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In today’s film news roundup, Jon M. Chu is honored by union publicists, Melissa McCarthy is honored by the Palm Springs Film Festival and the film “Ali’s Realm” gets a cast.

PUBLICISTS HONOR

Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu as recipient of the Motion Picture Showman of the Year Award.

He will be presented the award at the 56th Annual International Cinematographers Guild’s Publicists Awards for his unique contribution to the art of movies. The awards, which traditionally occur the week leading up to the Academy Awards, will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 22.

Steven Poster, national president of the ICG, said, “Jon M. Chu has made an extraordinary contribution to the art of filmmaking. His ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ adored by audiences throughout the world, is the first studio modern day film to feature an all-Asian cast in a quarter of a century. We celebrate the achievement of this breakout film, which has moved diverse audiences around the world.’

Chu’s previous credits include “Step Up 2: The Streets,” “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” and “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.” He created The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers directed videos for Justin Bieber and the Virgin America Safety Video. He’s signed for the adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “In the Heights” for Warner Bros. Studios.

FILM FESTIVAL

The Palm Springs International Film Festival will present Melissa McCarthy with the Spotlight Award at its annual Film Awards Gala for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

The award will be presented by her co-star in the film, Richard E. Grant. The gala will be held Jan. 3 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival runs from Jan. 3 to 14.

“Melissa McCarthy delivers a heartbreaking performance as author Lee Israel, perfectly portraying Israel’s loneliness as she struggles with her own relevance in society,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “McCarthy’s dramatic turn is truly captivating and deserving of awards recognition. It is our honor to present this year’s Spotlight Award to Melissa McCarthy.”

Past recipients of the Spotlight Award include Amy Adams, Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston, Andrew Garfield, Helen Hunt, Allison Janney, Rooney Mara, Julia Roberts and J.K. Simmons. All recipients received Academy Award nominations in the year they were honored, with Simmons winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for “Whiplash” and Janney receiving an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for “I, Tonya.”

CASTINGS

Nicole Elizabeth Berger, Max Charles, Paulina Porizkova, Jennifer Beals, Mark Webber and Amanda LaCount are starring in the independent imaginary reality film, “Ali’s Realm.”

The film is written and directed by Mario Torres, Jr., who has also opened make-up effects studio Full Eclipse Studios that provides the special effects for this film. Torres has worked on “The Shape of Water,” “Captain Marvel,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Walking Dead.” He created the actual alien creature in “Ali’s Realm” after writing the script and making plans to direct the film.

“Ali’s Realm” is a story about an eccentric 14-year old teenager played by Berger and her imaginary friend named Charlie, who appears to be a 7-foot tall alien. Jonathan Groves portrays the tall being. After witnessing the death of her best friend (played by Charles), Ali develops a keen intuitive power to communicate with alien Charlie, leading people to question her sanity.