CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. Straight movie or ”out of the closet”?

Whatever media does to the world, it seems to be a perfect fit between the two. If media shows patterns of life, it’s because media replicates such patterns. Media are our window to the world.”— (Bauman,2002pg161)

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Call Me By Your Name movie cover

I couldn’t agree more with Bauman’s statement that media is a mirror of our world. I believe Media not only represent patterns of life and behaviours but also mirror our reality.  It could also serve as a potential source for transmitting powerful values and messages to our society. The changes in new technologies and globalisation is making this even more possible!

LGBT movies are more and more common in the movie industry. LGBT society is a vulnerable group of people in need of social recognition and appreciation. There’re many countries which still urge for consideration and social support. Lack of same sex marriage policies, punishments or even sentences to death. Isn’t this awful? Only because you love another person, just like I love colour blue!

Anyways, Call me by your name is a revolutionary movie based from a novel by André Aciman which shows the love story of two men living in the North of Italy in the Summer of 1983.  The main character is Elio, a 17 year-old American Italian who lives in a villa with his family. Oliver, who will fall in love with Elio, goes into this house to do research on Greco-Roman culture. Even though Oliver is much older than Elio, they both profoundly fall in love and live this amazing experience as a secret, (Being gay at that time wasn’t a cool thing to show)

The end of the movie is quite sad because Oliver doesn’t only have to go back to America as the Summer is over, but he marries a woman short after that! When Elio finds out in tears the film ends. It’s a very drastic finish but I really think that despite being oriented in 1983, it still reflects our society with the fact that many gay guys are still ashamed of their sexuality or the prejudice that comes with being gay.

This is a very good movie which despite being considered as low art, can potentially transfer a lot of morals to our society! In fact, it’s been awarded as the Best Film of the Year, rated with 95% of positive reviews on rotten tomatoes. Isn’t this amazing? The age gap between these two could give us an idea that love can be found no matter the age, as long as it is healthy, of course!

There have been concerns in the industry related to the actors not being gay in real life or the movie not providing sexual content to normalise same-sex sexual relations. In fact, there’ve been claims that the movie fails to represent and normalise gay people, as it’s been heteronormalized through the censure of sex. Also the sex wasn’t omitted in the book…Why would they do it for the movie? Come on, all the content in media is sexualised! I don’t get it… However, Garret Schlitchte  a freelance writer interested in the intersection of the LGBT community in popular culture said that when it comes to visualisation of same-sex love, not only emotional but sexual content is also necessary, which is not shown on the movie.

Garret Schlitchte website
Garret Schlitchte critics on Call Me By Your Name

In terms of choosing a gay or straight actor, Luca Guadagnino, the director of this movie, said that he didn’t have a previous idea or judgements to choose the actors. He thinks it’s better not to investigate on the sexualities of people. Moreover, when he got asked why there was no sexual-related content he said “The tone would’ve been very different from what I was looking for”.

What do you guys think? Has this movie been heteronormalized or could it actually show a clear view of the gay society? Would you guys think sexual content was not on the movie so that it could reach more audiences? If yes, does it mean we are still not prepared for the visualisation of gay love? Let me know!

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DEPRESSED musicians or DEPRESSING jobs? Demi Lovato on mental health.

Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato speaks up about mental health

We all know how important it is to speak up and reach out for help when things go wrong. When it comes to mental health, musicians are in the number one list for having mental breakdowns… You guys like me may ask… Are all of them crazy? The answer is no.

Irregular cash flows, no contracts, unpredictable payments, and lack of sustainable policies are just some of the main issues musicians have to deal with. The stress that comes with the fame is also a lot of trouble. I bet! Not all is bad news though! I believe creative industries and specially famous people have the power to make a change and raise awareness. It isn’t only the fame that gives them the chance to speak to a wide range of people, but also the globalisation we have experienced in the last years and the emergence of new technologies such as social media and Internet.

The #sorrynotsorry girl is killing it! Demi Lovato has long spoken up about mental health issues. She shares her own struggles with bipolar disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders and body image.  Her new documentary SimplyComplicated shows the pressure she’s been dealing with while working for the music industry since a very young age. She also partners with charities and other companies to raise money for people that can’t afford treatments. In fact, she is offering free treatments in her own concerts, funded by an organisation called Cast. Isn’t this amazing? She is also collecting money through selling T-shirts and donations from her Demi Lovato Scholarship Treatment Program where everything goes to this Cast organisation.

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius presented chart-dominating singer, songwriter, and actress Demi Lovato, Honorary Chairperson of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day 2013, with an award for her advocacy work on behalf of young adults with mental health and substance use challenges during the Awareness Day 2013 press briefing held at the Theater of the Performing Arts at the University of the District of Columbia Community College on May 7

I’m fascinated by the fact that the music industry and popular culture can actually raise awareness about issues that concern us. Just like they can encourage negative attitudes towards children they can also encourage them to have a healthy life. It is not just about making money or sexualising content! Creative and cultural industries have these complex relationships where they work with different sectors in order to save costs and diminish risks. Fundraising and crowdfunding is a good choice when it comes to that! Also if the quality offered for the audience is good, educative and inspiring, then that’s awesome!

I think the best way to battle our own demons is to open up with your loved ones and share your feelings, seek for help. Wellbeing is not like a broken ankle which gets fixed in some days… It takes time to heal! For this reason, I think that if you want to work for the music industry you must be mentally prepared for the pressure and you obviously must love what you do. If not, what’s the point?! (I don’t want to be depressing, sorry) Despite this, I think that it is very beautiful that people can make meaning through bad experiences and become more powerful by sharing their own stories to help others.

Demi Lovato is the perfect example of a person who can live well with mental illness. You can do it too! (even if you are a musician). She also serves as a role model for young people and educate society through meaningful messages. Creative industries must regulate the content they share with the public and make sure it promotes positive attitudes. What do you guys think? Would you be able to go through a lot of pressure despite of doing something you truly love? Is the new creative economy providing optimistic values to our society? Leave a comment below!

 ”No matter what you are going through there is always light at the end of the tunnel”-Demi Lovato

 

Ever dreamed of voicing a fluffy canine in a dreamy Wes Anderson film? Well, he offered you the chance….for $50,000.

Featured image from Flickr by Paul Hudson - Free to use under all Creative Commons. 
Available at: Isle of Dogs set pictures by Paul Hudson

130,000 still photographs, a team of 670, and a whole Isle of Dogs. It’s no doubt that Wes Anderson’s new film has become a labour of love with many. But what also made Anderson’s film a huge team effort, was his use of crowdfunding to widen his network even more. Have you ever used crowdfunding before? Have you ever donated to your friends’ three-legged 1k races? Ever donated to a school friend’s up and coming band? Or even donated to a film foundation? Well done if you’ve done all three, you philanthropist. You’ve taken part in crowdfunding.

Oscar-nominated director Wes Anderson utilized crowdfunding to fundraise for Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation – a charity aiming to restore old films. Not only did Anderson set out to raise awareness for his new film but also used Isle of Dogs encourage this crowdfunding mission. Wonderful Wes ended up raising a quarter of a million dollars. That’s a lot of dollars. And that’s a lot of crowdfunding, too. Crowdrise, the company founded by Mr Edward Norton nonetheless, gave a platform to raise money for Scorsese’s Film Foundation. The Foundation aimed to combat the insufficient funding problems that they face, with only 800 being restored since the foundation’s beginning in 1990 – this may sound a lot initially, but this is only a measly quarter of the films that applied for restoration. That means 2800 films have applied in total, hashtag quick maths.

And even though the Foundation receive help from film big boys, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola, the Foundation is still stuck struggling. The Foundation states it generally costs a mighty $50,000 to $450,000 for restoring a film, so it’s not cheap. This struggle unfortunately rises with the ever growing number of films that are in need of restoration. With moving image being found in a bountiful of environments, there becomes the misconception that film that can be found on a variation of platforms are also protected. But shock horror, they’re not. The Foundation states that the original elements that create even a decent film, still possess the ability to deteriorate or become lost. Preservation is a continuous cycle and requires the need to be upgraded every few years to catch up with fast-moving technologies and digitalisation. These hurdles and hindrances therefore require a lot of money and provide an even bigger incentive for Anderson to contribute to the cause. The digitized domain we live in is a mighty big problem and has therefore encouraged the Foundation to centre towards independent filmmakers, and documentary creators who struggle most.

Anderson viewed these struggles and created varied prizes for his Crowdrise donors as it’s all about those initiatives, guys. One incredibly lucky winner would win a trip for them and a plus one to London, to meet Wes, a tour of the Isle of Dogs set, receive a miniature figure from the film and even record the voice of a canine character in the film. I have never wanted to practice woofing and barking so much. Every $10 that a donor would give to the cause, would mean one entry to winning the grand prize, whereas donors could buy the grand prize for a whopping $50,000. Other prizes that could be won included a DVD signed by Wes, and other winners a signed Wes Anderson Collection book.

Film preservation had always been a key adoration of Wes Anderson, and the concept of the film becoming a charitable platform by its future audiences is nothing short of exciting and fulfilling. The audience are also rooted in the film’s production, quite literally in providing a voice for the film too.

Anderson’s relationship with his audience grows closer, and becomes more rewarding. But moving from just boundaries of a video box, harmonizes a stronger bond between audiences and art philanthropy – a move forward for our creative industries, don’t you think?

“Oh Alexander Hamilton, America (and Britain and France and Australia and the whole world) sings for you” But is that a bad thing?

Featured image of Hamilton at Victoria Palace December 2017: Wikimedia commons

11 Tony wins out of 16 nominations, 7 Olivier awards and over 20 million streams on each Hamilton song on Spotify, there is no doubt that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical has become a worldwide success. But is this success as a stage musical hindered or accelerated because of its online streaming big boom?

Hearing a song through your old, tatty and nearly broken earphones streamed on Spotify is only slightly very different to hearing it performed in front of your very eyes. Well, at least that’s what I thought when I saw the one and only Hamilton performing live at the Victoria Palace on Friday the 4th May. I don’t know why I was surprised that I knew all the words, it’s not like I had listened to the soundtrack a million times before. It wasn’t just me that knew every single sentence, rhythm and rhyme, but pretty much the whole row was singing and humming along to all the songs. One woman beside me even attempted to sing *that* high note in the ballad ‘First Burn’. Ouch.

Hamilton had become similar to a jukebox musical, with nearly every cast member knowing all the words to the main musical numbers, everyone (or everyone that I could hear) bonded together by a love for the stage performance. But had this ruined our experience or “turned a spark into a flame” of fiery appreciation?



With the multilayered and sometimes complicated plot intertwined through rhythm and verse, perhaps it was better to prepare oneself by using Spotify (and sometimes YouTube) to get even a gist of the story and understand what on earth is going on behind the constant beats and musical pulses. Not only does Spotify contribute to the grasping of the storyline, but also contributes to the legacy of the musical. Audiences don’t have to leave the theatre and try to remember the tune of ‘Helpless’, but can instead pull out their phone, stick their earphones in and sing along with the Schuyler sisters on the tube home. Hargreaves’ accessibility advantage of using digitalization in the creative industries comes into play, with audiences being able to listen to Hamilton wherever, whenever.

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Hamilton is a multi Tony and Olivier award winning stage musical: image free to use under the Creative Commons CC0 – found on Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/landmark-lights-building-architecture-63328/

Recorded with extra tender loving care than other stage musicals, no fault could have been made and was produced to be flawless, making Hamilton a musical legacy. With the cast album being co-produced by none other than Questlove and Black Thought of the Roots, it was no doubt that the cast album would be polished perfectly. It could therefore be said that the extra care weaved into the production was an attempt to make the music their own works of art and a solo project, away from center stage. Topping the charts, the album has proven to be quite the success. Not just the Hamilton cast album, but the Hamilton Mixtape (musical numbers recorded by other artists) too, became a fan classic. With guest singers including Regina Spektor, Chance the Rapper and even Sia, not only does it encourage fans of Hamilton to engage with the mixtapes, but fans of the guest stars too. This would also work in conjunction with Hargreaves’ advantages of using digitalization in the music industry, in that fans of both Hamilton and the featured artists can view multiple layers to their talents.



Surely then, Hamilton’s large Spotify presence could be said that it also results in a larger appreciation and adoration for the show and continues the encouragement of fans to engage with the stage musical away from the stage. Just listening to the soundtrack on a train is a whirlwind for the audience, let alone to those performing.

Can other musicals really say the same?

‘Instagram: a blessing or a curse for professional photographers?’

Instagram has undoubtedly changed photography – but has it made it better, or worse?

According to Omnicore, 95 million photos are uploaded daily and they gather about 4.2bn likes. Besides the impressive 500 million active Instagram users, this captures the staggering interest of photos and its ability to connect people on a global scale.  Although this may seem big for photography, some may see this as a downfall.

Has the social media app changed how we see photos? Has its popularity devaluated the art of photography?

When it first launched, Instagram was just a social media platform, famous for sharing cat photos and selfies with the ones you love. But over the years, it has evolved into something beyond that. It is now also a business platform for professional photographers (and other careers) to “connect, immerse and explore”.

Is this change a blessing or a curse for people who take photography seriously?

As an avid photographer myself, here’s my personal view:

The Blessings

Instagram as a business platform:

As said above, Instagram is a part of the daily life of 500 million people worldwide. Its ubiquity led to a drastic shift in the dynamic of the social-media app. More so today than ever before, the number of creatives for potential business partnerships and collabs have risen and are definitely within reach! What was once a place for personal use, turned into a platform for creatives to share their work and attract future clientele.

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The Instagram feed of Jakob Owens, a professional photographer (Credit: Unsplash)

A social space:

Unlike website portfolios, Instagram allows users to follow each other. This means that a photographer’s followers can view their work while scrolling down their Instagram feed, anywhere, anytime! Also, the comments section allows photographers to answer your questions and receive your feedback in a snap – it is so convenient!

Recently, Instagram added a feature where users can follow a hashtag. This is another chance for photographers to reach out, and for you to discover them. For example, the hashtag #portraitphotography page on Instagram flaunts loads of professional portraiture work (that you should check out)! Not only will this help photographers to attract interest, but the hashtags also represent and connect a community of like-minded users on the social media platform.

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Richard Prince’s Controversial Instagram Exhibition (Credit: The Independent)

The Curse

(Also) a social space:

As a social network over everything else, it is easy to steal a user’s images without attribution or consent. And because there is no attribution to the photo, it is (almost) impossible to trace when theft ever occurs.

An example is when a “controversial artist”, Richard Prince reproduced an Instagram user’s photograph without permission and sold it for $90K. He said that he doesn’t “see a difference in what (he) collects and what (he) makes.” Is this art or is it blatant theft?

Now back to the bigger picture, is Instagram a blessing or a curse?

Well, to me, it is a blessing that makes you curse every now and then.

From weighing the pros and cons for professional photographers, I also notice how important social media is, especially today. It is no longer merely a platform for personal use, but rather a network that continuously becomes a factor that contributes to the success of the creative industries.

Now shifting the focus to you, is Instagram a blessing or a curse for professional photography?

Cover image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/7Qh1YLFdlqY

Youtube vs the Music Industry, Prosumer vs Copyright

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Apparently more than 1.8 billion users log into YouTube each month, which is an estimated 7.6 billion people on the planet last year. Most of us probably contribute to that 1.8 billion users. It’s probably a very difficult job to find someone who hasn’t used the streaming site. Even my gran is obsessed and she’s not the best when it comes to technology.

My point is that YouTube is a very popular site for uploading creative content. But when it comes to uploading, do we think about copyright issues? Do you think copyright should even be an issue, especially on YouTube?

Let’s talk about song covers by amateurs on YouTube specifically here.

I’m sure we all know about the story of how Justin Bieber became famous. He started posting homemade videos of himself from age 12, then soon got discovered by the music industry. Bieber is just one example out of a few who have made their career from starting on YouTube. If you’re into popular chart music, then I’m sure you’ve heard of Alessia Cara and Carly Rae Jepsen…

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Keen in 2007 said: we now live in a “self-broadcasting culture”. This blurs the distinction between trained experts and uninformed amateurs. With the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we are constantly uploading our own material. If you have any kind of social media account, then you are part of this cult.

You have to be very careful with uploading covers of songs on YouTube however. The issue of Copyright comes into play here. While most people get away with it, some copyright owners may complain about their songs being used without their permission. This could result in your video being taken off the website or in extreme circumstances, you might get sued.

There are ways to get around this, just take a look at Jane Haskins blog on what you need to know about posting covers on YouTube.

Now there are things set in place to make this issue a lot less worse than it is:

  • Creative Commons, where creators of content grant others permission to use their work.
  • Fair Use Act, which allows the reuse of copyright-protected material under certain circumstances without gaining permission
  • The public domain, where content eventually loses its copyright protection and then fall into the ‘public domain’. BUT this rule differs from country to country.

If you were a professional music artist, would you take action if someone covered your song online or would you be grateful for the exposure? Because sometimes a viral song cover may even give to original song more popularity. But then there is still those implications of copyright and authorship. Copyright laws have been put into place, but some argue that it needs reforming.

According to Baio, the copyright law was intended to foster creativity. His thoughts are that cover songs shouldn’t threaten the owner of the song. I feel like the music industry now is embracing YouTube in the era of digital disruption. The creation of YouTube impacts existing products and services offered in the music industry. You can look at more to do with digital disruption on the Oxford College of Marketing website. More than anything I argue that cover songs are great for both the person covering them and the creator of the song. If I were a song-writer I’d love the exposure, as long as I got some sort of credit.

There are many outlooks on this topic, of YouTube versus the music industry and there is a lot more that I haven’t covered that would add to this discussion such as YouTube and advertising. But as I can’t add anymore, I’d like to know what are your thoughts?

ALL PHOTOS TAKEN FROM PEXELS.COM, via free picture library on WordPress.

Beauty and the Beast remake dazzles in its revival

Before the invention of VHS and DVD, Disney would play classics such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Cinderella” on the big screens for a short while before stashing them away for future revival. Then came the 1990s where home entertainment boomed bringing timeless delights of stunning animation straight to your doorstep. But Disney didn’t stop there.

First we witnessed breath taking West End productions, amusing TV spinoffs and charming interactive entertainment. However, it’s the move Disney made in 2010 that really made its mark. Amidst the hysteria of Angry Birds, Glee and Taylor Swift emerged Disney’s first live-action film, Alice in Wonderland directed by the wonderful Tim Burton.

Alice in Wonderland 2010 advertisement (source: cea + via Flickr)

It was an immediate success, topping the $1 billion box-office mark. Disney experimented with “Cinderella” in 2015 and “The Jungle Book” in 2016, but it was its 2017 remake of the 1991 Oscar winning box office topping “Beauty and the Beast” that stood out as the real beauty.

This superbly old fashioned remake is adorned with intricate details and stunning décor gleaming with golds and riches beyond your dreams. It goes beyond the expectations of a fairy-tale as old as time. Director Bill Condon (made famous for the two part Twilight finale Breaking Dawn) along with the team behind this tear-inducing extravaganza made little error in transforming the 26 year old classic into a musical like no other.

Near on 27 years ago the original animation broke into the Oscar’s cabinet walking away with the prize for best music with Alan Menken’s “Beauty and the Beast”, just missing out on the prestigious prize of Best Picture. The 2017 version takes this one step further, filling our screens with an all-out musical including a stunning rendition of “Tale as Old as Time” by Emma Thompson.

Emma Watson as Belle (source: Kurman Communications Inc. via Flickr)

Emma Watson makes for the perfect Belle, capturing the inner beauty of one of Disney’s most precious princesses. All those years ago, Belle was nothing more than a drawing yet now she is the beautiful, confident and charming Emma Watson. She has Belle’s stubborn and stern nature but her sweet innocence sparkles through the screen.

Dan Stevens’ Prince Adam is a wicked success, hated instantly by the audience for his shallow, pettiness when met with the enchantress who curses him, his friends and his castle. Even as the towering thick-haired beast he woos the audience, succeeding in moving our hearts.

The plot bares next to no difference to that of its cartoon counterpart as Belle’s father (Kevin Kline) finds himself captured by the Beast (Dan Stevens) in the forbidden castle after taking a rose from the icy cold garden. On finding her father, Belle (Emma Watson) heroically offers to take his place and, with the help of some enchanted household objects, the two bookworms embark on a magical romance fuelled journey.

Lucky for us, the running time is 45 minutes longer than the original allowing for more music (three songs to be exact), intricate characterisation and the best all-round fun Disney’s live interpretations have brought us. Part of this extension is in the prologue which tells the tale of the Prince, the curse and the symbolic red rose with its faltering petals; we’re also treated to more on the death of Belle’s mother as well as her relationship with her dad, but this comes later.

Beauty and the Beast advertisement (source: Kurman Communications Ltd via Flickr)

The 1991 animated classic will always be iconic, but the additional background details, the beating heart of the music and the glittering décor and rich costumes form the foundations of this flawless live-action remake. Beauty and the Beast embodies the life and soul of the original, encapsulating the raw beauty and innocent magic of our forever loved Disney.