Three years in the past, filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West received a dream Sundance debut. They premiered their movie “RBG” to a sold-out crowd with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg not solely in attendance however seeing it for the primary time. There was a standing ovation, a bidding conflict and an enormous sale. It additionally went on to be a serious awards contender. It’s the form of Sundance expertise most filmmakers fantasize about.
This yr they’re returning to the pageant with their follow-up, “My Title is Pauli Murray” in regards to the considerably obscure authorized trailblazer, and whereas their pleasure stays excessive, the pageant itself will likely be fairly completely different. Like so many up to now yr, Sundance has needed to reinvent itself as a principally digital expertise.
Nonetheless, the 2021 Competition which kicks off Thursday is shaping as much as be a strong marketplace for firms searching for content material. Greater than 72 characteristic movies are debuting over the seven days. It’s slimmed-down lineup from the earlier years’ 118 and a few have already got methods to get to audiences, like Robin Wright’s “Land” and “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which can each be obtainable to the plenty within the coming weeks. However many this yr are acquisition titles searching for distribution offers.
“Consumers and sellers have discovered a rhythm for conducting enterprise at digital markets, to nice success. And customers are persevering with to ask for extra content material,” mentioned Deb McIntosh, an SVP at Endeavor Content material. “I’m assured that we’ll discover distribution companions for all of our movies.”
Julie Dansker, an government at Shout! Studios, is coming to the digital pageant searching for movies to purchase and Sundance, she mentioned, all the time provides quite a lot of movies from established and rising skills.
This yr there are excessive profile initiatives from well-known names like actor Rebecca Corridor’s directorial debut “Passing,” starring Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson as two light-skinned Black girls who select to dwell on reverse sides of the colour line in 1929 New York. Jerrod Carmichael is making his debut with the darkish satire “On the Depend of Three” with Christopher Abbott and Tiffany Haddish. Questlove is just too along with his opening night time documentary “Summer season Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Might Not Be Televised).” Zoe Lister-Jones additionally reunites along with her “Craft: Legacy” star Cailee Spaeny for “How It Ends,” co-starring Olivia Wilde and Fred Armisen. And “CODA,” a day one movie from Sian Heder a few little one of deaf adults, is anticipated to be one of many breakouts.
As all the time, the documentary sections are fertile floor for consumers. Cohen and West’s “My Title is Pauli Murray” is among the many gross sales titles as is Mariem Pérez Riera’s “Rita Moreno: Only a Lady Who Determined to Go For It,” which examines how the entertainer battled racism to grow to be one of many few performers to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Lucy Walker has a documentary in regards to the historical past of wildfires, “Deliver Your Personal Brigade” and Jonas Poher Rasmussen will debut his animated refugee documentary “Flee.”
After which there’s the extra unconventional efforts like animator Sprint Shaw’s psychedelic “Cryptozoo,” that includes the voices of Lake Bell, Michael Cera and Grace Zabriskie. Or Nattawut Poonpiriya’s Wong Kar-Wai produced drama “One for the Highway” and Timur Bekmambetov’s social media age Romeo and Juliet riff “R#J.”
There are boundless “discovery” alternatives for events wanting past the flashy names who may simply come upon the subsequent Ryan Coogler or Damien Chazelle.
As Sundance programmer Kim Yutani mentioned, “You don’t actually know what these movies are till you see them.”
Viewers enthusiasm for a specific movie is likely to be tougher to guage nearly, although.
“There’s all this vitality that occurs at a pageant once you’re in particular person that’s exhausting to translate to a digital atmosphere,” mentioned Jordan Fields, head of acquisitions for Shout! Studios. “However on the upside, it offers us the power to guage films a bit extra objectively as a result of we’re not essentially influenced by a crowd who stands as much as cheer it on the finish.”
And certainly, for higher or worse, that in-person vitality has usually performed a job in negotiating the worth. Typically the hype is warranted, and also you get a “Little Miss Sunshine.” However different occasions off the mountain, the glow fades and corporations are left with a flop. Costs have additionally been going up steadily because of the inflow of deep-pocketed streaming firms who don’t have to fret as a lot or in any respect about field workplace returns.
Six years in the past, Amazon and Netflix each struggled to get titles. Now, the streamers are among the largest gamers within the sport. Final yr noticed Hulu and NEON pay over $17.5 million (a file) for the worldwide rights to the Andy Samberg comedy “Palm Springs.” “Boys State” additionally received a $12 million deal from Apple and A24. This yr there’s an added anxiousness about content material since many productions had been placed on maintain due to the pandemic.
However there’s additionally alternative in the truth that there could possibly be an even bigger and extra numerous viewers seeing the movies who might by no means have had the chance to attend the costly pageant. The price of entry for the digital movies is $15 a ticket and plenty of are bought out.
“Taking Sundance off the mountain and to the entire nation will likely be a fantastic solution to commune collectively over our shared love and want for inventive expression,” mentioned McIntosh.
There have already been a number of pre-Competition offers. RLJE Movies on Tuesday introduced that it had acquired the Nicolas Cage movie “Prisoners of the Ghostland,” Magnolia Footage took the rights to “A Glitch within the Matrix” from “Room 237” director Rodney Ascher, Bleecker Road snagged the Ed Helms drama “Collectively Collectively” and Juno Movies picked up the documentary “The Most Stunning Boy” about Swedish actor Bjorn Andresen. However many are holding again pre-screenings and ready till the precise Sundance premiere.
“I’m nonetheless excited,” mentioned Corridor, whose “Passing” premieres Saturday. “However would I fairly that we had been all collectively wandering by means of the snow, freezing chilly and, you realize, trudging down Fundamental Road? Sure, I might, as a result of that communal expertise is a part of it.”
Video Wall at Rolling Loud Stage Collapses Ahead of Festival – NBC4 Washington
A video wall that was set up at a stage for the Rolling Loud music festival collapsed Thursday ahead of the event, but no injuries were reported.
Footage from Chopper 6 showed the scene at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. The wall collapsed at around 8:30 a.m.
The crew was working on repairing the wall.
“The show goes on!” said a tweet from the official Rolling Loud account.
Like many other events, Rolling Loud was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Originally set for May 2020, the event was rescheduled several times. This weekend’s lineup includes A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott and Post Malone.
Family of James Brown Settles 15-Year Battle Over His Estate – NBC4 Washington
The family of entertainer James Brown has reached a settlement ending a 15-year battle over the late singer’s estate, according to an attorney involved in the mediation.
David Black, an attorney representing Brown’s estate, confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that the agreement was reached July 9. Details of the settlement were not disclosed.
Legal wrangling over the Godfather of Soul’s estate has been ongoing since his death at the age of 73 on Christmas Day 2006.
The performer’s death touched off years of bizarre headlines, beginning with Tomi Rae Hynie — a former partner who claimed to be Brown’s wife — being locked out of his 60-acre (24-hectare) estate, while photographers captured her sobbing and shaking its iron gates, begging to be let in.
More than a dozen lawsuits have been filed over the years by people trying to lay claim to what’s left, which courts have estimated to be worth anything from $5 million to more than $100 million.
Brown was renowned for hundreds of iconic musical works including hits like “I Feel Good” and “A Man’s World,” and was known around the world for his flashy performances and dynamic stage presence. But years of drug problems and financial mismanagement caused his estate to dwindle.
Last year, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that Hynie had not been legally married to him and therefore did not have a right to his multimillion-dollar estate.
Justices also ordered a circuit court to “promptly proceed with the probate of Brown’s estate in accordance with his estate plan,” which outlined creation of a trust that would use his music royalties to fund educational expenses for children in South Carolina and Georgia.
NBC Quickly Hires Maria Taylor After Her Departure From ESPN – NBC4 Washington
Maria Taylor has joined NBC less than a week after her contract with ESPN expired.
NBC is formally making the announcement during its primetime Olympic show Friday before a replay of the opening ceremony.
Taylor had been with ESPN since 2014 but her contract expired Tuesday. Her last assignment for the network was Tuesday night at the NBA Finals, where she was the pregame and postgame host for the network’s “NBA Countdown” show.
ESPN and Taylor announced Wednesday that they could not agree on a new contract. Her first assignment for NBC will be the Tokyo Olympics.
Taylor had hosted “NBA Countdown” since 2019 as well as being a reporter for “College GameDay” and ABC “Saturday Night Football” since 2017.
ESPN had been discussing a contract with Taylor for over a year but things reached a boiling point over the past month. Taylor rejected an extension last year and the two sides were far apart heading into the NBA Finals. Then came a New York Times report detailing comments her colleague Rachel Nichols made about Taylor last year during the NBA’s restart in Florida.
Nichols, who is white, was introduced in September 2019 as the NBA Finals host but the network later decided to promote Taylor, who is Black.
Nichols said in an accidentally recorded phone call obtained by the Times: “I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”
Nichols apologized on July 5 while hosting “The Jump.” She was slated to be the sideline reporter for the Finals, but was pulled off the assignment.
Singers From All Continents, Including John Legend and Alejandro Sanz, Perform ‘Imagine’ at Opening Ceremony – NBC4 Washington
Singers from around the world, including John Legend and Keith Urban, performed “Imagine” at the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.
The song, co-written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono 50 years ago, played while a giant Earth made of drones rotated above the Olympic stadium. The artists singing hailed from different continents, with Legend representing the Americas, Urban representing Australia, Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz representing Europe, Angelique Kidjo representing Africa and the Junior Chorus representing Asia.
“We’re not the first to say ‘Imagine no countries’ or ‘Give peace a chance,’ but we’re carrying that torch, like the Olympic torch, passing it hand to hand, to each other, to each country, to each generation,” Lennon once said. “And that’s our job.”
While some on social media took issue with the song choice because of the opening line, noting that without countries to compete against each other there may not be an Olympic Games, Ono explained in a Twitter post that the song embodies what she and Lennon believed together at the time, saying “he comes from the West and I come from the East – and still we are together.”
Missed the Opening Ceremony? Watch it on NBC on primetime tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET. On that broadcast, Leslie Odom Jr. will tell the story of the hopes and dreams of Olympians in an opening vignette, Dwayne Johnson will introduce Team USA, and Uma Thurman will narrate a special feature leading into the Parade of Athletes.
‘Jeopardy!’ Host Gig Began ‘Scary,’ Ended Fun – NBC4 Washington
LeVar Burton’s quest to become the new host of “Jeopardy!” has been a confident, upbeat effort by the actor and those who rooted him on with a petition drive.
But when the day came to tape the first of his week’s share of episodes as one of a succession of guest hosts, the show’s pace and the challenge of following in Alex Trebek’s much-admired footsteps threw Burton off stride.
It made for a rough start to the five back-to-back tapings that begin airing Monday, said the veteran actor known for “Roots,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and ”Reading Rainbow.” He turned for advice to wife Stephanie Cozart Burton, who as his makeup artist was on hand to play coach during a production break.
“Being at home, it feels like a really relaxed half-hour, but it’s not relaxed at all,” he said. “You can’t let your focus drop for a nanosecond.”
Burton has been watching and assessing the other guest hosts — in other words, his competition for the position that the Canadian-born Trebek held from 1984 to shortly before his November 2020 death from cancer at age 80. Art Fleming was the quiz’s show’s original and only other host, in the 1960s and ’70s.
Although Burton had made the show’s producers aware of his interest in being considered, his addition to the roster came after a petition backing him as the new “Jeopardy!” host caught fire (with more than 250,000 signatures to date).
He faces other openly eager would-be hosts — including NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers — but the actor, director and education and literacy advocate sees himself as a solid match for a game show that rewards knowledge.
Burton spoke with The Associated Press about his wife’s on-point advice, why diversity matters for “Jeopardy!” and what he thinks of his chances for the job expected to be filled this summer, before next season’s taping begins. Remarks have been edited for clarity and length.
AP: What was the guest-host experience like?
BURTON: Scary. Really, really, really scary. Did I mention it was scary?
AP: How so?
BURTON: I’ve jumped out of airplanes. I’ve walked over hot coals. This was a real challenge. First of all, because (‘Jeopardy!’) is singular in the culture and what it means to people as a part of their daily lives. And the fact that there are only two hosts who have ever stood in that spot. The pressure, the natural tendency was to want to live up to Alex’s example, his legacy. I had, like all of the hosts, one day of rehearsal and the following day I shot five episodes of ‘Jeopardy!’ I came backstage after taping the first episode and I said to Stephanie, ‘Well, how did I do?’ She said, ‘ehhh.’ Now, this is a woman who loves me enough to tell me the truth. She said it wasn’t me.
AP: How did you adjust?
BURTON: I made it my business for the next four chances at bat to just be myself, to forget about the procedure, to forget about the process, stop trying, stop focusing on the wrong thing. You’re not going to be smooth as Alex, let go of that. But what you can bring to the table is you. So that became my point of focus. And when it did, I started having fun.
AP: Why do you consider the show and the host’s role as worthwhile?
BURTON: I’ve been about education my entire career, and I definitely believe in the medium (of television) as one where more than simply entertaining is the order of the day. I try and use the medium in a way that brings something else to the table as often as I can. I think that ‘Roots’ and ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Reading Rainbow,’ they all have that commonality about them, that common thread of entertainment, yes — and informational, inspiring, enlightening, educational, uplifting. We can do so much more than just sell each other stuff with the medium.
AP: There’s significant diversity among the guest hosts. Would there be value in ‘Jeopardy!” having its first person of color or woman as host?
BURTON: There’s nothing like ‘Jeopardy!’ in the cultural consciousness. It’s not that I’m trying to put it on the same level, but I liken it to Barack Obama being elected president in the United States in 2008. I personally never thought I would see that happen in my lifetime. Did his election mean that we were in a post-racial America? Obviously not at all. But it was an important step. Every time we reach that milestone of a first, it does say something about us. It also tells us something that we continue to have these moments of firsts…. that white is the normative default. The reason that white is the default is the conversation that we are trying to have in this country now, that there’s so much resistance to.
AP: How optimistic are you about being picked as host?
BURTON: I am a preternaturally optimistic person. Look, if I don’t get this job, will it be devastating to me? No. I mean, it will hurt, I’ll be disappointed. And I’ll be fine, because what I know about my life is that which is supposed to be for me comes my way. And that which is not mine, doesn’t. The most important thing is that I went for it and my passion was rewarded. I got what I wanted, which was an opportunity to compete for the job. If I don’t get the gig, it’s not immaterial, but it certainly is secondary. I got what I was after. The chance — get me in the room.