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Israeli filmmakers Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia's documentary Web Junkie follows Chinese teenagers undergoing treatment for internet addiction at a controversial facility outside Beijing. The filmmakers knew they'd have to make their movie without permission from the Chinese government. Then, the executive producers of Hulu's original series East Los High tell us how the drama about Latino high schoolers was created with the hope of lowering teen pregnancy rates.

Photo: Teen undergoing treatment for internet addiction in China in the documentary Web Junkie. Photo courtesy of POV.

Producers:
Kaitlin Parker

Hollywood News Banter 7 MIN, 24 SEC

TV Guide magazine chief content officer Michael Schneider joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • Emmy nominations are out, and yes there were some snubs (sorry, The Americans and Jane the Virgin), but the TV Academy has made more diverse selections than in years past. For the first time, two African American women are nominated for best actress in a dramatic series -- Taraji P. Henson for Empire and Viola Davis for How to Get Away with Murder. Plus, Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany finally gets the nomination many say she deserved for years.
  • Donald Trump says he's made almost $214 million from the NBC show The Apprentice. That number may seem outrageous, but considering Trump is part owner of the show and is a producer as well as the talent, it's possible to see how the income could add up over time. As of recording time, NBC had not confirmed that number.
  • TLC has finally cancelled '19 Kids and Counting' almost two months after the molestation scandal involving Josh Duggar broke. The show had been one of TLC's most popular. The network is now planning to run a one-hour documentary on sexual abuse.
'Web Junkie' 15 MIN, 13 SEC

It's not uncommon to hear someone say they're "addicted to the Internet." In China, internet addiction is actually classified as a clinical disorder. Israeli filmmakers Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia set out to explore one approach to curing it at a Beijing facility that is the last hope for teens and their parents who have found their lives torn apart by an addiction to web-based video games.

The documentary Web Junkie goes inside Daxing Boot Camp, where teens typically do not come of their own accord. Their parents trick them or even drug them to get them to the facility, where treatments range from counseling to group exercises to in extreme cases -- total isolation.

The founder of Daxing is Tao Ran, a professor and psychiatrist who has named internet addiction as the most significant public health hazard in China. He was the key to getting Shlam and Medalia access to make their film, as they explained when we reached them in Tel Aviv.

The filmmakers did not even attempt to get official permission to film from the Chinese government because they knew they would not receive it. Medalia said they had to keep their filming "low key," arriving at the facility in cars with tinted windows and wearing scarves and hats to make themselves less visible.

As they worked on the project, the filmmakers started to understand why Internet addiction is such a problem for Chinese youth. Because of the one-child policy and a very strict education system, being a teenager in that country can be especially lonely. Many young people have found connections to other teens online, but in focusing so much of their social energy towards to Internet, Chinese youth are suffering a "new kind of loneliness," Shlam said.

While Web Junkie focuses specifically on one treatment facility in China, Shlam and Medalia see Internet addiction as a worldwide problem. Because we increasingly rely on online resources to work and function in society, it's difficult to ask an Internet addict to cut web access out of his or her life completely. Tao Ran claims his Daxing facility has a 70% success rate in curing teens of their addiction, though as Shlam and Medalia readily admit, it's tough to verify that number. And there's a high likelihood of relapse. As we see in Web Junkie, one teenager mounts an escape from the treatment center, but he's found very quickly...at a nearby internet cafe.

POV's Web Junkie is now streaming online for free until August 13, 2015.

Guests:
Shosh Shlam, Filmmaker (@WebJunkieMovie)
Hilla Medalia, Filmmaker (@hillamedalia)

Web Junkie

Shosh Shlam

'East Los High' 4 MIN, 42 SEC

By Kristin Marguerite Doidge

The sacred tenet for almost any daytime television network exec is simple: maintain the status quo, and do what has worked countless times over and over again. Produce, rinse, repeat. You could say it worked...until it didn't, when we went from nearly 20 soap operas in 1970 to only five today.

Enter the unique development process, social mission and distribution approach behind the soap-inclined, award-winning breakout hit drama series East Los High. The show is shaking up all kinds of traditions from daytime television's nostalgic past -- and not just with their moves on the fictional East Los High School dance floor -- from where and when audiences tune in, to how and why, leveraging deep academic research in fandom and active partnerships with nonprofit organizations to create a fully immersive, entertaining and educational fan experience.

Katie Elmore Mota and Mauricio Mota, executive producers of East Los High and founders of the socially conscious production company Wise Entertainment, became obsessed with seeking out the gaps in entertainment that weren't addressing the social tensions of what's happening right now, especially with the audiences in America whose stories are all-too-often left untouched by most mainstream media.

The result has been nothing less than extraordinary. Nominated for three Daytime Emmys this year, the highly anticipated third season of East Los High just launched on July 15 on Hulu's popular streaming subscription service, where the show's devout fans can choose to instantly "binge" watch entire seasons, or savor each episode one at a time.


At East Los High there's lots of drama and lots of dancing,
but the show was created with a social mission in mind.
Photo courtesy of Hulu

East Los High is the first English-language show with an all-Latino cast, creators, and writers, and the fan response to the show's authentic voice proves this innovative approach has real legs, even in a sometimes-stuck-in-the-past genre. Fans generate viral hashtags on social media like "#thisishowIgrewup" in response to story lines they connect with (such as Ceci's domestic abuse story), and will come together for watch parties, chats with the cast, or offline discussions about story lines.

"We're so excited about Season 3," Katie Elmore Mota told us. "The show is really coming into its own this season: the story lines, the love triangles, the dance. It's beautiful, it's dramatic, it's real, it's grounded, it's gritty."

Kristin Marguerite Doidge is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles, and a recent graduate of the master's in specialized journalism program at USC's Annenberg School. She reports on popular culture, the arts, and social justice -- on the air and on the web -- as a contributor for Marie Claire, Youth Today, Caring Magazine, NeonTommy.com, and KCRW's UnFictional.

Guests:
Katie Elmore Mota, Filmmaker (@KTelmoremota)
Maurício Mota, Filmmaker (@maumota)

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