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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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Amber Riley Performs Beautiful Tribute To Naya Rivera On ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’

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RIP.

Whenever Amber Riley and Naya Rivera combined their insurmountable talents on the hit show Glee there was an almost tangible magic that left fans in awe of the powerhouse duo. Playing Mercedes Jones and Santana Lopez respectively, the two characters may not have always seen eye to eye but when they joined you knew you were in for a memorable performance. It is sad to think that we will never get another “River Deep, Mountain High” or “The Boy Is Mine” moment after Rivera’s passing last month but there is something special in knowing Riley will carry the torch for her fallen costar forever.

On Thursday night introduced by guest-host Lil Rel, Riley virtually appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!  to perform a new song from her EP entitled “A Moment” which was dedicated to Rivera. “Not too long ago we both lost a really amazing friend in a tragic accident and we both will miss her forever,” said Lil Rel. The performance is displayed in black and white and features Riley singing in front of a montage of photos of her former co-star. It is truly stunning.

Check out the tribute below.

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You Will Have Hearts In Your Eyes When You See Cardi B’s New Hair Do

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Wait till you see her WAP (Wonderfully Artistic Pigtails)

Cardi B has never shied away from a bold look and her latest hair do is proof of that.

The 27-year-old “WAP” singer…song of the year IMO…took to Instagram Tuesday night to show off her pink, heart-shaped pigtails and people are loving the look. In the short video Cardi asks fans if they would “go to the club with your hair like this” and I think we can all agree that this look would definitely turn heads at the clurb.

The artistic hair do was crafted by Cardi’s long time longtime stylist Tokyo Stylez and took at least three hours to complete. Fans commented about how beautiful the unique hairstyle is but questioned how the rapper was going to sleep that night. Let’s hope those pigtails can be twisted off and be thrown on the nightstand.

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Check It Out, Joe Jonas Has Shocked His Fans With His New Look

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I’m a sucker for his new do.

It doesn’t matter if you are more of a “Nick” or a “Kevin” or a “Joe” when it comes to loving the Jonas Brothers. All that matters is that you all agree with me that Joe is obviously the most attractive of the three brothers and that’s just a fact. I’m sorry but I don’t make the rules.

The 31-year old stunned fans today earlier today when he debuted a shocking new look on his Instagram. Sporting a black t-shirt and those signature dark, furry-Murray eyebrows, Joe flashed his new platinum blond buzzcut. I know I might be in the minority here but I do love when these Hollywood hotties switch it up and do the blond thing. I loved it on Adam Levine. I loved it on Zac Efron. I even found myself oddly drawn to the OG platinum stud, James Michael Tyler aka Gunther from Friends.

Credit: Instagram

Perhaps the new do is a part of Joe’s daddy-makeover as he and his wife, Sophie Turner, recently welcomed their first child, Willa. A source told ET “Sophie and Joe have named their daughter Willa. The couple’s bond has gotten even stronger since the addition of their daughter. Although circumstances are different right now because of the [coronavirus] pandemic, Joe was there for the birth of his daughter. The couple is happy they now have time to spend at home with their daughter and get used to their new life together.”

Be still my heart.

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