Trending March 2024 # Apple Wins Bid For Will Smith Action Film ‘Emancipation’, Reported $120 Million Deal # Suggested April 2024 # Top 8 Popular

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Apple has just acquired the global rights to an upcoming action thriller film called Emancipation starring Will Smith and directed by Antoine Fuqua (both pictured above). The deal marks the biggest-ever film festival acquisition with Apple reportedly spending more than $100 million to close the deal, competing against Warner Bros. and others.

Reported by Deadline, the deal for Emancipation comes from the Virtual Cannes market and initially included seven bidders. After moving past $75 million, the bidding was down to Apple and Warner Bros.

The official price of the deal wasn’t disclosed but sources close to the matter said Apple won the rights with a bid of around $105 million and a total spend likely near $120 million.

The plan is for Emancipation to premiere in theaters worldwide before landing on Apple TV+. Here’s the synopsis of the upcoming action thriller (via The Hollywood Reporter):

Based on the true story, the movie follows Peter, a runaway slave forced to outwit cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on his journey North. Once there, he joined the Union Army. When Peter showed his bare back during an Army medical examination, photos were taken of the scars from a near fatal whipping delivered by an overseer on the plantation owned by John and Bridget Lyons.

Deadline notes the frightening parallel between what happened to Peter back in the 1800s and George Floyd just this year.

While the filmmakers have been working on this one for two years, there is an eerie parallel to the footage of George Floyd that sparked protests across the country and reforms that have spread beyond policing and reaching even the corridors of Hollywood. The story of Peter was also fueled by an indelible image, after he showed his bare back during an Army medical examination. The photos taken of the scars from a whipping delivered by an overseer on the plantation got published and seen around the world in 1863. The picture gave the abolitionist cause indisputable proof of the cruelty of slavery in America, and when the photo reached around the world, legend has it that it made countries like France refuse to buy cotton from the South. The photo, commonly called The Scourged Back, solidified the cause of abolitionists and the rest of the world against slavery and prompted many free blacks to join the Union Army.

Fuqua noted that the photograph was “the first viral image of the brutality of slavery that the world saw, which is interesting, when you put it into perspective with today and social media and what the world is seeing, again. You can’t fix the past, but you can remind people of the past and I think we have to, in an accurate, real way. We all have to look for a brighter future for us all, for everyone. That’s one of the most important reasons to do things right now, is show our history. We have to face our truth before we can move forward.”

Emancipation is slated to start production in 2023.

Image via Variety

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Apple Tablet Will Revolutionise Ebook Publishing

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again, Apple has big plans for eBooks and its future Apple tablet will help kickstart yet another change in publishing, just as the Mac helped launch the notion of desktop publishing.

Perhaps a sign of what’s to come is visible in iTunes Extras/LP. These combine multiple assets and can be purchased from iTunes. They are designed to replicate the DVD or album experience, and while the jury’s out on their success in that, they clearly offer opportunities for the creation and distribution of engaging content.

Now Gizmodo tells us that Apple has been in talks with newspapers, magazines and book publishers, including the New York Times, McGraw Hill and Oberlin Press.

The entire vision relates to Apple’s future tablet, Gizmodo explains: “Several years ago, a modified version of OS X was presented to Steve Jobs, running on a multitouch tablet. When the question of “what would people do with this?” couldn’t be answered, they shelved it. Long having established music, movie and TV content, Apple is working hard to load up iTunes with print content from several major publishing houses across several media.”

The report continues to explain a meeting held on Apple’s Cupertino campus between Apple executives and senior figures from across the publishing industry. This followed an internal Apple competition the winning idea of which was textbook distribution through iTunes, a vision that’s already got strong foundations through iTunes U.

“Once people can flip between books, look up references online and switch to an audio reading, everything will change very quickly.”

Other recent activity came in the iTunes release of the Mayhem comic book in the iTunes LP format (iTunes Link). As John Fortt at Fortune noted, “Maybe the tools Apple created to digitize Gibson’s Mayhem comic will be part of an author’s kit with that oft-rumored Apple tablet?”

Being a big business for Apple doesn’t necessarily mean eBooks aren’t a potentially big business for its platforms. eBooks are the second-biggest content category on iTunes after games, so there’s a proper eBook gold rush surging up. It’s just that Apple doesn’t publish the books…but it does create the platform – particularly its mobile platforms.

Also bear in mind chúng tôi and its recent move to partner with Google to launch the world’s biggest online ebookstore – 40 times bigger than Waterstones it aims to offer over two million titles by the end of 2009, with one million titles available right now.

When it comes to the education markets, Apple already knows the score. “We teach teachers not just about Apple solutions, but also how to create content that’s suitable for digital learning,” Apple’s director of EMEA education markets, Herve Marchet, told Macworld UK. “If you want to play in the education market, you need to be a solutions provider. You aren’t just bringing in the machine, you must also offer appropriate software, content and models for best practise in content creation.”

And beyond Apple, Disney (a company which has, erm, Apple CEO Steve Jobs on its board) today launched Disney Digital Books, which it terms, “reading made magical”.

The eBook gold rush is now on….

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Ha Jin Wins Second Pen/Faulkner For War Trash

Ha Jin wins second PEN/Faulkner for War Trash ‘This book is a step towards the United States’

This story was published in the BU Bridge April 8, 2005.

War Trash, the most recent novel by Ha Jin, follows a path familiar to its creator — the story of a young Chinese army officer captured during the Korean War draws partly on Jin’s experience in the People’s Liberation Army in the 1970s and the time he spent stationed in a North Korean village. However, the narrator’s geographical journeys also mark a new experience for the expatriate author: it is Jin’s first book set outside of China, and the start of what he believes will be a complete literary farewell to his homeland.

“This book is a transition,” says the CAS creative writing professor. “A step towards the United States.”

Jin (GRS’94) is already counted among the best American writers — in March, War Trash was awarded a PEN/Faulkner Award, a prestigious peer-juried prize for fiction. Jin previously won the award in 2000 for his novel Waiting; only two other novelists, Philip Roth and John Edgar Wideman, have been given the PEN/Faulkner twice in its 25-year history.

The feat is particularly remarkable considering that Xuefei Jin — the author’s real name — began writing in English just 15 years ago, when he arrived at BU as a graduate student. But while his colleagues and peers praise his storytelling and structure, Jin says he has been simply “lucky” to receive such recognition. His ongoing explorations of his own immigrant experience are the important part of his writing and his teaching.

“As I write I’m in a kind of limbo, in a gap between two languages and two cultures,” he says. “Every book is a kind of departure.”

When discussing writing, Jin speaks often of the logic needed to produce fiction, and logic itself played a significant role in the creation of War Trash — the novel was intended to be a short piece that would fulfill a publishing contract. However, once Jin began writing about Chinese prisoners of war and the Korean War–era clash between Chinese Nationalists and Communists, he couldn’t stop.

The topic was compelling, he explains, because of the differences he observed in Chinese and American attitudes towards POWs. In America POWs are welcomed home as heroes; in China, he says, they are considered shameful. When Jin himself was in the army and stationed on the border of the former Soviet Union, he says, he was “afraid of captivity much more than death. Once you became a POW, you were in disgrace.”

The fear, mingled with fascination at the cultural differences, persisted as he worked on the first draft of War Trash, and when it was finished Jin realized that the novel would not be a simple project. The perspective of a Chinese POW did not exist in literature, he says: “There are a lot of narratives, [but] they’re often a story told by a general, and everybody is a hero.” Real first-person accounts were written, he says, but they were often altered by government authorities to reflect an acceptable image of Chinese culture. As a result, Jin felt War Trash needed to be as convincing as possible. “If the story was well told,” he says, “it could give a voice, create historical awareness among the readers.”

For historical accuracy, Jin searched through books, records, and oral histories. Photographs were particularly helpful, as they could provide details about how much food each man carried and what kind of materials were used for clothes, bags, and blankets. He also relied on the time he spent in a Korean village while in the army, which helped him describe both Korean customs and the country’s landscape with “a certainness that could not be obtained by research alone.”

Finding a way to give a voice to a largely forgotten group of soldiers was more difficult; Jin had to create a protagonist who would be able to describe more than just the walls surrounding him as a POW. To accomplish this, he made the narrator, Yuan, a college-educated junior officer who had studied English. As a result, the character is able to interact with a variety of people, including the American G.I.s who captured him. The result is “a story so complete in its breadth and depth that it stretches from the half-forgotten Korean War of the last century to the contemporary America of The Simpsons,” said PEN/Faulkner judge and novelist David Anthony Durham. The novel was also a finalist for this year’s Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

“I felt at once, even before I had finished it, that War Trash would become part of the permanent literature of war,” says Leslie Epstein, a CAS English professor, director of the Creative Writing Program, and Jin’s first teacher at BU. “What it shows ultimately is how resilient, as well as cruel, men are; yet it simultaneously demonstrates how they cannot entirely relinquish what is best in them, which is most often the recognition of what binds them to other men. This book is going to live.”

Jin’s previous novels, 1999’s Waiting, which also won the National Book Award, and 2002’s The Crazed, both focus on major events in recent Chinese history — the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and the Tiananmen Square riots of 1989, respectively — but as his own journey through America progresses, Jin feels his capacity to write about China diminishes. “My heart was not there,” he says. “I don’t write that kind of book anymore.”

War Trash is an important step in that transition, begun 15 years ago when he made the difficult decision to write in English. Now the cycle is nearing completion. Jin’s next novel will again follow the author’s path and leave Asia for the United States.

“I do want to be an American writer,” he says. “And that means I have to write about America.”

Ha Jin photo by Kalman Zabarsky.

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Rumor: Apple Will Tap Beats To Introduce High

Apple’s purported acquisition of Beats Electronics, LCC has set the tongues wagging as pundits race to offer their armchair analysis of the grand strategy behind Apple’s alleged $3.2 billion deal.

The latest in the Apple-Beats saga comes via the rather reliable Japanese blog Macotakara which earlier this morning asserted that Apple will use Beats to introduce support for high-resolution audio files in iTunes and the iOS Music app and also improve sound quality of its pricey pricey $79 In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic…

The Macotakara report [Google translate] also points us to a post by music blogger Robert Hutton who goes to great lengths to explain why high-resolution audio matters.

According to Hutton, Warner Music is readying a Super Deluxe version of Led Zeppelin’s three albums, remastered in the 24-bit 96kHz audio resolution which Apple devices and software currently do not support.

For several years, Apple have been insisting that labels provide files for iTunes in 24 bit format – preferably 96k or 192k sampling rate. So they have undeniably the biggest catalog of hi-res audio in the world.

And the Led Zeppelin remasters in high resolution will be the kick off event – to coincide with Led Zep in hi-res, Apple will flip the switch and launch their hi-res store via iTunes – and apparently, it will be priced a buck above the typical current file prices.

That’s right – Apple will launch hi-res iTunes in two months.

If that’s true, Apple could share the news at its summer developers conference that kicks off with a keynote on June 2.

Apple’s In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic.

Apple’s In-Ear Headphones with Remote and Mic.

Should the Beats buy get official, word on the street is that Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine will see their grand introductions as Apple executives at WWDC.

Rumors of high-fidelity music in the iTunes Store date back to 2011.

If Apple is about to upgrade sound quality on iTunes to the 24-bit format with 96k or 192k sampling rate, the size of music files could increase up to three times, turning a 100MB album download into a 300MB one.

Jimmy Iovine, a powerful music industry figure and one of the co-founders of Beats Electronics, LCC, was Steve Jobs’s friend and one of the early adopters of the digital music revolution spearheaded by iTunes a decade ago.

He persuaded Jobs to put the first iPod inside a music video by 50 Cent to help push the digital music player and also helped recruit music labels and artists to support the iTunes Store at its start.

Here’s an excerpt from a 2003 interview with Iovine:

I have a background as a recording engineer, so I think I understand what kids want, and when I saw the simplicity of the iTunes system, I said, wow, this is going to work. This is what they want, no muss, no fuss.

An outstanding music engineer who has helped produce a number of well-known acts throughout his rich career, Iovine would later criticize Apple’s music service and headphones for their sub-par sound quality.

“Apple got everything right except that ear bud,” he said last year, according to Bloomberg.

Dr. Dre, the other Beats co-founder, agrees:

“I spend months on a song and it sounds terrible,” said the musician.

Hopefully, Dr. Dre’s penchant for rich bass and impeccable sound quality will be put to good use by Apple because Apple’s in-ear headphones do sound terrible.

Innovator Finnerty Wins Metcalf Award

Innovator Finnerty Wins Metcalf Award Popular CAS prof uses games to bring scientific method to life

A favorite among students for his creative teaching methods, John Finnerty, a CAS associate professor of biology, has been awarded a 2013 Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

In a time when college professors are fighting an uphill battle against students’ smartphone addictions and the seductive diversions of the iPad, John Finnerty has no problems with people playing games in class. It was his idea.

Searching for a way to get reluctant students, especially non–science majors, to participate in class, the popular College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of biology divides his students into teams that compete to translate messages in DNA coding or build mantras from words “evolving” through a process that mimics natural selection. For a style that is both engaging and rigorous, Finnerty, who is also director of the BU Marine Program (BUMP), has received a 2013 Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Praised by his colleagues for his creativity, accessibility, humor, and passion for the scientific method, Finnerty has played a major role in shaping the CAS Core Curriculum, developing popular new courses, among them Biodiversity, Causes and Consequences, which integrates earth science, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, developmental biology, evolution, ecology, and anthropology. His goal, he says, is “to get students to think like scientists.” Favoring primary scientific literature and hands-on learning over standard textbooks, Finnerty designs lessons that endure, teaching nuanced concepts like the genetic code so they’ll be well understood and never forgotten.

“I start almost every class by telling students that six months after graduating college I had a really hard time remembering some classes, while others never left me,” he says. “I’m grateful for those moments.” His aim is to impart insights so his students will gain “a competency they never had before.”

Finnerty also teaches one of BUMP’s monthlong “module” courses, where students learn to do research projects, and he is one of his department’s most admired mentors. “Students gravitate to him,” one of his colleagues told the nominating committee. And Finnerty has nothing but praise for his BUMP students. “The program attracts students who want to make a difference,” he says.

“John has put extraordinary effort into all his teaching activities and has made major contributions to the CAS Core Curriculum and the BU Marine Program,” says Michael Sorenson, a CAS professor and chair of biology. “More importantly,” he adds, “he succeeds in engaging students with his creativity, humor, and enthusiasm without sacrificing one iota of scientific rigor.”

Finnerty decided to reinvent and enliven his Core Curriculum science classes after teaching in front of big lecture halls that were augmented by teaching assistants leading smaller discussion groups. “I like the model where faculty lead the discussion,” he says, but he was also intent on finding a way to “break the ice” in class without always having to rely on just a handful of confident students. So he came up with lively exercises like “Passing Genetic Notes in Class,” and soon the students were fired up about the elegance of genetics and how DNA and its nitrogen “bases” embody a code for the proteins found in all living things. Competing teams pass along a succession of grouped Scrabble letters coding for some action to be performed after opposing teams decipher it.

The resulting mini-performances usually entail something goofy, like singing “Amen” or jumping up and down, explains Finnerty, who delights in informing students new to science that humans share the same genetic code as bacteria. And he drives home the notion of naturally occurring mutation by altering the coded messages just enough to make things interesting, and occasionally hilarious, as teams misinterpret the mutated message and act out something completely different.

Exercises like genetic note-passing “get everybody learning and everybody engaged,” he says. “They’re working the genetic code backwards and forwards, and when it’s over we ask, what did we learn?” He notes that there are fundamental truths about the nature of good scientific inquiry that carry over from one course to the next, “something constant about the approach.” His wish is for his students to “continue to be scientists. Everybody should be a scientist in terms of solving problems and recognizing the sources of bias in ourselves.”

The Metcalf awards, which are presented at Commencement, date to 1973 and are funded by a gift from the late Arthur G. B. Metcalf (SED’35, Hon.’74), a former BU professor and Board of Trustees chairman emeritus. The Metcalf Cup and Prize winner receives $10,000, the Metcalf Award winners $5,000 each. A University committee selects winners based on nominees’ statements of teaching philosophy, supporting letters from colleagues and students, and classroom observations of the teachers.

This year, the 41st Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching goes to Deborah W. Vaughan (GRS’72), a School of Medicine professor of anatomy and neurobiology and assistant dean of admissions. The second Metcalf Award winner is Carol Jenkins, a School of Education associate professor of curriculum and teaching.

More information about Commencement can be found on the Commencement website.

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36Th Annual Redstone Film Festival Tonight

36th Annual Redstone Film Festival Tonight Best student films to be screened

The annual Redstone Film Festival draws standing room only crowds, so plan to arrive early for a good seat. Photo by Vernon Doucette

Tonight could be the night Wes Palmer becomes an award-winning filmmaker. His film You Are Here is one of six competing for best picture at the 36th Redstone Film Festival, which annually screens outstanding work by College of Communication filmmaking and screenwriting program students and recent alums.

Palmer’s film about sneaking into a mall to live inside a model RV was a labor of love, the result of a year-and-a-half collaboration with classmate Luke Shields (COM’14), the film’s screenwriter.

“The story’s changed massively since that first draft, but the fundamental inspiration remained the same,” says director Palmer (COM’16). “I asked Luke if he’d let me direct You Are Here and after many, many rewrites and several months of late nights sending drafts and notes back and forth, we’ve finally arrived at the film we’ll be screening at the festival.”

The Redstone Film Festival, sponsored by Sumner Redstone (Hon.’94), chairman emeritus of CBS and Viacom, is tonight, Friday, March 18, at the Tsai Performance Center.

Other festival finalists are Emily Sheehan (COM’15), who made Adaptation, a documentary that explores the process of the ancient Chinese art of batique, or tie-dye, and its place in today’s world; Dan Behar (COM’16), whose mockumentary-style film Jump is about competitive jump roping; Sara Robin (COM’15), director of Listeners, a futuristic sci-fi film about two friends combating the government’s use of mind reading; Tara Kavanaugh (COM’16), who directed More, the story of a young woman struggling with relationship boundaries; and Anneliese Scheck (COM’15) whose film Postal is about a mailman who falls in love with a woman with agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder that can cause panic attacks and social withdrawal.

All of the works were originally created for a COM film, television, or video production class or as a graduate thesis project. The finalists and winners are chosen in a two-step process. First, a committee of production, screenwriting, and film-studies graduates whittles down the submissions to a list of finalists, and then another panel of film industry professionals weighs in on the winners. Canon DSLR camera equipment, Avid editing software, ProTools sound software, and MacBook Pro computers will be among the festival’s prizes.

The annual Fleder-Rosenberg short screenplay contest winners will also be announced at the festival. Sponsored by screenwriters Gary Fleder (COM’85) and Scott Rosenberg (COM’85), the contest gives out three prizes: $1,500 to the first prize winner, $1,000 to the second prize winner, and $750 to the third prize winner, all of whom must be currently enrolled film and television majors or minors.

As well, the Adrienne Shelly Production Grant will be awarded tonight. The $5,000 grant goes to a female director from the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, established in honor of producer, writer, and actress Shelly (COM’87), best known for her film The Waitress, who was murdered in her New York City apartment a decade ago. A musical adaptation starring Tony-winner Jessie Mueller opens next month on Broadway.

This isn’t Sheehan’s first Redstone appearance—she walked home with the third place prize last year for her film After, a fictional story about the choices made during an affair. Last summer, she participated in the Looking China Film Program, a joint program between BU and Beijing Normal University: BU student filmmakers spend two weeks in China, and are paired with Chinese peers to produce a film together.

“Due to the nature of the Looking China program, when you first arrive in China, you have a vague idea of what you’re going to do, but nothing is entirely set in stone,” Sheehan says. “In my case, I knew that I wanted to study some kind of hands-on process that involved the focus and attention of a dedicated individual.” Working with her Chinese coproducer, Sheehan zeroed in on a real-life mother and daughter dedicated to preserving the ancient art form of batique despite waning interest and challenges from contemporary society. She says the two-week production schedule was intense, enjoyable, and successful—and it’s giving her another chance at a Redstone prize.

Kavanaugh, a grad student in COM’s cinema and media production program, was thrilled when she learned her film was chosen for the festival. “To me, success means that people watch the film, connect, and gain a deeper understanding of those around them,” she says. “Being selected makes me feel like there are people who have connected with this film, and it also gives an opportunity for more people to see it.”

This year’s winners will be chosen by filmmaker, casting associate, and actress Maura Smith (COM’13), cinematographer Paul Goldsmith, and actor, director, and producer Lewis Wheeler.

The 36th annual Redstone Film Festival is tonight, Friday, March 18, at 7 p.m., at the Tsai Performance Center, 685 Commonwealth Ave. The event is free and open to the public. BU Today will publish a story about this year’s winners on Monday, March 21.

The Boston Redstone Film Festival will be followed by a Redstone festival in Los Angeles on April 7.

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