Santa Claus Back at Work in Germany Answering Christmas Mail

Santa Claus is at it again, answering thousands of Christmas letters from children around the world at a special post office in the northern German town of Himmelpfort.
                   
As part of the annual event organized by Germany’s Deutsche Post, Santa and 20 helpers last year responded to 277,200 letters from 64 countries.
                   
They answer in various languages and also in braille, and each letter has a special Santa postmark.
                   
The tradition began when postal workers in 1984 received two letters addressed to Santa in Himmelpfort, which means “heaven’s gate.”
                   
Not wanting to send them back “recipient unknown” they answered.
                   
All letters received between Thursday and Dec. 15 will be personally answered and returned before Christmas.
                   
Address letters to: An den Weihnachtsmann, Weihnachtspostfiliale, 16798, Himmelpfort, Germany. Remember a return address.



Despite Female Push, Garth Brooks Bests Carrie Underwood At CMAs

The Country Music Association Awards almost fully honored and highlighted the women of country music — whose songs have been heavily dismissed on country radio over the years — until two words were uttered when they named its entertainer of the year: Garth Brooks.Wednesday night’s show kicked off with a performance featuring country female acts across generations, included three female hosts and had Maren Morris as its top nominee. But in the final moments, Brooks won the top prize over Carrie Underwood, who many had hoped would be the first female to win entertainer of the year since 2011.Brooks did highlight female acts during his acceptance speech at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.“If they gave this award for this show tonight, I’d have to give it to Reba McEntire’s performance,” Brooks said, while also praising Kelsea Ballerini and Luke Combs, who won two honors.All eyes seemed to be on Underwood, who had a successful year with her album “Cry Pretty” and an all-female tour, for an entertainer of the year win. The last woman to win the prize was Taylor Swift, and Underwood was this year’s sole female nominee.Underwood hosted the show alongside McEntire and Dolly Parton, and though she didn’t win any awards, Underwood did win over the audience: She was a vocal beast, hitting all the right notes and more during a smoky performance of “Drinking Alone.”From left, Hosts Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton appear at the 53rd annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena, in Nashville, Tennesee, Nov. 13, 2019.Morris also marked the big night for female country acts by taking home album of the year for “GIRL.” The award also went to her producer busbee, who died in September at age 43 from brain cancer.“I would be really remiss if I didn’t mention a huge facet of why this album sounds the way it does, and we miss him so dearly. He texted me the morning that we got the nomination for album of the year this year, and we were so excited, and that’s our friend busbee,” a teary-eyed Morris said onstage. “His wife Jess is here tonight and she looks so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your husband with us once a month, and my heart just goes out to you and your beautiful daughters. I hope when they listen to this record or any of the songs that he made that made us all better, they know how amazing their father was.”Kacey Musgraves, who won four Grammys this year, picked up female vocalist of the year and music video of the year for “Rainbow.”“The female creative spirit, the female energy is really needed right now, it’s really important and I feel like it’s something that Earth needs. So whether it’s me that’s up here or any of the other women in this category, I just think that it’s a beautiful thing and I’m very appreciative,” Musgraves said.Other women who won Wednesday included Ashley McBryde, who won new artist of the year, and fiddle player Jenee Fleenor, named musician of the year.Musgraves, joined by Willie Nelson, gave a wonderful performance of “Rainbow Connection” from “The Muppet Movie,” even weaving in some of her own song “Rainbow.” Pink also shined, with Chris Stapleton by her side, as she performed the song “Love Me Anyway.” And Dan + Shay, who won vocal duo of the year, gave a beautiful, heartwarming performance of the hit “Speechless.”Maren Morris performs “Girl” at the 53rd annual CMA Awards, at Bridgestone Arena, in Nashville, Tennesee, Nov. 13, 2019.In a white dress and standing on a stage donned with white flowers, Morris — who is pregnant — performed her hit song “GIRL,” touching her belly as she hit a high note at the end of her performance.“GIRL” was also nominated for single of the year and song of the year, but it lost in both categories (the winners were Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country” and Combs’ “Beautiful Crazy”). Morris also lost musical event of the year to Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ ubiquitous No. 1 hit, “Old Town Road.”Combs, who has dominated the country charts and streaming services with his songs and albums, also won male vocalist of the year, beating out Stapleton, Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett and Dierks Bentley.“I remember sitting on my parents’ porch as a little kid and watching Vince Gill win this same award,” he said. “Country music means everything to me.”The three-hour CMA Awards kicked off with a dose of girl-power: Parton, Underwood and McEntire were joined by Tanya Tucker, Terri Clark, Crystal Gayle, Sara Evans, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile, Gretchen Wilson, Martina McBride and more, singing classic country songs across two stages.After the performance Parton asked, “What do you call three women hosting the CMAs?”“Your lucky night,” she screamed.McEntire added that they joined forces to host the show and perform the opening number to inspire young women watching the awards show from their TV screens.Kris Kristofferson was also honored with a performance featuring Sheryl Crow, Bentley, John Osborne and Chris Janson. Other performers included Brooks & Dunn, Shelton, Combs, Urban, Rhett, and Lady Antebellum with pop singer Halsey. 



Porn Actress Fights Trump Request For Settlement Dollars

Attorneys for porn star Stormy Daniels are challenging a request by President Donald Trump’s lawyers to stake claim to a settlement between Daniels and Ohio’s capital city.A federal judge last year said Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, must pay Trump nearly $293,000 for his attorneys’ fees and another $1,000 in sanctions after her defamation suit against him was dismissed.Earlier this year, the city of Columbus reached a $450,000 settlement with Daniels over the porn actress’ arrest at a strip club in 2018. Trump’s lawyers noted in filing to the court involved in the Columbus judgment last week that Clifford owes him $293,052.Daniels’ attorneys said in a Wednesday filing that Clifford has an active appeal in her defamation suit and Trump’s request should be deemed “null and void.”



Flying This Thanksgiving? Expect Record Crowds at Airports

Record throngs of travelers are expected to jam into airports over the Thanksgiving break and airlines are adding hundreds of flights a day in response.The Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday that it expects to screen more than 26.8 million passengers and airline crew members between Nov. 22 and Dec. 2. That would be a 4% increase over last year.The busiest days figure to be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day — about 2.7 million people — and the Sunday after the holiday, when TSA expects to screen more than 2.8 million people.The lightest day is expected to be the holiday itself.U.S. airlines are adding about 850 flights and 108,000 seats per day compared with the same period last year, according to their trade group, Airlines for America. There were nearly 25,000 flights a day over the Thanksgiving stretch last year.Here are some tips for dealing with the crowds:— Get to the airport early. TSA says it will use overtime and move screeners around to make sure checkpoints are adequately staffed, and that mostly worked over the summer.— Check TSA’s website to make sure you’re not carrying prohibited items. “You wouldn’t believe some of the things that we see at our checkpoints each and every day, and the No. 1 thing we hear from passengers is, ‘I forgot it was there,’” said Patricia Cogswell, TSA’s acting deputy administrator.— Sign up for a trusted-traveler programs like Precheck. It might not always save you that much time — Precheck lines can get long too — but at least you won’t have to take off shoes, belts and light jackets, and you can leave that tablet or laptop in your bag.— Be patient, and get used to it. Travel demand is booming, so “passengers will continue to experience holiday-level travel volumes throughout the year, but this is our busiest time of the year,” said Kevin Burke, CEO of Airports Council International-North America, an airport trade group.— Next Thanksgiving could be much worse because many travelers aren’t prepared for new rules covering identification documents.Beginning next October, the government plans to require that identification to board a plane comply with so-called Real ID standards. However, the U.S. Travel Association estimates that 99 million Americans don’t have an ID that meets the requirements, meaning people could be turned away at airport security checkpoints.Congress required more secure IDs in a law way back in 2005, but the deadline for enforcing it has been pushed back many times in the face of opposition by privacy advocates and slow adoption by many states.Older driver licenses might not comply with the law. You are OK if yours has a gold star logo.The government and travel groups have been conducting a public-relations campaign to make people aware that they might need a new driver’s license to fly. The groups must make sure the campaign works, “because if it doesn’t, we’re going to have a mess on our hands,” Burke said.



New Award to Honor Arts and Activism Named After Lena Horne

The venerated Times Square concert venue The Town Hall has created a new award to honor arts and activism, a prize to be named after Lena Horne.The Lena Horne Prize for Artists Creating Social Impact will recognize those who “promote awareness and create social change.” The inaugural winner will be honored in February. The recipient will receive a $100,000 donation to be directed to a charity of their choice.The prize’s advisory board includes Horne’s daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, as well as Harry Belafonte, Billy Porter, Judy Collins, Deesha Dyer, Roxane Gay, Bob Santelli, Bruce Cohen and Jose Antonio Vargas.Lumet Buckley says her Tony- and Grammy-winning mother didn’t chase fame. “It was about advocating for equality and justice and I am so proud that her legacy will continue through the Lena Horne Prize.”The prize was created by Michael Matuza, Jeb Gutelius and The Town Hall.Horne’s repertoire of hit songs includes “Stormy Weather” and the album “Porgy and Bess.” She won a special Tony for her one-woman play, “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music.” She worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws and spoke at the March on Washington in 1963.  



John Legend Named People Magazine’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’

Multi-talented singer and actor John Legend was named People magazine’s “sexiest man alive” on Tuesday, but said he wondered whether he could live up to the title.Legend, 40, is married to model Chrissy Teigen with whom he has two children and is the first black man to have achieved coveted Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony (EGOT) status for his work on stage and screen.”I was excited, but I was a little scared at the same time because it’s a lot of pressure,” the entertainer told People magazine.”Everyone’s going to be picking me apart to see if I’m sexy enough to hold this title. I’m (also) following Idris Elba, which is not fair and is not nice to me!”British actor Idris Elba took the title last year.Other actors and singers who have been given the title by the magazine’s editors in recent years include Blake Shelton, Chris Hemsworth, Adam Levine, George Clooney and Channing Tatum.Legend, currently a coach on U.S. television talent series “The Voice,” won the first of 10 Grammys for his 2004 debut album “Get Lifted” and its hit ballad “Ordinary People.”He took home an Oscar for the song “Glory” for the movie “Selma,” a Tony for co-producing the Broadway play “Jitney” and an Emmy for producing the 2018 television adaptation of “Jesus Christ Superstar” in which he played Jesus.Legend appears on the front cover of the People magazine issue appearing on newsstands on Friday.    



Something Old, Something New for Michael Stipe

After Michael Stipe opens a gate to the abandoned Manhattan storefront that serves as his studio, you find a man easily traversing his past, present and future creative lives.He’s promoting a 25th anniversary package of the R.E.M. album “Monster” while excited by the response to the first single he’s released since the band’s 2011 retirement. Surrounding him are examples of the photography and visual art that has occupied much of his time since then.He made the single, “Your Capricious Soul,” available first on his website last month with proceeds going to the environmental group Extinction Rebellion. He held it back from streaming services for a month, a quiet protest against monopolistic behavior, but it’s there now.The song’s throbbing electronic pulse and percussion mark a clean musical break from the guitar-based rock of R.E.M.Stipe would generally write lyrics to R.E.M. songs with music composed by bandmates Peter Buck, Mike Mills and, until he left the band in 1997, Bill Berry. With “Your Capricious Soul,” it was all on him.”It’s terrifying,” he said. “That’s why I’m doing it.”Pleased by the reaction, Stipe said he expects more new music soon. He has no record company, so he’s free to release it whenever and however he wants.”It sounds great,” said Rita Houston, program director at WFUV-FM in New York. “It sounds fantastic to hear Michael’s voice on the radio in this new incarnation. The song sounds nothing like an R.E.M. song, but it sounds completely like Michael Stipe. It’s very 2019.”Now 59, Stipe easily rewinds the clock to 1994 when R.E.M. was at the height of its popularity. After two relatively quiet and commercial records, “Out of Time” and “Automatic for the People,” R.E.M. wanted to crank the volume with songs that would contrast on a concert stage to hits like “Man on the Moon.” They were touring for the first time in five years, with millions of new fans.On “Monster,” they embraced glam rock, influenced by forebears like T. Rex and the New York Dolls, as well as contemporaries like “Achtung Baby”-era U2. The signature track was “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth,” its title inspired by an odd phrase someone once shouted at newsman Dan Rather.”I can’t believe looking back … that we had the audacity and the courage to jump off a cliff together, not literally but figuratively, to create something sounding so different from the records before,” he said.The new “Monster” has the requisite outtakes that illustrate how the songs took shape in the studio. Stipe recognizes that fans like hearing the progression, but he finds it excruciating. He listened to the outtakes once.”To pull the curtain back that far is a bit humiliating, frankly,” he said. “I want people to think of me as this perfect genius who emerged completely into the world. Of course, that’s not the case.”Stipe exhibits a vulnerability, a sensitive side that he takes pride in. In R.E.M.’s early years, he’d often sing from the shadows, his back to the audience. His shyness never left, but he developed into a confident rock frontman.He came out as gay at the time of the album’s release, feeling some pressure because rumors spread that he was HIV-positive when the band didn’t tour for two albums and he didn’t give interviews for a lengthy period.”I was never closeted,” he said. “That’s the thing that’s beautiful about it and I’m so proud of. You can never find a single picture of me pretending to have a girlfriend or being somebody that I’m not. I was never that guy. Any longstanding R.E.M. fan who had not figured out I was queer before that point wasn’t looking very hard.”R.E.M.’s retirement in 2011 was a model. There was no farewell tour, and they released a valedictory song — “We All Go Back to Where We Belong” – that is among the most beautiful in the band’s catalog. Stipe, Buck and Mills haven’t regretted the decision, and Stipe suggests it salvaged their friendship.Buck and Mills both remain active musically as Stipe, until recently, stuck to visual art. The business of R.E.M. forges on as the band has methodically marked key points in their career with new projects.”Encapsulating the creative work of the band by disbanding allowed us, and I think the rest of the world, to take a step back and look at it for what it was,” Stipe said. “We were not the guys who were going to always be there, and I think that did us a huge favor, honestly.” 



Disney+ Debut Hit by Tech Glitches; Company Blames Demand

Walt Disney Co.’s long-awaited debut in the streaming media wars on Tuesday was hit with technical glitches that the company said were caused by higher-than-expected demand as it takes on rival Netflix.It was unclear how many people successfully signed up and how many had difficulty accessing the $7-a-month Disney+, which features roughly 500 movies and 7,500 TV episodes from the company’s deep family entertainment catalog as well as new programming.But investors appeared to welcome the comment that interest had topped Disney’s forecasts. Disney shares rose about 1.2% to $138.48, while Netflix dropped 1.2% to $290.58 in afternoon trading.”The consumer demand for Disney+ has exceeded our highest expectations. … we are aware of the current user issues and are working to swiftly resolve them,” Disney said in a statement.FILE – Attendees visit the Disney+ streaming service booth at the D23 Expo, billed as the “largest Disney fan event in the world,” at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, Aug. 23, 2019.Some people who tried to access the service were greeted by an image of Mickey Mouse on a blue screen, with a message asking them to exit the app and try again. Many others had trouble finding the Disney+ app in Apple’s App Store.”Not too surprised but @disneyplus looks like it’s already falling over. On FireTV Stick can’t load main page (Unable to connect to Disney+) and couldn’t play ‘The Mandalorian’ (someaccount issue),” user @pmhesse tweeted.  “Hopefully it’s worked out by tomorrow’s treadmill time.”‘Mandalorian’ buzz”The Mandalorian,” the latest in the “Star Wars” movie and TV franchise, is an eight-episode live-action series starring “Game of Thrones” actor Pedro Pascal as a helmeted bounty hunter.Many customers signed up with no problem, and viewers were buzzing about “The Mandalorian,” making it a top trending topic on Twitter. Viewers were trying to decipher the meaning of a surprise twist at the end of the first episode. Among reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, 90% of critics gave the episode a positive rating.”While it’s easy to focus on the temporary problems, there’s no doubt that this also shows an enormous demand for Disney’s services,” said Clement Thibault, an analyst at financial markets platform Investing.com.”Big launches often have their hiccups when consumers are fighting to be the first to have a given service.”Several users were upbeat about programming from the Marvel superhero universe, “Toy Story” creator Pixar Animation, the National Geographic channel and Disney’s celebrated library of classics such as “Cinderella.””Today is the perfect day to just stay home all day on my couch in my PJ’s binging all of my favorite Disney movies on #DisneyPlus,” tweeted @JulieDwoskin.
 



Robert De Niro to Get Lifetime Award from SAG Actor Union

Robert De Niro, a two-time Oscar winner and considered one of the finest actors of his generation, is being recognized by his peers with an annual lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).De Niro, 76, will receive the award in January, the labor union said Tuesday.”I have been a member of this union for over 50 years. It’s an honor to receive this award from SAG-AFTRA,” De Niro said in a statement.FILE – Actor Robert De Niro is shown in the title role in the 1976 movie “Taxi Driver.”The star of “Taxi Driver,” “The Deer Hunter,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and currently “The Irishman” will join the likes of previous lifetime recipients Alan Alda, Elizabeth Taylor, Morgan Freeman, Clint Eastwood and Debbie Reynolds at the SAG Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Jan. 19.The SAG-AFTRA awards are voted on by the 160,000-strong actor union. The lifetime achievement award is presented to an actor who fosters “the finest ideals of the acting profession.”De Niro, a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, is already the recipient of some of the highest cultural honors in the United States, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Kennedy Center honor.”From the smoldering inferno of young Vito Corleone to the raging bull Jake LaMotta and everybody’s grandpa Ben Whittaker, (De Niro) continues to touch our hearts and open our minds to new and exciting worlds of understanding and emotion,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement, referring to his roles in “The Godfather II,” “Raging Bull” and “The Intern.”The SAG awards for actors in film and television is one of the biggest ceremonies in the Hollywood awards season that culminates with the Oscars on Feb. 9. This year’s nominations will be announced Dec. 11.
 



Three Actors Stabbed on Stage in Saudi Capital

A Yemeni man stabbed three actors at a performance in the Saudi capital, police said on Tuesday, in the first such attack since the ultra-conservative kingdom began easing decades-old restrictions on entertainment.The knife-wielding assailant was arrested after state television footage showed him storming a musical performance in Riyadh’s King Abdullah Park by what appeared to be a foreign theatre troupe.Police said the victims were in stable condition after the attack late Monday, which comes as de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pursues sweeping reforms that mark the biggest cultural shakeup in the kingdom’s modern history.”Security forces dealt with a… stabbing attack against two men and a woman from a theatre group during a live performance,” a police spokesman was quoted as saying by the official Saudi Press Agency.Police identified the assailant as a 33-year-old Yemeni expatriate but did not give details of his motive or the nationality of his victims.The King Abdullah Park is one of the venues hosting the two-month “Riyadh Season”, an arts and entertainment festival that is part of a broad government push to open up the kingdom to tourists and diversify its economy away from oil.Prince Mohammed has introduced mixed-gender concerts, re-opened cinemas and lifted a decades-old ban on women drivers as part of a drive to modernise the Muslim kingdom.In scenes that were unimaginable just two years ago, Saudi Arabia has staged glitzy performances by a host of international artists, from South Korean boy band BTS to pop icon Janet Jackson and rapper 50 Cent.Last month, the kingdom hosted its first ever women’s wrestling match as it attempts to shrug off its ultra-conservative image.The knife attack has left many Saudis shocked, with some on social media denouncing it as an act of “terrorism”.”Every instigator against entertainment is a partner in this extremist act,” one Twitter user said.’Collision course’Saudi officials warn that introducing such wide-ranging reforms in a society steeped in conservatism is fraught with peril.While they are wildly popular among Saudi Arabia’s mainly young population, the reforms risk angering arch-conservatives, including hardline clerics and the religious police whose powers have been clipped in recent years.”The risk of this sort of attack against the recent introduction of public entertainment, which many clerics have been inciting against, is a key reason (the government) has pursued a zero tolerance policy towards their public attacks against change and reform,” Saudi analyst Ali Shihabi said on Twitter.Earlier this year, human rights campaigners reported the arrest of religious scholar Omar al-Muqbil after he criticised the Saudi General Entertainment Authority for hosting such concerts, saying they were “erasing Saudi society’s original identity”.”Liberals and conservatives in the kingdom are on a collision course and that probably worries Saudi leaders the most,” Quentin de Pimodan, a Saudi expert at the Greece-based Research Institute for European and American Studies, told AFP.”After this attack we can expect a sharper crackdown on those opposed to Saudi’s entertainment push.”Saudi Arabia has already drawn international censure for its sweeping crackdown on critics, including clerics, intellectuals and women activists.The kingdom has faced international scrutiny over its human rights record since last year’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul.Developing the tourism and leisure sector is one of the foundations of Prince Mohammed’s Vision 2030 plan to prepare the Arab world’s largest economy for the post-oil era.The General Entertainment Authority has said it plans to pump $64 billion into the sector in the coming decade.Some Saudis, however, view the push for entertainment as an attempt to blunt public frustration over an economic downturn and high youth unemployment in the petro-state.



US Film Industry Taps New Mexico Community College for Talent

While Southern California draws film and television students from all over the world, people in New Mexico don’t have to set foot outside the state to learn the trade, as local colleges are grooming talent for a booming entertainment industry that has sprung up about 1,200 kilometers from Hollywood.Recently, Albuquerque Studios signed a billion-dollar contract with entertainment giant Netflix and a $500 million deal with NBC Universal Studios. These agreements come on the heels of New Mexico’s enhanced tax incentives to production companies, who film there and hire local talent. One of the seedbeds for such talent is Central New Mexico (CNM) Community College.
 Albuquerque’s Community College, Seedbed of Local Film IndustryTeaser DescriptionFor a few hundred dollars students train and network in Albuquerque’s thriving film industryProgram tied to jobs
 
Students at Central New Mexico Community College can learn about wardrobe assembly, electrical work, set lighting and camera operation — to name a few of the courses offered. For New Mexico residents, CNM charges $56 per credit hour; for nonresidents, $296 per credit hour. Even that price is nowhere near the five-figure yearly tuition at other colleges around the country, such as New York’s renowned School of Visual Arts, whether tuition is upwards of $50,000 a year, for a similar program.
 
Both schools promise connections and training to get their students hired. But in Albuquerque, students have an edge: a blossoming film industry that provides tax incentives for TV and film productions with crews made up of at least 60% local hires.Amber Dodson, film liaison for the city of Albuquerque, said entertainment giant Netflix alone has committed over the next decade to spending $1 billion in production and generate 1,000 jobs a year throughout the state. She said students in Albuquerque learning “below-the-line” crafts, which include jobs on a film crew like a grip, “are getting jobs often times before they even graduate.”
 
Jim Graebner, CNM’s senior film instructor, described the school’s program for below-the-line crafts.
 
“Our program is only a two-term program, that’s basically half a (calendar) year, where we get through the whole protocol of how to make a movie and workflow, and then we expose people to all the different tools they’ll need on a set and then try to get them specialized in a different craft,” Graebner, or “Grubb” as he is known, added.
 Work ethic
 
Graebner likened CNM’s program to a “boot camp,” where the students are working hard to learn skills to meet the needs of production companies and studios.
 
“The biggest thing we have to teach them is stamina, because they are coming in(to) a world where everybody expects an eight-hour workday. We’ve got 14 hours. It’s the average,” he said.
 
In a trade dominated by men for decades, women are beginning to make inroads.
 
“I have women – especially Hollywood’s big on upping the percentage of women on all the below-the-line (non-cast member) crafts – I have women who are grips now and they don’t have to be huge or strong. So, if you’re a woman, want to become a grip, I can get you a job tomorrow,” Graebner said.
 
Apart from learning to be a grip – that is, to be part of a team that builds and develops a movie set – students receive mentoring and gain on-set experience.
 
Graebner said the school connects students with the local union, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) 480, where they train with a paid union member and get evaluated for their skills. If they show competency, they can get into the workforce pipeline for the industry, which the union has negotiated for safe working conditions and labor benefits.
 Good prospects
 
CNM instructional technician Gabe Reyes works full time at CNM and also freelances for the film industry.With the influx of Hollywood in Albuquerque, Reyes said CNM’s Applied Technologies and Film program has taken off since he started in the summer of 2018.Karen Grandinetti, enrollment strategist of CNM School of Applied Technologies, said the program had 220 students enrolled in the summer of 2018. This fall, there are 657 students.Prospects are also good for homegrown New Mexican directors and actors who want to build a career in their home state.One of them is Riley Del Rey, a student actor in the film program at CNM, who recently completed a short film called “Doubt.”
 
“I think it’s important for people that are moving here to work on productions to take a look at our work and to start selecting their directors and their talent from this market because that’s what’s going to get people to stay and that’s it’s gonna uplift our state,” she says.
 
Del Rey also pointed to the importance not having to set foot outside the state where she grew up to learn the trade and seek job opportunities.
 
“What’s making me stay here is that this is the place I’m getting my chops, and it’s where I have family. I also know people in the industry and, with the film community growing so much, it’s just more places for me to find where I fit in here,” Del Rey said. “It’s also less daunting than traveling thousands of miles to go somewhere where I’m not familiar with and (where) it’s kind of a make-it-or-break-it situation.”I still have to take risks, but I still have all the support from my network here at school but also the family ties that I have to New Mexico,” she added.



Disney Takes ‘Star Wars’ to Streaming with ‘Mandalorian’

The next adventure in the “Star Wars” movie and TV franchise, arriving Tuesday on Walt Disney Co’s new streaming service, takes place on a lawless planet at the outer reaches of the galaxy.”The Mandalorian,” an eight-episode live-action series, stars “Game of Thrones” actor Pedro Pascal as a helmeted bounty hunter. It will be available on Disney+, a new $7-per-month online subscription meant to compete with Netflix.As is typical with “Star Wars,” Disney and the cast have revealed little about the plot.”Just kind of imagine crossing the borders and going into unknown territory … with a lot of familiar elements and completely brand new elements,” Pascal said in an interview with Reuters.”The Mandalorian” is set between the events of “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens,” the sixth and seventh installments in the “Star Wars” movie saga.Disney will release the first episode Tuesday and the second Friday, followed by one installment each Friday after that.