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Woven Film

Director Salome Mulugeta Discusses The Lessons Deeply Intertwined In 'Woven'

Filmmaker Salome Mulugeta creates a tale about it means to be Ethiopian living in an American world. 

In her debut independent feature film, Woven, Ethiopian filmmaker Salome Mulugeta stars in and creates the quintessential immigrant story. Shot in Brooklyn, New York, the movie tells the story of Ethiopian-American psychologist, Elenie Tariku (played by Mulugeta), who's caught in between her Ethiopian culture and her American values.

Viewers see her struggle in pleasing the societal norms that come with being Ethiopian, like having an arranged marriage against her own will, but simply just to please her mother. This same reason is why Mulugeta was inspired to make this movie; to showcase that struggle, which is relatable to all children of immigrants no matter where they come from.

“When I first came to the U.S. I had friends from all over the world, like from Mexico, Brazil, India, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana; and for me we all had something in common,” she says wearing an all black ensemble seated at a table at the Donut Plant in Chelsea. “We had one foot in and one foot out from our culture. Our parents were really firm within their own culture, and then the generation after us are really American. My generation that came here around my age we were all trying to balance it.”

Amid the cultural barriers presented in the movie, tragedy and pain are also prevalent themes. In a twisted fate of events, Elenie’s only brother gets randomly killed while taking the train. Because of that tragedy, her mother falls into a state of depression, and the only way she sees her mom getting out of it is by obliging to her demands of an arranged marriage.

Besides her own struggles, there are also interwoven storylines that create another set of themes in the film. Like that of Logan (played by Ryan O'nan), who doesn't have a job to support his family, whose wife is an alcoholic, and his son is receiving counseling from Elenie for acting out in school. Within all this tragedy, or misfortune rather, you'll see hints of Elenie and Logan possibly falling for each other. But yet what seems like a burgeoning love story; it never really blossoms.

Still, for Mulugeta it was important to show a diverse plot filled with different degrees of pain, because at the end of the day we're all just humans with a different set of experiences co-existing together. "I wanted to show that humanity is all the same," she says. "Pain is pain no matter what. It’s universal, it doesn’t discriminate."

Visually, the Nagwa Ibrahim-co-directed film excels at showcasing authentic Ethiopian culture. Mulugeta infuses the Ethiopian language with subtitles in English. You'll also see traditional Ethiopian weddings and funerals. Mulugeta says she wanted to show how immigrants adapt to the living conditions in America, but still practice their culture. "These immigrants are really living their lives outside their homeland, but bringing their culture here," she notes.

Much like Elenie, Mulugeta has had many struggles of her own. Especially when it came to making this film. It took her a total of 15 years to get it done, and she took up a slew of other side jobs to make ends meet. Still, her perseverance got her through. The film premiered at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival on June 4, and on Sunday (Sept. 25), Mulugeta will receive an Achievement Award from The Women's Journey Foundation for pushing through and making this film happen despite all odds--making Mulugeta the first female Ethiopian director of a SAG film shown in the states.

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Queen Latifah Transforms Into Hattie McDaniel For Netflix Series

Queen Latifah takes on the role of Hattie McDaniel, the groundbreaking actress who made history as the first Black person to win an Academy Award, in a new Netflix miniseries. Entertainment Weekly published first-look images from the forthcoming show, Hollywood, on Wednesday (April 8).

Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan and Janet Mock are behind the seven-part series, which debuts on May 1.  Hollywood takes place during post-World War II Tinseltown and follows an “ambitious group of aspiring actors and filmmakers” who will do “almost anything” to make it big in show business.

The series stars David Cornerswet, Darren Criss, and Laura Harrier with a slew of supporting actors that include Queen Latifah, Rob Reiner, Mira Sorvino, and Katie McGuiness as Gone With the Wind’s Vivien Leigh.

 

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It's time to meet the supporting players of Ryan Murphy's #Hollywood! 🌟 We have your exclusive first look at many of the supporting characters in the upcoming Netflix series, including real-life Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel as portrayed by Queen Latifah. Tap the link in our bio to see all the photos. 📷: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

A post shared by Entertainment Weekly (@entertainmentweekly) on Apr 8, 2020 at 7:24am PDT

McDaniel’s historic Oscar win was of course shrouded in controversy given her role as Mammy in Gone With the Wind, a film that was boycotted and criticized over its blatant racism.

As for Queen Latifah, she has been busy both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Aside form Hollywood, the Queen joins Missy Elliott and Mary J. Blige as executive producers of the upcoming Lifetime biopic The Clark Sisters airing on Saturday (April 11).

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Cast of 'Hamilton' Surprises Young Fan On John Krasinski's 'Some Good News' Show

John Krasinski has brought smiles to The Office Fans with the launch of his creative Some Good News show on YouTube but the actor took things to another level by reuniting the original cast of Hamilton to surprise a nine-year-old girl.

Aired late Sunday (April 5), Krasinski welcomed Aubrey to the show after her parents shared how their daughter watched Emily Blunt's Mary Poppins Returns after she was unable to fly to New York to see Hamilton on Broadway. While social distancing is a brief new normal, Blunt who is married to Krasinski popped into their Zoom interview to surprise Aubrey.

But the good news didn't stop there. Krasinski then promised Aubrey he would fly her family to New York to see Hamilton once Broadway opens its doors. And miraculously, he managed to reunite the entire cast where they performed "Alexander Hamilton."

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Leslie Odom Jr., Anthony Ramos, Jonathan Groff and more shocked the 9-year-old, who was left speechless during the performance.

Elsewhere in the broadcast, Krasinski shared good news from around the world, including many fans making their own version of the show. Robert De Niro also shares the weather in a very De Niro kind of way.

Krasinski, who also stars alongside Blunt in The Quiet Place, created the Some Good News show to prove positive news always wins. His first guest was none other than Steve Carell with the two talking about the 15th anniversary of the iconic Office series.

Enjoy the good news above.

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Will Smith Celebrates 25th Anniversary Of ‘Bad Boys’

Will Smith celebrated the 25-year anniversary of Bad Boys on Tuesday (April 7) with a special shout out to his co-star, Martin Lawrence, and the film’s director, Michael Bey, and producer, Jerry Bruckheimer.

“Today is 25 years since the first ‘Bad Boys’ came out!!! We really putting this ‘for life’ thing to the test,” Smith captioned a video of him and Lawrence promoting the film in 1995 along with their recent Bad Boys for Life promo run.

 

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Today is 25 years since the first @badboys came out!! We really putting this “for life” thing to the test @martinlawrence 🙂 @michaelbay @jerrybruckheimer

A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:03pm PDT

The first Bad Boys film was a box office hit raking in more than $140 million. The 2003 sequel nearly doubled the numbers of its predecessor.

Lawrence and Smith reprised their roles as detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Barnett in Bad Boys for Life, which grossed $425 million worldwide.

Speaking to VIBE during the film’s premier in January, the duo revealed the secret to maintaining a flow on screen after all these years. “A great deal of respect and love for each other,” said Lawrence.

Smith noted that their friendship contributes to why they work so well together. “You can’t really love somebody you don’t understand. If you don’t known what makes them laugh, what makes them cry, if you don’t understand what somebody needs, you can’t really love them and that’s what I was noticing about the two of us, we just understand each other.”

Watch the full interview below.

 

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