George, Amal Clooney to Help 7 Lebanese Public Schools Educate Syrian Refugees


Actor George Clooney and his lawyer wife Amal Clooney will help nearly 3,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon go to school as hundreds of thousands of them are out of an education as a result in the war raging in their country.

The Clooney Foundation for Justice is planning to help seven public schools provide education to Syrian refugee children. This is part of a new $2.25 million partnership announced on Monday with Google, HP and UNICEF to help thousands of refugees in Lebanon.

More than one million Syrians — including over 500,000 children — are registered as refugees in Lebanon after fleeing the devastating war that has lasted more than six years in neighboring Syria.

The United Nations says around 200,000 Syrian refugee children are out of education. Human Rights Watch estimates the number at more than 250,000.

“They have been victims of geography and circumstance, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope,” the Clooneys wrote in a statement provided to The Associated Press. “Our goal with this initiative is to help provide Syrian refugee children with an education and put them on a path to be the future leaders their generation desperately needs.”

“Thousands of young Syrian refugees are at risk — the risk of never being a productive part of society. Formal education can help change that,” the couple added.

“We don’t want to lose an entire generation because they had the bad luck of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time,” they stated.

George and Amal Clooney, who is British-Lebanese, established the Clooney Foundation for Justice last year to support equity in courtrooms, classrooms and communities around the world.

Out of Fashion: How Men Could Fall off the Catwalk


Menswear shows are being gradually airbrushed from the fashion industry’s calendar and combined into the women’s events, mostly as an accessory.

For instance 10 designers have decided not to showcase their collections this year in Milan, in shows that began on Friday for men’s fashion week, including Calvin Klein, Ermenegildo Zegna and Kering’s Brioni and Bottega Veneta.

Other brands, including Burberry, Gucci and Tom Ford, have announced in recent months that they plan to stage combined events in future, to take advantage of time by displaying both collections to buyers and customers.

However some industry insiders and analysts say separate men’s fashion shows cost thousands of dollars by the time they are not worthy of the money for luxury brands, especially that menswear make less money than womenswear, despite the hit by the global sales slowdown.

“They (brands) are focusing on what has the highest return on investment,” said Bernstein analyst Mario Ortelli.

On the other hands, celebrities such as George Clooney and Beyonce are usually front rows of women’s shows draw attracting crowds of news photographers and broadcasters while men’s catwalk don’t turn as many heads with their low-key guest lists.

In the market, annual designer menswear sales are expected to reach more than $40 billion in 2020, up 6.8 percent from 2015, according to Euromonitor International, while womenswear sales are expected to rise 7.7 percent to about $75 billion in the same period.

Threats on male models rushed four months ago when both Burberry and Tom Ford said they would hold combined shows. Italian luxury brand Gucci followed suit in April, announcing it would merge its collections and shows starting next year.

“Although menswear has acquired more of a standing over the years, the women’s shows are still the most important … with many more brands focusing on women,” said Vick Mihaci, President of Elite Management, a leading model agency.

Jodie Foster: ‘Money Monster’ is more Like Hollywood than any of My Other Works

Cannes- Many written and presented film scripts, which fail to find a producer, are marshaled and stacked into the film industry’s keeping drawers. Jodie Foster’s thriller “Money Monster” did not make it to big-screen production right away, first written by Alan Di Fiore in 2013, the script was left untouched until 2015.

Foster is known for both producing and directing films; however, when Foster’s agent brought in “Money Monster” she was even more enthusiastic to hear that the screen-play will be produced by no one other than the three-Golden-Globe-award winner, George Clooney. Adding to the excitement, the project’s female lead actress was Julia Roberts.

Minding that “Little Man Tate” and “The Beaver” prove quite different in shade and character than Foster’s previous work, the Wall Street thriller “Money Monster” broaches a relative background that any viewer can identify with.

At the premiere, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper got the opportunity to sit down with Foster who directed “Money Monster” and who is also often cited as the best actress of her generation.

When asked about whether Foster was keeping an eye out for thriller piece when “Money Monster” arrived at her desk, she replied with a no. She explained that she was rather focused on her next step; with already two projects in mind, one of which was included her producing.

After reading the script, Foster – ecstatic- sent it over to Clooney who agreed on both acting in and producing the thriller.

Foster also said that “Money Monster” was an easy going production process, of less difficulty compared to other works she had taken part of.

As for the script being shelved until Foster had received notice of it, she explained that “Money Monster” –written four years ago- indeed was neglected and eventually winded up in the waiting room.

The script at large was left unchanged, however, with minor revisions which are a natural process of bringing any scenario to life, Foster said.

The Oscar-winning actress also agreed to “Money Monster” being offbeat with the rest of the projects she directed.

However, Foster pointed out that the Wall Street thriller belongs to Hollywood more than any of her other works ever did.

She said that production focuses on launching an eye-catching film which brings in a large audience. All her previous movies were independent projects which targeted a limited audience, Foster added.

To begin with, it was clear to Foster that “Money Monster” was a screen-play meant for the majority of viewers, which is why it meant that it needed to be approached differently.

Despite all that being said, Foster still wanted for the movie to be smart in the fashion it views its content.

As for the acting part, Foster highlighted that Clooney and Roberts are exceptionally talented professionals to the craft, and lauded Jack O’Connell’s quick grasping attitude which met all that was demanded of him.

Foster also expressed that the cooperative aspect to the work effort played out big in defining the finish line and goal for the film.

George Clooney on Venice, Gravity and Superheroes

Actor George Clooney signs autographs for members of the public as he arrives for the screening of Gravity at the 70th edition of the Venice Film Festival held from Aug. 28 through Sept. 7, in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/David Azia)
Actor George Clooney signs autographs for members of the public as he arrives for the screening of Gravity at the 70th edition of the Venice Film Festival held from Aug. 28 through Sept. 7, in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/David Azia)
Venice, Asharq Al-Awsat—George Clooney seems to be very fond of his fans. He is even willing to delay his departure to take pictures and sign autographs. During the premier of his new film, Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, he even took the time to sign autographs along the 30-meter entrance to the venue, where more than three hundred fans had gathered. Not that he nor anyone watching him could count how many autographs he signed, but Clooney is not one to ignore an outstretched hand or a notebook. His signature is quick (and it has to be) and he uses his own pen, which he never leaves the house without.

When asked about this after the premier, during a party arranged by Warner Bros. celebrating the film, he smiled, as he always does before he speaks, and said: “I do it because I know the crowd is waiting for me. I couldn’t forgive myself if I ignore an extended hand or a photo someone wants sign. I can’t choose some and ignore others either!”

After asking what the interviewer thought of the film, Clooney discussed what drew him to the project. He said: “This time, I did not take the role of producer for this film. The project came to me two years ago and we’ve been preparing it since. I read the script and found it fantastic and agreed to participate without hesitation, although I play a supporting role. When filming began, I was relieved not to be in charge of producing. This time I was just acting and this comforted me.”

When asked what he liked about the script, he said: “I liked the new idea. A man and a woman trapped in space with no escape and their fate is inevitable. The idea of a space vehicle breaking down 600 kilometers away from the Earth is scary. I realized it would be an individual project, unlike anything done before. There are many great science fiction movies, and I expect this film to meet this standard and rise up to that level.”

Clooney’s previous forays into this genre also came up: “Yes, I was in another science fiction film over ten years ago, Solaris. It did not raise much praise because it was compared to Andre Tarkovsky’s original [from 1972]. Tarkovsky made one of the smartest science fiction films, no-one can deny that, but I also believed in our version and I think it was well done”

With regards to the Venice Film Festival itself, 2013 marks the fourth time Clooney has a film under consideration. His movie Burn After Reading was showcased at 2008’s festival, followed by The Men who Stare at Goats in 2009, and The Ides of March, directed by Clooney himself, in 2011. Venice itself is not far from Clooney’s home on the coast of Lake Como, north of Milan. When asked if he can speak Italian, he replied: “I am not fluent but I can communicate and understand.”

Asked why he returns to the Venice again and again, Clooney responded: “I like this festival because it is different than others in the way that it cares for and encourages art and creativity. I think it supports creativity more than any other festival and I feel I am a part of its recent history.”

When asked if he had a say in the selection of Gravity as the festival opener, he denied it, claiming: “I believe Alberto Barbera [Director of the festival] heard of the movie and asked to see it. He then chose it to kick off the festival.”

Clooney then answered a question regarding his friendship with fellow A-list actors Ben Affleck, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon and whether they ask for his advice regarding movie decisions. Clooney laughed and said: “Actually, Matt Damon called me yesterday to ask about the role of Robin in Batman vs. Superman. I told him Supergirl or Superboy, it doesn’t matter . . . you will find that it is not worth it!”

This interview was originally published in Arabic. It can be read here.

Anticipating the 38th Toronto International Film Festival

In this undated file photo released Wednesday Jan.23, 2013, by DreamWorks Studios, Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange,left, with Daniel Bruhl as Daniel Domscheit-Berg are seen during the filming of the WikiLeaks drama, "The Fifth Estate," in Reykjavik, Iceland. The Toronto International Film Festival in September, 2013, will open with the WikiLeaks drama “The Fifth Estate” (AP Photo/ Frank Connor, FILE)
In this undated file photo released Wednesday January 23, 2013, by DreamWorks Studios, Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange (L) and Daniel Bruhl as Daniel Domscheit-Berg are seen during the filming of the WikiLeaks drama “The Fifth Estate” in Reykjavik, Iceland. (AP Photo/ Frank Connor, FILE)

Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat—Audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will laugh when Woody Allen says “You Know, waitresses share tips” in John Turturro’s The Fading Gigolo. Allen, who plays a bookshop owner, says this to his only employee after receiving a large tip from an attractive woman played by Sharon Stone.

Allen—appearing at TIFF as an actor, and not in his more famous role as a a director—was added to the guest list of the 38th edition of the festival, which will open on September 5. The Fading Gigolo is one of the many divisive films that have been added to the busy line-up of the Canadian festival. While some think the TIFF represents the future of film festivals, others believe that a festival that does not have a judging panel is a strange phenomenon.

TIFF, or the “Festival of Festivals,” as some prefer to call it, used to attract the best of them films screened at festivals around the world, from Berlin, Hong Kong and Moscow to San Sebastian and Cannes. In doing so, the founders of the festival wanted to offer the Canadian audience the best international films in one place.

Eventually, the directors of the Toronto festival decided to welcome directors whose films had little chance of being screened elsewhere. This move made TIFF a chief competitor to Europe’s prestigious festivals, including the Venice Film Festival that usually opens only a days before Toronto.

Directors’ growing interest in TIFF comes down to both the fact that it guarantees a wider distribution for their films in North America, and that TIFF’s presence in the last quarter of the movie industry calendar helps increase the chances that films screened there will win major awards.

The Fifth Estate, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, will open this year’s TIFF.

The Canadian festival will close with the world premiere of Daniel Schechter’s Life of Crime, starring Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes and Mos Def. The movie, which is based on the novel The Switch by Elmore Leonard, tells the story of two criminals who kidnap a millionaire’s wife for ransom.

Other remarkable films will include Gravity by director Alfonso Cuarón. The techno-thriller features Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts fighting for life on a damaged spacecraft.

Other world premieres include Joel Hopkins’ Love Punch and The Railway Man, directed by Jonathan Leplitzky, in which Collin Firth stars as a man who was a British prisoner during the Second World War who later goes in pursuit of his captor.

Arab cinema will also feature in this year’s TIFF. Of note is Jehane Noujaim’s The Square, a documentary that centers on the events in Egypt on January 25, 2011. The Egyptian–American film director rose to fame for her documentary Control Room, which tackled the influence of the US Central Command on Al-Jazeera and other media organizations during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.