Nelson Cragg - News Poster


Inaugural Half Fest Directors Showcase to Highlight Women and Minorities in Hollywood

Director Jennifer Lynch will speak at the showcase: movieweb/YouTube

Ryan Murphy is expanding the work of the Half, a foundation within his 20th Century Fox-based production company. Launched in the summer of 2016, Half aims to diversify Hollywood by offering mentorships to underrepresented groups in the industry and committing to more mindful hiring practices.

The “Glee” co-creator committed to having 50 percent of all director gigs on his shows — including “Scream Queens,” “American Crime Story,” and “American Horror Story” — go to either women or minority candidates, which he defines as people of color or members of the Lgbtq community. His self-imposed deadline to achieve this goal was the end of 2016, but he surpassed it. As of December 2016, 60 percent of his directing gigs were going to women. And now the Emmy winner has announced the Half Fest Directors Showcase, a free two-day event at La’s Skirball Cultural Center. A press release revealed that “attendees will have the opportunity to watch short films by the first cohort of Half Foundation mentees, as well as attend Q&As and talks on how to succeed in Hollywood.”

“I’m pleased that the public will have a chance to view the work of rising talented directors,” remarked Murphy. “The Half directing mentees range from college students to professionals and have created worthy short films.” The Half Directing Mentorship Program has already mentored nearly 30 emerging directors — all women, people of color, and/ or members of the Lgbtq community — since it was launched a year ago.

The event will include a panel discussion — with industry execs from Half, Fox, NBC, CBS, and Warner Bros. — about various director programs available and how applicants can make their submissions stand out. Directors Jennifer Lynch (“Quantico,” “Boxing Helena”) and Nelson Cragg (“American Crime Story”) are scheduled to speak at the event.

Check out more information about the Half Fest Directors Showcase over at Skirball’s website. Reservations are now open.

Inaugural Half Fest Directors Showcase to Highlight Women and Minorities in Hollywood was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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‘Feud’: Inside Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon’s Take on a Hollywood Battle Royale

‘Feud’: Inside Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon’s Take on a Hollywood Battle Royale
Dressed in a black ensemble topped by a long brown coat, Ryan Murphy darts back and forth between two rooms in the chilly Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. On this January day, a cramped space in this deliciously retro complex houses the monitors for Murphy as he directs an episode of his new FX series “Feud: Bette and Joan” that is set at the 1963 Academy Awards.

It’s a pivotal moment in the famous rivalry between legendary actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Having co-starred in “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” both women wanted the career boost of appearing on the Oscar podium. While it’s tough to spoil an event that happened more than five decades ago, let’s just say it was, to quote Davis, a “bumpy night.”

Feud” — which debuts March 5 — mines that decades-old conflict to tell a modern and highly relevant story about Hollywood, sexism, and survival.

See full article at Variety - TV News »

American Horror Story season 6: Roanoke Chapter 5 review

Ron Hogan Oct 14, 2016

We can't even begin to guess what Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's next move will be in American Horror Story season 6...

This review contains spoilers.

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With every episode of Roanoke, I'm again struck by the way it does such a great job of aping the source material which inspires the framing device for the horror show. For instance, take the show's opening. We get a little blink of the television rating warning for American Horror Story, and then we're thrown directly into the world of My Roanoke Nightmare. Specifically, the thing that caught my attention this week is the cold opening. It's little bits of re-enactment, little bits of talking head, little glimpses of the
See full article at Den of Geek »

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

The crime of the century became a media circus, with no angle hidden -- yet behind what we saw on TV was even more conflict and consternation. This eight-hour miniseries is a beautifully constructed recreation with excellent casting, even though its O.J. doesn't remind us much of the original. It's highly absorbing stuff to anyone who lived through it. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Blu-ray Fox Home Video 2016 / Color /1:78 widescreen / 498 min. / Street Date September 6, 2016 / 49.99 Starring Sarah Paulson, John Travolta, Sterling K. Brown, Kenneth Choi, Christian Clemenson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Bruce Greenwood, Nathan Lane, David Schwimmer, Courtney B. Vance, Robert Morse, Steven Pasquale, Cheryl Ladd, Larry King, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Billy Magnussen. Cinematography Nelson Cragg Film Editors Chi Yoon Chung, Stewart Schill, Adam Penn Original Music Mac Quayle Written by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (creators), Jeffrey Toobin, D.V. DeVincentis, Joe Robert Cole, Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky Produced by Alexis Martin Woodall,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

Emmys 2016: The 5 Most Attention-Grabbing Craft Contenders

Emmys 2016: The 5 Most Attention-Grabbing Craft Contenders
There’s good reason newcomers “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” “Mr. Robot” and “The Man in the High Castle” distinguished themselves with Emmy craft noms: they brought authenticity to stories that tap into the racial divisiveness, violence and alienation that are weighing heavily on our minds this Presidential election season. And riding the surge of female empowerment, impeccably produced “Outlander” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” also landed craft recognition.

FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” grabbed 22 noms (including cinematography, costumes, makeup and editing), second only to Emmy leader “Game of Thrones” with 23. What they achieved with recreating “the trial of the century” in the ’90s was bringing it eerily full-circle today.

Verisimilitude, of course, was crucial. For cinematographer Nelson Cragg, the Bundy Drive crime scene where Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered provided one challenge. Since the Brentwood condo no longer exits, they had to
See full article at Indiewire »

Film Review: ‘Tracers’

Film Review: ‘Tracers’
Leaping through skylights and surfing down stairs, Taylor Lautner and his parkour crew elevate old-fashioned cat burglary to a feat of high-speed, anti-gravity showmanship in “Tracers,” a project that takes what’s anarchic about the sport and runs, jumps and double-somersaults with it. The plot may be as creaky as an old-timer slinking across rooftops in a black turtleneck and domino mask, but the acrobatic stunts more than compensate, many of them performed by Lautner himself. After 2011’s “Abduction” cast his drawing power into question, this youth-skewing, VOD-driven release could be the “Twilight” star’s last gleaming.

Perhaps that’s overstating the stakes, as it’s only Lautner’s short-lived A-list standing that appears to be in question. Although Team Jacob fans managed to sway “Twilight” producers from recasting his role in the sequels, they haven’t turned out in sufficient numbers to carry the teen wolf into a grown-up career,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Splinter (DVD Review)

Making a low-budget horror feature that neither succumbs to nor strains to transcend its financial restrictions is harder than it appears, but the people behind Splinter make it look easy. Modest but not unambitious and put together with care on every level, it’s smart, scary and altogether satisfying creature feature of the type we don’t see enough of these days.

Director Toby Wilkins and screenwriters Kai Barry and Ian Shorr do have a bit of fun with genre expectations in the early scenes, as young lovers Seth (Paulo Costanzo) and Polly (Jill Wagner) set out for a camping trip in a rural area that we know is the hunting turf of a small, vicious creature that mauls a gas station attendant in the opening scene. The couple, however, is defeated by their tent, and they seem to be heading back to the safety of civilization when they’re
See full article at Fangoria »

'Slumdog' continues streak with ASC nod

'Slumdog' continues streak with ASC nod
Anthony Dod Mantle's lensing of Oscar frontrunner "Slumdog Millionaire" took the top honor at the 23rd Annual American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement Awards on Sunday night at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel.

Mantle -- who a week earlier won the BAFTA Award for cinematography -- led a competitive field that included Roger Deakins, who was double-nominated for "Revolutionary Road" and "The Reader"; Chris Menges, also for "The Reader"; Claudio Miranda for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"; and Wally Pfister for "The Dark Knight."

During the evening, Pfister presented his longtime collaborator and "Dark Knight" director Chris Nolan with the Asc Board of Governors Award. The award is given in recognition of the recipient's contributions to the art of filmmaking. Nolan and Pfister shot the opening six-minutes and several action sequences of "The Dark Knight" in the 65mm Imax film format, a first for a narrative studio feature.
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »


Release Date: Oct. 31

Director: Toby Wilkins

Writer: Kai Barry, Ian Shorr, and Toby Wilkins

Cinematographer: Nelson Cragg

Starring: Shea Whigham, Paolo Costanzo, and Jill Wagner

Studio/Run Time: Magnet Releasing, 82 mins.

Splinter begins with a strong, though bordering on cliché, hook. Two (naturally, young) people driving from a campsite spot a woman in the road and are soon carjacked by her hick cohort. When forced to drive away, they hit and kill something monstrous in the road, quickly combining both the “something’s in the woods” theme with the less politically correct but frequently more frightening “rednecks are serial killers” concept. From here, though, the film becomes less interesting, as the cast ends up locked into a gas station, fighting to escape the monster.
See full article at PasteMagazine »

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