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According to Variety, Clive Owen, Italian actress Alba Rohrwacher and Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska have joined Meryl Streep on the international jury of the Berlin Film Festival. Also on the jury are French photographer Brigitte Lacombe, “Sight & Sound” editor Nick James and German actor Lars Eidinger. As previously announced, Streep is the president of the jury. The festival also announced it would present its Berlinale Camera award to Tim Robbins for his achievements as an actor, director, writer and producer; U.S. producer, movie theater owner and distributor Ben Barenholtz; and German cinema operator Marlies Kirchner. The award is given to film personalities or institutions to which the festival feels particularly indebted and wishes to express its thanks. The festival opens next Thursday.

Meryl Streep will share her experience from decades at the top of the acting profession with the 300 emerging film professionals taking part in this year’s Berlinale Talents program. Streep confirmed she will hold a workshop for the Berlinale Talents on Sunday, Feb.14 during the Berlin International Film Festival. Streep is the president of the jury for the 66th Berlin festival. The 300 talents – emerging film professionals from around the world – were selected from a group of more than 2,700 applicants. They will take part in a series of workshops and masterclasses during the event, which runs Feb.13 – Feb. 18 concurrent with the Berlin fest.

Academy Award winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s documentary, “Song of Lahore”, is gearing up for a star-studded opening in the US. According to a press release, the documentary’s New York and LA premieres will be hosted by Meryl Streep. Song of Lahore is set to release in the US this November with premieres in New York City on the 3rd of November, in San Francisco on the 6th and West Hollywood in Los Angeles on the 9th. The documentary is based on the acclaimed Sachal Studios and their journey to New York, made in collaboration with Andy Schocken. It focuses on the music community of Lahore, which until the late 1970s, was world-renowned for its music and talent. In 2004, Izzat Majeed founded Sachal Studios to create a space for traditional music in a nation that had rejected its musical roots. After convincing a number of master musicians to pick up their instruments again, they quietly released some classical and folk albums, but an experimental album fusing jazz and South Asian instruments brought Sachal Studios worldwide acclaim. Many thanks to Frank and Marci for the heads-up.

Manhattan Theatre Club’s fall benefit will be in celebration of Tony and Emmy winner Christine Baranski. The November 2 event will attract a host of friends and colleagues including “Into the Woods” co-star Meryl Streep, Julianna Margulies, Alan Cumming and Nathan Lane. The evening will also feature appearances by Walter Bobbie, Cherry Jones, Rob Marshall, Paul Rudnick, Max von Essen and more. The benefit will take place at 583 Park Ave. Baranski, who is most recently known for playing Diane Lockhart on “The Good Wife, made her Broadway debut in the Tom Stoppard hit The Real Thing, is a longtime MTC collaborator and board member. All proceeds from the benefit will benefit MTC. For more information on the organization’s slate of Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, visit their official website. Many thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.

Meryl Streep will present designer Alber Elbaz with the Superstar award at The Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars on 22 October 2015. In July it was announced the Lanvin creative director would receive the prestigious prize and now WWD has confirmed who’ll be handing it over. He dressed Meryl in a golden gown for the 2012 Oscars, which makes the actress a good fit for the occasion. “The seamstress that made the dress worked for three days and three nights on the dress, and after she finished, she was sick for three days,” Alber recalled to Britain’s The Telegraph newspaper in 2012. “And you know, with the Oscars, you do the dress and you never know if they will wear it. I wanted so much for (Meryl) to wear it, just for this woman that didn’t go to sleep for three days, and just put so much love into the dress.” Many thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.

Meryl Streep will be Jury President of the 66th Berlin International Film Festival. It will be the first time in her longstanding career that this world famous star takes on the role of a juror at a film festival. ”Meryl Streep is one of the most creative and multifaceted film artists. To mark our enthusiasm for her extraordinary talent we awarded her the Honorary Golden Bear in 2012 for her lifetime achievement. I am very happy that she is returning to Berlin and with her artistic experience will take on the chairmanship of the International Jury”, says Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick. Meryl Streep has been a guest at the Berlin International Film Festival on a number of occasions: in 1999, she was awarded the Berlinale Camera, and in 2003, together with Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman she shared the Silver Bear award for their performances in The Hours. In 2012, the Berlinale dedicated a homage to Meryl Streep and awarded her the Honorary Golden Bear for her lifetime achievement. On being appointed to lead the 2016 jury, Meryl Streep said today:

It is a thrill to return to the festival under any circumstances, but it is with great relish and anticipation I look forward to jury duty. The responsibility is somewhat daunting, as I have never been President of anything before, and I hope I can come up to the precedent set by the distinguished juries of preceding years. Grateful for the honor.

According to Variety, Meryl Streep has funded a screenwriters lab for women writers over 40, to be run by New York Women in Film and Television and IRIS, a collective of women filmmakers. The creation of the lab, and Streep’s involvement in its founding, was announced Sunday at a panel discussion presented as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. Called the Writers Lab, the screenplay development program aims to increase opportunities for female screenwriters over the age of 40. This year the initiative will accept submissions May 1-June 1, with eight winning scribes named Aug. 1. Among the mentors to participate in the Lab’s inaugural year are writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Beyond the Lights”), producer Caroline Kaplan (“Boyhood”), and writers Kirsten Smith (“Legally Blonde”) and Jessica Bendinger (“Bring It On”). According to NYWIFT, Streep ponied up a “significant” contribution to fully fund the Lab. The actress has been a longtime supporter of NYWIFT. The Writers Lab will take place at a retreat in upstate New York. Many thanks to Glenn for the heads-up.

Very sad news today: Mike Nichols, who made such films as The Graduate, which earned him a best director Oscar, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, has died. He was 83. Meryl was one of his frequent collaborators, appearing on four of his projects – Silkwood, Heartburn, Postcards from the Edge and Angels in America – and was slated to team with Nichols for a fifth time for the HBO adaptation of Masterclass in 2015. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Streep once said of Nichols, “no explanation of our world could be complete and no account or image of it so rich, if we didn’t have you,” in hailing him as one of the essential artists of our time. Nichols presented Streep with her AFI Life Achievement Award in 2004 and Streep repeated that duty in 2010, presenting Nichols with his award. With Nichols, Hollywood loses one of his most unique and crafted directors. He will be greatly missed. Edit: Meryl Streep was quoted in today’s USA Today.

An inspiration and joy to know, a director who cried when he laughed, a friend without whom, well, we can’t imagine our world, an indelible irreplaceable man.


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