Academy’s Oscar® Week Events Celebrate This Year’s Nominees

In the week leading up to the 88th Oscars®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a series of public programs celebrating this year’s nominees in the Animated Feature Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Foreign Language Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, and Animated and Live Action Short Film categories. All events will be held at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.87th

The Oscar® Week schedule is as follows:


Tuesday, February 23, 7 p.m.

Hosted by director Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Yuh Nelson received an Oscar nomination in the Animated Feature Film category for “Kung Fu Panda 2” and is the director of the sequel “Kung Fu Panda 3,” currently in theaters.  The program will delve into the Animated Short Film and Live Action Short Film categories with complete screenings of all the nominated films as well as onstage panel discussions with the filmmakers (schedules permitting).


Wednesday, February 24, 7:30 p.m. 

Hosted by Documentary Branch governors Kate Amend and Rory Kennedy

Amend is a film editor whose documentary feature credits include “The Case against 8” and the Oscar winners “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport” and “The Long Way Home.”  Kennedy is a producer-director who received an Oscar nomination last year for the documentary feature “Last Days in Vietnam.”  Her other credits include “Ethel” and “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib.”  All the films nominated in Documentary Feature and Documentary Short Subject categories this year will be presented in an evening of clips and onstage discussions with the filmmakers (schedules permitting). 


Thursday, February 25, 7:30 p.m.

Hosted by producer Roy Conli and directors Don Hall and Chris Williams

Conli, Hall and Williams took home Animated Feature Film Oscars last year for “Big Hero 6.”  Conli’s other feature credits include “Tangled” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”  Hall made his feature directorial debut with “Winnie the Pooh.”  Williams previously received an Oscar nomination as the co-director of “Bolt.”  This year’s nominees in the Animated Feature Film category (schedules permitting) will talk about their creative processes and present clips illustrating their techniques.


Saturday, February 27, 10 a.m. 

Hosted by Producers Branch governor Mark Johnson

Johnson won the 1988 Best Picture Oscar for “Rain Man” and received a second nomination for “Bugsy.”  The directors of the nominated films in the Foreign Language Film category (schedules permitting) will explore a wide range of topics, from their experiences developing their projects to the specific challenges of their profession.  The program will include clips from each of the nominated films.


Saturday, February 27, 3 p.m. 

Moderated by makeup artist Leonard Engelman

Engelman, a longtime governor of the Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch, has served as a makeup artist on such features as “Burlesque,” “Heat,” “Moonstruck” and “Ghostbusters.”  In Oscar Week’s final public event, the nominees in the Makeup and Hairstyling category (schedules permitting) will reveal the secrets behind their on-screen work.  Photographs, appliances, molds, wigs and other items will be on display in the theater lobby.

Tickets are now available online at  Tickets to the Shorts, Docs, Animated Features and Foreign Language Films events are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID (Shorts and Foreign Language Films tickets limited to four per person).  Admission to the Saturdayafternoon Makeup and Hairstyling event is free, but advance tickets are required (limited to two per person).  The Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.  Doors open one hour prior to each event.  All ticketed seating is unreserved.  For more information, visit or call(310) 247-3600.

The 88th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 28, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.  The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

Tommy Bahama Announces 2016 “Collector’s Edition” Major League Baseball Shirt Featuring Boston Red Sox Legend David Ortiz

Tommy Bahama and Major League Baseball honor one of baseball’s most celebrated players with the release of the 2016 “Collector’s Edition” Series shirt featuring David Ortiz. The shirt pays tribute to the three-time World Series Champion and nine-time All-Star ahead of the final season of his career.

Tommy Bahama 2016 Collector's Edition Series Shirt - David Ortiz

Tommy Bahama MLB 2016 Collector’s Edition shirt featuring David Ortiz (PRNewsFoto/Tommy Bahama)

We are so excited to be able to develop a special ‘Collector’s Edition’ shirt honoring David Ortiz’s amazing career,” said Doug Wood, CEO of Tommy Bahama. “It’s projects like this one that have made our long-standing partnership with Major League Baseball so rewarding.”

The Tommy Bahama MLB “Collector’s Edition” Series shirts are premium, collectible apparel for the true baseball fan. Each “Collector’s Edition” shirt features classic baseball images incorporated into custom designed artwork that includes the player’s name, team logo, key stats and landmarks of his home team. Only a limited number of shirts are produced and each one is numbered.

The 2016 David Ortiz “Collector’s Edition” Series shirt showcases a classic image of Ortiz hitting a home run out of Fenway Park. The Red Sox logo, Ortiz’s signature, the number 34 and his silhouette are all embroidered on the finely detailed 100% silk print shirt. The back of the shirt features Big Papi’s career highlights and awards against the backdrop of Fenway Park’s iconic Green Monster. A woven label inside the collar shows the classic pose he strikes after each home run he hits. The shirt comes in a custom designed garment bag to be treasured as a fine collectible.

I’m excited to announce the partnership with my guys at Tommy Bahama,” said David Ortiz. “The event and these unique shirts are a great way to kick off my final season in the Major Leagues.

Tommy Bahama Logo

Tommy Bahama (PRNewsFoto/Tommy Bahama)

The Tommy Bahama MLB 2016 “Collector’s Edition” Series shirt featuring David Ortiz retails for $250 and only a limited number of shirts will be produced. The shirt will be available in mid-March exclusively at and select Tommy Bahama stores.

Tommy Bahama will also host a special event with “Big Papi” during Spring Training at the Tommy Bahama Restaurant, Bar & Store in Naples, FL. Additional events are being planned for the 2016 baseball season.

CDC Vital Signs Report: More Than 3 Million US Women At Risk For Alcohol-Exposed Pregnancy

Sexually Active Women Who Stop Using Birth Control Should Stop Drinking Alcohol, But Most Keep Drinking

An estimated 3.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 years are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, sexually active, and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy, according to the latest CDC Vital Signs report released February 2nd. The report also found that 3 in 4 women who want to get pregnant as soon as possible do not stop drinking alcohol when they stop using birth control.graphicb_1185px

Vital Signs is a CDC report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report provides the latest data and information on key health indicators. These are cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, health care-associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen pregnancy, food safety and viral hepatitis.

Alcohol use during pregnancy, even within the first few weeks and before a woman knows she is pregnant, can cause lasting physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities that can last for a child’s lifetime. These disabilities are known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs). There is no known safe amount of alcohol – even beer or wine – that is safe for a woman to drink at any stage of pregnancy.

Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, M.D.About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking. The risk is real. Why take the chance?

Healthcare providers should advise women who want to become pregnant to stop drinking alcohol as soon as they stop using birth control. Most women don’t know they are pregnant until they are four to six weeks into the pregnancy and could unknowingly be exposing their developing baby to alcohol. FASDs are completely preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy.

For this Vital Signs report, scientists from CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities analyzed data from the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth, which gathers information on family life, marriage, divorce, pregnancy, infertility, use of birth control, and men’s and women’s health. National estimates of alcohol-exposed pregnancy were calculated among 4,303 non-pregnant, non-sterile women ages 15–44 years. A woman was considered to be at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy if in the past month she was not sterile, her partner was not known to be sterile, she had vaginal sex with a male, drank any alcohol, and did not use birth control. A woman was considered to be trying to get pregnant if a desired pregnancy was the reason she and her partner stopped using contraception.

Overall, 3.3 million US women (7.3 percent of women ages 15–44 who were having sex, who were non-pregnant and non-sterile) were at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol if they were to become pregnant.

Every woman who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant – and her partner – want a healthy baby. But they may not be aware that drinking any alcohol atany stage of pregnancy can cause a range of disabilities for their child,” said Coleen Boyle, Ph.D., director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.It is critical for healthcare providers to assess a woman’s drinking habits during routine medical visits; advise her not to drink at all if she is pregnant, trying to get pregnant or sexually active and not using birth control; and recommend services if she needs help to stop drinking.”

The CDC works to prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies and FASDs through a variety of activities including:

  • Tracking alcohol use among women of reproductive age in the United States;
  • Supporting the implementation of evidence-based interventions to reduce risky alcohol use and alcohol-exposed pregnancies, including through alcohol screening and brief intervention and the CHOICES program;
  • Collaborating with FASD Practice and Implementation Centers and national partners to promote practice changes among healthcare providers in the prevention, identification, and management of FASDs;
  • Promoting effective interventions for children, adolescents, and young adults living with FASDs and their families; and
  • Offering FASD-related educational information and materials for women of reproductive age, healthcare providers, and the general public.

For more information about alcohol use during pregnancy and FASDs, please visit


Actors and Directors Monica Bellucci, Iciar Bollaín, Gavin Hood, Deepa Mehta and Raphael to Headline 33rd Edition of Miami Dade College’s Acclaimed Miami International Film Festival

Running March 4–13, 2016, Filmmakers from 40 Countries Will Exhibit 129 Feature, Documentary, and Short Films

Monica Bellucci, Iciar Bollaín, Gavin Hood and Deepa Mehta will all receive tributes in a new Marquee Series to be presented at the 33rd edition of Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival scheduled for March 4 – 13, 2016. The 10-day annual event takes place at the Festival’s traditional home, the historic Olympia Theater in Downtown Miami, plus six additional cinemas scattered across the Miami; and includes a plethora of screenings, stylish parties, thoughtful panel discussions, spirited film competitions, awards ceremonies and immersive cultural exchange opportunities for filmmakers attending from across the globe.


Official Poster of the 33rd annual Miami Dade College’s Miami International Film Festival

Additionally, director Andrew Currie‘s comedy The Steps, starring James Brolin, will receive its US Premiere at the Festival as the Closing Night selection. The Festival is the only major film festival worldwide produced by a college or university.

The new announcements join Alex de la Iglesia‘s My Big Night, previously announced as the Opening Night Selection, as the Festival’s major touchstones. The pop comedy My Big Night stars Spanish recording legend Raphael, who will open the Festival with a personal appearance at the March 4th screening.

Celebrating its 33rd annual edition, the MIAMI DADE COLLEGE’S MIAMI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL is considered the preeminent film festival for showcasing Ibero-American cinema in the U.S., and a major launch pad for all international and documentary cinema. The annual Festival entertains more than 60,000 audience members and over 400 filmmakers, producers, talent and industry professionals. In the last five years, the Festival has screened films from more than 60 countries, including 300 World, International, North American, U.S. and East Coast Premieres. The MIAMI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL‘s special focus on Ibero-American cinema has made the Festival a natural gateway for the discovery of new talent from this diverse territory. The Festival also offers unparalleled educational opportunities to film students and the community at large. Major sponsors of the 2016 Festival include THE KNIGHT FOUNDATION, LEXUS and MIAMI-DADE COUNTY. (For more information, visit or call 305-237-FILM(3456.)1163

This year’s lineup is like a prism that invites Miami to see the world with an illumination that only the cinema, and the artists that create the work, can provide,” says theFestival’s Executive Director and Director of Programming, Jaie Laplante. “The programmers have populated the program with films and events that are essential to the complex, dynamic, ever-changing Miami of the now.“

This year’s Festival showcases 129 films, including 100 feature films and documentaries and 29 short films produced and directed by both renowned and emerging talent from 40 countries. Forty-six are directed or co-directed by women.The Festival is pleased to announce numerous important premieres: 12 World, 1 International, 16 North American and 13 US premieres, debuting in Miami.

The Festival’s new MARQUEE SERIES category, dedicated to on-stage conversations with major film personalities of the moment, sharing a major new work, includes:

  • Monica Bellucci in Conversation with Guy Edoin (Tuesday, March 8th). The Italian fashion beauty and screen star will discuss her career up to and including her brilliant new starring role in Edoin’s Ville-Marie, which will screen after the Conversation.
  • Conversation with Iciar Bollaín (Sunday, March 6th). The double Goya Award-winning Spanish actress-director will speak about her career and her latest film, The Olive Tree, which will receive its World Premiere in Miami after the Conversation.
  • Conversation with Gavin Hood (Saturday, March 5th). The Academy Award-winning South African filmmaker of Tsotsi will speak about his career and screen his new film, Eye In The Sky, starring Dame Helen Mirren and the late Alan Rickman.
  • Conversation with Deepa Mehta (Wednesday, March 9th). The Academy Award-nominated Indo-Canadian filmmaker of Water will speak about her career in the context of the screening of her new film, Beeba Boys, described as “a desiScarface”.

Additional films include:

CINEDWNTWN OPENING NIGHT FILM Presented By Miami Downtown Development Authority and the OPENING NIGHT PARTY presented by The Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building and Tilia Events on Friday, March 4, 2016my-big-night-poster-693x1024

As previously announced, Álex de la Iglesia‘s My Big Night (Spain), starring Spanish pop icon Raphael and an ensemble cast of many of the biggest stars in the Spanish film industry, opens the Festival. In a special treat for Miami audiences, Raphael will appear in person at the screening to officially inaugurate this year’s Festival. (

This riotous pop masterpiece from de la Iglesia (Think Broadway’s Noises Off!) chronicles the accidents, romances, conspiracies and backstage shenanigans that beset the taping of an unusually fraught New Year’s Eve variety show. The agitated extravaganza is headlined by pompous singing icon Alphonso (played with self-satirizing brio by real-life singer Raphael) being stalked by a tunesmith with a murderous grudge. Alphonse’s younger beefcake counterpart Adán (Mario Casas) is sought by a groupie looking to snatch a sample of the legendary Lothario’s semen.MyBigNight1-1024x683

Out in the house a runaway crane takes out an extra, who is promptly replaced by endearing nebbish José (Pepón Nieto)—though José too may be doomed to some grievous bodily harm if he continues to pursue his comely colleague Paloma (Blanca Suárez), a woman with a history of unintentionally maiming every man she fancies. The hosts hate each other, the director can’t contain the chaos, and riot police are called in to quell the violent demonstration erupting right outside the studio doors.MyBigNight2-1024x683

My Big Night starts where most films climax and grows steadily more manic from there. The laughs possess an edgy uneasiness enhanced by the cast’s go-for-broke performances. A master orchestrator of mischief, de la Iglesia keeps us oriented as this audacious ensemble comedy spins wildly out of control. Get ready for a great time. My Big Night is more than a film—it’s a party!Jaime-2-1024x616

My Big Night turns into “My Big Party” after the film with an outstanding Opening Night party at the Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building. The party promises to ring in the new Festival with glitz and cheer, boasting rocking music, cuisine, cocktails, and dancing, all in the spirit of a glittering New Year’s Eve bash. The events kick off the Festival’s CINEDWNTWN series, sponsored by Miami’s Downtown Development Authority.

CINEDWNTWN AWARDS NIGHT FILM presented by Miami Downtown Development Authority and Pyrat Rum Awards Night Party sponsored by The Related Group on Saturday, March 12, 2016

Following the presentation of the juried Awards, the US premiere of Andrew Currie’s The Steps (Canada) will close the Festival’s official premieres. Featuring a brilliant ensemble cast led by James Brolin and Oscar-winner Christine Lahti, this riotous comedy is about what happens when two already fraught families are forced to merge into one big dysfunctional clan. the steps

As The Steps opens, we meet failed investment banker Jeff (Jason Ritter) and his party-animal sister Marla (Emmanuelle Chriqui), New Yorkers who’ve been invited by their publishing-magnate father, Ed (James Brolin), to visit his cottage in Northern Ontario. They’re infuriated, terrified and appalled — to them, Canada is even a bigger wasteland than Wyoming. Since their father married Sherry (Christine Lahti), a woman with a chequered past and children by three different men, they’ve been worried they may never see any of their father’s fortune.

Jeff and Marla head for Georgian Bay and find that things are worse than anticipated. Sherry’s crew of offspring would have to step up their game seriously just to reach the “motley” level. Keith (Steven McCarthy) is an unemployed musician who was kicked out of the emerging band he was in; Samir (Vinay Virmani) is a pot dealer and full-time stoner; and though eldest son David (Benjamin Arthur) may have the second-largest paintball field in all of Ontario, he also seems to have fairly serious rage issues. And now Sherry and Ed are planning on a few changes to their family that may leave Jeff and Marla out in the cold.

Mocking peculiar obsessions and peccadilloes on both sides of the border, Currie (who made the memorable zombie comedy Fido, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006) and his fine cast have an enormous amount of fun skewering everything from Americans’ less appealing dietary habits to Canada’s love of Nickelback. Brolin and Lahti have an enormous amount of fun as love-struck newlyweds, as do Ritter and Chriqui as Ed’s snotty and entitled kids, and the supporting cast attacks their roles with gusto (especially Arthur as always-angry Canadian nationalist David). As lingering bitterness and current disappointments wreak havoc in the cottage and disaster looms, threatening even Ed and Sherry’s idyllic happiness, these strangers slowly, and hilariously, figure out how to become a family.

After the screening, the evening continues by walking up “the steps” to the beautiful outdoor plaza at The Related Group‘s latest addition to the swanky Miami skyline, the newly-announced One Brickell property just “steps” away from Olympia Theater on the banks of the Miami River at 444 Brickell Ave. Feel what it means to project light in the Magic City through an imaginative collection of installations and entertainers, all courtesy of Pyrat Rum and Stella Artois.

CINEDWNTWN SCREENINGS PRESENTED BY MIAMI DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY: Red carpet events featuring the year’s most compelling works be top-tier directors showcased at the historic Olympia Theater in Downtown Miami. New titles announced for major screenings in the Festival’s historic home for all 33 of its years:

  • Queen of Thursdays (USA, directed by Orlando Rojas) *World Premiere. A documentary about Rosario Suarez, Cuba’s famed, exiled prima ballerina now living in Miami.
  • I’ve Never Not Been from Miami (USA, directed by Andrew Hevia, Joey Daoud, Jonathan David Kane, MonicaPeña, Tabatha Mudra, Keisha Rae Witherspoon, Kenny Riches, Jacob Katel, Kareem Tabsch and Tina Francisco). Ten short films all directed by local filmmakers, about local artists. A Soiree Film paired with Behind the Curtain Onstage Party at Olympia Theater.
  • Who Is Lou Gehrig?” (USA, directed by Gil Green). A documentary short mixing illusion and reality about local basketball coach Jeff Fogel and his brave fight to stay positive. Featuring Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem.


  • Palm Trees in The Snow (Spain, directed by Fernando González Molina)
  • The Rebound (USA, directed by Shaina Allen) World PremiereA Soiree Film paired with “Who Is Lou Gehrig?” (USA, directed by Gil Green) – Screenings paired with a Backlot Bash at Toejam Backlot (150 NW 21st St., Miami)
  • Spanish Affair 2 (Ocho apellidos catalanes) (Spain, directed by Emilio Martinez Lazaro)


KNIGHT COMPETITION PRESENTED BY THE JOHN S. & JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION: A mesmerizing variety of powerful works from around the world, directed by filmmakers who have directed at least one previous Official Selection (feature) of the Festival. Films are eligible for Achievement awards totaling $40,000 in cash. The 28 films (*indicates the title was previously announced) selected for this Competition are:

  • *The Apostate (Spain, Uruguay, France, directed by Federico Veiroj)
  • Argentina (Argentina, directed by Carlos Saura)
  • Chronic (Mexico, France, directed by Michel Franco)
  • The Companion (Cuba, Colombia, France, Panama, Venezuela, directed by Pavel Giroud)
  • Dheepan (France, directed by Jacques Audiard)
  • Eye in The Sky (UK, directed by Gavin Hood)
  • *Happy 140 (Spain, directed by Gracia Querejeta)
  • *Hearts of Palm (USA, directed by MonicaPeña) *World Premiere
  • I Promise You Anarchy (Mexico, Germany, directed by Julio Hernández Cordón)
  • Incident Light (Argentina, France, Uruguay, directed by Ariel Rotter)
  • *An Italian Name (Italy, directed by Francesca Archibugi)
  • The Lobster (Ireland, UK, Greece, France, Netherlands, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos)
  • The Memory of Water (Chile, Spain, Argentina, Germany, directed by Matias Bize)
  • A Monster with A Thousand Heads (Mexico, directed by Rodrigo Plá)
  • Mountains May Depart (China, France, Japan, directed by Zhang-ke Jia)
  • Much Ado About Nothing (Chile, directed by Alejandro Fernandez-Almendras)
  • The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble (USA, directed by Morgan Neville)
  • *My Big Night (Spain, directed by Álex de la Iglesia)
  • *Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper (USA, directed by Liz Garbus)
  • The Olive Tree (Spain, Germany, directed by Iciar Bollaín)*World Premiere
  • One Breath (Germany, Greece, directed by Christian Zübert)
  • Paulina (Argentina, Brazil, France, directed by Santiago Mitre)
  • *Spanish Affair 2 (Spain, directed by Emilio Martinez Lazaro)
  • *Spy Time (Spain, directed by Javier Ruiz Caldera)
  • Sunset Song (UK, Luxembourg, directed by Terence Davies)
  • Tale of Tales (Italy, France, UK, directed by Mateo Garrone)
  • *Trapped (USA, directed by Dawn Porter)
  • *Truman (Spain, Argentina, directed by Cesc Gay)

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TV’s First Travel Themed Talk Show Set to Land in March

Travel and TV Personalities Jessica Reyes, Gailen David and Bobby Laurie Tapped to Host New, First Of Its Kind Travel Themed Talk Show

The Jet Set, a first-of-its-kind travel-themed talk show, premieres March 5th on YouToo America (Saturdays at 11 a.m. ) and Soul of the South (Fridays at 10 & 10:30 a.m. ) with CBS radio personality and former Daily Buzz host Jessica Reyes along with CNN travel personalities and former Daily Buzz correspondents Gailen David and Bobby Laurie in studio helming the custom airplane-wing desk.

The Jet Set Hosts

The Jet Set Hosts: Bobby Laurie, Jessica Reyes & Gailen David at “The Wing Desk” (PRNewsFoto/En Pointe Productions)

Produced by En Pointe Productions, The Jet Set is a new talk show designed to reinvent travel television. Travel and talk veterans Reyes, David, and Laurie invite the professional, leisure, and aspiring traveler on board as they discuss tips, trends and destinations, while bringing its viewers on-location experiences. Filmed in Washington, D.C. The Jet Set will reach 158 markets including the top 25 TV markets.

The three veteran television personalities will take viewers on adventures from around the world to around their own block, dish the latest in celebrity getaways, news, gadgets and share their knowledge on how to get the most out of the trip. The show will capitalize on David and Laurie’s former flight attendant and travel industry careers, making them the only travel hosts on television with actual industry experience.

I’m excited to take this journey with Bobby and Gailen,” said Reyes. “When they were correspondents on the Daily Buzz, I always told them they’d better take me with them on their amazing trips… And here we are!

We wanted to create a travel show format that more people could relate to. Bringing travel into a studio setting enhances the ability to show viewers how accessible and rewarding travel can be,” Laurie said.

It’s not the distance, but the experience,” added David. “We love traveling to places not on the top-ten lists because there are so many hidden gems that should be shared. Everyone has that hiking trail, or perfect hidden retreat they may pass every day, without realizing it. And that’s an important part of the show.”

George Miller Named President of The Jury Of The 69th Festival De Cannes

The 69th Festival de Cannes will be presided by the Australian director, screenwriter and producer, George Miller. Along with his Jury, it will fall to him to award the Palme d’or at the close of the Festival, to be held from 11 to 22 May.

George Miller

Director, Screenwriter and Producer George Miller

On receiving his invitation from the Festival, George Miller exclaimed, “What an unmitigated delight! To be there in the middle of this storied festival at the unveiling of cinematic treasures from all over the planet. To spend time in passionate discourse with fellow members of the jury. Such an honor. I’ll be there with bells on!

It was in Cannes last May that Mad Max: Fury Road set out on its fantastic cavalcade across our screens. The film, shown Out of Competition in the Official Selection, marked the return not only of the hero of the legendary saga for the millions of fans of Max Rockatansky, but also the comeback of his creator, George Miller, and of the visionary filmmaking that made him a household name around the world.

The roots of Miller’s career, alongside those of Peter Weir, Bruce Beresford and Phillip Noyce stretch back to the golden age of Australian cinema from the 1980s. Originally from a small village in Queensland, Miller wrote and directed Violence in the Cinema, part 1 in 1971. Produced by his friend Byron Kennedy, with whom he founded the Kennedy Miller company, the short film picked up two prizes from the Australian Film Institute. This official recognition encouraged him to pursue a career in film and to make his first feature.

In 1979, Mad Max, inspired by the “outback gothic” genre sweeping Australia at the time, introduced Mel Gibson and was a worldwide smash hit. A superb pas-de-deux with American cinema, this ultra-violent futuristic film brought the action film genre a touch of class with its masterly combination of Road Movie, Western and Science-Fiction elements. A legendary saga was born which in turn gave rise to Mad Max 2: the Road Warrior in 1981, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome in 1985 and Mad Max: Fury Road in 2015.

Throughout his career, Miller has constantly experimented with a variety of genres, brilliantly reconciling mass audience expectations and the highest artistic standards. In 1983, along with John Landis, Steven Spielberg and Joe Dante, he directed the final segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie. Then came The Witches of ‘Eastwick in 1987 and the intimate drama Lorenzo’s Oil in 1992, starring Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte, which picked up Oscar nominations for Best Screenplay and Best Actress.

In 1995, he adapted and produced Babe, directed by Chris Noonan, which picked up seven Oscar nominations including Best Film and Best Adaptation. In 2006, his first animated film Happy Feet was a huge box office hit and garnered the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Happy Feet 2 took up the story in 2011.

In 2015, 30 years after the last Mad Max, the 4th chapter of the post-apocalyptic epic, complete with feminist and anti-totalitarian overtones, once again took cinemas by storm and has been the talk of the press and the festival circuit ever since. With ten nominations for the 2016 Oscars, including Best Film and Best Director, it recently scooped no fewer than nine prizes at the Critics Choice Awards, including that of Best Director.

The 70-year-old Miller has won international acclaim for his fine work, as well as for his eclecticism, inventiveness and sheer audacity. His nomination marks a no-holds-barred celebration of genre cinema. But above all, the 2016 Festival de Cannes is all set to welcome a big-hearted film lover and a great human being.