Last week, Secretary of Education Dr. Veronica C. García and State Historian Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez announced a film and photography contest for ninth-grade students in New Mexico. Students are encouraged to create an “original film or photomontage that relates a traditional trade or career to a community’s past.” These short film/video/photography projects should also aim to document the education and technology necessary to preserve that trade in the future. Suggested trades for students to document include farming, ranching, construction, weaving and the arts. The deadline for submissions is May 1. Although it sounds suspiciously like extra-credit homework, the four best entries will be selected and those schools will each receive a digital camera package. Student films will also be considered for inclusion in the Office of the State Historian’s Digital History Project, and the best projects will be included in a DVD for use by the Public Education Department and schools as a teaching tool. Not too shabby, really. For more information, go to ped.state.nm.us/press/2009/20090202-filmProjectStep1.pdf.
That the new dramedy Sunshine Cleaning comes to theaters courtesy of “the producers of Little Miss Sunshine” will be of little surprise to those who end up watching both films. Aside from the titular noun, the films share a similar dysfunctional family ethic, a near-identical maudlin sense of humor, the same Duke City setting and crotchety old actor Alan Arkin.
San Francisco, Calif. ... Gently nestled among the hipster coffeehouses, overpriced hotels and streets teeming with homeless poets sits the Moscone Center, a stark-white building erected in 1981 that serves as geek Mecca over the course of three caffeine-and-comic-book-fueled days. Every year, thousands of eager collectors and fans gather here to worship at the feet of popular culture at the annual WonderCon, the smaller cousin to San Diego’s gigantic Comic-Con. During a visit to WonderCon in late February, I had the pleasure of meeting David Gregory, president of Severin films, a DVD label based out of the U.K. that specializes in the distribution of classic Euro-sleaze titles. Personally, I’ll take the softcore antics of Emmanuelle over a major studio crapfest any day of the week, so David was a pretty easy guy for me to get along with. And I was surprised to discover that Severin’s latest offering is the amazing three-disc set of Inglorious Bastards, a great WWII “men on a mission” flick from 1978.
In what must go down in history as one of the most misguided attempts to come up with a newer, “hipper” image, the Sci Fi Channel is changing its name. Starting July 7, the longtime cable network will be known as ... drum roll, please ... SyFy! Yeah. Exactly. Huh?