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Legendary Japanese Animator Hayao Miyazaki Hints at Return to Feature Film Making

Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, had announced his retirement from feature filmmaking in September 2013

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Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. Facebook

Tokyo, November 14, 2016: Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has hinted about a return to feature filmmaking.

Miyazaki spoke about turning “Boro The Caterpillar” (“Kemushi no Boro”,) a computer-generated short he has been making for the Studio Ghibli museum in Tokyo, into a feature film, reports variety.com.

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During an interview to a news channel, Miyazaki said that he has shared a proposal with Toshio Suzuki, veteran producer at Studio Ghibli, which has been Miyazaki’s creative home for three decades.

“I haven’t said anything to my wife yet. When I do, though, I’m ready to die in the middle (of production),” he said.

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No formal announcement about the production or release date of the film has been made.

The 75-year-old had announced his retirement from feature filmmaking in September 2013, following the summer release of his last feature to date, the World War 2 film-themed “The Wind Rises”.

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There was a five-year gap between “The Wind Rises” and Miyazaki’s previous film as a director, the 2009 “Ponyo”. The movie could release in 2021, if one goes by the usual pace of the director, who turns 80 that year.

Miyazaki was awarded the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement, presented at the sixth Annual Governors Awards ceremony in November 2014. (IANS)

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Cinema: How the Idea Turned into Reality!

Cinema was moving from an insecure business to a well established entertainment industry

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Turning of cinema into a reality
Eadweard Muybridge captures movement, the beginning of cinema. Wikimedia
“Films can heal! Not the world, of course, but our vision of it, and that’s already enough.” – Wim Wenders

New Delhi, July 19, 2017: The history of cinema dates back to the end of 1800. It was in 1827 that the first still photograph was taken, and in 1878 that Eadweard Muybridge succeeded in capturing movement after five years of continued efforts. Muybridge was asked to settle a bet as to whether horses hooves left the ground when they galloped. He showed this by setting up a bank of twelve cameras with trip-wires connected to their shutters, with each camera taking one picture when the horse tripped its wire. Muybridge developed a projector to present his finding. By 1891, Thomas A. Edison and his assistant W.K.L Dickson invented their Kinetograph camera, and after two years build a studio to produce films from it.

However, The Lumière family remained the biggest manufacturer of photographic plates in Europe. Brothers Louis and Auguste were once asked to make films which were cheaper than the ones sold by Edison. Louis and Auguste, eventually, designed a camera which served as both a recording device and a projecting device and called it the Cinématographe. The camera shot films at sixteen frames per second, against the forty-six which Edison used. Sixteen frames per second became the standard film rate for nearly 25 years.

Also read: Indian Cinema has gone beyond song-dance saga, for International Audience it is still about Cultural Reflection of larger than Life characters.

Until 1927, there was no sound included in the motion pictures. Motion pictures emphasized just on movement in their first phase. This era is referred to as the silent era of film. There with practically no plot or story either. One of the earliest movie “La Sortie des ouvriers de l’usine Lumière” (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory), a documentary in its most elemental form, showed exactly what the name of the film suggests, a single shot of dozens of men and women, all of whom happen to be wearing hats, leaving a factory for the day. People in Paris were delighted by the early Lumiere presentations, drawing huge crowds.

The first few years of the motion pictures showed the cinema moving from an insecure business to an established large scale entertainment industry.

David Wark Griffith, One of the most dynamic early directors, produced literally hundreds of one-reelers in the period from 1908 to 1912. Griffith and others in the industry wanted to do something different than the regular but the owners were reluctant to change the style of limited story telling. For this reason, they moved to a rural area near Los Angeles. It was at this place, Hollywood, that Griffith and others began to work with long feature films, and eventually, Griffith happened to produce the first full-length feature film, “Birth of a Nation”.

Many countries after that started to get involved in serious film production. Russia began its film industry in 1908. In Italy, production was spread over a number of centres. In Northern Europe, Denmark was the most important film producing country. The Indian film production, as the centenary celebrations suggest, began in 1913. But as a matter of fact, from about 1910, American films share the largest market in all European countries except France.

Cinema indeed was an idea that turned into reality, in fact, a sophisticated reality. It has undergone, without a shadow of doubt, a long course of research, creation and innovation, and because of that, it stands where it is now.

– by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

ALSO READ: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)

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India’s Textile and Fashion Heritage now part of Google project

Google's project 'We Wear Culture' is collaborating with 183 renowned cultural institutions from all around the world including India and its objective is to let people explore history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago

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we wear culture
Google's new art project 'We wear Culture' digitizes fashion, Wikimedia
  • Google’s project ‘We Wear Culture’ is collaborating with 183 renowned cultural institutions from all around the world including India
  • It intends to trace the story and importance of Indian textiles from ancient sculptures
  • Its objective is to let people explore history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago

June 15, 2017: To a certain extent, a culture is defined by what is worn by its people. In a country as diverse as India, vast and varied spectrum of cultures and clothes is one of the specialties. Google’s latest virtual exhibition project now provides us the opportunity to explore and know more about it.

Google’s project ‘We Wear Culture’ is collaborating with 183 renowned cultural institutions from all around the world including India and its objective is to let people explore history of clothes dating as early as 3,000 years ago, from the ancient Silk Road to the unmatched elegance of the Indian Saree,  from the courtly fashion of Versailles, to the Victorian ballgowns with intricate thread work.

According to Amit Sood, director of Google Arts and Culture,”We invite everyone to browse the exhibition on their phones or laptops and learn about the stories behind what you wear. You might be surprised to find out that your Saree, jeans or the black dress in your wardrobe have a centuries-old story. What you wear is true culture and more often than not a piece of art.”

Culture is defined by what is worn by its people. Click To Tweet

The company also mentioned that noteworthy collections from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) and varied weaves from across India, from Gharchola to Patola to Temple to Ikat sarees will be included in the online project, as it intends to trace the story and importance of Indian textiles from ancient sculptures.

ALSO READ: New Google Project Digitizes World’s Top Fashion Archives.

According to PTI reports, the world fashion exhibit also includes designs from north-eastern India including the weaves of tribes such as the Nagas, Meitis. it will showcase the traditional attire from Meghalaya called ‘Dhara’ or ‘Nara’ worn by the Khasi women as well.

As a part of the exhibit, Sewa Hansiba Museum has brought the unique colorful and rich embroidery arts, applique and mirror work from different communities such as the Ahir, Rabari, Chaudhury Patel and many others from the western part of India online.

The exhibition conducted by Salar Jung Museum brings to light the Sherwani and its journey of becoming the royal fashion statement of the Nizams from 19th century Hyderabad. Fashion and textiles enthusiasts can revisit Colonial Indian attires with Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum. Over 400 online exhibitions and stories sharing a total of 50,000 photos, videos and other documents on world fashion are open to exploration as well.

The ‘We wear Culture’ initiative highlights significant events in the growth of the world fashion industry; the icons, the movements, the game changers and the trendsetters like Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Gianni Versace, Audrey Hepburn and many more.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang