Friday, September 10, 2010

Oxy Cinemathèque 2010 begins Monday with THE FAMILY STONE

Cinemathèque Screening: The Family Stone (Dir. Thomas Bezucha, 2005)

September 13, 2010

Johnson 200

7 p.m.

Introduction by Sonia Lessuck (’11)

The Family Stone: Storytelling in the Home

Written and directed by Thomas Bezucha, The Family Stone (2005) tells the story of a New England family, as everyone returns home for a Christmas weekend. This Christmas, however, is no ordinary one. This year, the golden boy son of the Stone family, Everett, is bringing home the newest woman in his life. He is even, to the dismay of his family, expected to ask his mother for her mother’s engagement ring – the family stone. His new romance is not the only news for the family, we soon find out. As each member of the family comes home and moves back into his/her childhood home, secrets, conflicts, and family history begin to rise to the surface in intimate and comedic moments. Through storytelling, Bezucha creates this family’s unique narrative structure within his film.

In The Family Stone, the primary reveal is that Diane Keaton's character, Sybil Stone, mother of the family, finds out she is re-diagnosed with breast cancer. Early in the film we see Sybil alone in her house; it is clear that something is on her mind, but exactly what, is unknown. As Sybil’s entire family comes home, her five children with their respective families--children, spouses, fiancés--we see her light up. She and her home play host to everyone, and it is through storytelling that we slowly learn more about this family's history. We are let in on whom each person was before the moment we have met them and we learn how their histories differ from the people they presently are.

What strikes me most about The Family Stone is, although a film about a family in a home together, there are only three scenes when everyone is gathered in one space together. These scenes are ripe with tension and lack the intimacy of scenes around two family members inhabiting a single space together. Perhaps the climax of the film and highest point of tensions is a scene around the dinner table. For most of the film, the Stone family has struggled, unsuccessfully, to be civil with Meredith, Everett’s uptight fiancé. Once everyone is gathered around a central location together, with the feeling of seemingly not being able to leave, niceties are soon forgotten. The scene comes to a head when Meredith has a loud and forceful exchange with Sybil and her husband, Kelly. All of a sudden, Meredith breaks the cinematic rules of a dinner table scene and leaves. This breaks the tension and creates a moment of reflection for the Stone family.

I have drawn great inspiration from this film for my own screenplay. Bezucha uses the many rooms of a family home to segregate his characters, giving characters moments alone with another, despite a crowded home. It is during these smaller moments that storytelling and divulgence of secrets occurs. When the whole family isn’t together, characters relax into moments of true intimacy.

Each of Sybil’s children finds out individually about her diagnosis. The space, in which they find out signifies something about their character and their relationship not only to Sybil, but also the family as a whole. It is this link between characters, storytelling, and space that interests me most.

--Sonia Lessuck (’11)

4th Annual Sparky Awards call for entries

Washington, DC – The importance of the student stake in opening up access to scholarly research will be highlighted in Open Up! – the fourth installment of the annual Sparky Awards student video contest, announced today. Calling on students to articulate their views in a two-minute video, the contest has been embraced by campuses all over the world and has inspired imaginative expressions of student support for the potential of Open Access to foster creativity, innovation, and problem solving.

Open Access is free, immediate, online access to the published results of scholarly research, combined with the rights we need to be able to use and re-use them in the ways we want in the digital space. Students have been leaders in the creative re-use, remix, and mash-up of material across the digital realm, and have a fair expectation that scholarly research should be equally, legally accessible to help advance their scholarship and ensure the quality of their education.

Students are uniquely positioned to advance Open Access. Through their publishing, copyright, and policy choices, students – along with faculty and administrators – can make Open Access to institutional research outputs and wider access to the whole scholarly record a reality – today.

Open Up! calls on students to let the world know they support Open Access and to say why. This year, entries are invited to four categories:

1. Animation – Drop into the media lab and master that illustration software!

2. Speech – Just say how it is. Skip the fancy editing and use your 120 seconds to tell campus viewers in your own eloquent words why Open Access matters to you.

3. Remix – Mix it up. Re-use video, music, images and remix with your own content to create your unique vision of the importance of Open Access. Content must be re-used legally.

4. People’s Choice – The People choose! Sparky Award entries are opened up for public vote.

Winners will receive an iPad, iPhone, or iPod and a fabulous "Sparky Award" statuette. The award-winning videos will be announced in conjunction with the American Library Association Annual Conference and a Campus MovieFest Regional Finale, and will be widely publicized by the sponsoring organizations at public events across North America throughout the year.

The Sparky Awards are an opportunity for faculty to enhance fall and spring classes, as well as for libraries to promote services -- including media services or information commons, where students can edit video, browse media, work collaboratively, and develop a good understanding of copyright. Libraries everywhere are encouraged to host local installments of the contest.

Entries in the international Sparky Awards competition are now being accepted and must be received by 12:00AM Eastern time on May 27, 2011. To be eligible, videos must be freely available on the Internet and available for use under a Creative Commons License.

The Sparky Awards are organized by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and co-sponsored by: the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, Campus MovieFest, the Center for Social Media, the New Media Consortium (NMC), the Open Video Alliance, Penn Libraries, Students for Free Culture, the Student PIRGs, and SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition).

For full details, visit the Sparky Awards Web site at

Monday, September 6, 2010

NBC/Universal Seeks Interns for Digital Entertainment Dept.

NBC’s Digital Entertainment Strategy & Operations department is looking for an undergraduate intern for Fall 2010. The group works on digital initiatives surrounding the network’s television programming, including, Hulu, digital distribution opportunities (mobile, EST, PPV/VOD), and original digital series. Intern will provide research on a variety of strategic projects, conduct data analysis surrounding the performance of digital content, and help identify new growth opportunities in the digital space. The ideal candidate is primarily interested in the business side of entertainment and will be entering their junior or senior year in the fall. School credit only. Please e-mail resumes and brief cover letters to: