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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    If you’re applying for a new job, you may have to go through a rigorous interview process to get it. The presidency is no different—only this time, Jimmy Fallon is putting Hillary Clinton through an actual job interview.

    Having already done a mock interview with Donald Trump earlier this month, Fallon quickly settled into the role of the interviewer as he asked Clinton about her strengths and why she wanted to run for president. His questions allowed her to stick to her talking points, but it’s good to know that she’s just as frustrated with autocorrect as the rest of us—even if it was an attempt to avoid a question.

    She’ll hear back about the job in about 10 months.

    Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube


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    Making a Murderer has proven the perfect antidote to our post-holiday blues. The documentary series, which dropped on Netflix in early January, has followed in the footsteps of Serial as our true-crime obsession du jour. In 2003, Steven Avery was exonerated of a sexual assault charge after spending nearly two decades in prison for the crime, just to be charged with the murder of Teresa Halbach. He would again be convicted.

    Chances are likely you’ve already binge-watched your way through the gripping series (if not, what are you waiting for?). But whether you’ve already finished or are still getting caught up, here are seven other documentaries that will also suck you in immediately. Fans of Serial and Making a Murderer, meet your newest addictions.

    1) The Thin Blue Line (Netflix)

    Errol Morris’ 1988 landmark is, in many ways, the preeminent true crime documentary. Morris, the director behind such genre classics as Gates of Heaven and The Fog of War, turned the unblinking eye of his camera toward potential abuses in the criminal justice system. In 1978, 16-year-old David Ray Harris picked up a hitchhiker (Randall Adams, 28), while driving a stolen car. After discovering the vehicle was hot, a police officer pulled the pair over and was subsequently shot and killed.

    Harris would go to prison for the murder, but as Morris’ documentary shows, that doesn’t mean that justice was served. Interviewing eye-witnesses, judges, and prosecutors on the case, Morris offers a searing indictment of a system that would rather find someone easy to blame (a juvenile with less to lose) than to ascertain the truth. Thirty years later, The Thin Blue Line—which is part documentary, part reenactment—still manages to make your blood boil.

    2) The Act of Killing (Netflix)

    Most true crime documentaries look at cases of individual killings, but what makes Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing so compelling is that it shows how easily society can be complicit in grave, unspeakable injustice. Produced by Werner Herzog and Morris himself, Oppenheimer interviews former members of Indonesian death squads, those responsible for the killing of 500,000 during the overthrow of then-President Sukarno. In one of the most audacious documentary techniques ever, these men act out their crimes by recreating them as scenes from classic Western and gangster films. The Act of Killing is simultaneously a clever critique of movie violence and a sobering look at our collective cultural sins. It’s a flat-out masterpiece.

    3) Capturing the Friedmans (YouTube)

    Capturing the Friedmans is a difficult movie to write about or recommend, simply because the less you know about it going in, the better. Director Andrew Jarecki is best known for directing The Jinx—the HBO docuseries that led to the arrest of Robert Durst, after the accused murdered famously confessed on camera—but this is still Jarecki’s finest hour. Jarecki’s feature debut (he’d previously been the composer for Felicity) deals with dueling sexual abuse allegations in an upstate New York family. Both a father and son are accused of sexual abuse, and the movie weaves between interviews with their accusers and home footage the two filmed during the trial. Capturing the Friedmans is both riveting and completely unforgettable.

    4) Crazy Love (Netflix)

    The unbelievable romance between Burt Pugach and Linda Riss, a Bronx beauty 10 years his junior, is the kind of thing you can’t make up—nor would you want to. Pugach was still married to his first wife when the pair struck up an ill-fated romance in 1959. Riss ended the courtship after learning of his marital status, but the obsessive Pugach couldn’t accept her decision. He hired goons to disfigure her by dousing her face with lye, ensuring that she would never be able to leave him—as he would claim. Pugach would serve 14 years in prison for the attack, but the strategy surprisingly worked: When he was released, Riss was waiting for him. The two would later author a book together, called A Different Kind of Love Story.

    The two were married for nearly four decades, as their relationship continued to make national headlines. But what makes the movie so effective is that it treats their story as more than just tabloid fodder: Directed by Dan Klores and Fisher Stevens, Crazy Love is a disturbing psychological drama that paints a portrait of an era when women facing abuse like Linda Riss had few options but to stay. Their relationship might seem unusual, but there was nothing weirder than being a woman in America.

    5) Man on Wire (Netflix)

    Man on Wire is the rare documentary that asks you to root for the criminals. In 1974, Frenchman Philippe Petit broke more than a few laws in pursuit of an impossible dream—walking on a tightrope between the Twin Towers. James Marsh’s film is an incredibly gripping nail-biter that’s paced like a thriller. That’s why it’s unsurprising that director Robert Zemeckis adapted it into a feature film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit, a kind of fact-based Ocean’s Eleven that takes the whimsy up to 12. But you’re much better off sticking to the groundbreaking original, which is one of the few movies to earn a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes.

    6) Into the Abyss (Hulu)

    Into the Abyss is one of director Werner Herzog’s most criminally overlooked films. In his late career, the always eccentric German director has filmed an eclectic range of documentaries, from the man-vs.-wild elegy Grizzly Man to the Antarctica doc Encounters at the End of the Word, which finds the poetry in a frozen continent. Herzog has claimed Into the Abyss—which takes on the topic of capital punishment—isn’t an issue film, but it’s hard not to be galvanized by the auteur’s look at life on death row.

    The film tracks the last days Michael Perry, who was sentenced to the death penalty following a 2001 triple homicide. Perry swears his innocence, but Herzog’s film asks more questions than it provides answers. It doesn’t let anyone off the hook easily, which makes it all the more powerful. Roger Ebert once called it “the saddest film Werner Herzog has ever made,” but it’s also one of the most important.

    7) Paradise Lost (Amazon Prime)

    This list shows that crime documentaries can do a number of different things: They can indict a broken system or offer a portrait of the grim yet commonplace absurdity of post-war America, but in the case of Paradise Lost, it’s about how we look for answers following unspeakable tragedy. Sometimes that blame leads to its own horrific crimes and abuses.

    Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills is the first in a trilogy that looks at the 1994 conviction of the West Memphis Three—Damien Echols,  Jessie Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin—a trio of teenagers accused of murdering three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. The trial alleged that the killings took place as part of a Satanic ritual, and the three young men, who dressed in dark clothing and listened to rock music, looked like natural culprits for such a crime. The town’s predominantly Evangelical community was quick to throw the book at them—especially after a (coerced) confession from Misskelley. Like Making a Murderer, it’s an important look at how elusive justice can truly be.

    Screengrab via Andrew Sayre/YouTube


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    President Obama has not seen BB-8 on the big screen.

    That is just one of the facts revealed about Obama during a post-State of the Union interview with prominent YouTubers Ingrid Nilsen, Adanda Thorne, and Destin Sandlin on Friday.

    While the YouTubers discussed more pressing issues like terrorism, science, technology, and social issues with the president, they also took the time to quiz him on lighter topics as well, as dictated by a #YouTubeAsksObama hashtag and their own personal interests. Thanks to that, we learned some fascinating tidbits:

    1) Obama has not seen the The Force Awakens

    Vlogger Thorne, better known as sWooZie, got to the fun topics quickly, with a series of Star Wars-related questions. Before asking his favorite film, he got the president to admit he hasn't seen the highest-grossing film U.S. film history.

    2) He thinks Episode IV is Episode I

    When asked on his favorite, he said, "the first one," eliciting a gasp from fans everywhere. As he elaborated on seeing it at age 14, everyone could breathe again realizing that Obama just doesn't realize the actual order of Star Wars films.

    3) He'd be Han Solo, naturally

    That's pretty much a no-brainer, and clearly makes Michelle our Princess Leia.

    4) The dog should wear pants only on two legs

    The Internet was rocked with a debate on how dogs should wear pants recently, and Obama without hesitation put himself in the pants-on-two-legs camp, despite some sass from the political press.

    5) He's Team Kendrick over Team Drake

    When asked who would win in a feud between musicians Drake and Kendrick Lamar, Obama also had no hesitation in picking Lamar, citing his album as his favorite of the last year. It's also a true showing of patriotism, since Drake is a Canadian.

    6) 'Obamium' would be a stable element

    While Sandlin tackled the space program in depth, prodding Obama to discuss deep space exploration. His fun question was still a science-based one, asking Obama to describe a fictional periodic element named after him, Obamium. The president said it would be stable, a catalyst that doesn't get too hot or too cold, and one that's useful to humanity.

    7) His pockets are really full

    Beauty vlogger Ingrid Nilsen asked the president to bring along something from his home that means something to him, and he decided to show off everything he's carrying around in his pockets. He's got rosary beads from Pope Francis, a little Buddha given by a monk, a lucky poker chip given to him by a biker, a Hindu statue, and a Coptic cross. Honestly, he might need a tote bag at this point.

    The entire interview is available on the White House's YouTube page.

    Screengrab via White House/YouTube


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    Lance Armstrong gave everyone with only one testicle a bad name. Byron Lane found a lump, and rather than a statistically hyperactive biological passport, the result was Last Will & Testicle, a comedic webseries leading up to the removal of his tumorous gonad.

    Tumorous, yes, but unfortunately not that humorous. The series is all just a bit one note—there is a lot of hysterical laughing at the mention of his impending surgery—and you wish that each episode were more than just another perverse reaction to Lane’s condition.

    So it isn’t very good, but is that going to matter? The series had a very successful Kickstarter, has garnered the support of various luminaries, and a has assembled a decent cast, including The Mindy Project’s Beth Grant.

    All of which has less to do with the show itself and a lot to do with a subject matter, which—in a week where the world has lost both David Bowie and Alan Rickman—has become an even more inescapably depressive fact. Cancer is horrible, we know.

    And so you’ll really want to like this. Because it tries to demystify lumps and surgery and cosmetic replacement testicles. It does, in a way, show how stupid people can look if they get weirded out by the thought of some testes becoming estranged. And you’ve got to give props to the creator for going beyond-Brando in his “preparation” for the role.

    But—not that I’m suggesting that Lane is asking for one—it feels pretty superficial to give something a free pass wholly on account on it being a conversation around the Big C. To be sure, Lane isn’t Lance, but if a little less critical leeway was given in that case, we’d have been saved a whole load of drama.

    Screengrab via Byron Lane/YouTube


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    As fans the world over continue to mourn the loss of intrepid musician David Bowie, who died of liver cancer Sunday at 69, rock’s cosmos have been flooded with streams. We’ve been listening to so much Bowie that 19 of his records charted in the U.K.’s top 100 this week—and there's been a shift in his greatest hits.

    Forty-nine years after his debut album, this month’s farewell note Blackstar went out of stock on Amazon—as did every one of his albums. According to his official Facebook page, “Bowie tracks were streamed over 19 million times on audio streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Deezer and more.”

    And when a rock star with flavorful output strewn across 50 years leaves us, where does one even start? The heralded, essential Bowie spans “Space Oddity” (1969) to “Heroes” (1977). Except that ’83’s Let’s Dance—his 15th record—sold 10 million copies, ushered in the MTV era, and was a gorgeous, populist project ripe with radio-dominating singles. In between he pioneered glam rock; got bored and put out a soul album that landed him his first No. 1 single stateside, “Fame”; did enough cocaine to kill a horse; and recorded a trilogy of challenging albums with producer Brian Eno in Berlin. 

    In the wake of Bowie’s death, one of Monday morning’s most shared bits of content was this career-spanning GIF:

    As the New York Timesnoted, “Heroes” was “more or less a flop when it came out, falling short of getting on the Billboard charts.” It runs down forbidden love at the Berlin Wall and, despite its real-time lack of commercial success, has emerged as Bowie’s dominant offering on Spotify this week.

    Bowie streams on Spotify shot up a staggering 2,822 percent in the wake of his passing, as the Guardian reported. Meanwhile, the streaming giant itself flew its company flag at half mast in his honor on Friday.

    “Heroes” peaked at No. 24 in 1977, but is this week joined in the U.K. top 40—where it climbed up to No. 12 this week—by “Life On Mars?,” “Starman,” and “Space Oddity.”

    Last year Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield famously sang “Oddity” aboard the International Space Station. Bowie himself intervened to make sure the original clip stayed on the Web amid copyright controversy—calling it “possibly the most poignant version of the song ever created.” We now know Bowie did so with the knowledge that his body was harboring a terminal illness.

    Fitting, then, that three of Bowie’s most popular posthumous songs aim for outer space.

    H/T the New York Times | Illustration via Bruno Moraes


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    When Netflix stepped in to save Degrassi: The Next Generation—after 14 years on TeenNick—there was speculation as to what the reboot would entail. Now that the show was released from under Nickelodeon’s protective wing and cast out into the hands of the on-demand generation, what would something so familiar have to do to stand out among the clutter?

    The expectation was that, given the freedom of the format, somehow the Canadian teen drama would find a little more edge—which, when you think about it, is nonsense. Laugh all you want about the tropes of the afterschool special, but Degrassi has never been reticent in its portrayal of teen life. Whether it was drug use, suicide, gonorrhea, gender dysphoria, or pedophilia, nothing was taboo and all was delivered from a perspective neither judgmental nor patronizing.

    And that's almost the only complaint you could have of the various incarnations of the show: The challenges faced by the students are considered in such level-headed fashion as to possibly normalize them. So restrained is the music at critical points, so low-key is the dialogue compared to its U.S. equivalents that it is a standard reaction to reflect on one’s own teenage years and consider them lucky and free of drama.

    So, has anything changed in Degrassi: Next Class? Well, for something that some sources have called a reboot, nowhere near as much as you’d expect. The episode names have shifted from song titles to #viralhashtags and apparently the classroom doors have had a lick of paint. There’s also the possibility that the camera lingers slightly longer in some of the raunchier scenes, but that would be difficult—and not to mention creepy—to evaluate.

    Degrassi has always acted as something of a barometer for the smaller quirks of teen life.

    But the structure of the series has been very much retained. Fourteen of the cast from the last season of The Next Generation return (“Snake” Simpson, once a student, now the principal), and so have their relationships and baggage. Wrinkles are still smoothed within the space of 24 minutes while deeper crevasses cross multiple episodes. It all results in a show that is able, almost uninterrupted, to keep on trucking, dealing with the issues that ail the contemporary youth.

    So what is it that bothers the kids these days? While the comparatively shocking issues have monopolized viewer attention, Degrassi has always acted as something of a barometer for the smaller quirks of teen life. And it’s probably unsurprising that most of the same things that plagued the lives of kids in the ’80s—body changes, screwy relationships and just trying to fit in—remain. 

    Equally, it won’t be unexpected that all those things seem to have been amplified by technology. Fifteen-year-old girls worry that their “booty” isn't as big as something they see online. Kids are worried about being catfished and getting their secrets posted all over. Others are filmed on phones doing stuff they may regret. You want to say it’s trivial and that it’s the sort of stuff that will go away in time without leaving any residual mark, but that’s not really the truth, is it?

    So as unfashionable as Degrassi can sometimes appear—the shout-out to alumnus Drake in the opening moments of the first episode is a lame cry for credence—and being borne of a medium that will now, always, be slightly behind the current Internet chatter, it retains its relevance. 

    Because no matter how well meaning the responsible adults are, no matter how many sex education classes are scheduled or how many office doors are open “if you ever need to talk,” there are just some things you can only learn from experience… or television. 

    Screengrab via Netflix


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    Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, is reportedly in talks with Netflix to create a new animated series, according to Variety.

    Netflix reportedly wants two seasons of 10 episodes each, an unorthodox choice made deliberately to apparently offset production costs. Negotiations are ongoing and reports are attributed to an unnamed source.

    Groening is considered one of the great cartoonists of all time thanks to his two award-winning series. He still serves as an executive producer on The Simpsons, 22 seasons after the show’s legendary debut. 

    Netflix currently has three animated series under its belt: BoJack Horseman, F Is for Family, and the upcoming Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. The former two shows have received generally positive critical reviews, but Netflix’s best-received shows are all still live action.

    With Groening’s track record, it wouldn't be much of a shock to see him change that.

    H/T Variety | Photo via Gage Skidmore/YouTube


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    The Daily Dot is celebrating Woman Crush Wednesday, better known as #WCW on Twitter and Instagram, by highlighting female creators on YouTube whose work we admire.

    Now that you’ve had just enough time to write off your 2016 resolutions, your faithful #WCW is back to bring you a little motivation from the path-paving women of YouTube. (You’re welcome ahead of time.) And who better to start off the year than Vanessa Hill, an Australian science educator whose love for brunch can only be topped by her adoration for her labradoodle and the human brain.

    Many moons ago, when I was a young lass of 23, Hill was one of my first interviews for the Daily Dot in a feature about women combating sexism in STEM fields on YouTube. Her genuine love for science was palpable through the phone, and in the years since, it has only gained momentum. Her videos bring to life topics of psychology, neuroscience, and human behavior using current events and paper craft stop-motion animation. From the initial research to the paper creations to the final edit, the videos take days to make. Since starting her channel in 2013, Hill’s success has been evident not only in her growing view count, but also in her move to PBS Digital Studios and the support of her content from YouTube heavyweights such as AsapSCIENCE and Emily Graslie.

    She originally started her channel BrainCraft with the purpose of making science education more relatable and entertaining for the general public—a throwback to her master’s degree in psychology and past jobs in education and social media.

    “What I’m trying to do is communicate science in creative ways,” Hill stated in our past interview. “To just do something different that’s not a talking head and is a little bit crafty. I’m trying to work on it so it has a beautiful aesthetic and people want to watch it. It looks cool, and they learn bits of science along the way.”

    Over the past two years, Hill has explained why movies control our brains, the benefits of forgetting, if our pets actually miss us, and most recently, why so many people get cancer. This topic sadly relevant following the deaths of Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and Celine Dion’s husband René Angélil, but it’s especially close to Hill’s heart as her long-time partner Jake Roper (the creator behind VSauce3) is currently battling sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that attacks the connective tissue.

    Today, Hill is one of the most influential STEM educators on YouTube, changing the way people interact with science. She’s actually getting people to engage with topics we thought we ditched at our high school graduations. Through example, she’s showing young girls that women can thrive in STEM and that there isn’t just one roadmap you have to follow to discover—or invent—your dream career.

    Screengrab via BrainCraft/YouTube


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    Several comedians have come forward with accusations that Amy Schumer has stolen their jokes.

    The comedy news site The Interrobang reported on Monday night that comedian Wendy Liebman had written in a since-deleted tweet, "Between Amy Schumer doing 1 of my best jokes on her HBO special and this meme of my joke, I’m done with social media." As Interrobang explained, the meme showed a pinup-style woman quoting one of Liebman's jokes. 

    In response to Liebman's tweet, comedian Chuck Martin chimed in that she might have had a similar experience as Kathleen Madigan regarding Schumer. 

    Madigan responded in tweets that she has also since deleted. According to The Interrobang, the first tweet read, "wow. finally. get ready for a shit storm" followed by "I have a split screen being released of the disgusting amount of stealing being released tomoro. im done also. Game over @WendyLiebman”

    Comedian Tammy Pescatelli then joined the conversation, also tweeting things that she later deleted. According to The Interroblog, she wrote:

    "What has always been amazing to me is that she purports to be a feminist and yet only steals from other female comedians. If we call her on it we are "jealous" or career shamed. Be successful. WE want you to do well, just do it will your own material.BTW she blocked me." 

    Pescatelli also tweeted out links to pieces of these women's work that Schumer allegedly stole. For example, one of Madigan's standup routines where she joked about Oprah paying someone to slap her whenever she wants to eat something. She then  pointed out Schumer's "Slap Chef" sketch about "a revolutionary weight loss program that provides a private chef who violently smacks food out of your hands," as Comedy Central described it. 

    Although many of these three womens' tweets have been deleted, there are a couple of things that have stayed intact. Madigan retweeted this from Twitter user Candy Dax.

    And Pescatelli has left up this this tweet from late Tuesday night that she's even pinned to her page, which includes a video of when Vanilla Ice denied ripping off Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure."

    On Wednesday morning, a video titled "Amy Schumer is a Joke Thief" surfaced on Vimeo. It's unclear whether or not Liebman, Madigan, or Pescatelli are in any way affiliated, as it looks to be uploaded by a "joe schmo" account. However, the video does include work from the three comedians and then Schumer's jokes that look to be incredibly similar. 


    This isn't the first time that Schumer has been accused of stealing jokes. There was speculation in October 2014 that the Trainwreck star had lifted from the late Patrice O'Neal

    The Daily Dot reached out to Schumer's team for an official comment and will update the story when we hear a response. 

    Update 5:30pm CT, Jan. 20: In email exchanges between Liebman and Jamie Peck at Death and Taxes, Liebman says:

    I think Amy and I came up with the same joke (“I’m old fashioned. On a date I like it when the man pays. For sex.”). When I first saw her version, I thought someone must have sold it to her.

    In a tweet, Liebman has also backed up what she told Peck in her emails, citing the situation as one of "#parallelthinking."

    Schumer has denied the allegations that she stole jokes in a tweet on Wednesday afternoon. She wrote, "On my life, I have never and would never steal a joke."

    And Zach Braff has also tuned in to the conversation. He tweeted in response to Schumer:

    Schumer also appeared on the Jim Norton Advice Show to defend herself against stealing jokes. She says, "I'm being accused of stealing jokes and I wanted to come and talk to you about it and clear my name because I would never, ever do that and I never have." 

    H/T the Interro Bang | Screenshot via A&E/YouTube


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    Marcus and Cody Johns are stretching their wings from the confines of a six-second vine to helm YouTube series HeyUSA_X, an around-the-country tour that will put the brothers in some extreme situations.

    The pair took over the HeyUSA reigns from Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart, who are executive producers on the series, embarking on an extreme sport journey around the country this season. Each episode in the spinoff series will premiere in three parts on go90 from Tuesday through Thursday, with the main clip airing Fridays on the Astronauts Wanted channel.

    In the official trailer, Marcus and Cody try out mixed martial arts, hop on snow bikes, ride a bull, and encounter a live shark. 

    Across the board, each adventure is a surprise for the pair because the show doesn't tell them where they are going or what they are going to do once they arrive, to preserve their authentic reactions to situations. Cody told the Daily Dot that the duo's Vegas episode was the most surprising for him.

    "We did something there that was totally unexpected," he said. "From that episode on, it was hard for us to always predict what we were doing simply based on our present visual surroundings."

    Despite two separate hospital trips, Cody said he hopes everyone, not just fellow YouTubers, take the type of journey he and his brother went on with HeyUSA_X.

    "We're definitely blessed that this is what work is for us, we are very fortunate to do what we do," he said. "It was a great experience, and there isn't another dude out there I would rather embark on this journey it with."

    Screenshot via Astronauts Wanted /YouTube


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    For the last few years, YouTube and the Sundance Film Festival have teamed up to bring panels, workshops, and initiatives focused on emerging content creators to the annual Park City, Utah-based film festival. And for 2016, the two brands will expand their collaboration to include five festival-wide initiatives to support up-and-coming storytellers.

    This year’s Sundance will take place from Jan. 21-31. As it has done for the past four years, YouTube will be the presenting sponsor of the Sundance Film Festival Shorts program and will host the opening reception for directors of the Festival Shorts selections. YouTube will also present the Short Film Tour after the festival, bringing the winning shorts to more than 50 art house cinemas around the U.S.

    “On YouTube, there are no limits to creative freedom and we are committed to actively advancing the work of innovative, risk-taking storytellers worldwide,” said Danielle Tiedt, chief marketing officer at YouTube, in a release. “Our extensive collaboration with Sundance Institute furthers our mission to connect with, inspire, and support independent creators.”

    Additionally, YouTube and Sundance will provide two digital media-centric panels to festival attendees. On Jan. 23, YouTube’s first session, dubbed “YouTube & The Rise of Virtual Reality Panel Discussion,” will cover how VR is changing storytelling, with panel guests including YouTube’s Global Head of Original Content Susanne Daniels and YouTube creators the Game Theorists. Then on Jan. 24, the second panel called “YouTube Red Originals Showcase & Panel” will feature YouTube stars like Lilly Singh (better known as IISuperwomanII) and Gavin Free (of Rooster Teeth’s Lazer Team film) discussing their upcoming projects for release on YouTube Red.

    Two new initiatives from YouTube and Sundance for 2016 include the "Sundance Institute | YouTube Creators Intensive" and the "Sundance Institute | YouTube New Voices Lab." The Creators Intensive program is a storytelling workshop that starts at Sundance and continues for three days at YouTube Space LA from March 31-April 2. The Intensive will help a select group of YouTube creators (including Anna Akana, the Gregory Brothers, and sWooZie) develop new series and short films for a possible first-look deal with YouTube Originals.

    In a similar vein, the New Voices Lab initiative will take place months after Sundance from Nov. 16-18 at YouTube Space LA. The Lab aims to work with select fellows on developing projects within an environment which, according to a release, encourages “risk-taking, experimentation, and innovation.” Fellows who complete the Lab program will then receive access to Sundance’s Alumni community, as well as creative and strategic support for their work. Creators can apply to be fellows in the New Voices Lab through March 27.

    “The Sundance Institute | YouTube Creators Intensive and New Voices Lab will discover and nurture a new class of visionary independent artists creating episodic content,” noted Michelle Satter, founding director of Sundance Institute’s Feature Film program. “Together with our broader Episodic Storytelling Initiative, these programs will support the next generation of artists who are shaping the very nature of the form and bringing fresh, original series to audiences.”

    You can check out some of the upcoming shorts at Sundance 2016 by visiting the event’s official website.

    Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    Adele is saying "Hello" to 1 billion views on YouTube, with her music video on Wednesday setting a new record by hitting the milestone in just 88 days.

    The video made waves from day one on the platform, with 50 million views after just two days on the service. It hit 110 million views in a week.

    The milestone's previous record holder was Psy, whose "Gangnam Style" spent weeks online before it became a viral hit, allowing "Hello" to surpass its record by 71 weeks. Three years ago when Psy rocked the charts, it was also the first music video to hit 10 digits, but now that's more commonplace, meaning Adele might not keep her record for long.

    Screengrab via AdeleVEVO/YouTube


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    Netflix will be producing a 10-episode original series in the realm of steampunk and sci-fi, based on Richard Morgan's 2002 novel Altered Carbon.

    Set 500 years in the future, humankind has discovered a loophole for death by figuring out how to store consciousness and memory and transfer the soul between bodies at the time of death, known as "resleeving." The story follows an ex-U.N. envoy named Takeshi Kovacs, hand-picked by a resleeved wealthy man to reveal the truth behind his death. While the victim is convinced he was murdered, the police believe he committed suicide. Since he has no memories of his last 48 hours backed up to storage, he employs Kovacs to find out for him.

    Carrying out the project is writer and producer Laeta Kalogridis, who also served as executive producer for Avatar, Shutter Island, and most recently, Terminator Genisys. Kalogridis acquired the rights to the book approximately four years ago. At the time, she called it "one of the most seminal pieces of post-cyberpunk hard science fiction out there" that challenges our concept of being human in the face of digitization, as reported by Deadline.

    The show will be produced through Skydance Studios and distributed through Netflix.

    News of the series has been received well on Twitter, with many fans emerging to express their excitement. The cast has yet to be determined, but actor James Leary, who played a minor role as a demon in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is already hopeful.

    There is no set release date for the show yet.

    Illustration via Max Fleishman


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    Stacey Dash celebrated her 49th birthday with a side of backlash thanks to her latest comments on Fox and Friends. On Wednesday morning, Dash said there shouldn't be a Black History Month or channels like BET that cater to black audiences.

    After being asked about the controversy surrounding the lack of diversity in Oscar nominations this year, Dash said black people are just as guilty for supporting the BET Awards.

    "We have to make up our minds. Either we want to have segregation or integration. And if we don't want segregation then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards. Just like there shouldn't be a Black History Month. We're Americans, period." Dash said.

    GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump showed support for Dash's comments. Later in the show, he called it an "amazing interview."

    BET, the channel where Dash was featured on several episodes of its hit series The Game, responded to her criticism.

    Social media exploded after Dash's comments surfaced online. She became the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter and Facebook. Black Twitter had no mercy on the actress turned political commentator.









    Screengrab via Latest News/YouTube


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    The parents of Colorado State forward Emmanuel Omogbo died in a house fire in Maryland on Tuesday morning along with the 2-year-old twin children of his sister. To help him in any way it can, the school has created a GoFundMe page to assist the Omogbo family.

    In the first five hours of the page's creation, more than $20,000 was donated to the fund which was created by the Colorado State athletic department and is compliant with NCAA bylaws. The funds will be used for funeral, medical, temporary housing, or any other expense that's needed. If more funds are raised than are needed, the money will be donated to "a charitable cause."

    As of 9:30pm CT on Wednesday, more than $29,000 had been raised by 694 donors.

    “This is absolutely heartbreaking for Emmanuel, his family and for all of us that know him,” Colorado State University coach Larry Eustachy said in a statement. “There are no words to describe how it felt to hear this terrible news earlier today. They were a beautiful family that I enjoyed getting to know. The entire Colorado State men’s basketball team, athletic program and university will be there to support and help Emmanuel in any way we can through this incredibly tough time in his life.”

    According to the Prince George's County fire chief, via ESPN, Omogbo's parents, Samson and Caroline, died at the scene, while the 2-year-old twins were declared dead at the hospital. Omogbo's sister, Elizabeth Omije, survived after jumping from a second-story window.

    H/T CBSSports.com | Photo via Colorado State


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    A group of girls performing a bizarre tribute to Donald Trump was one of the many spectacles in a sea of Trump rallies, but there’s someone in the presidential race who probably needs it much more than Trump.

    That sort of headline-making stunt might be the right call for a candidate willing to do whatever it takes to wrestle the mainstream media attention away from Trump—a harder thing to do now that he has the endorsement of Sarah Palin. So Jimmy Kimmel, always ready to help, decided to get a different group of singing girls to don patriotic dresses and perform for that other, more needy candidate: Jeb Bush.

    They’re about as jazzed singing it as we are watching it, but between all of the fake and exhausted enthusiasm is a surprise appearance from Vanessa Hudgens, something Trump’s version never had.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube


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    Vimeo announced today it’s putting a spotlight on female filmmakers.

    Share the Screen, Vimeo's new three-part initiative announced from Sundance, aims to invest in female filmmakers and showcase at least five projects from women in 2016 for distribution on Vimeo On Demand. 

    Its first title is short film Darby Forever, which was written by and stars Saturday Night Live cast member Aidy Bryant as a woman who works at a fabric shop and daydreams herself into fantastical situations. Luka Jones (Casual), Retta (Parks and Recreation), and Orange Is the New Black's Natasha Lyonne also star. 

    The announcement comes as new stats about the representation of women behind the camera in Hollywood have been circulating. A recent study about the “Celluloid Ceiling” found that last year, “91% of films had no female directors." Although women made up 9 percent of directors in 2015—an increase from 2014, according to the study—it's still not much progress from women's representation in 1998. 

    “Unfortunately, the entertainment industry overall has allowed things to be severely out of balance in terms of equal opportunities for men and women,” said Sam Toles, Vimeo’s head of content acquisitions. “With dwindling opportunities for women in this industry, Vimeo’s Share the Screen initiative is our start at doing something to help fix that imbalance in the industry."

    Vimeo has already been spotlighting female directors on site, and CEO Kerry Trainor pointed to the “many amazing female filmmakers building their careers on Vimeo." 

    “It’s extremely unfortunate that the traditional industry has allowed things to be out of balance for so long,” she added, “in terms of equality of opportunity for men and women, but it’s very exciting that Vimeo can do something to help correct that imbalance.”

    It’s an admirable step as the site attempts to muscle into more original content. Bryant’s short was originally announced as part of Vimeo’s new slate of original programming, which also includes popular webseries The Outs. The streaming site has already seen success with original series High Maintenance, which is now heading to HBO. It released its first original comedy specials, Bianca Del Rio’s Rolodex of Hate and Elliott Morgan’s Premature, last month, perhaps in an effort to compete with Netflix’s ever-growing roster.

    Darby Forever debuts Feb. 18 on Vimeo. 

    Screengrab via Vimeo 


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    Audio of a David Bowie recording session recently surfaced from 1985, demonstrating that not only was Bowie a hell of a musician, he was an excellent musical impressionist as well.

    Recording producer Mark Saunders originally captured the performance, which occurred while Bowie took a break from recording the theme of the British Rock musical Absolute Beginners. Saunders played it for a friend, the father of So So Glos’s Zach Staggers. Staggers then “recovered it from an old iPod” after Bowie’s death. Although he hadn’t heard it recently, he noted just how fun and human the whole thing sounded.

    “It is as amazing as I remember,” Staggers told the Talkhouse. “Bowie goes through a handful of sung impressions, including, but not limited to, Bruce Springsteen, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Lou Reed and Anthony Newley, who was such a big influence on the iconic singer that the impersonation almost sounds like Bowie mimicking himself. Between takes you can hear Bowie having fun and going back and forth with the engineers. Jokes.”

    In the recording, which Saunders posted to YouTube, Bowie effortlessly impersonates other big artists at the time such as Springsteen, Neil Young, Iggy Pop, Reed, and Waits, and he easily gives modern impressionists a run for their money. He describes Bowie’s professionalism as well as his ability to put everyone at ease during the recording.

    “The impersonations on this YouTube posting were recorded in August ’85, when Bowie came in to do the lead vocal,” Saunders wrote. “At the end of the session, he broke into the impersonations and I realized that these might get erased at some point, so I quickly put a cassette in and hit ‘record.’ I wish we could hear the other side of the dialogue between Bowie and Clive [Langer] and Alan [Winstanley], but unfortunately that wasn’t being recorded.”

    H/T Pitchfork | Photo via Photo via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0) | Remix via Max Fleishman


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    If you scroll through your phone’s camera app, through all the images capturing events in your life, how many of those pictures have had a life outside your phone’s storage—sent to family members and friends, or shared on the precious real estate of social media? The majority probably languish in obscurity, clogging your digital real estate.

    KnowMe, a new app from Andrew Jarecki, director of HBO’s The Jinx, launches today with an aim to change how people tell stories, tapping into that backlog of content.

    “We all take so many pictures, and then don’t know what to do with it all,” explained Catfish’s Nev Schulman, a partner on the project. “This feels like a built-in, native app that says: ‘Hey, you have all this great stuff on your phone that was meaningful. Rather than pick one of those 500 photos to post, show me 50 of them and tell me why you liked it.’ All of a sudden you’re telling a story and explaining what you’re feeling.”


    As a video creation app, KnowMe seeks to hit sweet spot for people who want to share stories through video but whose needs are in between the live capture aspect of a Snapchat or a Vine and the editing needs of a FinalCut or iMovie.

    “There’s not really been a good way for an average person to make a video,” explained Stacey Federico, a marketing manager at KnowMe. “It can be pretty cumbersome, and most people don’t feel comfortable” with technology like FinalCut for, say, a family vacation.

    The creation process is straightforward. Users can either film the immediate world around them or place an already created photo or video into their project, add narration and music, and even pictures from the Web. The finished product is a video file with no time limits or restrictions. In theory, someone could make a feature-length documentary with KnowMe, with their phone's storage limit as the only restriction. The final product can be shared anywhere that video files can be shared, from Instagram to YouTube to text message.

    Social video is not a new concept, and Vine and Snapchat are leaders in the amateur space. However, those services only allow people to capture content in the moment. Other platforms like YouTube or Facebook often favor high production values and elegant editing, often creating a barrier to entry.

    As the cachet of the social media star rises, more people are interested in creating video but are not always equipped to take the leap into the world of editing. As someone who’s attempted vlogging, I can attest that it wasn’t the collection of content and stories that was the difficult part; it was maneuvering the world of video editing and feeling like I’d created something good enough for sharing. For those users, KnowMe functions like editing training wheels. 

    While much of the narrated slideshow aspect of the app lends itself to upbeat and fun content, prior to launch, the creators have seen beta users employing the platform in surprising ways.

    “During the time of the Baltimore riots, a ton of our users responded to that with KnowMe content,” said Federico. “As much as it’s been used for fun experiences, it’s also been used to express thoughts on issues.” The app’s future might include curated image or video folders from pop culture events, like the presidential debates, allowing users to incorporate them into their own KnowMe videos.

    While it’s most obviously something to help with the non-professional masses, Federico said that experienced video creators have liked the platform was a way to increase their output, thanks to the expedited production, although they are still drawn to the sleek editing only possible through a Final Cut-type program. 

    For Schulman, the app appeals to his desire to give his fans content they want, while helping him honestly appraise what he wants to share about himself. As a digital personality, Schulman said he often falls into the trap of creating the content that gets more likes, casting aside what he would authentically want to share. KnowMe hopes to hone in on that desire to share more of yourself online.

    “Authenticity has been such a buzzword in the past year,” offered Federico. "With KnowMe, you really show up, you come through, but you’re crafting a story. While it’s very natural, it’s not boring. It’s not just recording.”

    However, until new users step in and press record, KnowMe’s story is still in the making.

    Photos via Know Me | Remix by Max Fleishman


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    Still have questions after reading all the Making a Murderer fan theories

    Major players like prosecutor Ken Kratz and ex-fiancée Jodi Stachowski have stepped forward to cast doubt on the Netflix show's depiction of the case after it saw some initial success. So directors Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi sat down on the show's official Twitter Wednesday to help clear the air and address fan concerns. All fans had to do was tweet their questions using #AskMAM

    So take, for example, the fact that Steven Avery's DNA was found under the hood of Teresa Halbach's car. It's a piece of evidence Kratz claimed was just as important as the blood found in the trunk, but the directors are saying the evidence was disputed and ultimately insignificant to the movie: 

    The directors also addressed the new issue of Jodi Stachowski, Avery's former fiancée, who steadfastly defended his character and innocence over the course of the documentary only to appear on Nancy Grace in January and say that Avery is "not innocent." 

    They even addressed reports that Teresa Halbach had complained to her boss about Steven Avery before she went missing:

    You can check out all of the directors' responses over on Making a Murderer's Twitter account.

    H/T Vulture | Screengrab via Daily Show/Comedy Central


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