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Bud Spencer, ‘the good giant’ of spaghetti westerns, dies at 86

​Bud Spencer, a burly comic actor dubbed the "good giant" for punching out bad guys on the screen in a long series of spaghetti westerns, has died in Italy. He was 86.Italian news agency ANSA quoted his son, Giuseppe Pedersoli, as saying without adding medical details that his father died peacefully Monday evening.Born in Naples as Carlo Pedersoli, he adopted the stage name Bud Spencer — the first name inspired by a beer and the last to honour his favourite star, Spencer Tracy.Culture minister Dario Franceschini said Spencer "knew how to entertain entire generations."In his youth, Spencer was an athlete, becoming the first Italian to swim the 100-metre freestyle in under a minute.Spencer's roles exploited his physical strength, especially his big frame and girth. His imposing figure earned him a walk-on part as a Praetorian guard in the 1951 film Quo Vadis?Italian director Mario Monicelli gave him his first big role in the 1955 film Un eroe dei nostri tempi (A hero of our times). Spencer abandoned his swimming career after the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Working on a 1967 film, Dio perdona io no, (God forgives, I don't), Spencer met up with actor Mario Girotti, who would take the stage name Terence Hill and become his frequent movie partner in spaghetti westerns.Bud Spencer (right) and Egyptian actor Omar Sharif pose at the closing ceremony of the Monaco Film Festival of Comedy in 2005. Spencer once confessed that he felt he was 'only a character' as opposed to an actor. (AP)Spencer, who had a law degree, made his name in unmistakably lowbrow films. Some of them include Al di la' della legge (Beyond the Law) in 1968; Lo chiamavano Trinita (They Call Me Trinity) in 1970; Watch Out, We're Mad, in 1974; Io sto con gli ippopotami (I'm for the Hippotamus) in 1979; Double Trouble in 1984 and Un piede in paradise (Speaking of the Devil) in 1991.Spencer's movies delighted much of the public, but critical acclaim eluded him, Italian state radio said Tuesday, noting he drew laughs with physical humour, especially by punching in the face the bad and arrogant characters.After he made a film with internationally renowned Italian director Ermanno Olmi in 2003, Spencer confessed that was perhaps the first time he felt he was an actor. "I always said that I was only a character" as opposed to an actor, he said.Spencer said sports taught him humility. "One day you wake up and someone goes better than you. And you're not anyone anymore. It's the same way in cinema."Bud Spencer received an award for his career achievement at the fifth Monaco Film Festival of Comedy in 2005. (The Associated Press)

‘Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise’ Claims Audience Award at AFI Docs

The audience award for best short went to Grzegorz Szczepaniak's 'Snails.'Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, a documentary about writer Maya Angelou, directed by Rita Coburn Whack and Bob Hercules, won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the AFI DOCS 2016 film festival, which concluded June 26 in Washington, D.C. and Silver Spring, Maryland.The Audience Award for Best Short went to Snails, directed by Grzegorz Szczepaniak.The festival featured 93 films from 30 countries, the festival brought together filmmakers, industry, national policy and opinion leaders.As part of the fest U.S. Representatives Jim Himes and Nita Lowey addressed an audience attending a screening of the doc Newtown, which looks at the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting. The fest also included at gathering of international filmmakers from Pakistan, conducted by the U.S. State Department, at the Annenberg Retreat in Sunnylands.Attendees at the festival included filmmakers Judd Apatow, Ramin Bahrani, Heidi Ewing, Alex Gibney, Rachel Grady, Werner Herzog (this year's AFI Docs Charles Guggenheim Symposium honoree) and Barbara Kopple, along with singer Sharon Jones, television’s Norman Lear and German Ambassador Peter Wittig.

The Cutest Backup Singers! Gwyneth Paltrow Films Apple and Moses Helping Out Dad Chris Martin on Stage at Glastonbury

Ian Gavan/Getty

Having a rock star for a dad does come with perks.

When Chris Martin and Coldplay headlined Glastonbury Festival this weekend, the father of two enlisted the help of Apple, 12, and Moses, 10, to provide some back-up vocals to the massive crowd.

The band paid tribute to British indie rock band Viola Beach after all four members – Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe and Jack Dakin – and their manager Craig Tarry plunged from a bridge and died in a tragic car accident in Sweden in February.

“We’re going to create Viola Beach’s alternate future for them, and let them headline Glastonbury for a song,” Martin announced.

Coldplay performed the band’s song “Boys That Sing” with footage of Viola Beach in the background while Apple, Moses and two of their cousins sang their hearts out.

Gwyneth Paltrow, who reached a divorce settlement with Martin last month, shared a video of the little rockers from the crowd on her Instagram.

#🍎 #🌊 #glastonbury #coldplay

A video posted by Gwyneth Paltrow (@gwynethpaltrow) on Jun 26, 2016 at 3:43pm PDT



Related Video: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Favorite Things

This isn’t the first time Paltrow has been spotted in the crowd of a Coldplay show. While recently speaking with Stephen Sackur, host of the BBC News program HardTalk, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France, the 43-year-old mom talked about keeping the family together despite the couple’s separation.

“As anybody who has been divorced knows, you have to put a lot aside to maintain the family and the practicalities of what that might mean and sometimes that’s quite tough on a personal level,” Paltrow explained. “It’s a commitment I make every day to my children and their father even though we’re not in a romantic relationship.”

“You can remain a family even though you are not a couple and make it a less traumatic experience for the children,” she continued.

‘Keanu’ Actress Joins Universal’s Comedy ‘Girl Trip’ (Exclusive)

Tiffany Haddish joins Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina Hall in the film, which Will Packer is producing.Tiffany Haddish is packing her bags to head out on a Girl Trip.The actress, most recently seen in comedy Keanu, will join Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina Hall in Universal's new comedy.The four actresses will star in Girl Trip as lifelong friends who travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival. There, sisterhoods are rekindled and wild sides are rediscovered -- along with plenty of dancing, drinking, brawling and romancing.Girl Trip, set for release on July 21, 2017, was written by Kenya Barris (the creator of the hit comedy Black-ish) and Tracy Oliver.Barbershop: The Next Cut helmer Malcolm D. Lee. is directing the film that will be produced by Will Packer via his Will Packer Productions banner. James Lopez, head of motion pictures for Will Packer Productions, will executive produce. Sara Scott is overseeing the project for Universal.Haddish landed in the entertainment industry in an unique way. When she was a child, she was in foster care in South Central Los Angeles. Her social worker enrolled her in the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp for children, where she found standup.The comedienne recently played Hi-C in New Line’s recent comedy Keanu, starring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. She currently stars alongside Jerrod Carmichael, David Alan Grier and Loretta Devine in NBC’s The Carmichael Show, which was recently picked up for a third season. She also stars on OWN's soap If Loving You Is Wrong, and her other TV credits include Kevin Hart’s BET show Real Husbands of Hollywood and FOX’s New Girl. Haddish is represented by APA, Principato-Young and Del Shaw.

Remember the Video Game ‘Nibbler’? It’s Now the Subject of a Documentary

When it comes world records, holding the record for highest score on the vintage videogame Nibbler, which was first released in 1982, is a relatively obscure achievement. But that didn't stop Andrew Sekir and Tim Kinzey from creating the indie documentary Man vs. Snake: The Long and Twisted Tae of Nibbler, for in recounting how one man first established the Nibbler high-score record and then after arguably losing it, sought to reclaim it, they found themselves telling a classic underdog story, albeit one set in the world of videogames. Named best documentary film at Fantastic Fest 2015 and Calgary Underground Film Festival 2016, Man Vs. Snake will be released today on demand platforms, including iTunes, Steam, Google Play, XBox, Playstation, Amazon, and Vudu, as well as in select theater showings across the U.S. by indie film and documentary distributor FilmBuff. The movie's inspiration, though, dates back at least a decade when Seklir and Kinzy, who are both editors, were working on the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica. Back then, they'd often take breaks for some friendly videogame competition. “As a way to blow off steam from late night editing sessions, we’d play games,” Seklir recalls. That’s when they came across Nibbler, an arcade game in which the player guides a snake through a maze. And they also learned about Tim McVey, a game enthusiast from a small town in Iowa who became the subject of their film. As a teenager in 1984, McVey became the first person to score one billion points on a video game, after 44 hours of continuous play on Nibbler. Twenty-five years later, rumors of a higher score surfaced online, attributed to Italian kickboxing champion Enrico Zanetti. McVey decided to end the debate by setting a new world record — even though that involved overcoming physical and psychological exhaustion and new challenges from younger players from the world of competitive gaming. “We thought it would make a great documentary, this underdog trying to recapture the glory of his youth, and by adding his very human story. I thought viewers would enjoy the universal themes,” says Seklir, who along with Kinzy, directed, edited and produced the doc. “Nobody could verify [Zanetti’s claim of the record score] but it bothered Tim and he wanted to go for another record. But now he was 40 years old. We didn’t know what the outcome would be; we were chasing a story.” Seklier (who's currently working on HBO's Westworld) and Kinzy (whose recent work has included the medical drama Heartbeat) trusted that there would be drama in McVey's comeback attempt, and that they could bring the story together in the editing room. “We thought, if we can get the footage, we can edit it,” Seklir says, adding “you would think the editing would have been the easiest part, but it was hard to step back since we were so close to it.” In the end, the 92-minute doc was edited from roughly 500 hours of material, including coverage of McVey’s attempts to establish records.. Having shot so much footage, Seklir and Kinzy took time off from their day jobs in 2013 to concentrate on the film, mapping out a Kickstarter campaign that raised $60,000 that, in addition to their own money, allowed them to complete the film. In addition to footage of the record attempts and interviews with McVey and others in the world of competitive gaming, the filmmakers commissioned some effective video-game style animation to help tell the story. “We though animation would be a great way to bring to life things we couldn’t show on film,” Seklir says. “It could help viewers follow the story, and it added charm.” Seklir admits that McVey was very shy at first. “He’s not use to being on camera, and he wasn’t seeking fame. We came to him out of nowhere after 25 years.” Asked for his take- away from the project, Seklir — who admits that his own personal high score on Nibbler is roughly 125,000 — responds, “I hope this says ‘stay true your goals don’t give up.’ ”

Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp Skips CineEurope for Comic-Con

Luc Besson, with wife, French producer Virginie Silla, at the Cannes Film FestivalThe director will showcase exclusive footage from the recently-concluded 'Valerian' shoot in San Diego in July.At last year's CineEurope in Barcelona, EuropaCorp made their debut on the last day of the trade show with an enthusiastic and chest-thumping presentation that showcased its emerging status as a European major.Flush with cash from its recent international smash hit Lucy and the conclusion of the Taken trilogy, together with a new joint-venture distribution deal in the U.S., Luc Besson’s French banner offered up an impressive slate of major new titles, including the Transporter franchise prequel Refueled, Chinese co-pro Warriors Gate, Javier Bardem-starring narcotics biopic Escobar and, of course, Valerian, the big-budget sci-fi starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne.Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter after the show, the company was bombastic regarding its future and how managing its U.S. distribution not only enabled it control it’s own “destiny,” but give it a seat among the top studios.“I have been told that when you become a distributor in the U.S. you become, as a consequence, a global studio. So, this is our first year that we’ve become a global studio, and I thought that now was the time to join that great, private membership club of CineEurope,” said its then CEO Christophe Lambert, adding that the company would definitely be returning in 2016. “But with a better slot!”A year on, however, and EuropaCorp’s sophomore appearance in Barcelona failed to materialize.But much has happened over the past 12 months. While Besson has been shooting his “passion project” Valerian in France since January, his company has been weathering a couple of storms.First came the bankruptcy at Relativity, EuropaCorp’s partner on the U.S. distribution joint-venture, RED. Besson immediately brushed off any concerns regarding the deal, asserting that RED was its own separate entity. Indeed, RED wasn’t included in Relativity’s Chapter 11 filed in July, but it wasn’t a great start for its bold U.S. ambitions.Then in February, on the eve of the Berlin Film Festival, an unexpected shake-up saw Lambert exit the company, to be replaced by veteran Hollywood studio exec Marc Shmuger. The move was seen by many as opening up a path towards acquisition, helping Besson’s not-exactly-secretive search for a buyer to help take the company off the market, removing the financial and PR restrictions that come with a public listing.In May, during Cannes, news broke that Lambert had tragically died at just 51 from lung cancer.But four months on from the executive shake up with no major developments at the company, the decision not to take to the stage at CineEurope could be entirely separate from any business matters.Just a few weeks after its presentation in Barcelona, Besson headed over to Comic-Con to give a “fireside chat” about all things Valerian, unveiling the “biggest adventure of my life” (and the biggest undertaking for his company), showing concept designs for his most ambitious endeavor yet.And with shooting now wrapped and a stretchy spell of post-production ahead of him, it seems he wants to honor the San Diego masses once more.Speaking to THR, EuropaCorp marketing manager Bruno Perez revealed that Besson would be returning to Comic-Con again in July with exclusive footage from the shoot, the U.S. being seen as an essential factor in helping the film recoup some of its estimated $170 million budget.A Comic-Con exclusive would have entailed EuropaCorp attending CineEurope without anything from its biggest and most hotly-anticipated film.Perez also pointed to Kirsk, the studio’s Russian submarine disaster set to star Colin Firth and Matthias Schoenarts, with Thomas Vinterberg directing. With shooting not set to start until later in the year, it again would have attended without any footage from one of its biggest titles.While EuropaCorp may have canceled its CineEurope show for 2016, with Valerian due for release in July 21 2017 (likely teeing it up for a Comic-Con world premiere), Perez says the company will definitely be coming to Barcelona next year. And definitely with Valerian footage.

Remembering Kathryn Altman: "She Was Fundamental to Robert Altman’s Success" (Guest Column)

The wife of the late director, she ws the great facilitor of his movie family, a welcome presence on his sets who smoothed any ruffled feathers and made sure everyone felt welcome.This year’s edition of the Maine International Film Festival, which runs from July 8-17 in Waterville, Maine will be dedicated to Kathryn Altman, a frequent visitor to the festival. Altman, who died March 9, was the wife of the late director, Robert Altman.“I used to call her Kathryn the Great because she was like a queen. Queen Kathryn. She was incredibly gracious to everyone and knew everything that was going on. She had this weather eye and could see behind her head and as well as from all sides. And could be blind when she had to be.” — Lauren Hutton, from Mitchell Zuckoff’s oral biography, Altman.Kathryn Reed Altman was a star.She wasn’t a movie star though she might have been.She was a star of the movie world for anyone who met her during the 45 years she was married to Robert Altman, the risk-taking, groundbreaking, sometimes volatile director who changed the way movies were made and how we looked at them.An Altman film was a family film, not in subject matter, but in the way he created an atmosphere that included everyone he worked with, in front of and behind the camera, in pre- and post-production.But “The Altman Experience” was both Bob and Kathryn. He was the generator of the family; Kathryn was the facilitator. After a hard day’s shooting, one would count on her gracious, welcoming presence at the film’s dailies, where the entire crew was invited to ”watch the work they had done the previous day” (per Bob) and relax over a full buffet .If any feathers had been ruffled, Kathryn would sense something was off-kilter and would smooth things over through her wit and beauty, always at the ready to level any tension or pepper a conversation with a sharp one-liner that would turn trouble into smiles. She learned the ropes of the movie business as a showgirl and an extra, instinctively knowing how to manage any social situation, seamlessly navigating the rituals of the movie business, making everyone comfortable.She was fundamental to Altman’s success through the stormy highs and lows of his 50-film career. She stayed removed from the business side; her domain was the social back-up.Yet after Bob passed a decade ago, having lived an extra ten years through the heart transplant he revealed when receiving his Honorary Oscar in 2006, ‘Trixie,” as she was known, assumed the Altman mantle. She became the featured attraction at the numerous Altman retrospectives and special screenings throughout the world — from major events in Los Angeles (UCLA), New York (MOMA) London, Turin, and Venice to the more specialized tributes in Maine, Nashville, Traverse City, Mich. and Marfa, Texas. She was the primary force and participant in Ron Mann’s feature length documentary, Altman, and wrote the coffee table scrapbook memoir, Altman, with critic Giulia D’Argnolo Vallan.Published by Abrams, Altman excerpted the 35 yearly scrapbooks she assembled that chronicled both family and professional history. The originals were presented to the Robert Altman archive at the University of Michigan, which also houses the Orson Welles papers, along with over 900 boxes of documents, awards and memorabilia she organized and cataloged.Being in the Altman orbit meant being challenged and stimulated by Bob and entering a comfort zone with Kathryn, who was genuinely interested in your personal life. Bob also knew she was irresistible. He once surprised her with his 15-minute tribute film, The Kathryn Reed Story, as a birthday present.I experienced this first hand in 1978 confronting a roadblock while preparing for the U.S. premiere of Alan Rudolph’s second film, Remember My Name, which Bob produced. The film was financed by Columbia Pictures, which showed little enthusiasm for Rudolph’s modern noir but gave us free rein to stage a benefit showing and press junket in Memphis, the birthplace of blues singer-composer Alberta Hunter, who performed the film’s score and, after decades in retirement, was in the midst of a major career resurgence. Her continuous engagement at The Cookery in Greenwich Village was a phenomenon garnering national attention.Alberta hadn’t returned to Memphis in 50 years; the city was in the midst of reviving Beale Street, its legendary music center, with clubs and restaurants and was eager to roll out the red carpet for a native daughter in support of the Beale Street Restoration Fund. The film’s stars Geraldine Chaplin and Tony Perkins were flying in, along with Altman and Rudolph and Tony’s wife Berry Berenson. The benefit screening was to be held at a landmark movie palace, capped by Alberta Hunter’s performance at the new Beale Street nightclub.The events demanded complex coordination between the actors’ and musicians’ schedules, travel accommodations, technical tests , riverboat arrangements for the press and the usual, unexpected last minute details. The city officials had been overwhelmingly supportive, and national press were covering. But somehow ticket sales were lagging.It was a mystery why. After some probing, I was reluctantly informed that we weren’t going to be the only premiere showing of Remember My Name. Without informing us, Columbia had booked a commercial engagement of the film in a suburban multiplex on the same day as the gala Memphis premiere and was advertising that showing as a premiere. Moreover, that cinema was in the county adjoining Memphis, and those county leaders were at odds with the Memphis politicians. They couldn’t care less about restoring Beale Street or helping our film.Editorials attacking the county’s ruthless insensitivity appeared in the Memphis media. I called Columbia demanding they postpone that competing run to a later day. The sales department claimed ignorance of what was happening. It was a hornet’s nest of bitterness…accusations flying…disaster threatening.It was too much to manage a southern political firefight with the premiere less than a week away. I needed help; someone who could ease the tension, soothe the wrangling and charm the adversaries. I needed Kathryn.Although Bob kept her away from “the business,” he instinctively grasped the severity of the situation. Kathryn arrived the next day; her emergence was tracked and covered in the press, and after a series of meetings and dinners, egos and attitudes were calmed. And Columbia pushed the suburban playdate.People magazine arrived to photograph Alberta in front of the W.C. Handy statue with Geraldine, who had just received the best actress prize at the Paris Film Festival for her role in the film. And the premiere was a euphoric SRO event. On Beale Street, Alberta gave a homecoming performance that was electric. Goosebumps prevailed. Bob and Kathryn, great jazz fans, were ecstatic.A few days before she passed away in March, sounding as sharp as she did a week before at the 45th anniversary showing of McCabe and Mrs. Miller, where we discussed Warren Beatty’s daring performance, Kathryn recalled an encounter she had had at a reception Beatty once held for Jimmy Carter at his Beatty’s suite in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. It paralleled her Remember My Name diplomacy.The Altmans had recently moved into their newly-built home in Malibu and were enduring bureaucratic delays with the Coastal Commission. Gov. Jerry Brown was at the Beatty event. Knowing her persuasive charm, Bob prompted Kathryn to introduce herself to the governor and explain what they were going through. The obstacles from the Coast Commission were soon overcome.Losing Kathryn leaves a large hole. She was a presence of fun, smarts and surprise. Her voice was a touchstone that eased anxiety, eliminated tension and provided true friendship. It’s difficult accepting she’s not a phone call away.Significantly, her passing has evoked these feelings among her large circle of admirers because we never thought of her as 91. Her energy was infectious; her style effervescent; her intuition faultless.Kathryn Reed Altman was irresistible.— Mike Kaplan is the author of Gotta Dance: The Art of the Dance Movie Poster, published by Lagoon Press.

Terrence Malick to Tackle WWII Biopic ‘Radegund’

German star August Diehl is attached to play Franz Jagerstatter, a conscientious objector executed by the Nazis in 1943.Nearly a decade after his Oscar-nominated The Thin Red Line, Terrence Malick is returning to World War II, this time in the form of a biopic about Franz Jagerstatter, a conscientious objector executed by the Nazis.German star August Diehl (Inglourious Basterds) is attached to star as Jagerstatter in Malick's new film, titled Radegund, named after the small Austrian village where Jagerstatter was born. The village, in turn, was named for a sixth-century Catholic saint.When the German troops arrived in 1938, Jagerstatter was the only one in his village to vote against the Anschluss with Hitler's Germany. He continued to oppose the regime and refused to fight for the Axis in WWII. In 1943, he was arrested, sentenced to death and executed.In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI declared Jagerstatter a martyr and he was beatified by the Catholic Church.Austrian actress Valerie Pachner (Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe) is also attached to star in the film. German film subsidy body Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg has backed Radegund with $451,000 (€400,000) in production funding.Malick's latest feature, Knight of Cups — starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman — premiered last year at the Berlin International Film Festival before hitting theaters in the U.S. earlier this year.The reclusive auteur recently wrapped shooting on Austin-set drama Weightless starring Portman, Michael Fassbender and Ryan Gosling. The Voyage of Time, a documentary on the “birth and death of the known universe,” which Malick has been working on for several years, is set to hit Imax theaters this October.

Music, mud and massive queues: wet weather, traffic snarls greet Glastonbury Festivalgoers

New Wet weather, traffic clog Glastonbury Festival arrivals 'The picture is improving,' organizers tell fans stuck in hours-long queuesThomson Reuters Posted: Jun 22, 2016 1:47 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 22, 2016 1:47 PM ETRevellers carry their belongings as they arrive at Worthy Farm for the 2016 Glastonbury Festival, with grey skies and rain greeting those arriving for the British music fest. (Stoyan Nenov/Reuters)Grey skies and rain greeted revellers arriving for Britain's Glastonbury Festival on Wednesday, with organisers asking drivers to delay their journey due to heavy traffic.Tens of thousands of people are expected at the green-field music festival held in southwest England, where Adele, Coldplay and Muse are among the headline performers over the weekend.Adele, Muse and Coldplay are slated to perform at this year's event. (Associated Press)"The current wet weather and ground conditions are still causing heavy traffic congestion around the ... site. But we're pleased to report that the picture is improving," organisers said on the festival's official "glastofest" Instagram page. "Our advice for those yet to set off by car/campervan is still to remain where you are for the time being, please ... The longer you leave it the less you will have to queue."Revellers queue at the entrance of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset, Britain on Wednesday. (Stoyan Nenov/Reuters)Those who had arrived at the Worthy Farm site in Somerset lugged belongings through muddy fields and set up tents on wet ground.The festival runs until Sunday.A reveller carries her belongings after arriving at Worthy Farm in Somerset for the Glastonbury Festival, Britain June 22, 2016. REUTERS/- RTX2HJA0 (Stoyan Nenov/Reuters) Report Typo or ErrorSend Feedback
Kanye Headlining ‘The Meadows’ Music Festival

Kanye Headlining ‘The Meadows’ Music Festival


Kanye’s coming to Queens. This October, he’ll headline the Meadows Music Festival at Flushing Meadows Park. The inaugural concert is spearheaded by the folks behind Governors Ball. The line up also includes Chance The Rapper, The Weeknd, Bryson Tiller, Pusha T, Post Malone and more. No love for Action Bronson? Tickets go on sale June 23. More info here.

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