Posts tagged with "Sundance Film Festival"

Netflix – Cuties

By Cassandra Yany

One of Netflix’s newest films, Cuties, has garnered much attention and backlash since its Sep. 9 release on the streaming platform. The coming-of-age film depicts a young girl as she tries to navigate her life as a pre-teen growing up in a Muslim family living in Paris.

Many critics have spoken out against the film, which currently holds the no. 7 spot in Netflix’s ‘Top 10,’ for its depiction of 11-year-old girls dancing and behaving in an indecent manner. According to the New York Times, the movie was first deemed controversial in the U.S. in August when Netflix released the promotional artwork. The original marketing for the film displayed an image of four young girls in skimpy dance costumes posing provocatively.

This, along with the trailer, prompted opposers to start petitions online and call for the removal of the film from Netflix’s catalog. Netflix apologized and changed the artwork for the film to a more innocent photo of the same four characters walking down the street with shopping bags, donning bras and underwear over their clothes.

Last week’s release of the film has sparked conversation once again amongst parents, politicians and others, causing #CancelNetflix to trend on Twitter. Lina Nealon, the Director of Corporate and Strategic Initiatives at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has spoken out against the film saying “While we commend Director Maïmouna Doucouré for exposing the very real threats to young girls having unfettered access to social media and the internet, we cannot condone the hypersexualization and exploitation of the young actresses themselves in order to make her point.” She called for Netflix to cut the “sexually-exploitive” scenes from the film, or remove the film from the platform altogether.

On Friday, Hawaii Rep. Tulse Gabbard tweeted, “@Netflix child porn ‘Cuties’ will certainly whet the appetite of pedophiles & help fuel the child sex trafficking trade. 1 in 4 victims of trafficking are children… Netflix you are now complicit.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz penned a letter to Attorney General William P. Barr Friday calling for the Department of Justice to start an investigation into the production and distribution of the film to “determine whether Netflix, any of its executives, or anyone involved in the making of ‘Cuties’ violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.”

Cruz wrote that “the film routinely fetishizes and sexualizes these pre-adolescent girls as they perform dances simulating sexual conduct in revealing clothing, including at least one scene with partial nudity” falsely claiming that there’s a scene exposing a “minor’s bare breast.” The Associated Press reported that one of Cruz’s representatives, Lauren Aronson, said that the senator has not seen the film.

According to the Washington Times, some critics are even calling on the Obama’s— who have a production deal with Netflix— to take action against the film. Deadline stated that “The reality appears to have been lost in the storm, and the truth is very few of the people reacting so strongly will have actually seen the film.”

Netflix told USA TODAY “‘Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up— and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”

Director Maïmouna Doucouré defends the film, saying that it works to shed light on these issues so they can be fixed. Cuties first premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 23, where it won the Directing Jury Award for the dramatic film category. According to the New York Times, the movie did not stir up much conversation in France after its theatrical release (as Mignnonnes in French) in August.

Deadline reports that Doucouré did not see the promotional material prior to when it was circulated on the internet. She said that she received death threats as the outrage grew over these images. She told the news site that the film is not apologetic about the hypersexualization of children, but instead is her “…personal story as well as the story of many children who have to navigate between a liberal western culture and a conservative culture at home.”

Cuties was Doucouré’s feature directorial debut. Similar to the film’s main character, Amy, Doucouré is of Senegalese descent and grew up in a Muslim culture in Paris. In an interview at Sundance, she said she first had the idea for the movie after attending a neighborhood gathering in Paris where she saw a group of 11-year-old girls doing a stage performance of a “sensual” dance. She was shocked to see girls that age dance like that in short clothing. “We can’t continue to close our eyes about that,” she told the interviewer.

Doucouré researched for a year and a half, meeting with hundreds of pre-teens who told her their stories. She learned about their ideas of femininity, and how their self image is affected by the emphasis of social media in today’s society. According to IndieWire, the young actresses’ parents were on board with the project to spread awareness of the issue, and there was a psychologist working with the girls throughout filming who is still helping them throughout the release process.

The film is centered around Amy, an 11-year-old girl who has recently moved to a housing development in a poor suburb of Paris with her Senegalese, observant Muslim family. She looks out for her brothers, takes care of responsibilities around the house, and is in the process of being taught how to ‘be a woman’ by  her aunt.

One day after prayer, Amy walks by the laundry room and sees a girl her age dancing to music playing from her phone. In a subsequent scene, Amy is seen trying to straighten her hair with a clothing iron, burning part of it off as a result. 

Amy learns that her father, who is still in Senegal, has taken a second wife and will be coming to Paris soon to have the wedding. Her mother, Mariam, tries to hide her reaction to the news, but Amy sees her grow upset and take her frustrations out on herself. This is where Amy’s behavior begins to shift; she starts to reject her culture and identity, and instead tries to conform to fit in with the other girls at school. 

At school, Amy is teased for her clothes and lack of fashion sense, so she begins to wear her younger brother’s t-shirt to match the crop tops that her classmates wear. After seeing a group of girls her age dancing after school, Amy steals her cousin’s iPhone to learn how to dance, herself. She comes across their social media accounts and begins taking selfies, imitating what she sees on their profiles. 

Amy finds herself a spot in the girls’ friend group and dance troupe, and as a result, begins to neglect her responsibilities at home. Amy starts to show more self expression, wearing her hair natural rather than pulling it back. She also begins to explore the internet more, finding videos of almost-naked women dancing rather suggestively and moving their bodies in ways that an 11-year-old probably shouldn’t be watching. 

Taking what she found online, Amy practices dancing with her friends and teaches them how to twerk. This is where the movie begins to make viewers slightly uneasy. It was jarring to see these young, innocent girls tainted by this inappropriate content and doing dance moves that they didn’t understand the implications of. It appears that this was the intention of director Doucouré, as she stated in an interview with Netflix that the film is “…a mirror of today’s society; a mirror sometimes difficult to look into and accept but still so true.”

Some of the scenes, frankly, are very disturbing to watch. These include the girls dancing provocatively for two older male workers at a laser tag facility so that they wouldn’t get in trouble for sneaking in, as well as Amy beginning to undress for her cousin once he found she had stolen his iPhone in an attempt to smooth over the situation. Perhaps the most disturbing scene is when Amy takes a picture of her genitals to post on her social media profile so that people at school would think she’s mature. While there was no nudity shown in this scene, the implied action was horrifying to watch. 

At the end of the film, Amy performs with her dance troupe at a local competition. Dressed in revealing outfits, they dance immodestly in front of a crowd of people who quickly seem unsettled. (This is the scene from which the original promotional photos were taken.) Toward the end of the song, Amy freezes as she begins to think about her mom, then runs off the stage crying. She goes home where she asks her mom not to attend her father’s wedding. Her mom continues to get ready for the event, but tells Amy that she doesn’t have to go.

Instead of going to the wedding, Amy steps outside and begins jumping rope. This scene depicts a mixture of her two identities: she is wearing jeans and a crop top with her hair down, but is surrounded by people of her culture dressed in traditional garments. After suppressing her family’s background for a majority of the movie, Amy is finally able to find the balance where her multiple cultures intersect in order to be her honest self. 

After watching Cuties, it is evident that it is not meant to promote this behavior among young girls, but instead provide commentary on what is happening today and warn the adults who see the movie. The harsh reality is that more pre-adolescents are exposed to this type of content than we think. Any child who has access to a smart device and social platforms have the potential to see a video not meant for them. Take TikTok for example: racy dances to Cardi B and Meg Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” as well as a recent trend where women make “thirst traps” to Beyoncé’s “Rocket” are some of the most popular videos on the app right now. Young TikTok users can easily see creators on their For You Page enjoying themselves while engaging in these trends, causing the young viewer to want to do the same.

When speaking to Deadline, Doucouré said, “What happens is young girls see images of women being objectified, and the more the woman becomes an object, the more followers and like she has— they see that as a role model and try to imitate these women, but they’re not old enough to know what they’re doing.” In a separate interview, she posed the question, “Isn’t the objectification of a woman’s body that we often see in our Western culture not another kind of oppression?”

Overall, Cuties shows the dangers of uncensored media for young children and displays how impressionable they can be. It also shows the journey of Amy’s self-discovery and learning how to blend her multiple cultures in order to shape her identity. Unfortunately, the risqué nature of the film overshadows the storyline and the message is lost for a number of audience members.

In various articles, Doucouré is quoted discussing the meaning of the film in the broad context of femininity and what it means for young girls to enter womanhood in this digital age. During her aforementioned interview with Netflix, she stated “The real question of Cuties is can we, as women, truly choose who we want to be, beyond the role models that are imposed upon us by society?”

The Go-Go’s Are Back!

The Go-Go’s, the iconic all female L.A. punk band, will release their first new recording in nearly 20 years, “Club Zero,” on July 31st on UMe. The band can be seen working on an early version of the song in their new documentary The Go-Go’s, directed by Alison Ellwood (Laurel Canyon, History of the Eagles) which premieres August 1st at 9 pm ET/PT on SHOWTIME. View the official trailer HERE and music HERE.

Propelled by the spirited, melodic punch we’ve come to expect from the Southern California band, as well as a catchy, call-to-action chorus, “Club Zero” will certainly join the ranks among an esteemed catalog of Go-Go’s classics.

The self-produced track was created via email exchanges amongst band members and recorded at Lucky Recording in S.F. with Co-Producer/Mixer/Engineer Travis Kasperbauer and in Los Angeles with Lead Vocal Recording/Producer Gabe Lopez. As the band’s stance has always been fervent when it comes to relevant issues, the anthemic, punk-infused paean arrives just in time for a world in desperate need of a voice of optimism and change:

“HEY WE’VE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY

‘GONNA MAKE THE WORLD SHAKE’

READY OR NOT HERE WE ARE”

A live version of “Club Zero” featured in The Go Go’s documentary shows the evolution of the track as the band writes and works out the melody in preparation for their performance at their early stomping grounds The Whisky a Go Go on The Sunset Strip. The documentary directed by Alison Ellwood (Eagles, Laurel Canyon) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this past January to standing ovations and critical acclaim. With full access to The Go-Go’s, both past and present, this candid archive-rich documentary assesses the group’s place in music history as it focuses on their roots as a formidable contender in L.A.’s late ‘70s punk scene, detailing their rise to the top as they become one of the decade’s most beloved acts as well as an unstoppable force. It also examines the personalities and dynamics behind their rise, fall, and numerous reincarnations. Until this definitive film, there has never been a serious appraisal of and showcase for The Go-Go’s’ talents or achievements – as musicians, groundbreakers, but even more so, as survivors.

To date, The Go-Go’s have the notable distinction of being the only all-female band to write their own songs and play their own instruments on a #1 album. Formed in 1978, they were a vital part of the early Los Angeles punk scene. Following the release of their debut album in 1981, the landmark multi-platinum Beauty And The Beat, they topped the Billboard 200 chart for six consecutive weeks and received a nomination for Best New Artist at The 24th Annual Grammy® Awards. Their 1982 follow-up, Vacation, hit Top Ten on the Billboard 200 and featured the Top Ten title track “Vacation.” Overall, they have sold over 7 million records worldwide and continue to tour with the “classic lineup” from 1981 – Belinda Carlisle (vocals), Jane Wiedlin (guitar), Charlotte Caffey (guitar), Kathy Valentine (bass) and Gina Schock (drums). More recently, Head Over Heels, a musical featuring the songs of The Go-Go’s, had a successful run on Broadway in July of 2018.

The Go-Go’s is fully financed by Polygram Entertainment, the film and television division of Universal Music Group, and presented and produced by Polygram, Universal Music Publishing Group, Interscope Films, Fine Point Films and Fadoo Productions. Alison Ellwood (History of The Eagles, American Jihad) directs the film with Trevor Birney, Corey Russell and Eimhear O’Neill producing. Polygram Entertainment’s David Blackman and Daniel Inkeles are executive producing; the creative team also includes editor Brett Banks and executive producers Brendan J. Byrne. Wally Eltawashy & Arturo Cisneros serve as co-executive producers.

Follow The Go-Go’s: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Youtube | Website

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MY MOTHER

Directed by Beniamino Barrese


The critically acclaimed documentary on legendary model-turned-activist Benedetta Barzini

Opens NY on DEC 6 at QUAD CINEMA & LA on Dec 13 at LAEMMLE MONICA

Upcoming screenings & QA’s w/Beniamino Barrese & Benedetta Barzini:

NY – Nov 16 at MoMI

LA – DEADLINE’s “For the Love of Docs” on NOV 19 at THE LANDMARK

Official Selection: Sundance Film Festival, Hot Docs, Frameline


Benedetta Barzini wants to disappear. An iconic fashion model in the 1960s, she became a muse to Warhol, Dali, Penn and Avedon. As a radical feminist in the 1970s, she fought for the rights and emancipation of women. But at the age of 75, she is fed up with all the roles that life has imposed upon her and decides to leave everything and everybody behind, to disappear to a place as far as possible from the gaze of the camera. Only her son Beniamino is permitted to witness her journey. Having filmed her since he was a child in spite of all her resistance, he now wants to make a film about her, to keep her close for as long as possible — or, at least, as long as his camera keeps running. The making of the film turns into a battle between mother and son, a stubborn fight to capture the ultimate image of Benedetta — that of her liberation.

WATCH TRAILER HERE.

Italy / 94 Minutes / 1.85:1 / DCP / Color

In English and Italian with English subtitles


Charles Wachter

Charles Wachter is the Emmy Award-winning founder and president of Hard Twenty. He has produced over thirty television series, most recently he served as the executive producer and show-runner for Apple’s Planet of the Apps, MTV’s Fear Factor, as well as numerous network and cable television shows including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution for ABC, King of the Nerds  for TBS, and the reboot of American Gladiators for NBC. Prior to alternative television, Charles was an English major at Yale, a Sundance Film Festival Institute Finalist, and has a graduate degree in film from NYU. He lives in Los Angeles with his family.

DIRTY JOHN

ERIC BANA CAST OPPOSITE CONNIE BRITTON IN BRAVO MEDIA’S ‘DIRTY JOHN’

 

From Universal Cable Productions, in association with Los Angeles Times Studios and Atlas Entertainment, Bana To Play John Meehan

 

Eric Bana (MUNICH and currently starring in THE FORGIVEN) is set to star opposite Connie Britton (NASHVILLE, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS) in the first season of Bravo Media’s scripted anthology series DIRTY JOHN, based on the articles and breakout true crime podcast of the same name from Los Angeles Times reporter Christopher Goffard.  Marking his U.S. television debut, Bana will star as John Meehan, a handsome and romantic charmer who sweeps Debra Newell (Britton) off her feet and pulls her into his web of lies.  The series chronicles the true story of how a romance with Meehan spiraled into secrets, denial and manipulation.  DIRTY JOHN is produced by Universal Cable Productions (UCP), in association with Los Angeles Times Studios and Atlas Entertainment, and will be executive produced and written by Alexandra Cunningham (CHANCE, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES). Richard Suckle and Charles Roven will serve as executive producers for Atlas Entertainment; Mark Herzog, Christopher G. Cowen and Chris Argentieri will serve as executive producers for Los Angeles Times Studios; Britton and Bana will also serve as executive producers.

Bana was first introduced to American audiences in the title role of Mark “Chopper” Read in the feature film CHOPPER, which premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival and was then released in the U.S. to critical notice after its Australian success. Bana earned awards from the Australian Film Critics Circle and the Australian Film Institute for his portrayal of “Chopper.”

Bana was seen co-starring in Ridley Scott’s BLACK HAWK DOWN as Delta Sgt. First Class “Hoot” Gibson, one of a group of elite US soldiers opposite Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor and Tom Sizemore. The war epic, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer for Sony, is based on journalist Mark Bowden’s best-selling account of the 1993 US mission in Mogadishu, Somalia. Shortly thereafter, Eric starred as the title role of Bruce Banner in THE HULK for director Ang Lee and Universal Pictures, based on the Marvel Comics character. He was also featured as Hector the Prince of Troy in Warner Bros.’ TROY, for director Wolfgang Peterson.  The film was based on Homer’s “The Iliad”, and co-starred Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom.  The following year, he starred in Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed MUNICH, about the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Bana’s other credits include J.J. Abrams’ blockbuster hit STAR TREK, Judd Apatow’s FUNNY PEOPLE opposite Adam Sandler, Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill, the action-thriller HANNA with Saoirse Ronan and Cate Blanchett, and LONE SURVIVOR alongside Mark Wahlberg. He can currently be seen in THE FORGIVEN, opposite Forest Whitaker, directed by Roland Joffe.

Bana is represented by WME and Sloan, Offer, Weber and Dern.

For a photo of Eric Bana: click here.

About Bravo Media:

Bravo Media is the premier lifestyle and entertainment brand that drives cultural conversation around its high-quality, interactive original content across all platforms. The network has a diverse slate of original programming that includes scripted series “Imposters,” “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce,” and the recently announced anthology series “Dirty John,” along with unscripted favorites such as Emmy award-winning “Top Chef,” “Vanderpump Rules,” “Below Deck,” “Southern Charm” and the popular “Million Dollar Listing” and “The Real Housewives” franchises. Bravo also boasts the only live late-night talk show on television with the critically acclaimed “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” which has become a nightly destination for A-list celebrities. Available in 87 million homes, Bravo is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Watch Bravo anywhere: On Demand, online or across mobile and connected TVs. Bravo has been an NBCUniversal cable network since December 2002 and first launched in December 1980.

About Universal Cable Productions:

Universal Cable Productions (UCP) creates innovative and critically acclaimed original scripted content for all media platforms. Its robust slate of programming includes:  the Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning drama “Mr. Robot,” the Golden Globe nominated “The Sinner,” “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G,” “Suits,” “Colony,” and “Shooter” for USA Network; “12 Monkeys,” “Channel Zero,” “Happy!,” “Killjoys” and “The Magicians” for SYFY; “The Purge” for USA and SYFY; “Dirty John,” “Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce,” and “Imposters” for Bravo; “The Arrangement” and “The Royals” for E!; “The Umbrella Academy” for Netflix; “Homecoming” for Amazon; “Impulse” for YouTube Red; and “HarmonQuest” for VRV. UCP’s content library also features critic and fan favorites such as the Emmy-award winning “Monk” as well as “Battlestar Galactica” and “Psych.” Universal Cable Productions is a part of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. Follow us @UCPisTV.

The BANDWAGON Tour

Four select markets for country music superstars and GRAMMY, CMA and ACM Award-winners Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town’s co-headlining The Bandwagon Tour, scheduled to go on-sale Friday, March 16.

The March 16 on-sale includes tour stops in Charlotte, North Carolina (7/12), Cincinnati, Ohio (7/13), Hartford, Connecticut (7/20) and West Palm Beach, Florida (8/4).

Special guests joining Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town on The Bandwagon Tour include Turnpike Troubadours and The Steel Woods for select dates; both of whom joined Lambert for dates on her own Livin’ Like Hippies Tour. Also, on the first weekend is Natalie Hemby, who has penned #1 hits for both Miranda and Little Big Town.  In addition, singer/songwriter newcomer, Tenille Townes will join for all dates on The Bandwagon Tour.

Ticket on-sale dates to be announced throughout the upcoming weeks. Fans can stay up-to-date by visiting MirandaLambert.com and LittleBigTown.com for more information.  Live Nation is the official promoter.

The Bandwagon Tour dates

*(denotes Turnpike Troubadours select dates)

**(denotes The Steel Woods select dates)

***(denotes Natalie Hemby select dates)

Tenille Townes joins for all dates

Bold denotes new date added

Beth Ditto

Tonight, Beth Ditto returns to her home state of Arkansas to kick off a North American tour in support of Fake Sugar (Virgin Records), her solo debut album. After this eveningߣs show at Revolution Music Room in Little Rock, sheߣll head to Nashville, TN for a performance at the Mercy Lounge tomorrow, March 8. The run includes shows at New Yorkߣs Brooklyn Steel (March 14), The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, CA (March 23) and Wonder Ballroom in Portland, OR (March 27).

Ditto will perform on NBC Late Night with Seth Meyers on Tuesday, March 13. NPR has hailed her as the force-of-nature performer best known for fronting the pop-punk group Gossip. In a four-star live review, The Guardian said, Ditto alternates between infectiously warm, wisecracking comic and soul-baring torch singer.

The New York Times praised Ditto as a powerhouse singer and noted that the albums songs have stomp and girl-group melodies, Southernisms in their lyrics and garage-rock swagger. The Wall Street Journal included Fake Sugar in its round-up of The Best Music of 2017 and observed, Great pop for grownups is a rare commodity BethDittodelivers. Paperchristened Ditto rock’s homecoming queen while People highlighted Fake Sugar as one of its Picks, observing, Whether it’s a glittering stomper (Oo La La) or stripped-down Stevie Nicks homage (the title track), Ditto shines throughout

Her cover of Im Alive written by Tommy James and first recorded in 1968 by R&B legend Johnny Thunder has been licensed by Max Factor for an international advertising campaign. In addition to releasing six acclaimed albums with the Gossip, Ditto has recorded with such artists as Blondie and disco legend Cerrone, collaborated with Jean Paul Gaultier on her eponymous plus-sized luxury clothing line, modeled for Marc Jacobs. She appears in the new Gus Van Sant film, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot, which recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Beth Ditto ߝ 2018 North American Tour Dates

3/7 ߝ Little Rock, AR @ Revolution Music Room

3/8 ߝ Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge

3/10 ߝ Washington, DC @ The 9:30 Club

3/11 ߝ Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

3/14 ߝ Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel

3/15 ߝ Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair

3/16 ߝ Montreal, QC @ Fairmount Theatre

3/17 ߝ Toronto, ON @ Mod Club

3/19 ߝ Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall

3/23 ߝ Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre

3/24 ߝ Pomona, CA @ The Glass House

3/25 ߝ San Francisco, CA @ Regency Ballroom

3/27 ߝ Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom

3/28 ߝ Vancouver, BC @ Imperial

3/29 ߝ Seattle, WA @ Showbox

RETROGRADE

 

“A perfectly balanced duo. They both have incredible skills. They both have wonderful voices. The harmonies are fabulous. And they play the heck out of the guitar…” – NPR Music

Capitol Records will release Retrograde, the new EP from Striking Matches, on February 9. The EP’s title track and “Desire” are selections from the band’s upcoming full-length album, due out later this year. The collection also includes the duo’s compelling version of Buffalo Springfield’s classic protest song, “For What It’s Worth.”

 

Striking Matches will join Phillip Phillips on the first leg of The Magnetic Tour. The North American run will include a two-night stand at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA (February 14 & 15), a February 18 show at Irving Plaza in New York City and a concert at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville on February 25. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.strikingmatches.com/#/tour

 

The duo – comprising Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis – recently made its Sundance Film Festival debut, performing at the ASCAP Music Café. The pair was also featured on the NFL’s “Heart of the Game” webseries.

 

After releasing the Shameless EP onCapitol Recordslast fall, Striking Matches toured North America and Europe with JOHNNYSWIM. The Tampa Bay Times said, “Striking Matches are both an amazing acoustic songwriting duo and a pair of bluesy electrifying performers…Their voices vibrantly bounce off each other to fun harmonies, most notably in ‘Medicine,’ a song that got the crowd singing along almost immediately.”

 

Watch Striking Matches perform “Medicine” live from Capitol Studios in Hollywood in this video.

Shameless, which was produced by Kennedy Karate (Børns), follows the duo’s 2015 debut album, Nothing But The Silence, which has racked up more than 10 million cumulative streams worldwide.

 

Nothing But The Silence, which was produced by T Bone Burnett,won acclaim in the U.S. and abroad. NPR’s “World Café” hailed Striking Matches as an “Artist to Watch” andBuzzfeednamed the duo as one of the “Artists You Need In Your Life.” USA Today said, “Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis give off sparks as singers and writers, but they’re even hotter guitarists. Incendiary.” American Songwriter observed, “these songs crackle and sizzle.” Nothing But The Silence debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes UK Country Chart and several tracks were featured on BBC Radio 2’s playlist.

 

Zimmermann grew up outside Philadelphia, and mastered the guitar, clarinet and violin before middle school. Davis, who is from Atlanta, began playing guitar at an early age. A professor at Belmont University in Nashville paired them up for class projects, and they soon started writing together. Nine of their songs were performed in the first four seasons of the hit television show “Nashville.” In addition to numerous headline outings, Striking Matches have opened for Train and toured the U.S. with The Secret Sisters on a co-headline tour.

 

Retrograde – Track Listing

 

  1. Retrograde
  2. Desire
  3. For What It’s Worth

 

Striking Matches – 2018 Tour Dates

Supporting Phillip Phillips

 

2/10 – Charlotte, NC @ The Neighborhood Theatre

2/11 – Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa Theater

2/13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

2/14 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair

2/15 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair

2/17 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore

2/18 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza

2/20 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle

2/22 – Athens, GA @ Georgia Theatre

2/23 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse

2/24 – Macon, GA @ Cox Capitol Theatre

2/25 – Nashville, TN @ 3rd and Lindsley

2/27 – Charleston, SC @ Music Farm

2/28 – Saint Petersburg, FL @ Palladium Theatre

3/2 – Jacksonville, FL @ Florida Theatre

3/3 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution Live

ZIKR Documentary in Sundance Film Festival

ZIKR is the first VR documentary to be acquired at the Sundance Film Festival

Created by Award-Winning filmmakers Gabo Arora, John Fitzgerald and Matthew Niederhauser

Leading documentary producer, sales agent and theatrical distributor, Dogwoof, has acquired the politically charged, multiplayer, virtual reality documentary, ZIKR: A SUFI REVIVAL, directed by Gabo Arora, produced by Jennifer Tiexiera, and created by Sensorium, Superbright, and Tomorrow Never Knows. It is the first time a VR documentary has been acquired at the Sundance Film Festival.

Brokered on the last day of the Festival by Dogwoof’s Andy Whittaker and Tomorrow Never Knows, Nathan Brown, the agreement entails funding to support additional development, including an unprecedented online version of the VR experience allowing multiple players to be networked at once into the experience from around the world. Dogwoof will also lead on global representation and distribution with a location based installations at high profile international cultural centers, cinemas and museums. This is the first public project for Tomorrow Never Knows, a newly formed VR/AR/AI startup founded by industry pioneers Arora, Brown, Saschka Unseld and Tom Lofthouse.

There is real demand and a growing market for distinctive storytelling in VR/AR said Brown, CEO of Tomorrow Never Knows. To partner with Andy and Dogwoof, one of the world’s most acclaimed producers and distributors of non-fiction stories, is more than a signal, it’s a lightning bolt for the entire industry.

Having changed the face of non-fiction storytelling in the past decade, Dogwoof, and their newly formed VR-focused company, Other Set, are now poised to change how users engage with these crucial stories of social impact in VR. The acquisition of ZIKR adds to their award-winning and visionary catalog including Blackfish, The Act of Killing and OJ: Made in America.

ZIKR is a gem. A profoundly moving VR experience, which will change people’s perspectives, commented Dogwoof founder Andy Whittaker. We cannot wait to show it to international festivals, theaters, museums and art venues knowing it can have the kind of profound impact Alejandro piece has had at LACMA.

Gabo Arora, director of ZIKR, commented: Andy and his team at Dogwoof, have proven themselves over and over with their work in traditional documentary. And, with their first VR acquisition with ZIKR, they will bring their same tenacious spirit to making sure more and more people can experience a story very pertinent to what’s happening in the world now. I couldn’t dream of a better home for ZIKR or a better team than Dogwoof for global distribution. I am honoured to be joining their award winning.

ZIKR: A Sufi Revival premiered January 19th in the New Frontier section of the Sundance Film Festival. The film takes four participants on an interactive, virtual reality journey into a world of ecstatic ritual and music in order to explore the nature of faith alongside followers of this mystical Islamic tradition. By opening up an experience to Sufism, dancing and singing alongside members of the Tunisian group Association de la Renaissance du Maalouf et du Chant Soufi de Sidi Bou Sa it aims to shed light on a crucially misrepresented religion, revealing an Islamic practice of inclusion, acceptance, art, joy and understanding.

ZIKR: A Sufi Revival is created by award-Winning filmmakers Gabo Arora, John Fitzgerald and Matthew Niederhauser, and by SENSORIUM, SUPERBRIGHT, and TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS, in partnership with BoomGen Studios and 1001 Media. It is produced by Jennifer Tiexiera, with executive producers Reza Aslan, Mayhad Tousi, Mohab Tarek Khattab, Eva L. Burns, and Cameron Brodie.

Sundance Film Festival 2018

The Blackhouse at 2018 Sundance Film Festival Schedule 

  • Broadening the Lens: Perspectives on Diverse Storytelling (Sponsored by Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation)
  • “On One with Angela Rye” Presents: Black Women are Leading The Revolution (Sponsored by Color of Change and Planned Parenthood)

10:00 am – 12:00 pm                            

Sunday Brunch & How to Stay in the Game: John Amos from “Good Times” to Animation

Location: The Blackhouse (804 Main St) 

 

12:45 pm – 2:15 pm                                               

“On One with Angela Rye” Presents: Black Women are Leading the Revolution

Sponsored by: Color of Change and Planned Parenthood

Location: The Blackhouse (804 Main St) 

 

Since 2017, the resistance of women, specifically women of color, has been amplified worldwide though social media and Hollywood engagement. This panel will examine the alignment between the current culture, political, reproductive and gender-based justice movements. Highlighting how content creators, culture creators, influencers, and allies can inclusively use their platforms to sustain the revolution.

 

 

2:30 pm – 4:00 pm                                       

Facebook SEEN Program Panel                

Sponsored by: Facebook

Location: The Blackhouse (804 Main St) 

 

The Blackhouse Foundation joins forces with Facebook Creative Shop for the launch of SEEN, an inclusivity in film program for independent filmmakers. It kicks off with the “inclusivity in Film: How Facebook partnered with A Boy. A Girl. A Dream to be SEEN,” panel discussing the program with independent filmmakers Qasim Basir and Datari Turner, and star cast of Meagan Good and Omari Hardwick, ahead of their Sundance premiere of their shortlisted film A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.

 

 

4:00pm – 5:30pm                                                

Netflix in One Take Panel 

Sponsored by: Netflix

Location: The Blackhouse (804 Main St) 

 

A fireside chat with Black executives at Netflix about representation, “who kicked down the door” for each of them and why the company’s culture is unique. In addition, they will go through a project’s journey through the Netflix platform and how they find an engaged audience for each title.

 

 

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm                                              

Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation

Reception

Location: The Blackhouse (804 Main St) 

 

 

7:00pm – 8:00pm                                                

Broadening the Lens: Perspectives on Diverse Storytelling

Sponsored by: Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation

Location: The Blackhouse (804 Main St) 

 

Broadening the Lens : Perspective on Diverse Storytelling will examine diversity and inclusion in the industry today and how underrepresented groups can work together to widen the lens of storytelling include all voices. We will also explore what modern storytelling will look like in the digital and global landscape of the future. Panelists include iconic actress and philanthropist Jada Pinkett Smith, influential writer and The Chi creator Lena WaitheMACRO Senior Vice President, Development & Production Poppy Hanks, and in-demand television writer Radha Blank [The Get DownEmpireShe’s Gotta Have It, & Monster].

 

 

9:00pm – 12:00am

Smart, Funny and Black with Amanda Seales Panel and Party

Sponsored by: TBC

Music by: Amanda Seales

Location: The Blackhouse (804 Main St) 

 

 

ABOUT THE BLOCKHOUSE FOUNDATION 

 

The Blackhouse Foundation works to expand opportunities for Black content creators by providing pathways to opportunities within film, television, digital and emerging platforms. Blackhouse provides opportunities for minority creative to learn about the financial, production, marketing and distribution resources that will raise the profile of their content, while also providing participants with a nucleus for continuing support, community and education. 

 

 KEEP UP WITH THE BLACK HOUSE!

 

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