It's very easy to get lost between all of the generalizations invoked by simply ascribing the word "refugee" to a group of people. However, one mustn't forget that, despite their common adversity, their uniqueness is in their struggle to safeguard their humanity.Read More
Press Release: Kickstarter campaign seeks to fund three short documentary films that explore the challenges & successes of three refugees trying to survive and restart their lives in Europe.Read More
The concept of Bitcoin and digital currencies are tough to grasp, and the media often tend to misinterpret how the technology could be implemented outside dark-web related talk.
According to Pfeffer, however, he believes success will depend not in how we replace the fiat system but how we integrate already-existing systems with bitcoin.
You may agree to disagree, but I think Obama is right when he said to lead in the 21st century there is nothing more important than giving everyone the best education possible — from the day they start preschool to the day they start their careersRead More
Even if countries disagree on so many levels, a museum should be the place where nations can come together and learn from one another. If we ban access to a museum, we ban access to knowledge and understanding. If we lose knowledge and understanding, we forget.Read More
While I was a Junior at the University of Central Florida and midway through my internship at Hispanic Link News Service, I got into the NAHJ (National Association of Hispanic Journalists) Student Project initiative. It gives minorities the opportunity to get real newsroom experience while covering the NAHJ annual conference. Also, I received multimedia training and workshops and made lasting professional friendships. As part of the initiative, I wrote several stories, including this one using Storify.Read More
This year for the first time since the Great Recession the number of minority journalists in U.S. daily newsrooms has slightly increased (2013).Read More
While working on a piece for AAAS on why traditional STEM policies fail to attract and retain students from underrepresented backgrounds in STEM degrees, I created an infographic using Infogr.am. This is what I created using data from the National Academies of Sciences and the Barriers andOpportunities for 2-Year and 4-Year STEM Degrees: Systemic Change to Support Students' Diverse Pathways committee report.
My second assignment for AAAS was creating an infographic with a few climate change facts reflecting the non-profit's stance on climate change. This is what I came up with using the Infogr.am platform. I enjoyed creating it very much because I'm very visual and creative, and figuring out the layout was a fun challenge.
Danny Daneau and Laura Lopez know about success. As a married couple and alumni of the graduate film program at UCF, Daneau and Lopez have had to learn the importance of teamwork as an intrinsic part of their development as filmmakers and in finding a distributor willing to take on the challenge of producing an independent film.Read More
Today I was searching for some files on my computer and stumbled upon this article. Before you go on, keep in mind this is the very first article I ever wrote...like...ever. It didn't get published anywhere, but I kept it on file. It was fun to write. Part of me would throw this away, but part of me wants to keep it, for the sake of keeping. Enjoy.
We all have experienced it, that little mysterious box which has kept our eyes on the prowl even after midnight. Forrest Gump called it the ‘box of chocolates,’ but for us it was simply ‘Television’, and by the 1920s video had really ‘killed the radio star’.
Fast forward to 2012, and this little mysterious box is still the same. Even after a complete metamorphosis from Saturday night movie drive-ins to Netflix extravaganza, not to mention Hulu, Amazon, Kindle-Fire and iPads.
What’s up with that ‘square’ that keeps our attention, eyes glued to the screen hours on end? It certainly isn’t just the box, and no longer can we say the actors on the screen get to eat all the chocolates; making words as they go, writing on the wind funny punch lines.
How about the filmmaker? Yes, the person actually behind the camera, the master-mind behind the movie-magic. With today’s technology, long gone are the days when the only films that made it to the big screens were the ones financed by major Hollywood studios. With the advent of independent cinema through Sundance and IFC channels, the art of micro-budgeting your own film has changed.
Film professor at the University of Central Florida, Barry Sandler, can better attest for us. As a producer and screenwriter of major Hollywood films such as “Making Love (1982),” “Crimes of Passion (1984),” and others, he knows filmmaking is an everyday struggle for the MFA Film students at UCF:
“The concept of writing a screenplay for an independent film isn’t much different than writing a screenplay for a major Hollywood production, because you still have to focus on story and character. Of course, you don’t have the luxury of making it an action spectacle, so the key is getting the script developed to the point where you can get a good cast and shoot it” says Sandler.
It is a constant struggle, the filmmaker does not rest and shooting schedules are often erratic (despite the months of planning and pre-production). You can’t ever predict what is going to happen on set; actors get sick, locations get cancelled, foul weather.
“Making a feature film is like running a marathon, or starting a business. We take business classes with MBA students and we write a business plan for the film,” says Erika Rydell, graduate film student who is going to be shooting her featureThe Lies We Tell next December.
“You really have to train for it. It’s about being disciplined and keeping a consistent vision…getting mentally prepared, physically prepared, knowing what you want. So keeping your film smaller really forces you to know and figure out what you want to say, ‘cause you got less to work with, but it also limits you and makes it more of a smaller personal film” says Rydell.
In addition to that there is producing to be done, getting together casting calls, partnering with organizations and potential backers, planning fundraisers, finding potential crew, and yes, writing the script. This is pre-production only, there’s still the shooting, the editing and marketing. After all, to a certain extent the budget does drive the aesthetics, and there’s so much you can do with a $50,000 budget, the limit for UCF MFA Film students.
“Sometimes success is just getting the film made or getting the script written” says Sandler. And this is, after all, the magical thing about independent cinema. It helps us re-evaluate our definition of success and in the end appreciate art not for its financial promise, but its artistic potential, and this is what UCF Film is all about.
Let us forgive one another, tonight
a flaming chariot fumes the skies;
a streak of hope crawled on our bed,
untangling wildly; setting itself on fire:
up the gilded city, at nine o’clock
we hear the bell; and we sit: waiting.
the public use of reason is not yours
anymore; they’re thinking for us.
and life’s too short to wear one hat.
and you sit: waiting; wait no more.
These are the heroes that we have.
radical faces glinting, with their hands
scraping the washboards–
Let us forgive one another, tonight
a flaming chariot fumes the skies;
a streak of hope crawls on our bed,
untangling wildly; setting itself on fire
J.D. for Nelson Mandela
“Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.”
On this note, I opened up and introduced a poem I wrote for Nelson Mandela and those who fight for the freedoms that we justly deserve as human beings.
We have read much about Mandela. What there is to know about this icon you’ll read everywhere–even more so, I expect, the day of his funeral on December 15. Now that he’s gone, we glorify and sometimes even deify his image; heroes are good and we need them.
Mandela’s beginnings were inspiring and yet, tempestuous. He stood against an entire apparatus–he was denounced a communist by the U.S. when Castro and the socialist powers decided to aid his humanitarian efforts–and the world stood watching as this man set the stage for the 21st century: with hope and forgiveness.
As many have recounted and epitomized in dozens of articles: one man’s hero is another man’s terrorist. In light of this quote, I sit and wonder what this really means for us today–like MSNBC noted this week on The radical histories of Mandela and MLK:
“…the canonization of King and Mandela inevitably seeks to expunge from history the memory of the radicals they once were. Make no mistake, they were radicals. They were seeking nothing less than a fundamental reordering of the societies they were born into.”
On his speech honoring Nelson Mandela, President Obama said: “We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.”
I cannot help but agree with MSNBC when it answers: “But if we do, chances are many of us will deride them as a villain long before we recognize them as a hero.”
I believe the author here is indirectly speaking about Julian Assange. Assange is an emblem of that hero/enemy archtype we’re so fond of throughout history and literature–kind of like a Robin Hood attempting to preserve and prevent another Alexandria. On this note he explains in an exclusive interview Julian Assange, a spy for the people :
“In my work, I try to abstract from particular ideological and political positions. My basic axiom is that a civilization is only as good as the knowledge it possesses. This is why libraries are the treasures of civilization and the burning of the Alexandria library was a crime against all of humanity, not just a crime against the people of Alexandria.”
To me Assange is a hero. In this particular interview, which I found quite inspiring, he elaborates extensively on his idealism, on what I learned to be the public use of reason, and Wikileaks as of today:
“This is what we are: spies for the people. If states have their intelligence agencies to spy on us and control us, should the people and history itself also not have their own counterintelligence?”
To me, Mandela’s death is not simply the end and the beginning of an era where human beings should treat each other as equals–to me, it is also an opportunity for us to reflect on our heroes, the people we have been trained to see as heroes, and the ones who, of course, we declare enemies.