Jury Coordination and Notes

Archive for March, 2018

Mascots Matter: Gender and Race Representation in Branding

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Mascots Matter: Gender and Race Representation in Branding
Presented by Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

How are products being marketed to children through brand mascots? And what role does gender and race play? Are boys and girls being marketed to differently and if so how does that effect the way they perceive gender roles? Join us as we answer these questions and present the first findings from our Mascots Matter: Gender and Race in Branding Study. Panelists include: Tiffanie Darke, Moderator, Editor in Chief, A+E channels History, Biography and A&E; Sarah Barclay, Global Executive Creative Director, J. Walter Thompson New York; Madeline Di Nonno, CEO, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Torsten Gross, Executive Planning Director, J. Walter Thompson New York; Courtney Parker, Writer; Laura Treviño, Vice President, Marketing, The Jel Sert Company.

Mascots Matter: Gender and Race Representation in Branding
By Imani Baptiste-Green, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media presented a Salon recently called Mascots Matter: Gender and Race Representation in Branding.  This salon touched upon varioua points of gender and race. The event’s main focus is on power, and how people succeed as long as they put their mind to it, no matter what the circumstances. The event was hosted by Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, whom I had the pleasure to meet and talk with. The branding of mascots was discussed as how they convey the essence of brand marketing. This topic helped me formulate my own thoughts on the issues discussed.  

The atmosphere of this event has such a welcoming feeling, from when you walk through the front doors. I really enjoyed speaking with the other guests to get a better sense of the importance on how branding plays a role in how we view things! The mingling and meeting of new people made the night that much more memorable.

The five panelists shared their own stories which showed their strengths and the hardships that they still deal with, but embrace. For instance, being a woman of color, Courtney Parker, Executive Creative Director, JWT New York, expressed how she had to accept who she is in order to fight for what she wanted to do in life. And she has! I really admire every word that she had to say, especially since I too am a woman of color and have big dreams in life. She also quoted something her father once said to her: “There are two things that you will never be able to change and have to accept –  being black and a woman.” This really stuck with me, because I am now learning to embrace the skin that I’m in and loving it. Our society sends out so many hurtful stereotyping of people of color and women in general, which makes it difficult to work our way to the top. This event really enlightened how powerful women are and I adored it.

Torsten Gross, Executive Planning Director, J. Walter Thompson New York, was the only male panelist and had an amazing and powerful story to offer. He appeared to be very strong and comfortable, despite the fact that he has a disability. Not many people in this world accept people who struggle with disabilities, but Torsten did not let that affect his accomplishing what he wished to achieve in life. Sure, people treated him differently, but Torsten did not let that define who he is as a person. That too is a powerful message that was brought forward by this panel.

Women need to have a platform that gives them a place to show their projects and uniqueness that men cannot always offer. Their voices need to be brought forward and heard because, even though we are not men, we are equally important and have the same or more to offer. Our creativity needs to be expressed throughout the world and acknowledged! Without women, there would be no world!

Photo: Imani B. G. and mother

Director’s Close – The Independent Spirit: A Directors Roundtable

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018


Week four of Director’s Close Up: The Independent Spirit: A Directors Roundtable featured four directors and writers who are nominated for the 2018 Spirit Awards. The four talked about many interesting things, but what I found most helpful was their tips on how to keep a film’s budget low. Josh & Benny Safdie talked about attempting to keep budgets very low when filming Good Time, for which they are both writers and directors.

One story that really has a powerful message is when they were trying to get a crane for a shot. They decided to call a construction company that was doing work nearby and were lucky enough to get a crane for a very reasonable price. It shows that, even in what seems like the most unlikely scenarios, it never hurts to ask.

Chloé Zhao (writer/director, The Rider) had different methods for keeping expanses low. For shooting, she was able to get sets for little money by working on a reservation where permits are around fifteen dollars. Then, in post-production, she was able to raise a good amount of money just for soundtrack and editing. This allowed her to make an amazing film with an equally incredible score on a budget. She also talked about attempting to find the right story. She knew the person she wanted to make a film about, but didn’t know what specifically to do. After waiting for a long time, the story came to her. It just shows that allowing life to shape the film may sometimes be best in order to get it just right!

Sean Baker’s stories about directing The Florida Project taught many morals for creators to ponder about. Sean filmed it all on 35 mm, which means it was filmed on film stock instead of digital like most modern movies. Sean talked about various possible challenges in independent filmmaking, ranging from pressuring actors (or them pressuring themselves), to getting it right the first time, to overexposing the lighting in order to get it visible on film. 

I have to say, this event was truly inspiring and educational, especially for a young filmmaker like myself as well as movie enthusiasts in the audience.

By Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Images courtesy of
Wireimage and Film Independent

Director’s Close Up: A Wrinkle in Time

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Week three of Director’s Close-up featured many people from the new Disney film, A Wrinkle in Time. Instead of focusing on acting, the panel focused on the many departments and resources it takes to make a big film of that proportion a reality. One of the most interesting discussions revolved around props. J.P. Jones,  prop master of the film, talked about the many small details that most viewers will never notice are put into the film. One anecdote shared is about one of the quilts used. He talked about looking far and wide for the perfect and how eventually he had an authentic African quilt made from scratch. Hair stylist Kimberly Kimble and VFX supervisor Richard McBride both talked about their personal lines of work and the challenges of trying to make the world they created real, but filled with a sense of noticeable fantasy.

A true eye-opener was the discussion about the location. Director Ava Duvemay, Director of Photography Tobias A. Schliessle and Supervising Location Manager Alison A. Taylor talked about the difficulties of finding the perfect place to set the film in. Alison travelled up and down California looking for a place to shoot. Tobias had to make sure it was feasible to shoot there  and it was finally up to Ava to see if her vision matched the location. After hours of looking, they settled on the West Adams area – one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Tobias also talked about his part in making the film feel fantasy-like. He used camera setups that purposely made the world they created look somewhat fake and impossible.

Editor Spencer Averick and Composer Ramin Djawadi shared details about their work after the film was done with production. Spencer took a pile of clips and rearranged them into a flowing and unique story. Ramin took Spencer’s work and carefully composed music for different parts, resulting in several final themes. Casting Director Aisha Coley shared a funny anecdote about trying to find the actor to play Charles Wallace. After traveling all over the world attempt

ing to find the perfect kid, they found Deric McCabe in Burbank, who apparently lives three blocks from where the auditions took place. This story stuck out, not only because it perfectly portrays the challenges of the work of good casting directors, but also shows that the answer can be quite literally under our nose (or in this case, three blocks from it).

All of the crew members showed a common message. While the actors are a crucial part of the film, there is a whole part of movie-making rarely looked at which lives behind the camera. If it wasn’t for their often unrecognized hard work, the actors wouldn’t have films to act in and viewers would not be able to enjoy such a masterpiece as Wrinkle in Time.

Images courtesy of WireImage and Film Independent.

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15


Kid movie news & Free DVDs:
Join KIDS FIRST! on Twitter Join KIDS FIRST! on Pinterest Join KIDS FIRST! on Facebook
Loading Search...