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Will Ferrell Talks Educating Himself On The Transgender Community At Sundance Film Festival 

Will Ferrell recently made an appearance at the Sundance Film Festival for the world premiere of his new documentary “Will & Harper.” 

The documentary centers around Ferrell’s long standing friendship with Harper Steele, who he initially met while he was on “Saturday Night Live” and she was working as a writer (from 1995 to 2008). The documentary follows the pair of best friends on a road trip and discusses their past, as well as Harper’s experience coming out as transgender in 2022. 

“It was three summers ago in which Harper emailed a lot of her close friends with the headline: ‘Here’s a Weird One.’ She went on to explain she was going to transition and we were all of course excited to hear the news and surprised to hear the news. All of us were extremely supportive and expressed love…but that sort of opened the questions like, how can we help you? What do you need us to do?” Ferrell stated to Variety at the festival. 

Ferrell also stated that before Harper came out to him, he had “zero knowledge” regarding the intricacies of the trans community. 

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“I had met trans people, but I didn’t have anyone personally in my life. So this was all new territory for me, which is why I think this film is so exciting for us to kind of put out there in the world. It’s a chance for all of us in the cis community to be able to ask questions and also just to listen and be there as a friend to discuss this journey,” Ferrell said. 

“It tells the story of a cis friend of a trans person who has to transition himself,” Harper stated. Variety reported that the official synopsis for “Will & Harper” states the following: 

“When Will Ferrell finds out his close friend of 30 years is coming out as a trans woman, the two decide to embark on a cross-country road trip to process this new stage of their relationship in an intimate portrait of friendship, transition, and America.”

Ferrell himself also produced the documentary with Jessica Elbaum, Rafael Marmor, and Christopher Leggett, with Josh Greenbaum producing and directing. 

“Will & Harper” will make its official debut at Sundance and is seeking distribution out of the festival.

frog

How David Attenborough’s Camera Crew Capture’s Wildlife

David Attenborogh’s nature documentaries are some of the most creative and engaging programs that educate the masses about climate change, our natural world, and the beautiful species that occupy it. In a new documentary called West Isles, camera crew members spent three years at home filming domestic life, and now, they’ve revealed the amazing ways in which they’re able to take some of their detailed shots.

Golden State Warriors Launch Golden State Entertainment To Produce Documentaries, Music, And Events

The Golden State Warriors have announced the launch of Golden State Entertainment (GSE), a new affiliate company that will be used to create original content and tell compelling stories that are “rooted in and transcend the world of sports and entertainment,” according to the NBA

GSE announced that they will be producing documentaries, collaborating with recording artists on musical releases and new marketing/partnership opportunities, as well as hosting a slew of culturally relevant events that speak specifically to the Bay Area, as well as the world. 

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David Kelly is the Warriors Chief Legal Officer, and will now also be the Chief Business Officer of Golden State Entertainment.

“It is an honor to be a part of this new chapter in the Warriors story. Audiences demand compelling content that speaks to them on a visceral level,” said Kelly. 

“With the launch of Golden State Entertainment, we are excited to create content that celebrates the nuances of our experiences as athletes, artists, and members of diverse communities in ways that not only entertain, but hopefully create opportunities for learning and deep engagement.”

Kelly also discussed how GSE and Mandalay Sports Media are currently collaborating on a production of a feature-length documentary exploring the cultural legacy of prominent sports figures throughout the industry. 

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GSE is also currently collaborating with Frank Chi and the team behind the Academy Award-winning short film “Two Distant Strangers” for another upcoming documentary set to premiere this summer. 

In terms of music, GSE has already collaborated with KPop star BamBam on the new single “Wheels Up,” which will be released this Friday, April 22nd. BamBam already debuted the single during a live halftime performance at the Warriors regular season finale against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 7th. 

“Wheels Up” also features MAYZIN, an Oakland-based recording artist who recently signed a multi-album recording contract with GSE. This would also make MAYZIN the entertainment company’s lead artist. 

“Music has such a rich history in the Bay Area. Being the lead artist for Golden State Entertainment provides an opportunity to be a voice that reflects and is understood by the community.”

According to the NBA, “GSE is the entertainment and content vertical under the larger company umbrella that encompasses the six-time NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, Santa Cruz Warriors, Chase Center, the Golden Guardians and Warriors Gaming Squad.”

Evan Rachel Wood Reveals More Horrifying Allegations Against Marilyn Manson In New Documentary 

Phoenix Rising is a new documentary regarding the life and career of Evan Rachel Wood, which premiered at the 2022 Sundance film festival. In the documentary, Wood accused rock musician Marilyn Manson of raping her on the set of his ‘Heart-Shaped Glass’ music video in 2007. 

Wood revealed that she was fed absinthe and was barely conscious on the set of the video, in which she plays a character styled to look like Lolita. Wood knew that her and Manson would be participating in a “simulated sex scene” for the video, but stated that once the camera’s were rolling Manson began penetrating her “for real.” 

Wood said that she had “never been on a set that unprofessional in my life up until this day. It was complete chaos and I did not feel safe. No one was looking after me. I didn’t know how to advocate for myself or say no because I had been conditioned and trained to never talk back – to just soldier through. The crew was very uncomfortable and nobody knew what to do.”

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She said that the alleged incident made her “feel disgusting and like I had done something shameful. I was coerced into a commercial sex act under false pretenses. That’s when the first crime was committed against me and I was essentially raped on camera.”

She also revealed that after the video wrapped Manson gave her “really clear instructions on how  to describe the video to journalists. I was supposed to tell people we had this great, romantic time and none of that was the truth.”

“But I was scared to do anything that would upset Brian in any way. The video was just the beginning of the violence that would keep escalating over the course of the relationship.”

Wood was in a relationship with Manson from 2007 to 2010. She previously accused him of grooming her as a teenager which led to her experiencing “horrific” abuse for years. “I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission.” Wood initially met Manson when she was 18 and he was 38. 

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Wood is not the only woman to come forward with intense allegations against Manson. Game of Thrones actor Esme Bianco recently accused Manson of sexual and physical violence involving torture.

Manson is currently facing up to four lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault, battery, and harassments, as well as an investigation into claims of domestic violence. The Los Angeles County sheriff’s department raided his home back in November 2021 over these claims as well. 

In February 2021 Vanity Fair published an article with the first public allegations made against Manson; he was quickly dropped by his record label, Loma Vista, after the article was released. 

Phoenix Rising will air on HBO in the US this March. The film follows the creation of the Phoenix Act, which is a piece of legislation Wood led in an attempt to extend the statute of limitations for survivors of domestic violence to pursue charges against their abusers. The Act was signed into law in October 2019.

Britney Spears Star

‘Controlling Britney Spears’ Documentary Further Exposes Singer’s Struggles Under Conservatorship

The New York Times released their follow-up to the ‘Framing Britney Spears’ documentary which detailed the abuse and struggles Spears has endured under her 13-year conservatorship. The newest installment is called ‘Controlling Britney Spears,’ which includes claims that her phone was monitored and recorded at all times and her security team even installed recording devices in her personal bedroom. 

The newest documentary is 70-minutes and aired last Friday Night. It’s currently available to watch on FX on-demand as well as Hulu. The documentary interviewed Felicia Culotta; Spear’s former longtime assistant, Latisha Yates; onetime head of wardrobe, Dan George; former your manager, and Alex Vlasov; a former security staffer. Vlasov especially revealed the extensive security measures Britney endured at the request of her father, Jamie Spears. 

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The individuals listed above detailed how Jamie would work directly with the head of Black Box Security, Edan Yemini, as well as Robin Greenhill, an employee of Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group, which worked to handle the business side of Spears’ career. The insiders discussed how Jamie would meet with these individuals to oversee nearly every aspect of the singer’s life. 

Vlasov claimed that “the trio had a group chat that discussed every step she took, including closely managing her intimate relations. Greenhill proposed setting up an iPad to monitor her iCloud activity, including texts, notes, calls, and browser history. Conversations with her friends, her mother, and her then lawyer were all closely watched.”

Vlasov didn’t just make empty claims, however, he provided emails, texts, and audio recordings from his nine years as an executive assistant and operations/security manager. In the documentary, Vlasov shows an email from Ingham asking Jamie’s legal team for “confirmation that no one other than my client can access her calls, voicemails, or texts, directly or indirectly.” 

“Elaborate surveillance operation allowed almost every aspect of her life to be controlled by people, including her father and Greenhill. It really reminded me of somebody that was in prison, and security was put in a position to be the prison guards, essentially.”

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Vlasov discussed how Yemini had installed an audio recording device in Britney’s bedroom back in 2016 which captured more than 180 hours of audio; including conversations between the singer and her boyfriend and children. He then explained how Jamie was “fixated” on his daughter’s male friends and potential love interests, and would make countless individuals sign long NDA’s and contracts. 

Yates discussed how Britney was constantly denied small pleasures by her father and Greenhill. These pleasures included sushi, sneakers, or any other new products that caught her eye. Yates recalled a time where Britney was told “you had sushi yesterday, it’s too expensive.” The documentary also noted how, at the time, Jamie was paying himself $16,000 a month from Britney’s personal bank account. 

The newest film’s release comes just days before a court decides on the future of Britney Spears’ conservatorship, which has been instituted since 2008. Between 2008 and now, the pop star has barely had any time to rest because of how much she was being worked. One of the biggest points made in these documentaries is how a majority of the individuals in the legal field who have worked with individuals under conservatorships before, claim that they’ve never had a client under the control of a conservatorship who was also working; let alone constantly touring, promoting and releasing new music and business ventures, etc. 

In June, Britney was able to address the court herself for the first time. She spoke in depth about the flaws of the legal/judicial system that kept her in the conservatorship for more than a decade, while also condemning her conservators, managers, and family, calling the entire arrangement abusive. 

The judge then authorized Spears to choose her own lawyer, and on September 29th, the court will be considering Mathew Rosengart’s – her chosen lawyer – request to remove Jamie Spears as the conservator of the dinger’s estate. On September 7th, Jamie surprised the public by abruptly asking the court to consider whether to terminate the conservatorship entirely, which they will also be considering this week in court. 

Popcorn and Netflix

Netflix Buys Kanye West Documentary That’s Been In The Works For 21 Years 

Netflix has acquired the rights to a documentary series covering the life and career of Kanye West. The series has been in the works for the past 21 years, and is set to cover the death of his mother, Donda, back in 2007, as well as his failed 2020 presidential bid.

The film/series is currently untitled, and will include unseen home videos of West that were taken by Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah over the past two decades. Ozah is known for directing West’s music videos Jesus Walks and Through the Wire. 

Billboard reported that the series is likely to be released later this year, and Netflix acquired the rights to it for $30 million. It’s currently unknown if the documentary will discuss West’s pending divorce/ past relationship tribulations with reality star Kim Kardashian West. 

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Kris Jenner, West’s mother-in-law, did recently claim how the couple’s divorce will be featured in the final season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, which is currently airing on E!

Within the past two decades Kanye West has had one of the most rollercoaster careers in the industry. He first became known as a producer, mainly for his work on Jay-Z’s The Blueprint, before launching his own successful music career with albums The College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation. 

In 2008 he released 808s and Heartbreak, and in 2010 with the release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, West’s legacy as a musician was truly solidified. Those three albums were thought to really shoot West into the mainstream. 

In 2013 he went full on experimental with his Yeezus album, which was also widely regarded as one of his best albums by fans. Then, as the decade progressed West’s Christian faith became more central to the art he was creating, in fact, his most recent album, Jesus Is King, was a gospel-inspired body of work that won best contemporary Christian music album at the Grammys last month. 

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West is also no stranger to controversy. In the beginning of his career he made headlines by calling out George W Bush for his lack of care for Black people after Hurricane Katrina, and interrupting teenage Taylor Swift during her first ever major win in the music industry. 

In 2016, West also made it public that he supported Donald Trump until 2020 when he announced he was “taking the red hat off” to run for president himself. His support over Trump, claims that slavery was “a choice,” and anti-abortion rants led to him becoming one of the most controversial individuals in the music industry.

In 2014, he married Kardashian and the two would go on to have four children together before filing for divorce in 2021. Kardashian recently took to social media to ask the public to have more compassion for West, after implying a lot of his erratic behavior was triggered by his bipolar disorder. 

While the documentary has no set release date, it’s expected that we will likely see it around Summer.

Justin Timberlake Apologizes To Britney Spears Following Conservatorship Exposure

After the New York Times documentary was released last week the public has been scrutinizing the industry, media, and multiple individuals within it that helped lead to the demise of Britney Spears.

Britney Spears Star

Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Case Heading Back To Court 

The legal battle over Britney Spears’s finances and conservatorship is heading back to Los Angeles court this Thursday, just days after a new Hulu documentary sparked widespread outrage over the controversial guardianship the pop star has been living under that is typically only for elderly individuals with dementia or other cognitive issues that make them unfit to be in control of their own finances. 

Jamie Spears, the pop stars father, maintains control over her estate, career, finances, social media, medical treatments, and a slew of other aspects of her personal life; he’s also had this control for the past 13 years, so any career endeavors that Spears has endured within that time, including her Las Vegas residency, were not her decision. 

Lawyers for Spears filed last year to have Jamie removed as conservator, arguing that she was “afraid of her father” and would be refusing to resume her performing career while he still had control over it. In November a judge refused to remove Jamie but added Bessemer Trust as co-conservator and corporate fiduciary. This Thursday’s hearing will include a discussion of what role the two conservators will play in overseeing Spears’s estate. 

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Supporters of Britney Spears attend the #FreeBritney Protest Outside Los Angeles

Conservatorship by definition is “a form of court-appointed guardianship that is typically used for elderly and infirm people, or others who can’t make decisions for themselves, the arrangement is often temporary.” 

The release of Framing Britney Spears, a New York Times-produced documentary, has now “raised questions about the fraught process that led the courts to institute the conservatorship, Jamie’s role as a conservator, the motives of Spears’s entourage in keeping the arrangement in place and the media’s treatment of the star.”

The documentary followed Spears’s rise to fame and the intense abuse she faced by paparazzi, the media, and fans as well. The approval of her conservatorship was partially a result of the American media painting Britney to be mentally unstable. The documentary also depicted Jamie as an absent father up until he took on the conservatorship in 2008, when he gained complete control over her finances. 

The biggest question raised by the documentary is how can someone who the court deems unstable enough to be in control over basically every aspect of her personal life be stable enough to go on multiple tours, perform a Las Vegas residency, work as a judge on X-Factor, etc. The amount that Britney has done in her career within the past decade does not line up with an individual unfit to be in control of their own finances. 

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American pop culture, the media, and the entertainment industry in general is now being analyzed with a fine-tooth comb, specifically over how it treats female performers and makes light of their struggles. The film also featured the #FreeBritney movement, “a fan-led campaign advocating for the singer to be freed from conservatorship and from her father’s control. Organizers said this week they hoped the reaction to the film would put pressure on the courts to restore the singer’s independence,” according to the Times. 

 Leanne Simmons, a #FreeBritney advocate who was featured in the documentary, told the press recently that the documentary “has lit a fire under all of us to keep pushing, because we do have that support from the general public. I work in post production in the film industry, and have been closely following the court case and plan to attend the Thursday hearing in person. 

“We’ve been trying to get this message across for so many years, and to essentially have the narrative change overnight is pretty extraordinary. The documentary was hard to watch. It brought me back to that moment of watching this in realtime in 2007. I felt so frustrated back then like no one was listening to her, or to me when I would try to defend her. I can’t believe it took this long and this documentary for people to realize that it was always wrong.”

Spears publicly acknowledged the #FreeBritney movement for the first time last year through her lawyer in court, when he claimed that Britney was “trying to regain some measure of personal autonomy, and she welcomes and appreciates the informed support of her many fans.”

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Uncovering the Secrets to a Happier, Healthier Life

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has proven that the occupations of journalism and medicine can have very much in common.

Silhouette of Singer

Mary J. Blige Is Getting Her Own Documentary

Legendary actress, singer, and performer Mary J. Blige is getting her very own, and long overdue, documentary. With two Oscars and nine Grammy awards, Blige has obviously earned her keep as one of the most iconic performers in the industry. So much so that she’s finally getting her own film to tell her devoted fans all about where she came from, and how she got to be where she is today. It was almost 28 years ago that Blige made her musical debut with her album What’s the 411? which was a massive hit. Two years after her debut she released her sophomore album My Life and now, nearly 25 years later, she’s getting the chance to really tell her audience about her life. 

Blige is from the Bronx, and according to Deadline Magazine, her documentary will be centered around her time growing up in New York and how she managed her struggles with heartbreak, abuse, addiction, and poverty. Simultaneously, the documentary will follow the singer as she embarks on a special concert tour for her sophomore album, My Life, as it approaches its 25th anniversary. This will be Blige’s first time performing the entire album, which has appropriately been listed on both Time’s and the Rolling Stones’ lists for top albums of all time. 

“I have long admired Mary as an artist, an icon, and a strong, fearless woman. The story of her life has inspired us enormously and we are thrilled to be making this project with her and her team, Ashaunna and Nicole.  Mary’s album My Life is both iconic and tremendously impactful, we hope that by bringing it to screens we can continue to inspire audiences around the world as her music has done for decades,” said Tara Long of eOne to Deadline

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Tara Long will be one of the documentary’s executive producers, and Blige will be filling the same executive role. Alongside them will be Creature Films’ Mark Ford and Kevin Lopez, as well as Sean Combs, Ashaunna Ayars and Nicole Jackson, all of whom work for Blige’s Blue Butterfly production company. In addition to Blige hiring Long from eOne productions to assist with creating the film, she’s also bringing in producers from Amazon studios. 

“We all know Mary J. Blige as the two-time Oscar nominee, Grammy Award winning, multi-hyphenate who has sold over 80 million records. But through this documentary, audiences will see a raw and honest side of Mary J. Blige opening up about her personal journey of redemption and healing. We are thrilled to share with our worldwide Prime Video customers this exclusive, never-before-seen, an inside look into the global legend, Mary J. Blige,” said Matt Newman, Co-Head of Movies at Amazon Studios.

Blige is a well-decorated individual. Besides her Grammys, she’s also won four American Music Awards. According to Deadline, she also was the first person ever to be Oscar nominated in both the “best supporting actress” and “best original song” categories simultaneously. She’s also won 12 Billboard Awards, who also ranked Blige as the most successful R&B/Hip-Hop artist within the past 25 years. Billboard came to this conclusion based on the fact that Blige has over 4 million different listeners on Spotify every month. 

With all of these awards and accolades, it makes sense that Blige is finally getting a film to tell the world about her super-stardom. However, it makes even more sense that the documentary will focus a lot more on Blige’s personal life and upbringing. Knowing how an artist grew up, learning about their struggles and potentially resonating with that is what audiences look for in their heroes. Blige has truly overcome so much throughout her personal life and career, and she still came out on top as one of the most successful R&B artists in music history. It’s high time the entertainment world honors her and shares her story with all of us who admire her so much. Blige is finally giving her fans My Life in the most literal sense of the phrase.