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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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Jason Momoa Was Hosed Down After A Dirty Dune Buggy Ride And The Photos Are As Hot As They Sound

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We couldn’t love him any Momore.

Social media is a bit of a double edged sword. Some days it feels like all there is to scroll through is overused quotes or endless tirades expressing personal opinions that no one cares about. But just when you think you might need to take a little social media sabbatical something like this happens.

Earlier today, Jason Momoa took to Instagram to share photos of himself being hosed off after a particularly messy round of dune bugging riding. And when I say hosed off I mean…shirtless…with a hose. Of the ride the Aquaman star wrote “like a pig in shit. 🤣🤣🤣hard to explain this one. but i had an amazing day. now i need a dune buggy. dune coming soon aloha j. @schaeffersgarmenthotel dirty pink 😭🤣😂” I fully support the idea of Momoa purchasing a dune buggy if it means he will share more content like this.

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Of course fans went wild for the sizzling pics. One Instagrammer asked “Where do I apply for the hose guy’s job?” Another pointed out the obvious by saying “good god that is a man right there.” And finally one brought offered this very sage advice and said “wash your hands like you’re washing Jason Momoa.” Definitely wouldn’t mind washing for the full recommended 20 seconds am I right?

To see more of the stars sizzling snaps click here!

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Disney+ Series ‘Muppets Now’ Reveals Shocking Detail About The Swedish Chef

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Bork, Bork, Bork?!

If you haven’t taken the time to check out the new Disney+ series Muppets Now, stop reading and start streaming! The improv sitcom is an unscripted, segmented series in which our favorite fur-covered friends put together a digital show. Think The Muppet Show meets millennials. I watched the first episode, which became available for streaming as of July 31st, and I smiled through the entire thirty minutes. It’s cute and campy and reminds us all why we love The Muppets so much. I was enjoying the childhood nostalgia of seeing Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and the rest of the gang when suddenly our favorite gibberish-spewing chef came on the screen to partake in a cooking challenge. Of course I was prepared to giggle at the Swedish Chef’s horrendous attempt at cooking but I was immediately distracted and could only focus on one shocking detail!

Credit: Muppets Now

Did you see it? Can you see what I was distracted by?! The stached Swede is wearing a wedding ring on his left hand! The Swedish Chef is married?!?!

Credit: Muppets Now

I mean, sure, it’s not surprising with the sexy foreign accent and killer eyebrows but still, I would have never guessed the chef had someone waiting at home for him! Since the chef is one of the few Muppets to actually feature human hands, I first thought the ring might have belonged to a neglectful puppeteer who forgot to take off their ring. But I did a quick Wikipedia search and apparently the Swedish Chef has been donning the gold ring since 2010 and is known to be married!

I guess there truly is a lid for every pot.

Muppets Now is now available for streaming on Disney+.

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Martha Stewart Responded To Chelsea Handler Recreating Her Sultry Pool Selfie With Some Shade, Compliments And An F-Bomb!

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We are all Martha-Stewart-Livinggggg for this.

Domestic goddess Martha Stewart has turned into a spicy septuagenarian and it has only made her fans love her more. She is besties with Snoop Dogg, she has no trouble roasting celebs and most recently, she posted a selfie that left the internet buzzing. At 78, Stewart posted this stunner to Instagram earlier this week:

Peep that pout! It’s safe to say that any of us would kill to look this good when we reach our seventies. Hell I’d give my left foot to look this good now. It came as no shock that the selfie went viral, so viral in fact, comedian Chelsea Handler took the time to recreate the selfie. With a caption that read “I’m here to take @marthastewart48’s swimming lesson. If I look this good at 78 I better still have a pool to show myself off in” the 45-year old shared this to Instagram:

Along with tips for party throwing and scenic tablescapes, Stewart is also known to have quite the funny bone and can give a backhanded compliment better than most. In a response to Handler’s recreation Stewart wrote “Dear Chelsea, I’m so happy that you like my post well enough to emulate it. I do think my pool is a little bit prettier than yours and that my facial expression is a little bit more relaxed.” THE SHADE! “Nevertheless you are a beautiful girl and F–KING too young to be emulating me,” Stewart continued dropping a wholehearted F-Bomb, “Continue with your comedy, your humor, and your amazing ability to gather around you political liberals. We need it!” And because she is the queen of good manners, Stewart finished the comment with “Love Martha.”

All of this is just goals.

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