Talent Agent Matt Fechter Joins Hyperion

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September 21, 2021 1:14pm

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Ryan Jaeger

Matt Fechter has joined Hyperion to launch their Comedy Department. Fechter comes from CAA where he worked as an agent in both the comedy and talent departments working closely with such actors, directors, and comedians as Aristotle Athiras, Courtney Parchman, Jim Rash, Jeff Garlin, Laura Terruso, Madelaine Petsch, Maddie Phillips, Michael Cimino, Mike Cabellon, Miles Brown and Nat Faxon.

“We couldn’t be more fortunate to forge ahead into the comedy space with Matt leading the charge.  He’s proven his skill and ability to break new acts as well as his success representing established artists who have crossed over into different genres and mediums. He’ll no doubt continue that momentum at Hyperion,” said Hyperion founder, Ryan Bartlett on Tuesday.

Prior to CAA, Fechter worked in the motion picture and television departments at UTA.

“Hyperion, under Ryan’s innovation and leadership, is at the forefront of what it means to be in the representation business.  They have created an elevated and progressive standard in talent representation and I’m beyond thrilled to be part of that evolution.” said Fechter.

Hyperion represents a diverse client list including Shailene Woodley, Ashton Sanders, Cle Bennett, Spence Moore, Reign Edwards in addition to Shaun White, January Jones and music sensations; Galantis, Arizona, and Lost Kings on the Hyperion Branding side.

 

Disney CEO Bob Chapek Says Covid Shutdowns Reduced Streaming Content Available In Q4; Warns Wall Street, Subscriber Growth “Not A Straight Line”

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September 21, 2021 1:14pm

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Disney

Walt Disney chief executive Bob Chapek said the company’s global net paid subscribers will rise “by low single-digit millions” for its current fiscal fourth quarter from the third — meaning slower growth — and put Wall Street on notice that long-term targets are still on track but they shouldn’t assume growth will be a straight line.

“A quarter-to-quarter business is not linear,” he told a media conference Tuesday. “That’s something where we’re not exactly aligned with the Street.”

“Investors take last December and say, ‘Oh, they want to get to 230 or 260 or whatever the number, and they divide it by the number of quarters and say, ‘They need to add ‘X’ per quarter. [But] these numbers tend to be a lot noisier than a straight line quarter-to-quarter, and we have seen some of that in this current quarter,” he said. (Disney execs, at the company’s investor day December 10, projected 260M Disney+ subscribers all in by 2024.)

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Disney shares closed down 4%. But had regained ground in late trading.

Chapek, speaking at a Goldman Sachs media conference, said the company remains confident in its long-term projections. And core market subscriber growth will continue both domestically and internationally in Q4 despite “headwinds” in Latin America and India, and Covid-induced production delays that created a kink in the supply chain for new content coming to the service.

“This is very short term,” he said, in fact, has been resolved. The studio currently has 61 new movies and 17 episodic programs in production. The television group has “hundreds” of new programs in production and the company has 200 productions underway across the globe.

“The supply chain is healthy … but the resurgence of Covid and Delta did impact production so we have a lighter production quota in Q4 then we might have expected,” Chapek said, He didn’t mention specific productions delayed by the fast spreading variant.

Disney+ had its first rough quarter – the second – when it fell short of Wall Street expectations (103 million subs actual vs 109 million anticipated) and saw the parent take a hit to its stock. For the third quarter ended in June, it hit 116 million slightly beating estimates.

Its fourth quarter ends Sept. 30.

Disney is hosting a new Disney+ Day on Nov. 12.

‘Access The Public’: 101 Studios & Versus Productions Partner On Docuseries Examining Influence Of Public Access TV

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September 21, 2021 1:09pm

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EXCLUSIVE101 Studios and Versus Productions have teamed up to produce Access the Public, a docuseries tracing the rise of public access television between 1970 and 1990.

Before there was YouTube, Facebook and TikTok, public access TV proved revolutionary, creating genres, advancing women’s and LGBTQ rights, winning Supreme Court rulings and changing the way content was consumed by providing an outlet for free speech.

The limited series featuring exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes material will touch on TV series that played a hand in these movements including Gay USA, The Live Show, Midnight Blue and others. It will also examine the public television starts of some of entertainment’s biggest names, including Whoopi Goldberg, The Beastie Boys and RuPaul.

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Versus Entertainment’s Rob Meyers, Justin Barnes and Mark Grande will exec produce the series with Ben Bitonti, David Hutkin and David C. Glasser of 101 Studios.

“Access the Public is an exciting project for us because it uncovers and reveals a big part of history that many people are not familiar with,” said Glasser, who serves as 101 Studios’ CEO. “The role that public access television played in shaping how we produce and consume entertainment to this day is immense, and we are proud to have a hand in telling the story to audiences worldwide.”

“Growing up in New York, I felt like you always had these mini revolutions all around you, be it racial, sexual, or artistic,” added Versus Co-Founder Meyers. “Public Access TV captured all of this in flashes of brilliance, showing the city at its most unfiltered – which is exactly how we plan to share it with a new generation of viewers.”

Founded by Glasser and COO Hutkin, 101 Studios is known for its collaboration with Taylor Sheridan on his Emmy-nominated Paramount Network series, Yellowstone, along with its upcoming prequel 1883 and crime thriller Mayor of Kingstown. The company also oversees and managing the newly formed content platform, Sports Illustrated Studios.

Upcoming projects include Paradise Found, based on the true story of high school football coach Rick Prinz; a docuseries about the sexual abuse and cover-up at Ohio State University, co-produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures; and the docuseries Covers, which offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sports Illustrated’s top cover stories of all time.

Versus has previously produced features including The Fabulous Chi Ali, Before Jackie: The Story of Kenny Washington with Viola Davis for CBS Sports, YouTube’s Paris Hilton doc This is Paris, and Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, from executive producer Susan Sarandon. The content company’s creative partners include Disney, ABC, CBS, NFL, Discovery, and Audible.

The deal between 101 Studios and Versus Productions was brokered by UTA.

‘Three Women’: Betty Gilpin To Star Alongside Shailene Woodley & DeWanda Wise In Showtime Drama Series

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September 20, 2021 2:00pm

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Erik Lee Snyder

GLOW alumna Betty Gilpin has been tapped as a co-lead opposite Shailene Woodley and DeWanda Wise in Showtime’s Three Women. The hourlong series is based on the nonfiction bestseller by Lisa Taddeo, who has adapted her novel. Principal photography is set to begin in the coming months.

In Three Women, a group of women are on a crash course to radically overturn their lives. Gilpin will star as Lina, a homemaker in Indiana who, after a decade in a passionless marriage, embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming and transforms her life. Sloane (Wise), a glamorous entrepreneur in the Northeast, has a committed open marriage with Richard, until two sexy new strangers threaten their aspirational love story. Maggie, a student in North Dakota, weathers an intense storm after accusing her married English teacher of an inappropriate relationship. Lastly, Gia (Woodley), a writer grieving the loss of her family, persuades each of these three spectacular “ordinary” women to tell her their stories, and her relationships with them change the course of her life forever.

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Gia’s storyline mirrors Taddeo’s journey with Three Women, her debut nonfiction book, which tells the true story of three American women who suffered private and/or public backlash for their sexual desires. It took Taddeo a decade to research, report and write it, often moving to the towns of her subjects to achieve complete authenticity. The book was published in 2019 by Simon & Schuster.

2020-21 Showtime Pilots & Series Orders

Three Women is executive produced by Taddeo, showrunner Laura Eason, Kathy Ciric and Emmy Rossum. Louise Friedberg has signed on to direct the first two episodes, which she will also executive produce.

Gilpin is probably best known for her time as Debbie Eagan/LIberty Belle on Netflix’s GLOW, a role for which she received three consecutive Emmy nominations. The Scrubs alum also appeared in Craig Zobel’s film The Hunt and Amazon’s The Tomorrow War. She is set to appear in Starz’ Watergate drama Gaslit. The actress is repped by ICM Partners, Anonymous Content and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman.

Tom Hanks & Laura Dern To Host ‘A Night At the Academy Museum’ TV Special On ABC

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September 20, 2021 2:00pm

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EXCLUSIVE: ABC and the Academy have teamed to promote the upcoming launch of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures with a star-studded primetime special hosted by Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Laura Dern, who are also members of the museum’s board of trustees.

A Night at the Academy Museum will feature Annette Bening, Cher, Jon M. Chu, Geena Davis, Danny Glover, Eiza González, Emily V. Gordon, Aldis Hodge, Marsai Martin, Marlee Matlin, Melissa McCarthy, Kumail Nanjiani, Michelle Rodriguez, Jurnee Smollett and Diane Warren as they explore the magic and artistry of the movies and give fans a peek into the exhibits at the museum, which opens Sept. 30. The special will air Oct. 12 at 10 p.m.

The special will provide an exclusive look at the movies’ 120-year history as well as an insight into the art of filmmaking that are showcased at what is billed as the largest institution in the U.S. dedicated to the arts, sciences and artists of moviemaking.

A Night in the Academy Museum is produced by Herzog & Company in association with Show Shop and directed by Linda Mendoza. Mark Herzog and Frank Garritano serve as executive producers.’

AMPAS CEO Assures Members Museum Opening On Schedule For September 30; Academy In-Person Events And Screenings To Restart In Early 2022

The special stems from the relationship between ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, longtime partners on the Academy Awards telecast.

After several delays, the most recent caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is opening its doors Sept. 30, initially be operating at 50% capacity, with masks required for all indoor spaces.

Michael Cieply contributed to this report. 

John Logan Blumhouse LGBTQIA+ Empowerment Feature Sets Theo Germaine As Lead

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September 20, 2021 2:09pm

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Lawrence Awyei, Blumhouse; AP

EXCLUSIVE:  Theo Germaine will star in John Logan’s untitled feature directorial debut, a new horror film for Blumhouse, formerly known as Whistler Camp

The movie is a LGBTQIA+ empowerment story set at a gay conversion camp.

Germaine is best known for playing James Sullivan in Ryan Murphy’s The Politician on Netflix, as well as in Abby McEnany’s Work in Progress executive produced by Lilly Wachowski for Showtime. He also starred in Rhys Ernst’s feature Adam which made its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

A three-time Oscar nominee, Logan (Skyfall, Gladiator, The Aviator) is also writing the Blumhouse title which Jason Blum and Michael Aguilar (Penny Dreadful, Kidding) are producing.

Ryan Turek is the creative executive overseeing the film for Blumhouse.

Germaine is represented by Gray Talent Group, Avalon Management and Frankfurt Kumit Klein & Selz.

ESPN Replaces Rachel Nichols’ ‘The Jump’ With ‘NBA Today’ Hosted By Malika Andrews

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September 20, 2021 1:03pm

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After months of controversy involving an internally-leaked phone conversation, questions about management, conversations about diversity, fraught contract negotiations and the departure of two of the network’s top female hosts, ESPN announced on Friday a new show to replace its Rachel Nichols-fronted daily NBA flagship, The Jump.

The offering will be called simply NBA Today and will inhabit roughly the same time slot as The Jump. The show is to be hosted by ESPN’s ace NBA reporter — and frequent Jump fill-in frontwoman — Malika Andrews. The newly-minted show will also feature commentary from regular Jump analysts Kendrick Perkins, Vince Carter and Zach Lowe as well as reporting from Jump mainstays Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.

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An excited Andrews took to Twitter to celebrate the news, reposting the network’s tweet with “Let’s do this!”

Let’s do this! https://t.co/0qPXQMi5iF

— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) September 20, 2021

In a statement released by ESPN Andrews said, “It’s an incredible time to cover the NBA – a league that is full of characters and stories that have resonance far beyond the sports world. Our goal every day is to deliver information and analysis to our viewers that can’t be gleaned anywhere else. I’m so excited to showcase the league and the talented reporters, analysts and insiders on our team.”

David Roberts — the network’s new Senior Vice President, NBA and Studio Production who has overseen the recent transitions in coverage — had the following to say: “NBA Today will provide in-depth, comprehensive daily coverage of all aspects of the NBA. Malika, who is a phenomenally talented commentator, will run point on a show that will feature a vibrant cast of expert analysts who all offer distinct perspectives on the game. Through the contributions of our wide array of NBA reporters, the show will be both newsy and timely with an eye towards the biggest games around the league that day.”

NBA Today will air regularly on ESPN Monday-Friday at 3 p.m. ET. Its debut will be October 18 on ESPN2. The final episode of The Jump is slated for Friday, October 8.

David Permut Acquires Rights To Joanna Hodgkin’s ‘Tell Me Who I Am’ For Narrative Adaptation

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September 20, 2021 1:25pm

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EXCLUSIVE: Oscar nominated Hacksaw Ridge producer David Permut has scooped up the rights to produce the narrative adaptation of Alex and Marcus Lewis’ gripping true story which was chronicled in Joanna Hodgkin’s best-selling book Tell Me Who I Am, as well as in Netflix’s critically acclaimed documentary of the same name.

After losing his memory in a motorcycle accident at age 18, Alex Lewis relies on the only person he recognizes, his twin brother Marcus, to teach him who he is. But the idyllic childhood Marcus paints is hiding a traumatic family secret that the twins must finally face together decades later.

Michael Buckner/Deadline

The documentary played in the Official Selection of the 2019 Telluride Film Festival, screened at the BFI London Film Festival, and is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes at 97%.

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Permut is producing through his Permut Presentations banner alongside Keenan Porterfield and Alexa Garster, as well as his Director of Development Alex Astrachan who will serve as a co-producer.

“I found the story about the complexities in the relationship between Marcus and Alex to be emotionally charged and simply one of the most riveting stories I have ever heard,” Permut tells Deadline. “It has the makings of a great narrative film for the right filmmaker and certainly a tour de force for an actor in the portrayal of the twin brothers.”

Currently the production is exploring writer, director and actor possibilities.

With this latest acquisition, Permut continues to build his expansive slate of true stories which includes Being Heumann; Sian Heder’s next film based on Judy Heumann’s incredible life. There’s also The Pharmacist, based on the Netflix docuseries, Chippendales which Craig Gillespie is directing and Dev Patel is starring in for New Regency, Sheela at Amazon with Barry Levinson directing and Priyanka Chopra starring, Mary Edwards Walker which is at Walden with Benjamin August adapting, and Goldsboro at The Cartel with Bob Edwards adapting.

And while not based on a true story, Permut’s 1997 classic blockbuster Face/Off is on the fast track at Paramount, with Adam Wingard set to direct a script written by himself and Simon Barrett.

Permut is represented by John Tishbi at Pearlman & Tishbi, LLC, and Keenan Porterfield and Alexa Garster are represented at Management 360. Joanna Hodgkin is represented by Meg Davis at Ki Agency Ltd.

Afghanistan Has Its Own Fake News Problem – Special Report

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September 20, 2021 1:09pm

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Editor’s Note: Hollie McKay’s latest special report for Deadline finds the veteran foreign affairs correspondent and Only Cry for the Living: Memos from Inside the ISIS Battlefield author writing from Kabul about the disinformation campaigns across the Taliban-ruled South Asian nation.

A month into the Taliban takeover of Kabul, and the misinformation and disinformation continues to soar into dizzying territory – driven not only by both clumsy, opportunistic social media sharing, but also seemingly structured propaganda initiatives both inside and outside Afghanistan.

But like the boy who cried wolf, much of it is likely to hurt those suffering more than help. The more the fake news is shared, the more it gains creditability, only to be proven false and plunge the beleaguered further into fear, chaos and confusion as to what is really going on.

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Most notably this week, Twitter took hold – and mainstream media caught on – to news that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, one of the most visible faces in the new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, was killed in an argument with other Taliban senior figures.

“Afghanistan has fallen into a chaotic and global information war. Taliban spokespeople have issued statements that are revealed to be lies by either open-source evidence or the candid testimony of other Taliban,” said Emerson Brooking, a resident senior fellow at the Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council. “Meanwhile, a surreal coalition of opposition groups – among them members of the Afghan diaspora, Iranian exile organizations, Indian ultranationalists and Western military veterans – have pushed back against the Taliban. In the process, they have spread falsehoods of their own.”

Rumors highlighting severe injury or the death of Taliban co-founder Baradar – who seemed poised to become the leader but was instead announced last week as acting first deputy prime minister – date back as far as early on September 4. The rumblings appear to have been part of meddling effort, and were sparked after widespread Taliban celebratory shooting Kabul linked to the group first entering the prized Panjshir. This was then morphed to appear as an internal Taliban conflict, according to a digital forensic analysis.

On this date, unverified accounts with NRF or Panjshir in their handles wrote: “Gunfire last night in Kabul was a power struggle between two senior Taliban leaders. Forces loyal to Anas Haqqani and Mullah Baradar fought over a disagreement on how to resolve the #Panjshir situation. Mullah Baradar was reportedly injured and is receiving treatment in Pakistan.”

One former U.S. government intelligence and cyber-intelligence affirmed that one of the earliest tweets on Baradar’s demise given the most attention has both a website and Twitter account put together in August. The domain was registered in Canada via a private company.

But then on September 6, the India-based Economic Times ran the headline “Infighting breaks out within Taliban; co-founder Mullah Baradar hurt in clash with Haqqani.” However, later that day Baradar was seen publicly in a meeting with Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, dispelling such rumors – at least temporarily.

At the strike of midnight on September 12, the unverified, pro-Panjshir based National Resistance Forces tweeted via @NRFAfghanistan that “According to unconfirmed sources, Mullah Baradar was killed and Anas Haqqani was wounded in fighting among Taliban’s. These battles have been raging in recent days during the formation of the government cabinet & there are reports of the presence of General Faiz on this occasion.”

General Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed is the Director of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Agency, and extensive efforts in DC are underway to probe Islamabad’s role in bolstering the Taliban.

After failing to ignite the first time, the rumor proliferated a second time on Sunday, and within 24 hours became the dominant Twitter trending topic. It was even repeated off-record by those within tight Taliban circles, giving further weight to the murmurs.

While the official Taliban leadership was quick to deny the latest soaring speculation, the Taliban leadership disseminated a voice message and handwritten message on Tuesday purporting to be that of Baradar affirming that he has “been away on trips” and is “fine.”

However, the lack of video has continued to give rise to the possibility and ongoing conspiracies pertaining to his demise and the likelihood of further similar stories. The BBC reported Wednesday that some form of altercation involving Baradar occurred, prompting him to travel to Kandahar.

Social media storms have also run wild with unclear narratives pertaining to Panjshir – the last bastion of anti-Taliban resistance.

Much of the vacuum of information has spurned from the lack of cell coverage, which has long been spotty across the picturesque province, and is believed to be non-existent in the mountains – except for expensive satellites – where the skirmishes are said to be ongoing. Many residents have fled to Kabul or into the rugged caves and crevices.

Analysts have warned that Panjshir has become a perfect proxy playground amid the war of information between longtime rivals Pakistan – which is considered a Taliban ally – and India, which has thrown its support behind the NRF. After reporting that the main artery of all eight Panjshir districts – which I witnessed last Friday to be under Taliban control while also acknowledging that fighting continued in the mountains and a feared humanitarian crisis loomed for Panjishiri people both left behind and continued to flee – an array of troll, bots and accounts with no or few followers unleashed to content that the firsthand observations had to be wrong.

In recent weeks, stories surged mostly via Indian news media raising alarm over Pakistan intervention with footage claiming to be that of the Pakistan Air Force assailing the resistance forces. However, Michael Kugelman, deputy director at the U.S.-based Wilson Center think tank, later observed that the at least some “footage” was derived from video games. Another clip alleged to show a Pakistan “invasion” in the region was also debunked by the UK Defence Journal as an American F-15 in the UK.

“This information war has been clearest in the case of Panjshir, in which accurate information has been almost impossible to receive. The Taliban’s claims of victory were, understandably, treated with suspicion,” Brooking observed. “At the same time, the Panjshir guerillas appear to have misrepresented their strength in a bid for Western support. The falsehoods of this anti-Taliban group were heavily amplified by actors outside the region who likely saw it as a way to undermine Taliban strength.”

Some analysts said Pakistani intervention remains a possibility, but the use of fake “evidence” does more harm than good in delivering a sound and accurate portrait of the situation.

Further assessments run by a now private intelligence group in the UK, who requested anonymity due to their sensitive work in the region, and the France-based Ultra-Scan Research also pointed to France as a country in which many of the fake accounts are promulgated.

“Many activists are engaged in social media and make mistakes. But just as important as the domestic propaganda inside Afghanistan is the (narratives) of foreign states,” explained Frank Engelsman, CEO of Ultra Scan Research, which bills itself as an intelligence gathering, investigations, reputational risk mitigation group.

Yet ever since the Taliban’s waltz into Kabul and conquering of the capital on August 15, the distortion cycle has mushroomed in the form of countless – and widely circulated – images that are either doctored, fake, or entirely out of context or without context. These are often shared by otherwise credible news figures and government officials usually outside of Afghanistan, without explanation as to when they were shot or the story behind them.

Indeed, much of the fake news focus has also centered on the murky and concerning issue of women’s rights under the new Taliban regime.

Most recently, the France 24 fact-checking service @InfoIntoxF24, exposes that the image of a man cloaking beneath the burka at a gathering of all women was photoshopped from a picture taken of around 300 women during a protest at Kabul University on Saturday.

According to screenshots posted by the India Today Anti Fake News War Room, which first exposed them as fakes, the photoshopped pictures went viral Sunday.

The following day, offshore accounts tweeted and retweeted a fake CNN story screenshot claiming that the Taliban has “bans sanitory (spelled wrong) napkins in Afghanistan, says it’s not Shariah compliant practice.” A reverse image search shows that the photograph used of the woman shopping comes from an India.com article in 2017 pertaining to President Modi’s taxing on women’s hygiene products.

Moreover, widely shared images in recent weeks include that of three supposed burqa-clad Afghan women chained to each other and walking behind a man holding the chain. The feigned image took ignited the day after the Taliban takeover, seemingly from India-based accounts, capitalizing on the #AfghanWomen viral campaign. However, the image was taken by an Associated Press photographer in Iraq in 2003 and the chain was digitally added.

Another video that did the rounds features a woman being publicly executed – shared hundreds of times from a now defunct “Rout Jagganath” account asserting that it’s a current scene in Afghanistan in which “Taliban shot and killed a Muslim woman in the middle of the road.” Yet fact-checkers have traced the video back to an al-Qaeda linked group in Syria in 2015, killing a woman accused of adultery.

Other photos used out of context featured a plane filled with hundreds of Afghan men used to drive the narrative that women and children were being left behind, yet the image was taken in Turkey by a state-run news agency in connection with a story about the deportation of illegal immigrants. Other viral photos taken out of context or edited include one video captioned, “Brave Afghan women protest against #Taliban in #Kabul #Afghanistan.” Only the video hails from protests in Iran several days earlier.

Experts caution that while the situation pertaining to women’s rights is extremely dire and worrisome under a regime known for its strict interpretation of Shariah Law, the fake imagery does serious damage in undermining a critical cause that could potentially harm Afghan women even more by throwing doubt when real atrocities are committed.

The images also endeavor to ratchet up the hysteria and fear, contributing to an already chaotic situation and the desperation to flee.

And in the month since the Taliban took power, scores of fake social media accounts have been set up to mimic major news organizations including CNN, typically with the intention of showing journalists being captured and killed. For one, the now suspended @CNNAfghan claimed last month that the company’s non-existent journalist “Bernie Gores” was “executed in #Kabul” and the avowal that the company was “working with U.S. officials to get several more journalists out of Afghanistan at this time.” The story was then picked up by other fake accounts in a coordinated manner – such as @MSNBCAfghan and @BBCAfghanNews

Despite being clearly fake, this was sent to me several times by concerned individuals in the U.S. security sector, showing how easily and abruptly warnings can take hold without proper due diligence.

And while the U.S. may have left Afghanistan last month, differing narratives continue to play out in the mainstream media. Some analysts say that the western “military industrial complex” woven through defense firms, contractors, lobbyists and manufacturers have a vested interest in keeping the chaos of Afghanistan – and credence in the resistance – alive.

Other outside actors, including Russia, also have reason to stoke chaos and exploit American ineptitude. According to a Defense One breakdown last week, the “U.S withdrawal from Afghanistan has given NATO’s adversaries ammunition for disinformation attacks intended to sow doubt about America’s reliability as a security partner.”

States news outlet Russia Today was also criticized late last month for tweeting an image – now deleted – of an Afghan refugee with a photoshopped rocket in his backpack and the caption: “Are some terrorist getting a free ride out of Afghanistan?”

It remains unclear as to whether the numerous instances of disinformation are entirely all individuals or groups working at their own behest, or if any campaigns are directly state-sponsored. But thing is for sure: it’s a digital conflict that casts doubt from all sides of the equation.

“The net effect of this information war is to keep the Afghan people in a state of confusion regarding the stability of their own country,” Brookings said. “It also makes it harder for the Taliban to claim control of Afghanistan and hence negotiate for things like international aid which the Afghan people will need desperately in the months to come.”

Kylie Rogers Joins Tiffany Haddish In MGM, Annapurna and Plan B’s ‘Landscape With Invisible Hand’ Adaptation

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September 20, 2021 1:58pm

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Courtesy of Kristine Canterbury

EXCLUSIVE: Kylie Rogers is set to join Tiffany Haddish and Asante Blackk in MGM, Plan B Entertainment and Annapurna Pictures’ film adaptation of Landscape With Invisible Hand. Written and directed by Bad Education director Cory Finley, the film is based on National Book Award winner M.T. Anderson’s novel Landscape With Invisible Hand

The original story is a heightened comedy set in a deeply stratified, alien future. Annapurna’s Megan Ellison and Sue Naegle will serve as producers on the film, which is expected to begin production in early 2022.

Rogers most recently wrapped shooting in Ari Aster’s Disappointment Blvd for A24 opposite Joaquin Phoenix, as well as Kenya Barris’ reimagining of Cheaper by the Dozen for Disney+. She can currently be seen in the second season of Home Before Dark for Apple TV+. She is represented by UTA, Anonymous Content and Brecheen, Feldman.

‘Caster’: YA Novel Getting Feature Take From Scribe Maggie Levin At Paramount

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September 20, 2021 11:36am

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WME; Scholastic Press

EXCLUSIVE: Maggie Levin is writing an adaptation of Elsie Chapman’s young-adult novel Caster for Paramount. We understand that the deal closed before the announced departure of Paramount chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos and that the project is in very early development.

Levin currently is writing the TriStar sequel Labyrinth, which Doctor Strange filmmaker Scott Derrickson is set to direct.

Caster is part of a YA franchise in the spirit of The Hunger Games meets Fight Club. It centers on Aza Wu, who knows that real magic is dangerous and illegal. In fact, casting killed her sister, Shire. As with all magic, everything comes at a price. For Aza, it feels like everything in her life has some kind of cost attached to it. Her sister had been casting for money to pay off Saint Willow, the gang leader who oversees her sector of Lotusland, and now that debt falls on Aza’s shoulders. With Shire dead, Aza must step in to save the legacy of Wu Teas, the teahouse that has been in her family for centuries. Aza enters herself in an underground casting tournament, one in which she must fight for her life.

Scholastic and Josephson Entertainment are producing along with Weed Road. Caitlin Friedman and Iole Luchesse will produce on behalf of Scholastic. Matt Geller and Kelsi Fleming are producing on behalf of Josephson. Greg Lessans and Rachel Reznick are producing on behalf of Weed Road. Paramount execs on the project are Vanessa Joyce and Ellie Walker.

Levin directed an episode of the Hulu series Into the Dark and is the second unit director on Blumhouse’s upcoming feature The Black Phone. 

She is repped by WME, Stephanie Myer at Gang Tyre and Natalie Covault at Brillstein Entertainment Partners LA.

Denise Richards To Star In Family Comedy ‘The Junkyard Dogs’ From Verdi Productions

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September 20, 2021 1:03pm

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EXCLUSIVEDenise Richards (The Bold and the Beautiful) has signed on to star in The Junkyard Dogs, a family comedy from director Jacob Cooney.

The film penned by Cooney and Jamie Sykes follows a dog named Houdini who is a master escape artist, and must team up with his neighborhood puppy pals to prevent their block from being robbed by a duo of bumbling thieves.

Richards will play Monica Sullivan, a single mother of two who discovers, while focused on her upcoming wedding, that both her children and her precocious pup are devising a plan to stop the thieves before their neighborhood falls under siege.

Chad A. Verdi, Chelsea Vale, David Gere, Chad A. Verdi Jr. and Paul Luba are producing. Verdi Productions is financing the film, with VMI Worldwide handling world sales. Pic is scheduled for a day and date theatrical release in mid 2022 through VMI Releasing.

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Richards is an actress, businesswoman, philanthropist and New York Times bestselling author who can currently be seen portraying Shauna Fulton on CBS soap opera The Bold & The Beautiful. She was recently seen in the film Timecrafters and will next appear opposite Joan Collins and Jane Seymour in the medieval drama series, Glow & Darkness, from Alejandro Guillermo Roemmers and José Luis Moreno.

Richards made her big screen debut in the cult classic hit Starship Troopers, garnering international recognition for her Bond Girl role opposite Pierce Brosnan, as The World Is Not Enough‘s Dr. Christmas Jones. The actress has also appeared in such films as Love Actually, Scary Movie 3, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and Wild Things. She’s also appeared on the TV side in Paper Empire, A Girl Is a Gun, Vanity, Twisted, Blue Mountain State, Two and a Half Men and more.

Richards is represented by A3 Artists Agency, Miles Anthony Associates, Adam Griffin and Samir Karar at Vault Entertainment, and Del, Shaw, Moonves.

‘My Unorthodox Life’ Renewed For Season 2 At Netflix

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September 20, 2021 1:00pm

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My Unorthodox Life: Season 1. Episode 5, Secular in the City. Pictured: Julia Haart c. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021
Netflix

Netflix has renewed My Unorthodox Life for season 2.

My Unorthodox Life: Season 1. Episode 5, Secular in the City. Pictured: (L-R) Robert Brotherton, Miriam Haart, Shlomo Hendler, Julia Haart and Batsheva Weinstein. c. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021
Netflix

The unscripted reality series follows the lives of businesswoman Julia Haart, her second husband Silvio Scaglia Haart, and her four children—Batsheva, Shlomo, Miriam, and Aron— as they navigate life after leaving the ultra-orthodox Jewish faith and the religious community of Monsey, NY where she and her family have always called home.

She now lives a non-religious lifestyle in Manhattan with her youngest daughter Miriam but travels back and forth to Monsey where her youngest son, Aron lives half the time with his father —making for funny moments as a new, sexier Haart swoops into town to visit.

Haart is the CEO of Elite World Group, a modeling agency and fashion company, a world that’ll expand during the show’s sophomore season. The streamer teases fans will find “more fashion, family, female empowerment, faith, fabulousness, and of course, Haart.”

Series executive producers include Jeff Jenkins, Ross Weintraub, Reinout Oerlemans, and Haart; and is produced by Jeff Jenkins Productions, in association with 3BMG.

No tentative release date for season 2 has been announced.

The entire first season of My Unorthodox Life is available to stream now via Netflix.

Marvel Studios Promotes Victoria Alonso To President Of Physical, Post Production, VFX And Animation

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September 20, 2021 11:00am

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Victoria Alonso
Marvel Studios

Victoria Alonso has been promoted to president, physical and post production, visual effects, and animation production at Marvel Studios. A 15-year studio veteran, Alonso will oversee the divisions across the studio’s slate of films and series and continue to report to Marvel Studio co-president Louis D’Esposito.

“Victoria has been an incredible partner and part of our team since the very first Iron Man,” said Kevin Feige, president, Marvel Studios and chief creative officer, Marvel, and D’Esposito on Monday. “She is one of the most dynamic, candid and accessible executives in the industry and we’re thrilled that she’ll continue to be by our side in this elevated role as we lead Marvel Studios into the future.”

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Alonso will continue to serve as exec producer on all upcoming feature films including Eternals, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder, as well as EP on Marvel Studios’ upcoming series for Disney+ including Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk and Moon Knight.

“When Louis first suggested I come to work with the team on Iron Man, I never could have imagined the adventure ahead, and as far as I’m concerned, it has only just begun!” Alonso said. “We have an absolutely incredible group of people who are bringing their many talents to the exciting slate of films and series we have on the horizon, and I’m especially thrilled about ramping up our studio’s animation efforts, which is a personal passion of mine. Look forward to more singing!”

Alonso joined Marvel in 2006 as the company’s EVP of visual effects and post production, doubling as co-producer on Iron Man, a role she reprised on Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. In 2011, she was upped to executive producer on the blockbuster The Avengers, a role she has maintained on all Marvel Studios releases since then including Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Black Widow and most recently Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

During her tenure at the studio, Marvel films have amassed over $23 billion in global box office.

In 2021, Alonso became an Emmy-nominated producer for her work on the MCU’s first series on Disney+, WandaVision. She has also become an important voice in Hollywood as a producer, a Latina, and a senior female executive. She was named one of People en Español Magazine’s top “Poderosa” Most Influential Hispanic Women in 2019 and 2020, and was honored in 2015 with the Muse Award for Outstanding Vision and Achievement from the New York Women in Film & Television. She was also the first woman to be presented with the Harold Lloyd Award from the Advanced Imaging Society, which is given to a filmmaker who has created a body of work and specific achievements in 3D that advanced the motion picture art form.

In 2017, she was the first woman to be honored with the Visionary Award at the 15th Annual VES Awards for her advancement of unforgettable storytelling through visual effects.

Greg Lipstone Exits As President Of Propagate

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September 20, 2021 10:57am

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Propagate

Greg Lipstone is leaving Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens’ Propagate after a three-year stint as president, Deadline has confirmed. According to sources, the decision was made at the end of Lipstone’s original contract upon evaluation of the potential for growth of his responsibilities. He will not be replaced. It is unclear what Lipstone will do next.

Lipstone previously served as CEO of All3Media America and was a founding partner and board member at ICM Partners, where he headed the agency’s international television and media department.

Propagate’s slate includes the upcoming Fox drama series Our Kind of People, HBO Max’s LFG, Kevin Hart’s Muscle Car Crew on MotorTrend, Charmed on the CW, the Jamie Foxx-produced Hustle and Roll on Discovery+, Running Wild with Bear Grylls on Nat Geo and the upcoming NBC competition series The American Song Contest. The independent studio is backed by A+E Networks and The Raine Group.

Lipstone’s exit was first reported by Variety.