Carrie Fisher Dead: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Hollywood Friends Mourn Iconic ‘Star Wars’ Actress | Hollywood Reporter

The actress died Tuesday morning following a heart attack last week.

Source: Carrie Fisher Dead: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Hollywood Friends Mourn Iconic ‘Star Wars’ Actress | Hollywood Reporter

The actress died Tuesday morning following a heart attack last week.

Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess Leia from the Star Wars film saga, died Tuesday morningafter suffering a heart attack while on a flight from London to Los Angeles the week before. She was 60.

Family spokesperson Simon Halls confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter.

“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” said Halls in the statement on behalf of Fisher’s daughter Lourd on Tuesday. “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly.”

George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars saga, released a statement, saying, “Carrie and I have been friends most of our adult lives. She was extremely smart; a talented actress, writer and comedienne with a very colorful personality that everyone loved. In Star Wars she was our great and powerful princess – feisty, wise and full of hope in a role that was more difficult than most people might think. My heart and prayers are with Billie, Debbie and all Carrie’s family, friends and fans. She will be missed by all.”

Fisher’s mother, actress Debbie Reynolds, posted a statement on Facebook. “Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter. I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop. Love Carries Mother,” she wrote.

Fisher went into cardiac arrest as her 11-hour flight was approaching Los Angeles International Airport shortly after noon on Friday. According to several passengers onboard, the actress received medical attention from airline staff and passengers who attempted to revive her. Paramedics were standing by for the plane’s arrival and the actress was rushed to UCLA Medical Center. After being treated in an intensive care unit over the weekend, Reynolds had tweeted she was stable on Christmas Day.

Netflix Reportedly Uses AI To Dictate Content Acquisition Prices – Tubefilter

A documentary filmmaker says a Netflix lawyer told him the streaming platform’s acquisition prices are determined by an algorithm.

Source: Netflix Reportedly Uses AI To Dictate Content Acquisition Prices – Tubefilter


Netflix plans to release 60 original programs in 2017, and along the way, it expects to spend $6 million. How does the streaming video platform keep its acquisition budget lean and efficient, even as it massively increases the amount of content it distributes? With AI, apparently.

recent report from Business Insider details ultimately-doomed negotiations between documentary filmmaker Craig Atkinson and Netflix. Among other points, Atkinson shares a conversation between his lawyer Jody Simon and a Netflix lawyer, the latter of whom told Simon Netflix had used an algorithm to determine how much it should pay for Atkinson’s film.

Atkinson entered into conversations with Netflix shortly before his documentary Do Not Resist premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. As he tells it, the streaming platform’s lawyer acted as if the figure generated by Netflix’s algorithm was immutable. “During the course of the conversation our lawyer had with the Netflix lawyer, he got a lecture, as he described it, from the Netflix lawyer about the fee because he was pushing back about how it seemed incredibly low for an all-rights deal,” Atkinson told Business Insider. “The Netflix lawyer lectured him on how it was their algorithm that determined the price of the film and that there’s really no discussion to be had because this algorithm determined how much the film should be worth and that basically was the end of discussion.”

One conversation shouldn’t be seen as a complete indication of how Netflix does business, and the streaming platform declined to comment on Business Insider’s story. Still, it would make sense for Netflix to fine-tune its offers to creative people. As Motley Fool notes, Netflix doesn’t have as big a war chest as competitors like Facebook and Amazon, so it must be much more precise with its deals.

Machine-set or not, Netflix’s deals do seem to be getting more efficient. While the platform wants to double the number of original programs it produces, it only plans to increase its budget by about 20% to accomplish that feat, according to a recent address by Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. While there are many other factors that could have made the company’s content-to-spend ratio more efficient, such as an increasing preference for unscripted programming, we’re willing to believe the aforementioned algorithm played some role.

BAFTA just announced an incredible new diversity initiative—but it’s still not enough — Fusion

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 16: Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, winner of the Leading Actor award, poses in the winners room at the EE British Academy Film Awards 2014 at The Royal Opera House on February 16, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)Getty ImagesThanks to movements like #OscarsSoWhite, conversations around the topics of “diversity”…

via BAFTA just announced an incredible new diversity initiative—but it’s still not enough — Fusion

Rogue One’s Forest Whitaker to Reprise Saw Gerrera Role on Star Wars Rebels — TVLine

Disney XD’s Star Wars Rebels has recruited Forest Whitaker to voice Saw Gerrera, the freedom fighter he plays in the blockbuster film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Set in a time period just prior to the events of Rogue One, Star Wars Rebels will introduce Gerrera in the episode “Ghosts of Geonosis, Parts One…

via Rogue One’s Forest Whitaker to Reprise Saw Gerrera Role on Star Wars Rebels — TVLine

“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” season two continues to break viewing records



NEW YORK, N.Y. – After a much buzzed about season that led Logo to its highest rated Thursday night in network history, “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” season two continues to break viewing records as the best season of a Logo original series ever! This season, which saw Alaska snatch the crown and join the Drag Race Hall of Fame, is up an astonishing 62% from “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” season 1 and up 35% from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 8 which concluded this past May.* Additionally, season 2 of “All Stars” has been sampled by over 15 million people across all platforms.**Emmy® Award-winning host RuPaul will be back on Thursday, October 27th at 8:00 PM ET/PT on Logo and VH1 when the All Star queens reunite to dish about the most shocking, glamorous, and twisted moments of the season. A preview of the reunion episode is available here:
Mama Ru will also turn up the heat this fall with “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season 6 RuVealed,” premiering Thursday, November 3rd at 8:00 PM ET/PT on Logo. The never-before-seen look into the unforgettable season is packed with fresh reads and behind-the-scenes gossip from Ru herself. For a sneak peek of “RuVealed” head to “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 9 will return this spring to Logo.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” is produced by World of Wonder Productions with Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Steven Corfe, Mandy Salangsang and RuPaul Charles serving as Executive Producers. Pamela Post and Tim Palazzola are Executive Producers for Logo.
For more information on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” go to For up-to-date “RuPaul’s Drag Race” news and exclusives, join the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Facebook page or follow #DragRace conversation on Twitter at @RuPaulsDragRace. Follow along with live gifs from the show on Tumblr and additional content on the show’s Instagram page.

Short URL:

Vimeo To Relaunch Its ‘Staff Picks’ Channel As A Year-Round Online Film Festival – Tubefilter

The first Staff Pick Premiere from Vimeo is the Danny DeVito-directed short ‘Curmudgeons’, about an 80-year-old man and his unlucky-in-love granddaughter.

Source: Vimeo To Relaunch Its ‘Staff Picks’ Channel As A Year-Round Online Film Festival – Tubefilter

Vimeo today announced the next evolution of its Staff Picks channel, which was established in 2008 and features content hand-picked by Vimeo team members highlighting excellence in digital filmmaking. The platform announced today that it is transforming its Staff Picks channel into a year-long online film festival, which will hand out new laurels every week, month, and year.

The already existing Staff Pick laurel — of which Vimeo bestows roughly 1,000 annually — will continue to exist, but will be joined by new Best Of The Month and Best Of The Year prizes, the company announced. Now, each month, Vimeo will highlight an hour’s worth of films and videos across a variety of genres for a total of 120 films selected per year comprising 12 total hours of programming. At the end of the year, Vimeo will name overall winners within several core categories.

At the same time that it announced the new awards paradigm, Vimeo unveiled an initiative dubbed Staff Pick Premieres — a weekly film premiere of a pre-selected Staff Pick. Vimeo says it will promote Premieres via editorial coverage and marketing support on and off its platform. The Vimeo team will accept open submissions from any films that have played at an Oscar-qualifying event within the past two years.

“We’re excited to continue to honor and elevate our Staff Pick filmmakers with two new levels of prestige, while also making the channel a must-watch for audiences tuning in weekly to the new Premieres programming,” said Vimeo general manager Peter Gerard in a statement. Over 10,000 total works — in categories including comedy, drama, animation, documentary, action sports, adventure, and music videos — have been awarded Staff Pick honors since the program’s inception, according to Vimeo.

The first Staff Pick Premiere from Vimeo is the Danny DeVito-directed short film Curmudgeons, which debuted earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival and is about a grumpy 80-year-old man and his unlucky-in-love granddaughter. You can check it out below. Future Staff Pick Premieres for the next four weeks will include: These C*cksucking TearsPartnersNight Of The Slasher, and Burnout.

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four | Documentary Feature |Directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi


Directed By: Deborah S. Esquenazi

Director Statement

“As a filmmaker I am committed to using media to reveal societal inequities, rally support for important causes, and create probing, powerful cinema. This is what inspired my work on behalf of Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh, Anna Vasquez, and Elizabeth Ramirez, known today as the ‘San Antonio Four’.

I first heard about their case from my friend and colleague Debbie Nathan, the acclaimed journalist also known for her investigative work on the Oscar-nominated documentary CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS. Nathan sent me a VHS tape she thought I should see for a prospective film; on the tape were two key elements that made me realize that this story would make a powerful film. First, I watched as the women recorded home movies of their attempts to find exculpatory evidence to help them with their case. Here they were going on the ‘hunt’ to find new evidence, driving back to the scene of the alleged crime and interviewing eye-witnesses. Second, and something that was glaringly absent in all of the reporting surrounding this case, was that clearly two of the women had been in a relationship and raising two children together. I was overcome. Here were Anna and Cassie and their kids, Ashley and Mikey, doing simple family things: cooking dinner, watching TV, playing video games, going on a family vacation. Suddenly, this was a heartbreaking tale about a gay family torn apart. These two women, no doubt, were living boldly for San Antonio, Texas in the 90’s. They had been railroaded because of their sexual identities. I could tell by the timestamp on the footage that their home movies were shot just weeks shy of turning themselves into authorities to begin their prison sentences after failed appeals, which painted a fuller picture of the experience of indictments and life unfolding for the retelling.

I also want to share something personal about why I needed to direct this film. My journey of making this movie started 5 years ago. Just weeks before Nathan sent me that VHS, I came out of the closet, and frankly, I was struggling with painful anxiety and bouts of depression. But seeing the strength of these amazing women living their truths, even as I visited them behind bars in various maximum security Texas prisons, I was prompted to examine my own life. It felt false to hide behind the fear of the closeted life, and I pushed myself to come out in my thirties to my conservative Cuban family.

I’ve pursued this case with vigor since the summer of 2011. This was back when the case was stale, the advocacy team small, and four innocent women had languished in prison for a decade. To my surprise, our then small film suddenly propelled into national relevance when I captured an on-camera recantation by one of the little girls (now a 25-year old adult), who initially testified that she was raped over a 48-hour period. In this three-hour recantation she reveals how her father and grandmother, who held vendettas against the women, and later prosecutors, prepped the little girls to lie about the rape, and how the children were pressured to cover up the truth as questions about the veracity of the crime began to surface. After Stephanie’s recantation, I collaborated with LGBTQQ activists to engage in a community-driven campaign to make noise about the women. Along with the Texas QPOC organization, ALLGO, and various national / local non-profits and student groups, we held 17 work-in-progress screenings across the state in a two-year span. We showed raw, unedited interviews with the women from their prisons as well shared interviews with attorneys, journalists and investigators, who were first-responders into the reinvestigation into this case. Thanks to the ‘Junk Science’ bill that passed in Texas prospective exonorees can be released on bond to face new evidentiary hearings. Ten months after the women were released to face their own searing hearings in February 2016, Judge Pat Priest came down with a “recommendation” to the Criminal Court of Appeals. His decision was a blow to the defense: he suggested that the women should be retried, and that their “assertion of proof for ‘actual innocence’ falls short of the mark.” This was a massive upset to what the four women, the defense and producing team, considered a changing tide of attitudes about gay rights, and a the attenuation of homophobia in America.

What is to come remains unknown in the lives of the ‘San Antonio Four’, and we hope that it includes being exonerated for a crime that never actually happened.”

Deborah S. Esquenazi
Deborah S. Esquenazi is a documentary filmmaker, radio producer, curator, journalist. Her work explores the intersections of mythology & justice, identity & power. She is a Rockwood JustFilms Ford Foundation Fellow, 2016; Firelight Media Lab Fellow, 2016; Artist-in-Residence at the Mexican-American Cultural Center in Austin, 2016-18; Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, 2015; Sundance Documentary Film Fellow, 2014. Her projects have received support from Humanities Texas, Sundance Institute in association with JustFilms Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundation, Chicken & Egg Pictures, IFP, Arcus Fund, Paul Robeson Fund, and many others. Her debut feature documentary, SOUTHWEST OF SALEM, is a reinvestigation into the bizarre allegations waged against the ‘San Antonio Four’ during the ‘Satanic Panic’ of the 1980-90’s.
Twitter @deb_esquenazi & @sanantoniofour