Sunday, February 19, 2017

News Briefs

Displaying 1 - 10 of 2281
  • Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017
James Earl Jones, Donald Glover cast in director Jon Favreau's "Lion King" remake
In this Jan. 8, 2017 file photoi, Donald Glover poses in the press room with the award for best performance by an actor in a television series - musical or comedy for "Atlanta" at the 74th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

James Earl Jones and Donald Glover are lending their voices to Disney's upcoming remake of "The Lion King."

Director Jon Favreau announced the casting of the two men as voice actors. Glover, star and creator of television's "Atlanta," will portray the adult Simba. Jones reprises the role of Simba's father, Mufasa, which he voiced in the 1994 animated film.

Favreau is making a CGI created live-action version of the movie, similar to Disney's remake of "The Jungle Book," which he also directed. No release date has been publicly set for the new movie.

A similar process is being used for "Beauty and the Beast," which debuts next month.

Favreau has directed "Iron Man," ''Iron Man 2" and is again producing the next two "Avengers" films.

  • Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017
Angelina Jolie in Cambodia for premiere of her film "First They Killed My Father"
Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie sits with child actress Sareum Srey Moch, left, and actor Mun Kimhak, right, during a press conference in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. Jolie on Saturday launches her two-day film screening of "First They Killed My Father" in the Angkor complex in Siem Reap province. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)
SIEM REAP, Cambodia (AP) -- 

Angelina Jolie said Saturday that she hopes her new film about Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge will help educate the world about the brutality of the 1970s regime and shed a light on the plight of young people in war zones today.

"First They Killed My Father" is based on author and human rights activist Loung Ung's account of her survival as a child under the 1975-79 communist Khmer Rouge regime, believed to be responsible for the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians from starvation, disease and execution.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of the film's premiere, the actress-turned-director said she hopes the movie will "remind everybody that there are little Loung's all around the world today" in various war zones and corners of the world.

"Her story is their story and so this is, in many ways, universal, and we hope that that is something that you think about as well," said Jolie, who directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with Loung.

Jolie has had an affinity for Cambodia since she began goodwill work for the U.N.'s refugee agency in 2001, and her eldest son, Maddox, 15, was adopted from the country. She also has established a foundation to promote social development in rural Cambodia.

However, the Hollywood superstar stressed that Cambodia's history is not just the war.

"I hope that the young people, when they see this film, that yes, they will learn part of their history, but I hope they also see - I hope all of you see - that this is a country of talent and art and love and beauty," Jolie said.

Maddox worked on the production of the movie, which was shot on location in Cambodia in late 2015 and early 2016. Jolie said that Maddox is very proud of his Cambodian heritage and that she and her children see Cambodia as their "second home."

"The children are very close to the children who are in the film and, in fact, many of them are best friends," she said. "So, they're simply happy to be back with their friends. Maddox is happy to be back in his country."

The film, a Netflix original production, will be shown on the streaming service later this year.

Jolie's previous directorial projects include the 2015 marriage drama "By the Sea," in which she starred alongside then-husband Brad Pitt, and the 2014 survival story "Unbroken."

  • Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017
Hungarian film "On Body and Soul" wins Golden Bear in Berlin 
Hungarian author and director Ildiko Enyedi poses for photographers after her "On Body and Soul" won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the awards ceremony of the 67th Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, Saturday Feb. 18 2017. (Britta Pedersen/Pool Photo via AP)
BERLIN (AP) -- 

A Hungarian love story about two slaughterhouse workers who connect in shared dreams won the top award Saturday at this year's Berlin Film Festival.

"On Body and Soul" by writer-director Ildiko Enyedi contrasts the harsh reality of the abattoir with the magical world of slumber.

Enyedi was previously best known for her 1989 debut film, "My 20th Century," which won the Golden Camera award in Cannes that year.

The Golden Bear had been expected to go to the comedy "The Other Side of Hope," which instead earned veteran filmmaker Aki Kaurismaki a Silver Bear for best director. The film sees a young Syrian refugee befriending a grouchy Finn, with Kaurismaki's deadpan humor delivering poignant messages about the horrors of war and the current refugee crisis in Europe.

The jury award went to "Felicite," a film by French-Senegalese director Alain Gomis about a singer in a Congolese night club.

South Korea's Kim Min-hee received the best actress award for her role in "On the Beach at Night Alone," about a woman coming to terms with the end of an affair.

Georg Friedrich from Austria was named best actor for "Bright Nights," in which he portrays a father trying to reconnect with his teenage son.

"A Fantastic Woman" by Chilean director Sebastian Lelio received a Silver Bear for best screenplay, shared with Gonzalo Maza. It tells the tale of a transgender woman mourning for her dead lover even as most of those around her remain unwilling to empathize.

The jury also awarded Dana Bunescu a prize for outstanding artistic contribution for her editing of "Ana, mon amour," about a Romanian couple struggling to make their relationship work despite mental illness.

A final Silver Bear award for features that "open new perspective" went to movie "Spoor," a murder mystery set in rural Poland.

  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017
Ad agency the community opens London office
Pictured (l-r) are the community's Joaquin Molla, Mark Hunter, Luis Montero and Jose Molla (photo by Giselle M. DeVera).
LONDON -- 

The community, a cross-cultural, global creative ad agency that’s part of the Publicis family, is opening an office in London.
 
Based on Great Titchfield Street, the new office launches with a small group of clients, including Tesco Mobile and Britain’s Beer Alliance. In addition, the London agency recently won a global pitch for a leading beauty brand in partnership with the Miami office.
 
This expansion comes off the back of several successful years for the community (still La Comunidad in Buenos Aires), which has seen the agency nearly triple in size. 2016 was the agency’s biggest year yet, posting over 50% growth fueled by existing clients and key new business wins such as General Mills and Verizon. The agency has also continued to build on its creative reputation by amassing more than 100 awards in the last 12 months alone and a Grand Prix in Cannes in 2015.
 
“The community’s expansion into London isn’t just the product of growth, it’s the product of something bigger,” said agency co-founder Joaquin Mollá. “José and I have respected the work from the UK  our entire career and admired how involved clients are in making great ideas come to life. It’s a dream come true to open in London and be a part of that dynamic.”
 
“We always believed that our approach to culture was relevant on a global level,” said co-founder José Mollá. “What better way to make that a reality than opening an office in London.”
 
The office opens its doors in the UK with Mark Hunter as executive creative director. He will lead the creative effort in London and help grow the community into a truly global, culturally-driven creative boutique. Hunter was a partner and chief creative officer at Deutsch LA while also serving stints at TBWA\London and Havas London.

The community believes that today’s world is more culturally complex and digitally savvy than ever, especially with younger generations. This reality has a profound impact on brand-building and has changed the nature of the problems brands are trying to solve.
 
“These guys live at the intersection of creativity, culture and technology,” said Gaston Legorburu, chief strategist at Publicis.Sapient and executive sponsor for the community, “It’s what’s been driving their growth in the Americas. It’s not a specialty; it’s just who they are.”

Headquartered in Miami, the community also maintains offices in New York and Buenos Aires. The shop has created work for such brands as Verizon, BMW, VW, Google, Sauza and Hornitos Tequilas, Apple, Converse, Corona Extra, Modelo Especial and ESPN.

  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017
Spat over Pit Bull video morphs into Florida Republican feud 
In this Feb. 14, 2017 file photo, area business leaders and workers gather around Florida Gov. Rick Scott after a roundtable discussion about the local economic impact of Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida in Panama City Beach, Fla. (Andrew Wardlow/News Herald via AP, File)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- 

What started out as a disagreement over taxpayers footing the bill for a version of Pitbull's "Sexy Beaches" video is now turning into a full-blown public relations war between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and the GOP-controlled Florida House.

The two sides are at odds over whether Florida should spend money on tourism marketing and luring businesses to the state. In the past week, their feud has continued to escalate. The House is currently moving a bill that would shutter the two agencies that receive millions to pay for these efforts.

Scott in the last few days has barnstormed the state where he has called out GOP House members by name for supporting the legislative proposal. On Thursday, he also announced that the Sunshine State attracted a record number of nearly 113 million tourists last year despite two hurricanes, the outbreak of the Zika virus and the Pulse nightclub attack.

"I don't understand how anyone can look at Florida's booming tourism industry, and the more than 1.4 million jobs it supports, and vote to kill it," said Scott in a statement. "The legislation the Florida House is pushing puts more than 1.4 million jobs at risk and we cannot let that happen."

Scott's political committee Let's Get to Work in the last few days has also paid for phone calls telling voters in a handful of GOP districts that their legislator was in favor of a bill that would "destroy our economy and lead to higher taxes."

The Florida House has responded by releasing a scathing new video to YouTube that trashes Visit Florida, the agency that promotes tourism, and Enterprise Florida, the economic development organization that uses taxpayer money to offer incentives to companies that move to the state or expand their operations.

The video mentions the secret $1 million deal Visit Florida signed with rap star Pitbull which included him filming a new video of his "Sexy Beaches" song that included footage of Florida hotels and beaches. The House video also criticizes several economic development deals that went bust included the high-profile bankruptcy of Digital Domain, a visual effects studio that received $20 million of support. The Digital Domain deal was approved before Scott become governor.

The video includes captions that say "no more foolish spending," ''no more handouts" and "no more corruption."

GOP House members first saw the video Wednesday night during a closed meeting at a Tallahassee restaurant. House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues initially said the meeting would be strictly social and that no policy would be discussed.

Fred Piccolo, a spokesman for House Speaker Richard Corcoran, defended the meeting. He said it did not violate state laws that block legislators from meeting privately to discuss pending legislation. The private meeting was paid for the Republican Party of Florida. Over the last two years Scott has refused to raise money for the party.

The dispute over money for Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida threatens to derail this year's legislative session, which starts in March. Top Senate Republicans say they oppose House GOP efforts to eliminate the programs. Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican and Senate budget chief, said Thursday on Twitter that the "investment in Visit Florida is obviously working. No time to take our foot off the gas now."

  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017
Snap values itself at up to $22B ahead of IPO 
In this Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, file photo, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel poses for a photo in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

The parent company of the social network Snapchat is valuing itself at up to $22 billion as it prepares for the tech industry's biggest initial public offering in years.

Snap Inc. said in a regulatory filing Thursday that the IPO is likely to be priced between $14 and $16 per share. Had the IPO price matched the $30.72 per-share price obtained in its last round of financing, Snap would have a market value of about $30 billion, based on the quantity of outstanding stock listed in its IPO documents.

Snap's highly anticipated IPO would be the largest since China's Alibaba Group went public in 2014. But Snap, based in Los Angeles, draws comparisons to social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Facebook raised $16 billion when it went public in 2012.

Snap said that it's offering 145 million Class A shares, while existing stockholders are offering an additional 55 million Class A shares. Snap won't receive any proceeds from shares sold by those stockholders. Underwriters of the IPO have an option to buy up to an additional 30 million shares.

Co-founders Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy will have controlling power over all matters at Snap through a special class of stock that gives them 10 votes for every share they own. The Class A stock being sold in the IPO has no voting power, while another class has one vote per share.

Snap anticipates its net proceeds will be $2.1 billion, or about $2.3 billion, if underwriters buy all the shares they are entitled to. These amounts are based on the IPO being priced at $15 per share.

Snapchat, whose hallmark is messages that vanish after they are sent, has millions of daily users. The app has adapted nimbly over to users' whims and demands, just as Facebook has. This, as both companies have discovered, is key to outlasting social media fads. Snapchat is no longer just about disappearing messages.

For example, it's added a "Discover" section where a diverse group of publishers - including People, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Vice and Food Network - post video-heavy stories aimed mostly at millennials.

Another feature, "Stories," lets people create a narrative from messages, videos and photos from the past 24 hours. It's so popular that Facebook's Instagram now has a version of it, too.

Snapchat's "Lenses," lets people add animated overlays to photos and videos. It was one of the company's few missteps when some of those lenses were perceived as racist. It quickly ditched those lenses.

Snap is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the "SNAP" ticker.

  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017
"Rogue One" stars among Academy Awards presenters 
This Dec. 13, 2016 file photo shows Riz Ahmed, left, and Felicity Jones at the premiere of the film "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," in London. Ahmed and Jones will serve as presenters at the Oscars ceremony on Feb. 26. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Stars of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" are heading to the Academy Awards.

Oscar telecast producers announced Thursday that Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed will serve as presenters at the Feb. 26 ceremony.

Past Oscar winners Javier Bardem and Charlize Theron are also set to take on presentation duties at the show. Last year's Oscar winning actors — Brie Larson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Rylance and Alicia Vikander — will also appear on the telecast.

They will join previously announced presenters including Samuel L. Jackson, Shirley MacLaine, Gael Garcia Bernal, "Fifty Shades of Grey" stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, and Kate McKinnon of "Saturday Night Live."

Jimmy Kimmel is hosting the show, which will air on ABC.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017
Casting Oscar: Foundry creates each statuette as work of art 
Oscar statuettes, some wrapped in cloth, wait to be inspected before being finished at the Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry in Rock Tavern, N.Y., Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Every Oscar fist-pumped or tearfully cradled by Academy Award winners is first cast, buffed and fussed over by people far from Hollywood who have spent the last several months making 60 identical gold Oscars for the Feb. 26th awards. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
ROCK TAVERN, NY (AP) -- 

Every Oscar fist-pumped or tearfully cradled by Academy Award winners is first cast, buffed and fussed over at a foundry far from Hollywood.

Workers at the Polich Tallix fine art foundry, about 50 miles north of New York City, began work in late September on the awards to be handed out Feb. 26. Each of the 60 Oscars shipped from the hangar-like production floor is 13½ inches tall with the same distinctive Art Deco features polished to a mirror finish. Each glossy black base lacks only a winner's nameplate, which is added after the ceremony.

Polich Tallix, which began making the awards last year, tweaked the look of the stylized knight with an eye toward the original statuettes handed out in 1929. The path of these new statues from a small town in upstate New York to center stage in Hollywood might not be the stuff of movies.

But it's worth a close-up.

CASTING CALL
Every Oscar starts with a version made of wax, which is repeatedly dipped into a cream-colored ceramic slurry. The ceramic hardens and the wax is melted out to make way for molten bronze. What's left once the ceramic mold is chipped away is a sort of rough-hewn version of the elegant icon.

John Menzie and other workers make sure every surface detail - from Oscar's hairline to the film reel it stands on - is hand-sanded and polished to a fine finish.

Menzie said it's a kick to see the pieces you worked on for hours handed out on TV, like he did last year while watching the Academy Awards.

"When Leonardo DiCaprio gave his speech and he was holding his Oscar I was just thinking ... I might have worked on that one," Menzie said. "I wish in his acceptance speech, he would have said the serial number that was on the back, you know? So I could say, "That's the one I worked on!'"

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
When Polich Tallix took over production from a Chicago company, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences asked the foundry to create a statue truer to the original. Foundry artist Daniel Plonski made 3-D scans of an early statue and a recent statue, and took desired qualities from each for the newest iteration. Oscar's restoration was subtle; his stylized facial features are more defined, there's a greater hint of his ears and a hair part, and his sword rests in sharper relief between his legs.

"The trick was not to make it too shockingly different," Plonski said.

The most substantial difference is one people don't see. The statue is once again cast in bronze, instead of a pewter-like alloy.

AND THE AWARD GOES TO ...
The statues are shipped to Brooklyn for 24-karat-gold electroplating at Epner Technology, which also is in its second year of Oscar making.

President David Epner said that before his company became involved in Oscar production, actor F. Murray Abraham and a couple of other award winners had asked him to plate gold finishes that were wearing off. He vows that won't happen under his process, which includes copper plating and nickel plating each statue before gold plating.

"The gold is guaranteed - not for the life of the recipient, but for the life of the statue," Epner said

Polich Tallix has one more task after the nominees are announced: making a nameplate for each potential winner. The award winners are handed an Oscar on stage with no nameplate on it. Winners can later take their statue to a table backstage to get their nameplate affixed.

The unused plates are destroyed.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017
NBC acquires stake in Euronews, shuffles news executives 
This Sept. 22, 2015 file photo shows the headquarters of Euronews television, the multilingual European television news in Lyon, central France. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

NBC News is buying a minority stake in the overseas television news outlet Euronews, appointing NBC News President Deborah Turness to run the new partnership, and having "Today" show chief executive Noah Oppenheim replace her as NBC News president.

NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack on Tuesday announced the deal with Euronews, which employs some 500 journalists and airs in 164 countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. NBC is paying $30 million, and the new venture will be known as Euronews NBC.

American viewers will be able to see Euronews journalists adding their expertise to NBC News, MSNBC and digital coverage of international stories, the network said.

"We believe we've found a unique international partner at a pivotal time in global news," Lack said in a memo to his staff.

Turness will be president of the newly formed NBC News International, responsible for pulling together the two news organization, and will eventually relocate to her native England.

Oppenheim will add supervision of other newscasts like "Meet the Press" and "Nightly News" to his portfolio. He has been the chief executive in charge of "Today" for two years, with the morning show pulling closer to "Good Morning America" in viewership and leading among youthful viewers that advertisers seek.

"He has honed the broadcast, and audiences have rewarded us for it," Lack said.
 

  • Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017
Nutmeg adds Broadway Video's former design team
NTMG Design consists of (l-r) Fred Salkind, David Rogers, Doug LeBow and Karolina Dawson (photo by Eljay Aguillo).
NEW YORK -- 

Nutmeg, a creative marketing resource, has acquired the design team formerly known as FAC5 at Broadway Video and now newly named as NTMG Design.

The team of four—executive creative producer Doug LeBow, executive creative director Fred Salkind, creative director David Rogers and art director Karolina Dawson—is an Emmy, Telly and PromaxBDA award-winning creative collective dedicated to communicating engaging and impactful design across multiple media platforms.

With services that include main titles and show packaging, experiential and event design, promotions and image campaigns, the group has worked with a diverse range of clients on a wide range of projects, including: “Nickelodeon HALO Awards,” “Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards,” “The Emmys” for Don Mischer Productions, Indy 500 100th Anniversary for ESPN, HBO’s “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony” for Line-by-Line Productions, “Thursday Night Football” and “Sunday Night Football” tune-in promo packaging for CBS Sports, AT&T Concert Series for iHeart Media, “The Great Human Race” for National Geographic Channel, and “The Peabody Awards” for Den of Thieves.

Nutmeg EP Laura Vick said. “As our clients and the marketplace shift to engage end users, the addition of a full-service design team allows us to offer all aspects of content creation under one roof.”

Existing clients that could benefit from the new services include broadcast networks, cable channels and brands. “Nutmeg is a long-established network promo powerhouse and branded content creator,” says Vick. “We can now assist at the inception of an idea to help create complete visual experiences—show opens, trade shows, corporate interiors or digital billboards.”

“We look at these new design capabilities as both a new frontier unto itself, and as yet another component of what we’re already doing—telling compelling stories,” said Nutmeg executive creative director Dave Rogan. “Nothing at Nutmeg is created in a vacuum, so these new areas of design crossing over into an interactive web environment, for example, is a natural. First and foremost, clients want the work to be exceptional. They, like anyone else, also like things to go smoothly and easily. Centralizing creative services that span every type of media offers definite creative, logistical and economic benefits.”

For its part, the NTMG Design team is equally excited by the possibilities afforded by joining a multi-faceted creative marketing, content development and post-production resource.

“Nutmeg has consistently been ahead of the curve with regard to navigating the ever-changing media landscape,” said LeBow. “The desire to add a design division to help further and expand that initiative is energizing.”