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BEIJING, July 18, 2018 (Reuters) - A low-budget Chinese movie about a leukemia patient who turns to smuggling cheaper cancer drugs from India has struck a chord with Internet users and even the country’s leaders, spotlighting national anxieties about unaffordable hospital care.

For years, China has promised healthcare reforms to dispel concerns about overpriced medicines and widen distribution of resources that tend to focus care in big inner-city hospitals, but progress has been slow.

“Dying to Survive”, which is loosely based on the real-life exploits of a cancer patient jailed for leading a Dallas Buyers Club-style group that illegally imported drugs, raked in $390 million in its two-week run, box office tracker EntGroup said.

Internet users welcomed how the film, one of the year’s top-grossers, tackled a flashpoint social issue head-on, a rarity in strictly censored China, with some saying the film-makers struck a careful tone to steer clear of censors.

The film directly hits “a social wound” about not being able to get hospital treatment, said Gao Wei, an industry expert at the China Centre for Globalisation.

“As a film that criticises what is actually happening, it could only become popular because it got the level of criticism right to pass China’s censors.”

China has a universal medical insurance program for the bulk of its population, although coverage remains thin and highly focused on basic medical care.

The film has sparked heated debate about the cost of medical care, with patients struggling for access to drugs to treat serious diseases, and often paying from their own resources.

Beijing has been trying to force down the cost of drugs, especially those used to treat cancer, by cutting import tariffs, negotiating steep price cuts with global pharmaceutical firms and putting more medicines on its reimbursement list.

New drug approvals also lag far behind developed markets such as the United States, which has long forced patients to look overseas via gray markets to get access to medicine.

“Dying to Survive” features a struggling shopkeeper who imports cheap Indian drugs banned by Chinese authorities to earn a quick buck, but soon finds himself sympathising with patients’ plight, and risking everything to help them.

Even Premier Li Keqiang cited the film in an appeal on Wednesday to China’s regulators to “speed up price cuts for cancer drugs” and “reduce the burden on families”, made in an official statement on the government’s website.

“This little step might actually be a big step for domestically-made films,” said critic Yang Eryu in comments on the popular WeChat account of the magazine Vista Story.

LOS ANGELES, July 15, 2018 (News wires) — The US actress, known for her performances in Marvel films Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as TV's The Walking Dead, is in talks over a role for Warner Bros' 2020 monster movie.

If negotiations prove successful, Danai Gurira will be joining the young Julian Dennison (Firefist in Deadpool 2) as well as fellow Walking Dead aluminus Van Marten, Zhang Ziyi of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things in Godzilla vs. Kong.

The movie is some way off, fourth in Warners' MonsterVerse franchise, which started with 2014's Godzilla reboot and took a second step forward with 2017's Kong: Skull Island.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is scheduled for 2019, introducing Brown, Ziyi and others to the franchise, alongside Kyle Chandler who returns from 2005's pre-reboot King Kong movie.

Adam Wingard of Death Note and Blair Witch directs, with Godzilla vs. Kong announced for a May 29, 2020 release. Before that, Godzilla: King of the Monsters arrives on May 31, 2019.

PRAGUE, July 8, 2018 (News Wires) — I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians, a film by Romanian director Radu Jude, won the top prize at the Karlovy Vary film festival which ended on Saturday.

The Crystal Globe award winner tells the story of an ethnic massacre committed by the Romanian Army in 1941.

Rain Man director Barry Levinson and Shawshank Redemption star Tim Robbins also received Crystal Globes for outstanding contribution to world of cinema at the 53rd edition of the Czech festival.

Twilight star Robert Pattinson received the Festival President’s Award.

The festival in the spa town of Karlovy Vary, around 120 kilometres west of Prague, ran from June 29 to July 7 and attracted 140,135 cinemagoers, roughly the same number as in 2017.

LOS ANGELES, July 4, 2018 (News Wires) - Long before filming began, actress Evangeline Lilly had an idea of the fighting style she wanted to display with her Marvel superhero character, the Wasp.

Lilly, known for her role on science-fiction television series “Lost,” said she worked with stunt women to distinguish the Wasp’s moves from those of Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow or Marvel’s male superheroes.

“I wanted her to move in a way that honored the comic book, which meant she would move in a very elegant, feminine, graceful way, and still look lethal,” Lilly said in an interview ahead of the release of “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” which starts rolling out in worldwide theaters on Wednesday.

The movie is Marvel’s 20th feature film and the first to spotlight a female character in the title.

“It’s about time, right?” said Paul Rudd, who plays Ant-Man and was also one of the film’s writers. The pair modeled their relationship after on-screen crime-fighting duos with “this charged, kind of playful and mildly annoyed at one another dynamic,” he said, adding: “She’s as bad ass as it gets.”

Lilly also wanted audiences to see her sweat as she and Rudd raced to rescue vitally important stolen technology, according to director Peyton Reed, who worked with the actress even before the script was written to develop the character.

“Evangeline was very specific,” Reed said, “like ‘I don’t want to be glam. I want to sweat after I fight’ ... and ‘I want it to feel real like what a woman would feel like in this suit.”

 

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a sequel to 2015 movie “Ant-Man.” In that film, Lilly’s character, Hope van Dyne, does not learn until the movie’s end that her father has built a suit that gives her power to transform to various sizes and fly. The characters often shrink to insect-like proportions to avoid obstacles and detection.

After April’s over-the-top epic “Avengers: Infinity War,” Marvel also downsized the story for “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” focusing on a small group of characters and a quest to reunite with Hope’s mother.

“In some sense, this is an old-fashioned family movie,” said Michael Douglas, who plays Hope’s father, Hank Pym.

The movie does give a clue as to how Ant-Man and the Wasp fit into the events of “Infinity War.”

 By Paolo Sabbatini 

From July 1 to 5, 2018, the Italian Cultural Institute is organising Italian cinema week: five soirees at the Institute’s theatre (3, Sheikh el-Marsafi, Zamalek, Cairo), screening contemporary films and short films.

Italy has a great tradition of quality cinema, and its contemporary film production must be supported as it is an integral part of the promotion of “Brand Italy” throughout the world. The Italian film industry also has a positive, direct and indirect economic and touristic effect and enhances the image of Italy abroad.

The event has been named "Fare cinema, the crafts of film-making”, and it is part of a programme, which the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation (MAECI) has launched to promote Italian quality film production abroad, with the support of the Italian consular and diplomatic network and the Italian Cultural Institutes. It is an ambitious project that - with the co-operation of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MIBACT) and based on a multiannual strategy and teamwork involving the private and public sectors of the film industry, in particular National Association of Cinematographic, Audiovisual and Multimedia Industries (ANICA) and the Istituto Luce-Cinecittà. "Fare Cinema" – is part of the integrated promotion plan the "Italian Way of Life", which features cinema as a priority.

"Fare Cinema" focuses on the many "film making crafts men and women", i.e. the different professionals in the trade – such as actors, directors, scriptwriters, directors of photography, stage designers, composers, costume designers, make-up artists, editors, special effects artists. They make up the complex mechanism of film production and every one of them, in front of a camera or behind it, contributes to the success of our cinema in Italy and abroad. The professionals take part in conferences, meetings with the public, seminars, panels and discussions, sharing the experiences of their daily work driven by passion, creativity and top-level technical competences and skills.  The event is aimed at engaging qualified industry operators, enhancing the interest of the international public and promoting opportunities for the distribution abroad of Italian TV and films. "Fare Cinema" has been made possible thanks to the co-operation of industry associations and in particular ASC – Associazione Italiana Scenografi, Costumisti, Arredatori; AIC – Autori Italiani della Cinematografia; ACMF - Associazione Compositori Musica per Film; ANTEPAC – Associazione Nazionale Truccatori e Parrucchieri del Cineaudiovisivo; UICD – Unione Italiana Casting Directors and AMC – Associazione Montaggio Cinematografico e Televisivo. 

 “Fare Cinema” was launched on May 3, 2018 at Rome's Cinecittà Studios. The “goodwill Ambassador” of Italian cinema for Cairo is Mr Francesco Vedovati, a famous casting director, who inaugurated the Week on Sunday, July 1, 2018, at 7 pm at the Italian Cultural Institute, introducing the movie he worked for: “They Call Me Jeeg – Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot”.

 

CAIRO, June 21, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt will have a holding company for investment in the fields of culture and the film industry upon a decision issued by Culture Minister Enas Abdel-Dayem.

The decision comes in light of the state's keeness to support culture and the film industry, the Ministry of Culture said in a press release on Wednesday.

"It comes also in view of efforts exerted to promote the artistic and professional levels; to revive the film industry ; to restructure the system of preserving the country's cultural legacy;  and to enrich the work of the cultural and cinema community," added the statement.

The decision has been welcomed in the cultural and cinematic communities as it will promote the cultural movement at large in Egypt as part of the country's 2030 vision for sustainable development.

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