Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fish Kill: The End of the Line

Fish Kill

Uncle Arnold got fat
that summer,

belly full
of potato candy

a sugar roll
with peanut butter

like pimples
Aunt Midge popped
on his back after work.

Uncle Arnold died 
at the bottom of an oil tank,

red, white, and blue
puffing him up,

painting his lungs

like fourth of July
beside the Ohio 

while Aunt Midge
drew fingers through
curly yellow locks,

knocked catfish off hooks
into bloody buckets

watching them
gasp and swell

under a rotting sun.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Embarras Valley Film Festival Student Short Film Contest Official Selections

EVFF 2014 Student Short Film Contest Official Selections
A Problem, Dir. Zoe Tether
Birthday Boy, Dir. Josef Lorenzo
The Thief, Dir. Ali Aschman
Into the Glass , Dir. Grant Czadzeck
Hell! Visa, Dir. Junjie "Jake" Zhang
Passenger, Dir. Brendan Kirschbaum
Tough Case, Dir. Stefan Perez
Run. , Dir. Kevin Bauer
Overflowing, Dir. Royal Day, Aurora Gonzales
Splintered Heart, Dir. Yu Tin Ko
Dark Mechanism, Dir. Ihab Mardini
Melon Head, Dir. Andy Fortenbacher
POOP, Dir. Mitchell O'Hearn
937 MILES APART , Dir. Justin Escalona
'Tis the Season, Dir. Kirsten Stuck
Pretty Penny, Dir. Ellen Willis
BEAT, Dir. Inhye Lee
Mr. Bear, Dir. Andres Rosende
Fan, Dir. Alex Zajicek
WIND, Dir. Hunter Hopewell
Road Trip, Dir. Stacy Jill Calvert
Girly, Dir. Kira Bursky
Home Cooking, Dir. Elizabeth Herrick
Alicia's Vengeance, Dir. Char Vereen, Yusuf Al-Rahman

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Embarras Valley Film Festival, November 6-8, 2014!

10th Annual Embarras Valley Film Festival
November 6-8, 2014
Films of Dick Van Dyke

Schedule of Events with Synopses

Thursday, November 6

3:30-5:30pm             Film screening of Divorce American Style (1967) with introduction by Robin Murray, Coleman Hall Auditorium, Room 1255

After seventeen years of marriage, affluent Los Angeles suburban
couple Richard Harmon (Van Dyke) and his wife Barbara (Reynolds)
seem to have it all, but when they discover they can no longer
communicate, even to argue, they file for a divorce that grows
worse than their marriage.

7:00-9:00pm Student-Produced Short Film Contest, Lecture Hall,
Doudna Fine Arts Center

Friday, November 7

Doudna Fine Arts Center Lecture Hall

7:00pm          The Comic (1969) with introduction by Chuck Koplinski

A fictionalized account of the rise and fall of a silent film comic, Billy Bright, played by Dick Van Dyke, The Comic (1969) is also loosely based on the life of Buster Keaton. Beginning with Bright’s funeral, as he speaks from beyond the grave in a bitter tone about his fate, the film takes us through Bright’s fame, his ruin, and his fall, as a lonely, bitter old man unable to reconcile his life's disappointments.

Saturday, November 8

Tarble Arts Center Atrium, 2010 9th Street
2:00pm          Mary Poppins (1964) Family Matinee Movie

A spoiled and bored upper crust Edwardian English family, the Banks, has their world turned upside down by a magical nanny (Mary Poppins) and her friend Bert (Dick Van Dyke) who teach them how to enjoy life. As a live action and animation musical, Mary Poppins has both comedy and pathos and showcases imaginative scenes that are wonderful for adults and children alike. Audiences will be singing along in no time..."in the most delightful way!"

7:00pm          Cold Turkey (1971) with introduction by Dann Gire 

Hoping for positive publicity, a tobacco company offers $25 million to any American town that quits smoking for 30 days. Amidst a media frenzy, Eagle Rock, Iowa and its spiritual leader, Reverend Clayton Brooks (Dick Van Dyke) accept the challenge while the company's PR man tries to sabotage the effort.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Water Rights and A Civil Action (1998): A Riparian Dilemma

Water Rights and A Civil Action  (1998): A Riparian Dilemma

Water has been considered a natural right around in the world and treated as a usufructary right for thousands of years. Such a right gives temporary possession and enjoyment to those who use water, as long as that use does not cause damage or change it. According to this perspective, water can be used but not owned. The Riparian Doctrine clarifies this natural right.  As economist Zachary Donohew explains, because water is typically seen as a usufructary right, rivers and streams cannot be owned but their water can be accessed by those who live and work beside their banks (90). Although current riparian principles draw on private ownership to define reasonable water use, the doctrine primarily applies to public riparian lands, as activist Vandana Shiva notes in her discussion of communal water use in Colorado’s Rio Grande Valley (27).  The Riparian Doctrine still prevails in much of the Eastern United States because water is much more abundant there than in the Western states, but it also serves as a guiding principle for community rights and water democracies in India (Shiva 29), which hold that “Water is a commons…. It cannot be owned as private property and sold as a commodity” (36).

Both fictional features and documentaries with water at their center draw on the tenets of the Riparian Doctrine. Westerns such as The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970) emphasize riparian principles, especially in relation to the Desert Land Act, but contemporary feature films also draw on riparian ideals, which, in these cases, are in conflict with the Clean Water Act and its roots in human approaches to ecology. In A Civil Action (1998), for example, “reasonable use” is under question. The film explores whether or not those who used the same water source as does a leather tanning company were adversely affected by the company’s water use. Although the film primarily centers on Jan Schlichtmann’s (John Travolta) failed attempts to sue both Beatrice and W.R. Grace, he ultimately proves that the tannery these companies manage dumped silicone and trichloroethylene (TCE), toxic waste that contaminated a town’s water supply and caused multiple cancers in its townspeople.

In A Civil Action, attorney Schlichtmann investigates a case that revolves around a woman whose son had died of leukemia two years before, along with more than a dozen other townspeople, and the city’s drinking water is blamed. The townspeople seem unaware of the source of this water pollution, but Schlichtmann discovers a tannery connected with W.R. Grace is dumping toxins into the river beside the factory. He meets representatives of Beatrice Foods and W.R. Grace, and since they have big pockets, the lawsuit begins. Schlichtmann’s investigation is meant to determine that silicone and trichloroethylene (TCE) were dumped into the water supply by the tannery and causing the cancers in townspeople. Ultimately, Schlictmann and his law firm settle with both Grace and Beatrice, but Schlichtmann also sends his case files to the EPA, including a report from a worker who witnessed the cleanup that proves toxic waste had been dumped in the city’s water supply, and the EPA forces both Grace and Beatrice to pay 69.4 million dollars in cleanup costs because both companies violated the Clean Water Act.

According to a summary of the Clean Water Act from the EPA,the Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters,” but not groundwater sources. Based on this 1972 Clean Water Act, the EPA “has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry” and “set water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters,” making it illegal to “discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained.” The Clean Water Act helps control one important element of the riparian doctrine, ensuring that downstream water uses are not adversely affected by those upstream. The Clean Water Act and the EPA monitoring it become integral agents in A Civil Action and the actual court case it inspired.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Cli Fi Movie Awards get a name: THE CLIFFIES! A Q and A with cli-fi founder Dan Bloom

The Cli Fi Movie Awards get a name: THE CLIFFIES!

Joe and I are pleased to share an amazing event with help from its founder, THE CLIFFIES! Please check out the Q and A below to learn more about the first awards program for climate  fiction (cli-fi) film! In a brief self-interview, climate activist and genre student Dan
Bloom talks about his new Cli Fi Movie Awards program, what it is and
why he started it.

QUESTION: -- Dan, you've coined the cli fi genre term and you've been
busy the past 3 years promoting it to the media in the USA, the UK and
Australia, with some pickups also in Denmark, Norway, Brazil, Chile
and Spain. Why are you now curating the CLIFFIES, what you call the
CLI FI MOVIE AWARDS, which you have dubbed in your word coining ways
as "The Cliffies"? What are the Cliffies?

DAN BLOOM: The Cli Fi Movie Awards will honor and recognize the best
cli fi movies of the year on an annual basis. In ten categories. The
2015 launch will be on February 15, a week before the Oscars telecast

QUESTION: -- Why run the event a week before the Oscars?

DAN BLOOM: We want to get maximum media exposure for the Cliffies
awards and this is just good PR timing.

QUESTION: How many movie nominations have come in this year for the
2014 period of cli fi movies?

DAN BLOOM: Seven films have been nominated so far, with categories
like best directors, actors, supporting actors, cinematography, PR and
marketing campaigns, and a few more new categories never awarded
before in Hollywood!

QUESTION: Such as.....?

DAN BLOOM: Wait for the CLIFFIES launch.

QUESTION: Who is funding the event? Sponsors? Venue? Where will the
CLiFFIES take place?

DAN BLOOM: Again, wait for the launch on mid February. This is big.
This is trending and this will reach a lot of important people in the
movie industry with a cli fi message for future years. That's our
goal. That's our premise. That was our starting point. The Cliffies
are not about glitz or glamor or movie stars. They are about the very
future of our planet. Hollywood has a big role to play and indie
movies, too.

QUESTION: Dan, you come across as a bit of an eccentric, a bit of a
maverick and a bit of a climate activist with a never give up
attitude. Who are you?

DAN BLOOM: All three. Take your pick. I answer to all of them. Mostly
I'm a lone wolf crying in the wilderness, shouting from the rooftops,
issuing some wake up calls, ringing some alarm bells, hopefully.

QUESTION: Do you think in all seriousness the media is going to pay
attention to this cockamamie idea of a cli fi movie awards event
dubbed the CLIFFIES when you yourself have zero street cred in
Hollywood, zero media visibility and zero sponsorships?

DAN BLOOM: I'm not worried. What will happen, will happen. Watch! This
is big. We're starting small, but there is a huge growth potential
here, and not about money or glitz. This is a very serious thing we
are curating.

QUESTION: Do you have have any background in the movie business? I
mean, what are you getting yourself in to?

DAN BLOOM: I know a few people in the movie industry, producers and
screenwriters. I've been around the film business all my life as a PR
guy. But this is not about Hollywood, this is about waking Hollywood
up. See?

QUESTION: I do believe you are a maverick, an eccentric,
and a lone wolf climate activist. Not many people would go out on a
limb and do what you are doing, without a parachute and without any
funding or sponsors.

DAN BLOOM: If you build it, they will come. I once interviewed Kevin
Costner during a press conference in Tokyo when I worked there as a
reporter and he came to town for DANCES WITH WOLVES. If you build it,
they will come. He taught me that! ''Field of Dreams''!

NOTE: Nominations for the CLIFFIES are still valid until last day of
December. Send suggestions and categories to: