Jury Coordination and Notes

Archive for May, 2014

A Night to Remember – Keefer Blakeslee

Monday, May 26th, 2014

The AFI Life Achievement Award is the highest honor in The American Film Institute. It is given to those who have left an impact of legacy in the film business. This year it will be awarded to Jane Fonda on June 5th . I bring this up because it has been a year since KIDS FIRST! gave me the opportunity to report at Mel Brooks AFI Life Achievement Award ceremony where I actually met Mr. Brooks in person. I was on the red carpet and it was the first time in my life that I was speechless. However, I finally broke out of it and interviewed him. During that whole encounter, we shook hands and did not let go – probably because I could not move anything but my mouth. Once we finished talking I said “thank you” and looked into the camera and said, “It’s good to be the kid!” Following that, I attended the ceremony and watched the venerable Martin Scorsese give Mel his award. That is still my favorite moment as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.  I’m still blown away that they made that possible for me. Mr. Brooks is truly my hero, someone who I admire among all the many wonderful people in the entertainment world. So, thank you again KIDSFIRST! for giving me a night to remember. I have been a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic for more than a year and it just keeps getting better and better. I can’t wait to see what happens in the year ahead.

Women in Film – by Brianna Beaton

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

As Americans, and as human beings in the film industry, where would we be today without the women in this industry? They take roles as actresses, directors, producers, screen writers, set designers, makeup artists, costume designers, casting directors and many more. Women add so much by expressing, creating, loving, showing, introducing, molding and pursuing so many different aspects in filmmaking. I want to share with you some of my female heroes – the women that were the first to do things that people only thought men could do. My purpose is to show all the young women interested in filmmaking, or other careers, that you can do it! After all, these women did. They are the pioneers for females in the workplace around the world. They show us through their work (their masterpieces) and their lives that you can do anything if you are passionate about it.  Here are some of my favorite women-in-film role models: Alice Guy-Blache’ –  the first female film director; Janet Gaynor – the first female to win an Oscar; Joanne Woodward – the first female to be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; Elizabeth Taylor –  the first female to be paid one million dollars for a single film. There are many more. I hope you find this as interesting as I do and are inspired to follow the journey of many female artists who are working in the film industry today. I certainly plan to be someone who makes my mark sometime in the future, guided by these outstanding women.

I love you moms with all my heart – Happy Mother’s Day!

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Mother’s day is something special – a day where moms are the ones who should relax, who should have fun. I have twice the fun on Mother’s Day because I have two moms. In the ‘industry,’ people do things to make moms feel appreciated as well. Google glass made a film just for Mother’s Day called “Seeds” – a short 5 minute film. A YouTube group did an interesting experiment. They gathered a group of people and did a survey. “What if you did not get paid. You worked all day, everyday. You have to drive everywhere and be available immediately at any point of the day.” Who would want this job and what type of job it would be? The majority of answers were – it’s a job of being a mother. Another thing Hollywood did is released a comedy called “Mom’s Night Out.” Everyone wanted to do the best for Mother’s Day, but sometimes, you just can’t say it in words how much you want to give, for how great mothers are. Kids can’t get their mothers expensive presents or luxurious vacations that they deserve so it’s hard to find a perfect gift that will clearly say “I love you and appreciate what you do for me every day.” This Mother’s Day, I got my two moms something, small, simple, yet nice. I hope they like it. Many times, kids just give their mothers hugs, saying, “You’re so great.” I couldn’t find a good enough present so I gave them this:

They are  a miracle
They are  a gift
They help us everyday
from December to May.

They drive us places
even though cars make mazes.
They cook, clean and pay for us.
They don’t make us ride the bus.
They pay, all day, from December to May.

They would go from where to the sky is grey
to San Francisco Bay.
All for us,
they are the super hero without a cape,
they are the perfect humans in millions
they would make us 100 crepes!

They are best
better than the rest
I have 2 in my home
that are better than all of Rome!

They are my loves, my moms.
They deserve the world.
The ones that I give my palm
The ones that I want to give the universe to.
I love them so much.
They even are there when I go boo hoo.

Just the softness of their touch,
is comforting.
They are my moms
and they are my role models.
My heroes.
I love you moms with all my heart – Happy Mother’s Day!

Gerry Orz, age 12, comes from Rancho Palos Verdes, CA and has one older sibling, Dennis. He enjoys watching movies and football, cooking and traveling with his family, playing video games and is an avid filmmaker who writes and makes movies with his friends. Gerry’s favorite film is Jack and Jill. His favorite actors are Ellen DeGeneres and Adam Sandler. Ellen because she is amazing, funny, smart and so kind. She inspired Gerry to believe in himself and try to make a difference in the world. As a result, he has produced a number of educational movies and created a non-profit organization called Kids Resource. Adam Sandler is his other favorite actor because “he is an amazing actor and comedian, always stays true to himself.” Gerry is a huge fan of directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas and he aspires to become a film director, producer and writer. “I want to make movies that will have a positive impact on today’s youth and will inspire them to follow my footsteps to a better tomorrow.” He is already off to a great start, having produced several films including a short, Day of Silence, that inspired a new bill in CA to proclaim 12/12/12 Bullying Prevention Day. Gerry received many emails thanking him for making that film. “We heard stories where parents believed that my movie saved their child’s life.” On 12/12/12 at 12 p.m., Gerry had followers in six states and four countries joining in a moment of silence. “I plan to expand in coming years and get more people on board to honor 12/12 and work towards making the world a better place.” As a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Gerry enjoys learning more about movies and film making and improving his own movies so they can be included in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.”

Meet Your Film Critic – Keefer Blakeslee

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Keefer Blakeslee, age 13, lives in the greater Los Angeles area, part time. He has three older siblings who are all married. His dad passed away six years ago so he and his Mom are enjoying their life together. They play chess, swim, skate, and watch and critique movies together. Keefer likes riding his bike, cooking, watching Nostalgia Critic on the Internet and reading his favorite book “Life Itself: by Roger Ebert.” Keefer loves so many films it’s difficult to pick one. If he had to, it would be The King’s Speech because he could watch it again and again. It has amazing acting and an incredible story. It’s also difficult for him to name a favorite actor but Mel Brooks and Jim Carrey would have to be at the top of the list. “They are both funny and great actors that really know how to capture their audience and make them laugh.” When he grows up, Keefer wants to be an actor, comedian, critic, director, producer and screen-writer. He is most proud of proving to his mom that he deserved moving to California so he could pursue his career. His favorite film critics were Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. “They were so entertaining. I loved listening to their reasoning and watching them bicker. I read Roger Ebert’s film reviews to the day he died.” As a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer enjoys being able to speak his own opinion to people who love movies because, “if you’re going to pay to watch a movie, it had best be a good one!” He also found out how much he enjoys writing.

Meet our KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Brianna

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Fourteen-year-old Brianna Beaton lives in Clermont, FL with her parents. She has a 23-year-old sister who lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her favorite things to do with her parents are play board games, watch TV, and cook. Brianna also likes to read and write stories. You can find Brianna playing tag, swimming and just goofing off with her friends who call her BB. Brianna’s favorite movie is I am Sam. Brianna looks up to actress Drew Barrymore because she started acting young and is the kind of person who doesn’t care what anyone says about her. Brianna wants to be a successful actress and a restaurant owner when she grows up. She also wants to write a fictional novel. She is most proud that she has been performing in theatre plays and won Best Actress, Most Dramatic, and Most Reliable awards in her theatre school. As a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Brianna enjoys sharing and expressing her feelings about films through video and/or written reviews. KIDS FIRST! gives her many opportunities to write.

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