EXCLUSIVE: At this evening hour, we’re hearing that Amazon Studios is pulling out of this year’s SXSW, ten days before the festival kicks off in Austin, TX on March 13.
This includes all Amazon related activities at the festival, including two world episodic premieres including Greg Daniels’ sci-fi show Upload and Matt Reeves and Nathaniel Halpern’s Tales From the Loop.
In addition, Amazon Prime Video had a marketing activation with Entertainment Weekly, specifically their Blue Room photo/video studio and a party on Saturday night. Those aren’t happening now. Amazon Studios’ film side didn’t have any product scheduled for SXSW.
Upload takes place in the future, where people who are near death can be “Uploaded” into a virtual afterlife of their choice. The ten episode series stars Robbie Amell, Andy Allo, Allegra Edwards, Zainab Johnson, and Kevin Bigley.Amazon
Tales from the Loop is based on the acclaimed art of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag and explores the town and people who live above “The Loop” a machine built to unlock and explore the mysteries of the universe. Series stars Rebecca Hall, Paul Schneider, Duncan Joiner, Daniel Zolghardi and Jonathan Pryce. The series premieres on April 3.
Below is the note that was sent around to various press and PR folk tonight about the cancellation of Amazon Prime’s marketing activation with EW:
Due to health concerns Amazon Prime Video has decided to pull back from the festival and will be cancelling all activities including the Blue Room Photo/Video Studio over the weekend and the Entertainment Weekly party on Sat evening. We regret any inconvenience this may cause. The health of our team members and guests is our priority.
Thank you for your understanding,
Amazon joins such companies as Twitter, Facebook, Intel, China Gathering, Mashable and TikTok who are also holding back on travel during this time to protect the health of their employees. Word is that IMDB has also cancelled its video studio presence at the festival this year in the wake of coronavirus concerns.
Previously tonight it was confirmed by Deadline that a worker at an Amazon office in Seattle had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“The employee went home feeling unwell on Tuesday, February 25 and has not entered Amazon offices since that time,” Amazon said in a memo to staff. The company asked anyone experiencing symptoms to stay home and seek medical attention. To date, the death toll in Washington State has risen to nine reportedly, all within the city of Seattle.
Despite rumors around the city of Austin that SXSW would cancel or postpone, the festival will firmly go on.
Says the festival...
Right now, everyone is looking for some kind of reprieve from being locked up at home due to the spread of the coronavirus across the United States. That doesn’t appear to be in the cards anytime soon, but The Office executive producers Paul Lieberstein and Ben Silverman think they’ve figured out a way to make light of the situation by crafting a new workplace comedy series inspired by the sudden rise in employees working from home due to the outbreak of coronavirus forcing people to practice social distancing.
Deadline was first to learn of the currently untitled coronavirus comedy series, though it’s not necessarily about the pandemic. Paul Lieberstein and Ben Silverman, better known to The Office fans as the frequently maligned Toby Flenderson and one of Jim’s business partners at their company Athlead, are creating the series that is said to focus on “wunderkind boss who, in an effort to ensure his staff’s connectedness and productivity, asks them all to virtually interact and work face-to-face all day.”
The series is in the works at Big Breakfast, the comedy production banner Silverman runs, where he’ll executive produce the series along with and Luke Kelly-Clyne College Humor and Kevin Healey Scare Tactics. They’ll also be working with Howard Owens’ Propagate Content, which will have Rodney Ferrell serving as an executive producer as well.
Silverman, who was also once an NBC executive, explained the inception of the series and his hope for what it will become:
“So many of us are jumping on daily Zoom meetings — for work and beyond. We are in a new normal and are personally navigating ways to remain connected and productive at work and in our home lives. With the brilliant Paul Lieberstein at the helm, we think we have a series that not only brings humor and comfort during this troubling time but will also be an inventive and enduring workplace comedy for years to come.”
While the prospect of trying to craft a series around the coronavirus outbreak sounds like a bad idea at this time, there’s no indication that the pandemic will actually play a part in the overall concept of the series. In fact, it would be easy to pull something like this off without introducing such a grim plot device.
What I’m envisioning with this series is a show with a format that echoes what we’ve seen accomplished with movies like Unfriended and Searching. Both of those films play out entirely on computer or mobile device screens and successfully tell a solid narrative. Modern Family did something similar with an episode that unfolded across the ensemble cast’s various screens, and it worked pretty well. But if that’s what this series will be like, can that concept be sustained for an entire series? Or will they need to take...
High school can be a battlefield, but rarely has that battlefield seemed so dangerous as it does in Amazon’s stylish Sundance drama Selah and The Spades. The feature film debut of writer/director Tayarisha Poe, Selah and The Spades follows a young girl who is chosen to be the protégé of the Queen Bee of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, and discovers that she wasn’t the first to be given this dubious honor. Watch the Selah and The Spades trailer below.Selah and The Spades Trailer
Amazon Studios has released the official trailer for Tayarisha Poe’s feature film debut, Selah and The Spades, a stylish high school drama set in the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school. In this exclusive world, the student body is run by five factions: The Spades, The Sea, The Skins, The Bobbies, and The Prefects. Commanding the top faction is the titular Selah Summers Love Simone, who decides to choose a young protégé to take her place upon graduation. But as that sophomore upstart Paloma Celeste O’Connor soon finds, it’s a treacherous path to the top.
Selah and The Spades seems like a teen drama in the tradition of Brick or Thoroughbreds — stylish, razor-sharp, and populated by very good-looking teens who all act like characters in a noir film. The cast of fresh faces playing those characters include Jharrel Jerome, Jesse Williams, Gina Torres, and Ana Mulvoy Ten.
Here is the synopsis for Selah and The Spades:
In the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, Haldwell, the student body is run by five factions. Seventeen-year-old Selah Summers Lovie Simone runs the most dominant group, the Spades, with unshakable poise, as they cater to the most classic of vices and supply students with coveted, illegal alcohol and pills. Tensions between the factions escalate, and when Selah’s best friend/right hand Maxxie MOONLIGHT’s Jharrel Jerome becomes distracted by a new love, Selah takes on a protégée, enamored sophomore Paloma Celeste O’Connor, to whom she imparts her wisdom on ruling the school. But with graduation looming and Paloma proving an impressively quick study, Selah’s fears turn sinister as she grapples with losing the control by which she defines herself.
In her feature debut, writer/director Tayarisha Poe immerses us in a ened depiction of teenage politics. This searing character study encapsulates just how intoxicating power can be for a teenage girl who acutely feels the threat of being denied it. Exciting newcomer Lovie Simone’s performance beautifully embodies both Selah’s publicly impeccable command and the internal fears and uncertainty that drive it.
Selah and The Spades premieres on Amazon Prime Video April 17, 2020....
The SXSW Film Festival may have been cancelled, but our coverage will go on with reviews of films and TV shows made available to our critics.
There’s this weird in-between time when you’ve put in the work for a thing but the work for said thing hasn’t paid off just yet. That feeling manages to be one of the most nagging, frustrating sensations on the spectrum of nagging and frustrating sensations. It’s the time of doubt, confusion, fear, a whole gamut of questions that all ultimately end in “did I waste all of my time and make a terrible mistake?”
That’s exactly where Jamie Coral Amiga finds herself at the beginning of Georgia Oakley’s pilot of for the new series Bored, which is currently looking for a home and will hopefully find one.
Thankfully, Jamie’s got a best friend. Eve Nicole Hartley serves as Jamie’s polar opposite – at least as far as we can tell in the pilot. Where the former is driven and close to the vest, the ladder’s freewheeling and ready to live her life to the fullest. Eve’s not getting wrapped up in goals or relationship labels! The two friends are living in a 2017 London in the middle of Brexit. Folks their age are drinking, partying, and doing their best to forget the mess that’s going down around them.
But sometimes we manage to bring the mess home in our strongest efforts to escape it.
After partying a touch too hard, the ladies wake up to the realization that they’ve slept together. No big deal for Eve! She spends the majority of the episode ready to jump the soonest available candidate get it, girl. Jamie, on the other hand, finds herself pretty stressed about the ordeal. The questions going forward will be whether or not the girls’ friendship can survive their one-night stand. Because who doesn’t want complicated emotional issues while the world around them crumbles?
All in all, Bored presented with an effective pilot. The viewer immediately gets a solid sense of who our protagonists are, and what they stand for. Their world is fittingly small. Despite living in a politically tumultuous London, each of the ladies is selfish in their own way. They find themselves wrapped up in their own troubles despite the larger picture, so it makes perfect sense that we find ourselves in all of two locations in this first episodeboth of which are used incredibly well.
Equally as important as its effectiveness is whether or not the darn thing manages to be entertaining. I’m here reporting live from quarantine that I had a giggle or two! Both Eve and Jamie are relatable in their own way, and the dry wit serves the series well. There’s a bathroom scene that somehow managed to be both completely farfetched and perfectly believable at the same time.
I imagine we’ll see plenty of awkward moments, difficult conversations,...