Actors weigh in on the top movies of 2018

Janet Carabelli says BLACK PANTHER has lots of dynamic messages that we can all be proud of. The South Florida-based award-winning actress is the first to appear on HOLLYWOOD SPOTLIGHT: Artist Perspectives. Click the screen below to hear her feedback on the Blockbuster hit BLACK PANTHER.

The new series allows talent and creatives to talk movies from both a personal and intellectual point of view while giving them exposure to new audiences that can find joy in a new discovery.




MUMFF 2018

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AutoFOCUS Spotlight: The guru behind the Lincoln Navigator swag and style

via AutoFOCUS Spotlight: The guru behind the Lincoln Navigator swag and style

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By Tony C. Lesesne

GIRLS TRIP is the comedy breakout film of the summer with a stellar cast and a ridiculously hilarious story line that keeps audiences laughing from start to finish. These characters are individually nutty, proud, professional and in desperate need of a vacation.

Tiffany Haddish completely steals the show, having the most audacious lines and having the talent to make the hit home, time and time again. No spoilers here, but her Grapefruit sex lesson is one for the ages. There are plenty of “moments” that will last in comedic infamy in this film, including the notorious swinging over Bourbon Street sequence that had audiences cracking up in seats so much that one could barely hear the dialogue. GO SEE IT, and check the video review above.

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BREAKING NEWS: NATPE Miami 2017 Pacing Well Ahead of Previous Market and Conference with Strong International Attendance


JP Bommel, COO and Managing Director, NATPE

Once again, NATPE is ramping up for a strong and productive event next month. NATPE Miami 2017 is pacing well ahead of last year’s market and conference with a strong representation of international attendees, according to JP Bommel, COO and Managing Director, NATPE.  Also announced today were a new membership tier, NATPE Next Gen, and the host of the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards, Natalie Morales. The leading global marketplace and resource of television and platform executives will run from Jan. 17-19 at both the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc Miami Beach resorts.

“NATPE Miami 2017 continues to be a must attend event and is the definitive global marketplace for television and platform executives. We have an increasing number of buyers from overseas ready to meet with our international exhibitors and distributors. If a person is associated with content in any form across any platform NATPE is the place to be” said Bommel.


Next year’s installment of the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards will be hosted by Natalie Morales, the West Coast anchor of NBC News’ TODAY and co-host of Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live.

'Fifty Shades of Grey' film screening, New York, America - 06 Feb 2015

Natalie Morales, the West Coast anchor of NBC News’ TODAY and co-host of Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live

The awards gala will take place during the 2017 NATPE Conference and Marketplace in Miami on January 18.

Looking to the future, NATPE announced today that the next generation of content creators wiull be on the agenda. What is certain to be great news for our own Millinials – Alex and cameron Lesesne, NATPE Next Gen was created to service industry up-and-comers looking to enhance their burgeoning careers and establish strong relationships for the future.


Alex and Cameron Lesesne both sharing hosting duties for MUMFF TV live in Miami

The Lesesne brothers are greating a buzz in Miami with their newest web creation MUMFF TV (a short-form web show focusing on innovation in the creative space with plans of producing content around NATPE.

The new organization will operate under the NATPE parent umbrella and provide exclusive access to year-round programming in the form of events, summits, workshops, and screenings. NATPE Next Gen will also have a presence at the yearly NATPE Miami conference in January.


Steve Harvey at the 2016 NATPE

Attendance and the expanded membership initiative are not the only places to find growth at NATPE. For the first time ever, NATPE Miami will offer a Master Class Series across all tracks featuring top names in the business giving intimate sessions set to empower and inspire conference attendees.  Some of the sessions include Miami’s own 19 time Grammy Award-wining producer Emilio Estefan teaching a class on “How to Navigate the Music Industry”; Steve Levitan, co-creator of Modern Family, instructing conference-goers on “Comedy Writing at its Best”; and Morgan Wandel, Amazon Studios’ Head of Drama Series, leading a session on “How to Thrive in the Scripted Market.” Additional speakers and keynote sessions will be announced in the coming weeks.

img_0383As the industry racks their brains on how to target the rapidly growing millennial demographic, NATPE will feature a keynote with, Jason Dorsey, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, The Center for Generational Kinetics. With best-selling books and appearances on 60 Minutes, 20/20, TODAY on his resume, Dorsey will bring his new take on the generational lines and how we talk about them to the NATPE programming lineup.

For more details on conference programming, including confirmed speakers and tickets to the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Awards, please visit

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DR. STRANGE REMAINS ON TOP and ARRIVAL breaks opens at #2 for ticket sales

arrival_ver10It was a crazy week for the history books. The nation elected a new president to the joy of some, and to the shock and dismay of others. What better time to go catch a movie and many of you did just that.

It’s no surprise that DR. STRANGE scored another number one spot in its second week in theaters with a healthy $43 million in box office sales. DR. STRANGE has a monstrous total gross of $153 million over two weeks. TROLLS continued to surprise many as it finished second with $36 million weekend tally bringing its two-week total to $94 million. ARRIVAL was one of two top five film that opened this week; finishing at $24 million with a chance to rise to the top next weekend. The hilarious ALMOST CHRISTMAS also opened in theaters this past week hitting solid numbers at $ 15 million. The war hero themed HACKSAW RIDGE (in its second week) rounds out the top five with $10 million weekend tally.

I got a chance to check out ALMOST CHRISTMAS and it was definitely one to see. Below is my quick 1-minute review.

Here are the films that rounded out the top ten box office ticket sales


#6 THE ACOUNTANT -starring Ben Affleck

At # 6 is THE ACCOUNTANT staring Ben Affleck. followed by #7 SHUT IN, a Horror suspense thriller that opened this past weekend. At #8 is BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN followed by #9 JACK REACHER; NEVER GO BACK, the action thriller starring Tom Cruise and finally at #10 was INFERNO, the starring Tom Hanks


Moonlight: One of the talked about independent films of the year finished at #12 in limited theaters $1.36 million in four weeks screening in just 176 theaters bringing its total to $4.48 million. Its great to see independent films breaking into the top twenty. It shows that a good film that touches the heart is capable of creating


# 7 SHUT IN – which opened this weekend

so much buzz that academy members may be considering it for a nomination.

Hollywood analysts stress that the fall pre-holiday season is off to a great start with the current roster of films that are performing well at the box office throughout September and October.

Although there have been a few flops (ask Ron Howard about that) most of the bigger budgeted films have either met of exceeded expectations, which should be a good sign that the holiday film season should be a very good one for movie-lovers and the studios.

There are several notable big budget films lined up for the rest of November and December. Those films have already begun their


Tyler Perry’s BOO! A MADEA HALLOWEEN still performing

holiday season campaign, including the upcoming STAR WARS film “ROGUE”.

We hope you take time to treat yourself to a great film this week or weekend and don’t forget to send us back your own reviews and feedback. We LOVE talking films and all of the things that make a film great. We invite you to participate not only in this blog, but also our HOLLYWOOD SPOTLIGHT web shows and upcoming movie screenings.

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Heartland Film Names Craig Prater President

Congrats Craig Prater.

Heartland Film has named San Diego-based Craig Prater as president after a seven-month national search conducted by Arts Consulting Group. Prater began his international film festival career as executive director of the Palm Springs International Film Festival (Palm Springs, California), where he co-founded the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films and the Film Noir Festival before being recruited by the Royal Thai government to lead their new Bangkok International Film Festival as executive director.

“The board of directors is thrilled to have someone of Craig Prater’s caliber take Heartland Film through this milestone year and beyond,” said Heartland Film Board Chair Gary D. Cohen.

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Prater also founded the Festival of Festivals, whose debut coincided with the opening of the Mary Pickford Theatre in Cathedral City, California, and served as the director/producer of the Latino Film Festivals for the National Hispanic American Educational Foundation in Indio, California and Tampa, Florida. Most recently, Prater served as executive VP, strategic partnerships for the San Diego International Film Festival and director of the San Diego Jewish Film Festival.

Prater will start his role at Heartland Film as the organization makes final preparations for the 25th annual Heartland Film Festival, set for Oct. 20-30 across Indianapolis. Major events include an opening night screening and party at the Scottish Rite Cathedral on Thursday, Oct. 20 and a 25th Anniversary Celebration signature event at the AMC Castleton Square 14 Premiere Pavilion onFriday, Oct. 21. The full film and special event lineup will be announced on Thursday, Sept. 22 at the 2016 Heartland Film Festival Announcement Party at the Basile Theatre at the Historic Athenaeum.

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The meaning of Hollywood


The LMG family – Woodie Lesesne, Tony C. Lesesne, Alexander Lesesne and Cameron Lesesne

Hollywood is more than a location, its a spirit; a mindset; the ability to get movies done by leveraging collaborative efforts. We had an opportunity during the Miami Media and Film Market (MMFM)  to host a small reception for individuals we consider among our closest supporters for more than a decade at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables Florida.


back row – Randy DeWitt (executive and photographer), Mike Cortes (actor) front row – Alicia Couri (actor/author) and Sue-Ann Robinson-Caddy (attorney & on-camera talent)

We were excited to allow our guests to talk speak to one another about thier reasons for supporting us as well as what they want to see us achieve in the future as it relates to media, film and entertainment.


Having fun (pictured clockwise) Brenda Lara, Henry Isaac, Rolin Gordon, Tony C. Lesesne, Alicia Couri, Sue-Ann Robinson-Caddy and Samuel Robinson

Those guests included actors with whom we have worked with as well as stake holders and our own LMG Team.

The highlight of the evening was clearly the screening of a few of our short films that we have completed over the past 3 years. Those films included work by each of us on our core team; Alex, Cameron, Tony and Woodie Lesesne, as well as mike Cortes, Cliff Townsend and newcomers like Henry Isaac and Alicia Couri.

But the real focus was on the future, which includes a comprehensive entertainment web channel with movies, lifestyle content, and entertainment news, as well as entertaining events and workshops. The broader effort includes our aggressive goals to create more feature films and documentaries.


We thank those at the MMFM and come a call for providing us a platform of support. That also applies to CAMACOL, an organization that clearly understands the value of supporting the local filmmaker and its community. 20160608_214415That point was driving home with an amazing array of workshops and networking events that also brought individuals from the UK, Poland, China another international destinations. We look forward too much much more.

To stay in the loop about new shows and future films, events and workshops, connect on line at

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