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Archive for July, 2009

Delray Beach Film Festival

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

The Delray Beach Film Festival was simply a wonderful time and to be in south Florida in shorts and filp flops was a nice break from Manhattan. Festival Director Michael Posner and the volunteer staff went out of their way to make sure the filmmakers had a great time. It’s the only festival I’ve been to that offers surfing lessons as an event with an added bonus of being taught by a professional surfer, Scott Posner, Michael’s son. I decided to drive down from New York and while stopping in Baltimore I convinced my friend Brett from college to come with us. Jason, another college friend was living in Boynton Beach so we all stayed with him and his wife Macaire. It was really great of them to put us up for the entire time and all the mangoes you could eat!

The festival began and joining us all week was Ft. Lauderdale local Tim Gorski who we met at True/False. I forgot to mention Tim’s movie At the Edge of the World in the earlier blog. It’s a brilliant film documenting a group of environmentalists who sail the Antarctic ocean to do actual battle with Japanese whaling vessels. Another local was a college buddy of mine, Dave Rubenstein. Dave was in LA for years as an actor doing commercials and even had a television series with Steve “Urkel” Quincy. Hanging out all week was producer Steve Shor. Steve has been working in the Hollywood studio system for years and was alot of fun to talk with. We also spent time with Miranda Khan and Darrin Willhite. Miranda used to be a local news anchor on NBC and Darrin was her producer. Awesome couple and they’ve been married now for over 4 years. Met another fun couple, Margaret Nussbaum and Jim Steech who won the DBFF Reel To Reel script contest. Their short script M.I.L.F was interpreted by six different teams in a 72 hour film challenge during the festival. Also it was great to meet Cyndi Lenz, videographer of the festival, who also worked on a film in the festival lineup, Interrogate this: Psychologists Take On Terror, and Jack Mancini and Ana Paula Negrao, the two photographers covering the festival. Jack is just an awesome guy and was happy to take any pictures anyone wanted. Ana as well, and she introduced me to one of the world’s top women’s skateboarders, Leticia Bufoni. I’ll be rooting for her at X Games later this month.

We met filmmakers like Joe Consentino whose film Baghdad Diary is an eyewitness account of the Iraq War through the videotaping of an Iraq taxi driver and NBC News cameraman. Another documentary was An Unlikely Weapon, directed by Susan Morgan Cooper. It’s the story of the life of Eddie Adams, war photographer, whose profound photographs most people will recognize. Also met Jules Rubin of Julesworks. Director CJ Schmidt and Producer Samantha Colburn were at the festival with their beautifully made short Blood Money. Writer Susan Spinatto’s documentary Aerojet Dade: An Unfinished Journey explores the once cutting edge rocket testing facility. The Spitting Game, directed by Denice Ann Evans was an inside look at the college hook up culture. Another documentary was Rick Cohen’s Faded Glory, the story of a motley crew of over 40′s, reuniting to win the National Adult Baseball Association’s national championship. After watching the film I complimented Rick on how he could lay his whole life story out there for everyone to see. There is so much emotion packed into this film, it has you rooting for the underdog the entire time. Also met filmmaker Alyn Darnay who had two shorts at the festival, The Art Of Roadkill and Smooth Operator. Alyn has also written a book The Script, A Breakthrough Guide To Scriptwriting which he was nice enough to give me a copy. I would recommend it to anyone considering writing a script. Also on hand was Giancarlo Esposito with his directorial debut of Gospel Hill. Most people will know Giancarlo from Usual Suspects, Do The Right Thing or Law and Order. His acting career has spanned over 30 years and listening to him speak at a Q&A and chatting with him briefly throughout the week, he’s just an all around fantastic guy.

Our screening was well received. My brother Dean flew down from New York. Our neighbors growing up, Madeline, Laura and their mom Kathy all now live in south Florida and came to the screening. In attendance was another college friend and local, Amanda with her husband. Another local Shannon Best of Best Kiteboarding showed up who I met a couple years ago when I filmed him and the team kiting in the Utah snow. Also joining us was Anna Kuzminova with her husband and son Marcus, who played one of the infants in our film. It was a really great crowd and even better having friends and family with us. A little later in the night they had the awards ceremony. Giancarlo was give an award for lifetime achievement. Rick Cohen’s Faded Glory won the Audience Award for  Best Documentary. Denice Ann Evans’  The Spitting Game won the Special Award for a documentary that raises awareness of contemporary issues. And War Against The Weak wound up winning Director’s Choice for Best Documentary. So an all around great festival and another award for the film. Thanks again to Festival Director Michael Posner for a wonderful festival and having everyone to his house for a filmmaker breakfast. Up next is Maine International on the 16th and 18th of July.

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ACLU opposes naming park after eugenicist Shockley

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

From the Auburn Journal

The idea of naming a 28-acre parcel of publicly owned Auburn parkland
after eugenics proponent and Nobel Prize winner William Shockley is
getting some high-profile opposition.

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North Korea and Eugenics

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

An old but very important article about eugenic policy in North Korea.

The North Korean regime’s obsession with racial purity has led to the killing of disabled infants and forced abortions for women suspected of conceiving their babies by Chinese fathers, according to a growing body of testimony from defectors.

The latest description of Kim Jong-il’s policy of state eugenics came from a North Korean doctor, Ri Kwang-chol, who escaped last year and told a forum in Seoul that babies with deformities were killed soon after birth.

“There are no people with physical defects in North Korea,” Ri said. Such babies were put to death by medical staff and buried quickly, he claimed. He denied ever committing the act himself.

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Moments in Medicine podcast – From Eugenics to Newgenics

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

From the Independent:

Paul Weindling, Research Professor of History of Medicine, Roger Griffin, Professor of Modern History from Oxford Brookes, Dr. Marcus Pembrey, clinical geneticist from the Institute of Child Health, London and Emma Lake, Expert Patient Advisor for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and CF sufferer talk to Lizz Pearson about the link between today’s genetic technologies and the eugenics of the past.

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War Against the Weak @ the Maine International Film Festival

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

MAINE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Thursday, July 16, 2009 3:00pm
Railroad Square Cinema #3

Saturday, July 18, 2009 08:45pm
Railroad Square Cinema #3

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Rwanda denies sterilisation plans

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

From the BBC:

Rwanda has strongly denied reports that its parliament is considering a draft law which would forcibly sterilise people who are mentally disabled.

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‘Empathy’ on 1927 Supreme Court might have saved thousands from the knife.

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Please see story here.

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A judgment against health-related bias.

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Please see story here.

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Choosing not to abort babies with disablities

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Please see story here.

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iPhone applications can help the autistic.

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Please see story here.

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