Movies

Spike Lee to receive honor from Palm Springs Film Festival. Spike Lee, who's in this year's awards race with "BlackKklansman," is set to receive the Career Achievement Award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival during its Awards Gala on January 3. The outspoken filmmaker's long career ranges from such 1980s fare as "She's Gotta Have It" and "Do the Right Thing" through "Malcom X," "Get on the Bus" and "Summer of Sam" to the more recent "OldBoy," "Inside Man" and "Chi-Raq." "BlackKklansman" stars John David Washington as Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, he bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. "Spike Lee has been an outstanding warrior for equal rights while creating an iconic body of film and television work over his 30-year career," PSIFF Chairman Harold Matzner said. "In 'BlacKkKlansman,' Lee directs one of his best and most provocative films. ... It is our great honor to present the Career Achievement Award to Spike Lee." Next up for the filmmaker is directing "Frederick Douglass NOW," a film adaptation of the one-man play by Lee's frequent collaborator Roger Guenveur Smith. Mary Hart and Entertainment Tonight are hosting the PSIFF awards at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The 30th anniversary Palm Springs Internationa Film Festival runs January 3-14. (PageSix)

Sean Penn filming documentary on murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Actor Sean Penn is filming a documentary on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to Turkish media. The two-time Oscar winner was spotted directing Wednesday outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered with a bone saw Oct. 2, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency. A crew of about 10 people and Penn, 58, were also seen filming outside the home of the Saudi consul general. During his visit, Penn is expected to meet with the Washington Post columnist's fiance, Hatice Cengiz, the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported. The CIA has determined that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was heavily involved in the decision to kill Khashoggi, one of his staunch critics. Top senators have also said they're convinced the prince ordered the hit, with Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham saying Tuesday "there's a smoking saw" in the case against him. Despite that assessment, President Trump has been wary of laying the blame on the Saudi royal. This is the latest controversial project Penn has taken on -- after he and Mexican telenovela actress Kate del Castillo infamously interviewed accused drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman while he was on the run in 2015. Their interview was published in Rolling Stone a day after the accused drug lord was nabbed in January 2016. Guzman, 61, is accused of pumping tons of narcotics into the United States during a decades-long reign of the Sinaloa Cartel. He faces life in prison. (PageSix)

Golden Globes: Why 'Roma' Didn't Get a Best Picture Nomination. Alfonso Cuaron earned noms for best director and best screenplay, and the film also earned a nom for best foreign-language film -- but the film was left out of a top category. Alfonso Cuaron's Roma, one of the most critically applauded films of the year, earned three Golden Globe nominations but was left out of one of the top categories. Cuaron earned nominations for best director and best screenplay, and the film also earned a nom for best foreign-language film -- but not best motion picture, drama. But, in this case, it's not a matter of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association intentionally snubbing the film for its top honors. Rather, the HFPA rules stipulate that films entered in its foreign-language category are not eligible for consideration in either the best motion picture-drama or best motion picture-musical or comedy categories, which, its rules state, "are exclusively for English-language motion pictures." Foreign-language films are, however, eligible to compete in other categories like directing, acting, writing and score. The rule is designed to prevent one film from winning the foreign-language Globe and then going on to claim the top prize for either drama or musical/comedy. Roma won't face the same restrictions at the Oscars, where it is Mexico's submission in the foreign-language film category. Since it's also played a qualifying theatrical run in Los Angeles, it will also be eligible in all other categories including best picture. Ten foreign-language films have been nominated for the best picture Oscar over the years, although none have ever won the best picture award. For example, 2000's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon won foreign-language at the 73rd Academy Awards but lost best picture to Gladiator. (Hollywood Reporter)

Michael?B.? Jordan's Production Head on How Millennials Are Making Change in Hollywood Alana Mayo, who leads production and development at Outlier Society, lays out the corporate responsibility, social justice and content needed to reach "the most diverse generation that has ever existed in the history of America." When I was a studio executive, it always felt like the younger generation was the most difficult to reach with feature films. Some of that is because they use newer technologies -- for instance, they obviously consume more content on mobile devices. I was fascinated by solving that puzzle. And, as a woman of color and a queer person, I was interested in making movies that would uniquely speak to that audience. One of the things that most compelled me to start working with Michael was the prospect of having a company that is decidedly millennial. There is something really promising about having a company that proudly identifies with the largest living generation in the U.S. When Michael and I discuss material that excites us, they inherently and organically tend to have attributes that people of our generation (and even younger) respond to and gravitate toward. For example, a remarkable defining quality of the millennial generation is its focus and interest in corporate responsibility. If a company is exposed for what is viewed to be an irresponsible practice -- think of what's happened recently with Facebook or Uber last year -- we often see a striking consumer reaction from that generation to boycott said company's products. Conversely, brands and companies may find their sales rewarded by leading with an image of responsibility. Not dissimilarly, I think of Michael and myself as "bleeding hearts" who want to make content that speaks to social justice and has some sort of community influence. One of the first things Michael said to me was, "I love to make content that could actually have an impact in the real world." The traditional model in our business tells you that these types of movies aren't commercially viable, and specifically not for a younger audience. But in fact, we're seeing millennial audiences really respond to material that makes a statement. Michael has been quoted many times saying that adopting an inclusion rider and partnering with Warner Bros. to add an inclusion policy at the corporate level, is a no-brainer, and I feel the same way. Our generation is also the most diverse that has ever existed in the history of America, and we want to see that reflected in the content that we make and in the people that we work with. From a creative standpoint, it's exciting to think about whose story hasn't been told recently, or, in many cases, at all. For example, if there is one story told in a generation about a queer person of color, there could feasibly be entire generations in front of and behind them who may not have seen it. Why would we want only a small token of stories to represent the beautiful multitude of different identities and experiences that exist? I feel strongly that one of the privileges of having a company like ours is to facilitate these differentiated voices and to challenge the status quo of what "commercial" can be. Can you be a global movie star and be black? Yes. Can a superhero movie be set on the continent of Africa and make historic amounts at the box office? Yes. There is incredible potential for future examples to continue dispelling traditional beliefs. I'm not just saying this from an optimistic point of view. I believe this will inevitably come to pass, simply based on what the audience makeup will look like as time progresses and as young people, who have the privilege of more choice in content than any generation before them, continue to demand that our industry fill vast holes in the marketplace. What has been a frustrating experience of yelling into the void -- and being almost universally disagreed with -- now feels like nearing a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel and actually making some headway. (Hollywood Reporter)

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