Sunday, January 21, 2018

Film: Elba's Debut At The Helm Heads to Sundance

-Deadline Hollywood/ Gleaner

To make his directorial debut on an adaptation of Yardie, the 1992 Victor Headley novel about the collision of Jamaican culture in London, Idris Elba put into it many of the pieces of his life and career. 
The career spans his seminal TV series turnsLuther and The Wire, movies like Beasts of No Nation, American Gangster, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Thor: Ragnarok and Molly’s Game, as well as his second career as Big Driis the Londoner, an accomplished DJ. 
There is even the Hackney streets where he grew up in London, where much of the film is set. In Yardie, a young Jamaican (Aml Ameen) watches his peace-loving brother gunned down, and grows up torn between embracing his brother’s ideals, or immersing himself in gang and drug culture to seek revenge. Here, Elba discusses how he wrapped his own experiences into his directing debut, putting it on display tonight at the Ray Theater, where the film premieres as an acquisition title in the World Cinema category.

Two of the four Jamaican actors cast in Idris Elba's directorial debut, will head to the Sundance Film Festival, set for January 18-28 in Park City, Utah, for the world premiere of the feature film, 'Yardie.'
Based on the novel written by Jamaican Victor Headley and filmed on location between Jamaica and London in the summer of 2017, Yardie, will premiere at Sundance as one of the festival's two headlining feature productions, and will contend among 11 other films for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition Grand Jury Prize.
Yardie, is also listed as one of the top 24 international films to look out for this year, according to The Hollywood Reporter, but they almost did not utilise any Jamaican talent.
"We're very excited that it's gonna be the first time a Jamaican film has been premiered at Sundance, which is fantastic.
This film is particularly exciting because not only was it filmed on Jamaican soil with Jamaican production crews and Jamaican talent, but it's also telling a Jamaican story. I think that people haven't really recognised the excitement of the Jamaican stories that we have; and we have a tonne of them," JAMPRO president, Diane Edwards said.
Details of this Sundance mission were revealed at a pre-festival press briefing held at JAMPRO's headquarters earlier this week. Lead actress Shantol Jackson, along with fellow cast-mates Everaldo Creary (No-Maddz) and young Antwayne Eccleston, were present at the briefing, to share their experience before Jackson and Creary make the trek to Park City, Utah. Also present was Film Commissioner Renee Robinson. Absent was the fourth cast member, Sheldon Shepherd.
"When the UK production team did their first scouting mission, they had not originally intended to cast the leads from Jamaica.
After conducting an initial casting call here however, that changed," Robinson shared.
Jackson excitedly retold her casting experience with the veteran actor/novice director.

Film: Next Up, Stacy McKenzie, The "Beautiful Story of an Ugly Girl"

-Jamaica Observer

The story of Kingston-born, Toronto-based supermodel Stacey McKenzie is to make it to the big screen.

Production on the biopic is set to commence later this year, with casting directors set to visit Jamaica shortly to search for two young Jamaican girls to play McKenzie at different stages of her life.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer from New York where she is currently involved in promotions for the current cycle of the television reality show America's Next Top Model, McKenzie could hardly contain her excitement as she tried to explain the genesis of the film project.

“I was in New York, the executives at VH1 had flown me there for a meeting when I was being considered for the runway coach for America's Next Top Model. As part of the interview I was asked to tell my story, and by the end of it, not just me but everyone in the room was bawling. The executive producer, Ken Mok, just said it... 'I'm gonna tell your story. This story has to make it to the big screen'. I was like yeah sure, let's see,” she recalled.

That was last summer, Mok stuck to his word, and the Stacey McKenzie biopic Ugly
was born.

McKenzie was born in Jamaica. Her deep voice and unconventional looks made her the target of unkind statements from neighbours, schoolmates and even strangers. Migrating to Canada at age 13, she thought this would have made her life easier, but instead the bullying, racism and discouragement continued. Inspired to become a model she knocked on doors of modelling agencies on both sides of the Atlantic for five years before eventually making a breakthrough. Since then she has racked up an impressive list of print, television and runway work for the likes of fashion's elite including Calvin Klein, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen and Tommy Hilfiger.

For obvious reasons she guards the storyline of Ugly, but hints that it is an inspiring story about female empowerment.

Life: The "New Adolescence" Ends at 24, Research says

-NY Post

We’re not really adults until reaching age 24, researchers have concluded.
That’s because so many young people are continuing their education for longer periods of time and delaying marriage and parenthood.
The definition for adolescence is currently between ages 10 and 19, which marks the beginning of puberty and the perceived end of biological growth.
But, writing in Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, scientists at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Australia argue the timing needs to be changed, London’s Telegraph newspaper reported.
Today, the average couple marries for the first time when the groom is 32.5 years old and the bride is 30.6. That’s eight years later than it was in the 1970s.
The study’s lead author, Prof. Susan Sawyer argued that policies that support youth should be extended beyond teenage years.
But others said that just because young people were unmarried or still in education did not mean they were not adults. Dr. Jan Macvarish of the University of Kent told the BBC: “There is nothing inevitably infantilising about spending your early 20s in higher education or experimenting in the world of work.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Auto: Any Colour They Like, As Long As its......

After a five-year hiatus, black has become the most favorite color for new cars in the United Kingdom.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 515,970 new vehicles were registered across the nation in 2017 finished in black, which accounts for a market share of 20.3 percent and a 0.2 percent increase over 2016.
At the same time, grey has become more popular by 2.4 percent, with a market share of 19.7 percent, whereas the previous favorite, white, dropped to the third place, losing 1.5 percent compared to the year before, and being favored by 19 percent of new car buyers.
Missing the podium by 3 percent is blue, which is the only primary color to make it to the Top 5, followed by silver, which saw a 0.1 percent decline.
Red, green, and orange follow in sixth, seventh, and eighth place, while bronze slides in on the ninth place and yellow completes the chart.
When it comes to the most popular cars sold throughout the UK last year, the Ford Fiesta was the winner. Most buyers of the supermini wanted theirs finished in blue, whereas the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, which follow it, were favored in grey and blue, respectively.

POlitics: Sorry, But the Government is [Partially] Closed; Us Senates Rejects Spending Bill


The US Senate last night rejected a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government operating, less than two hours before funding was expected to run out and trigger a shutdown of many government services.

In a vote that required the approval of 60 senators to pass, the measure that would have kept offices open for one month was defeated. Lawmakers have no clear fallback plan, and aides said they were expecting the government to partially close on the first anniversary of President Donald Trump's inauguration.

The Senate adjourned for the night around 1:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
• The final roll call, was 50 in favor and 49 against. Sixty votes are needed to end debate and move to a final vote. Five Democrats voted to end debate, while four Republicans voted with most of the Democrats to block the bill.
• In the early morning hours, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, proposed a measure that would keep the government open for another three weeks, not four as the House measure would have done, and said the Senate would come back to into session on Saturday at noon.

Business: Brexit Leaves "Bad Taste" for Biscuit Lovers

-Jamaica Observer

McVitie's Digestives yesterday said their packets will shrink.

Packets of the quintessentially British brand will be cut from 500 to 400 grammes this month, after the weakened pound ramped up import costs.

“The rising cost of ingredients and changes in the exchange rates means it has become more expensive to bake our products,” said Nick Bunker, UK and Ireland managing director of Pladis, which owns the brand.
He said the change was necessary “in these challenging times”.

Britain's decision in 2016 to leave the European Union (EU) led to a sharp drop in the value of the pound against the euro and dollar.

A company spokeswoman denied the change was the result of one specific event such as the Brexit vote, but rather a response to “changing market conditions and the increased cost of ingredients”.

The sweet, wheaty biscuit is a British staple, often dunked into a cup of milky tea, and is sold internationally.

Pladis has suggested retailers drop the price of the packets from £1.25 (US$1.73, 1.41 euros) to £1.15 to reflect the new size.

While some saw smaller packets as a way to tackle obesity, others were not so enthusiastic.

“Mr Robert McVitie must be twisting in his grave,” reader Ahmed Bayram responded on The Times website.

In October 2016, Toblerone announced the triangular-shaped chocolate had shrunk over rising costs.
Consumers have since complained of numerous companies selling smaller versions of their products.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Media: LA Times Publisher Out Amid Harrasment Probe

-The Wrap
A day after he was placed under investigation following reports of inappropriate behavior, Los Angeles Times Publisher Ross Levinsohn is taking a leave of absence, the paper’s parent company Tronc Inc. announced on Friday afternoon.
“As of this morning, Ross Levinsohn has voluntarily agreed to take an unpaid leave of absence, effective immediately. The company has retained Sidley Austin LLP to conduct a review of the allegations regarding his behavior,” LA Times parent company Tronc, Inc. said in a company-wide email that was subsequently posted to Twitter by several of the paper’s reporters. Tronc referred TheWrap to that email when asked for comment.
On Thursday, Tronc placed Levinsohn under investigation after an NPR report that he admitted under oath to ranking the looks of female colleagues and discussing whether a colleague worked as a stripper, among other incidents. As TheWrap reported, he was not suspended at that time.
Levinsohn made anti-gay remarks at a 2013 event at SoHo House in West Hollywood, according to the NPR report.
“As my buddy said, why would I hang out with a bunch of ladies and fags?,” said Levinsohn, according to one The Hollywood Reporter editor at the event.
Two months later at a party in Las Vegas, Levinsohn “aggressively kissed a woman,” two eyewitnesses told NPR.
“I want to reemphasize to you all that the Company takes any allegations of inappropriate behavior by its employees very seriously,” said Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn in the Friday memo. “It is critical that in any such circumstances we conduct a thorough review so that we have a full understanding of what happened. We will not hesitate to take further action, if appropriate, once the review is complete.”
Dearborn added Mickie Rosen will lead the LA Times and Lewis D’Vorkin will lead the newsroom in Levinsohn’s absence.