2017 ACM Awards: Look at photos and videos behind the scenes before the show

March 31, 2017

by Carla Hay

Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan at the 52nd ACM Awards press conference at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 31, 2017
Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan at the 52nd ACM Awards press conference at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 31, 2017. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for ACM)

The 52nd Annual Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards will take place April 2, 2017, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.  On March 31, 2017,  Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley (who are co-hosting the show) held a press at conference at the T-Mobile Arena. During the press conference, Bryan and Bentley revealed that they will be performing a special collaboration with an icon to honor an icon to open the show. After the press conference, there was a Dice Rollout in front of the T-Mobile Arena with the show’s hosts, producers and executives

Academy of Country Music CEO Pete Fisher, ACM Awards executive producer Barry Adelman, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, CBS Entertainment executive vice president of specials, music and live events Jack Sussman, ACM Awards executive producer R.A. Clark roll dice during the red carpet rollout for the 52nd ACM Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 31, 2017. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for ACM)

Performers also began rehearsing at the venue. As previously announced, the performers will include Jason Aldean, Bentley, Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Backstreet Boys, Florida Georgia Line, Brothers Osbourne, Jon Pardi, Kelsea Ballerini, Sam Hunt, Rascal Flatts and Thomas Rhett.  In addition, several performers will be teaming up for on-stage collaborations: Reba McEntire and contemporary Christian artist Lauren Daigle performing “Back to God”; Tim McGraw and Faith Hill performing the world television premiere of their new single “Speak To a Girl”; Thomas Rhett and Morris pairing up for “Craving You”; Cole Swindell and Bentley rocking out “Flatliner”; and Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban performing their hit single “The Fighter.”

In addition to the main awards shows, there are several ACM Party for a Cause events taking place in Las Vegas at various locations from March 30 to April 2, 2017. More information can be found at the official Party for a Cause website.

As previously announced, Urban is the leading award contender for the show: He received the most nominations (seven) for the 52nd Annual ACM Awards. Bryan and Bentley will return for the second year in a row to host the ACM Awards, which is produced for television by Dick Clark Productions. CBS will have the live U.S. telecast.

Seat cards for the 52nd ACM Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 31, 2017.
Seat cards for the 52nd ACM Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 31, 2017. (Photo by Michele Crowe/CBS)

Photos of the award show’s seating arrangements reveal the following:

  • Husband and wife Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are attending and will sit next to each other. Ballerini will be seated directly behind them.
  • The row behind Ballerini will include Rascal Flatts and Chris Young.
  • The row behind Rascal Flatts and Chris Young will include Trace Adkins.
  • Urban and Lambert will be seated only a few seats apart in the same row. No word yet if their significant others (Urban’s wife Nicole Kidman and Lambert’s boyfriend Anderson East) will attend the show with them. Ronnie Dunn and Reba McEntire are a few seats apart in the same row.
  • Little Big Town and Florida Georgia Line are seated in the row behind Urban, Lambert, Dunn and McEntire.

Here are some 2017 ACM Awards behind-the-scenes photos:

2017 Beverly Hills Dog Show: Look at the cute photos

March 31, 2017

by Amy McGregor

The Beverly Hills Dog Show
The Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented by Purina at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, on March 4, 2017 (Photo by Steven Donahue/See Spot Run Photography)

The inaugural Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented by Purina will be televised on USA Network on April 16, 2017, at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. The show was previously recorded on March 4 and March 5, 2017, at the Fairplex in Pomona, California. David Frei and John O’Hurley co-hosted the show.

Olympic medalists Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are correspondents on the show’s red carpet. Celebrities featured on the show include TV personality Maria Menounos, reality TV star  Lisa Vanderpump and actress Bo Derek

As part of the Beverly Hills Dog Show Presented by Purina, Purina is inviting dog owners and lovers across the nation to share with their digital and social communities (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) why their dog is the star of their family.

From April 10 to April 23, 2017, for every original social post submitted using the hashtag #BHDogShow and tagging @Purina, Purina will donate $1.00 (up to $25,000) to Leader Dogs for the Blind, a global organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Skyline festival for art, music and food debuts in Los Angeles

March 30, 2017

Radio Hill's Skyline festival

Radio Hill—a new collective of Los Angeles-based concert producers, festival planners and talent curators— is debuting the new festival Skyline: Art, Music, Food, which will take place at the Los Angeles State Historic Park on May 20, 2017. Acts scheduled to perform include Miike Snow, Duke Dumont, Lido, Eden, Michl, Elohim and Jason Bentley. Tickets will go on sale March 31, 2017, at 12 p.m. Pacific Time at RadioHillEvents.com.

Radio Hill is producing the event with local partners KCRW, The Well, Space Yacht and DoLA. It will be the first major music gathering to take place at the recently remodeled Los Angeles State Historic Park since 2014.

According to a press release, Skyline will host a lineup of craft food vendors from all over Los Angeles, in addition to a selection of L.A.-based artists who will display interactive installations throughout the park. The festival is open to people ages 21 and over.

2017 Ultra Music Festival: See photos, videos, recap of event

March 29, 2017

2017 Ultra Music Festival
2017 Ultra Music Festival’s Main Stage at Miami’s Bayfront Park. (Photo courtesy of Ultra Music Festival)

The 19th annual Ultra Music Festival took place at Bayfront Park in Miami from March 23 to March 25, 2017

The following is an excerpt from an Ultra Music Festival press release:

A sold-out Ultra Music Festival saw the stars come out in force this past weekend at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami. Future, Louis Tomlinson, Alessia Cara, Kygo, 2 Chainz and Lil Jon were just a few of the surprise performers that stunned 165,000 attendees from over 60 countries.

ULTRA LIVE’s record breaking 26-hour live stream, presented by UMFTV (produced by NOMOBO) and sponsored by Guitar Center and Paramount Pictures’ and DreamWorks Pictures’ “Ghost in the Shell” attracted over 7.5 million viewers from around the world. In a revolutionary move for live electronic music broadcasting, Hardwell’s set on March 25 was streamed in 360° for the first time ever at an ULTRA event, giving the viewer a fully immersive interactive experience.

What’s more, for the first time in the history of UMFTV the Ultra Music Festival Main Stage was captured in 4K resolution, with the sets available to stream on YouTube the very next day. Within a few days the sets have accumulated over 6.2 million views, bringing the total reach of the broadcast to over 14.1 million people and counting.

For the fourth consecutive year, Ultra Music Festival became the #1 trending topic on social media, with a staggering 42+ million mentions across all platforms – becoming the most tweeted about electronic music event in history.  UMF Radio also broke its record from last year, transmitting the event to millions of fans across 51 networks in 34 countries, cementing Ultra Music Festival’s position as the most broadcasted music event in electronic music history.

2017 Ultra Music Festival’s Main Stage at Miami’s Bayfront Park. (Photo courtesy of Ultra Music Festival)

The gigantic Main Stage provided another year of unrivalled sound, dazzling pyrotechnics and LED displays throughout the weekend with Major Lazer, Axwell ^ Ingrosso and DJ Snake closing the festival on each night.  A$AP Ferg, Cypress Hill, Ice Cube, Chase and Status, The Prodigy and Underworld were among the world-class performers on the Live Stage across the weekend. French superstar duo Justice brought the US debut of their new live show to close the stage on Sunday, combining live instrumentation with futuristic lighting and production that transformed the amphitheatre.

2017 Ultra Music Festival
2017 Ultra Music Festival’s Resistance Carl Cox Megastructure at Miami’s Bayfront Park. (Photo courtesy of Ultra Music Festival)

The RESISTANCE Carl Cox Megastructure brought a substantial dose of house and techno to the weekend, with Cox closing the festival himself on Friday and Saturday as well as playing a special back-to-back set early on Saturday afternoon with Nic Fanciulli. In one of the highlights of the weekend, Saturday night also saw the first Sasha and John Digweed performance in the U.S. since Ultra Music Festival in 2010. On Sunday Armin van Buuren closed out the Megastructure in customary style, following euphoric sets from his A State Of Trance label mates.

2017 Ultra Music Festival
2017 Ultra Music Festival’s Resistance Arcadia Spider at Miami’s Bayfront Park. (Photo courtesy of Ultra Music Festival)

The world-famous RESISTANCE Arcadia SPIDER played home to a range of world beating house and techno artists and unique pyrotechnics, presenting a fully immersive and unique experience with the DJ levitating above the crowd, as Maceo Plex, Adam Beyer and Jamie Jones B2B Seth Troxler closed the stage on each night. The stage broadcast, powered by BE-AT.TV, was live streamed via YouTube at youtube.com/BeAtTvChannel.

2017 Ultra Music Festival
2017 Ultra Music Festival’s Worldwide Stage at Miami’s Bayfront Park. (Photo courtesy of Ultra Music Festival)

The Ultra Worldwide stage saw closing sets from Datsik, Nicky Romero and GTA throughout the weekend, while the UMF Radio Stage was commandeered by seminal labels: Mad Decent, OSWLA and Jacked on each day of the festival.

Finally, and with the safest, most successful edition of the festival now at a close, Miami Police released figures showing arrests to be down by almost 50 percent from the previous year, continuing a trend that has been steadily decreasing since 2013.

Ray Martinez, Chief of Security at Ultra Music Festival said: “The safety of our patrons, crew, artists and our local citizenry has always been our primary focus. There is no question, that we possess the know-how, resources and most importantly, an absolute commitment in responsibly producing the greatest music festival in the world which is hosted annually by beautiful downtown Miami.”

Ultra Music Festival 2018 takes place on March 23, 24, 25 2018 and is an 18 + event.

Waldorf Astoria New York unveils renovation designs

March 29, 2017

Waldorf Astoria New York
Waldorf Astoria New York’s renovated Lexington Avenue Entry Space (Rendering courtesy of Waldorf Astoria)

The Waldorf Astoria in New York City closed for renovations on February 28, 2017. Most of the hotel (which will re-open in 2019 or 2020) is being converted into condominium apartments.

The following is an excerpt from a Waldorf Astoria press release giving an update on the renovations:

The Waldorf Astoria New York has released proposed plans for the meticulous restoration and revitalization of the historic property’s landmarked exterior and interior spaces. The plans, which were prepared by a world-class design team including leading architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and renowned interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR), were submitted today for public review by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. The plans restore all landmarked spaces, ensuring the historic public and event spaces will be accessible for generations of New Yorkers and visitors alike.

Waldorf Astoria New York
Waldorf Astoria New York’s renovated Park Avenue Foyer (Rendering courtesy of Waldorf Astoria)

This restoration is among the most complex and intensive landmark preservation efforts in New York City history. If approved, it will revive key elements of the Art Deco masterpiece that have been altered over time, providing an experience that reflects the hotel’s original intent while delivering an enhanced visitor experience by modernizing the building’s functional capability to a 21st Century standard of luxury.

The proposed restoration plan is part of a major renovation that will set a new standard for service in New York when The Waldorf re-opens in two to three years. The hotel will continue to be operated by Hilton as part of a 100-year management agreement.

Waldorf Astoria New York
Waldorf Astoria New York’s renovated lobby (Rendering courtesy of Waldorf Astoria)

SOM will lead the architectural design team for the project. The New York-based architecture firm has overseen restoration and adaptive reuse projects for several New York City landmarks, including Moynihan Train Hall, the General Electric Building headquarters and Lever House.

PYR will lead the interior design of the hotel, including its public and guest room areas. Since its founding in 1979, the firm has focused exclusively on five-star luxury hotels,  including the forthcoming Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills scheduled to open June 2017, fine dining restaurants and private residences. PYR’s interior design has helped preserve the spirit and design heritage of some of the world’s most iconic hotels.

Waldorf Astoria New York
Waldorf Astoria New York’s renovated Peacock Alley (Rendering courtesy of Waldorf Astoria)

In addition to historic public and event spaces restored to their original intent, the Waldorf will feature new guest rooms, suites and condominiums when it reopens.

Originally opened in 1893 on the present site of the Empire State Building, the Waldorf Astoria New York opened at its current Park Avenue location in 1931, was designated an official New York City landmark in 1993 and had its most important interior spaces landmarked in 2017.

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!