LUCK IS A LADY
Margot Robbie, lead actor and producer of “Barbie,” is to be awarded the AACTA Trailblazer Award next month by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts.
Hailing originally from Queensland, the presentation will be a homecoming of sort for Robbie. The award will be presented to her at the 2024 AACTA Awards Ceremony on Feb. 10 at the Home of the Arts in Queensland’s Gold Coast.
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“Margot Robbie’s impact extends beyond her on-screen performances, as she continues to shape narratives and challenge industry norms. Her commitment to empowering women in film, combined with her talent and business acumen, solidifies Robbie as an influential figure in the entertainment world and a deserved recipient of the 2024 AACTA Trailblazer Award,” said the organization.
Her notable roles include “I, Tonya,” where she portrayed figure skater Tonya Harding, and “Bombshell,” where she played a young woman navigating the toxic environment of a news network. Both roles earned her Academy Award nominations. She gained widespread recognition for her breakthrough role as Naomi Lapaglia in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Other roles include those in “Suicide Squad” and later in “Birds of Prey.” “Barbie” was one of the most influential films of last year and earned $1.4 billion worldwide.
Robbie’s LuckyChap company has been behind female-driven stories including “I, Tonya,” “Birds of Prey” and “Promising Young Woman.”
“Australia has always been my grounding force, and to receive this recognition here is incredibly special. I believe in the power of storytelling and the impact it can have on shaping culture and inspiring others,” Robbie said in a prepared statement.
FIRST NATIONS, FIRST PRIZE
The Sydney Film Festival has announced the launch of its First Nations Award, which it says is the world’s richest cash prize for Indigenous filmmaking. Worth A$35,000 ($23,100) it is supported by Truant Pictures.
The prize is open to First Nations filmmakers from across the globe and “celebrates the profound contributions of First Nations filmmakers to the cinematic landscape.” The category will include features, documentaries and short films. Any film featured within the Festival’s First Nations program automatically qualifies for consideration for the award. Applications close on March 1. The winner will be announced at the SFF closing night on June 16.
“By offering this level of support, we hope to encourage more First Nations filmmakers to share their stories, enriching the film industry with diverse perspectives and voices. This award aligns seamlessly with Sydney Film Festival’s long-standing commitment to fostering cultural diversity and amplifying Indigenous narratives,” said festival director Nashen Moodley. KYOTO TRAGEDY
The 45-year-old man who on Thursday was convicted of killing 36 people in 2019 at the Kyoto Animation studio has confusingly said that he “seriously accepts the verdict,” but also that he will appeal against it.
Although there have been questions about Aoba Shinji’s mental health, the court in Kyoto found that he was mentally fit at the time of the crime and capable of standing trial. He was sentenced to death. On Friday, his defense team said that he would appeal against the verdict. Speaking to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper on Saturday, Aoba said: “As the person who caused this incident, I tried to speak as much as possible during the (court) proceedings [..] But there are a few more things that I want to leave behind as lessons for others.”
It is not clear that others want to hear him. Hatta Hideaki, president of Kyoto Animation, issued a statement that said: “Even after the judgement, the sadness I feel has not changed in the slightest. I feel nothing but pain in my heart when I think of the members of Kyoto Animation who lost their lives, those who were injured, and of the sadness of their loved ones. I pray that remembering the animated works that they put their hearts and souls into, and the surviving members’ efforts every day to continue making such works, will connect their spirits to us.” REBRAND
Imaginarium Studios, the mo-cap and virtual production studio founded by “Lord of the Rings” star Andy Serkis has unveiled a new look, with a refreshed logo, social media, website, merchandise, stationery and even crew clothing on set. The company has just marked its one year tenure at Pinewood Studios in the U.K. It boasts another base at Trilith Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Recent projects the company have worked on include “Napoleon,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3” and “Haunted Mansion.” “We felt it was time to redefine our company with a solid reputation, impressive credentials and a truly unique legacy and position it with a clear, strong identity for a new generation of gaming, film and TV, music and advertising clients,” said business development manager Alex Hill. BROADCAST
BBC Studios has extended its drama footprint internationally with daily series “Qayaamat Se Qayaamat Tak.” Adapted from the novel “November Rain” written by Mrinal and Abhigyan Jha and starring Karamm Rajpal and Trupti Mishra, the show chronicles the immortal love story of Rajneesh, a city-bred medical student, and Poornima, a village girl. Produced by BBC Studios Productions India, the show premieres Jan. 29 and airs Monday-Friday on Viacom18 channel Colors. FESTIVAL
The Nirvana Indian Culture and Cinema Festival returns to Saint-Tropez for its second edition (May 31 – June 2). The city will honor Oscar nominated Indian filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker (“Lagaan”) with the Medal of St. Tropez’ for his outstanding contribution to world cinema and screen his film “Swades,” starring Shah Rukh Khan. “Parched,” directed by Leena Yadav, and India’s 2023 Oscar entry “2018,” directed by Jude Anthany Joseph, are part of the festival’s official program.
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