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Jared Leto is probably wishing he was still in the desert right about now.

The actor and 30 Seconds to Mars frontman recently emerged from a 12-day desert-based silent meditation, where he was completely cut off from the outside world and thus from any news of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Wow. 12 days ago I began a silent meditation in the desert,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “We were totally isolated. No phone, no communication etc. We had no idea what was happening outside the facility.”

Also Read: Colbert Interrupts Coronavirus Hiatus to Deliver 'Late Show' Monologue From His Bubble Bath (Video)

“Walked out yesterday into a very different world. One that’s been changed forever,” he continued. “Mind blowing — to say the least. I’m getting messages from friends and family all around the globe and catching up on what’s going on. Hope you and yours are ok. Sending positive energy to all. Stay inside. Stay safe.”

Now, Leto must plunge into isolation and practice social-distancing. Except now, instead of voluntarily going on a spirit-cleansing desert escape, he’ll be stuck inside like the rest of us.

Leto’s experience is not dissimilar from the cast of “Big Brother” Germany. All 14 participants have been cut off from outside communication — as is customary on reality shows — and will be informed of the coronavirus pandemic for the first time tonight on live television, according to several news organizations including The Guardian and German publication Radio Times.

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A post shared by JARED LETO (@jaredleto) on Mar 16, 2020 at 10:26pm PDT

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The German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB), one of Germany’s most prestigious film schools, has sacked its British director, Ben Gibson, following an incident during the Berlin Film Festival in which he exposed his backside to a female student during a heated argument. The academy’s board of trustees on Friday voted to dismiss Gibson, […] | 3/10/20

Woody Allen’s autobiography, “Apropos of Nothing,” has been acquired by Grand Central Publishing — a division of Hachette Book Group — and will be published on April 7.

“The book is a comprehensive account of his life, both personal and professional, and describes his work in films, theater, television, nightclubs, and print,” Grand Central Publishing announced on Monday. “Allen also writes of his relationships with family, friends, and the loves of his life.”

Allen’s book had previously struggled to find a publisher to acquire the rights. Last year, the New York Times reported that executives at four of the major publishing houses turned down the book in light of allegations that he had molested his daughter Dylan Farrow several years ago. (Allen has repeatedly denied the accusation.)

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

Amazon Studio’s four-movie deal with Allen was also axed after the streaming service halted the release of “A Rainy Day in New York” due to comments that Allen had made about the #MeToo movement, as well as the accusations against the director himself. Allen filed a $68 million suit against Amazon Studios over the termination of the deal last year but eventually dropped it in November.

Grand Central Publishing has the world rights for the autobiography. In addition to the U.S. release, “Apropos of Nothing” will be published this spring in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

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Banking on a long-running partnership with Entertainment One, NBCUniversal Intl. has picked up German, Austrian and Swiss licensing rights for the popular series “Deputy,” “Upright,” “Nurses,” and “Burden of Truth.” Brokered by eOne’s Christian Fritzsche, the deal will offer NBCUniversal Germany pay television rights to the four scripted dramas, all of which contain distinct procedural […] | 2/13/20

Joseph Vilsmaier, a German director and cinematographer behind the acclaimed 1993 World War II drama “Stalingrad,” died on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. He was 81.

His agent confirmed to the AP that Vilsmaier died “peacefully” at his home in Bavaria on Tuesday.

Vilsmaier’s film “Stalingrad” about a group of German soldiers fighting in the battle of Stalingrad in Soviet Russia won three Bavarian Film Awards in 1993, including one for Best Production and one for Vilsmaier’s cinematography.

Vilsmaier spent nine years working in a music conservatory as a runner and technician before moving up in the ranks and eventually landing a job as a camera operator for German television.

Also Read: Paula Kelly, 'Night Court' and 'Sweet Charity' Actress, Dies at 77

His first film, 1989’s “Autumn Milk,” starred his wife Dana Vávrová and was a box office success in the country. That film’s success was later matched by 1997’s “The Harmonists,” about the rise and fall of the Comedian Harmonists, Germany’s most famous a capella group in the 1930s. His 1995 film “Brother of Sleep” was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes.

Vilsmaier’s last film is set to be released later this year, “Der Boandlkramer und die ewige Liebe,” a comedy which he completed before his death.

He is survived by his three daughters, Janina, Theresa and Josephina.

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For the first time, San Diego Comic-Con finally has some serious competition as the undisputed heavyweight champion of pop culture live events. That challenger isn’t New York Comic-Con, WonderCon, Dragon Con or any of the other heavily hyped conventions in the U.S., instead, but from the other side of the world.

Brazil’s Comic-Con Experience has quickly emerged as the Southern Hemisphere’s answer to the big show in San Diego,  drawing a crowd of 280,000 to this month’s four-day event that was more than double its SoCal competitor’s. Last year, CCXP was the place Sony chose for the global debut of the first “Spider-Man: Far From Home” trailer and the first public showing of footage from “Men in Black: International.” Among this year’s offerings was the first trailer for Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman 1984” trailer and the debut footage from Disney-Marvel’s “Eternals.”

First launched in 2014, CCXP is backed by Omelete, the Brazilian entertainment consumer-facing website created in 2000 by Érico Borgo, Marcelo Forlani and Marcelo Hessel that covers popular culture such as movies, comic books, music, television and video games.

How did CCXP scale in just a few short years? “We are constantly searching for new things and we don’t like repeating ourselves,” CCXP co-founder Borgo told TheWrap. “Innovation is the key, as well as the desire for improvement. Our fans appreciate that and so the studios.”

Also Read: Watch the First 'Wonder Woman 1984' Trailer Here (Video)

This year’s CCXP not only featured flashy presentations from Marvel and Warner, but also Lucasfilm, Pixar, Walt Disney Studios, Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime. How did CCXP attract the major studios to come to Brazil? “We’ve been working with Disney and Warner since our first event,” said Borgo. “Before working as an event company we started as a website in 2000. Studios know and trust our work and our understanding of pop culture. When we decided to take a risk and invest in a festival all of them jumped on board.”

Here are the 5 reasons CCXP stood out from the crowd:

1. Fan-friendly Event – for Even More Fans

Sao Paulo Expo, where CCXP is held, is, simply put, huge, with attendance this year of 280,000, according to Borgo, more than double the 135,000 people the San Diego Convention Center can handle. The size of the venue also means that the central location can accommodate giant audiences but also all its panels and dozens of non-panel events and activations that at SDCC are held in San Diego’s nearby parks, hotels and Gaslamp District businesses because they can’t fit in the convention center.

Couple that larger capacity with what is easily one of the loudest and most enthusiastic crowds of fans we’ve ever experienced in person, and CCXP at least feels like it dwarfs its Southern California inspiration.

SDCC still has some advantages, however. Like the San Diego Convention Center’s storied Hall H, which can handle up to 7,000 people. Comic-Con Experience Brazil’s Main auditorium has half that capacity, roughly 3,500. That’s a lot more fans left out of the biggest presentations of the week. But overall, CCXP is a definitive more the merrier situation. “The Brazilian culture is one of the warmest in the world,” said Borgo. “The fans here show support in a very unique way – and we encourage it. That energy cannot be matched – just like the level of investment in booths, experiences and the overall structure of CCXP. Another thing that we have in our DNA is the desire to keep the Artist’s Alley as our core. It won’t be pushed to the sides like we see in so many conventions.”

Also Read: Patty Jenkins on How 'Wonder Woman 84' Uses the '80s as 'Great Metaphor'

2. Megastars Unite (Including Kevin Feige)

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige attended CCXP for the first time this year — and boy, did he deliver with exclusive, never-before-seen footage from the upcoming “Black Widow” and “The Eternals.” In fact, this is Feige’s first fan convention outside of San Diego since taking the helm of the studio. “It took us three years to get him,” Borgo said. “Year after year, we improved our game, analyzing what went right and wrong and getting studio feedback. Our amazing event in 2018 drew a lot of attention and he decided to attend, with a lot of support and hard work from the local Disney team.”

Right after the Marvel Studios presentation, Lucasfilm showcased an extended chase scene from the beginning of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” with director J.J. Abrams and cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac. Netflix surprised con attendees when Henry Cavill stepped on the main stage to promote his upcoming show “The Witcher.” Warner showcased both the opening scene and the new trailer for the upcoming superheroine film ensemble “Birds of Prey” along with stars Margot Robbie, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smolett Bell and Ella Jay Basco in attendance.

3. Working WiFi

Getting fast-working WiFi inside San Diego’s Hall H is a pipe dream. That is not the case at CCXP as the free fiber-optic internet provided by Brazilian internet provider Oi worked flawlessly both on the CCXP convention floor and the main auditorium.

4. Livestreaming for Outsiders

SDCC has a strict policy against livestreaming panels to give attendees some exclusivity. That is not the case at CCXP, which found a clever workaround that issue. Warner Bros. closed CCXP with the global launch of both the press campaign and new trailer for “Wonder Woman 1984” with director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot in attendance.

The “Wonder Woman” panel was globally livestreamed on Twitter.  “We set out to make a grand epic experience like they made in the 80s,” Jenkins told the excited CCXP crowd. “It’s a visual experience we’re so lucky we got to bring to you.” However, the CCXP crowd got a longer trailer in the auditorium than what was released to the public — thus maintaining exclusivity for con attendees and inclusion for those who couldn’t make it down to Brazil.

Also Read: 'Eternals': Marvel Debuts First Footage at Comic Con Experience Brazil

5. Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” Already on Tap for 2020’s CCXP 

The icing on the cake was a pretaped message from “Batman” director Matt Reeves saying hello to con attendees and promising them to bring footage from “The Batman” next year for CCXP 2020 — laying an early marker for next year’s scoop and signaling a scoop over San Diego Comic-Con of an eagerly awaited project. When have you ever heard of a huge superhero tentpole Comic-Con panel being announced elsewhere before San Diego Comic-Con a year out?

And the CCXP team is plotting other ways to build up the experience. “More international events, like the one we did last June in Cologne, Germany, and will repeat in 2020,” said Borgo. “And the continuity of CCXP’s quest for improvement.” Still, Borgo insisted that CCXP doesn’t see itself as a competitor to San Diego Comic-Con and would like to work with the SoCal organizers down the line. “We are fans of San Diego and have been for ages,” he said. “We have a lot of respect for what they do.”

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Filed under: Green,Plants/Manufacturing,Tesla,Electric,sedan

Tesla plans to build 500,000 electric vehicles a year at its new factory on the outskirts of Berlin, Germany's Bild newspaper reported on Wednesday. Last month, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk announced that a site in Gruenheide, Brandenburg, had been chosen to build Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that Tesla will invest up to 4 billion euros (£3.44 billion) in the plant.

Continue reading Tesla wants to produce 500,000 cars per year at German plant

Tesla wants to produce 500,000 cars per year at German plant originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments | 12/11/19

Filed under: Green,Porsche,Electric,sedan

Porsche has taken down payments from 30,000 customers in Europe for its Taycan, the luxury car maker's first fully electric model, CEO Oliver Blume told Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper. Porsche, which is starting shipment of the Taycan to U.S. dealerships this month and to other markets shortly thereafter, is planning to deliver 20,000 Taycans in 2020.

Continue reading Porsche Taycan demand exceeds expectations in Europe

Porsche Taycan demand exceeds expectations in Europe originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 Dec 2019 08:16:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments | 12/11/19
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This weekend, a European phenomenon is back — though Americans may have to hunt for clips on YouTube or seek out a VPN and watch via another country’s home broadcaster.

The Eurovision Song Contest, a cross between “The X Factor” and the Miss Universe pageant that offers Yanks a glimpse of what it’s like to be in a culture that doesn’t have jazz and blues as the foundation of its pop music.

For those who’ve never seen — or even heard of Eurovision — before, here’s a quick primer to get you caught up.

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

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

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

Then there are the artists themselves. As Eurovision has evolved, more and more ridiculous acts have come out of the woodwork. Finnish monster-rock bands, Russian grandmas and Latvian pirates are among the acts that have performed for a TV audience of hundreds of millions in recent Eurovisions. And that Finnish monster rock band actually won.

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

There’s also a small handful of top stars on the winners’ list you might recognize. ABBA used Eurovision as a launch pad to stardom in 1974 with their song “Waterloo,” and French-Canadian Celine Dion’s win in 1988 was her biggest claim to fame before “Titanic” came out. Quality — or at least creativity — does tend to win out at Eurovision.

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

Then the show transitions to a long procession of national “ambassadors” reading out who each country gave their votes to. The top 10 performers in each country’s vote get points, with 12 points going to the top vote-getter, followed by 10 and then eight down to one for the rest of the order. The same goes with the juries, but with 10 points going to the performer in first place.

And what does the performer with the most points win?
This trophy. Oh, and their country gets to host the competition next year.

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

Even now, a good chunk of the acts are homogenous power ballads that can blur together when performed in succession. Still, Eurovision is worth watching just for the spectacle of it all. The Disneyland-esque sweetness of the proceedings is charming, and the lack of stakes for the performers keeps it feeling light and fun rather than a battle for wealth, glory, and continental supremacy.

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It has also made headlines in recent years that have allowed it to take steps beyond the realm of annual oddities like the Running of the Bulls. The winner in 2014 was gay Austrian singer Thomas Neuwirth, who performed as drag queen superstar Conchita Wurst. The victory transformed Conchita into an LGBT icon in Europe, even as Russian conservatives raged in fury and used the singer as an example of why Russia shouldn’t be a part of the EU. For all of Eurovision’s platitudes about tolerance and peace, this was a moment where those ideals were actually acted upon, even if it meant breaking the general tone of inoffensiveness.

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

So…if all these countries that aren’t strictly European are competing, does this mean we may be seeing the USA compete in Eurovision soon?
Eh…don’t count on it.

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The 2019 Cannes Film Festival is underway, but a big question on some attendees’ minds might not be about a movie at all, but a TV series. That’s because many festival-goers are probably scrambling to figure out, “How in the name of Westeros can I watch the series finale of ‘Game of Thrones’ on Sunday?”

Since HBO NOW and HBO GO are not accessible for U.S. subscribers while in France, TheWrap has figured out how “Game of Thrones” fans can watch the final showdown in real time without having to learn who ends up on the Iron Throne through social media.

And don’t worry, it won’t take a prayer to the Old Gods and the New. But it will take either an HBO Europe subscription or having the right hotel room — or a friend in the right hotel room — because a Cannes attendee can view the series finale at the same time it airs in the U.S. via the French provider OCS (Orange Cinema Series).

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So what you’ll need to do is check around to see if your hotel — or your friends’ hotels — is an Orange subscriber. If it is, then you can tune in to watch the episode on OCS City at 3 a.m. local time on Monday. There will also be a primetime airing at 9 p.m. local time, later that day.

If you happen to be an Orange subscriber yourself, then you can also stream the episode on demand after it concludes its linear debut.

The complete final season of “Game of Thrones” will also be available to purchase via digital download in France on Tuesday at midnight (overnight Monday) on iTunes, Orange, Canal+, Microsoft, Sony and Google.

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If you are subscribed to UK Sky Go and Now TV (a subscription-based internet television and video-on-demand service that is a division of Sky Limited), you can watch the finale on your devices in any country in the EU.

In Germany’s official guide from Sky, for example, it says Episode 806 will be shown locally at 3 a.m. (GMT+2) on Sky Atlantic, which is the same time it airs on HBO in the U.S. (9 p.m. ET). That means you’ll be able to access the episode via Sky Go and Now TV at that time. Sky will then air the series finale again on Monday at 8:15 p.m. local time.

If you don’t have a subscription to either of those services, but do subscribe to HBO Go or HBO NOW there is a way to connect to those platforms using a VPN.

Also Read: 'Game of Thrones' Breaks Series Viewership Record With Penultimate Episode

A VPN is a virtual private network that builds a secure tunnel between your device and the internet that allows you to mask your location. This way, you can “trick” the platforms into thinking you are still in the U.S. (for HBO) or in the U.K. (for Sky). It’s extremely safe and most VPNs provide a high-quality streaming experience.

To learn how to purchase a VPN, click here. VPNs are legal (in most countries, including France), but we should note that some ways in which these VPNs could conceivably be used, such as torrenting, would constitute an illegal activity (which TheWrap would certainly never condone). And of course, you should not stream “Game of Thrones” unless you’re paying, via subscription, to stream “Game of Thrones.” After all, using a VPN to stream anything breaches the terms of use of the platforms. Right, lawyers?

HBO tells TheWrap it is unaware of any planned finale viewing parties at Cannes. A spokesperson for the festival said all official screenings can be found in the Cannes program.

Of course, if this is all too much work for you: Fly home early, delete your Twitter app, or pray no one you talk to at Cannes reveals spoilers and wait until you’re back in the United States to watch the HBO fantasy series’ epic ending.

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Woody Allen’s film “A Rainy Day in New York” has been picked up for distribution in multiple European, South American and Asian territories, according to the New York Times.

On Monday, TheWrap reported that Italian distributor Lucky Red acquired the film for release in Italy on Oct. 3. The Times notes that A Contracorriente Films will now also release “A Rainy Day in New York” the following day on Oct. 4 in Spain.

A spokesperson told the Times that Filmwelt/NFP will release the film in Germany and Austria, and Filmwelt/NFP’s managing director Christopher Ott said in an interview with a German newspaper that they would be among the distributors bringing the film to Europe, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and South America.

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

Italian news reports said on Monday said that “A Rainy Day in New York” was also likely to be shown in France, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Allen’s film was blocked for release in the U.S. after distributor Amazon Studios terminated its four-picture deal with the director after the resurfacing of old accusations that Allen inappropriately touched Dylan Farrow, his then-7-year-old daughter with ex-girlfriend Mia Farrow. (Investigators found no evidence of abuse and Allen has repeatedly denied the accusations.)

In February, Allen responded and filed a $68 million lawsuit against Amazon Studios, claiming breach of contract. In April, Amazon pushed back and said it was “justified” in terminating the contract.

Also Read: Hollywood's Highest Paid Executives: Who Made Bank, Who Sank in 2018 (Updating)

Allen had also announced plans to shoot another film with the backing of Barcelona-based financing conglomerate Mediapro, which previously helped fund “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” and “Midnight in Paris.”

“A Rainy Day in New York” stars Elle Fanning and Timothée Chalamet as two young people who arrive in New York and encounter rain and a series of unfortunate adventures. It also stars Rebecca Hall, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Suki Waterhouse, Liev Schreiber and Diego Luna. Many of the stars of the film, including Chalamet and Hall, agreed to donate their salaries from the film to Time’s Up and LGBT charities.

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HBO has acquired the U.S. television and streaming rights to the feature-length documentary “Diego Maradona,” the network announced on Wednesday.

The documentary, which will have its world premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, documents the trials and triumphs of the legendary soccer player. HBO plans to release the documentary, which was executive produced and directed by Asif Kapadia, on Sept. 24.

“Diego Maradona has long been considered the greatest footballer ever, and Asif Kapadia’s filmmaking perfectly captures every high and low of his transcendent career, from his controversial ‘Hand of God’ goal to his awakening of Napoli, and more,” Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports, said. “We look forward to sharing this landmark documentary with both soccer and non-soccer fans alike.”

Also Read: Vincent Cassel Joins 'Westworld' Season 3

“My producers and I are delighted to be working with HBO on the release of ‘Diego Maradona’ in North America,” Kapadia said. “HBO stands for quality, and as long-term fans, we know we’re in great hands. Having spent three intense years working with my brilliant team of collaborators on the most complex charismatic character, Diego Maradona, I’m excited to see how the North American audience reacts. I hope this is the beginning of a long journey together with HBO and Diego.”

The documentary features video archives and personal photos as well as interviews with historians and journalists.

Maradona is an Argentine retired football player who had the nickname “El Pibe de Oro,” (“The Golden Boy”), due to his extreme passion and talent in the sport. He was the first player in football history to set the world record transfer fee twice, and played professionally at Napoli and Barcelona. Maradona played in four FIFA World Cups, including the 1986 World Cup when Argentina won over West Germany in the final. In that World Cup, Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal became one of the iconic moments in soccer history

Also Read: HBO to Air Documentary on Criminal Justice Warrior Bryan Stevenson

“Diego Maradona” is an HBO Sports presentation in association with On The Corner and Lorton Entertainment. James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin produce, which executive producers are Kapadia, George Pank, Will Clarke, Julian Bird and Bil Bungay. For HBO, executive producers are Nelson and Bill Simmons. Cinetic Media negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

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