Ben Affleck launches aid group for Congo
Nairobi, Kenya — Ben Affleck launched a new initiative Monday to raise money and awareness about atrocities committed against women and children during years of conflict in eastern Congo, Affleck told The Associated Press.
The American actor and director spent five days in the country last week, where he met with former child sex slaves and prisoners convicted of rape in the hope of gaining a better understanding of Congo’s troubles.
The new foundation — the Eastern Congo Initiative — will support community-based, Congolese groups, said Affleck on the heels of his fifth trip to the country.
The new initiative is funded in part by founding member Howard G. Buffett, son of investor Warren Buffett, to whom Affleck pitched his vision of a new aid group by describing eastern Congo’s dire situation.
The 37-year-old Affleck has been traveling to eastern Congo since 2007 and previously directed a short film called “Gimme Shelter” about the humanitarian crisis in the country.
Filmmaker Del Toro to give ‘Hobbit’ new look
Hong Kong — One of Peter Jackson’s frequent collaborators says the “Lord of the Rings” director passed the torch to Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro to give the trilogy’s two-part prequel, “The Hobbit,” a fresh look.
After the huge success of the “Rings” series, Jackson is now working on adapting the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy novel that takes place before the trilogy. But this time the Oscar-winning New Zealand filmmaker is producing and working on the script, relinquishing directing duties to Del Toro, whose credits include “Pan’s Labyrinth” and the two “Hellboy” movies.
Longtime Jackson collaborator, art designer Richard Taylor, also said his team has started designing the landscape and characters in “The Hobbit,” but that he was unclear when shooting on the New Line Cinema production will start in New Zealand.
Taylor, who also won Oscars for his work on the “Rings” series, said he doesn’t know whether “The Hobbit” will be released in 3-D.