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DOC NYC 2019 Women Directors: Meet Francesca Trianni – “Paradise Without People”

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Francesca Trianni is an Emmy-nominated senior producer at Time, where her work has been recognized with a World Press Photo award, Pictures of the Year International, and the National Murrow Awards. In 2018, Trianni produced, filmed, and reported “Finding Home,” a year-long multimedia project which won the top prize at the 2018 World Press Photo contest for Innovative Storytelling, among other awards. “Paradise Without People” is Trianni’s debut feature documentary.

“Paradise Without People” will premiere at the 2019 DOC NYC film festival on November 10.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

FT: “Paradise Without People” stemmed from Time’s coverage of the refugee crisis, and it follows two Syrian refugee women from the day they give birth to their children’s first birthday. We meet Nour and Taimaa in the same hospital in Thessaloniki, Greece, and we follow them as they make desperate decisions, some with disastrous results.

It’s a story about motherhood and love, and about the choices we make when we need to protect our family.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

FT: This story started out as a Time magazine cover. There’s no shortage of heart-wrenching images and storytelling on the Syrian refugee crisis; in the middle of so much uncertainty, we soon noticed that one in ten refugees were pregnant women. That number shocked us, and we decided to focus on telling the stories of pregnant women at the epicenter of this crisis.

I was very lucky to work with Time correspondent Aryn Baker, and photographer Lynsey Addario [who both served as producers on the film], who have both covered maternal health and conflict for years. They became incredible mentors, and together we spent weeks walking through refugee camps looking for pregnant women that would allow us to tell their story.

I met one of the main characters of “Paradise Without People,” Taimaa, a 24-year-old Syrian refugee from Idlib, on the day she gave birth. It was the first labor I had ever filmed, and the two of us were put in the position of having to trust each other from the moment we met.

Stories about war are often told by men, and I found her perspective as a new mom incredibly important and relatable. At a time when borders are going up, and fear dominates so much of our understanding of the “other,” I really hoped viewers would connect with Taimaa the same way I did.

Sometimes, even the most heart-wrenching, difficult pictures are not the ones that move us – it’s the intimate ones, and what can be more intimate than the universal experience of having a baby and dealing with that uncertainty?

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

FT: Often, refugee stories are discussed as very black and white. Either refugees are depicted as heroes or as outsiders coming to threaten a way of life – there’s little room for nuance. I hope that “Paradise Without People” makes people think more deeply about their own understanding of this crisis.

I also hope that people will connect with Taimaa and Nour, and their families, on a more human level and leave the theater feeling uncomfortable. One of the first days I met Taimaa, she asked me, “What would you do if you were me?”

I kept asking myself that question as I was filming, and I hope audiences will do the same when they leave the theater.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

FT: Gaining access to this story was incredibly challenging. When we were filming in Thessaloniki, access to refugee camps had been severely restricted. Journalists just weren’t allowed to go in there, and we worked tirelessly to get access. Eventually, Time was the only news organization allowed to film inside the camps in Thessaloniki, and we kept going back.

We also wanted to be there when Taimaa and Nour gave birth. From a cultural point of view, it was really challenging to convince families to trust us with a camera inside the maternity ward. It took some time, and I really wanted both women to feel comfortable, and to know that I was never going to overstep boundaries in a moment when they were so vulnerable.

When Nour gave birth, I was the only person by her side for hours, and she taught me a few words in Arabic to pass the time. We both cried when we first met her daughter Rahaf.

Stories of war are often told from a male perspective, and we made a very conscious effort to make sure that we told this story from a female POV. Our crew on the ground was made of women, and we hired a team of female translators.

We also made a decision early on to also chronicle Taimaa and Nour’s lives in real time on a Instagram feed called Finding Home. We were the first established news organization to attempt to tell a story in real time on the social media app.

That was an incredible way for us to build an audience, but it also complicated our storytelling process. On the one hand, Taimaa and Nour trusted us because they could see how we reported on their lives; on the other, we worried it made them more aware of how their choices were being perceived.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

FT: We feel very grateful to the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and to Merck for Mothers, who supported our reporting and our online work from the beginning. With that funding, we were able to also publish an interactive page following Taimaa’s journey, told entirely from her text messages.

Publishing that page really informed our editing of the documentary as well: we received messages from readers all over the world saying that it was the first time they really understood what it mean to be a refugee, and that feedback really encouraged me to replicate that intimacy in the film.

“Paradise Without People” is also the first film produced in house by Time studios, and we were lucky to be given the financial support and the time to do this work.

W&H: What inspired you to become a filmmaker? 

FT: I think of myself as a journalist first. I grew up in a small town in northern Italy, and the world arrived to me from the newspapers that my parents bought every single day.

As a teenager, I read “Nothing, and So Be It,” a book written by Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci. She details her experience as the only woman covering the Vietnam War. That book changed the way I saw what was possible.

Someone with more experience than me once told me that documentary filmmaking is about capturing truth and making the decision of which level of truth you’re comfortable including in the edit. I didn’t understand that at first, but after completing my first feature, I hope to bring that with me, and to include more and more truth in what I do.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

FT: The photographer Lynsey Addario, who has spent the last two decades covering war and maternal health, taught me a lot by example as we were reporting on the refugee crisis together.

She gave me the best advice possible, which is: Learn when it’s time to put your camera away. Most documentary filmmakers and photographers spend hours filming people at their most challenging moments. Lynsey helped me understand that building trust takes time, and sometimes the best way to do that is to put the camera down and show that you’re human.

Some of the worst advice I’ve received was about the technical aspects of filmmaking — that you need a big crew with a huge budget and a really fancy camera. I’ve filmed the entire “Paradise Without People” documentary by myself on a C100, and I think that allowed for a more intimate, personal film.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

FT: Whether you’re a male or female director, go out and find your people. A big part of making an ambitious, long-term documentary project is learning to be resilient in the face of adversity.

Filmmaking is about taking nos, doubting your vision, course correcting, building a team, and then failing some more. I found that having peers that believe in me blindly and encourage me when I second guess myself is what allowed me to stay resilient and move through obstacles.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

FT: I really admire what Alexandria Bombach did with “On Her Shoulders.” It’s a film that says so much without sensationalizing a very important topic, and it made me feel uncomfortable in the best possible way.

Ultimately, that’s what I’d like to do with my work as well: make people feel uncomfortable, encourage them to step outside their comfort zone, to see the world in a slightly different way.

W&H: What differences have you noticed in the industry since the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements launched?

FT: I think the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements are a process that needs to be continuously reinforced – they are not a one-time historical event. We’re just at the beginning of a historical reckoning that needs to happen in our society over and over again – and that includes trusting more women in position of power, helping men and women be more conscious of their biases, and making sure that the next generation of women doesn’t have to whisper and pass information to thrive in the workplace, among other things.





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Harry Styles Doesn’t Regret Shading Zayn Malik – Hollywood Life

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Zayn was the first member to leave One Direction 4 years ago, and Harry’s ‘SNL’ joke made clear reference to his dramatic 2015 departure.

Harry Styles, 25, knew he was playing with fire with his joke about Zayn Malik, 26, on Saturday Night Live — but he has no regrets! “Harry knew what he was getting into when he was joking about Zayn,” a source spills to HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “There has been issues with Zayn with all of the guys for a long time and this joke was simply innocent fun tinged with some reality. Zayn has always been difficult, so to do that joke was on purpose and Harry doesn’t regret it.” Harry was pulling double duty as host and musical guest on the NBC sketch series Saturday, Nov. 16.

In his opening monologue, Harry referred to his former One Direction bandmates Niall HoranLouis Tomlinson, and Liam Payne as his brothers then, blanking on Zayn’s name, said “mmm oh — Ringo!” The reference was to legendary Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, who was the first member of the group to walk back in 1968 — similarly, Zayn was the first member to leave 1D in 2015, forcing the group to release their fourth and final album without him. There appeared to be bad blood between Zayn and the group after his exit, as Zayn later said that 1D’s music was “generic as f–k” and that he couldn’t experiment with more of an R&B sound. “[One Direction is] not music that I would listen to,” Zayn, then 22, also added in an interview.

After Harry dropped the zinger on SNL, fans immediately began taking sides on social media — with some defending Zayn and others sticking by Harry! “As much as fans of One Direction might be mad, Harry is not worrying about it and doesn’t expect the joke to come back and haunt him,” the insider continues. “The guys in the band are all in different parts of their life right now, they aren’t getting back together anytime soon or at all. So Harry wanted to do the joke and he will move on with it, if there is a response from Zayn so be it but he is not stressing on it to much.”

Since the group disbanded in 2015, both Zayn and Harry have gone onto have super successful solo careers: Harry is about to drop his second full-length album Fine Line on Dec. 13 — leading with the sexy single “Lights Up” — while Zayn has released two albums: 2016’s Mind of Mine and 2018’s Icarus Falls. So far, Zayn has yet to respond to Harry’s joke.



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top 5 best blind auditions of the voice kids #2

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#blindaudition #thevoice #thevoicekids
top 5 best blind auditions of the voice kids #2

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Soul Train Awards Red Carpet 2019 – Photos – Hollywood Life

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The red carpet at the 2019 Soul Train Awards in Las Vegas was jam-packed with some of our favorite R&B stars as hosts Tisha Campbell & Tichina Arnold payed tribute to Janet Jackson in their opening!

Some of our favorite R&B stars arrived at the 2019 BET Soul Train Awards at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, November 17 and the red carpet arrivals were super glamorous. Hosts and real-life BFFs Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold returned for the second year in a row and arrived on the red carpet looking fabulous in their first of many outfits for the night! Tisha was feminine and chic in a Barbie pink suit with a wide leg pant and matching pink lipstick. The actress sported a low cut black top underneath, and accessorized with a silver statement necklace to tie the ensemble together. Tichina brought all the Vegas vibes in a midi-length black sequin dress with silver floral details! The fitted number featured a sexy mesh cutout in the middle and she finished her look with a classic black overcoat and a peep-toe style sandal.

The duo absolutely slayed with the opening number for the show, performing alongside Pose‘s Mj Rodriguez paying tribute to the one and only Janet Jackson! The duo looked like they were having a blast as they belted out some of Janet’s most iconic songs, including timeless banger “Miss You Much” (including the dance moves, serious props) and her career-defining 1989 track “Rhythm Nation.” The real-life friends — who met back on the set of 1986’s Little House of Horrors — were HILARIOUS as they traded jabs at each other throughout the show!

Performers at this year’s award show including Wale and Jeremih, who looked dapper on the carpet in their striped looks! Jeremih’s luxe velvet suit with gold pinstripes photographed beautifully against the emerald green carpet, and he finished the look with a black leather sneaker featuring the iconic Louis Vuitton monogram. Kelly Price — also performing with Wale — Jojo, Angela Yee, Bobby V, Luke James, and Keyshia Cole all looked glamorous on the carpet ahead of their highly anticipated performances!

Kelly was an absolute vision in a red sequin mini dress that accented her curves in all the right places, and we were absolutely obsessed with Jojo’s insanely sexy blazer dress! The “Leave (Get Out)” singer’s look featured an asymmetrical cut with a black pinstripe print on one side, and a cream one on the either. Keyshia Cole was rocking a black leather mini featuring a croc print — one of Fall’s must-have trends — that featured a feminine tie around the waist. Her toned legs and body looked incredible in the sexy number, which would definitely be Kim Kardashian-approved.

Anthony Hamilton, Carl Thomas, Erykah Badu, Le’Andria Johnson, Robert Glasper, Babyface, and Kirk Franklin were also in attendance and everyone was dressed to the nines in their red carpet ensembles. Legendary producer duo and longtime Janet Jackson collaborators Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis stepped out on the carpet before receiving “The Legends Award” snapping photos on the red carpet alongside The Time‘s Morris Day and Jerome Benton. Jimmy and Terry kept things classic in black suits, while Morris channeling the 80s in a red carpet ready silver suit!

Yolanda Adams also stole the show on the carpet in her fun and flirty sequin dress that featured a denim band around the waist. The festive dress screamed Vegas with its multicolored sequins, and her electric blue suede booties finished the look with a playful kick. It’s a huge night for Yolanda as she is set to receive the fifth annual “Lady Of Soul Award” — congrats! There were so many amazing red carpet arrivals at the 2019 Soul Train Awards and you can see all of the stars in attendance when you click through the gallery above!



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