Monday, November 19, 2018

News Briefs

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  • Friday, Oct. 5, 2018
CBS hires firm to advise on $20m for #MeToo groups
This May 10, 2017, file photo, shows the CBS logo at their broadcast center in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

CBS has hired the consulting firm Rally to help disperse $20 million to groups dedicated to supporting #MeToo and promoting workplace safety and equality for women. The announcement comes less than a month after the company parted ways with longtime CEO Les Moonves after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

CBS expects to announce the recipients of the funds by Dec. 14.

CBS announced the donation early last month, shortly after The New Yorker magazine published allegations against Moonves that prompted his departure from the media giant.

Those seeking funding through the money that has been set aside by CBS can email cbsfund@wearerally.com.

  • Friday, Oct. 5, 2018
Denzel Washington named recipient of AFI Life Achievement Award
This Nov. 20, 2017 photo shows actor Denzel Washington posing for a portrait in New York to promote his latest film, "Roman J. Israel, Esq." (Photo by Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)
LOS ANGELES -- 

Denzel Washington will receive the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award at a gala tribute on Thursday, June 6, 2019, in Los Angeles. The AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute special will return for its seventh year with Turner Broadcasting to air on TNT, followed by encore presentations on sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM). 

“Denzel Washington is an American icon,” said Sir Howard Stringer, chair, AFI Board of Trustees. “As an actor, he stands tall as a heroic, stoic embodiment of the best in all of us, and he does so with heart, humanity and one of the brightest smiles to ever light up the screen. Equally formidable as director and producer, he is a creative force to be reckoned with--and one of the most vital, relevant artists working today.”

Actor, director and producer Washington is an iconic leading man whose career spans five decades--an esteemed repertoire ranging from screen to stage, in works defined by his towering presence as heroic everymen, troubling antiheroes and real-life figures with complicated, often controversial histories. His cinematic legacy includes powerhouse, Academy Award®-winning performances in Glory (1989) and Training Day (2001), as well as celebrated roles in Cry Freedom (1987), Malcolm X (1992), The Hurricane (1999), Flight (2012) and Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017), earning additional nominations for each. Washington has crafted compelling, unforgettable characters in recurring collaborations with master directors past and present, bringing stalwart grit and nuanced complexity to films essential to the American canon, such as Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia (1993), Spike Lee’s Inside Man (2006) and Ridley Scott’s American Gangster (2007)--and to blockbuster, crowd-pleasing fare such as Edward Zwick’s (AFI Class of 1975) Crimson Tide (1995), Tony Scott’s Man On Fire (2004) and Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven (2016). A creative force behind the camera as well, Washington has helmed critically acclaimed films, including Antwone Fisher (2002) and The Great Debaters (2007), in which he also stars. He won a 2010 Tony® for his performance in the play “Fences,” and directed, produced and starred in the 2016 film adaptation that earned him Best Actor and Best Picture Oscar® nominations, as well as AFI Awards recognition.

The son of a Pentecostal minister and a beauty parlor owner, Denzel Washington was born in Mount Vernon, NY, on December 28, 1954. His parents’ professions shaped Washington’s ambition to begin acting, with their natural inclination toward storytelling and oration. After graduating from Fordham University with a BA in Journalism, Washington won a scholarship to the American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco, CA. Soon after leaving ACT, he appeared in off-Broadway productions and television movies before being cast in a starring role in the hit television series St. Elsewhere.

Washington’s filmography also includes Mo’ Better Blues (1990), Mississippi Masala (1991), The Pelican Brief (1993), Courage Under Fire (1996), The Mancurian Candidate (2004), The Equalizer (2014) and The Equalizer 2 (2018).

He is married to actor Pauletta Washington, with whom he has four children: John David Washington, Olivia Washington, Katia Washington and Malcolm Washington, who is an alumnus of the AFI Conservatory, Class of 2016.

Here’s a rundown of past AFI Life Achievement Award recipients

  • 1973   John Ford
  • 1974   James Cagney
  • 1975   Orson Welles
  • 1976   William Wyler
  • 1977   Bette Davis
  • 1978   Henry Fonda
  • 1979   Alfred Hitchcock
  • 1980   James Stewart
  • 1981   Fred Astaire
  • 1982   Frank Capra
  • 1983   John Huston
  • 1984   Lillian Gish
  • 1985   Gene Kelly
  • 1986   Billy Wilder
  • 1987   Barbara Stanwyck
  • 1988   Jack Lemmon
  • 1989   Gregory Peck
  • 1990   David Lean
  • 1991   Kirk Douglas
  • 1992   Sidney Poitier
  • 1993   Elizabeth Taylor
  • 1994   Jack Nicholson
  • 1995   Steven Spielberg
  • 1996   Clint Eastwood
  • 1997   Martin Scorsese
  • 1998   Robert Wise
  • 1999   Dustin Hoffman
  • 2000   Harrison Ford
  • 2001   Barbra Streisand
  • 2002   Tom Hanks
  • 2003   Robert De Niro
  • 2004   Meryl Streep
  • 2005   George Lucas
  • 2006   Sean Connery
  • 2007   Al Pacino
  • 2008   Warren Beatty
  • 2009   Michael Douglas
  • 2010   Mike Nichols
  • 2011   Morgan Freeman
  • 2012   Shirley MacLaine
  • 2013   Mel Brooks
  • 2014   Jane Fonda
  • 2015   Steve Martin
  • 2016   John Williams
  • 2017   Diane Keaton
  • 2018   George Clooney
  • Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018
Steven Spielberg named recipient of CAS Filmmaker Award
In this Feb. 5, 2018 file photo, Steven Spielberg arrives at the 90th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES -- 

Steven Spielberg will receive the Cinema Audio Society Filmmaker Award at the 55th Annual CAS Awards on February 16th, at the Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown. 

“The CAS has recognized Steven’s commitment to sound multiple times, with nominations for Outstanding Sound Mixing and a win for ‘Saving Private Ryan’.  And, most importantly, we recognize that Steven has had relationships with sound mixers that span more than 25 projects—a strong indicator that a director values the role of sound,” said CAS president Mark Ulano.  “Steven has long embraced the creative importance of sound for his storytelling and all his projects beautifully reflect this commitment.”    

Spielberg is one of the industry’s most successful and influential filmmakers who has directed, produced, or executive produced some of the top-grossing films of all time, including “Jaws,” “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” and “Jurassic Park.” Among his myriad honors, he is a three-time Academy Award® winner, earning two Oscars® for Best Director and Best Picture for “Schindler’s List,” and a third Oscar® for Best Director for “Saving Private Ryan.” He is a recipient of the DGA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and a Kennedy Center Honor.

In 2012, Spielberg directed Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln,” based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals,” with a screenplay by Tony Kushner. The film won two Oscars, including Daniel Day-Lewis’ third Oscar for Best Actor playing the iconic 16th President, as well as Best Production Design.

Spielberg’s 2015 dramatic thriller “Bridge of Spies,” starring Tom Hanks received six Academy Award® nominations including Best Picture with Mark Rylance winning for Best Supporting Actor. Spielberg was also an executive producer on “Jurassic World” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” which together have earned over $2.8 billion worldwide. 

His most recent projects include “The Post,” a political drama inspired by the Washington Post’s first female publisher, Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), and its driven editor, Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) which won the AFI Award and garnered two Oscar® nominations--Best Picture and Best Actress for Streep; and “Ready Player One” a worldwide success based on the popular science-fiction novel by Ernest Cline.

Apart from his filmmaking work, Spielberg has also devoted his time and resources to many philanthropic causes. He established The Righteous Persons Foundation using all his profits from “Schindler’s List.” He also founded the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which in 2006 became the USC Shoah Foundation--The Institute for Visual History and Education.

Spielberg will be the 14th CAS Filmmaker honoree.  Past honorees have been: Joe Wright, Jon Favreau, Jay Roach, Richard Linklater, Edward Zwick, Jonathan Demme, Rob Marshall, Taylor Hackford, Henry Selick, Paul Mazursky, Bill Condon, Gil Cates and Quentin Tarantino.

Also, being honored that evening with the CAS Career Achievement Award is previously announced honoree production sound mixer, Lee Orloff, CAS.   During the awards ceremony the CAS will also present the CAS Student Recognition Award to one of five student finalists.

The 55th CAS Awards will honor Outstanding Achievements in Sound Mixing in seven categories: Motion Pictures, Animated Motion Pictures, Documentary Motion Pictures, Television Movie or Limited Series, Television Series-One Hour, Television Series-Half Hour and Television-Non-Fiction, Variety, Music Series or Specials.

The Cinema Audio Society, a philanthropic, non-profit organization, was formed in 1964 for the purpose of sharing information with sound professionals in the motion picture and television industry.

  • Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018
Alan Alda to receive SAG Life Achievement Award in 2019
In this Aug. 12, 2017 file photo, Alan Alda attends the East Hampton Library's 13th Annual Authors Night Benefit in East Hampton, N.Y. Alda will receive the SAG Life Achievement Award at next year's Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony on Jan. 27. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- 

Alan Alda will receive the SAG Life Achievement Award at next year's Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony.

The actors union announced Thursday that Alda will accept its highest honor on January 27. The award to given annually to an actor who fosters the "finest ideals of the acting profession."

Alda's long list of credits include 11 seasons as Dr. Hawkeye Pierce on "M.A.S.H.," TV turns on "The West Wing" and "Ray Donovan," and roles in films such as "Manhattan Murder Mystery" and "The Aviator."

He has earned an Oscar nomination, six Emmys, six Golden Globes and three Tony Award nominations. He also founded the nonprofit Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.

Previous Life Achievement Award recipients include Morgan Freeman, Carol Burnett, Betty White, Elizabeth Taylor, Sidney Poitier and George Burns.

  • Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018
American Film Market to feature 150+ speakers in 40+ sessions
Jean Prewitt, president/CEO of the Independent Film & Television Alliance®
LOS ANGELES -- 

The American Film Market (AFM®) has announced initial speakers confirmed for its expanded programming of Conferences, Roundtables, Workshops, and Spotlight Events which run alongside the AFM’s marketplace and industry screenings.  This year’s market is taking place October 31–November 7 in Santa Monica.

More than 150 speakers will take the AFM stages to participate in 40+ sessions across three venues.  An initial list of highlights includes:

  • Producers: Caryn Capotosto, Cassian Elwes, Basil Iwanyk, Khaliah Neal, Ben Stillman, Gary Michael Walters, and Janet Yang.
  • Industry Executives: Lisa Gutberlet, EVP, International Sales & Acquisitions, Blue Fox Entertainment; Alison Thompson, Co-President, Cornerstone Films; Janet Brown, EVP, Distribution, Gunpowder & Sky; Jeffrey Greenstein, Co-President, Millennium Media; Krista Wegener, SVP, Sales and Distribution, Participant Media; John Orlando, Head of Content, Sony Crackle; Ryan Suffern, Head of Documentary Division, The Kennedy/Marshall Company; Paul Broucek, President, Music, Warner Bros. Pictures; and Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director, Women In Film, Los Angeles.

As previously announced, Jean Prewitt, president/CEO of the Independent Film & Television Alliance®, and Charles Rivkin, chairman/CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America®, will kick off the Conference series with The Global Perspective, on Friday, November 2.

The 2018 speakers announced to date are:

  • Alan R. Milligan, White Rabbit
  • Marguerite Pigott, CMPA (Canadian Media Producers Association)
  • Alison Thompson, Cornerstone Films
  • Andrea Iervolino, AMBI Media Group and TaTaTu
  • Anthony Beaudoin, Union Bank
  • Barry Landis, Ribbow Media Group
  • Basil Iwanyk, Thunder Road Pictures
  • Ben Stillman, Black Bear Pictures
  • Billy Mernit, UCLA and Universal Pictures
  • Bradley M. Gallo, Amasia Entertainment
  • Bruce Eisen, Digital Advisors
  • Caryn Capotosto, Tremolo Productions
  • Cassian Elwes, Producer (Mudbound)
  • Chris Bueno, Ocean Avenue Entertainment
  • Clay Epstein, Film Mode Entertainment
  • Cody Zwieg, Gunpowder & Sky
  • Cynthia Tollett, Directors Guild of America
  • Dana Nachman, KTF Films
  • Darrien Michele Gipson, SAGindie
  • Dave McIntosh, Shout! Factory
  • David Kennedy, Saboteur Media
  • David Offenberg, Loyola Marymount
  • David White, SHIFT72
  • Dennis Dreith, Transparence Entertainment Group
  • Derek Doneen, Filmmaker, Kailash
  • Florian Glatz, Cinemarket
  • Gary Michael Walters, Bold Films
  • Germaine Franco, Composer and Music Producer
  • Irina Albita, Big Couch UK and FilmChain
  • Janet Brown, Gunpowder & Sky
  • Janet Yang, Producer
  • Jeffrey Greenstein, Millennium Media
  • John Orlando, Sony Crackle
  • John Sloss, Sloss Eckhouse LawCo and Cinetic Media
  • Jonathan Barkan, DreadCentral.com
  • JP Sarni, Stampede Ventures
  • Juliana Da Cunha Jacobsen, BF Distribution
  • Karl Hur, Mofac Creative Works
  • Kay S. Wolf, Writers Guild of America West
  • Khaliah Neal, Independent Producer, The Rachel Divide
  • Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund
  • Kirsten Schaffer, Women In Film, Los Angeles
  • Ko Eun Jung, Digitalidea VFX
  • Krista Wegener, Participant Media
  • Lisa Gutberlet, Blue Fox Entertainment
  • Lucy Mukerjee, Outfest & Newfest
  • Mathew Joubert, SHIFT72
  • Matt Holzman, KCRW’s “The Document”
  • Michael Berman, iN Demand
  • Min Sun Hye, WYSIWYG Studios
  • Dr. Nelson Granados, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School and Forbes Contributor
  • Paul Bales, The Asylum
  • Paul Broucek, Warner Bros. Pictures
  • Paul Hertzberg, CineTel Films, Inc.
  • Peter Baxter, Slamdance Film Festival and Producer
  • Peter Broderick, Paradigm Consulting
  • Pilar Alessandra, On the Page
  • Raymond C. Nutt, Fathom Events
  • Richard Botto, Stage 32
  • Robert Binning, StreamSpace
  • Robert Menzies, Zed Filmworks
  • Ruzanna Kegeyan, Arclight Films
  • Ryan Broussard, Media Services
  • Ryan Suffern, The Kennedy/Marshall Company
  • Ryan Turek, Blumhouse Productions
  • Sam Klebanov, Cinezen Blockchained Entertainment AB
  • Shaked Berenson, Producer
  • Shawn Williamson, Brightlight Pictures
  • Stephen Hwang, Studio Macrograph
  • Steven Wolfson, UCLA
  • Sunwoo Nam, W2 Studios
  • Tamara Birkemoe, Foresight Unlimited
  • Tobin Ambrust, Virgin Produced
  • Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018
Child experts file FTC complaint against Facebook kids' app
In this Feb. 16, 2018, file photo, Facebook's Messenger Kids app is displayed on an iPhone in New York.The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and other groups are asking the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday, Oct. 3, to investigate Facebook’s Messenger Kids for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Children's and public health advocacy groups say Facebook's kid-centric messaging app violates federal law by collecting kids' personal information without getting verifiable consent from their parents.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and other groups asked the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday to investigate Facebook's Messenger Kids for violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA.

The complaint says the app does not meet COPPA requirements because it doesn't try to ensure that the person who sets up the kids' account and gives consent to have their data collected is the actual parent. In fact, the groups say, someone could set up a brand new, fictional account and immediately approve a kid's account without proving their age or identity.

Facebook said Wednesday it hasn't yet reviewed the complaint letter. The company has said it doesn't show ads on Messenger Kids or collect data for marketing purposes, though it does collect some data it says is necessary to run the service.

But the advocacy groups say the privacy policy of Messenger Kids is "incomplete and vague" and allows Facebook to disclose data to third parties and other Facebook services "for broad, undefined business purposes."

Facebook launched Messenger Kids last December on iOS and has since expanded to Android and Amazon devices and beyond the U.S. to Mexico, Canada and elsewhere. It is aimed at children under 13 who technically cannot have Facebook accounts (although plenty of them do).

Though the company says it has received a lot of input from parents and children's development experts in creating the app, groups such as the CCFC have been trying to get Messenger Kids shut down since it launched.

  • Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018
Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards set for Nov. 10; Michael Moore named Lifetime Achievement recipient
Michael Moore
LOS ANGELES -- 

The third annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, honoring the finest achievements in documentary features and non-fiction television, will be presented on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at BRIC in Brooklyn, New York, hosted by Emmy Award-winning television host Bill Nye.

The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) have named Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore as the recipient of the Critics’ Choice Lifetime Achievement Award. Moore’s latest, Fahrenheit 11/9, is one of the year’s top grossing documentaries of the year.

Broadcast Film Critics Association president Joey Berlin notes, “2018 has been hailed as ‘The Year of the Documentary’ and we are extremely proud to highlight the outstanding achievements in the Feature Documentary and TV/Streaming fields and give these creative filmmakers the proper recognition they deserve.”

For the first year, The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards has introduced the Catalyst Sponsorship, a program for industry leaders to demonstrate their support. The inaugural sponsors include Focus Features, National Geographic Documentary Films, Netflix, Curiosity Stream, and others.

At last year’s second annual event, Jane took home the evening’s most prestigious award for Best Documentary before going on to win 18 national critics group awards, The National Board of Review award, and multiple guild awards. The Award for Best Sports Documentary went to Icarus. The film received many more accolades and awards following the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, including the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. And there was a Critics’ Choice tie last year for Best Director between Evgeny Afineevsky for Cries from Syria and Frederick Wiseman for Ex Libris: The New York Public Library.

The awards are determined by qualified members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), and feature multiple categories across both television and film including: 
 

  • Best Documentary 
  • Best Director 
  • Best First Documentary
  • Best Limited Documentary Series
  • Best Ongoing Documentary Series
  • Best Sports Documentary
  • Best Political Documentary
  • Best Music Documentary
  • Best Song in a Documentary
  • Most Innovative Documentary
  • Best Compelling Living Subject in a Documentary
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Editing

The nominees, selected by a committee of BFCA and BTJA members with a background and expertise in the documentary field, will be revealed on Monday, October 15, 2018.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018
Publicis Groupe sets UK leadership team
Publicis Groupe UK's leadership team consists of (l-r) James Barnes-Austin; Jo Coombs; Annette King; Paula Cunnington; and Anna Campbell.
LONDON -- 

The Publicis Groupe UK leadership team has been set, with COO Jo Coombs, chief growth officer Anna Campbell and head of talent Paula Cunnington coming on board. They join chief financial officer James Barnes-Austin who started in June this year. All will report directly to CEO of Publicis Groupe UK, Annette King.
 
Coombs joins from Ogilvy where she was the UK CEO of OgilvyOne. Coombs has worked with brands including British Airways, American Express, Unilever, Boots, BT, British Gas and the UK Government to establish long-lasting consumer and business-to-business relationships, drive business results and build strong brands. In her new role as COO, Coombs will help drive the country model, working closely with the solution hub and agency leads, fostering even greater collaboration across all talent at Publicis Groupe UK to optimize, and where relevant, reinvent the client offering. She will also be exec sponsor on key pitches for Groupe UK and help integrate specialist offerings with a focus on data, content and dynamic creativity.
 
Campbell will join from OMD Worldwide, where she led marketing and business development, overseeing 65 markets across the EMEA region. There, she re-engineered the function and running of pitches, resulting in successes including the global wins of Disney and Liberty accounts, plus Tourism Ireland and Trip Advisor. In her new remit as chief growth officer, Campbell will work closely with the solution hub and agency leads in the UK on prospecting and business development opportunities, identifying existing client need for additional expertise within the business and leveraging Publicis Groupe’s creative, tech and data capabilities. Campbell will also be focused on further bringing to life the Power of One in the UK to help deliver its unique integrated offer to clients.
 
Cunnington joins from Dentsu Aegis Network where she was UK&I chief people officer. Cunnington brings a range of experience from media, consultancy and financial services having also held roles at Barclays Group, Santander and Accenture. As head of talent for Publicis Groupe UK, she will be responsible for leading a strategic talent plan across Groupe UK, working closely with the solution hub CTOs, and focusing on fostering culture to further build a collaborative, progressive and inclusive environment across Publicis Groupe UK building on work to date to make it a best-in-class example of how to put talent at the heart of an organization to succeed.

The Publicis Groupe UK leadership team appointment aligns with Publicis Groupe’s country model rollout in eight key markets: North America, the United Kingdom, France, DACH (Germany, Switzerland and Austria), Northern and Central Europe, Southern Europe, Asia Pacific and Middle East/Africa, and Latin America.
 
Publicis Groupe UK is made up of over 5,500 employees and 32 agency brands that sit within the solutions hubs: Publicis Communications, Publicis Media, Publicis.Sapient and Publicis Health.

  • Sunday, Sep. 30, 2018
"Between Two Waters" wins top film prize at San Sebastian
A scene from "Between Two Waters" (La Termita Films/B-Team Pictures)
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- 

Director Isaki Lacuesta's film "Between Two Waters" has won the top prize at the San Sebastian International Film Festival, the biggest film festival for Spanish-language films.

It was the second Golden Shell award for best film to go to Lacuesta, after the Catalan filmmaker also triumphed at San Sebastian with his 2011 movie "The Double Steps" ("Los pasos dobles").

A social drama set in present-day southern Spain, "Between Two Waters" ("Entre dos aguas") is a sequel to Lacuesta's 2006 film "The Legend of Time" ("La leyenda del tiempo"). It explores the lives of two brothers from a family of Gypsies, also known as Roma.

The Argentine film "Red" ("Rojo") was the festival's other big winner Saturday night, with awards for best director going to Benjamin Naishtat, best actor to Dario Grandinetti and best cinematography to Pedro Sotero.

Norwegian actress Pia Tjelta won the award for best actress for her role in "Blind Spot" by director Tuva Novotny.

  • Saturday, Sep. 29, 2018
Banned Kenyan film "Rafiki" is allowed limited showings
In this April 27, 2018 file photo, Wanuri Kahiu, the director of the film "Rafiki," or "Friend" in Swahili, a love story featuring two women, is interviewed in Nairobi, Kenya. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- 

The first Kenyan feature film to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival has received overwhelming audience support since a court temporarily lifted a ban imposed by censors over the film's gay content, a lawyer said Friday.

"Rafiki" went from being screened once a day in one theater in Nairobi on Sept. 22 to three daily screenings at theaters in three of Kenya's largest cities as of Friday, said Sofia Leteipan, who represents director Wanuri Kahiu.

The court ruled that the film, a love story featuring two women, could be viewed locally for one week to make it eligible for Oscar contention. The ban will resume after Sunday showings.

Ezekiel Mutua, the head of the Kenya Film Classification Board, has said that only "a small portion" of the country's population has seen it.

"There is no market for homosexual movies in Kenya. Is there value for money in making a homosexual movie that will be watched by 300 out of 44 million people?" Mutua said in an interview on Citizen Television earlier in the week.

It is illegal to have same-gender sex in Kenya. Gays and lesbians in many parts of Africa face severe harassment, physical threats and judicial punishment.

Kenya's National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is currently in court arguing that sections of the penal code violate the constitution and deny basic rights by criminalizing consensual same-sex relations between adults.

Leteipan said that although "Rafiki" in the end wasn't nominated for an Oscar, its screening across Kenya is a "huge win for the articulation of freedom of expression."

She said that after the ban resumes, "we'll still be in court pursuing the original petition to have the ban permanently lifted and strike out provisions of Films and Stage Plays Act which restrict freedom of expression and constrain creativity."

After watching the film, gay activist Immah Reid called it a "well-structured conversation starter for sexuality in Kenya ... how gender appears and the violence people who don't conform to gender rules end up going through."

Maureen Nyambura, a university student, said it is progress that "Rafiki" is being seen in a society that often doesn't tolerate different sexualities.

"You don't have to be a woman to fall in love with a man and vice versa. It's time Kenya embraces sexual diversity," she said.

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