Thursday, October 30, 2014

Producer Stephanie Frederic Receives Award

Stephanie Frederic

The Oklahoma Sooners are hard-pressed to find more loyal fans, but the University of  Oklahoma has more to brag about than their college football team. The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication produced some major winners that speak volumes about their standard of excellence.

Hollywood producer Stephanie Frederic is one such alumna that was honored for her ethics and excellence in journalism during a ceremony held recently in Gaylord Hall hosted by The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication and Jay Mac Alumni Association.  Frederic, a graduate of Class of ’82, majored in Radio/TV/Film is now Executive Producer/CEO, FGW Productions in southern California.  In addition to being a 2014 Distinguished Alumni recipient, Frederic is scheduled to teach two TV/ Film production courses at her alma mater during Homecoming Week. Other honorees: Dean Blevins and Ed Livermore, Sr. (posthumous)

“OU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications jumpstarted my career," says Frederic. "The staff here really pours their hearts into the next generation of journalists.  You can’t help but win. I’m forever grateful to the OU Sooner family for helping to direct my passion. They are very much a huge part to my success.”

This special honor comes on the heels of FGW Productions wrapping up production for the sequel of Universal’s runaway hit franchise, Ride Along 2, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart.  Frederic’s company also worked on the first film and was brought along for the ride when the studio started shooting this summer in Miami and Atlanta. Next up for release, LIGHT GIRLS, a documentary film on colorism for OWN – Oprah Winfrey’s TV Network.

Frederic is living her dream through her production company having secured ongoing projects with Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, Paramount, Lion’s Gate, NBC and major brands like Lexus and Lincoln throughout her career. She has received numerous awards for her work and consistently set the bar high for herself and her team.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

'Committed' Releases Self-Titled Debut Album

NEW YORK, October 28, 2014 – After a triumphant win of season two of the hit NBC's a-capella competition series ‘The Sing-Off,’ a release of their self-titled debut album Committed on Epic Records, Committed has a new label home and getting ready to release their first ever Holiday Album.
The quintet’s Holiday album features both traditional and contemporary songs for the holiday season. Formed in 2003, the group was originally a sextet. It is now comprised of Dennis “DJ” Baptiste, Geston Pierre, Robert “Robbie” Pressley, Maurice Staple, and Theron “Therry” Thomas. They arrange their own music using only their vocals as instruments to emulate a full band sound.
Committed will hit the road during the holiday season performing at corporate, private and public concert events in support of their Holiday album. Committed has performed on NBC's The Today Show, NAACP Image Awards and the Dove Awards.
Committed is currently signed to Mixed Bag Entertainment who currently distributes music, film, and TV shows in conjunction with eOne. Mixed Bag Entertainment is also the home to female group Virtue, Da T.R.U.T.H., Aaron Cole, and Elijah Johnson.
Follow the group on their website at on Twitter @committedsings and 'like' their Facebook/CommittedSings for the latest on concert dates and news.

2014 Faith Awards Celebrates Achievements

By Darlene Donloe

Although it was billed as an awards show, church broke out and the spirit began to move in the Bay View Ballroom at the Marriott Marina in Marina Del Rey, CA, as the 2014 Faith Awards celebrated five honorees for their inspirational and informational contributions.

The three-hour program included gospel music, testimonials and praise reports from individuals who came to be honored for their works.

According to Hope Williams, the executive director of the Faith Awards, now in its second year, was created to showcase individuals that have faced the challenges of life and persevered to reach their goals.  

(l-r) Hope Williams, Wren T. Brown and Keith David

The event, hosted by Hattie Winston, and produced by Kenneth R. Reynolds (Public Relations +), honored Wren T. Brown, Belinda Baker, Jacqueline Castillo, Juanita Jennings and Lisa Simmons-Jones.  The honorees, all of whom had testimonies, were presented with a purple diamond.

Williams called the honorees ‘five ordinary people doing extraordinary things.’

Wren T. Brown, the founder of the Ebony Repertory Theatre, the first African American professional theatre company in Los Angeles history, became emotional during his acceptance speech.

“I walk by faith, not by sight,” said Brown, who is also an actor and producer with a long list of credits. “It takes faith to reach the unreachable.”

Belinda Baker was recognized for her Independent Living program for teens.

“I want to help women going through domestic violence,” said Baker, who revealed that at one time she was on drugs and lost custody of her three children. “I figured out I needed faith.”

Juanita Jennings is an actress with an extensive list of credits and, more importantly, a breast cancer survivor. 

Juanita Jennings

“It’s not about the little things I do like acting,” said Jennings. “God gives you many gifts. Some think life is hard, it’s not. Love God, others and serve.”

Lisa Simmons-Jones continues the work of her late husband, LAPD SWAT Officer Randy Simmons, who was tragically killed in the line of duty in 2008.  Simmons-Jones, who wrote a book about her late husband called, 41D-Man of Valor, serves as the CEO of The Randal D. Simmons Outreach Foundation a non-profit that focuses on helping at risk youth and families in the underserved areas of Los Angeles County.

Jacqueline Castillo, who was not in attendance, is the founder and president of the non-profit Legacy Ladies, Inc.   The organization’s programs include Adopt-a-Family and Adopt-a-School. Castillo is also a philanthropist, visionary, community advocate and businesswoman.

Presenters included singer and producer Kashif, actor Keith David, Dr. Dennis T. Holmes, Sharon Sumlin and Kim Roberts Hedgpeth.  

Dr. Omowale Akintunde

Guest speakers included Dr. Robina Smith (oncoplastic breast cancer surgeon) and Dr. Omowale Akintunde (Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and associate professor of Black Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha), who brought down the house with his commentary on black/white relations.


Music for the event was provided by singer Charlene Moore, who was accompanied by The Ervin Pope Trio. 

Kenneth R. Reynolds
"The 2014 Faith Awards made a tremendous impact on identifying the role of the  organization,” said Kenneth R. Reynolds (Public Relations +), who produced the event.  “An awareness of the achievements and struggles of these five people gave courage and strength to so many.  Charlene Moore’s rendition of Marvin Gaye/Aretha Franklin’s "Wholly Holy," set the tone for a morning based wholly on faith. Dr. Omowale Akintunde's satirical monologues channeled shades of humorist Dick Gregory.  I think the extremely diverse audience walked away with the same message!"

Hope Williams helms Faith, Hope and Love Unlimited, which was founded to inspire and enable all women of color, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The mission of the organization is to be of service to the community by encouraging people to follow their dreams so they can lead a fulfilling and purposeful life.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Director Lee Daniels Presents New Drama, 'Empire'

With hip-hop at the forefront of music and fashion, Academy Award nominee Lee Daniels (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Precious”), Emmy Award winner Danny Strong (“Game Change,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”) and Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer (“A Beautiful Mind,” “24,”), present Empire, a new drama about a family dynasty, set within a world of glamour, danger, sex and power. Featuring music by producer Timbaland, Empire premieres January 2015. The series stars Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (“Crash,” “Hustle & Flow”) and Academy Award and Emmy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson (“Person of Interest,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”). Empire is executive-produced by Daniels, Strong, Grazer, Ilene Chaiken (“The L Word”) and Francie Calfo (“Those Who Kill,” “Gang Related”).


Prince and Chris Rock Set For SNL Appearance

Chris Rock

The first television performance from Prince since the release of his two chart-topping albums,  
ART OFFICIAL AGE and PLECTRUMELECTRUM, on September 30 is not only going to be live, it will make history.

The music icon's return to the Saturday Night Live stage on November 1 - his first since February 4, 2006 - will be a rousing eight-minute long jam session with no commercial interruption.  The party will feature Prince along with his all-female band 3RDEYEGIRL (guitarist Donna Grantis, bassist Ida Nielsen, and drummer Hannah Ford Welton).
In the 40-year history of SNL, most performances have been broken up into two segments, often at midnight and one just before the 90-minute classic sketch comedy show ends.  But Prince, known for his spontaneous and electrifying three-hour concerts in venues both massive and intimate, will perform his set in the middle of the show with no closing encore.  It's anyone guess what the songs will be, but undeniable that it will be an incendiary and history making performance.
Host Chris Rock's singular request was for Prince to be the musical guest for his return to SNL as host after 18 years.  It is the second time he will host the show.  The two made the announcement via a press release on October 14 with a photo of Rock dressed as Prince from the film Grown Ups 2.
ART OFFICIAL AGE, Prince's solo album, bowed in at #1 on Billboard's R&B Chart while PLECTRUMELECTRUM, featuring Prince's new band 3RDEYEGIRL, debuted at #1 on the Rock Chart, making Prince the first artist in over a decade to debut two albums in the Top 10 at the same time.  
"Saturday Night Live" is produced in association with Broadway Video.  The creator and executive producer is Lorne Michaels.

Tyrese Gibson Hosts Private Screening of 'Annie'

Shayla and Tyrese Gibson

Tyrese Gibson and his daughter, Shayla, hosted a private screening of the Columbia Pictures film Annie last weekend in Woodland Hills, CA.

Celebrities on hand included Larenz Tate and Chris Spencer who attended the screening with their family. They also stopped by the Annie photo booth and took pictures. DeVon Franklin introduced the film. 

Larenz Tate
(l-r) DeVon Franklin and Tyrese Gibson

Pictures courtesy of Getty Images for Columbia Pictures

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Joe Sims Snags First Place At Art Show

(Los Angeles, CA) - Sunday, Oct. 19 was the closing day for the fall 2014 Beverly Hills Art Show (BHAS).  Four blocks of fine art and hundreds of artists were showcased throughout the Beverly Hills Park and included in that number was the skilled and talented Joe Sims. Sims, a first-time participant in the art show, walked away with the first place ribbon in the Mixed-Media 3-Demensional category. He creates his work from society waste, objects that are old and rusty, rejected and worn out.  The recycled material is then infused with new life and displayed in a fresh configuration.

The BHAS categories include: Ceramic, Drawing, Print & Graphics, Glass, Jewelry, Mixed Media 2-Dimensional, Mixed Media 3-Dimensional,New Media, Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Watercolor. The two-day event presented displayed a smorgasbord for art lovers.

“I’m beyond excited to be acknowledged and rewarded for my work, but when you love what you do it doesn’t seem like work at all, says Sims.”

Sims, a native of Los Angeles studied at leading California art institutions: Otis Art Institute, California State University at Los Angeles, and Chouinard Institute. His work has been prominently exhibited from coast-to-coast expanding from Los Angeles City Hall to the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.  Always passionate and involved with the art community, Sims served as chairman of Brockman Gallery’s Street Graphics Committee during the 70’s.  Today you can find Sims working with the Los Angeles Assemblage Group and California Art Coalition. His work as a Set Designer has been showcased in several stage productions and fashion shows.

About Joe Sims
Joseph Sims is a native of Los Angeles who has studied at leading California art institutions: Otis Art Institute, California State University at Los Angeles, and Chouinard Institute. As a creative artist, his work has been exhibited throughout California and the East Coast, from Los Angeles City Hall to the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Standing at the forefront of art in Los Angeles during the 1970s, Joseph was Chairman of Brockman Gallery’s Street Graphics Committee.
Joseph creates work from society waste, objects that are old and rusty, torn discarded, rejected and worn-out are rebirth and infused with new life and purpose. This country was built with recycled lives and Joe feels it is his duty to build his work with recycled materials. Joseph’s work reflects thoughts that explore human nature. He uses human silhouettes as a foundation for much of his work. He reflects on a state of mind or state of being by exploring and profiling thoughts and life experiences.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A 'Wedding Band' Presented In Black and White

By Darlene Donloe

Playwright Alice Childress is known for creating vivid, fully-developed characters.  Her works include: A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But A Sandwich, Those Other People, Like One of the Family, When the Rattlesnake Sounds, Rainbow Jordan and more.

Her play, Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White is currently enjoying a fully partner-cast revival at the Antaeus Theater in North Hollywood.

Considered one of her best works, Wedding Band is an interracial love story set during WWI in 1918 in Charleston, S.C. on the Gullah Coast.

Childress has populated this community with interesting and authentic characters. The focus is a black woman named Julia (Karole Foreman) and her lover, a white man named Herman (Leo Marks). The two have had a clandestine relationship for 10 years.  Although they are not legally married, this particular day marks their 10th anniversary – of sorts.

In an attempt to keep their secret and to move on from communities that were not accepting of her relationship with a white man, Julia takes up temporary residence in a small, black, backyard tenement. Fanny, the nosey black landlady (Karen Bankhead) is suspicious of Julia’s presence and becomes even more concerned when a white man shows up and shares the cabin.

To seal their love Herman, a baker by trade, puts a ring on it and presents Julia, a seamstress by trade, with a wedding band on a chain.  Theirs is a real love story, but unfortunately during that time in America their love was forbidden. 

It’s a bit ironic that this play, which was written in 1962 and set in 1918 brings up the same issues about who people have the right to love that is currently confronting and plaguing many in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community.

When Wedding Band was written in 1962, the subject matter was so controversial and the language so frank, that no theater in New York was willing to produce it. It received its premiere in 1966 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and starred Ruby Dee. It was then followed by a production in 1971 at the Virginian Theatre in Chicago. The play finally made it to New York in 1972. It was directed by Joseph Papp. That production was subsequently broadcast by ABC in 1973 – but eight ABC-TV affiliates refused to carry it.

As Herman’s mother (Anne Gee Byrd) tells it: “There's something wrong ‘bout mismatched things, be they shoes, socks or people.  People don't like it. They are not gonna letcha do it in peace.”

It would seem she’s right as even the black folk in the community aren’t exactly setting out the welcome mat regarding the interracial relationship that is in their midst. In fact, they are nervous and scared about having a white man in their community, especially after he becomes sick.

Even in 2014, there is still an uneasy atmosphere regarding the notion of black/white love.

It would seem not much has changed since 1918.

This is an emotional, gut-wrenching and powerful play about love, race, tolerance, acceptance and most importantly - life.  At times it’s uncomfortably real and brutally honest.

Julia and Herman hiding in a small cabin in a small, unassuming community is a metaphor for living one’s life in a box. Eventually you must emerge and choose to live life on your terms or to yield to the bigotry and hatred of others.  Julia and Herman’s love is heartbreaking to watch and even more tear-jerking to feel.

Childress has written some colorful (pun intended) characters – each coming with their own set of circumstances.  While there are clearly plots and sub-plots – there are no subordinate roles as each character has its own personality and sorrowful life story. One character bolsters the other.  While Julia and Herman are the focus, there are so many stories being told throughout this tome.

Foreman, who has a venerable stage presence, is brilliant and believable as Julia whose personality vacillates from vulnerable to robust. Aloof from her blackness at some points and all-in at other points. She's a proud black woman with a strong constitution.

Byrd brings just the right amount of disdain and disgust to the role of Herman’s mother, as does Karianne Flaathen who plays Herman’s sister, Annabelle.

Fanny, played briskly and capably by Bankhead, is proud to be a black, female landowner. She’s been holding it down for so long she forgot to find love. In a last ditch attempt to find love she propositions Nelson, a young soldier home briefly from the war. Nelson is played fervently by Jason Turner.

Nelson’s mother, Lula, played by the vibrant Saundra McClain, is a bit over protective of her son, especially when he goes up against The Bellman (Brian Abraham), who likes to hawk his wares and flex his muscles.

Cheryl Francis Harrington exudes passion and power in the role of Hattie, a mother to Teeta (Olivia Sparks). Hattie longs for the return of her husband, October, from the war.

Sparks and Ranya Jaber, who plays her white friend, are simply adorable and bring not only a freshness and innocence to the community, but the possibility of a hopeful future.

Director Gregg T. Daniel has assembled a tight ensemble. The words and story are brought to life with his fluid and effective direction. In a relatively small space he creates and captures the feeling, mood and rhythm of a real community. Daniel, who has numerous directing credits, most recently directed the New Jersey premiere of playwright Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop at Cape May Stage.

This is a sensational production. This is what theater is all about. When the story, dialogue, direction, acting, set (Francois-Pierre Couture), music (Jeff Gardner), lighting (Michael Gend) and costumes (A. Jeffrey Schoenberg) are firing on all cylinders, the production shines. That combination enhances the show and transports the audience to another time.

Wedding Band is one of the best plays of the year with one of the strongest ensembles. Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story In Black and White is not to be missed!

Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White is directed by Gregg T. Daniel and has two casts.  This review is for the following ‘Sweet Potatoes’ cast: Karole Foreman, Cheryl Francis Harrington, Saundra McClain, Karen Bankhead, Jason Turner, Anne Gee Byrd, Olivia Sparks, Brian Abraham, Leo Marks, Karianne Flaathen and Ranya Jaber.

The ‘Honey Bunches’ cast includes: Veralyn Jones, Karen Malina White, Nadege August, Peggy Ann Blow, Lynn Milgrim, John Prosky, Jasmine Saint-Clair, Buck Zachary, Mma-Syrai Alek, Belen Greene and Amad Jackson.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story In Black & White gets an E (excellent).

Running time: 2 hr 15 minutes, including one 10-minute intermission.

Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White, Antaeus Theater, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA  91601; 8 p.m. Thur.-Sat, 2 p.m. Sat-Sun. through Dec. 7; $30-$34; (818) 506-1983 or www.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Michael Keaton Flies High In Dramedy, 'Birdman'

By Darlene Donloe

Birdman is one of the best films of the year!!! 

It just doesn’t get any better than this!

Not only is the story intriguing and the acting spectacular, Director Alejandro G. Inarritu's (Babel, 21 Grams) direction is frickin incredible. Almost the entire movie looks as if it was filmed using one continuous tracking shot. What? Yep!

The way it’s shot, coupled with the acting of Michael Keaton and the strong performances from the rest of the ensemble cast, makes this film a must-see and a true contender for one of Hollywood’s biggest awards. Uh, huh, I mean the Oscar®.

Michael Keaton

Keaton is mesmerizing in a role that is memorable for many reasons.  Before this film Keaton was remembered for Beetlejuice, Mr. Mom and, of course, Batman.  His role as Riggan Thomson in this film is perched right alongside those three roles.

Emma Stone gives a great turn as Riggan’s daughter, Sam. Edward Norton is equally impressive as the self-absorbed actor Mike Shiner. Naomi Watts lights up the screen as an actress trying to enjoy her first time on Broadway. Zach Galifianakis  is spectacular as Riggan’s manager/partner Brandon Vander Hey.

(l-r) Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis

What a refreshing presentation. This film is a black comedy that tells the story of an actor - famous for portraying an iconic superhero-as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself, which is no small feat.

Keaton plays the washed-up former action movie star who, while attempting his comeback must put up the nonsense of a mercurial lead actor (Norton), an anxious business partner (Galifianakis) and a daughter (Stone), who has just returned from rehab.   With all of that to contend with, he’s also  haunted by the specter of his most famous character who likes to say nasty things about what he thinks of the actor’s life.

Keaton is brilliant!!!! He’s on edge. He’s driven. He’s hopeful! He’s skeptical! He’s scared!

You can’t help but love this quirky, inventive film. It’s firing on all cylinders. There isn’t a weak link anywhere. It’s funny! It’s ambitious! But, most of all, it’s great fun!

Michael Keaton

Emma Stone

(l-r) Michael Keaton and Edward Norton

Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Andrea Riseborough and Naomi Watts star.  

Birdman (Fox Searchlight) is Rated R (for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence). Running time: 1 hr. 59 min.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Birdman gets an E (excellent).

Brad Pitt Leads His Team During WWII In 'Fury'

Brad Pitt
 By Darlene Donloe

Brad Pitt’s latest film, Fury, takes him behind enemy lines during the waning days of WWII.

The film, which came in #1 at the box office last weekend, is an up close and personal look at a tank crew led by Pitt.

The story is both intriguing and unsettling. There are scenes where the tight quarters of the tank leaves the audience feeling somewhat claustrophobic. It’s so real , anxiety sets in.

Setting the scene: It’s April, 1945. The Allies are making their final push in the European Theatre.  A battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and its five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to defeat Nazi Germany.

This action/drama is a fascinating character study about the mettle and heart it took to confront war on a daily basis, in tight quarters with your fellow GIs, for years.  What’s it like to be shot at daily? What’s it like to watch your friend get blown to bits? What’s it like to kill the enemy both long range and short range? How to maintain any semblance of sanity? Does anyone come out of a war unscathed?

The action sequences put the audience right into the thick of things. It’s intense! It’s scary!  It’s realistic!  The audience comes out battered and bruised just like actors.  There is plenty of bang, bang, shoot ‘em up, plenty of gore, plenty of unbridled violence – but it’s justified. War is hell even when it’s helmed by Pitt.

This is Brad Pitt’s movie.  While he’s been confronted by Nazis before (Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds), this film show’s Pitt’s true acting range.  He’s a hard nosed tank leader one minute and a tender hearted human being the next. 

Director David Ayer’s (End of Watch/ Sabotage) ensemble cast is brilliant.   

Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf does his best work – EVER!  He nearly steals the movie from Pitt. Complete with a self-inflicted scar (adding character) and a slight accent, LaBeouf leaps head first into the fray with a noteworthy performance.

Michael Pena, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal and Jason Isaacs are equally impressive as GIs who have formed an immovable bond.

Michael Pena

Hold on to your hats for the last 30 minutes of the film.  The anxiety level is palpable.

The film is so memorable, I found myself thinking about it days later.  Couldn’t shake it!

Ayers and his team have created a solid WWII film. Kudos to everyone involved.

Fury is Rated R. Running time: 2 hr 15 min.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Fury gets an E.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Jolie's 'Unbroken' In Theaters Christmas Day

Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie directs and produces Unbroken, an epic drama that follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis "Louie" Zamperini (Jack O'Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII-only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.

Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand's ("Seabiscuit: An American Legend") enormously popular book, Unbroken brings to the big screen Zamperini's unbelievable and inspiring true story about the resilient power of the human spirit.

Starring alongside O'Connell are Domhnall Gleeson and Finn Wittrock as Phil and Mac-the airmen with whom Zamperini endured perilous weeks adrift in the open Pacific-Garrett Hedlund and John Magaro as fellow POWs who find an unexpected camaraderie during their internment, Alex Russell as Zamperini's brother, Pete, and in his English-language feature debut, Japanese actor Miyavi as the brutal camp guard known only to the men as "The Bird."

The film is produced by Jolie, as well as Clayton Townsend (This Is 40), Matthew Baer (City by the Sea) and Erwin Stoff (The Day the Earth Stood Still). Leading the accomplished behind-the-scenes crew is 11-time Oscar®-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins (Skyfall).

Academy Award® winners Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men) rewrote the screenplay from earlier drafts by William Nicholson (Les Misérables) and Richard LaGravenese (HBO's Behind the Candelabra).

In Theaters December 25, 2014

BAFTA Los Angeles Announces Inaugural Celebrity Golf Tournament

Celebrity participants include Joe Mantegna, Ray Romano and more

LOS ANGELES (October 16, 2014) – The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles® (BAFTA Los Angeles) announced today that it will host its Inaugural BAFTA LA Celebrity Golf Classic on November 3rd at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale to raise funds for its education and outreach programs. Registration is now open.

The 18-hole
tournament will begin at 11 a.m. on Oakmont’s championship golf course, a classic Southern California-style course featuring a challenging layout and undulating greens. An Awards Dinner will follow in the country club’s exceptional dining room. Proceeds from the star-studded event benefit BAFTA Los Angeles Inner City Mentoring, Education & Outreach Programs, BAFTA LA Scholarships, and the BAFTA LA Student Film Awards.

“The BAFTA LA membership is very proud of the education and outreach programs we have committed ourselves to over the years. Proceeds from this tournament will help us reach more students in the inner city and beyond in very meaningful ways,” explained Nigel Lythgoe, Chairman of the BAFTA LA Golf Tournament Committee.

Celebrity guests scheduled to golf in the tournament include Rob Brydon (this year’s host of the Britannia Awards), Jamie Bamber, Jonathan Banks, Gregory Harrison, Andrew Howard, Michael Ironside, Greg Itzin, Vinnie Jones, Nigel Lythgoe, Joe Mantegna, Joel Murray, Timothy Omundson, Ron Perlman, Ray Romano, Patrick Warburton and others. Celebrity golfers are subject to change.

Teams for the Monday tournament will be comprised of a five-person group, and play will consist of a Shotgun Start with team prizes awarded to the top finishers. Registrations are being accepted as a foursome and a celebrity golfer will be paired with each group to make up the five-person team. Registration fees for BAFTA members are $5,000 per foursome. A buffet Awards Dinner will be served after the tournament. The tournament is limited to 25 foursomes.

BAFTA Los Angeles
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round, international programme of learning events and initiatives that offers unique access to some of the world’s most inspiring talent through workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes, connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the UK, Los Angeles and New York.

Founded in 1987, BAFTA Los Angeles serves as a bridge between the Hollywood and British production and entertainment business communities. Its commitment to professional and community education is at the heart of all activity, including an award-winning community outreach programme, screenings, seminars, Behind Closed Doors series, Q&As, scholarships for British students studying in the US, a Newcomers Program for emerging British talents working in the US, and a Heritage Archive project that preserves in-depth interviews with the industry's leading talents for future generations. BAFTA Los Angeles celebrates and promotes excellence through its annual Britannia Awards, Awards Season Film and Television Tea Parties and the Student Film Awards.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Neil Patrick Harris To Host The 2015 Oscars®

Photo Credit: Eric Schwabe
LOS ANGELES, CA – Award-winning star of stage and screen Neil Patrick Harris will host the 87th Oscars®, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today.  This will be Harris’ first time hosting the ceremony.   The show will air live on ABC on Oscar® Sunday, February 22, 2015.

"We are thrilled to have Neil host the Oscars," said Zadan and Meron. "We have known him his entire adult life, and we have watched him explode as a great performer in feature films, television and stage.  To work with him on the Oscars is the perfect storm, all of his resources and talent coming together on a global stage."

“It is truly an honor and a thrill to be asked to host this year’s Academy Awards.  I grew up watching the Oscars and was always in such awe of some of the greats who hosted the show,” said Harris. “To be asked to follow in the footsteps of Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres, and everyone else who had the great fortune of hosting is a bucket list dream come true.”

“We share Craig and Neil’s excitement in welcoming the incredibly talented Neil Patrick Harris,” said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President.  “He is the consummate entertainer.  Neil’s distinctive charm and showmanship make him the ideal host to honor the Oscar legacy and ensure we all enjoy another unforgettable celebration.”

“Neil is a terrific actor, singer, risk-taker and collaborator,” said Dawn Hudson, Academy CEO. “We can't wait to see the show that he and Craig and Neil create together.”

“Neil Patrick Harris is highly energetic and a definitive entertainer,” said Paul Lee. “We are thrilled to have him as our 2015 Oscar host.”

A triple-threat performer, Harris has enjoyed a successful career in entertainment.  He can currently be seen starring opposite Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in David Fincher’s critically-acclaimed feature film, “Gone Girl.”  Harris garnered multiple Emmy® and Golden Globe award nominations for his role as Barney Stinson on the hit television series, “How I Met Your Mother,” and he won an Emmy for his guest-starring role on “Glee” in 2010.  He also recently starred in the title role of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Broadway, earning the 2014 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.  Harris served as host of the 61st and 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, as well as the 63rd, 65th, 66th and 67th Tony Awards, for which he won four Emmys.  Most recently, Harris added the title of author to his list of accomplishments with the release of his autobiography from Crown Publishing, “Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography.” 

The last two Oscars telecasts, which were produced by Zadan and Meron, received a major spike in the ratings.  The 86th Oscars was TV’s most-watched entertainment event in 10 years and attracted the biggest viewership since 2000, with more than 45 million viewers.  The show resulted in dramatic gains in younger demos and social media conversation, with more than one billion impressions generated on Twitter and 25 million interactions happening on Facebook on Oscar Sunday.

Additionally, the star-studded “selfie” became the most retweeted photo of all time with 32.8 million views.

The Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 4 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

# # #

87th Oscars Social Media Guide
Follow the Academy, Oscars producers and host Neil Patrick Harris for the latest updates throughout Oscar season.
Neil Patrick Harris:
Oscars Producers
Neil Meron:
Craig Zadan
Google +:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards—in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners — the Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.


'Dear White People,' A Love Letter To The Races

By Darlene Donloe

Justin Simien’s Dear White People is a smart, witty and satirical in-your-face movie about racism on a fictional college campus.

Presented with elements of comedy to allow the medicine to go down smoothly, Simien pulls back the curtain on some stereotypes that have plagued black people for centuries and the questions whites have about everything from why black people don’t swim to the $60 million question about why white people like to touch black hair.  Don’t do it, says one character in the film, ‘it’s inappropriate.’

Simien’s debut feature is a cautionary tale about pre-conceived notions and the accompanied consequences.

It’s a slippery slope when blacks and whites have conversations about the other’s culture. Both sides try their best not to offend the other by appearing racist, out of touch, completely ignorant or too nosey.

If nothing else, Dear White People, which won prizes at the Sundance and San Francisco film festivals, is an ice-breaker that can lead to meaningful conversations about race and race relations.

The film takes place at Winchester University, a fictional, racially charged campus.  It’s there that division amongst the races takes place even down to the student’s living quarters.  The campus is divided between them and them over there. Those in between need to choose sides.

The film follows the stories of four black students, one of whom is Samantha White, (Tessa Thompson) a mixed race student who leads the college’s traditionally black residence in a militant stand against housing assignments. Oh, and she’s also secretly dating a white classmate. Oh, and she runs a college radio show called, ‘Dear White People.’  Samantha uses her power of the airwaves to expose the cultural differences of the students.   She loves to taunt the Caucasian persuasion with statements like, ‘not including weed dealers, the number of black friends required of a white student to not seem racist has been raised to two.’ And there’s a lot more where that came from.

White doesn’t pull any punches. She lets white people have it with full barrels.   Just what does it mean to be black? What is the black experience and why is everyone trying to become a part of it, while at the same time showing disdain for the proprietors of the experience? Why must black people wear their blackness on their sleeves on a daily basis?

Tyler James Williams (foreground)

Then there’s Troy (Brandon P. Bell), the strait-laced son of the school dean (Dennis Haysbert). Coco (Teyonah Parris) wants desperately to be a reality TV star, while Lionel (Tyler James Williams), the shy gay observer, would just like to fit in.

The story gets going when a riot breaks out over a popular “unleash your inner Negro” themed party thrown by a white fraternity.

No white people were harmed in the making of this movie!!

Kudos to Simien and everyone involved with Dear White People.

Dear White People is written, directed and produced by Justin Simien. The film stars Tyler James Williams (“Everybody Hates Chris,” Peeples), Tessa Thompson (For Colored Girls, “Veronica Mars”), Kyle Gallner (A Nightmare on Elm Street, CBGB), Teyonah Parris (“Mad Men,” They Came Together), Brandon P. Bell (“Hollywood Heights”), Malcolm Barrett (The Hurt Locker), Brittany Curran (“Chicago Fire”), Marque Richardson (“The Newsroom”) and Dennis Haysbert (“24,” Far From Heaven).

Rated R: for language, sexuality and drug use; Running time: 108 min.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Dear White People gets an O (oh, yeah).