Sundance Hit Docu ‘Playing With Sharks’ To Open Two Week KCET-PBS So Cal-Link TV Third Annual Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival


April 12, 2021 2:19pm

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The third annual Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival, and the first to take place virtually in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, kicks off tonight through April 23rd from Southern California flagship PBS stations, PBS SoCal and KCET, along with national independent satellite network Link TV, with the West Coast premiere of Playing With Sharks, the extraordinary life story of pioneering scuba diver Valerie Taylor who has dedicated her life to exposing  the myth surrounding the fear of sharks. The film documents her quest as well as history including her work on several films including 1975’s iconic Jaws. National Geographic Documentary Films acquired the film out of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival with plans to release it later this year.  Following the 7:00 pm PT opening night screening I will moderate a conversation with Taylor, writer/director Sally Aitken, and producer Bettina  Dalton all joining me together from Australia. (Full disclosure: I am the host of KCET’s Must See Movies as well as the long running KCET CInema Series). I will also be doing the same  for the Closing Night Film  Citizen Nobel in conversation with its Nobel Prize winning subject Jacques Dubochet and director Stephane Goel, both joining me from Switzerland.

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Playing With Sharks
Natoinal Geographic Documentary Films

The festival which consists of nine virtual film screenings and post-discussions taking place on the Eventive platform also will include the three-part  Earth Day PBS special Greta Thunberg: A Year To Change The World on April 22nd. Fest is designed to encourage better understanding of and dialogue on environmental issues, and motivates audiences to create positive change in their own community. “The festival extends public media’s mission of strengthening communities through education. The virtual event engages members, viewers of all ages, influencers and media while raising funds to support public media’s future environmental programming,” according to organizers.

Citizen Nobel

The event complements PBS SoCal, Link TV and KCET’s entire slate of Earth Month programming which includes the award-winning series Earth Focus, produced in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation . Since its debut in 2007, Earth Focus has become the longest-running investigative environmental news series on U.S. television, providing audiences with urgent local and global environmental coverage that spotlights in-depth reports on key issues such as endangered species, climate change, environmental health and sustainable practices.

 Original content related to Earth Month programming on related topics ranging from environmental justice to climate activism will be available on the PBS SoCal, KCET and Link TV websites. Ticket and festival pass information is available as well on those websites.

Festival schedule is as follows:

 OPENING NIGHT! Playing With Sharks – Mon., April 12 at 7 p.m. (West Coast Premiere)

The extraordinary life story of pioneering scuba diver Valerie Taylor, a fearless marine maverick whose passion for sharks knows no bounds – even when there should be. Taylor has dedicated her life to exposing the myth surrounding the fear of sharks. Featuring Q&A Guests: Writer/Director Sally Aitken Creator/Producer Bettina Dalton and the subject of the film, Australian pioneering marine conservationist, cinematographer and renowned shark expert Valerie Taylor. Moderated by KCET CINEMA SERIES Host and Deadline chief film critic Pete Hammond.


Gather – Tues., April 13 at 7 p.m.

An intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide. Featuring Q&A Guests: Director Sanjay Rawal, Producer Tanya Mellier and Founder of the Native American Culinary Association Nephi Craig. Moderated by DeLanna Studi (Artistic Director, Native Voices at the Autry, Autry Museum of the American West).


2040: The Regeneration – Weds., April 14 at 7 p.m.

Embark on a journey to explore what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his 4-year-old daughter, the film blends traditional documentary with dramatized sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board of how solutions could regenerate the world for future generations. Featuring Q&A Guests: Award-winning Director Damon Gameau (That Sugar Film). Moderated by TBA


Public Trust: The Fight for America’s Public Lands – Thurs., April 15 at 7 p.m.

As America’s system of public lands face unprecedented threats, the film investigates three heated conflicts – national monument in the Utah desert, a mine in the Boundary Waters and oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—and makes a case for their continued protection. Featuring Q&A Guests: Director David Garrett Byars, Producer Jeremy Rubingh and investigative journalist and Public Trust narrator Hal Herring. Moderated by Link TV’s Senior Programming Executive Kim Spencer.


Okavango – Fri., April 16 at 7 p.m.   F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Homeland) narrates the wild experience of the Okavango Delta, an unlikely oasis and lush paradise in Southern Africa that connects and supports a wide array of creatures. In episode one of this three-part series that premiered as episodes of NOVA, viewers explore the landscape and wildlife of the Upper Okavango River. A lioness severely injured by a buffalo is left for dead by her pride. Now handicapped, she has to survive in the swamp alone, hunting to feed her cubs. Featuring Q&A Guests: Directors Dereck and Beverly Joubert (Eternal Enemies, Eye of the Leopard, Last Lions, Reflections on Elephants).


EARTH FOCUS: The New West and the Politics of the Environment – Mon., April 19 at 7 p.m.

Iconic Nevada Senator Harry Reid set the foundations for a green new deal in the state using power in new ways to settle water wars with respect for Native Americans, protect endangered species and usher in a just transition to renewable energy. Reid forged allegiances between unlikely allies and crafted policy to grow the economy of his home state while protecting its wilderness and in the process, redefined the future of the West. The conversation immediately following the screening is courtesy of the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital (DCEFF). Featuring Q&A Guests: U.S. Senator Harry Reid, Author Adam Jentleson (Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy) and Senior Field Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation Jocelyn Torres. Moderated by Executive Producer Jon Christensen.


The Human Element – Tues., April 20 at 7 p.m.

Renowned environmental photographer James Balog explores wildfires, hurricanes, sea level rise, a struggling coal mining community and our changing air supply. The film highlights Americans on the front lines of climate change, inspiring us to re-evaluate our relationship with the natural world. Featuring Q&A Guest: Environmental Photographer James Balog. Moderated by Co-Host/Correspondent of “The California Report” Saul Gonzalez. “The California Report,” produced by KQED/NPR is the Golden State’s daily public news show broadcast on public radio stations across California.


Youth v Gov. – Weds., April 21 at 7 p.m.

Since 2015, twenty-one plaintiffs, now ages 13 to 24, have been suing the U.S. government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty, personal safety and property through their willful actions in creating the climate crisis they will inherit. Featuring Q&A Guests: Filmmaker & Scientist Christi Cooper, Co-Lead Counsel Phil Gregory, Alaskan Federal Plaintiff Nathan Baring. Moderated by the Director of Programming for the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital (DCEFF) Brad Forder.


EARTH DAY 2021! Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World– 3 Part PBS Special On-Air Event – Thurs., April 22 from 8-11 p.m. on PBS SoCal (Check local listings or stream live on and the FREE PBS App) **No Eventive Event**

Travel with Greta Thunberg as she takes her fight to a global stage in this three-part, on-air event. In Part One she sees impacts of climate change at three locations: melting glaciers and dying trees in Canada, and fire devastation in California. And when a UN conference moves to Madrid, she sails across the ocean during life-threatening storms. Part Two follows Greta’s journey from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to Poland, where she speaks with miners who have lost their jobs. She also visits the UK, where she meets with one of her inspirations — Sir David Attenborough. Part Three takes Greta to Switzerland and Denmark to investigate potential solutions to limit climate change and looks for lessons from the world’s response to COVID-19.


CLOSING NIGHT! Citizen Nobel – Fri., April 23 at 7 p.m. (California Premiere)

When Jacques Dubochet receives the 2017 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, his life changes. Out of the shadows and into the light, he is suddenly contacted from all sides. What can he do with his voice, which is now heard by everyone? How should he, as a ‘noble citizen’, fulfill his responsibility as a researcher and human being? A speech by Greta Thunberg turns everything upside down. Featuring Q&A Guests: Director Stéphane Goël and Nobel Prize Winner and subject of the film Jacques Dubochet. Moderated by KCET MUST SEE MOVIES host and Deadline chief film critic Pete Hammond.



True-Crime Doc About Mysterious Murder Of Run-DMC’s Jam Master Jay To Stream On ABC Station Apps & Hulu


April 12, 2021 2:13pm

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A documentary about the 2002 murder of Run-DMC DJ Jason Mizell, aka Jam Master Jay, will have its streaming premiere Friday on ABC station apps before arriving on Hulu next week.

Set the Record Straight: The Jam Master Jay Case will be available to stream on Friday for viewers on the eight free connected-TV apps run by the ABC Owned Television Stations. Even though the apps are specific to New York, LA and six other markets, they are viewable by anyone in the U.S. via Roku, Amazon Fire, Android and Apple TV.

Disney-owned Hulu will debut the film on April 20 and linear ABC-owned stations will air it in various timeslots on April 17 and April 24. (Check out the trailer above.)

Two men were indicted in 2020 for the point-blank shooting of Mizell in a New York recording studio, with prosecutors calling it the result of a cocaine deal gone awry. Yet many questions about the case remain unanswered and a host of other potential motives and factors have emerged, along with emphatic rebuttals from the accused men’s lawyers.

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With new reporting, including fresh interviews with the New York Police Department, the film explores the mystery at the heart of the case as well as the pioneering hip-hop legacy of Run-DMC and Mizell. Several senior NYPD officials for the first time discuss complications with the investigation at the time of the murder and explain what led to the suspects’ arrests 18 years later.

WABC-TV, which has tracked the saga from the beginning, is the main creative engine behind Set the Record Straight. Darla Miles, a reporter at the station, wrote, directed and executive produced it along with Rashidi Hendrix. ABC Owned Television Stations’ Jennifer Mitchell, Luke Richards and Rolando Pujol are also executive producers.

Netflix devoted a 2018 episode of its music series ReMastered to Mizell’s killing, but that hour did not feature NYPD interviews or the photographs and other new materials included in WABC’s film.

In A Script Twist, Final Draft Drops Version 12 Early


April 12, 2021 2:07pm

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Final Draft

On Monday, Final Draft released the latest update to its screenwriting software early, in a surprise move.

The drop of Final Draft 12 includes automatic upgrades for anyone who purchased Final Draft 11 after February 15th of this year.

“Everyone’s been through so much over the past 13 months so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for our existing users to experience the very latest in our software,” said Shelly Mellott, President of Final Draft. “We also wanted to invest in the next generation of storytellers by offering our support to organizations that are truly making a difference.”

In service of the latter goal, the Cast & Crew Company is also providing free licenses for two entertainment industry non-profits that are working to foster diversity, Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab and #startwith8hollywood. Final Draft’s multi-year partnership with the Hillman Grad lab provides software to lab participants, as well as other educational resources. Recently, Final Draft and the Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab have also partnered on a number of events and collaborative activations, where the goal is to cultivate new screenwriting talent.

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“Eliminating barriers for creatives of color is our top priority,” said Justin Riley, Executive Director of the Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab. “Our partnership with Final Draft gives writers the freedom to tell their stories utilizing industry-standard software, while also providing them with tools and resources to further develop their creative genius.”

Developed by and for writers, Final Draft 12 offers a new level of flexibility to accommodate various styles of working. Its functions include “Focus Mode,” which allows users to eliminate distractions on screen, as they work, and “Track Changes,” which keeps a record of script edits. A key new feature present in the Final Draft update is an oft-requested “PDF Import” function, which allows users to convert PDFS into fully-editable Final Draft files.

Co-founded in 1990 by Marc Madnick and Ben Cahan, Final Draft has published its screenwriting software for over 30 years. Used by such elite creatives as J.J. Abrams and Bong Joon Ho, the software is described as “the professional’s choice and the entertainment industry standard.”

Freeform On Board For Danny Strong EP’d Puerto Rico-Set ‘Trap Queen’ From ‘Scandal’ Scribe Miguel Nolla


April 12, 2021 1:56pm

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Danny Strong, Nolla Freeform
Mega; Courtesy of Quyen Tran

EXCLUSIVE: Latin trap is coming to the Disney empire via the co-creator of Empire.

Freeform has put the Puerto Rico-set Trap Queen in development with Danny Strong executive producing, I’ve learned. The music rich project from the American territory was created by Scandal and Roswell, New Mexico writer Miguel Nolla.

An alum of the Disney•ABC Writing Program, the San Juan-born Nolla will serve as showrunner on Trap Queen.

The drama focuses on a gay young man who returns to Puerto Rico after a life changing event. With the burgeoning local music scene as both the backdrop and the soundtrack, that move forces him to face family and romantic issues he thought he had left behind and never expected.

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Along with Nolla and Strong, Danny Strong Productions’ Mandy Safavi will also EP the 20th Television venture with SB Projects’ Scooter Braun, James Shin and Scott Manson.

For those of you who don’t know, Trap music is a tenet of Southern hip-hop that bubbled up into the mainstream in the early 2000s from the likes of T.I., Jeezy and Gucci Mane. The term trap is a derivative of the Atlanta slang for a place where drugs are purchased and sold. Over the decades the style has been picked up in various forms by artists from Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Cardi B and all the way to Taylor Swift. Latin trap is the Puerto Rico subgenre that incorporates some of the island’s reggaetón style and other elements.

A former assistant to Shonda Rhimes, Florida State U grad Nolla’s CV has not only the Gladiators gangs and Roswell on it, but also an episode of the Grey’s Anatomy web series, Freeform’s Stitchers, Showtimes’ Hombre and Netflix’s First Kill, among more.

Almost always with a full dance card himself, Strong is currently filming the opioid crisis focused Dopesick in Virginia. The Hulu limited series stars Michael Keaton, Peter Sarsgaard, Kaitlyn Dever, and Rosario Dawson. Having inked a new deal with 20th TV in late 2019, the CAA, Sweeney Entertainment and attorney Alan Wertheimer at Jackoway Austen repped Strong also has Arab-American female centered Ya Bint in development with Freeform, The Answers with FX and The Growing Season on ABC, based on Sarah Frey’s memoir of the same name.

Nat Geo’s ‘Race To The Center Of The Earth’ To Land On Disney+ Next Month


April 12, 2021 1:49pm

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Nat Geo

EXCLUSIVE: Nat Geo’s adventure competition format Race To The Center Of The Earth is set to make it to Disney+ in May.

The seven-part series will land on sister streamer Disney+ on Friday May 14 in the U.S. All episodes of the show will air at once following the linear transmission.

Bertram Van Munster and Elise Doganieri, who exec produce the show, told Deadline that they were excited with the digital opportunities. “It just gives us more places to see content, you can see it on the car, you can bring it on the plane, you can take it with you, wherever you are. It’s your schedule, not someone else’s schedule,” said Doganieri.

Race to the Center of the Earth pits four teams of three against one another in a sprint across the globe for a $1M prize. Each group will start from a different corner of the Earth – South America, Russia, Canada and Southeast Asia – racing to win the bounty. They face untamed jungles, frozen arctic, arid deserts, bustling cities, treacherous mountains and vast oceans to reach the location where all four routes intersect and the first team to arrive at the buoy claims it all.

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“It’s probably the biggest challenge we have undertaken, it was not an easy code to crack,” Doganieri added.

The cast is made up of teams named Team North America – featuring work colleagues Dave Bacon, Paul Montague Jr. and Mindy Murphy, Team Russia – featuring police officers Jeremy Conkling, Angelina Fraize and Christopher Nelson, Team South America – featuring rock climbing friends Autumn Fryer, Jon Irwin and Sierra Knott and Team Southeast Asia – featuring teachers James Batey, Marilina Kim and Jay Wyatt.

Van Munster said that their production team did the race, which features close to 100 locations, three times to make sure it was safe before setting the teams off and shooting them simultaneously.

Check out an exclusive clip from this week’s episode below.

Reality Week: ‘Building Alaska’ Producer Dorsey Pictures Adapting ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ For TV As Red Arrow Firm Celebrates 20th Anniversary


April 12, 2021 1:49pm

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Building Alaska

EXCLUSIVE: Dorsey Pictures, the Red Arrow-owned production company behind series such as Discovery DIY’s Building Alaska and Maine Cabin Masters, is moving into the business format space after acquiring the rights to personal finance book Rich Dad Poor Dad.

The company, which also makes Oxygen’s Accident, Suicide or Murder, is adapting the book, written by Robert Kiyosaki, for television. The book, which was first published in 1997 and recommended by Oprah Winfrey, has sold over 200M copies worldwide. It is the story of growing up with two dads — his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad — and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.

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Monty Nuss Photography

“It’s interesting IP,” founder Chris Dorsey (left) told Deadline. “We’re digging into what’s unique about the viewpoint in terms of thinking about money, wealth and financial education. We’re now developing multiple concepts and bringing some other talent into play. We’re looking to create formats, entrepreneurship competition [shows] that’s based on the IP found within the franchise and also advice stuff and looking at a lot of different conventions of TV.”

The move comes as the company, which has produced over 1,500 hours of programming is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

It is currently producing Wings 3D, an IMAX natural history film narrated by Michael Keaton. The project, which is produced in association with Archipelago Films and SK Films. The film explores the prairies of western Canada and the Dakotas, a little known region dotted by thousands of small ponds and wetlands created by glaciers some 10,000 years ago. More than half the continental population of waterfowl originate in this 276,000-square mile region of North America.

Dorsey said, “It is to North America what the Amazon is to South America or what the Serengeti is to Africa and yet no one has heard of it and knows how important it is.”

Later this month, its true crime doc series Accident, Suicide or Murder returns to Oxygen for a third season, while DIY series Stone House Revival returns to the Discovery cabler in May.

The company also makes series such as Maine Cabin Masters and Building Off the Grid. Dorsey said that the business, which is headquartered in Denver, Colorado but has people based in LA and New York, had it best ever year and given it has been “substantially remote” for several years, the pandemic didn’t suffer any “significant shutdowns”. He added that it also ended up repackaging a lot of content for networks.

Earlier this year, he and the company also reupped its deal with Red Arrow, the production and distribution arm of German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1. He said they’re back in for a few years. “We’ve had a good run and it has helped us to stretch our brand internationally and open up some formats for us and take some of our concepts across the globe. We’ve enjoyed the relationship so we’re happy to continue.”

Ethan Hawke and John Leguizamo Set For ‘Waiting For Godot’ Off Broadway Streaming Production


April 12, 2021 1:31pm

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‘Waiting For Godot’
Courtesy Production

Ethan Hawke and John Leguizamo will star in an Off Broadway streaming production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot, directed by Scott Elliott and premiering online Tuesday, May 6.

The New Group production will co-star Wallace Shawn, Tarik Trotter and Drake Bradshaw. Hawke will play Vladimir, and Leguizamo will portray Estragon.

The production is the first in a new venture called The New Group Off Stage, from The New Group in association with John Ridley’s Nō Studios and Frank Marshall.

“This project is the epitome of what we mean by ’theatrical expressions in different media’: bringing together top tier artists across disciplines – film, television, stage, music – to collaborate in a hybrid, on-screen world, finding a way to make a play newly alive for themselves,” said Elliott, Artistic Director of The New Group. “It was a unique and singularly meaningful experience for all of us.”

The New Group describes the production as an “experimental exploration of a storied play” that “combines theatrical invention and innovative filmmaking.” Waiting for Godot will be co-produced by MiLa Media, with production design by Derek McLane and costume design by Qween Jean. Director of Photography is Kramer Morgenthau.

Waiting for Godot will premiere online Thursday, May 6 at 7PM ET, and available to stream at the Tickets can be purchased for 72-hour or seven-day rentals.

‘Cinema Toast’ Anthology Series From Jeff Baena & Duplass Brothers To Stream On Showtime


April 12, 2021 1:30pm

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Showtime has ordered a new anthology series, Cinema Toast, created by Jeff Baena (The Little Hours) and produced by the Duplass Brothers (Room 104), set to stream later this month. The series is described as a post-modernist reinvention of older movies that turns pre-existing imagery from the public domain on its head to tell new unique stories. All 10 episodes of Cinema Toast will premiere on Showtime’s on-demand streaming and partner platforms on Tuesday, April 20.

Directors of the series include Baena, Jay Duplass, Mel Eslyn, Alex Ross Perry, Marta Cunningham, Aubrey Plaza, Numa Perrier, Jordan Firstman, Kris Rey and David Lowery. The episodes are voiced by actors including Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Fred Armisen, John Early, Christina Ricci, Megan Mullally, Chloe Fineman and Chris Meloni.

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“When the pandemic first hit and all paths to traditional production seemed unlikely at best, I racked my brain to find a way to still create,” said Baena. “That’s when the idea hit me to re-dub and re-shape old material into something transcendent that extends beyond just a comedic curio.”

Cinema Toast features stories spanning genres including drama, horror and comedy. Per Showtime, Plaza’s psychological thriller “Quiet Illness” pieces together footage of Loretta Young to create a portrait of an emotionally tortured modern woman, while Cunningham’s “Attack of the Karens” shows just how timely the classic Night of the Living Dead is when re-contextualized within this last year in America. In “After the End,” Eslyn injects the beloved monster movie Beast From Haunted Cave with a mumblecore comedy sensibility. And with “Report on the Canine Auto-Mechanical Soviet Threat,” Perry creates a surreal journey from Soviet rarities about a young boy who is immersed in a new reality inhabited by talking cars and telepathic dogs.

Cinema Toast is produced by Duplass Brothers Productions. The series is executive produced by Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Mel Eslyn, Jeff Baena and Tyler Romary. Shuli Harel also serves as producer.

Jordan Vogt-Roberts To Direct ‘Gundam’ Live-Action Movie From Legendary & Netflix


April 12, 2021 1:18pm

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Netflix said Monday that it has set Kong: Skull Island helmer Jordan Vogt-Roberts to direct a live-action Gundam, based on the iconic Japanese mecha franchise. The feature film hails from Legendary, which is reteaming with Vogt-Roberts from Skull Island and comes off the outsized box office success of its tentpole Godzilla vs. Kong.

Y: The Last Man scribe Brian K. Vaughan is handling screenplay duties for the project, which he is also executive producing with Legendary’s Cale Boyter and Japanese studio Sunrise which originated the franchise. Vogt-Roberts is also producing.

The plot for the movie is under wraps, but the original franchise is set in the Universal Century, an era in which humanity’s growing population has led people to emigrate to space colonies. Eventually, the people living in the colonies seek their autonomy, and launch a war of independence against the people living on Earth. The battles in the story are fought by the characters piloting robots known as mobile suits.

The original franchise launched with 1979’s anime series Mobile Suit Gundam, considered the pioneer of the giant-robot mecha genre, created by Sunrise and Yoshiyuki Tomino. It spurred numerous TV series novels, manga, video games and Bandai Namco’s popular plastic model kits.

Cate Blanchett, Todd Field Team On ‘TAR’ For Focus Features


April 12, 2021 1:17pm


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Cate Blanchett, Todd Field
Courtesy of Tom Munro; AP

EXCLUSIVE: Cate Blanchett and In The Bedroom director Todd Field have teamed up for the filmmaker’s next picture. She’ll star in TAR, a drama that Field wrote and will direct for Universal Pictures-based Focus Features. They are keeping the plot under wraps, but it is set in Berlin, and production will begin in September.

Field will produce under his Standard Film Company banner alongside Alexandra Milchan & Scott Lambert for Emjag Productions.

Field last directed Little Children, the adaptation of the Tom Perrotta novel for New Line, with Kate Winslet starring.

Most recently seen in Mrs. America, Blanchett wrapped the Guillermo Del Toro-directed Nightmare Alley and the Adam McKay-directed Don’t Look Up, and Pinocchio and she is filming the Eli Roth-directed Borderlands.

Blanchett is repped by CAA, Field by CAA, LBI and Goodman Genow.


Minnesota’s MLB, NBA & NHL Teams Postpone Tonight’s Home Games Amid Curfew & Tensions Over Police Shooting – Update


April 12, 2021 1:17pm

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A National Guard soldier keeps watch in Brooklyn Center, MI.
AP Photo

WRITETHRU, 1:17 PM: The Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL teams in Minnesota have postponed tonight’s home games amid tensions over Sunday night’s police shooting in suburban Minneapolis and a citywide curfew set for 7 p.m. CT.

MLB’s Minnesota Twins were the first to scrap their game against the Boston Red Sox — which was to start at 2:10 p.m. CT, followed soon after by the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves. See their statements and tweets below.

Target Field

The moves come in the wake of protests that erupted overnight after police shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop Sunday in a Minneapolis suburb. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon told reporters today that Wright, who is Black, was mistakenly shot by an officer who sought to use her Taser but fired her gun instead.

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The incident happened about 10 minutes away from the courtroom where former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin is on trial in the killing of George Floyd last summer. The city of Minneapolis has imposed a curfew starting at 7 p.m. ET tonight and extending through 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Today’s postponements recall those that took place in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, in August by police in Kenosha, WI. The NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks first refused to take the court for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic, which prompted the league to scrub all of its games that night.

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Later that day, the Milwaukee Brewers followed suit, as did the rest of the NBA and Major League Soccer. Some NFL teams scrapped their practices in protest, and tennis star Naomi Osaka refused to play her semifinal match at the Western & Southern Open.

Here are the official statements from the Twins, the Wild and the NBA:

“Out of respect for the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Brooklyn Center, and following the additional details in this evolving situation, the Minnesota Twins have decided it is in the best interests of fans, staff, players and community to not play today’s game,” the club said in a statement. “The decision was made by the Minnesota Twins after consultation with Major League Baseball, and local and state officials, will be released in the near future. The Minnesota Twins organization extends its sympathies to the family of Daunte Wright.”

The #MNTwins issued the following statement regarding the decision to postpone today's scheduled game against the Red Sox.

— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) April 12, 2021

“Out of respect for the heartbreaking incident that occurred last night in Brooklyn Center, tonight’s Minnesota Wild game has been postponed,” the team said in a statement. “The decision was made in the best interests of our fans, employees, players and community after discussions with local and state officials, and the National Hockey League. The Minnesota Wild organization extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Daunte Wright.”

A statement from the #mnwild:

— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) April 12, 2021

“The National Basketball Association announced today that is light of the tragic events in the Minneapolis area yesterday, tonight’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center has been postponed,” the league said in a statement. “The decision to postpone was made by the NBA after consultation with the Timberwolves organization and local and state officials.”

The following has been announced by the NBA.

— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) April 12, 2021

Tom Tapp contributed to this report.

Management 360 Elevates Six Managers To Partner


April 12, 2021 1:00pm

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(Top L-R) Kelli Alick, Melissa Breaux and Cliff Murray, (Bottom L-R) Adam Marshall, Jill McElroy and Priya Satiani
Management 360

EXCLUSIVE: Management 360 has promoted managers Kelli Alick, Melissa Breaux, Adam Marshall, Jill McElroy, Clifford Murray, and Priya Satiani to partner during the company’s staff zoom meeting today. The promotions not only acknowledged the group’s work on behalf of its clients but also each individual’s leadership within the company and respect in the entertainment community at large. The new partners’ work spans the talent, literary, and production divisions of the firm, and exemplifies the company’s mission to create extraordinary opportunities for artists.

The six new partners collectively represent Emerald Fennell, Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Henry Winkler, Barry Keoghan, Ryan O’Connell, Megan Amram Adil El Arbi and Billal Fallah, T.S Nowlin, Noga Landau, Zazie Beetz, Jonathan Majors, Chinonye Chukwu, Channing Godfrey Peoples, Eddie Huang, Jermaine Fowler, Taylour Paige, Lamorne Morris, Storm Reid, Daniel Kaluuya, Christopher Abbott, Imogen Poots, Tom Burke, Mackenzie Davis, Sean Harris, Micheal Ward, Julie Plec , Andrea Berloff, Bryan Cogman, Karl Gajdusek, Nicole Kassell, Nia DaCosta, Eliza Hittman, Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin, Jesse Williams, Olivia Holt, Jurnee Smollett and Gabriel Luna.

They have also been essential to 360’s production efforts including, most recently, the hit Netflix film, Yes Day.

“We’re incredibly proud to call this talented group our partners. As individuals, they each embody the best of everything we hold dear – the highest integrity, unwavering support of their clients and colleagues, and an entrepreneurial spirit,” Management 360 said. “Whether they began their careers with us or joined 360 more recently, Kelli, Melissa, Adam, Jill, Cliff, and Priya have each become essential teammates, and we’re beyond thrilled to continue growing together.”

BAFTA Film Awards: ‘Nomadland’ Scoops Best Picture, Director, Actress & Cinematography – Full Winners List


April 11, 2021 12:44pm

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UPDATE: Nomadland walked off with the lion’s share of prizes at tonight’s EE British Academy Film Awards, taking Best Film, Director, Actress and Cinematography. The Chloé Zhao-helmed Searchlight picture thus adds to its awards season momentum, and makes Zhao only the second woman ever to win BAFTA’s directing prize, a day after she achieved the same feat at the DGAs.

On accepting Best Director, Zhao commented the honor would “make my teacher at Brighton College very proud.” When she won Best Film, she dedicated the award to “the nomadic community who so generously welcomed us into their lives. They shared with us their dreams their struggles and their deep sense of dignity. Thanks for showing us that aging is a beautiful part of life, a journey that we should all cherish and celebrate. How we treat our elders says a lot about who we are as a society and we need to do better.”

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Leading Actress winner Frances McDormand was not in virtual attendance, but sent a message, transmitted by presenter Richard E Grant: “Thank you dear British people. I humbly accept this prize on behalf of the Nomadland tribe. I salute you. Long may we roll.”

The show overall was a mix of in-person presenters from London and LA, and with all winners appearing virtually.

Further highlights included Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round winning the prize for Film Not In The English Language. Dressed in a tux and surrounded by colleagues and family in Copenhagen, Vinterberg piped in, “I did have a small suspicion you Brits might like a movie about drinking.” He also thanked his daughter Ida, a passionate supporter of the project who tragically passed away early in the film’s shoot, and noted, “The honor branded by you BAFTA voters means more to us than you can ever imagine.”

In other highlights, the recent passing of BAFTA’s first president, the Duke of Edinburgh, was noted a number of times, including at the outset of the show and by by Minari Best Supporting Actress winner Yuh-jung Youn whose acceptance speech light-heartedly poked fun at Brits for being “known as snobbish.”

Ang Lee was also on hand to accept the BAFTA Fellowship, the org’s highest honor, and noted from afar that he especially appreciated the love from the group since Britain “was the only market where The Ice Storm made any money.” Britain had also provided a “second film school” for the Sense And Sensibility director because at the time he “could only communicate in very short sentences; the comments I gave the actors were very concise, direct and honest. The cast was competing to see who would get the most rude remark from me. But my British colleagues were super patient and kind to me. I owe so much to them because after Sense And Sensibility I dared to venture into many other types of movies. They gave me courage to expand my horizons, to open my heart. To me that is what filmmaking is about: The courage to open ourselves to truth through story through sight and sound reflected on that silver screen. That’s how I connected with the world, that’s what I love doing. Receiving this award feels like recognition by people who connect in the same way.”

See below the original post for the full list of tonight’s BAFTA Awards winners.

PREVIOUS: The second part of the EE British Academy Film Awards is taking place from London’s Royal Albert Hall this evening, with all nominees appearing virtually. This follows Saturday’s BAFTA ceremony which delivered prizes in eight craft categories. Tonight’s show will unveil winners in 17 other fields while Ang Lee will accept the BAFTA Fellowship, the org’s highest honor. We’ll be updating the list below as winners are announced.

Hosts Edith Bowman and Dermot O’Leary are emceeing the show from the Royal Albert Hall and are being joined by a small group of presenters in person including Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Cynthia Erivo, Hugh Grant, Richard E Grant, Tom Hiddleston, Felicity Jones, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, James McAvoy, David Oyelowo, Pedro Pascal and Jonathan Pryce. Others are appearing from Los Angeles including Rose Byrne, Andra Day, Anna Kendrick and Renée Zellweger.

Coming into the weekend, Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland and Sarah Gavron’s Rocks led the nominations at seven each (Rocks on Saturday picked up the Casting Award). Nomadland tonight is up for Best Film, alongside The Father, The Mauritanian, Promising Young Woman and The Trial Of The Chicago 7. Of those, The Father and Promising Young Woman have six nominations each. Mank (a winner for Production Design last night) and Minari also scored six apiece. The Dig and The Mauritanian garnered mentions in five fields.

A notable takeaway this year has been the diversity of nominations. In a first for BAFTA, four women landed in the director category, and after all-white acting nominees last year, 16 of the 24 actors featured are from under-represented groups. There are also a number of newcomers in the bunch.

Prince William, who is president of BAFTA, was due to appear virtually this evening to deliver a speech celebrating the resilience of the film industry across the last year. However he has since been forced to cancel following the death on Friday of his grandfather, Prince Philip.

Check back for the list of winners as they are updated below:

Nomadland; Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Chloé Zhao

Frances McDormand; Nomadland

Anthony Hopkins, The Father

Chloé Zhao; Nomadland

EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)
Bukky Bakray

Promising Young Woman; Emerald Fennell, Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Josey McNamara

Soul; Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

My Octopus Teacher; Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed, Craig Foster

His House; Remi Weekes (Writer/Director)

Daniel Kaluuya; Judas And The Black Messiah

Promising Young Woman; Emerald Fennell

Yuh-Jung Youn; Minari

Nomadland; Joshua James Richards

Another Round; Thomas Vinterberg, Sisse Graum Jørgensen

Sound Of Metal; Mikkel E.G. Nielsen

The Father; Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller

Soul; Pete Docter, Dana Murray

BAFTA Supporting Actress Winner Yuh-Jung Youn Cracks Up David Oyelowo With “Snobbish Brits” Comment


April 11, 2021 12:33pm

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Yuh-Jung Youn

Minari actress Yuh-Jung Youn received the biggest laugh of the night at the virtual BAFTAs this eve when she joked that she was happy to be crowned best supporting actress by the org’s voters because Brits are “snobbish”.

Receiving the award virtually from presenter David Oyelowo, a visibly shocked Yuh-Jung Youn also paid tribute to the late Prince Philip in her brief acceptance speech.

“I would like to express my deep condolence for your Duke of Edinburgh,” she commented. “Thank you so much for this award. Every award is meaningful, but this one especially [to be] recognized by British people, known as very snobbish people and they approve me as a good actor, so I’m very, very privileged.”

Later during the virtual BAFTA press conference Yuh-Jung Youn was asked if she could expand on the “snobbish” remark, which led her to confirm that she meant the off-the-cuff comment in a light-hearted way.

“Yes, it comes from my personal experience of course. I visited Britain a lot of times and I had a fellowship at Cambridge College 10 years ago, as an actor. Somehow it [Cambridge] felt very snobbish but not in a bad way – you [the Brits] have a long history. As an Asian woman I felt these people [Brits] are very snobbish, that’s my honest feeling,” she said with a smile.

Yuh-Jung Youn’s BAFTA adds to her Screen Actors Guild award, and she is now looking like a red hot favorite for Oscar in two weeks.

Harry Kooperstein Dies: Emmy Winning Producer And Director Was 78


April 11, 2021 11:30am

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Harry Kooperstein, a director and producer who won 17 local Emmy Awards, including eight for his work on the annual Live From the Hollywood Bowl telecasts, died March 30 in Palm Desert, Calif. He was 78 and no cause of death was given in a report by the Desert Sun media outlet.

Kooperstein directed newscasts for KCOP-TV and musical specials on Miss Saigon and Kiss of the Spider Woman for the Ahmanson Theatre, and also produced the Hollywood Christmas Parade. Additionally, he was a Governor for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Born Hillel ben Yaakov on April 11, 1941 in Columbus, Ohio, he attended Ohio State University. majoring in music. He moved to Los Angeles in the late 1970s.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara, a son, Charles (Chuck) Gardner, and sister Laine Kooperstein Beim.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to City of Hope. Click “Donate in Honor or Memory of Loved One (Tribute Gift)” in the left column and enter Harry Kooperstein’s name. You can also mail donations to: City of Hope, Attn: Cheryl Sannes, 1500 E. Duarte Rd., Duarte, CA 91010. Please write: “In memory of Harry Kooperstein” in the memo line.