Sonia is the heart and the artist of the team. She loves art and all that it implies. As Sonia says, good music, a well directed movie, or attending a music or film festival melts people’s heart and make them better. She is great at painting and photography. Working on scrapbooks is her favorite activity.
Gérard Depardieu has been formally placed under investigation over accusations that he raped an actress at his home in 2018.
The woman accuses the French actor of raping and assaulting her in Paris in August 2018.
Gérard Depardieu’s lawyer told AFP that the actor “totally dispute[d]” the allegation, and the investigation should not have been made public.
The arts world in France has been shaken by a series of accusations of abuse against leading figures.
Gérard Depardieu, 73, is one of France’s most famous actors, known for films including Jean de Florette, Green Card and Cyrano.
An initial investigation into the rape allegations was dropped in 2019, with prosecutors citing insufficient evidence, but was reopened last summer. Prosecutors formally placed Gérard Depardieu under investigation in December 2020.
The actor is free but under judicial supervision.
The woman’s lawyer, Elodie Tuaillon-Hibon, told AFP she hoped her client’s “private sphere” would be respected as the case unfolded.
Mario Lopez, who played AC Slater in the sitcom, said: “Dustin, you will be missed, my man. The fragility of this life is something never to be taken for granted. Prayers for your family will continue on.”
Mark-Paul Gosselaar, known to fans of the show as Zack Morris, tweeted that Dustin Diamond was “a true comedic genius” and said he “will miss those raw, brilliant sparks that only he was able to produce”.
Dustin Diamond reprised his role in follow-up series Saved by the Bell: The New Class, and Saved by the Bell: The College Years. But he did not appear in the recent revival series.
He was also a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother in 2013.
Dustin Diamond served three months in jail after he stabbed a man during an altercation at a bar in Wisconsin in 2014.
Talk show legend Larry King has died at the age of 87.
The giant of US broadcasting, who achieved worldwide fame for interviewing political leaders and celebrities, conducted an estimated 50,000 interviews in his six-decade career, which included 25 years as host of the popular CNN talk show Larry King Live.
Larry King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA, according to Ora Media, a production company he co-founded.
Earlier this month, the veteran talk show host was treated in hospital for Covid-19.
Larry King had faced several health problems in recent years, including heart attacks.
Ora Media said in a statement: “For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster.”
Larry King rose to fame in the 1970s with his radio program The Larry King Show, on the commercial network Mutual Broadcasting System.
He was then the host of Larry King Live on CNN, between 1985 and 2010, carrying out interviews with a host of guests.
Larry King also wrote a column for the USA Today for over 20 years.
Most recently, he hosted another program, Larry King Now, broadcast on Hulu and RT, Russia’s state-controlled international broadcaster.
Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez are to perform at the inauguration ceremony for President Joe Biden.
It is well-known that Lady Gaga campaigned for Joe Biden during the election, appearing with him on the eve of the presidential election last November.
Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem at the ceremony on January 20. Jennifer Lopez, who also endorsed Joe Biden last year, will give a separate musical performance.
After the ceremony, Tom Hanks will host a star-studded TV special.
Titled Celebrating America, the 90-minute prime-time program will also feature musicians Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons, and will be broadcast live by ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC and MSNBC.
Joe Biden’s inaugural committee said it would “celebrate the beginning of a new national journey toward an America united” and “showcase the American people’s resilience, heroism, and unified commitment to coming together as a nation to heal and rebuild”.
When Joe Biden is inaugurated, Washington DC will still be under a state of emergency after a mob stormed the Capitol on January 6. More than 10,000 National Guard troops will be in the city, with about 5,000 more on standby.
Otherwise, the ceremony’s attendance will be “extremely limited” in line with social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Biden team, which has urged Americans to avoid travelling to the capital.
Donald Trump announced last week that he will avoid the ceremony after disputing the election result, becoming the first president to skip the inauguration of his successor since 1869.
When President Donald Trump was inaugurated four years ago, 16-year-old former American Idol contestant Jackie Evancho sang the national anthem, while country stars Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood, and rock band 3 Doors Down were among the attractions at a special concert the night before.
This year’s Grammy Awards has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns, the organizers have announced.
The ceremony, one of the music industry’s biggest awards, was due to take place on January 31.
The 2021Grammy Awards will now take place on March 14, due to rising infection numbers in Los Angeles and the state of California.
Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and Dua Lipa led the nominations for this year’s awards, which were announced in November.
A statement from the Recording Academy, which runs the Grammys, said: “Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show.”
It is unclear whether comedian Trevor Noah, who was set to host the show, will still take part in this year’s ceremony.
Last month, lawyers acting on behalf of the Boy Scouts asked a judge to throw out the lawsuit, which suggested it could not use “scouts” or “scouting” in its recruitment material for girls.
In the latest filing at the Manhattan federal court on Christmas Eve, the Girl Scouts described the new recruitment program as “highly damaging” to its organization, having caused an “explosion of confusion” among parents.
“As a result of Boy Scouts’ infringement… [there have been] rampant instances of confusion and mistaken instances of association between Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts,” the papers stated, adding that the organization could provide proof of such instances.
In a statement released on December 26, the Boy Scouts said this was “not only inaccurate – with no legally admissible instance of this offered to date in the case – but it is also dismissive of the decisions of more than 120,000 girls and young women who have joined Cub Scouts or Scouts BSA”.
In October 2017, the Boy Scouts’ board of directors voted unanimously to open the century-old club to all children.
The move triggered a fierce backlash online, with the Girl Scouts accusing the group of initiating a “covert campaign” to recruit girls into an organization that had a “well-documented” declining membership.
The Boy Scouts reportedly has close to 2.3 million members in the US, down by about a third since 2000, compared with about 1.7 million members for the Girl Scouts – excluding adult volunteers.
In 2010, the Texas-born actor showcased his skills to the world in the comedy drama film The Kids Are All Right, which was one of the first mainstream movies to show a same-sex couple raising two teenagers.
It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including best picture.
In it, Eddie Hassell played Clay – a friend of Laser (Josh Hutcherson), whose parents (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) believe Hassell’s character is unstable.
Earlier in his career, Eddie Hassell portrayed Phil Nance – the best friend of schoolboy Miles Barnett – In the science fiction TV series Surface.
He appeared in 10 episodes, acting opposite the likes of Leighton Meester and Lake Bell, before NBC announced in 2006 that the series had been canceled after one season.
In 2013, Eddie Hassell played the young Chris Espinosa in Jobs – a biographical film about Apple founder Steve Jobs, alongside Ashton Kutcher.
Kyle Redford tweeted: “Jamie died today. We’re heartbroken. He lived a beautiful, impactful life & was loved by many. He will be deeply missed. As his wife of 32 yrs, I’m most grateful for the two spectacular children we raised together. I don’t know what we would’ve done w/o them over the past 2yrs.”
James Redford’s wife told the Salt Lake Tribune that he had discovered the cancer diagnosis late last year while awaiting a liver transplant.
His liver disease had returned two years ago, she added.
Robert Redford, 84, has three other children, including the actress Amy Redford.
Schitt’s Creek, Watchmen and Succession were the big winners at the 72nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards, which were held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic.
This year’s ceremony, held on September 20, 2020, was presented from an eerily empty Staples Center in Los Angeles by Jimmy Kimmel, with only a few guest presenters joining him in the studio.
It was a significantly lower-key event this year, with most winners dialing in to make their acceptance speeches from home.
Schitt’s Creek won nine prizes – breaking the Emmys record for most wins in a single season for a comedy.
It was a glowing send-off for the Canadian series, which broadcast its sixth and final season this year.
Succession took home the night’s top prize, best drama series, as well as best actor for Jeremy Strong.
The HBO series also won prizes in the drama categories for best writing and best directing during the virtual ceremony.
The show’s British creator Jesse Armstrong listed a number of “un-thank yous” during his acceptance speech, criticizing President Donald Trump and UK’s PM Boris Johnson for their respective responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
Another HBO series, Watchmen, won best limited series, as well as acting gongs for its stars Regina King and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
Twenty-four-year-old Zendaya became the youngest ever winner of best drama actress for her performance in Euphoria, a teen drama which follows a group high school students as they grapple with issues of love, drugs and identity. Zendaya beat stiff competition from the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Laura Linney and Olivia Colman in her category.
Schitt’s Creek won the best comedy series prize, with the show’s creators, father and son Eugene and Daniel Levy, picking up best comedy actor and best supporting comedy actor respectively.
Catherine O’Hara was named best comedy actress, with Annie Murphy winning best supporting actress in a comedy series.
The show follows the wealthy Rose family, who is forced to move to a motel in a small town after losing their fortune.
Schitt’s Creek launched on CBC in 2015 but developed a strong fan following around the world after later being added to Netflix.
Its wins also included outstanding directing for a comedy series for Andrew Cividino and Daniel Levy, with the latter also winning outstanding writing for the finale episode Happy Ending.
Regina King was named best actress in a limited series for her performance in Watchmen.
In her acceptance speech, she paid tribute to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Notorious RBG, who died over the weekend, and encouraged viewers to register vote in the forthcoming presidential election.
Regina King wore a T-shirt bearing the image of Breonna Taylor, a black woman shot and killed by police in Kentucky in March.
Uzo Aduba, who won best supporting actress in a limited series for Mrs. America, also wore a shirt displaying Breonna Taylor’s name during her speech.
Regina King’s co-star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was also named best supporting actor for his performance in the show.
Watchmen, an innovative reimagining of a superhero graphic novel that tackled racism in America, scored the most nominations this year.
The show won a loyal following and critical acclaim last year during its nine-episode run.
Elsewhere, Ozark‘s Julia Garner won best supporting drama actress while Billy Crudup won in the male category for his portrayal of a conniving network executive in Apple TV’s The Morning Show.
Succession‘s creator Jesse Armstrong also won best writing for a drama, while Andrij Parekh won best directing.
Several winners used their acceptance speeches to encourage Americans to register to vote in November’s election, including Mark Ruffalo, who won best actor in a limited series for I Know This Much Is True.
The in memoriam section honored stars including Chadwick Boseman, Naya Rivera, Caroll Spinney, Kirk Douglas, Sir Ian Holm and Dame Diana Rigg.
The Creative Arts Emmys took place earlier this week, with winners announced in categories such as casting, hair, make-up, lighting and sound design.
More than 25,000 members of the Television Academy vote for the awards, which were first presented in 1949.
The name Emmy derives from an early piece of TV equipment called the image orthicon camera tube – or the Immy.
This year marked Jimmy Kimmel’s third time hosting the Emmys, after he fronted the ceremony in 2012 and 2016.
Chadwick Boseman, best known for playing Black Panther in the hit Marvel superhero franchise, has died of cancer aged 43.
The actor died at home in Los Angeles with his wife and family by his side, a statement posted on social media said.
Chadwick Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago but had not made the information public.
The news has left fans and the film world stunned. Get Out director Jordan Peele, said it was “a crushing blow”.
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” his family said in the statement.
“From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more – all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”
However, it will be as the titular Black Panther in the blockbuster 2018 film he will be best remembered.
Chadwick Boseman stars as the ruler of Wakanda, a fictional African nation with the most advanced technology on earth.
As well as winning critical praise and taking more than $1.3 billion at cinemas worldwide, the film was widely seen as a cultural milestone for having a largely black cast and a black director, Ryan Coogler.
In 2019, Chadwick Boseman said the film had changed what it means to be “young, gifted and black”.
Black Panther was the first superhero film to get a nomination for best picture at the Oscars.
Chadwick Boseman also played the same role in other Marvel films Captain America: Civil War,Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
A sequel was in the works and due to come out in 2022, with Boseman set to return.
The news of his death came as a shock to many as Chadwick Boseman never discussed his diagnosis publicly.
However, fans started raising concerns over the actor’s health this year due to noticeable weight loss.
In 1995, Janet Urban stumbled on a film set while traveling in Kenya, and decided she wanted to work on nature documentaries. Today, she is an accomplished sound mixer who has won an Emmy for the National Geographic series Sea Monsters, worked with big-name Hollywood directors like Darren Aronofsky and Damien Chazelle, and worked on film sets around the world. Having broken into the industry without the benefit of film school or family connections, she now teaches aspiring filmmakers how to do the same.
Her coaching program, Friends in Film, combines working on professional film sets with weekend mentoring retreats across the US, London, Toronto, Vancouver, and Sydney. Urban has helped her mentees find freelance film work and enter fields such as acting, cinematography, sound, art, stunts, editing, writing, and voice over work. Friends in Film alumni have worked on such shows as Gotham, The Blacklist, Pose, The Bachelor, NBC Nighttime TV, and BBC Studios, and feature films including the Greatest Showman and The Irishman.
I had a chance to catch up with Janet and get some insight from her about the entertainment industry and things aspiring filmmakers should be aware of.
Q: What are the routes available to aspiring filmmakers nowadays? Do you think film school is the best option?
When I talk to aspiring filmmakers, I tell them that they don’t need to go to film school to become a director, writer, or director of photography (DP). A degree in filmmaking is nice to have, but it’s not necessary, and I don’t think students realize how much debt they will take on.
In the film industry, productions hire so quickly that there is no time to look at resumes. Instead, they ask around the production office. The way to get hired is by being referred by someone who has worked with you. No one is going to ask if you have a degree—they’ll recommend you based on your energy, your work ethic, and the choices you make on set.
I tell my students to get themselves onto professional sets and in production offices where they can watch top directors at work. Don’t learn from just one professor; learn from many different directors with a variety of styles. By being around professional directors, you’ll learn how they develop ideas and concepts and how they sell ideas to clients on conference calls to win their next directing job.
Another wonderful thing about learning on set and in person is the connections you make and the relationships you build. These directors and producers will want to see you succeed and will refer you to small directing jobs so you can build a reel much better than anything you can do in the artificial environment of film school.
Q: Can you work in the film industry with no degree, classes, or certifications?
Yes, yes you can. The film industry is unlike other industries where you need some kind of certification or degree. The film industry is not a Monday-to-Friday job that you land; it’s individual film projects where the crew is hired for their specific expertise. It’s more of a gig-based business, so people are not making a decision on who to hire from reviewing resumes, but by looking at prior call sheets and deciding whether to invite that person to work on the next project or not.
Film schools teach you theory and how to do these jobs (how to direct, how to light, how to produce) as best as they can in a classroom setting. It used to be that the only way you could get access to equipment was through film school. But today, you can shoot and edit on your iPhone.
Millions of people are amazing at writing, acting, and directing. Talent is everywhere. But only a handful of people are being paid to do it professionally. Turning your passion into a career is another ballgame that requires a different mentality: Not of chasing gigs, but methodically self-managing your career by building a track record and seeking out the right professionals and production companies to work with.
When I talk to a director or DP who has a degree in film, they always tell me, “Film school was a nice experience because I made close friends, but I’m still paying off my student loans. What made me successful, I learned on set, not at film school.”
Even if you have a degree in screenwriting, directing, or cinematography, you’re still going to start in the most entry-level job: production assistant. You’re not going to start as a director or writer or DP. You have to learn the craft by working on hundreds of shoots, scene after scene, day after day, to understand how to do that job smoothly at the professional level.
Most film professionals don’t have a degree in film. They had creativity and a strong work ethic. They started working in entry level jobs as production assistant, director’s assistant, producer’s assistant, casting director assistant, art director’s assistant, or production designer assistant. These jobs range in pay from $200 to $350 per day. And these jobs are where everyone, regardless of whether they have a degree in film or not, start learning their craft and making relationships that turn into more work and bigger opportunities down the road. That’s what I did: I learned by doing while working on professional film sets. The only degree I have is in business, which I got before I knew I wanted to work in film.
Bottom line, you don’t need a degree to break into film. Production is making decisions about who to hire based on either directly working with you, or getting referred to you. They’re not making hiring decisions based on resumes. So you should spend time working on set, not in class. You’ll learn more by watching professionals who have the job you want.
Q: What would you recommend for someone who would like to enter the industry but lives far from the central film markets (LA, NY, etc?)
There are opportunities to gain experience even in the smallest cities: There is local news, documentaries, corporate video, events, and conferences. If you live in a small market, it’s very smart to use these small shoots to gain experience and a track record before moving into a larger market.
That’s what I did. I realized I wanted to work in film when I was traveling in Kenya and saw a film crew. I decided then that I wanted to work for National Geographic. But I needed experience. I went to the nearest major market for filming: South Africa.
In South Africa, I worked as a production assistant on documentaries like the Elephant Relocation Project. On that shoot, I assisted the camera department. I helped with sound and dressing the scene. I took notes on the scenes as we were shooting them.
Later, I worked as a runner for WTN and ABC News, helping arrange interviews, scout locations, and set up equipment for shoots.
By the time I moved to Los Angeles, I had a resume of professional work. I could talk about the projects, the different departments I worked in, and the specific experience I got from these shoots.
Many cities have more opportunities than you may think. The major American film markets used to be New York and LA. But because of a series of writer and actor strikes, production stretched out into new markets. Now major film markets have been established in Toronto, Vancouver, Atlanta, Chicago, Albuquerque, and New Orleans.
The film industry is a business, and productions go wherever they can to get the job done at a lower cost. Even a big-budget production might cut down costs by shooting additional scenes on a stage in Albuquerque, using non-SAG actors in Dallas, or adding special effects in Vancouver.
Q: The film industry is made up of so many professions. How do you find the right one for yourself?
There’s a job for every background and personality type in film. The nice thing about the production assistant job is you get to help out other departments. This allows you to see what each department does, so you can understand what job you want to make your career in.
On a film set, there’s a job for every interest. If you have a finance, managerial, or logistic background, you may like producing. If you are visual and artistic, you may be a great director, director of photography, or production designer.
There are food jobs like craft service and catering, beauty jobs like hair and makeup, creative fashion type jobs like costume design, and technical jobs like special effects.
While an extrovert might gravitate toward acting, producing, or directing jobs that involve interfacing with people all day, an introvert might prefer working outside the limelight as an editor, sound mixer, digital image technician (DIT), or gaffer.
Each of these jobs also provides a different lifestyle depending on the sector. For instance, the lifestyle provided by feature films is different than that of working on TV shows or commercials.
If you work on a TV show, you could work on a soundstage Monday through Friday for up to six months. It’s steady work, and the film set becomes like a family.
If you work on a feature film, you could spend an intense month travelling to multiple locations with the rest of the crew, and regularly find yourself in snow boots, shooting a night scene in Pittsburgh, or even across the world at a famous temple in India.
If you work on documentaries, you’ll travel around the world with small crews. You’ll go backstage with famous bands, spend time with celebrities at their homes, or learn about cutting edge research from top scientists.
Commercials offer a wonderful lifestyle because they are well organized and have generous budgets. Music videos are no longer big budget or consistent work, but are a good place for newcomers to start.
Q: How important is it for aspiring filmmakers to get involved in a union?
The TV shows with the biggest budgets and highest-level work are union, which means you’ll need to be part of your department’s union to work on them. For actors, it’s SAG (Screen Actors Guild). For directors, writers, or assistant directors, it’s the DGA (Directors Guild of America). Almost all other specialties fall under IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees). Each department has its own local union. The only exception is for production assistants. There is no union for production assistants, so you can work as a PA on union shoots.
You can’t just contact the union and ask to join. The unions require that you have experience and qualifications, and the requirements vary by region.
For instance, if you live in Atlanta, you can contact the union in Atlanta to ask about the requirements. In most cases, it takes around two years of work to gain enough experience to join.
It’s not essential to join a union, though. Around 80 percent of shoots are non-union, and some unions are restrictive about their members working on non-union shows. It’s not a good idea to join a union until you have enough connections to work enough days on union shows to maintain your minimum hours.
Many young filmmakers have a misconception that joining the union means you’ve “made it.” But being part of the union doesn’t guarantee you work. You’re still responsible for your career and finding work.
Q: Many young filmmakers struggle with networking. Do you have any advice on making connections?
I struggled with this as well, because you need relationships to get hired, but you don’t want to establish a relationship just so that you can get something in return.
I found it helpful to remind myself that the people hiring for shoots were a lot like me—they’re also doing the job they love and want to work with great people. So networking is more about finding people and teams whose energy and vibe matches your own. If you remember that, you can focus on doing your best work, being a great listener, and asking questions.
By helping others do great work and helping them make progress in their career, you will naturally network.
Q: Do you have a personal favorite project from your career?
I got into the film industry because I wanted to see the world through being on a film shoot. I wanted to get up and close to the coolest things in the world. And that’s exactly what I experienced during the weeks I spent capturing the sound of the elusive Andean condor in Patagonia. They are one of the largest birds on earth, with a wingspan of 10 feet.
I had flown in to record the sounds of penguins, glaciers, and foxes for a nature series called Living Edens. I had just recorded the sound of orcas beaching themselves to hunt baby elephant seals—a phenomenon that only happens on one beach in the entire world, for two months each year.
What made recording the condors so difficult was that they are extremely smart and cautious. They’re a type of vulture, and before they dive down to feast on a kill, they watch for a specific series of events: First caracara birds show up. Then foxes arrive to feed on the carcass. And only then do the condors make an appearance.
I was staying on a sheep farm inside Torres del Paine, a national park whose famous peaks are the symbol of Patagonia. Every night, a puma would prowl the fields, attack a sheep, eat the heart, and leave the carcass. So every morning we’d find the kill, throw it in the back of a pickup truck, and drive to a blind we constructed out of bushes around a tree. From there, I would hide my microphones in the bushes around the carcass.
From 5 a.m. to noon each day, I waited in the blind, cradling $40,000 of sound equipment. But for weeks, the condors never showed up. The condors would circle the kill but they would not land.
We realized there was a problem with the blind, and it took us several weeks to come up with a blind that didn’t spook the condors. By Week 3, I was crawling into a crack in the ground before sunrise and pulling the bushes over my head.
On Day 30, the caracaras showed up, and then the foxes. It was finally happening! The condors circled and then swung in, in all their glory, hissing and spitting and growling. I was lucky. There was very little wind, and the sound of condors hissing, snorting, and jabbing their beaks into the carcass was crystal clear.
Mission accomplished! I flew back to Los Angeles knowing I had experienced a rare event that few people ever get to witness.
Q: Say someone wants to win an Emmy award by the time they’re 30. Are there any shortcuts they can take?
If you want to win an Emmy by the time you’re 30, that’s actually quite possible. Unlike the Oscars, the Emmys are more predictable, because the same productions submit their shows for Emmy consideration every year. There are Emmy awards for every craft, so if you work on those shows, the odds are good that you’ll win an Emmy.
That’s what happened to me. Since National Geographic submits all their TV specials to the Emmy awards, and I worked on many of them, I ended up winning an Emmy for Sea Monsters. Soon after, I was nominated for Return of the Wolf.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about working in the entertainment industry?
I love starting with just an idea and turning it into something that impacts the world and will be seen by millions. The industry attracts creative, interesting, well-read people, and it’s incredible to work with a team of people who can turn a street into Chinatown in a few hours, transform an ordinary guy into a caveman, or write lines that make everyone burst into laughter. I just can’t wait to get up each morning and head to a film set.
Since the industry is freelance, everyone on set is handpicked. Working in film gives you the opportunity to master a skill, become known for it, and even travel across the world to do it. We typically work 12-hour days for 15 days per month. Because we have a high day rate, those 15 days are equivalent to most people’s 40-hour work week. So entertainment is the highest paying part-time job you can find!
If you find that the film industry is for you, you will likely find that no other job can give you that combination of teamwork, excitement, and variety. The field attracts people from all backgrounds who have done amazing things: There are doctors and lawyers; there are musicians and surfers who spend three months each year as free spirits in Nicaragua. I love that we’re all brought together by our love for this kind of work.
The film industry has all the attributes of a high-paying career, but feels like play.
Architecture is a beautiful and creative art form. Though we might imagine architects spending nights bent over their blueprints to create masterpieces like the London Eye, there is more to the picture. Crafting magnificent and practical buildings takes a team of creatives to make it happen.
Behind every great architect is a team of contractors ready to put in the hours of physical construction. These professionals go through dedicated programs at places like the contractor training center to become masters in their field. While architects get most of the credit, contractors deserve recognition for the amazing infrastructure we use every day.
Let’s highlight some gorgeous buildings that wouldn’t be around without contractors.
1. Gardens by the Bay – Singapore
Singapore has a plethora of beautiful buildings throughout the country. Among these, the Gardens by the Bay in the Marina Bay district takes the cake for most breathtaking.
The process of constructing the park began in 2006, with an international master plan design competition. The contractors entered the picture in 2007 after a select vote by jury and public took place in late 2006.
During this time, the team began to work on the Bay East Gardens and Flower Dome. The contracting company finished their work in 2011, leading to the amazing Gardens we enjoy today.
2. The Shard – England
Another city full of gorgeous architectural structures is London. Irvine Sellar, the developer of the Shard, began the process in 1998, but it wasn’t until 2008 with funding from Qatar that construction began.
The contracting team worked until 2012 when the building was ready to be opened. The unique design and well-built structure helped push the Shard onto the list of London landmarks along with Big Ben and the Tower Bridge.
3. Sendai Mediatheque – Japan
The Sendai Mediatheque is a multipurpose cultural center located in Sendai, Japan. Toyo Ito designed the project after floating seaweed with a completely open 7-story floor plan. The construction began in 1997 with a lot of the creative building freedom going to the contracting team.
The building utilized steel pipe tubes, glass, and aluminum mesh, and everything has an alternative function. Some pipes doubled as stairs and elevators, for example. The construction ended in 2000, but the Mediatheque opened to the public in 2001.
4. Seattle Central Public Library – United States
The United States houses several intricately designed public spaces, focusing a dedicated effort on making beautiful libraries. The modern Seattle Public Library is no exception. The central public library cleared in 1998 as part of a city-wide effort to double the square footage of neighborhood libraries.
After OMA and Joshua Prince-Ramus completed drafts for the library in 1999, the contracting team at Hoffman Construction Company began working. The workers dedicated six years to ensure that the eleven-floor library looked stunning and met all building safety codes. In 2004, the public gained full access to the Central Public Library.
5. Heydar Aliyeva Center – Azerbaijan
The Heydar Aliyeva Center, located in Baku, Azerbaijan, is a flowing and curved building that boasts a beautiful aura. The center’s design had both the natural desert topography and the multifunctional purpose of the building in mind. The architect, Zaha Hadid, drafted his plan in 2007 after winning a design competition.
The contracting company completed the eight-story project in 2012. Included in the construction was a 1000-seat auditorium, exhibition spaces for local artists, and a museum, among other things.
Without Contractor Teams, None of These Would Be Possible
The list here is just the tip of the iceberg. Without dedicated teams to do the groundwork, the magnificent buildings and structures we enjoy every day wouldn’t exist.
If you’ve ever dreamed of being a contractor, there’s nothing stopping you from going out into the world and contributing to the next masterpiece.
You may have heard that Netflix is losing shows because every corporation needs a streaming platform nowadays. At the same time, it’s also gaining new favorites and reception of NetflixOriginals has been positive so far.
Unfortunately, you can’t always access all the Netflix shows in your area. Not that US residents get to, either – but they definitely have a wider selection to choose from. No matter where you’re located, there’s an easy way to gain access to the full catalog. Click here to see how to watch Netflix US on a smart TV, for the full cinematic experience.
Or, read below to see how to watch Netflix US on any device, anywhere in the world.
How to Watch Netflix US from Abroad
If you don’t have a smart TV, you can still use a VPN to access the Netflix US catalog. All you need to do is connect to a server in the US, and a US IP address will be assigned to your device. This works for any other country your VPN provider has obfuscated servers in – great for those of you interested in foreign cinema or documentaries.
How exactly does that work? Well, IP addresses are how Netflix and other streaming platforms check your location. That’s how they know which shows to assign to you. It’s an outdated mindset to have in the digital era, but the licensing legislation is too convoluted to get into.
Does Any VPN Work with Netflix US?
You could try one of the many free VPNs out there to see if they work with Netflix. But chances are they’ve been blocked, since the providers lack the funding for fresh new IPs. Yes, Netflix are aware that people use VPNs to bypass geo-restrictions, and do everything possible to block them.
Subscription-based VPNs can afford to get new servers for streaming, or implement new obfuscation techniques that hide the fact you’re using a VPN. Moreover, this practice isn’t illegal either. After all, it’s not like you’re pirating anything.
You’ve paid for your Netflix subscription, so why shouldn’t you be able to watch the shows you want just because some out of touch executives didn’t get the memo about how the Internet works? Get a free VPN trial from a decent provider, grab some popcorn and start watching.
Here are some shows you should check out. First, a classic that’s leaving Netflix soon:
No introductions are necessary for this fan favorite. Netflix has said its goodbyes to the series already, though you can still catch it on the platform until January 2021. So better get to it while you still can, unless you plan to subscribe to NBC’s “Peacock” streaming service to watch it. With a name like that, who wouldn’t?
Jokes aside, their current selection of shows just doesn’t seem worth yet another subscription. Although they’ve taken The Office hostage, long-time fans of the show have expressed their disinterest in the comments on Netflix’s original Twitter post.
Parks and Rec
Yet another beloved sitcom that’s leaving Netflix US for NBC’s streaming service in October 2020. The show ended in 2015, but the cast have recently reunited for a one-time reunion special. It received a warm welcome from excited fans that just needed something good to happen in an otherwise dreary year.
The wholesome comedy that defined the series is still there – even if the lovable goofs of Pawnee were social distancing like everybody else. It isn’t available on Netflix like the rest of the series, though you can watch it for free on NBC’s YouTube channel. You still need a VPN to access it, though – as it appears to be a US-exclusive.
The Midnight Gospel
Let’s talk about something fresh for a change. Don’t let its colorful visuals trick you into believing it’s a kids’ show – The Midnight Gospel is some trippy stuff. If you grew up watching Adventure Time in the 2010s, you’ll be happy to know series creator Pendleton Ward handles this one too.
Even if you haven’t, fans of the show have described it as a trippier Rick and Morty. Now, while TheMidnight Gospel does inter-dimensional travels on alien worlds, the show is very much its own thing. And the concept of it is fascinating.
Clancy visits worlds that are on the verge of dying by using his “universe simulator.” He then holds interviews (called “spacecasts”) with the creatures he meets. The philosophical topics they cover are varied, but we’ll let you discover the magic for yourself.
Since it’s a Netflix Original, you can basically watch it anywhere without a VPN. We all look forward to when we can watch whatever we want without jumping through hoops to do so. Until then, using a VPN is your best chance to see The Office or Parks and Rec before they depart. These two shows are classics in their own right – but if they’re not to your taste, rest assured the US Netflix library has a ton to choose from.
Country music legend Kenny Rogers has died at
the age of 81.
He “passed away peacefully at home from natural causes”, a family
Kenny Rogers topped pop and country charts during the 1970s and 1980s, and
won three Grammy awards.
Known for his husky voice and ballads including Lucille, TheGambler, and Coward Of The County, his career spanned more than six decades.
Kenny Rogers once summed up his popularity by explaining that he believed
his songs “say what every man wants to say and that every woman wants to
After growing up in poverty on a federal housing estate in Houston, Texas, Kenny
Rogers began recording with a string of bands before launching his solo career
Kenny Rogers was never a favorite of music critics, but became one of the
most successful pop-country crossover acts of all time, and the 10th
best-selling male artist in US history in terms of album sales.
The musician collaborated with other country music legends during his
career, including Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.
In a statement on February 13, the César Academy said the board had
“unanimously decided to resign” to “honor those men and women
who made cinema happen in 2019, to find calm and ensure that the festival of
film remains just that, a festival”.
The statement added: “This collective decision will allow
complete renewal of the board.”
A general meeting is set to be held
after this month’s ceremony to elect a new board, which will look at implementing
reforms and modernizing the academy.
France’s Culture Minister Franck Riester
said the academy must operate democratically, in the spirit of “openness,
transparency, parity and diversity”.
The César Academy has faced
controversy in recent months.
Many called for a boycott when Roman
Polanski’s film An Officer and a Spy,
or J’accuse in French, received 12
award nominations. The director fled the US after his rape conviction in the
1970s, and has since faced other accusations of assault.
France’s equality minister and film critics also condemned the decision to
nominate the Polish-French director’s film.
However, the Césars defended the nominations, arguing that the body
“should not take moral positions” in giving awards.
In an open letter this week, hundreds of film professionals, including
actors and directors, called for “profound reform” at the academy.
They complained of a lack of democracy in the institution and said the
founding statutes of the Césars had not changed “for a very long
In response, the board said it would ask for a mediator to be appointed by a
culture ministry agency to oversee reforms of its statutes and governance.
It is not the first time the Césars have faced controversy over Roman Polanski. In 2017, the director was picked to head the award’s jury, but stepped down after the move sparked outrage.
Brad Pitt won the first acting Oscar of his career – picking up the best
supporting actor trophy for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s movie.
He was the first winner of the night, and immediately used his speech to
attack the way the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump were
Brad Pitt referred to the fact that Republican senators voted against
allowing witnesses including former National Security Adviser John Bolton to
He said: “They told me I only
have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John
Bolton this week.
“I’m thinking maybe Quentin does
a movie about it and in the end the adults do the right thing.”
Brad Pit, 56, moved from the political to the personal, paying tribute to
co-star Leonardo DiCaprio and reflecting on his journey to Hollywood
Joaquin Phoenix, who won best actor for his remarkable performance in the
origin story about Batman’s nemesis, also used the podium to send a heartfelt
message about the state of the world, saying actors have the power to give a
“voice for the voiceless”.
After telling the audience to stop clapping him as he took to the stage –
“Don’t do that” – Joaquin Phoenix managed to cover topics from animal
rights and the environment to racism and sexism.
The vegan activist told the audience that “we feel entitled to
artificially inseminate a cow, and when she gives birth, we steal her baby even
though her cries of anguish are unmistakable”.
The actor also pointed out his own flaws: “I’ve been a scoundrel in my life. I’ve been cruel at times and
hard to work with, but so many people in this room have given me a second
Joaquin Phoenix ended his speech by quoting a lyric written by his late
brother River: “Run to the rescue
and love and peace will follow.”
Laura Dern won best supporting actress for playing a divorce lawyer in Marriage Story.
A day before her 53rd birthday, the actress said the award is the best
birthday present ever.
Laura Dern comes from an illustrious acting family, but in winning managed
something her parents have not. Mother Diane Ladd has been nominated for three
Academy Awards, and dad Bruce Dern has two unsuccessful nominations.
She told the audience: “Some say
never meet your heroes.
“But I say if you’re really
blessed, you get them as your parents.”
Renee Zellweger used her speech to pay tribute to Judy Garland, who was
nominated for two Oscars in the 1950s and 60s.
The actress said: “Judy Garland
did not receive this honor in her time,
“I am certain that this moment is an extension of the celebration of her legacy.”
Michael Douglas’s wife and Kirk’s
daughter-in-law, Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jones, posted a photo of the two
together, writing: “I shall love you
for the rest of my life. I miss you already.”
Kirk Douglas was prolific as a film actor, with more than 90 credits to his
name – ranging from the 1940s to the 2000s.
He is perhaps best-known for Spartacus,
a Stanley Kubrick film which won four Oscars and was so popular that its iconic
“I am Spartacus” scene entered the pop cultural lexicon.
Kirk Douglas was himself nominated for an Oscar three times – for Champion (1949), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), and Lust for Life (1956). He eventually won the honorary award in 1996
in recognition of his 50 years in the industry.
The actor faced difficulties in his personal life. He narrowly survived a
helicopter crash in 1991 that left two people dead. Five years later, he
suffered a major stroke that affected his speech.
In 2004, his son Eric died at the age of 46 of an accidental drug overdose.
In his later years, Kirk Douglas turned his attention to charity. He donated millions of dollars to charitable causes and helped fund an Alzheimer’s unit at a retirement home in Los Angeles.
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