Jury Coordination and Notes

Evolution of Film by Gerry Orz

March 1st, 2015

Cineorama_camera.jpgIn the late 1800s, art took a huge leap, the first films were created. Of course, compared to modern films they were very basic - no color, sound, no steady cam. It looked like a whole bunch of pictures were taken with a cardboard camera. That was the first few films which were, at the most, one minute long. This illusion of moving pictures was what the first films looked like.

In 1910, the first movie camera was made, a film camera. Today, a film camera is part of our every day life. But back then, it was revolutionary. A genius didn’t need a movie camera to make a colored film. A person manually colored the film by making adding red, blue, yellow and so on. Soon enough, sound came into play. However, this was a somewhat dangerous transition and a lot of silent movie actors were out of a job for they didn’t have very good speaking voices.

Today, we have digital, super HD cameras with crystal clear sound and what used to be rolls of tape the size of a head is on a small SD card. It leads us to ask what is next? Well, Cannon, Sony and others are racing to make their cameras better quality. You might ask how? Their $10,000 cameras are already producing videos that look very realistic. Well, apparently not. The D’s aHeadshot.GerrySM.jpgre getting bigger. First we had 2D, then 3D, then 4D / Smellivision. But, what about being inside the film? I mean not with 4D where you feel physical attributes but, actually playing a role in the film? I predict that by 2020, there will be such advanced cameras, that we will see our self in a film and we will be part of  the story.

Time will tell. For now - I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for my favorite industry - movie making.

Oscar Reflections By Keefer C.Blakeslee

March 1st, 2015

Awards3.jpgIt was a wonderful night for Oscar! Oscar, Oscar -  guess who won! Once again, the envelopes have been opened, the Golden and Lego statues given out, and people are already predicting the nominations for next year’s Oscars. The question is, how was this years show? Well let’s analyze it.

The Host: Let’s start by talking about the host, Neil Patrick Harris. If you remember my last blog, I talked about what makes a great host and mentioned my personal favorites. I adore Harris as a host. He has hosted the Tony Awards several times as well as other award shows and he is the best. However this was Harris’ second time hosting the Oscars and, to be honest, the first time his performance was nothing spectacular. He wasn’t bad but, he just didn’t live up to any of the past Oscar hosts. With that said Harris did a much better job his second time around. His opening number, Moving Pictures, along with Anna Kendrick and Jack Black was outstanding . He brought back the over-the-top Broadway style musical number to the Oscars. The choreographed number captured the magic of cinema and it made you fall in love with film all over again. Throughout the show, Harris’ comedy became a bit corny and, at times, edgy. His one-liners were hit and miss. For example, when he introduced Reese Witherspoon, he said “And the next presenter is so cute you could eat her up with a spoon.” (Groan) Altogether, he had more hits than misses. When he came out on stage in his underwear, strangely enough I thought it was hilarious because it went along with one of the nominated films, Birdman. Now, some of his jokes poked fun at the situation with the nominees being compiled of mostly white people. I didn’t have a problem with these comments. I thought they were funny but, I can understand if anyone thought they were inappropriate. Overall he did a phenomenal job as the host.

Performances and presenter: I can only sum up this section in three words, “Everything was Awesome.” I loved the individual performances by the artists. There was a cheerful performance by Tegan and Sara and the Lonely Island for “Everything is Awesome” and a broadening scene from Common and John Legend when they sang “Glory” which won Best Original Song. I gained a whole new respect for Lady Gaga when she performed a medley of songs from the Sound of Music for its 50th anniversary. Her performance was graceful and did justice to the music. Even Julie Andrews personally thanked her as she presented the next category. Speaking of which, I have to mention the adorable duo, John Travolta and Adele Dazeem. Sorry, Idina Menzel. Last year, Travolta mispronounced Idina Menzel’s name when he presented her. This year it was pay back and the two had fun.

The winners and their speeches: The winners this year were plentiful for each film nominated. It wasn’t one of those years where one film took all the awards. Each film got recognition for something. I am overjoyed that Julianne Moore won Best Actress for Still Alice and Alexandre Desplat won for best Original Score for The Grand Budapest Hotel. I didn’t care who won for most of the categories because, each of the nominees were equally deserving. There were so many soap box speeches from the winners, which was not a bad thing. When Patrica Arquette won for Best Supporting Actress, her acceptance speech about equal wages for women was great. Even Meryl Streep gave her a standing ovation and cheered her on. I did too. In fact, quite a few of the speeches turned political in some way. Whether it was equal wageKeefer.2014.5.jpgs for equal work by women, racism or just being different. What made it even more inspiring was that it was not obnoxious. They were done elegantly to a point that they were not preachy. My favorite speech came from Graham Moore who won for best adapted screenplay for The imitation Games. I adore this film and was so happy to see it receive an award for its script. His heartfelt speech brought tears to my eyes because he talked about why it’s okay to be different and that one day you will succeed. For me, Moore and the other’s speeches were the highlight of the evening.

Of course there is still so much to talk about but this was just a taste of what happened at this year’s Academy Awards. It’s funny that an award show could be the biggest event of the year, but the thing is it’s not just an award show. The Oscars honor not just last year’s films but films in general. It is a time for us to be reminded why film, or any form of self expression, is important. That’s why I look forward to it every year.

First Woman to Write a Marvel Film by Brianna Hope Beaton.

February 23rd, 2015

NP.jpgSome companies stick to a certain group of people such as having all men or all female workers, or a certain age group that works best, or even a specific ethnicity that the company works best with. These confinements needed to be broken. Marvel, a company that shows the world’s superheroes on the big screen, has broken the tradition of having all male writers for their films. Nicole Perlman became the first woman to write a Marvel movie, when she was credited as one of the few writers of the film Guardians of the Galaxy.

We all have role models and people who inspire us. Nicole Perlman, raised in Boulder, Colorado in the 90s, said that her hero was Ray Bradbury. Surprisingly, she got to meet him as a surprise for her 12th birthday and he autographed her copy of Dandelion Wine. Around that time she got the courage to enter and win sci-fi writing contests, with the support of her father. Fast forward a few years, Perlman received her film and dramatic writing degree from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2003. In the summer of 2013, Perlman got the opportunity of a lifetime when she stepped foot on the set of Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy. Nicole Perlman spent about two and a half years working and trying to figure out how to assemble the comic that has changed a little bit over the years onto the big screen. Some of the situations and awards that Nicole Perlman has experienced before Guardians of the Galaxy was winning Tribeca Film Festival’s Sloan Grant for science in film for her screenplay “Challenger.” She was also named one of Variety Magazine’s Top Ten Writers to watch and, to add to her accomplishments, she wasBriannaHopeBeaton2.jpg listed in The Playlist’s Ten Screenwriters on the Rise in 2013. Some of the other companies that Nicole Perlman has written for are Fox 2000, Universal Studios, National Geographic Films, Disney Studios, Cirque Du Soleil Films and 20th Century Fox. She’s preparing herself for other opportunities that might present themself to her. This stems from her outstanding Job in Guardians of the Galaxy.

“I think it goes a long way to show that you can do something like this,” she said. “Because there aren’t many female Marvel superhero movie screenwriters out there.” Being the first in a male-dominated craft inspires young actresses and writers like me to succeed. Thank you for paving the way for many more female Marvel writers. I commend you for a job well done and I wish you much success.

The Judges - by Gerry Orz

February 18th, 2015

Awards3.jpgWe had a lot of surprises this year at the Golden Globes. What’s interesting is that it seems as if a lot of actors and movies that won were as much surprised as the audience. It created lots of arguments and discussions in the entertainment world.

This made me think that it may be time for newer, perhaps younger judges. I think that we keep the current judges but add some younger judges, maybe include teens and young adults who love and know films.

Times are changing and less and less we hear people say “Kids don’t know a thing about films and how they are made.” Kids like me and hundreds of others know about films and know what makes a good film. We are living and breathing the world of movies and intuitively feel what’s good and what’s not. I believe that it’s time to have more yoGerry.O.jpguth opinions in choosing the award winners at the Golden Globes and others. Because, if kids had been included, I don’t believe How to Train Your Dragon 2 would have been chosen. The movie is great, don’t get me wrong. But, for many kids, it is the same or very similar to the last one. Kids know what makes a good film and perhaps today’s youth should be looked at as future judges for the Academy Awards as well. Just my opinion. Gerry Orz

Top 5 Oscar Hosts By Keefer C.Blakeslee

January 26th, 2015

Oscar_Awards.jpgIt’s a wonderful night for Oscar! Oscar, Oscar, Who will win?

Ladies and Gentleman, the biggest night in Hollywood is coming up, the Academy Awards. The time to honor the films from the past year. What makes award shows like this amazing? For me it’s the host. The one who sets the tone for the night, keeps the show moving forward, all while having the audience rolling in the aisle. The Academy, throughout the years, have hired the best hosts. In honor of the 87th annual Academy Awards, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, I have compiled a list of the top five best Oscar hosts. These are the hosts that I think are the most memorable, creative and funny.

Note: I am judging the hosts by their opening act. Also, only solo hosts. No groups or duos.

Number 5: Jon Stewart
Kicking off the list is satirical comedy by Stewart. He has hosted two times and is an entertaining host. Stewart is known for poking fun at political affairs. When Stewart hosted in 2008, the Writers strike just ended and the nominated films were No Country for Old Men and There will be Blood. Stewart replied “Does this town need a hug?” He was still able to create a light heated atmosphere.

Number 4: Hugh Jackman
Next on the list is this handsome and talented Australian actor. Hugh has hosted the Oscars only once, but left an impact with his opening musical number. The high energy, choreographed number was stupendous. Plus, as a host, Hugh was charming, classy and had a great sense of humor.

Number 3: Johnny Carson
The king of late night television hosted the Oscars five times and never failed to make the audience laugh. Carson was not only a charismatic person, but he was a born host. Everyone of his opening monologues were welcoming and amusing.

Number 2: Whoopi Goldberg
The first female to host the Oscars and one of the best. Whoopi hosted a total of four times and each one was better than the last. Her first time hosting the Oscars in 1994 was just after Billy Crystal’s three-year run as host. That was a tough act to follow. However, Whoppi managed to be a sassy and witty host.

Honorable Mentions: Steve Martin (Hosted three times), Bob Hope (Hosted 18 times. Mote than any other.)
Number 1: Billy Crystal
What can I say? Crystal hosted nine times. He knows what he is doing. Crystal is known for singing the nominations for Best Picture to the theme of show tunes. For example, when Titanic was nominated, he sang to the style of Gilligan’s Island. The man is the Oscars. He’s experienced, hilarious and the best Oscar host ever!

That was my personal list of the Best Oscar Hosts. Who is your favorite and why? I can’t wait to watch the 87th Academy Awards on February 22nd. I’m eager to see what this year’s host, Neil Patrick Harris has in-store.

First Asian Woman to win an Oscar by Brianna Hope Beaton

January 20th, 2015

miyoshilp.jpgThere are a lot of American females who led other fellow women in the film industry, but we often forget to look and appreciate females outside the United States of America. There is a lot we can learn from other countries, cultures, and people. Representing Japan, as the first Asian to win an acting Oscar, is Miyoshi Umeki for her supporting role in Sayonara.

Miyoshi Umeki was born on May, 8, 1929, in Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan. She was the youngest of nine children and showed signs of interest at an early age in music and performing. She used her passion to learn to play a few instruments, piano being one of them.

Sticking with music, Miyoshi traveled with an U.S. Army G.I. jazz band under the name of Nancy Umeki. Her earlier interest and practice in American pop music, against her parents’ will, paid off when she recorded American songs and landed a job on the show Arthur Godfrey and His Friends. She was a one-season regular from 1955 to1956.  Mercury Records signed with Miyoshi, and she released two albums with the record company.  After that, things started falling into place for Miyoshi. She performed in Sayonara in 1957, Flower Drum Song in 1961, Cry for Happy in 1961, The Horizontal Lieutenant in 1962, and many more. She isBriannaHopeBeaton2.jpg best known for her role as Mrs. Livingston BriannaHopeBeaton2.jpgin the TV Series, Courtship of Eddie’s Father. Though she had dry spots in her career she made the best of her situation and she showed assertiveness.

Ms. Umeki was a long time resident of Hollywood, California and later moved to Missouri where she died of cancer at age 78 on August 28, 2007. To her, we tip our hats and thank her for being the role model she was.

First African American Woman to Win Best Supporting Actress by Brianna Hope Beaton

December 11th, 2014

Studio_publicity_Hattie_McDaniel.jpgClassic films have paved a way for today’s films. What I would classify as classics are The Wizard of Oz (1939), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), King Kong (1933), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Mary Poppins (1964) and Dr. No (1962) - just to name a few. Another classic, is Gone with the Wind (1939). In this film, there is a phenomenal actress who clams the title of the “First Female African American” to win an Oscar in 1940, for her supporting role as Mammy - Hattie McDaniel.

Hattie McDaniel was born on June 10, 1895, to Henry McDaniel and Susan Holbert, in Wichita, Kansas. She was the thirteenth child in the family. When she was six, she and her family moved to Denver, Colorado. For schooling, she went to the 24th Street Elementary school. Like her parents, she had a tendency to perform. She sang wherever ever she could - in church, school and with her family. She also went to Denver East High School for two years. Not surprisingly, she handled professional singing, dancing and performing skits in shows all while in high school. When she was fifteen, she left school to train with her father’s minstrel troupe. Afterwards, she spent some time on Professor George Morrison’s orchestra. When she was twenty-five, she was invited to perform on Denver’s KOA radio station which made her the first African-American woman to sing on the radio in the United States! A couple of years after that, she landed a steady gig as a vocalist at Sam Pick’s Club in Milwaukee. In 1929, Ms. McDaniel’s siblings, Sam and Etta, persuaded her to move to Los Angeles where they had managed to get minor movie roles for themselves. Shortly after landing in L.A., Ms. McDaniel had a chance to appear on her brother’s radio show. She was a quick hit with listeners and was dubbed “Hi-Hat Hattie” for getting into formal wear during her first KNX radio performance. Ms. McDaniel landed her first major on-screen appearance in 1934 in John Ford’s Judge Priest. In 1935, she preformed the role of Mom Beck in The Little Colonel (Shirley Temple and Lionel Barrymore). The film brought her to the forefront of producers and directors’ minds and gave her a steady flow of recommendations. In 1939, Ms. McDaniel accepted the role of Mammy, Scarlett O’Hara’s house servant in Gone with the Wind.  Ms. McDaniel earned the 1940 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress - becoming the first, African American to win an Oscar.

During World War II, Ms. McDaniel helped entertain American troops to get their minds off the War and keep their spirits up. Movie offers stopped coming in after a conflict with the NAACP. The Civil rights movement also affected the sort of roles she was accustomed to and they slowly stopped coming in. Ms. McDaniel did not let the slow and eventBriannaHopeBeaton2.jpgually stop of offers stop her from doing something else. She returned to radio in the late 1940s. In 1947, she took the starring role on CBS radio’s The Beulah Show. In 1951, Ms. McDaniel started filming a television version of The Beulah Show.

When Ms. McDaniel was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1952, actress Louise Beavers stepped in to assume her role on the TV show. Unfortunately, cancer took her life. She passed away in Los Angeles, California on October 26, 1952. Even after her death, McDaniel was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Here is another great actress that paved the way for actresses like me.  I commend her tenacity and determination to not give up!

Laughter at the Movies by Keefer Blakeslee

November 25th, 2014

MelBrooks_1.jpgComedy is by far the most difficult form of entertainment. Other film genres are not easy to successfully pull off either, but what makes comedy difficult and serious work is that you don’t know what is funny to your audience. Full fledged comedies, satires and parodies in film are not what they were in the days of Mel Brooks or The Three Stooges . So the questions I would like to ask is, “What makes a film funny?”

First of all, let’s look at some history. Like many things, comedy evolves. In film it started with the silent era which focused on slapstick and optical jokes. The master and legend of this era was, of course, Charlie Chaplin. As the years went on, films began using synchronized dialogue sequences and by 1927 Jazz Singer came out. This created “talkie” films. Stars such as The Three Stooges, The Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello and especially, Charlie Chaplin starred in these films. Now, with dialogue on their side, the Golden Age of Comedy began. Cut to 1968 when a satire film by Mel Brooks, The Producers came out and introduced dark and vulgar humor. Around the 1980s, the Zucker brothers and Harold Ramis entered the comedy film field with their films Airplane and Ghostbusters. In the 90s came comedies starring stand-up comedians such as Jim Carrey, Robin Williams and many more - each with his or her own unique style of humor. In the early 2000s, the film Scary Movie came out, geared for adults, with gross humor and it became a big box office success.

To me there are three main components to humor. First, it’s the unexpected; it’s when you think you know what is going to happen but the complete opposite occurs. For example, in Young Frankenstein we expect to see a terrifying monster pillaging a town . Instead we see the monster singing and dancing to Putting on the Ritz. Next, timing. For example, in The Lego Movie the main character, Emmett is getting ready for a new day. The pacing of his everyday routine makes for a comedic payoff like when he does jumping jacks and can’t bend his arms. Last, but not least, there is tragedy. I know it’s ironic that the genre that is supposed to make you laugh revolves around the sadness of life. Look at it this way, what makes you laugh when you see someone in a movie slip on a banana peel? The reaction of the person in pain. Now, if that person falls and just gets back up, that is not as funny. A movie that shows this is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. The comedy comes from the family literally trying to survive the worst day ever. That is what comedy essentially does and that is one of the reasons it is a difficult art to master. What’s difficult is being able to look at the misfortunes in life and generate laughter with it.Keefer.2014.5.jpg

Film comedies have a more unique atmosphere than other genres. When you go to a movie theater, usually people are quiet so that they can watch and enjoy the film. Have you ever noticed that comedies break that rule? They give you permission to laugh out load and break the silence inside the theater. Comedies create an atmosphere that feels like nothing else. However, when it’s all said and done, you are not going to make everyone laugh. No matter what you do, you’re still going to have that one person in the audience who won’t laugh because he/she does not think it is funny. It’s all opinion and that goes with anything. That’s why I love comedy so much because it’s not easy, but the satisfaction of making someone genuinely laugh is worth the try.

Who is Gerry Orz, by Briana Dincher

November 12th, 2014

Gerry.O_1.jpgRecently I had the chance to interview Gerry Orz, a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic who has been with the organization for almost two years and has done over 100 reviews. Read on for the full exclusive interview to find out more about the young critic and film-maker who has big plans in the film industry for the future!

Why did you decide to join the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics?

I had a short film made called Days of Silence and another film called Words of Bully. Pretty much I kept submitting it to the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival and somebody, I am pretty sure it was Ranny who emailed me and said “Hey, do you know about the KIDS FIRST! Film Critic program?” We checked it out and thought it would be a good fit – we were a little bit unsure about it. Now that I did it, I am very happy, and I am almost a year & a half being a film critic and loving it.

You’ve been a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic for one and a half years?

Yes, I started two years ago in February.

Very cool! What is the best thing about being a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic?

I was about to say getting all those free movies, but that is definitely not it. I think honestly the best part is either doing the radio show or reviewing the films. The radio shows are fun – you get to talk with your fellow KIDS FIRST! Film Critics and you just get to have fun discussing your opinion about the films. Honestly what is the best thing about Ranny is that she doesn’t constrict what you do. If you do something completely insane, she’ll say “that’s fine, you’ll just have to keep doing it from now on” - which is something I love about Ranny. It is so much fun getting in front of the camera and saying whatever you want about the film. Sometimes, yes, you have to say specific things but usually it’s just really fun. After the first 40 times, or the first 20 times, it’s just bam bam bam!

You have obviously met a lot of famous actors and people in the business. Who are some of the notable people you were most excited to meet?

I’m not going to pick favorites because that is just going to be mean. I have to say that everybody I meet is wonderful. I know that I have made some pretty good connections with a lot of people. I know I made a good connection with Rachel Crow who is a musician and one of the voices on Rio 2. I also made a pretty good connection with Morgan Freeman - he is very nice. I’m not picking any favorites and I think everybody I have interviewed is equally awesome. I remember them pretty nicely.

A couple of weeks ago you received an award for your 100th movie review. I am sure that was really exciting! Were you surprised? What was your reaction?

Here is the thing; actually, I’ve been counting my reviews and was wondering when I would get 100. It isn’t because I wanted to get a 100, but I was just curious in my spare time. Last time I counted I had 80 which was about 2 weeks before that. When Ranny got up there and said “Gerry has done his 100th review”, it was unbelievable. It just felt amazing and I didn’t know what to feel honestly. I could not believe that I had done 100 reviews, which is about 300 minutes. That is twice as long as a feature film of reviews on movies. I could not believe it.

Have you done any previous work associated with film before joining the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics?

I have a done a lot of work with film before joining the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics. I found out about KIDS FIRST! when I made my first film. Actually, when Ranny gave me the award for 100th review it was during the premiere of my first feature film The Equation of Life. That was very nice. If you want to see the movie, it is available now on Amazon.

The short film expanded into a feature film, The Equation of Life. The movie was released on October 12th. What inspired you to produce this film?

In 3rd grade, I got bullied myself because I was very open. I went to kids and pretty much said, “Hi, my name is Gerry. I have two moms, and one of them is Jewish and not from America – be my friend.” Kids had a lot to bully me about and ironically, before that I had never experienced bullying. I never knew what it was; they never taught me. This film is an educational tool for schools, kids and parents everywhere pretty much saying that this is what bullying is. This is what really is happening. This is why it’s important. It’s not just some joke that teachers want to put on kids. It’s really going on in the world. That is what this film is about. It’s not just looking at the very common victim’s perspective – it’s looking at the bully’s perspective. Why is he bullying? Why is he torturing this kid? What caused him to do that? What happens to him after that? How does he feel? What happens to the bystander, the person who knows what is going on but doesn’t tell for different reasons. What happens to him/her after a year? Two years? Twenty years?

Bullying is obviously a serious issue that is currently present among children and teens, especially virtual bullying. How do you think your film influences others?

I know it definitely worked and I know a couple stories. One story really made me cry. A mom emailed me, I think she was in Florida, that she had watched my film and said that it was a good film, not that bad.  In the film that I made a couple years ago, Days of Silence, I suggested that parents compare pictures from a couple weeks ago to pictures from six months ago. If there is a drastic change, you should talk to your child. She did that and she saw a drastic change in her daughter. The mom talked to her and the daughter broke down. She told her that she was tormented and bullied very badly, even thinking of suicide.  I knew from that point on that my film did something and I am happy about that. My film did what I wanted it to and I am OK with it.

It’s great to see how your film influences others and helps them in their lives. Do you plan on making more films in the future?

Yes, I want my job in 20 or 30 years to be a professional film director. I am always inspired by Steven Spielberg the very famous director. Honestly, he is just amazing and I was to be the next Steven Spielberg. He is a wonderful director and I’ve always been inspired by his work.

The film industry is something you want to continue with when you get older?


Who are some of the film producers and directors you look up to?

Since I am a Star Wars fan, I would have to say George Lucas. I definitely love George Lucas. He is my top favorite, along with Steven Spielberg. All the legendary ones inspire me - even ones that aren’t from America, such as Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein. He is a director, not from America, from 50 to 60 years ago. He is a very good director. He was fascinated by sound. He was directing films during the time when sound was first being brought into film. But really, I just look up to all directors.

Is there anyone in the film industry you would like to work and collaborate with?

Steven Spielberg, of course. I have always wanted to work with him just to see how he does his legendary work.

What is your favorite movie?

I have a lot of favorite movies but I would have to say my most favorite of all of them is Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

You founded a non-profit organization called Kids Resource. Can you tell us a little more about that and what inspired you to start Kids Resource?

Kids Resource is a non-profit organization that is directed to younger kids to help them deal with today’s issues. I was starting to make educational curriculum related to bullying for schools because of my film. The schools didn’t accept it – they wanted it to be from some sort of foundation or an organization. We went to organizations but they all wanted to pay the schools or pay us. It was something we didn’t want to do; we wanted to give the schools free material. I started Kids Resource just for that. I wanted to give schools free educational tools that would help them and help kids that would enjoy it. I wanted to provide visual education that is interactive and fun, not just a boring lecture. Something fun and interactive is more likely to be used by kids.  Kids Resource has a lot of plans!

To find out more about Kids Resource, visit: http://www.kidsresource.org

Apart from filmmaking, what other hobbies and interests do you have?

In my spare time, I absolutely love reading. Swimming is also a good sport of mine. I go to a school of arts, a very good school. I love it very much.

How can people watch your latest feature film? Is it in theaters?

It is not in theaters, although I wish it was. I’m kidding. It is on Amazon for $15.  If you feel that the money is going into my pocket, it is not whatsoever. It is goes straight to Kids Resource to help develop other films and other resources.

To support Garry’s film The Equation of Life, please visit:

To learn how you can become a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, go to: http://2013critic.kidsfirst.org

Angelina Jolie - An Admirable Actress and Humanitarian by Brianna Hope Beaton

November 4th, 2014

AngelinaJolie..jpgI have been examining the impact of women who were brave enough to do what no others in the film industry have done before and bestowing on them the title of “first” in their category. However, not all the women who have made a difference in films belong to the group of “first’s”. Angelina Jolie is known not only as a phenomenal actress, but also as a passionate humanitarian.

Angelina Jolie Voight was born on June 4, 1975 to actor Jon Voight and actress Marcheline Bertrand, in Los Angeles California. She followed in her parents’ footsteps into the world of entertainment. In Ms. Jolie’s early teen years she attended Lee Strasberg Theater Institute and later New York University. Her breakthrough role took place in the late 1990s as her performance in Gia, a made-for-television film for which she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. Another great dramatic performance in Girl, Interrupted (1999) brought Angelina her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Since then, she has starred in various roles - Shark Tale (Lola, 2004), Beyond Borders (Sarah Jordan, 2003), Salt (Evelyn Salt, 2010), Wanted (Fox, 2008), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (Mrs. Smith, 2005), Playing by Heart (Joan, 1998) The Tourist (Elise Clifton-Ward, 2010), Maleficent (Maleficent, 2014) and many more.

As to her humanitarian work, Ms. Jolie was made a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency in 2001. Her work has affected many people in and out the United States. She captured the world’s interest when she worked to obtain aid for refugees in Cambodia, Darfur and Jordan and a few more. For her work in these areas, Ms. Jolie received the Global Humanitarian Action Award from the United Nations Association of the USA.

Hackers co-star Jonny Lee Miller married Jolie in 1995 and sadly, they divorced in 1999. The following year, Jolie married Academy Award-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton. That married also ended in divorce, in 2003. Jolie met actor Brad Pitt during the making of Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 2004 and they hit it off. Not only did they become a couple but they expanded their family little ones. In 2002, Jolie adopted a son, Maddox, from Cambodia. A few years afterwards, she adopted a daughter, Zahara. The couple’s first biological daughter, Shiloh, was born in Africa in 2006. A year later, Jolie adopted a three-year-old boy, Pax Thien, from a Vietnamese orphanage. Then Jolie gave birth to twins, Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline, on July 12, 2008. In total the actress and humanitarian has six kids.

Along with all the joy and happiness in creating this wonderful family came immense grief when Jolie’s mother, Marcheline Bertrand died of ovarian cancer in 2007, at the age of 56. Having a family history of breast and ovarian cancer and then, learning that she had a gene known as BRCA1, which increases the risk of both these cancers, Jolie wanted to make precautions. She underwent a double mastectomy in an effort to prevent breast cancer in herself.  “My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman,” Jolie stated. “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could.”

On the lighter side of things, the engagement of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie occurred in 2012. They tied the knot, on August 23, 2014, in a quiet and special ceremony witnessed by their close family and close friends in the romantic French countryside.
I commend Angeline Jolie for her humanitarian efforts in promoting human welfare and social reforms with no prejudice of gender, sexual orientation, religious or national backgrounds. She has visited many countries around the world and I believe her goal is to save lives, relieve suffering and preserve human dignity.

Ms. Jolie’s career as an actress is extraordinary. She takes a scripted character and brings it to a believable and convincing life. She has mastered the skill of acting with control and confidence and always delivers a captivating performance. I certainly plan on taking the necessary steps to train and study hard on being a great actress guided by Angelina Jolie and other outstanding women.

One of my favorite quotes by Ms. Jolie that guides me is: “We come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.”
—Angelina Jolie

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