July 25, 2013
By JAKE COYLE
The next Spike Lee joint will be a Kickstarter production.
Following in the footsteps of “Veronica Mars” and Zach Braff, Lee has launched an online campaign to help fund his next feature film. The Brooklyn filmmaker on Monday unveiled his bid to raise $1.25 million over the next month using the fundraising site Kickstarter.
Lee offered few details on the film, but said it would be about “the addiction of blood.”
The 56-year-old director said he was inspired to crowd-source the film after hearing from a student of his that the “Veronica Mars” movie raised $5.7 million on Kickstarter, and Braff’s film pulled in $3.1 million. Said Lee in a video posted on his Kickstarter page: “When I heard about that, I said, ‘Oh, snap!’”
Though filmmakers including David Fincher have been involved with Kickstarter projects, Lee, the director of “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X” is easily the most established filmmaker yet to use the service to raise money for a feature. His remake of the 2003 South Korean thriller “Oldboy” is to be released in October.
Kickstarter, which takes a percentage of donations, has found both supporters enamored by the ability to circumvent the usual means of film production, and critics who call it digital panhandling and lament that backers, unlike typical film investors, get no cut of any eventual grosses.
In a video message, Lee said the current climate is difficult an independent filmmakers and the only way to insure your vision gets on screen “is when you bring the money to the table.”
“Super Heroes, Comic Books, 3-D Special EFX, Blowing up the Planet Nine Times and Fly through the Air while Transforming is not my Thang,” wrote Lee. “To me it’s not just that these Films are being made but it seems like these are the only films getting made.”
Contribution levels range up to $10,000, which earns a trip with Lee to a New York Knicks game in his courtside seats.
“Do you wish to see Human Beings dealing with each other on a Human Level?” implored Lee. “How many more explosions with Ear splitting Sound Effects can you take? C'mon People, please get behind this Joint.”
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — A judge in Jamaica has dropped a murder case against one of island’s biggest dancehall stars.
Vybz Kartel and two other men will not face trial in the death of businessman Barrington Burton after a judge ruled Wednesday that prosecutors did not present sufficient evidence.
Kartel, however, still faces a murder trial scheduled to start in November for the August 2011 killing of a Jamaican man named Clive “Lizard” Williams. Police have said that Williams was beaten to death at Kartel’s home and that the body has never been found.
Kartel’s real name is Adijah Palmer. He has been in custody for nearly two years. He is known for his violent, X-rated lyrics and is considered one of the top performers in the brash reggae-rap hybrid of dancehall.
By MARK KENNEDY
Dule Hill will be tapping into his dancing roots when he joins Broadway’s “After Midnight,” a musical celebrating Duke Ellington’s years at the famous Cotton Club nightclub in Harlem.
Producers said Wednesday the actor and trained tap dancer best known for starring in USA’s hit detective series “Psych,” will play the host of the show, presenting the sound and glamor of the Harlem Renaissance.
Performances start Oct. 18 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, with an official opening night set for Nov. 3.
Hill was last on Broadway as Spoon, a lawyer-turned-budding novelist, in Lydia R. Diamond’s thoughtful family drama “Stick Fly” in 2011. Hill joins the already announced Grammy Award- and “American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino in the lively show that will feature 17 musicians and 25 vocalists and dancers.
Emmy Award-nominated for his work as Charlie Young on “The West Wing,” Hill first came to prominence as The Kid opposite Savion Glover and Jeffrey Wright in “Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk.” Born and raised in New Jersey, Hill began attending dance school when he was 3 and received his first break years later as the understudy to Glover in “The Tap Dance Kid” on Broadway.
Directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle with musical direction by Wynton Marsalis, the show appeared off-Broadway last year at New York City Center under the name “Cotton Club Parade.” Songs include “Stormy Weather,” “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “I’ve Got the World on a String.”
Hill may get a work-out in the show, which off-Broadway had no fewer than 24 numbers with dancing that included the Savoy swing and the Charleston. Veteran singer and dancer Brandon Victor Dixon played the role at New York City Center.
Legendary performers such as the Nicholas Brothers, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters and a teenage Lena Horne all performed at the Cotton Club in the 1920s. The music and dancing will be augmented by Langston Hughes poetry.
PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (AP) — The Coast Guard says singer Kelly Rowland was among the passengers on a private boat escorted back to Cape Cod after the captain became disoriented.
Lt. Ruairi White tells the Cape Cod Times that the boat's captain was following a commercial whale-watching vessel Friday, lost sight of the boat and became disoriented north of Provincetown.
The Coast Guard directed a commercial towboat operator to escort the private vessel back to Provincetown.
TowBoat U.S. Provincetown says on its Facebook page that the boat was 33 miles north of Provincetown. It says the passengers "were great. Just a little shook up."
Rowland is a founding member of Destiny's Child, where Beyonce got her start. The group briefly reunited this year when Rowland and Michelle Williams joined Beyonce for a Super Bowl performance.
By RYAN PEARSON
Hours after President Barack Obama delivered remarks about Trayvon Martin and the George Zimmerman trial, Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson addressed the racially charged case at Comic-Con in San Diego.
Foxx was at the massive pop culture convention to promote his role as the villain Electro in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Holding his 4-year-old daughter Annalise, who wore a Spider-Man backpack and shoes, Foxx said he was “disappointed” in the July 13 not guilty verdict in Florida.
He had been among the most vocal celebrities expressing support for Martin’s family, having met the teen’s mother Sybrina Fulton at an awards show.
“She’s always been courageous in saying this has never been about race. She said it’s about 17-year-old kids. We have to protect our kids. So I stand with her forever,” Foxx said.
“It was great to see Bruce Springsteen in Ireland dedicate a song to Trayvon. I think that’s what really makes it universal in the fact that we know that there's race involved, but to see all races coming together and saying that hey, there's something wrong,” Foxx said. “There’s something wrong when a 17-year-old child is on his way home and someone with a gun pursues him and he ends up losing his life.”
Foxx said Martin’s case was part of an “epidemic” of gun violence in the US.
“When you look at Sandy Hook and Aurora and all these different things where we’re losing our children. Chicago — 67 kids, people killed in a week — we have an epidemic,” he said. “And it’s up to us as the grown folks to be smart enough and intelligent and nice to each other to have a difference of opinion, but also understand that we have to come to a solution.”
Samuel L. Jackson was also on hand at the convention, promoting the remake of “RoboCop.” He said he'd been out of the country for much of the trial and during the verdict, but expected the result.
“I’m not really surprised by it considering the way the case was presented and the representation that the family had, and the portrayals that they put out there of the kid and how peoples’ attitudes are about those particular things,” Jackson said.
Still, he said, he was “encouraged by the attitude of people after the verdict, that people are willing to stand up and take a stand and get out in the streets, and let their voices be heard.”
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