Month: April 2021

Spain’s Primavera Sound festival to resume in 2022 over two weekends: sources

Barcelona’s Primavera Sound music festival, one of Europe’s largest, will resume next year in an expanded version after being cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two sources with close knowledge of the festival told Reuters.

In this new format, the festival will take place on June 2-5 and June 9-12 of 2022 in the northeastern Spanish city, doubling its usual length, and will have around 400 shows across two lineups which will include major singers, the sources said.

No decision has been made yet on whether to keep the new two-weekend format beyond 2022, one of the sources said.

The festival organiser declined to comment.

The pandemic has hit the global entertainment industry especially hard, with large gatherings such as concerts and festivals cancelled all over the world.

But the sector hopes vaccination campaigns and the easing of restrictions will slowly allow a return to normality.

In a sign of hope to Europe’s moribund live-music sector, a trial concert held in March in Barcelona where 5,000 people took rapid COVID-19 tests and crammed into a venue wearing masks but without social distancing did not drive up infections.

Around 220,000 people attended Primavera Sound in 2019, with half of them coming from outside Spain and the majority of them British.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #PrimaveraSound #Covid @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

BRIT Awards winners to get two trophies, one for sharing

Winners at next month’s BRIT Awards will receive two different trophies, encouraged to share one as a way to embrace the community spirit and kindness seen during COVID-19 lockdowns, organisers of Britain’s pop music honours said on Wednesday.

Artists Es Devlin and Yinka Ilori designed the statuettes, which will be handed out in pairs at the May 11 ceremony held at London’s O2 arena.

“Each recipient is invited to award the second trophy to someone they consider worthy – it might be recognition – or it might be someone that does something entirely unrelated to music,” Devlin said.

Ilori added that the idea came from the experience of lockdown. “Your neighbour you’ve lived beside for six years and never say hello to suddenly gave you flowers, foods, acts of kindness. I wanted to capture that,” he said.

Devlin and Ilori follow in the footsteps of designer Vivienne Westwood, milliner Philip Treacy and Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor, who all designed BRIT trophies in the past.

This year, a colourful larger statuette was inspired by Ilori’s Nigerian heritage, while Devlin said the smaller trophy was “engraved with the maze pattern that celebrates the paths many of those working within the creative industries have had to tread in order to progress through this challenging year”.

Some 4,000 people will attend the BRITs, which organisers have said will be the first major indoor music event with a live audience as Britain emerges from COVID-19 lockdown.

The ceremony will be part of the UK government’s Events Research Programme, looking at whether major events can take place in closed environments without social distancing.

More than half of the audience, 2,500 people, will be key workers with tickets gifted through a ballot.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #BRITAwards #Covid @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

MultiChoice’s Showmax invests in African content for growth

MultiChoice’s online streaming platform Showmax is investing in producing its own local content for African audiences as it competes for their attention against Netflix on the continent, a senior executive told Reuters.

MultiChoice is Africa’s largest pay-TV group, available in 50 African countries. Its streaming service Showmax, launched in 2015, is available in 46 African countries and also in several Western countries, including Britain and France, which have sizeable African diaspora populations.

The company is focusing on developing movies and shows set in its biggest markets of Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, senior executive Yolisa Phahle said in an interview.

“For us, it really is about getting the local entertainment which we know African audiences enjoy, programming in their languages, stories reflecting their realities, their hopes and their dreams,” said Phahle.

She did not say how much Multichoice was investing in the production of local content.

The company released six new original productions last year to add to its catalogue of content from the U.S-based cable channel HBO. It also offers global football, including the English Premier League, on its Showmax Pro platform.

Some of the shows released so far this year include a reality TV series from Nigeria and a police procedural drama set in Kenya.

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to spend more time at home, there was an initial increase in viewership for Showmax, Phahle said.

Last week, MultiChoice said it would charge Showmax mobile subscribers across Africa on average 20% less for access on a single mobile device, in recognition that some users may not be able to afford such luxuries during the pandemic-induced economic slowdown affecting most countries.

Broadcasters of all kinds on the continent are under huge pressure to keep viewers engaged, said Phahle: “They simply have hundreds and hundreds of other places where they can take their eyeballs or their wallets.”

The company is co-producing programmes with HBO and Cinemax on productions set in Africa to global audiences, she said.

“They know that the stories that we are telling from our own backyard will find global audiences,” she said of HBO and Cinemax.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #MultiChoice #Covid @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Youn Yuh-jung’s Oscars win ‘rewrites’ South Korean film history

While accepting her award for best supporting actress at Sunday’s Academy Awards, South Korean film icon Youn Yuh-jung joked that her win may have been the result of American hospitality for a Korean actor.

If so, it was hospitality that had never been extended before. Youn’s Oscar win for her role in “Minari” was a historic first for any Korean performer, a year after the South Korean-produced “Parasite” was lauded for “breaking the language barrier” when it became the first non-English language film to win Best Picture.

In her acceptance speech, Youn noted the challenges Korean actors have faced, joking about the different ways her name has been mispronounced.

“Tonight, you are all forgiven,” she said with a smile.

Youn’s witty speech and dryly humorous exchanges with reporters went viral as she joked about finally getting to meet presenter Brad Pitt, whose Plan B Entertainment Inc. produced “Minari.”

“Finally, nice to meet you, where were you when we were filming?” she asked the actor to laughs from the audience. Asked by an entertainment reporter later what Pitt smelled like, Youn didn’t bite.

“I didn’t smell him. I’m not dog,” she said, laughing.

Youn, 73, has been a fixture of Korean cinema for decades.

Amid the glitz and flashiness of South Korean icons such as K-pop global superstars BTS, Youn is perhaps an unlikely ambassador for an entertainment industry that is making ever greater strides on the world stage.

Youn downplayed competition with the other nominees, attributing her win to luck. And she acknowledged her roots in Korean cinema, dedicating her victory to the late Kim Ki-young, a legendary director who cast her in key roles in the 1970s and 1980s.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Youn’s win rewrote the 102-year history of Korean film, and he praised her acting career as one that “gave sympathy to those who have lived in other cultures.”

Moon also noted the Korean heritage of others involved in “Minari”, including director Lee Isaac Chung and Steven Yeun, the first Asian-American to be nominated for a best actor Oscar.

Since her acting debut in 1966, Youn has been a sensation on Korean screens for playing witty, thought-provoking characters.

Before Sunday she had already won more than 30 awards for her role in “Minari” as a grandmother who travels to the United States to watch her grandchildren as their immigrant family tries to start a farm in 1980s Arkansas.

The film resonated widely in the United States at a time when reports of violence against Asian Americans have spiked since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Congrats to Yuh-Jung Youn and thanks to @MinariMovie for bringing to life a beautiful character that embodies the love and care and strength of Korean American families,” U.S. congressman Andy Kim, who was born in Boston to Korean immigrant parents, said on Twitter.

When asked at a backstage news conference about more diverse films and actors being recognised, Youn said it was “about time” and that people should understand and embrace each other, rather than divide themselves by race or gender.

“I think if we put our colours together, make it more prettier, even a rainbow has a seven colours,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for us to share in the story together.”

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #YounYuh-jung #Oscars @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Daniel Kaluuya wins Oscar for ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’

British actor Daniel Kaluuya on Sunday won his first Oscar for his supporting role as the late Black Panther activist Fred Hampton in the drama, “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

Kaluuya, 32, emerged as front-runner for the Academy Award after also winning at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and British BAFTA ceremonies.

Born in London to Ugandan parents, Kaluuya describes himself as a working-class kid who got his first big break in the entertainment industry as a teen actor and writer on the young adult British TV series, “Skins.”

He first came to international attention in the 2017 surprise hit black comedy horror movie “Get Out,” which brought him a lead actor Oscar nomination.

In “Judas and the Black Messiah,” he plays Black revolutionary leader Hampton, who was shot dead by Chicago police in 1969 at the age of 21.

Kaluuya paid tribute to Hampton as he held his Oscar on stage.

“What a man,” Kaluuya said. “How blessed we are that we lived in a lifetime that he existed. Thank you for your life.”

The film was made with the blessing and participation of Hampton’s son, Fred Hampton Jr. Kaluuya has said his aim was to honor Hampton’s legacy.

Kaluuya worked in British television and theater before landing small roles in movies such as “Johnny English Reborn” and thriller “Sicario.”

He won acclaim for playing a man who lives surrounded by screens in the surreal TV series “Black Mirror” before being cast in “Get Out” as a Black man who goes to visit his white girlfriend’s wealthy parents.

That led to a part in the 2018 superhero movie, “Black Panther” and a starring role in the independent film “Queen &


IVOX NEWS by Reuters #DanielKaluuya #JudasandtheBlackMessiah @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

‘A little bit of sparkle’: fashionistas eye Oscars red carpet frocks

Looking through a rack of colourful evening gowns, celebrity stylist Cristina Ehrlich pulls out a shiny black and chrome frock she describes as a classic red carpet look.

“The actual design of the dress is very classic and simple,” Ehrlich says. “This is the perfect kind of dress for an evening like the Academy Awards because you can do so much to what we call style it out.”

Ehrlich, who has dressed the likes of Laura Dern, Tina Fey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, expects to see plenty of glitz and glamour at Sunday’s Oscars, when celebrities will gather in person at Los Angeles’ Art Deco Union Station and by satellite links to venues outside the United States, capping a virtual awards season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The producers of Hollywood’s biggest night say they plan an intimate gathering for nominees, presenters and their guests, with no Zoom dial-ins. They have asked attendees to dress up, forgoing the casual wear some have worn while joining by video from home at other events.

Preparation for the 92nd Academy Awards continues along the red carpet area in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 8, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

“The Academy Awards are really touted as one of the most important sparkly nights delivering glamour,” Ehrlich, who is dressing a celebrity for an Oscars party, said.

“And I think it’s safe to say that after the year that we’ve all endured that a little bit of glamour and a little bit of sparkle is needed.”

Among Ehrlich’s selection of dresses are classic intricately embroidered gowns, sparkling sequined dresses and a tailored suit – looks she expects to see at the Oscars.

With no red carpet to walk down so far this awards season, many celebrities have dressed up and posed – sometimes in their gardens – for pre-event shoots.

February’s Golden Globes saw nominees seated in front of screens in an array of colourful, show-stopping frocks – as well as in pyjamas and sweatshirts – while this month’s BAFTAS, where only awards presenters walked down a pared back red carpet in London, fashionistas noted more sleek, classic-looking gowns.

“As the Oscars approaches, the mood seems to favour instead a classic, no-frills approach to getting dressed for film’s biggest night of the year,” British Vogue senior news editor Alice Newbold wrote.

“(The BAFTA) ceremony at an empty Royal Albert Hall certainly gave pause for thought and put the emphasis squarely on talent, while reminding us of the joys of cinema.”

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #Oscar #Fashion @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Michael Kors pays tribute to Broadway in 40th anniversary show

American designer Michael Kors paid tribute to Broadway in his 40th anniversary show on Tuesday, with a collection that celebrated a night out in the New York theatre district.

Kors’ presentation began with the designer greeting fashionistas from Times Square, where as an avid theatre fan he spoke about the hit Broadway has taken during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a short film, Broadway stars raised awareness of the Actors Fund, a charity supporting performers and behind-the-scenes workers, and introduced a pre-recorded runway show in which models including Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen and Bella Hadid strutted down a street in Times Squares at night.

The autumn/winter collection mixed sleek work looks as well as sparkling evening wear. Kors said he had reissued a selection of his brand’s “most iconic looks”, with each piece including a QR code revealing its story.

“This past year, I got time to actually think about the 40-year career, the journey that it has been, the people I’ve met, the places I’ve gone, all of the collections, it’s a lot to process,” Kors told Reuters in an interview.

“But I’m happy – it was one of the rare good things about lockdown that we all, I think, really got a greater sense of appreciation about so many things.”

Kors opened his runway presentation with a white coat over a black shirt and trousers, before presenting buttoned, checked skirt suits, animal print designs and all-red outfits.

Rollneck jumpers were worn with furry coats, dresses had cuts at the waist and A-line skirts were slit at the front. Outerwear included wool and sparkly coats, shiny rain macs and puffer jackets.

For the evening, models wore shimmering dresses and sleek high heels.

“I wanted to talk about, hopefully if we are optimistic but realistic, that when this collection arrives in the stores starting September, October, November, December, we’re all going to crave going out and getting dressed and kind of strutting our stuff,” Kors said.

“Theatre will reopen and we won’t go to the theatre in just a hoodie. We’re going to get dressed up. When we can get back into our offices and we have a meeting we’re going to want to get dressed up. When New Year’s Eve rolls around next year we’re getting dressed up. So, it’s very much a celebration of big city life, hitting the streets, the theatre.”

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #MichaelKors #Broadway @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

High heels! Real pants! ‘Teeny’ Oscars red carpet signals return to glamour

After a year that saw the coronavirus pandemic shut down in-person events and replace them with actors on Zoom, sometimes at home in hoodies and pajamas, celebrity watchers are looking forward to seeing stars stepping out in show-stopping gowns on the movie industry’s biggest night on Sunday.

“Red carpets are a huge part of award season,” said Zoe Ruderman, head of digital at People magazine.

“We saw a lot of leggings, a lot of tie-dye sweatshirts, and it was fun. But I’m having a little bit of Zoom fatigue and I’m ready to see it live on the screen on a red carpet with real pants and real high heels,” she said.

Organizers have sought to play down expectations of the kind of three-hour, 900-foot- (270-meter-)long red carpet crowded with some 100 photographers, TV crews and screaming fans that normally precedes the Academy Awards ceremony.

“It’s not a traditional red carpet,” Stacey Sher, one of the producers of the show said last week. “It’s a teeny tiny red carpet.”

But at least it won’t be a Zoom event, with so-called “waist-up” fashion. Instead nominees and presenters, after being tested for COVID-19, will gather together at the Art Deco Union Station in downtown Los Angeles ahead of the ceremony and by satellite links to venues around the world.

It’s not just the fashion moments that makes red carpets such an integral – and much missed – part of award shows.

They also give viewers a sense of spontaneity that has been in short supply during the pandemic, and boost TV audiences for award shows that have plummeted by up to 60% this year.

“We all miss the energy and the escapism that it creates,” said celebrity stylist Chloe Hartstein, who will be working with best supporting actress nominee Glenn Close for Sunday’s ceremony.

“I think the audience will be excited to see beautiful fashions and couture and custom pieces just because we’ve been so deprived of it. And I think, especially at this time, we need a little bit of beauty and art,” Hartstein said.


Celebrities are divided over whether the absence of red carpets has been a blessing in disguise. Recent shows, including the BAFTAS and the Grammys, have seen some actors and musicians pose for photos, but not always at the event itself.

“Often those red carpets aren’t just for the dresses and the glamour of it,” said British actor and singer Cynthia Erivo. “Sometimes (it’s) the only way you get to see people … because we’re moving around so often.”

“I miss being able to look a person in the eye, face-to-face, in person and say, ‘Well done!’ and ‘I’ve missed you’,” she added.

Riz Ahmed, a first-time best actor nominee for his role as a deaf drummer in “Sound of Metal,” has welcomed doing interviews remotely rather than having to attending the usual parties and dinners.

“You’re just sat there in your pajamas, throwing on a jacket and you’re away,” he said. “I think there’s something quite grounding and humbling about it.”

Despite the hours spent to get the perfect look, red carpets often bring surprises.

“That’s where we see celebrities reveal a baby bump, a new engagement ring,” said People’s Ruderman. “So you have these really unscripted, exciting moments and sometimes it’s even more exciting than the show,” she said.

Exciting or not, former “Grey’s Anatomy” star Katherine Heigl is happy about getting a break from the red carpet.

“I miss the gowns but I also don’t miss the gowns,” she said. “They are very uncomfortable … those Spanx – they really just cut off air flow.”

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #TeenOscar #TV @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com

Stars come out for Country Music awards show in genre’s hometown, Nashville

Broadcasting before live audiences from country music’s hometown, Nashville, Tennessee, the 56th Academy of Country Music awards show brought a star-studded Sunday night.

For the second year, the ACM awards took place in multiple smaller sites around Nashville, including the emblematic Grand Ole Opry House, rather than at the usual Las Vegas venue.

More than two dozen performers, including co-hosts Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton, as well as genre stars Kenny Chesney and Maren Morris, who won two awards, took part in the three-hour show aired by CBS and Paramount+ at 8 p.m. ET (0000 GMT).

Luke Bryan took the top prize for Entertainer of the Year, while Chris Stapelton won Album of the Year for “Starting Over”. Morris was awarded Female Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for “The Bones”, and Thomas Rhett was named Male Artist of the Year.

The award nominees sat spaced out in the mostly empty front rows of the Opry, all wearing masks, as the audience applauded and cheered from the higher floors. 

Bryan was scheduled to perform at the award show but had to bow out after recently testing positive for COVID-19.

“I’m so sorry I could not be there,” he said in a video message from Los Angeles, promising his fans he would be back soon.

Morris thanked the talented artists she competed with for inspiring her, saying, “I have heard some of the best music out of you all this past year.”

Miranda Lambert, the most nominated female artist in the Academy’s history with 35 ACM wins, kicked off the show alongside Elle King with a duet rendition of “Drunk (and I Don’t Wanna Go Home)”.

Among the performances, Carrie Underwood and Cece Winans stood out for a medley of gospel songs including “Amazing Grace” and “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

Guyton, a nominee for new Female Artist of the Year, and the first Black woman to host the ACM awards, performed her song “Hold On” with a gospel choir accompaniment. 

Urban, the 2019 Entertainer of the Year winner, who returned this year after hosting the 2020 ACM show, thrilled the audience with his new song “Tumbleweed.”

The other winners included:

Duo of the Year – Dan + Shay

Group of the Year – Old Dominion

New Female Artist of the Year – Gabby Barrett

New Male Artist of the Year – Jimmie Allen

Single of The Year – “I Hope You’re Happy Now” by Carly Pearce and Lee Brice

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #news #CMA #ivoxmedia

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Tops Box Office Again, Crosses $80 Million in the U.S.

“Godzilla vs. Kong” remained atop the domestic box office in its third weekend of release. The Legendary and Warner Bros movie added another $7.7 million, boosting its North American tally to $80.5 million.

The film looks to be the first to cross $100 million in the U.S and Canada since the pandemic began. Its ticket sales are especially notable, and not just because movie theaters across the country have been operating at reduced capacity. “Godzilla vs. Kong” has been available on HBO Max to subscribers, meaning people who pay for the streaming service can watch it at home for no extra charge. Warner Bros. entire 2021 slate will follow a similar release pattern.

Given the impaired marketplace, new releases have been few and far between. That has given “Godzilla vs. Kong” and other holdover titles free rein over box office charts.

Universal’s “Nobody,” an action thriller starring Bob Odenkirk, landed in second place with $2.5 million. The film has made $19 million in the U.S. and $34 million globally in four weeks. Due to an agreement between Universal and several theater chains, including AMC and Cinemark, audiences can already rent “Nobody” on demand.

Sony’s “The Unholy” secured the No. 3 spot with $2 million in its third weekend in theaters. The thriller has generated $9.5 million to date.

Disney’s action adventure “Raya and the Last Dragon” came in fourth with $1.9 million over the weekend. The family friendly movie, which has been offered on Disney Plus for a premium $30 charge, has amassed $37 million in North America since it first hit theaters.

Rounding out the top five is Warner Bros “Tom and Jerry,” an animated/live-action hybrid about the infamous cat and mouse duo. It pulled in $1.1 million, bringing its North American tally to $42 million. Like “Godzilla vs. Kong,” the film is also available on HBO Max for 31 days. Globally “Tom and Jerry” hit a notable box office milestone, surpassing $100 million in ticket sales.

IVOX NEWS by Reuters #GodzillavsKong #Movie @ivoxnews www.ivoxnews.com