2020 SXSW Film Festival migrates to Amazon Prime Video for limited time

April 21, 2020

The following is a press release from South by Southwest Conference and Festivals:

Amazon Prime Video and SXSW are joining forces to launch “Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection,” following the unprecedented cancellation of the SXSW Conference and Festivals by the City of Austin due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

“Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection” offers filmmakers in the 2020 SXSW Film Festival lineup an invitation to opt in to take part in this online film festival, which will play exclusively on Prime Video in the U.S. for 10-days. The one-time event will be available in front of the Prime Video paywall and free to all audiences around the country, with or without an Amazon Prime membership, all that is needed is a free Amazon account.

Filmmakers who choose to participate will receive a screening fee for streaming their film over the 10-day period. The launch date is yet to be announced, but SXSW and Prime Video are targeting a late April date. SXSW has shared details on the opportunity with 2020 filmmakers, who can opt in starting today.

Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, said, “We’re honored to be able to provide a space for the SXSW filmmakers to share their hard work and passion with audiences for the first time. It’s been a privilege collaborating with Janet Pierson and the SXSW team to bring these diverse and inspiring films to viewers around the country. We are supporters of SXSW and other independent film festivals, and hope this online film festival can help give back some of that experience, and showcase artists and films that audiences might otherwise not have had the chance to see.”

“Ever since SXSW was canceled by the City of Austin, we’ve been focused on how we could help the incredible films and filmmakers in the SXSW 2020 Film Festival lineup,” said Janet Pierson, Director of Film at SXSW. “We were delighted when Amazon Prime Video offered to host an online film festival, and jumped at the opportunity to connect their audiences to our filmmakers. We’re inspired by the adaptability and resilience of the film community as it searches for creative solutions in this unprecedented crisis.”

“I’m thrilled that these two great champions of indie film (SXSW and Amazon Prime Video) are teaming up to resurrect this year’s canceled film festival,” said Jay Duplass, independent filmmaker and SXSW alum. “These are unprecedented times, and it’s going to take unprecedented solutions to carry on and celebrate these great films and the people who worked so hard to make them.”

Stay tuned to SXSW for more information coming soon. Follow us on TwitterInstagramLinkedIn, and Facebook for the latest SX news.

April 27, 2020 UPDATE:

Announcing the April 27 launch of the Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection from Amazon Prime Video and SXSW with 39 films, composed of narrative and documentary features, short films, and episodic titles.

Filmmakers in the official 2020 SXSW Film Festival lineup were invited to opt in to take part in this online film festival, which will play exclusively on Prime Video in the U.S. from April 27 to May 6. The one-time event will be available in front of the Prime Video paywall, free to all U.S. audiences with or without an Amazon Prime membership — all that is needed is a free Amazon account.

“SXSW has always championed creators forging their own paths to success, often with just the right mix of passion, vision, and radical experimentation to make their dreams happen,” said Janet Pierson, Director of Film at SXSW. “There is no one-size-fits-all, especially in these uncertain times, and we knew this opportunity would be of interest to those filmmakers who wanted to be in front of a large audience now. We believe people will be captivated by this selection of intriguing work that would have been shown at our 2020 event.”

“We understand every film has its own strategy and we know this opportunity may not make sense for every filmmaker. However, for those who want to share their stories right now and with as many people as possible, we’re excited to provide them this platform,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “Until we are able to be together in person again, we hope this program allows these wonderful stories to virtually reach film lovers everywhere in the country.”

In addition to online panels and Q&As produced by SXSW, FREE THE WORK is collaborating with Prime Video to promote and raise awareness for this program, organizing hosted panels featuring films and filmmakers from the lineup. Founded by filmmaker Alma Har’el, FREE THE WORK is a nonprofit initiative dedicated to identifying systemic inequalities in film, television, advertising, and media, and finding actionable solutions to expand access for underrepresented creators.

Explore the list below of 2020 SXSW Film Festival titles streaming on Prime Video from April 27 to May 6 at amazon.com/sxsw.

Narrative Features

Cat in the Wall (Bulgaria, United Kingdom, France)
Directors/Screenwriters/Producers: Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova
This terrific comedy-drama is set on a southeast London council estate, which is riven by social and economic divisions and threatened by the all-consuming force of gentrification. Irina, a Bulgarian woman lives there with her small son and her brother. The lift serves as a toilet, the multi-cultural residents exchange shouts rather than pleasantries, and an expensive refurbishment is undesired but must be paid for. And in the midst of this: an apparently ownerless cat which has had enough of the heated atmosphere barricades itself ‘in the wall’, requiring the residents to collaborate. Cat in the Wall is an arresting critique of society, a whirlpool of emotions from despair to joie de vivre conveyed by strongly delineated characters. This heart-warming tale, shot in a documentary style, is this year’s equivalent of director Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake. Cast: Irina Atanosova, Angel Genov, Gilda Waugh

Gunpowder Heart (Guatemala, Spain)
Director/Screenwriter: Camila Urrutia; Producer: Inés Nofuentes
Claudia and Maria have fallen in love. They live in the city of Guatemala, a city full of stories related to abuse, unforgiving police officers, and charming secret corners. Everything changes one night when they are attacked by three men. They manage to escape but they now have to choose if they want revenge. Cast: Andrea Henry, Vanessa Hernández

Le Choc du Futur (France)
Director/Screenwriter: Marc Collin; Co-Writer: Elina Gakou-Gomba; Producers: Marc Collin, Nicolas Jourdier, Gaelle Ruffier
In the Paris of 1978, old formulas do not charm listeners anymore and new music must arise. In a male-dominated industry, Ana uses her electronic gadgets to make herself heard, creating a new sound that will mark the decades to come: the music of the future. Cast: Alma Jodorowsky, Philippe Rebbot, Clara Luciani

Selfie (France)
Directors: Tristan Aurouet, Thomas Bidegain, Marc Fitoussi, Cyril Gelblat, Vianney Lebasque; Screenwriters: Giulio Callegari, Noé Debré, Hélène Lombard, Julien Sibony, Bertrand Soulier; Producers: Mandoline Films, Chez Georges Productions
Algorithms, Technophobics, Dating App addicts, Vloggers, cloud security breach… each one of us can relate to the wired madness happening on screen. In five subversive and hilarious Black Mirror-like tales, Selfie takes on our digital shortcomings and shows how the new 2.0 era is driving all of us nuts! Cast: Blanche Gardin, Manu Payet, Elsa Zylberstein

Documentary Features

I’m Gonna Make You Love Me (United States)
Director/Producer: Karen Bernstein; Co-Producer: Nevie Owens
Fellini meets Motown in I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, the tragi-comedic tale of one man’s search for self-acceptance, a journey that included tabloid celebrity, Tupperware parties, and two coming-outs — first as a straight woman, then as the gay man he was born to be. Cast: Brian Belovitch aka “Tish,” Gloria Walker, Michael Musto

My Darling Vivian (United States)
Director: Matt Riddlehoover; Producers: Dustin Tittle, Matt Riddlehoover
The story of Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash’s first wife and the mother of his four daughters. Includes never-before-seen footage and photographs of Johnny Cash and Rosanne Cash, as well as footage featuring Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, Tim Robbins, Whoopi Goldberg, John C. Reilly, and many more.

TFW NO GF (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Lee Moyer; Producers: Adam Bhala Lough, Cody Wilson, Ariel Pink, Alex Lee Moyer, Michael Reich, John Eisenman, Matt Ornstein, Claire Bargout, Deagan White, Barrett Avner
A generation of disaffected young men searches for meaning in the dark corners of the internet. TFW NO GF examines the subculture through the metaphor of an iconic meme.

Narrative Shorts

A Period Piece (France, United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Shuchi Talati; Producer: Esra Saydam; Co-Producer: Claire Chassagne
Geetha, a control and order loving Indian-American woman, finally has sex with Vehd one afternoon but things quickly turn messy, causing a fight to erupt mid-coitus. Cast: Sonal Aggarwal, Nardeep Khurmi

Basic (United States)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Chelsea Devantez; Co-Producer: Kevin Walsh
Basic is a very, very, very short film about a dumb lil’ ho doing lil’ ho things. Starring Nelson Franklin (Veep, Abby’s, Blackish), Georgia Mischak (Arrested Development, Love), and Chelsea Devantez (Bless This Mess, Abby’s), who also wrote and directed. It’s a darkish comedy exploring the insecure lil’ ho in all of us.

Blocks (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Bridget Moloney; Producers: Kate Chamuris, Kristin Slaysman, Valerie Steinberg
An existential comedy about the mother of two young children who begins to spontaneously vomit toy blocks. Cast: Claire Coffee, Mark Webber, Ruha Taslimi

Broken Bird (United States)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Rachel Harrison Gordon
Birdie, a biracial girl raised by her Jewish mom in a New Jersey suburb, spends a rare day with her father while preparing for her Bat Mitzvah. She overcomes her doubts, and decides to risk inviting him back into her life. Birdie confronts what independence means as she steps into adulthood on her own terms. Cast: Indigo Hubbard-Salk, Chad L. Coleman

Daddio (United States)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Casey Wilson; Co-Writer: Laura Kindred; Co-Producers: Ursula Camack, Laura Kindred, Adam Silver
Daddio is a comedy about death. A year after the sudden passing of their beloved wife and mother, a dad and daughter grapple with life after loss. Grief looks very different on both of them. Paul, played by Michael McKean (Better Call Saul, Spinal Tap), is manic. He gets a perm and begs neighbors to hot tub with him. Abby, played by Casey Wilson (SNL, Happy Endings, Black Monday) is depressed. She sleeps in her closet and uses a shopping cart for a laundry basket. At its heart, Daddio is a love story between a father and daughter after the unimaginable has happened. Based on real death events. Cast: Michael McKean, Casey Wilson, June Diane Raphael, Adam Pally

Dirty (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Matthew Puccini; Producers: Cecilia Delgado, Jeremy Truong, Matthew Puccini
Marco cuts class to spend the afternoon with his boyfriend. Things do not go as planned. Cast: Morgan Sullivan, Manny Dunn

Face to Face Time (United States)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Izzy Shill
Claire takes the bold step of initiating a FaceTime call, only to discover Danny’s flaccid enthusiasm for her. Cast: Izzy Shill, Sean Patrick McGowan

Father of the Bride (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Rhys Marc Jones; Producer: Alex Polunin
The best man attempts to keep face and deliver his speech at his brother’s wedding, following an advance in the hotel bathroom by the father of the bride. Cast: Jay Lycurgo, Dominic Mafham, Marcus Rutherford, Isabelle Connolly

Figurant (France, Czech Republic)
Director/Screenwriter: Jan Vejnar; Producers: Origine Films / Silk Films
A man follows a group of workers coming for daywork in an industrial area. Soon, he’s stripped from his clothes and identity, dressed in a military uniform and armed. His determination not to fall behind the others is then tested by a series of unsettling events. Cast: Denis Lavant

Reminiscences of the Green Revolution (Philippines, United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Dean Colin Marcial; Producer: Armi Rae Cacanindin
A ghost story about love and eco-terrorism in the Philippines. Cast: Annicka Dolonius, Sid Lucero, Abner Delina Jr.

Runon (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Daniel Newell Kaufman; Producer: Lizzie Shaprio
All Luke and his mom have are two garbage bags full of clothes, and two tickets out of town on the midnight Greyhound. Like he’s assembling a puzzle, Luke has to figure out the why of it — all before the person they’re running from puts together the pieces. Cast: Erin Markey, Luke Visiage, Mike Alonzo

Single (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Ashley Eakin; Producer: Connie Jo Sechrist
A girl born with one arm goes on a blind date with a guy who has one hand…and she is pissed! Cast: Delaney Feener, Jordan Wiseley

Soft (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Daniel Antebi; Producers: Casey Bader, Reid Hannaford, Nicole Quintero Ochoa
Sam — 16, queer, and falling in love — struggles to untangle himself from his abusive martial arts coach. Cast: Josh Lerner, Benicio Franqui, Alex Kramer

Still Wylde (Canada, United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Ingrid Haas; Producers: Devin Lawrence, Katie White
Gertie and her sometimes boyfriend, Sam, are faced with a major life decision only to realize that even when they know what they want, life has other plans. Cast: Ingrid Haas, Barry Rothbart, Sabrina Jalees

Summer Hit (Germany)
Director/Screenwriter: Berthold Wahjudi; Producers: Melissa Byrne, Philipp Link
Laia from Spain and Emil from Iceland are Erasmus students in Munich. After having sex for a couple of times, Emil professes his love to Laia — but she panics and runs away. Now the two have to figure out whether they are more than just a summer fling. Cast: Martina Roura, Atli Benedikt, Katrin Filzen

The Voice in Your Head (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Graham Parkes; Producer: Brendan Garrett
A surreal comedy about an office worker who has resigned himself to spending every waking hour tortured by the negative voice in head, until a concerned co-worker decides to take action. Cast: Lewis Pullman, Mat Wright, Trian Longsmith

Vert (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Kate Cox; Producers: Nick Rowell, Sophie Reynolds, Gabriele Lo Giudice
Emelia (BAFTA Nominee Nikki Amuka-Bird) and Jeff (Nick Frost) are an open-minded couple celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary by venturing into the Virtual world of “Vert” together. Vert presents them with a character that is their ‘ideal self’ and what is supposed to be re-awakening for them as a couple becomes the unearthing of Jeff’s secret. Cast: Nikki Amuka-Bird, Nick Frost, Olivia Vinall

Waffle (United States)
Director: Carlyn Hudson; Screenwriters/Producers: Katie Marovitch, Kerry Barker; Co-Producers: Pamela Robison, Bridgett Greenberg
Kerry is at a sleepover with the socially awkward, mysteriously orphaned heiress Katie. Friendship — in a society that grows ever isolating — is explored as Kerry learns the hard way that Katie always gets what she wants. Cast: Katie Marovitch, Kerry Barker, Raphael Chestang

Documentary Shorts

Affurmative Action (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Travis Wood
An exploration of workplace diversity through “meet the team” pages.

Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Christine Turner; Producer: Erin Wright
At 93, there’s no stopping when it comes to the legendary artist Betye Saar.

Broken Orchestra (United States, Canada)
Director: Charlie Tyrell; Screenwriter: Josef Beeby; Producer: Julie Baldassi
A documentary short about the Symphony for a Broken Orchestra, which collected hundreds of broken instruments from the Philadelphia public school system, fixed them and then returned them into the hands of students.

Call Center Blues (United States)
Director: Geeta Gandbhir; Producer: Jessica Devaney
Call Center Blues is a lyrical portrait of an unlikely community of US deportees and their loved ones struggling to rebuild their lives in Tijuana, Mexico.

Dieorama (United States)
Director: Kevin Staake; Producer: Ryen Bartlett
Abigail Goldman spends her work days as an investigator for a public defender’s office in Washington state, helping people who are seriously in trouble—which can mean hours of staring at grisly pictures of crime scenes, visiting morgues, even observing autopsies. By night, she dreams up gruesome events, which she then turns into tiny, precise dioramas. Rife with scenes of imminent death and brutal dismemberment, the fruits of Goldman’s painstaking labor would be adorable … if they weren’t so disturbing. In this new documentary short, we follow along as Goldman brings her miniature worlds of murder and mayhem to life with tweezers, paint, and resin, and meet the people who just can’t get enough of her twisted visions—where the final touch is always, in the artist’s words, “two or three brushstrokes of red paint.”

Hiplet: Because We Can (United States)
Director/Producer: Addison Wright
Created with the intention to inspire young Black women, this film brings the Hiplet™ [hip-lay] ballerinas to center stage. With elements of a Short Film, Music Video, and Documentary, this artistic work showcases not only the talent of the Hiplet ballerinas, it also gives them a platform to discuss the challenges they have faced with giving traditional ballet a hip new twist. Cast: Homer Hans Bryant, Jayda Perry, Nia Parker

Lions in the Corner (United States)
Director: Paul Hairston; Producer: Jake Ewald
In Virginia, Scarface started Streetbeefs in his backyard to combat gun and knife violence in the area. Soon it turned into something much more for the men involved. Cast: Chris Wilmore

Mizuko (Water Child) (United States)
Directors: Katelyn Rebelo, Kira Dane; Screenwriter: Kira Dane; Producer: Amy Hobby for Tribeca Film Institute
In Japan, there is a special way to grieve after having an abortion. This Buddhist ritual, called the water children memorial, allows people to metaphorically return their lost children to the sea. Told through the Japanese American filmmaker’s personal story of abortion in the US, Mizuko (Water Child) is a partially animated, intimate reckoning with the impact of this cultural context.

Modern Whore (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Nicole Bazuin; Producer: Lisa Baylin
Former escort Andrea Werhun shares the ins and outs of escort review board culture, exposing the complexities of sexual power and social stigma in a post-#MeToo world. Cast: Andrea Werhun, Chester Brown, Michael Cuddy

No Crying at the Dinner Table (Canada)
Director: Carol Nguyen; Producers: Carol Nguyen, Aziz Zoromba
Filmmaker Carol Nguyen interviews her own family to craft an emotionally complex and meticulously composed portrait of intergenerational trauma, grief, and secrets in this cathartic documentary about things left unsaid.

Quilt Fever (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Olivia Loomis Merrion
Every year, thousands of quilters descend upon Paducah, Kentucky for its annual quilt competition, doubling the town’s population. “The Academy Awards of quilting” is a weeklong spectacle in which quilters from all over the world vie for the coveted Best of Show award. Beyond the competition, the film weaves through stories of individual quilters to reveal deeper motivations behind the art.

Episodic

Cursed Films (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Jay Cheel; Producers: Andrew Nicholas McCann Smith, Laura Perlmutter, Brian Robertson, Jay Cheel
Cursed Films is a five-part documentary series from Shudder exploring the myths and legends behind some of Hollywood’s notoriously “cursed” horror film productions. From plane accidents and bombings during the making of The Omen, to the rumored use of human skeletons on the set of Poltergeist, these stories are legendary amongst film fans and filmmakers alike. But where does the truth lie?

Motherland: Fort Salem (United States)
Showrunner/Screenwriter: Eliot Laurence
Set in an alternate America where witches ended their persecution by cutting a deal with the government to fight for the country, Motherland: Fort Salem follows three young women from training to deployment, as they fight terrorist threats with supernatural tactics.

Tales from the Loop (United States, Canada)
Director: Mark Romanek
Creator/Writer: Nathaniel Halpern; Director: Mark Romanek; Executive Producers: Nathaniel Halpern, Matt Reeves, Mark Romanek, Adam Kassan, Rafi Crohn, Mattias Montero, Samanthan Taylor Pickett, Adam Berg and Simon Stålenhag
Based on the acclaimed art of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, Tales from the Loop explores the town and people who live above “The Loop,” a machine built to unlock and explore the mysteries of the universe. In this fantastical, mysterious town poignant human tales are told that bare universal emotional experiences while drawing on the intrigue of genre storytelling. Cast: Rebecca Hall, Paul Schneider, Daniel Zolghadri, Duncan Joiner, Jonathan Pryce

Tune into Amazon Prime Video starting April 27 and enjoy some SXSW 2020 films from your couch! Follow us on TwitterInstagramLinkedIn, and Facebook for the latest SX news.

Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty fall/winter 2019 show headed to Amazon Prime Video

August 26, 2019

Rihanna (Photo by Miguel Pereira/Getty Images) 

The following is a press release from Amazon Prime Video:

Amazon Prime Video presents the highly anticipated second annual Savage X Fenty Show, a runway show celebrating the new Fall/Winter 2019 collection from music and fashion icon Rihanna. The extraordinary fashion experience will take place during New York Fashion Week in conjunction with NYFW: The Shows and will feature a combination of models, actors and dancers wearing the latest savage styles, offering up a new type of sexy, where attitude meets individuality. Savage X Fenty Show will stream exclusivelyon Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide beginning Friday, September 20.

As a follow up to last year’s ground-breaking event, this year’s Savage X Fenty Show is raising the bar. The star-studded evening is set to be a radical departure from tradition, a one-of-a-kind event blending music, fashion and culture. With exciting surprises around every corner, including performances from some of the hottest acts in music, the show debuts Savage X Fenty’s bold and fearless Fall/Winter 2019 collection.

“I couldn’t be more excited that everyone will have full access to The Savage X Fenty Show this year! We are working on creating a bold, sexy, super energetic experience for our viewers,” said Rihanna.

“Rihanna has conquered the worlds of music, film, beauty and fashion. She has re-invented the idea of what fashionable lingerie should be for a global customer. The brand authentically reflects empowering statements of inclusivity, body positivity and fun! The Savage X Fenty Show promises to be a ground-breaking and truly unique experience and we’re thrilled to give our global customers an exclusive front row seat,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios.

Following the live show, this year’s Savage X Fenty Show will be available to stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video worldwide giving audiences both in-person and at home a door into the world of Savage X Fenty, as well as the chance to relive the experience again and again. The Amazon Prime Video special will also feature an exclusive look behind the scenes at the making of the show.

The Savage X Fenty Show was created under the artistic direction of Rihanna and Savage X Fenty, and is executive produced by Rihanna and produced by PRODJECT and Endeavor Content’s non-scripted group.

ABOUT SAVAGE X FENTY

Music and fashion icon Rihanna embarks on her newest venture: lingerie designer. Inspired to create a line of intimates that complements a variety of shades and shapes, Savage X Fenty celebrates fearlessness, confidence, and inclusivity. In partnership with TechStyle Fashion Group, the label has disrupted and redefined the marketplace with its accessible price point and extensive assortment. “We want to make people look good and feel good,” explains Rihanna, who approaches Savage X with the same mentality she does all her projects—to make something new and fresh that everyone can relate to and feel confident in. “We want you to feel sexy and have fun doing it.” With sizes from 32A – 46DDD in bras, and XS-3X in undies and sleepwear Savage X Fenty is available for purchase at www.SavageX.com.

ABOUT AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

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Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

UPDATE: Here are videoclips from the show

Amazon Prime Video announces fashion-competition series ‘Making the Cut,’ hosted Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn

June 26, 2019

by Carla Hay

Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum (Photo courtesy of Lifetime)

Amazon Prime Video has announced details of its fashion-competition show starring Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, the Emmy-winning former hosts of “Project Runway.” The show is called “Making the Cut,” and it will premiere sometime in 2020.  British supermodel Naomi Campbell, fashionista Nicole Richie, journalist Carine Roitfeld and fashion designer Joseph Altuzarra will be judges or guest judges on the show, which began auditioning contestants in January 2019. There will be 12 contestants (whose identities are to be announced) on the first season of “Making the Cut,” according to an Amazon Prime Video press release.

The executive producers of “Making the Cut” are Klum, Gunn, Sara Rea, Page Feldman and Jennifer Love. The show’s production company is SKR Productions.

The show’s grand prize has not yet been announced, but designs that win a challenge in each episode will be available for purchase on Amazon. The grand prize will also likely include some kind of deal where Amazon will sell the clothes of the winning designer.

“Making the Cut” joins a growing list of fashion-competition shows for contestants who are designers. Gunn and Klum were part of the original “Project Runway” team when the show debuted in 2004, and the duo left in 2017.

The “Project Runway” reboot in 2019 included the show moving from Lifetime back to Bravo (the show’s original network) and an almost complete recasting of the show’s stars. Karlie Kloss is now the host of “Project Runway,” which added mentor Christian Siriano (a former “Project Runway” winner) and new judges Brandon Maxwell (fashion designer) and journalist Elaine Welteroth. Nina Garcia, who has been a judge on “Project Runway” since the beginning, has remained with the show during its numerous changes.

Netflix also has a fashion-competition series: “Next in Fashion,” hosted by fashion expert Tan France (of “Queer Eye” fame) and model Alexa Chung. There will be a rotating group of guest judges. Elizabeth Stewart and Eva Chen are the guest judges announced so far. The premiere date for “Next in Fashion” is to be announced.

 

2019 Tribeca Film Festival pilot episode review: ‘The Boys’

May 1, 2019

by Carla Hay

Jack Quaid and Karl Urban in "The Boys"
Jack Quaid and Karl Urban in “The Boys” (Photo by Jan Thijs)

“The Boys”

Pilot episode/Season 1, Episode 1

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 29, 2019.

Amazon Prime Video’s “The Boys” series couldn’t have come at a better time, when superhero movies have been dominating the box office, and the lead characters in the movies have legions of devoted fans around the world. “The Boys,” based on the graphic-novel series of the same name, explores what it would be like to live in a world where over-worshipped superheroes abuse their fame and power. Based on the pilot episode of “The Boys” that had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, Amazon Prime Video could have its first big superhero-themed hit.

The main protagonists of “The Boys” aren’t even superheroes. They’re mere mortals who want to expose the corrupt superheroes because of personal vendettas they have against them. Hughie Campbell (played by Jack Quaid) is a mild-mannered employee of an independent electronics store in New York City. It’s the type of store that’s rapidly disappearing in a retail economy that’s killed Radio Shack. Hughie seems to have a safe and predictable life. He and his girlfriend Robin (played by Jess Salgueiro) are very much in love, and although Hughie’s job doesn’t pay too well, it’s enough for him to get by comfortably, even if he still has to live with his single father (played by Simon Pegg).

Hughie’s world turns into a nightmare when his girlfriend is killed right in front of him in a freak accident. It’s because a lightning-speed superhero named A-Train (played by Jessie T. Usher) literally runs right through her while chasing a robber, and that leads to Robin’s gruesome death. A-Train runs so fast (just like DC Comics’ The Flash) that he didn’t even notice that he killed someone until he sees the bloody aftermath, and he makes a quick excuse that he has to leave in order to keep chasing after the robber.

A devastated Hughie tries to get justice from Vought International, the mega-corporation that manages and secretly covers up for the world’s top superheroes, including an elite group called The Seven. (The Seven is written as an obvious satire of DC Comics’ supergroup Justice League.) Vought is run by Madelyn Stillwell (played by Elizabeth Shue), a ruthless executive who puts on a façade of doing what’s best for the world, while hiding superheroes’ dirty secrets. Vought offers Hughie a $45,000 settlement to not sue over Robin’s death, but he refuses. A-Train gives a half-hearted public apology, but Hughie is not convinced the apology is sincere. Hughie isn’t so mild-mannered anymore. He’s heartbroken, bitter, and out for revenge. He just doesn’t know what to do about it yet.

Meanwhile, in Des Moines, Iowa, a naïve young woman named Annie January (played by Erin Moriarty) is training to become a superhero, much like a girl would train for an event that’s a combination of an athletic competition and a beauty pageant. She’s hoping she’ll be the chosen one to replace Lamplighter, one of the superheroes who is retiring from The Seven. What happens to this young superhero will set in motion much of the action for the rest of the series. She joins The Seven under the new identity Starlight, a character clearly inspired by Supergirl.

Not long after Starlight joins The Seven, Hughie unexpectedly meets Billy Butcher (played by Karl Urban), a no-nonsense badass who crashes into Hughie’s store. Billy says that he’s part of a secret vigilante group called The Boys, whose goal is to hold law-breaking superheroes accountable for their misdeeds. Hughie wants in on the action, but Billy wants Hughie to prove himself first.

Billy tells Hughie that all of the superheroes are corrupt except Homelander (played by Antony Starr), the leader of The Seven, an alpha-male, patriotic type who has the superhero ability to fly, just like Superman. But is Homelander really a good guy or has Billy been fooled into thinking he is?

Other characters from The Seven that are introduced in this pilot episode include The Deep (played by Chace Crawford), an Aquaman-type heartthrob who’s secretly a creep abusing his power through sexual harassment; Black Noir (played by Nathan Mitchell), a mysterious silent type; Translucent (played by Alex Hassell), who can make himself invisible, similar to the DC Comics character Negative Man, and uses this ability to be a perverted Peeping Tom; and Queen Maeve (played by Dominique McElligott), a tough-but-tender alpha female, similar to Wonder Woman, who shows signs that she’s not as committed to The Seven’s corrupt ways as the rest of the group.

Translucent is not in “The Boys” comic books, so his storyline in the TV series is the least-easiest to predict. Advance teaser footage of “The Boys” shows Translucent imprisoned in a cage. The Amazon Prime Video series also has some other differences from “The Boys” comic books (which were created by writer Garth Ennis and illustrator Darick Robertson), but that spoiler information won’t be included here.

Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, Ori Marmur, Ken F. Levin and Jason Netter are among the executive producers of “The Boys.” They previously adapted a popular graphic-novel series to television with AMC’s “Preacher.” Other executive producers of “The Boys” are Eric Kripke (“Supernatural”), Neal H. Moritz (“The Fast and the Furious” franchise) and Pavun Shetty (CBS’s “S.W.A.T.”).

Based on the pilot episode of “The Boys,” this series is going full-throttle with sex, drugs, adult language and violence. Now that Amazon Prime Video has canceled the superhero comedy series “The Tick” (which didn’t really click with audiences, after two seasons), “The Boys” can step in and fill that superhero series void with a rip-roaring abandon that’s a satirical kick in the face to superheroes who are too popular for their own good.

Amazon Prime Video will premiere the first season of “The Boys” on July 26, 2019.

 

Amazon and Whole Foods announce 2018 Amazon Prime Day promotion

July 10, 2018

(Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market)

The following is a press release from Amazon:

Amazon and Whole Foods Market today announced exclusive ways Prime members can save in store in celebration of this year’s Prime Day (and a half), which kicks off on Amazon July 16 at 12 pm PT/3 pm ET. From July 11 through July 17, Prime members can get $10 on Amazon for Prime Day when they shop in Whole Foods Market. Visit wfm.com/primeday to learn more.

“This is Whole Foods Market’s first Prime Day and we’re taking the shopping experience to the next level,” said John Mackey, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Whole Foods Market. “Between our exclusive deals and special Prime Day offers, you’re not going to want to miss out on these savings.”

Prime members can enjoy the following offers and savings leading up to Prime Day:

  • Spend $10, get $10: Prime members who spend $10 at Whole Foods Market July 11 – 17 will receive a $10 Amazon account credit to use on Prime Day (and a half), by scanning the Prime Code in their Whole Foods Market or Amazon app when they check out.
  • Get 10% Back: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa cardmembers with an eligible Prime membership will enjoy double the rewards – 10% Back – on up to a total of $400 in purchases when shopping at Whole Foods Market from July 14 – 17.
  • Shop Prime Now and save up to $20: Prime members who have not yet tried grocery delivery from Whole Foods Market stores via Prime Now will receive $10 off their order when they shop before July 17, and will get $10 to use towards a future order.
  • Check out Amazon devices: Starting on Prime Day (and a half), Prime members in many stores across the country will have access to the biggest deals yet on Alexa-enabled products like Echo and Fire TV.
  • Enjoy even more exclusive offers on select seasonal items from July 11 through July 17, including:
    • Organic strawberries, 1 lb. container, 2/$5
    • Boneless chicken breasts, animal welfare rated, air-chilled, $3.99/lb., save 40 percent or more
    • Icelandic cod fillets, sustainably wild caught, $8.99/lb., save $6/lb.
    • Allegro bagged coffee, sustainably sourced, buy one, get one free
    • MegaFood Vitamins & Supplements, 30 percent off
    • RXBAR Protein Bars, 1.83 oz., all flavors, 2/$3
    • Waterloo Sparkling Water (12 pack 12 oz. cans), including flavors like lime and mango, 2/$7
    • Honey Nut Cheerios, buy one, get one free
    • Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisps, 3 oz., $4.99
    • Self-serve tea cookies by the pound, 40 percent off

“This year Prime members will experience a special flavor of Prime Day in every Whole Foods Market store nationwide,” said Cem Sibay, Vice President, Amazon Prime. “Prime members will also save big, from earning $10 to spend on Amazon for Prime Day when they spend $10 at Whole Foods Market, to 10% Back when shopping Whole Foods Market using their Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card.”

How to Save

Prime members who spend $10 in a single transaction in store and scan their Prime Code in the Whole Foods Market or Amazon app, or provide their linked phone number at checkout, will receive a $10 credit that will be automatically applied to their Amazon account and can be used on Amazon during Prime Day (and a half). Prime Day deals start at 12 pm PT/3 pm ET on Monday, July 16. Visit wfm.com/primeday to learn more.

Prime Members Shopping Whole Foods Market

In addition to this first celebration of Prime Day, Amazon and Whole Foods Market have already launched benefits available year-round, like deep discounts on select popular products and an additional 10 percent off hundreds of sale items throughout Whole Foods Market stores, delivery in as little as an hour from Whole Foods Market stores through Prime Now in 19 cities, and eligible Prime members receive 5% Back on Whole Foods Market purchases when using the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card.

Every Day Made Better with Prime

Prime was designed to make your life better every single day. Over 100 million paid members around the world enjoy the many benefits of Prime, including shopping and entertainment. In the U.S. that includes unlimited access to award-winning movies and TV episodes with Prime Video; unlimited access to Prime Music, Audible Channels for Prime, Prime Reading, Prime Photos, Twitch Prime; early access to select Lightning Deals, one free pre-released book a month with Amazon First Reads, and more. Prime members can also get deep discounts on select popular products at Whole Foods Market plus an additional 10 percent off hundreds of sale items. Prime was built on the foundation of unlimited fast, free shipping and members receive Prime FREE One-Day Shipping and Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery in more than 8,000 cities and towns and unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on more than 100 million items. Start a free trial of Amazon Prime at amazon.com/prime.

About Whole Foods Market

For 39 years, Whole Foods Market has been the world’s leading natural and organic foods retailer. As the first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market has over 470 stores in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.

Amazon is buying online pharmacy PillPack

June 28, 2018

The following is a press release from Amazon:

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and PillPack today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire PillPack. PillPack is a pharmacy designed to provide the best possible customer experience in the U.S. for people who take multiple daily prescriptions. PillPack delivers medications in pre-sorted dose packaging, coordinates refills and renewals, and makes sure shipments are sent on time.

“PillPack’s visionary team has a combination of deep pharmacy experience and a focus on technology,” says Jeff Wilke, Amazon CEO Worldwide Consumer. “PillPack is meaningfully improving its customers’ lives, and we want to help them continue making it easy for people to save time, simplify their lives, and feel healthier. We’re excited to see what we can do together on behalf of customers over time.”

“PillPack makes it simple for any customer to take the right medication at the right time, and feel healthier,” said TJ Parker, co-founder and CEO of PillPack. “Together with Amazon, we are eager to continue working with partners across the healthcare industry to help people throughout the U.S. who can benefit from a better pharmacy experience.”

Completion of this transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The parties expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2018.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

About PillPack

PillPack is a pharmacy designed to provide the best possible experience for customers. For people who take multiple daily prescriptions,PillPack offers pre-sorted dose packaging, home delivery, and a commitment to customer service. These features help customers take medications as prescribed, which has been shown to improve health outcomes and lower costs. PillPack holds pharmacy licenses in all 50 states, has URAC and VIPPS accreditation, is an in-network pharmacy with most PBMs, including major Medicare Part D plans, and has built a proprietary set of software systems and tools called PharmacyOS. For more information visit www.pillpack.com.

Amazon announces Alexa for Hospitality will launch in hotels in the summer of 2018

June 19, 2018

Alexa for Hospitality
Alexa for Hospitality (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

The following is a press release from Amazon:

Amazon today announced Alexa for Hospitality, a new experience offered by invitation to hoteliers that brings the simplicity and convenience of Alexa to hotels, vacation rentals, and other hospitality locations. Using the Amazon Echo in their room, guests can now ask Alexa for hotel information, contact the hotel to request guest services, play music in their room and more. For hotels, Alexa for Hospitality helps deepen guest engagement through seamless voice-first experiences that offer new ways for guests to access services and amenities during their stay. Alexa for Hospitality is available to hospitality providers by invitation starting today, with Marriott International introducing the new Alexa experience at select properties in Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels, and Autograph Collection Hotels starting this summer.

“Customers tell us they love how easy it is to get information, enjoy entertainment, and control connected devices by simply asking Alexa, and we want to offer those experiences everywhere customers want them,” said Daniel Rausch, Vice President, Amazon. “Alexa for Hospitality makes your hotel stay a little more like being at home and gives hospitality providers new ways to create memorable stays for their guests.”

“Marriott has a long track record of innovating for our guests, and we’re thrilled to be among the first to offer Alexa for Hospitality,” said Jennifer Hsieh, Vice President Customer Experience Innovation, Marriott International. “So many of our guests use voice technology in their home, and we want to extend that convenience to their travel experience. Guests of Charlotte Marriott City Center and Marriott Irvine Spectrum will be among the first to experience a curated list of Alexa for Hospitality features. We will be evaluating guest feedback and adoption to inform how we expand the skills, features, and functionality offered through Alexa in our hotels.”

An Enjoyable Guest Stay with Alexa
With Alexa for Hospitality, hospitality providers can enable and customize a range of voice-first features based on their guests’ needs. Using an Amazon Echo in their room, guests can ask Alexa for information like pool hours or fitness center location, request hotel services like room service or housekeeping, call the concierge, and more. Alexa can also be configured by hospitality providers to allow guests to control and adjust in-room devices like lights, thermostats, blinds, and TVs to their individual preferences or ask Alexa to play music from popular services including iHeartRadio and TuneIn. Guests can also be given access to thousands of Alexa skills to check airport wait times, play games, get in a quick guided workout, play white noise to help them fall asleep, and more.

Hospitality providers will also have the option to allow their guests to personalize their Alexa in-room experience. Soon, Alexa for Hospitality will support the ability for Amazon customers to temporarily connect their Amazon account to the Alexa-enabled device in their room. Once connected, guests will be able to play their personal music from services including Amazon Music, Spotify, and Pandora; and listen to audiobooks with Audible. When a guest checks out, Alexa for Hospitality automatically disconnects their Amazon account from the in-room device.

Helping Hotels Deliver Memorable Guest Experiences
Alexa for Hospitality makes it easy for vacation rental companies like RedAwning and boutique lifestyle properties within the Two Roads Hospitality portfolio including Thompson Hotels, Joie de Vivre, Destination Hotels and Alila to manage their property experiences and engage with guests. Hospitality providers can provision Echo devices in just minutes to get up and running quickly. Alexa for Hospitality also supports hardware settings like limiting volume level and administrator notifications if a device goes offline. Hoteliers can also use Alexa for Hospitality to measure engagement through analytics and adapt services based on guest feedback.

Hotels can also customize the deployment by selecting default music stations from iHeartRadio stations that match their brand, adding property contacts to order room service or booking a spa treatment, and connecting to custom skills that only their guests can access. For example, Marriott Hotels guests, at properties where Alexa for Hospitality is deployed, can take advantage of the brand’s partnership with TED by requesting Alexa play a TED Talk on mindfulness, creativity or leadership.

Alexa for Hospitality is built to work with existing hotel technologies, reducing or eliminating the need to retrofit or upgrade existing investments, and works with a range of trusted hospitality solution providers. Features developed by DigiValet, Intelity, Nuvola, and Volara allow guests to make requests like “Alexa, order wine,” or “Alexa, book a spa appointment,” with requests routed to hotel property management systems. Alexa for Hospitality also works with popular guest room entertainment providers including World Cinema and GuestTek for voice control of TV experiences, and in-room control of connected devices using Crestron and Inncom by Honeywell.

For more information visit www.amazon.com/alexaforhospitality.

About Amazon
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

Amazon Echo Look for style needs is now available to U.S. customers

June 6, 2018

The following is a press release from Amazon:

Alexa helps you look your best with Echo Look, a first-of-its-kind Echo device with a hands-free depth-sensing camera, built-in LED lighting, and computer vision-based background blur to make your outfits pop. Simply say, “Alexa, take a photo” or “Alexa, take a video” to get a share-worthy shot of your look, no smartphone camera or mirror required. Alexa on Echo Look is the style assistant that gives you personalized recommendations, helps keep your closet organized, and provides fashion inspiration. Features like Style Check, Collections, and suggestions of new pieces to complement your existing wardrobe all come with Echo Look (#echolook), which is now available to all customers for $199.99 at www.amazon.com/echolook.

“Like a trustworthy best friend, Alexa helps you nail your look every time—with Echo Look, she can give advice on which of two outfits looks best, offer personalized recommendations on items that pair well with clothes you already own, create your personal lookbook, keep your closet organized, and much more,” said Linda Ranz, Director of Echo Product Management at Amazon. “Over the last year we invited customers to use Echo Look and give us feedback, which led to the launch of many new features—we’re now excited to make the device available to all customers, with even more fashionable features and functionality to come that will help customers look their best every day.”

Alexa as your style assistant on Echo Look uses a combination of machine learning algorithms and advice from fashion specialists to provide personalized recommendations. Style Check, one of the most popular features on Echo Look, gives you a second opinion on which of two outfits looks best on you—simply submit two photos and, in about a minute, Style Check will return a recommendation based on fit, color, styling, and current trends, plus an explanation of why one is better. One of the newest features on Echo Look will suggest items that pair well with clothes you already own to help you get more out of your closet. Recommended items are all shoppable on Amazon.com.

Echo Look also makes it easier to keep your closet organized. To keep track of your styles, use Daily Look—each photo or short video you take of an outfit is automatically added to a lookbook that you can browse for inspiration and tag with descriptions. You can also filter looks by color to easily find a specific piece or decide whether you need yet another black top. The Collections feature helps organize your closet by category for easy searching. The Echo Look app will automatically organize Daily Looks into groups including Favorites, Seasons, and Weather. You can then create your own personalized collections like outfits for your vacation, business trip, items to donate, and more. When you’re away from home, you can use the Echo Look app to keep capturing outfit photos so you’ll never forget what you wore, or where you wore it. The photos will appear in the Looks tab in your app, where they’ll be available to browse, edit, share, and submit to Style Check.

And since fashion is all about getting inspired by the next trend, customers can get tips from Amazon, Vogue, and GQ right in the Echo Look app. Or you can tap into Community Voting to submit outfit polls to the Amazon Spark community for additional input and feedback from other customers who love fashion. Ask specific questions like, “Which is better for a summer wedding?” or “Is this appropriate for a job interview?” and see the votes in real time.

Plus, Echo Look includes everything you love about Alexa. Simply ask for timers and alerts, the weather and news, and much more. You can also “share” Echo Look with one other person while keeping your lookbooks separate. Household Profiles allows you to register up to two accounts to your Echo Look and switch just by asking or, using Your Voice, Alexa can recognize your voice and switch accounts automatically when enabled—you don’t even need to ask.

Lights, Camera, Fashion

Echo Look made its debut at New York Fashion Week: The Shows in February, where Amazon partnered with Prabal Gurung. Amazon used the device to photograph the backstage action to design a digital lookbook inspired by the designer’s Fall 2018 collection. In another collaboration, customers have also seen content from Vogue and GQ appear in the home screen of their apps offering links to fashion tips and trends on Vogue.com and GQ.com. Additionally, designer and stylist Rachel Zoe collaborated with Amazon to promote Echo Look in a recent episode of Real Life with Rachel Zoe, using Alexa as her style assistant in sessions with influencers Sheryl Luke, Natalie Lim Suarez, and Brittany Xavier.

“Alexa is my new styling assistant. I wish I had Echo Look early on in my career as a stylist,” said Rachel Zoe, CEO of Rachel Zoe, Inc. “For anyone who needs a little help deciding what to wear, Style Check is a total game changer.”

Here’s what reviewers have been saying about Echo Look:

  • “If you’ve ever spent too much time in the mirror agonizing over what to wear, this product is for you.”—TODAY Show
  • “I fell in love with the tiny piece of tech.”—USA Today
  • “As a person who won’t generally listen to style tips—not even from my mom or my husband—I’m surprised by how easily I’ve taken to my very own tabletop Tim Gunn.”—New York Post
  • “I’ll admit to being generally quite impressed by Echo Look, as I’m confident that it’s the most sophisticated, accurate, easy-to-use device of its kind on the market. In other news, I may never have to ask my husband how my outfit looks again (which he’ll probably be okay with).”—WhoWhatWear
  • “The photos and video that the Echo Look captures provide a good view of what you’re wearing that indeed trumps what you get from a mirror. They’re well lit thanks to the LED lights on the body of the Echo Look, and the voice activation eliminates the need for selfie sticks, self-timers or a patient partner who doesn’t mind taking your picture.”—CNET
  • “Perfect selfies and an intelligent fashion guide.”—Gadget Flow

Pricing and Availability

Echo Look (#echolook) is available now for U.S. customers for $199.99. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/echolook.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

Amazon offers additional 10 percent Amazon Prime discount at Whole Foods

May 30, 2018

(Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market)

The following is a press release from Amazon:

Prime members can now get an additional 10 percent off sale items, typically hundreds of products throughout the store, plus weekly deep discounts on select best-selling items. These savings are currently available in all stores across Florida and will expand to all Whole Foods Market and Whole Foods Market 365 stores nationwide starting this summer.

Prime member deals will be prominently featured in store. Customers can also go to the Whole Foods Market app to learn about many of the best offers each week. The following deals will be in Florida stores from May 16 through May 22, with new and exclusive offers rotating weekly:

  • Sustainably-sourced, wild-caught halibut steaks: $9.99/lb., save $10/lb.
  • Organic strawberries: 1 lb. for $2.99, save $2
  • Cold brew coffee at Allegro coffee bars: 50% off 16 oz.
  • KIND granola: 11 oz. bag 2/$6
  • 365 Everyday Value sparkling water: 12-pack case buy one, get one free
  • Magic Mushroom Powder: 50% off
  • Plus, an additional 10% off hundreds of sale items throughout the store

“We’re thrilled for Whole Foods Market to be part of the Prime experience,” said John Mackey, Co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market. “By offering greater discounts on sale items, and exclusive deals like $10 off a pound for sustainably-sourced, wild-caught halibut, launching savings for Prime members is an amazing opportunity to bring our industry-leading quality standards and delicious food to more customers at a better price.”

This is the latest benefit for Prime members shopping Whole Foods Market. Earlier this year, the companies launched free two-hour delivery on Whole Foods Market groceries through Prime Now in 10 cities, with more to come in 2018. Eligible Prime members also receive 5% Back on Whole Foods Market purchases when using the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card.

“This new Prime benefit at Whole Foods Market is a perfect pairing of healthy and delicious food at even more affordable prices,” said Cem Sibay, Vice President, Amazon Prime. “Our vision is that every day Prime makes your life better, easier and more fun, and shopping at Whole Foods Market with exclusive deals and savings is all of this and more.”

Amazon and Whole Foods Market have reduced prices for all customers on hundreds of grocery staples and fresh foods across the store, including: responsibly-farmed salmon, raw shrimp and tilapia; organic baby kale and organic broccoli; animal welfare-rated lean ground beef; and organic and no-antibiotic, boneless skinless chicken breasts. Shopping at Whole Foods Market is now even more convenient with Amazon Lockers, where customers can pick up and return eligible Amazon purchases at nearly 400 Whole Foods Market stores nationwide. Plus, customers can now shop for Amazon devices, such as Echo and Fire TV, while grabbing groceries at select stores.

To get started, customers download the Whole Foods Market app, sign in with their Amazon account and then scan the app’s Prime Code at checkout. Or, customers can opt in to use their phone number to save at checkout. To learn more about Prime at Whole Foods Market, link your phone number or to try Prime free for 30 days, go to amazon.com/primesavings.

Every Day Made Better with Prime

Prime was designed to make your life better every single day. Over 100 million paid members around the world enjoy the many benefits of Prime, including shipping, shopping and entertainment. In the U.S. that includes unlimited access to award-winning movies and TV episodes with Prime Video; unlimited access to Prime Music, Audible Channels for Prime, Prime Reading, Prime Photos, Twitch Prime; early access to select Lightning Deals, one free pre-released book a month with Amazon First Reads, and more. Prime was built on the foundation of unlimited fast, free shipping and members receive unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on more than 100 million items, Prime FREE One-Day Shipping and Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery in more than 8,000 cities and towns, and two-hour delivery with Prime Now in more than 30 major cities. Start a free trial of Amazon Prime at amazon.com/amazonprime.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

About Whole Foods Market

For 39 years, Whole Foods Market has been the world’s leading natural and organic foods retailer. As the first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market has over 470 stores in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.

2018 Cannes Film Festival: Inside the festival’s controversial restrictions on streaming services and selfies

March 26, 2018

by Carla Hay

 

Dustin Hoffman, director Noah Baumbach, Emma Thompson, Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of “The Meyerowitz Stories” at Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, on May 21, 2017. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage for Netflix)

The annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, is one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals, but Cannes Film officials have made two controversial decisions that could potentially alienate large segments of festival attendees and movie fans. First, movies that are from streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon will no longer be eligible for awards at the Cannes Film Festival, such as the Palme D’or (the top prize), Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, etc. However, films from streaming services (and TV networks such as HBO) can still have screenings and premieres at Cannes. The second change, which is even more alienating to movie fans, is that the festival has now banned “selfies” from being taken on the red carpet. The changes go into effect for the 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival, which takes place from May 8 to May 9, 2018.

In an exclusive interview with French magazine Le Film Français that was published on March 23, 2018, Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux explained that these changes have mostly to do with adhering to French laws which state that a movie that was originally released theatrically cannot be available for streaming in France until 36 months after the theatrical release. If streaming services such as Netflix release any of their movies in cinemas, it’s typically on the same day or within two weeks of the day it premieres on the streaming service. The new Cannes policy now requires that all films eligible for competition at the Cannes Film Festival must be available for release in French theaters, and the theatrical release of the movie must be before any release on TV or on streaming services. Since Netflix and other streaming services do not have business models that allow them to wait three years to stream their content in France in order to get a theatrical release in France,  that leaves Netflix and other streaming services out of the loop to compete for awards at the Cannes Film Festival.

The United States and many other countries do not have laws mandating a three-year delay between when a movie is released in theaters and when it can be made available for streaming, which is why many critics of this Cannes policy think that the policy is out-of-touch and detrimental to a film festival that should pride itself on being a truly international event. However, those who agree with the Cannes policy believe that the festival has a right to support French cinema laws and preserve the specialness of a theatrical release.

Byung Heebong, Giancarlo Esposito, Steven Yeun, Tilda Swinton, Ahn Seo-Hyun, Bong Joon-Ho, Paul Dano, Lily Collins, Jake Gyllenhaal and Devon Bostic at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of “Okja” at Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, on May 19, 2017. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage for Netflix)

In 2017, the Netflix films “Okja” and “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Both films had a limited release in U.S. theaters, as did Netflix’s period drama “Mudbound” and sports documentary “Icarus,” which did not premiere at Cannes, but were nominated for Academy Awards because they met Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requirements of being released in at least one U.S. cinema for a minimum of one week. (“Icarus” won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, the first Academy Award won for a Netflix film.)

It will continue to be a complicated debate over whether or not a movie from a television network or a streaming service should be eligible for the same awards as movies that were first released in theaters, considering that Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services have become major presences at film festivals to acquire movies that have already been made and need distribution—as opposed to movies that were specifically made for the streaming services. For example, “Mudbound” and “Icarus” were two of several films that Netflix acquired after the movies premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Sofia Coppola and Nicole Kidman at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of “The Beguiled” in Cannes, France, on May 24, 2017. (Photo courtesy of the Cannes Film Festival)

As for the ban on taking selfies on the red carpet, Fremaux told Le Film Français why Cannes officials made the decision: “At the top of the red carpet, the pettiness and the hold up caused by the untimely disorder created by taking selfies hurts the quality of the climbing of the steps … And it does the same to the festival as a whole.”

What’s bizarre about this ban is that while taking selfies are prohibited on the red carpet, autograph signing is apparently still allowed. Even if barriers were set up on the red carpet that would put a larger distance between celebrities and fans, there are still some celebrities and other people on the red carpet who will want to go over to fans and let them take pictures and get autographs. (And it could be argued that signing autographs take about the same time, if not more time, than taking selfies.)

Most people would agree that fan interaction is one of the main reasons why red-carpet premieres are exciting to attendees. The success of these types of events are largely dependent on the number of cheering fans who show up, and the fans are usually there to get photos and/or try to get autographs. So unless the Cannes Film Festival is planning to take away fans’ cell phones and cameras and push celebrities away who want to take photos with fans, this “no selfies on the red carpet” policy will be hard to enforce and probably won’t last.