Monday, March 31, 2014

Hollywood’s Antipiracy Efforts Add New Voice

LOS ANGELES — In the fall of 2012, Ruth Vitale, a sassy independent film executive, nosed her horse into a badly directed jump and crashed in the mud.
The animal was fine. But Ms. Vitale broke her back, providing painful perspective on the need for the right mix of caution and daring when faced with an obstacle.
And the lesson may now ease her leap into another quagmire: the online piracy debate.
“It was pilot error,” Ms. Vitale said of the riding accident, though she could well have been describing the crackup, just months before her own, of Hollywood’s push for broad antipiracy legislation in both houses of Congress.
In a surprise move, Ms. Vitale, who built her executive reputation on hip films like “Hustle & Flow” and “The Virgin Suicides,” last month was named executive director of CreativeFuture, a coalition of movie and television producers, unions and companies that are bound by a common determination to get a grip, finally, on Hollywood’s digital future.
The entertainment industry is usually more comfortable with backdoor maneuvers than with public campaigns. But a Beltway lobbying operation by the Motion Picture Association of America and others was smashed in early 2012 by the combined effort of Silicon Valley giants like Google, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia and grass-roots web activists. Together they persuaded Congress to abandon proposed antipiracy laws as unduly restrictive of online freedom.
Ruth Vitale, executive director of CreativeFuture, is aiming to steer Hollywood’s digital future. Credit Stephanie Diani for The New York Times
Two years later, Hollywood is beginning to respond. Its new strategy generally eschews legislation, pursues voluntary agreements with legitimate companies that may be complicit with film piracy, and is looking for help from young consumers.
But it also counts on the now slightly tempered brassiness of Ms. Vitale, who said she was openly frustrated at seeing techies steal the movie world’s sense of cool.
“We’re the cool kids. We actually adopt new technology every day,” snapped Ms. Vitale, who spoke on Wednesday morning at Ago, a West Hollywood restaurant that was co-founded by Robert De Niro, and that finds her cool enough to have opened its doors an hour early for her interview.
The New York Times MARCH 30, 2014  

European Film Academy Young Audience Award Nominees

"Windstorm" Courtesy of Constantin Film

Katja von Garnier's “Windstorm,” Danish drama “The Contest” and Dutch feature “Regret” are up for the EFA's nod for best children's film.
The story of a young immigrant trying to be her adopted country's next pop star, a drama about school bullying and the tale of a girl and her horse are the three nominees for this year's Young Audience Award, presented by the European Film Academy.
The Contest, from Danish director Martin Miehe-Renard, looks at the phenomenon of television talent shows a la The Voice and American Idol, through the lens of a young Muslim immigrant girl to Copenhagen, who struggles with prejudice and family tradition to try and become the nation's next big thing. Dutch filmmaker Dave Schram frames Regret! - his story of school bullying from the point of view of a boy forced to choose whether to ignore or stand up for a bullied classmate. And Windstorm, from German director Katja von Garnier (Iron Jawed Angels) is a best-seller adaptation about a girl trying to save the life of her beloved horse.
Audiences of young viewers in 17 countries across Europe will screen all three films on May 4 and vote on the winner. The screenings for 12 to 14 year-old viewers will take place in major cities such as London, Barcelona and Stockholm but also in smaller areas including Aalborg in Denmark, Erfurt in Germany and in Israel's Tel Aviv.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony streamed line on
This is the third year the European Film Academy has let young audiences vote for their own favorite children's film. Last year's winner was The Zig Zag Kid from Dutch director Vincent Bal.
The Hollywood Reporter

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

‘The Voice Arabia’ Crowns Iraqi Singer Sattar Saad

BEIRUT — Iraqi singer Sattar Saad was crowned winner of the “The Voice Arabia” on Saturday during an intense finale which drew millions of viewers across the Middle East and saw guest star Ricky Martin take the stage to perform his new songs “Adrenalina” and “Come With Me.”

Aired by satcaster Middle East Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), The Arab version of “The Voice” wrapped with Saad draped in an Iraqi flag on stage receiving the trophy from his coach, Iraqi pop music sensation Kadim Al Sahir.

Saad’s victory, which sparked celebrations in the streets of Baghdad, earned him a record contract with Universal Music Group.

The second season of “The Voice” in the MENA region saw escalating ratings, driven by young auds “which was reflected by the voting and the social media platforms in the Arab world,” said MBC spokesman Mazen Hayek.

Martin, who arrived by private jet to Beirut where he made an overnight stop, offered the winner some advice before exiting the stage amid an audience frenzy and vowing to back in the Arab world “very soon.”

“My advice to the artist who wins tonight is: keep your focus, be surrounded by good people, and fight to bring your music to the rest of the world,” he said.

Young Iraqi singers featured prominently on “The Voice Arabia” this year. Two out of four finalists were from the country which has a rich musical heritage, a revival of which could help it rise from the ashes of war.

“It’s something that gives them more hope,” said the show’s host, Egyptian actor Mohamed Karim.

But Karim pointed out that several countries across the Arab world, from which the show’s 100 participants were selected, are enduring very rough living conditions. One of the finalists was from civil war-torn Syria.

Karim also underlined the pan-Arab nature of the show.

“The good thing about ‘The Voice” in this region is you’ve got more than twenty Arabic countries involved. All these countries speaking the same language, it’s kind of hard to find that anywhere else around the world,” he noted.

Though the Middle East does not have an exact TV ratings metric system, Karim said the finale’s audience is estimated to have scored 100 million viewers. 

VARIETY by Nick Vivarelli  March 30, 2014 | 06:08AM PT


Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Bring on the slime!
The 2014 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards kicked off Saturday in Los Angeles, with Mark Wahlberg hosting the fun-filled bash.
And before the show was over, he finally got covered in the green stuff courtesy of Kevin Hart, who enlisted the help of Wahlberg's three kids.
"I can't believe my own kids turned on me," Wahlberg yelled, after he was covered in the gloppy goo.
Check out more big moments from the 2014 Kids' Choice Awards!
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Slimed: Wahlberg's sliming aside, fans got the chance to vote on whether Austin Mahone or Cody Simpson would be slimed during the show. So, to make it fair, they chose both. Meanwhile, Wahlberg had several tricks up his sleeve to get a few more stars slimed, starting with Pharrell, who rocked a pair of yellow Spongebob Squarepants pajamas (!) and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting. Then, magician David Blaine slimed himself, when he appeared to lose his head on stage and green goop came shooting out of his neck during one of his magic tricks (seriously.).

The Good: Robert Downey Jr. got all inspirational as he accepted his award for best male buttkicker. "This is the highest honor yet bestowed on me. I'm grateful, humble, the whole deal," the Iron Man star said. "You know I wasn't always a buttkicker. In fact, life has kicked my proverbial butt countless times in many ways for many years, until I decided one day to start kicking back. Now look at me!"

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Big Winners: Sam & Cat producer Dan Schneider won the awards show's first-ever lifetime achievement award, and One Direction and Jennifer Lawrence also cleaned up, with the boy band taking home favorite music group and favorite song for "Story of My Life" and the Oscar winning actress nabbing favorite movie actress and favorite female buttkicker. In addition to those winners, Selena Gomez looked stunning as she accepted the award for favorite female singer, Adam Sandler was dubbed favorite male actor, and Hart nabbed favorite funny star.
Alberto Rodriguez/KCA2014/Getty Images
Take a peek at the full list of winners from the show:
2014 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Winners:
Favorite TV Show: Sam & Cat
Favorite Reality Show: Wipeout
Favorite Cartoon: SpongeBob SquarePants
Favorite TV Actor: Ross Lynch, Austin & Ally
Favorite TV Actress: Ariana Grande, Sam & Cat
Favorite Movie: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Favorite Movie Actor: Adam Sandler, Grown Ups 2
Favorite Movie Actress Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Favorite Animated Movie: Frozen
Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie: Miranda Cosgrove (Despicable Me 2)
Favorite Male Buttkicker: Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man 3
Favorite Female Buttkicker: Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Favorite Music Group: One Direction
Favorite Male Singer: Justin Timberlake
Favorite Female Singer: Selena Gomez
Favorite Song: "Story of My Life" (One Direction)
Favorite Book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
Favorite Videogame: Just Dance 2014
Favorite App Game: Despicable Me: Minion Rush
Favorite Funny Star: Kevin Hart
Favorite Animated Animal Sidekick: Patrick Star (SpongeBob SquarePants)
Most Enthusiastic Athlete: Dwight Howard
E! Entertainment by Brandi Fowler Today 9:13 PM PDT

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