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Happy Tuesday! It’s been over a year since most of us went to a movie theater. Take a front-row seat today for a screening of how the film industry is innovating to survive, from surge pricing to an unlikely new breed of scriptwriters. Meet the marketer with the unenviable job of making Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appear cuddly, listen to Quechua rap from Peru, check out some brilliant biographies and read to the end for answers to last week’s space quiz.
Isabelle Lee, Charu Sudan Kasturi and Nick Fouriezos
News in a Minute
1. The Next Merkel?
A trampolinist as a teenager, Annalena Baerbock is looking to leap to new heights, chosen by Germany’s Green Party on Monday as its candidate for September elections that’ll mark the end of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 16-year rule. The Greens are now Germany’s second most popular party after Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, which voted for its new leader Armin Laschet to seek the chancellorship. Read more about Germany’s upcoming transition on OZY. (Sources: Deutsche Welle, FT, CNBC)
2. ‘Ego’ or Justice?
Which will win? That’s the question the prosecution posed in its closing arguments to the jury hearing the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, accused of killing 46-year-old George Floyd last May. (Sources: WaPo, CNN)
3. Partner in Crime
A U.S. law firm commissioned by Rwanda has concluded that France was complicit in the genocide of Tutsis in the East African nation in 1994. Its report suggests French officials knew a massacre was being planned but did nothing to stop it. Should France accept its responsibility? Vote here or on Twitter. (Source: Guardian)
4. Mondale No More
Former Vice President Walter Mondale passed away on Monday at his home in Minneapolis at the age of 93. A vocal civil rights champion, Mondale suffered a devastating rout at the hands of President Ronald Reagan in 1984. (Source: WSJ)
You could call it gaming the game. Chinese police have arrested 10 members of what might be the world’s largest video game cheating ring, which made $70 million last year by offering subscriptions to cheat codes for popular games.
Bokksu delivers a monthly subscription of authentic, specially curated Japanese sweets, treats and teas to your door and across the globe. Partnering with families that have been making snacks for more than a century, Bokksu’s bundles start as low as $39.95 a month and target different cultural themes and seasonal flavors. The best part? Your snack box comes with a culture guide, 10 to 15 percent member-only discounts and free shipping. Get 20 percent off your first box with code JAPAN20!
From startups and creatives to controversial politicians, these marketing geniuses are helping build brands … and then spinning success around them.
1. Nir Levy
He has taken on what must count as among the toughest of assignments: bringing out the softer side of Israel’s controversial, militaristic Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Levy, a strategist at Shaviv Strategy & Campaigns, developed ads like “Bibi-sitter,” which humorously asked who Israelis really wanted protecting their children. Netanyahu has stayed in power, so something in Levy’s campaigns appears to have worked. Read more on OZY.
2. Julie Maunder
The South African is the founder of iDidTht.com, which means she is directly responsible for the discovery of countless creatives throughout Africa, given the platform’s wide reach in connecting artists and advertisers. The Ogilvy and Lowe Bull alumnus has won major advertising awards, including the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Festival. She’s “petite” but “could take you in a fight, so don’t **** with her,” she writes on her LinkedIn bio (she insists the **** stands for “mess,” although we’re calling for a fact check).
3. Deepak Kanakaraju
The Bangalore digital-ad guru calls himself “a biker boy,” and indeed, his early success rode on his popular online motorcycle blog, BikeAdvice.in, which received millions of monthly readers. Now he teaches digital marketing to others and offers tips to major Indian startups while also writing about it on a popular blog. The son of a construction company owner, Kanakaraju is now building a legacy of his own.
OZY Fest Is Back!
Our one-of-a-kind festival of entertainment, interactive experiences and great conversations is coming to a screen near you. Where else could you meet Dr. Anthony Fauci, Sevyn Streeter, Tig Notaro, Condoleezza Rice, Mark Cuban, Malcolm Gladwell and more? Join us for a virtual celebration of bold change and big ideas, May 15-16. Register now.
Here’s a quiz. Which world leader made a surprising guest appearance at an earlier OZY Fest?
Like so many other industries, the film sector has struggled these past months. As we approach the Oscars, a series of fascinating new approaches offer a glimpse of the industry’s future.
1. Surging in China
Is the key to the future of movie revenue surge pricing? During the spring festival season, China raised the price of tickets, which skyrocketed revenue for the films and allowed some theater owners to recoup their losses due to reduced capacity for COVID-19.
2. A.I.-ron Sorkin
And the Oscar for best original screenplay goes to … artificial intelligence? A pair of California film students are actually using AI to produce short movies that they’re releasing on YouTube. They expect software to be particularly helpful when writers are struggling with a block while racing against time.
3. Stay Awhile
Are drive-in movie theaters and outdoor screenings here to stay? The grown-up version of hanging a sheet in the backyard and using a projector to have a family movie night has become a beloved pastime of the last year. Sundance even brought its selection to San Francisco via drive-in theater.
Sneak Peak Into ... Peru
The ancient land of the Incas last week delivered a fractured mandate in presidential elections, sparking political uncertainty. Dive behind the headlines for a glimpse of the past and future that could shape more than just Peru.
1. José Domingo Pérez
Peruvians will soonvote in a presidential runoff between far-left teacher Pedro Castillo and Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of controversial former President Alberto Fujimori. But 44-year-old Pérez could well influence Peru's choice. His investigations into high-level corruption have already ensnared three former presidents: Alan Garcia, who killed himself, Alejandro Toledo and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. And in February, Pérezexpanded investigations against Keiko, spooking her enough that she is questioning his independence.Read more on OZY.
You know K-pop. Now move to Quechua rap. A new generation of Peruvian musicians iscombining Latin trap and reggaeton with Quechua to produce a new genre of hip-hop in the native language of the Inca people. Leading the way isRenata Flores, a 20-year-old singer-turned-rapper using her songs to combat anti-Indigenous sentiments.
3. Water Wonder
Well before Spanish colonizers reached the Andes, Indigenous communities in Peru had built an elaborate scientific network of canals that helped distribute water to parched regions. Now as climate change dries up our water supplies, the capital Lima is reviving those dilapidated canals to secure its future.Read more on OZY.
Today On ‘The Carlos Watson Show’
Darren Walker is among today’s preeminent thinkers and president of the Ford Foundation. Watch him later today reflect on his story from the bottom 1 percent to the top, share invaluable insights into today’s systemic injustices and open up about his intersectional experiences as a gay Black man.
Best Biographies You Haven't Read
There’s gold hidden in each of these masterpieces.
1. ‘Night Sky With Exit Wounds’ by Ocean Vuong
The poet and writer gained fame with his novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. But his debut book is better than gorgeous. Night Sky With Exit Woundsis a heartbreaking yet illuminating collection of poems based on his life, from growing up in Vietnam to emigrating to the United States.
2. ‘Barracoon’ by Zora Neale Hurston
The intimacy and connection forged between interviewer and interviewee in Hurston’s biography of Oluale Kossola is the work’s real triumph. Kossola was taken from what is today Benin at the age of 19 and brought to America on the last-known slave ship, the Clotilda, before forming a community of former slaves, Africatown.
Last week we asked you which European nation is building a spaceport for small satellites on its Atlantic islands. The answer: Portugal. Cheryl L., Jon T. and Paula K. — congratulations, you got it right!