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News Archive: September 2005
Revision to AJS donation instructions
Posted at 5:47 PM (PDT) on Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Contrary to what was posted earlier under our instructions on how to donate, we would like to advise everyone to NOT send packages to the Alinyiikira Junior School. It has been brought to our attention that the chances they would make it through customs and into the proper hands are not great. Also, only the school staff should choose supplies for the students in the interests of fairness, equality and honoring local traditions.

On another note, if you have a web site or blog, you may help us spread the word on this project with a banner. Click here to view our banners.

Thank you!

Gillian Nominated for IFTA Best International Actress Award
Posted at 11:46 AM (PDT) on Thursday, September 22, 2005

IFTA Best International Actress Nominees Unveiled
Irish Film and Television Network
September 22, 2005

The Irish Film And Television Awards have revealed the four nominees for the Pantene Best International Actress Award, one of the five People's Choice Categories that will be voted for by the general public.

Gillian Anderson has been shortlisted for her work on the Northern Ireland drama ‘The Mighty Celt’ directed by Pearse Elliott; Drew Barrymore is given the nod for the US remake of ‘Fever Pitch’ based on Nick Hornby’s popular novel; War of The Worlds star Dakota Fanning has been nominated for her work in the Stephen Spielberg Summer blockbuster and finally Natalie Portman becomes the indie favourite for her charming turn in Zach Braff’s ‘Garden State’. Ireland can now vote for its favourite International Actress between the four nominees through texting and voting online.

UK actress Keira Knightley was honoured in 2004 for her roles in King Arthur and Pirates of the Caribbean and this year's winner will be announced at the awards ceremony, which takes place on the 05th November 2005.

How to vote (& win a trip for two to Luxembourg)
Simply text the word ACTRESS to 53799 (Rep of Ireland) or 85145 (Northern Ireland) – you will be sent the four nominees to choose from.

All Lines open: 20th September
Voting Closes: 09th October 2005

You can also vote online at to be in with a chance to win a trip for two to a film premiere in London’s West End.

Following on from the success of the Awards in 2004, this year's Awards ceremony promises to be a highly prestigious and glamorous event with a host of film stars, TV personalities, directors, producers and distinguished guests in attendance to celebrate the undisputed talent that exists within the film and television industries in Ireland and around the globe. The ceremony will be broadcast live, by RTÉ One on the 05th November 2005.

Alinyiikira Junior School Update
Posted at 10:55 AM (PDT) on Thursday, September 22, 2005

For those of you who would like to sponsor a child at the school, a full year's tuition costs $162 (includes the protein supplement).

One school year has three terms; each one costs $54. Children may also be sponsored by terms rather than a full year.

For children in the boarding section, the cost is $405 per year for each child. These rates are fair and below what other schools are charging.

And for those who have been asking for an Automated Monthly Payment Plan, click here and scroll down to the bottom of the How to Donate page.

Thanks to your generosity, several items are no longer on the Wish List. The school can already count on receiving many English, Science, Math, and Agriculture textbooks, storybooks, pencils, teddy bears, a slider, portable blackboards, dusters, a keyboard (music) plus $900 for whatever is most needed at the moment.

And five children will have their tuition paid for a full year too!

Li'l Message from Gillian
Posted at 11:08 AM (PDT) on Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Regarding the XF2 movie mention in the Sunday Times interview, Gillian would like you all to keep in mind that it was not a direct quote and that Chris Carter is not in charge of the contracts. In any event, filming wouldn't start until at least after the end of summer 2006.

Also, it was the journalist, not Gillian, who used the adjective "irritating" in regards to questions from fans.

One more thing: She wants you to know that Bleak House is scheduled to premiere in the USA on January 15, 2006.

Gillian's Alinyiikira Junior School Project
Posted at 8:50 AM (PDT) on Monday, September 19, 2005

Gillian's AJS Message Part 2:

Over the next few years I think I will be focusing more on schools in Africa and this will be the first. I would love for any of you who are interested to be a part of it. I am attaching a list of what they need. Obviously, there are things on the list which seem more immediate than others. For instance a computer or two is superfluous without power. Some of you may think that it is more important that they have musical instruments than math books, or teachers' desks than chalk boards. Or that the first thing to focus on is raising money for solar panels which is also one of the attachments. But there are things that are not on the list such as school fees per term per child, or supplementing food with some form of protein to accompany the regular portion of porridge once a day, or contributing to teachers fees which are half as much as they would make in the city, and their sleeping quarters which are basically nonexistent.

It seems endless but the fact is it takes very little to make a huge difference in each of their lives. While Jules was at the school he bought eight children new shoes and he bought the school a duplicating machine which is what was around before copy machines - the power issue again. After I left I sent back 10 cartons of chalk and two footballs and committed to supplying them with 200-400 exercise books for the new school year.

The list is accompanied by what each item would cost per unit in Ugandan shillings and then the total amount of needed items is in both shillings and dollars (my understanding is that 1,000 shillings equals approximately 50 cents). My thought is that one person may say that they would be interested in contributing to two English books while another person might get their family involved and commit to two desks and another person might want to pay for school fees for three children for one term or one child for a whole year (70,000 shillings a term includes supplemented protein and is the equivalent of about $40.00). Or even, someone might say, "I have four extra dollars and I would like for it to go towards a swing set," and eventually, over time, we will be able to contribute a swing set.

Right now the school is not set up as a charity and therefore one could not get a tax right-off for the contribution but the boost your heart will get in return is worth so much more.

But please let me know your thoughts and if any of you would like to contribute even the smallest amount or if you have any better ideas of how to go about this, let me know! I would also encourage anyone who is planning a trip to Uganda or lives near Kampala to go visit the school and maybe plant a tree alongside the ones that J and I did and offer the kids a big smile in support for their efforts to grow and learn and contribute to their community and therefore the world.

Thanks for listening.


To learn lots more about the Alinyiikira Junior School and how to help, click here.

Sunday Times Photographs
Posted at 8:37 AM (PDT) on Monday, September 19, 2005

Photographs by John Stoddart who said, "She was a real trouper. She knew that she had to perform, and she was up for every idea; she wanted to look interesting and sexy."

Thanks to Laura and Lina!

Sunday Times UK Interview
Posted at 4:50 PM (PDT) on Saturday, September 17, 2005

Today's Sunday Times has a 3-page interview!


Gillian Anderson put up with fearsome monsters and Canadian winters for The X Files - then said she wouldn't do TV again. How did a BBC period drama change her mind? Tony Barrell reports.

The BBC, which wanted the 37-year-old actress badly for a plum role in a blockbuster serial, wasn't even sure where she was. There were 85 parts to cast, pronto, and if Anderson was on another continent, ensconced within an overprotective cordon of publicists and minders, it might take too long to reach her. "We didn't believe for one second we'd be able to get through to her," says Nigel Stafford-Clark, the serial's producer. "I thought she lived in Los Angeles. And it was our casting director, Kate Rhodes James, who said, "No, she lives over here, in Britain.'"

The trouble was the T-word. Anderson, who has a reputation for being extremely selective, had been turning down all television work. "I don't want to be pigeonholed as being somebody who does television, quite frankly," she explains now, in a slightly surprising English accent, as she sucks on a self-rolled Golden Virginia cigarette in a west London hotel. Had The X Files put her off TV work? "I think so. But also I'm a big film buff and I love the medium of film, and there's a lot that I would still like to do in film, and people I'd like to work with." She remembers a feisty exchange with her agent over the Bleak House offer: "My first response was, 'Look, we've had this conversation. I'm not interested in doing television.' And then my agent kept saying, 'But hang on, this is the BBC, which is very different from daily television in the States. This is a respectable project, and is actually really good.'"

Shooting started in February and wrapped in the summer, and Anderson couldn't be more pleased with her decision to revoke her TV ban. "It was just an extraordinary experience. And I got incredibly attached to the character. Sometimes one just falls in love with being another person and who that person is, and the complexities of her life. And I miss Lady Dedlock - I can honestly say it's as if she's a friend that's moved away to another country."

Nigel Stafford-Clark talks about the actress as if she were the brightest ray of sunshine on the Bleak House set. "We don't want her to go, really," he admitted on her last day on the project. "She's been such a wonderful presence. She is a remarkable woman, Gillian - quite apart from the fact that she is the perfect Lady Dedlock."

To read the whole article, click here.

Gillian to attend 43rd New York Film Festival
Posted at 1:16 PM (PDT) on Thursday, September 15, 2005

Gillian plans to attend the screening of "Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story" and a Question & Answer session on October 7.

According to the 43rd New York Film Festival web site, this show is SOLD OUT (standby line day of event).

Excerpts from the Evening Standard Review
by Nick Roddick

Coogan's Shandy is no small beer

Michael Winterbottom's reportedly troubled movie of Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story turns out to be pretty much of a triumph: an ingenious adaptation of Laurence Sterne's novel (thought by many to be unfilmable) and a hilarious comedy about the perils of film-making.

Winterbottom's film charts the attempts of director Mark (Jeremy Northam, looking quite like Winterbottom himself) to overcome the problems of making a period drama with limited means, not to mention Winterbottom's own problems making the film we are watching.

Highlights of this are the casting of Gillian Anderson as the Widow Wadham, via a very funny split-screen link-up to Los Angeles, which provoked spontaneous audience applause; and a preposterous giant womb into which Steve Coogan is lowered upside down to recreate the moment of Tristram's birth.

To read the full review, click here.

Update on Gillian's New Project
Posted at 10:53 AM (PDT) on Monday, September 12, 2005

Next Monday, September 19, we shall unveil Gillian's new project first mentioned in her message dated August 5.

On a related note, Angelina Jolie has handed over home video footage she shot during a recent trip to Africa. The Diary of Angelina Jolie & Dr Jeffrey Sachs in Africa will air Sept. 14 on MTV. The 30-minute special follows her and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's deputy on a recent visit to Kenyan village Sauri, where Sach's U.N. Millennium Project team is working to end hunger and disease. In the documentary, Jolie and Sachs meet villagers and observe how their lives have been affected by the lack of clean water, malnutrition and poor health care. The special also shows efforts that have been made to address these concerns.

Jolie, a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, adds, "I'm certain the stories in this special will inspire viewers the same way these experiences have inspired me, and I'm hopeful that increased awareness of the issues in Africa will bring about a new wave of progress and activism among young people everywhere."

Eastern Time Zones:

Sep 14 07:00 PM on MTV (Wednesday)
Sep 16 01:00 PM on MTV (Friday)
Sep 16 08:00 PM on MTV (Friday)
Sep 19 04:00 AM on MTV (Monday)

Check your local listings!

Also of interest, the September 2005 special issue of National Geographic: AFRICA - Whatever you thought, think again.

The Mighty Celt Director Slams DVD Pirates
Posted at 9:31 AM (PDT) on Monday, September 12, 2005

The People
September 11, 2005
Ulster Edition

I'm Disgusted; Ulster Film Director Slams DVD Pirates for Killing Cinema
By Liz Trainor

Top Ulster film-maker Pearse Elliott has blamed DVD bootleggers for "killing off the movie experience" in Northern Ireland. Belfast-born Pearse - whose latest movie The Mighty Celt is playing in cinemas across the UK - claims there is a growing bootleg culture which makes it harder to get people into the cinema.

"Most people in Northern Ireland have seen my movies but many of them wait for the DVD - and I suspect some of them are pirate copies," he complained.

A major force in Irish cinema Pearse enjoyed huge box office success last year with his first feature length movie, the comedy Man About Dog.It ranked eighth at the Irish box office last year ahead of some of Hollywood's top offerings. But Pearse has complained that the success wasn't mirrored in Northern Ireland. And his latest film - starring former X-Files beauty Gillian Anderson and top British actors Ken Stott and Robert Carlyle - is also playing to packed cinemas across the Republic. But that too has been slower to take off this side of the border.

Pearse squarely lays the blame with a counterfeit DVD culture for the slump. "Man About Dog went down a storm in the Republic," he said. "It was one of the biggest grossing movies of last year coming in as the number eight highest earner and that's some feat when it's up against all the American movies. But it didn't go down so well in the North - yet everyone I know has seen it!"

"There seems to be a culture of 'I'll wait for the DVD' and there's so many ways of getting your hands on one now before it even comes out in the shop. Between bootleggers whether criminal or paramilitary that's one thing but it's really easy now for people to burn a movie from their computer. Traditionally we don't have a great cinema-going audience and I think people are happy enough to sit around and wait. Many of them get it from the video shop but there's a big culture of the pirate DVD - how can anyone enjoy the experience of watching a movie with people's heads moving about at the front of the screen. It's just ludicrous and ruins the whole experience. It also hits us hard in the industry, more than people know. There are livelihoods at stake."

Pearse's latest film The Mighty Celt starring Gillian Anderson, has been well received at the box office as well as major critical acclaim. It tells the story of one Belfast boy's love of a greyhound who turns out to be a champion racer against the odds.

Now Pearse, who's back to the drawing board working on his latest project, says his next movie will be aimed at the US market. "The Observer named The Mighty Celt Film of the Week and it has been getting rave reviews but that's not being reflected at the box offices. I'm going to turn my hand now to a movie with an international feel - the US market is the way to go," he confessed.

Foreword of a new book has a tribute by Gillian
Posted at 9:20 AM (PDT) on Monday, September 12, 2005

Liberation struggle veteran Ahmed "Kathy" Kathrada launched "A Free Mind: Ahmed Kathrada's Notebook from Robben Island" -- a book of poetry, songs and quotations he transcribed while locked away for 26 years in apartheid prisons. Kathrada said the authorities went out of their way to stop prisoners from studying, and study material had to be smuggled into the Robben Island prison.

The foreword to the book contains tributes from political figures, academics, some Hollywood actors - including Samuel L Jackson, Blair Underwood, Danny Glover and Gillian Anderson - and a word from music giant Quincy Jones. Most praise Kathrada for his moral stature, integrity and courage and, not least, his "wonderful" sense of humour.

The gathering was addressed by Dr Neville Alexander who spent time on Robben Island with Kathrada. "The Robben Island experience is one which we in South Africa have still very much to learn from," he said. People of different views of what South Africa should look like were thrown together on the island, and this was very important for "shaping the democratic ethos for this country". The prisoners "succeeded in turning Robben Island from a place of punishment to a place of learning... from a prison to a university."

Read more.

For other books by Ahmed Kathrada, click here and here.

Message from Julian Ozanne
Posted at 11:17 AM (PDT) on Tuesday, September 6, 2005

September 6th 2005

Dear All,

Thank you all so much for supporting this cause which is close to my heart and which I know, for many of you, seems so far away.

Compared to the many tens of thousands of suffering Zimbabweans, who wake this morning, like every morning, unsure how they are going to eat and survive, most of us live lives of unimaginable ease, luxury and freedom.

Since the end of May, the government’s continued assault on its people has reached new extremes as Zimbabwe’s urban poor have become the latest victims of a government which seems completely removed from reality. The regime’s forced evictions and mass destruction of property, livelihoods and life in the capital Harare have stripped victims of the meagre possessions it has taken them a lifetime of hard work to accumulate. Countless numbers of men, women, children, the elderly and the sick, continue to sleep in the open air in winter temperatures close to freezing. And this, in a country, which is already spiralling towards self-destruction, mass starvation, rampant AIDS and gross abuse of individual freedom.

I promise you that we will do everything in our power to make sure every cent of your donations directly reach those most in need – to feed and clothe people, to increase their opportunity and to help protect them from a brutal regime.

As you all know Gillian and I spend considerable time in Africa. So many times we have met individuals suffering desperate hardship whose courage, spirit and humanity inspire and humble us. They deserve a better future. By your generosity and compassion, you help to make this a possibility.

Once again thank you.

Zimbabwe Benefit Foundation

Message from Gillian
Posted at 3:21 PM (PDT) on Thursday, September 1, 2005

This message from Gillian was written on August 29. We had planned to use it in conjunction with the unveiling of a new section dedicated to the Alinyiikira Junior School in Uganda. Out of respect for the urgency of the hurricane need, we are postponing this for the time being.

I just got back from visiting friends in Copenhagen and there are drunken carnival people up and down my street and every street in every direction and helicopters in the air and a hurricane in New Orleans and Twister on television and foie gras in my stomach and I just wanted to say thank you so much to everyone who donated to the Zimbabwe Fund. It was such a sweet surprise and Jules was really touched and I know he wants to thank you himself so I will let him but it was really great of you guys to take that initiative and I know it will go to a good cause.

If some of you are also interested in donating to the school I spoke about recently do let us know via the website cause the money will go straight to them and I have a huge list of what they need that ranges from cents to dollars to hundreds of dollars so if anyone is not donated out and would like to contribute in that way, come on down! That was really cheesy. I'll stop now. Okay. Bye till soon,


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