AKA (2002) - News Poster

(2002)

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Iff Panama: Get to Know Seasoned Filmmaker and Educator Jorge Ameer

While in Panama for the film festival, one of the notable people I met was Jorge Ameer.

Jorge left his home in Panama at age 16 in the late 1980s due to political unrest and civil instability. The country’s dictator and drug king Noriega was recruiting young men to fight in his military army as the looming confrontation with the United States approached. In 1989, the United States invaded Panama under the name of “Just Cause” ousted the Panamanian dictator.

Living in Los Angeles, at the age of 18, he was selected to participate in the Walt Disney College Program. He worked in the marketing departments of New Line Cinema, Paramount and Columbia Pictures. In motion picture development, Jorge worked as a story analyst for Richard Gere's production company and Wendy Finerman's productions at Tri Star Pictures in the early nineties and the now defunct Fries Entertainment.

He also tried his hand at acting and was in Gramercy's "Panther" and "Tales from the Hood", HBO's "Social Friction Fables" New Line's "Friday" along with other cameos and supporting roles. He co-starred opposite award winning actor Matthew Leitch (Star of “Aka”) in the carnival romp "Sabor Tropical".

Ameer served as the coordinator for the 1988 Latino Entertainment Industry Conference and as a member of the advisory board of the Methodfest Film Festival. He was also the U.S. representative for the Barcelona G & L Film Festival and a film programmer for the Palm Springs G & L Film Festival.

In October 1997, he founded and executive directed The Continental Film Festival, better known as the first American Independent film festival held overseas on the island of Contadora, off the Gulf of Panama. There is where his film career actually began. He served as a festival coordinator during the very beginnings of the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival founded by Edward James Olmos and Marlene Dehmer.

At these festivals, Ameer helped in the selection of many foreign features. After noticing a lack of recognition of foreign and independent gay themed films released theatrically, he founded the International Gay Film Awards, the Glitter Awards (2001-2008), at that time the only award show of its kind.

In 1997, Ameer also started Hollywood Independents, a distribution company which launched with the theatrical release of "California Myth" starring Tyron Powers Jr.

Thereafter, the company has released such titles as the Jamaican/American co-production "Klash" starring Jazmine Guy, "Eastside" starring Mario Lopez, "Tequila Body Shots" starring Joey Lawrence, "Poor White Trash" starring Jamie Pressley, Jason London, William Devane and Sean Young, Spain's Academy Awards Winning film (Goya Winner) "I will Survive" (Sobrevivire), and "Hotel Room" from the director of "Nico & Dani". Other releases include his film "The Singing Forest", and "Junked" starring Thomas Jane (star of "The Mist", "Punisher" and the popular HBO series "Hung") and Jordan Ladd (star of "Cabin Fever", "Hostel 2").

Jorge Ameer's theatrical distribution company Hollywood Independents International opened its theatrical distribution operations in Central and South America in 2006 with the theatrical release of "Grande Ecole" a film by Robert Salis. The French film was censored and banned in Panama due to its explicit sexual content

Ameer took a trip to Panama to denounce the banning of this film. After outrage was expressed by the Panamanian press, the film opened successfully in Panama. It opened number one at the Alhambra-Plus Transistmica beating studio films "Night at the Museum" and "Deja Vu". It broke box office records locally, playing in theaters for eight weeks.

On January 26, 2009 the Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture study invited Mr. Ameer's to have his screenplays be a permanent part of "The Core Collection". The screenplays in this collection are made accessible for research purposes; students, filmmakers, writers and actors are among the patrons.

In April 2011, Mr. Ameer started his own film series in Panama called Jorge Ameer presents Cine Serie Independiente, a showcase to promote and exhibit high profile award winning independent and foreign films in Panama.

He brought in Aluzio Abranche's controversial incestuous drama of brotherly love "From Beginning to End" (“Do Comeco ao Fim”), Andre Shortell's "Psych 9" starring Sara Foster & Cary Elwes and Karee Andrew's "Altitude".

During the film presentations, directors presented their work to Panamanian audiences in person and live via skype. This is the first time in Panama's cinema history technology has allowed local cinephiles the opportunity to interact with award winning filmmakers virally before and after their film presentations.

Unfortunately, the presenting cinema and only theatre exhibitor to support independent films - the Alhambra Theatres- closed the following year, 2012, due to financial troubles. It was the last of a series of vintage stand-alone cinemas constructed during the boom of single screen theatres and drive-ins in Panama.

There are currently only two theatre chain exhibitors (Cinepolis & Cinemark) operating in Panama. Both chains have their multiplex cinemas located throughout today's popular mega malls.

Several months after his film series, Mr. Ameer produced the opening night after-party to the October 2011 edition of Screamfest, the world's premiere horror film festival based in Hollywood, California. The event was held at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel. The event brought luminaries of the genre such as Paranormal Activity's Oren Peli, "Saw" and "Insidious" director James Wan, as well as "Grease", "Summer Lovers", "Blue Lagoon" director Randal Kleiser and "Firestarters", "Class of 1984" director Mark Lester to name a few celebrity attendees. With a seance theme, over 400 votive candles were used to create the atmosphere. In addition over one hundred skulls, the Screamfest symbol, were featured as centerpieces and part of the morbid "look" throughout the event. A well-lit coffin surrounded by neon lights was featured in the gift room where guests retrieved their gift bags from the open casket.

Mr. Ameer has authored, produced, and directed the theatrical features "The Truth Within", "Strippers","The Singing Forest", "Contadora is for lovers", "The House of Adam", "The Dark Side of Love","Sabor Tropical", "D'Agostino". All projects released theatrically through Hollywood Independents.

Ameer has produced, written and directed countless 35mm comedic shorts films to name a few "My Straight Boyfriend", "Popcorn & Coke", "Uninhibited", "Midnight Snack", "Tease" now available on DVD as a compilation of shorts called “Straight Men & the Men Who Love Them”.

This collection has been so successful that he has executive produced, programmed and curated two more such programs “Straight Men & the Men Who Love Them 2” and the upcoming “Straight Men & the Men Who Love Them 3”. The latest compilation of shorts is a collection of international shorts curated from the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner.

Ameer made a documentary "Classic Hollywood Cinemas" an in depth look at the old Hollywood movie palaces, their historic and preservation value and impact.

He's also produced and arranged the publishing of the historical and award winning first ever "Guide to Gay & Lesbian Film which has won many book awards for its detail, educational and historical contribution to independent gay and lesbian films released in theaters.

In addition to filmmaking, within the exhibition industry, Jorge Ameer was the last person to re-open the historic Vogue theatre in Hollywood as a movie theatre to showcase independent films. Films such as "Nico and Dani" (Tla Releasing) and "Just one time" from the now defunct Cowboy Releasing played at this theatre. The resurgence of film exhibition at the Vogue was short lived due to alleged hauntings at the venue where a paranormal research group leased the theatre from Mann theaters to set up shop as headquarters for their research group.

Jorge Ameer's "The Dark Side of Love " was the last film to shoot at the Regent Showcase Theatre in Hollywood prior to its closing. "The Regent Showcase Theatre, originally the Gordon Theatre (1938), is one of the older art houses in Los Angeles until its closing in May 2009.

A human rights activist, Ameer has spent most of his career creating controversial, cutting edge trivial stories with thought provoking subject matters to challenge audiences from the stereotypical social conventions and outdated traditional values which detract from enhancing the global human experience.

He is currently working on his latest film project “Oasis” to be shot in Panama during the month of August. Oasis” is a twisted thriller set in the backdrop of Panama's paradise its about a newlywed American who decides to visit a friend while in Panama on business, to rekindle their friendship to prove his love to his wife by killing him.

Also, on the current issue of Scream Magazine issue # 35, the worlds largest horror film magazine, his “Medusa” has received with extensive coverage. The film is currently playing in theaters in the U.S. through Regal Cinemas after having its world premiere at the Cannes Film Market.

Medusa” had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival Marche along with a horror short he starred in called "Find Pauletta" in the Short Film Corner. This was the first time a Panamanian has had two films in two different programs of the Cannes Film Festival.

VFX for “Medusa” was by Jeremy Vanneman who has worked on many studio films including the upcoming “Ghostbusters”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “San Andreas”, etc. “Medusa” also has a celebrity cameo by 80's hearthrob William McNamara.

Jorge is the only Panamanian filmmaker who writes, direct, produces and own his own production and distribution company in Hollywood.

Jorge Ameer has also pioneered and procured the opening of the first high school film program at one of the oldest (110 years) and most prestigious private high schools in Panama, the Pan American Institute (Instituto Panamericano) in Panama City.

The film program curriculum was designed by Ameer and approved by the Ministry of Education.

It launched in 2015 with the first class schedule to graduate in 2017.

In his own words:

The high school film program was an idea that started because of the lack of opportunity and education in film that I myself had when growing up. I loved film so much; film was my babysitter during my childhood years. Whenever I wasn't in school I was at the movie theatre watching several films a day until my mom picked me up from the theatre. I attended the Pan American Institute (Instituto Panamericano) from kindergarten through graduation 1989.

Decades later as a filmmaker, distributor and film buyer, I approached the principal of the high school with the high risk idea of starting a film school program for an industry that even though in its infancy I knew it would grow leaps and bounds if those who pushed hard enough would stick with it to create some semblance of film opportunities and production here in Panama. Ten years later after designing a very thorough program that includes script writing, production, distribution, film marketing, campaign strategy, film fund and grant writing as well as crowdfunding to use donors as ambassadors to promote the film, the Ministry of Education approved the program.

Last year, the first students, approximately 27 brave souls, risking the uncertainty the entertainment field has to offer, weathered the scrutiny of their parents to become the pioneering and prototype Class of 2017. This Class, now in the 11th grade, is gearing up to produce its first set of shorts for the Ipa Student Film Festival. The first film festival of its kind, it showcases the works of these film students with the goal of creating filmmakers from an early stage who will graduate with films reels in their areas of interest which will show their talents to prospective universities, scholarship programs and other international student competitions.

I got the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Film Department called Di Cine in conjunction with the Panama Film Commission to fund the projections of these works which will take place as an outdoor cinema event on the school grounds. on Friday, August 5 at 7pm. Provided the students meet the minimum Gpa, they will be required to do internships placed and provided through the Film Commission in conjunction with other private film entities such as the Tvn Channel 2, one of Panama's major television networks as well as The Panama Canal Chanel among other companies offering opportunities for these students to practice their craft prior to graduating.

Currently, under construction, is an upcoming state of the art film lab studio facility providing students with the opportunity to develop their talents. Also a new auditorium will host film events and eventually the high school graduation ceremony.
See full article at Sydney's Buzz »

Da Vinci's Demons season 3 episode 5 review: Anima Venator

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In season 3, Da Vinci's Demons is getting harder and harder to follow...

This review contains spoilers.

3.5 Anima Venator

Da Vinci's Demons has been kind of problematic for me throughout its third season thus far. It seems like everything is different, all the ideas of the first two seasons are just scrambled up to make everything a muddled, grey mess. Are the Sons of Mithras the bad guys? Are the Labyrinth bad guys? Sure, when you look at the surface, it's the bad guys like Carlo Medici and Riario involved in the Labyrinth and the Sons of Mithras have Leo's old ally Al-Rahim Aka The Turk (Alexander Siddig) and the true pope, Francesco (James Faulkner). However, one side is fighting to defend Italy and the other wide is actively assaulting and killing the people of the peninsula and by extension the Catholic Church.

Stuck in the middle are Florence and its famous son,
See full article at Den of Geek »

15-60-75: Jimmy Bell's Still in Town

15-60-75 (Numbers Band) Jimmy Bell's Still in Town (Exit Stencil)

Haven't heard of this oddly named band? You're probably not from Ohio, and you're definitely not from Kent. Formed there in 1969 by lead vocalist Robert Kidney and saxophonist Terry Hynde (brother of Pretenders vocalist Chrissie), it created a strange and compelling amalgam of styles. Kidney doesn't sing so much as chant, or emphatically recite. There are not really any melodies, and the horn section, so often in other bands a sweetener, only adds acrid commentary. There's an obvious blues influence, but this is not tidy 12-bar blues, it's a primal drone that pulsates with dark energy, not least because of drummer David Robinson's angular beats.

This album, recorded in concert on June 16, 1975 at the Agora in Cleveland when they opened for Bob Marley, was their debut, released the following year. It was too weird -- even by
See full article at CultureCatch »

2014 in film preview: British film

Our pick of the best homegrown movies due to be released over the next 12 months

Posh

Tally ho and off to bally old Oxford where The Riot Club - a fictionalised version of the Boris 'n' Dave-endorsed Bullingdon Club - make sport of bullying and humiliation. Based on the play by Laura Wade, Lone Scherfig's version has Max Irons, Douglas Booth and Hunger Games star Sam Clafin among the toffs making trouble for the owners of a rural pub. Promises an evening's entertainment laced with drink, sex and violence. Chin up, chin up and play the game. 19 September

Pride

Based on a true story set in the midst of the Thatcher years. Tony award-winning theatre director Matthew Warchus's film follows a group of gay and lesbian activists who decide to raise money for the families of striking miners. Faced with a National Union of Mineworkers too embarrassed to take money from them,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Hell Yes, Bob Kidney Has the Blues - 4 Decades On!

Kidney Brothers: Coal Tattoo (Hearpen)

Having grown up and loved from afar, forced to do so after I moved to NYC, there are few bands still playing live -- four decades later -- worthy of my unbridled accolades and devotion but so it is with the heady agro-blues of 15-60-75 Aka The Numbers Band. If you dig music and happen to hail from Northeast Ohio, you know what I'm talking about. Having followed their entire career, I can proudly boast that I'm one of their biggest fans. Yet, it's no leap of faith or youthful nostalgia.

If you've seen them live, regardless of the decade, then you know the passion and verve that the brothers Kidney -- singer/guitarist Bob and harpist/sax/keyboardist/vocalist Jack -- share with their audience, regardless of the size, every single time they take the stage. 

Along with horn player Terry Hynde (Pretender
See full article at CultureCatch »

The best TV for spring 2013

A Bond villain turns famous cannibal, a Game of Thrones alternative, and a classy French Alpine thriller

The White Queen

If you're seeking pseudo-medieval, throne-based fun but can't watch Game of Thrones because you don't have Sky, then this series is for you. A lavish adaptation of The Cousins' War novels by Philippa Gregory, The White Queen may not have any dragons, but it was filmed in a lustrously unspoiled Bruges and looks spectacular. A tale of love, loss, seduction, deception, betrayal and murder, Gregory's feminine slant on The Wars of the Roses focuses on three ruthless women jostling for position, eyes firmly fixed on the throne. BBC1, this month.

Rebound

Those Scandinavian dramas have finally vanquished our collective fear of subtitles, and now a whole world of superbly made TV awaits us. Fans of spooky undead children tapping at windows will love this French eight-parter: a classy chiller about
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Band of Brothers – Where are they now?

Twelve years ago, HBO put to screen a miniseries that was one part Television event, one part historical drama, which had the considerable backing of executive producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks and the hype of being something of a spiritual successor to their highly acclaimed war film Saving Private Ryan. Through ten one hour long episodes, essentially using TV as a medium to explore a vast and epic journey through the Second World War that would simply be impossible to map on the big screen, and with Stephen E Ambrose’s critically acclaimed non-fiction book as source material and a huge cast representing a collective of real world heroes, one of the most ambitious storytelling exercises the small screen has ever mounted was brought to life. The result was much fanfare, both critically and among the masses, a recurring trope that continues to this day, and the fledgling start
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Total Recall - a remake to forget

The new-look Total Recall is more of a walk down memory lane than an update of the 1990 original. John Patterson is already trying to erase it from his mind

The thing I like most about the Total Recall remake is the – I have to presume ironic – name of its production company. The first words that appear on screen are "Original Film". After 20 minutes of this well-designed and passably kinetic, albeit utterly humourless and derivative retread, I began to feel those two words like some kind of goading, pulsing taunt, as if they'd been implanted in my brain like the bespoke memories you can buy in the movie.

This may be because I loved the first Total Recall of 1990, even with its wilful crassness and ultra-violence, and its mixture of big ideas and graphic B-movie space operatics on a hefty studio budget. I saw it three times in its opening week – I was a fan.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Former 'Sex Rehab' Star Duncan Roy -- I Didn't Extort Anyone!!!

  • TMZ
The former "Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew" star who's accused of attempting to extort a mystery victim in a threatening letter appeared in an L.A. courtroom today and pled not guilty to the crime ... TMZ has learned.  TMZ broke the story ... Duncan Roy -- who directed the 2002 indy hit "Aka" -- was arrested last week for felony attempted extortion. It's still unclear who Roy allegedly tried to extort -- and what he allegedly demanded.
See full article at TMZ »

Aida | Unreported World | When Romeo Met Juliet | Fighting the Red Baron | Watch this

  • The Guardian - TV News
Aida | Unreported World | When Romeo Met Juliet | Fighting the Red Baron

Aida

7.30pm, BBC3

Part of the Opera On the BBC season, and possibly the most spectacular instalment, this is Graham Vick's production of Verdi's Aida, as performed on the outdoor floating stage in Lake Constance, by Bregenz in western Austria. The venue has previously hosted acclaimed productions of several of Verdi's operas, and its epic possibilities should suit Aida better than most. Russian soprano Tatiana Serjan plays the eponymous Ethiopian princess, opposite Italian tenor Rubens Pelizzari as Egyptian officer Radames. The real star, though, is the set itself. However sumptuous the indoor setting of an opera, it's usually difficult to involve actual ships. Spectacular.

Unreported World

7.35pm, Channel 4

"Cigarette in one hand, a bag of coca in the other, and dynamite all over the floor": Seyi Rhodes and Matt Haan venture down into a
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Ninja Assassin - Trailer

Trailer for Ninja assassin directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) and starring Korean heartthrob Rain and British beauty Naomie Harris.

UK based readers of a certain age may recognise "Dave" from birds of a feather in that trailer. Aka Stephen Marcus who plays Kingpin and some may know Rudolpho in Starhunter (A series I rather liked).

Read More From LateMag

tags: action, martial arts, naomie harris, rain
See full article at LateFilmFull »

'Method' actress: Hurley to die for in Junction film

'Method' actress: Hurley to die for in Junction film
In what will likely be her first movie role since giving birth to her son a year ago, Elizabeth Hurley is in negotiations to star in Junction Films' The Method for British director Duncan Roy. Production on the film begins in July in Romania. Written by Katie Fetting, the project is described as Day for Night meets Basic Instinct. It follows a celebrity actress (Hurley) who gets her dream role playing real-life 19th century serial killer Belle Gunness in a feature film and starts to take on the characteristics of the role onscreen and off. Junction Films' Donald Kushner and Brad Wyman are producing with Andrew Stevens of Trademark Entertainment. Trademark will act as worldwide sales agent for the film. Junction and Trademark are co-financing the project, which is budged in the $7 million range. Hurley, repped by UTA and attorney Steven Brookman, most recently starred onscreen in Paramount Pictures' Serving Sara. Her credits include Bedazzled and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Roy, who is repped by Innovative Artists, wrote, directed and executive produced the indie feature AKA. The film was nominated for a BAFTA Award for best first feature this year and won the audience award at the Outfest Film Festival in October.

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