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The ice sculpture of Twilight’s Bella Swan is filmed by media alongside the wax figures of other Twilight actors Robert Pattinson, right, and Taylor Lautner, left, at Madame Tussauds, London yesterday. It’s the first time an ice sculpture has been on display at Tussauds London and has been created to mark the transformation, in the film, of Bella into an immortal as she is frozen in time as an 18 year old. —AP

Houston s daughterhears mom talk to her hitney Houston’s daughter on Sunday said she still hears her mom encouraging her “keep moving, keep going,” and the pop star’s sister-in-law revealed new details of the day Houston died in their first public interviews since the singer’s death. Bobbi Kristina Brown, 19, told talk show host Oprah Winfrey that she was “doing okay ... I’m doing as good as I possibly can” since her mother was found lifeless in the bathtub of her room at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel on Feb 11, the eve of the music industry’s Grammy Awards. “I can hear her voice, you know, and spirit talking to me, telling me, you know, ‘keep moving baby. I’m right here. I got you’ ... she’s always with me. I can always feel her,” Bobbi Kristina Brown told Winfrey. “I feel her pass through me all the time,” said Brown, whose father is singer Bobby Brown. Houston and Brown’s only daughter said she feels her mom’s presence in the house they shared in Atlanta. The “lights turn on and off, and I go ‘mom, what’re you doing?’ ... I can still laugh with her. I can sit there and I can still talk with her.” Houston was 48-years-old when she died. She rose to fame in the 1980s and enjoyed a


long career that peaked with her 1992 hit “I Will Always Love You” from the movie “The Bodyguard.” But her life was plagued by a troubled marriage to singer Brown, and she had previously admitted to heavy use of cocaine, marijuana, alcohol and prescription pills. Officials have said prescription drugs were found in the hotel room where she died, but a cause of death is still pending toxicology tests which are expected later this month. The interview, which took place at the Atlanta home of Houston’s brother Gary and sister-in-law and manager Patricia, revealed new details of the day the singer died. Face down in bathtub Oprah opened the broadcast by saying “members of the family told me she (Houston) was face down and naked” in the bathtub, and Patricia revealed that Houston’s assistant, Mary, discovered the singer’s body in the hotel room bathtub. A security guard who is Patricia Houston’s brother tried in vain to resuscitate Houston in the room but was unsuccessful. He was “trying to revive her to the point of exhaus-

Bobbi Kristina Brown and Oprah Winfrey tion,” Patricia Houston said, “and I called his name. I said, ‘Ray ... let it go.’ They (paramedics) asked him to move. He was on his knees. He said, ‘I tried.’ He was so out of breath.” A tear rolled down Patricia Houston’s face as she recalled the sight of her sister-in-law lying dead on the hotel room floor. “She had a peacefulness

Whitney Houston and Bobbi Kristina Brown

Crowd-financing plays starring role in SXSW films

‘Salmon Fishing’ hooks an audience almon Fishing in the Yemen,” which CBS Films hooked at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, opened to a strong $240,000 on 18 screens this weekend. That’s an impressive $13,333 per-location average in a good weekend for specialty films past. CBS Films had expected a $10,000 per-screen average. “This is a film that not only could attract an art-house audience and a commercial upscale audience,” but a broader audience, Steven Friedlander, CBS Films’ head of distribution, told TheWrap Sunday afternoon. “It is a film that critics and audiences say, ‘This was enjoyable.’” The movie stars Ewan McGregor as a British fisheries expert who’s brought to Yemen by a sheik who dreams of introducing salmon fishing to his country. Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas also star. The comedy, written by Simon Beaufoy and directed by the Swedish filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom (“My Life as a Dog”), is based on Paul Torday’s novel. A handful of movies opened in limited release this weekend, with generally good results. “Friends With Kids,” from Roadside Attractions, took $2.2 million at 374 locations; “Footnote,” from Sony Pictures Classics, took $48,076 at two locations; and “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” from Magnolia, took $43,500 at two locations. The most notable of the weekend’s holdovers, The Weinstein Company’s Oscar winner “The Artist,” took $2.3 million at 1,505 locations. That put it past the $40 million mark. The PG-13 movie is now in its 16th week of release, and clearly is slowing down. The Weinstein Company expects it to end its theatrical run with between $45 million and $50 million. Just below “The Artist” at the box office this weekend was “Friends With Kids.” The R-rated comedy, starring Jon Hamm, Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Adam Scott, Megan Fox, Ed Burns and writer-director-producer Jennifer Westfeldt, saw a bump of 53 percent from Friday to Saturday, and Roadside Attractions is expanding the film to 600 locations next weekend. “Footnote,” a comic drama about Talmudic scholars, is the Israeli film nominated for the best foreign-language Oscar, and “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” is a documentary about renowned sushi chef Jiro Ono. —Reuters

on her, a look on her. She had a peaceful look,” Patricia Houston said. Winfrey asked Patricia Houston if she believed drugs were involved in the singer’s death. Patricia Houston said she believed the pop star’s worse days of drug abuse were behind her, although she stopped short of saying Houston was not on drugs or drinking on the day of she died. “I don’t think drugs (were) an issue for her before her death. I don’t know what happened that day. Do you understand what I’m saying,” Patricia Houston said. Finally, Winfrey asked Houston’s brother Gary whether Brown, whom Whitney Houston divorced in 2007, was asked by Houston’s family not to attend the singer’s funeral and Gary replied “Absolutely not.” Brown did turn up for the funeral, but left early, blaming a mixup with security over seating. He said his family was not angry about a picture of Houston in her casket that was printed in the tabloids following her death, and added that his mother long ago had premonitions about a young demise for his sister. “I remember my mother used to say ... Whitney’s not going to be with us too long,” Gary Houston said. “She’s an angel. She’s a gift.” —Reuters

he film “Girl Walk // All Day” opens on a blonde girl joyfully dancing past unimpressed New Yorkers on the Staten Island Ferry. Moving to the remixed beats of the DJ known as Girl Talk, she and other dancers breeze through New York’s urban spaces - Central Park, the financial district, Yankee Stadium - turning the city into a playground. Just as “Girl Walk // All Day” transforms familiar landscapes, the source of much of its funding - the crowd-financing website - has electrified the traditional structures of filmmaking. “Girl Walk // All Day,” a dance-music film not easily categorized, was enabled by Kickstarter. After creating an eight-minute Internet video, the movie’s director, Jacob Krupnick, put in a request to Kickstarter’s community for various levels of investment from interested fans. With options like $50 for an associate producer credit and $500 for a dance lesson, he hoped to raise $5,000. He got nearly five times that. “Kickstarter came at a really opportune moment in my life when I needed it,” says Krupnick, a filmmaker and photographer. For the last month, he’s been touring the film at different venues around the country, where screenings often turn into dance parties. It’s one of 33 Kickstarter-aided films at the South By Southwest Film Festival. That’s a full 10 percent of the festival’s entire slate, an eye-opening total that shows what a significant role the nearly three-year-old Kickstarter is playing in financing indie films. Even SXSW Film head Janet Pierson was surprised when she heard the number. “I’m fascinated that this is a viable tool, or seems to be,” says Pierson, who produced indie films in the ‘80s and ‘90s. “How great that this vehicle exists that’s working for all these filmmakers. I didn’t know that it would be so viable.” Certainly, the budgets for even small films often get into hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Typically, Kickstarter funds makes up a portion of a film’s budget. And most of the Kickstarter films still struggle to find theatrical distribution and promotion. But it’s undoubtedly emerged as a realistic option to help get a film made. In making a movie, every little bit helps. “It’s gone from being possibly a novelty, a different way of doing things, to becoming much more of a tool, much more of a standard thing that people think about,” says



Jeffrey Tambor, center, conducts his acting workshop with students Matthew Newton, left, and Kate Sheil during the SXSW Film Festival and Conference in Austin, Texas, on Sunday. —AP

Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler. “It’s giving audiences the power instead of executives.” Kickstarter, the leader among crowd funding companies, has funded 19,000 projects in its three years. It funds a variety of things, including music albums, tech products and art projects. Projects are only funded if they reach their target amount. Kickstarter doesn’t have any piece of ownership in the finished product, but they take 5 percent from successful funding. (Amazon Payments, which facilitates the financial transactions, also takes about 3-5 percent.)

the refusal of other avenues for financing. Often, they reveal perspectives not customarily embraced by film distributors. “Gimme the Loot,” is about a pair of Bronx graffiti artists. It came to SXSW with days left to reach its funding goal. As of late Sunday, it needed about $1,200 in about a week. “Blue Like Jazz,” based on a bestselling memoir by Donald Miller, was on the brink of collapse after an investor dropped out shortly before production was scheduled to begin. Director Steve Taylor was soon going to lose his star actor, Marshall Allman (“True Blood”), so the

Tambor carries on annual tradition at SXSW longside rooms peopled with visions of technological futures and carefully calibrated self-promotion, Jeffrey Tambor is urging two young actors to scream and wrestle with each other. This has become an annual tradition at South By Southwest, the yearly tech, film and music gathering in Austin. Tambor, the booming baritone character actor of “Arrested Development,”“The Larry Sanders Show” and many films, has hosted his acting workshop, “Performing Your Life,” for the past five years. The contrast of Tambor at SXSW can be stark. Tambor’s only gadget is a microphone. He has little interest in hyping his career. And he refuses to present himself as a divined oracle of certainty. Instead, he simply coaches two young actors before a crowd of SXSW attendees, repeatedly insists on disrupting his elevated platform by having the house lights turned on, and rambles through an inspirational and intentionally chaotic 90minute riff on acting and, ultimately, one’s attitude in life. He denied ownership of the lessons he teaches, noting they’re ones he’s “tripped on all my life.”“I cannot tell you how important attitude is during this little thing that we’re doing,” Tambor said. “What I’m interested in is attitude on the set and care and maintenance of directors, actors, writers. Especially when


you have no money, especially when you’re behind. Just especially.” In what followed, Tambor touted, above all, the importance of confidence, friendly collaboration and positive reinforcement. He urged his two actors to push outward in different directions everything from “over-act” to “do a French accent” - make mistakes and mess up their performances to find them. A sampling of his encouragements: l “There’s no such thing as a finished performance.” l “You know what I think of sincerity? I hate it.” l “Resistance is hard. ... ‘Atta boy’ is easy.” l “Don’t make waves? Make waves.” l “Confidence is the game. ... It’s the game in life and art.” l “Just play. Lighten up.” This year’s workshop drew hundreds of SXSW attendees. The crowd, easily filled by more non-actors than performers, had questions about Tambor’s old late-night sidekick character Hank from “Larry Sanders” (“He’s kind of real to me. ... I loved him very much”) and the planned “Arrested Development” movie (“They better hurry because I will be in a walker”). But most were transfixed by Tambor’s candid musings, and applauded the workshop he had sucked them into. He closed: “See you next year.” —AP

This image provided by Wild Combination shows Anne Marsen in a scene from the dance-music film “Girl Walk // All Day.” —AP Still, movies have been its biggest success. Of the first $140 million pledged via Kickstarter, $50 million was for movies. Earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival, 17 films with Kickstarter backing played. The festival and the site announced a three year program with the artist development nonprofit Sundance Institute. Recently, Kickstarter has, for the first time, repeatedly crossed the $1 million mark in funding a project. Strickler says the last four months have been “particularly nuts.” “Kickstarter growing and getting bigger means that more and more projects are having success, more things are able to exist in the world that maybe wouldn’t have otherwise,” says Strickler. “Those are people’s dreams.” Sometimes, the final results validate

film needed to be shot soon. Taylor asked for $125,000 on Kickstarter with another investor offering to double what was raised. “It was far and away, at that point, the biggest goal anyone had set at Kickstarter,” says Taylor. “Frankly, it just seemed impossible.” The film raised a record $346,000. It will be released this April by Roadside Attractions. Certainly, its success has something to do with its Christian themes. Allman plays a 19-year-old Texan who embarks on college in the Pacific Northwest, where his Christianity sticks out like a sore thumb. “Kickstarter proved there was an audience for it,” says Taylor, who pledged a personal thank you phone call to anyone who contributed $10 or more. About a month ago, he finally finished the last of some 3,500 calls. —AP

13 Mar 2012  

Kuwait Times

13 Mar 2012  

Kuwait Times