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'Hidden Figures' tells the story of the African American female mathematicians and computer scientists who were instrumental in the U.S. space race.

The politics of art: ‘Hidden Figures’, S.T.E.A.M. and more

Want to get free tickets to see Hidden Figures? If you’re a student in San Francisco or Chicago, listen up.

The New York African American Business Leaders fund has partnered with Google to provide more than 4,000 tickets to students who are ready to get pumped and inspired by the Oscar-nominated film. After successfully distributing 25,000 tickets in New York, program founders expanded it nationwide.

Hidden Figures tells the story of the African American female mathematicians and computer scientists who were instrumental in the U.S. space race.

The free tickets are available through After School Matters. The organization’s CEO, Mary Ellon Caron, said, “We are extremely grateful for this opportunity to inspire our students with this movie. Movies like Hidden Figures – which underscore the contributions of our unsung communities – can have a huge impact on our teens’ self-image. And as we know from our work, a positive self-image is so important to enabling our students to reach their full potential.”

Netflix & partners help S.T.E.A.M. girls rock all the way to Stanford

The era of the stereotypical scientist, mathematician, or engineer as played by a male is over, folks. The future will give us mothers in our nation’s math rooms and estrogen with our engineering. New series such as Netflix’s Project Mc2 are bringing in this new wave by portraying girls who are interested in S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics).

Netflix does more than talk the talk, however. They’re teaming up with MGA Entertainment, Google, and iD Tech to host the SMART GIRLS ROCK FULL S.T.E.A.M. AHEAD SWEEPSTAKES. The five young girls who win will score a week at Stanford University to attend S.T.E.A.M. summer camp.

Ready for the details? Good. The sweepstakes opened February 13 and will run through February 22. Simply visit the SMART GIRLS ROCK FULL S.T.E.A.M. AHEAD SWEEPSTAKES website and say why you think #SmartIsTheNewCool. It’s as simple as that – no purchase necessary and all that jazz.

The amazing Atom Tickets app is expanding its reach into Utah and Nevada

Find a movie. Tap, tap, tap. Buy tickets. Tap, tap, tap. Movie ticketing, like everything else, has gone mobile. And now Atom Tickets, the first-of-its-kind mobile movie ticketing platform, is expanding into Utah and Nevada. Larry H. Miller (LHM) Megaplex Theatres has made it so.

With the expansion, LHM theatergoers will be able to use the Atom Tickets app to check out trailers and synopses, as well as invite friends to join them at the show. The social part of the app is what gives Atom Tickets the ability to flip competitors Fandango and MovieTickets the bird.

The best part of using Atom Tickets? It enables you to snag your stubs without standing in a line behind five rowdy toddlers, two amorous teenagers, one angry man demanding a refund, and a partridge in a pear tree.

The Grammys brings in all the viewers, once again

Initially, rating gurus gave Sunday night’s Grammys telecast a big “meh,” saying that the numbers were about even with last year’s.

Once the official ratings were in, though, everyone shouted “Hooray!” (or “Woohoo!” or something similarly celebratory) as it became clear that Beyoncé and Adele did indeed deliver. This year’s totals hit 26.05 million, while last year 24.95 million people tuned in.

I suppose they’ll be expecting an even larger number next year and my only question is: where on earth are they finding millions of new viewers each year?!

Warner Bros. herds all of its development and production cats in a row

Warner Bros. has a lot going on with its development and production arm in the U.K. There’s Wall to Wall. And Twenty Twenty. Ricochet. And Yalli. Not to mention Renegade. Phew! No, phew is not one of the U.K. production outfits, but simply me expressing amazement at everything they have going on there.

Executives with the company finally went “phew,” as well, deciding to restructure and consolidate all its television and production companies under Ronald Goes, executive vice president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution.

Jeffrey R. Schlesinger, president of the aforementioned organization that we’ll refer to as WBWTD to avoid writing it all out again, said that the move would give the individual companies better access to global production and distribution resources available in London.

“With this restructure, we can better empower the experienced and talented executives of our production companies here in the U.K. to do what they do best – develop and produce great programming and franchises,” said Schlesinger.

Black eyeliner & nail polish? Check. Dancing shoes? You betcha. Get ready for Emo the Musical

Could we be entering a time when the Hollywood musical emerges once more to take theaters by storm? On the heels of La La Land comes Emo the Musical, a film that’s, uh, very different from its toe-tapping counterparts.

Not to be confused with a film about a lost fish (that was NEMO, grandma!) or a documentary about emus, the film follows a tormented, eyeliner-wearing emo boy who falls in love with an evangelical Christian girl. With songs like “We’re All Going to Die,” writer/director Neil Triffet is giving us all the feels.

Game of Thrones or American Horror Story, anyone? Drama Series Days wagers high-quality TV drama is here to stay

In recent years, television drama series have become so fantastic that many directors, producers, and writers are forgoing the film format and opting for series instead. Recently, author Anne Rice made this choice, announcing that she was penning a pilot episode for her Vampire Chronicles book series to be immortalized on the small screen.

With an eye on this movement in the film industry, the European Film Market, the Berlinale Co-Production Market, and Berlinale Talents created Drama Series Days, a virtual powerhouse of filmmakers, producers, distributors, and others in the field. Ideas will be pitched. Deals will be done. Hits will (hopefully) be made.

TV shows to be featured at this year’s Drama Series Days include Alex Garcia Lopez’s dark thriller Cognition, as well as a 19th-century drama called Freud in which everyone’s favorite mother-obsessed psychotherapist tracks a serial killer through the streets of Vienna.

The politics of art: Moonlight director Barry Jenkins on standing up and speaking out

The Academy Award-nominated Moonlight doesn’t shy away from the struggles of marginalized people, telling the story of an African American boy who comes of age surrounded with drug addiction and poverty. Given this, it should come as no surprise that the film’s director, Barry Jenkins, isn’t hesitant to speak his mind on social and political issues.

He did so when he accepted an award from the National Board of Review, noting in his speech that he was the first African American to receive a directing prize from the organization.

In an interview with Variety, Jenkins explained why it’s important that artists speak out.

“It’s funny,” he described. “We’ve gotten to the point where we are very conformable separating art from politics, but art has always been a political act. Telling a story – even if you do the work to actively remove politics from the work, that in and of itself – is a political act. I have no problem with people speaking their minds. I just try to make things as personal as I can, which is why I have said the things I have said.”

Disney and Universal blast past studio counterparts in online streaming revenue

Ten years from now, kids (no doubt playing with their hologram pets and eating virtual reality food) won’t even know what a DVD is. In the past few years, movie watching has gone from discs to streaming, and the trend shows no signs of slowing.

Disney and Universal are paying attention, making moves that have resulted in an upward trend in their home entertainment and TV revenue. While movies tend to be huge hits or misses at the box office, streaming is the way to be seen once the crowds have retired from the theaters to their living rooms.

Other studios such as Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate haven’t fared as well in the streaming world. One of the reasons the Mouse is killing it in the internet arena? In late 2016, Disney signed an exclusive streaming deal with Netflix for all future Disney movie releases.

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