Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

May one moan about the royal wedding?


Royals1.jpgI may be in Berlin covering the film festival, but I’m keeping half an eye on the press coverage of the royal wedding. Needless to say there is an awful lot of it, and some of the stories appear to be as much fiction as fact, if not more so. The tone is almost entirely positive, with commentators glowing about the young royal couple, her style, his grace, how good it all is for the country, economy, morale, soul — oh you get the gist.

Now there is not necessarily anything wrong with being positive — after all, we are talking about a couple of 20-somethings about to embark on a big adventure (marriage) and we should wish them well.

As to what it all means for the rest of us is a little more complicated, however. Lots and lots of people will welcome the fact that with the wedding falling on a Friday (April 29), the population has been granted a right royal day off, making it a four-day break over the May Day weekend. The weekend before is Easter, so many loyal subjects look set to take the whole week in between off work. Now this is all very nice for many of us, but a real pain the neck for others. One TV director said he was fed up with the wedding, as he was supposed to be shooting during the period and now doesn’t believe he can. As a self-employed film maker, he’s set to lose out. There will be hundreds of thousands, if not millions more like him.

And for all the talk of a boost to tourism and the economy, a lot of my friends plan to get out of London, and even the country during the nuptials, rather than get stuck in a gridlocked city. The Guardian newspaper had an interesting article recently about how previous royal weddings of this scale actually had a negative impact on tourism.

from MediaFile:

Laugh graph: Conan and the ratings race

The debut of Conan on TBS won its time slot against more established late-night comedy shows. But can the former Tonight Show host keep up the momentum? Reuters is keeping daily track of how O'Brien performs against his rivals; tune in every day for an update.

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Pride or insecurity at the Toronto festival? “I don’t know, you tell me”


FILM-TORONTO/If there’s one thing the (mostly local) media seems to do well at the Toronto International Film Festival,  it’s pestering filmmakers and stars with questions about Canada, Toronto, and the festival.

Call it the Sally Field complex.

There have been some lovely and flattering comments, of course — this is a film festival, after all. But what happens when the media doesn’t get the answer they want? They’re nothing if not persistent. Undaunted. Like a dog with a bone.

Daytime therapist, nighttime filmmaker captures Soviet life


Photo by Daniel Bases

He’s a physiotherapist by day and a filmmaker by nights, weekends and everything in between. Semyon Pinkhasov has captured facets of Soviet life that rarely get shared beyond Russia’s borders, even after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

(For story, click on

The self-taught, self-financed, award-winning amateur documentary filmmaker has seen his films shown worldwide at festivals and on Russian and English-language television channels. Focused on the arts and the sport of fencing (U.S. Olympic Team Coach in 1984), he tells stories about Grigory Fried, who has run a music appreciation club in Moscow for 45 years without taking a kopeck; Tikhon Khrennikov, the first and last secretary of the Union of Soviet Composers; and Boris Efimov, perhaps Stalin’s favorite cartoonist.

Should the media go easy on Tiger?


(Writing and Reporting by Corinne Heller)

Is media coverage of golf legend Tiger Woods’tigerw alleged infidelity driving you crazy?

Woods lashed out at the press on his website on Wednesday, saying that while he felt he let his family down and strives to be a better person, husband and father, his privacy should be protected and that “personal sins should not require press releases”.

from FaithWorld:

Would Polanski get a pass if he were a paedophile priest?

polanskiIt's hard to watch France's political and cultural elite rush to support filmmaker Roman Polanski against extradition to the United States on a decades-old sex charge and not wonder exactly how they interpret the national motto "liberté, égalité, fraternité." It's tempting to ask whether they're defending the liberty to break the law and skip town, respecting the equality of all before the law and championing a brotherhood of artists who can do no wrong. (Photo: Roman Polanski, 19 Feb 2009/Hannibal Hanschke)

Here in Paris, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner declared the arrest was "a bit sinister ... frankly, (arresting) a man of such talent recognised around the world, recognised in the country where he was arrested -- that's not very nice." He and his Polish counterpart have written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the issue. Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand said "just as there is a generous America that we like, there's also an America that scares us, and that's the America that has just shown us its face." Directors, actors and intellectuals have been signing a petition demanding Polanski's immediate release.

from India Insight:

Is ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ poverty porn?

"As the film revels in the violence, degradation and horror, it invites you, the Westerner, to enjoy it, too...Slumdog Millionaire is poverty porn," wrote London Times' columnist Alice Miles.

The phrase "poverty porn" spread across the Indian media as commentators nodded in agreement or shook their heads even before the film premiered in its native Mumbai and India could (legally) watch it.

from Anthony Boadle:

Bono writes op/ed ode to Sinatra

U2 lead singer Bono dropped the mike to take up the pen.

The Irish rocker's first opinion column for The New Times appeared on Sunday, and it wasn't about debt, poverty or Aids in Africa -- causes on which he has long been outspoken.

No, his initial incursion onto the op/ed pages is an ode to the Chairman of the Board.

Portmania sweeps Venice


portman.jpgNatalie Portman’s inclusion in the short film competition at the Venice film festival has become a major headache for organisers, the press and the actress herself.

A sideline competition normally overlooked by many of the hundreds of journalists and cameramen in Venice each year, the shorts section suddenly became big news when Portman was included and good enough to come to the canal city to talk about her directorial debut “Eve”.

“Who are you calling angry?” demands Kanye West


kanye.jpgRapper Kanye West is not pleased. He is fed up with media rumours. Having just denied that he has a painting of himself as an angel up in his house, he is now using his blog to deny he has anger management issues.

“Now the media is saying I’m going to anger management something or ‘nother. I have never had any conversations about anger management. If anything, I need anger enhancement!! lol! I get off the plane in Hawaii today and the world is saying my management team said blah blah blah… SIIIIIIGGGHHHH! I told the media you can’t make up lies about me because I have a media outlet myself. Oh and sidebar I don’t know if everyone has realized this yet but I don’t do interviews if there’s anything I wanna say I’ll say right here on my own blog,” writes West.