A 16-page letter from the staff to the board of the Association of Independents in Radio described a “toxic work environment” and detailed then-CEO Sue Schardt’s “unchecked gaslighting of staff,” “inability to collaborate” and micromanaging style, and “sexist and racist comments.” In sum, said the letter, “Sue’s leadership of AIR and treatment of staff directly contradict the organization’s mission of supporting and creating conditions for independent producers to thrive.”
“Instead of them meeting their obligation in September or any time during the fall, once they decided that they didn’t need us any more, they felt they didn’t have any reason to pay us,” Boston Light and Sound’s Chapin Cutler explained. “We were put in the position of having to sue them, because they were basically taking the position, well, they’re not going to work for us anymore, there’s no reason for us to have to pay them.” He also noted that, “The people that they actually ended up using were the same people that I had been using for the past five or six years.”
In late July, after the first allegations of Moonves’s sexual misconduct became public, a solid majority of the board backed him. (One member said in a meeting, “I don’t care if 30 more women come forward and allege this kind of stuff. Les is our leader and it wouldn’t change my opinion of him.”) A month later, they were ready to fire him for cause. James B. Stewart reports on how the turnaround happened.
One feature that differentiates the Motion Picture Country Home, as residents call it, from your run-of-the-mill retirement community: it has a TV channel. Founded about a dozen years ago, Channel 22 is a closed-circuit station run by and for MPTF residents, with assistance from a dedicated staff and hundreds of volunteers, including film-school students and current members of the industry. Its programming, which runs 24-7, is composed of older movies and TV shows and 12 hours of original content a day, including interviews with the residents about their experiences in entertainment—like a popular series called Behind the Silver Screen, in which folks will recall their work on a specific film or show before it airs on the channel
“The new [Criterion] release features two versions of the picture — the 139-minute, Oscar-nominated 2011 theatrical cut and a new, 188-minute extended edition. This longer edit, however, is not a ‘director’s cut,’ although Malick himself prepared it.” Bilge Ebiri explains what all this means.
“Comedies that tackle heavy, philosophical matters … have become more common in the past few years. These are funny shows, or at the very least dramedies, that explicitly and consistently explore ethics, spirituality, or what purpose human beings are meant to serve on Earth. Typically, they deal with those earthly issues while placing their characters in heightened, even fantastical situations. The Good Place, which will enter its third season this month, is the gold standard for this type of series. But it is not the only example.”
The monetization opportunities IoT offers broadcasters are many, but the most obvious is the various forms of data they will have access to, such as demographic, location, behavioral and user preferences, coming from a wide range of devices and systems. Broadcasters will be able to put together detailed consumer profiles and use them to deliver real-time, personalized content across multiple screens and devices.
When the NBC series about a widowed nurse and her son debuted in 1968, it was an immediate hit, and the first show to take an ordinary African-American family (and one whose breadwinner didn’t work as a servant) as its main subject. But for its entire three years on the air, both Julia and its star were attacked for showing a sanitized, middle-class version of black American life at a time when a third of African-American families were below the poverty line.
“The goal in [Fortnite: Battle Royale], as in most multiplayer shooter games,” writes Sarah Kaufman, “is to blow your enemies to shreds.” What does that have to do with dance? Well, players can buy preprogrammed moves for their avatars called “dance emotes,” which they use to dance on the dead bodies of the enemies they’ve blown to shreds. Dance emotes are so popular that the game pulls in $126 million every month, and players are starting to bust those moves themselves offline.
“It’s an incredible time for Canadians in the industry and I think authors like Margaret Atwood who are so prolific and ahead of their time are making a difference. People outside Canada are noticing.”
Matt Lees began to feel a knock-on effect on his health. “Human brains really aren’t designed to be interacting with hundreds of people every day,” he says. “When you’ve got thousands of people giving you direct feedback on your work, you really get the sense that something in your mind just snaps. We just aren’t built to handle empathy and sympathy on that scale.”
Big screens are simply better, or so the movie theatre owners say. “‘Our model can work for their movies, too,’ National Association of Theatre Owners president and CEO John Fithian told the Hollywood Reporter while attending the Toronto International Film Festival. Holding out an olive branch to Netflix, Fithian welcomed the streamer’s success in bringing more content to more audiences.”
Critics raved, and lines stretched around the block, when The Joy Luck Club opened in 1993. The actors and director started to receive offers – and they thought the long drought of good movies and roles for Asians and Asian Americans in Hollywood was coming to an end. But “roadblocks proved shockingly resilient. Instead of ushering in a crop of Asian-American projects, The Joy Luck Club remained a token for more than two decades.” Will Crazy Rich Asians be different?
It’s because of Lisa Nishimura, basically, the vice president of original documentary and comedy programming who convinced Dave Chapelle to return to stand-up specials for the company. And she bet big on a lot more comedy as well. “Now, 50 percent of its 130 million [U.S.] subscribers have watched a special in the last year, and a third of those viewers have watched three such shows.”
And here’s the list of everyone else who won Creative Arts Emmys. Saturday Night Live and the live presentation of Jesus Christ Superstar also did quite well.
That’s amid a festival crowded with male auteurs – and only one woman director, who won a prize and exhorted more women to direct movies.
Women superheroes, that is, with their heavily styled, beautifully flowing tresses (Thor has long hair too – but he pulls it back when he fights). “Something happens when women become superheroes in earnest, as though it’s impossible to deify them without the hallmark of traditional femininity, the comic equivalent of Breck Girls.”
Andrea Hairston argues that those who ignore the women of Wakanda are making a big mistake – and misreading the movie entirely. The details: “The Women of Wakanda perform like African women before them: the Benin Queen Mothers; the Dahomey Ahosi women warriors, advisors, and reign-mates to the king; Yoruba Iyalojas — queens of the market in Nigeria; the Sande Women’s Societies of Central West Africa; the dike nwami — Igbo warrior women; Zulu Isangoma — healer women of South Africa; and the mikiri, ad hoc political institutions of Igbo women.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it will “postpone” introducing the new category, which was met with widespread scorn when it was announced last month. Said the AMPAS president, “There has been a wide range of reactions to the introduction of a new award, and we recognize the need for further discussion with our members.”
“KUT in Austin, Texas Public Radio in San Antonio, KERA in Dallas and Houston Public Media have been in talks for about a year with conference calls on a near-weekly basis. … The journalism hubs are intended to increase regional coverage for both NPR and the stations participating in each collaboration.”
“The horse-ridin’, pistol-packin’, Donald Trump-backed conservative had signed a release before meeting for the show with Baron Cohen, who was posing as an Israeli anti-terrorism expert. But the suit filed today in D.C. District Court (read it here) claims that the release Moore signed ‘was obtained through fraud’ and therefore is ‘void and inoperative.'”
The vaunted “special relationship” between the U.S. and Britain is thriving in the media and entertainment space. But with Brexit clouds overhead and other countries emerging as international content hubs, the question is whether the feverish trans-Atlantic dealmaking will cool down — or whether it might actually heat up further as the FAANGs (digital players Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google) enter the game.
“This year sees the release of two films which centre on the 2011 attack in Norway by rightwing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, which left 77 people dead. … Questions arise around the ethics of this particular docudrama style of film-making – what can a film based on real events tell us that documentary footage or eyewitness testimony cannot?”
“The slippers were on loan to the Judy Garland Museum in the late actress’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, when they were taken in 2005 by someone who climbed through a window and broke into a small display case. … The FBI said a man approached the insurer in summer 2017 and said he could help get them back. … After a nearly year-long investigation, the slippers were recovered in July during a sting operation in Minneapolis.”
TIFF was conceived as North America’s audience-friendly answer to the black-tie formality and Olympian competition of the Cannes film festival. By now, it has upstaged Cannes as the launching pad for sending movies into Oscar orbit. North American producers have become wary of risking their fortunes on the French Riviera.
“In more than three dozen interviews, writers, producers, and studio and network executives said heightened scrutiny in the wake of #OscarsSoWhite and other controversies has led to the concerted push, particularly for women of color in senior positions. … [But relatively few are in the supply chain. It is a problem of Hollywood’s own making.”
“It still matters to my colleagues and me that we experience a film in aesthetically optimal conditions — projected on a big screen in a dark room with no distractions — even if many of our readers will end up watching at home.”
Many investors reportedly put money into films as a stock-market manipulation scheme, buying up blocks of unsold tickets and even entire screenings so that the perception of success will push up a company’s share price. Film production is also used as a way to evade capital-flight controls and transfer large sums of money out of the country.
“Woody Allen’s latest film, A Rainy Day in New York, has been left in limbo after Amazon Studios appeared to shelve it indefinitely. The production company, which was contractually obliged to distribute the film, said on Thursday: ‘No release date has ever been set.'”
The BBC is being accused of ableism after casting Stranger Things star Charlie Heaton to play Joseph Merrick in its upcoming adaptation of The Elephant Man. Merrick — who had severe facial and body disfigurements thought to be a result of Proteus syndrome — died in 1890 at age 27. Though the Londoner has previously been portrayed by able-bodied actors like John Hurt and Bradley Cooper, Heaton’s casting has been [criticized by disability advocates and actors].”