84: Toronto Film Festival Disappoints
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OVERSEEN & OVERHEARD
TIFF DISAPPOINTS...We have a love-hate relationship with the Toronto International Film Festival anyway, especially since they denied us press credentials last year and we had to end up paying for our ticket. But this year, it seems that bad karma has whipped around to bite the illustrious TIFF right in the ass. Not only did the festival suffer from poor ticket sales, according to the Toronto Globe & Mail, but there was a mass "exodus of buyers" midway through the fest. One studio exec reportedly complained: "A lot of people wasted a lot of money coming up here. The available films were very disappointing. It was the weakest festival in my long memory." Here's a perfect example of what happens when you believe your own damn hype. Good riddance.
WRITE STUFF...Seems screenwriter/producer Antwone Fisher is taking time out of penning Training Day 2 to write the foreword for an upcoming book called Inside Out: Entertainment Thru Nonprofit Eyes. The book is by the founder/exec dir of It's Cool To Be Smart, Curtis J. Benjamin, and co-authored by Vanessa Morman, founder/exec dir of the Houston Black Film Festival. This must be one important read for Fisher to set aside a screenplay for.
HIP HOP HOLLYWOOD
FOX BUSINESS NETWORK LAUNCH DATE & EXECS ANNOUNCED
Fox Business Network (FBN) has announced is poised to make its long-awaited debut for Ocober 15. Earlier this week, the corporation named FBN's four executive producers. Terry Baker, former exec producer of "Conversations With Michael Eisner," will produce weekday and weekend hours for FBN. Brian Donlon, former TV reporter at USA Today and on-air reporter at CNBC, was also hired. Longtime CNBC veteran Andrew Hoffman will oversee Dayside programming. Gary Scheier, exec producer of business news for Fox News Channel, will now head FBN's late afternoon and evening content.
"It was one thing to kill my man but when you mess with the dog...Prepare to meet your maker, Buster!
And the tables, when turned, might not be taken so off-the-cuff. For example, what if there was a movie about an evil slum lord and the first man shown in the preview just happened to be wearing a yarmulke? Or if the next release by Warner Brothers was a flick about child molesters with a cameo appearance by "Father Flanagan?." Would Jews and Catholics be wrong to be a little miffed? Only black folks have to write a doctoral thesis defending why they are P.O.'d; other cultures' concerns are taken at face value. You know , they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but to a young black man facing prison, a movie picture is worth a 20 year bid.
Either way, as a result of their very real actions one Black teen lay paralyzed and the other dead.--Min. Paul Scott (http://www.nowarningshotsfired.com/)
Okay, so who was brave enough to struggle through CBS' "Fashion Rocks," last Friday? Alright, hands down.
We didn't think this sounded like things were quite in sync (see The A-List issue #83), but it was even more disappointing than anticipated. Just what top ad sales dude at the network or genius producer was behind this marketing ploy gone awry? Sure, we like branded content just as much as the next guy, but has anyone told these people that in order for it to be successful, it to be both entertaining and believable?
Case in point: Not only were some of the performances lackluster and a bit awkward (read: Fergie trying desperately to hold her own and look cool along side Aerosmith); there were less than five minutes of actual fashion/catwalking in a two-hour program? And what's with the fact that there was not one, interview with a designer of color or artist behind any number of hot selling lines today?
And wow - lookey here, an awkward Chevy SUV magically glides onto the stage for no real reason during the Martina McBride segment, then Mary J performs (and homegirl has taken some lessons --not one false note, Go Mary!), then voila a Chey commerical featuring Mary J. What a coinky dink.
Then Revlon ads, Jessica Alba, a current Revlon girl, walks on as a presenter (what perfect timing that she also has a film releasing). Then the most blatant plug of the year: A concocted backstage shot of a clearly not a pro makeup artist singing the praises of Revlon make-up as he applies one dab of mascara while saying "those lashes are EXTREME." Cut to closeup on a box with the Revlon logo from which he is "working." Product placement gone bersurk.
So the thing is, were the "creatives" behind this out to lunch or is it just assumed we, the viewer, are? If these brands really wanted organic exposure, wouldn't it have been more interesting to, say, somehow, weave a stylish mini-docu on the effects of beauty on music over the years with Revlon seamlessly placed inside the piece?
Ah, but who are we to say? We're sure at the end of the day, all got what they wanted no matter how Frankenstein-esque: numbers and visibility. Damn originality. But could all this slapped together "advertainemnt" just point yet again to the steady decline of the "Empire"? Maybe, maybe not; but you best believe China's rising creative class would not be caught dead behind such a weak sales pitch.
We'd Like To Know...
1) why Jamie Foxx overcompensates during each award show presentation for which he is called. Enough, already, no?
2) why cute-as-a-button Chris Brown was the hottest performance at this year's MTV Video Music Awards?
3) why Alicia Keys insists on stuffing her ample hips into too-tight pants during her past few TV performances?
4) why performing in suites is a good idea for an awards show?
At the Rolling Stone sponsored Star Lounge beauty, style and gifting suite during the VMAs weekend at Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel & Casino: Kevin Federline's ex Shar Jackson (center) was spotted getting her vitamins and re-energizing for the entire party filled-VMA weekend with a glass of Airborne while rocking a tell all T-shirt that read “I’m Shar Jackson Bitch!” Could she be making fun of Britney’s comeback song “Gimme More” where she says, “I’m Britney Bitch!” Photo credit:
Seth Swartzman/Wire Image
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