Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Queen Delivers


            The Queen of Versailles is an informative documentary about the rise and fall of the Siegel family. Clever and funny, director Lauren Greenfield successfully covers the human side of “the queen” and her self-made billionaire husband. The viewer embarks on a two-year journey with them as they face economic struggles that lead them to make lifestyle changes and make touch choices in both business and their personal lives.

            The documentary, which won the directing award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is appealing and relatable. People all over the world have been hit hard by the recession, and even though this family could be considered part of the “one percent,” the viewer learns how to feel empathy for them.

            I was impatient to see this documentary as soon as I saw the trailer for the first time on Apple Trailers. Luckily, the Orlando area is fortunate to have the Enzian Theater, a non-profit artsy theater that screens independent, foreign, and classic films, and is also host to the Florida Film Festival. A big smile covered my face as soon as I found out “The Queen” would be screened at the Enzian. It was so well received (The Siegels reside in Central Florida, so this must have been a factor) that the screening dates were extended and I was even unable to obtain tickets the first time I tried seeing it. When I was finally able to get a hold of a ticket, I had a great time and I dare to say this is one of the top three movies I’ve seen this year. The trailer only gives you so much. The documentary overall was different than what I expected and as I mentioned already, the fact that they cover a very personal side to the family makes it so much better. It almost makes me want to see a “Part II."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Different Kind of Competition Reality TV Show

A Different Kind of Competition Reality TV Show

            In a day and age when most competition reality TV shows are a plethora of singing races to find the newest “pop star,” I was ecstatic to learn about a new and fresh project, with not so new and fresh people, but anyway, that’s not the point.

            I read a few weeks ago while scrolling down the “news” section on the IMDb website that talent scout Simon Cowell and producer/recording artist will be collaborating on a new show. Instead of looking for aspiring singers, they will be seeking entrepreneurs and talented individuals with new technology ideas.

            “Singing and performance create a couple of jobs, but this will create lots. It’s about getting in touch with youth and giving them a platform to express themselves, whether that’s in science or mathematics,” said at a tech conference in London.
            From a producer (and even a viewer) stand point of view, it’s great that an effort is being made not just to create a new type of competition show, but to bring awareness in math and science to this country. It may not be a coincidence that this is taking place during a deciding time when the world has yet to see if President Barack Obama will be reelected.

            “We’re starting to see gains in math and science in some of the schools that are the toughest for kids,” said the President during the second Presidential debate two days ago. To narrow it down, the point I’m trying to make is that there is a possibility that pop culture is slowly starting to shift more towards a political and “down-to-earth” perspective. I mean, there are two other shows with similar concepts. There is Shark Tank which airs on ABC and an upcoming show starring Mark Zuckerberg's sister which will air on Bravo. 

            Many question if is adequate for this type of show, and I say yes. According to article written by Emi Kolawole for The Washington Post, The first song to ever be broadcast from Mars was composed by him, and has worked closely with Segway inventor and For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) founder Dean Kamen. He collaborated last year with Kamen to air the FIRST Robotics Competition on ABC.

            Titled X Factor for Tech, the new show may contribute to the growth of job creations if it is done right and meets its purpose. The big question is if viewers may be interested in watching unknown scientists, mathematicians, and engineers every week.