Jury Coordination and Notes

Archive for June, 2014

Glimpse Into The Future by Gerry Orz, age 12

Monday, June 30th, 2014

What is it like to see the Earth and its 7 billion humans from 300 miles away? That is probably what 7 billion humans think when they think about space! A dangerous void to which we, humans, travel only for scientific reasons. Recently, NASA ended the space shuttle program is going back to the old capsule method of exploration. I honestly think that soon, travel across the world will be in less than 10 hours. People will get on a plane, the plane will travel over 100 miles above the earth’s surface and then land back on the other side of the world.

That is the next big step in what they call “space tourism.” This is where the public will go space vacations, rides and all of that good stuff. It does lead us to a point though – if we get advanced enough to travel outside of our own solar system, will we reach another civilization? NASA is building a new capsule, Orion. This baby is expected to explore deep space. Remember the satellite that is being sent to Mars? In my opinion, they would like to use it to study radiation. Mars exploration! What will that lead too? Would this be greatest leap since Thomas Jefferson? Or, the greatest fall back since war started? My opinion is, we can make Mars (since humans are pretty certain there are no aliens.) our pollution wasteland.

Earth is getting polluted with acid rain and smog-filled cities so, what can we do? Put it where it won’t affect anyone – on Mars! Mars really has no living creatures on it that would be affected by pollution and nothing on it that would be affected. The radiation on Mars is already high. Perhaps, maybe millions upon millions of years ago, it was like Earth with people destroying their own home planet.

Now, the public can see spaceships for themselves. At the California Science Center, you can see the famous space shuttle, Endeavor. There are other places, such as the Kennedy Space Center, where many exhibits are on display. Space really is an odd thing, where up and down are not relevant, where time really has no zones, where the length is unknown. That is space and maybe space exploration is in our foreseeable future.

Summertime is Movie Time by Keefer Blakeslee, age 14

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

It’s summer! The biggest time for movies to come out. No school or homework to worry about. This gives people more time to be able to go to their local movie theater and see a flick. The reason I bring this up is because it reminds me how much I love movies. I grew up watching films on VHS tapes. Yes they still exist! My favorite growing up was “Fantasia.”

The way the animation fits the music always fascinated me. It’s like closing your eyes when you hear music and trying to picture what is happening. All my mom had to do was pop in a movie I liked and I was gone. It’s like picking up a book not being able to put it down for a second.

My parents and I traveled a lot when I was younger. So, to keep me from being bored, my mom got me a portable DVD player to watch movies on the go. I can’t remember any long road trips when I did not have a DVD player with me. Most of my birthday parties were at The Neptune Theater in my home town. When I turned eight, my mom got all my friend together to go watch “Kung Fu Panda.”

I’m difficult to get presents for and my mom knows that. Every birthday, she gives me a new movie to watch. This year she got me “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I now realize where I get my good taste in film. Movies have also helped me get away. When I go through a tough time in my life, I usually put on a comedy to cheer me up. When I am sick and want a sense of adventure I put on “Indiana Jones.”

That’s what movies do; they either take you to a far away land or bring your reality a different perspective. When I watch Jim Carrey’s physical comedy in the “Grinch,” I laugh. And, the death of Bambi’s mom in “Bambi” always brings a tear to my eye.

When I joined KIDS FIRST! Film Critics in 2012, I wanted to express my opinions and work with other kids who enjoy film like I do – not just as an art form, but a memory. Most of my fellow critics and I grew up with movies and when we watch an older film we saw when we were younger, it brings back memories. “Fantasia” still does that for me. In my spare time, after all my summer fun and chores are done, I ask my mom if we can go to the movies. When there are no new movies out, I grab a film I have not seen in my VHS collection. My mom always smiles and says “Yes” to both.

I’m always eager to sit down and watch a movie. Whether it’s good or bad, film will always be a part of my life. In the words of Roger Ebert “Thank you, and I’ll see you at the movies.”

First Female Director, My Personal Heroine by Brianna Hope Beaton

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Alice Guy-Blaché set the starting point for female film directors. She represents the first female director in the motion picture industry. Alice Ida Antoinette Guy (maiden name) entered this world on July first 1872 in Paris, France, to parents Mariette and Emile Guy. Following completion of school at Sacred Heart Convent, she accompanied Leon Gaumont as his secretary at a still photography company. After seeing some footage shot by the Lumiere brothers in a private screening, Alice asked Gaumont if she could use his camera to film a story. She directed and produced her first film, The Cabbage Fairy (La Fée Aux Choux) in 1896 at the young age of twenty-three.

She excitedly directed hundreds of short films following The Cabbage Fairy. She worked with Gaumont, Louis Lumiere, Thomas Edison, Gustave Eiffel and many others to make her visions a reality. Alice hired Herbert Blaché, an English cameraman, on her first location shoot. They fell in love, married in 1907 and relocated to America a year after. Alice Guy-Blaché opened her own film studio called Solax and produced nearly a film a week! A year after Alice assigned her husband as president of Solax, he started a rival company. World War I slowed down production for both of them and Alice directed her last film, Tarnished Reputations, in 1920. She and her husband divorced in 1922 and she moved back to France with her children, depending on her daughter for economic income and support. In 1965, she moved back to Mahwah, New Jersey, with her daughter. Alice died in a nursing home on March 24, 1968. She died and vanished from our early film memories.

Barbra Steisand recognizes Alice Guy-Blaché for her work and states that Alice symbolizes a “French film pioneer who invented the director’s job.” She paved a way for female directors everywhere. Pioneering the technology of synching sound to film and creating the first film with an all African-American cast shows how remarkably innovative she was. She did all she wanted to do and understood all the aspects of telling a story. I have so much appreciation for Alice because she showed her aspirations, her ways of thinking, her wants and her passions in all that she did, succeeding in a time when  men commandeered the filmmaking world.

There is a Kickstarter campaign by Pamela Green and Jarik Van Sluijs, to create a film documenting the story of Alice Guy-Blaché. The campaign video is narrated by Jodie Foster.

Childhood Memories of Favorite Disney Movies by Raven Devanney, age 16

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

There are certain things from childhood we remember. Events, people or things that we can recall and somehow stick with us for life no matter how insignificant they may seem. I have the most random memories from when I was younger, and among those memories I find films scattered about.

I was the type of kid who watched everything. Sure, the Teletubbies were a regular occurrence on my TV, but my parents began showing me classics from an early age. I watched documentaries about the strangest things, definitely topics most 6-year-olds wouldn’t usually consider entertainment. But out of all the films that I have ever watched, classic Disney animations have stuck with me the most from my childhood.

I’m not sure what it is about good old fashion animations, but I will always have time to sit down and watch “Alice in Wonderland,” “Snow White,” “The Aristocats” and so on. I think what makes movies special are the feelings we happen to associate them with, and remembering feelings that you had when you were little is wonderful. The cinema is supposed to be an escape of some sorts, taking you away from the real world. So when I curl up with a good Disney movie it transports me for a brief time back to when everything was so simple. Having a very hectic life that I’m assuming will only get more chaotic with age, an escape, or almost a time machine to simpler times is a life saver.

I remember watching “101 Dalmatians” religiously every time I visited my grandmother. I had every toy to go along with the film and I have the fondest of memories of my grandmother and I playing with our little plastic Dalmatians while watching the film and eating micro-waved popcorn on her fuzzy grey carpet. I also have a deep love for “Lady and the Tramp.” I have always found that film so sweet. I even named my cocker spaniel “Lady” after the leading pup from the film. I had Lady since I was 5-years-old and she traveled the country with me, comforted me when my little heart felt broken, and of course watched dozens of films with me. She passed away earlier this year after a fantastic 11 years with me, so “Lady and the Tramp” is even more sentimental now.  One of my favorite Disney films that probably doesn’t come to mind when you think of Disney is “The Brave Little Toaster.” I remember that film terrified me when I was growing up but, as a child whose best friend was the vampire that lived in my closet, I enjoyed films that scared me. So “The Brave Little Toaster” to this day is on my list of obscure favorite movies (and for some reason it still creeps me out a little).

Because of these memories, and the many others that I associate with just about every Disney film out there, they will always be special to me even when I reach my adult years. I think that’s what makes any film special and what makes it a classic. I know that now, we are constantly bombarded with high tech special effects and stunning visuals, so it’s easy to forget where the film industry started. Even with animated films, things are so much more advanced. You never really see good old fashioned sketch art on the screen any more. It’s always the digital images that you’d see in “Frozen” or “Toy Story.” I think that because of what I’ve grown up watching, I’ll always prefer to watch “Aladdin” or “The Lion King” over a newer animation.

Classic Disney animations will always have a soft spot in my heart, and I know everyone out there has a film, or films, that take them back to the good old days. Whether it’s a Disney movie or an obscure foreign film, childhood cartoon, indie documentary or the Teletubbies, there’s something that warms everyone’s heart. What’s yours?

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