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MATTEL RETURNS TO SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON 2023

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Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) announced today its return to San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) from July 19 to July 23! The brand’s presence at the epicenter of pop culture will include panels, special guest appearances, product showcases and more at Booths #3029 and #2945. In celebration of fan-favorite properties, activities will spotlight Masters of the Universe, Hot Wheels, Monster High, WWE, , Jurassic Park and more, bringing exclusive experiences directly to fans. 

Kicking off the SDCC celebration on July 10, Mattel Creations will offer special edition drops during their celebrated “12 Days of Fandom” event. The fan-first celebration of all things Mattel will unveil the latest collectibles from a variety of iconic properties. From now until July 16, badged SDCC participants will be able to apply for access to the official Comic-Con 2023 Exclusives Portal to gain access to products at the show as well as the below fan experiences. Fans can stay up to date on all things 12 Days of Fandom at Mattel Creations!

Mattel SDCC Fan Experiences:

  • WWE Superstar Meet & Greet 

Thursday, July 20 / 1:15 – 2:15 PM PT (Mattel Booth #3029)

Visit the Mattel booth for a meet and greet with the Superstars of WWE! 

  • Hot Wheels Design and Packaging Autograph Signing

Friday, July 21 / 12:30 – 1:30 PM PT (Mattel Booth #3029)

Meet the designers of a new Hot Wheels line for a signing and giveaway… Participants include Chris Colangelo, Kevin Cao, Mike Vasquez, Vic Blankenbaker, and Rich Orlina.

  • Monster High Design and Packaging Signing

Friday, July 21 / 2:00 – 3:00 PM PT (Mattel Booth #3029)

To celebrate 13 years of Monster High, come meet Monster High designers as they sign exclusive SDCC Monster High posters! 

  • Little People Collector Avatar: The Last Airbender Poster Giveaway

Thursday, July 20 – Saturday, July 22 / 3:30 – 4:00 PM PT  (Mattel Booth #3029)

Little People Collector will be handing out exclusive posters based on the show. During this time, a few lucky fans will receive a poster signed by the creators of the show. 

  • UNO Ultimate Foil Card Giveaway

Thursday, July 20 – Saturday, July 22 / 4:30 – 5:00 PM PT (Mattel Booth #3029)

To celebrate the Man of Steel’s 85th anniversary, UNO will giveaway a special-edition UNO Ultimate Superman Foil card at the booth.

Mattel Panels:

  • Mattel & WWE Elite Squad Fan Panel

Thursday, July 20 / 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM PT (Room: 6A)

The Mattel WWE Elite Squad defends its title as the Action Figure champions of San Diego Comic-Con with all-new WWE action figure reveals and WWE Superstar guests. Join hosts Sam Roberts and Johnny Gargano for a star-studded panel featuring the Mattel Design team and Superstars from WWE!

  • An Inside Look at Mattel’s Jurassic World Toy Design

Friday, July 21 / 11:00 AM – 12 PM PT (Mattel Booth #3029)

In honor of the 30th anniversary of Jurassic Park, go off script with the Mattel Jurassic World Design Team and zoom in on toy creation. Hear from dinosaur toy designers Greg Murphy, Chandra Hicks, Carlos Rosales, and Chloe Mun, and get ready for an action-packed conversation featuring product reveals, ferociously fun trivia, and more! 

  • Masters of the Universe (MOTU) Design Panel

Friday, July 21 / 12:30-1:30 PM PT (Room 24ABC)

The Mattel MOTU product and packaging team will reveal an exclusive look into the creative process behind the latest releases and a sneak peek of what’s to come in 2024 and beyond. Even better, the first 250 attendees will receive an exclusive “Moaty” lapel pin. By the Power of Grayskull!

Stay up to date with Mattel’s activities at San Diego Comic-Con by following @Mattel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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America Ferrera will receive the 8th annual SeeHer Award at the 29th annual Critics Choice Awards

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The Critics Choice Association (CCA) announced today that Emmy award-winning actor, director, and producer America Ferrera will receive the 8th annual SeeHer Award at the 29th annual Critics Choice Awards. The honor will be presented to her at the star-studded gala hosted by Chelsea Handler, which will broadcast LIVE on The CW on Sunday, January 14, 2024 (7:00 – 10:00 pm ET – delayed PT, check local listings).

The SeeHer Award honors a woman who advocates for gender equality, portrays characters with authenticity, defies stereotypes, and pushes boundaries. SeeHer is the leading global movement for accurate portrayals of women and girls in media. A global collective of marketers, media organizations, and industry influencers, SeeHer is committed to creating gender-bias-free advertising and media. Previous award recipients are Viola Davis (2017), Gal Gadot (2018), Claire Foy (2019), Kristen Bell (2020), Zendaya (2021), Halle Berry (2022), and Janelle Monáe (2023).

America Ferrera is an award-winning actor, director, and producer known for her many iconic roles in TV and film including Ugly Betty, Real Women Have Curves, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Superstore, and most recently Greta Gerwig’s history-making Barbie. For her breakthrough performance in Ugly Betty, Ms. Ferrera was awarded an Emmy®, a Screen Actors Guild Award®, as well as ALMA and Imagen Awards, and more.

Ms. Ferrera also recently starred in Sony and Black Bear Pictures’ dramedy Dumb Money and the Apple TV+ series WeCrashed. Some of Ms. Ferrera’s additional television and film credits include Real Women Have Curves; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (parts 1 and 2); Diego Luna’s biopic Cesar Chavez (ALMA Award Special Achievement in Film); Ryan Piers Williams’ The Dry Land, (Best International Film Edinburgh Film Festival); Ryan Piers Williams’ drama X/Y, which she co-produced and starred in; David Ayer’s crime thriller End of Watch; Ricky Gervais’ Special Correspondents; It’s a Disaster; Lords of Dogtown; and How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer, among many others. She also lent her vocal talents to the Oscar® nominated franchise film How to Train Your Dragon as Astrid.

Ms. Ferrera also executive produced and directed episodes for Seasons 1 and 2 of Netflix’s hit Latinx Dramedy Gentefied and executive produced, directed, and starred in NBC’s beloved workplace comedy, Superstore. Ferrera will make her feature directorial debut with an adaptation of Erika Sánchez’s New York Times bestselling novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.

A longtime activist, Ms. Ferrera launched Poderistas in 2020 alongside 9 other prominent activists, leaders and businesswomen, including Eva Longoria Bastón and Christy Haubegger. Poderistas is a digital lifestyle community and non-profit built to inform, affirm, and inspire Latinas to leverage their power and transform their lives, their community, and their nation. Ms. Ferrera is also a prolific speaker, having spoken at major events such as TED, the DNC, and March for Our Lives. She was also the opening speaker and chair of the Artists’ Committee for the Women’s March on Washington in 2017. Her activism has extended on screen in several television documentaries including Not Done: Women Remaking America for PBS, the EPIX TV mini-series, America Divided, Showtime’s groundbreaking documentary, The Years of Living Dangerously, and Nicholas Kristof’s series for PBS Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

Ms. Ferrera also co-founded HARNESS with her husband Ryan Piers Williams and friend Wilmer Valderrama. HARNESS is a community of artists, influencers, and grassroots leaders leveraging art and storytelling to power change and create a more equitable world.

The 29th annual Critics Choice Awards will air live on The CW from 7:00 – 10:00 pm ET (delayed PT, check local listings). The Critics Choice Awards are bestowed annually to honor the finest in cinematic and television achievement. Historically, they are the most accurate predictor of Academy Award nominations.

As previously announced, “Barbie” leads this year’s film contenders, earning a record-breaking 18 nominations overall. In addition to Best Picture, Best Comedy, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, the film racked up several acting nominations including Best Actress for Margot Robbie, Best Supporting Actor for Ryan Gosling, Best Supporting Actress, and SeeHer award recipient America Ferrera, and Best Young Actor/Actress for Ariana Greenblatt. The “Barbie” soundtrack also garnered an impressive 3 Best Song nominations for “Dance the Night,” “I’m Just Ken,” and “What Was I Made For.” Also up for Best Picture are “Oppenheimer” and “Poor Things,” which each garnered an outstanding 13 nominations, along with “Killers of the Flower Moon” which collected 12 nominations. Rounding out the Best Picture category are “American Fiction,” “Maestro,” “Past Lives,” “Saltburn,” “The Color Purple” and “The Holdovers”.

“The Morning Show” leads the television contenders with six nominations. In addition to Best Drama Series, the show earned five acting nominations including Best Actress in a Drama Series for both Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon, Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for both Nicole Beharie and Karen Pittman, and Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Billy Crudup. “Succession” followed with an impressive five nominations overall and “A Small Light,” “Abbott Elementary,” “Beef,” “Lessons In Chemistry,” “Loki,” “Reservation Dogs,” and “The Bear” tied with 4 nominations each.

The 29th annual Critics Choice Awards show will be executive-produced by Bob Bain Productions and Berlin Entertainment. The Critics Choice Awards are represented by Dan Black at Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

Sponsors of the Awards include Champagne Collet, Delta Air Lines, FIJI Water, Milagro Tequila, d’Arenberg, and Maison L’Envoyé wines.

Follow the 29th annual Critics Choice Awards on Twitter and Instagram @CriticsChoice and on Facebook/CriticsChoiceAwards. Join the conversation using #CriticsChoiceAwards.

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SDAFF 2023 presents ‘Tiger Stripes’: I’m seeing red 

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At the ripe old age of 12, Malay Muslim girl Zaffan is the first in her class to experience physical growth changes and all the stigma that comes with them.

It’s virtually impossible to watch this film, beautifully shot in the Malay jungles and surrounding communities, and not cringe at all the restrictions placed upon Zaffan (Zafreen Zairizal). And it’s everywhere, every single last place Zaffan is, there again she is shamed, shamed for something that happens to every girl in the entire world at one point or another (a few medical exceptions and our LGBTQ+ brethren noted). Her mother is a tyrant and her wrath can be biblical, Zaffan isn’t about to involve her indifferent father in her adolescence, and her school peers make everything a million times worse. 

What is it about some particular girls in school, the ones that form the cliques around whatever current popular drama there is and then begin terrorizing the weak? Zaffan being the first among them all to experience her period, in such a dramatic and a you-can’t-unsee-that fashion, and all her peers saw it too, it’s certainly terrifying for some, to realize they too will have to go through that. Then again, perhaps the former best friends of Zaffan, Farah (Deena Ezral) and Miriam (Piqa), are somehow insanely jealous that Zaffan will now blossom and begin to experience the fullness of life outside the school and the sad little community houses. 

Or not? The way Farah goes from mean-girl ousting Zaffan at the school and the cadet squad, to actually physically assaulting Zaffan while spouting religious propaganda, seems more like insanity and less like jealousy to me. The other cadets and students blindly following Farah’s orders, even sad little Miriam, is complete to be expected, and if this were real life, is pathetically still exactly what would happen. They’re drones, and Farah seems to have elected herself queen bee. 

Nobody expected Zaffan’s response to any of this. Her reactions to the horrifying changes happening to her poor body, completely beyond her control, the disgust and the embarrassment, and then the absolute fury at the manner in which she is treated, are all superbly displayed in a way any of us can sympathize with. The world’s population of women who experience periods cringed in empathy as Zaffan tried so hard to hide from the grossness of it all; they gnashed their teeth in anticipation as Zaffan grew more and more bestial in her righteous rage; and we all, every single last one of us, cheered when the severed head of that charlatan exorcist went flying from Zaffan’s claws. 

As should be entirely expected from the Malaysian censors, their conservativism made the version of the movie shown after their cutting-floor treatment something the filmmaker disowned. It’s never comfortable in any culture to take a magnified view of the stigmatization of the whole period mess, and even harder to view any such practices objectively. Filmmaker Amanda Nell Eu does so with humor, with an almost sadistic glee, because really, after watching all that Zaffan is subjected to on a daily basis, who could blame her for trying to literally claw her way to some freedom! 

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SDAFF 2023 presents ‘Sleep’: Gwishin comes for you!

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A young wife pregnant with her first child becomes terrified by her husband’s increasingly odd sleep-walking. 

This is a very relevant one y’all, for one particular reason – everyone knows what it’s like to have to go without sleep, and what it does to you. Some people go manic, some people fall apart, but every last person knows that desperate feeling of just needing to sleep. And it must be restful, REM-fueled, actual sleep zzz. None of this catching forty winks with one eye open, falling asleep drooling on the armchair because you’ve been up with a colicky baby for days on end, no honey, you need sleep-sleep. Go pass out. 

And Soo-jin (Jung Yu-Mi) is trying to sleep, she is. Heavily pregnant, Soo-Jin has common worries like every young new mother but is trying to keep good spirits about the whole affair. And then of course her dutiful, pleasant young husband Hyun-su (Lee Su-jyun) sits up in the middle of a dead sleep and eerily informs her that there’s someone in the house. 

That one instance would already be plenty enough to set off alarm bells for normal folk, but Hyun-su’s nightmarish actions are only just beginning. He gets up out of a sound sleep and plods about, scratches himself raw, gorges on random things from the fridge, and generally continues to worry his wife out of her poor hormone-riddled mind. Doctors are seen and all kinds of treatments are tried – drugs, a strict going-to-bed routine, even a cocoon-like sleeping bag that in theory won’t allow Hyun-su to rise at all. And while all this is going on, the unsettling nighttime hauntings of Hyun-su and now Soo-jin, continue with an almost spirit-like insistence. 

What to do when all the practical, real-life solutions have been tried? We try some unconventional ones, and Soo-jin’s mother thinks she has the perfect solution – to bring in a shaman friend of hers, for a spiritual reading. While we fully expect there to be as much drama as possible in spiritual reading, Soo-jin’s response to what the shaman reveals is an overreaction to the point of encroaching madness. 

Things are about to come to a head with some rather final confrontations, mostly to do with the ghost haunting Soo-jin’s idyllic little world, but also, the catastrophes that can come from exaggerating the dangers of the unknown in our loved ones. Soo-jin’s newfound distrust of her poor husband Hyun-su, especially around their newborn daughter, is easily as destructive as any poltergeist, and only adds to her list of potential enemies rather than allies. It’s actually amazing Hyun-su managed to keep up his good spirits, no pun intended, for as long as he did. Delve into the mysteries of gwishin and the debilitating fears of the human mind, with Sleep!

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