EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ‘Harry Potter in Concert’ Returns to The Hollywood Bowl THIS WEEK With ‘Order of The Phoenix’

HP-Celebration-Backdrop-REVISION


Harry Potter in Concert will  return to The Hollywood Bowl in LA this week with Order of the Phoenix in a CineConcerts performance by The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. We had the chance to speak to conductor Sarah Hicks, who will be leading the performance on the day, about what goes into these shows, and her experience working on the live performances!

If you’ve ever been to Harry Potter in Concert, you’ll know how breathtaking the experience is, and if not, you’ll be more than familiar with the score – Hedwig’s Theme is enough to give anybody goosebumps! Harry Potter in Concert sees a Harry Potter film played on the big screen at some of the world’s best concert venues, whilst the original score is performed live by an orchestra. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will play at The Hollywood Bowl this Saturday 29th May, led by conductor, Sarah Hicks.

Sarah has conduced some of the world’s top orchestras, and has adopted something of a speciality in movie soundtracks, having led popular live concert versions of Disney movies, Tim Burton movies and much more, and she’ll return to the Harry Potter series for Order of the Phoenix at The Hollywood Bowl. “I want to bring this amazing music to people who are not usually exposed to it”, she once told The Spectrum. That quote encapsulates everything experienced at a CineConcerts performance, and it was fascinating to find out more from her on the process in our interview. Find out more below!

HP-Celebration-Backdrop-REVISION

Q: Firstly, I just wanted to say that I saw Prisoner of Azkaban at Royal Albert Hall and I absolutely loved it. I’d never really seen anything like that before, and I’d never seen an orchestra perform live, but I’ve always loved the film score, so hearing it performed live was incredible. I didn’t realise–what I wasn’t expecting–was how much energy it takes to be a conductor! I saw Justin [Freer] just jumping around all over the place, and they’re pretty long films! It was crazy!

What made you decide to move into this career? I know you’ve done so much with film – where did it all start?

A: Sure! As a conductor, most of us start out playing instruments, and I was a pianist when I was young, and I injured my hand in my late teens, so I needed to switch to something, and I happened to have a great high school orchestra. So I was able to start conducting at a fairly young age – most start a bit later. Then I went to university a a conservatory to study conducting, and started doing mostly classical stuff.

The movies – the movies with the live orchestra – have been around for a decade, even maybe a little longer, but they’ve become really popular in the past six or seven years. I was an early adopter, because I happen to love movies, I love movie scores, and it’s a special skill to do these movies with orchestra, because you’re not just conducting music, you have to line up music with film, which is a very particular skill set, and I enjoy that, and I’m also good at it! So it was a good combination.

I’ve done a lot of film, I’ve done the Harry Potter films up to number six, I do Star Wars, I’ve done E.T. Casa Blanca… Just dozens and dozens of movies, so that’s kind of a specialty of mine.

Q: That’s amazing! Are there any films you’ve wanted to do, or any films scores you particularly love and you haven’t performed yet?

A: Oh that’s a good question! I know they’re coming out with Black Panther, which I think is just an amazing movie,  and another really big movie. I’m looking forward to that!

The production of these films for orchestra is another big business, and really,  really complicated to actually create the product, so there was a lot going on behind the scenes that we hope the audience doesn’t know about, because we just want you to enjoy the experience. But there’s a lot of work that goes behind it!

Q: …So, that was actually one of my questions! [laughs] Is there a lot of watching the films over and over, just trying to get yourself in that space? Is there a lot of coming together and looking at the score? I don’t want to ruin the magic, but I’m so curious! 

A: It’s actually really technical! There’s a special version of the film that’s produced just for the conductor, and it has a lot of information on it. There’s a count for the measure, for the number of the cue, it’s got a digital countdown,  we have things called flashes — just a lot of technical information that helps us line up to the score.

The music is specially prepared for performance, where the information that is lined up to the specially produced film, so it’s a matter of me watching the study film. I mean, I have to learn the music first, then learn the music with the film. Then I have that film on a monitor in front of me while the actual movie is being screened on the big screen. So I’m looking at something completely different during the performance, and I’m working off of that. That’s all specially produced just for the live experience, so yeah, there’s a lot of stuff going on!

Q: I could see that screen! I was right at the top of the theater when I saw a show, but I could see the little digital screen the conductor had, and now I know why! How cool that there’s a whole other version of the films just for conductors! 

When I was watching the show I basically had goosebumps the entire time, and I was wondering if that’s the sort of experience you have too. What’s it like for you up there leading the whole thing? 

A: For a lot of it, I’d say. I always tell people that in a movie, the music is really a character. It’s so important – it’s part of the narrative, it’s part of the drama and part of the emotion, so to be a part of that and creating that live, it’s pretty amazing. I mean, there’s certain parts of the music that I like in particular, but it’s more the sense that we’re creating this mood, and this energy, and this emotion, that really changes the way [the audience] experience the film. So that’s the most brilliant part is that we’re able to do that.

I think it makes a huge difference to have live music, because you’re seeing the energy of so many people on stage creating something right there. It’s just really visceral and powerful. I just love being a part of that.

Sarah-Hicks-photo-Greg-Helgeson-040919-1024x682

Q: Are you a Potter fan? What has this taught you about the series? 

A: I am a Harry Potter fan! I read all the books and I saw all the films, but what this has taught me, because I’ve had to study the films so much and do them over and over, is how different the filmmaking styles are with each director. Both visually and in terms of the storytelling, and also how different these scores are depending on who wrote them, and how that changes the impact of the film.

In the States we call it ‘Inside Baseball’, it’s really behind the scenes, really nitty gritty of how things are produced and just being able to see that. But also just the brilliance of the storytelling in Harry Potter in general, because it’s such a powerful story, such a powerful narrative. To be able to see it over and over, it’s really cool.

Q: Which has been your favorite film to conduct? You’ve done six so far?

A: That’s a good question! I like parts of them all, but my favorite film from a filmmaking perspective is Prisoner of Azkaban. I love the story, but that was also the third score by John Williams, because he only did the first three, but that was my favorite score that he composed. Just because I think that the music is so emotional, it moves me, even thinking about it! So that sort of my favorite to do, but I mean they all have their amazing bits, and they’re all a lot of fun!

Q: Do you have a favorite moment in the Order of the Phoenix score

A: Yeah, I do! Towards the end, where they’re in the veil room at the Ministry, and Sirius arrives and says something like “Get your away from my godson”, and then there’s this big battle scene, and the music for that is so driving, it almost rocks! I just love that, I love that energy.

Q: I love that people get involved, too – there’s people cheering and booing, and it’s so different to seeing a film in the cinema!  Is that something you guys encourage? Should people be dressing up and getting involved? 

A: Totally! I usually wear my Gryffindor scarf when I conduct, or at least when I come out. I love it when people come in costume, and we encourage people to! The best part of being part of a live experience like this is that the audience is a part of the action, and the audience provides a lot of the excitement in the room, so I want everyone to cheer and boo and applaud, and be a part of this experience altogether. I think that’s the most fun part of these films with an orchestra!

Q: Why should people come to The Hollywood Bowl in particular? It’s an amazing venue!

A: Oh absolutely, well first there are so many people. It seats 18,000. So imagine, if it’s even halfway full, that’s 9,000 people. It’s like, just that amount of Potter energy… [laughs]. It’s a fabulous orchestra at the Bowl, and the venue is so beautiful, it’s outdoors, and it’s gonna be such a fun time with a great movie, with a live orchestra creating that excitement, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Summer evening!

Neither can we, Sarah! We’re so grateful to Sarah and to CineConcerts for sharing some of the behind-the-scenes of these experiences! Look out for our coverage on the event this week, and get your tickets to the event here!



Theater Round-Up: Imogen Heap on NPR’s ‘Tiny Desk’ Series, Productions Coming to West End, Broadway and Shanghai-and More!

imogen-heap-npr-tiny-desk-2019-billboard-1548


This week’s theater news spans the globe, as proves the case more and more often with our diverse cast of Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child stars, as well as the expanding nature of the industry, and the wizarding world, itself.

Imogen Heap cast her spell over audiences with an appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series, showcasing some of Frou Frou’s favorites. Then, back to the business of successful transfers, Sonia Friedman Productions looks to adapt and revive a classic film onstage in the West End while also bringing another one of her hits to Broadway. And lest you think transfers only go one direction, Jack Thorne’s reworked King Kong musical may also make a move, this time from New York City to Shanghai!

But with all the news about what’s new in theater, we also cover the Off-Broadway production Puffs, which just announced an end to its magical three-year run. Last, we close out the weekly recap with a return to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and some exciting merch you may want to add to your Potter collection.

Read on for all the details.

Imogen Heap Enchants on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series

imogen-heap-npr-tiny-desk-2019-billboard-1548

Imogen Heap, the musical innovator behind the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child soundtrack released in November, performed on the June 20 episode of NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series. The mini concerts are set in a crowded office, which serves to showcase the vocal and instrumental talents of featured guests in stripped-down performances.

According to Billboard, Heap appeared with longtime musical collaborator Guy Sigsworth, opening with Frou Frou’s Guitar Song. She followed the classic with Speeding Cars, backed by her singular piano skills. Next, she broke from the performance to give a brief master class in tech engineering, demonstrating her Mi.Mu Gloves to the audience. Finally, she closed with a revamped rendition of Hide and Seek.

Watch her enchant and amaze in the video below!

Sonia Friedman Brings Kind Hearts and Coronets to West End, Girl From the North Country to Broadway

stephen-fry

Stephen Fry, beloved narrator of the British Harry Potter audiobooks, has adapted the Ealing comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets, planning to revive the classic for the West End stage with help from Sonia Friedman Productions.

Chortle reported the Friedman was delighted with Fry’s take on the story, saying that his “script ‘sparkled’ and that he ‘brings his customary wit and dazzling wordplay to this deliciously dark tale of class, revenge and madcap murder’.”

The plot follows Louis Mazzini, a poor charmer who kills off all eight members of the D’Ascoyne family in an effort to claim his inheritance. Like the 1949 film, one actor will portray each member of the well-to-do family, and the role has not yet been cast. Finding an actor suited to carry off such a weighty task, and the right theater to stage it, will determine when the new production opens.

Company-of-Girl-From-The-North-Country-at-The-Old-Vic.-Photo-by-Manual-Harlan

Broadway World announced that Sonia Friedman also plans to bring the critically-acclaimed musical Girl From the North Country to Broadway next year.

The latest in a string of transfers, including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Ferryman and this fall’s The Inheritance, Girl From the North Country would begin preview performances on Friday, Feb. 7 at the Belasco Theatre with the official opening set for Thursday, March 5.

The cast of the Broadway production has not been announced, but we would love to see Olivier-winning Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle) and Ciáran Hinds (Aberforth Dumbledore) reprise their roles. Wands cross, Potter fans!

Tickets are already available for purchase here.

Rhys Ifans and Rakie Ayola to Star in On Bear Ridge

135677

According to WhatsOnStage, Rhys Ifans and Raykie Ayola are set to join the cast of On Bear Ridge, which will be co-directed by Vicky Featherstone and writer Ed Thomas.

Ifans, known to fans for his portrayal of Xenophlius Lovegood in the Harry Potter films, will play John Daniel. Ayola, who played adult Hermione Granger-Weasley in the second London cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, takes on the role of Noni. Jason Hughes Sion Daniel Young star alongside them as The Captain and Ifan William, respectively.

The play is “about a village lost on the map, blurred by redrawn boarders where John Daniel and Noni, who run the butchers and grocers, are defiantly drinking whiskey and remembering the good times.

On Bear Ridge will run at the Sherman Theatre from Sept. 20 to Oct. 5, followed by a stint at the Royal Court from Oct. 24 to Nov. 23.

King Kong Sets Sights on Shanghai

a-scene-from-king-kong-140164

The musical King Kong took over Broadway for preview performances Oct. 5 of last year after transferring from Australia and getting an update from Cursed Child scribe Jack Thorne. The production is a feat of theatrical engineering, employing technologically-advanced puppeteering which uses animatronic components and bunraku, a Japanese technique in which the puppet is manipulated onstage while remaining visible to the audience. It has proven highly successful, and producers have now set their sights on Shanghai!

Broadway World released a statement from Sophie Qi, founder and CEO of Harmonia, which read:

“There is already great anticipation and attention coming from Chinese audiences for this ground-breaking production, one that merges technology and art into an innovative world-class theatrical event. I am thrilled to be evolving the Kong experience for the modern Asian marketplace, and I know that this will be an exciting catalyst for the many international productions to come.”

The musical is expected to make its Asian premiere in 2021.

Off-Broadway Puffs Ends Run This Summer

Puffs, short for the delightfully tongue-in-cheek Puffs, Or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic, has enjoyed a long and successful Off-Broadway run buoyed by its charming approach to J.K. Rowling’s beloved source material, the Harry Potter series.

The play about a group of misfits from one of the lesser-known and often underestimated houses first opened at New World Stages on July 17, 2017 after runs at the Peoples Improv Theater and the Elektra Theater. And Playbill has now announced that Puffs will see the curtain fall on its magical production for the final time on Aug. 18.

To purchase tickets while you can, visit the official Puffs the Play website here!

Accio! Harry Potter’s Cursed Child Wand Now Available

Finally, we return to the latest news from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the epilogue from J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne continuing Harry Potter’s magical story. And now, replicas of the wand used by adult Harry on stage are now available in theaters and online! 

The product is described as follows:

“Exclusive to the Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Store, is this beautiful official prop replica of Harry Potter’s wand. The wand measures approximately 32cm, and comes in a protective presentation box. Please note: This wand is a true collectible and not a toy. It may break if treated roughly.”

If you can’t wait until your visit to the Lyric, Palace, Princess, Mehr! or Curran theaters, you can order your wand through the official Cursed Child store here!



Wizarding World Funko Exclusives for San Diego Comic Con

funkosdcc19skeeterfawkesbluebg


That time of year is just a month away when the largest annual pop culture gathering in the world commences in San Diego, California. Although there won’t be a Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts film previewed in Hall H this year, or any other Warner Bros production for that matter, the Wizarding World will be repped in Reducio’d form via new Pop!s from the licensed collection giant Funko.

Last fall at a special Fantastic Beasts fan event in New York, J.K. Rowling herself revealed the well-kept secret that Claudia Kim’s character, who we only knew as a Maledictus up to that point, was actually Voldemort’s beloved snake Nagini appearing in human form prior to her permanent transformation. Just in time for SDCC Funko has transfigured Kim’s character from Crimes of Grindelwald into a Pop! from and the actress took notice on Instagram:

Funko has also revealed a new Fawkes the Phoenix Pop! and an adorably feisty Wizarding reporter extraordinaire Rita Skeeter in miniature:

funkosdcc19skeeterfawkesbluebg

According to the Funko blog these new Wizarding World collectibles will be available at Barnes and Noble on Day 2 of the Con, Friday, July 19 and that more SDCC exclusives will be revealed soon! Are you headed to San Diego Comic Con next month? Let us know and post a pic of your Potter Pop!s !!



‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ Releases Tomorrow! (GAMEPLAY PREVIEW)

Photo Jun 18, 5 54 40 PM


Earlier this week, WB Games and Niantic invited us to an exclusive Wizards Unite Event held at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood. We were able to play the game a few days early, catch some bowtruckles, and hear from John Hanke (Niantic CEO), Mary Casey (Executive Director of Product at WB Games San Francisco), and Tiffany Haddish about what they’re most excited for us to experience in this new Augmented Reality Mobile Game.

To kick off the presentation they showed this incredible new trailer featuring a young witch and her friends saving Harry Potter from some dementors. It’s incredibly rad, and absolutely nailed the tone of the golden trio in their school days.

With the crowd properly hyped to play, Mary Casey (Executive Director of Product at WB Games San Francisco) came out and told us about the plot of Wizards Unite:

“Everything near, dear, feared, and revered throughout the Wizarding World’s history has been scattered throughout the Muggle world. And if you were listening during Professor Binn’s History of Magic lessons we all know that in 1692 the Statute of Secrecy was put in place to help keep the Wizarding World from prying eyes. So we’re asking all of you today to sign up for the Statute of Secrecy task force, if you’re up for the challenge, and to help us find these lost items, they’re called foundables cause you find them and we thought that was clever, and return them back to their rightful place.”

She also expressed what she hopes fans feel when they play the game:

“A main thing we wanted to achieve in this game was the feeling that no matter where you were in the world, that the magic was there and all around you. That the thin veneer between the Wizarding World and the Muggle World was peeled back. That regular places became magical. Inns full of bubbling soup filled cauldrons, pumpkin pasties, have popped up in your neighborhood. Giant Fortresses full of groups of difficult devastating foes were ready for you to challenge. That potion ingredients were scattered throughout, depending on where you were, by the water, by mountains, what time of day it was, and perhaps at a full moon maybe you’ll even see a werewolf.”

The mention of werewolves elicited an excited murmuring throughout the crowd, especially from yours truly. Mary went on to tell us more about the community aspect of the game:

“Everyone knows that we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided, and so for the first time Wizards Unite will allow groups of up to five to take on groups of foes in fortress challenges. Pick your profession: Auror, Professor, Magizoologist and band together using spells, charms, hexes, potions in order to defeat more and more challenging foes. Return the high level foundables, contain the fortresses, and help Harry fight The Calamity.”

Then we were sent a download link and set loose to go play the game and run around the park. The first foundable I came across was Hagrid in the middle of Hogsmeade.

Photo Jun 18, 5 54 40 PM

After stepping forward and aligning my camera, I was able to cast a spell and return him to Hogwarts Grounds.

 

Photo Jun 18, 5 55 15 PM

Photo Jun 18, 5 55 25 PM

Photo Jun 18, 5 56 06 PM

Hagrid was soon followed by a group of pesky Bowtruckles outside Honeydukes, it took me three or four tries to nail the spell to wrangle them in.

Photo Jun 18, 6 50 12 PM

Photo Jun 18, 6 51 13 PM

Photo Jun 18, 6 51 18 PM

I also made sure to set up my Ministry ID, turns out you can’t choose a profession until Level 6, which is probably for the best, ’cause this reporter definitely isn’t prepared to decide between Professor, Auror, or Magizoologist.

Photo Jun 18, 6 25 18 PM

The gameplay experience was incredibly smooth, and felt really well incorporated with the real world. I’m genuinely excited for the game to launch and have the chance to do some magic with other players. The community aspect is my favorite part of playing Pokémon Go, and I have a feeling that same sense of community will carry over super nicely to Wizards Unite.

Be sure to have your wands at the ready, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will go live TOMORROW, June 21!

The biggest thank you to WB Games and Niantic for this amazing experience!

Will you be downloading the game? Let us know in the comments or via our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

 



Christian Coulson Stars In ‘Bite Me’, Currently Touring The U.S.!

Bite Me - Picture 15


Following its Cinequest World Premiere and Best Feature Film Win at VTXIFF,  Bite Me, a subversive romantic comedy starring Christian Coulson (Tom Riddle), is currently on The Joyful Vampire Tour of America, changing how indepdendent films are distributed with a 51-screening, 40-city, 3-month RV tour of the U.S., running until August 6th. Find out how to get involved (and possibly win a free trip to New York City to see the film!) below.

Christian Coulson stars as an expat IRS Agent, James, assigned to audit a vampire church.   Naomi McDougall Jones, the film’s writer and producer, stars as Sarah, part of this subculture of people identifying as vampires. As Sarah and James grow closer, the pair navigate the opinions of the outside world (and their friends and, in Sarah’s case, fellow vampires), and a looming IRS ruling forcing the two to confront their feelings for each other. The film costars Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story) and Annie Golden (Orange is the New Black), and is directed by Meredith Edwards.

Bite Me - Picture 15Bite Me - Picture 3Bite Me - Picture 5

The film’s tour features three sold-out screenings in New York City, and has been travelling the U.S. since May, bringing their film directly to audiences hoping to see the movie, and “bringing screenings of Bite Me, Joyful Vampire Balls, fangs, capes, and joy wherever they go”. The tour is also being turned into a YouTube series, The Joyful Vampire Tour of America: The Docu-Series, journalling the team’s adventures. See a teaser below:

Those in the U.S. can follow along with the hashtag #joyfulvampire – all social media posts using this hashtag during the tour will be entered into a raffle, with a weekly winner receiving a free piece of film merchandise, and the final winner getting a free trip to NYC for the last screening of the tour on August 1st!

If you can’t make the screenings, find the movie on Indie streaming platform, Seed & Spark, as well as for rental/purchase on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.  Find out more about the film here, see the trailer below, and look out for an exclusive interview with Naomi and Christian, coming soon!

 



Watch ‘Philosophers Stone’ In Leicester Square for FREE This Father’s Day Weekend!

sorcerers-stone


On Saturday 15th June, Cineworld Leicester Square will host a special screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone — and best of all, the screening’s FREE!

The screening occurs after UK-wide survey by DiscoverLSQ – the UK’s “Home of Film” – voted the franchise the best to watch with the whole family, so what better time to start the series than the day before Father’s Day in Cineworld in Leicester square — the venue for movie premieres in London!

sorcerers-stone

When: Saturday 15th June

Where: Cineworld Leicester Square WC2H 7N

Time: Arrivals from 10am with a 10:30am start

Price: FREE

 

Book your space on Evenbrite. Tickets are being designated on a first come, first serve basis, so once they’re gone – they’re gone!



Happy Third Birthday, House Of MinaLima!

Screenshot 2019-06-04 22.51.53


It’s Golden Week at House of MinaLima this week! After opening a pop-up store in Osaka, the graphic design duo behind the art of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series will be celebrating the third birthday of their London gallery, House of MinaLima!

Until June 15th, MinaLima are offering free shipping on all online orders (except prints), with the code HBD2019! And it wouldn’t be a MinaLima celebration without magnificent Wizarding World cakes! June 6th, House of MinaLima’s official third birthday, will see special cakes served at the London gallery, so make your way to the Soho shop for 4pm (cake served at 5:30pm!) for a birthday treat with Mira and Eduardo! Celebrations will continue until 7pm.

Screenshot 2019-06-04 22.51.53

Mira and Eduardo will also give a talk at Birmingham Design Festival on June 7th, so be sure to get a ticket!

Incase you hadn’t seen, MinaLima.com has undergone a revamp, and now has spectacular graphics and interactive features – take a look at it whilst you’re browsing the collection, and don’t forget to use the code HBD2019 for free shipping!

Screenshot 2019-06-04 22.56.49

Happy birthday, House of MinaLima– and thanks to the team for making each and every visit a pleasure, and to Mira and Eduardo for so many brilliant creations!



Emma Watson In Conversation With Nobel Peace Laureate, Dr. Denis Mukwege

IMG_3500


Earlier this month, Emma Watson took to the stage of the Emmanuel Centre in London for a live talk with Dr. Denis Mukwege on women’s rights, and the importance of Dr. Mukwege’s work treating survivors of sexual violence. The event was truly eye-opening, and for those wondering exactly what Emma Watson gets up to these days (beside starring in feature films, running an online feminist book club and campaigning for women’s rights and sustainability), it’s a great insight into the incredible work she’s doing to shed light on important, global issues.

IMG_3500

The New York Times held this talk in London in collaboration with How To: Academy, helping the public understand current issues worldwide by ‘bringing together New York Times journalists and leading figures in diverse fields to examine pressing issues in a changing world’.

WARNING: This article details Dr. Denis Mukwege’s work treating survivors of rape/conflict+war/sexual violence, as well as Dr. Mukwege’s own experience with conflict. Whilst discussions of his experience with patients is eye-opening and sheds a light on the importance of what he and Emma are doing, this content may be distressing to some. If you would like to read more, please visit the Panzi Foundation’s page on Dr. Mukwege’s work.

Dr. Denis Mukwege, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is introduced by Ellen Barry, The New York Times’s London-based international correspondent, as ‘a living saint’, and it’s not hard to see why. Since founding Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 1999, Dr. Mukwege and his team have changed the lives of over 50,000 sexual abuse victims through his work as a world-renowned gynecological surgeon. Not only does he work to treat physical wounds, but Panzi Hospital also provides legal, economic and psycho-social services and support to its patients, a shining example of the holistic treatment Dr. Mukwege works tirelessly to give back to the community.

IMG_3509

Emma has worked with Dr. Mukwege multiple times in the past, and just prior to this talk she sat on the G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council in Paris, launched in February as a subsidiary of the G7, a group made up of the seven most advanced economies in the world that convene regularly to examine global issues. The council were finalising their proposal before G7 Leaders Summit in late August. This discussion saw Emma ask Dr. Mukwege about his work, and the two United Nations representatives discussed their ideas and opinions openly, with Emma being visibly moved by Dr. Mukwege’s earnest reports of the horrors he’d seen, the people he’d been inspired by, and the messages he wanted to share with others to move toward a more equal world.

IMG_3515

IMG_3508

Speaking on the horrific injuries he’d seen his patients subjected to, Dr. Mukwege spoke on coming to the realisation that the brutal attacks on women were not the work of one ‘mad man’, but rather a calculated, cruel and political statement made to strike terror in citizens. Sexual violence was being used as a weapon of war, and Dr. Mukwege’s work was to help survivors find their way back to themselves after such a traumatic experience. Keep in mind that many of his patients were children, even babies, and not all surgeries would help his patients achieve 100% recovery (especially psychologically). Answering on the work he does, and what keeps him able to continue his work in being exposed to the victims of such horrific acts, Dr. Mukwege said he’s particularly impacted by discussions of the future with his patients. His attention to detail in surgeries is crucial, and sees him trying to repair damage done to ensure that women and girls can make a start on their future as soon as possible following their attack. Often Dr. Mukwege will perform up to ten surgeries per day. Having four daughters himself, Dr. Mukwege said he is particularly concerned with the safety of women and girls, saying that he feels his relationship with his daughters has changed as a result of the sense of fear for them he feels after seeing what has been done to his victims.

IMG_3535

In 2012 Dr. Mukwege was attacked, his family held at gunpoint, and his friend and security guard, Joseph Bizimana, killed in an attempt to assassinate him, presumably for the comments he made denouncing his country’s 16-year-long conflict at a United Nations address, where he called for those responsible to be brought to justice. Watson asked him what kept him going during this dark time, and Dr. Mukwege gave a thoughtful response on the impacts of his work on those depending on him:

‘What is keeping me going is really the strength of women. I discovered how women are strong, how women can rebuild, and give hope for our humanity.’

He was also asked to shed light on what he thinks of the #MeToo movement, urging victims of sexual violence to speak out, and how this could help end the use of sexual violence in conflict:

‘It’s important for me, for women, that women speak out. To break silence is a strong weapon against rape, in any case. This movement [#MeToo] is really something […] we are on the path to ending sexual violence. […] There’s a situation where women feel guilty, even if she’s a victim, and this is protecting the perpetrators, more than the victims. I want to tell the women here: Speak up. Be strong. Just break the social norms, and go ahead. It’s not your fault. You have to understand that. You don’t have to feel guilty about what happened to you. I support this movement – one hundred percent’

‘You’re my hero,’ Emma Watson told him, and Dr. Mukwege simply smiled: ‘Wow.’

‘You’re my inspiration,’ he continues, ‘I just dream to see women in my country doing what you’re doing.’

 

To end the talk, Emma asked Dr. Mukwege what everybody in the world can do to combat indifference:

‘When you look at the history of humanity, when people decide to be indifferent, the consequences are really huge. For me, indifference is one of the worst attributes that a human can get. It helps, when asking this question, to think “What can I do for another? How can I support another?” The answer, for me, is to choose love. ‘

He then turned the question on Emma, asking her thoughts on the matter, as an actor and activist:

‘I would echo what you’ve said, that it’s easy to think that this is happening in a distant, far flung corner of the world that you’ll never visit, or see, in a community that we aren’t a part of. But the most common UN statistic is that almost a third of women will experience a form of sexual violence in their lifetime — it’s a whole section of this room. It’s massive. This isn’t an issue that will not touch us. It’s going to at some point or another, which is awful. I think there’s a sort of strange acceptance as women, that not feeling completely safe in our society, our community, is just a fact of life — that it’s something we have to accept. I don’t think that we do have to accept that. I think there are ways that we can live, and be. Beyond that, I think that we deserve it. We have to demand it — we have to believe in that world.’

Dr. Mukwege then shared his thoughts on the current state of the world, having seen conflict firsthand:

‘I was reading what happened in 1930, around then. When you see the media today, you get the impression that we are not thinking about what has happened in our past. You can see that hate is [on the rise]. You get the impression that we speak about these things as though it’s normal – people don’t feel ashamed to speak about minorities. I’m so afraid that we haven’t learned anything, that we haven’t enough from what happened in the war. […] People are talking now, about building walls, rather than building bridges. I think that this is dangerous […] we need to be more clever, so that we don’t make the same mistakes.’

Finally, Emma Watson asked who Dr. Mukwege’s mentor was — an inspiration he had carried with him. After some consideration, Dr Mukwege’s answer reflected perfectly the kind of man that he is: ‘I would have to say my mother.’

Having the opportunity to sit together and discuss their ideas in front of an audience was a rare and important call to action. Of course, nobody could argue that Dr. Denis Mukwege’s work isn’t important – we can all sit and be inspired by what he and Emma Watson strive to achieve in their work, but what am I personally doing to elevate the voices of people doing this important work? How can I use my voice to stand with them? Am I doing enough to stay informed on what’s happening in the world around me? At various points during their talk Emma addressed these questions, and it was completely enthralling to see her not as Hermione, but as a global leader using what she’s learned to make a difference and looking to those like Dr. Denis Mukwege to learn what more she can do.

To find out how you can help support the work of Dr. Denis Mukwege and Panzi hospital, visit The Mukwege Foundation’s official website, and Panzi hospital’s official website for more information.



10 Most Commonly Used Spells in Harry Potter Movies

10 Most Commonly Used Spells in Harry Potter Movies


10 Most Commonly Used Spells in Harry Potter Movies

Throughout the Harry Potter films, characters cast spells to protect themselves, create light in their dark world, and practice magic at Hogwarts. But how many spells are used in the film franchise and which ones are the most popular. This is a question that fellow Harry Potter fan and blogger Milan researched as a special guest post for PotterTalk.net. Think you know which spells were used the most in the Harry Potter films? The results might surprise you! So take it away Milan:

Expelliarmus is one of the most memorable spells that Harry uses in the series. He gained freedom from Voldemort while using it in the Battle of
Hogwarts. But he was advised to change his approach because he could not be
expected to win by simply disarming Death Eaters. Although
many would say that it is one of the most commonly used spells in the movies,
my research does not support that claim. Expelliarmus is actually near the end
of my list. But which ones are above then? Some of them surely come to your
mind. And I believe you will be surprised. But before
we start, I would like to tell you more about research itself.

I watched
all the movies once more (probably for the hundredth time) and took a note of
every spell that was used. There’s a lot of them! Especially as the serial
moves on. It is interesting to note that Harry did not use a single spell in the first film Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer’s Stone
unlike the rest of the films where numerous spells are used.

Most of the
spells used were noted, though there were a few issues with doing that.

Firstly,
there are non-verbal charms and spells, many of which I managed to note, taking
into account colour of the charm, context, reactions to it and the same events
as they were described in the books. Of course, some of them I could not get a
hold of, especially in great battles, and I did not want to make guesses. Unfortunately, as long as none of the people who made the movie or J.K. Rowling herself says
exactly which spells were used, our list cannot be complete.

The second
problem was keeping track of the spells. In moments when many different people use the
spell, it is almost impossible to count all of them. In spite of that, many of
them were counted anyway. All in all,
I managed to note down roughly about 95% of the spells. The battles were the
most problematic. You can see the list and the explanation in the infographic below as well as in the rest of the text.

Shield Penetration Spell

It was used about 617 times in those few scenes where Voldemort with his army try to attack Hogwarts. A great number of Death Eaters disintegrated the shield which was made to defend the castle. Considering how many of them were there, it is more than clear why this spell takes the first place. Incantation is unknown. The action lasts up to the moment when Hermione destroys Voldemort’s Hufflepuff cup horcrux.

Dark Mark counter-curse

You probably don’t know about this curse. It was used in one scene only. A little clue might help you figure it out: Dumbledore’s death in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. As Harry mourns over his mentor’s death, you can see about 467 shining wands from students and teachers on the castle grounds. We can’t exactly call this spell ‘lumos’ – a similar spell wizards use to illuminate a dark place within their area – because the light these students use casts high into the sky to try to eliminate Voldemort’s dark death eater mark in the clouds. The specific incantation used in this scene is unknown. Since it meets all the requirements to be considered a spell and a lot of students use it at the same time, it deserves a second place on my list.

Wingardium Leviosa

One of the most popular spells. We all love the argument between Ron and Hermione from the first movie. It was used 229 times over the course of eight movies. One scene is considered very important and should be ranked highly. That is the one where Harry tries to break into Dolores Umbridge’s office in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, where we see the Ministry employees transporting and shifting fascist booklets. Considering the number of employees and the speed at which they are doing it, Wingardium Leviosa takes the third place.

Stupefy

Great spell to use against antagonists. Harry, in particular, casts the spell throughout the series to disable his enemies and inflicts pain on them. This spell was mostly used in battles. Due to the fact that it was most commonly used non-verbally and that we recognize it primarily for its blue colour, the number of uses (217) should not be taken as a sure fact.

Protego | Protego Maxima | Fianto Duri | Repello Inimicum

These spells are considered together, since, essentially, they are the same. The scene where they are used the most is the one where the shield around the castle is being formed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Of course, it was used in battles on a regular basis such as when Snape turns away Professor McGonagall’s attack with the first form of this spell Protego. The entire spell sequence is used 147 times if all the movies are taken into account.

Avada Kedavra

The darkest spell in the world of magic is used around 114 times. As with the others, great battles gave me the most trouble, so I used the colour green as the main factor in recognizing it. It would be great if it weren’t used at all. However, it brought sorrow and pain way too many times as many beloved characters like Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were killed with this spell.

Lumos/Lumos Maxima

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. One of the common and standard spells, Lumos was used 38 times. It was especially useful at the beginning of the third movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when Harry tries to read but Uncle Vernon won’t leave him alone. The scene left us questioning: how is it even possible to use magic outside of Hogwarts even just for practicing homework?

Expelliarmus

We got to Harry’s favourite one! It is only 8th on the list, used 36 times. Even so, it turned out to be the most powerful since it brought victory against Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

Expecto Patronum

It is definitely one of the most complicated ones, especially among the students. However, it does not seem to be that hard to learn it if you have a great teacher like Harry showing Dumbledore’s Army in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was used 17 times altogether in the movies.

Fire creating spell

Used 14 times, only by Professor McGonagall against Snape while trying to defend Harry in the beginning of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. At this point, they had no knowledge about his sacrifice and agreement with Dumbledore in trying to protect The Chosen One. Incantation is unknown.

Both Milan and I hope you enjoyed this infographic about the most commonly used spells throughout the Harry Potter films. Be sure to follow Milan’s Harry Potter blog Potteric for more interesting posts about Harry Potter’s world.

Close-Up Look at Universal Orlando’s Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure!

03_Hagrid


For any Potter fan, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the pièce de résistance of the Universal Studios theme parks — and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will likely be the highlight of them all!

Universal Orlando is the dream destination for those hoping to step inside J.K. Rowling’s world, allowing you to walk through Hogsmeade, cry at the gates of Hogwarts, feel the thrill of seeing Diagon Alley for the first time, and – of course – drink pumpkin juice in The Leaky Cauldron.

The new “storycoaster” – the first of its kind – will open at Universal Orlando Resort’s Hogsmeade on June 13th, and is set to be like no experience yet. Replacing the Triwizard Tournament themed coaster, The Dragon Challenge, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is the most ‘highly themed, immersive coaster experience yet’ at the parks, and we’re bringing some exclusive info on the experiences to come, with brand new photos!

As we know, the ride will see guests take off through the Forbidden Forest on one of Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures lessons — but as with all of his lessons, nothing goes quite to plan! Guests will ride in Hagrid (well, Sirius’s) motorbike and sidecar in all-new groundbreaking coaster technology to immerse riders in the thrills of the ride, and ‘feel the freedom of flight’ as they head off through the grounds of Hogwarts and beyond, soaring over an actual forest featuring 1,200 trees. In Universal Orlando Resort’s own words:

“They’ll ascend above the trees, rapidly accelerate through mysterious ruins, speed forward – and backward, and so much more as they search for the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures.”

We already know a few of the creatures set to feature on the ride: along with an animatronic Hagrid, riders will encounter Centaurs, Devil’s Snare, Fluffy the three-headed dog, Cornish Pixies and a never-before-seen Blast-Ended Skrewt!

Along the way, riders will zoom around the longest roller coaster in Florida, measuring 5,053 feet (almost a mile!) in length. The ride will feature numerous breathtaking experiences, including:

  • ?  The most launches of any roller coaster in the world – with 7 total launches
  • ?  Unexpectedly dropping nearly 17 feet on the first coaster in the U.S. to feature a free-fall vertical drop
  • ?  Being catapulted 65 feet in the air at a more than 70 degree angle – and then immediately dropping backward in one movement

Take a look at some of the incredible detail on the ride below:

 

03_Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure_Queue Details04_Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure_Queue Details

Grindylows and mermaids can be seen in this ruin — we wonder just how much of Hogwarts remains to be seen!

05_Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure_Queue Details06_Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure_Coaster Details

This must be where Hagrid keeps his forbidden stash of magical creature eggs:08_Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure_Queue Details

A look at some of the ride mechanics:

942 Hagrids Magical Creatures and Motorbike Adventure 051019 Line Ride Vehicle Interiors Exteriors  Scope Shots

942 Hagrids Magical Creatures and Motorbike Adventure 051019 Line Ride Vehicle Interiors Exteriors  Scope Shots

Guests will encounter immersive experiences before the ride begins, too, getting to look through forgotten relics of Hogwarts – like this Manticore page in the Monster Book of Monsters!

942 Hagrids Magical Creatures and Motorbike Adventure 051019 Line Ride Vehicle Interiors Exteriors  Scope Shots

Universal Orlando also gave us an idea of the story of the coaster, which will take us through some of the unseen ruins of Hogwarts before taking off around the Forbidden Forest. The ruins themselves were imagined by Universal’s award-winning Creative team in collaboration with the Harry Potter films’ Production Designer, Stuart Craig, and Art Director, Alan Gilmore, and are placed behind Hagrid’s hut, used by the lovable half-giant for groundskeeping purposes:

“As they make their way to their enchanted motorbikes, guests will see materials from the class, including dragon eggs on the verge of hatching and a makeshift nursery where Hagrid kept his Blast-Ended Skrewts – the creatures that are being brought to life for the first time ever for this epic new adventure. Guests will encounter beloved characters from the Harry Potter films including Arthur Weasley, Hagrid, and his loyal dog, Fang, through a pre-show experience brought to life with digital projection and special effects. During this interaction, guests learn about their impending trip to the Forbidden Forest as part of their lesson for the day.”

Doesn’t it sound thrilling?!

If that’s not enough, take a look at a POV video from Universal Orlando below:

The new ride opens June 13th — we can’t wait to take you with us to see the ride for the first time!

Thanks to Universal Orlando Resort for giving us a first-look at the ride, and for inviting us to preview the coaster! 

,