Hot Trailer: Guy Pearce & Robert Pattinson In ‘The Rover’

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 2:23pm PDT

The same day writer-director David Michôd’s anarchic thriller was picked for a Midnight Screening at Cannes, a new trailer has surfaced. Set in the Australian desert a decade after an economic meltdown, The Rover stars Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson as angry men on a mission to track down a gang of dudes who seriously wronged them. Scoot McNairy, David Field, Anthony Hayes, Gillian Jones and Susan Prior co-star. A24 picked it up last summer and will open the pic June 13 in LA and NYC, followed by a national release a week later. Check it out:

Related: Cannes Lineup Big Canadian Presence & Lots Of Female Helmers

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Sara Vahabi Upped To VP At Karen Fried & Associates

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 1:55pm PDT

Sara VahabiSara Vahabi, who worked on the Focus Features Oscar campaign for Dallas Buyers Club, has been promoted to VP at Los Angeles-based PR firm Karen Fried & Associates. Vahabi joined KFA in 2011 and has been part of the team that spearheaded campaigns that garnered a total of 18 Oscar noms. “With extensive experience both in Europe and the U.S., Sara brings the international strategic thinking necessary in an expanding global film market,” said Fried. “She speaks five languages and has worked and lived all over the globe which makes her even more valuable for clients’ specific needs today.” Vahabi has over 15 years of experience within special events and public relations and has collaborated on several international film campaigns. She moved to Los Angeles in 2001 to work for the Consulate General of Sweden, where she was in charge of promotional affairs with a focus on Swedish film. In 2008, she ran the Press Department at the Stockholm International Film Festival in her native Sweden. She also has handled publicity for films at Cannes, Palm Springs, Sundance and Toronto film festivals. Speaking five languages … wow.

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‘Gosnell’ Becomes Most-Funded Film To Date On Indiegogo

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 1:53pm PDT

GosnellGosnell has just become the most funded movie ever on Indiegogo after bowing less than three weeks ago, surpassing efforts by the likes of James Franco and Shemar Moore. Both Kevin Sorbo, who last starred in God’s Not Dead, and Nick Sercy (Justified) filmed videos in support of Gosnell‘s crowdsourcing campaign. “After Kevin Sorbo and his wife Sam and Nick Sercy (Justified) who released a video two days ago on YouTube we noticed huge spikes after those videos were released,” said producer Phelim McAleer. “I think it really shows that people really respect Hollywood celebrities who reflect their views and tell their stories. They were really crucial to the success so far.” The producers still have a long way to reach their goal of $2.1M. To date, the producers of the anticipated TV movie, McAleer and his wife Ann McElhinney have raised $907,460 to date and the total continues to climb. The record for a crowdsourcing campaign continues to be Veronica Mars on Kickstarter, which pulled in $5.7M after hoping to raise $2M for the film. In comparison, Franco collected $327,929 for Palo Alto Stories on a goal of $500,000 falling short and Moore raised $638,983 on a goal of $500,000 for the romantic comedy The Bounce Back. Read More »

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Lionsgate And Summit Combining Film Marketing Teams; Summit’s Nancy Kirkpatrick Out

palen kirkpatrickLionsgate is the latest studio to shake up its marketing operations, saying today it is combining operations under Chief Marketing Officer Tim Palen that will give him oversight of film marketing for Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment product as well as its Pantelion Films joint venture with Televisa and urban Codeblack Films label. With the consolidation, Summit’s president of worldwide marketing Nancy Kirkpatrick is resigning at month’s end (although she doesn’t appear to be in her office now). As the company streamlines its operations — it currently releases about 12 to 15 movies a year now — the question is if others might follow Kirkpatrick out the door.

Kirkpatrick, who is well-regarded, ends her tenure after shepherding the marketing efforts for all five Twilight Saga films as well as the recent launch of the first pic in the Divergent franchise, which bowed last month with a $56.4 million opening weekend and has grossed $175M-plus to date worldwide. Draft Day was the last picture to open and it didn’t do well, grossing only $9.7M this past weekend, but the last three Kevin Costner film openings have been soft.

Lionsgate_newlogo__130418225246-200x107“Nancy has done a great job and has been an important part of this company,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chair Rob Friedman, “And Tim has done an amazing job and has great relationships with both staffs.” One source noted that the word ‘integration’ has been talked about for awhile in the hallways of Lionsgate and Summit.

In fact, one of the biggest question marks since Lionsgate merged with Summit in 2012 was what would happen to their two veteran marketing heads. Eventually, Lionsgate’s Palen was given a new long-term deal to remain Chief Marketing Officer and it was decided Summit’s Kirkpatrick would continue in her role separately since the two entities had their own big slates to shepherd. As part of that structure, Palen was tasked with overseeing all of Lionsgate Films’ North American theatrical marketing campaigns and strategy, media, creative advertising and digital media initiatives as well as continuing to supervise the company’s corporate branding activities — he oversaw the marketing campaign for Lionsgate’s signature franchise The Hunger Games while Kilpatrick guided Twilight pics. As part of today’s moves, Palen now has expanded responsibilities for merchandising, theme park attractions and new business opportunities generated by the company’s franchises. He joined Lionsgate in 2002 as VP Theatrical Marketing. Read More »

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Caleb Landry Jones In Talks For Gay Rights Pic ‘Stonewall’

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 1:10pm PDT

Caleb Landry Jones StonewallEXCLUSIVE: Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class, Antiviral) is in negotiations to join the cast of Roland Emmerich‘s Stonewall, about the 1969 Greenwich Village raid on the Stonewall Inn that became a flashpoint for the gay rights movement. War Horse‘s Jeremy Irvine was set earlier this month to lead the cast as Danny, a young man who experiences a political awakening during the riots. Jones will play an eccentric gay street hustler named Orphan Annie who at first resists then warms up to Danny and later participates in the Stonewall uprising. Jon Robin Baitz scripted the Centropolis Films production, which Michael Fossat, Marc Frydman, and Emmerich are producing. Kirstin Winkler and Adam Press are aboard as executive producers. Read More »

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Cannes Film Festival: Could This Year’s Croisette Lineup Of Big Names And Academy Favorites Lead All The Way To Oscar?

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 12:50pm PDT
Pete Hammond

So what does today’s announcement of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival lineup mean for Oscar?

Who knows except that out of competition entry How To Train Your Dragon 2 will almost certainly be nominated Cannes2014_badgefor Best Animated Feature. Other than that we will have to wait and see until we actually view the films in Cannes next month. But there are good omens in this lineup (which could still see one or two more titles added) if you look at the impressive group of actors represented in these films:  Oscar winners Tommy Lee Jones (who directs the competition entry The Homesman), Meryl Streep, Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, and director Michel Hazanivicius are among the prominent names and past nominees like Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Jessica Chastain, Hailee Steinfeld, Berenice Bejo, Ryan Gosling (who is making his directorial debut) are also represented.

31f3755aebf03843615001f677fab8b5My colleague Nancy Tartaglione did a great job predicting who would make — or not make — the cut and wrote an exhaustive overview earlier. Now it’s time to look at the awards implications outside of those that will be handed out May 24th at the Palais. I look at Cannes as a soft start to Hollywood’s awards season. There’s no question of its importance as the granddaddy of all film fests and as a key worldwide launch for a movie that has got the goods, but in the end the May date scares off some distributors who, by launching their fall Oscar hopefuls on the Croisette may feel it ultimately hurts their chances — and more importantly their momentum.

Cannes Lineup 2014 Oscar SeasonThat’s no doubt a key reason Warner Bros chose to hold back past Cannes competitor and favorite Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice and Fox Searchlight did the same with Alexander Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman even apart from the usual reasons that they may not “be ready.” Last year Paramount decided at the last minute to take Alexander Payne’s Nebraska to Cannes even though he initially favored more postproduction time. Payne had competed once before with About Schmidt, headed the Un Certain Regard jury, and served on the main competition jury so he was a favorite of Cannes’ chief programmer Thierry Fremaux. The film ended up winning Best Actor for Bruce Dern but after Cannes the director “tinkered” with it and made it tighter before hitting the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day with his final cut. It went on to win six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Director and Actor after finally opening November 15 (it didn’t win any Oscars, though). It’s not the first time a filmmaker has made changes after their film was shown to the world’s press and reviewed in Cannes. The growing feeling among distributors is it is best to wait until the movie is really locked before risking exposure at this most visible of all festivals. Read More »

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Sony Buys Lauryn Kahn Spec ‘I’m In Love With The DJ’ For Gary Sanchez

Mike Fleming

laurynEXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures has made a pre-emptive deal for I’m In Love With The DJ, a romantic comedy spec by Lauryn Kahn that will be produced by Gary Sanchez’s Adam McKay, Will Ferrell and Kevin Messick. Deal comes right after Gary Sanchez made a Sony deal for Border Guards, a comedy that will star Ferrell and John C. Reilly, with McKay directing.

The new deal is for an R-rated comedy is about a girl whose two best friends tag along on her work trip to Spain that quickly turns into a crazy hunt for a hot DJ through the electronic dance music scene. Kahn is the young writer who, after spending four years as McKay’s assistant and honing her writing skills scripting, performing and directing numerous shorts for the Funny Or Die, sold the script He’s Fuckin’ Perfect to Fox 2000 for $1 million against $1.5 million. That film, now titled The Social Life, moved to Universal with Jake Syzmanski directing Amanda Seyfried and Rebel Wilson, with Gary Sanchez producing. Read More »

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CW Sets Summer Slate, Premiere Dates

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 12:25pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The CW logoThe CW has unveiled its summer schedule, which includes originals on all five nights the network programs. That includes the reboot of Whose Line Is It Anyway? which originally launched last summer, now moving to a new night, Mondays. It will be joined by original episodes of Beauty And The Beast, which has been benched for the rest of the season; two new scripted offerings, Canadian comedy Seed and web-to-TV comedy Backpackers; docu-reality series Famous In 12; and two magic series, Penn & Teller: Fool Us and a Masters Of Illusion revival. Here is the CW summer schedule with premiere dates and descriptions of the new series: Read More »

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Al Jazeera America To Air Docu On Low-Income Living In U.S. From Producers Of ‘Hoop Dreams’, ‘Life Itself,’ ‘New Americans,’ ‘Trials Of Muhammad Ali’

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 12:20pm PDT

CNN isn’t the only cable news networkaljazeeralogo2 going in for documentary series. Al Jazeera America today announced its latest collaboration –  with Kartemquin Films on Hard Earned, a six-part documentary series exploring low-income life in America. Hard Earned is being executive produced by Kartemquin’s Steve James, Gordon Quinn, and Justine Nagan, who were responsible for Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, The Trials of Muhammad Ali and recent Sundance hit Life Itself, among other documentaries.

Five stories, set in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, and two in the Chicago area, will be intertwined into six one-hour episodes. The series will shed more light on an ever-growing sector of the American workforce. “Low wage jobs are the fastest growing sector of employment in the American economy,” says executive producer Steve James. Kartemquin’s previous multi-part series, The New Americans, a seven-hour series on immigration produced for PBS in 2004, was an International Documentary Association award-winner for Best Limited Series. Al Jazeera America is available in more than 51 million homes in the U.S. on Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, Dish Network and Verizon FiOS.

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MPI & Elijah Wood’s SpectreVision Pact On Swedish Sci-Fi Thriller ‘LFO’: Video

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 12:17pm PDT

lfoMPI Media Group’s Dark Sky Films banner is setting a fall 2014 theatrical release for LFO, a sci-fi comic thriller from Swedish helmer Antonio Tublen. MPI acquired all U.S. and international sales on the pic about a man (Patrik Karlson) who discovers he can hypnotize people with sound and starts experimenting on his neighbors (Izabella Jo Tschig, Per Löfberg) with his newfound analog power. Tublen wrote and directed the film which screened at Austin’s Fantastic Fest, where Elijah Wood and his SpectreVision partners caught it. They programmed it at their own L.A. festival and have come aboard to present LFO with Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller serving as exec producers. “One of the reasons we started this company was to get behind great new genre films that deserve to be discovered by broader audiences. This is a subversive, funny and deeply unnerving low-techno thriller we’re proud to present,” said Wood. MPI’s Nicola Goelzhaeuser negotiated the deal with Alexander Brøndsted, producer and president of PingPongFilm. MPI will also be presenting LFO in Cannes. Here’s the trailer with English subtitles:

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Bret Harrison, Aaron McCusker Join ABC’s ‘The Astronaut Wives Club’; Daniel London In WGN’s ‘Manhattan’

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 12:14pm PDT

UPDATED: Bret Harrison aaron2bretharrison1(Orange County) and Aaron McCusker (Shameless, Dexter) have been cast as series regulars in ABC’s 10-episode drama series The Astronaut Wives Club, from Fake Empire, Groundswell Productions and ABC Studios, eyed for 2015. Written by Stephanie Savage based on Lily Koppel’s book and directed by Nick Cassavetes, it tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history during the height of the space race. Harrison will play Gordon “Gordo” Cooper, one of the original astronauts. His wandering ways pushed his wife, Trudy, to the brink of divorce, but he’s convinced her to come back so he can have his shot at space. McCusker, repped by UK’s Curtis Brown and Kritzer Levine Wilkins Griffin Nilon Entertainment, will play Wally Schirra, another one of the original astronauts who’s also a prankster.
Read More »

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Hot Tribeca Trailer: ‘Garnet’s Gold’ From Docu Meister Simon Chinn

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 12:11pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Ed Perkins’ documentary Garnet’s Gold has some serious pedigree — it’s from producer Simon Chinn, who won Best Documentary Feature Oscars for James Marsh’s Man On Wire in 2009 and for Searching For Sugar Man in 2013. Both of those riviting docus scored because of their laser focus on what made their subjects tick. That is the plan here with Garnet’s Gold, which has its world premiere tomorrow at the Tribeca Film Festival. The pic tells the story of Garnet Frost, who, 20 years ago, nearly died hiking by Scotland’s Loch Arkaig, surviving by sheer chance. His brush with death has lingered with him for years, particularly the wooden staff he discovered right before he was rescued. After much research, Garnet is convinced the staff is actually a marker for a fortune hidden nearly 300 years ago, and he returns to the wilderness in search of it. Of course he ends up searching for much more than just gold. Check out the trailer here:

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Fox News Signs Chris Wallace To New Contract

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 11:50am PDT

0_61_wallace_chris_320Per terms of his new multiyear deal, the veteran newsman will continue as anchor and moderator of Fox News Sunday. Since joining Fox News Channel in 2003, Chris Wallace has served as moderator of the one-hour public affairs program presented on the Fox Broadcasting Co. and replayed on FNC. He also has  contributed to FNC’s political and election coverage. This year marks Wallace’s 50th year in the broadcasting industry; he began his TV career at 16 as a gofer for Walter Cronkite at the 1964 Republican National Convention. Read More »

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A&E Greenlights Reality Series ‘D.O.A.’ From Dick Wolf

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 11:45am PDT

A&E logo1A&E Network has given the green light to unscripted series D.O.A. (working title) from Law & Order executive producer Dick Wolf and Left/Right Productions. The series follows an elite team of detectives who will re-examine controversial murder cases in which unresolved questions linger long after the verdict. Production begins this spring on eight hour-long episodes. The team includes Chicago homicide detective Michelle Wood, Miami PD detective Joe Schillaci, and retired NYPD detective and supervisor and Kevin “Spider” Gannon. The three will begin their investigation at a reconstructed crime scene and work the case interviewing first-person players and forensic specialists. The question is whether they agree with the original verdict or if the wrong person is behind bars. This marks the latest reality play for Wolf, who has also cracked the reality space with TNT hit Cold Justice, which wrapped its second season last month. The network in February ordered six more episodes to air this summer. Wolf’s Law & Order: SVU, the longest-running drama series currently on TV, is now in its 15th season.

Related: Could It Be Curtains For The ‘Law & Order’ Franchise This Season With End For ‘SVU’?

Read More »

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UTA Signs WattPad’s Breakout Novel ‘After’

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 11:40am PDT
Mike Fleming

After Wattpad UTA HollywoodEXCLUSIVE: UTA has signed to represent screen rights for After, a serialized story by Anna Todd that has become the most followed literary property published by Wattpad, an online community in which writers tell stories chapter by chapter. According to Wattpad general manager Candice Faktor, the three-part series After has been clicked on by more than 500 million.

utaFactor described the site as “a writer and reader community to collaborate and share nonfiction, fiction and fan fiction. It is a mobile experience that is very social and where writers establish a personal connection with their audience.” The site launched seven years ago and has built to 22 million monthly users, 80% of whom access the site on mobile devices. The company recently raised $46 million in Series C funding.

Agencies usually rep works from traditional publishers, but the priority in Hollywood is to find rabid followings that warrant screen adaptations. For Wattpad, After is the closest thing the site has experienced to Fifty Shades Of Grey, which began in similar fashion as fan fiction before it became a massive global bestseller and an upcoming Universal/Focus feature for author E.L. James. The way Faktor describes it, After sounds like a close cousin, without the S&M. “A happy, optimistic young girl falls in love with a guy with a dark side that is addictive, and their relationship is a rollercoaster ride,” Faktor said. Read More »

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Live-Action Anime Adaptation ‘Kite’ Starring Samuel L. Jackson Acquired By Anchor Bay

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 11:24am PDT

Kite live action movieAnchor Bay has taken U.S. and Canadian rights to Kite, the live-action adaptation of Yasuomi Umetsu’s cult Japanese anime about a schoolgirl assassin hunting down the human traffickers she believes are responsible for her parents’ death. India Eisley (Underworld: Awakening) stars as the young and lethal Sawa opposite Samuel L. Jackson as Inspector Karl Aker, a renegade cop and the ex-partner of Sawa’s father, who firmly believes to succeed he has to take the law into his own hands. Callan McAuliffe (Underworld, I am Number Four) co-stars as Oburi. South African director Ralph Ziman took over the helm from the late David R. Ellis last year and scripted the picture himself.

Related: Cannes: Weinstein Co. Flies With ‘Kite’

The original anime was known for its extreme violence, nudity, and sexuality, including controversial scenes of rape that got Umetsu’s Kite banned in some countries. The live-action Kite is produced by Anant Singh and Distant Horizon’s Brian Cox. Moises Cosio and Alberto Muffelmann of Detalle are exec producers. Anchor Bay’s deal covers theatrical, home entertainment, digital and VOD rights while Weinstein Co. took international last year out of Cannes. Singh negotiated the deal with Alan Grodin of Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman Grodin for Distant Horizon.

Here’s a Kite trailer with an intro by Jackson that hit the web in January: Read More »

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UPDATE: ESPN Can Generate Steady Profit Growth Through 2016 CFO Tells Wall Street

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 11:06am PDT

espnUPDATED: Following CEO Bob Iger’s lead,  Disney CFO Jay Rasulo won’t break out financial numbers for ESPN. But he strongly hints that its financial prospects are rosy by offering a few projections for Disney’s cable networks, which are dominated by ESPN. He tells investors to expect high single digit annual growth in revenues from pay TV distributors through 2016, and a similar growth rate for operating income. He’s confident about these projections because Disney has programming deals with eight of the 10 largest pay TV distributors, with the remaining two due by year end. In addition, most of its contracts with sports leagues last for years. The company won’t project ad sales but says ESPN has strong pricing power.

PREVIOUS, 11:06 AM: Disney’s dumping a lot of data about ESPN this afternoon to ease Wall Street fears that the company’s cash cow could face leaner times due its rising costs and new competition from channels led by Fox Sports 1. CEO Bob Iger kicked off today’s investor meeting in Bristol, Conn vowing that he’s going to continue to invest” in ESPN which he sees as core to his strategy to build brands and franchises. Disney doesn’t break out financial numbers for the channel, but he noted that the company’s pay TV networks account for 32% of its revenues — and 56% of its operating income. President John Skipper and other ESPN execs Read More »

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Fox Buys Pitch For Its ‘Chronicle’ And ‘Fantastic Four’ Star Michael B. Jordan

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Fox has closed a deal for Men Who Kill, a pitch 2014 CinemaCon - The Big Screen Achievement Awardsby T.J. Fixman that will be developed as a star vehicle for fast-rising Michael B. Jordan. The tone of the film is an international Bad Boys and it gives the studio another project with Jordan, who comes off his breakout role in Fruitvale Station and heads into the Fantastic Four reboot after previously starring in the Fox sleeper Chronicle.

20th_century_fox_logoAfter starring as a teen in the iconic TV series The Wire and Friday Night Lights, Jordan is making the transition to adulthood among a handful of young actors vying to be in the next generation of bankable leading men. This is the first action thriller vehicle being developed specifically for Jordan, who is separately attached to play Apollo Creed’s grandson in a new version of Rocky that will re-team him with Fruitvale Station writer-director Ryan Coogler. Read More »

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Gravitas Snags ‘I Am I’ Starring Jocelyn Towne & ‘Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 10:47am PDT

i am iGravitas Ventures has acquired drama I Am I starring Jocelyn Towne, Big Bang Theory‘s Simon Helberg, Kevin Tighe, Jason Ritter, and James Morrison. Towne makes her directorial debut with the pic, which she also wrote, about a woman (Towne) who meets her estranged father at her mother’s funeral. Realizing he suffers from memory loss and thinks he’s still a young man she pretends to be her mother to get to know him. Towne and Co. raised over $100K on Kickstarter for the project, which is produced by Jennifer Dubin and Cora Olson for Present Pictures and executive produced by Towne and Helberg. The married collaborators premiered their second film together, We’ll Never Have Paris, at SXSW while producers Dubin and Olson have Chris Denham’s Preservation debuting this month at Tribeca. Gravitas is plotting a June 13 NY/LA theatrical release preceded by a digital release via Vimeo On Demand May 13. Gravitas’ Melanie Miller and Nolan Gallagher negotiated the deal with Dubin and Olson from Present Pictures on behalf of the filmmakers.

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