Tag Archives: News

Feature Story: CDC in the Movies

Related: My radio interview on NPR/Georgia Public Broadcasting about CDC on the silver screen.

collageWhat do Elia Kazan, Robert Wise, George Romero, Wolfgang Petersen, Danny Boyle, Francis Lawrence, Steven Soderbergh and Ryan Murphy have in common? All have directed films about infectious diseases and health officials in hot pursuit of a cure. Whether it’s the fictional “Rage” of 28 Days Later or the virus transmitted from the hot zone in Outbreak or the real-life threat of HIV/AIDS addressed in And the Band Played On, Hollywood has been fascinated with the depiction of epidemics and pandemics on celluloid. On this 70th anniversary of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), media outlets such as NPR are examining the portrayal of health organizations in the movies. There’s even an organization called Hollywood Health & Society dedicated to expert information for storylines in the movies and on TV. They’ve consulted on NCIS and The Walking Dead and have been instrumental in shaping realistic portrayals of diseases and those who handle them in multimedia. Epidemics in the movies have run parallel to McCarthyism, to the fallout from Vietnam, from skepticism in the ’80s to survivalist Y2K mentalities to globalization in modern day. Pod people and zombies have often been stand-ins for the emerging threats. I highly recommend Contagion as a hyper-real film whose makers partnered with actual CDC officials to showcase a disease taking shape and transmitting through fomites and The Normal Heart about the struggles of a protagonist to coax government officials to confront AIDS head-on. And if you can find some of these cult movies and curiosities, check out Miss Evers’ Boys, The Andromeda Strain, The Crazies, Panic in the Streets, 12 Monkeys, I Am Legend and John Greyson’s Zero Patience, a Canadian musical about AIDS partially set in a fictional locale called The Hall of Contagion. With varying levels of accuracy, films featuring disaster, disease and dystopian futures wouldn’t be the same without scientists in hazmat suits applying their own brand of heroism.

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Industry News: Countdown to 2016 Academy Awards

DOLBY THEATRE TRANSFORMATION FOR THE OSCARS (2016) dolbylogosAs both a cinema and technology enthusiast, I am thrilled that Dolby Laboratories is sponsoring my trip to cover The Oscars in Hollywood the weekend of February 27-28, 2016 culminating in the February 28 ABC telecast. Here are some technology trivia facts — and links to my reviews – for some of the most celebrated films of the past year. These are the films nominated for Academy Awards,using Dolby technology:

Best Picture
The Martian (Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)
The Revenant (Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)
Mad Max: Fury Road (Dolby Atmos)
Animated Feature Film
Inside Out  (Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)
Animated Short Film
-Sanjay’s Super Team  (Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)
 Cinematography
 Visual Effects
The Martian (Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)
The Revenant (Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)
Sound Editing
The Martian (Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)
The Revenant (Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)
Mad Max: Fury Road (Dolby Atmos)
Sicario (Dolby Atmos)
Sound Mixing
The Martian (Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)
The Revenant (Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos)
Mad Max: Fury Road (Dolby Atmos)
Dolby Social Media Channels

Industry News: Oscar Overhaul to Address Diversity Issue

The Academy Awards® issue historic announcement to increase diversity.

Breaking News: Academy Takes Historic Action

Lifetime voting rights re-framed; new governor seats added and committees restructured

Goal to double number of diverse members by 2020

In a unanimous vote Thursday night (1/21/16), the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved a sweeping series of substantive changes designed to make the Academy’s membership, its governing bodies and its voting members significantly more diverse.  The Board’s goal is to commit to doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.

“The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”

Beginning later this year, each new member’s voting status will last 10 years and will be renewed if that new member has been active in motion pictures during that decade.  In addition, members will receive lifetime voting rights after three 10-year terms; or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award.  We will apply these same standards retroactively to current members.  In other words, if a current member has not been active in the last 10 years they can still qualify by meeting the other criteria.  Those who do not qualify for active status will be moved to emeritus status.  Emeritus members do not pay dues but enjoy all the privileges of membership, except voting.  This will not affect voting for this year’s Oscars.

At the same time, the Academy will supplement the traditional process in which current members sponsor new members by launching an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.

In order to immediately increase diversity on the Board of Governors, the Academy will establish three new governor seats that will be nominated by the President for three-year terms and confirmed by the Board.

The Academy will also take immediate action to increase diversity by adding new members who are not Governors to its executive and board committees where key decisions about membership and governance are made. This will allow new members an opportunity to become more active in Academy decision-making and help the organization identify and nurture future leaders.

Along with Boone Isaacs, the Board’s Membership and Administration Committee, chaired by Academy Governor Phil Robinson, led the efforts to enact these initiatives.