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China intensifies censorship of Hollywood movies



Amid a rising trend of curbs on rights in China, the country is intensifying its censorship of Hollywood movies to make them ‘conform’ to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ideals, a media report said.
The practice, which is almost 25-years old, has expanded in recent times even as producers make movies with an eye toward pleasing Beijing yet without isolating the global audience, Voice of America reported citing industry insiders.
“Now it’s kind of escalated in the sense that they’re much more direct in banning films outright rather than just tampering or asking for scenes to be removed,” Stanley Rosen, a University of Southern California political science professor who follows China’s film industry was quoted as saying.
As per the report, industry observers say censors are also asking that versions of movies for audiences outside China follow Beijing’s script.
It is unlikely that censors will allow the 2022 Marvel Studios movie “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” to be shown in China, the report said, citing a recent op-ed in the Chinese state-affiliated Global Times which said that the movie contains nods to Falun Gong, a spiritual movement Beijing has banned and labelled as a cult.
“As a country under the rule of law, China regulates the film industry in accordance with the Film Administration regulations,” Liu Pengyu, spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in Washington was quoted as saying.
The China Film Administration, an oversight body for the USD 7.4 billion Chinese film industry market, banned Marvel Studios’ 2021 superhero films “Eternals” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which were released last year, the report said.

The 2021 superhero film “Spider-Man: No Way Home” missed Chinese approval because authorities wanted Sony Pictures to remove images of the Statue of Liberty from the film, the report further said.
“As the dragon gets bigger, its leverage gets bigger, and no one’s pushed back yet,” Chris Fenton, Hollywood executive and a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations think tank was quoted as saying.
According to James Tager, research director at the free-speech advocacy group PEN America, an increase in Sino-U.S. tensions since the administration of former US President Donald Trump may have exacerbated China’s treatment of American movies.
Refusal of a Chinese order to cut a scene would risk the studio’s future business in China, such as the next Disney or Marvel film or other assets, Tager said.
“You may get a reputation as someone who doesn’t play ball, which could have even further knock-on effects, possibly for other films or possibly for other business relationships that large studios have in China,” Tager said.
Recently, the Philippines pushed back against Marvel Studio’s attempt to woo China in the case of the 2022 American action movie “Uncharted.” The Southeast Asian country’s cinemas banned the movie at the request of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, the report said.
The department objected to a scene that showed Beijing’s nine-dash line claim to the South China Sea, which Manila vigorously disputes. The nine dashes demarcate China’s claim to about 90 per cent of the sea.
Manila moved earlier to block the showing of “Abominable,” a 2019 animated collaboration between the U.S. and a Chinese production company because the same nine-dash line was shown in the cartoon.
Hollywood is slowly factoring in the “arbitrary” demands from China, Stanley Rosen said. One thing it has learned, he said, is to avoid making Chinese-themed films such as “Shang-Chi” because those can be better done in China, the report said. (ANI)

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Jason Momoa is officially off the market



Jason Momoa is officially off the market, with the star confirming his new relationship three years after splitting from actress Lisa Bonet.

The Aquaman actor made things Instagram-official with fellow movie star Adria Arjona today, posting a slew of pictures from his recent trip to Japan.

In a number of snaps, Momoa could be seen embracing the Puerto Rican actress and posing with her while sporting a large smile on his face.

He captioned the carousel of pictures: “Japan, you are a dream come true you blew my mind [sic].”

“We’re so thankful for everyone who opened their homes, making memories with new friends and old friends, sharing another amazing adventure with mi amor”, he concluded.

While this is a first glimpse into Momoa’s relationship with the actress, who has appeared in movies such as Hit Man, Morbius and 6 Underground, he confirmed earlier this month he was seeing someone romantically.


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Kiwi cinematographer wins Emmy for Sweet Tooth



An Auckland cinematographer has picked up an Emmy Award for his work on successful Netflix show Sweet Tooth.

Dave Garbett won Best Cinematography for a single-camera live action programme at the Children’s and Family Emmys, held in Los Angeles in the weekend.

Garbett, along with cinematographers John Cavill and Rob Marsh, was responsible for shooting season two of the dystopian drama. Sweet Tooth imagines a world where the human population has been decimated by a mysterious virus and hybrid babies are born with animal characteristics. The series features a host of local stars, including actors Robyn Malcolm, Jodie Rimmer and Rhys Darby, and musician Marlon Williams.

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Photo: Netflix

His was the sole Emmy win for Sweet Tooth, which was nominated for 11 awards.

Speaking to RNZ from Los Angeles, Garbett said Sweet Tooth was “a really great story with universal appeal”.

“It was a pleasure being able to be a part of telling it. New Zealand has a huge wealth of film making talent, having it recognised in this way is just brilliant.”

Sweet Tooth was filmed entirely in Aotearoa and many Auckland locations, including the Winter Gardens in Auckland Domain, are recognisable to series viewers. The third season of the show is expected in 2024.

“Filming is always a series of challenges. We had a really harmonious team, so we worked our way through it and we’re all still friends at the end,” Garbett said.

His career to date includes working on a wide variety of shorts, series and films, including the David Bain drama Black Hands, and horror film Evil Dead Rise.

“I finished high school with no idea what I wanted to do,” Garbett said.

“I decided to go to film school just because my mate was. I’ve been in it ever since and I love it! It has taken me far and wide and continues to provide variety and keep my working life interesting.”



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Wellington delays Santa Parade due to forecast rain



Santa is deferring his visit to Wellington by a day due to heavy rain and northerlies forecast for the capital on Saturday.

Wellington City Council is now staging its Christmas event on Sunday, with a range of free activities in Waitangi Park including ice skating, a snow dome, foam pit, crafts and performances.

Santa will touch down in his sleigh at 11am near the Clyde Quay Wharf Marina and head to Waitangi Park, where he will dismount to meet the crowd.

He will then be available for private audiences in his grotto until 5pm.

MetService said Wellington would have “occasional rain, persistent for a time late morning and afternoon” with “strong northerlies”. Rain was expected to be heaviest around 10am.

It was also expected to rain on Sunday, however, according to the forecasters’ website.

A heavy rain watch was in place for the Tararua Range, north of the city, from 4am Saturday until early Sunday morning.

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