Friday, April 29, 2011



Partnership Celebrates the Possibilities of 3D, Premiered on LG Cinema 3D HDTVs

    (Jonathan Fickies/AP Images for LG Electronics)

NEW YORK, April 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — LG Electronics and Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy previewed new 3D short films during the 10th Annual Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Helping to drive the emerging 3D genre forward, Tribeca Flashpoint students and faculty developed this content as part of a unique program supported by LG to help provide the next generation of filmmakers with the experience they need to develop creative materials in this new medium.

Celebrating the possibilities of 3D, a variety of student content was previewed at the Tribeca Film Festival on the next generation 3D TV, LG Cinema 3D. One short features “The Flying Wallendas Highwire Family,” which leverages 3D images with the excitement and tension inherent of a live high wire performance. In addition, an animated short, “The Universe of 3D,” provides a fun and interactive take on the LG logo, demonstrating how a 2D image can be transformed into a compelling visual experience.

“Our students and faculty are very pleased to have the rare opportunity to work with the latest in digital film and 3D technology,” said Howard Tullman, CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy. “This experience will give them an edge as they begin their careers outside of the classroom.”

Jon Patricof, Chief Operating Officer, Tribeca Enterprises, added: “For those of us in the film industry, it’s exciting to see young filmmakers break ground with emerging media like 3D. LG’s relationship with Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy has given these students an opportunity to learn more about a rapidly growing technology in their field, and we’re very happy with their work that is being shared with the broader film community at the Tribeca Film Festival.”

Longer-term, the alliance will also benefit consumers by aiding in the creation of additional 3D content that can be watched at home. LG Cinema 3D HDTVs use a similar 3D technology as employed in movie theatres. Because the glasses do not need to sync with an emitter, viewers can watch from nearly any angle in the room. The reasonable cost of the glasses also makes it easier to buy as many pairs as needed to host family and friends for a 3D movie or sports night. Attendees will have the chance to experience the home theatre technology first-hand, complete with 3D glasses, as LG Cinema 3D HDTVs are on display at various Festival venues including Chelsea Clearview Cinemas and AMC Lowes Village 7.

“We hope that our alliance with Tribeca and the Tribeca Flashpoint Academy will inspire more young filmmakers to create 3D content for consumers to enjoy,” said John Weinstock, Vice President of Marketing for LG. “The 3D films created by these students capture the exciting possibilities of the 3D experience, so it’s only fitting that their debut is on the next-generation 3D TV, LG Cinema 3D.”

LG Electronics USA, as the official HDTV sponsor of the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, has installed more than 50 LG Cinema 3D HDTVs and a host of Blu-Ray disc players in movie theaters, box offices and special event locations throughout lower Manhattan during the 12-day festival, which wraps up this weekend. These screens will show content promoting the Festival, TFF Films, and movie schedules.

About LG Electronics USA

LG Electronics USA, Inc., based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., is the North American subsidiary of LG Electronics, Inc., a global force and technology leader in consumer electronics, home appliances and mobile communications. In the United States, LG Electronics sells a range of stylish and innovative home entertainment products, mobile phones, home appliances, commercial displays, air conditioning systems and solar energy solutions, all under LG’s “Life’s Good” marketing theme. For more information, please visit

About Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy

Founded in 2007, Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy is committed to the advancement of higher learning in the fields of digital arts and entertainment. The goal of its immersive, hands-on, intensive program is to prepare students to become media professionals through exposure to real world tools, techniques, and the latest technical developments and trends. The Academy offers two-year Associate of Applied Science degrees in: Game & Interactive Media, Film & Broadcast, Recording Arts, and Animation & Visual Effects. Based in Chicago, Tribeca Flashpoint Academy’s curriculum focuses on collaboration across disciplines, professional communication, and critical thinking skills in a creative environment.

About Tribeca Film Festival

Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2001 following the attacks on the World Trade Center to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of the lower Manhattan district through an annual celebration of film, music and culture. The Festival’s mission is to help filmmakers reach the broadest possible audience, enable the international film community and general public to experience the power of cinema and promote New York City as a major filmmaking center. Tribeca Film Festival is well known for being a diverse international film festival that supports emerging and established directors.

The Tribeca Festival has screened over 1100 films from over 80 countries since its first festival in 2002. Since its founding, it has attracted an international audience of more than 2.3 million attendees and has generated an estimated $600 million in economic activity for New York City.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


“Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn't know the first thing about either.”

(Marshall McLuhan)

I’ve learned as a teacher and a parent for more than 30 years that it really doesn’t matter what you have to say or how well you say it (except perhaps to you) if it turns out that nobody’s listening. And it’s no different in the cinema than it is in the classroom. The days of the lecturing “sage on the stage” or the hectoring “lord of the lectern” are over. The one-way street called “I talk, you listen” has given way to a complex cloverleaf of conversation – everyone’s an expert; they’ve all got an opinion; and they expect to be heard and, more importantly, listened to.

Now I realize that - in certain groups and in certain parts of the country - the opposite of talking isn’t actually listening, it’s waiting to talk, but today, effective, two-way communication is more essential than ever to reaching the most important goal – learning and truly understanding whatever it is that’s the subject of the exchange. Because, at the end of the day, you can talk until you’re blue in the face and you can explain things to people over and over again, but you can’t understand for them.

So, unless you’re teaching just to hear yourself speak or making movies for your own enjoyment and the enlightenment of a few of your friends, you’re going to have to make some changes in your game. But here’s the good news: the more some things change (even today), the more the fundamental things remain the same. It’s always been about the story and the substance and it will always be about the story – it’s just the strategy that’s got to adjust and make room for a new kind of audience and the new and challenging environments that our abundance of new technologies are creating all around us. But, as I also like to say, all the technology in the world still won’t save a story that sucks.

And that’s why my suggestion to Robert Rosen (and to my other fellow TFF bloggers) and to those others in academia who are concerned about their students being just plain bored by the great old films (and by plenty of not-so-great new films as well) or whose students are so impatient with the pace and exposition of the classics that they miss the point of the pieces – “don’t worry, just get busy.” Because, whether we’re teachers, filmmakers, or anyone else with a story to tell, we’re all in a new kind of race and nobody’s going to wait for us to get with the program.

We’re competing for scarce attention and sadly-muddled mindshare in a media-drenched, frenzied and frantic world where everyone’s exposed to an ever-expanding mass of indiscriminate messages; where we’re surrounded by a shallow and sleazy celebrity-driven culture that thrives on garbage, gossip and cheap thrills; and where – amidst the constant stream of stimulation – it’s almost impossible to catch your breath, collect your thoughts, or just center yourself long enough so that you can do even one thing well.

So, is it really any wonder that filmmakers – in trying to grab an audience swimming in such a spectrum of constant stress, strain and spectacle – too often default to trying to serve up something new in their films every few minutes for better or for worse and the story be damned? A bad joke, an awful injury or death, an explosion, whatever. Anything to pin ‘em to their seats and hold their attention – if not their actual interest – for a little longer.

Or, in the classroom context, that a moron masquerading as a serious faculty member at Northwestern University would stoop to having a bunch of creeps come into the classroom and conduct live nude sex toy demonstrations for his students to presumably pep up the proceedings. Just how desperate was this idiot and just how much worse can things really get?

It’s trying to be “all things to all people” – if you don’t like what you’re seeing at the moment, just wait a bit and I’ll show you something else. It’s all shallow surface – a mile wide and an inch deep – no meat and no muscle. And it all proceeds from the very same place – a fear that the “new” audience is so over-stimulated, splintered, stressed-out and scattered that they can’t really sit still for a second. It’s as if they’re all sitting on seats strewn with tacks – it’s hard to concentrate in that position – especially if you never learned how to concentrate or focus in the first place. God forbid they’ll start texting instead of staring at the screen. Or fall asleep in class. How horrible that would be.

And many others are guilty as well of fomenting the biggest and most pernicious lie of all – the false and futile efficacy of multi-tasking – or, as I like to describe it, learning to do a lot of things lousily (if there’s such a word). Too many people teach our kids the cruel lie that you can do many important things simultaneously and do them all well. Have your cake, the frosting, the whole nine yards, and eat it too. The truth is that, in trying to multi-task, you essentially learn to do a lot of things poorly and, worst of all, you eventually get completely comfortable with the illusion that you’re doing something of importance or consequence. And soon thereafter, you just stop caring, you settle for the stream and not the substance and you go along for the distracting, but strangely comforting ride. Instead of submerging yourself in anything, you spend the time skimming over everything.

Because the most important thing that “multi-taskers” forget to do (and eventually lose the ability to do) is to focus and pay attention. To be in the moment and to enjoy being there. To be there now. To give themselves wholly to the experience and (in the words of the old cinema) to let the vehicle transport them for just a short time to a different and hopefully better place and maybe, in the very process itself, to actually teach them a thing or two. Or – even better yet – (and here’s the dirty little secret) to let them really discover and learn something themselves (or about themselves) as they progress.

See the difference?

Today, to engage, immerse and enthrall the new audiences, wherever they happen to reside, it’s not something that anyone will successfully be doing to them – the best and most successful practitioners of the new media arts will help the audiences learn and do things by and for themselves. Exploration rather than exposition will drive the films of the future. Active involvement and engagement rather than partial and passive participation will be the hallmarks of successful new offerings in the classroom and in the cinema.

Immersive, interactive, experiential, collaborative, cross-disciplinary, community- (or team-) based combinations of content and context are the only effective way forward. Vehicles of all manner that will let us construct our own experiences and learning; that create the enticing environments where such adventures can take place (rather than pinning us to our seats with constant explosions); films that proffer important questions, puzzles and challenges (instead of pummeling us with profanity and fart jokes); and projects that ultimately give us the wheel, stand back, and let us make our own way through the vagaries and the mysteries of discovery will define the new forms of entertainment and education.

Hands-on, all-in, heart-felt – sounds pretty good to me. But then I’m a guy who pays attention. How do we make this happen – how can these new approaches and vehicles be built?

You’ll have to tune in for Part Two of this post. Coming soon.

Monday, April 11, 2011



                                                                        THE TEAM:

                               COMPETITION PRESENTATION SHOTS:




Press Release Source: Microsoft Corp. On Monday April 11, 2011, 7:30 pm EDT

REDMOND, Wash., April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Students from Arizona State University took the top prize today in the U.S. finals of the Imagine Cup, the world's premier student technology competition, with their project that enables low-vision students to take notes in class with the assistance of a custom-designed, portable camera, a touch-screen Tablet PC, and Microsoft One Note. Michael Astrauskas, David Hayden, Shashank Srinivas and Qian Yan from Team Note-Taker will represent the U.S. at the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals in New York City this summer, competing against student teams from more than 70 countries and regions around the world.

Students who created video games to drive awareness of world issues were also celebrated at the U.S. Finals. The winner of the Game Design for Windows and Xbox competition was Team Bloom, from Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, with a game focused on helping kids learn about alternative energy solutions. The winner of the Game Design for Mobile competition was Team Big Impact Bear, from the University of Houston, with a game to increase awareness of the importance of preventing and reversing deforestation.

"It is inspiring to meet so many students who are on the forefront of new discoveries," said Mark Hindsbo, vice president of Developer and Platform Evangelism, Microsoft. "Whether they go on to develop a breakthrough in healthcare, start a new company or become better prepared to enter the workforce, students who participate in the Imagine Cup are leading us into a brighter future."

The Imagine Cup is one way that Microsoft is helping the students of today prepare for the jobs of tomorrow by generating excitement for science, technology, engineering and math. Through its process of working in a team environment, developing a complex project within a deadline and presenting a case to a panel of judges, the competition inspires students with a diverse array of backgrounds to gain critical skills for the future in collaboration, communications, critical thinking, citizenship and creative problem-solving. This year, more than 74,000 students in the U.S. rose to the challenge to learn new skills and to make a difference in the world through the Imagine Cup.

"Technology empowers the individual to make the world accessible according to their own needs," said David Hayden, Team Note-Taker. "Our work demonstrates this by equipping low-vision students with a portable assistive technology that enables them to take their own notes — a process that is well known to benefit retention."

The team's project, Note-Taker, helps low-vision and legally blind students take notes in class as quickly and effectively as their fully sighted peers. A tightly integrated camera and touch-screen Tablet PC allow the user to simultaneously view live video and take typed or hand-written notes on a split-screen interface.

The Note-Taker project was inspired by one of the team's legally blind members, David Hayden, who was unable to keep up with note-taking in blackboard-intensive math courses. Hayden and his teammates developed Note-Taker with support from the university's Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing.

The complete list of winners and runners-up of the Imagine Cup 2011 U.S. Finals follows:

Imagine Cup 2011 U.S. Finals Winners

Software Design

• First Place: Team Note-Taker, Arizona State University

o Students: David Hayden, Michael Astrauskas, Qian Yan, Shashank Srinivas

o Project: A portable, assistive technology to help vision-impaired students take notes in class

o Prize: $8,000 (U.S.)

 A trip to New York to compete in the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals

 $25,000 (U.S.) donation to team members' departments (or schools)

• Second Place: Team LifeLens

o Students: Cy Khormaee, Jason Wakizaka, Tristan Gibeau, Wilson To

o Project: An innovative point-of-care smartphone application to address child mortality rates caused by the lack of detection and availability of treatment for malaria

o Prize: $4,000 (U.S.)

• Third Place: Team Uca Ursus, University of Central Arkansas

o Students: Brendan Lee, Muhyeddin Ercan

o Project: An automated system that allows people to self-monitor their diagnosed skin cancer using their cellphones

o Prize: $3,000 (U.S.)

• Fourth Place: Team TTHV, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Central Connecticut State University

o Students: Alexander Ryu, Annemarie Ryu, Brandon, Liu, David Amenta

o Project: A healthcare solution designed to improve vaccination rates and ensure women receive proper and antenatal care in underdeveloped communities

o Prize: $1,000(U.S.)

Game Design— Windows and Xbox

First Place: Team Bloom, Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy

o Students: Andrew Zurek, David Grund, Nathan Heyl, Nathan Moore

o Project: "Spero" — a game focused on alternative energy solutions and educating people on how to live healthier lives

o Prize: $6,000 (U.S.)

• Second Place: Team Plump Pixel, California State University, Chico

o Students: Kenny Anderson, Kurt Feudale

o Project: "Green World" — an educational game where players take on the role of city planners whose responsibility is to keep their environment clean

o Prize: $3,000 (U.S.)

• Third Place: Team Righteous Noodle, University of Houston

o Students: Jack Chaiyakhom, Kyuho Shim, Son Tran-Nguyen, Thien Pham

o Project: "Eva Frontier" —a real-team strategy game that challenges players to end poverty through the use of advanced technologies

o Prize: $2,000 (U.S.)

• Fourth Place: Team XozGaming, Lick-Wilmerding High School, Oakland, Calif.

o Students: Julius Lee, Xander Masotto

o Project: "Strain" —a real-time strategy game where players defend the world against a global pandemic

o Prize: $1,000(U.S.)

Game Design — Mobile

• First Place: Team Big Impact Bear, University of Houston

o Students: Brett Langsjoen, Daniel Salazar, Francisco Jimenez

o Project: "Forest Gun" —a game that aims to prevent and reverse deforestation in the world

o Prize: $6,000 (U.S.) and Windows Phone 7 devices for each member of the team

• Second Place: Team AAMP, University of Houston

o Students: Antonio Farias, Mark Rojas, Patipol Paripoonnanonda

o Project: "Operation Clean Sweep" —a game intended to raise the player's awareness of water pollution

o Prize: $3,000 (U.S.)

• Third Place: Team Mintrus, University of Louisville, Columbia College in Chicago

o Students: Kazuna Nakama, Matthew Dahl, Quinn Johns, Richard Paris

o Project: "Pandemic" —a tower defense game that acts as a conduit in the education and prevention of AIDS

o Prize: $2,000 (U.S.)

• Fourth Place: Team EDO, Arizona State University

o Students: Ryan Scott, Travis Sein

o Project: "Word Mine" —a fun word game that focuses on a variety of different languages

o Prize: $1,000(U.S.)

U.S. People's Choice Awards

• First Place Software Design: Team BearPaw, Brigham Young University

o Students: Rob Johnson, Carter Green, Craig Treasure, Paul Jones

o Project: A mobile and cloud solution for ultrasound images that is cost-effective, widely available and easy to implement

o Prize: Each member of the winning team will receive an Xbox 360 250 GB Console with Kinect. Estimated retail value $299 (U.S.) each.

First Place Game Design: Team Bloom, Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy

o Students: Andrew Zurek, David Grund, Nathan Heyl, Nathan Moore

o Project: "Spero" — a game focused on alternative energy solutions and educating people on how to live healthier lives

o Prize: Each member of the winning team will receive an Xbox 360 250 GB Console with Kinect. Estimated retail value $299 (U.S.) each.

Now in its ninth year, the Imagine Cup has grown to become a global competition, with more than 325,000 students representing 100 countries and regions entering the competition last year. The theme for the 2011 competitions is "Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems." The Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals will be held July 8 through 13 in New York — the first time the United States will host the final stage of the competition. More information about the Imagine Cup is available at

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