SUNDANCE: Randall Park made a deal with himself years ago that he would only attend the Sundance Film Festival if he had a project to work on. But the “Fresh Off the Boat” star had no idea his first role would be as a director rather than an actor.
One of the first films in competition at the festival, which starts Thursday night in Park City, Utah, is his version of Adrian Tomine’s graphic novel “Shortcomings.” It’s about three young Asian Americans who end up in the Bay Area.
“Sundance is the pinnacle for me,” Park said recently. “I can’t believe we’re leaving.”
Park is one of the hundreds of filmmakers putting the finishing touches on passion projects and traveling to Park City this week, hoping to make a splash at the storied independent film festival’s first in-person edition in two years.
High Stakes Films At Sundance
Stars such as Jonathan Majors as an amateur bodybuilder in “Magazine Dreams,” Emilia Clarke in “Pod Generation,” Daisy Ridley as a cubical worker in “Sometimes I Think About Dying,” and Anne Hathaway as a glamorous counselor working at a youth prison in the 1960s Massachusetts in “Eileen” will surprise festivalgoers.
Phoebe Dynevor, who starred in “Bridgerton,” also breaks out of her corset in the contemporary adult thriller “Fair Play” as a woman working at a high-stakes hedge fund with a boyfriend played by Alden Ehrenreich. Sundance will be her first film festival, and she’s particularly excited because it features one of the best scripts she’s ever read.
“It’s quite a polarizing one,” Dynevor said. “I’m excited to see how everyone reacts to it.”
Screening Over 100 Films
The over 100 films premiering around the clock (from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.) over 10 days are as diverse as ever. There are three films about Iranian women (“The Persian Version,” “Joonam,” and “Shahada”), as well as stories about transgender sex workers (“The Stroll,” “KOKOMO CITY”), Twice Colonized, Bad Press, The Disappearance of Shere Hite, and the Ukrainian war (“20 Days in Mariupol,” a joint project.
As is customary, there are also intimate portraits of famous faces such as Michael J. Fox, Little Richard, Stephen Curry, Judy Blume, the Indigo Girls, and Brooke Shields.
Big Stars To Attend
Lana Wilson (” Miss Americana “) directed Shields’ much-anticipated documentary “Pretty Baby,” in which Shields reflects on her experiences as a child model, teen superstar, and beyond, including her complicated relationship with her mother, Andre Agassi, and the time Tom Cruise publicly criticized her for taking antidepressants.
“I kept coming back to this idea of agency and her gradually gaining agency over her mind, then over her career, and finally over her identity,” Wilson explained.
SOURCE – (AP)
Russell Brand Speaks Out for the First Time Since Sex Allegations
Russell Brand says it’s been a “extraordinary and distressing” week following allegations of rape and sexual abuse against him.
He thanked fans for their support and for “questioning the information that you’ve been presented with” in a video posted on social media.
They are his first public comments since the Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches reported charges about him last weekend.
Russell Brand has refuted the allegations.
Four women accused Brand of sexual assaults and rape between 2006 and 2013, according to a collaborative investigation by the Sunday Times, the Times, and Channel 4’s Dispatches.
Brand disputed the charges prior to their publication, claiming that his encounters were “always consensual.”
The actor and comedian did not explicitly address the allegations in his three-minute video on Friday, but he did make statements about “media corruption and censorship” and “deep state and corporate collusion.”
He claimed he would post a longer film on the video streaming site Rumble on Monday, citing the platform’s “clear commitment to free speech.”
Rumble said earlier this week that it would not “join a cancel culture mob” in response to a question from a UK Parliament inquiry on whether it would slash Brand’s salary in the wake of the claims.
Four women filed claims against Russell Brand in the Sunday Times, Times, and Channel 4 investigation:
One woman claims Brand raped her against a wall in his Los Angeles home without using a condom. She claims Brand tried to stop her leaving until she told him she needed to use the loo. She was treated at a rape crisis centre on the same day, according to medical records obtained by the BBC.
A second woman in the United Kingdom claims Russell Brand assaulted her when he was in his early 30s and she was still in school. She claims he referred to her as “the child” during a controlling and emotionally abusive relationship. In retrospect, she claims he “engaged in grooming behaviours.”
A third woman claims that while working with Brand in Los Angeles, he sexually attacked her. She claims she constantly ordered Brand to get off her, and when he finally did, he “flipped” and became “super angry.” He allegedly threatened her with legal action if she notified anybody else about her claim.
The fourth woman claims Brand sexually assaulted her in the UK and was physically and emotionally hostile to her.
Another woman accused Brand this week of exposing himself to her and then laughing about it on his BBC radio show in 2008.
YouTube has barred Brand’s channels from receiving money from advertisements for “violating” the platform’s “creator responsibility policy.” It stated that it was acting “to protect” its users.
In recent years, he has repositioned himself, regularly sending videos to his online fans on spirituality, anti-establishment politics, and, most lately, UFOs.
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BTS Member Suga Begins Alternative 18 Month Military Service In South Korea
SEOUL, South Korea – Suga, a member of the K-pop supergroup BTS, began his mandatory military service as a social service representative on Friday, an alternative form of military service in South Korea.
Suga, age 30, became the third member of the group to begin performing military duties. The remaining two, Jin and J-Hope, are already serving in active duty at army bases.
“I will faithfully serve and return… Please remain healthy and we’ll see you all in 2025!” Suga wrote in a message posted to the Weverse online fan community.
Big Hit Music, the management agency for BTS, reported that Suga began commuting to a workplace designated under the alternative military service system.
Due to threats from North Korea, all able-bodied males in South Korea must serve in the army, navy, or air force for 18 to 21 months under a conscription system. For 21 months, individuals with physical and mental impairments can perform their duties at non-military facilities such as welfare centers, community service organizations, and post offices.
Local media reported that Suga’s alternative service in 2020 was presumably related to shoulder surgery.
Suga, a member of the K-pop supergroup BTS, began his mandatory military service as a social service representative on Friday.
Active duty soldiers must complete five weeks of fundamental military training at boot camps before beginning service. According to the Military Manpower Administration, those performing alternative service must complete three weeks of basic military training and have the option to choose when to do so.
Unknown was the facility where Suga began serving. In a statement released earlier this week, BTS’s management agency, Bit Hit Music, asked Suga’s admirers not to visit him at work during his military service.
Big Hit Music requested that warm regards and encouragement be conveyed only in their souls. “We ask for your continued love and support for (Suga) until he completes his service and returns.”
Last year, a heated public debate erupted over whether BTS members should be exempt from their mandatory military obligations. However, the group’s administration agency ultimately reported that all seven members would meet their obligations.
South Korean law exempts athletes, classical and traditional musicians, ballet dancers, and other dancers if they have contributed to the nation’s prestige. K-pop performers do not qualify for the special exemption.
SOURCE – (AP)
Sophie Turner Sues To Force Estranged Husband Joe Jonas To Turn Over Children’s Passports
NEW YORK — On Thursday, actress Sophie Turner filed a lawsuit against her estranged spouse, pop star Joe Jonas, to compel him to turn over the passports of their two young daughters so she can take them to England.
Turner, who was served with divorce papers this month after four years of marriage to Jonas, stated in her petition that the couple intended to nurture their daughters in her home country of England. It was also stated that the girls, aged 3 and 1, “are both fully involved and integrated in all aspects of daily and cultural life in England.”
Sofie, best known for her role as Sansa Stark on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” filed her petition in New York federal court under the child abduction clauses of the Hague Convention, an international treaty designed to compel the return of a child stolen from their “habitual residence.”
Sofie, 27, and Jonas, 34, reportedly agreed to raise their daughters in England and relocated there in April of this year.
During part of August and September, while Jonas began a tour with his band, the Jonas Brothers, in the United States, Turner would be working long hours filming a television series in England. Therefore, Turner stated that she and Jonas had consented for the children to travel with Jonas and a nanny.
The plan was for Turner to travel to New York to collect the children after filming concluded on September 14, but “the breakdown of the parties’ marriage happened very suddenly,” Turner said.
On Thursday, actress Sophie Turner filed a lawsuit against her estranged spouse, pop star Joe Jonas.
According to Turner, Jonas filed for divorce in Florida on September 1, and she found out about it on September 5 through the media. The couple announced on their Instagram accounts on September 6 that they had mutually decided to terminate their marriage amicably.
Turner claims that she and Jonas met on September 17 and asked him for the children’s passports so she could transport them back to England. However, Jonas refused to hand over the passports of the girls, who were born in the United States and hold dual U.S. and British citizenship.
According to the court filing, Turner temporarily houses the girls in a Manhattan hotel. The Jonas Brothers were scheduled to perform in Philadelphia and Baltimore on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
Jonas stated that he is “seeking shared parenting so that the children are raised by both their mother and father” and that he is “fine with the children being raised in both the United States and the United Kingdom.”
“This is a regrettable legal dispute over a marriage that is sadly ending,” he continued. “When language like ‘abduction’ is used, it is at best deceptive and at worst a grave abuse of the legal system.”
Jonas stated that he did not startle Sophie Turner with divorce papers but instead filed for divorce after “multiple conversations with Sophie.”
Since 2005, when he and his siblings Nick and Kevin formed the Jonas siblings, Jonas has been a pop idol. He met Turner in 2016, and they wed in 2019.
SOURCE – (AP)
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