Scaled-down Czech film festival opens in empty auditorium

PRAGUE – A Czech film festival disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic unveiled a scaled-down programme of movies on Friday with an opening ceremony in an empty auditorium and a star-free red carpet. The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, central and eastern Europe’s leading movie extravaganza, announced in April it was cancelling its main events as the novel coronavirus shuttered cinemas and mass gatherings. Restrictions have since eased, allowing the festival’s president, actor Jiri Bartoska, to…

"Scaled-down Czech film festival opens in empty auditorium"

Angolan app gives performers a lifeline – streaming to paying public

LUANDA – When the Angolan government imposed its coronavirus lockdown in late March, local entrepreneur and innovator Claudio Kiala saw a gap in the market when it came to virtual entertainment. Kiala and his team had been developing a performance platform known as Soba Channel App, before the crisis struck, where artists would be able to stream live shows and fans would pay to gain access. The lockdown meant they had to accelerate its launch…

"Angolan app gives performers a lifeline – streaming to paying public"

Harry Potter fan sites step back from Rowling over transgender views

LOS ANGELES – Two of the biggest Harry Potter fan sites on Thursday distanced themselves from author J.K. Rowling because of her beliefs on transgender issues, calling them at odds with the message of empowerment in her best-selling books. Websites The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet said they would no longer provide links to the British author’s personal website, use photos of her, or write about achievements that do not relate to the Wizarding World she…

"Harry Potter fan sites step back from Rowling over transgender views"

Longtime U.S. television broadcaster Hugh Downs has died at age 99 – media reports

– Hugh Downs, whose congeniality and authoritative manner allowed him to move between the world of games shows and U.S. network news, has died at the age of 99, according to U.S. media reports. Downs, who hosted the game show “Concentration” and the ABC News show “20/20” during a radio and television career of more than 60 years, died Wednesday at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, according to a statement from his family that was…

"Longtime U.S. television broadcaster Hugh Downs has died at age 99 – media reports"

Johnny Depp’s ‘wife beater’ libel case can go ahead, UK judge rules

LONDON – A British judge ruled on Thursday that Hollywood star Johnny Depp’s libel case against The Sun newspaper over claims he abused his ex-wife can go ahead next week after rejecting the publication’s bid to have the case thrown out. Depp, the 57-year-old star of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, is suing the tabloid’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, at London’s High Court for libel over an article…

"Johnny Depp’s ‘wife beater’ libel case can go ahead, UK judge rules"

Syrian artist’s Silent Demonstration watches over German war crimes trial

KOBLENZ, Germany – Forty-nine faceless figures stand on the lawn outside a German courthouse, facing the windows of a courtroom behind which two suspected members of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s security services are standing trial for torture and sexual assault. The figures, part of an art installation called The Muted Demonstration, are wearing jeans, shirts and jackets that formerly belonged to victims of torture, their creator, Syrian artist Khaled Barakeh, told on Wednesday. They stand…

"Syrian artist’s Silent Demonstration watches over German war crimes trial"

Musical ‘Hamilton’ goes from Broadway to America’s living rooms

NEW YORK – Five years after taking Broadway by storm with its multi-racial, hip-hop take on America’s founding fathers, “Hamilton” arrives in millions of homes around the world on Friday as a film. Shot over three days in 2016 at the stage musical featuring the original cast, the film lands on the Disney+ streaming service as America celebrates Independence Day weekend. For creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, it’s a chance to connect with people at…

"Musical ‘Hamilton’ goes from Broadway to America’s living rooms"

Mickey Mouse fans ‘over the moon’ as Tokyo Disney reopens

TOKYO – Tokyo Disney Resort welcomed visitors on Wednesday for the first time in four months after being closed due to the coronavirus, with fans practicing social distance as they returned to see Mickey Mouse and other beloved characters. Visitors in face masks queuing on floor marks clapped as the gates of the Magic Kingdom reopened, and were encouraged to clean hands, pay without cash and avoid screaming while enjoying one of Japan’s largest theme…

"Mickey Mouse fans ‘over the moon’ as Tokyo Disney reopens"

Kanye West praised for new single on racism, slammed for ‘billionaire’ tweet

LOS ANGELES – Kanye West received both plaudits and criticism on Tuesday when he released a powerful new single about racism and faith a day after congratulating his wife Kim Kardashian on what he said was her billionaire status. West was slammed on social media for touting his family’s wealth in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has seen more than 36 million Americans lose their jobs. Hours later, he released the emotional single…

"Kanye West praised for new single on racism, slammed for ‘billionaire’ tweet"

Oscars organizers say academy exceeds diversity goal as ‘Parasite’ cast, others join

LOS ANGELES – The organization that awards the Oscars said on Tuesday it had invited 819 new members to join its ranks and exceeded a goal set four years ago to diversify the group’s membership by 2020. Among the new members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are several stars of South Korean drama “Parasite,” the group said in a statement. In February, “Parasite” became the first foreign-language movie to win best…

"Oscars organizers say academy exceeds diversity goal as ‘Parasite’ cast, others join"