2017 CinemaCon: Event Photos and Videos

Here are photos and videos from some of the events at CinemaCon 2017, which took place March 27 to March 30 in Las Vegas.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” Photo Call

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” Trailer Premiere

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” Tom Holland Interview

“Blade Runner 2049” Ryan Gosling Interview

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” Photo Call

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” Dwayne Johnson Interview

“Baby Driver” Photo Call

“Baby Driver” Edgar Wright, Jon Hamm and Ansel Elgort Interview

STX Films Presentation

Paramount Pictures Presentation

Paramount Pictures’ CinemaCon Exhibitor Meet & Greet






Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom announces opening date at Walt Disney World Resort

March 10, 2017

Pandora at Disney Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Pandora at Disney Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida (Rendering courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort)

The following is a press release from Walt Disney World Resort:

Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom opens May 27, 2017 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The all-new land will immerse guests in a mystical world of massive floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and breathtaking new experiences.

The largest addition in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Pandora carries on the park’s tradition of celebrating the intrinsic value of nature, transformation through adventure and a personal call to action.

Based on Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron’s record-breaking box-office hit, “Avatar,” the new land welcomes guests to the lush world of Pandora long after the human conflict with the native Na’vi inhabitants has ended. The dramatic daytime beauty of the land transforms to glow by night when bioluminescent flora and intricate nighttime experiences add a dreamlike quality to Pandora.

Pandora – The World of Avatar is a creative collaboration of Walt Disney Imagineering, Cameron and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment.

“We are taking our guests on a journey to this world in an experience that’s as realistic and immersive as possible,” says Joe Rohde, Walt Disney Imagineering portfolio creative executive. “In the movie, the world of Pandora is a setting for the action and characters whose story we follow. Here, guests are the primary characters immersed in an extremely vivid, authentic experience.”

Guests to Disney’s Animal Kingdom cross the park’s Discovery River into Pandora – The World of Avatar and continue along a winding rainforest path for their first glimpse of the land’s iconic floating mountains.

“When guests come across the bridge, they are transferred light-years away, to the Alpha-Centauri solar system and Pandora,” says Jon Landau, “Avatar”  producer, Lightstorm Entertainment. “It’s an otherworldly, fully-themed experience.”

As guests explore the verdant terrain sprawling beneath mountains that appear to float in the sky, they see waterfalls cascading down the mountainside into meandering streams and pools, and they discover two thrilling new expeditions: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey.

Avatar Flight of Passage launches each guest on an exhilarating, wind-in-your-face experience on a winged mountain banshee over the awe-inspiring world of Pandora. Guests will actually feel the banshee breathe beneath them as they soar through the forest and past floating mountains. What was a rite of passage for Na’vi in Cameron’s film becomes a multisensory experience for guests seeking the ultimate adventure – a faceoff with the most feared predator of Pandora, the Great Leonopteryx.

On the family-friendly Na’vi River Journey, guests travel down a sacred river deep into a bioluminescent rainforest. The eight-seat reed boats float past exotic glowing plants and Pandoran creatures into the midst of a musical Na’vi ceremony. The mystical journey culminates in an encounter with a breathtakingly realistic Na’vi Shaman of Songs who is deeply connected with Pandora’s life force and sends positive energy through her music into the forest.

“The Pandora landscape will be alive with creatures,” Rohde says. “We’re bringing to life everything from the largest creature you might encounter to the most microscopic. Animals will appear out of the underbrush – big Pandoran animals will appear at the edge of the forest and you’ll hear the very complicated calls they issue back and forth.”

The thriving Pandoran landscape conveys intrinsic park messages of the value of nature, transformation through adventure and conservation and stewardship.

The artful storytelling in Pandora continues as guests stop for sustenance at the land’s Satu’li Canteen (pronounced “Sa-too-lee”), a Quonset-hut-style building. The fast-casual restaurant is inspired the healthful bounty of Pandora – wholesome grains, fresh vegetables, and hearty proteins. Guests can grab a drink at nearby Pongu Pongu.

Windtraders is a shopper’s delight where guests can choose from Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more.

Authenticity and realism were drivers in the creation of Pandora, and the result is a world beyond belief.

“The attractions have very deliberate emotional moments crafted into them, the way a good story does, the way a good film does.” Rohde says. “It’s not as simple as just coming to a place that looks realistic. It’s a place that’s been deliberately imbued with the emotions of awe, of wonder, of respect, of harmony.”

Animal Planet announces new pet shows for 2017-2018

March 28, 2017

Animal Planet has announced these new pet-oriented TV series for the 2017-2018 season. Premiere dates are to be announced. The titles of the shows are subject to change.

“Animal House”

Antonio Ballatore and Chewie of "Animal House" (Photo courtesy of Animal Planet)
Antonio Ballatore and Chewie of “Animal House” (Photo courtesy of Animal Planet)

“Animal House” (working title) follows “HGTV Design Star” winner Antonio Ballatore and his right-hand dog, Chewie, along with project manager Grace and a team of designers as they convert drab spaces into dream living arrangements for homeowners and their pets. Each week, Ballatore and his team meet with pet-owners looking to add custom-designed, pet-centric builds to their homes. The “Animal House” designers and builders are up to the challenge of finding creative ways of building new customized spaces for homeowners to share with their beloved pets.

“Rescue Dog to Super Dog”

Nate Schoemer and Laura London on "Rescue Dog to Super Dog" (Photo courtesy of Animal Planet)
Nate Schoemer and Laura London of “Rescue Dog to Super Dog” (Photo courtesy of Animal Planet)

Millions of dogs live in shelters in the U.S. waiting for their forever homes. Tens of millions of people in the U.S. live with physical, mental or neurological disabilities. In Animal Planet’s new series, “Rescue Dog to Super Dog” (working title), shelter dogs are given a second chance to become a companion to someone in need.  Dog trainers Nate Schoemer and Laura London work hand in paw to train dogs to improve the lives of the people they serve, proving that people may rescue dogs, but dogs rescue people, too.

“My Fat Pet”

Travis Brorsen (center) of "My Fat Pet" (Photo courtesy of Animal Planet)
Travis Brorsen (center) of “My Fat Pet” (Photo courtesy of Animal Planet)

Who hasn’t laughed at a shared internet video of a fat cat trying to fit through a cat door?  But the unfortunate truth is that the U.S. pet overweight and obesity rate for dogs and cats is more than 50 percent, mostly the result of being overfed and not getting enough exercise. In Animal Planet’s all-new series “My Fat Pet,” animal expert and trainer Travis Brorsen works with pets and their owners through a four-month weight-loss journey. “My Fat Pet” premieres on Animal Planet in the third quarter of 2017.

UPDATE: The title of this show has been changed to “My Big Fat Pet Makeover.” The series premiere is on September 30, 2017.

“Cat Meets Dog”

What happens when nature’s worst enemies are forced to live together? Cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy (“My Cat From Hell”) and dog trainer Zoe Stathis-Sandor come together to establish harmony in households with cats and dogs who don’t get along. Throughout the series, Jackson and Zoe also educate one another on their preferred species and try to convince the other who has the most pawsome pack.

UPDATE: The title of this show has now been changed to “Cat vs. Dog.” The series premiere is on November 11, 2017.

In addition, Animal Planet has announced that these pet-oriented TV shows have been renewed: “My Cat From Hell,” “Pet Nation Renovation,” “Pitbulls and Parolees,” “Puppy Bowl,” “Tanked” and “The Vet Life.”

New shows on Animal Planet that will focus on wild animals will include “Monster Rivers,” “Expedition Mungo” and “Extinct or Alive.”

2017 Tribeca Film Festival: New Online Work (N.O.W.) showcase, creators market, special screenings announced

March 24, 2017

by Carla Hay

Tribeca Film Festival - white logo

The 15th Annual Tribeca Film Festival—which takes place in New York City from April 19 to 30, 2017—has announced its N.O.W. (New Online Work) Showcase, Special Screenings, and the Creators Market participants.

The following is an excerpt from a Tribeca Film Festival press release:

The N.O.W. Showcase is a curated selection of 10 independent online creators’ latest work that is representative of the industry’s freshest voices and most original forms of storytelling. In addition to the world premieres of the new online work during Showcase Screenings on April 20, a piece of past work from each filmmaker will be showcased on TribecaFilm.com.

Rounding out the opportunities for online storytellers is the second annual Creators Market, which connects online creators with the industry, including buyers, producers and brands, and supports the creation, sale, and showcase of new online works. Showcase, and Creators Market participants follow:

A selection of high-profile content from the industry’s leading digital networks and online talent playing as official Special Screenings of TFF.

A still from “Awake, A Dream From Standing Rock” (Photo courtesy of Unicorn Riot)

Awake, A Dream from Standing Rock, directed by Josh Fox, James Spione, Myron Dewey, written by Floris White Bull, Josh Fox, Myron Dewey. (USA) – World Premiere, Documentary. Standing Rock North Dakota became one of the most watched places on earth. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe captured world attention through their peaceful resistance. While many may know the details, “Awake, A Dream from Standing Rock,” executive produced by Shailene Woodley, captures the story of Native-led defiance that forever changed how we fight for clean water, our environment and the future of our planet.

DATE: April 22, 2017

After the Movie: A conversation with filmmakers Josh Fox, James Spione, Myron Dewey and special guests.

A still from the Crypt TV original short “The Birch” (Photo by Anthony Melton and Ben Franklin)

Crypt TV’s Monster Madness, directed by Ben Franklin & Anthony Melton, Alexander Babaev, Jon Kovel, Nicholas Mihm, John William Ross, Gabriel Younes and more. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative and Non-Scripted. “Crypt TV’s Monster Madness” features some of the best and biggest character shorts from the digital brand’s scaremakers. From a stunningly terrifying protector of the bullied to a child’s toy that reveals horrors around every corner of a suburban home to the real life tale of a man whose body is stretched and pierced into a piece of daring art, Crypt shorts proudly embrace the horror lifestyle.

  • “The Birch” (directed by: Ben Franklin & Anthony Melton)
  • “My First Day” (directed by: Jon Kovel)
  • “Odd Jobs: Body Modification” (directed by: Nicholas Mihm)
  • “Stereoscope” (directed by: Alexander Babaev)
  • “Sunny Family Cult” (directed by: Gabriel Younes)
  • “The Thing in the Apartment” (directed by: John William Ross)

DATE: April 25, 2017

After the screening: A conversation with filmmaker Eli Roth, Crypt TV chief content officer Kate Krantz, and Crypt TV filmmakers Gabriel Younes, Anthony Melton, and Ben Franklin. Moderated by Crypt TV CEO and co-founder Jack Davis.

Out of This World: Female Filmmakers in Genre
Join us for an evening of three diverse works from female filmmakers working online in the genre sphere. From post-apocalyptic love and telekinetic mother/daughter relations to an unseen predator in a mining town, these stories from up-and-coming online studios DUST, Stage 13 and Adaptive Studios, artfully skew everyday travails into the bizarre and visually fantastic.

A still from “YOYO” (Photo by John Wakayama Carey)
  • YOYO, directed by Nicole Delaney. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Caroline can’t stand that she is a virgin…And then the world ends. In post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, after a dust storm has wiped out humanity, she meets Francis and is convinced that he’s the man to pop her cherry. “YOYO” is a heartfelt, dark comedy about finding meaning in life, even when life ceases to exist. With: Martin Starr, Sophie von Haselberg. Presented by DUST and Gunpowder & Sky.
  • Two Sentence Horror Stories: MA, directed by Vera Miao. (USA) – World Premiere, Narrative. Like many traditional Chinese families, Mona still lives at home with her stern but loving Ma. When she meets cute Erica, their instant chemistry awakens something dormant inside. But Ma is not going to let her daughter go easily. Because nothing is allowed to come between a mother and daughter. With: Wei Yi Lin, Ayesha Harris, Mardy Ma. A Stage 13 production.
  • Pineapple (Episodes 1 & 2), directed by Arkasha Stevenson. (USA) – New York Premiere, Narrative. The local coal mine in the town of Black Rock becomes a crime scene when a miner’s daughter is assaulted in its tunnels. She utters only one word, which leaves the town baffled: “pineapple.” Tensions rise as the mine’s opportunistic owner uses the investigation as an excuse to shutter the dying operation indefinitely. With: Tyler Vickers, Kel Owens, Ron Gilbert, Gloria Vonn, Lucille Sharp, Brooklyn Robinson. An Adaptive Studios production.

DATE: April 29, 2017

After the Screening: The screening will be followed by a moderated conversation with filmmakers Nicole Delaney, Vera Miao and Arkasha Stevenson.

Join Tribeca for a presentation of The New York Times’ Op-Docs that poignantly explore relatable struggles faced by everyday citizens. From immigrant families overwhelming first night in America, to women struggling with Louisiana mandated abortion waiting periods, to a Japanese man’s attempt to both parent his young child and provide palliative care for his mother, the short films provide a window into universal experiences and acutely relevant conversations.

A still from”Hotel U.S.A.” (Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival)
  • Undue Burden, directed by Gina Pollack. (USA) – New York Premiere. When you live in a state with laws that restrict access to abortion, an unwanted pregnancy is only the start of your difficulties.
  • Taller Than the Trees, directed by Megan Mylan. (USA) – Special Screening. Japanese men haven’t traditionally been caregivers. But for Masami Hayata, it’s a crucial part of raising his family.
  • Hotel U.S.A., directed by Andrea Meller & Marisa Pearl. (USA) – New York Premiere. For refugee families, the very first night in the U.S. can be an exciting and bewildering experience.

DATE: April 30, 2017

After the Screening: The screening will be followed by a moderated conversation with filmmakers Andrea Meller, Megan Mylan, Marisa Pearl and Gina Pollack.

N.O.W. SHOWCASE (and Creators Market Participants)
A curated selection of 10 independent, online creators invited to showcase their latest work on TribecaFilm.com and at two public screenings as official Tribeca selections.

A still from “The Holdouts” (Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival)

DATE: April 20, 2017, 6:30 p.m.

The Holdouts, directed by Ramon Campos Iriarte (Colombia) – World Premiere. The Western hemisphere’s oldest civil war is still going strong in the jungles of Colombia. The National Liberation Army (ELN) —a Marxist military organization— has been fighting for revolution since 1964, and with the FARC having declared a ceasefire, the ELN is today the last active guerrilla army in the Americas. In Spanish, English with subtitles.

Midnight Service, directed by Dean Colin Marcial and produced by Brett Potter (USA) – World Premiere. Midnight Service is a true-crime series about urban legends, notorious criminals, occult pop culture, and first-hand accounts of the unknown.

New Deep South, created by Lauren Cioffi and Rosie Haber (USA) – World Premiere. This series explores the vibrant and multifaceted queer culture emerging in the American South. Playing against old stereotypes of Mississippi as a state of social conservatism and stagnation, we follow the lives of queer youth to explore the tangled and complex nature of sexual identity in the “New Deep South.”

New York is Dead, produced by Jenn Harris, Matthew Wilkas, and Randy Harrison and directed by Matthew Wilkas (USA) – World Premiere. A darkly hilarious webseries about two broke NYC artists who become hitmen to make ends meet.

Woman of a Certain Age, created, written by, and starring Kate Dearing, co-directed by Amanda Cowper and Sami Kriegstein and co-produced by Dearing, Cowper and Kriegstein- (USA) World Premiere. Kate confronts the daily challenges of being an adult, she is spontaneously visited by versions of herself at different ages – each offering their “best” advice. Like “A Christmas Carol” but without the pesky morals, “Woman of a Certain Age” explores what happens when we actually listen to the voices in our head.

A still from “Heroin” )Photo courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival)

DATE: April 20, 2017, 8:45 p.m.

HEROIN, directed by Jessica Beshir (USA) – World Premiere. For an artist, free will is just an illusion. “Heroin” explores the creative process, inspiration and alternative reality of an artist.

I LIVED: Brooklyn, directed by Jonathan Nelson and produced by Danielle Andersen (USA) – World Premiere. “I LIVED: Brooklyn” was created by director/cinematographer Jonathan Nelson and audio producer Danielle Andersen. Nelson and Andersen both live in Brooklyn and “I LIVED” was born from a desire to investigate the intricacies of place and identity in the borough’s distinct neighborhoods.

Phone Calls, co-directed by Bonnie Wright and Martin Cohn (USA) – World Premiere. “Phone Calls” is an anthology series of conversations exploring the way people speak to each other when not face to face. Free of physical proximity, a space is born in which personal truths and, often times, ugliness is unleashed by those closest to you as well as those most foreign.

Shiva, Bankrukt Productions (Jeff Seal, Shaina Feinberg, Chris Roberti, Chris Manley) (USA) – World Premiere. Improvised vignettes from an Upper West Side Shiva, exploring the absurd, mundane, sad and spiritual. There will be lox.

The Show About The Show, directed by Caveh Zahedi (USA) – World Premiere. “The Show About The Show” is Caveh Zahedi’s self-referential scripted meta-series about a Brooklyn filmmaker trying to make a TV show. Co-starring Alex Karpovsky, Eleonore Hendricks, Dustin Defa, and a who’s who of Brooklyn’s independent filmmaking community, it tells the story of everything that can and does go wrong in trying to get a television series funded, produced, and distributed.

A daylong, private industry market that brings together leading online creators/talent looking to pitch new projects with a curated group of industry (distributors, brands, MCNs) with particular interest in engaging up-and-coming online talent.

The following people have been selected for the program:

  • Azie Mira Dungey
  • Arkasha Stevenson
  • Christian Larrave
  • Dom Fera
  • Hazel Hayes
  • Hye Yun Park
  • Jacquelyn Ryan
  • Kyle Bown
  • Katie Micay
  • Lisa Ebersole
  • Patrick Starrr
  • Paul Gale
  • Smaranda Luna
  • Michelle Flanagan
  • Starsha Gill
  • Vera Miao
  • Zane Rubin

More information about these creators can be found on the Tribeca Film Festival website.

Passes and tickets for the 2017 Festival
Single ticket sales begin Tuesday, March 28 and cost $21.00 for evening and weekend screenings, $12.00 for weekday matinee screenings, $40.00 for Tribeca Talks panels and special screenings, $30.00 for Tribeca TV, and $40.00 for Tribeca Immersive. Tickets can be purchased online at tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets, or by telephone at (646) 502-5296 or toll free at (866) 941-FEST (3378) or at the ticket outlet located at Cinepolis Chelsea (260 W. 23rd Street).

Also available for purchase now is The Hudson Pass, an all access pass to screenings and talks taking place at BMCC, Regal, Cinepolis Chelsea, and SVA as well as full access to all events at the Festival Hub at Spring Studios, which includes VR and immersive projects, special screenings with music performances, and access to the lounges.

The 2017 Festival will offer ticket discounts on general screenings and Tribeca Talks panels for students, seniors and select downtown Manhattan residents. Discounted tickets are available at Ticket Outlet locations only.

Packages and passes are now available for purchase on the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival App on iTunes and Google Play.

Tickets for events at the Beacon Theatre and at Radio City Music Hall are available for purchase online only at Ticketmaster.

Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern have dysfunctional fun in ‘Wilson’

March 24, 2017

by Carla Hay

Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern at the New York City press junket for "Wilson"
Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern at the New York City press junket for “Wilson” (Photo by Carla Hay)

In the dark comedy “Wilson,” Woody Harrelson plays the neurotic title character, whose “no filter” approach to life can be offensive, amusing or both. Wilson, a divorced curmudgeon who lives alone, is still not quite over his ex-wife Pippi (played by Laura Dern), who left him nearly 17 years earlier and has her own personal issues, along with a big secret: After she left Wilson, she gave birth to their daughter, whom she put up for adoption. When Wilson discovers this secret, after he believed for years that the pregnancy had ended in abortion, he and Pippi have an awkward reunion, which leads to Wilson trying to make up for lost time with their daughter, Claire (played by Isabella Amara), who is a troubled teen outcast. Wilson and Pippi’s attempt to bond with Claire leads to dysfunctional family moments and bridges the gap for the former spouses to come to terms with their past. “Wilson” (directed by Craig Johnson) is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Daniel Clowes, who wrote the movie’s screenplay. Here is what Harrelson and Dern said when they say down for an interview with me and other journalists at the New York City press junket for “Wilson.”

“Wilson” has a mix of quirkiness and realism. Can you talk about that juxtaposition?

Dern: I think it’s a world we loved to find the tone—and obviously, carefully—but Daniel Clowes’ writing is so flawless in that way—and obviously, his artwork. So that as a template to invite you makes working with someone like Craig [Johnson] and someone like [cinematographer] Fred Elmes and his work, starting with David Lynch. We’ve worked with a lot of filmmakers and have similar journeys in that way. They expect us to make something authentic in a very boundry-less world. It’s a really fun playground, to say the least.

I think we all know that in the world of subversive comedy, you can see much more with deep poignancy than you might get away with another film tonally. So it’s gorgeous. A couple of journalists have quoted some of the things we [as Wilson and Pippi] say to each other. And as they say them, I almost get tears in my eyes, because it’s just so beautiful—the poetry of their longing to be seen and their love of each other and want to be parents and all of that. And it’s so touching because it’s irreverent-seeming.

Woody, is it fun to play someone with “no filter”?

Harrelson: I actually have less filter than I should, but playing him there really is no filter. I don’t think he’s a mean guy, but he’s a very honest guy who doesn’t know the repercussions of what he’s saying a lot of the time, and it comes out as harsh. I did notice that I was doing that quite a bit when we were shooting and even a little while after where I couldn’t shake it. I’d say, “Why did I say that?” And you could feel the uncomfortableness.

According to the production notes for “Wilson,” the set design for Wilson’s apartment included 4,000 books and about 35 crates of magazines. It’s symbolic of how he has a lot of emotional baggage. Is there anything you’ve personally collected that you can’t let go of easily?

Harrelson: I live in Maui now, but I have a place in L.A.  My buddy Owen [Wilson] tells me I should be on an episode of “Celebrity Hoarders.” There are boxes everywhere. It really isn’t that I’m hoarding. It seems like it. But it’s that I have to go through and decide what to keep and what to throw away.

When I go on location, eventually everything that was on location ends up back there in the box. I don’t ever look in the box. Yeah, I think maybe I’m collecting too much stuff, and eventually my day will come when I can’t even walk in the house because I’ve just got to go through those damn boxes.

As actors, what have you learned about letting go of emotional baggage when you dive into a new role or a new character?

Dern: Maybe it’s being confronted with the fact that I should have been thinking about this a long time ago. He’s collecting boxes. I’m collecting parts of my personality that I’ve discovered playing some beautifully complicated people, but complicated nonetheless, so I go, “Oh, wow! Okay, I have to find the part of me that understands this, and then I keep that as a character trait.” So I think that I haven’t done any cleaning house. Maybe I’m just becoming more and more and more complicated because I like to collect all these people somewhere inside me.

Harrelson: Who’s the woman who has 16 personalities? Sybil. So you’re like the Sybil of actors. Sybil Dern. You’ve got all every character you’ve played in there ready to …

Dern: Ready to come out of me. [She laughs.]

Harrelson: Oh my God! What a thought!

So what kind of personality did you bring to Pippi?

Dern: Woody and I worked together years ago [in the 2005 movie “The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio”], so my love of Woody, I’ve been carrying all along, and I would love to re-ignite it.

Harrelson: [He says jokingly] This could be the night!

Dern: In addition, I think one thing I felt from Daniel’s artwork and, of course, the script, is that I’ve always been interested in the question of voice. And certainly, as a female actor, that’s very interesting to me. But this idea that as fierce as she is and as in love as she is with someone who has no filter, I feel like in some ways it’s not that she’s trying to understand how to use her voice, but that she ever was even entitled to one in the first place.

And I think that’s why her rage is boiling over, because she’s never been seen or given space—by her family, by anyone, which is where addiction came into her life and now she’s back with the only person who ever gave her room to be all of herself and even loved her for it, which was probably terrifying to her. So that was the through line that was deeply interesting to me. And I think what Daniel intended, and we just tried it together, was to bring that to fruition and make sure that it had a beginning, middle and an end, in a way.

What do you think is the importance of struggle?

Harrelson: I don’t know anybody who’s a fan of struggle, but we all struggle in our way. All of us have our quirky little struggles. For a movie, it’s the drama in it that makes the comedy. If it wasn’t dramatic, it wouldn’t be comedic. All the shit that happens with us in this movie, and there’s some terrible stuff, physical violence and all these things go down, it’s struggle, but it’s funny. I’m fascinated by how the whole Buddhist thing where spiritual adepts who are able to take struggle and just flow with it and move through it and don’t even let it wound them emotionally.

Wilson can be considered a man-child. What do you think it means to be a grown-up? Aren’t we always learning?

Dern: I hope that is the case … anyone who wants to feel [their inner child] at 90. I was, thank God, raised by two people [actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd], who vowed to me to be children and said, “Hey, you’re going to teach us how to grow up, like we’re going to try to teach you, but we don’t have all the answers.”

So I feel very lucky to be raised by actors. People are always asking me about being raised by actors, and now we’re actors raising people, who are asking the same questions about us. I think part of it in their honesty and directness is that there is no pretending at a role of being the adult in the house or the adult in the relationship or whatever it is. May we all be all our fierce, child-like selves, to not ever look down on anyone else, as if we’ve figured anything out, but take this struggle and flow through it.

That’s the other thing I love about Wilson and Pippi. Daniel Clowes has created a world that’s not drugged. We go, “These people are impossible,” because they’re not medicated to be apathetic or medicated to be socially appropriate. But the world tells us, “You’re in struggle? You’ve gone through grief, loss, divorce? You know what? You need an antidepressant.” But if everyone is going through this, aren’t we supposed to be moving through this somehow? So I think the more we can allow our filter-less self to find some balance, we’re hopefully going to be a better civilization.

Can you talk about the physical comedy in “Wilson”?

Harrelson: I loved the slugfest that [Laura Dern and Cheryl Hines] had. I loved also that juxtaposed with me and [Isabella Amara] talking about the frog, just having that sweet talk.

Dern: We had so much fun in the mall, too, “beating” on those teenagers! We shot for a while. It was …

Harrelson: Very cathartic.

What can you say about any improvisation that you did for “Wilson”? Is it easier to improvise in a comedy like this one?

Harrelson: I always believe in some improv. It depends on the director. Some of them are not really into it. Even then, we try to, in a subtle way, insist on it. I do feel like there’s sometimes when you catch stuff from an improv—it’s not always right—but it’s more real, more honest. That moment just improved because of that. But [I’m] definitely embracing and getting back to my roots, which is comedy. I just got a little distracted by the drama. It’s so satisfying too because when we went to Sundance, just to hear that whole audience laughing, what a great feeling. You don’t always get that. A lot of movies, I’ve never seen with an audience. It’s a good feeling when you get that.

Dern: And when you capture a moment or a line, and it taps into the zeitgeist. I told Woody that one of my favorite things was my son and a few of his friends [quoting a line from “Wilson”].

How do you think “Wilson” reflects what’s happening in society now?

Dern: It is an incredible time to be playing these characters. It’s really interesting to consider people’s discomfort with the truth and people’s discomfort with a character who will get in their face and want to connect. And yet, there is comfort with con men. That’s really troubling. We’re culturally more comfortable with a lie that somehow we can hang our hope on, rather than the reality of where we are and what we need to do as a community to affect change. “There is no global warming” or “If we all make this an emergency and are in it together, we might actually do something.” Those are two different ways.

Somebody like Wilson would be in our face about it. Even if I have to be shamed, like if I’m at Disneyland throwing away my kids’ plastic drink, I want a Wilson to be like, “What the fuck are you doing? Put that in the recycling bin!” I like that. I don’t want a person to be like, “Ah, don’t worry about it. The more consumerism, the better.” So it’s how you want to live your life, but I think the more Wilsons we get, the better off we may be.

Harrelson: Wilson for President!

Do you think we need more people like Wilson in the world?

Harrelson: I think in politics, it would be nice, because you do get lied to quite a lot, and there does seem to be a certain degree of comfort with this lie. Most people don’t know that in Vietnam, we killed 2 million people—mostly civilians. In Korea, it was 4 million people. Where is our apology for that? Or for the millions of Native Americans when we first conquested this land. Or what we did, in terms of slavery. We built this country on the backs and the blood and the bones of so many dispossessed people. And we’re comfortable with the lie of this beautiful nation.

Well, let’s look at what the underbelly is. Let’s look at how it really formed. I do think we get comfortable with con men. Let’s face it: Politicians are businessmen working for bigger businessmen. And if you don’t have a lot of money, you’re not being represented. So the fact that there are all these people who think our president is representing the common man? I mean, come on!



2017 Tribeca Film Festival: Tribeca TV lineup revealed

March 23, 2017

by Carla Hay

Tribeca Film Festival - white logo

The 16th Annual Tribeca Film Festival (which takes place in New York City from April 19 to 30, 2017) has announced the lineup for its second annual television festival, Tribeca TV.  The first Tribeca Film Festival (which was co-founded by   Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff) launched in 2002, in order to revitalize business in downtown Manhattan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

According to a Tribeca Film Festival press release, 2017 marks the first time that Tribeca TV will highlight the work of independent productions.  “Black Magic for White Boys,” “Lost & Found” and “Manic” will have their original new pilots premiere together during a special event followed by a conversation with the shows’ creators.

Meanwhile, Emmy-winning documentarian Ken Burns will be honored with the festival’s new Citizen Filmmaker Award. Following the presentation, audience members will get a sneak preview created especially for Tribeca of “The Vietnam War,” a 10-part, 18-hour documentary series about the Vietnam War directed by Burns and Lynn Novick, which will premiere on PBS in the fall of 2017.

The following is the Tribeca TV lineup, excerpted from a press release:

Tribeca TV

Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome in “Another Period” (Photo courtesy of Comedy Central)

“Another Period” (Comedy Central) – Season 3 World Premiere

DATE: April 26, 2017

Executive Producers: Natasha Leggero, Riki Lindhome, Jeremy Konner, Debbie Liebling, Stuart Cornfeld, Mike Rosenstein, Ben Stiller

“Another Period” tells the incredible story of the Bellacourt sisters, Lillian and Beatrice (played by Leggero and Lindhome). Defined by their family’s wealth, they care only about becoming super famous — which is a lot harder in 1902. The show follows the insanely decadent and outrageous life of the Bellacourt coterie. Before others claimed their fame, they were the one American family who epitomized all that was spoiled, shameless and stupid. The Bellacourts have more servants than relatives and days filled with money, sex, drugs…and more money.

After the episode: A conversation with creators, writers, and stars Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome, and cast members Paget Brewster and Brett Gelman.

Tara Lynne Barr, Tommy Dewey and Michaela Watkins in “Casual” (Photo by Greg Lewis/Hulu)

“Casual” (Hulu) – Season 3 World Premiere

DATE: April 29, 2017

Executive Producers: Zander Lehmann, Liz Tigelaar, Helen Estabrook, Jason Reitman

Season 3 returns with everyone’s favorite co-dependent siblings Valerie and Alex. They continue to live deep in each other’s emotional lives as they raise Valerie’s daughter Laura. Following dramatic life changes at the end of the last season, Valerie and Alex are adjusting to a new normal while continuing to struggle to maintain boundaries with each other.

After the episode: A conversation with creator and executive producer Zander Lehmann, executive producers Liz Tigelaar, Helen Estabrook, and cast members Michaela Watkins, Tommy Dewey, and Tara Lynne Barr. Moderated by editor for New York magazine and Vulture, Stacey Wilson Hunt.

Matt LeBlanc and John Pankow in “Episodes” (Photo by Sophie Mutevelian/Showtime)

“Episodes” (Showtime) – Final Season Premiere

DATE: April 30, 2017

Executive Producer: Jimmy Mulville

“Episodes,” the award-winning, razor-sharp comedy about the insanity of making a television show, returns for its fifth and final season. Lauded English television writers Sean and Beverly Lincoln were lured to Hollywood to adapt their much-loved British boarding-school comedy “Lyman’s Boys.” Their American network has mangled the show into “Pucks!,” a sitcom about a high school hockey coach starring Matt LeBlanc (played brilliantly by himself). After a dismal run, the sitcom was finally put out of its misery. Now Sean and Beverly struggle to create a successful new project in this country without completely losing their integrity, while Matt desperately attempts to revitalize his disappearing acting career.

After the episode: A conversation with creators David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik, and cast member Matt LeBlanc. Moderated by editor for New York magazine and Vulture, Stacey Wilson Hunt.

A still from “The Eyeslicer” (Photo by Calvin Lee Reeder)

“The Eyeslicer” – New Series Premiere

DATE: April 28, 2017

Executive Producers: Dan Schoenbrun, Vanessa McDonnell

“The Eyeslicer” is a new variety TV show that brings the next generation of alternative American filmmakers together under one strange roof. The hour-long show will slice, dice, and then mince your eyeballs into delicious ceviche. Each episode is a handcrafted mixtape, blending boundary-pushing short form work into a weird, wild, uninterrupted whole. “The Eyeslicer” premieres at Tribeca with the episode “Facial Reconstruction,” featuring work from acclaimed indie filmmakers Lauren Wolkstein, Erin Vassilopoulos, Shaka King, Danny Madden, and Leah Shore.

After the episode: A conversation with co-creators Dan Schoenbrun and Vanessa McDonnell and filmmakers Lauren Wolkstein, Erin Vassilopoulos, Shaka King, Danny Madden, and Leah Shore.

Geoffrey Rush in “Genius” (Photo by /Dusan Martincek/National Geographic)

“Genius” (National Geographic) – New Series World Premiere

DATE: April 20, 2017

Executive Producers: Ken Biller, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Gigi Pritzker, Sam Sokolow

“Genius” charts how Albert Einstein (Geoffrey Rush), an imaginative, rebellious patent clerk who struggled to land an academic post in his early years, went on to become the greatest scientific mind of the 20th century. The show explores his rise as he juggles his volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. Based on Walter Isaacson’s acclaimed biography.

After the episode: A conversation with director and executive producer Ron Howard, executive producers Brian Grazer and Gigi Pritzker, showrunner Ken Biller, and cast members Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Flynn, Emily Watson and Samantha Colley.

Elisabeth Moss in “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Photo courtesy of Take Five/Hulu)

“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu, MGM) – New Series World Premiere

DATE: April 21, 2017

Executive Producer: Bruce Miller

Based on Margaret Atwood’s acclaimed novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is the story of Gilead, a modern-day totalitarian society facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as property. As one of the few fertile women, Offred is forced into sexual servitude in a desperate attempt to repopulate the world. In a society where one wrong word could end her life, Offred has one goal: survive and find the daughter taken from her.

After the episode: A conversation with executive producers Bruce Miller, Warren Littlefield, and cast members Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, O.T. Fagbenle and Max Minghella. Moderated by The New York Times magazine writer Jenna Wortham.

Heath Ledger (Photo by Sarah Rhodes/Newspix/REX/Shutterstock (4361840a)

“I Am Heath Ledger” (Spike TV) – World Premiere

DATES: April 23, 24, 26 and 27, 2017

Producer/Co-Director: Derik Murray. Co-Director: Adrian Buitenhuis.

Told through excerpts of his greatest performances, interviews with friends and family (including Ben Mendelsohn, Naomi Watts, Ang Lee, and Ben Harper), and the lens of his own camera, “I Am Heath Ledger” is an intimate celebration of the actor, artist, and icon. An artist of exceptional depth and courage, Ledger was equally talented behind the camera. This stirring documentary paints a rich portrait of one of the great artists of his generation.

Jessica Biel in “The Sinner” (Photo by Brownie Harris)

“The Sinner” (USA/Universal Cable Productions) – New Series World Premiere

DATE: April 25, 2017

Executive Producers: Derek Simonds, Jessica Biel, Michelle Purple, Charlie Gogolak

A young mother is overcome by an inexplicable fit of rage and commits a startling act of violence. The event launches an inverted and utterly surprising crime thriller whose driving force is not the “who” or the “what,”—but the “why.” Soon the investigator finds himself obsessed with uncovering the woman’s buried motive. From Universal Cable Productions, The Sinner is a riveting psychological thriller, with a pilot stylishly directed by acclaimed filmmaker Antonio Campos.

After the episode: A conversation with executive producer and director of the pilot Antonio Campos, executive producer Derek Simonds, executive producer and cast member Jessica Biel, and cast members Christopher Abbott and Bill Pullman.

Dwayne Johnson, executive producer of “Soundtracks: Sounds That Defined History” (Photo courtesy of CNN)

“Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History” (CNN)

DATE: April 25 and 26, 2017

Executive Producers: Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Maro Chermayeff, Jeff Dupre

“Soundtracks” explores seminal moments in history through the music that defines them. Featuring original interviews with legendary musicians as well as celebrated journalists, historians, and writers, the series reveals how music has been a driving force behind social change. In a Tribeca screening at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York, the show will explore how songs like Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” took on new and heightened meaning, as music took center stage for a country fighting to heal. Co-hosted by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

After the episode (April 25): A conversation with CNN “New Day” anchor Chris Cuomo and Jason King, professor at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. Moderated by Clifford Chanin, Executive Vice President and Deputy Director for Museum Programs at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

After the episode (April 26): A conversation with executive producers Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupree

(Photo courtesy of Seeso)

“There’s… Johnny!” (Seeso) – New Series World Premiere

DATE: April 27, 2017

Executive Producers: Paul Reiser, David Steven Simon, David Gordon Green, Jeff Sotzing, Brian Volk-Weiss, Craig Knizek, Cisco Henson, Michael Pelmont, Matt Ochacher, Evan Shapiro, Kelsey Balance.

It’s 1972, and everyone goes to bed together… with Johnny Carson, TV’s biggest star. 19 year old Nebraskan Andy Klavin stumbles his way into a gig as a gofer at Carson’s “The Tonight Show” and into a world that will change his life. “There’s… Johnny!” takes a fictional comedic trip back in time, to go behind the man in front of the curtain, and look at the lives and loves of the people who make all of America laugh.

After the episode: A conversation with creator Paul Reiser, executive producers David Steven Simon and David Gordon Green, and cast members Tony Danza, Ian Nelson and Jane Levy.

Ellie Kemper in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Photo courtesy of Hulu)

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix) – Season 3 World Premiere

DATE: April 28, 2017

Executive Producers: Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, Jeff Richmond, David Miner.

After living in a cult for 15 years, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) decides to reclaim her life and start over in New York City. Season 3 opens with Kimmy in an unfamiliar position with the Reverend back in her life. Meanwhile, Titus returns from his cruise and auditions for an exciting new role, and Lillian has to break up with her boyfriend Robert Durst.

After the episode: A conversation with co-creators and executive producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, and cast members Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski, and Carol Kane. Moderated by “Morning Joe” co-host Willie Geist.

A still from “The Vietnam War” (Photo courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration)

“The Vietnam War” (PBS) – Special Sneak Peek

DATE: April 28, 2017

Producers: Sarah Botstein, Ken Burns, Lynn Novick.

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s 10-part, 18-hour documentary series tells the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never been told before. Featuring testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including Americans who fought in the war, those who opposed it, and Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides. “The Vietnam War” is an immersive, 360 degree narrative of a seminal period of history.

After the episode: A conversation with filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.

Pilot Season
For the first time in 2017, Tribeca opened submissions to independently produced TV pilots. This showcase program represents the strongest new voices bringing their talents to the episodic space.

DATES: April 23, 24, 28 and 29, 2017

A still from “Black Magic for White Boys” (Photo by Susan Stava)
  • “Black Magic for White Boys” – World Premiere

Executive Producers: Jamie Block, Ronald Guttman.

An aging magician is about to lose his small New York theater, but has a devilish plan to save it. A middle-aged man finds his sovereignty in jeopardy when he impregnates a woman he barely knows. A real estate mogul is frustrated that he can’t raise the rent on this tenants. These characters converge in Tribeca alum Onur Tukel’s bizarre comic tale about testing boundaries, gentrification, and how old New York is fading away. With: Onur Tukel, Ronald Guttman, Jamie Block.

Melonie Diaz, Jennifer Lafleur and William Janowitz in “Lost & Found”
  • “Lost & Found” – World Premiere

Executive Producers: Haroula Rose, Melonie Diaz

Stella and Ian are separating. But for this modern L.A. couple, that’s nothing to be sad or ashamed about. They decide to host an “un-wedding” party to celebrate. As friends and family descend on their home for the occasion, secrets are revealed and loyalties tested in this comedy-drama about family, friendship, and marriage. With: Melonie Diaz, Will Janowitz, Jennifer LeFleur, Terence Nance, Avi Rothman, Laura Lee Botsacos, Abby Wathen, Nick Thurston, Haroula Rose, Ethan Gold.

A still from “Manic” (Photo by Sandra Valde-Hansen)
  • “Manic” – World Premiere

Executive Producers: Kimberley Browning, Kate Marks.

Aurora Carter, an Ivy League-bound, AP Exam enthusiast finds that her over-achieving obsessiveness lands her in a boarding school for kids with mental illnesses. Now she has a singular goal: prove she doesn’t belong with the rest of the freaks. Determined to fight the system, Aurora makes alliances with the other girls one by one and inspires them to take control of their lives. With: Shanice Williams, Dot-Marie Jones, Russell Andrews, Nicki Micheaux, VyVy Nguyen.

After the screening: Join us for a conversation with the creators.

Passes and tickets for the 2017 Festival
Advance selection ticket packages are now on sale. All advance selection packages can be purchased online at www.tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets or by telephone at (646) 502-5296 or toll free at (866) 941-FEST (3378).

Also available for purchase now is The Hudson Pass, an all access pass to screenings and talks taking place at BMCC, Regal, Cinepolis Chelsea, and SVA as well as full access to all events at the Festival Hub at Spring Studios, which includes VR and immersive projects, special screenings with music performances, and access to the lounges.

Single tickets cost $21.00 for evening and weekend screenings, $12.00 for weekday matinee screenings, $40.00 for Tribeca Talks panels and special screenings, $30.00 for Tribeca TV, and $40.00 for Tribeca Immersive. Single ticket sales begin Tuesday, March 28 and can be purchased online, by telephone, or at the ticket outlet located at Cinepolis Chelsea (260 W. 23rd Street). The 2017 Festival will offer ticket discounts on general screenings and Tribeca Talks panels for students, seniors and select downtown Manhattan residents. Discounted tickets are available at Ticket Outlet locations only.

Packages and passes are now available for purchase on the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival App on iTunes and Google Play.

Food Network and Cooking Channel announce new shows for 2017

March 22, 2017

Giada De Laurentiis (Photo courtesy of Food Network)
Giada De Laurentiis (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

The following is a press release from Scripps Networks:

With year-to-date ratings gains, Food Network and Cooking Channel up the ante in 2017 and together will introduce nearly 50 new series and specials along with 40 returning favorites, as presented during Scripps Networks Interactive’s upfront tour. Additionally, FoodNetwork.com and CookingChannelTV.com continue to lead the way as the ultimate resource for all things culinary and entertaining, engaging fans across every major social media platform, broadcasting live from a breadth of locations and events, and offering special access audiences can’t seem to get enough of.

“With Food Network reigning as the #1 most distributed cable network, Cooking Channel notching 11 straight months of growth as well as our digital platforms engaging with 330 million visitors monthly, our core strategy remains hyper-focused on delivering the quality content audiences seek out,” said Kathleen Finch, Chief Programming, Content and Brand Officer, Scripps Networks Interactive. “Entertaining and informative stories, beloved and trusted experts and personalities, plus fresh new faces, all contribute and reinforce the leadership position these brands have long been known for.”

Food Network’s2017 slate includes the much-anticipated Iron Chef Gauntlet, hosted by the inimitable Alton Brown and with the fiercest of opponents, Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto and Michael SymonGuy Fieri’s upcoming docu-series Guy’s Big Project (wt) slated for Q4, will offer fans and foodies alike a shot to have their dream show made into reality.  Additional NEW projects include – a delicious adventure with digital star Hannah Hart in Hungry Hart (wt), Help My Yelp hosted by Monti Carlo as well as a road trip full of humor and delicious food in Incredible Edible America (wt).

Cooking Channel dishes out the all-new culinary competition Farmer’s Market Flip hosted by Jeff Mahin, an exploration of delicious and colossal fare in Monster Food as well as Late Night Eats, an excursion of sweet and savory snacks and liquid libations being served up after dark across the country.

Iron Chef Gauntlet
Series Premieres Sunday, April 16 at 9pm ET/PT
Alton Brown hosts this daunting competition featuring seven daring, up-and-coming chefs vying for the chance to outcook their fellow finalists and run the gauntlet against the fiercest of competitors, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto and Michael Symon, for the ultimate title of Iron Chef.

Leading into Iron Chef Gauntlet at 8pm ET/PT, the one hour special, The Legend of Iron Chef will take a look at the history of the storied franchise and some of the big moments leading up to the new series launch.  Plus, at 10pm ET/PT, Iron Chef Eats, an on-air companion, features stars from the world of Iron Chef who share where they chow down on their days off from the kitchen. From the best pizza to great burgers and fried chicken galore, Iron Chef Eats will be a celebration of all the delicious and phenomenal foods that the best in the business crave. Online, fans can check out exclusive digital series, Iron Chef Mode, for culinary inspiration, along with tips and tricks that home cooks can use in their own kitchens.

Food Network Star 
Season Premieres in June
The anticipated return of Food Network Star showcases an all-new roster of talented hopefuls competing for the ultimate prize, to become the next Food Network star. Culinary superstars Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay are back to host with a star-studded cast of guests joining the action in and out of the studio throughout the season.

Adding to the suspense, Food Network Star: Comeback Kitchen returns in May, as seven former Food Network Star finalists return to the kitchen to vie for a coveted spot in the new season of the hit series. Hosted by Valerie Bertinelli and Tyler Florence, these contestants are looking for a shot at redemption and the chance to be back in the spotlight.  Plus, don’t miss digital companion series, Food Network Star: Star Salvation, premiering in June, in which one ousted finalist will rejoin the Food Network Star competition on-air, but only if he or she can survive and win a six-week journey on this special digital series hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli and Jeff Mauro. 

Guy’s Big Project (wt)
Series Premieres in Q4
Guy Fieri is hitting the road and inviting fans to follow along as he sets out to find his next big project for the network in Guy’s Big Project (wt). Guy has traveled near and far to the very best diners, drive-ins and dives, meeting the dynamic folks dishing out extraordinary meals in a variety of flavors.  Now Guy is looking for the next great culinary road show and host, giving one lucky winner the opportunity to have their dream become a reality.  The new docu-series will capture the entire journey as Guy produces and directs the action, narrowing down the playing field of aspiring food experts looking to host and shape their very own food-focused travel show – he’ll test their mettle, culinary know-how and overall ability from location to location until the ultimate victor is left standing with a brand new show. Don’t miss every twist and turn of this exciting journey! The series will be accompanied by a rich complement of digital content online and across social platforms enhancing and extending the on-air viewing experience.

Additional Food Network programming highlights:
Help My Yelp
Series Premieres Monday, April 10 at 10pm ET/PT
The customer is always right, especially in today’s fast-paced restaurant business where online reviews can make or break a business with a click of the mouse. But what if those reviewers are the same people who can help save a business and its reputation? Chef and restaurant consultant Monti Carlo is on a mission to help struggling restaurants fix their food and service issues by enlisting elite Yelp reviewers. After they help to identify problems typical customers have, she executes solutions that will put these restaurants in distress on the path to five-star success.

Ginormous Food
Season Premieres Friday, April 28 at 8pm ET/PT
Food fanatic Josh Denny is on a quest to find the biggest and tastiest foods in America. From a five-foot pizza to an eight-pound barbecue sandwich to a burrito too big to wrap his arms around, Josh meets the passionate people who come up with these insane dishes, finds out what makes them so enormous and delicious, and sinks his teeth into these culinary monsters.

Kids BBQ Championship
Season Premieres Monday, May 1
Move over mom and dad, the barbecue now belongs to a new generation of creative and innovative grillers, and they’re all under 13 years old! Each week, four different kids will enter the BBQ ranch and after two grueling rounds of competition, hosts Eddie Jackson and Damaris Phillips will crown a champion of barbecue and award a $10,000 cash prize.

Incredible Edible America (wt)
Series Premieres in June
Comedian Jeff Dunham and his wife Audrey are going on a food tour of the United States seeking America’s most unbelievable incredible eats. Having traveled the country for many years discovering new and fantastic culinary creations each time, Jeff and Audrey love to explore what Americans have learned to do with food. Now, they are getting to the bottom of why each chef or restaurateur does what he or she does. It’s not only about super fun and irresistible eats, but also about the masterminds behind the ridiculously inventive food Jeff and Audrey experience.

Hungry Hart (wt)
Series Premieres in August
YouTube sensation Hannah Hart has spent the last five years sharing her passion for food – and love for puns – with millions. Now she’s setting out to travel this great land of ours to discover America’s love affair with the regional favorites that consume them, from sea to shining sea.  She’ll learn the many ways that Portland loves its lobster, Sante Fe cherishes its chiles, and Asheville takes its dishes – Southern-fried, thank you very much.  This hungry Hart is on the look-out for the country’s most incredible foods, and the awesome people who make them.
Kid Chef Nation (wt)
Series Premieres in Q3
Meet America’s most extraordinarily-talented and food-obsessed kid chefs. These young chefs spend every waking moment perfecting their skills and their passion, in hopes of taking home the top prize as they compete in festivals across the nation. Now, a lucky group of young BBQ masters have a once in a lifetime opportunity to show their stuff at the first-ever Kids Grilling Invitational at the World Food Championships.

Ms. Polly’s Cakes
Series Premieres in Q3
Ms. Polly is the resident cake master of Savannah and its unofficial mayor! She’s been baking for more than 18 years, and her patrons travel far and wide for her custom cakes. Helping her run the bakery’s two locations are her four kids, who she calls “the Giants.” Together, they create amazing cakes and keep Savannah’s sweet tooth satisfied!

Texas Cake House
Season Premieres in Q3
Follow along as married couple, Natalie and Dave Sideserf, owners of Sideserf Cake Studio, create remarkable, hyper-realistic cakes for their Austin, Texas clientele. With a fine arts background, Natalie has made a name for herself with her award-winning, intricate, extraordinarily detailed and textured cake sculptures that push the boundaries of cake design. With business booming, her husband has quit his day job in software development to help manage the operation that specializes in outside-the-box cake designs. This young couple is going all in to create incredible works of edible art, and viewers will get an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at their magical creations and what it takes to run a top-tier business with a spouse.

Also coming later this year, Guy’s Family Road Trip (wt) featuring Guy Fieri and his family heading out in a monster RV in search of great food, big adventure, iconic locations and crazy characters. Halloween Wars: Hayride of Horror, takes the competition out of the kitchen and all the way out into the pumpkin patch for the spookiest hayride and scariest competition yet with host Harley Morenstein and judges, renowned pastry chef Zac Young and special effects make-up artist Bianca Appice. Chopped: Alton’s Challenge (wt) has Alton Brown taking over the Chopped Kitchen and the baskets! In this epic, five-part tournament, the food science mastermind will put 16 bold chefs to the test, with puzzling challenges that tap into the science of cooking and the physics of food!

Plus, don’t miss NEW episodes of fan-favorites including Bakers vs. Fakers, Beat Bobby Flay, Chopped, Chopped Junior, Cooks vs. Cons, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, The Great Food Truck Race, Guy’s Grocery Games and Worst Cooks in America as well as more seasonal Baking Championships. There will also be plenty of new ‘In The Kitchen’ instructional programming with premiere episodes of Ayesha’s Home Kitchen, Barefoot Contessa, Giada in Italy, The Kitchen, Kitchen Sink, The Pioneer Woman, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen and Valerie’s Home Cooking.

Farmers’ Market Flip
Series Premieres Thursday, April 20th at 10pm ET / 7pm PT
Jeff Mahin hosts this action-packed cooking competition that puts two teams of chefs’ culinary skills to the ultimate test, as they face off to see who can produce the most crowd-pleasing dishes over one lightning-fast day! First, it’s the Flavor of the Market challenge – the teams must create a dish that highlights a vendor’s star ingredient. Then, the teams get only 20 minutes to race through the farmers’ market to buy ultra-fresh ingredients. They’ll set up shop in the Farmers’ Market Flip pop-up kitchen, where they’ll have one hour to prepare gourmet delights that will be sampled and judged by hungry customers at the market. When time’s up, the team that wins over the most palates will take the prize – and earn some serious culinary cred!

Monster Food
Series Premieres in Q3
New series Monster Food explores how the world’s most colossal, jaw-dropping dishes are cooked up, revealing the mind-blowing logistics of how they are created. From flipping quarter-ton hamburgers to dunking tire-sized donuts, find out the extraordinary culinary secrets behind the world’s biggest mega meals. Go behind the scenes at the restaurants that serve up these titanic treats and meet the characters who put these gigantic dishes on their menus and the diners who share their passion for eating these extraordinary creations.

Late Night Eats
Series Premieres in Q3
Late Night Eats visits amazing chefs across America who are ruling the late night food scene. From dishes that only appear on menus after dark, to destinations that cater to the late night crowd, our host, Jordan Andino, will uncover the delicious secrets, savory snacks, and liquid libations that will make anyone want to stay out just a little bit later.

Also returning with NEW seasons this year on Cooking Channel, Cheap Eats with host Ali Khan featuring the best bargain bites, Food: Fact or Fiction? with host Michael McKean exploring popular food myths, delicious new recipes and exciting new guests in Patti LaBelle’s Place, and invites to dine with the stars from both Tiffani Thiessen and Tia Mowry.  More excitement awaits on the midways and fairgrounds as host Noah Cappe seeks out delectable Carnival Eats and suit up for sun, sand and Beach Bites with Katie Lee.  Also on the menu, a chance to get back to the basics and fire up the grill as Roger Mooking returns with a new season of Man Fire Food and pitmaster Shannon Ambrosio hits the road for a new season of Big Bad BBQ Brawl.

2017 Scripps Lifestyle Studios featured content:
Busy Moms’ Kitchen (wt)
Welcome to the Busy Moms’ Kitchen, where chaos is calmed and plans and last-minute meals meet. Hosts like Bev Weidner of Bev Can Cook and other moms from the front lines of cooking for families share time-saving hacks and easy tasty meals that’ll keep mom happy and the kids smiling.

Food Network Finds (wt)
Fans with a youthful approach to food want to know what’s cool and what’s hot. This editor-curated experience of recipes, tips, hacks, and newsletter will include video from fresh faces, influencers and content creators who stretch Food Network into timely topics and trends. Think ‘what to cook’ meets ‘where to go’: If you’re on the road our restaurant guide is brimming with the sites and bites to visit as tasted by our Food Network talent, our editors and now, you! On our social platforms, you’ll find a new social extension, #FNFinds: We’re on the hunt for the most-exciting culinary creations at restaurants, bakeries and other food destinations. From new food inventions to age-old classics, we secure our fans an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look into how things are made and where they should go next around the country and — soon — around the globe.

Global Flavors (wt)
Spin the globe and find a new way to eat. Based on research showing that our younger fans prefer internationally inspired comfort food to traditional American fare, we’re creating a world of flavor on FoodNetwork.com and its social platforms. Look for videos with Son of a Southern Chef Lazarus Lynch, sharing his spin on comfort combined with international flare. Plus, find shortcut and authentic recipes from dozens of countries, the best places to get favorites like dumplings, arepas, dosas and lumpia, and lots of how-to videos.

How to Win Summer
Our hit digital series is back with fresh, cool ways to up your party game. In How to Win Summer, make breezy weekdays and fun-filled weekends the best yet with easy-to-do, over-the-top party ideas and hacks, like a big-batch shrimp boil in a cooler, pull-apart rainbow fish cupcakes and a boozy watermelon keg.

#InspiredBy (wt)
Get an extra taste of the culinary creativity seen on your favorite Food Network shows as we have fun with the challenges in our kitchen. From a ginormous breakfast sandwich using an emu egg to a tie-dye cheesecake, we bring fun food creations to our audience inspired by our shows.

Kids Can Make
There’s never too many cooks in the kitchen when kids get together with Mom or Dad and try their hand at building a junior-focused repertoire. This social forward video series will showcase the best recipes for every age and skill level, resulting in delicious, fun, shareable foods the whole family will love.

The Musts of Every Season (wt)
FoodNetwork.com and its social platforms are THE go-to for top-notch, no-fuss eats all year. From January’s fresh start to the big game and comfort food in winter, to light, lively ideas for Easter and Mother’s Day in Spring, our how-to videos, tips and tricks carry you through and to every week’s best picks for what you want to eat right then. Summer brings grilling and barbecue, with cocktails, mocktails, parties and picnics to bring joy to bright times. Back to school, Halloween and tailgating—plus all the apple recipes and busy-fall-weekend solvers you can imagine—fill the table for fall. We round out the year with every home cook’s handbook for the holidays: tried, true, trusted traditions and on-trend ingredients, twists and sweet spins from Thanksgiving to holiday cocktail parties and cookie swaps to New Year’s toasts. All year long, we celebrate great taste, irresistible recipes and foods that make every delicious moment matter.

Sweet Side of Life (wt)
Join YouTube star Raiza Costa, aka Dulce Delight, as she gives her sweet take on homemade sprinkles and DIY ice cream cones and join in the fun by making her inspired treats like Chocolate Tart from Another Planet and Apple Rose Tartlets.

Cooking It Old School
Discover treasured family recipes and stories in this video series starring “mature” home chefs cooking authentic meals with skills from the old country and timeless wit as a sous chef.

The Snackdown
Is cereal soup? Are green beans finger food? Is spaghetti a salad? Not every foodie needs to have food-snob seriousness. Watch our whimsical animated debates voiced by The Sporkful’s Dan Pashman, and get in on the most fun food fight in town.

FOOD NETWORK (www.foodnetwork.com) is a unique lifestyle network, website and magazine that connects viewers to the power and joy of food. The network strives to be viewers’ best friend in food and is committed to leading by teaching, inspiring, empowering and entertaining through its talent and expertise. Food Network is distributed to nearly 100 million U.S. households and draws over 46 million unique web users monthly. Since launching in 2009, Food Network Magazine’s rate base has grown 13 times and is the #2 best-selling monthly magazine on the newsstand, with 13.9 million readers.  Headquartered in New York, Food Network has a growing international presence with programming in more than 150 countries, including 24-hour networks in the United Kingdom, Asia, and the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Scripps Networks Interactive (NASDAQ: SNI), which also owns and operates Cooking Channel (www.cookingchanneltv.com), HGTV (www.hgtv.com), DIY Network (www.diynetwork.com), Travel Channel (www.travelchannel.com) and Great American Country (www.gactv.com), is the manager and general partner.

COOKING CHANNEL (www.cookingchanneltv.com) is an entertainment brand dedicated to today’s passionate food lover.  For food people, by food people, Cooking Channel is the answer to a growing hunger for more content devoted to food and cooking in every dimension from global cuisines to international travel, history and unconventional how-to’s.  Cooking Channel is part of the media portfolio of Scripps Networks Interactive (NASDAQ: SNI), which also includes Food Network (www.foodnetwork.com), HGTV (www.hgtv.com), DIY Network (www.diynetwork.com), Travel Channel (www.travelchannel.com) and Great American Country (www.gactv.com).

Queen Mary Island: massive entertainment destination set to open in Long Beach, California

March 22, 2017

Queen Mary Island
Queen Mary Island (Rendering courtesy of Gensler)

Urban Commons, a real estate investment and development firm based in Los Angeles, has unveiled its ambitious plans to open Queen Mary Island, a $250 million, all-inclusive entertainment destination on the 65 acres of waterfront land surrounding the iconic Queen Mary ship docked in Long Beach, California. It has not been announced yet when Queen Mary Island will open.

Here is more information excerpted from an Urban Commons press release:

Visitors arriving at Queen Mary Island will be greeted with an extraordinary welcome designed to capture the sensations of a mainland to island transition. The team envisions several creative entry points by land, water and air, with a main lobby plaza off the freeway that will be reminiscent of a bygone era through distinct architectural and design details. From there, guests will stroll down the 2,400-foot long enchanting boardwalk past the marina, cafes and bars, eclectic retail shops and a 200-room hotel, all-encompassing nearly 700,000 square feet of retail space in total, until they reach the grand outdoor amphitheater.

Queen Mary Island
Queen Mary Island (Rendering courtesy of Gensler)

Debuting for the first time in North America, Urban Commons is collaborating with London-based Urban Legacies to bring to life Urban Adventure, a multi-activity concept boasting wildly popular and exhilarating experiences under one roof in a 150,000-square-foot facility on Queen Mary Island. Visitors will delight in approximately 20 interactive and experiential activities ranging from California’s first indoor ice climbing wall to surfing, canyoning, skydiving, zip lining, a trampoline park and much more.

Working with world-renowned architecture firm Gensler, Urban Commons’ vision is to meld the unique Great Britain sensibility with Southern California culture throughout the project to create an atmosphere that celebrates the best of both cultures and transports guests back to the golden days of the Queen Mary. Similar to the pockets and boroughs of the world’s most celebrated cities, it is the urban architecture that will define Queen Mary Island, embracing a distinctive shipyard/industrial aesthetic and a fresh color palette, complementary to the past.  An inviting outdoor setting of several small retail boutiques, dining concepts and interactive kiosks providing insightful glimpses of the Queen Mary’s history will line the pedestrian and bike friendly passageways accentuated by shady green spaces, art-inspired settings and lush gardens. Live music experiences will establish Queen Mary Island as the new year-round social epicenter of Long Beach.




Travel Channel announces new and returning series for 2017

March 22, 2017

Josh Gates in Travel Channel's "Expidition Unknown"
Josh Gates in Travel Channel’s “Expidition Unknown” (Photo courtesy of Travel Channel)

Travel Channel has announced several new and returning series that will air in 2017. Here is information from a Travel Channel press release. Premiere dates are to be announced.

New Series

Josh Gates also will host “Legend Has It” (working title), a new show that unlocks the amazing experiences modern travelers will discover when they visit ancient global hotspots.

Social media star Ricky Smith is Travel Channel’s “Yes Man,” traveling the country to learn about the wildest, craziest, coolest and sometimes flat-out dumbest things to do for fun. And, he just can’t bring himself to say no to any of the experiences.

In “Weird America,” Irish comedian Kevin McGahern is discovering America for the first time on the ultimate road trip—visiting quirky motels, indulging in outrageous room amenities and taking a big bite out of humongous food.

Pilot, adventurer and travel writer Kellee Edwards is an “Island Explorer”—on the hunt to find the best bargains, private beaches and magical experiences on the planet’s lesser-known islands.

“$1K Getaway” follows expert couples that know how to stretch their vacation dollars in the world’s top destinations.

“Vantastic” is the perfect new offering for anyone who wants to find a dream weekend warrior machine, then deck it out to maximize good times and avoid blowing money on hotels.

Returning Series

After the success of his search for the Yeti, adventurer and explorer Josh Gates (“Expedition Unknown”) will return this October in “Expedition Unknown: Hunt For ExtraTerrestrials”—a four-part investigative journey to four continents.

Travel Channel’s “Dive In” franchise delivered a stellar ratings performance in 2016, and is back in June with warm weather escapes that celebrate heart-pumping water thrills, beautiful beach destinations and over-the-top water slides. Featured series include: “Top Secret Swimming Holes,” “Top Secret Beaches” and “Top Secret Waterfalls” and “Xtreme Waterparks.” “Ultimate Pools and Pools With a View” will tantalize viewers with the most extraordinary places to take a dip on the planet.

In October, it’s time to take a weeklong “Scarecation”—all the tricks and treats—with Halloween-themed programming to the spookiest travel destinations. Finally, the network closes out 2017 by expanding its immensely popular “Chillcation” programming event to two weeks. From December 25, 2017 to January 6, 2018, the chilly specials will showcase favorite shows and talent as they explore the world’s coolest locations for fun, food, thrills and icy escapades.

2017 Bonnaroo Festival: The Other tent to showcase hip-hop and dance music

March 21, 2017

2017 Bonnaroo The Other

The following is an excerpt from a Bonnaroo press release:

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival is excited to announce The Other, an all-new experience devoted to dance and hip-hop premiering at this year’s installment. The 2017 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival will take place June 8 – 11, held as always at Great Stage Park, the spectacular 750+-acre farm and event space located just 60 miles south of Nashville in beautiful Manchester, Tennessee. Tickets – including General Admission, VIP, and the brand-new Platinum Pass – are on sale now, exclusively via www.bonnaroo.com.

Now even more Bonnaroovians will be able to dance the night away as the festival’s legendary “Other Tent” has now been expanded to a fully immersive, open-air stage. The Other will run all night with a mind-blowingly diverse selection of dance, electronic, and hip-hop heavyweights, with announced performers including Marshmello, Big Gigantic, Yellow Claw, D.R.A.M., Matoma, Louis the Child, Borgore, NGHTMRE, Getter, Snails, Skepta, Illenium, Claude VonStroke, G Jones, OOKAY, Herobust, Ganja White Night, Rezz, Goldfish, San Holo, Haywyre, Vanic, Unlike Pluto, Barclay Crenshaw, Innanet James, Jason Huber, DJ Mel and Case Bloom.

Bonnaroo has long celebrated the wide-ranging dance and hip-hop scenes with cutting edge programming that showcases some of the hottest DJs and artists from around the globe. Previous festival favorites include such superstars as Skrillex, deadmau5, ODESZA, Flying Lotus, Tycho, Caribou, Jamie xx, and Bassnectar, among countless others.

“THE OTHER – A NEW BONNAROO EXPERIENCE” @ 2017 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival LINEUP
Big Gigantic
Yellow Claw
Louis the Child
Claude VonStroke
G Jones
Ganja White Night
San Holo
Unlike Pluto
Barclay Crenshaw
Innanet James
Jason Huber
DJ Mel
Case Bloom