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Chinonye Chukwu On Making ‘Till’: “Where The Camera Focuses Is Its Own Act Of Resistance” – New York Film Festival

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Chinonye Chukwu was certain of two things setting out to tell the story of a loving and lovely 14-year-old boy lynched in 1955 Mississippi for whistling at a white woman. First, the story had to be told from the perspective of Mamie, the mother of Emmett Till. “We had to follow closely her emotional journey. For without Mamie, the world, we, would not have known who Emmett Till was.”

“I also knew that I did not want to show any violence inflicted on black bodies,” Chukwu said during a Q&A after the film’s rapturous reception at its New York Film Festival world premiere. Deadline review here. “Narratively speaking, since we are following Mamie’s journey, it is not necessary to see that physical violence. We have to stay with Mamie.”

So Till’s violent murder is heard, but not seen. “Where the camera focuses is its own act of resistance. So I was very intentional about who we see and when,” she said. “As a black person, I didn’t want to recreate it, I didn’t want to shoot it, I didn’t want to watch it, and I wanted to take care of audiences who were watching it, particularly black audiences.”

“And I really wanted to begin and end this this film with joy and love. Because in addition to this film being about Mamie’s story and her journey, this was also a love story between Mamie and her child,” played by Danielle Deadwyler and Jalyn Hall. They were happily living in Chicago and Mamie tried, but wasn’t able, to prepare Emmett for toxic Southern racism as he happily prepared for a trip down to visit cousins. “You have to be small,” she warns her high-spirited teenager, who crouches down and laughs, “Like this?”

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Mamie held Emmett’s funeral with an open casket, his brutalized body shocking the country into a reckoning. Awash in grief and resistant at first, she gradually accepts the role thrust upon her by her son’s death — a crusader for social justice.

Deadwyler, who has a son almost 13, understood that conflict and captured it. “It’s a resistance to wanting to do this thing, because you don’t want to do this thing, because you want what was before… Wanting to fight, and wanting to have what you can no longer have.”

Whoopi Goldberg plays Emmett’s grandmother Alma, “This is the story I’ve heard all my life. This is the year I was born. You listen to people talk and they throw the name [Emmett Till] around,” she said. “Nobody knowns his story. We know pictures. We’ve seen pictures in magazines. But suddenly there is life and breath in this family, and they are moving and alive.”

“This is what the culmination of systemic racism looks like. It goes out in ripples, and it touches everybody. And the whole point of all of this is we’ve seen it, we know. We saw George Floyd. We saw Trayvon Martin. Children and young men. Middle aged men. Men. People.”

Mamie Till-Mobley passed away in 2003. Some of the Till’s extended family were in attendance at the Lincoln Center premiere, so were other grieving mothers: Lezley McSpadden-Head, mother of Michael Brown, the 18-year- old shot and killed in Ferguson, Mo. in 2014 by a white police office; Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo, a 23-year-old Guinean student shot and killed by New York City police officers in 1999; and Marian Tolan, mother of Robert Tolan, shot by police in Bellaire, Texas in 2008.

Chukwu’s film Clemency won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. She wrote Till with Michael Reilly and Keith Beauchamp, who accumulated a bulk of research for his award winning 2005 documentary The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till.

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Till was produced by Keith Beauchamp, Barbara Broccoli, Whoopi Goldberg, Thomas Levine, Michael Reilly and Frederick Zollo. Broccoli told Deadline this week that “the film will open people’s eyes.”

The film, from MGM’s Orion pictures, will be released theatrically by UAR on October 14.



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Netflix & Paramount+ To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’ ; TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome With Toon Series; ‘One Piece Film Red’ London Takeover — Global Briefs

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Netflix & Paramount+ UK To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’

Netflix and Paramount+ have struck a first of its kind-of-deal over a true crime documentary telling the story of the strip search caller in the U.S. Paramount+ has taken UK rights to Pervert: The Hunt for the Strip Search Caller and Netflix has rest of world on the doc, which it will be calling Don’t Pick Up the Phone. The deal is believed to be the first time two streamers have worked in such a way in the UK and rest of world. The doc tells the shocking story of a hoax caller who targeted fast food restaurants across the U.S. – posing as a police officer investigating a theft, the caller instructed managers to strip-search the young female employees he said were suspects. For many victims, what began as a humiliating strip search escalated into sexual abuse.

Canada’s TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome In Animated Series ‘Griffin And Turner’

EXCLUSIVE: Ontario, Canada’s TVOkids and Big Jump Entertainment are working on 2D-animated series Griffin and Turner. Based on real Canadian brothers who a significant online following, the show follows the supportive pair as they, their friends and family undertake personal challenges but focus on the journey rather than winning. Turner has Down syndrome, and TVOKids executive producer Kirsten Hurd noted the series has been developed in consultation with the Down syndrome community. Producer Big Jump is behind shows such as Shutterbug and Big Words, Small Stories.

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London Gets ‘One Piece Film Red’ Takeover After Record Haul

To celebrate the record-breaking haul of One Piece Film Red in the UK, the Straw Hat Pirates are set for a takeover of iconic London locations on November 26. Via local distributor Anime Limited and Toei Animation, the cast and memorable scenes from the series will be projected onto the County Hall of London, opposite the London Eye as well as other key locations. One Piece Film: Red has grossed over £800,000 in the UK and Ireland since it released earlier this month, making it the biggest of the long-running franchise. A phenomenon in Japan, One Piece Film Red has grossed $162M to date worldwide 



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‘All Quiet On The Western Front’, ‘Belfast’ Top 2022 EFA Arts & Crafts Awards

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Edward Berger’s All Quiet On The Western Front and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast top the European Film Academy’s Excellence Awards honoring achievement in the arts and crafts categories, the winners of which were announced on Wednesday.

Belfast won best European Production Design for Jim Clay, whose credits include Children Of Men, for which he won a Bafta in 2006, and Murder On The Orient Express.

The drama, set against the backdrop of the beginnings of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland in 1969, also won best European Costume Design for Charlotte Walter (Blithe Spirit, Misbehaviour)

Netflix-backed German WWI drama All Quiet On The Western Front won best European Make-up & Hair for Heike Merker, and Best European Special Effects for Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller and Markus Frank.

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 In other categories, best European Cinematography was won by Kate McCullough for her work on Colm Bairéad’s Irish-language drama The Quiet Girl.

Best European Editing went to Özcan Vardar and Eytan İpeker for Turkish director Emin Alper’s drama Burning Days.

Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn won best European Original Score went for Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO.

Best European Sound went to Simone Paolo Olivero, Paolo Benvenuti, Benni Atria, Marco Saitta, Ansgar Frerich & Florian Holzner for Michelangelo Frammartino’s cave exploration drama The Hole.

The winners, which are decided by a special expert jury, will receive their awards at the European Film Awards ceremony on 10 December in Reykjavík.

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Jennifer Lopez’s Social Media Mysteriously Goes Dark

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EXCLUSIVE: The actress, producer and top-selling performing artist’s social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter have suddenly gone dark in their featured/cover images.

Reps for Jennifer Lopez were unavailable for comment, but we hear from others that The Hustlers and Marry Me actress is on the verge of announcing a new project.

Here’s a look at her Instagram tonight:

While Lopez’s Instagram had erased all posts, a trail of her previous postings remained on Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. Across all four social media portals, Lopez counts close to 347M followers, the majority of that coming from her Instagram.

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Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions in June 2021 signed a multi-year first-look deal with Netflix spanning feature films, TV series and unscripted content, with an emphasis on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers. Lopez co-runs Nuyorican Productions with her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

Lopez scored her best opening for a live-action movie at the domestic box office with STX’s 2019 stripper caper Hustlers which debuted to $33.1 million, and grossed $105M stateside, $157.6M worldwide.  As a recording artist, Lopez has sold over 70 million albums, with J.Lo became her bestselling album with 3.8M copies sold in the U.S. and 12M global. Her Netflix thriller The Mother from director Niki Caro is set to debut in May. Her romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding with Josh Duhamel will hit Prime Video on Jan. 27.

On Facebook, one of her followers, Steffany Merino wrote, “What’s happened? Hope you and your wonderful family are ok. I’ll pray for your health and safety.”

Again, we hear something special is in the works in the next few days.



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