Cast of BLINDSPOTTING Attend Special Screening in New York - IN SELECT THEATERS THIS WEEK

Daveed Diggs (Collin), Rafael Casal (Miles), Janina Gavankar (Val), Jasmine Cephas Jones (Ashley), Director Carlos Lopez Estrada, and Producers Jess Calder and Keith Calder all walked the red carpet at the New York Special Screening of BLINDSPTOTTING at the Angelika Film Center on July 16, 2018

About BLINDSPOTTING

Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning.  He and his troublemaking childhood best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal), work as movers, and when Collin witnesses a police shooting, the two men’s friendship is tested as they grapple with identity and their changed realities in the rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood they grew up in.

 

Longtime friends and collaborators, Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal co-wrote and star in this timely and wildly entertaining story about friendship and the intersection of race and class set against the backdrop of Oakland.  Bursting with energy, style, and humor, and infused with the spirit of rap, hip hop, and spoken word, Blindspotting, boldly directed by Carlos López Estrada in his feature film debut, is a provocative hometown love letter that glistens with humanity.

 

A Summit Entertainment presentation, in association with Codeblack Films and Snoot Entertainment.

 

Official Site:                           www.Blindspotting.movie

Publicity Materials:               http://lionsgatepublicity.com/theatrical/blindspotting/

Facebook:                              @Blindspotting

Twitter:                                 @BlindspottingMv

Instagram:                            @Blindspotting

Hashtag:                                #Blindspotting

Elina Psykou, director of SON OF SOFIA #Tribeca2017

Elina Psykou's SON FO SOFIA won the best international film award at Tribeca Film Festival 2017. The film is written and directed by Elina and stars Viktor Khomut, Valery Tcheplanowa, Thanasis Papageorgiou, Artemis Havalits, Christos Stergioglou, Iro Maltezou. In her second feature, Elina Psykou explores the inability to express and accept love. Son of Sofia gives a glimpse into Misha’s mind as he is confronted with early puberty and clashes with adulthood.

We had an opportunity to talk to Elina, here are the excerpts:

Art Shrian: The film deals with several subjects like immigrants, family, Parenthood, childhood amongst many. What do you think is strongest & core theme of the film, and why?

Elina Psykou: For me the strongest theme of the film is identity formation. Of all types, such as national, sexual, linguistic, religious, political… Misha is at that sensitive age where he has to build his personality and he is surrounded by so many stimuli. All the others themes, like immigration and family, come to contribute to his identity formation, to his coming of age, let’s say.

AS: Was it specifically challenging to work with kids or young artist? How was your experience?

EP: It was my first time working with a kid, plus it was his first experience with a camera. So, both me and Viktor (the kid who plays Misha) were enthusiastic about exploring the process. Viktor is a really cool and clever kid, so we didn’t face any difficulties. From the very beginning, I decided not to give him the whole script and this was the most important challenge for me as a director. I just read to him the story and then started improvising with the other actors. It was really useful that he didn’t have the script in his home, so he didn’t have to learn lines etc. This way, he stayed authentic and fresh, and his interest never waned until the last day of the shoot.

AS: The film is multilingual. Why these specific languages? And how was casting and scripting for multiple languages.

EP: The story is set in Greece, so Greek was a normal choice. As for the Russian, I decided that Sofia and Misha had to be from Russia, first for realistic reasons, as the majority of women immigrants in Greece come from Eastern Europe. But second, I felt that the culture and sociopolitical history of Russia took me down a very interesting cinematic path. So, I explored songs, the communist background, the Olympic games, TV programs and I finally used a lot of traditional elements of the region.

Casting was really challenging. We found Misha in a multicultural school in Athens, but we tested a lot of kids from Russia and Greece as well. The same for Sofia’s part, we tested a lot of actresses from Russia and Greece, but we finally found her in Germany. As for the rest of the kids, we found them in schools and cultural associations of immigrants. And finally, it was easier for the Greek actors, as they are quite famous in Greece, so we didn’t have to discover them!

Scripting and directing a film where most of dialogue is in a language I don’t speak (Russian), a language so different from my native one, was challenging as well. I decided to take some private Russian lessons only to discover that Russian is so difficult... But I insisted, I continued the courses and I studied every single line of dialogue. Very soon I managed to understand what I was listening to and I could follow the actors and their feelings. The communication between all of us was a present day Babylonia in a way – we communicated in Greek, Russian and English, as well as some Bulgarian, as for coproduction reasons, we had also four Bulgarians technicians in our set.

AS: How was the experience of having your film at Tribeca?

EP: It was wonderful. After so many years of working on the film, I was nervous but enthusiastic at the same time, when the time came to present it to the world. The screenings and the audience were really warm. So, now the film is an adult, it exists without me, it can fly away from me, like Misha in the end…

AS: What do you think about diversity and inclusion in film industry (women and others, both behind and in front of the camera)

EP: It is difficult to know what’s happening in other countries, but in Greece the things are getting much better. There are almost as many talented and recognized female directors as there are male. The same for actors and actresses and of course for artistic collaborators. Yes, sometimes it is difficult to be a woman or a non-white in the film industry, but I am optimistic that this is changing and I think the most powerful weapon against any prejudice is our movies and artistic work.

AS. Finally - What’s your most favorite and least favorite thing about New York? Be candid!

EP: It was my first time in New York, so I didn’t have the time to explore everything I wanted to. I really liked Williamsburg and the walk to Brooklyn’s bridge, plus I enjoyed the gospel at St. Joseph Church in Harlem. In Manhattan, I felt strange, like part of a video game, and this fascinated as well as terrified me.

Synopsis: Two years after his father’s death, Misha’s mother has created a new life in a new country. After migrating from Russia to Greece she has found a husband for herself, whose obnoxious attempts at disciplining her son are less than welcome. Moving to Athens means Misha’s life is being uprooted and his identity reformulated. This deeply personal story is enveloped in fairy tales, set in the peculiar cultural circumstance of the summer of 2004, as the Summer Olympics pervade all casual conversations and the ever-popular winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest plays in the background. What is public and communal invades the private in the form of sports, music and television. A child’s imagination transforms difficult situations into the dark side of fairy tales.

For more on film, connect on Facebook at
https://www.facebook.com/SonofSofia/

Star Wars: Force For Change Celebrates 40 Years of STAR WARS With EPIC Fundraising Event!

STAR WARS: FORCE FOR CHANGE CELEBRATES 40 YEARS OF STAR WARS WITH EPIC FUNDRAISING EVENT. CHANCE TO WIN DOPE PRIZES SUCH AS: 

·         A VISIT TO A STAR WARS MOVIE SET
·         TICKETS TO THE PREMIERE OF STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
·          AN OVERNIGHT STAY AT SKYWALKER RANCH

AND MORE!!!!

Star Wars: Force for Change, a charitable initiative from Lucasfilm and Disney, harnesses the strength ofStar Wars to empower and improve the lives of children around the world. Born in 2014, it was inspired byStar Wars fans, and the countless hours they have dedicated to philanthropy over the past four decades. To date, over $13 million has been raised for charitable causes around the world on behalf of Star Wars: Force for Change, including $9 million towards UNICEF’s programs to put children first. This year, Force for Change is proud to announce Starlight Children's Foundation as its newest charitable beneficiary. As a founding sponsor of Starlight Children’s Foundation’s VR program, Force for Change will continue to empower and improve the lives of children around the world. With a bright future ahead, and new Star Wars stories to be told, Force for Change aims to continue collaborating with causes and encouraging others to be forces for change in their own community. To learn more, please visit ForceForChange.com.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (Apr. 11, 2017) – Star Wars: Force For Change in collaboration with Omaze will launch the Star Wars “Past, Present and Future” fundraising campaign to benefit UNICEF and Starlight Children’s Foundation. The campaign is themed around the timeless appeal of Star Wars, with experiences inspired by the saga’s past, present, and future. Lucky winners will receive prizes, like the chance to appear in the upcoming Han Solo movie, tickets to the world premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, or, an overnight stay at the fabled Skywalker Ranch.

Over the course of four weeks between April 11th and May 11th, 2017, fans may enter at Omaze.com/StarWarsfor a chance to win these once-in-a-lifetime Star Wars experiences, with each week bringing a new prize to be awarded to a randomly-selected winner. Additionally, at the end of the campaign, one randomly-selected grand prize winner will be awarded all three amazing experiences.  

Starlight Children’s Foundation is joining Star Wars: Force for Change as the initiative’s newest charity beneficiary in 2017. Through a $1 million grant, Star Wars: Force for Change supports the foundation’s core programs which are designed to bring comfort and joy and comfort to hospitalized kids through Starlight’s network of more than 700 children’s hospitals, clinics, camps and other partners across the US. Star Wars: Force for Change and fan donations through this campaign will also provide new Starlight programs, like fun, comfortable Star Wars-themed Starlight Brave Gowns, to tens of thousands of hospitalized children across the country.

Since 2014, Star Wars: Force for Change and UNICEF have joined together to help improve the lives of children around the world. With the support of Star Wars fans, the collaboration has raised more than $9 million to help the world’s most vulnerable children. To date, Star Wars: Force for Change has helped UNICEF save the lives of over 30,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition through the distribution of over 4 million packets of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food Packets (RUTF) around the world.

“In a year that we celebrate 40 years of the Star Wars saga, I continue to be inspired by the incredible generosity and charitable efforts of our fans,” said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “We are so proud of their tireless dedication to positively impact the lives of children and others around the world, and hope this year’s Force For Change campaign will offer a few of those wonderful fans an experience they will never forget.”

Star Wars “Past, Present, and Future” Winner Experiences:

·      Past – Stay at Skywalker Inn, tour of the archives & the Ranch, and a screening of Star Wars: A New Hope

·      Present – Join the cast and attend the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere and exclusive after party

·      Future – Visit the set, meet the directors and have the chance to appear in the untitled Han Solo movie

·      Grand Prize – One winner will receive the Past, Present AND Future prizes!

Fans are encouraged to follow the campaign at Omaze.com/StarWars for exclusive updates each week.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  Void where prohibited.  Promotion begins 12:01 AM Pacific Time (PT) on April 11, 2017 and ends at 11:59 PM PT on May 11, 2017.  Must be at least eighteen (18) years old and a resident of an eligible domicile to enter and win prizes. Residents of of Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Malta, North Korea, Singapore, Sudan, Syria, or Thailand are not eligible to enter. Sweepstakes consists of four (4) prize drawings; odds of winning a prize depend on number of entries received for each drawing. For free entry: (i) send postcard to Sponsor at P.O. Box 866, 9942 Culver Blvd, Culver City, California 90232 and write the following statement: “I have read and agree to the Star Wars: Force For Change Official Rules” and send by applicable mail date; or (ii) visit www.omaze.com/starwars.  Prizes that include being filmed in a movie scene do not guarantee that such footage will be included in the final movie. Travel and accommodations are at Sponsor’s discretion and subject to availability and change.  Winner and guest may be required to pass a background screening or security check to receive a prize and/or reward. Visa conditions may apply. All taxes are winner’s responsibility.

Rewards are separate from sweepstakes prizes.  Some rewards are limited in quantity. Not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook®.  Residents of certain territories may be required to successfully complete a trivia question to qualify.  For full sweepstakes entry requirements, methods & entry periods, prize details, list of rewards and all limitations & restrictions, see Official rules at www.omaze.com/starwars.   Sole Sponsor: Omaze, Inc., P.O. Box 866, 9942 Culver Blvd, Culver City, California 90232. 

ABOUT LUCASFILM LTD.

Lucasfilm Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is a global leader in film, television and digital entertainment production. In addition to its motion-picture and television production, the company's activities include visual effects and audio post-production, cutting-edge digital animation, interactive entertainment software, and the management of the global merchandising activities for its entertainment properties including the legendary STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES franchises. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in northern California.

ABOUT STARLIGHT CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION

Starlight creates moments of comfort and joy and comfort for hospitalized kids and their families. For 35 years, Starlight’s programs have positively impacted more than 60 million critically, chronically and terminally ill or injured children in the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. With your help, kids and their families will enjoy Starlight VR, Starlight Brave Gowns, Starlight Fun Centers and other Starlight programs at a children’s hospital or facility near you. Support Starlight's work by visiting www.starlight.org and by following Starlight on Facebook,Instagram and Twitter.

ABOUT UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.  Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.

ABOUT OMAZE

Omaze is an online fundraising platform that offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences and exclusive merchandise to support nonprofits around the world. Omaze is disrupting the charitable giving space by offering creative opportunities that make it fun and easy for anyone to give. Each of our fundraising and awareness campaigns brings together influencers, nonprofits and people across the globe and enables real, lasting impact. Since launching, Omaze has impacted more than 200 charities and received donations from over 175 countries.

Patriots Day (4/4): An amazing reminder of Boston Strong, and strong USA!

“Two people took many days and weeks to plan out hate, but love responded in an instant.”
– Survivor Patrick Downes

These words beautifully and truly summarize what we see in the film. This film is a taught emotional dramatic thriller, that keeps you on your toes, right until the end. The film does makes you lil sad, lil scared, but you end up coming out strong. Just like the event itself!

This happens to be one of the most perfectly cast films, from Boston native Mark Wahlberg himself to everyone else. Mark's performance keep the film human and real. Another real-life character (although amalgamation of many) portrayed perfectly by Mark. John Goodman and Kevin Bacon are the lifeline of this beautiful film. You also get surprisingly amazing performances from Melissa Benoist (Supergirl!) playing Katherine Russell (Tamerlan Tsarnaev's wife), and Alex Wolf and Themo Melikidze, playing Tsarnev brothers. And the real show stealer is Jimmy O. Yang as Dun Meng, the driver the Tsarnaevs carjacked on April 19. All in all, it's an amazing cast making the film even more wonderful.

Although the film has come at a a sensitive time, the film thankfully doesn't demonize muslims or communities but shows quite an honest picture. The film is quite raw when it comes emotions, some of the bloodshed and the pain of that awful day. But it's very humanized and beautifully portrayed. It's shot so realistically that it's almost impossible to believe that you're not seeing the real events themselves. It's not overly dramatized, but dramatized enough to make it an appealing strong film. The storytelling is beautiful and the message is on-spot. From chaos, to anger, to rage, to pain, to patriotism, to love... you can feel it all!

From acclaimed director Peter Berg (“Deepwater Horizon,” “Lone Survivor”) and Academy Award® nominee Mark Wahlberg), CBS Films and Lionsgate present “Patriots Day.” Based on true events, “Patriots Day” is a powerful story of a community’s extraordinary courage in the face of adversity. An account of the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing, the tension-packed dramatic thriller chronicles in detail one of the most sophisticated and well-coordinated manhunts in law enforcement history. The events may have unfolded in Boston, but the bombing and the city’s determined response impacted the world.

The 2013 Boston Marathon bombing shattered lives and tested the fabric of the American spirit. But in its wake an entire city came together to bring the perpetrators to justice, tracking them down in record time before they could inflict further damage beyond Boston. Rather than give themselves over to panic and fear, the citizens banded together, choosing solidarity over divisiveness in pursuit of a common enemy.

The story of “Patriots Day” is drawn from real-life accounts including those of first responders, hospital workers, law enforcement investigators, government officials, everyday citizens, and the actual survivors. Through dedication and individual acts of bravery, the city – and the country – were able to emerge from the crucible stronger and more united than before, and show the world that love always triumphs over evil.

Joining Wahlberg is an all-star ensemble of actors including Kevin Bacon as FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, John Goodman as Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, Academy Award® winner J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash,” “Juno”) as Watertown Police Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese and Michelle Monaghan (“True Detective,” “Gone BabyGone”) as Wahlberg’s wife Carol Saunders.

As Berg sees it, “Patriots Day” is a film “about civic heroism, strength and resilience in the face of evil, a story that demanded to be told.”

“Patriots Day” provides audiences with “a deeper, more profound understanding of how the event impacted the city and how it responded,” says producer Michael Radutzky who, as producer of CBS’ “60 Minutes,” was responsible for the first investigative report of the incident. The piece, which centered around Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, aired less than a week after the bombing. “There is something special about how Boston handled the attack, something about the city’s innate spirit, the resolve of the survivors and the commitment of everyone involved to bring closure.”

Radutzky notes Berg was the ideal director for the project. “Pete’s a masterful filmmaker who found the humanity in the story, treating the subject honestly and accurately.”

Adds producer Hutch Parker. “I can’t think of another filmmaker who has chosen to tackle so many non-fiction adaptations, and done it so well, which is difficult because you know that you not only have to tell a good, entertaining story, but one that honors the facts. On that score, when you look at Pete’s history, from ‘Friday Night Lights’ to ‘Lone Survivor’ to ‘Deepwater Horizon,’ no one really does it better.”

Like many Americans, Berg had followed the events from the beginning. “I was moved by how the city rallied together to capture the perpetrators and how they continued to support each other,” says Berg.

Another theme that intrigued Berg was the way in which these acts of terrorism impacts contemporary society. “This horrific incident and others like it happening all over the world are acts of true cowardice carried out by religious extremists and other radicalized individuals targeting innocent people,” he says.

“What’s powerful, haunting and disturbing about this event, is that it didn’t happen in the mountains of war torn Afghanistan or a besieged city in the Middle East, but rather on Main Street USA.”

Berg was also keen to showcase the unified effort by the Boston area law enforcement working in close proximity with the FBI and how they coped throughout the ordeal, performing tirelessly under the most trying of circumstances – with the whole world watching. “The selfless courage of members of our military and law enforcement has been a source of ongoing inspiration to me,” he says.

Berg and his fellow filmmakers meticulously researched the story, spending several months meeting with local police chiefs, FBI case agents, Massachusetts State Police and other law enforcement, and community and organizational leaders to ensure that the film accurately depicted the real-life experience.

“The only way this movie would work is if the city of Boston was a character in the movie. We needed them to be partners in the process, because we owed it to them to get it right,” remarks Berg.

“The time we spent in Boston early on with those touched by these events was essential,” explains producer Scott Stuber. “It was the only way to make sure that we were telling the story accurately and with the right attention to detail. We gave them all our contact numbers so if there was a problem, or if they had a memory about the event, they could call us and discuss it. We wanted them to have the same kind of access the city had given us, to establish a true camaraderie.”

“Patriots Day” relies on multiple story lines to capture the tension that engulfed the city during the 105-hour manhunt. “Thousands of people’s lives were touched by this,” says Berg. “To capture the scope, we decided to follow seven or eight characters, each of whom was affected in a different way. No one in Boston knew what was going to happen next and there was a real concern that there’d be more attacks – and justifiably so. We were able to give a broader picture of the impact the bombing had on the city, both through individual acts of bravery and amazing acts of kindness and compassion.”

Just as Berg was the obvious choice to direct the film, who better to represent Boston’s can-do spirit and dedication than native-born son and Academy Award® nominee, Mark Wahlberg, who grew up in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood and would take on a central role in the film. Wahlberg also served as producer on the project.

Wahlberg confesses that, initially, he was a bit reticent to jump on board. “It’s such a sensitive subject to me because everyone in Boston knows someone who was directly affected. If I was going to do it, I wanted to make sure that we got the story right.”

Another consideration was whether it might be too soon after the bombing to tell the story. “But when I started to think about it,” explains Wahlberg, “my reaction was that if we don’t do it, someone else will and if they don’t come at it with the utmost respect and sensitivity it’s going to be a major problem.”

“Nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”
– David “Big Papi” Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

In experiencing the film, the goal is for audiences to take away hope and optimism.

“I hope this film works as a visceral experience, so that for two hours the audience gets caught up in the emotion and the energy and the intensity that infused the city in those 105 hours between the bombing and the capture of the brothers,” says director Peter Berg. “And I certainly hope that it becomes an opportunity for people to have a discussion about what is happening around us today and why it’s happening, and how at the end of the day love wins.”

Adds Wahlberg: “People will continue to do bad things, but they cannot dictate how we live our lives. We need to be able to go to a marathon, we need to be able to go to a baseball game, we need to be able to go to the movies, we need to be able to live normal lives and we all have to come together. The people of Boston showed that, in the end, love of our fellow man is always going to win out. That’s why this story needed to be told. And why the film’s positive message should be seen by everybody.”

“So much of what inspired us all in this story is the way in which Boston, its people, its law enforcement, its first responders, its survivors, understood that the way forward was to remain strong; to carry on in the face of something that was otherwise unthinkable,” says producer Hutch Parker.

Producer Scott Stuber adds, “the film’s message is about standing up, standing together and doing what’s right.”

The message of the film is perhaps best put into words by the real people:

Police Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese: “I’m a true patriot. I really do believe in America. I really, really do. I think Boston Strong, which is also America Strong, shows that we are going to stand up and defend ourselves. We’re not going to take it and be beaten down.”
Survivor Patrick Downes: “The bombs went off and wreaked incredible havoc, death and destruction, but in that immediate instant afterwards, people ran toward us.”
Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis: “When I first heard the term Boston Strong, about two days into the investigation, and for me it was emblematic of how tough the city and its residents can be.”
Former FBI Special Agent in Charge, Boston Division, Richard DesLauriers: “In the weeks after the bombing, when I had the opportunity to visit some of the most severely injured survivors, I was absolutely amazed by the strength and resiliency of the human spirit exhibited in these individuals. It was absolutely amazing.”
Former Governor of Massachussetts Deval Patrick: “I think that day...the bombers took lives and limbs, they took some of our sense of security. But they took a lot less than they intended. And they gave us back some things they didn’t intend...they gave us a stronger sense of community, a common cause. And I think we’ve seen that in other examples, in other cities around the world.”
Dun Meng: “When we have a challenge, we have a problem...we are facing it together. We always have hope. Be confident that good always defeats bad.”
Survivor Steve Woolfenden: “I have a tremendous amount of optimism and hope for the future.”
Survivor Jessica Kensky: “This has been the absolute worst and lowest time in our lives, as well as the best. After being the recipients of such incredible care and kindness, the very least I can do is get out of bed and try again, and try and make this world a little bit better for someone else.”
Survivor Patrick Downes: “When we see the news that another attack has happened, in Brussels, in Islamabad, Nice...Orlando, San Bernardino, Paris... I think it’s important we think of these people around the world, not as victims of violence, but ambassadors for peace.”