There’s a new PETA video on YouTube narrated by Joaquin Phoenix about the horrific Chinese dog-leather industry. A few seconds of this exceedingly graphic video was all I could take, and all I needed to remind me of the power of film to so swiftly, albeit heartbreakingly, enlighten, and the power of our purchasing dollars. With this forewarning, I’ll link to it here.
Documentaries such as Blackfish and The Cove highlight egregious lapses of humanity towards our fellow earthlings. There are many sources to watch and learn more about these documentaries online: The Humane Society’s ACE award winners list is here. The Top Documentary Films website includes free online viewing of documentaries with Nature and Environment categories. Tribe of Heart is dedicated to making films that ‘awaken compassion and deepen understanding of the inter-connectedness of all life.’ Wikipedia has a section on ‘Documentary films about animal rights.’
Earthlings (complete on YouTube)
Silence of the Bees (PBS Nature, complete on YouTube)
Empire Continues to Surge, Breaks On-Demand Record
“The #DripDrop don’t stop. Fox’s Empire is breaking ratings records — and not just the ones measured by Nielsen. Vulture has learned that the Lee Daniels–Danny Strong hip-hop soap opera has become the first TV show to rack up more than 1 million views on Comcast’s XFinity TV on-demand platform within a week of its linear TV debut…
…Last night’s episode saw the show grow its audience yet again, with preliminary Nielsen data showing Empire surging to roughly 14 million viewers and a 5.3 rating among viewers under 50. That’s up nearly 2 million viewers since the show broke the 1 million barrier on Xfinity. And among viewers under 50, Empire last night scored the highest-rated regularly scheduled episode of any broadcast network drama since Grey’s Anatomy in September 2010. Overall, Fox says Empire is on pace to be broadcast TV’s fastest-growing drama since the first season of House, in 2004. You can almost hear Fox execs counting those dollar dollar bills, y’all…”
Source: Hollywood Reporter
Diverse Casts Deliver Higher Ratings, Bigger Box Office: Study (Exclusive)
Hollywood’s racial and gender diversity is increasing. But it’s not increasing quickly enough, says Darnell Hunt, lead author of the second annual Hollywood Diversity Report by UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, set for release Feb. 25. “Hollywood is not progressing at the same rate as America is diversifying,” says Hunt, the center’s director and a sociology professor. The U.S. population is about 40 percent minority and slightly more than half female, but, in news to no one, women and minorities are represented onscreen and behind the camera in drastically lesser proportions, the study indicates.
The problem isn’t audiences: During the years the study surveys — 2012 and 2013 — viewers preferred films and television shows with moderately diverse casts, according to Nielsen ratings and box-office reports. “Audiences, regardless of their race, are clamoring for more diverse content,” says co-author Ana-Christina Ramon.
The study blames the lack of diversity on agencies, guilds, studios and networks — “an industry culture that routinely devalues the talent of minorities and women,” reads the report. (Complete article at the source.)
Source: Hollywood Reporter
James McAvoy: Dominance of Rich-Kid Actors in the U.K. Is “Damaging for Society”
“…McAvoy was concerned that people from all walks of life are not getting the same opportunities to work in the arts, and his chief worry was about how this will become a bigger problem five or ten years from now.
If the trends are allowed to continue, McAvoy said, ‘That’s a frightening world to live in, because as soon as you get one tiny pocket of society creating all the arts, or culture starts to become representative not of everybody but of one tiny part, and that’s not fair to begin with, but it’s also damaging for society.’ …” (Complete article at the source.)
How Mexicans became Hollywood’s best directors
Birdman’s Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu just became the second Mexican in a row to win the Oscar for best director.
“…The success of “Birdman” means Mexicans have won best director for two years running. In 2014, Alfonso Cuaron won for “Gravity,” his groundbreaking sci-film film that featured Sandra Bullock floating around a junkyard of orbiting satellites and made a whopping $716 million at the box office.
“Birdman” also won for best original screenplay writing and cinematography. It was shot by Mexico’s Emmanuel Lubezki, his second Oscar in a row after grabbing best cinematography for “Gravity” last year.
Recent Mexican filmmaker accolades don’t stop there. Guillermo del Toro won a cabinet of effects awards for his 2013 sci-fi monster flick “Pacific Rim.” Rodrigo Prieto is shooting top flicks like “Argo” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
So who is this band of Mexican artists and how did it fight to the top of one America’s most competitive industries?
Directors Gonzalez Inarritu, Cuaron and del Toro have become known as the “Three Amigos,” also the title of a book about the success of their “transnational filmmaking.” But the group extends beyond directors to the cinematographers Luzbeki and Prieto and others, including Oscar-winning production designer Eugenio Caballero…” (Complete article at the source.)
“I want to dedicate this award for my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico. I pray that we can find and build the government that we deserve. And the ones that live in this country, who are part of the latest generation of immigrants in this country, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.” Alejandro González Iñárritu Continue reading