issue 20: Tribeca All Access
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OVERSEEN & OVERHEARD
ENCORE PERFORMANCE...And speaking of P. Diddy, just as Sidney Poitier brought his Walter Lee from Broadway to film, so shall Combs, who starred in a revival of A Raisin In The Sun on Broadway in 2004. Fellow play cast members, Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald, and Sanaa Lathan, are in the TV film for ABC, which will begin shooting this December in Toronto. Let's hope TV critics are kinder to Diddy's TV performance.
SAY A LITTLE PRAYER...If you haven't gotten one yet, you probably will--an email visual/slide show pray for Whitney Houston. The one sent to us had lots of "Before" and "After" photos, and a universal prayer for the singer/actress. Maybe her sister-in-law got tired of speaking to The National Enquirer and sent it out.
A NEW CALLING..."Girlfriends" fans, if you've been wondering what happened to Cee Cee Michaela (aka William's ex-cop girlfriend), she's been off creating spiritual getaways called Holywood Retreats (www.holywoodretreat.com ). The second annual one is about to happen, on July 13-15. This retreat is done in conjunction with Cee Cee's GodzGirl Network, and it's not just a spiritual retreat. Planned are seminars on entrepreneurship, money matters, industry image making, even AIDS education.
CITY OF HYPHY...BET's Mad Linx explores the hip-hop phenomenon “Hyphy,” which started in California's Oakland/Bay Area. His show, "Rap City," will explore the music and its most prominent players--including Too $hort, E-40, Heiroglyphics, and Davey D from May 30 to June 5th. So if you wanna be up on the latest rap movement, you have to tune in. Check local listings for exact time.
COMMUNITY AT RISK...Queen Latifah will play an AIDS' activist in Life Support, an HBO TV movie about the HIV crisis in the black community. The project is based on the life of writer Nelson George's sister and their family. George will direct from his script. Shooting begins next month in New York.
CALL FOR ENTRIES...The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival 2007 has officially called for films about African-Americans and people of African descent from around the world. Filmmakers do not have to be Black, but film themes must have primary focus on Black people, Black life, and/or Black culture. Genres/themes: dramatic narrative, animation, shorts, children's/youth films, lesbian/gay, documentary, experimental. Deadline: January 31, 2007. Visit http://www.langstonblackfilmfes
GLOBAL VIEW...The San Francisco Black Film Festival (SFBFF) is set to take place June 6-June 11, at various venues in the city, including the new Museum of the African Diaspora. Since 1998, SFBFF (http://www.sfbff.org/) has presented work by independent filmmakers from every culture and country. The opening film this year is Son of Man from South Africa.
MALE BONDING...Guess where Mekhi Phifer, Tyson Beckford, Duane Martin, and athlete/sometime-actor Rick Fox will be on June 1st? At a fly Beverly Hills estate along with other stag partiers attending an event called House of Hype celebrating the 2006 MTV Movie Awards. They'll also be checking out the manly swag at House of Hype. Tauted as the "Ultimate Gentleman's Retreat," House of Hype will house men's luxury lifestyle products--automotive, fashion, grooming, health, sports, and technology. Ah, the perks of being a celebrity.
MERGER OF THE MONTHIn an attempt to do battle with the ever-expanding Google, eBay has announced an agreement with Yahoo. Under this new business deal, eBay will receive text-based advertising while Yahoo gains access to eBay's PayPal payment program. In a press statement, the companies explained that the multi-year strategic partnership "consists of four major components in the areas of search and graphical advertising, online payments, a co-branded toolbar, and the opportunity to explore "click-to-call" functionality."
"Our consumers will benefit from the combination of Yahoo! and eBay's leading technology and services, providing them with one of the best online experiences," said Terry Semel, chairman and chief executive officer, Yahoo! Inc. "Yahoo! holds a leadership position in all forms of online advertising. This partnership with eBay provides us with a great opportunity to further extend our sponsored search and graphical advertising reach to one of the largest and most active communities on the Web."
"We are thrilled to be working more closely with Yahoo! and we think this agreement represents a great opportunity to benefit our communities and grow our businesses," said Meg Whitman, president and chief executive officer, eBay Inc. "Yahoo! offers an engaged online audience, which drives massive traffic through its rich consumer content and premium services. Working together, we can create more exposure for our properties, which in turn makes them more valuable to our users."According to industry insiders, PayPal represents about 20% of eBay's revenue. With this new partnership, Yahoo can offer digital content for sale with PayPal as a payment method. While Yahoo is the most visited website, it has been steadily losing ground to Google. And, according to ComScore, EBay is the Internet's fifth most visited site. According to reports, no money is changing hands; both companies will share revenue, splitting proceeds from advertising and PayPal fees. Full implementation of the plan, say the companies, will be complete by 2007, with the first phase to begin over the next few months.
RE-ENTRY: TRIBECA ALL ACCESS
No doubt, you caught our daily round-ups during the Tribeca Film Festival but this facet is just so special, we decided to give ya a "remix" on it just in case it got lost in the shuffle. What are we referring to? The portion of the Tribeca Film Institute known as Tribeca All Access (TAA), an arm we just happened to stumble upon. It turns out that this gem was actually installed to assist filmmakers and screenwriters of color. So for those you know who may be encountering obstacles with a stellar project, read on. This just may be the answer.
According TAA director Beth Janson, the program was launched just three years ago and was started by the festival programmers since they believed their overall submissions lacked diversity from U.S. directors. "We wanted the submissions to reflect the fabric of the city and wondered how to get the word out to them to let them know the Festival is for them too," explains Janson. So they developed an entity that would not only do this but also truly help in terms of creating co-productions.
It's really quite simple, actually: Hopefuls can even apply with even just a completed script (however, for documentaries, it is required that is shooting has at least begun). Hundreds of submission come in during the acceptance period in the fall and 30 are selected from that grouping via a rigorous application process akin to that of applying to a top graduate school!. Those which are selected are then paired with established industry notables so that new connections can be made. Janson stresses, however, that TAA's mission--at least for the moment--is more about preparation and assistance for the business side of projects, not so much the creative. "This is, for example," she states, "about how to pitch in order to get one's project completed. And we pair the filmmakers with industry reps who are really actually looking for new material so there are real opportunities created here! The idea is actually to give traction to current films."
TAA also provides some grant awards as well. Janson noted that the organization's biggest success story to date is Antoine Fuqua's agreement to sign on as executive producer of a soccer story recently submitted. But when asked about the biggest hurdle TAA faces, Janson added: "I think the biggest current challenge for the program is the one our filmmakers face when trying to make their films--getting them to be considered as storytellers FIRST and foremost without having to deal with pre-conceptions that some members of the industry may have because of the communities they are coming from. This will continue to change though as the financiers and development side becomes more diverse. And don't get me started on audience demographics and how that determines which films get made (as long as we continue to use race and ethnicity as a factor in demographics, it will be a factor in what the industry invests in)." This woman obviously gets it!
TAA works with such organizations as DV Republic, the Hip Hop Association, and the Black Documentary Collective as well as Asian and Latino sources in order to get the word out about its existence. These organizations also give feedback to the TAA on its endeavors, films, etc. as well. If you miss any of this outreach, interested filmmakers should also visit http://www.tribecafilminstitute
Tribeca All Access is aptly titled so because the organization's mission is to open doors to decision makers in the industry. "I hope we do a good job at that," adds Janson.The A-List would say just the mere attempt is even already a magnificent start. Shout out to TAA.
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SHOUT OUT TO NEW MAMA--KRISTIN VAUGHN (ROBINSON), BET.COM'S MANAGING EDITOR, MUSIC, WHO DELIVERED BRIANNA ARIEL ROBSINON ON MAY 17 @ 1:21 AM. 7 LBS., 4 1/2 OZ., 20 INCHES!