As Coronavirus Hits Pause On Touring, Musicians Perform Online

L-R John Legend, Neil Young, Chris Martin

 

As the coronavirus pandemic hits indefinite pause on concerts and touring, many musicians are instead streaming shows for tens of thousands of fans self-quarantining.

Artists including Neil Young, Chris Martin of Coldplay and Christine and the Queens are among those who have played online shows for the folks at home, as governments worldwide ban mass gatherings and urge people to hunker down.

“Because we are all at home and not many are venturing out, we will try to do a stream from my fireplace with my lovely wife filming,” Young said on his website.

“It will be a down-home production, a few songs, a little time together,” said the Canadian-born rocker, who this year became an American citizen.

Coldplay’s frontman Martin played an Instagram live show on Monday, a decidedly more intimate concert than the high-production arena shows the British band usually sells out.

“Maybe 9/11 was the last time I felt like we were all together,” Martin said of the pandemic, as he spoke directly to the camera and took requests that included his band’s early hit “Yellow” and later work like “Viva La Vida.”

The 43-year-old sported a low-key sweater and beanie as he switched between his piano and guitar, quipping at one point: “I don’t want to press any buttons in case it ends things.”

Martin’s virtual show was part of a collaboration between the World Health Organization and Global Citizen — an organization aimed at combatting extreme poverty — entitled “Together, At Home.”

The Coldplay crooner announced at the end of his concert that R&B star John Legend was next in line, joking that: “You can see a real piano player who doesn’t need fireworks to play.”

Hugh Evans, the CEO of Global Citizen, told AFP the series is natural because “music has long been a unifying force in times of crisis.”

“Millions are staying at home and isolating,” he said. “Artists and musicians have rallied to give us encouragement, hope and a shared mission to take action to fight coronavirus.”

– Brighten lives –
Boston’s beloved Dropkick Murphys streamed a St Patrick’s day show despite the city’s normally raucous celebrations being cancelled.

And country star Keith Urban, forced to cancel a show in Houston, was joined by his wife Nicole Kidman for a concert, telling fans: “We’re down here in the warehouse — this is our joint, where we store everything — and we thought we’d break out the camera, the iPhone, and stream live.”

It’s not just the world of pop and rock descending online: the classical world is also keeping up with the times, with many companies opening up archives of shows online and broadcasting concerts for free.

New York’s Metropolitan Opera — closed over coronavirus at least through March — is streaming a different show nightly from its collection over the past 14 years — with shows like “Carmen” and “La Boheme” on deck.

“During this extraordinary and difficult time, the Met hopes to brighten the lives of our audience members even while our stage is dark,” the company said.

The Berlin Philharmonic, closed until April 19, is also playing for a “virtual concert hall” archive.

“We hope that through this initiative we can give pleasure to as many people as possible with our music. We already miss our public very much and hope that in this way we can remain in contact with our audience,” said principal cellist Olaf Maninger.

– ‘Breath of fresh air’ –
In France, singer-songwriter Jean-Louis Aubert — co-founder of the group Telephone — told AFP that “as a cyber-troubadour” he can begin to overcome the “solitude” of life in the time of coronavirus.

An hour-and-half show online accumulated millions of views and 65,000 comments.

“I was really moved,” he said. “I received a lot of messages, notably from infected people, who told me I’d given them a breath of fresh air — that I’d managed to relax them for a few minutes.”

And in Italy — a coronavirus hotspot that’s posted the highest number of deaths after China at 2,503, of more than 31,500 cases — rocker Gianna Nannini streamed an acoustic show on social media.

“We will do everything possible to overcome this terrible moment together,” she said. “The ugly thing about this virus is loneliness.”

“Each of us must make something of our own available to our community.”

Ex-Minister, Fani-Kayode To Make Acting Debut In New Nollywood Series

 

Nigerian politician, Oluwafemi Fani-Kayode has made his Nollywood debut in a series titled ‘Silent Prejudice’.

He took to social media on Monday, to make the announcement, noting that he would be making a cameo appearance in the series.

The former minister who shared photos of himself on set along with veteran actors, Larry Coldsweat and Obi Idejimba, said “being a thespian is no mean feat”.

He also gave kudos to those who take up acting full time, saying: “my respect for them is boundless” as it requires total dedication and focus.

According to Fani-Kayode, the movie which is being produced by Chris Oge Kalu, will also feature his wife as well as his friend, Senator Dino Melaye, among others.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I had the honor and privilege of joining some of the Nollywood greats like Larry Koldsweat, Obi Idejimba and T.T. Temple on set last Saturday and making a cameo appearance in my debut movie which is a series titled “Silent Prejudice”. We were on set the whole afternoon and, though gruelling, it was a great experience and tremendous fun! Many do not know just how hard actors work and the energy and discipline that goes into their craft. Being a thespian is no mean feat. It requires total dedication and focus and, having been through what I experienced on saturday, my respect for them is boundless. My friends, brothers, colleagues and fellow politicians Chief Dan Iwuanyawu and Senator Dino Melaye appear in the series as well, as does our respected and much-loved big brother Governor Chukwuemeka Ezeife, so I was not alone! Thankfully the producer, Mr. Chris Oge Kalu, guided us beautifully and taught us all we needed to know. My beautiful wife Precious (@snowhiteey) was also on set with us and encouraged me immensely. She appears in the movie too! Season 1 is already being aired on AIT on Wednesdays at 9.00pm and Season 2, in which I appear, will soon be aired. The series is about the evils associated with the Osu cast system and has the full.endorsement and participation of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission whose Executive Secretary, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, also makes an appearance. Please join us and find the time to watch it! See you then! @Obiidejimba @tt_temple001 @Larrykoldsweat @Chrisogekalu.cok

A post shared by Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK) (@real_ffk) on

Hollywood Mourns Legendary Actor Kirk Douglas

 

 

Hollywood mourned the death of legendary actor Kirk Douglas on Wednesday, one of the last giants of Hollywood’s golden age and the star of such classics as “Spartacus” and “Ace in the Hole.”

As news of the 103-year-old actor’s death broke, celebrities took to social media to honor his legacy.

“Kirk retained his movie star charisma right to the end of his wonderful life and I’m honored to have been a small part of his last 45 years,” director Steven Spielberg said in a statement. “I will miss his handwritten notes, letters and fatherly advice, and his wisdom and courage — even beyond such a breathtaking body of work — are enough to inspire me for the rest of mine.”

Ron Meyer, the vice chairman of NBCUniversal, the studio behind “Spartacus,” said the screen icon will always hold a special place for his contribution to cinema.

“I’ve personally known the Douglas family for over 40 years,” Meyer said. “Kirk was an extraordinary man, dedicated husband and father, a loving grandfather, and one of the most iconic actors of his time.”

Filmmaker and actor Rob Reiner remembered Douglas for his courage in helping to end the Hollywood blacklist — drawn up in the 1940s and 50s to target entertainment professionals suspected of communist ties.

Douglas memorably insisted after the filming of Spartacus that screenwriter Dalton Trumbo — one of those targeted by the communist witch hunts and who had written for years under an alias — use his real name in the film credits.

“Kirk Douglas will always be an icon in the pantheon of Hollywood,” Reiner wrote on Twitter. “He put himself on the line to break the blacklist. My love goes out to my friend Michael and the whole family.”

Star Trek’s William Shatner tweeted: “Condolences to the family of Kirk Douglas. What an incredible icon he was in this industry!”

‘Brilliant actor’

“Kirk Douglas. The inspirational Scalawag,” wrote actor Danny DeVito, in reference to the 1973 movie of the same name — the first film Douglas directed.

“103 years on this earth. That’s got a nice ring to it! Great hanging with you man,” he added.

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, whose father Tony Curtis also starred in “Spartacus,” used a line from her dad’s character Antoninus in the movie to remember Douglas.

“‘I love you Spartacus, like the father I never had.’ Antoninus,” she wrote in a message on Twitter accompanied by a photo of the two men. “I did have a father and he LOVED you as the world loved you. Your Passion. Talent. Politics. Family. Art. Strength. I grew up with the Douglas boys. My love to Anne and all his family from mine.”

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill described Douglas in a tweet as “one of the biggest stars of all time & a brilliant actor with an unforgettable, blazing charisma.”

“The last great giant of my cinema heroes has passed on to Infinite glory,” wrote “Rocky” and “Rambo” star Sylvester Stallone on Instagram. “Amazing artist … the likes of which we will never see again!”

The late actor’s son, Michael Douglas wrote a moving tribute on Instagram, saying his father’s legacy will endure for generations to come.

“Let me end with the words I told him on his last birthday and which will always remain true,” he added. “Dad- I love you so much and I am so proud to be your son.”

Hollywood Legend Kirk Douglas Dies At 103

In this file photo taken on March 1, 2011 actor Kirk Douglas attends the ceremony to honor Indian conductor Zubin Mehta with a Star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

 

US silver screen legend Kirk Douglas, the son of Jewish Russian immigrants who rose through the ranks to become one of Hollywood’s biggest-ever stars, has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 103.

One of the last survivors of the golden age of cinema and the father of Oscar-winning actor and filmmaker Michael Douglas, the “Spartacus” actor was renowned for the macho tough guy roles he took on in around 90 movies over a six-decade career.

“It is with tremendous sadness that my brothers and I announce that Kirk Douglas left us today at the age of 103,” Michael Douglas said in a statement posted to Facebook.

“To the world he was a legend, an actor from the golden age of movies who lived well into his golden years, a humanitarian whose commitment to justice and the causes he believed in set a standard for all of us to aspire to.”

Douglas was Oscar-nominated for his roles as a double-crossing and womanizing boxer in “Champion” (1949), a ruthless movie producer in “The Bad and the Beautiful” (1952) and tortured artist Vincent Van Gogh in “Lust for Life” (1956).

But his only Academy Award came in 1995 — an honorary lifetime achievement statuette “for 50 years as a creative and moral force in the motion picture community.”

Douglas is survived by second wife Anne Buydens, 100, and three sons. A fourth child, Eric, died of a drug overdose in his 40s, in 2004.

“(To) me and my brothers Joel and Peter he was simply Dad, to Catherine (Zeta-Jones), a wonderful father-in-law, to his grandchildren and great grandchild their loving grandfather, and to his wife Anne, a wonderful husband,” said Michael.

“Kirk’s life was well lived, and he leaves a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come, and a history as a renowned philanthropist who worked to aid the public and bring peace to the planet.”

Key Nominees For The 2020 Grammy Awards

 

Here is a list of nominees in the major categories for the 62nd annual Grammy Awards, which will be handed out on Sunday in Los Angeles:

Album of the Year –

Bon Iver, “i, i”

Lana Del Rey, “Norman Fucking Rockwell!”

Billie Eilish, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

Ariana Grande, “thank u, next”

H.E.R., “I Used To Know Her”

Lil Nas X, “7”

Lizzo, “Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)”

Vampire Weekend, “Father Of The Bride”

Record of the Year, recognizing overall performance on a song –

Bon Iver, “Hey, Ma”

Billie Eilish, “Bad Guy”

Ariana Grande, “7 Rings”

H.E.R., “Hard Place”

Khalid, “Talk”

Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road”

Lizzo, “Truth Hurts”

Post Malone and Swae Lee, “Sunflower”

Read Also: Burna Boy Nominated For 2020 Grammy Awards

Song of the Year, recognizing songwriting –

Lady Gaga, Natalie Hemby, Hillary Lindsey and Lori McKenna, “Always Remember Us This Way” (from “A Star Is Born”)

Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, “Bad Guy”

Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth and Tanya Tucker, “Bring My Flowers Now”

H.E.R., Ruby Amanfu, Sam Ashworth, D. Arcelious Harris and Rodney Jerkins, “Hard Place”

Taylor Swift, “Lover”

Lana Del Rey and Jack Antonoff, “Norman Fucking Rockwell!”

Lewis Capaldi, Tom Barnes, Pete Kelleher, Benjamin Kohn and Sam Roman, “Someone You Loved”

Lizzo, Steven Cheung, Eric Frederic and Jesse Saint John, “Truth Hurts”

Best New Artist –

Black Pumas

Billie Eilish

Lil Nas X

Lizzo

Maggie Rogers

Rosalia

Tank And The Bangas

Yola

Best Music Video –

The Chemical Brothers, “We’ve Got to Try”

Gary Clark Jr, “This Land”

FKA twigs, “Cellophane”

Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, “Old Town Road”

Tove Lo, “Glad He’s Gone”

Best Rap Album –

Dreamville, “Revenge Of The Dreamers III”

Meek Mill, “Championships”

21 Savage, “I Am > I Was”

Tyler, The Creator, “Igor”

YBN Cordae, “The Lost Boy”

Best Rock Album –

Bring Me The Horizon, “Amo”

Cage The Elephant, “Social Cues”

The Cranberries, “In The End”

I Prevail, “Trauma”

Rival Sons, “Feral Roots”

Best Pop Vocal Album –

Beyonce, “The Lion King: The Gift”

Billie Eilish, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

Ariana Grande, “thank u, next”

Ed Sheeran, “No. 6 Collaborations Project”

Taylor Swift, “Lover”

Best Alternative Music Album –

Big Thief, “U.F.O.F.”

James Blake, “Assume Form”

Bon Iver, “i, i”

Vampire Weekend, “Father of the Bride”

Thom Yorke, “Anima”

Best World Music Album –

Altin Gun, “Gece”

Bokante & Metropole Orkest conducted by Jules Buckley, “What Heat”

Burna Boy, “African Giant”

Nathalie Joachim with Spektral Quartet, “Fanm D’Ayiti”

Angelique Kidjo, “Celia”

Justin Bieber Reveals He Has Lyme Disease

In this file photo taken on November 09, 2019 Justin Bieber waits in the ring after the fight between KSI and Logan Paul at Staples Center on November 9, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. JAYNE KAMIN-ONCEA / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Pop superstar Justin Bieber announced Wednesday that he has Lyme disease.

In a post on Instagram, Bieber said he will address his struggle with the illness, which is contracted through a tick bite, in a YouTube documentary.

“It’s been a rough couple years but getting the right treatment that will help treat this so far incurable disease and I will be back and better than ever,” the 25-year-old entertainer wrote in the post’s caption.

He called out critics who he says have been unfairly commenting on his looks by saying he looks like he is “on meth.”

“They failed to realize I’ve been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease, not only that but had a serious case of chronic mono which affected my, skin, brain function, energy, and overall health.”

The photo portion of Bieber’s post shows a TMZ article reporting that the YouTube documentary is set for a January 27 release.

“You can learn all that I’ve been battling and OVERCOMING!!” he wrote on Instagram.

He spent much of last year suffering but undiagnosed, TMZ reported, until doctors figured out what was wrong.

The post’s photos include pictures said to be taken in September of Bieber appearing to be hooked up to an IV drip.

In subsequent Instagram posts and on his Instagram story later in the day, Bieber thanked his fans for supporting his new song “Yummy,” released last week.

And the Canadian seemed to say he is doing better, posting a meme video of a little girl dancing with the caption, “But now this is how I’m feelin.”

Bieber was discovered by talent scouts as a young teenager after posting videos of himself singing on YouTube and quickly shot to superstardom. He has since won several MTV awards, Billboard Music Awards, and a Grammy, among others.

After an Instagram post from March indicated Bieber would be taking time off music to focus on “my family and my health,” Bieber married US model Hailey Baldwin in September.

Now he has a new album and tour coming soon, according to TMZ.

In September Bieber opened up about “massive ups and downs” he experienced as he went from beloved teenage heartthrob to “the most ridiculed, judged and hated person in the world.”

In a lengthy Instagram post, he reflected on how child stardom triggered depression and a lack of humility that led to drug abuse and his becoming “resentful, disrespectful to women, and angry.”

“I became distant to everyone who loved me, and I was hiding behind, a shell of a person that I had become,” he wrote.

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through infected ticks, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms can include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, joint aches and a “bull’s-eye” rash that occurs in 70 to 80 percent of infections.

Most people who are treated with antibiotics early fully recover, according to the CDC, though the infection can become severe or prolonged in some cases.

Saudi Sentences To Death Yemeni Attacker On Spanish Performers

 

 

A Saudi criminal court sentenced a Yemeni man to death Sunday for a knife attack on a Spanish theatre group performing in Riyadh last month, state television said.

The court also sentenced an accomplice to 12 years and six months in jail for the November 11 attack which Riyadh has linked to militant group Al-Qaeda, and which Madrid said left four performers wounded.

“The criminal court issues a preliminary ruling handing the death sentence to the perpetrator of the terrorist attack… in Riyadh,” the official Al-Ekhbariya television reported.

The assailant, identified by Saudi police as a 33-year-old Yemeni, went on a stabbing spree during a live musical in the capital’s King Abdullah Park, one of the venues hosting the two-month “Riyadh Season” entertainment festival.

Last week, Al-Ekhbariya said the attacker took orders from an Al-Qaeda leader in Yemen, but so far there has been no claim of responsibility from the group.

Al-Ekhbariya did not offer any details on his alleged accomplice.

Saudi Arabia is leading a military coalition supporting the Yemeni government against the Iran-backed Huthi rebels and has also been involved in the fight against Al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is active in Yemen, is considered by the United States as the radical group’s most dangerous branch.

Observers also point at burbling resentment among arch-conservatives in the kingdom over the multi-billion dollar entertainment push.

The Riyadh Season festival is part of a broad government push to open up the kingdom to tourists and diversify its economy away from oil.

De facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pursued sweeping social reforms that mark the biggest cultural shakeup in the kingdom’s modern history, allowing mixed-gender concerts and the reopening of cinemas.

Although the reforms are wildly popular among Saudi Arabia’s mainly young population, they risk angering religious hardliners in the deeply conservative nation.

‘Valley Of Souls’ Triumphs At Marrakesh Film Festival

British actress Tilda Swinton (R) stands as Colombian director Nicola Rincon Gille holds his trophy of the ” Etoile d’Or ” during the closing ceremony of the 18th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival on December 7, 2019, in Marrakech. FADEL SENNA / AFP

 

 

Colombian director Nicolas Rincon Gille’s “Valley of Souls”, the story of a father’s solitary search for the bodies of his murdered sons, won top prize Saturday at the Marrakesh film festival.

It follows the journey of Jose, who comes home from a night of fishing to discover that paramilitaries have killed his two sons and dumped their bodies in the river.

So he sets off in a canoe to try to find their bodies and give them a proper burial.

READ ALSO: ‘Emotional’ Will Smith Campaigns Against Homelessness In New York

Marrakesh’s 18th annual festival was attended by top cinema stars such as Harvey Keitel, Marion Cotillard, Tilda Swinton and Robert Redford, who received a lifetime achievement award.

Toby Wallace won Best Actor for his role in the Australian comedy “Babyteeth”, directed by Shannon Murphy.

Nichola Burley and Roxanne Scrimshaw shared the Best Actress prize for British comedy “Lynn + Lucy”, directed by Fyzal Boulifa.

Tunisia’s Ala Eddine Slim was named Best Director for “Tlamess”, a drama about a soldier who deserts the army after his mother’s death.

Disney Tops Earnings Estimates Ahead Of Streaming Launch

 

Walt Disney Co. on Thursday reported better-than-expected quarterly results, fueled by the release of blockbuster films “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” as it prepared for its new streaming television service.

Disney profit in the recently ended quarter was $1.05 billion, down from $2.3 billion a year ago, on revenue that grew 34 percent to $19.1 billion.

The slump in profits came as Disney absorbed key film and television operations of 21st Century Fox and geared up for its launch of the streaming service Disney+ that aims to compete globally against Netflix and others.

“We’ve spent the last few years completely transforming The Walt Disney Company to focus the resources and immense creativity across the entire company on delivering an extraordinary direct-to-consumer experience,” said Disney chief executive Robert Iger.

“We’re excited for the launch of Disney+ on November 12.”

Iger said the company reached a deal for the service to be on Amazon’s Fire TV platform, the latest distribution agreement for Disney+.

Disney shares were up more than five percent in after-market trading following release of the earnings figures.

‘Lion King’ roars

Revenues in the past quarter were boosted by a 52 percent rise in Disney’s studio operations with box office hits “The Lion King,” “Toy Story 4” and “Aladdin” fueling gains.

The entertainment giant expects revenue in the current quarter to be boosted by the forthcoming release of a sequel to “Frozen” and the final installment of the “Star Wars” film saga.

It will thereafter take a “hiatus” from “Star Wars” box office films but has an array of spin-off shows planned exclusively for its streaming service.

Disney has become the biggest Hollywood player with the acquisition of studio and TV assets from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.

However, integrating Fox into Disney has cost more than expected and the newly added studios have brought in less money than hoped.

Disney saw smaller revenue gains in its cable and broadcasting operations as well as its theme park division.

Iger would not disclose details of pre-sales of Disney+ subscriptions, but said the price — $6.99 monthly — has met with “great enthusiasm” by consumers.

The Disney+ online streaming service will debut in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands before gradually expanding internationally in Europe then rolling out worldwide.

Its films and TV shows will be available, along with the library it acquired from 21st Century Fox. That includes the “Star Wars” and Marvel superhero franchises and ABC television content.

Disney+ will also combine offerings from powerhouse brands including Pixar, with content from Hulu and sports network ESPN.

Apple rolling

Apple last week launched a streaming television service that features a budding library of original shows starring big-name celebrities, aimed at winning over its gadget lovers at home and on the go.

The Apple TV+ on-demand streaming service launched in more than 100 countries at $4.99 per month.

Original Apple TV+ shows have so far been met with lukewarm early reviews, but the low subscription price and an offer of year-long memberships free with purchase of the company’s devices was expected to encourage viewers to tune in.

Netflix, meanwhile, has budgeted $15 billion this year for original shows, on top of the billions it has devoted to exclusive productions in recent years.

Amazon, which has deep pockets thanks to its e-commerce and cloud services, has also poured cash into original shows for its Prime Video service.

This sets up a potential spending war among the major streaming players, according to analysts.

Even more competition looms on the horizon, with AT&T’s Warner Media to launch its “HBO Max” in early 2020 after reclaiming the rights from Netflix to stream its popular television comedy “Friends.”

NBCUniversal’s Peacock service is also launching next year.

As ‘Streaming Wars’ Rage, Social Networks Create Their Own TV Series

 

Even as Disney, HBO and Apple lavish billions on content to gatecrash TV streaming wars, social networks like Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat are creating their own original shows to get their piece of the advertising pie.

Historically, these three social networks are better known for hosting user-generated content.

But in recent years, each has invested in scripted programming which is free to view — unlike the streaming giants, who charge subscriptions.

At one stage, YouTube planned to charge for shows such as “Karate Kid” spinoff “Cobra Kai” and Generation Z comedy “Liza on Demand” using its premium service. But it backtracked this year.

Free access “gives advertisers more opportunities to engage with a broader audience … and align with top Hollywood talent and YouTube creators,” the company said in May.

For YouTube, which has at times been condemned for the questionable content posted by users, offering high-quality series with production values matching conventional television also burnishes its reputation.

Quality not quantity

Mark Beal, a Rutgers professor who wrote a book (“Decoding Gen Z”) on the generation born since the mid-1990s, said young people “do not respond to traditional advertising.”

But they may be more receptive to branding tied to original content on platforms such as YouTube, he said.

Still, after its ambitious burst of content, YouTube has slowed down its original production, scrapping multiple new and existing programs to focus on a few successful shows.

Quality not quantity also appears to be Facebook’s strategy on scripted shows.

In mid-October, it released “Limetown,” a web drama starring Jessica Biel based on a popular podcast of the same name.

In addition to boosting the social network’s image with prestige content, the show helps drive its Facebook Watch video platform.

Both “Limetown” and Elizabeth Olsen-starring flagship show “Sorry for Your Loss” benefit from and drive interaction among Facebook’s nearly 2.5 billion monthly users.

“That, to me, is the most exciting part,” Michelle Purple, co-producer of “Limetown,” said at the Toronto film festival in September.

“From week to week, audiences can have their water cooler moment together and talk about what happened, and what they think is going to happen.”

“Sorry for Your Loss” tackles themes of grief, and moderators are on hand to offer online psychological support for users seeking help.

Both dramas are dark in tone and intended for older audiences, reflecting Facebook’s demographic compared to younger platforms, such as Snapchat and TikTok.

Smartphone dominance

While Snapchat also produces fictional programming to increase user interactions and time spent on its platform, it does so in its own distinctive way.

Episodes are typically only a few minutes long, shot at a frantic pace with flashy visual effects, and are filmed vertically to suit smartphone viewing.

And unlike YouTube and Facebook, Snapchat is not skimping on quantity.

In April, it announced six brand new scripted shows, followed by a further three in September, on top of those already available including sorority hacking comedy “Kappa Crypto” and supernatural mystery “The Dead Girls Detective Agency.”

Though a long way from the $15 million per episode Apple TV+ is throwing at flagship series “The Morning Show,” parent company Snap is still happy to spend up to $50,000 per episode, according to media website Digiday.

“Mobile is now the dominant medium for telling stories and consuming content,” said Snapchat original content head Sean Mills at a summit in April.

“This transformation is creating massive new opportunities.”

AFP

‘Farming’ Brought To Fruition A Vision I Carried For So Long – Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

 

British-Nigerian actor, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, has shared some of the experiences that inspired his directorial debut, ‘Farming’.

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, the actor who said he had gone through an identity crisis as a teenager, explained that the movie was an expression of some of those struggles.

According to him, producing the movie “was very surreal, very cathartic, at times very emotional but ultimately it was like the fruition of a vision that (he) had carried for so many years”.

The movie which tells a story of a young Nigerian boy, ‘farmed out’ by his parents to a white British family with hopes of a better future, featured Genevieve Nnaji, Kate Beckinsale, Damson Idris, among others.

Adewale described them as “fantastic” saying, “I couldn’t have got a better cast”.

When asked what Nollywood can do to get international attention, he said the Nigerian film industry has so much potential to be seeking the attention of its foreign counterparts.

“The Nigerian film industry has to have its own identity,” he said.

He further explained that the industry is not lacking with talent and is rapidly expanding in terms of quality of productions.

“A lot of Nollywood was born out of a lack of resources. We were using cameras that were relatively outdated. There’s new technology and artists and filmmakers are now getting access to that and that’s definitely going to improve the quality,” he said.

Beyond that, he believes that the industry does not need to compete with others but rather continue to improve itself and tell its stories in the best ways possible.

“I don’t think you should think of it in terms of improving the quality to compete with Hollywood or anybody else.

“It is improving the quality to be able to tell our stories in the richest texture and the ways that we can and if we stick to that, who knows it may become the dominant channel,” he said.

The Beautiful Epiphany Of Johnny Drille’s Count On You

 

It isn’t a far stretch to imagine that every piece of music is an expression of love for something, whether it is money, drugs or abstract things like hate and justice.

Johnny Drille, perhaps Nigeria’s most impressive vocalist recording now, makes music that is an expression of love for love. In Johnny Drille’s world, love is as it is in a rom-com, a rollercoaster of highs and lows, heartbreak and epiphanies, grief and joy, but with a happy ending.

When it doesn’t end happily, it leaves a throbbing ache behind, of regret, of sadness, that is maybe even more beautiful than the former’s joy.

On Wednesday, Drille, who was born John Ighodaro, took to Twitter and announced that he was soon releasing “The greatest love song ever”.

He repeated the phrase in caps. When Count On You dropped on Friday, he tweeted “you can count on me to always deliver good music” and urged his fans to help promote the new single.

By Saturday morning, Count On You had racked over 100,000 views on YouTube.

Read Also: #BamTeddy Tie The Knot In Johnny Drille’s New Music Video

For an artiste who is yet to really break into the mainstream, the numbers seemed to be adding up, slowly.

Count On You is a typical Drille song: the lyrics are poetic, heavy with layered meaning; the rhythm is designed to start slow and pick up into something of a crescendo and climax; and, of course, Drille’s unique voice which caresses the ears like a stick of soft wool.

The song is another point for Drille in the imaginary race to become this country’s musical love connoisseur.

Now, on to the appearance of Bambam and Teddy in Count On You’s video, which, at first, appears to be a stroke of marketing genius. But it is more than that. Drille is also tapping into the strange chemistry of one of the most unexpected public love stories in 2019.

No one gave the duo a chance, after their Big Brother sultry rendezvous. “Nobody thought we’d ever come this far,” Drille crooned.

The BamBam and Teddy romance is a vivacious rejection of Nigeria’s conservative idea on how marital love develops and Drille appears to agree with their story of lasting love. “Baby this is day one of forever,” he sang.

Count On You is a beautiful work of art, if not for its realism, but for its evocation of a world where love triumphs over everything, including societal expectations. It is an ode to the power of trust and vulnerability in a world low on faith.