Rebel Wilson ordered to pay back $3 million plus interest

Hollywood actress Rebel Wilson vowed after the initial judgment to give any payout to charity and the Australian film industry. (AFP)
Updated 27 June 2018
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Rebel Wilson ordered to pay back $3 million plus interest

SYDNEY: Hollywood actress Rebel Wilson was ordered to return almost $3.1 million with interest to an Australian publisher Wednesday after a defamation payout was slashed on appeal.
The “Pitch Perfect” star was awarded A$4.5 million ($3.3 million) in damages against Bauer Media last September over articles claiming she lied about her age and background to further her career.
It was the largest defamation win in Australian legal history and Bauer appealed, arguing the size of the settlement set a dangerous precedent and there were errors of law in the judgment.
The Victorian Court of Appeal agreed and cut the payout to just A$600,000 earlier this month in a decision the actress called “absolutely flippant.”
Bauer had already handed over the money and the Court of Appeal on Wednesday ordered Wilson to repay nearly A$4.2 million, including costs and more than A$60,000 in interest.
The star did not dispute that the money needed to be returned but argued the interest should be charged at the prevailing Reserve Bank cash rate of 1.5 percent, rather than the two percent sought by Bauer.
The appeal court disagreed and ordered interest be paid at the higher rate.
Wilson vowed after the initial judgment to give any payout to charity and the Australian film industry. It is not clear whether she has already done so.
She had claimed a series of articles in Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly and OK Magazine in 2015 had portrayed her as a serial liar and damaged her reputation.
The Sydney-born actress told the trial she was sacked from DreamWorks animated feature films “Trolls” and “Kung Fu Panda 3” following the stories.
But the Court of Appeal said there was no basis for her to receive financial damages for the potential loss of roles.
It found that the previous judge had relied on evidence from Wilson and two Hollywood agents to draw the conclusion that she had lost job opportunities.


Saudi film industry heralds new dawn with opening of first arthouse cinema

Updated 26 June 2019
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Saudi film industry heralds new dawn with opening of first arthouse cinema

  • Cinema El-Housh is the brainchild of Saudi film director, producer and screenwriter Mahmoud Sabbagh and the event will continue until July 25 as part of the Jeddah Season festival
  • Mahmoud Sabbagh: We chose old Jeddah because the phenomena existed here, and the idea of an arthouse film isn’t new

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s blossoming film industry on Tuesday heralded a new dawn with the launch of the Kingdom’s first arthouse cinema.

The outdoor Cinema El-Housh opened in the historic city of Jeddah with the screening of director Stanley Kubrick’s celebrated “2001: A Space Odyssey” to mark the movie’s 51st anniversary.

The project is the brainchild of Saudi film director, producer and screenwriter Mahmoud Sabbagh and the event will continue until July 25 as part of the Jeddah Season festival.

“Cinema El-Housh is one of the first proper arthouses for film theater initiatives in Saudi Arabia and in Jeddah,” Sabbagh told Arab News.

“The idea of the cinema comes from outdoor cinemas, which was a phenomenon that existed in old Jeddah from the 1940s until the end of the 1970s, where people gathered in courtyards where they would screen a film and enjoy it.

“We are bringing that back to the community with all its minimalism and gestures for bringing people together and bringing the communal experience of watching films again,” he said.

“We chose old Jeddah because the phenomena existed here, and the idea of an arthouse film isn’t new. It really strikes a balance between a commercial cinema and non-commercial cinemas.

“With the opening of cinemas, we are witnessing a burst of commercial-driven cinema multiplexes. However, there was a void someone had to fill by introducing this idea of arthouse cinemas,” added Sabbagh.

“We are free to screen films that are of non-commercial value, non-mainstream, more independent films that are film festival frequent and classics, and Saudi films. We want to be a platform for all the emerging Saudi voices.”

 

Tuesday’s private screening of “2001: A Space Odyssey” was also attended by Saudi actor Khaled Yeslam who said the film’s message conveyed the dawning of a new era in the Kingdom.

“From my perspective, choosing “2001: A Space Odyssey,” it started with the new dawn of mankind. And the music played was the music we listened to in the 1980s and 1990s,” Yeslam told Arab News.

“So, seeing such an entry as a film in Al-Balad, it’s a metaphor itself; here in Al-Balad, in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia itself. I thought it was planned and that he meant to do that. And I think Mahmoud is such a genius for choosing such a film.”

On the Kingdom’s booming film industry, Yeslam said: “Through movies, it’s finally our (Saudis) time to tell our stories. We’re fed up with the stereotypes and double standards by Western media and it’s time to reveal our reality.

“In the end, we’re just human, we’re just like everyone else, and I believe that art is a way to connect with others as humans.”

FACTOID

Outdoor cinemas existed in Jeddah from the 1940s until the late 1970s.