Monday, November 14, 2022

Streaming service offers Icelandic series

Posted by Elena del Valle on November 2, 2022

Last month Ordinary People began streaming on MhzChoice.com

Photo: MhzChoice.com

On October 11, 2022 Ordinary People, described in promotional materials as a comedy drama from Iceland rated TV-14, began streaming on MhzChoice.com. Reinvent Studios released the series about two friends, Vala (Vala Kristin Eiriksdottir) and Júlíana (Júlíana Sara Gunnarsdóttir). The women, best friends since drama school, pursued different paths in life.

The series, in Icelandic with English subtitles, centers around their friendship. Vala, a destructive and difficult to like character, seeks an acting career. Júlíana stepped away from acting choosing to have two children with her husband Tómas (Halldór Halldórsson), an aspiring entrepreneur. Vala, who had hoped to host a TV program of her own, is only offered the role of sidekick. Her friend received the opportunity of main host, making Vala unhappy.

New film explores complexities of parenting, ADHD diagnosis and its consequences

Posted by Elena del Valle on October 12, 2022

The Other Tom poster
The Other Tom poster

Photo: Outsider Pictures

Outsider Pictures is releasing a new production in New York October 14, 2022. In The Other Tom filmmakers Rodrigo Pla and Laura Santullo present a painful to watch 111-minute drama of Elena, a single mother in El Paso, Texas, and Tom, her nine year old son who teachers identify as a problem child. Their lives, already stretched financially and emotionally, take a turn for the worse after he is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The film explores the controversial diagnosis, subsequent prescription of psychiatric medication, the school system’s intense pressure on parents to comply with a chemical solution and the concept of excessive medication in childhood. According to a spokesperson it will be available for online streaming.

Julia Chávez plays Elena and Israel Rodríguez Bertorelli plays Tom. The film, in English and Spanish with subtitles, premiered in Venice in 2021 and includes on screen sexual situations. No rating was listed in the press release.

Following a troubling accident Elena becomes concerned about the possible side effects of the prescription medication her son is taking. When concerned for his well-being she stops administering the drugs to Tom, Social Services threaten to remove him from her custody unless he resumes taking the powerful psychiatric medication.

“The fact that we are parents was the single overwhelming motivator in our making this film,” Plá said of his collaboration with wife Santullo on The Other Tom in promotional materials provided via email by a publicist. “It’s nearly impossible these days to remain oblivious as a parent to the myriad of mental disorders and pathologies our children are diagnosed with, based entirely on behavior. It has become normal to create syndromes for behaviors and then develop drugs to ‘treat’ them. Increasingly, overworked teachers demand that their students be put on psychiatric drugs to quell disruption, and more and more doctors oblige, prescribing them like candy…but parents also, out of ignorance or convenience or sheer desperation, may find themselves surrendering to this mindset and medicating their children. This generation carries our hopes, and with this film, we hope to open eyes to a more human approach to helping them to adulthood.”

Chavez is a graduate of the Pearson College UWC in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Plá, director and writer, is a Mexican-Uruguayan director, screenwriter and producer. In addition to this production his feature films are La Zona (Venice, 2007), Desierto adentro (Cannes, 2008), La demora (Berlinale, 2012), and Un monstruo de mil cabezas (Venice, 2015). Santullo, director and writer, is a narrative and screenplay writer. In addition to this production her work as a screenwriter includes the feature films Un monstruo de mil cabezas, La demora, Desierto adentro, and La Zona. The Other Tom was produced by Buenaventura Cine and BHD Films.

Subscription streaming service to offer new Japanese miniseries in October

Posted by Elena del Valle on August 31, 2022


On October 4, 2022 MhzChoice.com plans to offer its first Japanese series, according to a recent press release. Pension Metsa, a six-episode miniseries released in 2021, features Tenko, a Japanese woman who runs a one room country guesthouse in the Nagano larch forest. Nagano is 278 kilometers northwest of Tokyo. MhzChoice.com provided a screener although no images or video clips were available for editorial publication.

A different brief story unfolds around a guest star in each 20-minute episode. The stories take place in and around the pretty guesthouse and its natural environs. Often there are shared meals and soulful conversations.

Satomi Kobayashi is Tenko. According to Imdb.com Kana Matsumoto is the writer and director of the series. The episodes are in Japanese. English subtitles were added by the streaming service.

Actress Tôko Miura, who played the young chauffeur Misaki in the Oscar-winning feature Drive My Car, appears in Episode 6. MhzChoice.com offers a streaming subscription service of European series and programs with English subtitles.

Podcast with Stanley Wong, co-founder, DistroScale, about streaming services targeting Hispanics

Posted by Elena del Valle on April 11, 2022

Stanley Wong, co-founder, DistroScale

Photo: DistroScale

A podcast interview with Stanley Wong, co-founder, DistroScale, is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing and Public Relations, HispanicMPR.com. During the podcast, he discusses streaming services targeting Hispanics with Elena del Valle, host of the HispanicMPR.com podcast.

Stanley is vice president of marketing at DistroScale, a media technology company and the parent company to DistroTV, an independent network home to 150 live streaming channels.

Prior to his role at DistroScale, Stanley was an early Yahoo! employee (41st). Since Yahoo!, Stanley contributed to Search Physics (now known as Metavana). He also served as the vice president of Ad Products at Glam Media and co-founded Permuto (acquired by AOL and re-named Buysight)

To listen to the interview, scroll down and click on the play button below. You can listen by looking for “Podcast” then select “HMPR Stanley Wong” and download the MP3 file to your audio player. You can also find it on the RSS feed. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the April 2022 section of the podcast archive.

Podcast with documentary filmmaker Claudia Sparrow about Maxima

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 24, 2022

Filmmaker Claudia Sparrow
Filmmaker Claudia Sparrow

Photo, video: courtesy of Claudia Sparrow

A podcast interview with documentary filmmaker Claudia Sparrow is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing and Public Relations, HispanicMPR.com. During the podcast, she discusses Maxima with Elena del Valle, host of the HispanicMPR.com podcast. Scroll down to watch a Maxima trailer in English and Spanish with subtitles.

Claudia was born and raised in Lima, Peru. Her American Film Institute film El Americano won a 2009 Emmy Award in the drama category and she was a recipient of the 2009 Franklin J. Schaffner Fellow Award from the American Film Institute for directing that film.

Claudia’s first feature film I Remember You, starring Stefanie Butler and Joe Egender, premiered at the 2015 Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles, where it won the Best Feature Length Dramatic Film Award. I Remember You had a theatrical release in 2016 and remains available on major streaming platforms.

To listen to the interview, scroll down and click on the play button below. You can also listen by looking for “Podcast” then select “HMPR Claudia Sparrow” or download the MP3 file to your device or player. You can also find it on the RSS feed. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the January 2022 section of the podcast archive.

Watch the Maxima trailer below:

 

New political thriller miniseries provides a peek into life in Senegal

Posted by Elena del Valle on October 27, 2021


Wara poster

Photos: Mhz Choice

Wara, a 2020 eight part miniseries set in a future Senegal, recently became available on MhzChoice.com, an online streaming service. Starring Issaka Sawadogo as Moutari Wara, France Nancy Goulian as Aicha Diallo, Maimouna N’Diaye as Yasmin Diallo, Souleymane Seye Ndiaye as Ganka Barry the program, based on a story by Magagi Issoufou Sani, is in French with English subtitles.

Set in the “City of Tanasanga” the story explores university student and community activism to combat the pervasive corruption of elected officials. It shines a light on the lengths the politicians and their supporters go to in furtherance of their goals. Much revolves around Wara, a law professor, Miriam Shugger, another professor, their students and others in their circle, some forces for community good and others for personal gain. Despite a seemingly incomplete ending Wara is suspenseful and engaging. Goulian and Maimouna N’Diaye’s performances stood out.

From Wara

From Wara

The series was produced by M.J.P., Astharte & Compagnie, Raes Production, and TV5Monde (a French, Belgian and Swiss collaboration) with support from Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Agence Francaise de Developpment, and Centre National de la Cinematographie et de l’Image Animee among others listed in the series credits. A number of organizations in Senegal were listed in the end credits, including City of Saint Louis, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Culture, Village Mbaye and University Gaston Berger.

Sawadogo, according to Imdb.com, is a Burkina Faso-born actor, dancer and musician fluent in French, English and Norwegian. Maimouna N’Diaye’s other film credits, according to Imdb.com include Eye of the Storm and Les Trois Lascars; and per the same source Goulian’s other film credit includes Cacao. Charli Beléteau is listed as the series creator on Imdb.com.

With video – Documentary showcases extreme athlete crossing desert on foot

Posted by Elena del Valle on September 15, 2021

The Lost Desert

Max Calderan in The Lost Desert

Photos: Empty Quarter Studio

The Lost Desert, Empty Quarter Studio’s first feature length documentary, was acquired by STX and released last month on ad supported TubiTV.com. Most of the story takes place in Saudi Arabia’s Rub’ al Khali desert, where Max Calderan, an Italian extreme athlete, sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream: to walk 700 miles from west to east in an inhospitable uninhabited terrain.

An all male on the ground support team follows him in a caravan of vehicles, monitoring his well-being and filming. From idea to release the 83-minute film required four years of work. The company founders funded the project’s $1.2 million costs, hoping the film will appeal “to anyone who has big dreams and goes to any length to accomplish them. It will appeal to the elite sports athletes and fans, as well as people interested in natural history, science, culture and travel.”

“I met Max Calderan in 2016 and was immediately taken by his charisma, passion, and mission to accomplish his lifelong dream,” said Billy Sprague, president, Empty Quarter Studios, in a press release for the documentary. “I wanted to tell Max’s story and document his last, greatest challenge – to cross the largest sand desert in the world. I’m very proud of our film crew, who captured this inspiring story in one of the world’s harshest, deadliest, and most remote deserts. This is an inspiring story about a man pursuing his lifelong dream. It’s a story about perseverance and passion. And it’s a story about one of the least traveled to, most inhospitable places on earth.”

Described as having spent years crossing deserts on foot Calderan, a driven self-effacing athlete in his fifties, braved punishing heat (averaging 117 degrees Fahrenheit, according to promotional materials), shifting sand dunes of up to 1,000 feet as well as “poisonous snakes, spiders, scorpions, and any number of life-threatening challenges” in the making of the documentary. According to promotional materials, among Calderan’s eleven world records in desert exploration, he has run 90 hours straight without stopping in Oman. He also once ran 225 miles in 75 hours across a Saudi Arabian desert in summer.

Billy Sprague, president, Empty Quarter Studios

Billy Sprague, president, Empty Quarter Studios

When asked about the greatest challenge the film presented Sprague said, “Transporting our crew and thousands of pounds of equipment and life-sustaining supplies in one of the most remote, dangerous, completely off-grid locations.” The greatest reward? “Successfully capturing the story and wrapping production in one of the most remote, dangerous, completely off-grid locations.”

The documentary was directed by Christopher Cassel. Michael Haertlein (Jane Goodall: The Hope) was director of photography, Marcelino Belizario (Bad Suns) handled Aerial Cinematography, Adriano Bravo (Human Weapon) was sound recordist, Benjamin Frank was assistant camera operator, and Rosie Walunas (But It Doesn’t Have Me) was editor.

Empty Quarter Studios, a New York and London based film and television production company, creates original non-fiction content “using moving images to tell epic, immersive and transformational stories borne out of exploration, travel, history, science and everyday life in the world’s most exotic and unreachable places” for global distribution.

Tubi, a division of Fox Entertainment, is an “ad-supported video-on-demand service with over 30,000 movies and TV shows, 65+ local and live news channels, and 250+ entertainment partners.” Stxfilms is a five year old division of Eros Stx Global Corporation, which “produces, acquires, distributes, and markets motion pictures at scale.”

French mystery series focuses on art

Posted by Elena del Valle on August 25, 2021

Art of Crime
Art of Crime stars Eléonore Bernheim and Nicolas Gob

Photo: Mhz Choice

In Art of Crime (L’art du crime in French) Eléonore Bernheim as Florence Chassange and Nicolas Gob as Antoine Verlay play unlikely partners who solve murder mysteries in the French art world. The four season series of episodes of about 50 minutes in length is airing on Mhzchoice.com. According to IMDB.com the first episode of the program, in French with English subtitles, dates to 2017. The program has been popular in France with millions of viewers on French television, according to Toutelatele.com.

With the backdrop of Paris, France the episodic show pairs a ditzy yet likeable and capable art expert who works at the Louvre Museum and consults part time for the police’s specialized art crimes unit (l’Office central de lutte contre le trafic des biens culturels or OCBC by its French acronym per Wikipedia in French), with a grumpy criminal career cop who dislikes everything to do with art.

Despite her partner’s deeply unpleasant personality Florence Chassange appears be secretly in love with him. He seems annoyed by her presence although in time he grows to appreciate her assitance. Louvre exterior and interior shots feature prominently as do aerial photos of Paris and parts of Amboise. One of the episodes was shot in the famous Moulin Rouge, according to Tele Loisirs.

Season 4 of Art of Crime in French with English subtitles airing on Mhz Choice

According to Wikipedia in French the series was created by Angèle Herry-Leclerc and Pierre-Yves Mora and the producers were Arnaud de Crémiers and Isabelle Degeorges. The art historian often imagines seeing and speaking with famous artists long dead. Her conversations with the likes of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Auguste Van Gogh help her solve the art puzzles behind the crimes. Philippe Duclos plays the art historian’s intrusive and clingy father, also an art expert and wannabe investigator. A new season may be on the horizon.

Dog main character on Austrian murder mystery on streaming service

Posted by Elena del Valle on July 21, 2021

Inspector Rex
Inspector Rex

Photo: Mhz Choice

The first season of Inspector Rex (Kommissar Rex) in German with English subtitles is available on Mhz Choice, a subscription streaming service with mostly European programming. After Rex, a police dog, loses his partner in the line of duty he becomes despondent, refusing to eat or drink anything. Seeing the dog’s situation a recently divorced cop adopts him.

An all male cast, staring Tobias Moretti as Richard Moser and Karl Markovics as Ernst Stockinger as well as Gerhard Zemann and Wolf Bachofner, solve crimes in and around Vienna in the 1994 series. Each episode is 45 minutes long. According to IMDB.com the series ended in 2004. The website lists Reginald von Ravenhorst, born in 1991 in Bavaria, Germany and died in 2003 in Germany, as Rex.

Podcast with filmmaker Karla Legaspy about her short film The Daily War

Posted by Elena del Valle on July 12, 2021

Filmmaker Karla Legaspy

Filmmaker Karla Legaspy

Photo: Betsy Martinez

A podcast interview with filmmaker Karla Legaspy is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing and Public Relations, HispanicMPR.com. She discusses her short film The Daily War with Elena del Valle, host of the HispanicMPR.com podcast.

Karla is a Los Angeles based director and producer. She is a Two-Spirit MeXicana content creator, actor and film programmer. She is the writer, director and producer of the short film Gold Star, winner of the Latino Public Broadcasting New Media Grant and the 2016 People’s Choice Award for the PBS Short Film Festival. Karla co-produced AdeRisa Productions feature film Bruising for Besos about domestic violence in a lesbian community.

To listen to the interview, scroll down and click on the play button below. You can listen by looking for “Podcast” then select “HMPR Karla Legaspy” and download the MP3 file to your audio player. You can also find it on the RSS feed. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the July 2021 section of the podcast archive.