Beware of fraudsters, Chilean miners tell rescued Thai boys

Rescue personnel work at the Tham Luang cave complex in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand in early July 2018 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. (THAI NAVY SEAL/via REUTERS)
Updated 13 July 2018
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Beware of fraudsters, Chilean miners tell rescued Thai boys

SANTIAGO: Guard against exploitation: that’s the message Chilean miners have offered the 12 Thai boys and their football coach following the harrowing ordeal of spending 18 days trapped in a cave.
Before even the clothes of the Wild Boar football team players had dried following the last dramatic escape mission on Tuesday from the flooded cave, already plans were being made to turn their heroic tale into a Hollywood movie.
Eight years ago, 33 Chilean miners were stuck underground for 69 days after a cave-in, before their torment was turned into a motion picture starring Antonio Banderas.
But although “The 33” grossed $25 million at the box office, the miners never saw a penny of that.
“Hopefully they’ll make a film, a television series, a best-selling novel, but that they do it well, that they are smart and don’t get taken for a ride by fraudsters,” Mario Sepulveda, who was played by Banderas in “The 33,” told AFP.
The boys are aged 11 to 16 and even their coach is only 25, whereas the Chilean miners were all grown men.
Many of them have suffered terribly since their traumatic experience in the San Jose mine in the Atacama desert.
“The most important thing is that the authorities and their families protect these kids because many people just want to take advantage,” said Luis Urzua, another miner.
On Tuesday night, the managing partner of US faith-based production house Pure Flix, Michael Scott revealed on Twitter his plans to turn the story into a film.
But before worrying about how to sell their stories, Urzua warns that recovering from the “the experience of a lifetime” won’t be easy.
“It’s been eight years but there are still many things we can’t overcome,” added Urzua.
Another miner, Jose Ojeda, had to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
And there is bitterness at having been exploited by lawyers, producers and others who wanted to benefit from their story.
“Once they’d got the information off us, they disappeared,” said Urzua.
He says they were badly advised and fell for promises they would be made millionaires so “ceded all (intellectual) rights for life.”
Urzua is among a group of miners who want to rescind that decision.
Despite spending more than two months 600 meters below the surface, “we can’t even sell one line of the 33,” he lamented.
Urzua says the miners never received a penny from the film, directed by Mexican Patricia Riggen, or the book written by Los Angeles Times journalist Hector Tobar, whom the Chileans picked to write the official account of their trauma.
“They destroyed us,” said Urzua, who praised the protective circle that has enveloped the Thai boys.
Urzua says all he got was “less” than the five million pesos (less than $8,000 in today’s exchange rate) that Chilean businessman Leonardo Farkas handed each miner as they left their captivity.
Sepulveda, though, has faith in the Thai footballers saying the “strength of these boys is different to ours.”
“If they keep training, they’ll handle it really well, as long as they stick together,” he told AFP.


‘Star Wars’ producer Kennedy wants new movie voices ‘to bring world to its senses’

Updated 43 min 24 sec ago
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‘Star Wars’ producer Kennedy wants new movie voices ‘to bring world to its senses’

  • Kennedy was the first woman to receive the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual Irving. G. Thalberg award
  • Kennedy said recent efforts to improve diversity in Hollywood and give women better roles in front of and behind the camera must be embraced

LOS ANGELES: “Star Wars” producer Kathleen Kennedy on Sunday accepted a lifetime achievement award from the organizers of the Oscars and said she hoped it would open the door for new voices in the movie industry who “might bring the world back to its senses.”
Honored with her producer husband Frank Marshall, Kennedy was the first woman to receive the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual Irving. G. Thalberg award.
In 2012, Kennedy became president of LucasFilm, reviving the sci-fi saga and producing multi-billion dollar movies “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” that have made her one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood.
“I am very proud to be the first woman to accept this award. But I am also not the first to deserve it and I am 100 percent sure I am not the last,” Kennedy said to wild applause at a gala dinner attended by studio executives and many of Hollywood’s biggest actors and directors.
Kennedy and Marshall co-founded Amblin Entertainment with director Steven Spielberg in 1981 and produced of blockbusters including “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Jurassic Park” and “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial.”
Kennedy said recent efforts to improve diversity in Hollywood and give women better roles in front of and behind the camera must be embraced.
“It is my hope that with the inclusion of these powerful new voices, we might just bring the world back to its senses and maybe, just maybe, shatter a few glass ceilings along the way,” Kennedy said.
Veteran actress Cicely Tyson, who turns 94 in December, was presented with an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement, along with Argentinian musician Lalo Schifrin, the composer of scores for “Dirty Harry” and “Mission: Impossible,” and publicist Marvin Levy, who has worked with Spielberg for more than 40 years.
New York-born Tyson, who has appeared in numerous films, television shows and stage plays, was praised by record producer Quincy Jones for her “grace, dignity and class” and for focusing on roles that highlight the struggles of African-Americans.
Filmmaker Tyler Perry noted that Tyson began her career in 1950 “when black people weren’t allowed to come in through front doors.”
She became known for playing strong black women in TV series such as “Roots” in the 1970s, the 1972 movie “Sounder” and more recently “The Help.” “She is a queen to us,” Perry said.