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POP INTERVIEW: 2013 Oscar Nominated Producer Daniel Dreifuss Breaks Ground for Chilean Cinema

Daniel Dreifuss co-produced the surprise Cannes hit, No, a Chilean film that garnered the festival’s prestigious Art Cinema Award. On January 10, he received the news bound to change his life forever:

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Daniel Dreifuss co-produced the surprise Cannes hit, No, a Chilean film that garnered the festival’s prestigious Art Cinema Award. On January 10, he received the news bound to change his life forever: No was in the running for a Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award! The only South American film and Chile’s first ever movie in consideration, No tells the story of Augusto Pinochet’s removal from political power.

Ever the optimists here at Pop Goes the Week! – with a breakout poignant film like that, he may need a speech prepared ASAP – I had to snatch up the first interview with Dreifuss before he could roll out of his pajamas.

Daniel Dreifuss

What about your film, as different as the subject matter, time period and country setting were, resonates with today’s film audience now in 2013? Is there any truth we can take away in lessons learned, applying them to our own political climates in America and Europe?
I’m passionate about the universality of this story. When I first heard of the project back in 2010 I immediately thought how timely it was. There are many people in the world struggling for justice and freedom, to have a voice. The slogan of the 1988 “NO” was ‘Happiness is coming.’ For me, “NO” was an opportunity to inspire people, even those who may have never heard of Pinochet, or even Chile, to say “These people in 1988, under a dictatorship, with little resources, were able accomplish so much and change the destiny of a country. What can I do today with the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, and all of this social media, to fight for MY happiness:”, whatever their happiness may be. The semantic meaning of that happiness changes from place to place, culture to culture. In some places it can be the right for a woman to drive alone or go to a doctor if she needs to without having to ask permission. For others, it could be the right of people marrying somebody of the same sex. So, the rights and the need for a voice remain. Here we are in 2013 still fighting for such basic rights in so many places in the world, even in the US or Europe. “NO” discusses the power of media in promoting social change. The reelection of Obama after a brilliant campaign is an example. The occupy movement that swept the world and organized itself with the usage of social media is example. Midway through the development of the film, but even before we shot, the Arab Spring happened. And gave us validation that these themes in the movie were very alive and current, and with today’s technological and mass media tools there is so much that can be accomplished.

What did you have to do with “No” to ensure its realism was as spectacular as it turned out?
We shot with U-matic cameras from the early 80s and in 4X3 format. We were always going to use original footage form the ’88 campaign and Pablo Larrain wanted it to be seamless. He did not want one to be able to tell what was shot and what was period footage. After tests, he realized the best thing would be to use the same equipment and format used in the original campaign. It was a daring and courageous creative decision. But ultimately it truly speaks to the movie’s audience. As a producer I supported and fought for his vision. I believed that it would allow an immersion in the period and the characters that would not be achieved with a sleek, modern look or if audiences watched the movie playing a game of “Guess the original footage.” And so it not a gimmick. Pablo strived for realism in look, feel, and performance. The images are not ‘pretty’ by today’s standards. The u-matics have lower resolution than most cellphone cameras. It was supposed to look faded in parts dark in parts. It was not pretty to look at, but then again neither was the dictatorship. And if for a split second I was ever unsure of this decision commercially, I knew it was the right decision creatively and that more than made up for it. It was bold but we would stand out and convey the message and essence of the time. And my hope is this honesty and authenticity in turn make it connect with even more people and cross over beyond its natural demographic.

As far as the script, when I became involved one of my main efforts was that the script reflected the universality of the story. It needed to be broad enough so that it could cross borders and fulfill its entertainment and social function, but never losing sight that this a watershed moment in Chilean history and had to be dealt with utmost tact and respect. That is why it moves me to see people respond to in such an enthusiastic manner in countries all over the world. It tells me we did something right.

Way back when the film premiered at Cannes, you probably had no idea it would be nominated for an Oscar. Not even the most glowing New York Tmes review can predict that! What was your reaction?
We were all ecstatic. It has been a most thrilling ride to be embraced in this manner since Cannes by audiences, press and critics alike. And not by the Academy. When you make a movie like “NO,” you can hope and dream of such recognition, but one cannot expect it. It is the first-ever nomination for Chile. The Oscar nomination is amazing. And I say this for me, for the cast and crew and for the film, I believe it gives a Spanish language film a chance to be seen, for this story to be shared and seen.

There are a lot of good films out this year and coincidentally many based on true events or political themes like “Argo,” “Zero Dark Thirty” or “Lincoln.” I’m glad films with more meaningful stories and characters have the momentum and the exposure. These are the kinds of stories I want to tell.

Which directors and producers did you admire when you were younger? How did they influence you? Was their influence visible in any way in this film, in its aesthetic, the production or your work ethic?
I am fortunate that my parents took me to see movies a lot, especially my mom. I remember as a kid going to see “Last Emperor,” “Cinema Paradiso,” and “Color Purple,” all as they came out. Then I remember going alone when I was 11 and 12 to see “Thelma and Louise,” “Silence of the Lambs,” etc. I was exposed to a lot of good films and diversity of voices early on. But if you asked me what movie opened the window of the magic of cinema, it would be “ET,” which is the first movie I vividly remember seeing in a theater around 4 years old. It taught me the possibilities are endless. There are not direct visual references in “NO,” but they informed my creativity and ability to tell stories, to work on scripts and narratives. It helped shape my job as a producer and how to bring characters, emotion, motivation, structure to the scripts I work and develop. I often think back to the greats and see how a conflict was well resolved on the big screen or how a certain dramatic issue was addressed. These movies also taught me that in this business we have to be driven by passion. It was not that I wanted to make a movie, it is that I absolutely had to tell this specific story. It kept me going on the rough days. But happiness has come!

Who are you excited to meet at the Oscars?
This is a dream come true. I was a kid growing up in Brazil, watching the Oscars on TV. It was a different planet, so far away. I was Oscar obsessed, I probably have memorized all nominees and winners in the main categories for the past 50 years. The Oscars were late in Brazil; they finished around 3 a.m., and they used to be on Monday, on a school night. But I stayed up every year and then would write down the winners so my mom could see when she woke up. So to have a chance to see some of the people who inspired me to pursue this dream is truly a gift.

What are you going to say if you make the Worst Dressed List?
I’d NEVER make the Worst Dressed List! HA. That is one thing you can count on. If you ask the “NO” team, I think they would vouch for me on this one. But on the other hand, outrageous outfits on the red carpet are remembered and as they say, no publicity is bad publicity, as long as they get your name right…well, I still dont think I will be on the Worst Dressed List!

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Watch How This Hasselhoff Deepfake Takes Years Off The Actor!

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Visual effects artist Chris Ume takes countless images of David Hasselhoff from his past Baywatch days, then creates a younger avator, blending the new, artificial Hof onto the real life Hoff.

The process of this crazy magic? It’s called a Deepfake = combining and superimposing existing images and videos onto a source image or video. The process is incredible, and yet still relatively in its infancy. If things keep progressing this genre as we can only expect they will, it’s not a stretch to imagine that we could someday see an actor actress play a younger version of themselves so convincingly we won’t see how they did it.

To follow more of his work, subscribe to Chris’ youtube channel.

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Chatting With Charo: The “Hair” Edition

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Brace yourself! There is a lot you don’t know about Charo’s hair! Listen, learn – and laugh your ass off – all along the way!

I got to visit Charo at her home just a week ago (I’ve known her wonderful family for many years) and we started out chatting about food (which explains all the tapas on the table!) But not so shockingly, we got sidetracked! This conversation about her hair had me laughing until I was crying!

Catch more chatting with charo! Follow her on Twitter! 

Follow her on Instagram!

And Hey, why not follow me too! On twitter and instagram!

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Lizzo Is An Icon In The Making – And Here’s Why

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Mirror, mirror on the wall don’t say it ‘cause we know Lizzo cute. And by cute I mean extremely talented, gorgeous and totally inspiring!

A few months ago I was watching The Ellen Degeneres Show when I witnessed one of the most fun, exciting and awe-inspiring performances I’ve ever seen. Lizzo popped onto the screen in a sparkly, pink getup and began singing what would become her big hit song, “Juice,” – I was immediately hooked (more like obsessed). During this performance she also jammed out on her flute alongside her plus-sized backup dancers and suddenly I knew I had been changed forever. I did some more research on the rapper/singer and found out I had been sleeping on this gem! Lizzo has been doing bad all by her damn self for years, having already released two albums in the past. I am suddenly mad at every single person who neglected to tell me to jump on the Lizzo train sooner! If you’re like me and need a bit of catch up, I’m going to break down exactly why you need to know this icon in the making.

You can throw a stone in any direction and hit a triple threat nowadays. Lizzo’s brings talents we have yet to see in the mainstream music industry.

If singing, rapping and dancing make Lizzo a triple threat, what does flute playing making her?!? A STAR THAT’S WHAT! Lizzo has displayed her abilities as a talented flautist, which is not an instrument you would necessarily think of in conjunction with the rap genre making this talent all the more extraordinary. Lizzo even used her flauting skills to compete (and defeat IMO) with Ron Burgundy. Not Will Ferrell, but Ron Burgundy.

Oh, and she can also twerk while playing the flute. 

As if playing the flute wasn’t impressive enough, Lizzo can also twerk while playing. I really hope some high school kid is deciding to take band just so he/she can flutwerk their way around campus like their fav flautist, Lizzo.

Lizzo uses her platform to inspire and raise up everyone around her.

Lizzo uses her voice for more than just creating fire music, ya know. She uses her platform to defend the belief that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Her Twitter is filled with positivity and strong messages about acceptance.

 

Uhm…she’s straight up gorgeous. 

We cant forget to mention that Lizzo is a straight up beauty queen. She is known to switch up her look but I’ve never seen a bad pic of this queen. To solidify my point, she is now officially the first, plus sized black woman to be featured in Playboy magazine!

Credit: Playboy.com

Move over Avenger’s, Lizzo has been in a comic book too!

Ok indulge the nerd in me on this one…Lizzo was even featured in a comic book!!! That’s right, she has become so influential that even Marvel comics wanted a piece of the Lizzo-pie. Check out this shout-out in Unstoppable Wasp #4!

 

So now that you have become as obsessed as I have, you are probably wondering how you can get even more Lizzo in your life. Well lucky for you, her new album dropped TODAY! Her third studio album, Cuz I Love You, is available anywhere you listen to music and let me tell you, YOU WILL LOVE IT. The album is varied and showcases all of Lizzo’s incredible range with some songs being upbeat and funky, and others being slowed down and heart wrenching. For a taste of what to expect, click below to listen to the title track of the album. If the new album still doesn’t satisfy the hunger for more Lizzo, she’s also on tour! You can click here for more info on tour dates.

Oh Lizzo…you are most definitely 100% that bitch.  

Like what you read? Follow @ChrisSiretz on Twitter and Instagram

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