Tag Archive: Kristine l Ming Profile


Casey NeistatImage copyright
YouTube

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Mr Neistat suggests YouTube’s community of creators acts as a defence against online competitors

One of YouTube’s most influential vloggers has chastised the service’s leaders, claiming they are failing many of their most popular video creators.

Specifically, Casey Neistat criticised the way the platform had made it impossible for some videos to generate advertising revenue, without clearly explaining the rules to its community.

One of his own videos – an interview with Indonesia’s president – was temporarily “demonetised” last week.

YouTube has said it is listening.

“We watched Casey’s video and appreciate him and the wider community voicing their concerns,” a spokeswoman told the BBC.

“We know this has been a difficult few months, and we’re working hard to improve our systems. We’re making progress, but we know there is a lot more to do.”

‘Existential threat’

Mr Neistat has more than eight million subscribers on YouTube, who have signed up to be alerted when he posts. He has also struck a multi-million-dollar deal to create content for CNN on the platform.

He is normally viewed as being one of the leading champions of the site.

But in a video posted on Tuesday, he said he felt compelled to speak out because the level of upset among creators posed an “existential threat to YouTube’s entire business”.

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YouTube

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Mr Neistat’s vlog from Indonesia was demonetised until he appealed against the decision

The Google division began stripping some videos of adverts earlier in the year after several major brands suspended YouTube campaigns because their marketing clips had been attached to extremist content.

To address the problem, YouTube introduced an algorithm that determines which clips are “family friendly” and thus allowed to continue making money for their creators.

But Mr Neistat said the decision-making process had been badly communicated.

“There are no answers anywhere, and there’s no-one telling you what’s going on,” he said.

“The thing that was most troubling for me… was the lack of communication, the lack of transparency on the part of YouTube.”

“People are… putting the same amount of work, the same amount of energy and the same amount of expense into the content they’re creating, but now they’re getting paid only a fraction of what they did.”

A recent decision to demonetise creators’ videos about the Las Vegas shootings had caused particular ire, Mr Neistat said, since a video featuring the chat-show host Jimmy Kimmel discussing the same incident had been allowed to continue featuring ads.

“It sort of reeks of hypocrisy, and again the community felt like a second-class citizen,” he said.

As a rule, YouTube prevents adverts from running on videos about tragedies.

But this does not apply to clips posted by select partners – including Mr Kimmel’s employer, ABC – who are allowed to sell ads themselves rather than relying on Google to do so.

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Getty Images

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A recent clip of Jimmy Kimmel discussing a mass shooting in Las Vegas was allowed to show adverts

“In the specific case of tragedies, like the one in Las Vegas, we are working to not allow such partners to sell against such content,” a YouTube spokeswoman said last week.

“We have not completed this work yet, but will soon.”

Mr Neistat suggested a better alternative would be to give creators more control over whose adverts appeared alongside their clips.

The video-maker is far from being the first YouTuber to complain about the issue. But one industry-watcher said his intervention carried weight.

“People look to Casey to be not just an inspiration but also a voice for the community – he’s very well respected and people do listen to what he says and follow his lead,” said Alex Brinnand, editor of TenEighty magazine.

“The fact that he has put out this video… will help ensure his audience is aware of the issue and becomes as equally unhappy as he is.”

Media captionWATCH: Other YouTubers told the BBC about their frustrations last month

Switch to Twitch

Mr Neistat highlighted that Twitter’s rival video-based social network, Vine, had collapsed after its managers had disappointed several of its leading clip creators and suggested YouTube could face a similar exodus.

“When you think about Netflix or Amazon or Hulu or any of these other digital distribution platforms right now, they’ve all got money, they’re all willing to spend money, and they’re trying to figure out how to diversify their audience,” he said.

He added that Amazon’s Twitch service – which currently focuses on video-games-related live feeds – had already tempted some.

Twitch began allowing users to upload pre-recorded videos a year ago and may unveil new features at its annual TwitchCon event, which begins on Friday.

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Amazon

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Amazon paid $970m (£736m) to buy Twitch in 2014

However, Mr Brinnand questioned whether the service had done enough to lure away YouTube’s biggest names yet.

“For creators like Casey, I don’t think at the moment that Twitch is a viable option,” he said.

“It’s a lot more geared to live or as-live content, so doesn’t cater to the same audience the vloggers have with their more packaged, produced videos.

“But Twitch has laid the foundations for the future – it already offers very appealing revenue streams – and could be a contender if it develops a stronger platform for standard video.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41666049

Trainspotting 2 film setImage copyright
Getty Images

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The creative sector is said to support 2.9m jobs in the UK

UK-made films, music, adverts and video games could be hit by a post-Brexit restriction on immigration, harming the economy, a trade body has warned.

The Creative Industries Federation (CIF) said the £87bn a year the sector generated for the economy was at risk if immigration was restricted.

The sector relies heavily on freelance staff, many of whom are from the EU.

The CIF is urging the government to negotiate free movement of UK and EU workers for short-term projects.

“We need an immigration system that enables our extraordinary sector to continue to grow,” said the federation’s chief executive John Kampfner.

A survey of 250 firms conducted by the CIF found three quarters employed EU workers and two-thirds said they could not fill those jobs with British recruits.

Lost business

Phil Dobree, head of special effects firm Jellyfish Pictures, which has worked on the latest Star Wars movies, said there was a risk that the UK would lose its competitiveness.

“Without access to the best talent base, which is only available internationally, our business would be lost to regions where access to these broad ranges of skills is readily available.”

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Getty Images

The federation has unveiled a series of policy recommendations for the industry which it says is “one of Britain’s fastest growing sectors”.

It is calling for:

  • visa-free travel between the EU and the UK
  • A “creative freelancer visa” for workers outside the EU
  • reciprocal rights for UK workers to move and work freely for short-term projects
  • allowing companies to hire EU workers for below the current non-EU minimum salary requirement

A government spokesman said: “After we leave the EU we will have an immigration system which works in the best interests of the UK.

“Crucial to the development of this will be the views from a range of businesses, including the creative industries.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-41674906

Blac ChynaImage copyright
Getty Images

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Blac Chyna says the Kardashians sabotaged her television series

Blac Chyna is suing the Kardashian family, alleging they are to blame for the axing of her reality TV show.

She claims the “vindictive” family wants to destroy her.

Blac Chyna’s attorney confirmed to the BBC that Kris Jenner is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, along with Kourtney, Kim and Khloe Kardashian and Kendall and Kylie Jenner.

A representative acting on behalf of the Kardashians has not yet responded to the BBC’s request for comment.

The lawsuit follows the break-up of Blac Chyna’s relationship with Rob Kardashian, during which time they had a daughter.

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Getty Images

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Rob Kardashian with Blac Chyna in 2016

The 29-year-old is alleging she suffered assault, battery, domestic violence and harassment at the hands of her ex-fiance.

The court documents filed against the Kardashians and published in full by Buzzfeed, allege Rob Kardashian is an “abuser intent on destroying Angela White [Blac Chyna's real name].”

The papers also accuse the Kardashians of using their fame, wealth and power to exact revenge on her, “slut-shaming” her and sabotaging the recommissioning of her own reality TV show Rob Chyna for a second series.

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Getty Images

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Sisters Kim and Kourtney Kardashian are accused of “slut-shaming” Blac Chyna

The move comes two weeks after Rob Kardashian filed his own lawsuit saying it was she who attacked him – a claim Blac Chyna denies.

Lisa Bloom, who is Blac Chyna’s attorney, told the BBC that the idea Rob Kardashian – who is over a foot taller than his former fiancee – “would be in fear of her, is silly”.

Rob also accuses Blac Chyna of using him as well as his family for financial gain and said it was a mutual decision by the E! Network and the Kardashian family to cancel the show.

According to TMZ, E! sources say they have emails to prove that the production team were questioning the future of the show due to the fact Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian could not be in the same room together.

Blac Chyna says they had already started shooting the second series of Rob Chyna and claims the Kardashians wanted to “kill” the series.

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Getty Images

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L-R: Kris Jenner, Lamar Odom, Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, North West, and Kourtney Kardashian

She cites one episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians in which the family discuss whether the show should be axed, saying the series had “bad, unhealthy energy”.

Bloom said Blac Chyna would be seeking damages for not only the loss of her reality TV series, but the accompanying endorsements that would have gone with it.

She says her client has lost out on “many many millions” of dollars.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41664188

Ed SheeranImage copyright
PA

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Sheeran headlined Glastonbury earlier this year, and is due to play four dates at Wembley Stadium next summer

Ed Sheeran says he is “unable to perform live concerts for the immediate future” after breaking his arm in a cycling accident.

The star came off his bike, reportedly after being struck by a car, at the weekend.

“A visit to my doctors confirmed fractures in my right wrist and left elbow,” he said on Instagram, alongside a picture of his arm in a cast.

So far, dates in Taipei, Osaka, Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong have been affected.

“I’m waiting to see how the healing progresses before we have to decide on shows beyond that,” the star said.

“Please stay tuned for more details.”

Skip Instagram post by teddysphotos

A visit to my doctors confirmed fractures in my right wrist and left elbow that will leave me unable to perform live concerts for the immediate future. Sadly, this means that the following shows will not be able to go ahead as planned: Taipei, Osaka, Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong. I’m waiting to see how the healing progresses before we have to decide on shows beyond that. Please stay tuned for more details. PS – Ed isn’t typing this as he has both arms casted/bandaged.

A post shared by Ed Sheeran (@teddysphotos) on Oct 17, 2017 at 3:53pm PDT

End of Instagram post by teddysphotos


Image Copyright teddysphotos
teddysphotos

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Ed Sheeran / Instagram

The 26-year-old has a further eight dates scheduled this year, including sold-out concerts in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

He then has a three-month hiatus – coinciding with the Grammys and Brit Awards – before resuming his tour in Australia next March.

The concerts are in support of his multi million-selling third album Divide, which was released earlier this year.

  • Ed Sheeran quits Twitter over abuse
  • Ed Sheeran burned his foot in a volcano
  • Ed Sheeran closes Glastonbury 2017

Sheeran famously plays his concerts solo – using just a guitar and a loop pedal to layer up songs like Thinking Out Loud, Sing and Shape of You.

Losing the use of his right arm would make such a set-up impractical – but, speaking to BBC News earlier this year, Sheeran said he would never consider playing with a backing band.

“I don’t feel like there’s anything interesting or new about seeing a singer-songwriter with a band behind them,” he said.

“I don’t feel like if I suddenly got a band, everyone would go, ‘Wow!’ – I actually feel it’d take away from me.”

The singer headlined Glastonbury earlier this year, and is due to play stadium dates in the UK and Ireland – including four nights at Wembley Stadium – next summer.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41663800

Jennifer LawrenceImage copyright
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Jennifer Lawrence speaking at Elle’s Women in Hollywood event in Los Angeles

Jennifer Lawrence has said she was made to stand in a nude line-up and told to lose weight by film producers at the start of her career.

Speaking at Elle’s Women in Hollywood event, the 27-year-old said she felt she didn’t have any power in the situation as an unknown actress.

She said she found that fame protected her from assault as her career went on.

“I will lend my voice to any boy, girl, man or woman who doesn’t feel like they can protect themselves”, she added.

The actress, who won an Oscar in 2013 for her role in Silver Linings Playbook, told the audience about auditioning for a film and being asked by a female producer to stand in a nude line-up.

She described the experience as “degrading and humiliating”, as she was put next to girls she says were thinner than her.

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Getty Images

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Jennifer Lawrence speaking to Laura Dem at the Elle celebration

“When I was much younger and starting out, I was told by producers of a film to lose 15 pounds in two weeks.

“One girl before me had already been fired for not losing the weight fast enough,” she told an audience including Kristen Stewart, Margot Robbie and Ashley Greene.

“During this time a female producer had me do a nude line-up with about five women who were much, much, thinner than me. We all stood side by side with only tape on covering our privates.”

Skip Twitter post by @ThatGirlCarly

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Lawrence said the producer then told her she should “use the naked photos” of herself as “inspiration” for her diet.

She then went to complain to another producer about being called out over her weight.

“He said he didn’t know why everyone thought I was so fat,” Lawrence told the crowd, adding that he had commented that he thought she was attractive enough to sleep with.

The actress said she felt “trapped” by the experience and allowed the harassment to happen because she “didn’t want to be a whistleblower” and thought it was what she had to do to further her career in Hollywood.

She told the audience: “In a dream world, everyone is treated with the exact same level of respect.

“But, until we reach that goal, I will lend my ear. I will lend my voice to any boy, girl, man, or woman who does not feel like they can protect themselves.”

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Getty Images

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Jennifer Lawrence with Harvey Weinstein at the GLAAD Media Awards in 2013

“Stop normalising these horrific situations”

Lawrence’s speech comes after the sexual harassment and assault accusations against film producer Harvey Weinstein, which has lead to a growing narrative on the mistreatment of women in the film industry and Hollywood in particular.

Lawrence worked with Weinstein on Silver Linings Playbook. She released a statement last week in response, which said: “This kind of abuse is inexcusable and absolutely upsetting.

  • How the Harvey Weinstein scandal unfolded
  • Game of Thrones star accuses Weinstein
  • Harvey Weinstein: The accusers’ stories

“I worked with Harvey five years ago and I did not experience any form of harassment personally, nor did I know about any of these allegations.”

Lawrence said in her speech it was time for people in Hollywood to “stop normalising these horrific situations.”

On Tuesday, Weinstein resigned from the board of directors of his eponymous film production company.

He has been accused of rape, sexual assault and harassment, but has “unequivocally denied” any allegations of non-consensual sex.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41664809

Kate Cotton and Louise Ferguson appearing on Dragons' Den in 2013

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Kate Cotton (right) and Louise Ferguson (left) pitching to the dragons in 2013

A self-tanning product launched with the help of investment from the Dragons’ Den panel has been found to mislead customers.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) found claims by Skinny Tan that its product could “tone” or give “less visible cellulite” could not be proven.

Claims that the product was 100% natural were also found to be misleading.

The ASA says the company’s adverts must not appear again in their current form.

Skinny Tan launched in the UK in 2013, after company founders Louise Ferguson and Kate Cotton appeared on Dragons’ Den, winning £60,000 of financial backing from panellists Piers Linney and Kelly Hoppen.

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Dragons Kelly Hoppen (second left) and Piers Linney (second right) invested in the brand

The Essex-born entrepreneurs had all five Dragons vying to invest in their business, which claimed it was the first self-tanner made of natural ingredients and could reduce the appearance of cellulite.

However beauty rivals PZ Cussons complained to the ASA about adverts appearing on Skinny Tan’s website and their Facebook page.

The Dragons’ Den-backed company had made a number of claims, including that it was the number one self-tanning product in the UK and could “tone” women.

Despite saying the natural guarana in the product would “help make cellulite look visibly smoother and less obvious”. the product was not found to have any physiological effects which would achieve this.

Skinny Tan, which was bought by beauty giant InnovaDerma in 2015, defended its cellulite-reduction claims, saying it was “commonly believed that tanning could make you look thinner”.

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PA

The company said its claims were only in regard to the “cosmetic effect of the tan” and not any physiological effects of the product.

In addition, Skinny Tan was found to give the misleading impression that it did not contain any of the agent DHA – the main colouring agent in tanning lotions which has a distinctive smell.

Skinny Tan claimed without the chemical DHA, their product smelt better than other self-tanning products.

But it was found that Skinny Tan contains naturally occurring DHA, with the advertising watchdog saying it had seen no evidence that their lotion smelt better than other products containing DHA.

The claims to be all-natural and the UK’s number one self-tanning brand were also found to be misleading by the ASA.

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41664183

Paul Stephenson working on After Warhol paintingImage copyright
Adrian Levy

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Paul Stephenson working on his recreation of Warhol’s Chairman Mao portrait

Is it possible to create new paintings by Andy Warhol, 30 years after his death? Warhol got other people to do most of the work first time around – and now a British artist has recreated some of his most famous works using exactly the same methods and materials.

There was a reason Andy Warhol called his legendary 1960s New York studio The Factory.

It housed something resembling an assembly line of assistants working on his famous screenprint paintings of icons like Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy.

On occasion, his assistant and his mother even signed the paintings on his behalf.

“I think somebody should be able to do all my paintings for me,” Warhol told interviewer Gene Swenson in 1963.

“I think it would be so great if more people took up silk screens so that no-one would know whether my picture was mine or somebody else’s.”

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Warhol wanted to remove any trace of the artist’s hand in his art

More than 50 years on, Paul Stephenson has done that – and ignited a debate about what can be done after an artist’s death.

Stephenson has made new versions of Warhol works by posthumously tracking down the pop artist’s original acetates, paints and printer, and recreating the entire process as precisely as possible.

Stephenson’s project began when he bought 10 original Warhol acetates – the enlarged photographic negatives of those icons that Warhol used to create his screenprints.

While Warhol’s assistants did many parts of the physical work, the artist, who died in 1987, was the only one who worked directly on these acetates, touching up parts of the portraits to prepare them for printing.

Stephenson took the acetates to one of Warhol’s original screenprinters in New York, Alexander Heinrici, who offered to help use them to make new paintings.

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Getty Images

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The real deal – this 1973 Warhol of Mao sold for $11m in April

Those paintings – of Chairman Mao, Jackie Kennedy, an electric chair and a self-portrait of Warhol himself – are going on show at the Buy Art Fair in Manchester at the end of October. He’s titled the series After Warhol.

“I’m not saying they’re Warhols,” Stephenson says. “It’s a forced collaboration because the original author doesn’t know anything about it.”

He may not claim the new paintings should be considered posthumous Warhols, but Rainer Crone, one of the leading Warhol authorities and the first to catalogue the artist’s work, said they could be.

Crone died in 2016 but he saw Stephenson’s recreations and sent him an email saying “paintings made with these film positives under described circumstances and executed posthumously by professionals (scholars as well as printers) are authentic Andy Warhol paintings”.

Stephenson’s paintings are not identical to Warhol’s originals, but are near enough.

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Paul Stephenson

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Stephenson has recreated portraits of Jackie Kennedy, Mao and Warhol himself

Stephenson says he’s simply asking a question: “If the world-leading Warhol scholar says it’s a Warhol, and you do everything in the mechanical process that the original artist did, and the original artist said ‘I want other people to make my paintings’, which he did – what is it?

“I don’t know the answer to that question.”

There are other examples of works being made in an artist’s name after their death.

The estates of Degas and Rodin have made bronze sculptures using their original designs. They are sold as posthumous works, with lower prices to match.

Extending Warhol’s career

The fact the price tags for Paul Stephenson’s recreations are missing a few zeroes – they will be on sale for £4,000 and £10,000 – is proof that he’s not expecting anyone to regard them as authentic Warhols.

Warhol expert Richard Polsky, who offers a service authenticating Warhol works, says Stephenson’s paintings shouldn’t be regarded as posthumous Warhols.

“I like the fact that he’s honest – he’s not claiming Andy made these, he’s claiming he made them,” Polsky says. “I also notice he’s priced them very modestly. All that’s good.

“It sounds like he’s trying to extend Warhol’s career, so to speak, even though he’s dead. There’s a charm to that, but it just seems so shallow.”

‘Problematic’

There’s a key difference between someone else making a Warhol painting in his Factory during his lifetime and someone else making one now, according to Jessica Beck, curator at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

“He was always involved in that final product in some way,” she says, explaining that the artist oversaw everything at the Factory and did get involved in other ways after the inception.

“This idea of taking his screens and recreating new Warhols without being in dialogue with him – obviously, because he’s now dead – that’s problematic.”

But Stephenson’s works may still appeal to people who want to impress their friends by appearing to have a Warhol on their wall, but without spending millions.

Buy Art Fair runs from 27-29 October. A HBO/Vice documentary titled Business of Making Art, featuring Paul Stephenson, will be screened at the fair on 28 October.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41634496

The stars of the new Han Solo film with directors Phil Lord and Christopher MillerImage copyright
Lucasfilm

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Left-right: Woody Harrelson, Chris Miller, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Joonas Suotamo (as Chewbacca), Phil Lord and Donald Glover

The title of the Star Wars spin off-film about the young Han Solo has been revealed as Solo: A Star Wars Story.

The movie will star Alden Ehrenreich as the title character alongside Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson and Emilia Clarke.

Director Ron Howard made the announcement in a video shared on Twitter.

He also said the movie had now wrapped and will go into editing. It’s due to be released on May 25 2018.

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Getty Images

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Alden Ehrenreich will play the young Han Solo in the new film

The film has already received a lot of attention after Howard took over from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller as director.

They said their departure was down to “creative differences” with producers.

Solo’s title follows the “A Star Wars Story” format set by Rogue One, the first spin-off movie set in the Star Wars universe but occurring outside the main franchise.

These movies focus on the same Star Wars fictional history, but don’t centre on the Skywalker family and the central storylines from the main films.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41658984

George SaundersImage copyright
Reuters

George Saunders has won the Man Booker prize for his novel Lincoln in the Bardo – becoming the second US author to take home the £50,000 fiction award.

The book tells the story of Abraham Lincoln’s grief after the death of his young son, and his visits to his tomb.

It is the first full-length novel from Saunders, previously best known for his short stories, and is set in a graveyard, over a single night.

Judges praised the “utterly original” work and said it was “deeply moving”.

Saunders, 58, was one of six authors shortlisted for the prestigious award, alongside British writers Ali Smith and Fiona Mozley, fellow Americans Paul Auster and Emily Fridlund, and British-Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid.

Speaking after his name was announced, Saunders said: “Thank you for this great honour which I hope to live up to with the rest of my work, for the rest of my life.”

The Texas-born author, who lives in New York, has previously won the Folio Prize and Story Prize for his short story collection Tenth of December. Lincoln in the Bardo is his ninth book, and had been the favourite to win the Booker.

The Duchess of Cornwall presented his trophy at London’s Guildhall.

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Reuters

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Shortlisted authors (left-right): Fiona Mozley, Paul Auster, Emily Fridlund, Mohsin Hamid, George Saunders and Ali Smith

He based the story on a real moment in 1862 when the body of the US president’s 11-year-old son Willie was taken to a cemetery in Washington DC.

Saunders revealed after writing the first third of the book he “got a bit freaked out” and wasn’t sure “if any other human being could read it”.

His wife Paula then read it and wrote on a post-it note “something so generous it will stay a secret forever” and that gave him the confidence to continue.

During a post-ceremony press conference, he said: “It sounds a little pathetic but for an artist I think validation is really helpful. Maybe you shouldn’t need it but I definitely do.

“So when someone that I respect approves my work or when I get grouped with a bunch of writers like these wonderful talents, my opinion of myself improves a little bit and the next book has a little more courage in it.”

Media captionBooker Prize winner: ‘We live in a strange time’

Saunders said the novel had been in his heart for 20 years before he wrote it.

Asked why it took him so long to commit it to the page, he told the BBC: “My stories are a little dark and cynical and sci-fi, and I just couldn’t see any way to approach this serious material.

“I tried a couple of times and it didn’t work, and I just thought: ‘Either don’t do it, or wait until you’ve enough life to do it justice’.”

‘Deeply moving’

Baroness Lola Young, chair of the 2017 judging panel, said the form of the novel – which includes voices of 166 souls in the graveyard – “reveals a witty, intelligent and deeply moving narrative”.

It took five hours of deliberations before the panel, also including novelist Sarah Hall, artist Tom Phillips, literary critic Lila Azam Zanganeh and the travel writer Colin Thubron, made their unanimous decision.

Baroness Young described the responsibility of choosing a winner as “draining”, saying: “We had actually some tears – but that was as much due to the kind of relief of having gotten to the decision, it wasn’t about anger or sadness or whatever.”

She added: “This really stood out because of its innovation – its very different styling and the way in which it paradoxically brought to life these not-quite-dead souls in this other world.

“There was this juxtaposition of the very personal tragedy of Abraham Lincoln with his public life, as the person who’d really instigated the American Civil War.”

Why experimental novel won the Booker

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Getty Images

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Saunders met the Duchess of Cornwall before the ceremony

Analysis by BBC arts correspondent Rebecca Jones

This is initially a rather off-putting book – it’s got a rather strange title and when you read the first few pages, you don’t really know what’s going on.

It’s the most experimental of the shortlisted novels, told in a multiplicity of voices. It’s almost like a verbal collage.

It can be quite a disconnecting experience, but stick with it because it is not only very moving, but it’s also very funny.

Lincoln in the Bardo is a very interesting exploration of one of America’s great presidents. It’s examining his private rather than public role.

Because it’s dealing with his dead son, it could risk becoming sentimental, but George Saunders manages to avoid that.

One thing I can promise you is that you’ve never read a book like it. It is completely original.

The shortlist was whittled down from a longlist of 13 novels that was announced in July.

The award has been open to US writers since 2014 and was awarded to its first American winner, Paul Beatty, last year.

Lincoln in the Bardo is published by Bloomsbury, making this the third consecutive year an independent publisher has won the award.

The bardo in the book’s title refers to the transitional state between death and your next birth, according to Tibetan Buddhism.

Man Booker prize – Who’s won it before?

  • 2016: Paul Beatty, The Sellout
  • 2015: Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings
  • 2014: Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
  • 2013: Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries
  • 2012: Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
  • 2011: Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
  • 2010: Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
  • 2009: Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall
  • 2008: Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger
  • 2007: Anne Enright, The Gathering

As well as the winner’s cheque, Saunders receives a rather unique honour – Royal Mail will apply a congratulatory postmark bearing his name to millions of items of stamped mail on Wednesday and Friday.

It will read: “Congratulations to George Saunders, winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize.”

He can also expect a spike in sales. In the week after Beatty won last year, sales of The Sellout increased by 658%.

Saunders teaches at Syracuse University and was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2013.

2017 Man Booker prize shortlist

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Reuters

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Auster’s 4 3 2 1 took him more than three years to write

Paul Auster, 4 3 2 1

In a nutshell: A young man growing up in New Jersey in the 1950s and 60s leads four parallel lives.

Judges’ comment: “An ambitious, complex, epic narrative… that is essentially both human and humane.”

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Weidenfeld Nicolson

Emily Fridlund, History of Wolves

In a nutshell: A 14-year-old girl living on a commune in the US Midwest befriends some new arrivals.

Judges’ comment: “A novel of silver prose and disquieting power that asks very difficult questions.”

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Hamid is best known for his 2007 novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Mohsin Hamid, Exit West

In a nutshell: A boy and girl fall in love, move in together and consider leaving their unnamed country.

Judges’ comment: “A subtle, compact piece of writing about a relationship, its blossoming and digressions.”

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John Murray Press

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Fiona Mozley was one of three female writers on the shortlist

Fiona Mozley, Elmet

In a nutshell: A boy remembers his life in a house his father built with his bare hands in an isolated wood.

Judges’ comment: “Timeless in its epic mixture of violence and love, it is also timely… with no punches pulled.”

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Bloomsbury

George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo

In a nutshell: President Abraham Lincoln goes to a Georgetown cemetery to grieve following his young son’s death.

Judges’ comment: “Daring and accomplished, this is a novel with a rare capriciousness of mind and heart.”

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Getty Images

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This is the fourth time Ali Smith has been shortlisted for the prize

Ali Smith, Autumn

In a nutshell: A dying 101-year-old man is watched over by his closest and only friend.

Judges’ comment: “An elegy for lost time, squandered beauty but also for the loss of connections.”

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41585512

Sean HughesImage copyright
Rex/Shutterstock

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Hughes was a stand-up comedian, TV star and novelist

A poem about death written by comedian Sean Hughes 23 years ago has resurfaced on social media as a poignant tribute.

The poem, published in Sean’s Book in 1994, is titled Death and lays out a list of things he wanted to happen after he passed away.

He said he wanted people at his funeral to “have a laugh, a dance, meet a loved one”. He also said he wanted people to say: “I didn’t know him but cheers”.

The former Never Mind the Buzzcocks captain died on Monday aged 51.

One fan dug out the poem from his book and posted it on Twitter after Hughes’s death.


Death by Sean Hughes

I want to be cremated

I know how boring funerals can be

I want people to gather

meet new people

have a laugh, a dance, meet a loved one.

I want people to have free drink all night.

I want people to patch together, half truths.

I want people to contradict each other

I want them to say ‘I didn’t know him but cheers’

I want my parents there,

adding more pain to their life.

I want the Guardian to mis-sprint three lines about me

or to be mentioned on the news

Just before the ‘parrot who loves Brookside’ story.

I want to have my ashes scattered in a bar,

on the floor, mingle with sawdust,

a bar where beautiful trendy people

Will trample over me… again

Taken from Sean’s Book by Sean Hughes, published by Pavilion Books


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Sean appeared on Pointless Celebrities last year with Rhona Cameron

The London-born Irish comedian died in hospital in London. He was a team captain on BBC Two’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks between 1996 and 2002.

He became the youngest winner of the Edinburgh Festival’s Perrier Award (now known as the Edinburgh Comedy Award) in 1990 at the age of 24.

Comedians including Jack Dee, Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves), Sarah Millican, Katy Brand and Richard Herring were among those to pay tribute to him on Monday.


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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-41651280