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Oscars: France Selects Alice Diop’s ‘Saint Omer’ For Best International Film Race

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Alice Diop’s Saint Omer has been selected as France’s entry to the best international film category.

The drama was among five features shortlisted for the honor out of 33 submissions alongside Eric Gavel’s Full Time, Lise Asoka and Roman Gueret’s The Worst Ones, Alice Winocour’s Paris Memories and Mia Hansen-Love’s One Fine Morning.

Saint Omer recently premiered at Venice, winning the Silver Lion Grand Jury prize and Luigi De Laurentis First Film Award.

Loosely inspired by a real-life infanticide trial in 2013, the drama follows a pregnant novelist as she attends the troubling trial of a young Senegalese woman accused of killing her 15-month-old daughter by abandoning her to the rising tide on a beach in northern France.

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The drama is lead produced by Toufik Ayadi and Christophe Barral at Paris-based Srab Films, who previously took credits on Ladj Ly’s Oscar-nominated French feature Les Misérables.

Sales agent Wild Bunch International has recently announced a slew of deals and the title has been acquired by Neon’s boutique distributor Super for the U.S., in an acquisition co-handled by CAA Media Finance.

This year’s selection committee, overseen by the National Cinema Centre (CNC), comprises international sales agents Hengameh Panahi, Grégoire Melin, producers Philippe Rousselet, Didar Domehri, directors Jacques Audiard and Michel Gondry and veteran Gaumont executive Ariane Toscan du Plantier.

It marks the first selection under France’s revamped selection process which has ended the automatic involvement of the heads of the Cannes Film Festival, export agency Unifrance and the César Academy in the decision.

The selection committee auditioned the producer and international sales agent for each pre-selected title before making their final selection.

France last won the international film category with Régis Wargnier’s Indochine in 1993, while Ladj Ly’s 2019 Cannes Jury Prize winner Les Misérables was the last French film to make it through to the final nomination stage for the 2020 awards.

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Coolio Dies: Grammy-Winning “Gangsta’s Paradise” Rapper Was 59

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Coolio, the Compton-raised rapper with the trademark braids who won a Grammy in 1996 for his No. 1 smash “Gangsta’s Paradise” from the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer-starring film Dangerous Minds, died Wednesday in Los Angeles, his manager Jarez Posey told Deadline. He was 59.

No cause of death has been determined. Posey told TMZ that Coolio went to the bathroom at his friend’s house, but when he didn’t come out after a while he went in and found the rapper on the floor.

Hollywood & Media Deaths 2022: A Photo Gallery

Coolio had been playing concerts over the summer in South America and in Europe and as recently as last week in Chicago.

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Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr. in Pennsylvania, Coolio was a volunteer firefighter for a time before turning to music. Coolio released a few non-charting singles in the early 1990s before hitting it big in 1994 with “Fantastic Voyage,” a rap remake of the 1979 Lakeside song. It spent five long weeks at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and pushed his Tommy Boy LP It Takes a Thief into the Top 10. The album and single, which also made the Top 10 in New Zealand, both went platinum.

“Gangsta’s Paradise,” the title track from the late-1995 album, was an international smash. The song was a rap take on “Pastime Paradise,” a track from Stevie Wonder’s Grammy-winning 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life, and topped the Billboard Hot 100 and other charts around the world, including the UK. It also won the Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance and scored a pair of MTV Video Music Awards.

“Gangsta’s Paradise” was featured in the 1995 movie Dangerous Minds, whose soundtrack spent a month at No. 1 in the U.S. In the Disney pic, Pfeiffer played an ex-Marine teaching at an inner-city school. Based on the real life of LouAnne Thompson and adapted from her book, the film directed by John N. Smith bowed in August 1995 and would gross $195.5 million at the global box office.

He followed that success with another hit single, “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New),” which reached No. 5 in the U.S. That same year, Coolio wrote and performed “Aw, Here It Goes,” the theme song for Kenan & Kel, the Nickelodeon comedy starring Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell. It played over the credits for more than 60 episodes.

Coolio continued to write, record and tour, but would not match his earlier chart success. His 1996 single “It’s All the Way Live (Now)” — which sampled another Lakeside hit — dented the top 30, and the following year’s “C U When U Get There” with 40 Thevz peaked at No. 12.

Coolio would eventually add reality TV star to his repertoire. He appeared as a housemate on Big Brother in 2009, and a year later appeared on Ultimate Big Brother, ultimately leaving the house after numerous conflicts with others in the house. He also was one of eight celebrities who appeared on the Food Network reality show Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off representing the Music Saves Lives Organization; he later became known for his cooking and wrote several cookbooks, including Cookin’ with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price in 2009, which would be a bestseller.

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He also was featured on ABC’s Wife Swap and guest starred as himself in an episode on the first season of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, where he helped Sabrina Spellman (Melissa Joan Hart), Zelda Spellman (Beth Broderick) and Hilda Spellman (Caroline Rhea) to look for their cat Salem, who was kidnapped by a little boy. His other credits include Gravity Falls, The Nanny and the Adult Swim show Black Jesus in an episodes titled “Gangsta’s Paradise.”

He was most recently cast in a recurring role on 2020 HBO Max pilot Vegas High. The 1990s-set coming-of-age story followed a girl (Hyanna Simpson) who’s caught between two worlds: the fast-paced lifestyle of Las Vegas and her strong Mormon faith and community. Coolio played the businessman uncle of Simpson’s character. The pilot was not picked up to series.

Coolio’s film credits as an actor include Batman & Robin and Dear God.

Erik Pedersen and Denise Petski contributed to this report.

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SAG-AFTRA To Pursue Pay For Auditions Under Specific Circumstances

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Film and TV actors might be contractually entitled to collect half-a-day’s pay when they audition but aren’t hired, though very few ever collect. The payments have been codified in every Screen Actors Guild and SAG-AFTRA contract since 1937, but the payments are not automatic – actors have to file a claim to receive them, and few ever do.

On Wednesday, however, after Deadline made inquiries, the union said that it now will pursue claims for audition pay under specific circumstances.

“Until further notice,” the guild said in a posting on its website, “members should expect the union to pursue audition pay claims in the following circumstances, provided that the performer is not offered employment in the picture and that the requirements of the audition pay language within the schedule applicable to the role being cast are otherwise met:
1. When the producer or casting director expressly require the performer to memorize their lines in advance.
2. When the performer participates in a network or studio ‘test’ as that term is commonly understood in the entertainment industry. For context, ‘tests’ are typically used to cast series regular or feature lead roles, typically involve multiple performers who are expected to be ‘off book,’ may involve make-up, hairdress and wardrobe, and will have network or studio executives in attendance.
3. When a performer is owed pay for waiting time in excess of one hour as provided in the applicable schedule.”

SAG-AFTRA headquarters in Los Angeles
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Actor Shaan Sharma, who is a member of the SAG-AFTRA Hollywood board, has been one of the leaders of the effort to get the union to pursue pay for auditions and has filed his own claims for audition pay. “This is a first step,” he told Deadline, “but does not address the work we do on auditions that don’t expressly require lines to be memorized, which includes most auditions. This is something we’ve been owed since 1937.”

In its statement, SAG-AFTRA said:

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“It has come to the attention of SAG-AFTRA that there is a lack of clarity regarding the requirement of payment for auditions where the performer is not subsequently offered employment on the picture. The confusion stems, in part, from the fact that the audition provisions of the Codified Basic Agreement, which apply to the casting of film and dramatic television programs, date back to 1937 and employ vocabulary that no longer tracks common usage in the entertainment industry.

“In addition, the way that roles are cast in the entertainment industry has changed radically since that language was last negotiated, thereby creating genuine ambiguities in how the audition pay language should be applied today.

“The current Codified Basic Agreement expires on June 30, 2023, and feedback from members has made it abundantly clear that changes in how roles are cast have created a number of issues that require resolution at the bargaining table.” In the interim, the union said, it “will pursue audition pay claims” in the above-listed circumstances.

“To be clear,” the union said, “SAG-AFTRA believes that the audition pay language can be read to require payment in circumstances beyond those identified (above) and SAG-AFTRA specifically reserves the right to pursue those interpretations in the future. There is the potential, however, for such broader interpretations to have negative consequences, including a reduction of access to casting opportunities that will impact some member groups more acutely than others.”

The union says that it also will “consider any unique or compelling circumstances in determining whether to file a claim, including claims that do not meet the foregoing criteria, so members who strongly believe that they are contractually owed audition pay should call their local office to review the circumstances of their audition or interview. Active claims previously filed with SAG-AFTRA will be reviewed and processed in line with the above criteria and guidance. Members who are interested in how the Codified Basic Agreement regulates the casting process are strongly encouraged to participate in the TV/Theatrical Wages and Working Conditions process that will commence in the coming months.”

With regard to auditions and tests, the current SAG-AFTRA contract says:

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“A. If the performer is given employment in the picture, he shall not be entitled to compensation for auditions or tests unless required to wait more than one (1) hour between the time of the call for such purpose and the commencement thereof; if required to wait more than one (1) hour, the performer shall receive compensation for excess waiting time, at straight time, in one-half (½) hour units.
“B. If the performer is not given employment in the picture, the performer shall receive one-half (½) day of pay.”
“C. If the performer reads or speaks lines which he has not been given to learn outside the studio, without photography or sound recording, the same shall not constitute an audition or test, but shall constitute an ‘interview,’ and the provisions of Section 14 hereof shall apply thereto.”

Similar language is contained in the Screen Actors Guild’s 1947 contract, which said:

“(a). If the player is given employment in the picture, the player shall not be entitled to compensation unless required to wait more than 1 hour between the time of call for such purpose and commencement of such audition or in which case the player shall receive compensation for excess waiting time at straight time, in one-half hour units.
“(b). If the player is not given employment in the picture, the player shall receive one-half day’s pay. If the player reads or speaks lines which he has not been given to learn outside the studio, without photography or sound recording, the same shall not constitute an audition or test but shall constitute an ‘interview,’ and the provisions of paragraph 7 above shall apply thereto.”





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Chaz Ebert Receives FACETS Legend Award As Producer-Philanthropist-Entrepreneur Works On Directorial Debut

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Chaz Ebert has become one of the foremost agents of change in the entertainment industry, working to make sure traditionally overlooked communities get the chance to develop their talents in the business.

Tonight, the entrepreneur, film producer, publisher of RogerEbert.com and president of the Ebert Company LTD. is being honored for her efforts to drive inclusion with the FACETS Legend Award at the Screen Gems Benefit 2022 in her native Chicago.

“Chaz is so deserving of this honor as she is passionate about programs that help break the glass ceiling for women and people of color and that provide education and arts opportunities for women, children, and families,” noted FACETS executive director Karen Cardarelli. “We are inspired by her extraordinary contributions to the industry.”

Movie Critic Roger Ebert and wife Chaz Ebert attend the Toronto International Film Festival on September 13, 2009
Photo by Charley Gallay/WireImage

Ebert began her career as an attorney, working as a litigator for the Environmental Protection Agency, and later in private practice. In 1989 she became vice president of the Ebert Company LTD, and in 1992 she and Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert were married. Her early efforts at promoting diversity within the film world came in sponsoring Ebert Fellows to participate in important festivals like Sundance and Cannes.

“When I first started out doing this, it wasn’t consciously just to open up things,” Ebert tells Deadline. “I would talk to people who I found interesting, people who didn’t know how to break into the industry. They didn’t know anyone. They didn’t have any clout. But I thought that they were talented and I thought, Boy, I’d like to see their work.”

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She was married to Roger Ebert for more than 20 years before his untimely passing in 2013. Since his death, she has continued her philanthropic field-building work through a variety of programs.

“As president of the Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation… she has provided grants to support films with strong social justice themes,” a press release from FACETS said. “And she supports emerging writers, filmmakers, and technologists with her endowment of scholarships, internships, or awards at the Sundance Film Festival, Film Independent Spirit Awards, the University of Illinois Ebert Fellowships, the Hawaii International Film Festival-Young Critics Program, the Telluride Ebert/TFF University Seminars, the Chicago International Film Festival Ebert Director Awards, and the Columbia College Links Journalism Awards in conjunction with the Chicago Urban League.”

Those initiatives have begun to bear fruit, widening a field that at one point was mostly the preserve of white men.

“I do know that I’m pleased every time I see some area opening up,” Ebert says, “whether it’s in front of the camera or behind the camera.”

In recent years, Ebert has become more involved in film projects, executive producing Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut, the 2021 drama Passing that starred Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson.

Chaz Ebert attends the Celebration for Black Cinema & Television in Los Angeles
Chaz Ebert onstage during the 4th Annual Celebration of Black Cinema & Television in Los Angeles, December 6, 2021
Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for the Critics Choice Association

“If you had to classify me as a personality type, I’m more of a producer,” Ebert explains. “I came from a family of nine children — I was the eighth of nine. And when you have a big group of people trying to do anything you need somebody who is very organized and very laser focused on what things need to be done and how to draw the people together to do them and how to draw money together to do it. That was my role kind of in life. And so it became natural for me to become more of a film producer.”

Recently, she has turned her attention to directing. She’s at work on her first documentary, which will tell the story of Deborah Szekely, known as the “godmother of health and fitness,” who celebrated her 100th birthday on May 3.

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“She started Rancho La Puerta Wellness Resort and Spa when she was 17, and she started the Golden Door Spa outside of San Diego. And she’s still going strong,” Ebert says. “I spent her 100th birthday with her, and the whole town of Tecate, Mexico, came out and gave her a party. They had parties for her in San Diego. They had parties for her in Washington, D.C. She told me is still walks the mile a day. Sometimes she has to use a walker to do it, but she still does it.”

The film will explore the incredible dimensions to Szekely’s career, which extend beyond health and fitness.

“She started a center for new citizens who come into the United States. She wrote a book that Congress uses today to tell you what to do when you first get elected to Congress,” Ebert notes. “Setting Course: A Congressional Management Guide was her idea. She put it together and it’s now in its 17th edition. She’s lived an extraordinary life, and to spend the day with someone who at 100 was still inspiring me was something that I wanted to document.”

Ebert says she hasn’t decided if the film will be feature length or a short, but hopes to release it next year.

Tonight’s Screen Gems Benefit, meanwhile, were Ebert is being honored, will support causes close to her.

“All proceeds will be directed to the Bross Scholarship Fund supporting under-resourced youth,” according to a release. “Scholarships provide free access to the Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival and to Summer Film Camp.”

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