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Germany Imposes New Restrictions on Private Gatherings, Concerts and Cultural Events

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Germany has approved stringent new measures to try and curb the latest COVID-19 wave sweeping Europe.

Among the new measures, which will be enforced “at the latest” from Dec. 28 according to reports, are the closure of nightclubs as well as the banning of spectators at large-scale musical, sporting and cultural events. Fireworks on New Year’s Eve will also be banned.

New restrictions will also be introduced for private gatherings. Only parties of 10 or fewer will be allowed to meet privately, both indoors and outdoors. The rules apply to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals as well as those recently recovered from the virus. Children under the age of 14 will be exempt.

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However, unvaccinated individuals will face further restrictions by only being permitted to meet with one other household.

The aim and timing of the new restrictions is intended to prevent large New Year’s Eve gatherings.

Christmas will not be affected. “Experience over the past two years has shown that Christmas and Easter haven’t been great drivers of infections,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, according to local broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

In the meantime, Germany’s “2G” rules remain in place, which mean that only vaccinated individuals or those recently recovered from the virus are permitted to enter public venues such as cinemas and restaurants.

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Although organizers have remained bullish, the new restrictions will mean there is increased doubt over whether the Berlin Film Festival, which is due to return as an in-person event in February, will go ahead in its current iteration.

The new measures were announced following a meeting between Scholz and state leaders on Tuesday, who also announced the availability of financial aid for businesses impacted by the new restrictions. Germany’s elected officials continued to urge citizens to get vaccinated, although it is thought another full lockdown is not on the cards.

Deutsche Welle reported in the last 24 hours Germany has counted another 462 deaths from COVID-19 and 24,428 new positive cases.

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Former HBO Exec Len Amato Joins MasterClass as Chief Content Officer

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Len Amato, a 13-year veteran of HBO, joined MasterClass as chief content officer at the company that sells subscriptions to celebrity-led online courses.

In the new role, Amato will head up MasterClass’ content organization and help lead content innovation, strategy and development of class launches. He reports to David Rogier, founder and CEO of MasterClass.

Amato formerly served as president of HBO Films, Miniseries and Cinemax before he departed in late 2020. Most recently, Amato was an executive producer on HBO’s upcoming limited series “The White House Plumbers” through his production company Crash&Salvage, where he will continue to produce independently.

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MasterClass provides access to more than 150 online courses led by experts and celebs including James Cameron, Shonda Rhimes, Ken Burns, Jodie Foster, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, Nas, Gordon Ramsay, Bob Iger, Metallica, Issa Rae, RuPaul, and Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. An annual membership to MasterClass starts at $180/year.

“Len has been a pioneer in creating premium, original content, and I’m thrilled to welcome him to the team,” Rogier said in a statement. “His passion for storytelling, proven leadership and ability to attract talent will help us expand and innovate, providing even more ways to transform our members’ lives through our content.”

“MasterClass is setting a new standard for premium content with its cinematic value and ability to intimately connect world-class instructors with its members,” Amato said. “I’m excited to continue to democratize learning by bringing these stories to life in new ways and scale the impact of our content.”

Amato joined HBO in 2007 as a senior VP and was promoted to president of HBO Films the following year. Under his leadership, HBO Films earned best television movie Emmys for originals including “Grey Gardens,” “Temple Grandin,” “Game Change, “Behind the Candelabra,” “The Normal Heart” and “Bessie.”

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Prior to joining HBO, Amato served as president of Spring Creek Productions. His producer and executive producer credits include “Analyze This” and “Analyze That,” “Possession,” “Deliver Us From Eva,” “Rumor Has It,” “Blood Diamond” and “The Astronaut Farmer.” Amato also was story editor for Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Productions. He started his film career in New York as a story analyst for various independent producers and studios. Prior to his career in the film industry, Amato was a musician and actor.

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Music Industry Moves: FKA Twigs Partners With Atlantic Records

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Along with her “Caprisongs” mixtape on Friday came the news that FKA Twigs has “partnered with Atlantic Records for this next exciting phase of her art,” according to the announcement. In the U.K., she will continue to release music via the Young label (formerly Young Turks) through Beggars Group.

“FKA twigs is the kind of artist you dream of signing — one with truly original vision, voice, and presence,” said Atlantic chairman-COO Julie Greenwald.  “She’s among the most compelling talents, always pushing her creative envelope to deliver emotionally honest music that’s both intensely personal and universal. We’re thrilled that she’s chosen Atlantic to be her home as she continues on her fantastic musical adventure.”

“The progression of FKA twigs’ music over the past decade has been extraordinary,” said chairman-CEO Craig Kallman. “She’s never content to stay in one place – constantly crossing musical boundaries, embracing fresh sounds, telling new stories, and exploring what’s next. An amazing vocalist, songwriter, lyricist, and producer, she’s barely scratched the surface of her potential, and we’re incredibly excited to see what she’ll be bringing her fans in the years to come.”

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+ Artist-services company AWAL has promoted Jennifer Kirell to senior vice president of catalog & retail marketing. Based in New York, she will report directly to Ron Cerrito, president of AWAL North America, and oversee and support artist and label partners. Prior to joining AWAL, Kirell spent 11 years with Sony Music Entertainment at Legacy Recordings, where she led global marketing campaigns and audience development strategies for artists including Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash and others. Cerrito said, “Jennifer is a goal minded, follow-through obsessed, results oriented, serial over achiever with a deep understanding of modern music marketing.  She is also a thoughtful leader and people manager. We are proud Jen is a member of our executive team and look forward to continuing to redefine catalog and retail marketing into the future.”

The 2021 deal that saw Kobalt selling AWAL to Sony for $430 million remains under review by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.

+ RCA Records has named Alex John director of publicity. She joins after two years at Red Bull Records, where she worked with Blxst, the Aces and producer WondaGurl. Over the course of her seven years in the business has also worked for Listen Up (where she worked with Martin Solveig, Kevin Saunderson, Jamie Jones and others), FYI Brand Group (Jhené Aiko, Tyga, DJ Khaled) and M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment (Sprite, Coca-Cola, WAV Media).

 

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