Jury Coordination and Notes

The Computers Documentary – By Brianna Hope Beaton

August 25th, 2015

The_Computers.jpgIn 1946, six brilliant women programmed the first all-electronic, programmable computer, the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). This was a project run by the U.S. Army as part of a secret project. Their names are as follows:

  • Frances Bilas Spence (1922 – 2013)
  • Jean Jennings Bartik (1924 – 2011)
  • Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer (1922 – 2008)
  • Kathleen “Kay” McNulty Mauchly Antonelli (1921 – 2006)
  • Frances Elizabeth “Betty” Holberton (1917 – 2001)
  • Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum (1924 – 1986)

eniac2.jpgThese women learned to program a computer without the programming languages and tools that we have today. With all the programming that was completed the ENIAC ran a ballistic trajectory flawlessly. However when the ENIAC was presented to everyone, these women never received credit and their story vanished until now.
KathyBriannaHopeBeaton2.jpg Kleiman, Founder of the ENIAC Programmers Project and Co-Producer and Co-Writer of The Computers documentary took notice of this story when she found a number of photographs of the ENIAC project and wanted to find about the women who were in the pictures. She was told that they were models, but they didn’t look like models. They looked like they knew a lot about the computers and were the actual programmers. With further research on these women, she wanted to share their amazing story with everyone that would listen.

The Computers is a documentary that tells about these six brilliant women and their story of programming in the mid 1900s. It is not your stereotypical documentary of men performing these jobs, but of women.

I am in awe of these incredible women because they opened the door for so many females to be in the technology world. It’s an inspiring story that I wish everyone could watch.  These computing pioneers were not only women, but men too.

Is Cinema the Worst It’s Been in 50 Years? By Willie Jones

August 18th, 2015

The_Graduate.jpgSome say, “Yes, it is.” Two-time Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman recently criticized cinema today, saying “…it’s the worst that film has ever been — in the 50 years that I’ve been doing it, it’s the worst….” Hoffman attributes the time constraints that directors have on getting their films done as part of the problem. He notes that The Graduate, a gradually small film took years to put together despite its simplicity. But what did we get? A classic that has stood the test of time and is now considered one of the all-time great films (which I can attest to). But to truly understand Mr. Hoffman’s point of view, consider where he started fifty years ago.

Hoffman made his cinematic debut 48 years ago, to be exact, in 1967’s The Tiger Makes Out, but followed it that same year with The Graduate. Now, 1967 happens to be the turning point of cinema. We had the most explicit film of all-time released that year, in Bonnie and Clyde, which changed movies forever. We had the first film to ever show a black man hitting a white man with In the Heat of the Night. We had film that tackled interracial relationships with Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. It was a banner year that sparked the revolution in cinema and it went on into the 70s. The new thing was naturalism - in everything. Naturalistic acting from the likes of Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson, naturalistic direction from the likes of Francis Coppola and Roman Polanski,  and naturalistic dialogue from the likes of Robert Towne and William Goldman. That was the formula for films such as The Godfather and Chinatown.

Also consider that at the time, during the late 60s and 70s, America was in a cultural revolution. It was okay to say what you wanted, to do what you wanted, to be who you wanted to be. Things like sex, homosexuality, explicit war opposition, political opposition, civil rights, women’s rights and all the things that were deemed “impolite” beforehand, could now be expressed. And it showed in our films. Movies could now show nudity, movies could now speak out vividly against politics, movies could now use profanity, and movies could portray violence as much as they wanted. So one should understand that movie making at that time was at an artistic high. For the first time, writers and directors could say what they wanted and were encouraged to do so. Therefore, fresh ideas and stories were being told rapidly.

It was just two years after The Graduate was released that Dustin Hoffman starred in the first X Rated movie to win best picture, Midnight Cowboy (which is also an all-time great film). Things were changing for sure, therefore originality was at an all-time high. Now, fast forward 48 years.

What haven’t we seen? There is no longer anything edgy or original. The advent of technology and the sheer fact that time has softened the sensitivities of society, has made it so that people of all-ages have seen something of everything. There’s no opinion that hasn’t been heard, and no amount of sex or violence that hasn’t been seen. Most importantly, there is no story that hasn’t been told or a plot that hasn’t been seen.
So while Dustin Hoffman says that a part of the issue is filming constraints with directors, I say cinema is the worst it’s been in 50 years, because of the lack of originality. But, with that said, I’m going to make an assumption that Hoffman is talking about mainstream films, movies with big budgets and big studios behind them. I say that it’s because independent cinema is where the originality and uniqueness is. And, the problem is: no one sees them. People don’t want that.

Movies like Birdman, Whiplash or Cold Souls go unseen because no cares to see them. A part of the problem, beside a lack of good stories and time constraints, may be audiences. What ever they see, Hollywood makes. In Hoffman’s prime, audiences wanted Carnal Knowledge and Serpico. Audiences are so numb to explicit material, that edge with class is no longer desired. Now, they want Ant-Man and Ocean’s 11.

The transition from where cinema was in the late 60s and 70s to now, is sad. It makes cinephiles a rather outcast and Willie1.jpglonely bunch in cinematic interest, because all of our favorites are movies that no one sees or cares to see. I mean, have you seen Win Win? Don’t worry, few have. So I agree with Dusty, cinema is at the worst it’s been since he entered the movie business in 1967. And unfortunately, there is little indication that circumstances will change. Well told stories just aren’t in fashion anymore. People don’t flock to see them.

I guess those of who us who want that to change will either have to make the films we want ourselves or hope that the likes of Alejandro Innuritu, Bennett Miller, J.C. Chandor, and Paul Thomas Anderson continue to be the exceptions in today’s movie world.
Who knows? Maybe when Hoffman’s debut reaches an actual fifty years in 2017, another revolution will happen and we will get caught up in the passionate, artistic frenzy that movie fans of the 70s were caught in.

Thank you for reading. Willie Jones.

Farewell to Jon Stewart By Keefer C.Blakeslee

August 10th, 2015

Jon_Stewart.jpgAugust 6th was Jon Stewart’s last time as host of The Daily Show

For those of you who don’t know who Jon Stewart is, I’ll give you a brief summary.

Jon Stewart is a comedian, writer, actor, media critic, director and television host. He is known for his fake news series The Daily Show. The show starred Stewart as he tackled political and media affairs in a satirical way.

Since Stewart’s last episode was on August 6th I wanted to pay tribute to this incredible comedian. To begin, I’d like to say that I did not grow up watching The Daily Show. In fact, I just started getting into it this year. With that said, it did not take long for me to fall in love with this man’s commentary. Every chance I get I would watch his show on Comedy Central as well as segments on YouTube. Not only is he a hilarious comedian but, in the words of Howard Kurtz, “What separated Stewart is this virtuous appetite for politics and media. This is a guy who gets ticked off about things he doesn’t like in terms of political hypocrisy or media superficiality.”

The appetite that Kurtz talks about made his comedy stronger. When there was a subject that Stewart felt strong about his passion fueled his jokes. This made them funnier because they were sincere. Stewart knew when to be funny but, like any good comedian, knew when to be serious. His segment on the Charleston shooting that aired June, 18, 2015 still hits me hard. In this segment, Stewart does not sugar-coat the story. He shows one of his most unique aspects which is his honesty. He talks about how he watches the news and makes jokes but there are those occasions where jokes just don’t fit. During the above-mentioned show Stewart said, ”I did not do my job…I honestly have nothing other than sadness once again that we have to peer into the abyss of depraved violence that we do to each other…” The ability to open his heart to show all of his emotions made him the new Walter Cronkite.

Here comes the irony of The Daily Show. Stewart has said multiple times that he is a comedian first. He states, during aKeefer.2014.5.jpgn interview with Chris Wallace,” My comedy is informed by an ideological (a system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy) background… Hollywood is liberal but that’s not their primary motivating force. I’m not an activist, I’m a comedian.” Like many other people, he wants to be heard but his comments are not political. Even with his intentions, people call him the most trusted man in America. He’s even been nominated for journalism and news awards.

Stewart merely wanted to entertain but in the process won America’s trust. Why? Because he is eloquent, educated, meaningful and, above all, funny.

Thank you Jon Stewart for making the daily news enjoyable.   

Film Evolution - New Types of Film By Gerry Orz

August 3rd, 2015

Hololens.jpgEveryone today wants to be more and more into films. First people were drawn to  video games where they could play characters from the film.  They feel like they are a part of it. Of course, that worked in a way, but really it doesn’t give them full satisfaction. Next was smell-vision, a 4D experience. These allow people to be in the same surroundings that the characters in the film are. Of course, that doesn’t work out to the max either. Next there is IMAX. These massive screens project  4K video with surround sound that truly help you blend in with the story and feel as if you are inside it. However, people haven’t stopped there. Now there are curved 3D/4K video games coming out that are based on films and even some films make cards that you sniff while watching for that smell-vision effect.

The technology people are trying. Now they are trying new tech. 360 cameras are what they’re called. They are mostly used by YouTubers right now. However, they are spreading to other places too. Already people have made horror films with these 360 cameras and they are truly amazing. You can move your mobile device around the room and, with the phone, the screen changes direction. You almost feel like you are moving with it! It really is mind boggling. However, it has an interesting and unpleasant side affect on people that suffer from motion sickness. Just imagine doing that for 90 minuets! If you are watching Speed Racer, it is three hours of that kind of stuff.

Well, a new technology is taking it even further up the chain. HoloLens, glasses made by Microsoft that project holograms show video that is watchable on the HoloLens and you can move around 720 degrees. Yes, up down, left right andHeadshot.GerrySM.jpg this will be REAL three dimensions, in which you can see the front, back and sides a your own will - almost like being on the set of “Inception”.

The question is “where will technology take us next?” To the point that we go to the movies and wear glasses and other devices that take us to virtual reality? Or, where we take pills and we LIVE in the film for a hour and a half? Movies are going through many changes now and it is just the beginning of Film Evolution.

Women in Film & Television by Brianna Hope Beaton

July 20th, 2015

wift.fl.jpgSomething that really inspires me to do all I can to help others are great organizations that strive to aid the men and woman in need. To have an association that focuses on the film industry and helping others is such a plus to so many people around the country and world.

Woman in Film & Television - Florida is an organization that strives to empower men and woman to achieve their highest professional/creative potential, and create more job opportunities throughout the state of Florida. They would like to continue to search for and retain members who have a minimum of two years experience working in the film, television and digital media industries.

Tichi Wilkerson Kassel and a group of woman representing a range of facets of the film and television business founded Woman in Film in Los Angeles in 1973. Woman in Film was created to recognize, develop and actively promote the unique visions of woman in the field of communications. The Central Florida Chapter of Women in Film (the original name) was established in 1989 by a dynamic group of independent producers looking for companionship and support. In 1999, the name was changed to Women in Film & Television - Florida (WIFT-FL) to better reflect the chapter’s membership and sponsor base. The members of WIFT-FL organization are qualified women and men from a range of job categories - performers, producers, directors, writers, agents, publicists, photographers and administrative and managerial personnel. WIFT-FL is part of an international network (Women in Film & Television International or WIFTI), which has 40 chapters around the world. WIFTI’s membership base exceeds 10,000 working professionals.

Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa are the four WIFT-FL branches. Some of the corporate members include Adrenaline Films, Central Florida Film Festival, DAVE School and Orlando Actors Headshots. WIFT-FL has more than ten sponsors including


Production HUB, Solodev, Doverwood CENFLO and continue to grow.

Woman in Film & Television - Florida is a great organization that many people (including me) have and are grateful for. To get more information you can visit http://womeninfilmfl.org.

YouTube vs. Movies By Keefer C.Blakeslee

July 12th, 2015

youtube_logo_detail.jpgI want you to ask yourself one question (No this is not a set up for a Clint Eastwood line). How many hours a day do you spend on Youtube? 3 hours maybe even 5. According to Youtube satistics,”Every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views. The number of hours people are watching on YouTube each month is up 50% year over year.” It’s no surprise that Youtube is huge. People go on Youtube to watch music videos, tutorials, movie reviews (*Cough KIDS FIRST! Cough), you name it. If you’re one of the many people who go on Youtube a lot, and chances are you are, then you have a favorite Youtuber that you suscribe to. For instance my favorites are ERB, Game Therory and AVbyte.  Maybe yours are Miranda Sings, Rhett and Link or Lindsey Sterling.

Suscriber after subscriber, Youtube has made these people celebrities. I did not fully realize how huge these people were until I volunteered at a gift lounge. I carried around bags full of merchandise from different vendors for people. We had an unexpected guest, Jenna Marbles. For those of you who don’t know, she is a big Youtuber who does comedy videos. I had the pleasure of escorting her throughout the gift lounge. What I did not expect was the whole room going crazy over her. Left and right, people wanted pictures with her and her autographs. This reaction showed me how much people love Youtubers. It got me thinking, which is pretty dangerous, how does a Swedish man playing video games named  Pewdiepie become as well-known as some movie stars? First, there is exposure. Youtube provides  access to many outlets for exposure - tablets, computers and smart phones. In fact (add smart phone fact): To make it even better, it’s free. This creates a large audience. A lot of the hard work goes into advertising your Youtube page. Second, is social media. People share Youtube videos on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and others. Other forms of media do the same type of method of advertising but where Youtube differs is the duration of the videos. This leads me to the third reason, attention span. People have busy schedules - work, school, family. A lot of people don’t have time to see an hour and a half film or a 22-minute television show. What people do have the time for is a 2 minute video of a cat playing a piano. If you’re like me and watch 50 minute videos of cats, you’re not the norm. Now some Youtube videos are longer but, most of them are 15 minutes at the most. While all these qualities of Youtube makes it strong, I think what makes Youtubers big is that it shows hope. I know it sounds corny but hear me out. Youtubers represent the everyday person who decided to record themselves and upload it to Youtube. When they did this, people started watching their video and generated a lot of views. People enjoy the video, urge other people to like and even subscribe to their channel. Then the person who created the video has a fan base and a reason to create more videos. Do you see where I’m going? Youtubers are fueled by fans. They create videos to please their fans. They communicate with them. This is something that Hollywood stars don’t usually do. That’s what makes them more identifiable. They are like the hometown celebrities.

Youtube is an outlet for artists. Anybody can upload their short films, music videos or comedy sketches. This does not mean you are going to be an over night star but Youtubers show that it can happen and give us hope. They are the light at the end of the tunnel.  So are Youtubers bigger than Hollywoood stars. Well I think Youtube has its own community of artists and its own set of fans. Some strive and succeed in becoming Hollywood satrs.

In the end, Youtubers and Hollywood stars have the same goal - which is to create and distribute entertainment. They just go about it in different ways. Hollywood is judged by critics and the press  while Youtubers are judged by subscribers and commentators. And, by the way, did you see my latest Youtube video?

Artists Make Art for Artists By Willie Jones

July 5th, 2015

Artfilms_1.jpg…and for those who most appreciate it. In my last blog I explained and examined the debate between films and movies. I concluded that, because of the noticeable decline in appreciation for artful films such as The Master and the increasing demand for  box office blow ups such as Jurassic World, artists like Paul Thomas Anderson make their films for their contemporaries with the hopes that the general public may appreciate it. It is my theory, that films like The Master are created in the hopes that a general audience will appreciate it, but is truly made for movie buffs and those who appreciate artful films.

Woody Allen, my favorite writer and director, said in a recent interview “…a film opens like The Avengers and in one weekend, one weekend, it makes more money than six of my films make in ten years.” Mind you, Woody Allen makes films that deal with themes of love, death, psychology, relationships and other mature themes that will stand the test of time. Most of his movies barely break even. Whereas, films like The Avengers whose themes are recycled and predictable, out-gross 10 of Allen’s films combined. Yet,  a film such as Melinda and Melinda has more to offer a person internally. It lingers longer and more effectively but it stays in obscurity. Allen also said that “If nobody ever comes to my films, if people don’t want to give me money to make films, that will stop me. But, as long as people come from all over the world and I have an audience and I have ideas for films, I will do them for as long as I enjoy the process.” Woody Allen is certainly a director with a recognizable audience. He’s an acquired taste, per se. They are, presumably, fans of more artful films and Allen makes films FOR THEM. For the art fans, for his contemporaries like Martin Scorsese.

Now of course, I don’t mean that  filmmakers don’t make films for money. Of course they do. Filmmaking is a business too. But if filmmakers J.C. Chandor, whose films have barely broken even, if at all, continue to make movies, then money obviously isn’t the main motivation. His last three movies, Margin Call, All is Lost and A Most Violent Year, made a total of less than 20 million dollars. They have all been appreciated by critics and contemporaries alike yet, the masses don’t want to see them. J.C. Chandor is aware of this, so my theory could apply to him. He makes films hoping the masses will flock to see them, but he makes them for the likes of Richard Roeper and Peter Travers - those who are willing to appreciate the art and not skip over it to watch the latest weekend blockbuster.

So, is this good or bad? Is it anything at all? I say it is unfortunate. Why can’t the general masses and film buffs alike appreciate the same movie? Or, at least try to. The Master should be able to be Oscar nominated and gross hunWillie1.jpgdreds of millions. Films like that should be breaking box-office records. Blockbusters have their credibility. but filmmakers like J.C. Chandor shouldn’t be kept in obscurity because their films don’t have explosions or huge stars of predictable plot formulas. They should be Hollywood’s priority because their messages will stand the test of time. And they will. When all is said and done and our civilization falls, it is the films of J.C. Chandor and Paul Thomas Anderson that will be most appreciated - films with lessons in greed and themes of finding yourself, not another recycled blockbuster, no matter how entertaining it is.

We learn from art. We learn from Only Lovers Alive. We learn from it artistically, intellectually and imaginatively. We don’t learn from Age of Ultron. Artists wish to teach, not merely entertain. It’s just unfortunate that the masses don’t wish to learn.

Thank you for reading. Willie Jones.

Women in Film, Words of Wisdom by Brianna Hope Beaton

June 28th, 2015

BeSTrong.jpgInspirational quotes are something that many people like reading because it keeps their hopes alive and pushes them to remain working on whatever they are trying to accomplish. In many situations, I find myself looking up to various people in hopes of clarifying and motivating me for whatever path I should take in life. All of these women have in one way or another inspired me to accept who I am, be confident, work hard, be bold and to do what I feel is right. Here are some inspirational quotes from a few women in the film industry that have inspired me and will inspire you as well. 

“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance – and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.”
Oprah Winfrey (Talk Show Host, Television Producer, Philanthropist, Film Actress)

“Without pain, there would be no suffering, without suffering we would never learn from our mistakes” Angelina Jolie (Actress, Filmmaker, and Humanitarian)

“ If you truly pour your heart into what you believe in, even if it makes you vulnerable, amazing things can and will happen” Emma Watson (Actress, Model, and Activist)

“Young women, don’t worry so much about your weight. What makes you different or weird - that’s your strength.” Meryl Streep (Actress)

“I believe in kindness toward people, but I also try to voice what I want and not be shy about standing up for myself.” Natalie Portman (Actress, Producer, and Director)BriannaHopeBeaton2.jpg

“My friends, failure isn’t shameful, but cowardice is. So let’s take risks. Let’s raise our voices, honor the fire within, ignore our fears. In short, let’s stand tall and never, ever apologize for it.” Nicole Kidman (Actress and Film Producer)

I am very grateful that we have so many women participating in the film industry that are helping others become great people, by not only their actions but also by their words.

Prequels, reboots, remakes, epilogues and sequels by Gerry Orz

June 22nd, 2015

AttackofSequels.jpgToday, it seems as if nobody really has an original idea anymore. The majority of films are remakes reboots or sequels. With the new film Jurassic World being a reboot of the original Jurassic series and Avengers: Age of Ultron a sequel to the original Avengers, the pattern continues. Of course, I’m not saying that it is always bad. But, it’s expected and predictable to some degree. Once you see a remake of a film you already know, do you think about how the whole story of that idea will be done again?

Of course, there are so many original ideas out there. For example, Disney’s new films Tomorrowland and Inside-Out are great examples of completely original ideas. But, it seems as if we only see those maybe three or four times a year.

Why did this happen? Well it is most likely that Hollywood has been overdone many times. There are literally thousands of films out there that we can watch. Funny enough you can say. In a way, Hollywood has been overused. Some people may argue that these reboot sequels are actually good. They continue a story, explore character development. There is a good side. We know the characters. We love them. They practically have become members of our families.

But, you might ask yourself, why don’t we just create new ideas? Is it because it’s quicker, safer and easier to pump out a film that already has a set of characters that are already tested? It take so much longer to make an original film then to make a reboot or a continuation. I mean, it takes a few months just to create the idea of a film.

I think its time that we say goodbye to all these reboot, sequels, epilogues and prologues. It is time for some original ideas instead of Star Wars Episode 8th, 9th and 10th.  Everybody loves Star Wars but it’s time for something new. The same goes for all these superhero movies. We all know how Super Heroes Ant-Man: Captain America would end. Take Headshot.GerrySM.jpgsomething like Inside Out. Nobody knew how that would end. Or Tomorrowland - that has a complete surprise ending. These films are actually entertaining because you’re waiting for something you don’t expect.

Sometimes it’s nice to continue the story, to get to know the characters in the world they live in, but sometimes enough is enough.

Sofia Vergara, Highest Paid TV Actress by Brianna Hope Beaton

June 2nd, 2015

Sofia Vergara is the star of one of the hit TV shows, Modern Family.  At 42, she is on top of the world with everything she has going.  She earned a total of $140 million dollars from June 2013 to June 2014. It is reported that she earns $325,000 per episode but also earns income with her endorsements.  She is the face of Diet Pepsi, Cover Girl, Head & Shoulders and the co-founder of Latin World Entertainment.

Sofia was born, July 10, 1972 in Barranquilla, Colombia by her mother, Margarita and her Father Julio.  She attended a private bilingual Spanish/English school and studied dentistry.  She was discovered by a photographer and it led to many jobs in the modeling and television industry. From 1995 to 1998, Sofia co-hosted a travel show, Fuera de Serie which gave her exposure in the United States.  The exposure led to a film roles and a TV series.  She faced many hardships during her days in Colombia and even after becoming a TV star.  She divorced and became a single parent.  In addition to this, she was diagnosed with cancer but, after being treated has had a full recovery.  She has received four Emmy nominationBriannaHopeBeaton2.jpgs for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.  She has one Son, Manolo, and they reside in Los Angeles, California.

Sofia is great at what she does.  She has great comedic timing and always brings out the best in her characters. One of my favorite quotes by Sofia is “I guess at the end of the day, all women like to be appreciated and treated with respect and kindness.”

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