On the evening of November 9th, at the Bam Harvey Theater in Downtown Brooklyn. Andscape a Black run production company and Hulu partnered with Tierra Whack to premier her debut film Cypher. The atmosphere exuded a Black essence, the vibe was real and the partners understood what it meant to honor Black creativity.
Swizz Beatz Takes Fans on a Wild Ride as He Celebrates at the Red Carpet Premiere of ‘Drive with Swizz Beatz’
In the heart of Los Angeles, a city renowned for its glitz, glamour, and car culture, the red carpet premiere of “Drive with Swizz Beatz” unfolded in a celebration of community, passion, and the unyielding spirit of drive.
Wednesday, October 18th, 2023. Hall des Lumieres, Manhattan, New York. — National Geographic, the editorial brand whose legacy is drenched in 135 years of vivid storytelling and exploration, hosted an inspirational gathering to celebrate its renowned explorers, which include a group of bright photographers, scientists, journalists, educators, producers and broad ranges of talent that share their journeys through documentaries at the Hall des Lumieres. The Hall opened its stunning doors to media press, influencers and explorers of the National Geographic family to host “A Night Of Storytelling’‘, an intimate content showcase sharing films and stories across a wide range of genres that include travel, adventure, exploration, science, history, culture, wildlife and much more. The content showcase, featured films to be aired in the coming months. National Geographic and its iconic yellow rectangle is synonymous with groundbreaking research, incomparable journalism and visually spectacular storytelling through pens, lenses of photography and film. Their award winning works are world renowned, taking its viewers into spaces and on journeys that would otherwise be inaccessible. Their trusted name has landed them the spot as the #1 brand on Instagram, further echoing the strength of its legacy. National Geographic credits its success to creating a platform that highlights transparency in storytelling that is only made possible by garnering the best photographers, explorers and creative talents in the world.
The event began with generous offerings of hors d’oeuvres and beverages of refreshing sparkling water, wine and champagne to sip as guests mingled on the ground level of the hall. Low lit and encapsulating, the ground level was illuminated with luminous hues of blue and ornamented a backdrop of transitioning images of wildlife. The space held a relaxing ambiance, preparing the guests for the main event upstairs. Upon entering, I checked in with the event hosts, placing my order for a choice of three available entrees: the Seared Atlantic Cod, served with fall Market vegetables, Marble potatoes and aioli and lemon Pistou; a Truffled Fall Orecchiette, the vegan dish, complemented with roasted butternut squash, shiitake, leeks and crispy sage; or the Grilled Filet, which was my preferred choice of the three and served with a side of rosti stuffed spinach, and red beet soubise.
After moments of mingling, the guests were escorted upstairs in small waves and led into the marble showroom floor. We welcomed by iridescent lights that projected waterfalls and cascaded behind the podium, and two extra long banquet tables, dressed with a white tablecloth, silverware, crystal wine glasses and dining ware. The two banquet tables were separated by foliage that ran parallel to one another, awaiting guests to be seated at their designated spaces. Once seated the media guests and the Nat Geo explorers, both nominated and award winning, sat interwoven at the tables and took the opportunity to share their respective up and coming documentaries.
I had the honor of dining beside Dr. Serena McCalla of “Science Fair: The Series”. Dr. Serena McCalla, ecstatic about her involvement with Nat Geo as a newly named explorer, gushed sharing her background and her excitement for the impact her work makes on education and her students. McCalla dedicates her life to advancing science education and research with the most promising youth in the world and has built the Jericho, New York, High School Science Research curriculum into one of the most preeminent science research programs globally. Her career in research education led her to founding the iResearch Corporation (iRC), a corporation that promotes excellence, inquiry and equity in science. The iRC encompasses a variety of research-centric programs that seek to unlock the potential in every science teacher and student while promoting scientific prowess in underserved communities. Dr. McCalla’s students are lauded annually for their success in the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and Regeneron Science Talent Search (STS) competitions, as displayed in the National Geographic feature documentary “Science Fair” and the all-new upcoming series. McCalla aspires to support all students to make a difference by discovering something new within themselves and the world. “Science Fair: The Series” which has been nominated and won the Emmy and Peabody awards and premieres Dec. 10 on National Geographic; Dec. 11 on Disney+ and Hulu.
The opening remarks of the evening were held by Nat Geo’s President Courteney Monroe whose powerful statement reminded us all of the importance of our work and responsibility as media professionals and individuals. She inspired us to be mindful of our impact in our messages in the media and to remain vigilant in expressing the truth of what we offer to our readers and viewers alike,
“We are without question living in an extraordinary time. A time when factual accuracy and credibility in media have never been more essential. A time when optimism feels in short supply.” Monroe continues on to add, “It is in times like these that I believe National Geographic’s storytelling is more vital than ever. It contextualizes the complexities we face and it reminds us that the world is still an amazing and miraculous place, filled with beauty, awe and wonder… [tonight] we celebrate that storytelling and the power of National Geographic,” and with those words a night of storytelling began.
The presentation of Nat Geo’s, “A Night Of Storytelling,” was led by the National Geographic Executive team which included Nathan Lump, Senior Vice President and Editor In Chief; Tom McDonald, Executive Vice President of Global and Unscripted Content and Senior Vice President of Inclusive Content and Engagement, Karen Greenfield; along with Executive Vice President of Scripted and Documentary Films, Carolyn Bernstein.
In between presentations, guest were appetizers of Crudite (heirloom carrots, red endives, Romanesco, watermelon radish and dried figs); spreads of Pine nut hummus, Cilantro Tahini, Fennel Chutney and garlic oil toasted baguettes and grilled Naan bread along with refreshing little Gem & blood Orange salads. Choice wines included Cotes du Rhone Mon Coeur, J.L. Chave Selection (Rhone Valley) and Sauvignon Blanc Lieu Dit (California).
Centered primarily on the 2023-2024 Fall/Winter slate and show lineups, the showcase included notable documentaries that piqued many of the guests’ interest, such as the Disney and Pixar inspired, “A Real Bug’s Life” (premiering on Disney+ Jan. 24) narrated by Awkwfina. The film takes an introspective look into nine different micro bug worlds around the globe and the tiny heroines that survive through their own miniature catastrophic scales they likely deem as “forces of nature” to survive day to day life. Other films included “QUEENS” (premiering March 4 on National Geographic; March 5 on Disney+ and Hulu) is Produced and Directed by Faith Musembi and narrated by Actress, Angela Bassett, is a documentary that features matriarchies and female leaders around the world to tell a story of sacrifice and resilience but also of friendship and love. “QUEENS” brings the natural world into focus through the female lens for the very first time. The seven-part series leverages cutting-edge technology to reveal surprising insights into how females in the natural world rise to power. The final episode of the series celebrates the women who have gone to the ends of the Earth and dedicated their lives to documenting and protecting animal queens found in nature.
“Photography” a documentary centered around notable photographers Cristina Mittermeier, Paul Nicklen, Dan Winters, Campbell Addy, Krystle Wright, Muhammed Muheisen and Anand Varma highlight the skilled visual artists who became renowned photographers and their life journeys that led to the inspiration behind their artistic medium. I was tipped by a fellow media professional in attendance to look more into London based photographer, Campbell Addy whose work and narratives highlights the expression of authentic emotions found in nature and casting underrepresented faces. I later became equally intrigued with Anand Varma’s work, whose photobook was given to the guests as gifts upon departure. More films showcased that stirred the crowd included “A Blink of An Eye”, “JFK”, Ceasar Milian’s, “Better Human, Better Dog”, and “Genius: MLK/X”,
created by multi-hyphenate Reggie Rock, explores the formative years, pioneering accomplishments and dueling philosophies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. The showrunner of Apple TV+ series, “Swagger” holds notable credits include, “A Different World”, “Get On The Bus” and the film “Notorious” about famed lyricist Christopher Wallace whose life ended tragically in 1997.
Another notable explorer being honored at the event was the empathic Albert Lin of, “Lost Cities Revealed” sat adjacent of me and Serena McCalla. I had the pleasure of speaking one on one with the explorer post presentation. Lin takes a technologist’s approach to uncover humanity’s stories and explores new frontiers while honoring the artifacts and environment of the landscapes he explores. Passionate about the human experience, Lin began his career with the Valley of the Khans project, a technology-enabled search for Genghis Khan’s tomb. What makes his work spectacular is that Lin utilizes tools such as satellite imagery, crowdsourcing engines, machine learning, drones, and ground-penetrating radar permitted to search widely for archaeological sites while respecting the traditional beliefs of local Indigenous peoples. His ethical approach has also led him to survey the the First Emperor’s tomb in China and the Mayan Temples of Northern Guatemala. Lin is featured in the up and coming new season, “Lost Cities Revealed” premiering November 23, 2023
Last and certainly not least in the up and coming series, “TRAFFICKED WITH MARIANA VAN ZELLER” (Muck Media) Premieres January 17, 2024, on National Geographic; and January 18, 2024 on Hulu. I had the brief honor of meeting and photographing with the Emmy Award-nominated series host and creator Mariana van Zeller . In “TRAFFICKED,” the courageous journalist takes her viewers on an investigative and dangerous journey, exposing the inner workings of shadow markets, criminal organizations and trafficking networks around the world. In the upcoming season, the award-winning journalist Mariana van Zeller investigates new emerging underworlds: the trade in body parts, hired assassins, sextortion and the smuggling of people across the U.S. – Mexico border; and she will meet the players and learn the business behind the dark underworlds. Mariana puts her life at risk to better understand these multi trillion-dollar shadow industries and economies and the people behind them.
The evening closed with bite sized desserts choices of fresh fruit tartlets, pumpkin cheese cake bites, turtle brownies, and mini chocolate cookies; and an after dinner drink of Espresso Martinis (Vodka, Kahlua and simple syrup). Guest left with logo branded gift bags from National Geographic that included an illustrated story of the life of the late John Chaus, a young American missionary, killed on a remote island in North Sentinel Island; SPACE, a special Issue of National Geographic, released October 2023; an enormous 365 page photo-book, “INVISIBLE WONDERS (Photographs of the Hidden World)” by Ananad Varma (of Nat Geo’s original film, “Photography”); and a Home Pod mini, compliments of Apple and Nat Geo.
The most impressive part about the evening was the very idea of the Executive board celebrating their talents and the work they all produced. Not only were the explorers all in solidarity about their joys, respect, admiration and thrilled with the opportunity to work for and with National Geographic as a platform; it speaks volumes in a professional work setting where the human capital that makes a company great, tend to go unnoticed. I have gained so much respect for this brand and organization based on this display of humility and the gratitude leadership has shown for the hands that move this publication and the celebration from Nat Geo leadership than any program or award the platform could ever air. I highly encourage you to tune in and follow this remarkable brand. They are, behind the scenes, everything they present to the world: richness, array of color, depth, substance, appreciation and an ever evolving story that moves our world forward.
Hulu Brings ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Interactive Experience in NYC to Celebrate Season 3 Finale From September 22-24
Hulu Brings ‘Only Murders in the Building’ Interactive Experience in NYC to Celebrate Season 3 Finale from September 22-24.
On Wednesday, May 31, 2023, Freeform hosted a nostalgic Y2K-themed event for the premiere of Cruel Summer’s second season. Cast, crew, and ‘90s heartthrobs alike came together to celebrate the occasion at Grace E. Simons Lodge in Los Angeles, California.
Cruel Summer season two is set in the early 2000s where Megan (Sadie Stanley), Luke (Griffin Gluck), and Isabella (Lexi Underwood), the mysterious new girl in town, weave themselves into a tangled web of lies and deceit that ultimately ends in tragedy. The show’s unique format alternates between three different timelines in each episode.
The night’s events kicked off with a stunning red carpet designed to represent the ominous dock from the show’s Pacific Northwest lakeside town of Chatham. Among those gracing the carpet were executive producers Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple, along with castmembers Sadie Stanley, Lexi Underwood, Griffin Gluck, KaDee Strickland, Lisa Yamada, Sean Blakemore, and Braeden De La Garza.
Guests entered through a walkway of nostalgia with old TV sets playing throwback music videos and news clips from Y2K. They stopped for photo ops with the Cruel Summer logo and a ‘Welcome to Chatham’ sign before securing a seat along the ‘docks,’ across from the series’ infamous lake at ‘the bloom,’ for the season’s premiere screening.
Also there to ring in the hit series’ return were ‘90s stars Mario Lopez (Saved By the Bell), Tori Spelling (90210), Tara Reid (American Pie), brothers Andrew Lawrence and Matthew Lawrence, and Paula Abdul, among others. Notable names Alina Bock (TikToker), Colton Underwood (The Bachelor), Kelly Rizzo (blogger), and Yasmine Sahid (influencer), to name a few, attended the New Year’s Eve-themed party.
After the screening, the real party began. Guests explored an airstream activation where they snapped Polaroids to hang along the wall, just like in the series. Inside the lodge was the interactive interrogation room, another callback to the series, where a DJ kept the nostalgia flowing with hit tunes from back in the day. Before leaving, guests were invited to fill out custom Chatham postcards to add to the postcard tower.
Delectable bites of the night included a gourmet smores station and the sweet taste of Van Leeuwen ice cream, whose partnership with the series brought themed flavors like ‘Y2K Sorbet’ and the ‘Shoreliner Café.’ Grab a custom Cruel Summer sundae at Van Leeuwen’s Los Angeles locations on June 5th and 6th before it’s gone for good.
Season two of Cruel Summer premieres on Freeform June 5th.
Miep Gies was a hero that, up until recently, wasn’t well known. Her fearlessness led her to step up and help the Frank Family during WWII. Now, Nat Geo is telling Miep’s story.
National Geographic’s limited drama series A Small Light premiered two episodes on May 1st. It follows the extraordinary life story of Miep Gies, a charismatic young woman living in Germany during WWII. Once her home transforms in to a country controlled by dictator Adolf Hitler, Miep and her boss Otto Frank work together to escape in to hiding with their loved ones.
We all know the story of Anne Frank. The story of the young Jewish girl hiding in the midst of Hitler’s reign in Nazi Germany has been told many times over, its most famous depiction being what we now know as The Diary of Anne Frank. That may not have been possible without the help of Miep, who kept the diary entries in her desk after Anne’s arrest.
Played by Bel Powley, (The Diary of Teenage Girl, The Morning Show) Miep was also a young woman with a normal life until she wasn’t.
After taking up a job with Otto Frank, Anne’s father, Miep quickly finds herself entangled in a plan to help hide the Frank Family in the secret annex about Otto’s business. Despite protests from those close to her, Miep, along with her husband Jan, make the courageous decision to stand up against hatred and do everything in their power to protect her boss and his family.
The show stars Billie Boullet as Anne Frank, Ashley Brooke as Anne’s older sister Margot, Amira Casar as their mother Edith and Liev Schreiber as Otto. On screen, the four perfectly encapsulate the close familial dynamic between the Franks.
Anne is passionate and outspoken while her sister is the complete opposite. Margot is meek and doesn’t like to rock the boat but when her family needs her the most, she steps up to the plate with no hesitation. A Small Light shares a modern take on history as we know it and shows how just a little bit of bravery can go a long way.
We talked to the cast and showrunners Tony Phelan, Joan Rater and Susan Fogel about the inspiration behind the show and how they were able to accurately portray Miep and the Frank family’s stories.
A Small Light airs every Monday at 9 PM EST on National Geographic and next day on Hulu and Disney+.
Saweetie, Coi Leray, Mustard, Ty Dolla $ign and More Step Out to Celebrate Hulu’s RapCaviar Presents
Mega digital music service, Spotify joined Hulu to host an evening celebrating the highly anticipated original docuseries, RapCaviar Presents.
The Knockturnal attended a VIP preview of Hulu’s “Welcome to Chippendales” Experience at Rocco’s in West Hollywood, an exclusive sneak-peek at the event before doors opened to the public.
Guests were transported back to the 70s for a thematic glimpse into the series, filled with disco balls, colored lights, neon signs, and fake dollar bills that participants could exchange for merchandise and signature cocktails.
The event was elegantly paced, leaving guests constantly entertained as they moved from room to room for different performances and dazzling atmospheres. In the first, we walked down a colorful hallway filled with “Welcome to Chippendales” neon signs that led to a main room complete with a bar, dance floor, photo booth, and light snacks, mingling while awaiting the dancers to take the stage.
After a costume change from the performers, the group was led into a second room to collect their “Welcome to Chippendales” merchandise, selecting from either a fanny pack or a shirt, and then migrated to an outdoor area to watch the dancers’ finale and indulge in more signature drinks. TVs played exclusive clips from the series throughout the experience.
“Welcome to Chippendale’s” is now streaming on Hulu!
In this exclusive interview, Kate Hudson and Ana Lily Amirpour discuss Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon with The Knockturnal‘s Kinsey Schofield.
Happy Halloween! If you’re looking for a great escape this spooky season, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon is your go-to popcorn pursuit. Kate Hudson plays Bonnie Bell: a street-wise stripper and single mother. The How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days goddess recently said that her tougher-than-nails character is inspired by pop icon Cardi B.
Based in New Orleans, where Hudson famously films a large number of her movies, Bonnie Bell stumbles upon a mystifying woman with supernatural powers. Influenced by Mona Lisa’s perplexing abilities, Bonnie sees the mysterious stranger as a Godsend and immediately starts trying to monetize her superpowers. Once the NOPD starts chasing the duo… all hell breaks loose.
Evan Whitten plays Hudson’s son, Charlie, and fierce defender of Mona Lisa Lee. No. His performance didn’t make me cry. Happy opposite day.
I would describe this movie as wildly wonderful and extremely fun.
Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon stars Kate Hudson, Jeon Jong-seo, Craig Robinson, Ed Skrein, and Evan Whitten. The film and written and directed by the fantastic Ana Lily Amirpour.
Want to watch Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon today? Stream it on Hulu Plus! You can also rent or purchase Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon on Google Play, Vudu, and Amazon Instant Video.