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MADtv Returns on The CW: How Does the Revival Compare to the Original?

26 July 2016 7:00 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

Tuesday was a big TV night for Hillary Clinton. Across all major news networks, she accepted the Democratic nomination for President of the United States of America. And over on The CW, she berated her husband for “boinking interns.”

The latter, of course, was an impersonation — one Nicole Sullivan herself describes as “mediocre at best” — as part of MADtv‘s long-awaited return to television.

RelatedMADtv‘s Nicole Sullivan Reveals the ‘Meanest’ Sketch She’s Ever Done

But was it worth the wait? As a fan of the original MADtv, which ran on Fox from 1995 to 2009, I say yes. Despite a few total misses, »

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Courtney Robertson Is Back on The Bachelor, Thanks to MADtv

26 July 2016 9:00 AM, PDT | E! Online | See recent E! Online news »

The Bachelor is getting mad—well, MADtv, that is.  The CW's highly anticipated revival of the beloved sketch series premieres tonight at 9 p.m., and it is coming back with a hilarious riff on The Bachelor, which E! News can exclusively share with you. In the exclusive video above, original cast member Will Sasso reprises the beloved role of Kenny Rogers, who lands himself the plum role of the Bachelor...and even has real-life former contestants competing for his alcohol-stained love.  Some of the ladies making surprise cameos in the sketch? Haley and Emily Ferguson, who famously named their profession as "Twins" during Ben Higgins' season, and Courtney Robertson, one of »

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Hmwybs: "Islands in the Stream"

25 July 2016 6:52 PM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

Best Shot 1977 Party. Chapter 1

Islands in the Stream (1977)

Directed by: Franklin J Schaffner

Cinematography by: Fred J Koenekamp

No, dear readers, quit humming.

Though this post is retro it is not about Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers' classic Grammy-winning 80s duet. Islands in the Stream is also the name of a 1977 movie very loosely adapted from a collection of possibly unfinished Ernest Hemingway stories which were released after his death under this title. I regret to inform that I had not even heard of it, the film or the book. The three sections of Hemingway's posthumous book include his previously published "The Old Man and the Sea," something I had heard of. (I'm not an animal.) 

The poster to your left begins with the tagline:

How long has it been since you've seen a really good movie?

Which was maybe not the best marketing tactic in March of 1977 considering what »


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Stan Lee, Benaroya Pictures launch 'Nitron'

19 July 2016 7:39 AM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

On the eve of Comic-Con the parties announced the comic book and said they plan to expand it into a global transmedia franchise.

Benaroya Pictures as anchor investor has secured an initial $50m fund for Michael Benaroya and content creator and historian Keya Morgan to adapt the six-part comic book across multiple platforms.

The first edition of the series will arrive in stores and on digital devices in January 2017, followed by subsequent instalments on a monthly basis. Benaroya Publishing, a Benaroya Pictures subsidiary founded in 2009, will publish the comic book.

Details of Nitron remain under the proverbial wraps, however the parties revealed the contemporary storyline revolves around an advanced species that lives covertly among humans on Earth.

Benaroya, Lee and Morgan have written and will serve as producers on all Nitron content, be it for film, TV or digital platforms.

Benaroya said he saw value in comics besides being an end in themselves as “a great way to »

- (Jeremy Kay)

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Preacher Recap: To Hell and Back

17 July 2016 7:00 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

Ignoring the sound advice that Kenny Rogers offered us all in “The Gambler,” Preacher’s Jesse in this week’s episode acted like he didn’t know when to fold ’em. As a result, we were left anticipating an appearance by the ultimate Special Guest Star. Or disaster. Or, most likely, both. What in “the god of meat’s” name am I going on about? Read on and find out!

RelatedComic-Con 2016: Your Guide to the TV-Related Panels and Screenings

Soulless Survivor | Beginning with a flashback, “El Valero” revealed that Odin hadn’t always been quite so awful: He had »

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Israel’s animation industry hops to new support initiative

12 July 2016 11:00 PM, PDT | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Jerusalem Film and Television Fund’s animation event The Hop, Skip & A Jump is aiming to grow the city’s fledgling animation scene.

The first edition of a new event aimed at Jerusalem’s nascent animation industry – called The Hop, Skip & A Jump – kicks off on the fringes of Jerusalem Film Festival on July 13. The three-day meeting, comprising mentoring sessions, master-classes and the pitching of 14 new Israeli animation projects, has been put together by Jerusalem Film and Television Fund director Yoram Honig, who says it is the third stage in his fund’s campaign to build an animation industry in Jerusalem.

The first stage was direct investment in Israeli animation features Including Albert Hanan Kaminksi’s Being Solomon [pictured] and Gidi Dar’s Legend Of Destruction which are currently in production (Being Solomon was also part of this year’s Pitch Point event). The second stage was the introduction of a 30% rebate for every dollar spent in Jerusalem »

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Marco Mueller’s Macao Festival Adds Competition, Sidebars

11 July 2016 6:00 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The new International Film Festival and Awards Macao, headed by Marco Mueller, will feature a main competition section as well as four non-competitive strands. The first edition of the Iffam will take place in Macau Dec 8-13, 2016.

The festival will have “a strong but not exclusive focus on genre titles,” organizers confirmed Monday.

The competition will feature 10-12 new international films to be judged by a jury of five film professionals. The out-of-competition gala section will showcase six of the most important works of the second half of the year. The ‘Hidden Dragons’ section will present six films that represent the latest trends in contemporary Asian genre cinema, while a ‘Best of Fest Panorama’ will contain 5 or 6 award winning films from other major festivals. Submissions are open until Sept. 30.

A previously announced section of 12 non-East Asian, non-u.S. genre films selected by a dozen major East Asian film directors, is now named ‘Crossfire. »

- Patrick Frater

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Wonder Woman joins the cast of 'Supergirl' as...

21 June 2016 2:30 PM, PDT | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

The CW is really bringing out the big guns for Supergirl. Set for its big move to the network from CBS this fall, the series will officially introduce Kara Danvers' (Melissa Benoist's) famous cousin Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) to the series right out of the gate in the first two episodes of the season. But that's not all!  Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter, will join the cast as the President of the United States. Not since Battlestar Galactica's Laura Roslin have we been this excited for a commander in chief. Carter is locked for multiple episodes and will first appear in episode three. So one smooth move from Superman to Wonder Woman.   Carter was crowned Miss World America in 1972 and most famously played Wonder Woman from 1975-1979 in the now iconic television series. Supergirl has been known to bring in actors who've played superheroes previously as a tip of the hat to fans, »

- Roth Cornet

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Kenny Rogers -- Crib Where I Roasted Jordan Now Up for Grabs!! (Photos)

25 May 2016 4:08 PM, PDT | TMZ | See recent TMZ news »

If the walls of Kenny Rogers' old estate could talk, they'd be screaming about the time the Gambler sunk a jump shot on Michael Jordan -- and they'd also say the place is up for auction. The estate, known as Beaver Dam Farms, features a 12,000 sq. foot mansion on 973 acres outside Athens, Ga. It's got 5 separate guest houses, 2 pools, 2 tennis courts and an 18-hole golf course! Unclear if there is an actual island in »

- TMZ Staff

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Universal’s Jeff Shell to Receive Tom Sherak Award From Fulfillment Fund

18 May 2016 7:22 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Chairman Jeff Shell has been selected as the recipient of the Tom Sherak Award from the Fulfillment Fund.

The organization will present the award to Shell — whose studio set domestic and worldwide box office records last year — on Nov. 2 at the Stars 2016 Benefit Gala at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Globe Theater.

The Fulfillment Fund raises money to help local Los Angeles students overcome obstacles to achieve a college education.

“As a Los Angeles native and product of public education, Jeff is deeply invested in the city where he grew up,” Fulfillment Fund CEO Kenny Rogers said. “He has been working to improve educational opportunities for Los Angeles students for decades, and we are grateful for his and Universal’s long-standing friendship and philanthropic leadership.”

Recent Fulfillment Fund honorees include Mark Gordon, Relativity Media chief Ryan Kavanaugh, Illumination head Chris Meledandri, Fox Filmed Entertainment CEO Jim Gianopulos, »

- Dave McNary

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Universal’s Jeff Shell to Receive Fulfillment Fund Tom Sherak Award

18 May 2016 6:00 AM, PDT | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

Universal Filmed Entertainment Chairman Jeff Shell will be honored at an upcoming event supporting The Fulfillment Fund, the nonprofit said Wednesday. The executive, whose studio enjoyed the highest grosses in box office history last year thanks to “Jurassic World” among others films, will receive the organization’s Tom Sherak Award at its annual Stars Benefit. Fulfillment Fund raises money to help local Los Angeles students overcome obstacles to achieve a college education. Also Read: Universal's Jeff Shell Promises 'Firehose of Promotion' for DreamWorks Animation Films “As a Los Angeles native and product of public education, Jeff is deeply invested in »

- Matt Donnelly

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HotDocs comes to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne

8 May 2016 5:03 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

HotDocs, the world.s leading documentary film festival, is coming to Australia for the first time in June 2016..

The first edition of HotDocs down under will bring 24 films from 15 countries to Palace cinemas in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

Curated by artistic director Richard Moore, highlights include Jim: The James Foley Story, about the journalist who was executed by Isis in 2014, which won the audience award at Sundance this year; The Road, which looks at corruption in China; Mr Gaga, the audience award winner at Berlinale 2016 about the Batsheva Dance Company; and What Tomorrow Brings, which looks at a woman.s fight to educate young girls in Afghanistan..

HotDocs has a special country focus on Australia this year, and two Australian documentaries - Charlie Hill Smith.s Motorkite Dreaming and Helen Kapalos.s A Life Of its Own - will have their world premiere.

.The first time I went to Hot »

- Staff Writer

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This Is What Happens When Toby Keith Goes Out for Mexican and Spots a Karaoke Machine

3 May 2016 12:30 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

How do you celebrate providing the emotional high point of the American Country Countdown Awards with your tribute to legend Merle Haggard? Well, if you're Toby Keith, you go out for Mexican and sing a little karaoke. After Keith, 54, performed a montage of Haggard's biggest hits along with Haggard's backing band the Strangers and Haggard's youngest son Ben at the ACCAs on Sunday night, he and and the 23-year-old Haggard headed out for some dinner - and proceeded to make the night of their fellow restaurant patrons. Went for Mexican food with Toby and he took over the karaoke..... Seriously a night to remember. »

- Danielle Anderson, @dak5000

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Cannes Critics Week Joins Forces With Leica To Spotlight Short Films

15 April 2016 2:42 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Paris — Critics’ Week has enlisted a new backer, Leica, the centenary German camera manufacturer, to support emerging talent whose shorts are competing at the Cannes sidebar.

As part of the sponsorship, Leica will give a prize for the best short film. The award will comprise a 4000 Euros grant to help a director make his or her first feature-length film.

“For Leica it made sense to ally with Critics’ Week because it’s a decently-sized section that is highly committed to finding and nurturing great new talent,” said Tommaso Vergallo, rep of film products at Leica.

Leica will also give each director a camera so that they’ll have the opportunity to shoot a portrait of the festival, added Vergallo.

Critics Week, meanwhile, will invite high-profile cinematographers to participate in daily luncheons at its privatized beach.

The alliance with Leica underscores Critics’ Week’s recent efforts to turn the spotlight on short films, »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Exclusive Interview: A History of Don Post Studios

5 April 2016 5:11 PM, PDT | FamousMonsters of Filmland | See recent Famous Monsters of Filmland news »

Founded in 1938, Don Post Studios created iconic masks for both Hollywood and the everyman and even invented the classic rubber masks that we all knew and loved as kids on Halloween. This is the company that produced the William Shatner/Captain Kirk mask that became Michael Myers’ impassive visage in the Halloween series. The studio was critical in the shaping of Monster Kids back in the ’60s and ’70s. Don Post himself was buddies with our own Uncle Forry — a match made in horror heaven. The studio has such a dedicated fan base that there was even a convention — Don-Con, of course — last year in Burbank.

When Dps closed in September 2012, Lee Lambert, a longtime fan, expected there to be some kind of tribute book. When it never materialized, he decided to take on the Herculean task himself. The Illustrated History Of Don Post Studios sold out immediately, surprising all involved, »

- Harker Jones

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Nashville: New EPs Are Exactly What the So-Called Country Drama Needs

24 March 2016 3:19 PM, PDT | | See recent news »

It’s like the Kenny Rogers song says: You’ve gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em. So when the Powers That Yeehaw at ABC’s Nashville took stock of the country-music series’ slowly but steadily ebbing ratings over the past three seasons, they made a change: bringing in Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz as co-showrunners, who will take over for a departing Dee Johnson if the show is renewed.

Herskovitz and Zwick are an offbeat — though, in my opinion, inspired — choice for the Connie Britton-led series, which has struggled to nail down its identity »

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Kering, Cannes Film Festival Launch Second ‘Women In Motion’ Program

18 March 2016 8:37 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Paris– François-Henri Pinault’s Kering, one of the world’s most powerful luxury companies, is partnering up again with Cannes Film Festival to roll out the second edition of their Women in Motion program.

Women in Motion has been developed jointly by Kering and Cannes to highlight women’s achievements in film and encourage more diversity within the industry. The program will keep the same format, featuring a series of recorded talks with high-profile talent and execs.

As part of the Women in Motion initiative, two awards will be handed out during a gala dinner hosted during the festival on May 15, with Cannes’ artistic director Thierry Fremaux and president Pierre Lescure in attendance, along with jury members and other high-profile guests.

Last year’s Women in Motion honorees were Jane Fonda and Megan Ellison. The idea behind the awards is to celebrate a talent or industry player who has either »

- Elsa Keslassy

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Berlin and its Political Stands: African Cinema Today

16 March 2016 11:45 AM, PDT | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

This 66th edition of the Berlinale did not focus so much on films as it did on issues, especially the issue of mass migration including Germany’s one million immigrants being welcomed by Angela Merkel. The sentiment of the Berlinale was expressed by Festival Director Dieter Kosslick in his introductory comment, “We are 90 million Germans. What are one million Syrians? We spent billions and billions to educate our kids, to teach them what happened in the Holocaust.” Nevertheless, the controversy throughout Germany and Europe continues to grow, as it does in the U.S. about what to do about the massive wave of migration, as if there were any other place the people, dispossessed and disposed of by their governments and the governments of the west to go.

Dealing with the plight of African and Syrian refugees, “Fire at Sea”/ “Fuocoammare” by Giovanni Rosi won the Golden Bear led by the jury president Meryl Streep. All North American rights have subsequently been acquired from its international sales agent, Doc & Film by Kino Lorber who plans an autumn release. “Gianfranco Rosi captured the hearts and minds of the Berlinale this year with what will become one of the essential films of our times,” said CEO Richard Lorber. The Italian distributor 01 Distribution profited from its Saturday night Golden Bear win as the Italian box office’s Sunday profits spiked +166%. Tuesday’s take was 40% up on Monday’s box office. By Wednesday the film had taken $169.5k (€154k) and the following weekend 01 almost doubled screens to 76. Imovision took Brazil, Caramel took Spain, Curzon took U.K. Rosi previously won the 2013 Venice Golden Lion for his documentary “Sacro Gra”.

“Fire at Sea” captures today’s Zeitgeist. Though it may not be a film of the highest merit when judged over time, it is the film with the highest contemporary-social-issue-political focus.

Its story is told from a superior point of view; what misery we see of the immigrants’ plight makes us sad and depressed – though not as much as the actual footage we see daily on the news. The only uplift we receive is to witness the acts of the good physician Pietro Bartolo. He not only cares for the island’s 4,000 inhabitants as they go about their daily business of fishing, keeping house, and going to school without much interaction with the invasion of refugees, but he also cares for the 400,000 immigrants from Africa and the Middle East, treating them or identifying them as already dead. As he said at his press conference, “This has become a dramatic problem, an epochal problem. I don’t think that a barbed-wire fence can stop these people. I don’t think there’s a person on earth who wants to leave his country if he isn’t forced to.”

A noble effort, the film in many ways misses the boat. Not to say that any other film was better (I did not see them all), but to make a point about the Berlinale itself as a festival, I note here the majority of other films in the Competition all had socially relevant foci and that is the point of the Berlinale. It is to its credit that it takes a stand and to its detriment that perhaps the films chosen do not attain cinematic stature internationally. The recent years’ Golden Bear winners were (in my opinion) certainly worthy with a couple of exceptions. “Caesar Must Die” a doc about Italian prisoners engaging in the production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” and “Black Coal, Thin Ice” a Chinese hard-boiled detective saga were both quickly forgotten.

Memorable winners worth noting were in 2011 with Iran’s “ Jodaeiye Nader az Simin/ “A Separation”, Romania’s 2013 “ Poziţia Copilului”/ “Child‘s Pose” and again from Iran in 2015, Jafar Panahi’s “ Taxi”.

Looking at the other films in Competition this year, Mohamed Ben Attia’s “Hedi”(Isa: The Match Factory, sold to date to Austria’s Polyfilm, Germany’s Pandora, Norway’s Mer Film, Switzerland ’s Cineworx, Taiwan’s Maison Motion) deals with a quiet man’s personal struggle for freedom from the constraints of his Tunisian society; Ivo M. Ferreira’s “Letters from War” (Isa: The Match Factory) deals with the final years of the Angolan War of Independence against Portugal in 1961-74; Danis Tanovic deals with the more recent Bosnian War as a Frenchman sits in his hotel room while a World War I Commemoration takes place in Sarajevo in “Death in Sarajevo” (Isa: The Match Factory); protests against the Nazi regime are the subject of “Alone in Berlin” (Isa: Cornerstone, the new sales company of Alison Thompson and Mark Gooder, sold to Altitude for U.K., Pathe for France. X Film, the producer keeps German rights) by Vincent Perez; in Rafi Pitts’ “Soy Nero”( Isa: The Match Factory, sold to date to Neue Visionen for Germany, Sophie Dulac Distribution for France, Ama Films for Greece, Bomba Films for Poland, Filmarti for Turkey,MegaCom for Serbia and Montenegro, Moving Turtle for Lebanon, trigon-film for Switzerland) about a 19-year-old Mexican boy dreaming of immigrating north to the U.S. who takes the route of joining the U.S. Army to fight in the Middle East in order to get his “green card”. The Philippine Revolution against Spanish Colonization is treated in a 482 minute epic “ A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery” (Isa: Films Boutique) by Lav Diaz. In “United States of Love” (Isa: Films New Europe sold to Imovision for Brazil and Angel for Denmark), four women share the urge to change their lives in 1990, immediately after the fall of Communism. All of these films are dealing with issues of gaining freedom today. “Being 17”(Isa: Elle Driver sold Belgium to Lumière, Brazil to F ênix, France to Wild Bunch, Serbia to McF Megacom, Switzerland to Frenetic) by Andre Techine also deals with adolescents growing up gay in a working-class neighborhood in France, another current human rights issue.

These film choices remind us that the Berlinale itself was founded in 1950 during the Cold War as West Berlin’s way of confronting East Berlin’s imprisonment of its people by flaunting its own freedom, a truly Berlin way of life which still today animates its spirit of freedom. This casts a certain character upon the films chosen by the Berlinale selection committee to this day.

A political tone of the festival was also echoed by the pronouncement “We are all Africans really” spoken by Meryl Streep when she was questioned about why the Berlin Film Festival had appointed an all-white jury (not that she was responsible for choosing the jury).

Meryl Streep’s rather blithe comment, to quote Lindiwe Dovey in The Guardian , “plunged the actress into a debate about the lack of diversity in Hollywood. At best, Streep’s comment was an attempt to show solidarity. But what she unwittingly also underlined was the absence of Africans and African filmmaking in mainstream cinema. If we really are all Africans, and if we are going to take black filmmaking more seriously, why are we not watching African films?” Again, Streep is not responsible for the Berlinale’s selection either.

Only five African films are being shown at this year's festival and they are not all sub-Saharan African, that is to say “black”, but are also North African -- that is to say of the Mena region or Arab. These are two very different aspects of the giant continent called Africa. We are seeing many films from the Mena, that is Arab and North African regions this year.

In an attempt to find answers to this question of why we are not seeing more “black” films, we attended the Berlinale World Cinema Fund’s “Africa Day”. This one-off, and therefore insufficient, day was dedicated to discussing the memory, present and future of African films. Insufficient for finding answers and for creating any call for action, the day was, nonetheless, important and for that we all should thank the German Federal Cultural Foundation for providing the funds which guarantee the existence of the World Cinema Fund until at least 2018 and to the German Foreign Office, which substantially raised its level of support allowing the Wcf additional discretion in its actions.

The presentation by Nigerian film critic Didi Anni Cheeka was a fascinating exposé of what has happened to the “archives” of Nigerian cinema. The 60s to the 80s’ post-colonial cinema is not discussed today at all and Cheeka has searched for those filmmakers, called “The Seven Ups” who worked along with such filmmakers as Chris Marker and Alain Resnais. The Ministry of Information in Nigeria gave him permission to organize the films of the 60s which were lost during the Civil War in a collective amnesia. In the process, he discovered a room closed, locked and forgotten in the 1960s at the end of the independent movements throughout Africa, a room containing movie machines and more than 2,000 cans of films laying around like dusty dead bodies. This and other sad cases have revealed that in fact, there are no archives of African cinema at all.

But even the later Nollywood producers do not have copies of their films. Memories of what Africa looked like are lost along with the artistic efforts of its cineastes. Silence has been instilled by the governments of today as well.

Cinema as culture does not really exist in Africa. To create awareness takes education, leisure, city life and a cultural and cinema community nourishing one another. More than production funds, awareness needs the support of people with ideas.

Cheeka also stated, "We have the strange situation that new cineplexes are coming up every day, but they only show Hollywood movies. It's a common problem all over Africa: High quality movies from the continent hardly find an audience or even a place to be shown. Without a market in sight, few high-quality movies are shot. Only so-called ‘Nollywood movies’, mostly produced in Nigeria in just a few days or weeks, are thriving. Nigeria's movie industry earns around Us $250 million from Nollywood movies. This is the first time an economy has been established around the notion of film. In 1999 the first Nollywood delegaton came to Sithengi, the South African Film Market and they took over. Last year in Nigeria, many layers of Nollywood were apparent; the usual low budget exploitation or dramatic movie was giving space to other kinds of film. This opens the possibility of further discussion of film economy in all Africa, from Algeria to South Africa.

Pedro Pimento, Director of the Durban International Film Festival, gave the keynote address analyzing the lack of African film and the lack of distribution for what few African films there are. This was the high point of the day as he was heard loud and clear, at least by me, as he was articulate and to the point.

Pedro Pimenta is a filmmaker and producer from Mozambique. He produced the 1997 film "Fools", the first feature film shot by a black South African, Ramadan Suleman, and the same year "Africa Dreaming" a chronicle of Africa in six acts, with the common theme the love. Pimenta is also "foreign corresponding member" of the "Association of Real Cinema" the international meeting of documentary films held at the Pompidou Center in Paris created in 1978 which invites the public and professionals to discover film auteurs. The producer-director is also the founder and director of the documentary film festival "Dockanema" in Maputo, Mozambique. The first edition was held in September 2006 with support from the Mozambican Ebano Multimedia, in association with Amocine (Mozambican Association of Filmmakers).

According to Pimenta, "the documentary is an observation and testimony which brings the spectator something which otherwise would be merely read as news and quickly forgotten. Directed by great filmmakers, it can be a work of art; made by an amateur holding a small hand-held camera, it is a daily familiar record of an historic moment. The documentary brings us closer to the great achievements of the better side of humanity even as it brings us the violent scourge of today's world. It thus gives us the opportunity to replace prejudice by solidly based judgments and to take conscious positions."

Pedro Pimenta started his movie career with the National film Institute of Mozambique in 1977. Since then, he has produced and co-produced numerous short fiction, documentaries and feature movies in his country as well as in other African nations.

Between 1997 and 2003 Pedro was the chief Technical Adviser of the Unesco Zimbabwe Film and Video Training Project for Southern Africa in Harare. As part of his function, he conceived and managed various training programs. He is one of the founders of Avea (Audio Visual Entrepreneurs of Africa) which runs an annual training program for professional producers in Southern Africa. Until December 2005, Pedro was a member of the Prince Claus Fund Awards Committee of the Netherlands.

He presented practical and pragmatic steps for a concrete approach to invigorate African Cinema.

First of all, there is no case for Africa as a country. It is too diverse and too vast. Knowing the context(s) of film, there is a solution. However, there is a total lack of reliable data vis á vis Africa, just as there has been a lack of data for the case of women in film until the past couple of years. A structure as a way to access information must be built. Experience has been accumulated for what works and what does not work in changing contexts; there are constant paradigm shifts; there is “generational regeneration” in content every few years; but all facts are anecdotal and not data oriented.

And there is the traditional value chain of cinema going like this: 

The money follows from production costs to recoupment through distribution and it should be put back into film education along with production. The weakest point in the chain is exhibition.

Currently there is good energy, but there is no system. There are two recognized international film festivals and Mogadishu might be a third festival but it will take four to five years. There were attempts to create Pan African film distribution utopias, but they failed. Neither the British nor the French ever involved themselves in distribution systems and the models died.

From the mid 80s to 2000 the Imf World Bank’s involvement in Africa was built on a model of all nations feeding off of Mother Africa like a litter of trucks feeding off the oil tank that was Africa.

Today, the need to control distribution is apparent and it can generate money, but governments have made it clear that culture today is a “negative priority”. International corporations serve as African nations’ only means of survival.

While commercial distribution models have failed, the number of film festivals has increased. Out of the 54 countries in Africa, only two have no film festival. From 1980 to 2000 there were only two countries with festivals. Plus there is the current digital revolution which points to new directions one can go.

If any form of distribution reaches a critical mass like that of Nollywood, the governments can think critically about its policies. Keep an eye on the cinemas opening in Ethiopia which are based on local demands for local films. Ethiopia is currently producing 200 films per year. Uganda has informal screening spaces located all over the capital city. Pathé looks like it might have a shot in Francophone Africa. These examples all go to show there is a small cultural economy through cinema.

Morocco and Mauritius have local incentives to encourage local production.

But overall, exhibition is the weakest link in the value chain shown above.

In 2016 we see Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Iroko TV/ Buni. We see TV, African Films and TV, Vidi, On Tap TV etc.

However, I am of the belief that VOD is not the answer for Africa and African cinema. A minority of so-called middle class Africans, who do not identify or show interest for African films will have access. The majority of Africans (the market) are left on the sideline (once again) and are not really considered in any strategy.

But with 1.4 billion people, 60% of whom live in urban settings and with a majority of young people, young consumers – one out of three being “middle class”, there is a demand for entertainment. But we need to find the reality and economy of Our Cinema.

There is a demand for a mirror of oneself. The origin of an audience is Our Grandmother. What does she say about our ideas? She was the storyteller who passed our values on to this new generation. How can our creative cinema advance if we do not head this real mirror.

Here are the transversal issues:

1. Training vs. Education. There are many training initiatives in Africa, but what of film education? To train an audience, to train storytellers rather than to train support for outside production companies shooting in Africa is imperative.

2. Relevance of data. Data is limited to say the least.

3. Role of the producer in Africa’s content and support strategies.

4. Role of film festivals. By default they are the exhibitor of African content throughout Europe and they are part of a larger year-round circuit supporting African films for African audiences.

5. European support models only create two to three projects a year. This includes Hubert Bals Fund of Netherlands, Cinema du Monde of France, World Cinema Fund of Germany and Acp of the European Market.

We need new ways and a new system of support from Europe that is matched by support from Africa. Any system based on support however is not adequate.

“Screen space” is not necessarily a theater. It can be universities, museums; it might be similar to the recent attempts in Cuba of “salon cinemas” which were separate rooms in restaurants and hair salons.

Another model might be Argentina’s building of 45 digital cinemas throughout Latin America for Latin American content or the recent creation of Retina Latina, a free online service of Latin American films for Latin America.

The Market exists. There is a lot of money in Africa. The problem is that the money's offices are in London.

Pimento’s response when I sent him Meryl Streep’s comment as it was reported in The Guardian follows.

“Interesting but what bothers me really is the fact that we never really critically talk about quality (or not) of African films and also the belief that things will happen out of some divine intervention and not by triggering purposeful market dynamics .

I find also that using Ms. Streep’s comment as a way to reach some visibility does not necessarily reflect any intellectual honesty… it’s just a quick expedient for a sector of dogmatic- bordering-on-racism African filmmakers who claim the rest of the world needs to provide solutions to their problems/ frustrations/ obstacles .....

There are many less visible examples of positive African people and initiatives driven by the notion that our destiny is in our hands really and not in the hands of any international cooperation/ aid/ humanitarian system." »

- Sydney Levine

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Hong Kong Film Festival Celebrates 40th Anniversary

11 March 2016 10:18 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

“We are not making a fetish of the past,” says Roger Garcia, executive director of the Hong Kong Intl Film Festival Society, and one of the co-founders of the fest 40 years ago.

The festival runs March 21 – April 4.

Yet there is notable pride in Garcia’s voice when he is able to announce a retrospective of films by Jet Tone Films, the production company founded and operated by the iconic Wong Kar-wai, pictured,which is 25 this year. “It is good to celebrate such a Hong Kong filmmaker in our 40th year,” says Garcia.

The Jet Tone showcase includes Wong’s “Chungking Express,” “Ashes of Time Redux,” an hour-long version of the 35-minute short “The Hand” that original appeared in the 2004 “Eros” anthology, and the 3D version of “The Grandmaster,” unspooling in Hong Kong for the first time.

Aside from the Jet Tone tribute and a seminar on the future of Hong Kong cinema, »

- Patrick Frater

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George Martin, Beatles Producer, Passes Away at 90

9 March 2016 8:37 AM, PST | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

George Martin, the man best known as "The Fifth Beatle", who is responsible for some of The Beatles biggest hits, passed away at the age of 90 yesterday. The beloved music producer's death was first revealed by The Beatles' drummer Ringo Starr's Twitter account, and later confirmed by several other outlets including CNN, who announced the producer died "peacefully in his home" in England. Here's what the producer's manager, Adam Sharp, had to say in a statement.

"In a career that spanned seven decades he was recognized globally as one of music's most creative talents and a gentleman to the end. The family ask that their privacy be respected at this time."

George Martin was born to a working-class family in 1926, and in his 20s, he began his career in music by producing a number of classical music productions, taking over Emi's Parlophone music label at the age of 29. He »

- MovieWeb

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