Thursday roundup: Ruiz gets Sundance fellowship, new Muppet helps kids stay clean

By Current Staff

• Filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz (The Graduates/Los Graduados, Reportero) has received the Time Warner Fellowship from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program to work on his latest doc, Recolectores (The Gatherers). As a fellow, Ruiz will get services from the institute including mentoring, grant assistance and attendance at its famous film festival. Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing) also got a production/post-production grant in this round of Sundance awards, which went to 35 filmmakers out of 750 applications from 93 countries.

New Muppet Raya helps Elmo learn about good hygiene. (Photo: John Barrett)

New Muppet Raya helps Elmo learn about good hygiene. (Photo: John Barrett)

• Sesame Workshop is participating in this week’s annual Reinvent The Toilet Fair: India, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation event that showcases the latest in modern hygiene for developing nations. Making her debut at the fair is new Muppet Raya, who always wears her sandals to the latrine and washes her hands with soap. She’s part of the workshop’s Cleaner, Healthier, Happier campaign in Bangladesh, India and Nigeria.

• Jeremy Piven, star of Mr. Selfridge on PBS, had stern words (tongue firmly in cheek) for Sherlock actor Benedict Cumberbatch on last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. Piven and Cumberbatch shared the stage at a recent PBS press event, and Selfridge was totally overlooked. “They guide me to the stage in the dark,” Piven said, “and when the lights come on they say, ‘Please give your questions to Sherlock,’ and they forgot to say Mr. Selfridge. ” That’s why Piven now refers to the Sherlock star as “Benedict Cumberbitch.”

• Diehard followers of the Pacifica radio network’s internal turmoil might enjoy this 20-minute video of arguing among (former?) Executive Director Summer Reese (off-camera), board chair Margy Wilkinson and others. It appears to have been shot at Pacifica’s offices in Berkeley, Calif., where Reese has refused to leave, defying the board’s attempt to fire her last week. For an approximation of the network’s recent history, just put this video on repeat for years on end.

And for a dive farther back into Pacifica’s past, consult this recap by Reason‘s Jesse Walker, who says we shouldn’t give up hope: “Maybe it’s just nostalgia for all the time I spent in the late ’80s listening to bluegrass and psychedelia and Cajun music and great weirdo call-in shows on Pacifica’s Houston station, but yeah, I think it matters.”

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