Monthly Archives: September 2019

You are browsing the site archives by month.

Blanchett part of protest on Cannes carpet

Lea Seydoux, Khadja Nin, Ava DuVernay, Cate Blanchett and Agnes Varda at Cannes.The #MeToo movement took centre stage at the Cannes Film Festival, as Cate Blanchett, Marion Cotillard, Patty Jenkins and other female filmmakers and artists gathered together in order to agitate for improved treatment of women in the movie business.

There were 82 women in total on Saturday, a reference to the number of female directors who have climbed the steps of the Palais, the festival’s central theatre, since Cannes began celebrating celluloid in 1942.

In the same period, 1866 male directors ascended the same stairs, Blanchett said in a statement, as the women linked their arms in solidarity. The Oscar-winning actress and Cannes jury head was flanked by Kristen Stewart, Marion Cotillard, Ava DuVernay, Lea Seydoux, and Salma Hayek.

“Women are not a minority in the world, yet the current state of the industry says otherwise,” Blanchett said.

“As women, we all face our own unique challenges, but we stand together on these stairs today as a symbol of our determination and commitment to progress. We are writers, producers, directors, actresses, cinematographers, talent agents, editors, distributors, sales agents and all involved in the cinematic arts.”

After Blanchett spoke, Agnes Varda, the legendary French film director of Faces Places, added, “The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all. Let’s climb.”

The spectre of Harvey Weinstein, the indie film producer who helped spark an industry-wide reckoning after being accused of assaulting or harassing dozens of women, was evoked during a 20-minute gathering that was both solemn and celebratory. Announcers at the demonstration said this new awareness has come about in the wake of “Harvey Day,” calling it “a terrible event” with important consequences. After Blanchett and Varda spoke, the assembled women erupted in cheers.

Festival organisers have been criticised for failing to do more to publicly acknowledge the #MeToo and Time’s Up initiatives. They have also been faulted for not promoting more female filmmakers. Only three of the 18 films in competition this year are from female filmmakers — a low number that nevertheless represents Cannes’ best showing since 2011.

OpinionExperiencing smart play in a smart cityChristopher Saunders

A SELFIE AT THE SELFIE FACTORY: Christopher Saunders ready for his close-up.

At the launch of the Hunter Innovation Festival, the head of UON School of Creative Industries, Paul Egglestone, introduced SMARTPLAY.

Initially I thought he might talk about wearing sunscreen and a hat when going out to play – but no. SMARTPLAY, it turns out, is an opportunity for the community to engage in some of the benefits of Newcastle becoming a Smart City.

This Smart City talk has had people confused since it was rolled out a couple of years ago. For a long time, we were selling Newcastle as a Creative City. That concept seems to have been shelved.

I wonder if calling ourselves a Smart City is putting the cart before the horse – to use a 19thcentury metaphor. Saying “putting a one before the zero” doesn’t have the same impact. (That was a 21st century attempt at a binary code joke). Wouldn’t it make more sense to roll out the technology and then start the rebranding?

Cue SMARTPLAY – one of a number of initiatives being rolled out.


“The immediate goal of SMARTPLAY is to make data accessible and meaningful by translating it from different sources into beautiful physical and mediated interpretations; performances, events and forms of storytelling that make sense within Newcastle. The broader objective is to demystify the ‘smart city’ concept and encourage play and experimentation by Novocastrians as a means to enhance community life, wellbeing, intimacy and safety. SMARTPLAY is helping to shape the public imagination around a Smart City. Our Smart City doesn’t have to constitute soulless algorithms, invisible efficiency gains and alienating technology … so, let’s play, ignite curiosity, learn and improve together as a community with SMARTPLAY.”

Well that clears that up then.Perhaps a few examples might help.

The Baby Bulb is a new work that will soon go on show. This beautiful light up installation will illuminate every time a child is born in a Newcastle hospital. With each flash of the light bulb viewers will be reminded of the delight, wonder and potential that surrounds a new birth.

Check out the Selfie Factory installed in NewSpace as part of the Hunter Innovation Festival. It offers a tangible representation of the scale and quality of online data, using a real-time stream of Instagram selfies printed on receipt paper. The Selfie Factory creates a temporary visual experience of online behaviour and aims to raise awareness of the contemporary phenomenon of the digital self-portrait.

The Selfie Factory has triggered some valuable discussions on the subject of personal data and the responsibilities that we carry when engaging in online activities.

Join the conversation by heading into the NewSpace foyer.Go on – you know you want to – but don’t forget the sunscreen and a hat.

The Hunter Innovation Festival runs at various locations around the city until May 18.

Christopher Saunders is general manager of Renew Newcastle

BasketballHunters beat Manly-Warringah to claim their third straight win.

NEWCASTLE Hunters established their title credentials with an emphatic 90-69 victory over Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the Waratah Basketball League men’s game at Northern Beaches Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday night.

Led by American dynamic duo Austin Thornton (31 points, 14 rebounds) and Sharif Watson (17 points, 14 rebounds), the Hunters won their third straight game to climb to second with an 8-2 record, leap-frogging the Sea Eagles (7-2) in the process.

CLASS ACT: American import Austin Thornton has been a dominant presence for the Newcastle Hunters. He led the way against Manly-Warringah with 31 points and 14 rebounds. Picture: Marina Neil

Thornton shot just six of 25 from the floor, including two of 11 from behind the three-point line, but amassed more than half his game-high tally from the free-throw line, making 17 of 18.

In the absence of floor leader Josh Morgan (calf), and veteran big men Steve Davis (neck) and Jon Howe (knee), Thornton played all 40 minutes and his experience proved significant as the Hunters dictated terms in the second half.

Newcastle led 37-34 at the long break, and 46-45 midway through the third quarter, but closed on a 19-10 run to take a 65-55 advantage into the final period and were never threatened again.

“It was an excellent team effort and we had a lot of contributors, which was very pleasing,” Newcastle coach Darren Nichols said.

“We took some time to find our feet, and there is still room for improvement, but we’re really starting to jell as a unit and I was especially happy with our defensive effort.”

Guards Jacob Foy (15 points, six rebounds) and Hayden Howell (10 points) also made valuable contributions, giving Newcastle four double-figure scorers.

Captain Ben Hawkesley chipped in with six points on three-of-three shooting, five rebounds, and his trademark toughness and enthusiasm at the defensive end.

Despite the absence of Davis and Howe, the Hunters out-rebounded the Sea Eagles 53-37.

Newcastle’s women’s team had a bye and remain fourth with a 5-3 record.

The Hunters men and women will play Penrith Panthers at Penrith next Saturday.

AAP reports: Aron Baynes and the Boston Celtics will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in game one of the NBA eastern conference finals on Sunday (Monday 5.30am AEST) and the n says it will not be up to him, or any other single player, to deal with the extraordinary LeBron James.

“We know where the head of the snake is and we know what we have to focus on,” Baynes said.

“But he’s got a lot of great role players around him and some other guys that can really create out there, as well.”

It was a team-first approach that led to the Celtics comprehensively defeating fellow Aussie Ben Simmons and his Philadelphia 76ers in five games.

Sixers coach Brett Brown marvelled at Boston’s one-on-one defence, including Baynes’s match-up with arguably the NBA’s most dominant centre, Joel Embiid.

The Cavs have won two of the three regular-season meetings with the Celtics this season.

James is full of respect for the Celtics’ players and coach Brad Stevens.

“They have guys who are damn good no matter whether they are young or not,” James said.

“They know how to play basketball and their coach knows how to put them in a place to succeed.”

Baynes, after playing a central role against the 76ers, may have less court time against Cleveland, who have a mobile starting line-up without a legitimate starting centre.

Stevens successfully countered the athletic Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs by pulling Baynes from the starting line-up.

The Cavs have won two of the three regular season meetings with the Celtics but both teams are dramatically different in the playoffs.

Cleveland overhauled their team mid-season and Boston lost former Cavs star Kyrie Irving to a season-ending injury.

The winner of the best-of-seven series will play the victor of the highly-anticipated western conference finals series between the top-seeded Houston Rockets and the defending champions, Golden State Warriors, for the NBA title.

The Rockets host game one in Houston on Monday (Tuesday 11am AEST).

Smith faces NRL ban for wishbone tackle

Melbourne captain Cameron Smith should be rubbed out for a month for his alleged wishbone tackle on Gold Coast forward Kevin Proctor, according to rugby league great Phil Gould.

Smith is facing a maximum two-match NRL ban for his tackle on Proctor, and his is one of eight charges laid by the match review committee from the three NRL matches on Saturday.

Smith drew a grade-two dangerous contact charge after pulling Proctor’s left leg in a 47th minute tackle that forced his former Storm teammate from the field with a groin injury.

Gould described it as a disgraceful tackle and symptomatic of their perceived wrestling techniques.

“When Melbourne started the third man in the tackle – hold up top and get a third man into the legs – I said, ‘Cut that out, that’s going to be nothing but problems for everybody’,” Gould said on Channel Nine.

“It’s caused a lot of injuries and I don’t like it… that’s a terrible tackle. It should’ve been a month off.”

Fellow commentator and rugby league immortal Andrew Johns said it was dangerous.

“He grabs him at the leg and twists him around. If it was done to his arm, a chicken wing, Cameron would’ve had a month on the sideline,” Johns said.

“I know Cameron’s come out and said it wasn’t deliberate, but it’s dangerous.”

The n and Queensland captain can reduce the suspension to one match with an early plea, however he defended his tackle after the match.

“I spoke to Kevvy after the game to see how he was going, said I had no intention to hurt him and he was very grateful for me to come over,” Smith said.

“Whatever happens out of this game or that tackle, I’ve got absolutely no control over … all I can say is I’m not here to try and hurt the bloke.”

Melbourne prop Sam Kasiano is in danger of a one-match ban after being deemed to have made dangerous contact in his tackle of Titans forward Jarrod Wallace.

The other two charges against Melbourne players went to Cameron Munster and Josh Addo-Carr, both of whom can escape suspensions for grade-one dangerous contact on Brenko Lee.

Warriors pair Bunty Afoa and Jazz Tevaga both attracted dangerous contact citings from their team’s loss to the Sydney Roosters but can escape suspension with early guilty pleas.

Roosters prop Dylan Napa was charged twice – once for a careless high tackle that drew a fine, and another for dangerous contact on Afoa in the final minute of the match.

He too can avoid suspension with an early guilty plea.

Indon churches attacked by bomber family

A family of six launched suicide attacks on Christians attending services at three churches in Indonesia’s second-largest city of Surabaya, killing at least 13 people and wounding 40, officials said.

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, has seen a recent resurgence in homegrown militancy and police said the family who carried out Sunday’s attacks were among 500 Islamic State sympathisers who had returned from Syria.

“The husband drove the car, an Avanza, that contained explosives and rammed it into the gate in front of that church,” East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera told reporters at the regional police headquarters in Surabaya.

The wife and two daughters were involved in an attack on a second church and at the third church “two other children rode the motorbike and had the bomb across their laps”, Mangera said.

The two daughters were aged 12 and 9 while the other two, thought to be the man’s sons, were 18 and 16, police said.

They blamed the bombings on the Islamic State-inspired group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

JAD is an umbrella organisation on a US State Department “terrorist” list that is estimated to have drawn hundreds of Islamic State sympathisers in Indonesia.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, in a message carried on its Amaq news agency.

“This act is barbaric and beyond the limits of humanity, causing victims among members of society, the police and even innocent children,” President Joko Widodo said during a visit to the scene of the attacks.

East Java police spokesman Mangera said the attacks had killed at least 13 people and 40 had been taken to hospital, including two police officers. He called on people to remain calm.

Streets around the bombed churches were blocked by checkpoints and heavily armed police stood guard as forensic and bomb squad officers combined the area for clues.

Television footage showed one church where the yard in front appeared engulfed in fire, with thick, black smoke billowing up. A large blast was heard hours after the attacks, which Mangera said was a bomb disposal squad dealing with a device.

The attacks come days after militant Islamist prisoners killed five members of an elite counter-terrorism force during a 36-hour standoff at a high security jail on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta.

The church attacks were likely linked to the prison hostage standoff, said Wawan Purwanto, communication director at Indonesia’s intelligence agency.

“The main target is still security authorities, but we can say that there are alternative (targets) if the main targets are blocked,” he said.