets sold for each screening at 50, in keeping with the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control to prevent community spread of the virus. But now that Regal has made the first big move, other nationwide chains are expected to follow suit and announce they are closing soon.

The CDC also recommends that this 50-person limit be enforced for at least the next eight weeks, a time period that extends to the first two weekends of May. That would likely force Disney to postpone the release of the Marvel Studios blockbuster “Black Widow,” a film that was supposed to kick off the summer moviegoing season, with an opening weekend topping $100 million.

If health officials are correct in their prediction that social distancing will have to continue for two months or more, domestic grosses for the box office will sink below $8 billion while estimates of financial losses for the film industry will likely spiral well above $20 billion.

Also Read: Regal, Showcase Cinemas Become First US Theater Chains to Close Nationwide Amid Coronavirus Crisis

The Trump administration on Monday even suggested that the crisis could last into “July or August,” which would effectively shut down the entire summer blockbuster season for the first time in movie history. Dennis Carroll, former director of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Global Health Security and Development Unit, told USA Today that it is difficult to predict exactly how long the crisis will last as there is so little information known about the virus. Strong containment efforts in China and South Korea, the first countries to face outbreaks, have led to significant reductions in new cases over the past week, but those cases are still being reported.

“By May we could be returning to some state of normalcy,” he said. “But, again, what we don’t know about this virus is epic. Holding a May date as a beacon of hope may soothe some of the angst but who knows?”

And there’s a new wrinkle that even further complicates matters for theaters: day-and-date releasing. As streaming and video-on-demand have become more popular over the past decade, theater owners have resisted even the idea of theatrical releases hitting the home market before the long-sacrosanct three-month theatrical window. That standoff has prompted clashes with Netflix over Oscar-contending films like “Roma” and ‘The Irishman” that opened in select theaters but began streaming well before then.

But as the coronavirus has thrown out all industry norms, Universal on Monday decided to pull the trigger on Monday and announce that while “Trolls World Tour” will be released to theaters on April 10 — assuming theaters are still open — the animated sequel will also be available for 48-hour digital home rental on the same day for a suggested price of $20. Universal is also cutting short the exclusive theatrical window of current releases like “The Invisible Man” and “The Hunt” with plans to put them up for digital rental as early as this Friday.

Also Read: Universal to Release 'Trolls World Tour' for Digital Rental on Same Day as Theatrical Release

“It can’t be a positive sign for any theater owner, regardless of the circumstances, that Universal decided to make this move so quickly,” Bock said. “‘Trolls World Tour’ wasn’t going to be a massive hit. The first film made less than $400 million (worldwide). But it wasn’t a small release either. It was going to be a strong draw for families. Not even Disney announced any streaming moves for ‘Mulan’ when they pulled it, so now it’s going to be interesting to see if any other studios see Universal’s move as a green light to try and go straight to home release with some of these spring blockbusters.”

While it could simply be a temporary, extraordinary measure for extraordinary times, Universal’s video-on-demand move shows how coronavirus has so severely damaged an industry long viewed as recession-proof. The resiliency of movie theaters through the decades has been a point of pride for owners and mentioned in speeches by leaders like Motion Picture Association CEO/Chairman Charles Rivkin, who boasted of it in his keynote speech last year at CinemaCon — the annual industry convention whose 2020 edition was canceled just last week.

“Since that first nickelodeon theater opened in Pittsburgh 114 years ago, we’ve been hearing about our demise for more than a century,” Rivkin said. “Through two world wars, the Depression, and calls for censorship and through new technologies — each one of them guaranteeing the end.”

Also Read: Trump-Touted Coronavirus Testing Website Launches, But Still Not Available Nationwide

While the immediate outlook looks bleak, movie theaters as a whole should survive this. Analysts expect a quick rebound to normal business and possibly even a boost for theaters in some regions as many Americans will be looking to finally get out of the house after weeks or months in isolation. But what the landscape of the industry will look like on the other side of this crisis is unclear.

“My best guess is that this could permanently shrink the movie theater market in terms of locations that are open,” Bock said. “It’s no secret that the theatrical industry was already on thin ice, and this is the worst possible time for any of this to happen. They will have a hard time in the short term for them to convince people to come out the longer this goes. Theaters that were already having a hard time financially might not get back up from this.”

“Larger chains like AMC and Regal might survive, but it may not make business sense for some theaters that go bankrupt because of this to be replaced. The days of having two different cineplexes across the street from each other or a few blocks apart may be over.”

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Regal Cinemas became the first major American theater chain to announce the indefinite closure of all 543 of its locations nationwide to counter the spread of the coronavirus, with Showcase Cinemas doing the same hours later in an announcement from its parent company, National Amusements.

“At this time, we have made the difficult decision to close our theaters. We value our movie-loving customers and have no doubt we will be serving them again as soon as possible with a full slate of Hollywood blockbusters,” read a statement from Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Regal parent company Cineworld.

National Amusements will close all 32 of its Showcase Cinemas locations in five U.S. states starting on Monday night with plans to reopen on April 7. All tickets purchased in advance for future shows will be refunded and all accounts for the chain’s ticket subscription program will be placed on hold.

“Showcase Cinemas has worked very hard to provide the best moviegoing experience for our customers for nearly 85 years,” read a statement from National Amusements. “Our industry has weathered many difficult moments through the decades. Through these unprecedented times, we come to the same conclusion – people need and want to go to the movies. However, now is the time for public safety and to press pause on moviegoing.”

The closures come shortly after a White House press conference in which health officials recommended that the public avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, a drop from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s earlier recommendation of avoiding gatherings of more than 50 people. In accordance with those CDC guidelines, AMC Theaters announced earlier Monday that it would be capping all screenings at 50 tickets.

The move comes less than a week after a press release from the National Association of Theater Owners’ California/Nevada division assured the public that theaters would remain open in Santa Clara County for this past weekend as restrictions on public gatherings had not at the time pertained to movie theaters. But as government officials have called for more stringent social distancing policies to combat the spread of the coronavirus, analysts tell TheWrap that further widespread closures of American movie theaters are now expected, as has been the case throughout Europe and parts of Asia, including China, where theaters have been closed since late January.

Studios have responded to the crisis by indefinitely delaying the release of multiple major blockbusters such as Disney’s “Mulan,” MGM/Universal’s “No Time to Die,” and Universal’s “F9.” An exception has been the DreamWorks animated film “Trolls World Tour,” which Universal announced on Monday will be released day-and-date on digital home rental platforms as well as theatrically on April 10. The studio is also planning to make current theatrical releases like “The Invisible Man” and “The Hunt” available for digital rental as early as Friday with a suggested price of $19.99 for a 48-hour rental period.

TheWrap will update this story as more theater closures are announced.

More to come…

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President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency during a White House press conference on Friday.

“No resource will be spared, nothing whatsoever,” Trump said, outlining increases in federal funding and broadening the abilities of the Department of Health and Human Services. All told, $50 billion has been made accessible to states and localities.

He also said that the federal government is working with private companies to tackle the virus, praising corporations like LabCorp and Roche for working on testing solutions, the launch of an online Google symptom screening form, and the opening of drive-thru testing at store like CVS, Target, Walmart and Walgreens. The president also waived interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies.

The national emergency declaration came two days after a national address in which Trump announced the United States will restrict travel from 26 countries in Europe in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic.

“Now we’re in a different phase,” Trump said Friday. “To unleash the full power of the federal government to this effort today, I am officially declaring a national emergency. Two very big words.”

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The travel restrictions will begin Friday at midnight and will be in place for 30 days. The United Kingdom will be exempt from the restrictions, as will American citizens “who have undergone appropriate screenings,” the president said. The decision builds on the administration’s earlier move to restrict travel from China and Iran.

However, during the press conference, Trump said the U.K. may be added to the travel ban as numbers of coronavirus cases increase there.

When asked if he was responsible for closing the U.S. pandemic response team — which he did in 2018 — he responded, “I don’t know anything about that.”

When asked if he personally was tested after potential exposure, Trump replied, “Most likely, yeah. Fairly soon. We’re working out a schedule.”

The coronavirus spread has affected all American industries, from local businesses to sports to entertainment. TheWrap has been monitoring the canceled events in tech, media, politics and entertainment here. The Tribeca Film Festival, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020 Induction Ceremony and Coachella are among the events being postponed or canceled in reaction to the spread of the virus.

TV productions have been suspended or delayed, as have movies. Elsewhere, talk shows have forgone live studio audiences while Disneyland and other entertainment parks have announced closures, as has Broadway.

Consumers aren’t the only ones affected; the May upfronts — where networks present their programming slates — have all been canceled.

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Comic-Con International has suspended WonderCon Anaheim amid coronavirus concerns and postponed until a later date, according to a statement issued to TheWrap, though Comic-Con itself is still on.

WonderCon, the lead-up to the annual Comic-Con convention in San Diego, was scheduled to take place April 10-12. No new date has been set for the convention.

However, Comic-Con is still scheduled to take place between July 23-26. See the full statement below:

Also Read: Hollywood's Day of Reckoning: 'F9,' 'A Quiet Place Part II,' 'Lovebirds' Delayed Over Coronavirus Fears

To protect public health and slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health announced a recommendation that gatherings and events of more than 250 people should either be postponed or canceled. Comic-Con (organizer of WonderCon) will abide by this recommendation. Therefore WonderCon Anaheim, scheduled for April 10-12, 2020 in Anaheim, California, will be postponed until a later date. We will begin processing refunds in the coming days.

We continue to work closely with officials in San Diego and at this time no decision has been made regarding the rescheduling of Comic-Con slated to take place this summer; July 23-26, 2020. We urge everyone to follow the recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and your local health officials.

WonderCon is a comic book, science fiction and film convention that has taken place since 2012. After a one-year stint in Los Angeles, the event returned to Anaheim in 2017.

Last year, more than 135,000 con-goers attended SDCC’s 50th annual event, which included panels presented by Marvel Studios, AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” HBO’s “Westworld” and “Game of Thrones,” and numerous other eagerly anticipated films and popular TV shows.

Also Read: All the TV Productions Suspended or Delayed Due to Coronavirus Pandemic (Updating)

On Thursday, the CDC has reported that in the U.S. over 1,300 cases of coronavirus have been reported, with 36 deaths. On Wednesday, President Trump announced a 30-day travel ban of travel from Europe into the United States.

The postponement of Comic-Con follows a wave of cancellations across all forms of entertainment and sports, including several conventions like CinemaCon in Las Vegas, which was canceled Wednesday.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom, in accordance with new guidelines from the state’s Department of Public Health, is asking that all gatherings of more than 250 people be canceled throughout the state in an effort to curtail the spread of the covid-19 illness caused by the coronavirus.

This would include almost all sporting events, most concerts, many movie screenings, high volume workplaces, and many restaurants and bars, not to mention film premieres and large scale media events. Though not mandatory, Newsom called on Californians to follow the guidelines through at least the end of March.

The new guidelines, posted Wednesday night, are the strongest measures yet in the state’s efforts to contain the disease that has infected more than 150 Californians. Along with limiting gatherings to 250 people or less, the guidelines also call for measures like social distancing of at least 6 feet or more — and cancellation of events which cannot accommodate that distance, regardless of crowd size.

Also Read: Trump Bars All Travel From Europe - Except the UK - in Response to Coronavirus

“Changing our actions for a short period of time will save the life of one or more people you know. That’s the choice before us. Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease,” Newsom said in a statement Wednesday night. “Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects — saving dozens of lives and preserving critical healthcare resources that your family may need a month from now. The people in our lives who are most at risk — seniors and those with underlying health conditions — are depending on all of us to make the right choice.”

Though it remains to be seen how many events will comply with the new guidelines, California already has a serious head start. Newsom’s announcement comes near the end of a wave of even cancellations due to fears about coronavirus, including the E3 Expo video game conference, originally scheduled for June, PaleyFest LA, which was to begin this Friday, and the entirety of the remaining NBA season.

The guidelines also come just hours after Donald Trump laid out the latest federal response to the coronavirus, which most notably includes a ban on travel from Europe — except, for some reason, the UK.

Also Read: Coronavirus: The Canceled Events in Tech, Media, Politics and Entertainment (Updating)

Read the full list of guidelines, and detailed explanations for how they can be followed, here.

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Wednesday’s episode of “The Late Show” was clearly filmed during the daytime, well before the absolutely crazy run of coronavirus news that hit the country starting around 9:00 p.m. ET (more on that momentarily).

But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything topical, by which we mean coronavirus-related, for Stephen Colbert to talk about. IN his monologue, he talked about the press conference Mike Pence held on Tuesday, in which one of the senior scientists heading up the government’s response to the plague pretty much said America needs to get ready for things to really suck. “As a nation, we can’t be doing the kind of things we were doing a few months ago,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a clip Colbert played.

“But I want to! A few months ago was great,” Colbert protested “It was the holidays, I was drunk on egg nog, I was watching “Cheer,” I was falling in love with Baby Yoda, I was looking forward, I was looking forward to impeaching the president. Remember that feeling?”

Also Read: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Say They Have Tested Positive for Coronavirus

“It’s only March. 2020 has done the impossible, it’s made me nostalgic for 2019,” a dejected Colbert added.

Then he brought up statements made by “task force leader, and man who has quarantined his mind from knowledge,” Mike Pence, who said “All of our major health insurance companies have now joined with Medicare and Medicaid and agreed to waive all copays, cover the cost of all treatment for those who contract the coronavirus.”

Colbert used that comment to make a fun joke: “What a cool idea. It’s like Medicare. But, um, for all.”

Funny stuff, but had Colbert waited just a few hours later to tape Wednesday’s show, until after Donald Trump’s wild White House address on coronavirus, he might have updated the joke because as it turns out, Pence’s statement is false. See, after Trump announced a ban on all travel from Europe (except, for some reason, the UK), he repeated the same claim, that both treatment and testing will be fully covered.

Also Read: Trump Bars All Travel From Europe - Except the UK - in Response to Coronavirus

Unfortunately, almost immediately after the White House address, the biggest health care lobby in the country hastily told journalists that only testing, not treatment, will be covered, something the white house later confirmed. So uh, here’s hoping everyone who gets sick is a millionaire.

Watch Colbert’s comments below:

TONIGHT: The Coronavirus has got us all wishing it was a few months ago. #LSSC

— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) March 12, 2020

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In an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, United Talent Agency (UTA) will on Friday conduct a telecommuting test to ensure employees can work from home and the agency can still operate at its full capability.

As an added safety precaution, the agency will also no longer allow visitors or meetings with outside persons at any of its offices worldwide, a spokesperson for the agency told TheWrap Wednesday. That policy will take effect by end of day Thursday.

The agency will not be closing, however, and will otherwise continue to operate normally, the spokesperson added.

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UTA currently operates offices in London, New York, Nashville and Miami in addition to their flagship campus in Los Angeles.

The move is the latest in what has turned into a torrent of rescheduled or canceled events and workplace modifications in response to the spread of coronavirus, which the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic.

On Wednesday alone, the NBA suspended the remainder of the current season, the 2020 Cinemacon and E3 trade shows were canceled, most New York-based late-night shows announced the would stop having live audiences for the time being, and PaleyFest was postponed.

Also Read: Trump Bars All Travel From Europe - Except the UK - in Response to Coronavirus

But by far the biggest action taken was a total ban on travel to the U.S. from Europe, announced by Donald Trump Wednesday night during an address from the White House. The ban will take effect on Friday.

Keep up with all the cancellations and rescheduled events, as well as how industry players are altering workplaces in response to coronavirus.

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There is perhaps no more beloved celebrity in Hollywood then Tom Hanks, so it should come as no surprise that the news that he and wife Rita Wilson tested positive for coronavirus has left many stars shaken.

“Love to you @RitaWilson & @tomhanks. Please stay strong,” “The West Wing” star Bradley Whitford tweeted Wednesday night. “Terriers” star Donal Logue responded to Hanks’ initial announcement by saying, “Feel better, boss! All the best to you and Rita.”

“Billions” co-creator Brian Koppelman also responded to Hanks’ tweet with words of encouragement, saying, “Get better, sir ! We need you.”

Also Read: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson Say They Have Tested Positive for Coronavirus

Amber Ruffin — a writer on “Late Night With Seth Meyers” and the star of the upcoming Peacock show “The Amber Ruffin Show” — reacted emotionally to the news, writing, “TOM HANKS HAS CORONAVIRUS THE WORLD IS UPSIDE DOWN WE HAVE TO START OVER GOOD THINGS ARE NO MORE.”

Comedian Whitney Cummings also attempted to bring some levity to the news, tweeting, “I mean Tom Hanks is who would play the guy in the movie about Coronavirus.” While popular gamer Ninja was also moved by the news, writing, “This is becoming very very real. Prayers to Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.”

Perhaps journalist Ann Curry said it best, writing, “Ok, now we all have someone we love diagnosed with #coronavirus. Send Tom Hanks and his wife Rita some love.”

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Singer Richard Marx said that he actually spoke to Rita Wilson, telling his fans, “Just spoke to my sister from another mister
@RitaWilson who sounds pretty good but let’s all send love and prayers and all good vibes to her and @tomhanks.”

Breaking the news to his fans Wednesday, Tom Hanks wrote on his Instagram page, “Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive.”

Hanks continued, “Well, now. What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?”

He concluded the post by saying, “We’ll keep the world posted and updated. Take care of yourselves! Hanx!”

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The couple is in Australia for filming on the as-yet-untitled film about Elvis Presley directed by Baz Luhrmann, currently slated for a 2021 release date. In the film, Hanks plays “Colonel” Tom Parker, Presley’s longtime manager.

See the reactions below:

Get better, sir ! We need you.

— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) March 12, 2020

Feel better, boss! All the best to you and Rita.

— donal logue (@donallogue) March 12, 2020

Love to you @RitaWilson & @tomhanks. Please stay strong.

— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) March 12, 2020

This is becoming very very real. Prayers to Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.

— Ninja (@Ninja) March 12, 2020


— amber ruffin (@ambermruffin) March 12, 2020

Just spoke to my sister from another mister @RitaWilson who sounds pretty good but let’s all send love and prayers and all good vibes to her and @tomhanks

— Richard Marx (@richardmarx) March 12, 2020

Ok, now we all have someone we love diagnosed with #coronavirus.

Send Tom Hanks and his wife Rita some love:

— Ann Curry (@AnnCurry) March 12, 2020

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Viacom is joining dozens of companies across Hollywood preparing for the coronavirus, as CEO Bob Bakish has announced to employees that they are testing new procedures to allow them to work from home.

“This [test] will allow us to assess our remote access capabilities, ensure everyone has the technology they need to do their jobs remotely, and help us practice how we work together when we’re all out of the office at the same,” Bakish wrote.

The test will take place this Friday, March 13,  at offices nationwide, with employees instructed to back up critical files to company cloud servers and to take laptops home with them. Employees in some essential departments, such as news and Network Operation Centers, will not be included in this test and will have their own unique procedures. The memo also encourages any employee that would feel more comfortable working remotely to discuss doing so with their manager.

Companies worldwide are preparing for the coronavirus to continue spreading as the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on Wednesday. Companies like Amazon, Google and Twitter have instructed their employees to work remotely, and in Hollywood, organizations like SAG-AFTRA have announced that all in-person meetings and events have been cancelled until further notice and will be replaced with remote videoconferences for essential meetings.

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Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have both tested positive for the coronavirus, Hanks announced on his Instagram on Wednesday.

“Rita and I are down here in Australia,” Hanks said. “We felt a bit tired, like we had some colds, some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went, slight fevers too.”

“To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus and found to be positive,” Hanks said.

The couple, who have been married since 1988 and are both 63 years old, are in Australia for filming on the as-yet untitled film about Elvis Presley directed by Baz Luhrmann, currently slated for a 2021 release date.  In the film, Hanks plays “Colonel” Tom Parker, Presley’s longtime manager. Austin Butler, Olivia DeJonge, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rufus Sewell also star.

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“What to do next? The medical officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no? We’ll keep the world posted and updated,” Hanks concluded.

Hanks’s disclosure came just minutes after a White House address in which Donald Trump announced several strict measures to combat the spread of coronavirus, most notably a near-total ban on all travel from Europe. Read more about that here.

See Hanks’ full message below:

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The United States will restrict travel from Europe in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump announced in an address from the White House on Wednesday.

The travel restrictions will begin Friday at midnight and will be in place for 30 days. The United Kingdom will be exempt from the restrictions, as will American citizens “who have undergone appropriate screenings,” the president said. The decision builds on the administration’s earlier move to restrict travel from China and Iran.

Trump did not explain why the UK, which currently has 460 cases, is exempted from the ban.

Trump also said that health insurers had agreed to waive all co-payments for coronavirus treatments and extend insurance coverage to cover coronavirus treatments. However, a representative of AHIP, the largest health insurance lobby group, directly contradicted Trump, telling Politico reporter Sarah Owermohle that the industry will only waive copays for testing, not for treatment, a decision that will likely cost sick Americans millions.

No relief for uninsured Americans was announced.

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Trump described it as the “most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.”

The president’s 9 p.m. ET address came at the end of a day that saw World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic earlier on Wednesday. More than 118,000 cases have been diagnosed worldwide, with more than 4,000 deaths thus far, the organization said.

It capped off a day that saw drastic measures taken to curb the spread of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, across the country. Seattle, one of the hardest-hit cities in the country, announced Wednesday that its public schools would close for two weeks. A number of large events and public gatherings were canceled or postponed in an attempt to limit person-to-person spread, including entertainment and media events like the Kids Choice Awards and the GLAAD Media Awards.

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Disney/Pixar’s “Onward” has taken a $40 million opening weekend, one of the lowest starts in Pixar’s 25-year history of feature films. However, it is unclear whether fears of the spreading coronavirus had any impact, as the overall box office has yet to see a serious week-to-week drop.

While year-over-year comparisons show a sharp drop of more than 50%, that is mostly because the $1 billion-plus hit “Captain Marvel” came out this weekend in 2019 with a $153 million opening. “Onward,” being an original title, had long been projected by trackers to open in the $40 million range even before the coronavirus had reached North America. While final totals for the weekend are still being tabulated, industry estimates for films grossing over $500,000 this weekend stands at $99 million, up from $93.8 million last weekend.

This shows that while coronavirus is still a growing concern in the U.S., it has yet to have an impact on moviegoer turnout even as events like SXSW have been canceled over public health concerns. Distribution execs who spoke to TheWrap say they are monitoring the situation on a day-by-day basis, asdding that the ultimate barometer of the virus’ box office impact will come with the release of “Mulan” in three weeks.

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As for “Onward,” this Pixar title was never expected to reach the heights of some of Pixar’s recent sequels. However, it has also fallen short of some original animated films that Pixar and Disney have released in recent years. Disney released “Zootopia” in early March four years ago and earned a $75 million opening weekend. “Onward,” meanwhile, is only the second Pixar film since the turn of the century to take an opening of less than $45 million, the other being the $39 million opening of “The Good Dinosaur” in 2015.

The good news for “Onward” is that reception has been much stronger than the tepidly received “Good Dinosaur.” Along with an 86% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences have given Dan Scanlon’s film an A- on CinemaScore and 4.5/5 on Postrak. With such strong results from families and younger adults, “Onward” has the potential — coronavirus notwithstanding — to leg out over the coming weeks as schools and universities go on spring break.

On the other hand, “Onward” is seeing its overseas numbers take a hit, as it grossed $28 million from 37 countries, leaving the film with a $68 million global opening that’s far below the $80-90 million that trackers had projected. Disney is downplaying the coronavirus’ impact in other countries, noting that the film has only opened in one market in Asia where the virus has spread the most, while taking No. 1 in 15 European countries.

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However, markets in Western Europe are starting to see a sizable drop in audience turnout and are expected to do so for the foreseeable future, a trend that was a major factor in the decision by MGM and Universal to delay the release of the latest James Bond film, “No Time to Die,” from April to November. “Onward” is not set to release in Italy, Japan or Korea, three of the countries hardest hit by the virus, until mid-April. China, where the virus originated, does not have a release date for the film.

Back on the domestic side, Universal/Blumhouse’s “The Invisible Man” is in second on the charts this weekend with $15.2 million, a solid hold that gives it a 46% drop from its opening weekend and a 10-day total of $52.9 million domestic and $98.3 million globally.

In third is Warner Bros.’ “The Way Back” with an $8.5 million opening weekend from 2,020 screens. It’s a debut that’s on the lower end of recent films for lead star Ben Affleck, who has had a mixed bag outside of his two DC films as Batman. While he was part of a $37.5 million opening for the Oscar-nominated 2014 film “Gone Girl,” he has also seen opening weekends as low as $5.1 million for the 2017 wide opening of “Live by Night.” The good news is that reception has been strong for Affleck’s performance in “The Way Back,” receiving an 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes and a B+ on CinemaScore.

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Paramount’s “Sonic the Hedgehog” is in fourth as it prepares to pass both $300 million globally and the $144 million domestic run of fellow video game adaptation “Detective Pikachu.” With $8 million in its fourth weekend, the film now has a total of $140 million domestic and $295 million global. 20th Century’s “The Call of the Wild” completes the Top 5 with $7 million in its third weekend for a $57.5 million total.

Farther down the charts, Focus Features’ “Emma.” expanded to 1,565 screens and took in $5 million in its first wide-release weekend, giving it a total of just under $7 million after three weekends. Finally, Sony’s “Bad Boys for Life” crossed $200 million in domestic grosses this weekend, earning $3 million in its eighth frame for a total of $202 million domestic and $415 million worldwide.

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Sony Pictures Entertainment has closed three of its European offices for the rest of the week as a precautionary measure after a fear that one of the company’s employees may have been exposed to coronavirus.

A spokesperson for Sony told TheWrap that the London, Paris and Gdynia, Poland, offices would be closed for the remainder of the week after a London employee traveled to an affected area. While no confirmed cases of the cirus have been reported, the spokesperson said, the offices will be closed “out of an abundance of caution.”

Employees in the three closed buildings will be allowed to work from home, and all other Sony offices in Europe remain open, as the move is “purely a precautionary measure,” the spokesperson said.

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“The health and well-being of our employees is of the utmost importance. We thought it was important to share with you that one of our London employees may have been exposed to coronavirus COVID-19 given recent travels to an affected area. Out of an abundance of caution, the London, Paris and Gdynia offices will be closed for the remainder of the week, and employees should work from home,” according to an internal memo sent to staff .

The number of coronavirus cases in the U.K. jumped to 85 on Wednesday, a rise of 34 cases in just a day, according to the BBC. There have been at least three cases of the virus being contracted in the U.K. with no clear indication as to how it was transmitted.

Over 94,000 strains of COVID-19 have been reported, and 3,221 people have died from the disease. More than 51,000 others have contracted the virus and recovered.

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Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee says President Donald Trump’s vilification over his handling of the corona virus outbreak is getting out of hand.

Huckabee said the president could “suck the virus” out infected people’s lungs and his opponents would still complain during his Thursday night interview with Laura Ingram on Fox News.

“Laura, he could personally suck the virus out of every one of the 60,000 people in the world and suck it out of their lungs, swim to the bottom of the ocean and spit it out and he would be accused of pollution for messing up the ocean if he did that,” Huckabee told Ingraham. “There’s nothing this president can do that will ever satisfy the people who hate him more than they hate the coronavirus.”

Ingraham did not acknowledge the graphic fictionalization of the president sucking a virus from human lungs and spitting it into the ocean.

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“The truth is, he’s done exactly what he should do,” said Huckabee of Trump’s plan, which calls on Vice President Mike Pence to lead the charge against the spread.

“It’s not exactly a pandemic yet. It could be one. We don’t want it to be,” he went on. “We’re going to do everything possible. I think the president’s done exactly right.”

Over the past few days, Trump has downplayed the threat of the virus, contradicting the warnings of federal scientists. In a Wednesday press conference, as Huckabee noted, Trump said the outbreak “may get a little bigger” or “it may not get bigger at all.”

As the administration takes a cautious approach as the coronavirus spreads from its origins in mainland China across Europe and to the United States, other American institutions are taking quick action. Entertainment industry players have scrambled to adjust during a busy slate of premieres, conventions and events.

While the public health risk posed by the virus remains relatively uncertain, travel restrictions continue to take effect, leaving many conferences without their typical international audience. Many companies are also worried about providing a gathering place for the virus to potentially spread in the coming months.

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As the Coronavirus spreads from its origins in mainland China across Europe and to the United States, entertainment industry players have scrambled to adjust during a busy slate of premieres, conventions and events.

While the public health risk posed by the virus remains relatively uncertain, travel restrictions continue to take effect, leaving many conferences without their typical international audience. Many companies are also worried about providing a gathering place for the virus to potentially spread in the coming months.

Along with multiple film premieres and theatrical releases in China, major events have also been canceled, like Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, previously scheduled for May 5-6. Facebook canceled the event on Friday citing “growing concerns” about the safety of its multinational guest list. In place of the planned San Jose, California conference, Facebook said it will distribute videos and discussion livestreams.

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Meanwhile, concert promoter and organizer LiveNation Entertainment said in its Feb. 27 earnings release that its show count over the next 3 months across China, Asia, and Italy accounts for less than half of 1% of its expected fan base this year, and did not report any cancelled events yet.

Several big-name game publishers have pulled out of the upcoming Game Developers Conference, scheduled for March 16-18 in San Francisco, including Microsoft, which said in a statement it plans to hold a digital-only conference via a webcast.

Other big tech players including Microsoft, Google, and Apple have conferences coming up in May, and it remains to be seen if they will reschedule, choose to conference virtually, or cancel altogether.

The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo could also see its participant count impacted by the virus. E3 is scheduled for June 9-11 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and attracted roughly 66,100 guests last year.

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Cancelled Conferences and Events
Event: Mobile World Congress Spain
Location: Barcelona
Original date: Feb. 24-27
Date cancelled: Feb. 12
Rescheduled? No

Event: F8
Location: San Jose
Original date: May 5-6
Date cancelled: Feb. 27
Rescheduled? TBD, events online

Event: Beijing and Shanghai Fashion Weeks
Location: Beijing, Shanghai
Original date: March 25-31
Date cancelled: Feb. 10
Rescheduled? TBD

Event: Art Basel Hong Kong
Location: Hong Kong
Original date: March 19-21
Date cancelled: Feb. 6
Rescheduled? No, online viewings instead

Also Read: K-Pop Music Festival Postponed at Hollywood Bowl Due to Coronavirus Travel Restrictions

Closed Resorts and Theme Parks
Theme Park: Shanghai Disneyland
Location: Shanghai
Closed on: Jan. 25
Duration: Disney expects closure to last at least two months 
Reopen Date: TBD

Theme Park: Hong Kong Disneyland
Location: Hong Kong
Closed on: Jan. 26
Duration: Disney expects closure to last at least two months 
Reopen Date: TBD

Theme Park: Tokyo Disneyland
Location: Tokyo
Closed on: Feb 28 (local time)
Duration: At least two weeks
Reopen Date: Tentatively, March 16

Cancelled Film Premieres and Theatrical Releases
Event: “No Time to Die” China premiere
Location: Beijing
Original date: April 10
Date cancelled: Feb. 17
Rescheduled? No

Event: “Sonic the Hedgehog” China Premiere
Original date: Feb. 28
Date cancelled: Feb. 24
Rescheduled? TBD

Event: “Mission: Impossible 7” Production
Location: Filming in China
Original date: Release date July 23 2021
Date cancelled: Feb. 24
Rescheduled? TBD

Event: “JoJo Rabbit” China Theatrical Release
Original date: Feb. 12
Date cancelled: Feb. 3
Rescheduled? TBD

Event: “Doolittle” China Theatrical Release
Original date: Feb. 21
Date cancelled: Feb. 3
Rescheduled? TBD

Event: “1917” China Theatrical Release
Original date: Feb. 12
Date cancelled: Feb. 3
Rescheduled? TBD

Event: “Vanguard” Theatrical Release
Original date: Jan. 25
Date cancelled: Jan. 23
Rescheduled? TBD

Also Read: 'The Daily Show' Asks 'Is This How We Die?' After Trump Announces Coronavirus Plans (Video)

Cancelled Music Events
Event: Green Day, “Father of All…” tour, first leg
Location: Cities across Asia
Original date: March 2020
Date cancelled: Feb. 27
Rescheduled? TBA

Event: The Pixies Asia tour
Location: Cities in Japan and China
Original date: Feb. 24-March 3
Date cancelled: Feb. 23
Rescheduled? TBD

Event: Sterolab China Tour
Location: Shanghai, Beijing
Original date: March 19, 21
Date cancelled: Feb. 20
Rescheduled? TBD

Event: Stormzy Asia Tour
Location: China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia
Original date: March 20-21, 24, 27, 29
Date cancelled: Feb. 13
Rescheduled? Postponed, TBD

Event: Korea Times Music Festival
Location: Hollywood Bowl
Original Date: April 25
Date Cancelled: Feb. 26
Rescheduled? TBD

Event: BTS “Map of the Soul” Tour, South Korea Dates
Location: Olympic Stadium in Seoul
Original Date: April 11, 12, 18 and 19
Date Cancelled: Feb. 27
Rescheduled? TBD

Canceled Film Productions
Production: Mission: Impossible VII
Location: Venice, Italy
Original Date: February-March; three week shoot
Date Cancelled: Feb. 25
Rescheduled? TBD — filming was supposed to occur during the city’s Carnaval festivities. The studio is currently determining if the scenes will be rewritten or shot later to recreate the festival

Companies that have pulled out of events
Game Developers Conference 2020: Epic Games, Unity, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft
Paris Fashion Week: Masha Ma, Shiatzy Chen, Uma Wang, Jarel Zhang, Calvin Luo, Maison Mai

To be determined – could be cancelled
2020 Summer Olympics in Japan: July 24 (No decision from IOC until May)
“Marriage Story” China theatrical release: date TBD
“Mulan” China theatrical release: date TBD
Microsoft: Build, May 19-21, Seattle, Wa.
Google I/O: May 12-14, Mountain View, Calif.
Apple: Worldwide Development Conference, date TBD, San Jose, Calif.
E3: June 11-13, Downtown Los Angeles

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Paramount Pictures announced on Monday that the release of “Sonic the Hedgehog” in China has been indefinitely postponed as the coronavirus outbreak continues to keep movie theaters and other businesses across the country closed.

“As the whole country and world unite together to fight the outbreak of coronavirus, we would like to express our gratitude and respect to all the medical staff, the rescue personnel, and people in service who provide us with much-needed assistance and support during this time,” read a statement from Paramount.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” has been the most successful film for Paramount in over a year, setting a new record for video game adaptations with a $58 million domestic opening weekend. After two weekends in theaters worldwide, the film has grossed $106.6 million in North America and $203.1 million worldwide.

Also Read: 'Mission: Impossible VII' Halts Production in Italy Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

But release of the film in Asian markets where the SEGA video game icon is well known has been held back by the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected tens of thousands of people in China. Health officials in the country have reported over 77,000 cases with nearly 2,600 people killed. An additional 2,000+ cases have been reported in other countries, with major outbreaks occurring in Italy, Iran, and South Korea.

The coronavirus first began to spread a month ago during the start of the Lunar New Year, a holiday period that is critical to the Chinese economy but especially to movie theaters, which only screen Chinese-produced films by government mandate and see the highest audience turnout during the season. Last year, combined revenue on the first day of Lunar New Year set a new single-day record for the market, and grosses for the entire period came in at approximately $835 million.

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But in response to advisement from health officials, nearly all of China’s movie theaters have remained closed for the past month, costing exhibitors billions in ticket and concessions revenue. “Sonic the Hedgehog,” which was scheduled for release this Friday, was set to be the first major Hollywood import in China after the Lunar New Year period ended. Aside from “Sonic,” no other Hollywood blockbusters, including Disney’s expected megahit remake of “Mulan,” had received a release date.

The epidemic has also had an impact on Paramount’s production plans, as filming for the seventh “Mission: Impossible” film with Tom Cruise in Italy has been postponed due to an outbreak there this past weekend. More than 200 cases and five deaths have been reported there, the highest of any country in Europe.

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BERLIN — News on the first day of the Berlin Festival that film – read Constantin Film  – had helped drive a 2019 full year profits surge at parent Highlight Communications came as little surprise. Few European movie companies enjoy the robust health of Constantin Film. Oliver Berben’s presentation on Monday of Constantin Television’s lineup […] | 2/23/20

The Berlinale Film Festival has renamed its top award, the Silver Bear Alfred Bauer Prize, after a report surfaced that accused the festival’s first director and the prize’s namesake of Nazi ties, the festival announced Tuesday.

The festival will now award a special prize named The Silver Bear 70th Berlinale, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the film festival. It will similarly be awarded by the International Jury.

Late last month, the Berlinale suspended the Silver Bear prize after an article in the German newspaper Die Zeit said Bauer played a previously unknown role in the Nazi film bureaucracy and engaging in National Socialist film politics.

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The Berlinale then hired external historians to conduct an investigation into Bauer’s role during the Nazi era and commissioned the “Institute for Contemporary History” (IfZ). The IfZ was founded in 1949 to academically research the National Socialist dictatorship.

“We are convinced that an external and independent group of historians should investigate Alfred Bauer’s position in the Nazi regime,” Berlinale executive director Mariette Rissenbeek said in a statement. “Moreover, we also agree on this with the Deutsche Kinemathek, which supports this approach. Accordingly, we are pleased that the IfZ can now initiate the necessary research work.”

Bauer was the festival’s first director between 1951 to 1976. He died in 1986 and the prize was named in his honor the following year.

The results of the IfZ assessment are expected in the coming summer.

The European Film Market and the Berlinale Film Festival kick off this week and run through March 1.

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Ruth Wilson and Matt Bomer are set to star in a feature film drama based on the true story of 1980s AIDS activist Ruth Coker Burks, an individual with knowledge of the project tells TheWrap.

Tony Award-nominee Michael Arden will make his feature directorial debut on the film that is being presented to buyers at this week’s European Film Market in Berlin. Arden will direct from a screenplay by Rebecca Pollock and Kas Graham.

Coker Burks, also known as the Cemetery Angel, is a former caregiver for AIDS victims and activist for AIDS awareness from Arkansas who during the height of the crisis in the 1980s gave up her salary in order to house and even bury those who suffered from the disease. “The Book of Ruth” will be set during 1983 and center on how a woman devoted to her work, her faith and her family comes to educate herself about AIDS after her new neighbor (Bomer) turns out to be a gay man fleeing New York City after his partner died from the disease.

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Scott LaStaiti, Dominic Tighe and Thomas Daley will produce “The Book of Ruth.” Cora Palfrey and Sarah Lebutsch are executive producing, and production is expected to begin later this year.

CAA will handle North American sales for the film at EFM, and Independent Film Sales will handle the international rights.

“It’s a great honor and privilege to tell this important story about the responsibility one human has to another, especially in a time of crisis. As a gay man, I feel that Ruth’s story of empathy in the face of great prejudice and adversary is one so needed in our modern time. It is vital for us to remember that we lost an entire generation to the AIDS epidemic and that so many people, including Ruth, sacrificed their own comfort, station and livelihood to help those in need during this plague. This is one of the finest scripts I have ever read, brimming with honesty and searing with social challenge. We have two of the finest actors imaginable on board in Ruth Wilson and Matt Bomer. Their work across all media speaks for itself and their commitment to the inspiration of empathy and compassion is perfectly aligned with the message of this film,” Arden said in a statement.

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“We couldn’t be prouder and more excited by the incredible talent that are bringing this vital story to life. This female-led story tells us that out of the deepest darkness can come the brightest light and the work of Ruth Coker Burks is a constant reminder of all that is best about humanity. The story is ultimately filled with hope and love. Ruth and Matt will light up the screen with their exceptional abilities and in Michael Arden, a gay man who grew up in conservative Texas, we are lucky to have such a visionary director who brings authenticity to the film and a deep understanding of these characters and their community. We look forward to continuing to build upon this already prestigious package and casting a fine ensemble of actors,” the producers LaStaiti, Tighe and Daley said in a statement.

“We are delighted to work together with the talented cast and crew assembled on this immensely powerful story. ‘The Book of Ruth’ is taking a look at recent history, showing us what a person can achieve if they put their prejudices aside and do the right thing. It is a truly inspirational story that buyers and audiences undoubtedly will respond to,” Independent’s head of sales Sarah Lebutsch said in a statement.

Bomer stars on “The Sinner” and will next be seen in the Netflix movie adaptation of “The Boys in the Band.” Wilson was last seen on “His Dark Materials” on HBO and her last film was “The Little Stranger” from 2018.

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Pollock and Graham’s 2019 script “Betty Ford” appeared on the Blacklist and was optioned by Ryan Murphy with Sarah Paulson attached. Arden is is the first and only director nominated for two Tony Awards before reaching the age of 35.

Wilson is represented by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and Troika and Relevant. Bomer is represented by CAA, Anonymous Content, Viewpoint and Steve Warren at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman.

Deadline first reported the news on the project.

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On January 28, the UK government was set to announce whether it would allow Huawei, the Chinese information and communication technologies provider, to develop its 5G infrastructure. Given Brexit and its need to form new alliances, the decision was marked as a significant moment for the UK's trade future. Leading up to the day of the decision, the UK was subjected to a significant amount of pressure from the United States government to reject any deal with Huawei. (Similar pressure was exercised towards any other US ally considering to use Huawei's 5G infrastructure). In a tweet sent by US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the day before the decision was due, he made the claim that Britain's decision would effectively be one of sovereignty.

We can debate the merits of this claim, but the thing that I want to focus on is the often-use of the word 'sovereignty' in conjunction with the Internet and technology. It is interesting to observe how in almost every single discussion about the role governments should have in the Internet, the term 'sovereignty' pops up. Terms like "digital sovereignty," "technological sovereignty," or "Internet sovereignty" have become commonplace.

But, does sovereignty help advance the Internet governance conversations?

The answer is an emphatic 'no'; sovereignty adds an extra layer of complexity and only pushes states further apart while, simultaneously, it undermines and fragments the Internet. Sovereignty and the Internet are — prima facie — two irreconcilable concepts.

Born out of the effort to connect networks with one another, the Internet was originally designed not to recognize any geographical boundaries. Its design embodies a true decentralized structure in the sense that it is both architecturally decentralized — it runs on multiple computers — as well as politically — no central authority has power over those networks. This decentralized nature has further allowed the various autonomous networks to interconnect with one another irrespective of where in the world they are located. In fact, since its inception, one of the Internet's distinguishable characteristics has been its global reach: "any endpoint of the Internet can address any other endpoint, and the information received at one endpoint is as intended by the sender, wherever the receiver connects to the Internet. Implicit in this is the requirement of global, managed addressing and naming services ."

Sovereignty, on the other hand, is all about strict geographical boundaries. It refers to the legal autonomy of the state to act independently and without constraints within its own territory. Under its Rousseaunian tradition, it reflects the power of the state emerging from its people and for the people.

In the context of geopolitical disputes for transnational communication technologies, sovereignty is currently seen as the construction of a governance system with the ability to coordinate and manage exchanges that may or may not address primary issues of privacy/data protection and security. In this context, its application is one of scale. Historically, countries always sought to impose some sort of domestic legislation to the Internet, but, at the same time, most of them equally understood and respected the need for network autonomy and integrity. Over the past few years, however, there has been a significant shift in this thinking, with an increasing number of countries now actively seeking to centralize control over the Internet. For any country interested in the governance of the Internet, the claim to sovereignty is a claim to power.

Such a Foucauldian approach considers sovereign power as a constant negotiation about the validity of claims of knowledge and truth, which dictates the power dynamics within a system. In this context, we can observe countries, like Russia and China, racing to codify their own notions of sovereignty in international law, much in the same way, the West was integrating its ideas of "universal values" when the Internet first emerged and for the best part of its commercial history.

Three distinguishable forms of "Internet sovereignty" have emerged thus far.

The first one is China's vision of sovereignty, which is predominantly attached to notions of national security and securitization. (Russia is also part of this thinking, but its vision and technology implementation is not nearly as advanced as China's.) China's Internet sovereignty is all about the right of national governments to supervise, regulate and censor all electronic content that passes through its borders — what Bill Bishop has referred to as the "invisible birdcage. " In China, "Internet sovereignty" first appeared in a 2010 White Paper, which indicated that "within Chinese territory the Internet is under the jurisdiction of Chinese sovereignty. […] To build, utilize and administer the Internet well is an issue that concerns national economic prosperity and development, state security and social harmony, state sovereignty and dignity, and the basic interests of the people ". Since then and through a series of laws focusing primarily on cybersecurity, China has increasingly placed chokepoints on its Internet infrastructure, requiring network operators to store data within China and allowing Chinese authorities to conduct spot-checks on the network operations of any company operating out of China. On December 1, 2019, China rolled out its Cybersecurity Multi-level Protection Scheme (MLPS 2.0), aiming to create a system that is able to monitor every activity in China: Internet, mobile, WeChat type social networks, cloud systems, national and international email — everything. The framework's goal is not to empower users or even allow companies to make money; it is an attempt to centralize control over key network operations to the Chinese government. With this strategy, China does not seek to close itself out of the global Internet but, instead, to strengthen global network integration.

For Europe, sovereignty means independence from the dominant US technology companies. Europe started flirting with "digital sovereignty" as a response to the Snowden revelations in 2013. A 2014 research paper by the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) and New America's Open Technology Institute identified around 12 European countries using the term or considering practical policy solutions to its end. These policies ranged from the construction of new undersea cables to stronger data protection rules; they detailed different layers of extreme with some going as far as to suggest forced data localization and routing rules. Although most of these proposals never materialized, Europe has integrated sovereignty in its recent digital strategy. Last year, Ursula Von Der Leyen, Europe's chief Commissioner stated that "it is not too late to achieve technological sovereignty in some critical areas. "Similarly, her number two and the EU's competition czarina, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager argued that digital sovereignty can be achieved through "the development of key value chains and technologies that are of strategic importance for Europe" and which should be "open, truly European, innovative and lead to widespread knowledge dissemination. "

And, then, there is the case of India. India presents a big oxymoron being both the largest democracy in the world and the world leader in deploying Internet shutdowns as a political tool to assert its sovereignty. Since August 2019, India has sanctioned the longest Internet shutdown ever to occur in a democracy, in the disputed Kashmir region. Discretionary and vague legal rules regarding the control the government can exercise over India's Internet service providers has further enabled the government to restrict or limit access to regional and district levels. But, it is its data localization laws that further indicate India's direction towards a more sovereignty-based Internet. A series of recent laws require different forms of data, from governmental to heath and financial to be stored in India. Additionally, India's data protection legislation lays out the conditions under which "critical" and "sensitive" data are to be stored locally; this includes, financial, health and biometric information. An official document by the Committee of Experts on data protection acknowledged that although "laws facilitating cross-border data flows […] greatly foster research, technology development and economic growth ", critical personal data should be processed only in India with no cross-border transfer allowed.

So, what does this all mean and why should we care?

For the state, to view the Internet as nothing more than an extension of its sovereignty right should not come as a surprise. The key role of states is to make more of life 'legible' as James Scott has convincingly argued — this means to better record and measure human affairs in an effort to make them easier to manage. However, the drive for 'legible' or readable structures that can be easily understood and regulated often comes with a fatal flaw; in the top-down drive to simplify and formalize our understanding of complex systems, we sometimes disregard the local and practical knowledge critical to managing the complexity. To this end, our expectations that the state should — or would for that matter — see the Internet in a different fashion must be moderated. With this in mind, what is the impact sovereignty has on the current state of play?

The first point of this consideration is the pressure sovereignty places on the Internet. Although, as we said previously, it should be expected that governments apply rules of sovereignty in all aspects of international relations, including the Internet, the stricter the application of those rules, the more danger there is for the Internet to splinter and fragment. And, by this, we don't mean that the global Internet will cease to exist; rather, it will be neither desirable nor beneficial for people and networks to participate in the global Internet. Its resilience, which depends on the very fact that networks are diversely spread around the world, will diminish and with it any need for interoperation.

The other problem is how sovereignty contributes to state actors not being willing to collaborate. States are already split in their views of the Internet — a split that grows bigger. A UN resolution by Russia in the last days of 2019 on cybercrime, demonstrated the increasing division amongst the views of states. The resolution, which was opposed by the US and Europe but backed by China, passed 79 to 60, with 33 abstentions. And, although we should not sound the alarm bells yet, still this resolution indicates a clear move towards a more sovereign based approach for the Internet, which does not create any conditions for collaboration. In fact, sovereignty is the antithesis to collaboration, and this constitutes a problem. The Internet's past is based on collaboration. Its future also depends on it.

Why is all this important? Because, whichever nation manages to crack the sovereignty code, will also determine the Internet we will end up using. Will it be an open and global space-based on interoperation and mutual agreement? Or, will it be a closed and fragmented model based on geographical boundaries and cultural relativism?

This post was originally published in

Written by Konstantinos Komaitis, Senior Director, Policy Development and Implementation, Internet Society | 2/5/20
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The nominees for this year’s Streamy Awards were announced Wednesday by Dick Clark Productions, Tubefilter and YouTube. David Dobrik leads the way with 11 nominations and murder-mystery reality web series “Escape the Night: Season 4” follows with five nominations.

Lil Nas X and Lizzo are both nominated for the first time.

The awards specifically celebrate the best in online video. This year’s ceremony, the ninth one, will be held Dec. 13 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. It will stream live globally on YouTube.

“Creators are the heart and soul of YouTube, so we’re excited to celebrate and honor their creativity, diversity and hard work,” Jamie Byrne, director of creator partnerships at YouTube, said in a statement. “Together with the Streamys, we’ve expanded our award categories to even more regions around the world to bring fans some of the biggest and most unforgettable moments from the past year, all from the creators they love.”

See the full list of nominees below:

Creator of the Year
Collins Key
David Dobrik
Emma Chamberlain
Lilly Singh
Loren Gray
Safiya Nygaard
Simply Nailogical
Tana Mongeau

Show of the Year
Chicken Girls
Escape the Night: Season 4
The Game Master
Good Mythical Morning
Hot Ones
The Philip DeFranco Show
Red Table Talk
Tiny Meat Gang Podcast
The Try Guys


Action or Sci-Fi
Mordeo • CryptTV
Sam and Colby
Super Science Friends
Weird City

Andrei Terbea
Danny Casale

Breakout Creator
Danny Gonzalez
Joana Ceddia
Lizzy Capri

Anwar Jibawi
Gus Johnson
Hannah Stocking
Jack Douglass

The Brave • Great Big Story
BuzzFeed Unsolved Network
The Curse of Don’s Plum • New York Post
The Secret World of Jeffree Star • Shane Dawson
Stonewall: OutLoud • WOWPresents

First Person presented by GoPro HERO8 Black
David Dobrik
Emma Chamberlain
Simply Nailogical
Tana Mongeau

International: Asia Pacific
ACAU Youtube (Korea)
Fischer’s-???????- (Japan)
Kento Bento (Hong Kong)
RackaRacka (Australia)
Ti?n Zombie v4 (Vietnam)

International: Europe, Middle East, and Africa
Fozi Mozi (Palestine)
L’atelier de Roxane (France)
MarkAngelComedy (Nigeria)
Mikecrack (Spain)
Stacia Mar (Russia)

International: Latin America
Camila Loures (Brazil)
Enaldinho (Brazil)
enchufetv (Ecuador)
kevsho (Argentina)
Mis Pastelitos (Mexico)


Indie Series
Beef in Brentwood
Black Girls Guide to Fertility
Damaged Goods • VAM STUDIO
The Feels
Take One Thing Off • Scout Durwood

Scripted Series
Blame The Hero • Brandon Rogers
Chicken Girls • Brat TV
How To Survive a Break Up w/ Eva Gutowski • AwesomenessTV
Two Sides
You Decide • DeStorm Power

Unscripted Series
Escape the Night: Season 4 • Joey Graceffa
I Spent a Day With… • AnthonyPadilla
Middle Ground • Jubilee
Phone Swap
UNHhhh • WOWPresents


Brad Mondo
Jackie Aina
James Charles
Jeffree Star
Nikita Dragun

Kyle Hanagami
Matt Steffanina
Nicole Laeno
WilldaBeast Adams

Koleen Diaz
Sierra Schultzzie
With Love, Leena

Binging with Babish
Food Fears • Good Mythical Morning
Gordon Ramsay
Rosanna Pansino
Worth It • BuzzFeedVideo

The Completionist
The Game Theorists
Girlfriend Reviews

Health and Wellness
Doctor Mike
The Fitness Marshall
Jay Shetty
Kati Morton
Prince Ea

Kids and Family
Chad Wild Clay
Guava Juice
The Holderness Family
JoJo Siwa
The LaBrant Fam

Brent Rivera
Bretman Rock
Niki and Gabi
Rickey Thompson
Safiya Nygaard

Business Insider Today
The Philip DeFranco Show
Some More News
The Young Turks

Pop Culture
Fan Survey • Teen Vogue
Hot Ones • First We Feast
IMDb Me • IMDb
Sneaker Shopping • Complex

Science and Education
Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell
Mark Rober
Mind Field: Season 3 • Vsauce

Donut Media
Kristopher London
The NBA Storyteller
People Are Awesome

Marques Brownlee
Sara Dietschy
Unbox Therapy


Live Streamer
Twitch Rivals


Breakthrough Artist
Conan Gray
Lewis Capaldi
Lil Nas X
Lil Tecca


H3 Podcast
On Purpose with Jay Shetty
Tiny Meat Gang Podcast
VIEWS with David Dobrik and Jason Nash


Annie LeBlanc – Chicken Girls
Brandon Rogers – Blame The Hero
DeStorm Power – You Decide
Raney Branch – Black Girls Guide to Fertility
Tim Manley – The Feels

David Dobrik and Kylie Jenner – SURPRISING PEOPLE WITH KYLIE JENNER!! • David Dobrik
Molly Burke and Dolan Twins – Blindfolded Skydiving w/ The Dolan Twins! • Molly Burke
PatrickStarrr and Naomi Campbell – NAOMI CAMPBELL MAKEUP TUTORIAL • PatrickStarrr
Rebecca Zamolo and The Game Master Network – World’s Largest YOUTUBE Takeover In REAL LIFE at ViDCON! • Rebecca Zamolo
Sofie Dossi and Matt Steffanina – 7 Rings – Ariana Grande • Sofie Dossi

Ensemble Cast
Escape the Night: Season 4 • Joey Graceffa
The Try Guys
The Valleyfolk
Vlog Squad • David Dobrik


Adam Bianchi, Andrew Ilnyckyj, Steven Lim – Worth It • BuzzFeedVideo
Devin Graham – devinsupertramp
Jake Koehler – DALLMYD
Josh Cassidy – Deep Look
Peter McKinnon – Peter McKinnon

Costume Design
Brandon Rogers – Blame The Hero
Marc Littlejohn – Welcome to Daisyland
Morgan Christensen – Epic Rap Battles of History
Olivia Hines – Escape the Night: Season 4
Samantha Rhodes – Lindsey Stirling

Brandon Rogers – Blame The Hero
Cole Bennett – Lyrical Lemonade
David Dobrik – David Dobrik
Hannah Lehman – Two Sides
Lindsey Stirling, Tom Teller – Lindsey Stirling

David Dobrik – David Dobrik
Elle Mills – ElleOfTheMills
Emma Chamberlain – emma chamberlain
Marc Schneider, Alex “Sedge” Sedgwick, BanditRants – The Game Theorists
Steve Grubel – Escape the Night: Season 4

Visual and Special Effects
Aaron Benitez – Aaron’s Animals
Caleb Natale – Caleb Natale
Jody Steel – Jody Steel
Kevin Parry – Kevin Parry
Martin R. – Buttered Side Down

Alex Ernst – Alex Ernst
Jae Richards, Trey Richards – 4YE Comedy
Kyle Exum – Kyle Exum
Nice Peter, EpicLLOYD, Zach Sherwin – Epic Rap Battles of History
Thomas Sanders, Joan S., Adri White, Quil Cauchon, AJ Hentges – Thomas Sanders


Company or Brand
Ellen & Cheerios – DiversiTEA with Naomi Wadler
WWE – Connor’s Cure – Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Zillow – Finding Home in America • ATTN:

21 Savage – Leading by Example Foundation and Get Schooled
King Bach – RuJohn Foundation
Markiplier – My Friend’s Place

Nonprofit or NGO
It Gets Better Project
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – St. Jude PLAY LIVE

Winners previously announced

Brand Engagement
Winner: Chipotle + David Dobrik – Chipotle • Collab
#FindMyiD – Clinique
Barbie – Mattel Digital Engagement Group
David Dobrik x SeatGeek: Becoming a Member of the VlogSquad – SeatGeek
Peace Props – Peace Tea

Branded Content: Series
Winner: The Purple Boys – Purple • Tim and Eric
Cold As Balls – Old Spice
Road to Wizdom – AARP • Washington Wizards
Science of Mortal Kombat – Mortal Kombat • Because Science
Will It Clog? – Liquid-Plumr • VAT19

Branded Content: Video
Winner: Snoop Dogg x NikkieTutorials – Marc Jacobs Beauty
Jurassic World as a Chain Reaction Machine – Jurassic World • WatchMojo
Michelle Khare: Challenge Accepted: I Tried Marine Bootcamp – United States Marine Corps
Rabbit Hole – HTC Vive • FaZe Clan
The Try Guys Try 13 Future Technologies At Google – Google I/O

Emerging Platform
Winner: Jimmy Fallon ‘Tell Me A Joke’ – Amazon Alexa
#findyourmagic – The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Smule Duet with Natasha Bedingfield – MTV’s The Hills: New Beginnings
Tasty x eko – Walmart • BuzzFeed
WrestleMania Kickoff – WWE

Influencer Campaign
Winner: #MyTruth #MyCalvins – Calvin Klein
Chipotle + David Dobrik – Chipotle
David Dobrik x SeatGeek: Becoming a Member of the VlogSquad – SeatGeek
Look, there’s no reason not to use Honey – Honey
Ryan’s World x Colgate – Colgate • Ryan ToysReview

Social Good Campaign
Winner: Teens React to Texting and Driving (Distracted Driving) – AT&T It Can Wait • FBE
Because of You – Ad Council • Brat
Finding Home in America – Zillow • ATTN:
Generation Good – Cheerios • Ellen Digital Network
Let’s Talk About Turbans (Gasp!) – We Are Sikhs • Funny Or Die

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2018 Streamy Awards: Complete Winners List

Village People to Reunite for Live Performance at the Streamy Awards

How Do the Streamy Awards Work? A Short Explainer | 10/16/19

European Union Member States published a report on the 'EU coordinated risk assessment on cybersecurity in Fifth Generation (5G) networks'. The report is based on the results of the national cybersecurity risk assessments by all EU Member States. It identifies the main threats and threats actors, the most sensitive assets, the main vulnerabilities, and several strategic risks. From the release:

"5G networks is the future backbone of our increasingly digitised economies and societies. Billions of connected objects and systems are concerned, including in critical sectors such as energy, transport, banking, and health, as well as industrial control systems carrying sensitive information and supporting safety systems. Ensuring the security and resilience of 5G networks is, therefore, essential."

The report identifies out various effects that the 5G network roll-out is expected to have including these:

"Due to new characteristics of the 5G network architecture and new functionalities, certain pieces of network equipment or functions are becoming more sensitive, such as base stations or key technical management functions of the networks."

"An increased exposure to risks related to the reliance of mobile network operators on suppliers. This will also lead to a higher number of attacks paths that might be exploited by threat actors and increase the potential severity of the impact of such attacks. Among the various potential actors, non-EU States or State-backed are considered as the most serious ones and the most likely to target 5G networks." | 10/15/19

Opera legend Jessye Norman died Monday at age 74.

The soprano died from septic shock and multi-organ failure secondary to complications of a spinal cord injury she had sustained in 2015, according to family statement issued to the Associated Press.

“We are so proud of Jessye’s musical achievements and the inspiration that she provided to audiences around the world that will continue to be a source of joy. We are equally proud of her humanitarian endeavors addressing matters such as hunger, homelessness, youth development, and arts and culture education,” the family statement read.

Norman was born in Georgia to a musical family. As a child, she sang in the church gospel choir and listened to the Metropolitan Opera via radio. At 16, she entered a singing competition named after her idol — Marian Anderson. Norman did not win, but was offered a full scholarship to Howard University.

After graduating with a Masters from the University of Michigan in 1968, Norman spent a decade in Europe building up her operatic repertoire, performing with German and Italian companies. It wouldn’t be until 1982 when she made her U.S. debut performing with the Opera Company of Philadelphia. She would debut at the Metropolitan Opera — the company she listened to as a child on the radio — the following year. By the mid-’80s, she was one of the most in-demand sopranos in the world.

Norman sang at the second inaugurations of presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. In 1996, she sang at the Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Summer Olympics, which were held in her home state of Georgia. She also famously sang at the 9/11 memorial in March 2002.

Norman won four Grammy Awards over her long career and won the Life Achievement Award in 2006. She was also bestowed many honors, including the Légion d’honneur, the Kennedy Center Honors, and National Media of the Arts. She received the 12th Glenn Gould Prize for her contribution to opera and the arts in 2018.

She was also a philanthropist, contributing to many causes dear to heart, including music and homeless programs, and AIDS research.

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Placido Domingo Withdraws From NYC Metropolitan Opera Shows After Sexual Harassment Accusations

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Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Opera Yank Placido Domingo Concerts After Abuse Accusations | 9/30/19
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The summer of 2018 produced three documentaries that earned over $10 million at the domestic box office. While this summer didn’t get quite as close, this fall has documentary releases about rock stars, athletes and even one posthumous release from an auteur. New films by Bruce Springsteen, Agnès Varda and Asif Kapadia could help make for a busy season for non-fiction cinema, with many more potentially on the way from the fall festival circuit. Here are 10 with impending releases you need to check out.

“Untouchable” – Sept. 2 (Hulu)

Too soon? The Hulu documentary “Untouchable” opens some still fresh wounds about the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement. Ursula Macfarlane’s documentary first made its premiere at Sundance, and it features some harrowing interviews with accusers such as Rosanna Arquette, Hope D’Amore, Paz de la Huerta, Erika Rosenbaum and others.

“Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” – Sept. 6 (Greenwich Entertainment)

Oscar winners Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman direct this documentary about the career of Linda Ronstadt, gathering together archival footage that spans 50 years. It charts the early days of her career in the 1960s through becoming the highest paid female rock and roll performer in the ’70s, all culminating in her retirement in 2011 due to her battle with Parkinson’s disease. Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown and JD Souther are just some of the friends and collaborators interviewed for the film.

“Blink of an Eye” – Sept. 6 (1091)

History isn’t often focused on the losers, but “Blink of an Eye” looks at the career of Michael Waltrip, a NASCAR racecar driver who held a record losing streak across 462 races. Despite his struggles, he was invited to be a part of Dale Earnhardt’s Sr.’s racing team and soon earned his first checkered flag. The only problem was that race was the 2001 Daytona 500, the race in which Earnhardt Sr. was killed in a tragic crash on the race’s final lap. “Blink of an Eye” examines Waltrip’s relationship with the Earnhardt family, and the documentary from director Paul Taublieb will also be adapted into a narrative feature film.

“Liam: As It Was” – Sept. 13 (Screen Media)

With Oasis, Liam Gallagher was the frontman of one of the biggest rock bands in the world. But the film “Liam: As It Was” looks at how Gallagher had to reset his career and find his voice after splitting from the band as part of his fractured relationship with his brother Noel. In fact, Noel specifically refused to allow Liam to use any Oasis songs as part of the documentary. The film coincides with the release of Gallagher’s second solo album, “Why Me? Why Not.,” and directors Gavin Fitzgerald and Charlie Lightening even capture the frank and frequently foul-mouthed Gallagher behind the scenes and at home with his mother grousing about Noel.

“Diego Maradona” – Sept. 20 (HBO)

Asif Kapadia’s gift as a filmmaker is weaving a narrative entirely through archival footage. Just as with “Senna” and “Amy,” Kapadia combs through over 500 hours of the legendary Argentinian soccer star’s personal archive. The film starts with his arrival in Europe in July 1984 and how in the subsequent years he was treated as though he were a God, both on and off the field. But it also examines how that extreme level of fame led to darker days and strained relationships.

“Where’s My Roy Cohn?” – Sept. 20 (Sony Classics)

Filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer told TheWrap at Sundance that he chose to make his film about the political maneuver Roy Cohn the day Donald Trump was elected. His ruthless influence was felt far and wide, not just on politics but on the culture at large, serving as a mentor for Roger Stone, Ronald Reagan and Trump alike. The film takes a blunt approach in describing just how deeply this one man has shaped American democracy and society.

“Midnight Traveler” – Sept. 18 (Oscilloscope)

Afghan filmmaker Hassan Fazili got intimate access to the story of a family fleeing their home after being targeted by the Taliban. That’s because it was his own family who was on the run. Fazili shot his film “Midnight Traveler” across several years on three separate iPhones, capturing the daring moments as they crossed borders and the more intimate home movie moments of his family as refugees. The doc won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for No Borders at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

“Western Stars” – October (Warner Bros.)

Bruce Springsteen knew he wasn’t going to tour on behalf of his latest album “Western Stars,” so he and collaborator Thom Zimny co-directed a documentary by the same name that features live performances of all 13 of the album’s tracks. Springsteen parked under a 100-year-old barn to perform the more acoustic, melancholy sounds of “Western Stars,” and the film is laced with The Boss’s narration and archival footage as he reflects on his past.

“The Cave” – Mid-Oct. (Nat Geo)

Not to be confused with the narrative feature about the Thai soccer team rescue mission, “The Cave” is the latest film from “Last Man in Aleppo” director Feras Fayyad as he gets inside a secret, hidden, underground hospital in Syria. The hospital is led by a team of female medical professionals and civilians and provides under the radar care for the besieged refugees and locals in the region. Fayyad specifically profiles the work of Dr. Amani, a 30-year-old pediatrician who works tirelessly to restore health and hope to Syrian youth.

“The Kingmaker” – Late Oct. (Greenwich Entertainment/Showtime)

Lauren Greenfield has made a name for herself directing documentary profiles on those who live opulently and lavishly, specifically with her films “The Queen of Versailles” and “Generation Wealth.” But her latest combines that lavish lifestyle with politics, obtaining unprecedented access to the former first lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos. “The Kingmaker” explores the disturbing legacy of the Marcos regime and chronicles Imelda’s present-day push to help her son, Bongbong, win the vice-presidency. Greenfield’s film takes on the form of a “dark fairy tale” as Marcos tries to rewrite her family’s corrupt history and prove she’s a matriarch who deeply loves her country.

“Scandalous” – Nov. 15 (Magnolia/CNN Films)

Mark Landsman’s “Scandalous” looks at the life of Generoso Pope Jr., the media magnate who turned the National Enquirer from a simple racing and sporting magazine to a household name for gossip and one that frequently finds itself at the center of political scandal. The film’s history dates back to the 1950s but includes interviews with former staffers and other media experts who examine how the paper has thrived on its diet of scandal, gossip, medical oddities, conspiracy theories, and paparazzi photos.

“Varda by Agnes” – Nov. 22 (Janus Films)

In what is the final film of the late, French auteur Agnès Varda, “Varda by Agnès” is a playful and profound retrospective on Varda’s career as examined by Varda herself. She reflects in a autobiography of sorts on filmmaking, feminism, aging and even the smaller things like cats, colors, beaches and heart-shaped potatoes. The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, shortly before her death in March. | 8/28/19