Last month’s Oscars represented a breakthrough — not only for the diversity of winners, but for a larger idea that has been gaining momentum in recent years: that mass entertainment and deeper social messages are not mutually exclusive, but rather an opportunity for Hollywood to do well and do good at the same time.
The extraordinary range of winning films, which addressed themes of racism to social class to sexual identity, put a spotlight on the growing desire of large audiences to grapple with — and in many cases influence — some of the world’s most thorny issues. Winners and nominees like “Green Book,” “Roma,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “The Wife,” “BlackKklansman,” “Vice” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” show us that in a world of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” people are hungering for more reality.
“The State of Social Impact Entertainment” (SIE), released on March 5, is a landmark report that explores this emergent field in depth, examining what actually works to capture and engage audiences in this noisy and mobile age; why social impact entertainment’s financial potential keeps growing; and how creators can learn from the successes and failures of others.
SIE comes in many forms. From digital short form to feature films, TV series, plays and virtual reality, the increasing diversity of media gives social conscious creators great flexibility to tell their stories in ways that maximize engagement and impact with target audiences. Of course, good intentions are not enough — a great story is still of paramount importance. And so is building strong and early partnerships with leaders, organizations and communities to enable organic support for a project to grow and flourish. After all, buzz drives distribution, especially in the age of social media.
In the run-up to the Oscars, I was struck by a February 12 essay by Carvell Wallace in The New York Times Magazine, anticipating the opening night of Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther,” for which Wallace bought eight tickets “as soon as they were available — the first time in my life I’ve done that.” He added, “Beyond the question of what the movie will bring to African-Americans sits what might be a more important question: What will black people bring to ‘Black Panther’? The film arrives as a corporate product, but we are using it for our own purposes….”
That’s the promise, potential and power of social impact entertainment — to engage audiences in larger ideas, and empower them to translate emotions into actions in the world around them. As Leonardo DiCaprio — himself a champion of SIE — writes, “you want to make sure that your audience walks away with a clear understanding of the steps they can take in their own lives to be part of the change you are seeking to create.”
Of course, there is no formula for success in SIE. As “The State of SIE” reveals, however, there are approaches that tend to yield greater dividends. Ultimately, this report is intended as a guidebook for current and future industry leaders and storytellers who want to engage others in addressing issues that are too complex for any single person to solve. And for those hoping to make a difference in this world, the spotlight has never been brighter.
Tonight, in her first go-round at the Oscars, Hannah Beachler took home the statuette for Best Production Design, for her contributions to Ryan Coogler’s Marvel phenomenon, Black Panther.
Visibly stunned as she appeared on stage, and later in the…
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Former WME partner Charles D. King’s media company MACRO has signed a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures, it was announced on Wednesday.
King, along with Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich and the studio’s president of production and development Courtenay Valenti, made the announcement.
“We are thrilled to join forces with Warner Bros. Pictures and their visionary leadership team whose bold choices have led to some of our industry’s most successful and impactful films,” King said in a statement. “This expertise, combined with WarnerMedia and AT&T’s global assets and distribution, offers MACRO an unparalleled opportunity to expand our reach and further our mission of identifying and producing authentic stories by and about people of color.”
Under the terms of the deal, Warner Bros. will have a first look on all projects MACRO intends to develop or package as feature films. The studio will also have the option to co-finance these projects alongside MACRO, and will handle global distribution of these releases.
Earlier this week, King set up MACRO’s co-production with Ryan Coogler called “Jesus Was My Homeboy” about iconic black activist, revolutionary and Black Panther Party member Fred Hampton at Warner Bros.
MACRO develops, produces and finances film, TV and digital content that seeks to reflect more accurate portrayals of people of color. King launched the company in 2015, and since then MACRO films have received nine Oscar nominations.
MACRO produced and co-financed the critically-acclaimed “Mudbound,” the highest sale at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, which garnered four Oscar nominations. The company also executive-produced and co-financed Denzel Washington’s “Fences,” which also received four nominations, including Best Picture. Last year’s critical hit, Boots Riley’s “Sorry to Bother You,” starring Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson, was also produced and co-financed by the company.
“In just a short period of time, Charles and MACRO have helped redefine representation in feature films,” Emmerich and Valenti said in a joint statement. “They have an incredible track record, and we’re looking forward to working with them to produce films that highlight the authenticity and importance of diversity.”
MACRO most recently signed on as a co-financier and Charles D. King as an executive producer for Warner Bros.’s “Just Mercy,” starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson. The film is a true story and follows world-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson as he recounts his experiences and details the case of a condemned death row prisoner whom he fought to free.
MACRO’s upcoming projects include “Tigertail,” which is currently in post-production at Netflix. The Alan Yang-helmed drama, produced by MACRO, touches on themes of regret, longing, passion and repression while spanning continents and generations, from 1950’s Taiwan to present-day New York City. The company also has numerous television projects in various stages of production, including “Raising Dion,” also at Netflix.
The first-look deal was negotiated for MACRO by Hansen Jacobson Teller & Hoberman, as well as Latham & Watkins.
Ryan Coogler has teamed up with Charles D. King’s Macro, the production company behind “Fences,” “Mudbound” and “Sorry to Bother You,” to produce a film about iconic black activist, revolutionary and Black Panther Party member Fred Hampton.
The film, titled “Jesus Was My Homeboy,” has been set up at Warner Bros, with Shaka King (“Newlyweeds”) on board to direct and produce from a script he wrote with Will Berson (“Sea Oak”).
“Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya is in talks to star as Hampton, with fellow “Get Out” actor and “Sorry to Bother You” star Lakeith Stanfield in talks to play William O’Neal, who was enlisted by the FBI to betray Hampton.
“Jesus Was My Homeboy” will follow the rise and untimely death of Hampton through the eyes of the man who betrayed him, O’Neal. The film will explore how the FBI infiltrated one of the most iconic resistant groups in American history, the psychology of their informant and the assassination of a young political leader who died at the age of only 21.
Executive producers are Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler and Macro’s Kim Roth and Poppy Hanks.
Hampton was a respected grass-roots civil rights activist who rose to chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party and deputy chairman of the national BPP. The FBI ultimately marked him a threat and in 1969, Hampton and fellow Panther Mark Clark were killed during a raid by a tactical unit carrying out orders from the Chicago Police Department and the FBI. O’Neal was the man who provided the FBI with detailed plans of Hampton’s apartment.
Hampton and Clark’s deaths were initially ruled justifiable homicides and the police claimed the Panthers had initiated hostilities, but a number of investigations pointed to state-sponsored assassination and subsequent civil lawsuits led to settlements by law enforcement and Illinois’ Cook County.
Kaluuya, who recently starred in Steve McQueen’s “Widows,” is currently filming Melina Matsoukas’s “Queen and Slim” for Universal. The film, which counts Lena Waithe as a producer, follows a couple on a first date that takes an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over.
Stanfield recently shot Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out”alongside Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Toni Collette and Michael Shannon for Lionsgate.
Coogler is producing Warner Bros’s upcoming “Space Jam” sequel, as well as preparing to write and direct the sequel to Marvel’s “Black Panther.” And Macro’s upcoming slate includes two Netflix projects, a series “Raising Dion” and the film “Tigertail.”
EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a hot one. Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and Charles D. King’s MACRO (Mudbound) are producing movie Jesus Was My Homeboy, about iconic Black Panther Party member Fred Hampton, for Warner Bros.
Get Out’s Daniel …
Marvel’s “Black Panther” scored 15 NAACP Image Awards nominations between the film categories and the recording categories for its soundtrack featuring Kendrick Lamar, while the ABC show “Black-ish” created by Kenya Barris scored nine nominations.
The full list of nominations for the 50th annual awards were announced Wednesday by NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson, and Alfred Liggins, chairman and CEO for TV One. The winners will be revealed during the live special airing on TV One on Mar. 30.
Childish Gambino and his song “This is America” also scored three nominations, and Netflix and HBO led in the television categories with 22 and 20 nominations respectively. Marvel led in the film categories with 13 nominations.
This year’s nominees for the NAACP Entertainer of the Year are Beyoncé, Chadwick Boseman, LeBron James, Regina King and Ryan Coogler. Ava DuVernay and Dwayne Johnson are the two most recent recipients of Entertainer of the Year in 2018 and 2017, respectively. Voting is now open to the public by visiting the NAACP Image Awards website.
Rep. Maxine Waters will also be honored with the NAACP Chairman’s Award in recognition of individuals who demonstrate exemplary public service and use their distinct platforms to create agents of change. Leon W. Russell, chairman of the NAACP national board of directors, will present Waters with the award.
The 50th NAACP Image Awards production team includes executive producers Reginald Hudlin and Phil Gurin; Director, Tony McCuin; Co-Executive Producer, Byron Phillips; Producer, Robin Reinhardt; and Executive in Charge of Production, Rachel Frimer.
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After Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther took the SAG Awards’ Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture trophy Sunday, they hit backstage at the Shrine Auditorium and were asked about the sequel to the $1.45 billion mega-hit.
Black Panther, the superhero adventure from Disney’s Marvel Studio that transcended the genre to become both a major cultural moment and 2018’s top-grossing domestic release, today became the first superhero film to earn an Oscar nomination…
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“Black Panther” filmmaker Ryan Coogler will lead a keynote conversation as part of a new program to be held at Sundance called the Talent Forum, the Sundance Institute announced Tuesday.
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Debbie Berman brought Marvel superhero experience to the table. Michael Shawver contributed his longstanding relationship with director Ryan Coogler. Together, the duo edited “Black Panther,” a cultural phenomenon, critical success and, oh, one of the …
Before the game-changing Black Panther, visual effects supervisor Geoffrey Baumann had worked on a number of Marvel projects, supervising computer graphics and second unit work before earning his current title in this domain. A BAFTA nominee this year,…
Chadwick Boseman was just as surprised as anyone when the smash commercial and critical success of “Black Panther” turned into serious Oscar buzz months after its release. “You don’t make a movie that comes out in February,” he said, “and automatically think about awards.”
No, you don’t. Since “The Silence of the Lambs” won the Best Picture Oscar after being released on Valentine’s Day 1991, only one other February release has even been nominated for the top award: “Get Out,” which turned the trick last year. And no comic-book movie or Marvel movie has done it in that time, either. But “Black Panther,” directed by Ryan Coogler, in short order became a critical favorite, a smash hit, a cultural landmark and, yes, a genuine awards contender.
Although the film is filled with strong female characters, at heart it is a showdown between Boseman as T’Challa, the leader of the secluded African nation of Wakanda and a man who has special powers as the Black Panther, and Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, T’Challa’s cousin, who was raised in the United States and wants to use Wakanda’s sophisticated weaponry to create a black uprising around the globe.
While the two actors have both appeared in previous Marvel movies — Boseman as Black Panther in “Captain America: Civil War,” Jordan as the Human Torch in “Fantastic Four” — they are better known for a string of exceptional performances in standout dramas: Boseman as Jackie Robinson in “42,” James Brown in “Get on Up” and Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall,” Jordan in the lead roles in Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed.” “Black Panther” marks the first time they’ve appeared on screen together — although they did have a close call on an unexpected show many years ago, which we got into in this conversation.
You’ve both done Marvel movies before this. What changes when you put Ryan Coogler behind the camera?
MICHAEL B. JORDAN It’s different for me, because I have such a personal relationship with him and such a connection with him over the years. But I feel like there’s a certain unapologetic nature to him. He’s extremely grounded and real. His filter for cheese is so strong that you only get realness out of every moment, you know? It has to be extremely authentic.
CHADWICK BOSEMAN Yep. And fundamentally, he has a lot of patience, and a very broad bandwidth for pressure. He’s willing to make the higher-ups feel uncomfortable to get something that he wants. There’s not a lot of people who can deal with that, who can say, “OK, I know what you’re saying, but here’s what we need to do right now.” ‘Cause he’s sure that this cave that he’s mining has gold or diamonds in there, and he’s not gonna stop just because you think we got it. He’s still using all the resources and all of the wisdom that people bring to the table, because there’s a lot of great people around who’ve been doing these jobs on a lot of movies. And he’s willing to soak up a lot of that and learn. But what he knows, he knows.
When the African American Film Critics gave “Black Panther” its top award, the citation said the movie “changed the culture and became a defining moment for black America.” Did you feel that?
JORDAN It’s so hard when you’re making a film to feel the impact. But when we were making it, we did know that we can’t mess this one up. We knew it had a lot riding on it. Not for the sake of attention or getting praise for the project, we just knew what it meant for a lot of people.
Even now, it’s early to really say what the impact is going to be. But I feel like it’s made an impact on representation, on kids able to see themselves on screen in a bigger-than-life, powerful type of way.
BOSEMAN That speaks to the work we put into it, but it also speaks to the void in Hollywood for all these years. This is an anomaly, you know what I’m saying? It’s not like things have not been building to this point before, because there’s a lot of great, quality work that’s been done over the years — and especially in the last few years, this has been building. But it speaks to the void, that over the years Hollywood has not put its resources behind movies like this.
You’ve both gotten great roles in the last few years. But did you feel that void when you were coming up, and did it limit the roles that were available to you?
BOSEMAN Yes. Like, yes. My manifesto has always been to do things that help break barriers in any way I can. How do I break a barrier with this role? What can I bring to the table that’s different? That’s my manifesto. As an African American artist, and filmmaker, actor, that’s my goal literally every time. And I feel blessed to be living in a time period where we can have a “Creed,” where we can have a “Black Panther,” where we can have a “Get Out.” We can have these things where you think, “Oh shoot, that’s fresh.” And it’s not completely changed, still — I have to say that.
JORDAN We’re celebrating the progress, but we still understand that we can’t bask in it. We have to keep pushing. For me growing up in the industry, I’ve been extremely blessed to play characters that no matter how stereotypical they were on the page, somehow when it got to the screen or on the TV set it somehow didn’t feel like it.
When you were coming up, didn’t you both play the same role on the soap opera “All My Children,” and didn’t you both have a problem with how stereotypical it was?
JORDAN [Laughs] This is the first time anyone has ever asked about that! We’ve done this so much, and you’re the guy, you’re the one.
BOSEMAN I knew it was gonna happen today!
JORDAN You did? Oh, man!
BOSEMAN I was like, “There’s no way in the world it’s not happening today.”
JORDAN That’s funny. [to Boseman] Hey, man, you had [the character] first. What’s up?
BOSEMAN [Laughs] It’s one of those things where you get a role, and you don’t really know. When I got it, I was like, “This is not part of my manifesto. This is not what I want to do. How can I make it work?” Because with a soap opera, they don’t always know where the character is going, so there’s possibly room for me to adjust this and change it and make it so, as you said, it’s stereotypical on the page but not on the screen. I remember thinking, “Do I say something to them about this, or do I just do it?” And I couldn’t just do it. I had to voice my opinions. And the good thing about it was, it changed it a little bit for [Jordan, who replaced him in the role]. They said, “You are too much trouble,” but they took my suggestions, or some of them. And for me, honestly that’s what this is about.
JORDAN It’s so wild to hear you say that. I’m younger than Chad, and I was coming into “All My Children” fresh off “The Wire” — wide open, still learning. I was playing this role not knowing that a lot of the things I was going through were because of what he’d already done for me.
It’s hard to speak in the moment about how things we do can affect other people. But this is a pure example, right here on the spot — we ain’t never talked about this before a day in our lives — to understand how what people do now can directly affect what other people do in the future. And the work that we’re doing on “Black Panther” is hopefully doing the same thing for the next group of actors that are coming up, just like our predecessors opened up doors and made things easier for us.
BOSEMAN The stories that I’ve heard from Jamie Foxx or Denzel Washington, you go, “Oh, shoot, I didn’t have to deal with that.” As an artist, you educate the people you work with — producers, casting directors — so when they deal with the next person it’s not the same preconceived notions, it’s not the same pitfalls. That was set up for us by Sidney Poitier and Denzel and Laurence Fishburne and Sam Jackson and Don Cheadle, and we’re still doing that same thing every time we do a film. And we’re educating our audiences. Audiences all have to be taught to see stuff in a different way. All of this is part of that broadening of people’s bandwidth.
Even beyond what it means for representation and opportunity in Hollywood, “Black Panther” is a movie that talks about sealing off the borders or interacting with the world. You can’t watch it and not think of what’s happening today politically.
JORDAN We shot it way before all of that. People try to connect the two, but in all honesty we created this before that was even a thing.
BOSEMAN It’s part of the comic book. In [writer] Christopher Priest’s versions of the comic book, he’s playing on the independence of South Africa, on [Nelson] Mandela’s decisions of whether he should keep the border open or close the border. Obviously, he decided to keep the borders open. So they had that same argument in Wakanda in the comic book, and it just so happened that this thing that was done years ago was still topical when we did the movie.
JORDAN Now, if people want to use that as motivation or a teaching tool or a lesson — “This is how things should be done as opposed to how they are being done” — so be it.
BOSEMAN It was written before Trump was ever president, but the decision to keep it in the movie is where the courage and the political thinking came in. Here’s the thing: When they do a Marvel movie, there is an expectation of having a certain amount of profit, whether that profit is going to be $5,000 or $1 billion.
JORDAN And to keep that in knowing it’s going to be compared to Trump and it could affect that profit…
BOSEMAN You gotta give the studio credit for that. You gotta give Ryan credit for that.
JORDAN One thousand percent.
To read more of the Oscars Nominations Preview issue, click here.
The Directors Guild of America has nominated Bradley Cooper, Alfonso Cuarón, Peter Farrelly, Spike Lee and Adam McKay as the best directors in the feature film category of 2018 in the Directors Guild Awards announced on Tuesday.
Cooper was nominated for “A Star Is Born,” Cuarón for “Roma,” Farrelly for “Green Book,” Lee for “BlacKkKlansman” and McKay for “Vice.”
Lee is only the fifth black director nominated for the award. All of those nominations have come in the last decade, starting with Lee Daniels in 2010 and including Steve McQueen in 2014, Barry Jenkins in 2017 and Jordan Peele in 2018.
“Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler was considered likely to land a DGA nomination as well, but he was bypassed by voters. So were directors Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”), Barry Jenkins (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) and Damien Chazelle (“First Man”).
“BlacKkKlansman” and “A Star Is Born” are now the only 2018 films to receive nominations from the Directors Guild, Writers Guild and Producers Guild, plus a Screen Actors Guild nomination for ensemble acting. “Green Book,” “Black Panther” and “Vice” have received three of the four key guild nominations.
Cooper was also nominated in the Best First-Time Feature Film Director category, along with Bo Burnham (“Eighth Grade”), Carlos Lopez Estrada (“Blindspotting”), Matthew Heineman (“A Private War”) and Boots Riley (“Sorry to Bother You”).
Heineman, oddly, is a first-time directing nominee who has already won two DGA Awards for directing “Cartel Land” and “City of Ghosts” — but because those films were documentaries, he is considered a first-time feature director.
For the last five years in a row, four of the five DGA nominees have gone on to receive Oscar nominations for Best Director. Over their seven-decade history, the Directors Guild Awards have been an extremely accurate predictor of the Oscars, with the two organizations typically choosing a very similar roster of nominees and picking the same winner 90 percent of the time.
The 71st Annual Directors Guild Awards will take place on Feb. 2 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.
The nominees and their teams, from the DGA press release:
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN FEATURE FILM FOR 2018:
“A Star is Born”
(Warner Bros. Pictures)
Mr. Cooper’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Robert J. Dohrmann
First Assistant Director: Michele “Shelley” Ziegler
Second Assistant Director: Xanthus Valan
Second Second Assistant Director: Matthew R. Milan
This is one of two DGA Award nominations this year for Mr. Cooper. He is also nominated in the First-Time Feature Film category for “A Star Is Born.”
Mr. Cuarón’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Ana Hernandez
First Assistant Director: Frederic Henocque Albino
Second Assistant Director: Patrick Heyerdahl
Second Second Assistant Directors: Luis Fernando Vásquez, Julián ‘Chico’ Valdés, Arturo Garcia
This is Mr. Cuarón’s second DGA Feature Film Award nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film in 2013 for “Gravity.”
Mr. Farrelly’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Alissa M. Kantrow, John Brister, Franses Simonovich (New York Unit)
First Assistant Directors: J.B. Rogers, Alejandro Ramia (New York Unit)
Second Assistant Directors: Paul B. Uddo, Jack McKenna (New York Unit)
Second Second Assistant Directors: Gerson Paz, Jonathan Warren
Location Manager: Louis Zuppardi
This is Mr. Farrelly’s first DGA Award nomination.
Mr. Lee’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Marcei A. Brown
First Assistant Director: Mike Ellis
Second Assistant Director: Tracey Hinds
Second Second Assistant Directors: Jason Perez, Christina Ann Walker, Anastasia Folorunso
Location Manager: Tim Stacker
This is Mr. Lee’s first DGA Award nomination.
Mr. McKay’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Managers: Julie Hartley, Jeff Waxman
First Assistant Director: Matt Rebenkoff
Second Assistant Director: Joann Connolly
Second Second Assistant Directors: Yarden Levo, Dave Vogel (Washington D.C. Unit)
This is Mr. McKay’s second DGA Feature Film Award nomination. He was previously nominated for “The Big Short” in 2015. Mr. McKay also received a nomination this year in the Dramatic Series category for “Succession.”
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT OF A FIRST-TIME FEATURE FILM DIRECTOR FOR 2018:
Mr. Burnham’s Directorial Team:
First Assistant Director: Dan Taggatz
Second Assistant Director: Vic Coram
Second Second Assistant Director: Evelyn Fogleman
This is Mr. Burnham’s first DGA Award nomination.
“A Star is Born”
(Warner Bros. Pictures)
Mr. Cooper’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Robert J. Dohrmann
First Assistant Director: Michele “Shelley” Ziegler
Second Assistant Director: Xanthus Valan
Second Second Assistant Director: Matthew R. Milan
This is one of two DGA Award nominations this year for Mr. Cooper. He is also nominated in the Feature Film category for “A Star Is Born.”
CARLOS LOPEZ ESTRADA
Mr. Estrada’s Directorial Team:
Assistant Director: La Mar Stewart
Second Second Assistant Director: Dominic Martin
Additional Second Second Assistant Director: Armin Houshmandi
This is Mr. Estrada’s first DGA Award nomination.
“A Private War”
Mr. Heineman’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Louise Killin
First Assistant Directors: George Walker, Peter Freeman (Jordan Unit)
Second Assistant Directors: Tom Mulberge (UK Unit), Tom Browne (Jordan Unit)
Second Second Assistant Director: Tarik Afifi (Jordan Unit)
This is Mr. Heineman’s third DGA Award nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary in 2017 for “City of Ghosts” and in 2015 for “Cartel Land.”
“Sorry to Bother You”
Mr. Riley’s Directorial Team:
Production Manager: Chris Martin
First Assistant Director: Brian Benson
Second Assistant Director: Hilton Jamal Day
Second Second Assistant Directors: Sam Purdy, Nick Alvarez
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