Netflix announces ‘The Chef Show’ starring Jon Favreau and Roy Choi

May 19, 2019

Jon Favreau, Samin Nosrat, Roy Choi and Antoni Porowski at the Netflix FYSEE Food Day at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles on May 19, 2019. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix)

The following is a press release from Netflix:

Cooking is a journey. And making a meal is about more than just food. It’s about appreciating friends, family and tradition. An opportunity to come together. To learn, to share and to celebrate different flavors, cultures and people. In “The Chef Show” (premiering June 7, 2019), actor/director Jon Favreau and award-winning Chef Roy Choi reunite after their critically acclaimed film “Chef” to embark on a new adventure. The two friends experiment with their favorite recipes and techniques, baking, cooking, exploring and collaborating with some of the biggest names in the entertainment and culinary world. From sharing a meal with the “Avengers” cast in Atlanta, to smoking brisket in Texas with world-renowned pitmaster Aaron Franklin, to honoring the legendary food critic Jonathan Gold in Los Angeles, Favreau and Choi embrace their passion for food, but more importantly their love for bringing people together over a delicious meal.

Guests on “The Chef Show” include:  Gwyneth Paltrow, Bill Burr,  Robert Downey Jr, Tom Holland, Kevin Feige, and the Russo brothers,  Andrew Rea, Evan Kleiman, Jazz Singsanong, Robert Rodriguez, David Chang, Aaron Franklin and many more.

“During the production of ‘Chef,’ I developed a much deeper understanding of the ways in which we express our emotions, share our cultures and seek meaningful connections through the act of cooking and eating,” says Favreau. “I am so nostalgic about that time and those experiences — this series gives me the perfect opportunity to get back in the kitchen and create some new memories.”

“I’ve always wanted a straight up cooking show since I was a child,” said Choi. “I grew up on Julia Child, Paul Prudhomme, Sara Moulton, and obviously Emeril’s first show had a huge impact on my life. There is something timeless and beautiful about cooking straight to camera. The only snafu was, I’m not a natural born entertainer so doing it alone was always out of the question! But then I met Jon and we built such an amazing friendship over the movie ‘Chef.’ We both kinda didn’t want it to end. And through this friendship I found my cooking soulmate and a child’s dream is now a reality. Julia and Jacques meet Jon and Roy!”

“The Chef Show” is executive produced and directed by Jon Favreau.  Roy Choi and Annie Johnson also serve as executive producers.

Netflix announces ‘Next in Fashion’ competition show, hosted by Tan France and Alexa Chung

May 17, 2019

Tan France and Alexa Chung of “Next in Fashion” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

The following is a press release from Netflix:

“Next In Fashion” is a high-stakes competition series coming soon to Netflix featuring some of the world’s best and quietly innovative designers who compete for a chance to become the next big name in fashion. Hosted by fashion designer and TV personality Tan France (“Queer Eye”) and designer, model and global style icon Alexa Chung, “Next in Fashion” begins with 18 designers who face challenges centering on a different trend or design style that has influenced the way the entire world dresses.

These talented contestants have worked for major brands and dressed A-list celebrities, and will now compete head-to-head to see who has the skill, originality and determination to win the grand prize: $250,000 and an opportunity to debut their collection with luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter.

“Next in Fashion” is created and produced by theoldschool and is Executive Produced by Robin Ashbrook and Yasmin Shackleton with co-Executive Producer Adam Cooper.

Additional Details:

  • Co-Hosts: Tan France and Alexa Chung

  • Guest Judges: Elizabeth Stewart and Eva Chen are recurring guest judges with additional guest judges to be announced at a later date

  • Executive Producers:  Robin Ashbrook, Yasmin Shackleton and co-executive producer Adam Cooper

  • Season 1 # of episodes: 10

Instagram:  @NextInFashion

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘See You Yesterday’

May 5, 2019

by Carla Hay

Eden Duncan-Smith and Danté Crichlow in “See You Yesterday” (Photo by Linda Kallerus/Netflix)

“See You Yesterday”

Directed by Stefon Bristol

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on May 3, 2019.

“Back to the Future” meets “Black Lives Matter” could be a superficial way to describe “See You Yesterday,” a time-traveling drama about a teenage girl who goes back in time to prevent the police-shooting death of her older brother. But “See You Yesterday” is not a “Back to the Future” ripoff—it’s a compelling social commentary seen through the eyes of intelligent African-American teenagers who are the central characters in the movie.

“See You Yesterday,” the first feature film from Spike Lee protégé Stefon Bristol, is a longer version of Bristol’s short film of the same name, and the movie has the same two lead actors from the short film. Eden Duncan-Smith is Claudette “CJ” Walker and Danté Crichlow is Sebastian Thomas, CJ’s best friend—two high-school students who live in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush neighborhood in New York City. Both teens are aspiring scientists who have been working on a time-traveling machine that can be worn in a backpack. CJ is the type of student who likes to read Stephen Hawking’s “A Brief History of Time” in class, and she’s essentially the brains behind the time machine.

As with most scientific experiments, things are done with trial and error. The movie begins with CJ and Sebastian’s botched attempts to get the time-traveling invention to work. It’s only a matter of time before they broach the subject of time traveling with their science teacher Mr. Lockhart (played by “Back to the Future” star Michael J. Fox, in a brilliantly cast cameo), who tells them that if time travel were possible, it would be one of the greatest ethical conundrums that people would face, before declaring, “Time travel. Great Scott!” Fans of “Back to the Future” will get this inside joke. (In a Q&A after one of the Tribeca Film Festival screenings of “See You Yesterday,” Bristol said that Fox agreed to be in the movie after Bristol wrote him a letter, and Fox hadn’t even seen the script yet. Before filming was set to begin, Fox broke his hand, but they were able to reschedule filming for Fox several weeks later after he recovered from his injury.)

On their fourth attempt at time travel, CJ and Sebastian succeed on June 29, 2019, and go back in time and then back to the present day. The date that they begin to time travel is significant because of what will happen less than a month later. For now, the two budding scientists decide to keep their time-traveling secret to themselves.

Being a science nerd in tough East Flatbush isn’t easy. CJ and Sebastian constantly have to dodge the crime and street fights that plague their neighborhood. Her 19-year-old older brother Calvin (played by Brian Bradley, also known as Astro or Stro) is a bit of a rebel, but he’s very protective of CJ.  She is also dealing with moving on from ex-boyfriend Jared (played by Rayshawn Richardson), a bully who flaunts his new girlfriend in front of CJ. It’s clear that when Jared and CJ were together, he did not treat her well, and their relationship ended badly. But Jared keeps doing things to irritate CJ, so it isn’t long before big brother Calvin gets involved. When police arrive, an unarmed Calvin reaches for his cell phone, and gets shot to death by a cop. The date is July 14, 2019.

After going through this devastating loss, CJ comes up with the idea to go back and time to prevent Calvin from dying. Sebastian is extremely reluctant at first, but he goes along with the plan when he sees that there’s no talking CJ out of it. What happens next in the movie can’t be described without giving away spoilers, but it’s enough to say that “See You Yesterday”—like other stories about time travel—does treat the issue of changing the past in order to alter the future as a serious ethical dilemma that can have unexpected consequences. The movie also has a message that unnecessary police brutality is not going away anytime soon.

Bristol, who co-wrote the screenplay with Frederica Bailey, authentically captures modern-day Brooklyn, with the young characters talking like how real teenagers would talk, including a fair amount of cursing. If you watch “See You Yesterday” closely, there’s also a scene in the movie that’s a nod to Lee’s “Do the Right Thing.” It’s refreshing that the inventor of the time machine in this story is a teenager, because an adult would be more likely to seek fame, riches and/or glory from such an invention, whereas a teenager would be more likely to keep it a secret from adults. Above all, “See You Yesterday” shows people, no matter what their age, that life is not about changing the past but how we move forward.

Netflix will premiere “See You Yesterday” on May 17, 2019.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘It Takes a Lunatic’

May 4, 2019

by Carla Hay

Wynn Handman (pictured at right) in "It Takes a Lunatic" (Photo by Cliff Lipson)
Wynn Handman (pictured at right) in “It Takes a Lunatic” (Photo by Cliff Lipson)

“It Takes a Lunatic”

Directed by Billy Lyons

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on May 3, 2019.

Wynn Handman might not be a household name, but as an acting teacher and as a co-founder/artistic director of the American Place Theatre in New York City, he’s had an enormous influence on numerous actors who are world-famous and/or highly respected. This talky documentary takes an in-depth, sometimes overly fawning look at Handman’s accomplishments. Even though there’s an impressive array of famous actors who share the experiences they’ve had with Handman, be prepared to sit through a documentary where there’s plenty of interviews and archival photos but unfortunately not enough archival film footage to make it a more vibrant film.

Handman, who was born in 1922, is also interviewed in “It Takes a Lunatic.” He describes his childhood growing up in Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood as happy. He wanted to be in the Navy, but enrolled in the Coast Guard instead. As a mentor/leader in the profession of acting, Handman is described as both “rough and tumble” and “intellectual” by past colleagues. The movie describes Handman has having two lives and two legacies: first as an acting teacher and later as artistic director of the off-Broadway American Palace Theatre.

The celebrities who give testimonials about Handman as an acting coach or American Place Theatre artistic director include Richard Gere, Alec Baldwin, Susan Lucci, Michael Douglas, James Caan, Chris Cooper, Marianne Leone Cooper, Andre Bishop, Connie Britton, Lauren Graham, John Leguizamo and Aasif Mandiv. Lucci says that as an acting coach, Handman was “so encouraging, never destructive.” Baldwin adds that Handman “never gave someone a critique they couldn’t handle.”

After years as a successful acting teacher, Handman took a big career risk by co-founding the American Place Theatre in 1963, with Sidney Lanier and Michael Tolan, at the location that formerly housed St. Clement’s Church in midtown Manhattan. Handman was told that “it would take a lunatic” to operate this unusual theater, because it was a non-profit company, and its business model was to make money from customer subscriptions, not from individual ticket sales. This uncommon approach to operating a theater allowed Handman and the other theater decision makers to take more artistic risks in the theater’s productions, since the sales were already pre-paid through subscriptions.

The American Place’s first full production in 1964 was “The Old Glory,” a trilogy of one-acts by poet Robert Lowell and starring Frank Langella. “The Old Glory” ended up winning five Obie Awards, including Best American Play and Best Actor for Langella. Another notable production in the American Place’s early years was 1967’s “La Turista,” a two-act play by Sam Shepard and starring Sam Waterston and Joyce Aaron. (The documentary includes an interview with Shepard, who died in 2017.)

But the American Place was also known for controversy. Ronald Ribman’s 1965 play “Harry, Noon and Night,” starring Dustin Hoffman as a transvestite Nazi, was also controversial, mostly because the play had a live decapitation of a chicken. After those live beheadings sparked a lot of public outrage, the play switched to using fake chickens. “The Cannibals,” George Tabori’s 1974 play about the Holocaust, was one of the American Place’s most divisive productions. The documentary points out that the play was more controversial in the United States than it was in Germany. In the documentary, Handman remembers getting a lot of hate mail every time the American Place was embroiled in controversy.

The words “true,” “truth” and “truthful” are used a lot in the documentary to describe Handman and the people he inspired. Eric Bogosian, whose third one-man play “Drinking in America” was produced by the American Place, says of Handman: “He’s not a lunatic. He’s a true believer.”

Even with interviews and testimonials that talk about all the brilliant work that Handman can take a lot of credit for influencing, there simply isn’t enough filmed footage of a lot of these stage productions. Plays, rehearsals and acting classes in Handman’s heyday were usually not filmed for posterity, so it’s not director Billy Lyons’ fault that still photos are the main visuals he has to work with to show what people are discussing in the documentary. (And thankfully, Lyons chose not to film re-enactments for “It Take a Lunatic,” which is his first feature film.) Perhaps “It Take a Lunatic” would have been better-suited as a podcast instead of a movie.

The lack of archival film footage isn’t the documentary’s shortcoming. By putting Handman on such a high pedestal, the documentary feels like it was made by a star-struck fan instead of a more objective filmmaker. For example, the controversy that Handman created with some of American Place’s productions is acknowledged in the film, but the movie doesn’t interview any of Handman’s critics, rivals or people he inevitably alienated in his career. The constant praise of Handman is repetitive and the movie’s slow pace make the documentary duller than it needs to be.

“It Takes a Lunatic” should be commended for gathering so many well-respected actors to share their admiration of Handman, but the documentary probably won’t be very appealling to people who have no interest in acting or theater productions.

Netflix will premiere “It Takes a Lunatic” on a date to be announced.

2019 Tribeca Film Festival movie review: ‘Circus of Books’

May 3, 2019

by Carla Hay

Circus of Books
Rachel Mason with parents Barry with Karen Mason in “Circus of Books” (Photo by Gretchen Warthen)

“Circus of Books”

Directed by Rachel Mason

World premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on April 26, 2019.

“Circus of Books” is a truly unique documentary that tells the behind-the-scenes story of Circus of Books, the Los Angeles-based company that got most of its profits through gay male pornography and operated multiple stores and a production company. Circus of Books—which had the same owners from 1982 and until the business closed in February 2019—was literally a “mom and pop” operation, since the business was owned by married couple Karen and Barry Mason, who are the parents of three children. Their middle child, Rachel, directed this film to chronicle the history of Circus of Books and the last days before the business shut down.

Rachel takes the Werner Herzog/Michael Moore documentarian approach of being the narrator, on-camera interviewer and one of the stars of the movie. The documentary begins by showing the history of the bookstore before the Masons owned it. The LGBTQ activist Black Cat demonstration in 1967 in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood preceded the Stonewall demonstrations in New York City by two years, but both were important events in gay civil rights that had similarities, because both were sparked by LGBTQ people fighting back against police harassment and raids of gay nightclubs.

The Black Cat nightclub and the New Faces nightclub were part of the Los Angeles gay nightlife scene in the 1960s. New Faces would eventually become the gay bookstore Book Circus. When Book Circus went out of business, the Masons took it over and renamed the space Circus of Books, which carried a wide array of family-friendly inventory, but it was outsold by what was in the adult section of the store. So how did this straight Jewish couple end up in the gay porn business?

Karen, whom many people in the documentary describe as bossy and domineering, started off as a criminal-justice journalist, who worked for publications for the Wall Street Journal (in the Chicago bureau) and the Cincinnati Enquirer. Barry, who’s described as gentle and laid-back, used to work at the University of California at Los Angeles’ film department in the mid-1960s, when the Doors members Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek were briefly students there, before the Doors became a world-famous rock band. Barry worked in special effects and had credits that included the original “Star Trek” series.

Barry applied his skills in special effects to invent dialysis equipment in the early years of his marriage to Karen. The couple then went into the business together to sell the equipment and were doing well financially. But then they made the mistake of selling the rights to the equipment, and they began to have financial hardships. It was during this challenging time in their marriage that Karen saw an ad seeking distributors for porn magazines. She answered the ad, thinking that it was a temporary way to make money until they could become more financially stable.

When the owner of the West Hollywood store Book Circus was facing eviction because he wasn’t paying his rent, Barry jumped at the chance to take over the business, and he and Karen changed the name of the store to Circus of Books. The business became so successful that they opened a second location in the Silver Lake neighborhood in 1985. (The Silver Lake location closed in 2016.) A third Circus of Books location opened in Sherman Oaks in the late 1980s, but lasted for only two years; it was shut down because of too many neighborhood complaints about the store’s adult content and the clientele it attracted. The Masons further expanded the business by starting a gay porn film production company. Porn star Jeff Stryker, porn director Matt Sterling and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt are among the Masons’ former colleagues who are interviewed in the movie.

Karen describes herself as religious, while Barry says that he’s not. (Because of their differing views on religion, she calls their relationship a “mixed marriage.”) Even though she and Barry made their living from hardcore porn, Karen says she never really liked to see any of the porn that they sold. She also didn’t want to hear details about the cruising and sexual activities that were going on at Circus of Books. (In 1989, the city of West Hollywood ordered that the store shut down between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., in response to complaints about hustlers at Circus of Books.) Karen’s ability to separate her religious beliefs from her business activities is demonstrated in a scene where she goes to a convention for sex toys and looks over products in a sales-minded, detached manner. It’s almost like she’s the owner of a hardware store who’s shopping for tools and pondering the sales value of what she might buy.

Past and present store employees say that even though Karen never really watched the porn that she sold, what she did watch closely was the financial accounting for the business, and she was a strict “taskmaster” boss, while Barry was more likely to give their employees some slack if they made a mistake. In the years before the Internet changed the porn industry, business was booming for Circus of Books.

Things also began to change for Circus of Books in 1993, when the Masons were busted for transporting obscene material across state lines, due to the mail-order part of their business. The FBI got involved, but the parents kept their legal problems hidden from their three kids. Even though Bill Clinton’s election as U.S. president meant that new prosecutors were appointed to the Masons’ case, the case wasn’t dismissed until 1995. The legal turmoil that the Masons went through had repercussions on the business for many years to come.

As the director of the documentary, Rachel is shown on camera interviewing people—including Circus of Books employees; her parents; and her older and younger brother. Viewers get to see some of their family dynamics, as Rachel (who describes herself as an artistic free spirit) tries to figure out how her parents’ unusual line of work might have affected their family. Rachel doesn’t really interrogate as much as have conversations with the people involved in the business.

On the one hand, the family is disappointed that they have to close Circus of Books—the rise of Internet porn and gay dating apps such as Grindr essentially made Circus of Books an obsolete business. On the other hand, the business was losing so much money in its last few years (plus, Karen and Barry Mason were getting ready to retire anyway) that shuttering the business is almost a relief for the family.

What viewers won’t be seeing in this documentary are explicit scenes of gay porn, nor will they see undercover video of people cruising at Circus of Books, although there are some people interviewed in the film who talk about their cruising experiences. What’s more surprising (and revealing) is how someone as conservative and religious as Karen lasted as long as she did in the gay porn business. It’s clear from watching the film that she saw the business only as a means to make money to provide a comfortable life for her family. She didn’t see the customers as “family,” only as part of the business.

That emotional detachment explains why Karen had a difficult time coming to terms with her homophobia when her youngest child, Josh (Rachel’s younger brother) came out as gay when he was in college. (By contrast, Barry was more accepting of Josh’s sexual orientation.) In the documentary, Josh talks about the anguish of keeping his sexuality a secret. And in case anyone is ignorant enough to think his parents’ line of work made him gay, Josh reiterates that he would be gay regardless of what his parents did for a living. According to the documentary, Karen and Barry apparently went to great lengths not to expose their children to the gay porn they sold when the children were growing up, and they kept the type of business they did a secret for many years from their children and people in their straight community. In the years before the Internet existed, it was easier to keep this type of secret.

Growing up, Josh was considered the “perfect” child who excelled in school, but he was afraid to come out as gay because he knew it would upset his mother. The irony is not lost on Rachel, who confronts her mother about the hypocrisy of making a living from gay customers and yet not be willing to accept that one of her children is part of the gay community too. The documentary points out that it took years for Karen to be at the place where she is now: a proud member of PFLAG, the organization for parents, families and friends of lesbians and gays.

“Circus of Books” is a low-budget film that keeps the production values very basic in telling the story. There’s no fancy editing or arty cinematography. The movie also strikes the right balance between showing touches humor but not at the expense of addressing serious topics, such as the effect that the AIDS crisis had on numerous Circus of Books customers and employees. On the surface, the movie is about a gay porn business and how it affected the gay social scene in Los Angeles. But underneath the surface, this documentary is really about how this “mom and pop” business affected the family who owned it.

Netflix will premiere “Circus of Books” on a date to be announced.

Netflix announces new docuseries ‘Street Food’

April 10, 2019

The following is a press release from Netflix:

From the creators of “Chef’s Table,” “Street Food” explores the rich culture of street food in some of the world’s most colorful cities. Season one explores nine countries across Asia, highlighting the stories of perseverance that bring each country’s cuisine and culture to life.

For some of the featured local legends, creating street food began as a necessity, but through generations of refining and honoring family traditions, it became their life-long passion to continue to uplift and bring joy to their communities. “Street Food” goes beyond the delicious food to document the blood, sweat and tears that goes into each iconic dish. From Jay-Fai who taught herself to cook after losing everything in a fire to 100-year old Mbah Lindu who hasn’t changed her recipe since she started, each dish is as unique as the people who create them.

The series celebrates the following cities:

· Bangkok, Thailand

· Osaka, Japan

· Delhi, India

· Yogyakarta, Indonesia

· Chiayi, Taiwan

· Seoul, South Korea

· Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

· Singapore

· Cebu, Philippines

For more delicious content on “Street Food,” visit Netflix Food on Instagram and Twitter.

Fyre Festival documentary duel: Two competing movies premiere in the same week

January 14, 2019

by Carla Hay

Fyre Festival

The notorious Fyre Festival is the subject of two documentary films that are premiering in the same week. “Fyre Fraud” (directed by Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby) premieres on Hulu on January 14, 2019, while “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” (directed by Chris Smith) premieres on Netflix on January 18, 2019, in addition to “Fyre” having a limited theatrical release on January 18 in New York City and Los Angeles. Although it’s not unusual for two separate documentary films to cover the same subject, it’s extremely rare for them to premiere in the same week.

Fyre Festival was one of the biggest music-industry frauds of this decade. The event, which was heavily promoted on the Internet, was advertised as a star-studded music festival in the Bahamas, offering a luxury experience that was scheduled to take place over two weekends in late April/early May 2017. Instead, attendees arrived at the festival site to find a garbage-filled area with very little shelter except flimsy tents and limited, substandard food options. Fyre Festival was cancelled one day before it was set to begin, and event founder/promoter Billy McFarland was eventually sentenced to six years in prison for fraud. Hip-hop star Ja Rule, who was advertised as a co-founder of the festival, quickly distanced himself from this disaster after the event was cancelled. Ja Rule issued a public apology, placed all the blame on McFarland, and avoided any criminal prosecution, although he and McFarland had several lawsuits brought against them.

There are sure to be many reviews comparing “Fyre Fraud” and “Fyre.” Hulu is making an effort to give “Fyre Fraud” an advantage by having the movie premiere first, and emphasizing that the film has an exclusive interview with McFarland that was done after the festival was cancelled and before he went to prison. “Fyre Fraud” also has media resources such as Mic (the news site aimed at millennials) and music-industry trade magazine Billboard as executive producers of the film. Meanwhile, Netflix’s “Fyre” has Vice Studios as a media partner in producing the documentary. Based on the official trailers and descriptions each documentary, “Fyre” seems to have a more straight-forward approach to the subject matter, while “Fyre Fraud” aims to take a more scathing look at the sociological circumstances that allowed this fraud to become as big as it was. Hulu describes “Fyre Fraud” as a “true-crime comedy,” which indicates that there will be a mocking tone to the film.

Meanwhile, the directors of each documentary have accused each other of questionable ethics, according to TechCrunch. The “Fyre” team said they turned down McFarland’s demands to be paid for an interview. McFarland eventually went to the “Fyre Fraud” filmmakers, who agreed to pay McFarland a six-figure sum (reportedly between $100,000 to $200,000) to be interviewed for “Fyre Fraud.” Meanwhile, the “Fyre Fraud” team says the ethics of “Fyre” are compromised because the film had executive producer involvement from James Ohliger and Elliot Tebele, two co-founders of Jerry Media, the company that marketed the Fyre Festival. A former Jerry Media employee interviewed in “Fyre Fraud” claims that high-ranking Jerry executives knew early on that the festival was a scam, but willingly perpetuated the scam out of greed. “Fyre” director Smith says that despite Jerry Media’s involvement in the film, he still had separate editorial control and did not shy away from depicting Jerry Media’s responsibility in the Fyre Festival fiasco.

FYRE FRAUD

Here is Hulu’s trailer and description of “Fyre Fraud”:

The Fyre Festival was the defining scam of the millennial generation, at the nexus of social media influence, late-stage capitalism, and morality in the post-truth era. Marketing for the 2017 music event went viral with the help of rapper Ja Rule, instagram stars, and models, but turned epic fail after stranding thousands in the Bahamas. Featuring an exclusive interview with Billy McFarland, the convicted con-man behind the festival; “Fyre Fraud” is a true-crime comedy bolstered by a cast of whistleblowers, victims, and insiders going beyond the spectacle to uncover the power of FOMO and an ecosystem of enablers, driven by profit and a lack of accountability in the digital age.

Emmy™ nominated and Peabody™ award-winning directors Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason executive produce along with Michael Gasparro, The Cinemart, MIC and Billboard.

DIRECTORS STATEMENT:

“Fyre Fraud” is more than the story of a failed music festival in the Bahamas – this dark comedy is a cautionary tale for a generation.

Billy McFarland offers us a window into the mind of a con artist, the insidious charm of the fraudster and how they can capture our imaginations, our investment, and our votes in the age of Trump. McFarland’s staggering ambition metastasized in a petri dish of late-stage capitalism, corporate greed, and predatory branding, all weaponized by our fear of missing out.

Our aim was to set the stage for a strange journey into the moral abyss of our digital age, going beyond the meme to show an ecosystem of enablers, driven by profit and willing to look the other way, for their own gain.

We draw on countless cultural references, on true crime tension, and on humor – but we did not intend to create a toothless comedy about the Fyre Festival. We hope this film can pierce our collective apathy and disrupt our own millennial peers, if only for an instant – to look at these stories for what they truly are, and to halt this algorithm before it devours us whole.

FYRE: THE GREATEST PARTY THAT NEVER HAPPENED

Here is Netflix’s trailer and description of “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened”:

An exclusive behind the scenes look at the infamous unraveling of the Fyre music festival. Created by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, Fyre was promoted as a luxury music festival on a private island in the Bahamas featuring bikini-clad supermodels, A-List musical performances and posh amenities. Guests arrived to discover the reality was far from the promises.
Chris Smith, the director behind the Emmy Award Nominated documentary “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond,” gives a first-hand look into disastrous crash of Fyre as told by the organizers themselves.
Written & Directed by: Chris Smith (“Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton” (2017), “American Movie” (1999 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Documentary), “Collapse” (2009)) Produced by Library Films, Jerry Media, Matte Projects VICE Studios, and VICE Studios. Executive Producers: Brett Kincaid, Max Pollack, Matthew Rowean, Gabrielle Bluestone, James Ohliger, Elliot Tebele. Edited by Jon Karmen, Koehler.

 

 

Netflix’s ‘The Final Table’ offers free snacks for Thanksgiving holiday airport travelers in New York City and Chicago

November 21, 2018

“The Final Table” airport activation November 21 to 25, 2018 (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

The following is a press release from Netflix:

Netflix is easing holiday travel woes with free snacks as a way to interact with the new global culinary competition “The Final Table.” Beginning November 21 through November 25, 2018, travelers through Terminal 3 at O’Hare Airport in Chicago and Terminal 4 at JFK airport in New York City, will be able to participate in Netflix’s interactive meal experience that will give free snacks that represent the global meals from the nine countries introduced in “The Final Table.”

Snacks will be from Mexico, Spain, UK, Brazil, India, United States, Italy, France and Japan.  Travelers will be able to interact with a customized screen where they can select the country they wish to “travel to” on their journey.  They can learn more information about the episode that highlights that country, the food, and the chefs. They will be shown a short clip from the relevant episode of The Final Table and will then be given a box that will be dispensed below the screen.  The box will include a gourmet treat that highlights ingredients from the dish of their chosen country.

SNACKS:

  • Mexico
    • Featured dish from the show: Tacos
    • Giveaway taste: Mexican Spice Crispy Elote – Mexican Crema, Cilantro, Avocado Oil, Jalapeno, Onions
  • Spain
    • Featured dish from the show: Paella
    • Giveaway taste:: Paella– Basmati Rice, Peas, salt, vegetable oil, Shrimp Crackers, Saffron, Turmeric, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder
  • England
    • Featured dish from the show: English Breakfast
    • Giveaway taste: Full English Breakfast Pork Scratchings– Pork skin, vegetable oil, Fennel Powder, Black Pepper, Salt, Tomato Powder, Natural Spices
  • Brazil
    • Featured dish from the show: Feijoada
    • Giveaway taste: Spiced Black Bean Brazil Nuts– Roasted salted brazil nuts, onion powder, garlic powder, black bean powder, dried lemon peel, citric acid, onion ash powder
  • India
    • Featured dish from the show: Murgh Makhni
    • Giveaway taste: Madrasi Snack Mix – Chickpea flour, corn oil, peanuts, bananas, chili powder, salt, coconut slices, curry leaves
  • The United States
    • Featured dish from the show: Thanksgiving Dinner
    • Giveaway taste: Thanksgiving Leftovers “Bread Pudding”– Bread crumbs, sugar, salt, celery, onion, corn starch, dehydrated chicken, garlic, turmeric, chicken broth, pecans, butter, onions, cranberries
  • Italy
    • Featured dish from the show: Pasta with Ragu
    • Giveaway bite: Sundried Tomato “Fusilli” – Enriched Flour, Parmesan cheese, Sundried Tomato Powder, Basil Powder
  • France
    • Featured dish from the show: Hare a la Royale
    • Giveaway taste:Pommes Aux Truffes – Potatoes, vegetable oil, Salt, Truffle oil
  • Japan
    • Featured dish from the show: Kaiseki
    • Giveaway taste: Nori Crusted Peanuts– Peanuts, Wheat Flour, Rice Flour, Sugar, Salt, Seaweed, Soy Sauce and Potato Starch

 

 

Netflix teams up with Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, T.I. for hip-hop competition ‘Rhythm + Flow’

November 13, 2018

The following is a press release from Netflix:

Global superstars Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and T.I. will search for the next breakout hip-hop star in “Rhythm + Flow,” Netflix’s first music competition show set to debut in 2019.

The series—produced by John Legend, Jeff Gaspin, Jesse Collins, Nikki Boella, Jeff Pollack, Mike Jackson, and Ty Stiklorius—will bring together the biggest names in music to find fresh talent and help undiscovered hip-hop artists pursue their dreams.

Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and T.I. will serve as the three main judges for the competition, joining forces with additional artists and industry VIPs to be announced in the coming weeks.

The multi-city competition will unfold over 10 hour-long episodes beginning in fall 2019.

Auditions will begin this fall across the United States, including the judges’ hometowns of Atlanta, Chicago, and New York.  In each audition city, established rappers who hail from that city will serve as guest judges to help seek out the best unsigned hip-hop artists.  Learn more about how to audition at www.RhythmAndFlowAuditions.com.

Production Companies: Jesse Collins Entertainment, Get Lifted Film Co., and Gaspin Media.

Executive Producers: Jesse Collins for Jesse Collins Entertainment; John Legend, Mike Jackson, and Ty Stiklorius for Get Lifted Film Co.; Jeff Gaspin for Gaspin Media; Nikki Boella; Jeff Pollack; Cardi B; Chance the Rapper; and T.I.

About Jesse Collins Entertainment

Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full service television and film production company founded by entertainment industry veteran Jesse Collins. For over a decade, Collins has played an integral role in producing many of television’s most memorable moments in music entertainment.  Collins has produced ground-breaking and award winning television programming including the BET Awards, the Grammy Awards, Soul Train Awards, BET Honors, UNCF An Evening of Stars, ABFF Honors and the BET Hip Hop Awards. Collins was an executive producer of the hit TV series “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” starring Kevin Hart, and both the critically-acclaimed mini-series “The New Edition Story” and “The Bobby Brown Story” that reached nearly 50 million total viewers.  He is also the executive producer of the VH1 shows “Dear Mama” and “Hip Hop Squares” with Ice Cube.

About Get Lifted Film Co.

Get Lifted Film Co. is a film and television production company based in Los Angeles, with principals John Legend, Mike Jackson, and Ty Stiklorius.   They executive produced WGN America’s critically acclaimed drama “Underground,” and served as executive producers on Pop Network’s docu-series “Sing It On.” They also executive produced HBO Documentary “Southern Rites.” Most recently they served as executive producers on NBC Live’s “Jesus Christ Superstar,” for which they won a 2018 Emmy Award. They are currently in pre-production on their Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahudin created IFC series “Sherman’s Showcase.” Additionally, they served as executive producers on Damien Chazelle’s Oscar-winning musical “La La Land,” and the Obama romance “Southside With You.” Get Lifted made an impressionable foray into theatre in 2016, producing the audience-favorite “Turn Me Loose,” an off-Broadway one-man play about the life of iconic comedian Dick Gregory. In 2017, Get Lifted co-produced Broadway’s August Wilson play “Jitney,” which won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. Most recently their documentary “United Skates” won the 2018 Audience Award at Tribeca Film Festival and will premiere on HBO in 2019.

About Gaspin Media

Gaspin Media is a production company formed by former Chairman of NBC Universal TV,  Jeff Gaspin. Gaspin Media produces scripted and unscripted content for Broadcast, Cable,  Streaming and digital platforms. A Two-time Emmy nominee for “Behind the Music,” Gaspin Is currently executive producer on “LA’s Finest,” staring Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba, for Spectrum’s OTT platform, and “To Tell the Truth,” which is entering it’s fourth season on ABC.  Additionally, Gaspin has series in development at Showtime, Amazon, Fox Network and Lifetime. Over the past five years, Gaspin Media has produced over a dozen series including “Fit To Fat” for A&E, “First Impressions” with Dana Carvey for USA and “Match Made in Heaven” for WEtv.

About Jeff Pollack

Jeff Pollack has worked on over 40 films, five of which received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song. The “Weary Kind” from “Crazy Heart,” starring Jeff Bridges, went on to win the award. Recently, Pollack was a producer on the Emmy-nominated HBO film about Frank Sinatra “All or Nothing At All.” He was also an associate producer on the film Glen Campbell “I’ll Be Me,” which featured two Grammy-winning songs, including “I’m Not Going to Miss You,” later nominated for a Best Song Oscar. He was a producer on the film “Satan & Adam” which premiered earlier this year at Tribeca Festival, and is an executive producer on a new Johnny Cash film to be released in 2019.

About Netflix

Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with 130 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

Netflix reveals details of docuseries ‘Dogs’

October 29, 2018

A scene from "Dogs" (Photo courtesy of Netflix)
A scene from “Dogs” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

The following is a press release from Netflix:

“Dogs” launches globally on Netflix on November 16, 2018. An elegant, engaging and cinematic verite documentary series celebrating the deep emotional bonds between people and their beloved four-legged best friends. The series tracks six incredible stories from across the globe including Syria, Japan, Costa Rica, Italy and the U.S.—each proving that the unconditional love one feels for their dog is a beautiful universal truth. With episodes helmed by critically acclaimed directors including: Academy Award-nominated Amy Berg (“Deliver Us From Evil”), Academy Award-winning Roger Ross Williams (“Life Animated,” “Music by Prudence”), Academy Award-nominated Heidi Ewing (“Jesus Camp,” “One of Us”), Emmy Award-winning Richard Hankin (“The Jinx”) and Academy Award-winners T.J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay (“Undefeated”), “Dogs” takes us on an inspirational journey exploring the remarkable, perhaps even magical qualities that have given these animals such a special place in all of our hearts.

“Dogs” is a Netflix Original Documentary Series, developed as a documentary series by Glen Zipper with Academy Award-nominated Amy Berg of Disarming Films and Zipper, of Zipper Bros Films, serving as executive producers.

Episode 1: The Kid with a Dog

Directed by: Heidi Ewing (“Jesus Camp,” “One of Us”)

A scene from “Dogs” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Corrine, an 11 year old girl who suffers from traumatic seizures, is forever changed when she meets Rory, a certified dog who has been trained to detect oncoming seizures. This episode highlights the depths of a closely formed friendship between a child and their dog, the unbreakable trust they have in each other and the incredible power of a dog’s ability to assist humans in health and wellness.

Episode 2: Bravo, Zeus

Directed by: Amy Berg (“Deliver Us From Evil”)

A scene from “Dogs” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Two years after fleeing his home in war-torn Syria, Ayham has made a new home for himself in Germany.  He cannot feel at peace however, until he is reunited with his best friend, a Siberian Husky named Zeus. Ayham and his friends risk everything they have to bring Zeus across the border from Syria to Lebanon in the hopes of ultimately being reunited in Germany.

Episode 3:  Ice on the Water

Directed by: Richard Hankin (“The Jinx”)

A scene from “Dogs” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

In a picturesque town off of Lake Como, Italian fisherman Alessandro relies on his partner, Ice, a 10-year-old Labrador to help with the family business as they get ready for the busy tourist season.  The fishermen in town struggle, but Ice continues to stand guard and do all he can, even in the coldest winter months.

Episode 4: Scissors Down

Directed by: Roger Ross Williams (“Life Animated”)

A scene from “Dogs” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

In Japan, people’s relationships with their dogs is on a whole new level.  Dogs are dressed in clothing to match their owners and the craft of dog grooming is a true artform.  This episode follows two of the world’s most renowned dog groomers as they fly to California to compete in the ultimate dog grooming competition.

Episode 5: Territorio de Zeguates

Directed by: T.J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay (“Undefeated,” “LA 92”)

A scene from “Dogs” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Territorio de Zeguates is a sanctuary deep in the Costa Rican rainforest that houses thousands of dogs and saves them from living on the streets. But with that many dogs, how long can the organization sustain without running out of resources?  The people who run the shelter dedicate their lives to making these dogs lives better, even at their own expense.

Episode 6: Second Chances

Directed by: Amy Berg (“Deliver Us From Evil”)

A scene from “Dogs” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

New York City has a love affair with adopting dogs. There are more dogs in New York than there are people in the city of Cleveland—and thousands of them are rescues. This episode follows every step of this adoption ecosystem through the charity Hearts and Bones as they go on a rescue mission to bring dogs from a kill shelter in the south to the Big Apple for a better life.

Follow DOGS:

Instagram: @netflixdogs