Indie Entertainment Magazine - Film Market 2019 Santa Monica

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\\ november 2019

Editor-In-Chief | Publisher Monica Morrison Managing Editor Nicole Goesseringer Muj Web Content | Digital Marketing Manager Gotham Chandna Director of Photography & Productions Annette Baca Contributors: Rehna Azim Lena Bass Claude Brickell Gotham Chandna Nicole Goesseringer Muj Eric Minh Swenson Dr. Laura Wilhelm

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Š2019 | Indie Entertainment Magazine

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International Filmmaker

We Are Moving Stories




Metan Global Entertainment Group


MODERATOR DEBRA LEVINE Publisher, arts·meme

Born in Corum, Turkey and of Circassian ethnicity, Ali M. Aksu is an international film producer and entrepreneur. He is the executive producer of the groundbreaking film Laid in America, the first-ever feature film to cast YouTube celebrities and directors, that was distributed by Universal Studios. He is the founder of Moon Lounge, a millennial contentbased podcast dedicated for global grand challenges that was incubated at Singularity University. Aksu recently founded the film finance platform (, a next-generation movie production company that employs data analytics at an extensive level, while producing content with the latest technologies. He holds a B.A. in Economics, with a minor in film, TV and digital media from UCLA, and earned executive-level degrees from MIT, Wharton and Singularity University. Ali M. Aksu, International Filmmaker,

Dr. Carmela Baranowska is the founder and editor-in-chief at We Are Moving Stories (WAMS) (, the world’s biggest online community and platform for new voices in film. With over 2,500 contributors we are committed to and have achieved over 50% women’s participation. WAMS covers many genres and subjects including drama, documentary, short films, music video, animation, Web series, Sci-Fi, supernatural, horror, comedy, LGBTQIA+, POC, WOC, Latinx, First Nations, environmental, world cinema, VR, etc.

Dr. Carmela Baranowska, Founder/Editor-in-Chief, We Are Moving Stories

WAMS is international and its filmmakers call the United States, Australia, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Russia and Southeast Asia their home. Under Dr. Baranowska’s leadership, WAMS is proud to begin a new conversation about change, women and film. Dr. Baranowska was educated at the Victorian College of the Arts School of Film and Television and the University of Melbourne, where she obtained her PhD. An Australian, she has lived and worked in Burma, East Timor, Afghanistan, Australia, Europe and the US. She is the first Australian to win a Rory Peck Award and the only person to have won both a Rory Peck and a Walkley Award.

Christopher Kühne is an internationally acclaimed screenwriter and story analyst who co-wrote the award-winning feature film Yerma: Barren, directed by renowned Spanish poet/film director Emilio Ruiz Barrachina. As a literary manager, he collaborated with producer Ken Atchity (The Kennedy Detail, The Meg) in the development of film and TV projects. Recently, Kühne has been preparing the launch of his consulting and development company Storyan, which will bring a new take on development to the table.

Christopher Kühne, Founder, Storyan

Award-winning entertainment industry veteran with over 45 years professional experience in cable television, live events and new media, Larry Namer is the co-founder of E! Entertainment Television. Today he is a founding partner/president/ceo of Metan Global Entertainment Group (MGEG) (, a venture created to develop and distribute entertainment content and media specifically for Chinese speaking audiences in China and abroad. In 2018, the company launched the MGEG Film Fund I and serves as managing partner. He is also the executive producer on the recently announced feature film EMPRESS. MGEG has also adapted popular Western TV formats for localized versions, including Go Dance! and Elite Model Search, as well as developed the original sitcom, written by Namer, Return to Da Foo Tsun and the Web series Planet Homebuddies that garnered an online audience of over seven million only one month after its launch. Metan was instrumental in joining together top China production houses Mei Tian and H&R Century TV with Warner Brothers International Television Production and the creators of Gossip Girl to develop a groundbreaking new teen drama series for China, to which Metan also served as a consultant. MGEG’s most recent series is Fashion X, a fashion-themed series for the China market, covering the top fashion weeks around the globe, as well as a new travel, cultural series that will begin filming in Croatia in October 2019.

Larry Namer, E! Founder, President/CEO, Metan Global Entertainment Group

Emily Shah is the lead actress in the new feature Jungle Cry (, directed by Sagar Ballary, the true story of the Jungle Crows team of 12 young tribal Indian boys from extreme tribal regions of India, who played sports barefoot, and went on to win the coveted U14 Rugby World Cup in England. The young actress stars opposite awardwinning Indian actor Abhay Deol. The film, which was first announced at Cannes 2019, is the former Miss New Jersey USA’s second lead in a feature, following her debut in the 2018 thriller Fortune Defies Death. An ambassador for UNICEF, she has participated in national campaigns for Proactive, Motorola, T3 and Sephora, and assisted the legendary actor/director Clint Eastwood on the film Jersey Boys. Ms. Shah was recently invited to serve on the jury of the prestigious Ariano International Film Festival. She studied acting at the Lee Strasberg in New York and Los Angeles, and graduated in Entertainment Media Management from California State University in 2018.

Emily Shah, Actress, “Jungle Cry”

Debra Levine is a Los Angeles-based arts writer published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, DANCE Magazine, EMMY magazine and more. Debra is editor/publisher of arts•meme (, the fine-arts blog she founded in 2008. A specialist in the Hollywood choreographer Jack Cole (1911-1974), Debra was recently interviewed for the BBC World Service ( Debra curated All That Jack (Cole) (, an 18-film retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art. She co-hosted, with Robert Osborne, Choreography by Jack Cole ( com), broadcast on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). She has produced and hosted danceon-film events at MoMA (, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (, and UCLA Film & Television Archive ( Debra was a Fellow at the NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts (www.balletcenter.nyu. edu); twice a Fellow at NEA Arts Journalism Institutes and was twice a critic in residence at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

Debra Levine Editor/publisher, arts•meme

by Lena Basse, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, April 2019, New York

Nicole Kidman’s Secrets After the great success of the Big Little Lies, there was no surprise when the TV show was picked up for another season. Based on the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty, the series follows five women dealing with their own trauma. Nicole Kidman plays not only one of the main characters, but also produces the show together with fellow actor Reese Witherspoon.

Big Little Lies follows the lives of five different mothers who live in the idyllic coastal Northern Californian town of Monterrey. Although everything looks beautiful at first glance, each woman holds a dark secret which first brings them into conflict, which later, strangely, unites them. In the latest season, all the different storylines of each one of the five main characters have been explored more deeply, and not only those alone. To the great satisfaction of fans, the show added a new very valuable character, Celeste’s (Kidman’s character) mother-in-law, who is played by one of the best actresses of our time, Meryl Streep. Streep and Kidman’s characters clash during the fallout after the death of Celeste’s husband, played by Alexander Skarsgard. Streep brings a completely new dynamic into the women’s relationships. So, Kidman who is not only playing Celeste, but also is a very active producer of the show and is very pleased with the results. We met the actress at The Beekman Hotel in New York before the premiere of the new season and she was very conscious not to reveal any big secrets from the show itself. However, because of her passion, she was happy to talk about the process of creating a female-driven show made by women, yet loved by both sexes.

How did you decide to go ahead with season two? The reason why we did season two because the audiences were like, you cannot not do this, and we were like we don’t have time, we are all off here doing this and that. And the actual demand and pull of the audience was wow, this has connected in such a deeper way than we ever thought, and we kind of have to do it now and can we do it? And that is when Reese and I sort of kicked into high gear and went okay, let’s go. And it was a lot to do, but I am so glad we did, because it was incredibly satisfying. And it’s beautiful to watch these other actresses blossom on screen as well. To also have the enthusiasm, not just from the

fans, but the critics in the way in which the press has gone come on, give it to us, we want it, and supported it in a massive way. It’s been very exciting. So now we just have to live up to some expectations. How would you describe season two compared to the first one? Well, if you look at it like a coffee drink, then the first season was a latte, frothy on top and incredibly strong underneath. I think it’s a slightly stronger latte this season (laughs), and maybe now give me another type of coffee. I don’t think it’s an espresso, but it’s getting there. A very, very dry cappuccino (laughs).

It’s incredibly interesting to watch each of these women carry the burden of secrets and how this manifests. Can you speak about that aspect and how it plays out? Someone said to me recently, I watched the first episode and I am so happy to be back with these women. I think that is the greatest thing you can hear, so therefore you are emotionally attached with them and where are we going to go with all of them? And I want to be taken on the journey. They are carrying the burden of the secret, that if one of them cracks, the whole thing falls apart, which is a fantastic way to start a series. And also, now trying to navigate the future of relationships and not telling your partner something that’s happened and not telling them the truth and how does that affect everything? Shailene and I now are in this strange position of having these three boys with the same father. The thing that I love about Celeste is, there’s a scene, I think it’s in the first episode, where I am sitting with her and I ask her why aren’t you accepting the money, because that is Celeste’s heart. Which is so fascinating there, but in a weird way they have to co-parent three boys, that have to somehow work out how to be brothers and they keep it simple and we, mothers, obviously keep it more complicated. And you also have Reese, where she wants her child to go to college and she is desperate, so all the different things are of now.

we are also evolving. So, we are also putting in ideas and we are seeing the way in which we are growing in our confidence and those things. That’s unusual for me and I am really just fascinated by them and I love it.


Let’s talk about your mother-in-law? My mother-in-law or Meryl? (laughs) Both. Celeste comes into a house with light that was dark and it almost feels like a cemetery to me. So, let’s talk about this and the satisfaction of working with Meryl. She is so tasty. She’s so tasty! I am going to tell her you said that. (laughs) She’s definitely tasty.

What about your character Celeste? I think maybe a lot of people are expecting Celeste to be healed, but there is an enormous amount of still pain and still, secrets. And that was really important to me in terms of portraying her, because when you are dealing with abuse, you are dealing with something who has patterns and requires an enormous amount of work to see what those patterns are and why you chose them in the first place and how you are going to break them to become healthy. Also, now she has become a single mother and she has two little boys and she had a very, very strong attachment to Perry. So, to have him taken so violently and he is gone now, I think has created trauma for her in a different way. Then you have Meryl coming in playing his mother (laughs) and it’s just a fantastic dynamic, because you have that very truthful relationship of a daughter-in-law and a mother-in-law and the way in which they are now having to navigate both their grief and their loss. Can you talk about the relationships with the women offscreen as well? What was the journey like for you and also, the friendships that were created? I think the vibration of our friendship, you do feel that because of the authenticity of it. And the beauty of it, it kind of just naturally happened. We are all different ages, where some of us are married, some aren’t, some of us have kids and some of us don’t, but we seem to have just managed to form this very, very tight bond, which you then feel, because it pulsates out of the screen. So, we are not fighting to create that, because it’s already created. I have also never spent so much time with a group of women creatively and it’s really exciting because

Meryl Streep

site her and she is listening, and she is thinking, and she’s changing and so for me, she is just heaven. She is heaven to work with, and I would do anything with her in a heartbeat. How did you “get” Meryl Streep? Liane Moriarty wrote the novella Big Little Lies and she called Celeste’s mother-in-law Mary Louise, which is Meryl’s real name. We didn’t know it, but Liane apparently knew. And then Liane said I want Meryl Streep. And Reese and I were like, we cannot get you Meryl Streep. (laughs) And then she goes, but I called the character Mary Louise, and we were like it doesn’t work like that, Liane (laughs). And then, strangely enough, we sent an email to Meryl Streep and the night that we won the Golden Globe she sent wrote us back and she was like, ‘well this just means I have to do it, huh?’ (laughs) And she signed on the next day. I was back to work on “Destroyer” the next day and I called Reese and I said can this be real, is this real that she sent us and said she was in? Reese and I were screaming on the phone and then we were like, is this real? And it was real. We called Kevin the agent and we were like, is it going to happen. And he was like yeah, she’s in! So, that was the way in which it happened. (laughs)

Can you talk about your relationship with her as both a mother-in-law and as an actress? Well, I have known Meryl for years. So, the thing to be said­ about Meryl is that she didn’t read a script, she signed on to do this because she wanted to support us. So that there is the basis of her as a woman and I think that’s extraordinary, and that is her career that she is betting with us and going okay, I don’t need to know what this is going to be, I just want to be a part of it and I just want to support you. And as soon as she did that, it gave a validity to having a season two. It suddenly became worldwide news that Meryl Streep was going to be in our season two. She gave us so much just by doing that. But as an actor, she comes in and there’s nobody better. I say she is the queen because she really is. And you all know that because you have obviously given her many, many accolades over the years, because she is, she literally is. She walks on the set, she has one hair and makeup guy who she has pretty much had her whole life and she comes in and she knows all her lines and she is completely prepared and there is no airs and graces, and she is there and she just does the work. She’s rigorous with the work, and then she says yeah, let’s go grab a bite to eat or let’s go out and then she goes home and gets good sleep and then comes back to work. That technique, that discipline and that talent, is why she is where she is at. And she does not rest on any laurels and I love saying that because she is at a stage where if anyone could, they could just sort of cruise in and cruise out and still do a pretty great performance and she does not do that. And you act oppo-

What is your relationship with your real mother-in-law? I love my mother-in-law Marienne, I will tell you (laughs). She lives in Queensland still but she is, every time I look at her, I go oh my God, Sunday looks so much like you. It’s been crazy because my oldest daughter looks so much like Keith’s mother. And Keith looks so much like his mother (laughs). You have homes in Australia, Los Angeles and Nashville. Yes. We have a place in Australia where we have a farm, a big farm, but our place in Nashville now is in the city, so we are far more close to the schools and the thing about Tennessee and Nashville is that within 15 minutes you can be hiking in the forest. And that’s actually something we did two days ago, my husband and I were walking, and we said oh, this is just gorgeous. Would you like to live somewhere with water and waves? I would love to live somewhere like that. I mean I am an ocean girl and I grew up obviously in Australia, but if I can get in the ocean, I am happy and if I can see the ocean, I sleep better with the ocean. My husband is a country music singer and we live in Nashville and there is no ocean in Nashville, but there is lots of nature. We see deer pretty much, whenever we are on a walk, which is so beautiful. You have two kids. How do you schedule their lives? My daughters love being on the set. They do their schoolwork, they can be tutored at times, but I do love keeping them in the school system. We work around it and we struggle, and it puts a lot of stress on me in the sense of if I have to fly back and forth a lot, but I am willing to do it. If there’s things at the school then we will work around that. I will say I have got to be there, and I give the dates. I literally just did it where my agent said I have

just been offered this big film and I said I don’t even want to read it because it’s actually going to fall into my daughters starting their next school terms, so I can’t even look at it. And I don’t want temptation, so don’t even give it to me. And then in our summer break, we try to go back to Australia for as long as possible because that’s where my momma is and she has a tough time traveling now, so that is what we do. At Christmas time we all go back because of my mom. My sister and I were talking on the phone last night and we were like Christmas, and I am like yep, Sydney, because of mom. We were saying that it’s actually great for our kids because they will have memories that are going to be the beach and heat and their grandmother and their cousins and cherries and peaches, (laughs) and that is what we have at Christmas time. The memory of that becomes your childhood. But that is how we work, my sister and I are very, very close and we have worked to keep our families together. What is your sister doing? My sister just got her law degree. 49 years old, pretty good. Six kids, never too late.

In your home, you have a very supportive husband. So, because he’s such your opposite, did you fall in love with him all over again? I don’t think I would be able to do anything that I can do without him and without that nourishment and the open arms that you come to, because he has seen all the episodes, and he supports me as a producer as well. I remember the first time he saw season one, he said ‘you have got a hit show and this is amazing and I am completely addicted.’ And I was like, really? And he couldn’t wait for the next episode to come and he would sit down and watch it with me. Even that he is busy, he clears his schedule and he takes the time to do that because he knows what it means to me. He has done the same with the second one, and he sits down with me in my little dark room and we watch it and he gives his feedback and it’s been amazing because I am like “do you think it’s good?” And he says, “it’s fantastic. I am so hooked.” And as soon as I hear those words, I am like great, if Keith is in, he kind of represents a whole group of people, men in this world, that will also be in. It’s been a long road, let me tell you (laughs).

by Lena Basse, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, April 2019, New York

Joaquin Phoenix Delivers a Devastating, Psychologically Dense Performance in Joker By Rehna Azim, Film Critic & Awards Editor, Movie Marker (

Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) works as a clown in Gotham City. Along with a small group of colleagues, he gets low-key gigs performing in a Children's Hospital and advertising local businesses, usually by being a walking billboard. The city itself is a mess. Garbage bags litter the sidewalks, businesses are going bust, the divide between the rich and lucky and the poor losers in life is stark, making for a simmering cauldron of discontent that could erupt at any moment. It's as drab on the streets for Fleck as it is at home. There, he cares for his bedridden mother Penny (Frances Conroy) in a dingy apartment where she spends her days writing letters to Thomas Wayne, a rich man she worked for 30 years ago and who is now running for mayor of the city. Wayne doesn't care to reply. Fleck is beset with personal troubles too. He's been incarcerated in a psychiatric facility already, is plainly lonely, given to stalking single mother neighbor (Zazie Beets) and suffers from a condition which makes him suddenly laugh out loud, often at the most inappropriate moments. He even carries a card that bears the plea 'forgive my laughter' to explain the condition to strangers he meets in case they want to thump him for his insensitivity. They learn that the laughter does not reflect the state of Fleck's mind. That mind is increasingly unwell. Bullied by colleagues, beaten up by thugs, dismissed by his boss as a freak and generally mistreated, Fleck when asked by his so-

cial worker (Sharon Washington) if he has had any negative thoughts since she met him the week before, pithily retorts, 'ALL my thoughts are negative.' Although, perhaps not all. Arthur Fleck still has dreams. He wants to be a stand-up comedian so he can make people happy, as he himself has never been. It's what he was born to be, according to his mother, ‘a ray of sunshine.’ But his mother has been lying to him all his life too. He discovers this to devastating effect. His first attempt playing to an audience is a painful disaster. From this unpromising background and the injustices heaped upon him grows the man who will become the arch-nemesis of Bruce Wayne, Batman himself. The transformation is not abrupt. It's a gradual erosion of sanity. There are many nods in Todd Phillips's film to Martin Scorsese's works, most notably Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. Scorsese’s leading man Robert De Niro even pops up as Murray Franklin, a smarmy television chat show host who Fleck dreams of meeting. The directing by Phillips is assured, even bold, at times, both visually and in the choice of soundtrack (not many directors would have selected a Gary Glitter track for a pivotal scene)! However, it remains just the contained, right side of flamboyant. He creates an atmospheric Gotham of deep, rich hues amidst the dark grayness. The supporting cast members are all perfectly good.

But it is the great dark wing of Joaquin Phoenix which dominates and annihilates all comers in this film. He is in turns, innocent, calculating, wistful, sad, perceptive and gloriously, heartbreakingly unhinged. As a psychologically dense study of a descent into madness, Phoenix leaves you breathless in the wake of the unraveling of his soul where he pours out all his simmering rage borne out of abandonment, betrayal, rejection and small humiliations. The marginalized freak finally wreaks in the world the havoc of his mind. The violence, when it comes, is gory and unapologetic.


in the wake of the unraveling of his soul But just when you think it's all getting too heavy, Phoenix shows off some pretty nifty footwork as he dances to his own new tune in a natty new wardrobe. In glorying in his crime wave, the joker emerges as the first hero vigilante of Gotham. Far from being appalled by his brutality, the masses are energized by this bloodstained, insane killer who, even in his madness speaks a great deal of uncomfortable truth.

Phoenix doesn't keep it all in the mind. His performance is very physical too. The tense contortions of his body for much of the film giving way to a liberated ease when he dons the colors of the Joker wardrobe. It's as if he is finally free in his own skin even as he loathes what he has become. If Phillips pays tribute to his influences with the film, so Phoenix too offers a brief but poignant acknowledgement of his friend Heath Ledger, who, of course, won a posthumous best supporting actor Oscar for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight. My colleague Dion Wynne also spotted possible nods to another joker, Jack Nicholson, albeit Nicholson in The Shining. However, so incredible and multi-layered is the performance by Phoenix, it's possible to forget this is a comic book film. It's only when Fleck comes face to face with the young son of Thomas Wayne at the latter's mansion and the unidentified staff member refers to him as Bruce are you brought back into that universe and you realize that the boy is the future caped crusader and the unknown man is Alfred. Joker can stand tall alongside The Dark Knight series in the comic book film universe.

Catalina Island Museum Celebrates 100th Anniversary By Eric Minh Swenson

Once a getaway for Hollywood legends, Catalina Island reached a major milestone of celebrating the 100 year anniversary of William Wrigley Jr.’s purchase of the Santa Catalina Island Company in 1919. I attended the Catalina Island Museum’s ( celebration on September 21, 2019, covering a gleeful fundraiser of cheerful patrons who donated a half a million dollars in just a few hours.

Catalina Casino

Catalina Island Museum Board Chairman Ron Bevins and Julie Perlin Lee, the museum’s Executive Director

Catalina Anniversary Event

Catalina Island

The museum offers the best in art and history exhibitions, music and dance performances, lectures by guest speakers from all over the world, and the finest in silent, documentary and international film. The museum also exhibited a special tribute to the early foundation and improvements through Wrigley’s passionate auspices titled “Wrigley’s Catalina: A Centennial Celebration,” as well as acknowledged other families that made the island what it is today, including the descendants of D.M. Renton, Otis Shepard, John Gabriel Beckman, the Banning brothers, David Blankenhorn, George Shatto, Zane Grey, among others. Wrigley was known as someone who turned a soap factory into a chewing gum empire and bringing the Chicago Cubs for Spring training until 1951. Wrigley invested in the needed infrastructure and attractions to the island, including the construction of the Catalina Casino which opened on May 29, 1929, making the island a destination for Hollywood movie stars as well as a secret outpost where the Navy conducted underwater demolition training at Emerald Bay during World War II.

Santa Catalina Island is an island off the coast of Southern California in the Gulf of Santa Catalina. A million tourists ferry back and forth daily from San Pedro and Long Beach annually partaking in numerous hospitable adventures like snorkeling, parasailing, glass bottom boat tours and haunted island adventures. Many come to see the island’s wildlife that include the American Bison that were left over from a 1924 film shoot that lost its funding to return the animals back and have now grown to a herd of 150. Others visit for the rich calendar of festivals celebrating music, food and wine. The island got a jolt of parody from the 2008 movie Step Brothers where actors Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly hatch am irreverent scheme to create their own “fucking Catalina Wine Mixer.” Nevertheless, those who haven’t been to the island are missing out on one of the crowning jewels that makes Southern California and its unique history a special place deserving of constant celebration and pageantry.

It Takes a Village to Run a Company:

The Davines Group and ‘Tomorrow and The Butterfly’ By Dr. Laura Wilhelm Tomorrow and The Butterfly is an unconventional documentary about an unconventional company created by award-winning Italian director Alessandro Soetje. Filmed in six episodes titled Living Sculptures, Foundations, The Power Of Beauty, Butterflies, I Must Be A Rebel and A Simple Shampoo with a short prologue and epilogue, the feature-length film relates eloquent stories about global sustainability, beauty, and diversity in the plant and animal kingdoms through the lens of The Davines Group (

every detail is what Davide still has to offer as its founding father now that The Davines Group has shifted from an entrepreneurial to managerial model. “To me, the pursuit of happiness is the happiness of pursuit,” declares Davide. His futuristic focus and life spent largely in transit sometimes seem to lead to perpetual unhappiness ­– but that is the nature of true progress!

The company began with the brilliant business vision of Davide Bollati that refused to sacrifice sustainability in the pursuit of beauty. "Working in the world of beauty, you see some things that aren't so beautiful." But sometimes you do! The Davines Group sponsors projects such as the ones seen in The Power Of Beauty and I Must Be A Rebel that seek to empower hairstylists who emerged from almost impossibly difficult life circumstances. The scenes shot in Cambodia that give a glimpse into the nation's thriving sex trade in The Power Of Beauty make a particularly intense impact. From the standpoint of waste and pollution, however, the Davines Village has been named the LEAST impactful industrial plant in Italy. This small home business that once produced its products in the same pots in which the Bollati family’s pasta was cooked has gradually grown into a respected international entity operating worldwide.

Bollati Family

It is a genuine pleasure to see the slowly processed olive oil from Living Sculptures (i.e. olive trees) finally get used for a super-sustainable formulation in A Simple Shampoo, which looks anything but, and to be reacquainted with many of the film’s major players during a big business meeting. The passion and dedication in the room are quite palpable and cannot fail to inspire one and all, especially since the staff always keep falling behind while pursuing never-ending goals that appear very difficult to finalize.

The Davines Village has been named


Reminding us that a garden is a paradise, The Davines Group certainly looks like an idyllic place to work! The Japanese and many other First World observers are absolutely in love with this small village thanks to its big heart, which shows itself in a sense of community and brand ethos that are second to none.

Concerning the film’s title, the butterfly represents Davide’s inability to move forward in a straight line while somehow always staying on track. In Foundations, “the butterfly” confesses that his hyper-competent CEO Paolo Braguzzi gets the very best from people by being more patient and reasonable than he ever could be. The holistic perception of the company that encompasses

Another sign of progressive thought is the presence of women at all levels of the organization who drive the company’s mission of ethical inclusiveness from day to day. The Davines Group offers an alternative for the twenty-first century that will no doubt continue to generate interest from the disparate worlds of science, business, social justice, and any number of others.

From top to bottom: Davines Village, The Power of Beauty, I Must Be a Rebel

The Mystery of John Paul Getty III’s

“THE LAST SUPPER” By Claude Brickell, filmmaker and writer, New York City as successful as Yayoi’s with ten to fifteen student models working there at any one time. Before heading down to NYU for my film classes each morning, I would stop off at the Greek Revival bank building on Union Square to deposit the studio’s proceeds. Andy’s film loft The Factory, at number 33 University Place, was on the square opposite and it was his habit to drop by the same bank around the same time of day. My hair at the time was bleached white, and I suppose the two of us were twin-standouts in the banking crowd, although he was twice my age. We had eyed each other many times, and, on one particular morning, we ended up in the same line. Andy whispered coyly to me, “We have to keep meeting like this…” then laughed and proceeded to introduce himself as Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol Photo by Jack Mitchell

It was in 1970 that I first met Andy Warhol by chance. At the time, Union Square in New York was where it all was at: sex, drugs and psychedelics. I was fortunate to have an apartment only one building off the square on East 15th Street. The building, designed by the legendary architect Stanford White, had originally been an apartment hotel for writers and theatricals. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello had once lived there. So had E.B. White (author of Charlotte’s Web) and Oona O’Neil and her mother Lady Charlie Chaplin. For me, the apartment could not have been better located as I was then attending New York University Film School just a little south of there. Denise Bell, my girlfriend at the time, and I were working as nude models for artist Yayoi Kusama at her body painting studio in the West Village on Christopher Street. Yayoi was already a well-known contemporary artist with works at MoMa, but she had gained notoriety as a performance artist, as well, staging nude happenings with her models in the New York City subways. Today, she is considered the mother of modern body painting as an art form. Denise and I thought we might make much more money by opening our own body painting studio which we did, known then as The Gallery Loft on East 18th Street, just doors off Union Square. Our models were other college-age kids and the studio soon ended up being twice

I knew nothing about art, as I lived film 24/7, but his name did ring a bell. After telling him my own name, I then inquired, “Aren’t you the one who makes all those underground films?” He laughed, again, most likely because he had expected me to say “famous artist.” It wasn’t until years later in Los Angeles that I learned he was the artist dominating the pop art scene. I even ended up owning one of his signed works titled Torso as I had become a pop art fan. myself.

“WE HAVE TO KEEP MEETING LIKE THIS…” then laughed and proceeded to introduce himself as Andy Warhol That memorable meeting was during Union Square’s heyday. Max’s Kansas City, on Park Avenue just north of the square, was where everything was happening nightly, especially on weekends. It was a favorite hangout of Andy’s and his entourage of superstars like Joe Dallesandro of Flesh fame, whenever Andy wasn’t over at Studio 54 hobnobbing with celebrities such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger and others. The Velvet Underground played at Max’s regularly, including their last shows with Lou Reed of Walk on the Wild Side fame.

Carlo Scimone “Paul was a brilliant and talented young man who was trying to affirm his identity, overwhelmed by the weight of his last name.�

Photo by Carlo Scimone

It was the home base for the glam rock scene which featured David Bowie, Reed, Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper, among others. Patti Smith and her boyfriend artist Robert Mapplethorpe visited almost nightly and Bruce Springsteen frequently played solo acoustic sets, there, as well. I would waltz in most weekend nights, too, with my entourage of models. When Denise and I split up, I took up with superstar Andrea Feldman of Heat fame until she committed suicide on acid jumping from the fourteenth floor of a building on Fifth Avenue. She had left behind a note, “I’m headed for the big time. I’m on my way up there with James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.” Not an unusual tragedy during those wild times.

ductions (Lady Sings the Blues with Diana Ross). And following that, I left for France as the Hollywood representative for their third largest film studio, helping bring 20th Century Fox’s The Jewel of the Nile with Michael Douglas, Warner Bros.’ Under the Cherry Moon with Prince and John Frankenheimer’s miniseries Riviera to the South of France lot. By then, I had already filmed my first independent feature, That Summer, which was an official selection at the World Film Festival in Montreal. That was followed by my second feature, titled Havana, Habana, filmed both in Havana and Los Angeles, which was also an official selection, this time at the Rome Independent Film Festival in Italy. I eventually returned to NYU, though, to acquire certification as a professional fine arts appraiser, a field that had always fascinated me, and I suppose it was because of both my expertise in film and art, and my having known Andy personally, that I received a call one day from Nicole Muj, international entertainment public relations exec and managing editor of Indie Entertainment Magazine. Nicole suggested I look into something fascinating that had come across her desk, a lost film titled “The Last Supper.”

John Paul Getty III at the 1976 process held the Court of Lagonegro against Calabria’s mafia members presumed responsible for his abduction in July 1973.

So over the year after that, Andy and I continued running into each other frequently and I would often say to myself, “I’ve just got to finish one of my films so I can show Andy my directing brilliance, and maybe he’ll even let me make films for him over at The Factory.” But the curious thing was, back then, we worked with celluloid, not digital, and students rarely had funds to finish their films as by the time they got to a rough cut, they were already shooting their next projects. I never got to show Andy anything and by year’s end, I had left for California with nine cans of film under my arm from my senior project that a professional film editor in Hollywood I knew had offered to cut for me if I showed up there. I never saw Andy, again, nor did anything related to him come up until much later on. The next several years, I worked steadily in the Hollywood film industry as a development exec, first at The Burbank Studios (formerly the Warner Bros. lot) for Dustin Hoffman at his Sweetwall Productions, and later for producer Phil Feldman at First Artists Productions (A Star is Born with Barbra Streisand and Agatha with Hoffman), which also had me doing project development for Hoffman, Streisand and Paul Newman, among others. After that, I headed over to MGM as executive story editor for producer Jay Weston at Jay Weston Pro-

John Paul Getty III, when he was only sixteen years old, showed up in Rome to live like a bohemian seeking a normal young man’s life. He was, of course, the grandson of billionaire J. Paul Getty, at that time, the wealthiest man in the world. That was before Paul’s infamous kidnapping when the perpetrators of it were demanding from his grandfather two million dollars in ransom money and who cut off a piece of Paul’s ear sending it to the press to prove they were serious. I had known Paul earlier in L.A. I had once free-lanced for a producer who was shacking up with Paul’s divorced mother Gail Getty in Brentwood, and I had to frequently visit Gail’s mansion with project updates. Paul and his sister Eileen were only about eight and ten at the time and I would hang out around the pool with them, sometimes for hours, while I waited for the producer to finish up his intimacies and come downstairs. In 1973, the same time Paul was living in Rome, Andy showed up in the city, as well. And while there, he would also travel, on occasion, up to Milan to photograph Leonardo Da Vinci’s famed fresco The Last Supper which he would later turn into his extensive silkscreen series Warhol‘s The Last Supper. Andy frequently threw parties in Rome and Paul and his bohemian friends would sometimes show up, one of his friends being Carlo Scimone, a young Italian photographer who frequently worked Italian magazine shoots. Scimone had even photographed Paul nude for the magazine Playmen, the Italian version of Playboy, for which Paul had been paid $1,000 for the spread. And this threw his billionaire grandfather into a rage when the old man found out about it.

The older Getty virtually disowned his grandson over it and this had a lot to do with the grandfather’s reticence to get involved with the kidnappers demands. He eventually settled with them, though, freeing Paul from captivity, at last, but for far less than they were originally demanding. So Paul and Andy, despite their differences in age−Andy was 45 at the time−became close friends and it was Andy’s idea to make a film using The Last Supper as a theme. Paul Morresey, Andy’s longtime cinematographer, was in Rome at the time filming Warhol’s Flesh of Frankenstein but was not involved in The Last Supper project. The film was to be shot in Super8 and Paul’s friends would play all the roles. Paul, himself, would star in it as Jesus Christ with frizzy red hair and tons of androgynous makeup that included bright red lipstick and heavily mascaraed eyes making him look rather ghoulish in it. Scimone took tons of 35mm stills of the shoot, and Paul and Scimone, together, did the cinematography. But, although the film was completed, it was never released and ended up in someone’s trunk somewhere. A long story short, The Last Supper was eventually lost (Kodak color film fades rapidly to orange, anyway). A couple of months later, Paul was kidnapped and the rest is history.

....although the film was completed,

IT WAS NEVER RELEASED AND ENDED UP IN SOMEONE’S TRUNK SOMEWHERE Long after Paul’s release from his captors, he ended up back in Los Angeles where he drifted heavily into drugs and alcohol. In 1981, he drank a Valium, methadone and alcohol cocktail which caused liver failure and a stroke leaving him partially blind, quadriplegic and unable to speak. I knew Eileen, once again, as we both were working as volunteers for the AIDS Project Los Angeles, and she and Paul had bought houses opposite each other on a quiet street in the LA suburb of Sherman Oaks, a seclusion where Paul had been confined to a wheelchair. The two of them were serving as honorary board members of the J. Paul Getty Foundation, administrator of the J. Paul Getty Museum, each receiving twenty thousand dollars quarterly. A sad compensation, though, in lieu of the brother’s tragic disability outcome. Paul died in 2011.

Photo by Carlo Scimone

The famous 70’s Getty kidnapping has resurfaced with two recent film offerings, Ridley Scott’s feature All the Money in the World with Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty and Danny Boyle’s ten-episode Fox series Trust with Donald Southerland as the billionaire. Both works touch on the making of The Last Supper film, but are primarily about the kidnapping. Whether or not the film The Last Supper will ever resurface is anyone’s guess. The only copy of the leftist cult film Salt of the Earth, about Mexican migrant workers in the fields of California, was found years later on a shelf in a closet somewhere in Eastern Europe. Miracles do happen in the film world.

Filmmaker Spotlight:

Ksenia Okhapkina “Immortal” By Nicole Muj Ksenia Okhapkina graduated from St. Petersburg State University of Film and TV in 2012. Since 2014, she has collaborated with the Estonian producer Riho Västrik and his film studio Vesilind. Her first documentary, produced by Vesilind, titled Come Back Free, a poetic documentary about life in a war-torn Chechen village, won the IDFA Special Jury Award for Mid-Length Documentary in 2016. With her previous work, Okhapkina has shown her ability to capture “the poetic in the profane.” She avows to the meaningfulness of a single frame and has a strong commitment to composition. Her first feature Immortal ( is currently on the festival circuit and won Best Documentary Film at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2019, Best Film in the International Competition as Astra Film Festival 2019 in Romania, the Grand Prix at Artdocfest in Riga, and is an official selection of the IDFA 2019 in Amsterdam. Set in a north-western industrial town in Russia, Immortal reveals the mechanism that entices human beings to voluntarily become a resource to the state. Can a person ever be free in an imperialist society, where intricate and obscure structures take control of their mindset from an early age? The film looks at the making of a Russian citizen from a fresh angle. The director’s subtle but demanding look reveals “the system” at work in the most benign-looking situations, in all aspects of the everyday. What happens to people’s free will and self-determination in such conditions? The film is a Nietzschean treat, asking the core existential question, ‘is a human being ever born free?’ Indie Entertainment Magazine had a chance to interview the director recently.

Is this your first feature length documentary? Yes. Before it, I have made two mid-length films and a number of shorts. Have the 'subjects/characters' in the film seen the final version and what was the feedback? No, the characters haven’t seen the film yet. We have sent the film to the Murmansk Film Festival, which is the biggest neighboring city, but it was not selected. I would like to show it to them after the Russian premiere. How has the reception been from the Russian film industry and Russia viewers in general about the film? There wasn’t any public screening in Russia yet. The premiere is scheduled for the beginning of December and I’m looking forward for the discussion in St. Petersburg and Moscow because I can’t predict in which direction it might go. This is a painful and an extremely important topic for Russia. Nearly everybody has had similar experiences, as we filmed situations that are quite typical for the post-Soviet space. I’m nearly sure that this film won’t leave the Russian viewers indifferent. We had some Russian viewers, mostly film industry people, who watched the film at the festivals. Some people shared their impressions and I found that nearly everybody left the cinema with a heavy feeling, though they loved everything that has to do with the cinematic language. I think that film industry people, who mostly live in Moscow, can’t really imagine that the things shown in the film can be that important for the small towns like Apatity, on which the whole economy of Russia is actually based.

There are plenty of things to do in Moscow and it’s hard to imagine that people in provincial towns, which in fact feed Moscow, can be that limited in their choice of how to live their lives. What advice can you give to female filmmakers especially about working in the documentary genre? I wish to my female colleagues’ strength to change things behind the scenes and enough love to take life as it is during the filming. By dealing with real life with all its beauty and its feeling of wonder, we also channel through ourselves all its injustice and pain. We can choose whom to work with and build the professional and human relations the way we like, but very often we film in quite sexist communities (the one I filmed is not an exception) and it can be frustrating to start making things in the situation which you can’t really influence much. For myself, I found a solution. I play my game by their rules. The goal is to make a film and the tools we use are not that important. It can even be a privilege when your characters don’t take you seriously. Do you wish to stay in this genre with your art? I love documentary and as far as I see things and have ideas on what to show I will continue making it, though I would like to try something else as well. I feel that some ideas I can’t express through this genre, so I will definitely develop my skills and try to find some other genre where I can feel a little more liberated with my imagination. Your film Come Back Free won price at IDFA mid-length documentary in 2016, also an Estonian-produced film, about a war-torn Chechen village. What inspires you to tell these sorts of stories in particular? Come Back Free is a totally different film. I did not plan to make a film about Chechnya and about war. I just happened upon this village by chance and was so amazed by the people I met that I couldn’t pass by. For me, this film was an act of destruction of the image of an enemy. Immortal also has a reference to the image of an external enemy, created by the propaganda. What I found is that the idea of an external enemy is something alien to the people in Chechnya, as well as in Apatity.

There is lot of manipulation coming from someone with political ambitionsand economic interest. The image of an enemy is just a trick to make the people live somebody else’s life, to limit the freedom with which we come into this world. You graduated from St. Petersburg State University of Film and TV. Were you born in St. Petersburg? How did it come about to collaborate on projects with Estonian producer Riho Västrik and Vesilind? Yes, I’m originally from St. Petersburg. Riho was in the jury at one small festival, where my short documentary Liudians was presented. It was a poetic film, which he loved. So, he insisted on awarding the prize to it. A year later I was pitching Come Back Free with another producer and I met Riho, who showed his film at the same festival. I invited him to see our pitch and later to take part in this project. It’s a big pleasure to work with somebody who has same attitude to the art. We made two films together, and on the second one, Uldis Ceculis from Latvia joined us. I can say that it was a comfortable collaboration. I think I’m very lucky to have met those people. Any new projects you can speak about? I have a project in development, but I think it’s too early to speak about it. Immortal has achieved much success already, winning the top prize at Astra in Romania, and best documentary of Karlovy Vary. What are your hopes for this film? Yes, recently it got its third Grand-Prix in Riga at Artdocfest. It’s a great joy for me and for the whole team. For us, it means that our ideas and the way we made this film really clicks with the viewers. We have a busy screening schedule for this film at festivals all over the world and new offers are appearing all the time. So, it already is going very well. The film exists as long as people watch it. So, I take all the awards we get as an opportunity to involve more people in the discussion around the film and see how this film really works. I think that it allows the viewer to see not one, but multiple stories inside of it. The film is multilayered and it is very interesting to discover what people see on the screen.

Catching Up With

Bruno Chatelin,


By Nicole Muj 1. Bruno, you are a champion of global film and filmmakers. How did you first start on this journey? I have a marketing background (HEC business school) and was working at JWT, an international advertising agency for the LUX toilet soap tagged ‘The Soap of the Stars’ and I researched its amazing history. The global brand had the same positioning since 1925 and put up a campaign with archives, videos, posters and ads, to which French media gave massive coverage. I was then contacted by a headhunter search firm as Columbia TriStar Distributors in France were looking for a strong candidate with both marketing experience and a taste for film. I was interviewed on the film Stand by Me by Rob Reiner, and got the job on the basis of the recommendations I wrote. I moved up from marketing director to managing director, merged 20th Century Fox and UGC and co-founded ( in 2000. Since then, I have been around festivals in many capacities and often consulted for filmmakers in need of a festival marketing strategy. 2. What were some of the top titles of the 250 films you launched while working as marketing director for Columbia TriStar? Any highlights? To name just a few, I worked with Claude Lelouch, Costa Gavras, Terry Gilliam, Stephen Frears, Kenneth Branagh, James Ivory, Francis Coppola (Dracula), Steven Spielberg (Hook), Woody Allen, Sean Penn, Tom Hanks, Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese, Michael Bay, James Cameron, Roland Emmerich, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jean Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts, Jack Nicholson, and many others. One of the highlights was Boyz n the Hood launched in Cannes, with the amazing satisfaction of contributing to building the career of its first time director through our work. The film earned two Oscar nominations. The Cannes presentation had an impact at the box office translating to an additional 40 million dollars according to the studio chief. I was very happy to share this story (and how we built it) in Cannes this year with his daughter Justice Singleton. She came to walk in his very footsteps and I helped her to organize

and navigate the Cannes’ madness. She told me, “Bruno you made my day the same way you did to my father’s’ Wowwwww! I should also mention the films for which I was able to contribute with locally designed strategies and campaigns. These include The Doors, Dracula, Philadelphia, The Addams Family, Field of Dreams, Groundhog Day, Baron Munchausen, ID4 and others. Most had something to do with festival stories as well. Clearly, I cannot name them all, but loved them all, like children, so it’s hard to say which one is my favorite. 3.What are your expectations surrounding this year’s AFM? I am of course looking forward to a better experience, with more intimate knowledge of the market and its players, so that the experience is more profitable. This year, there are improvements in many aspects of the market, including introducing new features and communication tools that help to facilitate our work, and the introduction of new panels with some dealing with immersive this year.

I attend AFM to network, develop opportunities, find synergies, meet festival directors and discover some good films that I can enter in my line up of ‘Best For Fests,’ ( which I will help on the circuit. 4. What about trends you are observing in the international film industry? Any new revelations? I am more and more impressed by the quality of the scripts and stories in current TV series. I believe that’s where the hottest writing talents are nowadays, plus the writers really have learned how to work together in teams. I am always hoping that some local hits, non-English language, would create a pattern to challenge the hegemony of the American cinema, but these are still too rare… I am really looking forward to the potential of blockchain technology to bring more transparency to the flow of rights, money, commerce, etc. And I’m always happy to see how new technologies facilitate the work of filmmakers, of which I’m never disappointed. 5. What are some of the new festivals on your radar? The ones on my radar are those which I’m going to attend such as soon, Tallinn. Firstly, it requires a lot of work on our side to post coverage that does justice to what the festival is about. ( is about sharing knowledge and ambience and filmmakers need guidance to help build their festival strategies. I’d also like to mention a few to which I am contributing and advising, such as Your Script Produced! (www.yourscriptproduced. com) where the winner (will be announced at AFM on November 8) sees his/her film produced for $250,000 by the festival’s production arm, Lost World FF ( in Crete because it’s fun and beautiful, and French Riviera Film Festival ( because it takes place in Cannes where everything is possible… and beautiful.

7. Do you have any new plans or initiatives surrounding ( Nonstop….Many challenges, many new initiatives in the pipeline: one which will happen very soon, and is necessary and long awaited…, is a new design, with a revamped Website in the works, as well as the addition of new partners and team members. I don’t want to spoil it all now, so we must wait a little while. 8. What is the best advice you would give someone looking to launch a film festival? Do not do this on your own. Team up and make sure you have another source of income. Pick a place and time people will be interested in visiting your city. Make many friends in the community and build an army of volunteers. Believe in fairy tales. Build the smart equation with the city, support network, theatres, venues, hotels, sponsors, team, theme, media, talent, industry professionals, and of course, good film! Then, work as hard and as creatively as you can with communication professionals who will help spread the word about your passion and help to bring viewers into the theatres. Remember Field of Dreams ‘if you build it, they will come.’ 9. Can you tell us a few humorous or most interesting anecdotes from your years on the festival circuit? Shocker by Wes Craven in Avoriaz - We built a high security area mock up (our office in Avoriaz) on the resort hotspot, in the snow… with a fake electric chair. We strapped people, friends the jury, the director…on that chair and filmed It featured lights,

There are so many festivals in the world, and I love them all. It’s very hard to pick one. 6. You are a longtime supporter of the Cannes Film Festival. How has the festival changed over the years? Is it still in your view the best fest? There is no doubt about that: its importance has not faded. The organizers have managed to grow the event in size and impact, and the reviewed quality of the selection of films in competition is not really a criteria of utmost importance. What’s important is that the most influential people meet there to do business and watch films and it’s still a huge opportunity for aspiring talent to mingle and connect. The market has taken an importance that few outside of our industry are aware of, and I would personally rate this as the most important component of what Cannes is today.

Director Wes Craven and his producer Marianne Maddalena

sound, flashes… AND at the very end of the routine a vibration in the seat, in the bottom… which transformed the smile into a rictus for a while. Field of Dreams in Deauville - The projector’s bulb breaks during the opening credits at the gala screening (oops). I take the director to the Casino, and he puts one coin in the slot machine and wins a lot! The next day I took him to play golf and after a five minute laughing fit, and so many air shots, he was still happy. Boyz n the Hood in Cannes - John Singleton, straight off a plane from South Central LA, facing a burger at the Carlton’s restaurant that looked so different from his every day McDonald’s burger. I’ll always remember his disappointed face. Cliffhanger in Cannes, AMFAR Gala – A Monaco mogul lends his 30-meter powerboat, with its two Lamborghini engines, 1000 horsepower each… I ask Sly, “do you want to try it?” The next day in my office at the Carlton, I receive a phone call from the Port Authorities, who tell me “you've been caught speeding 45knots (vs. 5)” Anyway, climbers coming down the facade of the Palais, fake snow, Eye of the Tiger playing during the red carpet… long story short, in the end, Sly commented, “Best day of my life.” Bad Boys in Cannes party – Will Smith rapped (well) and Diana King performed Shy Guy. I was asked, “How come I have strippers in the green room?” Answer, “because we have hired pole dancers.” I had organized a draw to win a Porsche to drive during the festival, and the winner wanted to keep it afterwards. Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer sit at our VIP table, in front

a kilo of sugar on a mirror to look like cocaine, with bodyguards all around. My future Fox boss Jim Gianopulos approaches and the head of Sony tells him you can’t sit here, it’s a VIP table. Jim takes me on the side and says, “Bruno, next year make sure you do THIS for me too when you work for me.” Sleepless in Seattle in Deauville – We used Nora Ephron’s tiramisu recipe for the dessert at our gala dinner: big success. We organized a promotion campaign “to win a bed or a trip to Seattle.” The winner’s name was Chatelain, not Chatelin, thank goodness not a relative! Lawrence of Arabia in Cannes - The film was shot in 1961. For the 1989 Cannes presentation, we obtained permission to screen the film as a pre-opening selection on a Tuesday vs. a Wednesday. In return, we had to host a very exclusive gala dinner. It was much fun organizing that dinner at the Majestic with waiters dressed in djellabahs, sand on the red carpet, exquisite 1961 Bordeaux wines (Ducru Beaucaillou), vintage 61 Mercedes flagged “Lawrence II” and Omar Sharif during the intermission in the Palais asks, “Can I get a whisky?” 10. Any thoughts on which films might be shortlisted for the 2020 Oscars? It is not really my cup of tea to make predictions. I had once put bets on The Artist but that’s quite rare and was also a bit French chauvinism on my side. Let me think … The Joker, and best actor goes to ... Joaquin Phoenix.

India’s Amara Raja Group launches

International content division and unveils Curse of the Kohinoor by Nicole Muj Amara Raja Group, one of India’s largest industrial corporations, recently announced the launch of a new entertainment division focused on producing major drama series for the international marketplace. Based in Hyderabad, India and London, the new division named Amara Raja Media & Entertainment (Amara) plans to develop and produce blue chip drama projects for the global market. Amara’s first production, the scripted series Curse of the Kohinoor, will be produced in partnership with Star Entertainment Worldwide, producer of over a dozen TV productions including the Indian adaptation of US reality series The Biggest Loser and Contentflow Studios, owned by renowned Indian producer Bobby Bedi (Bandit Queen, Fire). The heist thriller series tells the story of a plot to steal the Kohinoor diamond, centrepiece of the British Crown Jewels. Featuring many of the biggest names from the Indian entertainment industry, ‘Curse of the Kohinoor’ intertwines the history of the iconic diamond with the story of an incredible robbery attempt.

Bobby Bedi

Executive producers on the project include Padma Galla for Amara, Rahul Aggarwal for Star Entertainment and Mr. Bedi. “Working with producers and broadcasters from across the globe, our company has bold ambitions to create premium scripted series for the Indian and global marketplace,” comments Ms. Galla. “Star Entertainment is delighted to be working with Amara Raja Media & Entertainment and Bobby Bedi on Curse of the Kohinoor. We are bringing the very best talent from the Indian and UK scripted worlds together in this premium production for the international market,” adds Mr. Aggarwal. Curse of the Kohinoor will be directed by Colin Teague, director of the BAFTA-winning BBC series Dr Who and ITV’s Beowulf, and is being written and co-developed by novelist and playwright Farrukh Dhondy, former Channel 4 Commissioning Editor for Multicultural Programming. The series will be shot on location in India and the United Kingdom beginning March 2020. Indian cast members include Ram Charan, Rana Daggubati and Shriya Saran.

Padma Galla

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