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Tomorrow’s filmmakers, today

NFFTY

When the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) rolls out the red carpet later this week, the next Spielberg or Ephron might be among the 200+ filmmakers whose works will be screened during the four-day festival.

They just might not be able to drive themselves to the screening, and many won’t be able to network over post-festival beers.

NFFTY, entering its seventh year, spotlights 215 films from around the world – all made by directors 22 and younger. Filmmakers come from as far as Denmark and South Africa, but at least two UW students will showcase their work this week: Andrew Mitrack will screen his film “One Way Single,” and Alexis Lee will show “The Face of Facebook.”

The main attraction is the sheer volume of screenings: Films, grouped by genre, will be shown throughout the weekend at SIFF Cinema Uptown in Seattle’s Lower Queen Anne neighborhood, with many of the NFFTY filmmakers taking part in question-and-answer sessions and panel discussions on a variety of film-related topics. “These youth are definitely on the fast track,” said NFFTY Managing Director Lindsey LeDuc, ’04.

“Kid” isn’t always a misnomer, either. Children as young as 8 have created films for the festival, where the average film is about eight minutes long.

But teens and college students also take part. Many college filmmakers submit their thesis or class projects for consideration, LeDuc said.

One of those students was filmmaker Champ Ensminger, ’12. In 2011, he submitted “Tonal,” a six-minute film he’d shot for a filmmaking class. The film followed a young man’s addiction and relationship with sounds. Ensminger, who now lives in Brooklyn, won the Audience Award for Experimental Cinema for the film.

But, for Ensminger and so many filmmakers, the real fun begins after the credits roll. “NFFTY was a good showcase of the work you’ve been doing, but that’s where it starts,” he said. “It has to be a springboard for doing more work.”

And that connection is what’s fueled NFFTY’s growth over the years. The screenings themselves are just part of what NFFTY does; student filmmakers talk shop, draw up plans to collaborate, and see what their peers are doing, creating a unique atmosphere of creativity and inspiration that lives on long after the festival finishes each year. “By attending, you get to see the voice of this generation,” LeDuc said. “It’s really powerful to have these young artists from all over the world come together to show what inspires them.”

If You Go

What: National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), showcasing more than 200 films by directors 22 and younger from around the world

Where: Opening Night Gala: Seattle Cinerama, 2110 4th Ave., Seattle, Wash.; All other events: SIFF Cinema Uptown, 511 Queen Anne Avenue North, Seattle, Wash.

When: April 25-28; visit nffty.org for a complete schedule of events.

Cost: Opening Night Gala: $35, $25 for youth, $20 per person in groups of 10 or more; All other events: $11, $10 for youth, $9 per person in groups of 10 or more.

More info: Call 206-905-8400 or visit nffty.org.

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The Funkiest Linguist in the Descriptivist School is Coming to Kane Hall

pullum

Looks harmless, doesn’t he? But he’s coming after your grammatical crotchets and linguistic hobgoblins–your lexical bugaboos too! (Photo from www.lel.ed.ac.uk/~gpullum/)

Before embarking on a career in linguistics, Geoffrey K. Pullum could be found gadding about 1960s Germany playing piano for Sonny Stewart and the Dynamos (listed as “Jeff Pullem”) and later for Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band (that’s him rocking the organ in this YouTube video). The stresses of life on the road led him to eventually abandon his musical career and instead pursue “the glamour and excitement of becoming a linguist.”

In the years since, in his classes and as a contributor to the popular linguistics blog Language Log, Pullum has engaged in battle with what he terms “prescriptivist poppycock.”

Read more…

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Is Your Junior Dawg Heading Back to School?

School Bus

Starting routines early can help your child get off on the right foot

Sure, mid-August might seem a little early to start thinking about school, but getting started now can help kids ease into the new routine.

Going back to school can be a lot of fun—catching up with old friends, making new ones, meeting new teachers—but it can also be a big source of anxiety for kids. Liliana Lengua, UW psychology professor, and Clayton Cook, UW assistant professor of educational psychology, have some tips for helping your kids succeed at the first day of school.

Prof. Lengua runs the Center for Child and Family Well-Being, which is now offering a certificate program in Early Childhood Leadership for early childhood care professionals. She recommends arranging a few get-togethers with school friends before classes start, and maybe a classroom tour, if your child is feeling nervous. “Sometimes it’s the unfamiliarity or unknown that worries kids,” says Lengua, so giving your child some exposure to the people and places she’ll be interacting with ahead of time can be a help.

Is someone in your household heading for classes this fall? Are you? What are you doing to get prepared?

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Feeling stressed? UW research shows meditation can help you do your job better.

Meditating Person

Research by UW Information School professors suggests that meditation training can help people working with large amounts of complex information. Image by Flickr user Myyoganonline via UW Today.

UW Professors at the Information School recently published research suggesting that training in meditation can make multitasking easier and work smoother and less stressful.

Do you meditate? How does it affect your work life? Let us know in the comments!

Curious about meditation? The Henry Art Gallery is offering free half-hour lunchtime drop-in meditation sessions on the second Thursday of each month. Registration is not required, so drop on by!

 

 

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The Burke’s Got Everything…

The Burke Museum and the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences maintain an amazing collection of fish. From spiny deep-sea anglerfish to a unique albino dogfish, the University of Washington Fish Collection comprises rows and rows of bottles and basins of fish preserved in alcohol in a fireproof, explosion-proof, earthquake-proof facility. Open to scholars and researchers, KING5 recently had a behind-the-scenes look:

Or you can take a look here:

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The Burke really DOES have everything!

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Public Art at the UW: Everything that Rises by Martin Puryear

In this series of periodic blog posts, we will examine the pieces of art that delight and befuddle visitors to campus and add to the unique beauty of the University.

The art that graces the UW campuses falls into three broad categories: Private gifts, like Red Square’s iconic Broken Obelisk; Commemorative works, like the busts and statues honoring figures prominent and obscure that are scattered all over campus; and works commissioned under the Art in Public Places program. Art in Public Places directs ½ of 1% of the budget of state buildings (including University buildings) to public art. These commissioned pieces are frequently the most visionary—and controversial—works seen on campus. Today’s subject falls in this last category.

"Everything that Rises" by Martin Puryear

"Everything that Rises" by Martin Puryear

I stumbled across Everything that Rises, a 23-foot bronze sculpture by Martin Puryear, standing sentinel in the plaza in front of the Physics/Astronomy building, while visiting campus with my 2-year-old daughter (she likes walking around the rim of Drumheller Fountain while Daddy holds her hand and envisions having to fish her out and explain to Mommy why the baby’s soaking wet). I found it visually arresting—smoothly curved among the sharp angles of the buildings, darkly reflective against the brighter brick, mysterious and evocative. It seems precariously balanced on its end, like a spinning top. The work’s radial symmetry draws the viewer to walk around it, making the background of buildings and mountains seem to rotate around the stationary pole of the sculpture.

My daughter liked the satisfying PONG it made when she slapped her hands against the hollow bronze.

Fans of the Southern gothic writer Flannery O’Connor will recognize the title of the work as the first part of the title of one of her short stories, “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” itself drawn from theologian Teilhard de Chardin’s writing about seeking unity with God. Puryear, however, warns against drawing to direct a connection between his work and its title. “I don’t want to be overly literal. Flannery O’Connor is one reference, but it’s obviously an incomplete phrase as it is. I like to give my work titles that are provocative and open up possible ways for people to look at the work and think about the work rather than close it down.”

Everything that Rises was not universally praised when it was unveiled. Described dismissively as a peanut or a bowling pin, or mistakenly identified as a depiction of a p-orbital (one of the paths electrons take around the nucleus of an atom), much of the controversy rose from the simplicity of its form. Former UW campus art administrator Kurt Kiefer, in a 2001 interview, opined, “A lot of people, when they see something simple, think that the artist is trying to pull the wool over their eyes. In fact, some artists choose to make things simple for a reason. They want to create something that makes people slow down. If an artwork makes people stop for a minute, then it’s done its job.”

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Budget woes all the talk in UW community right now

Cherry blossoms on the UW campus
The state legislative session is in full swing and there has been lots of coverage recently about the University of Washington’s budget woes.

On April 3, the Seattle Times reported budget cuts have forced UW officials to admit more out-of-state students this year, thus decreasing the number of in-state applicants who were accepted. The story, titled “Straight-A’s may not get you into the UW this year,” has generated an astonishing 700-plus comments on the Times website.

UW gives us what we asked for is today’s headline from columnist Danny Westneat, who argues the budget situation at UW is exactly what the state asked for when it demanded the UW do “more with less.” Westneat says declining state support strong-arms the UW into operating more like a business.

It’s clearly a critical time for all of us who love the UW. More information can be found on the new UW In Your Community map, and alumni can read UW Alumni Association President Colleen Fukui-Sketchley’s letter to members in the March issue of Columns.

Now, the happy return of Dawg Treats:

  • UW Lecturer Ali Tarhouni was named finance minister of the shadow government in Libya. In a March 16 interview with Voice of America, the former Foster School of Business senior lecturer said, “There’s no fear of Gadhafi and his forces. We know he’s gone. … The question is how many innocent lives he’s going to take with him.” Read more about Tarhouni from the Seattle Times.
  • Sadly, a 20-year-old UW sophomore was killed during an avalanche while snowboarding near Stevens Pass. A candlelight vigil was held for Riley McCarthy on the UW campus March 31.
  • Former Husky quarterback Jake Locker impressed NFL scouts at Washington’s Pro Day at Dempsey Indoor.
  • UWTV recently debuted two new shows that feature independent film making and contemporary performances from the UW’s Chamber Dance Company. UWTV also won three prestigious Telly Awards!
  • UW alum Joe Sutter, the famed chief engineer of the original Boeing 747, had his initials carved into the 747-8 that made its maiden flight March 20.

    Read more…

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Get your science on at Paws-on Science April 8-10

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From racing a solar car to learning how comic books can make us healthier, the second iteration of Paws-on Science: Husky Weekend at Pacific Science Center will take place April 8-10.

There will be exhibits and hands-on (“paws-on” if you’re a true Husky!) activities for the whole family from more than 30 University of Washington research programs. Harry the Husky, the Husky Marching Band, the UW Cheer Squad and everybody’s favorite mascot, Dubs, will make special guest appearances.

All UW alumni, donors, students and staff receive discounted admission. Click here for more info.

Last year’s Paws-on Science was super successful. If you’re free this weekend and looking for something fun and family-oriented, look no further than Paws-on Science.

Stay tuned for a full report after the event!

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