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bafta

June Givanni, UK Curator Of African Film, To Receive Bafta Award 

June Givanni is known as a pioneering curator, writer, and programmer of African film’s who founded a London-based archive that documents Pan-African cinema over 40 years ago. Her amazing work is now being honored, as she is set to receive a Bafta Award for outstanding British contribution to cinema. 

The London archive that Givanni founded, known as the June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive (JGPACA), has amassed more than 10,000 pieces of media history, including films, manuscripts, audio, photography, and posters that documented Pan-African cinema for over 40 years. 

The archive itself is run by volunteers and is known as “one of the world’s most important collections documenting the moving image for the African continent and its diaspora, and includes artifacts that might otherwise not have been preserved,” according to Nadia Khomami, an Arts and Culture correspondent for The Guardian. Givanni also spoke to the publication about the recent honor and the importance of the work they do at JGPACA. 

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“The award gives us an opportunity to tell people what we’re trying to do because people’s ideas about archives are so varied … Our long-term goal is to enrich knowledge and understanding of Pan-African cinema’s place within the cultural sector, its creative impact and legacy internationally.”

Givanni initially moved to the UK at seven-years-old. Her career started with bringing Third Eye London’s first ever Festival of Third World Cinema. She then worked as a film programmer at the Greater London Council’s ethnic minorities unit. 

Her success in the industry continued when she would go on to run the BFI’s African-Caribbean unit, where she compiled the first comprehensive directory of Black and Asian films in the UK. She was co-editor of the BFI’s Black Film Bulletin, and has worked as a curator of film on five continents. 

Givanni is also a published author of titles such as Remote Control: Dilemmas of Black Intervention in British Film and TV and Symbolic Narratives/African Cinema: Audiences, Theory and the Moving Image.

Givanni will be presented with the special award next month at the Baftas ceremony. She emphasized the importance of the archives and continuing to preserve history and culture. 

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“A lot of younger people are amazed by our archive. Because they grew up in the digital age, and they think everything they want to know or need to know is on the internet. And when they come in, it’s so physical, they’re totally blown away. They’re amazed that there’s so much they don’t know,” she said

“It’s a question of expanding people’s minds about what information is, where it is, and how it relates to what is happening now. That’s one of the philosophical concepts from the Ghanaian culture, called Sankofa. It means looking back to better understand the future.”

“Pan-African cinema [is a] cinema of resistance,  a cinema that recognises the value and importance of the African culture and what it can contribute to the world,” she added. 

“When I came to the UK from Guyana as a young child in the 50s, I was so shocked at the ignorance of people about who I am. I had come from a society where people are quite ambitious, they encourage you, to one where I was put in a class with children two years my junior because they believed I came from a country where you don’t know how to read or write,” Givanni said. 

“So many times people are not seeing you as someone who has anything to offer. Pan-Africanism has always been about knowing your history and being able to situate the value of that within wherever you find yourself in the world. It’s something all of us need to do.”

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Daniel Radcliffe Produces Film About Paralyzed Harry Potter Stunt Double

Daniel Radcliffe, renowned for his portrayal of the beloved wizard Harry Potter, is producing a new documentary about his stunt double, David Holmes. While filming The Deathly Hollows—Part 1 in 2009, Holmes suffered a devastating injury on set that left him paralyzed from the chest down.

The documentary, “David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived,” will feature interviews with Radcliffe, friends, family, and former crew, as well as personal footage from Holmes’ life over the last decade.

Its synopsis reads, “The film is a coming-of-age story of stuntman David Holmes, a prodigious teenage gymnast from Essex, England, who is selected to play Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double in the first ‘Harry Potter’ film when Daniel is just 11.”

“Over the next 10 years, the two form an inextricable bond, but on the penultimate film, a tragic accident on set leaves David paralyzed with a debilitating spinal injury, turning his world upside down. As Daniel and his closest stunt colleagues rally to support David and his family in their moment of need, it is David’s extraordinary spirit of resilience that becomes their greatest source of strength and inspiration.”

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In an interview with the Mirror in 2014, Holmes described the “jerk back” stunt that had gone wrong, in which he was to be pulled backward “at speed” by a high-strength wire to simulate the effects of an explosion. Holmes instead was launched into a wall, breaking his neck.

Warner Bros. Discovery released a statement about the documentary, sharing more about what the film will entail.

“Featuring candid personal footage shot over the last decade, behind-the-scenes material from Holmes’ stunt work, scenes of his current life and intimate interviews with David, Daniel Radcliffe, friends, family and former crew, the film also reflects universal themes of living with adversity, growing up, forging identities in an uncertain world and the bonds that bind us together and lift us up.”

On Tuesday, Holmes posted on his Instagram about the documentary, stating, “I can now share with you all the secret project and four years’ hard work that has gone into creating this film: THE BOY WHO LIVED.”

“Being a stuntman was my calling in life, and doubling Harry was the best job in the world. This film tells the story of not just my achievements in front of camera, but also the challenges I face every day, and my overall attitude to life after suffering a broken neck. In the turbulent world we find ourselves living in right now, I would like to quote Harry; ‘We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.’”

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Holmes also thanked medical staff, Radcliffe and Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, for their support. Writing about Radcliffe, he expressed they were both “immensely proud of our time on the Harry Potter films, and the joy and comfort it brings to audiences around the world on a daily basis.”

In 2020, Radcliffe and Holmes teamed up to launch Holmes’ Cunning Stunts podcast, which profiles interviews with other Hollywood stunt performers. While attempting to debunk a common misconception about stunt performers, Radcliffe said in one episode, “I think there’s a myth around stuntmen that they are just superhuman in some way.”

“When the public sees something really painful or horrible, they think it was a visual effect or that there’s some clever, safe way of doing it. Often that’s not the case. There’s no way of faking, for example, falling down stairs. When you get hit by a car, you’re still getting hit by a car, even if it’s going slower than it would. They find the safest way of doing it, but it can still hurt.”

Radcliffe is serving as the documentary’s executive producer. The film, directed by Dan Hartley, makes its premiere on HBO, including HBO Max, on Nov. 15.

priest

Vatican Exorcists Denounce Russel Crowe’s New Horror Film ‘The Pope’s Exorcist’

Russel Crowe’s new horror film, “The Pope’s Exorcist,” is being criticized by the International Association of Exorcists for being “pretentious, unreliable, splatter cinema.”

grenfell

Director Steve McQueen Discusses His New Film On Grenfell

Oscar-winning film director Steve McQueen is gearing up to release his film on the Grenfell Tower disaster nearly six years after the tragedy occurred. McQueen is hoping the film’s release will help push for justice. 

According to McQueen, who recently spoke with The Guardian in an exclusive interview, the 24-minute film was shot from a helicopter in December 2017 before the burned tower in west London was wrapped in white plastic. 

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McQueen discussed that the film was made with heavy involvement and consultation from the survivors of the tragedy, along with neighbors and families/friends of the victims. The community, like McQueen, is hoping the film will lead to further answers, prosecutions, and potential jail time to those involved in the Grenfell Tower tragedy; more than 5 years after it occurred. 

“You must understand that the violence that was inflicted on that community was no joke, I didn’t want to let people off the hook. There are going to be people who are going to be a little bit disturbed. When you make art, anything half decent … there are certain people you will possibly offend. But that is how it is.”

No individuals or companies have been punished for their role in the tragedy, which led to the deaths of 72 people. 

“I wanted to put the building in perspective of our everyday [life]. It’s not isolated. That is important because you [the viewer] put it in the perspective of yourself,” McQueen said

McQueen also discussed how he “sat on the film after it was shot because it couldn’t have been shown within three or four years [of the disaster].” 

Ed Daffarn, who escaped from his 16th-floor flat, said: “Sitting there looking at [the tower] captured the pure violence of what was meted out to us by the perpetrators. It has come at a good time. We need Grenfell in the public consciousness.”

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McQueen also explained how he became more motivated to create the film once he heard that city officials were planning to wrap up the tower in plastic.

“It was almost like a race against time. Once things are covered up, they are forgotten about, or it can be more convenient for people who want it to be forgotten about,” he explained. 

The film itself, according to reports, is silent besides the sounds of wind, cars, airplanes, and birds in the distance as footage shows the tower and zooms into spaces where individuals died during the tragedy. 

“It is like poring over a map – a satisfying survey of an impressive civilisation. Then the charcoal black lattice of Grenfell appears and the soundtrack cuts to silence and the camera circles the tower for minute after minute. It is haunting and upsetting,” writer Robert Booth stated. 

“It’s about the building and suspending it in time, and looking. Holding, holding, holding. [The tragedy] was deliberate neglect. It was no accident. There were so many people, so many companies, so many factors … It was all a deliberate act of neglect and, to a certain extent, greed,” McQueen said. 

The film is currently set to be exhibited at the Serpentine Gallery in London from April 7th to May 10th.

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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.

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Ann Axtell Morris, One Of The US’s First Female Archaeologists, Gets Recognition In New Tom Felton Film

Tom Felton, known for his role as Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter, produces new film ‘Canyon Del Muerto,’ telling the epic story of Ann Axtell Morris, one of the US’s first female archeologists.

awards

France’s Cesar Film Awards Potentially Banning Anyone Being Investigated Of Sex Crimes 

The Cesar Awards, also referred to as the French Oscars and France’s most prestigious film awards, have announced that they are barring anyone being investigated on allegations of sexual misconduct from the ceremony next month. 

One of the initial sparks to this decision was Roman Polanski’s 2020 Cesar Awards win for best director, despite being convicted of raping a child in the 1970s. This particular event led to major backlash and internal reorganization within the Cesar Academy. 

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There were also fears of protests during this year’s ceremony, on February 25th, due to rising star Sofiane Bennacer’s frontrunner status for his part in Les Amandiers (Forever Young), which is about a promiscuous group of drama students in the 1980s. 

Bennacer was being investigated by police on two allegations of rape and one of violence. When fresh allegations against Bennacer were made public in November, he was dropped from the list of potential nominees. 

In a statement made to the public, as reported by The Guardian, the Cesar Academy stated anyone facing a “potential prison sentence for violence, notably of a sexual or sexist nature,” would be excluded from the ceremony 

“It has been decided not to highlight people who may have been put in question by the judiciary for acts of violence. The step is being taken out of respect for the victims, even if they are only presumed victims.”

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Valeria Bruni-Terdeschi, the director of Les Amandiers, spoke out against the allegations and decision to remove Bennacer from the longlist of possible nominees for this year’s awards. 

She took to Instagram to call the allegations a “media lynching,” and that her and the film’s producers were aware of the allegations against him during the casting process for Les Amandiers: “but I told them these rumors would not stop me and I couldn’t envision making the film without him.”

Singer and former French first lady Carla Bruni, sister of Valeria, also spoke in defense of Bennacer, stating that the decision to remove him from the awards was “undermining the presumption of innocence, one of the foundations of our democracy. 

The Cesar Academy also stated that they are still debating whether or not to ban people with sexual misconduct allegations and convictions entirely from future nominations and awards. The Academy will be reaching a decision regarding this within the coming weeks.

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Will Smith Opens Up About Chris Rock Oscars Slap on The Daily Show

Will Smith promoted his new historical drama “Emancipation” on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” on Monday evening. During the interview, the pair discussed Will Smith’s controversial night at the Oscars, where he slapped comedian Chris Rock onstage.

At the 94th Academy Awards last March, Smith charged the stage after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her baldness. Jada suffers from alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss. Later that night, Smith won the award for best actor for his performance in “King Richard.”

In the days that followed, Smith released a series of public apologies on social media. Smith also resigned from the Academy. He is barred from attending its ceremony for the next 10 years.

“That was a horrific night, as you can imagine. There’s many nuances and complexities to it. But at the end of the day, I just — I lost it, you know? I was going through something that night, you know? Not that that justifies my behavior at all … It was a lot of things. It was the little boy that watched his father beat up his mother, you know? All of that just bubbled up in that moment. That is not who I want to be.”

Smith said he understood “the idea where they say hurt people hurt people,” and is working on learning how to forgive himself “for being human.” Noah offered his perspective on the situation, telling Smith he is “one of those rare breeds of people who’ve spent more time in the spotlight than out of it.” 

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Noah empathized with Smith, saying that he does not believe that moment should define Smith since none “of us in life deserves to be defined by our one f**k-up.”

“I love Chris. I’m friends with him. I love you, but this is f****d up … I know that as Black people, Black people get together and go, ‘What was Will doing? What the hell happened?’ A lot of Black people were like, ‘He should go to jail.’ Like, you need to relax yourself. Some people were overreacting, which made some people underreact.”

Smith shared a story from the fallout of the Oscars evening. At that point, he was already dealing with the repercussions of his actions.

“I was gone. That was a rage that had been bottled for a really long time. My nephew is nine. He is the sweetest little boy. We came home. He had stayed up late to see his uncle Will, and we are sitting in my kitchen, and he is on my lap and he is holding the Oscar and he is just like, ‘Why did you hit that man, Uncle Will?'”

Smith also talked about his upcoming movie “Emancipation,” and what compelled him to participate in the film. The movie is based on actual events and features Smith playing a runaway slave the world knew as “Whipped Peter.” The name was given to him after photos of keloid scarring on his back were distributed worldwide in 1863, showing the true horror and brutality of slavery. The images helped fuel the abolitionist movement.

“First seeing that image was one of the things that really got me excited to explore this, because you see the image, but you don’t know who he is. You don’t know what the story is. American slavery was one of the most brutal aspects of human history … It is hard to understand the level of human cruelty. My daughter asked me, ‘Daddy, do we really need another slave movie?’ I said, ‘Baby, I promise you, I wouldn’t make a slave movie. This is a freedom movie.'”

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Director Antoine Fuqua explained to Vanity Fair why “Emancipation” will release eight months after Smith’s Oscars controversy since “the film to me is bigger than that moment.” The film release was delayed in May with concerns that Smith’s actions at the Oscars would affect its reception.

“400 years of slavery is bigger than one moment. My hope is that people will see it that way and watch the movie and be swept away with the great performance by Will and all the real hard work that the whole crew did.”

“Emancipation” will release in select theaters this Friday and premiere on Apple TV+ on Dec. 9. The film is the first major project in which Smith was involved since his notorious Oscars night.

In a television interview with Fox 5, Smith said that he understands if audiences are reluctant to watch him promote the new film but hopes that events from that ceremony will not hurt the movie. 

“I completely understand that, if someone is not ready. I would absolutely respect that and allow them their space to not be ready.”

Smith says that he believes director Fuqua showcases “the greatest work in his entire career” and that people on the film’s production team “have done some of the best work of their entire careers.” Smith hopes his actions during the ceremony “don’t penalize my team.”

“So at this point, that’s what I’m working for. That’s what I’m hoping for. I’m hoping that the material, the power of the film, the timeliness of the story — I’m hoping that the good that can be done — will open people’s hearts at a minimum to see and recognize and support the incredible artists in and around this film.”

Zoë Kravitz Discusses Losing ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Audition 

Zoë Kravitz is receiving amazing reviews for her performance as Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Matt Reeves’ “The Batman.” However, this is not the first time Kravitz has attempted to enter the DC Caped Crusader universe. 

In a recent interview with The Observer, Kravitz revealed that she attempted to audition for a role in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” but was rejected after being told she was too “urban” for the part. 

Kravitz didn’t reveal whether or not she originally auditioned for the role of Catwoman for Nolan’s film, a role which was played by Anne Hathaway. 

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“I don’t know if it came directly from Chris Nolan. I think it was probably a casting director of some kind, or a casting director’s assistant,” Kravitz said.

“Being a woman of color and being an actor and being told at that time that I wasn’t able to read because of the color of my skin, and the word urban being thrown around like that, that was what was really hard about that moment.”

During another 2015 interview, Kravitz revealed she was seeking a smaller role in “The Dark Knight Rises” but she wasn’t even able to get into the room because the film wasn’t “going urban for the role.” 

“It was like, ‘What does that have to do with anything?’ I have to play the role like, ‘Yo, what’s up, Batman? What’s going on with you?” Kravitz questioned. 

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Kravitz recently clarified that she wasn’t making these comments to call out anyone, but instead give an example about “what it was like to be a woman of color in the industry at that time.”

“I did not mention this to point any fingers or make anyone seem racist, namely Chris Nolan, the film’s producers or anyone on the casting team, because I truly do not believe anyone meant any harm.”

Kravitz was officially cast as Catwoman in “The Batman” in October 2019. “It was crazy when the news was officially announced. My phone was blowing up more than any birthday I’ve ever had,” the actor stated. 

In “The Batman” Kravitz plays Selina Kyle before she’s known in Gotham as the infamous cat burglar Catwoman. Kravitz revealed she interpreted this iteration of the Selina Kyle character to be bisexual. 

During one scene Selina is seen going into her apartment looking for her friend Anika, who she refers to as her “baby.” The idea that their relationship is potentially more platonic, is left open-ended. 

Kravitz claimed that the scene was meant to spotlight Selina’s bisexuality:  “That’s definitely the way I interpreted that, that they had some kind of romantic relationship.” 

“The Batman” recently topped the box office with $128 million over its opening weekend. The film is currently playing in theaters nationwide. 

Russian Arts And Cultural Events Canceled Worldwide 

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted worldwide responses from the cultural, sporting, and arts fields. An increasing number of performances and cultural events put on by Russians are being canceled worldwide in response to the invasion. 

One of the biggest announcements came from the European broadcasting Union (EBU) who said that Russia would no longer be able to participate in this year’s Eurovision song contest. 

EBU, the producers of Eurovision, said the “event promoted international exchange and understanding, Russia’s inclusion could bring the annual competition into disrepute in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine.”

Initially, state broadcasters from countries like Iceland, Finland, Norway, and the Netherlands all called for Russia to be banned from the contest, a move that was also endorsed by the UK’s culture secretary Nadine Dorries. 

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The Royal Opera House (ROH) has also canceled a planned residency by Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet, which is known as one of the oldest and most prestigious ballet companies in the world. 

The ROH released a statement regarding their cancellation: “A summer season of the Bolshoi Ballet at the Royal Opera House had been in the final stages of planning. Unfortunately, under the current circumstances, the season cannot now go ahead.” The group was initially expected to put on 21 performances from July to August. 

Performances from the Russian State Ballet of Siberia have been canceled by both the Wolverhampton Grand Theater and the Royal and Derngate in Northampton. 

In terms of concerts, the Munich Philharmonic has separated itself from its chief conductor, Valery Gergiev, due to his ties to Putin. Munich’s mayor, Dieter Reiter, gave Gergiev an ultimatum that stated if he condemned Putin’s actions he would be able to maintain his position in the Philharmonic, he refused. 

“With immediate effect, there will be no further concerts by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra under his [Gergiev] direction,” Reiter said. Gergiev was also dropped by his management and had several upcoming concerts canceled due to his ties to Putin.

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The Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale will not be taking place as planned after Russian artists and curators themselves chose to pull out. Alexandra Sukhareva and Kirill Savchenkov, as well as curator Raimundas Malašauskas, released a statement in which they explained how they would no longer be participating. 

“There is no place for art when civilians are dying under the fire of missiles, when citizens of Ukraine are hiding in shelters, when Russian protesters are getting silenced,” Savchenkov and Sukhareva said in a joint statement. 

Warner Bros, Disney, and Sony have halted the release of all new films in Russian cinemas, which means major upcoming releases such as The Batman, Turning Red, and Morbius, will not be released as scheduled. 

“In light of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, WarnerMedia is pausing the release of its feature film The Batman in Russia,” a spokesperson said.

Disney said: “Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the theatrical release of films in Russia.”

The Ukranian Film Academy has also called for an international boycott of Russian cinema, including a ban on all Russian films at international festivals:

“At a time when world powers are imposing economic and political sanctions on the Russian Federation, the country continues to be active in the cultural field”. Any action, however, has yet to be taken.