Actors seek posthumous protections  


The death of Star Wars' princess Carrie Fisher set off waves of speculation over her character's return in the saga's future episodes. Advances in digital technology are allowing filmmakers to resurrect characters after a performer dies. But this is not good news for everybody. This trend has sent Hollywood actors in the here-and-now scrambling to exert control over how their characters and images are portrayed in the hereafter.

“Celebrities are increasingly involved in making plans to protect their intellectual property rights ,” said Mark Roesler, an attorney and chairman of CMG Worldwide, an agency representing celebrity estates. “They understand that their legacy will continue beyond their lifetime.”
Roesler said that at least 25 of his clients are negotiating the use of their or their loved ones‘ computer-generated images in movies, television and commercials. While employment contracts determine how they can be used in a particular film or commercial, a performer's will may address broader issues.
According to Roesler, some actors or their family fret that overexposure will tarnish a celebrity's image. These wills vary.
Heirs already have control over actors‘ posthumous profits by requiring their permission for any use of their likeness, California law states. However, as technology has improved, what actors are focused on nowadays is on steering their legacy with stipulations on how their images are used - or by forbidding their use.
Robin Williams, for instance, who died back in 2014, forbid any use of his image for commercial purposes until 2039, according to court documents. He also blocked anyone from digitally inserting him into a movie or TV scene or using a hologram, as was done with rapper Tupac Shakur at Southern California's Coachella music festival in 2012 - 16 years after his murder.
With digital technology opening up so many possibilities, actors‘ union SAG-AFTRA is lobbying for all states to enact protections on the use of celebrity images after they die.
“The issue for us is straightforward and clear: The use of performers‘ work in this manner has obvious economic value and should be treated accordingly,” a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said.
Another issue with this technology is that the prospect is more costly than hiring even a first-tier actor. “It's very expensive,” Litwak said.
Another question for filmmakers is whether technology provides a realistic portrayal.
“Most people in the movie industry don't think it‘s quite there yet,” Litwak said. “It's amazing what they can do, but it's not as good as a real actor. It seems a bit artificial.”
After Tarkin's resurrection in “Rogue One” some fans complained the portrayal did not look human enough.
“Does Disney want to have people scrutinizing how real that synthetic character is, rather than talking about the movie itself?” he asked about the prospect of Leia's return. “It would be a distraction.” 
Oscars 2017   

Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the 89th Academy Awards ceremony celebrates the best films of 2016.  Late-night talk show host, producer and comedian Jimmy Kimmel will host the Oscars for the first time. The 89th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be broadcast live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. EST/4 p.m. PST. The Oscars presentation will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
Televised in the United States by ABC, the ceremony will be produced by Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd while television host Jimmy Kimmel will be the presenter for the first time.
The nominees were announced by directors Guillermo del Toro, Jason Reigman, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, actresses Brie Larson, Marcia Gay Harden, Glenn Close, Gabourey Sidibe and Jennifer Hudson, and actors Terrence Howard, Ken Watanabe, Demian Bichir and writer Dustin Lance Black.
This is the first time ever that the nominees are revealed via global live stream at the Academy's official websites ( and, and through local broadcasters, including Good Morning America. La La Land received a total fourteen nominations, a record set by All About Eve in 1950s and only tied by Titanic in 1997. The motion pictures Arrival and Moonlight came in second with eight nominations each.
Before the ceremony, we go over the records set by movies in past ceremonies.
The films which have won most awards are Ben-Hur (1959), Titanic (1997), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), which won 11 awards each.
Most nominations received by a single film are All About Eve (1950), Titanic (1997) and La La Land (2016). Each film has received 14 nominations.
The largest sweep (winning awards in every nominated category) was The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). The film won all 11 categories for which it was nominated: Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score, Original Song, Sound Mixing, Art Direction, Makeup, Costume Design, Film Editing and Visual Effects.
Walt Disney won 26 awards, which make him the individual who has won most awards.
Meanwhile, Edith Head is the female who has won most awards. She won eight Oscars, all for Costume Design. She won the Oscars for Best Costume Design, starting with The Heiress (1949), and ending with The Sting (1973). After 43 years she left Paramount for Universal, perhaps due to her successful partnership with Alfred Hitchcock. She also adapted her skills for television.
With four awards, all for Best Actress, Katherine Hepburn has won more acting Oscars than anybody else.
As to directing, John Ford tops the list with four awards.
While Italy has won most awards for Best Foreign Language Film (14 awards), France is the country that has received most nominations for this category with a total of 40 nominations. Italy has received in total 32 nominations.
Meanwhile, the foreign language films that have won most awards are Fanny And Alexander (1982) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), while the latter is the foreign-language film that has received most nominations with a total of ten nominations.
To end this post with a happy note: with 20 nominations, Meryl Streep is the actress with most total nominations for acting.
Additional note: This article was written before the awards, now we know, Moonlight was eventually named the best picture winner after it was mistakenly announced that La La Land had won the award. Warren Beatty, who was presenting the award with Dunaway, had been handed the incorrect envelope by representatives of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The future of Star Wars  

From David Bowie to Prince, George Michael and Debbie Reynolds, the year of 2016 took the lives of all-time beloved celebrities. But no death has left more questions unanswered than the loss Star Wars' icon Carrie Fisher.
In particular, what's “Star Wars” without Princess Leia? It is up to Disney to decide.
While fans worldwide, the cast and crew of the classic films mourn the death of Carrie Fisher, questions have arisen about how the actress' passing will affect the sci-fi franchise going forward.
According to Deadline, back in July 2016 Fisher finished filming the yet-to-be-named “Star Wars: Episode VIII”, in which her role of Leia has a larger appearance than that of her cameo role in “The Force Awakens.”
However, Disney and LucasFilm are yet to comment on how Fisher's death will affect the completion of “Episode VIII” or impact the script and filming of “Episode IX.”
“The fact that we are talking about this shows how woven into the DNA of ‘Star Wars' Carrie Fisher is,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, told CNBC. “This is no small thing.”
As there is a shortage of information about General Leia's story arc in the forthcoming films, fans and analysts can only guess how Disney will manage without the iconic actress and character.
After the demise of Paul Walker, a main player in the “Fast and Furious” films, writer Chris Morgan had to undertake the task of rewriting the script of “Furious 7” so that Walker's character could exit the series via footage that had already been shot during production.
The script was rearranged to account for Walker's absence and the production team was tasked to use a combination a CGI and Walker's younger brother as stand-ins to get the shots they needed to complete the film. By the way, The Fate of the Furious - #F8 In Theaters April 14 2017 by Universal Pictures is looking pretty awesome.
Therefore, fans and analysts speculate that a similar fate could await future “Star Wars” films. Even though Fisher had finished her scenes for “Episode VIII, Disney could opt to alter the script in order to explain Leia's absence in future films. Episode VIII is scheduled to hit the theaters in December, 2017.
Following the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2014, Lionsgate decided to diminish the actor's role in the final installment of the “Hunger Games” franchise instead of digitally recreating the actor for the scenes he hadn't filmed yet.
The writers proceeded to use the footage they had of the actor to complete several scenes and gave some of his character's dialogue and actions to other characters.
It is yet to be known how essential the character of Leia is for “Episode IX” and if more script alternations will be necessary before its release in 2019.
As a standalone Han Solo Film is scheduled to be released by Disney in 2018, the production team will have more time to make major alterations to the final film in the new trilogy, if that is the direction they decide to head in.
Another direction would be to recreate Carrie Fisher digitally like they did in Rogue One. Instead of recasting the role of Grand Moff Tarkin, a character portrayed by the late Peter Cushing in the original trilogy, Director Gareth Edwards and the team at Industrial Light and Magic opted to recreate him digitally.
British actor Guy Henry was chosen to perform the role of Tarkin during the production and then digitally altered in post-production in order to look like Cushing.
This technique has caused some controversy around the legal and ethical issues arising around the portrayal of a demised actor's likeness on film; however, the technique sets a precedent that could mean Fisher's Leia can still appear in “Episode IX” without altering the script.
In this case, Disney might need permission from Fisher's estate to go ahead with the digital replication, unless it is enough for the production company to hold copyright to her performance in “The Force Awakens” to recreate her digitally.
“It's a somewhat novel area of law where, as a matter of best practice, they might seek out rights from the estate,” Paul O'Brien, an associate attorney with Falcon, Jacobson & Gertler LLP, a New York law firm, told CNBC. “But if they had an agreement previously in place that allows them to create derivative works based on Carrie's prior performances they could be covered by that.”
However, Disney is not entirely satisfied with the feedback fans gave to that technique in ‘Rogue One.'
“Based on the divisive way that fans have reacted to the effects in ‘Rogue One' and considering that her death will still be pretty fresh, I think they won't go the CGI route,” Erik Davis, managing editor of Fandango said. “Unless, it's to touch up a tiny bit, a fraction of a scene. Sort of the way ‘Fast and Furious' did with Paul Walker. I think that that would be the only case that they would use effects.”


The Nightmare Before Christmas 22nd Anniversary  
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas' 22th anniversary in 2015. Based on 1993 American stop motion musical fantasy directed by Henry Selick, we've compiled unforgettable quotes from the famous film to celebrate over two decades since its release.
“I'm a master of fright, and a demon of light, and I'll scare you right out of your pants. To a guy in Kentucky I'm mister lucky. And I'm known throughout England and France. And since I'm dead, I can take off my head to recite Shakespeare quotations. No animal or man can scream like I can, with the fury of my recitations”. - Jack Skellington
“There's children throwing snowballs instead of throwing heads. They're busy building toys and absolutely no one is dead!”. - Jack Skellington
“Well, what the heck, I really did my best. And by God, I really tasted something swell, that's right. And for a moment, why, I even touched the sky. And at least I left some stories they can tell, I did. And for the first time since I don't remember when I felt like my old bony self again. And I, Jack, the Pumpkin King... That's right. I am the Pumpkin King! And I just can't wait until next Halloween ‘cause I've got some new ideas that will really make them scream. And by God, I'm really gonna give it all my might! Uh-oh, I hope there's still time to set things right. Sandy Claws...” - Jack Skellington
“I am the shadown on the moon at night filling your dreams to the brim with fright”. - Oogie Boogie Man
“Oh, the sound of rolling dice to me is music in the air, ‘cause I'm a gambling Boogie Man, although I don't play fair. It's much more fun, I must confess, with lives on the line. Not mine, of course, but yours, old boy, now that'll be just fine.” - Oogie Boogie Man
“Are you a gambling man, Santa?” - Oogie Boogie Man
“Jack! But they said you were dead. You must be double dead!” - Oogie Boogie Man
“Say it once, say it twice, take a chance and roll the dice. Ride with the moon in the dead of night”. - The witches
Nov: Thanksgiving Day Parade  
Every fourth Thursday in November giant helium-filled balloons shaped like popular cartoon heroes float above the streets of New York City in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. The popular event is organised by Macy's, a mid-range to upscale chain of department stores, every year. Thursday, November 24 is this years Thanksgiving Day 2016
Masses of people flood to the streets of Manhattan to watch the balloons shaped like Shrek, Buzz Lightyear, Snoopy and pals. The parade also features live music and other performances by celebrities such as Miley Cyrus and Kermit the Frog aboard travelling floats.
College and high school marching bands from across the country also take part in the parade. Cheerleaders and dancers chosen by the National Cheerleaders Association from various high school across the country march down the streets. Likewise, the Radio City Rockettes are a classic performance. As a symbol of the imminent Christmas and holiday season, the figure of Santa Claus concludes the parade.
The parade starts at 9am, but people start arriving three hours before to get a good viewing spot, namely the area between 61st and 72nd streets on Central Park West. The even lasts three hours.
The parade starts in 77th street and Central Park then continues west to Columbus Circle in 59th street. Next, they march in Broadway to 34th street and Macy's Herald Square ending on 7th avenue. The streets that are part of the parade route are closed to traffic during the event.
The tradition dates back to 1924 and ties as second oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States along with America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. Both parades are four years younger than the 6abc Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia.
Top Events in the USA  
Yeahhh it's a party in the USA, like Miley Cyrus' song, here you can find the top events happening in the USA, so you can put them on your calendar and avoid missing any.
1) Rose Bowl Parade: is the biggest college football playoff held on New Year's Day in Pasadena, California. The event is of such magnitude that is attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators and is televised across the USA. The football match is preceded by a magnificent parade where you can see spectacular floats constructed exclusively out of flowers and flower petals.
2) Super Bowl Sunday: apparently American football always makes for a great event in the USA and the Super Bowl is so popular that its fame transcends national frontiers. This is the grand championship playoff match of the National Football League, which is held in one of the southern USA sun-belt cities or in a large indoor football arena. The event includes spectacular entertainment featuring internationally-famous artists. Tickets are very hard to get and usually cost over $1000 per seat.
3) Sundance Film Festival: This is the American version of the Cannes Film Festival. Held in Park City - Utah-, Sundance Film Festival features some of the finest new and experimental works by young filmmakers.
4) Mardi Gras in New Orleans: the last weeks prior to the solemn religious season of Lent is marked by a energetic party in New Orleans, Louisiana. The celebration features grand parades, entertainment and nightly parties escalating through the last weekend and culminating with a final blast on “Fat Tuesday”.
5) Spring Break in Florida: hordes of college students from across the country flock to Florida for wild days of beach and parties.
6) Calle Ocho Festival Miami: also in Florida, Calle Ocho Festival is an ethnic street fair held at the heart of “Little Havana” on Eighth Street. It features a huge variety of festivities including latin entertainment, a diversity of ethnic foods and open-air street markets.
Things to Do and See in San Francisco  
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in San Francisco and a must-see when you visit the city. As you get enthralled by the magnificence of the bridge, you'll get some heartwarming flashbacks of the TV show Full House. Walking or biking across the bridge is an unmissable experience. From the east side walkway, you can take in the soaring 746-foot towers, the city skyline, the Marin Headlands and the Pacific Ocean stretching to the horixon.
Check out Crissy Field on the northern end of San Francisco for a view and a trip that haunt you for a long time. What is hot at the moment is the new Bay Bridge, so make sure you check it out as well.
San Francisco has a vibrant artistic community, so there are plenty of sculptures and pieces of art to check. There are also great bands performing regularly.
Take a stroll along the neighborhoods in souther San Francisco - such as Mission -, get ready to be impressed by the Coit Tower or the Transamerica Tower, one of the tallest in San Francisco, that is why it is recommended to check it out from street level. Talk about heights, don't miss the Twin Peaks, one of San Francisco's highest neighborhoods.
However, Downtown San Francisco better be on your list as well as Sutro Tower - one of San Francisco's most interesting landmarks.
With its hills and valleys, San Francisco is a jewel when it comes to views and one of the places where you can admire sights is on a Bay Area Caltrain ride. Alternatively, you can get a view of the whole city from somewhere up on a hill.
With a sinfully delicious array of organic fruit and vegetables, and gourmet goodies from olive oils, meat, cheese and bread to chocolate, jams and flowers, Ferry Building Marketplace is a foodie's paradise.
The First Time in NYC  
Once you get to the airport, you probably want to make to it to the city as quick as possible. Well, the taxi might not be your best option since the queue is endless. It's probably the longest line to get a taxi you'll see ever.
If you are on a budget you can live on pizza and hot dogs. They are cheap and there is one vendor in every corner. In fact, hot dogs are sold on street vendors conveniently located next to the city's landmarks. Plus, New York pizza and hot dogs are delicious! And the bagels - the best ever, and they make for a typical New York breakfast with cream cheese.
Since taxi drivers are always working and transport tons of people each day, they are pretty jaded, so don't even try to make small talk, they are not up for it. Just get in, give directions, pay the fare and get away as soon as possible.
Especially on high season, crowds of people flock the sidewalks and they are not moving out of the way when you walk past them - part of the NY attitude. If you have any issues with people being too close to you, then perhaps NYC is not the city for you, or you'll need to have a chamomile tea first thing in the morning.
You are going to pay a fortune for a hotel room that is the size of a closet. That is why young travellers opt for hostels which are pretty cool. There is even a pink hostel that is only for girls and they even have a barbecue on the 4th of July for free. Food and drinks for free in NYC, well that's pretty rare so it is fantastic. You won't get that in a hotel, they will charge you for everything you take from the minibar, add some tax to it and assault your credit card.
You'll probably be tempted to stare at the squirrels running around the streets for hours, and that is how New Yorkers will tell your a tourist, apart from the I love NYC t-shirts, the maps and the big old camera.
If you it's your first time in NYC, you definitely have to try a cronut which is a combination of croissants and doughnuts. Just imagine how many calories that has. Just a bomb for your stomach, but yet so worth it!
If you happen to be there during the fall, you'll be mesmerised by the colours of the leaves. The velvet trees will simply take your breath away. Then you can kick the leaves on the ground or lie down on your back over the leaves and make the shape of an angel.
Things that only happen in LA  
Thanks to the influence of the Mexican community, Americans can be thankful for Mexican food such as tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and nachos. Well, L.A. is the only place where you'll get 23-hour taco delivery service. So write down the number, and keep it safe in case you find yourself hungry and craving some tacos in the middle of the night. If you already like this idea, wait until you find the burritos vending machine, offering up to five kinds of hot burritos.
Perhaps in L.A. you have more chances of seeing a Ferrari being towed away than anywhere else in the world. There's a concentration of them in this city. But if that surprises, wait until you see a Mercedes Benz being used as a learner's vehicle. However, you can also find other types of transportation such as a bicycle and L.A. is the only place where you'll get free bike valet.
L.A. is full of eccentric people and some of them have pets such as iguanas. Well, be ready to see some lizards getting the high class treatment and being pampered like celebrities as they chill on fashionable couches.
You can also buy maps to the celebrities' houses almost in every corner.
People in L.A. care about body image and that is why they work out - they work out in the park, on the sidewalk, along the beach, upside down... Yup, they practice yoga hanging from some ropes. At least it provides some entertainment to the passerby who is already feeling bad for being lazy.
In L.A. you'll also find a unique institution of higher learning - In N Out University, the only academic institution named after a burger franchise.
L.A. is where all the acting jobs are and there you'll find the most curious ads for acting jobs. For instance, it's not uncommon to come across an ad with a job for overweight pets.
Sept: Life is Beautiful Festival  
What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas anymore ever since an extraordinary event has captured the attention of music lovers around the world. Life is Beautiful Festival may be a newbie, but it has gathered legendary musicians that would turn any other festival in the world green with envy.
One of the best modern bands in the world The Killers headlined this exhilarating event LAST YEAR. Indeed, the festivals' organisers couldn't have chosen a more ideal group to rock Life is Beautiful Festival. As The Killers from originally from Las Vegas, the festival that takes place in downtown Las Vegas have started writing their History in golden letters.
The famous band Kings of Leon also headlined the event which has treated music lovers with cracking music, scrumptious gourmet and breath-taking art. The event also includes Californian singer Beck, Vampire Weekend - who topped the US chart with their new album ‘Modern Vampires of the City' earlier this year - and Imagine Dragons.
With such incredible musicians from all walks of life, the event marks a turning point in the history of music festivals. And yet it is not all about the music. Foodies, rejoice! Their food festival is an epic occurrence in itself. Watch chefs on stage, booze tasting sessions and not to mention the 3-hour Culinary Crawls.
Life is Beautiful is an inspirational company dedicated to helping people conquer their fears and chase their dreams. Its signature project, the Life is Beautiful Festival was founded in 2013 and launched in October of that same year as a highly successful lifestyle event featuring marquee musicians, chefs, artists and speakers. Held in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas, Life is Beautiful Festival attracted more than 60,000 patrons in its first year, and is now branching out to an international online forum inspiring social change.
And there is more. The event includes an art festival which features incredible theatrics, acrobatics, dancing and a massive range of artwork, with various opportunities for both children and adults.
Life is Beautiful is an inspirational company dedicated to helping people conquer their fears and chase their dreams. Its signature project, the Life is Beautiful Festival was founded in 2013 and launched in October of that same year as a highly successful lifestyle event featuring marquee musicians, chefs, artists and speakers. Held in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas, Life is Beautiful Festival attracted more than 60,000 patrons in its first year, and is now branching out to an international online forum inspiring social change. - See more at:
It will be hard to top this year's line-up, but we are yet to see what Life is Beautiful Festival will surprise us with next year.
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