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Stromae Hints On Releasing New Album

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Paul Van Haver, a Belgian musician known by his stage name Stromae, has hinted on plans to drop a new album although he has not specified the exact date.

This half-Rwandan singer held a concert in Kigali in October 2015 and memories of his show still ring fresh to the fans.

However, this artist has been very silent since then ven though his name appears in a number of collaborations, including one on Coldplay’s latest album but also with Bigflo and Oli, Vitaa, Orelsan, etc.

He also appeared on stage with the latter at a concert in Brussels. But musically, he hasn’t released anything under his name except “Défiler”, a long title that accompanied the presentation of his Mosaert collection shown at Le Bon Marché in Paris in April 2018.

He confirmed it to a French publication Liberation during an interview with his wife Coralie Barbier and his younger brother Luc Junior Tam with whom he runs his shop.

While he confesses to having stopped everything during a time when he was really not doing well, he says he works every day, with and for others. And he adds: “An album will come at some point but I don’t really have a date”.

“Even if I had been on an artist contract, I couldn’t have been forced. Either I would have found a subterfuge, or I would have released a rotten album, without giving a shit … A lot of artists do that. ”

It was almost ten years ago, August 16, 2011 to be precise. Stromae released Racine Carrée, his second album, the one that would raise him to the rank of super star, led by the singles “Papaoutai” and “Formidable” to name a few.

In the process, he continued with the Racine carrée Tour, more than 170 dates spread between November 9, 2013 and October 17, 2015, which led him to perform in Germany, London, Brazil, in Madison Square. Garden in New York, as well as in Africa, with concerts in Kinshasa and Kigali. This concert marathon would lead to what we know and his disappearance from radar screens, or almost since.

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Entertainment

Russian Crew Back to Earth After Filming First Movie in Orbit

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A Russian actress and a film director returned to Earth Sunday after spending 12 days on the International Space Station (ISS) shooting scenes for the first movie in orbit.

Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko landed as scheduled on Kazakhstan’s steppe at 0436 GMT, according to footage broadcast live.

They were ferried back to terra firma by cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, who had been on the space station for the past six months.

“The descent vehicle of the crewed spacecraft Soyuz MS-18 is standing upright and is secure. The crew are feeling good!” Russian space agency Roscosmos tweeted.

The filmmakers had blasted off from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan earlier this month, travelling to the ISS with veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov to film scenes for “The Challenge”.

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Russian Actors Film First Movie in Orbit

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A Russian actress and director arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday to begin a 12-day mission to make the first movie in orbit.

The Russian crew is set to beat a Hollywood project that was announced last year by “Mission Impossible” star Tom Cruise together with NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Actress Yulia Peresild, 37, and film director Klim Shipenko, 38, took off from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan as scheduled.

They docked at the ISS, behind schedule at 12:22 GMT, after veteran cosmonaut and captain of their spacecraft, Anton Shkaplerov, switched to manual control.

As the hatches opened, the Russian trio floated into the orbital station where they were greeted by two Russian, a French, a Japanese and three NASA astronauts.

“Welcome to the International Space Station,” Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky tweeted from the ISS.

The crew traveled in a Soyuz MS-19 spaceship to film scenes for “The Challenge.”

The movie’s plot, which has been mostly kept under wraps along with its budget, centers around a female surgeon who is dispatched to the ISS to save a cosmonaut.

Shkaplerov, 49, and the two Russian cosmonauts already aboard the ISS are said to have cameo roles in the film.

Konstantin Ernst, the head of the Kremlin-friendly Channel One TV network and a co-producer of the film, said he spoke with the crew as soon as they docked.

“They are in good spirits and feel well,” Ernst told press.

‘It was difficult’

“It was difficult psychologically, physically and emotionally… but I think when we reach our goal all the challenges won’t seem so bad,” Peresild — who was selected out of 3,000 applicants for the role — said at a pre-flight press conference.

Shipenko and Peresild are expected to return to Earth on Oct. 17 in a capsule with Novitsky, who has been on the ISS for the past six months.

Ernst told Press that a film crew will document their landing, which will also feature in the movie.

If successful, the mission will add to a long list of firsts for Russia’s space industry.

The Soviets launched the first satellite Sputnik, and sent the first animal, a dog named Laika, the first man, Yuri Gagarin, and the first woman, Valentina Tereshkova, into orbit.

“Space is where we became pioneers, where despite everything we maintain a fairly confident position,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday.

But compared with the Soviet era, modern Russia has struggled to innovate and its space industry is fighting to secure state funding with the Kremlin prioritising military spending.

Its space agency is still reliant on Soviet-designed technology and has faced a number of setbacks, including corruption scandals and botched launches.

Russia is also falling behind in the global space race, facing tough competition from the United States and China, with Beijing showing growing ambitions in the industry.

Russians ‘lost interest’

Roscosmos was also dealt a blow after SpaceX last year successfully delivered astronauts to the ISS, costing Russia its monopoly for journeys to the orbital station.

For political analyst Konstantin Kalachev, the space film is PR and a way to “distract” Russians from the “problems” that Roscosmos is facing.

“This is supposed to inspire Russians, show how cool we are, but I think Russians have completely lost interest in the space industry,” Kalachev told media.

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Amazon Studios Moves Filming From New Zealand to Britain

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Amazon Studios announced Friday it would film the second season of its original series, inspired by the books of J.R.R. Tolkien, to Britain.

New Zealand has long been associated with “The Lord of the Rings”. This shift to Britain is a major blow to the nation’s small but vibrant screen industry.

“The shift from New Zealand to the UK aligns with the studio’s strategy of expanding its production footprint and investing in studio space across the U.K., with many of Amazon Studios’ tentpole series and films already calling the UK home,” the company said in a statement.

The production is one of the most expensive in history, with Amazon spending at least U$465 million on the first season, which just finished filming in New Zealand, according to government figures.

The series employed 1,200 people in New Zealand directly and another 700 indirectly, according to the figures.

“This is a shock to everyone,” said Denise Roche, the director of Equity NZ, a union representing performers. “I really feel for all the small businesses, the tech people who invested in this for the future. Nobody had any inkling.”

Roche said people feel let down by Amazon, although she added that the industry was resilient.

Amazon said the as-yet untitled series takes place on Middle Earth during the Second Age, thousands of years before the events depicted in Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” books and the subsequent films directed by Peter Jackson.

Filming began last year but was delayed due to the coronavirus. Post-production on the first season will continue in New Zealand through June before the show premieres on Prime Video in September next year.

The move to Britain comes just four months after Amazon signed a deal with the New Zealand government to get an extra 5% rebate on top of the 20% — or $92 million — it was already claiming from New Zealand taxpayers under a screen production grant.

Many locations around the world compete for productions by offering similar, generous rebates.

At the time of the deal, New Zealand’s Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash said the production would bring economic and tourism benefits to the country for years to come and create “an enduring legacy for our screen industry.”

Nash said Friday the government had found out only a day earlier that Amazon was leaving and he was disappointed by the decision. He said the government was withdrawing the offer of the extra 5%.

Amazon said it no longer intended to pursue collecting the extra money. But it will still walk away with at least $92 million from New Zealand taxpayers.

“The international film sector is incredibly competitive and highly mobile. We have no regrets about giving this production our best shot with government support,” Nash said. “However, we are disappointed for the local screen industry.”

New Zealand became synonymous with Tolkien’s world of orcs, elves and hobbits after Jackson directed six movies in the South Pacific nation. “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Hobbit” trilogy combined grossed nearly $6 billion at the box office.

When Amazon Studios first announced it would film in New Zealand, it said the pristine coasts, forests, and mountains made it the perfect place to bring to life the primordial beauty of early Middle Earth.

The large ensemble cast includes Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Sophia Nomvete and Lloyd Owen.

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